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In vetere Testamento novum latet, et in novo vetus patet. 










THE issue of a Fourth Edition of the following Treatise, how 
ever gratifying in one respect, is in another not unaccompanied 
with a measure of regret. This arises from the number of 
alterations which it has been found necessary to introduce into 
it, and which will naturally prove of injurious consequence to 
the Editions that have preceded. But, in truth, no alternative 
was left me, if the work was to keep pace with the age, and 
maintain relatively the place it occupied in the earlier stages of 
its existence. When I first gave to the public the fruit of my 
investigations upon the subject of Scripture Typology, not only 
was there great diversity of opinion among theologians respecting 
its fundamental principles, but many specific topics connected 
with it were only beginning to receive the benefit of modern 
research and independent inquiry. It is much otherwise now. 
Even during the last ten years, since the Second Edition was 
published, from which the Third did not materially differ, 
productions, in very considerable number and variety, have 
appeared, especially on the Continent, in which certain portions 
of the field have been subjected to careful examination not 
unfrequently have become the occasion of earnest controversy ; 
and to have sent forth another Edition of my Treatise, without 
regard being had to the fresh discussions that have taken place, 


would only have been to leave it in a state of imperfect adapta 
tion to the present times. 

It is proper to mention, however, that the alterations in 
question have respect to the literature of the subject and modes 
of representation on particular parts, rather than to the views 
and principles which have been exhibited in connection with its 
general treatment. These have undergone no essential altera 
tion ; indeed, with the exception of a few minor points, which 
it is unnecessary to particularize, they remain much as they 
were in the two last Editions. The progress of discussion, how 
ever, with its varying tides of opinion, naturally called for an 
extension of the historical review in the introductory chapter, 
which has been coupled with a slight abridgment in some of 
its earlier details, and in the later with a softening of the con 
troversial tone, which seemed occasionally to possess too keen 
an edge. The views, also, which in certain influential quarters 
have of late been ventilated, respecting the relation of God s 
work in creation to the destined incarnation of the Son, appeared 
render the introduction of a new chapter (the fourth in Vol. 
I.) almost indispensible, that the subject, with reference more 
especially to its typological bearing, might receive the con 
sideration that was due to it. These additions, with some other 
changes growing out of them, and the employment of a some 
what larger type for the Notes and Appendices, have together 
brought an enlargement of about fifty pages to the First 

The alterations in the Second Volume, though more nume 
rous, are not quite so extensive in respect to quantity of matter ; 
and, partly consisting of more compressed statements, where such 
were practicable, they have not added very materially to the 
entire bulk of the Volume. They occur most frequently in the 


portions which treat of the institutions and offerings of the 
Mosaic economy, on which there has recently been much discus 
sion ; and, in particular, the question respecting the relation of 
the sin-offerings to transgressions of a moral kind (Ch. III., sec. 
5), and the topics handled in one or two of the Appendices, are 
here for the first time formally considered. On the whole, 
I trust it will be found that the work has been, both in form 
and substance, materially improved ; and having now again 
(probably for the last time) traversed the field with some care, 
and expressed what may be considered my matured views 
on the topics embraced in it, I leave the fruit of my labours 
to the candid consideration of others, and commend it anew 
to the blessing of Him whose word it seeks to explain and 

As regards the general plan pursued in the investigation of 
the subject, I have only in substance to repeat what was said in 
previous editions. It might, no doubt, have been practicable to 
narrow at various points the field of discussion, and especially 
to abridge the space devoted to the consideration of the law in 
Volume Second (which some have thought disproportionate), if 
the object had been simply to extract from the earlier dispensa 
tions such portions as more peculiarly possess a typical charac 
ter. But to have treated the typical in such an isolated manner 
would have conduced little either to the elucidation of the sub 
ject itself, or to the satisfaction of thoughtful inquirers. The 
Typology of the Old Testament touches at every point on its 
religion and worship. It is part of a complicated system of 
truth and duty ; and it is impossible to attain to a correct dis 
cernment and due appreciation of the several parts, without 
contemplating them in the relation they bear both to each other 
and to the whole. Hence the professed aim of the work is to 


view the Typology of Scripture, not by itself, but in connection 
with the entire series of the Divine dispensations. 

It is possible some may think, that there is an occasional ex 
treme on the other side, and that less has been said than might 
justly have been expected on certain controversial topics, which 
are ever rising afresh into notice, and which find, if not their 
root, at least a considerable part of their support, in the view that 
is taken of things pertaining to the institutions of former times. 
The proper aim, however, of a work of this sort is hermeneutical 
and expository, rather than controversial : it may, and indeed 
ought, to lay the foundation for a legitimate use of Old Testa 
ment materials, to the settlement of various important questions 
belonging to Christian times ; but the actual application of the 
materials to the diversified phases of polemical discussion, 
belongs to other departments of theology. In certain cases the 
application is so natural and obvious, that it could not fitly be 
avoided ; but even in these it had been improper to go beyond 
comparatively narrow limits ; and if I have not erred by excess, 
I scarcely think judicious critics will consider me to have done 
so by defect. 

Still more limited is the relation in which the inquiry pur 
sued in a work like the present stands to the much agitated 
question respecting the historical verity of the earlier books of 
Scripture, and in particular to the authenticity and truthfulness 
of the books of Moses. Incidentally, not a few opportunities 
have occurred of noticing, and to some extent repelling, the 
objections that have been thrown out upon the subject. But, 
as a rule, it was necessary to take for granted the historical 
truthfulness of the sacred records ; for, apart from the reality 
and Divine character of the transactions therein related, Typo 
logy in the proper sense has no foundation to stand upon. The 


service which investigations of this kind, when rightly pursued, 
are fitted to render to the inspiration and authority of Scrip 
ture, is of a less formal description, and relates to points of 
agreement, of a somewhat veiled and hidden nature, between 
one part of the Divine scheme and another. To obtain a clear 
and comprehensive view of these one must stand, as it were, 
within the sacred edifice of God s revelation, and survey with 
an attentive eye its interior harmony and proportions. They 
who do so will certainly find in the careful study of the Typo 
logy of Scripture many valuable confirmations to their faith. 
Evidences of the strictly supernatural character of the plan it 
discloses will press themselves on their notice, such as alto 
gether escape the observation of more superficial inquirers ; and 
to them such evidences will be the more convincing and satis 
factory, that it is only through patient research they come 
to be perceived in their proper variety and fulness. If one 
may have, as Dean Milman justly states (Hist, of Jews, i., p. 
133, 3d ed.), "great faith in internal evidence, which rests on 
broad and patent facts, on laws, for instance, which belong to 
a peculiar age and state of society, and which there can be no 
conceivable reason for imagining in later times, and during the 
prevalence of other manners, and for ascribing them to an 
ancient people," not less may such faith be called forth and 
exercised by that evidence, which arises from the perception of 
a profound harmony of principle and nicely adjusted relations, 
preserved amid the endless diversities of form and method 
naturally incident to a scheme of progressive development. 

P. F. 
GLASGOW, 2d November 1863. 




Inquiry into the Principles of Typical Interpretation, with a view 
chiefly to the determination of the real nature and design of 
Types, and the extent to which they entered into God s earlier 

CHAP. I. Historical and Critical Survey of the past and present 

state of Theological opinion on the subject, . 17 

II. The proper Nature and Province of Typology 1. 
Scriptural use of the word Type comparison 
of this with the Theological distinctive charac 
teristics of a Typical relationship, viewed with 
respect to the religious institutions of the Old 
Testament, . . . . . G4 

III. The proper Nature and Province of Typology 

2. The historical characters and transactions of 
the Old Testament viewed as exemplifying the 
distinctive characters of a Typical relationship 
Typical forms in nature necessity of the Typical 
as a preparation for the fulness of times, 87 

IV. The proper Nature and Province of Theology 3. 

God s work in creation, how related to the in 
carnation and kingdom of Christ, . 114 
V. Prophetical Types, or the combination of Type with 

Prophecy alleged double sense of Prophecy, . 137 

VI. The Interpretation of particular Types specific 

principles and directions, . . . 174 

VII. The place due to the subject of Typology as a branch 
of Theological study, and the advantages arising 
from its proper cultivation, . . . 205 





Preliminary Remarks, . . . . . . 229 

CHAP. I. The Divine truths embodied in the historical transac 
tions on which the first symbolical Religion for 
fallen man was based, .... 238 

... II. The Tree of Life, . . . 250 

... III. The Cherubim (and the Flaming Sword), . . 258 

... IV. Sacrificial Worship, , . . . 286 

... V. The Marriage Relation and the Sabbatical Institution, 303 

... VI. Typical things in history during the progress of the 

first Dispensation . . . . . 313 

SECT. I. The Seed of Promise Abel, Enoch, . 314 

... II. Noah and the Deluge, ... 321 

... III. The New "World and its Inheritors the 

Men of Faith, .... 330 

... IV. The change in the Divine Call from the 
general to the particular Shem, Abra 
ham, ..... 339 

V. The subjects and channels of blessing 
Abraham and Isaac, Jacob and the twelve 
Patriarchs, . . . . 350 

... VI. The Inheritance destined for the Heirs of 

Blessing, . . . . . 386 



APPENDIX A. The Old Testament in the New, ... 423 

I. The Historical and Didactic portions, . . 423 

II. Prophecies referred to by Christ, . . 430 

III. The deeper principles involved in Christ s 

use of the Old Testament, . . 436 

IV. The applications made by the Evangelists 

of Old Testament Prophecies, . 444 

V. Applications in the writings of the Apostle 

Paul, ..... 452 

VI. The applications made in the Epistle to the 

Hebrews, .... 460 

B. The doctrine of a Future State, . 467 

C. On Sacrificial Worship, . . . 487 

D. Does the original relation of the seed of Abraham to 

the land of Canaan afford any ground for expect 
ing their final return to it ? . . . 492 

E. The relation of Canaan to the state of final rest, . 496 






THE Typology of Scripture has been one of the most neglected 
departments of theological science. It has never altogether 
escaped from the region of doubt and uncertainty ; and some 
still regard it as a field incapable, from its very nature, of being 
satisfactorily explored, or cultivated so as to yield any sure and 
appreciable results. Hence it is not unusual to find those who 
otherwise are agreed in their views of divine truth, and in the 
general principles of biblical interpretation, differing materially 
in the estimate they have formed of the Typology of Scripture. 
Where one hesitates, another is full of confidence; and the 
landmarks that are set up to-day are again shifted to-morrow. 
With such various and contradictory sentiments prevailing on 
the subject, it is necessary, in the first instance, to take an 
historical and critical survey of the field, that from the careful 
revision of what has been done in the past, we may the more 

VOL. I. B 


readily perceive what still remains to be accomplished, in order 
that we may arrive at a well-grounded and scriptural Typology. 

I. We naturally begin with the Christian Fathers. Their 
typological views, however, are only to be gathered from the 
occasional examples to be met with in their writings ; as they 
nowhere lay down any clear and systematic principles for the 
regulation of their judgments in the matter. Some exception 
might, perhaps, be made in respect to Origen. And yet with 
such vagueness and dubiety has he expressed himself regarding 
the proper interpretation of Old Testament Scripture, that by 
some he has been understood to hold, that there is a fourfold, by 
others a threefold, and by others again only a twofold, sense in 
the sacred text. The truth appears to be, that while he con 
tended for a fourfold application of Scripture, he regarded it as 
susceptible only of a twofold sense. And considered generally, 
the principles of interpretation on which he proceeded were not 
essentially different from those usually followed by the great 
majority of the Greek Fathers. But before stating how these 
bore on the subject now under consideration, it will be necessary 
to point out a distinction too often lost sight of, both in earlier 
and in later times, between allegorical and typical interpreta 
tions, properly so called. These have been very commonly con 
founded together, as if they were essentially one in principle, 
and differed only in the extent to which the principle may be 
carried. There is, however, a specific difference between the 
two, which it is not very difficult to apprehend, and which it is 
of some importance to notice in connection especially with the 
interpretations of patristic writers. 

An allegory is a narrative, either expressly feigned for the 
purpose, or if describing facts which really took place de 
scribing them only for the purpose of representing certain higher 
truths or principles than the narrative, in its literal aspect, 
whether real or fictitious, could possibly have taught. The osten 
sible representation, therefore, if not invented, is at least used, 
simply as a cover for the higher sense, which may refer to things 
ever so remote from those immediately described, if only the 
corresponding relations are preserved. So that allegorical inter 
pretations of Scripture properly comprehend the two following 


cases, and these only: 1. When the scriptural representation is 
actually held to have had no foundation in fact to be a mere 
myth, or fabulous description, invented for the sole purpose of 
exhibiting the mysteries of divine truth ; or, 2. When without 
moving any question about the real or fictitious nature of the re 
presentation it is considered incapable as it stands of yielding 
any adequate or satisfactory sense, and is consequently employed, 
precisely as if it had been fabulous , to convey some meaning of 
an entirely different and higher kind. The difference between 
allegorical interpretations, in either of these senses, and those 
which are properly called typical, cannot be fully exhibited till 
we have ascertained the exact nature and design of a type. It 
will be enough meanwhile to say, that typical interpretations of 
Scripture differ from allegorical ones of the first or fabulous 
kind, in that they indispensably require the reality of the facts 
or circumstances stated in the original narrative. And they 
differ also from the other, in requiring, beside this, that the 
same truth or principle be embodied alike in the type and the 
antitype. The typical is not properly a different or higher sense, 
but a different or higher application of the same sense. 

Returning, then, to the writings of the Fathers, and using 
the expressions typical and allegorical in the senses now respec 
tively ascribed to them, there can be no doubt that the Fathers 
generally were much given both to typical and allegorical expla 
nations, the Greek Fathers more to allegorical than to typical, 
and to allegorical more in the second than in the first sense, 
described above. They do not appear, for the most part, to 
have discredited the plain truth or reality of the statements 
made in Old Testament history. They seem rather to have 
considered the sense of the latter true and good, so far as it 
went, but of itself so meagre and puerile, that it was chiefly to 
be regarded as the vehicle of a much more refined and ethereal 
instruction. Origen, however, certainly went farther than this, 
and expressly denied that many things in the Old Testament 
had any real existence. In his Principia (Lib. iv.) he affirms, 
that " when the Scripture history could not otherwise be accom 
modated to the explanation of spiritual things, matters have 
been asserted which did not take place, nay, which could not 
have taken place ; and others again, which, though they might 


have occurred, yet never actually did so." Again, when speak 
ing of some notices in the life of Rebecca, he says " In these 
things, I have often told you, there is not a relation of histories, 
hut a concoction of mysteries." 1 And, in like manner, in his 
annotations on the first chapters of Genesis, he plainly scouts 
the idea of God s having literally clothed our first parents with 
the skins of slain beasts calls it absurd, ridiculous, and unworthy 
of God, and declares that in such a case the naked letter is not 
to be adhered to as true, but exists only for the spiritual treasure 
which is concealed under it. 2 

Statements of this kind are of too frequent occurrence in the 
writings of Origen to have arisen from inadvertence, or to admit 
of being resolved into mere hyperboles of expression. They 
were, indeed, the natural result of that vicious system of inter 
pretation which prevailed in his age, when it fell, as it did in 
his case, into the hands of an ardent and enthusiastic follower. 
At the same time it must be owned, in behalf of Origen, that 
however possessed of what has been called a the allegorical 
fury," he does not appear generally to have discredited the facts 
of sacred history ; and that he differed from the other Greek 
Fathers, chiefly in the extent to which he went in decrying the 
literal sense as carnal and puerile, and extolling the mystical as 
alone suited for those who had become acquainted with the true 
wisdom. It would be out of place here, however, to go into any 
particular illustration of this point, as it is not immediately con 
nected with our present inquiry. But we shall refer to a 
single specimen of his allegorical mode of interpretation, for 
the purpose chiefly of showing distinctly how it differed from 
what is of a simply typological character. We make our selec 
tion from Origen s homily on Abraham s marriage with Keturah 
(Horn. vi. in Genes.). He does not expressly disavow his belief 
in the fact of such a marriage having actually taken place 
between the parties in question, though his language seems to 
point in that direction ; but he intimates that this, in common 
with the other marriages of the patriarchs, contained a sacra 
mental mystery. And what might this be? Nothing less 
than the sublime truth, " that there is no end to wisdom, and 
that old age sets no bounds to improvement in knowledge. The 
1 Opera, Vol. II., p. 88, Ed. Delarue. 2 Ibid., p. 29. 


death of Sarah (he says) is to be understood as the perfecting 
of virtue. But he who has attained to a consummate and 
perfect virtue, must always be employed in some kind of learn 
ing which learning is called by the divine Word, his wife. 
Abraham, therefore, when an old man, and his body in a manner 
dead, took Kcturah to wife. I think it was better, according to 
the exposition we follow, that the wife should have been received 
when his body was dead, and his members were mortified. For 
we have a greater capacity for wisdom when we bear about the 
dying of Christ in our mortal body. Then Keturah, whom he 
married in his old age, is, by interpretation, incense, or sweet 
odour. For he said, even as Paul said, ( We are a sweet savour 
of Christ. Sin is a foul and putrid thing ; but if any of you 
in whom this no longer dwells, have the fragrance of righteous 
ness, the sweetness of mercy, and by prayer continually offer up 
incense to God, ye also have taken Keturah to wife." And 
forthwith he proceeds to show, how many such wives may be 
taken : hospitality is one, the care of the poor another, patience 
a third, each Christian excellence, in short, a wife ; and hence 
it was, that the patriarchs are reported to have had so many 
wives, and that Solomon is said to have possessed them even by 
hundreds, he having received plenitude of wisdom like the sand 
on the sea-shore, and consequently grace to exercise the largest 
number of virtues. 

We have here a genuine example of allegorical interpreta 
tion, if not actually holding the historical matter to be fabulous, 
at least treating it as if it were so. It is of no moment, for 
any purpose which such a mode of interpretation might serve, 
whether Abraham and Keturah had a local habitation among 
this world s families, and whether their marriage was a real fact 
in history, or an incident fitly thrown into a fictitious narrative, 
constructed for the purpose of symbolizing the doctrines of a 
divine philosophy. If it had been handled after the manner of 
a type, and not as an allegory, whatever specific meaning might 
have been ascribed to it as a representation of gospel mysteries, 
the story must have been assumed as real, and the act of 
Abraham made to correspond with something essentially the 
same in kind some sort of union, for example, between parties 
holding a similar relation to each other, that Abraham did to 


Keturah. In this, though there might have been an error in 
the particular application that was made of the story, there 
would at least have been some appearance of a probable ground 
for it to rest upon. But sublimated into the ethereal form it 
receives from the fertile genius of Origen, the whole, history 
and interpretation together, presently acquires an uncertain and 
shadowy aspect. For what connection, either in the nature of 
things, or in the actual experience of the Father of the Faith 
ful, can be shown to exist between the death of a wife, and the 
consummation of virtue in the husband ; or the wedding of a 
second wife, and his pursuit of knowledge 1 Why might not 
the loss sustained in the former case as well represent the decay 
of virtue, and the acquisition in the latter denote a relaxation in 
the search after the hidden treasures of wisdom and knowledge ? 
There would evidently be as good reason for asserting the one 
as the other ; and, indeed, with such an arbitrary and elastic 
style of interpretation, there is nothing, either false or true in 
doctrine, wise or unwise in practice, which might not claim sup 
port in Scripture. The Bible would be made to reflect every 
hue of fancy, and every shade of belief in those who assumed 
the office of interpretation ; and instead of being rendered ser 
viceable to a higher instruction, it would be turned into one vast 
sea of uncertainty and confusion. 

In proof of this we need only appeal to the use which 
Clement of Alexandria, Origen s master, has made of another 
portion of sacred history which relates to Abraham s wives 
(Strom. L. I. p. 333). The instruction which he finds couched 
under the narrative of Abraham s marriage successively to Sarah 
and Hagar, is that a Christian ought to cultivate philosophy and 
the liberal arts before he devotes himself wholly to the study of 
divine wisdom. This he endeavours to make out in the follow 
ing manner : Abraham is the image of a perfect Christian, 
Sarah the image of Christian wisdom, and Hagar the image of 
philosophy or human wisdom (certainly a far from agreeable like 
ness !). Abraham lived for a long time in a state of connubial 
sterility ; whence it is inferred that a Christian, so long as he 
confines himself to the study of divine wisdom and religion 
alone, will never bring forth any great or excellent fruits. 
Abraham, then, with the consent of Sarah, takes to him Hagar, 


which proves, according to Clement, that a Christian ought to 
embrace the wisdom of this world, or philosophy, and that Sarah, 
or divine wisdom, will not withhold her consent. Lastly, after 
Hagar had borne Ishmael to Abraham, he resumed his inter 
course with Sarah, and of her begat Isaac ; the true import of 
which is, that a Christian, after having once thoroughly grounded 
himself in human learning and philosophy, will, if he then 
devotes himself to the culture of divine wisdom, be capable of 
propagating the race of true Christians, and of rendering essen 
tial service to the Church. Thus we have two entirely different 
senses extracted from similar transactions by the master and the 
disciple ; and still, far from being exhausted, as many more 
might be obtained, as there are fertile imaginations disposed to 
turn the sacred narrative into the channel of their own peculiar 

It was not simply the historical portions of Old Testament 
Scripture which were thus allegorized by Origen, and the other 
Greek Fathers who belonged to the same school. A similar 
mode of interpretation was applied to the ceremonial institutions 
of the ancient economy ; and a higher sense was often sought 
for in these, than we find any indication of in the epistle to the 
Hebrews, Clement even carried the matter so far as to apply 
the allegorical principle to the ten commandments, an extrava 
gance in which Origen did not follow him ; though we can 
scarcely tell why he should not have done so. For, even the 
moral precepts of the Decalogue touch at various points on the 
common interests and relations of life ; and it was the grand 
aim of the philosophy, in which the allegorizing then prevalent 
had its origin, to carry the soul above these into the high abstrac 
tions of a contemplative theosophy. The Fathers of the Latin 
church were much less inclined to such airy speculations, and 
their interpretations of Scripture, consequently, possessed more 
of a realistic and common sense character. Allegorical inter 
pretations are, indeed, occasionally found in them, but they are 
more sparingly introduced, and less extravagantly carried out. 1 

1 See, however, a thorough specimen of allegorizing after the manner 
of Origen, on the " Sacramentum," involved in the name and office of 
Abishag, in Jerome s letter to Nepotianus (Ep. 52 Ed. Yallars.), indicating, 
as he thinks, the larger development of wisdom in men of advanced age. 


Typical meanings, however, are as frequent in the one class as 
in the other, and equally adopted without rule or limit. If in 
the Eastern church we find such objects as the tree of life in 
the garden of Eden, the rod of Moses, Moses himself with his 
arms extended during the conflict with Amalek, exhibited as 
types of the cross ; in the Western church, as represented, for 
example, by Augustine, we meet with such specimens as the 
following: "Wherefore did Christ enter into the sleep of 
death ? Because Adam slept when Eve was formed from his 
side, Adam being the figure of Christ, Eve as the mother of 
the living, the figure of the church. And as she was formed 
from Adam while he was asleep, so was it when Christ slept on 
the cross, that the sacraments of the church flowed from His 
side." 1 So, again, Saul is represented as the type of death, 
because God unwillingly appointed him king over Israel, as He 
unwillingly subjected His people to the sway of death ; and 
David s deliverance from the hand of Saul foreshadowed our 
deliverance through Christ from the power of death ; while in 
David s escape from Saul s hand, coupled with the destruction 
that befell Ahimelech on his account, if not in his stead, there was 
a prefiguration of Christ s death and resurrection. 2 In the treat 
ment of New Testament Scripture also, the same style of inter 
pretation is occasionally resorted to, as when in the six water- 
pots of John s Gospel he finds imaged the six ages of prophecy ; 
and in the two or three firkins which they severally held, the 
two are taken to indicate the Father and the Son, the three the 
Trinity ; or, as he also puts it, the two represent the Jews and 
the Gentiles, and the third, Christ, making the two one (Tract 
ix. in Joan.). But we need not multiply examples, or prosecute 
the subject further into detail. Enough has been adduced to 
show, that the earlier divines of the Christian church had no 
just or well-defined principles to guide them in their interpre 
tations of Old Testament Scripture, which could either enable 
them to determine between the fanciful and the true in typical 
applications, or guard them against the worst excesses of allego 
rical licence. 3 

1 On Psalm xli. 2 On Psalm xlii. 

3 The major part of our readers, perhaps, may be of opinion that they 
have already been detained too long with the subject, believing that such 


II. Passing over the period of the middle ages, which pro 
duced nothing new in this line, we come to the divines of the 
Reformation. At that memorable era a mighty advance was 
made, not only beyond the ages immediately preceding, but 
also beyond all that had passed from the commencement of 
Christianity, in the sound interpretation of Scripture. The 
original text then at last began to be examined with something 
like critical exactness, and a stedfast adherence was generally 
professed, and in good part also maintained, to the natural and 
grammatical sense. The leading spirits of the Reformation 
were here also the great authors of reform. Luther denounced 
mystical and allegorical interpretations as " trifling and foolish 
fables, with which the Scriptures were rent into so many and 
diverse senses, that silly poor consciences could receive no certain 

interpretations are for ever numbered among the things that were. So we 
were ourselves disposed to think. And yet we have lived to see a substan 
tial revival of the allegorical style of interpretation, in a work of compara 
tively recent date, and a work that bears the marks of an accomplished and 
superior mind. We refer to that portion of Mr Worsley s Produce of the 
Intellect in Religion, which treats of the Patriarchs in their Christian Import, 
and the Apostles as the Completion of the Patriarchs. His notion respecting 
the Patriarchs briefly is, that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob respectively, 
"present to us the eternal triune object" of worship, Father, Son, and 
Holy Ghost ; that the marriages of the Patriarchs symbolize God s union 
with His church, and with each member of it ; and especially is this done 
through the wives and children of Jacob, at least in regard to its practical 
tendency and sanctifying results. In making out the scheme, the names 
of the persons mentioned in the history are peculiarly dwelt upon, as fur 
nishing a sort of key to the allegorical interpretation. Thus Leah, whose 
name means wearisome and fatiguing labour, was the symbol of "services 
and works which are of little worth in themselves labours rather of a pain 
ful and reluctant duty, than of a free and joyful love." " She sets forth 
to us that fundamental repulsiveness or stubbornness of our nature, whose 
proper and ordained discipline is the daily taskwork of duty, as done not 
to man, nor to self, but to God." Afterwards, Leah is identified with the 
ox, as the symbol of stubbornness and wearisome labour; and so "with 
Leah the ox symbolizes our taskwork of duty, and our capacity for it," 
while the sheep (Rachel signifying sheep) symbolizes "our labours of love, 
i.e., our real rest and capacity for it." (P. 71, 113, 128.) It may be con 
jectured from this specimen what ingenuities require to be plied before the 
author can get through all the twelve sons of Jacob, so as to make them 
symbols of the different graces and operations of a Christian life. We object 
to the entire scheme. 1. Because it is perfectly arbitrary. Though Scrip- 


doctrine of anything." 1 Calvin, in like manner, declares that 
"the true meaning of Scripture is the natural and obvious 
meaning, by which we ought resolutely to abide ;" and speaks 
of the "licentious system" of Origen and the allegorists, as 
" undoubtedly a contrivance of Satan to undermine the authority 
of Scripture, and to take away from the reading of it the true 
advantage." 2 In some of his interpretations, especially on the 
prophetical parts of Scripture, he even went to an extreme in 
advocating what he here calls the natural and obvious meaning, 
and thereby missed the more profound import, which, according 
to the elevated and often enigmatical style of prophecy, it was 
the design of the Spirit to convey. On the other hand, in spite 
of their avowed and generally followed principles of interpreta- 

ture sometimes warrants us in laying stress on names, as expressive of spiri 
tual ideas or truths connected with the persons they belong to, yet it is only 
when the history itself draws attention to them, and even then they never 
stand alone, as the names often do with Mr Worsley, the only keys to the 
import of the transactions : as if, where acts entirely fail, or where they 
appear to be at variance with the symbolical ideal, the key were still to be 
found in the name. Scripture nowhere, for example, lays any stress upon 
the names of Leah and Rachel ; while it very pointedly refers to the bad 
eyes of the one, and the attractive comeliness of the other. And if we were 
inclined to allegorize at all, we should deem it more natural, with Justin 
Martyr (Trypho, c. 42) and Jerome (on Hos. xii. 3), to regard Leah as the 
symbol of the blear-eyed Jewish church, and Rachel of the beloved church 
of the Gospel. Even this, however, is quite arbitrary, for there is nothing 
properly in common between the symbol and the thing symbolized no real 
bond of connection uniting them together. And if by tracing out such 
lines of resemblance, we might indulge in a pleasing exercise of fancy, we 
can never deduce from them a revelation of God s mind and will. 2. But 
further, such explanations offend against great fundamental principles the 
principle, for example, that the Father cannot be represented as entering 
into union with the Church, viewed as distinct from the Son and the Spirit ; 
and the principle that a sinful act or an improper relation cannot be the 
symbol of what is divine and holy. In such a case there never can be any 
real agreement. "Who, indeed, can calmly contemplate the idea of Abra 
ham s connection with Hagar, or Jacob s connection with the two sisters 
and their handmaids in themselves both manifestly wrong, and receiving 
on them manifest tokens of God s displeasure in providence should be the 
chosen symbol of God s own relation to the Church ? How very different 
an allegorizing of this sort is from the typical use made of them in Scrip 
ture will be shown in the sequel. 

1 On Gal. iv. 26. 2 On Gal. iv. 22. 


tion, the writers of the Reformation-period not unfrequently fell 
into the old method of allegorizing, and threw out typical ex 
planations of a kind that cannot stand a careful scrutiny. It 
were quite easy to produce examples of this from the writings 
of those who lived at and immediately subsequent to the Re 
formation ; but it would be of no service as regards our present 
object, since their attention was comparatively little drawn to 
the subject of types ; and none of them attempted to construct 
any distinct typological system. 

III. We pass on, therefore, to a later period about the 
middle of the seventeenth century when the science of theology 
began to be studied more in detail, and the types consequently 
received a more formal consideration. About that period arose 
what is called the Cocceian school, which, though it did not 
revive the double sense of the Alexandrian (for Cocceius ex 
pressly disclaimed any other sense of Scripture than the literal 
and historical one), yet was chargeable in another respect with 
a participation in the caprice and irregularity of the ancient 
allegorists. Cocceius himself, less distinguished as a systematic 
writer in theology than as a Hebrew scholar and learned ex 
positor of Scripture, left no formal enunciation of principles 
connected with typical or allegorical interpretations ; and it is 
chiefly from his annotations on particular passages, and the 
more systematic works of his followers, that these are to be 
gathered. How freely, however, he was disposed to draw upon 
Old Testament history for types of Gospel things, may be 
understood from a single example his viewing what is said of 
Asshur going out and building Nineveh, as a type of the Turk 
or Mussulman power, which at once sprang from the kingdom, 
and shook the dominion of Antichrist (cur. Prior, in Gen. x. 
11.). Pie evidently conceived that every event in Old Testament 
history, which had a formal resemblance to something under 
the New, was to be regarded as typical. And that, even not 
withstanding his avowed adherence to but one sense of Scripture, 
he could occasionally adopt a second, appears alone from his 
allegorical interpretation of the eighth Psalm; according to 
which the sheep there spoken of, as being put under man, are 
Christ s flock the oxen, those who labour in Christ s service 


the leasts of the field, such as are strangers to the city and king 
dom of God, barbarians and savages the fowl of the air and 
fish of the sea, persons at a still greater distance from godliness ; 
so that, as he concludes, there is nothing so wild and intractable 
on earth but it shall be brought under the rule and dominion of 

It does not appear, however, that the views of Cocceius 
differed materially from those which were held by some who 
preceded him ; and it would seem rather to have been owing to 
his eminence generally as a commentator than to any distinctive 
peculiarity in his typological principles, that he came to be so 
prominently identified with the school, which from him derived 
the name of Cocceian. If we turn to one of the earlier editions 
of Glass s Philologia Sacra, published before Cocceius com 
menced his critical labours (the first was published before he 
was born), we shall find the principles of allegorical and typical 
interpretations laid down with a latitude which Cocceius himself 
could scarcely have quarrelled with. Indeed, we shall find few 
examples in his writings that might not be justified on the prin 
ciples stated by Glass ; and though the latter, in his section on 
allegories, has to throw himself back chiefly on the Fathers, he 
yet produces some quotations in support of his views, both on 
these and on types, from some writers of his own age. There 
seems to have been no essential difference between the typological 
principles of Glass, Cocceius, Witsius, and Yitringa ; and though 
the first wrote some time before, and the last about half a century 
later than Cocceius, no injustice can be done to any of them by 
classing them together, and referring indifferently to their several 
productions. Like the Fathers, they did not sufficiently dis 
tinguish between allegorical and typical interpretations, but re 
garded the one as only a particular form of the other, and both 
as equally warranted by New Testament Scripture. Hence, 
the rules they adopted were to a great extent applicable to what 
is allegorical in the proper sense, as well as typical, though for 
the present we must confine ourselves to the typical department. 
They held, then, that there was a twofold sort of types, the one 
innate, consisting of those which Scripture itself has expressly 
asserted to possess a typical character ; the other inferred, con 
sisting of such as, though not specially noticed or explained in 


Scripture, were yet, on probable grounds, inferred by interpreters 
as conformable to the analogy of faith, and the practice of the 
inspired writers in regard to similar examples. 1 This latter class 
were considered not less proper and valid than the other ; and 
pains were taken to distinguish them from those which were 
sometimes forged by Papists, and which were at variance with 
the analogies just mentioned. Of course, from their very nature 
they could only be employed for the support and confirmation 
of truths already received, and not to prove what was in itself 
doubtful. But not on that account were they to be less care 
fully searched for, or less confidently used, because thus only, 
it was maintained, could Christ be found in all Scripture, which 
throughout testifies of Him. 

It is evident alone, from this general statement, that there 
was something vague and loose in the Cocceian system, which 
left ample scope for the indulgence of a luxuriant fancy. Nor 
can we wonder that, in practice, a mere resemblance, however 
accidental or trifling, between an occurrence in Old, and another 
in New Testament times, was deemed sufficient to constitute the 
one a type of the other. Hence in the writings of the eminent 
and learned men above referred to, we find the name of Abel 
(emptiness) viewed as prefiguring our Lords humiliation ; the 
occupation of Abel, Christ s office as the Shepherd of Israel ; 
the withdrawal of Isaac from his father s house to the land of 
Moriah, Christ s being led out of the temple to Calvary ; Adam s 
awaking out of sleep, Christ s resurrection from the dead; 
Samson s meeting a young lion by the way, and the transactions 
that followed, Christ s meeting Saul on the road to Damascus, 
with the important train of events to which it led; David s 
gathering to himself a party of the distressed, the bankrupt, 
and discontented, Christ s receiving into His Church publicans 
and sinners ; with many others of a like nature. 

Multitudes of examples perfectly similar that is, equally 
destitute of any proper foundation in principle are to be found 
in writers of our own country, such as Mather, 2 Keach, 3 Wor- 

1 Philologia Sac. Lib. II. P. I. Tract. II. sect. 4. Vitringa Obs. Sac. 
Vol. II. Lib. VI. c. 20. Witsius De (Econom. Lib. IV. c. 6. 

2 The Figures and Types of the Old Testament. 

5 Key to open the Scripture Metaphors and Types. 


den, 1 J. Taylor, 2 Guild, 3 who belonged to the same school of 
interpretation, and who nearly all lived toward the latter part 
of the seventeenth century. Excepting the two first, they make 
no attempt to connect their explanations with any principles of 
interpretation, and these two very sparingly. Their works were 
all intended for popular use, and rather exhibited by particular 
examples, than systematically expounded the nature of their 
views. They, however, agreed in admitting inferred as well as 
innate types, but differed more perhaps from constitutional 
temperament than on theoretical grounds in the extent to 
which they respectively carried the liberty they claimed to go 
beyond the explicit warrant of New Testament Scripture. 
Mather in particular, and Worden, usually confine themselves 
to such types as have obtained special notice of some kind from 
the writers of the New Testament ; though they held the prin 
ciple, that " where the analogy was evident and manifest between 
things under the law and things under the Gospel, the one were 
to be concluded (on the ground simply of that analogy) to be 
types of the other." How far this warrant from analogy was 
thought capable of leading, may be learned from Taylor and 
Guild, especially from the latter, who has no fewer than forty- 
nine typical resemblances between Joseph and Christ, and seven 
teen between Jacob and Christ, not scrupling to swell the 
number by occasionally taking in acts of sin, as well as circum 
stances of an altogether trivial nature. Thus, Jacob s being a 
supplanter of his brother, is made to represent Christ s sup 
planting 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 vension to his 
father, clothed in Esau s garment, Christ s purchasing the 
heavenly inheritance to us by His red blood, and obtaining the 
blessing by offering up the savoury meat of His obedience, in 
the borrowed garment of our nature, etc. 

Now, we may affirm of these, and many similar examples 
occurring in writers of the same class, that the analogy they 

1 The Types Unveiled ; or, The Gospel Picked out of the Legal Cere 

2 Moses and Aaron. 3 Moses Unveiled. 


found upon was a merely superficial resemblance appearing be 
tween things in the Old and other things in the New Testament 
Scriptures. But resemblances of this sort are so extremely 
multifarious, and appear also so different according to the point 
of view from which they are contemplated, that it was obviously 
possible for any one to take occasion through them to introduce 
the most frivolous conceits, and to caricature rather than vindi 
cate the grand theme of the Gospel. Then, if such weight was 
fitly attached to mere resemblances between the Old and the 
New, even when they were altogether of a slight and superficial 
kind, why should not profane as well as sacred history be ran 
sacked for them ? What, for example, might prevent Romulus 
(seeing that God is in all history, if this actually were history) 
assembling a band of desperadoes, and founding a world-wide 
empire on the banks of the Tiber, from serving, as well as David 
in the circumstances specified above, to typify the procedure of 
Christ in calling to him publicans and sinners at the commence 
ment of His kingdom ? As many points of resemblance might 
be found in the one case as in the other ; and the two trans 
actions in ancient history, as here contemplated, stood much on 
the same footing as regards the appointment of God ; for both 
alike were the offspring of human policy, struggling against 
outward difficulties, and endeavouring with such materials as 
were available to supply the want of better resources. And thus, 
by pushing the matter beyond its just limits, we reduce the 
sacred to a level with the profane, and, at the same time, throw 
an air of uncertainty over the whole aspect of its typical cha 
racter. 1 

That the Cocceian mode of handling the typical matter of 
ancient Scripture so readily admitted of the introduction of 
trifling, far-fetched, and even altogether false analogies, was one 
of its capital defects. It had no essential principles or fixed 
rules by which to guide its interpretations set up no proper 

1 In the reference made above to the beginnings of David s kingdom, it 
will be understood that the characters he associated with himself are simply 
viewed in the light contemplated by the writers more immediately in view. 
My own conviction is, that 1 Sam. xxii. 2, if rightly interpreted, would 
present those who 1 gathered themselves to David as spiritually the better 
sort in Israel those who were partly made bankrupt by oppression, and 
partly were grieved and vexed in their minds at the existing state of things. 


landmarks along the field of inquiry left room on every hand 
for arbitrariness and caprice to enter. It was this, perhaps, 
more than anything else, which tended to bring typical inter 
pretations into disrepute, and disposed men, in proportion as 
the exact and critical study of Scripture came to be cultivated, 
to regard the subject of its typology as hopelessly involved in 
conjecture and uncertainty. Yet this was not the only fault 
inherent in the typological system now under consideration. It 
failed, more fundamentally still, in the idea it had formed of the 
connection between the Old and the New in God s dispensa 
tions between the type and the thing typified which came to 
be thrown mainly upon the mere forms and accidents of things, 
to the comparative neglect of the great fundamental principles 
which are common alike to all dispensations, and in which the 
more vital part of the connection must be sought. It was this 
more radical error, which in fact gave rise to the greater portion 
of the extravagances that disfigured the typical illustrations of 
our elder divines ; for it naturally led them to make account of 
coincidences that were often unimportant, and sometimes only 
apparent. And not only so ; but it also led them to undervalue 
the immediate object and design of the types in their relation to 
those who lived amongst them. While these as types speak a 
language that can be distinctly and intelligently understood only 
by us, who are privileged to read their meaning in the light of 
Gospel realities, they yet had, as institutions in the existing wor 
ship, or events in the current providence of God, a present pur 
pose to accomplish, apart from the prospective reference to future 
times, and we might almost say, as much as if no such reference 
had belonged to them. 

IV. These inherent errors and imperfections in the typo 
logical system of the Cocceian school, were not long in leading 
to its general abandonment. But theology had little reason to 
boast of the change. For the system that supplanted it, with 
out entering at all into a more profound investigation of the 
subject, or attempting to explain more satisfactorily the grounds 
of a typical connection between the Old and the New, simply 
contented itself with admitting into the rank of types what had 
been expressly treated as such in the Scripture itself, to the 


exclusion of all besides. This seemed to be the only safeguard 
against error and extravagance. 1 And yet, we fear, other 
reasons of a less justifiable nature contributed not a little to 
produce the result. An unhappy current had begun to set in 
upon the Protestant Church in some places while Cocceius 
still lived, and in others soon after his death, which disposed 
many of her more eminent teachers to slight the evangelical 
element in Christianity, and, if -not utterly to lose sight of 
Christ Himself, at least to disrelish and repudiate a system 
which delighted to find traces of Him in every part of revela 
tion. It was the redeeming point of the earlier typology, which 
should be allowed to go far in extenuating the occasional errors 
connected with it, that it kept the work and kingdom of Christ 
ever prominently in view, as the grand scope and end of all 
God s dispensations. It felt, if we may so speak, correctly, 
whatever it may have wanted in the requisite depth and preci 
sion of thought. But towards the end of the seventeenth and 
the beginning of the eighteenth century, a general coldness 
very commonly discovered itself, both in the writings and the 
lives of even the more orthodox sections of the Church. The 
living energy and zeal which had achieved such important re 
sults a century before, either inactively slumbered, or spent 
itself in doctrinal controversies ; and the faith of the Church 

1 The following critique of Buddeus, which belongs to the earlier part 
of last century, already points in this direction : "It cannot certainly be 
denied that the Cocceians, at least some of them, have carried this matter 
too far. For, besides that they everywhere seem to find images and types 
of future things, where other people can discern none, when they come to 
make the application to the antitype, they not unfrequently descend to 
minute and even trifling things, nay, advance what is utterly insignificant 
and ludicrous, exposing holy writ to the mockery of the profane. And here 
it may be proper to notice the fates of exegetical theology ; since that in 
temperate rage for allegories which appeared in Origen and the Fathers, and 
which had been condemned by the schoolmen, was again, after an interval, 
though under a different form, produced anew upon the stage. For this 
typical interpretation differs from the allegorical only in the circumstance, 
that respect is had in it to the future things which are adumbrated by the 
types ; and so, the typical may be regarded as a sort of allegorical interpre 
tation. But in either way the amplest scope is afforded for the play of a 
luxuriant fancy and a fertile invention." I. F. Buddei Isagoge II. hist. 
Theolog. 1830. 

VOL. I. C 


was first corrupted in its simplicity, and then weakened in its 
foundations by the pernicious influence of a widely cultivated, 
but essentially anti-Christian philosophy. In such circumstances 
Christ was not allowed to maintain His proper place in the New 
Testament ; and it is not to be wondered at if He should have 
been nearly banished from the Old. 

Vitringa, who lived when this degeneracy from better times 
had made considerable progress, attributed to it much of that 
distaste which was then beginning to prevail in regard to typical 
interpretations of Scripture. With special reference to the 
work of Spencer on the Laws of the Hebrews, a work not less 
remarkable for its low-toned, semi-heathenish spirit, than for its 
varied and well-digested learning, he lamented the inclination 
that appeared to seek for the grounds and reasons of the Mosaic 
institutions in the mazes of Egyptian idolatry, instead of endea 
vouring to discover in them the mysteries of the Gospel. These, 
he believed, the Holy Spirit had plainly intimated to be couched 
there ; and they shone, indeed, so manifestly through the insti 
tutions themselves, that it seemed impossible for any one not to 
perceive the type, who recognised the antitype. Nor could he 
conceal his fear, that the talent, authority, and learning of such 
men as Spencer would gain extensive credit for their opinions, 
and soon bring the Typology of Scripture, as he understood it, 
into general contempt. 1 In this apprehension he was certainly 
not mistaken. Another generation had scarcely passed away 
when Dathe published his edition of the Sacred Philology of 
Glass, in which the section on types, to which we have already 
referred, was wholly omitted, as relating to a subject no longer 
thought worthy of a recognised place in the science of an en 
lightened theology. The rationalistic spirit, in the progress of 
its anti-Christian tendencies, had now discarded the innate, as 
well as the inferred types of the elder divines ; and the con 
venient principle of accommodation, which was at the same time 
introduced, furnished an easy solution for those passages in New 
Testament Scripture which seemed to indicate a typical rela 
tionship between the past and the future. It was regarded as 
only an adaptation, originating in Jewish prejudice or conceit, 
of the facts and institutions of an earlier age to things essentially 
1 Obs. Sac. Vol. II., p. 460, 461. 


different under the Gospel ; but now, since the state of feeling 
that gave rise to it no longer existed, deservedly suffered to fall 
into desuetude. And thus the bond was virtually broken by the 
hand of these rationalizing theologians between the Old and 
the New in Revelation ; and the records of Christianity, when 
scientifically interpreted, were found to have marvellously little 
in common with those of Judaism. 

In Britain various causes contributed to hold in check this 
downward tendency, and to prevent it from reaching the same 
excess of dishonour to Christ, which it soon attained on the Con 
tinent. Even persons of a cold and philosophical temperament, 
such as Clarke and Jortin, not only wrote in defence of types, 
as having a certain legitimate use in Revelation, but also ad 
mitted more within the circle of types than Scripture itself has 
expressly applied to Gospel times. 1 They urged, indeed, the 
necessity of exercising the greatest caution in travelling beyond 
the explicit warrant of Scripture ; and in their general cast of 
thought they undoubtedly had more affinity with the Spencerian 
than the Cocceian school. Yet a feeling of the close and per 
vading; connection between the Old and the New Testament dis- 


pensations restrained them from discarding the more important 
of the inferred types. Jortin especially falls so much into the 
vein of earlier writers, that he employs his ingenuity in reckon 
ing up as many as forty particulars in which Moses typically 
prefigured Christ. A work composed about the same period as 
that to which the Remarks of Jortin belong, and one that has 
had more influence than any other in fashioning the typological 
views generally entertained in Scotland the production of a 
young dissenting minister in Dundee (Mr M Ewen) 2 is still 
more free in the admission of types not expressly sanctioned in 
the Scriptures of the New Testament. The work itself being 
posthumous, and intended for popular use, contains no investi 
gation of the grounds 011 which typical interpretations rest, and 
harmonizes much more with the school that had flourished in 

1 Clarke s Evidences, p. 420, sq. Jortin s Remarks on Ecclesiastical 
History, Vol. I., p. 138-152. 

2 Grace and Truth, or the Glory and Fulness of the Redeemer displayed, 
in an attempt to explain the Types, Figures, and Allegories of the Old Tes 
tament, by the Rev. AY. M Eweu. 


the previous century, than that to which Clarke and Jortin 
belonged. As indicative of a particular style of biblical inter 
pretation, it may be classed with the productions of Mather and 
Taylor, and partakes alike of their excellences and defects. 

There was, therefore, a considerable unwillingness in this 
country to abandon the Cocceian ground on the subject of 
types. The declension came in gradually, and its progress was 
rather marked by a tacit rejection in practice of much that was 
previously held to be typical, than by the introduction of views 
specifically different. It became the practice of theologians to 
look more into the general nature of things for the reasons of 
Christianity, than into the pre-existing elements and character 
istics of former dispensations; and to account for the peculiarities 
of Judaism by its partly antagonistic, partly homogeneous rela 
tion to Paganism, rather than by any covert reference it might 
have to the coming realities of the Gospel. As an inevitable 
consequence, the typological department of theology fell into 
general neglect, from which the Old Testament Scriptures them 
selves did not altogether escape. Those portions of them espe 
cially which narrate the history and prescribe the religious rites 
of the ancient Church, were but rarely treated in a manner that 
bespoke any confidence in their fitness to minister to the spiritual 
discernment and faith of Christians. It seems, partly at least, 
to have been owing to this growing distaste for Old Testament 
inquiries, and this general depreciation of its Scriptures, that 
what is called the Hutchinsonian school arose in England, 
which, by a sort of recoil from the prevailing spirit, ran into the 
opposite extreme of searching for the elements of all knowledge, 
human and divine, in the writings of the Old Testament. This 
school possesses too much the character of an episode in the 
history of biblical interpretation in this country, and was itself 
too strongly marked by a spirit of extravagance, to render any 
formal account of it necessary here. It was, besides, chiefly of 
a physico-theological character, combining the elements of a 
natural philosophy with the truths of revelation, both of which 
it sought to extract from the statements, and sometimes even 
from the words and letters of Scripture. The most profound 
meanings were consequently discovered in the sacred text, in 
respect alike to the doctrines of the Gospel and the truths of 


science. One of the maxims of its founder was, that a every 
passage of the Old Testament looks backward and forward, and 
every way, like light from the sun ; not only to the state before 
and under the law, but under the Gospel, and nothing is hid 
from the light thereof." 1 When such a depth and complexity 
of meaning was supposed to be involved in every passage, we 
need not be surprised to learn, respecting the exactness of Abra 
ham s knowledge of future events, that he knew from preceding 
types and promises, that "one of his own line was to be sacrificed, 
to be a blessing to all the race of Adam ; " and not only so, 
but that when he received the command to offer Isaac, he pro 
ceeded to obey it, "not doubting that Isaac was to be that person 
who should redeem man." 2 

The cabalistic and extravagant character of the Hutchinsonian 
system, if it had any definite influence on the study of types and 
other cognate subjects, could only tend to increase the suspicion 
with which they were already viewed, and foster a disposition to 
agree to whatever might keep investigation within the bounds of 
sobriety and discretion. Accordingly, while nothing more was 
done to unfold the essential and proper ground of a typical con 
nection between Old and New Testament things, and to prevent 
abuse by tracing the matter up to its ultimate and fundamental 
principles, the more scientific students of the Bible came, by a 
sort of common consent, to acquiesce in the opinion, that those 
only were to be reckoned types to which Scripture itself, by ex 
press warrant, or at least by obvious implication, had assigned 
that character. Bishop Marsh may be named as perhaps the 
ablest and most systematic expounder of this view of the subject. 
He says, u There is no other rule by which we can distinguish 
a real from a pretended type, than that of Scripture itself. 
There are no other possible means by which we can know that 
a previous design and a pre-ordained connection existed. What 
ever persons or things, therefore, recorded in the Old Testament, 
were expressly declared by Christ or by His apostles to have 
been designed as prefigurations of persons or things relating to 
the New Testament, such persons or things so recorded in the 
former, are types of the persons or things with which they are 
compared in the latter. But if we assert that a person or thing 
1 Hutchinson s Works, Vol. I., p. 202. Ibid., Vol. VII., p. 325. 


was designed to prefigure another person or thing, where no such 
prefiguration has been declared by divine authority, we make an 
assertion for which we neither have, nor can have, the slightest 
foundation." 1 This is certainly a very authoritative and peremp 
tory decision of the matter. But the principle involved in this 
statement, though seldom so oracularly announced, has long 
been practically received. It was substantially adopted by 
Macknight, in his Dissertation on the Interpretation of Scrip 
ture, at the end of his Commentary on the Epistles, before 
Bishop Marsh wrote ; and it has been followed since by Vanmil- 
dert and Conybeare in their Bampton Lectures, by Nares in his 
Warburtonian Lectures, by Chevalier in his Hulsean Lectures, 
by Home in his Introduction, and a host of other writers. 

Judging from an article in the American Biblical Repository, 
which appeared in the number for January 1841, it would appear 
that the leading authorities on the other side of the Atlantic con 
curred in the same general view. The reviewer himself advo 
cates the opinion, that " no person, event, or institution, should be 
regarded as typical, but what may be proved to be such from the 
Scriptures," meaning by that their explicit assertion in regard to 
the particular case. And in support of this opinion he quotes, 
besides English writers, the words of two of his own countrymen, 
Professor Stowe and Moses Stuart, the latter of whom says, 
" That just so much of the Old Testament is to be accounted 
typical as the New Testament affirms to be so, and no more. 
The fact, that any thing or event under the Old Testament dis 
pensation was designed to prefigure something under the New, 
can be known to us only by revelation ; and of course all that 
is not designated by divine authority as typical, can never be 
made so by any authority less than that which guided the writers 
of the New Testament." 2 

Now, the view embraced by this school of interpretation lies 
open to one objection, in common with the school that preceded 
it. While the field, as to its extent, was greatly circumscribed, 
and in its boundaries ruled as with square and compass, nothing 
was done in the way of investigating it internally, or of unfolding 
the grounds of connection between type and antitype. Fewer 
points of resemblance are usually presented to us between the 
1 Lectures, p. 373. 2 Stuart s Ernesti, p. 13, 


one and the other by the writers of this school than arc found 
in works of an older date ; but the resemblances themselves are 
quite as much of a superficial and outward kind. The real har 
mony and connection between the Old and the New in the divine 
dispensations, stood precisely where it was. But other defects 
adhere to this more recent typological system. The lead ing 
excellence of the system thai; preceded it was the constant refer 
ence it conceived the Scriptures of the Old Testament to bear 
toward Christ and the Gospel dispensation ; and the practical 
disavowal of this may be said to constitute the great defect of 
the more exact, but balder system, which supplanted it with the 
general suffrage of the learned. It drops a golden principle 
for the sake of avoiding a few lawless aberrations. With such 
narrow limits as it sets to our inquiries, we cannot indeed wander 
far into the regions of extravagance. But in the very prescrip 
tion of these limits, it wrongfully withholds from us the key of 
knowledge, and shuts us up to evils scarcely less to be deprecated 
than those it seeks to correct. For it destroys to a large extent 
the bond of connection between the Old and the New Testament 
Scriptures, and thus deprives the Christian Church of much of 
the instruction in divine things which they were designed to 
impart. Were men accustomed, as they should be, to search 
for the germs of Christian truth in the earliest Scriptures, and 
to regard the inspired records of both covenants as having for 
their leading object " the testimony of Jesus," they would know 
how much they were losers by such an undue contraction of the 
typical element in Old Testament Scripture. And in proportion 
as a more profound and spiritual acquaintance with the divine 
word is cultivated, will the feeling of dissatisfaction grow in 
respect to a style of interpretation that so miserably dwarfs and 
cripples the relation which the preparatory bears to the ultimate 
in God s revelations. 

It is necessary, however, to take a closer view of the subject. 
The principle on which this typological system takes its stand, 
is, that nothing less than inspired authority is sufficient to deter 
mine the reality and import of anything that is typical. But 
what necessary reason or solid ground is there for such a prin 
ciple ? No one holds the necessity of inspiration to explain each 
particular prophecy, and decide even with certainty on its fulfil- 


ment ; and why should it be reckoned indispensable in the closely 
related subject of types ? This question was long ago asked by 
Witsius, and yet waits for a satisfactory answer. A part only, 
it is universally allowed, of the prophecies which refer to Christ 
and His kingdom have been specially noticed and interpreted 
by the pen of inspiration. So little necessary, indeed, was in 
spiration for such a purpose, that even before the descent of the 
Holy Spirit at Pentecost, our Lord reproved His disciples as 
" fools and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets had 
spoken." And from the close analogy between the two subjects 
for what is a type but a prophetical act or institution 1 we 
might reasonably infer the same liberty to have been granted, 
and the same obligation to be imposed, in regard to the typical 
parts of ancient Scripture. But we have something more than 
a mere argument from analogy to guide us to this conclusion. 
For the very same complaint is brought by an inspired writer 
against private Christians concerning their slowness in under 
standing the typical, which our Lord brought against His dis 
ciples in respect to the prophetical portions of ancient Scripture. 
In the epistle to the Hebrews a sharp reproof is administered 
for the imperfect acquaintance believers among them had with 
the typical character of Melchizedek, and subjects of a like 
nature thus placing it beyond a doubt that it is both the duty 
and the privilege of the Church, with that measure of the 
Spirit s grace which it is the part even of private Christians to 
possess, to search into the types of ancient Scripture, and come 
to a correct understanding of them. To deny this, is plainly to 
withhold an important privilege from the Church of Christ ; to 
dissuade from it, is to encourage the neglect of an incumbent 

But the unsoundness of the principle, which would thus 
limit the number of types to those which New Testament Scrip 
ture has expressly noticed and explained, becomes still more 
apparent when it is considered what these really are, and in 
what manner they are introduced. Leaving out of view the 
tabernacle, with its furniture and services, which, as a whole, 
is affirmed in the epistles to the Hebrews and the Colossians to 
have been of a typical nature, the following examples are what 
the writers now referred to usually regard as having something 


like an explicit sanction in Scripture: 1. Persons or charac 
ters: Adam (Rom. v. 11, 12; 1 Cor. xv. 22); Melchizedek 
(Heb. vii.) ; Sarah and Hagar, Ishmael and Isaac, and by im 
plication Abraham (Gal. iv. 22-35) ; Moses (Gal. iii. 19; Acts 
iii. 22-26) ; Jonah (Matt. xii. 40) ; David (Ezek. xxxvii. 24 ; 
Luke i. 32., etc.) ; Solomon (2 Sam. vii.) ; Zerubbabel and 
Joshua (Zech. iii. iv. ; Hag. ii. 23). 2. Transactions or events : 
the preservation of Noah and his family in the ark (1 Pet. iii. 
20) ; the redemption from Egypt and its passover-memorial 
(Luke xxii. 15, 16; 1 Cor. v. 7); the exodus (Matt. ii. 15); 
the passage through the Red Sea, the giving of manna, Moses 
veiling of his face while the law was read ; the water flowing 
from the smitten rock ; the serpent lifted up for healing in the 
wilderness, and some other things that befell the Israelites there 
(1 Cor. x. ; John iii. 14, v. 33 ; Rev. ii. 17). 1 

Now, let any person of candour and intelligence take his 
Bible, and examine the passages to which reference is here made, 
and then say, whether the manner in which these typical cha 
racters and transactions are there introduced, is such as to in 
dicate, that these alone were held by the inspired writers to be 
prefigurative of similar characters and transactions under the 
Gospel ? that in naming them they meant to exhaust the typical 
bearing of Old Testament history ? On the contrary, we deem 
it impossible for any one to avoid the conviction, that in what 
ever respect these particular examples may have been adduced, 
it is simply as examples adapted to the occasion, and taken from 

1 We don t vouch, of course, for the absolute completeness of the above 
list. Indeed, it is scarcely possible to know what would be regarded as a 
complete list some feeling satisfied with an amount of recognition in 
Scripture which seems quite insufficient in the eyes of others. There have 
been those who, on the strength of Gen. xlix. 24, would insert Joseph among 
the specially mentioned types, and claim also Sampson, on account of what 
is written in Judges xiii. 5. But scriptural warrants of such a kind are out 
of date now they can no longer be regarded as current coin. On the other 
hand, there are not a few who deem the scriptural warrant insufficient for 
some of those we have specified, and think the passages where they are 
noticed refer to them merely in the way of illustration. The list, however, 
comprises what are usually regarded as historical types, possessing distinct 
scriptural authority, by writers belonging to the school of Marsh. The 
arguments of those who would discard them altogether will be considered 
under next division. 


a vast storehouse, where many more were to be found. They 
have so much at least the appearance of having been selected 
merely on account of their suitableness to the immediate end in 
view, that they cannot fairly be regarded otherwise than as 
specimens of the class they belong to. And if so, they should 
rather have the effect of prompting further inquiry than of re 
pressing it; since, instead of themselves comprehending and 
bounding the whole field of Scriptural Typology, they only ex 
hibit practically the principles on which others of a like descrip 
tion are to be discovered and explained. 

Indeed, were it otherwise, nothing could be more arbitrary 
and inexplicable than this Scriptural typology. For, what is 
there to distinguish the characters and events, which Scripture 
has thus particularized, from a multitude of others, to which the 
typical element might equally have been supposed to belong ? 
Is there anything on the face of the inspired record to make us 
look on them in a singular light, and attribute to them a signifi 
cance altogether peculiar respecting the future affairs of God s 
kingdom ? So far from it, that we instinctively feel, if these 
really possessed a typical character, so also must others, which 
hold an equally, or perhaps even more prominent place in the 
history of God s dispensations. Can it be seriously believed, 
for example, that Sarah and Hagar stood in a typical relation to 
Gospel times, while no such place was occupied by Rebekah, as 
the spouse of Isaac, and the mother of Jacob and Esau ? What 
reason can we imagine for Melchizedec and Jonah having been 
constituted types persons to whom our attention is compara 
tively little drawn in Old Testament history while such leading 
characters as Joseph, Sampson, Joshua, are omitted? Or, for 
selecting the passage through the Red Sea, and the incidents in 
the wilderness, while no account should be made of the passage 
through Jordan, and the conquest of the land of Canaan ? 

We can scarcely conceive of a mode of interpretation which 
should deal more capriciously with the word of God, and make 
so anomalous a use of its historical records. Instead of investing 
these with a homogeneous character, it arbitrarily selects a few 
out of the general mass, and sets them up in solitary grandeur, 
like mystic symbols in a temple, fictitiously elevated above the 
sacred materials around them. The exploded principle, which 


sought a type in every notice of Old Testament history, had at 
least the merit of uniformity to recommend it, and could not be 
said to deal partially, however often it might deal fancifully, 
with the facts of ancient Scripture. But according to the plan 
now under review, for which the authority of inspiration itself 
is claimed, we perceive nothing but arbitrary distinctions and 
groundless preferences. And though unquestionably it were 
wrong to expect in the word of God the methodical precision 
and order which might naturally have been looked for in a 
merely human composition, yet as the product, amid all its 
variety, of one and the same Spirit, we are warranted to expect 
that there shall be a consistent agreement among its several 
parts, and that distinctions shall not be created in the one 
Testament, which in the other seem destitute of any just foun 
dation or apparent reason. 

But then, if a greater latitude is allowed, how shall we guard 
against error and extravagance 1 Without the express authority 
of Scripture, how shall we be able to distinguish between a happy 
illustration and a real type ? In the words of Bishop Marsh : 
" By what means 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 pre 
figure the other, is the authority of that book in which the 
scheme of Divine Providence is unfolded." 1 This is an objec*- 
tion, indeed, which strikes at the root of the whole matter, and 
its validity can only be ascertained by a thorough investigation 
into the fundamental principles of the subject. That Scripture 
is the sole rule, on the authority of which we are to distinguish 
what is properly typical from what is not, we readily grant 
though not in the straitened sense contended for by Bishop 
Marsh and those who hold similar views, as if there were no 
way for Scripture to furnish a sufficient direction on the subject, 
except by specifying every particular case. It is possible, surely, 
that in this, as well as in other things, Scripture may indicate 
certain fundamental views or principles, of which it makes but 
1 Lectures, p. 372. 


a few individual applications, and for the rest leaves them in the 
hand of spiritually enlightened consciences. The rather may 
we thus conclude, as it is one of the leading peculiarities of New 
Testament Scripture to develop great truths, much more than to 
dwell on minute and isolated facts. It is a presumption against, 
not in favour of, the system we now oppose, that it would shut 
up the Tvpology of Scripture, in so far as connected with the 
characters and events of sacred history, within the narrow circle 
of a few scattered and apparently random examples. And the 
attempt to rescue it from this position, if in any measure success 
ful, will also serve to exhibit the unity of design which pervades 
the inspired records of both covenants, the traces they contain 
of the same Divine hand, the subservience of the one to the 
other, and the mutual dependence alike of the Old upon the 
New, and of the New upon the Old. 

V. We have still, however, another stage of our critical sur 
vey before us, and one calling in some respects for careful dis 
crimination and inquiry. The style of interpretation which we 
have connected with the name of Marsh could not, in the nature 
of things, afford satisfaction to men of thoughtful minds, who 
must have something like equitable principles as well as external 
authority to guide them in their interpretations. Such persons 
could not avoid feeling that, if there was so much in the Old 
Testament bearing a typical relation to the New, as was admitted 
on Scriptural authority by the school of Marsh, there must be 
considerably more; and also, that underneath that authority 
there must be a substratum of fundamental principles capable 
of bearing what Scripture itself has raised on it, and whatever 
besides may fitly be conjoined with it. But some, again, might 
possibly be of opinion that the authority of Scripture cannot 
warrantably carry us so far; and that both Scriptural authority, 
and the fundamental principles involved in the nature of the 
subject, apply only in part to what the disciples of Marsh re 
garded as typical. Accordingly, among more recent inquirers we 
have examples of each mode of divergence from the formal rules 
laid down by the preceding school of interpretation. The search 
for first principles has disposed some greatly to enlarge the 
typological field, and it has disposed others not less to curtail it. 


1. To take the latter class first, as they stand most nearly 
related to the school last discoursed of, representatives of it are 
certainly not wanting on the Continent, among whom may be 
named the hermeneutical writer Klausen, to whom reference 
will presently be made in another connection. But it is the less 
needful here to call in foreign authorities, as the view in question 
has had its advocates in our own theological literature. It was 
exhibited, for example, in Dr L. Alexander s Connection and 
Harmony of the Old and New Testament (1841), in which, 
while coinciding substantially with Bahr in his mode of explain 
ing and applying to Gospel times the symbolical institutions of 
the Old Covenant, he yet declared himself opposed to any further 
extension of the typical sphere. He would regard nothing as 
entitled to the name of typical, which did not possess the 
character of "a divine institution;" or, as he formally defines 
the entire class, " they are symbolical institutes expressly ap 
pointed by God to prefigure to those among whom they were 
set up certain great transactions in connection with that plan of 
redemption which, in the fulness of time, was to be unfolded to 
mankind." Hence the historical types of every description, 
even those which the- school of Marsh recognised on account 
of the place given to them in New Testament Scripture, were 
altogether disallowed; the use made of them by the inspired 
writers was held to be " for illustration merely, and not for the 
purpose of building anything on them;" they are not thereby 
constituted or proved to be types. 

The same view, however, was taken up and received a much 
keener and fuller advocacy by the American writer Mr Lord, 
in a periodical not unknown in this country the Ecclesiastical 
and Literary Journal (No. XV). This was done in connection 
with a fierce and elaborate review of the first edition of the 
Typology, in the course of which its system of exposition was 
denounced as " a monstrous scheme," not only " without the 
sanction of the word of God," but "one of the boldest and 
most effective contrivances for its subversion." It is not my 
intention now less, indeed, when issuing this new edition (the 
fourth) than formerly to attempt to rebut such offensive 
charges, or to expose the misrepresentations on which to a large 
extent they were grounded. I should even have preferred, had 


it been in my power to do so, repairing to some vindication of 
the same view, equally strenuous in its advocacy, but conducted 
in a calmer and fairer tone, in order that the discussion might 
bear less of a personal aspect. But as my present object is 
partly to unfold the gradual progress and development of 
opinion upon the subject of Scriptural Typology, justice could 
scarcely be done to it without hearing what Mr Lord has to 
say for the section of British and American theologians he 
represents, and meeting it with a brief rejoinder. 

The writer s mode was a comparatively easy one for proving 
a negative to the view he controverted. He began with setting 
forth a description of the nature and characteristics of a type, 
so tightened and compressed as to exclude all from the category 
but what pertained to " the tabernacle worship, or the propitia 
tion and homage of God." And having thus with a kind of 
oracular precision drawn his enclosure, it was not difficult to 
dispose of whatever else might claim to be admitted ; for it is 
put to flight the moment he presents his exact definitions, and 
can only be considered typical by persons of dreamy intellect, 
who are utter strangers to clearness of thought and precision of 
language. In this way it is possible, we admit, and also not very 
difficult, to make out a scheme and establish a nomenclature of 
one s own ; but the question is, Does it accord with the repre 
sentations of Scripture ? and will it serve, in respect to these, as 
a guiding and harmonizing principle 1 We might, in a similar 
way, draw out a series of precise and definite characteristics of 
Messianic prophecy, such as, that it must avowedly bear the 
impress of a prediction of the future that it must in the most 
explicit terms point to the person or times of Messiah that it 
must be conveyed in language capable of no ambiguity or double 
reference ; and then, with this sharp weapon in our hand, pro 
ceed summarily to lop off all supposed prophetical passages in 
which these characteristics are wanting holding such, if applied 
to Messianic times, to be mere accommodations, originally in 
tended for one thing, and afterwards loosely adapted to another. 
The rationalists of a former generation were great adepts in 
this mode of handling prophetical Scripture, and by the use of 
it dexterously got rid of a goodly number of the passages which 
in the New Testament are represented as finding their fulfil- 


ment in Christ. But we have yet to learn, that by so doing 
they succeeded in throwing any satisfactory light on the inter 
pretation of Scripture, or in placing on a Scriptural basis the 
connection between the Old and the New in God s dispensations. 
How closely the principles of Mr Lord lead him to tread in 
the footsteps of these effete interpreters, will appear presently. 
But we must first lodge our protest against his account of the 
essential nature and characteristics of a type, as entirely arbitrary 
and unsupported by Scripture. The things really possessing 
this character, he maintains, must have had the three following 
distinctive marks : They must have been specifically constituted 
types by God ; must have been known to be so constituted, and 
contemplated as such by those who had to do with them ; and 
must have been continued till the coming of Christ, when they 
were abrogated or superseded by something analogous in the 
Christian dispensation. These are his essential elements in the 
constitution of a type ; and an assertion of the want of one or 
more of them forms the perpetual refrain, with which he disposes 
of those characters and transactions that in his esteem are falsely 
accounted typical. We object to every one of them in the sense 
understood by the writer, and deny that Scriptural proof can be 
produced for them, as applying to the strictly religious symbols of 
the Old Testament worship, and to them alone. These were not 
specifically constituted types, or formally set up in that character, 
no more than such transactions as the deliverance from Egypt, 
or the preservation of Noah in the deluge, which are denied to 
have been typical. In the manner of their appointment, viewed 
by itself, there is no more to indicate a reference to the Messianic 
future in the one than in the other. Neither were they for 
certain known to be types, and used as such by the Old Testa 
ment worshippers. They unqestionably were not so used in the 
time of our Lord ; and how far they may have been at any 
previous period, is a matter only of probable inference, but no 
where of express revelation. Nor, finally, was it by any means 
an invariable and indispensable characteristic, that they should 
have continued in use till they were superseded by something 
analogous in the Christian dispensation. Some of the anoint 
ings were not so continued, nor the Shekinah, nor even the Ark 
of the Covenant ; and some of them stood in occasional acts of 


service, such as the Nazarite vow, in its very nature special and 
temporary. The redemption from Egypt was in itself a single 
event, yet it was closely allied to the symbolical services ; for 
it was linked to an ever-recurring and permanent ordinance of 
worship. It was a creative act, bringing Israel as a people of 
God into formal existence, and as such capable only of being 
commemorated, but not of being repeated. It was commemo 
rated, however, in the passover-feast. In that feast the Israelites 
continually freshened the remembrance of it anew on their hearts. 
They in spirit re-enacted it as a thing that required to be con 
stantly renewing itself in their experience, as in the Lord s 
Supper is now done by Christians in regard to the one great 
redemption-act on the cross. This, too, considered simply as an 
act in God s administration, is incapable of being repeated ; it 
can only be commemorated, and in its effects spiritually applied 
to the conscience. Yet so far from being thereby bereft of an 
antitypical character, it is the central antitype of the Gospel. 
Why should it be otherwise in respect to the type ? The analogy 
of things favours it ; and the testimony of Scripture not doubt 
fully requires it. 

To say nothing of other passages of Scripture which bear less 
explicitly, though to our mind very materially, upon the subject, 
our Lord Himself, at the celebration of the last passover, declared 
to His disciples, " With desire I have desired to eat this passover 
with you before I suffer ; for I say unto you, I will not any more 
eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God." (Luke 
xxii. 15, 16.) That is, there is a prophecy as well as a memorial 
in this commemorative ordinance, a prophecy, because it is the 
rehearsal of a typical transaction, which is now, and only now, 
going to meet with its full realization. Such appears to be the 
plain and unsophisticated import of our Lord s words. And the 
Apostle Paul is, if possible, still more explicit when he says, 
u For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us (more exactly, 
For also our passover has been sacrificed, Christ ) : therefore 
let us keep the feast," etc. (1 Cor. v. 7, 8.) What, we again 
ask, are we to understand by these words, if not that there is in 
the design and appointment of God an ordained connection be 
tween the sacrifice of Christ and the sacrifice of the Passover, so 
that the one, as the means of redemption, takes the place of the 


other 1 In any other sense the language would be only fitted 
to mislead, by begetting apprehensions regarding a mutual corre 
spondence and connection which had no existence. It is alleged 
on the other side, that " Christ is indeed said to be our passover, 
but it is by a metaphor, and indicates only that it is by His 
blood we are saved from everlasting death, as the first-born of 
the Hebrews were saved by the blood of the paschal lamb from 
death by the destroying angel." Were this all, the Apostle might 
surely have expressed himself less ambiguously. If there was 
no real connection between the earlier and the later event, and 
the one stood as much apart from the other as the lintels of 
Goshen in themselves did from the cross of Calvary, why employ 
language that forces upon the minds of simple believers the 
reality of a proper connection ? Simply, we believe, because it 
actually existed ; and our " exegetical conscience," to use a 
German phrase, refuses to be satisfied with Mr Lord s mere 
metaphor. But when he states further, that the passover, having 
been " appointed with a reference to the exemption of the first 
born of the Israelites from the death that was to be inflicted on the 
first-born of the Egyptians, it cannot be a type of Christ s death 
for the sins of the world, as that would imply that Christ s death 
also was commemorative of the preservation from an analogous 
death," who does not perceive that this is to confound between 
the passover as an original redemptive transaction, and as a 
commemorative ordinance, pointing back to the great fact, and 
perpetually rehearsing it ? It is as a festal solemnity alone that 
there can be anything commemorative belonging either to the 
Paschal sacrifice or to Christ s. Viewed, however, as redemptive 
acts, there was a sufficient analogy between them : the one 
redeemed the first-born of Israel (the firstlings of its families), 
and the other redeems " the Church of the first-born, whose 
names are written in heaven." 

There is manifested a like tendency to evacuate the proper 
meaning of Scripture in most of the other instances brought into 
consideration. Christ, for example, calls Himself, with pointed 
reference to the manna, "the bread of life;" and in Kev. ii. 17, 
an interest in His divine life is called " an eating of the hidden 
manna," but it is only " by a metaphor," precisely as Christ else 
where calls Himself the vine, or is likened to a rock. As if 

VOL. I. D 


there were no difference between an employment of these natural 
emblems and the identifying of Christ with the supernatural 
food given to support His people, after a provisional redemption, 
and on the way to a provisional inheritance ! It is not the simple 
reference to a temporal good on which, in such a case, we rest 
the typical import, but this in connection with the whole of the 
relations and circumstances in which the temporal was given or 
employed. Jonah was not, it is alleged, a type of Christ ; for 
he is not called such, but only a "sign;" neither was Mel- 
chizedek called by that name. Well, but Adam is called a type 
(TZ/TTO? rov yu-eXXo^ro?, Rom. v. 14), and baptism is called the 
antitype to the deluge (o /cal rjfjids avrtrvTrov vvv crcofet fianr- 
rio-fjia, 1 Pet. iii. 21). True, but then, we are told, the word in 
these passages only means a similitude ; it does not mean type 
or antitype in the proper sense. What, then, could denote it ? 
Is there any other term more properly fitted to express the idea ? 
And if the precise term, when it is employed, still does not serve, 
why object in other cases to the want of it ? Strange, surely, 
that its presence and its absence should be alike grounds of 
objection. But if the matter is to come to a mere stickling 
about words, shall we have any types at all? Are even the 
tabernacle and its institutions of worship called by that name ? 
Not once ; but inversely, the designation of antitypes is in one 
passage applied to them : " The holy places made with hands, 
the antitypes of the true" (avrlrvrrd TWV a\ij0ivcov, Heb. ix. 24). 
So little does Scripture, in its teachings on this subject, encourage 
us to hang our theoretical explanations on a particular epithet ! 
It varies the mode of expression with all the freedom of common 
discourse, and even, as in this particular instance, inverts the 
current phraseology ; but still, amid all the variety, it indicates 
with sufficient plainness a real economical connection between 
the past and the present in God s dispensations, such as is 
commonly understood by the terms type and antitype ; and this 
is the great point, however we may choose to express it. 

The passage in Galatians respecting Sarah and Isaac on the 
one side, and Hagar and Ishmael on the other, naturally formed 
one of some importance for the view sought to be established in 
the Typology, and as such called for Mr Lord s special considera 
tion. Here, as in other cases, he begins with the statement that 


the characters and relations there mentioned have not the term 
type applied to them, and hence should not be reckoned typical. 
" It is only said," he continues, " that that which is related of 
Hagar and Sarah is exhibited allegorically ; that is, that there 
are other things that, used as allegorical representatives of Hagar 
and Sarah, exhibit the same facts and truths. The object of the 
allegory is to exemplify them by analogous things ; not by them 
to exemplify something else, to which they present a resem 
blance. It is they who are said to be allegorized, that is, repre 
sented by something else ; not something else that is allegorized 
by them. They are accordingly said to be the two covenants, 
that is, like the two covenants ; and Mount Sinai is used to 
represent the covenant that genders to bondage ; and Jeru 
salem from above that is, the Jerusalem of Christ s kingdom 
the covenant of freedom or grace. And they accordingly are 
employed [by the Apostle] to set forth the character and condi 
tion of the bond and the free woman, and their offspring. Pie 
attempts to illustrate the lot of the two classes who are under 
law and under grace ; first, by referring to the different relations 
to the covenant, and different lot of the children of the bond 
and the free woman ; and then, by using Mount Sinai to exem 
plify the character and condition of those under the Mosaic law, 
and the heavenly Jerusalem, to exemplify those who are under 
the Gospel. The places from which the two covenants are pro 
claimed are thus used to represent those two classes ; not Hagar 
and Sarah to represent those places, or the covenants that are 
proclaimed from them." Now, this show of exact criticism 
professing to explain all, and yet leaving the main thing totally 
unexplained is introduced, let it be observed, to expose an 
alleged " singular neglect of discrimination" in the use we had 
made of the passage. We had, it seems, been guilty of the 
extraordinary mistake of supposing Hagar and Sarah to be 
themselves the representatives in the Apostle s allegorization, 
and not, as we should have done, the objects represented. Does 
any of our readers, with all the advantage of the reviewer s 
explanation, recognise the importance of this distinction ? Or 
can he tell how it serves to explicate the Apostle s argument ? 
I cannot imagine how any one should do so ? In itself it might 
have been of no moment, though it is of much for the Apostle s 


argument, whether Hagar and Sarah be said to represent the 
two covenants of law and grace, or the two covenants be said to 
represent them ; as in Heb. ix. 24, it is of no moment whether 
the earthly sanctuary be called the antitype of the heavenly, or 
the heavenly of the earthly. There is in both cases alike a 
mutual representation, or relative correspondence ; and it is the 
nature of the correspondence, inferior and preparatory in the 
one case, spiritual and ultimate in the other, which is chiefly 
important. It is that (though entirely overlooked by the re 
viewer) which makes the Apostle s appeal here to the historical 
transactions in the family of Abraham suitable and appropriate 
to the object he has in view. For it is by the mothers and their 
natural offspring he intends to throw light on the covenants, and 
their respective tendencies and results. It was the earlier that 
exemplified and illustrated the later, not the later that exem 
plified and illustrated the earlier; otherwise the reference of 
the Apostle is misplaced, and the reasoning he founds on it 
manifestly inept. 

One specimen more of this school of interpretation, and we 
leave it. Among the passages of Scripture that were referred 
to, as indicating a typical relationship between the Old and the 
New in God s dispensations, is Matt. ii. 15, where the evangelist 
speaks of Christ being in Egypt till the death of Herod, " that 
it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the pro 
phet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called My Son." The allusion 
to this passage in the first, as well as in the present, edition of 
this work, was never meant to convey the idea that it was the 
only Scriptural authority for concluding a typical relationship 
to have subsisted between Israel and Christ. It was, however, 
referred to as one of the passages most commonly employed by 
typological writers in proof of such a relationship, and in itself 
most obviously implying it. But what says our opponent? 
" The language of Matthew does not imply that it (the passage 
in Hosea) was a prophecy of Christ ; he simply states, that Jesus 
continued in Egypt till Herod s death, so that that occurred in 
respect to Him which had been spoken by Jehovah by the pro 
phet, Out of Egypt have I called My Son ; or, in other words, 
so that that was accomplished in respect to Christ which had 
been related by the prophet of Israel." Was there not good 


reason for indicating a close affinity between the typological 
principles of this writer, and the loose interpretations of rational 
ism ? One might suppose that it was a comment of Paulas or 
Kuinoel that we are here presented with, and we transfer their 
paraphrase and notes to the bottom of the page, to show how 
entirely they agree in spirit. 1 If the Evangelist simply meant 
what is ascribed to him, it was surely strange that he should 
have taken so peculiar a way to express it. But if the words he 
employs plainly intimate such a connection between Christ and 
Israel, as gave to the testimony in Ilosea the force of a prophecy 
(which is the natural impression made by the reference), who 
has any right to tame down his meaning to a sense that would 
entirely eliminate this prophetical element, the very element to 
which, apparently, he was anxious to give prominence ? What 
we have here to deal with is inspired testimony respecting the 
connection between Israel and Christ; and it cannot have justice 
done to it, unless it is taken in its broad and palpable import. 
(See further, under Ch. IV., and Appendix A., c. 4.) 

2. We turn now to the other class of writers, whose aim it 
has been in recent times to enlarge and widen the typological 
field. The chief, and for some time the only distinguished 
representatives of it were to be found in Germany ; as it was 
there also that the new and more profound spirit of investiga 
tion began to develop itself. Near the commencement of the 
present century the religions of antiquity began to form the 
subject of more thoughtful and learned inquiry, and a depth of 
meaning was discovered (sometimes perhaps only thought to be 
discovered) in the myths and external symbols of these, which 
in the preceding century was not so much as dreamt of. 
Creuzer, in particular, by his great work (Symbolik) created 
quite a sensation in this department of learning, and opened 
up what seemed to be an entirely new field of research. He 
was followed by Baur (Symbolik und Mythologie), Gorres 
(Mythengeschichte), Miiller, and others of less note, each 

1 Kuinoel : Ut adco hie recte possit laudari, quod dominus olim inter- 
prete propheta dixit, nempe : ex ^Egypto vocavi filium meum. Paulus : 
" TT^YipovaQoii is \ustQ fulfilling.^ as denoting a completion after the resemblance;" 
and lie adopts as his own Ernesti s paraphrase, " Here one might say with 
greater justice (in a fuller sense) what Hosea said of Israel." 


endeavouring to proceed farther than preceding inquirers into 
the explication of the religious views of the ancients, by weav 
ing together and interpreting what is known of their historical 
legends and ritual services. These inquiries were at first con 
ducted merely in the way of antiquarian research and philoso 
phical speculation ; and the religion of the Old Testament was 
deemed, in that point of view, too unimportant to be made the 
subject of special consideration. Creuzer only here and there 
throws out some passing allusions to it. Even Baur, though a 
theologian, enters into no regular investigation of the symbols 
of Judaism, while he expatiates at great length on all the 
varieties of Heathenism. By and by, however, a better spirit 
appeared. Mosaism, as the religion of the Old Testament is 
called, had a distinct place allotted it by Gorres among the 
ancient religions of Asia. And at last it was itself treated at 
great length, and with distinguished learning and ability, in a 
separate work the Symbolik des Mosaischen Cultus of Bahr 
(published in 1837-9). This continues still (1863) to hold an 
important place in Germany on the subject of the Mosaic 
symbols, although it is pervaded by fundamental errors of the 
gravest kind (to which we shall afterwards have occasion to 
advert), and not unfrequently falls into fanciful views on 
particular parts. Some of these were met by Hengstenberg in 
the second volume of his Authentie des Pentateuchus, who has 
also furnished many good typical illustrations in his Christology 
and other exegetical works. Tholuck, in his Commentary on 
the Hebrews, has followed in the same tract, generally adopting 
the explanations of Hengstenberg, and still more recently 
(chiefly since the publication of our first edition), further con 
tributions have been made particularly by Kurtz, Baumgarten, 
Delitzsch. Even De Wette, in his old age, caught something 
of this new spirit ; and after many an effort to depreciate apostolic 
Christianity by detecting in it symptoms of Judaical weakness 
and bigotry, he made at least one commendable effort in the 
nobler direction of elevating Judaism, by pointing to the manifold 
germs it contained of a spiritual Christianity. In a passage 
quoted by Bahr (vol. i., p. 16, from an article by De Wette on 
the " Characteristik des Hebraismus "), he says " Christianity 
sprang out of Judaism. Long before Christ appeared, the world 


was prepared for His appearance : the entire Old Testament is a 
great prophecy, a great type of Him who ivas to come, and has 
come. Who can deny that the holy seers of the Old Testament 
saw in spirit the advent of Christ long before He came, and in 
prophetic anticipations, sometimes more, sometimes less clear, 
descried the new doctrine? The typological comparison, also, 
of the Old Testament with the New, was by no means a mere 
play of fancy ; nor can it be regarded as altogether the result 
of accident, that the evangelical history, in the most important 
particulars, runs parallel with the Mosaic. Christianity lay in 
Judaism as leaves and fruits do in the seed, though certainly it 
needed the divine sun to bring them forth." 

Such language, especially as coming from such a quarter, 
undoubtedly indicated a marked change. Yet it must not be 
supposed, on reading so strong a testimony, as if everything were 
already conceded ; for what by such writers as De Wette is 
granted in the general, is often denied or explained away in the 
particular. Even the idea of a coming Messiah, as expressed in 
the page of prophecy, was held to be little more than a patriotic 
hope, the natural product of certain circumstances connected 
with the Israelitish nation (see Ilengs. Christology, vol. iv., p. 
391, Trans.). Nor did the new light thus introduced lead to 
any well-grounded and regularly developed system of typo 
logy, based on a clear and comprehensive view of the Divine 
dispensations. Biihr confined himself almost entirely to the mere 
interpretation of the symbols of the Mosaic dispensation, and 
hence, even when his views were correct, rather furnished the 
materials for constructing a proper typological system, than 
himself provided. And it has been noted by Tholuck and 
other learned men as a defect in their literature, that they are 
without any work on the subject suited to the existing position 
and demands of theological science. 1 

1 This defect cannot yet be said to have been supplied ; not by the 
Symbolique du Culte de L Ancicime Alliance (1860) of Neumann, published 
since the above was written the work of a German, though written in 
French. For not only is the work incomplete (the first part only having ap 
peared), but it possesses more the nature of a condensed sketch or outline of 
the subject, than a full investigation. So far as it goes, it is written with 
clearness and vigour, contains some fine thoughts, and is pervaded by an 
earnest and elevated spirit. Justice requires me to add, that it appears to 


It is to be observed, however, that this new current of opinion 
among the better part of theologians on the Continent, leads 
them to find the typical element widely diffused through the 
historical and prophetical, as well as the more strictly religious 
portions of the Old Testament. No one who is in any degree 
acquainted with the exegetical productions of Hengstenberg and 
Olshausen, now made accessible to English readers, can have 
failed to perceive this, from the tone of their occasional refer 
ences and illustrations. Their unbiassed exegetical spirit rendered 
it impossible for them to do otherwise ; for the same connection, 
they perceived, runs like a thread through all the parts, and 
binds them together into a consistent whole. Indeed, the only 
formal attempt made to work out a new system of typological 
interpretation, prior to the incomplete treatise mentioned in the 
last note, the essay of Olshausen (published in 1824, and 
consisting only of 124 widely printed pages), entitled, Ein Wort 
uber tiefern Schriftsinn, has respect almost exclusively to the 
historical and prophetical parts of ancient Scripture. When he 
comes distinctly to unfold what he calls the deeper exposition of 
Scripture, he contents himself with a brief elucidation of the 
following points : That Israel s relation to God is represented 
in Scripture as forming an image of all and each of mankind, 
in so far as the divine life is possessed by them that Israel s 
relation to the surrounding heathen in like manner imaged the 
conflict of all spiritual men with the evil in the world that a 
parallelism is drawn between Israel and Christ as the one who 
completely realized what Israel should have been and that all 
real children of God again image what, in the whole, is found 
imperfectly in Israel and perfectly in Christ (pp. 87-110). 

These positions, it must be confessed, indicate a considerable 
degree of vagueness and generality ; and the treatise, as a whole, 
is defective in first principles and logical precision, as well as 

be marred by two misleading tendencies : one of excess attempting to carry 
religion too much into the domain of science (for example, in the use made 
of Goethe s Theory of Colours to explain some of the Old Testament symbols) ; 
the other of defect viewing religion almost, if not altogether exclusively, 
on the subjective side, which necessarily leads to certain meagre and arbi 
trary explanations. Reference may possibly be made to some of them in 
the sequel. 


fulness of investigation. Klausen, in the following extract 
from his Hermeneutik, pp. 334-345, has given a fair outline 
of Olshausen s views : " We must distinguish between a false 
and a genuine allegorical exposition, which latter has the sup 
port of the highest authority, though it alone has it, being fre 
quently employed by the inspired writers of the New Testament. 
The fundamental error in the common allegorizing, from which 
all its arbitrariness has sprung, bidding defiance to every sound 
principle of exposition, must be sought in this, that a double 
sense has been attributed to Scripture, and one of them conse 
quently a sense entirely different from that which is indicated 
by the words. Accordingly, the characteristic of the genuine 
allegorical exposition must be, that it recognises no sense besides 
the literal one none differing from this in nature, as from the 
historical reality of what is recorded ; but only a deeper-lying 
sense (vTrovoia), bound up with the literal meaning by an inter 
nal and essential connection a sense given along with this and 
in it ; so that it must present itself whenever the subject is 
considered from the higher point of view, and is capable of being 
ascertained by fixed rules. Hence, if the question be regarding 
the fundamental principles, accordiiig to which the connection 
must be made out between the deeper apprehension and the im 
mediate sense conveyed by the words, these have their founda 
tion in the law of general harmony, by which all individuals, in 
the natural as well as in the spiritual world, form one great 
organic system the law by which all phenomena, whether be 
longing to a higher or a lower sphere, appear as copies of what 
essentially belongs to their respective ideas ; so that the w r hole 
is represented in the individual, and the individual again in the 
whole. This mysterious relation comes most prominently out 
in the history of the Jewish people and their worship. But 
something analogous everywhere discovers itself ; and in the 
manner in which the Old Testament is expounded in the New, 
we are furnished with the rules for all exposition of the Word, 
of nature, and of history." 

The vague and unsatisfactory character of this mode of re 
presentation, is evident almost at first sight ; the elements of 
truth contained in it are neither solidly grounded nor sufficiently 
guarded against abuse; so that, with some justice, Klausen 


remarks, in opposition to it, " The allegorizing may perhaps be 
applied with greater moderation and better taste than formerly; 
but against the old principle, though revived as often as put 
down, viz., that every sense which can be found in the words 
has a right to be regarded as the sense of the words, the same 
exceptions will always be taken." If the Typology of Scripture 
cannot be rescued from the domain of allegorizings, it will be 
impossible to secure for it a solid and permanent footing. It 
cannot attain to this while coupled with allegorical licence, or 
with a nearer and deeper sense. It is proper to add, that 
Klausen himself has no place in his Hermeneutik for typical, 
as distinguished from allegorical interpretations. In common 
with Hermeneutical writers generally, he regards these as sub 
stantially the same in kind ; and the one only as the excess of 
the other. Some application he would allow of Old Testament 
Scripture to the realities of the Gospel, in consideration of what 
is said by inspired writers of the relation subsisting between the 
two; but he conceives that relation to be of a kind which scarcely 
admits of being brought to the test of historical truth, and that 
the examples furnished of it in the New Testament arose from 
necessity rather than from choice. 

Later writers generally, however, on the Continent, who 
have meditated with a profound and thoughtful spirit on the 
history of the Divine dispensations, have shown a disposition to 
tread in the footsteps of Olshausen rather than of Klausen. 
And it cannot but be regarded as a striking exemplification of 
the revolving cycles through which theological opinion is some 
times found to pass, that after two centuries of speculation and 
inquiry, a substantial return has been made by some of the 
ablest of these divines though by diverse routes to the more 
fundamental principles of the Cocceian school. It was charac 
teristic of that school to contemplate the dispensations chiefly 
from the divine point of view ; according to which, the end being 
eyed from the beginning, the things pertaining to the end were 
often, by a not unnatural consequence, made to throw back 
their light too distinctly on those of the beginning, and the pro 
gressive nature of the Divine economy was not sufficiently re 
garded. It was further characteristic of the same school, that, 
viewing everything in the scheme of God as planned with re- 


fercncc to redemption, they were little disposed to discriminate 
in this respect between one portion of the earlier things belonging 
to it and another; wherever they could trace a resemblance, 
there also they descried a type ; and everything in the history 
as well as in the institutions of the Old Covenant, was brought 
into connection with the realities of the Gospel. Now, these 
two fundamental characteristics of Cocceianism, somewhat dif 
ferently grounded, and still more differently applied, are pre 
cisely those to which peculiar prominence is given in the writings 
of such men as Hofmann, Kurtz, Lange, and others of the 
present day. The first of these, in a work (Weissagung und 
Erfullung, 1841-44) which, from its spirit of independent in 
quiry, and the fresh veins of thought it not unfrequently opened 
up, exerted an influence upon many who had no sympathy with 
the doctrinal conclusions of the author, made even more of the 
typical element in Old Testament history than was done by the 
Cocceians. It is in the typical character of history, rather than 
in the prophetic announcements which accompanied it, that he 
would find the germ and presage of the future realities of the 
Gospel : the history foreshadowed these ; the prophets, acting as 
the men of superior discernment, simply perceived and inter 
preted what was in the history. Therefore, to elevate the his 
torical and depress the prophetical in Old Testament Scripture, 
might be regarded as the general aim of Hofmann s under 
taking ; yet only formally and relatively to do so : for, as ex 
pressive of the religious state and development of the covenant 
people, both were in reality depressed, and the sacred put much 
on a level with the profane. This will sufficiently appear from 
the following illustration : " Every triumphal procession which 
passed through the streets of Rome was a prophecy of Augustus 
Cassar ; for what he displayed through the whole of his career, 
was here displayed by the triumphant general on his day of 
honour, namely, the God in the man, Jupiter in the Roman 
citizen. In the fact that Rome paid such honours to its vic 
torious commanders, it pointed to the future, when it should 
rule the world through the great emperor, to whom divine 
honours would be paid." This he brings into comparison with 
the allusion made in John xix. 36 to the ordinance respecting 
the passover lamb, that a bone of it should not be broken ; and 


then adds, " The meaning of the triumph was not fully realized 
in the constantly recurring triumphal processions ; and so also 
the meaning of the passover was not fully realized in the yearly 
passovcr meals ; but the essential meaning of both was to be 
fully developed at some future period, when the prophecy con 
tained in them should also be fully confirmed" (I., p. 15). But 
what, one naturally asks, did the prophecy in such cases amount 
to ? It will scarcely be alleged, that even the most gifted 
Roman citizen, who lived during the period of triumphal pro 
cessions, could with any certainty have descried in these the 
future possessor of the imperial throne. It could at the most 
have been but a vague anticipation or probable conjecture, if 
so much as that ; for, however the elevation of Augustus to that 
dignity might, after the event actually occurred, have come to 
be regarded u as the top-stone and culminating point in the 
history," assuredly the better spirits of the commonwealth were 
little disposed to long for such a culmination, or to think of it 
beforehand as among the destinies of the future. It is only as 
contemplated from the divine point of view, that the triumphal 
procession could with any propriety be said to foreshadow the im 
perial dignity, a point of view which the event alone rendered 
it possible for men to apprehend ; and the so-called prophecy, 
therefore, when closely considered and designated by its proper 
name, was merely the divine purpose secretly moulding the 
events which were in progress, and, through these, marching on 
to its accomplishment. This, and nothing more (since Zion is 
put on a footing with Rome) is the kind of prophecy which 
Hofmann would find, and find exclusively, in the facts and 
circumstances of Israelitish history. Because they in reality 
culminated in the wonders of redemption, they might be said to 
mark the progression of the Divine procedure toward that as its 
final aim. But who could meanwhile conjecture that there was 
any such goal in prospect 1 The prophets, it is affirmed, could 
not rise above the movements of the current history ; not even 
the seers, by way of eminence, could penetrate further into the 
future than existing relations and occurrences might carry them. 
What signified it, then, that a latent prophecy lay enwrapped 
in the history ? There was no hand to remove the veil and 
disclose the secret. The prophecy as such was known only in 


the heavenly sphere ; and the whole that could be found in the 
human was some general conviction or vague hope that prin 
ciples were at work, or a plan was in progress, which seemed 
to be tending to loftier issues than had yet been reached. 

