« PreviousContinue »
shall praise; thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies ; thy father's children shall bow down before thee. Judah is a lion's whelp; from the prey, my son, thou art gone up : He stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion ; who shall rouse him up 2" And then this prediction is more particular concerning the time of Christ’s coming, than any had been before; as in ver, 10. “The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come ; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.” The prophecy here, of the calling of the Gentiles, consequent on Christ’s coming, seems to be more plain than any had been before, in the expression, to him shall the gathering of the fleafile be. Thus you see how that gospel light which dawned immediately after the fall of man, gradually increases. VIII. The work of redemption was carried on in this period, in God’s wonderfully preserving the children of Israel in 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 the race of them, 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 preserving 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 being servants under them, and so not under advantages to keep God's ordinances among themselves, and maintain any public worship or public instruction, whereby the true religion might be upheld, and there being now no written word of God, 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. xxiii. 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 i 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 gone though the third period of the Old Testament time ; and have 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, beyond what had been before,
I PROCEED to the fourth fieriod, which reaches from Moses to David.....I would shew how the work of redemption was carried on through this also. I. The first thing that offers itself to be considered, is the redemption of the church of God out of Egypt; the most remarkable of all the Old Testament redemptions of the church of God, and that which was the greatest pledge and forerunner of the future redemption of Christ, of any ; and is much score insisted on in scripture than any other of those redemptions. And indeed it was the greatest type of Christ's redemption of any providential event whatsoever. This redemption was by Jesus Christ, as is evident from this, that it was wrought by him that appeared to Moses in the bush; for that was 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, that is called the branch. The bush grew on Mount Sinai or Horeb, which is 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, and suffering a dreadful death, and rising from the dead. This glorious Redeemer was he that redeemed the church out of Egypt, from under the hand of Pharoah; as Christ, by his death and sufferings, redeemed his people from Satan, the spiritual Pharaoh. He redeemed them from hard service and cruel drudgery; as Christ redeems his people from the cruel slavery of sin and Satan. He redeemed them, as it is said, from the iron furnace ; as 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; as Christ with mighty power triumphs over firincifialities and flowers, 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; as 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. xii. 12. “For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the first born in the land of Egypt, hoth man and beast, and against all the gods of Egypt will I execute judgment.” Hell was as much and more engaged in that affair, than Egypt was. The pride and cruelty of Satan, that old serpent, was more concerned in it than Pharoah'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, Psal. lxxiv. 12, 13, 14. God forced their enemies to let them go, that they might serve him ; as also Zacharias observes with respect to the church under the gospel, Luke i. 74, 75.
The people of Israel went out with an 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. And 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 last sleep, and never followed the children of Israel any more ; as all Christ's enemies are overthrown in his blood, which by its abundant sufficiency, and the greatness of the sufferings with which it was shed, may well be represented by a sea. The Red sea did represent Christ's blood, as is evident, 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 eagles 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, 33, 34. This was a great advancement
of the work of redemption, 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 that 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 that was then made, appeared not to be sufficient, without further separation. For though by that separation, they were kept as strangers and sojourners, kept from being united with other people in the same political societies; yet they remained mixed among them, by which means, as it had proved, they had been in danger of wholly losing the true religion, and of being overrun with the idolatry of their neighbors. God now, therefore, by this redemption, separated them as a nation from all other nations, to subsist by themselves in their own political and ecclesiastical state, without having any concern with the Heathen nations, that they might so be kept separate till Christ should come : And so that the church of Christ might be upheld, and might keep the oracles of God, till that time; that in them might be kept up those types and prophecies of Christ, and those histories, and other divine previous instructions, that were necessary to prepare the way for Christ’s coming. 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, so far as the providence of God was concerned in it, belongs to the great affair of redemption that we are upon, and was one