Sivut kuvina
PDF
ePub

X. 4.

LVIII. As there is no great difficulty in this historical account, we hasten to the consideration of the mystery set forth 1 Cor.

“ and did all drink the same fpiritual drink.” Spiritual, not surely_in its own nature, but in its fignification, as we have intimated concerning the meat. “ For they drank of the spirit. ual rock that followed them,” that is, the water of the rock, which followed them in a plentiful stream in the wilderness. “ And that rock was Christ, that is, as “ Tertullian, de Patientia," says well, “ fignified Chrift:" with whom Augustin agrees, Quæst. 57. “ in Leviticum, the rock was Christ, not in substance, but fignification.” Let us take a survey of the fimilitude.

LIX. It is certain, Christ is often called a rock in fcripture; on account of his eternal duration, Ifa. xxvi. 4. and impregnable strength, Pf. xxxi. 2. and, which is the consequence of that, a most safe habitation, Pl. lxxi. 3. Yet I imagine these respects do not come under our present consideration. Clirist is here re'presented by a rock only, as that gave water to quench the thirst of the Israelites.

LX. The true similitude is this. Ist, This rock hath its name from a parched dry waste (for this is the meaning of Horeb in Hebrew,) and seemed to promise nothing less than what it produced, namely, streams, for giving water to such a number of people with their cattle. Is not Christ also “ as a root out of a dry ground,” Ifa. liii. 2. And is it not something above a prodigy, that he, who complained of thirit on the cross, should call out to others, “ if any man thirst let him come unto me and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath faid, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living waters." John vi. 37, 38. 2dly, The rock did not produce water till it was fmitten. Thus also “ it became God to make the captain of our salvation perfect through sufferings,” Heb. ii. 10. When his fide was pierced with the spear, immediately there iflued out blood and water, John xix. 34. And by this means he became " a fountain opened to the house of David, and to the inhabitants of Jerufalem for fin, and uncleanness, Zech. xiji. 1. 2dly, Nor was it lawful to smite the rock with any other instrument than the rod of the Lawgiver: to intimate, that Christ was to undergo the same sufferings and the same curse threatened by the law to the finner man, Gal. iii. 13. 4thly, The smiting of the rock was performed in the fight of the elders of the murmuring people. At the loud clamour of an enrared multitude, and at the desire of the elders, many of them allo standing by Christ when he was nailed to the cross, Mat. xxvii.41. 5thly, The majesty of the supreme Being displayed itself on the

top of the rock. When Christ suffered!, did he not even

at

at that time, so vail himself as if he was void of divine glory? But they who were most unwilling to own it, were obliged to confess it, Mat. xxvii. 54. 6thly, Such a quantity of water fowed from the rock, that was sufficient not only to quench the thirit of the Israelites, but also to follow them in streams, whithersoever they travelled in the wilderness, Psal. lxxviii. 15, 20. Psal. cv. 41. Thus also the abundance of grace, that is in Christ, makes « our cup to overflow, and goodness and mercy to follow us all the days of our life,” Psal. xxiii. 5, 6.

LXI. What we have recorded, Numb. xx. 8. Is different from this history, and is likewise mystical. There Moses is commanded, indeed not to smite the rock with his rod, but only to speak unto the rock, before the eyes of the Ifraelites, in order to its producing water. By which it seems was fignified, that Christ ought to suffer but once, and that his one offering was sufficient for perfecting believers, Heb. ix. 27, 28. Heb. x. 14. The efficacy of which was to be dispensed to the elect by the preaching of the gospel. But Mofes, contrary to the will of the precept, though according to the will of the divine decree, in smiting the rock twice, was a type of those, who wickedly indeed, but by the determinate counsel of God, persecute over again, and evil entreat Christ, after once suffering on the cross, in his mystical body, Acs ix. 4. Col. i. 26. As out of the rock, which was smitten twice, there issued out much water, and the congregation drank, Num. XX. U. fo in like manner, even the afflictions of believers have turned out to the advantage of the church, Phil. i. 12. the blood of the martyrs, like a fructifying rain, has watered the paridise of God; and the sparks, flying every way from their funeral piles have far and near kindled a new light of faith, and new flames of love: fo that the church never experienced a greater abundance of divine confolations, than when she was forced to endure the heavieit strokes of persecution. Yet as Moses himself, who was fo faithful, fo dear to God, was for this very thing excluded the land of Canaan, Num. XX. 11. fo none of these perfecutors shall go unpunished for this their rafh prefumption, Pfal. cv. 14. 2 Thess. i. 6.

