Imatges de pÓgina
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to the purposes of that work, and give place to the welfare of God's redeemed people.

Thus did Christ show his great love to his elect, that he would make the course of nature, in the frame of the world, that he had made, and that he governed, to give place to their happiness and prosperity; and showed that the sun and moon, and all things, visible and invisible, were theirs by his purchase. At the same time, Christ fought as the captain of their host, and cast down great hailstones upon their enemies, by which more were slain than by the sword of the children of Israel. And after this Christ gave the people a mighty victory over a yet greater army in the northern part of the land, that were gathered together at the waters of Merom as the sand of the sea shore, as it is said Josh. xi. 4.

Thus- God gave the people whence Christ was to proceed, the land where he was to be born, and live, and preach, and work miracles, and die, and rise again, and whence he was to ascend into heaven, as the land which was a great type of heaven ; which is another thing whereby a great advance was made in the affair of redemption.

XII. Another thing that God did towards carrying on this affair, was his actually setting up his stated worship among the people, as it had been before instituted in the wilderness. This worship was appointed at Mount Sinai, wholly in subserviency to this great affair of redemption. It was to make way for the coming ofChrist; and the innumerable ceremonial observances of it were typical of him and his redemption. This worship was chiefly instituted at Mount Sinai; but it was gradually set up in practice. It was partly set up in the wilderness, where the tabernacle and its vessels were made ; but there were many parts of their instituted worship that could not be observed in the wilderness, by reason of their unsettled, itinerant state there : And then there were many precepts that respect the land of Canaan, and their cities and places of habitation there ; which therefore could not be put in practice, till they came into that land. But now, when this was brought to pass, God set up his tabernacle in the midst of his people, as he had before promised them, Lev. xxvi. 11. “ I will set my tabernacle amongst you.” The tabernacle was set up at Shiloh, Josh. xviii. 1. and the priests and Levites had their offices appointed them, and the cities of refuge were appointed; and now the people were in a condition to observe their feasts of the first fruits, and their feasts of ingathering, and to bring all their tithes and appointed offerings to the Lord ; and most parts of God's worship were set up, though there were some things that were not observed till afterwards.

XIII. The next thing I would take notice of, was God's wonderfully preserving that people, from this time forward, when all the males went up, three times in the year, to the place where God's ark was. The people of Israel were generally surrounded with enemies, that sought all opportunities to destroy them, and dispossess them of their land ; and till David's time there were great numbers in the land of the remains of the Canaanites, and the other former inhabitants of the land, that were bitter enemies to the people of Israel : And these had from year to year, three times in the

year, a fair opportunity of overrunning their country, and getting possession of their cities, when all the males were gone, and only the women, and those who were not able to go up, were left bchind. And yet they were remarkably preserved throughout all generations at such seasons, agreeably to the promise that God had made, Exod. xxxiv. 24. “ Neither shall any man desire thy land, when thou shalt go up to appear before the Lord thy God thrice in the year.” So wonderfully did God order affairs, and influence the hearts of their enemies, that though they were so full of enmity against Israel, and desired to dispossess them of their land, and had so fair an opportunity so often in their hands, that the whole country was left naked and empty of all that could resist them, and it would have been only for them to have gone and taken possession, and they could have had it without opposition, and they were so eager to take other opportunities against them; yet we never read, in all their history, of any of their eneinies taking these opportunities against them; which could be no less than a continual miracle, that God, for the preservation of his church, kept up for so many generations, even throughout the


ages of the Old Testament. It was surely a wonderful dispensation of divine providence to maintain and promote God's great design of redemption.

XIV. God's preserving his church and the true religion from being wholly extinct in the frequent apostasies of the Israelites in the time of the judges. How prone was that people to forsake the true God, that had done such wonderful things for them, and to fall into idolatry! And how did the land, from time to time, seem to be almost overrun with idolatry! But yet God never suffered his true worship to be totally rooted out: His tabernacle stood, the ark was preserved, the book of the law was kept from being destroyed, God's priesthood was upheld, and God still had a church among the people ; and time after time, when religion seemed to be almost gone, and it was come to the last extremity, then God granted a revival, and sent some angel or prophet, or raised up some eminent person, to be an instrument of their refore mation.

