« AnteriorContinuar »
the new covenant, prefigured by Moses upon the holy mount.
While we have time, then, how earnest should we be to obtain a personal interest in the benefits which Christ has purchased for us, "holding fast the profession of our faith without wavering:"' using all the means of grace; “not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together as the manner of some is, but exhorting one another,"
The sanctions of the law of Moses were awful in the extreme: the law of Christ is established with still greater authority. “He that despised Moses' law, died without mercy under two or three witnesses. Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?. For we know him that hath said, Vengeace belongeth unto me, I will repay, saith the Lord.” Be it our earnest prayer, that we may never know, by woful experience, how fearful a thing it is “to fall into the hands of the living God.” u
1. Heb. x. 23.
Heb. x. 25.
CHRIST WAS THE PROPIET PREDICTED AND
TYPIFIED BY MOSES.
DEUT. xviii. 15.
The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee à Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken.
It has been already observed, that this remarkable prophecy, which was made known to Moses at the delivery of the law, and declared to the Israelites immediately before his death, pointed him out as an historical type of some one great Prophet, whom the Lord God should raise up. And it has been concluded, from a consideration of the circumstances accompanying its delivery, that it was not fulfilled in Joshua, nor in any of the prophets of the Old Testament.
In examining a prophecy, which we have always considered to be fulfilled by a particular event, we are subject to two errors of different kinds. The one is, that our preconceived opinion may influence
influence our judgment, and induce us to consider the correspondence between the prediction and the event more accuratė than it really is : the other, that long familiarity with the plain circumstances of the fulfilment may cause us to undervalue that relatively inferior degree of precision, with which the prediction is expressed.
It is, therefore, highly desirable to correct our judgment, by enquiring what degree of expectation any specific prophecy had excited, before the event had taken place, which is supposed to have been predicted. A prophecy, indeed, which had excited no expectation previously to its accomplishment, may yet be sufficiently clear, when elucidated by the event. The absence of expectation can form no sufficient ground of objection to the alleged fulfilment of prophecy, although its previous existence is a strong corroboration of the conclusion formed subsequently to the event.
Let us apply this principle to the prophecy of Moses, which we are now considering. Let us examine, whether any trace can be found of the interpretation which the Jews put upon it before the Christian æra: whether they considered it to have been fulfilled in the prophets of the Old Testament, or still looked forward to some one Prophet, greater than all that preceded him, who should be raised up, like unto Moses.
If it can be shewn, that such an expectation existed, even after the sealing of the book of canonical Scripture, we shall have reason to believe, that the prediction was in itself sufficiently clear; and that the interpretation, which the Jews would now put upon the passage, is an invention of comparatively recent date.
One of the singular privileges conferred upon Moses, was personally to answer the questions of the Israelites, in the same manner as the high priest is said, in after ages, to have answered after the judgment of Urim,“ when enquiry was made on subjects of public importance.
Again, one of the peculiar titles, by which Moses was known among the Jews, was the Faithful Prophet. So God himself designated him :P and by this very term, the Apostle, addressing the Hebrews, and adopting their established phraseology, shews the similarity between Moses and Christ.
Now, in the second century before the Christian æra, and after the cessation of prophecy in the Jewish church, we find that there was still an expectation of a Prophet, who should return answers to enquirers, as Moses did, and be like him, also, a faithful prophet.
Numb. xxvii. 21. 1 Sam. xxviii. 6, 15. b Numb. xii. 7.
c Heb. iii. 2.
The first book of Maccabees, which, although an uninspired composition, and not free from error, may be taken, at least, as historical authority for the national acts and general opinions of the Jews at the time, on two occasions, indicates this expectation.
When Judas and his brethren went up to cleanse the sanctuary, and repair the altar, which Antiochus had profaned, “he chose priests of blameless conversation, such as had pleasure in the law, who cleansed the sanctuary, and bare out the defiled stones into an unclean place. And when as they consulted what to do with the altar of burnt-offerings which was profaned, they thought it best to pull it down... And laid up the stones in the mountain of the temple, in a convenient place, until there should come a Prophet to shew what should be done with them,” or rather, to return answer concerning them."
Now the gift of prophecy was known to have ceased with Malachi: and no ordinary prophet was expected, until Elijah should be sent “ before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord.”* This public act, therefore, acknowledging the hope entertained by
μεχρί του παραγενηθήναι προφήτης του αποκριθήναι περί αυτών. .
1 Macc. iv. 42–46. Mal. iy. 5.