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generation of Israel that so much good and so little evil is mentioned of, as this generation. It is further observable, that in the time of this generation was the second general circumcision, whereby the reproach of Israel was fully rolled away, and they became pure; and when afterwards they were polluted by Achan, they purged themselves again.
The men of the former generation being dead, and God having sanctified this younger generation to himself, he solemnly renewed his covenant with them, as we have a particular account in the 29th chapter of Deuteronomy. We find that such solemn renovations of the covenant commonly accompanied any remarkable pouring out of the Spirit, causing a general reformation : so we find it was in Hezekiah's and Josiah's times. It is questionable whether there ever was a time of so great a flourishing of religion in the Israelitish church, as in that generation; and as, in the Christian church, religion was in its most flourishing circumstances in the day of its espousals, or first setting up of that church, in the days of the apostles, so it seems to have been with the Jewish church in the days of its first establishment in Moses's and Joshua's times.
Thus God at this time did gloriously advance the work of redemption, both by his word and Spirit. By this pouring out of the Spirit of God, the work of redemption was promoted, not only as it was in itself a glorious instance of the carrying on of that redemption in the application of it, but as this was what God made use of as a means of the good and orderly establishment of the church of Israel at its first beginning, when it was first settled in the regular observance of God's ordinances in Canaan; even as the pouring out of the Spirit, in the beginning of the Christian church, was a great means God made use of for the well establishing the Christian church in the world in all succeeding ages.
XI. The next thing I would observe, was God's bringing the people of Israel under the hand of Joshua, and settling them in that land where Christ was to be born, and which was the great type of the heavenly Canaan, which Christ has purchased. This was done by Joshua, who was of Joseph's posterity, and was an eminent type of Christ, and is therefore called the shepherd, the stone of Israel, in Jacob's blessing of Joseph, Gen. xlix. 24. Being such a type of Christ, he bore the name of Christ. Joshua and Jesus are the same name, only the one is Hebrew, and the other is Greek : and therefore, in the New Testament, which was originally written in Greek, Joshua is called Jesus, Acts vii. 45, “ Which also our fathers brought in with Jesus," i. e. Joshua : Heb. iv. 8, “If Jesus had given them rest, he would not have spoken of another day;" i. e., if Joshua had given them rest.
God wonderfully possessed his people of this land, conquering the forma inhabitants of it, and the mighty giants, as Christ conquered the devil; firs' conquering the great kings of that part of the land, that was on the eastern side of Jordan, Sihon king of the Amorites, and Og king of Bashan; and then dividing the river Jordan, as before he had done the Red Sea ; causing the walls of Jericho to fall down at the sound of the trumpets of the priests; that sound typifying the sound of the gospel by the preaching of gospel ministers, the walls of the accursed city Jericho signifying the walls of Satan's kingdom; and after this wonderfully destroying the mighty host of the Amorites under the five kings, causing the sun and moon to stand still, to help the people against their enemies, at the prayer of the typical Jesus ; plainly holding this forth, that God would make the whole course of nature to be subservient to the affair of redemption ; so that erery thing should yield to the purposes or that work, and give place to the welfare of God's redeemed people.
Thus did Christ show his great love to his elect, that he would make the course of nature, in the frame of the world that he had made, and that he governed, to give place to their happiness and prosperity; and showed that the sun and moon, and all things, visible and invisible, were theirs by his purchase. At the same time, Christ fought as the captain of their host, and cast down great hailstones upon their enemies, by which more were slain than by the sword of the children of Israel. And after this Christ gave the people a mighty victory over a yet greater army in the northern part of the land, that were gathered together at the waters of Merom as the sand of the sea-shore, as it is said Josh. xi. 4.
Thus God gave the people whence Christ was to proceed, the land where he was to be born, and live, and preach, and work miracles, and die, and rise again, and whence he was to ascend into heaven, as the land which was a great type of heaven; which is another thing whereby a great advance was made in the affair of redemption.
XII. Another thing that God did towards carrying on this affair, was his actually setting up his stated worship among the people, as it had been before instituted in the wilderness. This worship was appointed at Mount Sinai, wholly in subserviency to this great affair of redemption. It was to make way for the coming of Christ; and the innumerable ceremonial observances of it were typical of him and his redemption. This worship was chiefly instituted at Mount Sinai ; but it was gradually set up in practice. It was partly set up in the wilderness, where the tabernacle and its vessels were made ; but there were many parts of their instituted worship that could not be observed in the wilderness, by reason of their unsettled, itinerant state there. And then there were many precepts that respect the land of Canaan, and their cities and places of habitation there ; which therefore could not be put in practice, till they came into that land. But now, when this was brought to pass, God set up his tabernacle in the midst of his people, as he had before promised them, Lev. xxvi. 11: "I will set my tabernacle amongst you." The tabernacle was set up at Shiloh, Josh. xviii. 1, and the priests and Levites had their offices appointed them, and the cities of refuge were appointed ; and now the people were in a condition to observe their feasts of the first fruits, and their feasts of ingathering, and to bring all their tithes and appointed offerings to the Lord; and most parts of God's worship were set up, though there were some things that were not observed till afterwards.
