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114 Q. Having heard this account of holy persons and places, things and times, let us now inquire what were the holy actions?
A. All those actions may be called holy which were appointed to be a part of this ceremonial worship; but the actions relating to the natural worship of God, such as prayers and praise, are in themselves holy and religious.
The use of the Jewish ceremonies.
115 Q. What were the chief uses of all these ceremonial commands?
A. These three: (1.) To distinguish the Jews from all other people as a holy people, and God's peculiar visible church, who eminently bore up his name and honour in the world, Lev. xx. 22—26.
(2.) To employ that people, who were so much given to idolatry, in many varieties of outward forms and rites of religion, lest they should be tempted to follow the superstition and idolatry of the nations round about them, Deut. vi. 1, 2, 14, 17. xxix. 1, 9-18.
(3.) To represent by types, figures, and emblems, many of the offices of Christ, and the glories and blessings of his Gospel.
116 Q. How does it appear that any of these Jewish ceremonies are emblems or types of Christ and his Gospel?
A. 1. This appears from many places in the New Testament, where Jesus Christ and the blessings of the Gospel are called by the same names. So Christ is called our High Priest, Heb. iii. 1. and iv. 14. He is the Lamb that was slain, Rev. v. 6. 1 Pet. i. 19, 23. Our passover, 1 Cor. v. 7, and Sacrifice to take away sin, Heb. ix. 26. The Atonement or Propitiation for sin, Rom. iii. 25. 1 John ii. 2. His body is called the Temple, because God dwelt in it as in the Jewish temple, John ii. 19, 21. Col. ii. 9.
2. This appears yet farther from the evident and intended resemblance which the Scripture represents between several of the Jewish ceremonies and the things of the Gospel. The blood of Christ obtained eternal redemption for us, as the blood of bulls and goats cleansed and freed the Jews from ceremonial defilements, Heb. ix. 12, &c. His blood is called the blood of sprinkling, Heb. xii. 24, to sprinkle or cleanse us from a guilty conscience, as the sprinkling of the blood of the Jewish sacrifices purified the people, Heb. ix. 19. and x. 22. The most holy place, where God dwelt of old on the mercy-seat, is the figure of the true heaven, where God dwells on a throne of grace, Heb. ix. 8, 24, and iv. 16. The high priest's entrance with the blood of the sacrifice, and with the names of the tribes on his breast, into the most holy place, to appear before God there for the Jews, is a plain figure of Christ's entrance into heaven with his own blood, to appear before God for us, Heb. ix. 12, 25. The Jewish incense was a type or figure of prayer, Rev. v. 8, and viii. 3. The Jewish sabbath, or day of rest, as well as the land of Canaan, was a type of the rest and release of believers from sin and guilt, and from an uneasy conscience under the gospel, and the final rest of the saints in heaven, Heb. iv. 3, 4, 9, 10.
This might be proved more at large by some other Scriptures, where the Jewish rites in general are called figures or shadows of the good things of the Gospel, Col. ii. 16, 17, Heb. viii. 5. and ix. 1-14, 23, 24.
117 Q. Did the Jews themselves understand the spiritual meaning of these ceremonies?
A. Perhaps a few of them, who were more enlightened, might understand the meaning of some of the chief and most considerable types; but the bulk of the people can hardly be supposed to have understood the spiritual meaning of them; at least the Bible gives us no intimation of it.
118 Q. How could they be appointed as types and figures of spiritual things, if the people who were re
quired to use them in their worship, did not understand the spiritual meaning of them?
A. 1. The Jewish dispensation was the childish or infant state of the church of God, as it is described, Gal. iv. 1-3, &c. Now, children are sometimes employed in several things by their wiser parents, the chief design and meaning whereof they understand not till riper years.
2. If these ceremonies were not understood by the ancient Jews, to whom they were given, yet they might be designed as types and figures of Christ, and the blessings of the Gospel, in order to confirm the religion of Christ and the Gospel, when it should be afterwards published to the world, by seeing how happily it answers these ancient types.
