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Viewed in this light, which we may now call the scriptural one, we see at once the essential unity, which pervades the dispensations of Moses and Christ, and the nature of that progression in the divine plan, which rendered the former a proper stepping-stone and door-way to the other. The religion of both covenants is thus found to be one and the same; only, it appears in the one case as on a lower platform, disclosing its relations and ideas amid the inferior concerns of flesh and time, while in the other these are seen rising to embrace heaven and earth, time and eternity. And as ideas and relations are more palpable to the view of the mind, and lie more within the grasp of its comprehension, when exhibited on a small scale, in corporeal forms, and amid familiar and present objects, than on a scale of large dimensions, and in reference to unseen, spiritual, and heavenly objects; so the economy of outward symbolical institutions naturally and effectually prepared the way for the economy of ultimate, divine realities. But this, it must be observed, simply as symbolical institutions, not in their typical reference; that is, as expressive of the relations and ideas, which were common to both dispensations, not as prospectively and obscurely shadowing forth the glorious realities, which were peculiarly to belong to the gospel dispensation. It was comparatively an easy thing for the Jewish worshipper to understand the several bearings of the relation in which by the law of Moses he stood to an earthly sanctuary, or the process of an external purification through means of water and the blood of slain victims applied to his body-much more easy than for the Christian to apprehend aright his relation to a heavenly sanctuary, and the cleansing of his conscience from the guilt of sin by the inward application of the blood of Christ, and the regenerating grace of the Holy Spirit. But for the Jewish worshipper to do both his own and the Christian's part — both to read the meaning of the symbol, as embodying truths belonging to an existing, carnal ritual, and distinctly apprehend its typical bearing on the spiritual and divine realities of a coming dispensation, would have required a reach of discernment and a strength of faith far beyond what is needed in the Christian; for it had been, not, like him, to discern the spiritual when the spiritual was come, but to do it through the help merely of the carnal; not simply to look with open eye into the deepest mysteries of God's kingdom, when these mysteries were fully disclosed, but to do so while they were buried amid the thick folds of a cumbrous drapery, which was all that immediately appeared. This might have been, and we have no doubt in certain cases was, to some extent done, by members of the old covenant, as we shall take occasion at another place to state more fully; but it could not be properly required of the Jewish worshipper, nor could the conveying of such knowledge concerning the realities of the gospel be the distinguishing characteristic of the Mosaic symbols, as embodying the substance of a preparatory religion. As such, the preparatory must have been simpler and easier, than the final; and it could only have been so, by being regarded in its symbolical, as contradistinguished from its typical, character-regarded not in its secret and
prophetical reference to the gospel antitypes, but in its exhibition on the scale of earthly things, and by means of fleshly observances, of the great truths and principles, or ideas and relations, which were to reappear in those antitypes amid the sublime objects of a spiritual world and an eternal salvation.*
We have as yet conducted this investigation with reference merely to the symbolical institutions of the Old Testament, or what are usually called the ritual types. And before we endeavour to apply the light thence derived further, or consider how far the character found to belong to those symbolical institutions may not also belong to other things connected with God's earlier dispensations, it is of importance to notice, that not a portion merely, but the whole of the Mosaic ritual, is declared to possess the character in question. All its rites and services were shadows of good things to come, or contained the rudiments of the heavenly kingdom. And yet while New Testament scripture declares this, it deals very sparingly in particular examples, but leaves the application of the general principle very much in the hand of individual Christians, to be made as they themselves see fit. It nowhere tells us, for example, what was either immediately or prophetically symbolized by the holy place, or the show-bread, or the golden candlestick, or the ark of the covenant, or the cherubim, or indeed any of the services connected with the tabernacle, with the exception of a very few of the sacrificial rites. Even the Epistle to the Hebrews, which was written on purpose to show the typical and shadowy character of the Old Testament dispensation, while it is most express in asserting this character to belong to the tabernacle as a whole and to each one of its services, yet contains no particular explanation of these beyond the rite of expiatory sacrifice, and the action of the high-priest in presenting it, especially on the day of yearly atonement. With that testimony respecting their general character, and this particular illustration to guide us in the application of it, we are left to find our own path through all that remains of the tabernacle and its manifold services. Those who insist on an explicit warrant being produced from Scripture for every individual type, will find their principle conducts them but a short way even through that region of the affairs of the old covenant, which on the authority of inspiration they cannot but admit to be throughout typical. But of what avail is this general ad
* If any one will look into the older works, which profess to handle the typical character of the Mosaic symbols, he will find them quite silent upon the points discussed above. For example, Lowman on the Rational of the Hebrew worship, or Outram de Sac. Lib. I. c. xviii., where he comes to consider “the natare and force of a sacred type,” give no proper or satisfactory explanations of the questions, in what precisely the resemblance between the type and the antitype consisted, and how the one tended to prepare the way for the other. We are told frequently enough, that the “Hebrew ritual contained a plan, or sketch, or pattern, or shadow of gospel things;" that “the type adumbrated the antitype by something of the same sort with that which is found in the antitype, or by a symbol of it, or by a slender and shadowy image of it, or by something that may somehow be compared with it,” &c. But for any more definite information concerning the grounds and rationale of the connexion between the two, or how the exhibition of the type made way for the revelation of the antitype, no instruction is given, and no investigation even is entered into.
