Imágenes de páginas
[blocks in formation]

In which are some things hard to be understood, which

they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.

Since it is asserted that the Sacred Writings record events which are historically typical of other events, this alone is a sufficient reason to induce us to examine them with care. And the fact, if it be established, will afford a corroboration of the more direct arguments in favour of the inspiration of the Scriptures.

It will be desirable, however, as a previous step, to examine some of the grounds, which the Scriptures afford to authorize such a research; to shew, the use, which may properly be made of the types of the Old Testament; to point out some of the errors, which have arisen from the abuse of analogous methods

of interpretation : and to lay down the principles, upon which any enquiry into them should be conducted.

I. The perusal of the Epistle to the Hebrews is alone sufficient to convince any unprejudiced enquirer, that the history of the New Testament lays claim to a preconcerted connection with the events recorded in the Old Testament: that this connection consists not in the mere casual similarity of circumstances, is not produced by a perversion of facts to satisfy a system of ingenious accommodation ; but is sometimes clear, decided, unequivocal : so obvious that no one can deny the existence of the claim; so intimate as to pervade, at least, all the peculiar institutions of the Jewish people.

The inspired author of that epistle, addressing those who were most learned in the Jewish law, all along considers the law given by Moses as preparatory to the grace and truth which came by Jesus Christ. He regards the law as the shadow, the gospel as the substance : the law as possessing only “the patterns of things in the heavens,” while the gospel possesses “ the heavenly things themselves.”a

This connection is more fully shewn, by a comparison between the word spoken by an

& Heb. X. 1. ix. 23.

over his

gels, and that “which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed by them that heard him :”b by shewing the superiority of Christ, the high priest of our profession, who was faithful as a son own house, compared with Moses, who was faithful, indeed, but in an inferior degree, as a servant : by contrasting the imperfect priesthood of Aaron with the eternal priesthood of Christ, after a more ancient and more exalted order :d and by observing, that the tabernacle and the sacrifices of the law were but a figure for the time then present, an incomplete delineation of that greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, and of the sacrifice of himself made by Christ to take away sin. And the whole argument is concluded by applying to the Christian dispensation, the object of these prefigurations, the very terms originally appropriated to the types which represented them: as if the earthly Sion were identified with the celestial mount which it represented, and the city of Jerusalem with the courts of the kingdom of heaven:

- “Ye,” as Christians, “ are not come unto the * mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and

b Heb. ii. 3.
d Heb. v. vi. vii.

c Heb. iii.
e Heb. ix. 9.


tempest, and the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words ;"......" But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem.”

Undoubtedly, there is found in the whole of this Epistle an unhesitating boldness, in referring the historical types to their corresponding antitypes, which nothing but the authority of inspiration can justify. And that interpreter would be worse than injudicious, who should presumptuously endeavour to found an argument upon any alleged similarities of a kindred nature, which his unassisted imagination might discover in the sacred volume.

But he who presumes to deny the existence of all preconcerted connection, between the history and ritual institutions of the Jews, and the economy of the Gospel, acts a still more unwarrantable part.

The reasoning and illustrations of the Apostle were not denied by those to whom they were addressed; men, be it remembered, exposed to all the seductions which the sophistry of their countrymen could devise; and, in many instances, prepossessed with an opinion, which their own Scriptures might have refuted, that the laws and institutions of Moses were intended for perpetual obligation.


f Heb. xii. 18, 22.

Now the Apostle would not have had recourse to a line of argument, which might have been in a moment refuted, had it been unfounded, while he was so amply provided with others, against which no possible objection could have been alleged.

The same mode of interpretation, which is adopted by the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, is occasionally used in other parts of the sacred Scriptures. And no one can thoroughly understand the whole revealed scheme of Divine Providence, by which the world was prepared for the coming of the predicted Messiah, without examining the historical events, which are declared to have prefigured him.

The degree of connection between two corresponding events, may vary, by minute shades of difference, from clear and express prophecy, to allusion or implied similarity. But, whatever may be the weight of evidence, which a careful examination of the Scriptures may establish, the believer in the inspiration of Holy Writ knows it to be his duty to search all that is written in the Law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the Psalms concerning Christ. And even the unbeliever would expose himself to the charge of culpable negligence, who should neglect well to consider

8 Luke xxiv. 44.

« AnteriorContinuar »