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pointnient; and accordingly we find, that those sons of the prophets were often favored with a degree of inspiration, while they continued under tuition in the schools of the prophets; and God, commonly, when he called any prophet to the constant exercise of the prophetical office, and to some extraordinary service, took them out of these schools; though not universally. Hence the prophet Amos, speaking of his being called to the prophetical office, says, that he was one that had not been educated in the schools of the prophets, and was not one of the sons of the prophets, Amos vii. 14, 15. But Amos's taking notice of it as remarkable, that he should be called to be a prophet that had not been educated at the schools of the prophets, shows that it was God's ordinary manner to take his prophets out of these schools ; for therein he did but bless his own institution.
Now this remarkable dispensation of Providence that we are upon, viz., God's beginning a constant succession of prophets in Samuel's time, that was to last for many ages, and to that end; establishing a school of the prophets under Samuel, thenceforward to be continued in Israel, was a step that God took in that great affair of redemption that we are upon. For the main business of this succession of prophets was to foreshow Christ, and the glorious redemption that he was to accomplish, and so to prepare the way for his coming; as appears by that forementioned place, Acts iii. 24, and by Acts x. 43: “To him give all the prophets witness;" and by Acts ïïi. 18: “ But those things which God before had showed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled.”
As I observed before, the Old Testament time was like a time of night, wherein the church was not wholly without light, but had not the light of the sun directly, but as reflected from the stars. Now these prophets were the stars that reflected the light of the sun; and accordingly they spoke abundantly of Jesus Christ, as appears by what we have of their prophecies in writing. And they made it very much their business, when they studied in their schools or colleges, and elsewhere, to search out the work of redemption; agreeably to what the apostle Peter says of them, 1 Pet. i. 10, 11 : “Of which salvation the prophets have inquired, and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you; searching what, or what manner of time the spirit of Christ that was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.” We are told that the church of the Redeemer is built on the foundation of the prophets and apostles, the Redeemer himself being the chief corner stone, Eph. ii. 20.
This was the first thing of the nature that ever was done in the world ; and it was a great thing that God did towards further advancing this great building of redemption. There had been before occasional prophecies of Christ, as was shown; but now the time drawing nearer when the Redeemer should come, it pleased God to appoint à certain order of men, in constant succession, whose main business it should be to foreshow Christ and his redeinption, and as his forerunners to prepare the way for his coming; and God established schools, wherein multitudes were instructed and trained up to that end : Rev. xix. 10, “I am thy fellow servant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus; for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”
From David to the Babylonish Captivity. I COME now to the fifth period of the times of the Old Testament, beginning with David, and extending to the Babylonish captivity ; and would now proceed to show how the work of redemption was carried on through this period also.—And here,
1. The first thing to be taken notice of, is God's anointing that person that was to be the ancestor of Christ, to be king over his people. The dispensations of Providence that have been taken notice of through the last period, from Moses to this time, respect the people whence Christ was to proceed. But now the Scripture history leads us to consider God's providence towards that particular person whence Christ was to proceed, viz., David. It pleased God, at this time, remarkably to select out that person of whom Christ was to come, from all the thousands of Israel, and to put a most honorable mark of distinction upon him, by anointing him to be king over his people. It was only God that could find him out. His father's house is spoken of as being little in Israel, and he was the youngest of all the sons of his father, and was least expected to be the inan that God had chosen, by Samuel. God had before, in the former ages of the world, remarkably distinguished the persons from whom Christ was to come; as he did Seth, and Noah, and Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob. But the last that we have any account of God's marking out in any notable manner, the very person of whom Christ was to come, was in Jacob's blessing his son Judah ; unless we reckon Nahshon's advancement in the wilderness to be the head of the tribe of Judah. But this distinction of the person of whom Christ was to come, in David, was very honorable ; for it was God's anointing him to be king over his people. And there was something further denoted by David's anointing, than was in the anointing of Saul. God anointed Saul to be king personally; but God intended something further, by sending Samuel to anoint David, viz., to establish the crown of Israel in him and in his family, as long as Israel continued to be a kingdom; and not only so, but what was infinitely more still, establishing the crown of his universal church, his spiritual Israel, in his seed, to the end of the world, and throughout all eternity.
This was a great dispensation of God, and a great step taken towards a further advancing of the work of redemption, according as the time drew near wherein Christ was to come. David, as he was the ancestor of Christ, so he was the greatest personal type of Christ of all under the Old Testament. The types of Christ were of three sorts; types of institution or instituted types, and providential, and personal types. The ordinance of sacrificing was the greatest of the instituted types; and the redemption out of Egypt was the greatest of the providential types; and David the greatest of the personal types. Hence Christ is often called. David in the prophecies of Scripture; as Ezek. xxxiv. 23, 24, “ And I will set up one shepherd over thein, and he shall feed them, even my servant David;—My servant David a prince among them;" and so in many other places : and he is very often spoken of as the seed of David, and the son of David.