This scheme of Hofmann is too manifestly an exaggeration 
of a particular aspect of the truth to be generally accepted as 
a just explanation of the whole ; by soaring too high in one 
direction, fixing the eye too exclusively on the Divine side of 
things, it leaves the human bereft of its proper significance and 
value reduces it, in fact, to a rationalistic basis. Ilengsten- 
berg has justly said of it, in the last edition of his Christology 
(vol. iv., p. 389), that " by overthrowing prophecy, in the strict 
sense, it necessarily involves acted prophecy (or type) in the 
same fate ; and that it is nothing but an illusion to attempt to 
elevate types at the expense of prophecy." Without, however, 
attempting after this fashion to sacrifice the one of these for 
the sake of the other, various theologians have sought to com- 

O O 

bine them, so as to make the one the proper complement of the 
other two divinely-appointed factors in the production of a 
common result, such as the necessities of the Church required. 
Thus Kurtz (Hist, of Old Cov., Introd., 7, 8), while he con 
tends for the proper function of prophecy, as having to do with 
the future not less than the present, maintains that the history 
also of the Old Covenant was prophetic, " both because it fore 
shadows, and because it stands in living and continuous relation 
to, the plan of salvation which was going to be manifested." 
He thinks it belongs to prophecy alone to disclose, with requisite 
freedom and distinctness, the connection between what at any 
particular time was possessed and what was still wanted, or 
between the fulfilments of promise already made and the ex 
pectations which remained to be satisfied; but, in doing this, 
prophecy serves itself of the history as not only providing the 
occasion, but also containing the germ of what was to come. 
He therefore holds that the sacred history possesses a typical 
character, which appears prominently, continuously, markedly 
in decided outlines, and in a manner patent not only to posterity, 
but, by the assistance of prophecy, to contemporaries also, accord 
ing to the measure that their spiritual capacity might enable 
them to receive it. This character belongs alike to events, in- 


stitutions, and dispensations; but in what manner or to what 
extent it is to be carried out in particular cases, nothing beyond 
a few general lines have been indicated. 

These views of the typical element contained in the history 
and institutions of the Old Covenant, while they present certain 
fundamental agreements with the principles of the Cocceian 
school, have this also in common with it, that they take the need 
for redemption the fall of man as the proper starting-point 
alike for type and prophecy. But another and influential class 
of theologians, having its representatives in this country as well 
as on the Continent, has of late advanced a step further, and 
holds that creation itself, and the state and circumstances of 
man before as well as after the fall, equally possessed a typical 
character, being from the outset inwrought with prophetic indi 
cations of the person and kingdom of Christ. To this class 
belong all who have espoused the position (not properly a new 
one, for it is well known to have been maintained by some of 
the scholastic divines), that the incarnation of Godhead in the 
person of Christ was destined to take place irrespective of the 
fall, and that the circumstances connected with this only deter 
mined the specific form in which He was to appear, and the 
nature of the work He had to do, but not the purpose itself of 
a personal indwelling of Godhead in the flesh of man, which is 
held to have been indispensable for the full manifestation of 
the Divine character, and the perfecting of the idea of humanity. 
The advocates of this view include Lange, Dorner, Liebner, 
Ebrard, Martensen, with several others of reputation in Ger 
many, and in this country, Dean Trench (in his Sermons 
preached before the University of Cambridge). Along with 
these there are others in particular, Dr M Cosh, the late Hugh 
Miller, also the late Mr M Donald of Edinkillie who, without 
properly committing themselves to this view of the incarnation, 
yet, on the ground of the analogy pervading the fields alike of 
nature and redemption in respect to the prevalence of typical 
forms, on this ground at least, more especially and peculiarly, 
hold not less decidedly than the theologians above named, the 
existence of a typical element in the original frame and consti 
tution of things. 

Such being the turn that later speculations upon this subject 


have taken, it manifestly becomes necessary to examine all the 
more carefully into the nature and properties of a type. We 
must endeavour to arrive (if possible) at some definite ideas and 
fundamental principles on the general subject, before entering 
on the consideration of the particular modes of revelation by 
type, which undoubtedly constitute the great mass of what in 
Scripture is invested with such a character, and to which, with a 
view to the right understanding and proper application of these, 
our inquiry must be mainly directed. 



THE language of Scripture being essentially popular, its use of 
particular terms naturally partakes of the freedom and variety 
which are wont to appear in the current speech of a people; 
and it rarely if ever happens, that words are employed, in respect 
to topics requiring theological treatment, with such precision and 
uniformity as to enable us, from this source alone, to attain to 
proper accuracy and fulness. The word type (TUTTO?) forms no 
exception to this usage. Occurring once, at least, in the natural 
sense of mark or impress made by a hard substance on one of 
softer material (John xx. 25), it commonly bears the general 
import of model) pattern, or exemplar, but with such a wide 
diversity of application as to comprehend a material object of 
worship, or idol (Acts vii. 43), an external framework constructed 
for the service of God (Acts vii. 44, Heb. viii. 5), the form or 
copy of an epistle (Acts xxiii. 25), a method of doctrinal instruc 
tion delivered by the first heralds and teachers of the Gospel 
(Rom. vi. 17), a representative character, or, in certain respects, 
normal example (Rom. v. 14, 1 Cor. x. 11, Phil. iii. 17, 1 Thess. 
i. 7, 1 Pet. v. 3). Such in New Testament Scripture is the 
diversified use of the word type (disguised, however, under other 
terms in the authorized version). It is only in the last of the 
applications noticed, that it has any distinct bearing on the sub 
ject of our present inquiry ; and this also comprises under it so 
much of diversity, that if we were to draw our definition of a 
type simply from the Scriptural use of the term, we could give 
no more specific description of it than this a certain pattern or 
exemplar exhibited in the position and character of some indivi- 


duals, to which others may or should be conformed. Adam stood, 
we are told, in the relation of a type to the coming Messiah, 
backsliding Israelites in their guilt and punishment to similar 
characters in Christian times, faithful pastors to their flocks, 
first converts to those who should afterwards believe, a mani 
festly varied relationship, closer in some than in others, yet in 
each implying a certain resemblance between the parties asso 
ciated together; something in the one that admitted of being vir 
tually reproduced in the other. Thus defined and understood, it 
will be observed, also, that a type is no more peculiar to one dis 
pensation than another. It is to be found now in the true pastor or 
the exemplary Christian as well as formerly in Adam or in Israel; 
and since believers generally are predestined to be conformed 
to the image of Christ, he might, of course, be designated for all 
times emphatically and pre-eminently the type of the Church. 

But presented in this loose and general form, there is nothing 
in the nature of a type that can be said to call for particular 
investigation, or that may occasion material difference of opinion. 
The subject involves only a few leading ideas, which are familiar 
to every intelligent reader of Scripture, and which can prove of 
small avail to the satisfactory explication of what is peculiar in 
the history of the Divine dispensations. When, however, with 
reference more to the subject itself than to the mere employ 
ment of a particular word in connection with it, we pursue our 
researches into the testimony of Scripture, we presently find 
relations indicated between one class of things and another, 
which, while the same in kind, perhaps, with those just noticed, 
have yet distinctive features of their own, which call for thought 
ful inquiry and discriminating treatment. These have already 
to some extent come into consideration in the historical and 
critical review that has been presented of past opinion (see p. 
41 sq.). It is enough to refer here to such passages as Heb. ix. 
24 where the holy places of the earthly tabernacle are called 
the antitypes (avrirvTra) of the true or heavenly ; the latter, of 
course, according to this somewhat peculiar phraseology, being 
viewed as the types of the other : Heb. viii. 5 where the whole 
structure of the tabernacle, with its appointed ritual of service, is 
designated an example and shadow (uTroSej/y/za CTKIO) of heavenly 
things: Ps. ex. 4; Heb. vi. 10-12, vii. where Melchizedek is 

VOL. I. E 


exalted over the ministering priesthood of that tabernacle, as 
bearing in some important respects a still closer relationship to 
Christ than was given them to occupy : 1 Pet. iii. 21 where 
Christian baptism is denominated the antitype to the deluge, 
and by implication the deluge is made the type of baptism : 
Matt. ii. 15 ; Luke xxii. 16 ; 1 Cor. v. 7 ; John ii. 19, vi. 31-33 ; 
1 Cor. x. 4 where Christ is in a manner identified with the 
corporate Israel, the passover, the temple, the manna, the water- 
giving rock. When reading these passages, and others of a like 
description, our minds instinctively inquire what is the nature 
of the connection indicated by them between the past and the 
present in God s economy? Is it such as subsists between 
things alike in principle, but diverse in form? between things 
on the same spiritual level, or things rising from a lower to a 
higher level ? Is the connection strictly the same in all, or does 
it vary with the objects and parties compared ? What light is 
thrown by the different elements entering into it upon the 
revealed character of God, and the progressive condition of His 
Church ? Can we discover in them the lines of a divine harmony 
in the one respect, and of a human harmony in the other ? Such 
are the questions which here naturally press on us for solution ; 
and they are questions altogether occasioned by peculiarities in 
preceding dispensations as compared with that of the Gospel. 
The relation of the present to the still coming future which is 
that simply of the initial to the terminal processes of the salva 
tion already accomplished is of a much less complicated and 
embarrassing kind, and can scarcely be said to give rise to 
questions of the class now specified. 

In another respect, however, substantially the same questions 
arise namely, in connection with much that is indicated of the 
anticipated future of the Christian Church, pointing, as it does, 
even after Christian realities had come, to further developments 
of the forms and relations of earlier times. For in the pro 
spective delineations which are given us in Scripture respect 
ing the final issues of Christ s kingdom among men, while the 
foundation of all undoubtedly lies in the mediatorial work and 
offices of Christ Himself, it still is through the characters, 
ordinances, and events of the Old Covenant, not those of the 
New (with the exception just specified), that the things to come 


are shadowed fortli to the eye of faith ; the forms of things in the 
remote past have here also, it would seem, to find their proper 
complement and destined realization. Thus, Israel still appears, 
among the prophetic glimpses in question, with his twelve tribes, 
his marvellous redemption, wilderness-sojourn, and rescued in 
heritance (Matt. xix. 28 ; Rev. vii. 4-17, xii. 14, xv. 3) ; and 
the tabernacle or temple, with its courts and sanctuaries, its 
ark of testimony and cherubim of glory, its altars and offerings 
(2 Thess. ii. 4;* Rev. iv. 7, 8, viii. 3, xi. 1, 2, xv. 6-8, xxi. 3); 
and the ancient priesthood, with their linen robes and angel-like 
service (Kev. iv. 4, xv. 6) ; Zion and Jerusalem, Babylon and 
Euphrates, Sodom and Egypt (Heb. xii. 22 ; Rev. xi. 8, xiv. 
1-8, xvi. 12, xxi. 2) ; and more remote still, especially when the 
mystery of God in Christ is seen approaching its consummation, 
paradise with its tree of life and rivers of gladness, its perennial 
delights, and over all its heaven-crowned Lord, with the spouse 
formed from Himself to share with Him in the glory, and yield 
Him faithful service in the kingdom (Rev. ii. 7, vii. 17, xix. 7, 
xxi. 9). No more, amid the anticipations of Christian faith and 
hope, are we permitted to lose sight of the personages and 
materials of the earlier dispensations, than in those which took 
shape under >re-Christian times. 

Having respect, therefore, to the nature of the subject under 
consideration, and the more peculiar difficulties attending it, 
rather than to the infrequent and variable use of the word type 
in Scripture, theologians have been wont to distinguish between 
existing relationships (such as of a pastor to his people, or of 
Christ to the heirs of His glory) and those which connect 
together bygone with Christian times the things pertaining to 
the Old with those pertaining to the New Covenant. The former 
alone they have usually designated by the name of types, the 
latter by that of antitypes. This mode of distinguishing by 
theologians has been represented as an unwise departure from 
Scriptural usage, and in itself necessarily fitted to mislead. 1 It 

1 "We do not know what right divines have to construct a system" of 
theological types, instead of a system of Scripture types. We are sure that 
had they kept to the Scripture use of the term, instead of devising a theo 
logical sense, they would have been saved from much extravagance, and 
evolved much truth. 1 M Cosh, in " Typical Forms," p. 523. 


admits, however, of a reasonable justification ; and to treat the 
subject with anything like scientific precision and fulness, with 
out determining after such a method the respective provinces of 
type and antitype, would be found extremely inconvenient, if 
not impracticable. The testimony of Scripture itself, when 
fairly consulted, affords ground for the distinction indicated, in 
a great measure apart from and beyond the application of the 
specific terms. By adhering closely to its usage in respect to 
these, and disregarding other considerations, one might readily 
enough, indeed, present some popular illustrations, or throw off 
a few general outlines of the typical field ; but to get at its more 
distinctive characteristics, and explicate with some degree of 
satisfaction the difficulties with which it invests, to our view, 
the evolution of God s plan and ways, is a different thing, and 
demands a greatly more exact and comprehensive line of investi 
gation. The extravagance which has too often characterized 
the speculations of divines upon the subject has arisen, not from 
their devising a theological sense for the word type (which Scrip 
ture itself might be said to force on them), but from their failure 
to search out the fundamental principles involved in the whole 
representations of Scripture, and to make a judicious and dis 
criminating application of the light thence arising to the different 
parts of the subject. 1 

Understanding the word type, then, in the theological sense, 
that is, conceiving its strictly proper and distinctive sphere to lie 
in the relations of the old to the new, or the earlier to the later, 
in God s dispensations, there are two things which, by general 
consent, are held to enter into the constitution of a type. It is 
held, first, that in the character, action, or institution which is 
denominated the type, there must be a resemblance in form or 
spirit to what answers to it under the Gospel; and secondly, 
that it must not be any character, action, or institution occur 
ring in Old Testament Scripture, but such only as had their 
ordination of God, and were designed by Him to foreshadow 
and prepare for the better things of the Gospel. For, as Bishop 
Marsh has justly remarked, " to constitute one thing the type 
of another, something more is wanted than mere resemblance. 

1 The question, whether the things of creation should be formally treated 
as typical, will be considered in Ch. IV. 


The former must not only resemble the latter, but must have 
been designed to resemble the latter. It must have been so 
designed in its original institution. It must have been designed 
as something preparatory to the latter. The type as well as the 
antitype must have been pre-ordained ; and they must have 
been pre-ordained as constituent parts of the same general 
scheme of Divine Providence. It is this previous design and 
this pre-ordained connection [together, of course, with the resem 
blance], which constitute the relation of type and antitype." 1 
We insert, together with the resemblance; for, while stress is 
justly laid on the previous design and pre-ordained connection, 
the resemblance also forms an indispensable element in this 
very connection, and is, in fact, the point that involves the more 
peculiar difficulties belonging to the subject, and calls for the 
closest investigation. 

I. We begin, therefore, with the other point the previous 
design and pre-ordained connection necessarily entering into the 
relation between type and antitype. A relation so formed, and 
subsisting to any extent between Old and New Testament things, 
evidently presupposes and implies two important facts. It im 
plies, first, that the realities of the Gospel, which constitute the 
antitypes, are the ultimate objects which were contemplated by 
the mind of God, when planning the economy of His successive 
dispensations. And it implies, secondly, that to prepare the way 
for the introduction of these ultimate objects, He placed the 
Church under a course of training, which included instruction 
by types, or designed and fitting resemblances of what was to 
come. Both of these facts are so distinctly stated in Scripture, 
and, indeed, so generally admitted, that it will be unnecessary 
to do more than present a brief outline of the proof on which 
they rest. 

1. In regard to the first of the two facts, we find the desig 
nation of " the ends of the world" applied in Scripture to the 
Gospel-age; 2 and that not so much in respect to its posteriority 
in point of time, as to its comparative maturity in regard to the 
things of salvation the higher and better things having now 
come, which had hitherto appeared only in prospect or existed 

1 Marsh s Lectures, p. S71. 2 1 Cor. x. 11 ; Heb. xi. 40. 


but in embryo. On the same account the Gospel dispensation 
is called "the dispensation of the fulness of times;" 1 indicating, 
that with it alone the great objects of faith and hope, which the 
Church was from the first destined to possess, were properly 
brought within her reach. Only with the entrance also of this 
dispensation does the great mystery of God, in connection with 
man s salvation, come to be disclosed, and the light of a new and 
more glorious era at last breaks upon the Church. " The day- 
spring from the height," in the expressive language of Zacharias, 
then appeared, and made manifest what had previously been 
wrapt in comparative obscurity, what had not even been distinctly 
conceived, far less satisfactorily enjoyed. 2 Here, therefore, in 
the sublime discoveries and abounding consolations of the Gos 
pel, is the reality, in its depth and fulness, while in the earlier 
endowments and institutions of the Church there was no more 
than a shadowy exhibition and a partial experience ; 3 and as a 
necessary consequence, the most eminent in spiritual light and 
privilege before, were still decidedly inferior even to the less 
distinguished members of the Messiah s kingdom. 4 In a word, 
the blessed Kedeemer, whom the Gospel reveals, is Himself the 
beginning and the end of the scheme of God s dispensations ; 
in Him is found alike the centre of Heaven s plan, and the one 
foundation of human confidence and hope. So that before His 
coming into the world, all things of necessity pointed toward 

1 Eph. i. 10. 

2 Luke i. 78 ; 1 John ii. 8 ; Rom. xvi. 25, 26 ; Col. i. 27 ; 1 Cor. ii. 7, 10. 
8 Col. ii. 17 ; Heb. viii. 5. 

4 Matt. xi. 11, where it is said respecting John the Baptist, " notwith 
standing he that is least (o fAixgoregos) in the kingdom of heaven is greater 
than he." The older English versions retained the comparative, and ren 
dered "he that is less in the kingdom of heaven" (Wickliffe, Tyndale, 
Cranmer, the Geneva) ; and so also Meyer in his Comm., " he who occupies 
a proportionately lower place in the kingdom of heaven." Lightfoot, Heng- 
stenberg, and many others, approve of this milder sense, as it may be called ; 
but Alford in his recent commentary adheres still to the stronger, "the 
least ;" and so does Stier in his Reden Jesu, who, in illustrating the thought, 
goes so far as to say, " A mere child that knows the catechism, and can say 
the Lord s prayer, both knows and possesses more than the Old Testament 
can give, and so far stands higher and nearer to God than John the Bap 
tist." One cannot but feel that this is putting something like a strain on 
our Lord s declaration. 


Him ; types and prophecies bore testimony to the things that 
concerned His work and kingdom ; the children of blessing were 
blessed in anticipation of His promised redemption ; and with 
His coming, the grand reality itself came, and the higher pur 
poses of Heaven entered on their fulfilment. 1 

2. The other fact presupposed and implied in the relation 
between type and antitype, namely, that God subjected the 
Church to a course of preparatory training, including instruc 
tion by types, before He introduced the realities of His final 
dispensation, is written with equal distinctness in the page of 
inspiration. It is scarcely possible, indeed, to dissociate even in 
idea the one fact from the other ; for, without such a course of 
preparation being perpetually in progress, the long delay which 
took place in the introduction of the Messiah s kingdom would 
be quite inexplicable. Accordingly, the Church of the Old 
Testament is constantly represented as having been in a state of 
comparative childhood, supplied only with such means of instruc 
tion, and subjected to such methods of discipline as were suited 
to so imperfect and provisional a period of her being. Her law, 
in its higher aim and object, was a schoolmaster to bring men 
to Christ (Gal. iii. 24) ; and everything in her condition what 
it wanted, as well as what it possessed, what was done for her, 
and what remained yet to be done concurred in pointing the 
way to Him who was to come with the better promises and the 
perfected salvation (Heb. vii. viii. ix.). Such is the plain im 
port of a great many scriptures bearing on the subject. 

It is to be noted, however, in regard to this course of pre 
paration, continued through so many ages, that everything in 
the mode of instruction and discipline employed ought not to be 
regarded as employed simply for the sake of those who lived 
during its continuance. It was, no doubt, primarily introduced 
on their account, and must have been wisely adapted to their 
circumstances, as under preparation for better things to come. 
But, at the same time, it must also, like the early training of a 
well-educated youth, have been fitted to tell with beneficial effect 
on the spiritual life of the Church in her more advanced state 
of existence, after she had actually attained to those better things 

1 Rev. i. 8 ; Luke ii. 25 ; Acts x. 43, iv. 12 ; Rom. iii. 25 ; 1 Pet. i. 
10-12, 20. 


themselves. The man of mature age, when pursuing his way 
amid the perplexing cares and busy avocations of life, finds him 
self continually indebted to the lessons he was taught and the 
skill he has acquired during the period of his early culture. 
And, in like manner, it was undoubtedly God s intention that. 
His method of procedure toward the Church in her state of 
minority, not only should minister what was needed for her im 
mediate instruction and improvement, but should also furnish 
materials of edification and comfort for believers to the end of 
time. If the earlier could not be made perfect without the 
things belonging to the later Church (Heb. xi. 40), so neither, 
on the other hand, can the later profitably or even safely dis 
pense with the advantage she may derive from the more simple 
and rudimentary things that belonged to the earlier. The 
Church, considered as God s nursery for training souls to a 
meetness for immortal life and blessedness, is substantially the 
same through all periods of her existence ; and the things which 
were appointed for the behoof of her members in one age, had 
in them also something of lasting benefit for those on whom the 
ends of the world are come (1 Cor. x. 6, 11). 

It is farther to be noted, that in this work of preparation for 
the more perfect future, arrangements of a typical kind, being 
of a somewhat recondite nature, necessarily occupied a relative 
and subsidiary, rather than the primary and most essential place. 
The Church enjoyed from the first the benefit of direct and ex 
plicit instruction, imparted either immediately by the hand of 
God, or through the instrumentality of His accredited messen 
gers. From this source she always derived her knowledge of 
the more fundamental truths of religion, and also her more 
definite expectations of the better things to come. The fact is 
of importance, both as determining the proper place of typical 
acts and institutions, and as indicating a kind of extraneous and 
qualifying element, that must not be overlooked in judging of 
the condition of believers under them. Yet they were not, on 
that account, rendered less valuable or necessary as constituent 
parts of a preparatory dispensation ; for it was through them, 
as temporary expedients, and by virtue of the resemblances they 
possessed to the higher things in prospect, that the realities of 
Christ s kingdom obtained a kind of present realization to the 


eye of faith. What, then, was the nature of these resemblances . 
Wherein precisely did the similarity which formed more especially 
the preparatory elements in the Old, as compared with the New, 
really lie? This is tke point that mainly calls for elucidation. 

II. It is the second point we were to investigate, as being 
that which would necessarily require the most lengthened and 
careful examination. And the general statement we submit 
respecting it is, that two things were here essentially necessary : 
there must have been in the Old the same great elements of truth a* 
in the things they represented under the New ; and then, in the 
Old, these must have been exhibited in a form more level to the 
comprehension } more easily and distinctly cognizable by the minds 
of men. 

1. There must have been, first, the same great elements of 
truth, for the mind of God, and the circumstances of the fallen 
creature, are substantially the same at all times. What the 
spiritual necessities of men now are, they have been from the 
time that sin entered into the world. Hence the truth revealed 
by God to meet these necessities, however varying from time to 
time in the precise amount of its communications, and however 
differing also in the external form under which it might be pre 
sented, must have been, so far as disclosed, essentially one in 
every age. For, otherwise, what anomalous results would follow! 
If the principles unfolded in God s communications to men, and 
on which he regulates His dealings toward them, were materially 
different at one period from what they are at another, then either 
the w r ants and necessities of men s natural condition must have 
undergone a change, or these being the same, as they un 
doubtedly are the character of God must have altered He 
cannot be the immutable Jehovah. Besides, the very idea of a 
course of preparatory dispensations were, on the supposition in 
question, manifestly excluded; since that could have had no 
proper ground to rest on, unless there was a deep-rooted and 
fundamental agreement between what was merely provisional and 
what was final and ultimate in the matter. The primary and 
essential elements of truth, therefore, which are embodied in the 
facts of the Gospel, and on which its economy of grace is based, 
cannot, in the nature of things, be of recent origin as if they 


were altogether peculiar to the New Testament dispensation, and 
had only begun with the entrance of it to obtain a place in the 
government of God. On the contrary, their existence must 
have formed the groundwork, and their varied manifestation the 
progress, of any preparatory dispensations that might be ap 
pointed. And whatever ulterior respect the typical characters, 
actions, or institutions of those earlier dispensations might carry 
to the coming realities of the Gospel, their more immediate 
intention and use must have consisted in the exhibition they gave 
of the vital and fundamental truths common alike to all dispen 

2. If a clear and conclusive certainty attaches to this part of 
our statement, it does so in even an increased ratio to the other. 
Holding that the same great elements of truth must of necessity 
pervade both type and antitype, we must also assuredly believe, 
that in the former they were more simply and palpably exhibited 
presented in some shape in which the human mind could more 
easily and distinctly apprehend them than in the latter. It 
would manifestly have been absurd to admit into a course of 
preparation for the realities of the Gospel, certain temporary 
exhibitions of the same great elements of truth that were to per 
vade these, unless the preparatory had been of more obvious 
meaning, and of more easy comprehension, than the ultimate and 
final. The transition from the one to the other must clearly 
have involved a rise in the mode of exhibiting the truth from a 
lower to a higher territory from a form of development more 
easily grasped, to a form which should put the faculties of the 
mind to a greater streteh. For thus only could it be wise or 
proper to set up preparatory dispensations at all. These, mani 
festly, had been better spared, if the realities themselves lay 
more, or even so much, within the reach and comprehension of 
the mind, as their temporary and imperfect representations. 

Standing, then, on the foundation of these two principles, as 
necessarily forming the essential elements of the resemblance 
that subsisted between the Old and the New in God s dispensa 
tions, we may now proceed to consider how far they can legiti 
mately carry us in explaining the subject in hand ; or, in other 
words, to answer the question, how on such a basis the typical 
things of the past could properly serve as preparatory arrange- 


merits for the higher and better things of the future ? We shall 
endeavour to answer this question, in the first instance, by mak 
ing application of our principles to the symbolical institutions of 
the Mosaic dispensation, which are usually denominated the ritual 
or legal types. For, in respect to these we have the advantage of 
the most explicit assertion in Scripture of their typical character ; 
and we are also furnished with certain general descriptions of 
their nature as typical, which may partly serve as lights to direct 
our inquiries, and partly provide a test by which to try the cor 
rectness of our results. 

Now, viewing the institutions of the dispensation brought in 
by Moses as typical, we look at them in what may be called their 
secondary aspect ; we consider them as prophetic symbols of the 
letter things to come in the Gospel. But this evidently implies, 
that in another and more immediate respect they were merely 
symbols, that is, outward and sensible representations of Divine 
truth, in connection with an existing dispensation and a religious 
worship. It was only from their being this, in the one respect, 
that they could, in the other, be prophetic symbols, or types, of 
what was afterwards to appear under the Gospel ; on the ground 
already stated, that the preparatory dispensation to which they 
belonged was necessarily inwrought with the same great elements 
of truth which were afterwards, in another form, to pervade the 
Christian. Had there not been the identity in the truths here 
supposed, assimilating amid all outward diversities the two dis 
pensations in spirit to each other, the earlier would rather have 
blocked up, than prepared and opened, the way for the latter. 
A partial exhibition of a truth, or an embodiment of it in things 
comparatively little, easily grasped by the understanding, and 
but imperfectly satisfying the mind, may certainly make way for 
its exhibition in a manner more fully adapted to its proper 
nature : The mind thus familiarized to it in the little, may both 
have the desire created, and the capacity formed for beholding 
its development in things of a far higher and nobler kind. But 
a partial or defective representation of an object, apart from any 
principles common to both, must rather tend to pre-occupy the 
mind, and either entirely prevent it from anticipating, or fill it 
with mistaken and prejudiced notions of, the reality. If such a 
representation of the mere objects of the Gospel had been all 


that was aimed at in the symbolical institutions of the Old Testa 
ment if their direct, immediate, and only use had been to serve, 
as pictures, to prefigure and presentiate to the soul the future 
realities of the divine kingdom then who could wonder if these 
realities should have been wholly lost sight of before, or misbe 
lieved and repudiated when they came ? For, in that case, the 
preparatory dispensation must have been far more difficult for 
the worshipper than the ultimate one. The child must have had 
a much harder lessen to read, and a much higher task to acccom- 
plish, than the man of full-grown and ripened intellect. And 
Divine wisdom must have employed its resources, not to smooth 
the Church s path to an enlightened view and a believing re 
ception of the realities of the Gospel, rather but to shroud them 
in the most profound and perplexing obscurities. 

Every serious and intelligent believer will shrink from this 
conclusion. But if he does so, he will soon find that there is 
only one way of effectually escaping from it ; and that is, by re 
garding the symbolical institutions of the Old Covenant as not 
simply or directly representations of the realities of the Gospel, 
but in the first instance as parts of an existing dispensation, and, 
as such, expressive of certain great and fundamental truths, 
which could even then be distinctly understood and embraced. 
This was what might be called their more immediate and osten 
sible design. Their further and prospective, reference to the 
higher objects of the Gospel, was of a more indirect and occult 
nature ; and stood in the same essential truths being exhibited 
by means of present and visible, but inferior and comparatively 
inadequate objects. So that in tracing out the connection from 
the one to the other, we must always begin with inquiring, What, 
per se, was the native import of each symbol ? What truths did 
it symbolize merely as part of an existing religion ? and from 
this proceed to unfold how it was fitted to serve as a guide and 
a stepping-stone to the glorious events and issues of Messiah s 
kingdom. This which it was the practice of the elder typolo 
gical writers in great measure to overlook is really the founda 
tion of the whole matter ; and without it every typological system 
must either contract itself within very narrow bounds, or be in 
danger of running out into superficial or fanciful analogies. 
The Mosaic ritual had at once a shell and a kernel, its shell, 


the outward rites and observances it enjoined ; its kernel, the 
spiritual relations which these indicated, and the spiritual truths 
which they embodied and expressed. Substantially, these truths 
and relations were, and must have been, the same for the Old 
that they are for the New Testament worshippers; for the 
spiritual wants and necessities of both are the same, and so also 
is the character of God, with whom they have to do. There, 
therefore, in that fundamental agreement, that internal and 
pre-established harmony of principle, we are to find the bond of 
union between the symbolical institutions of Judaism and the 
permanent realities of Messiah s kingdom. One truth in both 
but that truth existing first in a lower, then in a higher stage 
of development ; in the one case appearing as a precious bud 
embosomed and but partially seen amid the imperfect relations 
of flesh and time ; in the other expanding itself under the bright 
sunshine of heaven into all the beauty and fruitfulness of which 
it was susceptible. 

To make our meaning perfectly understood, however, we 
must descend from the general to the particular, and apply what 
has been stated to a special case. In doing so, we shall go at 
once to what may justly be termed the very core of the religion 
of the Old Covenant the rite of expiatory sacrifice. That this 
was typically or prophetically symbolical of the death of Christ, 
is testified with much plainness and frequency in New Testament 
Scripture. Yet, independently of this connection with Christ s 
death, it had a meaning of its own, which it was possible for the 
ancient worshipper to understand, and, so understanding, to pre 
sent through it an acceptable service to God, whether he might 
perceive or not the further respect it bore to a dying Saviour. 
It was in its own nature a symbolical transaction, embodying a 
threefold idea : first, that the worshipper, having been guilty of 
sin, had forfeited his life to God ; then, that the life so forfeited 
must be surrendered to Divine justice ; and finally, that being 
surrendered in the way appointed, it was given back to him again 
by God, or he became re-established, as a justified person, in the 
Divine favour and fellowship. How far a transaction of this 
kind, done symbolically and not really by means of an irrational 
creature substituted in the sinner s room, and unconsciously de 
voted to lose its animal in lieu of his intelligent and rational 


life might commend itself as altogether satisfactory to his view ; 
or how far he might see reason to regard it as but a provisional 
arrangement, proceeding on the contemplation of something 
more perfect yet to come ; these are points which might justly 
be raised, and will indeed call for future discussion, but they 
are somewhat extraneous to the subject itself now under con 
sideration. We are viewing the rite of expiatory sacrifice simply 
as a constituent part of ancient worship, a religious service 
which formally, and without notification from itself of anything 
farther being required, presented the sinner with the divinely 
appointed means of reconciliation and restored fellowship with 
God. In this respect it symbolically represented, as we have 
said, a threefold idea, which if properly understood and realized 
by the worshipper, he performed, in offering it, an acceptable 
service. And when we rise from the symbolical to the typical 
view of the transaction when we proceed to consider the rite 
of expiation as bearing a prospective reference to the redemp 
tion of Christ, we are not to be understood as ascribing to it 
some new sense or meaning ; we merely express our belief that 
the complex capital idea which it so impressively symbolized, 
finds its only true, as from the first its destined realization, in 
the work of salvation by Jesus Christ. For in Him alone was 
there a real transference of man s guilt to one able and willing 
to bear it ; in His death alone, the surrender of a life to God, 
such as could fitly stand in the room of that forfeited by the 
sinner ; and in faith alone on that death, a full and conscious 
appropriation of the life of peace and blessing obtained by Him 
for the justified. So that here only it is we perceive the idea 
of a true, sufficient, and perfect sacrifice converted into a living 
reality such as the holy eye of God, and the troubled con 
science of man, can alike repose in with unmingled satisfaction. 
And while there appear precisely the same elements of truth in 
the ever-recurring sacrifices of the Old Testament, and in the 
one perfect sacrifice of the New, it is seen, at the same time, 
that what the one symbolically represented, the other actually 
possessed ; what the one could only exhibit as a kind of acted 
lesson for the present relief of guilty consciences, the other 
makes known to us, as a work finally and for ever accomplished 
for all who believe in the propitiation of the cross. 


The view now given of the symbolical institutions of the 
Old Testament, as prophetic symbols of the realities of the Gos 
pel, is in perfect accordance with the general descriptions we 
have of their nature in Scripture itself. These are of two classes. 
In the one they are declared to have been shadovjs of the better 
things of the Gospel ; as in Ileb. x. 1, where the law is said to 
have had " a shadow, and not the very image of good things to 
come;" in ch. viii. 5, where the priests are described as "serv 
ing unto the example (copy) and shadow of heavenly things;" 
and again in Col. ii. 16, where the fleshly ordinances in one 
mass are denominated " shadows of good things to come," while 
it is added, " the body is of Christ." Now, that the tabernacle, 
with the ordinances of every kind belonging to it, were shadows 
of Christ and the blessings of His kingdom, can only mean that 
they were obscure and imperfect resemblances of these ; or that 
they embodied the same elements of Divine truth, but wanted 
what was necessary to give them proper form and consistence 
as parts of a final and abiding dispensation of God. And when 
we go to inquire wherein did the obscurity and imperfection 
consist, we are always referred to the carnal and earthly nature 
of the Old as compared with the New. The tabernacle itself 
was a material fabric, constructed of such things as this present 
world could supply, and hence called " a worldly sanctuary ;" 
while its counterpart under the Gospel is the eternal region of 
God s presence and glory, neither discernible by fleshly eye, nor 
made by mortal hands. In like manner, the ordinances of wor 
ship connected with the tabernacle were all ostensibly directed 
to the preservation of men s present existence, or the advance 
ment of their well-being as related to an outward sanctuary and 
a terrestrial commonwealth ; while in the Gospel it is the soul s 
relation to the sanctuary above, and its possession of an immor 
tal life of blessedness and glory, which all is directly intended 
to provide for. In these differences between the Old and the 
New, which bespeak so much of inferiority on the part of the 
former, we perceive the darkness and imperfection which hung 
around the things of the ancient dispensation, and rendered them 
shadows only of those which were to come. But still shadows 
are resemblances. Though unlike in one respect, they must be 
like in another. And as the unlikeness stood in the dissimilar 


nature of the things immediately handled and perceived in the 
different materiel, so to speak, of the two dispensations, wherein 
should the resemblance be found but in the common truths and 
relations alike pervading both ? By means of an earthly taber 
nacle, with its appropriate services, God manifested toward His 
people the same principles of government, and required from 
them substantially the same disposition and character, that He 
does now under the higher dispensation of the Gospel. For 
look beyond the mere outward diversities, and what do you see ? 
You see in both alike a pure and holy God, enshrined in the 
recesses of a glorious sanctuary, unapproachable by sinful flesh 
but through a medium of powerful intercession and cleansing 
efficacy ; yet when so approached, ever ready to receive and 
bless with the richest tokens of His favour and loving-kindness 
as many as come in the exercise of genuine contrition for sin, 
and longing for restored fellowship with Him whom they have 
offended. The same description applies equally to the service 
of both dispensations ; for in both the same impressions are con 
veyed of God s character respecting sin and holiness, and the 
same gracious feelings necessarily aw r akened by them in the 
bosom of sincere worshippers. But then, as to the means of 
accomplishing this, there was only, in the one case, a shadowy 
exhibition of spiritual things through earthly materials and tem 
porary expedients ; while in the other, the naked realities appear 
in the one perfect sacrifice of Christ, the rich endowments of 
the Spirit of grace, and the glories of an everlasting kingdom. 

The other general description given in New Testament Scrip 
ture of the prophetic symbols or types of the Old dispensation 
does not materially differ from the one now considered, and, 
when rightly understood, leads to the same result. According to 
it, the religious institutions of earlier times contained the rudiments 
or elementary principles of the world s religious truth and life. 
Thus in Col. ii. 20, the now antiquated ordinances of Judaism 
are called " the rudiments of the world ;" and in Gal. iv. 3, the 
Church, while under these ordinances, is said to have been " in 
bondage under the elements (or rudiments) of the world." The 
expression, also, which is found in ch. iii. 24 of this Epistle to 
the Galatians, " the law was our schoolmaster to bring us to 
Christ," conveys much the same idea ; since it is the special 


business of a schoolmaster to communicate to those under his 
charge the rudiments of learning, by which their minds may in 
due time be prepared for the higher walks of science and litera 
ture. The law certainly did this, to a considerable extent, by 
direct instructions in the great principles of truth and duty. But 
it did so not less by means of its symbolical institutions and 
ordinances, which were in themselves inherently defective, and 
yet in their spirit and design entirely analogous to the higher 
things of the Gospel. The animal, the fleshly, the material, the 
temporal, was what alone appeared in them, when viewed in 
respect merely to their ostensible character and object ; yet all 
was arranged in a manner fitted to exhibit ideas and relations 
that reached far beyond these, and could only, indeed, find their 
suitable development in things spiritual, heavenly, and eternal. 
The Church had then to be dealt with after the manner of a 
child. But the child must have instruction administered to him 
in a form adapted to his juvenile capacities. If he is to be 
prepared for apprehending the outlines and proportions of the 
globe, these must be presented to his view on diagrams of a few 
spans long. Or, if he is to be made acquainted with the laws 
and principles which bear sway throughout the material universe, 
he must again see them exemplified in miniature among the 
small and familiar objects of everyday life. In like manner, the 
Church of the Old Testament, while in bondage to fleshly insti 
tutions and services, yet received through these the rudiments 
of all Divine truth and wisdom. In a form which the eye of a 
spiritual babe could scan, and its hand, in a manner, grasp, 
she had constantly exhibited before her the essential truths and 
principles of God s everlasting kingdom. And nothing more 
was needed than that the instruction thus imparted should have 
been impartially received and properly cultivated, in order to 
fit the disciple of Moses for passing with intelligence and delight 
from his rudimental tutelage, under the shadows of good tilings, 
into the free use and enjoyment of the things themselves. 

The general descriptions, then, given of the symbolical insti 
tutions and services of the Old Testament, in their relation to the 
Gospel, perfectly accord with the principles we have advanced. 
And view r ed in the light now presented, we at once see the 
essential unity that subsists between the Old and the New dis- 

VOL. I. F 


pensations, and the nature of that progression in the Divine plan 
which rendered the one a fitting preparation and stepping-stone 
to the other. In its fundamental elements the religion of both 
covenants is thus found to be identical. Only it appears under 
the Old covenant as on a lower platform, disclosing its ideas, and 
imparting its blessings through the imperfect instrumentalities 
of fleshly relations and temporal concerns ; while under the New 
everything rises heavenwards, and eternal realities come distinctly 
and prominently into view. But as ideas and relations are more 
palpable to the mind, and lie more within the grasp of its com 
prehension, when exhibited on a small scale, in corporeal forms, 
amid familiar and present objects, than on a scale of large dimen 
sions, which stretches into the unseen, and embraces alike the 
Divine and human, time and eternity ; so the economy of outward 
symbolical institutions was in itself simpler than the Gospel, and, 
as a lower exhibition of Divine truth, prepared the way for a 
higher. But they did this, let it be observed, in their character 
merely as symbolical institutions, or parts of a dispensation then 
existing, not as typically foreshadowing the things belonging to 
a higher and more spiritual dispensation yet to come. It was 
comparatively an easy thing for the Jewish worshipper to under 
stand how, from time to time, he stood related to a visible sanc 
tuary and an earthly inheritance, or to go through the process of 
an appointed purification by means of water and the blood of 
slain victims applied externally to his body : much more easy 
than for the Christian to apprehend distinctly his relation to a 
heavenly sanctuary, and realize the cleansing of his conscience 
from all guilt by the inward application of the sacrifice of Christ 
and the regenerating grace of the Holy Spirit. But for the 
Jewish worshipper to do both his own and the Christian s part 
both to read the meaning of the symbol as expressive of what 
was already laid open to his view, and to descry its concealed 
reference to the yet undiscovered realities of a better dispensa 
tion, would have required a reach of discernment and a strength 
of faith far beyond what is now needed in the Christian. For 
this had been, not like him to discern the heavenly, when the 
heavenly had come, but to do it amid the obscurities and imper 
fections of the earthly ; not simply to look with open eye into 
the deeper mysteries of God s kingdom, when these mysteries 


are fully disclosed, but to do so while they were still buried amid 
the thick folds of a cumbrous and overshadowing drapery. 

Yet let us not be mistaken. We speak merely of what was 
strictly required, and what might ordinarily be expected of the 
ancient worshipper, in connection with the institutions and ser 
vices of his symbolical religion, taken simply by themselves. 
We do not say that there never was, much less that there could 
not be, any proper insight obtained by the children of the Old 
Covenant into the future mysteries of the Gospel. There were 
special gifts of grace then, as well as now, occasionally imparted 
to the more spiritual members of the covenant, which enabled 
them to rise to unusual degrees of knowledge ; and it is a dis 
tinctive property of the spiritual mind generally to be dissatisfied 
with the imperfect, to seek and long for the perfect. Even 
now, when the comparatively perfect has come, what spiritual 
mind is not often conscious to itself of a feeling akin to melan 
choly, when it thinks of the yet abiding darkness and disorders 
of the present, or does not fondly cling to every hopeful indica 
tion of a brighter future ? But even the best things of the Old 
Covenant bore on them the stamp of imperfection. The temple 
itself, which was the peculiar glory and ornament of Israel, still 
in a very partial and defective manner realized its own grand 
idea of a people dwelling with God, and God dwelling with 
them ; and hence, because of that inherent imperfection (it was 
plainly declared), a higher and better mode of accomplishing 
the object should one day take its place. (Jer. iii. 16, 17.) So, 
too, the palpable disproportion already noticed in the rite of 
expiatory sacrifice between the rational life forfeited through 
sin, and the merely animal life substituted in its room, seemed 
to proclaim the necessity of a more adequate atonement for 
human guilt, and could not but dispose intelligent worshippers 
to give more earnest heed to the announcements of prophecy 
regarding the coming purposes of Heaven. But yet, when we 
have admitted all this, it by no means follows that the people of 
God generally, under the Old Covenant, could attain to very 
definite views of the realities of the Gospel ; nor does it furnish 
us with any reason for asserting that such views must ever of 
necessity have mingled with the service of an acceptable wor 
shipper. For his was the worship of a preparatory dispensation. 


It must, therefore, have been simpler and easier than what was 
ultimately to supplant it. And this, we again repeat, it could 
only be by being viewed in its more obvious and formal aspect, 
as the worship of an existing religion, which provided for the 
time then present a fitting medium of access to God, and hal 
lowed intercourse with heaven. The man who humbly availed 
himself of what was thus provided to meet his soul s necessities, 
stood in faith, and served God with acceptance, though still 
with such imperfections in the present, and such promises for 
the future, that the more always he reflected, he would become 
the more a child of desire and hope. 1 

We have spoken as yet only of the symbolical institutions 
and services of the Old Testament ; and of these quite generally, 
as one great whole. For it is carefully to be noted, that the 
Scriptural designations of rudiments and shadows, which we have 
shown to be the same as typical, when properly understood, are 
applied to the entire mass of the ancient ordinances in their 
prospective reference to Gospel realities. And yet, while New 
Testament Scripture speaks thus of the whole, it deals very 
sparingly in particular examples ; and if it furnishes, in its 
language and allusions, many valuable hints to direct inquiry, it 
still contains remarkably few detailed illustrations. It nowhere 

1 If any one will take the trouble to look into the elder writers, who 
formally examined the typical character of the ancient symbolical institu 
tions, he will find them entirely silent in regard to the points chiefly dwelt 
upon in the above discussion. Lowman, for example, on the Rational of 
the Hebrew Worship, and Outram de Sac., Lib. i., c. 18, where he comes to 
consider the nature and force of a type, gave no proper or satisfactory 
explanation of the questions, wherein precisely did the resemblance stand 
between the type and the antitype, or how should the one have prepared 
the way for the other. We are told frequently enough that the u Hebrew 
ritual contained a plan, or sketch, or pattern, or shadow of Gospel things : " 
that " the type adumbrated the antitype by something of the same sort with 
that which is found in the antitype," or " by a symbol of it," or " by a 
slender and shadowy image of it," or " by something that may somehow be 
compared with it," etc. But we look in vain for anything more specific. 
Townley, in his Reasons of the Laws of Moses, still advances no farther 
in the Dissertation he devotes to the Typical Character of the Mosaic Insti 
tutions. Even Olshausen, in the treatise formerly noticed (Ein Wort iiber 
tiefern Schriftsinn), when he comes to unfold what he calls his deeper 
exposition, confines himself to a brief illustration of the few general state 
ments formerly mentioned. See p. 46. 


tells us, for example, what was either immediately symbolized, 
or prophetically shadowed forth, by the Holy Place in the 
tabernacle, or the shew-bread, or the golden candlestick, or the 
ark of the covenant, or, indeed, by anything connected with the 
tabernacle, excepting its more prominent offices and ministra 
tions. Even the Epistle to the Hebrews, which enters with such 
comparative fulness into the connection between the Old and the 
New, and which is most express in ascribing a typical value to 
all that belonged to the tabernacle, can yet scarcely be said to 
give any detailed explanation of its furniture and services beyond 
the rite of expiatory sacrifice, and the action of the high priest in 
presenting it, more particularly on the great day of atonement. 
So that those who insist on an explicit warrant and direction 
from Scripture in regard to each particular type, will find their 
principle conducts them but a short way even through that 
department, which, they are obliged to admit, possesses through 
out a typical character. A general admission of this sort can 
be of little use, if one is restrained on principle from touching 
most of the particulars ; one might as well maintain that these 
stood entirely disconnected from any typical property. So, 
indeed, Bishop Marsh has substantially done ; for, " that such 
explanations," he says, referring to particular types, " are in 
various instances given in the New Testament, no one can deny. 
And if it was deemed necessary to explain one type, where could 
be the expediency or moral fitness of withholding the explana 
tion of others ? Must not, therefore, the silence of the New 
Testament in the case of any supposed type, be an argument 
against the existence of that type?" Undoubtedly, we reply, 
if the Scriptures of the New Testament professed to illustrate 
the whole field of typical matter in God s ancient dispensations ; 
but by no means if, as is really the case, they only take it up in 
detached portions, by way of occasional example ; and still less 
if the effect would be practically to exclude from the character 
of types many of the very institutions and services which are 
declared to have been all " shadows of good things to come, 
whereof the body is Christ." How we ought to proceed in 
applying the general views that have been unfolded to the 
interpretation of such parts of the Old Testament symbols as 
1 Lectures, p. 392. 


have not been explained in New Testament Scripture, will no 
doubt require careful consideration. But that we are both 
warranted and bound to give them a Christian interpretation, is 
manifest from the general character that is ascribed to them. 
And the fact that so much of what was given to Moses as " a 
testimony (or evidence) of those things which were to be spoken 
after" in Christ, remains without any particular explanation in 
Scripture, sufficiently justifies us in expecting that there may 
also be much that is typical, though not expressly declared to be 
such, in the other, the historical department of the subject, 
which we now proceed to investigate. 



IN the preceding chapter we have seen in what sense the reli 
gious institutions and services of the Old Covenant were typical. 
They were constructed and arranged so as to express symbolically 
the great truths and principles of a spiritual religion truths and 
principles which were common alike to Old and New Testament 
times, but which, from the nature of things, could only find in 
the New their proper development and full realization. On the 
limited scale of the earthly and perishable in the construction 
of a material tabernacle, and the suitable adjustment of bodily 
ministrations and sacrifical offerings, there was presented a 
palpable exhibition of those great truths respecting sin and 
salvation, the purification of the heart, and the dedication of 
the person and the life to God, which in the fulness of time 
were openly revealed and manifested on the grand scale of a 
world s redemption, by the mediation and work of Jesus Christ. 
In that pre-arranged and harmonious, but still inherently de 
fective and imperfect, exhibition of the fundamental ideas and 
spiritual relations of the Gospel, stood the real nature of its 
typical character. 

Nor, we may add, was there anything arbitrary in so em 
ploying the things of flesh and time to shadow forth, under a 
preparatory dispensation, the higher realities of God s everlasting 
kingdom. It has its ground and reason in the organic arrange 
ments or appearances of the material world. For these are so 
framed as to be ever giving forth representations of Divine truth, 
and are a kind of ceaseless regeneration, in which, through 


successive stages, new and higher forms of being are continually 
springing out of the lower. It is on this constitution of nature 
that the figurative language of Scripture is based. And it was 
only building on a foundation that already existed, and which 
stretches far and wide through the visible territory of creation, 
when the outward relations and fleshly services of a symbolical 
religion were made to image and prepare for the more spiritual 
and divine mysteries of Messiah s kingdom. Hence, also, some 
of the more important symbolical institutions were expressly 
linked (as we shall see) to appropriate seasons and aspects of 

But was symbol alone thus employed ? Might there not also 
have been a similar employment of many circumstances and 
transactions in the province of sacred history ? If the revela 
tion of the Lord Jesus Christ, with the blessings of His great 
salvation, was the object mainly contemplated by God from the 
beginning of the world, and with which the Church was ever 
travailing as in birth if, consequently, the previous dispensa 
tions were chiefly designed to lead to, and terminate upon, 
Christ and the things of His salvation, what can be more 
natural than to suppose that the evolutions of Providence 
throughout the period during which the salvation was in pro 
spect, should have concurred with the symbols of worship in 
imaging and preparing for what was to come ? It is possible, 
indeed, that the connection here, between the past and the 
future, might be somewhat more varied and fluctuating, and 
in several respects less close and exact, than in the case of a 
regulated system of symbolical instruction and worship, ap 
pointed to last till it was superseded by the better things of the 
New dispensation. This is only what might be expected from 
the respective natures of the subjects compared. But that a 
connection, similar in kind, had a place in the one as well as in 
the other, we hold to be not only in itself probable, but also 
capable of being satisfactorily established. And for the purpose 
of showing this we lay down the following positions : First, 
That the historical relations and circumstances recorded in the 
Old Testament, and typically applied in the New, had very 
much both the same resemblances and defects in respect to the 
realities of the Gospel, which we have found to belong to the 


ancient symbolical institutions of worship ; secondly, that such 
historical types were absolutely necessary, in considerable num 
ber and variety, to render the earlier dispensations thoroughly 
preparative in respect to the coming dispensation of the Gospel ; 
and, thirdly, that Old Testament Scripture itself contains un 
doubted indications, that much of its historical matter stood 
related to some higher ideal, in which the truths and relations 
exemplified in them were again to meet and receive a new but 
more perfect development. 

I. The first consideration is, that the historical relations and 
circumstances recorded in the Old Testament, and typically 
interpreted in the New, had very much the same resemblances 
and defects, in respect to the Gospel, which we have found to 
belong to the ancient symbolical institutions of worship. Thus 
to refer to one of the earliest events in the world s history so 
interpreted the general deluge that destroyed the old world, and 
preserved Noah and his family alive, is represented as standing 
in atypical relation to Christian baptism (1 Pet. iii. 21). It did 
so, as will be explained more at large hereafter, from its having 
destroyed those who by their corruptions destroyed the earth, 
and saved for a new world the germ of a better race. Doing 
this in the outward and lower territory of the world s history, 
it served substantially the same purpose that Christian baptism 
does in a higher; since this is designed to bring the individual 
that receives it under those vital influences that purge away the 
corruption of a fleshly nature, and cause the seed of a divine life 
to take root and grow for the occupation of a better inheritance. 
In like manner Sarah, with her child of promise, the special and 
peculiar gift of heaven, and Hagar, with her merely natural and 
fleshly offspring, are explained as typically foreshadowing, the 
one a spiritual church, bringing forth real children to God, in 
spirit and destiny as well as in calling, the heirs of His everlast 
ing kingdom ; the other, a worldly and corrupt church, whose 
members are in bondage to the flesh, having but a name to live, 
while they are dead. (Gal. iv. 22, 31.) In such cases, it is 
clear that the same kind of resemblances, coupled also with the 
same kind of differences, appear between the preparatory and 
the final, as in the case of the symbolical types. For here also 


the ideas and relations are substantially one in the two asso 
ciated transactions ; only in the earlier they appear ostensibly 
connected with the theatre of an earthly existence, and with 
respect to seen and temporal results ; while in the later it is 
the higher field of grace and the interests of a spiritual and 
immortal existence that come directly into view. 

Or, let the use be considered that is made of the events 
which befell the Israelites on their way to the land of Canaan, as 
regards the state and prospects of the Church of the New Tes 
tament on its way to heaven. Look at this, for example, as 
unfolded in the third and fourth chapters of the Epistle to the 
Hebrews, and the essential features of a typical connection will 
at once be seen. For the exclusion of those carnal and unbe 
lieving Israelites who fell in the wilderness is there exhibited, 
not only as affording a reasonable presumption, but as providing 
a valid ground, for asserting that persons similarly affected now 
toward the kingdom of glory cannot attain to heaven. Indeed, 
so complete in point of principle is the identity of the two cases, 
that the same expressions are applied to both alike, without 
intimation of any differences existing between them : " the 
Gospel is preached" to the one class as well as to the other ; 
God gives to each alike " a promise of rest," while they equally 
"fall through unbelief," having hardened their hearts against 
the word of God. Yet there were the same differences in kind 
as we have noted between the type and the antitype in the sym 
bolical institutions of worship the visible and earthly being 
employed in the one to exhibit such relations and principles as 
in the other appear in immediate connection with what is spiri 
tual and heavenly. In the type we have the prospect of Canaan, 
the Gospel of an earthly promise of rest, and, because not 
believed, issuing in the loss of a present life of honour and 
blessing ; in the antitype, the prospect of a heavenly inheritance, 
the Gospel promise of an everlasting rest, bringing along with 
it, when treated with unbelief and neglect, an exclusion from 
eternal blessedness and glory. 

Again, and with reference to the same period in the Church s 
history, it is said in John iii. 14, 15, " As Moses lifted up the 
serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 
that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have 


everlasting life." The language here certainly does not neces 
sarily betoken by any means so close a connection between the 
Old and the New, as in the cases previously referred to ; nor are 
we disposed to assert that the same connection in all respects 
really existed. The historical transaction in this case had at first 
sight the aspect of something occasional and isolated, rather than 
of an integral and essential part of a great plan. And yet the 
reference in John, viewed in connection with other passages of 
Scripture bearing on the subject, sufficiently vindicates for it a 
place among the earlier exhibitions of Divine truth, planned by 
the foreseeing eye of God with special respect to the coming 
realities of the Gospel. As such it entirely accords in nature 
with the typical prefigurations already noticed. In the two 
related transactions there is a fitting correspondence as to the 
relations maintained : in both alike a wounded and dying con 
dition in the first instance, then the elevation of an object ap 
parently inadequate, yet really effectual, to accomplish the cure, 
and this through no other medium on the part of the affected, 
than their simply looking to the object so presented to their 
view. But with this pervading correspondence, what marked 
and distinctive characteristics ! In the one case a dying body, 
in the other a perishing soul. There, an uplifted serpent of 
all instruments of healing from a serpent s bite the most unlikely 
to profit ; here the exhibition of one condemned and crucified 
as a malefactor of all conceivable persons apparently the most 
impotent to save. There, once more, the fleshly eye of nature 
deriving from the outward object visibly presented to it the heal 
ing virtue it was ordained to impart ; and here the spiritual eye 
of the soul, looking in stedfast faith to the exalted Redeemer, and 
getting the needed supplies of His life-giving and regenerating 
grace. In both the same elements of truth, the same modes of 
dealing, but in the one developing themselves on a lower, in the 
other on a higher territory ; in the former having immediate 
respect only to things seen and temporal, and in the latter to 
what is unseen, spiritual, and eternal. And when it is con 
sidered how the Divine procedure in the case of the Israelites 
was in itself so extraordinary and peculiar, so unlike God s 
usual methods of dealing in providence, in so far as these have 
respect merely to inferior and perishable interests, it seems to 


be without any adequate reason to want, in a sense, its just 
explanation, until it is viewed as a dispensation specially de 
signed to prepare the way for the higher and better things of 
the Gospel. 

Similar explanations might be given of the other historical 
facts recorded in Old Testament Scripture, and invested with a 
typical reference in the New. But enough has been said to 
show the essential similarity in the respect borne by them to the 
better things of the Gospel, and of that borne by the ritual 
types of the law. The ground of the connection in the one 
class, precisely as in the other, stands in the substantial oneness 
of the ideas and relations pervading the earlier and the later 
transactions, as corresponding parts of related dispensations ; or 
in the identity of truth and principle appearing in both, as dif 
ferent yet mutually depending parts of one great providential 
scheme. In that internal agreement and relationship, rather 
than in any mere outward resemblances, we are to seek the real 
bond of connection between the Old and the New. 

At first sight, perhaps, a connection of this nature may 
appear to want something of what is required to satisfy the 
conditions of a proper typical relationship. And there are two 
respects more especially, in which this deficiency may seem to 

1. It has been so much the practice to look at the connection 
between the Old and the New in an external aspect, that one 
naturally fancies the necessity of some more palpable and arbi 
trary bond of union to link together type and antitype. The 
one is apt to be thought of as a kind of pre-ordained pantomime 
of the other like those prefigurative actions which the prophets 
were sometimes instructed, whether in reality or in vision, to 
perform (as Isaiah in ch. xx., or Ezekiel in ch. xii.), meaningless 
in themselves, yet very significant as foreshadowing intimations 
of coming events in providence. Such prophecies in action, 
certainly, had something in common with the typical transac 
tions now under consideration. They both alike had respect to 
other actions or events yet to come, without which, pre-ordained 
and foreseen, they would not have taken place. They both also 
stood in a similar relation of littleness to the corresponding cir 
cumstances they foreshadowed exhibiting on a comparatively 


small scale what was afterwards to realize itself on a large one, 
and thereby enabling the mind more readily to anticipate the 
approaching future, or more distinctly to grasp it after it had 
come. But they differed in this, that the typical actions of the 
prophets had respect solely to the coming transactions they pre 
figured, and but for these would have been foolish and absurd ; 
while the typical actions of God s providence, as well as the 
symbolical institutions of His worship, had a moral meaning of 
their own, independently of the reference they bore to the future 
revelations of the Gospel. To overlook this independent moral 
element, is to leave out of account what should be held to con 
stitute the very basis of the connection between the past and the 
future. But if, on the other hand, we make due account of it, 
we establish a connection which, in reality, is of a much more 
close and vital nature, and one, too, of far higher importance, 
than if it consisted alone in points of outward resemblance. 
For it implies not only that the entire plan of salvation was all 
along in the eye of God, but that, with a view to it, He was 
ever directing His government, so as to bring out in successive 
stages and operations the very truths and principles which were 
to find in the realities of the Gospel their more complete mani 
festation. He showed that He saw the end from the beginning, 
by interweaving with His providential arrangements the ele 
ments of the more perfect, the terminal plan. And, therefore, 
to lay the groundwork of the connection between the prepara 
tory and the final in the elements of truth and principle common 
alike to both, instead of placing it in merely formal resem 
blances, is but to withdraw it from a less to a more vital and 
important part of the transactions from the outer shell and 
appearance, to the inner truth and substance of the history ; so 
that we can discern, not only some perceptible coincidences 
between the type and the antitype, but the same fundamental 
character, the same spirit of life, the same moral import and 
practical design. 

To render this more manifest, as it is a point of considerable 
moment to our inquiry, let us compare an alleged example of 
historical type, where the resemblance between it and the sup 
posed antitype is of an ostensible, but still only of an outward 
kind, with one of those referred to above the brazen serpent, for 


example, or the deluge. In this latter example there was scarcely 
any outward resemblance presented to the Christian ordinance 
of baptism ; as in no proper sense could Noah and his family 
be said to have been literally baptized in the waters. But both 
this and the other historical transaction presented strong lines 
of resemblance, of a more inward and substantial kind, to the 
things connected with them in the Gospel such as enable us to 
recognise without difficulty the impress of one Divine hand in 
the two related series of transactions, and to contemplate them 
as corresponding parts of one grand economy, rising gradually 
from its lower to its higher stages of development. Take, how 
ever, as an example of the other class, the occupation of Abel 
as a shepherd, which by many, among others by Witsius, has 
been regarded as a prefiguration of Christ in His character as 
the great Shepherd of Israel. A superficial likeness, we admit ; 
but what is to be found of real unity and agreement ? What 
light does the one throw upon the other ? What expectation 
beforehand could the earlier beget of the later, or what confir 
mation afterwards can it supply ? Admitting that the death of 
Abel somehow foreshadowed the infinitely more precious blood 
to be shed on Calvary, what distinctive value could the sacrifice 
of life in His case derive from the previous occupation of the 
martyr? Christ, certainly, died as the spiritual shepherd of 
souls, but Abel was not murdered on account of having been a 
keeper of sheep ; nor had his death any necessary connection 
with his having followed such an employment. For what pur 
pose, then, press points of resemblance so utterly disconnected, 
and dignify them with the name of typical prefigurations ? 
Resemblances in such a case are worthless even if real, and 
from their nature incapable of affording any insight into the 
mind and purposes of God. But when, on the contrary, we look 
into the past records of God s providence, and find there, in the 
dealings of His hand and the institutions of His worship, a co 
incidence of principle and economical design with what appears 
in the dispensation of the Gospel, we cannot but feel that we 
have something of real weight and importance for the mind to 
rest upon. And if, farther, we have reason to conclude, not 
only that agreements of this kind existed, but that they were 
all skilfully planned and arranged, the earlier with a view to 


the later, the earthly and temporal for the spiritual and heavenly, 
we find ourselves possessed of the essential elements of a 
typical connection. We have reason, however, so to conclude, 
as has partly been shown already, and will still farther be shown 
in the sequel. 

2. But granting what has now been stated allowing that 
the connection between type and antitype is more of an internal 
than of an external kind, it may still be objected, in regard 
to the historical types, that they wanted for the most part some 
thing of the necessary correspondence with the antitypes ; the 
one did not occupy under the Old the same relative place that 
the other did under the New existing for a time as a shadow, 
until it was superseded and displaced by the substance. Per 
haps not; but is such a close and minute correspondence ab 
solutely necessary? Or is it to be found even in the case of 
all -the symbolical types? With them also considerable differ 
ences appear ; and we look in vain for anything like a fixed and 
absolute uniformity. The correspondence assumed the most 
exact form in the sacrificial rites of the tabernacle worship. 
There, certainly, part may be said to have answered to part ; 
there was priest for priest, offering for offering, death for 
death, and blessing for blessing throughout, an inferior and 
temporary substitute in the room of the proper reality, and con 
tinuing till it was superseded and displaced by the latter. We 
find a relaxation, however, in this closely adjusted relationship, 
whenever we leave the immediate province of sacrifice ; and 
in many of the things expressly denominated shadows of the 
Gospel, it can hardly be said to have existed. In regard, for 
example, to the ancient festivals, the new moons, the use or 
disuse of leaven, the defilement of leprosy and its purification, 
there was no such precise and definite superseding of the Old 
by something corresponding under the New nothing like office 
for office, action for action, part for part. The symbolical rites 
and institutions referred to were typical not, however, as re 
presenting things that were to hold specifically and palpably 
the same place in Gospel times, but rather as embodying, in 
set forms and ever-recurring bodily services, the truths and 
principles that, in naked simplicity and by direct teaching, 
were to pervade the dispensation of the Gospel. 


There is quite a similar diversity in the case of the historical 
types. In some of them the correspondence was very close and 
exact ; in others more loose and general. Of the former class 
was the calling of Israel as an elect people, their relation to the 
land of Canaan as their covenant portion, their redemption from 
the yoke of Egypt, and their temporary sojourn in the wilderness 
as they travelled to inherit it all of which continued (the two 
latter by means of commemorative ordinances) till they were 
superseded by corresponding but higher objects under the Gospel. 
In respect to these we can say, the new dispensation presents 
people for people, redemption for redemption, inheritance for 
inheritance, and one kind of wilderness-training for another; 
objects in both precisely corresponding as regards the places 
they respectively held, and the one preserving their existence 
or transmitting their efficacy, till they were supplanted by the 
other. But we do not pretend to see the same close connection 
and the same exact correspondence between the Old arid the 
New in all, or even the greater part, of the historical transactions 
of the past which we hold to have been typical ; nor are we 
warranted to look for it. The analogy of the symbolical types 
would lead us to expect, along with the more direct typical 
arrangements, many acts and institutions of a somewhat in 
cidental and subordinate kind, in which a typical representation 
should be given of ideas and relations, that could only find in 
the realities of the Gospel their full and proper manifestation. 
If they were not appointed as temporary substitutes for these 
realities, and made to occupy an ostensible place in the divine 
economy till the better things appeared, they were still fashioned 
after the ideal of the better, and were thereby fitted to indoctri 
nate the minds of God s people with certain notions of the truth, 
and to familiarize them with its spiritual ideas, its modes of pro 
cedure, and principles of working. And in this they plainly 
possessed the more essential elements of a typical connection. 

II. Enough, however, for the first point. We proceed to 
the second ; which is, that such historical types as those undei 
consideration were absolutely necessary, in considerable number 
and variety, to render the earlier dispensations thoroughly pre 
parative in respect to the coming dispensation of the Gospel. 


This was necessary, first of all, from the typical character of 
the position and worship of the members of the Old Covenant. 
The main things respecting them being, as we have seen, typical, 
it was inevitable but that many others of a subordinate and 
collateral nature should be the same ; for otherwise they would 
not have been suitably adapted to the dispensation to which they 

But we have something more than this general correspond 
ence or analogy to appeal to. For the nature of the historical 
types themselves, as already explained, implies their existence, 
in considerable number and variety. The representation they 
were designed to give of the fundamental truths and principles 
of the Gospel, with the view of preparing the Church for the 
new dispensation, would necessarily have been incomplete and 
inadequate, unless it had embraced a pretty extensive field. 
The object of their appointment would have been but partially 
reached, if they had consisted only of the few straggling ex 
amples which have been particularly mentioned in New Testa 
ment Scripture. Nor, unless the history in general of Old 
Testament times, in so far as its recorded transactions bore on 
them the stamp of God s mind and will, had been pervaded by 
the typical element, could it have in any competent measure 
fulfilled the design of a preparatory economy. So that what 
ever distinctions it may be necessary to draw between one part 
of the transactions and another, as to their bein in themselves 

/ o 

sometimes of a more essential, sometimes of a more incidental 
character, or in their typical bearing being more or less closely 
related to the realities of the Gospel, their very place and object in 
a preparatory dispensation required them to be extensively typical. 
To be spread over a large field, and branched out in many direc 
tions, was as necessary to their typical as to their more im 
mediate and temporary design. 

Thus the one point grows by a sort of natural necessity 
out of the other. But the argument admits of being consider 
ably strengthened by the manner in which the historical types 
that are specially mentioned in New Testament Scripture are 
there referred to. So far from being represented as singular 
in their typical reference to Gospel times, they have uniformly 
the appearance of being only selected for the occasion. Nay, 

VOL. I. G 


the obligation on the part of believers generally to seek for them 
throughout the Old Testament Scriptures, and apply them to 
all the purposes of Christian instruction and improvement, is 
distinctly asserted in the Epistle to the Hebrews; and the 
capacity to do so is represented as a proof of full-grown spiritual 
discernment (Heb. v. 1114). There is, therefore, a sense in 
which the saying of Augustine, " The Old Testament, when 
rightly understood, is one great prophecy of the New," 1 is 
strictly true even in regard to those parts of ancient Scripture 
which, in their direct and immediate bearing, partake least of 
the prophetical. Its records of the past are, at the same time, 
pregnant with the germs of a corresponding but more exalted 
future. The relations sustained by its more public characters, 
the parts they were appointed to act in their day and generation, 
the deliverances that were wrought for them and by them, and 
the chastisements they were from time to time given to ex 
perience, did not begin and terminate with themselves. They 
were parts of an unfinished and progressive plan, which finds 
its destined completion in the person and kingdom of Christ ; 
and only when seen in this prospective reference do they appear 
in their proper magnitude and their full significance. 

Christ, then, is the end of the history as well as of the law, 
of the Old Testament. It had been strange, indeed, if it were 
otherwise ; strange if its historical transactions had not been 
ordained by God to bear a prospective reference to the scheme of 
grace unfolded in the Gospel. For what is this scheme itself, 
in its fundamental character, but a grand historical development ? 
What are the doctrines it teaches, the blessings it imparts, and 
the prospects it discloses of coming glory, but the ripened fruit 
and issue of the wondrous facts it records ? The things which 
are there written of the incarnation and life, the death and 
resurrection, of the Lord Jesus Christ, are really the foundation 
on which all rests the root from which everything springs in 
Christianity. And shall it, then, be imagined, that the earlier 
facts in the history of related and preparatory dispensations did 
not point, like so many heralds and forerunners, to these un- 

1 Vetus Testamentum recte intelligentibus prophetia est Novi Testament! 
(Contra Faust. L. xv. 2). And again, Ille apparatus veteris Testament! in 
generationibus, factis etc. parturiebat esse venturum (Ib. L. xix. 31). 


speakably greater ones to come ? If a prophecy lay concealed in 
their symbolical rites, could it fail to be found also in the histori 
cal transactions that were often so closely allied to these, and 
always coincident with them in purpose and design? Assuredly 
not. In so far as God spake in the transactions, and gave dis 
coveries by them of His truth and character, they pointed on 
ward to the one " Pattern Man," and the terminal kingdom of 
righteousness and blessing of which He was to be the head and 
centre. Here only the history of God s earlier dispensations 
attained its proper end, as in it also the history of the world rose 
to its true greatness and glory. 1 

III. The thought, however, may not unnaturally occur, that 
if the historical matter of the Old Testament possess as much 
as has been represented of a typical character, some plain indica 
tions of its doing so should be found in Old Testament Scripture 
itself ; we should scarcely need to draw our proof of the exist 
ence and nature of the historical types entirely from the writings 

1 Compare the remarks made by the author in "Prophecy viewed with 
respect to its Distinctive Nature," etc., P. I., c. 2 ; also what has been said 
here in p. 54 sq. of the views which have obtained currency in Germany re 
specting the typical character of Old Testament history. Hartmann, in his 
Verbinnung des Alten Test, mit den Newen, p. 6, gives the following from 
a German periodical on the subject of Old Testament history, and its con 
nection with the Gospel : " Must not Judaism be of great moment to 
Christianity, since both stand in brotherly and sisterly relations to each 
other ? The historical books of the Hebrews are also religious books ; the 
religious import is involved in the historical. The history of the people, as 
a divine leading and management in respect to them, was at the same time 
a training for religion, precisely as the Old Testament is a preparation for 
the New." Still more strongly Jacobi, as quoted by Sack, Apologetik, p. 
356, on the words of Christ, that " as the serpent was lifted up, so must the 
Son of Man be lifted up " (y-tyu6qva,i dg<) : " History is also prophecy. The 
past unfolds the future as a germ, and at certain points, discernible by the 
eye of the mind, the greater may be seen imaged in the smaller, the internal 
in the external, the present or future in the past. Here there is nothing 
whatever arbitrary : throughout there is a divine must, connection, and 
arrangement, pregnant with mutual relations." More recently, Hofmann, 
in his Weissagung und Erfullung, as noticed in Ch. I., has run to an extreme 
this view of Old Testament history, and in his desire to magnify the import 
ance of it has depreciated prophecy really, however, to the disparagement 
of the prophetical element in both departments. 


of the New Testament. It was with the view of meeting this 
thought that we advanced our third statement ; which is, that 
Old Testament Scripture does contain undoubted marks and 
indications of its historical personages and events being related 
to some higher ideal, in which the truths and relations exhibited 
in them were again to meet, and obtain a more perfect develop 
ment. The proof of this is to be sought chiefly in the propheti 
cal writings of the Old Testament, in which the more select 
instruments of God s Spirit gave expression to the Church s 
faith respecting both the past and the future in His dispensa 
tions. And in looking there we find, not only that an exalted 
personage, with His work of perfect righteousness, and His 
kingdom of consummate bliss and glory, was seen to be in pro 
spect, but also that the expectations cherished of what was to be, 
took very commonly the form of a new and higher exhibition of 
what had already been. In giving promise of the better things 
to come, prophecy to a large extent availed itself of the charac 
ters and events of history. But it could only do so on the two 
fold ground, that it perceived in these essentially the same 
elements of truth and principle which were to appear in the 
future ; and in that future anticipated a nobler exhibition of 
them than had been given in the past. And what was this but, 
in other words, to indicate their typical meaning and design ? 
The truth of this will more fully appear when we come to treat 
of the combination of type with prophecy, which, on account 
of its importance, we reserve for the subject of a separate 
chapter. Meanwhile, it will be remembered how even Moses 
speaks before his death of " the prophet which the Lord their 
God should raise up from among his brethren like to himself" 
(Deut. xviii. 18) one that should hold a similar position and do 
a similar work, but each in its kind more perfect and complete 
else, why look out for another 1 In like manner, David connects 
the historical appearance of Melchizedek with the future Head 
of God s Church and kingdom, when He announces Him as a 
priest after the order of Melchizedek (Ps. ex. 4) ; he foresaw that 
the relations of Melchizedek s time should be again revived in 
this divine character, and the same part fulfilled anew, but 
raised, as the connection intimates, to a higher sphere, invested 
with a heavenly greatness, and carrying a world-wide signifi- 


cancc and power. So again we are told (Mai. ill. 1, iv. 5) 
another Elias should arise in the brighter future, to be succeeded 
by a more glorious manifestation of the Lord, to do what had 
never been done but in fragments before ; namely, to provide 
for Himself a true spiritual priesthood, a regenerated people, and 
an offering of righteousness. But the richest proofs are furnished 
by the latter portion of Isaiah s writings ; for there we find the 
prophet intermingling so closely together the past and the future, 
that it is often difficult to tell of which he actually speaks. He 
passes from Israel to the Messiah, and again from the Messiah 
to Israel, as if the one were but a new, a higher and perfect 
development of what belonged to the other. And the Church of 
the future is constantly represented under the relations of the 
past, only freed from the imperfections that attached to its state, 
and rendered in every respect blessed and glorious. 

Such are a few specimens of the way in which the more 
spiritual and divinely enlightened members of the Old Covenant 
saw the future imaged in the past or present. They discerned 
the essential oneness in truth and principle between the two ; 
but, at the same time, were conscious of such inherent imper 
fections and defects adhering to the past, that they felt it re 
quired a more perfect future to render it altogether worthy of 
God, and fully adequate to the wants and necessities of His 
people. And there is one entire book of the Old Testament 
which owes in a manner its existence, as it now stands, to this 
likeness in one respect, but diversity in another, between the 
past and the future things in God s administration. We refer 
to the Book of Psalms. The pieces of which this book consists 
are in their leading character devotional summaries, expressing 
the pious thoughts and feelings which the consideration of God s 
ways, and the knowledge of His revelations, were fitted to raise 
in reflecting and spiritual bosoms. But the singular thing is, 
that they are this for the New as well as for the Old Testament 
worshipper. They are still incomparably the most perfect ex 
pression of the religious sentiment, and the best directory to the 
soul in its meditations and communings about divine things, 
which is anywhere to be found. There is not a feature in the 
divine character, nor an aspect of any moment in the life of 
faith, to which expression, more or less distinct, is not there 


given. How could such a book have come into existence, cen 
turies before the Christian era, but for the fact that the Old 
and the New dispensations however they may have differed 
in outward form, and the ostensible nature of the transactions 
belonging to them were founded on the same relations, and 
pervaded by the same essential truths and principles? No 
otherwise could the Book of Psalms have served as the great 
hand-book of devotion to the members of both covenants. There 
the disciples of Moses and Christ meet as on common ground 
the one still readily and gratefully using the fervent utterances 
of faith and hope, which the other had breathed forth ages 
before. And though it was comparatively carnal institutions 
under which the holy men lived and worshipped, who indited 
those divine songs ; though it was transactions bearing directly 
only on their earthly and temporal condition, which formed the 
immediate ground and occasion of the sentiments they uttered ; 
yet, where in all Scripture can the believer, who now " worships 
in spirit and in truth," more readily find for himself the words 
that shall fitly express his loftiest conceptions of God, embody 
his most spiritual and enlarged views of the Divine government, 
or tell forth the feelings and desires of his soul even in many 
of its most lively and elevated moods ? 

But with this manifold adaptation to the spiritual thoughts 
and feelings of the Christian, there is still a perceptible differ 
ence between the Psalms of David and the writings of the New 
Testament. With all that discovers itself in the Psalms of a 
vivid apprehension of God, and of a habitual confidence in His 
faithfulness and love, one cannot fail to mark the indications of 
something like a trembling restraint and awe upon the soul ; it 
never rises into the filial cry of the Gospel, Abba Father. There 
is a fitfulness also in its aspirations, as of one dwelling in a dusky 
and changeful atmosphere. Continually, indeed, do we see the 
Psalmist flying, in distress and trouble, under the shelter of the 
Almighty, and trusting in His mercy for deliverance from the 
guilt of sin. Even in the worst times he still prays and looks 
for redemption. But the redemption which dispels all fear, and 
satisfies the soul with the highest good, he knew not, excepting 
as a bright day-star glistening in the far-distant horizon. It 
was in his believing apprehensions a thing that should one day be 


realized by the Church of God ; and he could tell also somewhat 
of the mighty and glorious personage destined in the Divine 
counsels to accomplish it of His unparalleled struggles in the 
cause of righteousness, and of His final triumphs, resulting in 
the extension of His kingdom to the farthest bounds of the earth. 


But no more the veil still hangs ; expectation still waits and 
longs ; and it is only for the believer of other times to say, 
" Mine eyes have seen Thy salvation ;" " I have a desire to de 
part, and to be with Christ ; or again, " Behold what manner 
of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be 
called the sons of God ; and it doth not yet appear what we 
shall be, but we know, that when He appears, we shall be like 
Him, for we shall see Him as He is." 

Such is the agreement, and such also the difference, between 
the Old and the New. " There we see the promise and prelude 
of the blessings of salvation ; here, these blessings themselves, 
far surpassing all the previous foreshado wings of them. There, 
a fiducial resting in *Tehovah ; here, an unspeakable fulness of 
spiritual and heavenly blessings from the opened fountain of 
His mercy. There, a confidence that the Lord would not 
abandon His people ; here, the Lord Himself assuming their 
nature, the God-man connecting Himself in organic union with 
humanity, and sending forth streams of life through its members. 
There, in the background, night, only relieved by the stars of 
the word of promise, and operations of grace in suitable accord 
ance with it ; here, in the background, day, still clouded, indeed, 
by our human nature, which is not yet completely penetrated 
by the Spirit, and is ever anew manifesting its sinfulness, but 
yet such a day as gives assurance of the cloudless sunshine of 
eternity, of which God Himself is the light." 1 

We here conclude the direct proof of our argument for the 
typical character of the religion and history of the Old Testa 
ment ; but it admits of confirmation from two distinct though 
related lines of thought, the one analogical, derived from the 

o / o / 

existence of typical forms in physical nature, coupled with the 
evidences of a progression in the Divine mode of realizing them ; 
the other founded inferentially on what might seem requisite 

1 Delitzsch, Biblisch-prophetische Thcologie, p. 232. 


to render the progression, apparent in the spiritual economy, an 
effective growth towards "the dispensation of the fulness of 
times." With a few remarks on each of these, we shall close 
this branch of our inquiry. 

1. The subject of typical forms in nature has only of late 
risen into prominence, and taken its place in scientific investiga 
tions. It had the misfortune to be first distinctly broached by 
men who were more distinguished for their powers of fancy, and 
their bold spirit of speculation, than for patient and laborious 
inquiry in any particular department of science ; so that their 
peculiar ideas respecting a harmony of structure running through 
the organic kingdoms, and bearing relation to a pattern-form or 
type, were for a time treated with contempt, or met with de 
cided opposition. But further research has turned the scale in 
their favour : the ideas in question may now be reckoned among 
the established conclusions of natural science ; and so far from 
occasioning any just prejudice to the interests of a rational 
deism (as was once supposed), they have turned rather to its ad 
vantage. For, in addition to the evidences of design in nature, 
which show a specific direction toward a final cause (and which 
remain untouched), there have been brought to light evidences, 
not previously observed, of a striking unity of plan. The gene 
ral principle has been made good, that in organic structures, 
while there is an infinite variety of parts, each with its specific 
functions and adaptations, there is also a normal shape, which 
it more or less approaches, both in its construction as a whole, 
and in each of its organs. Thus, in plants which have leaves 
that strike the eye, the leaf and plant are typically analogous : 
the leaf is a typical plant or branch, and the tree or branch a 
typical leaf, with certain divergences or modifications necessary 
to adapt them to their respective places. In the animal king 
dom the structural harmony is not less perceptible, and still more 
to our purpose. It has been found by a wide and satisfactory 
induction, that the human is here the pattern-form the arche 
type of the vertebrate division of animated being. In the struc 
ture of all other animal forms there are observable striking 
resemblances to that of man, and resemblances of a kind that 
seem designed to assimilate the lower, as near as circumstances 
would admit, to the higher. In all vertebrate animals it is 


found that the vertebrate skeleton is composed of a series of 
parts of essentially the same order, only modified in a great 
variety of ways to suit the particular functions it has to dis 
charge in the different animal frames to which it belongs. Thus, 
every segment, and almost every bone, present in the human 
hand and arm, exist also in the fin of the whale, though appa 
rently not required for the movement of this inflexible paddle, 
and the specific uses for which it is designed ; apparently, there 
fore, retained more for the sake of symmetry, than from any 
necessity connected with the proper function of the organ. 1 
Most strikingly, however, does the studied conformity to the 
human archetype appear in the formation of the brain, which 
is the most peculiar and distinguishing part of the animal frame. 
" Nature," says Hugh Miller, " in constructing this curious organ 
in man, first lays down a grooved cord, as the carpenter lays 
down the keel of his vessel ; and on this narrow base the perfect 
brain, as month after month passes by, is gradually built up, 
like the vessel from the keel. First it grows up into a brain 
closely resembling that of a fish ; a few additions more impart 
the perfect appearance of the brain of a bird ; it then developes 
into a brain exceedingly like that of a mammiferous quadruped ; 
and finally, expanding atop, and spreading out its deeply corru 
gated lobes, till they project widely over the base, it assumes its 
unique character as a human brain. Radically such at the first, 
it passes through all the inferior forms, from that of the fish 
upwards, as if each man were in himself, not the microcosm of 
the old fanciful philosopher, but something greatly more wonder 
ful a compendium of all animated nature, and of kin to every 
creature that lives. Hence the remark, that man is the sum 
total of all animals * the animal equivalent, says Oken, to the 
whole animal kingdom. " 2 

This, however, is not the whole. For, as geology has now 
learned to read w r ith sufficient accuracy the stony records of the 

1 It is right to say, only apparently retained, though not strictly re 
quired ; for, as Dr M Cosh has justly stated, there may still be uses and 
designs connected with arrangements of the kind which science has not 
discovered ; and the respect to symmetry may be but an incidental and 
subordinate, not the primary or sole reason. See Typical .Fonws, p. 449. 

2 Footprints, p. 291. 


past, to be able to tell of successive creations of vertebrate 
animals, from fish, the first and lowest, up to man, the last and 
highest ; so here also we have a kind of typical history the less 
perfect animal productions of nature having throughout those 
earlier geological periods borne a prospective reference to man, 
as the complete and ultimate form of animal existence. In the 
language of theology, they were the types, and he is the anti 
type, in the mundane system. Or, as more fully explained by 
Professor Owen, " All the parts and organs of man had been 
sketched out in anticipation, so to speak, in the inferior animals ; 
and the recognition of an ideal exemplar in the vertebrated ani 
mals proves that the knowledge of such a being as man must 
have existed before man appeared. For the Divine mind which 
planned the archetype, also foreknew all its modifications. The 
archetypal idea was manifested in the flesh long prior to the 
existence of those animal species that actually exemplify it. 
To what natural laws or secondary causes the orderly succession 
and progression of such organic phenomena may have been 
committed, we are as yet ignorant. But if, without derogation 
of the Divine power, we may conceive the existence of such 
ministers, and personify them by the term NATUKE, we learn 
from the past history of our globe, that she has advanced with 
slow and stately steps, guided by the archetypal light amidst 
the wreck of worlds, from the first embodiment of the vertebrate 
idea under its old ichthyic vestment, until it became arrayed 
in the glorious garb of the human form." 1 

In this view of the matter, what a striking analogy does the 

1 It is curious to notice that considerably before the progress of physical 
science had enabled its cultivators to draw this deduction from the lower to 
the higher forms of organic being, the same line of thought had suggested 
itself to the inventive mind of Coleridge from a thoughtful meditation of the 
successive stages of creation as described in Genesis, viewed in the light of 
progressive developments in the mental as well as material world. The 
passage as a whole is singularly characteristic of its distinguished author ; 
but the part we have properly to do with is the following : " Let us carry 
ourselves back in spirit to the mysterious week, the teeming work-days of 
the Creator ; as they rose in vision before the eye of the inspired historian 
of the generations of the heavens and of the earth, in the day that the 
Lord God made the earth and the heavens. And who that hath watched 
their ways with an understanding heart, could, as the vision evolving still 
advanced toward him, contemplate the filial and loyal Bee; the home- 


history of God s operations in nature furnish to His plan in pro 
vidence, as exhibited in the history of redemption ! Here, in 
like manner, there is found in the person and kingdom of Christ 
a grand archetypal idea, towards which, for successive ages, the 
Divine plan was continually working. Partial exhibitions of it 
appear from time to time in certain remarkable personages, in 
stitutions, and events, which rise prominently into view as the 
course of providence proceeds, but all marred with obvious 
faults and imperfections in respect to the great object contem 
plated ; until at length the idea, in its entire length and breadth, 
is seen embodied in Him to whom all the prophets gave witness 
the God-man, fore-ordained before the foundation of the world. 
" The Creator to adopt again the exposition of Mr Miller in 
the first ages of His workings, appears to have been associated 
with what He wrought simply as the producer or author of all 
tilings. But even in those ages, as scene after scene, and one 
dynasty of the inferior animals succeeded another, there were 
strange typical indications which pie-Adamite students of pro 
phecy among the spiritual existences of the universe might pos 
sibly have aspired to read ; symbolical indications to the effect 
that the Creator was in the future to be more intimately con 
nected with His material works than in the past, through a 
glorious creature made in His own image and likeness. And 
to this semblance and portraiture of the Deity the first Adam 
all the merely natural symbols seem to refer. But in the 
eternal decrees it had been for ever determined, that the union 
of the Creator with creation was not to be a mere union by 
proxy or semblance. And no sooner had the first Adam ap 
peared and fallen, than a new school of prophecy began, in 
which type and symbol w r ere mingled with what had now its 
first existence on earth verbal enunciations ; and all pointed to 
the second Adam, 6 the Lord from heaven. In Him, creation 
building, wedded, and divorceless Swallow ; and, above all, the manifoldly 
intelligent Ant tribes, with their commonwealths and confederacies, their 
warriors and miners, the husband-folk that fold in their tiny flocks on the 
honeyed leaf, and^he virgin sisters with the holy instincts of maternal love, 
detached and in selfless purity and not say to himself, Behold the shadow 
of approaching humanity, the sun rising from behind, in the kindling morn 
of creation ! Thus all lower natures find their highest good in semblances and 
seekings of that which is higher and tetter." (Aids to Reflection, i. p. 85.) 


and the Creator meet in reality, and not in semblance. On the 
very apex of the finished pyramid of being sits the adorable 
Monarch of all : as the son of Mary, of David, of the first 
Adam the created of God ; as God and the Son of God the 
eternal Creator of the universe. And these the two Adams 
form the main theme of all prophecy, natural and revealed. And 
that type and symbol should have been employed with reference 
not only to the second, but as held by men like Agassiz and 
Owen to the first Adam also, exemplifies, we are disposed to 
think, the unity of the style of Deity, and serves to show that 
it was He who created the worlds that dictated the Scriptures." 1 

It is indeed a marvellous similitude, and one, it will be per 
ceived, which is not less fitted to stimulate the aspirations of 
hope toward the future, than to strengthen faith in what the 
Bible relates concerning the history of the past. For, if the 
archetypal idea in animated nature has been wrought at through 
long periods and successive ages of being till it found its proper 
realization in man ; now that the nature of man is linked in 
personal union with the Godhead for the purpose of rectifying 
what is evil, and raising manhood to a higher than its original 
condition, who can tell to what a height of perfection and glory 
it shall attain, when the work of God " in the regeneration" has 
fully accomplished its aim I " We know not what we shall be, 
but we know that we shall be like Him," in whom the earthly 
and human have been for ever associated with, and assimilated 
to, the spiritual and divine. But the parallel between the method 
of God s working in nature, and that pursued by Him in grace, 
especially as presented in the above graphic extract, naturally 
raises the question (to which reference has already been made, 
p. 62), whether, or how far, the creation as constituted and 
headed in Adam, is to be regarded as typical of the incarnation 
and kingdom of Christ 1 As the question is one that cannot 
be quite easily disposed of, while still it has a very material 
bearing on our future investigations, we must reserve it for 
separate discussion. 2 ^ 

2. If now we turn from God s plan in nature to His plan 
in grace, and think of the conditions that were required to meet 
in it, in order to render the progression here also exhibited fitly 

1 Witness newspaper, 2d August 1851. 2 See next chapter. 


conducive to its great end, we shall find a still farther confirma 
tion of our argument for the place and character of Scripture 
Typology. This plan, viewed with respect to its progressive 
character, certainly presents something strange and mysterious 
to our view, especially in the extreme slowness of its progression ; 
since it required the postponement of the work of redemption 
for so many ages, and kept the Church during these in a state 
of comparative ignorance in respect to the great objects of her 
faith and hope. Yet what is it but an application to the moral 
history of the world of the principle on which its physical develop 
ment has proceeded, and which, indeed, is constantly exhibited 
before us in each man s personal history, whose term of probation 
upon earth is, in many cases half, in nearly all a third part con 
sumed, before the individual attains to a capacity for the objects 
and employments of manhood 1 Constituted as we personally 
are, and as the world also is, progression of some kind is indis 
pensable to happiness and well-being ; and the majestic slowness 
that appears in the plan of God s administration of the world, is 
but a reflection of the nature of its Divine Author, with whom a 
thousand years are as one day. Starting, then, with the assump 
tion, that the Divine plan behoved to be of a progressive character, 
the nature of the connection we have found to exist between 
its earlier and later parts, discovers the perfect wisdom and fore 
sight of God. The terminating point in the plan was what is 
called emphatically " the mystery of godliness," God manifest 
in the flesh for the redemption of a fallen world, and the estab 
lishment through Him of a kingdom of righteousness that should 
not pass away. It was necessary that some intimation of this 
ulterior design should be given from the first, that the Church 
might know whither to direct her expectations. Accordingly, 
the prophetic Word began to utter its predictions with the very 
entrance of sin. The first promise was given on the spot that 
witnessed the fall ; and that a promise which contained, within 
its brief but pregnant utterance, the whole burden of redemption. 
As time rolled on, prophecy continued to add to its communica 
tions, having still for its grand scope and aim " the testimony of 
Jesus." And at length so express had its tidings become, and so 
plentiful its revelations, that when the purpose of the Father 
drew near to its accomplishment, the remnant of sincere worship- 


pers were like men standing on their watch-towers, waiting and 
looking for the long-expected consolation of Israel ; nor was 
there anything of moment in the personal history or work of the 
Son, of which it could not be written, It was so done, that the 
Scriptures might be fulfilled. 

It is plain, however, on a little consideration, that something 
more was needed than the hopeful announcements of prophecy. 
The Church required training as well as teaching, and training 
of a very peculiar kind ; for she had to be formed for receiving 
things " which men had not heard, nor had the ear perceived, 
neither had the eye seen the things which God had prepared 
for those that waited for Him " (Isa. Ixiv. 4). " The new dispen 
sation was to be wholly made up of things strange and wonder 
ful ; all that is seen and heard of it is contrary to carnal wisdom. 
The appearance of the Son of God in a humble condition the 
discharge by Him in person of a Gospel ministry, with its 
attendant circumstances His shame and sufferings His resur 
rection and ascension into heaven the nature of the kingdom 
instituted by Him, which is spiritual the blessings of His king 
dom, which are also spiritual the instruments employed for 
advancing the kingdom, men devoid of worldly learning, and 
destitute of outward authority the gift of the Holy Spirit, the 
calling of the Gentiles, the rejection of so many among the Jewish 
people : these, among other things, were indeed such as the 
carnal eye had never seen, and the carnal ear had never heard ; 
nor could they without express revelation, by any thought or 
natural ingenuity on the part of man, have been foreseen or 

understood." l But lying thus so far beyond the ken of man s 
natural apprehensions, and so different from what they were 
disposed of themselves to expect, if all that was done beforehand 
respecting them had consisted in the necessarily partial and 
obscure intimations of prophecy, there could neither have been 
any just anticipation of the things to be revealed, nor any suitable 
training for them ; the change from the past to the future must 
have come as an invasion, rather than as the result of an ever- 
advancing development, and men could only have been brought 
by a sort of violence to submit to it. 

To provide against this, there was required, as a proper 
1 Vitringa on Isa. Ixiv. 4. 


accompaniment to the intimations of prophecy, the training of 
preparatory dispensations, that the past history and established 
experience of the Church might run, though on a lower level, 
yet in the same direction with her future prospects. And what 
her circumstances in this respect required, the wisdom and fore 
sight of God provided. lie so skilfully modelled for her the 
institutions of worship, and so wisely arranged the dealings of 
His providence, that there was constantly presented to her view, 
in the outward and earthly things with which she was conversant, 
the cardinal truths and principles of the coming dispensation. In 
everything she saw and handled, there was something to attemper 
her spirit to a measure of conformity with the realities of the 
Gospel ; so that if she could not be said to live directly under 
" the powers of the world to come," she yet shared their secondary 
influence, being placed amid the signs and shadows of the true, 
and conducted through earthly transactions that bore on them 
the image of the heavenly. 

