Imatges de pÓgina


what has been said, we may see that God hath wisely given us such revelations in the Old Testament as we needed. Let us briefly take a view of the several parts of it, and of the need there was of them.

Thus it was necessary that we should have some account of the creation of the world, and of our first parents, and their primitive state, and of the fall, and a brief account of the old world, and of the degeneracy of it, and of the universal deluge, and some account of the origin of nations after this destruction of mankind.

It seems necessary that there should be some account of the succession of the church of God from the beginning : And seeing God suffered all the world to degenerate, and only took one nation to be his people, to preserve the true worship and religion till the Saviour of the world should come, that in them the world might gradually be prepared for that great light, and those wonderful things, that he was to be the author of, and that they might be a typical nation, and that in them God might shadow forth and teach, as under a veil, all future glorious things of the gospel; it was therefore necessary that we should have some account of this thing, how it was first done by the calling of Abraham, and by their being bond slaves in Egypt, and how they were brought to Canaan. It was necessary that we should have some account of the revelation which God made of himself to that people, in giving their law, and in the appointment of their typical worship, and those things wherein the gospel is veiled, and of the forming of that people, both as to their civil and ecclesiastical state.

It seems exceeding necessary that we should have some account of their being actually brought to Canaan, the country that was their promised land, and where they always dwelt. It seems very necessary that we should have an history of the successions of the church of Israel, and of those providences of God towards them, which were most considerable and fullest of gospel mystery. It seems necessary that we should have some account of the highest proinised external glory of that nation under David and Solomon, and that we should have a very particular account of David, whose history is so full of

the gospel, and so necessary in order to introduce the gospel into the world, and in whom began the race of their kings; and that we should have some account of the building of the temple, which was also so full of gospel mystery.

And it is a matter of great consequence, that we should have some account of Israel's dividing from Judah, and of the ten tribes' captivity and utter rejection, and a brief account why, and therefore a brief history of them till that time.

It is necessary that we should have an account of the succession of the kings of Judah, and of the church, till their captivity into Babylon ; and that we should have some account of their return from their captivity, and resettlement in their own land, and of the origin of the last state that the church was in before Christ came.

A little consideration will convince every one, that all these things were necessary, and that none of them could be spared; and in the general, that it was necessary that we should have an history of God's church till such times as are within the reach of human histories ; and it was of vast importance that we should have an inspired history of those times of the Jewish church, wherein there was kept up a more extraordinary intercourse between God and them, and while he used to dwell among them as it were visibly, revealing himself by the Shechina, by Urim and Thummim, and by prophecy, and so more immediately to order their affairs. And it was necessary that we should have some account of the great dispensations of God in prophecy, which were to be after the finishing of inspired history ; and so it was exceeding suitable and needful that there should be a number of prophets raised up who should foretel the coming of the Son of God, and the nature and glory of his kingdom, to be as so many harbingers to make way for him, and that their prophecies should remain in the church.

It was also a matter of great consequence that the church should have a book of divine songs given by inspiration from God, wherein there should be a lively representation of the true spirit of devotion, of faith, hope, and divine love, joy, resignation, humility, obedience, repentance, &c.; and also


that we should have from God such books of moral instructions as we have in Proverbs and Ecclesiastes, relating to the affairs and state of mankind, and the concerns of human life, containing rules of true wisdom and prudence for our conduct in all circumstances; and that we should have particularly a song representing the great love between Christ and his spouse the church, particularly adapted to the disposition and holy affections of a true Christian soul towards Christ, and representing his grace and marvellous love to, and delight in his people ; as we have in Solomon's Song; and especial. ly that we should have a book to teach us how to conduct ourselves under afßiction, seeing the church of God here is in a militant state, and God's people do, through much tribulation, enter into the kingdom of heaven ; and the church is for so long a time under trouble, and meets with such exceedingly fiery trials, and extreme sufferings, before her time of peace and rest in the latter ages of the world shall come : Therefore God has given us a book most proper in these circumstances, even the book of Job, written upon occasion of the afflictions of a particular saint, and was probably at first given to the church in Egypt under her afflictions there; and is made use of by the Apostle to comfort Christians under persecutions, James v. 11. “ Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord ; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.” God was also pleased, in this book of Job, to give some view of the ancient divinity, before the giving of the law. Thus from this brief review, I think it

every part of the scriptures of the Old Testament is very useful and necessary, and no part of it can be spared, without loss to the church. And therefore, as I said, the wisdom of God is conspicuous in ordering that the scriptures of the Old Testament should consist of those very books of which they do consist.

