Page images

“ hath chosen them in him before the foundation “ of the world u."

vi. God would not altogether destroy his ancient people, because there was still a precious feed preserved among them. In the worst times the Lord retained a tithe for himself. Hence, even with refpect to a time when there should “be a great for“ saking in the midst of the land,” it is promised ; "" Yet in it shall be a tenth, and it shall return, and “ shall be eaten: as a teil tree, and as an oak, “ whose substance is in them, when they caft “their leaves : so the holy seed shall be the “ substance thereofy.--Thus faith the LORD, As " the new wine is found in the cluster, and one

faith, Destroy it not, for a blessing is in it: so s will I do for my servants fake, that I may not

destroy them all w." In like manner, the child of God cannot " work “ fin;" he cannot again fall under its dominion, and be subjected to the curse; “ for his feed re“ maineth in him x." He is “ born of the in“ corruptible feed of the word y." He therefore cannot fin " unto death ?." This is an effential character of the feed of the word, that it preserves from the total corruption in which the unrenewed lie, and from that final apostacy into which they fall.

vii. It was one of the distinguishing privileges of the Israelites, that God gave them his Spirit.

Besides u Eph. i. 3. v Isa. vi. 13.

w Isa. Ixv. 8. x 3 John iji. : y i Per. I, 23. 2 : John v. 16, 18.

Besides the gracious operations of the Spirit, which were confined to the elect among them, his influences were communicated, for the benefit of Israel in general, in a variety of ways.

He was given as a Spirit of inspiration to the penmen of Scripture, for the instruction of the Church, as Nehemiah acknowledges : “ Thou gaveft thy "good Spirit to instruct them a.” He was communicated as a Spirit of prophecy, and also of miraculous operation. By him were men supplied with an extraordinary degree of bodily strength, with wisdom for government, with fortitude for war, with eminent qualifications for works of art'. They “ rebelled, and vexed his Holy Spirit.” Yet he still continued among them: and this is pointed out as a special ground of consolation under trial, and as an antidote against fear. When the Jews were disheartened, because the glory of their second temple was so far inferior to that of the first, the following mellage was delivered by the prophet Haggai; “ I am with you, faith the Lord of “ hosts : according to the word that I covenanted “ with you when ye came out of Egypt, so my

Spirit remaineth among you: fear ye not,” They enjoyed the presence of God in this respect, as a pledge of preservation from total destruction ; “ I am with thee, faith the LORD, to save thee :

though I make a full end of all nations whither “ I have scattered thce, yet will I not make a full “ end of thce J." VOL. II.


This · See Owen on the Spirit, B. ii. chap. 1, cllig. ii. 4,5

d Jer. XXX. II.

a Neb. ix. 20.

This was undoubtedly a blessed emblem of the safety of all believers, as “ builded up for an ha“ bitation of God through the Spirit.” He is conferred on them in all his gifts and graces, according to the state of the Church, or their peculiar calls. He acts in them all, as “the Spirit of “ wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of as Christ.” He supplies them with fortitude in their spiritual warfare ; and by him they are “ strengthened with all might in the inner man.” Some, like Bezaleel and Aholiab of old, are furnished with peculiar gifts for labouring in the work of the sanctuary Often do his people provoke their gracious God. But he deals with them, as he did with David. He casts them not away from his presence; nor takes his Holy Spirit from them. On the contrary, he brings them to evangelical repentance, thus reiteres to them the joy of his salvation, and upholds them with his free Spirit"; with the influences of that Spirit, who is no less sovereign in all his operations on the renewed soul, than he was in the work of regeneration itself. The very design of the misfion of this gracious Coinforter, is that he may abide with them for ever; and “ seal" them, as the Lord's peculiar treasure, “ unto the day of

redemption b."

VIII. God often faved Israel, in the day of their provocation, or of their danger, at the intercession


[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

of his servants. Thus Mofes interceded for the people, when God threatened to destroy them because of their idolatry ; . and afterwards, when they murmured at the report of the spies : and in both instances his intercession was successful i. When they rebeiled because of the display of divine vengeance against Korah and his associates, and the plague brake forth among them, Aaron ran into the midst of the congregation, with his flaming censer in his hand, and made atonement. He“ stood between the living and the dead, and “ the plague was stayed:” David, in like manner, after he had himself provoked the Lord by numbering the people, made interceslion, as he also offered facrifices. 66 So the LORD was en“ treated for the land, and the plague was stayed “ from Israel !.”

Many other instances might be given of the success of interceflion in the experience of Israel. But it is evident, that these three persons, in all the instances mentioned, acted expressly as types of Christ; and as prefiguring both the truth, and the success, of his intercession. Moses acted as a Mediator between God and his people ; Aaron as “ the saint, the holy One, of God;" David as his Anointed. There was something highly emblematical in the very circumstances of their intercession. Moses proposed to make an atonement for the fin of Israel. He, as has been seen in a former section, expressed his resolution to devote himself for them. * If thou wilt,” he says, “ for

E e 2


i Exod xxxii. 10. 30.–32.; Numb. xiv. 11.-20. k Numb. xvi. 47, 48.

1 2 Sam, xxiv. 17, 25,

give their fin: and if not, blot me, I pray thee, “out of thy book which thou hast written.” The Man of God seems determined either to perish with, or for, his beloved Israel ; unwilling to enjoy any mercy that he might not hold in common with them. Aaron rushed in between the vengeance of the Almighty and offending Ifrael. He substituted himself as a mark for the arrows of divine wrath. David did the same. When he saw the angel that fmote the people, he said unto the Lord ; "Lo, I have finned, and I have "done wickedly : but these sheep, what have

they done? Let thine hand, I pray thee, be against me." In all this, do we not see the character, and the conduct, of the good Shepherd, who laid down his life for the sheep, who intercedes for them on the ground of the atonement he hath made? “ If any man fin, we have an " advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righ

teous: and he is the propitiation for our fins.” Satan would have us, that he might lift us as wheat: and when he fifts, he wishes to retain 10thing but the chaff in his ficve. But Jesus prays for us, that our faith fail not”. “If, when we were chemies, we were reconciled to God by “the death of his Son: much more, being recon

ciled, 11c fhall be saved by his life",” as our interceding High-priett. Did the Lord say to Mofes, “I have pardoned according to thy word?” And may we not be assured, that the Father grants

to John ii. 1, 2, n Luke xxii. 31, 32.

o Rom. v. 10.; Heb. vii. ag.

« PreviousContinue »