(B.T. Vol. 1, p. 99 (p.103) [7 sections].)
No. 1. — Historical Glance, and General Principles
No. 2. — Primeval Times
No. 3. — Typical Persons and Things in The Book of Genesis
No. 4. — The Histories of Exodus
No. 5. — The Tabernacle, and Its Vessels
No. 6. — The Priesthood
No. 7. — The Offerings of Leviticus
('Review of 'The Typology of Scripture; viewed in connection with the entire scheme of the Divine Dispensations'. By Patrick Fairbairn, Professor of Divinity, Free Church College, Aberdeen. Second Edition, much enlarged and improved, vols. i, ii. Edinburgh, T. & T. Clark, 1854.)
No. 1. — HISTORICAL GLANCE, AND GENERAL PRINCIPLES.
Every intelligent Christian will allow that the subject of types is of deep interest and importance. Notoriously, however, many shrink from it as if it were forbidden dangerous ground, shrouded in perpetual fog through which at intervals some gleams of sunshine pierce with difficulty. Not that this tract of Scriptural study is not rich and varied and attractive. No line of things in the Bible abounds more in living instruction, in appeals to conscience, in comfort to the heart, in confirmation of faith so much the stronger in the end because indirect in appearance. All one's old knowledge of that blessed book abides, as far as it was real; but, with a true insight into the types, comes a fresh and super-added light, which attaches the affections and the mind with immensely increased tenacity to the word of God. Not merely is it sweet to ponder over the scenes, the beings, the circumstances of the past, and the ways of God displayed in them; all this is enhanced when their typical aspect is laid hold of. Like the bread which multiplied under the hands and word of Christ; whence, after the thousands had fed, more is left to be carefully gathered up at the end, than existed at the beginning when none had eaten. If then the types had been commonly neglected, it is because they have been ill understood.
To this neglect the Greek fathers, and even the graver Latins have largely contributed; not intentionally of course, but through their lack of spirituality and sound judgment. Under their labours, if we may judge from their remains in many and ponderous folios, the field produced a crop, large perhaps, but mingled with baneful and unsightly weeds. Scarcely less luxuriant and capricious in their fancies, though far more redolent of Christ, were the divines of the seventeenth century, such as Cocceius and Witsius abroad, or Mather and Keach at home. For instance, if we select from the writings of Augustine, the greatest light of patristic antiquity, we have in his work on the gospel of St. John (Tract. xxiv. cap. vi. 5,) the following typical view of the miraculous loaves. The five loaves are taken as the five books of Moses, — not wheaten, but of barley, because they pertain to the Old Testament. As is barley, so is the letter of that Testament, with a rough and tenacious integument, but the marrow within. The lad that carried them and the two fishes, is conjectured to be Israel, bearing their burden with childish feeling, but not eating. The fishes are supposed to set forth the two anointed offices of Priest and King! This is certainly a match in extravagance, if not in the quantity of minute resemblances, to Guild, who, according to Dr. Fairbairn, reckons up no fewer than forty-nine typical links between Joseph and Christ, and seventeen between Jacob and Christ. Now while we assuredly gather that Joseph is, for reasons which may appear another time, an eminent figure of the Lord, we agree with our author that such superficial analogies as these writers make much off are unworthy to be considered as types. "Thus Jacob's being a supplanter of his brother is made to represent. Christ's supplanting death, sin, and Satan; his being obedient to his parents in all things, Christ's subjection to his heavenly Father and his earthly parents; his purchasing his birthright by red pottage, and obtaining the blessing by presenting savoury venison to his father, clothed in Esau's garment Christ's purchasing the heavenly inheritance for us by his red blood, and obtaining the blessing lay offering up the savoury meat of his obedience, in the borrowed garment of our nature," etc., (vol. i. p. 30).
From those who in ancient or in modern times had thus slipped out of the place of safe and humble inquiry into that of hasty guess-work, the reaction was too easy into the cold rationalistic theology of the eighteenth century, which blighted, almost indiscriminately, "the precious" and "the vile" of their predecessors. Indeed, it was not the typical portions of Scripture merely which then suffered an eclipse. Christ Himself was most indistinctly, if at all, seen as the sun of the Bible system; and, very naturally, that which prefigured him and his work sank in like proportion. Hence it has almost come to be an axiom among the popular guides of the day, "that just so much of the Old Testament is to be accounted typical as the New Testament affirms to be so, and no more" (Prof. M. Stuart). "By what means," says Bishop March, "shall we determine, in any given instance, that what is alleged as a type was really designed for a type? The only possible source of information on this subject is Scripture itself. The only possible means of knowing that two distant, though similar, historical facts were so connected in the general scheme of divine providence, that the one was designed to prefigure the other, is the authority of that book, in which the scheme of divine Providence is unfolded." So too Mr. H. Horne and many more. A principle narrower or more arbitrary can hardly be conceived. For it demands no profound research, nothing more than a careful reading of the New Testament, to observe that the way in which it mentions some Old Testament personages or events in no wise excludes others from a typical relation. Rather does it give us samples, some plain, and others more obscure. Far from discouraging, the New Testament stimulates the fullest and minutest investigation of the Old, the Holy Ghost using both as the perfect source and standard of revealed truth.
If it were merely meant that we must not, in our inference from a given type, overstep the teaching of dogmatic Scripture, none could object. If we were thereby exhorted to caution, where no express warrant labels the type, the counsel would be valuable. But it is plain, if one read Genesis without bias, that Adam and Eve have no marks there which so unequivocally distinguish them from Cain and Abel, that the former pair, and not the latter, had a typical design. One of the rigid school answers that St Paul decides the question as to Adam in Rom. 5, and another ventures to think that he is nearly as plain about Eve in Eph. 5. Not at all, cries the voice of Mr. Lord across the Atlantic, the word τίπος Only means a similitude, not type properly, in Rom. 5, and nothing of the sort is said in Eph. 5. Thus the direct tendency of this demand for chapter and verse in the New Testament touching the Old is to limit us to a minimum of typical instruction, if not to rob us of it altogether.
The fact is, that Scripture differs from mere books of information and science, inasmuch as these are wholly irrespective of moral condition and may be mastered alike by the evil and the good, while that depends on our measure of subjection to the Spirit of God. And as the children of God are not equally spiritual, so they differ in the degree of their understanding of and relish for all that is of God. If all Christians had a single eye, every one would be full of light. But this is not so. Each has to contend with influences, prejudices, prepossessions, etc., which, as far as they work, obscure the judgment, and thus lead to differing views and practice. Hence it is that the evidence of the word which is irresistible to one is weak or null to another, rightly or wrongly, of course, as a man is led by the Spirit. To take the same example as before, a man better taught than Bishop Marsh would see ground, in Jude 11 and Heb. 12:24, for interpreting Cain and Abel typically. And if they are to be so taken, why not Lamech and Seth, of whom serious and interesting facts are recorded in the same chapter? Again, the hardest exactor of express New Testament authority can scarcely deny a formally typical force to the deluge. (See 1 Peter 3.) Has then the subsequent altar which Noah built no future bearing? Nor God's blessing of him and his sons, with His solemn committal of the sword of government and the covenant with the earth and all flesh? And the city and tower in the plain of Shinar, has it no language for our ears, — that Babel, where language was confounded by the judgment of Jehovah, and the various tongues of men began? if Sarah and Hagar, if Isaac and Ishmael have the explicit sanction of Scripture, is it not implied as to Abraham and Lot? If Melchizedek cannot be disputed, what are we to infer about the combinations of the Kings and their conflicts, what about the intervention of the head of promise and the deliverance of his earthly-minded kinsman? Are all these great connected circumstances unmeaning, save as moral and historical? Is "the possessor of heaven and earth" an immaterial title there and then, because, "the most high God" merely is cited in Heb. 7?
In short, there might be reason in thus confining our investigation to those portions of the Old Testament which are employed unambiguously as figures in the New, if the New Testament either professed to be, or in reality was, an exposition of all the parts of the Old. But all must confess that this is not the case; which it ought to be, if types are to be sought nowhere in the Bible beyond the very limited horizon which is formed by the direct notices and explanations of the latest revelation. On the contrary, we have here either passing allusions, or large principles laid down, because God addresses his family as having an unction from the Holy One, and knowing all things. "I have not written unto you," says St. John, "because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth. … These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you. But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him." Again, the Holy Ghost says by St. Paul (and this just after glancing rapidly over a number of typical transactions in the history of Israel) — "I speak as to wise men; judge ye what I say," That is, the New Testament pointedly addresses itself not to the ignorance of Christian men, but to their capacity to use the word of God aright in virtue of the Holy Ghost dwelling in them. This is so much the more remarkable as being said to the Corinthians, whom the same epistle had characterized as babes in Christ. "I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. Nevertheless," says the Apostle, "I would not have you ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea," followed by the statement that these things were our examples (literally, types, figures of us).
Now, is it possible for an unprejudiced man to read this last passage, and to gather from it that the Holy Ghost is laying down a systematic summary of all that was typical in the journeyings of Israel? Is it not rather true that we have simply an application here, as elsewhere, of so much as naturally bore on the question in hand, the danger of idolatry, etc., and of being content with ordinances without life! So, afterwards, there is a striking use made of the fact, that Israel after the flesh ate of the sacrifices, and were partakers of the altar; as, in the preceding chapter, direct reference is made to the law of Moses. "Thou shalt not muzzle the month of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen? or saith he it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes no doubt, this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope, and that he that thresheth should be partaker of his hope." Spiritual husbandry was the grand idea in the mind of the revealing Spirit. Further on, in the same chapter, the Apostle applies the special provision which God enjoined in behalf of the priests and all the tribe of Levi; that, as they had no part nor inheritance with Israel, they should eat the offerings of the Lord, and his inheritance. Evidently, therefore, while there is nothing like or pretending to be, a catalogue raisonnèe of Old Testament figures, they are profusely used, in addressing believers (not Hebrews merely, but Gentiles also); and as clearly those used are cited not in the least degree as exceptional cases, but rather as specimens of a vast class which pervades the Bible.
Is it then seriously contended that the brief direction respecting the ox in Deut. 25:4 is picked out by the Apostle as the sole word in the chapter which has special application to Christians? Of course that was what the Spirit wanted in 1 Cor. 9, and what the saints who are exhorted needed to weigh. But if the occasion had demanded it, was there not typical instruction of the deepest moment in the same context? In the first verses, it is as to a brother, even if in the wrong, and justly to be punished; in the last verses it is touching the sworn enemies of the Lord and his people. Forbearance towards Amalek would be indifference to the honour of the one, and the wrongs of the other. The judge must see the faulty Israelites beaten according to his misdeeds, but with a fixed limit, lest "thy brother should seem vile to thee." We are satisfied, also, that the central details of the chapter are equally written under the same prescient eye: the ordinance for perpetuating each family name in Israel; and the keeping up, under severe penalty, of purity and delicacy of feeling, even where those nearest to us are menaced or suffering; and the maintenance of the most thorough integrity in all dealings, small and great, in the sight and blessing of the Lord.
Take, again, the provision for the Levites in Numbers 18, etc., alluded to in 1 Cor. 9:13. Is that to be dislocated from its connection, and to be regarded as the only food for the servants of the Lord found there? Is the priestly rod of Aaron, once dead, but now alive again for evermore, without fruit for us? Is its sole use as a token against the rebellious children of Israel? As to the red heifer in Num. 19, we presume that the most clamourous demand for apostolic endorsement must bow to Heb. 9:13. It was as appropriate in itself as in the circumstances and season where it occurs, — the type of Christ sacrificed and brought home, by the Spirit of God, to the individual saints in the wilderness, where an unintentional defilement is contracted by contact with the things of death: in a word, the shadow of God's gracious way of restoring communion with himself, when interrupted in our wanderings here below. It is not redemption which is in question here, but priestly grace and the remembrance, in the Spirit, of Christ's suffering to meet those unwilling soils which might be too lightly slurred over in the desert. And is it conceivable that grave men should think the scene of Meribah (Num. 20) to be a mere historical fact? They are compelled to allow more in the serpent of brass in the following chapter, because of the Lord's word to Nicodemus in John 3. Is the land which lies between given up to barenness? Or is it only fallow ground, because men have been slow to take and till it in the name of the Lord? Strange indeed would it be, that God should have written his word as those deem who acknowledge that Num, 18 and 20 are eminently typical, but strip withal the intervening portion of all such claim, in the face of a narrative at least as full and as striking!
So in 1 Cor. 10:1-10 a few leading facts are alluded to as, having befallen the Israelites, and chiefly recorded in Exodus and Numbers: the passage through the Red Sea under Moses, the manna, the water from the rock, on God's part; the lust, idolatry, tempting Christ, and murmuring, on theirs. Are we then to exercise no spiritual judgment respecting the other displays of God and man, no less solemn and profitable! Are we not to enquire how they too bear on the future, using those which are infallibly determined as our help, with the general analogy of Scripture, to search into the rest, for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God? If there is no dispute about the Red Sea, why should there be about the waters of Marah? If the manna was unquestionably typical, why doubt the Sabbath connected with it? If the smitten rock in Horeb is pregnant with lessons for us, why sever from it the subsequent conflict with Amalek? Why nullify the beautiful picture which follows in Ex. 18, where Gentiles and Jews eat bread before God, and the leader of the people lays down the order and means of right government? Again "the worship of the golden calf be so full of warning, what of the judgment which Moses executes with the sons of Levi?["] (Ex. 32.) Has the pitching of the tabernacle without the camp no voice for us, and the deepened fellowship which Moses enjoyed with the Lord there, and his earnest pleading before him? Here, again, the New Testament casts its unwavering light upon an incident which, without it, we might have made of no account; for at first sight, it might strike the careless reader as the least promising, in a typical point of view, — the veil which Moses put on his face in speaking with the children of Israel, and took off in going in before the Lord to speak with him, 2 Cor. 3.
To deny a figurative force to these other circumstances in Exodus, because one or two only may have the direct stamp of St. Paul, is to deprive us of an incalculable amount of their value. To say that we cannot understand them clearly and certainly, according to our general intelligence of Scripture, is to reduce Christians to the alliteration of a former economy: it would justify that dulness of hearing which the Apostle censures in the Hebrew saints, Heb. 5. They were unskilful in the word of righteousness, and needed to be taught explicitly what they ought to have been teaching. He had many things to say respecting Melchizedek; but their senses were comparatively unexercised to discern both good and evil. And when he does open that remarkable story as a shadow of Christ, he in no way intimates that all was said which might be said, but only what they were able to bear. Sufficient is furnished to quicken, not to clog, their feeble spiritual digestion. Thus no use is made of the bread and wine which Melchizedek brought out to the victors, while there is considerable reasoning upon the dignity of his office and person, surpassed only in the real and eternal glory of Christ. The moment the argument of the epistle requires the actual exercise of Christ's priesthood to be treated of, the Apostle glides on to the Aaronic intercession within the veil, based upon sacrifice. (Heb. 7:25, Heb. 8-10.) How arbitrary, then, to assume that we have more, in such New Testament expositions, than clear light cut upon certain landmarks, that, thus using what we have, more may be given?
This is entirely confirmed by what we read of the holy places, sacrifices, feasts, and other rites, stated or occasional. It were utterly unreasonable, if we may venture on the ground of the objectors, to hold that the mercy-seat, the candlestick, and the altar are the only vessels of the sanctuary which have a typical significance, because others are dimly, if at all, explained, while these are clearly alluded to in Rom. 3, Rev. 1, and Heb. 13 respectively. Is it merely the covering-lid which had a meaning, and not the ark of the covenant itself? — that holy throne whereon God rested in moral judgment of his people, the law within, and the cherubim its external supporters? The table, too, with its twelve loaves, had this no far-reaching value, as well as the candlestick with its seven branches? And the two altars, with their suited spheres, is one blind, and has the other alone an eye that looks onward? Were the robes of glory and beauty, which the high priest wore, for mere passing show? Or if the curious girdle tells a tale of service, what are we to infer as to the ephod and robe, and broidered coat, and breastplate and mitre? Their consecration, too, is surely something for us; for if Christ loves and has washed us from our sins in his own blood, he has also made us kings and priests. In short, all things are ours — the washing, the blood-sprinkling, and the anointing; and all the sacrifices too, the sin-offering, burnt-offering, ram of consecration, and meat-offering. There were, no doubt, reasons why the Apostle could not then speak particularly of the sanctuary and its vessels, There is no reason to deny the force of all as figures, though we may not have equal clearness of view about each. The same considerations apply to the feasts and other ordinances in Leviticus. It is most anomalous to own that the passover and its accompanying feast of unleavened bread had a prophetic bearing, and to disown it in the feast of trumpets. It were passing strange that Pentecost should have its fulfilment, and that Tabernacles should have none. How much more simple and harmonious to infer that, as a whole, not merely the Levitical system, but the historical facts and times, persons and things of Old Testament Scripture, were ordered, selected, and presented in the word of God, so as to teach a little to those of small faith, more to those of larger spiritual measure, with all ever-increasing fulness as the eye becomes more single to Christ, and the ear more attuned by the Spirit to his voice?
But if this last remark be admitted, as it is to us clear and certain, their fallacy is obvious who try to squeeze the types of Scripture into a human system. Every branch, indeed, of revealed truth has been stripped of its bloom and fragrance by a similar process. If there be any which more than others resist, and suffer from such violence, it appears to us to be the very twain which Dr. Fairbairn has chosen — the kindred themes of Scripture type and prophecy. His school has not been safe or happy. He is a good deal enamoured of, and tinctured by, the novel speculations of German critics. He is keenly attached to the spiritualizing tendencies, which would blot out, if they could, the special hopes and inheritance of Israel from the chart of God's future counsels. He does not see that the church is but a little, though an exceedingly blessed and glorious, part of the purposes of God as to man. Accordingly, the work which God has now in operation, and which contemplates by grace ourselves as its objects, becomes in his view the all-absorbing idea. Every other of which the Bible speaks is as much as possible conformed to that standard. The state of things under the fathers and Israel is exalted somewhat, the characteristic points of the present economy are considerably depressed, the grand distinctions of the age to come are well nigh ignored, so as to obliterate, as far as fancy can, those differences of dispensation in which God has been thoroughly testing man, and displaying his own righteousness and grace and glory, to the ultimate and abiding joy of all who trust in him.
We would not be understood as slighting much that is really good and valuable in Dr. F.'s book. A good deal of what we have been insisting on in this paper is truth common to him and to us. Nor do we mean that Dr. F. is singular in making the church, so-called, the great centre of movement in his system: for theologizing in general are in the same way disciples of Ptolemy, rather than of Copernicus. But Dr. F. has the unhappy distinction of working out this fundamental error more systematically, as far as regards his two subjects, than perhaps any one who has gone before him. How this vitiates his work will appear abundantly. Thus in chap. 2, in showing how the relation of type and antitype implies that the realities of the gospel were contemplated from the beginning, he says that on this account "the gospel dispensation is called the dispensation of the fulness of times"; whereas it is as plain as can be that Eph. 1 so speaks of the future administration of the universe, when God shall gather together in one, under Christ's headship, all things both which are in heaven and which are on earth. And this is so far from being confounded with the aim and objects of the gospel dispensation, that the following verses pursue the latter topic in relation to those who are being gathered out from both Jews and Gentiles. If Dr. F. deny the justice of our accusation on the plea that, in this same vol. i., page 61, he speaks of the Redeemer as "Himself the beginning and end of the scheme of God's dispensations," we answer that he means the Redeemer solely in relation to his church, as far as human blessing is concerned. His various glories are merged in this one. Son of David Son of Abraham, Son of man — all these and more are exclusively limited to him as head of the church. Thus, no space is left for the various circles which have him for their common centre.
Dr. F. cannot prove that which is the very substratum of all his writings. We have shown more than once in the Bible Treasury, that the church of God, properly so designated, is peculiar to the present dispensation: Dr. F. affirms, without even attempting to demonstrate, its identity throughout all dispensations. Hence, to take in all the redeemed, he is compelled to reduce the idea of the church to "a nursery for training souls to a meetness for immortal life and blessedness." Were this an adequate definition, his conclusion doubtless follows; for nobody questions that God has always been saving souls by his word and Spirit. But we deny his premises, and submit that he overlooks the doctrine of Scripture. It is not a question of words merely, as some would say, but of things. The New Testament is explicit, that the church is based upon redemption, not promised only but — accomplished, and demand. the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven as its formative power, uniting all, whether Jew or Gentile, in one body, of which Christ in heavenly glory is the head — a condition which was not true of the times anterior to the cross, and is not nor can be predicated of the saints who are to be called on earth during the millennium. Clearly, then, it is not a question of being saved only, but of other and higher privileges, ordered in the sovereignty of God and super-added to salvation. Dr. F., we repeat, cannot prove his thesis. He takes it for granted and continually asserts it because it is absolutely necessary to his system. He will hardly take advantage of a mistake in the common version of Acts 7:38, where "the church in the wilderness" means simply, really, and nothing but the Israelitish congregation there. Almost as rationally might it be argued from the mere term that "the church" is intended by "the assembly" in Acts 19. Neither the one nor the other, in the foundation or in the form, was the church of God as presented in the Scriptures which develop it. Dr. F. may flatter himself with being spiritual (as contrasted with Jewish or semi-Jewish interpreters), because he sees not Israel only but the church under the tutelage of the law and the rudiments of the world. He may reproach us with being Jewish, because we affirm that the Jews and not the church had to say to the Babylonish captivity. To us, we avow, it seems distressing confusion, to apply what is said of Israel to the church, as if it were all the same thing organically, though now improved and enlarged. To use it, as he does, without proofs, is to build without a foundation.
Dr. F. objects, with justice, to the vagueness of the rules laid down by such as Glassius, and offers his own specific directions, which are a decided improvement. But the fact is, that the most important pre-requisite for rightly interpreting the types is an adequate knowledge of the truth of which they are the forms. Thus, if a person confounded the character of two different acts, offices, dispensation, etc., he would in similar ratio make a jumble of their prefigurations. Another element of some weight is the nature of the surrounding context. This, duly applied, would cut off many popular turns, (e.g., the appearance of Esau borrowed by Jacob, which some make to figure the imputed righteousness of Christ!) Here, however, are Dr. F.'s five canons:
"Nothing is to be regarded as typical of the good things under the gospel, which was itself of a forbidden and sinful nature." (I. 138.)
"We must be guided not so much by any knowledge possessed, or supposed to be possessed, by the ancient worshippers concerning their prospective fulfilment, as from the light furnished by their realization in the great facts and revelations of the gospel." (I. 143.)
We must "be careful to make ourselves acquainted with the truths or ideas exhibited in the types, considered merely as providential transactions or religious institutions." (I. 143.)
"The type has properly but one radical meaning, yet the fundamental idea or principle exhibited in it may often be capable of more then one application to the realities of the gospel." (I. 152.)
"Due regard must be had to the essential difference between the nature of type and antitype." (I. 157.)
It is the practical application which is the main difficulty. God and his word will never admit of rules which can save us from the need of being spiritual, whether in intelligence or in walk. Such rules, like creeds and articles, have scarcely any positive value, though they may be of use negatively for checking and correcting men in a path of error.
No. II. — PRIMEVAL TIMES.
"The dispensation of Primeval and Patriarchal times," is the general title prefixed to Book Second of the Typology. We must be forgiven if we regard it as a misnomer and an evidence of that laxity of thought which everywhere characterizes the work. The era from the creation to the days of Noah is not, properly speaking, the sphere of dispensations, any more than the eternity which opens with the creation of the new heavens and new earth, — God's blessed answer at the close to man's miserable fall at the beginning of human history. The primeval epoch is nowhere in scripture styled a dispensation, or anything equivalent. It was not a course of time, marked by a certain specific character, and ruled by divine principles on the part of God; and this is the true meaning of a "dispensation," save where the word is used in the wholly different sense of a stewardship, or administration, (οἰκοίομνα) as in 1 Cor. 9:17; Eph. 1:10; Eph. 3:2.
Doubtless, from the fall to the flood, God did not leave Himself without witness; but the period was not characterized by government entrusted to man. The law was not then given to a people separated from all others by peculiar privileges, nor had Gentiles as yet been suffered to exercise universal empire in the sovereignty and providence of God. These things and more (not to speak of the developed dealings of promise and grace) came in subsequently to the deluge, and they are the subject-matter of the dispensations, the millennium included, when every principle which has crumbled in the feeble hands of man, of Israel, and of the Gentile, shall be established and maintained in manifest unfailing glory by the Lord Jesus Christ. They will flow on till the judgment of the dead before the great white throne terminates such displays of God's ways among men, and ushers in the everlasting state; when they who despised or abused the holy grace of God shall meet the due reward of the evil which they feared not; when the family of the second Adam 4Iiall enjoy the blessedness procured for them by their Head, in whom they, while here, had trusted.
For, looking more closely at these early days, do we find anything like a period regulated under God on distinctive principles? The facts are as simple as they are opposed to the notion. There was a positive place and command given to Adam. "And the Lord God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil thou shalt not eat of it; for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." Obviously such was not the tenure outside Eden, or afterwards. It was not a principle which governed men, or any portion of men, during a finite period. The tree of life, the creation-tree, was barred from the outcasts by divine power; and this, not in judgment only, but, in a certain sense, in mercy. For man was in sin, and death was the declared penalty. Not to have executed the sentence would have dishonoured God, would have introduced hopeless confusion into His dealings, would have set His words openly at nought. And besides, what could "living for ever," then and thus, have been but never-ending misery to him whose sin was unremoved? But if the transient condition of Paradisiacal innocence differs essentially from the fallen sinful humanity which succeeded, there was no new system, set up thereon by God, no subsequent human test given to the antediluvians. Man sinned then without law, as afterwards he sinned under it.
It will be said, perhaps, that the first Adam had no sooner broken down, than God appeared and announced the last Adam. There is no doubt that such is the bearing of the judgment which God predicted of the serpent in Gen. 3. Unquestionably, also, His providential might and wisdom secretly ruled then, as always. But the question is of distinctive dispensational dealings on God's part, extending through the antediluvian period; and the answer is, there were none. These ages, ruled by characteristic features impressed on them by God, find their suited place and scope in the space that intervenes between the deluge and the "end" (1 Cor. 15), when, the kingdom being given up, God shall be all in all.
As to all this Dr. F. gropes in the dark, though it is but fair to add, that his mistakes are not uncommon. Thus he says, "In the whole compass of sacred history we find only three grand eras that can properly be regarded as the formative epochs of distinct religious dispensations. They are those of the fall, of the redemption from Egypt, and of the appearance and work of Christ, as they are usually designated; though they might be more fitly described, the first as the entrance of faith and hope for fallen man, the second as the giving of the law, and the third as the revelation of the gospel. For it was not properly the fall, but the new state and constitution of things brought in after it, that in a religious point of view, forms the first commencement of the world's history." (Typ. i. 191, 192.) It is plain that he is doubly wrong, in what is included, and in what is omitted. For instance, the all important manifestation of God's ways to Noah (forbearance towards mankind founded on sacrifice, divinely instituted government, and covenant with the earth) have no place in Dr. F.'s scheme of divine dispensations, though its leading principles are still in force. On the other hand, it is absurd to call the fall "a dispensation," or even God's announcement of the woman's seed in judging Satan. Nor was the clothing of Adam and Eve with skins "a dispensation," any more than the Lord's setting a mark upon Cain. Not that faith did not take account of all these things, and look out for a Redeemer, who, if bruised Himself, should effectually destroy the evil one. But these are not the characteristics of dispensations, but rather the basis on which, substantially, all believers rest during every dispensation. But we must now turn to Dr. F.'s various chapters in their order.
The first (i. pp. 200-213) is devoted to a sketch of the fundamental truths which the history of the fall embodies. These, according to our author, are the doctrines, 1, of man's guilt and depravity; 2, of God's righteous character and government, 3, of grace and its provisions for the fallen; and 4, of the headship principle, by which, as ruin has come in through one, so through another the heirs might share in blessing. To these ideas, of course, we do not demur; but to us they seem more like the divisions of an ordinary sermon, than the unfolding of the magnificent Adamic types, In fact, the last point alone can be viewed as typical; the others are prominent moral lessons, but not types. It may seem incredible, but as far as we have observed, it is the fact, that the most momentous and strikingly beautiful shadow of better things, connected with our first parents, (save that referred to in Rom. 5:14,) is passed over in dead silence in this systematic treatise! The mystery of Christ and the Church, prefigured by Adam and Eve (Gen. 2), is not found there; it was a great thing in the Apostle's eyes (Eph. 5), however little it appears to be in Dr. F.'s
Incomparably better in this, and indeed in every respect save plainness of style, is the "Synopsis of the Books of the Bible." "In Gen. 2 we have the special relationship of man with God, with his wife, (type of Christ and His Church,) with the creation; and the two great principles, from which everything flows as regards man, established in the garden, where man was placed in blessing; namely, responsibility, and a sovereign source of life — the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and the tree of life. In these two things, in conciliating these two, lies the lot of every man. It is what is developed in the law, and in grace in Christ. The law put life as the result of the perfect obedience of him who knew good and evil — that is, made it depend on the result of our responsibility. Christ having undergone the consequence of man's having failed, becomes (in the power of a life which had gained the victory over death, which was the consequence of that disobedience) a source of life eternal that evil could not reach, and that in a righteousness perfected in a work, which has taken away all guilt from him that has share in it — a righteousness in which we stand before God according to His own mind, and righteous will, and nature. His priesthood applies to the details of the development of this life in the midst of evil. In the garden the knowledge of good and evil did not yet exist; obedience alone, in refraining from an act which was no sin if it had not been forbidden, constituted the test. The condition of man, in contrast with every other creature here below, found its source in this; that, instead of springing from the earth or water by the sole word of God, as a living being, man was formed and fashioned from the dust, and God places him in immediate relationship, as a living being with Himself, inasmuch as he becomes a living being through God Himself's breathing into his nostrils the breath of life. All animated creatures are called living souls, and said to have breath of life; but God did not breathe into the nostrils of any in order to their becoming living souls. Man was, by his existence, in immediate relationship with God. It is important to consider this chapter as laying down, in a special manner, all the principles of the relationship of man, whether with God, with his wife, or with the inferior creation. Here were all things in their own order, as creatures of God, in connection with the earth; but man's labour the means of their growth and fruitfulness. Nor did rain from heaven minister fruitfulness from above. The mist that watered it rose from the earth, drawn up by power and blessing, but not coming down. Yet man was, as to his place, in a peculiar one in reference to God. Man did not dwell in heaven. God did not dwell in earth! but God had formed a place of peculiar blessing and delight for man's habitation, and there He visited him. Out of his garden, where he was placed by the hand of God as sovereign of the world, flowed rivers, which watered and characterized the world without. Upon Adam reposed the duty of obedience. The image of God upon earth, in the absence of evil from his nature, and as the centre of a vast system around him and in connection with him, his own proper blessing was in his connection and intercourse with God. As soon as God had redeemed a people, He dwelt among them. Here He created, blessed, and visited. Adam, created the conscious centre of all around him, had his blessing and security in dependence on, and intercourse with, God. This, as we shall see, he forfeited, and became the craving centre of his own wishes and ambition, which he could never satisfy. Earthly nature, then, in its perfection, with man (in relationship with God by creation and the breath of life that was in him) for its centre; enjoyment; a source of abiding life; a means of putting responsibility to the test; the sources of universal refreshment to the world without; and, if continuing in his created condition, blessed intercourse with God on this ground — such was the position of the first and innocent Adam. That he might not be alone here, but have a companion, fellowship, and the enjoyment of affection, God formed, not another man, (for then the one were not a centre,) but out of the one man himself, his wife, that the union might be the most absolute and intimate possible, and Adam head and centre of all. He receives her, moreover, from the hand of God Himself. Such was nature around man, what God always owns, and man never sins against with impunity, though sin has spoiled it all, — the picture of what Christ, the church, and the universe shall be at the end, in power, in the obedient man. As yet all was innocence, unconscious of evil." (Synopsis i., pp. 10-13.)
Chap. iii. is as striking a sample, perhaps, as could be chosen of the confusion which reigns in the author's system and book. The shadows and the realities, too, of God's ways in the government of the world, are lumped with the truths of redemption in one crude heap. Thus (in spite of considerable modification of his, views put forth in the first edition, in spite of a professedly careful induction from their various notices in scripture, in spite of reviewing all the descriptions of their form and appearance, their designations, their positions and their agency, direct or indirect) Dr. F. sums up: that the cherubim were in their nature artificial and temporary forms of being, which united the highest kinds of creaturely existence on earth — man's first and chiefly; that they were set up before faith as representations of earth's living creaturehood, especially of its rational and immortal, though fallen, head, with reference to better hopes, which from the first gave promise of restoration, and afterwards shone with clearer light; that this restoration to life was intimated to be in accordance with God's holiness; and that thus God's purpose was betokened to raise humanity to a higher than its original destination.
For our part, we cannot but see in the cherubim the emblems of God's throne in connection with the creature and its responsibility — God's judicial action in power, which has reference to this world in contrast with redemption. We do not say, in contrast "with the redeemed;" for they, in a certain sense, will judge the world, but that is not redemption. The governing throne of God may meet, as it were, redemption; but they are exactly opposite in principle, because the latter is based on God's grace and power, the former on the responsibility of the creature.
The principal occasions where the cherubim appear are four. In Gen. 3:24, they do not hold forth mercy; but, along with the flaming sword, menace the creature, now guilty, if he dared to force the way. The thought there is the title of God in glory and judgment. "So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden, cherubims and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life." What has promise in a new man to do with keeping the way of that tree? Is man, in the presence of retributive justice, a keeper, in any sense, of the way of a tree of life? The idea is untenable and absurd. God's act in clothing the guilty with a garment which had its origin in the death of another (ver. 21), God's word in ver. 15, did betoken mercy, but not the cherubim.
As to the cherubim in the tabernacle, (with two added in the temple,) the thought is at bottom similar. Formed of the same piece, they were the sides and supporters of the throne where God sat in Israel, the Judge of all, though in special relationship with His earthly people in whose midst He displayed Himself. The cherubim here, as elsewhere, were the symbolical executors of the divine power in judgment. "Here, (as we are well told, in the 'Synopsis,' p. 73,) God manifested Himself as the supreme God in His moral being, armed with power to enforce respect to His laws, and to keep account of all that was done." Hence Ps. 99:1: "the Lord reigneth; let the people tremble [as in correct Bibles]; he sitteth between the cherubims; let the earth be moved." It is still a throne where His majesty and judgment claim respect and fear. There is not the most distant hint of promise. So in Ex. 26 the tabernacle itself was composed of the same materials as the veil, the figure (as we know from Heb. 10) of the flesh of Christ, in His essential purity, with all the divine graces adorning it. The cherubim, which were there too, give still the idea of judicial power, which Christ has, and will exercise as man. (Comp. John 5:22; Acts 17:31.)
Next, while Ezekiel describes the likeness of a man associated with them, the feet are straight, and the face of an ox answers to that of a cherub, as has been often remarked, though man's face was there too. The human form was generally in view, but the characteristic face or foot was an ox or calf's. Then, that they were not supports of the throne is impossible to admit for a moment. (Comp. Ezek. 1:22, 26; Ezek. 9:3; Ezek. 10:18; Ezek. 11:22.) The firmament was over their heads, and above the firmament a throne. From this, the fullest description, doubt is excluded. They were the basis of God's throne in the execution of judgment upon Jerusalem. They reappear at the close of the prophecy, when God is sanctified in the heathen or Gentiles, dwelling judicially in Israel, "for out of Zion shall go forth the law." Ezek. 28 speaks of one destroyed from the midst of the stones of fire, and cast out of the mountain of God, because he was lifted up with his own beauty. But, instead of the anointed cherub there being a promise of restoration from a fallen condition, it is expressly said, (ver. 19,) "thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt thou be any more." As to the Hebrew or Greek words, translated rightly "living creatures," Dr. F. seems to forget that they are the commonest terms possible for describing animals from Genesis downwards. Life is emphatic, as also activity and intelligence symbolized by the wings and eyes; but that it was, in the highest sense, spiritual and divine life, is more than the author has proved. Neither do we pretend to determine how far God may be pleased to use man as His throne in a figurative sense (that is, as the seat of His power). It is clear that the living creatures are the representative heads of the four main classes of created beings on earth — of such as were subsequently preserved in the ark. And even Dr. F. is compelled to own that their agency, as in Ezek. 10, is the putting in force the wrath of God, not promising spiritual life and restoration to fallen man.
Indeed Dr. F. cannot but acknowledge something analogous in Rev. 15 where one of the living creatures is represented as giving into the hands of the angels the last seven vials of God's wrath. "Nor" (says he, i. p. 239) "is the earlier and more prominent action ascribed to them materially different — that connected with the seven-sealed book … "The work, in its fundamental character, was the going forth of the energetic and judicial agency of God." So say we, and, stranger still, in the words of him who had taught, two or three pages before (p. 236), that they are "an image of mercy and hope!" Further, he has no right to assume that the living creatures join with the elders in the new song, the redemption song, of Rev. 5 — at least, not as if they were celebrating their own share in the benefits of salvation. For it is well known, that the most recent and certainly one of the ablest of New Testament textual critics rejects the "us" in Rev. 5:9 (as every scholar does in the following verse); the reference in that case being to the saints in ver. 8, and not to either elders or cherubim, though it be they who sing. They do not therefore "plainly stand related to the redemption as well as to the creative work of God" (i. p. 240). And as to our author's way of accounting, in the same page, for the disappearance of the cherubim, after Rev. 19, it is wholly unsatisfactory; because in p. 238 he had contrasted the royal elders and them as the actual and the ideal respectively, and in p. 240 he says, "that the ideal give way to the real." The fact is, however, that in the Apocalypse the elders and living creatures vanish from view together. Nay, we are convinced that Ezek. 43 shows the cherubim, after this very epoch, upon earth as active as ever in a blessed and glorious but judicial way, when the Lord reigns. They do not therefore fade like the stars, but shine most in the day of the Lord; and their existence, so far from being temporary, is best fulfilled in that bright day, and this, because the creation and government of God, with which we have seen them inseparably bound up, will have their fruition, and accomplish their proper ends, in that day. On the whole, then, the author's scheme, as to the cherubic figures, is as unreasonable and open to objection as any speculations of his German friends which he justly condemns. That restored man may be connected with God in this place, we believe; but the place is displayed divine glory in creation and judgment.
Want of space compels us to pass over the two next chapters (4, 5), which deal with sacrifice and the Sabbath; but we do so the rather, as they will recur in a fuller form when we enter upon Israel's history and institutions. Chap. 6, with the Appendices, occupying the remainder of the volume, we reserve, if the Lord will, for our next.
No. III. — TYPICAL PERSONS AND THINGS IN THE BOOK OF GENESIS.
Dr. Fairbairn devotes chapter 6 to "typical things in history, during the progress of the first dispensation." The chapter, as long as it is varied, he subdivides into six sections, as follows: 1, the seed of promise — Abel, Enoch; 2, Noah and the deluge; 3, the new world and its inheritors, the men of faith; 4, the change in the divine call from the general to the particular — Shem, Abraham; 5, the subjects and channels of blessing — Abraham and Isaac, Jacob and the twelve patriarchs; and 6, the inheritance destined for the heirs of blessing. We think that our author is not a whit more successful in tracing these shadows of an auxiliary and supplemental character than we have found him in treating of the grand primary and symbolical facts.
Thus he considers that through Abel knowledge was imparted, especially in regard to "the principle of election, which was to prevail in the actual fulfilment of the original promise." Now we do not doubt that the names, given to Cain and Abel respectively, do indicate the hasty hopes, and perhaps the subsequent disappointment of Eve; as the name of Seth not obscurely bespeaks her confidence in God and His purpose, spite of her past mournful experience. Neither do we question that in the Cainites, as compared with the line that followed, we have the children of the world and the men of faith. But this principle of election is equally and even more strikingly true, when we come to the history of Ishmael and Isaac, of Esau and Jacob, not to speak of Abraham himself, the conspicuous example of a man chosen, called, and faithful. All the emphasis of italics fails: Dr. F. states merely what is common, instead of drawing the distinctive lesson.
How much more masterly is the sketch given in the Synopsis (pp. 15-17). "Abel comes as guilty, and (unable as he is to draw near to God) setting the death of another between himself and God, recognizes the judgment of sin — has faith in expiation. Cain, labouring honestly where God had set him to do so, externally worshipper of the true God, has not the conscience of sin; he brings the fruits which are signs of, the curse — proof of the complete blinding of the heart, and hardening of the conscience of a sinful race, driven out from God. He supposes that all is well; why should not God receive him? Thus is brought in, not only sin against God, which Adam had fully wrought, but against one's very neighbour, as it has been displayed in the case of Jesus; and Cain himself is a striking type of the state of the Jews. In these two chapters (Gen. 3, 4), we have sin in all its forms, as a picture set before us in Adam's and Cain's conduct: sin in its proper original character against God, and then more particularly against Christ in figure, with its present consequences set forth as regards the earth. … In the history of Lamech we have, on man's part, self-will in lust, (he had two wives,) and vengeance in self-defence; but I apprehend an intimation in God's judgment that, as Cain was the preserved though punished Jew, his posterity at the end (before the heir was raised up, and men called on Jehovah in the earth) would be sevenfold watched over of God. Lamech acknowledges he had slain to his hurt, but shall be avenged. — In the second chapter, then, we have man in the order of created blessing. In the third, man's fall from God, by which his intercourse with God on this ground is foreclosed. In the fourth his wickedness in connection with grace, in the evil state resulting from the fall. Driven from the presence of God, Cain seeks, in the importance of his family, in the arts and the enjoyments of life, temporal consolation, and tries to render the world, where God had sent him forth a vagabond, as agreeable an abode as possible, far from God. Sin has here the character of forgetfulness of all that had passed in the history of man; of hatred against grace and against him who was the object and vessel of it; of pride and indifference; and then despair, which seeks comfort in worldliness. We have also the man of grace (Abel, type of Christ and them that are His) rejected and left without heritage here below; man, his enemy, judged and abandoned to himself; and another (Seth) the object of the counsels of God, who becomes heir of the world on the part of God. We must remember, however, that they are only figures of these things, and that, in the antitype, the man who is heir of all is the same as He who had been put to death."
As to Enoch and Noah, Dr. F. is just as vague as usual. "Enoch, as being the most distinguished member of the seed of blessing, in its earlier division, and the most honoured heir of that life which comes through the righteousness of faith, is undoubtedly to be viewed as a type of Christ" (p. 278). Why and in what respects he is so to be regarded does not appear, save in a mere amplification of what is here cited: and that is evidently rather the characteristic of Christians than of Christ. Nor indeed have we any doubt that such is the true reference: for Enoch aptly sets forth the proper testimony and portion of the Church, as Noah strikingly represents the place of the Jewish people. The one bears witness beforehand to others of the Lord's coming in judgment, and is himself caught up previously, to be with Him in heaven; the other, a "preacher of righteousness," is preserved through the divine judgments to begin the new world's history, governing in the name of God. But the author's system precludes his understanding these truths, and consequently blinds him to their foreshadowings. There are more than doubtful speculations in these sections, but we cannot occupy ourselves with discussing them. Noah was the chief of a state of things where evil existed, but was restrained by authority committed to man by God; where sacrifice was the basis, and the rainbow was the sign of divine forbearance, an express covenant being made that no flood should again destroy all flesh upon the earth.