It is to this preparatory training, as being on the part of 
God sufficiently protracted and complete, that we are to regard 
the Apostle as chiefly referring, when he speaks of Christ Inn 
ing appeared, " when the fulness of the time was come." (Gal. 
iv. 4.) Chiefly, though not by any means exclusively. For 
there is a manifold wisdom in all God s arrangements. In the 
moral as well as in the physical world He is ever making nume 
rous operations conspire to the production of one result, as each 
result is again made to contribute to several important ends. It 
is, therefore, a most legitimate object of inquiry, to search for all 
the lines of congruity to be seen in the world s condition, that 
opportunely met at the time of Christ s appearing, and together 
rendered it in a peculiar manner suited for the institution of 
His kingdom, and advantageously circumstanced for the diffu 
sion of its truths and blessings among the nations of the earth. 
But whatever light may be gathered from these external re 
searches, it should never be forgotten that God s own record 
must furnish the main grounds for determining the special fit 
ness of the selected time, and the state of His Church the para 
mount reason. In everything that essentially affects the interests 
of the Church, pre-eminently therefore in what concerns the 
manifestation of Christ, which is the centre-point of all that 


touches her interests, the state and condition of the Church 
herself is ever the first thing contemplated by the eye of God ; 
the rest of the world holds but a secondary and subordinate 
place. Hence, when we are told that Christ appeared in the 
fulness of time, the fact of which we are mainly assured is, 
that all was done which was properly required for bringing the 
Church, whether as to her internal state or to her relations to 
the world, into a measure of preparedness for the time of His 
appearing. Not only had the period anticipated by prophecy 
arrived, and believing expectation, rising on the wings of pro 
phecy, reached its proper height, but also the long series of 
preliminary arrangements and dealings was now complete, which 
were designed to make the Church familiar with the fundamen 
tal truths and principles of Messiah s kingdom, and prepare her 
for the erection of this kingdom with its divine realities and 
eternal prospects. 

It is true that we search in vain for the general and wide 
spread success which we might justly expect to have arisen from 
the plan of God, and to have made conspicuously manifest its 
infinite wisdom. With the exception of a comparatively small 
number, the professing Church was . found so completely unpre 
pared for the doctrine of Christ s kingdom, as to reject it with 
disdain, and oppose it with unrelenting violence. But this 
neither proves the absence of the design, nor the unfitness of 
the means for carrying it into effect. It only proves how in 
sufficient the best means are of themselves to enlighten and 
sanctify the human mind, when its thoughts and imaginations 
have become fixed in a wrong direction proves how the heart 
may remain essentially corrupt, even after undergoing the most 
perfect course of instruction, and still prefer the ways of sin to 
those of righteousness. But while we cannot overlook the fatal 
ignorance and perversity that pervaded the mass of the Jewish 
people, we are not to forget that there still was among them a 
pious remnant, "the election according to grace," who, as the 
Church in the world, so they in the Church ever occupy the 
foremost place in the mind and purposes of God. In the bosom 
of the Jewish Church, as is justly remarked by Thiersch, "there 
lay a domestic life so pure, noble, and tender, that it could yield 
such a person as the holy Virgin," and could furnish an atmo- 


sphere in which the Son of God might grow up sinless from 
childhood to manhood. There were Simeon and Anna, Zacharias 
and Elizabeth, Mary and Joseph, the company of Apostles, the 
converts, no small number after all, who flocked to the standard 
of Jesus, as soon as the truths of His salvation came to be fully 
known and understood, and the believing Jews and proselytes 
scattered abroad, who, in almost every city, were ready to form 
the nucleus of a Christian Church, and greatly facilitated its 
extension in the world. Did not the course of God s prepara 
tory dispensations reach its end in regard to these 1 Does not 
even the style of argument and address used by the Apostles 
imply that it did 1 How much do both their language and their 
ideas savour of the sanctuary ! How constantly do they throw 
themselves back for illustration and support, not only on the 
prophecies, but also on the sacred annals and institutions of the 
Old Testament ! They spake and reasoned on the assumption, 
that the revelations of the Gospel were but a new and higher 
exhibition of the principles which appeared alike in the events 
of their past history and the services of their religious worship. 
By means of these an appropriate language was already fur 
nished to their hand, through which they could discourse aright 
of spiritual and divine things. But more than that, as they had 
no new language to invent, so they had no new ideas to discover, 
or unheard-of principles to promulgate. The scheme of truth 
which they were called to expound and propagate, had its foun 
dations already laid in the whole history and constitution of the 
Jewish commonwealth. In labouring to establish it, they felt 
that they were treading in the footsteps, and, on a higher van 
tage-ground, maintaining the faith of their illustrious fathers. 
In short, they appear as the heralds and advocates of a cause 
which, in its essential principles, had its representation in all 
history, and gathered as into one glorious orb of truth the 
scattered rays of light and consolation which had been emanat 
ing from the ways of God since the world began. Tims wisely 
were the different parts of the Divine plan adjusted to each 
other ; and, for the accomplishment of what was required, the 
training by means of types could no more have been dispensed 
with, than the glimpse-like visions and hopeful intimations of 




THE analogy presented near the close of the preceding chapter 
in an extract from Hugh Miller 1 between pre- Adamite for 
mations in the animal kingdom, rising successively above each 
other, and those subsequent arrangements in the religious sphere 
which were intended to herald and prepare for the personal 
appearance of the Lord Jesus Christ, is stated with becoming 
caution and reserve. It keeps strictly within the limits of reve 
lation, and assumes the existence of nothing in the work of 
creation itself, with respect to typical forms or otherwise, such 
as could, even to the most profound intelligences of the universe, 
have suggested the idea of a further and more complete mani 
festation of God in connection with humanity. The commence 
ment of the new school of prophecy, allying itself to type and 
symbol of another kind than had yet appeared, is dated from 
the era of Adam s fall, as that which at once furnished the 
occasion and opened the way for their employment ; while still, 
in the mind of Deity itself, or " in the eternal decrees," as it is 
expressed in the extract, it had been for ever determined that 
there should yet be a closer union between the Creator and 
creation than was accomplished in Adam. In other words, God 
had from eternity purposed the Incarnation ; though the events 
in providence which were to exhibit its need, and give rise to 
the prophetic announcements and foreshadowing symbols which 
should in due time point the eye of hope toward it came in 
subsequently to creation, and by reason of sin; so that the 
Incarnation was predestined, because the fall was foreseen. 

The same caution, however, has not been always observed 
not even in ancient, and still less in recent times. The spirit 

1 See p. 107. 


of Christian speculation, in proportion as the circumstances of 
particular times have called it into play, has striven to connect 
in some more distinct and formal manner God s work in creation 
with a higher destiny for man in the future ; but the modes of 
doing so have characteristically differed. Among the patristic 
writers the tendency of this speculation was to find in the ori 
ginal constitution of things pre- intimations or pledges of a 
higher and more ethereal condition to be reached by Adam and 
his posterity, as the reward of obedience to the will of God, and 
perseverance in holiness. The sense of various passages upon 
the subject gathered out of their writings has been thus ex 
pressed : " That Paradise was to Adam a type of heaven ; and 
that the never-ending life of happiness promised to our first 
parents, if they had continued obedient, and grown up to per 
fection under that economy wherein they were placed, should not 
have continued in the earthly paradise, but only have commenced 
there, and been perpetuated in a higher state." l It is impossible 
to say that such should not have been the case ; for what in the 
event supposed might have been the ultimate intentions of God 
respecting the destinies of mankind, since revelation is entirely 
silent upon the subject, can be matter only of uncertain conjec 
ture, or, at the very most, of probable inference. It is quite 
conceivable that some other region might have been prepared 
for their reception, where, free from any formal test of obedi 
ence, free even from the conditions of flesh and blood, and 
" made like unto the angels," they should have reaped the fruits 
of immortality. But it is equally conceivable, that this earth 
itself, which "the Lord hath given to the children of men," 
might have become every way suited to the occasion ; that as, 
on the hypothesis in question, it should have escaped the blight- 

1 This proposition, with the authorities that support it, may be found in 
the discourses of Bishop Bull, Works, Vol. II., p. 67. His proofs from the 
earlier Fathers Justin Martyr, Tatian, Irenseus are somewhat inadequate. 
The first explicit testimony is from Theophilus of Antioch, who speaks of 
Adam being " at length canonized or consecrated and ascending to heaven," 
if he had gone on to perfection. The testimony becomes more full, as the 
speculative tendency of the Greek philosophy gains strength in the Church. 
And Clement of Alexandria expressly says in his Liturgy, that "if Adam 
had kept the commandments, he would have received immortality as the 
reward of his obedience," meaning thereby, eternal life in a higher sphere. 


ing influence of sin, so other and happier changes might have 
passed over it, and the condition of its inhabitants, not only than 
they have actually undergone, but than any we can distinctly 
apprehend ; until by successive developments of latent energies, 
as well of a natural as of a moral kind, the highest attainable 
good for creation might have been reached. For anything 
we can tell, there may have been powers and susceptibilities 
inherent in the original constitution of things, which, under the 
benign and fostering care of its Creator, were capable of being 
conducted through such an indefinite course of progressive ele 
vation. But everything of this sort belongs to speculation, not 
to theology ; it lies outside the record which contains the reve 
lation of God s mind and will to man ; and to designate paradise 
simply, and in its relation to our first parents, a type of heaven, 
is even more than to speak without warrant of Scripture, it is 
to regard paradise and man s relation to it in another light than 
Scripture has actually presented them. For there the original 
frame and constitution of things appears as in due accordance 
with the Divine ideal, in itself good, therefore relatively per 
fect ; and not a hint is dropped, or, so far as we know, an indi 
cation of any kind given, that could beget in man s bosom the 
expectation or desire of another state of being and enjoyment 
than that which he actually possessed none, till the entrance 
of sin had created new wants in his condition, and opened a new 
channel for the display of God s perfections in regard to him. 
It was the influence of the ancient philosophy, which associated 
with matter in every form the elements of evil, or, at least, of 
imperfection, that so readily disposed the Fathers of the Chris 
tian Church to see in what was at first given to Adam only the 
image of some higher and better inheritance destined for him 
elsewhere. They did not consider what refinements matter 
itself might possibly undergo, in order to its adaptation to the 
most exalted state of being. But the same influence naturally 
kept them from connecting with this prospective elevation to 
a higher sphere the necessary or probable incarnation of the 
Word ; since rather by detaching the human more from the 
environments of matter, than by bringing the divine into closer 
contact with it, did the prospect of a higher and more perfect 
condition for man seem possible to their apprehensions. Hence, 


also, in what may be fitly called the great symbol of the early 
Church s faith respecting the incarnation the Nicene creed 
goes no farther than this, that " for us men, and for the sake 
of our salvation, the Word was made flesh." 1 

In recent times the speculative tendency, especially among 
the German divines, has shown a disposition to take the other 
direction namely, to make the incarnation of itself, and apart 
altogether from the fall of man, the necessary and, from the 
first, the contemplated medium of man s elevation to the final 
state of perfection and blessedness destined for him. Some of 
the scholastic theologians had already signalized themselves by 
the advocacy of this opinion in particular, Rupprecht of Deutz, 
Alexander of Hales, Aquinas, Duns Scotus ; but it was so 
strongly discountenanced by Calvin and the leading divines of 
the Reformation, who denounced the idea (propounded afresh by 
Osiander) of an incarnation without a fall as rash and ground 
less, 2 that it sunk into general oblivion, till the turn given to 
speculative thought by the revival of the pantheistic theology 
served, among other results, to bring it again into favour. This 
philosophy, while resisted by all believing theologians in its 
strivings to represent the created universe as but the self- 
evolution and the varied form of Deity, has still left its impress 
on the views of many of them as to the nature of the connection 
between Creator and creature as if an actual commingling 
between the two were, in a sense, mutually essential ; since a 
personal indwelling of Godhead in the form of humanity is con 
ceived necessary to complete the manifestation of Godhead begun 
in Adam, and only by such a personal indwelling could the work 
of creation attain its end, either in regard to the true ideal of 
humanity, on the one side, or to the revealed character of God 
and the religion identified with it, on the other. Adam, there- 

1 The divines of the Reformation very commonly concurred, to a certain 
extent, in the view of the Fathers, and hence the position is defended by 
Turretine, that Adam had the promise of being carried to heaven and 
enjoying eternal life there as the reward of his obedience (Loc. Oct., Qwest. 
VI.). But he admits that Scripture makes no distinct mention of this, and 
that it is only matter of inference. The grounds of inference are in this 
case, however, rather far to seek. 

a See, for example, Calvin s Inst. L. ii. 12, 5. Maastricht, Theol. Lib. v., 
c. 4, 17. 


fore, in his formation after the divine image, was the type of 
the God-man, or the God-man was the true archetype and only 
proper realization of the idea exhibited in Adam ; the fall, with 
its attendant consequences, only determined the mode of Christ s 
appearance among men, but by no means originated the necessity 
of his appearing. 

The representatives of this transcendental school of Typology, 
as it may not inaptly be called which undoubtedly includes 
some of the most learned theologians of the present day differ 
to some extent in their mode of setting forth and vindicating the 
view they hold in common, according to the particular aspect of 
it which more especially strikes them as important. To give 
only a few specimens Martensen presents the incarnation in 
its relation to the nature of God : the true idea of God is that 
of the absolute personality ; and as the union of Christ with God 
is a personal union, the individual with whom God historically 
entered into an absolute union, must be free from everything 
individually subjective he must reveal nothing save the absolute 
personality. Christ is not to be subsumed under the idea of 
humanity, but, inversely, humanity must be subsumed under 
Him, since it was He in whom and for whom all things were 
created (Col. i. 15). He is at once the centre of humanity and 
the revealed centre of Deity the point at which God and God s 
kingdom are personally united, and who reveals in fulness what 
the kingdom of God reveals in distinct and manifold forms. 
The second Adam is both the redeeming and the world-com 
pleting principle ; the incarnate Logos, and as such the head 
not merely of the human race, but of all creation, which was 
made by Him and for Him, and is again to be recapitulated in 
Him. 1 Lange makes his starting-point the final issues of the 
incarnation, and from these argues its primary and essential 
place in the scheme of the Divine manifestations. The post- 
temporal, eternal glory of the humanity of Christ points back to 
its eternal, ideal existence in God. The eternal Son of God 
cannot, in the course of His temporal existence, have saddled 
Himself (behaftet sich) for ever with something accidental ; or 
have assumed a form which, as purely historical, does not cor 
respond to His eternal essence. We must therefore distinguish 
1 Dogmatik, 130, 131. 


between incarnation and assumption of the form of a servant (so 
as, he means, to place the latter alone in a relation of dependence 
to the fall of man) ; must also learn to understand the eternal 
beginnings of Christ s humanity, in order to perceive how inti 
mate a connection it has with the past with the work of crea 
tion, with primeval times, and the history of the Old Testament. 
The whole that appeared in these of good is to be regarded as 
so many vital evolutions of the Divine life that is in Christ ; but 
in Him alone is the idea of it fully realized. 1 Both of the writers 
just referred to, also Liebner, Kothe, and, greater than them 
all, Dorner, lay special stress on the argument derived from the 
headship of humanity indissolubly linked to Christ. Humanity, 
according to Dorner, as it appears before God redeemed 
humanity is not merely a mass or heap of unconnected indivi 
duals, but an organism, forming, with the world of higher spirits 
and nature, which is to be glorified for and through it, a com 
plete and perfect organic unity. Even the natural world is an 
unity, solely because there is indissolubly united with it a prin 
ciple which stands above it and comprises it within itself namely, 
the Divine Logos, by whom the world was formed and is sus 
tained, who is the vehicle and the representative of its eternal 
idea. But in a higher sense the world of humanity and spirits 
is an unity, because through the God-man who stands over it, 
and by His personal self-communication of Godhead-fulness per 
vades it, its creaturely susceptibility to God is filled; it now 
enters into the circle of the Divine life, and stands in living 
harmony with the centre of all good. But a matter so essential 
to the proper idea of humanity cannot belong to the sphere of 
contingency ; it must be viewed as inseparably connected with 
the purpose of God in creation. And there is another thought, 
w r hich Dorner conceives establishes beyond doubt the belief, 
that the incarnation had not its sole ground in sin, but had a 
deeper, an eternal, and abiding necessity in the wise and free 
love of God, namely, that Christianity is the perfect religion, 
the religion absolutely, the eternal Gospel ; and that for this 
religion Christ is the centre, without which it cannot be so much 
as conceived. Whoso, says he, maintains that Adam might have 

1 See the outline of his views in Dorner on the Person of Christ, note 
23, Vol. II., P. II. of the original, note 34 of the Eng. Trans. 


become perfect even without Christ, inasmuch as no one can 
deem it possible to conceive of perfection without the perfect 
religion, maintains, either consciously or unconsciously, two 
absolute religions, one without, and one with Christ which is a 
bare contradiction. No Christian, he thinks, will deny that it 
makes an essential difference, whether Christ, or only God in 
general, is the central point of a religion. At the same time, 
with Christian candour he admits, that the necessity of the truth 
he advocates will not so readily commend itself to theologians, 
who are wont to proceed in an experimental and anthropological 
manner (that is, who look at the matter as it has been evolved 
in the history and experience of mankind), as it must, and 
actually does, to those who recognise both the possibility and the 
necessity of a Christian speculation, that takes the conception of 
God for its starting-point. 1 

While this mode of contemplating the incarnation of Christ, 
and of connecting it with the idea of creation, has in its recent 
development had its origin in the philosophy, and its formal 
exhibition in the theology, of Germany, it is no longer confined 
to that country ; and both the view itself, and its application to 
the Typology of Scripture, have already found a place in our 
own. theological literature. Dean Trench, in his Sermons 
preached before the University of Cambridge, although he ad 
vances nothing strictly new upon the subject, yet he speaks not 
less decidedly respecting the necessity of the incarnation, apart 
altogether from the fall, to enable the race of Adam " to attain 
the end of its creation, the place among the families of God, 
for which from the first it was designed." Special stress is laid 
by him, as by Lange, on the issues of the incarnation, as reflect 
ing light on its original intention : " The taking on Himself of 
our flesh by the Eternal Word was no makeshift to meet a 
mighty, yet still a particular, emergent need; a need which, 
conceding the liberty of man s will, and that it was possible for 
him to have continued in his first state of obedience, might 
never have occurred. It was not a mere result and reparation 
of the fall, such an act as, except for that, would never have 
been ; but lay bedded at a far deeper depth in the counsels of 

1 Person of Christ, Vol. II., Pt. II., p. 1241. Eng. Trans., Div. II., 
Vol. III., p. 232, sq. 


God for the glory of His Son, and the exaltation of that race 
formed in His image and His likeness. For, against those who 
regard the incarnation as an arbitrary, or as merely an historic 
event, and not an ideal one as well, we may well urge this 
weighty consideration, that the Son of God did not, in and 
after His ascension, strip off this human nature again ; He did 
not regard His humanity as a robe, to be worn for a while and 
then laid aside ; the convenient form of His manifestation, so 
long; as He was conversing with men on earth, but the fitness 

O O 

of which had with that manifestation passed away. So far 
from this, we know, on the contrary, that He assumed our 
nature for ever, married it to Himself, glorified it with His own 
glory, carried it as the form of His eternal subsistence into the 
world of angels, before the presence of His Father. Had there 
been anything accidental here, had the assumption of our nature 
been an afterthought (I speak as a man), this marriage of the 
Son of God with that nature could scarcely be conceived. He 
could hardly have so taken it, unless it had possessed an ideal 
as well as an historic fitness ; unless pre-established harmonies 
had existed, such harmonies as only a divine intention could 
have brought about between the one and the other." 

The application of the view to Typology is apparent from 
the very statement of it ; but it has also been formally made, 
and so as to combine the results obtained from the geological 
territory, with those of a more strictly theological nature. Thus, 
the late Mr Macdonald 1 speaks of "the scheme of nature, read 
from the memorials of creation inscribed on the earth s crust, 
or recorded in the opening pages of Genesis, as progressive, and 
from its very outset prophetic ;" and a little farther on he says, 
" There is no reason whatever for confining the typical to the 
events and institutions subsequent to the fall. The cause of 
this arbitrary limitation lies in regarding as typical only what 
strictly prefigured redemption, instead of connecting it with 
God s manifestation of Himself and His purposes in all His acts 
and administrations, which, however varied, had from the very 
first one specific and expressed object in view His own glory 
through man, at first created in the Divine image, and since the 
fall to be transformed into it ; inasmuch as that moral disorder 
1 Introd. to the Pent., Vol. II., p. 451. 


rendered such a change necessary. The whole of the Divine 
acts and arrangements from the beginning formed parts of one 
system ; for, as antecedent creations reached their end in man, 
so man himself in his original constitution prefigured a new and 
higher relation of the race than the incipient place reached in 
creation " (p. 457). The fall is consequently to be understood, 
and is expressly represented, merely as a kind of interruption 
or break in the march of providence toward its aim, in nature 
akin to such events as the death of Abel and the flood in after 
times; while the Divine plan not the less proceeded on its course, 
only with special adaptations to the altered state of things. 

I. It is this more special bearing of the subject, its relation 
to a well-grounded and properly adjusted Scriptural Typology, 
with which we have here chiefly to do ; and to this, accordingly, 
we shall primarily address ourselves. In doing so, we neither 
directly question nor defend the truth of the view under con 
sideration ; we leave its title to a place in the deductions of a 
scientific theology for the present in abeyance; and merely 
regard it in the light in which it is put by its most learned 
and thoughtful advocates, as a matter of inference from some 
of the later testimonies of Scripture concerning the purposes of 
God ; and this, too, only as informed and guided by a spirit of 
Christian speculation, having for its starting-point the concep 
tion of God. 

Now the matter standing thus, it would, as appears to us, 
be extremely unwise to lay such a view at the foundation of 
a typological system, or even to give it in such a system a 
distinctly recognised place. For this were plainly to bring a 
certain measure of uncertainty into the very structure of the 
system founding upon a few incidental hints and speculative 
considerations concerning the final purposes of God, in which 
it were vain to expect a general concurrence among theolo 
gians, rather than upon the broad stream and current of His 
revelations. It were also, as previously noticed (p. 58), to 
make our Typology, in a very important respect, return to the 
fundamental error of the Cocceian school ; that is, would in 
evitably lead to the too predominant contemplation of every 
thing in the earlier dispensations of God as from the Divine 


point of view, and with respect to the great archetypal idea in 
Christ, as from the beginning foreseen and set up in prospect. 
This tendency, indeed, lias already in a remarkable manner 
discovered itself among the divines who bring into the fore 
ground of God s manifestations of Himself the idea of the God- 
man. Lange, for instance, has given representations of the 
" Divine-human life " in the patriarchs and worthies of ancient 
times, which seem to leave no very distinctive difference be 
tween the action of divinity in them and in the person of J esus. 
Niigelsbach (in his work Der Gottmensch) even represents our 
first parent as Elohim-Adam (God-man), on the ground of his 
spiritual essence being of a divine nature ; and both in Adam 
after the fall, and the better class who succeeded, there was 
what he calls an artificial realization of the idea of the God- 
manhood attempted, and in part accomplished. Hence, not 
without reason has Dorner delivered a caution to those who 
coincide with him in his view respecting the incarnation, to 
beware of darkening the preparation for Christ by throwing 
into their delineation of early times too much of Christ Him 
self, or of becoming so absorbed in the typical as to overlook 
the historical life and struggles of the people of the Old Cove 
nant. 1 The caution, we are persuaded, will be of little avail, 
so long as the idea of the incarnation is placed in immediate 
relationship with God s work in creation ; for in that case it 
must ever seem natural to make that idea shine forth in all the 
more peculiar instruments and operations of God, and generally 
to assimilate humanity in its better phases too closely to the 
altogether singular and mysterious person of Immanuel to find 
in it, in short, a kind of God-manhood, whereby the God-man 
hood itself would inevitably come to be in danger of gliding 
into the shadowy form of a Sabellian manifestation. 

Even if this serious error could be avoided, another and 
slighter form of the same erroneous tendency would be sure to 
prevail, if the incarnation, as the archetypal idea of creation, 
were formally introduced, and made the guiding-star of our 
Typology. It would inevitably lead us, in our endeavours to 
read out the meaning of God s working in creation and provi 
dence, to put a certain strain upon the things which appear, in 
1 Vol. II., Ft. II., No. 23, or Eng. Trans., No. 34. 


order to bring out what is conceived to have been the ultimate 
design in them ; we should be inclined to view them rather as 
an artificial representation of what God predestined and foresaw, 
than a natural and needed exhibition of things to be believed or 
hoped for by partially enlightened but God-fearing men. The 
Divine here must not be viewed as moving in a kind of lofty 
isolation of its own ; it should rather be contemplated as letting 
itself down into the human. We should feel that we have to 
do, not simply with Heaven s plan as it exists in the mind and is 
grasped by the all-comprehending eye of God, but with this plan 
as gradually evolving itself in the sphere of human responsibility, 
and developed step by step, in the manner most fitly adapted to 
carry forward the corporate growth of the Church toward its 
destined completeness, yet so as, at the same time, to mould the 
character and direct the hopes of .successive generations in con 
formity with existing relations and duties. It is the proper aim 
and business of Typology to trace the progress of this develop 
ment, and to show how, amid many outward diversities of form 
and ever-varying measures of light, there were great principles 
steadily at work, and in their operations forecasting, with growing 
clearness and certainty, the appearance and kingdom of the Lord 
Jesus Christ. To such a method also, Typology must owe much 
of the interest with which it may be able to invest its proper line 
of inquiry, and its success in throwing light on the history and 
mutual interconnection of the Divine dispensations. But it were 
to depart from this safe and profitable course, if we should 
attempt to bring all that, by dint of inference and speculation, 
expatiating in the strictly Divine sphere of things, we might find 
it possible to connect with the earlier acts and operations of God. 
These should rather be brought out in the aspect and relation 
they bore to those whom they immediately respected ; in order 
that, from the effect they were designed and fitted to produce in 
the spiritual instruction and training of men who had in their 
respective generations to maintain the cause and manifest the 
life of God, the place and purpose may be learned that pro 
perly belonged to them in the general scheme of a progressive 

The statement of Mr Macdonald may be referred to in proof 
of what is likely to happen from the neglect of such considera- 


tions, and from attempting to carry the matter higher. The 
scheme of God, he says, as well that which commenced with 
Adam as the preceding one which culminated in him, was 
" from the outset prophetic ;" and again : " The whole of the 
Divine acts and arrangements from the beginning formed parts 
of one system ; for, as antecedent creations reached their end in 
man, so man himself, in his original constitution, prefigured a 
new and higher relation of the race to the Creator, than the 
incipient place reached in creation." Now, taking the terms 
here used in their ordinary sense, we must understand by this 
statement that the work of creation in Adam carried in its very 
constitution the signs and indications of better things to come 
for man ; for, to speak of it as being prophetic, or having a pre- 
figuration of a higher relation to the Creator than then actually 

O O J 

existed, imports more than that such a destiny was in the purpose 
and decrees of the Almighty (which no one will dispute) : it 
denotes, that the creation itself was of such a kind as to proclaim 
its own relative imperfection, and at the same time, by means 
of certain higher elements interwoven with it, to give promise of 
a state in which such imperfection should be done away. The 
question, then, is, How did it do so, or for whom ? The Lord 
Himself, at the close of creation, pronounced it all very good ; 
and the charge given to Adam and his partner spake only of a 
continuance of that good as the end they were to aim at, and 
of the loss of it as the evil they were to shun. What ground 
is there for supposing that more was either meant on God s part, 
or perceived on man s, than what thus appears on the broad 
and simple testimony of the divine record ? Adam, indeed, 
was made, and doubtless knew that he was made, in the image 
of God ; as such he was set over God s works, and appointed in 
God s name, to exercise the rights of a terrestrial lordship ; but 
how should he have imagined from this, that it was in the 
purposes of Heaven to enter into some closer relationship with 
humanity, and that he, as the image of God, was but the figure 
of one who should be actually God and man united? Yet, suppos 
ing he could not. might he not have been so in fact without him- 

O / O 

self knowing it, as in subsequent times we find prefigurations of 
Gospel realities, which were but imperfectly, sometimes perhaps 
not at all, understood in that character by those who had directly 


to do with them 1 But the cases are by no means parallel. For, 
in regard to those later prefigurations, the promise had already 
entered of a restored and perfected condition ; and believing 
men were not only warranted, but in a sense bound, to search 
into them for signs and indications of the better future. If they 
failed to perceive them, it was because of their feebleness of faith 
and defect of spiritual discernment. In the primeval constitution 
of things it was quite otherwise : man was altogether upright, 
and creation apparently in all respects as it should be; the 
Creator Himself rested with satisfaction in the works of His 
hand, and by the special consecration of the seventh day invited 
His earthly representative to do the same. How, in such a case, 
should the thought of imperfection and deficiency have entered, 
or any prospect for the future seemed natural, save such as might 
associate itself with the progressive development and expansion 
of that which already existed? Beyond this, whatever there 
might be in the purpose and decrees of God, it is hard to 
conceive how room could yet have been found for any expres 
sion being given by Him, or hope cherished on the part of man. 
Unquestionably there was much beyond in the Divine mind 
and purpose. " Known unto God are all His works from the 
beginning of the world." With infallible certainty He foresaw 
ere time began the issues of that constitution of things which 
was to be set up in Adam ; foresaw also, and predetermined, the 
introduction of that covenant of grace by which other and hap 
pier issues for humanity were to be secured. On this account 
it is said of Christ, as the destined Mediator of that covenant, 
that He was " fore-ordained before the foundation of the world ;" 
and of those who were ultimately to share in the fruits of His 
mediation, that they also were chosen in Him before the world 
was made (1 Pet. i. 20 ; Eph. i. 4). But it is one thing to assign 
a place to such ulterior thoughts and purposes in the eternal 
counsels of the Godhead, and another thing to regard them as 
entering into the objective revelation He gave of His mind and 
will at the creation of the world, so as to bring them within the 
ken of His intelligent creatures. In doing the one, we have both 
the warrant of Scripture and the reason of things to guide us ; 
while the other would involve the introduction, out of due time, 
of those secret things which as yet belonged only to the Lord. 


According to what may be called the palpable and prevail 
ing testimony of Scripture on the subject, the work of God in 
creation is to be regarded as the adequate reflection of His own 
infinite wisdom and goodness, adapted in all respects to the 
special purposes for which it was designed ; but the sin of man 
through the cunning of the tempter presently broke in to mar the 
good ; and following thereupon the predestined plan of grace be 
gan to give intimation of its purpose, and to open for itself a path 
whereby the lost good should be won back, and the destroyer be 
himself destroyed. This plan starts on its course with the 
avowed aim of rectifying the evil which originated in man s 
defection ; and it not less avowedly reaches its end when the 
restitution, or bringing back again, of all things is accomplished 
(Acts iii. 21). It carries throughout the aspect of a remedial 
scheme, or restoration of that which had come forth in the fresh 
ness and beauty of life from the hand of God. A rise, no doubt, 
accompanies the process ; and the work of God at its consum 
mation shall assuredly be found on a much higher level than at 
the beginning, as it shall also present a much fuller and grander 
exhibition of the Divine character and perfections. But still, in 
the Scriptural form of representation, the original work continues 
to occupy the position of the proper ideal : all things return, in 
a manner, whence they came ; and a new heavens and a new 
earth, with paradise restored and perennial springs of life and 
blessing, appear in prospect as the glorious completion to which 
the whole scheme is gradually tending. Since thus the things 
of creation are exhibited in a relation so markedly different to 
those of redemption, from that possessed by the preliminary, to 
the final processes of redemption itself, it were surely to intro 
duce an unjustifiable departure from the method of Scripture, 
and also to confound things that materially differ, were we, in a 
typological respect, to throw all into one and the same category. 
Creation cannot possibly be the norm or pattern of redemption, 
after the same manner that an imperfect or provisional execution 
of God s work in grace is to that work in its full development 
and ripened form. Yet, for the very reason that redemption 
assumes the aspect of a restoration, not the introduction of some 
thing absolutely new, creation assuredly is a norm or pattern, to 
which the Divine agency in redemption assimilates its operations 


and results : the one bases itself upon the other, and does not 
aim at supplanting, but only at rectifying, reconstructing, and 
perfecting it. Twin-ideals they may be called, and as such they 
cannot but present many points of agreement, bespeaking the 
unity of one contriving and all-directing mind, which it may 
well become us on proper occasions to mark. But the distinct 
ground this relationship occupies in Scripture should also find its 
correspondence in our mode of treating the things that belong 
to it ; and for the province of Typology proper, we cannot but 
deem it on every account wise, expedient, and fitting that it 
should confine itself to what pertains to God s work in grace, 
and should move simply in the sphere of " the regeneration." 

II. Passing now to the more general aspect of the view in 
question respecting the incarnation and kingdom of Christ, or 
its title to rank among the deductions of theological inquiry, it 
would be out of place here to go into a lengthened examination 
of it ; and the indication of a few leading points is all that we 
shall actually attempt. The direction already taken on the 
typological bearing of the subject, is that also which I feel con 
strained to take regarding its general aspect. For, though it 
scarcely professes to be more than a speculation, and one pur 
posely intended to exalt the doctrine of the incarnation, yet the 
tendency of it, I am persuaded, cannot be unattended with 
danger, as it seems in various respects opposed to the form of 
sound doctrine delivered to us in Scripture. 

1. First of all, it implies, as already stated, a view of creation 
not only discountenanced by the general current of Scriptural 
representation, but not easily reconcileable with the perfect wis 
dom and goodness of the Creator. As a matter of fact, creation 
in Adam certainly fell short of its design ; or, to express it other 
wise, humanity, as constituted in our first parent, failed to realize 
its -idea. But as so constituted, was it not endowed with all 
competent powers and resources for attaining the end in view ? 
Was it absolutely and inherently incapable of doing so apart from 
the incarnation ? In that case, one does not see how either the 
work of God could possess that character of relative perfection 
constantly ascribed to it in Scripture, or the defection of man 
should have drawn after it such fearful penalties. Both God s 


work and man s, on the hypothesis in question, seem to take a 
position different from what properly belongs to them ; and the 
manifestation of God s moral character in this world enters 
on its course amid difficulties of a very peculiar and embar 
rassing kind. The perplexity thus arising is not relieved by the 
supposition, that mankind will be raised to a higher state of 
perfection and blessedness through the medium of the incarna 
tion than had otherwise been possible, and that this was hence 
implied in creation as the means necessary to creation s end ; 
for we have here to do with the character of God s work con 
sidered by itself, and what immediately sprang from it. Nor 
is it by any means certain, or we may even say probable, 
that if humanity had stood faithful to its engagements, the 
idtimate destiny of its members would have been in any 
respect lower than that which they may attain through sin 
and redemption. But on such a theme we have no sure light 
to guide us. 

2. The view presented by this theory of the mission of 
Christ, however, is a still more objectionable feature in it ; for, 
exalting the incarnation as of itself necessary to the higher ends 
of creation, apart from the concerns of sin and redemption, it 
inevitably tends to depress the importance of these, and gives to 
something else, which was no way essentially connected with 
them, the place of greatest moment for the interests of humanity. 
The earlier Socinians, it is well known, on this very ground 
favoured the scholastic speculations on the subject; they 
espoused the view, not, indeed, of an incarnation without a fall 
(for in no proper sense did they hold what these terms import), 
but of the necessity of the mission of Christ, independently of 
the sin of Adam and the consequences thence arising ; in this 
they appeared to find some countenance for the comparatively 
small account they made alike of the evil of sin, and of the 
wondrous grace and glory of redemption. And to a simple, 
unbiassed mind it must be all but incredible, that if the incar 
nation of our Lord were traceable to some higher and more 
fundamental reason than that occasioned by the fall, no explicit 
mention should have been made of it, even in a single passage 
of Scripture. All the more direct statements presented there 
respecting the design and purpose of our Lord s appearance 

VOL. I. I 


among men stand inseparably connected with their deliverance 
from the ruin of sin, and restoration to peace and blessing. The 
distinctive name He bore (Jesus) proclaimed SALVATION to be 
the grand burden of His undertaking ; or, as He Himself puts 
it, " He came to save the lost," " to give His life a ransom for 
many (Matt, xviii. 11, xx. 28) ; or still again, "that men might 
have life, and might have it more abundantly" (John x. 10). 
He was made of a woman, made under the law, in order that He 
might redeem them who were held under the condemnation of 
law (Gal. iv. 4). He took part of flesh and blood, in order that 
by His death He might destroy him that had the power of death 
was made like in all things to His brethren, as it behoved Him 
to be, that He might be for them a faithful high priest and make 
reconciliation for their sins (Heb. ii. 14-17). It is but another 
form of the same mode of representation, when St John says 
of Christ, that He was manifested to destroy the works of the 
devil (1 John iii. 8) ; and that as the gift of God s love to the 
world, it was to the end that men might not perish, but have 
everlasting life (John iii. 16). In the Supper also, the most 
distinctive ordinance of the Gospel, not the incarnation, but 
redemption is presented as the central fact of Christianity. 
Such is the common testimony of Scripture : redemption in 
some one or other of its aspects is perpetually associated with the 
purpose which Christ assumed our nature to accomplish ; and 
the greatness of the remedy is made to throw light upon the 
greatness of the evil which required its intervention. But 
according to the view we now oppose, "both the consequences 
of sin and the value of redemption are lowered, since not the 
incarnation, but only its special form, is traceable to sin. 
That God became man is in itself the greatest humiliation; 
and yet this adorable mystery of divine love is not to stand 
in any [necessary] connection with sin ! Only the compara 
tively smaller fact, that that man in whom God would at any 
rate have become incarnate had undergone sufferings and death, 
is due to sin ! And what is even more dangerous, redemption 
ceases to be a free act of Divine pity, and is represented as a 
necessity implied in creation, which would have taken place 
whether man had remained obedient or not. Thus /sin is not 
the sole cause of man s present state ; and however the incar- 


nation might remain an adorable mystery of love, redemption 
could no longer do so, since it had been involved in the de 
cree of the incarnation, and could not be regarded as proceed 
ing solely from divine mercy and compassion toward fallen 

man." 1 

There are passages of Scripture sometimes appealed to on 
the other side, but they have 110 real bearing on the point which 
they are adduced to establish. One of these is Eph. i. 10, in 
which the purpose of God is represented as having this for its 
object, that "in the dispensation of the fulness of times He might 
gather in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven 
and which are on earth." The passage simply indicates, among 
the final issues of Christ s work, the recapitulating or summing 
up (avcucefyakaiaxTao-Oai) of all things in Him, heavenly as well 
as earthly ; but it is the historical Christ that is spoken of the 
Christ in whom (as is stated immediately before) believers have 
redemption through His blood, and are predestinated to life 
eternal ; and there is not a hint conveyed of the purpose or pre 
destination of God, except in connection with the salvation of 
fallen man, and the work of reconciliation necessary to secure 
it. What might have been the Divine purpose apart from this, 
we may indeed conjecture, but it must be without any warrant 
whatever from the passage before us ; and, as Calvin has justly 
said, not without the audacity of seeking to go beyond the im 
mutable ordination of God, and attempting to know more of 
Christ than was predestinated concerning Him even in the Divine 
decree (Inst., B. ii., c. 12, 5). The somewhat corresponding 
but more comprehensive passage in Col. i. 15-17, has been also 
referred to in this connection, but with no better result. For 
though expressions are there applied to Christ, which, if isolated 
from the context, might with some plausibility be explained to 
countenance the idea of an incarnation irrespective of a fall, 
yet when taken in their proper connection they contain nothing 
to justify such an application. The starting-point here also is 
redemption (ver. 14, "in w r hom we have redemption through 
His blood, the forgiveness of sins ") ; and the statements in what 
immediately follows (vers. 15-17), have evidently for their main 
object the setting forth of the divine greatness of Him by whom 
1 Kurtz, Bible and Astronomy, Chap. II., 12. Trans. 


it is effected as the One by whom and for whom all things were 
created Himself, consequently, prior to them all, and infinitely 
exalted above them. But this plainly refers to Christ as the 
Logos, or Word, through whom as such the agency is carried on, 
and the works are performed, by which the Godhead is revealed 
and brought out to the view of finite intelligence. In that 
respect He is " the image of the invisible God" (ver. 15) ; be 
cause in Him exists with perfect fulness, and from Him goes 
forth into actual embodiment, that which forms a just represen 
tation of the mind and character of the Eternal. On the same 
account also, and with reference simply to His creative agency, 
He is "the first-born of every creature;" being the causal be 
ginning, whence the whole sprang into existence, and the natural 
head, under whom all its orders of being must ever stand ranged 
before God. His divine Sonship is consequently the living 
root, in which the filial relationship of men and angels had its 
immediate ground ; and His image of Godhead that w^hich re 
flected itself in their original righteousness and purity. Hence, 
as all things came from Him at first in the character of the 
revealing Word, so they shall be again recapitulated in Him as 
the Word made flesh though in degrees of affinity to Him, 
and with diverse results corresponding to the relations they re 
spectively occupied to His redemptive agency. Hence, also, the 
Divine image, which by Him as the Creator was imparted to 
Adam, is again restored upon all who become related to Him as 
the Redeemer : they are renewed after the image of Him that 
created them (Col. iii. 10, Eph. iv. 24) ; implying that His 
work in redemption, as to its practical effect on the soul, is a 
substantial reproduction of that which proceeded from Him at 

We have looked at the only passages worth naming which 
have been pressed in support of the theory under consideration ; 
and can see nothing in them, when fairly interpreted, that seems 
at variance with the general tenor of the testimony of Scrip 
ture on the subject. But this so distinctly and -constantly 
associates the incarnation of Christ with the scheme of redemp 
tion, that to treat it otherwise must be held to be essentially 

3. The matter is virtually disposed of, in a theological point 


of view, when we have brought to bear upon it with apparent 
collusiveness the testimony of Scripture ; nor is there anything 
in the collateral arguments employed by the advocates of the 
theory, as indicated in the outline formerly given of their views, 
which ought to shake our confidence in the result. That, for 
example, derived from the wonderful relationship, the personal 
and everlasting union, into which humanity has been brought 
with Godhead, as if the purpose concerning it should be turned 
into a kind of after-thought, and it should sink, in a manner 
derogatory to its high and unspeakably important nature, into 
something arbitrary and contingent, if placed in connection 
merely with the fall : Such an argument derives all its plausi 
bility from the limitations and defects inseparable from a human 
mode of contemplation. To the eye of Him who sees the end 
from the beginning, whose purpose, embracing the whole com 
pass of the providential plan, was formed before even the begin 
ning was effected, there could be nothing really contingent or 
uncertain in any part of the process. Nor, on the other hand, 
was the creation of man necessary (in the absolute sense of the 
term), any more than the fall of man : it depended on the 
movements of a will sovereignly free ; and, hypothetically, must 
be placed among the things which, prior to their existence, might 
or might not, to human view, have taken place. Besides, since 
anyhow the mode of the incarnation was determined by the cir 
cumstances of the fall, and the mode, as well as the thing itself, 
decreed from the very first, how can we with propriety dis 
tinguish between the two ? The one, as well as the other, has 
a most intimate connection with the perfections of Deity ; and, 
for anything we know, the reality in any other form might not 
have approved itself to the infinitely wise and absolutely perfect 
mind of God. Otherwise than it is, we can have no right to 
say it would have been at all. 

The argument founded on the supposed necessity of the 
incarnation to the proper unity of the human race, is entitled 
to no greater weight than the one just noticed. It assumes a 
necessity which has not and cannot be proved to have existed. 
Situated as the human family now is, it may no doubt be fitly 
designated, with Dorner, " a mere mass," an aggregate of indi 
viduals, without any pervading principle to constitute them into 


an organism. But this is itself one of the results of the fall ; 
and no one is entitled to argue from what actually is, to what 
would have been, if the race had stood in its normal condition. 
In the transmission of Adam s guilt to his posterity, with its 
fearful heritage of suffering, corruption, and death, we have 
continually before us the remains of a living organism, the 
reverse side, as it were, of the original likeness of humanity. 
Why might there not have been, had its divinely constituted 
head proved stedf ast to his engagements, the transmission through 
that head of a yet more powerful as well as happy influence to 
all the members of the family? We have no reason to affirm 
such a thing to have been impossible, especially as the human 
head was but the representative and medium of communication 
appointed by and for Him who was the causal or creative head 
of the family. Dorner himself admits, that even the natural 
world is an unity, because in the Divine Logos, as the world- 
former and preserver, who in Himself bears and represents its 
eternal idea, it has a principle which is above it, yet pervades it, 
and comprises it within itself. 1 If so much can be said even 
now, how much more might it have been said of the world viewed 
as it came from the hand of its Maker, with no moral barrier 
to intercept the flow of life and blessing from its Divine foun- 
tainhead, and paralyze the constitution of nature in its more 
vital functions ! In that case the unity in diversity, which is 
now the organic principle of the Christian Church, might, and 
doubtless would, have been that also of the Adamic family : 
only, in the one case, having its recognised seat and effective 
power in Christ as the incarnate Redeemer; in the other, in 
Him as the eternal and creative Word. Indeed, from the 
general relation of the two economies to each other, we are 
warranted in assuming, that as, in regard to individuals, Christ, 
the Redeemer, restores the Divine image, which, as to all 
essential properties, was originally given by Christ, the Word, 
so in regard to the race (considered as the subject of blessing), 
He restores in the one capacity what, as to germ and principle, 
He had implanted in the other. There are, of course, grada 
tions and differences, but with these also fundamental agreements. 
As to the argument that Christianity is the absolute religion, 
1 Vol. TL, Pt. II., p. 1242 ; Eng. Trans., Div. II., Vol. III., p. 235. 


and that without an incarnation there could be no Christianity in 
the proper sense, little more need be said, than that it starts a 
problem which, in our present imperfect condition, we want the 
materials for solving, if, indeed, we shall ever possess them. 
To speak of the absolute in connection with what, from its very 
nature, and with a view to its distinctive aims, must be inter 
woven with much that pertains to the individual and the relative, 
is to employ terms to which we find it impossible to attach a very 
definite meaning. But if a religion is entitled to be called 
absolute, it surely ought to be because it is alike adapted to all, 
who through it are to contemplate and adore God the whole 
universe of intelligent and moral creatures. How this, how 
ever, could have been found in a revelation which had the in 
carnation for its central fact, found precisely on this account, 
and no otherwise, is hard to be understood, since, to say 
nothing of the incarnation as now indissolubly linked to the facts 
of redemption, even an incarnation dissociated from everything 
relating to a fall, must still be viewed as presenting aspects, and 
bearing a relation, to the human family, which it could not have 
done to angelic natures. But, apart from this apparent incon 
gruity, if there be such a thing possible as a religion that can 
justly be entitled to the name of absolute, we know as yet too 
little of the created universe, and the relations in which other 
portions of its inhabitants stand to the Creator, to pronounce 
with confidence on the conditions which would be required to 
meet in it. We stand awed, too, by the solemn utterance, " No 
man knoweth the Father but the Son, and he to whomsoever 
the Son may reveal Him ;" and assured that the Son has 
nowhere revealed what, according to the mind of the Father, 
would be needed to constitute for all times and regions the 
absolute religion, we feel that on such a theme silence is our 
true wisdom. 



A TYPE, as already explained and understood, necessarily pos 
sesses something of a prophetical character, and differs in form 
rather than in nature from what is usually designated prophecy. 
The one images or prefigures, while the other foretells, coming 
realities. In the one case representative acts or symbols, in the 
other verbal delineations, serve the purpose of indicating before 
hand what God was designed to accomplish for His people in 
the approaching future. The difference is not such as to affect 
the essential nature of the two subjects, as alike connecting 
together the Old and the New in God s dispensations. In 
distinctness and precision, however, simple prophecy has greatly 
the advantage over informations conveyed by type. For pro 
phecy, however it may differ in its general characteristics from 
history, as it naturally possesses something of the directness, so 
it may also descend to something of the definiteness, of historical 
description. But types having a significance or moral import of 
their own, apart from anything prospective, must, in their pro 
phetical aspect, be somewhat less transparent, and possess more 
of a complicated character. Still the relation between type and 
antitype, when pursued through all its ramifications, may pro 
duce as deep a conviction of design and pre-ordained connec 
tion, as can be derived from simple prophecy and its fulfilment, 
though, from the nature of things, the evidence in the latter 
case must always be more obvious and palpable than in the 

But the possession of the same common character is not the 
only link of connection between type and prophecy. Not only 
do they agree in having both a prospective reference to the 
future, but they are often also combined into one prospective 
exhibition of the future. Prophecy, though it sometimes is of 


a quite simple and direct nature, is not always, nor even com 
monly, of this description; it can scarcely ever be said to delineate 
the future with the precision and exactness that history employs 
in recording the past. In many portions of it there is a certain 
degree of complexity, if not dubiety, and that mainly arising 
from the circumstances and transactions of the past being in 
some way interwoven with its anticipations of things to come. 
Here, however, we approach the confines of a controversy on 
which some of the greatest minds have expended their talents 
and learning, and with such doubtful success on either side, that 
the question is still perpetually brought up anew for discussion, 
whether there is or is not a double sense in prophecy *? That 
some portion of debateable ground will always remain connected 
with the subject, appears to us more than probable. But, at the 
same time, we are fully persuaded that the portion admits of 
being greatly narrowed in extent, and even reduced to such 
small dimensions as not materially to affect the settlement of 
the main question, if only the typical element in prophecy is 
allowed its due place and weight. This we shall endeavour, 
first of all, to exhibit in the several aspects in which it actually 
presents itself ; and shall then subjoin a few remarks on the 
views of those who espouse either side of the question, as it is 
usually stated. 

From the general resemblance between type and prophecy, 
we are prepared to expect that they may sometimes run into 
each other; and especially, that the typical in action may in 
various ways form the groundwork and the materials by means 
of which the prophetic in word gave forth its intimations of the 
coming future. And this, it is quite conceivable, may have 
been done under any of the following modifications. 1. A 
typical action might, in some portion of the prophetic word, be 
historically mentioned ; and hence the mention being that of a 
prophetical circumstance or event, would come to possess a pro 
phetical character. 2. Or something typical in the past or the 
present might be represented in a distinct prophetical announce 
ment, as going to appear again in the future ; thus combining 
together the typical in act and the prophetical in word. 3. Or 
the typical, not expressly and formally, but in its essential rela 
tions and principles, might be embodied in an accompanying 


prediction, which foretold things corresponding in nature, but 
far higher and greater in importance. 4. Or, finally, the typical 
might itself be still future, and in a prophetic word might be 
partly described, partly pre-supposed, as a vantage-ground for 
the delineation of other things still more distant, to which, w r hen 
it occurred, it was to stand in the relation of type to antitype. 
We could manifestly have no difficulty in conceiving such com 
binations of type with prophecy, without any violence done to 
their distinctive properties, or any invasion made on their re 
spective provinces ; nothing, indeed, happening but what might 
have been expected from their mutual relations, and their fitness 
for being employed in concert to the production of common 
ends. And we shall now show how each of the suppositions 
has found its verification in the prophetic Scriptures. 1 

I. The first supposition is that of a typical action being histo 
rically mentioned in the prophetic word, and the mention, being 
that of a prophetical circumstance or event, thence coming to 
possess a prophetical character. There are two classes of scrip 
tures which may be said to verify this supposition ; one of which 
is of a somewhat general and comprehensive nature, so that the 
fulfilment is not necessarily confined to any single person or 
period, though it could not fail in an especial manner to appear 
in the personal history of Christ. To this class belong such 
recorded experiences as the following : " The zeal of Thine 
house hath eaten Me up" (Ps. Ixix. 9 ; comp. with John ii. 17) ; 
" He that eateth bread with Me hath lifted up his heel against 
Me" (Ps. xli. 9 ; comp. with John xiii. 18) ; " They hated Me 
without a cause" (Ps. Ixix. 4 ; comp. with John xv. 25) ; " The 
stone which the builders rejected is become the head of the 
corner" (Ps. cxviii. 22 ; comp. with Matt. xxi. 42 ; 1 Pet. ii. 6, 
7). These passages are all distinctly referred to Christ in the 
Gospels, and the things that befell Him are expressly said or 
plainly indicated to have happened, that such Scriptures might 

1 It is proper to state, however, that we cannot present here anything 
like a full and complete elucidation of the subject ; and we therefore mean 
to supplement this chapter by an Appendix on the Old Testament in the 
New, in which the subject will both be considered from a different point of 
view, and followed out more into detail. See Appendix A. 


be fulfilled. Yet, as originally penned, they assume the form of 
historical statements rather than of prophetical announcements 
recorded experiences on the part of those who indited them, 
and experiences of a kind that, in one form or another, could 
scarcely fail to be often recurring in the history of God s Church 
and people. As such it might have seemed enough to say, that 
they contained general truths which were exemplified also in 
Jesus, when travailing in the work of man s redemption. But 
the convictions of Jesus Himself and the inspired writers of the 
New Testament go beyond this ; they perceive a closer connec 
tion a prophetical element in the passages, which must find its 
due fulfilment in the personal experience of Christ. And this 
the passages contained, simply from their being, in their imme 
diate and historical reference, descriptive of what belonged to 
characters David and Israel that bore typical relations to 
Christ ; so that their being descriptive in the one respect neces 
sarily implied their being prophetic in the other. What had 
formerly taken place in the experience of the type, must sub 
stantially renew itself again in the experience of the great anti 
type, whatever other and inferior renewals it may find besides. 

To the same class also may be referred the passage in Ps. 
Ixxviii. 2, " I will open my mouth in a parable (lit. similitude) ; 
I will utter dark sayings (lit. riddles) of old," which in Matt, 
xiii. 35 is spoken of as a prediction that found, and required to 
find, its fulfilment in our Lord s using the parabolic mode of 
discourse. As an utterance in the seventy-eighth Psalm, the 
word simply records a fact, but a fact essentially connected 
with the discharge of the prophetical office, and therefore sub 
stantially indicating what must be met with in Him in whom 
all prophetical endowments were to have their highest mani 
festation. Every prophet may be said to speak in similitudes 
or parables in the sense here indicated, which is comprehen 
sive of all discourses upon divine things, delivered in figurative 
terms or an elevated style, and requiring more than common 
discernment to understand it aright. The parables of our 
Lord formed one species of it, but not by any means the only 
one. It was the common prophetico-poetical diction, which was 
characterized, not only by the use of measured sentences, but 
also by the predominant employment of external forms and 


natural similitudes. But marking as it did the possession of a 
prophetical gift, the record of its employment by Christ s pro 
phetical types and forerunners was a virtual prediction, that it 
should be ultimately used in some appropriate form by Himself. 

The other class of passages which comes within the terms of 
the first supposition, is of a more specific and formal character. 
It coincides with the class already considered, in so far as it 
consists of words originally descriptive of some transaction or 
circumstance in the past, but afterwards regarded as prophetically 
indicative of something similar under the Gospel. Such is the 
word in Hos. xi. 1, " I called my son out of Egypt," which, as 
uttered by the prophet, was unquestionably meant to refer 
historically to the fact of the Lord s goodness in delivering 
Israel from that land of bondage and oppression. But the 
Evangelist Matthew expressly points to it as a prophecy, and 
tells us that the infant Jesus was for a time sent into Egypt, 
and again brought out of it, that the word might be fulfilled. 
This arose from the typical connection between Christ and 
Israel. The scripture fulfilled was prophetical, simply because 
the circumstance it recorded w r as typical. But in so consider 
ing it, the Evangelist puts no new strain upon its terms, nor 
introduces any sort of double sense into its import. He merely 
points to the prophetical element involved in the transaction it 
relates, and thereby discovers to us a bond of connection between 
the Old and the New in God s dispensations, necessary to be 
kept in view for a correct apprehension of both. 

The same explanation in substance may be given of another 
example of the same class the word in Exod. xii. 46, " A bone 
of Him shall not be broken," which in John xix. 36 is represented 
as finding its fulfilment in the remarkable preservation of our 
Lord s body on the cross from the common fate of malefactors. 
The scripture in itself was a historical testimony regarding the 
treatment the Israelites were to give to the paschal lamb, which, 
instead of being broken into fragments, was to be preserved 
entire, and eaten as one whole. It could only be esteemed a 
prophecy from being the record of a typical or prophetical 
action. But, when viewed in that light, the Scripture itself 
stands precisely as it did, without any recondite depth or subtile 
ambiguity being thrown into its meaning. For the prophecy 


in it is found, not by extracting from its words some nexv and 
hidden sense, but merely by noting the typical import of the 
circumstances of which the words in their natural and obvious 
sense are descriptive. 

How either Israel or the paschal lamb should have been in 
such a sense typical of Christ, that what is recorded of the 
one could be justly regarded as a prophecy of what was to take 
place in the other, will be matter for future inquiry, and, in 
connection with some other prophecies, will be partly explained 
in the Appendix already referred to in this chapter. It is the 
/principle on which the explanation must proceed, to which alone 
for the present we desire to draw attention, and which, in the 
cases now under consideration, simply recognises the prophetical 
element involved in the recorded circumstance or transaction 
of the past. Neither is the Old Testament Scripture, taken by 
itself, prophetical ; nor does the New Testament Scripture invest 
it with a force and meaning foreign to its original purport and 
design. The Old merely records the typical fact, which properly 
constitutes the whole there is of prediction in the matter ; while 
the New reads forth its import as such, by announcing the 
co-relative events or circumstances in which the fulfilment 
should be discovered. And nothing more is needed for per 
fectly harmonizing the two together, than that we should so far 
identify the typical transaction recorded with the record that 
embodies it, as to perceive, that when the Gospel speaks of a 
scripture fulfilled, it speaks of that scripture in connection 
with the prophetical character of the subject it relates to. 

There is nothing, surely, strange or anomalous in this. It 
is but the employment of a metonymy of a very common kind, 
according to which what embodies or contains anything is viewed 
as in a manner one with the thing itself as when the earth is 
made to stand for the inhabitants of the earth, a house for its 
inmates, a cup for its contents, a word descriptive of events past 
or to come, as if it actually produced them. 1 Of course, the 

1 So, for example, in Hos. vi. 5, " I have hewed them by the prophets ; " 
Gen. xxvii. 37, " Behold I have made him thy lord ;" xlviii. 22, u I have 
given thee one portion above thy brethren, which I took out of the hand of 
the Amorite " each ascribing to the word spoken the actual doing of that 
which it only declared to have been done. 


validity of such a mode of explanation depends entirely upon 
the reality of the connection between the alleged type and 
antitype between the earlier circumstance or object described, 
and the later one to which the description is prophetically 
applied. On any other ground such references as those in the 
one Evangelist to Hosea, and in the other to Exodus, can 
only be viewed as fanciful or strained accommodations. But 
the matter assumes another aspect if the one was originally 
ordained in anticipation of the other, and so ordained, that 
the earlier should not have been brought into existence if the 
later had not been before in contemplation. Seen from this 
point of view, which we take to have been that of the in 
spired writers, the past appears to run into the future, and 
to have existed mainly on its account. And the record or de 
lineation of the past is naturally and justly, not by a mere 
fiction of the imagination, held to possess the essential charac 
ter of a prediction. Embodying a prophetical circumstance or 
action, it is itself named by one of the commonest figures of 
speech, a prophecy. 

II. Our second supposition was that of something typical in 
the past or present being represented in a distinct prophetical 
announcement as going to appear again in the future, the 
prophetical in word being thus combined with the typical in act 
into a prospective delineation of things to come. This supposi 
tion also includes several varieties, and in one form or another 
has its exemplifications in many parts of the prophetic word. 
For it is in a manner the native tendency of the mind, when 
either of itself forecasting, or under the guidance of a Divine 
impulse anticipating and disclosing the future, to see this future 
imaged in the past, to make use of the known in giving shape 
and form to the unknown ; so that the things which have been, 
are then usually contemplated as in some respect types of what 
shall be, even though in the reality there may be considerable 
differences of a formal kind between them. 

How much it is the native tendency of the mind to work in 
this manner, when itself endeavouring to descry the events of 
the future, is evident from the examples, transmitted to us by 
the most cultivated minds, of human divination. Thus the 


Pythoness in Virgil, when disclosing to ^Cneas what he and his 
posterity might expect in Latium, speaks of it merely as a re 
petition of the scenes and experiences of former times. " You 
shall not want Simois, Xanthus, or the Grecian camp. An 
other Achilles, also of divine offspring, is already provided for 
Latium." 1 In like manner Juno, in the vaticination put into 
her mouth by Horace, respecting the possible destinies of Rome, 
declares, that in the circumstances supposed, " the fortune of 
Troy again reviving, should again also be visited with terrible 
disaster; and that even if a wall of brass were thrice raised around 
it, it should be thrice destroyed by the Greeks." 2 In such ex 
amples of pretended divination, no one, of course, imagines it to 
have been meant that the historical persons and circumstances 
mentioned were to be actually reproduced in the approaching 
or contemplated future. All we are to understand is, that others 
of a like kind holding similar relations to the parties interested, 
and occupying much the same position were announced before 
hand to appear ; and so would render the future a sort of re 
petition of the past, or the past a kind of typical foreshadowing 
of the future. 

As an example of Divine predictions precisely similar in 
form, we may point to Hos. viii. 13, where the prophet, speaking 
of the Lord s purpose to visit the sins of Israel with chastise 
ment, says, " They shall return to Egypt." The old state of 
bondage and oppression should come back upon them ; or the 
things going to befall them of evil should be after the type 
of what, their forefathers had experienced under the yoke of 
Pharaoh. Yet that the New should not be by any means the 
exact repetition of the Old, as it might have been conjectured 
from the altered circumstances of the time, so it is expressly 
intimated by the prophet himself a few verses afterwards, when 
he says, " Ephraim shall return to Egypt, and they shall cat 
unclean things in Assyria" (ch. ix. 3) ; and again in ch. xi. 5, 

1 Non Simois tibi, nee Xanthus, nee Dorica castra 
Defuerint. Alius Latio jarn partus Achilles, 
Natus et ipse dea. JBn. vi. 88-90. 

2 Trojse renascens alite lugubri 

Fortuna tristi clade iterabitur, etc. Carm. L. III. 3, Gl-68. 
See also Seneca Medea, 374, etc. 


" He shall not return into the land of Egypt, but the Assyrian 
shall be his king." He shall return to Egypt, and still not re 
turn ; in other words, the Egypt-state shall come back on him, 
though the precise locality and external circumstances shall 
differ. In like manner Ezekiel, in ch. iv., foretells, in his own 
peculiar and mystical way, the return of the Egypt-state ; and 
in ch. xx. speaks of the Lord as going to bring the people again 
into the wilderness ; but calls it " the wilderness of the peoples," 
to indicate that the dealing should be the same only in character 
with what Israel of old had been subjected to in the desert, not 
a bald and formal repetition of the story. 

Indeed, God s providence knows nothing in the sacred any 
more than in the profane territory of the world s history, of a 
literal reproduction of the past. And when prophecy threw its 
delineations of the future into the form of the past, and spake 
of the things yet to be as a recurrence of those that had already 
been, it simply meant that the one should be after the type of 
the other, or should in spirit and character resemble it. By 
type, however, in such examples as those just referred to, is not 
to be understood type in the more special or theological sense in 
which the term is commonly used in the present discussions, as 
if there was anything in the past that of itself gave prophetic 
intimation of the coming future. It is to be understood only 
in the general sense of a pattern-form, in accordance with which 
the events in prospect were to bear the image of the past. The 
prophetical element, therefore, did not properly reside in the 
historical transaction referred to in the prophecy, but in the 
prophetic word itself, which derived its peculiar form from the 
past, and through that a certain degree of light to illustrate its 
import. There w y ere, however, other cases in which the typical 
in circumstance or action the typical in the proper sense was 
similarly combined with a prophecy in word ; and in them we 
have a twofold prophetic element one more concealed in the 
type, and another more express and definite in the word, but 
the two made to coalesce in one prediction. 

Of this kind is the prophecy in Zech. vi. 12, 13, where the 
prophet takes occasion, from the building of the literal temple 
in Jerusalem under the presidency of Joshua, to foretell a simi 
lar but higher and more glorious work in the future : " Behold 


the man, whose name is the Branch ; and He shall grow up out 
of His place, and lie shall build the temple of the Lord ; even 
He shall build the temple of the Lord/ etc. The building of 
the temple was itself typical of the incarnation of God in the 
person of Christ, and of the raising up in Him of a spiritual 
house that should be " an habitation of God through the Spirit." 
(John ii. 19 ; Matt. xvi. 18 ; Eph. ii. 20, 22.) But the pro 
phecy thus involved in the action is expressly uttered in the pre 
diction, which at once explained the type, and sent forward the 
expectations of believers toward the contemplated result. Simi 
lar, also, is the prediction of Ezekiel, in chap, xxxiv. 23, in which 
the good promised in the future to a truly penitent and believing 
people, is connected with a return of the person and times of 
David : " And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he 
shall feed them, even My servant David ; he shall feed them, 
and he shall be their shepherd." And the closing prediction of 
Malachi, " Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before 
the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord." David s 
kingdom and reign in Israel were from the first intended to 
foreshadow those of Christ; and the work also of Elias, as 
preparatory to the Lord s final reckoning with the apostate 
commonwealth of Israel, bore a typical respect to the work of 
preparation that was to go before the Lord s personal appearance 
in the last crisis of the Jewish state. Such might have been 
probably conjectured or dimly apprehended from the things 
themselves ; but it became comparatively clear, when it w T as 
announced in explicit predictions, that a new David and a new 
Elias were to appear. The prophetical element was there before 
in the type ; but the prophetical word brought it distinctly and 
prominently ^out ; yet so as in no respect to materially change 
or complicate the meaning. The specific designation of " David, 
My servant," and " Elijah the prophet," are in each case alike 
intended to indicate, not the literal reproduction of the past, but 
the full realization of all that the past typically foretokened of 
good. It virtually told the people of God, that in their antici 
pations of the coming reality, they might not fear to heighten 
to the uttermost the idea which those honoured names were 
fitted to suggest ; their anticipations would be amply borne out 
by the event, in which still higher prophecy than Elijah s, and 

VOL. I. K 


unspeakably nobler service than David s, was to be found in 
reserve for the Church. l 

III. We pass on to our third supposition, which may seem 
to be nearly identical with the last, yet belongs to a stage further 
in advance. It is that the typical, not expressly and formally, 
but in its essential relations and principles, might be embodied 
in an accompanying prediction, which foretold things corre 
sponding in nature, but of higher moment and wider import. So 
far this supposed case coincides with the last, that in that also 
the things predicted might be, and, if referring to Gospel times, 
actually were, higher and greater than those of the type. But 
it differs, in that this superiority did not there, as it does here, 
appear in the terms of the prediction, which simply announced the 
recurrence of the type. And it differs still farther, in that there 
the type was expressly and formally introduced into the prophecy, 
while here it is tacitly assumed, and only its essential relations 
and principles are applied to the delineation of some things 
analogous and related, but conspicuously loftier and greater. 
In this case, then, the typical transactions furnishing the mate 
rials for the prophetical delineation, must necessarily form the 
background, and the explanatory prediction the foreground, of 
the picture. The words of the prophet must describe not the 
typical past, but the corresponding and grander future, describe 
it, however, under the form of the past, and in connection with 
the same fundamental views of the Divine character and govern 
ment. So that there must here also be but one sense, though 
a twofold prediction : one more vague and indefinite, standing 
in the type or prophetic action ; the other more precise and de 
finite, furnished by the prophetic word, and directly pointing to 
the greater things to come. 

1 Those who contend for the actual reappearance of Elijah, because the 
epithet of "the prophet," they think, fixes down the meaning to the per 
sonal Elijah, may as well contend for the reappearance of David as the 
future king ; f or u David, My servant," is as distinctive an appellation of the 
one, as "Elijah the prophet" of the other. But in reality they are thus 
specified as both exhibiting the highest known ideal the one of king-like 
service, the other of prophetic work as preparatory to a Divine manifestation. 
And in thinking of them, the people could get the most correct view they 
were capable of entertaining of the predicted future. 


The supposition now made is actually verified in a consider 
able number of prophetical scriptures. Connected with them, 
and giving rise to them, there were certain circumstances and 
events so ordered by God as to be in a greater or less degree 
typical of others under the Gospel. And there was a prophecy 
linking the two together, by taking up the truths and relations 
embodied in the type, and expanding them so as to embrace the 
higher and still future things of God s kingdom, thus at once 
indicating the typical design of the past, and announcing in 
appropriate terms the coining events of the future. 

Let us point, in the first instance, to an illustrative example, 
in which the typical element, indeed, was comparatively vague 
and general, but which has the advantage of being the first, if 
we mistake not, of this species of prophecy, and in some measure 
gave the tone to those that followed. The example we refer to 
is the song of Hannah (1 Sam. ii. 110), indited by that pious 
woman under the inspiration of God, on the occasion of the 
birth of Samuel. The history leaves 110 room to doubt that this 
was its immediate occasion ; yet, if viewed in reference to that 
occasion alone, how comparatively trifling is the theme ! How 
strained and magniloquent the expressions ! Hannah speaks of 
her " mouth being enlarged over her enemies," of " the bows of 
the mighty men being broken," of the " barren bearing seven," 
of the " full hiring themselves out for bread," and other things 
of a like nature, all how far exceeding, and we might even 
say caricaturing, the occasion, if it has respect merely to the 
fact of a woman, hitherto reputed barren, becoming at length 
the joyful mother of a child ! Were the song an example of 
the inflated style not uncommon in Eastern poetry, we might 
not be greatly startled at such grotesque exaggerations ; but 
being a portion of that word which is all given by inspiration of 
God, and is as silver tried in a furnace, we must banish from 
our mind any idea of extravagance or conceit. Indeed, from 
the whole strain and character of the song, it is evident that, 
though occasioned by the birth of Samuel, it was so far from 
having exclusive reference to that event, that the things con 
cerning it formed one only of a numerous and important class 
pervading the providence of God, and closely connected with 
His highest purposes. In a spiritual respect it was a time of 


mournful barrenness and desolation in Israel : " the word of the 
Lord was precious, there was no open vision ;" and iniquity was 
so rampant as even to be lifting up its insolent front, and 
practising its foul abominations in the very precincts of the 
sanctuary. How natural, then, for Hannah, when she had got 
that child of desire and hope, which she had devoted from his 
birth as a Nazarite to the Lord s service, and feeling her soul 
moved by a prophetic impulse, to regard herself as specially 
raised up to be u a sign and a wonder " to Israel, and to do so 
particularly in respect to that principle in the Divine govern 
ment, which had so strikingly developed itself in her experience, 
but which was destined to receive its grandest manifestation in 
the work and kingdom which were to be more peculiarly the 
Lord s ! Hence, instead of looking exclusively to her individual 
case, and marking the operation of the Lord s hand in what 
simply concerned her personal history, she wings her flight 
aloft, and takes a comprehensive survey of the general scheme 
of God ; noting especially, as she proceeds, the workings of that 
pure and gracious sovereignty which delights to exalt an humble 
piety, while it pours contempt on the proud and rebellious. 
And as every exercise of this principle is but part of a grand 
series which culminates in the dispensation of Christ, her song 
runs out at the close into a sublime and glowing delineation of 
the final results to be achieved by it in connection with His 
righteous administration. " The adversaries of the Lord shall 
be broken to pieces ; out of heaven shall He thunder upon 
them : the Lord shall judge the ends of the earth ; and He 
shall give strength unto His king, and exalt the horn of His 
anointed." 1 

1 The last clause might as well, and indeed better, have been rendered, 
u Exalt the horn of His Messiah." Even the Jewish interpreter, Kimchi, 
understands it as spoken directly of the Messiah, and the Targum para 
phrases, " He shall multiply the kingdom of Messiah." It is the first pas 
sage of Scripture where the word occurs in its more distinctive sense, and 
is used as a synonym for the consecrated or divine king. It may seem 
strange that Hannah should have been the first to introduce this epithet, 
and to point so directly to the destined head of the Divine kingdom : it will 
even be inexplicable, unless we understand her to have been raised up for a 
" sign and a wonder " to Israel, and to have spoken as she was moved by 
the Holy Ghost. But the other expressions, especially "the adversaries of 


Tliis song of Hannah, then, plainly consists of two parts, in 
the one of which only the concluding portion it is properly 
prophetical. The preceding stanzas are taken up with unfold 
ing, from past and current events, the grand spiritual idea ; the 
closing ones carry it forward in beautiful and striking applica 
tion to the affairs of Messiah s kingdom. In the earlier part it 
presents to us the germ of sacred principle unfolded in the type ; 
in the latter, it exhibits this rising to its ripened growth and 
perfection in the final exaltation and triumph of the King of 
Zion. The two differ in respect to the line of things imme 
diately contemplated, the facts of history in the one case, in 
the other the anticipations of prophecy ; but they agree in being 
alike pervaded by one and the same great principle, which, after 
floating down the stream of earthly providences, is represented 
as ultimately settling and developing itself with resistless energy 
in the affairs of Messiah s kingdom. And as if to remove every 
shadow of doubt as to this being the purport and design of 
Hannah s song, when we open the record of that better era, 
which she only descried afar off in the horizon, we find the 
Virgin Mary, in her song of praise at the announcement of 
Messiah s birth, re-echoing the sentiments, and sometimes even 
repeating the very words, of the mother of Samuel : " My soul 
doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my 
Saviour. For he hath regarded the low estate of His hand 
maiden. He hath showed strength with His arm : He hath 
scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He hath 
put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low 
degree. He hath filled the hungry with good things ; and the 
rich He hath sent empty away. He hath holpen His servant 
Israel, in remembrance of His mercy ; as He spake to our 
fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever." "Why should 
the Spirit, breathing at such a time in the soul of Mary, have 
turned her thoughts so nearly into the channel that had been 
struck out ages before by the pious Hannah ? Or why should 
the circumstances connected with the birth of Hannah s Nazarite 

the Lord shall be destroyed, and the ends of the earth shall be judged," 
show that it really was of the kingdom as possessed of such a head that she 
spoke. And the idea of Grotius and the Rationalists, that she referred in 
the first instance to Saul, is without foundation. 


offspring have proved the occasion of strains which so distinctly 
pointed to the manifestation of the King of Glory, and so 
closely harmonized with those actually sung in celebration of 
the event ? Doubtless to mark the connection really subsisting 
between the two. It is the Spirit s own intimation of His 
ulterior design in transactions long since past, and testimonies 
delivered centuries before, namely, to herald the advent of 
Messiah, and familiarize the children of the kingdom with the 
essential character of the coming dispensation. 1 

Hannah s song was the first specimen of that combination 
of prophecy with type, which is now under consideration ; but 
it was soon followed by others, in which both the prophecy was 
more extended, and the typical element in the transactions that 
gave rise to it was more marked and specific. The examples 
we refer to are to be found in the Messianic psalms, which also 
resemble the song of Hannah in being of a lyrical character, 
and thence admitting of a freer play of feeling on the part of 
the individual writer than could fitly be introduced into simple 
prophecy. But this again principally arose from the close con 
nection typically between the present and the future, whereby 
the feelings originated by the one naturally incorporated them- 

1 The view now given of Hannah s song presents it in a much higher, as 
we conceive it does also in a truer light, than that exhibited by Bishop 
Jebb, who speaks of it in a style that seems scarcely compatible with any 
proper belief in its inspiration. The song appears, in his estimation, to 
have been the mere effusion of Hannah s private, and, in great part, un- 
sanctified feelings. " We cannot but feel," he says, " that her exultation 
partook largely of a spirit far beneath that which enjoins the love of our 
enemies, and which forbids personal exultation over a fallen foe." He re 
gards it as "unquestionable, that previous sufferings had not thoroughly 
subdued her temper, that she could not suppress the workings of a retali- 
ative spirit, and was thus led to dwell, not on the peaceful glories of his 
(Samuel s) priestly and prophetic rule, but on his future triumphs over the 
Philistine armies " (Sacred Literature, p. 397). If such were indeed the 
character of Hannah s song, we may be assured it would not have been so 
closely imitated by the blessed Virgin. But it is manifestly wrong to re 
gard Hannah as speaking of her merely personal enemies, her language 
would otherwise be chargeable with vicious extravagance, as well as un- 
sanctified feeling. She identifies herself throughout with the Lord s cause 
and people ; and it is simply her zeal for righteousness which expresses 
itself in a spirit of exultation over prostrate enemies. 


selves with the delineation of the other. And as it was the 
institution of the temporal kingdom in the person and house of 
David which here formed the ground and the occasion of the 
prophetic delineation, there was no part of the typical arrange 
ments tinder the ancient dispensation which more fully admitted, 
or, to prevent misapprehension, more obviously required, the 
accompaniment of a series of lyrical prophecies such as that 
contained in the Messianic psalms. 

For the institution of a temporal kingdom in the hands of 
an Israelitish family involved a very material change in the 
external framework of the theocracy ; and a change that of 
itself was fitted to rivet the minds of the people more to the 
earthly and visible, and take them off from the invisible and 
Divine. The constitution under which they were placed before 
the appointment of a king though it did not absolutely pre 
clude such an appointment yet seemed as if it would rather 
suffer than be improved by so broad and palpable an introduction 
of the merely human element. It was till then a theocracy in 
the strictest sense; a commonwealth that had no recognised 
head but God, and placed everything essentially connected with 
life and well-being under His immediate presidence and direction. 
The land of the covenant was emphatically God s land 1 the 
people that dwelt in it were His peculiar property and heritage 2 
the laws which they were bound to obey were His statutes 
and judgments 3 and the persons appointed to interpret and 
administer them were His representatives, and on this account 
even sometimes bore His name. 4 It was the peculiar and dis 
tinguishing glory of Israel as a nation, that they stood in this 
near relationship to God, and that which more especially called 
forth the rapturous eulogy of Moses, 5 " Happy art thou, O 
Israel : who is like unto thee ! The eternal God is thy refuge, 
and underneath are the everlasting arms." It was a glory, 
however, which the people themselves were too carnal for the 
most part to estimate aright, and of which they never appeared 
more insensible than when they sought to be like the Gentiles, 

1 Lev. xxv. 23 ; Ps. x. 16 ; Isa. xiv. 25 ; Jer. ii. 7, etc. 

2 Ex. xix. 5 ; Ps. xciv. 5 ; Jer. ii. 7 ; Joel iii. 2. 

3 Ex. xv. 26, xviii. 16, etc. 4 Ex. xxii. 28 ; Ps. Ixxxii. G. 
5 Deut. xxxiii. 26, 29. 


by having a king appointed over them. For what was it but, 
in effect, to seek that they might lose their peculiar distinction 
among the nations ? that God might retire to a greater distance 
from them, and might no longer be their immediate guardian 
and sovereign ? 

Nor was this the only evil likely to arise out of the proposed 
change. Everything under the Old Covenant bore reference 
to the future and more perfect dispensation of the Gospel ; and 
the ultimate reason of any important feature or material change 
in respect to the former, can never be understood without taking 
into account the bearing it might have on the future state and 
prospects of men under the Gospel. But how could any change 
in the constitution of ancient Israel, and especially such a 
change as the people contemplated, when they desired a king 
after the manner of the Gentiles, be adopted without altering 
matters in this respect to the worse ? The dispensation of the 
Gospel was to be, in a peculiar sense, the " kingdom of heaven, 
or of God," having for its high end and aim the establishment 
of a near and blessed intercourse between God and men. It 
attains to its consummation when the vision seen by St John, 
and described after the pattern of the constitution actually set 
up in the wilderness, comes into fulfilment when " the taber 
nacle of God is with men, and He dwells wdth them." Of this 
consummation it was a striking and impressive image that was 
presented in the original structure of the Israelitish common 
wealth, wherein God Himself sustained the office of king, and 
had His peculiar residence and appropriate manifestations of 
glory in the midst of His people. And when they, in their 
carnal affection for a worldly institute, clamoured for an earthly 
sovereign, they not only discovered a lamentable indifference 
towards what constituted their highest honour, but betrayed also 
a want of discernment and faith in regard to God ? s prospective 
and ultimate design in connection with their provisional eco 
nomy. They gave conclusive proof that " they did not see to 
the end of that which was to be abolished," and preferred a 
request which, if granted according to their expectation, would 
in a most important respect have defeated the object of their 
theocratic constitution. 

We need not, therefore, be surprised that God should have 


expressed His dissatisfaction with the proposal made by the 
people for the appointment of a king to them, and should have 
regarded it as a substantial rejection of Himself, and a desire 
that He should not reign over them. (1 Sam. viii. 7.) But 
why, then, did He afterwards accede to it ? And why did He 
make choice of the things connected with it, as an historical 
occasion and a typical ground for shadowing forth the nature 
and glories of Messiah s kingdom? The Divine procedure in 
this, though apparently capricious, was in reality marked by the 
highest wisdom, and affords one of the finest examples to be 
found in Old Testament history of that overruling providence, 
by which God so often averts the evil which men s devices are 
fitted to produce, and render them subservient to the greatest 

The appointment of a king as the earthly head of the com 
monwealth, we have said, was not absolutely precluded by the 
theocratic constitution. It was from the first contemplated by 
Moses as a thing which the people would probably desire, and 
in which they were not to be gainsayed, but were only to be 
directed into the proper method of accomplishing it. (Deut. xvii. 
1420.) It was even possible if the matter was rightly gone 
about, and the Divine sanction obtained respecting it to turn 
it to profitable account, in familiarizing the minds of men with 
what was destined to form the grand feature of the Messiah s 
kingdom the personal indwelling of the Divine in the human 
nature and so to acquire for it the character of an important 
step in the preparatory arrangements for the kingdom. This is 
what was actually done. After the people had been solemnly 
admonished of their guilt in requesting the appointment of a 
king on their worldly principles, they were allowed to raise one 
of their number to the throne not, however, as absolute and 
independent sovereign, but only as the deputy of Jehovah ; that 
he might simply rule in the name, and in subordination to the 
will, of God. 1 For this reason his throne was called "the 
throne of the Lord," 2 on which, as the Queen of Sheba ex 
pressed it to Solomon, he was " set to be king for the Lord his 
God ;" 3 and the kingly government itself was afterwards desig- 

1 See Warburton s Legation of Moses, B. V. sect. 3. 

2 1 Chron. xxix. 23. 3 2 Cliron. ix. 8. 


nated "the kingdom of the Lord." 1 For the same reason, no 
doubt, it was that Samuel " wrote in a book the manner of the 
kingdom, and laid it up before the Lord ;" 2 that the testimony in 
behalf of its derived and vicegerent nature might be perpetuated. 
And to render the Divine purpose in this respect manifest to all 
who had eyes to see and ears to hear, the Lord allowed the 
choice first to fall on one who as the representative of the 
people s earthly wisdom and prowess was little disposed to rule 
in humble subordination to the will and authority of Heaven, 
and was therefore supplanted by another who should act as 
God s representative, and bear distinctively the name of His 

It was, therefore, in this second person, David, that the 
kingly administration in Israel properly began ; he was the root 
and founder of the kingdom as a kingdom, in which the 
Divine and human stood first in an official, as they were ulti 
mately to stand in a personal union. And to make the pre 
paratory and the final in this respect properly harmonize and 
adapt themselves to each other, the Lord, in the first instance, 
ordered matters connected with the institution of the kingly 
government, so as to render the beginning an image of the end 
typical throughout of Messiah s work and kingdom. And 
then, lest the typical bearing of things should be lost sight of 
in consequence of their present interest or importance, He gave 
in connection with them the word of prophecy, which, pro 
ceeding on the ground of their typical import, pointed the ex 
pectations of the Church to corresponding but far higher and 
greater things still to come. In this way, what must otherwise 
have tended to veil the purpose of God, and obstruct the main 
design of His preparatory dispensation, was turned into one of 
the most effective means of revealing and promoting it. The 
earthly head, that now under God stood over the members of 
the commonwealth, instead of overshadowing His authority, 
only presented this more distinctly to their view, and served as 

1 2 Chron. xiii. 8. 2 1 Sam. x. 25. 

3 This appellation is used of David far more frequently than of any other 
person. Upwards of thirty times it is expressly spoken of David ; and 
in the Psalms he is ever presenting himself in the character of the Lord s 


a stepping-stone to faith, in enabling it to rise nearer to the 
apprehension of that personal indwelling of Godhead the true 
Immanuel which was to constitute the foundation and the 
glory of the Gospel dispensation. Not only was the work of 
God s preparatory arrangements not arrested, and the prospec 
tive anticipation of the future not marred; but occasion was 
taken to unfold this future in its more essential features with 
an air of individuality and distinctness, with a variety of detail 
and vividness of colouring, not to be met with in any other por 
tions of prophetic Scripture. 

We refer for illustration to a single example of this com 
bination of prophecy with type (others will be noticed, and in 
a somewhat different connection, in the Appendix) the second 
Psalm. The production as to form is a kind of inaugural 
hymn, intended to celebrate the appointment and final triumph 
of Jehovah s king. The heathen nations are represented as 
foolishly opposing it (vers. 1, 2) ; they agree among themselves, 
if the appointment should be made, practically to disown and 
resist it (ver. 3) ; the Almighty, however, perseveres in His 
purpose, scorning the rebellious opposition of such impotent 
adversaries (ver. 4) ; the eternal decree goes forth, that the 
anointed King is enthroned on Zion ; that being Jehovah s Son, 
He is made the heir of all things, even to the uttermost bounds 
of the habitable globe (vers. 5-9). And in consideration of 
what has thus been decreed and ratified in heaven, the psalm 
concludes with a word of friendly counsel and admonition to 
earthly potentates and rulers, exhorting them to submit in time 
to the sway of this glorious King, and forewarning them of 
the inevitable ruin of resistance. That in all this we can trace 
the lines of Messiah s history, is obvious at a glance. Even 
the old Jewish doctors, as we learn by the quotation from 
Solomon Jarchi, given by Venema, agreed that " it should be 
expounded of King Messiah;" but he adds, "In accordance 
with the literal sense, and that it may be used against the 
heretics (i.e., Christians), it is proper to explain it as relating 
to David himself." Strange, that this idea, the offspring of 
rabbinical artifice, seeking to withdraw an argument from the 
cause of Christianity, should have so generally commended it 
self to Christian interpreters ! But if by literal sense is to be 


understood the plain and natural import of the words employed, 
what ground is there for such an interpretation ? David was 
not opposed in his appointment to the throne of Israel by 
heathen nations or rulers, who knew and cared comparatively 
little about it ; nor was his being anointed king coincident with 
his being set on the holy hill of Zion ; nor, after being estab 
lished in the kingdom, did he ever dream of pressing any claims 
of dominion on the kings and rulers of the earth : his wars were 
uniformly wars of defence, and not of conquest. So palpable, 
indeed, is the discordance between the lines of David s history, 
and the lofty terms of the psalm, that the opinion which ascribes 
it in the literal sense to David, may now be regarded as com 
paratively antiquated; and some even of those who formerly 
espoused it (such as Rosenmuller), have at length owned, that 
" it cannot well be understood as applying either to David or to 
Solomon, much less to any of the later Hebrew kings, and that 
the judgment of the more ancient Hebrews is to be followed, 
who considered it as a celebration of the mighty King whom 
they expected under the name of the Messiah." 

But has the psalm, then, no connection with the life and 
kingdom of David? Unquestionably it has; and a connection 
so close, that what took place in him was at once the beginning 
and the image of what, amid higher relations, and on a more 
extended scale, was to be accomplished by the subject of the 
psalm. While the terms in which the King and the kingdom 
there celebrated are spoken of, stretch far above the line of 
things that belonged to David, they yet bear throughout the 
mark and impress of these. In both alike we see a sovereign 
choice and fixed appointment, on the part of God, to the office 
of king in the fullest sense among men an opposition of the 
most violent and heathenish nature to withstand and nullify the 
appointment the gradual and successive overthrow of all the 
obstacles raised against the purpose of Heaven, and the exten 
sion of the sphere of empire (still partly future in the case of 
Messiah) till it reached the limits of the Divine grant. The 
lines of history in the two cases are entirely parallel ; there is 
all the correspondence we expect between type and antitype ; 
but the prophecy which marks the connection between them, 
while it was occasioned by the purpose of God respecting David, 


and derived from his history the particular mould in which it 
was cast, was applicable only to Him who, with the properties 
of a human nature and an earthly throne, was to possess those 
also of the heavenly and divine. 

We shall not here go further into detail respecting this class 
of prophecies, which belong chiefly to the Psalms ; but we must 
remark, that as it was their object to explain the typical character 
of David s calling and kingdom, and to connect this with the 
higher things to come, we may reasonably expect there will be 
some portions in the Messianic psalms which are alike applicable 
to type and antitype ; and also entire psalms, in which there may 
be room for doubting to which of the two they may most fitly 
be referred. In some the distinctive, the superhuman and divine, 
properties of the Messiah s person and kingdom are so broadly 
and characteristically delineated (as in Ps. ii., xxii., xlv., Ixxii., 
ex.), that it is impossible by any fair interpretation of the lan 
guage to understand the description of another than Christ. 
But there are others in which the merely human elements are 
so strongly depicted (such as Ps. xl., Ixix., cix.), that not a 
few of the traits might doubtless be found in the bearer also of 
the earthly kingdom ; while still the excessive darkness of the 
picture, as a whole, on the one side, and the magnitude of the 
results and interests connected with it, on the other, shut us up 
to the conclusion that Christ, in His work of humiliation and 
His kingdom of blessing and glory, is the real subject of the 
prophecy. Viewed as an entire and prospective delineation, the 
theme is still one, and the sense not manifold, but simple. There 
are again others, however, of which Ps. xli. may be taken as a 
specimen, in which the delineation throughout is as applicable 
to the bearer of the earthly as to that of the heavenly kingdom ; 
so that, if regarded as a prophecy at all, it can only be in the 
way explained under our first supposition, as an historical de 
scription of things that happened under typical relations, from 
which they derived a prophetical element. 

Such varieties are no more than what might have been ex 
pected in the class of sacred lyrics now under consideration ; and 
the rather so, as they were composed for the devotional use of 
the Church at a time when she required as well to -be refreshed 
and strengthened by the faith of the typical past, as to be 


cheered and animated by the hope of the still grander antitypical 
future. It was necessary that she should be taught so to look 
for the one as not to lose sight of the other ; but rather, in what 
had already occurred, to find the root and promise of what was 
to be hereafter. The word of Nathan to David (2 Sam. vii. 
416), which properly began the series, and laid the founda 
tion of further developments, presented the matter in this light. 
David is there associated with his filial successor, as alike con 
nected with the institution of the kingdom in its primary and 
inferior aspect ; and the high honour was conceded to his house 
of furnishing the royal dynasty that was destined to preside for 
ever in God s name over the affairs of men. But this for ever, 
emphatically used in the promise, evidently pointed to a time 
when the relations of the kingdom, in its then provisional and 
circumscribed form, should give way to others immensely greater 
and higher. It pointed to a commingling of the divine and 
human, the heavenly and the earthly, in another manner than 
could possibly be realized in the case either of David himself, or 
of any ordinary descendant from his loins. And it became one 
of the leading objects of David s prophetical calling, and of 
those who were his immediate successors in the prophetical func 
tion, to unfold, after the manner already described, something 
of that ulterior purpose of Heaven, which, though included, was 
still but obscurely indicated, in the fundamental prophecy of 
Nathan. 1 

IV. But we have still to notice another conceivable combina 
tion of type with prophecy. It is possible, we said, that the 
typical transactions might themselves be still future ; and might, 
in a prophetic word, be partly described, partly presupposed, as 
a ground for the delineation of other things still more distant, in 

1 According to the view now given, there is no need for that alternating 
process which is so commonly resorted to in the explanation of Nathan s 
prophecy, by which this one part is made to refer to Solomon and his im 
mediate successors, and that other to Christ. There is no need for formally 
splitting it up into such portions, each pointing to different quarters ; nor 
can the understanding find satisfaction in this method. The prophecy is to 
be taken as an organic whole, as the kingdom also is of which it speaks. 
David reigned in the Lord s name, and the Lord, in the fulness of time, was 
born to occupy David s throne a mutual interconnection. The kingdom 


respect to which they were to hold a typical relation. The 
difference between this and the last supposition is quite im 
material, in so far as any principle is involved. It makes no 
essential change in the nature of the relation, that the typical 
transactions forming the groundwork of the prophetical delinea 
tion should have been contemplated as future, and not as past 
or present. It is true that the prophet was God s messenger, in 
an especial sense, to the men of his own age ; and as such usually 
delivered messages, which were called forth by what had actually 
occurred, and bore its peculiar impress. But he was not neces 
sarily tied to that. As from the present he could anticipate the 
still undeveloped future, so there was nothing to hinder if the 
circumstances of the Church might require it that he should 
also at times realize as present a nearer future, and from that 
anticipate another more remote. In doing so he would naturally 
transport himself into the position of those who were to witness 
that nearer future, which would then be contemplated as hold 
ing much the same relation typically to the higher things in 
prospect, as in the case last considered : that is, the matter-of- 
fact prophecy involved in the typical transactions viewed as 
already present, would furnish to the prophet s eye the form and 
aspect under which he would exhibit the corresponding events 
yet to be expected. 

The only addition which the view now suggested makes to 
the one generally held, is, that we suppose the prophet, while he 
spake as from the midst of circumstances future, though not 
distant, recognised in these something of a typical nature ; and 
on the basis of that as the type, unfolded the greater and more 
distant antitype. There is plainly nothing incredible or even 
improbable in such a supposition, especially if the nearer future 
already lay within the vision of the Church. The circum- 

throughout is God s, only existing in an embryo state, while presided over 
by David and his merely human descendants ; and rising to its ripened form, 
as soon as it passes into the hands of one who, by virtue of His Divine pro 
perties, was fitted to bear the glory. The prophecy, therefore, is to be re 
garded as a general promise of the connection of the kingdom with David s 
person and line, including Christ as belonging to that line, after the flesh ; 
but in respect to the element of eternity, the absolute perpetuity guaranteed 
in the promise, it not only admitted, but required, the possession of a nature 
in Christ higher unspeakably than He could derive from David. 


stances, however, giving rise to prophecies of this description 
were not likely to be of very frequent occurrence. They could 
only be expected in those more peculiar emergencies when it 
became needful for the Church s warning or consolation to over 
shoot, as it were, the things more immediately in prospect, and 
fix the eye on others more remote in point of time, though in 
nature most closely connected with them. 

Now, at one remarkable period of her history, the Old Tes 
tament Church was certainly in such circumstances the period 
preceding and during the Babylonish exile. From the time 
that this calamity had become inevitable, the prophets, as already 
noticed, had spoken of it as a second Egypt a new bondage to 
the power of the world, from which the Church required to be 
delivered by a new manifestation of redemptive grace. But a 
second redemption after the manner of the first would obviously 
no longer suffice to restore the heart of faith to assured confi 
dence, or fill it with satisfying expectations of corning good. 
The redemption from Egypt, with all its marvellous accompani 
ments and happy results, had yet failed to provide an effectual 
security against overwhelming desolation. And if the redemp 
tion from Babylon might have brought, in the fullest sense, a 
restoration to the land of Canaan, and the re-establishment of 
the temple service ; yet, if this were all the spirit of prophecy 
could descry of coming good, there must still have been room 
for fear to enter : there could scarcely fail even to be sad fore 
bodings of new desolations likely to arise and undo again the 
whole that had been accomplished. At such a period, therefore, 
the prophet had a double part to perform, when charged with 
the commission to comfort the people of God. He had, in the 
first instance, to declare the fixed purpose of Heaven to visit 
Babylon for her sins, and thereby afford a door of escape for 
the captive children of the covenant, that as a people saved anew 
they might return to their ancient heritages. But he had to do 
more than this. He had to take his station, as it were, on the 
floor of that nearer redemption, and from thence direct the eye 
of hope to another and higher, of which it was but the imperfect 
shadow a redemption which should lay the foundation of the 
Church s well-being so broad and deep, that the former troubles 
could no longer return, and heights of prosperity and blessing 


should be reached entirely unknown in the past. Tims alone 
could a ground of consolation be provided for the people of God, 
really adequate to the emergencies of that dismal time, when all 
that was of God seemed ready to perish, under the combined 
force of internal corruption and outward violence. 

