Imatges de pÓgina

They passed that sentence against the blind man whose sight Christ had restored (a), and doubtless against many, if not all others in like circumstances. For Christ warns his disciples to expect this fentence (b), and the fear of it prevented many from,professing their faith in him (c). Yet all this notwithstanding, the apostles of Christ, and thousands of believing Jews zealous of the law (d), had as free access to the temple for public exercises of devotion, as the infidel Jews had (e). Nor did their bitterest enemies ever accuse them, or contend with them on that account, which they would undoubtedly have done, if excommunication had deprived them of all title to the public folemnities of the Jewish worship.

5. But, if this reasoning proves any thing, will it not prove, that a God of spotless purity, can enter into a friendly treaty with men, whom yet, on account of their fins, he utterly abhors? And what if it does? Perhaps, the assertion, however shocking at first view, may, on a narrower scrutiny, be found innocent. We affert not any inward eternal friendship between God and the unconverted Jews. We only affert an external temporal covenant, which, though it secured their outward prosperity, gave them no claim to God's special favour. Where then is the alledged absurdity ? Will you say it is unworthy of God to maintain external communion with sinners, or to impart to them any blessings? What then would become of the bulk of mankind ? Nay, what would become of the patience

(a) John ix. 34. (1) Jo. xvi. 2. (c) Jo. xii. 42. (d) Acts xxi, 20. (e) Acts ii. 46. xxi. 26.


and long-suffering of God? Or is it abfurd, that God should reward actions that flow from bad motives : when we have an undoubted inftance of his doing this in the case of Jehu! Or is it absurd, that God should entail favours on bad men, in the way of promife or covenant ? Have you forgot God's promise to Jehu, that his children of the fourth generation should fit on the throne of Israel ? Or, have you forgot, what concerns you more, God's covenant with man. kind in general, no more to destroy the earth by a flood (a)? I would only add, that the spiritual promise made to Abraham, was not made void by the Sinai covenant (b).. If the greater part did not secure an interest in that promise, the fault was their own. God, notwithstanding, for his love to their fathers, and for other wife and good reasons, allowed them the benefit of the external covenant If you plead, that God can have no intercourse with finners without sacrifices and without a Mediator : I reply, the Sinai covenant was founded on facrifices (c), and had a Mediator, even Mofes (d). And in an outward and typical covenant securing temporal prosperity, so great a display of the divine holiners was not necessary, as in a covenant securing an interest in God's special loving-kindness. Therefore a Mediator and sacrifices of less value fufficed for the former. A typical Mediator and typical facrifices, were moft suitable to a typical covenant.

$ 6. But why were those, with whom God entered into covenant at mount Sinai, so often

(a) 2 Kings x. 30. Gen. ix, 12. 17.

(b) Gal. ii. (d) Gal. iii. 19.

(c) Heb. ix. 18,~20.


termed a holy people to the Lord, if the greater part of them were in heart disaffected to God and his service? The question is not without it's difficulty, and the answering it will require some time and pains. Let it then be obferved, that men are faid to be fanctified or made holy in very different senses. Sanctification, for the distinction, though an old is not a bad one, is either real or relative. Real fanctification is either inward, consisting of holiness of heart and life, or outward, confilting in external washings and purifications, and a behaviour free from groffer fins. Relative fanctification confifts, in feparation from common use, and a special relation to God, and spiritual things: to God, when any thing is used as an external symbol of his prefence, or is employed in his immediate service, or in fome use to which God has devoted it; to spiritual things, when something not fpiritual is a type and figure of them. On this account, that also is termed unclean, which is a type or emblem of moral impurities (a).

Though then the unconverted Jews, had not that holiness, which results from moral excellency, or from the graces of the spirit : yet they had a holiness, consisting in separation from other nations (b); in legal washings and purifications, and abstinence from whatever ceremonially defiled (c); in freedom from idolatry, and other grofs vices, absolutely destructive to a society, of which God was king (d); in external dedication to God and his service, and the outward symbols of God's presence among them (e); and in their typifying the (a) Mede Dill. 1. c. 5. (6) Ezra ix. 2.

(c) Exod. xxii. 31. Lev. xi. 43, 44. XX. 25, 26. Deut. xiv. 1, (d) Lev, xx. 6, 7. (e) Exod. xxix. 43, 44•


Messias and his kingdom, and preparing things for his birth and appearance.

The holiness of the priests was barely external and relative. Inward impurities did not unfit them for their office (a). The same might be observed as to the holiness of the Levites, of the first-born, and of the Nazarites. Therefore, the holiness of the Jewish nation, which was inferior in degree to the holiness of these, is external and relative also. To intimate this, the Israelites are termed a kingdom of priests, as well as a holy nation (b). And indeed, in killing the paschal lamb, every head of a family acted as a priest.

That separation from other nations, in which the holiness of the Jews chiefly consisted (c), was not spiritual, resulting from rectitude of heart and a correspondent behaviour ; but barely external, resulting from certain facred rites and ceremonies different from or opposite to those of other nations, and confined to certain places and perfons (d). The middle wall of partition between Jews and Gentiles, was the ceremonial law (e), which was neither necessary nor fic to make a spiritual separation. In fact, it did not separate between good and bad men among the Jews: but between the house of Israel, and the fearers of God or devout persons in the heathen nations (f). For which reason, though Cornelius was one that feared God, gave much alms, and prayed to God always, Peter was afraid of being polluted by intercourse with him.

(a) Lev. xxi. (6) Exod. xix. 6. (c) Exod. xix. 5,6. Num. xxiii. 9. Deut. xxyi. 18, 19,

(d) Lev, XX. 24,-26. Deut. xiv. 21. (e) Eph. ii. 14, 15. (f) Pfal, cxviii. 4. Acts xiii. 16, 26. xvii, 4, 17,

A par.

A particular detail of the reafons, of these ceremonial observances, whereby Israel was separated froin other nations, would lead me too far from my subject. Some of them were intended, as has been observed $ 2, to preserve the respect due to God as King of the Jews. Others, to prepare things for the coming of the Meffias, and to keep that nation and family from which he was to descend distinct from all others, that so it might be evident, he was born of the tribe and family, and in the place, which the Old Testament prophecies had foretold. For this purpose the Jews were forbid to intermarry with the heathen (a): the jubilee was instituted, at which time every family had its old inheritance restored to it, genealogies were kept with great exactness to preserve the distinction of tribes and families :adultery, and other vices, that tended to confound that distinction, were severely punished : and because the genealogies of the royal family used to be most accurately observed, the royalty was annexed to the particular tribe and family, from which the Messias was to arise.--Other rial tual laws were intended to promote the real ex-' ternal sanctification of the Israelites ; to train: them up to decency of behaviour ; to preserve them from idolatry and other grofs vices of the heathen, destructive of society in general, or inconfiftent with their owning God as their Prince, and to inure them to humanity and other social virtues. This is expressly mentioned as the cause of some laws (b), and, in other laws, it is evident from the reason of the thing. Thus the prohibitions of fowing a field with mingled seed,

(a) Ezra ix. 10. Neh. xiii. 25. (6) Lev. xviii. 3, 24 Numb. xv. 39. Deut. xii, 2. xiv. 1, 2.


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