David being the ancestor and great type of Christ, his being solemnly anointed by God to be king over his people, that the kingdom of his church might be continued in his family forever, may in some respects be looked on as an anointing of Christ himself. Christ was as it were anointed in him; and
therefore Christ's anointing and David's anointing are spoken of under one in Scripture, as Psal. lxxxix. 20, “I have found David my servant; with my holy oil have I anointed him.” And David's throne and Christ's are spoken of as one: Luke i. 32, " And the Lord shall give him the throne of his father David.” Acts ii. 30, “ David-knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne.”
Thus God's beginning of the kingdom of his church in the house of David, was, as it were, a new establishing of the kingdom of Christ; the beginning of it in a state of such visibility as it thenceforward continued in. It was as it were God's planting the root, whence that branch of righteousness was afterwards to spring up, that was to be the everlasting king of his church ; and therefore this everlasting king is called the branch from the stem of Jesse, Isa. xi. 1: “And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots.” Jer. xxiii. 5, “Behold the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise up unto David a righteous branch, and a king shall reign and prosper.” So chap. xxxiii. 15, “In those days and at that time, I will cause the branch of righteousness to grow up unto David, and he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land.” So Christ, in the New Testament, is called the root and offspring of David, Rev. xxii. 16.
. It is observable, that God anointed David after Saul to reign in his room. He took away the crown from him and his family, who was higher in stature than any of his people, and was in their eyes fittest to bear rule, to give it to David, who was low of stature, and in comparison, of despicable appearance. So God was pleased to show how Christ, who appeared despicable, without form or comeliness, and was diespised and rejected of men, should take the kingdom from the great ones of the earth. And also it is observable, that David was the youngest of Jesse's sons, as Jacob the younger brother supplanted Esau, and got the birthright and blessing from him; and as Pharez, another of Christ's ancestors, supplanted Zarah in the birth; and as Isaac, another of the ancestors of Christ, cast out his elder brother Ishmael; thus was that frequent saying of Christ fulfilled, “ The last shall be first, and the first last.”.
II. The next thing I would observe, is God's so preserving David's life, by a series of wonderful providences, till Saul's death. I before took notice of the wonderful preservation of other particular persons that were the ancestors of Christ; as Noah, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; and have observed how, in that Christ the great Redeemer was to proceed from them, that in their preservation the work of redemption itself may be looked upon as preserved from being defeated, and the whole church, which is redeemed through him, from being overthrown. But the preservation of David was no less remarkable than that of any others that have been already taken notice of. How often was it so, that there was but a step between him and death. The first instance of it we have in his encountering a lion and a bear, when they had caught a lamb out of his flock, which, without miraculous assistance, could at once have rent this young stripling in pieces, as they could the lamb that he delivered from them; so afterwards the root and offspring of David was preserved from the roaring lion that goes about seeking whom he may devour, and conquered him, and rescued the poor souls of men, that were as lambs in the mouth of this lion. Another remarkable instance was, in preserving him from that mighty giant Goliath, who was strong enough to have taken him, and picked him to pieces with his fingers, and given his flesh to the beasts of the field, and to the fowls of the air, as he threatened him : but God preserved him from him, and gave
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him the victory over him, so that he cut off his head with his own sword, and made him therein the deliverer of his people; as Christ slew the spiritual Goliath with his own weapon, the cross, and so delivered his people. And how remarkably did God preserve him from being slain by Saul, when he first sought his life, by giving him his daughter to be a snare to him, that the hand of the Philistines might be upon him, requiring him to pay for her by a hundred foreskins of the Philistines, that so his life might be exposed to them; and in preserving him afterwards, when Saul spake to Jonathan, and to all his servants, to kill David; and in inclining Jonathan, instead of killing him, as his father bade him, to love him as his own soul, and to be a great instrument of his preservation, even so as to expose his own life to preserve David ; though one would have thought that none would have been more willing to have David killed than Jonathan, seeing that he was competitor with him for his father's crown; and again saving him, when Saul threw a javelin at him to smite him even to the wall; and again preserving him when he sent messengers to his house, to watch him, and to kill him, when Michal, Saul's daughter, let him down through a window; and when he afterwards sent messengers, once and again, to Naioth in Ramah, to take him, and they were remarkably prevented time after time, by being seized with miraculous impressions of the Spirit of God; and afterwards, when Saul, being resolute in the affair, went himself, he also was among the prophets. And after this, how wonderfully was David's life preserved at Gath among the Philistines, when he went to Achish the king of Gath, and was there in the hands of the Philistines, who, one would have thought, would have despatched him at once, he having so much provoked them by his exploits against them: and he was again wonderfully preserved at Keilah, when he had entered into a fenced town, where Saul thought he was sure of him. And how wonderfully was he preserved from Saul, when he pursued and hunted him in the mountains ! How remarkably did God deliver him in the wilderness of Maon, when Saul and his army were compassing David about! How was he delivered in the cave of Engedi, when, instead of Saul's killing David, God delivered Saul into his hands in the cave, and he cut off his skirt, and might as easily have cut off his head; and afterwards delivering him in like manner in the wilderness of Ziph; and afterwards again preserving him in the land of the Philistines, though David had fought against the Philistines, and conquered them at Keilah, since he was last among them; which, one would think, would have been sufficient warning to them not to trust him, or let him escape a second time, if ever they had him in their hands again ; but yet now, when they had a second opportunity, God wonderfully turned their hearts to him to befriend and protect him, instead of destroying him.