Equally indistinct is the sketch, in section 4, of the time and persons subsequent to the deluge. As to this we must again draw on the Synopsis (pp. 19-23). "This special judgment and the special blessing, in connection with Israel, begins to show itself, for we are yet on earth here. The historical course of Noah's family is brought out in connection with these two points, the blessing and the curse in Shem and Ham. But this is a new subject, and we begin afresh with chap. 10. Chaps. 10 and 11 give us the history of the world as it was peopled and established after the deluge, and the ways of men in this new world. The posterity of Noah is given by families and nations, out of which from the race of Ham, arises the first power which rules by its own force and founds an empire; for that which is according to flesh comes first. By the side of this we have then the universal association of men to exalt themselves against God, and make to themselves a name independently of Him, an effort stamped on God's part with the name of Babel, (confusion,) and which ends in judgment and in the dispersion of the race, henceforth jealous of and hostile to each other. Lastly, we have the genealogy of the race by which God was pleased to name Himself; for God is the Lord God of Shem. The importance of these chapters will be felt. The preceding chapters gave us, after the creation, the great original principles of man's ruin, closing with judgment, in which the old world found its close. Here we have the history of our present world … The result of this history is that the world is set out by families. The fashion of this world has obliterated the memory and the perception of this, but not the power. It is rooted in the judgment of God.; and when the acquired force of this world becomes weak, will be ever more apparent, as it now really works. The fountain heads were three, first named in the order — Shem, and Ham, and Japheth: the first being the family in which the covenant was to be established, and with which God was to be in relationship; then he who was in hostility with God's family; and last, though eldest and proudest, the Gentile Japheth. In the detail Japheth is given first. The isles of the Gentiles in general, that is, the countries with which we are familiar, were peopled by his descendants. But the great moral questions and power of good and evil in the world arose elsewhere, and the evil now (for it was man's day) before the good. The East, as we call it, was in the hands of Ham. There power first establishes itself by the will of one in Nimrod. A mighty hunter — force and craft — works to bring untamed man, as well as beast, under his yoke. And cities arise; but Babel was the beginning of his kingdom; others he went out and built or conquered. Another branch of his family is marked as forming the races in possession of the inheritance destined of God for His people. Shem comes last: the father of Hebrews, the brother of him who has long despised him as possessed of an elder brother's title.
"Such is the general result in the peopling of the world under God's ordering. The way was this. Man sought to make a centre for himself … Will characterized all now; but in a multitude of wills, all impotent as centres, what can be done? A common centre and interest is sought, independent and exclusive of God … They must get a name for themselves to be a centre. And God scatters into nations by judgment what would not fill the earth by families in peace. Tongues and nations must be added to families to designate men on the earth. The judged place becomes the seat of the energetic will of one — the apostate power. The beginning of Nimrod's kingdom was Babel. Tongues were a restraint and an iron band round men. In them God's history begins; He is the Lord God of Shem. We have dates and epochs; for, after all, God governs, and the world must follow — man belongs to God … But of known history God's people have ever been the centre. This comes down to Abraham. And here again a new element of evil had become universal, at least practically so: — Idolatry (Joshua 24:2). We have seen the wickedness and violence of man, his rebellion against God, and Satan's craft to bring him into this state; but here an immense step is made, an astonishing condition of evil appears on the scene. Satan thrusts himself, to man's mind, into the place of power, and so seizes the idea of God in man's mind, placing himself between God and him, so that men worship devils as God. When it began scripture does not say; but the passage cited shows that it had contaminated even Shem's family, in the part of it which scripture itself counts up as God's genealogy in the earth, at the time we have arrived at. Individuals may be pious; but in every sense the link of the world with God was gone. Here, therefore, we change entirely the whole system and order of thought; and a principle in exercise without doubt from the beginning, but not manifested in the order of things, declares itself, and comes into evidence in the history of the earth. Abraham is called, chosen, and made personally the depositary of the promises."
But we must now turn to the rich field of scripture in which Dr. F.'s fifth section professes to glean, — Abraham and Isaac, Jacob and his sons, as the subjects and channels of blessing. The history of Abraham he divides into three main parts — the call and its results (Gen. 12-14); the covenants (Gen. 15-17); and the sacrifice of Isaac (Gen. 22) Here, again, we do not overlook many observations true and valuable, but we have to repeat that, viewed as a typical treatise, his method and applications are meagre and defective, when not absolutely erroneous. But here also we must quote the "Synopsis," which is to us a far pleasanter task than criticising the Typology, "The revelation of God, when (we are) far upon Him, sets us out on the journey of faith, inspires the walk toward heaven. When in the heavenly position, God reveals Himself for communion and worship, and a full revelation of His ways. The Canaanite is in the land; but the Lord reveals Him. self, shows the heir and inheritance when the Canaanite will be gone; and so Abraham worships by faith as before he walks by faith. This is the full double function of faith. The rest of the chapter (Gen. 12) is the history of his personal want of it. Pressed by circumstances, he does not consult God, finds himself in presence of the world, where he seeks help and refuge, and denies his true relationship to his wife, (just as has been done it respect of the Church,) is cherished by the world, which God at last judges, sending Abraham again out from it. During this period, and until he was returned to the place from which he started, he Lad no altar. When he left Egypt and returned to his strangership in Canaan, he had what he had before. What a warning for Christians as to the relationship of the Church with Christ! And however the world may be a help for the Church, this relationship cannot be maintained when we seek that help." Then, as to Gen. 13, it is remarked that we have in Abraham the path of the heavenly man, and in Lot the believer linked with the world and suffering its vicissitudes, as soon appears in Gen. 14. "Such are the just discipline and faithful ways of God. These last circumstances are the occasion of the manifestation of the Kingly Priest, King of Righteousness and King of Peace, i.e., Christ, millennial king of the world, blessing victorious Abraham, and on Abraham's behalf, blessing the Most High God, who had delivered his enemies into his hand. In this picture, then, we have the final triumph of the family of faith over the power of the world, realized in spirit by the Church for a heavenly hope and association with Christ, and literally by the Jews on the earth, for whom Christ will be Melchizedek — priest in full accomplished position — Priest on His throne, Mediator in this character, blessing them and blessing God for them; God Himself then taking, fully and indeed, the character of possessor of heaven and earth. When God had thus revealed Himself, according to this establishment of blessing in power on the earth, through the priestly, king Melchizedek, naturally the actual blessing of the chosen people finds its place; and in Gen. 15 we have the detailed instruction of the Lord to Abraham regarding the earthly seed and the land given to him — the whole confirmed by a covenant where God, as light to guide and furnace to try, deigns to bind Himself to the accomplishment of the whole."
We need not dwell on the episode of Gen. 16 — the effort on Sarah's part to forestall the promise of the Lord in the preceding chapter, which ends, as all that is of the will of the flesh and of man must, in disappointment and sorrow. Gen. 17 brings in God on the scene, the Almighty God, who talks with Abraham, opens out larger and higher hopes, not legally but unconditionally, though with circumcision annexed, i.e., a sign which confessed the death of the flesh. Gen. 18 - 21 is a fresh and beautiful unfolding of the thoughts and dealings of God connected with the promised seed. Then comes the figure of the death and resurrection of the seed in Gen. 22; the disappearance of the covenant form of blessing (Sarah) in Gen. 23; and the call of the Bride for the risen Bridegroom in Gen. 24 The history of Jacob is the striking prefiguration of God's ways with the earthly people, Israel, as we have had before the heavenly people, the Church. In the closing chapters, which concern the twelve patriarchs, we have the deeply interesting type, in Joseph, of Him who was sold by His brethren to the Gentiles, and, as it were, dead; afterwards, and unknown to his kin, exalted to the right hand of the throne, whence He administers all authority over the world; has, meanwhile, a Gentile bride and children; but at length is made known to His brethren in glory, who had scorned Him in humiliation, who owed all to His sustaining wisdom and love, and, finally, are established through Him in the best of the land.
This mere syllabus of the types contained in the history of Genesis must suffice for the present, particularly as other papers in, our current and future numbers will indicate what we conceive to be a truer and more distinct application. But we cannot close without a word on the sixth section, wherein the question of the inheritance is discussed. Here, though there is much that is sensible at the beginning, Dr. F.'s system necessarily distorts his conclusion and deprives him of one half of the truth. He proves clearly that the promise of Canaan to the fathers, as well as to their seed, involves the resurrection from the dead. He owns that, so far, the Rabbis, with all their blindness, seem to have had juster, because more scriptural, notions of the truth and purposes of God, than some popular Gentile theologians, who have been too much tinctured by Platonic philosophy. But when he proceeds to reason that as the risen body is to be glorified, so the inheritance it occupies must be a glorified one too, it is manifest that he overlooks other and connected truths. It does not seem to occur to him that, in the kingdom of God, earthly things are found as well as heavenly (Comp. John 3; Eph. 1:10, etc.; Col. 1; Rev. 21.) At the least, he cannot take for granted the very thing which is denied by a large body of christian men. Our scheme — that is, as we are convinced, the scriptural one, — is neither heaven alone, nor earth alone, but both united under the dominion of the Lord Jesus Christ, with the glorified saints in the heavenly places, and men, in their natural bodies, especially Israel, blessed for 1000 years on the earth. These are harmonious but varied spheres of blessing, the risen saints being the instruments of the truly divine joy of love and beneficence with Christ, yet more conspicuously than the evil spirits are now the instruments of Satan's malicious and destructive power. It is remarkable that, as to this, Dr. F.'s quasi-spiritualism ends in denying the proper heavenly glory of the risen saints. All the inheritance they have to look for is the renovated earth. The testimony of John 14 and 17 the doctrine of Ephesians throughout, and of Hebrews, and not to speak of the Epistles of Peter and Jude, the pictures of Revelation go for nothing. The Church is reduced to a glorious earthly inheritance, after all, and, by a poor juggle of words, this is called heaven! "God can make any region of His universe a heaven … and why might He not do so here," etc.? But why, then, speak of both heavens and earth in the time of incipient and of perfected glory? The reason is, because the Bible distinguishes what Dr. F. here labours to confound.
To notice the appendices at any length would detain us too long. Suffice it to say that they refer: — A. to typical forms in nature; B. to the Old Testament in the New, under six heads; C. to the doctrine of a future state; D. to sacrificial worship; and E. to the question whether the original relation of the seed of Abraham to the land of Canaan affords any ground for expecting their final return to it. This Dr. F. decides in the negative, chiefly because he assumes that the present dispensation is the last, and that the brightest visions of glory in Old and New Testament prophecy are to be realized either in the Church as it now is, or in the eternal state. No room is left for the distinctive features of the millennium for earth or for heaven. Dr. F. reads them not in his Bible.
No. IV. — THE HISTORIES OF EXODUS.
Here we enter upon the broader field of a people the special object of God's dealings. Individuals there are still, of course, prominent instruments for good or ill, as God or the enemy governed. But the distinctive display is of God's pity and power in behalf of His unworthy Israel, whom He redeems triumphantly in the face of their oppressors. But His people, as proud alas! as they were poor, abandon the two-fold revelation which God had made of Himself, whether as the Almighty God of their fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, or as the One who was now first known in peculiar relationship as, Jehovah. Yes! unwittingly, but most truly, they look away from the promises, and cease to lean on His outstretched arm who had gotten them the victory, and at Sinai this fatal word was passed, "All that the LORD hath spoken we will do;" and the law came in with its awful distance, and darkness, and death too, too near. Up to this God had acted in pure grace towards Israel. But they appreciated His ways no more than they judged themselves aright. With the ignorance and self-confidence of the flesh, they supposed that, just as they were, they only needed to know the will of God in order to render an acceptable obedience: the rock on which splits every unconverted man who, in a measure, owns his responsibility to God, but assumes his freedom and his power to serve. But their pride had a speedy fall; and the golden calf witnessed the crash of the tables of stone, followed by a new interference of God, who, along with the law, introduced the mediatorial principle and unfolded, in the tabernacle and its vessels, etc., the beautiful shadows of the grace and truth which should come by the Lord Jesus Christ.
Such we conceive to be the general outline of this most instructive book. At the details we must now glance, and with scanty help from the "Typology," which, even here (vol. ii. pp. 4-6) resumes the assault upon the proper hope of Israel, or, as it is there styled, "the Church."
Exodus 1 is the preface or introduction, presenting, in a few graphic strokes, the children of Egypt in the iron furnace, when "there arose up a new king which knew not Joseph." Their increase and their might excite his crooked and malicious policy. In vain "The more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew." Not content with a rigour which embittered the captive with hard bondage, the king devises a murderous scheme, which, however, depended for its success on lowly women, who "feared God, and did not as the king commanded them." The persecution of man not only drew out the favour of God in behalf of those menaced, but, in His singular and wise providence (Ex. 2), the daughter of the cruel king became the shield of Israel's future deliverer, in the person of the infant Moses. We might have imputed the secreting of the babe to mere amiable or strong parental feeling; but Heb. 11:23 shows that this is to overlook a deeper thing. "By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three mouths of his parents." "But, although providence responds to faith, and acts in order to accomplish God's purposes, and control the walk of His children, it is not the guide of faith, though it is made so sometimes by believers who are wanting in clearness of light. Moses' faith is seen in his giving up, when grown to age, all the advantages of the position in which God had set him by His providence. Providence may, and often does, give that which forms, in many respects, the servants of God for their work, but could not be their power in the work. These two things must not be confounded. It gives that, the giving up of which is a testimony of the reality of faith and of the power of God which operates in the soul. It is given that it may be given up: this is part of the preparation. This faith acted through affections which attached him to God, and consequently to the people of God in their distress, and manifested itself, not in the helps or reliefs which his position could well have enabled him to give them, but in inducing him to identify himself with that people, because it was God's people. Faith attaches itself to God, and appreciates, and would have part in, the bond that exists between God and His people; and thus it thinks not of patronizing them from above, as if the world had authority over the people of God, or was able to be a blessing to them. It feels (because it is faith,) that God loves His people; that His people are precious to Him, — His own on the earth; and faith sets itself thus, through very affection, in the position where His people find themselves. This is what Christ did. Faith does but follow Him in His career of love, however great the distance at which it walks. How many reasons might have induced Moses to remain in the position where he was! and this even under the pretext of being able to do more for the people; but this would have been leaning on the power of Pharaoh, instead of recognizing the bond between the people and God. It might have resulted in a relief which the world would have granted, but not in a deliverance by God, accomplished in His love and in His power. Moses would have been spared, but dishonoured; Pharaoh would have been flattered, and his authority over the people of God recognized; and Israel would have remained in captivity, leaning on Pharaoh instead of recognizing God in the precious and even glorious relationship of His people with Him. God would not have been glorified. Yet all human reasoning, and all reasoning connected with providential ways, would have induced Moses to remain in his position: faith made him give it up." ("Synopsis," pp. 55-57.)
Nevertheless, like the blessed one whom he foreshadowed, his own received him not. He is rejected by that Israel whom he loved. "There is a difference (says the author of the "Synopsis," p. 58) between this type and that of Joseph. Joseph takes the position, as put to death [in figure], of Jesus raised to the right hand of the supreme throne amongst the Gentiles, in the end receiving his brethren from whom he had been separated. His children are to him a testimony of his blessing at that time. He calls them Manasseh (because 'God,' says he, 'has made me forget all my labours and all the house of my father'), and Ephraim, ('because God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction'). Moses presents to us Christ separated from his brethren; and although Zipporah (as well as Joseph's wife) might be considered as a type of the Church, as the bride of the rejected deliverer, during his separation from Israel, yet, as to what regards his heart, his feelings, which are expressed in the names he gives to his children, are governed by the thought of being separated from the people of Israel. His fraternal affections are there. his thoughts are there; his rest and his country are there: he is a stranger everywhere else. Moses is the type of Jesus as the deliverer of Israel. He calls his son Gershom, that is to say, a 'stranger there,' 'for,' says he, 'I have sojourned in a strange land.' Jethro presents to us the Gentiles, among whom Christ and His glory were driven when He was rejected by the Jews."
Dr. Fairbairn's observations on the "bondage" call for scarcely any comment, chiefly because there is so little in them. It is a mistake to look for typical instruction here. Thus, in the first of these sections, he draws the lessons: 1st, that the bondage was a punishment from which Israel needed redemption; and 2nd, that it formed an essential part of the preparation requisite for their occupying the inheritance. (Vol. ii. pp. 12-22). This is followed by another dreary essay on the "deliverer and his commission" (pp. 23-33), occupied upon some of the more obvious facts in the early part of Exodus, the position of Moses, his first haste, his subsequent shyness, the burning bush, and the name of God,* and closing with some deductions: 1st, as to the dueness of the time; 2nd, as to the deliverer's arising "within the Church itself;" 3rd, "not altogether independent of the world;" and 4th, as to his being "peculiarly of God." As little can we say of the long discussion that succeeds. (See. 3, "The Deliverance," pp. 34-57).
*"'I AM' is His own essential name, if He reveals Himself; but as regards His government of and relationship with the earth, His name — that by which He is to be remembered to all generations — the God of Abraham, of Isaac, of Jacob. This gave Israel, now visited and taken up of God under this name, a very peculiar place. In Abraham first God had called any out, first to him given any promises. He first had been publicly called apart from the world, so that God called Himself his God. He never calls Himself God of Abel or of Noah, though, in a general sense, He is the God, of course, of every saint. Faith itself is here pointed out as the way of righteousness. In Eden God, in judging the serpent shall announced the final victory of the promised seed. In Abel He had shown what acceptable sacrifice from a sinner was — not the fruits of his labour under judgment, but the blood God's grace had given to him, which answered his need; In Enoch, clear and absolute victory over death, and removal from earth, God taking him; In Noah, deliverance through judgment when the world was judged. Then a new world begun, and a ceasing, through the sweet savour of sacrifice, to curse the earth, and a covenant for its preservation from any future destruction by water. But in Abraham we have one called out from the world (now worshipping other gods) brought into separate and immediate connection with God, and promises given to him — a person called to be the object and depositary of God's promises. This gave him a very peculiar place. God was his God. He had a separate place from all the world with Him as the heir of the promise. He is the stock and root of all heirs of it. Christ Himself comes as seed of Abraham, who is the father also of the faithful as to the earth. Israel is the promised nation under this title. As regards election they are beloved for the fathers' sakes. In this name consequently, as His eternal memorial, God would now deliver them, At the same time God foretells, that Pharaoh will not let the people go, but takes clearly the ground of His authority and of His right over His people, and of authoritative demand upon Pharaoh that he should recognize them. Upon his refusal to do so, he would be judged by the power of God." (Synopsis, pp. 61, 62.)
Much is said of the hardening of Pharaoh's heart. It is really a simple matter. It has its parallel in the ways of God with man on a large scale; as when He gave up the Gentiles to a reprobate mind, and poured judicial blindness on the Jews. So He will yet do with professing Christendom, sending them strong delusion, because they received not the love of the truth that they might be saved. In Pharaoh's case, as in all the others, the will was utterly wrong, and opposed to God from the first; when this was distinctly pronounced, God did harden and covered them with darkness to their merited destruction. God never made Pharaoh, nor any one else, to be wicked; but they, being wicked, had adequate and urgent testimonies which, by God's judgment, served but to blind the king, who from the first scornfully asked, "who is Jehovah that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not Jehovah neither will I let Israel go." In p. 40, Dr. F. seems to speak of the miraculous vouchers which Moses was instructed to work at the commencement of his operations, as being precisely the field on which Pharaoh might be tempted to think he could successfully compete with Moses. But it was forgotten, perhaps, that though one of them — the change of the rod into a serpent, and vice versa — was repeated before the king and the magicians, these signs were primarily intended for Israel rather than for the Egyptians (Exodus 4:1-8, and 29-31). There is no attempt to explain their significance. The first appears to set forth the rod of power, assuming a satanic character, but afterwards restored to its true place; and the second, the deeper ruin of man, as fallen into loathsome uncleanness, cleansed by God's immediate power and goodness. The third, which was more judicial in its nature, does not seem to have been called for by the Israelitish elders, but fell, in a yet more aggravated form, not as a token, but as a plague on the Egyptians — the change of what was originally given for refreshing man and fertilizing the earth into the revolting image of judgment and death.
As to the plagues Dr. F. remarks how excellently they were fitted to expose the futility of Egyptian idolatry, and to show how entirely everything there was at the disposal of the God of Israel, whether for good or evil. The first nine gradually ascend from the lower to the higher provinces of nature and of nature-worship, till the tenth sounds the signal of Israel's redemption in the death of Egypt's first-born, announced from the beginning (Ex. 4:22-23). But our author fails to discriminate the two parts in the deliverance. He notices "the firstborn," as representing all, and the blood of the lamb as the sign of mercy rejoicing against judgment, and the "borrowing" (Ex. 3:22; Ex. 12:35, etc.) as meaning really and simply a demand with which the Egyptians willingly complied, if they did not rather invite the Israelites to ask. But the precious, spiritual import of the Passover and Red sea must not be expected. For this we turn to the "Synopsis," p. 65. "What happened at the Red sea was, it is true, the manifestation of the illustrious power of God, who destroyed with the breath of His mouth the enemy that stood in rebellion against Him — final and destructive judgment in its character, no doubt, and which effected the deliverance of His people by His power. But the blood signified the moral judgment of God and the full and entire satisfaction of all that was in His being. God (such as He was in His justice, His holiness, and His truth) could not touch those who were sheltered by that blood. Was there sin? His love towards His people had found the means of satisfying the requirements of His justice, and at the sight of that blood, which answered everything that was perfect in His being, He passed over it consistently with His justice and even His truth. Nevertheless God, even in passing over, is seen as judge. Hence, likewise, so long as the soul is on this ground, its peace is uncertain, its ways in Egypt, being all the while truly converted; because God has still the character of Judge to it, and the power of the enemy is still there. At the Red sea God acts in power according to the power of His love: consequently the enemy, who was closely pursuing His people, is destroyed without resource. This is what will happen to the people at the last day, already in reality, to the eye of God, sheltered through the blood. As to the moral type, the Red sea is evidently the death and resurrection of Jesus and of His people in Him; God acting in it in order to bring them out of death, where He had brought them in Christ, and consequently beyond the possibility of being touched by the enemy. We are made partakers of it already through faith. Sheltered from the judgment of God by the blood, we are delivered, by His power which acts for us, from the power of Satan, the prince of this world. The blood keeping us from the judgment of God was the beginning. The power which raised us with Christ has made us free from the whole power of Satan who followed us, and from all his attacks and accusations. The world who will follow that way is swallowed up in it."
The fourth section of this chapter introduces us to the march through the wilderness, with the manna, the water, and the pillar of cloud and fire. The opportunity of the song of Moses was too good to lose for a thrust at those who by and by expect "a corporeally present Saviour, inflicting corporeal and overwhelming judgments on adversaries in the flesh." Dr. F. would gladly reduce the grand future dealings of God to providential actings, or victories to be won by spiritual weapons. The Lord coming to judge the quick — the habitable earth — is an unpalatable truth. Because He did not come in the type, it is inferred, most illogically, that He may not be personally looked for in the antitypical conflicts of the last days. But if Dr. F. can thus unseasonably foist in his postmillennial prejudices, he is apparently unable to see how the entrance of the desert is inaugurated with a song of triumph, which bespeaks faith's estimate of their complete deliverance by God's power, the security of His counsels in their behalf, and their confidence in His guidance all the way through.
Nevertheless, it is into the wilderness, not into Canaan, that God's deliverance brings His people: there trials of every sort appear and thicken. For three days after the song, they go through the wilderness and find no water. (Ex. 15:22.) Nor is this all; when they find some at Marah, the water is bitter. Spite of their murmuring, the Lord hears Moses, and shows him a tree, which, when cast in, made the waters sweet. "If death has delivered them from the power of the enemy, it must become known in its application to themselves (bitter to the soul, it is true, but, through grace, refreshment of life, for in all these things is the life of the Spirit). It is death and resurrection in practice after the deliverance. Thereupon we have the twelve wells and seventy palm trees* — types, it seems to us, of these living springs and of that shelter which have been provided through instruments chosen of God for the consolation of His people" (Synopsis, p. 68).
*The Lord adopted this number in His two closing missions of the disciples to Israel.
Ex. 16 shows us Israel murmuring again, but the Lord answers in nothing but grace; though, as Moses and Aaron protested, the murmuring was against Him, and not them. They had murmured at Marah, yet the bitter waters were immediately sweetened. They murmured, now hungry, but the word is, "ye shall see the glory of Jehovah." "I have heard," says He, "the murmurings of the children of Israel." What, then, was Moses to report? judgment? Wrath did come upon them another day, when, despising the manna, they insisted on meat, and persevered in their lust, when they ought to have been ashamed and sorrowing at their self-will and unbelief, rebuked by the miracle which laid it at their feet. But Taberah beheld the graves of lust (Num. 11.) This, however, was after the law came in, and God righteously judged the sinners who presumed to make the blessing depend on their own power of obeying it. But up to Sinai it was not law, but grace. "Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound." Accordingly the Lord told Moses to say, "at even ye shall eat flesh, and in the morning ye shall be filled with bread: and ye shall know that I am the Lord your God," Their absolute need was now plain. In the wilderness, who but God could supply bread for such a multitude? But he did supply it bountifully, and at their doors. "He that gathered much had nothing over, he that gathered little had no lack; they gathered every man according to his eating." Notwithstanding it was so given that day by day they must depend on Himself; no store could be — save to mark the sabbath, the day of rest. It is Christ, the true manna from heaven, who gives eternal life and brings us into rest. And this is the more striking, inasmuch as Ex. 17 discloses (in the rock giving out water, followed by the fighting with Amalek) the clear type of Christ imparting the Holy Ghost, who animates and strengthens us in our conflicts. Here, too, the people had murmured for thirst, as before for hunger: but as grace rained bread and gave them rest, so did it supply living waters from the smitten rock, their refreshment in the battle that quickly ensued. The connection of the manna with the Sabbath is as useless in Dr. F.'s hands, as is the war with Amalek after the waters had flowed from the rock. So with the type of Joshua, (who always represents Christ in spirit fighting for and with His own,) going forth, while Moses, sustained by Aaron and Hur, is interceding on high. "Sin shall not have dominion over you; for ye are not under the law, but under grace." There is no fighting in Egypt. At the Passover, at the Red sea, God alone smote the foe; but now that the people are redeemed — now that they have found in Christ food and rest for their souls, and have received through Him the Spirit. as a well of water springing up into everlasting life, they are brought into conflict, victory in which is sure, for it is Jehovah that wars, through Israel, with Amalek. It is He who orders it to be written and rehearsed that He will utterly put out the remembrance of the enemy from under heaven. But then He wars through His people, and they are as dependent on Him in the fight as previously they were for their food. From this, their earliest struggle, but a struggle never to be relaxed till God alone take all in hand, the people are taught that to win the day is not by courage nor by strength, not by numbers nor by skill, — nay, not by a just cause, were it the Lord's own cause and His people the assailed, not the assailants, Israel must learn the lesson, trying to flesh and blood, that all their success depends on the hands held up for them above. Blessed be the name of God! the hands of our mediator are never heavy. He needs no Aaron nor Hur to stay His hands; He is all that we want. Our need is to war only in dependence on Him; to be confident of victory, but no less confident that without Him we can do nothing; when victorious, to build our altar to Him who is our banner; but even in victory and in worship to be watchful, because Jehovah's oath is — "war with Amalek from generation to generation."
The thoughts of our author on the cloudy pillar demand no particular notice; but it may be remarked that the striking scene in Ex. 18 is passed — by in the "Typology." And no wonder; for it is the sweet foreshadowing of an era whose true features are effaced for the eyes of the writer. From the Paschal lamb and the Red sea we have had the types of grace reigning through righteousness. These are closed and crowned by the appropriate figure in chap. 18 of the millennial kingdom and glory. Zipporah, the Gentile bride of Moses (who had been hidden in the father's house while the process of Egypt's judgment and Israel's deliverance was going on) is now manifested with the bridegroom, The name of the second son, Eliezer, first appears; for, as Moses said, "the God of my father was mine help, and delivered me from. the sword of Pharoah," the application of which, to the circumstances which immediately precede the joy of the millennium, must be obvious. Moreover the Gentiles are there, set forth by Jethro at the "mount of God." Gladly the Gentile blesses Jehovah, who had delivered His people from their oppressors, and confesses that He is greater than all gods. That is, we have the prefiguring of the day when the sons of the stranger shall he "brought to the Lord's holy mountain; when. their burnt-offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted on His altar; when (the Lord having avenged the blood of His servants, and proved His mercy to His land and people) the nations, not in principle merely, but in result, shall rejoice with them; when a king shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall rule in judgment. "He shall judge thy people with righteousness, and thy poor with judgment. The mountains shall bring peace to the people, and the little hills by righteousness." "In his days shall the righteous flourish, and abundance of peace so long as the moon endureth."
The second chapter (pp. 86-194) is devoted to the subject of the law, and consists of six sections: I. What properly, and in the strictest sense, is termed the law, viz., the decalogue, its perfection and. completeness, both as to the order and substance of its precepts; II. Apparent exceptions to its perfection and completeness as the permanent and universal standard of religious and moral obligation — its reference to the special circumstances of the Israelites, and the representation of God as jealous; III. Further exceptions — the weekly Sabbath; IV. What the law could not do — the covenant-standing and privileges of Israel before it was given; V. The purposes for which the law was given, and the connection between it and the symbolical institutions; and VI. The relation of believers, under the New Testament, to the law — in what sense they are free from it — and why it is no longer proper to keep the symbolical institutions connected with it.
