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their faith. He will cause their iniquity to pass from them: and in his good time will clothe them with “the garments of salvation.” He will cover them with “ the robe of righteousness; that fine linen, clean and white, which is the righteousness of the saints.
i Isai. lxi. 10.
k Rev. xix. 8.
DAVID AND SOLOMON HISTORICALLY TYPICAL OF
2 PET. i. 20, 21.
No prophecy of the scripture is of any private inter
pretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man; but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
THERE are many prophecies in the sacred volume, which appear to have each a reference to two distinct events. Although couched in terms evidently prophetic, they speak, in their primary sense, of things present or past; or they predict future things which are known to have speedily come to pass. But the words, in which they are conceived, are calculated to excite, and sometimes actually did excite, expectations of some more perfect completion: and some of these, contained in the Old Testament, are quoted in the New Testament, as having been fulfilled in a sense different from that which the prophets themselves seem to have had in view.
Prophecies, given under these circumstances, might be expected to be more than usually hard to be understood : since, to the ordinary difficulties of direct prophecy, there are added others, which the very supposition of their existence implies.
The difficulty of the subject has naturally excited great difference of opinion respecting it. Some expositors have entirely denied the existence of more than a single application of any one prophecy; while others have assumed, that the number of interpretations, which may be given to any prophecy, can be multiplied to an indefinite extent.
Now, without discussing the interpretation which has been put upon any specific passage, it is evident that to suppose the existence of a double sense, even in words, implies no impossibility nor contradiction. . And instances can, without difficulty, be found, in which human writers have intentionally so framed their language."
But, in fact, double prophecy arises not from an extension of the use of words, but from a real correspondence between the things signified. And it is closely connected with historical type and antitype.
See Appendix, No. 7, to Merrick's Annotations on the Psalms.
It is certainly conceivable, if the life of one man be designedly so ordered as to prefigure the life of another, and an action, which the first shall thus perform, be made the subject of prophecy, that the same prophecy may refer to the corresponding action in the life of the other. And this double reference would be entirely distinct from ambiguity of verbal expression, with which it has sometimes been confounded.
Assuming, for instance, that the sacrifice of Isaac was intended to foreshew the sacrifice of Christ, that a direct prophecy had been given, that such a signal action should be performed, and that the prophecy was interpreted by divine authority, and applied to both events; the words might be free from all ambiguity ; but two events would have been contemplated, and by both would the prophecy have been fulfilled. But this supposition would confine the application of the prophecy to the two events which are thus connected. We should have no authority to conclude that the same words were a prediction of any other event, in which we might discover some similarity of circumstances.
The same principle would lead to a similar result in more complicated instances. The words of the prophecy, would probably apply,
with greater accuracy, to one event than to the other. They might even be literal with respect to the first, and figurative with respect to the second. Still, since historical type and antitype undoubtedly exist, and are accompanied with prophecy, it is, at least, probable, that the line of prophecy should sometimes touch the facts of history in two corresponding points.
A similar conclusion would be drawn, if the person, who appeared in the character of a type, were himself known to be a prophet ; and recorded his own feelings and sentiments. In the aspirations of his devotion to God, in the fervour of hope, or the gloom of despondency, he might be expected to give utterance to words which, while they immediately related to the present or past circumstances of his own life, might yet be prophetic of the future, and receive a final completion in the events which, by the supposition, they foreshadowed.
But the question assumes somewhat a different aspect, when we attempt to the process, and to argue from the actual existence of a prophecy, which we know, upon Divine authority, to have reference to two persons, that these two were intended to typify one another. But knowing that such prefigurations have, in the course of God's Providence,