Page images
PDF

by our Saviour and the Apostles made the Representation of that much greater Deliverance from eternal Death and Misery, which all those that believe in Jesus Christ should be rescued from, for such shall never peri/h, but have everlasting Life.

All the Sacrifices and Institutions of the Ceremonial Law, were the Types and Shadows of that great Sacrifice which the Messiah should offer up for the Sins of the World, and therefore being but the Shadow of good Things to come, were to be abolish'd.

The Land of Canaan, into the Possession of which the Hebrews were conducted by Joshua, was a most fertile and pleasant Land, but here they could not long abide, by reason of Death; and therefore David the most excellent of all their Princes in the heighth of his Prosperity, upon the Dedication of the immense Treasures which he had acquir'd for the building the Temple, acknowledges that they were but Strangers and Pilgrims on the Earth, and in'it they could have no continuing Abode: and in many of the Psalms expresses, that his Hope and Desire was only fixM upon the Expectation of eternal Bliss, and therefore cries out, Whom have I in Heaven but thee? and there is none on the Earth I desire besides thee; for in thy Presence alone is fulness of Joy, and Pleasures for evermore: For as the Apostle observes, they that fay such Things, declare plainly that they seek a Countrey, that is, an Heavenly.

The Books of Judges, and the History of the Kings of Judab and Israel, are the clear and full Representations of the Soverein Dominion of the Almighty in the World; for while these People continued in their Regard and Obedience to the Divine Commands, they liv'd in the greatest Peace and Prosperity, and without the Assistance of any foreign Alliance, were protected from all the Insults of their Enemies.

But when. r,hey funk into Idolatry and other Im

a pieties, pieties, they were cruelly harass'd by several Nations, as well as by Intestine Wars and Discords.

The ten Tribes were driven out of their Land, and carried Captive into foreign Countries, where they now remain in the very manner as was foretold by Moses, and the Prophets.

This Divine Severity not reclaiming the two remaining Tribes from their Idolatries, and other great Wickedness, they were carried Captive to Babylon, their Temple destroyed, and their Countrey laid desolate; and being restored after seventy Years Captivity, they soon fell into many great Impieties, and at last silled up the Measure of their Iniquities, by rejecting and crucifying the Messiah the Lord of Glory, and persecuting his Disciples.

The proper Use which I conceive is to be made upon the reading these tragick Stories, is to consider that Righteousness exaltetb a Nation, but Sin is a Re* ftoacb to any People, and that the Dominion of the Almighty in the World has been, and is now the" fame as it was then, for that which hath been is now, and that which is to be hath already been; which is clearly stated by Sir Walter Rawleigb in his excellent Preface, wherein is the following Observation.

« I will examine, fays he, what Profit hath been "gathered byour own Kings, and their Neighbouring «* Princes, who having beheld both in Divine and "humane Letters the Success of Infidelity, Injustice «' and Cruelty, have notwithstanding planted after the ** fame Pattern. But the Judgments of God are for "ever unchangeable, neither is he wearied by the "long process of Time, nor wont to give his Bles"sing in one Age to that which he hath cursed in "another: Therefore those that are wise, will be a"ble to discern the bitter Fruits of Irreligious Policy, "as well among those Examples that are found in A*' ges removed far from the present, as in those of

latter '* latter Times". And of which he gives many Instances from the History of the Kings of England and other Nations.

If the History of the Hebrew and Christian Church be compared, there seems to be a very near Resemblance between them, as may appear in the following Instances.

The Hebrews., notwithstanding their long and cruel Oppressions in Egypt, and the many Attempts to destroy them, yet grew, and multiplied exceedingly, in which State of Servitude they continued above three hundred Years.

The Christian Church was, for above three hundred Years cruelly harafs'd, and persecuted both by Jews and Gentiles, the whole Power of the Roman Empire in vain attempting by cruel Torments and Persecutions to extirpate Christianity: But the Primitive Christians, being endued with a Divine Fortitude, triumph'd over all the Rage and Power of their Enemies, so that the Blood of the Martyrs became the Seed of the Church, which was planted in all Parts of the Roman Empire.

