As early as last May, and long before the first of these Tracts was commenced, I had at the suggestion of a friend, prepared in manuscript a brief notice on the subject, to be appended to the Tract " Thy Kingdom Come," then preparing for publication by Sir Marsh of York. The London artist to whom, with the manuscript, I sent the original design in illustration thereof for con-ec-tion, was taken seriously ill, and I could not proceed with the pamphlet for Mr Marsh, in the absence of my manuscript, without fear of confusion. I therefore commenced the illustration de novo from another point of view, viz., assimilating the position of Eze-kiel at Babylon to that of St Paul pleading the cause of God and his people before the heathen on Mars Hill at Athens. In this case I conceived a new form of illustration, designed from the cherubic sculptures on the Propylseum at Khorsabad, and thought to illustrate the probable object of the fifth leg on the sculptures as a lever connected with the wings, to give the idea of motion on a side view of the symbolism, contemplated as decorating the side of an idol-car in motion.

To do this the more effectually I had working models made, and conceived a series of designs for lithographic illustration.

Sumo of I have now used for Mr JM.irsli's pamphlet, with new manuscript continuance thereof. A desire to improve the opportunity for after-thoughts afforded me l>y the unfortunate illness of the London artist, (to whom T had applied, from his access to the British Museum), will account for the otherwise seemingly needless tautology, and expense of having two Pamphlets printing at the same time on partially the same subject.

The larger of the models I purpose for the British Museum, with power to reprint these Tracts, wholly or in part, for a handbook to the Assyrian Sculptures, should the Trustees and Curators think it useful for such a purpose.

My meaning is to give the right of publication, if thought useful for proving the confirmation of Jewish prophecy from the history of the past, as testified to by these Assyrian sculpt\ires, gratuitously to the persons who, by publication thereof on their own account, may be in the most likely position to extend the field of its usefulness. I would, however, reserve for the lithographers an interest in the illustrations, from the valuable aid 1 have received from them in giving expression to my thoughts on the subject. But from the value of the Assyrian Sculptures to the British Museum, and from the relation of the subject to the mission of Christianity for the regeneration of the world (from a ceremonial and vain to a spiritual and truthful worship of God), I should wish the Tmstees and Curators of the British Museum, on the one hand, and the Committee of the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge on the other, to have a right of reprinting it for themselves, or of making any compilation therefrom which may, in their judgment, seem more practically useful to themselves, yet so as not to prejudice its being made useful to the cause of Christianity through the present medium of publication, reserving for the Edinburgh Lithographers an interest in the original designs, as made their own bv improvement in their hands.

It is with considerate misgiving that 1 have pitesunifd thus1*! invite the attention of the learned at the British Museum, and the Publishing Committee of the Christian Knowledge Society, to any thoughts of my own.

But the subject is one in which they have a peculiar interest. This possibly may induce them to overlook the presumption of an obscure individual seeking to avail himself of that interest, for testing the truthfulness and utility of the interpretation given to Jewish prophecy in these Tracts. Without the countenance of such authorities I can only anticipate failure, and on it I dare hardly presume. For all the popular theories on Jewish prophecy are based upon a foundation so different to that here assumed (on scriptural evidence) to be true, that their advocates, with probably but few exceptions, may regard this investigation as a novelty of doubtful service to the cause of our religion. Yet, be that as it may, if I shall have been blessed to renew successfully the inquiry opened by Professor Lee * on these important subjects in a form for others to follow out with happier effect and greater accuracy of detail, I desire no other interest therein, and shall be thankful to God for the mercy.

To myself, of course, the foremost Tract, on the Nineveh Sculptures, does scriptnrally seem to establish a prophetic connection between the heathen symbolism for the glory of Babylon in the days of Nebuchadnezzar, and the cherubic emblems of Ezekiel's typical vision respecting the throne of Messiah's earthly glory. But if so really, then these facts must have an important influence in determining the true historic reference of Jewish prophecy in its relation to the restoration of the kingdom to Israel.

For these facts are not only directly opposed to the popular theory of Jewish prophocy, which is based on erroneous Jewish

* Pr S. Lfe, late Regius Professor of Hebrew in the University of Cambridge.

traditions, l>ut they moreover confirm, in the strongest manner from scripture, fairly and largely compared with scripture, the soundness of the general principles laid down by the late Dr S. Lee for the interpretation of Jewish prophecy.

lie interpreted Rev. xix, 10, in the true spirit of its meaning, compared with Luke xvi, 31, when he represented all the teaching of the Mosaic law, and of God's ancient prophets, as an instruction of typical import, realised with spiritual and everlasting effect in Christ (Heb. x, 1-10, Matt, xxi, 37), and thenceforth made the teaching of an immutable law in Christ's everlasting gospel (Rev. xiv, G.)

From these facts we learn that the calling of Israel out of Babylon, to which the promised restoration of the kingdom with everlasting effect refers (Zech- ii, 7, Rev. xviii, 4) had respect to an everlasting calling of all flesh out from a state of spiritual bondage to the power of man's unsanctified human will, as bearing upon all men individually with destructive influence, both from within and from without, until sanctified of God by gifts of grace, enabling all who do not presumptuously resist this calling to walk in "the obedience of faith."

This calling of God in Christ (i.e. by a way of holiness) was first made known to Abraham (John viii, 5G) and to his seed as called in Isaac (1 Cor. x, 4) and associated with two remarkable deliverances from the power of the world—1st, The Exodus out of Egypt in the days of Moses ; 2d, From Babylon in the days of Cyrus.

But it was predicted that this second deliverance should not be realised in the fulness of the blessedness predicted, until a change shonhl br made in (,'od%sjirst covenant ivith Israel; after which the glory of God's spiritual Israel should become everlastingly a light to lighten the Gentiles.

Though the sRtersJMurrent of popular opinion runs «^■sen^ strong against such an interpretation of Jewish prophecy, still its claims upon our attention are so all-important, that they cannot be innocently overlooked (Eev. xxii, 18, 19.) Compare, v. 10, the Avords " Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book, for the time is at hand," as written in the apostolic age, with those (Dan. xii, 4) of the angel to Daniel, as a message sent from God to correct erroneous notions of the predicted deliverance, when the time for its commencement was nigh at hand, and the expectations of the people high—" Shut up the words and seal the book, even to the time of the end : many shall go to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased." A fair comparison of these passages must shew the positive danger of falling into false and injurious views of Christianity, when refusing to believe (on the joint testimony of God's ivord and toorks, personified in Christ, Eev. xi, 3-7) that all Jewish prophecy was fulfilled by the events of the apostolic age.

Hence I have thought it desirable to enter into a detailed scriptural proof of this truth, to sIicav its practical value for the peace of individuals, and for the welfare of Christian communities, as identified with the salvation of the world in Christ. See John iii, 17, illustrated by John v, 39, 40, Matt, ssiii, 37-39, Jerem. li, 9, 10.

But, in doing this, remarks which were intended only for an introduction to the first of these Tracts have extended themselves into other two distinct Tracts. Of these, Tract 2d relates to the true historic reference of Jewish Prophecy, and Tract 3d to the rise of idolatry, in the relation of its fall to the establishment of Messiah's everlasting kingdom.

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment