ABRAHAM'S faith having been perfected by the
severe trial to which it was subjected on the Mount of the Lord, the remainder
of his sojourn among the living appears to have been no further illustrated by
angelic visitations. Sarah had died "at Kirjath-arba, the same is
But in all his prosperity, he did not forget the promises. He had trained up Isaac in his own faith; and in order to preserve him from the evil and corrupting influence of faithless women, and to contribute to the future welfare of his descendants, he took an oath of his steward that he should not take a wife for his son of the daughters of the Canaanites among whom he dwelt; but from among his kindred in Mesopotamia, who appear to have also believed in God (Gen 24:50). The steward, however, thought it possible he might not succeed; but Abraham had no such misgiving. "The Lord God of heaven", said he, "who took me from my father's house, and from the land of my kindred, and who spake unto me, and sware unto me, saying, Unto thy Seed will I give this land; he shall send his angel before", and prosper thy way.
Isaac was forty years old when he married
Rebekah, whom he brought into Sarah's tent. Sarah had now been dead three
years. At the end of thirty-five years from this time, Abraham died, being a
hundred and seventy-five, having "dwelt in tents with Isaac and Jacob,
the heirs with him of the same promise" (Heb. 11:9), for fifteen years.
"He was gathered to his people. And his sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him
After Abraham's decease, Isaac broke up his
"Go not down into
In these words, the gospel was preached unto
Isaac as it had been to Abraham before him. He also believed the Lord; for on
the faith of these promises he proceeded no farther on his way to
As Abraham had died without receiving these promises made to him also; and as Isaac knew they were to inherit together; the promise of "all these countries" to him was equivalent to an assurance that he should rise from the dead; when he would see his father and the Christ in possession of the land; and his descendants increased to a great multitude, and then become a mighty nation exclusively occupying it; and all the nations happy and contented under the dominion of Christ. This was the gospel he believed; and the heaven, and blessedness for which he hoped.
After this Isaac sowed in the land, and received that year a hundred-fold; and "he waxed great, and went forward, and grew until he became very great; and the Philistines envied him". And their king said, "Go from us: for thou art much mightier than we. So he left Gerar, and went to Beer-sheba. After this, he received a visit from the king of Gerar accompanied by one of his friends, and the general of his army. But Isaac did not seem pleased at their coming; for he asked them, "Wherefore come ye to me, seeing ye hate me, and have sent me away from you?" Their answer shows that they were aware of the relation Isaac sustained to God and to His promises: for they replied, "We saw certainly that the Lord was with thee; we wish therefore to make a covenant with thee that thou wilt do us no hurt"; and they ended by stating their conviction, saying, "Thou art now blessed of the Lord"; that is, Abraham being dead with whom we made a covenant before, the blessing of God promised to him now rests upon thee, from whom we seek amity and peace (Gen. 26:29; 21:23).
When Isaac was sixty, and Abraham a hundred and
sixty, Esau and Jacob were born. Before their birth, the Lord said to Rebekah,
"Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated
from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people;
and the elder shall serve the younger". Upon this election, the apostle
makes the following remarks, saying, "When Rebekah had conceived by our
father Isaac -- for the childreen being not yet born, neither having done any
good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand,
not of works, but of him that calleth, it was said unto her, The elder shall
serve the younger. As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I
It may be remarked here that the election of scripture has reference to the purpose of God" in relation to the constitution of the kingdom. He has elected its territory; He has elected the nation to inhabit it for ever; He has elected the king to rule over it; and He has elected its saints to assist him in the administration of its affairs. The election in all these cases has been "of him that calleth". This election, however, is not such as "divines" contend for; nor does it relate to the subjects of which they treat. He does not say to this man, "I elect you from all eternity to be saved from the flames of hell, do what you may"; nor does He say to that, "I predetermine you to reprobation and eternal torture, do what you can". To affirm this of God is to blaspheme His name. The scriptures declare that "He is no respecter of persons"; that "He has no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way, and live"; and that "He is long-suffering, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance" (Acts 10:34; Ezek.33:11; 2 Pet 3:9). Such a statement as this is entirely at variance with "theology", whose traditions are the exhalations of the carnal mind of a fierce and gloomy age.
