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of description, for both of which the gospel is so superior to all other writings. But the story hath certainly a more deep design, than such a narrative might be supposed to have, if it had occurred in some other book: and this I think must be evident upon the following consideration. The precept-go and do thou likewise, is of general obligation. What our Saviour here said to the Jews, he said to all his disciples and followers to the end of the world. And if they are all bound to the practice of this precept, it is but natural to think, that they should all be interested in the circumstances of that narrative, on which the precept is grounded. It is the general design of the parables of Christ, to set before us the great and interesting principles of the gospel, under the form of something familiar to the understanding: therefore our blessed Saviour never relates any thing of this kind, but with some superior allusion: and if we take this story as a parable, representing to us under other terms that merciful act of redemption in which we are all equally concerned, then there will be no difficulty in making the example and the precept consistent with each other. I may add likewise, that in this Christian acceptation of the parable, we shall agree with all the best expositors of the
Church, from the apostolic age to the present; which consideration will have its weight with all those, who are not poisoned with the pretended improvements of modern times. It is the general intention of the gospel, and of all its principles and doctrines in particular, to improve our understandings in the way of godliness, and encourage our endeavours to the practice of holiness. This passage of the scripture, when truly interpreted, will, like the rest, be found capable of answering both these purposes with which persuasion, I shall now propose to your consideration the several parti
A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.
If we suppose the man here spoken of to be Adam, departing first from innocence to sin, and next from paradise into the world; all the circumstances of the parable will fall naturally into this interpretation, and we shall soon be satisfied that the design of it is not misunderstood. The journey from Jerusalem to Jericho is plainly that from paradise into the world. In the book of Revelation, the names of "Jerusam" and "Paradise" are applied indifferently to
the same thing. The tree of life is spoken of as growing in the midst of the paradise of God: but in another place, the same tree of life is said to grow in the midst of the street of the new Jerusalem. Something of the like kind occurs in St. Paul; who tells us he was caught up to the third heaven, which he calls paradise: yet elsewhere, with allusion to the same paradise, he speaks of a Jerusalem that is above, which is the mother of us all to which character, in a proper sense, the earthly paradise also had a title, in as much as all mankind are descended from it. And if it be true, that we all died in Adam, it will follow, that in him we all were once inhabitants of paradise; and the sin which drove Adam from that happy place, drove out his posterity with him. So long as Adam preserved his innocence, he was secure in his possession of paradise, and had a right of inheritance in the Jeruralem that is above; that heavenly original, of which the garden planted upon earth was but an earnest and a pattern. But when he disobeyed the divine command, he lost the present enjoyment of the inferior paradise, and at the same time forfeited his revertionary title to the superior. His departure therefore is very properly described as a going down from Jerusalem: the fall of man,
as the term necessarily signifies, being in every acceptation of it a descent from an higher to a
Nor is the place to which he descended less expressive than that of Jerusalem: for when Adam was expelled from Eden, he was removed into the world, of which the city Jericho was em blematical in several respects*. It was accursed to the Lord for the wickedness of its inhabitants, as this world is now subjected to a curse for the disobedience of man. Jericho was formally devoted to ruin and destruction; and the man who should attempt to rebuild it, was to lay the foundation thereof in his first-born, and in hisyoungest son to set up the gates of it: which sentence was at length fulfilled upon Hiel, a presumptuous projector in the degenerate times of Ahab. The world itself is under a like sentence; being kept in store against the day of judgment. The walls of Jericho fell down flat, and the city was burned with fire, and all that was in it was destroyed, on the seventh day, after sounding of the trumpets and the shouting
people. The world in like manner, acing to the sense of antiquity, and some obare intimations of the scripture, is expected to ndure six thousand years, and to perish in the seventh,
* See this idea enlarged on in the preceding discourse.
seventh, which answers to the sabbath; when the last trumpet shall sound, and the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout.-The Lord himself seems here in the language of the Apostle to be opposed to Joshua or Jesus his representative, and the circumstances attending the destruction of the world are selected and worded in such a manner, as to shew a plain allusion to the fall of Jericho*.
But we are now to follow our traveller, and to observe what happens to him upon his journey.
Ever since the introduction of evil, the constitution of this world hath been changed, and the Devil (together with the host of darkness) hath been permitted to establish his own empire in it; whence the devil is expressly called the prince of this world. Hence it cometh to pass, that no man can depart from paradise into the world, without falling into the hands of evil spirits, or, as the parable expresses it, without falling among thieves. For these are the thieves to whom our Lord seems to refer, where he commands us to lay up for ourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal. The moth which devours the garment of the
*Compare 1 Thess. iv. 16, and v. 3, with Joshua, chap. 6.