Page images

ye shall keep my Statutes and do them: For I am the Lord which fanctify you.” xxi. 8. xxii. 9, 16, 32. Ezek. xxxvii. 28.

44. In the same Sense I conceive they are said to be washed. Ezek. xvi. 9, “ Then, (when thou wast born, 21] wafied I thee with Water: Yea, I thoroughly washed away thy Blood from thee,” &c. :. 45. And, because other Nations did not enjoy the same extraordinary Means, and were generally involved in Vice and Idolatry, therefore they are represented as unclean. Isai. xxxv. 8, “ And an Highway shall be there, and a Way; and it shall be called the Way of Holiness; the Unclean shall not pass over it,” &c. Compare Joel jii. 17. Isai. lii. 1,– “ Put on thy beautiful Garments, o Jerusalem, the Holy City: For henceforth there shall no more come into thee the Uncircumcised and the Unclean.Acts x. 28, “ It is unlawful for a-Jew—to come unto one of another Nation : But God has shewed me, that I shall call nothing common, or unclean. . 46. XV. Hence it is, that they are stiled a holy Nation, or People, and Saints. Exod. xix. 6, “ And ye shall be to me-an holy Nation.” Deut. vii. 6, “ For thou art a holy People unto the Lord thy God.” xiv. 2. xxvi. 19. xxxiii. 3. 2 Chron. vi. 41, “ Let thy Priests, 0 Lord God, be clothed with Salvation, and let thy Saints rejoice in Goodness." Psal. xxxiv. 9, “ O fear the Lord, ye his Saints.” 1. 5, “Gather my Saints together unto me." Ver. 7, « Hear, O my People,” &c. lxxix. 2. cxlviii. 14, “ He also exalteth the Horn of his People, the Praise of his Saints; even of the Children of Israel,” &c.

47. XVI. Further ; by his Presence among them, and their being consecrated to him, they were made his House, or Building, the Sanctuary, which he built. And this is implied by his dwelling, and walking amongst them. Psal. cxiv. 2, « Judah was his Sanctuary, and Israel his Dominion.” Isai. lvi. 3, “ Neither let the Son of the Stranger, that hath joined himself to the Lord, speak, faying, The Lord hath utterly separated me from his People :” Ver. 4, “ For thus faith the Lord," Ver. 5, “Even unto them will I give in my House, and within my Walls, a Place and a Name.” Jer. xxxiii. 7, “ And I will cause the Captivity of Judah, and of Israel to return, and will build them as at the first." Amos ix. 11, “ I will raise up the Tabernacle of David, I will raise up his Ruins, and I will build it as in the Days of Old.” Exod. xxv. 8, “And let them, the Children of Israel, make me a Sanctuary; that I may dwell, among them.” xxix. 45, 46, “ And I will dwell among the Children of Ifrael, and will be their God.” &c. Lev. xxvi, 11, 12, “ And I will let my Tabernacle among you :- And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my People.” Num. xxxv. 34. 2 Sam. vii. 7; Ezek. xliii. 7, 9; “ And he said unto me,-the Place of my Throne, and the Place of the Soles of my Feet, where I dwell in the Midst of the Child dren of Israel,” &c. Hence we may gather, that dwell, in such Places, imports to reign; and may be applied figuratively to whatever governs in our Hearts. Rom. vii. 17, 20. viii. 9, 11.:

48. XVII. And not only did God, as their King, dwell among them as in his House, Temple or Palace ; but he also conferred upon them the Honour of King', as he redeemed them from Servitude, made th


Lords of themselves, and raised them above other Nations to reign over them: And of Priests too, as they were to attend upon God, from Time to Time continually, in the folemn Offices of Religion, which he had appointed. Exod. xix. 6, “ And ye shall be unto me a Kingdom of Priests or a Kingly Priesthood.Deut. xxvi. 19, “ And to make thee high above all Nations in Praise, and in Name, and in Honour, and that thou mayest be an Holy People unto the Lord' thy God.” xxviii. 1. xv. 6, “ For the Lord thy God blefleth thee, and thou fhalt reign over many nations. Ifai. lxi. 6. “But ye [the Seed of Jacob] shall be named the Priests of the Lord; Men shall call you the Ministers of our God."

