« ForrigeFortsæt »
brightness and glory, with any of our own fullness, strength, light, or righteousness, or happiness, but as stripped of all our glory, empty of all good, wholly dark, sinful, destitute, and miserable. As the moon is wholly divested of of all her light at her conjunction with the sun, we must come to Christ as wholly sinful and miserable, as the moon comes to the sun in total darkness. The moon as it comes nearer the sun grows darker and darker; so the soul the more it is fitted for Christ, is more and more emptied of itself that it may be filled with Christ. The movn grows darker and darker in her approach to the sun; so the soul sees more and more of its own sinfulness, and vileness, and misery, that it may be swallowed up in the rays of the Sun of Righteousness.
3. The change of the moon at her conjunction with the sun, signifies the change of the state and administration of the church at the coming of Christ.
The sun is sometimes eclipsed in his conjunction with the moon, which signifies two things : viz.
1. The veiling of his glory by his incarnation ; for as the sun has his light vciled by his conjunction with the moon in its darkness, so Christ had his glory veiled by his conjunction or union with our nature in its low and broken state: as the moon proves a veil to hide the glory of the sun, so the flesh of Christ was a veil that hid his divine glory.
2. It signifies his death. The sun is sometimes totally eclipsed by the moon at her change; so Christ died at the time of the change of the church, from the Old dispensation to the New. The sun is eclipsed at his conjunction with the moon in her darkness; so Christ taking our nature upon him in his low and broken state died in it. Christ assumed his church and people, in their guilt and misery, and in their condeinned, cursed, dying state, into a very close union with him, so as to become one with him; and hereby he takes their guilt on himself, and becomes subject to their sin, their curse, their death, yea, is made a curse for them; as the sun as it were assumes the moon in her total darkness into a close union with himself, so as to become one with her, they become concentered, and be. come as it were one body circumscribed by the same circumference, and thereby he takes her darkness on himself, and becomes himself dark with her darkness, and is extinct in his union with her. The moon that receives all her light from the sun eclipses the sun, and takes away his light; so Christ was put to death by those that he came to save; he is put to; death by the iniquities of those that he came to give life to, and he was immediately crucified by the hands of some of them, and all of them have pierced him in the disposition and tendency of that sin that they have been guilty of; for all have manifested
and expressed a mortal enmity against him. It is an argument that the eclipse of the sun is a type of Christ's death, because the sun suffered a total eclipse miraculously at that time that Cbrist died.
The sun can be in a total eclipse, but a very little while, much less than the moon, though neither of thein can always be in an eclipse; so Christ could not, by reason of his divine glory and worthiness, be long held of death, in no measure so long as the saints may be, though it is not possible that either of them should always be held of it.
The sun's coming out of his eclipse is a figure of Christ's resurrection from the dead. As the sun is restored to light, so the moon that eclipsed him begins to receive light from him, and so to partake of his restored light. So the church for whose sins Christ died, and who has pierced Christ, rises with Christ, is begotten again to a living hope by the resurrection of Christ from the dead, is made partaker of the life and power of his resurrection, and of the glory of his exaltation, is raised up together, and made to sit together in heavenly places in him. They live; yet not they ; but Christ lives in them, and they are married to him that is risen from the dead. God having raised Christ, Christ quickens them who were totally dark and dead in trespasses and sins, and they are revived by God's power, according to the exceeding greatness of his power that wrought in Christ Jesus, when he raised him from the dead.
The moon is eclipsed when at its full in its greatest glory, which may signify several things.
1. That God is wont to bring some great calamity on his visible church, when in its greatest glory and prosperity, as he did in the Old Testament church, in the height of its glory in David and Solomon's times, by David's adultery and murder, and those sore calamities that followed in his family, and to all israel in the affairs of Amnon, and especially Absalom, and in the idolatry of Solomon, and the sore calamities that followed, and particularly the dividing the kingdom of Israel. So he did also on the church of the New Testament after Constantine, by the Arian heresy, &c. God doth thus to stain the pride of all glory, and that his people may not lift up themselves against him, that he alone may be exalted.
2. That it is often God's manner to bring some grievous calamity on his saints, at times when they have received the greatest light and joys, and have been most exalted with smiles of heaven upon them; as Jacob was made lame at the same time that he was admitted to so extraordinary a privilege as wrestling with God, and overcoming him, and so obtaining the bless
ing. And so Paul, when he was received up to the third heaven, received a thorn in the flesh, lest he should be exalted above measure, he had a messenger of Satan to buffet him ; so grievous calamity it was that he laboured under, that he besought the Lord thrice that it might be taken from him. Sometimes extraordinary light and comfort is given to fit for great calamities, and sometimes for death, which God brings soon after such things; so when God gives his own people great temporal prosperity, he is wont to bring with it some calamity to eclipse it, to keep them from being exalted in their prosperity, and trusting in it.
