« AnteriorContinua »
John xix. 36, that when our Lord hung on the cross his legs were not broken, that the command concerning the paschal lamb, Exod. xii. 46. "Neither shall ye break a bone thereof," might be fulfilled. Besides, in allusion to the typical meaning of the Passover, Christ is called, 1 Cor. v. 7. Our Passover; and is said to be sacrificed for us.-Farther, when God ordered Moses to lift up the image of a serpent on a pole, that the Israelites in the wilderness who were stung with serpents might be healed by looking at it, although nothing was said concerning its having a typical meaning, yet that it had such a meaning we learn from our Lord himself, who thus explained it, John ini. 14. "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, " even so must the Son of man be lifted up, that whosoever "believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life." Wherefore, the lifting up of the brazen serpent, was a type of Christ's being lifted up on the cross: and the health which the Israelites obtained by looking to it, represented the salvation of those who believe on Christ as the Saviour of the world. Hence, in allusion to the typical meaning of the brazen serpent, Isaiah introduces Messiah saying, chap. xlv. 22. "Look unto me and "be ye saved, all the ends of the earth."
Upon the whole, it appears, that the uncommon actions performed by the Jewish prophets, were all of them significant; both those whose meaning was declared, and those whose meaning was not declared; and that they were commanded by God for the purpose of prefiguring, in a symbolical manner, future persons and events.—It is true, the long duration of some of these symbolical actions, the labour with which they were performed, and the pain which they occasioned to the persons who performed them, have afforded infidels a pretence for speaking of the prophets as fanatics and madmen, who by such doings debased the prophetic office. For which reason, to vindicate the character of these holy men, some of the learned Jewish doctors have given it as their opinion, that these uncommon actions were transacted only in visions, in which the prophets seemed to themselves to do them. But this supposition is contradicted by the scriptures, which represent the actions under consideration as done in the presence of the people, for the purpose of drawing their attention to the informations with which these actions were accompanied : : an effect which the relation of a vision could not produce, because the incredulous and prophane would naturally consider such a vision either as a fiction or as an illusion. The
Sect. 5. 259 character, therefore, of the Jewish prophets will be more. effectually vindicated, if we recollect what they themselves constantly affirmed; namely, that all the uncommon things which they did, they were commanded by God to do and that, after the events prefigured by these actions came to pass, nó doubt could be entertained of their being commanded by God to do them. Next, if we remember, That in the early ages, it was usual to convey instruction by symbolical actions, we shall be sensible, that the things for which the prophets have been censured as madmen, did not appear to their contemporaries in the light in which we moderns view them that they excited the curiosity of the people among whom they were transacted, and led them to inquire of the prophets what they meant by them, as in the instances mentioned, Ezek. xii. 9. xxi. 7 : That being addressed to the senses of mankind, they must have con. veyed the instruction with which they were accompanied in the most forcible manner: And that instruction thus forcibly conveyed, making a strong impression on the mind of the spectators, must have been long remembered, and could be communicated to others with great accuracy. Thus it appears, that in the early ages, when the art of writing was little known, the most effectual method of communicating and diffusing knowledge was to instruct the people by significant or symbolical actions, and that in fact this method was commonly practised, especially among the eastern nations. Wherefore, the Jewish prophets are not to be ridiculed for the symbolical actions with which they accompanied their predictions. The importance of the end for which they performed these actions, and the success with which they accomplished that end, are a sufficient vindication both of the wisdom of God in commanding them, and of the good sense and piety of the prophets in performing them. For which reason, I think we cannot be mistaken in believing they were all performed exactly as related in the scriptures.
Of Instruction conveyed by some Actions and Events happening in the ordinary Course of Things.
I. It is now time to proceed to the consideration of a method in which God communicated the knowledge of things future, which though different from that described in the preceding section, and more removed from common observation, was
nearly allied to it. For, whereas the prophets, by the divine direction, assumed characters not naturally belonging to them, and performed actions altogether out of the common course, for the purpose of prefiguring future persons and events, the characters and actions and fortunes of some eminent persons, whose distinguished stations placed them in the view of the world, were so ordered by God as to be exact representations of future persons, who, when they arose, by the likeness of their characters and actions and fortunes to those of the persons by whom they were represented, would make mankind sensible that the inspired teachers spake truly when they declared that the one had been prefigured by the other. In some instances, the persons whose characters and actions prefigured future events, were declared by God himself to be typical, long before the events which they prefigured came to pass. But in other instances, many persons really typical were not known to be such, till after the things which they typified happened.
1. Of the first mentioned sort we have a remarkable example in Abraham, whom God declared to be a typical person by constituting him the father or type of believers of all nations; and by making with him as their father, a covenant in which he promised to be a God to him and to his seed in their generations, and to give to him and to his seed the land of Canaan for an everlasting possession: which promises had not only a literal but a typical or second meaning; as was shewed at large in Ess. v. sect. 1, 2. &c. consequently the covenant with Abraham was an allegory.
