« EdellinenJatka »
burn with rage against God and his people. And indeed, they are justly given up to the vexations of Satan, who contemptuoufly reject the word of the gospel, and the grace of God in Chrift, which is fweeter than any manna; or blafpheme against God himself, as Hymeneus and Alexander, 1 Tim. i. 20.
LXV. But as thofe Ifraelites 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 fo die in their fins: fo they who had recourfe to Mofes, confeffing their fins, and imploring the grace of God, plainly fignify those, whom a sense of fin, and dread of divine judgment, excite to wifer refolutions; fuch as thofe, who were pricked in their heart, and faid 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 Mofes to put a brazen ferpent on a pole, and promised, that as many as were bitten, fhould, by looking to it, be cured. Indeed, I make no manner of doubt, but this ferpent was a representation of Chrift; for he himself afferts, John. iii. 14. 66 as Mofes lifted up the ferpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up." This type represents the antitype several ways.
LXVI. Firf, as to the form. That the ferpent was a type of the devil, not of Chrift, is afferted by a learned author without any probable reafon. Though the ferpent, which destroyed the Ifraelites by their venomous bites, were a figure of the devil, yet all circumftances loudly declare the brazen ferpent, which was made at God's command, and ordained to cure the bites of the other ferpents, was a facrament of Chrift. Nor is it more improper to reprefent Chrift by the figure of a ferpent, than, what the learned author fo often inculcates, by that of a wanton goat. The fimilitude consists in the following things. ift, That Chrift, though himself free from all fin, came "in the likeness of finful flesh," Rom. viii. 3. 2dly, That by a voluntary covenant-engagment, he fubftituted himself in the room of thofe, 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 curfe, 2 Cor. v. 21. Gal. iii. 13. And so had truly the figure of a ferpent, without its poison.
LXVII. Secondly, as to the matter of it, whereby in different refpects, were represented both the vileness of the human nature, the excellence of the divine, and the efficacy of the gofpel, the learned have obferved. 1ft, The ferpent was not of gold, but of brafs, which is a nearer metal, to hold forth Chrift to
us, as one "in whom there is no form, nor comeliness, no beauty, that we should defire him," Ifa. liii. 2. 2dly, To fignify the divine power of Chrift by the firmness and durablenefs of brass. Whence Job vi. 12. " is my strength the ftrength of ftones? Or is my flesh of brass?" And in the Poet, a monument is faid to be more lafting than brass. 3dly, As among metals brass is the most founding. Whence Paul, 1 Cor. xiii. 1. "I am become as a found brafs. Thus Chrift crucified feems to be rightly fet forth by brafs, as also the preaching of the cross," whofe found went into all the earth," Rom. x. 18.
LXVIII. Thirdly, as to the lifting up. This lifting up of the ferpent on a pole, prefigured the lifting up of Chrift, 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, fignifies to hang up on a tree. Both actions are denoted by the fame term p. And as Bochart has learnedly observed, that manner of speaking seems to have taken its rife from the decree of king Darius; at least it may be confirmed by that Ezra vi. 11. "whofoever shall alter this word, let timber be pulled down from his house, and being fet up, let him be hanged (put to death) thereon: fet up, that is hanged up. But holocaufts, or whole burnt-offerings, called in Hebrew bw, that is, elevations, because they were carried upwards, fignified, that Chrift, when offering himself for fin, fhould be lifted upon the crofs. Nor is it for nothing, that God would have the ferpent lifted up by Mofes. Because it was in confequence of the curfe, thundered out by the law, given by Mofes, that Chrift was nailed to the cross.
LXIX. Fourthly, With refpect to the benefit: as from the ferpent the Ifraelites obtained the cure of their mortal bites; fo "in the wings of Christ there is healing, Mal. iv. 2. " he healeth all our diseases," Pfal. ciii. 3. Wherefore as the Jews, depending on fuch a prefent help, little dreaded the bites and ftings of the other ferpents; fo the believer, who relies upon Christ, and makes nothing of the affaults of devils, cries out with full affurance, "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 Ifraelites, but to look to the brazen ferpent; juft fo a bare look to Chrift, lifted up on the cross, perfectly cures the wounds given by the devil; namely, a look of faith by which Mofes faw him, who is invisible, Heb. xi. 27. Thus Chrift himself explains it, John iii. 14, 15.. " As Mofes lifted up the ferpent in the wilderness, even fo must the Rr 2
Son of man be lifted up that whofoever believeth in him, fhould not perish, but have eternal life." If therefore any among the Ifraelites were blind, or voluntarily turned away their eyes, there remained no hope of falvation for them : fo neither at this day for unbelievers, or for "those that rebel against the light," Job xxiv. 13. or for thofe, "whofe minds the god of this world hath blinded, leaft the light of the glorious gospel of Chrift, fhould fhine unto them," 2 Cor. iv. 4. Yet as even a weak fight might be saving; fo a faith still in a state of weaknefs, if it be genuine and fincere, refcues us from death and as whoever was once bit and cured by the fight of the ferpent, if again bit, he was to have recourfe to the fame remedy: so if after our restoration, we fall again into fin, the fame faith fuccours, as before.
CHA P. XI.
Of the Blessings of the Old Testament.