mission, so long as they hold to a principle of interpretation, which practically excludes them from touching most of the particulars belonging to the subject? For if the finger of inspiration must itself guide us to the knowledge and understanding of every single type, and if without this all is involved, as they allege, in doubt and uncertainty, it is obvious, that the greater part even of the ritual types must remain substantially a dead letter, and might as well be expunged altogether from the number of types. Indeed, this is no more than what a great authority has already done; for “that such explanations (of types,”) says Bishop Marsh, “in various instances, are given in the New Testament, no one can deny. And if it was deemed necessary to explain one type, where eould be the expediency or moral fitness of withholding the explanation of others? Must not therefore the silence of the New Testament in the case of any supposed type, be an argument against the existence of that type ?"* And thus from want of particular explanations we get rid of nearly the whole Mosaic ritual, although its services as a whole are declared to have been all “shadows of good things to come, whereof the body is Christ.”
This circumstance regarding the scarcity of explanations on particular parts of the Mosaic ritual, is not adverted to by those, who adopt the principle of Bishop Marsh. It seems to be taken for granted by them, that because the ritual as a whole was declared to be typical, there is no need for any further information; this either involves the explanation of each particular part, or renders it unnecessary for us to obtain any such minute explanation. But the practical value of the whole manifestly depends upon the correct and proper understanding of the several parts; if we remain ignorant of this, we might as well not have known, that they actually possessed any typical reference to the better things of the gospel. It cannot be doubted, that in instituting such a mode of worship, and ordaining all its parts to serve as a “testimony (or, evidence,) of those things, which were to be spoken after,” God intended that we should be able to read the interpretation of them, as otherwise one grand design of their appointment would of necessity be frustrated. And yet, if we except the work and office of the high-priest in presenting the blood of atonement, it can scarcely be said, that we are furnished with any special information in Scripture concerning the tabernacle and its services, as typical of gospel things. How we ought to proceed amid this silence of Scripture, in applying the general views that have been unfolded to ascertain the import
of particular parts, shall be matter of future inquiry and consideration. Meanwhile, the fact that so much of what is undoubtedly typical remains as to the several particulars unexplained, may surely serve to render it highly probable, that in the other, the historical department of the subject, there may also be many unexplained types, and that the supposition of there being such is not in itself so chimerical and extravagant a notion as has not unfrequently been represented.
Lectures, p. 392.
THE SAME SUBJECT CONTINUED, WITH AN ESPECIAL REFERENCE TO
WHAT ARE CALLED HISTORICAL TYPES, SHOWING THESE TO BE ESSENTIALLY ONE IN CHARACTER WITH THE OTHER, AND EQUALLY NECESSARY AS A PREPARATION FOR THE GOSPEL.
