Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

330 Whole Body of Jews interested in those Privileges. CH. III.

CHA P. III.

Reflections upon the foregoing Privileges, Honours and Relations. The Jewish Conftitution a Scheme for promoting true Religion and Virtue.

F

54. ROM all this it appears; that the Jews, or the Ifraelites, were happy and highly exalted in Civil, but especially in Spiritual Privileges, above all other People. And thofe of them, who best understand the Nature of their Constitution, were deeply fenfible of this. Deut. iv. 7. 8, "For what Nation is there fo great, who has God fo nigh unto them, &c? And what Nation is there fo great, that has Satutes and Judgments fo righteous," &c? Ver. 32, "For afk now of the Days that are paft, which were before thee, fince the Day that God created Man upon the Earth; and afk from the one Side of Heaven unto the other, whether there has been any fuch Thing as this great Thing is, or hath been heard like it? Did ever People hear the Voice of God fpeaking out of the Midst of the Fire, as thou hast heard, and live? Or has God affayed to take him a Nation from the Midst of another Nation," &c. xxxiii. 29, "Happy art thou, O Ifrael: Who is like unto thee, O People faved by the Lord, the Shield of thy Help, and who is the Sword of thine Excellency!" Pfal. lxxxix. 15, 16, 17, "Blefied is the People that know the joyful Sound: They fhall walk, O Lord, in the Light of thy Countenance. In thy Name fhall they rejoice all the Day: And in thy Righteoufnefs fhall they be exalted. For thou art the Glory of their Strength, and in thy Favour our Horn fhall be exalted. For the Lord is our Defence, and the Holy One of Ifrael is our King" cxliv. 15, "Happy is that People whofe God is the Lord." cxlvii. 19, 20, "He fheweth his Word unto Jacob, his Statutes and his Judgments unto Ifrael. He hath not dealt fo with any Nation, and as for his Judgments they have not known them."

55. And it was the Duty of the whole Body of this People to rejoice. in the Goodness of God, to thank, and praise, and bless him for all the Benefits bestowed upon them. Deut. xii. 7. xxvi. 11, "And thou fhalt rejoice in every good Thing, which the Lord thy God [29] hath given unto thee." Pfal. cxlix. 2, "Let Ifrael rejoice in him that made [17] him: Let the Children of Zion be joyful in their King." [35, 29.] Pfal. 1. 14, "Offer unto God thanksgiving."-xcv. 2, "Let us come before his Prefence with thanksgiving."-xcii. 1, " It is a good Thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to fing praises unto thy Name, O moit High." CV. I, O give thanks unto the Lord," &c. Ver. 45, Praife ye the Lord," &c. lxvi. 8, "O blefs our God, ye People," &c. cxxxv. 19, "Blefs the Lord, O Houfe of Ifrael," &c.

""

66

56. Whether I have ranged the foregoing Particulars in proper Or der, or given an exact Account of each, let the Studious of Scripture Knowledge confider. What ought to be specially obferved is this; that all the forementioned Privileges, Benefits, Relations and Ho nours did belong to all the Children of Ifrael without Exception. The Lord Jehovah, was the God, King, Saviour, Father, Hujband, Shepherd, &c, to them all. He faved, bought, redeemed; he created, he

beget,

begot, he made, he planted, &c. them all. And they were all his People Nation, Heritage, his Children, Spoufe, Flock, Vineyard, &c. They all had a right to the Ordinances of Worship, to the Promises of God's Bleffing, and especially to the Promife of the Land of Canaan. All enjoyed the Protection and fpecial Favours of God in the Wilderness, till they had forfeited them: All eat of the Manna, and all drank of the Water out of the Rock, &c. That these Privileges and Benefits belonged to the whole Body of the Ifraelitifh Nation, is evident from all the Texts I have already quoted; which he, who obferves carefully, will find do all of them fpeak of the whole Nation, the whole Community, without Exception."

