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ducted them in the whole affair. The people seem to have been miraculously animated and encouraged in the matter, when they willingly offered themselves, and gathered together to the battle; they jeoparded their lives in the high places of the field, without being pressed or hired; when one would have thought they should have but little courage for such an undertaking; for what could a number of poor, weak, defenceless slaves do, without a shield or spear to be seen among forty thousand of them, to go against a great prince, with his mighty host, and nine hundred chariots of iron? And the success did wonderfully show the hand of God; which makes Deborah exultingly to say, . v. 21, “O my soul, thou hast trodden downstrength!” Christ with his heavenly host was engaged in that battle; and therefore it is said, ver. 20, “They fought from heaven, the stars in their courses fought against Sisera.” The work of God therefore in this victory and deliverance that Christ and his host wrought for Israel, was a type of that victory and deliverance which he will accomplish for his church in that great battle, that last conflict that the church shall have with her open enemies, that shall introduce the church's latter day glory; as appears by Rev. xvi. 16 (speaking of that great battle): “And he gathered them together into a place, called in the Hebrew tongue, Armageddon,” i.e., the mountain of Megiddo; alluding, as is supposed by expositors, to the place where the battle was fought with the host of Sisera, Judg. v. 19: “The kings came and fought, the kings of Canaan, in Taanach by the waters of Megiddo.” Which can signify nothing else, than that this battle, which Christ and his church shall have with their enemies, is the antitype of the battle that was fessing people Israel bring upon themselves, by lying still at that time,
o of the Lord, to the help of the Lord against the mighty. The angel of e Lord was the captain of the host; he that had led Israel, and fought for them in that battle, who is very often called the angel of the Lordin Scripture; the same that appeared to Joshua with a sword drawn in his hand, and told him that he was come as the captain of the host of the Lord ; and the same glorious captain that we have an account of, as leading forth his hosts to that battle, of which this was the type, Rev. xix. 11, &c. Tt seems the inhabitants of Meroz were unbelieving concerning this great work, nor would they hearken to Deborah's pretences, nor did it enter into them that such a poor defenceless company, should ever prevail against those that were so mighty; they did not acknowledge the hand of God, and therefore stood at a distance, and did nothing to !. the work: but what a bitter curse from God did they bring upon themselves by it! It is very probable that one great reason why the inhabitants of Meroz were so unbelieving concerning this work, was .#####". di - not like the beginning of it, it being a woman that first led the way, the chief conduct in the affair; nor could they believe that such despicable i struments, as a company of unarmed slaves, were ever like to effect so great thing; and pride and unbelief wrought together, in not bei illing to
o that was obtained by Gideon over the Midianites and Amalekites, and the children of the east, when they came up against Israel like grasshoppers, a mul
titude that could not be numbered. This also *::::::::::::: victory of Christ and his church over his enemies, y the pouring out of the Spirit with the preached gospel, as is evident by the manner of it, which Gideon was immediately directed to of God; which was not by human sword or bow, but only by blowing of trumpets, and by lights in earthen vessels. We read that on this occasion, Gideon called the people together to help in this great affair; and that accordingly, great numbers resorted to him, and came to the help of the Lord, Judg. vii. 23, 24. But there were some also at that time, that were unbelieving, and would not acknowledge the hand of God in that work, though it was so great and wonderful, nor would they join to promote it ; and they were the inhabitants of Succoth and Penuel : Gideon desired their help, when he was pursuing after Zebah and Zalmunna; but they despised his pretences, and his confidence of the Lord's being on his side, to deliver those. two great princes into the hands of such a despicable company, as he and his " three hundred men, and would not own the work of God, nor afford Gideon any. ; assistance: God proceeded in this work in a way that was exceeding cross to their pride. And they also refused to own the work, because they argued as priori; they could not believe that God would do such great things by such a despicable