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prepare the way for a system, which, however otherwise defective, had at least the advantage of keeping investigation within the bounds of sobriety and caution. Accordingly, while nothing more was done to open up the essential and proper ground of a typical connexion between Old and New Testament things, and to prevent abuse by making the subject in its fundamental principles more thoroughly understood, the more systematic students of the Bible came, by a sort of common consent, to acquiesce in the opinion, that those only were to be reckoned types which Scripture itself affirmed to be so. We may take Bishop Marsh as the ablest expounder of this view of the subject, who says, “There is no other rule, by which we can distinguish a real from a pretended type, than that of Scripture itself. There are no other possible means, by which we can know, that a previous design, and a pre-ordained connexion existed; whatever persons or things, therefore, recorded in the Old Testament, were expressly declared by Christ, or by his apostles, to have been designed as prefigurations of persons or things relating to the New Testament, such persons or things, so recorded in the former, are types of the persons or things with which they are compared in the latter. But if we assert, that a person or thing was designed to prefigure another person or thing, where no such prefiguration has been declared by divine authority, We make an assertion, for which we neither have, nor can have, the slightest foundation."* This is certainly a very conclusive mode of settling the matter, but the principle here advocated, though not always so oracularly announced, has long been practically received. It was substantially adopted by Macknight, in his Dissertation on the Interpretation of Scripture at the end of his Commentary on the Epistles, before Marsh wrote, and it has been followed since by Vanmildert and Cony beare in their Bampton Lectures, by Nares in his Warburtonian Lectures, by Chevalier in his Hulsean Lectures, by Horne in his Introduction, and a host of other writers.
Judging from an article in the American Biblical Repository, which appeared in the number for January, 1841, it would appear, that the divines, who are regarded as authorities on the other side of the Atlantic, concur in the same views. The reviewer himself advocates the opinion, that “no person, event or institution, should be regarded as typical, but what may be proved to be such from the Scriptures,” that is, by their expressly asserting it in regard to the individual case. And in support of this opinion he quotes, in addition to others, chiefly English authorities, the words of two of his own countrymen, Professor Stowe and Moses Stuart; the latter of whom says, “That just so much of the Old Testament is to be accounted typical, as the New Testament affirms to be so, and no more. The fact, that any thing or event under the Old Testament dispensation was designed to prefigure something under the New, can be known to us only by revelation, and of course all
* Lectures, p. 373.
that is not designated by divine authority as typical, can never be made so, by any authority less than that which guided the writers of the New Testament."*
The view embraced by this school of interpreters, lies open to one objection, in common with the school that preceded it. While a certain number of types were admitted, nothing was done to investigate and explain the internal nature of the connexion existing between them, and the corresponding realities under the gospel. There are fewer points of resemblance presented to us in these writers between type and antitype, than in the works of an older date, but the resemblances themselves are just as much of an outward and superficial kind. There is as little to be met with of the rationale or grounds of the doctrine, in the one system as the other. But other defects adhere to the view in question. The leading excellence of the previous system, was the constant reference which it supposed the Old Testament scriptures to bear toward Christ and the gospel dispensation: and the practical disavowal of this may be said to constitute the great defect of the more exact and meagre system, which has now obtained the general suffrage of the learned. It drops a golden principle for the sake of avoiding a few lawless aberrations. It furnishes, indeed, a clear and well-defined rule for our guidance, with which it is scarcely possible to be guilty of extravagance. But it is a rule, which leaves more untaught a great deal than it teaches, and is itself almost a more vicious error than the evils it is applied to correct. For it breaks the link of connexion between the Old and the New Testament scriptures in regard to a large portion of the former,—thus depriving the Christian church of much of the instruction in divine things, which they were designed to impart, and unduly contracting the light which they were intended to shed over the events and dispensation of the gospel. Were men accustomed, as they should be, to search for evidences of Christ in all Scripture, and to regard the inspired records of both covenants as having for their leading object “the testimony of Jesus,” they would know how much they were losers by such a curtailment of the typical matter of Scripture. And in proportion as they grow in depth of spiritual discernment and enlarged acquaintance with the truth of God, they will be the less inclined to feel satisfied with such a limited and superficial system.