49. XVIII. Thus the whole body of the Jewish Nation were feparated unto God. And, as they were more nearly related to him than any other People, as they were joined to him in Covenant, had free Access to him in the Ordinances of Worship, and in Virtue of his Promise, had a particular Title to his Regards and Blessing, he is said to be rear unto them, and they unto him. Exod. xxxiii. 16. Lev. xx. 24, “ I am the Lord your God who have separated you from other People." Ver. 26. 1 Kings viii. 52, 53. Deut. iv. 7, “ For what Nation is there so great that hath God so near unto them, as the Lord our God is in all Things that we call upon him for?” Psal. cxlviii. 14,2" The Children of Israel, a People near unto him.”

50. And here I may observe, that, as the Gentiles were not then taken into the same peculiar Covenant with the Jews, nor stood in the fame special Relation to God, nor enjoyed their cxtraordinary religious Privileges; but lay out of the Commonwealth of Israel, they are on the other Hand, said to be far off. Isai. lvii. 19, “ I create the Fruit of the Lips: Peace, peace to him that is far off, and to him that is near, faith the Lord, and I will heal him.” Zech. vi. 15, “ And they that are far off fhall come and build in the Temple.” Eph. ii. 17, “ And came and preached to you (Gentiles] which were afar off, and to them that were nigh,” [the Jews.]

51. XIX. And, as God had, in all these Respects, distinguished them from all other Nations, and sequestred them unto himself, they are stiled his peculiar people. Deut. vii. 6, “ The Lord has chosen thee to be a. special, [or peculiar] People unto himself.” xiv. 2, “ The Lord hath chosen thee to be a peculiar People unto himself, above all the Nations that are upon the Earth.” xxvi. 18.

52. XX. As they were a Body of Men particularly related to God, instructed by him in the Rules of Wisdom, devoted to his Service, and employed in his true Worship, they are called his Congregation, or Church. Num. xvi. 3. xxvii. 17. Joih. xxii. 17. i Chron. xxviii. 8, "Now therefore, in the Sight of all Ifrael, the Congregation, the Church, of the Lord." Psal. lxxiv. 2.

53. XXI. For the same Reason, they are considered as God's Porfellion, Inheritance or Heritage. Deut. ix. 26, “ O Lord, destroy not thy People, and thine Inheritance. Ver. 29. Psal. xxxiii. 12. cxvi. 40. Jer. x. 16. xii. 7, “I have forsaken my House, I have left my Heritage. I have given the dearly Beloved of my Soul into the Hands of her Enemies.” And in many other Places.


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

unto for Nation, as God all of them like it can any fium

CH A P. III. Reflections upon the foregoing Privileges, Honours and Relations. The

Jewish Constitution a Scheine for promoting true Religion and Virtue. 54. TROM all this it appears; that the Jews, or the Ifraelites,

F were happy and highly exalted in Civil, but especially in Spiritual Privileges, above all other People. And those of them, who best understand the Nature of their Constitution, were deeply sensible of this. Deut. iv. 7. 8, “For what Nation is there so great, who has God so nigh unto them, &c? And what Nation is there fo great, that has Satutes and Judgments fo righteous," &c? Ver. 32, “ For ask now of the Days that are past, which were before thee, since the Day that God created Man upon the Earth; and ask from the one side of Heaven unto the other, whether there has been any such Thing as this great Thing is, or hath been heard like it? Did ever People hear the Voice of God fpeaking out of the Midst of the Fire, as thou hast heard, and live? Or has God aflayed to take him a Nation from the Midst of another Nation,” &c. xxxiii. 29, “Happy art thou, O Israel : Who is like unto thee, O People saved by the Lord, the Shield of thy Help, and who is the Sword of thine Excellency !” Pfal. lxxxix. 15, 16, 17, “ Blessed is the People that know the joyful Sound: They shall walk, O Lord, in the Light of thy Countenance. In thy Name shall they rejoice all the Day: And in thy Righteousness fhall they be exalted. For thou art the Glory of their Strength, and in thy Favour our Horn shall be exalted. For the Lord is our Defence, and the Holy One of Israel is our King." cxliv. 15, “ Happy is that People whose God is the Lord.” cxlvii. 19, 20, “He sheweth his Word unto Jacob, his Statutes and his Judgments unto Israel. He hath not dealt so with any Nation, and as for his Judgments they have not known them.”

