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Párt iv.) WORK OF REDEMPTION.
ng through the wildernesss, from Egypt to Canaan. Here alt the various steps of the redemption of the church by Christ tiere représented, from the beginning to its consummation in glory. The state they are redeemed from is represented by Egypt, and their bondage there, which they left. The purchase of their redemption was represented by the sacrifice of the paschal lamb, which was offered up that night that God slew all the first born of Egypt. The beginning of the applitation of the redemption of Christ's church in their conversion, was represented by Israel's going out of Egypt, and passing through the Red sea in so extraordinary and miracutous a manner. The travel of the church through this evil world, and the various changes through which the church passes, in the different stages of it, were represented by the journey of the Israelites throrigh the wilderness.
The manher of their being conducted by Christ, was represented by the Israelites being led by the pillar of cloud by day, and the pillar of fire by night. The manner of the church's being supported in their progress, and supplied from the beginning to the end of it, with spiritual food, and continual daily communications from God, was represented by God's supplying the children of Israel with breads or manna, from heaven, and water out of the rock. The dangers that the saints must meet with in their course through the world, were representa ed by the fiery flying serpents which the children of Israel inet with in the wilderness. The conflicts the church has with her enemies, were represented by their battle with the Amalekites, and others they met with there. And so innuinerable other things might be mentioned, wherein the things they met with were lively images of things which the church and saints meet with in all ages of the world. That these things are typical of things that pertain to the Christian church is manifest from I Cor. x. II. 66 Now all these things happened into them for ensamples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.” Here the apostle is speaking of those very things which we have not mentioned, and he says expressly, that they happened unto them for tyfies ; so it is in the original.
VII. Another thing here must not be omittéd, which was a great and remarkable dispensation of Providence, respecting the whole world of mankind; which was finished in this peric od; and that was the shortening the days of man's life, whereby it was brought down from being between nine hundred and
thousand years, to be but about seventy or eighty. The life of man began to be shortened immediately after the flood : It was
brought down the first generation to six hundred years ; and the next to between four and five hundred years ; and so the life of man gradually grew shorter and shorter, till about the time of the great mortality that was in the congregation of Israel, after they had murmured at the report of the spies, and their carcases fell in the wilderness, whereby all the men of war died; and then the life of man was reduced to its present standard, as Moses observes in that Psalm that he wrote on occasion of that : mortality : Psal. xc. 10. "The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labor and sorrow : For it is soon cut off, and we fly away."
This great dispensation of God tended to promote the grand design of the redemption of Christ. Man's life being cut so very short in this world, tended to prepare the way for poor, mortal, short lived men, the more joyfully to entertain the glad tidings of everlasting life in another world, that are brought to light by the gospel ; and more readily to embrace a Saviour, that purchases and offers such a blessing. If men's lives were still commonly about · nine hundred years, how much less would they have to move them to regard the prof« fers of a future life ; how much greater temptation would they have to rest in the things of this world, they being of such long continuance, and to neglect any other life but this? This probably contributed greatly to the wickedness of the antediluvians. But now how much greater motives have men to seek redemption, and a better life than this, by the great Redeemer, since the life of man is not one twelfth part of what it used to be, and men now universally die at the age when men formerly used to be but as it were setting out in the world ?
VIII. The same work was carried on in preserving that people, of whom Christ was to come, from totally perishing in the wilderness, by a constant miracle of forty years contin. uance. I observed before many times, how God preserved those of whom the Redeemer was to proceed in a very won. derful männer ; as he preserved Noah and his family from the flood ; and as he preserved Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, with their families, from the wicked inhabitants of Canaan ; and as he preserved Jacob and his family from perishing by the famine; by Joseph in Egypt. But this preservation of the children of Israel for so long a time in the wilderness, was on some accounts more remarkable than any of them ; for it was by a continual miracle of so long duration. There was, as may be fairly computed; at first two millions of souls in that congregation, that could not subsist any better without meat and drink than other men. But if this had been withheld, they must all have perished, every man, woman, and child, in less than one month's time, so that there would not have been one of them left. But yet this vast multitude subsisted for forty years together, in a dry, barren wilderness, without sowing or reaping, or tilling any land, having their bread daily rained down to them out of heaven, and being furnished with water to satisfy them all, out of a rock ; and the same clothes with which they came out of Egypt, lasting without wearing out all that timné. Never was any instance like this of a nas tion's being so upheld for so long a time together. Thus God upheld his church by a continual miracle, and kept alive that people in whom was the blessing, the promised seed, and great Redeemer of the world.
