Page images

it, upon its consecration by the prayer of Solomon. Hereof God gave a double pledge.

(1.) The falling of the fire from heaven to consume the first offerings, and leave a fire to be kept alive perpetually upon the altar, a type of the effectual operation of the Holy Spirit, making all our sacrifices acceptable to God, 2 Chron. vii, 1. And this the Jews expressly confess to have been wanting in the second temple.

(2.) The glory of the Lord, as a cloud filling the whole house, and resting upon it, 2 Chron. vii, 2, 3. This foundation being laid, and attended with the sacrifice of many thousands of cattle, the whole worship was gloriously carried on, according to the institution revealed to David, by the Spirit of God. And the better to enable them to a right performance hereof, some chief ministers, as Heman, Ethan, and Jeduthan, were themselves inspired with the spirit of prophecy. So that plainly here we had the utmost glory, that a "worldly sanctuary and carnal ordinances" could extend to.

$12. Having taken this brief view of the glory of Solomon's temple, we may now inquire, What was the glory promised to this second house, concerning which the prophet affirms expressly, that it shall excel the first. Though this house was built higher by Herod, yet it was erected precisely on the old foundation. But not to enter at present into a consideration of the measures of the former structure; let the latter temple be thought as wide and as long as the former, and some cubits higher, does this give it a greater glory than the other? a glory so much greater, as to be thus eminently promised to be brought in with the shaking of heaven, earth, sea, and dry-land? Can any thing more fondly be imagined? It had not the hundredth

[ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

part of the glory of Solomon's house; for, besides all

the glorious golden vessels and ornaments of it, besides

all the treasures disposed in it, besides sundry of the most magnificent parts of the building itself, there were five things wanting in the last, wherein the principal glory of the first house consisted. The ark propitiatory and cherubims, The Divine Majesty, or presence, The holy spirit of prophecy, Urim and thummim, Fire from heaven, to kindle the everlasting fire on the altar. They that acknowledge all these things to have been wanting in the second temple, as the Jews generally do, and the Talmud expressly (in & Cap. v,) cannot well compare the glory of it with that of the other, seeing they were the most eminent pledges of the presence of God.

§13. What then is the true giory promised to this house, wherein it was to have the pre-eminence above the former? Now this is expressly said to be the coming into it of the desire of all nations. "The Desire of "all nations shall come; and I will fill this house with "glory, and the glory of this latter house shall be great"er than that of the former, saith the Lord of Hosts," Hag. ii, 7-9. This is directly affirmed to be the glory promised, and nothing else is in the least intimated wherein it should consist. And there are three circumstances of this glory expressed in the text: The way whereby it should be brought in; "I will shake "the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry "land; and will shake all nations;" The season wherein this was to be brought about; "Yet once, it is a little "while;" and, The event of it; "And in this place will "I give peace, saith the Lord of Hosts."

The Jews by these words, "the Desire of all nations" generally understand the desirable things of the na

[ocr errors]

tions, their silver and gold, which above all things are to them most desirable. But,

1. This is directly contrary to the context; for it is the plain design of the Holy Ghost to take off the thoughts of the people from that kind of glory, which consisted in a coacervation of ornaments of silver and gold, which, being all of them always in his power, he could, at that time, have furnished them with; but that he would have them look for another glory.

2. It is perfectly false as to the event; for when was there such an outward shaking of all nations under the second temple, as that thereon they brought their silver and gold unto it, and that in such abundance, as to render it more rich and glorious than the house of Solomon? So to wrest the words is plainly to aver, that the promise was never fulfilled; for nothing can be more ridiculous than to make a comparison between the riches and treasures of Solomon's temple, and those which at that time were laid up in the second.

3. Open force is offered to the words themselves, for they are not, "All nations shall bring their (IBAN) "desirable things," but "The (2) Desire of all "nations shall come." So woful is the consideration of men rebelling against light, that they care not into what perplexities they run themselves, so as they may avoid it.

§14. We say, then, that these words contain a prophecy of the Messiah, and of the real glory that should accrue to the second temple, by his coming to it whilst it was yet standing. This is the import of

-Vulg. Et veniet de ובאו המרת כל הגוים) the words

sideratus cunctis gentibus) and the Desire of all nations shall come, The original word ( from

n) is properly (desiderium) desire, but is no where used in the scriptures, except for a thing or person desired, or desirable, loved, valued, or valuable; and it being said here emphatically, that this Desire shall come, nothing but a desired or desirable person can be intended thereby; and this was no other but the Messiah, the bringing of whom into the world was the end of building that temple, and of the whole worship performed therein; and by his coming into it, the complement of its true glory was obtained.

The promise of him of old to Abraham was, that in him "all nations of the earth should be blessed;" he is therefore rightly called their Desire, or he that, de jure, ought to be desirable above all things to them, the Desire of all nations; for he in whom all their blessedness and deliverance were laid up, may be properly called their "desire," because containing all things truly desirable, and because, like desire fulfilled, it was perfectly satisfactory to them when enjoyed.

The only difficulty in the interpretation of the words lies in their unusual construction: the verb venient) shall come, is of the plural number, and (n) the desire, whereto we refer it, of the singular; (desiderium omnium gentium venient.) But it is not unusual in the Hebrew tongue, where two substantives are joined in construction, that the verb agrees in number and person, not with that which it directly and immediately respects, but with that by which it is regulated; so 2 Sam. x, 9; so Job xv, 20; and 1 Sam. ii, 4; so likewise Hos. vi, 5, &c. &c. This construction, then, though anomalous, is in that language so frequent, as not to create any difficulty in the words, and yet possibly may not be without a farther sense,

[ocr errors]

intimating the coming of the nations to Christ upon his coming into the temple.

"I will shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and "dry land, and I will shake all nations." All agree that these words are to be interpreted figuratively; yet it cannot be denied, that a great concussion and shaking of the world, and all the nations of it, is intended, otherwise nothing is signified by them. And this must be with reference to that house, and the worship thereof, in a tendency to its glory. Now I desire to know, what work among the nations in the whole world it is, that was wrought with respect to the temple, which is here intended? The nations came, indeed, under Antiochus, and almost ruined it; under Crassus, and robbed it; under Pompey, and profaned it; under Titus, and destroyed it. But what tended all this to its glory? But refer these words to the coming of the Messiah, and all things in them contained were clearly fulfilled.

Take the words either literally or metaphorically and they suit the event: take them literally; and at his birth a new star appeared in the heavens; angels celebrated his nativity, wise men came from the East to inquire after him, Herod and all Jerusalem were shaken at the tidings of him, and upon his undertaking the work, he wrought miracles in heaven, earth, sea, and dry land; upon the whole creation of God, Take them metaphorically, as they are rather to be understood, for the mighty change which God would work in his worship, and the stirring up of the nations of the world to receive him and his doctrine, and the event is yet more evident. All nations under heaven were quickly shaken and moved by his coming. Some were stirred up to inquire after him, some to oppose

« PreviousContinue »