« PreviousContinue »
SER.M. And from hence likewise we fee both the true
VH.- meaning, and the reasonableness of that saying w of our Saviour's; Luke xi. 50, 51. that the
blood of all the prophets, which was Shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation from the blood of 'Abel, unto the blood of Zacharias : Verily I Jay unto you it Skall be required of this generation, i. e. 'by the total ruin and destruction of them, which we know was more immediately for thé.crucifying of our Saviour, but by implication for the death of all that ever prophecied of him, or typified him from Abel to Zacha- . rias: For the same obstinate spirit of infidelity that prompted that generation to crucify him, would have prompted them to all the cruelty of their forefathers towards all that ever typified or spoke of him; and as far as in them lay, they tieated them with the like barbarity, and murdered them all over again in him,
My method would lead me to the fixth and last of those ages mentioned in my text, but the time failing I must break off the thread of iny discourse here, and leave you to consider what hath been said,
SERMON VIII. Why Christ appeared at the time he
did, and not sooner. ,
· HEB. ix. 26. For then must be often have suffered fince the
foundation of the world : But now once in the end of the world, bath he appeared to put
away sin by the sacrifice of bimself. TN a former discourse upon these words, S er m.
the last time I had occasion to speak in VIII. this place, when I had shewn how they were w a plain demonstrative proof that the sacrifice of Christ's death and the virtue of his blood had respect to all who lived before his coming into the world; I then observed that what is here translated, the end of the world, is in the original, the consummation of ages : And when I had considered the great exactness and propriety of that expression, as referring to the several periods of time, wherein there were still clearer revelations made of Christ's coming
SER M. from the foundation of the world; which VIII, happened in every fifth century, and almost
at the fame distance of time, the method I then proposed for what I had to speak to from these words was,
1. To shew by what degrees this great mystery of salvation opened from the foundation of the world to the fulness of time, here called the consummation of ages.
2. As far as our shallow capacity can fathom the depth of the wisdom of God, to consider the reasons of this wondrous dispenfation of providence, in deferring the coming of Christ into the world so long; and why he appeared at the time he did,
As to the first of these, I have already passed the feveral ages from the first promise of a Saviour, Gen. iii. 15, down to the end of the prophets ; which last period began with Şamuel and ended in the time of the captivity, And now therefore I am to go on to the fixth and last of those ages intimated by the Apostle in my text,
*6. And that is the space of Daniel's fea yenty weeks. Now in the time of the captivity, the precise term of years was foretold when this promised seed should come. Dan, ix. 24. it is said, Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people, and upon thy holy city; ta finish the transgression, and to make an end of fins ; and to make reconciliation for iniquity; and to bring in everlasting righteousness; and to seal up the vision and prophecy; and ta anoint the moff holy; which by the scripture SE R M computation of a day for a year makes up. VIII. the space of 490 years : This number in the following verse is divided into three distinct periods; know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and build Jerusalem (which Huetius with great probability places in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes Longimanus ; and by his computation every thing falls in naturally and easily) unto the Meffiab the Prince, all be seven weeks, i, e, forty-nine years; under which time the streets and publick edifices of Jerusalem were not finished, though the wall was built in hafte in fifty-two days. The next space mentioned is that of threescore and two weeks, i. e, four hundred thirtyfour years; after the expiration of which the Messiah was to be cut off. He was to confirm the covenant with many for one week, i. e. in the last feven years, and in the midst of this space he was to cause the facrifice and the oblation to cease, i, e. by offering up himself, by which means all those facrifices that were typical and representative of him lost their use. . : This is the fullest and plainest comment upon the first promise of a Saviour ; it ex. plains his breaking of the Serpent's head, by making an end of fin, and bringing in everlasting righteousness; and those words of having his heel bruised, by his being cut off, and fo making reconciliation for iniquity; and
SE Ř m.computes exactly, near five hundred years VIII. before, what time this should happen. This
is the very covenant which he is said here to confirm with many ; the covenant made with all mankind from the beginning of the world. And now the exact time of this great deliverer was thús pointed out, there was no more occasion for prophets ; the world had then nothing more to do but to wait for the time, and see the event of all this, and of all other prophecies that were made of him. ii
During this space, there was no prophet in Israel, till John the Baptist ; and therefore there could be no new and clearer revelations made of Christ in this time : And this restraining the spirit of prophecy, during that interval, was for very wise ends of God, all providence. For this took away all ground of suspicion and apprehensions of any temporal designs. Had the spirit of prophecy continued without this interruption to the very time of his coming, this might have raised a jealoufy in the world; especially in after-ages, that prophecies might have been calculated for events; out of design or cunning; that things meerly contingent in appearance might have been contrived fo, as to correspond and answer the predictions ; but at the distance of near five hundred years, every thing of this nature was altogether impracticable.
Besides, the wisdom of God thought fit to leave this interval without any immediate revelations, that the world might ruminate upon