That which has given us most pleasure is the frank acknowledgment in the last section, that Christian liberty involves deliverance from the law, not as to justification only, but as to walk and conduct. He rightly argues that it is this last respect which the apostle has in view in Rom. 6, 7. He meets the objection that this is to take away the safeguard against sin, by illustrations taken from a child no longer under parental restriction, and from a good man's relation to the laws of his country (pp. 178-182). The chief defect is — that this liberty is not set upon its right basis; viz., the possession of a risen life in Christ, as the consequence of accomplished redemption, and the indwelling of the Holy Ghost, as the power of communion and obedience, so fully brought out in Rom. 8. Hence, for the want of understanding this, Dr. F. falls into a line of thought which is foreign to scripture. Thus, he says, p. 181, "if only we are sufficiently possessed of this Spirit, and yield ourselves to His direction and control, we no longer need the restraint and discipline of the law." That is, he seems to consider our being under grace, and not law, as a point of attainment, instead of seeing that it is the common and only recognized ground on which the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus places all Christians. The death and resurrection of Christ are the key to this. It is not that the law is dead, but that in Christ we are dead to it, and alive to God under grace. Christ risen is our husband now, and not the law, "that we may bring forth fruit unto God." Rom. 8:34 shows distinctly the triumphant result. The law never got its righteous requirement from a sinner. But what it could not do, God has done through redemption and grace. He has in His Son executed sentence on sin, not on acts merely, but on the whole thing, root and branch, thus perfectly freeing us who believe, "that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit."
No. V. — THE TABERNACLE, AND ITS VESSELS.
The introductory section of our new chap. 2 (book iii.) enters at great length into the question why Moses was instructed in the wisdom of the Egyptians. Much of the argument appears to us extremely human, and it may be doubted how far anything satisfactory to the author himself is elicited. Such discussions tend to draw away attention from the genuine source of Moses' commission — the vision of glory in the burning but unconsumed bush — to the circumstances that preceded that great sight, or the flight into Midian forty years before. The worldly lore of Moses had no more to do with the deliverance which God wrought for His people, than the honour proffered by Pharaoh's daughter. The influence of these earthly advantages was rather negative than positive, inasmuch as they put Moses to the test, and proved whether he sought honour and ease for himself, or was the ready and willing servant of God's glory in behalf of Israel. Particular care seems to have been taken by God to guard against the rationalistic dream that either the redemption from Egypt, or the subsequent legislation in the desert, was derived, in any degree, from his early training in the learning of Egypt. Much more reasonable would it be to point us to the lessons he learned in solitary walk with God, as he tended the flocks of Jethro in the wilderness; for even the deliverer had to discover, by painful experience, that he was entirely dependent on God for the time, and the manner, and the wisdom, and the power that delivers. God would mark evidently that Egyptian might and knowledge could claim no part in His wonderful work. What was learnt there must be unlearnt first in lonely discipline; and the hasty zeal which supposed that his brethren must understand all at once the purpose of God is set aside, that the saving strength might have its spring and its direction in God Himself.
From more than one distressingly low and carnal reflection on this head, we turn to the happier theme of the tabernacle, or habitation of God, which He in His condescension deigned to occupy until the due time came when He settled His people in the outward rest of the kingdom — of course in type. A tent was all He would use previously; but that was the tent of meeting - not merely where Israel was to meet, but wherein God was to meet them. It was also called the tabernacle of testimony, because in its inmost recess lay the ark containing the tables which bore witness of that which God required from man.
In regard to the materials and general structure of the tabernacle and its utensils, Dr. F. discards symbolical meanings, and conceives simply that such metals, fabrics, etc., were employed as were at hand, and conveyed the most fitting impressions of God's majesty. Hence precious stones, gold, silver, blue, and purple, and scarlet; hence the choice of shittim or acacia wood, as the common and only suitable tree in that part of Arabia. But separate and spiritual meanings are eschewed as "without any solid foundation," splendour of colour and rarity being the grand considerations. "So far as the metals were concerned, we see no ground in scripture for any symbolical meaning being attached to them, separate from that suggested by their costliness and ordinary uses. A symbolical use of certain colours we undoubtedly find, such as of white, in expressing the idea of purity, or of red, in expressing that of guilt; but when so used the particular colour must be rendered prominent, and connected also with all occasion plainly calling for such a symbol, This was not the case in either respect with the colours in the tabernacle." Of course, we altogether reject such an arbitrary settlement of the question, as well as the reason for it in the contradictions of typologists. Our ignorance, or that of others, ought never to weigh when we approach a book filled, as scripture is, with a divine purpose from one end to the other. If it were simply a description of some human personage, decked out after his own fancy, we could understand no stress laid upon the choice, save as evidencing, his own state of mind; but to assume that God directs certain colours, etc., to be used, corresponding with a pattern shown above to Moses, and that no moral meaning is to be gleaned from all, is a far more serious error than the precipitance which suggests a mistaken signification. It is to create a solitude, a waste, and to call it peace and wisdom. It is to give up seeking to understand a precious part of God's word.
"Of what, then," says Dr. F., (vol. ii. p. 236,) "was the tabernacle a type? Plainly of Christ, as God manifest in the flesh and reconciling flesh to God." With the general idea we agree, if we did not know that the sentence only keeps the promise to the eye, for in p. 243 the characteristic error of the typical writers is said to be for the most part understanding everything "personally of Christ." It may be, too, that the phrase, "reconciling flesh to God," is not intended to convey anything strange and unsound, But we do object to it as an unscriptural expression, calculated to cover and countenance the evil spirit of semi-Irvingism, which, we fear, is far from being wholly exorcised from its northern haunts. The Bible teaches, that God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself; but that is another thing, and evidently in contrast with His government under the law, which put sinful men far off, instead of seeking such. When Jehovah came down on Sinai, bounds were set, and death menaced him who should venture to touch the mount. But God was in Christ, reconciling, not repelling, and trespasses were discovered in all their hatefulness, but not imputed, as was necessarily done in the legal system. Such, too, was the aspect of God in Christ, not merely to Israel, but to the world. But this has nothing really in common with "reconciling flesh to God." Still less is there anything resembling it in the blessed actings of God which laid the basis of all reconciliation in the cross and death of Christ. For man was too far gone to be profited even by the incarnate Son of God: he was lost, and salvation by blood was absolutely needed, and a new and risen life from God, The true doctrine, then, is not that Christ's flesh was the representative and root of all flesh as redeemed, but that He has reconciled us who believe, in the body of His flesh THROUGH DEATH. Thus divine favour flows through, and rests on the ground, not of incarnation merely, but of redemption. Christ was the "seed corn," no doubt, but that figure is the one expressly used by our Lord to show that, till death and resurrection, there was and could be no fruit of like kind. "Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit." Enemies as we were, we could not be reconciled to God save by the death of His Son. Nothing short of the cross could reconcile us unto God in one body, because there only the enmity was slain. Hence, whatever the blessed and perfect display of God and man in His person here below, Christ is never treated as head of the body till He arose "the beginning, the first-born from the dead," and ascended to heaven. He was born King of the Jews, as He had ever been and ever shall be the only begotten Son of the Father; but headship of the Church was a new relationship, only taken in resurrection and heavenly glory. As to all this no small confusion reigns in the "Typology."
The true design of the tabernacle, viewed in all its parts, in the book — of Exodus, we believe to have been mainly two-fold. First, there was the display of the ways of God to man; and secondly, there was the presentation of man, or of the priests who acted for man, to God. A remarkable proof and confirmation of this appears in the arrangement, which at first sight seems peculiar, not to say disorderly; for the golden altar, on which the incense was burned, is not classed with the other vessels of the sanctuary (Ex. 25), nor is the layer treated of in the full description given of the outer court where the great brazen altar of burnt-offering appears (Ex. 27.) It is absurd, if we only think of Moses, to imagine that such a disposition of the holy vessels was the result of negligence or hazard; it is wicked so to think, if we own that God inspired the book, and directed the entire matter. As the directions stand, all the details of the vesture and consecration of the priesthood come in between certain of the holy vessels. It is not that they divide those pertaining to the holy of holies, nor even those of the holies in general, from the court outside. Man might have so arranged things, and called it order.
But the order of God is always profound and complete, and our wisdom is to follow and learn, not to judge, save in the sense of discerning its admirable propriety. Here, though not obvious, and thus more manifestly from above, the grouping is beautifully perfect. For we have the priests regulated in their due place (Ex. 28, 29) before the Spirit enjoins those things which distinctly typify the means of drawing near to God, or what the priests required for their sanctuary services. In other words, the first portion runs from Ex. 25 to Ex. 28:19, and consists of the various manifestations of God, from the ark in the most holy place down to the brazen utensils and pins of the exterior court. The next two chapters concern Aaron and his sons, with the prefatory verses about the oil which fed the ever-burning lamp — though even here we doubt not that the idea, true of every institution before the priests are formally introduced, is the manifestation of God spiritually. But after they are fully brought before us, we have, in Ex. 30 the golden altar of incense, reserved till now, the ordinance of the atonement, the money for the service of the tabernacle, the layer of brass, the holy anointing oil, and the perfume or incense for use "before the testimony." The reason is plain. These, one and all, set forth, not God's displays to man, but the gracious provision for such as draw near to God; and therefore they rightly follow the account of the due attire of the priests, and of their official inauguration. This divine line of demarcation has altogether escaped the notice of Dr. F., or of the German theologians whom he generally follows.
The consequence of neglecting God's land-marks is plain. Another order usurps its place, and confusion is the inevitable result. The view borrowed from Hengstenberg is utterly inadequate to account for the phenomena within and without the sanctuary: it gives no key to the remarkable groups in which God has set things. It is a poor solution of these enigmas to lay down as an indisputable maxim that the holy of holies presents the things to be believed concerning God, and the holy place the things to be done by His believing people. Or, to cite the words of our author, "as Christ's whole undertaking is something sui generis, and chiefly to be viewed as the means of salvation and access to heaven, provided by God for His people, — as under this view it was already symbolized in the furniture and service of the most holy place, it is better and more agreeable to the design of the tabernacle to consider the things belonging to the holy place as directly referring only to the works and service of Christ's people." (p. 333.) Said we not truly that when Dr. F. spoke of the tabernacle as a type of Christ (p. 536), his words were not to be trusted? Here the larger, though we allow not the most momentous, part is spoken of as directly referring only to the works and services of Christ's people. Now we deny not, for a moment, the blessed manner and extent of the Lord's identification of His people with Himself; we allow that this is marked in a clear way in the instruments of service which met the eye in the sanctuary. But we affirm that the explanation offered fails in seizing the really salient points of the truth God is disclosing and this as to both divisions of the tabernacle, not to speak of its surrounding court. Thus the ark is entirely divested of its true bearing, when viewed as the symbol of "the means of salvation." The mercy-seat was really the throne of God's holy presence in the midst of Israel; the law beneath, which attested the righteousness which He could not but exact, and the cherubim, not looking outwards, as in the day of glory, pictured by the temple's order, but looking inwards and towards the mercy-seat. They were the emblems of the judicial power which guarded His throne and righteousness. Now not a word appears in all this, shadowing the means of salvation. Hence, Dr. F. is compelled to connect therewith the rites of the great day of atonement, as detailed in Lev. 16. But this is to wander from the end of the Spirit in the book of Exodus, in this particular part of it, which does not bear on the way and means of approaching God, but develops the various displays of God Himself. The design is to display God enthroned according to the rights of His moral nature, though in relationship with Israel.
The table of shittim wood, overlaid with gold, which comes next, but without the veil, of course, is the manifestation of God in man, as the golden candlestick is His display by the Holy Ghost — both the one and the other found in perfection in Christ Himself, like that closest of all set forth in the holiest. In every particular, then, Dr. F. is in error. None of these vessels, as exhibited in Exodus, properly refers to the means of salvation and access to heaven; all of them refer directly to divine manifestations in Christ, however by grace we may have fellowship and identification with Him in some of them. The same remark applies to the particulars about the tabernacle, its coverings, veil, and door in Ex. 26, as well as to the court and such of its contents as are given in Ex. 27. In this space, outside, the great altar overlaid with brass was the conspicuous object, where the people met God, or rather where He is here represented as manifesting Himself in righteousness about sin and in love to the sinner — the place, not of sin-offerings, but of burnt-offerings, where Christ, by the eternal Spirit, offered Himself without spot unto God, where he who believes may draw near to God displaying Himself in grace.
Again, if we glance for a moment at the golden altar in Ex. 30, the seriousness of the error is apparent, for being an instrument of service outside the veil, it must directly refer only to the works of Christ's people, according to the canon of Dr. F. That is, Christ is positively blotted out from the ministrations of the sanctuary. The golden altar and its incense directly refer to us, and not to Him, according to this calmly stated but rash theory. Are Christians really prepared for this?
Dr. F. may introduce saving clauses to conciliate those who would reject such a summary rejection of Christ from a large, if not the highest, department of His priestly office: for we must not forget that in the types Aaron acted, not only in the holiest, but in the sanctuary; not exclusively, of course, but most prominently. In the antitype, it is Christ in various spheres, Christ in the highest heavens, Christ in the heavenly places, the proper and destined home of our glory, and Christ in relation to the earth, that we have set forth in the tabernacle and its external precincts, where Israel drew near to God. But it is quite clear that if Dr. F.'s view were correct — if the sharp line of limitation which appropriates the inmost shrine to the types of Christ as the object of faith, and the apartment outside the veil to the representation of what Christians should be and do, — the Lord Jesus must not be immediately and directly connected with any vessels save the ark and the mercy-seat. And even on his own showing, the theory which thus limits the Lord to the holiest, and His people to what was found on the other side of the veil, does not stand the test: for, as we have seen in a previous part of the book, (and it is repeated here too,) the cherubim, made of the same piece as the golden mercy-seat, are regarded by the author as representations chiefly of "redeemed and glorified humanity," the "ideal heirs of salvation" (p. 302). Christ, therefore, instead of being the grand object as well as expression of God, instead of being impressed on the entire tabernacle, and on every part within and without, is restrained to the narrowest bounds that can be conceived.