God elects saints for His kingdom, not by foregone conclusions which are irreversible; but men are "elect through sanctification of spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ" (1 Pet. 1:2). This reveals to us the means and design of the election in relation to the present time. "Sanctification of spirit" is the means; "obedience and sprinkling of Christ's blood", the end. How this is brought about is explained in these words -- "Ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the spirit". The manner in which men are brought to obedience and purification by the sprinkled blood, through the spirit, is practically explained in the use of the keys by Peter on the day of Pentecost, and at the house of Cornelius. The spirit, through the apostle, "convinced men of sin, and righteousness, and judgment to come"; and confirmed his words by the signs which accompanied them. They believed and obeyed the truth; and in obeying it were purified from all past sins by faith in the blood of sprinkling. Thus they were "washed, sanctified, and justified by the name of the Lord, and by the spirit of God" ; and after this manner elected according to His foreknowledge and predetermination.
No man need flatter himself that he is one of
God's elect, unless he believes the gospel of the kingdom and obeys it, and
walks in the steps of the faith of Abraham. A man then knows, and feels, that
he is elected; because God hath said, "He that believes the gospel, and is
baptized, shall be saved". In the prophecy of
This preservation of Israel for the elect's sake
is beautifully expressed by the prophet, saying, "Thus saith the Lord, As
the new wine is found in the cluster, and one saith, Destroy it not for a
blessing is in it: so will I do for my servants' sake, that I may not
destroy them all. And I will bring forth a Seed out of Jacob, and
out of Judah an inheritor of my mountains; and mine elect shall
inherit it (the land of Canaan), and my servants shall dwell there. And
In conclusion, every thing in relation to the
kingdom is ordained upon sovereign principles. Nothing is left to the will of man.
Hence, the apostle saith, "It is not of him that willeth, nor of him that
runneth, but of God that showeth mercy". The call of the Gentiles to take
part in the future kingdom is a striking illustration of the truth of this. Had
things been left to the apostles they would not have extended the invitation to
men of other nations to become with them heirs of the
Pharaoh of Egypt is another illustration of this
principle. God purposed to show forth His power that His name might be declared
throughout all the earth. This manifestation was not left to the wisdom or
pleasure of Moses. The display was to be according to the divine will. The
world was overspread with ignorance and superstition; and Pharaoh was the
autocrat of the age. He was totally ignorant of who the Lord was, and therefore
refused to obey Him. He was "a vessel unto dishonour" -- an
idolater under the dominion of the propensities. Had he been left to himself,
he would have continued like all other chiefs of the sin-power, "a vessel
of wrath fitted for destruction". His tyranny had come to this crisis,
namely, either the Israelites must be exterminated, or the oppressor and his
power must be destroyed. The judgment in the case belonged to the God of
Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob; the result could not, therefore, be for a
moment doubtful. He that has power over the clay, had appointed
Such is the doctrine of election as taught in the scriptures of truth. Let us return now to the further consideration of the case of Esau and Jacob.
The boys grew to be men. "Esau was an expert
hunter, and a man of the field." The result of these pursuits was to
surround himself with warriors, whose power grew into the future
When Esau was forty years old, he married two Hittite women, who were a grief of mind to both his parents. About thirty years after this, when Isaac was one hundred and thirty-one, he determined to bestow his blessing upon Esau, although he had sold his birthright. But the faithful vigilance of Rebekah circumvented it. The elder was to serve the younger, and she intended that Isaac's blessing should take that direction. Accordingly, in blessing the supposed Esau (for his eyes were too dim to see accurately), he said, "God give thee of the dew of heaven, and the fatness of the earth, and plenty of corn and wine: let people serve thee, and nations bow down to thee: be lord over thy brethren, and let thy mother's sons bow down to thee: cursed he every one that curseth thee, and blessed be he that blesseth thee". Here was a blessing, contrary to the will of Isaac, pronounced upon Jacob, whom God had predetermined to bless to the same purpose. Truly, "it is not of him that willeth, but of God that showeth mercy".
Esau had fully calculated on the blessing, although he had bartered away his birthright, seeing that Isaac had promised to bestow it upon him on his return from the field. When, therefore, he entered to receive the blessing, and announced himself as the real Esau, "Isaac trembled very exceedingly" when he found that he had been imposed upon; nevertheless, he confirmed what he had done, saying, "Yea, and he shall be blessed". When Esau discovered what had happened, "he cried with a great and exceeding bitter cry, saying, Bless me, even me also, O my father!" And he lifted up his voice and wept. But the thing that was done could not be revoked, for the hand of God was in it.
