Imatges de pÓgina
PDF
EPUB

God, had been their redeemer, to bring them out of the house of bondage, was, as it were, their shepherd, by whom God led them through the Red Sea and wilderness, and was an intercessor for them with God, and was both a prophet and a king in the congregation ; for Moses had the power of a king among them.

It is said of him, Deut. xxxiii. 5, he was king in Jeshurun, and he was the prophet by whom God as it were built up his church, and delivered his instructions of worship. Thus Christ was to be a prophet like unto Moses ; so that this is both the plainest and fullest phophecy of Christ that ever had been from the beginning of the world to this time.

The next prophecy that I shall take notice of, respects only the calling of the Gentiles, which should be after Christ's coming, of which God gave a very plain prophecy by Moses in the wilderness, Deut. xxxii. 21. Here is a very plain proph. ecy of the rejection of the Jews, and calling the Gentiles. They moved God to jealousy, by that which was not a god, by casting him off, and taking other gods, that were no gods, in his room.

So God declares that he will move them to jealousy in the like manner, by casting them off, and taking other people, that had not been his people, in their room. The Apostle Paul takes notice of this prophecy, as foretelling the calling of the Gentiles, in Romans x. 19, 20. “ But I say, did not Israel know ? First, Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you. But Esaias is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not ; I was made manifest to them that asked not after me.”

Thus you see how the light of the gospel, which first began to dawn and glimmer immediately after the fall, gradualJy increases the nearer we come to Christ's time.

X. Another thing by which God carried on this work in this time, was a remarkable pouring out of his spirit on the young generation in the wilderness. The generation that was grown up when they came out of Egypt, from twenty years old and upward, was a very froward and perverse generation. They were tainted with the idolatry and wickedness of Egypt, and were not weaned from it, as the Prophet Ezekiel takes notice, Ezek. xx. 6, 7, 8. Hence they made the golden calf in imitation of the idolatry of Egypt, that was wont to worship a bull or an ox; and therefore cattle are called the abomination of the Egyptians, i.e. their idol. This generation God was exceeding angry with, and swore in his wrath, that they should not enter into his rest. But the younger generation were not so; the generation that were under twenty years old when they came out of Egypt, and those that were born in the wilderness, the generation spoken of, Numb. xiv. 31. “ But your little ones, whom ye said should be a prey, them will I bring in; and they shall know the land that ye have despised.” This was the generation with whom the covenant was renewed, as we have an account in Deuteronomy, and that entered into the land of Canaan.

This generation God was pleased to make a generation to his praise, and they were eminent for piety; as appears by many things said in scripture about them; as, particularly, Jer. ij. 2, 3. “ I remember thee, the kindness of thy youth, the love of thine espousals, when thou wentest after me in the wilderness, in & . land that was not sown. Israel was holiness to the Lord, and the first fruits of his increase.” Here the generation that went after God in the wilderness, is spoken of with very high commendations, as eminent for holiness : “ Israel was holiness to the Lord, and the first fruits of his increase.” And their love to God is spoken of as distinguished, like the love of a bride at her espousals. The going after God in the wilderness that is here spoken of, is not the going of the children of Israel out of Egypt into the wilderness of Sinai, but their fol. lowing God through that dreadful wilderness, that the congregation long wandered in, after they went back from Kadesh Barnea, which is spoken of Deut. viii. 15. “ Who led thee through the great and terrible wilderness, wherein were fiery serpents and scorpions, and drought, where there was no water." Though this generation had a much greater trial than the generation of their fathers had before they came to Kadesh Barnea, yet they never murmured against God in any wise, as their fathers had done : But their trials had a contrary effect upon them, to awaken them, convince, and humble

[ocr errors]

them, and fit them for great mercy. They were awakened by those awful judgments of God that he inflicted on their fathers, whereby their carcases fell in the wilderness. And God poured out his spirit with those awakening providences towards their fathers, and their own travel in the wilderness, and the word preached to them by Moses ; whereby they were greatly awakened, and made to see the badness of their own hearts, and were humbled, and at length multitudes of them savingly converted; as Deut. viii. 2, 3. “ And thou shalt remember the way which the Lord thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldst keep his commandments, or no. And he humbled thee,” &c. And, verse 15. “ Who led thee through that great and terrible wilderness. that he might humble thee, and that he might prove thee, to do thee good at thy latter end. And therefore it is said, Hos. xiii. 5. “ I did know thee in the wilderness, in the land of great drought.” God allured them, and brought them into that wilderness, and spake comfortably to them, as it was foretold that he would do afterwards, Hos. ii. 14.

Those terrible judgments that were executed in the congregation after their turning back from Kadesh Barnea, in the matter of Korah, and the matter of Peor, were chiefly on the old generation, whom God..consumed in the wilderness. Those rebellions were chiefly among the elders of the congregation, who were of the older generation that God had given up to their hearts’ lust ; and they walked in their own counsels, and God was grieved with their manners forty years in the wilderness.

But that this younger congregation were eminent for piety, appears by all their history. The former generation were wicked and were followed with curses ; but this was holy, and wonderful blessings followed them. God did great things for them; he fought for them, and gave them the possession of Canaan. And it is God's manner, when he hath very great mercies to bestow on a visible people, first, to fit them for them, and then to bestow them on them. So it was here : They believed in God, and by faith overcame Sihon and Og, and the giants of Canaan ; and are commended for cleaving to the Lord : Josh. xxiii. 8. “ Joshua says unto them, Cleave unto the Lord, as ye have done unto this day.” And so Israel did all the while that generation lived. But when Joshua and all that generation were dead, there arose another generation that knew not the Lord. This pious generation showed a laudable and fervent zeal for God on several occasions ; on occasion of Achan's sin ; but especially when they suspected the two tribes and a half had set up an altar in opposition to the altar of burnt offering. There never was any 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 în 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 es

[ocr errors]

tablishment 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 Canaań, 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 former inhabitants of it, and the mighty giants, as Christ conquered the devil ; first 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 Amorites under the five kings, causing the sụn 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 ; $0 that every thing should yield

.

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinua »