Immagini della pagina
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

1

God promised Abraham to give him the Land of
Canaan for an Inheritance; which, as I have al-
ready shewn you, included in it the Promise of
Heaven. And the Mosaical Dispensation con.
firms this many ways. When Abraham was
commanded by God to leave his own Country
and his Father's House, and to follow him into
a strange Land; from that Time he lived, as it
were, out of this world. And when God in
his own appointed Time fulfilled this Promise to
Abraham's Pofterity, by giving them Poffeffion
of Canaan for an Inheritance; this Land it felf
was separated from the rest of the World, as
if it were no Part of it. They were to live by
themselves, and to be a World by themselves;
to have no Communication with the Idolatrous
Nations; and such at that Time all the Nati-
ons of the World were. None were permitted
to live among them, who did not worship the
one Supreme God, the God of Israel, and no
other God besides him. For this was a holy
Land, which God had chosen for himself, to
place his Name there. And they were a holy
and a peculiar People, separated to the peculiar
Worship and Service of God. Now is it possi-
ble to expound all this to a mere literal Sense ?
Can we possibly think, that God who is the
Maker of the World, and the Sovereign Lord
of all, should separate Canaan from the rest of
the World, and the Children of Israel from the
rest of Mankind, only to have a little Spot of
Earth, and a little handful of Men on it, whom
he would call his own? If God designed only
to have a People in this World, why did he not
affert his Authority over all Mankind; and make
himself as much known to them all, as he did
to Israel? Why did he separate Canaan, and se-

parate

parate Israel from the rest of the World, when the whole world and all Mankind are equally his? If God's Covenant with Ifrael were a mere temporal Covenant, it were impossible to give any Account of this Matter. But when all Mankind were declined to Idolatry, it became the divine Wisdom by extraordinary Methods to preferve a holy Seed in the World, and to see parate them from the Conversation of Idolaters by peculiar Laws and Rites of Worship, to ferve the Ends of his Grace and Providence in future Ages. But this is not my present Business. What I have now to observe is only this : That since God had separated Israel, and separated Canaan from the rest of the World; they had reason to think, that his Covenant and Promises were not confined to this World, when it feparated them from this World, and would not allow them any conversation in it. For to take them out of this World, even while they lived in it, and to do this as a peculiar Act of Grace and Favour, could fignify nothing less than that they were not of this World ; but that he had reserved a better World, and more divine Conversation, for the true Ifraelites. And therefore, as I observed before, after God had given them the Poffeflion of the Land of Canaan; good Men still owned themselves to be Pilgrims and Strangers upon Earch.

Thys God promised his Presence to them, that he would dwell among them, and be their God. This he did in the Tabernacle in the Wildernefs, where was the Ark of the Covenant; and when they were fettled in Cngamp David designed and Solomon built him an House, where he took up his Abode and Rest, and dwelt between the Cherubims, and was dai.

ly ly attended by his Priests and Ministers. But when all the Earth is God's, as well as Canaan, and he is present in all Places ; Why had he his Temple only in Canaan? Why did he promise his Presence only to Israel? Truly I can give no other Account of it but this; that his Dwelling with them in the Temple, was a Pledge of their Dwelling with him in Heaven ; that as God fills. Heaven and Earth, yet his immediate Presence is only in Heaven, there is his Throne and visible Glory; fo of aļ the Places on Earth he chofe Canaan for his peculiar Residence. The Temple was his Earthly Throne, where God dwelt among them. But what was the Happinefs of this, if it did not entitle them to be translated into the Prefence of God? The Promise of a Land, where God would dwell among them, could receive its just Accomplishment in no other Place but Heaven.

And this was a good Reason for devout Men to expound all those Blessings God promised them in the Land of Canaan, if they observed his Statutes and Judgments, of the fpiritual Blessings of the heavenly Canaan. That long Life in the Earthly Canaan signified immortal Life in the heavenly; that Peace, and Plenty, and Riches, and Honour, signified the Ease and Self-enjoyment, Dignity and Perfection of that happy State. Thus Solomon applies it, Prov. 3. 13. and following Verses, Happy is the Man that findeth Wisdom, the Man that getteth Understanding; for the Merchandise of it is better than the Merchandise of Silver, and the Gain thereof; than fine Gold : Length of Days is in her Right Hand, and in her Left Riches and Honour. She is a Tree of Life (which we know was to bestow Immortality, on Man) to every one that lay

eth

eth hold upon her; and happy is every one that retainetb ber. And thus St Paul expounds the Promise of long Life in the Fifth Commandment: Honour thy Father and thy Mother, which is the first Commandment with Promise, that it may be well with thee, and that thou mayest live long upon the Earth, Eph. 6. 2, 3. which he

applied to the Ephesians, who never lived in Ganaan, nor were ever like to live there. But long Life in the promised Land did not merely fignify long Life in Canaan, but Immortality in Heaven. The Gospel it self represents the Happiness of the other World, by Life, Riches, Glory, a Crown, a Kingdom. For we have no other way of conceiving these invisible Things, but by fensible Images and Representations. And therefore in a Typical State, which was the State of the Jewish Church, the Promises of temporal Blessings in a temporal Canaan, might very properly be expounded as Figures of eternal' Life and Blessedness in the Kingdom of God. And so St Paul seems to understand it, when he tells us, Godliness bath the Promise both of the Life that now is, and of that which is to come. So it was under the Law: Though the express Letter of the Law contained only temporal

Blessings, yet they included all the spiricual Blessings of another Life; and were so understood by good Men. As now under the Gospel, though the most express Promises we have are of immortal Life, yet they contain in them God's peculiar Care and Providence over us in this World; that if we seek forft the Kingdom of God and bis Righteousness, all these Things shall be added unto us.

Thirdly,

[ocr errors]

Thirdly, To confirm this, I observe farther, that God gave the fame Laws to Israel as the Condition of their Happiness and Prosperity in the Land of Canaan, which he now requires us to observe, to qualify us for the Happiness of Heaven. And it is reasonable to think, confidering the Wisdom, Justice, and Goodness of God, that where the Conditions are the same, the Happiness also should be the fame.

The Ten Commandments are acknowledged to be the Summary of all natural and moral Laws; and the Ceremonial and ritual Observances of the Law, were intended to signify all that fpiritual Purity of Heart and Mind, which is now required by the Gospel. Circumcision, and Washings, and Purifications, and abftaining from unclean Meats, and a great many other Observances, were to teach them the most divine Virrues, viz. the Circumcision of the Heart, to wash them and make them clean, to put away the Evil of their Doings, and to learn to do well, as their own Prophets expound them. Their Sabbatick Reft, their Publick Fafts, and Festivals, and Sacrifices, which contained all the Parts of natural Worship, with all the instituted Signs and Expressions of it, and which good Men understood to be of no Value without internal Piety and Devotion of Mind, which they were intended to signify : I say, these and such like Laws were the Terms of God's Covenant with Israel. And there is nothing more, if we confider the true Intent and Signification of these Laws, required of us under the Gospel, to entitle us to Heaven. Which is a very good Reason to think, that Heaven was promised them under the Type and Figure of a temporal Canaan. And certainly thus the Psalmist under

stood

« IndietroContinua »