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Moriah, to which Abraham went with Isaac (according to Jerom's interpretation), the LAND OF VISION, which shews that the words of Jesus, Abrahum SAW MY DAY, and was GLAD, evidently allude to this extraordinary circumstance; namely, the disposition of Abraham's mind on the occasion, expressed in his memorial of a new name imposed on the scene of action; the ancient way of commemorating joyful and happy.cvents. In a word, Jesus says, Abraham saw his day; and Abrahain, by the name be iinposed upon the mount, declares the same thing. But as the vision was of a public, not of a private nature, he expresses himself in terins which siguify what mankind in general shall sce, not what he hiinself had seen--THE LORD SHALL BE SEEN. From a vague allusion, therefore, of the words of Jesus, to this history of the command in general, we have now fixed them to the very words of Moses, to which they more particularly refer.
The sum then of the Argument is this--Jesus expressly says that Abraham saw, and rejoiced to see, his day, or the great Sacrifice for the sins of mankind by representation - The records of sacred History must needs verify his assertion-But there is no place in Scripture which presents the least traces of this. Revelation, except the history of the Command to offer Isaac. This history not only easily and naturally admits of such a sense, but even demands it--And reciprocally, this sense gives all imaginable light to the History; and removes the greatest difficulties attending the common interpretation of it. Hence, we conclude with certainty, that the command to Abraham to offer up his son was only an INFORMATION IN ACTION, which, at Abraham's earnest request, Ciod was graciously pleased to give him of the great sacrifice of Christ for the Redemption of mankind. The thing to be proved. Two great ends seem to be gained by this interpretation: The one, to free the Command from a supposed violation of natural
Law; Law; The other, to support the connexion and dependency between the two Revelations; for this interpretation makes the history of the Command a DIRECT Prophesy of Christ as Redeemer of the world; whereas the common brings it, at most, but to a TYPICAL intiination. Now the Defenders * of the common interpretation confess, that “the evidence of direct Prophecies is superior to that of Types."
The only plausible Objection which can be made to my explanation, I conceive to be the following..“ That what
is here supposed the principal and proper reason of the “ Command, is not at all mentioned by the sacred Histo“ rian; but another, of a different nature; namely, the « Trial of Abraham's faith and obedience-And it came
to pass after these things, God did tempt Abraham, " and said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac-And « when the affair is over, the same reason is again in“ sinuated :-By myself have I sworn, saith the Lord,
for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not “ withheld thy son, thine only son, that in blessing I “ will bless theet,” &c.
1. To the first part of the Objection I answer, That the knowledge of God's future dispensation in the redemption of mankind by the death of his Son, revealed, as a singular grace, to the Father of the Faithful, was what could by no means be communicated to the Hebrew People, when Moses wrote this History for their use ; because they being then to continue long under a carnal Economy, this knowļedge, of the END OF THE LAW, would have greatly indisposed them to a Dispensation, with which (as a Schoolmaster, that was to bring them by degrees, through a harsh and rugged discipline, to the easy yoke of CHRIST) God, in his infinite wisdom, thought fit to exercise them I. But he who does not see, from the plain reason of the thing, the necessity of the • Dr. Stebbing,
+ Gen. xxii. 16, 17. | See note [H] at the end of this Book,
Historian's silence, is referred, for farther satisfaction, tó what hath been already, and will be hereafter said, to evince the necessity of such a conduct, in other momeritous points relating to that future Dispensation.
In the mean time, I give him St. Paul's word for this conduct of Moses, who expresely tells us, that he ob6cured some parts of his history, or put a veil over his face, that the Israelites might not see to the end of that Law which was to be abolished. And what was that end, if not the Redemption of mankind by the death and sacrifice of Christ?-Moses (says he) put a veil over his face, that the Children of Israel could not stedfastly look to the end of that which is abolished. But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same veil untaken away, in the reading of the Old Testament ; which veil is done away in Christ*.
