Billeder på siden

then head-quarters of idolatry, with a defign they should there increase into a nation; and there, notwithstanding the cruel oppreffion they long groaned under, they multiplied to a furprifing number. At length God delivered them from the fervitude of Egypt, by the moft dreadful difplays of his almighty power; whereby he demonftrated himfelf to be the one true God, in a fignal and compleat triumph over idols, even in their metropolis, and in a country of fame and eminence among all the nations round about. Thus freed from the vileft bondage, God formed them into a kingdom, of which he himfelf was king; gave them a revelation of his nature and will; inftituted fundry ordinances of worship; taught them the way of truth and life; fet before them various motives to duty, promifing fingular bleffings to their obedience and fidelity, and threatning difobedience and apoftacy, or revolt from his government, with very heavy judg ments; especially that of being expelled from the land of Canaan, and "fcattered among all people, from the one end of the earth unto the other," in a wretched, perfecuted ftate. Deut. xxviii. 63-68. Lev. xxvi. 3, 4, &c. 33. Having fettled their conftitution, he led them through the wildernefs, where he difciplined them for forty years together; made all oppofition fall before them; and at last brought them to the promised land.

7. Here I may obferve, that God did not choofe the Ifraelites out of any partial regard to that nation; nor because they were better than other people, (Deut. ix. 4, 5.) and would always obferve his laws. It is plain he knew the contrary. (Deut. xxxi. 29. xxxii. 5, 6, 15.) It was indeed with great propriety, that among other advantages he gave them alio that, of being defcended from progenitors illuftrious for piety and virtue; and that he grounded the extraordinary favours they enjoyed upon Abraham's faith and obedience, Gen. xxii. 16, 17, 18. But it was not out of regard to the moral character of the Jewish nation that God chose them, [57] (*) any other nation would have ferved as well on that account; but as he thought fit to felect one nation of the world, he felected them out of refpect to the piety and virtue of their ancestors, Exod. iii. 15. vi. 3, 4, 5. Deut. iv. 37.

8. It should also be carefully oblerved; that God selected the Ifraelitish nation and manife&ted himself to them by various difplays of his power and good nefs, not principally for their own fakes, to make them a happy and flourishing people; but to be fubfervient to his own high and great defigns with regard to all mankind. And we fball entertain a very wrong, low, and narrow idea of this felect nation, and of the difpenfations of God towards it, if we do not confider it as a beacon, or a light fet upon a hill; as raifed up to be a public voucher of the being and providence of God, and of the truth of the revela tion delivered to them, in all ages, and in all parts of the world: and confequently, that the Divine fcheme, in relation to the Jewish polity, had reference to other people, and even to us at this day, as well as to


(*) Wherever any number is included in brackets, thus [57], it refers to the paragraph marked with the fame number in this KEY; and to no ether part of the book.

the Jews themselves. [75] And the fituation of this nation, lying upon the borders of Afia, Europe, and Africa, was very convenient for fuch a general purpose.