instrument; one of such a poor mean family in Manasseh, and he the least in his father's house; and the company that was with him appeared very wretched, being but three hundred men, and they weak and faint: but we see how they suffered for their folly, in not acknowledging, and appearing to promote this work of God. Gideon, when he returned from the victory, took then, and taught them with the briers and thorns of the wilderness, and beat down the tower of Pemuel (he brought down their pride, and their false confidence), and slew the men of the city, Judg. chap. 8. This, in all probability Gideon did, as moved and directed by the angel of the Lord, that is Christ, that first called him, and sent him forth in this battle, and instructed and directed him, in the whole affair. The return of the ark of God to dwell in Zion, in the midst of the land of Israel, after it had been long absent, first in the land of the Philistines, and then in Kirjathjearim, in the utmost borders of the land, did livelily represent the return of God to a professing people, in the spiritual tokens of his presence, after long absence from them; as well as the ark's ascending up into a mountain, typified Christ's ascension into heaven. It is evident by the Psalms that were penned on that occasion, especially the 68th Psalm, that the exceeding rejoicings of Israel on that occasion, represented the joy of the church of Christ, on his returning to it, after it has been in a low and dark state, to revive his work, bringing his people back, as it were from Bashan, and from the depth of the sea, scattering their spiritual enemies, and causing that though they had lain among the pots, yet they should be as the wings of a dove, covered with silver, and her feathers with yellow gold; and giving the blessed tokens of his presence in his house, that his people may see the goings of God the king in his sanctuary; and that the gifts which David, with such royal bounty, distributed amongst the people on that occasion (2 Sam. vi. 18, 19, and 1 Chron. xvi. 2, 3), represent spiritual blessings, that Christ liberally sends down on his church, by the outpourings of his Spirit. See Psal. lxviii. 1, 3, 13, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24. And we have an account how that all the people, from Shihor of • Egypt, even unto the entering in of Hamath, gathered together, and appeared to join and assist in that great affair; and that all Israel brought up the ark of the covenant of the Lord, with shouting, and with sound of the cornet, and with trumpets, and with cymbals, making a noise with psalteries and harps, 1 Chron. xiii. 2, 5, and xv. 28. And not only the men, but the women of Israel, the Vol. III. 41
daughters of Zion, appeared as publicly joining in the praises and rejoicings that were on that occasion, 2 Sam. vi. 19. But we read of one of David's wives, even Michal, Saul's daughter, whose heart was not engaged in the affair, and did not appear with others to rejoice and praise God on this occasion, but kept away, and stood at a distance, as disaffected, and disliking the managements; she despised and ridiculed the transports, and extraordinary manifestations of joy that then were; and the curse that she brought upon herself by it, was that, of being barren to the o of her o: Let this be a warning to us: let us take heed, in this day of the bringing up of the ark of God, Thäf While we are
In visiblil 1On es lla avitt, w
- tes to be indeed one cmiuren - - a. |-0 y alool, and not Joining in Jo ay, and dising an e Joys and allections o § people, because they are
to so high a degree, and so bring the curse of perpetual barrenness upond - eed that we be not like the son of the bond woman, that was born after the flesh, that persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, and | mocked at the feasting and rejoicings that were made for Isaac when he was |weaned; lest we should be cast out of the family of Abraham, as he was, Gen. | xxi. 8, 9. That affair contained spiritual mysteries, and was typical of things || that come to pass in these days of the gospel; as is evident by the apostle's testimony, Gal. iv. 23, to the end. And particularly it seems to have been typical of two things. 1. The weaning of the church from its milk of carnal ordimances, ceremonies, shadows, and beggarly elements, upon the coming of Christ, and the pouring out of the Spirit in the days of the apostles. The church of Christ, in the times of the Old Testament, was in its minority, and was a babe; and the apostle tells us that babes must be fed with milk, and not with strong meat; but when God weaned his church from these carnal ordinances, on the ceasing of the legal dispensation, a glorious gospel feast was provided for souls, and God fed his people with spiri o n the Snir and gave them joy in the Holy-8hòSt. Ishmael, in mocking at the time of Isaac's feast, by the apostle's testimony, represented the carnal Jews, the children of the literal Jerusalem, who, when they beheld the rejoicings of Christians, in their spiritual and evangelical privileges, were filled with envy, deriding, con- || tradicting and blaspheming, Acts i. 13, and chap. xiii. 45, and xviii. 