Page images

1. Wash ye, make you clean ; these two are to be regarded as one, since they intend one and the same thing; and suppose, that men, in a state of nature, are polluted and unclean; and indeed, their pollution is of fuch sort, and to such a degree, that they cannot cleanse themselves, either by ceremonial ablutions, or moral services, or evangelical ordinances ; for, who can say, I have made my heart clean ; I am pure from my fins "? This is God's work only, as appears from his promises to cleanse his people from their fins; from the end of Christ's shedding his blood, and the efficacy of it; from the sanctifying influences of the spirit, and from the prayers of the saints' to God, that he would create in them clean bearts, wash them thoroughly from their iniquity, and cleanse them from their pn. But if this be the case, that it is God's work alone, and that man is uncapable to cleanse himself from fin, it will be said, to what purpose are such exhortations? I answer ; To convince men of their pollution, and that they stand in need of being washed and cleansed, of which they are naturally ignorant: There are too many who are pure in their own eyes, and yet not washed from their filthiness *; as also, to bring them to a sense of their own .

i Proy, XXX. I 2.

s Prov. XX. 9.

Pfal. li, 2, 7, 10.

inability to cleanse themselves; which iecms to be the particular defign of them here ; since these Jews thought to have wathed themselves from their immoralities by their ceremonial services, and which are therefore rejected by God, ver. II, 12, 13, 14, 15. and they, notwithstanding all their legal pue rifications, are called upon to waih and make clean: Besides, such exhortacions may be useful to lead persons to enquire after the proper means of cleansing, and so to the fountain of Christ's blood, in which only souls being washed are made clean. These exhortations then are not in vain; though conversion is wrought only by the unfrustrable operation of God, and man is purely paffive in it. This view of them will help us to understand aright some parallel places; fuch as Jer. iv. 14. 2.4 2.1. 27. 2. Cor. vii. 1. James i. 21. 2017 m. monly so is cur*

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

fore the

of God. Now to put away

fin in this sense, is so to take it away, to remove it, as that it is pardon'd, and men acquitted and discharged from it ; but this is impracticable to men, and is the act of God only; as is evident from his promises to remove the fins of his people; from the end of Christ's sacrifice, which was to put away fin for ever, and from the prayers of the saints, who desire that God would take away all iniquity, and receive graciously : But why then is such an exhortation given ? first co convince men, that the putting away of sin from the eyes of God's vindictive ju-, stice, is absolutely necessary to salvation; and then that men cannot, by all their ceremonial and moral services do this; for 'tis not possible that the blood of bulls and goats pould take away fin"; as also to lead and, direct their views to the sacrifice of Chrift, which effectually does it; and without which, to what purpose is the multitude of sacrifices ? and vain are all oblations, ver. II, 13.

III. Cease to do evil; which regards ei-, ther a ceflation from ceremonial works, which being done with a wicked mind, were an abomination to the Lord, ver. 13,14. or an abstinence from outward immorali

u Heb. X. 4.

[ocr errors]

ties; fucia as hercing mat. A preffing the faces Pte.

a T from such expert : a out fuppofing a Te 1. A 2. which is fpiriraman... E strable grace of Gaz smir: verfion.

IV. Learn to d m ) E. justice, beneficence, then it ano in such as are here mendia's; Ser !! relieve the oppressed, jasan PECC: for the widow ; all which are vet aan mendable, and may be performed mer in an unconverted state, and no war einn either against man's passiveness, or che se ceffaty of God's efficacious grace in che wors of converfion.

NUMB. XII. Isa. i. 18, 19, 20. Come now and let us reason together ; though -- your fins be as scarlet, they mall be as

white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. If ye be willing and obedient, ye mall eat the good of the land. But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword; for the mouth of the Lord bath spoken it.


I. HÉ eighteenth verse is consider'd

in strict connection with the words preceding and following ; from whence it is concluded, that to cease to do evil, and learn to do well, to be willing and obedient * are qualifications for the pardoning mercy of God, and conditions of obtaining it ; the promises of pardon, life and salvation being made to persons of such characters. But,

1. Let it be observed, that the eighteenth verse may be read in a parenthesis, without any connection with, or dependance on either the preceding or subsequent verses being thrown in on purpose to comfore the people of God, oppressed with a sense of their fins, whilft he is expressing his just resentment and indignation against the sins of



* Whitby, p. 181, 24", 298.

« PreviousContinue »