It was precisely in this way that the prophet Isaiah sought to 
comfort the Church of God by inditing the later portion of his 
writings (ch. xl.-lxvi.), in which we have the most important 
example of the class of prophecies now under consideration 
The central object in the whole of this magnificent chain of 
prophecy, is the appearance, work, and kingdom of the Lord 
Jesus Christ His spirit and character, His sufferings and 
triumphs, the completeness of His redemption, the safety and 
blessedness of His people, the certain overthrow of His enemies, 
and the final glory of His kingdom. The manner in which 
this prophetic discourse is entered on, might alone satisfy us 
that such is in reality its main theme. For the voice which 
there meets us, of one crying in the wilderness, is that to which, 
according to all the evangelists, John the Baptist appealed, as 
announcing beforehand his office and mission to the Church of 
God. And if the forerunner is found at the threshold, who 
should chiefly occupy the interior of the building but He whom 
John was specially sent to make known to Israel ? The sub 
stance of the message also, as briefly indicated there, entirely 
corresponds : for it speaks not, as is often loosely represented, 
of the people s return to Jerusalem, but of the Lord s return to 
His people ; it announces a coming revelation of His glory, 
which all flesh should see ; and proclaims to the cities of Judah 
the tidings, Behold your God ! Wo are not to be understood 
as meaning, that the Lord might not in a sense be said to come 
to His people, when in their behalf He brought down the pride 
of Babylon, and laid open for them a way of return to their 
native land. A reference to this more secret and preparatory 
revelation of Himself may certainly be understood, both here 
and in several kindred representations that follow ; yet not as 
their direct and immediate object, but rather as something pre 
supposed, similar in kind, though immensely inferior in degree, 
to the proper reality. There are passages, indeed, so general in 
the truths and principles they enunciate, that they cannot with 

VOL. I. L 


propriety be limited to one period of the Church s history any 
more than to another. And again, there are others, especially 
the portion reaching from ch. xliv. 24 to xlviii. 22, as also ch. li., 
Hi., which refer more immediately to the events connected with 
the deliverance from Babylon, as things in themselves perfectly 
certain, and fitted to awaken confidence in regard to the greater 
things that were yet destined to be accomplished. He who 
could speak of Babylon as already prostrate in the dust, though 
no shade had yet come over the lustre of her glory who, at the 
very moment she was the scourge and terror of the nations, 
could picture to himself the time when she should be seen as a 
spoiled and forlorn captive who could behold the once weeping 
exiles of Judea, escaped from her grasp, and sent back with 
honour to revive the glories of Jerusalem, while the proud 
destroyer was left to sink and moulder into irrecoverable ruin 
He who could foresee all this as in a manner present, and com 
mit to His Church the prophetic announcement generations 
before it had been fulfilled, might well claim from His people 
an implicit faith, when giving intimation of a work still to be 
done, the greatness of which should surpass all thought, as its 
blessings should extend to all lands (ch. xlv. 17, 22, xlix. 18-26). 
Thus the deliverance accomplished from the yoke of Babylon 
formed a fitting prelude and stepping-stone to the main subject 
of the prophecy the revelation of God in the person and work 
of His Son. The certainty of the one a certainty soon to be 
realized was a pledge of the ultimate certainty of the other ; 
and the character also of the former, as a singular and unex 
pected manifestation of the Lord s power to deliver His people 
and lay their enemies in the dust, was a prefiguration of what 
was to be accomplished once for all in the salvation to be wrought 
out by Jesus Christ. 1 

There are few portions of Old Testament prophecy, which 

1 The same view substantially of this portion of Isaiah s writings was 
given by Vitringa, who thus suras up the leading topics of discourse : 
" The great mystery of the manifestation of the kingdom of God and His 
righteousness in the world through the Messiah, His forerunner, and 
apostles, with the revival of an elect Church, then reduced to a very small 
number, with its more remarkable preceding signs, and the means that 
should be subservient to the whole work of grace, among which preceding 


altogether resemble the one we have been considering. Perhaps 
that which approaches nearest to it, in the mode of combining 
type with prophecy, is the thirty-fourth chapter of Isaiah, which 
is not a direct and simple delineation of the judgments that 
were destined to alight upon Idumea, but rather an ideal repre 
sentation of the judgments preparing to alight on the enemies 
generally of God s people, founded upon the approaching 
desolations of Edom, which it contemplates as the type of the 
destruction that awaits all the adversaries. Still more closely 
corresponding, however, is our Lord s prophecy regarding the 
destruction of Jerusalem and His own final advent to judge the 
world, in the twenty-fourth chapter of St Matthew s Gospel ; in 
which, undoubtedly, the nearer future is regarded as the type of 
the higher and more remote. It would almost seem as if the 
two events were, to a certain extent, thrown together in the 
prophetic delineation; for the efforts that have been made to 
separate the portions strictly applicable to each, have never 
wholly succeeded ; and more, perhaps, than any other part of 
prophetic Scripture is there the appearance here of something 
like a double sense. What reasons may have existed for this we 
can still but imperfectly apprehend. One principal reason, we 
may certainly conclude, was, that it did not accord with our 
Lord s design, as it would not have consisted with His people s 
good, to have exhibited very precise and definite prognostics of 
His second coming. The exact period behoved to be shrouded 
almost to the very last in mystery, and it seemed to Divine 
wisdom the fittest course to order the circumstances connected 
with the final act of judgment on the typical people and terri 
tory, so as to serve, at the same time, for signs and tokens of the 
last great act of judgment on the world at large. As the acts 
themselves corresponded, so there should also be a correspondence 
in the manner of their accomplishment ; and to contemplate 
the one as imaged in the other, without being able in all respects 

signs the deliverance from Babylon by Cyrus, in connection with the de 
struction of Babylon itself, as typical of the overthrow of all idolatrous and 
Satanic power, are chiefly dwelt upon, in like manner as the conviction both 
of Jews and Gentiles concerning the vanity of idols and the truth of God 
and His spiritual worship, hold the most prominent place among the con 
current means. 1 


to draw the line very accurately between them, was the whole 
that could safely be permitted to believers. 

The result, then, of the preceding investigation is, that there 
is in Scripture a fourfold combination of type with prophecy. 
In the first of these the prophetic import lies in the type, and in 
the word only as descriptive of the type. In the others there 
was not a double sense, but a double prophecy a typical pro 
phecy in action, coupled with a verbal prophecy in word ; not 
uniformly combined, however, but variously modified: in one 
class a distinct typical action, having associated with it an express 
prophetical announcement ; in another, the typical lying only as 
the background on which the spirit of prophecy raised the pre 
diction of a corresponding but much grander future ; and in still 
another, the typical belonging to a nearer future, which was 
realized as present, and taken as the occasion and groundwork of 
a prophecy respecting a future greater, and also more distant. 
It is in this last department alone that there is anything like a 
mixing up of two subjects together, and a consequent difficulty 
in determining when precisely the language refers to the nearer, 
and when to the more remote transactions. Even then, how 
ever, only in rare cases ; and with this slight exception, there 
is nothing that carries the appearance of confusion or ambiguity. 
Each part holds its appropriate place, and the connection sub 
sisting between them, in its various shapes and forms, is very 
much what might have been expected in a system so complex 
and many-sided as that to which they belonged. 

II. We proceed now to offer some remarks on the views 
generally held on the subject of the prophecies which have 
passed under our consideration. They fall into two opposite 
sections. Overlooking the real connection in such cases between 
type and prophecy, and often misapprehending the proper im 
port of the language, the opinion contended for, on the one side, 
has been, that the predictions contain a double sense the one 
primary and the other secondary, or the one literal and the other 
mystical ; while, on the contrary side, it has been maintained 
that the predictions have but one meaning, and when applied in 
New Testament Scripture, in a way not accordant with that 
meaning, it is held to be a simple accommodation of the words. 


A brief examination of the two opposing views will be sufficient 
for our purpose. 

1. And, first, in regard to the view which advocates the 
theory of the double sense. Here it has been laid down as a 
settled canon of interpretation, that " the same prophecies fre 
quently refer to different events, the one near and the other 
remote the one temporal, the other spiritual, and perhaps 
eternal ; that the expressions are partly applicable to one and 
partly to another; and that what has not been fulfilled in the 
first, we must apply to the second." If so, the conclusion seems 
inevitable, that there must be a painful degree of uncertainty 
and confusion resting on such portions of prophetic Scripture. 
And the ambiguity thus necessarily pervading them, must, one 
would think, have rendered them of comparatively little value, 
whether originally as a ground of hope to the Old Testament 
Church, or now as an evidence of faith to the New. 

Great ingenuity was certainly shown by Warburton in labour 
ing to establish the grounds of this double sense, without mate 
rially impairing in any respect the validity of the prophecy. 
The view advocated by him, however, lies open to two serious ob 
jections, which have been powerfully urged against it, especially 
by Bishop Marsh, and which have demonstrated its arbitrariness. 
1. In the first place, while it proceeds upon the supposition, that 
the double sense of prophecy is quite analogous to the double 
sense of allegory, there is in reality an essential difference be 
tween them. "When we interpret a prophecy, to which a 
double meaning is ascribed, the one relating to the Jewish, the 
other to the Christian dispensation, we are in either case con 
cerned with an interpretation of words. For the same words 
which, according to one interpretation, are applied to one event, 
are, according to another interpretation, applied to another 
event. But in the interpretation of an allegory, we are con 
cerned only in the first instance with an interpretation of words ; 
the second sense, which is usually called the allegorical, being an 
interpretation of tilings. The interpretation of the words gives 
nothing more than the plain and simple narratives themselves 
(the allegory generally assuming the form of a narrative) ; 
whereas the moral of the allegory is learnt by an application of 
the things signified by those words to other things which resemble 


them, and which the former were intended to suggest. There 
is a fundamental difference, therefore, between the interpreta 
tion of an allegory, and the interpretation of a prophecy with a 
double sense." 1 2. The view of Warburton is, besides, liable to 
the objection, that it not only affixes a necessary darkness and 
obscurity to the prophecies having the double sense, but also 
precludes the existence of any other prophecies more plain, 
direct, and explicit until at least the dispensation, under which 
the prophecies were given, and for which the double sense 
specially adapted them, was approaching its termination. He 
contends that the veiled meaning of the prophecies was neces 
sary, in order at once to awaken some general expectations 
among the Jews of better things to come, and, at the same time, 
to prevent these from being so distinctly understood as to weaken 
their regard to existing institutions. It is fatal to this view of 
the matter, that in reality many of the most direct and per 
spicacious prophecies concerning the Messiah were contem 
poraneous with those which are alleged to possess the double 
meaning and the veiled reference to the Messiah. If, therefore, 
the Divine method were such as to admit only of the one class, 
it must have been defeated by the other. And it must also have 
been not so properly a ground of blame as a matter of necessity, 
arising from the very circumstances of their position, that the 
Jews " could not stedfastly look to the end of that which was to 
be abolished." (2 Cor. iii. 13.) The reverse, however, was 
actually the case ; for the more clearly they perceived the mean 
ing of the prophecies, and the end of their symbolical institu 
tions, the more heartily did they enter into the design of God, 
and the more nearly attain the condition which it became them 
to occupy. 

These objections, however, apply chiefly to that vindication 
of the double sense which came from the hand of Warburton, 
and was interwoven with his peculiar theory. The opinion has 
since been advocated in a manner that guards it against both 
objections, and is put, perhaps, in its most approved form by 
Davison. " What," he asks, " is the double sense ? Not the 
convenient latitude of two unconnected senses, wide of each 
other, and giving room to a fallacious ambiguity, but the com- 
1 Marsh s Lectures, p. 444. 


bination of two related, analogous, and harmonizing, though 
disparate, subjects, each clear and definite in itself ; implying 
a twofold truth in the prescience, and creating an aggravated 
difficulty, and thereby an accumulated proof, in the completion. 
For a case in point : to justify the predictions concerning the 
kingdom of David in their double force, it must be shown of 
them, that they hold in each of their relations, and in each were 
fulfilled. So that the double sense of prophecy, in its true idea, 
is a check upon the pretences of a vague and unappropriated 
prediction, rather than a door to admit them. But this is not 
all. For if the prediction distribute its sense into two remote 
branches or systems of the Divine economy ; if it show not only 
what is to take place in distant times, but describe also different 
modes of God s appointment, though holding a certain and 
intelligent resemblance to each other ; such prediction becomes 
not only more convincing in the argument, but more instructive 
in the doctrine, because it expresses the correspondence of God s 
dispensations in their points of agreement, as well as His fore 
knowledge." l 

This representation so far coincides with the one given in 
the preceding pages, that it virtually recognises a combination 
of type with prophecy ; but differs in that it supposes both to 
have been included in the prediction, the one constituting the 
primary, the other the secondary, sense of its terms. And, 
undoubtedly, according to this scheme as well as our own, the 
correspondence between God s dispensations might be sufficiently 
exhibited, both in regard to doctrine and general harmony of 
arrangement. But when it is contended further, that prophecy 
with such a double sense, instead of rendering the evidence it 
furnishes of Divine foresight more vague and unsatisfactory, 
only supplies an accumulated proof of it by creating an aggra 
vated difficulty in the fulfilment, it seems to be forgotten that 
the terms of the prediction, to admit of such a duplicate fulfil 
ment, must have been made so much more general and vague. 
But it is the precision and defimteness of the terms in a pre 
diction which, when compared with the facts in providence that 
verify them, chiefly produce in our minds a conviction of Divine 
foresight and direction. And in so far as prophecies might have 
1 Davison on Prophecy, p. 196. 


been constructed to comprehend two series of disparate events, 
holding in each of the relations, and in each fulfilled, it could 
only be by dispensing with the more exact criteria, which we 
cannot help regarding in such cases as the most conclusive 
evidence of prophetic inspiration. 

But as it was by no means the sole object of prophecy to 
provide this evidence, so predictions without such exact criteria 
are by no means wanting in the word of God. There are pro 
phecies which were not so much designed to foretell definite 
events, as to unfold great prospects and results, in respect to 
the manifestation of God s purposes of grace and truth toward 
men. Such prophecies were of necessity general and compre 
hensive in their terms, and admitted of manifold fulfilments. 
It is of them that we would understand the singularly pregnant 
and beautiful remark of Lord Bacon in the Second Book of the 
Advancement of Learning, that "Divine prophecies, being of 
the nature of their Author, with whom a thousand years are 
but as one day, are therefore not fulfilled punctually at once, 
but have springing and germinant accomplishment ; though the 
height or fulness of them may refer to some one age." The 
very first prophecy ever uttered to fallen man, the promise 
given of a seed through the woman which should bruise the 
head of the serpent, and that afterwards given to Abraham of 
a seed of blessing, may be fitly specified as illustrations of the 
principle ; since in either case though by virtue, not of a double 
sense, but of a wide and comprehensive import a fulfilment 
from the first was constantly proceeding, while " the height and 
fulness" of the predicted good could only be reached in the 
redemption of Christ and the glories of His kingdom. 

To return, however, to the matter at issue, we have yet to 
press our main objection to the theory of the double sense of 
prophecy ; we dispute the fact on which it is founded, that 
there really are prophecies (with the partial exceptions already 
noticed) predictive of similar though disparate series of events, 
strictly applicable to each, and in each finding their fulfilment. 
This necessarily forms the main position of the advocates of the 
double sense ; and when brought to particulars, they constantly 
fail to establish it. The terms of the several predictions are 
sure to be put to the torture, in order to get one of the two 


senses extracted from them. And the violent interpretations 
resorted to for the purpose of effecting this, afford one of the 
most striking proofs of the blinding influence which a theoreti 
cal bias may exert over the mind. Such psalms, for example, 
as the second and forty-fifth, which are so distinctly charac 
teristic of the Messiah, that some learned commentators have 
abandoned their early predilections to interpret them wholly of 
Him, are yet ascribed by the advocates of the double sense as 
well to David as to Christ. Nay, by a singular inversion of 
the usual meaning of words, they call the former the literal, 
and the latter their figurative or secondary sense, although 
this last is the only one the words can strictly bear. 

There is no greater success in most other cases ; let us take 
but one example : " Thou shalt not leave my soul in hell ; 
neither wilt Thou suffer Thine Holy One to see corruption. 
Thou wilt make known to me the path of life : in Thy presence 
is fulness of joy ; and at Thy right hand are pleasures for ever 
more." These words in the sixteenth Psalm were applied by 
the Apostle Peter to Christ, as finding in the events of His 
history their only proper fulfilment. David, he contends, could 
not have been speaking directly of himself, since he had seen 
corruption ; and instead of regaining the path of life, and ascend 
ing into the presence of God (namely, in glorified humanity), 
had suffered, as all knew, the common lot of nature. And so, 
the Apostle infers, the words should be understood more imme 
diately of Christ, in whose history alone they could properly be 
said to be accomplished. Warburton, however, inverts this 
order. Of the deliverance from hell, the freedom from corrup 
tion, and the return to the paths of life, he says, " Though it 
literally signifies security from the curse of the law upon trans 
gressors, viz., immature death, yet it may very reasonably be 
understood in a spiritual sense of the resurrection of Christ 
from the dead ; in which case the words or terms translated 
soul and hell are left in the meaning they bear in the Hebrew 
tongue of body and grave /" He does not, of course, deny that 
Peter claimed the passage as a prophecy of Christ s resurrec 
tion ; but maintains that he does so, " no otherwise than by 
giving it a secondary or spiritual sense." In such a style of 
interpretation, one cannot but feel as if the terms primary and 


secondary, literal and spiritual, had somehow come to exchange 
places ; since the plain import of the words seems to carry us 
directly to Christ, while it requires a certain strain to be put 
upon them before they can properly apply to the case of 

Such, indeed, is what usually happens with the instances 
selected by the advocates of this theory. The double sense they 
contend for does not strictly hold in both of the relations ; and 
very commonly what is contended for as the immediate and 
primary, is the sense that is least accordant with the grammati 
cal import of the words. We, therefore, reject it as a satisfac 
tory explanation of a numerous class of prophecies, and on three 
several grounds : First, because it so ravels and complicates the 
meaning of the prophecies to which it is applied, as to involve 
us in painful doubt and uncertainty regarding their proper 
application. Secondly, should this be avoided, it can only arise 
from the prophecies being of so general and comprehensive a 
nature, as to be incapable of a very close and specific fulfilment. 
And, finally, when applied to particular examples, the theory 
practically gives way, as the terms employed in all the more im 
portant predictions are too definite and precise to admit of more 
than one proper fulfilment. 

2. We turn now, in the last place, to the mode of propheti 
cal interpretation which has commonly prevailed with those who 
have ranged themselves in opposition to the theory of the double 
sense. The chief defect in this class of interpreters consists in 
their having failed to take sufficiently into account the connec 
tion subsisting between the Old and the New Testament dis 
pensations. They have hence generally given only a partial view 
of the relations involved in particular prophecies, and not unfre- 
quently have confined the application of these to circumstances 
which only supplied the occasion of their delivery, and the form 
of their delineations. The single sense contended for has thus 
too often differed materially from the real sense. And many 
portions of the Psalms and other prophetical Scriptures, which 
in New Testament Scripture itself are applied to Gospel times, 
have been stript of their evangelical import, on the ground that 
the writer of the prophecy must have had in view some events 
immediately affecting himself or his country, and that no further 


use, except by way of accommodation, can legitimately be made 
of the words he uttered. 

Such, for example, has been the way that the remarkable 
prophecy in Isaiah, respecting the son to be born of a virgin 
(ch. vii. 14-16), has often been treated. The words of the pro 
phecy are, " Behold the virgin conceiveth and beareth a son, 
and she shall call his name Immanuel. Butter [rather milk] 
and honey shall he eat, when he shall know (or that he may 
know) to refuse what is evil and choose what is good ; for before 
this child shall know to refuse the evil, and to choose the good, 
the land shall become desolate, by whose two kings thou art dis 
tressed." We have what may justly be called two inspired com 
mentaries on this prediction, one in the Old, and another in the 
New Testament. The prophet Micah, the contemporary of 
Isaiah, evidently referring to the words before us, says, im 
mediately after announcing the birth of the future Ruler of 
Israel at Bethlehem, "Therefore will he give them up, until 
the time that she who shall bear hath brought forth" (v. 3). 
The peculiar expression, " she who shall bear," points to the 
already designated mother of the Divine King, but only in this 
prediction of Isaiah designated as the virgin ; so that, in the 
language of Rosenmiiller, " both predictions throw light on each 
other. Micah discloses the Divine origin of the Person pre 
dicted ; Isaiah the wonderful manner of His birth." The other 
allusion in inspired Scripture is by St Matthew, when, relating 
the miraculous circumstances of Christ s birth, he adds, " Now 
all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of 
the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold a virgin shall be with 
child," etc. And the prophecy, as Bishop Lowth has well 
stated, " is introduced in so solemn a manner ; the sign is so 
marked, as a sign selected and given by God himself, after Ahaz 
had rejected the offer of any sign of his own choosing out of the 
whole compass of nature; the terms of the prophecy are so 
peculiar, and the name of the child so expressive, containing in 
them much more than the circumstances of the birth of a com 
mon child required, or even admitted ; that we may easily sup 
pose, that in minds prepared by the general expectation of a 
great deliverer to spring from the house of David, they raised 
hopes far beyond what the present occasion suggested ; especially 


when it was found, that in the subsequent prophecy, delivered 
immediately afterward, this child, called Immanuel, is treated as 
the Lord and Prince of Judah. (Ch. viii. 810.) Who could 
this be, other than the heir of the throne of David? under 
which character a great and even a Divine person had been 

These things leave little doubt as to the real bearing of the 
prophecy. But as originally delivered, it is connected with two 
peculiarities : the one that it is given as a sign to the house of 
David, then represented by the wicked Ahaz, and trembling for 
fear on account of the combined hostility of Syria and Israel ; 
the other that it is succeeded by a word to the prophet con 
cerning a son to be born to him by the prophetess, which should 
not be able to cry, My Father, before the king of Assyria had 
spoiled both the kingdoms of Syria and Israel. (Ch. viii. 1-4.) 
And it has been thought, from these peculiarities, that it was 
really this son of the prophet that was meant by the Immanuel, 
as this alone could be a proper sign to Ahaz of the deliverance 
that was to be so speedily granted to him from the object of his 
dread. So Grotius, who holds that St Matthew only applied it 
mystically to Christ, and a whole host of interpreters since, of 
whom many can think of no better defence for the Evangelist 
than that, as the words of the prophet were more elevated 
and full than the immediate occasion demanded, they might be 
said to be fulfilled in what more nearly accorded with them. 
Apologies of this kind, it is easy to be seen, will not avail much 
in the present day to save the honesty or discernment, to say 
nothing of the inspired authority, of the Evangelist. But there 
is really no need for them. It is quite arbitrary to suppose that 
the child to be born of the prophetess (an ideal child, we should 
imagine, conceived and born in prophetic vision since other 
wise it would seem to have been born in fornication) is to be 
identified with the virgin s son; the rather so, as an entirely 
different name is given to it (Maher-shalal-hash-baz), an ideal 
but descriptive name, and pointing simply to the spoliation that 
was to be effected on the hostile kingdoms. Immanuel has 
another, a higher import, and bespeaks what the Lord should 
be to the covenant-people, not what He should do to the ene 
mies. Nor is the other circumstance, of the word being uttered 


as a sign to the house of David, any reason for turning it from 
its natural sense and application. A sign in the ordinary sense 
had been refused, under a pretence of pious trust in God, but 
really from a feeling of distrust and improper reliance on an 
arm of flesh. And now the Lord gives a sign in a peculiar 
sense, much as Jesus met the craving of an adulterous gene 
ration for a sign from heaven, by giving the sign of the prophet 
Jonas the reverse of what they either wished or expected, a 
sign, not from heaven, but from the lower parts of the earth. 
So here, by announcing the birth of Immanuel, the prophet 
gave a sign suited to the time of backsliding and apostacy in 
which he lived. For it told the house of David, that, wearying 
God as they were doing by their sins, He would vindicate His 
cause in a way they little expected or desired ; that He would 
secure the establishment of His covenant with the house of 
David, by raising up a child in whom the Divine should actually 
commingle with the human ; but that this child should be the 
offspring of some unknown virgin, not of Ahaz or of any ordi 
nary occupant of the throne ; and that, meanwhile, everything 
should go to desolation and ruin first, indeed, in the allied 
kingdoms of Israel and Syria (ver. 16), but afterwards also in 
the kingdom of Judah (vers. 1725) ; so that the destined pos 
sessor of the throne, when he came, should find all in a pro 
strate condition, and grow up like one in an impoverished and 
stricken country, fed with the simple fare of a cottage shepherd 
(comp. ver. 16 with 22). Thus understood, the whole is 
entirely natural and consistent ; and the single sense of the 
prophecy proves to be identical, as well with the native force 
of the words, as with the interpretations of inspired men. 

We have selected this as one of the most common and 
plausible specimens of the false style of interpretation to which 
we have referred. It is needless to adduce more, as the explana 
tions given in the earlier part of the chapter have already met 
many of them by anticipation ; and the supplementary treatise 
in the Appendix will supply what further may be needed. If 
but honestly and earnestly dealt with, the Scripture has no reason 
to fear, in this or in other departments, the closest investigation ; 
the more there is of rigid inquiry, displacing superficial con 
siderations, the more will its inner truth and harmony appear. 



IT was one of the objections urged against the typological views 
of our elder divines, that their system admitted of no fixed or 
definite rules being laid down for guiding us to the knowledge 
and interpretation of particular types. Everything was left to 
the discretion or caprice of the individual who undertook to in 
vestigate them. The few directions that were sometimes given 
upon the subject were too vague and general to be of any mate 
rial service. That the type must have borne, in its original 
design and institution, a pre-ordained reference to the Gospel 
antitype that there is often more in the type than in the anti 
type, and more in the antitype than the type that there must 
be a natural and appropriate application of the one to the other 
that the wicked as such, and acts of sin as such, must be ex 
cluded from the category of types that one thing is sometimes 
the type of different and even contrary things, though in dif 
ferent respects and that there is sometimes an interchange 
between the type and the antitype of the names respectively be 
longing to each : These rules of interpretation, which are the 
whole that Glassius and other hermeneutical writers furnish for 
our direction, could not go far, either to restrain the licence of 
conjecture, or to mark out the particular course of thought and 
inquiry that should be pursued. They can scarcely be said to 
touch the main difficulties of the subject, and throw no light on 
its more distinguishing peculiarities. Nor, indeed, could any 
other result have been expected. The rules could not be precise 
or definite, when the system on which they were founded was 
altogether loose and indeterminate. And only with the laying 
of a more solid and stable foundation could directions for the 
practical treatment of the subject come to possess any measure 
of satisfaction or explicitness. 


Even on the supposition that some progress has now been 
made in laying such a foundation, we cannot hold out the pros 
pect, that no room shall be left for dubiety, and that all may be 
reduced to a kind of dogmatical precision and certainty. It 
would be unreasonable to expect this, considering both the 
peculiar character and the manifold variety of the field em 
braced by the Typology of Scripture. That there may still be 
particular cases in which it will be questionable whether any 
thing properly typical belonged to them, and others in which a 
diversity of view may be allowable in explaining what is typical, 
seems to us by no means improbable. And in the specific rules 
or principles of interpretation that follow, we do not aim at dis 
pelling every possible doubt and ambiguity connected with the 
subject, but only at fixing its more prominent and characteristic 
outlines. We believe, that with ordinary care and discretion, 
they will be sufficient to guard against material error. 

I. The first principle we lay down has respect merely to the 
amount of what is typical in Old Testament Scripture ; it is, 
that nothing is to be regarded as typical of the good things under 
the Gospel^ which was itself of a forbidden and sinful nature. 
Something approximating to this has been mentioned among the 
too general and obvious directions which philological writers 
have been accustomed to give upon the subject. It is, indeed, 
so much of that description, that though in itself a principle 
most necessary to be observed and acted on, yet we should have 
refrained from any express announcement or formal proof of it 
here, were it not still frequently set at naught, alike in theologi 
cal discussions and in popular discourses. 

The ground of the principle, in the form here given to it, lies 
in the connection which the type has with the antitype, and con 
sequently with God. The antitype standing in the things which 
belong to God s everlasting kingdom, is necessarily of God; and 
so, by a like necessity, the type, which was intended to fore 
shadow and prepare for it, must have been equally of Him. 
Whether a symbol in religion or a fact in providence, it must 
have borne upon it the Divine sanction and approval ; otherwise 
there could have been no proper connection between the ultimate 
reality and its preparatory exhibitions. So far as the institu- 


tions of religion are concerned, this is readily admitted ; and no 
one would think of contending for the idolatrous rites of worship 
which were sometimes introduced into the services of the sanc 
tuary, being ranked among the shadows of the better things to 

But there is not the same readiness to perceive the incon 
gruity of admitting to the rank of types, actions which were as 
far from being accordant with the mind of God, as the impurities 
of an idolatrous worship. Such actions might, no doubt, differ 
in one respect from the forbidden services of religion ; they 
might in some way be overruled by God for the accomplishment 
of His own purposes, and thereby be brought into a certain con 
nection with Himself. This was never more strikingly done 
than in respect to the things which befell Jesus the great 
antitype which were carried into effect by the operation of the 
fiercest malice and wickedness, and yet were the very things 
which the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God had 
appointed before to be done. It is one thing, however, for 
human agents and their actions being controlled and directed 
by God, so as, amid all their impetuosity and uproar, to be con 
strained to work out His righteous purposes ; but another thing 
for them to stand in such close relationship to Him, that they 
become express and authoritative revelations of His will. This 
last is the light in which they must be contemplated, if a typical 
character is ascribed to them. For the time during which typi 
cal things lasted, they stood as temporary representations under 
God s own hand of what He was going permanently to establish 
under the Gospel. And, therefore, as amid those higher trans 
actions, where the antitype comes into play, we exclude what 
ever was the offspring of human ignorance or sinfulness ; so in 
the earlier and inferior transactions, which were typical of what 
was to come, we must, in like manner, exclude the workings of 
all earthly and sinful affections. The typical and the antitypi- 
cal alike must bear on them the image and superscription of 

Violations of this obvious principle are much less frequently 
met with now, than they were in the theological writings of 
last century. Still, however, instances are occasionally forcing 
themselves on one s notice. And in popular discourses, none 


perhaps occurs more frequently than that connected with 
Jacob s melancholy dissimulation and cunning policy for ob 
taining the blessing. His receiving the blessing, we are some 
times told, in the garments of Esau, which his mother arrayed 
him with, " is to be viewed as a faint shadow of our receiving 
the blessing from God in the garments of Jesus Christ, which 
all the children of the promise wear. It was not the feigned 
venison, but the borrowed garments, that procured the bless 
ing. Even so, we are not blessed by God for our good works, 
however pleasing to Him, but for the righteousness of our 
Redeemer." What a confounding of things that differ ! The 
garments of the " profane " Esau made to image the spotless 
righteousness of Jesus ! And the fraudulent use of the one by 
Jacob, viewed as representing the believer s simple and confid 
ing trust in the other ! Between things so essentially different 
there can manifestly be nothing but superficial resemblances, 
which necessarily vanish the moment the real facts of the case 
rise into view. It was not Jacob s imposing upon his father s 
infirmities, either with false venison or with borrowed garments, 
which in reality procured for him the blessing. The whole that 
can be said of these is, that in the actual circumstances of the 
case they had a certain influence, of an instrumental kind, in 
leading Isaac to pronounce it. But what had been thus spoken 
on false grounds and under mistaken apprehensions, might 
surely have been recalled when the truth came to be known. 
The prophet Nathan, at a later age, found no difficulty in 
revoking the word he had too hastily spoken to David respect 
ing the building of the temple, though it had been elicited by 
something very different from falsehood by novel and un 
expected display of real goodness. (2 Sam. vii. o.) And in 
the case now under consideration, if there had been nothing 
more in the matter than the mock venison and the hairy 
garments of Esau, there can be little doubt that the blessing 
that had been pronounced would have been instantly withdrawn, 
and the curse which Jacob dreaded made to take its place. 
In truth, Isaac erred in what he purposed to do, not less than 
Jacob in beguiling him to do what he had not purposed. He 
was going to utter in God s name a prophetic word, which, if it 
had taken effect as he intended, would have contravened the 

VOL. I. M 


oracle originally given to Rebekah concerning the two children, 
even prior to their birth that the elder should serve the 
younger. And there were not wanting indications in the spirit 
and behaviour of the sons, after they had sprung to manhood, 
which might have led a mind of spiritual discernment to descry 
in Jacob, rather than Esau, the heir of blessing. But living 
as Isaac had done for the most part of his life in a kind of 
luxurious ease, in his declining years especially yielding too 
much to the fleshly indulgences assiduously ministered to by 
the hand of Esau, the eye of his mind, like that of his body, 
grew dim, and he lost the correct perception of the truth. But 
when he saw how the providence of God had led him to bestow 
the blessing, otherwise than he himself had designed, the truth 
rushed at once upon his soul. " He trembled exceedingly "- 
not simply, nor perhaps chiefly, because of the deceit that had 
been practised upon his blindness, but because of the worse 
spiritual blindness which had led him to err so grievously from 
the revealed purpose of God. And hence, even after the dis 
covery of Jacob s fraudulent behaviour, he declared with the 
strongest emphasis, " Yea, and he shall be blessed." 

Thus, when the real circumstances of the case are con 
sidered, there appears no ground whatever for connecting the 
improper conduct of Jacob with the mode of a sinner s justifi 
cation. The resemblances that may be found between them 
are quite superficial or arbitrary. And such always are the 
resemblances which appear between the workings of evil in 
man, and the 0od that is of God. The two belong to essen- 

/ C? c"? 

tially different spheres, and a real analogy or a divinely or 
dained connection cannot possibly unite them together. The 
principle, however, may be carried a step farther. As the 
operations of sin cannot prefigure the actings of righteousness, 
so the direct results and consequences of sin cannot justly be 
regarded as typical representations of the exercises of grace and 
holiness. When, therefore (to refer again to the history of 
Jacob), the things that befell him in God s providence, on 
account of his unbrotherly and deceitful conduct, are repre 
sented as typical foreshado wings of Christ s work of humilia 
tion Jacob s withdrawal from his father s house, prefiguring 
Christ s leaving the region of glory and appearing as a stranger 


on the earth Jacob s sleeping on the naked ground with 
nothing but a stone for his pillow, Christ s descent into the 
lowest depths of poverty and shame, that he might afterwards 
be exalted to the head-stone of the corner, and so forth; 1 in 
such representations there is manifestly a stringing together of 
events which have no fundamental agreement, and possess no 
mutual relations. In the one case Jacob was merely suffering 
the just reward of his misdeeds; while the Redeemer in the 
other and alleged parallel transactions, was voluntarily giving 
the highest display of the holy love that animated His bosom 
for the good of men. And whatever there might be in certain 
points of an outward and formal resemblance between them, it 
is in the nature of things impossible that there could be a real 
harmony and an ordained connection. 

It is to be noted, however, that we apply the principle now 
under consideration to the extent merely of denying a typical 
connection between what in former times appeared of evil on 
the part of man, and the good subsequently introduced by God. 
And we do so on the ground that such things only as He sanc 
tioned and approved in the past, could foreshadow the higher 
and better things which were to be sanctioned and approved by 
Him in the future. But as all the manifestations of truth have 
their corresponding and antagonistic manifestations of error, it 
is perfectly warrantable and scriptural to regard the form of 
evil which from time to time confronted the type, as itself the 
type of something similar, which should afterwards arise as a 
counter form of evil to the antitype. Antichrist, therefore, may 
be said to have had his types as well as Christ. Hagar was the 
type of a carnal church, that should be in bondage to the 
elements of the world, and of a spirit at enmity with God, as 
Sarah was of a spiritual church, that should possess the freedom 
and enjoy the privileges of the children of God. Egypt, Edom, 
Assyria, Babylon without, and Saul, Ahithophel, Absalom, and 
others within the circle of the Old Covenant, have each their 
counterpart in the things belonging to the history of Christ and 
His Church of the New Testament. In strictness of speech, it 
is the other class of relations alone which carry with them the 
impress and ordination of God ; but as God s acts and operations 
1 Kanne s Christus in Alleii Testament, Th. ii., p. 133, etc. 


in His Church never fail to call into existence the world s enmity 
and opposition, so the forms which this assumed in earlier times 
might well be regarded as prophetic of those which were after 
wards to appear. And if so with the evil itself, still more with 
the visitations of severity sent to chastise the evil; for these 
come directly from God. The judgments, therefore, He inflicted 
on iniquity in the past, typified like judgments on all similar 
aspects of iniquity in the future. And the period when the good 
shall reach its full development and final triumph, shall also be 
that in which the work of judgment shall pour its floods of per 
petual desolation upon the evil. 

II. We pass on to another, which must still also be a some 
what negative principle of interpretation, viz., that in determin 
ing the existence and import of particular types, we must be 
guided, not so much by any knowledge possessed, or supposed to 
be possessed, by the ancient worshippers concerning their prospec 
tive fulfilment, as from the light furnished by their realization in 
the great facts and revelations of the Gospel. 

Whether we look to the symbolical or to the historical types, 
neither their own nature, nor God s design in appointing them, 
could warrant us in drawing very definite and conclusive infer 
ences regarding the insight possessed by the Old Testament 
worshippers into their prospective or Gospel import. The one 
formed part of an existing religion, and the other of a course of 
providential dealings ; and in that more immediate respect there 
were certain truths they embodied, and certain lessons they 
taught, for those who had directly to do with them. Their fit 
ness for unfolding such truths and lessons formed, as we have 


seen, the groundwork of their typical connection with Gospel 
times. But though they must have been understood in that 
primary aspect by all sincere and intelligent worshippers, these 
did not necessarily perceive their further reference to the things 
of Christ s kingdom. Nor does the reality or the precise import 
of their typical character depend upon the correctness or the 
extent of the knowledge held respecting it by the members of 
the Old Covenant. For the connection implied in their pos 
sessing such a character between the preparatory and the final 
dispensations was not of the Church s forming, but of God s ; 


and a very considerable part of the design which He intended 
these to serve with ancient believers, may have been accom 
plished, though they knew little, and perhaps in some cases 
nothing, of the germs that lay concealed in them of better things 
to come. These germs iue?e concealed in all typical events and 
institutions, considered simply by themselves since the events 
and institutions had a significance and use for the time then 
present, apart from what might be evolved in the future pur 
poses of God. Now, we are expressly told, even in regard to 
direct prophecies of Gospel times, that not only the persons to 
whom they were originally delivered, but the very individuals 
through whom they were communicated, did not always or 
necessarily understand their precise meaning. Sometimes, at 
least, they had to assume the position of inquirers, in order to 
get the more exact and definite information which they desired 
(Dan. xii. 8 ; 1 Pet. i. 12) ; and it would seem, from the case 
of Daniel, that even then they did not always obtain it. The 
prophets were not properly the authors of their own predictions, 
but spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. Their 
knowledge, therefore, of the real meaning of the prophecies 
they uttered, was an entirely separate thing from the prophecies 
themselves ; and if we knew what it was, it would still by no 
means conclusively fix their full import. Such being the case 
in regard even to the persons who uttered the spoken and direct 
prophecies of the Old Testament, how preposterous would it 
be to make the insight obtained by believers generally into 
the indirect and veiled prophecies (as the types may be called), 
the ground and standard of the Gospel truth they embodied ! 
In each case alike, it is the mind of God, not the discernment 
or faith of the ancient believer, that we have properly to do 

Obvious as this may appear to some, it has been very com 
monly overlooked ; and typical explanations have in consequence 
too often taken the reverse direction of what they should have 
done. Writers in this department are constantly telling us, how 
in former times the eye of faith looked through the present to 
the future, and assigning that as the reason why our present 
should be contemplated in the remote past. Thus, in a once 
popular work, Adam is represented as having "believed the 


promise concerning Christ, in whose commemoration he offered 
continual sacrifice ; and in the assurance thereof he named his 
wife Eee, that is to say, life, and he called his son Seth, settled, 
or persuaded in Christ." 1 Another exalts in like manner the 
faith of Zipporah, and regards her, when she said to Moses, 
" A bloody husband thou art, because of the circumcision," as 
announcing " through one of her children, the Jehovah as the 
future Redeemer and bridegroom." 2 Another presents Moses 
to our view as wondering at the ^reat sio;ht of the burning bush. 

O O O O 7 

" because the great mystery of the incarnation and sufferings of 
Christ was there represented ; a great sight he might well call 
it, when there was represented God manifest in the flesh, suffer 
ing a dreadful death, and rising from the dead." 3 And Owen, 
speaking of the Old Testament believers generally, says, " Their 
faith in God was not confined to the outward things they en 
joyed, but on Christ in them, and represented by them. They 
believed that they were only resemblances of Him and His 
mediation, which, when they lost the faith of, they lost all 
acceptance with God in their worship." 4 Writers of a different 
class, and of later date, have followed substantially in the same 
track. Warburton maintains with characteristic dogmatism, 
that the transaction with Abraham, in offering up Isaac, was a 
typical action, in which the patriarch had scenically represented 
to his view the sufferings, death, and resurrection of Christ; 
and that on any other supposition there can be no right under 
standing of the matter. 5 Dean Graves expresses his concurrence 
in this interpretation, as does also Mr Faber, who says that 
" Abraham must have clearly understood the nature of that 
awful transaction by which the day of Christ was to be charac- 

1 Fisher s Marrow of Modern Divinity, P. 1, c. 2. 

2 Kanne s Christus in Alt. Test., I., p. 100. 

8 History of Redemption, by Jonathan Edwards. Period I., p. 4. 

4 Owen on Heb. viii. 5. In another part of his writings, however, we 
find him saying, "Although those (Old Testament) things are now full of 
light and instruction to us, evidently expressing the principal works of 
Christ s mediation, yet they were not so unto them. The meanest believer 
may now find out more of the work of Christ in the types of the Old Testa 
ment, than any prophet or wise man could have done of old." On the 
Person of Christ, ch. 8. 

5 Legation of Moses, B. vi., sec. 5. 


terizcd, and could not have been ignorant of the benefits about 
to be procured by it." 1 And, to mention no more, Chevallier 
intimates a doubt concerning the typical character of the brazen 
serpent, because " it is not plainly declared, either in the Old or 
the New Testament, to have been ordained by God purposely to 
represent to the Israelites the future mysteries of the Gospel 
revelation." 2 

These quotations sufficiently show how current the opinion 
has been, and still is, that the persons who lived amid the types 
must have perfectly understood their typical character, and that 
by their knowledge in this respect we are bound in great mea 
sure, if not entirely, to regulate ours. It is, however, a very 
difficult question, and one (as we have already had occasion to 
state) on which we should seldom venture to give more than an 
approximate deliverance, how far the realities typified even by 
the more important symbols and transactions of ancient times 
were distinctly perceived by any individual who lived prior to 
their actual appearance. The reason for this uncertainty and 
probable ignorance is the same with that which has been so 
clearly exhibited by Bishop Horsley, and applied in refutation 
of an infidel objection, in the closely related field of prophecy. 
It was necessary, for the very ends of prophecy, that a certain 
disguise should remain over the events it foretold, till they be 
came facts in providence ; and therefore, " whatever private 
information the prophet might enjoy, the Spirit of God would 
never permit him to disclose the ultimate intent and particular 
meaning of the prophecy." 3 Types being a species of prophecy, 
and from their nature less precise and determinate in meaning, 
they must certainly have been placed under the veil of a not 
inferior disguise. Whatever insight more advanced believers 
might have had into their ultimate design, it could neither be 
distinctly announced, nor, if announced, serve as a sufficient 
directory for us ; it could only furnish, according to the measure 
of light it contained, comfort and encouragement to themselves. 
And whether that measure might be great or small, vague and 
general, or minute and particular, we should not be bound, even 
if we knew it, to abide by its rule ; for here, as in prophecy, the 

1 Treatise on the Three Dispensations, vol. ii., p. 57. 

2 Historical Types, p. 221. 3 Ilorsley s Works, vol. i., p. 271-273. 


judgment of the early Church "must still bow down to time as 
a more informed expositor." 

That the sincere worshippers of God in former ages, espe 
cially such as possessed the higher degrees of spiritual thought 
and discernment, were acquainted not only with God s general 
purpose of redemption, but also with some of its more prominent 
features and results, we have no reason to doubt. It is impos 
sible to read those portions of Old Testament Scripture which 
disclose the feelings and expectations of gifted rninds, without 
being convinced that considerable light was sometimes obtained 
respecting the work of salvation. We shall find an opportunity 
for inquiring more particularly concerning this, when we come 
to treat, in a subsequent part of our investigations, respecting 
the connection between the moral legislation and the ceremonial 
institutions of Moses. But that the views even of the better 
part of the Old Testament worshippers must have been com 
paratively dim, and that their acceptance as worshippers did not 
depend upon the clearness of their discernment in regard to the 
person and kingdom of Christ, is evident from what was stated 
in our second chapter as to the relatively imperfect nature of the 
earlier dispensations, and the childhood-state of those who lived 
under them. It was the period when, as is expressly stated in 
the Epistle to the Hebrews (chap. ix. 8), "the way into the 
holiest of all was not yet made manifest ; " or, in other words, 
when the method of salvation was not fully disclosed to the view 
of God s people. And though we may not be warranted to con 
sider what is written of the closing age of Old Testament times 
as a fair specimen of their general character, yet we cannot shut 
our eyes to the fact, that not only did much prevailing ignorance 
then exist concerning the better things of the New Covenant, 
but that instances occur even of genuine believers, who still be 
trayed an utter misapprehension of their proper nature. Thus 
Nathaniel was pronounced " an Israelite indeed, in whom there 
was no guile," while he obviously laboured under inadequate 
views of Christ s person and work. And no sooner had Peter 
received the peculiar benediction bestowed, on account of his 
explicit confession of the truth, than he gave evidence of his 
ignorance of the design, and his repugnance to the thought, of 
Christ s sufferings and death. Such things occurring on the 


very boundary-line between the Old and the New, and after the 
clearer light of the New had begun to be partially introduced, 
render it plain, that they may also have existed, and in all pro 
bability did not unfrequently prevail, even among the believing 
portion of Israel in remoter times. 

But such being the case, it would manifestly be travelling in 
the wrong direction to make the knowledge, which was possessed 
by ancient believers regarding the prospective import of parti 
cular types, the measure of our own. The providential arrange 
ments and religious institutions which constitute the types, had 
an end to serve, independently of their typical design, in mini 
stering to the present wants of believers, and nourishing in their 
souls the life of faith. Their more remote and typical import 
was for us, even more than for those who had immediately to 
do with them. It does not rest upon the more or less imperfect 
information such persons might have had concerning it ; but 
chiefly on the light furnished by the records of the New Testa 
ment, and thence reflected on those of the Old. " It is Christ 
who holds the key of the types, not Moses ; " and instead of 
making everything depend upon the still doubtful inquiry, What 
did pious men of old descry of Gospel realities through the 
shadowy forms of typical institutions ? we must repair to these 
realities themselves, and by the light radiating from them over 
the past, as well as the present and future things of God, read 
the evidence of that " testimony of Jesus," which lies written 
in the typical not less than in the prophetical portions of ancient 

III. But if in this respect we have comparatively little to do 
with the views of those who lived under former dispensations, 
there is another respect in which we have much to do with 
them. And our next principle of interpretation is, that we 
must always, in the first instance, be careful to make ourselves 
acquainted ivith the truths or ideas exhibited in the types, con 
sidered merely as providential transactions or religious institutions. 
In other words, we are to find in what they were in their im 
mediate relation to the patriarchal or Jewish worshipper, the 
foundation and substance of what they typically present to the 
Christian Church. 


There is no contrariety between this principle and the one 
last announced. We had stated, that in endeavouring to ascer 
tain the reality and the nature of a typical connection between 
Old and New Testament affairs, we are not to reason downward 
from what might be known of this in earlier times, but rather 
upward from what may now be known of it, in consequence of 
the clearer light and higher revelations of the Gospel. What 
we farther state now is, that the religious truths and ideas which 
were embodied in the typical events and institutions of former 
times, must be regarded as forming the ground and limit of 
their prospective reference to the affairs of Christ s kingdom. 
That they had a moral, political, or religious end to serve for 
the time then present, so far from interfering with their desti 
nation to typify the spiritual things of the Gospel, forms the 
very ground and substance of their typical bearing. Hence 
their character in the one respect, the more immediate, may 
justly be regarded as the essential key to their character in 
respect to what was more remote. 

This principle of interpretation grows so necessarily out of 
the views advanced in the earlier and more fundamental parts 
of our inquiry, that it must here be held as in a manner proved. 
Its validity must stand or fall with that of the general princi 
ples we have sought to establish, as to the relation between type 
and antitype. That relation, it has been our object to show, 
rests on something deeper than merely outward resemblances. 
It rests rather on the essential unity of the things so related, on 
their being alike embodiments of the same principles of Divine 
truth ; but embodiments in the case of the type, on a lower and 
earthly scale, and as a designed preparation for the higher de 
velopment afterwards to be made in the Gospel. That, there 
fore, which goes first in the nature of things, must also go first 
in any successful effort to trace the connection between them. 
And the question, What elements of Divine truth are symbol 
ized in the type I must take precedence of the other question, 
How did the type foreshadow the greater realities of the anti 
type ? For it is in the solution we obtain for the one, that a 
foundation is to be laid for the solution of the other. 

It is only by keeping stedfastly to this rule, that we shall be 
able, in the practical department of our inquiry, to direct our 


thoughts to substantial, as opposed to merely superficial and 
fanciful, resemblances. The palpable want of discrimination in 
this respect, between what is essential and what is only acci 
dental, formed one of the leading defects in our elder writers. 
And it naturally sprang from too exclusive a regard to the anti 
type, as if the things belonging to it being fully ascertained, we 
were at liberty to connect it with everything formally resem 
bling it in ancient times, whether really akin in nature to it or 
not. Thus, when Kanne, in a passage formerly referred to, 
represents the stone which Jacob took for his pillow at Bethel, 
as a type of Christ in His character as the foundation-stone of 
His Church, there is, no doubt, a kind of outward similarity, so 
that the same language may, in a sense, be applied to both ; but 
there is no common principle uniting them together. The use 
which Jacob made of the stone was quite different from that in 
respect to which Christ is exhibited as the stone laid in Zion 
being laid not for the repose or slumber, but for the stability 
and support, of a ransomed people. For this the strength and 
durability of a rock were absolutely indispensable ; but they con 
tributed nothing to the fitness of what Jacob s necessities drove 
him to employ as a temporary pillow. It was his misfortune, not 
his privilege, to be obliged to resort to a stone for such a purpose. 
We had occasion formerly to describe in what manner the 
lifting up of the brazen serpent in the wilderness might be 
regarded as typical of the lifting up of a crucified Redeemer ; 
by showing how the inferior objects and relations of the one 
had their correspondence in the higher objects and relations of 
the other! 1 But suppose we should proceed in the opposite 
direction, and should take these higher objects and relations of 
the antitype as the rule and measure of what we are to expect 
in the type ; then, having a far wider and more complicated 
subject for our starting-point, we should naturally set about 
discovering many slight and superficial analogies in the type, to 
bring it into a fuller correspondence with the antitype. This is 
what many have actually done who have treated of the subject. 
Hence we find them expatiating upon the metal of which the 
serpent was formed, and which, from being inferior to some 
others, they regard as foreshadowing Christ s outward meanness, 
i Chap. III., p. 81. 


while in its solidity they discern His Divine strength, and in its 
dim lustre the veil of His human nature ! * What did it avail 
to the Israelite, or for any purpose the serpent had to serve, of 
what particular stuff it was made? A dead and senseless thing 
in itself, it must have been all one for those who were called 
to look to it, whether the material was brass or silver, wood or 
stone. And yet, as if it were not enough to make account of 
these trifling accidents, others were sometimes invented, for 
which there is no foundation in the inspired narrative, to obtain 
for the greater breadth of the one subject a corresponding 
breadth in the other. Thus Guild represents the serpent as not 
having been forged by man s hand or hammer, but by a mould, 
and in the fire, to image the Divine conception of Christ s 
human nature ; and Justin Martyr, with still greater licence, 
supposes the serpent to have been made in the form of a cross, 
the more exactly to represent a suffering Eedeemer. Suppose 
it had been modelled after this form, would it have been ren 
dered thereby a more effective instrument for healing the 
diseased? Or would one essential idea have been added to 
what either an Israelite or a Christian were otherwise at liberty 
to associate with it ? All such puerile straining of the subject 
arose from an inverted order being taken in tracing the con 
nection between the spiritual reality and the ancient shadow. 
It would no longer be thought of, if the principle of interpre 
tation here advanced were strictly adhered to ; that is, if the 
typical matter of an event or institution were viewed simply as 
standing in the truths or principles which it brought distinctly 
into view ; and if these were regarded as actually comprising all 
that in each particular case could legitimately be applied to the 
antitypical affairs of Christ s kingdom. 

The judicious application of this principle will serve also to 
rid us of another class of extravagances, which are of frequent 
occurrence in writers of the Cocceian school, and which mainly 
consist, like those already noticed, of external resemblances, 
deduced with little or no regard to any real principle of agree 
ment. We refer to the customary mode of handling typical 
persons or characters, with no other purpose apparently than 
that of exhibiting the greatest possible number of coincidences 
1 Guild s Moses Unveiled, and Watson s Holy Eucharist. 



between these and Christ. As many as forty of such have been 
reckoned between Moses and Christ, and even more between 
Joseph and Christ. Of course, a great proportion of such re 
semblances are of a quite superficial and trifling nature, and 
are of no moment, whether they happen to be perceived or not. 
For any light they throw on the purposes of Heaven, or any 
advantage they yield to our faith, we gain nothing by admitting 
them, and we lose as little by rejecting them. They would 
never have been sought for had the real nature of the connec 
tion between type and antitype been understood, and the proper 
mode of exhibiting it been adopted ; nor would typical persons 
or individuals, sustaining a typical character through the whole 
course and tenor of their lives, have been supposed to exist. It 
was to familiarize the Church with great truths and principles, 
not to occupy her thoughts with petty agreements and fanciful 
analogies, that she was kept so long conversant with preparatory 
dispensations. And as that end might have been in part served 
by a single transaction, or a special appointment in a lifetime ; 
so, whenever it was served, it must have been by virtue of its 
exhibiting important aspects of Divine truth such as were to 
reappear in the person and work of Christ. It is not, in short, 
individuals throughout the entire compass of their history, but 
individuals in certain divinely appointed offices or relations, 
in which we are to seek for what is typical in this province of 
sacred history. 1 

1 Scarcely any of the late works on the types, published in this country, 
are free from the extravagances we have referred to respecting personal 
types. They assume, however, the most extreme form in the German 
work of Kanne, published in 1818. There the mere similarity of names 
is held as a conclusive proof of a typical connection ; so that Miriam, sister 
of Moses, was a type of Mary, for the Jews call the former Maria, as well 
as the latter. The work is full of such puerilities. It is the same tendency, 
however, to rest in merely superficial resemblances which led Schbttgen, 
for example, in his Horse Heb. on 1 Cor. x. 2, and leads some still, to hold 
that the Israelites must have been " bedewed and refreshed " by the cloud. 
It is true the sacred narrative is silent about that, nor is any support to be 
found for it in the Jewish writings ; but it seemed to the learned author 
necessary to make out a typical relation to baptism, and so he regards it 
as in a manner self-evident. On the same ground, of course, Noah and his 
family must have been all sprinkled or dipped in the flood, since this too 
was the type of baptism ! 


IV. Another conclusion flowing not less clearly than the 
foregoing from the views already established, and which we 
propose as our next leading principle of interpretation, is, that 
while the symbol or institution constituting the type has pro 
perly bat one radical meaning, yet the fundamental idea or prin 
ciple exhibited in it may often be capable of more than one 
application to the realities of the Gospel; that is, it may bear 
respect to, and be developed in, more than one department of 
the affairs of Christ s kingdom. But in illustrating this pro 
position, we must take in succession the several parts of which 
it consists. 

1. The first part asserts each type to be capable of but one 
radical meaning. It has a definite way of expressing some 
fundamental idea that, and no more. Were it otherwise, we 
should find any consistent or satisfactory interpretation of 
typical things quite impracticable, and should often lose our 
selves in a sea of uncertainty. An example or two may serve 
to show how far this has actually been the case in the past. 
Glassius makes the deluge to typify both the preservation of 
the faithful through baptism, and the destruction of the wicked 
in the day of judgment ; and the rule under which he adduces 
this example is, that " a type may be a figure of two, and even 
contrary things, though in different respects." * In like manner, 
Taylor, taking the full liberty of such a canon, when interpret 
ing the passage of the Israelites through the Red Sea as a type 
of baptism, sees in that event, first, " the offering of Jesus 
Christ to their faith, through the Eed Sea, of whose death and 
passion they should find a sure and safe way to the celestial 
Canaan;" and then this other truth, that "by His merit and 
mediation He would carry them through all difficulties and 
dangers, as deep as the bottom of the sea, unto eternal rest." 2 
In this last specimen the Red Sea is viewed as representing at 
the same time, and in relation to the same persons, both the 
atoning blood of Christ and the outward trials of life. The 
other example is not so palpably incorrect, nor does it in fact go 
to the entire length, which the rule it is designed to illustrate 

1 Philolog. Sac. Lib. II., p. 1, Trac. II., sec. 4, 8. He quotes from 
Cornelius a Lapide, but adopts the rule as good. 

2 Moses and Aaron, p. 237. 


properly warrants ; for the action of the waters in the deluge is 
considered by it with reference to different persons, as well as 
in different respects. It is at fault, however, in making one 
event typical of two diverse and unconnected results. Many 
other examples might be produced of similar false interpreta 
tions from what has been written of the tabernacle and its 
services, equally indicative, on the part of the writers, of a 
capricious fancy, and in themselves utterly destitute of any 
solid foundation. 

Our previous investigations, we trust, have removed this pro 
lific source of ambiguity and confusion ; for, if we have not 
entirely failed of our object, we have shown that the typical 
transactions and symbols of the Old Testament are by no means 
so vague and arbitrary as to be capable of bearing senses alto 
gether variable and inconsistent. Viewed as a. species of lan 
guage, which they really were a speaking by action instead of 
words they could only reach the end they had to serve by giving 
forth a distinct and intelligible meaning. Such language can 

o o & & 

no more do this than oral or written discourse, if constructed so 
as to be susceptible of the most diverse and even opposite senses. 
By the necessities of the case, therefore, we are constrained to 
hold, that whatever instruction God might design to communi 
cate to the Church, either in earlier or in later times, by means 
of the religious institutions and providential arrangements of 
past times, it must have been such as admits of being derived 
from them by a fixed and reasonable mode of interpretation. 
To suppose that their virtue consisted in some capacity to express 
meanings quite variable and inconsistent with each other, would 
be to assimilate them to the uncertain oracles of heathenism. 

2. This is to be understood in the strictest sense of such 
typical acts and symbols, as, from their nature, were expressive 
of a simple, uncompounded idea. In that case, it would be an 
incongruity to make what was one in the type, present, like a re 
volving light, a changeful and varying aspect toward the antitype. 
But the type itself might possibly be of a complex nature ; that 
is, it might embody a process which branched out into two or 
more lines of operation, and so combined two or more related 
ideas together. In such a case, there will require to be a corre 
sponding variety in the application that is made from the type to 


the antitype. The twofold, or perhaps still more complicated, 
idea contained in the one must have its counterpart in the other, 
as much as if each idea had received a separate representation ; 
though due regard must be paid to the connection which they 
appear to have one with another, as component elements of the 
same type. For example, the event of the deluge, recently ad 
verted to, which at once bore on its bosom an elect seed, in safe 
preservation for the peopling of a new world, and overwhelmed 
in perdition the race of ungodly men who had corrupted the old, 
unquestionably involves a complex idea. It embodies in one 
great act a double process a process, however, which was ac 
complished simultaneously in both its parts; since the doing of the 
one carried along with it the execution of the other. In think 
ing, therefore, 6f the New Testament antitype, we must have 
respect not only to the two ideas themselves severally represented, 
but also to their relation to each other ; we must look for some 
spiritual process, which in like manner combines a work of pre 
servation with a work of destruction. In the different fates of 
the righteous and the wicked, the one as appointed to salvation, 
and the other to perdition, we have certainly a twofold process 
and result; but have we the two in a similar combination? We 
certainly have them so combined in the personal history and 
work of Christ, as His triumph and exaltation inevitably in 
volved the bruising of Satan ; and the same shall also be found 
in the final judgment, when, by putting down for ever all adverse 
authority and rule, Christ shall raise His Church to the dominion 
and the glory. If the typical connection between the deluge 
and God s grander works of preservation and destruction, is put 
in either of these lights, the objection we lately offered to the 
interpretation of Glassius will be obviated, and the requirements 
of a Scriptural exegesis satisfied. A like combination of two 
ideas is found in the application made of the deluge by the 
Apostle Peter to the ordinance of baptism, as will be shown in 
due time. And there are, besides, many things connected with 
the tabernacle and its services for example, the use made in 
them of symbolical numbers, the different kinds of sacrifice, the 
ritual of cleansing which are usually so employed as to convey 
a complex meaning, and a meaning that of necessity assumes 
different shades, according to the different modifications em- 


ployed in the use of the symbolical materials. Such differences, 
however, can only be of a minor kind ; they can never touch the 
fundamental character of the typical phenomena, so as to render 
them expressive in one relation of something totally unlike to 
what they denoted in another. A symbolical act or institution 
can as little be made to change its meaning arbitrarily, as a term 
in language. Its precise import must always be determined first 
by an intelligent consideration of its inherent nature, and then 
by the connection in which it stands. 

3. It is one thing, however, to maintain that a type, either as 
a whole or in its component parts, can express only one meaning; 
and another, to allow more than one application of it to the affairs 
of Christ s kingdom. Not only is there an organic connection 
between the Old and the New dispensations, giving rise to the 
relation of type and antitype, but also an organic connection 
between one part and another of the Gospel dispensation ; in 
consequence of which the ideas and principles exhibited in the 
types may find their realization in more than one department of 
the Gospel system. The types, as well as the prophecies, hence 
often admit of " a springing and germinant accomplishment." 
They do so especially in those things which concern the eco 
nomical relation subsisting between Christ and His people ; by 
reason of which He is at once the root out of which they grow, 
and the pattern after which their condition and destiny are to be 
formed. If, on this account, it be necessary that in all things He 
should have the pre-eminence, it is not less necessary that they 
should bear His image, and share in His heritage of blessing. 
So closely are they identified with Him. in their present experi 
ence and their future prospects, that they are now spoken of as 
having " fellowship with him in His sufferings," being " planted 
with Him in the likeness of His death," and again " planted with 
Him in the likeness of His resurrection," " sitting with Him in 
heavenly places," having "their life hid with Him in God," and 
being at last raised to "inherit His kingdom, and sit with Him 
upon His throne." In short, the Church as a whole is conformed 
to His likeness ; while, again, in each one of her members is 
reproduced an image of the whole. Therefore the principles 
and ideas which, by means of typical ordinances and transactions, 
were perpetually exhibited before the eye of the Old Testament 

VOL. I. N 


Church, while they must find their grand development in Christ 
Himself, must also have further developments in the history of 
His Church and people. They have respect to our relations and 
experiences, our state and prospects, in so far as these essentially 
coincide with Christ s ; for, so far, the one is but a partial re 
newal or a prolonged existence of the other. 

There are things of a typical nature, it is proper to add, 
which in a more direct and special manner bear respect to the 
Church and people of Christ. The rite of circumcision, for ex 
ample, the passage through the Red Sea, the judgments in the 
wilderness, the eating of manna, and many similar things, must 
obviously have their antitypes in the heirs of salvation rather 
than in Him, who, in this respect, stood alone ; He was per 
sonally free from sin, and did not Himself need the blessings He 
provided for others. So that, when the Apostle writes of the 
ordinances of the law, that they were " shadows of good things 
to come, but the body is of Christ" (Col. ii. 17), he is not to be 
understood as meaning that Christ personally and alone is the 
object they prospectively contemplated, but Christ together with 
His body the Church the events and interests of the Gospel 
dispensation. In this collective sense Christ is mentioned also 
in 1 Cor. xii. 12, and Gal. iii. 16. Nor is it by any means an 
arbitrary sense ; for it is grounded in the same vital truth, on 
which we have based the admissibility of a twofold application 
or bearing of typical things, viz., the organic union subsisting 
between Christ and His redeemed people " He in them, and 
they in Him." 

V. Another principle of interpretation arising out of the 
preceding investigations, and necessary to be borne in mind for 
the right understanding of typical symbols and transactions, is, 
that due regard must be had to the essential difference between the 
nature of type and antitype. For, as the typical is Divine truth 
on a lower stage, exhibited by means of outward relations and 
terrestrial interests, so, when making the transition from this to 
the antitypical, we must expect the truth to appear on a loftier 
stage, and, if we may so speak, with a more heavenly aspect. 
What in the one bore immediate respect to the bodily life, must 
in the other be found to bear immediate respect to the spiritual 


life. While in the one it is seen and temporal objects that 
ostensibly present themselves, their proper counterpart in the 
other are the unseen and eternal : there, the outward, the pre 
sent, the worldly ; here, the inward, the future, the heavenly. 

A change and advance of the kind here supposed, enters 
into the very vitals of the subject, as unfolded in the earlier part 
of our inquiry. The reason why typical symbols and institu 
tions were employed by God in His former dealings with His 
Church, arose from the adoption of a plan which indispensably 
required that very progression in the mode of exhibiting Divine 
truth. The world was treated for a period as a child that must 
be taught great principles, and prepared for events of infinite 
magnitude and eternal interest, by the help of familiar and 
sensible objects, which lay fully open to their view, and came 
within the grasp of their comprehension. But now that we have 
to do with the things themselves, for which those means of 
preparation were instituted, we must take care, in tracing the 
connection between the one and the other, to keep steadily in 
view the essential difference between the two periods, and with 
the rise in the Divine plan give a corresponding rise to the ap 
plication we make of what belonged to the ancient economy. 
To proceed without regard to this to look for the proper 
counterpart of any particular type in the same class of objects 
and interests, as that to which the type itself immediately re 
ferred, would be to act like those Judaizing Christians, who, 
after the better things had come, held fast at once by type and 
antitype, as if they stood upon the same plane, and were con 
structed of the same materials. It would be to remain at the 
old foundations, while the scheme of God has risen to a higher 
place, and laid a new world, as it were, open to our view. If, 
therefore, we enter aright into the change which has been 
effected in the position of the Divine kingdom, "and give to that 
its proper weight in determining the connection between type 
and antitype, we must look for things in the one, corresponding, 
indeed, to those in the other, but, at the same time, proportionally 
higher and greater ; and, in particular, must remember that, 
according to the rule, internal things now take the place of 
external, and spiritual of bodily. 

Much discretion, however, which it is impossible to bound by 


such precise and definite rules as might meet all conceivable 
cases, will be necessary in applying the principle now indicated 
to individual examples. In the majority of cases there will be 
no difficulty ; for the distinction we mention between the Old 
and the New is so manifest, as to secure a certain degree of 
uniformity even among those who are not remarkable for dis 
crimination. And, indeed, the writers most liable to err in other 
respects, persons of delicate sensibilities and spiritual feeling, 
are less in danger of erring here, as they have usually a clear 
perception of the more inward and elevated character of the 
Gospel dispensation. The point in regard to which they are 
most likely to err concerning it, and that which really forms the 
chief difficulty in applying the principle now under consideration, 
arises from what may be called the mixed nature of the things 
belonging to Messiah s kingdom. As contradistinguished from 
those of earlier dispensations, and rising above them, we de 
nominate the realities of the Gospel spiritual, heavenly, eternal. 
And yet they are not totally disconnected with the objects of 
flesh and time. The centre-point of the whole, Jesus Christ, 
not only sojourned in bodily form upon the earth, but had cer 
tain conditions to fulfil of an outward and bodily kind, which 
were described beforehand in prophecy, and may also, of course, 
have had their typical adumbrations. In the case of the Church, 
too, her life of faith is not altogether of an inward nature, and 
confined to the hidden man of the heart. It touches continually 
on the corporeal and visible ; and certain events essentially con 
nected with her progress and destiny such as the miraculous 
gifts of the Spirit, the calling of the Gentiles, the persecutions 
of the world, the doom of Antichrist could not take place with 
out assuming an outward and palpable form. What, then, it 
may be asked, becomes of the characteristic difference between 
the Old and the New, so far as such things are concerned? 
Must not type and antitype still be found substantially on the 
same level ? 

By no means. The proper inference is, that there are cases 
in which the difference is less broadly marked ; but it still 
exists. The operations, experiences, and blessings peculiar to 
the dispensation of the Gospel, are not all of a simply inward 
and spiritual nature ; but they all bear directly on the interests 


of a spiritual salvation, and the realities of a heavenly and 
eternal world. The members of Christ s kingdom, so long as 
they are in flesh and blood, must have their history interwoven 
on every side with the relations of sense and time, and be them 
selves dependent upon outward ordinances for the existence and 
nourishment of their spiritual life. Yet, whatever is external in 
their privileges and condition, has its internal side, and even its 
avowed reason, in things pertaining to the soul s salvation, and 
the coming inheritance of glory. So that the spiritual and 
heavenly is here always kept prominently in view, as the end 
and object of all ; while in Old Testament times everything was 
veiled under the sensible relations of flesh and time, and, except 
ing to the divinely illuminated eye, seemed as if it did not look 
beyond them. 

For example, the deluge and baptism so far agree in form, 
that they have both an outward operation ; but the operation, 
in the one case, has to do directly with the preservation and 
destruction of an earthly life, while in the other it bears im 
mediately upon the life of immortality in the soul. The cruci 
fixion of Christ and the slaying of the paschal lamb were alike 
outward transactions ; but the direct and ostensible result con 
templated in the first, was salvation from the condemnation and 
punishment of sin ; in the second, escape from corporeal death, 
and deliverance from the yoke of an earthly bondage. In like 
manner, it might be said to be as much an outward transaction 
for Christ to ascend personally into the presence of the Father, 
as for the high priest to go within the veil with the blood of 
the yearly atonement ; but to rectify men s relation to a worldly 
sanctuary and an earthly inheritance, was the immediate object 
sought by this action of the high priest, while the appearance 
of Christ in the heavenly places was to secure for His people 
access to the everlasting kingdom of light and glory. In such 
cases, the common property of a certain outwardness in the acts 
and operations referred to, is far from placing them on the 
same level ; a higher element still appears in the one as com 
pared with the other. But if, on the other hand, we should 
say, as has often been said, that Isaac s bearing the wood for 
the altar typified Christ s bearing His cross to Calvary, we 
bring together two circumstances which do stand precisely upon 


the same level, are alike outward in their nature, and in the 
one no more than in the other involve any rise to a higher 
sphere of truth. Else, how should a common man, Cimon 
the Cyrenian, have shared with Christ in the bearing of the 
burden ? 

But, undoubtedly, the most pernicious examples of this false 
style of typical applications are those which, from comparatively 
early times, have been employed to assimilate the New Testa 
ment economy in its formal appearance and administration to 
the Old, and for which Koine is able to avail herself of the 
authority of many of the more distinguished fathers. By 
means chiefly of mistaken parallels from Jewish to Christian 
times, mistaken, because they virtually ignored the rise that 
had taken place in the Divine economy, everything was 
gradually brought back from the apostolic ideal of a spiritual 
community, founded on the perfect atonement and priesthood 
of Christ, to the outwardness and ritualism of ancient times. 
The sacrifices of the law, it was thought, must have their 
correspondence in the offering of the Eucharist ; and as every 
sacrificial offering must have a priest to present it, so the priest 
hood of the Old Covenant, determined by genealogical descent, 
must find its substitute in a priesthood determined by apostolical 
succession. It was but a step farther, and one quite natural in 
the circumstances, to hold that as the ancient hierarchy cul 
minated in a High-priest of Jerusalem, so the Christian must 
have a similar culmination in the Bishop of Rome. In these 
and many similar applications of Old Testament things to the 
ceremonial institutions and devices of Romanism, there is a 
substantial perpetuation of the Judaizing error of apostolic 
times an adherence to the oldness and carnality of the letter, 
after the spiritual life and more elevated standing of the New 
has come. According to it, everything in Christianity as well 
as in Judaism is made to turn upon formal distinctions and 
ritual observances : and that not the less because of a certain 
introduction of the higher element, as in the substitution of 
apostolical succession and the impressed character of the new 
priesthood, for the genealogical descent and family relationship 
of the old. Such slight alterations only affect the mode of get 
ting at the outward things established, but leave the outwardness 


itself unaffected; they are of no practical avail in lifting Chris 
tianity above the old Judaistic level. 1 

The Protestant Church, however, has not been without its 
false typical applications, proceeding on the same fundamental 
mistake. They are found especially among the Grotian school 
of divines, whose low and carnal tone is continually betraying 
itself in a tendency to depress and lower the spiritual truths of 
the Gospel to a conformity with the simple letter of Old Testa 
ment Scripture. The Gospel is read not only through a Jewish 
medium, but also in a Jewish sense, and nothing but externals 
admitted in the New, wherever there is descried, in the form of 
the representation, any reference to such in the Old. It is one 
of the few services which neological exegesis has rendered to 
the cause of Divine truth, that by a process of exhaustion it has 
nearly emptied this meagre style of interpretation of the measure 
of plausibility it originally possessed. But it is still occasionally 
followed, in the particular respect now under consideration, by 
theological writers of a higher stamp. Thus, the doctrine of 
election, as unfolded in the epistles of the New Testament, is 
held by the advocates of a modified Arminianism to be impro 
perly understood of an appointment to personal salvation and 
an eternal life, on the special ground that the election of the 
Jewish people was only their calling as a nation to outward 
privileges and a temporal inheritance. Rightly understood, 
however, this is rather a reason why election in the Christian 
sense should be made to embrace something higher and better. 
For the proper counterpart under the Gospel to those external 
relations of Judaism is the gift of grace and the heirship of 
glory the lower in the one case shadowing the higher in the 
other the outward and temporal representing the spiritual and 
eternal. Even Macknight, who cannot certainly be charged 
with any excess of the spiritual element in his interpretations, 
perceived the necessity of making, as he expresses it, " the 
natural seed the type of the spiritual, and the temporal blessings 
the emblems of the eternal." Hence, he justly regards the out 
ward professing Church in the one case, with its election to the 
earthly Canaan, as answering in the other to the " invisible 

1 See this subject admirably treated in Mr Litton s work on the Church, 
p. 53 5, sec. 7 ; also his Bampton Lecture, Sermon viii. 


Church, consisting of believers of all nations, who, partaking 
the nature of God by faith and holiness, are truly the sons of 
God, and have the inheritance of His blessing." 1 

The characteristic differences, with their respective limita 
tions and apparent anomalies, may be briefly stated thus : It 
belongs properly to the New dispensation to reveal divine and 
spiritual things distinctly to the soul, while in the Old they are 
presented under the veil of something outward and earthly. 
The spiritual and divine itself, which always, as a living under 
current, ran beneath this exterior veil, might, even during the 
existence of the Old, come directly into view ; but whenever it 
did so, there was no longer a figure or type of the true, but the 
true itself. Thus, in so far as the seed of Israel were found an 
election of God, actually partaking of the grace and blessing of 
the covenant, in so far as they were a royal priesthood, circum- 

1 On Rom. ix. 8. For the other side see Wlritby on the same chapter, 
and on 1 Pet. ii. 9 ; Graves Works, vol. iii., p. 233. Archbishop Whately, 
in his Essays on the Peculiarities of the Gospel, p. 95, gives the representa 
tion a somewhat different turn from Whitby and Graves. He regards the 
Israelites as not having been " elected absolutely and infallibly to enter the 
promised land, to triumph over their enemies, and live in security, wealth, 
and enjoyment ; but only to the privilege of having these blessings placed 
within their reach, on the condition of their obeying the law which God had 
given them." Whence, he infers, Christians are only elected in the same 
sense to the privileges of a Gospel condition and the promise of final sal 
vation. In regard to election in the Gospel sense, such a representation 
vanishes before a few plain texts, such as, " Many are called, but few are 
chosen ; " " elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through 
sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of 
Jesus ; " " according as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of 
the world . . . having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by 
Jesus Christ to Himself." If such passages do not imply election to a state 
of personal salvation, it is not in the power of language to express the idea. 
In regard to the Israelites, also, the election and the promise were made 
absolutely, " to thy seed will I give this laud," and the proper inference 
respecting those who afterwards perished in the wilderness, without being 
permitted to enter the land, is simply, that they were not of that portion of 
the seed who were elect, according to the foreknowledge of God, to the pro 
mised inheritance. It is true they might justly be said to have lost it for 
disobeying the law ; but viewed in respect to their connection with the 
calling and promise of God, it was their want of faith to connect them with 
these, their unbelief, which was the source of perdition, the root at once of 
their disobedience, and of the disinheritance which ensued. (Heb. iii. 19). 


cised in heart to the Lord, they showed themselves to be pos 
sessed of the reality of a justified condition and a regenerated 
life. The exhibitions that may have been given by any of them 
of such a state, were not typical in the sense of foreshadowing 
something higher and better under the Gospel ; and if those 
in whom they appeared are spoken of as types, it must be as 
specimens, not as adumbrations patterns of what is common to 
the children of faith in every age. The only connection pos 
sible in such a case, is that which subsists between type and 
impression, exemplar and copy, not that between type and 

Turning to the things of the New dispensation, we have 
simply to reverse the statement now r made. While here the 
spiritual and divine are exhibited in unveiled clearness, it is 
quite conceivable that they may at times have appeared under 
the distinctive guise of the Old, imbedded in fleshly and material 
forms. Especially might this be expected to happen at the be 
ginning of the Gospel, when the transition was in the course of 
being made from the Old to the New, as the Messiah came 
forth to lay the foundations of His spiritual and everlasting 
kingdom on the external theatre of a present world. It was 
natural at such a time for God graciously to accommodate His 
ways to a weak faith, and facilitate its exercise, by making the 
things that appeared under the New, wear the very livery of 
those that prefigured them under the Old. This is precisely 
what was done in some of the more noticeable parts of Christ s 
earthly history. But in so far as it was done, that is, in so far 
as some outward transaction in the Old reappeared in a like 
outward transaction in the New, their relation to each other 
could not properly be that of type and antitype, but only of 
exemplar and copy, unless the New Testament transaction, 
while it bore a formal resemblance to that of the Old, was itself 
at the same time the sensible exponent of some higher truth. 
If it were this, then the relation would still be substantially that 
of type and antitype. And such indeed it is, in the few cases 
which actually fall within the range of these remarks, and 
which, when superficially viewed, seem at variance with the 
principle of interpretation we are seeking to establish. 

Let us, in conclusion, glance at the cases themselves. The 


recall of the infant Jesus from the land of Egypt, after a tem 
porary sojourn there, is regarded by the Evangelist Matthew as 
the correlative in New Testament times to the deliverance of 
Israel under the Old. It is impossible to overlook the indica 
tion of a similar connection, though none of the evangelists 
have expressly noticed it, between Israel s period of trial and 
temptation for forty years in the wilderness, and Christ s with 
drawal into the wilderness to be tempted forty days of the devil. 
The Evangelist John sets the singular and apparently accidental 
preservation of Christ s limbs on the cross, beside the prescrip 
tion regarding the paschal lamb, not to let a bone of him be 
broken, and sees in the one a divinely appointed compliance 
with the other (ch. xix. 36). And in the Epistle to the Hebrews 
(ch. xiii. 12), the crucifixion of Jesus beyond the gates of Jeru 
salem is represented, not indeed as done to establish a necessary, 
but still as exhibiting an actual, correspondence with the treat 
ment of those sin-offerings which were burned without the 
camp. There can be no doubt that in each of these instances 
of formal agreement between the Old and the New, the trans 
actions look as if they were on the same level, and appear 
equally outward in the one as in the other. Shall we say then, 
that on this account they do not really stand to each other in 
the relation of type and antitype ? or that there was some pecu 
liarity in the later transactions, which still, amid the apparent 
sameness, raised them to a sufficient elevation above the earlier ? 
This last supposition we conceive to be the correct one. 

First of all, it was not unnatural, when there was so little 
faith in the Church, and when such great things were in the 
course of being accomplished, that certain outward and palpable 
correspondences, such as we have noticed, should have been 
exhibited. It was a kind and gracious accommodation on the 
part of God to the ignorance and weakness of the times. The 
people were almost universally looking in the wrong direction 
for the things connected with the person and kingdom of Mes 
siah ; and He mercifully controlled in various respects the 
course and progress of events, so as, in a manner, to force on 
their notice the marvellous similarity of His working now to 
what He had done in the days of old. He did what was fitted 
to impress visibly upon the darker features of the evangelical 


history His own image and superscription, and to mark them 
out to men s view as wrought according to the law of a foreseen 
and pre-established harmony. Yet we should not expect such 
obvious and palpable marks of agreement to be commonly 
stamped by the hand of God upon the new things of His king 
dom, as compared with the old ; we should rather regard them 
as a sort of extraordinary and peculiar helps granted to a weak 
and unenlightened faith at the beginnings of the kingdom. 
And even when so granted, we should not expect them to con 
stitute the whole of the matter, but should suppose something 
farther to be veiled under them than immediately meets the eye 
a deeper agreement, of which the one outwardly appearing 
was little more than the sign and herald. 

This supposition gathers strength when we reflect that the 
outward agreement, however manifest and striking in some 

O O 

respects, is still never so uniform and complete as to convey the 
impression that the entire stress lay there, or that it was de 
signed to be anything more than a stepping-stone for the mind 

to rise higher. Thus, while the child Jesus was for a time 

t? / 

located in Egypt, and again brought out of it by the special 
providence of God, like Israel in its youth ; yet what a differ 
ence between the two cases in the length of time spent in the 
transactions, and the whole circumstances connected with their 
accomplishment ! Jesus and Israel alike underwent a period of 
temptation in a wilderness before entering on their high calling ; 
but again, how widely different in the actual region selected 
for the scene of trial, and the time during which it was con 
tinued ! Christ s crucifixion beyond the gates of Jerusalem, 
and the preservation of His limbs from external violence, ex 
hibited a striking resemblance to peculiarities in the sacrifices of 
the passover and sin-offering enough to mark the overruling 
agency of God ; but in other outward things there were scarcely 
less marked discrepancies nothing, for example, in the sacri 
fices referred to, corresponding with the pierced side of Jesus, 
or His suspension on the cross ; and nothing again in Jesus 
formally answering to the sacrificial rites of the imposition of 
hands, the sprinkling of blood, or the burning of the carcase. 
These, and other defects that might be named in the external 
correspondence between the New and the Old, plainly enough 


indicate that the outward agreement was, after all, not the main 
thing, nor the thing that properly constituted the typical con 
nection between them. Else, where such agreement failed, the 
connection must have failed too ; and in many respects Christ 
should not have been the "body" of the ancient shadows in 
more, perhaps, than those in which He actually was. Who 
would not shrink from such a conclusion ? But we can find no 
consistent reason for avoiding it, except on the ground that the 
occasional outward coincidences between our Lord s personal 
history and things in God s earlier dispensations, were the signs 
of a tvpical relationship rather than that relationship itself, a 
likeness merely on the surface, that gave notice of a deeper and 
more essential agreement. 

This peculiarity in some of the typical applications of Scrip 
ture, has its parallel in the applications also sometimes made of 
the prophecies. We merely point for examples to the employ 
ment by St John, ch. xix. 37, of Zech. xii. 10, " They shall 
look on Me whom they have pierced," or by St Matthew in ch. 
ii. 23, viii. 17, of other prophetical testimonies, and refer to the 
explanations given of them in our Appendix. In such cases it 
is obvious, on a little reflection, that the outward and corporeal 
things with which the word of prophecy is immediately con 
nected, fell so far short of their full meaning, that if they were 
fitly regarded as a fulfilment of what had been spoken, it was 
more because of the index they afforded to other and greater 
things yet to come, than of what was accomplished in themselves. 
It was like pointing to the little cloud in the horizon, which may 
be scarcely worth noticing in itself, but which assumes another 
aspect when it is discerned to be the sign and the forerunner of 
gathering vapours, and floods of drenching rain. The begin 
ning and the end, the present sign and the coming reality, are 
then seen blending together, and appear to form but one object. 



THE loose and incorrect views which so long prevailed on the 
subject of Typology, and which, till recently, had taken a direc 
tion tending at once to circumscribe their number and lessen 
their importance, have had the effect of reducing it to little more 
than a nominal place in the arrangement of topics calling for 
exact theological discussion. For any real value to be attached 
to it in the order of God s revelations, or any light it is fitted to 
throw, when rightly understood, on the interpretation of Scrip 
ture, we search in vain amid the writings of our leading herme- 
neutical and systematic divines. The treatment it has most 
commonly received at their hands is rather negative than posi 
tive. They appear greatly more concerned about the abuses to 
which it may be carried, than the advantages to which it may be 
applied. And were it not for the purpose of exploding errors, 
delivering cautions, and disowning unwarrantable conclusions, it 
is too plain the subject would scarcely have been deemed worthy 
of any separate and particular consideration. 

If the discussion pursued through the preceding chapters has 
been conducted with any success, it must have tended to produce 
a somewhat different feeling upon the subject. Various points 
of moment connected with the purposes of God and the inter 
pretation of Scripture must have suggested themselves to the 
reflective reader, as capable both of receiving fresh light, and 
of acquiring new importance from a well-grounded system of 
Typology. One entire branch of the subject its connection 
with the closely related field of prophecy has already, on ac 
count of the principles involved in it, been considered in a 
separate chapter. At present we shall look to some other points 
of a more general kind, which have, however, an essential bear- 


ing on the character of a Divine revelation, and which will 
enable us to present, in a variety of lights, the reasonableness and 
importance of the views we have been endeavouring to establish. 

I. We mark, first, an analogy in God s methods of prepara 
tory instruction, as adopted by Him at different but somewhat 
corresponding periods of the Church s history. In one brief 
period of its existence, the Church of the New Testament might 
be said to stand in a very similar relation to the immediate future, 
that the Church of the Old Testament generally did to the more 
distant future of Gospel times. It was the period of our Lord s 
earthly ministry, during which the materials were in preparation 
for the actual establishment of His kingdom, and His disciples 
were subjected to the training which was to fit them for taking 
part in its affairs. The process that had been proceeding for 
ages with the Church, had, in their experience, to be virtually 
begun and completed in the short space of a few years. And 
we are justly warranted to expect, that the method adopted 
during this brief period of special preparation toward the first 
members of the New Testament Church, should present some 
leading features of resemblance to that pursued with the Old 
Testament Church as a whole, during her immensely more 
lengthened period of preparatory training. 

Now, the main peculiarity, as we have seen, of God s method 
of instruction and discipline in respect to the Old Testament 
Church, consisted in the use of symbol and action. It was 
chiefly by means of historical transactions and symbolical rites 
that the ancient believers were taught what they knew of the 
truths and mysteries of grace. For the practical guidance and 
direction of their conduct they were furnished with means of in 
formation the most literal and express ; but in regard to the 
spiritual concerns and objects of the Messiah s kingdom, all was 
couched under veil and figure. The instruction given addressed 
itself to the eye rather than to the ear. It came intermingled 
with the things they saw and handled ; and while it necessarily 
made them familiar with the elements of Gospel truth, it not 
less necessarily left them in comparative ignorance as to the 
particular events and operations in which the truth was to find 
its ultimate and proper realization. 


How entirely analogous was the course pursued by our Lord 
with His immediate disciples during the period of His earthly 
ministry! The direct instruction He imparted to them was, 
with few exceptions, confined to lessons of moral truth and duty 
freeing the law of God from the false glosses of a carnal and 
corrupt priesthood, which had entirely overlaid its meaning, and 
disclosing the pure and elevated principles on which His king 
dom was to be founded. But in regard to what might be called 
the mysteries of the kingdom, the constitution of Christ s per 
son, the peculiar character of Plis work as the .Redeemer of a 
sinful and fallen world, and the connection of all with a higher 
and future world, little instruction of a direct kind was im 
parted up to the very close of Christ s earthly ministry. On one 
or two occasions, when He sought to convey more definite infor 
mation upon such points, the disciples either completely misunder 
stood His meaning, or showed themselves incapable of profiting 
by His instructions (Matt. xvi. 21-23; Luke xviii. 34; John ii. 
19-22, vi.). So that in the last discourse He held with them 
before His death, He spoke of the many things He had yet to 
say to them, but which, as they still could not bear them, had 
to be reserved to the teaching of the Holy Spirit, who should 
come and lead them into all the truth. Were they, therefore, 
left without instruction of any kind respecting those higher 
truths and mysteries of the kingdom ? By no means ; for 
throughout the whole period of their connection with Christ, 
they were constantly receiving such instruction as could be con 
veyed through action and symbol ; or more correctly, through 
action and allegory, which was here made to take the place of 
symbol, and served substantially the same design. 

The public life of Jesus was full of action, and in that, to a 
large extent, consisted its fulness of instruction. Every miracle 
He performed was a type in history ; for, on the outward and 
visible field of nature, it revealed the Divine power He was 
going to manifest, and the work He came to achieve in the 
higher field of grace. In every act of healing men s bodily dis 
eases, and supplying of men s bodily wants, there was an ex 
hibition to the eye of sense at once of His purpose to bring 
salvation to their souls, and of the principles on which that sal 
vation should proceed. In like manner, when He resorted to 


the parabolic method of instruction, it was but another employ 
ment of the familiar and sensible things of nature, under the 
form of allegory, to convey still farther instruction respecting 
the spiritual and Divine things of His kingdom. The procedure, 
no doubt, involved a certain exercise of judgment toward those 
who had failed to profit, as they ought, by His more simple and 
direct teaching (Matt. xiii. 11-15). But for His own disciples 
it formed a cover, through which He could present to them a 
larger amount of spiritual truth, and impart a more correct idea 
of His kingdom, than it was possible for them, as yet, by any 
other method to obtain. Every parable contained an allegorical 
representation of some particular aspect of the kingdom, which, 
like the types of an earlier dispensation, only needed to be 
illuminated by the facts of Gospel history, to render it a clear 
and intelligible image of spiritual and Divine realities. In all, 
the outward and earthly was made to present the form of the 
inward and heavenly. 

Thus, the special training of our Lord s disciples very closely 
corresponded to the course of preparatory dispensations through 
which the Church at large was conducted before the time of 
His appearing. Such an analogy, pursued in circumstances 
so altered, and through periods so widely different, bespeaks the 
consistent working and presiding agency of Him " who is the 
same yesterday, to-day, and for ever." It furnishes also a ready 
and effective answer to the Socinian argument against the 
peculiar doctrines of the Gospel, on account of the comparative 
silence maintained respecting them in the direct instructions of 
Christ. " Can such doctrines," they have sometimes asked, 
" enter so essentially, as is alleged, into the original plan of 
Christianity, when its Divine author Himself says so little about 
them when in all He taught His disciples there is at most but 
a limited number of passages which seem even to point with 
any definiteness in that direction?" Look, we reply, to the 
analogy of God s dealings with His Church, and let that supply 
the answer. Christ and the mysteries of His redemption were 
the end of all the earlier proceedings of God, and of the institu 
tions of worship He gave to His Church ; and yet many cen 
turies of preparatory instruction and discipline were permitted 
to elapse before the objects themselves were brought distinctly 


into view. Should it then be deemed strange or unaccountable 
that the persons immediately chosen by Christ to announce them, 
were made to undergo a brief but perfectly similar preparatory 
course, under the eye of their Divine Master? It could not 
have been otherwise. The facts of Christianity are the basis of 
its doctrines ; and until those facts had become matter of history, 
the doctrines could neither be explicitly taught nor clearly 
understood. They could only be obscurely represented to the 
mind through the medium of typical actions, symbolical rites, 
or parabolical narratives. And it results as much from the 
essential nature of things as from the choice of its Divine 
Author, that the mode of instruction, which was continued 
through the lengthened probation of the Old Testament 
Church, should have found its parallel in "the beginning of 
the Gospel of Jesus Christ." 

II. But there is an analogy of faith and practice which is of 
still greater importance than any analogy that may appear in the 
methods of instruction. However important it may be to note 
resemblances in the mode of communicating Divine truth, at one 
period as compared with another, it is more so to know that the 
truth, however communicated, has always been found one in its 
tendency and working ; that the earlier and the later, the Old 
and the New Testament Churches, though differing widely in 
light and privilege, yet breathed the same spirit, walked by the 
same rule, possessed and manifested the same elements of cha 
racter. A correct acquaintance with the Typology of Scripture 
alone explains how, with such palpable differences subsisting 
between them, there should still have been such essential uni 
formity in the result. 

In the writings of the New Testament, especially in the 
epistles, it is very commonly the differences between the Old and 
the New, rather than the agreements, that are pressed on our 
notice. A necessity for this arose from the abuse to which the 
Jews had turned the handwriting of ordinances delivered to 
them by Moses. In the carnality of their minds, they mistook 
the means for the end, embraced the shadow for the substance, 
and so converted what had been set up for the express purpose 
of leading them to Christ, into a mighty stumbling-block to 

VOL. I. O 


obstruct the way of their approach to Him. On this account it 
became necessary to bring prominently out the differences be 
tween the preparatory and the ultimate schemes of God, and to 
show that what was perfectly suited to the one was quite un- 
suited to the other. But there were, at the same time, many 
real agreements of a most essential nature between them, and 
these also are often referred to in New Testament Scripture. 
Moses and Christ, when closely examined and viewed as to the 
more fundamental parts of their respective systems, are found 
to teach in perfect harmony with each other. The law and the 
prophets of the Old Testament, and the gospels and epistles of 
the New, exhibit but different phases of the same wondrous 
scheme of grace. The light varies from time to time in its 
clearness arid intensity, but never as to the elements of which it 
is composed. And the very differences which so broadly dis 
tinguish the Gospel dispensation from all that went before it, 
when taken in connection with the entire plan and purpose of 
God, afford evidence of an internal harmony and a profound 

The truth of what we say, if illustrated to its full extent, 
would require us to traverse almost the entire field of Scripture 
Typology. We shall therefore content ourselves here with 
selecting a single point, which, in its most obvious aspect, belongs 
rather to the differences than the agreements between the Old 
and the New dispensations. For in what do the two more 
apparently and widely differ from each other than in regard to 
the place occupied in them respectively by the doctrine of a 
future state? In the Scriptures of the New Testament, the 
eternal world comes constantly into view ; it meets us in every 
page, inspirits every religious character, mingles with every 
important truth and obligation, and gives an ethereal tone and 
an ennobling impress to the whole genius and framework of 
Christianity. Nothing of this, however, is to be found in the 
earlier portions of the Word of God. That these contain no 
reference of any kind to a future state of rewards and punish 
ments, we are far from believing, as will abundantly appear in 
the sequel. But still the doctrine of such a state is nowhere 
broadly announced, as an essential article of faith, in the revela 
tions of Old Testament Scripture ; it has no distinct and easily 


recognised place either in the patriarchal or the Lcvitical dis 
pensations ; it is never set forth as a formal ground of action, 
and is implied, rather than distinctly affirmed or avowedly acted 
on, excepting when it occasionally appears among the confes 
sions of pious individuals, or in the later declarations of pro 
phecy ; so that, though itself one of the first principles of all 
true religion, there yet was maintained respecting it a studied 
caution and reserve in the revelations of God to men, up to the 
time when He came who was to " bring life and immortality to 
light. 1 

This obvious difference between the Old and the New Testa 
ment revelations, in respect to a future state, has been deemed 
such a palpable incongruity, that sometimes the most forced 
interpretations have been resorted to with the view of getting 
rid of the fact, while, at other times, extravagant theories have 
been proposed to account for it. But we have no need to look 
farther than to the typical character of God s earlier dispensa 
tions for a satisfactory explanation of the difficulty and we shall 
find it in nothing else. For, leave this out of view suppose 
that God s method of teaching and training the Old Testament 
Church was not necessarily formed on the plan of unfolding 
Gospel ideas and principles by means of earthly relations and 
fleshly symbols, then we see not how it could have consisted with 
Divine wisdom to keep such a veil hanging for so many ages 
over the realities of a coining eternity. But let the typical 
element be duly taken into account ; let it be understood that 
inferior and earthly things were systematically employed of old 
to image and represent those which are heavenly and Divine ; 
and then we shall be equally unable to see how it could have 
consisted with Divine wisdom to have disclosed the doctrine of a 
future state, otherwise than under the figures and shadows of 
what is seen and temporal. For this doctrine, in its naked form, 

1 A clear proof in a single instance of what is here said of the Old Testa 
ment in respect to an eternal world, may be found in what is written of 
Enoch, "He was not, for God took him," and this because he had walked 
with God. A causal connection plainly existed between his walk on earth 
and his removal to God s presence ; and yet this is so indicated as clearly to 
show that it was the Divine purpose to spread a veil of secrecy over the future 
world, as if the distinct knowledge of it depended on conditions that could 
not then be formally brought out. 


stands inseparably connected with the facts of Christ s death and 
resurrection, on which it is entirely based as a ground of con 
solation, and an object of hope to the believer. And if the one 
had been openly disclosed, while the other still remained under 
the veil of temporary shadows, utter confusion must necessarily 
have been introduced into the dispensations of God : the Old 
Covenant, with ordinances suited only to an inferior and pre 
paratory course of training, should have possessed a portion of 
the light properly belonging to a complete and finished revela 
tion. The ancient Church, with her faith in that case professedly 
directed on the eternal world, must have lost her symbolical re 
lation to the present; her experiences must have been as spiritual, 
her life as hidden, her conflict with temptation, and victory over 
the world, as inward as those of believers under the Gospel. 
But then the Church of the Old Testament, being without the 
clear knowledge of Christ and His salvation, still wanted the 
true foundation for so much of a spiritual, inward, and hidden 
nature ; and it must have been next to impossible to prevent false 
confidences from mingling with her expectations of the future, 
since she had only the shadowy and carnal in worship with which 
to connect the real and eternal in blessing. 

