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then prefers moral obedience above them; so here he aflirms, that he commanded them not. And the instance is given in that time, wherein it is known, that all the ordinances of worship by burnt-offerings and sacrifices, were solemnly instituted. But a comparison is made between ceremonial worship, and spiritual obedience; in respect whereof, God says, he commanded not the former, namely, so as to stand in competition with the latter, or to be trusted unto in the neglect of it, wherein the evils and miscarriages reproved, did consist. So our blessed Saviour expounds this and the like passages in the prophets, as a comparison between the lowest instances of the ceremonial law, such as tithing of mint and cummin, with the great duties of love and righteousness. These things,' saith he, speaking of the latter, you ought to have done, that is, principally and in the first place have attended unto, as those which the law chiefly designed. But what then shall become of the former? why, saith he, them also you ought not to leave undone;' in their proper place, obedience was to be yield. ed unto God in them also. So is it in this present case ; there was an outward teaching of every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, enjoined under the Old Testament. This the people trusted unto and rested in, without any regard unto God's teaching by the inward circumcision of the heart. But in the new covenant, there being an express promise of an internal effectual teaching by the Spirit of God, by writing his law in our hearts, without which, all outward teaching is useless and ineffectual, it is here denied to be of any use.
That is, it is not so absolutely, but in comparison of, and in competition with this other effectual way of teaching and instruction. Even at this day, we have not a few, who set these teachings in opposition unto one another; whereas, in God's institution, they are subordinate. And hereon, rejecting the internal efficacious teaching of the Spirit of God, they betake themselves only to their own endeavours, in the outward means of teaching, wherein for the most part, there are none more negligent than themselves. But so it is, that the ways of God's grace are not suited to, but always lie contrary to the corrupt reasonings of men. Hence, some reject all the outward means of teaching by the ordinances of the gospel, under a pretence, that the inward teaching of the Spirit of God, is all that is needful or useful in this kind. Others, on the other hand, adhere only to the outward means of instruction, despising what is affirmed concerning the inward teaching of the Spirit of God, as a mere imagination. And both sorts run into these pernicious mistakes, by setting those things in opposition, which God hath made subordinate.
2. The teaching intended, whose continuance is here denied, is that which was then in use in the church; or rather was to be so when the new covenant-state was solemnly to be introduced. And this was two-fon. ). That which was instituted by God himself; and 2. That which the people had superadded in the way of practice.
First, The first of these is expressed in various places, particularly in Deut. vi. 6_9.. And these words which I command thee this day shall be in thine heart. And thou shalt teach them diligently to thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thy house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign on thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them on the posts of thy house, and on thy gate.' Add hereunto the institution of fringes for a memorial of the commandments, which was one way of saying, ' Know the Lord,' Num. xv. 38,39. Two things may be considered in these institutions. 1. What is natural and moral, included in the common mutual duties of men, one towards another. For of this nature is that of seeking the good of others, by instructing them in the knowledge of God, wherein their chief happiness doth consist. 2. That which is ceremonial, as to the manner of this duty, is described in sundry instances, as those of frontlets and fringes, writing on posts and doors. The first of these is to abide for ever. No promise of the gospel doth evacuate any precept of the law of nature ; such as that of seeking the good of others, and that their chief good, by means and ways proper thereunto, is. But as to the Jatter, which the Jews did principally attend to and rely on, it is by this promise, or the new covenant quite taken away.
Secondly, As to the practice of the church of the Jews, in these institutions, it is not to be expressed what extremes they ran into. It is probable that about the time spoken of in this promise, which is that of the Babylonian captivity, they began that intricate, perplexed way of teaching which afterwards they were wholly addicted to. For all of them who pretended to be serious, gave up themselves to the teaching and learning of the law. But herewithal they mixed so many vain curiosities and traditions of their own, that the whole of their endeavour was disapproved of God. Hence, in the very entrance of their practice of this way of teaching, he threatens to destroy all them that attended to it, Mal. ii. 12. • The Lord will cut off the master and the scholar out of the tabernacles of Jacob.' It is true, we have not any monuments or records of their teaching all that time, neither what they taught, nor how; but we may reasonably -suppose, it was of the same kind with what flourished afterwards, in their famous schools derived from these first inventors. And of such reputation were those schools among them, that none was esteemed a wise man, or to have any understanding of the law, who was not brought up in them. The first reeord we have of the manner of their teaching, or what course they took therein, is in the Mishna. This is their interpretation of the law, or their sayings one to another, Know the Lord.' And he that shall seriously consider but one section or chapter in that whole book, will quickly discern of what kind and nature their teaching was. For such an operose, laborious, , eurious, fruitless work, there is not another instance to be given of, in the whole world. There is not any one head, doctrine or precept of the law, suppose it be of the sabbath, of sacrifices, or offerings, but they liave filled it with so many needless, fool. isli, curious, superstitious questions and determinations, as that it is almost impossible that any man, in the whole course of his life, should understand them, or guide his course according to them. These were the burdens that the pharisees bound for the shoulders of their disciples, till they were utterly weary, and fainted under them. And this kind of teaching had possessed the whole church then, when the new covenant was solemnly to be introduced, no other being in use. And this is absolutely intended in this promise, as that which was utterly to cease. For God would take away the law, which in itself was a burden, as the apostles speak, which neither they nor their fathers were able to bear.' And the weight of that burden was unspeakably increased, by the expositions and additions whereof this teaching consisted. Wherefore the removal of it is here proposed in the way of a promise, evidencing it to be a matter of grace and kindness to the church. But the removal of teaching in general, is always mentioned as a threatening and punishment.
