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[132] Neh. ix. 14. “And madest known unto them the holy sabbath.” It seems that before they had lost the sabbath, that is, they had lost the beginning and ending of the week, reckoning from the creation, until God made it known to them, upon occasion of their being brought out of Egypt on the same day of the week, and there was thereby new occasion given for this sanctifying that day.

[46] Esther The Book of Esther. It appears to me very probable, that this book of Esther is a history that is a shadow of gospel things and times, by the agreement of it with events, and the agreeableness to the names of other typical histories of the Old Testament. The great feast that Ahasuerus made, is the gospel feast. Christ’s incarnation, life, and death, and the benefits thereof, are frequently represented in the Old Testament and New, by the making of a feast; the feast is made both unto the great and small, chap. v. agreeing with the universality of the gospel offer. It was made in the king’s palace, as the gospel feast is made in the house of God; it was a rich and glorious feast, verses 6 and 7. answering to the excellency of gospel benefits. None was compelled, but every man ate and drank according to his pleasure; so the gospel benefits are offered to all, but every one is left to his own choice, none are compelled. Vashti, the queen, is the church, or God’s people, who is called the queen in gold of Ophir. Vashti is sent for to this feast to appear before the king; so when the gospel feast was made, the call was made more especially to the Jews that had hitherto been God’s people; they were a long while urged to come, and earnestly invited, before God left them and turned to the Gentiles. Vashti, though she was the king’s own wife, refused to come, for she had a feast of her own; so the Jews, though God’s peculiar people, refused to come to the glorious feast he made through their pride and vanity, trusting in their own righteousness, in their own wisdom, being foolishly fond and proud of their own ceremonies, temple, and superstitions, being lifted up that they were Abraham’s seed and God’s peculiar people, as queen Vashti’s high station made her too proud to obey the king. Upon this, Ahasuerus repudiates Vashti, and gives the royal estate to another. So we find the rejection of the Jews and calling of the Gentiles compared to God’s repudiating his ancient church, and taking another better than she. Esther was exceedingly fair and beautiful, and the king delighted in her. So Christ’s heart is ravished with the beauty of the church. Mordecai is the gospel ministry; he nourished and brought up Esther, and was as a father to her: chap. ii. ver. 7. and so the church was nourished by God’s ministers. He brought her to Ahasuerus; so the gospel ministers present the church as a chaste virgin to Christ, 2 Cor. xi. 2. Esther must be purified before she is married to the king, six months with oil of myrrh, and six months with sweet odours; so God’s people must be prepared, and purified, and sanctified with the sweet graces of God’s Spirit, before they are admitted to the full enjoyment of God’s love. So the Christian church was three centuries preparing, before she had the royal crown put on her head, as in the house of Constantine the Great. When the king set the royal crown upon her head, and made her queen instead of Vashti, then the king made a great feast unto all his princes and servants, even Esther’s feast; and he made a release to the provinces, and gave gifts according to the state of the king, chap. viii. So when God’s people are sufficiently prepared, they shall be admitted to that glory which is compared to a feast, and shall receive gifts according to the state of the King of kings. Likewise in Constantine’s time, it was a time of joy and rejoicing to Christians, as the time of a feast, and a time of glorious liberty. Mordecai used to sit in the gate of the king’s palace; the place of God’s ministers is in his house, which is the gate of heaven, which is God’s palace.

After these things God promoted Haman the grand enemy of God’s people above all others, (chap. iii.) who seems to typify antichrist (as will appear probably by the agreement in many things,) whom God in his providence advanced above all, and gave him dominion over all the world. Haman was exceeding proud and haughty; so antichrist is the most remarkable son of pride that ever was, exalting himself above all that is called God, or is worshipped, showing himself that he is God, having a mouth speaking great things. Haman, like antichrist, loved to have every body else bow to him, and could not bear it that Mordecai did not bow, nor do him reverence, as the true ministers of God will not submit to do obeisance to the pope and his haughty clergy, which has always filled them with the greatest rage. Haman, like antichrist, was of a most malicious, persecuting spirit, and persecuted and sought the destruction of all the people of God. Chap. iii. verse. 6. “And he thought scorn to lay hands on Mordecai alone; for they had showed him the people of Mordecai: wherefore Haman sought to destroy all the Jews that were throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus, even the people of Mordecai.” The king gave him power to do as he would with this people. Chap. iii. 11. “And the king said unto Haman, The silver is given unto thee, the people also to do 744 with them as seemeth good to thee;” so God gave antichrist power over his people. Rev. xiii. 8. “And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them; and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations;” and chap. xvii. 17. “For God hath put it into their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree and give their kingdom unto the beast.” Deliverance is obtained for the Jews by Esther’s humble prayer; so it will be by the earnest prayer of the church, that God’s people shall be delivered from antichrist, and God will extend the golden sceptre of his grace, as the king to Esther. At that time the good works of God’s people and ministers shall come into remembrance to be recorded, as Mordecai’s were; and God will not rest until he has delivered them, as Mordecai’s good deeds were found by the king in the records. Haman exceedingly affected pomp and sovereignty, he desired to wear the same apparel that the king wore, and to ride on the king’s horse, and to wear the king’s crown, and to be honoured as the king himself; so antichrist would be honoured and obeyed as God himself, would assume the power that belongs to God alone, and is for wearing the crown of Christ himself, and usurping the throne, showing himself that he is God. But Haman, to his great mortification, sees Mordecai exalted to this same honour, and which is more mortifying, he is forced to do it himself, and he is put in subjection to him, and made to run before him like a servant; he brought himself to this by the very means by which he intended to advance himself. Thus God is wont to do, to order it with respect to the enemies of his people: those same means by which they proudly seek to advance themselves, God turns to their depression; and thus God has done and will do by antichrist; God will exalt his people, and make them to reign with Christ, and to sit down with him in his throne, and to be partakers of his glory, and shall be arrayed with holiness, which is Christ’s own royal robe, and Christ’s delight in them to honour them shall be publicly manifested, and his saints shall reign on earth, and antichrist and all their enemies shall be put under their feet, and they shall gnaw their tongues for pain. Haman at last was hanged on the same gallows that he prepared for Mordecai. So God is wont to bring upon his people’s enemies the very evil they intended for them, and they fall into the pit which they have digged; so it will be with antichrist. Rev. xiii. 10. “He that leadeth into captivity, shall go into captivity; he that killeth with the sword, must be killed with the sword;” and Rev. xviii. 6. “Reward her even as she rewardeth you, and double unto her double according to her works; in the cup which she hath filled, fill to her double.” Haman intended to hang Mordecai a cursed death; so the pope dispenses God’s curses, but at length falls into it. So we find, chap. viii. that the house of Haman was given to queen Esther, and Mordecai is put in his place; so shall it be with the saints. Europe, which has been the house of antichrist, shall be in the possession of protestants, and all his power and dominion shall be given to the saints. The Jews’ glorious victory over all their enemies after those things, the growing greatness and honour of Mordecai, the gladness and seeking of the Jews, and their peace and prosperity afterwards, are figures of the glorious peace and prosperity of the church after the final overthrow of antichrist.

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