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commanded to go into a Land which should be shewn to him--then that Land, to be possessed by his numerous posterity, is exhibited before him--Its distinct boundaries are afterwards marked out-He is next assured, while yet childless, that his posterity, to which so much was promised, should not be from an adopted son, but from one out of his own loinsHe is then told that his son should be born of Saralı-which is followed by a formał execution of the COVENANT confirmed by the seal of Circumcision-After all this, the birth of Isaac is predicted :-who being born at the appointed time, Ishmael is ordered to be sent away; to design with more certainty the succession of the son by Sarah. Here we see throughout, a gradual opening, and fit preparative for some farther Revelation ; which, in pursuance of this regular scheme of progressive Dispensations, could be no other than that of the REDEMPTION OF MANKIND BY THE MESSIAII, the completion of the whole Economy of Grace, as it only is the explanation of his first and fundamental Promise, that in Abraham should all the families of the earth be blessed. But now, the sole remaining revelation of God's 11 pill to Abrabans, recorded by the sacred Historian, is the Command to offer
his son Isaac. This COMMANT, theı), as there is no other that can pretend to be the revelation in question, and as we have shown it must be somewhere or other recorded in Abraham's story, is the very revelation we seek; which perfects all the foregoing, and makes the whole scries complete and uniform. And the place in which we find it is its proper station; for, being the completion of the rest, it must needs be the last in order.
Such, in the intention of the Holy Spirit, doth St. Curysostom, in his comment on the place, understand it to be-την δε ΗΜΕΡΑΝ ενταύθα μοι δοκεί λέγειν την τά σαυρά, ήν εν τη τε κρια προσφορά και το Ισαάκ προδιετύπωσε, And in this he is joined or followed by ERASMUS, in his paraphrasc, Hoc ænigmate Jesus significavit, Abraham, quum pararet immolare filium Isaac, per Prophetiæ spiritum vidisse Dominum Jesum in mortem crucis a patre tradendum pro mundi salute.--But these excellent men, not reflecting on that ancient mode of information, where the Inquirer is answered by a significative action instead of speech, never conceived that this Command was an imparted information of that kind, but rather a typical representation unsought, and given in an enjoined Rite; of whose import Abraham had then no knowledge *
4. Again, We find the Revelation of the redemption of mankind in that very place, where, if considered only in itself, and not relatively, as the completion of the rest, we should, according to all the rules of plain sense, be disposed to seek it. We must know then that this Revelation, as shall be proved from the words of JESUS, Abraham rejoiced to see my day, and he saw it, and was glad, was ardently desired and sought after by the Patriarch. Now the happiness or REDEMPTION of mankind promised, on Abraham's first Vocation, to come through him, could not but make him more and more inquisitive into the manner of its being brought about, in proportion as he found himself to be more and more personally concerned as the Instrument of so great a blessing. But every new Revelation would shew him still farther interested in this honour : Therefore, by the time Ishmael was ordered to be sent away, and the promised Seed fixed in Isaac, we must needs suppose bim very impatient to understand the Mystery of Redemption; and so, bitly prepared to receive this last and supreme Revelation. This, in the like cases, we find to be the disposition and state of mind in the holy nen of old. Thus Daniel, by the study of the Prophecies of Jeremiah, understanding the approaching restoration of the Jews, applies himself by fasting and prayer for God's further information; and the Angel Gabriel is sent unto bim. So John, anxious and solicitous for the suffering • See note [F] at the end of this Book. са
Church, being in prayers on the Lord's day, was favoured with all his glorious Revelations.
5. Again, The new light in which this Command is placed, dispels all that perplexity in the common interpretation (taken notice of above) arising from our ideas of a trial; where that which should in use and reason go before some extraordinary favour, is made to come after all. But now, according to our sense of the Command, the trial, as is meet, precedes the last and greatest favour ever bestowed by God on Abraham.
6. To confirm all this, we may consider that this interpretation of the Command is most easy and natural, as being intirely agreeable to the ancient way of communicating information. We have shewn * it to have been the general custom of Antiquity, in personal conferences, to instruct by actions instead of words ; a custom begun out of necessity, but continued out of choice, for the superior advantages it hath in making an impression. For motion, naturally significative, which enters at the. eye, hath a much stronger effect than articulate sound, only arbitrarily significative, which enters at the ear. We have shewn likewise, by numerous examples, that God hinself vouchsafed, in compliance to a general custom, to use this way of information, when he instructed the holy Patriarchs and Prophets in his Will.