Thus was the precious seed that virtually contained the Redeemer and all the blessings of his redemption, wonderfully preserved, when hell and earth were conspired against it to destroy it. How often does David himself take notice of this with praise and admiration in the book of Psalms!
III. About this time, the written word of God, or the canon of Scripture, was added to by Samuel. I have before observed, how that the canon of the Scripture was begun, and the first written word of God, the first written rule of faith and manners that ever was, was given to the church about Moses's time: and many, and I know not but most divines, think it was added to" by Joshua, and that he wrote the last chapter of Deuteronomy, and most of the pook of Joshua. Others think that Joshua, Judges, Ruth, and part of the first book of Samuel, were written by Samuel. However that was, this we have good evidence of, that Samuel made an addition to the canon of Scripture; for Samuel is manifestly mentioned in the New Testament, as one of the prophets whose writings we have in the Scriptures, in that forementioned Acts. ii. 24: “ Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel, and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days." By that expression, " as many as have spoken," cannot be meant, as many as have spoken by word of mouth; for never was any prophet but what did that: but the meaning must be, as many as have spoken by writing, so that what they have spoken has come Jown to us, that we may see what it is.
And the way that Samuel spoke of these times of Christ and the gospel, was by giving the history of those things that typified them, and pointed to them, particularly the things concerning David that he wrote. The Spirit of God moved him to commit those things to writing, chiefly for that reason, because they pointed to Christ, and the times of the gospel ; and, as was said before, this was the main business of all that succession of prophets, that began in Samuel, to foreshow those times.
That Samuel added to the canon of the Scriptures, seems further to appear from 1 Chron. xxix. 29: “ Now the acts of David the king, first and last, behold, they are written in the book of Samuel the seer.”
Whether the book of Joshua was written by Samuel or not, yet it is the general opinion of divines, that the books of Judges, and Ruth, and part of the first book of Samuel, were penned by him. The book of Ruth was penned for that reason, because, though it seemed to treat of private affairs, yet the persons chiefly spoken of in that book were of the family whence David and Christ proceeded, and so pointed to what the apostle Peter observed of Samuel and the other prophets, in the 3d chapter of Acts. The thus adding to the canon of the Scriptures, the great and main instrument of the application of redemption, is to be looked upon as a further carrying on of that work, and an addition made to that great building.
IV. Another thing God did towards this work, at that time, was his inspiring David to show forth Christ and his redemption, in divine songs, which should be for the use of the church, in public worship, throughout all ages. David was himself endued with the spirit of prophecy. He is called a prophet, Acts. ii. 29, 30: “Let me freely speak to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day: therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath," &c. So that herein he was a type of Christ, that he was both a prophet and a king. We have no certain account of the time when David was first endued with the spirit of prophecy; but it is manifest that it either was at the time that Samuel anointed him, or very soon after; for he appears soon after acted by this spirit in the affair of Gabith : and then great part of the psalms were penned in the time of his troubles, before he came to the crown; as might be made manifest by an induction of particulars.
The oil that was used in anointing David was a type of the Spirit of God; and the type and the antitype were given. both together; as we are told, 1 Sam. xvi. 13: “ Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren ; and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward :” and it is probable, that it now came upon him in its propbetical influences.
The way that this Spirit influenced him was, to inspire him to show forth Christ, and the glorious things of his redemption, in divine songs, sweetly expressing the breathings of a pious soul, full of admiration of the glorious things