Imágenes de páginas

still saved it, like the ark in the flood, and as he saved Moses in the midst of the waters, in an ark of bulrushes, where he was in the utmost danger of being swallowed up. The true religion was still kept up with some, and God had still a people among them, even in this miserable, corrupt, and dark time. The parents of Moses were true servants of God, as we may learn by Heb. xi. 23: “By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three months of his parents, because they saw that he was a proper child; and they were not afraid of the king's commandment.”

I have now gone through the third period of the Old Testament time; and have shown how the work of redemption was carried on from the calling of Abraham to Moses; in which we have seen many great things done towards this work, and a great advancement of this building, beyond what had been before.


From Moses to David.

I Proceed to the fourth period, which reaches from Moses to David.I would show how the work of redemption was carried on through this also.

I. The first thing that offers itself to be considered, is the redemption of the church of God out of Egypt; the most remarkable of all the Old Testament redemptions of the church of God, and that which was the greatest pledge and forerunner of the future redemption of Christ, of any; and is much more insisted on in Scripture than any other of those redemptions. And indeed it was the greatest type of Christ's redemption of any providential event whatsoever. This redemption was by Jesus Christ, as is evident from this, that it was wrought by him that appeared to Moses in the bush ; for that was the person that sent Moses to redeem that people. But that was Christ, as is evident, because he is called the angel of the Lord, Exod. iii. 2,3. The bush represented the human nature of Christ, that is called the branch. The bush grew on Mount Sinai or Horeb, which is a word that signifies a dry place, as the human nature of Christ was a root out of a dry ground. The bush burning with fire, represented the sufferings of Christ, in the fire of God's wrath. It burned and was not consumed; so Christ, though he suffered extremely, yet perished not; but overcame at last, and rose from his sufferings. Because this great mystery of the incarnation and sufferings of Christ was here represented, therefore Moses says, “ I will turn aside and behold this great sight.” A great sight he might well call it, when there was represented, God manifest in the flesh, and suffering a dreadful death, and rising from the dead.

This glorious Redeemer was he that redeemed the church out of Egypt, from under the hand of Pharaoh; as Christ, by his death and sufferings, redeemed his people from Satan, the spiritual Pharaoh. He redeemed them from hard service and cruel drudgery; as Christ redeems his people from the cruel slavery of sin and Satan. He redeemed them, as it is said, from the iron

furnace ; as Christ redeems his church from a furnace of fire and everlasting burnings. He redeemed them with a strong hand and outstretched arm, and great and terrible judgments on their enemies; as Christ with mighty power triumphs over principalities and powers, and executes terrible judgments on his church's enemies, bruising the serpent's head. He saved them, when others were destroyed, by the sprinkling of the blood of the paschal lamb:

as God's church is saved from death by the sprinkling of the blood of Christ, when the rest of the world is destroyed. God brought forth the people sorely against the will of the Egyptians, when they could not bear to let them go ; so Christ rescues his people out of the hands of the devil, sorely against his will, when his proud heart cannot bear to be overcome.

In that redemption, Christ did not only redeem the people from the Egyptians, but he redeemed them from the devils, the gods of Egypt; for before, they had been in a state of servitude to the gods of Egypt, as well as to the men. · And Christ, the seed of the woman, did now, in a very remarkable manner, fulfil the curse on the serpent, in bruising his head : Exod. xii. 12, “ For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the first - born in the land of Egypt, both man and beast, and against all the gods of Egypt will I execute judgment.” Hell was as much and more engaged in that affair, than Egypt was. The pride and cruelty of Satan, that old serpent, was more concerned in it than Pharaoh's. He did his utmost against the people, and to his utmost opposed their redemption. But it is said, that when God redeemed his people out of Egypt, he broke the heads of the dragons in the waters, and broke the head of the leviathan in pieces, and gave him to be meat for the people inhabiting the wilderness, Psal. lxxiv. 12, 13, 14. God forced their enemies to let them go, that they might serve him; as also Zacharias observes with respect to the church under the gospel, Luke i. 74, 75.

The people of Israel went out with a high hand, and Christ went before them in a pillar of cloud and fire. There was a glorious triumph over earthand hell in that deliverance. And when Pharaoh and his hosts, and Satan by them, pursued the people, Christ overthrew them in the Red Sea; the Lord triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider he cast into the sea, and there they slept their last sleep, and never followed the children of Israel any more; as all Christ's enemies are overthrown in his blood, which by its abundant sufficiency, and the greatness of the sufferings with which it was shed, may well be represented by a sea. The Red Sea did represent Christ's blood, as is evident, because the apostle compares the children of Israel's passage through the Red Sea to baptism, 1 Cor. x. 1, 2. But we all know that the water of baptism represents Christ's blood.

