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And that this food was not peculiar to them may be shewn by considering II. In what respects it was the same with that which we

now partake of When the apostle says, that they all eat the same spiritual meat, he does not mean that all the Israelites subsisted on the same food (for that was obvious enough, and was of no consequence to his subject) but that their spiritual food, represented by the manna and the water, was the same that still nourishes the church of God. To elu. cidate this we may observe, it was the same 1. In its nature and substance

[As their bodies could not have maintained their vigour without the daily use of bread and water, so neither could their souls flourish, unless they daily fed upon Christ, the living bread, and received from him renewed communications of his Spirit. And are there

any other means of subsistence for our souls? Has not our Lord expressly told us, that “ except we eat his Alesh and drink his blood, we have no life in us?” Has not St. Paul also assured us, that none can belong to Christ unless they be partakers of his Spirit?i We are as destitute of strength in ourselves as the Israelites were; and need the same direction, support, and succour. If any man could be sufficient of himself, surely the great apostle of the Gentiles must: but he corrects himself instantly when he appeared to have suggested an idea that was capable of that interpretation; " I live,” says hé, “yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. This is precisely what the believers in the wilderness did, when they subsisted on their spiritual food: and it is what every believer must do as long as the world shall stand.] 2. In its use and tendency

[The daily supply of manna, and of the water from the rock, continually reminded them of their dependence upon God, and encouraged them to serve him with a willing mind. But the conveyance of spiritual blessings to them under these syinbols would

further still, and actually produce the dispositions, which the outward blessings could only tacitly recommend. And what are the dispositions which the eating of the bread of life, and the drinking of the living water uniformly create? Do they not lead us to a dependence on God's care, and a devotedness to his service? The very end for which our Sa


i Rom, viii. 9.

k Gal. ii. 20.

viour died, was, that they who live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him who died for them: no doubt therefore his love, when shed abroad in the heart, will incline us to do this;' and his grace communicated to the soul, will enable us to do it.]

We may LEARN from hence

1. In what spirit we should attend the ordinances of the gospel

[The Israelites were left to feel their need of food before the miraculous supplies were given them: and with what avidity would they gather up the new created bread! with what insatiable appetite would they bow down to drink of the flowing stream! Such is the spirit with which we should approach the ordinances of our God. In them the manna is rained round about our tents: in them the rock is struck, and the waters of salvation flow around us: and if we come hungring and thirsting, we shall never be sent empty away. Let none then consider the ordinances as mere occasions for gratifying their curiosity, but as the place where spiritual food is set before them for the support and comfort of their souls. The Israelites would ask but one question; Is this provision suited to my necessities? So neither should we concern ourselves much about the manner in which the ordinances are dispensed, but rather

go, that we may receive Christ in them, and have more abundant communications of his Spirit imparted to us.]

2. What should be the habit of our minds when we have partaken of spiritual blessings

[The particular object of the apostle in the text is, to inculcate the necessity of fear and caution: and the argument he uses is well calculated to effect his purpose. Two millions of Israelites came out of Egypt: they were brought in safety through the Red Sea, and supported by this miraculous food: yet, of all who had attained the age of twenty, two only were suffered to enter into the promised land. All the rest perished in the wilderness: and the very profession which they made, and the privileges which they enjoyed, served but to enhance, in most instances, it is to be feared, their eternal condemnation. Moreover they were intended by God himself as examples to us;m that we, admonished by their fate, might suppress all irregular desires, and walk more worthy of our high calling. Well therefore does the apostle add, “Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” We never are so much in danger as when we think ourselves most secure. Let us then “not be high-minded, but fear:" whatever mercies we have experienced, and whatever enjoyment of spiritual blessings may have been vouchsafed to us, let us remember, that we are not beyond the reach of temptation: we may “ hàve escaped for a while the pollutions of the world, and yet be again entangled therein and overcome:"n it is not sufficient for us to have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come:" we may still “ fall away, and return to a state from whence we shall never be renewed to repentance." Let all then take heed, lest a promise being left them of entering into God's rest, they should by any means come short of it."p

12 Cor. v. 14, 15.

m Títol, ver. 6, 11.

n 2 Pet. ii. 20.

o Heb. vi, 5, 6.

p Heb. iv. 1.


CXLVI. THE ÍMPORTANCE OF THE PROPHECIES. i Pet. i. 10–12. Of which salvation the prophets have en

quired, and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you. Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. Unto whom it was revealed that not unto themselves, but unto us, they did minister the things which are now reported unto you, by them that have preached the gospel unto you, with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.

THE same salvation” that is made known to us was revealed from the beginning

It was gradually unfolded to the world by many succeeding prophets

It is indeed exhibited as with meridian splendor in the New Testament

Yet by comparing the predictions of the prophets with the writings of the apostles, we attain at once the fullest evidence of its divine original, and the deepest insight into its mysterious doctrines

The truth of this observation will appear, while we consider 1. The substance of the prophecies

Though many things contained in them related only to the times wherein they were written, yet much of them undoubtedly relates to future and distant periods - The grand scope of them in the general is "the grace that should come unto us”

[The gospel is called “grace" because it is the highest expression of God's kindness towards our guilty world-

It declares the wonderful provision which he has made for our recovery

And calls us to receive his blessings as a free unmerited gilt

It represents every part of our salvation as the effect of his grace

And requires us now, as well as hereafter, to give him all the glory of it-]

More particularly Christ is the sum and substance of the prophecies

[God himself tells us that “the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy”a

The prophets “testified plainly of the sufferings of Christ”

So minutely did they describe the smallest and most impro. bable circumstances of his death, that their writings appear rather like a narration than a prophecy

Nor did they speak less accurately respecting “his glory that should follow”.

Every step of his exaltation, from his resurrection to his future coming to judge the world, is distinctly markede

And the triumph of his gospel over the benighted Gentiles is proclaimed with confidence and exultationd-]

As in this light they deserve the deepest attention, so do they also on account of II. The importance of them

The words before us mark the importance of the prophecies in a variety of views 1. They were dictated by “the Spirit of Christ”

[The Holy Ghost was the agent whom Christ employed from the beginninge

Through him đid Christ inspire the prophets, and enlighten the world

Thus were all the prophecies clearly of divine original

a Rev. xix. 10. and John v. 39. b See Ps. xxii. 8, 16, 18. and lxix. 21. and Isai. liii. e Ps. Ixviii. 18. and ii. 6. d Ps. ii. 8. compare Rom. xv. I-12. e Compare 1 Pet. iii. 18-20.

f2 Pet. i. 21. Vol. II.


And can any thing more strongly mark their value and importance!-]

2. The prophets themselves“ enquired and searched diligently” into their meaning

[The inspired men did not understand the precise import of their own prophecies

They only knew that they “ministered to the church in distant ages”

But they studied the word, and sometimes with good effect, to gain an insight into the intentions and purposes of Gods

And if they judged their predictions so important while they were involved in obscurity, shall they be less valuable to us who have seen their accomplishment?-]

3. The apostles, in declaring their accomplishment, received miraculous testimonies from the Holy Ghost

[They, “who first preached the gospel, reported those things as done, which the prophets had beforehand testifiedas to be done in due time

And their word was accompanied “with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven”h_

Nor was this divine seal ever more immediately set to their ministrations than when they expressly referred to the prophecies as fulfilled in Jesus

Nothing surely could put a greater honour on the prophecies than this-] 4. The very angels "desire to look into them”

[The angelic figures over the ark were formed looking down upon itk

This intimated the interest they feel in the work of redemption

They are indeed made wiser by the revelation given to the church

Though they dwell in the presence of God they desire to know more of this mystery

Though they have no personal interest in it, they long to comprehend it

Can we then, whose interest in it is so great, have low thoughts of any part of those scriptures which exhibit and illustrate it!-] INFER

1. What a mercy is it to live under the full light of the gospel!

[Those things, which the patriarchs saw only in types and

& Dan. ix. 2.
k Exod. xxv. 20.

i Acts X. 43, 44.

b Heb. ii. 4.
Eph. iii. 10.

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