LXII. There now remains the sacrament of the brazen ferpent, whose history recorded, Numb. xxi. 6.-Bochart has distinctly explained, Hierozoic. p. 2. lib. 3. c. 13. The sum of which is this. The Israelites, for murmuring against God and against Mofes, and speaking with contempt of the heavenly manna, incurred the heavy displeasure of the deity. And therefore serpents were sent among them, to bite the people, and immediately cut off many by an infectious calamity. The

Scripture feripture call these serpents D'agu Seraphim ; which name they have in common with the most exalted angels, and is derived from burning; but are so called because they send a fame out of their mouth, and burn by their venomous breath. The Greeks call fome serpents, from their heat Tensãges and xxyσωνας. . But whether seraph here denotes a water-serpent, or an amphibious serpent, which is Bochart's opinion, or any other species of serpents, is neither so very certain, nor much our concern to know. It is more profitable to consider how the divine mercy, importuned by the complaints of the people, and the confellion of their sin, and the prayers of Moses, afforded a present remedy for so great an evil. At the direction of God a brazen serpent, was framed by Moses, and put upon a pole ; that whoever looked upon it when it was thus erected, might find a most infallible cure for the mortal bites of the serpents: which also the event plainly proved. Three things are here distinctly to be observed. (1.) The misery of the people. (2.) God's favour and goodness. (3.) The duty required of man, in order to his partaking of that goodness.

LXIII. In the misery of the people, we are to consider both the fin and the punishment of it. It was a sin, to throw contempt upon the manna, and to murmur against God and against Moses. The depraved corruption of nature scarce any where more plainly shews itself, than in the people of Israel ; who though loaded with so many benefits by God, so often chastised with paternal rods, yet incessantly returned to their natural disposition. Nor do they rise up against Mofes alone, by whose means they had escaped so many dangers, but against God himself who was present among them; by such extraordinary signs of his majesty; and with a frantic wantonness lothe the manna, even the heavenly manna, which they had lately received with so much eagerness. Does not this plainly argue the unconquerable depravity of our nature, and the incredible abuse of the divine beneficence in man, when left to himself? And as we are all of the same frame, we may behold a specimen of our own perverseness in the Israelites.

LXIV. The punishment, consequent on the sin, was the bites of fiery serpents; by which it is not improperly imagine ed, are shadowed for the suggestions of the devil, when he tempts to dispair, and which Paul calls the fiery darts of Satan, Eph. vi. 16. and which spread their poison through every part. For the devils are truly seraphim: who, as in their first creation, they shone fair with the flames of divine love, so after their fin, became horrid and scorching serpents. As ther. selves are scorched with the fire of divine vengeance, so they VOL, II.

burn us,

Ri

burn with rage against God and his people. And indeed, they are justly given up to the vexations of Satan, who contemptuously reject the word of the gospel, and the grace of God in Christ, which is fweeter than any manna; or blafpheme against God himself, as Hymeneus and Alexander, 1 Tim. i. 20.

LXV. But as those Israelites who found the bites of the ferpents mortal, not being careful to obtain a cure, are an emblem of the impenitent, who, despise the grace of God, and so die in their fins : so they who had recourse to Mofes, confessing their fins, and imploring the grace of God, plainly fignify those, whom a sense of sin, and dread of divine judgment, excite to wiser resolutions, such as those, who were pricked in their heart, and said to Peter and the other apostles, “ Men and brethren what shall we do?” Acts. ii. 37. and the jailor, Acts xvi. 29, 30. But for their fake, God commanded Moses to put a brazen serpent on a pole, and promised, that as many as were bitten, should, by looking to it, be cured. Indeed, I make no manner of doubt, but this serpent was a representation of Christ; for he himself asserts, John. iii. 14. “ as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up." This type represents the antitype several ways.

