Exodus 23* Laws against falsehood and injustice. (1-9) The year of rest,The sabbath, The three festivals. (10-19) God promises toconduct the Israelites to Canaan. (20-33)1-9 In the law of Moses are very plain marks of sound moralfeeling, and of true political wisdom. Every thing in it issuited to the desired and avowed object, the worship of one onlyGod, and the separation of Israel from the pagan world. Neitherparties, friends, witnesses, nor common opinions, must move usto lessen great faults, to aggravate small ones, excuseoffenders, accuse the innocent, or misrepresent any thing. 10-19 Every seventh year the land was to rest. They must notplough or sow it; what the earth produced of itself, should beeaten, and not laid up. This law seems to have been intended toteach dependence on Providence, and God's faithfulness insending the larger increase while they kept his appointments. Itwas also typical of the heavenly rest, when all earthly labours,cares, and interests shall cease for ever. All respect to thegods of the heathen is strictly forbidden. Since idolatry was asin to which the Israelites leaned, they must blot out theremembrance of the gods of the heathen. Solemn religiousattendance on God, in the place which he should choose, isstrictly required. They must come together before the Lord. Whata good Master do we serve, who has made it our duty to rejoicebefore him! Let us devote with pleasure to the service of Godthat portion of our time which he requires, and count hissabbaths and ordinances to be a feast unto our souls. They werenot to come empty-handed; so now, we must not come to worshipGod empty-hearted; our souls must be filled with holy desirestoward him, and dedications of ourselves to him; for with suchsacrifices God is well pleased. 20-33 It is here promised that they should be guided and keptin their way through the wilderness to the land of promise,Behold, I send an angel before thee, mine angel. The preceptjoined with this promise is, that they be obedient to this angelwhom God would send before them. Christ is the Angel of Jehovah;this is plainly taught by St. Paul, #1Co 10:9|. They should havea comfortable settlement in the land of Canaan. How reasonableare the conditions of this promise; that they should serve theonly true God; not the gods of the nations, which are no gods atall. How rich are the particulars of this promise! The comfortof their food, the continuance of their health, the increase oftheir wealth, the prolonging their lives to old age. Thus hathgodliness the promise of the life that now is. It is promisedthat they should subdue their enemies. Hosts of hornets made wayfor the hosts of Israel; such mean creatures can God use forchastising his people's enemies. In real kindness to the church,its enemies are subdued by little and little; thus we are kepton our guard, and in continual dependence on God. Corruptionsare driven out of the hearts of God's people, not all at once,but by little and little. The precept with this promise is, thatthey should not make friendship with idolaters. Those that wouldkeep from bad courses, must keep from bad company. It isdangerous to live in a bad neighbourhood; others' sins will beour snares. Our greatest danger is from those who would make ussin against God.
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