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THE FLEECE. “Behold, I will put a fleece of wool in the floor; and if the dew be on the fleece only, and it be dry on all the earth beside, then shall I know that thou wilt save Israel by mine hand, as thou hast said. And it was so: for he rose up early on the morrow, and thrust the fleece together, and wringed the dew out of the fleece, a bowl-full of water. And Gideon said unto God, Let not thine anger be hot against me, and I will speak but this once: Let me prove, I pray thee, but this once with the fleece ; let it now be dry only upon the fleece, and upon all the ground let there be 'dew. And God did so that night; for it was dry upon the fleece only, and there was dew on all the ground.”
The dry fleece is a symbolical representation of Christ, forsaken of his God, becoming a ransom for sinners, that his people may receive eternal life.
The fleece is a two-fold type: the dry fleece prefigures the Saviour, when deprived of his Father's presence; “ And God did so that night,” only while he bare the sin of the world—in that night of darknessin that night of agony the fleece only was dry. “I have trodden the wine-press alone, and of the people there was none with me :” “ So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many, and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.” The fleece filled with dew, the church in her bless
ings, shewing the ample provision of spiritual supply that Emmanuel has in possession for the dry earth. And the blessings of the fleece of dew as expressed in John, xiv. 16, 17, 18, now fall and refresh the barren Israel; for the treasures of the everlasting dew remain to be wrung out in bowls full of blessing to the precious sons of Zion.” “My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew ; as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass." Deu. xxxii, 2. " I will be as the dew unto Israel: he shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon.” Hos. xiv. 5. “ Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst ; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” John, iv. 14. See Gen. xlix. 25–6. Deu. xxxii. 13, and xxxii. 3, 13—17, special texts full of the blessing of the Lord.
" The Saviour's government is gentle as the falling snow on a fleece of wool; and refreshing as the rain of heaven on the new-mown grass.”_WAUGH.
“ He turneth the wilderness into a standing water, and dry ground into water springs.” Ps. cvii. 35. The dry earth and ground typify the Church with and without her Lord—a dry and parched ground without the water of life ; but for his watching, waiting people, “ His head is filled with dew and drops of the night.”
THE TWO MALEFACTORS.
Luke, xxiii. 33-43.—John, xix. 18. The salvation of a solitary individual was not all that was designed and expressed, at the stupendous “ finished” work at Calvary! The life of Jesus spoke volumes; but his great eventful death by crucifixion, for “he set it in Majesty,” exceeded all other of his most wonderful works, and manifestations of love and mercy, to his last, sinful, faithless, Truth-denying people.
We learn by Isaiah, “That the forces of the Gentiles should come unto our Lord, and kings to the brightness of his rising.” The Jews have no king; the reference is therefore to the gentile kings.
These two malefactors represent Jew and Gentile ; the two thieves; and two greater thieves can nowhere be found. “ They rob God daily.” The Lord, speaking by Malachi, says, “ Ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.” The Jew rejected Jesus; the Gentle, accepting the atonement, confessing his sins, trusting in grace, enters paradise with his LORD!!!
THE PARABLE OF THE ASS.
Luke, xix. 33. John, xii. 14, 15.
Mat. xxi. 2. Mark, xi. 2. Each of the four Evangelists mention this parable : and it will, with a little attention, be evident that the “ Ass and a Colt, the foal of the Ass,” typify the Jew and the Gentile with force, beauty, and propriety. Under this figure the Lord has had a secret regard to his people interspersed throughout the Scriptures. What has the Lord need of but his people ?
Isai. i. 3. “ The Ass knoweth his master's crib, but my people doth not consider.” Job, xi. 12. “ Vain man would be wise though man be born like a wild ass's colt.” Gen. xlix. 14. “Issachar is a strong Ass couching down between two burdens.” Isa. xxx. 24. “ The young asses that ear the ground, shall eat clean provender, which hath been winnowed with the shovel and with the fan.” The margin says, “ savoury or leavened," which carries its own explanation that it does not mean the common food of an Ass, for no man winnows food for this beast, it eating the refuse of most other beasts. Paul said, “ We are made as the filth of the world, and the off-scouring of all things unto this day.” It is plain it refers to the sincere, young convert, who shall eat the bread of life, purchased with the precious blood of Jesus, winnowed from all impurities by his sufferings. Isa. xxxii. 20. “ Blessed are ye that sow beside all waters, that send forth thither the feet of the ox and the ass.” This passage does not allude to the brute creation; but ox to ministers, and ass to people. “ Cast thy bread upon the waters.” “ Speak my words.” “Declare my name;" even though to human eye it may avail nothing. “ Cease from thy own wisdom.”
Of all unclean beasts, the Ass only is mentioned to be redeemed, and that with—a Lamb-mark the fulness of God's love in that redemption-also his future, fearful wrath—“ if thou redeem him not, then shalt thou break his neck!” This is the unbeliever's doom: like Josiah's son, though himself a chosen vessel, his offspring's funeral rites were—“ Thus saith the Lord, he shall be buried with the burial of an ass, drawn and cast forth beyond the gates of Jerusalem.” Gen. xlix. 11. “ Binding his foal unto the Vine and his ass's colt unto the choice Vine.” This is a beautiful illustration of the figure: The Lord being the true Vine to which are bound the foolish, sinful people; and the choice Vine from whence flows the precious blood opened “for sin and uncleanness.” Job, xxxix. 5. Who hath sent out the wild ass free ? Who hath loosed the bonds of the wild ass ? « If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” Zec. ix. 9. “ Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion ; shout, O daughters of Jerusalem : behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation ; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.” “For if the first fruit be holy, the lump is also holy; and if the root be holy, so are the branches.”
Christ has removed every barrier, uniting Jew and Gentile in his glorious Salvation : and truly the very great multitude of believers have need to spread their garments in the way their own unrighteousness-and