S the Old Teftament is nothing, but the covenant of grace, as it was difpenfed before Chrift came in the flefh, it is neceffary, that all the bleffings or good things, which were promifed by the covenant of grace, as fuch, have likewife a place in the Old Teftament. But the benefits of the covenant of grace are eternal falvation, and whatever has a neceffary connection therewith; fuch as, regeneration, vocation by the word and Spirit of grace, faith, juftification, fpiritual peace, adoption, and, in a word, all the particulars explained in the preceding book. Though most of these are much more eminent under the New Teftament, yet all of them as to their substance, were conferred even under the Old, as this is evident from the nature of the thing, and from what we have proved before. We fhall only treat of the good things peculiar to the Old Testament, especially under the Mofaic difpenfation.
II. And they are five. I. The election of the Ifraelites for a peculiar people. II. The inheritance of the land of Canaan. III. The familiar demonftration and inhabitation of the divine majefty. IV. The fhadowing forth of divine mysteries, and daily fealing them by a religion of ceremonies. V. An almost uninterrupted fuccefiion of infpired prophets.
III. It was certainly a great benefit, that God fhould choofe the
the people of Ifrael, above all other nations of the world, to have communion with himself in a most stedfast covenant. God himfelf declares this in these words, Deut. vii. 6. " for thou art a holy people unto Jehovah thy God, Jehovah thy God hath chofen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth." In confequence of this election, it was. ft, That Ifrael was called, "the first-born son of God," Exod. iv. 22. That is, above all other people, whofe fouls the fame God had made, and to whom he gives life and breath and all things; a fingular people, his only beloved, Lord of all the rest, having a double portion of the bleffing, an inheritance, not only earthly, but also spiritual. 2dly, That they fhould be the peculiar property of God, his treasure, gioia and as it were, his royal riches, which he boasts of in the world, and glories in as his Segullah, concerning the emphasis of which word, fee what we have faid, Book 3. chap. xii. §. 7. and chap. xiii. §. 19. 3dly, That they again might glory in God, as in their portion. For, when God took them for a people to himself, he, at the same time, gave them a right to call him their God, and to have him for their portion: as these things are joined together, Deut. xxvi. 17. 18. "thou haft avouched Jehovah this day to be thy God; and Jehovah hath avouched thee this day to be his peculiar people," Jer. x. 16. "The portion of Jacob is the former of all things: and Ifrael is the rod of his inheritance. 4thly, That they should have a right to expect the Meffiah, from the midst of them, as one of their brethren, Deut. xviii. 15, 18.
IV. In these things certainly, great was the " advantage of the Jew, and much the profit of circumcifion, much I fay every way," Rom. iii. 1, 2. Hence the apostle, Rom. ix. 4, 5. in ftrong terms amplifies that advantage of the Jews; "who are Ifraelites, to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the fervice of God and the promises: whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came." Yet nope of these things, nay not all of them together, if we only confider the external confederation, was fufficient to them for falvation: for "they are not all Ifrael, which are of Ifrael: neither because they are the feed of Abraham, are they all children," Rom. ix. 6, 7. Very many of them, notwithstanding they were the children of the kingdom, were caft out, Mat. viii. 12. Yet in this election of the whole body of the people to the communion of a very close but yet external covenant, there was a certain type of thofe, who were actually chofen to grace and glory: and the godly among the Ifraelites, befides
thefe outward prerogatives, enjoyed the saving favour of God, and the privilege of the myftical covenant, in and by them.
V. The Second benefit or privilege of the Old Testament was the land of Canaan. This God had promised to Abraham and his feed, Gen. xii. 7. Gen. xiii. 15. and Gen. xv. 7. nay, and affigned it to them by oath, Gen. xxvi. 3, 4. Exod. xxxiii. 1. Ezek. xx. 6. This promife, confirmed by oath, God calls a covenant, diabnen, a teflament, that is, the laft and irrevocable difpofal of his will, Gen. xv. 18. "in that fame day Jehovah made a covenant with Abraham, faying, unto thy feed have I given this land." And because, in confequence of that teftament, the feed of Abraham was to poffefs that land, it is therefore called their inheritance, Lam. v. 2. Heb. xi. 8.
VI. But we are by no means to understand this, as if that typical inheritance made up the whole inheritance of the Old Teftament, or that we are to give fuch a confined definition of the Old Testament, as if it was only the will of giving the land of Canaan. Much less are we to fay, that they who deny this, either admit no Old Teftament at all, or confound it with the New. For, the Old Teftament, as I have feveral times repeated, is nothing but the teftament of grace, as propofed under the vail of types, which were abrogated. But heaven and falvation, and God himfelf are the inheritance of the children of God, by the teftament or covenant of grace: and as that teftament is invariable, the substance of the inheritance cannot be one thing under the Old, and another under the New economy of the fame Testament. The difference of the economies confifts in this, that the fame inheritance is held forth different ways in the New Teftament clearly and without any vail; in the Old, wrapt up in many types and earthly pledges; among which, after the covenant was made with Abraham, the typical inheritance of the land of Canaan was the most eminent. In the Old Testament it was conjoined with bondage; in the New with liberty; to which the inheritance of the Gentiles is likewife added.
VII. That this inheritance was typical, both reafon declares, and the fcripture attefts. For, as the whole habitable world cannot be the happiness of the foul, and is fubject to vanity, by reafon of fin, there is no country, confidered in itself, of fuch value, as to deferve to be called the inheritance of the people of God. And certainly, God's covenant-people have fomething more to expect from him, than what even the wicked may poffefs. Nor is there fo vaft a difference between Syria Egypt and Canaan, if we confider only the fertility and plea fantnefs of countries, as that the poffeffion of the Ifraelites, unlefs