The apostle cites the case of Esau as a warning to believers lest any of them should "fail of the grace of God." All who are Abraham's seed by being in Christ have obtained the birthright; and are thereby entitled to the blessing of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, that hereafter "people should serve them, and nations bow down to them; and that they should be lords over their brethren". But, if for some temporal advantage they should "sin wilfully", and thus barter it away, "there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful looking for of judgment, and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries" (Heb. -37). There is no scope afforded to such for repentance, for they have placed themselves precisely in Esau's position. Hence, the apostle exhorted his brethren to look diligently to it, that none of them proved to be "a profane person", as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright: "for," said he, "ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no possibility of a change of (Isaac's mind) though he sought it carefully with tears." (Heb. 12:15-17) God is merciful; but He is also jealous; and "will by no means clear the wilful". If His children sell their birthright to the world for anything it can tempt them with, His mind, like Isaac's, is immovable; and transgressors cannot change it, though they may seek carefully to do so with tears, and prayers, and with great and exceeding bitter cries.
Jacob having been involuntarily appointed heir of
the blessing by Isaac, Esau conceived a hatred of him, and was overheard to
threaten him with death when their father was dead. This determination was
reported to Rebekah, who, having sent for Jacob, informed him of Esau's malice,
and advised him to escape into
THE VISION OF JACOB'S LADDER.
On the night after his departure, while asleep under the canopy of heaven, the Lord appeared to him in a dream. In the vision he saw, as it were, "a ladder set up on the land, and the top of it reached to heaven and behold, the angels of God ascending and descending on it. And the Lord stood above it, and said, I am the Lord God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac; the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed: in whom all the families of the earth shall be blessed. And behold, I am with thee, and will protect thee in all places whither thou goest, and I will bring thee again into this land for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of." (Gen. 28:10-15) Thus, in the blessing that now rested upon Jacob, as well as upon Abraham and Isaac, God promised
The exact time, I say, was not specified in the
promise. Jacob, however, was given to understand by the representation in the
vision that it would be a long time after the epoch of his dream. As the
apostle says, "he saw the promises afar off, and was persuaded of
them, and embraced them, and confessed that he was a stranger and pilgrim in
the land". He saw the fulfilment of the things promised afar off in
point of time; but not afar off as to place: for the place where
they were to be fulfilled was Bethel, about fifteen miles from Jerusalem. He
was at the place; and so well did he understand this that he termed
Now the interval of time between the giving of
the promise and the fulfilment of it was represented to Jacob by a ladder of
extraordinary length, one end of which stood at
But upon this ladder of ages and generations,
with Jacob at the bottom and his seed, the
Under this arrangement their affairs were superintended by the angels of God. But with the future habitable it will be different; for the apostle says, "God hath not put it in subjection to the angels": but "when he brings the first-born back again into the habitable he says, 'Let all the angels of God do homage to him'." This return of the Lord to the habitable cannot be referred to the epoch of his resurrection; because he had not then left it, Indeed, he never left it but once before his resurrection, and that was involuntarily when Joseph and Mary carried him into Egypt. He said himself that he had not been to the Father before rising from the dead (John ). He was in the habitable, only asleep in death. But when he ascended then he departed into a far country to receive the kingdom; and when he had received it, to return. But he has not yet received it, or he would be at this time reigning in the future habitable land. Till the Lord Jesus, however, sits on his throne as "King of the Jews" (John 18:33-39; 19:12-19), the providential direction of human affairs is committed to the Elohim; who are termed the angels of the little ones who believe in Jesus (Matt. 18:3-6,10); because they minister to their profit, in causing all things among the nations to work together for their ultimate good.
When that remarkable change in the constitution
of things is brought to pass, when Jesus having received the sovereignty, the angels
shall do homage to him, there will be a great national jubilee throughout the
earth. The nations which are now groaning under the blood-stained tyrannies of
the world, and imprecating curses loud and deep upon the heads of their
destroyers, will send up to heaven a shout "like mighty thunderings,
saying, Alleluja: for the Lord God, the Omnipotent, reigneth" (Rev. 19:6).
Paul evidently had a view to this period of blessedness, when he quoted the
saying, "Worship him, all gods." He quoted this from the ninety-seventh
psalm, (see note in chapter 2, section "Man in the image and likeness of
the Elohim") which celebrates the epoch of the reign in these words:
"The Lord reigneth; let the earth rejoice; let the multitude of the isles
be glad. Clouds and darkness are round about him; righteousness and judgment
are the habitation of his throne. A fire goeth before him, and burneth up his
enemies round about. His lightaings enlightened the world; the earth saw and
trembled. The hills melted like wax at the presence of the Lord, at the
presence of the Lord of the whole earth. The heavens declare his
righteousness, and all the people see his glory. Confounded he all they
that serve graven images, that boast themselves in idols: worship him, all ye
The ladder of ages and generations, as I have
said, connects the commencing and terminating epochs of a long period of time.
