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for their further trial, the stream was dried up, and a similar miracle was wrought for them again in Kadesh-barnea".]
This food, though carnal in its nature and use, was truly "spiritual;" inasmuch as it was
1. A typical representation of Christ
[Our Lord himself copiously declares this with respect to the manna; draws a parallel between the bread which Moses gave to the Israelites, and himself as the true bread that was given them from heaven; and shews that, as the manna supported the natural life of that nation for a time, so he would give spiritual and eternal life to the whole believing world. The same truth also he establishes, in reference to the water that proceeded from the rock. He told the Samaritan woman, that if she would have asked of him he would have given her living waterf. And on another occasion he stood in the place of public concourse, and cried, "If any man thirst, let 'him come unto me and drinks;" thereby declaring himself to be the only "well of salvation," the only rock from whence the living water could proceed. Indeed, the apostle, in the very words of the text, puts this matter beyond a doubt; they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them ;" and "that Rock was Christ."]
2. A sacramental pledge of his blessings
[Under the gospel dispensation there are two sacraments, Baptism and the Lord's Supper: and these are not only "an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace," but they are also "means whereby we receive that grace, and a pledge to assure us thereof." Thus when the Israelites were baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea,” they were consecrated unto God; and they received, as it were, an earnest from him, that all the blessings of his covenant should in due time be imparted to them, unless they, by their violation of the covenant, should provoke him to withhold them. In the same manner the bread and water miraculously given and continued to them, were a pledge, that they should one day eat of the hidden manna," and "drink of the rivers of pleasure which are at his right hand for evermore," provided they continued stedfast in the covenant, and walked worthy of their heavenly calling. Thus while their daily food typically represented, and, to those who partook of it in faith, really conveyed, spiritual blessings, it was "an earnest to them of that Spirit," whom the water typified, and " an earnest of that inheritance," which Christ should purchase for them by his obedience unto death".]
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 elucidate 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 flesh 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'? 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 he, " 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 symbols would go 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 uniformily create? Do they not lead us to a dependence on God's care, and a devotedness to his service? The very end for which
Rom. viii. 9.
*Gal. ii. 20.
which our Saviour 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; 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 m Túrol, ver. 6, 11.
12 Cor. v. 14, 15.
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 "have escaped for a while the pollutions of the world, and yet be again entangled therein and overcome":" it is not sufficient for us to have "tasted the good word of God, and the of the world to come :" we may powers 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."]
1 Pet. i. 10-12. Of which salvation the prophets have enquired, 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.
"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
I. 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 worldIt declares the wonderful provision which he has made for
And calls us to receive his blessings as a free unmerited gift
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 improbable circumstances of his death, that their writings appear rather like a narration than a prophecy b
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 marked — And the triumph of his gospel over the benighted Gentiles is proclaimed with confidence and exultation -]
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 beginning
Through him did Christ inspire the prophets, and enlighten the world f
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 Ixix. 21. and Isai. liii.
Ps. lxviii. 18. and ii. 6,
Ps. ii. 8.
Compare 1 Pet. iii. 18-20.
Compare Rom. xv. 9—12. 2 Pet. i. 21.