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Prophets.And all these,'having Besides ! God did not send obtained a good report, through this Soothsayer, as he is called faith, received not the promise, in the scriptures, but in the &c.t Here David, and Samuel, first instance forbade him, and and the Prophets, without dis when Balak sent again for him, tinction, are mentioned as the God indeed gave him leave to examples of that faith, which in go, with a charge only to bless this connexion we are told, “Is the people of Israel; he also apa the substance of things hoped peared in a menacing attitude, for, and the evidence of things by his Angel, in the way, that not seen. It is thought, that he might restrain him from enthis is a decisive evidence of couraging Moab and Midian their real holiness.
gainst Israel; and so in this way, 2. Besides : It is believed, save his people from their hands, that these testimonies of the that God might show his rightscriptures assert the real holi- eousness, and covenant faithfulness, not only of the inspired ness towards his people, when writers, but of all the Prophets Balak consulted their destrucwhom God had sent to instruct tion with Balaam, from Shittim his people ; for the Prophets, unto Gilgal. And as to the prowithout distinction, are repeat-phecy of the high-priest to put edly mentioned in them. Christ to death, it seems by the
Will any one say, that this, if narration, that he said it with it can prove any thing, will prove one view, and God meant it for that Balaam, and the High Priest, another. Neither Balaam nor whó prophecied that JESUS the High Priest, ever appear to should die for the Jewish na. have intended any good. One tion, were Godly men? In res- ensnared Israel to idolatry, and pect to Balaam, he is no where the other crucified the Lord of in the Scriptures, called a ser- Glory. Thus are they suffivant, or Prophet of the Lord, or ciently distinguished from the a man of God. He is indeed Prophets of the Lord in the once called a Prophet, as the scriptures, and neither of them Prophets of Baal were called Pro- appear to have been suffered, phets. "The dumb ass speak- but on a single occasion, to say ing with man's voice, forbade any thing prophetically, 50 far the madness of the Prophet.'- were they from being establishPeter informs us, that as there ed as real Prophets. They were were false Prophets among the rather overruled than sent of people, there would be false God. So also the Apostles, teachers in the Christian Church whom Christ chose to be the who should follow the way of witnesses of his resurrections, Balaam. 2 Peter ii. And Ba- were all holy men. Judas inlaam is instanced as the father, deed was chosen, that the proor pattern of those, who bring in phecy of David might be fulfill damnable heresics, having eyes led; but being a Devil, he was full of adultery, beguiling unsta- never employed as the others ble souls.
were; but is leid up as a solemn
admonition to those who would | Heb. xi. 32. compared with verse enter into the Gospel Ministry. 29 and verse
Besides, many of the Prophets and Apostles proved their friend- man that liveth and sinneth not; ship to God, by enduring per- nor that he has not committed secution for his sake. Christ some great and notorious sins; also directs his miņisters to take for there is a law in every heed whom they ordain, and to Christian's members, in this life, commit these things to faithful warring against the law of his men, and carefully describes the mind, and bringing him into cap, characters they are to, conse- tivity to the law of sin, which is crate to this service. He de- in his members. It is sufficient clares against wicked pastors, to prove, that he has a law in and unfaithful watchmen, and in his mind, against that in his bis own special appointments, we members-that he has true may expect that he will exem, grace, repentance, faith, love to plify what he commands to God, to his laws, his worship, others, He has made it his and institutions, abhors sin and practice to employ truly. Godiy abounds in devotion or that men as Prophets and Apostles, God owns him as his servant, and has directed, that among or- and speaks of him with approdinary ministers, holy men, and bation. Let us then examine nột blind guides, should be or, the characters of David, Jonah dained; and surely it is hard to and Solomon, by these marks. believe, without express, evi- It will be conceded by all Chrią. dence, and against so much evi- tians, that they were chosen of dence as has been stated, that God to write his word, or to proGod would put such distinguish- phesy in his name, which it is ed honor on his enemies, as to thought, has been sufficiently employ them by his special in- proved, to be an evidence of truc spiration, to write any part of holiness. But over and above that sacred volume, which he has this, let us examine the characgiven this worki, for our only ter of each one of them sepsrule of faith and practice.
rately. 4. It is allowed by all Chris- Let us first attend to the evitian writers, that the most of the dence, that David had true grace. inspired penmen were Godly He is called, David the man of men. A very few have said God.' He is called also the some hard things of David, Jo- servant of the Lord: 'I will deDah and Solomon; as tho' they fend this city to save it, for were not so clear concerning mine own sake, and for my sertheir holiness, because each of vant David's sake.' Here also them committed a great sin. If, God speaks of him with high therefore, no Christian ever pro- approbation, as he often did of fessed to doubt of the real holi- Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, when ness of any, but these three wri. for their sakes he promised favor ters of the Holy Scriptures, and to their posterity. God also tesif evidence can be given, that tifies of David, that he kept his these were truly holy, nothing statutes and commandments. further will be required. It If thou wilt hearken unto all should be here premised, that to that I command thee, and wilt prove a man a real saint, it is not necessary to prove that he $ Nehein. xii. 36. commits no sin ; for there is no $ lsaiah xxxvii. 35.
Walk in my ways, and do that is | as much suspected and as little right in my sight, to keep my known as Jonah's. But this is statutes and commandments, as not left wholly in the dark. He David my servant did.'t It has is said to be a Prophet of the been already mentioned, that he Lord, and the servant of the is expresely named as one of Lord God of Israel. †' Accord those Prophets, who had the ing to the word of the Lord God faith, which is the substance of of Israel, which he spake by the things hoped for, and the evi- hand of his servant Jonah, the dence of things not seen. To son of Amittai, the Prophet.'him also, “ God gave testimony | It is thought rather a commendaand said, I have found David, the tory observation of Christ, conson of Jesse, a man after mine cerning this Prophet, when he own heart, which shall fulfil all says of himself, ' A greater than my will.'S Many other passa- Jonas is here ;' especially as ges of the Bible declare much Christ had just mentioned him the same things, as those which as his type, and as a prophet, have here been mentioned.- saying, “ No sign shall be given Besides, David loved the Lord to this generation, but the sign and his public worship, his peo- of Jonas the prophet. For as ple and his word, was a man of Jonas was three days, and three prayer and praise--expressed nights, in the whale's belly ; so repentance, faith, and earnest shall the son of min be three desires that he might enjoy the days, and three nights, in the light of God's countenance.-- heart of the earth.'--Foly men *These and other marks of emi- and holy or sacred things, were nence in holiness, will be seen generally used for the types of by an attentive perusal of his Christ. Rarely if ever, was any · Psalms, which have been favor- man, but a truly pious one, men·ite pieces of devotion to the tioned as typical of Christ, or of
saints, in all succeeding ages.gospel blessings. The wicked • Much more might be said on high priests are no exception to this, but it is presumed, that suf- this, for not the men, but their ficient evidence has been addiu- office was the type. The conced, to prove the piety of David. sideration therefore, that Jonah
Concerning Jonah, less indeed was an eminent type of Christ, can be said, because we have no is sufficient to caution us against ' part of his history detailed, ex- denouncing him as Christ's enecept that which respected his my. Thus Jonah was an estabmission to Nineveh; and which lished Prophet, a servant of the seems to have been given, prin- | Lord, and a type of Christ, and ·cipally, to record him as a type for ought that appears, his sin,
of the burial and resurrection of when sefit to prophecy to NinChrist; tho' other instructions eveh, is the only instance of may indeed be derived from it. open transgression that he ever Had we only the history of the committed. And this was unfall of David and Peitr, their der the influence of a strong true characters would have been temptation--the fear that he
should be regarded as
a false + 1 Kings xi. 38. § Acts xiii. 22.
† 2 Kings riv. 25.
Prophet. And even in the midst these things? Yet among many of this, his frank confession to nations was there no king like the seamen--the readiness with him, who was beloved of his which he offered to be a sacri- God, and God made him king fice for the sake of their safety, over all Israel, nevertheless even his prayer, his vows and thanks- him did outlandish women cause *giving, his faithfulness in re- to sin.'Besides, his repeated cording his own sins, and the prayers, and the repeated ancorrections and reproofs he re- swers and approbation of God ceived, and in a word all things, his regard to public worship, and but that in which he was influ- the reverence which he manie enced by the fear of being ac- fested for God, and his pious excounted a false Prophet, were hortations, all serve to establish consistent with his being in the his moral character. exercise of grace, unless we ex- The scriptures do never as. cept also his anger concerning sert that David, Jonah and Solothe gourd, to which God left mon, were ungodly men, nor him, that he might, by that denounce them, as they do Bameans, convince him of the laam, Judas, the high-priest, and propriety of his mercy to Nine- false prophets and teachers, tho' veh, and so make it the means they do not conceal their sins. of reclaiming him. It is rash, Their characters are so well esfor one offence in such circum- tablished in the scriptures, that stances, to condemn a man's Christians have been nearly uwhole life and character, while nanimous in their opinions conthere remain so many evidences cerning them. One must hare of his piety.