Happily, the system is most inconsistent, and the language used, even respecting the altar in the court, is such as to suggest to others, if not to the author, that Christ alone is the full answer to that altar, as well as to the burnt-offerings which characterized it. Thus he says, in p. 283, "this altar of sacrifice was to be the grand point of meeting between God and sinful men, between God and man as sinful; and only by first meeting there and entering into a state of reconciliation and peace, could they afterwards be admitted into His house, as those who had the privilege of communion and fellowship with Him. The altar was, in a sense, God's table," etc. And where but in Christ is such a table, or meeting-place, between God and sinful man to be found? We trust that Dr. F. looks for it in Him only, and would repudiate it any where else. But if so, his systematic parcelling out of the sanctuary and its court is fundamentally defective and erroneous. Christ is set forth everywhere, according to the heavenly pattern, and this in relation to sinful men on earth, as well as to His saints as such, and to God in the intimacy of His being and as the supreme object of worship and allegiance. The most holy place naturally answers to the heaven of heavens, and the holy place to the lower heavens, according to the principle laid down in Heb. 9:24 — the true tabernacle which the Lord pitched, and not man, as they are called in Heb. 8:2. The court without would, in like manner, correspond with the earthly scene of the manifestation of God to man and of his approach to God, as a sinner coming out of the world, not as a saint or priest, which, is a relationship rather appertaining to the holy place. That we are justified in thus viewing the whole universe, including the heavens and the earth, as the house or habitation, "the true," answering to the figures made with hands, is to us evident from Heb. 3:4, "Every house is builded by some man, but he that built all things is God." The application of this could hardly be mistaken by an unprejudiced mind, least of all by the Hebrew believer, especially connected as it is with Moses the servant in the house of God. It is true that the tabernacle also applies to the Church, as the dwelling or house of God — Christ's own house, as we are here designated; and it is realized in the highest sense in the person of Christ Himself, the true temple. But these are far from being incompatible representations, but rather so many concentric circles round the one great thought — the habitation or dwelling-place of God, which, true of all, is emphatically verified in Christ and in His body, the fulness of Him that filleth all in all.
We do not, of course, coincide with Dr. F.'s incredulity, (p. 2 30,) as to any special and spiritual reasons for the drapery and disposition of Ex. 26, 27 though fully allowing that the details of this (as of every other subject, which depends on the measure of our subjection to scripture and intelligence in the Spirit) are open to ready misapprehension, and may be abused by mere fanciful conjectures. On these the reader will find some profitable hints in the "Synopsis," pp. 75, 76.
No. VI. — THE PRIESTHOOD.
The investiture of the Priesthood, laid down in the two following chapters Ex. 27, 29), is deeply interesting, though both clothing and consecration have scanty measure dealt out in the "Typology." Aaron had to be clothed with special vestments for drawing near to the Lord, as representing the people whose names he bore; the type of what Christ does for us in heaven, hidden in God, like the high priest in the most holy place on the great day of atonement. A priest supposes miseries, infirmities, failures; he is a mediator to intercede for and represent the people before God. By this gracious provision our wretchedness becomes the occasion, not of judgment, but of the display of God's compassion and tenderness, while our great High Priest presents us to God in His perfection. The detail of this appears in these types. Redemption is supposed as the ground. Priesthood is not to redeem, but to maintain those redeemed in spite of failure. The garments, etc., figure that which is real in Christ, exercising His priesthood for us.
The Ephod was characteristically the priestly garment. It was made of the same materials and colours in the veil, save that no cherubim are here, for it was the emblem of Christ's essential purity and varied graces, apart from His judicial rights. Gold, too, was here, not in the veil — the emblem of divine righteousness, which has its appropriate place, when the veil was rent in Christ, the heavenly priest. It had two shoulder-pieces to it, and stones of memorial, which bore the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. There was an embroidered girdle which accompanied it, the sign of service, and a breastplate, which was to be carefully secured to the ephod, and which also bore twelve precious stones, each inscribed with the name of a tribe. Thus, if Aaron drew near to God, the weight of the people was upon his shoulders. So our government is upon Christ, in the presence of God. His glory there, His nearness to God, cannot be separated from us, He is there for us. Nor — is it merely a question of His strength bearing us up before God, but in Him we find all the precious reality foreshown by the breastplate of judgment. If a ray of God's goodness and glory shines on Christ, it shines also on us, who are carried on His heart; for the heart of Christ presents us before God. It is not some special things on our part, but ourselves that He presents, according to the love which reigns between the Father and the Son. We are continually before God, who never hides His face from us. He may chastise us for our faults, that we may not lose communion with Him, nor be condemned with the world. But if His face were hidden from us, it would be hidden from Christ: it is hidden now from Israel under law and the guilt of rejecting the Messiah. When we fail, it is a cloud that rises between God and us. Our will or our weakness is the cause, not the sovereignty of God. Nor is it that we require to be redeemed afresh, or that the blood-sprinkling needs to be repeated; but we have One who acts for us, and represents us worthily before God. He has the true Urim and Thummim in the breastplate of judgment. The blessing is given according to the lights and perfections of God; and our judgment is borne upon His heart before the Lord continually, for it was a question, we must always remember, not of acquiring righteousness, but of maintaining before God the cause of a failing people, and this, in our case, according to divine righteousness, which we are made in Christ. The consequence is moat blessed and sure. Grace is exercised, not merely because we return to the God we had slipped or wandered from, but to bring us back. Hence St. John does not say, "if any man repent," but "if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." The love Christ exercises about us springs from Himself. Thus we see, in Peter's case, it was not after his restoration, nor even when hiding for shame, that Christ said, "I have prayed for thee." It was before he fell. Christ's intercession was going on all the while. It is exercised because of our getting wrong, not because we are right. Our feebleness calls out the grace that is in Him. It may be an answer in the way of strength, or chastening, or warning, and then chastening is not needed. But in whatever way, it is of grace; and He obtains the needed blessing for us, according to the favour which God bears Him. Christ looked upon Peter, and this before Peter wept. It was just at the right moment, wrong as Peter had been. We know not what Peter might have done next; but the look sent him outside to weep. Much more is this true now for all saints; for the atonement is finished, the righteousness is accepted on high, and Christ is there to keep or set us right. He has undertaken our cause through the wilderness, where a merely righteous power could not bring us through, but rather consume us by the way. He keeps us for a "memorial before the Lord continually." He sustains us according to the power of inward grace before God. He bears us all and each in a detailed way, each by name engraved on His heart. According to our particular individuality He sustains us, and God looks upon us in the fulness of the complacency He has for Christ; just as we receive a child that is sent to us, according to the affection we have for its father.
This is precious; and the rather as it is the positive and divinely given provision for us in remembering, and yet counteracting, our individual imperfectness. Viewed as one with Christ, as members of His body, we are perfect: but this is a totally distinct thing from His representing us before God as priest, which is expressly to meet our failures. In the one cue we are seen in Him; in the other He acts for us on the footing of a righteousness which never changes nor fails, in order to reconcile our practical state and circumstances on earth with the standing which faith has in Christ above.
In these beautiful garments, then, was the high priest called to represent Israel, and neither shoulder-pieces nor breastplate could be loosed from them, that their names and their cause might be in perpetual remembrance. Aaron could not be thus with God, save as representing Israel. Equally impossible is it for Christ to stand in God's presence apart from us. His value in God's sight is thus drawn down on us. He became a servant when He took the form of man. He might have asked twelve legion of angels, and gone out free; but He chose to be a servant for ever. He did the will of God in His life, and in His death He bound Himself anew and eternally, and will thus manifest the grace of God, even in the glory, when He will gird Himself, and make His own servants sit down to meat, and come forth and serve them.
Such is our position by virtue of the priesthood of Christ. "If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin." If a fault is committed, is there condemnation? No: but this is not because the gospel is less holy than the law (which is quite the contrary of the truth), nor is it because God thinks lightly of the sins of His children (which are, indeed, incomparably more grievous and dishonouring than the evils of others), but because Jesus Christ the righteous is there for us. But then He does deal according to His own light and perfection, even when He feels for us in all our need and weakness. It is the same in learning things of God, as in our daily judgment. It is according to Urim and Thummim that He instructs and guides us. What under law would be my ruin becomes by His grace the occasion and means of instruction. It is not only when we have outwardly failed that Jesus intercedes, but when in holy things we go to worship God, how often something comes in which cannot suit the holiness of God, distracting thought, human feeling, admiration of fine tones in singing, etc.! God would not have us to think lightly of such a thing, for it is through want of habitual communion with Him; but He comforts us with the assurance that we have got in Christ the reality of Aaron's mitre, with its golden plate and inscription — HOLINESS TO THE LORD. Thus when we worship, we may bow down and look up, not in lightness indeed, but in happy, holy liberty. We ought not to be satisfied without the full tide of affection going up to Him from us; but let us ever bear in mind that we are accepted because of His holiness. Hence in a new and higher strain may we take up that ancient oracle: "Sing unto the Lord, O ye saints of his, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness." The iniquity cannot be accepted, but it never goes up. We may always go to God because of Christ's constant appearing in His presence for us. He bears our failures that they may be judged — our weakness and ignorance, that strength and instruction may be given; but His heart is always engaged for us; His love is drawn out by our very and every need. It is not, on the one hand, that the evil is not corrected; nor, on the other, that we are put out of God's sight and memory for it, but that it is remedied because of Christ's all-powerful pleading — the same One who is the propitiation for our sins, and in whom we are accepted. This gives us courage to apply unsparingly the divine light and standard to our ways — not as if the question were of expecting condemnation by and by, but, emboldened by His grace, to judge ourselves thoroughly now. Our privilege is to increase in the knowledge of God Himself. We sin if we walk not in the light we have received. There is holiness in God's presence, but there is unfailing grace also. Our enjoyment is in the measure that we, by the Spirit, realize what we are in Christ before God. Our prayers rise in holiness before Him, because Christ is there. The taints and soils in our holy offering disappear through His mediation. While this makes us feel the extent of the love of which we are the objects, may it fill us with thanksgiving, and our joy be full! "Such an high priest became us."
But we must allow ourselves to quote an admirable passage from the "Synopsis." "The ground-work of the priesthood, then, was absolute personal purity — what we may call human righteousness — every form of grace interwoven with it; and divine righteousness [typified respectively by the fine linen and the gold]. It was service, and He was girded for it, but service before God. The loins were girt, but the garments otherwise down to the feet. This was especially the robe all of blue … Introduced into the presence of God, according to divine righteousness, in the perfection of Christ, our spiritual light, and privileges, and walk, are according to this perfection of Him into whose presence we are brought. Christ bearing our judgment takes away all imputative character from sin, and turns the light, which would have condemned it and us, into a purifying, enlightened character, according to that very perfection which looks on us. This breastplate was fastened to the onyx stones of the shoulder above, and to the ephod above the girdle below. It was the perpetual position of the people, inseparable from the exercise of the high priesthood as thus going before the Lord. What was divine and heavenly secured it — the chains of gold above, and the rings of gold with lace of blue to the ephod above the girdle beneath. Exercised in humanity, the priesthood and the connection of the people with it, rests on an immutable, a divine and heavenly basis. Such was the priestly presentation of the high priest. Beneath this official robe he had a personal one all of blue. The character of Christ, too, as such, is perfectly and entirely heavenly. The sanctuary was the place of its exercise; so the heavenly priest must himself be a heavenly man; and it is to this character of Christ, as here in the high priest, that the fruits and testimony of the Spirit are attached — the bells and the pomegranates. It is from Christ in His heavenly character that they flow: they are attached to the hem of His garment here below. His sound was heard when he went in and when He came out; and so it has been and will be. When Christ went in, the gifts of the Spirit were manifested in the sound of the testimony, and they will be when He comes out again. The fruits of the Spirit, we know, were also in the saints. But not only were there fruits and gifts: worship and service, the presenting of offerings to God, was part of the path of the people of God. Alas! they also were defiled. It formed thus also part of the priest's office to bear the iniquity of their holy things. Thus the worship of God's people was acceptable, in spite of their infirmity, and holiness was ever before the Lord in the offerings of His house — borne on the forehead of the high priest, as His people were on the one hand presented to Him, and on the other, directed by Him, according to His own perfections through the high priest."
There is nothing particularly calling for notice in the remarks of Dr. F. on the ceremony of consecration. He does not appear to distinguish the two anointings of Aaron, though he sees the fact of course, and objects justly to Mr. Bonar's view as unsatisfactory. The truth is that the first unction of Aaron is a beautiful allusion to the Lord Jesus, who needed not blood as a prerequisite, but without sacrifice, and by reason of His own inherent and perfect holiness, was capable of being anointed with the Holy Ghost and with power. Such we know was the fact. But thus He was necessarily anointed alone. Therefore was the necessity of a second unction, if others were to share it, — the true sons of Aaron, whom God gave Him. Risen from the dead, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, He received the Spirit afresh (Acts 2:33), and shed it on the disciples, who were now constituted His priestly house. They were sinful men, and the blood was essential as a preparation for the holy anointing oil, which represented, not the operation of the Spirit in cleansing (already set forth by the washing of water), but His presence in the way of power. They were now endued with power from on high. Nor is it wonderful that a writer, who holds such views as Dr. F.'s, should be incapable of appreciating the deeply interesting scene which preceded the fire that consumed Aaron's offering in Lev. 9:24. First, Aaron blesses the people on coming down from his various offerings; then he, with Moses, goes into the tabernacle, and both come out and bless the people, when the glory of Jehovah appears, and the fire of divine judgment burns the offering, in token of plenary acceptance and favour; and this on the eighth day, the day of resurrection-glory. The application is obvious, save where a false system blinds the eye,. First, there is Christ, as priest, blessing in virtue of sacrifice; and then Christ, as king and priest, goes for a short season into that which typifies the heavenly places, and coming out blesses the people, and the display of glory and acceptance takes place in that day. It is a beautiful witness of the millennial kingdom and worship — not of the Church within, but publicly manifested glory.
No. VII. — THE OFFERINGS OF LEVITICUS.
In the present paper our aim will be to present a sketch of the chief subjects of interest in the third book of Moses. Within our narrow limits, no more can be contemplated than a rapid survey of the leading and distinctive ideas, as far as they are understood by us. Hence, also, we shall make use of what is excellent and instructive in the "Synopsis" rather than occupy space with a detail of errors and defects in this part of Dr. Fairbairn's "Typology."
