Imatges de pÓgina


"14. And Jesus answered and said to it, No man eat fruit of "thee hereafter for ever. And his disciples heard it.-20. "And on the (next) morning, as they passed by, they saw the "fig-tree dried up from the roots. 21. And Peter calling to "remembrance, saith unto him, Master, behold the fig-tree "which thou cursedst is withered away." Peter called his Master's declaration, in consequence of which the fig-tree was destroyed, a curse, agreeably to the phraseology of the Hebrews, who considered land absolutely sterile as cursed. Heb. vi. 8.By the typical action of destroying the barren fig-tree, our Lord intimated to his disciples, the destruction which was coming on the Jewish nation on account of their wickedness.-John xiii. 4. Jesus" riseth from supper and laid aside his garments, and "took a towel and girded himself. 5. After that he poureth "water in a bason, and began to wash the disciples feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.—12. So "after he had washed their feet and had taken his garments " and was set down again, he said to them, know ye what I have "done to you?-14. If I your Lord and Master have washed 66 your feet, ye also ought to wash one another's feet." Ye ought to do the meanest offices to each other, when they are necessary for promoting each other's happiness.-Luke ix. 5. "Whosoever will not receive you, when ye go out of that city, "shake off the very dust from your feet for a testimony against "them."-Matth. xix. 13. "Then there were brought unto "him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and "pray.-5. And he laid his hands on them."-1 Tim. iv. 14. "Neglect not the spiritual gift which is in thee, which was "given thee according to prophecy, together with the imposition "of the hands of the eldership."-Matth. xx. 34. "Jesus had "compassion on them and touched their eyes; and immediately "their eyes received sight.”—John ix. 6. "He spat on the ❝ground and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes "of the blind man with the clay. 7. And said to him, go wash "in the pool of Siloam."

These examples shew that our Lord's taking Peter's wife's mother, who was sick of a fever, and Iairus's daughter, who was dead, by the hand; and his touching the eyes of the two blind men mentioned, Matth. ix. 2. with other things of the like nature, were merely significant actions, by which he intimated to the persons themselves, and to those who were present, that he was going to work a miracle in their behalf. So also, before

he said to his apostles, John xx. 22. Receive ye the Holy Ghost, He breathed on them, to intimate that by the invisible operation of his power he would confer on them the gifts of inspiration and miracles.

Another remarkable instance of enforcing information by a significant action, we have, Acts xxi. 11. Agabus " took Paul's "girdle, and bound his own hands and feet, and said, Thus saith "the Holy Ghost, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man "that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands "of the Gentiles."

Lastly, it is well known that baptism and the Lord's supper were instituted by Christ, and appointed to be continued in the church, for the purpose of setting before the people by significant action, some of the greatest articles of their faith.

Since then it was common in the eastern countries to give instruction by symbolical actions, as well as by words, the many extraordinary things done by the Jewish prophets, for discovering to the Israelites God's purposes concerning themselves, and concerning the neighbouring nations, cannot be matter either of astonishment or of offence to us. They were all of them done at the commandment of God, and agreeably to the manners of the times; and were admirably adapted to convey, in the strongest and most forcible manner, the information intended.

Thus, Isaiah was commanded by God to walk three years not only barefoot but naked, that is, without his upper garment; namely, the hairy mantle commonly worn by the prophets, Zechar. xiii. 4. And this he was to do as a sign, and a wonder upon Egypt and Ethiopia, Isa. xx. 2, 3. that is, as it is explained ver. 4. to shew by action, that the king of Assyria would lead away the Egyptians prisoners, and the Ethiopians captives young and old, naked and barefoot, even with their buttocks uncovered, to the shame of Egypt.-B. Lowth, in his note on Isa. xx. 3. thinks it probable that Isaiah was ordered to walk naked and barefoot three days, to shew that within three years, after the defeat of the Cushites and Egyptians by the king of Assyria, the town should be taken. For he thinks the time was foretold, as well as the event; and that the words three days may have been lost out of the text at the end of ver. 2. after the word barefoot, a day being put for a year, according to the prophetic rule.

In like manner Jeremiah was ordered, chap. xix. 1. to get a potter's earthen bottle, and with the ancients of the people and of the priests, ver. 2. to go to the valley of Hinnom, and pro

phesy in their hearing that Jerusalem was to be destroyed. And that his prophecy might make a strong impression on the imagination of the men who were with him, he was ordered, ver. 10. "To break the bottle in the sight of these men. 11. And to << say unto them, Thus saith the Lord of Hosts, even so will I "break this people and this city, as one breaketh a potter's "vessel that cannot be made whole again."

The same prophet was ordered, Jerem. xxvii. 2. to make bonds and yokes, and put them on his own neck, and to send them to all the neighbouring kings, by the messengers whom they had sent to Jerusalem to persuade Zedekiah to enter into the confederacy which they had formed against the king of Babylon: and by that symbolical action the prophet was to signify to them, that the issue of the confederacy would be certain captivity to them all. But we are told, chap. xxviii. 10. That the false prophet Hananiah, took the yoke from off the prophet Jeremiah's neck and broke it, and spake in the presence of all the people, saying, "Thus saith the Lord, Even so will I break the yoke " of Nebuchadnezzer king of Babylon, from the neck of all nations, within the space of two full years."

