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but he will make us 'whole : he hath inflicted the wound, but he will apply the bandage. He will bring us to life after two days : in the third day, he will raise us up, and we shall live in his presence. The first of these three days was the Levitical dispensation, at the close of which Israel was nationally slain: the second is the militant Christian dispensation to the end of the allotted times of the Gentiles and of the predicted tribulation of the Jews, during which Israel lies nationally dead: the third is the triumphant Christian dispensation through the period of the millennium, in the allegorical morning of which, agreeably to the parallel prophecy of Ezekiel," Israel will be nationally raised up by Jehovah and will henceforth live in his presence.
V. We have another most remarkable prefiguration of Christ, viewed as the Lamb that taketh away the sins of the world, in the person of the patriarch Isaac.
1. This eminent character was the only son of Abraham and Sarah, born to them in their old age, and therefore peculiarly the object of their affection.
Now his father was specially commanded of heaven to offer him up as a burnt-sacrifice on the mountain of Moriah, where he arrived on the third day after receiving the command; three days therefore was Isaac virtually dead in the eyes of his parent: Christ, the only-begotten of his father, was offered
up on the saine mountain, and remained under the power of death three days. Abraham took the wood of the burnt-offering, and laid it upon
Isaac his son that he might bear it to the altar : Christ bore the load of his own cross, on which he was to be offered up as an expiation for our sins. Isaac, on the third day, was delivered from the sentence of death, and was restored to the arms of his father and to the enjoyment of life: Christ, on the third day, rose triumphant from the grave, clad in the glorious robes of immortality. Isaac yielded implicit obedience to the dictates of heaven, and made not the least resistance to the arm of his father, though he was of sufficient age to have easily overpowered the strength of an old man : Christ meekly submitted to a painful and ignominious death ; though he might by a single word have commanded the united efforts of twelve legions of angels to crush his enemies, or without such inferior assistance have destroyed them in a moment by the breath of his nostrils. Isaac was the child of promise, and was born out of the ordinary course of nature : the child Jesus was promised by a long train of types and prophecies from the very beginning of the world, and was born by the immediate
of God from a pure virgin, 2. St. Paul in short, while he places it beyond a doubt that Isaac was a type of Christ, intimates not obscurely, that the whole scene of the interrupted sacrifice was in reality au anticipatory dramatic representation of the future sacrifice of the Messiah,
By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac ; accounting, that God was able to raise him up even from the dead : from whence also he received him IN A FIGURE.'
The word, here rendered FIGURE, is in the original A PARABLE. But a parable is a sort of dramatic representation of spiritual things by natural : and this representation may be either practically set forth by proper agents, or it may be verbally exhibited in the form of an apologue or fable. Thus the part which Jeremiah performs with his linen girdle, the labours of the potter which he is commanded to study, the emigration of Ezekiel, and the marriage of Hosea, are all practical parables : while the apologues of Jotham and of Nathan and of Christ are severally parables, not acted, but delivered in words. Thus again the Levitical tabernacle is said by St. Paul to be a parable or figure or type of better things to come; and the Law is described by him as having a shadow of the future benefits of the Gospel :while, throughout the prophecies of Daniel and St. John, events, which are about to come to pass, are darkly exhibited to those who behold the visions through the medium of certain active symbols.
Now the whole affair of the sacrifice of Isaac was a parable indeed, as the apostle informs us ;
· Heb. xi. 17, 18.
2 Jerem. xiii. 1--11. 3 Jerem. xviii. 1-10. 4 Ezek. xii. 1-16. 3 Hosea i, ii, iii. • Heb. ix. 9.
1 Heb. x. I.
but a parable of the practical sort, as contradistinguished from the narrative parable. The father and the son had each a part to perform in the sacred drama. Abraham represented the Paternal Deity, who freely devotes his Son to death for the redemption of mankind : Isaac represented the Filial Deity, who voluntarily submits to death that so he may reconcile a world of sinners to their offended Creator. The precise nature of the relation, which God the Son bears to God the Father, is far beyond the limits of human comprehension : but this at least is unequivocally set forth by the terms Father and Son, that they partake of a common nature, that they are persons of the same order. Hence, in the mystic drama, their characters are sustained by a parent and his offspring, rather than by any other persons: that so we might learn the physical equality of Jehovah and the Messenger of Jehovah, whatever federal difference there may be between them, as the sender and the sent, as the master and his righteous servant.
3. The import of this parabolical drama is abundantly clear to us ; but the question is, whether it was equally well understood by the actor's.
Our Saviour himself, I am inclined to believe, decides the matter in the affirmative. Your father Abraham, said he to the Jews, rejoiced to see my day : he saw it, and was glad.' The day of Christ is eminently the day of his crucifixion. But when did Abraham behold this great day, unless he beheld it during the performance of the mystic drama of Isaac's sacrifice? And how could he intellectually then behold it, unless he understood the purport of the drama ? Our Lord assures us, that he not only saw it, but that he was likewise GLAD to see it. Now he might have seen it in the parable without understanding what it meant: but he could not have REJOICED to see it, unless he had been well acquainted with its nature.
1 John viii. 56.
Hence we seem inevitably obliged to conclude, that Abraham not only performed a part in the drama, but that the signification of the drama itself was fully revealed to him.'
4. As for the difficulty which the Jews found in believing Christ, because he was not yet fifty years old; that was in reality no objection to the truth of his assertion.
Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, before Abraham was, I am. That wonderful man, who claimed the incommunicable name of I AM, must have existed not only before Abraham, but before the foundations of the world were laid. It is plain that they thought him guilty of usurping the name of God, because otherwise there will be no reason why they should, in consequence of these words, take up stones to cast at him. Indeed, the peculiar grammatical construction of the sentence alone shews clearly, that they were per
See Bp. Warburton's Div. Legat. b. vi. sect. 5.