But it may be asked, perhaps, “ If such Revelations could not be clearly recorded, why were they recorded at all?” For a very plain as well as weighty reason; that when the fulness of time should come, they might
in Evidence against Infidelity, for the real relation and dependency between the two Dispensations of Moses and of Christ t; when from this, and divers the like instances it should appear, that the first Dispensation could be but very imperfectly understood without a reference to the latter.
But had not the sacred Writer designedly obscured this illustrious Revelation, by an omission of the attendant circumstances, yet the narrative of such a converse by action was not in its nature so intelligible or obvious, as that where God is shewn conversing by action, to the Prophets, in the several instances formerly given † And the reason is this. Those informations, as they are given to the Prophets for the instruction of the People, have necessarily, in the course of the history, their ex
* 2 Cor. ii. 13, 14. And see note (I) at the end of this Book. of See note [K) at the end of this Book. See Book IV. 94.
planations annexed. But the information to Abraham being solely for his our private consolation (as Dr. Scott expresses it above) there was no room for that formal explanation, which made the commanded actions to the Prophets so clear and intelligible.--Yet, as if I had never said this, Dr. Stebbing tells the world, I make this action of Abraham's parallel to those of the Prophets; whereas (says he) it differs from them all in a very material circumstance, as they had their several explanations annered, and this had not. But to siew by example, as well as comparison, that obscurity is naturally attendant on the relation of conoci'se by action, where the information is for the sake of the Actor only, I shall instance in a case where no obscurity was affected by the Historian. It is the relation of Jacob's wrestling with the Angel * The Patriarch, on his return from Haran to his native Country, hearing of his brother Esau's power, and dreading his resentment for the defrauded Birthright, addresses himself for protection in this distress to the God of his Fathers, with all humility and confidence. God hears his prayer; and is pleased to inform him of the happy issue of the adventure, by a significative action; The following night, he has a struggle with an Angel, with whom he is suffered to make his part so good, that from thence he collected God had granted his petition. This is the circumstance in Jacob's history, which affords such mirth to our illiterate Libertines: For this informui ion by action concerning only the Actor, who little needed to be told the meaning of a mode of Instruction, at that time in vulgar use, hath now an obscurity which the Scripture-relations of the same mode of information to the Prophets are free from, by reason of their being given for the use of the People, to whom they were explained.
But it may perhaps be asked, "Why, when the fulness of time was come, Scripture did not break its long silence, * Gen. xxii. 4, etc.
aud and instruct us in the principal and proper reason of the Command to offer Isaac?” I answer, that it has done so.
The words of Jesus are a convincing proof. Nay, I might go farther, and say that this is not the only place where the true reason of the Command is plainly hinted at. The Author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, speaking of this very Command, says- ---By faith Abraham, when he was tried, ofered up Isaac-accounting that God was able to raise him up even from the dead, from whence also he received him IN A FIGURE*; EN IIAPABOAHı, in a Parable: a mode of information either by words or actions, which consists in putting one thing for another. Now, in a Writer who regarded this com, manded action as a representative information of the Redemption of mankind, nothing could be more five or easy than this expression. For, thongh Abraham did not indeed receive Isaac restored to life after a real dissolution, yet the Son being in this action to represent CHRIST suffering death for the sins of the world, when the Father brought him safe from mount Moriah after three days, (during which the Son was in a state of condemnation to death) the Father plainly liceived him, under the character of Christ's Representative, as restored from the dead. For, as his being brought to the mount, there · bound, and laid upon the Altar, figured the death and sufferings of Christ, so his being taken from thence alive, as properly figured Christ's Resurrection from the dead. With the bighest propriety therefore and elegance of speech, might Abraham be said to receive Isaac from the dead in a porabit, or in representation f. But the nature of the command not being understood, these words of the epistle lave been hitiierto interpreted, to signity only that Isaac uus a type of Christ, in the same sense that the old Tabernacle, in this epistle \, is calied a type---ýtis TIAPABQAH, that is, a tì ing designed by the Chap. xi. ver. 17-19.
† See note [L] at the end. Chap. ix. ver, 9.