XV. God's preserving that nation from being destroyed, and delivering them from time to time, although they were so often subdued and brought under the dominion of their enemies. It is a wonder, not only that the true religion was not wholly rooted out, and so the church destroyed that way; but also that the very nation in which that church was, was not utterly destroyed; they were so often brought under the power of their enemies. One while they were subdued by Chushanrishathaim king of Mesopotamia, another while they were brought under the Moabites ; and then they were sold into the hand of Jabin king of Canaan ; and then they were under the dominion of the Midianites ; and then were sorely distressed by the children of Ammon; and then by the Philistines. But yet God, in all these dangers, preserved them, and kept them from being wholly overthrown: And from time to time, when it was come to extremity, and God saw that they were upon

brink of ruin, then God raised up a deliverer, agreeably to Deut. xxxii. 36. “ For the Lord shall judge his people, and repent himself for his servants ; when he seeth their power is gone, and there is none shut up or left."

the very

Those remarkable dispensations of Providence are very lively and elegantly set forth by the Psalmist, Psal. cvi. 34, &c.

These deliverers that God raised up from time to time were all types of Christ, the great redeemer and deliverer of his church; and some of them very remarkably so; as, particularly, Barak, Jephthah, Gideon, and Samson, in very many particulars; and above all in the acts of Samson, as might be shown, were it not that this would take up too much time.

XVI. It is observable, that when Christ appeared to manage the affairs of his church in this period, he often appeared in the form of that nature that he took upon him in his incarnation. So he seems to have appeared to Moses from time to time, and particularly at that time when God spake to him face to face, as a man speaketh to his friend, and he beheld the similitude of the Lord (Numb. xii. 8.) after he had besought him to show him his glory; which was the most remarkable vision that ever he had of Christ. There was a twofold discovery that Moses had of Christ : One was spiritual, made to his mind by the word that was proclaimed, when he proclaimed his name, saying, “ The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty ; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the childrens' children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.” Exod. xxxiv. 6. &c. Another was external; which was that which Moses saw, when Christ

; passed by, and put him in a cleft of the rock, and covered him with his hand, so that Moses. saw his back parts. What he saw was doubtless the back parts of a glorious human form, in which Christ appeared to him, and in all likelihood the form of his glorified human nature, in which he should afterwards appear. He saw not his face ; for it is not to be supposed that any man could subsist under a sight of the glory of Christ's human nature as it now appears.


So it was an human form in which Christ appeared to the seventy elders, of which we have an account, Exod. xxiv. 9, 10, 11. “ Then went up Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the Elders of Israel : And they saw the God of Israel : And there was under his feet, as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness. And upon the nobles of the children of Israel hc laid not his hand : Also they saw God, and did eat and drink.", So Christ appeared afterwards to Joshua in the form of the human nature, Josh. v. 13, 14. “ And it came to pass when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand ; and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries? And he said, Nay, but as captain of the host of the Lord am I now come.” And so he appeared to Gideon, Judg. vi. 11, &c. and so also to Mangah, Judg. xiii. 17....21. Here Christ appeared to Manoah in a representation both of his incarnation, and death ; of his incarnation, in that he appeared in a human form ; and of his death and sufferings, represented by the sacrifice of a kid, and by his ascending up in the flame of the sacrifice ; intimating, that it was he that was the great sacrifice, that must be offered up to God for a sweet savor, in the fire of his wrath, as that kid was burned and ascended up in the flame. Christ thus appeared time after time, in the form of that nature he was afterwards to take upon him ; because he now appeared on the same design, and to carry on the same work, that he was to appear in that nature to work out and carry on.

XVII. Another thing I would mention, done in this period towards the work of redemption, is the beginning of a succession of prophets, and erecting a school of the prophets, in Samuel's time. There was something of this spirit of prophecy in Israel after Moses, before Samuel. Joshua, and many of the judges had a degree of it. Deborah was a prophetess ; and some of the high priests were inspire ed with this spirit ; particularly Eli : And that space of time was not wholly without instances of those that were set apart

of God especially to this office, and so were called

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