« PreviousContinue »
seph, every knee must bow to Jesus. If Joseph were highly exalted upon his sufferings, so was Jesus. They were both men of sorrow, both fruitful branches, both lifted up from a low and sorrowful condition.
Sampson was a Nazarite, in the strictest sense, and a perpetual one, and a type of the Messias too, as the Jere's intimate in their two Targums upon Gen. xlix. 18. A very, fit type he was of Jesus Christ. He was so in his very birth: he was the son of a barren woman; Jesus of a virgin. The tidings of the birth of Sampson were brought to his mother by an angel ; as was that of the birth of Jesus. He shall be a Nazarite, says gel of Sampson ; and of Jesus it is said, that he dieelt in Nazareth, that it might be fulfilled which was said by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene. Of Sampson the angel foretells that he should deliver Israel; and the angel tells of Jesus, that he should save his people. An angel was sent to satisfy both Manoah and Joseph. If the Spirit of God be said to move Sampson; that Spirit descended upon Jesus, and led him into the wilderness: If Sampson marries a Philistine woman, Jesus espoused the Gentiles. Sampson killed the lion, destroyed the Philistines, removed the gates of the city, and at his death gave the greatest blow to his enemies : but it is Jesus Christ that overcame the devil, and the world, and got the conquest of death and hell, that destroyed the devil by his death, and that raised himself up from death to life. Kidder's Demonst. of the Messias, ch. iii.
IV. There are prophecies of double senses, wliich admit no more than two senses, which are nearly of the same kind with typical prophecies, and many of which might perhaps be cleared up by observing that the prophet meant one thing, and the Spirit of God, who spake by him, meant another thing ; for the HoVOL. I. I
ly Spirit so over-ruled the prophets, as to make them use words which strictly and rigidly interpreted could not mean what themselves intended.
Somewhat of this kind is the prophecy of the high priest Caiaphas; for the Spirit of God has sometimes spoken by bad men. When the chief priests and Pharisees consulted what they should do with Jesus, the high priest said, Ye know nothing at all, nor consider that it is expedient for us that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not. His meaning was plainly this, that it mattered not whether Christ were guilty or innocent, because the public safety absolutely required his death. And this spake he, says St John, not of himself; but, being high priest that year, he prophecied that Jesus should die for that nation, that is, be a sacrifice and atonement for their sins. He prophecied then, and knew it not ; for he liad himself another intent and meaning.
As Daniel, xii. 8, 9. says, that he knew not the meaning of the prediction which he delivered, so the Gentiles, if we may be permitted to introduce them upon this occasion, have remarked concerning their prophets, that they knew not the import of their own prophecies, or rather, that they were merely passive, and knew not even that they were speaking. aéysci uir πολλα και καλά, ίσασι δε δέν ων λέγεσι, says Socrates, in Ρlato's Apol, and in Menon. p. 99. Ed. Steph. The Sibyl also says, or is made to say, concerning herself, L. ii.
–ούτε και οίδα “οτι λίγω, κέλαι δε Θεός [με] έκας' αγορεύειν. Which is very like the words cited from Plato, Tacitus, Annal. ii. 54. Tunc (sacerdos] haustá fontis arcani aquâ, ignarus plerumque literarum et carminum, edit responsa versibus, fc.
When the prophets of God spake in his name, they talked and acted like men who knew that they were prophesying. In some of the Pagan oracles, the god is supposed to use the organs of the man, and the man is supposed to know nothing of the discourse. This appears to have been the case of some dæmoniacs in the New Testament, in whom the evil spirit was the
speaker. The Pagan prophets therefore either were, or pretended to be out of their senses ; and by this argument some sly or credulous people imposed upon Justin Martyr, (if he wrote the Cohortatio) and made an excuse for the nonsense and the faults against metre in the Sibylline oracles. The Sibyl, said they, uttered verses when she was inspired; when the inspiration ceased, she remembered nothing that she had said. They who attended her and wrote down her prophecies, being often unskilful and illiterate people, made frequent mistakes, and gave us lame verses and false quantities. Cohort. ad Grrec. 38. See what is said above, p. 12. See also Smith on prophecy, who has collected passages from Plato and others, to shew that the Pagan prophets were in a sort of phrenzy and delirium, ch. iv.