The Israelites being put into the Possession of the Land of Canaan, soon after JoJhua*s Death fell into those Idolatries and other Impieties, for which the Canaanites were extirpated.

The Emperor Constantine having embraced Christianity, became not only the Protector of the Christians, but endowed the Church with great Riches. What Influence this had upon the Clergy, appeared before the Death of this great Emperor, who was forced to call a General Council to put a Stop to the Arian Heresy, which (though suppressed for a Time) was revived in the Time of his Son and Successor Conjlantius, who became a most virulent Persecutor, and too miny of the Ecclefiasticks became the great Promoters of this Heresy and Persecution.

This Damnable Heresy of denying the Lord that

a 2 bought bought them, having diffused itself over most os the Asian and African Churches, the swift Destruction which was foretold by St. Peter, was brought upon them by the Saracens, who in a short Time over-run the greatest part of Asia and Africa, desolated therr Cities, destroyed their Churches, and laid waste many fruitful Countries; so that in many Respects, there seems to be a great Resemblance between the Calamities that fell upon the ten Tribes by the Adrians; and those that were brought upon the Christian Church by the Saracens.

The two Tribes which remained (who, notwithstanding all the Calamities that came upon the ten Tribes, and the many Warnings they had given them from Heaven by several Prophets, would not be reclaim'd from their Fondness for Idols) were carried Captive to Babylon, their Temple plundered and burnt, their Cities, and Countrey laid desolate. The Parallel, to which is the State of the remaining part of the Eastern or Greek Churches, into which the grossest Idolatries were introduc'd under Christian Names; and so obstinate were the Ecclesiastics in carrying on this Impiety, that notwithstanding all the Attempts that were made by soma of the Greek Emperors to suppress Idolatry, it was not only openry profess'd, butavow'd and established in the Greek and Latin Churches.

This was soon followed by the terrible Vengeance that fell upon the Greek Empire and Churches, by the Turks, who took Constantinople the Capital City of the Empire-, in the Siege and Sacking of which, are many Circumstances which very much resemble the Calamities that befel the Jews in the Siege and taking of Jerusalem. But this Suggestion is submitted to the Consideration os those who are more vers'd in Ecclesiastical History than I pretend to be.

What is to be the Fate of the Mystical Babylon, and the Antichristian Empire, by whose Idolatries, Impieties and Tyranny the Church has been so long

polluted polluted and oppress'd, is very exprefly foretold both by the Apostles and Prophets; so that although this Empire has had a longer Continuance than [all the four other great Monarchies, yet there is all the Reason to believe that the Mystical Babylon will fall and be no more.

I am sensible that this Attempt of comparing the Holy Scriptures may by some be thought a needless Undertaking, since there are so many References in the Margin of the greater Bibles; but many of them relate only to Words of the fame Signification; and besides, how few of those who have them* will be at the Pains of turning from one end of the Bible to the other to compare them?

I have endeavour'd to keep the Historical Part entire, but have omitted many Chapters relating to the particular Laws and Customs of the Israelites, inserting chiefly such as are referred to in the New Testamerit, and other Parts of the Scripture.

The History of their Kings contained in the Books of Samuel, Kings and Chronicles are abstracted, only inserting those Chapters out of these Books where the fame Matters of Facts are most fully related; in many Places the Contents only are inserted, so that the Chapters at length may be easily found and turned to. To which is added some part of the Book of Jeremiah and Daniel, which contain the Relation of Facts not express'd elsewhere.

Though the Holy Scripture instructs us in all Things necessary to our everlasting Salvation, and affords the greatest Comfort and Support in our Passage to it, yet such is the Pride and Perverseness of some Men, that they chuse to be guided by their own weak Reason, rather than submit to the Direction of the Divine Revelation. But it is no Wonder that those who are indulging their vicious Inclinations, should hate that Light, which not only reproves, but denounces

« PreviousContinue »