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to himle But [urla New Mosai
press those that are thirsty; and afterwards harrass those that are filled. And these things are so joined, as, taken together, to complete the full meaning of the words. See Ult. Mosis, §. 121–138. and Lexicon ad vocem. But I think, that as these things are altogether new ; so they are remote from the meaning of Mofes, for the following reasons.
XXX. ist, Because in these words, Moses describes the language of an idolater, whose heart is turned away from the Lord God, to go after the worship of the gods of the Gentiles, and who, having renounced all fear of God, flights the solemn engagements of the covenant, and notwithstanding this, promises peace to himself, ver. 16, 28. such as were those of whom Jer. xliv. 17. But surely such an idolater as this, can give himself no trouble to force New Testament believers, who are free, to submit to the yoke of the Mosaic bondage, which he himself has shaken off, and has in abhorrence. 2dly, The person whom Moses here represents, is one of abandoned impiety, which he himself does not so much as conceal, and an avowed despiser of God and religion : but they, whom the celebrated interpreter imagines to be here pointed out, put on a great appearance of sanctity, and, in all their actions, made religion a pretence; as is well known from the gospel-history. 3dly, If the thirsty signifies the church of the Old Testament, and the watered, the church of the New; to add the watered to the thirsty, can only signify, to add the New Testament church, to that of the Old, and join both together: which the scripture declares was done by Christ, Eph. ii. 13. and Eph. iii. 6. But it is one thing to add the satiated to the thirsty; another to reduce the fatiated to the condition of the thirsty. The obstinate zealots for the ceremonies are no where said to have joined to themselves the free Christians; but rather to have separated them from themselves, and expelled them the synagogues, Isa. lxv. 5. and Isa. Ixvi. 5. 4thly, As there can be only one literal sense, it is alierted, contrary to all rules of right interpretation, that the word , can, in the very same proposition, be taken for, partly, to destroy, or consume; partly, to join and unite; and the participle ns, partly, for by, with; partly, for the sign of the accusative. It is one thing, under the general signification of one word, to comprize more things pertaining to the same signification, which often takes place in explaining scripture: another, to ascribe to the fame word, at the same time, different, or opposite significations, which is contrary to all reason. If os signifies here to join, it cannot signify to destroy. If mx fignifies with, it cannot be the sign of the accusative. Sthly, What is more absurd, than, after having established at large, that the full signifies the church of the New Testament, to understand by the thirsty, that which is oppressed with the ceremonies; and immediately to undo all this, and turn the words to this meaning, that the full mall destroy the thirsty; that is, the Jews, who are zealous for the discarded ceremonies, who seem to themselves be to full, shall persecute those, that pant after Christ. What is it to put white for black, if this is not? Can any thing more absurd be devised, than that one word should fignify, at the same time, the Christian church, which suffers persecution, and the congregation of the malignant Jews, who persecute her? And yet learned men fondly please themselves with such inventions.
XXXI. What then, you will say, is the genuine meaning of the words of Moses? I really think, it is plain and obvious. When any person commits, with pleasure, the crime he has conceived in his mind, he is said, proverbially, « to drink iniquity as water,” Job xv. 16. When a person ruminates on impious projects in his mind, he is as one that thirsteth after evil, But when he executes his premeditated designs, he surfeits himself with diabolical delights, and becomes, as it were, satiated, or drunk. Finely says the celebrated Cocceius, on Zech. ix. g. 14. “ Outrageous, savage men are said to thirst after blood, and, while they shed it with pleasure, are said, to drink it, Rev. xvi. 6. What any one is delighted with, is said to be his meat, and he is said to drink it as water, John iv. 34. Job xy. 16. and Job xxxiv. 7. To add, therefore, the drunken, or the fatiated, to the thirsty, is, not only to burn with an eager defire to commit wickedness, but also to accomplish it by abominable actions, and to follow after it, till his mind, which is bent upon evil, is fully satisfied. This the despisers of the deity do, who secure in their crimes, call the proud happy, and give way in all things to their unbridled lusts. And these are they whom Moses here describes. Should these things give less fatisfaction, I recommend above others, the discourses of the very learned Lud. de Dieu, who is large on this passage.
XXXII. They also seem to be as far from the meaning of Zechariah, who think, that he compares the condition of the fathers of the Old Testament, “ to the pit wherein is no water," ; Zech. ix, 11. For, ift, Those very fathers sung, Psal. xxiii, 2. “ he maketh me to lie down in green pastures, he leadeth me beside the still waters." Which is quite different from the pit, wherein is no water. 2dly, We admit, as a most certain rule of interpretation, which the brethren usually insist upon, that the words, unless any thing should hinder, are to be taken in their full import. But the emphasis is far greater, if, by the : VOL. II.
pit without water, we understand the condition of an unregenerate finner; who, while in himself, he is without Christ, is wholly destitute of all those things, which can yield him cona folation, and quench his thirst after happiness. And there is no reason, why we may not thus explain it. For, the prophet [peaks concerning what is impetrated by the blood of Christ, which is the blood of the covenant, or New Testament, and shed, not only to remove the yoke of ceremonies, but especially to abolish the bondage of fin. Why shall we confine what is spoken, to that which is the less, since the words may not only bear, but also persuade, nay almost constrain us, to interpret them of what is greater ? 3dly, The prophet here comforts the mourners in Zion, and promises them deliverance from that evil, with which they were most of all oppressed, and for which they expected a remedy from the Messiah, who was to come. But that evil was not the bondage of ceremonies, which yielded little or no comfort; but rather the abyss of spiritual misery, into which sin had plunged them. The yoke of which, under the devil, who exacts it of them, is infinitely more grievous, than that yoke of ceremonies, that God said upon them. 4thly, Though the ceremonies, considered in themselves, and separate from Christ, could not yield so much as a drop of comfort ; yet the fathers were not, on that account, in a pit, wherein is no water. For, what they could not draw from the ceremonies, they drank out of the streams of divine 'grace, flowing from Christ, an everlasting fountain, to whom they looked by their. faith. We therefore dare not say, the ancient condition of the fathers, was a pit, wherein is no water: though, with scripture we maintain, that they had a thirst after better things; nevertheless they were not destitute of the waters of saving grace, for their necessary consolation.'