6. And therefore were castout of the family of Abraham, and out of the land of Canaan, to wander through the earth. 2. This weaning of Isaac seems also to represent the conversion of sinners, which is several times represented in Scripture by the weaning of a child; as in Psal. cxxxi., and Isa. xxviii. 9. Because inconversion, the soul o: areasit were the breast of our mother earth ; weaned iro covenant of our first parents, which we as naturally hang upon, as a child on its mother's breasts: and the great feast that Abraham made on that occasion, represents the spiritual feast, the heavenly privileges, and holy joys and comforts, which God gives souls at their conversion. Now is the time when God is in a remarkable manner bestowing the blessings of such a feast. Let every one take heed that he does not now show himself to be the son of the bond woman, and born after the flesh, by standing and deriding, with mocking Ishmael; lest they be cast out as he was, and it be said concerning them, these sons of the bond woman, shall not be heirs with the sons of the free woman. Do not let us stumble at the things that have been, because they are so great and extraordinary; for if we have run with the footmen, and they have wearied us, how shall we contend with horses? There
is doubtless a time coming when God will accomplish things vastly greater and more extraordinary than these. And that we may be warned not to continue doubting and unbelieving, concerning this work, because of the extraordinary degree of it, and the suddenness and swiftness of the accomplishment of the great things that pertain to it, let us consider the example of the unbelieving lord in Samaria; who could not believe so extraordinary a work of God to be accomplished so suddenly as was declared to him : the prophet Elisha foretold that the great famine in Samaria should very suddenly, even in one day, be turned into an extraordinary plenty; but the work was too great, and too sudden for him to believe; says he, If the Lord should make windows in heaven, might this thing be? And the curse that he brought upon himself by it, was that he saw it with his eyes, and did not eat thereof, but miserably perished, and was trodden down as the mire of the streets, when others were feasting and rejoicing, 2 Kings, chap. 7.
When God redeemed his P. and they rebuilt Jerusalem, it was, as is universally ÖWhéd, ****.*. itual redemption of God's church; and particularly, was an eminent type of the great deliverance of The Christian church from spiritual Babylon, and their rebuilding the spiritual Jerusalem, in the latter days; and therefore they are often spoken of under one by the prophets: and this probably was the main reason that it was so ordered in Providence, and particularly noted in Scripture, that the children of Israel, on that occasion, kept the greatest feast of tabernacles, that ever had been kept in Israel, since the days of Joshua, when the people were first settled in Canaan (Neh. viii. 16, 17); because at that time happened that restoration of Israel, that had the greatest resemblance of that great restoration of the church of God, of which the feast of tabernacles was the type, of any that had been since Joshua first brought the people out of the wilderness, and settled them in the good land. But we read of some that opposed the Jews in that affair, and weakened their hands, and ridiculed God's people, and the instruments that were improved in that work, and despised their hope, and made as though their confidence was little more than a shadow, and would utterly fail them. What do these feeble Jews? say they: Will they fortify themselves? Will they sacrifice? Will they make an end in a day ? Will they revive the stones out of the heaps of the rubbish which are burned? Even that which they build, if a for go up, he shall even break down their stone wall. Let not us be in any measure like them, lest it be said to us, as Nehemiah said to them, Neh. ii. 20, “We his servants will arise and build; but you have no portion, nor right, nor memorial in Jerusalem.” And lest we bring Nehemiah's imprecation upon us, chap. iv. 5, “Cover not their iniquity, and let not their sin be blotted out from before thee; for they have provoked thee to anger, before the builders.” As persons will greatly expose themselves to the curse of God, by opposing or standing at a distance, and keeping silence at such a time as this; so for. persons to arise, and readily to acknowledge God, and honor him in such a work, and cheerfully and vigorously to exert themselves to promote it, will be to put themselves much in the way of the divine .