Imagini ale paginilor
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

takes notice, Ezek. xx. 6, 7, 8. Hence they made the golden calf in imitation of the idolatry of Egypt, that was wont to worship a bull or an ox; and therefore cattle are called the abomination of the Egyptians, i. e. their idol. This generation God was exceeding angry with, and swore in his wrath, that they should not enter into his rest. But the younger generation were not so ; the generation that were under twenty years old when they came out of Egypt, and those that were born in the wilderness, the generation spoken of, Numb. xiv. 31. " But your little ones, whom ye said should be a prey, them will I bring in ; and they shall know the land that yo have despised.” This was the generation with whom the covenant was renewed, as we have an account în Deuterono: my, and that entered into the land of Canaan. This generation God was pleased to make a generation to his praise, and they were eminent for piety; as appears by many things said in scripture about them; as, particularly, Jer. ii. 2, 3. tres member thee, the kindness of thy youth, the love of thine espousals, when thou wentest after me in the wilderness, in a land that was not sown. Israel was holiness to the Lord, and the first fruits of his increase." Here the generation that went after God in the wilderness, is spoken of with very high commendations, as eminent for holiness : “ Israel was holiness to the Lord, and the first fruits of his increase." And their love to God is spoken of as distinguished, like the love of a bride at her espousals. The going after God in the wilderness that is here spoken of, is not the going of the children of Israel out of Egypt into the wilderness of Sinai, but their fol. lowing God through that dreadful wilderness, that the congregation long wandered in, after they went back from Kadesh Barnea, which is spoken of Deut. viii. 15. 6 Who led thee through the great and terrible wilderness, wherein were fiery serpents and scorpions, and drought, where there was no water.” Though this generation had a much greater trial than the generation of their fathers had before they came to Kadesh Barnea, yet they never murmured against God in any wise, as their fathers had done : But their trials had a contrary effect upon them, to awaken them, convince, and humble

[ocr errors]

them, and fit them for great mercy. They were awakened by
those awful judgments of God that he inflicted on their fath-
ers, whereby their carcases fell in the wilderness. And God
poured out his spirit with those awakening providences to-
wards their fathers, and their own travel in the wilderness,
and the word preached to them by Moses; whereby they
were greatly awakened, and made to see the badness of their
own hearts, and were humbled, and at length multitudes of
them savingly converted; as Deut. viü. 2, 3. « And thou
shalt remember the way which the Lord thy God led thee
these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to
prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou
wouldst keep his commandments, or no. And he humbled
thee," &c. And, verse 15. « Who led thee through that
great and terrible wilderness. ....... that he might humble thee,
and that he might prove theė, to do thee good at thy latter
end. And therefore it is said, Hos. xiii. 5. “ I did know thee
in the wilderness, in the land of great drought." God allured
them, and brought them into that wilderness, and spake com-
fortably to them, as it was foretold that he would do after-
wards, Hos. ii. 14.

Those terrible judgments that were executed in the congre-
gation after their turning back from Kadesh Barnea, in the
matter of Korah, and the matter of Peor, were chiefly on the
old generation, whom God consumed in the wilderness.
Those rebellions were chiefly among the elders of the congre-
gation, who were of the older generation that God had given
up to their hearts' lust ; and they walked in their own coun-
sels, and God was grieved with their mánners forty years in
the wilderness.

But that this younger congregation were eminent for piety, appears by all their history. The former generation were wicked and were followed with curses ; but this was holy, and wonderful blessings followed them. God did great things for them; he fought for them, and gave them the possession of Canaan. And it is God's manner, when he hath very great mercies to bestow on a visible people, first, to fit them for them, and then to bestow them on them. So it was here :

A

1

[ocr errors]

They believed in God, and by faith overcame Sihon and Og, and the giants of Canaan ; and are commended for cleaving to the Lord : Josh. xxü. 8. “ Joshua says unto them, Cleave unto the Lord, as ye have done unto this day." And so Israel did all the while that generation lived. But when Joshùa and all that generation were dead, there arose another generation that knew not the Lord. This pious generation showed a laudable and fervent zeal for God on several occasions ; on occasion of Achan's sin ; but especially when they suspected tho two tribes, and a half had set up an altar in opposition to the altar of buint offering. There never was any generation of Israel that so much good and so little evil is mentioned of, as this generation. It is further observable, that in the time of this generation was the second general circumcision, whereby the reproach of Israel was fully rolled away, and they became pure; and when afterwards they were polluted by Achan, they purged themselves again.

