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chose them a king" after the manner of nations.” 1 Saml. viii. 5–22 ; Acts xiii. 21. Upon the removal of Saul, God raised up David to be king of Israel, and the covenant blessing was renewed in the form of a promise of a glorious and everlasting kingdom in his family, 2 Saml. vii. 12-18; Acts xiii. 22-24; Rom. i. 1--4. From this epoch the Church appear to have laboured to realise the blessing of a universal subjection, of all the kingdoms of the earth to the son of David. The splendid reign of Solomon, seemed only an earnest of the future glory of Israel,
But how soon are ten of the tribes upon the triangle, discovering their regard for their own interests and prosperity, to be supreme,and their devotion to the son of David to be but quite a subordinate concern. They attempt to negotiate a
. treaty, to drive a bargain upon the principle of the rational and passionate estimates," after the “manner of all the nations," and not succeeding according to their will, they raise the standard of revolt under Jeroboam the son of Nebot, and inscribe a motto of independence and defiance upon their banner, " What portion have we in David, and we have none inheritance in the son of Jesse; every man to your tents, O Israel ; and now, David, see to thine own house." 2 Cron. x. 16, 19. From this date we read of the wars, offensive, and defensive; of the sins, apostacies, idola. tries, and abominations of these people in the chronicles of Israel and Judah, and in the writings of the prophets. The Lord finally removes Israel to Assyria; but restores Judah from the captivity of Babylon, and reestablishes the civiland ecclesiastical polity of the Jews, under Ezra and Nehemiah. After Malachi shuts the book, we read in history that Judea (except under the Maccabee princes) was dependent and tributary to Persia, to Alexander, Egypt, Syria, and finally to imperial Rome, during all which time, God protected his people in the enjoyment of a good degree of their civil and ecclesiastical institutions. From the time of David, the Jews were "waiting" for his Son, the great body of the people only expecting a temporal deliverer who should restore the kingdom to Israel, or achieve by his conquests, a universal empire ; for so did they “understand the voices of the prophets which were read in their synagogues every Sabbath day." Acts xiii. 27. Thus because they understood not the nature of the dynasty, or the character of the king promised, they were subject to perpetual impositions when
ever the cry was raised, " Lo ! here is Christ; or, lo ! there;" and supported by plausible pretensions, by signs, prodigies, and wonders; success in arms, or a multitude of followers; and it is against this very danger that our Lord warned his disciples. Matt. xxiv. 23–26 ; Mark xiii. 21–24.
From the time of Abraham to Christ, the sacred writers record the wickedness of the Church: we find little of their "good doings,” but of their unbelief, rebellion, apostacies, idolatries; and not only of their impiety, but as a consequence, also of their shocking immorality and monstrous violations of every precept in the second table of the law. We have glanced at these things before the Kings, and from that time hear the prophets. And as a specimen,
viiith chapter ; jii. S-19;
ohapters iii.and iv. xvi. 44-60. And the other prophets to the same point.
The exceeding wickedness of the Church exhibits in a wonderful light the unspeakable forbearance, long suffering and goodness of God, and his infallible tidelity.
On examination, the principles of the triangle will be seen to be at the foundation of “the fall of Israel.” They trusted and rejoiced in their own hearts, minds, sufficiency, philosophy, and inventions; and so worshipped the “ WORKS OF THEIR OWN HANDS.” God called thern to be a peculiar people ; and though in a sense, they gloried in being a chosen people, their spirits were too liberal, their sentiments too charitable, to arrogate pretensions so exclusive, bigoted, and seetarian, that they should not mingle with the heathen, and tolerate, and even love their ways and their gods. So in the matter of the Canaanites, there was so much benevolence, or sympathy, or something else, which governed Israel, that she did not execute the judgment and precept of her God,
but disobeyed Him, that she might walk in her own ways. Psalın cvi. 35–40 ; Judges i. 21, 27—36; Deut. vii. 2, 16-26; Judges ii. 2–14. And so in her relations, offensive and defensive with the Philistines, Edomites, Moabites, Ethiopians, Chaldcans, Assyrians, Egypt, etc. her besetting and perpetual sin was self dependence; a resort to, and reliance upon natural principles, resources and power ; upon what was common to her and “all the nations," huMAN ABILITY. Trusting to numbers, valor, and tactics ; 10
the arts of diplomacy, to policy, intrigue, and lying, to treaties with other nations, looking to Egypt and Assyria for help, and renouncing the strength of Israel, the truth, and the grace, and the power of her covenant God.
We must not imagine, because Scripture does not like Popery, ancient and modern, canonise the saints and record the wonderful works of men, and glory in the statistics of human achievement in “doing good,” that therefore the Lord had not at all times, his chosen ones. Though the will of man, under the influence of a mere moral suasion of objective motives, has always rejected the covenant, and certainly preferred the triangular dependence, yet, there was always a remnant “ according to God's election of grace,” who have waited for the promise of mercy, for the consolation of Israel, and for the kingdom of God. Luke ii. 25 ; Isaiah i. 9; Rom. xi, 1–6; Isaiah x. 22; Matt. xv. 43. But as the kingdom of God cometh not with observation, Luke xvii. 20, so his subjects are not ordinarily a bustling or a very notorious people; hence they are called "hidden ones,” Psalm Ixxxiii. 3; Col. iii. 3, and of the seven thousand whom he had reserved to himself in the days of Elijah, not one it seems, had done enough to make himself manifest to the prophet, and nothing is recorded of the great things which they did ; but the negative fact, that they had not bowed the knee to Baal, nor kissed him. Rom. xi. 3-6; 1 Kings xix. 10--19. The eleventh chapter to the Hebrews, teaches that the annals of the faithful tell mostly of their sufferings, of the goodness of God to them, and of his wonderful works in them, and by them.
In our times and country, we would imagine great improvements, or great defects in the Church, for little is heard of the goodness, grace, long suffering and forbearance of God toward her. There would seem to be but little room for the exercise even of Divine mercy; for the Church behaves so well and has made such improvements in principle, and has achieved so much in glorious results, that she seems rather in the attitude of a patron of the Divine system, a royal ally, who is aiding the King of kings by her subsidies and her men in subduing his enemies, and extending the lines and dominions of his kingdom, and by no means herself a subject, or in any sense hostile to his principles or supremacy. Whatever may be inconsiderately said of the Jewish Church, few would avow in terms that christians now are more spiritual, holy, or devoted, than those gathered into the Church by Christ and his apostles. But we do not find them eulogising each other, or the churches for their great and wonderful works. They are sometimes commended for THEIR FAITH and DOCTRINE ; but now doctrine is repudiated and “doing good," and especially in some new and effectual way, is the only thing that is tolerated. Do they call upon their inventions to which they offer incense ? Jereh. xi. 12. Do they in fact sacrifice to the “net that catches," and the “ drag that gathers them in ?" Habk. i. 15, 16. Was there ever such an incomparable Church since the world began, as the present republican and American Church? We hear nothing of her sins, or the sins of her people; the heart is all right, and all she wants is work and increase of money and of men! The apostles of Jesus were sinful men; and they record the sins of each other and of the churches; the disputes among the disciples who should be the greatest ; their unbelief, their desertion and denial of Christ, their indwelling sin. Romans chap. vii. The churches are reproved for their immoralities and heresies; we read of the sins of Ananias and Saphira; of the murmurings of the Grecians and Hebrews; of the controversies about the doctrine of Moses at Antioch, Acts xv.; of the wrangling and contentions of the Corinthians about their ministers, of their litigious and fraudulent propensities, 1 Cor. vi. 7, 8; of their disorderly proceedings; 1 Cor. xiv. 23; of their disgraceful and beastly practices; 1 Cor. xi. 21; of their bitterness, strife, and divisions ; James iii. xiv.; Gall. v. 15; of the miserable work of the heretical teachers ; 1 Cor. iii. 10–15; of the calumnies of their tongues, and of their mean and lazy propensities ; 2 Thes. iii. 10, 11 ; of their vile sensualities, and even of the enmity of some within the pale to the cross of Christ; Phil. iii. 18, 19. Paul expected no perfection among the brethren at Corinth ; 2 Cor. xii. 20, 21; and whatever of good is in the Church is ascribed to the leaven of the doctrine of Christ ; 2 Cor. ii.-vi. 1 Jud. iii. 9; 2 Jud. vi. 9 ; Acts ii. 42; Rom. vi. 17, 18.
Is the kingdom of God located in this world ? and does it concern mainly things seen and temporal ? Is the perfection of man, morally, socially, intellectually, politically, the object, scope, and end, of the gospel of the Son of God? Is it to ameliorate the condition, to enlighten the minds, to
cultivate the sentiments, and to civilize the barbarism of the heathen, that Jesus shed his blood ? Is this the good to be effected? The evils to be remedied, then, are not sin, but some of its temporal effects, ignorance, immoralities, drunkenness, poverty, sickness, etc. and if these are the evils, then the good to be done is to disseminate a knowledge of letters, polite literature, and the science of morals; to promote temperance, relieve the poor and the sick, etc., and the best people are those who give the most money to build poor houses, hospitals, infirmaries, monasteries, nunneries, etc., and we are animated by the very soul of popery!
But to return; at the time of the Christian era, the Jews were confidently looking for their Messiah, the son of David; but the general expectation was of a deliverer from the Roman yoke, and not from the bondage and dominion of sin and satan, Acts xiii. 22, 23; Luke ii, 25 ; Mait. ii. 2; and although John the Baptist preached not the kingdom of Judah, but the kingdom of Heaven, and Jesus preached the kingdom of God, Mark i. 14; yet so slow of heart were men to believe and understand, that even after his resurrection, his own disciples asked him if he would then restore the kingdom to Israel! Acts i. 6. The New Testament is a divine revelation of the true principles, character, and constitution of the kingdom of God, a solution of the great mystery of godliness, Col. i. 26-29; Eph. jji. 9, 10; a testimony concerning the seed of the woman, Gen. iii. 15; 1 John iii. 8; 1 Cor. xv. 25; concerning the seed of Abraham, Gal. iii. 16; and the nature of the promised inheritance, Col. i. 12; Heb. ix. 15; 1 Peter i. 5; Acts xxvi. 18; Rom. vi. 23; Gal. iv. 7; Titus i. 2; concerning the son of David and the Son of God, Luke i. 32; 2 Sam. vii. 12–18; Rom. i. 1-4; Acts xiii. 22–24. From which we learn that all the promises, from the beginning of the world, have respect to Christ and their fulfilment in him, 2 Cor. i. 20. That He is the seed, the inheritance, the King, the blessing, the unspeakable gift : and that in Him only can sinners be blessed with reconciliation to God and eternal life, John x. 28; and xvii. 2, 3; Rom. v. 21; 1 John i. 2; Tit. iij. 7; 1 John ji. 25; Jude 21; 1 John v. 11, 20. We see there. fore Jesus Christ to be the focal point, to whom all the rays ot' light and life converge, which are reflected from Moses, che prophets and the Psalms, John v. 46; Luke xxiv. 24.
When He came he taught the nature of the BLESSING ;