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a covenant-head, represent the rich who should present of their flocks and herds to the Lord, but of the poor, who of their poverty should present offerings absolutely less valuable, but not the less acceptable ;—these offerings pointed out that the Covenant of God should be laid hold upon when the shadows which preceded the glorious reality of the “ One Sacrifice” that had been foreordained would have come to an end, and there should succeed sacrifices spiritual in their stead, acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
And circumcision, prefiguring Christ given for a covenant of the people, who, in the nature of man shedding his blood, should ratify God's covenant; and marking the people of God, sealing to them the Covenant of Grace, and pointing out their newness of life, regeneration, and deliverance from the vileness of sin, testified to the claims of obedience to the mandate of God in Covenant, which none could, but at the greatest peril, disregard. These types and others all pointed to the Redeemer. To the work which he had, from the days of eternity, Covenanted to perform, they gave prospective testimony. But of the effects of his mighty working upon
the hearts of men, in leading them to keep his Covenant, they were not the less appointed symbols, nor were they less designed to teach that, but for the arrangements of that Covenant which had been made with him, there had not been made such manifestations of the power of his grace.
Through miracles. These were wrought in order to declare how near the chosen of God, as a people, were brought unto him, and how great was the covenant provision that had been made for them. The flame of fire which appeared on many solemn occasions, held a signal place among these. The “flaming sword,” or the flame that dries up, or that which burns, displayed between the cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden; the flame of
fire in which the Angel of the Lord appeared unto Moses out of the midst of a bush, when He made himself known to him as the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; the flame of fire which appeared on the top of Mount Sinai when the Lord made a covenant with Israel; the pillar of fire by night, which accompanied Israel during their journeyings in the wilderness; the fire which was wont to descend and consume, in token of the acceptance of them, the sacrifices laid on God's altar-all testified to the gracious nearness of God to his covenant people. The cherubim, emblems of the ministry of reconciliation, first displayed immediately after the sin of man, represented afterwards in the act of looking upon the ark of the covenant in the tabernacle and temple, presented in vision before Ezekiel about to be sent to the rebellious house of Israel, and which, though denominated seraphim, were in like manner seen by Isaiah, when about to go forth to proclaim messages to the same people ; through many ages pointed out that the servants of God in his house, by his appointment were set apart to unfold the truths of his Covenant. The dividing of the waters of the Red Sea, and the passage of Israel through the midst of it; and the presence of the cloud, in which, as well as in the sea, they were baptised ; 51 and the cutting off of the waters, and the passing over of Jordan on dry ground, after the feet of the priests that bare the ark rested in its stream—manifested the almighty power of Him who had Covenanted to bring his people to a land of inheritance. The provision of bread from heaven, and water from the rock in the wilderness, showed in part how great were the resources of Him who had
promised to his people, but not in vain. And the miracles wrought by the Redeemer in our world, from the over-ruling of external nature, to the
51 1 Cor. x. 1, 2.
feeding of the hungry with food, the healing of diseases, the casting out of devils, the raising of the dead, and his own resurrection, taught that He had come to manifest his power, to give that eternal life that was promised in the Everlasting Covenant to all who were ordained to it. The subject of the import of the miracles that were wrought by Him and by the Holy Spirit, is exhaustless. Yet all of them are to be viewed as having been performed in order to the accomplishment of the Covenant's design.
Through the teaching of the prophets. That was addressed in the name of the Lord as God in Covenant: to Israel as a covenant people, it was extended : and it embodied only the revelations of the Covenant. It included sketches of the history of the Covenant alone; under imagery, the most varied and expressive, as well as by direct explicit statements, it unfolded the relations subsisting between God and his privileged people; and, in like manner, presented the future history of the Church, incorporated by solemn confederation.
Through the whole of the Old Testament Scriptures. The scope of these in general, and of many representations of them in particular, illustrates the bearing of every fact in the history of the Church upon the Covenant. As illustrations, some designations both of Christ and his people, may be adverted to. He is introduced as a HUSBAND, 52 and, consequently, as the Head of his people, engaged to him by vow.53 He is exhibited as the CAPTAIN of the Lord's host, and as a LEADER and Commander to the people.54 That he might be presented as at once of the lineage of David according to the flesh, as the author of everlasting righteousness, as allied in the capacity of the Firstborn among many brethren to the Church redeemed by his blood, and as the Builder and the 52 Is. liv. 5.
53 Jer. xxxi. 32. 54 Josh. v. 15; Is. lv. 4.
Head thereof, and Head over all things to it, he is denominated the BRANCH.55 As the Covenant of the people he is revealed, to denote that he is the Mediator of the Covenant, and that in that capacity he received the gift of the people of the Covenant, fulfilled its conditions by obeying the law and presenting himself as a covenant sacrifice, appeared as a sign of the Covenant, and was to carry into final effect the whole scheme of it. As the Days-Man,56 he is made known, to intimate that, by Him alone, and only in a covenant relacion, men chargeable with sin can hold communion with God. As the LADDER,57 he is spoken of, to point him out as, in the natures of God and man, the only means of communication between earth and heaven. As a Witness 58_to the people, he is described to be given by the Father, and consequently according to his own voluntary engagement. And as Shiloh, he was promised, and his people thus received him as their Peace-provided in the Covenant.59 And his Church is denominated his portion, and the lot of his inheritance. In various passages she is described as peaceable or perfect, and is thus presented as in Covenant. And as Israel
, the loved of the Lord, she appears under his promised protection. And, to give and conclude with one illustration more belonging to this place, reference may be made to two terms. First, atonement (703—-xataMayn.) 66 The idea that seems to be expressed by this word, is that of averting some dreaded consequence by means of a substitutionary interposition. It thus fitly denotes the doctrine of salvation from sin and wrath, by a ransom of infinite worth.” Secondly, reconciliation. " This term occurs in both the Old and New Testaments several times. But it is
But it is gener55 Zech. iii. 8; vi. 12, 13; Jer. xxiii. 5, 6.
36 Job ix. 33. 57 Gen, xxviii. 12. 58 Is. lv. 4.
Eph. ii. 14. 61 Is, xxxii. 18; Is. xlii. 19.
ally, if not always, used as a translation of the original words above explained. Indeed, as has already been remarked, it is quite synonymous with the term atonement, involving the same ideas and serving the same purposes.
It supposes bringing into a state of good agreement parties who have had cause to be at variance, as is the case with God and his sinful creature man.”61 The two terms, therefore, manifestly stand connected with the representations given of a covenant state. The Hebrew term of which each of them is a translation, accordingly means both the ground of covenant privilege, and also that privilege enjoyed by men. The term cannot be interpreted independently of a reference to the Covenant of God. But for that Covenant, there had been no atonement. With the forgiveness of sin, atonement is indissolubly connected. The latter is never presented in Scripture without reference to the former. It was not alone the slaying and offering of sacrifice, but also the sprinkling of blood that made atonement. Where the blood was not sprinkled, sin was not put away, and no atonement was made. Where the blood was sprinkled, and accordingly sin was representatively put away, atonement was always effected. Only the following passage will be referred to here in corroboration of this. “If there be a messenger with him, an interpreter, one among a thousand, to show unto man his uprightness; then he is gracious unto him, and saith, Deliver him from going down to the pit; I have found a ransom (an atonement).” 62 The reason for giving deliverance therefore was, that an atonement was found. Had the atonement been found for two, accordingly two would have been delivered. Had it been found
61 “ The Atonement and Intercession of Jesus Christ.” By the Rev. Dr. William Symington. 2d Ed., pp. 9, 10, 11.
62 Job xxxiii. 23, 24.