Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

vites, and all Israel, to'S WEAR, that they should do according to this word; and they s WARE."

3. As Ezrah was well acquainted with the example of the Church in former times, we have reason to conclude, that it was a WRITTen Covenant, as well as former ones; but, as this circumstance is not recorded, 'we shall not insist on it.

It is now time to finish this subject with a very few REFLECTIONS.

1. The Church may, -and ought to covenant with the living God, when many genuine saints neglect, or hesitate as to this duty, on the one hand; and enemies make great oppoSition to it, on the other. Not a few of the Jews preferred a place in Babylon unto their owu possession in the promised land; and, by this means, deprived themselves of an opportunity of joining in this work: Yea, more Jews probably. Itaid in Babylon than those who returned.

2. GREAT deliverances call for suitable improvement, and grateful remembrance. If persons are delivered by God, is it too much for them to be devoted to him ? It was long before the Jews made this return ; but providence compelled them to do it at the last.

3. SOLEMN COVENANTİNG may be perforined, when the civil powers of that people who

Q99

covenant

covenant are of a religion different from that which is sworn to in the facred bond; and yet . these covenanters may, and ought to be strict

ly loyal; giving ready obedience to such magistrates in their lawful commands. This is a case fo much in point to present covenanting, that it deserves to be carefully surveyed on all fides. The enemies of the Jews forged an accusation against them, which has frequently been of great service to their successors : Said they, If this people be permitted to carry their designs into execution, they will foment rebellion; they will not pay toll, tribute, and custom But these covenanters gave a practical confutation of this calumny; shewing, that there is an eternal difference between the caufe of God and that of rebellion; though the former has been often branded with the name of the latter. A people may be so circumstanced, as to continue under the same engagements to God as did their fathers, tho’they be widely different from them as to their political state. Such was the case of the Jews at this time; and such is our case. In both Churches, tho' the covenanters are sprung froin covenanting ancestors; yet both yield obedience to non-covenanied magistrates; and also proceed in the line of duty by covenant-renovation, altho'they have not the concurrence of the fupreme magistrate. In both cases, covenanters are under great bondage; yet ftri&tly loyal, not for fear of wrath, but for conscience fake.

ON THE COVENANT

BETWEEN GOD AND HIS CHURCH,

IN THE DAYS OF NEHEMIAH.

NEHEMIAH ix. 38. X. 1-39.

mea

THIS is the last Transaction transmitted to

1 us in the Old Testament; but by no means the least signal. The sacred historian ascertains,-1. The Persons Covenanting.-II.'

The Character of the Minister, by whose instrumentality they were brought to perform this duty.-II. The Matter of this Coyenant.IV, The Manner in which they performed it. " -V, The Occasions of this Transaction.-VI. The Solemn Confirmations of it. After a short survey of each of these, we shall fubjoin some Improvement.

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

: 1. The first order of persons is, “ Our Princes *.” This is the same order with these mentioned Dissertation VI.

2. THE “ Levites.” The whole tribe of Levi, except the family of Aaron. The peculiar constitution of this tribe deferves more particular consideration than I can here undertake. Let it suffice, in this place, to observe, That God took them instead of the first-born, and set them apart to the service of the temple; as also, assigned them their task in instructing the rest of the tribes,-appointing them cities to live in,-tythes for an honourable maintenance, feeing they were excluded from having any inheritance among their brethren. As this tribe was devoted to God's service, so it was proper they should be forward in his work. They were divided into three classes : The first waited on the Priests, the sons of Aaron, to purify the holy things, to prepare the shewbread, flour, wine, oil, and every thing else for the sacrifice; and to kill the sacrifices, if there were more work of this kind than the Priests could accomplish. The next class formed the temple choir, consisting of both fingers and • players on instruments. The third are ftyled poi ters, who kept the doors of the temple, and had the charge of it; and probably rea ceived such oblations as were offered at it.

* Neh. ix. 38.

3. A THIRD order of perfons covenanting at this time are, “ Our Prieits.” This comprehended the whole family of Aaron, even to the exclusion of that of Moses: For, thougli he was the first man in the kingdom; he sütfer, ed his feed to link down among the rest of the Levites.

4. TIE next order specified is that of “ Nethininis *.” This designation is not to be found but in books written after the captivity; for such, I presume, are the books of Chronicles. The order of persons unto which it belonged, however, was much more ancient. They were originally the Gibeonites, who, by fraud, obtained a league with the Israelites soon after they canie into the land of Canaan : For which Joshua condemned them to the most laborious offices of the tabernacle; such as, hewing of wood and drawing of water for the sacrifice. But it is conjectured that David added some other strangers to their number, when he appointed them unto the service of the Levites. Those Nethinims who returned, were certainly the best of that order : The rest having preferred a place in Chaldea unto the service of

* Owina, Dediti. “ Erantque Gibeonitæ, qui ob fraudem populo Ifraelitico facta a Jofua fervi publici con. ftituti Jof. ix. 21. Et poftea Davide ad ministerium Levitarum DEDIT!, Ezr viii. 20.” HENRIC. Oritit. in vocem.

the

« AnteriorContinuar »