Is this not what actually happened in the case of the later 
Jews? In the course of that preparatory training through 
which they were conducted, an increasing degree of light was 
at length imparted, among other things, in respect to a future 
state of reward and punishment ; the later Scriptures contained 
not a few quite explicit intimations on the subject (as in Hos. 
xiii. 14; Dan. xii. 2; Isa. xxvi. 19); and by the time of 
Christ s appearing, the doctrine of a resurrection from the dead 
to a world of endless happiness or misery, formed nearly as 
distinct and prominent an article in the Jewish faith as it does 
now in the Christian. (Acts xxiii. 6, xxvi. 6-8 ; Matt. v. 29, 
x. 28, etc.) Now, this had been well, and should have only 
disposed the Jews to give to Jesus a more enlightened and 
hearty reception, had they been careful to couple with the 
clearer view thus obtained, and the more direct introduction of 
a future world, the intimations that accompanied it of a higher 
and better dispensation of the old things, under which they 
lived, being to be done away, that others of a nobler description 


might take their place. But this was what the later Jews, as 
a class, failed to do. Partial in their knowledge of Scripture, 
and confounding together the things that differed, they took the 
prospect of immortality as if it had been directly unfolded, and 
ostensibly provided for in the shadowy dispensation itself. The 
result necessarily was, that that dispensation ceased in their 
view to be shadowy ; it contained in itself, they imagined, the 
full apparatus required for sinful men, to redeem them from 
the curse of sin, and bring them to eternal life ; and what 
ever purposes the Messiah might come to accomplish, that He 
should supplant its carnal observances by something of a higher 
nature, and more immediately bearing on the immortal interests 
of man, formed no part of their expectations concerning Him. 
Thus, by coming to regard the doctrine of a future state of 
happiness and glory, as, in its naked or direct form, an integral 
part of the revelations of the Old Covenant, they naturally fell 
into two most serious mistakes. They first overlooked the 
shadowy nature of their religion, and exalted it to an undue 
rank by looking to it for blessings which it was never intended, 
unless typically, to impart ; and then, when the Messiah came, 
they entirely misapprehended the great object of His mission, 
and lost all participation in His kingdom. 

So much, then, for the palpable difference in this respect 
between the Old and the New. There was a necessity in the 
case, arising from the very nature of the Divine plan. So long 
as the Church was under symbolical ordinances and typical 
relations, the future world must fall into the background ; the 
things concerning it could only appear imaged in the seen and 
present. But that they did appear so imaged in this, with all 
the outward diversity that prevailed, there still lay an essential 
agreement between the Old dispensation and the New. The 
minds of believers under the former neither were, nor could be, 
an entire blank in regard to a future state of being. From the 
very first as we shall see afterwards, when we come to trace 
out the elements of the primeval religion there was in God s 
dealings and revelations toward them, what in a manner com 
pelled them to look beyond a present world; it was so manifestly 
impossible to realize here, with any degree of completeness, the 
objects He seemed to have in view. And the under-current 


of thought and expectation thus silently awakened toward the 
future, was continually fed by everything being arranged and 
ordered in the present, so as to establish in their minds a pro 
found conviction of a Divine retribution. The things con 
nected with their relation to a worldly sanctuary, and an earthly 
inheritance of blessing, were one continued illustration of the 
principle so firmly expressed by Abraham, " that the Judge of 
all the earth must do right;" and, consequently, that in the 
final issues of things, " it must be well with the righteous, and 
ill with the wicked." The bringing distinctly out of this pre 
sent recompense in the Divine administration, and with infinite 
variety of light and vividness of colouring, impressing it on the 
consciences of God s people, was the peculiar service rendered 
by the ancient economy in respect to a coming eternity ; and 
the peculiar service which, as a preparatory economy , it required 
to render. For the belief of a present retribution must, to a 
large extent, form the basis of a well-grounded belief in a 
future one. And for the believing Israelite himself, who lived 
under the operation of such strong temporal sanctions, and who 
was habituated to contemplate the unseen in the seen, the 
future in the past, there was everything in the visible move 
ments of Providence around him, both to confirm in him the 
expectation of a coming state of reward and punishment, and 
to form him to the dispositions and conduct which might best 
prepare him for meeting it. His position so far differed from 
that of believers now, that he was not formally called to direct 
his views to the coming world, and he had comparatively 
slender means of information concerning its realities. But it 
agreed in this, that he too was a child of faith, believing in the 
retributive character of God s administration ; and in him, as 
well as in us, only in a more outward and sensible manner, this 
faith had its trials and dangers, its discouragements, its war- 
rings with the flesh and the world, its times of weakness and of 
strength, its blessed satisfactions and triumphant victories. In 
short, his light, so far as it went, was the same with ours ; it 
was the same also in the nature of its influence on his heart and 
conduct ; and if he but faithfully did his part amid the scenes 
and objects around him, he was equally prepared at its close to 
take his place in the mansions of a better inheritance, though 


he might have to go to them as one not knowing whither he 
went. 1 

Thus it appears, on careful examination, that all was in its 
proper place. A mutual adaptation and internal harmony binds 
together the Old and the New dispensations, even under the 
striking diversity that characterizes the two in respect to a 
future world. And the further the investigation is pursued, 
the more will such be found to be the case generally. It will 
be found that the connection of the Old with the New is some 
thing more than typical, in the sense of foreshadowing, or pre- 
figurative of what was to come ; it is also inward and organic. 
Amid the ostensible differences, there is a pervading unity and 
agreement one faith, one life, one hope, one destiny. And 
while the Old Testament Church, in its outward condition and 
earthly relations, typically shadowed forth the spiritual and 
heavenly things of the New, it was also, in so far as it realized 
and felt the truth of God presented to it, the living root out of 
which the New ultimately sprang. The rude beginnings w r ere 
there, of all that exists in comparative perfection now. 

III. Another advantage resulting from a correct knowledge 
and appreciation of the Typology of ancient Scripture, is the 
increased value and importance with which it invests the earlier 
portions of revelation. This has respect more especially to the 
historical parts of Old Testament Scripture ; yet not to these 
exclusively. For the whole of the Old Testament will be 
found to rise in our esteem, in proportion as we understand and 
enter into its typological bearing. But the point may be more 
easily and distinctly illustrated by a reference to its records of 

Many ends, undoubtedly, had to be served by these ; and 
we must beware of making so much account of one, as if it 
were the whole. Even the least interesting and instructive 
parts of the historical records, the genealogies, are not without 
their use ; for they supply some valuable materials both for the 
general knowledge of antiquity, and for our acquaintance, in 
particular, with that chosen line of Adam s posterity which was 
to have its culmination in Christ. But the narratives in which 
1 See Appendix B, 


these genealogies are imbedded, which record the lives of so 
many individuals, portray the manners and customs of such dif 
ferent ages and nations, and relate the dealings of God s provi 
dence and the communications of His mind with so many of 
the earliest characters and tribes in the world s history these, 
in themselves, and apart altogether from any prospective re 
ference they may have to Gospel times, are on many accounts 
interesting and instructive. Nor can they be attentively perused, 
as simple records of the past, without being found " profitable 
for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in 

Yet when viewed only in that light, one-half their worth is 
still not understood ; nor shall we be able altogether to avoid 
some feeling of strangeness occasionally at the kind of notices 
embraced in the inspired narrative. For whatever interest and 
instruction may be connected with it, how trifling often are the 
incidents it records ! how limited the range to which it chiefly 
draws our attention ! and how easy might it seem, at various 
points, to have selected other histories, which would have led 
the mind through scenes more obviously important in them 
selves, and less closely, perhaps, interwoven with evil ! Unbe 
lievers have often given to such thoughts as these an obnoxious 
form, and have endeavoured by means of them to bring sacred 
Scripture into discredit. But in doing so, they have only dis 
played their own onesidedness and partiality ; they have looked 
at this portion of the Word of God in a contracted light, and 
away from its proper connection with the entire plan of revela 
tion. Let the notices of Old Testament history be viewed in 
their subservience to the scheme of grace unfolded in the Gos 
pel let the field which it traverses, however limited in extent, 
and the transactions it describes, however unimportant in a 
political respect, be regarded as that field, and those transactions, 
through which, as on a lower and common stage, the Lord 
sought to familiarize the minds of His people with the truths 
and principles which were ultimately to appear in the highest 
affairs of His kingdom let the notices of Old Testament history 
be viewed in this light, which is the one that Scripture itself 
brings prominently forward, and then what dignity and impor 
tance is seen to attach to every one of them! The smallest 


movements on the earth s surface acquire a certain greatness, 
when connected with the law of gravitation ; since then even 
the fall of an apple from the tree stands related to the revolution 
of the planets in their courses. And, in like manner, the 
relation which the historical facts of ancient Scripture bear 
to the glorious work and kingdom of Christ, gives to the least 
of them such a character of importance, that they are brought 
within the circle of God s highest purposes, and are perceived 
to be in reality "the connecting links of that golden chain 
which unites heaven and earth." 

This, however, is not all. While a proper understanding of 
the Typology of Scripture imparts an air of grandeur and im 
portance to its smallest incidents, and makes the little relatively 
great, it does more. It warrants us to proceed a step farther, 
and to assert, that such personal narratives and comparatively 
little incidents as fill up a large portion of the history, not only 
might, without impropriety, have been admitted into the sacred 
record, but that they must, to some extent have been found there, 
in order to adapt it properly to the end which it was intended to 
serve. It was precisely the limited and homely character of 
many of the things related, which rendered them such natural 
and easy stepping-stones to the discoveries of a higher dispensa 
tion. It is one thing that an arrangement exists in nature, 
which comprehends under the same law the falling of an apple 
to the ground, and the vast movements of the heavenly bodies ; 
but it is another thing, and also true, that the perception of 
that law, as manifested in the motion of the small and ter 
restrial body because manifested there on a scale which man 
could bring fully within the grasp of his comprehension was 
what enabled him to mount upwards and scan the similar, 
though incomparably grander, phenomena of the distant universe. 
In this case, there was not only a connection in nature between 
the little and the great, but also such a connection in the order of 
man s acquaintance with both, that it was the knowledge of the 
one that conducted him to the knowledge of the other. The 
connection is much the same that exists between the facts of Old 
Testament history and the all-important revelations of the Gos 
pel with this difference, indeed, that the laws and principles 
developed amid the familiar objects and comparatively humble 


scenes of the one, were not so properly designed to fit man for 
discovering, as for receiving when discovered, the sublime 
mysteries of the other. But to do this, it was not less necessary 
here than in the case above referred to, that the earlier develop 
ments should have been made in connection with things of a 
diminutive nature, such as the occurrences of individual history, 
or the transactions of a limited kingdom. A series of events 
considerably more grand and majestic could not have accom 
plished the object in view. They would have been too far re 
moved from the common course of things ; and would have been 
more fitted to gratify the curiosity and dazzle the imagination of 
those who witnessed or read of them, than to indoctrinate their 
minds with the fundamental truths and principles of God s 
spiritual economy. This result could be best produced by such 
a series of transactions as we find actually recorded in the Scrip 
tures of the Old Testament transactions infinitely varied, yet 
always capable of being quite easily grasped and understood. 
And thus, what to a superficial consideration appears strange, 
or even objectionable, in the structure of the inspired record, 
becomes, on a more comprehensive view, an evidence of wise 
adaptation to the wants of our nature, and of supernatural 
foresight in adjusting one portion of the Divine plan to another. 
It will be readily understood, that what we have said of the 
purpose of God with reference more immediately to those who 
lived in Old Testament times, applies, without any material dif 
ference, to such as are placed under the Christian dispensation. 
For what the transactions required to be for the accomplishment 
of God s purpose in regard to the one, the record of these trans 
actions required to be for the accomplishment of His purpose 
in regard to the other. Whatever confirmation such things may 
lend to our faith in the mysteries of God whatever force or 
clearness to our perceptions of the truth whatever encourage 
ment to our hopes or direction to our walk in the life of holiness 
and virtue, it may all be said to depend upon the history being 
composed of facts so homely in their character and so circum 
scribed in their range, that the mind can without difficulty both 
realize their existence and enter into their spirit. 

IV. Another service, the last we shall notice, which a truly 


Scriptural Typology is fitted to render to the cause of Divine 
knowledge and practice, is the aid it furnisher to help out spiritual 
ideas in our minds, and enable us to realize them with sufficient 
clearness and certainty. This follows very closely on the consi 
deration last mentioned, and may be regarded rather as a further 
application of the truth contained in it, than the advancement of 
something altogether new. But we wish to draw attention to an 
important advantage, not yet distinctly noticed, connected with 
the typical element in Old Testament Scripture, and on which 
to a considerable extent the people of God are still dependent 
for the strength and liveliness of their faith. 

It is true, they have now the privilege of a full revelation of 
the mind of God respecting the truths of salvation ; and this 
elevates their condition as to spiritual things far above that of 
the Old Testament believers. But it does not thence follow, 
that they can in all respects so distinctly apprehend the truth in 
its naked spirituality, as to be totally independent of some out 
ward exhibition of it. We are still in a state of imperfection, 
and are so much creatures of sense, that our ideas of abstract 
truth, even in natural science, often require to be aided by visible 
forms and representations. But things strictly spiritual and 
divine are yet more difficult to be brought distinctly within the 
reach and comprehension of the mind. It was a relative advan 
tage possessed by the Old Testament worshipper, in connection 
with his worldly sanctuary, and the more fleshly dispensation 
under which he lived, that spiritual and divine things, so far as 
they were revealed to him, acquired a sort of local habitation to 
his view, and assumed the appearance of a life-like freshness and 
reality. Hence chiefly arose that " impression of passionate in 
dividual attachment," as it has been called, which, in the authors 
of the Old Testament Scriptures, appears mingling with and 
vivifying their faith in the invisible, and which breathes in them 
like a breath of supernatural life. What Hengstenberg has said 
in this respect of the Book of Psalms, may be extended to Old 
Testament Scripture generally : " It has contributed vast mate 
rials for developing the consciousness of mankind, and the Chris 
tian Church is more dependent on it for its apprehensions of 
God than might at first sight be supposed. It presents God so 
clearly and vividly before men s eyes, that they see Him, in a 


manner, with their bodily sight, and thus find the sting taken 
out of their pains. In this, too, lies one great element of its 
importance for the present times. What men now most of all 
need, is to have the blanched image of God again freshened up 
in them. And the more closely we connect ourselves with these 
sacred writings, the more will God cease to be to us a shadowy 
form, which can neither hear, nor help, nor judge us, and to 
which we can present no supplication." 1 

Besides, there are portions of revealed truth which relate to 
events still future, and. do not at all come within the range of 
our present observation and experience, though very important 
as objects of faith and hope to the Church. It might materially 
facilitate our conception of these, and strengthen our belief in 
the certainty of their coming existence, if we could look back to 
some corresponding exemplar of things, either in the symbolical 
handwriting of ordinances, or in the typical transactions of an 
earthly and temporal kingdom. But this also has been pre 
pared to our hand by God in the Scriptures of the Old Testa 
ment. And to show how much may be derived from a right 
acquaintance, both in this and in the other respect mentioned, 
with the typical matter of these Scriptures, we shall give here 
a twofold illustration of the subject the one referring to truths 
affecting the present state and condition of believers, and the 
other to such as respect the still distant future. 

1. For our first illustration we shall select a topic that will 
enable us, at the same time, to explain a commonly misunder 
stood passage of Scripture. The passage is 1 Pet. i. 2, where, 
speaking of the elevated condition of believers, the Apostle de 
scribes them as " elect according to the foreknowledge of God 
the Father, through sanctifi cation of the Spirit, unto obedience 
and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ." The peculiar 
part of the description is the last " sprinkling with the blood 
of Jesus Christ " which, being represented along with obe 
dience as the end to which believers are both elected of the 
Father and sanctified of the Spirit, seems at first sight to be 
out of its proper place. The application of the blood of Christ 
is usually thought of in reference to the pardon of sin, or its 
efficacy in the matter of the soul s justification before God ; 
1 Supplem. Treatises on Psalms, vii. 


when, of course, its place stands between the election of the 
Father and the sanctification of the Spirit. Nor, in that most 
common reference to the effect of Christ s blood, is it of small 
advantage for the attainment of a clear and realizing faith, that 
we have in many of the Levitical services, and especially in 
those of the great day of yearly atonement, an outward form 
and pattern of things by which more distinctly to picture out 
the sublime spiritual reality. 

v^t is plain, however, that the sprinkling of Christ s blood, 
mentioned by St Peter, is not that which has for its effect the 
sinner s pardon and acceptance (although Leighton and most 
commentators have so understood it) ; for it is not only coupled 
with a personal obedience, as being somewhat of the same 
nature, but the two together are set forth as the result of the 
electing and sanctifying grace of God upon the soul. The 
good here intended must be something inward and personal ; 
something not wrought for us, but wrought upon us and in us ; 
implying our justification, as a gift already received, but itself 
belonging to a higher and more advanced stage of our experi 
ence to the very top and climax of our sanctification. What, 
then, is it ? Nothing new, certainly, or of rare occurrence in 
the Word of God, but one often described in the most explicit 
terms; while yet the idea involved in it is so spiritual and 
elevated, that we greatly need the aid of the Old Testament 
types to give strength and vividness to our conceptions of it. 
The blood of the sacrifices, by which the covenant was ratified 
at the altar in the wilderness, was divided into two parts, with 
one of which Moses sprinkled the altar, and with the other the 
people (Exod. xxiv. 6-8). A similar division and application 
of the blood was made at the consecration of Aaron to the 
priesthood (Exod. xxix. 20, 21) ; and though it does not ap 
pear to have been formally, it was yet virtually, done on the 
day of the yearly atonement, since all the sprinklings on that 
day were made by the high priest, for the cleansing of defile 
ments belonging to himself, his household, and the whole con 
gregation. "Now" (says Steiger on 1 Pet. i. 2), "if we 
represent to ourselves the whole work of redemption, in allusion 
to this rite, it will be as follows : The expiation of one and of 
all sin, the propitiation, was accomplished when Christ offered 


His blood to God on the altar of the accursed tree. That done, 
He went with His blood into the most Holy Place. Whoso 
ever looks in faith to His blood, has part in the atonement 
(Rom. iii. 25) ; that is, he is justified on account of it, receiving 
the full pardon of all his sins (Rom. v. 9). Thenceforth he 
can appear with the whole community of believers (1 John i. 
7), full of boldness and confidence before the throne of grace 
(Heb. iv. 16), in order that he may be purified by Christ, as 
high priest, from every evil lust." It is this personal purify 
ing from every evil lust, which the Apostle describes in ritual 
language as " the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ," and 
which is also described in the Epistle to the Hebrews, with a 
similar reference to the blood of Christ, by having " the heart 
sprinkled from an evil conscience," and again, " by having the 
conscience purged from dead works to serve the living God." 
The sprinkling or purging spoken of in these several passages, 
is manifestly the cleansing of the soul from all internal defile 
ment, so as to dispose and fit it for whatever is pure and good, 
and the purifying effect is produced by the sprinkling of the 
blood of Jesus, or its spiritual application to the conscience of 
believers, because the blessed result is attained through the 
holy and divine life, represented by that blood, becoming truly 
and personally theirs. 

Now, this great truth is certainly taught with the utmost 
plainness in many passages of Scripture, as, when it is written 
of believers, that " their hearts are purified by faith ;" that they 
"purify themselves, even as Christ is pure;" or when it is 
said, that " Christ lives in them," that " their life is hid with Him 
in God," that " they are in Him that is true, and cannot sin, be 
cause their seed (the seed of that new, spiritual nature, to which 
they have been quickened by fellowship with the life of Jesus) 
remains in them;" and, in short, in every passage which con 
nects with the pure and spotless life-blood of Jesus an imparta- 
tion of life-giving grace and holiness to His people. I can 
understand the truth, even when thus spiritually, and, if I may 
so say, nakedly expressed. But I feel that I can obtain a more 
clear and comforting impression of it, when I keep my eye upon 
the simple and striking exhibition given of it in the visible type. 
For, with what effect was the blood of atonement sprinkled upon 


the true worshippers of the Old Covenant ? With the effect of 
making whatever sacredness, whatever virtue (symbolically) was 
in that blood, pass over upon them : the life, which in it had 
flowed out in holy offering to God, was given to be theirs, and 
to be by them laid out in all pure and faithful ministrations of 
righteousness. Such precisely is the effect of Christ s blood 
sprinkled on the soul ; it is to have His life made our life, or to 
become one with Him in the stainless purity and perfection 
which expressed itself in His sacrifice of sweet-smelling savour 
to the Father. What a sublime and elevating thought ! . It is 
much, assuredly, for me to know, that, by faith in His blood, 
the crimson guilt of my sins is blotted out, Heaven itself recon 
ciled, and the way into the holiest of all laid freely open for my 
approach. But it is much more still to know, that by faith in 
the same blood, realized and experienced through the power of 
the Holy Spirit, I am made a partaker of its sanctifying virtue ; 
the very holiness of the Holy One of Israel passes into me ; His 
life-blood becomes in my soul the well-spring of a new and 
deathless existence. So that to be sealed up to this fountain of 
life, is to be raised above the defilement of nature, to dwell in 
the light of God, and sit as in heavenly places with Christ Jesus. 
And, amid the imperfections of our personal experience, and the 
clouds ever and anon raised in the soul by remaining sin, it 
should unquestionably be to us a matter of unfeigned thankful 
ness, that we can repair to such a lively image of the truth as is 
presented in the Old Testament service, in which, as in a mirror, 
we can see how high in this respect is the hope of our calling, 
and how much it is God s purpose we should enter into the 

2. There are revelations in the Gospel, however, which point 
to events still future in the Messiah s kingdom ; and in respect 
to these, also, the typical arrangements of former times are 
capable of rendering important service : a service, too, which 
is the more needed, as the things indicated, in regard to these 
future developments of the kingdom, are not only remote from 
present observation, but also in many respects different from 
what the ordinary course of events might lead us to expect. We 
do not refer to the last issues of the Gospel dispensation, when 
the concerns of time shall have become finally merged in the 


unalterable results of eternity ; but to events, of which this earth 
itself is still to be the theatre, in the closing periods of Messiah s 
reign. This prospective ground is in many points overlaid with 
controversy, and much concerning it must be regarded as matter 
of doubtful disputation. Yet there are certain great landmarks, 
which intelligent and sober-minded Christians can scarcely fail 
to consider as fixed. It is not, for example, a more certain mark 
of the Messiah who was to come, that He should be a despised 
and rejected man, should pass through the deepest humiliation, 
and, after a mighty struggle with evil, attain to the seat of 
empire, than it is of the Messiah who has thus personally fought 
and conquered, that He shall totally subdue all the adversaries 
of His Church and kingdom, make His Church co-extensive 
with the boundaries of the habitable globe, and exalt her mem 
bers to the highest position of honour and blessing. For my 
own part, I should as soon doubt that the first series of events 
were the just object of expectation before, as the other have be 
come since, the personal appearing of Christ ; and for breadth 
and prominence of place in the prophetical portions, especially 
of New Testament Scripture, this has all that could be desired in 
its behalf. But how far still is the object from being realized ? 
How unlikely, even, that it should ever be so, if we had nothing 
more to found upon than calculations of reason, and the common 
agencies of providence. 

That the progress of society in knowledge and virtue should 
gradually lead, at however distant a period, to the extirpation of 
idolatry, the abolition of the grosser forms of superstition, and 
a general refinement and civilisation of manners, requires no 
great stretch of faith to believe. Such a result evidently lies 
within the bounds of natural probability, if only sufficient time 
were given to accomplish it. But, suppose it already done, how 
much would still remain to be achieved, ere the glorious King 
of Zion should have His promised ascendancy in the affairs of 
men, and the spiritual ends for which He especially reigns should 
be adequately secured ! This happy consummation might still 
be found at an unapproachable distance, even when the other 
had passed into a reality ; nor are there wanting signs in the 
present condition of the world to awaken our fears lest such 
may actually be the case. For in those countries where the 


light of Divine truth and the arts of civilisation have become 
more widely diffused, we see many things prevailing that are 
utterly at variance with the purity and peace of the Gospel 
numberless heresies in doctrine, disorders that seem to admit of 
no healing, and practical corruptions which set at defiance all 
authority and rule. In the very presence of the light of Heaven, 
and amid the full play of Christian influences, the god of this 
world still holds possession of by far the larger portion of man 
kind; and innumerable obstacles present themselves on every 
side against the universal diffusion and the complete ascendancy 
of the pure principles of the Gospel of Christ. When such 
things are taken into account, how hopeless seems the prospect 
of a triumphant Church and a regenerated world ! of a Saviour 
holding the undivided empire of all lands ! of a kingdom, in 
which there is no longer anything to offend, and all appears- 
replenished with life and blessing ! The partial triumphs which 
Christianity is still gaining in single individuals and particular 
districts, can go but a little way to assure us of so magnificent a 
result. And it may well seem as if other influences than such 
as are now in operation, would require to be put forth before 
the expected good can be realized. 

Something, no doubt, may be done to reassure the mind, by 
looking back on the past history of Christianity, and contrasting 
its present condition with the point from which it started. The 
small mustard-seed has certainly sprung into a lofty tree, 
stretching its luxuriant branches over many of the best regions 
of the earth. See Christianity as it appeared in its Divine 
Author, when He wandered about as a despised and helpless 
individual, attended only by a little band of followers as despised 
and helpless as Himself ; or again, when He was hanging on a 
malefactor s cross, His very friends ashamed or terrified to avow 
their connection with Him ; or even at another and more ad 
vanced stage of its earthly history, when its still small, and now 
resolute company of adherents, unfurled the banner of salvation, 
with the fearful odds everywhere against them of hostile kings 
and rulers, an ignorant and debased populace, a powerful and 
interested priesthood, and a mighty host of superstitions, which 
had struck their roots through the entire framework of society, 
and had become venerable, as well as strong, by their antiquity. 
VOL. I. P 


See Christianity as it appeared then, and see it now standing 
erect upon the ruins of the hierarchies and superstitions which 
once threatened to extinguish it planted with honour in the 
regions where, for a time, it was scarcely suffered to exist the 
recognised religion of the most enlightened nations of the earth, 
the delight and solace of the good, the study of the wise and 
learned, at once the source and the bulwark of all that is most 
pure, generous, free, and happy in modern civilisation. Com 
paring thus the present with the past looking down from the 
altitude that has been reached upon the low and unpromising 
condition out of which Christianity at first arose, we are not 
without considerable materials in the history of the Gospel itself, 
for confirming our faith in the prospects which still wait for 
their fulfilment. On this ground alone it may scarcely seem 
more unlikely, that Christianity should proceed from the eleva 
tion it has already won to the greatly more commanding attitude 
it is yet destined to attain, than to have risen from such small 
beginnings, and in the face of obstacles so many and so power 
ful, to its present influential and honourable position. 

But why not revert to a still earlier period in the Church s 
history ? Why withhold from our wavering hearts the benefit 
which they might derive from the form and pattern of divine 
things, formerly exhibited in the parallel affairs of a typical and 
earthly kingdom ? It was the Divine appointment concerning 
Christ, that He should sit upon the throne of David, to order 
and to establish it. In the higher sphere of God s administra 
tion, and for the world at large, He was to do what had been 
done through David in the lower and on the limited territory 
of an earthly kingdom. The history of the one, therefore, may 
justly be regarded as the shadow of the other. But it is still 
only the earlier part of the history of David s kingdom which 
has found its counterpart in the events of Gospel times. The 
Shepherd of Israel has been anointed King over the heritage of 
the Lord, and the impious efforts of His adversaries to disannul 
the appointment have entirely miscarried. The formidable train 
of evils which obstructed His way to the throne of government, 
and which were directed with the profoundest cunning and 
malice by him who, on account of sin, had been permitted to 
become the prince of this world, have been all met and overcome 


with no other effect than to render manifest the Son s inde 
feasible right to hold the sceptre of universal empire over the 
affairs of men. Now, therefore, He reigns in the midst of His 
enemies ; but He must also reign till these enemies themselves 
are put down till the inheritance has been redeemed from all 
evil, and universal peace, order, and blessing have been estab 

Is not this also what the subsequent history of the earthly 
kingdom fully warrants us to expect? It was long after 
David s appointment to the throne, before his divine right to 
reign was generally acknowledged ; and still longer before the 
overthrow of the last combination of adversaries, and the ter 
mination of the last train of evils, admitted of the kingdom 
entering on its ultimate stage of settled peace and glory. The 
affairs of David himself never wore a more discouraging arid 
desperate aspect, than immediately before his great adversary 
received the mortal blow which laid him in the dust. After 
this, years had to elapse before the adverse parties in Israel 
were even externally subdued, and brought to render a formal 
acknowledgment to the Lord s anointed. When this point 
again had been reached, what internal evils festered in the 
kingdom, and what smouldering fires of enmity still burned ! 
Notwithstanding the vigorous efforts made to subdue these, we 
see them at last bursting forth in the dreadful and unnatural 
outbreak of Absalom s rebellion, which threatened for a time 
to involve all in hopeless ruin and confusion. And with these 
internal evils and insurrections, how many hostile encounters 
had to be met from without ! some of which were so terrible, 
that the very earth was felt, in a manner, to shake under the 
stroke (Ps. lx.). Yet all at length yielded ; and partly by the 
prowess of faith, partly by the remarkable turns given to events 
in providence, the kingdom did reach a position of unexampled 
prosperity, peace, and blessing. But in all this we have the 
development of a typical dispensation, bringing the assurance, 
that the same position shall in due time be reached in the 
higher sphere and nobler concerns of Messiah s kingdom. The 
same determinate counsel and foreknowledge, the same living 
energy, the same overruling Providence, is equally competent 
now, as it is alike pledged, to secure a corresponding result. 


And if the people of God have but discernment to read aright 
the history of the past, and faith and patience to fulfil their 
appointed task, they will find that they have no need to despair 
of a successful issue, but every reason to hope that judgment 
shall at length be brought forth into victory. 

This one illustration may meanwhile be sufficient to show 
(others will afterwards present themselves), how valuable an 
handmaid to the unfulfilled prophecies of Scripture may be 
found in a correct acquaintance with its Typology. Its pro 
vince does not, indeed, consist in definitely marking out before 
hand the particular agents and transactions that are to fill up 
the page of the eventful future. It performs the service which 
in this respect it is fitted to accomplish, when it enables us to 
obtain some insight not into the what, or the when, or the in 
struments by ivliicli but rather into the how and the wherefore 
of the future, when it instructs us respecting the nature of 
the principles that must prevail, and the general lines of deal 
ing that shall be adopted, in conducting the affairs of Messiah s 
kingdom to their destined results. The future here is mirrored 
in the past ; and the thing that hath been, is, in all its essential 
features, the same that shall be. 




HITHERTO we have been occupied chiefly with an investigation 
of principles. It was necessary, in the first instance, to have 
these ascertained and settled, before we could apply, with any 
prospect of success, to the particular consideration of the typical 
materials of Old Testament Scripture. And in now entering 
on this, the more practical, as it is also the more varied and 
extensive, branch of our subject, it is proper to indicate at the 
outset the general features of the arrangement we propose to 
adopt, and notice certain landmarks of a more prominent kind 
that ought to guide the course of our inquiries. 

1. As all that was really typical formed part of an existing 
dispensation, and stood related to a religious worship, our pri 
mary divisions must connect themselves with the Divine dispen 
sations. These dispensations were undoubtedly based on the 
same fundamental truths and principles. But they were also 
marked by certain characteristic differences, adapting them to 
the precise circumstances of the Church and the world at the 
time of their introduction. It is from these, therefore, we must 
take our starting-points ; and in these also should find the 
natural order and succession of the topics which must pass 
under our consideration. In doing so we shall naturally look, 
first, to the fundamental facts on which the dispensation is 
based; then to the religious symbols in which its lessons and 
hopes were embodied ; and finally, to the future and subsidiary 
transactions which afterwards carried forward and matured the 


2. 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. For, according to the prin 
ciples already set forth (in Ch. IV.), the things directly belonging 
to creation, however they may have to be taken into account as 
presupposed and referred to in what followed, still do not here 
come into consideration as a distinct class, and calling for inde 
pendent treatment. The three eras, then, 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 com 
mencement of the world s history. Neither is it the redemption 
from Egypt, considered by itself, but this in connection with 
the giving of the law, which was its immediate aim and object, 
that forms the great characteristic of the second stage, as the 
coming of grace and truth by Jesus Christ does of the third. 
Between the first and second of these eras two very important 
events intervened the deluge and the call of Abraham both 
alike forming prominent breaks in the history of the period. 
Hence, not unfrequently, the antediluvian is distinguished from 
the patriarchal Church, and the Church as it existed before, 
from the Church as it stood after, the call of Abraham. But 
important as these events were, in the order of God s providential 
arrangements, they mark no material alteration in the constitu 
tional basis, or even formal aspect, of the religion then established. 
As regards the institutions of worship, properly so called, Abra 
ham and his descendants appear to have been much on a footing 
with those who lived before the flood ; and therefore not primary 
and fundamental, but only subsidiary, elements of instruction 
could be evolved by means of the events referred to. The same 
may also be said of another great event, which formed a similar 
break during the currency of the second period the Babylonish 
exile and return. This occupies a very prominent place in 
Scripture, whether we look to the historical record of the event 
or to the announcements made beforehand concerning it in 


prophecy. Yet it introduced no essential change into the 
spiritual relations of the Church, nor altered in any respect the 
institutions of her symbolical worship. The restored temple was 
built at once on the site and after the pattern of that which 
had been laid in ruins by the Chaldeans ; and nothing more was 
aimed at by the immediate agents in the work of restoration, 
than the re-establishment of the rites and services enjoined by 
Moses. Omitting, therefore, the Gospel dispensation, as the 
antitypical, there only remain for the commencement of the 
earlier dispensations, in which the typical is to be sought, the 
two epochs already mentioned those of Adam and Moses. 

3. It is not simply the fact, however, of these successive dis 
pensations which is of importance for our present inquiry. Still 
more depends for a well-grounded and satisfactory exhibition of 
Divine truth as connected with them, upon a correct view of 
their mutual and interdependent relation to each other ; the re 
lation not merely of the Mosaic to the Christian, but also of the 
Patriarchal to the Mosaic. For as the revelation of law laid 
the foundation of a religious state which, under the moulding 
influence of providential arrangements and prophetic gifts, de 
veloped and grew till it had assumed many of the characteristic 
features of the Gospel ; so the original constitution of grace 
settled with Adam after the fall, comparatively vague and indis 
tinct at first, gradually became more definite and exact, and, in 
the form of heaven-derived or time-honoured institutions, ex 
hibited the germ of much that was afterwards established as law. 
In the primeval period nothing wears a properly legal aspect ; 
and it has been one of the current mistakes, especially in this 
country, of theological writers, a source of endless controversy 
and arbitrary explanations, to seek there for law in the direct 
and obtrusive, when, as yet, the order of the Divine plan ad 
mitted of its existing only in the latent form. We read of 
promise and threatening, of acts and dealings of God, pregnant 
with spiritual light and moral obligation, meeting from the very 
first the wants and circumstances of fallen man ; but of express 
and positive enactments there is no trace. Some of the grounds 
and reasons of this will be adverted to in the immediately follow 
ing chapters. At present we simply notice the fact, as one of 
the points necessary to be kept in view for giving a right direc- 


tion to the course of inquiry before us. Yet, on the other hand, 
while in the commencing period of the Church s history we find 
nothing that bears the rigid and authoritative form of law, we 
find on every hand the foundations of law ; and these gradually 
enlarging and widening, and sometimes even assuming a dis 
tinctly legal aspect, before the patriarchal dispensation closed. 
So that when the properly legal period came, the materials, 
to a considerable extent, were already in existence, and only 
needed to be woven and consolidated into a compact system of 
truth and duty. It is enough to instance, in proof of what has 
been stated, the case of the Sabbath, not formally imposed, 
though divinely instituted from the first the rite of piacular 
sacrifice, very similar (as we shall show) as to its original insti 
tution the division of animals into clean and unclean the 
consecration of the tenth to God the sacredness of blood the 
Levirate usage the ordinance of circumcision. The whole of 
these had their foundations laid, partly in the procedure of God, 
partly in the consciences of men, before the law entered ; and 
in regard to some of them the law s prescriptions might be said 
to be anticipated, while still the patriarchal age was in progress. 
As the period of law approached, there was also a visible ap 
proach to its distinctive characteristics. And, without regard 
had to the formal difference yet gradual approximation of the 
two periods, we can as little hope to present a solid and satisfac 
tory view of the progressive development of the Divine plan, as 
if we should overlook either their fundamental agreement with 
each other, or their common relation to the full manifestation of 
grace and truth in the kingdom of Christ. It must be borne in 
mind, that the Law the intermediate point between the fall 
and redemption had its preparation as well as the Gospel. 

4. In regard to the mode of investigation to be pursued re 
specting particular types, as the first place is due to those which 
belonged to the institutions of religion, so our first care must be, 
according to the principles already established, to ascertain the 
views and impressions which, as parts of an existing religion, 
they were fitted to awaken in the ancient worshipper. It may, 
of course, be impossible to say, in any particular case, that such 
views and impressions were actually derived from them, with as 
much precision and defiriiteness as may appear in our descrip- 


tion ; for we cannot be sure that the requisite amount of thought 
and consideration was actually addressed to the subject. But 
due care should be taken in this respect, not to make the typical 
symbols arid transactions indicative of more than what may, with 
ordinary degrees of light and grace, have been learned from 
them by men of faith in Old Testament times. It is not, how 
ever, to be forgotten that, in their peculiar circumstances, much 
greater insight was attainable through such a medium, than it 
is quite easy for us now to realize. At first, believers were 
largely dependent upon it for their knowledge of Divine truth ; 
it was their chief talent, and would hence be cultivated with 
especial care. Even afterwards, when the sources of informa 
tion were somewhat increased, the disposition and capacity to 
learn by means of symbolical acts and institutions, would be 
materially aided by that mode of contemplation which has been 
wont to distinguish the inhabitants of the East. This proceeds 
(to use the language of Bahr) " on the ground of an inseparable 
connection subsisting between the spiritual and the bodily, the 
ideal and the real, the seen and the unseen. According to it, 
the whole actual world is nothing but the manifestation of the 


ideal one ; the entire creation is not only a production, but, at 
the same time, also an evidence and a revelation of Godhead. 
Nothing real is merely dead matter, but is the form and body of 
something ideal ; so that the whole world, even to its very stones, 
appears instinct with life, and on that account especially becomes 
a revelation of Deity, whose distinguishing characteristic it is to 
have life in Himself. Such a mode of viewing things in nature 
may be called emphatically the religious one ; for it contem 
plates the world as a great sanctuary, the individual parts of 
which are so many marks, words, and letters of a grand revela 
tion-book of Godhead, in which God speaks and imparts infor 
mation respecting Himself. If, therefore, that which is seen and 
felt was generally regarded by men as the immediate impression 
of that which is unseen, a speech and revelation of the invisible 
Godhead to them, it necessarily follows, that if they were to 
have unfolded to them a conception of His nature, and to have 
a representation given them of what His worship properly con 
sists in, the same language would require to be used which God 
spake with them ; the same means of representation would need 


to be employed which God Himself had sanctioned the sensible, 
the visible, the external." 1 

The conclusion here drawn appears to go somewhat farther 
than the premises fairly warrant. If the learned author had 
merely said that there was a propriety or fitness in employing 
the same means of outward representation, as they fell in with 
the prevailing cast of thought in those among whom they were 
instituted, and were thus wisely adapted to the end in view, we 
should have entirely concurred in the statement. But that such 
persons absolutely required to be addressed by means of a 
symbolical language in matters of religion could scarcely be ad 
mitted, without conceding that they were incapable of handling 
another and more spiritual one, and that consequently a religion 
of symbols must have held perpetual ascendancy in the East. 
Besides, it may well be questioned, whether this "peculiarly 
religious mode of viewing things," as it is called, was not, to a 
considerable extent, the result of a symbolical religion already 
established, rather than the originating cause of such a religion. 
At all events, the real necessity for the preponderating carnality 
and outwardness of the earlier dispensations was of a different 
kind. It arose from the very nature of the institutions belong 
ing to them, as temporary substitutes for the better and the 
more spiritual things of the Gospel; rendering it necessary that 
symbols should then hold the place of the coming reality. It is 
the capital error of Bahr s system to give to the symbolical 
in religion a place higher than that which properly belongs 
to it ; and so to assimilate too nearly the Old and the New to 
represent the symbolical religion of the Old Testament as less 
imperfect than it really was, and inversely to convert the great 
est reality of the New Testament the atoning death of Christ 
into a merely symbolical representation of the placability of 
Heaven to the penitent. 

But with this partial exception to the sentiments expressed in 
the quotation above given, there can be no doubt that the mode 
of contemplation and insight there described has remarkably 
distinguished the inhabitants of the East, and that it must have 
peculiarly fitted them for the intelligent use of a symbolical 
worship. They could give life and significance, in a manner we 
1 Bahr s Symbolik, B. I., p. 24. 


can but imperfectly understand, to the outward and corporeal 
emblems through which their converse with God was chiefly 
carried on. .To reason from our own case to theirs would be to 
judge by a very false criterion. Accustomed from our earliest 
years to oral and written discourse, as the medium through which 
we receive our knowledge of Divine truth, and express the feel 
ings it awakens in our bosom, we have some difficulty in con 
ceiving how any definite ideas could be conveyed on the one side 
or the other, where that was so sparingly employed as the means 
of communication. But the "grey fathers of the world" were 
placed in other circumstances, having from their childhood been 
trained to the use of symbolical institutions as the most expres 
sive and appropriate channels of Divine communion. So that 
the native tendency first, and then the habitual use strengthen 
ing and improving the tendency, must have rendered them 
adepts, as compared with Christian communities now, in per 
ceiving the significance and employing the instrumentality of 
religious symbols. 

5. When the symbolical institutions and services of former 
times shall have been explained in the manner now indicated, 
the next step will be to consider in detail the import and bearing 
of the typical transactions which took place during the continu 
ance of each dispensation. In doing this, care will require, in 
the first instance, to be taken, that the proper place be assigned 
them as intended only to exhibit ideas subsidiary to those em 
bodied in the religion itself. And as in reading the typical 
symbols, so in reading the typical transactions connected with 
them, we must make the views and impressions they were fitted 
to convey to those whom they immediately respected, concerning 
the character and purposes of God, the ground and measure of 
that higher bearing which they carried to the coming events of 
the Gospel. Nor are we here again to overlook that religious 
tendency and habit of mind which has been noticed as a general 
characteristic of the inhabitants of the East; for they would 
certainly be disposed to do with the acts of providence as with 
the works of creation would contemplate them as manifesta 
tions of Godhead, or revelations in the world of sense of what 
was thought and felt in the higher world of spirit. Besides, it is 
to be borne in mind, that the historical transactions referred to 


were all special acts of Providence. While they formed part of 
the current events of history, they were, at the same time, so 
singularly planned arid adjusted, that the persons immediately 
concerned in them could scarcely overlook either their direct 
appointment by God, or their intimate connection with His plans 
and purposes of grace. It is the hand of God Himself that ever 
appears to be directing the transactions of Old Testament history. 
And the acts in which He more peculiarly discovers Himself 
being the operations of One whose grand object, from the period 
of the fall, was the foiling of the tempter and the raising up of 
a seed of blessing, they could scarcely fail to be regarded by 
intelligent and pious minds as standing in a certain relation to 
this centre-point of the Divine economy. In proportion as the 
people of God had faith to " wait for the consolation of Israel," 
they would also have discernment to read, with a view to the 
better things to come, the disclosures of His mind and will, 
which were interwoven with the history of His operations. 

It is in this way we are chiefly to account for God s frequent 
appearance on the stage of patriarchal history, and His more 
direct personal agency in the affairs of His chosen people. The 
things that happened to them could not otherwise have accom 
plished the great ends of their appointment ; for through these 
God was continually making revelation of Himself, and bringing 
those who stood nearest to Him to a fuller acquaintance with 
His character as the God of life and blessing. It was therefore 
of essential moment to the object in view, that His people should 
be able without hesitation to regard them as indications of His 
mind : that they should not merely consider them as His, in the 
general sense in which it may be said that "God is in history;" 
but His also in the more definite and peculiar sense of conveying 
specific and progressive discoveries of the Divine administration. 
Plow could they have been recognised as such, unless the finger 
of God had, in some form, laid its distinctive impress upon them? 
Taking into account, therefore, all the peculiarities belonging to 
the typical facts of Old Testament history the close relation 
in which they commonly stood to the rites and institutions of a 
religion of hope the evident manner in which many of them 
bore upon them the interposition of God, and the place occupied 
by others in the announcements of prophecy, they had quite 


enough to distinguish them from the more general events of 
providence, and were perfectly capable of ministering to the 
faith and the just expectations of the people of God. 

6. We simply note farther, that when passing under review 
acts and institutions of God which stretch through successive 
ages and dispensations, there will necessarily recur, under some 
what different forms, substantially the same exhibitions of Divine 
truth. It was unavoidable but that all the more fundamental 
ideas of religion, and the greater obligations connected with it, 
should be the subject of many an ordinance in worship, and 
many a transaction in providence. The briefest mode of treat 
ment, as it would naturally involve fewest repetitions, would be 
to classify, first the primary heads of doctrine and duty, and then 
arrange under them the successive exhibitions given of each in 
the future enactments and dealings of God, without adhering 
rigidly to the period of their appearance. This plan was par 
tially followed in our first edition, but was found impracticable 
as a whole. We deem it necessary to keep by the historical 
order, though it may be occasionally attended with the disad 
vantage of having the same truths brought anew before us. 
For thus alone can we mark aright the course of development, 
which in a work of this nature is too important an element to be 
sacrificed to the fear of at times trenching on ground that may 
have been partially trodden before. 



ASSUMING our proper starting-point here to be the fall of man 
from his primeval state of integrity and bliss, since it was that 
which opened the way for the manifestation of grace and the 
hope of redemption, we are still not to throw into abeyance 
whatever belonged to the primeval state itself. For, while all 
was sadly changed by the unhappy event which had taken place, 
all was not absolutely lost. The knowledge which our first 
parents had of the work of creation, and of the character of 
God as therein displayed, could not altogether vanish from their 
minds ; it had formed the groundwork of that adoration of God 
and fellowship with Him which constituted the religion of 
Paradise ; and even after Paradise was lost, they must still have 
derived from it, and preserved in the depths of their spiritual 
being, some of the more fundamental elements of truth and 
duty. That all things were made by God, after the manner 
described in the commencing chapters of Genesis (whether in 
the precise terms there used or not) ; that as they came from 
His hand they were, one and all, very good ; that the work of 
creation in six days was succeeded by a day of peculiar sacred- 
ness and rest ; that man himself was made on the sixth day, as 
the crowning-point of creation made in the image of God, and 
as such had all here below placed in a relation of subservience 
to him, while, just because he bore God s image, he was bound 
to use all in obedience to the will of God, and for the glory of 
His name ; these, and various other collateral points of know 
ledge, which must have been familiar to man before the fall, 
since otherwise he should have been ignorant alike of his proper 
place and calling in creation, could not fail to abide also with 
him after it. And since it pleased God not to destroy His 


fallen creature, but to perpetuate his existence on earth, and 
amid mingled experiences of good and evil to animate him with 
the prospect of ultimate recovery, it was to be understood of 
itself that all creation privileges and gifts stood as at first con 
ferred, except in so far as they might be expressly recalled, or 
through the altered constitution of things placed in another 
relation to man than they originally held. Paradise itself, with 
its ample heritage of life and blessing, had ceased to be to him 
what it had been : though it was there still, and spoke as before 
of good, it spoke otherwise to him. But the mutual relation of 
the fallen pair themselves, the one to the other ; their common 
relation to the world around them, with its living creatures and 
manifold productions ; their farther and higher relation to God, 
as still bearing, though now sadly marred, His divine image, and 
called to reflect it by a becoming imitation of His example : these 
all remained in principle, only modified in action by the workings 
of sin on man s part, and on God s by the introduction of an 
economy of grace. Speaking generally, one may say, that in so 
far as a withdrawal took place of what had been originally 
given, or nature s heritage of good was supplanted by experi 
ences of evil, there was the bringing home to man s bosom of 
the salutary truths and principles which required to enter as 
fundamental conditions into any religion which could be adapted 
to him as fallen. But in so far as the old things were allowed 
to remain, under altered relations or with other accompaniments 
than before, there was a linking of the past to the future, of 
creation to redemption turning the one into a pledge, or re 
quiring it to be understood as an image of a corresponding, 
though higher, good yet to be realized. 

The justice of these remarks will more distinctly appear 
when we come to the consideration of the particulars. In look 
ing at these, however, with a view to estimate aright their re 
ligious aspect and bearing, we must keep in mind what has 
already been indicated respecting the position of our first 
parents, as the recent possessors of a holy nature, and the occu 
pants of an elevated moral condition. For, while they had 
miserably fallen and become guilty before God, they had not 
sunk into total ignorance and perversion ; and so were not dealt 
with by means of rigid enactments and a minutely prescribed 


directory of service, but rather with such consideration and 
regard as implied a recognition in them of a measure of that 
capacity and intelligence which had so lately been conversant 
with all that is pure and good. Possessing in God s works and 
ways, along with the records of their own painful experience, 
the materials of knowing what concerning Him they should 
believe and do, they were left by the help of these, and with 
such grace as might now be expected by the penitent and be 
lieving, to discover the path of life and blessing. It was only 
as time proceeded, and dark events in providence betrayed the 
deep-seated and virulent corruption which had entered into 
humanity, that other and more stringent measures were resorted 
to, as well to inculcate lessons of necessary instruction, as to 
enforce a becoming obedience. Meanwhile, however, and look 
ing to the conspicuous and intentional absence of these, we have 
to inquire what of divine truth and principle might be involved, 
first in the facts connected with the fall, then with the symbols 
and institutions of worship appointed to the fallen indicating, 
as we proceed, the typical bearing which any of them might 
present to the future things of redemption. To the former of 
these, as the first in order, we now direct our attention. 

1. What, in such an enumeration, is obviously entitled to 
rank first, is the doctrine of human guilt and corruption. 

From the moment of their transgression, our first parents 
knew that their relation to God had become sadly altered. The 
calm of their once peaceful bosoms was instantly agitated and 
disturbed by tormenting fears of judgment. Nor did these 
prove to be groundless alarms ; they were the forerunners of a 
curse which was soon thundered in their ears by the voice of 
God, and written out in their exiled and blighted condition. 
It was impossible for them to escape the conviction, that they 
were no longer in the sight of God very good. And as their 
posterity grew, and one generation sprung up after another, 
the story of the lost heritage of blessing (no doubt perpetually 
repeated), and the still continued exclusion from the hallowed 
region of life, must have served to keep up the impression that 
sin had wholly corrupted the nature and marred the inherit 
ance of man. 

Evidences were not long wanting to show, that sin in the 


first pair was evil in the root, which must, more or less, com 
municate itself to every branch of the human family. In the 
first-born of the family it sprang at once into an ill-omened 
maturity, as if to give warning of the disastrous results that 
might be expected in the future history of mankind. And con 
stantly as the well-spring of life flowed on, the stream of human 
depravity swelled into a deeper and broader flood. There were 
things in God s earlier procedure that were naturally fitted to 
check its working, and repress its growth especially the mild 
forbearance and paternal kindness with which He treated the 
first race of transgressors the wonderful longevity granted 
to them the space left for repentance even to the greatest 
sinners, while still sufficient means were employed to convince 
them of their guilt and danger, all seeming to betoken the 
tender solicitude of a father yearning over his infant offspring, 
and restraining for a season the curse that now rested on their 
condition, if so be they might be won to His love and service. 
But it was the evil, not the good, in man s nature, which took 
advantage of this benign treatment on the part of God, to ripen 
into strength and fruitfulness. And, ere long, the very good 
ness of God found it needful to interpose, and relieve the earth 
of the mass of violence and corruption which, as in designed 
contrast to the benignity of Heaven, had come to usurp posses 
sion of the world. So that, looking simply to the broad facts 
of history, the doctrine of human guilt and depravity stands 
forth with a melancholy prominence and particularity which 
could leave no doubt concerning it upon thoughtful minds. 

2. Another doctrine, which the facts of primeval history 
rendered it equally impossible for thoughtful minds to gainsay 
or overlook, is the righteousness of God s character and govern 

For, that mankind should have been expelled from the 
region of life, and made subject to a curse which doomed them 
to sorrow and trouble, disease and death, in consequence of 
their violation of a single command of Heaven, was a proof 
patent to all, and memorable in the annals of the world, that 
everything in the Divine government is subordinate to the 
principles of rectitude. "There was in it," as was strikingly 
and beautifully said by Irving, " a most sublime act of holiness. 

VOL, I. Q 


God, after making Adam a creature for an image and likeness 
of Himself, did resolve him into vile dust through viler corrup 
tion, when once he had sinned ; proving that one act of sin was, 
in God s sight, of far more account than a whole world teeming 
with beautiful and blessed life, which He would rather send 
headlong into death than suffer one sin of His creature to go 
unpunished. And though creation s teeming fountain might 
flow on ever so long, still the flowing waters of created life 
must ever empty themselves into the gulph of death. This is a 
most sublime exaltation of the moral above the material, show 
ing that all material beauty and blessedness of life is but, as 
it were, the clothing of one good thought, which, if it become 
evil, straightway all departs like the shadow of a dream." Who 
could seriously reflect on this on the good that was lost, and 
the inheritance of evil that came in its place without being 
solemnly impressed with the conviction, that the sceptre of God s 
government is a sceptre of righteousness, and that blessing might 
be expected under it only by such as love righteousness and 
hate iniquity ? 

3. But if nothing more had been manifested of God in the 
facts of primeval history than this had He appeared only as a 
righteous judge executing deserved condemnation on the guilty, 
Adam and his fallen offspring might have been appalled and 
terrified before Him, but they could not have ventured to ap 
proach Him with acts of worship. We notice, therefore, as 
another truth brought out in connection with the circumstances 
of the fall, and an essentially new feature in the Divine charac 
ter, the exhibition of grace which was then given on the part of 
God to the fallen. That everything was not subjected to in 
stantaneous and overwhelming destruction, was itself a proof 
of the introduction of a principle of grace into the Divine 
administration. The mere respite of the sentence of death 
(which, if justice alone had prevailed, must have been executed 
on the very day of transgression), and the establishment of an 
order of things which still contained many tokens of Divine 
goodness, gave evidence of thoughts of mercy and loving- 
kindness in God toward man. But as no vague intimations, 
or even probable conclusions of reason, from the general course 
of Providence, could be sufficient to re-assure the heart on such 


a matter as this, an explicit assurance was given, that " the seed 
of the woman should bruise the head of the serpent," which, 
however dimly understood at first, could not fail even then to 
light up the conviction in the sinful heart, that it was the pur 
pose of God to aid man in obtaining a recovery from the ruin 
of the fall. The serpent had been the ostensible occasion and 
instrument of the fall, the visible and living incarnation of 
the evil power which betrayed man to sell his birthright of life 
and blessing. And that this power should be destined to be not 
only successfully withstood, but bruised in the very head by the 
offspring of her over whom he had so easily prevailed, clearly 
bespoke the intention of God to defeat the malice of the tempter, 
and secure the final triumph of the lost. 

But this, if done at all, must evidently be done in a way of 
grace. All natural good had been forfeited by the fall, and 
death the utter destruction of life and blessing had become 
the common doom of humanity. Whatever inheritance, there 
fore, of good, or whatever opportunity of acquiring it, might be 
again presented, could be traced to no other source than the 
Divine beneficence freely granting what could never have been 
claimed on the ground of merit. And as the recovery promised 
necessarily implied a victory over the might and malice of the 
tempter, to be won by the very victims of his artifice, how other 
wise could this be achieved than through the special interposi 
tion and grace of the Most High ? Manhood in Adam and Eve, 
with every advantage on its side of a natural kind, had proved 
unable to stand before the enemy, to the extent of keeping the 
easiest possible command, and retaining possession of an inherit 
ance already conferred. How greatly more unable must it 
have felt itself, if left unaided and alone, to work up against the 
evil, and destroy the destroyer ! In such a case, hope could 
have found no solid footing to rest upon for the fulfilment of 
the promise, excepting what it descried in the gracious intentions 
and implied aid of the Promiser. And when it appeared, as the 
history of the world advanced, how the evil continued to take 
root and grow, so as even for a time to threaten the extermina 
tion of the good, the impression must have deepened in the 
minds of the better portion of mankind, that the promised 
restoration must come through the intervention of Divine power 


and goodness, that the saved must owe their salvation to the 
grace of God. 

4. Thus far the earliest inhabitants of the world might 
readily go in learning the truth of God, by simply looking to 
the broad and palpable facts of history. And without supposing 
them to have possessed any extraordinary reach of discernment, 
they might surely be conceived capable of taking one step more 
respecting the accomplishment of that salvation or recovery which 
was now the object of their desire and expectation. Adam saw 
and it must have been one of the most painful reflections 
which forced itself on his mind, and one, too, which subsequent 
events came, not to relieve, but rather to embitter and aggravate 
he saw how his fall carried in its bosom the fall of humanity ; 
that the nature which in him had become stricken with pollution 
and death, went down thus degenerate and corrupt to all his 
posterity. It was plain, therefore, that the original constitution 
of things was based on a principle of headship, in virtue of which 
the condition of the entire race was made dependent on that of 
its common parent. And the thought was not far to seek, that 
the same constitution might somehow have place in connection 
with the work of recovery. Indeed, it seems impossible to under 
stand how, excepting through such a principle, any distinct hope 
could be cherished of the attainment of salvation. By the one 
act of Adam s disobedience, he and his posterity together were 
banished from the region of pure and blessed life, and made 
subject to the law of sin and death. Whence, in such a case, 
could deliverance come ? How could it so much as be conceived 
possible, to re-open the way of life, and place the restored in 
heritance of good on a secure and satisfactory footing, except 
through some second head of humanity supernaturally qualified 
for the undertaking ? A fallen head could give birth only to a 
fallen offspring so the righteousness of Heaven had decreed ; 
and the prospect of rising again to the possession of immortal 
life and blessing, seemed, by its very announcement, to call for 
the institution of another head, unfallen and yet human, through 
whom the prospect might be realized. Thus only could the 
Divine government retain its uniformity of principle in the 
altered circumstances that had occurred ; and thus only might 
it seem possible to have the end it proposed accomplished. 


We do not suppose that the consideration of this principle of 
headship, as exhibited in the case of Adam and his posterity, 
could, of itself, have enabled those who lived immediately sub 
sequent to the fall, to obtain very clear or definite views in 
regard to the mode of its application in the working out of 
redemption. We merely suppose, that, in the circumstances of 
the case, there was enough to suggest to intelligent and discern 
ing minds that it should in some way have a place. But the 
full understanding of the principle, and of the close harmony it 
establishes between the fall and redemption, as to the descending 
curse of the one and the distributive grace and glory of the 
other, can be perceived only by us, whose privilege it is to look 
from the end of the world to its beginnings, and to trace the 
first dawn of the Gospel to the effulgence of its meridian glory. 
Even the Jewish Rabbins, who were far from occupying the 
vantage-ground we have reached, could yet discern some com 
mon ground between the heritage of evil derived from Adam, 
and the good to be effected by Messiah. " The secret of Adam," 
one of them remarks, "is the secret of the Messiah;" and 
another, " As the first man was the one that sinned, so shall the 
Messiah be the one to do sin away." 1 They recognised in Adam 
and Christ the two heads of humanity, with whom all mankind 
must be associated for evil or for good. On surer grounds, how 
ever, than lay within the ken of their apprehension, we know 
that Adam was in this respect " the type of Him that was to 
come." 2 (Rom. v. 14.) But in this respect alone ; for in all 
other points we have to think of differences, not of resemblances. 

1 See Tholuck Comm. on Rom. v. 1 2. 

2 It is literally, "type of the future one" (TWO; rov ^A^OI/TO?), the 
other or second Adam : not, however, generally, or in his creation state 
simply, for of that the Apostle is not speaking, but of his relation to an off 
spring whose case was involved in his own. The sentiment of the Apostle, 
taken in its proper connection, was quite correctly given by Theophylact, 
" For as the old Adam rendered all subject to his own fall, though they had 
not fallen, so Christ justified all, though they did nothing worthy of justifi 
cation." The Apostle s authority, therefore, cannot be fairly quoted for any 
thing more than we have stated in the text ; and to isolate his expression, 
as some do, from the subject immediately discoursed of, and turn it into a 
general statement respecting a prefiguration of the second Adam irrespective 
of the fall in the first, is to bring in the Apostle as a witness to a point not 
distinctly before him. 


The principle that belongs to them in common, stands simply 
in the relation they alike hold, the one to a fallen, the other to 
a restored offspring. The natural seed of Adam are dealt with 
as one with himself, first in transgression, and then in death, the 
wages of transgression. And, in like manner, the spiritual seed 
of Christ are dealt with as one with Him, first in the consum 
mate righteousness He brought in, and then in the eternal life, 
which is its appointed recompense of blessing. u As in Adam 
all die, so in Christ shall all be made alive " all, namely, who 
stand connected with Christ in the economy of grace, as they 
do with Adam in the economy of nature. How could this be, 
but by the sin of Adam being regarded as the sin of humanity, 
and the righteousness of Christ as the property of those who by 
faith rest upon His name I Hence, in the fifth chapter of the 
Epistle to the Romans, along with the facts which in the two 
cases attest the doctrine of headship, we find the parallel ex 
tended, so as to include also the respective grounds out of which 
they spring : " As by the offence of one, judgment came upon 
all men to condemnation, ; even so by the righteousness of one, 
the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For 
as by one man s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the 
obedience of one shall many be made righteous." 

These statements of the Apostle are no more than an expla 
nation of the facts of the case by connecting them with the moral 
government of God ; and it is not in the power of human reason 
to give either a satisfactory view of his meaning, or a rational 
account of the facts themselves, on any other ground than this 
principle of headship. It has also many analogies in the con 
stitution of nature and the history of providence to support it. 
And though, like every other peculiar doctrine of the Gospel, it 
will always prove a stone of stumbling to the natural man, it will 
never fail to impart peace and comfort to the child of faith. 
Some degree of this he will derive from it, even by contemplat 
ing it in its darkest side by looking to the inheritance of evil 
which it has been the occasion of transmitting from Adam to the 
whole human race. For, humbling as is the light in which it 
presents the natural condition of man, it still serves to keep the 
soul possessed of just and elevated views of the goodness of God. 
That all are naturally smitten with the leprosy of a sore disease, 


is matter of painful experience, and cannot be denied without 
setting aside the plainest lessons of history. But how much 
deeper must have been the pain which the thought of this 
awakened, and how unspeakably more pregnant should it have 
appeared with fear and anxiety for the future, if the evil could 
have been traced to the operation of God, and had existed as an 
original and inherent element in the state and constitution of 
man ! It was a great relief to the wretched bosom of the pro 
digal, and was all, indeed, that remained to keep him from the 
blackness of despair, to know that it was not his father who 
sent him forth into the condition of a swine-herd, and bade him 
satisfy his hunger with the husks on which they fed ; a truly 
consolatory thought, that these husks and that wretchedness were 
not emblems of his father. And can it be less comforting for 
the thoughtful mind, when awakening to the sad heritage of sin 
and death, under which humanity lies burdened, to know that 
this ascends no higher than the first parent of the human family, 
and that, as originally settled by God, the condition of mankind 
was in all respects " very good ? " The evil is thus seen to have 
been not essential, but incidental ; a root of man s planting, not 
of God s ; an intrusion into Heaven s workmanship, which 
Heaven may again drive out. 

But a much stronger consolation is yielded by the considera 
tion of this principle of headship, when it is viewed in connection 
with the second Adam ; since it then assumes the happier aspect 
of the ground-floor of redemption the actual, and, as far as we 
can perceive, the only possible foundation on which a plan of 
complete recovery could have been formed. Excepting in con 
nection with this principle, we cannot imagine how a remedial 
scheme could have been devised, that should have been in any 
measure adequate to the necessities of the case. Taken indivi 
dually and apart, no man could have redeemed either his own 
soul or the soul of a brother ; he could not in a single case have 
recovered the lost good, far less have kept it in perpetuity if it 
had been recovered : and either Divine justice must have fore 
gone its claims, or each transgressor must have sunk under the 
weight of his own guilt and helplessness. But by means of the 
principle which admits of an entire offspring having the root of 
its condition and the ground of its destiny in a common head, a 


door stood open in the Divine administration for a plan of re 
covery co-extensive (hypothetically) with the work of ruin. And 
unless we could have assured ourselves of an absolute and con 
tinued freedom from sin (which even angelic natures could not 
do), we may well reconcile ourselves to such a principle in the 
Divine government as that which, for one man s transgression, 
has made us partakers of a fallen condition, since in that very 
principle we perceive the one channel, through which access 
could he found for those who have fallen, to the peace and 
safety of a restored condition. 

He must know nothing aright of sin or salvation, who is in 
capable of finding comfort in this view of the subject. And yet 
there is a ground of comfort higher still, arising from the pro 
spect it secures for believers of a condition better and safer than 
what was originally possessed by man before the fall. For the 
second Adam, who, as the new head of humanity, gives the tone 
and character to all that belongs to the kingdom of God, is in- 

O O 

comparably greater than the first, and has received for Himself 
and His redeemed an inheritance corresponding to His personal 
worth and dignity. So that if the principle of which we speak 
appears, in the first instance, like a depressing load weighing 
humanity down to the very brink of perdition, it becomes at length 
a divine lever to raise it to a height far beyond what it originally 
occupied, or could otherwise have had any prospect of reaching. 
As the Apostle graphically describes in his first Epistle to the 
Corinthians, " The first man is of the earth, earthy ; the second 
man is the Lord from heaven. As is the earthy, such are they 
also that are earthy ; and as is the heavenly, such are they also 
that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the 
earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly." What 
an elevating prospect ! destined to be conformed to the image of 
the Son of God, and in consequence to share with Him in the 
life, the blessedness, and the glory which He inherits in the 
kingdom of the Father ! Coupling, then, the end of the Divine 
plan with the beginning, and entering with childlike simplicity 
into its arrangements, we find that the principle of headship, on 
which the whole hinges for evil and for good, is really fraught 
with the richest beneficence, and should call forth our admira 
tion of the manifold wisdom and goodness of God ; for through 


this an avenue has been laid open for us into the realms above, 
and our natures have become linked in fellowship of good with 
what is best and highest in the universe. 

It thus appears that there were four fundamental principles 
or ideas, which the historical transactions connected with the fall 
served strikingly to exhibit, and which must have been incor 
porated as primary elements with the religion then introduced. 
1. The doctrine of human guilt and depravity ; 2. Of the right 
eousness of God s character and government ; 3. Of grace in 
God as necessary to open, and actually opening, the door of hope 
for the fallen ; 4. And, finally, of a principle of headship, by 
which the offspring of a common parent were associated in a 
common ruin, and by which again, under a new and better con 
stitution, the heirs of blessing might be associated in a common 
restoration. In these elementary principles, however, we have 
rather the basis of the patriarchal religion, than the religion 
itself. For this, we must look to the symbols and institutions of 
worship. And, as far as appears from the records of that early 
time, the materials out of which these had at first to be fashioned 
were : The position assigned to man in respect to the tree of life, 
the placing before him of the cherubim and the flaming sword 
at the east of Eden, the covering of his guilt by the sacrifice of 
animal life, and his still subsisting relation to the day of rest 
originally hallowed and blessed by God. To this last may be 
added the marriage-relationship ; for here also the general 
principle holds, that no formal change was introduced after the 
fall, and what was done at the first was virtually done for all 
times. But there still was a perceptible difference between the 
institution of marriage and the other things mentioned, viewed 
with respect to the matters now more immediately under con 
sideration. This will be explained in the sequel; at present it 
is enough to state, that while we do not exclude marriage from 
our point of view, neither do we assign it exactly the same place 
as the other ordinances of primeval times. 



THE first mention made of the tree of life has respect to its 
place and use, as part of the original constitution of things, in 
which all presented the aspect of relative perfection and com 
pleteness. " Out of the ground," it is said, " made the Lord 
God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good 
for food ; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and 
the tree of the knowledge of good and evil." The special notice 
taken of these two trees plainly indicates their singular and pre 
eminent importance in the economy of the primeval world ; but 
in different respects. The design of the tree of knowledge was 
entirely moral : it was set there as the test and instrument of 
probation; and its disuse, if we may so speak, was its only 
allowable use. The tree of life, however, had its natural use, 
like the other trees of the garden ; and both from its name, and 
from its position in the centre of the garden, we may infer that 
the effect of its fruit upon the human frame was designed to be 
altogether peculiar. But this comes out more distinctly in the 
next notice we have of it when, from being simply an ordi 
nance of nature, it passed into a symbol of grace. " And the 
Lord God said, Behold the man is become as one of us, to know 
good and evil ; and now lest he put forth his hand, and take 
also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever ; therefore the 
Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the 
ground, from whence he was taken. So He drove out the man ; 
and He placed at the east of the garden of Eden the cherubim, 
and a flaming sword, which turned every way, to keep the way 
of the tree of life." 

These words seem plainly to indicate, that the tree of life 
was originally intended for the food of man ; that the fruit it 
yielded was the divinely appointed medium of maintaining in 
him the power of an endless life ; and that now, since he had 


sinned against God, and had lost all right to the possession of 
such a power, he was debarred from access to the natural means 
of sustaining it, by being himself rigorously excluded from the 
garden of Eden. What might be the peculiar properties of 
that tree whether in its own nature it differed essentially from 
the other trees of the garden, or differed only by a kind of 
sacramental efficacy attached to it is not distinctly stated, and 
can be matter only of conjecture or of probable inference. 
P>ut in its relation to man s frame, there apparently was this 
difference between it and the other trees, that while they might 
contribute to his daily support, it alone could preserve in unde- 
caying vigour a being to be supported. In accordance with its 
position in the centre of the garden, it possessed the singular 
virtue of ministering to human life in the fountainhead of up 
holding that life in its root and principle, while the other trees 
could only furnish what was needed for the exercise of its exist 
ing functions. They might have kept nature alive for a time, 
as the fruits of the earth do still ; but to it belonged the pro 
perty of fortifying the vital powers of nature against the injuries 
of disease and the dissolution of death. 1 

This was undoubtedly well known to Adam, as it was an 
essential part of the constitution of things around him. And if 

1 I have given here only what seems to be the fair and the general 
import of what is written in Genesis respecting the tree of life ; but have 
avoided any deliverance on the much disputed point, whether by inherent 
virtue, or by a kind of sacramental efficacy, the fruit of this tree was in 
tended to produce its life-giving influence upon man. The great majority 
of Protestant divines incline to the latter view ; although it must be allowed, 
the idea of a sacramental virtue in a natural constitution of things seems 
somewhat out of place, and cannot very easily be distinguished from the 
Catholic view, which holds certain things to have been supernaturally con 
ferred on Adam, and others to have belonged to him by natural constitution. 
But the subject, with reference to that specific question, is one on which 
we want materials for properly deciding, and regarding which opinions 
are almost sure to differ in the future, as they have done in the past. We 
could not well have a clearer proof of this, than is afforded by two of the 
latest commentators on Genesis two also, who are so generally agreed in 
sentiment, that they are engaged together in producing a commentary on 
the entire books of the Old Testament Delitzsch and Keih The former is 
of opinion that the passage, Gen. iii. 22, distinctly intimates that the tree 
in question had u the power of life in itself," " a power of perpetually re 
newing and gradually transforming the natural life of man." (Comm. uber 



he had remained stedfast in his allegiance to God, ever restrain 
ing his desire from the tree of knowledge, and partaking only 
of the tree of life, he would have continued to possess life, in 
incorrupt purity and blessedness, as he received it from the hand 
of God, possibly also might have been conscious of a growing 
enlargement and elevation in its powers and functions. But 
choosing the perilous course of transgression, he forfeited his 
inheritance of life, and became subject to the threatened penalty 
of death. The tree of life, however, did not lose its life-sus 
taining virtue, because the condition on which man s right to 
partake of it had been violated. It remained what God origin 
ally made it. And though effectual precautions must now r be 
taken to guard its sacred treasure from the touch of polluted 
hands, yet there it stood in the centre of the garden still, the 
object of fond aspirations as well as hallowed recollections 
though enshrined in a sacredness which rendered it for the pre 
sent inaccessible to fallen man. Why should its place have 
been so carefully preserved ? and the symbols of worship, the 
emblems of fear and hope, planted in the very way that led to 
it? if not to intimate, that the privilege of partaking of its 
immortal fruit was only for a season withheld, not finally with 
drawn waiting till a righteousness should be brought in, which 

die Genes., p. 154, 194, 2d ed.) And from this he draws the inference, that 
the fruit of the tree of knowledge also had the power of death in itself, 
rendering the participation of it deadly. Keil, however, is equally decided 
on the other side ; he says, " We must not seek the power of the tree of 
life in the physical property of its fruit. No earthly fruit possesses the 
power of rendering immortal the life, to the support of which it ministers. 
Life has its root, not in the corporeity of man, but in his spiritual nature, 
in which it finds its stability and continuance, as well as its origin. The 
body formed of the dust of earth could not, as such, be immortal; it 
must either again return to earth and become dust, or through the Spirit 
be transformed into the immortal nature of the soul. The power is of a 
spiritual kind, which can transfuse immortality into the bodily frame. It 
could have been imparted to the earthly tree, or its fruit, only through 
a special operation of God s word, through an agency which we can no 
otherwise represent to ourselves than as of a sacramental nature, whereby 
earthly elements are consecrated to become vessels and bearers of super 
natural powers." (Bib. Comm. uler die Bucker Moses, I. p. 45.) That 
uch is the case now, there can be no doubt ; but it may be questioned 
whether it does not proceed on too close an assimilation of matters in the 
primeval, to those of the existing, state of things. 


might again open the way to its blessed provisions. For as the 
loss of righteousness had shut up the way, it was manifest that 
only bv the return of righteousness could a fresh access to the 
forfeited food be attained. And hence it became, as we shall 
see, one of the leading objects of God s administration, to dis 
close the necessity and unfold the nature and conditions of such 
a work of righteousness as might be adequate to so important 
an end. The relation man now occupied to the tree of life 
could of itself furnish no information on this point. It could 
only indicate that the inheritance of immortal life was still 
reserved for him, on the supposition of a true and proper right 
eousness being attained. So that in this primary symbolical 
ordinance, the hope which had been awakened in his bosom by 
the first promise, assumed the pleasing aspect of a return to the 
enjoyment of that immortal life from which, on account of sin, 
he was appointed to suffer a temporary exclusion. 

But, coupled as this hope was with the present existence of 
a fallen condition, and the certainty of a speedy return for the 
body to the dust of death, it of necessity carried along with it 
the expectation of a future state of being, and of a resurrection 
from the dead. The prospect of a deliverance from evil, and 
of a restored immortality of life and blessing, was not to be 
immediately realized. The now forbidden tree of life was to 
continue unapproachable, so long as men bore about with them 
the body of sin and death. They could find the way of life 
only through the charnel-house of the grave. And it had been 
a mocking of their best feelings and aspirations, to have held 
out to them the promise of a victory over the tempter, or to 
have embodied that promise in a new direction of their hopes 
toward the tree of life, if there had not been couched under it 
the assured prospect of a life after death, and out of it. In 
truth, religious faith and hope could not have taken form and 
being in the bosom of fallen men, excepting on the ground 
of such an anticipated futurity. Nor were there long want 
ing events in the history of Divine providence which would 
naturally tend to strengthen, in thoughtful and considerate 
minds, this hopeful anticipation of a future existence. The 
untimely death of Abel, and the translation of Enoch in the 
micUtime of his days, must especially have wrought in this 


direction ; since, viewed in connection with the whole circum 
stances of the time, they could scarcely fail to produce the im 
pression, that not only was the real inheritance of blessing to be 
looked for in a scene of existence beyond the present, but that 
the clearest title to this might be conjoined with a compara 
tively brief and contracted portion of good on earth. Such 
facts, read in the light of the promise, that the destroyer was 
yet to be destroyed, and a pathway opened to the lost for par 
taking anew of the food of immortality, could lead to but one 
conclusion that the good to be inherited by the heirs of pro 
mise necessarily involved a state of life and blessing after this. 
We find the later Jews notwithstanding their false views 


respecting the Messiah indicating in their comments some 
knowledge of the truth thus signified to the first race of wor 
shippers by their relation to the tree of life. For, of the seven 
things which they imagined the Messiah should show to Israel, 
two were, the garden of Eden and the tree of life ; and again, 
"There are also that say of the tree of life, that it was not 
created in vain, but the men of the resurrection shall eat there 
of, and live for ever." 1 These were but the glimmerings of 
light obtained by men who had to grope their way amid 
judicial blindness and the misguiding influence of hereditary 
delusions. Adam and his immediate offspring were in happier 
circumstances for the discernment of the truth now under con 
sideration. And unless the promise of recovery remained ab 
solutely a dead letter to them, and nothing was learned from 
their symbolical and expectant relationship to the tree of life (a 
thing scarcely possible in the circumstances), there must have 
been cherished in their minds the conviction of a life after 
death, and the hope of a deliverance from its corruption. Re 
ligion at the very first rooted itself in the belief of immortality. 2 
So much for what the things connected with the tree of life 
imported to those whom they more immediately respected. Let 
us glance for a little to the fuller insight afforded into them for 
such as possess the later revelations of Scripture. "To-day," 
said Jesus on the cross to the penitent malefactor, " to-day shalt 
thou be with Me in Paradise" showing how confidently He 

1 R. Elias ben Mosis, and R. Menahem, in Ainsworth on Gen. iii. 

2 See farther at beginning of Ch. VI., sec. 6. 


regarded death as the way to victory, and how completely He 
was going to bruise the head of the tempter, since He was now 
to make good for Himself and His people a return to the region 
of bliss, which that tempter had been the occasion of alienating. 
" To him that overcometh," says the same Jesus, after having 
entered on His glory, "will I give to eat of the tree of life, that 
is in the midst of the paradise of God." And again, " Blessed 
are they that do His commandments, that they may have right 
to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the 
city." (Rev. ii. 7, xxii. 14.) The least we can gather from 
such declarations is, that everything which was lost in Adam, 
shall be again recovered in Christ for the heirs of His salvation. 
The far distant ends of revelation are seen embracing each 
other; and the last look we obtain into the workmanship of 
God corresponds with the first, as face answers to face. The 
same God of love and beneficence who was the beginning, 
proves Himself to be also the ending. It is the intermediate 
portion alone which seems less properly to hold of Him being 
in so many respects marred with evil, and chequered with ad 
versity to the members of His family. There, indeed, we see 
much that is unlike God His once beautiful workmanship 
defaced the comely order of His government disturbed the 
world He had destined for " the house of the glory of His 
kingdom," rendered the theatre of a fierce and incessant 
warfare between the elements of good and evil, in which the 
better part is too often put to the worse and humanity, which 
He had made to be an image of Himself, smitten in all its 
members with the wound of a sore disease, beset when living 
with numberless calamities, and becoming, when -dead, the prey 
of its most vile and loathsome adversaries. How cheering to 
know that this unhappy state of disorder and confusion is not 
to be perpetual that it occupies but the mid-region of time 
and is destined to be supplanted in the final issues of providence 
by the restitution of all things to their original harmony and 
blessedness of life ! The tempter has prevailed long, but, God 
be thanked, he is not to prevail for ever. There is yet to come 
forth from the world, which he has filled with his works of evil, 
new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness shall dwell 
another paradise with its tree of life and a ransomed people 


created anew after the image of God, and fitted for the high 
destiny of manifesting His glory before the universe. 

But great as this is, it is not the whole. The antitype is 
always higher than the type ; and the work of grace transcends 
in excellence and glory the work of nature. When, therefore, 
we are told of a new creation, with its tree of life, and its para 
disiacal delights yet to be enjoyed by the people of God, much 
more is actually promised than the simple recovery of what was 
lost by sin. There will be a sphere and condition of being 
similar in kind, but, in the nature of the things belonging to it, 
immensely higher and better than what was originally set up 
by the hand of God. All things proceeding from Him are 
beautiful in their place and season. And it is true of the 
paradise which has been lost, that its means of life and enjoy 
ment were in every respect wisely adapted to the frames of 
those who were made for occupying it. But of these it is 
written, that they were " of the earth, earthy " only relatively, 
not absolutely good in themselves lumpish and infirm tene 
ments of clay, and as such necessarily imperfect in their tastes, 
their faculties of action and enjoyment, as compared with what 
is found in the higher regions of existence. 

But, undoubtedly, the same adaptation that existed in the old 
creation between the nature of the region and the frames of its 
inhabitants, shall exist also in the new. And as the occupants 
here shall be the second Adam and His seed the Lord from 
heaven, in whom humanity has been raised to peerless majesty 
and splendour there must also be a corresponding rise in the 
nature of the things to be occupied. A higher sphere of action 
and enjoyment shall be brought in, because there is a higher 
style of being to possess it. There shall not be the laying anew 
of earth s old foundations, but rather the raising of these aloft 
to a nobler elevation not nature revived merely, but nature 
glorified humanity, no longer as it was in the earthy and 
natural man, but as it is and ever shall be in the spiritual and 
heavenly, and that placed in a theatre of life and blessing every 
way suitable to its exalted condition. 

Such being the case, it will readily be understood, that the 
promise, symbolically exhibited in the Old, and distinctly ex 
pressed in New Testament Scripture, of a return to paradise and 


its tree of life, is not to be taken literally. The dim shadow only, 
not the very image of the good to be possessed, is presented under 
this imperfect form. And we are no more to think of an actual 
tree, such as that which originally stood in the centre of Eden, 
than of actual manna, or of a material crown, which are, in like 
manner, promised to the faithful. These, and many similar 
representations found respecting the world to come, are but a 
figurative employment of the best in the past or present state 
of things, to aid the mind in conceiving of the future ; as thus 
alone can it attain to any clear or distinct conception of them. 
Yet while all are figurative, they have still a definite and intel 
ligible meaning. And when the assurance is given to sincere 
believers, not only of a paradise for their abode, but also of a tree 
of life for their participation, they are thereby certified of all 
that may be needed for the perpetual refreshment and support 
of their glorified natures. These shall certainly require no such 
carnal sustenance as was provided for Adam in Eden ; they shall 
be cast in another mould. But as they shall still be material 
frameworks, they must have a certain dependence on the material 
elements around them for the possession of a healthful and 
blessed existence. The internal and the external, the personal 
and the relative, shall be in harmonious and fitting adjustment to 
each other. All hunger shall be satisfied, and all thirst for ever 
quenched. The inhabitant shall never say, " I am sick." And 
like the river itself, which flows in perennial fulness from the 
throne of God, the well-spring of life in the redeemed shall never 
know interruption or decay. Blessed, then, it may be truly said, 
are those who do the commandments of God, that they may have 
right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into 
the city. What can a doomed and fleeting world afford in com 
parison of such a prospect ? 

VOL. I. 



THE truths symbolized by man s new relation to the tree of life 
have still to be viewed in connection with the means appointed 
by God to fence the way of approach to it, and the creaturely 
forms that were now planted on its borders. " And the Lord 
God," it is said, "placed at the east of the garden of Eden 
cherubim, and a flaming sword, which turned every way, to keep 
the way of the tree of life." We can easily imagine that the 
sword, with its flaming brightness and revolving movements, 
might be suspended there simply as the emblem of God s aveng 
ing justice, and as the instrument of man s exclusion from the 
region of life. In that one service the end of its appointment 
might be fulfilled, and its symbolical meaning exhausted. Such, 
indeed, appears to have been the case. But the cherubim, which 
also had a place assigned them toward the east of the garden, 
must have had some farther use, as the sword alone would have 
been sufficient to prevent access to the forbidden region. The 
cherubim must have been added for the purpose of rendering 
more complete the instruction intended to be conveyed to man 
by means of the symbolical apparatus here presented to his con 
templation. And as these cherubic figures hold an important 
place also in subsequent revelations, we shall here enter into a 
somewhat minute and careful investigation of the subject. The 
view we mean to exhibit cannot be said to differ radically from 
that presented in the first edition of this work ; but it will 
certainly differ considerably in the mode of investigation pur 
sued, and in some also of the results obtained. We leant for 
merly too much upon the representations of Bahr, which we now 
perceive to be in themselves, as well as in the purpose to which 
they are applied, of a more fanciful and objectionable nature 
than they at one time appeared. 

There is nothing to be expected here from etymological re- 


searches. Many derivations and meanings have been ascribed 
to the term cherub ; but nothing certain has been established 
regarding it ; and it may now be confidently assigned to that 
class of words, whose original import is involved in hopeless 
obscurity. 1 In the passage of Genesis above cited, where the 
word first occurs, not only is no clue given in regard to the 
meaning of the name, but there is not even any description pre 
sented of the objects it denoted ; they are spoken of as definite 
forms or existences, of which the name alone afforded sufficient 
indication. This will appear more clearly if we adhere to the 
exact rendering : " And He placed (or, made to dwell) at the 
east of the garden of Eden the cherubim " not certain unknown 
figures or imaginary existences, but the specific forms of being, 
familiarly designated by that name. 

In other parts of Scripture, however, the defect is in great 
measure supplied ; and by comparing the different statements 
there contained with each other, and putting the whole together, 
we may at least approximate, if not absolutely arrive at, a full 
and satisfactory knowledge of the symbol. 

But in ascertaining the sense of Scripture on the subject, 
there are two considerations which ought to be borne in mind, 
as a necessary check on extreme or fanciful deductions. The 
first is, that in this, as well as in other religious symbols (those, 
for example, connected with food and sacrifice), there may have 
been, and most probably was, a progression in the use made of 
it from time to time. In that case, the representations employed 
at one period must have been so constructed as to convey a fuller 
meaning than those employed at another. Whatever aspects of 
Divine truth, therefore, may be discovered in the later passages 

1 Hofmann has lately revived the notion, that ^13 (cherub) is simply 
2}2"1 (chariot), with a not unusual transposition of letters; and conceives the 
name to have been given to the cherubim on account of their being em 
ployed as the chariot or throne of Jehovah (Weissagung und Erfullung, L, 
p. 80). Delitzsch, too, is not disinclined to this derivation and meaning, 
though he would rather derive the term from 2")3 (to lay hold of), and 
understands it of the cherubim as laying hold of and bearing away the 
throne of Jehovah (Die Genesis Ausgelegt, p. 46). Thenius in his Comm. 
on Kings also adopts this derivation, but applies it differently. Both deri 
vations, and the ideas respecting the cherubim they are intended to support, 
are quite conjectural. 


which treat of the cherubim, should not, as a matter of course, 
be ascribed in all their entireness to the earlier. Respect must 
always be had to the relative differences of place and time. 
Another consideration is, that whatever room there may be for 
diversity in the way now specified, we must not allow any repre 
sentation that may be given in one place a specific representa 
tion to impose a generic meaning on the symbol, which is not 
borne out, but possibly contradicted, by representations in others. 
Progressive differences can only affect what is circumstantial, 
not what is essential to the subject ; and all that is properly 
fundamental in the cherubic imagery, must be found in accord 
ance, not with a partial, but with the complete testimony of 
Scripture respecting it. 

With these guiding principles in our eye, we proceed to ex 
hibit \vhat may be collected from the different notices of Scrip 
ture on the subject ranging our remarks under the following 
natural divisions : the descriptions given of the cherubim as to 
form and appearance, the designations applied to them, the 
positions assigned them, and the kinds of agency with which 
they are associated. 

1. In regard to the first of these points the descriptions 
given of the cherubim as to form and appearance there is 
nothing very definite in the earlier Scriptures, nor are the ac 
counts in the later perfectly uniform. Even in the detailed 
narrative of Exodus respecting the furniture of the tabernacle, 
it is still taken for granted, that the forms of the cherubim were 
familiarly known ; and we are told nothing concerning their 
structure, besides its being incidentally stated that they had faces 
and wings. (Ex. xxv., xxxvii.) It would seem, however, that 
while certain elements were always understood to enter into 
the composition of the cherub, the form given to it was not abso 
lutely fixed, but admitted of certain variations. The cherubim 
seen by Ezekiel beneath the throne of God, are represented as 
having each four faces and four wings (ch. i. 6) ; while in the 
description subsequently given by him of the cherubic repre 
sentations on the walls of his visionary temple (ch. xli. 18, 19), 
mention is made of only two faces appearing in each. In Re 
velation, again (ch. iv. 7, 8), while four composite forms, as in 
Ezekiel, are adhered to throughout, the creatures are represented 


as not having each four faces, but having each a face after one 
of the four types ; and the number of wings belonging to each 
is also different not four, but six. 1 In the Apocalyptic vision 
the creatures themselves appear full of eyes, before and behind, 
as they do also in Ezek. x. 12, where " their whole flesh, and 
their backs, and their hands, and their wings," are said to have 
been full of eyes ; but in Ezekiel s first vision, the eyes were 
confined only to the wheels connected with the cherubim (ch. i. 
18). It is impossible, therefore, without doing violence to the 
accounts given in the several delineations, to avoid the convic 
tion, that a certain latitude was allowed in regard to the par 
ticular forms : and that, as exhibited in vision at least, they 
were not altogether uniform in appearance. They were uniform, 
however, in two leading respects, which may hence be regarded 
as the more important elements in the cherubic form. They 
had, first, the predominating appearance of a man a man s 
body and gesture as is evident, first, from their erect posture ; 
then from Ezek. i. 5, " they had the appearance of a man ;" 
and also from the peculiar expression in Kev. iv. 7, where it is 
said of the third, " that it had a face as a man" which is best 
understood to mean, that while the other creatures were unlike 
man in the face, though like in the body, this was like in the 
face as well. The same inference is still further deducible from 
the part taken by the cherubim in the Apocalypse, along with 
the elders and the redeemed generally, in celebrating the praise 
of God. The other point of agreement is, that in all the de 
scriptions actually given, the cherubim have a composite appear 
ance with the form of a man, indeed, predominating, but with 
other animal forms combined those, namely, of the lion, the 
ox, and the eagle. 

Now, there can be no doubt that these three creatures, along 
with man, make up together, according to the estimation of a 
remote antiquity, the most perfect forms of animal existence. 

1 Vitringa justly remarks as to the difference between St John s repre 
sentation and Ezekiel s respecting the faces, that "it is not of essential 
moment ; for the beasts most intimately connected together form, as it 
were, one beast -existence, and it is a matter of indifference whether all the 
properties are represented as belonging to each of the four, or singly to 


They belong to those departments of the visible creation which 
constitute the first in rank and importance of its three kingdoms 
the kingdom of animal life. And in that kingdom they be 
long to the highest class to that which possesses warm blood 
and physical life 1 in its fullest development. Nay, in that 
highest ( lass they an; again the highest; for the ox in ancient 
times was plwed ;il,<>ve the horse, on account of his fitness for 
useful and patient labour in the operations of husbandry. And 
hence the old Jewish proverb " Four are the highest in the 
world the lion among wild beasts, the ox among tame cattle, 
the eagle among birds, man among all (creatures) ; but God is 
supreme over all." The meaning is, that in these four kinds 
are exhibited the highest forms of creature-life on earth, but 
that God is still infinitely exalted above these; since all crea 
ture-life springs out of His fulness, and is dependent on 115s 
hand. So that a creature compounded of all these bearing in 
its general shape and structure the lineaments of a man, but 
associating with the human the appearance and properties also 
of the three next highest orders of animal existence might 
seem a kind of concrete manifestation of created life on earth 
a sort of personified crcaturehood. 

But the thought naturally occurs, why thus strangely amal 
gamated and combined I If the object had been simply to 
afford a representation of creaturely existence in general by 
means of its higher forms, we would naturally have expected 
them to stand apart as they actually appear in nature. But 
instead of this they are thrown into one representation ; and so, 
indeed, that however the representation may vary, still the in 
ferior forms of animal life constantly appear as grafted upon, 
and clustering around, the organism of man. There is thus a 
striking unity in the diversity a human ground and body, so 
to speak in the grouped figures of the representation, which 
could not fail to attract the notice of a contemplative mind, and 
must have been designed to form an essential element in the 
symbolical representation. It is an ideal combination ; no such 
composite creature as the cherub exists in the actual world ; arid 
we can think of no reason why the singular combination it pre 
sents of animal forms, should have been set upon that of man 
as the trunk and centre of the whole, unless it were to exhibit 


the higher elements of humanity in some kind of organic con 
nection with certain distinctive properties of the inferior creation. 
The nature of man is incomparably the highest upon earth, and 
towers loftily above all the rest by powers peculiar to itself. 
Antl yet we can easily conceive how this very nature of man 
might be greatly raised and ennobled by having superadded to 
its own inherent qualities, those of which the other animal forms 
now before us stand as the appropriate types. 

