« ForrigeFortsæt »
they nor we can clain to be inspired teachers, must be developed on the same principles that the meaning of any other book is developed ; and they assuredly possess not, by mere virtue of national descent, any special prerogative of exposition. Yet, when so many retnarkable things are said respecting the Angel of Jehovah, and when the Hebrew Scriptures themselves announce the calling of the Gentiles into the extended pale of the Church; we cannot but be anxious to know, what at different periods the Jewish doctors have taught upon these important topics.
I. As for the general drift and purpose of the Law, which
may well be viewed as subincluding its predecessor the Patriarchal dispensation, many are the testimonies borne by the Jews to the truth of St. Paul's doctrine, that the Law is a shadow of good things to come, and that all the sacrifices and rites and statutes of the Old Testament relate to the predicted Messiah.
1. They set out with the following very extensive proposition. All things, which are mentioned in the Law and the Prophets and the Hagiographa, relate to the Wisdom. Now, by the cabalistic term Wisdom, which they use convertibly with Dabar or Memra or the Word, they designate, as it is well known, the Messiah : and, from this practice of his forefathers, St. Paul seems to have studiously denominated Christ the power of God and the Wisdom of God.'
1 Corinth. i. 24, 30.
To their general proposition they strictly adhere, when they descend to particulars ; maintaining, that, under the literal sense of the words set forth in the Law, a mystical or ulterior meaning lies concealed. Such is the doctrine of the Babylonian Talmud. Whosoever expounds the text according to its form, that is, according to its mere literal sense, lo, he is a liar.
To the same purpose speaks the gloss upon the Talmud. The figures of the tabernacle relate to spiritual figures, that we may learn from thence more sublime truths. Such also is the doctrine of R. Samuel Laniadu. In the study of the Law, a double method is to be observed : the one, that its literal meaning may be acquired; the other, that its hidden signification may be understood. Such again is the doctrine of R. Bechai. The statutes of Moses are a figure of spiritual things : and those spiritual things are above. In short, the Rabbins all agree, that the ceremonial Law had an immediate reference to the Messiah himself and to those sublime truths which it would be his office to inculcate.'
2. On the doctrine of the great sacrifice to be made by Christ for the sins of the whole world, shadowed out by the various sacrifices of the temple, the Rabbins are most curiously explicit.
The souls of the righteous, says the author of the Jalkut Chadash, make their boast in the Messiah : the chastisement, which is due to the sons of Adam, the Messiah immediately taketh away : upon him
! Præf. ad Maimon, de Vacca Rufa.
is the chastisement, and he taketh it away from Israel. And he is in the place of the offerings ; which, during the appointed time of the house of the sanctuary, were stretching forth the neck in eager expectation of his approach.'
To the same purpose speaks R. Menachem respecting the intent of the sacrificial rites.
The priest, while he ascends the altar, is found raising up his soul from the Lofty One to the Lofty One : and this is the mystery of the altar.' By these terms, we can only understand Jehovah and the Angel of Jehovah : indeed, as we shall presently see, the Rabbins are sufficiently explicit in declaring, that such is their meaning. The passage
then inay be paraphrased in the following manner. As the priest ascends the steps of the altar, he rises in contemplation to the Most High Jehovah through the merits of his Word the Most High Angel of Jehovah : and, in the mysterious sacrifice which he is about to offer on the altar, he views with the eye of faith the sufferings of the one great sacrifice for lost mankind. Such is the mystery of the altar.
According to Maimonides, R. Salomon Jarchi, and the Talmuds, when the priest sprinkled the blood of the victim upon the consecrated cakes and the hallowed utensils, he was always careful to do it in the form of a cross. The same symbolic figure was used, when the kings and the high
Dissert. in Maimon. de Vacc. Ruf. p. 492. 2 Ibid. p. 495.
priests were anointed. And, whenever they had occasion to move the victims or to wave the branches of the palm-tree, the motion was always made in such a manner, that the form of a cross might be expressed.' Whence they borrowed this peculiarity, I pretend not positively to determine: but I think it most probable, that they were led to it by a circumstance, which has been noticed by Justin Martyr. He says, that the spit, on which the paschal lamb was roasted, bore the exact figure of a cross : and he adds, that the fore-legs of the animal were stretched out and fastened to the transverse arms of this cruciform implement. The practice might perhaps in the first instance have been taken from the figure of the pole, on which Moses elevated the typical brazen serpent in the wilderness.
II. Equally remarkable are the sentiments, which they have avowed, respecting the Angel or Word of Jehovah, whom they confess to be the same person as the promised Messiah.
1. In giving a summary of them, we may properly begin with the Targums or standard paraphrases on the sacred text.
(1.) From these works I have already adduced a few passages : but I may be pardoned if I repeat them, along with other detached passages, in order that the whole evidence may be thrown together in a single point of view.
! Dissert. in Maimon. de Vacc. Ruf.
p. 497 ? Justin. Martyr. Dial, cum Tryph. Jud. p. 200.
When the text reads, They heard the Voice of the Lord God walking in the garden ; the Targums explain the passage to mean, They heard the Word of the Lord God walking, or somewhat more fully, They heard the voice of the Word of the Lord God walking. In point of grammatical construction, even the modern Jews allow, that the participle walking agrees with the Voice, and not with the Lord God. But walking is the attribute of a person. Therefore the Targums rightly gave the sense of the original, when they introduced the Word as the judge of our first parents.
On the birth of Cain, Eve exclaims, I have gotten the man, even Jehovah his very self. The paraphrast renders the whole verse in the following
And Adam knew his wife Eve, who desired the Angel : and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said; I have obtained the man, the Angel of Jehovah. Now, since Jehovah is the word used in the original, it is difficult to account for this paraphrastic exposition, unless we conclude, that, at the time when it was written, the Jews believed the Angel of Jehovah to be himself Jehovah, and expected him to be born incarnate from the womb of a mortal parent.
To this opinion we shall the rather incline, if we attend to another paraphrastic interpretation. The sacred text reads; In that day shall Jehovah of hosts be for a crown of glory, and for a diadem of beauty, unto the residue of his people.' But
i Isaiah xxviii. 5.