tament dispensation. It indicated a relation to hin entirely spiritual, and was therefore in perfect agree: ment with the view which has been given, in the preceding analysis, of the covenant of circumcision. The triumph of Israel

, after the passage of the Red Sea, was one, among the many triumphs, of the

people of God. The song which they sung, was in the strain of evangelical piety; and, like all the doxologies of the Church, partook of the hosannas of heaven, where the song of Moses is the song of the Lamb. In the second verse of this song, there is a profession of real religion. “ The Lord is my strength, and song'; he also is become my salvation. He is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father's God, and I will exalt him.” In the eleventh verse also, the spirit of true religion, is very fully expressed. " Who is like unto thee, O Lord, among the Gods ? Who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders ?" The peculiar spiritual relation of this people to God is recognized, verses 16 and 17. "Fear and dread shall fall upon them: By the greatness of thine arm, they shall be as still as a stone; till thy people pass over, o Lord; till thy people pass over, which thou hast' re. deemed. Thou shalt bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of thine inheritance ; in the place, O Lord, which thou hast made for thee to dwell in; in the sanctuary, O Lord, which thy hands have estab: lished.” It is to be remembered, the people, as a body, united with Moses in this song. Did ever then, a people, more deserve the name of a professing people ? 'Were there ever any professions of godliness, more consonant, with sanctification of heart?

To this scene of united and public exultation, God, it would seem, had respect, in the direction given to Jeremiah, Jeremiah ii. 2." Go and cry in the ears of Je. rusalem, saying, Thus saith the Lord, I remember thee, the kindness of thy youth, the love of thine espousals, when thou wentest after me in the wilderness, in a land that was not sown. Israel was holiness unto the Lord ; all that devour him shall offend ; evil shall come

Upon them, saith the Lord.” What equally express testimony have we to the visible piety of the Church under the last dispensation, at any period of it, antece. dent to the millennium ? If there be a parallel, it must be found in the first planting of it, under the immedi. ate ministry of the Apostles.

It may be proper to remark as wego along, that in this passage in Jeremiah; and in a multitude of other places in the scripture, some of which will come into view in the course of this Treatise, Israel is addressed as a single person; a manner of speaking, which seems to have been chosen, to suggest as impressively as possible, the unity of the society. This mode of address țeaches us, that the pattern of this society, as drawn by God, was calculated to fix upon it the same simplicity of character, which distinguishes the pious individual. Whether it be called a Congregation, a Flock, a Church, or Nation, (and it has all these names given to it,) an idea of the same simplicity of character is inten. ded. And the meaning of these terms is precisely the same with that which is conveyed by them in the New Testament, as applicable to the Christian Church. Let it be farther remarked, that this community consists now of households ; by no means excluding the infant part of them. The institution of the passover, is on this principle. Exod. xii. 4. "And if the household, be too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbour next unto his house take it, according to the number of the souls; every man according to your eating shall make your count for the lamb.” Be it remembered also, that they have all collectively, not excepting the infant part, been baptised into Moses, in the cloud, and in the sea,* and thereby had one character. istic name fixed upon them, " Holiness to the Lord." Be it remembered farther, that whatever proselytes may have become attached to them, and incorporated into this society, by adoption, and are living; and all the children of proselytes, who have not apostatized, and gone off to idolatry, are identified with it ; so that

[blocks in formation]

the distinctions between them are those only of geneal. ogy and office; and therefore, that whatever is, or shall be communicated by God to Israel, is to be understood as respecting all equally. This ideas founded upon proofs already adduced, and which need not here be repeated, we are to keep in view, as we progress in ascertaining the covenant history of this people. Wheth. er these proselytes are many or few, is of no conse: quence to the general enquiry.

Events proved, that a large proportion of this people, who here made such excellent professions, at least of the male adults, were false hearted.

“ With many of them, God was not well pleased." They sung his praises, but soon forgat his works. They murmured. They were disobedient. They were children without faith ; and, instead of entering the promised land, fell victims to divine displeasure in the wilderness. But this presents no difficulty. The reconcileableness of it, with the spirituality and absolute nature of the promises of the covenant; and the relation it formed, has been explained. All are not Israel who are of Israel. "The covenant itself implied, that there would be hypocrites and apostates, under its visible administrations But let it be remarked, God speaks of Israel as his people, notwithstanding their disobedience, and their temporary idolatry. He does not immediately extirpate the offenders. He does not disown at once the covenant alliance. He easily yields to the interces. sions of their mediator, Moses. He illustrates and con. firms his character, as the Lord God, gracious, and merciful, slow to anger, and ready to forgive. And this character we shall find exemplified towards Israel in every period of time, till the coming of the Messiah. Nor is it displayed in a less clear, or less affecting martner, under the Gospel dispensation, and towards nominal Christians. Had God exterminated the offend. ers, upon the appearance of the first symptoms of disaffection of heart, without putting them upon farther

trial, that amiable part of his character, his slowness to . anger, which it was so much a dictate of wisdom and

benevolence, fully to illustrate, could not have been manifested at all. And the same remark will apply to the Church at every subsequent period of time.We are not hastily to conclude, therefore, that because these offenders were suffered to continue a while in their visible relation to God, this relation was civil, and not entirely spiritual. Extirpation would indeed, have been as necessary upon one principle, as upon the other.

We have now followed the society of Israel to the foot of Sinai, and found it to be in fact exactly of that description which the covenant designed. Here a new subject of enquiry presents itself, to which we must attend, with the same careful and patient investi. gation, which was found necessary in ascertaining the pature of the coyenant of circumcision,


Respecting the covenants of Sinai and Moab. In this chap.

ter it is enquired, in what respects the covenants of Sinai and Moab, are distinguishable from the covenant of Circumcis. ion, and the new covenant, predicted by Jeremiah and Ezek. iel, and mentioned by the writer of the Epistle to tbe Hebrews; as taking effect under the Gospel dispensation ; whether the covenant of Sinai was the covenant of works ; and whether it was designed to form the Hebrew community into a civil ; or to continue them a religious society.


IT is undeniable that the covenant of Sinai, and that of Moab are the same. They were prosounded to, and accepted by the same persons. For Moses, the 5th chapter of Deuteronomy, where lic is introducing the Moab covenant, says that the covenant of Si

, speaking. "The Lord our God, made a covenant with us in Horeb.* The Lord made not this covenant with our Fathers, but with us who are here all of us alivethis day. The Lord talked with you face to face, in the mount, out of the midst of the fire.” The same law was wrought into them both, as may be seen by comparing the one with the other. They were proposed in the same terms, engage the same blessings to the obedient, and denounce the same curses on the disobedient. Some verbal variations are to be observed. Some his. toric details, there are in the one, which are not in the other.' Some motives from experience are urged in the latter, which are not urged in the former. Still it is undeniable, that the covenant of Moab is but a renewal of the Sinai covenant.

* Horeb and Sinai were two elevations of ground, very near to each other, the latter higher than the former; both of them standing upon one mountain, as their common base. This is the reason that the names Horeb and Sinai, are used in the scripture promiscuously. The same mountain is intended. Sec Brown's Dictionary of the Bible, and Stackhouse's History,

« 上一页继续 »