The men of the former generation being dead, and God having sanctified this younger generation to himself, he solemnly renewed his covenant with them, as we have a particu, lar account in the 29th chapter of Deuteronomy. We find that such solemn renovations of the covenant commonly ac« companied any remarkable pouring out of the Spirit, causing a general reformation : So we find it was in Hezekiah's and Josiah's times. It is questionable whether there ever was a time of so great a flourishing of religion in the Israelitish church, as in that generation; and as, in the Christian church, religion was in its most flourishing circumstances in the day of its espousals, or first setting up of that church, in the days of the apostles, so it seems to have been with the Jewish church in the days of its first establishment in Moses's and Joshua's times.

Thus Gou at this time did gloriously advance the work of redemption, both by his word and Spirit. By this pouring out of the Spirit of God, the work of redemption was promoted, not only as it was in itself a glorious instance of the carrying on of that redemption in the application of it, but as this was what God made use of as a means of the good and orderly es

[ocr errors]

tablishment of the church of Israel at its first beginning, when : it was first settled in the regular observance of God's ordinances in Canaan : Even as the pouring out of the Spirit, in the beginning of the Christian church, was a great means God made use of for the well establishing the Christian church in the world in all succeeding ages.

XI. The next thing I would observe, was God's bringing the people of Israel under the hand of Joshua, and settling them in that land where Christ was to be bort, and which was the great type of the heavenly Canaan, which Christ has purchased. This was done by Joshua, who was of Joseph's posterity, and was an eminent type of Christ, and is therefore called the shepherd, the stone of Israel, in Jacob's blessing of Joseph, Gen. xlix. 24. Being such a type of Christ, he bore the name of Christ. Joshua and Jesus are the same name, only the one is Hebrew, and the other is Greek : And there, fore, in the New Testament, which was originally written in Greek, Joshua is called Jesus, Acts vii. 45. “ Which also our fathers brought in with Jesus," i. e. Joshua ; Heb. iv. 8. “ If Jesus had given them rest, he would not have spoken of another day ;" i. c. if Joshua had given them rest.

God wonderfully possessed his people of this land, conquering the former inhabitants of it, and the mighty giants, as Christ conquered the devil ; first conquering the great kings of that part of the land, that was on the eastern side of Jordan, Sihon king of the Amorites, and Og king of Bashan; and then dividing the river Jordan, as before he had done the Red Sea; causing the walls of Jericho to fall down at the sound of the trumpets of the priests; that sound typifying the sound of the gospel by the preaching of gospel ministers, the walls of the accursed city Jericho signifying the walls of Satan's kingdom; and after this wonderfully destroying the mighty host of the Amorites under the five kings, causing the sun and moon to Stand still, to help the people against their enemies, at the prayer of the typical Jesus; plainly holding this forth, that God would make the whole course of nature to be subservient to the affair of redemption ; so that every thing should yield

[ocr errors]
[merged small][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

to the purposes of that work, and give place to the welfare of God's redeemed people.

Thus did Christ show his great love to his elect, that he would make the course of nature, in the frame of the world, that he had made, and that he governed, to give place to their happiness and prosperity, and showed that the sun and moon, and all things, visible and invisible; were theirs by his purchase.. At the same time, Christ fought as the captain of their host, and cast down great hailstones upon their enemies, by which more were slain than by the sword of the children of Israel. And after this Christ gave the people a mighty victory over a yet greater army in the northern part of the land, that were gathered together at the waters of Merom as the sand of the sea shore, as it is said Josh. xi. 4.

Thus God gave the people whence Christ was to proceed, the land where he was to be born, and live, and preach, and work miracles, and die, and rise again, and whence he was to ascend into heaven, as the land which was a great type of heaven; which is another thing whereby a great advance was made in the affair of redemption.

XII. Another thing that God did towards carrying on this affair, was his actually setting up his stated worship among the people, as it had been before instituted in the wilderness. This worship was appointed at Mount Sinai, wholly in subserviency to this great affair of redemption. It was to make way for the coming of Christ; and the innumerable ceremonial observances of it were typical of him and his redemption. This worship was chiefly instituted at Mount Sinai; but it was gradwally set up in practice. It was partly set up in the wilderness, where the tabernacle and its vessels were made ; but there were many parts of their instituted worship that could not be observed in the wilderness, by reason of their unsettled, itinerant state there : And then there were many precepts that respect the land of Canaan, and their cities and places of habitation there ;' which therefore could not be put in practice, till they came into that land. But now, when this was brought to pass, God set up his tabernacle in the midst of his people, as he had before promised them, Lev. xxvi. 11. “ I will set

[ocr errors][ocr errors]
« ÎnapoiContinuați »