 Num. xi. 10, 11, 12, &c. “Then Moses heard the peo. ple weep throughout their families, every man in the door of bis tent, and the anger of the Lord was kindled greatly. Moses also was displeased; and Moses said unto the Lord, Wherefore hast thou afflicted thy servant, and wherefore have I not found favour in thy siglıt, that thou layest the burden of this people upou me? Have I conceived all this people ; have I begotten them, that thou shouldest say unto me, Carry them in thy bosom, as a nursing father beareth the sucking child, unto the land which thou swearest unto their fathers ?" Ver. 15. " If thou deal thus with me, kill me out of hand, and let me not see my wretchedness." Moses, though God gives this testimony concerning him, that he was very meek above all men upon the face of the earth, yet could not bear the perverseness of the congregation of God's people. How much therefore does Christ's meekness go beyond that of Moses! Moses was not willing to bear the burden of all that people upon him; but Christ, the angel of God's presence, is willing to bear them all with all their frowardness and perverseness. Moses said, “Have I conceived this people, have I begotten them, that thou shouldest say, Carry them in thy bosom, as a vursing father beareth a sucking child, unto the land which thou swearest unto their fathers But Christ willingly thus carries his people in his bosom unto the promised land, for they are his children; he has begotten them, and he never casts them off for their frowardness; he willingly obeys his Father when he commands him, saying, Carry this people, &c. Isai. lxiii. 8, 9. “ For he said, Surely they are my people, children that will not lie; so he was their Saviour. In all their affliction, he was afflicted; and the angel of his presence saved them : in his love and in his pity he redeemed them, and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old." Deut. i. 31. " And in the wilderness, where thou hast seen how that the Lord thy God bare thee, as a man doth bear his son in all the way that he went, until ye came into this place." Isai. xl. 11. “He shall feed his flock like a shepherd; he shall gather the lambs with his arins, and carry them in his bosom, and
shall gently lead those that are with young.” Moses said, Wherefore hast thou afflicted thy servant ? but Christ was willingly afflicted and tormented for the sake of a perverse people, his enemies. Moses desired to be killed, to be delivered from the burden of bearing the people to the land of promise, rather than bear it. But such was Christ's love to them, that he desired to be killed that he might bear them to the land of promise.
 Num. xii. 6, 7, 8. “ If there be a prophet among you, the Lord will make known myself to him in a vision, and will speak to him in a dream; my servant Moses is not so; with him will I speak apparently, and not in dark speeches.” It is evident from this that it was God's common manner to speak to the prophets in words that they did not understand themselves. Therefore, in reading the prophets, we read not such an interpretation as would be natural for the prophets themselves to put upon the prophecy; for the Holy Ghost spake in what words he pleased to employ, and meant what he pleased, without revealing his meaning to the prophets. The prophecy of scripture is not of a private interpretation, but they spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
 Num. xix. The ashes of the red heiser of which was made the water of separation for the purification of those that were legally unclean. This heifer, being a female, doubtless does more directly signify the church of Christ, than Christ himself
. She was an heifer without spot, having no blemish, because it was the church of saints that are pare and upright ones, those that are not defiled with any pollution, showing hypocrisy, or want of evangelical perfection; they are Israelites indeed in whom is no guile, and those in whom God does not behold iniquity or see perverseness. The slaying and burning of this heifer signifies the sufferings and persecutions of the church of Christ, and the fiery trial which she was to undergo. The persecutions of the church of Christ have mainly been carried on by burning. The purifying with the ashes of this heifer, signifies that the church and peopie of God should be purified by her sufferings, and as it were by the ashes of the martyrs. The purifying of God's people, and taking away their sins, and refining them as silver, and making them white, is often declared to be the end of the suffering and persecutions of God's people, and it is the way in which it pleased God to lay the foundation of the purity of his church, viz. by continuing it for many ages under extreme persecutions, first under the tyranny of Rome, heathen, and nextly under Antichrist, and so to fill up, as the apostle expresses himself
, what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ; for Christ does as it were suffer in his members, in all their afliction he is afflicted, the
church is his body, and in this sense the slaying and burning this heifer represents the sufferings of Christ, as they represent the sufferings of his people, whereby they are made conformable to Christ's death, and partakers of his sufferings. It pleases God to lay the foundation of the spiritual purity and prosperity of his church, in the first place, in his eldest Son, even Jesus Christ, and secondarily in the blood of the martyrs, Christ's younger brethren, that are as it were God's youngest Son. See Notes on Joshua's prophecy concerning the rebuilding of Jericho.
This was not to be a cow, but an heifer, and also without spot or blemish, which is very agreeable to the description that is given of the church of Christ in Revelation, in the time of their persecution. Rev. xiv. 4, 5. “ These are they which were not defiled with women, for they are virgins And in their mouth was found no guile, for they are without fault before the throne of God."
And it must be a red heifer, which signifies the militant state the church is in under those sufferings, conflicting with her enemies. The colour red, is often so used in scripture. So Christ, while he is warring with his enemies, is represented as being red in his apparel, Isai. Ixiji., and as being clothed with a vesture dipped in blood, Rev. xix. 3. So God's saints are clothed in red until they have got through their sufferings, and are in a triumphant state ; then they are represented as having washed their robes and made them wbite in the blood of the Lamb, Rev. vii. 14.
It was to be an heifer on which never had come yoke; which most fitly represents the Spirit and practice of God's true church in the time of persecution from her enemies which refuses to submit to the yoke, that they would oppose whatever cruelties they exercise them with. She will not call any man on earth master or lord-will not be subject to their impositions—will not forsake the commands of God, nor be subject to the commandments of inen—will follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth—will not worship the beast, nor his image, nor receive bis mark in their forehead, nor in their hand. They stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made them free, not submitting to the yoke of bondage, Gal. v. 1.
This bæifer was sacrificed to God; so are the martyrs represented as sacrificed. They offer up themselves a sacrifice to God through the l!oly Spirit, and the souls of the martyrs are represented as souris under the altar. She was to be burnt without the camp, as the martyrs, especially those suffering under Antichrist, are rejected and cast out of the communion of their persecutors as not being of the church of Christ.
Her skin, and her flesh, and her blood, with the dung, were to be burnt: the suffering of the martyrs burns up their carnality and Corruption, and cleanses all their filthiness.