7. Again, As the high importance of this Revelation seemed to require its being given in the strong and forcible way of actiont, so nothing can be conceived more apposite to convey the information required, than, this very action. Abraham desired earnestly to be let. into the mystery of the REDEMPTION; and God, to instruct him in the best manner humanity is capable of receiving instruction) in the infinite extent of divine goodness to mankind, who spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all 5, let Abrahamn feel, by ex
* See Book IV. § 4. † See note [G] at the end of this Bouk.. I Romviii. 32.
perience, what it was to lose a beloved Son ;-Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac; the Son born miraculously when Sarah was past child-bearing, as Jesus was miraculously born of a pure Virgin. The duration too of the action was the same as that between Christ's Death and Resurrection ; both which were designed to be represented in it: and still farther, not only the final archietypical Sacrifice of the Son of God was figured in the command to offer Isaac, but the intermediate Typical sacrifice, in the Mosaic Economy, was represented, by the permitted sacrifice of the Ram offered UP instead of Isaac.
8. The last reason I shall offer in support of this point, that the Commirand concerning Isaac was this Revelation of Christ's day, or the redemption of mankind by his death and sufferings, is the aHusion which Jesus makes (in these words, Abraham rejoiced to see my day, &c.) to the following words of Moses, in the history of the command-And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovah-jireh: as it is said to this day, I'm the mount of the Lord it shall be seen.
To shew that Jesus alluded to these words of Moses, and had them in his eye, when he speaks of Abraham rejoicing to see his day, it will be proper to consider the true force and meaning of either text. The words of Jesus have been fully considered already *.
And, in the words of Moses-- Abraham called the name of that place Jehovah-jireh : as it is said to this day, In the mount of the Lord it shall be seen—we have the assertion of Jesus confirmed, that Abraham satu Christ's day, and was glad. 1, Jehovah-jireh signifies, as several of the best interpreters agree, THE LORD SHALL BE SEEN T. But with what propriety could this
* See p. 6. & seq.
†“ Dominus videbitur, (says the learned Father Houbigant) * 1°, Non videtur, ne ab futuro verbi aberremus. 2o, Non videbit, non * modo quia non açditur quid sit Deus visurus, sed etiam quia in tota
name be given to it by Abraham, if, in this transaction, he had not seen the representation of the Lord's passion, which was to happen in a future ave? And if he did see it, how apposite was the name! The Historian goes on--as it is said to this day, In the mount of the Lord it shall be scen; or more exactly to the Hebrew-for he said, in the mount THE LORD SHALL BE SEEN. In the first part of the verse, the sacred Historian tells us that Abrahain called the mount, The Lord shall be seen; and in the latter part he acquaints us with the manner how Abraham imposed that appellation, namely, by the use of a proverbial speech implying the reason of the name-To-day in the mount, the Lord shall be seen*. Proverbial speeches, before the general use of recording abstract names and things by writing, being the best and safest conveyance of the memory of events to Posterity. Conformably to this interpretation of the text, the Historian on his entrance on the transaction calls the land of
* illa visione, hominis est videre, Domini, videri; propter quam
causain Deus locum istum mox nomine visionis insigniebat. Nimi6 rum Deus Abrahamo id ostendit, quod Abraham vidit & gavisus 66 est.”. The near relation of these words of Jesus to those of Moses, was too strongly marked to be overlooked by this very judicious Critic, though he considered the transaction in no other light than as a Type of the death and passion of Jesus.
Atque hoc illud est (says Father Houbigant) quod memoriæ sempiternæ Abraham consecrabat, cum ita subjungeret hodie in monte, Dominus videbitur; illud hodie si accipiens, ut accepit Paulus Ap. illud Davidis, hudie si vocem ejus audieritis; quod hudie tamdiu durat, quamdiu sæcula illa durabunt, de quibus Apostolus donec hodie cognominatur. Propterea Abraham non dicit, hodie Dominus videtur. Nam id spectaculum nunc solus videt Abraham, postea omnes visuri sunt, et ad omnes pertinebit istud, ridebitur, generatim dictum, cam omnes Unigenitum in monte viderint generis huinani victimam factam. Nec aliam sententiam series verbosi patitur. Ex
qua serie illi deviant, qui hæc verba, divit enim hulie in monte dominus—Mosi sic parranti attribuunt, propterea dicitur hodie in monte Domini- quasi renarret Moyses usurpatunı sua ætate proverbium. Nam si sic erit, non jam docebit Abrahar, cui huic loco nomen fecerit Dominus ridebitur; quam tamen nominum notationem in sacris p.ginis nun omittunt ii, quicumque nomina rebus imponunt. Quod contra plane docebit Abraham si de e.) Moysis sic narrat, tocarit nomen loci hujus, DEUS VIDEBITUR; nam dixit, in monte Deus videbitur,