XIII. The next thing I would take notice of, was God's wonderfully preserving that people, from this time forward, when all the males went up, three times in the year, to the place where God's ark was. The people of Israel were generally surrounded with enemies, that sought all opportunities to destroy them, and dispossess them of their land ; and till David's time there were great numbers in the land of the remains of the Canaanites, and the other former inhabitants of the land, that were bitter enemies to the people of Israel; and these had from year to year, three times in the year, a fair opportunity of overrunning their country, and getting possession of their cities, when all the males were gone, and only the women, and those who were not able to go up, were left behind. And yet they were remarkably preserved throughout all generations at such seasons, agreeably to the promise that God had made, Exod. xxxiv. 24: “ Neither shall any man desire thy land, when thou shalt go up to appear before the Lord thy God thrice in the year.” So wonderfully did God order affairs, and influence the hearts of their enemies, that though they were so full of enmity against Israel, and desired to dispossess them of
their land, and had so fair an opportunity so often in their hands, that he whole country was left naked and empty of all that could resist them, and it would have been only for them to have gone and taken possession, and they could have had it without opposition, and they were so eager to take other opportunities against them ; yet we never read, in all their history, of any of their enemies taking these opportunities against them ; which could be no less than a continual miracle, that God, for the preservation of his church, kept up for so many generations, even throughout the ages of the Old Testament. It was surely a wonderful dispensation of divine Providence to maintain and promote God's great design of redemption.
XIV. God's preserving his church and the true religion from being wholly extinct in the frequent apostasies of the Israelites in the time of the judges. How prone was that people to forsake the true God, that had done such wonderful things for them, and to fall into idolatry! And how did the land, from time to time, seem to be almost overrun with idolatry! But yet God never suffered his true worship to be totally rooted out: his tabernacle stood, the ark was preserved, the book of the law was kept from being destroyed, God's priesthood was upheld, and God still had a church among the people; and time after time, when religion seemed to be almost gone, and it was come to the last extremity, then God granted a revival, and sent some angel or prophet, or raised up some eminent person, to be an instrument of their reformation.
XV. God's preserving that nation from being destroyed, and delivering them from time to time, although they were so often subdued and brought under the dominion of their enemies. It is a wonder, not only that the true religion was not wholly rooted out, and so the church destroyed that way; but also that the very nation in which that church was, was not utterly destroyed; they were so often brought under the power of their enemies. One wbile they were subdued by Chushanrishathaim king of Mesopotamia, another while they were brought under the Moabites; and then they were sold into the hand of Jabin king of Canaan; and then they were under the dominion of the Midianites; and ihen were sorely distressed by the children of Ammon; and then by the Philistines. But yet God, in all these dangers, preserved them, and kept them from being wholly overthrown: and from time to time, when it was come to extremity, and God saw that they were upon the very brink of ruin, then God raised up a deliverer, agreeably to Deut. xxxii. 36 : “ For the Lord shall judge his people, and repent himself for his servants; when he seeth their power is gone, and there is none shut up or left.”
Those remarkable dispensations of Providence are very lively and elegantly set forth by the Psalmist, Psal. cvi. 34, &c.
These deliverers that God raised up from time to time were all types of Christ, the great redeemer and deliverer of his church; and some of them very remarkably so; as, particularly, Barak, Jephthah, Gideon, and Samson, in very many particulars; and above all in the acts of Samson, as might be shown, were it not that this would take up too much time.
XVI. It is observable, that when Christ appeared to manage the affairs of his church in this period, he often appeared in the form of that nature that he took upon him in his incarnaison. So he seems to have appeared to Moses from time to time, and particularly at that time when God spake to him face to face, as a man speaketh to his friend, and he beheld the similitude of the Lord (Numb. xü. 8) after he had besought him to show him his glory; which was the most remarkable vision that ever he had of Christ. There was a twofold discovery that Moses had of Christ : one was spiritual, made to his mind by the word that was proclaimed, when he proclaimed his name, saying, “ The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty ; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth generation,” Exod. xxxiv. 6, &c. Another was external; which was that which Moses saw, when Christ passed by, and put him in a cleft of the rock, and covered him with his hand, so that Moses saw his back parts. What he saw was doubtless the back parts of a glorious human form, in which Christ appeared to him, and in all likelihood the form of his glorified human nature, in which he should afterwards appear. He saw not his face; for it is not to be supposed that any man could subsist under a sight of the glory of Christ's human nature as it now appears.
