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DISCOURSE III.

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THE EXAMPLE OF THE ISRAELITES.

1 COR. X. 11, 12.

Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Wherefore, let him that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall.

ST. Paul, in the end of the preceding chapter, tells us,

that he disciplined himself by self-denial; so that, by keeping under the appetites of the body, he might obtain a part in that life eternal through Christ, which he preached to others. He had been called to the profession and preaching of the gospel, in a miraculous manner. He had been favoured with revelations from God, in greater number, and of a more extraordinary nature than any other Apostle. He had been taken up into the third heaven, and there saw and heard things which it exceeded the power of human nature to describe. He had preached and laboured more, in the propagation of the gospel, than the other Apostles had done. He had been assured by God, that his grace was sufficient to support him under the infirmities and distresses of the body, and all temptations to which he was liable. Could any man be sure of his salvation, we might reasonably presume St. Paul had obtained that assurance. And yet he disclaims all pretensions to it. He continued still to run his Christian race; and so to run, that he might obtain the reward of it, He strove to get the mastery over the inordinate passions and appetites of his nature, that he might obtain the incorruptible crown of glory in the life to come; and, therefore, he kept under his body, and brought it into subjection by temperance and mortification; denying himself liberties

VOL. II.

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which were indifferent, and in themselves innocent; lest while he "preached to others," he himself "should be a cast-away"-reprobated, or rejected of God.

To the imitation of his patience and self-denial he calls his Corinthian converts; and exhorts them to strive for the mastery over unruly tempers and passions, as he did. And to encourage them by example, as well as direct them by precept, he, in the tenth chapter, sets before them the conduct of the Israelites in the wilderness, and the dreadful judgments of God which their wickedness and obstinacy brought on them. His whole reasoning proceeds on this ground; that the hopes of future happiness founded on the promises of God, ought always to include obedience to what God commands; because if we fail in our obedience, the promise is no longer in force as

to us.

To prove this point, he adduces the instance of the Jewish Church. He mentions several of the blessings and privileges God conferred on it, and the great promises he made to it; all which they failed to obtain, through unbelief and disobedience, and miserably perished in the wilderness. The inference he draws ought to be a warning to us, lest any of us be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin, and fail of entering into that rest which is promised to the people of God, under the gospel.

The Jewish Church, in its time, was the true Church of

differing, indeed, in many things in its economy,

God; from the Christian, but resembling it also in many circumof types, es, and represenstances. That was the oeconomy tations, and shadows; the Christian, of substance, and reality, and truth. St. Paul frequently calls those types and shadows by the name of the reality which they represented. The Jews he calls our ancestors or fathers, though they were so, only in a figurative, or in a spiritual sensehaving been in the family or Church of God, and having had a right to the blessings of his covenant, before us. The rock which gave thein water at Horeb, he says, was Christ; that is, a figure or type of Christ.

But we will take a nearer view of the discourse which

introduceth the text; and by which, St. Paul excites the Corinthians to diligence and care in their Christian profession.

"I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers," the Church of Israel, "were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; and were all baptised unto Moses," their appointed conductor and mediator, “in the cloud, and in the sea;" that is, they were baptised figuratively into the covenant God made with them, and into the belief of the doctrines taught by Moses at God's command. Accordingly, this covenant was formally made; and the Law, containing the peculiar doctrines of it, published a short time after, at Mount Sinai.

St. Paul considered the Israelites being under the cloud and passing through the sea, as figures of Christian Baptism. And their going into the bed of the Red Sea, and coming again up out of it, had a resemblance of the mode of administering Baptism by immersion. It was also believed by the Jews, that their fathers were baptised in the desert, and admitted into covenant with God, before the giving of the Law. To this opinion of theirs the apostle probably alludes, and thence draws the figure of Christian Baptism.

But, to understand how this Baptism was typified by their being under the cloud, it will be necessary to advert to the several uses which the cloud served. One was to direct their marches; and this it did as a pillar or column going before them. Another use was to illuminate their horizon in the night, that they might have light to march on their journey, when God gave them notice by putting the cloud in motion; or to go about their camp, when they rested. Thus we read, that "the Lord went before them by day, in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night, in a pillar of fire, to give them light." A third use was to cover them by its shade from the intense heat of the sun on the sands of the wilderness, where there are neither trees nor verdure, but in particular places. He spread a cloud," saith the Psalmist, "for

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Maimonides, according to Pecock, gives this account. † Exod. xiii. 21.

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a covering; and fire to give light in the night."* A fourth use was to be a defence against their enemies. Thus the cloud stood betwixt the host of Israel and the Egyptians, giving a bright light to the former, but being impenetrable darkness to the latter.t

The cloud, then, was to them a perpetual indication of the presence, power, and protection of Almighty GodIt covered them from inclement heat; it directed and illuminated their path and their camp; and it surrounded and guarded them against the assaults of their enemies. As, therefore, their passing through the sea was a figure of our baptismal washing with water; so their being under the cloud was a figure of our baptism with the Holy Ghost administered in the Christian Church, by the rite of Confirmation or laying on of hands, which is the full completion of Christian Baptism.

The Jews acknowledge, that the cloud of glory signified and represented the Spirit of God. This Spirit protects us Christians, (to whom he is given through the mediation of Christ, into whose name we have been baptised,) under the temptations and persecutions which come on us in the wilderness of this world, which, without his support, would overcome and destroy us; even as the heat of the sun would have overpowered and destroyed the Israelites in the desert, had not the cloud been interposed for their protection. The Holy Spirit is also a defence against our spiritual enemy, eminently called the evil one, the destroyer; so that he shall not assault us, "above that" we are able to bear." He likewise is the guide in our Christian journey; preventing, or going before us, and leading us in the way to the heavenly Canaan. Lastly, He is "a lamp unto" our "feet, and a light unto" our "path," that we may not walk in darkness, and stumble, and fall; but may have the light of divine truth, while we sojourn in this world, to direct our feet in the way of God's commandments.

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Rightly, therefore, did the Apostle point out the passage of the Israelites through the Red Sea, and their be

*Psalm ev. 39. † Exod. xiv. 20. + Heb. vi. 2. § Masius on Josh. i.

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