9. It is further obfervable; that this fcheme was wifely calculated to anfwer great ends under all events. If this nation continued obedient, their vifible profperity, under the guardianship of an extraordinary Providence, would be a very proper and extenfive inftruction to the nations of the earth. And, no doubt, fo far as they were obedient, and favoured with the fignal interpofals of the Divine Power, their cafe was very useful to their neighbours. On the other hand; if they were disobedient, then their calamities, and efpecially their difperfions, would nearly answer the fame purpofe; by fpreading the knowledge of the true God, and of Revelation, in the countries, where before they were not known. And fo wifely was this fcheme laid at firft, with regard to the laws of the nation, both civil and religious, and fo carefully has it all along been conducted by the Divine Providence, that it ftill holds good, even at this day, full 3600 years from the time when it first took place, and is ftill of public ufe for confirming the truth of Revelation. I mean, not only as the Christian profeffion, (pread over a great part of the world, has grown out of this fcheme, but as the Jews themselves, in virtue thereof, after a difperfion of about 1700 years, over all the face of the earth, every where in a ftate of ignomy and contempt, have, notwithstanding, fubfifted in great numbers, diftinct and separate from all other nations. feems to me a ftanding miracle: nor can I affign it to any other cause but the will and extraordinary interpofal of Heaven, when I confider, that, of all the famous nations of the world, who might have been diftinguished from others with great advantage, and the most illuftrious mark of honour and renown; as the Affyrians, Perfians, Macedonians, Romans, who all in their turns held the empire of the world, and were, with great ambition, the lords of mankind, yet thefe, even in their own countries, the feat of their ancient glory, are quite diffolved, and fink into the body of mankind: nor is there a perfon upon earth can boaft he is defcended from thofe renowned, and imperial ancestors. Whereas a small nation, generally defpifed, and which was, both by Pagans and pretended Chriftians, for many ages, haraffed, perfecuted, butchered, and diftreffed, as the most deteftable of all people upon the face of the earth (**); and which, therefore, one would imagine, every foul that belonged to it, fhould have gladly dif owned, and have been willing the odious name fhould be entirely extinguifhed; yet, I fay, this hated nation has continued in a body quite diftinct and feparate from all other people; even in a ftate of difperfion, and grievous perfecution, for about 1700 years; agreeably to the prediction, Ifai. xlvi. 28, I will make a full end of all the nations whither I have driven thee, but I will not make a full end of thee. This demonftrates, that the Wisdom, which fo formed them into a peculiar body, and the Providence, which has fo preferved them, that they have, al


(**) According to the prophecy of Mofes, Deut. xxviii. 63, &c. See Dr. Patrick's Commentary upon that place.

moft ever fince the Deluge, fubfifted in a ftate divided from the reft of mankind, and are ftill likely to do so, is not Homan, but Divine. For no human wisdom or power could form, or, however, could execute, such a vaft, extenfive defign. Thus the very being of the Jews, in their pretent circumftances, is a flanding, public proof of the truth of Revelation; at leaft as far as the call of Abraham: and alfo is a fair and manifeft pledge of the great event foretold in the Prophetic Writings; when Babylon fhall fall, the fulness of the Gentiles come, and all Ifrael be faved, and, I fuppofe, return to their own land again. For their being fo wonderfully preferved, in a diftinct body, I make no question, points to their reftoration predicted particularly by St. Paul, Rom. xi. 12, 15, 25, to 33 (*). But to return.

[blocks in formation]

The particular Honours and Privileges of the Jewish Nation, while they were the peculiar People of God, and the Terms fignifying those Honours, &c. explained.

\ 10.


HE nature and dignity of the foregoing fcheme, and the ftate and privileges of the Jewish nation, will be better understood, if we carefully obferve the particular phrafes by which their relation to God, and his favours to them, are expreffed in Scripture. And,

II. I. As God, in his infinite wifdom and goodnefs, was pleased to prefer them be o e any other nation, and to fingle them out for the purposes of revelation, and preferving the knowledge, worship, and obedience of the true God, God is laid to choose them, and they are reprefented as his chofen, or elect people: Deut. iv. 37. vii. 6. x. 15, "The Lord had a delight in thy fathers,and he chose their feed after them, even you above all people." 1 Kings iii. 8, "Thy fervant is in the midst of thy people which thou hast chofen, a great people that cannot be numbered." I Chron. xvi. 1 Chron. xvi. 13, "O ye feed of Ifrael his fervant, ye children of Jacob his chofen ones.' Pfal. cv. 6. xxxiii. 12, "Bleffed is the nation whofe God is the Lord: and the people whom he hath chofen for his own inheritance." cv. 43. cvi. 5, "That I may fee the good of thy chofen, or elect, that I may rejoice in the gladnefs of thy nation." cxxxv. 4. Ifai. xli. 8, 9. xliii. 20. xliv. 1, 2. xlv. 4, "For Jacob my fervant's fake, and Ifrael mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name." Ezek. xx. 5, "Thus faith the Lord, in the day when I chose Ifrael, and



