« ForrigeFortsæt »
according to the covenant which he made with their fathers in the day of the exodus, that is to say, a covenant loaded with a burdensome though highly significant ritual; but a covenant of a purely spiritual nature, by virtue of which the divine Law should be written upon their hearts, and every man should know the Lord in truth from the least to the greatest. Nor was this better covenant to be exclusively confined to Israel. So far from it, though the ancient people of God are at length to be brought within its pale; yet we are expressly taught by an oracle delivered under the Law, both that they in the first instance should not be gathered to the promised Saviour, and that the Gentiles should be gathered to him. In this oracle, the Saviour himself is introduced as the speaker, under his mystic name of Israel: for, as the national Israel was one of his numerous types, he is frequently designated by the proper appellation of the type itself; just as as his precursor John the Baptist is mystically styled Elijah, and as his Church is mystically denominated Jerusalem. Listen, O isles, unto me; and hearken, ye people from far: the Lord hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name. And he hath made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of his hand hath he hid me: and hath made me a polished shaft; in his quiver hath he hid me. And he said unto me, Thou art my ser
Jerem. xxxi. 31-34.
See this matter discussed at large hereafter: sect. iii. c. 3. § IV.
vant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified. Then I said, I have laboured in vain; I have spent my strength for nought and in vain: yet surely my judgment is with the Lord; and my work, with my God. And now saith the Lord that formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob again to him: Though Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the Lord; and my God shall be my strength. And he said, It is a light thing, that thou shouldst be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth. As the Gentiles were thus to be the subjects of the third dispensation, which is described as a NEW Covenant contradistinctively to the OLD or Levitical covenant made at the epoch of the exodus: so we are informed, that this crowning dispensation was to be characterised by perpetuity no less than by catholicity. Unto us, saith Isaiah, a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called, Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The father of the everlasting age, The prince of peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David and upon his kingdom; to order it and to establish it, with judgment and with justice, from henceforth even for ever. To the same purpose speaks the prophet
2 Ibid. ix. 6, 7.
'Isaiah xlix. 1—6.
Daniel. In the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever. I saw in the night visions; and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away; and his kingdom that, which shall not be destroyed.
Of an exactly similar description is the testimony of the third dispensation respecting itself. Take heed, said Jesus to his disciples, that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations: and then shall the end come. All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and make disciples out of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost; teaching them to observe all things, whatsoever I have commanded you. And, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. With the
Dan. ii. 44.
2 Ibid. vii. 13, 14.
3 Matt. xxiv. 4, 5, 14.
+ Ibid. xxviii. 18-20.
same reference to its characteristic perpetuity, St. John styles the peculiar code of the third dispensation the everlasting gospel: and, in allusion also to its characteristic universality, he speaks of it, as being preached unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people. The whole indeed of the apocalyptic prophecy is no other than a continued testimony to this very purpose: for, as it describes the varied fortunes of the Christian Church from the days of the apostle to the final consummation of all things; it of course declares, that the third dispensation should never be followed by another. Hence the entire Apocalypse may be viewed as a running comment upon the brief, though decisive, prediction of our Lord, that he would build his Church upon a rock, and that the gates of hell should never prevail against it.*
VII. The three dispensations being thus constituent parts of one grand whole, we may naturally expect, that, as they successively gave place to each other, nothing would be repealed or altered beyond what the progressive development of God's plan absolutely required. On this principle, much of Patriarchism was adopted into the Levitical dispensation; and much of the Levitical dispensation was retained in the Christian.
1. Numerous are the particulars, in which the Hebrew Law has systematically borrowed from the ancient rites and ordinances of Patriarchism.
(1.) The typical sacrifice of animals existed from the beginning: and, as the rite was ever esteemed piacular, so it was received into the Church of Israel associated with the same ideas as those which prevailed respecting it in the Patriarchal Church.
(2.) This practice of devoting animal victims involved the distinction of all animals into the two classes of clean and unclean: the former being deemed fit for sacrifice; the latter, unfit.
The distinction itself systematically respected the physical characteristics of the animals: and, as every sacrifice was of old a feast, that, which properly originated from sacrifice only, was further extended to the selection of ordinary food. Now each victim was a type or shadow of the promised Seed, under the aspect of sustaining the rupture of his heel or mortal part. No animals therefore were reckoned appropriate symbols of a holy and. pure and benignant character, except those which might be thought to bear some resemblance to such a character. Hence every animal of a filthy or obscene or ferocious nature was carefully set aside, as unfit for the purposes of sacrifice and all these were on that account pronounced to be unclean; while those of opposite qualities, being used as suitable victims, were analogically declared to be clean.
The distinction before us certainly subsisted as early as the time of the flood: and, since we are not obscurely taught by the practice of Noah, that it originated from the rite of sacrifice; we have no