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us in the figures of the sacred history. God shall descend, and the earth 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 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 befell the church at large, happened to them for ensamples to the whole congregation of Christian people; so the things which befell the prophets of old happened for ensamples of the Saviour himself; that his cha~
racter racter 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 various characters of those who had been most eminent in the church of old. Some of thesecharacterswereextremelydifferent from others, and the events of their history very unlike; but the character and history of the Messiah was to comprehend them all. For this end their lives were puposely conformed by the divine Providence to the image of him that was to come after.
This consideration, when we see the force of it, will reconcile us to some strange things, which might appear very unreasonable, if they were to be considered only in themselves, not under the relation which they bear, and were intended to bear to higher and greater things. How monstrous would it seem in any other history, that a man should be buried in the body of a fish, and cast up alive again after three days upon the dry land! But if this strange thing happened, that it might afterwards be compared with the return of Jesus Christ from the dead, for the salvation of all mankind; then the preservation of Jonah becomes fit and reasonable; it being of infinite consequence to the world, that the fact of Christ's resurrection, when it should
happen, happen, should be admitted and believed; and so the case was worthy of the divine interposition. Jonah was not preserved by a miracle for his own sake, but for a sign, to instruct the people of God in the truth of their salvation and the peculiar means or mode of it. Two strange events of the same kind are more credible than one; because the objection is removed which might arise from the singularity of the case. The resurrection of Christ is a true fact, and a credible fact: for why? it was foreshewn by the preservation of Jonah; another fact of the same kind. And again, to take the matter the other way; the preservation of Jonah was a miracle, worthy of God, from its relation to the resurrection of Christ; the most important fact in itself, and the most necessary to be believed, of all that should ever happen from the beginning of the world to the end of it. Jonah's deliverance was intended to do what the apostles were sent over the world to do, viz. to witness the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Our Saviour himself hath directed us to make this use of Jonah's history. The Jews required of him some miraculous fact as a testimony that he was the true Messiah: and he gave them this: as Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale's belly s so shall the son of
man man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth *• Here the person of Jonah is a sign of the person of Christ, and the belly of a devouring fish a sign of the power of the grave, by which he should be detained for the same time as Jonah was.
The lives of the other prophets had a like relation to the times and transactions of the gospel. From a passage which is taken out of the 41st Psalm, and applied to the treason of Judas; it appears that some of the most remarkable circumstances in the life of the prophet David were prefigurative of other parallel circumstances in the life of Christ. It is observed by our Saviour himself, that in the treason of Judas, that scripture was fulfilled, which saith, he that eateth bread with me hath lift up his heel against me. The familiar friend of David, whose treachery is here complained of, was Achitophel, to whom these words, in the letter of them, must be supposed to have referred: but if they were fulfilled, as our Saviour saith, in Judas, then they were prophetical; and the suffering of David from a traitor, foreshewed that the true David should be a sufferer from a person of the same character. Achitophel, a man entrusted with the chief management
* Matt. xii. 39,40.
ment of David's affairs, took part against his
master, and betrayed him to those who sought
his life: and Judas in like manner, being first
entrusted by his master, betrayed him to the
chief priest, that he might be put to death.
But now let us mark the sequel; for both these
traitors came to the same tragical end; they
both hanged themselves, when they failed of the
success which their ambition aimed at: and if
Judas had studied the scripture as much as he
studied the world,hemighthaveforeseenhisown
fate in that of his brother traitor Achitophel.
Unless the character of David, as a prophet,
had a relation to the person of Christ, how can
we account for it, that the name of David is
applied to him by Ezechiel * four hundred years
after the natural David was dead? On what
other principle could David speak such words
in the 16th Psalm, as could be verified only in
the person of Christ? Thou wilt not leave my
soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine holy
one to see corruption. Concerning this passage
St. Peter argued with the Jews, that it could
not be meant of David himself, the memorials
of whose death and burial were still remaining
among them. That the Providence of God
did exhibit in the person of David a character
* Ezechiel xxxvii. 25.