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So I sware in my wrath that they shall not enter into my rest.”
I come now to treat of the saint's rest. The first account that we have of this is at the conclusion of the work of creation. “And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.” This seems to intimate that the Lord, upon a survey of the displays of his own wisdom and power, ceased creating, seeing all things complete, and rested, well pleased with the work of his own hands. And from thence he appointed one day in the week, the seventh, to be a day of rest to man and beast. This day of rest seems to be set forth as representing something yet to come. “Let no man, therefore, judge you
in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holy day, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days; which are a shadow of things to come.”
2. The promised land is set forth in the word of God as a rest to the Israelites. They had been in hard bondage in Egypt, and had been afflicted there four hundred years. And after this they had long, wearisome, and painful journies for forty years together in the wilderness, and found no city to dwell in, no resting place; and, even after they came into the promised land, they had long wars, and continual fights, till the country was subdued before them. Then the land rested from war, and Israel from fighting. “And the Lord gave unto Israel all the land which he sware to give unto their fathers; and they possessed it, and dwelt therein. And the Lord gave them rest round about, according to all that he sware unto their fathers; and there stood not a man of all their enemies before them,” Josh xxi. 43, 44. This land may be a figure of the heavenly country which Abraham sought; that land which, as Isaiah says,
far off. But Israel which came first to the borders of it, entered notíin, because of unbelief; they failed both of this country and of the heavenly one; for Jude says that God, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterwards destroyed them that believed not. Το these he sware in his wrath, that they should not enter into his rest. But there is one mystery that I shall take notice of before I finish this work, and that is, that Moses himself entered not into the land of promise, but died on the march as well as the rebels; and yet he found rest on the other side Jordan. 66 Now, therefore,” says Moses, “I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy sight, shew me now thy way, that I may know thee,
in thy sight; and consider that this nation is thy people. And he said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.”
3. Moreover, the tabernacle which David pitched, and the temple which Solomon built, are called resting-places for the ark of God, which before moved from place to place, and had no settled abode. Moreover, the ark had been in the hand of the Philistines for some time, of which
that I may
David sadly complains. " For they provoked him to anger with their high places, and moved him to jealousy with their graven images. When God heard this he was wroth, and greatly abhorred Israel: so that he forsook the tabernacle of Shiloh, the tent which he placed among men; and delivered his strength into captivity, and his glory into the enemy's hand.” And when the Philistines, being sorely plagued by the ark, sent it back, yet it was long before it rested. “ And it came to pass, while the ark abode in Kirjath-jearim, that the time was long, for it was twenty years; and all the house of Israel lamented after the Lord.” Upon this David erected a tabernacle for it, which he called the Lord's rest. “We will go into his tabernacles; we will worship at his footstool. Arise, O Lord, into thy rest; thou, and the ark of thy strength.”
But to proceed a little further: when Noah offered his sacrifice and thank-offerings for the preservation of himself and family in the ark, as it is said; “And Noah builded an altar unto the Lord, and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt-offerings on the altar. And the Lord smelled a savour of rest; and the Lord said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake; for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth: neither will I again smite any more everything living." Here we have an account of God's just displeasure in drowning the world of the ungodly. Upon the back of this, Noah in the faith of the Messiah, and in type of his grand sacrifice, offered his offering to God; upon which God smelled a savour of rest; and upon this promises that he will drown the world no more. Now all these things are no more than introductory to something far greater.
The creation of the world is a wonderful display of divine wisdom and power. Upon a survey of this God rested from his works of creation.
The drowning the old world exhibited his terrible majesty and just indignation; but in the sovereign display of his mercy to Noah, and in his grateful acknowledgments of it by sacrifice, a savour of rest is smelled, and a promise of no more deluge.
In delivering Israel out of Egypt, and in his sore judgments upon that nation, the goodness and severity of God are wonderfully displayed. After which he takes up his rest in the tabernacle of David, and in the temple of Solomon, where all the typical sacrifices that he appointed were offered; but when the people by their sins provoked him, and foolishly imagined that his offended justice could be satisfied by beasts, and that God would drink the blood of goats, and turned his house of prayer into a den of thieves, he
into the hand of the king of Babylon. “ Thus saith the Lord, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house
ye build unto me? and where is the place of
But, after all this, God speaks of another day, and of another rest. For though, in the creation of the world, he had displayed his wisdom and power, and in the deluge his wrath and indignation, and in his judgments on Egypt, and in the deliverance of Israel, his goodness and severity; yet his highest favour and his grace, his wonderful compassion and mercy, and his everlasting love in which his soul delights, are still behind; and offended justice and a broken law stand in the way of these, until the day of Christ's appearing. And of this God speaks, “ To-day, if ye will hear his voice, harden not your heart, as in the provocation.” The destruction of sin and Satan by Christ, and the work of redemption, are the things which he set his heart upon from all eternity. And this appears from Christ's being set up from everlasting; his goings forth are said to be from eternity; and his mercy and his love are from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him. Upon these things the Almighty set his heart and soul from eternity; and in the display of these things he delights, and therefore says, that mercy shall be built up for ever, and his faithfulness shall be established in the very heavens; and that will be the case when God displays the riches of his grace in glory by Christ Jesus. The Saviour's errand into this world was to open a way for the discovery of these, and for