« AnteriorContinuar »
writers, for instance Bishop Kidder in his Demonstration of the Messias, and Dr. Nicholls in his Con. ference with a Theist, have called by the name of accommodation. But other writers have asserted that even such passages are prophecies, at least in a secondary sense, of the event, to which they are applied. The very passage, which we have been just considering, is introduced with the words, “Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet. Hence it has been inferred, that St. Mat
” thew, who quoted the passage, regarded it as a prophecy at least in some sense, since the use of the term “ fulfilled ” implies
implies a prediction of that event, in which it was fulfilled. And if in the opinion of an inspired Apostle any passage of the Old Testament was a prediction of that event to which he himself applied it, we must conclude, that such passage really was a prediction of that event, though we ourselves could not have discovered it. To diminish however tbe difficulties, which we should still feel on such occasions, a distinction has been made by some Com. mentators, especially by Professor Dathe in the Notes to his Latin translation of the Hebrew Bible, between quotations introduced with the formula, 6 Then was fulfilled,” and quotations introduced with the formula, “This was done that it might be fulfilled." Though quotations therefore of the latter kind are quotations of prophecies, relating either in a primary or in a secondary sense, to those very events, to
which they are applied, quotations of the former kind are supposed to have been intended for nothing more, than what is called an accommodation, or an application of a passage to a corresponding event. And this distinction bas really a foundation in the practice of the Jews themselves. For Surenhusius in his third Thesis De formulis allegandi, has quoted Rabbinical expressions corresponding to the expressions of the New Testament, " Then was ful. filled,” and “this was done that it might be fulfil. led.” And it appears, that the latter expression only was used with passages, which were quoted by way of argument, or proof. But if the term accommodation be applied, as it is by some writers, to passages of the Old Testament, which are quoted in the New Testament with the strong expression, “this was done that it might be fulfilled," the use of it in such cases is neither warranted by the practice of the Jewish writers, nor can be consonant with the design of the sacred writers themselves. Passages so in. troduced must be regarded as real prophecies, at least in a secondary, if not in a primary sense. To use therefore the term accommodation for the passages in general, which are taken from the Old Testament, and applied to the events of the New, is to carry the principle of accommodation to an extent, which it will not bear. Nor can the term “ secondary sense” be applied in that general manner: for there are certain. ly prophecies in the Old Testament, which relate to the Messiah in a primary sense. Indeed, if all the passages, which are quoted as prophecies in the New Testament, were mere accommodations, they would cease to be prophecies altogether. They would not be prophecies even in name. And though passages, which are prophetic in a secondary sense, are still prophecies, yet if all the prophecies relating to the Messiah predicted the coming of Christ in a mere mystical or secondary sense, we should not have that sure word of prophecy, which both our Saviour and his Apostles have taught us to expect.
Let us now recapitulate, and place in one point of view, the preceding inquiries into the prophecies relating to the Messiah. Many of these prophecies relate to him according to their literal and primary sense. From these prophecies, in conjunction with miracles, we can argue to the divine authority of Christ and his Apostles. Their authority being thus established, we can appeal to that authority, as evi. dence, that any passage of the Old Testament, literatly relating to some event under the Jewish dispensation, but quoted by them as a prophecy of some event under the Christian dispensation, is a prophecy of that event in a secondary sense. But as not all the passages of the Old Testament which literally relate to events under the Jewish dispensation, are in their application to events under the Christian dis. pensation applied in the same manner, we must endeavour to distinguish the cases, in which the Sacred Writers themselves intended to give examples of prophecy, from the cases, in which they meant only to quote for the purpose of similitude or illustration. In the former, we have examples of prophecy in a secondary sense: in the latter alone, we have exam. ples of accommodation.