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left to the uncertain will of man; but, in all its use and appropriation, was referred to the first-born of the true Israel, who, and who only, are hallowed to the Lord.* These pass under the rod of the Lord, and are so brought into the bond of his covenant, as to be holy indeed unto him, and incapable of alienation from him. It was this, which made the psalmist's heart to dance for joy, when he sang; Thy ROD (not the instrument of chastisement, as some have imagined, but of eternal election and sure vocation] and thy staff, (the support of grace, ensuring that election] they comfort me.t
The first fruits of the soil were also an appointed ac. knowledgement of this great redemption. All things were lost to man by the fall, except thistles and thorns.
* Numb. ii, 13. 47. Exod. xlii. 13. That the price of redemption was peculiarly paid for the first born, appears clearly both from the law (Numb. iii. 45, &c.) and from this circumstance, that, if the first-born died within the month or thirty days, from which time (as the Jewish doctors tell us) the redemption was held to be due, or died even on the thirtieth day, the sum enjoined by the law was not to be paid, or, if it had been previously advanced, was to be returned. Marm. apud Const. L. EMPEREUR de leg. Hebr. forens. p. 163. The redemption by silver and gold was not to be paid for any but a living first-born, and therefore not to be paid in vain; nor is the thing signified by this typical law, the far more precious redemption of souls by Jesus Christ, made without a specific determination of character, ized persons. It is a positive and purchased possession only, which is the object of the Redeemer's claim, and from thence described as his own field bounded, his own garden inclosed, his own vineyard fenced; not a wild unappropriated common or waste, which, as such, must remain open and uncultivated, and consequently barren or uncertainly productive.
+ Ps. xxiii. 4. comp. with Lev, xxvü, 32. Jer. xxxiii. 13. Ezek. XX, 37
The children of Israel, therefore, representing the res deemed, were enjoined in Lev. xxiii. and other places, to confess, in the action of presenting the first fruits, of and from whom they held all their temporal support, the original gift of which had been forfeited* by transgres sion; and also to own, that only, by the devoting of these, which were the emblem of their Redeemer and his sal. vation, both they and their natural enjoyments could be sanctified. The first-fruit being holy, the lump also was holy. Thus Christ, the first-fruits, having sanctified himself, sanctified also them that are his. t He offered himself without spot unto God; and he will, from age to age, present the increase of his church, without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing, so that they also shall be acceptable through him. : In order to enforce this the more strongly, an unble. mished lamb, with the first sheaf of the harvest was to be offered : and the mincha of this lamb (translated meats offering, but it was a composition made of the corn, beat out of this sheaf, and offered with the lamb) was to be, a fire-offering to Jehovah for a savour of rest. This de noted Christ, with his blood shed and his righteousness fuming before the Lord, presenting himself as the first fruits of the great spiritual harvest, which thus was conta secrated by him. And with this righteousness, and with his people upon account of it, Jehovah is well. pleased. I
The same thing, nearly, was to be done, with still greater solemnity, on the fiftieth day afterwards ;g by
which, from all the circumstances which cannot here be enlarged upon, there seems intended the emblematic consummation of all preceding times, and the final completion of the whole work of consecration by Christ for his redeemed before God.
The first-fruits, as they primarily related, in their spiritual sense, to the person of Christ, do also relate subore dinately to the first-fruits of the Spirit in his people, which are by Christ, to the glory of the Father. They were therefore offered up, by the antient believers, as pledges of faith and thanksgiving, and in testimony, that they held all temporal blessings and all spiritual mercies, with the increase of them, on the ground of God's covenant of redemption. This sweetened every outward favor, and at the same time doubled every gracious joy. It was this which put more gladness into the psalmist's heart, than other men of a different spirit could obtain, when their corn and their wine and their oil increased...
And if thou art one of God's first born or first-fruits, O reader, thou also wilt rejoice in thy privilege and portion with a more emphatic joy, than can be derived from all the honors and riches of this dying world. Thy meditation on thy Redeemer and his love will be frequent and sweet. The memorials of his mercy to thy soul, recorded in his word, will be subjects of thy constant perusal. Of this book thou wilt join with some German reformers to say, En paradisus noster! “ Behold our paradise!" Thou wilt, not need tokens on thine hand, or frontlets between thine eyes, or a sacrificed lamb, or a rescued first-born animal, or the first-fruits of the harvest, or any other outward thing prescribed to the
Jews, for remembrances: but the word being nigh thee and in thine heart, and the Spirit of truth abiding in thee, will afford the richest pledges of thy Saviour's goodness, and cause thee to rest, with lively faith, upon that covenanted mercy of the Most High which endureth for ever. Though thou art not of the seed of Abraham according to the flesh, yet having the faith of Abraham, thou wilt find an interest in that blessed promise; The people that walked in darkness, have seen a great light; they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined. Thou, O Lord, hast multiplied the nation, which thou didst not bring up: the joy, with which these joy before thee, is according to the joy of harvest, when thy people are brought as the first-fruits with melody before thee, * or as men rejoice when they divide the spoil. For unto us, us Gentiles rejoicing with the Jews thine antient people, a child is born, unto us a son is given, &c. †
Having then this blessed hope, how much doth it behove thee to devote the first and best of thy time, thy talents, and thy heart, to the service and honor of God thy Saviour! It must be thy delight to do this: it will be thy regret, when thou failest, or when it is otherwise. Whom we love, we desire to please, and shall think no endeavours to please a burden. A grateful spirit is ever upon the the watch to show its gratitude. Thus, one of Christ's first-born and free-born, will rejoice to testify his Redeemer's praise in every act of duty and affection, not thinking much of any thing, but rather grieving that all
*Isa. XXX. 29.
f Isa. ix. 2.-6.
is too little and too low. Remembering what he was, a Syrian ready to perish, and whát, through infinite grace, he now is, one of the first-fruits to God and the Lamb, and an inheritor of eternal glory; he is ashamed at the meanness of his own and of all human services, and longs for a more enlarged capacity both of mind and power to show forth his Master's excellent worth. The hope of this makes heaven itself, among other things, supremely desirable. There the Lord Redeemer shall be praised better and more; but, even there, not enough. Finite abilities, and such only are in the highest creatures, can never scan or celebrate in finite attributes to perfection. But what they are able to do, they do to the utmost, and with rapture.-Dear reader, pray for grace to imitate them, and to begin that delightful business, which shall employ both them and thee, beyond the molestation of infirmity or of evil, for ever and ever.
Chat will life , Tava minuten interés : torrent catre I.