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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. 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 apthe 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 aw 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 Gilgał. 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 who 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 ; so 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 resurrection, Balaam. 2 Peter ii. And Ba- were all holy men. Judas in laam is instanced as the father, deed was chosen, that the proor pattern of those, who bring in phecy of David might be fulfildamnable heresies, having eyes led; but being a Devil, he was full of adultery, beguiling unsta- never employed as the others ble souls.
were; but is held up as a solemn
admonition to those who would | Heb. xi. 32. compared with verse
enter into the Gospel Ministry. 29 and verse x.
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 ministers to take for there is 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 his own special appointments, we members
a law in every
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 Godly 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 not blind guides, should be or- the characters of David, Jonalı dained; and surely it is hard to and Solomon, by these marks. believe, without express evi- It will be conceded by all Chrisdence, 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 true spiration, to write any part of holiness. But over and above that sacred volume, which he has this, let us examine the charac, given this world, for our only ter of each one of them seperule of faith and practice. rately.
4. It is allowed by all Chris- Let us first attend to the evi tian 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 denah and Solomon; as tho' they fend this city to save it, for were not so clear concerning mine own sake, and for their holiness, because each of vant David's sake.'t Here also them committed a great sin. If, Ged 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 tesa if 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 real saint, it is not necessary to prove that he $ Nehem. xii. 36. commits no sin; for there is no Ifaiah :xxvii. 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 expressly named as one of Lord God of Israel. . Accordthose 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 evin 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 willi'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 man be three desires that he might enjoy the days, and three nights, in the light of God's countenance.- heart of the earth.-Holy 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, menite 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 addu- 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 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 sent 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 Peter, their der the influence of a strong true characters would have been temptation--the fear that he 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 mani. 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 have of his piety.
should be regarded as
a false + i Kings xi. 38. $ Acts xiii. 2200
+ 2 Kings xiv. à5
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 inspire Solomon king of Israel sin by ed writers, and to praise the
Lord, that he has given us the § 2 Samuel xii. 24. Kings ix. 3.
Nchem. xiii. 26.
rich blessing of the holy scrip- | countenance, and which perhaps
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. 2.
ber of interesting particulars will
be found contained in the subWhat is meant by the light of Goďs countenance ? And what is ject, as either expressed, or implied in walking in the light of clearly implied in the words.
And God's countenance ?
1. To walk in the light of THESE 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 conlife, and applied to the Most trast to that which is representHigh. As the affections of man- ed in the 50th of Isaiah, “ Bea 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 kindledthis shall .ye ted: so that by a man of a smiling, have of mine hand, ye shall lie or of a frowning countenance, down in sorrow."
How. comwe commonly mean a man who pletely is the picture here re"feels 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 a. 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. the light of his countenance up- this foundation he builds his conon his people, at other times to fident hope of heaven and eterhide 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