Of this interval, nearly four thousand years have elapsed. A few more years
only remain, and the top of the ladder will be attained by Abraham, Isaac, and
Jacob, and by all others with them who shall be accounted worthy of the
Jacob sojourned with his uncle Laban twenty years
(Gen. 31:38). While residing in
Having crossed the Jabbok to Penuel, and joined
his company, he had an interview with Esau, who received him with apparent
kindness, though with evident mistrust on the part of Jacob. A reconciliation
ensued. Esau accepted a liberal present, and pressed upon Jacob the unwelcome
protection of his warriors. Jacob, however, persuaded him to depart without
him; and he would follow "softly, until", said he, "I come unto
my lord unto Seir". But as soon as Esau was well on his way Jacob pushed
on to Succoth. Having halted there for a time, he crossed the
When he arrived at
THE PARABLE OF JOSEPH.
A parable is the setting forth of a certain thing as a representative of something else. Hence, it is a comparison, or similitude. It may be spoken, or acted. In the former case, fiction is used to illustrate that which is real; while in the latter, real actions on a smaller scale are representative of remoter and grander events. Whether spoken or acted, parables are dark and unintelligible to those who are not skilled in the things of the kingdom; but when once they come to comprehend these, the things they resemble immediately appear. To allegorize is to represent truth by comparison. For certain features of the kingdom of God to be illustrated parabolically is to speak, or act, allegorically; and is a mode of instruction more calculated to keep up the attention, and to impress the mind permanently, than a set discourse, or formal disquisition. The scriptures are constructed after this ingenious plan, by which they are made so much more interesting, and capable of containing so much more matter, than any other book on the same subject, and of the same size. They are a study of themselves; and no "rules of interpretation", or of "logic", are of any value to the understanding of the things which they reveal.
A parable was enacted by Abraham in offering up Isaac. The things transacted were real, but they were also parabolic, or figurative, of something else, even of the sacrifice and resurrection of the Seed, or Christ. After the death of Isaac, and when Jacob was waxing old, Joseph was selected from among his sons by the arrangements of God to be the typical representative of the future Seed, through whom the promises were to take effect. Hence, the life of Joseph became a living parable by which was represented to Jacob and his sons, and to believers afterwards, what was to be transacted in the life of Christ. In itself the story of Joseph is an interesting and moving history; but when we read it as though we were reading of Christ instead of him, the narration assumes an importance which highly commends itself to the student of the Word.
Jacob had resided seventeen years in the
Joseph was the beloved of his father, and the envied and hated of his brethren, whose conduct caused him to give his father an "evil report" of them. He dreamed that he and they were binding sheaves in the field, and that his sheaf stood upright, and theirs also round about, and that they made obeisance to his sheaf. When he told them his dream, they caught at the meaning at once. "Shalt thou", said they, "indeed reign over us? or, shalt thou indeed have dominion over us? And they hated him yet the more for his dreams and for his words." In his second dream, "the sun and the moon, and the eleven stars, made obeisance to him"; which Jacob interpreted, saying, "Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth? And his brethren envied him: but his father observed the saying."
Now in these little incidents we read, not only Joseph's exaltation, but the treatment Christ would afterwards receive from the sons of Joseph's brethren and his subsequent exaltation to reign over them, when Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and his family shall bow down before him to the earth. Jesus gave an evil report of his brethren, who saw that he was beloved of God; he troubled them with his parables and reproofs; and they envied him and hated him for his words. The fate of Joseph awaited him; for as the eleven conspired against Joseph to kill him, and actually sold him to the Ishmaelites of Midian for twenty pieces of silver, so was the Lord Jesus sold for thirty, and subjected to a violent death by the rulers, thinking thereby to falsify his words, and extinguish his pretensions to lordship over them.
Joseph, having become the property of the Midianitish merchants, was "separated from his brethren", and as good as dead to them. They lost sight of him entirely, and at length forgot him altogether. Their conspiracy to all appearance had perfectly succeeded; they had got rid of "the master of dreams"; and had imposed upon Jacob the falsehood that he had met with a violent death from a savage beast. But "God was with him" and though they had made everything sure, their sin was certain to overtake them.