Thus, the lion among ancient nations generally, and in par 
ticular among the Hebrews, was the representative of king-like 
majesty and peerless strength. All the beasts of the field stand 
in awe of him, none being able to cope with him in might; and 
his roar strikes terror wherever it is heard. Hence the lion is 
naturally regarded as the king of the forest, where might is the 
sole ground of authority and rule. And hence, also, lions were 
placed both at the right and left of Solomon s throne, as symbols 
of royal majesty and supreme power. As the lion among 
quadrupeds, so the eagle is king among birds, and stands pre 
eminent in the two properties that more peculiarly distinguish 
the winged creation those of vision and flight. The term eagle- 
eyed has been quite proverbial in every age. The eagle perceives 
his prey from the loftiest elevation, where he himself appears 
scarcely discernible ; and it has even been believed, that he can 
descry the smallest fish in the sea, and look with undazzled gaze 
upon the sun. His power of wing, however, is still more re 
markable : no bird can fly either so high or so far. Moving 
with king-like freedom and velocity through the loftiest regions 
and the most extended space, we naturally think of him as the 
fittest image of something like angelic nimbleness of action. It 
is this more especially, or, we should rather say, this exclusively, 
which is symbolically associated with the eagle in Scripture. 
No reference is made there to the eagle s strength of vision, but 
very frequent allusion to his extraordinary power of flight 
(Deut. xxviii. 49 ; Job ix. 26 ; Prov. xxiii. 5 ; Hab. i. 8, etc.). 
And hence, too, in Rev. iv. 7, the epithet flying is attached to 
the eagle, to indicate that this is the quality specially made 
account of. Finally, the ox was among the ancients the com 
mon image of patient labour and productive energy. It naturally 
came to bear this signification from its early use in the opera- 



tions of husbandry in ploughing and harrowing the ground, 
then bearing home the sheaves, and at last treading out the 
corn. On this account the bovine form was so frequently 
chosen, especially in agricultural countries like Egypt, as the 
most appropriate symbol of Deity, in its inexhaustible produc 
tiveness. And if associated with man, the idea would instinc 
tively suggest itself of patient labour and productive energy in 

Such, then, not by any conjectural hypothesis or strained 
interpretations, but by the simplest reading of the descriptions 
given in the Bible, appear to have been the generic form and 
idea of the cherubim. It is absolutely necessary that we should 
apply the light furnished by those passages in which they are 
described, to those also in which they are not ; and that what are 
expressly named and described as the cherubim, when seen in 
prophetic vision, must be regarded as substantially agreeing with 
those which had a visible appearance and a local habitation on 
earth for, otherwise, the subject would be involved by Scripture 
itself in inextricable confusion. Assuming these points, we are 
warranted to think of the cherubim, wherever they are men 
tioned, as presenting in their composite structure, and having as 
the very basis of that structure, the form of man the only being 
on earth that is possessed of a rational and moral nature ; yet 
combining, along with this, and organically uniting to it, the 
animal representatives of majesty and strength, winged velocity, 
patient and productive labour. Why united and combined thus, 
the mere descriptions of the cherubic appearances give no inti 
mation; we must search for information concerning it in the 
other points that remain to be considered. So far, we have been 
simply putting together the different features of the descriptions, 
and viewing the cherubic figures in their individual characteris 
tics and relative bearing. 1 

1 Hengstenberg, in his remarks on Rev. iv. 7, regarding the cherubim 
as simple representations of the animal creation on earth, objects to any 
symbolical meaning being attached to the separate animal forms, on the 
special ground, that in that passage of Revelation it is the calf, not the ox, 
which is mentioned in the description as it is also found once in the de 
scription of Ezekiel, ch. i. 7. He thinks this cannot be accidental, but must 
have been designed to prevent our attributing to it the symbolical meaning 
of productiveness, or such like ; as no one would think of associating that 


2. We named, as our second point of inquiry, the designa 
tions applied to the cherubim in Scripture. The term cherubim 
itself being the more common and specific of these, would 
naturally call for consideration first, if any certain key could be 
found to its correct import. But this we have already assigned 
to the class of things over which a hopeless obscurity may be 
said to hang. There is another designation, however, originally 
applied to them by "Ezekiel, and the sole designation given to 
them in the Apocalypse, from which some additional light may 
be derived. This expression is in the original rri s n, animantia, 
living ones, or living creatures. The Septuagint uses the quite 
synonymous term wa ; and this, again, is the word uniformly 
employed by St John, when speaking of the cherubim. It has 
been unhappily rendered by our translators beasts in the Revela 
tion ; thus incongruously associating with the immediate presence 
and throne of God mere animal existences, and identifying in 
name the most exalted creaturely forms of being in the heavenly 
places, with the grovelling symbolical head of the antichristian 
and ungodly powers of the world. This is what bears, in the 
Apocalypse, the distinctive name of the beast (Orjptov) ; and the 
name should never have been applied to the ideal creatures, 
which derive their distinctive appellation from the fulness of 
life belonging to them the living ones. The frequency with 
which this name is used of the cherubim is remarkable. In 
Ezekiel and the Apocalypse together it occurs nearly thirty 
times, and may consequently be regarded as peculiarly expres 
sive of the symbolical character of the cherubim. It presents 

idea with a calf. We are surprised at so weak an objection from such a 
quarter. There can be no doubt and it is not only admitted but contended 
for by Hengstenberg himself in his Beitriige, i., p. 161, sq. that in connec 
tion with that symbolical meaning the ox- worship of Egypt was erected, and 
from Egypt was introduced among the Israelites at Sinai, and again by 
Jeroboam at a later period. Yet in Scripture it is always spoken of, not 
as ox, or bull, or cow, but as calf-worship. This conclusively shows that, 
symbolically viewed, no distinction was made between ox and calf. And in 
the description of such figures as the cherubim, calf might very naturally be 
substituted for ox, simply on account of the smaller and more delicate out 
line which the form would present. It is possible the same appearance may 
partly have contributed to the idols at Bethel and Dan being designated 
calves rather than oxen. 


them to our view as exhibiting the property of life in its highest 
state of power and activity ; therefore, as creatures altogether 
instinct with life. And the idea thus conveyed by the name is 
further substantiated by one or two traits associated with them 
in Ezekiel and the Apocalypse. Such, especially, is the very 
singular multiplicity of eyes attached to them, appearing first in 
the mystic wheels that regulated their movements, and after 
wards in the cherubic forms themselves. For the eye is the 
symbol of intelligent life ; the living spirit s most peculiar organ 
and index. And to represent the cherubim as so strangely re 
plenished with eyes, could only be intended to make them known 
to us as wholly inspirited. Accordingly, in the first vision of 
Ezekiel, in which the eyes belonged immediately to the wheels, 
" the spirit of the living creatures " is said to have been in the 
wheels (ch. i. 20) ; where the eye was, there also was the in 
telligent, thinking, directive spirit of life. Another and quite 
similar trait, is the quick and restless activity ascribed to them 
by both writers by Ezekiel, when he represents them as 
" running and returning " with lightning speed ; and by St 
John, when he describes them as " resting not day or night." 
Incessant motion is one of the most obvious symptoms of a 
plenitude of life. We instinctively associate the property of 
life even with the inanimate things that exhibit motion -such as 
fountains and running streams, which are called living, in con 
tradistinction to stagnant pools, that seem dead in comparison. 
And in the Hebrew tongue, these two symbols of life eyes and 
fountains have their common symbolical meaning marked by 
the employment of the same term to denote them both (P.J?). So 
that creatures which appeared to be all eyes and all motion, are, 
in plain terms, those in which the powers and properties of life 
were quite peculiarly displayed. 

We believe there is a still further designation applied to the 
same objects in Scripture the seraphim of Isaiah (ch. vi.). It 
is in the highest degree improbable, that the prophet should by 
that name, so abruptly introduced, have pointed to an order of 
existences, or a form of being, nowhere else mentioned in Scrip 
ture ; but quite natural that he should have referred to the 
cherubim in the sanctuary, as the scene of the vision lay there ; 
and the more especially, as three characteristics the possession 


by each of six wings, the position of immediate proximity to the 
throne of God, and the threefold proclamation of Jehovah s 
holiness are those also which reappear again, at the very out 
set, in St John s description of the cherubim. That they should 
have been called by the name of seraphim (burning ones) is no 
way inconsistent with this idea, for it merely embodies in a 
designation the thought symbolized in the vision of Ezekiel 
under the appearance of fire, giving forth flashes of lightning, 
which appeared to stream from the cherubim (ch. i. 13). In 
both alike, the fire, whether connected with the name or the 
appearance, denoted the wrath, which was the most prominent 
feature in the Divine manifestation at the time. But as, in 
thus identifying the cherubim with the seraphim, we tread on 
somewhat doubtful ground, we shall make no further use of the 
thoughts suggested by it. 

It is right to notice, however, that the designation we have 
more particularly considered, and the emblematic representa 
tions illustrative of it, belong to the later portions of Scripture, 
which treat of the cherubim ; and while we cannot but regard 
the idea thus exhibited, as essentially connected with the 
cherubic form of being, a fundamental element in its meaning, 
it certainly could not be by any means so vividly displayed in 
the cherubim of the tabernacle, which were stationary figures. 
Nor can we tell distinctly how it stood in this respect with the 
cherubim of Eden; we know not what precise form and attitude 
were borne by them. But not only the representations we have 
been considering the analogy also of the cherubim in the 
tabernacle, with their outstretched wings, as in the act of 
flying, and their eyes intently directed toward the mercy-seat, 
as if they were actually beholding and pondering what was 
there exhibited, may justly lead us to infer, that in some way 
or another a life-like appearance was also presented by the 
cherubim of Eden. Absolutely motionless or dead-like forms 
would have been peculiarly out of place in the way to the tree 
of life. Yet of what sort this fulness of life might be, which 
was exhibited in the cherubim, we have still had no clear in 
dication. From various things that have pressed themselves on 
our notice, it might not doubtfully have been inferred to be life 
in the highest sense life spiritual and divine. But this comes 


out more prominently in connection with the other aspects of 
the subject which remain to be contemplated. 

3. We proceed, therefore, to the point next in order the 
positions assigned to the cherubim in Scripture. These are 
properly but two, and, by having regard only to what is essen 
tial in the matter, might possibly be reduced to one. But as 
they ostensibly and locally differ, we shall treat them apart. 
They are the garden of Eden, and the dwelling-place or throne 
of God in the tabernacle. 

The first local residence in which the cherubim appear, was 
the garden of Eden the earthly paradise. What, however, 
was this, but the proper home and habitation of life 1 of life 
generally, but emphatically of the divine life? Everything 
there seemed to breathe the air, and to exhibit the fresh and 
blooming aspect of life. Streams of water ran through it to 
supply all its productions with nourishment, and keep them in 
perpetual healthfullness ; multitudes of living creatures roamed 
amid its bowers, and the tree of life, at once the emblem and 
the seal of immortality, rose in the centre, as if to shed a vivify 
ing influence over the entire domain. Most fitly was it called 
by the Rabbins " the land of life." But it was life, we soon 
perceive, in the higher sense life, not merely as opposed to 
bodily decay and dissolution, but as opposed also to sin, which 
brings death to the soul. Eden was the garden of delight, 
which God gave to man as the image of Himself, the possessor 
of that spiritual and holy life which has its fountainhead in 
God. And the moment man ceased to fulfil the part required 
of Him as such, and yielded himself to the service of un 
righteousness, he lost his heritage of blessing, and was driven 
forth as an heir of mortality and corruption from the hallowed 
region of life. When, therefore, the cherubim were set in the 
garden to occupy the place which man had forfeited by his 
transgression, it was impossible but that they should be re 
garded as the representatives, not of life merely, but of the life 
that is in God, and in connection with which evil cannot dwell. 
This they were by their very position within the sacred terri 
tory whatever other ideas may have been symbolized by their 
peculiar structure and more special relations. 

The other and more common position assigned to the cheru- 


bim is in immediate connection with the dwelling-place and 
throne of God. This connection comes first into view when the 
instructions were given to Moses regarding the construction of 
the tabernacle in the wilderness. As the tabernacle was to be, 
in a manner, the habitation of God, where Pie was to dwell and 
manifest Himself to His people, the whole of the curtains form 
ing the interior of the tent were commanded to be inwoven with 
cherubic figures. But as the inner sanctuary was more espe 
cially the habitation of God, where He fixed His throne of 
holiness, Moses was commanded, for the erection of this throne, 
to make two cherubim, one at each end of the ark of the cove 
nant, and to place them so, that they should stand with out 
stretched wings, their faces toward each other, and toward the 
mercy-seat, the lid of the ark, which lay between them. That 
mercy-seat, or the space immediately above it, bounded on either 
side by the cherubim, and covered by their wings (Ex. xxv. 20), 
was the throne of God, as the God of the Old Covenant, the 
ideal seat of the Divine commonwealth in Israel. " There" said 
God to Moses, " will I meet with thee, and I will commune with 
thee from above the mercy-seat, from between the two cherubim 
which are upon the ark of the testimony, of all things which I 
will give thee in commandment to the children of Israel." 
(Ex. xxv. 22.) This is the fundamental passage regarding the 
connection of the cherubim with the throne of God ; and it is 
carefully to be noted, that while the seat of the Divine presence 
and glory is said to be above the mercy-seat, it is also said to be 
between the cherubim. The same form of expression is used also 
in another passage in the Pentateuch, which may likewise be 
called a fundamental one, Numb. vii. 89, " And when Moses 
was gone into the tabernacle of the congregation (more properly, 
the tent of meeting) to speak with Him, then he heard the voice 
of one speaking unto him from off the mercy-seat that was upon 
the ark of testimony, from between the two cherubim." Hence 
the Lord was spoken of as the God " who dwelleth between the 
cherubims," according to our version, and correctly as to the 
sense ; though, as the verb is used without a preposition in the 
original, the more exact rendering would be, the God who 
dwelleth-in (inhabiteth, ptf), or occupies (3B*, viz., as a throne 
or seat) the cherubim. These two verbs are interchanged in the 


form of expression, which is used with considerable frequency 
(for example, 1 Sam. iv. 4 ; 2 Sam. vi. 2 ; Ps. Ixxx. 1, xcix. 1, 
etc.) ; and it is from the use of the first of them that the Jewish 
term Shekinah (the indwelling), in reference to the symbol of 
the Divine presence, is derived. The space above the mercy-seat, 
enclosed by the two cherubim with their outstretched wings, 
bending and looking toward each other, was regarded as the 
local habitation which God possessed as a peculiar dwelling- 
place or occupied as a throne in Israel. And it is entirely arbi 
trary, and against the plain import of the two fundamental 
passages, to insert above, as is still very often done by interpre 
ters (" dwelleth," or " sitteth enthroned above the cherubim") ; 
still more so to make anything depend, as to the radical meaning 
of the symbol, on the seat of God being considered above rather 
than between the cherubim. 

Hengstenberg is guilty of this error, when he represents the 
proper place of the cherubim as being under the throne of God, 
and holds that to be their first business though he disallows the 
propriety of regarding them as material supports to the throne 
(Comm. on Rev. iv. 6). The meaning he adopts of the symbol 
absolutely required them to be in this position ; since only by 
their being beneath the throne of God, could they with any fit 
ness be regarded as imaging the living creation below, as subject 
to the overruling power and sovereignty of God. Hofmann 
and Delitzsch go still farther in this direction ; and, adopting the 
notion repudiated by Hengstenberg, consider the cherubim as the 
formal bearers of Jehovah s throne. Delitzsch even affirms, in 
opposition (we think) to the plainest language, that wherever 
the part of the cherubim is distinctly mentioned in Old Testa 
ment Scripture, they appear as the bearers of Jehovah and His 
throne, and that He sat enthroned upon the cherubim in the 
midst of the worldly sanctuary (Die Genesis Ausgelegt, p. 145). 
There are, in fact, only two representations of the kind specified. 
One is in Ps. xviii. 10, where the Lord is described as coming 
down for judgment upon David s enemies, and in doing so, 
" riding upon a cherub, and flying upon the wings of the wind " 
obviously a poetical delineation, in which it would be as im 
proper to press closely what is said of the position of the cherub, 
as what is said of the wings of the wind. The one image was 


probably introduced with the view merely of stamping the 
Divine manifestation with a distinctively covenant aspect, as the 
other for the purpose of exhibiting the resistless speed of its 
movements. But if the allusion is to be taken less ideally, it 
must be borne in mind, that the manifestation described is pri 
marily and pre-eminently for judgment, not as in the temple, for 
mercy ; and this may explain the higher elevation given to the 
seat of Divine Majesty. The same holds good also of the other 
representation, in which the throne or glory of the Lord appears 
above the cherubim. It is in Ezekiel, where, in two several places 
(ch. i. 26, x. 1), there is first said to have been a firmament upon 
the heads of the living creatures, and then above the firmament 
the likeness of a throne. The description is so palpably different 
from that given of the Sanctuary, that it would be absurd to 
subordinate the one to the other. We must rather hold, that in 
the special and immediate object of the theopbany exhibited to 
Ezekiel, there was a reason for giving such a position to the 
throne of God one somewhat apart from the cherubim, and 
elevated distinctly above them. And we believe that reason 
may be found, in its being predominantly a manifestation for 
judgment, in which the seat of the Divine glory naturally ap 
peared to rise to a loftier and more imposing elevation than it 
was wont to occupy in the Holiest. This seems to be clearly in 
dicated in ch. x. 4, where, in proceeding to the work of judg 
ment, the glory of the Lord is represented as going up from the 
cherub, and standing over the threshold of the house; imme 
diately after which the house was filled with the cloud the 
symbol of Divine wrath and retribution. We may add, that the 
statement in Rev. iv. 6, where the cherubic forms are said to 
have appeared " in the midst of the throne, and round about the 
throne," is plainly at variance with the idea of their acting as 
supports to the throne. The throne itself is described in v. 2, 
as being laid (eVetro) in heaven, which excludes the supposition 
of any instruments being employed to bear it aloft. And from 
the living creatures being represented as at once in the midst of 
the throne, and round about it, nothing further or more certain 
can be inferred beyond their appearing in a position of imme 
diate nearness to it. The elders sat round about the throne ; 
but the cherubim appeared in it as well as around it implying 


that theirs was the place of closest proximity to the Divine Being 
who sat on it. 

The result, then, which arises, we may almost say with con 
clusive certainty from the preceding investigation, is, that the 
kind of life which was symbolized by the cherubim, was life 
most nearly and essentially connected with God life as it is, or 
shall be, held by those who dwell in His immediate presence, 
and form, in a manner, the very inclosure and covering of His 
throne : pre-eminently, therefore, spiritual and holy life. Holi 
ness becomes God s house in general ; and of necessity it rises 
to its highest creaturely representation in those who are regarded 
as compassing about the most select and glorious portion of the 
house the seat of the living God Himself. Whether His 
peculiar dwelling were in the garden of Eden, or in the recesses 
of a habitation made by men s hands, the presence of the cheru 
bim alike proclaimed Him to be One, who indispensably requires 
of such as are to be round about Him, the property of life, and 
in connection with that the beauty of holiness, which is, in a 
sense, the life of life, as possessed and exercised by His intelli 
gent offspring. 

4. Our last point of scriptural inquiry was to be respecting 
the kinds of agency attributed to the cherubim. 

We naturally again revert, first, to what is said of them in 
connection with the garden of Eden, though our information 
there is the scantiest. It is merely said that the cherubim were 
made to dwell at the east of the garden, and a flaming sword, 
turning every way to keep the way to the tree of life. The two 
instruments the cherubim and the sword are associated to 
gether in regard to this keeping; and, as the text draws no 
distinction between them, it is quite arbitrary to say, with Btihr, 
that the cherubim alone had to do with it, and to do with it 
precisely as Adam had. It is said of Adam, that " God put 
him into the garden to dress it and to keep it" (Gen. ii. 15) 
not the one simply, but both together. He had to do a twofold 
office in respect to the garden to attend to its cultivation, as 
far as might then be needful, and to keep or preserve it, namely, 
from the disturbing and desolating influence of evil. The charge 
to keep plainly implied some danger of losing. And it became 
still plainer, when the tenure of possession was immediately sus- 


pended on a condition, the violation of which was to involve the 
penalty of death. The keeping was to be made good against a 
possible contingence, which might subvert the order of God, 
and change the region of life into a charnel-house of death. 
Now it is the same word that is used in regard to the cherubim 
and the flaming sword : These now were to keep not, how 
ever, like Adam, the entire garden, but simply the way to the 
tree of life ; to maintain in respect to this one point the settled 
order of Heaven, and that more especially by rendering the way 
inaccessible to fallen man. There is here also, no doubt, a pre 
sent occupancy ; but the occupancy of only a limited portion, a 
mere pathway, and for the definite purpose of defending it from 
unhallowed intrusion. 

Still, not simply for defence ; for occupancy as well as de 
fence. And the most natural thought is, that as in the keeping 
there was a twofold idea, so a twofold representation was given 
to it ; that the occupancy was more immediately connected with 
the cherubim, and the defence against intrusion with the flaming 
sword. One does not see otherwise what need there could have 
been for both. Nor is it possible to conceive how the ends in 
view could otherwise have been served. It was beyond all 
doubt for man s spiritual instruction, that such peculiar instru 
ments were employed at the east of the garden of Eden, to 
awaken and preserve in his bosom right thoughts of the God 
with whom he had to do. But an image of terror and repulsion 
was not alone sufficient for this. There was needed along with 
it an image of mercy and hope ; and both were given in the ap 
pearances that actually presented themselves. When the eye of 
man looked to the sword, with its burnished and fiery aspect, he 
could not but be struck with awe at the thought of God s severe 
and retributive justice. But when he saw, at the same time, in 
near and friendly connection with that emblem of Jehovah s 
righteousness, living or life-like forms of being, cast pre-emi 
nently in his own mould, but bearing along with his the likeness 
also of the choicest species of the animal creation around him 
when he saw this, what could he think but that still for crea 
tures of earthly rank, and for himself most of all, an interest 
was reserved by the mercy of God in the things that pertained 
to the blessed region of life ? That region could not now, by 

VOL. I. S 


reason of sin, be actually held by him ; but it was provisionally 
held by composite forms of creature-life, in which his nature 
appeared as the predominating element. And with what design, 
if not to teach, that when that nature of his should have nothing 
to fear from the avenging justice of God, it should regain its 
place in the holy and blissful haunts from which it had mean 
while been excluded? So that, standing before the eastern 
approach to Eden, and scanning with intelligence the appear 
ances that there presented themselves to his view, the child of 
faith might say to himself, That region of life is not finally lost 
to me. It has neither been blotted from the face of creation, 
nor entrusted to natures of another sphere. Earthly forms still 
hold possession of it. The very natures that have lost the pri 
vilege continue to have their representation in the new and 
unreal-like occupants that are meanwhile appointed to keep it. 
Better things, then, are doubtless in reserve for them ; and my 
nature, which stands out so conspicuously above them all, fallen 
though it be at present, is assuredly destined to rise again, and 
enjoy in the reality what is there ideally and representatively 
assigned to it. 

There is nothing surely unnatural or far-fetched in such a 
line of reflection. It manifestly lay within the reach of the 
very earliest members of a believing seed ; especially since the 
light it is supposed to have conveyed did not stand alone, but 
was only supplementary to that embodied in the first grand 
promise to the fallen, that the seed of the woman should bruise 
the head of the serpent. The supernatural machinery at the 
east of the garden merely showed how this bruising was to pro 
ceed, and in what result it might be expected to issue. It was 
to proceed, not by placing in abeyance the manifestation of 
Divine righteousness, but by providing for its being exercised 
without the fallen creature being destroyed. Nor should it 
issue in a partial, but in a complete recovery nay, in the pos 
session of a state higher than before. For the creaturehood of 
earth, it would seem, was yet to stand in a closer relation to the 
manifested glory of God, and was to become capable of enduring 
sights and performing ministrations which were not known in 
the original constitution of things on earth. 

It might not be possible, perhaps, for the primeval race of 


worshippers to go farther, or to get a more definite insight into 
the purposes of God, by contemplating the cherubim. We 
scarcely think it could. But we can easily conceive how the 
light and hope therewith connected would be felt to grow, when 
this embodied creaturehood or, if we rather choose so to regard 
it, this ideal manhood was placed in the sanctuary of God s 
presence and glory, and so as to form the immediate boundary 
and covering of his throne. A relation of greater nearness to 
the Divine was there evidently won for the human and earthly. 
And not that only, but a step also in advance toward the actual 
enjoyment of what was ideally exhibited. For while, at first, 
men in flesh and blood were not permitted to enter into the 
region of holy life occupied by the cherubim, but only to look at 
it from without, now the way was at length partially laid open, 
and in the person of the high priest, through the blood of 
atonement, they could make an approach, though still only at 
stated times, to the very feet of the cherubim of glory. The 
blessed and hopeful relation of believing men to these singular 
attendants of the Divine majesty rose thus more distinctly into 
view, and in more obvious connection also with the means 
through which the ultimate realization was to be attained. But 


the information in this line, and by means of these materials, 
reaches its furthest limit, when, in the Apocalyptic vision of a 
triumphant Church, the four and twenty elders, who represent 
her, are seen sitting in royal state and crowned majesty close 
beside the throne, with the cherubic forms in and around it. 
There, at last, the ideal and the actual freely meet together the 
merely symbolical representatives of the life of God, and its 
real possessors, the members of a redeemed and glorified Church. 
And the inspiring element of the whole, that which at once ex 
plains all and connects all harmoniously together, is the central 
object appearing there of " a Lamb, as if it had been slain, in 
the midst of the throne, and of the four living creatures, and in 
the midst of the elders." Here the mystery resolves itself ; in 
this consummate wonder all other wonders cease, all difficulties 
vanish. The Lamb of God, uniting together heaven and earth, 
human gilt and Divine mercy, man s nature and God s perfec 
tions, has opened a pathway for the fallen to the very height 
and pinnacle of created being. With Him in the midst, as a 


sun and shield, there is ground for the most secure standing, and 
for the closest fellowship with God. 

We must glance, however, at the other kinds of agency con 
nected with the cherubim. In the first vision of Ezekiel, it is 
by their appearance, which we have already noticed, not by their 
agency, properly speaking, that they convey instruction regard 
ing the character of the manifestations of Himself which the 
Lord was going to give through the prophet. But at ch. x. 7, 
where the approaching judgment upon Jerusalem is symbolically 
exhibited by the scattering of coals of fire over the city, the fire 
is represented as being taken from between the cherubim, and 
by the hand of one of them given to the ministering angel to be 
cast forth upon the city. It was thus indicated so far we can 
easily understand the vision that the coming execution of 
judgment was not only to be of God, but of Him in connection 
with the full consent and obedient service of the holy powers 
and agencies around Him. And the still more specific indica 
tion might also be meant to be conveyed, that as the best interest 
of humanity required the work of judgment to be executed, so a 
fitting human instrument should be found for the purpose. The 
wrath of God, represented by the coals of fire, should not want 
the service of an appropriate earthly agency, as the coals were 
ministered by a cherub s hand for the work of destruction. 

An entirely similar action, differing only in the form it 
assumes, is connected with the cherubim in ch. xv. of Revelation, 
where one of the living creatures is represented as giving into 
the hands of the angels the seven last vials of the wrath of God. 
The rational and living creaturehood of earth, in its state of 
alliance and fellowship with God, thus appeared to go along with 
the concluding judgments, which were necessary to bring the 
evil in the world to a perpetual end. Nor is the earlier and 
more prominent action ascribed to them materially different 
that connected with the seven-sealed Book. This book, viewed 
generally, unquestionably represents the progress and triumph 
of Christ s kingdom upon earth over all that was there naturally 
opposed to it. The first seal, when opened, presents the Divine 
King riding forth in conquering power and majesty ; the last 
exhibits all prostrate and silent before Him. The different seals, 
therefore, unfold the different stages of this mighty achieve- 


ment ; and as they successively open, each of the living creatures 
in turn calls aloud on the symbolic agency to go forth on its 
course. That agency, in its fundamental character, represents 
the judicial energy and procedure of God toward the sinfulness 
of the world, for the purpose of subduing it to Himself, of 
establishing righteousness and truth among men, and bringing 
the actual state of things on earth into conformity with what is 
ideally right and good. Who, then, might more fitly urge for 
ward and herald such a work, than the ideal creatures in which 
earthly forms of being appeared replete with the life of God, 
and in closest contact with His throne ? Such might be said to 
be their special interest and business. And hence, as there were 
only four of them in the vision (with some reference, perhaps, 
to the four corners of the earth), 1 and so one for but the first 
four seals of the book, the remaining symbols of this part of the 
Apocalyptic imagery were thrown into forms which did not 
properly admit of any such proclamation being uttered in con 
nection with them. 2 

We can discern the same leading characteristics in the 
farther use made of the cherubic imagery in the Apocalypse. 
They are represented as ceaselessly proclaiming, " Holy, holy, 
holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come," 
thereby showing it to be their calling to make known the ab 
solute holiness of God, as infinitely removed, not merely from 
the natural, but also, and still more, from the moral imperfec 
tions and evils of creation. In their ascriptions of praise, too, 
they are represented not only as giving honour and glory, but 

1 We say only perhaps ; for though Hengstenberg and others lay much 
stress upon the number four, as the signature of the earth, yet there being 
only two in the tabernacle, would seem to indicate that nothing material 
depends on the number. We think that the increase from the original 
two to four may, with more probability of truth, be accounted for histori 
cally. When the temple was built, two cherubim of immense proportions 
were put into the Most Holy Place, and under these were placed the ark 
with its old and smaller cherubim : so that there were henceforth actually 
four cherubim over the ark. And as the form of Ezekiel s vision, in its 
leading elements, was evidently taken from the temple, and John s again 
from that, it seems quite natural to account for the four in this way. 

2 Compare what is said on this subject in " Prophecy in its Distinctive 
Nature," etc., p. 404, 5. 


also thanks, to Him that sitteth on the throne, and as joining 
with the elders in the new song that was sung to the Lamb for 
the benefits of His salvation. (Rev. iv. 9, v. 8.) So that they 
plainly stand related to the redemptive as well as the creative 
work of God. And yet in all, from first to last, only ideal 
representatives of what pertains to God s kingdom on earth, not 
as substantive existences themselves possessing it. They belong 
to the imagery of faith, not to her abiding realities. And so, 
when the ultimate things of redemption come, their place is no 
more found. They hold out the lamp of hope to fallen man 
through the wilderness of life, pointing his expectations to the 
better country. But when this country breaks upon our view 
when the new heavens and the new earth supplant the old, 
then also the ideal gives way to the real. We see another 
paradise, with its river and tree of life, and a present God, and 
a presiding Saviour, and holy angels, and a countless multitude 
of redeemed spirits rejoicing in the fulness of blessing and 
glory provided for them ; but no sight is anywhere to be seen 
of the cherubim of glory. They have fulfilled the end of their 
temporary existence ; and when no longer needed, they vanish 
like the guiding stars of night before the bright sunshine of 
eternal day. 

To sum up, then : The cherubim were in their very nature 
and design artificial and temporary forms of being uniting in 
their composite structure the distinctive features of the highest 
kinds of creaturely existence on earth man s first, and chiefly. 
They were set up for representations to the eye of faith of 
earth s living creaturehood, and more especially of its rational 
and immortal, though fallen head, with reference to the better 
hopes and destiny in prospect. From the very first they gave 
promise of a restored condition to the fallen ; and by the use 
afterwards made of them, the light became clearer and more 
distinct. By their designations, the positions assigned them, 
the actions from time to time ascribed to them, as well as their 
own peculiar structure, it was intimated that the good in pro 
spect should be secured, not at the expense of, but in perfect 
consistence with, the claims of God s righteousness; that re 
storation to the holiness must precede restoration to the blessed 
ness of life ; and that only by being made capable of dwelling 


beside the presence of the only Wise and Good, could man 
hope to have his portion of felicity recovered. But all this, 
they further betokened, it was in God s purpose to have accom 
plished ; and so to do it, as, at the same time, to raise humanity 
to a higher than its original destination in its standing nearer 
to God, and greatly ennobled in its powers of life and capacities 
of working. 

Before passing from the subject of the cherubim, we must 
briefly notice some of the leading views that have been enter 
tained by others respecting them. These will be found to rest 
upon a part merely of the representations of Scripture to the 
exclusion of others, and most commonly to a neglect of what we 
hold it to be of especial moment to keep prominently in view 
the historical use of the cherubim of Scripture. That such 
must be the case with an opinion once very prevalent both 
among Jews and Christians, and not without its occasional ad 
vocates still, 1 which held them to be celestial existences, or more 
specifically angels, is obvious at first sight. For, the component 
parts of the cherubic appearance being all derived from the 
forms of being which have their local habitation on earth, it is 
terrestrial, as contradistinguished from celestial objects, which 
we are necessitated to think of. And their original position at 
the east of Eden would have been inexplicable, as connected 
with a religion of hope, if celestial and not earthly natures had 
been represented in them. The natural conclusion in that case 
must have been, that the way of life was finally lost for man. 
In the Apocalypse, too, they are expressly distinguished from 
the angels ; and in ch. v. the living creatures and the elders 
form one distinct chorus (ver. 8), while the angels form another 
(ver. 11). There is more of verisimilitude in another and at 
present more prevalent opinion, that the cherubim represent the 
Church of the redeemed. This opinion has often been pro 
pounded, and quite recently has been set forth in a separate 
work on the cherubim. 2 It evidently fails, however, to account 

1 Elliott s Horse Apoc. Introd. ; partially adopted also, and especially in 
regard to the cherubim of Eden, by Mr Mills in a little work on Sacred 
Symbology, p. 136. 

2 Doctrine of the Cherubim, by George Smith, F.A.S. 


satisfactorily for their peculiar structure, and is of a too con 
crete and specific character to have been represented by such 
ideal and shifting formations as the cherubim of Scripture. 
These are more naturally conceived to have had to do with 
natures than with persons. Besides, it is plainly inconsistent 
with the place occupied by the cherubim in the Apocalyptic 
vision, where the four and twenty crowned elders obviously 
represent the Church of the redeemed. To ascribe the same 
office to the cherubim would be to suppose a double and essen 
tially different representation of the same object. To avoid 
this objection, Vitringa (Obs. Sac. i. 846) modified the idea so 
as to make the cherubim in the Revelation (for he supposed 
those mentioned in Gen. iii. 24 to have been angels) the re 
presentatives of such as hold stations of eminence in the 
Church, evangelists and ministers, as the elders were of the 
general body of believers. But it is an entirely arbitrary 
notion, and destitute of support in the general representations 
of Scripture; as, indeed, is virtually admitted by the learned 
author, in so peculiarly connecting it with the vision of St 
John. An opinion which finds some colour of support only in 
a single passage, and loses all appearance of probability when 
applied to others, is self-confuted. 

It was the opinion of Michaelis, an opinion bearing a vivid 
impress of the general character of his mind, that the cherubim 
were a sort of " thunder horses " of Jehovah, somewhat similar 
to the horses of Jupiter among the Greeks. This idea has so 
much of a heathen aspect, and so little to give it even an apparent 
countenance in Scripture, that no further notice need be taken 
of it. More acceptance on the continent has been found for the 
view of Herder, who regards the cherubim as originally feigned 
monsters, like the dragons or griffins, which were the fabled 
guardians among the ancients of certain precious treasures. 
Hence he thinks the cherubim are represented as first of all 
appointed to keep watch at the closed gates of paradise ; and for 
the same reason were afterwards placed by Moses in the presence- 
chamber of God, which the people generally were not permitted 
to enter. Latterly, however, he admits they were differently 
employed, but more after a poetical fashion, and as creatures of 
the imagination. This admission obviously implies that the view 


will not stand an examination with all the passages of Scripture 
bearing on the subject. Indeed, we shall not be far wrong if 
we say, that it can stand an examination with none of them. 
The cherubim were not set up even in Eden as formidable 
monsters to fray sinful man from approaching it. They were 
not needed for such a purpose, as this was sufficiently effected by 
the flaming sword. Nor were they placed at the door, or about 
the threshold of the sanctuary, to guard its sanctity, as on that 
hypothesis they should have been, but formed a part of the 
furniture of its innermost region. And the later notices of the 
cherubim in Scripture, which confessedly present them in a 
different light, are not by any means independent and arbitrary 
representations: they have a close affinity, as we have seen, with 
the earlier statements ; and we cannot doubt that the same 
fundamental character is to be found in all the representations. 
Spencer s idea of the cherubim was of a piece with his views 
generally of the institutions of Moses : they were of Egyptian 
origin, and were formed in imitation of those monstrous com 
pounds which played so prominent a part in the sensuous worship 
of that cradle of superstition and idolatry. Such composite 
forms, however, were by no means so peculiar to Egypt as 
Spencer represents. They were common to heathen antiquity, 
and are even understood to have been more frequently used in 
the East than in Egypt. Nor is it unworthy of notice, that of 
all the monstrous combinations which are mentioned in ancient 
writings, and which the more successful investigations of later 
times have brought to light from the remains of Egyptian 
idolatry, not one has an exact resemblance to the cherub : the 
four creature-forms combined in it seem never to have been 
so combined in Egypt ; and the only thing approaching to it 
yet discovered, is to be found in India. It is quite gratuitous, 
therefore, to assert that the cherubim were of Egyptian origin. 
But even if similar forms had been found there, it would not 
have settled the question, either as to the proper origin or the 
real nature of the cherubim. If they were placed in Eden after 
the fall, they had a known character and habitation in the world 
many centuries before Egypt had a being. And then, whatever 
composite images might be found in Egypt or other idolatrous 
nations, these, in accordance with the whole character of heathen 


idolatry, which was essentially the deification of nature, must 
have been representations of the Godhead itself, as symbolized 
by the objects of nature ; while the cherubim are uniformly 
represented as separate from God, and as ministers of right 
eousness before Him. So well was this understood among the 
Israelites, that even in the most idolatrous periods of their 
history, the cherubim never appear among the instruments of 
their false worship. This separate and creaturely character of 
the cherubim is also fatal to the opinion of those who regard 
them as " emblematical of the ever-blessed Trinity in covenant 
to redeem man," which is, besides, utterly at variance with the 
position of the cherubim in the temple ; for how could God be 
said to dwell between the ever-blessed Trinity ? l And the same 
objections apply to another opinion, closely related to this, accord 
ing to which the cherubim represent, not the Godhead person 
ally, but the attributes and perfections of God ; are held to be 
symbolical personifications of these as manifested in God s works 
and ways. This view has been adopted with various modifica 
tions by persons of great name, and of very different tendencies 
such as Philo, Grotius, Bochart, Rosenmiiller, De Wette; 
but it is not supported either by the fundamental nature of the 
cherubim or by their historical use. We cannot perceive, indeed, 
how the cherubim could really have been regarded as symbols of 
the Divine perfections, or personifications of the Divine attri 
butes, without falling under the ban of the second command 
ment. It would surely have been an incongruity to have 
forbidden, in the strongest terms and with the severest penalties, 
the making of any likeness of God, and, at the same time, to 
have set up certain symbolical images of His perfections in the 
very region of His presence, and in immediate contact with His 
throne. No corporeal representation could consistently be ad 
mitted there of anything but what directly pointed to creaturely 

1 It is Parkhurst, and the Hutchinsonian school, who are the patrons of 
this ridiculous notion. Horsley makes a most edifying improvement upon 
it, with reference to modern times : " The cherub was a compound figure, 
the calf (of Jeroboam) single. Jeroboam, therefore, and his subjects were 
Unitarians ! " (Works, vol. viii., 241). He forgot, apparently, that there 
were four parts in the cherub; so that not a trinity, but a quaternity, would 
have been the proper co-relative under the Gospel. 


existences, and their relations and interests. And the nearest 
possible connection with God which we can conceive the cheru 
bim to have been intended to hold, was that of shadowing forth 
how the creatures of His hand, and (originally) the bearers of 
His image on earth, might become so replenished with His spirit 
of holiness as to be, in a manner, the shrines of His indwelling 
and gracious presence. 

Biihr, in his Symbolik, approaches more nearly to this view 
than any of the preceding ones, and theoretically avoids the 
more special objection we have urged against it ; but it is by a 
philosophical refinement too delicate, especially without some 
accompanying explanation, to catch the apprehension of a com 
paratively unlearned and sensuous people. The cherubim, he 
conceives, were images of the creation in its highest parts 
combining in a concentrated shape the most perfect forms of 
creature-life on earth, and, as such, serving as representatives 
of all creation. But the powers of life in creation are the signs 
and witnesses of those which, without limit or imperfection, are 
in God ; and so the relative perfection of life exhibited in the 
cherubim symbolized the absolute perfection of life that is in 
God His omniscience, His peerless majesty, His creative power, 
His unerring wisdom. The cherub was not an image of the 
Creator, but it was an image of the Creator s manifested glory. 
We repeat, this is far too refined and shadowy a distinction to 
lie at the base of a popular religion, and to serve for instruction 
to a people surrounded on every hand by the gross forms and 
dense atmosphere of idolatry. It could scarcely have failed, in 
the circumstances, to lead to the worship of the cherubim, as, 
reflectively at least, the worthiest representations of God which 
could be conceived by men on earth. But if this evil could 
have been obviated, which we can only think of as an insepar 
able consequence, there is another and still stronger attaching 
to the view, which we may call an inseparable ingredient. For 
if the cherubim were representatives of created life, and thence 
factitious witnesses of the Creator s glory ; if such were the sum 
and substance of what was represented in them, then it was 
after all but a symbol of things in nature ; and, unlike all the 
other symbols in the religion of the Old Testament, it must 
have borne no respect to God s work, and character, and pur- 


poses of grace. That religion was one essentially adapted to the 
condition, the necessities, and desires of fallen man ; and the 
symbolical forms and institutions belonging to it bear respect to 
God s nature and dealings, not so much in connection with the 
gifts and properties of creation, as with the principles of right 
eousness and the hopes of salvation. If the cherubim are held 
to be symbolical only of what is seen of God in nature, they 
stand apart from this properly religious province : they have no 
real adaptation to the circumstances of a fallen world ; they 
have to do simply with creative, not with redemptive manifesta 
tions of God ; and so far as they are concerned, the religion of 
the Old Testament would after all have been, like the different 
forms of heathenism, a mere nature-religion. No further proof 
surely is needed of the falseness of the view in question ; for, 
in a scheme of worship so wonderfully compact, and skilfully 
arranged toward a particular end, the supposition of a hetero 
geneous element at the centre is not to be entertained. 

We have already referred to the view of Hengstenberg, and 
shown its incompatibility to some extent with the scriptural re 
presentations. His opinions upon this subject, indeed, appear 
to have been somewhat fluctuating. In one of his earlier pro 
ductions, his work on the Pentateuch, he expresses his concur 
rence with Bahr, and even goes so far as to say, that he regarded 
Bahr s treatment of the cherubim as the most successful part of 
the Symbolik. Then in his Egypt and the Books of Moses, he 
gave utterance to an opinion at variance with the radical idea 
of Bahr, that the cherubim had a connection, both in nature 
and origin, with the sphinxes of Egypt. And in his work on 
the Revelation, he expressly opposes Bahr s view, and holds that 
the living forms in the cherubim were merely the representation 
of all that is living on the earth. But representing the higher 
things on earth, they also naturally serve as representations of 
the earth itself ; and God s appearing enthroned above the 
cherubim symbolized the truth, that He is the God of the whole 
earth, and has everything belonging to it, matter and mind, 
subject to His control. As mentioned before, this view, if cor 
rect, would have required the position of the cherubim to be 
always very distinctly and manifestly below the throne of God ; 
which, however, it does not appear to have been, except when 


the manifestation described was primarily for judgment. It 
leaves unexplained also the prominence given in the cherubic 
delineations to the form and likeness of man, and the circum 
stance that the cherubim should, in the Revelation, be nearer to 
the throne than the elders placing, according to that view, 
the creation, merely as such, nearer than the Church. But the 
representation errs, rather as giving a partial and limited view 
of the truth, than maintaining what is absolutely contrary to it. 
It approaches, in our judgment, much nearer to the right view 
than that more recently set forth by Delitzsch, who considers 
the cherubim as simply the bearers of Jehovah s chariot, and as 
having been placed originally at the eastern gate of Paradise, 
as if to carry Him aloft to heaven for the execution of judg 
ment, should mankind proceed farther in the course of iniquity. 
A conceivable notion certainly ! but leaving rather too much to 
the imagination for so early an age, and scarcely taking the 
form best fitted for working either on men s fears or hopes ! In 
the second edition of his work, published since the preceding 
was written, the learned author has somewhat modified his view 
of the cherubim. He still regards them as the bearers of Jeho 
vah s chariot ; but lays stress chiefly upon the general idea that 
they appeared as the jealous guardians of Jehovah s presence 
and glory therefore, watchers by way of eminence. As this 
view has been already noticed, it does not call for any fresh 



THE symbols to which our attention has hitherto been directed, 
were simply ordinances of teaching. They spake in language 
not to be mistaken of the righteous character of God, of the 
evil of sin, of the moral and physical ruin it had brought upon 
the world, of a purpose of grace and a prospect of recovery ; 
but they did no more. There were no rites of service associated 
with them ; nor of themselves did they call men to embody in 
any outward action the knowledge and principles they were the 
means of imparting. But religion must have its active services 
as well as its teaching ordinances. The one furnish light and 
direction, only that the other may be intelligently performed. 
And a symbolical religion, if it could even be said to exist, could 
certainly not have perpetuated itself, or kept alive the knowledge 
of Divine truth in the world, without the regular employment 
of one or more symbolical institutions fitted for the suitable 
expression of religious ideas and feelings. Now the only thing 
of this description which makes its appearance in the earlier 
periods of the world s history, and which continued to hold, 
through all the after stages of symbolical worship, the paramount 
place, is the rite of sacrifice. 

We are not told, however, of the actual institution of this 
rite in immediate connection with the fall ; and the silence of 
inspired history regarding it till Cain and Abel had reached the 
season of manhood, and the mention of it then simply as a mat 
ter of fact in the narrative of their lives, has given rise to much 
disputation concerning the origin of sacrifice whether it was 
of Divine appointment, or of human invention ? And if the 
latter, to what circumstances in man s condition, or to what 
views and feelings naturally arising in his mind, might it owe 
its existence ? In the investigation of these questions, a line of 
inquiry has not unfrequently been pursued by theologians, more 


befitting the position of philosophical reasoners than of Chris 
tian divines. The solution has been sought for chiefly in the 
general attributes of human nature, and the practices of a 
remote and semi-barbarous heathenism, as if Scripture were en 
tirely silent upon the subject till we come far down the stream 
of time. Discarding such a mode of conducting the investiga 
tion, and looking to the notices of Scripture for our only certain 
light upon the subject, we hope, without material difficulty, to 
find our way to conclusions on the leading points connected 
with it, which may be generally acquiesced in as legitimately 
drawn and firmly established. 

1. In regard, first of all, to the Divine authority and accept 
able nature of worship by sacrifice, which is often mixed up 
with the consideration of its origin, Scripture leaves very little 
room for controversy. The only debateable ground, as concerns 
this aspect of the matter, respects that very limited period of 
time which stretches from the fall of Adam to the offerings of 
Cain and Abel. From this latter period, verging, too, on the 
very commencement of the world s history, we are expressly 
informed that sacrifice of one kind had a recognised place in 
the worship of God, and met with His acceptance. Not only 
did Abel appear before God with a sacrificial offering, but by a 
visible token of approval conveyed in all probability through 
some action of the cherubim or the flaming sword, near which, 
as the seat of the manifested presence of God, the service would 
naturally be performed the seal was given of the Divine ac 
ceptance and blessing. Thenceforth, at least, sacrifice presented 
after the manner of Abel s might be regarded as of Divine 
authority. It bore distinctly impressed upon it the warrant and 
approbation of Heaven ; and whatever uncertainty might hang 
around it during the brief space which intervened between the 
fall and the time of Abel s accepted offering, it was from that 
time determined to be a mode of worship with which God was 
well pleased. We might rather say the mode of worship ; for 
sacrifice, accompanied, it is probable, with some words of prayer, 
is the only stated act of worship by which believers in the ear 
lier ages appear to have given more formal expression to their 
faith and hope in God. When it is said of the times of Enos, 
the grandson of Adam in the pious line of Seth, that " then 


men began to call upon the name of the Lord/ there can be 
little doubt that they did so after the example of Abel, by the 
presentation of sacrifice only, as profiting by the fatal result 
of his personal dispute with Cain, in a more public and regu 
larly concerted manner. It appears to have been then agreed 
among the worshippers of Jehovah, what offerings to present, 
and how to do so; as, in later times, it is frequently reported of 
Abraham and his family, in connection with their having built 
an altar, that they then " called upon the name of the Lord." 
(Gen. xii. 8, xiii. 4, xxvi. 25.) That sacrifice held the same 
place in the instituted worship of God after the deluge, which 
it had done before, we learn, first of all, from the case of Noah 
the connecting link between the old and new worlds who no 
sooner left the ark than he built an altar to the Lord, and offered 
burnt-offerings of every clean beast and fowl, from which the 
Lord is said to have smelled a sweet savour. In the delineation 
given of the earlier patriarchal times in the Book of Job, we 
find him not only spoken of as exhibiting his piety in the stated 
presentation of burnt-offerings, but also as expressly required by 
God to make sacrifice for the atonement of his friends, who had 
sinned with their lips in speaking what was not right. And as 
we have undoubted testimonies respecting the acceptable charac 
ter of the worship performed by Abraham and his chosen seed, 
so we learn that in this worship sacrificial offerings played the 
principal part, and were even sometimes directly enjoined by 
God. (Gen. xv. 9, 10, 17, xxii. 2, 13, xxxv. 1, etc.) 

The very latest of these notices in sacred history carry us up 
to a period far beyond that to which the authentic annals of any 
heathen kingdom reach, while the earliest refer to what occurred 
only a few years subsequent to the fall. From the time of 
Abel, then, downwards through the whole course of antediluvian 
and patriarchal history, it appears that the regular and formal 
worship of God mainly consisted in the offering of sacrifice, and 
that this was not rendered by a sort of religious venture on the 
part of the worshippers, but with the known sanction, and virtual, 
if not explicit, appointment of God. As regards the right of 
men to draw near to God with such offerings, and their hope of 
acceptance at His hands, no shadow of doubt can fairly be said 
to rest upon any portion of the field of inquiry, except what may 


relate to the worship of the parents themselves of the human 

2. It is well to keep in view the clear and satisfactory de 
liverance we obtain on this branch of the subject. And if we 
could ascertain definitely what were the views and feelings ex 
pressed by the worshippers in the kind of sacrifice which wan 
accepted by God, the question of its precise origin would be of 
little moment ; since, so recently after the institution of the rite, 
we have unequivocal evidence of its being divinely owned and 
approved, as actually offered. But it is here that the main 
difficulty presents itself, as it is only indirectly we can gather the 
precise objects for which the primitive race of worshippers came 
before God with sacrificial offerings. The question of their 
origin still is of moment for ascertaining this, and at the same 
time for determining the virtue possessed by the offerings in the 
sight of God. If they arose simply in the devout feelings of the 
worshipper, they might have been accepted by God as a natural 
and proper form for the expression of these feelings ; but they 
could not have borne any typical respect to the higher sacrifice 
of Christ, as, in the things of redemption, type and antitype 
must be alike of God. And on this point we now proceed to 
remark negatively, that the facts already noticed concerning the 
first appearance and early history of sacrifice, present insuperable 
objections to all the theories which have sought on simply natural 
grounds to account for its human origin. 

The theory, for example, which has received the suffrage of 
many learned men, both in this country and on the Continent, 1 
and which attempts to explain the rise of sacrifice by a reference 
to the feelings of men when they were in the state of rudest 
barbarism, capable of entertaining only the most gross and carnal 
ideas of God, and consequently disposed to deal with Him much 
as they would have done with a fellow-creature, whose favour 
they desired to win by means of gifts, this theory is utterly at 
variance with the earlier notices of sacrificial worship. It is 
founded upon a sense of the value of property, and of the effect 
wont to be produced by gifts of property between man and man, 
which could not have been acquired at a period when society as 

1 Spencer de Leg. Heb. L. iii., c. 9. So also substantially, Priestly, H. 
Taylor, Michaelis, Rosenmiiller, Hofmann, etc. 

VOL. I. T 


yet consisted only of a few individuals, and these the members of 
a single family. And whether the gift were viewed in the light 
of a compensation, a bribe, or a feast (for each in different hands 
has had its share in giving a particular shape to the theory), no 
sacrifice offered with such a view could have met with the Divine 
favour and acceptance. The feeling that prompted it must in 
that case have been degrading to God, indeed essentially idola 
trous ; and the whole history of patriarchal worship, in which 
God always appears to look so benignly on the offerings of be 
lieving worshippers, reclaims against the idea. 

Of late, however, it has been more commonly sought to ac 
count for the origin of sacrifice, by viewing it as a symbolical 
act, such as might not unnaturally have suggested itself to men, 
in any period of society, from the feelings or practices with 
which their personal experience, or the common intercourse of 
life, made them familiar. But very different modes of explain 
ing the symbol have been resorted to by those who concur in the 
same general view of its origination. Omitting the minor shades 
of difference which have arisen from an undue regard being had 
to distinctively Mosaic elements, Sykes, in his Essay on Sacrifice, 
raised his explanation on the ground, that " eating and drinking 
together were the known ordinary symbols of friendship, and 
were the usual rites of engaging in covenants and leagues." And 
in this way some plausible things may doubtless be said of sacri 
fice, as it appeared often in the later ages of heathenism, and 
also on some special occasions among the covenant people. But 
nothing that can seem even a probable account is thereby given 
of the offerings presented by believers in the first ages of the 
world. For it is against all reason to suppose that such a sym 
bol of friendship should then have been in current use, not to 
mention that the offerings of that period seem to have been pre 
cisely of the class in which no part was eaten by the worshippers 
holocausts. Warburton laid the ground more deeply, and with 
greater show of probability, when he endeavoured to trace the 
origin of sacrifice to the ancient mode of converse by action, to 
aid the defects and imperfections of early language, this being, 
in his opinion, sufficient to account for men being led to adopt 
such a mode of worship, whether the sacrifice might be eucha- 
ristical, propitiatory, or expiatory. Gratitude for good bestowed, 


he conceives, would lead the worshipper to present, by an ex 
pressive action, the first-fruits of agriculture or pasturage the 
eucharistical offering. The desire of the Divine favour or pro 
tection in the business of life would, in like manner, dispose him 
to dedicate a portion of what was to be sown or propagated 
the propitiatory. And for sacrifices of an expiatory kind, the 
sense of sin would prompt him to take some chosen animal, 
precious to the repenting criminal who deprecated, or supposed 
to be obnoxious to the Deity who was to be appeased, and slay 
it at the altar, in an action which, in all languages when trans 
lated into words, speaks to this purpose : " I confess my trans 
gressions at Thy footstool, O my God ; and with the deepest 
contrition implore Thy pardon, confessing that I deserve the 
death which I inflict on this animal." 1 If for the infliction of 
death, which Warburton here represents as the chief feature in 
the action of expiatory sacrifice, we substitute the pouring out 
of the blood, or simply the giving away of the life to God, there 
is no material difference between his view of the origin of such 
sacrifices, and that recently propounded by Biihr. This ingenious 
and learned writer rejects the idea of sacrifice having come 
from any supernatural teaching or special appointment of God, 
as this would imply that man needed extraneous help to direct 
him, whether he was to sacrifice, or how he was to do it. He 
maintains, that "as the idea of God, and its necessary expression, 
was not something that came upon humanity from without, 
nothing taught it, but something immediate, an original fact ; 
so also is sacrifice the form of that expression. From the point 
of view at which we are wont to contemplate things, separating 
the divine from the natural, the spiritual from the corporeal, this 

1 Warburton s Div. Legation, B. ix., c. 2. Davison substantially adopts 
this view, with no other difference than that he conceives it unnecessary to 
make any account of the defects and imperfections of early language in ex 
plaining the origin of sacrifice; but, regarding " representation by action as 
gratifying to men who have every gift of eloquence, 1 and as singularly 
suited to great purposes of solemnity and impression," he thinks "not simple 
adoration, not the naked and unadorned oblations of the tongue, but adora 
tion invested in some striking and significative form, and conveyed by the 
instrumentality of material tokens, would be most in accordance with the 
strong energies of feeling, and the insulated condition of the primitive race." 
(Inquiry into the Origin and Intent of Sacrifice, p. 19, 20.) 


form must indeed always present a strange appearance. But if 
we throw ourselves back on that mode of contemplation which 
views the divine and spiritual as inseparable from the natural 
and corporeal, we shall find nothing so far out of the way in 
man s feeling himself constrained to represent the internal act 
of the giving up of his whole life and being to the Godhead 
and in that all religion lives and moves through the external 
giving away of an animal, perhaps, which he loved as himself, or 
on which he himself lived, and which stood in the closest con 
nection with his own existence." l Something of a like nature 
(though exhibited in a form more obviously liable to objection) 
has also received the sanction of Tholuck, who, in the Disserta 
tion on Sacrifices, appended to his Commentary on Hebrews, 
affirms, that " an offering was originally a gift to the Deity a 
gift by which man strives to make up the deficiency of the 
always imperfect surrender of himself to God." And in regard 
especially to burnt-offerings, he says : " Both objects, that of 
thanksgiving and of propitiation, were connected with them : 
on the one hand, gratitude required man to surrender what was 
external as well as internal to God ; and, on the other hand, 
the surrender of an outward good was considered as a substitu 
tion, a propitiation for that which was still deficient in the inter 
nal surrender." ^ A salvation, it would seem, by works so far, 
and only where these failed, a calling in of extraneous and 
supplementary resources ! 

These different modes of explanation are manifestly one in 
principle, and are but varying aspects of the same fundamental 
view. In each form it lies open to three serious objections, which 
together appear to us quite conclusive against it. 1. First, the 
analogy of God s method of dealing with His Church in the 
matter of Divine worship, at other periods in her history, is op 
posed to the simply human theory in any of its forms. Certainly 
at no other era did God leave His people altogether to their own 
inventions for the discovery of an acceptable mode of approach 
ing Him, and of giving expression to their religious feelings. 
Some indications He has always given of what in this respect 
might be accordant with His mind, and suitable to the position 
which His worshippers occupied in His kingdom. The extent to 
1 Bahr s Symbolik, B. ii., p. 272. 2 Biblical Cabinet, vol. xxxix., p. 252. 


which this directing influence was carried, formed one of the 
leading characteristics of the dispensation brought in by Moses ; 
the whole field of religious worship was laid under Divine pre 
scription, and guarded against the inventions of men. But 
even in the dispensation of the Gospel, which is distinguished for 
the spirituality of its nature, and its comparative freedom from 
legal enactments and the observance of outward forms, the lead 
ing ordinances of Divine worship are indicated with sufficient 
plainness, and what has no foundation in the revealed word is 
expressly denounced as " will-worship." And if the Church of 
the New Testament, witlj all her advantages of a completed 
revelation, a son-like freedom, and an unction from the Holy 
One, that is said to "teach her all things," was not without some 
direction and control in regard to the proper celebration of God s 
service, is it conceivable that all should have been left utterly 
loose and indeterminate, when men were still in the very infancy 
of a fallen condition, and their views of spiritual truth and duty 
only in the forming? Where, in that case, would have been 
God s jealousy for the purity of His worship ? And where, we 
may also ask, His compassion toward men ? He had disclosed to 
them purposes of grace, and awakened in their bosoms the hope 
of a recovery from the ruin they had incurred ; but to set them 
adrift without even pointing to any ordinance fitted to meet their 
sense of sin, and reassure their hearts before God, would have 
been to leave the exhibition of mercy strangely defective and 
incomplete. For while they knew they had to do with a God of 
grace and forgiveness, they should still have been in painful un 
certainty how to worship and serve Him, so as to get a personal 
experience of His blessing, and how, especially when conscience 
of sin troubled them anew, they might have the uneasiness 
allayed. Never surely was the tenderness of God more needed 
to point the way to what was acceptable and right, than in such 
a day of small things for the children of hope. And if it had 
not been shown, the withholding of it could scarcely seem other 
wise than an exception to the general analogy of God s dealings 
with men. 2. But, secondly, the simply human theory of the 
origin of sacrifice is met by an unresolved, and, on that supposi 
tion we are persuaded, an unresolvable difficulty in respect to the 
nature of ancient sacrifice. For as the earliest, and indeed the 


only recorded mode of sacrifice in primitive times, among ac 
ceptable worshippers of God, consisted in the offering of slain 
victims, it seems impossible that this particular form of sacrifice 
should have been fallen upon at first, without some special direc 
tion from above. Let the symbolical action be viewed in either 
of the shades of meaning formerly described, as expressive of 
the offerer s deserved death, or of the surrender of his life to 
God, or as a propitiatory substitution to compensate for the 
conscious defect of such surrender, either way, how could he 
have imagined that the devoting to death of a living creature 
of God should have been the appropriate mode of expressing 
the idea? Death is so familiar to us, as regards the inferior 
creation, and so much associated with the means of our support 
and comfort, that it might seem a light thing to put an animal 
to death for any purpose connected with the wants or even the 
convenience of men. But the first members of the human family 
were in different circumstances. They must have shrunk un 
less divinely authorized from inflicting death on any, and espe 
cially on the higher forms of the animal creation ; since death, 
in so far as they had themselves to do with it, was the peculiar 
expression of God s displeasure on account of sin. All, indeed, 
belonging to that creation were to be subject to them. Their 
appointment from the very first was to subdue the earth, and 
render everything in it subservient to their legitimate use. But 
this use did not originally include a right to deprive animals of 
their life for the sake of food ; the grant of flesh for that end 
was only given at the deluge. And that they should yet have 
thought it proper and becoming to shed the blood of animals 
merely to express a religious idea, nay, should have regarded that 
as so emphatically the appropriate way of worshipping God, that 
for ages it seems to have formed the more peculiar medium of 
approach to Him, can never be rationally accounted for without 
something on the part of God directing them to such a course. 
3. Finally, the theories now under consideration are still farther 
objectionable, in that they are confronted by a specific fact, which 
was evidently recorded for the express purpose of throwing light 
on the original worship of fallen man, and with which their 
advocates have never been able to reconcile them the fact of 
Abel s accepted offering from the flock, as contrasted with the 


rejection of Cain s from the produce of the field. (Gen. iv. ; 
Heb. xi. 4.) The offerings of the two brothers differed, we are 
told in the Epistle to the Hebrews, and the account in Genesis 
implies as much, not only in regard to the outward oblation 
the one being a creature with life, the other without it but also 
in the principle which moved the two brothers respectively to 
present them. That principle in Abel was faith ; not this, there 
fore, but something else, in Cain. And as it was faith which 

7 O 

both rendered Abel s sacrifice in itself more excellent than Cain s, 
and drew down upon it the seal of Heaven s approval, the kind 
of faith meant must obviously have been something more than 
a mere general belief in the being of God, or His readiness to 
accept an offering of service from the hands of men. Faith in 
that sense must have been possessed by him who offered amiss, as 
well as by him who offered with acceptance. It must have been a 
more special exercise of faith which procured the acceptance of 
Abel faith having respect not simply to the obligation of ap 
proaching God with some kind of offering, but to the duty of doing 
so with a sacrifice like that actually rendered, of the flock or the 
herd. But whence could such faith have come, if there had not 
been a testimony or manifestation of God for it to rest upon, which 
the one brother believingly apprehended, and the other scornfully 
slighted ? We see no way of evading this conclusion, without 
misinterpreting and doing violence to the plain import of the 
account of Scripture on the subject. Taking this in its obvious 
and natural meaning, Cain is presented to our view as a child of 
nature, not of grace as one obeying the impulse and direction 
only of reason, and rejecting the more explicit light of faith as to 
the kind of service he presented to his Maker. His oblation is an 
undoubted specimen of what man could do in his fallen state to 
originate proper ideas of God, and give fitting expression to these 
in outward acts of worship. But unhappily for the advocates of 
nature s sufficiency in the matter, it stands condemned in the in 
spired record as a presumptuous and disallowed act of will-wor 
ship. Abel, on the other hand, appears as one who through grace 
had become a child of faith, and by faith first spiritually discern 
ing the mind of God, then reverently following the course it dic 
tated, by presenting that more excellent sacrifice (7r\eiova Ova-iav) 
of the firstlings of the flock, with which God was well pleased. 


On every account, therefore, the conclusion seems inevitable, 
that the institution of sacrifice must have been essentially of 
Divine origin ; for though we cannot appeal to any record of its 
direct appointment by God, yet there are notices concerning 
sacrificial worship which cannot be satisfactorily explained on 
the supposition, in any form, of its merely human origin. There 
is a recorded fact, however, which touches the very borders of 
the subject, and which, we may readily perceive, furnished a 
Divine foundation on which a sacrificial worship, such as is men 
tioned in Scripture, might be built. It is the fact noticed at the 
close of God s interview with our first parents after the fall : 
" And unto Adam also, and to his wife, did the Lord God make 
coats of skin, and clothed them." The painful sense of naked 
ness that oppressed them after their transgression, was the 
natural offspring of a consciousness of sin an instinctive fear 
lest the unveiled body should give indication of the evil thoughts 
and dispositions which now lodged within. Hence, to get relief 
to this uneasy feeling, they made coverings for themselves of 
such things as seemed best adapted to the purpose, out of that 
vegetable world which had been freely granted for their use. 
They girded themselves about with fig-leaves. But they soon 
found that this covering proved of little avail to hide their shame, 
where most of all they needed to have it hidden ; it left them 
miserably exposed to the just condemnation of their offended 
God. If a real and valid covering should be obtained, sufficient 
to relieve them of all uneasiness, God Himself must provide it. 
And so He actually did. As soon as the promise of mercy had 
been disclosed to the offenders, and the constitution of mingled 
goodness and severity brought in, he made coats to clothe them 
with, and these coats of skins. But clothing so obtained argued 
the sacrifice of life in the animal that furnished them ; and thus, 
through the death of an inferior yet innocent living creature, 
was the needed relief brought to their disquieted and fearful 
bosoms. The outward and corporeal here manifestly had re 
spect to the inward and spiritual. The covering of their naked 
ness was a gracious token from the hand of God, that the sin 
which had alienated them from Him, and made them conscious 
of uneasiness, was henceforth to be in His sight as if it were 
not ; so that in covering their flesh, He at the same time covered 


their consciences. If viewed apart from this higher symbolical 
aim, the outward act will naturally appear small and unworthy 
of God; but so to view it were to dissever it from the very 
reason of its performance. It was done purposely to denote the 
covering of guilt from the presence of God an act which God 
alone could have done. But He did it, as we have seen, by a 
medium of death, by a sacrifice of life in those creatures which 
men were not yet permitted to kill for purposes of food, and in 
connection with a constitution of grace which laid open the 
prospect of recovered life and blessing to the fallen. Surely it 
is not attributing to the venerable heads of the human family, 
persons who had so recently walked with God in paradise, an 
incredible power of spiritual discernment, or supposing them to 
stretch unduly the spiritual import of this particular action of 
God, if we should conceive them turning the Divine act into a 
ground of obligation and privilege for themselves, and saying, 
Here is Heaven s own finger pointing out the way for obtaining 
relief to our guilty consciences ; the covering of our shame is to 
be found by means of the skins of irrational creatures, slain in 
our behalf ; their life for our lives, their clothing of innocence 
for our shame ; and we cannot err, we shall but show our faith 
in the mercy and forgiveness we have experienced, if, as often 
as the sense of shame and guilt returns upon our consciences, 
we follow the footsteps of the Lord, and, by a renewed sacrifice 
of life, clothe ourselves anew with His own appointed badge of 
acquittal and acceptance. 

We are not to be understood as positively affirming that our 
first parents and their believing posterity reasoned thus, or that 
they actually had no more of instruction to guide them. We 
merely say, that they may quite naturally have so reasoned, and 
that we have no authority from the inspired record to suppose 
that any further instruction was communicated. Indeed, nothing 
more seems strictly necessary for the first beginnings of a sacri 
ficial worship. And it was still but the age for beginnings ; in 
what was taught and done, we should expect to find only the 
simplest forms of truth and duty. The Gospel, in its clearer 
announcements, even the law with its specific enactments, would 
then have been out of place. All that was absolutely required, 
and all that might be fairly expected, was some natural and ex- 


press! ve act of God toward men, laying, when thoughtfully con 
sidered, the foundation of a religious service toward Him. The 
claims of the Sabbatical institution, and of the marriage union, 
had a precisely similar foundation the one in God s personal 
resting on the seventh day, hallowing and blessing it ; the other 
in His formation of the first wife out of the first husband. It 
was simply the Divine procedure in these cases which formed the 
ground of man s obligations ; because .that procedure was essen 
tially a revelation of the mind and will of Godhead for the 
guidance of the rational beings who, being made in God s image, 
were to find their glory and their well-being in appropriating His 
acts, and copying after His example. So here, God s funda 
mental act in removing and covering out of sight the shame of 
conscious guilt in the first offenders, would both naturally and 
rightfully be viewed as a revelation of God, teaching them how, 
in henceforth dealing with Him, they were to proceed in effecting 
the removal of guilt, and appearing, notwithstanding it, in the 
presence of God. They found, in this Divine act, the key to a 
justified condition, and an acceptable intercourse with Heaven. 
Had they not done so, it would have been incapable of rational 
explanation, how a believing Abel should so soon have appeared 
in possession of it. Yet it could not have been rendered so 
palpable as to obtrude itself on the carnal and unbelieving ; 
otherwise it would scarcely be less capable of explanation, how 
a self-willed Cain should so soon have ventured to disregard it. 
The ground of dissension between the two brothers must have 
been of a somewhat narrower and more debateable character, 
than if an explicit and formal direction had been given. And 
in the Divine act referred to viewed in its proper light, and 
taken in connection with the whole circumstances of the time 
there was precisely what might have tended to originate both 
results : enough of light to instruct the humble heart of faith, 
mainly intent on having pardon of sin and peace with God, and 
yet not too much to leave proud and unsanctified nature without 
an excuse for following a course more agreeable to its own in 
clinations. 1 

1 Substantially the correct view was presented of this subject in a work 
by Dr Croly, though, like several other things in the same volume, attended 
with the twofold disadvantage, of not being properly grounded, and of being 


3. We thus hold sacrifice sacrifice in the higher sense, not 
as expressive of dependence and thankfulness merely, but as 
connected with sin and forgiveness, expiatory sacrifice to have 
been, as to its foundation, of Divine origin. It had its rise in an 
act of God, done for the express purpose of relieving guilty con 
sciences of their sense of shame and confusion ; and from the 
earliest periods of recorded worship it stands forth to our view 
as the religious solemnity in which faith had its most peculiar 
exercise, and for which God bestowed the tokens of His accept 
ance and blessing. For the discussion of some collateral points 
belonging to the subject, and the disposal of a few objections, 
we refer to the Appendix. 1 And we now proceed here briefly 
to inquire what sacrifice, as thus originating and thus presented, 
symbolically expressed. What feelings on the part of the 
worshipper, what truths on the part of God, did it embody? 

Partly, indeed, the inquiry has been answered already. It 
was impossible to conduct the discussion thus far without indi 
cating the leading ideas involved in primitive sacrifice. It must 
be remembered, however, that we are still dealing with sacrifice 
in its simplest and most elementary form radically, no doubt, 
the same as it was under the more complex and detailed arrange- 

encumbered with some untenable positions. " God alone is described as in 
act, and His only act is that of clothing the two criminals. The whole 
passage is but one of many in which a rigid adherence to the text is the 
way of safety. The literal meaning at once exalts the rite and illustrates 
its purposes. . . . Adam in Paradise has no protection from the Divine 
wrath, but he needs none ; he is pure. In his hour of crime, he finds the 
fatal difference between good and evil, feels that he requires protection from 
the eye of justice, and makes an ineffectual effort to supply that protection 
by his own means. But the expedient which cannot be supplied by man, 
is finally supplied by the Divine interposition. God clothes him, and his 
nakedness is the source of anguish and terror no more. The contrast of the 
materials of his imperfect and perfect clothing is equally impressive. Adam, 
in his first consciousness of having provoked the Divine displeasure, covers 
himself with the frail produce of the ground, the branch and leaf ; but from 
the period of forgiveness he is clothed with the substantial product of the 
flock, the skin of the slain animal. If circumstances apparently so trivial 
as the clothing of our original parents are stated, what other reason can be 
assigned, than that they were not trivial, that they formed a marked feature 
of the Divine dispensation, and that they were important to be recorded for 
the spiritual guidance of man ? (Divine Providence, p. 194-196.) 
1 Appendix D. 


ments of the Mosaic ritual, but in comparison of that wanting 
much in fulness and variety. As employed by the first race of 
believing worshippers, a few leading points are all that it can 
properly be regarded as embracing. 

(1.) Both from the manner of its origin, and its own essential 
nature, as involving in every act of worship the sacrifice of a 
creature s life, it bore impressive testimony to the sin fulness of 
the offerer s condition. Those who presented it could not but 
know that God was far from delighting in blood, and that death, 
either in man or beast, was not a thing in which He could be 
supposed to take pleasure. The explicit connection of death, 
also, with the first transgression, as the proper penalty of sin, 
was peculiarly fitted to suggest painful and humiliating thoughts 
in the minds of those who stood so near to the awful moment of 
the fall. And when death, under God s own directing agency, 
was brought so prominently into the Divine service, and every act 
of worship, of the more solemn kind, carried in its bosom the 
life-blood of an innocent creature, what more striking memorial 
could they have had of the evil wrought in their condition by 
sin ? With such an element of blood perpetually mingling in 
their services, they could not forget that they stood upon the 
floor of a broken covenant, and were themselves ever incurring 
anew the just desert of transgression. 

(2.) Then, looking more particularly to the sanction and 
encouragement of God given to such a mode of worshipping 
Him, it bespoke their believing conviction of His reconcileable 
and gracious disposition toward them, notwithstanding their 
sinfulness. They gave here distinct and formal expression to 
their faith, that as they needed mercy, so they recognised God 
as ready to dispense it to those who humbly sought Him through 
this channel of communion. Such a faith, indeed, had been pre 
sumption, the groundless conceit of nature s arrogancy or igno 
rance, if it had not had a Divine foundation to rest upon, and 
tokens of Divine acceptance in the acts of service it rendered. 
But these, as we have seen, it plainly had. So that a sacrificial 
worship thus performed bore evidence as well to the just expec 
tations of mercy and forgiveness on the part of those who pre 
sented it, as to their uneasy sense of guilt and shame prompting 
them to do so. 


(3.) But, looking again to the original ground and authority 
of this sacrificial worship, the act of God in graciously covering 
the shame and guilt of sin, and to the seal of acceptance after 
wards set so peculiarly and emphatically on it, the great truth 
was expressed by it, on the part of God, that the taking away of 
life stood essentially connected with the taking away of sin ; or, 
as expressed in later Scripture, that a without shedding of blood 
there is no remission of sins." In accordance with the general 
character of the primeval constitution of things, this truth comes 
out, not as a formal enunciation of principle, or an authoritative 
enactment of Heaven, but as an embodied fact ; a fact, in the 
first instance, of God s hand, significantly indicating His mind 
and will, and then believingly contemplated, acted upon, sub 
stantially re-enacted by His sincere worshippers, with His clearly 
marked approval. The form may be regarded as peculiar, but 
not so the truth enshrined in it. This is common to all times, 
and, after holding a primary place in every phase of a prepara 
tory religion, it rose at last to a position of transcendent import 
ance in the work and kingdom of Christ. How far Adam and 
his immediate descendants might be able to descry, under their 
imperfect forms of worship, and the accompanying intimations 
of recovery, the ultimate ground in this respect of faith and hope 
for sinful men, can be to us only matter of vague conjecture 
or doubtful speculation. Their views would, perhaps, consider 
ably differ, according as their faith was more or less clear in its 
discernment, more or less lively in its perceptions of the truth 
couched under the symbolical acts and revelations of God. But 
unless more specific information was given them than is found 
in the sacred record (and we have no warrant to suppose there 
was more), the anticipations formed even by the most enlightened 
of those primitive believers, regarding the way and manner in 
which the blood of sacrifice was ultimately to enter into the plan 
of God, must have been comparatively vague and indefinite. 

(4.) For us, however, who can read the symbol before us by 
the clear light of the Gospel, and from the high vantage-ground 
of a finished redemption can look back upon the temporary in 
stitutions that foreshadowed it, there is neither darkness nor 
uncertainty respecting the prophetic import of the primeval rite 
of sacrifice. We perceive there in the germ the fundamental 


truth of that scheme of grace which was to provide for the com 
plete and final restoration of a seed of hlessing the truth of a 
suffering Mediator, giving His life a ransom for many. Here 
again we behold the ends of revelation mutually embracing and 
contributing to throw light on each other. And as amid the 
perfected glories of Messiah s kingdom all appears clustering 
around the Lamb that was slain, and doing homage to Him for 
His matchless humiliation and triumphant victory, so the earliest 
worship of believing humanity points to His coming sacrifice as 
the one ground of hope and security to the fallen. At a subse 
quent period, when believers were furnished with a fuller revela 
tion and a more complicated worship, symbolical representations 
were given of many other and subordinate parts of the work of 
redemption. But when that worship existed in its simplest form, 
and embodied only the first elements of the truth, it was meet 
that what was ultimately to form the groundwork of the whole, 
should have been alone distinctly represented. And we shall not 
profit, as we should, by the contemplation of that one rite which 
stands so prominently out in the original worship of the believ 
ing portion of mankind, if it does not tend to deepen upon our 
minds the incomparable worth and importance of a crucified 
Redeemer, as the wisdom and power of God unto salvation. 



THE two ordinances of marriage and the Sabbath are here 
coupled together, as having so much in common, that they 
alike belonged to the primeval constitution of things, and were 
alike intended, without any formal alteration, to transmit their 
validity to times subsequent to the fall. They carried an 
import, and involved obligations, which should be co-extensive 
with the generations of mankind. Yet with this general agree 
ment there is a specific difference, which is of moment as re 
gards the point of view from which the subjects must here be 
contemplated. The formation of a partner for Adam out of 
a portion of his own frame, and the junction of the two under 
the direct sanction of their Maker, so as to form in a manner 
one flesh, however important in a social and economical respect, 
however fitted also to bear indirectly on the higher interests 
of the world, was still not formally of a religious nature. For 
the world s secular well-being alone there were reasons amply 
sufficient to account for its Divine author resorting to such a 
method, when bringing into being the first family pair, and in 
them laying the foundations of the world s social existence. 
For it was by an instructive and appropriate act, entwined 
with the very beginnings of social life on earth, that the essen 
tial conditions were to be exhibited if exhibited so as to tell 
with permanent effect of its right constitution and healthful 
working. And so far from being, as some have alleged, an 
unbecoming representation of the Divine character, a lowering 
of the Divine Majesty, that Eve should have been said to be 
formed out of Adam s side, and thereafter presented to him as 
his own flesh and bone, on account of which they would tum 
the whole narrative into a myth, it will be found, when duly 
considered and viewed in the light of the important interests 
depending on it, every way worthy of the wise foresight and 


paternal goodness of Deity. He has thus interwoven with the 
closing act of creation an imperishable moral lesson, made it, 
indeed, the perpetual and impressive symbol of the great truth, 
that the fundamental relation in family life was to consist in 
the union of one man and one woman ; and these so bound 
together as that, while distinctions as to authority and power 
on the one side, and subordination and dependence on the other, 
should exist between them, they should still be regarded as a 
social unity corporate manhood. So far from the Divine pro 
cedure in this violating our sense of the fitting and proper, or 
doing more than the circumstances of the case required, the 
records of history were not long in furnishing mournful evi 
dence that it proved all too little to secure the end in view ; it 
failed to perpetuate the intended unity and good order of 
families. Even among the chosen people, the practical infer 
ence drawn from it with instinctive sagacity and true spiritual 
insight by the first Adam. (" Therefore shall a man leave father 
and mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and they shall be one 
flesh," Gen. ii. 24), came to be so much lost sight of, that it 
required to be announced afresh, and with sterner authority 
imposed, by the second Adam (Matt. xix. 5, 6). 

The Scriptural evidence for the deep significance of the 
Divine act in respect to the formation of Eve, and the nature 
of the marriage union founded on it, is both explicit and 
ample. But in the circumstances of the parents themselves of 
the human family, and also of those of their posterity who lived 
in the earlier ages of the world, it could scarcely have occurred 
to them to carry that significance into any sphere beyond that 
of the family life. Nothing in the prospect as yet held out to 
them of a restored condition, was fitted to give their ideas so 
definite a shape as to suggest a spiritual relationship formed 
after the model of this natural one ; and in the religion of patri 
archal, or even much later times, scarcely anything is found 
that bears this specific impress. As the result of God s fuller 
manifestation of Himself and closer intimacy with His people 
in the wilderness, a kind of marriage union indeed is implied 
to have sprung up between them, since their defection from 
His service is represented under the light of an adultery or 
whoredom (Num. xiv. 33), a style of representation which 


became of frequent occurrence in the writings of the later pro 
phets (Isa. Ivii. 3 ; Jer. iii. 9, xiii. 27 ; Ezek. xvi., xxiii. ; Hos. 
i., ii., etc.). In one or two passages also the Lord expressly 
takes to Himself th name of the husband of Israel, or speaks 
of Himself as having been married to them (Isa. liv. 5 ; Jer. iii. 
14). In the Book of Canticles this relation even forms the 
scene of a kind of spiritual drama ; and in the 45th Psalm the 
hero of the piece, the King of Zion, is even represented as 
standing formally related to a queen who shares with Him in 
the honours of the kingdom, and by whom can only be under 
stood the true Israel of God. It is not to be denied, however, 
that this series of Old Testament representations took its formal 
rise in the covenant engagement entered into at Sinai, and 
merely availed itself of the marriage-bond as one peculiarly 
adapted for portraying the obligations and advantages con 
nected with fidelity to the engagement, or the guilt and folly 
of the reverse. In none of the passages does there seem any 
distinct reference to the primeval union in Eden ; and rather 
as a fitting emblem, than a type in the proper sense, is the 
marriage relation in such cases employed much as also the 
relations of a pastor to his flock (Ps. xxiii. ; Ezek. xxxvi. ; Zech. 
xi.), of a husbandman to his vineyard (Ps. Ixxx. ; Isa. v. 1-7; 
Ezek. xv.), or of a king to his subjects (1 Sam. viii. 7 ; Ps. ii. ? 

We are not, therefore, disposed to connect with the religious 
worship or hopes which came in after the fall, any distinct refer 
ence to the marriage relation, viewed as growing out of Eve s 
derivation from Adam, and subjection to him. In that particular 
form, and as an ideal pattern for the nourishment of faith and 
hope, it belongs to New rather than Old Testament times the 
times, namely, when the Lord from heaven stands distinctly re 
vealed in the character of the second Adam. As such, He also 
must have His spouse, and has it in part now ; but shall have it 
in completeness hereafter, in the company of faithful souls who 
have been washed from their sins in His blood the elect 
Church, which in all its members grows out of His root, lives 
by His life, and is called at once to share in His glory, and as 
an handmaid to minister to His will. So that the mystery 
of the primeval spouse ( a bone of Adam s bone, flesh of his 

VOL. I. U 


flesh ") may justly be regarded as the mystery of the Church 
in her relation to Christ (Eph. v. 30-32 ; 2 Cor. xi. 2 ; Kev. 
xix. 7, xxi. 2). But in this special aspect of the matter, an 
aspect that belongs to creation rather than to strictly historical 
times, it must be allowed to stand in some respects apart from 
the typical relations with which we have now properly to deal, 
and which all in a greater or less degree contributed to mould 
the religious viexvs and feelings of fallen men. 

It is otherwise in the respects now mentioned with the Sab 
batical institution, which also belongs to the primeval constitu 
tion of things. This at once bore a directly religious aspect, and 
pointed to the future as well as the present. The record given 
of it tells us that " on the seventh day God ended His work 
which He had made ; and He rested on the seventh day from 
all His work which He had made. And God blessed the seventh 
day, and sanctified it ; because that in it He had rested from all 
His work which God created and made" (Gen. ii. 2, 3). This 
procedure of God appears in such immediate contact with the 
work of creation (for in that respect the passage admits but of 
one fair interpretation), that the bearing it was intended to have 
on man s views and obligations must primarily have had respect 
to his original destination ; and if designed to lay the foundation 
of a stated order, this must have been one perfectly suited to the 
paradisiacal state. Yet a slight reflection might have sufficed 
to convince any thoughtful mind, that whatever significance it 
might have for the occupants of such a state, that could not be 
lost, but must even have been deepened and increased, by the 
circumstances of their fall from it. 

In the procedure itself of God there may be noted a three 
fold stage, each carrying a distinct and important meaning. 
First, the rest itself : " He rested on the seventh day from all 
His wprk ;" and in Ex. xxxi. 17, the yet stronger expression 
is used, of God s refreshing Himself on that day. Figurative 
language this must, no doubt, be understood to be, for " the 
Creator of the ends of the earth fainteth not, neither is weary," 
that being rendered impossible by the infinitude of His perfec 
tions, yet it is not the less expressive of a great truth, and one 
just as cognizable by man as the acts of creative energy by 
which it was preceded. What was it, indeed, but the proper 


complement of creation the immediate result at which it aimed, 
and in which, when realized, there was set the seal of Heaven 
on its beauty and completeness ? The glorious Creator is pre 
sented to our view at the close of His six days work, brought 
at length to its proper consummation in man, as clothed with 
the Divine image, and charged with the oversight and develop 
ment of the territory assigned him, surveying His own work 
manship, looking with complacence on the product of His hands, 
taking it, as it were, to His bosom, and in the freshness of its 
joy and the prospect of its goodly order finding satisfaction to 
Himself. How near does not this show God to be to His crea 
tures in particular to the rational and upright portion of them ? 
And must there not have been on their part the response of an 
intelligent appreciation and living fellowship ? Must not man, 
endowed as he was with God s likeness, and crowned with glory 
and honour as God s representative, here also have communion 
with his Maker ? How could he fail to do so ? As it was his 
calling to enter into God s work to take it up, as it were, where 
God left it, and carry it forward to its proper results ; so it was 
his privilege to enter into God s rest making this in a sense 
his own, and thereby rendering earth the reflex of heaven. It 
was for this end that God disclosed His manner of distinguish 
ing the seventh day from those which preceded, viz., to teach 
His earthly representative to go and do likewise ; so that this 
day so kept might be an ever-recurring memorial and sign, both 
how man s ordinary work should form a continuation and image 
of God s, and man s rest be a conscious appropriation and enjoy 
ment of that blessed satisfaction and repose with which God 
was Himself refreshed. 

But this was not left to be simply inferred ; for if even the 
first stage of this Divine act has respect to man, still more has 
the second, which points directly and exclusively to him : " And 
God blessed the seventh day." This blessing of the day is not 
to be confounded with the sanctifying of it, which immediately 
follows, as if the meaning were, God blessed it by sanctifying 
it. The blessing is distinct from the sanctification, and is, so to 
speak, the settling of a special dowry on it for every one, who 
should give due heed to its proper end and object. Let man 
the Divine act of blessing virtually said only enter into God s 


mind, and tread in His footsteps, by resting every seventh day 
from his works, and he shall undoubtedly find it to his profit ; 
the blessing, which is life for evermore, shall descend on him. 
What he may lose for the moment in productive employment, 
shall be amply compensated by the refreshment it will bring to 
his frame by the enlargement and elevation of his soul above 
all, by the spiritual fellowship and interest in God which be 
comes the abiding portion of those who follow Him in their 
ways, and perpetually return to Him as the supreme rest of 
their souls. 

Then, the last stage in the procedure of God on this occa 
sion, indicates how the two earlier ones were to be secured : 
" He sanctified it," set it sacredly apart from the others. Having 
appointed it to a distinctive end, he conferred on it a distinctive 
character, that His creature, man, might from time to time be 
doing in his line of things what the Creator had already done 
in His own might, after six successive days of work, take one 
to reinvigorate his frame, to reflect calmly on the past, and 
view the part he has taken and the relations he occupies on the 
outward and visible theatre of the world, in the light of the spi 
ritual and the eternal. It was to be his calling and his destiny 
on earth, not simply to work, but to work as a reasonable and 
moral being, after the example of his Maker, for specific ends. 
And for this he needed seasons of quiet repose and thoughtful 
consideration, not less than time and opportunity for active 
labour ; as, otherwise, he could neither properly enjoy the work 
of his hands, nor obtain for the higher part of his nature that 
nobler good which is required to satisfy it. God, therefore, 
when He had finished the work of creation by making man, 
sanctified the seventh day His oiun seventh, but mans first ; 
for man had not first to work and then to reap, but as God s 
vicegerent, nature s king and high-priest, could at once enter 
into his Maker s heritage of blessing. And henceforth, in the 
career that lay before him, ever and anon returning from the 
field of active labour assigned him in cultivating and subduing 
the earth, he must on the hallowed day of rest gather in his 
thoughts and desires from the world, and, retiring into God as 
his sanctuary, hold with Him a sabbatism of peaceful and 
blessed communion. 


The Divine procedure, then, in every one of its stages, plainly 
points to man, and aims at his participation in the likeness and 
enjoyment of God. " With the Sabbath," says Sartorius hap 
pily, and we rejoice and hail it as a token for good, that such 
thoughts on the Sabbath are finding utterance in the high places 
of Germany " with the Sabbath begins the sacred history of 
man the day on which he stood forth to bless God, and, in 
company with Eve, entered on his Divine calling upon earth. 
The creation without the creation-festival, the world s unrest 
without rest in God, is altogether vain and transitory. The 
sacred day appointed, blessed, consecrated by God, is that from 
which the blessing and sanctification of the world and time, of 
human life and human society, proceed. Nor is anything more 
needed than the recognition of its original appointment and 
sacred destination, for our receiving the full impression of its 
sanctity. How was it possible for the first man ever to forget 
it ? From the very beginning was it written upon his heart, 
Remember the Sabbath-day to sanctify it." 1 There is nothing 
new in such views. Substantially the same interpretation that 
we have given is put on the original notice in Genesis, in the 
Epistle to the Hebrews (ch. iv.), where the record of God s rest 
at the close of creation is referred to as the first form of the 
promise made to man of entering into, God s rest. The record, 
then, of what God in that respect did, was a revelation. It em 
bodied a call and a promise to man of high fellowship with the 
Creator in His peculiar felicity, and, consequently, inferred an 
obligation on man s part both to seek the end proposed, and to 
seek it in the method of God s appointment. But did the obli 
gation cease when man fell ? or was the promise cancelled ? 
Assuredly not not, at least, after the time that the introduction 
of an economy of grace laid open for the fallen the prospect of 
a new inheritance in God. So far from having lost its signifi 
cance or its value, the Creator s Sabbatism then acquired fresh 
meaning and importance, and became so peculiarly adapted to 
the altered condition of the world, that we cannot but regard it 
as having from the first contemplated the physical and moral 
evils that were to issue from the fall. In the language of 
Hcngstenberg, with whom we gladly concur on this branch of 
1 Sartorius uber den alt und neu-Test. cultus, p. 17. 


the subject, though on too many others we shall be constrained 
to differ from him, "It presupposes work, and such work as 
has a tendency to draw us away from God. It is the remedy 
for the injuries we are apt to incur through this work. If any 
thing is clear, it is the connection between the Sabbath arid the 
fall. The work which needs intermission, lest the divine life 
should be imperilled by it, is not [we would rather say, is not 
so much] the cheerful and pleasant employment of which we 
read in Gen. ii. 15 ; it is [rather] the oppressive and degrading 
toil spoken of in Gen. iii. 19, work done in the sweat of the 
brow, upon a soil that brings forth thorns and thistles." 1 We 
would put the statement comparatively rather than absolutely ; 
for the rest of God being held on the first seventh day of the 
world s existence, and the day being immediately consecrated 
and blessed, it must have had respect to the place and occupa 
tion of man even in paradise. Why should work there be sup 
posed to have differed in kind from work elsewhere and since ? 
There could be room only for a difference in degree ; and being 
work from its very nature that led the soul to aim at specific 
objects, and put forth continuous efforts on what is outward, it 
required to be met by a stated periodical institution, that would 
recall the thoughts and feelings of the soul more within itself. 
Man s perfection in that original state was only a relative one. 
It needed certain correctives and stimulants to secure the con 
tinued enjoyment of the good belonging to it. It needed, in 
particular, perpetual access to the tree of life for the preserva 
tion of the bodily, and an ever-returning Sabbatism for that of 
the spiritual life. But if such a Sabbatism was required even 
for man s well-being in paradise, where the work was so light, 
and the order so beautiful, how could it be imagined that the 
Sabbatical institution might be either safely or lawfully disre 
garded in a world of sorrow, temptation, and hardship ? 

Was there really, however, any Sabbatical institution? There 
is no command respecting it in this portion of the inspired record. 
And may not the mention there made of God s keeping the 
Sabbath, and blessing and sanctifying the day, have been made 
simply with a prospective reference to the precept that was ulti 
mately to be imposed on the Israelites 1 So it has been alleged 
1 TJeber den Tag des Herrn, p. 12. 


with endless frequency by those who can find no revelation of 
the Divine will, and no obligation or moral duty excepting what 
comes in the authoritative form of a command ; and it is still 
substantially reiterated by Hengstenberg, who certainly cannot 
be charged with such a bluntness of spiritual discernment. We 
meet the allegation with the statement that has already been 
repeatedly urged that it was not yet the time for the formal 
enactments of law, and that it was by other means man was to 
learn God s mind and his own duty. The ground of obligation 
lay in the Divine act ; the rule of duty was exhibited in the 
Divine example : for these were disclosed to men from the first, 
not to gratify an idle curiosity, but for the express purpose of 
leading them to know and do what is agreeable to the will of 
God. If such means were not sufficient to speak with clearness 
and authority to men s consciences, then it may be affirmed that 
the first race of mankind were free from all authoritative direc 
tion and control whatever. They were not imperatively bound 
either to fear God or to regard man ; for, excepting in the man 
ner now stated, no general obligations of service were laid on 
them. But to suppose this ; to suppose, even in regard to what 
is written of the original Sabbatism of God, that it did not bear 
directly upon the privileges and duties of the very first members 
of the human family, is in truth to make void that portion of 
revelation to treat it as if, where it stands, it were a superfluity 
or a blemish. We cannot so regard it. We hold by the truth 
fulness and natural import of the Divine record. And doing 
this, we are shut up to the conclusion, that it was at first de 
signed and appointed by God, that mankind should sanctify 
every returning seventh day, as a season of comparative rest 
from worldly labour, of spiritual contemplation and religious 
employment, that so they might cease from their own works and 
enter into the rest of God. 

But we shall not pursue the subject farther at present. We 
even leaye unnoticed some of the objections that have been 
raised against the existence of a primeval Sabbath, as the sub 
ject must again return, and in a more controversial aspect, when 
we come to consider the place assigned to the law of the Sabbath 
in the revelation from Sinai. It is enough, at this stage of our 
inquiry, to have exhibited the foundation laid for the perpetual 


celebration of a seventh-day Sabbath, in the original act of God 
at the close of His creation work. In that we have a founda 
tion broad and large as the theatre of creation itself and the 
general interests of humanity, free from all local restrictions 
and national peculiarities. That in the infancy of the world, 
and during the ages of a remote antiquity, there would be 
much simplicity in the mode of its observance, may readily be 
supposed. Indeed, where all was so simple, both in the state 
of society and the institutions of worship, the symbolical act 
itself of resting from ordinary work, and in connection with 
that, the habit of recognising the authority of God, and realiz 
ing the Divine call to a participation in the blessed rest of the 
Creator, must have constituted no inconsiderable part of the 
practical observance of the day. And that this also in process 
of time should have fallen into general desuetude, is only what 
might have been expected from the fearful depravity and law 
lessness which overspread the earth as a desolation. When 
men daringly cast off the fear of God Himself, they would 
naturally make light of the privilege and duty set before them 
of entering into His rest. And considering how partial and 
imperfect the observance of the day, in the earlier periods of the 
world s history, was likely to become, it is not to be wondered 
at, that, beside the original record of its Divine origin and autho 
ritative obligation, traces of its existence should be found only 
in some scattered notices of history, and in the wide-spread 
sacredness of the number seven, which has left its impress on 
the religion and literature of nearly every nation of antiquity. 
But however neglected or despised, the original fact remains for 
the light and instruction of the world in all ages ; and there 
perpetually comes forth from it a call to every one who has ears 
to hear, to sanctify a weekly rest unto the Lord, and rise to the 
enjoyment of His blessing. 