So it was a human form in which Christ appeared to the seventy elders, of which we have an account, Exod. xxiv. 9, 10, 11 : “ Then went up Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel : and they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet, as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness. And upon the nobles of the children of Israel he laid not his hand : also they saw God, and did eat and drink.” So Christ appeared afterwards to Joshua in the form of the human nature, Josh. v. 13, 14: “And it came to pass when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand; and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries ? And he said, Nay, but as captain of the host of the Lord am I now come.” And so he appeared to Gideon, Judg. vi. 11, &c., and so also to Manoah, Judg. xiii. 17—21. Here Christ appeared to Manoah in a representation both of his incarnation, and death ; of his incarnation, in that he appeared in a human form; and of his death and sufferings, represented by the sacrifice of a kid, and by his ascending up in the flame of the sacrifice; intimating, that it was he that was the great sacrifice, thut must be offered up to God for a sweet savor, in the fire of his wrath, as that kid was burned and ascended up in the flame. Christ thus appeared time after time, in the form of that nature he was afterwards to take upon him; because he now appeared on the same design, and to carry on the same work, that he was to appear in that nature to work out and carry on
XVII. Another thing I would mention, done in this period towards the work of redemption, is the beginning of a succession of prophets, and erecting a school of the prophets, in Samuel's time. There was something of this spirit of prophecy in Israel after Moses, before Samuel. Joshua, and many of the judges had a degree of it. Deborah was a prophetess; and some of the high priests were inspired with this spirit; particularly Eli: and that space of time was not wholly without instances of those that were set apart of God especially to this office, and so were called prophets. Such a one we read of, Judg. vi. 8: “ The Lord sent a prophet unto the children of Israel, which said unto them,” &c. Such a one he seems to have been that we read of, 1 Sam. ii. 27: “And there came a man of God to Eli," &c.
But there was no such order of men upheld in Israel for any constancy, before Samuel; the want of it is taken notice of in 1 Sam. iii. 1: “And the word of the Lord was precious in those days; there was no open vision.” But in Samuel there was begun a succession of prophets, that was maintained con. tinually from that time, at least with very little interruption, till the spirit of
prophecy ceased, about Malachi's time: and therefore Samuel is spoken of in the New Testament as the beginning of this succession of prophets, Acts ir 24: “And all the prophets from Samuel, and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have foretold of these days.” After Samuel was Nathan, and Gad, and Iddo, and Heman, and Asaph, and others. And afterwards in the latter end of Solomon's reign, we read of Ahijah; and in Jeroboam's and Rehoboam's time we read of prophets; and so continually one prophet succeeded another, till the captivity. We read in the writings of those prophets that are inserted into the canon of the Scriptures, of prophets as being a constant order of men upheld in the land in those days : and in the time of the captivity there were prophets still, as Ezekiel and Daniel ; and after the captivity there were prophets, as Zechariah, Haggai, and Malachi.
And because God intended a constant succession of prophets from Samuel's time, therefore in his time was begun a school of the prophets; that is, a school of young men that were trained up under some great prophet, who was their master and teacher in the study of divine things, and the practice of holiness, to fit them for this office as God should call them to it. Those young men that belonged to these schools, were called the sons of the prophets; and oftentimes they are called prophets. These at first were under the tuition of Samuel. Thus we read of Samuel's being appointed over them, 1 Sam. xix. 20: * And when they saw the company of the prophets prophesying, and Samuel standing as appointed over them.” The company of prophets that we read of 1 Sam. x. 5, were the same. Afterwards we read of their being under Elijah. Elisha was one of his sons; but he desired to have a double portion of his spirit, as his successor, as his first-born, as the eldest son was wont to have a double portion of the estate of his father; and therefore the sons of the prophets, when they perceived that the spirit of Elijah rested on Elisha, submitted themselves to him, and owned him for their master, as they had done Elijah before him; as you may see, 2 Kings ii. 15: “And when the sons of the prophets which were to view at Jericho, saw him, they said, The spirit of Elijah doth rest on Elisha. And they bowed themselves to the ground before him.”
And so after this, Elisha was their master or teacher; he had the care and instruction of them; as you may see, 2 Kings iv. 38: “And Elisha came again to Gilgal, and there was a dearth in the land, and the sons of the prophets were sitting before him: and he said unto his servant, Set on the great pot, and seethe pottage for the sons of the prophets.” In Elijah's and Elisha's time, there were several places where there resided companies of these sons of the prophets; as there was one at Bethel, and another at Jericho, and another at Gilgal, unless those at Gilgal and Jericho were the same: and possibly that which is called the college, where the prophetess Huldah resided, was another at Jerusalem ; see 2 Kings xxii. 14. It is there said of Huldah the prophetess, that she “dwelt in Jerusalem, in the college.” They had houses built, where they used to dwell together; and therefore those at Jericho being multiplied, and finding their house too little for them, desired leave of their master and teacher Elisha, that they might go and hew timber to build a bigger; as you njay see, 2 Kings vi. 1, 2.
At some times there were numbers of these sons of the prophets in Israel ; for when Jezebel cut off the prophets of the Lord, it is said, that Obadiah took a hundred of them, and kid them by fifty in a cave, 1 Kings xviii. 4.
These schools of the prophets being set up by Samuel, and afterwards kept up by such great prophets as Elijah and Elisha, must be of divine ap