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Egypt, when the power of Egypt was engaged utterly to destroy them. They seemed to be wholly in the hands of the Egyptians; they were their servants, and were subject to the power of Pharaoh : and Pharaoh set himself to weaken them with hard bondage. And when he saw that did not do, he set himself to extirpate their race, by commanding that every male child should be drowned. But after all that Pharaoh could do, God wonderfully preserved them; and not only so, but increased them exceedingly; so that, instead of being extirpated, they greatly multiplied.
IX. Here is to be observed, not only the preservation of the nation, but God's wonderfully persevering and upholding his invisible church in that nation, when in danger of being overwhelmed in the idolatry of Egypt. The children of Israel being long among the Egyptians, and servants under them, and so not having advantages to keep God's ordinances among themselves, and maintain any public worship or instruction, whereby the true religion might be upheld ; and there being now no written word, they by degrees, in a great measure, lost the true religion, and borrowed the idolatry of Egypt; and the greater part of the people fell away to the worship of their gods. This we learn by Ezek. xx. 6, 7, 8. and by chap. xxiji. 8.
This now was the third time that God's church was almost swallowed up and carried away with the wickedness of the world, once before the flood; the other time, before the calling of Abraham ; and now, the third time in Egypt. But yet God did not suffer his church to be quite overwhelmed: he still saved it, like the ark in the flood, and as he saved Moses in the midst of the waters, in an ark of bulrushes, where he was in the utmost danger of being swallowed up. The true religion was still kept up with some: and God had still a people among them, even in this miserable, corrupt, and dark time. The parents of Moses were true servants of God, as we may learn, by Heb. xi. 23. “ By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three months of his parents, because they saw that he was a proper child ; and they were not afraid of the king's commandment.”
I have now shown how the work of redemption was carried on from the calling of Abraham to Moses; in which we have seen many great things done towards this work, and a great advancement of this building, bevond what had preceded.
I PROCEED to the time which reaches from Moses to David.
I. The first thing that offers itself is the redemption of the church of God out of Egypt; the most remarkable of all in the Old Testament, the greatest pledge and forerunner of the future redemption by Christ, and much more insisted on in scripture than any other of those redemptions. And indeed it was the greatest type of Christ's redeinption of any providential event whatsoever. This was by Jesus Christ, for it was wrought by him who appeared to Moses in the bush; the person that sent Moses to redeem that people. But that was Christ, as is evident, because he is called the angel of the Lord, Exod. iii. 2,3. The bush represented the human nature of Christ, who is called the branch. This bush grew on Mount Sinai or Ho. reb, a word that signifies a dry place, as the human nature of Christ was a root out of a dry ground. The bush burning with fire, represented the sufferings of Christ, in the fire of God's wrath. It burned, and was not consumed: so Christ, though he suffered extremely, yet perished not; but overcame at last, and rose from his sufferings. Because this great mystery of the incarnation and sufferings of Christ was here represented, therefore Moses says, “ I will turn aside, and behold this great sight.” A great sight he might well call it, when there was represented, God manifest in the flesh, suffering a dreadful death, and rising from the dead.
This was the glorious Redeemer who redeemed the church out of Egypt, from under the hand of Pharaoh ; as Christ, by his death and sufferings, redeemed his people from Satan, the spiritual Pharaoh. He redeemed them from hard service and cruel drudgery ; so Christ redeems his people from the cruel slavery of sin and Satan. He redeemed them, as it is said, from the iron furnace; so Christ redeems his church from a furnace of fire and everlasting burnings.--He redeemed them with a strong hand and outstretched arm, and great and terrible judgments on their enemies; so Christ with mighty power triumphs over principalities and powers, and executes terrible judgments on his church's enemies, bruising the serpent's head. He saved them when others were destroyed, by the sprinkling of the blood of the paschal lamb; so. God's church is saved from death by the sprinkling of the blood of Christ, when the rest of the world is destroyed. God brought forth the people sorely against the will of the Egyptians, when they could not bear to
let them go; so Christ rescues his people out of the hands of the devil, sorely against his will, when his proud heart cannot bear to be overcome.
In that redemption, Christ did not only redeem the people from the Egyptians, but he redeemed them from the devils, the gods of Egypt; for before they had been in a state of servitude to the gods of Egypt, as well as to the men. And Christ, the seed of the woman, did now, in a very remarkable manner, fulfil the curse on the serpent, in bruising his head : Exod. xiii. 12 “For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the first born in the land of Egypt, both man and beast, and against all the gods of Egypt will I execute judgment.” Hell was as much, nay more engaged in that affair, than Egypt was. The pride and cruelty of Satan, that old serpent, was more concerned in it than Pharaoh's. He did his utmost against the people, and to his utmost opposed their redemption. But it is said, that when God redeemed his people out of Egypt, he“ broke the heads of the dragons in the waters, and broke the head of Leviathan in pieces, and gave him to be meat for the people inhabiting the wilderness," Psalm lxxiv. 12-14. God forced their enemies to let them go, that they might serve him; as Zacharias observes with respect to the church under the gospel, Luke i. 74, 75.
. The people of Israel went out with a high hand, and Christ went before them in a pillar of cloud and fire. There was a glorious triumph over earth and hell in that deliverance.