Before I dismiss this particular, I would add, that it is very observable, that the history of the Old Testament is large and particular, where the great affair of redemption required it ; as where there was most done towards this work, and most to


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typify Christ, and to prepare the way for him. Thus it is very large and particular in the history of Abraham and the other patriarchs ; but very short in the account we have of the time which the children of Israel spent in Egypt. So again it is large in the account of the redemption out of Egypt, and the first settling of the affairs of the Jewish church and nation in Moses and Joshua's time ; but much shorter in the account of the times of the judges. So again, it is large and particular in the account of David's and Solomon's times, and then very short in the history of the ensuing reigns. Thus the accounts are large or short, just as there is more or less of the affair of redemption to be seen in them.

V. From what has been said, we may see, that Christ and his redemption are the great subject of the whole Bible. Concerning the New Testament, the matter is plain ; and by what has been said on this subject hitherto, it appears to be so also with respect to the Old Testament. Christ and his redemption is the great subject of the prophecies of the Old Testament, as has been shown. It has also been shown, that he is the great subject of the songs of the Old Testament, and the moral rules and precepts are all given in subordination to him. 'And Christ and his redemption are also the great subject of the history of the Old Testament, from the beginning all along ; and even the history of the creation is brought in, as an introduction to the history of redemption that immediately follows it. The whole book, both Old Testament and New, is filled up with the gospel ; only with this difference; that the Old Testament contains the gospel under a veil, but the New contains it unveiled, so that we may see the glory of the Lord with open face.

VI. By what has been said, we may see the usefulness and excellency of the Old Testament. Some are ready to look on the Old Testament as being as it were out of date, and as if we, in these days of the gospel, have but little to do with it ; which is a very great mistake, arising from want of observing the nature and design of the Old Testament, which, if it were observed, would appear full of the gospel of Christ, arıd would in an excellent manner illustrate and confirm the glorious"

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doctrines and promises of the New Testament. Those parts of the Old Testament which are commonly looked upon as containing the least divine instruction, are as it were mines and treasures of gospel knowledge ; and the reason why they are thought to contain so little, is, because persons do but superficially read them. The treasures which are hid underneath are not observed. They only look on the top of the ground, and so suddenly pass a judgment that there is nothing there. But they never dig into the mine : If they did, they would find it richly stored with silver and gold, and would be abundantly requited for their pains.

What has been said, may show us what a precious treasure God has committed into our hands, in that he has given us the Bible. How little do most persons consider, how much they enjoy, in that they have the possession of that holy book the Bible, which they have in their hands, and may converse with it as they please. What an excellent book is this, and how far exceeding all human writings, that reveals God to us, and gives us a view of the grand design and glorious scheme of Providence from the beginning of the world, either in history or prophecy ; that reveals the great Redeemer and his glorious redemption, and the various steps by which God accomplishes it from the first foundation to the topstone! Shall we prize an history which gives us a clear account of some great earthly prince, or mighty warrior, as of Alexander the Great, or Julius Cesar, or the Duke of Marlborough ? And shall we not prize the history that God gives us of the glorious kingdom of his Son Jesus Christ, the Prince and Saviour, and of the wars and other great transactions of that King of kings, and Lord of armies, the Lord mighty in battle? The history of the things which he has wrought for the redemption of his chosen people ?

VII. What has been said, may make us sensible how much most persons are to blame for their inattentive, unobservant way of reading the scriptures. How much do the scriptures contain, if it were but observed ? The Bible is the most comprehensive book in the world. But what will all this signify to us, if we read it without observing what is the drift of the


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