2. A second example of a typical person we have in Melchizedec, who in his character of a king and priest united, was declared by God himself to be a type of his Son's becoming a king and a priest in the human nature; and who, by blessing Abraham, prefigured the efficacy of the priesthood and government of the Son of God in procuring for believers the pardon of their sins. Psal. cx. 4. "The Lord hath sworn, and will not "repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the similitude of "Melchizedec."
3. Jacob likewise and Esau were typical persons: For their struggling together in their mother's womb, prefigured the wars which the nations who were to descend from them were to wage with each other: And Jacob's taking hold of Esau's heel in their birth, prefigured that the descendants of Jacob would subdue the descendants of Esau. So God told Rebecca, Gen.
xxv. 23, "Two nations are in thy womb; and two kinds of "people shall be separated from thy bowels: and the one people.. "shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall "serve the younger."
4. Joshua, who was the high-priest of the Jews during the rebuilding of the temple, was an eminently typical person. For he prefigured our great high-priest Christ, as we learn from the vision in which the prophet Zechariah, chap. iii. 3. saw him standing before the angel of the Lord in filthy garments, to represent the iniquity of the many which was to be laid on Christ. These filthy garments the angel commanded to be taken away from him, and said, ver. 4. " Behold I have caused thine iniquity "to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment. 5. And I said, Let them set a fair mitre upon his head: So they set a fair mitre upon his head," such as the high-priests wore when they officiated, "and clothed him with garments." Then to shew the emblematical meaning of the vision, the angel of the Lord said, ver. 8. "Hear now, O Joshua, the high-priest, "thou and thy fellows that sit before thee, for they are men of "wonder," Typical men. So the phrase signifies, Isa. viii. 18 "For, Behold I will bring forth my servant the Branch." Wherefore, Joshua in his character as high-priest, and his fellows the high-priests who preceded him, were all of them types, or prefigurations of God's servant the Branch, in his character as highpriest which also the author of the epistle to the Hebrews hath proved at great length.-Farther, to shew still more clearly that Joshua was a type of Christ, the prophet was ordered by God to take silver and gold and make crowns, and to set them on the head of Joshua in the house of Josiah, and to say to him, chap. vi. 12. " Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, Behold "the man whose name is the Branch, He shall grow up out of "his place, and he shall build the temple of the Lord,-and he "shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne, and "the counsel of peace shall be between them both." But the. man whose name is the Branch, and who is here foretold to grow up out of his place, was according to Isaiah to be a descendant of Jesse. Chap. xi. 1. "And there shall come forth a rod out "of the stem of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots." Wherefore, Joshua being a descendant of Aaron, was not the person whom Isaiah foretold under the idea of a Branch growing out of the roots of Jesse. Consequently, when God ordered the
prophet to say to Joshua and the witnesses, after putting the crowns on Joshua's head, Behold the man whose name is the Branch, his meaning certainly was, that Joshua was a type of the man whose name is the Branch, in his two offices of a king and a priest, and as the builder of the true temple of the Lord. Accordingly, that this symbolical transaction might be remembered, and that Joshua in after ages might be known to have been a type and a pledge of the coming of the Man whose name is the Branch, the two crowns which the prophet had put on Joshua's head as symbols of the two offices in which he was a type of Christ, were, by the command of God, delivered to the witnesses to be laid up in the temple as a memorial, ver. 14.
If, because Zerubbabel at this time was the prince of the Jews, any one suspects that he, and not Joshua, was called, the Man whose name is the Branch, he ought to consider that, of the man whose name is the Branch, it is said, ver. 13. not only that "he "shall build the temple of the Lord, and shall sit and rule upon "his throne," but that " he shall be a priest upon his throne.” For this could not be said of Zerubbabel, who was not a descendant of Aaron. We may therefore conclude, that the things said and done to Joshua by the prophet Zechariah, were said and done to him as a type of Christ.
5. Of typical persons who were not declared to be such, till the persons of whom they were types appeared, Adam deserves to be first mentioned. For in respect of his being the author of sin and death to all his posterity, he is said by the apostle, Rom. v. 14. to be by contrast, TUTOS, “the type or figure of him "(Christ) who was to come" for the purpose of being the author of righteousness and life to mankind. See Rom. v. 14. notes. Hence Christ is called, 1 Cor. xv. 45. The last Adam.-Adam was likewise a type of Christ in this respect, that Eve, who was an image of the church, was formed of a rib taken from Adam's side while he was in a deep sleep. For this transaction prefigured the formation of the church the lamb's wife, by the breaking of Christ's side on the cross, while he slept the sleep of death, as the apostle insinuateth, Ephes. v. 32. See the note on that verse.
6. Of persons who in their natural characters and fortunes were types of future persons and events, Abraham's wives and sons are remarkable examples. His wives Hagar and Sarah, were types of the two covenants by which men become the people of God, and his sons Ismael and Isaac were, in their