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from his own day to the day of judgment. He alone is wise who receives Christ as the Prophet to teach him, the Priest to atone for him, and the King to rule over him.


INTRODUCTION. The whole history of the Church and of the world is nothing more than a record of the fulfilment of the two first prophecies which were given at the fall of man,-that there should be a continued contest between good and evil, and that good should finally prevail. "I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her Seed," was one promise; "The Seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent's head," was the other. The visible Church, the society, however it may have been at various times degraded or corrupted, which was set apart to preserve the knowledge of the Giver of the promise, is the chief means by which evil has been opposed, and by which God shall conquer evil. And the progress of that Church through its three several stages of Patriarchism, Judaism, and Christianity, till the one true religion leaven the mass of mankind, may be compared to the three several periods in the growth of a tree, which shall give its fruit in due season. The bud and the flower precede the fruit. The gradual growth interests the spectator, upholds his faith, and maintains the pledge of the future autumn, when the promise of the spring, and the hope of the summer, shall be realized. The Spirit of prophecy, which pronounced the end from the beginning, attends the growth of this tree of life through the whole of its progress to perfection; and all the prophets who upheld the expectations of the Church, spake and wrote under the same influence. They were constrained to speak by a power more than human. They uttered words of which they themselves did not discern the meaning'; and they wondered, and inquired into the meaning of the words they uttered. So it was with Balaam. He spake as he was constrained to speak?, and he no more knew the meaning of the words he uttered, than Caiaphas knew the spiritual meaning of his own words, when he unconsciously affirmed the necessity of the atonement, and declared it to be necessary that one man should die for the people. They spake on the same plan. They blended the prediction of the near fulfilment of some part of their predictions with the announcement of far distant events, as the earnest of the eventual fulfilment of the latter. So Balaam declared the conquest of Canaan by Israel, as the earnest of the event of the affliction of Asshur and of Eber. And he spake to the same end, -the final establishment of the kingdom of the Bruiser of the serpent's head. And it is a remarkable circumstance, that, as Balaam concluded his prophecies with some indefinite descriptions of, or allusions to, the eventual condition to which man shall attain in this world, so nearly all the prophets of the Old Testament terminate their predictions with indefinite and general announcements of a state of worldly happiness, under the influence of Christ and his Church, which has not hitherto taken place. In the present Section we are brought to one of the most striking portions of the Pentateuch;—the third, fourth, and fifth

1 1 Pet. i. 11.

2 Numb. xxii. 20. 35. 38; xxiii. 8. 12. 20. 26; xxiv. 12, 13.

3 John xi. 49-51.

prophecies of Balaam may be called the sum, and substance, and summary of all the prophecies of Revelation. After the failure of his two former efforts to obtain from Balaam, or from the God of Balaam, the curses he desired upon 'Israel, Balak removed the prophet to another high place, where he built the same number of altars, and offered the same number of sacrifices, trusting in the possibility that a change in the decrees of the God he invoked might follow the perseverance of his petition. On this occasion, however, now that Balaam had discovered that Jehovah had compelled him on the two former instances to bless Israel, he did not again, when the sacrifices had been offered, proceed to the solitary part of the "high place," or the grove, to seek for enchantments, that is, to blend together the invocation of Jehovah with the strange rites of divination, by which the true worship was corrupted. He took for granted that other responses would be vouchsafed to him from the same source. He stood by the altar. He gazed upon the well-ordered tents of Israel, and the Divine influence came upon him, when his mind was filled with admiration of the beauty and order of the tents in the encampment of Israel; and he broke out into the third prophecy (Numb. xxiv. 1-4), "The man whose eyes had been shut to the Divine glory, but which are now opened; which heard the words of God," speaking to him on the two occasions on which he consulted his will, and fell down in the solitary part of the high place to which Balak had taken him. And then follow his eulogies on the encampment of Israel: "How goodly are thy tents, O Jacob!" He describes the populousness and increase of the people, that the ruler of Israel should be more powerful, and the kingdom of Israel be more exalted than that of Agag, the general name for the princes of Amalek. He describes the ensuing conquests of Israel; and ends, in the very words of Balak's invitation, with saying, "Blessed are thy blessers, and cursed are thy cursers" (Numb. xxiv. 5-9). Balak was indignant at this conclusion of the third series of Balaam's prophecies, but was again assured by Balaam that the responses thus given were not spoken from himself, but from the God of prophecy (ver. 10-13). Having thus declared the immediate conquest of Canaan, and the future temporal greatness of Israel, the type and token, though Balaam knew it not, of its future spiritual influence, Balaam is led to his fourth prophecy, in which that spiritual greatness is more clearly blended with the temporal greatness of the people of God: “And now, behold, I go unto my people: come, therefore," that is, "listen," he said, "and I will now prophesy to thee the future result of the enmity between the people of Moab and the people of Israel" (ver. 14). After again affirming his Divine mission (ver. 15, 16), he utters broken exclamations of astonishment, as Isaiah, when he uttered the words "Who is this?" He sees in his vision the undefined glory in the distance: "I shall see Him, but not now: I shall behold Him, but not nigh." The well-known prophecy of the Star and Sceptre follows: a Star and a Sceptre come from Jacob and Israel to smite and destroy Moab and Sheth. The Star and the Sceptre were the same, Jacob and Israel were the same,