57. And that all thefe Privileges, Honours and Advantages were common to the whole Nation, is confirmed by this further Confideration; that they were the Effects of God's free Grace, without Regard to any prior Righteousness of theirs; and therefore they are affigned to God's Love, as the Spring from whence they flowed, and the Donation of thofe Benefits is expreffed by God's loving them; they are alfo affigned to God's Mercy, and the beftowing of them is expreffed by his fhewing them Mercy. Deut. ix. 4, 5, 6, "Speak not thou in thy Heart, after that the Lord has caft them out before thee, faying, for my Righteoufnefs the Lord hath brought me in to poffefs this Land,-Not for thy Righteoufnefs, or the Uprightness of thy Heart doft thou go to poffefs their Land, &c. Understand therefore, that the Lord thy God giveth thee not this good Land to poffefs it, for thy Righteousness; for thou art a ftiff-necked People."

58. Deut. vii. 7, "The Lord did not fet his love upon you, nor choofe you, because you were more in Number than any People."-Ver. 8, "But because the Lord, loved you, and because he would keep the Oath which he had fworn unto your Fathers, hath the Lord brought you out [of Egypt].” xxxiii. 3, "He loved the People." Ifai. xliii. 3, 4Jer. xxxi. 3. Hof. iii. 1. ix. 15,-" I will drive them out of my House [26] I will love them no more."-xi. 1, "When Ifrael was a Child, then I loved him." Mal. i. 2, "I have loved you, faith the Lord (fpeaking to the whole Body of the Ifraelites) yet ye fay, wherein haft thou loved us? Was not Efau Jacob's Brother? faith the Lord; yet I loved Jacob.” -Ezek. xvi. 3-15, "Thus faith the Lord God unto Jerufalem, thy Birth and thy Nativity is of the Land of Canaan, thy Father was an Amorite, and thy Mother an Hittite. And as for thy Nativity, in the Day thou was born, [21] thy Navel was not cut, &c. None eye pitied thee, but thou waft caft out in the open Field, &c. And when I paffed by thee, and faw thee polluted in thine own Blood," or trodden under Foot, "I faid unto thee, Live, [17] &c. And I have caufed thee to multiply as the Bud of the Field, and thou haft encreased and waxen great, &c. Now when I paffed by thee, and looked upon thee, behold thy Time was the Time of Love; and I spread my Skirt over thee, and covered thy Nakednefs, &c. Then I washed thee with Water: I clothed thee alfo with broidered Work,-I decked thee with Ornaments, &c. And thou didst profper into a Kingdom. And thy Renown went forth among the Heathen for thy Beauty, for it was perfect through my Comelinefs which I had put upon thee,"

59. It

332

Jewish Conftitution a Scheme for promoting Virtue.

CH. III.

59. It is on Account of this general Love to the Ifraelites, that they are honoured with the Title of Beloved. Pfal. Ix. 5, "That thy Beloved may be delivered, fave with thy Right Hand, and hear me." Pfal. cviii. 6. Jer. xi. 15, "What hath my Beloved to do in my Houfe, feeing the has wrought Lewdnefs with many ?"-xii. 7, "I have forfaken my Houfe, I have given the dearly Beloved of my Soul into the Hands of my Enemies." [And in their present Condition at this Day the Jews ftill are in a Sense Beloved, Rom. xi. 28.]

60. Exod. xv. 13, "Thou in thy Mercy haft led forth the People, which thou haft redeemed," &c. Pfal. xcviii. 3. Ifai. liv. 10. Mich. vii. 20, "Thou shalt perform the Truth to Jacob, and the Mercy to Abraham, which thou haft fworn unto our Fathers from the Days of Old." Luke i. 54, 55, "He hath holpen his Servant Ifrael, in Remembrance of his Mercy, as he spake to our Fathers, to Abraham and his Seed for ever." Agreeable to this, he fhewed them Mercy as he continued them to be his People, when he might have cut them off. Exod. xxxiii. 19," I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will fhew Mercy on whom I will fhew Mercy." And when, after their prefent State of Rejection, they fhall again be taken into the Church, this too is expreft by their obtaining Mercy, Rom. xi. 31.

61. In these Texts, and others of the fame Kind, it is evident the Love and Mercy of God hath Refpect not to particular Perfons among the Jews, but to the whole Nation; and therefore is to be understood of that general Love and Mercy whereby he fingled them out to be a peculiar Nation to himself, favoured with extraordinary Bleflings.

