« AnteriorContinuar »
is deemed proper further to illustrate our views, by superadding a few more references. "And the Lord appeared to Solomon by night, and said unto him," &c. "If I shut up heaven that there be no rain," &c. and the people "shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways" he promised, "mine eyes shall be open, and mine ears attent unto the prayer that is made in this place."
One more remarkable display of this divine person in this place, above the common glory that attended the tabernacle of witness is recorded in Isaiah, 6th chapter, it happened a little before the divine presence left the temple, which was near the Babylonish captivity—it is as follows—" I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphims :" &c. And it is said in the 3d and 4th verses, " And one cried unto another, and said, holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory. And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke."
And again, Psalms 80, verse 1, which is a psalm of Asaph—" Give ear, 0 shepherd of Israel, thou that leadest Joseph like a flock; thou that dwellest between the cherubims, shine forth." The Lord is gone up to Zion—the Lord is great in Zion—the Lord dwelleth in Zion—and how beautiful are the gates in Zion—and how excellent is thy tabernacle—is the constant language of David.
We will now pause for a few moments, and consider if any thing can be collected from the aWe cited texts, in favour of the proper deity of 0l'r Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,
First—It is thought it will not be contended by any that the character which appeared to Abraham by the name of the Almighty God, and that appeared to Moses by the name of Jehovah, and by the name of, I am that I am, which came down upon Mount Sinai, and made his personal appearance to the whole nation of Israel, and to Isaiah in the temple, we say it is thought none can contend that this was a created being. 2dly, we have already endeavoured to shew the inconsistency of supposing this character to be the Father, if not the Father, it must be the Lord Jesus Christ.
Some great divines, have, however, supposed, that Stephen had reference to Moses, when he said, "this is he which was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in Mount Sinai, and with our fathers." Moses and Aaron were, it is true, the general spokesmen to the people—yet it is equally true that the Lord spake to the whole congregation. For instance, when the Lord came down on mount Sinai, Moses called unto the Lord, and the Lord answered him with a voice in the presence of the congregation. And again at the rebellion of Korah, JJathan, and Abiram, the Lord appeared in the tabernacle and the Lord spake, &c. And at each of these times the whole congregation were present; and, as St . Paul saith, God at sundry times \ spake to our fathers. This same apostle wished his Corinthian brethren not to be ignorant that all their fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; and did all eat the same spiritual meat; and all drank of that spiritual rock, that followed them, and that Rock was Christ. And .this great apostle saith, that Moses esteemed « the
reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt." St . Paul's testimony decides the point, that " this is h$ which was in the church in the wilderness." And we may safely add, this is he that abode in the cloudy pillar, and descended on mount Sinai, and afterwards abode in the tabernacle and in the temple. And well might Stephen say, " the fathers had the tabernacle of witness."
In this, and the glory that attended it from the presence of the Lord, four hundred years: the whole tribes of Israel coming to worship according to their appointed feasts, must have had as clear a view, and witness of the truths that Moses had delivered to them, as if they had all been eye witnesses of every fact which had transpired in all the journey of the Israelites from Egypt to Canaan—and even more confirmation. Had any of the children of Israel, dwellers in the land of Canaan, been eye-witnesses of the miracles wrought in the wilderness, it would not have been that real rational weight of evidence, it now was to them and the succeeding generations. The reasons are obvious—Moses did not finish the whole book till just before he left the world—and a doubt might arise whether there was not something in that book, either designedly or accidentally wrong—had it not have been, that he finished it just before his death, sprinkled it with Mood, and delivered it with solemn care, and charge, that nothing should be added to it, or diminished from it; and this, as well as the two tables of stone, were by command, to be kept as a memorial, and as a law, until Christ should come in the flesh, and as an entire book. The tabernacle gave commanding evidence of the truth it
contained. The Shechinah, or Divine glory of the Lord, for many hundreds of years gave witness of the truth of the facts—and the miracles of the lamps burning with celestial fire, and fire coming down from heaven to consume the sacrifices might be superadded as astonishing corroborative testimony. These witnesses, and their irresistible testimony continued until about the time that some of the ten tribes were scattered among the different nations of the earth, and the law was translated into other tongues.
In all this it is at once discovered, that the Jews had the most convincing, permanent and rational evidence of the origin and truth of their institutions. Doubting minds will ask how all this can amount to satisfactory evidence to us?
The only answer required is—that no testimony could be more satisfactory, than these standing miracles, continued for so many hundreds of years, before an entire people, composingthe oldest and most learned nation in the world, till the book, of which they testify, was translated into other tongues, and dispersed among other nations. It would not be venturing much to say, that it would be impossible the five books of Moses, could be forged, counterfeited, or materially altered, or in any sense untrue; and if so, it must be admitted that these five books, are substantial pillars of christian faith. It is apprehended that writers who have impiously called Moses the "old rogue," have not reflected upon the unbroken chain of miraculous testimony, with which the verity of the historical account of Moses stands confirmed. We have said, and not lightly that it is inconceivable, and not of much hazard in us, to say it is not possible for God to havesancti
fied the Mosaic books by such standing miracles, unless the facts contained in them, were substantially true.
Although we are abundantly satisfied that the evidence cited is sufficient to establish their validity and authority; it is thought it may be well, as the truth of the doctrine we are labouring, rests rery considerably on Mosaic support, to briefly remark, that there is much, subsequent and rational testimony for us. The nation of the Jews, and their lost tribes, and dispersion amongst all nations, remains a monument, a living and continued witness, not only of the truths contained in the writings of Moses, but likewise of the truths contained in the books of the Jewish prophets; for except the ten tribes they remain as foretold, a distinct people unto this day; witnessing to all people of the truths of the threatenings of God against that people, contained in the last book of Moses, and in the books of the prophets; which threatenings were on condition of their disobedience.
If the premises and facts above stated, can be relied upon, we have a true history of the creation of the world, and all things contained in it, and that God created man in his own image, and placed him in the garden, eastward in Eden, and all things that transpired at that period respecting man are correctly handed down to us. And in that spot, and at that period, we have one of the first and most substantial promises of a savior, to bruise the serpent's head.