Joseph was carried into
The second chapter of the Josephine parable
begins with Joseph in the house of Potiphar. Being there the victim of a false
accusation, he was immured in the State-prison. But even here he found favour,
as he had in Potiphar's house before; for Joseph was a righteous man, and God was
with him. He had been in prison two full years, when the King of Egypt
had his dreams of the kine, and the ears. The report of his
correct interpretation of the chief butler's, and the chief baker's, dreams,
while in durance, caused him to he brought before Pharaoh to interpret his. It
was then believed that "interpretations belong to God" (Gen. 40:8);
that is, when He causes men to dream prophetically, He reserves the
interpretation of them to Himself. This is illustrated in the case before us,
and afterwards in that of Nebuchadnezzar. Pharoah consulted all the magicians
and wise men of
When Joseph was thirty-seven years old, the
famine began in
Jacob having received information of all that had
been transacted, proceeded to break up his encampment, and to go down into
Seventeen years having passed away after his
Why, I ask, is all mankind's anxiety now about their "souls", and a heaven beyond the skies, when the friends of God, who had all their pilgrimage been the honoured subjects of His fatherly care, manifested no such carefulness; but on the contrary exacted oaths of their survivors expressive of their love for Canaan, and of their concern that their bodies should moulder there? The reason is that the moderns have no faith in the promises of God. Neither Protestants nor Papists "believe on God". They have a system of faith which bears no affinity to the religion of God; and hence they hope for things which He has not promised; and consequently the most pious of them die with a lie in the right hand. The faith and hope of Protestantism are not the faith and hope of "the fathers", whom God has constituted the "heirs of the world".
The last thoughts of these holy men were on
"the exceeding great and precious promises" which are to be
manifested in the
JACOB'S PROPHECY OF THE LAST DAYS.
Jacob being a hundred and forty-seven years old,
and about to die, called his sons together to tell them "what should
befall them in the last days." From what has been already advanced
on "the end of the world," the reader will understand to what period
the prophecy of Jacob principally refers. But, lest any should have forgotten,
I will repeat that it relates to events which were to happen in the last days
of the Hebrew commonwealth, under the constitution from
It will not be necessary for me to do more than
to point out these special incidents as bearing upon the
Having spoken of the death of Christ by Levi and Simeon, he then proceeded to speak of things connected with Judah alone. Of this tribe he affirmed:
Such are the points into which the members of Jacob's beautiful prophecy concerning the things of the Kingdom, in connection with Judah as the royal tribe, are resolvable when converted into literal, or unfigurative speech. But it is very clear from the past history of the tribe that the prophecy is only partially accomplished. Judah is now "stooping down, and couching as an old lion"; and in view of his present prostration, Jacob inquired, "Who shall rouse him up?" Yes: who shall do it? Who shall start him to his feet again, that he may rend and tread down, and devour the enemies of Jerusalem? Who but the Shiloh, whose goodly horse in the battle Judah is appointed to be? (Zech. 10:3-5; 12:6; 14:14)
Two appearances of the Shiloh are indicated by Jacob; first after the departure of the sceptre from Judah; and secondly, at the attainment of the tribe to the dignity of giving laws to the gathered people. The sceptre had departed from Judah before the appearing of Jesus; but neither Jesus, nor the tribe, have promulgated a code of laws to Israel or the Gentiles. Moses was a lawgiver, not of Judah, but of Levi; but when Shiloh comes as the lawgiver of Judah, then "the law shall go forth from Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem" (Isa. 2:3).
The blessing on Judah contains in it the hope of Israel. It shows what views Jacob had of the promises made to him and his fathers. His faith was of things substantial and definable, He looked for a kingdom and an empire, whose royal domain should be the land of Canaan, and especially that part of it allotted to Judah (Ezek. 48:8-22); and whose imperial ruler should be the Giver of Peace, descended from his loins in the line of Judah. The Spirit of God in Jacob marked him out to wield the sceptre and to give laws to the world, possessing the gate of his enemies, and blessing all the nations of the earth. It is generally supposed that Jacob saw the sceptre depart from Judah. This is implied by the English version, "Not depart until Shiloh come," which is as much as to say, when Christ appears it shall depart: which is not in accordance with the facts of the case.
Having blessed Judah in the terms recorded in scripture (Gen. 49:8-12), he passed over Zebulun, Issachar, Dan, Gad, Asher, and Naphtali, with a brief notice, and then dwelt with emphasis upon Joseph. He described in general terms the fertility of the cantons of Ephraim amd Manasseh, and invocated blessings of every kind upon his posterity. Recalling Joseph's history in the past as indicative of his descendants' in the future, he predicted that they would be sorely grieved by their enemies, and separated from the other tribes. Nevertheless, their bow, though unstrung, should abide in strength, and they should be made strong again "by the hands of the Mighty God of Jacob, who should help them", and bless them above what their progenitors enjoyed before they were carried away into captivity. He saw that they would be a royal tribe, and that at some period of their nationahty, "the everlasting hills" unto their utmost bound, should bow to his sceptre who is destined to rule them (Hab. 3:3-16).
But in the blessing of Joseph, Jacob gave a very remarkable intimation concerning the Shiloh. He styles him "the shepherd and stone of Israel" (Isa. 28:16). In his blessing on Judah, he foretold his descent from him; but in the blessing of Joseph, he declares he is from the God of Jacob, and (being thus spoken of in connection with Joseph) after the parable of his history. In other words, that the Seed should be both son of Judah and Son of God; and that his relation to the tribe of Israel should be after the representation of Joseph's to his brethren. "The archers should sorely grieve him, and shoot at him, and hate him; but his bow should abide in strength, and his arms be made stronger by the God of his fathers, who should help him; and cause all blessings to rest upon his crown, who should be long separated from his brethren."
SUMMARY OF THE FAITH AT JOSEPH'S DEATH.
After the death of Joseph, which occurred two hundred and seventy-six years after the confirmation of the covenant concerning Christ, Levi and his sons Kohath, Amram, and Moses, may be regarded as the more especial conservators of the faith with which God is pleased. Many of Jacob's family in the period which elapsed between the death of Joseph and their glorious exodus under Moses, had given themselves up to the service of Egypt's gods (Josh. 24:14). This, however, was not the case with all. Some still kept the promises of God before them; and we find it testified of Moses when only forty years old, and before he fled from Egypt, that "he supposed that his brethren would have understood how that God by his hand would deliver them; but they understand not" (Acts 7:25). This was forty years before their deliverance, and one hundred and fourteen years after Joseph's death. Seventy-four years after this event Moses was born to Amram the grandson of Levi. The supposition he entertained concerning his brethren's spiritual intelligence is an indication of his own; for he evidently judged them by his own understanding of the divine promise.
Although "he was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians" this did not divert him from the faith. He had been indoctrinated into this in his tender years by his parents. For it is testified that "by faith they hid him three months, not being afraid of the king's commandment" (Heb. 11:23); thus becoming heirs of the righteousness which is by faith of the promises. This testimony to their faith shows that, however delinquent others might be, "the faith," the one faith of the gospel, dwelt in them. They instilled this faith into Moses, on the fleshy table of whose heart it was so indelibly inscribed, that not all the blandishments of the court of Egypt could efface it. The result of the parental instruction he had received was that "by faith when he came to years he refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he had respect to the recompense of the reward. By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible." (Heb. 11:24-27)
From this testimony, then, we learn that the faith in Amram's family was concerning Christ, and the recompense of the reward; that this was so little sympathized with, that those who embraced it were subjected to reproach, and called upon to endure on account of it; and that the things connected with Christ were esteemed by those who understood them, as of greater value than the most enlightened, wealthy, and powerful of kingdoms, possessed in all its glory. Now, as the faith of Amram's family is the "faith without which it is impossible to please God" in any age, it will be of advantage to us to have as distinct a view of it as possible. Omitting, then, the general principles of religion, stated at the end of the fifth chapter of this work, in which all the faithful were instructed, I shall present in this place a summary of the things which were "all the salvation and all the desire" of Abraham's family, though for a long time "God made it not to grow". I shall begin the enumeration with the most elementary principle, and ascend to the more complex in the order of their development in the promises of God. They believed, then,
In the exposition of the things of the kingdom, as unfolded in "the promises made of God to the fathers", the following points have been fairly established:
These five points, however, do not comprehend all the things concerning the kingdom of God. Shiloh, or the Anointed One of God, was promised in the line of Judah; but the question remained open from Jacob's decease for many centuries after, as to the particular family of the tribes of Judah he was to descend from. Besides this, there is nothing said respecting the constitution, laws, and ecclesiastical institutions of the kingdom. It will, therefore, be necessary for us to look into these things, that we may fully comprehend the system of the world to be established by the God of heaven, when all other dominions shall have passed away.
It may facilitate a clear and distinct conception of the contents of this chapter to bring the dates quoted into a tabular form; I shall, therefore, conclude this part of my subject by presenting the reader with the following chronology.
CHRONOLOGY OF THE AGE BEFORE THE LAW.
Shem begat Arphaxad, and lived afterwards 500 years.