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Moab and Sheth were the same. If we interpret the prophecy temporally, it will signify, "David (the sceptre of Israel) shall smite the rulers of Moab." If we interpret it spiritually, as we may do, and ought to do, the double prophecy will be, "Christ (the true David) shall come out of Jacob, and shall destroy all the priesthood of idolatry." It is very remarkable that the words translated "the corners of Moab" ought rather to be rendered “the priesthood of idolatry." "And Edom," the spiritually apostate Church of God,-whether paganism as the corruption of Patriarchism, or Pharisaism as the corruption of Judaism, or Popery as the corruption of Christianity,— "shall" all "be" the "possession" of Christ; "and Seir," the territory which these occupied, "shall be the possession" of Christ; so that the whole Church shall be His family, and the whole world His portion. The spiritual “ Israel,” which shall be the means of effecting all this, "shall do valiantly ;" and from that spiritual Israel shall Christ come, first, to rule the city of His enemies, and then to destroy the remnant who shall refuse submission, till the idolatrous, the infidel, and the apostate are destroyed (ver. 18, 19). This, the best and literal interpretation in our own version brings down the predictions of the last patriarchal prophet from his own days to the days of that Millennium which every wise and good man anticipates, when Christianity shall be the generally professed religion of mankind. But there is a still more wonderful conclusion to the prophecies of Balaam. The whole history of the world and of the Church, from the days of Balaam to the day when the more extended knowledge of Christianity shall make the kingdoms of the world the one kingdom of Christ, may be arranged under these periods :-1st, From the possession of Canaan one month after Balaam uttered these prophecies, to the height of the Jewish prosperity under David and Solomon; 2nd, From the decline of that prosperity till the Babylonish captivity; 3rd, From the return of Israel from Babylon to the destruction of Jerusalem; 4th, The gradual progress of the spiritual kingdom of Christ from that day to the promised future. These FOUR periods may be said to contain a summary of the history of the Church. Very wonderful is the fact, that this very summary of the record of God's government concludes the last prophecy of Balaam, the death song of the patriarchal dispensation. "He," that is, Balaam, "looked on Amalek. His end shall be that he perish for ever." And Amalek continued till the time of Saul and of David, by whom they were successively defeated, the former routing them with great slaughter (1 Sam. xv. 2), and the latter on two several occasions (1 Sam. xxvii. and xxx.) gaining a signal victory over them, till at last he utterly extirpated them. The second period extends from the time of David and Solomon to that of the Babylonish captivity. The Kenites were the Midianitish family of Jethro, and they continued to dwell among the Israelites. They were the Rechabites, who took refuge in Jerusalem,

I make Moab and Sheth [Seth] the same, not only because of the parallelism, but because the name is found among the hieroglyphics at Ipsambul as identical with Moab. See "Ancient Egypt, her Testimony to the Truth. By W. Osborne, Junior."

