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ture as it is natural in itself. Thus that signal catastrophe in the fortunes of the Jewish People, both temporal and spiritual, their Restoration, is called their DAY—Then shall the Children of Judah (says God by the Prophet Hosea) and the children of Israel, be gathered together, and appoint themselves one head, and they shall come up out of the land: for great shall be THE DAY of Israel *.
2. But not only the matter, but the manner, likewise of this great Revelation, is delivered in the text--Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.ένα IΔΗι την ημέραν την εμήν και ΕΙΔΕ-This evidently shews the Revelation to have been made, not by relation in words, but by REPRESENTATIon in action. The verb gidw is frequently used in the New Testament, in its proper signification, to see sensibly. But whether used literally or figuratively, it always denotes a full intuition. That the expression was as strong in the Syrian language used by Jesus, as here in the Greek of his Historian, appears from the reply the Jews made to him-Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou SEEN Abra-, ham t? Plainly intimating that they understood the assertion of Abraham's seeing Christ's day to be a real beholding him in person. We must conclude therefore, from the words of the text, that the Redemption of Mankind was not only revealed to Abraham, but was revealed likewise by representation. A late Writer, extremely well skilled in the style of Scripture, was so sensible of the force of Jesus's words, that, though he had no suspicion they related to any part of Abraham's recorded history, yet he saw plainly they implied an information by representation-Thus also Abraham (says he) saw the day of Christ, and was glad. But this must be in a typical or prophetical vision 1.-The excellent Dr. Scott is of the same opinion. He supposes “the words refer to some peculiar discoveries, which the Spirit of God
* Chap. i. ver. il. + John viii. 57
might make to Abraham, for his own private consolation, though not recorded in Scripture *
So far, then, is clear, that Abraham had indeed this Revelation. The next question will be, whether we can reasonably expect to find it in the history of his life, recorded in the Old Testament? And that we may find it here, both the words of Jesus, and the nature of the thing, assure us.
1. We learn, by the history of Christ's Ministry, that in his disputations with the Jews, he never urged them with any circumstance of God's Dispensations to their Forefathers, which they either were not, or might not be, well acquainted with by the study of their Scriptures. The reason is evident. His credentials were twofold, SCRIPTURE and MIRACLES. In the first way therefore of confirming bis Mission, if, instead of appealing to the course of God's Dispensation to his chosen People, as delivered in Scripture, he had given them an unknown history of that Dispensation, (as was one of the tricks of Mahomet in his Alcoran) such a method had been so far from supporting his Character, that it would have heightened the unfavourable prejudices of Unbelievers towards him : as looking like a confession that the known history was against him; and that he was forced to invent a new one, to countenance his pretensions. He must, therefore, for the necessary support of his Character, appeal to some acknowleged Facts. These were all contained in SCRIPTURE and TRADITION. But, we know, he always studiously declined supporting himself on their Traditions, though they were full of circumstances favourable to the Religion he came to propagate, such as the doctrines of eternal Life, and the Resur, rection of the Body: Nay, he took all occasions of decrying their TRADITIONS as impious 'corruptions, by which they had rendered the WRITTEN word of none effect. We conclude, therefore, from Jesus's own * Christian Life, Vol. V, p. 194.
words, words, that the circunstance of Abraham's knowledge of his Day is certainly to be found in Abraham's history : Not in so clear a manner, indeed, as to be understood by a Carnal-minded Jew, nor even by a System-making Christian, for reasons hereafter to be explained; yet certainly There; and certainly proved to be There, by the best rules of logic and criticism.
2. But though this did not' (as it does) appear from the words of Jesus, yet it might be collected from the very nature of the thing. For, admit only the fact (as we now must) that Abraham did see Christ's Day, and it is utterly incredible that so capital a circumstance should be omitted in his History, a sacred Record, preordained for one of the supports and evidences of CHRIST's Religion. That it could not be delivered in the book of Genesis, in terms plainly to be understood by the People, during the first periods of a preparatory Dispensation, is very certain ; as will be seen hereafter : But then, this is far from being a reason why it should not be recorded at all : Great ends, such as supporting the truth of the future Dispensation, being to be gained by the delivery of it even in so obscure a manner.