HAVING now considered the typical bearing of the fundamental 
facts and symbolical institutions belonging to the first dispensa 
tion of grace, it remains that we endeavour to ascertain what 
there might afterwards be evolved of a typical nature during 
the progress of that dispensation, by means of the transactions 
and events that took place under it. These, it was already 
noted in our preliminary remarks, could only be employed to 
administer instruction of a subsidiary kind. In their remoter 
reference to Gospel times, as in their direct historical aspect, 
they can rank no higher than progressive developments not 
laying a foundation, but proceeding on the foundation already 
laid, and giving to some of the points connected with it a more 
specific direction, or supplementing them with additional dis 
coveries of the mind and will of God. It is impossible here, 
any more than in the subjects treated of in the preceding chap 
ters, to isolate entirely the portions that have a typical bearing 
from others closely connected with them. And even in those 
which exhibit something of the typical element, it can scarcely 
be expected, at so early a period in the world s history, to possess 
much of a precise and definite character; for in type, as in 
prophecy, the progress must necessarily have been from the 
more general to the more particular. In tracing this progress, 
we shall naturally connect the successive developments with 
single persons or circumstances ; yet without meaning thereby 
to indicate that these are in every respect to be accounted typical. 



THE first distinct appearance of the typical in connection with 
the period subsequent to the fall, is to be found in the case of 
Abel ; but in that quite generally. Abel was the first member 
of the promised seed ; and through him supplementary know 
ledge was imparted more especially in one direction, viz., in 
regard to the principle of election, which was to prevail in the 
actual fulfilment of the original promise. That promise itself, 
when viewed in connection with the instituted symbols of re 
ligion, might be perceived if very thoughtfully considered to 
have implied something of an elective process ; but the truth 
was not clearly expressed. And it was most natural that the 
first parents of the human family should have overlooked what 
but obscurely intimated a limitation in the expected good. 
They would readily imagine, when a scheme of grace was intro 
duced, which gave promise of a complete destruction of the 
adversary, with the infliction only of a partial injury on the 
woman s seed, that the whole of their offspring should attain to 
victory over the power of evil. This joyous anticipation affect- 
ingly discovers itself in the exclamation of Eve at the birth of 
her first-born son, "I have gotten a man from (or, as it should 
rather be, with) the Lord" gratefully acknowledging the hand 
of God in giving her, as she thought, the commencement of 
that seed which was assured through Divine grace of a final 
triumph. This she reckoned a real getting gain in the proper 
sense calling her child by a name that expressed this idea 
(Cain) ; and she evidently did so by regarding it as the precious 
gift of God, the beginning and the pledge of the ascendency 
that was to be won over the malice of the tempter. 1 Never was 

1 I think it quite impossible, in the circumstances, that the faith of Eve 
should have gone farther than this, as the promise of recovery had as yet 
assumed only the most general aspect ; and though it might well have been 
understood to depend upon the grace and power of God for its accomplish- 


mother destined to receive a sorer disappointment. She did not 
want faith in the Divine word, but her faith was still without 
knowledge, and she must learn by painful experience how the 
plan of God for man s recovery was to be wrought out. A like 
ignorance, though tending now in the opposite direction, again 
discovers itself at the birth of Abel, whose name (breath, empti 
ness) seems, as Delitzsch has remarked, to have proceeded from 
her felt regard to the Divine curse, as that given to Cain did 
from a like regard to the Divine promise. It is possible that, 
between the births of the two brothers, what she had seen of the 
helpless and suffering condition of infancy in the first-born may 
have impressed the mind of Eve with such a sense of the evils 
entailed upon her offspring by the curse, as to have rendered 
her for the time forgetful of the better things disclosed in the 

O D 

promise. It is also possible, and every way probable, that the 
name by which this child is known to history, and which is not, 
as in the case of Cain, expressly connected with his birth, may 
have been occasioned by his unhappy fate, and expressed the 
feelings of vexation and disappointment which it awakened in 
the bosoms of his parents. However it might be, the result at 
least showed how little the operations of grace were to pursue 
the course that might seem accordant with the views and feelings 
of nature. In particular, it showed that, so far from the whole 

ment, yet who, from the revelations actually given, could have anticipated 
these to manifest themselves in the birth of Jehovah Himself as a babe ? 
The supposition of Baumgarten, who here revives the old explanation, u I 
have gotten a man, Jehovah," that Eve thought she saw in Cain " the 
redeeming and coming God," is arbitrary and incredible. The n liT Dtf 
should be taken as in ch. v. 24, vi. 9, xliii. 1C ; Judg. i. 16, with, in fellow 
ship with, the Lord ; or, as in Judg. viii. 7, with, icifh the help of. The 
former idea seems to be the more natural one, as in that sense also the DX 
is more frequently used. The assertion of Dr Pye Smith (Testimony, vol. i., 
p. 228), that there " seems no option to an interpreter, who is resolved to 
follow the fair and strict grammatical signification of the words before him, 
but to translate the passage, 1 have obtained a man, Jehovah," is greatly 
too strong, and against the judgment of the best Hebrew scholars. He is 
himself obliged to repudiate the sense which such a rendering yields, as 
embodying too gross a conception ; and the idea which he thinks Eve 
meant to express of "something connected with the Divine Being" in the 
child produced, is simply what is conveyed by the perfectly legitimate ren 
dering we have preferred. 


offspring of the woman being included, there was from the first 
to pervade the Divine plan a principle of election, in virtue of 
which a portion only, and that by no means the likeliest, accord 
ing to the estimation of nature, were to inherit the blessing; 
while the rest should fall in with the designs of the tempter, 
and be reckoned to him for a seed of cursing. Abel, therefore, 
in his acceptance with God, in his faith respecting the Divine 
purposes, and his presentation of offerings that drew down the 
Divine favour, stands as the type of an elect seed of blessing 
a seed that was ultimately to have its root and its culmination 
in Him who was to be peculiarly the child of promise. In 
Cain, on the other hand, the impersonation of nature s pride, 
waywardness, and depravity, there appeared a representative 
of that unhappy portion of mankind who should espouse the 
interest of the adversary, and seek by unhallowed means to 
establish it in the world. 

The brief notices of antediluvian history are evidently framed 
for the purpose of exhibiting the antagonistic state and ten 
dencies of these two seeds, and of rendering manifest the mighty 
difference which God s work of grace was destined to make in 
the character and prospects of man. The name given by Eve 
to her third son (Seth, appointed), with the reason assigned for 
it, " For God, said she, hath appointed me another seed instead 
of Abel, whom Cain slew," bespoke the insight the common 
mother of mankind had now obtained into this mournful division 
in her offspring. Cain she regards as having, in a manner, 
ceased to belong to her seed ; he had become too plainly identi 
fied with that of the adversary. He seems now to her view to 
stand at the head of a God-opposing interest in the world ; and 
as in contrast to him, the destroyer of the true seed, God is seen 
mercifully providing another in its room. 1 So that there were 

1 It is to be noted, however, that both the parents of the human family, 
Adam as well as Eve, are associated with this seed of blessing. It is a cir 
cumstance that has been too much overlooked ; but for the very purpose of 
marking it, a fresh commencement is made at Gen. v. of the genealogical 
chain that links together Adam and Christ : " This is the book of the gene 
rations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God 
made He him. . . . And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and 
begat a son in his own likeness, after his image, and called his name Seth : " 
as if his progeny before this were not to be reckoned the child of grace 


again the two seeds in the world, eacli taking root, and bringing 
forth fruit after its kind. But how different! On the one 
hand appears the Cainite section, smitten with the curse of sin, 
yet proudly shunning the path of reconciliation retiring to a 
distance from the emblems of God s manifested presence build 
ing a city, as if to lighten, by the aid of human artifice and pro 
tection, the evils of a guilty conscience and a blighted condition 
cultivating with success the varied elements of natural strength 
and worldly greatness, inventing instruments of music and 
weapons of war, trampling under foot, as seemed good to the 
flesh, the authority of heaven and the rights of men, and at 
last, by deeds of titanic prowess and violence, boldly attempting 
to bring heaven and earth alike under its sway. (Gen. iv. 
13-24, vi. 4-6. ) l On the other hand appears the woman s seed 

had perished, and the other in a spiritual sense was not. Adam, therefore, 
is here distinctly placed at the head of a spiritual offspring himself, with 
his partner, the first link in the grand chain of blessing. And the likeness 
in which he begat his son u his own image " must not be limited, as it 
too often is, to the corruption that now marred the purity of his nature as 
if his image stood simply in contrast to God s. It is as the parental head of 
the whole lineage of believers that he is represented, and such a sharp con 
trast would here especially be out of place. 

1 It is in connection with this later development of evil in the Cainites 
that Lamech s song is introduced, and with special reference to that portion 
of his family who were makers of instruments in brass and iron instru 
ments, no doubt, chiefly of a warlike kind. It is only by viewing the song 
in that connection that we perceive its full meaning and its proper place, 
as intended to indicate that the evil was approaching its final stage : " And 
Lamech said to his wives, Adah and Zillah, hear my voice ; ye wives of 
Lamech, hearken to my speech : for men (the word is quite indefinite in 
the original, and may most fitly be rendered in the plural) I slay for my 
wound, and young men for my hurt : for Cain is avenged seven times, 
and Lumech seventy times seven." He means apparently, that, with 
such weapons as he now had at command, he could execute at will deeds 
of retaliation and revenge. So that his song may be regarded, to use the 
words of Drechsler, " as an ode of triumph on the invention of the sword. 
He stands at the top of the Cainite development, from thence looks back 
upon the past, and exults at the height it has reached. How far has he got 
ahead of Cain ! what another sort of ancestor he ! No longer needing to 
look up in feebleness to God for protection, he can provide more amply for 
it himself than God did for Cain s ; and he congratulates his wives on being 
the mothers of silch sons. Thus the history of the Cainites began with a 
deed of murder, and here it ends with a song of murder." 


of promise, seeking to establish and propagate itself in the earth 
by the fear of God, and the more regular celebration of His 
worship (Gen. iv. 26), trusting for its support in the grace and 
blessing of God, as the other did in the powers and achievements 
of corrupt nature ; and so continuing uninterrupted its line of 
godly descendants, yet against such fearful odds, and at last 
with such a perilous risk of utter extinction, that Divine faith 
fulness and love required to meet violence with violence, and 
bring the conflict in its first form to a close by the sweeping 
desolation of the flood. It terminated, as every such conflict 
must do, on the side of those who stood in the promised grace 
and revealed testimony of God. These alone live for ever ; and 
the triumph of all that is opposed to them can be but for a 

This seed of the woman, however, the seed that she pro 
duces in faith upon the promise of God, and in which the grace 
of God takes vital effect, is found, not only as to its existence, 
to be associated with a principle of election, but also as to the 
relative place occupied by particular members in its line. All 
have by faith an interest in God, and in consequence triumph 
over the power of the adversary. But some have a larger interest 
than others, and attain to a higher victory. There was an elec 
tion within the election. So it appeared especially in the case 
of Enoch, the seventh from Adam, and again in Noah, who, as 
they alone of the antediluvians were endowed with the spirit of 
prophecy, so they alone, also, are said to have "walked with 
God" (Gen. v. 22, vi. 9), an expression never used of any 
who lived in later times, and denoting the nearest and most 
confidential intercourse, as if they had all but regained the old 
paradisiacal freedom of communion with Heaven. And as the 
Divine seal upon this higher elevation of the life of God in their 
souls, they were both honoured with singular tokens of distinc 
tion the one having been taken, without tasting of death, to 
still nearer fellowship with God, to abide in His immediate 
presence (" He was not, for God took him "), while the other 
became under God the saviour and father of a new world. Of 
the latter we shall have occasion to speak separately, as there 
were connected with his case other elements of a typical nature. 
But in regard to Enoch, as the short and pregnant notice of his 


life and of his removal out of it, plainly indicates something 
transcendently good and great, so, we cannot doubt, the contem 
poraries of the patriarch knew it to be such. They knew at 
least they had within their reach the means of knowing that in 
consideration of his eminent piety, and of the circumstances of 
the time in which he lived, he was taken direct to a higher 
sphere, without undergoing the common lot of mortality. That 
there should have been but one such case during the whole 
antediluvian period, could not but be regarded as indicating its 
exceptional character, and stamping it the more emphatically as 
a revelation from Heaven. Nor could the voice it uttered in 
the ears of reflecting men sound otherwise than as a proclama 
tion that God was assuredly with that portion of the woman s 
seed who served and honoured Him that He manifested Him 
self to such, as a chosen people, in another manner than He did 
to the world, and made them sure of a complete and final victory 
over all the malice of the tempter and the evils of sin. If not 
usually without death, yet notwithstanding it, and through it, 
they should certainly attain to eternal life in the presence of 

In this respect Enoch as being the most distinguished mem 
ber of the seed of blessing in its earlier division, and the most 
honoured heir of that life which comes through the righteous 
ness of faith is undoubtedly to be viewed as a type of Christ. 
Something he had in common with the line as a whole he was 
a partaker of that electing grace and love of God, in virtue of 
which alone any could rise from the condemnation of sin to the 
inheritance of life in the Divine kingdom. But apart from 
others in the same line, and above them, he passed to the in 
heritance by a more direct and triumphant path a conqueror 
in the very mode of his transition from time to eternity. These 
characteristics, which in Enoch s case were broadly marked, 
though in themselves somewhat general and incapable of being 
understood to have reference to a personal Messiah, till such a 
Messiah had been more distinctly announced, are yet pre-emi 
nently the characteristics of Christ, and in the full and absolute 
sense could be found only in Him. He is, as no other indi 
vidual among men could be, the seed of the woman, considered 
as the seed of promise, destined by God s purpose of grace to 


bruise the head of the tempter, and reverse the process of 
nature s corruption. In Him, as present from the first to the 
" determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God," was the 
ultimate root of such a seed to be found which should otherwise 
have had no existence in the world. He therefore, beyond all 
others, was the chosen of God, " His elect in whom His soul 
delights." And though to the eye of a carnal and superficial 
world, which judges only by the appearance, He wanted what 
seemed necessary to justify His claim to such a position, yet He 
in reality gave the clearest proof of it, by a faith that never 
faltered in the hardest trials, a righteousness free from every 
stain of impurity, and a life that could only underlie for a 
moment the cloud of death, but even then could see no corrup 
tion, and presently rose, as to its proper home, in the regions of 
eternal light and glory. 

With our eyes resting on this exalted object in the ends of 
time, we have no difficulty in perceiving, that what appeared of 
supernatural in such men as Abel and Enoch, only foreshadowed 
the higher and greater good that was to come. The foreshadow 
ing, however, was not such that from the appearance of Abel 
and Enoch a personal Messiah could have been descried, or as if, 
from the incidents in their respective lives, precisely similar ones 
might have been inferred as likely to happen in the eventful 
career of the man Christ Jesus. We could not descend thus to 
individual and personal marks of coincidence between the lives of 
those early patriarchs and the life of Messiah, without, in the first 
instance, anticipating the order of Providence, which had not yet 
directed the eye of faith and hope to a personal manifestation 
of Godhead, and then entangling ourselves in endless difficulties 
of practical adjustment as in the case of Enoch s translation, 
who went to heaven without tasting death, while Christ could 
not enter into glory till He had tasted it. But let those patriarchs 
be contemplated as the earlier links of a chain which, from its 
very nature, must have some higher and nobler termination ; let 
them be viewed as characters that already bore upon them the 
lineaments and possessed the beginnings of the new creation : 
what do they then appear but embodied prophecies of a more 
general kind in respect to " Him who was to come ? " They 
heralded His future redemptive work by exhibiting in part the 


signs and fruits of its prospective achievements. The beginning 
was prophetic of the end ; for if the one had not been in pro 
spect, the other could not have come into existence. And in 
their selection by God from the general mass around them, their 
faith in God s word, and their possession of God s favour and 
blessing, as outwardly displayed and manifested in their his 
tories, we see struggling, as it were, into being the first elements 
of that new state and destiny, which were only to find their 
valid reason, and reach their proper elevation, in the person and 
kingdom of Messiah. 

VOL. I. 



THE case of Noah, we have already stated, embodied some new 
elements of a typical kind, which gave to it the character of a 
distinct stage in the development of God s work of grace in the 
world. It did so in connection with the deluge, which had a 
gracious as well as a judicial aspect, and, by a striking combina 
tion of opposites, brought prominently out the principle, that 
the accomplishment of salvation necessarily carries along with it a 
work of destruction. This was not absolutely a new principle at 
the period of the deluge. It had a place in the original promise, 
and a certain exemplification in the lives of believers from the 
first. By giving to the prospect of recovery the peculiar form 
of a bruising of the tempter s head, the Lord plainly intimated, 
that somehow a work of destruction was to go along with the 
work of salvation, and was necessary to its accomplishment. No 
indication, however, was given of the way in which this twofold 
process was to proceed, or of the nature of the connection be 
tween the one part of it and the other. But light to a certain 
extent soon began to be thrown upon it by the consciousness in 
each man s bosom of a struggle between the evil and the good, 
a struggle which so early as the time of Cain drew forth the 
solemn warning, that either his better part must vindicate for 
itself the superiority, or it must itself fall down vanquished by 
the destroyer. Still farther light appeared, when the contend 
ing elements grew into two great contending parties, which by 
an ever-widening breach, and at length by most serious en 
croachments from the evil on the good, rendered a work of 
judgment from above necessary to the peace and safety of the 
believing portion of mankind. The conviction of some ap 
proaching crisis of this nature had become so deep in the time of 
Enoch, that it gave utterance to itself in the prophecy ascribed 
in the Epistle of Jude to that patriarch : " Behold, the Lord 


cometh with ten thousand of His saints, to execute judgment 
upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of 
all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, 
and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have com 
mitted against Him." The struggle, it was thus announced, 
should ere long end in a manifestation of God for judgment 
against the apostate faction, and by implication for deliverance 
to the children of faith and hope. 

By the period of Noah s birth, however, the necessity of a 
Divine interposition had become much greater, and it appeared 
manifest to the small remnant of believers that the era of retri 
bution, which they now identified with the era of deliverance, 
must be at hand. Indication was then given of this state of 
feeling by the name itself of Noah, with the reason assigned for 
its adoption, " This same shall comfort us concerning our work 
and toil of our hands, because of the ground which the Lord 
hath cursed." The feeling is too generally expressed, to enable 
us to determine with accuracy how the parents of this child 
might expect their troubles to be relieved through his instru 
mentality. But in their words we hear, at least, the groaning 
of the oppressed the sighing of righteous souls, vexed on ac 
count of the evils which were thickening around them, from the 
unrestrained wickedness of those who had corrupted the earth ; 
and, at the same time, not despairing, but looking up in faith, 
and even confident that in the lifetime of that child the God of 
righteousness and truth would somehow avenge the cause of His 
elect. Whether they had obtained any correct insight or not 
into the way by which the object was to be accomplished, the 
event proved that the spirit of prophecy breathed in their an 
ticipation. Their faith rested upon solid grounds, and in the 
hope which it led them to cherish they were not disappointed. 
Salvation did come in connection with the person of Noah, and 
it came in the way of an overwhelming visitation of wrath upon 
the adversaries. 

When we look simply at the outward results produced by 
that remarkable visitation, they appear to have been twofold 
on the one side preservation, on the other destruction. But 
when we look a little more closely, we perceive that there was a 
necessary connection between the two results, and that there was 


properly but one object aimed at in the dispensation, though in 
accomplishing it there was required the operation of a double pro 
cess. That object was, in the words of St Peter, " the saving 
of Noah and his house " (1 Pet. iii. 20) saving them as the 
spiritual seed of God. But saving them from what? Not 
surely from the violence and desolation of the waters ; for the 
watery element would then have acted as the preservative against 
itself, and instead of being saved by the water, according to the 
apostolic statement, the family of Noah would have been saved 
from it. 1 From what, then, were they saved? Undoubtedly 
from that which, before the coming of the deluge, formed the 
real element of danger the corruption, enmity, and violence of 
ungodly men. It was this which wasted the Church of God, 
and brought it to the verge of destruction. All was ready to 
perish. The cause of righteousness had at length but one 
efficient representative in the person of Noah ; and he much 
" like a lodge in a garden of cucumbers, like a besieged city," 
the object of profane mockery and scorn, taunted, reviled, 
plied with every weapon fitted to overcome his constancy, and, 
if not in himself, at least in his family, in danger of suffering 
shipwreck amid the swelling waves of wickedness around him. 
It was to save him and with him, the cause of God from this 
source of imminent danger and perdition, that the flood was 

1 1 am aware many eminent scholars give a different turn to this ex 
pression in the first Epistle of Peter, and take the proper rendering to be, 
" saved through (i.e., in the midst of) the Avater " contemplating the water 
as the space or region through which the ark was required to bear Noah and 
his family in safety. So Beza, who says that "the water cannot be taken 
for the instrumental cause, as Noah was preserved from the water, not by 
it ; " so also Tittmann, Bib. Cab., vol. xviii., p. 251 ; Steiger in his Comm., 
with only a minute shade of difference ; Robinson, in Lex., and many 
others. But this view is open to the following objections : 1. The water is 
here mentioned, not in respect to its several parts, or to the extent of its 
territory from one point to another, but simply as an instrumental agent. 
Had the former been meant, the expression would have been, "saved through 
the waters," rather than saved by water. But as the case stood, it mattered 
nothing whether the ark remained stationary at one point on the surface 
of the waters, or was borne from one place to another ; so that through, in 
the sense of passing through, or through among, gives a quite unsuitable 
meaning. That Noah needed to be saved from the water, rather than by it, 
is a superficial objection, proceeding on the supposition that the water had 


sent ; and it could only do so by effectually separating between 
him and the seed of evil-doers engulphing them in ruin, and 
sustaining him uninjured in his temporary home. So that the 
deluge, considered as Noah s baptism, or the means of his sal 
vation from an outward form of spiritual danger, was not less 
essentially connected with a work of judgment than with an act 
of mercy. It was by the one that the other was accomplished ; 
and the support of the ark on the bosom of the waters was only 
a collateral object of the deluge. The direct and immediate 
object was the extermination of that wicked race, whose heaven- 
daring impiety and hopeless impenitence was the real danger 
that menaced the cause and people of God, " the destroying of 
those (to use the language that evidently refers to it in Rev. xi. 
18) who destroyed the earth." 

This principle of salvation with destruction, which found 
such a striking exemplification in the deluge, has been continu 
ally appearing anew in the history of God s dealings among 
men. It appeared, for example, at the period of Israel s re 
demption from Egypt, when a way of escape was opened for 
the people of God by the overthrow of Pharaoh and his host ; 
and again at the era of the return from Babylon, when the 
destruction of the enemy and the oppressor broke asunder the 
bands with which the children of the covenant were held cap- 

the same relation to Noah that it had to the world in general. For him, 
the water and the ark were essentially connected together ; it took both to 
make up the means of deliverance. In the same sense, and on the same 
account, we might say of the Red Sea, that the Israelites were saved by it ; 
for though in itself a source of danger, yet, as regarded Israel s position, it 
was really the means of safety (1 Cor. x. 2). 2. The application made by 
the Apostle of Noah s preservation requires the agency of the water as well 
as of the ark to be taken into account. Indeed, according to the best au 
thorities (which read o xai), the reference in the antitype is specially to the 
water as the type. But apart from that, baptism is spoken of as a saving, 
in consequence of its being a purifying ordinance, which implies, as in the 
deluge, that the salvation be accomplished through means of a destruction. 
This is virtually admitted by Steiger, who, though he adopts the rendering 
" through the water," yet in explaining the connection between the type 
and the antitype, is obliged to regard the water as also instrumental to sal 
vation. " The flood was for Noah a baptism, and as such saved ; the same 
element, water, also saves us now not, however, as mere water, but in the 
same quality as a baptism." 


live. But it is in New Testament times, and in connection 
with the work of Christ, that the higher manifestation of the 
principle appears. Here alone perfection can be said to belong 
to it. Complete as the work in one respect was in the days of 
Noah, in another it soon gave unmistakeable evidence of its 
own imperfection. The immediate danger was averted by the 
destruction of the wicked in the waters of a deluge, and the 
safe preservation of Noah and his family as a better seed to 
replenish the depopulated earth. But it was soon found that 
the old leaven still lurked in the bosom of the preserved rem 
nant itself ; and another race of apostates and destroyers, 
though of a less ferocious spirit, and under more of restraint 
in regard to deeds of violence and bloodshed, rose up to pro 
secute anew the work of the adversary. In Christ, however, 
the very foundations of evil from the first were struck at, and 
nothing is left for a second beginning to the cause of iniquity. 
He came, as foretold by the prophet Isaiah (ch. Ixi. 2), "to 
proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of 
vengeance of our God," which was, at the same time, to be the 
" year of His redeemed." And, accordingly, by the work He 
accomplished on earth, " the prince of this world was judged 
and cast out " (John xii. 31) ; or, as it is again written, 
"principalities and powers were spoiled," and "he that had 
the power of death destroyed" (Col. ii. 15; Heb. ii. 14), 
thereby giving deliverance to those who were subject to sin 
and death. He did this once for all, when He fulfilled all 
righteousness, and suffered unto death for sin. The victory 
over the tempter then achieved by Christ no more needs to be 
repeated than the atonement made for human guilt ; it needs 
to be appropriated merely by His followers, and made effectual 
in their experience. Satan has no longer any right to exercise 
lordship over men, and hold them in bondage to his usurped 
authority; the ground of his power and dominion is taken 
away, because the condemnation of sin, on which it stood, has 
been for ever abolished. Christ, therefore, at once destroys 
and saves saves by destroying casts the cruel oppressor down 
from his ill-gotten supremacy, and so relieves the poor, en 
thralled, devil-possessed nature of man, and sets it into the 
glorious liberty of God s children. 


In the case of the Redeemer Himself, this work is ab 
solutely complete; the man Christ Jesus thoroughly bruised 
Satan under His feet, and won a position where in no respect 
whatever He could be any more subject to the power of evil. 
Theoretically, we may say, the work is also complete in behalf 
of His people ; on His part, no imperfection cleaves to it. By 
virtue of the blood of Jesus, the house of our humanity, which 
naturally stood accursed of God, and was ready to be assailed 
by every form of evil, is placed on a new and better foundation. 
It is made holiness to the Lord. The handwriting of con 
demnation that was against us is blotted out. The adversary 
has lost his bill of indictment ; and nothing remains but that 
the members of the human family should, each for themselves, 
take up the position secured for them by the salvation of Christ, 
to render them wholly and for ever superior to the dominion of 
the adversary. But it is here that imperfection still comes in. 
Men will not lay hold of the advantage obtained for them by 
the all-prevailing might and energy of Jesus, or they will but 
partially receive into their experience the benefits it provides 
for them. Yet there is a measure of success also here, in the 
case of all genuine believers. And it is to this branch of the 
subject more immediately that the Apostle Peter points, when 
he represents Christian baptism as the antitype of the deluge. 
In the personal experience of believers, as symbolized in that 
ordinance, there is a re-enacting substantially of what took 
place in the outward theatre of the world by means of the 
deluge. "The like figure whereunto (literally, the antitype to 
which, viz., Noah s salvation by water in the ark) even baptism 
doth also now save us ; not the putting away of the filth of the 
flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God, by the 
resurrection of Jesus Christ." (1 Pet. iii. 21.) Like the 
Apostle s delineations generally, the passage briefly indicates, 
rather than explicitly unfolds, the truths connected with the 
subject. Yet, on a slight consideration of it, we readily per 
ceive, that, with profound discernment, it elicits from the ordi 
nance of baptism, as spiritually understood and applied, the 
same fundamental elements, discovers there the same twofold 
process, which appeared so strikingly in the case of Noah. 
Here also there is a salvation reaching its accomplishment by 


means of a destruction " not the putting away of the filth of 
the flesh" not so superficial a riddance of evil, but one of a 
more important and vital character, bringing " the answer of a 
good conscience," or the deliverance of the soul from the guilt 
and power of iniquity. The water of baptism let the subject 
be plunged in it ever so deep, or sprinkled ever so much can 
no more of itself save him than the water of the deluge could 
have saved Noah, apart from the faith he possessed, and the 
preparation it led him to make in constructing and entering into 
the ark. It was because he held and exercised such faith, that 
the deluge brought salvation to Noah, while it overwhelmed 
others in destruction. So is it in baptism, when received in a 
spirit of faith. There is in this also the putting off of the old 
man of corruption crucifying it together with Christ, and at 
the same time a rising through the resurrection of Christ to the 
new and heavenly life, which satisfies the demands of a pure and 
enlightened conscience. So that the really baptized soul is one 
in which there has been a killing and a making alive, a breaking 
up and destroying of the root of corrupt nature, and planting in 
its stead the seed of a divine nature, to spring, and grow, and 
bring forth fruit to perfection. In the microcosm of the indi 
vidual believer, there is the perishing of an old world of sin and 
death, and the establishment of a new world of righteousness 
and life everlasting. 

Such is the proper idea of Christian baptism, and such 
would be the practical result were the idea fully realized in the 
experience of the baptized. But this is so far from being the 
case, that even the idea is apt to suffer in people s minds from 
the conscious imperfections of their experience. And it might 
help to check such a tendency it might, at least, be of service 
in enabling them to keep themselves well informed as to what 
should be, if they looked occasionally to what actually was, in 
the outward pattern of these spiritual things, given in the times 
of Noah. Are you disinclined, we might say to them, to have 
the axe so unsparingly applied to the old man of corruption 1 
Think, for your warning, how God spared not the old world, 
but sent its mass of impurity headlong into the gulph of perdi 
tion. Seems it a task too formidable, and likely to prove hope 
less in the accomplishment, to maintain your ground against the 


powers of evil in the world ? Think again, for your encourage 
ment, how impotent the giants of wickedness were of old to 
defeat the counsels of God, or prevail over those who held fast 
their confidence in His word ; with all their numbers and their 
might, they sunk like lead in the waters, while the little house 
hold of faith rode secure in the midst of them. Or does it 
appear strange, at times perhaps incredible, to your mind, that 
you should be made the subject of a work which requires for its 
accomplishment the peculiar perfections of Godhead, while others 
are left entire strangers to it, and even find the word of God 
the chosen instrument for effecting it the occasion of wrath 
and condemnation to their souls ? Remember " the few, the 
eight souls" of Noah s family, alone preserved amid the wreck 
and desolation of a whole world preserved, too, by faith in a 
word of God, which carried in its bosom the doom of myriads 
of their fellow-creatures, and so, finding that which was to 
others a minister of condemnation, a source of peace and safety 
to them. Rest assured, that as God Himself remains the same 
through all generations, so His work for the good of men is 
essentially the same also ; and it ever must be His design and 
purpose, that Noah s faith and salvation should be perpetually 
renewing themselves in the hidden life and experience of those 
who are preparing for the habitations of glory. 



IN one respect the world seemed to have suffered material loss 
by the visitation of the deluge. Along with the agents and 
instruments of evil, there had also been swept away by it the 
emblems of grace and hope paradise with its tree of life and 
its cherubim of glory. We can conceive Noah and his house 
hold, when they first left the ark, looking around with melan 
choly feelings on the position they now occupied, not only as 
being the sole survivors of a numerous offspring, but also as 
being themselves bereft of the sacred memorials which bore 
evidence of a happy past, and exhibited the pledge of a yet 
happier future. An important link of communion with heaven, 
it might well have seemed, was broken by the change thus 
brought through the deluge on the world. But the loss was 
soon fully compensated, and, we may even .say, more than com 
pensated, by the advantages conferred on Noah and his seed 
from the higher relation to which they were now raised in re 
spect to God and the world. There are three points that here, 
in particular, call for attention. 

1. The first is, the new condition of the earth itself, which 
immediately appears in the freedom allowed and practised in 
regard to the external worship of God. This was no longer 
confined to any single region, as seems to have been the case in 
the age subsequent to the fall. The cherubim were located in 
a particular spot, on the east of the garden of Eden ; and as 
the symbols of God s presence were there, it was only natural 
that the celebration of Divine worship should there also have 
found its common centre. Hence the two sons of Adam are 
said to have " brought their offerings unto the Lord" which 
can scarcely be understood otherwise than as pointing to that 
particular locality which was hallowed by visible symbols of the 
Lord s presence, and in the neighbourhood of which life and 


blessing still lingered. In like manner, it is said of Cain, after 
he had assumed the attitude of rebellion, that " he went out 
from the presence of the Lord," obviously implying that there 
was a certain region with which the Divine presence was con 
sidered to be more peculiarly connected, and which can be 
thought of nowhere else than in that sanctuary on the east of 
Eden. But with the flood the reason for any such restriction 
vanished. Noah, therefore, reared his altar, and presented his 
sacrifice to the Lord where the ark rested. There immediately 
he got the blessing, and entered into covenant with God 
proving that, in a sense, old things had passed away, and all 
had become new. The earth had risen in the Divine reckoning 
to a higher condition ; it had passed through the baptism of 
water, and was now, in a manner, cleansed from defilement ; so 
that every place had become sacred, and might be regarded as 
suitable for the most solemn acts of worship. 1 

This more sacred and elevated position of the earth after 
the deluge appears, farther, in the express repeal of the curse 
originally laid upon the ground for the sin of Adam : " I will 
not again curse the ground any more for man s sake" (Gen. 
viii. 21), was the word of God to Noah, ori accepting the first 
offering presented to Him in the purified earth. It is, no 
doubt, to be understood relatively ; not as indicating a total 

1 If we are right as to the centralization of the primitive worship of 
mankind (and it seems to be only the natural inference from the notices 
referred to), then the antediluvian population cannot well be supposed to 
have been of vast extent, or to have wandered to a very great distance from 
the original centre. The employment also of a special agency after the 
flood to disperse the descendants of Noah, and scatter them over the earth, 
seems to indicate, that an indisposition to go to a distance, a tendency to 
crowd too much about one locality, was one of the sources of evil in the 
first stage of the world s history, the recurrence of which well deserved to 
be prevented, even by miraculous interference ; and it is perfectly conceiv 
able, indeed most likely, that the tower of Babel, in connection with which 
this interference took place, was not intended to be a palladium of idolatry, 
or a mere freak of ambitious folly, but rather a sort of substitution for the 
loss of the Edenic symbols, and, as such, a centre of union for the human 
family. It follows, of course, from the same considerations, that the deluge 
might not absolutely require, so far as the race of man was concerned, to 
extend over more than a comparatively limited portion of the earth. But 
its actual compass is not thereby determined. 


repeal of the evil, but only a mitigation of it ; yet such a miti 
gation as would render the earth a much less afflicted and more 
fertile region than it had been before. But this again indicated 
that, in the estimation of Heaven, the earth had now assumed a 
new position; that by the action of God s judgment upon it, it 
had become hallowed in His sight, and was in a condition to 
receive tokens of the Divine favour, which had formerly been 
withheld from it. 

2. The second point to be noticed here, is the heirship given 
of this new world to Noah and his seed given to them expressly 
as the children of faith. 

Adam, at his creation, was constituted the lord of this world, 
and had kingly power and authority given him to subdue it 
and rule over it. But on the occasion of his fall, this grant, 
though not formally recalled, suffered a capital abridgment ; 
since he was sent forth from Eden as a discrowned monarch, 
to do the part simply of a labourer on the surface of the earth, 
and with the discouraging assurance that it should reluctantly 
yield to him of its fruitfulness. Nor, when he afterwards so 
distinctly identified himself with God s promise and purpose of 
grace, by appearing as the head only of that portion of his seed 
who had faith in God, did there seem any alleviation of the 
evil : the curse that rested on the ground, rested on it still, 
even for the seed of blessing (Gen. v. 29) ; and not they, but 
the ungodly Camites, acquired in it the ascendency of physical 
force and political dominion. 

A change, however, appears in the relative position of 
things, when the flood had swept with its purifying waters over 
the earth. Man now rises, in the person of Noah, to a higher 
place in the world ; yet not simply as man, but as a child of 
God, standing in faith. His faith had saved him, amid the 
general wreck of the old world, to become in the new a second 
head of mankind, and an inheritor of earth s domain, as now 
purged and rescued from the pollution of evil. " He is made 
heir," as it is written in Hebrews, " of the righteousness which 
is by faith," heir, that is, of all that properly belongs to such 
righteousness, not merely of the righteousness itself, but also of 
the world, which in the Divine purpose it was destined to pos 
sess and occupy. Hence, as if there had been a new creation, 


and a new head brought in to exercise over it the right of 
sovereignty, the original blessing and grant to Adam are sub 
stantially renewed to Noah and his family : " And God blessed 
Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, 
and replenish the earth. And the fear of you, and the dread 
of you, shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every 
fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon 
all the fishes of the sea : into your hand are they delivered." 
Here, then, the righteousness of faith received direct from the 
grace of God the dowry that had been originally bestowed upon 
the righteousness of nature not a blessing merely, but a bless 
ing coupled with the heirship and dominion of the world. 

There was nothing strange or arbitrary in such a proceed 
ing ; it was in perfect accordance with the great principles of 
the Divine administration. Adam was too closely connected 
with the sin that destroyed the world, to be reinvested, even when 
he had through faith become a partaker of grace, with the 
restored heirship of the world. Nor had the world itself passed 
through such an ordeal of purification, as to fit it, in the per 
sonal lifetime of Adam, or of his more immediate offspring, for 
being at all represented in the light of an inheritance of blessing. 
The renewed title to the heirship of its fulness was properly 
reserved to the time when, by the great act of Divine judgment 
at the deluge, it had passed into a new condition ; and when 
one was found of the woman s seed, who had attained in a 
peculiar degree to the righteousness of faith, and along with the 
world had undergone a process of salvation. It was precisely 
such a person that should have been chosen as the first type of 
the righteousness of faith, in respect to its world-wide heritage 
of blessing. And having been raised to this higher position, 
an additional sacredness was thrown around him and his seed : 
the fear of them was to be put into the inferior creatures ; 
their life was to be avenged of every one that should wrongfully 
take it ; even the life-blood of irrational animals was to be held 
sacred, because of its having something in common with man s, 
while their flesh was now freely surrendered to their use ; the 
whole evidently fitted, and, we cannot doubt, also intended to 
convey the idea, that man had by the special gift of God s grace 
been again constituted heir and lord of the world, that, in the 


words of the Psalmist, "the earth had been given to the children 
of men," and given in a larger and fuller sense than had been 
done since the period of the fall. 1 

3. The remaining point to be noticed in respect to this new 
order of things, is the pledge of continuance, notwithstanding 
all appearances or threatenings to the contrary, given in the 
covenant made with Noah, and confirmed by a fixed sign in the 
heavens. " And God spake unto Noah, and to his sons with 
him, saying, And I, behold, I establish My covenant with you, 
and with your seed after you ; and with every living creature 
that is with you, of the fowl, of the cattle, and of every beast 
of the earth with you ; from all that go out of the ark, to every 
beast of the earth. And I will establish My covenant with you : 
neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a 
flood ; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the 
earth. And God said, This is the token of the covenant which 
I make between Me and you, and every living creature that is 
with you, for perpetual generations : I do set My bow in the 
cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant" (more exactly : 
My bow I have set in the cloud, and it shall be for a covenant- 
sign) " between Me and the earth. And it shall come to pass, 
when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen 
in the cloud : and I will remember My covenant, which is 
between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh ; and 
the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh." 
(Gen. ix. 8-15.) 

There can be no doubt that the natural impression produced 

1 It presents no contrariety to this, when rightly considered, that the 
Lord should also have connected His purpose of preserving the earth in 
future with the corruption of man : " And the Lord smelled a sweet savour 
(viz., from Noah s sacrifice); and the Lord said in His heart, I will not 
again curse the ground any more for man s sake ; for the imagination of 
man s heart is evil from his youth." (Gen. viii. 21.) The meaning is, that 
God delighted so much more in the offerings of righteousness than in the 
inflictions of judgment, that He would now direct His providence so as 
more effectually to secure the former would not allow the imaginations of 
man s evil heart to get such scope as they had done before ; but, perceiving 
and remembering their native existence in the heart, would bring such 
remedial influences into operation that the extremity of the past should not 
again return. 


by this passage in respect to the sign of the covenant, is, that 
it now for the first time appeared in the lower heavens. The 
Lord might, no doubt, then, or at any future time, have taken 
an existing phenomenon in nature, and by a special appointment 
made it the instrument of conveying some new and higher 
meaning to the subjects of His revelation. But in a matter 
like the present, when the specific object contemplated was to 
allay men s fears of the possible recurrence of the deluge, and 
give them a kind of visible pledge in nature for the permanence 
of her existing order and constitution, one cannot perceive how 
a natural phenomenon, common alike to the antediluvian and 
the postdiluvian world, could have fitly served the purpose. In 
that case, so far as the external sign was concerned, matters 
stood precisely where they were ; and it was not properly the 
sign, but the covenant itself, which formed the guarantee of 
safety for the future. We incline, therefore, to the opinion 
that, in the announcement here made, intimation is given of a 
change in the physical relations or temperature of at least that 
portion of the earth where the original inhabitants had their 
abode ; by reason of which the descent of moisture in showers 
of rain came to take the place of distillation by dew, or other 
modes of operation different from the present. The supposition 
is favoured by the mention only of dew before in connection 
with the moistening of the ground (Gen. ii. 6) ; and when rain 
does come to be mentioned, it is rain in such flowing torrents as 
seems rather to betoken the outpouring of a continuous stream, 
than the gentle dropping which we are wont to understand by 
the term, and to associate with the rainbow. 

The fitness of the rainbow in other respects to serve as a sign 
of the covenant made with Noah, is all that could be desired. 
There is an exact correspondence between the natural phenome 
non it presents, and the moral use to which it is applied. The 
promise in the covenant was not that there should be no future 
visitations of judgment upon the earth, but that they should not 
proceed to the extent of again destroying the world. In the 
moral, as in the natural sphere, there might still be congregating 
vapours and descending torrents; indeed, the terms of the 
covenant imply that there should be such, and that by means 
of them God would not fail to testify His displeasure against 


sin, and keep in awe the workers of iniquity. But there should 
be no second deluge to diffuse universal ruin; mercy should 
always so far rejoice against judgment. Such in the field 
of nature is the assurance given by the rainbow, which is 
formed by the lustre of the sun s rays shining on the dark cloud 
as it recedes; so that it may be termed, as in the somewhat 
poetical description of Lange, "the sun s triumph over the 
floods ; the glitter of his beams imprinted on the rain-cloud as 
a mark of subjection." How appropriate an emblem of that 
grace which should always show itself ready to return after 
wrath ! Grace still sparing and preserving, even when storms of 
judgment have been bursting forth upon the guilty ! And as 
the rainbow throws its radiant arch over the expanse between 
heaven and earth, uniting the two together again as with a 
wreath of beauty, after they have been engaged in an elemental 
war, what a fitting image does it present to the thoughtful eye 
of the essential harmony that still subsists between the higher 
and the lower spheres ! Such undoubtedly is its symbolic 
import, as the sign peculiarly connected with the covenant of 
Noah ; it holds out, by means of its very form and nature, an 
assurance of God s mercy, as engaged to keep perpetually in 
check the floods of deserved wrath, and continue to the world 
the manifestation of His grace and goodness. Such also is the 
import attached to it, when forming a part of prophetic imagery 
in the visions of Ezekiel (ch. i. 28) and of St John (Kev. iv. 
3) ; it is the symbol of grace, as ever ready to return after 
judgment, and to stay the evil from proceeding so far as to 
accomplish a complete destruction. 1 

Yet gracious as this covenant with Noah was, and appropriate 
and beautiful the sign that ratified it, all bore on it still the 
stamp of imperfection ; there was an indication and a prelude 
of the better things needed to make man truly and permanently 
blessed, not these things themselves. For what was this new 

1 Far too general is the explanation often given of the symbolic import 
of the rainbow by writers on such topics as when it is described to be " in 
general a symbol of God s willingness to receive men into favour again " 
(Wemyss Clavis Symbolica), or that "it indicates the faithfulness of the 
Almighty in fulfilling the promises that He has made to His people." (Mill s 
Sacred Symbology.) Sound Christian feeling, with something of a poetic 


world, which had its perpetuity secured, and over which Noah 
was set to reign, as heir of the righteousness that is by faith ? 
To Noah himself, and each one in succession of his seed, it was 
still a region of corruption and death. It had been sanctified, 
indeed, by the judgment of God, and as thus sanctified it was 
not to perish again as it had done before. But this sanctification 
was only by water enough to sweep away into the gulf of per 
dition the mass of impurity that festered on its surface, but not 
penetrating inwards, to the elements of evil which were bound 
up with its very framework. Another agency, more thoroughly 
pervasive in its nature, and in its effects more nobly sublimating, 
the agency of fire, is required to purge out the dross of its 
earthliness, and render it a home and an inheritance fit for those 
who are made like to the Son of God. (2 Pet. iii. 7-13.) And 
Noah himself, though acknowledged heir of the righteousness by 
faith, and receiving on his position the seal of heaven, in the 
salvation granted to him and his household, yet how far from 
being perfect in that righteousness, or by this salvation placed 
beyond the reach of evil ! Ere long he miserably fell under the 
power of temptation ; and unmistakeable evidence appeared that 

eye for the imagery of nature, finds its way better to the meaning as in 
the following simple lines of John Newton : 

" When the sun with cheerful beams 

Smiles upon a low ring sky, 
Soon its aspect softened seems, 

And a rainbow meets the eye ; 
While the sky remains serene, 

This bright arch is never seen. 

Thus the Lord s supporting power 

Brightest to His saints appears. 
When affliction s threat ning hour 

Fills their sky with clouds and fears ; 
He can wonders then perform, 

Paint a rainbow on the storm. 

Favoured John a rainbow saw 

Circling round the throne above ; 
Hence the saints a pledge may draw 

Of unchanging covenant-love : 
Clouds awhile may intervene, 

But the bow shall still be seen." 
VOL. I. Y 



the serpent s seed had found a place among the members of his 
household. High, therefore, as Noah stood compared with those 
who had gone before him, he was, after all, but the representative 
of an imperfect righteousness, and the heir of a corruptible and 
transitory inheritance. He was the type, but no more than the 
type, of Him who was to come in whom the righteousness of 
God should be perfected, salvation should rise to its higher 
sphere, and all, both in the heirs of glory, and the inheritance 
they were to occupy, should by the baptism of fire be rendered 
incorruptible and undefiled, and unfading. 




THE obvious imperfections just noticed, both in the righteous 
ness of the new head of the human family, and in the constitu 
tion of the world over which he was placed, clearly enough 
indicated that the divine plan had only advanced a stage in its 
progress, but had by no means reached its perfection. As the 
world, however, in its altered condition, had become naturally 
superior to its former state, so in necessary and causal connec 
tion with this it was in a spiritual respect to stand superior to 
it : secured against the return of a general perdition, it was also 
secured against the return of universal apostasy and corruption. 
The cause of righteousness was not to be trodden down as it 
had been before, nay, was to hold on its way and ultimately 
rise to the ascendant in the affairs of men. 

Not only was this presupposed in the covenant of perpetuity 
established for the world, as the internal ground on which it 
rested, but it was also distinctly announced by the father of the 
new world, in the prophetic intimation he gave of the future 
destinies of his children. It was a melancholy occasion which 
drew this prophecy forth, as it was alike connected with the 
shameful backsliding of Noah himself, and the wanton in 
decency of his youngest son. When Noah recovered from his 
sin, and understood how this son had exposed, while the other 
two had covered, his nakedness, he said, " Cursed be Canaan ; a 
servant of servants (i.e., a servant of the lowest grade) shall he 
be to his brethren. And he said, Blessed be the Lord God of 
Shem, and Canaan shall be his servant. God shall enlarge 
Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem ; and Canaan 
shall be his servant." (Gen. ix. 25-27.) 

There are various points of interest connected with this 
prophecy, and the occurrence that gave rise to it, which it does 


not fall within our province to notice. But the leading scope 
of it, as bearing on the prospective destinies of mankind, is 
manifestly of a hopeful description ; and in that respect it 
differs materially from the first historical incident that revealed 
the conflict of nature and grace in the family of Adam. The 
triumph of Cain over righteous Abel, and his stout-hearted 
resistance to the voice of God, gave ominous indication of the 
bad pre-eminence which sin was to acquire, and the fearful re 
sults which it was to achieve in the old world. But the milder 
form of this outbreak of evil in the family of Noah the im 
mediate discouragement it meets with from the older members 
of the family the strong denunciation it draws down from the 
venerable parent above all, the clear and emphatic prediction 
it elicits of the ascendancy of the good over the evil in these 
seminal divisions of the human family, one and all perfectly 
accorded with the more advanced state which the world had 
reached ; they bespoke the cheering fact, that righteousness 
should now hold its ground in the world, and that the dominant 
powers and races should be in league with it, while servility 
and degradation should rest upon its adversaries. 

This, any one may see at a glance, is the general tendency 
and design of what w T as uttered on the occasion ; but there is a 
marked peculiarity in the form given to it, such as plainly inti 
mates the commencement of a change in the Divine economy. 
There is a striking particularism in the prophetic announcement. 
It does not, as previously, give forth broad principles, or fore 
tell merely general results of evil and of good ; but it explicitly 
announces though still, no doubt, in wide and comprehensive 
terms the characteristic outlines of the future state and relative 
positions of Noah s descendants. Such is the decided tendency 
here to the particular, that in the dark side of the picture it is 
not Ham, the offending son and the general head of the worse 
portion of the postdiluvian family, who is selected as the special 
object of vengeance, nor the sons of Ham generally, but speci 
fically Canaan, who, it seems all but certain, was the youngest 
son. (Gen. x. 6.) Why this son, rather than the offending 
father, should have been singled out for denunciation, has been 
ascribed to various reasons ; and resort has not unfrequently 
been had to conjecture, by supposing that this son may probably 


have been present with the father, or some way participated with 
him in the offence. Even, however, if we had been certified of 
this participation, it could at most have accounted for the intro 
duction of the name of Canaan, but not for that being substi 
tuted in the room of the father s. Nor can we allow much more 
weight to another supposition, that the omission of the name of 
I lam may have been intended for the very purpose of proving 
the absence of all vindictive feeling, and showing that these 
were the words, not of a justly indignant parent giving vent to 
the emotions of the passing moment, but of a divinely inspired 
prophet calmly anticipating the events of a remote futurity. 
Undoubtedly such is their character ; but no extenuating con 
sideration of this kind is needed to prove it, if we only keep in 
view the judicial nature of this part of the prophecy. The curse 
pronounced is not an ebullition of wrathful feeling, riot a wish 
for the infliction of evil, but the announcement of a doom, or 
punishment for a particular offence ; and one that was to take, 
as so often happens in Divine chastisements, the specific form 
of the offence committed. Noah s affliction from the conduct 
of Ham was in the most peculiar manner to find its parallel in 
the case of Ham himself : He, the youngest son of Noah, 1 had 
proved a vexation and disgrace to his father, and in meet re 
taliation his own youngest son was to have his name in history 
coupled with the most humiliating and abject degradation. 

It was, therefore, in the first instance at least, for the pur 
pose of marking more distinctly the connection between the sin 
and its punishment, that Canaan only was mentioned in the 
curse. View r ed as spoken to Ham, the word virtually said, I 
am pained to the heart on account of you, my youngest son, 
and you in turn shall have good cause to be pained on account 
of your youngest son your own measure shall be meted back 
with increase to yourself. It may be true as Hiivernick states 

1 Gen. ix. 24. The expression in the original is Jtipn U3, and is the same 
that is applied to David in 1 Sam. xvii. 14. There can, therefore, be no 
reasonable doubt that it means youngest, and not tender or dear, as some 
would take it. It is not so expressly said that Canaan was Ham s youngest 
son ; but the inference that he was such is fair and natural, as he is men 
tioned last in the genealogy, ch. x. G, where no sufficient reason can be 
thought of for deviating from the natural order. 


in his Introduction to the Pentateuch that the curse, properly 
belonging to Ham, was to concentrate itself in the line of 
Canaan ; and, beyond doubt, it is more especially in connection 
with that line that Scripture itself traces the execution of the 
curse. But these are somewhat remote and incidental consider 
ations ; the more natural and direct is the one already given 
which Hofmann, we believe, was the first to suggest. 1 And as 
the word took the precise form it did, for the purpose more par 
ticularly of marking the connection between the sin and the 
punishment, it plainly indicated that the evil could not be con 
fined to the line of Ham s descendants by Canaan ; the same 
polluted fountain could not fail to send forth its bitter streams 
also in other directions. The connection is entirely a moral 
one. Even in the case of Canaan there was no arbitrary and 
hapless appointment to inevitable degradation and slavery; as 
is clearly proved by the long forbearance and delay in the exe 
cution of the threatened doom, expressly on the ground of the 
iniquity of the people not having become full, and also from the 
examples of individual Canaanites, who rose even to distin 
guished favour and blessing, such as Melchizedek and Rahab in 
earlier, and the Syrophenician woman in later times. Noah, 
however, saw with prophetic insight, that in a general point of 
view the principle should here hold, like father like child ; and 
that the irreverent and wanton spirit which so strikingly be 
trayed itself in the conduct of the progenitor, should infallibly 
give rise to an offspring whose dissolute and profligate manners 
would in due time bring upon them a doom of degradation and 
servitude. Such a posterity, with such a doom, beyond all 
question were the Canaanites, to whom we may add also the 
Tyrians and Sidonians, with their descendants the Carthaginians. 
The connection of sin and punishment might be traced to other 
sections besides, but it is not necessary that we pursue the subject 

Our course of inquiry rather leads us to notice the turn the 
prophecy takes in regard to the other side of the representation, 
and to mark the signs it contains of a tendency toward the par 
ticular, in connection with the future development of the scheme 
of grace. This comes out first and pre-eminently in the case of 
1 Weissagung und Erfullung, i., p. 89. 


Shem : " And he said, Blessed is (or be) Jehovah, the God of 
Shem" a blessing not directly upon Shem, but upon Jehovah 
as his God ! Why such a peculiarity as this ? No doubt, in 
the first instance, to make the contrast more palpable between 
this case and the preceding ; the connection with God, which 
was utterly wanting in the one, presenting itself as everything, 
in a manner, in the other. Then it proclaims the identity as to 
spiritual state between Noah and Shem, and designates this son 
as in the full sense the heir of blessing : " Blessed be Jehovah, 
the God of Shem," My God is also the God of my son ; I 
adore Him for Himself ; and now, before I leave the world, 
declare Him to be the covenant God of Shem. Nor of Shem 
only as an individual, but as the head of a certain portion of the 
world s inhabitants. It was with this portion that God was to 
stand in the nearest relation. Here He was to find His peculiar 
representatives, and His select instruments of working among 
men here emphatically were to be the priestly people. A spi 
ritual distinction, therefore the highest spiritual distinction, a 
state of blessed nearness to God, and special interest in His fulness 
is what is predicated of the line of Shem. And in the same 
sense namely, as denoting a fellowship in this spiritual dis 
tinction should that part of the prophecy on Japlieth also be 
understood, which points to a connection with Shem : "God 
shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem." 
It obviously, indeed, designates his stock generally as the most 
spreading and energetic of the three pre-eminent, so far as 
concerns diffusive operations and active labour in occupying the 
lands and carrying forward the business of the world and thus 
naturally tending, as the event has proved, to push their way, 
even in a civil and territorial respect, into the tents of Shem. 
This last thought may therefore not unfairly be included in the 
compass of the prediction, but it can at most be regarded as the 
subordinate idea. The prospect, as descried from the sacred 
heights of prophecy, of dwelling in the tents of Shem, must 
have been eyed, not as an intrusive conquest on the part of 
Japheth, subjecting Shem in a measure to the degrading lot of 
Canaan, but rather as a sacred privilege an admission of this 
less honoured race under the shelter of the same Divine pro 
tection, and into the partnership of the same ennobling benefits 


with himself. In a word, it was through the line of Shem that 
the gifts of grace and the blessings of salvation were more im 
mediately to flow the Shemites were to have them at first 
hand ; but the descendants of Japheth were also to participate 
largely in the good. And by reason of their more extensive 
ramifications and more active energies, were to be mainly in 
strumental in working upon the condition of the world. 

It is evident, even from this general intimation of the Divine 
purposes, that the more particular direction which was now to 
be given to the call of God, was not to be particular in the sense 
of exclusive , but particular only for the sake of a more efficient 
working and a more comprehensive result. The exaltation of 
Shem s progeny into the nearest relationship to God, was not 
that they might keep the privilege to themselves, but that first 
getting it, they should admit the sons of Japheth, the inhabi 
tants of the isles, to share with them in the boon, and spread it 
as wide as their scattered race should extend. The principle 
announced was an immediate particularism for the sake of an 
ultimate universalism. And this change in the manner of work 
ing was not introduced arbitrarily, but in consequence of the 
proved inadequacy of the other, and, as we may say, more 
natural course that had hitherto been pursued. Formally con 
sidered, the earlier revelations of God made no difference be 
tween one person and another, or even between one stem and 
another. They spoke the same language, and held out the same 
invitations to all. The weekly call to enter into God s rest 
the promise of victory to the woman s seed the exhibition of 
grace and hope in the symbols at the east of Eden the insti 
tuted means of access to God in sacrificial worship even the 
more specific promises and pledges of the Noachic covenant, were 
offered and addressed to men without distinction. Practically, 
however, they narrowed themselves ; and when the effect is 
looked to, it is found that there was only a portion, an elect 
seed, that really had faith in the Divine testimony, and entered 
into possession of the offered good. Not only so, but there was 
a downward tendency in the process. The elect seed did not 
grow as time advanced, but proportionally decreased ; the cause 
and party that flourished was the one opposed to God s. And 
the same result was beginning to take place after the flood, as 


is evident from what occurred in the family of Noah itself, and 
from other notices of the early appearance of corruption. The 
tendency in this direction was too strong to be effectually met 
by such general revelations and overtures of mercy. The plan 
was too vague and indeterminate. A more specific line of opera 
tions was needed from the particular to the general ; so that a 
certain amount of good, within a definite range, might in the first 
instance be secured ; and that from this, as a fixed position, other 
advantages might be gained, and more extensive results achieved. 
It is carefully to be noted, then, that a comprehensive object 
was as much contemplated in this new plan as in the other ; 
it differed only in the mode of reaching the end in view. The 
earth was to be possessed and peopled by the three sons of 
Noah ; and of the three, Shem is the one who was selected as 
the peculiar channel of Divine gifts and communications but 
not for his own exclusive benefit ; rather to the end that others 
might share with him in the blessing. The real nature and 
bearing of the plan, however, became more clearly manifest, 
when it began to be actually carried into execution. Its proper 
commencement dates from the call of Abraham, who was of 
the line of Shem, and in whom, as an individual, the purpose 
of God began practically to take effect. Why the Divine 
choice should have fixed specially upon him as the first indi 
vidual link in this grand chain of providences, is not stated ; 
and from the references subsequently made to it, we are plainly 
instructed to regard it as an example of the absolutely free 
grace and sovereign election of God. (Josh. xxiv. 2 ; Neh. ix. 
7.) That he had nothing whereof to boast in respect to it, we 
are expressly told; and yet we may not doubt, that in the line 
of Shem s posterity, to which he belonged, there was more 
knowledge of God, and less corruption in His worship, than 
among other branches of the same stem. Hence, perhaps, as 
being addressed to one who was perfectly cognizant of what 
had taken place in the history of his progenitors, the revelation 
made to him takes a form which bears evident respect to the 
blessing pronounced on Sherft, and appears only indeed as the 
giving of a more specific direction to Shem s high calling, or 
chalking out a definite way for its accomplishment. Jehovah 
was the God of Shem that in the word of Noah was declared 


to be his peculiar distinction. In like manner, Jehovah from 
the first made Himself known to Abraham as his God; nay, 
even took the name of "God of Abraham" as a distinctive 
epithet, and made the promise, " I will be a God to thee and to 
thy seed after thee," a leading article in the covenant established 
with him. And as the peculiar blessing of Shem was to be 
held with no exclusive design, but that the sons of Japheth far 
and \vide might share in it, so Abraham is called not onlv to be 

o - 

himself blessed, but also that he might be a blessing, a blessing 
to such an extent, that those should be blessed who blessed him, 
and in him all the families of the earth should be blessed. Yet 
with this general similarity between the earlier and the later 
announcement, what a striking advance does the Divine plan 
now make in breadth of meaning and explicitness of purpose ! 
How wonderfully does it combine together the little and the 
great, the individual and the universal ! Its terminus a quo the 
son of a Mesopotamian shepherd ; and its terminus ad quern the 
entire brotherhood of humanity, and the round circumference of 
the globe ! What a Divine-like grasp and comprehensiveness ! 
The very projection of such a scheme bespoke the infinite under 
standing of Godhead ; and minds altogether the reverse of 
narrow and exclusive, minds attempered to noble aims and in 
spired by generous feeling, alone could carry it into execution. 

By this call Abraham was raised to a very singular pre 
eminence, and constituted in a manner the root and centre of 
the world s future history, as concerns the attainment of real 
blessing. Still, even in that respect not exclusively. The 
blessing was to come chiefly to Abraham, and through him ; 
but, as already indicated also in the prophecy on Shem, others 
were to stand, though in a subordinate rank, on the same line ; 
since those also were to be blessed who blessed him ; that is, 
who held substantially the same faith, and occupied the same 
friendly relation to God. The cases of such persons in the 
patriarch s own day, as his kinsman Lot, who was not formally 
admitted into Abraham s covenant, and still more of Mel- 
chizedek, who was not even of Abraham s line, and yet indi 
vidually stood in some sense higher than Abraham himself, 
clearly showed, and were no doubt partly provided for the 
express purpose of showing, that there was nothing arbitrary 


in Abraham s position, and that the ground he occupied was to 
a certain extent common to believers generally. The peculiar 
honour conceded to him was, that the great trunk of blessing 
was to be of him, while only some isolated twigs or scattered 
branches were to be found elsewhere ; and even these could 
only be found by persons coming, in a manner, to make com 
mon cause with him. In regard to himself, however, the large 
dowry of good conveyed to him in the Divine promise could 
manifestly not be realized through himself personally. There 
could at the most be but a beginning made in his own experience 
and history ; and the widening of the circle of blessing to other 
kindreds and regions, till it reached the most distant families 
of the earth, could only be effected by means of those who 
were to spring from him. Hence the original word of promise, 
which was, "In thee shall all families of the earth be blessed," 
was afterwards changed into this, " In thy seed shall all the 
nations of the earth be blessed." (Gen. xxii. 18.) 

Yet the original expression is not without an important mean 
ing, and it takes the two, the earlier as well as the later form, to 
bring out the full design of God in the calling of Abraham. 
From the very nature of the case, first, as having respect to so 
extensive a field to be operated on, and then from the explicit 
mention of the patriarch s seed in the promise, no doubt what 
ever could be entertained, that the good in its larger sense was 
to be wrought out, not by himself individually and directly, but 
by him in connection with the seed to be given to him. And 
when the high character as well as the comprehensive reach of 
the good was taken into account, it might well have seemed as 

O o 

if even that seed were somehow going to have qualities associated 
with it which he could not perceive in himself as if another 
and higher connection with the heavenly and Divine should in 
due time be given to it, than any he was conscious of enjoying 
in his state of noblest elevation. We, at least, know from the 
better light we possess, that such actually was the case ; that the 
good promised neither did nor could have come into realization 
but by a personal commingling of the Divine with the human ; 
and that it has become capable of reaching to the most exalted 
height, and of diffusing itself through the widest bounds, simply 
by reason of this union in Christ. He, therefore, is the essential 


kernel of the promise ; and the seed of Abraham, rather than 
Abraham himself, was to have the honour of blessing all the 
families of the earth. This, however, by no means makes void 
the in thee of the original promise ; for by so expressly connect 
ing the good with Abraham as well as with his seed, the organic 
connection was marked between the one and the other, and the 
things that belonged to him were made known as the beginning 
of the end. The blessing to be brought to the world through 
his line had even in his time a present though small realization 
precisely as the kingdom of Christ had its commencement in 
that of David, and the one ultimately merged into the other. 
And so, in Abraham as the living root of all that was to follow, 
the whole and every part may be said to take its rise ; and not 
only was Christ after the flesh of the seed of Abraham, but each 
believer in Christ is a son of Abraham, and the entire company 
of the redeemed shall have their place and their portion with 
Abraham in the kingdom of God. 

Such being the case with the call of Abraham, in its objects, 
so high, and its results so grand and comprehensive, it is mani 
fest that the immediate limitations connected with it, in regard 
to a fleshly offspring and a worldly inheritance, must only have 
been intended to serve as temporary expedients and fit stepping- 
stones for the ulterior purposes in view. And such statements 
regarding the covenant with Abraham, as that it merely secured 
to Abraham a posterity, and to that posterity the possession of 
the land of Canaan for an inheritance, on the condition of their 
acknowledging Jehovah as their God, is to read the terms of 
the covenant with a microscope magnifying the little, and 
leaving the great altogether unnoticed in the preliminary means 
losing sight of the prospective end. 1 Another thing also, and 
one more closely connected with our present subject, is equally 
manifest ; which is, that since the entire scheme of blessing had 
its root in Abraham, it must also have had its representation in 

1 This is exactly the course taken in a late volume, Israel after the Flesh, 
by the Rev. William H. Johnstone, pp. 7, 8. He appears also to slump to 
gether the covenant with Abraham and the covenant at Sinai, as if the one 
were simply a renewal of the other. And this notwithstanding the distinc 
tion drawn so pointedly between them in the Epistle to the Galatians, and 
while the author, too, professes to have gone to work with the thorough 
determination to be guided only by Scripture ! 


him he, in his position and character and fortunes, must have 
been the type of that which was to come. Such uniformly is 
God s plan, in respect to those whom it constitutes heads of a 
class, or founders of a particular dispensation. It was so, first 
of all, with Adam, in whom humanity itself was imaged. It was 
so again in a measure with the three sons of Noah, whose respec 
tive states and procedure gave prophetic indication of the more 
prominent characteristics that should distinguish their offspring. 
Such, too, at a future period, and much more remarkably, was 
the case with David, in whom, as the beginning and root of the 
everlasting kingdom, there was presented the foreshadowing type 
of all that should essentially belong to the kingdom, when repre 
sented by its Divine head, and set up in its proper dimensions. 
Nor could it now be properly otherwise with Abraham. The 
very terms of the call, which singled him out from the mass of 
the world, and set him on high, constrain us to regard him as in 
the strictest sense a representative man in himself and the 
things belonging to his immediate heirs, the type at once of the 
subjective and the objective design of the covenant, or, in other 
words, of the kind of persons who were to be the subjects arid 
channels of blessing, and of the kind of inheritance with which 
they were to be blessed. It is for the purpose of exhibiting this 
clearly and distinctly, and thereby rendering the things written 
of Abraham and his immediate offspring a revelation, in the 
strictest sense, of God s mind and will regarding the more distant 
future, that this portion of patriarchal history was constructed. 
Abraham himself, in the first instance, was the covenant head 
and the type of what was to come ; but as the family of the 
Israelites were to be the collective bearers and representatives 
of the covenant, so, not Abraham alone, but the whole of their 
immediate progenitors, who were alike heads of the covenant 
people, along with Abraham, Isaac also, and Jacob, and the 
twelve patriarchs, possess a typical character. It shall be our 
object, therefore, in the two remaining sections, which must 
necessarily extend to a considerable length, to present the more 
prominent features of the instruction intended to be conveyed 
in both of the respects now mentioned first in regard to the 
subjects and channels of blessing, and then in regard to the in 
heritance destined for their possession. 



WHILE we class the whole of these together, on account of 
their being alike covenant heads to the children of Israel, who 
became in due time the covenant people, we are not to lose 
sight of the fact, that Abraham was more especially the person 
in whom the covenant had its original root and representation. 
It is in his case, accordingly, that we might expect to find, and 
that we actually have, the most specific and varied information 
respecting the nature of the covenant, and the manner in which 
it was to reach its higher ends. We shall therefore look, in 
the first instance, to what is written of him, coupling Isaac, 
however, with him ; since what is chiefly interesting and import 
ant about Isaac concerns hini as the seed, for which Abraham 
was immediately called to look and wait : so that, as to the 
greater lines of instruction, which are all we can at present 
notice, the lives of the two are knit inseparably together. And 
the same is, to a considerable extent, the case also with Jacob 
and the twelve patriarchs. The whole may be said to be of one 
piece, viewed as a special instruction for the covenant people, 
and through them for the Church at large, in respect to her 
calling and position in the world. 

I. Abraham, then, is called to be in a peculiar sense the 
possessor and dispenser of blessing ; to be himself blessed, and 
through the seed that is to spring from him, to be a blessing to 
the whole race of mankind. A divine-like calling and destiny ! 
for it is God alone who is properly the source and giver of 
blessing. Abraham, therefore, by his very appointment, is 
raised into a supranatural relationship to God ; he is to be in 
direct communication with heaven, and to receive all from 
above ; God is to work, in a special manner, for him and by 


him ; and the people that are to spring out of him, for a bless 
ing to other peoples, are to arise, not in the ordinary course 
of nature, but above and beyond it, as the benefits also they 
should be called to diffuse belong to a higher region than that 
of nature. As a necessary counterpart to this, and the in 
dispensable condition of its accomplishment, there must be in 
Abraham a principle of faith, such as might qualify him for 
transacting with God, in regard to the higher things of the 
covenant. These were not seen or present, and were also 
strange, supernatural, in the view of sense unlikely or even 
impossible ; yet were not the less to be regarded as sure in the 
destination of heaven, and to be looked, waited, or, if need be, 
also striven and suffered for by men. This principle of faith 
must evidently be the fundamental and formative power in 
Abraham s bosom the very root of his new being, the life of 
his life at once making him properly receptive of the Divine 
goodness, and readily obedient to the Divine will in the one 
respect giving scope for the display of God s wonders in his 
behalf, and in the other prompting him to act in accordance 
with God s righteous ends and purposes. So it actually was. 
Abraham was pre-eminently a man of faith ; and on that ac 
count was raised to the honourable distinction of the Father of 
the Faithful. And faith in him proved not only a capacity to 
receive, but a hand also to work ; and is scarcely les remark 
able for what it brought to his experience from the grace and 
power of God, than for the sustaining, elevating, and sanctify 
ing influence which it shed over his life and conduct. There 
are particularly three stages, each rising in succession above the 
other, in which it is important for us to mark this. 

1. The first is that of the Divine call itself, which came to 
Abraham while still living among his kindred in the land of 
Mesopotamia. (Gen. xii. 1-3.) Even in this original form of 
the Divine purpose concerning him, the supernatural element is 
conspicuous. To say nothing of its more general provisions, 
that he, a Mesopotamian shepherd, should be made surpassingly 
great, and should even be a source of blessing to all the families 
of the earth to say nothing of these, which might appear in 
credible only from their indefinite vastness and comprehension, 
the two specific promises in the call, that a great nation should 


be made of him, and that another land presently afterwards 
determined to be the land of Canaan should be given him for 
an inheritance, both lay beyond the bounds of the natural and 
the probable. At the time the call was addressed to Abraham, 
he was already seventy-five years old, and his wife Sarah, being 
only ten years younger, must have been sixty-five. (Gen. xii. 
4, xvii. 17.) For such persons to be constituted parents, and 
parents of an offspring that should become a great nation, in 
volved at the very outset a natural impossibility, and could only 
be made good by a supernatural exercise of Divine Omni 
potence a miracle. Nor was it materially different in regard 
to the other part of the promise ; for it is expressly stated, when 
the precise land to be given was pointed out to him, that the 
Canaanite was then in the land. (Gen. xii. 6.) It was even 
then an inhabited territory, and by no ordinary concurrence of 
events could be expected to become the heritage of the yet un 
born posterity of Abraham. It could only be looked for as the 
result of God s direct and special interposition in their behalf. 

Yet, incredible as the promise seemed in both of its depart 
ments, Abraham believed the word spoken to him ; he had faith 
to accredit the Divine testimony, and to take the part which it 
assigned him. Both were required a receiving of the promise 
first, and then an acting with a view to it ; for, on the ground 
of such great things being destined for him, he was commanded 
to leave his natural home and kindred, and go forth under the 
Divine guidance to the new territory to be assigned him. In 
this command was discovered the inseparable connection be 
tween faith and holiness ; or between the call of Abraham to 
receive distinguishing and supernatural blessing, and his call to 
lead a life of sincere and devoted obedience. He was singled 
out from the world s inhabitants to begin a new order of things, 
which were to bear throughout the impress of God s special 
grace and almighty power ; and he must separate himself from 
the old things of nature, to be in his life the representative of 
God s holiness, as in his destiny he was to be the monument of 
God s power and goodness. 

It is this exercise of faith in Abraham which is first exhibited 
in the Epistle to the Hebrews, as bespeaking a mighty energy 
in its working ; the more especially as the exchange in the case 


of Abraham and his immediate descendants did not prove by 
any means agreeable to nature. " By faitli Abraham, when he 
was called to go out into a place which he should after receive 
for an inheritance, obeyed; arid he went out, not knowing 
whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, 
as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and 
Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise." It may seem, 
indeed, at this distance of place and time, as if there were no 
great difference in the condition of Abraham and his house 
hold, in the one place as compared with the other. But it was 
quite otherwise in reality. They had, first of all, to break 
asunder the ties of home and kindred, which nature always feels 
painful, especially in mature age, even though it may have the 
prospect before it of a comfortable settlement in another region. 
This sacrifice they had to make in the fullest sense : it was in 
their case a strictly final separation ; they were to be absolutely 
done with the old and its endearments, and to cleave henceforth 
to the new. Nor only so, but their immediate position in the 
new was not like that which they had before in the old : settled 
possessions in the one, but none in the other ; instead of them, 
mere lodging-room among strangers, and a life on Providence. 
Nature does not love a change like that, and can only regard it 
as quitting the certainties of sight for the seeming uncertainties 
of faith and hope. These, however, were still but the smaller 
trials which Abraham s faith had to encounter ; for, along with 
the change in his outward condition, there came responsibilities 
and duties altogether alien to nature s feelings, and contrary to 
its spirit. In his old country he followed his own way, and 
walked after the course of the world, having no special work to 
do, nor any calling of a more solemn kind to fulfil. But now, 
by obeying the call of Heaven, he was brought into immediate 
connection with a spiritual and holy God, became charged in a 
manner with His interest in the world, and bound, in the face 
of surrounding enmity or scorn, faithfully to maintain His cause, 
and promote the glory of His name. To do this was in truth 
to renounce nature, and rise superior to it. And it teas done, 
let it be remembered, out of regard to prospects which could 
only be realized if the power of God should forsake its wonted 
channels of working, and perform what the carnal mind would 
VOL. i. z 


have deemed it infatuation to look for. Even in that first stage 
of the patriarch s course, there was a noble triumph of faith, 
and the earnest of a life replenished with the fruits of righteous 

It is true, the promise thus given at the commencement was 
not uniformly sustained; and Abraham was not long in Canaan 
till there seemed to be a failure on the part of God toward him, 
and there actually was a failure on his part toward God. The 
occurrence of a famine leads him to take refuge for a time in 
Egypt, which was even then the granary of that portion of 
the East; and he is tempted, through fear of his personal safety, 
to equivocate regarding Sarah, and call her his sister. The 
equivocation is certainly not to be justified, either on this or on 
the future occasion on which it was again resorted to; for though 
it contained a half truth, this was so employed as to render u the 
half truth a whole lie." We are rather to refer both circum 
stances his repairing to Egypt, and when there betaking to 
such a worldly expedient for safety as betraying the imperfec 
tion of his faith, which had strength to enable him to enter 
on his new course of separation from the world and devotedness 
to God, but still wanted clearness of discernment and implicit 
ness of trust sufficient to meet the unexpected difficulties that 
so early presented themselves in the way. Strange indeed had 
it been otherwise. It was necessary that the faith of Abraham, 
like that of believers generally, should learn by experience, and 
even grow by its temporary defeats. The first failure on the 
present occasion stood in his seeking relief from the emergency 
that arose by withdrawing, without the Divine sanction, to 
another country than that into which he had been conducted by 
the special providence of God. Instead of looking up for direc 
tion and support, he betook to worldly shifts and expedients, 
and thus became entangled in difficulties, out of which the im 
mediate interposition of God alone could have rescued him. In 
this way, however, the result proved beneficial. Abraham was 
made to feel, in the first instance, that his backsliding had 
reproved him ; and then the merciful interposition of Heaven, 
rebuking even a king for his sake, taught him the lesson, that 
with the God of heaven upon his side, he had no need to be 
afraid for the outward evils that might beset him in his course. 


He had but to look up in faith, and get the direction or support 
that he needed. 

The conduct of Abraham, immediately after his return to 
Canaan, gave ample evidence of the general stedfastness and 
elevated purity of his course. Though travelling about as a 
stranger in the land, he makes all around him feel that it is a 


blessed thing to be connected with him, and that it would be 
well for them if the land really were in his possession. The 
quarrel that presently arose between Lot s herdsmen and his 
own, merely furnished the occasion for his disinterested gene 
rosity, in waiving his own rights, and allowing to his kinsman 
the priority and freedom of choice. And another quarrel of a 
graver kind, that of the war between the four kings in higher 
Asia, and of the five small dependent sovereigns in the south of 
Canaan, drew forth still nobler manifestations of the large and 
self-sacrificing spirit that filled his bosom. Kegarding the 
unjust capture of Lot as an adequate reason for taking part in 
the conflict, he went courageously forth with his little band of 
trained servants, overthrew the conquerors, and recovered all 
that had been lost. Yet, at the very moment he displayed the 
victorious energy of his faith, by discomfiting this mighty army, 
how strikingly did he, at the same time, exhibit its patience in 
declining to use the advantage he then gained to hasten forward 
the purposes of God concerning his possession of the land, and 
its moderation of spirit, its commanding superiority to merely 
worldly ends and objects, in refusing to take even the smallest 
portion of the goods of the king of Sodom ! Nay, so far from 
seeking to exalt self by pressing outward advantages and worldly 
resources, his spirit of faith, leading him to recognise the hand 
of God in the success that had been won, causes him to bow 
down in humility, and do homage to the Most High God in the 
person of His priest Melchizedek. He gave this Melchizedek 
tithes of all, and as himself the less, received blessing from 
Melchizedek as the greater. 

Viewed thus merely as a mark of the humble and reverent 
spirit of Abraham, the offspring of his faith in God, this notice 
of his relation to Melchizedek is interesting. But other things 
of a profounder nature were wrapt up in the transaction, which 
the pen of inspiration did not fail afterwards to elicit (Ps. ex. 


4 ; Heb. vii.), and which it is proper to glance at before we pass 
on to another stage of the patriarch s history. The extraordinary 
circumstance of such a person as a priest of the Most High 
God, whom even Abraham acknowledged to be such, starting up 
all at once in the devoted land of Canaan, and vanishing out of 
sight almost as soon as he appeared, has given rise, from the 
earliest times, to numberless conjectures. Ham, Shem, Noah, 
Enoch, an angel, Christ, the Holy Spirit, have each, in the 
hands of different persons, been identified with this Melchizedek ; 
but the view now almost universally acquiesced in is, that he was 
simply a Canaanite sovereign, who combined with his royal dig 
nity as king of Salem 1 the office of a true priest of God. No 
other supposition, indeed, affords a satisfactory explanation of 
the narrative. The very silence observed regarding his origin, 
and the manner of his appointment to the priesthood, was 
intentional, and served to draw more particular attention to 
the facts of the case, as also to bring it into a closer corre- 


spondence with the ultimate realities. The more remarkable 
peculiarity was, that to this person, simply because he w^as a 
righteous king and priest of the Most High God, Abraham, 
the elect of God, the possessor of the promises, paid tithes, and 
received from him a blessing ; and did it, too, at the very time 
he stood so high in honour, and kept himself so carefully aloof 
from another king then present the king of Sodom. He 
placed himself as conspicuously below the one personage as he 
raised himself above the other. Why should he have done so ? 
Because Melchizedek already in a measure possessed what 
Abraham still only hoped for he reigned where Abraham s 

1 No stress is laid on the particular place of which he was king, except 
ing that, in the Epistle to the Hebrews, its meaning (Peace) is viewed as 
symbolic ; only, however, for the purpose of bringing out the idea, that 
this singular person was really what his name and the name of his place 
imported. He was in reality a righteous king, and a prince of peace. But 
there seems good reason to believe the Jewish tradition well-founded, that 
it is but the abbreviated name of Jerusalem. Hence the name Salem is also 
applied to it in Ps. Ixxvi. 2. And the correctness of the opinion is con 
firmed by the mention of the king s dale, in Gen. xiv. 17, which from 2 Sam. 
xviii. 18 can scarcely be supposed to have been far from Jerusalem. The 
name also of Adonaizedek, synonymous with Melchizedek, as that of the 
king of Jerusalem in Joshua s time (Josh. x. 3), is a still farther confirmation. 


seed were destined to reign, and exercised a priesthood which in 
future generations was to be committed to them. The union of 
the two in Melchizedek was in itself a great thing greater than 
the separate offices of king and priest in the houses respectively 
of David and Aaron ; but it was an expiring greatness : it was 
like the last blossom on the old rod of Noah, which thenceforth 
became as a dry tree. In Abraham, on the other hand, was the 
germ of a new and higher order of things : the promise, though 
still only the budding promise, of a better inheritance of bless 
ing ; and when the seed should come in whom the promise was 
more especially to stand, then the more general and comprehen 
sive aspect of the Melchizedek order was to reappear, and re 
appear in one who could at once place it on firmer ground, and 
carry it to unspeakably higher results. Here, then, was a sacred 
enigma for the heart of faith to ponder, and for the spirit of 
truth gradually to unfold : Abraham, in one respect, relatively 
great, and in another relatively little; personally inferior to 
Melchizedek, and yet the root of a seed that was to do for the 
world incomparably more than Melchizedek had done ; himself 
the type of a higher than Melchizedek, and yet Melchizedek a 
more peculiar type than he ! It was a mystery that could be 
disclosed only in partial glimpses beforehand, but which now has 
become comparatively plain by the person and work of Immanuel. 
What but the wonder-working finger of God could have so ad 
mirably fitted the past to be such a singular image of the future ! 

There are points connected with this subject that will 
naturally fall to be noticed at a later period, when we come to 
treat of the Aaronic priesthood, and other points also, though of 
a minor kind, belonging to this earlier portion of Abraham s 
history? which we cannot particularly notice. We proceed to 
the second stage in the development of his spiritual life. 

2. This consisted in the establishment of the covenant be 
tween him and God ; which falls, however, into tovo parts : one 
earlier in point of time, and in its own nature incomplete ; the 
other, both the later and the more perfect form. 

It would seem as if, after the stirring transactions connected 
with the victory over Chedorlaomer and his associates, and the 
interview with Melchizedek, the spirit of Abraham had sunk 
into depression and fear ; for the next notice we have respecting 


him represents God as appearing to him in vision, and bidding 
him not to be afraid, since God Himself was his shield and his 
exceeding great reward. It is not improbable that some appre 
hension of a revenge on the part of Chedorlaomer might haunt 
his bosom, and that he might begin to dread the result of such 
an unequal contest as he had entered on with the powers of the 
world. But it is clear also, from the sequel, that another thing 
preyed upon his spirits, and that he was filled with concern on 
account of the long delay that was allowed to intervene before 
the appearance of the promised seed. He still went about child 
less; and the thought could not but press upon his mind, of 
what use were other things to him, even of the most honourable 
kind, if the great thing, on which all his hopes for the future 
turned, were still withheld? The Lord graciously met this 
natural misgiving by the assurance, that not any son by adop 
tion merely, but one from his own loins, should be given him for 
an heir. And to make the matter more palpable to his mind, 
and take external nature, as it were, to witness for the fulfil 
ment of the word, the Lord brought him forth, and, pointing to 
the stars of heaven, declared to him, " So shall thy seed be." 
"And he believed in the Lord," it is said, "and He counted it 
to him for righteousness." (Gen. xv. 1-6.) 

This historical statement regarding Abraham s faith is re 
markable, as it is the one so strenuously urged by the Apostle 
Paul in his argument for justification by faith alone in the 
righteousness of Christ. (Rom. iv. 18-22.) And the question 
has been keenly debated, whether it was the faith itself which 
was in God s account taken for righteousness, or the righteous 
ness of God in Christ, which that faith prospectively laid hold 
of. Our wisdom here, however, and in all similar cases, is not 
to press the statements of Old Testament Scripture so as to 
render them explicit categorical deliverances on Christian doc 
trine, in which case violence must inevitably be done to them, 
but rather to catch the general principle embodied in them, 
arid give it a fair application to the more distinct revelations of 
the Gospel. This is precisely what is done by St Paul. He 
does not say a word about the specific manifestation of the 
righteousness of God in Christ, when arguing from the state 
ment respecting the righteousness of faith in Abraham. He 


lays stress simply upon the natural impossibilities that stood in 
the way of God s promise of a numerous offspring to Abraham 
being fulfilled the comparative deadness both of his own body 
and of Sarah s and on the implicit confidence Abraham had, 
notwithstanding, in the power and faithfulness of God, that He 
would perform what He had promised. " Therefore," adds the 
Apostle, " it was imputed to him for righteousness." Therefore 
namely, because through faith he so completely lost sight of 
nature and self, and realized with undoubting confidence the 
sufficiency of the Divine arm, and the certainty of its working. 
His faith was nothing more, nothing else, than the renunciation 
of all virtue and strength in himself, and a hanging in childlike 
trust upon God for what He was able and willing to do. Not, 
therefore, a mere substitute for a righteousness that was want 
ing, an acceptance of something that could be had for some 
thing better that failed, but rather the vital principle of a 
righteousness in God the acting of a soul in unison with the 
mind of God, and finding its life, its hope, its all in Him. 
Transfer such a faith to the field of the New Testament bring 
it into contact with the manifestation of God in the person and 
work of Christ for the salvation of the world, and what would 
inevitably be its language but that of the Apostle : " God forbid 
that I should glory save in the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ," 
"not my own righteousness, which is of the law, but that 
which is of God through faith !" 

To return to Abraham. When he had attained to such 
confiding faith in the Divine word respecting the promised seed, 
the Lord gave him an equally distinct assurance respecting the 
promised land; and in answer to Abraham s question, "Lord 
God, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it ? " the Lord 
"made a covenant with him" respecting it, by means of a sym 
bolical sacrificial action. It was a covenant by blood ; for in 
the very act of establishing the union, it was meet there should 
be a reference to the guilt of man, and a provision for purging 
it away. The very materials of the sacrifice have here a specific 
meaning; the greater sacrifices, those of the heifer, the goat, 
and the ram, being expressly fixed to be of three years old- 
pointing to the three generations which Abraham s posterity 
were to pass in Egypt ; and these, together with the turtle-dove 


and the young pigeon, comprising a full representation of the 
animals afterwards offered in sacrifice under the law. As the 
materials, so also the form of the sacrifice was symbolical the 
animals being divided asunder, and one piece laid over against 
another ; for the purpose of more distinctly representing the 
two parties in the transaction two, and yet one meeting and 
acting together in one solemn offering. Recognising Jehovah 
as the chief party in what was taking place, Abraham waits 
for the Divine manifestation, and contents himself with mean 
while driving away the ill-omened birds of prey that flocked 
around the sacrifice. At last, when the shades of night had 
fallen, " a smoking furnace and a burning lamp passed between 
those pieces" the glory of the Lord Himself, as so often after 
wards, in a pillar of cloud and fire. Passing under this emblem 
through the divided sacrifice, He formally accepted it, and struck 
the covenant with His servant. (Jer. xxxiv. 18, 19.) At the 
same time, also, a profound sleep had fallen upon Abraham, 
and a horror of great darkness, symbolical of the outward 
humiliations and sufferings through which the covenant was to 
reach its accomplishment ; and in explanation the announce 
ment was expressly made to him, that his posterity should be 
in bondage and affliction four hundred years in a foreign land, 
and should then, in the fourth generation, be brought up from 
it with great substance. 1 In justification, also, of the long 
delay, the specific reason was given, that " the iniquity of the 

1 The notes of time here given for the period of the sojourn in Egypt 
are somewhat indefinite. The 400 years is plainly mentioned as a round 
sum ; it was afterwards more precisely and historically defined as 430 
(Ex. xii. 40, 41). From the juxtaposition of the 400 years and the fourth 
generation in the words to Abraham, the one must be understood as nearly 
equivalent to the other, and the period must consequently be regarded as 
that of the actual residence of the children of Israel in Egypt, from the 
descent of Jacob not, as many after the Septuagint, from the time of 
Abraham. For the shortest genealogies exhibit four generations between 
that period and the exodus. Looking at the genealogical table of Levi 
(Ex. vi. 16, sq.), 120 years might not unfairly be taken as an average life 
time or generation ; so that three of these complete, and a part of the 
fourth, would easily make 430. In Gal. iii. 17, the law is spoken of as only 
430 years after the covenant with Abraham ; but the Apostle merely refers 
to the known historical period, and regards the first formation of the cove 
nant with Abraham as all one with its final ratification with Jacob. 


Amorites was not yet full," plainly importing that this part 
of the Divine procedure had a moral aim, and could only be 
carried into effect in accordance with the great principles of the 
Divine righteousness. 

The covenant was thus established in both its branches, yet 
only in an imperfect manner, if respect were had to the coming 
future, and even to the full bearing and import of the covenant 
itself. Abraham had got a present sign of God s formally 
entering into covenant with him for the possession of the land 
of Canaan ; but it came and went like a troubled vision of the 
night. There was needed something of a more tangible and 
permanent kind, an abiding, sacramental covenant signature, 
which by its formal institution on God s part, and its regular 
observance on the part of Abraham and his seed, might serve 
as a mutual sign of covenant engagements. This was the more 
necessary, as the next step in Abraham s procedure but too 
clearly manifested that he still wanted light regarding the 
nature of the covenant, and in particular regarding the super 
natural, the essentially Divine, character of its provisions. From 
the prolonged barrenness of Sarah, and her now advanced 
age, it began to be imagined that Sarah possibly might not 
be included in the promise, the rather so, as no express 
mention had been made of her in the previous intimations of 
the Divine purpose ; and so despairing of having herself any 
share in the fulfilment of the promised word, she suggested, 
and Abraham fell in with the suggestion, that the fulfilment 
should be sought by the substitution of her bondmaid Hagar. 
This was again resorting to an expedient of the flesh to get 
over a present difficulty, and it was soon followed by its meet 
retribution in providence domestic troubles and vexations. 
The bondmaid had been raised out of her proper place, and 
began to treat Sarah, the legitimate spouse of Abraham, with 
contempt. And had she even repressed her improper feelings, 
and brought forth a child in the midst of domestic peace and 
harmony, yet a son so born after the ordinary course of nature, 
and in compliance with one of her corrupter usages could not 
have been allowed to stand as the representative of that seed 
through which blessing was to come to the world. 

On both accounts, therefore, first, to give more explicit 


information regarding the son to be born, and then to provide a 
significant and lasting signature of the covenant, another and 
more perfect ratification of it took place. The word which 
introduced this new scene, expressed the substance and design 
of the whole transaction : " I am God Almighty : walk before 
Me, and be thou perfect " (Gen. xvii. 1) : On My part there 
is power amply sufficient to accomplish what I have promised : 
whatever natural difficulties may stand in the way, the whole 
shall assuredly be done ; only see that on your part there be a 
habitual recognition of My presence, and a stedfast adherence 
to the path of rectitude and purity. What follows is simply a 
filling up of this general outline a more particular announce 
ment of what God on His part should do, and then of what 
Abraham and his posterity were to do on the other. " As for 
Me " (literally, I i.e., on My part), " behold, My covenant is 
with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations. Neither 
shall thy name any more be called Abram ; but thy name shall 
be Abraham : for a father of many nations have I made thee. 
And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make 
nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee. And I will 
establish My covenant between Me and thee, and thy seed after 
thee, in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be a 
God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee. And I will give 
unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou 
art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting pos 
session ; and I will be their God." This was God s part in the 
covenant, to which He immediately subjoined, by way of ex 
planation, that the seed more especially meant in the promise 
was to be of Sarah as well as Abraham ; that she was to renew 
her youth, and have a son, and that her name also was to be 
changed in accordance with her new position. Then follows 
what was expected and required on the other side : " And God 
said unto Abraham, And thou " (this now is thy part), " My 
covenant shalt thou keep, thou, and thy seed after thee ; Every 
male among you shall be circumcised. And ye shall circumcise 
the flesh of your foreskin ; and it shall be for a covenant-sign 
betwixt Me and you. And he that is eight days old shall be 
circumcised to you, every male in your generations ; he that is 
born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, that 


is not of thy seed And My covenant shall be in your 

flesh for an everlasting covenant. And uncircumcision " (i.e., 
pollution, abomination) "is the male who is not circumcised 
in the flesh of his foreskin ; and cut off is that soul from his 
people ; he has broken My covenant." 

There is no need for going into the question, whether this 
ordinance of circumcision was now for the first time introduced 
among men ; or whether it already existed as a practice to some 
extent, and was simply adopted by God as a fit and significant 
token of His covenant. It is comparatively of little moment 
how such a question may be decided. The same principle may 
have been acted on here, which undoubtedly had a place in the 
modelling of the Mosaic institutions, and which will be dis 
cussed and vindicated when we come to consider the influence 
exercised by the learning of Moses on his subsequent legislation 
the principle, namely, of taking from the province of religion 
generally a symbolical sign or action, that was capable, when 
associated with the true religion, of fitly expressing its higher 
truths and principles. The probability is, that this principle 
was recognised and acted on here. Circumcision has been 


practised among classes of people and nations who cannot 
reasonably be supposed to have derived it from the family of 
Abraham among the ancients, for example, by the Egyptian 
priesthood, and among the moderns by native tribes in America 
and the islands of the Pacific. Its extensive prevalence and 
long continuance can only be accounted for on the ground that 
it has a foundation in the feelings of the natural conscience, 
which, like the distinctions into clean and unclean, or the pay 
ment of tithes, may have led to its employment before the time 
of Abraham, and also fitted it afterwards for serving as the 
peculiar sign of God s covenant with him. At the same time, as 
it was henceforth intended to be a distinctive badge of covenant 
relationship, it could not have been generally practised in the 
region where the chosen family were called to live and act. 
From the purpose to which it was applied, we may certainly 
infer that it formed at once an appropriate and an easily recog 
nised distinction between the race of Abraham and the families 
and nations by whom they were more immediately surrounded. 
Among the race of Abraham, however, it had the widest 


application given to it. While God so far identified it with 
His covenant, as to suspend men s interest in the one upon 
their observance of the other, it was with His covenant in its 
wider aspect and bearing not simply as securing either an 
offspring after the flesh, or the inheritance for that offspring of 
the land of Canaan. It was comparatively but a limited por 
tion of Abraham s actual offspring who were destined to grow 
into a separate nation, and occupy as their home the territory 
of Canaan. At the very outset Ishmael was excluded, though 
constituted the head of a great nation. And yet not only he, 
but all the members of Abraham s household, were alike ordered 
to receive the covenant signature. Nay, even in later times, 
when the children of Israel had grown into a distinct people, 
and everything was placed under the strict administration of 
law, it was always left open to people of other lands and tribes 
to enter into the bonds of the covenant through the rite of cir 
cumcision. This rite, therefore, must have had a significance 
for them, as well as for the more favoured seed of Jacob. It 
spoke also to their hearts and consciences, and virtually declared 
that the covenant which it symbolized had .nothing in its main 
design of an exclusive and contracted spirit; that its greater 
things lay open to all who were willing to seek them in the 
appointed way ; and that if at first there were individual per 
sons, and afterwards a single people, who were more especially 
identified with the covenant, it was only to mark them out as 
the chosen representatives of its nature and objects, and to 
constitute them lights for the instruction and benefit of others. 
There never was a more evident misreading of the palpable 
facts of history, than appears in the disposition so often mani 
fested to limit the rite of circumcision to one line merely of 
Abraham s posterity, and to regard it as the mere outward badge 
of an external national distinction. 