62. And it is with Regard to this Sentiment and Manner of Speech, that the Gentiles, who were not diftinguished in the fame Manner, are faid not to have obtained Mercy. Hof. ii. 23, "And I will fow her unto me in the Earth, and I will have Mercy upon her that had not obtained Mercy, and I will fay to them which were not my People, [29] Thou art my People; and they fhall fay, Thou art my God."

63. Further; it fhould be noted, as a very material and important Circumstance, that all this Mercy and Love was granted and confirmed to the Ifraelites under the Sanction of a Covenant, the most folemn Declaration and Affurance, fworn to, and ratified by the Oath of God. Gen. xvii. 7, 8, " And I will establish my Covenant between me and thee, and thy Seed after thee, in their Generations, for an everlasting Covenant; to be a God unto thee, and to thy Seed after thee. And I will give unto thee, and to thy Seed after thee, the Land wherein thou art a Stranger, all the Land of Canaan, for an everlasting Poffeffion; and I will be their God." Gen. xxii. 16, 17, 18, " By myfelf have! fuorn, faith the Lord, for becaufe thou haft done this Thing, that in Bleffing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy Seed, as the Stars of the Heaven, and as the Sand which is upon the Seafhore; and thy Seed fhall poffefs the Gate of his Enemies; and in thy Seed fhall all the Nations of the Earth be blessed: Because thou haft obeyed my Voice." This Covenant with Abraham was the Magna Charta, the Bafis of the Jewish Conftitution, which was renewed afterwards with the whole Nation; and is frequently referred to as the Ground and Security of all their Bleflings. Exod. vi.

¢¢

3

66

37, "I appeared unto Abraham, Ifaac, &c. And I have also eftablifhed my Covenant with them, to give them the Land of Canaan. I have also heard the Groaning of the Children of Ifrael,and I have remembered my Covenant,and will take you to me for a People, and I will be to you a God." Deut. vii. 8. Pfal. cv. 8, 9, 10, He hath remembered his Covenant for ever, the Word which he commanded to a thousand Generations. Which Covenant he made with Abraham, and his Oath unto Ifaac: And confirmed the fame unto Jacob for a Law, and to Ifrael for an everlasting Covenant." Jer. xi. 5. Ezek. xvi. 8. xx. 5.

64. But what most of all deferves our Attention is this; that the Jewish Constitution was a Scheme for promoting Virtue, true Religion, or a good and pious Life. In all the forementioned Inftances they were very happy: But were they to reft in them? Because these Bleffings were the Gift of Love and Mercy, without Refpect to their Righteoufnefs, or Obedience, was it therefore needlefs for them to be obedient? Or were they, purely on Account of Benefits already received, fecure of the Favour and Bleffing of God for ever? By no Means. And, that I may explain this important Point more clearly, I fhall diftinguish their Bleflings into antecedent and confequent, and fhew, from the Scriptures, how both ftand in Relation to their Duty.

65. Antecedent Bleffings are all the Benefits hitherto mentioned, which were given by the mere Grace of God, antecedently to their Obe dience, and without Respect to it: But yet fo, that they were intended to be Motives to Obedience. Which Effect if they produced, then their Election, Redemption and Calling were confirmed; and they were entitled to all the Bleffings promised in the Covenant; which Bleffings I therefore call confequent, because they were given only in confequence of their Obedience. But, on the other Hand, if the Antecedent Bleffings did not produce Obedience to the Will of God; if his Chofen People, his Children did not obey his Voice, then they forfeited all their Privileges, all their Honours and Relations to God, all his Favours and Promifes, and fell under the feverest Threatnings of his Wrath and Displeasure (*).

66. And that this was the very End and Defign of the Dispensation of God's extraordinary Favours to the Jews; namely, to engage them to Duty and Obedience; or that it was a Scheme for promoting Virtue, is clear beyond all Difpute from every Part of the Old Teftament. Note, I fhall make Ant. ftand for Antecedent Love, or Motives; Conf. for Confequent Love, or Reward; and Thr. for Threatning.