Having thus far cleared our way, and shewn, that the doctrine of Redemption was revealed to Abraham; and that the history of that Revelation is recorded in Scripture; we proceed to the proof of these two points :
1. That there is no place, in the whole history of Abraham, but this, where he is commanded to offer up his Son, which bears the least marks or resemblance of such à Revelation.
II. That this Command to offer up his Son, has all the marks of such a Revelation.
I. On the first head, it will be necessary to give a short abstract of Abraham's story : in which we find a regular account of the course and order of God's Dispensations to him, from the time of his being called out of Chaldea,
to the Command to offer up his Son Isaac; the last of God's Revelations to him, recorded in Scripture.
The first notice given us of this Patriarch is in the account of his Genealogy, Family, and Country* We are then toldt, that God called him from his father's house to a Land which he should shew him: And to excite his obedience, he promises to make of him a great Nation 1: to have him in his peculiar protection, and to make all the Nations of the Earth blessed through himą. The last part of this promise is remarkable, as it contains the proper end of God's Choice and Separation of him and his Posterity; and so, very fitly made, by the sacred Writer, the foundation of the history of God's Dispensations to him; and a mark to direct the reader to what, they are all ultimately to be referred. Which, by the way, exposes the extreme absurdity in Collins and Tindal, who would have the blessing here promised to be only an Eastern form of speech, honourable to the Father of the Faithful.When Abraham, in obedience to this command, was come into the land of Canaan, God vouchsafed him a farther Revelation of his Will; and now told him, that this was the Land (which he had before said he would shew him) to be inherited by his Seed** When he returned from Egypt, God revealed himself still farther, and marked out the boundstt of that Land, which he assured him should be to him and his Seed for everft. Which Seed should be as the dust of the earth for numbergs. After all these gracious and repeated assurances, we may well suppose Abraham to be now grown uneasy at his Wife's barrenness, and his own want of issue to inherit the Promises. Accordingly, we find him much disturbed with these apprehensions || |; and that GOD, to remove them, appeared to him in a vision,
* Gen. xi. 27, & seq.
+ Chap. xii. ver. 1,
| Ver. 2.
$$ Ver. 16.
and said, Fear not, Abram; I am thy shield, and exceeding great reward. Abraham, thus encouraged to tell his grief, confessed it to be for his want of issue, and for that he suspected the promised blessings were to be inherited by his adopted children, the sons of his servant Eliezer of Damascus *. To ease him of this disquiet, GOD was now pleased to acquaint him, that his design was not, that an adopted son should inherit, but one out of his own bowelst. And, for farther assurance, he instructs him in the various fortunes of his Posterity—That his Seed should be a stranger in a Land that was not theirs, which Land should afflict them four hundred years, and that then he would judge that Nation, and afterwards bring them out with great substance to inherit the Land of Canaant. At the same time God more particularly marks out the bounds of the Promised Land, and reckons up the several Nations which then inhabited itg. Things being in this train, and Abraham now satisfied that the Seed of his loins was to inherit the Promises ; Sarah, on account of her sterility, persuaded her Husband to go in unto her Hand-maid Hagar, the Egyptian ||In this she indulged her own vanity and ambition; she would have a Son whom she might adopt; It may (says she) that I may obtain children by her**; and she flattered herself with being, at the same time, an instrument to promote the designs of Providence: Behold now (says she) the Lord hath restrained me from bearing. To this project Abraham consented. Hagar conceived, and bare a Son, called Ishmaelft. The good Patriarch was now fully satisfied: He grew fond of Ishmael; and reckoned upon him for the inheritor of the promises. To correct this mistake, God vouchsafed him a new Revelation 11; in which he is told, that God would not only, (as had been before promised) bless and multiply his * Chap. xv. ver. 2, 3.
+ Ver. 4. & Ver. 18. to the end. Chap. xvi. tt Ver. 15.
t! Chap xvii
Ver. 13, 14, ** Ver. 2.