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sign of the divine glory, which filled the house, 1 Kings viii. 11, 12. And the city, where either the tabernacle or temple stood, was called the place, which the Lord chose to place his name there, Deut. xiv. 23. But above all the Shechinah is in Christ, in whom dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily, Col. ii. 9. and by whom manifesting himself to the Israelites, and travelling over their country, God dwelt in the tents of Shem. To which John seems to allude, John i. 14. The word was made flesh, and ESKENOSE, tabernacled, dwelt among us; and Rev. xxi. 3. Behold, HÉ SKENI TOG THEOU, the tabernacle of God is wilh men, and skeNOSEI, he will dwell with them. Onkelos, the Chaldee paraphrast, led the way to our writers in this explication; who speaks thus: “May God enlarge to Japheth, and may his Shechinah, majesty, dwell in the tents of Shem.”. Hence Erpenius's Arab interpreter, “And may his light,” that is, the glory of God, “ dwell in the tents of Shem." Which is, certainly, a beautiful explication, and contains a prophecy of Christ's walking and dwelling in the land given to the posterity of Shem.
XVII. They who explain this prophecy, not of God, but of Japheth, who was to dwell in the tents of Shem, affirm, that it was fulfilled, partly literally, partly mystically. Literally, because it is apparent, that the Greeks and Romans, who descended from Japheth, invaded a great part of Asia, the lot of Shem; as also Balaam prophesied, the Chittim, the posterity of Japheth, shall afflict Ashur, and afflict Eber, that is, the Assyrians and Hebrews, the posterity of Shem, Num. xxiv. 24. Mystically, because the posterity of Japheth were, by the preaching of the gospel, brought to dwell in the same church with the Jews who believed; or to succeed the unbelieving Jews, who were cast off. And the church
is compared to tabernacles ; not only because the patriarchs lived in tabernacles or tents as strangers, Heb. . xi. 9. but also because this is the condition of all believers in this life, 2 Pet. i. 13.2 Cor. v. 1. Moreover, these tabernacles are said to be Shem's, because the church, even to the coming of Christ, was confined to the family of Shem. And to them the believers of the Gentiles are united by him, who made both one, Eph. i. 14. In fine, the posterity of Japheth is the principal part of the church of the Gentiles. For though God excludes neither the posterity of Shem nor of Cham from the church, in which there is neither Greek nor Joo, Barbarian, Scythian, but Christ is all and in all, Col. iii. 11. yet it is certain, that the faith of Christ, from the days of the apostles, has .chiefly flourished in Europe, and in those parts of Asia which fell to Japheth's lot.
XVIII. But indeed, seeing both these things, the habitation of God by Christ in the tents of Shen, and the habitation of Japheth in the same tents, have been joined not only in time, but also that the latter is a consequent and effect of the former, that is no reason, why we may not affirm, that both are included in the latitude of the words : and the meaning to be, that the tiwe should come, when God would visibly dwell by Christ in the church descended of Shem: and this extraordinary grace be preached through the whole habitable world, with such powerful persuasion, that many nations, and among these, chiefly the descendents of Japheth, should, by a true faith, be united with the church of the Israelites.
XIX. Lastly, it is added, that Canaan should also be the servant of Japheth. And history testifies, that those parts of Asia, which had been long possessed by the Canaanites, were conquered by the Greeks and Ro
mans. And if any remains of the Canaanites continued, supposing Tyre, built by the Sidonians, Thebes by Cadmus, and Carthage by Dido, they were all of them destroyed either by the Greeks or by the Romans. Here I again recommend to the reader Bochart's Phaleg. lib. 3. c. 1.
XX. Let us now take a summary view of the doctrines pointed out by this prophecy of Noah.
1. We find, that the praise of every virtue and of every good action is to be ascribed to God, as the supreme Author thereof; whom therefore Noah blesses, on account of the piety of his son. 2. God, by a special covenant, laid claim to Shem and his posterity, as his peculiar people, so as to be called their God. 3. In the electi' on to grace and glory, and in the bestowing of spiritual benefits, external prerogatives are of no manner of avail. For Shem, who was younger than Japheth, is preferred to the elder. 4. The hainous crimes of parents are sometimes visited on their descendants unto several generations. For Canaan, with his posterity, is, on account of the sin of Cham, condemned to be slaves to the descendants of Shem and of Japheth. 5. Godliness has the promises even of this life, as well as of that which is to come, and obtains for its reward not only blessings for the soul, but also for the body : for a large part of the earth is promised to Japheth, if we derive his name from enlarging ; and a large dominion over the Canaanites to Shem and to Japheth. 6. The word of grace, published in the gospel, has a great power of alluring and persuading. 7. Such is the condition of the church on earth, as to resemble tabernacles, expecting a fixed habitation in heaven made without hands. 8. The divine Majesty, shining forth in the Messiah, who was to arise from the posterity of Shem, VOL. II.
was afterwards to dwell in his tents. And then, 9. The Gentiles, especially the descedants of Japheth, who were before aliens from the covenants of promise, were to be allured by the preaching of the gospel, to the communion of the church of Israel.
XXI. We are also here to take notice of the longevity of the patriarchs in this period; by which means, the doctrine of grace could be very conveniently and safely propagated by them. For our father Noah, not to mention now the others, lived to see all the antediluvians, excepting the first three : and his son Shem, who also had seen the first world, lived to the fifty-first year of Jacob. But as these testimonies, concerning the doctrine of the ancient church, were, in that period, both more obscure and sparing, we have been the fuller. in treating of them ; we shall therefore study more conciseness in the others, where the lustre of divine grace was made known in greater plenty and perspicuity.
Of the Doctrine of Grace from Abraham to Moses.
E are now got to the days of Abraham, to whom as God revealed himself at sundry times and in divers manners, so, lest our present work should exceed all proper bounds, we shall only briefly consider the principal heads : and first, treat of the appearances made to Abraham ; and then of the covenant solemnly entered into, and frequently renewed between God and him. For both these contribute to set the doctrine of the church, during that period, in a clearer light.
II. The scriptures testify, that God appeared eight times to Abraham. I. At Ur of the Chaldees, when he commanded him to leave his country and kindred, and
go elsewhere, Gen. xii. 1. compared with Acts vii. 2. II. Near Sichem, at the oak of Mamre, Gen. xii. 6, 7. III. In Bethel, Gen. xiii. 3, 4. IV. When he promised him à son and heir, Gen. xv. 1. V. When he gave him circumcision, Gen. xvii. 1. VI. When he entertained him as his guest, Gen. xviii. 1. VII. When he approved Sarah's proposal to cast out Hagar and Ishmael, Gen. xxi. 12. VIII. When he commanded him to offer up Isaac in sacrifice, Gen. xxii. 1.
III. There was in these appearances such an evident manifestation of the divine majesty made to the conviction of conscience, that the godly could as easily distinguish them from the delusions of evil spirits, as a sober man can distinguish sleeping and waking. But the scripture does not always determine, in what form God appeared to Abraham. It is however clear, that sometimes it was in a human form, by way of prelude, it seems, and symbol of the future incarnation. Nor are they mistaken, who imagine, that generally it was the Son of God, who appeared to Abraham, as he did afterwards to the other patriarchs, and to Moses. To which may be referred, John viii. 56. Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day; and he savo it, and was glad. He saw that day in the promise of the seed, in illustrious
appearances, in Isaac the type and pledge of the Messiah, who was to come, and in fine by faith, the property of which is to exhibit things future, as if they were present : in all these things he had a prospect of the incarnation of the Son of God. : IV. Among the other appearances, that is mentioned, Gen. xviii. 1. is very eminent; where it is said, that Jehovah appeared unto Abraham, and ver. 2. it is