« PreviousContinue »
him, until the world, as to the greatest and most noble parts of it, was made subject to him. Evident it is, that since the creation of all things, never was there such an alteration and concussion in the world as that wherewith the Messiah and his doctrine was brought into it, and which is therefore so expressed by the prophet.
$15. Concerning the work which God will thus do "once more;" it is said to be "a little while," that is, a little while ere it be accomplished. It is not the nature of the work, but the season or time wherein it should be wrought, that is, denoted in these words; but this season is not called a little while absolutely, but with respect to the former duration of the people, or church of the Jews, either from the calling of Abraham, or the giving of the law to Moses. And this space of four hundred years is comparatively but “a "little while," so termed, to stir up believers to a continual expectation of it, it being now nearer to them than to their forefathers, who beheld the time of its performance a very great way off. And this also serves for the conviction of the Jews; for whereas their forefathers of old did confess, and themselves at present cannot with any modesty deny, that the Messiah is here intended, whom they suppose not yet to be come, how can this space of time from the days of Haggai in any sense be called a little while, seeing it far exceeded all the space of time that went before, from the call of Abraham, which is the first epocha of their privilege and claim.
The last circumstance that favors our interpretation of this place, is taken from the event; "And in this "place I will give peace, saith the Lord of Hosts." We say, then, that by peace, here, must be understood,
either outward temporal peace, or spiritual peace between God and man, and between Jews and Gentiles in their joint communion in the same Divine worship: if they say the former, I desire to know when this promise was accomplished under the second temple? In short, to say that this was the peace intended, is to say directly, that God promised what he never did or will perform.
We have sufficiently proved, that the principal work of the Messiah was to make peace between God and man, by taking away sin, the cause of distance and enmity. This then is the peace here promised: this God gave at Jerusalem while the second temple was standing. "For he is our peace who hath made both "one, and hath broken down the middle wall of par"tition between us, having abolished in his flesh the "enmity, even the law of commandments contained in "ordinances for to make in himself of twain, one new "man, so making peace. And that he might reconcile "both to God in one body by the cross, having slain "the enmity thereby, and came and preached peace to "them that were afar off, and to them that were nigh," Ephes. ii, 14-17. Thus did God give peace at Jerusalem, both to the Jews and Gentiles, by him that was "the Desire of all nations."
I shall add yet farther strength to it from a parallel testimony; "Behold, I send my Messenger, and he shall "prepare the way before me, and the Lord whom ye “seek shall suddenly come to his temple, even the Mes"senger of the covenant, whom ye delight in; behold, "he shall come, saith the Lord of Hosts," Mal. iii, 1. Now that he should come whilst the temple stood, is here confirmed by a double prophetical testimony, the temple being utterly and irreparably destroyed now above 1600 years ago, it must be acknowledged that
the Messiah is long since come, unless we will say, that the word of God is vain, and his promise of none effect.
DANIEL'S PROPHECY EXPLAINED AND VINDICATED.
§1. The subject proposed. §2. Preliminary remarks, and statement of the subject. §3. (I.) That the prophecy refers to the coming of the Messiah, as appears §4. 1. From the context. §5. 2. From the names and titles given the person spoken of. §6. 3. From the work to be done in his day. $7. To restrain transgression. §8. To pardon sins. §9. To make reconciliation for iniquity. $10. To bring in everlasting righteousness. §11. To seal vision and prophecy. $12. Messiah shall be cut off. §13. He shall confirm the cove§14. And cause the sacrifice to cease, §15. 4. From the confession of the ancient, and perplexities of the modern Jewish masters. §16. (II.) Chronological computation of the times determined in Daniel's weeks. Some difficulty attending the subject, how accounted for. limits the computation must be sought. It must be included between the first year of Cyrus, and the destruction of the temple. §18. The number of years contained in that space of time. $19. The end of the limited time, being clear in the prophecy, should regulate and fix the beginning. Not the destruction of the temple, but the cutting off of the Messiah, the precise end of Daniel's weeks. $20. Hence it follows, that the first decree of Cyrus is not the precise beginning of the weeks. $21. Nor the decree of Darius, either Hystaspes or Nothus. §22. But it was the decree of Artaxerxes Longimanus, given unto Ezra, that was intended by the angel, which appears not only from its exactly answering to the time, but also from the circumstances of that de
§17. Within what
$1. THERE remains yet one place more giving clear and evident testimony to the truth under demonstration, to be considered and vindicated. And this is the
illustrious prediction and calculation of time granted to Daniel, by the angel Gabriel, Dan. ix, 24-27; "Se"venty weeks are determined upon thy people, and "upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to "make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for "iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, "and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint "the Most Holy. Know, therefore, and understand, "that from the going forth of the commandment, to "restore and build Jerusalem, unto Messiah, the Prince, "shall be seven weeks, and three-score and two weeks, "the street shall be built again, and the wall in troublous "times. And after three-score and two weeks shall "Messiah be cut off, but not for himself; and the peo"ple of the prince that shall come, shall destroy the city "and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a "flood, and to the end of the war, desolations are de"termined. And he shall confirm the covenant with "many for one week; and in the midst of the week, he "shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and "for the overspreading of abominations he shall make ❝it desolate, even until the consummation, and that "determined, shall be poured upon the desolate."
§2. In treating of this illustrious prophecy, we
I. Prove that it refers to the coming of the Messiah, and the time wherein he should so come.
II. Ascertain the chronological computation of the time designed, in an exact account of the space limited from the beginning to the end.
§3. (I.) It is evident, in general, that here is given out, by the Holy Ghost himself, a computation of the time wherein the Messiah was to come, and to perform his allotted work; which warrants the kind of argu. ment we now insist upon. No small part this was of
the church's treasure of old, and a blessed guide it would have been to the faith and obedience of those, who were most immediately concerned therein, had it been diligently attended to. But having sinfully neglected it in its due season, they have ever since wickedly opposed it. To Daniel, this information was granted as a great favor, and a seasonable relief, upon his deep humiliation and fervent supplications, as himself records; "Whilst, saith he, I was speaking and "praying, (with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes, ver. 3) "and confessing my sins, and the sins of my people “Israel, and presenting my supplications before the "Lord my God, for the holy mountain of my God; "yea, whilst I was speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel, "whom I had seen in the vision of the beginning, be"ing caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time "of the evening oblation; and he informed me, and "talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come "forth to give thee skill and understanding. At the "beginning of thy supplications, the commandment "came forth, and I am come to shew thee, for thou art "greatly beloved; therefore, understand the matter, "and consider the vision, seventy weeks," &c. 20—23. This was the answer God gave him, upon his great and fervent prayer for the church, for his relief and support; whence it is manifest, that the great blessing of the church was involved in it. And the computation of time mentioned was granted as a light to guide the Jews, that they might not be shipwrecked at the appointed time. But when that time drew nigh, they wholly disregarded it, being generally grown dead and carnal, and filled with prejudices against the proper work of the Messiah. And since the misery that is come upon them, for not discerning this time and judgment, most of them cry out against all computa