55. And it was the Luty of the whole Body of this People to rejoice in the Goodness of God, to thank, and praise, and bless him for all the Benefits bestowed upon them. Deut. xii. 7. xxvi, 11, “ And thou shalt rejoice in every good Thing, which the Lord thy God [29] hath given unto thee." Plal. cxlix. 2, “Let Ifrael rejoice in him that made (17) him: Let the Children of Zion be joyful in their King." (35, 29.] Psal. I. 14, “ Offer unto God thanksgiving."-xcv. 2, “Let us.come before his Presence with thanksgiving.-scii. 1, “ It is a good Thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto thy Name, O molt High." cv. I, “Ogive thanks unto the Lord,” &c. Ver. 45, Praise ye the Lord,” &c. Ixvi. 8, “() blets our God, ye People,” &c. cxxxv. 19, Bless the Lord, O House of Israel,” &c.'

56. Whether I have ranged the foregoing Particulars in proper Ora der, or given an exact Account of each, let the Studious of Scripture Knowledge consider. What ought to be specially observed is this ; that all the forementioned Privileges, Benefits, Relations and Honours did belong to all the Children of Israel without Exception, The Lord Jehovil, was the God, King, Saviour, Father, Hujhamed, Shepherd, &c, to them all. He faved, bought, redeemed; he created, he

begot, he made, he planted, &c. them all. And they were all his people, Nation, Heritage, his Children, Spouse, Flock, Vineyard, &c. They all had a right to the Ordinances of Worship, to the Promises of God's Blessing, and especially to the Promise of the Land of Canaan. All enjoyed the Protection and special Favours of God in the Wilderness, till they had forfeited them : All eat of the Manna, and all drank of the Water out of the Rock, &c. That these Privileges and Benefits be-. longed to the whole Body of the Israelitish Nation, is evident from all the Texts I have already quoted; which he, who observes carefully, will find do all of them fpeak of the whole Nation, the whole Community, without Exception.

57. And that all these Privileges, Honours and Advantages were common to the whole Nation, is confirmed by this further Confideration ; that they were the Effects of God's free Grace, without Regard to any prior Righteousness of theirs; and therefore they are assigned to God's Love, as the Spring from whence they flowed, and the Donation of those Benefits is expressed by God's loving them; they are also assigned to God's Mercy, and the beitowing of them is expressed by his phewing them Mercy. Deut. ix. 4, 5, 6, “Speak not thou in thy Heart, after that the Lord has cast them out before thee, saying, for my Righteoufness the Lord hath brought me in to possess this Land, -Not for thy Righteousness, or the Uprightness of thy Heart dost thou go to poffels their Land, &c. Underitand therefore, that the Lord thy God giveth thee not this good Land to pofless it, for thy Righteousness; for thou art a stiff-necked People.”

58. Deut. vii. 7, “ The Lord did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because you were more in Number than any People."-Ver. 8, “ But because the Lord, loved you, and because he would keep the Oath which he had sworn unto your Fathers, hath the Lord brought you out [of Egypt].” xxxiii. 3, “ He loved the People.” Ifai. xliii. 3, 4. jer. xxxi. 3. Hof. iii. 1. ix. 15,4" I will drive them out of my House [26] I will love them no more.” –xi. 1, “When Israel was a Child, then I loved him.” Mal. i. 2, “ I have loved you, saith the Lord (speaking to the whole Body of the Israelites) yet ye say, wherein haft thou loved us? Was not Erau Jacob's Brother ? faith the Lord ; yet I loved Jacob." -Ezek. xvi. 3-15, “ Thus faith the Lord God unto Jerusalem, thy Birth and thy Nativity is of the Land of Canaan, thy Father was an Amorite, and thy Mother an Hittite. And as for thy Nativity, in the Day thou was born, [21] thy Navel was not cut, &c. None eye pitied thee,--but thou wait cast out in the open Field, &c. And when I pasled by thee, and saw thee polluted in thine own Blood,” or trodden under Foot," I said unto thee, Live, [17] &c. And I have caused thee to multiply as the Bud of the Field, and thou hast encreased and waxen great, &c. Now when I passed by thee, and looked upon thee, behold thy Time was the Time of Love; and I spread my Skirt over thee, and covered thy Nakedness, &c. Then I washed thee with Water: I clothed thee also with broidered Work, I decked thee with Ornaments, &c. And thou didst prosper into a Kingdom. And thy Renown went forth among the Heathen for thy Beauty, for it was perfect through my Comeliness which I had put upon thee,”

