« PoprzedniaDalej »
the means of his readmission to the privileges of the Jewish worship ; and although, in the first case, he was destined to undergo" divers washings,” or baptisms, and, in the two latter cases, was required to make every possible amends for his transgression, yet he could by no means be purged from his defilement, or delivered from the guilt of his offences, without this indispensable sacrifice for sin : see Lev. v, 6, &c.
There are two principles which might be said to pervade the Mosaic institution, and which we ought particularly to notice as explanatory of our present subject. The first was this—that every transgression, either of the moral or of the ceremonial law, merited death ; for he who continued not in all the things which were written in the book of the law, to do them, was cursed ; and the substance-the gravamen-of the curse, to which he was thus exposed, was capital punishment : see Deut. xxvii, 26: Ezek. xviii, 20. But, as it was morally impossible, consistently with the divine attribute of mercy, and the many infirmities of man, that this principle of the law should be uniformly and strictly enforced, the system of vicarious sacrifice appears to have been appointed for its alleviation. The death merited by the offender was undergone by the substituted victim ; the law was fulfilled in a figure ; and, on every occasion of merely legal impurity, or of such moral offences as did not demand the actual execution of the sinner, the defiled or transgressing Israelite was delivered from death : and the unblemished lamb, or kid of the flock, or bullock of the herd, bled in his room. Thus was fully established the second principle to which I have alluded ; namely, that “without shedding of blood there is no remission :" Heb. ix, 22.
Such was the nature, and such the operation, of the ancient Jewish sacrifices. They were generally and principally rites of atonement; and while, as acts of faith or obedience, of piety or penitence, they might be the means of bringing down upon the offerers the spiritual blessings of God, their efficacy, under the divine appointment, is to be chiefly traced in the “purifying of the flesh” from legal defilement; (Heb. ix, 13 ;) and in the removal of the civil and temporal punishment of moral transgression. Yet, even for these purposes, they must have been destitute of any real or inherent virtue : and, when we compare the extreme particularity and strictness of the divine injunctions respecting them, and the stress laid on the whole ceremonial by which they were accompanied, with “the weakness and unprofitableness" of the sacrificial rites themselves, it seems impossible for us not to entertain the belief, that they were fraught with some typical and ulterior signification. Now,
that signification is no longer a matter of doubt or question. The Divine Being, by whom these ceremonies were instituted, has himself brought to light their meaning, by the Gospel. 6. The vail,” which is over the mind of the Jew, in “ the reading of the Old Testament,” is $done away in Christ :” 2 Cor. iii, 14. “ The law was our schoolmaster, to bring us unto Christ :” Gal. iii, 24. 6 Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth ;” (Rom. x. 4 ;) and, as this doctrine is true of the moral law, because the ministration of condemnation is the fittest introduction to a knowledge of salvation through the merits of a Redeemer, so it is also true of the ceremonial law, of which the diversified rites, and more particularly the sacrificial ordinances, are expressly declared by the apostle to have been “ a shadow of good things to come—BUT THE BODY IS OF CHRIST ;" Col. ii, 17: Heb. viii, 5; X, 1.
As the Jewish sacrificial institution, in general, was evidently figurative of the death of Jesus Christ, so this character applies, with especial accuracy and force, to certain very remarkable parts of that institution. I allude particularly to the Passover, and to the ceremonies which distinguished the great day of Atonement.
That the Passover was a sacrificial ordinance, is evident from various circumstances which accompanied its celebration; for, the Lamb eaten by every Jewish family, on the occasion of that festival, could be slain only at the tabernacle or temple where all the Lord's sacrifices were to be offered ; (see Deut. xvi, 2–6: comp. 2 Chron. xxxv, 5—11;) and, after it was slain by the offerer, the officiating priest sprinkled its blood, like that of other appointed victims, on the altar of God: see Exod. xxiii, 18 : 2 Chron. xxx, 15, 16. Accordingly we find, in the books of the law, frequent mention of the sacrifice of the Lord's Passover : see Exod. xxxiv, 25: Deut. xvi, 2. 5, &c. Now, that this sacrifice of the Passover was typical of the sacrifice of Christ, is to be concluded ; first, because it appears to be in direct allusion to this particular rite, as well as to the daily burnt-offerings in the temple at Jerusalem, that Jesus Christ is, in the New Testament, so frequently called “the Lamb,” or the “ Lamb of God;" secondly, because the Scripture, which the evangelist declares to have been filfilled when the soldiers abstained from breaking the legs of Jesus on
a bone of him shall not be broken,” (John xix, 36)-is probably that Scripture which forbids the breaking of a bone in the Lamb of the Passover ; (see Exod. xii, 46 ; comp. Numb. ix, 12 ;) and, thirdly, because the apostle Paul
has expressly recorded that “ Christ OUR PASSOVER is sacrificed for us :" 1 Cor. v, 7. Independently, indeed, of these authorities, it seems impossible not to perceive the strong analogy which subsists between the two cases. The Lamb sacrificed in the Passover was a spotless and unblemished male of the fock; and it was offered up at Jerusalem, at a particular and distinguished period of the year. At the same period of the year, during the continuance of this very festival, and at the same place, Jesus Christ was offered up a sacrifice for the sins of mankind ; and such was his character-such his meekness in suffering, such his perfect purity—that the apostle could describe him as 'ia Lamb without blemish and without spot :” 1 Pet. i, 19. Again, the blood of the Lamb slain at the Passover, and sprinkled on the lintel of the door of every Israelite's house, was a clear representation of the blood of Christ sprinkled by faith, and, in a spiritual sense, upon the heart of every believer. The former was the appointed means of preserving the Israelites from the destroying hand of divine vengeance, which slew all the first-born of the land of Egypt; the latter saves the believing and obedient soul from that eternal death which impends over the unregenerate children of a fallen world.