(*) Since I wrote this there has been published three Difcourfes, under the title of "The Circumstances of the jewish People an Argument for the Truth of the Christian Religion," by the learned and judicious Dr. N. Lard ner, which I think well worth perufing.

lifted my Hand unto the Seed of the Houfe of Jacob, and made myfe!f known unto them in the Land of Egypt."-Hence re-inftating them in their former Privileges is expreffed by choofing them again, Ifa. xiv. 1, "For the Lord will have Mercy on Jacob, and will yet choose Israel, and set them in their own Land." Zech. i. 17: ii. 12.

12. II. The first Step he took, in Execution of his Purpose of Election, was, to rescue them from their wretched Situation in the Servitude and Idolatry of Egypt, and to carry them, through all Enemies and Dangers, to the Liberty and happy State, to which he intended to advance them. With regard to which the Language of Scripture is, 1. that he Delivered, 2. Saved, 3. Bought, or Purchafed, 4. Redeemed them. Exod. iii. 8, "And I am come down to deliver them out of the Hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them unto a good Land." So Exod. xviii. 8, 9, 10. Judg. vi. 8, 9.-Exod. vi. 6," I am the Lord, and I will bring you from under the Burthens of the Egyptians, and I will rid [deliver] you out of their Bondage." So Exod. v. 23. I Sam. x. 18.

13. Exod. xiv. 30, "Thus the Lord faved Ifrael that Day, out of the Hand of the Egyptians." Deut. xxxiii. 29, "Happy art thou, O Ifrael: Who is like unto thee, O People faved by the Lord ?" 1 Sam. x. 19, Thus God was their Saviour and Salvation.-Pfal. cvi. 21, 66 They, [the Ifraelites,] forgot God their Saviour, which had done great Things in Egypt." Ifai. xliii. 3, "I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Ifrael, thy Saviour: I gave Egypt for thy Ranfom," lxiii. 8. Exod. xv. 2, "The Lord is my Strength and Song, and he is become my Salvation." Deut. xxxii. 15.

14. Exod. xv. 16, "Fear and Dread shall fall upon them-till thy People pass over, O Lord, till thy People pass over, which thou hast purchased." Deut. xxxii. 6, "Do ye thus requite the Lord, O foolish People and unwife? Is he not thy Father, that has bought thee?" Pfal. lxxiv. 2, “Rememberthy Congregation which thou haft purchased, or bought, of old (*).”

15. Exod.

(*) In order to understand the Notion of buying and purchafing, as here ap plied, let it be obferved; that buying is often ufed metaphorically in Scripture, where it is common to meet with buying without Money and without Price; or buying with a Price improperly fo called. Ifai. lv. 1, "Ho, every one that thirfteth," that is defirous of Life and Salvation, "come ye to the Waters, and he that hath no Money, come ye; buy and eat, yea, come buy Wine and Milk without Money and without Price." Which is explained, Ver. 3, "Incline your Earandcome unto me, hear," be attentive to my inttructions, and your Soulfhall live." In this fenfe we buy, when we ferioufly apply our Minds to Study and receive the Precepts of Divine Wisdom, and the Promifes of Divine Grace; and endea vour to have our Hearts and Lives conformed to them. Thus we buy the Truth, Prov. xxiii. 23. iv. 5, 7. "Get [buy] Wifdom, get [buy] Understanding," fo Chap. xv. 32. xvi. 16. xvii. 16. xix. 8. In all thefe Places the Word we render,

get, might have been tranflated, buy, and fo it is rendered, Deut. xxviii, 68. 2 Sam. xxiv. 21. 2 Chron. xxxiv. 11. Jer. xxxii. 7. Amos viii, 6. Gen, xlvii. 19. Ruth iv. 4, 8, and in feveral other Places. Thus we "buy" of Christ "Gold tried in the Fire, and white Raiment," (Rev. iii.18.) viz. the most valuable Endowments of Mind. Thus the wife Merchant Man (Mat. xiii. 45, 46.) having found "the Pearl of great Price," the Virtue and Happiuefs of the Gofpel," went and fold all that he had, and bought it." That is, VOL. III.