Wherefore the denial of the continuation of this teaching may be considered two ways.
1. As it was external, in opposition to, and comparison of, the effectual internal teaching by the grace of the new covenant ; so it is laid aside, not absolutely, but comparatively, and as it was solitary.
2. It may be considered in the manner of it, with especial respect to the ceremonial law, as it consisted in the observance of sundry rites and ceremonies. And in this sense it was utterly to cease ; above all, with respect to the additions which men had made to the ceremonial institutions wherein it did consist. Such was their teaching by writing parts of the law on their fringes, frontlets, and doors of their houses ; especially as these things were enlarged, and precepts concerning them multiplied, in the practice of the Jewish church. It is promised concerning these things, that they shall be absolutely removed as useless, burdensome and inconsistent with the spiritual teaching of the new covenant. But as to that kind of instruction, whether by public stated preaching of the word, or that which is more private and occasional, which is subservient to the promised teaching of the Spirit of God, and which he will and doth make use of, in and for the communication of the know
ledge itself here promised, there is nothing intimated that is derogatory to its use, continuance or necessity. A suppositiou thereof would overthrow the whole ministry of Jesus Christ himself, and of his apostles, as well as the ordinary ministry of the church.
And these things are spoken in exposition of this place, taken from the meaning and intention of the word ' teaching,' or the duty itself, whose continuance and farther use is denied. But yet, it may be, more clear light into the mind of the Holy Spirit may be attained, from a due consideration of what it is that is so to be taught. And this is, ' know the Lord.' Concerning which, two things may be observed.
1. That there was a knowledge of God under the Old Tes. tament, so revealed as that it was hidden under types, wrapt up in vails, expressed only in parables and dark sayings. , For it was the mind of God, that as to the clear perception and revelation of it, it should lie hid, till the Son came from his bosom to declare him, to make his name known, and to bring life and immortality to light. Yea, some things belonging hereunto, though virtually revealed, yet were so compassed with darkness in the manner of their revelation, that the angels themselves did not clearly and distinctly look into them. But that there were some such great and excellent things concerning God and his will laid up in the revelation of Moses and the prophets, with their institutions of worship, they did understand. But the best and wisest of them knew also, that notwithstanding their best and utmost inquiry, they could not comprehend the time, nature and state of the things so revealed. For “ it was revealed unto them, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister,' in their revelation of those things, 1 Pet. i. 12. And as our apostle informs us, Moses in his ministry and institutions, “ gave testimony unto the things which were to be spo. ken' (that is clearly) afterwards,' Heb. iii. 5. This secret hidden knowledge of God, principally concerned the incarnation of Christ, his mediation and suffering for sin, with the call of the Gentiles thereon. These, and such like mysteries of the gospel, they could never attain the comprehension of. But yet they stirred up each other diligently to inquire into them, as to what they were capable of attaining, saying one to anotber, • Know the Lord.'' But it was little that they could attain to,
God having provided some better things for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.' And when that church ceased to make this the principal part of their religion, namely, a diligent inquiry into the hidden knowledge of God, in and by the promised Seed, with a believing desire and expectation of its full manifestation, contenting themselves with the letter of the word, looking on types and shadows as things present and substances, they not only lost the glory of their profession, but were hardened into an unbelief of the things signified to them
in their real exhibition. Now this kind of teaching, by mutual encouragement to look into the vailed things of the mystery of God in Christ, is now to cease at the solemn introduction of the new covenant, as being rendered useless by the full, clear revelation and manifestation of them made in the gospel. They shall no more,' that is, they shall need no more to teach, so to teach this knowledge of God, for it shall be made plain to the understanding of all believers. And this is that which I judge to be principally intended by the Holy Ghost, in this part of the promise, as that which the positive part of it doth so directly answer to.
2. The knowledge of the Lord may be here taken, not objectively and doctrinally, but subjectively, for the renovation of the mind in the saving knowledge of God. And this neither is, nor can be communicated to any by external teaching alone, in respect whereunto it may be said comparatively to be laid aside, as was intimated before.
We have, I hope, sufficiently freed the words from the difficulties that seem to attend them, so as that we shall not need, with many ancient and modern expositors, to refer the accom. plishment of this promise to heaven; nor yet with others, to restrain it to the first converts in Christianity, who were miraculously illuminated, much less so to interpret them, as to exclude the ministry of the church in teaching, or any other effectual way thereof. Somewhat may be observed of the particular expressious used in them.
1. There is in the original promise the word 710, 67ı, amplius, "no more. This is omitted by the apostle, yet so, as that it is plainly included in what he expresseth. For the word denotes the time and season, which was limited to that kind of teaching which was to cease. This season being to expire at the publication of the gospel, the apostle affirms absolutely, then they shall not teach, what the prophet before declared with the limited season now expired, they shall do so no more.'
2. The prophet expresseth the subject spoken of indefinitely, 1799 nx wx,' a man his neighbour, a man his brother,' that is, any man. The apostle by the universal Xuctos, every man,' which is also reducible to any one ; every one that is, or may be called to this work, or hath occasion or opportunity for it. For of this teaching the rule is ability and opportunity. He that can do it, and hath an opportunity for it.
3. That which they taught, or intended in that expression, · Know the Lord,' is the same with what is promised in the latter part of the verse, where it must be spoken to. Some things, according to our method and design, may be observed from the exposition of these words.
Obs. XVIII. The instructive ministry of the old testament, 39 it was such, and as it had respect to the carnal rites thereof, was a ministry of the letter, and not of the Spirit, which did not