CH A P. XIV.
I. IT now remains, we speak of the abrogation of the Old
| Testament, or of those things which were formely superadded to the covenant of grace, as shadows, types, and symbols of the Meffiah to come. For the more exact profecution of this subject, we shall proceed in the following order. I. Shew that the ancient ceremonies were of such a nature, that, in a.
confiftehat they were they ought the
way consistent with the honour of God, they might be abrogated. II. Prove, that they were really and actually to be abrogated. III. Make it appear, that they ought, one time or other to be abrogated; and that it was not possible the case should be others wise. IV. Explain the progress itself and the various degrees of their abrogation.
II. To begin with the first. The foundation of the moral laws, whose perpetuity and unchangeableness is an unquestionable truth, is of a quite different nature, from that of the cerèmonial institutions, as appears from the following considerations. ist, Because the former are founded on the natural and immuta able holiness of God, which cannot but be the exemplar to rational creatures; and therefore cannot be abolished, without abolishing the image of God: but the latter are founded on the free and arbitrary will of the lawgiver. And therefore only good, because commanded; and consequently, according to the different nature of times, may be either prescribed, or otherwise prescribed, or not at all prescribed. This distinction was not unknown to the Jewish doctors; and hence was framed that of Maimonides, in. præfat. Abhot. c. 6. fol. 23. col. 3. into intelleEtual precepts, whose equity was self-evident to the human understanding; and into those « apprehended by the hearing of the law," whose entire ground is refolved into the faculty of hearing, which receives them from the mouth of God. Concerning the former, the wise men have faid that “ if they were not written it was just they fhould;" concerning the latter Maimonides affirms, that “ if the law had not been declared, those things, which are contrary to them, would not have, on any account, been evil.
III. 2dly, Because God himself frequently, on many accounts prefers the moral to the ceremonial precepts; and as the same Maimonides, More Nevoc. P. 3. c. 32. has wisely observed, God very often, by the prophets, rebukes men for their too great fondness and excessive diligence in bringing offerings inculcating upon them, that they are not intended principally, and for themselves, and that himself has no need of them. Thus Samuel speaks, 1 Sam. xv. 22. “ Has the Lord as great delight in burnt-offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord ?" In like manner, Isa. i. 11. “ To what purpose is the multitude of your facrifices unto me? faith the Lord. And Jer. vii. 22. “for I Ipake not unto your fathers, nor commanded them in the day, that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt-offerings or facrifices : but this thing commanded I them, saying, obey my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people.” On this place Maimonides observes. It seems strange, how Jeroniah should introduce 3 B 2
God speaking in this manner, since the greatest part of the precepts is taken up about sacrifices and burnt-offerings: but he answers, the scope of these words is thus. The first intention certainly is, that ye cleave to me, and not ferve another, that I may be your God, and you my people. But this precept concerning offerings and my house, is given you to the end, you might learn it hence for your advantage. The parallel places are many, Psal. l. 9- il. Jer. vi. 2. Hof. vi. 6. Am. v. 22. If God, therefore, when these precepts were still in full force, rebukes men for their too great attachment to them, we speak nothing unworthy of God, when we affirm, that, for very weighty reasons, it was possible, he should entirely abrogate them.
IV. zdly, We add, that the church, without any prejudice to religion, was, for many ages, destitute of the greatest part of the ceremonies; as the Jews themselves reckon two thousand years before the giving of the law. Why then could the not, without detriment to religion, afterwards want the same ceremonies; in the practice of which, there was no intrinsic holiness, nor any part of the image of God? This at least is evident, that they are not of the essence of religion, and that it was entirely in God's power to have made them either fewer or more in number, with even a stricter obligation; or again entirely to abolish them. · V. Nor ought this to stand in the way as any prejudice ; that it was indeed convenient, that God should sometimes inftitute new ceremonies, to render religion more neat, graceful, and pompous; but not so proper to abrogate what he had once instituted; because both the institution of rites, which are afterwards wisely abrogated, and the abrogation of rites, which were wisely instituted, equally argue some defect of wisdom. But we are to have quite different conceptions of those things. God, indeed, in this matter has displayed his manifold, and even his unchangeable wisdom, which is ever most consistent with itself, in fuiting himself to every age of his church: a more plain and easy kind of worship became her first and moít tender infancy: but a stricter and pedagogical discipline was better suited to her more advanced childhood, but yet childhood very unruly and headstrong. And adult and manly age required an ingenuous and decent liberty. Our heavenly Father therefore does nothing inconsistent with his wisdom, when he removes the pedagogue, whom yet he had wisely given his son during his nonage ; and treats him, when he is now grown' up, in a more free and generous manner.