15. Exod. vi. 6. xv. 13, "Thou in thy Mercy haft led forth thy People, which thou haft redeemed." Deut. vii. 8, "Because the Lord loved you, hath he brought you out with a mighty Hand, and redeemed you out of the House of Bondmen," &c. ix. 26. xxiv. 18. 2 Sam. vii. 23, "And what one Nation in the Earth is like thy People, even like Ifrael, whom God went to redeem for a People to himself, and to make him Name, and to do for you great Things and terrible for thy Land, before thy People, which thou redeemedft to Thee from Egypt, from the Nations and their Gods ?"-Hence God is ftiled their Redeemer. Pfal. lxxviii. 35," And they remembered that God was their Rock, and the high God their Redeemer." And in many other Places.

[ocr errors]

16. III. As God fetched them out of Egypt, invited them to the Honours and Happiness of his People, and by many exprefs Declara tions, and Acts of Mercy, engaged them to adhere to him as their God, he is faid to call them, and they were his called. Ifai. xli. 8, 9, "But thou Ifrael art my fervant,- -thou whom I have taken from the Ends of the Earth, and called thee from the chief Men thereof." See Ver. 2. Chap. li. 2. Hof. xi. 1, "When Ifrael was a Child, then I loved him, and called my Son out of Egypt." Ifa. lxviii. 12, "Hearken unto me, O Jacob, and Ifrael my called.

17. IV. And as he brought them out of the most abject Slavery, and advanced them to a new and happy State of Being, attended with distinguishing Privileges, Enjoyments and Marks of Honour, he is faid, 1. To create, make and form them, 2. To give them life, 3. To have begotten them. Ifai. xliii. 1, "But thus faith the Lord that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Ifrael, fear not:" Ver. 5,


is, ftraitway in his Heart he renounced all temporal Enjoyments, that he might difpofe himself for eternal Light. And, in this Sente, we fell, when, through Carelessness, we fall into a Course of Sin, or, through Obthnacy, continue in it. Thus we may fell the Truth inftead of buying it, Prov. xxiii. 23. Thus Ahab did fell himself to work Wickednefs, 1 Kings xxi. 25. And thus the Jew, in the Flefh, was "carnal, and fold under Sin," Rom. vii. 15. Thus we buy, when we diligently ufe proper Means to gain Knowledge, and good Habits; we fell, when we neglect and abandon ourfelves to ignorance and Vice.

And the most High God is alfo in Scripture faid to buy and fell, with refpect to his Creatures. He buyeth a People when he interpofes in their Favour, and employs all proper Means to free them from Suffering, or any Circumstances of Wretchednefs, and to raise them to a happy and profperous State. So he purchased, or bought the Children of Ifrael, by bringing them out of the Slavery of Egypt, to the Liberty and Privileges of Canaan by his mighty Power, Wifdom and Goodness; which may be confidered as the Price, improperly fo called, for which he bought them. On the other hand; he fells a People, when he withdraws his Favour and Bieffing, fuffers their Enemies to prevail, or Calamity and Ruin to fall upon them. Deut. xxxii. 30, "How fhould One chafe a Thousand, had not their Rock fold then, and the Lord fhut them up." Judg. ii. 14. "The Anger of the Lord was hot against Ifrael, and he fold them into the Hands of their Enemies." And this Notion of Buying, or Purchafing, is in the New Testament very properly applied to our Salvation by Jefus Chrift; and therefore fhould be well confidered and understood.

« ForrigeFortsæt »