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the gospel, and so necessary in order to introduce the gospel into the world, and in whom began the race of their kings; and that we should have some account of the building of the temple, which was also so full of gospel mystery.
And it is a matter of great consequence, that we should have some account of Israel's dividing from Judah, and of the ten tribes'.captivity and utter rejection, and a brief account why, and therefore a brief history of them till that time. cessary that we should have an account of the succession of the kings of Judah, and of the church, till their captivity into Babylon ; and that we should have some account of their return from their captivity, and resettlement in their own land, and of the origin of the last state that the church was in be. fore Christ came.
A little consideration will convince every one, that all these things were necessary, and that none of them could be spared; and in the general, that it was necessary that we should have an history of God's church till such times as are within the reach of human hỉstories ; and it was of yast importance that we should have an inspired history of those times of the Jews ish church, wherein there was kept up a more extraordinary intercourse between God and them, and while he used to dwell among them as it were visibly, revealing himself by the Shechina, by Urim and Thummim, and by prophecy, and so more immediately to order their affairs. And it was necessary that we should have some account of the great dispengations of God in prophecy, which were to be after the finishing of inspired history ; and so it was exceeding suitable and Deedful that there should be a number of prophets raised up who should foretel the coming of the Son of God, and the nature and glory of his kingdom, to be as so many harbingers to make way for him, and that their prophecies should remain in the church.
It was also a matter of great consequence that the church should have a book of divine songs given by inspiration from God, wherein there should be a lively representation of the true spirit of devotion, of faith, hope, and divine love, joy, re, signation, humility, obedience, repentance, &c.; and also
173 that we should have from God such books of moral instruca tions as we have in Proverbs and Ecclesiastes, relating to the affairs and state of mankind, and the concerns of human life, containing rules of true wisdom and prudence for our conduct in all circumstances; and that we should have particularly a song representing the great love between Christ and his spouse the church, particularly adapted to the disposition and holy affections of a true Christian soul towards Christ; and representing his grace and marvellous love to, and delight in his people ; as we have in Solomon's Song; and especially that we should have a book to teach us how to conduct ourselves under affliction, seeing the church of God here is in a militant state; and God's people do, through much tribulation, enter into the kingdom of heaven; and the church is for so long a time under trouble, and meets with such exceedingly fiery trials, and extreme sufferings, before her time of peace and rest in the latter ages of the world shall come : Therefore God has given us a book most proper in these circumstances, even the book of Job, written upon occasion of the afflictions of a particular saint, and was probably at first given to the church in Egypt under her afflictions there; and is made use of by the Apostle to comfort Christians under persécutions, James v. 11. 6 Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord ; that the Lord is very pitifuly and of tender mercy.” God was also pleased, in this book of Job, to give some view of the ancient divinity, before the giring of the law.
Thus from this brief review, I think it appears that every part of the scriptures of the Old Testament is very useful and necessary, and no part of it can be spared, without loss to the church. And therefore, as I said, the wisdom of God is conspicuous in ordering that the scriptures of the Old Testament should consist of those very books of which they do consist.
Before I dismiss this particular, I would add, that it is very observable, that the history of the Old Testament is large and particular, where the great affair of redemption required it ; as where there was most done towards this work, and most to
typify Christ, and to prepare the way for him. Thus it is
y. From what has been said, we may see, that Christ and
face. VI. By what has been said, we may see the usefulness and excellency of the Old Testament. Some are ready to look on the Old Testament as being, as it were out of date, and as if we, in these days of the gospel, have but little to do with it; which is a very great mistake, arising from want of observing the nature and design of the Old Testament, which, if it were observed, would appear full of the gospel of Christ, and would in an excellent manner illustrate and confirm the glorious
doctrines and promises of the New Testament. Those parts
What has been said, may show us what a precious treasure
VII. What has been said, may make us sensible how much most persons are to blame for their inattentive, unobservant way of reading the scriptures. How much do the scriptures contain, if it were but observed? The Bible is the most comprehensive book in the world. But what will all this signify to us, if we read it without observing what is the drift of the
WORK OF REDEMPTION. (PERIOD I. Holy Ghost in it? The Psalmist, Psal. cxix. 18, begs of God, " That he would enlighten his eyes, that he might behold wondrous things out of his law.” The scriptures are full of wondrous things. Those histories which are commonly read as if they were only histories of the private concerns of such and such particular persons, such as the histories of Abraham, Ísaac, and Jacob, and Joseph, and the history of Ruth, and the histories of particular lawgivers and princes, as the history of Joshua and the Judges, and David, and the Israelitish princes; are accounts of vastly greater things, things of greater importánce, and more extensive concernment, than they that read them are commonly aware of.
The histories of scripture are commonly read as if they were stories written only to entertain men's fancies, and to while away their leisure hours, when the infinitely great things contained or pointed at in them are passed over and never taken notice of. Whatever treasures the scriptures contain, we shall be never the better for them if we do noť observe them. He that has a Bible, and does not observe what is contained in it, is like a man who has a box full of silter and gold, and does not know it, does not observe that it is any thing more than a vessel filled with common stones. As long as it is thus with him, he will be never the better for his treasure : For he that knows not that he has a treasure, will never make use of what he has, and so might as well be with out it. He who has a plenty of the choicest food stored up in his house, and does not know it, will never taste what he has; and will be as likely to starve as if his house were empty.
VII. What has been said, may show us how great a pers son Jesus Christ is, and how great an errand he came into the world upon, seeing there was so much done to prepare the way for his coming. God had been doing nothing else but prepare the way for his coming, and doing the work which he had to do in the world, through all ages of the world from the very beginning. ' If we had notice of a certain stranger's being about to come into a country, and should observe that a great preparation was made for his coming, that many months were taken up'in it, and great things were done, many great alterations were made in the state of the whole country, and