صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

of his Faith expreffing itself in an abfolute Obe dience to the Divine Command; for he accounted that God was able to raise him up even from the Dead, from whence alfo he received him in a Figure: So that as it is stated by St. James, his Faith wrought with his Works.

What is parallel to this, in the Chriftian Church, is a firm Belief that Chrift, the promised Seed of whom Ifaac was a Type, was born of a pure Virgin by the Holy Ghoft, and after his Sufferings raised from the Dead, by the Power of God, to fulfil the Promises made to the Fathers, and that all Believers must be born again of the Holy Ghost, and raised like to Chrift to Eternal Life at the laft Day; and in general, it is fuch a Faith, as must be exercised in an entire Reliance upon the Divine Promifes, whereby all penitent Believers are affur'd of the Divine Mercy, in the Pardon of their manifold Tranfgreffions, and of the Almighty Affiftance of Divine Grace, by which they fhall be enabled to overcome all the Powers of Sin and Darkness, and fo be made meet for the Inheritance of the Saints in Eternal Life and Blifs.

Jacob, not long before his Death, foretels the coming of the Meffiab, and that the Sceptre fhould not depart from Judah 'till Shiloh come, which was accordingly fulfilled.

In the Story of Jofeph we have the Inftance of a most fublime Virtue, founded upon the Fear of the Almighty, which induced him to undergo the Miseries of a Dungeon rather than comply with the Allurements of his wanton Miftrefs. This his refolved Piety was amply rewarded even in this Life, being advanced from a Prison to be the Ruler over all the Lands of Egypt, and thereby the Preferver of his Father and all his Family in the Time of an univerfal Famine.

The Deliverance of the Hebrews out of that Bondage with which they were fo cruelly oppreffed, is both


by our Saviour and the Apostles made the Representation of that much greater Deliverance from eternal Death and Misery, which all thofe that believe in Jefus Chrift fhould be refcued from, for fuch fhall never perish, but have everlasting Life.

All the Sacrifices and Inftitutions of the Ceremonial Law, were the Types and Shadows of that great Sacrifice which the Meffiah fhould 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 Poffeffion of which the Hebrews were conducted by Joshua, was a most fertile and pleasant Land, but here they could not long abide, by reafon of Death; and therefore David the moft excellent of all their Princes in the heighth of his Profperity, upon the Dedication of the immenfe 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 Pfalms expreffes, that his Hope and Defire was only fix'd upon the Expectation of eternal Blifs, and therefore cries out, Whom have I in Heaven but thee? and there is none on the Earth I defire befides thee; for in thy Prefence alone is fulness of Joy, and Pleasures for evermore: For as the Apostle obferves, they that say fuch Things, declare plainly that they feek a Countrey, that is, an Heavenly.

The Books of Judges, and the Hiftory of the Kings of Judah and Ifrael, are the clear and full Reprefentations 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 Profperity, and without the Affiftance of any foreign Alliance, were protected from all the Infults of their Enemies.

But when they funk into Idolatry and other Im

[blocks in formation]

pieties, they were cruelly harafs'd by feveral Na. tions, as well as by Inteftine Wars and Difcords.

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 Mofes, 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 deftroyed, and their Countrey laid defolate; and being restored after feventy Years Captivity, they foon fell into many great Impieties, and at laft filled up the Measure of their Iniquities, by rejecting and crucifying the Meffiah the Lord of Glary, and perfecuting his Difciples.

The proper Ufe which I conceive is to be made upon the reading these tragick Stories, is to confider that Righteousness exalteth a Nation, but Sin is a Reproach 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 Rawleigh in his excellent Preface, wherein is the following Observation.

"I will examine, fays he, what Profit hath been "gathered by our own Kings, and their Neighbouring "Princes, who having beheld both in Divine and "humane Letters the Succefs 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 procefs of Time, nor wont to give his Blef"fing in one Age to that which he hath curfed in "another: Therefore thofe that are wife, will be a"ble to discern the bitter Fruits of Irreligious Policy, "as well among thofe Examples that are found in Ages removed far from the prefent, as in those of


[ocr errors]

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

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

The Hebrews, notwithstanding their long and cruel Oppreffions in Egypt, and the many Attempts to deftroy 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 perfecuted both by Jews and Gentiles, the whole Power of the Roman Empire in vain attempting by cruel Torments and · Perfecutions to extirpate Christianity: But the Primitive Christians, being endued with a Divine Fortitude, triumph'd over all the Rage and Power of their Enemies, fo that the Blood of the Martyrs became the Seed of the Church, which was planted in all Parts of the Roman Empire.

The Ifraelites being put into the Poffeffion of the Land of Canaan, foon after Joshua's Death fell into those Idolatries and other Impieties, for which the Canaanites were extirpated.

The Emperor Conftantine having embraced Chriftianity, became not only the Protector of the Chriftians, 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 Herefy, which (though fuppreffed for a Time) was revived in the Time of his Son and Succeffor Conftantius, who became a moft virulent Perfecutor, and too many of the Ecclefiafticks became the great Promoters of this Herefy and Perfecution.

This Damnable Hercfy of denying the Lord that

2 2


bought them, having diffufed itfelf over moft of the Afian and African Churches, the fwift Deftruction which was foretold by St. Peter, was brought upon them by the Saracens, who in a fhort Time over-run the greatest part of Afia and Africa, defolated their Cities, deftroyed their Churches, and laid waste many fruitful Countries; fo that in many Refpects, there feems to be a great Refemblance between the Calamities that fell upon the ten Tribes by the Affyrians, and thofe that were brought upon the Christian Church by the Saracens.

The two Tribes which remained (who, notwithftariing all the Calamities that came upon the ten Tribes, and the many Warnings they had given them from Heaven by feveral Prophets, would not be reclaim'd from their Fondnefs for Idols) were carried Captive to Babylon, their Temple plundered and burnt, their Cities, and Countrey laid defolate. The Parallel, to which is the State of the remaining part of the Eaftern or Greek Churches, into which the groffeft Idolatries were introduc'd under Chriftian Names; and so obstinate were the Ecclefiaftics in carrying on this Impiety, that notwithstanding all the Attempts that were made by some of the Greek Emperors to fupprefs Idolatry, it was not only openly profefs'd, but avow'd and establish'd in the Greek and Latin Churches.

This was foon followed by the terrible Vengeance that fell upon the Greek Empire and Churches, by the Turks, who took Conftantinople the Capital City of the Empire; in the Siege and Sacking of which, are many Circumftances which very much resemble the Calamities that befel the Jews in the Siege and taking of Jerufalem. But this Suggeftion is fubmitted to the Confideration of thofe who are more vers'd in Ecclefiaftical Hiftory than I pretend to be.

What is to be the Fate of the Myftical Babylon, and the Antichriftian Empire, by whofe Idolatries, Impieties and Tyranny the Church has been fo long


« السابقةمتابعة »