119 Q. Wherein does this appear?
A. St. Paul does actually confirm Christianity this way, especially in his Epistle to the Hebrews, by showing how these ancient types and ceremonies are fulfilled in the Gospel of Christ.
Note, As a prophecy is the foretelling of things to come in words, so a type is the foretelling of something to come, in some real emblem, or figure of resemblance of it now as there are many ancient prophecies which were not understood by the persons to whom they were first spoken, nor by the persons who spoke them, 1 Pet. i. 11, 12, yet when they are fulfilled, they come to be better understood, and bear witness to the hand of God, both in the prophecy and in the accomplishment: so though types may be obscure when they are first appointed, yet when they are accomplished or fulfilled, they are better understood, and show the hand of God, both in appointing the sign, and bringing to pass the thing signified.
120 Q. Can these things be said therefore to be fulfilled or accomplished in Christ, since the meaning of all these ceremonies or types is not yet known even to Christians themselves?
A. The New Testament has revealed to us, and
taught us to understand the chief and most considerable both of the types and prophecies; but neither one nor the other are understood fully: and yet we make no doubt but the prophecies are, or shall be, accomplished in Christ; and why not the types also? Probably it is reserved as one part of the glory of that happy day, when the Jews shall be converted, that the rest of their prophecies, as well as the rites and ceremonies of their ancient worship, together with their accomplishment in Christ and the Gospel, shall be more completely understood.
OF THE POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL LAW OF THE JEWS.
1 Q. We have had a particular relation of the moral and ceremonial laws of the Jews; say now what was their judicial or political law?
A. That which related to their civil government as a nation.
2 Q. Who was their governor?
A. God himself condescended to take upon him the title of their King, and he appointed various kinds of governors under him, as he thought fit, Judges viii. 23. 1 Sam. xii. 12, 13. Isa. xxxiii. 22.
Note, Since the same person was both their God and their King, the tabernacle and the temple may be considered not only as the residence of their God, but as the palace of their King also. The court of the tabernacle was the court of the palace; the holy of holies was the presencechamber; the mercy-seat was his throne; the cherubs represented his attendants as God, and the priests were his ministers of state as King; the high priest his prime minister; the Levites were his officers, dispersed through all the kingdom; the table of show-bread, together with some part of the sacrifices which were given to the priest, represented the provision for his household, &c.
Whatever other governors were made from time to time, either captains, judges, or kings, they were but
deputies to God, who put them in and turned them out at pleasure.
3 Q. What did the political or civil laws, or commands, oblige the people to?
A. To many particular practices, relating, (1.) To war and peace. (2.) To husbands and wives. (3.) Parents and children. (4.) Masters and servants. (5.) Food and raiment. (6.) Houses and lands. (7.) Corn and husbandry. (8.) Money and cattle. (9.) The birds and beasts. (10.) The first born of all things. (11.) The maintenance of the Levites and priests. (12.) The care of the bodies and lives of men.
4 Q. What were some of the more peculiar laws about war and peace?
A. That they should make no peace with the seven nations of Canaan, but that they should destroy them utterly; and that when they went to war, every soldier who was afraid might go home, Deut. vii. 1—3.
5 Q. What were some of their peculiar laws about husbands and wives?
A. That a man should marry his brother's widow, if his brother died childless. And that men were permitted to put away their wives by a writing of divorce, Deut. xxiv. 1, xxv. 5. And that adultery was to be punished with death, Lev. xx. 10.
6 Q. What were some of their special laws about parents and children?
A. The first-born son was to have a double portion: and any child who smote and cursed his father or his mother, or was obstinately rebellious and incorrigible, was to be put to death, Deut. xxi. 17-21, Exod. xxi. 15, 17.
7 Q. What are some of their special laws about masters and servants?
A. Any servant might go free, if his master had maimed him; and an Israelitish servant, though he were bought with money, shall go out free for nothing in the seventh year, and if he will not go out free, his