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canons of taste and criticism, ye have now, these fifty years, been starving the free and deep spirit of the Scottish people with correct and elegant compositions, as ye term them, which have in them no nourishment of truth, and are as little entitled to the name of sermons as is my child's toy to the name of that real thing which she fancies it to be. Oh, I abhor and nauseate, as much as any Scottish peasant who wears the blue bonnet, these empty, heartless, feckless, foisonless productions of what is called the moderate school of Scotch preaching, at the head of which stands the Rhetorical Professor referred to above.-But, to return from a digression which the bitter memory of many blighted parishes of my native land forced me into, I observe again, that it is the use and wont of the prophetic style to intermingle the figurative and the literal: for this reason, that truth is one; and the creation, in all its parts, an expression of that one truth. The similitudes are therefore not accidental resemblances, but real, though diversified, expressions of the same truth. The figures of the Scriptures taken from nature are the Holy Spirit's expositions of what nature was fashioned and is preserved, to body forth, concerning the one purpose of God, which is complete in Christ. For those rhetoricians, who neither know nor believe this, it may be very well to insist that the similitude shall be told out, in order that we may see whether it be a true similitude or not but for those who understand the deeper secrets of nature, who are nature's true poets and bards, and have in them somewhat of the holiness of the prophet, inasmuch as they are conversant with the realities, and not with the mere shows of things, it will ever be the privilege and the inclination to fall in, more or less, with the method of the Prophets; which is, to pass out of one region of creation into another-the elemental, the vegetable, the animal, the intellectual, the spiritual-by means of that clue of Divine discernment with which the spiritual man is gifted, of whom it is said, that " he judgeth all things, but he himself is judged of no one." The instances of this secret and sudden transition from the figurative to the real are numerous in this very prophecy : indeed, just as numerous as the number of figures employed, for there is not one instance to the contrary. In viii. 6-8 there is a notable example of the mixed metaphor, at which our critics might find mighty amusement; where the Assyrian is at once a river overflowing, and a bird with wings. In x. 16-19, he is a forest, a herd of fat cattle, a fruitful field with soul and body, whose destruction is like the fainting of a standard-bearer. In xi. 1 Messiah is a Branch; in ver. 2 he is a man full of the Spirit and so forth, in almost every instance of a regularly formed figure. But if we refer to mere similitudes, then they are heaped up one upon another from all regions of nature. This is the manner of the Prophets, and I take it of uninspired men also, according as they are endued with more and more of the
Spirit of wisdom and understanding. No objection, therefore, is it, to say of the figure before us that it passeth likewise into the literal; for the wonder would be that it should not. Now, while we maintain the figurative sense, upon the grounds already set out, we see many indications of the unfigurative also: as when it is said, ver. 6, "And a little child shall lead them." This must be understood either as conferring a literal and plain sense upon the wolf, the leopard, the kid, the calf, the young lion, and the fatling; or the whole must be taken as an allegorical painting, which we have already rejected. There would be no propriety in making a child to lead the great and mighty men of the earth; but there is great beauty in a child leading these various beasts in one band of union and peace: it shews, not only the departure of their mutual instincts of destructiveness and fear one toward another, but likewise their return of their common subordination to man; and presents us with all creation yielding its neck, not to the wise tamer, or the strong subduer, or the crafty catcher of the creatures, but to the face and image of upright man, stamped upon the weakness, the artlessness, the helplessness of a child. There seems to me, again, another indication of the plain and literal sense in the words of the seventh verse: "And the lion shall eat straw like the ox." This could not, without great refinement indeed, suggest itself to one who had only the figurative sense in his mind. That the lion should not devour the ox, is of easy and natural application from the figure to the thing set forth by it; but that the lion should eat straw like the ox, is a refinement which I think will hardly be found in the Prophets. But, taking it literally, it doth declare the law of their being to be changed, which at present is universally, and in all conditions, to feed on flesh : not only that they will not destroy and devour one another, which is the very instinct of many wild animals, and of some appears to be the chief end of their being; but, if flesh be presented to them, they will not use it for food, but reject it as much as they now reject straw. The next verse," And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice den," can, I think, admit of interpretation only in the literal sense; for as a figure I cannot tell what it means. It means, one may say, that the simplest of mankind may safely entrust himself with men naturally of the most deep and malignant character. But this, methinks, would have been better expressed by taking two animals; and it hath already been sufficiently expressed by bringing the wolf and the lamb to dwell together. It may be said, moreover, that the figure of general pacification being once begun, the rich and exuberant spirit of prophecy carries it onward, and finishes with this beautiful climax. I answer, that I find no such playful use or unneeessary expense of words among the Prophets; whom the more
I study the more I admire, as gaining their end by the most simple, short, and exact methods. But, being understood literally as it is written, it brings out a most beautiful and appropriate meaning, that the enmity between the serpent's seed and the woman's seed should then be at an end: that the serpent should no longer, as the deodand for the horrid crime of which he had been the tool, be doomed to be the most deadly enemy of his master, man; but, the redemption being completed, between the child of woman and the serpent there should be harmony: his subtlety should not betray the child, his venom should not hurt the child: he should be delivered from the sore badge of his having been a party to the great calamity of the Fall.