It is evident that the grand thought here is not, as in Exodus, the deliverance and redemption of God's people and their establishment, as such before Him, whether under the law, or under the mediatorial system of divine government, which gives room for figures which are the manifestation of God to man, and for such as set forth the presentation of man to God, both alike, and only, found in Christ. In Leviticus the, characteristic, theme is access to God — the means or forms of it (Lev. 1 - 7); the persons charged with it (Lev. 8, 9); the things suitable to those standing in such a relationship with God, and the discernment of what defiled (Lev. 10 - 16); the provisions of the day of atonement for the purification of the sanctuary, the priesthood and the people (16); directions for guarding from impurity both people and priests, in their relations with God, with each other, or in any respect whatever (Lev. 17 - 22); the entire circle of the feasts, viewed as God's assembling His people around Himself, and His ways towards them from first to last (Lev. 23); then we have the intervention of the priesthood that there might be light before God, when darkness reigned without, and that the memorial of His people might be ever fragrant, side by side with the blasphemy of Jehovah's name that sprang from the union of an Israelite with an Egyptian, and its terrible doom. Next we have the sabbatical year, and the jubilee for the land, which God claimed as His own; and the blessed consequences for the heirs, as well as the inheritance. All pertained to Him, and He would surely, in due time, assert and make good His rights in their favour. No sale nor slavery should prevail when once the trumpet sounded on the part of God. If Lev. 26 opens out the miserable consequences of setting at naught the principles which God had laid down for the intercourse of His people with Himself, it does not close without a promise that on their repentance, whatever their ruin, He will remember the covenant with the early and the later fathers, when he made known His name to them respectively, as Almighty and as Jehovah. The restoration of Israel will behold all the might and unchangeable purpose unfolded in both titles. The book concludes with the regulation of vows, according to the valuation of the priests.
Thus we may observe how justly Leviticus has been styled by some one, "the priest's instruction-book," Accordingly, it is not the solemn utterance of God from Sinai, but "Jehovah called unto Moses and spake unto him out of the tabernacle of the congregation." (Lev. 1: l.) He is in the midst of a people already recognized as His, and He is communicating His mind as to their due means of approaching Him. Manifestly, the work of Christ furnishes the sole ground on which God could have such relations. The book, therefore, begins with the various figures whereby the Holy Ghost foreshadowed that work, in all its aspects to God and to His people. It is to be remarked, also, that God begins, not with that which most nearly touches the need of the sinner, but with the display of perfectness which satisfied His own heart, in Jesus devoting Himself, at all cost, to God's will, to death, even the death of the cross. In other words, whatever may be the result in blessing to the sinner, God begins with His Son giving Himself up without spot, that God might be glorified. Hence we see the key to the difference of the order here, and that which governs when the wants of man (priests, Lev. 8 lepers, Lev. 14 or any others) are in question. In these cases, the sin-offering has ever the first place; but in the original institution, where Christ is looked at rather than the sinner, it comes last.
The first great distinction, then, is between the offerings for sin and trespass, and those which precede them in the earlier chapters of Leviticus. The burnt-offerings, the meat-offerings, the peace-offerings, were alike offerings made by fire, of a sweet savour to the Lord; they represent, in various forms, the infinite perfectness of Christ's offering of Himself to God. On the other hand, the sin and trespass-offerings were charged and identified with sin, and were never viewed as offerings of a sweet savour. The very word which described their burning was distinct, as was the place; for, save in a very partial and exceptional instance, offerings for sin were burnt outside the camp.
Of the three voluntary offerings, which rose up variously indeed, but all as a sweet savour, and expressive of the perfectness of Christ and His sacrifice unto God, the Holocaust, or burnt-offering, is the first in order and importance. It was to be not only unblemished, but the best of its kind — "a male without blemish." "Nothing can be more touching or more worthy of profound attention, than the manner in which Jesus thus voluntarily presents Himself, that God may be fully, completely, glorified in Him. Silent in His sufferings, we see that His silence was the result of a profound and perfect determination to give Himself up in obedience to this glory; a service, blessed be His name, perfectly accomplished, so that the Father rests in His love towards us … So in the burnt offering, he who offered, offered of his own voluntary will at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. Thus Christ presented Himself for the accomplishment of the purpose and glory of God. In the type, the victim and the offerer, were necessarily distinct: but Christ was both, and the hands of the offerer were laid on the head of the victim in sign of identity." (Compare Ps. 40 with Heb. 10; John 10:18; John 14:30-31; Luke 9:51.) "How perfect and full of grace is this way of the Lord; as constant and devoted to draw near, when God should be thus glorified, and submit to the consequences of His devotedness, (consequences imposed by the circumstances in which we are placed,) as man was to depart from God for his pleasure. He humbles Himself to death, that the majesty and the love of God, His truth and righteousness may have their full accomplishment through the exercise of His self devoting love."
"The offering was to be made the subject of the fire of the altar of God; it was out in pieces and washed, given up, according to the purification of the sanctuary, to the trial of the judgment of God; for fire as a symbol, signifies always the trial of the judgment of God. As to washing with water, it made the sacrifice typically what Christ was essentially — pure. But it has this importance that the sanctification of it and ours is on the same principle and on the same standard. We are sanctified unto obedience. He came to do the will of His Father, and so, perfect from the beginning, learns obedience by the things which He suffered; perfectly obedient always, but His obedience put ever more thoroughly to the test, so that His obedience was continually deeper and more complete: He learned obedience. It was new to Him as a divine person — to us as rebels to God — and He learned it in all its extent. Furthermore, this washing of water, in our case, is by the word, and Christ testifies of Himself that man should live by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. This difference evidently and necessarily exists, that as Christ had life in Himself, and was the life (see John 1 and 5) we, on the other hand, receive this life from Him; and while ever obedient to the written word Himself, the words which flowed from His lips were the expression of His life — the direction of ours." …
"Here, then, Christ completely offered up to God for the full expression of His glory, undergoes the full trial of judgment. The fire tries what He is. He is salted with fire. The perfect holiness of God, in the power of his judgment, tries to the uttermost all that is in Him. The bloody sweat and affecting supplication in the garden, the deep sorrow of the cross, in the touching consciousness of righteousness, 'Why hast thou forsaken me? — as to any lightening of the trial an unheeded cry — all mark the full trial of the Son of God. Deep answered unto deep, — all Jehovah's waves and billows passed over Him. But as He had offered Himself perfectly to the thorough trial, this consuming fire and trying of His inmost thoughts did, could, produce nought but a sweet savour to God. It is remarkable that the word used for burning the burnt-offering is not the same as that of the sin-offering, but the same as that of burning incense. … It is not in the sacrifice we are considering that He has the imposition of sin on Him, but the perfectness, purity and devotedness of the victim, and that ascending in sweet savour to God: in this acceptability — in the sweet savour of this sacrifice — we are presented to God. All the delight which God finds in the odour of this sacrifice blessed thought! — we are accepted in. Is God perfectly glorified in this, in all that He is? He is glorified then in receiving us. Does He delight in what Christ is, in this His most perfect act? He so delights in us. Does this rise up before Him a memorial for ever, in His presence, of delight? We also, in the efficacy of it, are presented to Him. It is not merely that the sins have been effaced by the expiatory act; but the perfect acceptability, of Him who accomplished it, the sweet savour of His sinless sacrifice, is our good odour of delight before God, and is ours — its acceptance, even Christ, is ours. We are one with Him."
The meat, or cake-offering, sets forth Christ as a living man here below, and this as offered up to God. "His offering shall be of fine hour; and he shall pour oil upon it, and put frankincense thereon." "This meat-offering, taken from the fruit of the earth, was of the finest wheat? That which was pure, separate, and lovely in human nature was in Jesus under all its sorrows, but in all its excellence, and excellent in its sorrows. There was no unevenness in Jesus; no predominant quality to produce the effect of giving Him a distinctive character. He was, though despised and rejected of men, the perfection of human nature. The sensibilities, firmness, decision, (though that attached itself also to the principle of obedience), elevation, and calm meekness, which belong to human nature, all found their perfect place in Him. In a Paul I find energy and zeal; in a Peter ardent affection; in a John tender sensibilities and abstraction of thought, united to a desire to vindicate what he loved, which scarce knew limit. But this predominates in a Peter. In a Paul, blessed servant though he was, he does not repent, though he had repented. He had no rest in his spirit when he found not Titus, his brother. He goes off to Macedonia, though a door was opened in Troas. He wist not that it was the high priest. He is compelled to glory of himself. In him, in whom God was mighty towards the circumcision, we find the fear of man break through the faithfulness of his zeal. He who would have vindicated Jesus in his zeal, knew not what manner of spirit he was of, and would have forbidden the glory of God, if man walked not with them. Such were Paul, and Peter, and John. But in Jesus, even in man, there was none of this unevenness; there was nothing salient in His character, because all was in perfect subjection to God in His humanity, and had its place, and did exactly its service, and then disappeared. God was glorified in it, and all was in harmony. When meekness became Him, He was meek; when indignation, who could stand before His overwhelming and withering rebuke! Tender to the chief of sinners in the time of grace — unmoved by the heartless superiority of a cold Pharisee, curious to judge who He was — when the time of judgment is come, no tears of those who wept for Him moved Him to other words than 'weep for yourselves and your children,' — words of deep compassion, but of deep subjection to the due judgment of God. The dry tree prepared itself to be burned. On the cross, tender to his mother, and trusting her in human care to one who, so to speak, had been His friend, and leant on His bosom, when His service was finished — no ear to recognize her word or claim, when His service occupied Him for God — putting both blessedly in their place, when He would show that before His public mission He was still the Son of the Father, and though such, in human blessedness, subject to the mother that bare Him, and Joseph His father as under the law; a calmness which disconcerted, His adversaries; and in the moral power which dismayed them by times, a meekness which drew out the hearts of all not steeled by wilful opposition … In a word, then, His humanity was perfect, — all subject to God — all in immediate answer to His will, and so necessarily in harmony. The hand that struck the chord found all in tune — all answered to the mind of Him whose thoughts, of grace and holiness, of goodness, yet of judgment of evil, whose fulness of blessing in goodness were of sweetness to every weary ear, and found in Christ their only expression. Every element, every faculty, in His humanity, responded to the impulse which the divine will gave to it, and then ceased in a tranquillity in which self had no place. Such was Christ in human nature. While firm, where need demanded, meekness was what essentially characterized Him, because he was in the presence of God, His God, and all that in the midst of evil … for joy can break forth in louder strains, when all shall echo, 'Praise his name, his glory.'"
The prohibition of the leaven is explained fully in the pages which follow, and the mingling with oil, as well as the subsequent anointing, and other particulars. "He knew no sin; His human nature itself was conceived of the Holy Ghost. That holy thing which was born of the virgin, was to be called the Son of God; He was truly and thoroughly man, born of Mary, but He was man born of God. So I see this title, Son of God, applied to the three several estates of Christ, Son of God, Creator, in Colossians, in Hebrews, and in other passages which allude to it: Son of God, as born in the world; and Son of God as risen again from the dead. The cake was made mingled with oil, just as the human nature of Christ had its character, its taste, from the Holy Ghost, of which oil is ever and the known symbol. But purity is not power, and it is in another form that the bestowment of spiritual power, acting by the human nature of Jesus, is expressed. The cakes were to be anointed with oil, and it is written how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power, who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil. It was not that anything was wanting in Jesus. In the first place, as God, He could have done all things, but He had humbled Himself, and was come to obey; hence only when called and anointed, He presents Himself in public, although His interview with the doctors in the temple showed His relation with the Father from the beginning."
The peace-offering may be briefly noticed. "It is the offering which typifies to us the communion of saints — according to the efficacy of the sacrifice — with God, with the priest who has offered it on our behalf, with one another, and with the whole body of the Church. It comes after those which presented to us the Lord Jesus Himself, in His devoting His life even to death, and His devotedness and grace in His life, that we may understand that all communion is based on the acceptability and sweet odour of this sacrifice, not only because the sacrifice was needed, but because therein God had all His delight … Such, then, is all true worship of the saints; it is joying in God, through the means of the redemption and offering of Jesus; yea, one mind with God, joying with Him in the perfect excellency of this pure and self-devoted victim, who has redeemed and reconciled them, and given them this communion with the assurance that this their joy is the joy of Jesus Himself, who, has wrought it and given it to them. This joy of worship necessarily associates itself also with the whole body of the redeemed, viewed as in the heavenly places, whether actually gone before us, or yet in the body below. Aaron and his sons were to have their part also. Aaron and his sons were ever the type of the Church, viewed as the whole body of its members, having title to enter into the heavenly Places and offer incense — made priests to God. For these were the patterns of things in the heavens, and those who compose the Church are the body of heavenly priests to God. Hence worship, true worship, cannot thus separate itself from the whole body of true believers. I cannot really come with my sacrifice unto the tabernacle of God, without finding necessarily there the priests of the tabernacle. Without the one priest all is vain; for what without Jesus? But I cannot find Him without His whole body of manifested people; God, withal, has His priests, and I cannot approach Him but in the way which He has ordained, and in association with and in recognition of those whom He has placed around His house, the whole body of those that are sanctified in Christ, That which walks not in this spirit is in conflict with the ordinance of God, and is no true peace-offering according to God's institution." The remaining remarks on the required cleanness of the offerer, and on what constitutes real spiritual worship, are very valuable; but for these we must refer the reader to the work itself.
Last of all come the sin and trespass-offerings, the offerer here being regarded, not as a worshipper, but as a sinner; so that the question was not, at least in the first instance, his identification with the acceptability of the victim, but rather the victim's identification with his guilt. The entire distinctness of the subject from the preceding offerings is marked by a fresh statement of the Lord speaking unto Moses. Indeed a similar formula is used in introducing the subdivisions which relate to wrongs done to the Lord and wrongs against a neighbour. (See Lev. 4:1; Lev. 5:14; Lev. 6: l.) The first thirteen verses of chapter 5 are transitional, a sort of appendage to the first great class treated in chapter 4 but withal sliding into the character of trespass, and accordingly called by both names.
It will be observed that, in the first two of the four cases in Lev. 4 (i.e. the sin of the high priest or the people as a body,) the blood was sprinkled seven times before the veil, and it was put on the horns of the golden altar; in the last two cases (i.e. of a ruler, or an ordinary Israelite,) the blood was merely upon the hems of the brazen altar. The reason is plain. In the former all communion was broken, and needed to be re-established; in the latter it was not the body whose communion was gone, but an individual only. The grand lesson is that God can forgive, but can never be indifferent to sin, let it be where it may; and that He ever deals according to His own rights and dignity, dwelling in the midst of His people.
Another thing worthy of note is, that however strongly the identification of the victim with the sin confessed might be shown in burning the body without the, camp, the burning of the fat on the burnt-altar testified with equal clearness that He who was made sin for us was He who knew it not. Indeed, as has been justly remarked, "nothing was so stamped with the character of holiness, entire, real separation to God, as the sin-offering." It was the same thing pre-eminently in the blessed reality. Christ's bearing sin was what most manifested holiness, where all was perfectly holy.
Lack of room compels us to omit further details; but we hope, if the Lord will, to notice other types in separate papers, and not as reviewing Dr. F., which we here close.