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Antitype, who was in the fulness of time to appear. At the same time to prove, that the blood of bulls and of goats, though shed under the law by the express direction of God, could not be blood possessing in itself any atoning efficacy; reference was had to that declining state of the Jewish nation, when the appointed sacrifice became offensive to the Divine Appointer of it; because the spirit which could alone give value to the service, had notoriously departed from it. “ To what purpose (said God on this occasion) is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts ; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks or of lambs, or of he-goats. · Bring no more vain oblations.”—Isa, i. 11. Sacrifice in this case was rejected, on the same principle that the ritual service under every dispensation must be, when it no longer answers the purpose of its institution.
From this dark night of Jewish blindness, passing on to that bright day, when · the Sun of Righteousness shone forth on the world; it was our object to draw out that decisive conclusion on this important subject, to which the general tenor of Divine Revelation was designed to lead.
With this view, the Redeemer himself was brought forward, in the act of drawing aside, as it were, the vail from the Mosaical Law, for the purpose of disclosing its real object: by making (in the language taken, though somewhat altered by the Apostle, from the Book of Psalms,) the following explicit declaration. “ Sacrifice and offering for sin thou wouldest not, but a body hast Thou prepared me. In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin Thou hast had no pleasure. Then said I, lo! I come, (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will O God.” Heb. x. 5.
In the foregoing declaration, the inefficacy of the legal sacrifices to take away sin, and the divine disapprobation of them, considered in that light, are unequivocally pronounced. The Redeemer, referring to the predictions concerning himself in the Scriptures of the Old Testament, strongly expresses the pleasure he had in doing his Father's will; in other words, in accom
plishing the Law. “ I delight to do thy will, O my God, yea thy Law is within my heart." Psal. xl. 8. To which authoritative declaration the Apostle has subjoined the following plain paraphrase. “ When He said, sacrifice and offering, and burnt offerings for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; (which are offered by the Law,) then said He, lo I come to do thy will O God.' He taketh away the first, that He may establish the second. By the which will we are sanctified, through the offering of the body of Christ once for all.” Heb. x. 8. Which was, in other words to say, that the sacrifices of the Law were taken away by Christ, with the intent that the sacrifice of his own body, the only effectual sacrifice for sin, being substituted in their stead, might thereby be established.
Did the Sacred Writings afford no other evidence on the subject before us; that which has been above produced might, it should seem, be sufficient to determine the judgement of every unprejudiced per
But St. Paul had strong prejudices to deal with. The chain of argument
made use of therefore by him in his Epistle to the Hebrews, was particularly calculated to counteract them: the object of which was, by drawing a parallel between the Law and the Gospel, to convince his Hebrew brethren, that the religion of the Church of God was, for substance, the same under every Dispensation; that, (according to the language of our Homilies)
although the holy men of old were not named Christian men; yet was it a Christian Faith that they had; for they looked for all the benefits of God the Father, through the merits of his Son Jesus Christ,” as we now do.
With this object in view, before the Apostle enters on his parellel, he reminds the Hebrews, that the same name by which the Religion of Christ was then distinguished, had before been applied to it under the legal dispensation ; when alluding to those who composed the Church of God in the wilderness, he says; “unto us was the Gospel preached as well as unto them.” Heb. iv. 2.
By the term Gospel, it is well known, is meant, a message from God, conveying the
tidings tidings of Salvation to lost man. This Gospel, St. Paul tells us, was preached to Abraham; when the Scripture said " In thee shall all the nations of the earth be blessed,” Gal. iii. 8.
This Gospel, the same Apostle tells us, was preached to the Church in the wilderness. The remark subjoined by the Apostle relative to the unprofitableness of the Gospel, on account of its “not being mixed up with faith in them that heard it,” furnishes no argument against the sufficiency of the Gospel then, any more than it does now. It proves only what, alas! we too well know, that in all ages of the world, there have been, and will be carnal minded men; destitute of that principle, distinguished in Scripture by the term, Faith ; which, what change soever may take place in human opinions, is “ the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever.”
Considering therefore the object the Apostle expressly had in view, our principal and conclusive appeal was made to his Writings; as calculated to qualify the Christian disciple to read the Gospel in the Law, and the Law in the Gospel; and by