# What a mark of honor does God put upon those in Israel, that willingly offered themselves, and came to the help of the Lord against the mighty, when the angel of the Lord led forth his armies, and they fought from heaven against Sisera ! Judg. v. 2, 9, 14, 15, 17, 18. And what a great blessing is pronounced on Jael, the wife of THeber the Kenite, for her appearing on the Lord's side, and for what she did to promote this work, ver, 24, which was no less than the curse pronounced in the preceding verse, against Meroz, for lying still: Blessed above women shall Jael
the wife of Heber the Kenite be, blessed shall she be above women in the tent. And what a blessing is pronounced on those which shall have any hand in the destruction of oi. which was the head city of the kingdom of Satan, and of the enemies of the church of God! Psal. cxxxvii. 9, “Happy shall he be, that taketh, and dasheth thy little ones against the stones.” What a particular and honorable notice is taken, in the records of God's word, of those that arose, and appeared as David's helpers, to introduce him into the kingdom of Israel, in the xiith chapter of 1 Chron. The host of those that thus came to the help of the Lord, in that work of his, and glorious revolution in Israel, by which the kingdom of that great type of the Messiah was set up in Israel, is compared to the host of God, ver, 22: “At that time, day by day, there came to David, to help him, until it was a great host, like the host of God.” And doubtless it was intended to be a type of that host of God, that shall appear with the spiritual David, as his helpers, when he shall come to set up his kingdom in the world; the same host that we read of, Rev. xix. 14. -The Spirit of God then pronounced a special blessing on David's helpers, as those that were co-workers with God: ver. 18, “Then the Spirit came upon Amasai, who was chief of the captains, and he said, Thine are we, David, and on thy side, thou son of Jesse; peace, peace be unto thee, and peace be to thine helpers, for thy God helpeth thee.” So we may conclude that God will much more give his blessing to such as come to the help of the Lord, when he sets his own dear Son as king on his holy hill of Zion; and they shall be received by Christ, and he will put peculiar honor upon them, as David did on those his helpers; as we have an account, in the following words, ver, 18: “Then David received them, and made them captains of the band.” It is particularly noted of those that came to David to Hebron, ready armed to the war, to turn the kingdom of Saul to him, according to the word of the Lord, that “they were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do,” ver, 23 and 32. Herein they differed from the Pharisees and other Jews, that did not come to the help of the Lord, at the time that the great Son of David appeared to set up his o in the world, whom Christ condemns, that they had not understanding of those times, Luke vii. 56, “Ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the o and of the earth; but how is it, that ye do not discern these times * So it always will be, when Christ remarkably appears on earth, on a design of setting up his kingdom here, there will be many that will not understand the times, nor what Israel ought to do, and so will not come to turn about the kingdom to David.
The favorable notice that God will take of such as appear to promote the work of God, at such a time as this, may also be argued from such a very particular notice being taken in the sacred records, of those that helped in rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem, upon the return from the Babylonish captivity, Nehem. chap iii
At such a time as this, when God is o his king on his holy hill of Zion,
V or establishing his dominion, or showing forth his regal glory from thence, he
expects that his visible people, without exception, should openly appear to acknowledge him in such a work, and bow before him, and join with him. But cspecially does he expect this of civil rulers: God's eye is especially upon them, to see how they behave themselves on such an occasion. If a new king comes to the throne, when he comes from abroad, and enters into his kingdom, and makes his solemn entry into the royal city, it is expected that all sorts should acknowledge him; but above all others is it expected that the greatmen, and public officers of the nation should then make their appearance, and attend on their sovereign, with suitable congratulations, and manifestations of respect