Thus Christ, the angel of God's presence, in his love and his pity redeemed his people, and carried them in the days of old as on eagles' wings, so that none of their proud and spiteful enemies, neither Egyptians nor devils, could touch them.

This was quite a new thing that God did towards this great work of redemption. God never had done any thing like it before ; Deut. iv. 32, 33, 34. This was a great advancement of the work of redemption, that had been begun and carried on from the fall of man; a great step taken in divine providence towards a preparation for Christ's coming into the world, and working out his great and eternal redemption : for this was the people of whom Christ was to come. And now we may see how the plant flourished that God had planted in Abraham. Though the family of which Christ was to come, had been in a degree separated from the rest of the world before, in the call. ing of Abraham ; yet that separation that was then made, appeared not to be sufficient, without further separation. For though by that separation, they were kept as strangers and sojourners, kept from being united with other people in the same political societies; yet they remained mixed among them, by which means, as it had proved, they had been in danger of wholly losing

the true religion, and of being overrun with the idolatry of their neighbors. God now, therefore, by this redemption, separated them as a nation from all other nations, to subsist by themselves in their own political and ecclesiastical state, without having any concern with the Heathen nations, that they might so be kept separate till Christ should come; and so that the church of Christ might be upheld, and might keep the oracles of God, till that time; that in them might be kept up those types and prophecies of Christ, and those histories, and other divine previous instructions, that were necessary to prepare the way for Christ's coming.

'II. As this people were separated to be God's peculiar people, so all other people upon the face of the whole earth were wholly rejected and given over to Heathenism. This, so far as the providence of God was concerned in it, belongs to the great affair of redemption that we are upon, and was one thing that God ordered in his providence to prepare the way for Christ's coming, and the great salvation he was to accomplish in the world ; for it was only to prepare the way for the more glorious and signal victory and triumph of Christ's power and grace over the wicked and miserable world, and that Christ's salvation of the world of mankind might become the more sensible. This is the account the Scripture itself gives us of the matter, Rom. xi. 30, 31, 32. The apostle there speaking to the Gentiles that had formerly been Heathens, says: “ As ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief; even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy. For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all :" i. e., it was the will of God, that the whole world, Jews and Gentiles, should be concluded in visible and professed unbelief, that so God's mercy and Christ's salvation towards them all might be visible and sensible. For the apostle is not speaking only of that unbelief that is natural to all God's professing people as well as others, but that which appears, and is visible; such as the Jews fell into, when they openly rejected Christ, and ceased to be a professing people. The apostle observes how that first the Gentiles, even the Gentile nations, were included in a professed unbelief and open opposition to the true religion, before Christ came, to prepare the way for the calling of the Gentiles, which was soon after Christ came, that God's mercy might be the more visible to them; and that the Jews were rejected, and apostatized from the visible church, to prepare the way for the calling of the Jews, which shall be in the latter days: so that it may be seen of all nations, Jews and Gentiles, that they are visibly redeemed by Christ, from being visibly aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, without hope, and without God in the world.

We cannot determine precisely at what time the apostasy of the Gentile nations from the true God, or their being concluded in visible unbelief, became universal. Their falling away was a gradual thing, as we observed before. It was general in Abraham's time, but not universal : for then we find Melchisedec, one of the kings of Canaan, was priest of the most high God. And after this the true religion was kept up for a while among some of the rest of Abraham's posterity, besides the family of Jacob; and also in some of the posterity of Nahor, as we have instances of, in Job and his three friends, and Elihu. The land of Uz, where Job lived, was a land possessed by the posterity of Uz, or Huz, the son of Nahor, Abraham's brother, of whom we read, Gen. xxii. 21. Bildad the Shuhite was of the offspring of Shuah, Abraham's son by Keturah, Gen. xxv. 1, 2; and Elihu the Buzite, was of Buz the son of Nahor, the brother of Abraham. So the true religion lasted among

some other people, besides the Israelites, a while after Abraham. But it did not last long; and it is probable that the time of their total rejection, and giving up to idolatry, was about the time when God separated the children of Israel from Egypt to serve him ; for they are often put in mind on that oce casion, that God had now separated them to be his peculiar people; or to be distinguished from all other people upon earth, to be his people alone: to be his portion, when others were rejected. This seems to hold forth thus much to us, that God now chose them in such a manner, that this visible choice of them was accompanied with a visible rejection of all other nations in the world; that God visibly came, and took up his residence with them, as forsaking all other nations.

And so, as the first calling of the Gentiles after Christ came, was accompanied with a rejection of the Jews; so the first calling of the Jews to be God's people, when they were called out of Egypt, was accompanied with a rejection of the Gentiles.