We must, however, take a closer view of the subject. The rule of interpretation just mentioned is manifestly built on the ground, that nothing less than inspired authority is sufficient to guide us to the discovery and explanation of the types. But why should this be deemed so necessary? No one holds the necessity of inspiration to explain the prophecies, and decide even with certainty upon their fulfilment, and why should it be reckoned absolutely indispensable in the closely related subject of types ? This question was long ago asked by Witsius, and we yet see no sufficient reason
• Stuart's Ernesti, p. 13.
for summarily setting it aside. It is universally allowed concerning the prophecies, which refer to Christ and his kingdom, that only a part has been opened up and applied by the pen of inspiration ; which, indeed, was so little necessary for the purpose, that even before the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost our Lord reproved his disciples, as "fools and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets had spoken.” From the analogy subsisting between the two subjects, for what is type but a prophetical act or institution ?-we might reasonably infer the same liberty to have been granted, and the same obligation imposed in regard to the typical parts of ancient Scripture. But we have something more than a mere argument from analogy to guide us to this conclusion; for the very same complaint is brought by an inspired writer against private Christians concerning their slowness in understanding the types, which our Lord brought against his apostles in regard to the prophecies. In the Epistle to the Hebrews, a sharp reproof is administered to the disciples, for their imperfect acquaintance with the typical character of Melchisedec, and subjects of a like nature,*—thus placing it beyond a doubt, that it is both the duty and the privilege of the church, with that measure of the Spirit's aid which it is the part of every believer to expect, to inquire into and understand the typical, as well as the prophetical matter of ancient Scripture, whether inspiration may have thrown any special light on it or not. To deny this, is clearly to withhold an important privilege from the Christian church; to dissuade from it, is to encourage the neglect of an incumbent duty.
But the unsoundness of the principle, which would thus limit the number of types to those which are expressly mentioned in New Testament scripture, becomes still more apparent, when we consider what these really are, and in what manner they are introduced. Leaving out of view the tabernacle, its sacred furniture, and the services therewith connected, the typical nature of which has been placed beyond dispute by the Epistle to the Hebrews, the following are all the types, for which any thing like an express warrant of Scripture can be produced: 1. Persons or characters; Adam, (Rom. v. 11, 12, 1 Cor. xv. 22,) Melchisedec, (Heb. vii.) Sarah and Hagar, the latter also identified with Sinai and Jerusalem, (Gal. iv. 22—30,) Ishmael and Isaac, (ibid.) Moses, (Gal. iii. 19, Acts iii. 22—26, Jonah, (Matth. xii. 40,) David, (Ez. xxxvii. 24, Luke i. 32) Solomon, (2 Sam. vii.) Zerubbabel and Joshua, (Zech. ii.) 2. Transactions or events; the preservation of Noah and his family in the deluge, (1 Pet. iii. 20,) the exodus, (Matth. ii. 15,) the passage through the Red Sea, the giving of manna, the putting of a vail on the face of Moses while the law was read, the rock that was smitten and the serpent that was lifted up in the wilderness, with some judgments also that were inflicted on the Israelites in the wilderness, (1 Cor. x., John iii. 14, 15, v. 33.)t
• Heb. y. 11-14.
† In the above list every type is given, for which any show of an express warrant in Scripture can be produced. Certain passages no doubt have been tortured so as
Now let any person of candour and intelligence take his Bible, and examine the passages to which reference has just been made, and let him say, whether the manner in which these typical characters and things are there introduced, is such as to indicate, that these alone were prefigurative of similar characters and things under the gospel—that in naming them, in short, the inspired writers had exhausted the typical bearing of Old Testament history? On the contrary, it seems impossible to avoid the conviction, that in adducing these particular examples, they were merely singling out a few as occasion required from a vast storehouse, where many similar ones were to be found. They have all the appearance, at least, of having been selected only as examples suited to the immediate purpose in view, and are consequently to be taken for mere specimens of the class to which they belong. And this being the case, they should rather have the effect of prompting farther inquiry than of checking it—so far from themselves comprehending and bounding the whole field of typical matter, they may rather be regarded as furnishing the data, from which we are to gather the rules that ought to guide us in our search for others of a like description.