When Pharaoh and his hosts, and Satan by them, pursued - the people, Christ overthrew them in the Red Sea: the Lord triumphed gloriously : the horse and his rider he cast into the sea, and there they slept their sleep, and never followed the children of Israel any more. The Red Sea represented Christ's blood, because the apostle compares the children of Israel's passage through the Red Sea to baptism, 1 Cor. x. 1, 2. But we all know that the water of baptism represents Christ's blood.
Thus Christ, the angel of God's presence, in his love and his pity, redeemed his people, and carried them in the days of old as on eagle's wings, so that none of their proud and spiteful enemies, neither Egyptians. nor devils, could touch them.
This was quite a new thing that God did towards this great work of redemption. God never had done any thing like it before ; Deut. iv. 32, 34. This was a great advancement of the work that had been begun and carried on from the fall of man; a great step taken in divine providence towards a preparation for Christ's coming into the world, and working out his great and eternal redemption ; for this was the people of whom Christ was to come. And now we may see · how that plant flourished which God had planted in Abraham.
Though the family of which Christ was to come, had been in a degree separated from the rest of the world before, in the calling of Abraham ; yet that separation appeared not to be sufficient. For though by that separation, they were kept, as strangers and sojourners, from being united with other people in the same political societies; yet they remained mixed among them, by which means they had been in danger of wholly losing the true religion, and of being overrun with the idolatry of their neighbours. God now, therefore, by this redemption, separated them as a nation from all others, to subsist by themselves in their own political and ecclesiastical state, without having any concern with the Heathen nations, that the church of Christ might be upheld, and might keep the oracles of God; that in them might be kept up those types and prophecies of Christ and those histories and other divine previous instructions, which were necessary to prepare the way for Christ's
:. II. As this people were separated to be God's peculiar people, so all other people upon the face of the whole earth were wholly rejected and given over to Heathenism. This was one thing that God ordered in his providence to prepare the way for Christ's coming, and the great salvation he was to accomplish; for it was only to prepare the way for the more glorious and signal victory and triumph of Christ's power and grace over the-wicked and miserable world, and that Christ's salvation of mankind might become the more sensible. This is the account the scripture itself gives us of the matter, Rom. xi. 30, 32. • The apostle, speaking to the Gentiles that had formerly been Heathens, says, “ As ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief;. even so have these also now not believed, that throagh your mercy, they may also obtain mercy. For God. hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all:" i, e. It was the will of God, that the whole world, Jews and Gentiles, should be concluded in visible and professed unbelief, that so-God's mercy and Christ's salvation towards them all might be visible. For the apostle is not speaking only of that unbelief that is natural to all God's professing people as well as others, but that which appears, and is visible; such as the Jews fell into when they openly rejected Christ, and ceased to be a professing people. The apostle observes, how that first the Gentiles, even the Gentile nations, were included in a professed unbelief and open opposition to the true religion, before Christ came to prepare the way for the calling of VOL HI
the Gentiles, which was soon after Christ came, in order that God's mercy might be the more visible to them; and that the Jews were rejected and apostatized from the visible church, to" , prepare the way for the calling of the Jews, which shall be in : the latter days. So that it may be seen concerning all nations, Jews and Gentiles, that are redeemed by Christ, from being visibly aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, without hope, and without God in the world. . .'
We cannot certainly determine precisely at what time the apostacy of the Gentile nations from the true God, or their being concluded in visible unbelief, became universal. Theira falling away was a gradual thing, as we observed before. It was general in Abraham's time, but not universal : for then we find Melchisedec, one of the kings of Canaan, was priest of the most high God. And after this the true religion was kept up.. for a while among some of the rest of Abraham's posterity, besides the family of Jacob; and also in some of the posterity of Nahor, as we have instances in Job, and his three friends, , and Elihu. The land of Uz, where Job lived, was possessed by the posterity of Uz, or Huz, the son of Nahor, Abraham's brother, of whom we read, Gen. xxii. 21. Bildad the Shuhite was of the offspring of Shuah, Abraham's son by Keturah, Gen. xxv. 1, 2; and Elihu the Buzite, was of Buz the son of Nahor, the brother of Abraham. So the true religion lasted among some other people, besides the Israelites, a while after Abraham. But it did not last long : and it is probable that .. their total rejection, and giving up to idolatry, was about the time when God separated the children of Israel from Egypt to serve him. For they are often put in mind on that occasion, that God had now separated them to be his peculiar people, or to be distinguished from all other people upon earth, to be his people alone ; to be his portion, when others were rejected. This seems to imply, that God now chose them in such a manner as was accompanied with a visible rejection of all other nations in the world ; that God visibly came, and took up his residence with them, forsaking all other nations. As the first calling of the Gentiles, after Christ came, was accompanied with a rejection of the Jews; so the first calling of the Jews to be God's people, when they left Egypt, was accompanied with a rejection of the Gentiles. .
"Thus all the nations in the world, except the Israelites, and those who embodied themselves with them, were given up to idolatry; and so continued till Christ came, which was. about fifteen hundred years. They were concluded so long a time in unbelief, that there might be a thorough proof of the necessity of a Saviour; that it might appear by so long a trial, past all contradiction, that mankind were utterly insufficient to deliver themselves from that gross darkness and misery, and