[Ant.] Ġen. xvii. 1, "I am God All-fufficient, [Duty] Walk thou before me, and be thou perfect." Ver. 4-8, [Ant.]" I will be a God unto thee, and thy Seed after thee. And I will give unto thee, and unto thy Seed-the Land-of Canaan,-and I will be their God." Ver. 9, [Duty]

"Thou

(*) Thus Life itself may be distinguished into I. Antecedent; which God gives freely to all his Creatures, of his mere Good-will and Liberality, before they can have done any thing to deferve it. II. Confequent Life; which is the Continuance of Life in happy Circumftances, and has Relation to the good Conduct of a rational Creature. As he improves Life Antecedent, fo he fhall, through the Favour of God, enjoy Life Confequent.

334

Jewish Conftitution a Scheme for promoting Virtue. CH. III.

"Thou shalt keep my Covenant therefore, thou and thy Seed after thee." Gen. xxii. 16, 18, [Duty]-" Because thou haft done this Thing, and haft not withheld thy Son, thine only Son; because thou haft obeyed my Voice," Ver. 16, 17, [Conf.]" By myself have I fworn, faith the Lord, that in Blefling I will blefs thee, and in Multiplying, I will multiply thy Seed, as the Stars of Heaven; and thy Seed fhall poffefs the Gate of his Enemies, and in thy Seed fhall all the Nations of the Earth be bleffed."

67. [Here let it be noted; that the fame Bleffings may be both Confequent and Antecedent with Regard to different Perfons. With Regard to Abraham the Bleffings promised in this Place (Gen. xxii. 16, 17, 18.) are Confequent, as they were the Reward of his Obedience. "Because thou haft obeyed my Voice." But with Regard to his Pofterity theie fame Bleffings were of the Antecedent Kind; because, though they had Refpect to Abraham's Obedience, yet, with Regard to the Jews, they were given freely, or antecedently to any Obedience they had performed. So the Bleffings of Redemption, with Regard to our Lord's Obedience, are Confequent; but with Regard to us, they are of free Grace, and Antecedent; not owing to any Obedience of ours, though granted in Confequence of Chrift's Obedience. Phil. ii. 8, 9, &c. Eph. i. 7. Heb. v. 8, 9. Nor doth the Donation of Bleflings upon many, in Confequence of the Obedience of one, at all diminish the Grace, but very much recommends the Wifdom, that beftows them.

68. Ifai. xliii. 7, 21, [Ant.] "This People have I made [17] for my felf, [Duty] they fhall fhew forth my Praife." Jer. xiii. 11. Lev. xx. 7, 8, [Ant.] "I am the Lord your God. I am the Lord which fanctify [43] you. [Duty] Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye Holy. And ye fhall keep my Statutes and do them." Deut. iv. 7, 8, [Ant.] "What Nation is there fo great, who hath God fo nigh them, as the Lord our God is?—And what Nation is there fo great, that hath Statutes and Judgments fo righteous," &c. Ver. 9, [Duty]" Only take heed to thyfelf, and keep thy Soul diligently, left thou forget the Things which thine Eyes have feen." Ver. 20, [Ant.] "The Lord hath taken you forth out of the Iron Furnace, even out of Egypt, to be unto him a People of Inheritance, [53] as ye are at this Day." Ver. 23, [Duty] “Take heed unto yourselves, left ye forget the Covenant of the Lord your God."-Ver. 24, [Thr.] "For the Lord thy God is a confuming fire." Ver. 25, "When ye fhall corrupt yourselves,-and fhall do Evil in the Sight of the Lord thy God."-Ver. 26. "I call Heaven and Earth to witnefs, that ye fhall foon utterly perish from off the Land."-Ver. 34, [Ant.] "Hath God effayed to go, and take him a Nation from the Midit of another Nation, by Signs and Wonders," &c. &c. Ver. 39, [Duty] "Know therefore this Day, and confider it in thy Heart, that the Lord he is God in Heaven above, &c. Thou shalt keep therefore his Satutes, and his Commandments,-[Conf.]-that it may go well with thee, and with thy Children after thee," &c. Deut. v. 6, [Ant.] "I am the Lord thy God, [29] which brought thee out of the Land of Egypt, from the Houfe of Bondage." Ver. 7, [Duty] "Thou fhalt have no other Gods before me," &c. Ver. 29, "O that there were such an Heart in them, that they would fear me and keep all my Commandments, always-[Conf.]—that it might be well with them and with their Children for ever." Ver. 33

[Duty]

« ForrigeFortsæt »