IX. God was pleased, in this time of the children of Israel's being in the wilderness, to give a further revelation of Christ the Redeemer in the predictions of him, than had been before. Here are three prophecies given at this time that I would take notice of. The first is that of Balaam, Numb. xxiv. 17, 18, 19. « I shall see him but not now; I shall be hold him, but not nigh : There shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth. And VOL. II.
Edom shall be a possession, Seir also shall be a possession for his enemics, and Israel shall do valiantly. Out of Jacob shall come he that shall have dominion, and shall destroy him that remaineth of the city." This is a plainer prophecy of Christ, especially with regard to his kingly office, than any that had been before. But we have another, that God gave by Moses, that is plainer still, especially with regard to his prophetical office, in Deut. xviii. 18, &c. “ I will raise them up a prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in hís mouth, and he shall speak unto them all that I command him," &c. This is a plainer prophecy of Christ than any that had been before, in this respect, that all the prophecies that had been before of Christ, were in figurative, mystical language. The first prophecy was so, That the seed of the woman should bruise the serpent's head. Tha promises made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, « That in their seed all the families of the earth should be blessed," were also mystical ; which prophecy is not so particular, because the expression, thy seed, is general, and not plainly limited to any particular person.
The prophecy of Jacob in blessing Judah, Gen. xlix. 8, is in mystical language, and so is that of Balaam, which speaks of Christ under the figurative expression of a star. But this is a plain prophecy, without being veiled in any mystical language at all.
There are several things contained in this prophecy of Christ. Here is his mediatorial office in general, ver. 16. Here it is revealed how he should be a person to stand be. tween them and God, that was so terrible a being, a being of such awful majesty, holiness, and justice, that they could not have intercourse with him immediately, without a mediator to stand between them ; because, if they came to such a dreadful sin revenging God immediately, they should die; God would prove a consuming fire to them. And then here is a particular revelation of Christ with respect to his prophetical office : “I will raise them up a prophet from among their brethren like unto thee," &c. And further, it is revealed what kind of a prophet he should be, a. prophet like Moses, who was the head and leader of all the people, and who under
God, had been their redeemer, to bring them out of the house of bondage, was, as it were, their shepherd, by whom God led them through the Red Sea and wilderness, and was an inter cessor for them with God, and was both a prophet and a king in the congregation ; for Moses had the power of a king
It is said of him, Deut. xxxiü. 5, he was king in Jeshurun, and he was the prophet by whom God as it were built up his church, and delivered his instructions of worship, Thus Christ was to be a prophet like unto Moses ; so that this is both the plainest and fullest phophecy of Christ that ever had been from the beginning of the world to this time.
The next prophecy that I shall take notice of, respects only the calling of the Gentiles, which should be after Christ's coming, of which God gave a very plain prophecy by Moses in the wilderness, Deut. xxxii. 21. Here is a very plain prophécy of the rejection of the Jews, and calling the Gentiles. They moved God to jealousy, by that which was not a god, by casting him off, and taking other gods, that were no gods, in his room.
So God declares that he will move them to jealousy in the like manner, by casting them off, and taking other people, that had not been his people, in their room. The Apostle Paul takes notice of this prophecy; as foretelling the calling of the Gentiles, in Romans X. 19, 20. « But I say, did not Israel know? First, Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you. But Esaias is very bóld, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest to them that asked not after me.'!
Thus you see how the light of the gospel, which first be: gan to dawn and glimmer immediately after the fall, gradual. ly increases the nearer we come to Christ's time,
X. Another thing by which God carried on this work ini this time, was a remarkable pouring out of his spirit on the young generation in the wilderness. The generation that was grown up when they came out of Egypt, from twenty years old and upward, was a very froward and perverse generation. They were tainted with the idolatry and wickedness of Egypt, and were not weaned from it, as the Prophet Ezekiel