Monday, August 17, 2009

Greater Helps, Higher Advantages, Clearer Discoveries

These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar...
Hebrews 11:13 (emphasis added)
We have more cause than the patriarchs, for we live nearer to the accomplishment of God's promises. Every age downward hath great advantages of believing. The first patriarchs were so far from the things typified that they had the types; Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob did not enjoy Canaan, the type of heaven; nor did they see the temple, the type of Christ; nor the rites of the Levitical administration, which were the type of his sufferings; nor the numerous posterity, which was a type of the calling of the gentiles. The next age had more advantages; they had the types, but not the things typified; they were grown into a numerous multitude and a nation; they had the temple and legal administrations and sacrifices: but Christ was not come in the flesh; the calling of the gentiles was not brought about; they had not such discoveries of heaven, and of the glory God had prepared for them that love him; the entrance into the holy place was not yet set open; they were legalised, not evangelised. Afterward when Christ was come in the flesh, the first christians were not so near salvation; heaven was still at a distance; there was ... something that hindered the discovery of antichirst. They were to look for the taking away what letted, that antichirst might be discovered, vis., the Roman Empire, we for the consuming of antichrist by the Spirit of Christ's mouth, and the brightness of his coming. There is but a little time between us and the day of judgment, it is the last times we now live in. All thigns are clearer to us than to the patriarchs; that which was prophecy to them is history to us, and history is clearer than prophecy, because it is more sensible; our light is clearer, our means and helps are greater. What a shame is it that our faith should be so weak! that they should have eagle's eyes to see things at a distance, and we should be such owls and bats. We have the experience of all former ages, and we draw nearer and nearer still to our great hopes; surely then our condemnation will be greater if we should not believe and wait for the blessings promised with such patience and contentation as they did. It is said, Zech. 12.8, 'He that is feeble at that day shall be as the house of David.' God expects much from you, that you should be as Abraham and David, for you have greater helps, higher advantages, and clearer discoveries of the will of God.

--Thomas Manton, The Works of Thomas Manton, Volume 14, p.309-310


Chris Kiagiri said...

Manton makes a great point, in that each man will be judged in accordance to the degree of light accorded him.

I do find it problematic to view Canaan as a type of heaven, what with its lingering giants and ongoing battles.

pilgriminconflict said...

Haha... yea you're right. But if you read enough Manton, you will learn that he argues that we have a share in heaven now in this life through the fellowship we have with God by the Spirit and the fulfillment of it in the life to come. In this way, he's consistent to say Canaan is a type of heaven because Israel had a share in it though they never fully conquered but the fullness of that inheritance will come in glory with the new Jerusalem when we receive the fullness of the promises with them.

That being said, I don't necessarily agree with everything he says and I'm glad you raise the point. =)

But his expositions have so much to profit from. He sees so much in the Scriptures and I praise God for the ways he helps me drink more deeply...