LXVI. Fir/t, as to the form. That the serpent was a type of the devil, not of Christ, is asserted by a learned author without any probable reason. Though the ferpent, which defroyed the Israelites by their venomous bites, were a figure of the devil, yet all circumstances loudly declare the brazen ferpent, which was made at God's command, and ordained to cure the bites of the other ferpents, was a sacrament of Christ. Nor is it more improper to represent Christ by the figure of a serpent, than, what the learned author so often inculcates, by that of a wanton goat. The fimilitude consists in the following things. ist, That Chrift, though himself free from all sin, came “ in the likeness of finful fleih,” Rom. viii. 3. 2dly, That by a voluntary covenant-engagment, he substituted himself in the room of those, who by nature, like all others, are a “generation of vipers," Mat. iii. 7. 3dly, That by virtue of that engagement, by bearing their fins, he was made fin and the curse, 2 Cor. v. 21. Gal. iii. 13. And so had truly the figure of a serpent, without its poison.

LXVII. Secondly, as to the matter of it, whereby in different respects, were represented both the vileness of the human nature, the excellence of the divine, and the efficacy of the gospel, as the learned have observed. ift, The serpent was not of gold, but of brass, which is a nearer metal, to hold forth Christ to us, as one « in whom there is no form, nor comeliness, no beauty, that we should defire him,” Ifa. liii. 2. 2dly, To signify the divine power of Christ by the firmness and durablenefs of brass. Whence Job vi. 12. “ is my strength the strength of stones? Or is my flesh of brass?" And in the Poet, a monument is said to be more lasting than brass. 3dly, As among metals brass is the most sounding. Whence Paul, I Cor. xiii. 1. “ I am become as a sound brass. Thus Chrift crucified seems to be rightly set forth by brass, as also the preaching of the 'cross, “ whose sound went into all the earth," Rom. x. 18.

LXVIII. Thirdly, as to the lifting up. This lifting up of the serpent on a pole, prefigured the lifting up of Christ, not his glorious exaltation in heaven, but his ignominious lifting up on the cross, John iii. 14. As John himself explains that phrase, John xii. 32, 33. For, according to the Syriac and the language of the Targum, to lift up, signifies to hang up on a tree, Both actions are denoted by the same term aps. And as Bochart has learnedly observed, that manner of speaking seems to have taken its rise from the decree of king Darius ; at least it may be confirmed by that Ezra vi. 11. “ whosoever shall alter this word, let timber be pulled down from his house, and being set up, let him be hanged (put to death) thereon : set up, that is hanged up. But holocausts, or whole burnt-offerings, called in Hebrew mbw, that is, elevations, because they were carried upwards, signified, that Christ, when offering himself for fin, should be lifted upon the cross. Nor is it for nothing, that God would have the serpent lifted up by Moses. Because it was in consequence of the curse, thundered out by the law, given by Moses, that Christ was nailed to the cross.

LXIX. Fourthly, With respect to the benefit: as from the fere pent the Israelites obtained the cure of their mortal bites; fo “ in the wings of Christ there is healing," Mal. iv. 2. “ he healeth all our diseases,” Psal. ciii. 3. Wherefore as the Jews, depending on such a present help, little dreaded the bites and stings of the other serpents; fo the believer, who relies upon Christ, and makes nothing of the assaults of devils, cries out with full assurance, “O death, where is thy fting ?” 1 Cor. xv. 55.

LXX. In order to partake in fo great a benefit, God required nothing of the Israelites, but to look to the brazen serpent; just so a bare look to Christ, lifted up on the cross, perfectly cures the wounds given by the devil; namely, a look of faith by which Moses saw him, who is invisible, Heb. xi. 27. Thus Christ himself explains it, John iii. 14, 15., “ As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the

Sen

Rr2

« EdellinenJatka »