but little candor, who can, in the • Of Solomon we have clear-face of all this evidence, hold er evidence, that he was a good them up as being destitute of man. We are assured that the saving grace. And asserting
Lord loved him.'S And that this of the penmen of the sacred Solomon loved the Lord walk- scriptures, against such evidence ing in the statutes of David his and without an hint of this kind Father.' It is true that his in the scriptures, might seem to heathen enemies led him to a betray an anxious wish for sincriminal catholicism, in in- gularity at least, if not a rooted dulging them with liberty to aversion to the scriptures, and a * worship their own Gods, in their secret desire to overthrow them. • own idolatrous ways. (A thing Reverence for God should innot now universally condemn- spire us with reverence for his ed.) Yet even where this is word, and respect for those mentioned in the scriptures with men, whom he hath selected for disapprobation, the religious the most honorable and imporcharacter of Solomon himself, is tant services to mankind, unless * admitted. Nehemiah, addres- God expressly disown them. sing those who had married Finally : It becomes us to imstrange wives, says, "Did not itate the Godliness of the inspirSolomon king of Israel sin by ed writers, and to praise the
Lord, that he has given us the $ 2 Samuel xii. 24. Kings iii. 3.
\ Nehem. xii. 26.
sich blessing of the holy scrip-countenance, and which perhaps tures, uncorrupted by the fan-comprehend, and include all oth cies of the ungodly, and spoken ers, viz. spiritual direction, op and written by holy men of God, instruction, and spiritual comfort, as they were moved by the Holy In the one view is signified that Ghost. To these let us give peculiar, gracious, and complaheed, for they are genuine and cential regard, with which God able to make us wise unto salva- beholds, approves and blesses his tian. PHILAGIOS. covenant people, and in the otha
er, the blessed enjoyment of
God's love and favor, manifested On the Light of God's counte- by the graces and benefits which
With respect to walking in the (Contin. from vol. iv.
light of God's countenance, a numNO. %.
ber of interesting particulars will
be found contained in the subWhat is meant by the light of|ject, as either expressed, or God's countenance ? And what is implied in walking in the light of clearly implied in the words.
And God's countenance ?
1. To walk in the light of HESE are scripture ex-God's countenance implies de
pressions, and tho’ figura- liverance from self-righteoustive, are highly significant. The ness, self-dependence, and legal metaphor is taken from a well hopes. The character appears known circumstance in human in every respect an exact con. life, and applied to the Most trast to that which is representHigh. As the affections of man- ed in the 50th of Isaiah, “ Be. kind are painted in their faces, hold all ye that kindle a fire, that by which they express their fa- compass yourselves about with vor or dislike, hence the index sparks; walk in the light of naturally and insensibly becomes your fire, and in the sparks that used to signify the thing indica- ye have kindled—this shall ye ted: so that by a man of a smiling, have of inine hand, ye shall lie or of a frowning countenance, down in sorrow.” How com. we commonly mean a man who pletely is the picture here refeels friendship and pleasure at versed. This is perfectly deheart, or one who is unfriendly scriptive of a self-righteous charand displeased And because acter, who thinks, by the merit men by their countenances ex- of his own righteousness, to do press their anger or love, hence tone for past sins, and recom it is that when attributed to God, mend himself to the favor and who is said sometimes to lift up acceptance of God. And on the light of his countenance up- this foundation he builds his conon his people, at other tiines to fident hope of heaven and eterbide his face or countenance, it nal happiness. signifies either his grace and fa- It is curious and instructive to vor, or his anger and displeasure. observe how carefully and point
These two, therefore, seem to edly this passage is worded to be the leading and principal ideas distinguish this character from expressed by the light of God's the one who walks in the light