Indeed, were it otherwise, nothing could be more arbitrary and unmeaning as the typology of Scripture. For what is there to distinguish the characters and events, which Scripture has thus particularized, from a great multitude of others in sacred history, so that they alone should have been invested with a typical meaning? Is there any thing on the face of the inspired record to make us look upon them in a singular light, as carrying an aspect to future times, which none besides might possess ? So much the reverse, that it is scarcely possible to avoid the conviction, that if those were typical, so also must many others, which hold not a less, but even sometimes a more prominent place in the page of sacred history. Can it be seriously believed, that Sarah and
Hagar were raised up as typical characters to teach important lessons to future times concerning the dispensation of the gospel, while there was nothing properly typical in Abraham, from whom, notwithstanding, they derived their whole importance, their very existence even, as
to afford some colour for introducing more. For example, the mention in Gen. xlix. 24, of “the shepherd, the stone of Israel,” has been sometimes taken as a Scripture warrant for making Joseph a typical character; John viii. 56, for having Abraham, and Matth. ii. 23, coupled with Judges xiii. 5, for having Samson placed in the same rank. No one scarcely will stand up for such interpretations of Scripture in the present day. Even what is said in Mal. iv. 5, of the sending of Elias, cannot with any propriety be regarded as Scripture authority for making him the type of John; for the proper name is evidently used metaphorically to describe the peculiar cast of character which distinguished Elias as a prophet. It is also to be remarked, that some even of those which are included in the above list, have after all but slender authority, so far as the express testimony of Scripture is concerned, for being reckoned types. Those of Solomon, Jonah, and the lifting up of the serpent, are particularly doubtful, as the Scriptures, which refer to them, admit of being explained, and are explained by many recent interpreters, without implying so much as that these were really iypes of Christ. We have inserted them, however, lest we should be thought by some to have unduly curtailed the number of Scriptural types, as the conclusion we draw from them depends in great measure on their fewness.
scriptural characters? What reason can we imagine for Melchisedec and Jonah having been constituted types-persons to whom our attention is comparatively little drawn in Old Testament history—while such leading characters as Joseph, Samson, Elijah, are excluded? Or for selecting the passage through the Red Sea, and the incidents in the wilderness, while the passage through Jordan and the conquest at Canaan are thrown out of view ?
It is scarcely possible to conceive a mode of interpretation, which should deal more capriciously with the word of God, and make so anomalous a use of its historical facts. Instead of clothing these with a uniform and consistent language, it singles out only a few examples, and without any reason shown or conceivable for the preference, sets them up by themselves in solitary grandeur, like mystic symbols in a temple, invested with an air of sacredness and importance peculiar only to themselves. The exploded principle, which sought a type in every notice of Old Testament history, had at least the merit of uniformity to recommend it, and could not be said to deal partially, however often it might deal unwarrantably with the facts of ancient Scripture; but according to the method, now under review, for which the authority of inspiration itself is claimed, we perceive nothing but arbitrary distinctions and groundless preferences. And though unquestionably it were wrong to expect in the word of God the precise and methodical uniformity, which might naturally have been looked for in a human composition, yet as the product, amid all its variety, of one and the same Spirit, we are warranted to expect that there shall be an orderly and consistent agreement among its several parts, and that distinctions shall not be created in the one Testament, which in the other seem destitute of any just foundation or apparent reason.
But then, if a greater latitude is allowed, how shall we guard against error and extravagance? Without the express authority of Scripture, how shall we be able to distinguish between a happy illustration and a real type? In the words of Bishop Marsh, “By what means shall we determine, in any given instance, that what is alleged as a type was really designed for a type? The only possible source of information on this subject is Scripture itself. The only possible means of knowing that two distant, though similar historical facts, were so connected in the general scheme of divine providence, that the one was designed to prefigure the other, is the authority of that work in which the scheme of divine providence is unfolded.”* This is an objection, indeed, which strikes at the root of the whole matter, and its validity can only be ascertained by what can scarcely be said to have yet been done by any writer of this country—a careful investigation into the nature, design, and properties of a type. That Scripture is the sole rule, on the authority of which we are to distinguish what is properly typical from what is not, we readily grant—though not in the straitened
• Lectures, p. 372.