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the Old Testament, were not to be unmarried. Thus, I think, that arbitrarily to reject this ordinance of God, unless one's unmarried condition can, through constant prayer, be made really subservient to advancement in holiness, is a thing for which it will be found difficult to answer.
“Many precepts of the Sermon on the Mount are expressed in general terms, and require time, place, and circumstances, to show their proper application. And this, whatever it be, can never vary from any special instructions delivered in other parts of Scripture.
“ As every propensity to love and serve the creature more than the Creator is a kind of idolatry, why does the Scripture especially give covetousness that name? 1. Worship, properly so called, consists more in affiance than affection. It is affiance in uncertain riches, rather than in the living God, that characterizes the lover of money. 2. He who commits other sins, commits them chiefly in single acts, from time to time; but covetousness preoccupies and engages the whole man; it dictates his every communication.
Friendship is not one of the special topics of practical divinity, but brotherly love is; which both includes friendship, and gives it additional charms."
EXEGETICAL REMARKS ON PASSAGES OF THE OLD TESTAMENT.
As his inquiry into sacred chronology demanded his particular examination of the whole Scriptures, we find him setting down in the course of that inquiry, some interesting and often edifying remarks, upon passages in the Old Testament. The following are among the number.
“ The notion that chaos originally comprised the heavens as well as the earth, was borrowed from the Metamorphoses of Ovid, and in process of time found its way into systems of theology. Ovid appears to have learnt it from some obscure tradition. But Scripture does not blend the heavens with chaos; we read only, that the earth was without form and void, (Gen. i. 2.)
“ Scripture places the origin of evil just where our own sad experience finds it; namely, in the appetency to know good and evil ;' to know what pleasure is to be found by one thing and another, and how it relishes. The secret of our monstrous lust of knowledge is unbelief, or distrust of God; 'as if he had omitted to give us every good, because he grudged us something; as if he had some design to withhold or forbid what might yield us further enjoyment.
" I do not think that the coats which the Lord God made for Adam and Eve, were skins of sacrificial victims; they were merely garments to cover the body.*
“ It makes indirectly for the truth of scripture narrative, that traces of sacred history which occur in pagan writers relating to the deluge, to Joshua, and to other persons or incidents, are far less pure than the accounts of the inspired historians. Otherwise it might have been suggested that these pagan writers borrowed from Scripture; whereas, now, the case speaks for itself; namely, that the facts reached them by independent and very ancient traditions, which in process of time had become more and more corrupt and fabulous.
* jy niin? “ vestis cutis,” (sc. Adami and Hevæ) Chald. “ Vestes honoris," i.e. “nuditatis." But this interpretation appears untenable, on the ground that there is convincing reason to believe that sacrifice was originally ordained of God, and that the clothing here alluded to, was that of the skins of the victims offered, and was typical of the hiding of human shame, and the ing of human helplessness by the benefit of the sacrifice of Christ. (See professor Nicoll's discourse on Gen. iv. 7, where it is satisfactorily evinced from the words themselves, 21 ND nne that sacrifice was originally of divine institution.). Moreover, the 1 conversive of the future, with which Gen. iii. 21. commences, expresses, by its nature, a consequent upon what had been (as there
“ It is nothing absurd to suppose, that antediluvian records might have been preserved by a variety of means till long after the deluge; as in excavations of rocks, &c.
“ Abraham is commended in Rom. xiv. for his stedfastness of belief in the Divine promises. It may be asked, how this accords with the wish he recoils into, concerning Ishmael, in Gen. xvii. 18. This, however, did not proceed from any doubt entertained by Abraham, relative to God's promises concerning Ishmael, (Gen. xvi. 10,) but simply from a tender paternal solicitude to see Ishmael, like himself, honoured personally with some signal token of the Divine favour. This is clear from God's answer to him, (Gen. xvii. 20.)
“ We find certain remarkable events in the sacred writings, as the call of Abraham, the deliverance from Egypt, &c., often repeated and referred to; apparently because, while all things are alike present to God, in all ages,) we are too slow of heart to notice from what very small beginnings he has wrought and accomplished his noblest works.
“ It was a very consistent piece of sacred dignity in Jacob, that, when presented before Pharaoh, he gave him his patriarchal blessing. In like manner, as it would have been unbecoming in Moses to have thanked the 'cunning workmen' in the name of God; therefore he blesses them.
“ To be 'gathered to one's people,' is a sweet expression, especially as we may find it used when the custom of depositing the dead in the sepulchres of neighbours or ancestors is not at all referred to.-(See Gen. xlix. 33.)
Joseph is one of the most beautiful examples in Scripture. In most other saints of sacred history, we meet with manifest faults; but in Joseph we see nothing but what is pure and blameless. Samuel is a similar example. The bad conduct of his sons is not attributed to any misconduct of his. The people's saying to him, “Thy sons walk not in thy ways,' was, no doubt, distressing to him enough, and yet could not be taken otherwise than as an implied commendation of himself, (1 Sam. viii. 3—6.)
is every reason to believe) implied in the preceding sentence, which was, that Eve, as the mother of all living, would be the mother of Him who should bruise the Serpent's head, yea, of Him who should be the restorer of spiritual life. So that ver. 21. may be translated, “ Therefore to Adam and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them.” Comp. Witsius's Economy of the Covenants, Book IV. ch. i. sect. 31.-T.
.." We cannot but wonder that of all Jacob's sons, not one, during that long interval of years, disabused him respecting Joseph; and yet this was the ‘Holy Family! What a poor idea then must we entertain of mankind in general! How deplorably great must their corruption be!
“'Ephraim and Manasseh.' What an importance is attached even to little things in the kingdom of God! Here, for instance, in the circumstance, that the patriarch prefers Ephraim (the younger) before Manasseh, (the elder.) In Jacob's blessing we may also perceive what a weight belongs to any blessing uttered by the true servants of God; for they are persons who know Him, and who live in the power and strength' of communion with Him.
“ The Israelites did not fraudently obtain the jewels, &c. which they received of the Egyptians, but honestly demanded them; and the Egyptians virtually honoured the people of Israel at their departure, by liberally presenting them with these accommodations for their journey.
Repeated instances in the conduct of Moses clearly show that God, so far from being offended, is rather well pleased, when in a proper and becoming manner we expostulate with him, or put him in remembrance of his promises, &c.
“Levit. xvi. The day of atonement in the Old Testament, was not a festival.* Three annual festivals only were appointed, and they were to be solemnized with gladness. But this day was to be set apart for calling sin to remembrance, and we may suppose it to have been the very anniversary of the fall of man; for I find no particular national sin of Israel expressly named upon it. It was, therefore, a day of solemn remembrance for sin in general; the sin of mankind.
“ The two he-goats on the day of atonement, prefigured Christ. The slain one was a type of Christ's sacrifice for all our sins ; pointing out that he was to die for them : the other, being let go into the wilderness, prefigured Christ as the living surety of our forgiveness. As a single goat was insufficient for both purposes, two were made use of.
* See Matthew Henry's Note upon Lev. xxiii. 2.-T.
“ God's general treatment of his people in the wilderness, was that of a father. He led them step by step. He could have announced to them the manna before they fell a murmuring,' but that their heart was to be made manifest. Their first offences were rebuked very gently, with words alone; but after the delivery of the Law in Sinai, where they had sworn fealty and allegiance, their transgressions no longer were, nor could be, so mildly dealt with.
“ The language of Deuteronomy, which is addressed to the new generation, in their earlier days, treats much of the kindness and love of God, whose righteous severity' had been already manifested towards their fathers.
“ The particular reason of several of the prohibited degrees with respect to marriage, is unknown; it is enough that God knows it. I cannot agree with some, who in these days refer the prohibitions to mere propriety in nature. Heretofore there has been too much strictness observed upon such matters ; but now a perilous liberality of indulgence is beginning to prevail among us.
“ The worship of God in spirit and truth was practicable, even through the multifarious ritual of the Old Testament, but true worshippers could hardly have helped perceiving, that there was ‘some better thing' to come.
“ Israel possessed the land of Canaan, under Jehovah, as his feudatories; hence they were annually to present to him of their cattle and of the fruits of their ground, by way of homage and quit rent.
“Job xix. 25, &c., will bear the following translation. But I know that my vindicator liveth, and that he will at last set me up above the dust. But those who so vehemently persecute me,* must be cut down for this, and I above my flesh shall see God. Yea, I shall see him for myself, and my own eyes shall behold him, but no more as a stranger to me. My reins are consumed in my bosom.' I adopt this rendering, as taking every Hebrew expression in its ordinary meaning, without forcing it; as harmonizing naturally with the context; as maintaining the same impassioned feeling which pervades the rest of the speech; as being of a piece with the other speeches of Job; and agreeable to the scope of the whole book. The sense here given has also been established by what has already taken place since Job's time; it is not dissonant with revealed truth in general, nor
* nis 1778? by which Bengel seems to understand, “but (those who seek) after my life,” (literally after my skin or body.)-T.