On these accounts I do see, besides the figurative, which doubtless is present, a literal sense to be also present; and can, even were there no other passage than this one, believe that it contains the promise of a deliverance to the lower creation also, and a restoration of that state of willing service and sweet obsequiousness to the body of man, for which they were originally created, and to which they are still bent, but not without the labour and ingenuity of mankind. I am however thankful that a doctrine of such importance doth not rest upon this alone, but hath a distinct revelation in every part of Scripture. I think, that in the very laying on of the curse, both upon woman and upon man, it is evident, that, while death was the proper consequence of the transgression itself, those additions of woman's pains in childbirth and man's toils with an ungrateful world, were imposed in consequence of the manner of the transgression: woman's, because she listened to the serpent; man's, because he listened to the woman. These additions to death are the badge and the consequence of the serpent's dominion: and when this shall be taken away, when" that wicked" shall be destroyed by the brightness of the coming of the Lord, and the Lord himself shall possess the earth; then, believe I, that from flesh, and from the earth, of which he hath received the lordship, these sorrowful badges of Satan's lordship shall depart, and contrary tokens of the Blessed One who rules shall be felt, in the deliverance of woman from her woful pains of conception and child-birth, and of man from the grinding misery of subjecting and reclaiming the wildness and savageness of inferior nature: and yet that death shall remain, the sign of a fallen and impotent creature; yet death not at large, but in the keeping of Him who is Lord likewise of death, to inflict it upon the wicked, if ever wickedness shall spring forth; until the end of the Millennium, when death also shall be destroyed, and creatures under the condition of the first death shall give place for creatures unchangeably under the condition of the second death. These ideas are not thrown out at random, but can be supported by Scripture, and are necessary to the analogy of
the faith. This, however, we have not room nor occasion to do at this time; but one of them-to wit, the redemption of the lower creatures from their present evil condition-we are called upon to authenticate. For this end we refer to the lxv th chapter of our Prophet, where these things are told us concerning the " new heavens and the new earth :" (ver. 17) the present condition of things is to have no memorial nor vestige left of any kind (ver. 18) the Jews, and Jerusalem their city, are to be for the rejoicing and the joy of that blessed order of things; its metropolis, its sanctuary, the ruler of its ascendant, as Rome hath been of the darkness and cruelty: (ver. 19) in her shall be no weeping nor sorrow from whatever source, no calamity of providence, nor afflictive accident of any kind: (ver. 20) when death doth come, it shall not come prematurely, but in the full maturity of years; and if it do fall prematurely, it will be only upon those whom men will consider as a curse, and shall rejoice to see removed; and even in such a case one taken away at a hundred years of age shall be accounted to have died in his childhood: (ver. 21) they shall not die from their possessions, nor be molested therein, but shall have a life as long as the trees which they plant and the houses which they build; "for mine elect shall wear out [margin] the work of their hands:" (ver. 23) their labour of the ground shall not be, like Adam's, with the sweat of the brow; nor, as it is now, labour bestowed upon a cursed soil, which will ever be running to weeds and briers and thorns; nor shall they bring forth children, like Eve, with trouble; because in place of the curse of God a blessing hath passed upon them, of which blessing this happy state of things is the possession: (ver. 24) in their dependence upon God and prayers to him they shall not have to wait an answer; "but while they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear:" (ver. 25) the enmity of the animals to one another shall depart away; and they shall all return, as they were originally created, to eat the grass of the ground; and the serpent shall not seek any prey, but be contented with the dust of the ground.Now, surely, in such a succession of literal descriptions, where the change of man's condition occupies the chief part, and is described in plain language, no one will so far violate the rules of all interpretation as not to understand the last verse in a literal and plain sense also; will not so violate the honour of God's word, as to wrest it away from its plain meaning, to support a prejudice; will not so violate the charity which we owe to every creature, and forget the mercy which a good man hath for his beast, as to strike out from this magna charta of the hopes and privileges of the world the place which God hath assigned to the animal creation; who, as they fell with the first Adam, and have suffered with him, ought to rise with the second Adam, when he shall have cast the devil out :
for with them also, even with them, hath he a certain community, in that his body was made from the dust of the ground. To shew how clearly the whole passage is connected with that for the illustration of which we have introduced this short analysis of its contents, behold, it concludes with the very same words: "They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountains, saith the Lord." More proofs I shall not bring forward; only, for the amelioration of elemental and vegetable nature, I refer to the xevith and xcviiith Psalms. Under Messiah's government, every thing which Satan won and holds in thraldom, shall be won back to freedom, and constituted under Him in blessedness and for this all creation waiteth; according to the decla ration of the Apostle Paul (Rom. viii. 19-23), who had lofty views and deep sympathies with these things: "For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope: because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now and not only they, but ourselves also, which have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body."
And now we should proceed to the last head of the prophecy, the restoration and triumph of Israel, which we had hoped to include in this Interpretation; but it is a subject so large, and so distinct, that we refer it till another opportunity, God willing.
ON THE DUTY OF STUDYING UNFULFILLED PROPHECY.
INFIDELITY assumes various forms, according to the different parts which it is employed to execute of the great scheme of Satan. Sometimes it walks in the high places of Atheism, and teaches the "fool to say in his heart there is no God;" and at other seasons it descends from this pre-eminence of wickedness, to draw the man of prouder understanding into dreary mazes of endless uncertainty. Now it affects a veneration for the beautiful testimony to Godhead borne by the works of creation; but holds it altogether weak and ridiculous to imagine that the ineffable Deity, of whom they speak, should in any special manner reveal himself to a creature so short-lived and inconsiderable as man and again, in the borrowed garb of humility, it confesses that the morality of the Bible is pure and elevated, but insinuates that there are some strange and impro