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an ass together, that is, with a clean and an unclean beast, between whom as there is no al-* liance of nature, they were not to be mismatched under the same yoke. This the apostle has applied to its true sense, in those word*, be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers*. Yet this law, on a proper occasion, was to be superseded, when the Jew and Gentile were both to join in the work of the gospel: which consideration explains that difficult passage in the prophet Isaiah—Blessed are ye that sow beside all waters, that send forth thither the feet of the ox and the ass.
On another occasion the same apostle shews us, that a law which seems to make provision for beasts, was intended for the benefit: of God's ministers, and is to be so applied. The law saith, thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. Here, to prevent misunderstandings, the apostle asks a question, Doth God take care for oxen? Was his divine and holy law . made for beasts? certainly not: but, for men; for our sakes no doubt this was written-f. Although the words were spoken of beasts, the sense relates only to men; the precept being wholly intended to teach under a figure (as the law taught every thing else) that the ministers
of * a Cor. yi. 14. + I Cor. ix. 9, &c.
of God's word should be maintained out of the profits and offerings of the Church in which they serve, as the ox at the threshing-floor is justly permitted to take advantage of his labour, and to partake of the corn while he is treading it out for the use of man. Every labourer, whether he be an ox or a man, is worthy of his hire ; and if it is unjust and unmerciful to defraud a beast of his dues, it must be something much worse to invade the rights of the ministers of God's church. The precept therefore is stronger in its reason than if it had been delivered in plain words: yet it is to be questioned whether the reason of the thing, in any form, will prevail with all minds. Some there are in all countries who, though they would not defraud their oxen, would be glad to muzzle every Christian minister; and that in more senses than one; they would not only be glad to see him deprived of the rights of his ministry, but be better pleased if they could put a muzzle upon the ministry itself, and stop the offence of Christian preaching. But this they will never be able to do, till God shall be provoked to forsake the ministry who have first forsaken him; and then the weakest hand that is lifted up may prevail against them. There are two very remarkable prophecies, the one relating to the infidelity of the Jewish i 2 church, church, the other to the person of the Messiah, which are the last I shall take notice of, both delivered in the figurative language of the municipal laws of the Jews.
If a woman was suspected to be an adultress by a husband who was jealous of her, and there was no proof, she was to present herself before the priest and stand the trial of a water ordeal: a bitter water which caused the curse was to be offered to her; and when the curses were propounced conditionally upon her supposed guilt, she was to venture the consequences, and say, Amen. The priest was to write down the form of the curses against her in a book, and to bjot them out with the bitter water if she proved to be innocent; if not, they were then to remain there upon record against her. If she was actually defiled, this water was to go into her bowels and take effect upon her body in a fearful manner, and she was to be a curse among the people*.
This institution explains some very difficult passages in the 109th Psalm, that prophecy ofGod's judgment against the apostate Jewish church: on whom, as upon a guilty adultress against a jealous God, denying her sin, and defying the divine vengeance, the curse was to
Uiko * See Numb. v. \z, &c.
take effect as against a Woman in the law. The psalm is worded as if it were meant of some single wicked person, and it is accordingly applied to the reprobation of Judas 5 but other passages, and the use made of them by the inspired writers* shew that it must be extended to the Jewish church at large3 of which Judas, in his name, and.his sin, and his punishment, was no more than a leader and an example. Here then it is said, wken he shall be judged let him be condemned; when he is put to the trial* let him be found guilty; and let his prayer be turned into sin; let it be as that offering which bringeth iniquity to remembrance, without oil or incense to recommend it for acceptance: let not the sin of his mother be blotted out, but stand upon record as the curses against the sin of the adultress, which the water was not to take away: As he loved cursing so let it come unto him—let it come into his bowels like water, even like that bitter water which descended with a curse into the bowels of the guilty woman. As she exposed herself in form to the curse, and said, Amen, to all the terms of it; so did the Jews challenge the curse of heaven, which accordingly took place on them and their posterity.
The civil institution, applied to the person of 1 3 the the Messiah, is that concerning the Hebrew servant, who having served six years, was to go free in the sabatical year, if he chose to depart; but if he was content with his service, and willing to continue in it, he was to be brought before the Judges, and to be fastened to the door, or the post of the door, by an awl driven through his ear, as a sign ofjjis consent, and he was to serve his matter for ever*.
Under an allusion to this example, the obedience of Christ in the flesh is foretold and illustrated in the Psalms; and a wonderful example it is: for here we are to observe, that, upon this occasion, no sacrifice nor offering is appointed; nothing passes but the obedience of a willing servant: therefore in the application of it to Christ, the prophet says, Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire, but mine ears hast thou opened—burnt-offering and sin-offering thou hast not required; then said I, lo I come, in the volume of the book it is written of Vie, I delight lo do thy will, O God. In the epistle to the Hebrews, the passage as cited by the apostle, and applied to the obedience and death of Christ, stands thus ; Sacrifice and offering thou icouldst not, but a body hast thou prepared me. The sense is the same in both,
though * Exod, -xxi. 6.