This is the very same excuse which the Pagans made for the bad style and other defects of their oracles. Van Dale De Oruc. p. 162.
Since no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation, that is, the meaning of prophecies is not what perhaps the prophet himself might imagine in his private judgment of the state of things then present, bit holy men spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost; there may therefore very possibly, and very reusonably be supposed to be many prophecies, which, though they may have a prior and immediate reference to some
nearer event, yet by the Spirit of God (whom those prophecies which are erpress, shew to have had a further view) may have been directed to be uttered in such words as may even more properly and more justly be applied to the great event which providence had in view, than to the intermediate event which God designed only as a pledge or earnest of the other, de. Clarke's Evid. of Nat. and Rev. Rel.
Of omens, to which Pagan superstition paid great regard from the time of Homer, there were several, where the words of the omen had one sense, and the event, as they say, verified it in another sense. Here is a remarkable instance : Cæcilia Metelli, dum sororis filice, adultæ ætatis virgini, more prisco, nocte concubia, nuptiuliu petit, omen ipsa fecit. Nam cum in sacello quodam, ejus rei gratia, aliquamdiu persedisset, nec ulla cox proposito congruens esset audita ; fessa longa standi mora puella rogavit materteram, ut sibi paulisper locum residendi accommodaret; cui illa, Ego vero, inquit, tibi mea sede cedo. Quod dictum ab indulgentia profectum, ad certi ominis processit eventum : quoniam Metellus non ita multo post, mortua Cæcilia, virginem de qua loquor, in matrimonium duxit. Val. Maximus, i. .v. 4. The same story is related by Cicero, de Divin. i. 46. Plutarch, in the life of Alexander, says: Bounóueros de tu Θεώ χρήσασθαι περί της σρατείας, ήλθεν εις Δελφός και καλα τύχην ημερών αποφράδων ετών, εν αις και γενόμισαι θεμισεύειν, πρώτον μεν επιμτεν σαρακαλών την πρίμαντιν' ως δέ αρνουμένης και προϊσχομέτης τον νόμον, αυτος αναβας βία προς τον ναόν είλκεν αυτήν. και δε, ώσσερ εξητιημένη της σπεδης, είπεν, 'Ανίκητος εί, ώ σαΐ. τουτο ακούσας Αλέξανδρος, εκ έτι έφη χρίζειν ετέρα μαντεύματος, αλλά έχειν εν τέλειο σταρ αυτής χρησμόν. Delphos ad Deum de bello consulendum profectus, quod forte dies nefusti essent, quibus non erat solenne oracula edere, primo misit certos, qui catem orarent út veniret. Recusante illa, et legem caussinte, ascendit ipse, et vi truxit eam ad templum. Quæ illius contentione expugnata ait, Invictus es, tili. Id audiens Alexander, negavit se alias sortes qucerere, sed jam habere quod petierat ab ea oraculum.
If the words of Caiaphas will admit two senses, it follows not that they will admit ten, or as many as the teeming imagination of a fanatic can suggest ; and prophecies of double senses, if such prophecies there be, may have meanings as determinate and fixed, as if they had only one sense. The same is true of allegorical writings. Horace Carm. I. xiv, says,
O navis, referent in mare te novi, &c. The commentators on this poem are divided ; one part contend for the literal sense, and the other for the allegorical : but the ode has a double sense. The poet addresses himself to a real ship, and yet intended, under that image or emblem, to dissuade the Romans from exposing themselves again to a civil war. This will remove some difficulties raised by writers on both sides of the question,
Mr Warburton made the same remark, and to him I resign it, as unto the first occupier, unless he will let me claim a part of it upon the privilege of friendship, and as κοινά τα των φίλων. Indeed the interpretation is so unforced and obvious, that I wonder it came not into the mind of many persons.
Moses said of the paschal lamb, Neither shall ye break a bone thereof. St John says that this was fulfilled in Christ; whence it has been not unreasonably inferred, that those words had, with the most obvious sense, a prophetical, that is, a double sense.
David seems to speak concerning himself when he says, Thou shalt not leave my soul in hell, nor suffer thy