Monday, October 29, 2007

'Through Many Trials' David Brown - XXXVIII.

David Brown continued to write after his appointment as Professor at Aberdeen, but his output was reduced by his workload. His chief writings in this period were a book on 'The Restoration of the Jews', his 'Life of Dr. John Duncan', commentaries on Romans and the Corinthian Epistles, and a book on the structure of the Book of Revelation.
The book on 'The Restoration of the Jews' (full title 'The Restoration of the Jews: The History, Principles, and Bearings of the Question') was published in 1861. It is probably the fullest work on the question of whether or not the Jewish people would be restored to the Land of Israel and, as a nation, converted to Christ, ever written. He traced the history of opinion on the question from the Church fathers to the day in which he wrote. He noted that there are several question here that are often confused, the conversion of the Jews to Christ and their return to the Land, and the restoration of the whole Hebrew economy including the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem. David Brown held to the first and repudiated the latter. One of the greatest problems with many writers on both sides of the argument, he said, was that they did not separate these two questions. How true! The basis of David Brown's view is Romans chapter 11. The covenant made with Abraham conveyed three things, Brown contended, the Land, the Seed and the Promise. Faith and Land went together. To recieve the Land the Jewish nation would have to turn to Christ (it should be remembered that Brown was Postmillenial, and therefore saw the conversion of nations as quite Biblical. After all, the Great Commission calls for the Church to 'disciple the nations' translated literally). Brown's intention was practical - it was to provide a spur for missionaries to the Jews. Yet many Dispensationalists contend that Covenant theology is antisemitic!
Brown's conclusions may be summed up as follows: There remains in the future a great revival among Jewish people that will bring a majority of them to faith in Christ. This faith will bring a restoration of the Land to them, and will result in a marvellous revival of the Christian Church.
The Life of Dr. Duncan was a labour of love. Duncan had been Brown's closest friend in his university days, and a man he had the greatest regard for. Brown's book, still in print today, is still generally regarded as the best biography of that most remarkable man who was pastor, missionary and professor. The publication of Brown's book led to a volume of Duncan's sermons and communion addresses, and Dr. Moody Stuart's little volume that is published today by the Banner of Truth Trust. Moody Stuart's volume was always intended as a supplement to David Brown's book, and we reccomend that it should be treated as such.David Brown's memoir of Rabbi Duncan is a classic, one of the books every Christian should read. In Brown's day it was read by men from the whole spectrum of professing Christianity, including John Henry Newman, to whom David Brown sent a copy. From the other end, Rev. W. Carus, the biographer of Charles Simeon, quoted Duncan's conversion from the pulpit at Winchester Cathedral.
The 'Structure of the Apocalypse' was another contribution to David Brown's eschatalogical studies, vindicating the book of Revelation from the sneers of sceptics who did not understand it from a literary point of view. He noted that many lies had been circulated, such as that Calvin denied that it was true Scripture. No, Dr. Brown said, Calvin did not preach from it because he confessed that he did not understand it. After some difficulties in some parts of the early Church, the Revelation has been accepted as Scripture by every orthodox teacher.
Brown then set forth his view that the book was predictive, and that the seven seals cover the whole of the time period of the book, with the seven trumpets and the seven vials or bowls being subdivisions of the seals. He saw the two great opponents of the Church depicted in Revelation as Rome pagan and Rome papal. The opening of the sixth seal was the destruction of pagan Rome, the opening of the seventh vial that of Papal Rome. Brown was a postmillenialist, and saw the binding of Satan as future.
His other two books were his small commentary on Romans and his commentary on the Epistles to the Corinthians.

God willing, next time we shall say a little about his contributions to magazines.



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