The dispensation of Moses, we have seen, was in all its institutions and services symbolical of certain truths and principles, which were common, indeed, to both dispensations, but which were destined to find their full development and proper realization in the kingdom of God's dear Son. On the limited scale of earthly and perishable things—in the construction of a material tabernacle and the performance of bodily services connected with it, there was a plain and sensible exhibition of those truths and principles, which were in the fulness of time to be developed on the grand scale of a world's redemption from sin and hell by the prevailing mediation of Christ. In that pre-arranged, though limited and imperfect exhibition of the fundamental ideas and relations of the gospel, stood the real nature of its typical character. And we now come to put the question, whether this general character may not also have been possessed by the other facts and transactions of sacred history, in so far as these owed their appointment to God, or carried on them the stamp of his authority? Whether, in short, the events of God's providence, as well as the institutions of God's worship, in respect to his church, may not have been arranged upon a plan fitted for bringing out in the same way the leading truths and principles of the gospel? If the revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ, with the news of his great salvation, was the object mainly contemplated by the mind of God from the beginning of the world, and with which the church was ever travailing as in birth—if consequently, the previous dispensations, antediluvian and postdiluvian, patriarchal as well as Levitical, were chiefly designed to lead to and terminate upon Christ and the things of his salvation, what can be more natural than to suppose, that the whole antecedent revelations of God were so directed as to be ever unfolding, like the complex machinery of the. Mosaic ritual, on a limited and earthly scale, the elements of gospel truth and heavenly principle ? This would only manifest such a unity in the divine procedure as we might expect to pervade it; and instead of setting the Mosaic ritual by itself, as if it was singular in the respect it bore to gospel times, would only render it a more full and systematic representation of what was to be unfolded in Christ-thus forming a great, but by no means an anomalous, advance in the preparatory arrangements, which were to issue in the final establishment of God's everlasting kingdom.
There is enough in this consideration to make it seem highly probable, that the same character belongs alike to the historical and the ritual matter of ancient Scripture, and that in the arrangement of both the same design was kept in view, and the same end aimed at. But the probability is greatly increased, when we take into account the manner, in which the historical types are mentioned in the New Testament. In the tenth chapter of 1st Corinthians a variety of facts are produced from the history of ancient Israel in the wilderness, concerning which the apostle says, that the things in question “happened unto them for ensamples, (literally, as types,) and are written for our admonition;" or, as he more distinctly explains it in verse 6, “these things were our examples (types,) to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted.” In plain terms, God inflicted on them certain judgments for the carnal desires which they allowed to gain the ascendency over them—and this not only on their account, but also as a clear and solemn warning to us, that if like desires were indulged on our part, they would certainly be visited with corresponding judgments. The facts in question are appealed to simply as manifestations of a principle of the divine government, which reaches also unto us, and indeed has its full and proper development only under the gospel, viz. that the carnal, the worldlyminded shall not inherit the kingdom of God, but shall perish in their sins.
To render this more plain and palpable to the understanding, an inspired writer in another part of New Testament scripture (Heb. iii. and iv.) takes one of the most important of the facts above mentioned the destruction of the Israelites in the wilderness for their unbelief—and comments on it at large, as affording an exact representation of what in spiritual things is to befall those who believe not the testimony of the grace of God. The word type, indeed, is not employed in the discussion there, but the idea conveyed by it is undoubtedly expressed by the author, inasmuch as he affirms the exclusion of the unbelieving Israelites from the land of Canaan, not only to afford a reasonable presumption, but to provide a valid ground, for asserting, that unbelievers under the present dispensation could not be allowed to enter into heaven. Indeed, so complete in point of principle is the identity of the two cases, that he applies to both indiscriminately and without any explanation of the diferences that existed between them, the same expressions of “the gospel being preached,” of “God's promise of rest,” of “the heart being hardened,” of “falling through unbelief." Yet the differences were exactly the same, and the resemblance also was the same, with what we have already seen to exist in the symbolical types—the one manifesting in regard to present and earthly things the same rules, relations or principles of government, which the other did in regard to spiritual and heavenly things. In the type, we have the prospect of Canaan, the gospel of an earthly promise of rest, and the loss of temporal good following its rejection; in the antitype, the prospect of a heavenly inheritance, the gospel promise of an everlasting rest, attended in the case of those, who reject it in unbelief, with the fearful loss of eternal life.