when the armies of Nebuchadnezzar invaded the Holy Land; and there can be no doubt that many of them were taken captive with the people of Israel by the Assyrian chieftain. "Alas!" adds the prophet, "who shall live when God doeth this!" Or rather, "Woe to the transgressors," that is, to those who shall deserve this captivity, "when God doeth this!" The sufferings of the people at the first siege of Jerusalem, as we may learn from the language of Jeremiah, were equal to those in the siege under Titus. The two last periods are alluded to in the last verse. We may be said to have sufficient evidence that the word Chittim was used to denote the lands, coasts, and islands of the Mediterranean. The prophecy relates to two places, Asshur and Eber. Ships from Chittim shall afflict both; that is, as they are both inland countries, the men who come in ships shall afflict both. The meaning, therefore, may be, The ships from Chittim shall afflict Asshur, or Assyria, Persia, and the East; as was done when Asshur, which had taken Israel captive, was afflicted by the Greeks under Alexander, and their empire destroyed. "And ships from Chittim shall afflict Eber;" which was done when the Romans invaded the Holy Land, and took and destroyed Jerusalem. Heber was the common ancestor of the Jews, and his name is used for their nation. And the last expression refers to the last of the four periods I have mentioned. All the commentators shrink from the literal sense of the expression, "He also," that is, Heber, "shall perish for ever." The meaning is, that after Jerusalem is taken by Titus, then the kingdom of Christ is altogether severed from the visible Church of the Jews. Eber, the old visible, but superseded Church of God, shall perish as the exclusive visible Church for ever; but the Star of Jacob shall shine, and the Sceptre of Israel shall rule, and the Edom and Seir of the Church and of the world shall gradually become the kingdom and family of Christ. And this is the fifth and last prophecy of Balaam, the summary of all prophecy. The visible Jewish Church has perished; the spiritual Jewish Church remains. Christ the Lord shall bruise the serpent's head. And he alone is wise who believes these things, and surrenders his affections to his Judge and Saviour, and receives the Son of God with the heart as the Prophet who alone can teach him the philosophy of history, and Providence, and religion; as the Priest who alone can atone for him, intercede for him, and bless him; as the King who alone is worthy to rule him with the sceptre from Sion. We will embrace the Son of God in homage to our King, as His faithful subjects. We will serve Him, and love Him, and rejoice in the duty of obedience to Him, our King, as our highest privilege, and glory, and honour.


. ver. 13.


ture it will please God that
thou mayest curse me them
from thence.

27 And Balak said un-
to Balaam, a Come, I pray
thee, I will bring thee unto
another place; peradven- 28 And Balak brought



b ch. 21. 20.

c ver. 1.

d ch. 23. 3, 15.

meeting of


Balaam unto the top of me here seven bullocks and
Peor, that looketh toward seven rams.


30 And Balak did as


29 And Balaam said Balaam had said, and ofunto Balak, Build me here fered a bullock and a ram seven altars, and prepare on every altar.


1 And when Balaam saw and his "kingdom shall be that it pleased the LORD exalted.


to bless Israel, he went 8 God brought him not, as at other times, forth out of Egypt; + Heb. to the to seek for enchantments, hath as it were the strength but he set his face toward of an unicorn: he shall the wilderness. Peat up the nations his enemies, and shall their bones, and them through with



2 And Balaam lifted up his and he saw Israel eyes, • ch. 2. 2, &c. © abiding in his tents according to their tribes; and the spirit of God came upon him.

fch. 11. 25.
1 Sam. 10. 10.

& 19. 20, 23.

2 Chron. 15.


ch. 23. 7, 18.

+ Heb. who had his eyes

3 And he took up his parable, and said, Balaam the son of Beor hath said, and the man whose eyes

shut, but now are open hath said:


19. 24.


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ch. 14. 9. Ps. 2. 9. Jer. 50. 17.

Isai. 38. 13.

• Ps. 45. 5. Jer. 50. 9.

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9 He couched, he lay Gen. 43. 9. down as a lion, and as a great lion who shall stir him up? Blessed is he that Gen. 12. 3. blesseth thee, and cursed is he that curseth thee. 10 And Balak's anger

4 He hath said, which was kindled against Baheard the words of God, laam, and he "smote his which saw the vision of hands together: and Balak See 1 Sam. the Almighty, falling into said unto Balaam, I called Ezek. 1. 28. a trance, but having his thee to curse mine enemies, eyes open: and, behold, thou hast 2 Cor. 12. 2, 3, 5 How goodly are thy altogether blessed them tents, O Jacob, and thy these three times. tabernacles, O Israel! 11 Therefore now flee

Dan. 8. 18. & 10. 15, 16.


Rev. 1. 10,


i Ps. 1. 3. Jer. 17. 8.

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6 As the valleys are thou to thy place: y I ch. 22. 17, they spread forth, as gar- thought to promote thee dens by the river's side, as unto great honour; but,


the trees of lign aloes lo, the LORD hath kept Ps. 104. 16. which the LORD hath thee back from honour. planted, and as cedar trees

beside the waters.

12 And Balaam said unto Balak, Spake I not 7 He shall pour the also to thy messengers water out of his buckets, which thou sentest unto

Jer. 51. 13. and his seed shall be in me, saying,

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many waters, and his king 13 If Balak would ch. 22. 18. shall be higher than m Agag, give me his house full of

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