Once more, Jeremiah having written in a book, his prophecy concerning the destruction of Babylon, recorded, Jerem. li. he gave it to Serajah, ver. 60. and ordered him when he came to Babylon with Zedekiah, to read it, and having read it, to bind a stone to it, and cast it into the midst of Euphrates. Ver. 64. "And thou shalt say, Thus shall Babylon sink, and shall not rise "from the evil that I will bring upon her."

With the same design of speaking by significant actions, Ezekiel was ordered to delineate Jerusalem upon a tile, and to besiege it by building a fort against it, raising a mount, and setting a camp with battering rams against it round about. This siege the prophet was to continue four hundred and thirty days, and during the continuance thereof, he was to eat and drink by measure and his bread was to be baked, that is, prepared, ver. 15. with dung; the fuel with which he was to prepare his bread was to be dung. By these symbolical actions, the prophet shewed that Jerusalem was to be besieged, and that during the seige the inhabitants were to be punished with a grievous famine, Ezek. iv.-In the following chapter the prophet was ordered, ver. 1. to shave his head and beard, and with a balance to divide the hairs thereof into three parts, and, ver. 2. when the days of the siege were fulfilled, he was to burn with fire a third part of

the hairs in the midst of the city: next he was to take a third part, and smite about it with a knife: and the remaining third part he was to scatter in the wind, except a few hairs which he was to bind in the skirts of his garment. The meaning of these symbolical actions God explained to the Israelites, as follows, ver. 11. "Because thou hast defiled my sanctuary, with all thy "detestable things, and with all thine abominations, therefore ❝ will I also diminish thee; neither shall mine eye spare, neither "will I have any pity. 12. A third part of thee shall die with "the pestilence, and with famine shall they be consumed in the "midst of thee; and a third part shall fall by the sword round "about thee; and I will scatter a third part into all the winds; " and I will draw out a sword after them. 13. Thus shall mine 66 anger be accomplished, and I will cause my fury to rest upon "them, and I will be comforted.-15. So it shall be a reproach "and a taunt, an instruction and an astonishment, unto the na❝tions that are round about thee, when I shall execute judg"ments in thee, in anger and in fury, and in furious rebukes. I "the Lord have spoken it."

For the illustration of the foregoing allegorical action, I will here transcribe B. Lowth's note on Isa. vii. 20. In the same day shall the Lord shave with a razor that is hired, namely by them beyond the river, by the king of Assyria, the head, and the hair of the feet and it shall also consume the beard. : "To shave with "the hired razor the head, the feet, and the beard, is an expres❝sion highly parabolical; to denote the utter devastation of the "country from one end to the other, and the plundering of the "people from the highest to the lowest, by the Assyrians, whom "God employed as his instrument to punish the Jews. Ahaz him"self, in the first place, hired the king of Assyria to come to help "him against the Syrians, by a present made to him of all the "treasures of the temple, as well as his own: and God him"self considered the great nations whom he thus employed, as "his mercenaries, and paid them their wages. Thus he "paid Nebuchadnezzar for his services against Tyre, by the 66 conquest of Egypt, Ezek. xxix. 18.-20. The hairs of the "head, are those of the highest order in the state; those of "the feet or the lower parts, are the common people; the "beard is the king, the high priest, the very supreme in "dignity and majesty. The eastern people have always held "the beard in the highest veneration, and have been ex"tremely jealous of its honour. To pluck a man's beard is

"an instance of the greatest indignity that can be offered, Isa.

1. 6. The king of the Ammonites, to shew the utmost con66 tempt of David, cut off half of the beards of his servants; and "the men were greatly ashamed: and David bade them tarry at "Jericho till their beards were grown, 2 Sam. x. 4, 5, &c."


Once more God ordered Ezekiel, chap. xii. 3. to prepare stuff for removing, and to go forth with it at even in the sight of the people, as they who go forth into captivity, and having digged through the wall in their sight, to carry his stuff out thereby upon his shoulders in the twilight, with his face covered that he might not see the ground. The prophet having performed these actions in the sight of the people, when they said to him, What dost thou ? God ordered him to reply, ver. 11. “I am 66 your sign like as I have done, so shall it be done unto them: "they shall remove and go into captivity. 12. And the prince that is among them shall bear upon his shoulder in the twi"light, and shall go forth: they shall dig through the wall to "carry out thereby he shall cover his face that he see not the "ground with his eyes. 13. My net also will I spread upon "him, and he shall be taken in the snare and I will bring him "to Babylon, to the land of the Chaldeans, yet shall he not see "it though he shall die there. 14. And I will scatter towards 66 every wind, all that are about him to help him," &c.

From these examples of significant actions, concerning which God declared that they were commanded to be done for the purpose of prefiguring future events, we may conclude, that those uncommon actions, which he commanded without declaring the purpose for which they were commanded, had, like the others, a typical meaning. This conclusion is warranted by the inspired writers, who in after times have pointed out the things signified by these actions. For example, when God ordered Abraham to sacrifice his only son, although he did not tell him the purpose for which that difficult command was given to him, yet from the apostle's terming the suspension of that command, a receiving of Isaac from the dead for a parable, Heb. xi. 19. we learn, that by the command to sacrifice Isaac, and by the suspension of that command, the death and resurrection of God's only Son was prefigured.-In like manner, when the sacrifice of the Passover was instituted, although no intimation was given of its having a typical meaning, we know that it prefigured the sacrifice of Christ, together with the influence of that sacrifice in procuring the salvation of believers. For we are told expressly,



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