The typical nature of the ceremonies practised on the day of Atonement is determined by the express doctrine of Paul, in his Epistle to the Hebrews : ch. ix, 1-14, &c. Nothing, indeed, could be more pointedly significant of “ good things to come,” than the ceremonies in question : see Levit. xvi.
On the annual occurrence of the appointed period—the tenth day of the seventh month-the high-priest alone entered into the Holy of Holies, where were the mercy-seat, and the cherubim, and the visible glory of God; and there, with the sprinkling of the blood of sacrifices for sin, he made an atonement for the holy place, for himself, for his household, and for the congregation of Israel : ver. 17. 66 On that day,” said Jehovah, 6 shall the priest make an atonement for you, to cleanse you, that ye may be clean from all your sins before the Lord :" ver. 30. Washed was the flesh, and of pure linen were the humble garments, of the Lord's appointed minister, on this solemn occasion. The bullock was offered up for his own sins ; but two kids of the goat were the “sin-offering” for the congregation of the people : ver. 5. One of them, in pursuance of the decision of the lot, was appointed for a victim, and its blood, like that of the bullock, (the sin-offering for the priest himself) was sprinkled on the mercy-seat. The other was the scapegoat. He was presented alive before the Lord; and, after the
high-priest had laid his hands upon him, and had confessed, over him, “ all the iniquities of the children of Israel,” he was sent, by the hands of a “fit man,” to the border of the wilderness, and was there suffered to escape, that he might carry away the sins of the people into a region unknown and uninhabited: ver. 21. After the whole sacrifice was completed, the high-priest laid aside bis linen clothes, and again assumed those magnificent vestments which designated the original splendor and dignity of his office. Now, who does not perceive, in these curious and striking ordinances, a close and harmonious, though varied, allusion to that more glorious dispensation, under which the Son of God, a High-Priest of divine dignity and perfect holiness, has offered himself, once for all, a sacrifice for the sins of mankind-has sealed with the sprinkling of his own blood the mercies of the Father-has appeared in the heaven of heavens for us—and, after having, in the garb of humiliation, borne the burthen of our transgressions, and removed far away from us the guilt of our sin, is now once more exalted at the right hand of the Majesty on high, arrayed in all the glory of his eternal Godhead ?
Having duly considered that indirect information, respecting the Christian doctrine of atonement, which may be derived from the typical rite of sacrifice, as it was observed, first by the patriarchs, and, secondly, under the Jewish law, I may now proceed to adduce those scriptural evidences which bear directly and positively on the point in question. These evidences belong partly to the prophecies of the ancient Hebrews, and partly to the New Testament.
Preeminent, in the former class, is that wonderful prophecy (so familiarly known to every reader of the Bible) which forms the fifty-third chapter of the book of Isaiah. Bishop Lowth's version of it, which I conceive to be, on the whole, more exact than the common English version, is as follows :
1. “Who hath believed our report; and to whom has the arm of Jehovah been manifested ?
2. For he groweth up in their sight like a tender sucker, and like a root from a thirsty soil : he hath no form, nor any beauty, that we should regard him: nor is his countenance such, that we should desire him.
3. Despised, nor accounted in the number of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: as one that bideth his face from us :* he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
and ,ובמסתיר פניו ממנו Lowth reads the Hebrew of this passage *
* , explains the expressions as relating to the custom usual amongst an
4. Surely our infirmities he hath borne, and our sorrows he hath carried them ;* yet we thought him judicially stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
5. But he was wounded for our transgressions ; was smitten for our iniquities: the chastisement by which our peace is effected was laid upon him ; and by his bruises (or stripest) we are healed.
6. All we, like sheep, have strayed; we have turned aside every one to his own way; and Jehovah hath made to light (or to meet) upon himț the iniquity of us all.
7. It was exacted, and he was made answerable ;|| and he opened not his mouth : as a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb; so he opened not his mouth.
8. By an oppressive judgment he was taken off; and his
cient Hebrew mourners, of covering their heads, and of concealing the lower part of their faces: 2 Sam. xv, 30: Ezek. xxiv, 17.
.אכן הלינז הוא נשא ומכאבינו סנלס-Hebrew text *
The common English version is, in this instance, preferable to that of Lowth; for the passage obviously contains a reference to the preceding verse, which describes the Messiah as “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief”—“Surely (adds the prophet) he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows.
.” Although these expressions, when taken in connexion with the context, are evidently descriptive of the vicarious sufferings of Christ for sinners, they have a subordinate application to the circumstance of his relieving the people, by his miracles, from their bodily and mental diseases, as appears from Matt. viii, 17. Nor is such a double interpretation in the least degree inconsistent with the genius of ancient Hebrew prophecy, which is often fraught with several coincident and analagous significations. The verb nu is best understood as signifying, in se sustulit, portavit; and though, in this use, it is more properly descriptive of the bearing of those sorrows which were the penalty of our sin, than of curing diseases, it is by no means inapplicable to the latter subject. The idea seems to be, oneri nostro suos humeros supposuit—ita nos liberavit.
, . I 12y9aDa literally, incurrere vel irruere fecit in eum.
. Lowth's version of this passage is at once very literal, and entirely accordant with the context. ♡23 is, exegit, veluti a debitore pecuniam, vel a reo pænam; and in the Niphal, or passive voice, (as in this passage) it may, of course, be properly rendered, “ exactum est.” Ay signifies either afflixit or respondit ; and when in the passive form, it is still capable (as appears from Ezek. xiv, 4. 7) of the latter sense. 6. It was exacted-and he answered, or was made answerable.” Vitringa renders the passage, “ exigebatur et ipse aflictus est."
חברתו ,Heb +
.נגש והוא נענה |