Imatges de pÓgina

to a laborious Life, that in che sweat of their Brows they should eat their Bread; which was the best Preservative againft the Temptations of Ease, and Sloth, and Luxury: When notwithtanding this, all flesh bad corrupted bis ways, God destroyed that wicked Generation with an univerfal Deluge, and thereby gave a signal de. -monstration of his power and Justice to the New World: When this New Generation of Men grew corrupt, God confounded their Language, anddispersed them over the Face of the whole Earth, and formed them into diftina Bodies and Societies, which prevented a general corruption of Manners, taught them Civil Justice and many Moral Virtues, which were neceffary to the Support and Defence of Human Societies; but when they all declined to Idolatry, which would endanger a new and univerfal Corruption of Manners, by thofe impure Ceremonies with which wicked Spirits would chuse to be worshipped, some new and more effectual means were to be used to cure this evil. The Univerfal Deluge, and the Confusion of Languages, rad so abundantly convinced them of a Divine Power and Providence, that there was no such Creature as an Atheist known among them, till their ridiculous Idolatries in worshipping the meanest Creatures, and viler Men, with ludicrous or abominable Rites, tempted some Men of Wit and Thought rather to own no God, than such Gods as the Heathens worshipped : but cho' these extraordinary Events were a manifest Proof of a Divine Power and Providence, yet it seems they were not thought fo express and direct a Proof of the Unity of the Godhead, at least not a fufficient Argument against the Worship of Inferior Deities, whom they supposed intrusted

[ocr errors]

with the immediate Care of particular Countries. And how could God give a more sensible Demonstration to the World, that he would not allow the paying Divine Honours to any but himself, than by raising up a new People, diftinguished and separated from all the rest of the World, by the sole Worship of the One Supreme God, and owned by him for his peculiar People, by as distinguishing Providences ?. For this not only proves a Divine Power and Providence, but that there is bur One God whom we ought to worship.

And this may satisfy us, That God is not so partial in his Favours, as to prefer one Nation before all the rest of Mankind; for they were no Nation nor People when God chose them ; for God entred into Covenant with Abrabam and his Seed, when there was none but himself ;; but when all the rest of the World were Idolaters, God promised to multiply Abraham's Seed into a great Nation, and to make them his own peculiar People ; that is, he made a new People and Nation,ingreatKindness to Mankind, to preserve the Knowledge and Worship of the One Supreme God, and by Degrees to extirpate Idolatry out of the World.

But besides this, it was one of the peculiar Privileges of the Jewis, That to 3. Rom. 2. them were committed the Oracles of God; and it is certain, it was for the great Good of the World, that these Divine Oracles, a System of Laws both for religious Worship, and civil Conversation, should be deposited somewhere ; for their Idolatry did every Day corrupt the Manners of Men, and was likely in Time to destroy all the natural Notions of Good and Evil ; which made a written Law necessary, from


Z 2

whence Men might learn their Duty whenever they pleased ; and it is evident these' Laws could be given to no other people but the Fews, who alone acknowledged and worshipped the One Supreme God: For it is not to be conceived, that God should give Laws to Idolaters, who did not own and worlhip him for their God, or that they should receive Laws from him. And though these Laws were immediately given only to the Jewis, because there was no other Nation at that Time which owned and worshipped the One Supreme God, yet as the Knowledge and

Worship of God prevailed in the World, To these Laws would be of more universal Use; as we see it is even to this Day : Nay, even while Idolatry prevailed, the Writings of Moses and the Prophets very much reformed

the Pagan Philosophy, gave them better Notions of God, and of religious Worship, and more divine Rules of Life; as is visible in the Philosophy of Pythagoras and Plato, who are generally thought to have learnt some of their best Notions from their Conversation with Jewish Priests. But yet the Question is not, What Use the World did make of this? But , What Use they might have made of it? And whether, as the State of the World then was, any Thing could be more wisely designed, than to preserve the Knowledge and Worfhip of the One True God, and a System of Divine Laws, in a Nation raised up on purpose to season the World, and to preserve it from an universal Apostacy?

But God had a more glorious Design than all this, in entring into Covenant wich Abrabam, and chuling his Seed for his peculiar People : He had promised, That the Seed of the Woman Bould break the Serpent's Head; which contains the

[ocr errors]

Promise of the Mellias, who in the Fulness of Time was to appear in the World , to destroy the Works of the Devil: And this is the Covenant which God made with Abraham, That in bis Seed all the Nations of the Earth should be blessed. It was not fitting, that the Meffias and Saviour of the World should descend from Idolaters ; and that when he came into the World, he fhould find no Worshippers of the One Supreme God in it ; and therefore God entred into Co. venant with Abraham, who seems to have been the only Man of that Age who was free from Idolatry, and promises to multiply his Seed, and to preserve his Name and Worship among them ; and that the Meffias should descend from his Loins.

And if we consider what necessary Preparations were required for the coming of the Merfias, and for his Reception in the World when he should appear, it will fatisfy us how wisely this was designed by God. The Appearance of the Son of God in the World was very surprizing, and it could not be thought that any one who made such Pretences, should find Credit, unless the World had before-hand been prepared to expect him, and had some Infallible Marks and Characters whereby to know him when he came. And this was the principal End of all theTypes and Figures, and Prophecies of the Law, to contain the Promises and Predi&tions of the Messias, and the Characters whereby to know him.

The Temple it self, and the whole TempleWorship, was little more than Types and Figures of Christ, of his Incarnation, or living among Men in an earthly Tabernacle, of his Priesthood and Sacrifice, his Death, and Resurrection, and



Z 3

Ascension into Heaven, there to intercede for us at God's Right-Hand, as the High-Prieft entred once a Year into the Holy of Holies. Now this could not have been done, had not the One SupremeGod had a Temple, and Priesthood,and Sacrifices on Earth ; that is, a People peculiarly devoted to his Worship and Service ; for the Temples, and Priests, and Sacrifices of Idols, could not be Types of the Son of God, who came to confound all the Pagan Gods, and their idolatrous Worship. Thus there could have been no Prophecies of Christ, had there been noProphets of the True God ; and these Prophecies would have met with little Credit, had they been found in Idols Temples. So that God's chusing the Pofterity of Abraham for his peculiar People, was not only necessary to preserve the Knowledge and Worship of the One True God in the World, but also to receive and to convey down to future Ages with an unquestionable Authority, all the Types and Prophecies of the Meffias,

This gives us a general View of the Divine Wisdom, in that Covenant God made with Abrabam and his Pofterity; and this will enable us to discover the wonderful Wisdom of all the various Dispensations of the Divine Providence towards the Jewish Nation; which will be both so useful and entertaining a Meditation, that I cannot pass it over without some short Remarks.

Now God having chosen the Posterity of Ahrabam to be his peculiar. People, on purpose to make them a visible Confutation of Idolatry,and to establish and propagate the knowledge and Worship of the One Supreme God in the World; in order to effect this, Four Things were manifestly necessary

1. That

« AnteriorContinua »