[ocr errors]

59. It is on Account of this general Love to the Israelites, that they are honoured with the Title of Beloved. Pfal. Ix. 5, “ That thy BeLoved may be delivered, save with thy Right Hand, and hear me." Psal. cviii. 6. Jer. xi. 15, “ What hath my Beloved to do in my House, seeing she has wrought Lewdness with many ? xii. 7, “ I have forfaken my House, I have given the dearly Beloved of my Soul into the Hands of my Enemies." [And in their present Condition at this Day the Jews still are in a Sense Beloved, Rom. xi. 28.]

60. Exod. xv. 13, “ Thou in thy Mercy haft led forth the People, which thou hast redeemed,” &c. Psal. xcvii. 3. liai. liv. 10. Mich. vii. 20, “ Thou shalt perform the Truth to Jacob, and the Mercy to Abraham, which thou hast sworn unto our Fathers from the Days of Old.” Luke i. 54, 55, “ He hath holpen his Servant Israel, in Remembrance of his Mercy, as he spake to our Fathers, to Abraham and his Seed for ever.” Agreeable to this, he fhewed them Mercy as he continued them to be his People, when he might have cut them off. Exod. xxxiii. 19,-" I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will shew Mercy on whom I will shew Mercy.” And when, after their present State of Rejection, they shall again be taken into the Church, this too is exprest by their obtaining Mercy, Rom. xi. 31.

61. In these Texts, and others of the same Kind, it is evident the Love and Mercy of God hath Respect not to particular Persons among the Jews, but to the whole Nation; and therefore is to be understood of that general Love and Mercy whereby he singled them out to be a peculiar Nation to himself, favoured with extraordinary Bleslings. · 62. And it is with Regard to this Sentiment and Manner of Speech, that the Gentiles, who were not distinguished in the same Manner, are faid not to have obtained Mercy. Hof. ii. 23, “ And I will fow her unto me in the Earth, and I will have Mercy upon her that had not obtained Mercy, and I will say to them which were not my People, [29] Thou art my People; and they shall say, Thou art my God.”

63. Further; it should be noted, as a very material and important Çircumstance, that all this Mercy and Love was granted and confirmed to the Israelites under the Sanction of a Covenant, the most solemn Deo claration and Assurance, sworn to, and ratified by the Oath of God. Gen, xvii. 7, 8, « And I will establish my Covenant between me and thee, and thy Seed after thee, in their Generations, for an everlalting Covenant; to be a God unto thee, and to thy Seed after thee. And ! will give unto thee, and to thy Seed after thee, the Land wherein thou art a Stranger, all the Land of Canaan, for an everlasing Poffellion; and I will be their God." Gen. xxij. 16, 17, 18, “ By myself have! favorn, faith the Lord, for because thou hast done this Thing,—that in Blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy Seed, as the Stars of the Heaven, and as the Sand which is upon the SeaThore ; and thy Seed shall possess the Gate of his Enemies; and in thy Seed shall all the Nations of the Earth be blesed : Because thou hait obeyed my Voice.” This Covenant with Abraham was the Magna Charta, the Basis of the Jewish Constitution, which was renewed afterwards with the whole Nation ; and is frequently referred to as the Ground and Security of all their Bleflings. "Exod. v.

« PreviousContinue »