Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

Israelites for various periods, from seven years to forty years at a time. Under each of these calamities it is recorded of the nation, that they cried unto the Lord for deliverance, and it was in answer to their cries that He raised up Othniel, and Ehud, and Deborah, and Gideon, and Jephthah, and Samson. To appreciate this reference to their history, the whole book of Judges should be carefully perused. See particularly chap. X. 10–16. The best comment I can offer upon all this, as applying to the subject before us, is the one hundred and seventh Psalm, the burden of which is, Then they cried unto the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them out of their distresses : the national cry still preceding the national deliverance.

The national calamity next in order, took place after the rebellion of the ten tribes against the royal

• If our present object were to draw practical instruction from this history, much that is deeply important might be observed upon the manner in which Israel's transgressions commenced. They had received commandment from God utterly to drive out the nations of the land before them: but they disobeyed, Judges i. 21, 27, 29, 30, 31, 33. Thus the beginning of their iniquity was a culpable omission of a troublesome duty. Such omissions serve but to increase difficulties, for such duties are never so easily performed after they have been for some time evaded. Procrastination paralyzes the energies of cheerful obedience, and, in the mean time, the neglected duty becomes a snare. The people of the land, thus spared in Israel's neglect, became the fruitful sources of Israel's idolatry. (Judges ii. 11, 12.)

family of David, and their establishment as a separate kingdom. They were given up for their idolatry into the hands of the Assyrians, carried away from their land, and scattered among the heathen, where they continue unto this day. Their cry for deliverance has not yet been uttered. · In the history of the kingdom of Judah, we have another instance in corroboration of our argument. The example of the ten tribes was thrown away upon her. " I saw, saith the Lord, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the harlot also.(Jer. iii. 8.) For this, the two tribes were given up into the hands of the Chaldeans, to be captives in Babylon by the space of seventy years. Here, again, the national cry of penitence preceded the national deliverance from captivity. This was predicted by Jeremiah, xxix. 10–14: “ Thus saith the Lord, After seventy years be accomplished at Babylon, I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place. For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me' with all your heart. And I will be found of you, saith the Lord, and I will turn away your captivity. ....” In the histories of Daniel and Nehemiah, we have most signal instances of the fulfilment of this prophecy, as the appointed time drew near. (Daniel ix. Neh. i.)

If these histories had been left wholly without application to the present dispersion and future restoration of the Jews, yet still they would afford us strong analogical confirmation of the view we have taken of the language of the prophecy : but this confirmation is rendered direct and explicit when we find the deliverance from Egypt set forth by the Holy Ghost as the grand exemplar of the final redemption of the whole nation. (Isaiah xi. 11-16; Micah vii. 15.) And when by the prophetic prayer of the eighty-third Psalm, we are taught the application of the victories of Deborah and Gideon, to the future deliverance of the Jews and destruction of their enemies. (Compare Psalm lxxxiii. 9—18, with Judges iv. and v. and vii. 25.)

IV. Fourthly, I appeal to the analogy of sound doctrine: not indeed for an independent proof, but for a corroboration of what appears to me to be already proved.

It has been the practice of the best Christian divines, in all ages of the church, to derive illustrations from the Lord's dealings with the Jewish nation, explanatory of the doctrines of the New Testament, and of the dealings of God with his

believing people in Jesus Christ. The warrant for this practice rests on the typical nature of the Jewish nation and history. The nation was a type of the church: the promises of the land of Canaan to the nation were typical of the promises of final salvation, body and soul, to the people of God: and the whole history of the nation was typical of the experience of New Testament believers.

Thus the sovereign choice from amongst his brethren, of a man of the Chaldeans, Abraham, the son of Terah, the father of the nation : the sovereign rejection of his son Ishmael, and confirmation of the promise to Isaac; and the still more marked distinction made between the two sons of Isaac before the children were born, or had done any good or evil ;-illustrate in the most striking manner the election of God's sovereign grace, the prerogative to which he vindicates his undeniable title, saying, “ Have not I a right to do what I will with my own?” and which he has so put into righteous operation, that an apostle, commenting upon this very point, lays it down as a general truth not to be gainsayed, that salvation is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.

Thus, again, the long-suffering of God with the Jewish nation, as it is written, “ Many times did he deliver them ; but they provoked him with their counsel, and were brought low for their iniquity : nevertheless he regarded their affliction when he

m

Cove

heard their cry: and he remembered for them his covenant, and repented according to the multitude of his mercies ;” (Ps. cvi. 43–45; see also Hosea xi. 7, 8, 9;) illustrates touchingly the patient love of Jesus our Lord towards the ungrateful and provoking members of his mystical body. To this long-suffering the Jewish nation was indebted for its continued existence : and every disciple of Jesus Christ may well say, “O Lord, if thou wert extreme to mark what is done amiss, O Lord, who could stand ?"_“not that thou art slack concerning the fulfilment of thy promises or threatenings, as men count slackness; but thou art long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."

Thus, also, the holy jealousy of the Lord over the Jewish nation, giving them into the hands of their enemies for their national offences, requiring repentance from them, promising repentance to them, and bringing them to repentance, before he delivered them from bondage ; illustrates the paternal chastisement and watchful care of which all the children of God in Christ Jesus are partakers— for “ he scourgeth every son whom he receiveth,” he prunes sharply every fruit-bearing branch that it may bring forth more fruit. The effect of such discipline is thus beautifully described by the apostle, 2 Cor. vii. 10, 11, “Godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of .... for behold this self-same thing that ye sorrowed

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »