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stroy the nations concerning whom the Lord commanded them, but were mingled among the heathen, and learned their works, and they served their idols, which were a snare unto them: so the works of heathen authors, with the fables of their false gods, the abominable rites of their religion, and the obscenity and immorality of their practices, are in like manner remaining among Christians; and it has been the custom for ages, all over Europe, to communicate the rudiments of languages and learning to young minds from heathen books, without due care to caution them against imbibing heathen principles ; by which thousands of minds are corrupted, and through early prejudice rendered incapable of understanding the value of truth, and the abominable nature of heathen error. How frequently are heathen moralists applied to, when the finest rules of human prudence for the conduct of life are to be found in the scripture. But to go to the heathens for divinity, as some authors do, is intolerable. They blow out the candle of revelation, and then go raking into the embers of paganism to light it again. Many good and learned men, of the first ability and taste, have observed and lamented the bondage we are under to heathen modes of education : but custom is a tyrant which hears no reason. However, there can be no harm, and I hope there will be no offence, in praying that God will enable us to correct all our errors from the history of past miscarriages. This is the great use we are to make of our present subject. The dangers to the souls of men are the same in all ages; and their errors are the same for sense, however they may differ in form: so that we cannot be surprised and ensnared by any temptation that comes upon the church, if we look to the things that are past.




The Scripture would have supplied us with much more matter of the same kind with that in the two preceding Lectures. I might

I have set before you the history of Gideon's victory, and the fall of Sisera; which were signs of the spiritual victories of the church over the enemies of her salvation.* I might have considered the rejection of the Jews, as it was prefigured in the histories of Cain, and Abel, of Jacob and Esau, of Isaac and Ishmael, of Ephraim and Manasses : to which I might have added a view of their present state, as signified by the fall of the proud Nebuchadnezzar, and his temporary banishment amongst the beasts in a state of insanity, till the times of judgment passed over him. The grace of God to the heathen world, in admitting them to the salvation of the gospel, might have been

* See Isaiah ix. 4. Psalm lxxxiii. 9.

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exemplified by the healing of Naaman the Syrian, and the visitation of the widow of Sarepta: which two cases our Saviour pointed out to the Jews at Nazareth ; but they would not bear the most distant hint of the reception of the Gentiles ; and were so filled with wrath, that they would have thrown him down headlong from the brow of an hill, (after the Roman fashion,) as an enemy to his country; for so were traitors punished at Rome, by being thrown from the top of the Tarpeian Rock.

Many figures are to be found in the occurrences and circumstantials of the history of the gospel by those who read it with such an intention. In short, the history of the Old and New Testaments hath a secondary or prophetical sense in many instances : its great events were signs and figures of things not seen as yet; and many of them are in force as such to this hour. Great things are still to be expected, of which we can form no conception, but as they are set before us in the figures of the sacred history. God shall descend, and the earth shall be on fire, and the trumpet shall sound, and the tribes of mankind shall be assembled, as formerly at Horeb, Distress shall come upon a wicked world, when

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its iniquity shall be full, as once upon Babylon, and afterwards upon the apostate Jerusalem. The armies of the Lord shall encompass it; and it shall be overthrown, with them that dwell therein. For this reason, the visitation of Jerusalem was foretold in such terms by our blessed Lord, that, in many of his expressions, it is hard to distinguish, whether that, or the end of the world, is to be understood.

These things, however, I must at present leave to your meditation, and go forward to the figurative histories of individual persons ; such as were the prophets, kings, heroes, and saints of the Old Testament; who, by their actions, as well as their words, foreshewed the coming of that Saviour, in whom, the saint made perfect through sufferings, the conqueror, the prince, the priest, and the prophet, were to be united. As the things which befel the church at large, happened to them for ensamples to the whole congregation of Christian people ; so the things which befel the prophets of old happened for ensamples of the Saviour himself; that his character and history, as the true Son of God who should come into the world, might be infallibly ascertained and demonstrated, by a comparison with the

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