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things of time, never means, that they shall endure forever, but to the end or final duration of the thing spoken of, and which here plainly means the Mosaic dispensation in all its fulness, with the communication of the
Spirit of God, by Urim and Thummim. So that we are There given plainly to understand, that the words of God,
by the mouth of the prophet, and his Spirit, which was known by the communication by Urim, SHOULD NOT DEPART BUT WITH THE END OF THAT DISPENSATION. This has been literally accomplished, for the Shechinah, or the divine communication, has never been visibly manifested since the captivity in Babylon.
Levi and the rabbies inform us, that all the nations will come, “not in pride and arrogance, but in a low, y humble, and submissive manner, prostrating themselves
to them, not on account of their great power, but for the sanctity and holiness of the divinity, that will then be in the midst of them, and which," they say, “is a demonstrative proof, that this prophecy was not fulfilled at their return from Babylon.”—It would be a pleasant thing indeed, not only for the Jews, but also for Christians, to see them in this state, that people should 6 prostrate themselves before them, because of their holiness and sanctity.” But if some Jewish writers have been so weak and infatuated as to fancy, that they shall be a kind of demi-gods, surely the more intelligent among them must be ashamed to carry such a badge of consummate vanity. This passage has no reference to the Jews. In the first verse of this chapter, the prophet declares, that the dawn of this glorious state had then taken place, in the following words, “ arise, shine, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.” Now, if there be any meaning in language, these words cannot signify the future restoration of the Jews, by the coming of their supposed Messiah, because
the light which Levi, and the rabbies suppose to mean their restoration, has not risen upon them yet, though it is now near 3000 years since this prophecy was delivered. The obvious meaning of this prophecy is, that God by the prophet made known his will respecting the Gentile nations, that they should be called to a knowledge of the true God. Ver. 3. " and the Gentiles shall come to thy light.” The accomplishment of this prophecy is before the face of the whole world, for the Gentile nations, those who were worshippers of idols, have received the scriptures, and have come to the knowledge of the true God, while the Jews remain a dispersed people among all nations : consequently, they can lay no claim to this light rising upon them to enlighten the Gentile nations.
Levi and the rabbies have attempted, and a miserable attempt it is, to define the whole of this chapter agreeably to their sensual passions and appetites. Thus they say, “ the dromedaries of Midian and Ephah, shall bring gold and frankincense, the flocks of Kedar, and the rams of Nabaioth, shall be brought to them, the sons of the strangers are to build up their walls”—while the Jews are to be idle gentlemen, and lookers on, blessing themselves, that they are not sweating beneath a scorching sun. A miserable fallacy! For they have not attended to this circumstance, viz. that if one part of the prophecy is to be understood agreeably to the letter, every other part of the same prophecy must be understood literally also, which cannot be the case in this prophecy, for the 19th verse says, “ The sun shall be no more thy light by day: neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee.” Now if by " the dromedaries of Midian and Ephah, the flocks of Kedar, and the rams of Nabaioth, and the sons of the strangers, who are to build up their walls,” we are to understand that
these things are to be literally explained: then by the same rule, we must necessarily allow, that the same literal sense is to be understood in every other part of the same prophecy. And then the sun must no more give light to them by day, nor the moon by night; for it is absurd to tell us, that this metaphorical passage refers to the prosperity of the Jews, when every other part of the prophecy is hy them literally understood. Again, ver. 20. it certainly does not refer to the Jews, for a very few years after the delivery of this prophecy, their sun, which they understand to mean their national privileges, went down, when they were carried captive, and made to bow the knee to the idols of Babylon. Neither did their sun ever rise again, for at the return from the captivity, they were governed by strangers, the Herodians and Asmoneans. The glory of the first temple, the Urim and Thummim, the Shachinah and visible communication never returned, and finally they were dispersed over the face of the earth. How then can these writers have confidence to tell the world, that the words, thy sun shall no more go down, have reference to the endless government of the Jewish nation.
But should they continue to say, that this has reference to the future happiness of the Jewish nation, this view of the prophecy is altogether inconsistent with the express words of the prophet, as above, for the fact proves, that the whole refers to the coming of Christ, the true Messiah, to that light which was to enlighten every man : the Gentiles have come to his light, and kings to the brightness of his rising. From which, it must appear, that this prophecy has no reference to the future temporal state of the Jews, but to the calling of the Gentile nations to the knowledge of the true God,
But “ Strangers,” they say, "are to stand up and feed their flocks, the sons of the alien are to be their vine-dres
sers," while they are to be called the priests of the Lord—that they are not to be engaged in such servile offices, but in the mediation of the law of God, and in his service as priests, and being thus at leisure, they are to eat the riches of the Gentiles.” Surely this is too absurd for remark: the thinking and rational Jew must be asham- die ed of it. If these infatuated writers had recollected, that in Great Britain, which is twice as large as the land of Canaan, there are but a few thousands of priests, and it is found they are too numerous, though the flock is five times as large as the whole population of the Jews in all the world, what then is to become of a whole nation, of millions of priests, who are to have nothing to do but to play at religion, and priest preach to priest? If on the other hand, they suppose, that the country is to 5 be stocked with laborious foreigners, and that every priest is to have a congregation, what must be the extent of country capable of holding a population to employ such a numerous conclave? the whole earth would not be large enough. For if to each priest were allotted 500 persons, as a congregation, and the number of priests were estimated at two millions only, then these would be sufficient for one thousand millions of people, being far more than the population of the whole world. Alas, ye rabbies, how have ye for ages mistaken the obvious meaning of the sacred scriptures ! how long will ye continue to blow up the ignorant among you with vanity ?—with the vain hope of being the lords of the creation, trees of the Lord's planting, while your views go no farther than the gratification of the sensual appetite, to have the riches of the Gentiles, the gold and frankincense of Midian and Ephah, the flocks of Kedar, and the rams of Nabaioth,—to be clothed in purple and fine linen, and to fare sumptuously every day: while all the world, as
you say, are to come “ bending and bowing themselves down at the soles of your feet."
Levi thus concludes this dissertation, by saying— 6 from the explanation here given of this prophecy, the following principles are obvious :" 66 1st, God will take vengeance on the different nations ; 2d, all the tribes of the nation will be gathered together; 3d, the different nations of the earth will be subject to Israel-now as none of these important events took place at their return from Babylon; as is clear from all history both sacred and profane ; and as it is clear, that they were not accomplished at the time, nor in the person of Jesus, it is manifest that he could not be the Messiah, and that these great and glorious promises remain yet to be fulfilled in the latter times, when the true Messiah will come to redeem the nation.”—This writer has very judiciously said, “ from the explanation here given of this prophecy, the following principles are obvious.”—But as it is proved above, agreeably to the original, the obvious meaning of the words of the prophet, that no such events were to take place at the return from the Babylonish captivity, and as the fact is proved in profane history, even in the histories of all nations, that when Christ came, the Gentile nations were called from idolatry to the worship of the true God, that even Asia, Africa and Europe, received the gospel, agreeably to the express words of the prophet in the third verse, viz. “ And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising ;" it is incontrovertible evidence, that this prophecy was accomplished in the person of the true Messiah, the Redeemer of man, the Lord Jesus Christ, and that the Jews have no foundation whereon to rest their hopes, that the Messiah is yet to come.
Having shown, agreeably to the express declarations of the prophets, in conformity with the circumstances