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Of the Relation between the Type and its Antitype.
It will be advisable, briefly to examine the relation necessarily subsisting between the type and its antitype.
Here, as in most cases relating to religious instruction, we shall not only find Scripture our surest, and therefore our safest guide, but the only one to the authority of which we can appeal. The mode of instruction is one so peculiarly divine, and so entirely inapplicable except in the hands of an inspired teacher or ruler, that it would be vain and useless to seek any where else for any illustration of it.
The apostle St. Paul, in his epistle to the Hebrews,* supplies us with a definition almost as precise as if intended for this purpose : “ The law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things," the likeness is to be sufficiently correct as a resemblance, but not very close nor exact in all its parts--not that which an image bears to the person
expressions which sufficiently indicate the relation which exists between the two; that
Chapter x. 1.
represents, in which every member is imitated in its exact shape and proportion; nor even as a painting, in which colours may be employed to give a correct picture of the original; but that which obtains between an object and its shadow; an outline sufficiently strong to mark the shape of it, but not so correctly as to convey even its proportions : clear enough to exhibit to the spectator an idea of what he may expect from it, and from which he may recognise it, but not calculated to make him acquainted with all the excellencies and perfections of it, without the aid of some additional instruction, or until it has been actually fulfilled, and the reality comes under his contemplation. The constant succession of inspired teachers before alluded to, supplied this additional illustration in the Jewish church. The records of our Lord's ministry, and the doctrinal writings of the apostles, afford a sufficient comment to explain such symbolical worship as our Lord has established in the Christian church.
As such a representation can only preserve the exterior of the figure, where the light suffers no interruption, it follows, that all those parts which are not so situated as to partake of this effect of light and shadow, will not be offered to the view of the observer—they will be wholly buried in the deep shade of the interior.
The type then is only an image of the antitype, in the broad outline; many particulars belonging to the first, may have no connexion with the last-consequently, these are not to be considered as parts of it; they fall within the shadow, and are lost as to the figurative meaning or import of it. The history of the prophet Jonah supplies an instance of this; “ for, as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly, so shall the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.' This event then was typical of our Lord's descent into the grave, and return from thence; but, we shall not trace any prophetical resemblance between any other parts of Jonah's life and our Saviour's ministry.
Jacob and Esau present us with types of the two classes of mankind which divide the world between them—the people of God, and those who live in a neglect of, or disobedience to him; but the symbolical resemblance does not extend to every part of their history. If the parallel should be closely drawn between them, it would soon be evident that it existed in only a few circumstances. The same may be observed of Aaron and our Lord. The priesthood of the former was beyond all contradiction emblematical of the more exalted one of the latter; but the former was imperfect in itself, as also debased by great personal transgression : the latter was perfect in all its parts, and, con: sequently, the similitude between them could not be complete and uniform.
* Matt. xii. 40.
This suggests another important consequence, that the type must necessarily be inferior to its antitype. It is only a figure, and an imperfect figure; not a pattern, nor an image, but a shadow.
This inferiority will appear more evidently from the consideration both of the persons and facts employed for these purposes. Is it a sacrifice ? the creature offered is a bullock, a sheep, or a lamb: the offering signified is that of our inestimable Redeemer. Is it a ritual festival ? it is celebrated by carnal ordinances, but the worship implied is of a spiritual nature, and refers to that in the everlasting kingdom of the Author and Finisher of our faith, when God shall be worshipped in spirit and in truth. Is the high priest, presented in all his glorious apparel, engaged in a solemn service, and accompanied by a joyful concourse of believers ? he is only the humble representative of Him who is exalted above all blessing and praise, and before whom, clothed in light and immortality, perfect beings vail their faces. How much inferior to these solemnities must those adorations be which are celebrated, or those acts which are presented by imperfect worshippers, who only see in part and know in part; who are defiled by sin, and encompassed by infirmity. But when the type is realized, perfection will take place of imperfection. The head and principal of all these is the immaculate Son of God, and the creatures who shall then share his glory, or fulfil the inferior emblems, will be freed from infirmity, purified from sin, sanctified and made meet for the kingdom of heaven, and to abide in the presence of their Maker and Redeemer; they will then see him as he is, and know him even as he is known. The vision will no longer be seen through a glass darkly; but face to face, in the fulness of the glory of God, as displayed in the day when he shall make up his jewels; when the Saviour shall have taken to himself his great power, and shall reign, not over his church militant here on earth, encompassed with woes and sufferings, but with his church triumphant in heaven, exalted in glory, and made perfect in holiness.