Thus all the Gentile nations throughout the whole world, all nations, but only the Israelites, and those that embodied themselves with them, were left and given up to idolatry ; and so continued a great many ages, even from this time till Christ came, which was about fifteen hundred years. They were concluded so long a time in unbelief, that there might be a thorough proof of the necessity of a Saviour ; that it might appear by so long a trial, past all contradiction, that mankind were utterly insufficient to deliver themselves from that gross darkness and misery, and subjection to the devil, that they had fallen under ; that it might appear that all the wisdom of the philosophers, and the wisest men that the heathen had among them, could not deliver them from their darkness, for the greater glory to Jesus Christ, who, when he came, enlightened and delivered them by his glorious gospel. Herein the wonderful wisdom of God appeared, in thus preparing the way for Christ's redemption. This the Scripture teaches us, as in 1 Cor. i. 21: “For after that, in the wisdom of God, the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.”

Here I might consider as another work of God, whereby the general work of redemption was carried on, that wonderful deliverance which he wrought for the children of Israel at the Red Sea, when they were pursued by the hosts of the Egyptians, and were just ready to be swallowed up by them, there being, to human appearance, no possibility of an escape. But as this may be referred to their redemption out of Egypt, and considered as a part of that more general work, I shall not further enlarge upon it.

Ill. The next thing that I shall take notice of here, that was done towards the work of redemption, is God's giving the moral law in so awful a manner at Mount Sinai. This was another new thing that God did, a new step taken in this great affair. Deut. iv. 33, “ Did ever a people hear the voice of God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as thou hast heard, and live ?” And it was a great thing that God did towards this work, and that whether we consider it as delivered as a new exhibition of the covenant of works, or given as a rule of life

The covenant of works was here exhibited to be as a schoolmaster to lead to Christ, not only for the use of that nation in the ages of the Old Testament, but for the use of God's church throughout all ages of the world ; as an instrument that the great Redeemer makes use of to convince men of their sin and misery, and helpless state, and of God's awful and tremendous majesty and justice as a lawgiver, and so to make men sensible of the necessity of

aged to get oud would breaker

Christ as a Saviour. The work of redemption, in its saving effect on men's souls, in all the progress of it to the end of it, is not carried on without the use of this law that was now delivered at Sinai.

It was given in an awful manner, with a terrible voice, exceedingly loud and awful, so that all the people that were in the camp trembled; and Moses himself, though so intimate a friend of God, yet said, I exceedingly fear and quake; the voice being accompanied with thunders and lightnings, the mountain burning with fire to the midst of heaven, and the earth itself shaking and trembling; to make all sensible how great that authority, power, and justice was, that stood engaged to exact the fulfilment of this law, and to see it fully executed ; and how strictly God would require the fulfilment; and how terrible his wrath would be against every breaker of it; that men being sensible of these things, might have a thorough trial of themselves, and might prove their own hearts, and know how impossible it is for them to have salvation by the works of the law, and might see the absolute necessity they stood in of a mediator.

If we regard this law now given at Mount Sinai, not as the covenant of works, but as a rule of life; so it is made use of by the Redeemer, from that time to the end of the world, as a directory to his people, to show them the way in which they must walk as they would go to heaven : for a way of sincere and universal obedience to this law is the narrow way that leads to life.

IV. The next thing that is observable in this period, was God's giving the typical law, in which I suppose to be included most or all those precepts that were given by Moses, that did not properly belong to the moral law; not only those laws that are commonly called ceremonial, in distinction from judicial laws, which are the laws prescribing the ceremonies and circumstances of the Jewish worship, and their ecclesiastical state; but also many, if not all those divine laws that were political, and for regulating the Jewish commonwealth, commonly called judicial laws; these were at best many of them typical. The giving this typical law was another great thing that God did in this period, tending to build up this glorious structure of redemption that God had been carrying on from the beginning of the world. There had been many typical events of Providence before, that represented Christ and his redemption, and some typical ordinances, as particularly those two of sacrifices and circumcision : but now, instead of representing the great Redeemer in a few institutions, God gives forth a law full of nothing else but various and innumerable typical representations of good things to come, by which that nation were directed how, every year, month, and day, in their religious actions, and in their conduct of themselves, in all that appertained to their ecclesiastical and civil state, to show forth something of Christ; one observance showing one thing, exhibiting one doctrine, or one benefit ; another, another; so that the whole nation by this law was, as it were, constituted in a typical state. Thus the gospel was abundantly held forth to that nation; so that there is scarce any doctrine of it, but is particularly taught and exhibited by some observance of this law; though it was in shadows, and under a vail, as Moses put a vail on his face when it shone.

. To this typical law belong all the precepts that relate to building the tabernacle that was set up in the wilderness, and all the form, circumstances, and utensils of it.

V. About this time was given to God's church the first written word of God that ever was enjoyed by God's people. This was another great thing done towards the affair of redemption, a new and glorious advancement of the

« AnteriorContinuar »