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This was remarkably the case as to the destruction of the first-born. When the LORD smote all the first-born of the Egyptians, he delivered the houses of the Israelites. But in order to this deliverance, it was necessary that they should be typically redeemed by the blood of the paschal lamb: “ When he seeth the blood, the LORD “ will pass over the door, and will not suffer the
destroyer to come in unto your houses to fmite you.”
What an awful distinction was herę made ! “ He smote the Egyptians, and deliver“ ed our houses i.” Ever after, the Israelites were to redeem their first-born by paying a price for them : “ All the first-born of man among thy “ children shalt thou redeem.” Therefore they are said to be all fanctified unto the LORDk.
Both this temporal deliverance, and the ordinances commemorating it, undoubtedly prefigured the eternal redemption of the feed of Christ, by the inestimable price of his blood, “ as of a “ lamb without blemish.” Hence they are denominated “ the church of the first-born." Like those of Israel, they are a select company, whom the Lord hath set apart for himself,
Ill. This is also evident from the limitation of the legal oblations. I do not speak of those which were presented in the name of individuals, but of such as respected the whole congregation of Israel. Of this nature were the morning and evening facrifices, those which were offered on the great day
k Exod. xii. 2. 13.
i Excd. xii. 23. 37.
of atonement, and a variety of others. None, who believe the doctrine of Christ's atonement, deny that these were instituted types of his death as the true facrifice for fin. But none can confiftently acknowledge this, and yet affirm that he died for all men, For all these typical oblations, while made for the whole congregation of Israel, were made for them only. These sacrifices were offered up for all Israel; but only as prefiguring the efficacy of the death of Christ, as extending to all the chosen people which constitute the true Israel. The strangers, who received any benefit from the legal oblations, were such only as clave to the Israelites. The sacrifices had no respect to the nations around. They were expressly excluded from the congregation of the LORD. Now, if these facrifices prefigured the atonement to be made by Christ, if at the same time they were limited to the congregation of Israel; his expia. tion must also be limited as to its objects, else there is no confonancy between the shadow and the substance.
iv. The same thing might be fully demonstrated from the history of redemption as accomplished by Christ. From the account that himself gives of the intention of his death, it is clear that he did not die for all. He said, " I lay down my "' life for the sheep.” These are evidently a definite number, separated from the rest of mankind. For he distinguishes them, in the description given, from wolves and hirelings, and from others to whom he says, “ Ye are not of my “ Theep.” He assigns it as one proof of his being the good Shepherd, that he knows his sheep! Now, if by these he meant all mankind, why were they thus distinguished, or what merit was there in knowing them, when there could be no mistake, unless devils had been mistaken for men. The extent of his death is so clearly defined in his intercessory prayer, that it seems inconceivable that any one should err on this subject, without obstinately rejecting the light. Although Jesus had power over all flesh, yet it was to be exercised in conferring eternal life on those only whom the Father had given him. For such only did he pray, in contradistinction from the world. For them only did he set himself apart as a sacrifice, and consecrate himself by his sufferings to the work of an interceding High-priest m.-But on these things I enlarge not; as they have been often fully illustrated by others, who have written professedly on this subject.
From the observations made, we may perceive how intimately the various branches of the system of error are connected. Deifts and Arminians in fact stumble on one stone. The former ridicule the Scriptures, and deny that they are a divine revelation, because they represent God as limiting his love to one nation, to the exclusion of all the rest of the world. The latter reject the very same doctrine in another form, not indeed as refpecting any particular nation, but in reference to particular persons. The Deist stumbles at the doctrine of the literal, the Arminian at that of the spiritual, Israel. Both are shocked at the idea of divine sovereignty, and deny that God hath a right to do with his own what seemeth him good.
to 1 John X. 12,--15. 26. 27.
m Chap. xvii. 2. 9. 19.
The Conservation of Believers illustrated, from the
History of Israel. - The Perpetuity of God's Love to the Seed of Jacob.-His Faithfulness. -The Stability of his Covenant.-His Love to David.-Ifrael united to God, as a Peculiar People.-A Precious Seed still preserved among them.—The Spirit given to them.-- Israel saved at the Intercession of bis Servants.—Preserved by a constant Exercise of Almighty Power, by the Hand of the Angel promised as their Leader.
The doctrine of the preservation of all believers, in a state of grace, is most clearly taught in the word of God, affords the most abundant ground of consolation, and will furnish all who truly understand it with the most powerful excitement to duty. This precious truth has been a thousand times illustrated from a variety of doc
trinal passages of Scripture. It has been shown that all real Christians are secured in their gracious state, by virtue of the everlasting and lovereign love of God, by his faithfulness, by the immutability of his covenant, by the merit of the Redeemer, by their union to him, and to the Father in him, by the incorruptible feed of the word remaining in them, by the inhabitation of his Spirit, by the intercession of Christ, and as kept by almighty power. It is unnecessary, and it would be a deviation from the design of this work, to attempt an illustration of these arguments in a doctrinal manner. But it is worthy of particular attention, that the Spirit of inspiration, even in the historical parts of Scripture, supplies us with illustrations precisely of the same kind; only adapted to the peculiar circumstances of God's ancient people. Now, as we have formerly seen, that they prefigured the true Israel ; their history, in this respect, is undoubtedly meant for the confirmation of our faith.
1. The perpetuity of God's love is assigned as the reason why he would not forsake the seed of Jacob, notwithstanding their iniquities. The sovereignty of this love also beams forth with distinguished lustre, in his conduct towards them. Both these characters are clearly expressed in the message delivered by the prophet Jeremiah ; • Thus faith the Lord, The people which were “ left of the sword found grace in the wilderness, even Israel, when I went to cause him to rest.