It is to be held, then, as certain in regard to the sign of the 
covenant as in regard to the covenant itself, that its more 
special and marked connection with individuals was only for 
the sake of more effectually helping forward its general objects. 
And not less firmly is it to be held, that the outwardness in the 
rite was for the sake of the inward and spiritual truths it sym 
bolized. It w^as appointed as the distinctive badge of the cove- 


nant, because it was peculiarly fitted for symbolically expressing 
the spiritual character and design of the covenant. It marked 
the condition of every one who received it, as having to do both 
with higher powers and higher objects than those of corrupt 
nature, as the condition of one brought into blessed fellowship 
with God, and therefore called to walk before Him and be per 
fect. There would be no difficulty in perceiving this, nor any 
material difference of opinion upon the subject, if people would 
but look beneath the surface, and in the true spirit of the 
ancient religion, would contemplate the outward as an image of 
the inward. The general purport of the covenant was, that 
from Abraham as an individual there was to be generated a seed 
of blessing, in which all real blessing was to centre, and from 
which it was to flow to the ends of the earth. There could not, 
therefore, be a more appropriate sign of the covenant than such 
a rite as circumcision so directly connected with the generation 
of offspring, and so distinctly marking the necessary purification 
of nature the removal of the filth of the flesh that the off 
spring might be such as really to constitute a seed of blessing. 
It is through ordinary generation that the corruption incident 
on the fall is propagated; and hence, under the law, which 
contained a regular system of symbolical teaching, there were 
so many occasions of defilement traced to this source, and so 
many means of purification appointed for them . Now, there 
fore, when God was establishing a covenant, the great object of 
which was to reverse the propagation of evil, to secure for the 
world a blessed and a blessed-making seed, he affixed to the 
covenant this symbolical rite to show that the end was to be 
reached, not as the result of nature s ordinary productiveness, 
but of nature purged from its uncleanness nature raised above 
itself, in league with the grace of God, and bearing on it the 
distinctive impress of His character and working. It said to 
the circumcised man, that he had Jehovah for his bridegroom, 
to whom he had become espoused, as it were, by blood (Ex. iv. 
25), and that he must no longer follow the unregulated will and 
impulse of nature, but live in accordance with the high relation 
lie occupied, and the sacred calling he had received. 1 

1 It may also be noted, that by this quite natural and fundamental 
view of the ordinance, subordinate peculiarities admit of an easy 


Most truly, therefore, does the Apostle say, that Abraham 
received circumcision as a seal of the righteousness of the faith 
which he had (Rom. iv. 11) a Divine token in his own case 
that he had attained through faith to such fellowship with God, 
and righteousness in Him and a token for every child that 
should afterwards receive it; not indeed that he actually possessed 
the same, but that he was called to possess it, and had a right to 
the privileges and hopes which might enable him to attain to the 
possession. Most truly also does the Apostle say in another 
place (Rom. ii. 28, 29) : " He is not a Jew which is one out 
wardly (i.e., not a Jew in the right sense, not such an one as 
God would recognise and own) ; neither is that circumcision 
which is outward in the flesh : But he is a Jew which is one 
inwardly : and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and 
not in the letter ; whose praise is not of men, but of God." 
The very design of the covenant was to secure a seed with these 
inward and spiritual characteristics ; and the sign of the cove 
nant, the outward impression in the flesh, was worthless, a mere 
external concision as the Apostle calls it, when it came to be 
alone, Phil. iii. 2 excepting in so far as it was the expression 
of the corresponding reality. Isaac, the first child of promise, 
was the fitting type of such a covenant. In the very manner 
and time of his production he was a sign to all coming ages of 
what the covenant required and sought ; not begotten till 
Abraham himself bore the symbol of nature s purification, nor 
born till it was evident the powers of nature must have been 
miraculously vivified for the purpose ; so that in his very being 
and birth Isaac was emphatically a child of God. But in being 
so, he was the exact type of what the covenant properly aimed 
at, and what its expressive symbol betokened, viz., a spiritual 
seed, in which the Divine and human, grace and nature, should 
meet together in producing true subjects and channels of bless- 

nation. For example, the limitation of the sign to males which in the 
circumstances could not be otherwise ; though the special purifications 
under the law for women might justly be regarded as providing for them 
a sort of counterpart. Then, the fixing on the eighth day as the proper 
one for the rite that being the first day after the revolution of an entire 
week of separation from the mother, and when fully withdrawn from con 
nection with the parent s blood, it began to live and breathe in its own 
impurity. (See further Imperial Bible Diet. Art. Circumcision.) 


ing. But its actual representation the one complete and per 
fect embodiment of all it symbolized and sought was the Lord 
Jesus Christ, in whom the Divine and human met from the 
first, not in co-operative merely, but in organic union ; and con 
sequently the result produced was a Being free from all taint of 
corruption, holy, harmless, un defiled, the express image of the 
Father, the very righteousness of God. He alone fully realized 
the conditions of blessing exhibited in the covenant, and was 
qualified to be in the largest sense the seed-corn of a harvest of 
blessing for the whole field of humanity. 

It is true and those who take their notions of realities from 
appearances alone, will doubtless reckon it a sufficient reply to 
what has been said that the portion of Abraham s seed who 
afterwards became distinctively the covenant people Israel after 
the flesh were by no means such subjects and channels of 
blessing as we have described, but were to a large extent carnal, 
having only that circumcision which is outward in the flesh. 
What then? Had they still a title to be recognised as the 
children of the covenant, and a right, as such, to the temporal 
inheritance connected with it ? By no means. This were sub 
stantially to make void God s ordinance, which could not, any 
more than His other ordinances, be merely outward. It arises 
from His essential nature, as the spiritual and holy God, that He 
should ever require from His people what is accordant with His 
own character ; and that when He appoints outward signs and 
ordinances, it is only with a view to spiritual and moral ends. 
Where the outward alone exists, He cannot own its validity. 
Christ certainly did not. For, when arguing with the Jews of 
His own day, He denied on this very ground that their circum 
cision made them the children of Abraham : they were not of 
his spirit, and did not perform his works ; and so, in Christ s 
account, their natural connection both with Abraham and with 
the covenant went for nothing. (John viii. 34-44.) Their 
circumcision was a sign without any signification. And if so 
then, it must equally have been so in former times. The chil 
dren of Israel had no right to the benefits of the covenant 
merely because they had been outwardly circumcised ; nor were 
any promises made to them simply as the natural seed of Abra 
ham. Both elements had to meet in their condition, the natural 


and the spiritual ; the spiritual, however, more especially, and 
the natural only as connected with the spiritual, and a means 
for securing it. Hence Moses urged them so earnestly to cir 
cumcise their hearts, as absolutely necessary to their getting the 
fulfilment of what was promised (Deut. x. 16) ; and when the 
people as a whole had manifestly not done this, circumcision 
itself, the sign of the covenant, was suspended for a season, and 
the promises of the covenant were held in abeyance, till they 
should come to learn aright the real nature of their calling. 
(Josh. v. 3-9.) Throughout, it was the election within the 
election who really had the promises and the covenants ; and 
none but those in whom, through the special working of God s 
grace, nature was sanctified and raised to another position than 
itself could ever have attained, were entitled to the blessing. If 
in the land of Canaan, they existed by sufferance merely, and 
not by right. 

The bearing of all this on the ordinance of Christian baptism 
cannot be overlooked, but it may still be mistaken. The rela 
tion between circumcision and baptism is not properly that of 
type and antitype ; the one is a symbolical ordinance as well as 
the other, and both alike have an outward form and an inward 
reality. It is precisely in such ordinances that the Old and the 
New dispensations approach nearest to each other, and, we might 
almost say, stand formally upon the same level. The difference 
does not so much lie in the ordinances themselves, as in the 
comparative amount of grace and truth respectively exhibited in 
them necessarily less in the earlier, and more in the later. The 
difference in external form was in each case conditioned by the 
circumstances of the time. In circumcision it bore respect to 
the propagation of offspring, as it was through the production of 
a seed of blessing that the covenant, in its preparatory form, 
was to attain its realization. But when the seed in that respect 
had reached its culminating point in Christ, and the objects of 
the covenant were no longer dependent on natural propagation 
of seed, but were to be carried forward by spiritual means and 
influences used in connection with the faith of Christ, the 
external ordinance was fitly altered, so as to express simply a 
change of nature and state in the individual that received it. 
Undoubtedly the New Testament form less distinctly recognises 


the connection between parent and child we should rather say, 
does not of itself recognise that connection at all : so much 
ought to be frankly conceded to those who disapprove of the 
practice of infant baptism, and will be conceded by all whose 
object is to ascertain the truth rather than contend for an 

On the other hand, however, if we look, not to the form, but 
to the substance, which ought here, as in other things, to be 
chiefly regarded, we perceive an essential agreement such as 
is, indeed, marked by the Apostle, when, with reference to the 
spiritual import of baptism, he calls it " the circumcision of 
Christ." (Col. ii. 11.) So far from being less indicative of a 
change of nature in the proper subjects of it, circumcision was 
even more so ; in a more obvious and palpable manner it bespoke 
the necessity of a deliverance from the native corruption of the 
soul in those who should become the true possessors of blessing. 
Hence the Apostle makes use of the earlier rite to explain the 
symbolical import of the later, and describes the spiritual change 
indicated and required by it, as " a putting-off of the body of 
the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ," and " having 
the uncircumcision of the flesh quickened together with Christ." 
It would have been travelling entirely in the wrong direction, to 
use such language for purposes of explanation in Christian times, 
if the ordinance of circumcision had not shadowed forth this 
spiritual quickening and purification even more palpably and 
impressively than baptism itself ; and shadowed it forth, not 
prospectively merely for future times, but immediately and per 
sonally for the members of the Old Covenant. For, by the 
terms of the covenant, these were ordained to be, not types of 
blessing only, but also partakers of blessing. The good contem 
plated in the covenant was to have its present commencement in 
their experience, as well as in the future a deeper foundation and 
a more enlarged development. And the outward putting away 
of the filth of the flesh in circumcision could never have sym 
bolized a corresponding inward purification for the members of 
the New Covenant, if it had not first done this for the members 
of the Old. The shadow must have a substance in the one case 
as well as in the other. 

Such being the case as to the essential agreement between 

VOL. I. 2 A 


the two ordinances, an important element for deciding in regard 
to the propriety of infant baptism may still be derived from the 
practice established in the rite of circumcision. The grand 
principle of connecting parent and child together for the attain 
ment of spiritual objects, and marking the connection by an 
impressive signature, was there most distinctly and broadly sanc 
tioned. And if the parental bond and its attendant obligations 
be not weakened, but rather elevated and strengthened, by the 
higher revelations of the Gospel, it would be strange indeed if 
the liberty at least, nay, the propriety and right, if not the 
actual obligation, to have their children brought by an initiatory 
ordinance under the bond of the covenant, did not belong to 
parents under the Gospel. The one ordinance no more than the 
other ensures the actual transmission of the grace necessary to 
effect the requisite change ; but it exhibits that grace on the 
part of God pledges it and takes the subject of the ordinance 
bound to use it for the accomplishment of the proper end. 
Baptism does this now, as circumcision did of old ; and if it was 
done in the one case through the medium of the parent to the 
child, one does not see why it may not be done now, unless 
positively prohibited, in the other. But since this is matter of 
inference rather than of positive enactment, those who do not 
feel warranted to make such an application of the principle of 
the Old Testament ordinance to the New, should unquestionably 
be allowed their liberty of thought and action ; if only, in the 
vindication of that liberty, they do not seek to degrade circum 
cision to a mere outward and political distinction, and thereby 
break the continuity of the Church through successive dispensa 
tions. 1 

1 It is not necessary to do more than notice the statements of Coleridge 
regarding circumcision (Aids to Reflection, i., p. 296), in which, as in some 
others on purely theological subjects in his writings, one is even more struck 
with the unaccountable ignoring of fact displayed in the deliverance given, 
than with the tone of assurance in which it is announced. " Circumcision 
was no sacrament at all, but the means and mark of national distinction. 
Nor was it ever pretended that any grace was conferred with it, 
or that the right was significant of any inward or spiritual operation." 
Delitzsch, however, so far coincides with this view, as to deny (Genesis 
Ausgelegt, p. 281) the sacramental character of circumcision. But he does 
so on grounds that, in regard to circumcision, will not stand examination ; 


3. But we must now hasten to the third stage of Abraham s 
career, which presents him on a still higher moral elevation 
than he has yet reached, and view him as connected with the 
sacrifice of Isaac. Between the establishment of the covenant 
by the rite of circumcision, and this last stage of development, 
there were not wanting occasions fitted to bring out the pre 
eminently holy character of his calling, and the dependence on 
his maintaining this toward God of what God should be and do 
toward him. This appears in the order he received from God 
to cast Ishmael out of his house, when the envious, mocking 
spirit of the youth too clearly showed that he had not the heart 
of a true child of the covenant, and would not submit aright to 
the arrangements of God concerning it. It appears also in 
the free and familiar fellowship to which Abraham was ad 
mitted with the three heavenly visitants, whom Ire entertained 
in his tent on the plains of Mamre, and the disclosure that was 

and, in regard to baptism, evidently proceed on the high Lutheran view of 
the sacraments. He says, that while circumcision had a moral and mystical 
meaning, and was intended ever to remind the subject of it of his near 
relation to Jehovah, and his obligation to walk worthy of this, still it was 
u no vehicle of heavenly grace, of Divine sanctifying power," " in itself a 
mere sign without substance," as if it were ever designed to be ly itself! 
or as if baptism with water, by itself, were anything more than a mere 
sign ! Circumcision being stamped upon Abraham and his seed as the sign 
of the covenant, and so far identified with the covenant, in the appointment 
of God, must have been a sign on God s part as well as theirs ; it could not 
otherwise have been the sign of a covenant, or mutual compact ; it must, 
therefore, have borne respect to what God promised to be to His people, 
not less than what His people were to be to Him. This is manifestly what 
the Apostle means, when he calls it a seal which Abraham received, a pledge 
from God of the ratification of the covenant, and consequently of all the 
grace that covenant promised. It had otherwise been no privilege to be 
circumcised ; since to be bound to do righteously, without being entitled to 
look for grace corresponding, is simply to be placed under an intolerable 
yoke. I leave this latter statement unaltered, notwithstanding that Mr 
Litton points me (Bampton Lectures, p. oil) to Acts xv. 10 ; Heb. ii. 15 ; 
and Gal. iv. 24, in proof that the apostles did actually regard the elder 
covenant as an intolerable yoke ; for it seems plain to me, that such passages 
point to the covenant of law rather than the covenant of promise, with 
which circumcision in its original appointment and proper character was 
associated. I have much pleasure, however, in substituting here, for what 
was given in a previous edition, the following remarks of Mr Litton, re 
garding the connection between circumcision and baptism, which substan- 


made to him of the Divine counsel respecting Sodom and 
Gomorrah, expressly on the ground that the Lord " knew he 
would command his children and his household after him to 
keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment." And 
most of all it appears in the pleading of Abraham for the pre 
servation of the cities of the plain, a pleading based upon the 
principles of righteousness, that the Judge of all the earth 
would do right, and would not destroy the righteous with the 
wicked, and a pleading that proved in vain only from there 
not being found the ten righteous persons in the place men 
tioned in the patriarch s last supposition. So that the awful 
scene of desolation which the region of those cities afterwards 
presented on the very borders of the land of Canaan, stood 
perpetually before the Jewish people, not only as a monument 
of the Divine indignation against sin, but also as a witness that 
the father of their nation would have sought their preservation 

tially coincide with what has been stated : " In a looser sense, circumcision 
may be considered as a sacrament. For baptism, too, is a symbolical 
ordinance, perpetually reminding the Christian what his vocation is. Cir 
cumcision, moreover, was to the Jewish infant a seal, or formal confirma 
tion, of the promises of God, first made to the patriarch Abraham, and then 
to his seed ; just as baptism now seals to us the higher promises of the 
evangelical covenant." Then, after noticing a change of view in regard to 
the place held by circumcision in the Old Covenant, he says : " The (natural) 
birth of the Jew, which was the real ground of his privileges, answers to 
the new birth of the Christian in its inner or essential "aspect ; while cir 
cumcision, the rite by which the Jewish infant became a publicly acknow 
ledged member of the theocracy, corresponds to baptism, or the new birth 
in its external aspect, to which sacrament the same function, of visibly in 
corporating in the Church, now belongs." It is, therefore, not? in respect to 
the soul s inward and personal state, that either ordinance can properly be 
called initiatory (for in that respect blessing might be had initially with 
out the one as well as the other), but in respect to the person s recognised 
connection with the corporate society of those who are subjects of blessing. 
This begins now with baptism, and it began of old with circumcision : till 
the individual was circumcised, he was not reckoned as belonging to that 
society ; and if passing the proper time for the ordinance without it, he was 
to be held as ipso facto cut off. Under both covenants there is an inward 
and an outward bond of connection with the peculiar blessing : the inward, 
faith in God s word of promise (of old, faith in God ; now more specifically, 
faith in Christ) ; the outward, circumcision formerly, now baptism. Yet 
the two in neither case should be viewed as altogether apart, but the one 
should rather be held as the formal expression and seal of the other. 


also from a like judgment only on the principles of righteous 
ness, and would have even ceased to plead in their behalf, if 
righteousness should sink as low among them as he ultimately 
supposed it might have come in Sodom. 

But the topstone of Abraham s history as the spiritual head 
of a seed of blessing, is only reached in the Divine command to 
offer up Isaac, and the obedience which the patriarch rendered 
to it. " Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou 
lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah ; and offer him 
there for a burnt-offering upon one of the mountains, which I 
will tell thee of." That Abraham understood this command 
rightly, when he supposed it to mean a literal offering of his 
son upon the altar, and not, as Ilengstenberg and Lange have 
contended, a simple dedication to a religious life, needs no 
particular proof. Had anything but a literal surrender been 
meant, the mention of a burnt-offering as the character in 
which Isaac was to be offered to God, and of a mountain in 
Moriah as the particular spot where the offering was to be pre 
sented, would have been entirely out of place. But why should 
such a demand have been made of Abraham ? And what pre 
cisely were the lessons it was intended to convey to his posterity, 
or its typical bearing on future times ! 

In the form given to the required act, special emphasis is 
laid on the endeared nature of the object demanded : thine only 
son, and the son whom thou lovest. It was, therefore, a trial in 
the strongest sense, a trial of Abraham s faith, whether it was 
capable of such implicit confidence in God, such profound re 
gard to His will, and such self-denial in His service, as at the 
Divine bidding to give up the best and dearest what in the 
circumstances must even have been dearer to him than his own 
life. Not that God really intended the surrender of Isaac to 
death, but only the proof of such a surrender in the heart of 
His servant ; and such a proof could only have been found in 
an unconditional command to sacrifice, and an unresisting 
compliance with the command up to the final step in the 
process. This, however, was not all. In the command to per 
form such a sacrifice, there was a tempting as well as a trying 
of Abraham ; since the thing required at his hands seemed to 
be an enacting of the most revolting rite of heathenism; and, 


at the same time, to war with the oracle already given concern 
ing Isaac, " In Isaac shall thy seed be called." According to 
this word, God s purpose to bless was destined to have its ac 
complishment especially and peculiarly through Isaac ; so that 
to slay such a son appeared like slaying the very word of God, 
and extinguishing the hope of the world. And yet, in heart 
and purpose at least, it must be done. It was no freak of arbi 
trary power to command the sacrifice ; nor was it done merely 
with the view of raising the patriarch to a kind of romantic 
moral elevation. It had for its object the outward and palpable 
exhibition of the great truth, that God s method of working in 
the covenant of grace must have its counterpart in man s. The 
one must be the reflex of the other. God, in blessing Abraham, 
triumphs over nature ; and Abraham triumphs after the same 
manner in proportion as he is blessed. He receives a special 
gift from the grace of God, and he freely surrenders it again 
to Him who gave it. He is pre-eminently honoured by God s 
word of promise, and he is ready in turn to hazard all for its 
honour. And Isaac, the child of promise, the type in his out 
ward history of all who should be proper subjects or channels 
of blessing, also must concur in the act : on the altar he must 
sanctify himself to God, as a sign to all who would possess the 
higher life in God, how it implies and carries along with it a 
devout surrender of the natural life to the service and glory of 
Him who has redeemed it. 

We have no account of the workings of Abraham s mind, 
when going forth to the performance of this extraordinary act 
of devotedness to God ; and the record of the transaction is, 
from the very simplicity with which it narrates the facts of 
the case, the most touching and impressive in Old Testament 
history. But we are informed on inspired authority, that the 
principle on which he acted, and which enabled him as, indeed, 
it alone could enable him to fulfil such a service, was faith : 
" By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac : and 
he that received the promises offered up his only begotten son, 
of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called : 
accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the 
dead ; from whence also he received him in a figure." (Heb. 
xi. 17-19.) His noblest act of obedience was nothing more 


than the highest exercise and triumph of his faith. It was this 
which removed the mountains that stood before him, and hewed 
out a path for him to walk in. Grasping with firm hand that 
word of promise which assured him of a numerous seed by the 
line of Isaac, and taught by past experience to trust the faith 
fulness of Him who gave it even in the face of natural impossi 
bilities, his faith enabled him to see light where all had other 
wise been darkness to hope while in the veiy act of destroying 
the great object of his hope. I know so he must have argued 
with himself that the word of God, which commands this 
sacrifice, is faithfulness and truth ; and though to stretch forth 
my hand against this child of promise is apparently destructive 
to my hopes, yet I may safely risk it, since He commands it 
from whom the gift and the promise were alike received. It 
is as easy for the Almighty arm to give me back my son from 
the domain of death, as it was at first to bring him forth out of 
the dead womb of Sarah ; and what lie can do, His declared 
purpose makes me sure that He will, and even must. Thus 
nature, even in its best and strongest feelings, was overcome, 
and the sublimest heights of holiness were reached, simply 
because faith had struck its roots so deeply within, and had so 
closely united the soul of the patriarch to the mind and perfec 
tions of Jehovah. 

This high surrender of the human to the Divine, and holy 
self-consecration to the will and service of God, was beyond all 
doubt, like the other things recorded in Abraham s life, of the 
nature of a revelation. It was not intended to terminate in the 
patriarch and his son, but in them, as the sacred roots of the 
covenant people, to show in outward and corporeal representa 
tion what in spirit ought to be perpetually repeating itself in 
their individual and collective history. It proclaimed to them 
through all their generations, that the covenant required of its 
members lives of unshrinking and devoted application to the 
service of God yielding to no weak misgivings or corrupt so 
licitations of the flesh staggering at no difficulties presented by 
the world ; and also that it rendered such a course possible by 
the ground and scope it afforded for the exercise of faith in the 
sustaining grace and might of Jehovah. And undoubtedly, as 
the human here was the reflex of the Divine, whence it drew its 


source and reason, so inversely, and as regards the ulterior ob 
jects of the covenant, the Divine might justly be regarded as 
imaged in the human. An organic union between the two was 
indispensable to the effectual accomplishment of the promised 
good ; and the seed in which the blessing of Heaven was to 
concentrate, and from which it was to flow throughout the 
families of the earth, must on the one side be as really the Son 
of God, as on the other he was to be the offspring of Abraham. 
Since, therefore, the two lines were ultimately to meet in one, 
and that one, by the joint operation of the Divine and human, 
was once for all to make good the provision of blessing promised 
in the covenant, it was meet, and it may reasonably be sup 
posed, was one end of the transaction, that they should be seen 
from the first to coalesce in principle ; that the surrender Abra 
ham made of his son, for the world s good, in the line after the 
flesh, and the surrender willingly made by that son himself at 
the altar of God, was designed to foreshadow in the other and 
higher line the wonderful gift of God in yielding up His Son, 
and the free-will offering and consecration of the Son Himself 
to bring in eternal life for the lost. Here, too, as the things 
done were in tlieir nature unspeakably higher than in the other, 
so were they thoroughly and intensely real in their character. 
The representative in the Old becomes the actual in the New ; 
and the sacrifice performed there merely in the spirit, passes 
here into that one full and complete atonement, which for ever 
perfects them that are sanctified. 1 

In the preparatory and typical line, however, Abraham s con 
duct on this occasion was the perfect exemplar which all should 
have aspired to copy. He stood now on the highest elevation of 
the righteousness of faith; and to show the weight God attached 
to that righteousness, and how inseparably it was to be bound up 

1 Presented as it is above, the typical relationship is both quite natural 
and easy of apprehension, if only one keeps distinctly in view the neces 
sary connection between the Divine and the human for accomplishing the 
ends of the covenant, a connection influential and co-operative as regards 
the immediate ends, organic and personal as regards the ultimate. That 
the action was, as Warburton represents, a scenical representation of the 
death and resurrection of Christ, appointed expressly to satisfy the mind of 
Abraham, who longed to see Christ s day, is to present it in a fanciful and 
arbitrary light ; and what is actually recorded requires to be supplemented 


with the provisions of the covenant, the Lord consummated the 
transaction by a new ratification of the covenant. After the 
angel of Jehovah had stayed the hand of Abraham from slaying 
Isaac, and provided the ram for a burnt-offering, he again ap 
peared and spake to Abraham, " By Myself have I sworn, saith 
the Lord ; for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not 
withheld thy son, thine only son ; that in blessing I will bless 
thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars 
of heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea-shore ; and 
thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies : and in thy seed 
shall the nations of the earth be blessed ; because thou hast 
obeyed My voice." The things promised, it will be observed, 
are precisely the things which God had already of His own 
goodness engaged in covenant to bestow upon Abraham : these, 
indeed, to their largest extent, but still no more, no other than 
these, a seed numerous as the sand upon the sea-shore or the 
stars of heaven, shielded from the malice of enemies, itself 
blessed, and destined to be the channel of blessing to all nations. 
But it is also to be observed, that while the same promises 
of good are renewed, they are now connected with Abraham s 
surrender to the will of God, and are given as the reward of 
his obedience. To render this more clear and express, it is 
announced both at the beginning and the end of the address : 
u Because thou hast done this . . . because thou hast obeyed My 
voice." And even afterwards, when the covenant was established 
with Isaac, an explicit reference is made to the same thing. The 
Lord said, Pie would perform the oath He had sworn to Abra 
ham, " because he obeyed My voice, and kept My charge, My 
commandments, My statutes, and My laws." (Gen. xxvi. 5.) 
What could have more impressively exhibited the truth, that 
though the covenant, with all its blessings, was of grace on 

by much that is not. Nor do we need to lay any stress on the precise 
locality where the offering was appointed to be made. It must always 
remain somewhat doubtful whether the " land of Moriah" was the same 
with " Mount Moriah," on which the temple was afterwards built, as the 
one, indeed, is evidently a more general designation than the other; and, at 
all events, it was not on that mount that the one great sacrifice of Christ 
was offered. And the minor circumstances, excepting in so far as they 
indicate the implicit obedience of the father and the filial submission and 
devotedness of the son, should be considered as of no moment. 


the part of God, and to be appropriated by faith on the part of 
men, yet the good promised should not be actually conferred by 
Him, unless the faith should approve itself by deeds of righteous 
ness ! Their faith would otherwise be accounted dead, the mere 
semblance of what it should be. And as if to bind the two more 
solemnly and conspicuously together, the Lord takes this occa 
sion to superadd His oath to the covenant, not to render the 
word of promise more sure in itself, but to make it more palpably 
sure to the heirs of promise, and to deepen in them the impres 
sion, that nothing should fail of all that had been spoken, if only 
their faith and obedience should accord with that now exhibited ! 

II. We must leave to the reflection of our readers the 
application of this to Christian times and relations, which is 
indeed so obvious as to need no particular explanation ; and we 
proceed to take a rapid glance at the leading features of the 
other branch of the subject that which concerns Jacob and 
the twelve patriarchs. This forms the continuation of what 
took place in the lives of Abraham and Isaac, and a continua 
tion not only embodying the same great principles, but also 
carrying them forward with more special adaptation to the 
prospective condition of the Israelites as a people. Towards 
the close of the patriarchal period, the covenant, even in its 
more specific line of operations, began to widen and expand, to 
rise more from the particular to the general, to embrace a family 
circle, and that circle the commencement of a future nation. 
And the dealings of God were all directed to the one great end 
of showing, that while this people should stand alike outwardly 
related to the covenant, yet their real connection with its pro 
mises, and their actual possession of its blessings, should infal 
libly turn upon their being followers in faith and holiness of 
the first fathers of their race. 

Unfortunately, the later part of Isaac s life did not alto 
gether fulfil the promise of the earlier. Knowing little of the 
trials of faith, he did not reach high in its attainments. And 
in the more advanced stage of his history he fell into a state 
of general feebleness and decay, in which the moral but too 
closely corresponded with the bodily decline. Notwithstanding 
the very singular and marked exemplification that had been 


given in his own case of the pre-eminent respect had in the 
covenant to something higher than nature, lie failed so much in 
discernment, that he was disposed only to make account of the 
natural element in judging of the respective states and fortunes 
of his sons. To the neglect of a Divine oracle going before, 
and the neglect also of the plainest indications afforded by the 
subsequent behaviour of the sons themselves, he resolved to 
give the more distinctive blessing of the covenant to Esau, in 
preference to Jacob, and so to make him the more peculiar 
type and representative of the covenant. In this, however, he 
was thwarted by the overruling providence of God not, indeed, 
without sin on the part of those who were the immediate agents 
in accomplishing it, but yet so as to bring out more clearly 
and impressively the fact, that mere natural descent and priority 
of birth was not here the principal, but only the secondary 
thing, and that higher and more important than any natural 
advantage was the grace of God manifesting itself in the faith 
and holiness of men. Jacob, therefore, though the youngest 
by birth, yet from the first the child of faith, of spiritual 
desire, of heartfelt longings after the things of God, ultimately 
the man of deep discernment, ripened experience, prophetic 
insight, wrestling and victorious energy in the Divine life he 
must stand first in the purpose of Heaven, and exhibit in his 
personal career a living representation of the covenant, as to 
what it properly is and really requires. Nay, opportunity was 
taken from his case, as the immediate founder of the Israclitish 
nation, to begin the covenant history anew ; and starting, as it 
were, from nothing in his natural position and circumstances, it 
was shown how God, by His supernatural grace and sufficiency, 
could vanquish the difficulties in the way, and more than com 
pensate for the loss of nature s advantages. In reference partly 
to this instructive portion of Jacob s history, and to renew upon 
their minds the lesson it was designed to teach, the children of 


Israel were appointed to go to the priest in after times with 
their basket of first-fruits in their hand, and the confession in 
their mouth, A Syrian ready to perish was my father. (Dent. 
xxvi. 5.) It was clear, even as noon-day, that all Jacob had to 
distinguish him outwardly from others, the sole foundation and 
spring of his greatness, was the promise of God in the covenant, 


received by him in humble faith, and taken as the ground of 
prayerful and holy striving. As the head of the covenant people, 
he was not less really, though by a different mode of operation, 
the child of Divine grace and power, than his father Isaac. 
And as his whole life, in its better aspects, was a lesson to his 
posterity respecting the superiority of the spiritual to the merely 
natural element in things pertaining to the covenant of God; 
so, when his history drew toward its close, there were lessons of 
a more special kind, and in the same direction, pressed with 
singular force and emphasis upon his family. 

It was a time when such were peculiarly needed. The 
covenant was now to assume more of a communal aspect. It 
was to have a national membership and representation, as the 
more immediate designs which God sought to accomplish by 
me^ns of it could not be otherwise effected. Jacob was the 
last separate impersonation of its spirit and character. His 
family, in their collective capacity, were henceforth to take this 
position. But they had first to learn, that they could take it 
only if their natural relation to the covenant was made the 
means of forming them to its spiritual characteristics, and fitting 
them for the fulfilment of its righteous ends. They must even 
learn, that their individual relation to the covenant in these 
respects should determine their relative place in the administra 
tion of its affairs and interests. And for this end, Reuben, the 
first-born, is made to lose his natural pre-eminence, because, like 
Esau, he presumed upon his natural position, and in the lawless 
impetuosity of nature broke through the restraints of filial piety. 
Judah, on the other hand, obtains one of the prerogatives 
Reuben had lost Judah, who became so distinguished for that 
filial piety as to hazard his own life for the sake of his father. 
Simeon and Levi, in like manner, are all but excluded from 
the blessings of the covenant on account of their unrighteous 
and cruel behaviour : a curse is solemnly pronounced upon 
their sin, and a mark of inferiority stamped upon their condi 
tion ; while, again, at a later period, and for the purpose still of 
showing how the spiritual was to rule the natural, rather than 
the natural the spiritual, the curse in the case of Levi was 
turned into a blessing. The tribe was, indeed, according to the 
word of Jacob, scattered in Israel, and was thereby rendered 


politically weak ; but the more immediate reason of the scatter 
ing was the zeal and devotedness which the members of that 
tribe had exhibited in the wilderness, on account of which they 
were dispersed as lights among Israel, bearing on them the 
more peculiar and sacred distinctions of the covenant thereby 
acquiring a position of great moral strength. Most strikingly, 
however, does the truth break forth in connection with Joseph, 
who in the earlier history of the family was the only proper 
representative of the covenant. He was the one child of God 
in the family, though, with a single exception, the least and 
youngest of its members. God, therefore, after allowing the 
contrast between him and the rest to be sharply exhibited, 
ordered His providence so as to make him pre-eminently the 
son of blessing. The faith and piety of the youth draw upon 
him the protection and loving-kindness of Heaven wherever he 
goes, and throw a charm around everything he does. At length 
he rises to the highest position of honour and influence blessed 
most remarkably himself, and on the largest scale made a 
blessing to others the noblest and most conspicuous personal 
embodiment of the nature of the covenant, as first rooting itself 
in the principles of a spiritual life, and then diffusing itself in 
healthful and blessed energy on all around. At the same time, 
and as a foil to set off more brightly the better side of the truth 
represented in him, while he was thus seen riding upon the high 
places of the earth, his unsanctified brethren appear famishing 
for want; the promised blessing of the covenant has almost 
dried up in their experience, because they possessed so little of 
the true character of children of the covenant. And when the 
needful relief comes, they have to be indebted for it to the hand 
of him in whom that character is most luminously displayed. 
Nay, in the very mode of getting it, they are conducted through 
a train of humiliating and soul-stirring providences, tending to 
force on them the conviction that they were in the hands of an 
angry God, and to bring them to repentance of sin and amend 
ment of life. So that, by the time they are raised to a position 
of honour and comfort, and settled as covenant patriarchs in 
Egypt, they present the appearance of men chastened, subdued, 
brought to the knowledge of God, fitted each to take his place 
among the heads of the future covenant people; while the 


double portion, which Keuben lost by his iniquity, descends on 
him who was, under God, the instrument of accomplishing so 
much good for them and for others. 

And here, again, we cannot but notice that when the chosen 
family were in the process of assuming the rudimentary form 
of that people through whom salvation and blessing were to 
come to other kindreds of the earth, the beginning was rendered 
prophetic of the end ; the operations both of the evil and the 
good in the infancy of the nation, were made to image the pro 
spective manifestation that was to be given of them when the 
things of the Divine kingdom should rise to their destined 
maturity. Especially in the history of Joseph, the representa 
tive of the covenant in its earlier stage, was there given a won 
derful similitude of Him in whom its powers and blessings 
were to be concentrated in their entire fulness, and who was 
therefore in all things to obtain the pre-eminence among His 
brethren. Like Joseph, the Son of Mary, though born among 
brethren after the flesh, was treated as an alien ; envied and 
persecuted even from His infancy, and obliged to find a tem 
porary refuge in the very land that shielded Joseph from the 
fury of his kindred. His supernatural and unblemished right 
eousness continually provoked the malice of the world, and, at 
the same time, received the most unequivocal tokens of the 
Divine favour and blessing. That very righteousness, exhibited 
amid the greatest trials and indignities, in the deepest debase 
ment, and in worse than prison-house affliction, procured His 
elevation to the right hand of power and glory, from which He 
was thenceforth to dispense the means of salvation to the world. 
In the dispensation, too, of these blessings, it was the hardened 
and cruel enmity of His immediate kindred which opened the 
door of grace and blessing to the heathen ; and the sold, hated, 
and crucified One becomes a Prince and Saviour to the nations 
of the earth, while His famishing brethren reap in bitterness of 
soul the fruit of their inexcusable hatred and malice. Nor is 
there a door of escape to be found for them until they come to 
acknowledge, in contrition of heart, that they are verily guilty 
concerning their brother. Then, however, looking unto Him 
whom they have pierced, and owning Him as, by God s appoint 
ment, the one channel of life and blessing, their hatred shall be 


repaid with love, and they shall be admitted to share in the 
inexhaustible fulness that is treasured up in Christ. 

What a succession, then, of lessons for the children of the 
covenant in regard to what constituted their greatest danger 
lessons stretching through four generations ever varying in 
their precise form, yet always bearing most directly and impres 
sively upon the same point writing out on the very foundations 
of their history, and emblazoning on the banner of their covenant, 
the important truth, that the spiritual element was ever to be 
held the thing of first and most essential moment, and that the 
natural was only to be regarded as the channel through which 
the other was chiefly to come, and the safeguard by which it 
was to be fenced and kept! From the first the call of God made 
itself known as no merely outward distinction ; and the cove 
nant that grew out of it, instead of being but a formal bond of 
interconnection between its members and God, was framed 
especially to meet the spiritual evil in the world, and required 
as an indispensable condition, a sanctified heart in all who were 
to experience its blessings, and to work out its beneficent results. 
How, indeed, could it be otherwise? How could the spiritual 
Jehovah, who has, from the first creation of man upon the earth, 
been ever manifesting Himself as the Holy One, and directing 
His administration so as to promote the ends of righteousness, 
enter into a covenant of life and blessing on any other principle ? 
It is impossible as impossible as it is for the unchangeable God 
to act contrary to His nature that the covenant of Abraham, 
Isaac, and Jacob, the covenant of grace and blessing, which 

7 O O/ 

embraces in its bosom Christ Himself, and the benefits of Plis 
eternal redemption, could ever have contemplated as its real 
members any but spiritual and righteous persons. And the 
whole tenor and current of the Divine dealings in establishing 
the covenant seem to have been alike designed and calculated to 
shut up every thoughtful mind to the conclusion, that none but 
such could either fulfil its higher purposes, or have an interest 
in its more essential provisions. 

What thus appears to be taught in the historical revelations 
of God connected with the establishment of the covenant, is also 
perpetually re-echoed in the later communications by His pro 
phets. Their great aim, in the monitory part of their writings, 


is to bring home to men s minds the conviction, that the cove 
nant had pre-eminently in view moral ends, and that in so far 
as the people degenerated from these, they failed in respect to 
the main design of their calling. Let us point, in proof of this, 
merely to the last of the prophets, that we may see how the 
closing witness of the Old Covenant coincides with the testi 
mony delivered at the beginning. In the second chapter of his 
writings, the prophet Malachi, addressing himself to the corrup 
tions of the time, as appearing first in the priesthood, and then 
among the people generally, charges both parties expressly with 
a breach of covenant, and a subversion of the ends for which it 
was established. In regard to the priests, he points to their 
ancestral holiness in the personified tribe of Levi, and says, 
" My covenant was with him of life and peace ; and I gave 
them to him for the fear wherewith he feared Me, and was 
afraid before My name. The law of truth was in his mouth, 
and iniquity was not found in his lips : he walked with Me in 
peace and equity, and did turn many away from iniquity. . . . 
But ye are departed out of the way ; ye have caused many to 
stumble at the law ; ye have corrupted the covenant of Levi, 
saith the Lord of Hosts. Therefore have I also made you con 
temptible and base before all the people, according as ye have 
not kept My ways, but have been partial in the law." In a 
word, the covenant, in this particular branch of it, had been 
made expressly on moral grounds and for moral ends ; and in 
practically losing sight of these, the priests of that time had 
made void the covenant, even though externally complying with 
its appointments, and were consequently visited with chastise 
ment instead of blessing. Then, in regard to the people, a 
reproof is first of all administered on account of the unfaithful 
ness, which had become comparatively common, in putting 
away their Israelitish wives, and taking outlandish women in 
their stead " the daughters of a strange god." This the pro 
phet calls " profaning the covenant of their fathers." And then 
pointing in this case, as in the former, to the original design 
and purport of their covenant calling, he asks, in a question 
which has been entirely misunderstood, from not being viewed 
in relation to the precise object of the prophet, " And did not 
He make one ? Yet had He the residue of the Spirit. And 


wherefore one ? That he might seek a godly seed. Therefore 
take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against 
the wife of his youth." The one, which God made, is not 
Adam, nor Abraham, to either of whom the commentators refer 
it, though the case of neither of them properly suits the point 
more immediately in question. The oneness referred to is that 
distinctive species of it on which the whole section proceeds as 
its basis Israel s oneness as a family. God had chosen them 
them alone of all the nations of the earth to be His peculiar 
treasure. If He had pleased, He might have chosen more ; the 
residue of the Spirit was still with Him, by no means exhausted 
by that single effort. He could have either left them like others, 
or chosen others besides them. But He did not; He made one, 
one alone, to be peculiarly His own, setting it apart from the 
rest. And wherefore that one ? Simply that He might have a 
godly seed ; that they might be an holy people, and transmit the 
true fear of God from generation to generation. How base, 
then, how utterly subversive of God s pui-poses concerning them, 
to act as if no such separation had taken place, to put away 
their proper wives, and by heathenish alliances bring into the 
bosom of their families the very defilement and corruption 
against which God had especially called them to contend ! Such 
was this prophet s understanding of the covenant made with the 
fathers of the Israelitish people ; and no other view of it, we 
venture to say, would ever have prevailed, if its nature had been 
sought primarily in those fundamental records which describe 
the procedure of God in bringing it originally into existence. 

VOL. I. 

2 B 



THE covenant made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, was con 
nected not only with a seed of blessing, but also with an inherit 
ance of blessing destined for their possession. And in order to 
get a correct view both of the immediate and of the ultimate 
bearing of this part of the covenant promise, it is not less neces 
sary than in the other case, to consider the specific object pro 
posed in its relation to the entire scheme of God, and especially 
to bear in mind, that it forms part of a series of arrangements 
in which the particular or the individual was selected with a 
view to the general, the universal. In respect to the good to be 
inherited, as well as in respect to the persons who might be 
called to inherit it, the end proposed on the part of God was 
from the first of the most comprehensive nature ; and if for a 
time there was an immediate narrowing of the field of promise, 
it could be only for the sake of an ultimate expansion. To see 
more distinctly the truth of this, it may be proper to take a brief 
retrospect of the past. 

From the outset, the earth, in its entire extent and compass, 
was given for the domain and the heritage of man. He was 
placed in paradise as his proper home. There he had the 
throne of his kingdom, but not that he might be pent up within 
that narrow region ; rather that he might from that, as the seat 
of his empire and the centre of his operations, go forth upon 
the world around, and bring it under his sway. His calling was 
to multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it ; so that it 
might become to its utmost bounds an extended and peopled 
paradise. But when the fall entered, though the calling was not 
withdrawn, nor the possession finally lost, yet man s relative 
position was changed. He had now, not to work from paradise 
as a rightful king and lord, but from the blighted outfield of 
nature s barrenness to work as a servant, in the hope of ultimately 


reaching a new and better paradise than he had lost. The first 
promise of grace, and the original symbols of worship, viewed in 
connection with the facts of history, out of which they grew, 
presented him with the prospect of an ultimate recovery from 
the evils of sin and death, and put him in the position of an 
expectant through faith in God, and toil and suffering in the 
flesh, of good things yet to come. The precise hope he cherished 
respecting these good things, or the inheritance he actually looked 
for, would at first naturally take shape in his imagination from 
what he had lost. He would fancy, that though he must bear 
the deserved doom for his transgression, and return again to 
dust, yet the time would come, when, according to the revealed 
mercy and loving-kindness of God, the triumph of the adversary 
would be reversed, the dust of death would be again quickened 
into life, and the paradise of delight be occupied anew, with 
better hopes of continuance, and with enlarged dimensions suited 
to its destined possessors. He could scarcely have expected 
more with the scanty materials which faith and hope yet had 
to build upon ; and with the grace revealed to him, he could 
scarcely, if really standing in faith and hope, have expected less. 
We deem it incredible, that with the grant of the earth so 
distinctly made to man for his possession, and death so expressly 
appointed as the penalty of his yielding to the tempter, he 
should, as a subject of restoring grace, have looked for any other 
domain as the result of the Divine work in his behalf, than the 
earth itself, or for any other mode of entering on the recovered 
possession of it, than through a resurrection from the dead. For 
how should he have dreamt of a victory over evil in anv other 
region than that where the evil had prevailed ? Or how could 
the hope of restitution have formed itself in his bosom, excepting 
as a prospective reinstatement in the benefits he had forfeited ? 
A paradise such as he had originally occupied, but prepared 
now for the occupation of redeemed multitudes, made to em 
brace, it may be, the entire territory of the globe, wrested for 
ever from the serpent s brood, and rendered through all its 
borders beautiful and good : that, and nothing else, we conceive, 
must have been what the first race of patriarchal believers hoped 
and waited for, as the objective portion of good reserved for 


But in process of time the deluge came, changing to a con 
siderable extent the outward appearance of the earth, and in 
certain respects also the government under which it was placed, 
and so preparing the way for a corresponding change in the 
hopes that were to be cherished of a coming inheritance. The 
old world then perished, leaving no remnant of its original 
paradise, any more than of the giant enormities which had 
caused it to groan, as in pain to be delivered. But the new 
world, cleansed and purified by the judgment of God, was now, 
without limit or restriction, given to Noah, as the saved head of 
mankind, that he might keep it for God, replenish and subdue 
it, might work it, if such a thing were possible, into the condi 
tion of a second paradise. It soon became too manifest, how 
ever, that this was not possible ; and that the righteousness of 
faith, of which Noah was heir, was still not that which could 
prevail to banish sin and death, corruption and misery, from 
the world. Another and better foundation yet remained to be 
laid for such a blessed prospect to be realized. But the promise 
of this very earth was nevertheless given for man s inheritance, 
and with a promise securing it against any fresh destruction. 
The needed righteousness was somehow to be wrought upon it, 
and the region itself reclaimed so as to become a habitation of 
blessing. This was now the heritage of good set before man 
kind ; to have this realized was the object which they were 
called of God to hope and strive for. And it was with this 
object before them, an object, however, to which the events 
immediately subsequent to the deluge did not seem to be 
bringing them nearer, but rather to be carrying them more 
remote, that the call to Abraham entered. This call, as we 
have already seen, was of the largest and most comprehensive 
nature as to the personal and subjective good it contemplated. 
It aimed at the bestowal of blessing blessing, of course, in the 
Divine sense, including the fullest triumph over sin and death 
(for where these are, there can be but the beginnings or smaller 
drops of blessing) ; and the bestowal of them on Abraham and 
his lineal offspring, first and most copiously, but only as the 
more effectual way of extending them to all the families of 
mankind. The grand object of the covenant made with him 
was to render the world truly blessed in its inhabitants, himself 


forming the immediate starting-point of the design, which was 
thereafter to grow and germinate, till the whole circle of 
humanity were embraced in its beneficent provisions. But in 
connection with this higher and grander object, there was 
singled out a portion of the earth for the occupation of his im 
mediate descendants in a particular line the more special line 
of blessing ; and the conclusion is obvious, even before we go 
into an examination of particulars, that unless this select portion 
of the world were placed in utter disagreement with the higher 
ends of the covenant, it must have been but a stepping-stone to 
their accomplishment a kind of first-fruits of the proper good 
the occupation of a part of the promised inheritance by a 
portion of the heirs of blessing to image and prepare for the 
inheritance of the whole by the entire company of the blessed. 
The particular must here also have been for the sake of the 
general, the universal, the ultimate. 

Proceeding, however, to a closer view of the subject, we 
notice, first, the region actually selected for a possession of an 
inheritance to the covenant people. The land of Canaan oc 
cupied a place in the ancient world that entirely corresponded 
with the calling of such a people. It was of all lands the best 
adapted for a people who were at once to dwell in comparative 
isolation, and yet were to be in a position for acting with effect 
upon the other nations of the world. Hence it was said by 
Ezekiel, ch. v. 5, to have been "set in the midst of the countries 
and the nations" the umbilicus terrarum. In its immediate 
vicinity lay both the most densely-peopled countries and the 
greater and more influential states of antiquity on the south, 
Egypt, and on the north and east, Assyria and Babylon, the 
Medes and the Persians. Still closer were the maritime states 
of Tyre and Sidon, whose vessels frequented every harbour 
then known to navigation, and whose colonies were planted in 
each of the three continents of the old world. And the great 
routes of inland commerce between the civilised nations of Asia 
and Africa lay either through a portion of the territory itself, 
or within a short distance of its borders. Yet, bounded as it 
was on the west by the Mediterranean, on the south by the 
desert, on the east by the valley of the Jordan with its two 
seas of Tiberias and Sodom, and on the north by the tower 


ing heights of Lebanon, the people who inhabited it might 
justly be said to dwell alone, while they had on every side 
points of contact with the most influential and distant nations. 
Then the land itself, in its rich soil and plentiful resources, 
its varieties of hill and dale, of river and mountain, its connec 
tion with the sea on one side and with the desert on another, 
rendered it a kind of epitome of the natural world, and fitted it 
peculiarly for being the home of those who were to be a pattern 
people to the nations of the earth. Altogether, it were im 
possible to conceive a region more wisely selected, and in itself 
more thoroughly adapted, for the purposes on account of which 
the family of Abraham were to be set apart. If they were 
faithful to their covenant engagements, they might there have 
exhibited, as on an elevated platform, before the world the 
bright exemplar of a people possessing the characteristics and 
enjoying the advantages of a seed of blessing. And the finest 
opportunities were, at the same time, placed within their reach 
of proving in the highest sense benefactors to mankind, and 
extending far and wide the interest of truth and righteous 
ness. Possessing the elements of the world s blessing, they 
were placed where these elements might tell most readily and 
powerfully on the world s inhabitants ; and the present posses 
sion of such a region was at once an earnest of the whole 
inheritance, and, as the world then stood, an effectual step 
towards its realization. Abraham, as the heir of Canaan, was 
thus also "the heir of the world," considered as a heritage of 
blessing. (Kom. iv. 13.) 

But, next, let us mark the precise words of the promise to 
Abraham concerning this inheritance. As it first occurs, it 
runs, " Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and 
from thy father s house, unto a land that I will show thee ; and 
I will make of thee a great nation," etc. (Gen. xii. 1). Then, 
when he reached Canaan, the promise was renewed to him in 
these terms: "Unto thy seed will I give this land" (ver. 7). 
More fully and definitely, after Lot separated from Abraham, 
was it again given : " Lift up now thine eyes, and look from 
the place where thou art, northward, and southward, and east 
ward, and westward : for all the land which thou seest, to thee 
will I give it, and to thy seed for ever" (xiii. 14, 15). Again, in 


ch. xv. 7, " I am the Lord that brought thce out of Ur of the 
Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it ;" and toward the 
close of the same chapter, it is said, " In the same day the Lord 
made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I 
given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river." 
In ch. 17th, the promise was formally ratified as a covenant, and 
sealed by the ordinance of circumcision ; and there the words 
used respecting the inheritance are, " I will give unto thee, and 
to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all 
the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession ; and I will be 
their God." We read only of one occasion in the life of Isaac, 
when he received the promise of the inheritance ; and the words 
then used were, " Unto thee, and unto thy seed, will I give all 
these countries ; and I will perform the oath which I sware unto 
Abraham thy father" (ch. xxvi. 3). Such also were the words 
addressed to Jacob at Bethel, " I am the Lord God of Abraham 
thy father, and the God of Isaac : the land whereon thou liest, 
to thee will I give it, and to thy seed ;" and in precisely the 
same terms was the promise again made to Jacob many years 
afterwards, as recorded in ch. xxxv. 12. 

It cannot but appear striking, that to each one of these 
patriarchs successively, the promise of the land of Canaan 
should have been given, first to themselves, and then to their 
posterity ; while, during their own lifetimes, they never were 
permitted to get beyond the condition of strangers and pilgrims, 
having no right to any possession within its borders, and obliged 
to purchase at the marketable value a small field for a burying 
ground. How shall we account for the promise, then, so uni 
formly running, "to thee," and to "thy seed?" Some, as 
Ainsworth and Bush, tell us that and here is the same as even, 
to thee, even to thy seed ; as if a man were all one with his off 
spring, or the name of the latter were but another name for 
himself ! Gill gives a somewhat more plausible turn to it, thus : 
" God gave Abram the title to it now, and to them the pos 
session of it for future times ; gave him it to sojourn in now 
where he pleased, and for his posterity to dwell in hereafter." 
But the gift was the land for an inheritance, not for a place of 
sojourn ; and a title, which left him personally without a foot s- 
breadth of possession, could not be regarded in that light as any 


real boon to him. Warburton, as usual, confronts the difficulty 
more boldly : " In the literal sense, it is a promise of the land 
of Canaan to Abraham and to his posterity ; and in this sense 
it was literally fulfilled, though Abraham was never personally 
in possession of it : since Abraham and his posterity, put col 
lectively, signify the KACE OF ABRAHAM; and that race pos 
sessed the land of Canaan. And surely God may be allowed 
to explain His own promise : now, though He tells Abraham, 
He would give him the land, yet, at the same time, He assures 
him that it would be many hundred years before his posterity 
should be put in possession of it (Gen. xv. 13, etc.). And as 
concerning himself, that he should go to his fathers in peace, 
and be buried in a good old age. Thus we see, that both what 
God explained to be His meaning, and what Abraham under 
stood Him to mean, was, that his posterity, after a certain time, 
should be led into possession of the land." 1 

But if this were really the whole meaning, the thought 
naturally occurs, it is strange so plain a meaning should have 
been so ambiguously expressed. Why not simply say, " thy 
posterity," if posterity alone were intended, and so render un 
necessary the somewhat awkward expedient of sinking the 
patriarch s individuality in the history of his race ? Why, also, 
should the promise have been renewed at a later period, with a 
pointed distinction between Abraham and his posterity, yet with 
an assurance that the promise was to him as well as to them : 
" And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land 
wherein thou art a stranger?" And why should Stephen have 
made such special reference to the apparent incongruity between 
the personal condition of Abraham and the promise given to 
him, as if there were some further meaning in what was said 
than lay on the surface : " He gave him none inheritance in it, 
no, not so much as to set his foot on : yet He promised to give 
it to him for a possession, and to his seed after him?" (Acts 
vii. 5.) 

We do not see how these questions can receive any satis 
factory explanation, so long as no account is made of the per 
sonal standing of the patriarchs in regard to the promise. And 
there are others equally left without explanation. For no suf- 
1 Legation of Moses, B. vi., sec. 3. 


ficient reason can be assigned on that hypothesis, for the extreme 
anxiety of Jacob and Joseph to have their bones carried to the 
sepulchre of their fathers, in the land of Canaan betokening, 
as it evidently seemed to do, a conviction, that to them also be 
longed a personal interest in the land. Neither does it appear 
how the fact of Abraham and his immediate offspring, " con 
fessing that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth,"- 
which they did no otherwise, that we are aware of, than by 
living as strangers and pilgrims in Canaan, should have proved 
that they were looking for and desiring a better country, that is, 
an heavenly one. And then, strange to think, if nothing more 
were meant by the promise than the view now under considera 
tion would imply, when the posterity who were to occupy the 
land did obtain possession of it, we find the men of faith taking 
up exactly the same confession as to their being strangers and 
pilgrims in it, which was witnessed by their, forefathers, who 
never had it in possession. Even after they became possessors, 
it seems they were still, like their wandering ancestors, expect 
ants and heirs of something better ; and faith had to be exercised, 
lest they should lose the proper fulfilment of the promise (Ps. 
xxxix. 12, xcv., cxix. 19 ; 1 Chron. xxix. 15). Surely if the 
earthly Canaan had been the whole inheritance they were war 
ranted to look for, after they were settled in it, the condition of 
pilgrims and strangers no longer was theirs they had reached 
their proper destiny they were dwelling in their appointed 
home the promise had received its intended fulfilment. 

These manifold difficulties and apparent inconsistencies will 
vanish (and we see no other way in which they can be satis 
factorily removed) by supposing, what is certainly in accord 
ance with the tenor of revelation, that the promise of Canaan 
as an inheritance to the people of God was part of a connected 
and growing scheme of preparatory arrangements, which were 
to have their proper outgoing and final termination in the esta 
blishment of Christ s everlasting kingdom. Viewed thus, the 
grant of Canaan must be regarded as a kind of second Eden, a 
sacred region once more possessed in this fallen world God s 
own land out of which life and blessing were to come for all 
lands the present type of a world restored and blessed. And 
if so, then we may naturally expect the following consequences 


to have arisen : First, that whatever transactions may have 
taken place concerning the actual Canaan, these would be all 
ordered so as to subserve the higher design, in connection with 
which the appointment was made ; and second, that as a sort of 
veil must have been allowed meanwhile to hang over this ulti 
mate design (for the issue of redemption could not be made 
fully manifest till the redemption itself was brought in), a cer 
tain degree of dubiety would attach to some of the things spoken 
regarding it : these would appear strange or impossible, if viewed 
only in reference to the temporary inheritance ; and would have 
the effect with men of faith, as no doubt they were intended, to 
compel the mind to break through the outward shell of the pro 
mise, and contemplate the rich kernel enclosed within. Thus 
the promise being made so distinctly and repeatedly to Abraham, 
Isaac, and Jacob, while personally they were allowed no settled 
footing in the inheritance bestowed, could scarcely fail to im 
press them, and their more pious descendants, with the convic 
tion that higher and more important relations were included 
under those in which they stood to the land of Canaan during 
their earthly sojourn, and such as required another order of 
things to fulfil them. They must have been convinced, that 
for some great and substantial reason, not by a mere fiction of 
the imagination, they had been identified by God with their 
posterity as to their interest in the promised inheritance. And 
so they must have felt shut up to the belief, that when God s 
purposes were completely fulfilled, His word of promise would 
be literally verified, and that their respective deaths should 
ultimately be found to raise no effectual barrier in the way of 
their actual share in the inheritance ; as the same God who 
would have raised Isaac from the dead, had he been put to 
death, to maintain the integrity of His word, was equally able, 
on the same account, to raise them up. 

Certainly the exact and perfect manner in which the other 
line of promise that which respected a seed to Abraham was 
fulfilled, gave reason to expect a fulfilment in regard to this 
also, in the most proper and complete sense. Abraham did not 
at first understand how closely God s words were to be inter 
preted ; and after waiting in vain for some years for the pro 
mised seed by Sarah, he began to think that God must have 


meant an offspring that should be his only by adoption, and 
seems to have thought of constituting the son of his steward his 
heir. Then, when admonished of his error in entertaining such 
a thought, and informed that the seed was to spring from his 
own loins, lie acceded, after another long period of fruitless 
waiting, to the proposal of Sarah regarding Hagar, under the 
impression, that though he was to be the father of the seed, yet 
it should not be by his proper wife ; the expected good was to 
be obtained by a worldly expedient, and to become his only 
through a tortuous policy. Here again, however, he was ad 
monished of error, commanded to cease from such unworthy 
devices, and walk in uprightness before God; was reminded 
that He who made the promise was the Almighty God, to 
whom, therefore, no impossibility connected with the age of 
Sarah could be of any moment, and assured that the long pro 
mised child was to be the son of him and his lawful spouse. 1 
Now, when Abraham was thus taught to interpret one part of 
the promise in the most exact and literal sense, how natural was 
it to infer, that he must do the same also with the other part ! 
If, when God said, "Thou shalt be the father of a seed," it 
became clear that the word could receive nothing short of the 
strictest fulfilment ; what else, what less, could be expected, 
when God said, " Thou shalt inherit this land," than that the 
fulfilment was to be equally proper and complete? The provi 
dence of God, which furnished such an interpretation in the 
one case, could not but beget the conviction, that a similar 
principle of interpretation was to be applied to the other ; and 
that as the promise of the inheritance was given to Abraham, 
Isaac, and Jacob, as well as to their seed, so it should be made 
good in their experience, not less than in that of their posterity. 
No doubt, sucji a belief implied that there must be a resur 
rection from the dead before the promise could be realized ; and 
to those who conceive that immortality was altogether a blank 
page to the eye of an ancient Israelite, the idea may seem to 
carry its own refutation along with it. The Rabbis, however, 
with all their blindness, seemed to have had juster, because 
more scriptural, notions of the truth and purposes of God in 
this respect. For, on Ex. vi. 4, the Talmud in Gemara, in 
1 Gen. xvii. 1-17. 


reply to the question, " Where does the law teach the resurrec 
tion of the dead?" thus distinctly answers, "In that place 
where it is said, I have established My covenant with thee, to 
give thee the land of Canaan. For it is not said with you., but 
with thee (lit., yourselves)." 1 The same answer, substantially, 
we are told, was returned by Rabbi Gamaliel, when the Sad- 
ducees pressed him with a similar question. And in a passage 
quoted by Warburton (B. vi., sec. 3) from Manasseh Ben- 
Israel, we find the argument still more fully stated : " God said 
to Abraham, I will give to thee, and to thy seed after thee, the 
land wherein thou art a stranger. But it appears that Abra 
ham and the other patriarchs did not possess that land ; there 
fore it is of necessity that they should be raised up to enjoy the 
good promises, else the promises of God should be in vain and 
false. So that we have here a proof, not only of the immor 
tality of the soul, but also of the essential foundation of the law, 
namely, the resurrection of the dead." It is surely not too 
much to suppose, that what Jewish Rabbis could so certainly 
draw from the word of God, may have been perceived by wise 
and holy patriarchs. And the fact, of which an inspired writer 
assures us, that Abraham so readily believed in the possible 
resurrection of Isaac to a present life, is itself conclusive proof 
that he would not be slow to believe in his own resurrection to 
a future life, when the word of promise seemed no otherwise 
capable of receiving its proper fulfilment. Indeed, the doctrine 
of a resurrection from the dead not that of the immortality of 
the soul is the form which the prospect of an after state of 
being must have chiefly assumed in the minds of the earlier 
believers, because that which most obviously and naturally grew 
out of the promises made to them, as well as most accordant 
with their native cast of thought. And nothing but the undue 
influence of the Gentile philosophy on men s minds could have 
led them to imagine, as they generally have done, the reverse to 
have been the case. 

In the writings of the Greeks and Romans, especially those 
of the former, we find the distinction constantly drawn between 

1 Sic habetur traditio Rab. Simai ; quo loco astruit Lex resurrectionem 
mortuorum? Nempe ubi dicitur, " Aque etiam coustabilivi foedus meum 
cum ipsis, ut dem ipsis terram Canaan." Non enim dicitur vobis sed ipsis. 


matter and spirit, body and soul ; and the one generally repre 
sented as having only elements of evil inhering in it, and the 
other elements of good. So far from looking for the resurrec 
tion of the body as necessary to the final well-being of men, full 
and complete happiness was held to be impossible so long as the 
soul was united to the body. Death was so far considered by 
them a boon, that it emancipated the ethereal principle from its 
prison-house ; and their visions of future bliss, when such visions 
were entertained, presented to the eye of hope scenes of delight, 
in which the disembodied spirit alone was to find its satisfaction 
and repose. Hence it is quite natural to hear the better part of 
them speaking with contempt of all that concerned the body, 
looking upon death as a final as well as a happy release from 
its vile affections, and promising themselves a perennial enjoy-- 
ment in the world of spirits. "In what way shall we bury 
you?" said Crito to Socrates, immediately before his death. 
" As you please," was the reply. " I cannot, my friends, per 
suade Crito that I am the Socrates that is now conversing and 
ordering everything that has been said ; but he thinks I am 
that man whom he will shortly see a corpse, and asks how you 
should bury me. But what I have all along been talking so 
much about that when I shall have drunk the poison, I shall 
no longer stay with you, but shall, forsooth, go away to certain 
felicities of the blest this I seem to myself to have been saying 
in vain, whilst comforting at the same time you and myself. 
And in another part of the same dialogue (Phaxlo), after speak 
ing of the impossibility of attaining to the true knowledge and 
discernment of things, so long as the soul is kept in the lumpish 
and impure body, he is represented as congratulating himself on 
the prospect now immediately before him : " If these things are 
true, there is much reason to hope, that he who has reached my 
present position shall there soon abundantly obtain that for the 
sake of which I have laboured so hard during this life ; so that 
I encounter with a lively hope my appointed removal." No 
doubt such representations give a highly coloured and far too 
favourable view of the expectations which the more speculative 
part of the heathen world cherished of a future state of being ; 
for to most of them the whole was overshadowed with doubt and 
uncertainty too often, indeed, the subject of absolute unbelief. 


But in this respect the idea it presents is perfectly correct, that 
so far as hope was exercised toward the future, it connected 
itself altogether with the condition and destiny of the soul ; and 
so abhorrent was the thought of a resurrection of the body to 
their notions of future good, that Tertullian did not hesitate to 
affirm the heresy, which denied that Christian doctrine, to be 
the common result of the whole Gentile philosophy. 1 

It was precisely the reverse with believers in ancient and 
primitive times. Their prospects of a blessed immortality were 
mainly associated with the resurrection of the body ; and the 
dark period to them was the intermediate state between death 
and the resurrection, which even at a comparatively late stage 
in their history presented itself to their view as a state of gloom, 
silence, and forgetfulness. They contemplated man, not in the 
light in which an abstract speculative philosophy might regard 
him, but in the more natural and proper one of a compound 
being, to which matter as essentially belongs as spirit, and in 
the well-being of which there must unite the happy condition 
both of soul and body. Nay, the materials from which they 
had to form their views and prospects of a future state of being 
pointed most directly to the resurrection, and passed over in 
silence the period intervening between that and death. Thus, 
the primeval promise, that the seed of the woman should bruise 
the head of the serpent, taught them to live in expectation of a 
time when death should be swallowed up in victory ; for death 
being the fruit of the serpent s triumph, what else could his 
complete overthrow be than the reversal of death the resurrec 
tion from the dead? So also the prophecy embodied in the 
emblems of the tree of life, still standing in the midst of the 
garden of Eden, with its way of approach meanwhile guarded 
by the flaming s\vord, and possessed by the cherubim of glory 
implying, that when the spoiler should be himself spoiled, and 
the way of life should again be laid open for the children of 
promise, they should have access to the food of immortality, 
which they could only do by rising out of death and entering on 
the resurrection state. The same conclusion grew, as we have 
just seen, most naturally, and we may say inevitably, out of 

1 Ut carnis restitutio negetur, de una omnium philosophorum scliola 
sumitur, De Praesc. adv. Haeret. 7. 


that portion of the promises made to the fathers of the Jewish 
race, which assured them of a personal inheritance in the land 
of Canaan ; for dying, as they did, without having obtained any 
inheritance in it, how could the word of promise be verified to 
them, but by their being raised from the dead to receive what it 
warranted them to expect? In perfect accordance with these 
earlier intimations, or, as they may fitly be called, fundamental 
promises, we find, as we descend the stream of time, and listen to 
the more express utterances of prophecy regarding the hopes of 
the Church, that the grand point on which they are all made to 
centre is the resurrection from the dead ; and it is so, doubtless, 
for the reason, that as death is from the first represented as the 
wages of sin, the evil pre-eminently under which humanity 
groans, so the abolition of death by mortality being swallowed 
up of life, is understood to carry in its train the restitution of 
all things. 

The Psalms, which are so full of the experiences and hopes 
of David, and other holy men of old, while they express onjy 
fear and discomfort in regard to the state after death, not unfre- 
quently point to the resurrection from the dead as the great con 
summation of desire and expectation : " My flesh also shall rest 
in hope : for Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell ; neither wilt 
Thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption." Ps. xvi. 9, 10. 
" Like sheep they are laid in the grave ; death shall feed on 
them ; and the upright shall have dominion over them in the 
morning ; and their beauty shall consume in the grave from 
their dwelling. But God will redeem my soul from the power of 
the grave; for He shall receive me" (xlix. 14, 15). The prophets, 
who are utterly silent regarding the state of the disembodied 
soul, speak still more explicitly of a resurrection from the dead, 
and evidently connect with it the brightest hopes of the Church. 
Thus Isaiah, " He will swallow up death in victory " (xxv. 8) ; 
and again, " Thy dead men shall live, together with My dead 
body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in the dust" 
(xxvi. 19). To the like effect, Hosea xiii. 14, "I will ransom them 
from the power of the grave ; I will redeem them from death : O 
death, I will be thy plagues ; O grave, I will be thy destruction." 
The vision of the dry bones, in the thirty-seventh chapter of 
Ezekiel, whether understood of a literal resurrection from the 


state of the dead, or of a figurative resurrection, a political re 
suscitation from a downcast and degraded condition, strongly 
indicates, in either case, the characteristic nature of their future 
prospects. Then, finally, in Daniel we read, ch. xii., not only 
that he was himself, after resting for a season among the dead, 
" to stand in his lot at the end of the days," but also that at the 
great crisis of the Church s history, when they should be for ever 
rescued from the power of the enemy, " many of them that sleep 
in the dust of the earth should awake, some to everlasting life, 
and some to shame and everlasting contempt." 

Besides these direct and palpable proofs of a resurrection in 
the Jewish Scriptures, and of the peculiar place it holds there, 
the Rabbinical and modern Jews, it is well known, refer to 
many others as inferentially teaching the same doctrine. That 
the earlier Jews were not behind them, either in the importance 
they attached to the doctrine, or in their persuasion of its fre 
quent recurrence in the Old Testament Scriptures, we may 
assuredly gather from the tenacity with which all but the Sad- 
ducees evidently held it in our Lord s time, and the ready ap 
proval which He met with when inferring it from the declaration 
made to Moses, "I am the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of 
Jacob." It is nothing to the purpose, therefore, to allege, as 
has often been done, against any clear or well-grounded belief 
on the part of the ancient Jews regarding a future and immortal 
state of being, such passages as speak of the darkness, silence, 
and nothingness of the condition immediately subsequent to 
death, and during the sojourn of the body in the tomb ; for 
that was precisely the period in respect to which their light 
failed them. Of a heathenish immortality, which ascribed to 
the soul a perpetual existence separate from the body, and con 
sidered its happiness, when thus separate, as the ultimate good 
of man, they certainly knew and believed nothing. But we are 
persuaded no tenet was more firmly and sacredly held among 
them from the earliest periods of their history, than that of the 
resurrection from the dead, as the commencement of a final and 
everlasting portion of good to the people of God. And when 
the Jewish doctors gave to the resurrection of the dead a place 
among the thirteen fundamental articles of their faith, and cut 
off from all inheritance in a future state of felicity those who 


deny it, we have no reason to regard the doctrine as attaining 
to a higher place in their hands, than it did with their fathers 
before the Christian era. 1 

There was something more, however, in the Jewish faith 
concerning the resurrection, than its being simply held as an 
article in their creed, and held to be a fact that should one day 
be realized in the history of the Church. It stood in the closest 
connection with the promise made to the fathers, as some of the 
foregoing testimonies show, and especially with the work and 
advent of Messiah. They not only believed that there would be 
a resurrection of the dead, to a greater or less extent, when 
Messiah came (see Lightfoot, Hor. Ileb. John i. 21, v. 25), 
but that His work, especially as regards the promised inherit 
ance, could only be carried into effect through the resurrection. 
Levi" holds it as a settled point, that " the resurrection of the 
dead will be very near the time of the redemption," meaning by 
the redemption the full and final enjoyment of all blessing in 
the land of promise, and that such is the united sense of all the 
prophets who have spoken of the times of Messiah. In this, 
indeed, he only expresses the opinion commonly entertained by 
Jewish writers, who constantly assert that there will be a resur 
rection of the whole Jewish race, to meet and rejoice with 
Christ, when He comes to Jerusalem, and who often thrust 
forward their views regarding it, when there is no proper oc 
casion to do so. Thus, in Sohar, Genes, fol. 77, as quoted by 
Schoettgen, II. p. 367, K. Nehorai is reported to have said, on 
Abraham s speaking to his servant, Gen. xxiv. 2, " We are to 
understand the servant of God, his senior domus. And who is 
He ? Metatron (Messiah), who, as we have said, will bring 
forth the souls from their sepulchres." But a higher authority 
still may be appealed to. For the Apostle to the Gentiles thus 
expresses and with evident approval as to the general principle 
the mind of his countrymen in regard to the Messiah and the 
resurrection : " I now stand and am judged for the hope of the 
promise made of God unto our fathers : unto which promise our 
twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to 
come : for which hope s sake, king Agrippa, I am accused of the 

1 See Appendix B. 

2 Dissertations on the Prophecies of Old Test., vol. i., p. 56. 
VOL. I. 2 C 


Jews. Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, 
that God should raise the dead ? " l The connection in which 
the resurrection of the dead is here placed with the great 
promise of a Messiah, for which the Jews are represented as 
so eagerly and intently looking, evidently implies, that the two 
were usually coupled together in the Jewish faith, nay, that the 
one could reach its proper fulfilment only through the perfor 
mance of the other ; and that in believing on a Messiah risen 
from the dead, the Apostle was acting in perfect accordance with 
the hopes of his nation. 

But now, to apply all this to the subject under consideration, 
the earthly inheritance : If that inheritance was promised in a 
way which, from the very first, implied a resurrection from the 
dead, before it could be rightly enjoyed ; and if all along, even 
when Canaan was possessed by the seed of Abraham, the men 
of faith still looked forward to another inheritance, when the 
curse should be utterly abolished, the blessing fully received, 
and death finally swallowed up in victory, then a twofold boon 
must have been conveyed to Abraham and his seed, under the 
promise of the land of Canaan; one to be realized in the natural, 
and the other in the resurrection state, a mingled and tempo 
rary good before, and a complete and permanent one after, the 
restitution of all things by the Messiah. So that, in regard to 
the ultimate designs of God, the land of Canaan would serve 
much the same purpose as the garden of Eden, with its tree of 
life and cherubim of glory the same, and yet more ; for it not 
only presented to the eye of faith a type, but also gave in its 
possession an earnest, of the inheritance of a paradisiacal world. 
The difference, however, is not essential, and only indicates an 
advance in God s revelations and purposes of grace, making 
what was ultimately designed for the faithful more sure to 
them by an instalment, through a singular train of providential 
arrangements, in a present inheritance of good. They thus 
enjoyed a real and substantial pledge of the better things to 
come, which were to be fulfilled in the kingdom of God. 

But what were these better things themselves I What was 
thus indicated to Abraham and his believing posterity, as their 
coming inheritance of good? If it was clear that they must 
1 Acts xxvi. 6-8. 


have attained to the resurrection from the dead before they 
could properly enjoy the possession, it could not be Canaan in 
its natural state, as a region of the present earth, that was to be 
inherited ; for that, considered as the abode of Abraham and 
all his elect posterity, when raised from the tomb and collected 
into an innumerable multitude, must have appeared of far too 
limited dimensions, as well as of unsuitable character. Though 
it might well seem a vast inheritance for any living generation 
that should spring from the loins of Abraham, yet it was palpably 
inadequate for the possession of his collected seed, when it should 
have become like the stars of heaven for multitude. And not 
only so ; but as the risen body is to be, not a natural but a glori 
fied one, the inheritance it is to occupy must be a glorified one 
too. The fairest portions of the earth, in its present fallen and 
corruptible state, could be a fit possession for men only so long 
as in their persons they are themselves fallen and corruptible. 
When redeemed from the power of the grave, and entered on 
the glories of the new creation, the natural Canaan will be as 
unfit to be their proper home and possession, as the original 
Eden would have been with its tree of life. Much more so, 
indeed for the earth in its present state is adapted to the sup 
port and enjoyment of man, as constituted not only after the 
earthly Adam, but after him as underlying the pernicious effects 
of the curse. And the ultimate inheritance destined for Abra 
ham and the heirs of promise, which was to become theirs after 
the resurrection from the dead, must be as much higher and 
better than anything which the earth, in its present state, can 
furnish, as man s nature, when glorified, shall be higher and 
better than it is while in bondage to sin and death. 

Nothing less than this certainly is taught in what is said of 
the inheritance, as expected by the patriarchs, in the Epistle to 
the Hebrews : " These all died in faith, not having received the 
promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of 
them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers 
and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things de 
clare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had 
been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they 
might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they 
desire a better country, that is, an heavenly : wherefore God is 


not ashamed to be called their God ; for He hath prepared for 
them a city." 1 Without entering into any minute commentary 
on this passage, it cannot but be regarded as perfectly conclusive 
of two points : First, that Abraham, and the heirs with him of 
the same promise, did understand and believe, that the inherit 
ance secured to them under the promise of Canaan (for that 
w r as the only word spoken to them of an inheritance) was one 
in which they had a personal interest. And then, secondly, that 
the inheritance, as it was to be occupied and enjoyed by them, 
was to be, not a temporary, but a final one, one that might 
fitly be designated a " heavenly country," a city built by Divine 
hands, and based on immovable foundations, in short, the ulti 
mate and proper resting-place of redeemed and glorified natures-. 
This was what these holy patriarchs expected and desired, 
what they were ivarranted to expect and desire ; for their con 
duct in this respect is the subject of commendation, and is justi 
fied on the special ground, that otherwise God must have been 
ashamed to be called their God. And, finally, it was what 
they found contained in the promise to them, of an inheritance 
in the land in which they were pilgrims and strangers ; for to 
that promise alone could they look for the special ground of the 
hopes they cherished of a sure and final possession. 

But the question again returns, what is that possession itself 
really to be ? That it cannot be the country itself of Palestine, 
either in its present condition or as it might become under any 
system of culture of which nature is capable, is too obvious to 
require any lengthened proof. The twofold fact, that the pos 
session was to be man s ultimate and proper inheritance, and 
that it could be attained only after the resurrection from the 
dead, clearly forbids the supposition of its being the literal land 
of Canaan, under any conceivable form of renovated fruitfulness 
and beauty. This is also evident from the nature of the pro 
mise that formed the ground of Abraham s hope, which made 
mention only of the land of Canaan, and which, as pointing to 
an ulterior inheritance, must have belonged to that combination 
of type with prophecy which we placed first, viz., having the 
promise, or prediction, not in the language employed, but in the 
typical character of the object which that language described. 
1 Heb. xi. 13-16. 


The promise made to Abraham was simple enough in itself. It 
gave assurance of a land distinctly marked off by certain geo 
graphical boundaries. It was not properly in the words of that 
promise that he could read his destiny to any future and ultimate 
inheritance; but putting together the two things, that the 
promised good could only be realized fully in an after-state of 
being, and that all the relations of the time then present were 
preparative and temporary representations of better things to 
come, he might hence perceive that the earthly Canaan was a type 
of what was finally to be enjoyed. Thus the establishment of his 
offspring there would be regarded as a prophecy, in fact, of the 
exaltation of the whole of an elect seed to their destined state of 
blessing and glory. But such being the case, the prediction 
standing altogether in the type, the thing predicted and pro 
mised must, in conformity with all typical relations, have been 
another and far higher thing than that which served to predict 
and promise it. Canaan could not be the type of itself: it 
could only represent, on the lower platform of nature, what was 
hereafter to be developed on the loftier arena of God s ever 
lasting kingdom ; and as far as the things of fallen and corrupt 
nature differ from, and are inferior to, those of redemption, so 
far must the rest of Canaan have differed from, and been 
inferior to, "that rest which remaineth for the people of God." 1 
What that final rest or inheritance, which forms the antitype 
to Canaan, really is, we may gather from the words of the 
Apostle concerning it in Eph. i. 14, where he calls the Spirit 
"the earnest of our inheritance, until the redemption of the 
purchased possession." 2 It is plain, that the subject here dis- 

1 See Appendix D. 

2 That the received translation gives here the sense of the original with 
substantial correctness, I am fully satisfied. The latter part of it, el; 
dTTQ^vrpuaiy rv>; TTiotTror/.asa;, has been variously understood, and its natural 
import too commonly overlooked, liobinsoii, in his Lexicon, makes it = 
a.Ko hvTQuaiy ryy vspiTrowd^ffxi/, the redemption acquired for us, a violent 
change, which could only be justified if absolutely necessary. The only two 
senses in which the word occurs in the New Testament, are 1. Acquiring, 
acquisition, obtaining, 1 Thess. v. 9 ; 2 Thess. ii. 14; Heb. x. 39; 2. The 
thing obtained or acquired, possession, in which sense, unquestionably, it is 
used in Mai. iii. 17, and in 1 Pet. ii. 9. In both of these places it is applied 
to the Church, as God s acquired, purchased possession, and is equal to His 


coursed of, is not our persons, but our goods ; not what believers 
in their souls and bodies are to be hereafter, but what is pre 
pared for their enjoyment. For the inheritance which belongs 
to a person, must always be separate from the person himself. 
And as that which is called an inheritance in the one clause, is 
undoubtedly the same with that which in the other is named a 
possession, purchased or acquired, but not yet redeemed, the re 
demption of the possession must be a work to be accomplished 
for us, and not to be wrought in us. It must be a change to 
the better, effected not upon our persons, but upon the outward 
provision secured for their ulterior happiness and well-being. 

It is true, that the Church of God, the company of sound 
and genuine believers, is sometimes called the inheritance or 

peculium, or property in the stricter sense, His select treasure, which is re 
lated to Him as nothing else is, which He has acquired or purchased, Trepu- 
Koiviaoc., by His own blood, Acts xx. 28, comp. also Ex. xix. 6 ; Deut. vii. 
6 ; Tit. ii. 14. The great majority of interpreters, from Calvin to Ellicott, 
are of opinion, that because in these passages vrtpiKofqais is used as a desig 
nation of the Church, considered as God s peculiar property, it has the same 
meaning here, u unto, or until, the redemption of His purchased people," 
as Boothroyd expressly renders. But this view is liable to three objections. 

1. The word cr^cro;W/f, is nowhere absolutely and by itself put for u pur 
chased people, 1 or " Church ;" when so used, it has the addition of AcoV- 

2. The redemption of the Church would then be regarded as future, Avhere- 
as it is always represented as past. We read of the redemption of the 
bodies of believers as yet to take place, but never of the redemption of the 
Church ; that is uniformly spoken of as having been effected by the death 
of Christ. 3. It does not suit the connection : for the Apostle is speaking 
of the indwelling of the Spirit as the earnest of the inheritance to which 
believers are destined ; and as an earnest is given as a temporary substitute 
for the inheritance or possession, the term to which, or the end in respect to 
which it is given, must be, not some other event of a Collateral nature, but 
the coming or receiving of the possession itself. Then, while these objec 
tions apply to the common view, there is no need for resorting to it : while 
it does violence to the word, it only obscures the sense. E<V aYf/fro/tiff/p, both 
CEcumenius and Theophylact, on 1 Pet. ii. 9, hold to be elg KTWIV, tig 
K^Yipovoftietv, for a possession, for an inheritance. And Didymus on the 
same place, as quoted by Steiger, says, "that is irsptirofaais-, which, by way 
of distinction, is reckoned among our substance and possessions." There 
fore the correct meaning here is that given by Calov : " HepiTrowtrts, the 
abstract being placed for the concrete, is to be understood of the acquired 
inheritance, for the Holy Spirit is the pledge and earnest until the full 
redemption of the acquired inheritance." 


purchased possession of God. In Old Testament Scripture His 
people are styled His "heritage," " His treasure;" and in New 
Testament Scripture we find St Peter addressing them as " a 
peculiar people," or literally, a people for a possession namely, 
a possession of God, acquired or purchased by the precious 
blood of His dear Son. The question here, however, is not of 
what may be called God s inheritance, but of ours ; not of our 
redemption from the bondage of evil as a possession of God, 
which He seeks to enjoy free from all evil, but of that which we 
are ourselves to possess and occupy as our final portion. And 
as we could with no propriety be called our own inheritance, or 
our own possession, it must be something apart from, and out of 
ourselves, which is here to be understood, not a state of being 
to be held, but a portion of blessing and glory to be enjoyed. 

Now, whatever the inheritance or possession may be in itself, 
and whatever the region where it is to be enjoyed, when it is 
spoken of as needing to be redeemed, we are evidently taught 
to regard it as something that has been alienated from us, but 
is again to be made ours ; not a possession altogether new, but 
an old possession, lost, and again to be reclaimed from the 
powers of evil, which now overmaster and destroy it. So was 
it certainly with our persons. They were sold under sin. With 
our loss of righteousness before God, we lost at the same time 
our spiritual freedom, and all that essentially belonged to the 
pure and blessed life, in the possession of which we were 
created. Instead of this, we became subject to the tyrannous 
dominion of the prince of darkness, holding us captive in our 
souls to the foul and wretched bondage of sin, and in our bodies 
to the mortality and corruption of death. The redemption of 
our persons is just their recovery from this lost and ruinous 
state, to the freedom of God s children, and the blessedness of 
immortal life in His presence and glory. It proceeds at every 
step by acts of judgment upon the great adversary and oppres 
sor, who took advantage of the evil, and ever seeks to drive it 
to the uttermost. And when the work shall be completed by 
the redemption of the body from the power of the grave, there 
shall then be the breaking up of the last bond of oppression 
that lay upon our natures, the putting down of the last enemy, 
that the son of wickedness may no longer vex or injure us. 


In this redemption-process, which is already begun upon the 
people of God, and shall be consummated in the glories of the 
resurrection, it is the same persons, the same soul and body, 
which have experience both of the evil and of the good. 
Though the change is so great and wonderful, that it is some 
times called a new creation, it is not in the sense of anything 
being brought into existence, which previously had no being. 
Such language is simply used on account of the happy and 
glorious transformation that is made to pass upon the natures 
which already exist, but exist only in a state of misery and 
oppression. And when the same language is applied to the 
inheritance, which is used of the persons of those who are to 
enjoy it, what can this indicate, but that the same things are 
true concerning it ? The bringing in of that inheritance, in its 
finished state of fulness and glory, is in like manner called "the 
making of all things new;" but it is so called only in respect 
to the wonderful transformation which is to be wrought upon 
the old things, which are thereby to receive another constitu 
tion, and present another aspect, than they were wont to do 
before. For that the possession is to be redeemed, bespeaks it 
as a thing to be recovered, not to be made, a thing already 
in being, though so changed from its original destination, so 
marred and spoiled, overlaid with so many forms of evil, and so 
far from serving the ends for which it is required, that it may 
be said to be alienated from us, in the hands of the enemy, for 
the prosecution of his purposes of evil. 

Now, what is it, of which this can be affirmed ? If it is said 
heaven, and by that is meant what is commonly understood, 
some region far removed from this lower world, in the sightless 
realms of ether, then we ask, was heaven in that sense ever 
man s 1 Has it become obnoxious to any evils, from which it 
must be delivered ? or has it fallen into the hands of an enemy 
and an oppressor, from whose evil sway it must again be re 
deemed? None of these things surely can be said of such a 
heaven. It would be an altogether new inheritance, a posses 
sion never held, consequently never lost, and incapable of being 
redeemed. And there is nothing that answers such a descrip 
tion, or can possibly realize the conditions of such an inherit 
ance, but what lies within the bounds and compass of this earth 


itself, with which the history of man has hitherto been con 
nected both in good and evil, and where all the possession is, 
that he can properly be said either to have held or to have lost. 

Let us again recur to the past. Man s original inheritance 
was a lordship or dominion, stretching over the whole earth, 
but extending no farther. It entitled him to the ministry of all 
creatures within its borders, and the enjoyment of all fruits and 
productions upon its surface one only excepted, for the trial 
of his obedience. (Gen. i. 28-31 ; Ps. viii.) When he fell, 
he fell from his dominion, as well as from his purity ; the in 
heritance departed from him ; he was driven from paradise, the 
throne and palace of his kingdom ; labour, servitude, and suffer 
ing, became his portion in the world ; he was doomed to be a 
bondsman, a hewer of wood and drawer of water, on what was 
formed to be his inheritance; and all that he has since been 
able, by hard toil and industry, to acquire, is but a partial and 
temporary command over some fragments of what was at first 
all his own. Nor is that the whole. For with man s loss of 
the inheritance, Satan was permitted to enter, and extend his 
usurped sw r ay over the domain from which man has been ex 
pelled as its proper lord. And this he does by filling the world 
with agencies and works of evil, spreading disorder through 
the elements of nature, and disaffection among the several 
orders of being, above all, corrupting the minds of men, so 
as to lead them to cast off the authority of God, and to use 
the things he confers on them for their own selfish ends and 
purposes, for the injury and oppression of their fellow-men, for 
the encouragement of sin and suppression of the truth of God, 
for rendering the world, in short, as far as possible, a region of 
darkness and not of light, a kingdom of Satan and not of God, 
a theatre of malice, corruption, and disorder, not of love, 
harmony, and blessedness. 

Now, as the redemption of man s person consists in his being 
rescued from the dominion of Satan from the power of sin in 
his soul, and from the reign of death in his body, which are the 
two forms of Satan s dominion over man s nature ; what can 
the redemption of the inheritance be, but the rescuing of this 
earth from the manifold ills which, through the instrumentality 
of Satan, have come to lodge in its bosom, purging its elements 


of all mischief and disorder, changing it from being the vale 
of tears and the charnel-house of death, into a paradise of life 
and blessing, restoring to man, himself then redeemed and 
fitted for the honour, the sceptre of a real dominion over all its 
fulness, in a word, rendering it in character and design what 
it was on creation s morn, when the sons of God shouted for 
joy, and God Himself looked with satisfaction on the goodness 
and order and beauty which pervaded this portion of His uni 
verse ? To do such a work as this upon the earth, would mani 
festly be to redeem the possession which man by disobedience 
forfeited and lost, and a new title to which has been purchased 
by Christ for all His spiritual seed ; for were that done, the 
enemy would be completely foiled and cast out, and man s 
proper inheritance restored. 

But some are perhaps ready to ask, Is that, then, all the in 
heritance that the redeemed have to look for ? Is their abode 
still to be upon earth, and their portion of good to be confined 
to what may be derived from its material joys and occupations ? 
Is paradise restored to be simply the re-establishment and en 
largement of paradise lost ? We might reply to such questions 
by putting similar ones regarding the persons of the redeemed. 
Are these still, after all, to be the same persons they were 
during the days of their sojourn on earth ? Is the soul, when 
expatiating amid the glorious scenes of eternity, to live in the 
exercise of the same powers and faculties which it employed on 
the things of time? And is the outward frame, in which it is 
to lodge, and act, and enjoy itself, to be that very tabernacle 
which it bore here in weakness, and which it left behind to rot 
and perish in the tomb ? Would any one feel at a moment s 
loss to answer such questions in the affirmative? Does it in 
any respect shock our feelings, or lower the expectations we feel 
warranted to cherish concerning our future state, when we 
think that the very soul and body which together constitute 
and make up the being we now are, shall also constitute and 
make up the being we are to be hereafter ? Assuredly not ; 
for however little we know what we are to be hereafter, we are 
not left in ignorance that both soul and body shall be freed 
from all evil ; and not only so, but in the process shall be un 
speakably refined and elevated. We know it is the purpose of 


God to magnify in us tlic riches of His grace by raising our 
natures higher than the fall has brought them low to glorify, 
while He redeems them, and so to render them capable of 
spheres of action and enjoyment beyond not only what eye has 
seen or ear has heard, but even what has entered into the mind 
of man to conceive. 

And why may we not think and reason thus also, concern 
ing the inheritance which these redeemed natures are to oc 
cupy ? Why may not God do a like work of purification and 
refinement on this solid earth, so as to transform and adapt it 
into a fit residence for man in glory? Why may not, why 
should not, that which has become for man, as fallen, the house 
of bondage and the field of ruin, become also for man redeemed 
the habitation of peace and the region of pre-eminent delight ? 
Surely He, who from the very stones can raise up children unto 
Abraham, and who will bring forth from the noisome corruption 
of the tomb, forms clothed with honour and majesty, can equally 
change the vile and disordered condition of the world, as it now 
is, and make it fit to be " the house of the glory of His king 
dom," a world where the eye of redeemed manhood shall be 
regaled with sights of surpassing loveliness, and his ear ravished 
with sounds of sweetest melody, and his desires satisfied with 
purest delight, ay, a world, it may be, which, as it alone of all 
creation s orbs has been honoured to bear the footsteps of an 
incarnate God, and witness the performance of His noblest 
work, so shall it be chosen as the region around which He will 
pour the richest manifestations of His glorious presence, and 
possibly send from it, by the ministry of His redeemed, com 
munications of love and kindness to the farthest bounds of His 
habitable universe ! 

No ; when rightly considered, it is not a low and degrading 
view of the inheritance which is reserved for the heirs of salva 
tion, to place it in the possession of this very earth which we 
now inhabit, after it shall have been redeemed and glorified. I 
feel it for myself to be rather an ennobling and comforting 
thought ; and were I left to choose, out of all creation s bounds, 
the place where my redeemed nature is to find its local habita 
tion, enjoy its Redeemer s presence, and reap the fruits of His 
costly purchase, I would prefer none to this. For if destined 


to so high a purpose, I know it will be made in all respects 
what it should be, the paradise of delight, the very heaven of 
glory and blessing, which I desire and need. And then, the 
connection between what it now is, and what it shall have 
become, must impart to it an interest which can belong to no 
other region in the universe. If anything could enhance our 
exaltation to the lordship of a glorious and blessed inheritance, 
it would surely be the feeling of possessing it in the very place 
where we were once miserable bondsmen of sin and corruption. 
And if anything should dispose us to bear meekly our present 
heritage of evil, to quicken our aspirations after the period of 
deliverance, and to raise our affections above the vain and 
perishable things around us, it should be the thought that all 
we can now either have or experience from the world is part of 
a possession forfeited and accursed, but that it only waits for 
the transforming power of God to be changed into the inherit 
ance of the saints in light, when heaven and earth shall be 
mingled into one. 

But if this renovated earth is to be itself the inheritance of 
the redeemed, if it, in the first instance at least, is to be the 
heaven where they are to reap life everlasting, how, it may be 
asked, can heaven be spoken of as above us, and represented as 
the higher region of God s presence ? Such language is never, 
that we are aware of, used in Scripture to denote the final 
dwelling-place of God s people ; and if it were used there, as it 
often is in popular discourse, it would need, of course, to be 
understood with that limitation which requires to be put upon 
all our more definite descriptions of a future world. To regard 
expressions of the kind referred to, as determining our final 
abode to be over our heads, were to betray a childish ignorance 
of the fact, that what is such by day, is the reverse of what is so 
by night. Such language properly denotes the superior nature 
of the heavenly inheritance, and not its relative position. God 
can make any region of His universe a heaven, since heaven is 
there, where He manifests His presence and glory ; and why 
might He not do so here, as well as in any other part of creation? 
But is it not said, that the kingdom in which the redeemed are 
to live and reign for ever, was prepared for them before the 
foundation of the world ; and how, then, can the scene of it be 


placed on this earth, still waiting to be redeemed for the pur 
pose ? The preparation there meant, however, cannot possibly 
be an actual fitting up of the place which believers are to occupy 
with their Lord ; for wherever it is, the Apostle tells us it still 
needs to be redeemed : in that sense it is not yet ready ; and 
Christ Himself said, when on the eve of leaving the world, 
that lie was going to prepare it, as He does by directing, on His 
throne of glory, the events which are to issue in its full estab 
lishment. Still, from the first it might be said to be prepared, 
because destined for Christ and His elect people in the mind of 
God, even as they were all chosen in Him before the founda 
tion of the world ; and every successive act in the history of the 
mediatorial kingdom is another step toward the accomplishment 
of the purpose. Are we not again told, however, that the earth 
is to be destroyed, its elements made to melt with fervent heat, 
and all its works consumed 1 ? Unquestionably this is said, 
though not by any means necessarily implying that the earth is 
really to be annihilated. We know that God is perpetually 
causing changes to pass over the works of His hands ; but that 
He actually annihilates any, we have no ground, either in 
nature or in Scripture, to suppose. If in the latter, we are told 
of man s body, that it perishes, and is consumed by the moth ; 
yet of what are we more distinctly assured, than that it is not 
doomed to absolute destruction, but shall live again ? When we 
read of the old world being destroyed by the flood, we know that 
the material fabric of the earth continued as before. Indeed, 
much the same language that is applied to the earth in this re 
spect, is also extended to the heavens themselves ; for they too 
are represented as ready to pass away, and to be changed as a 
vesture, and the promise speaks of new heavens as well as a new 
earth. And in regard to this earth in particular, there is 
nothing in the language used concerning it to prevent us from 
believing, that the fire which, in the day of God s judgment, is 
to burst forth with consuming violence, may, like the waters of 
the deluge, and in a far higher respect than they, act as an ele 
ment of purification dissolving, indeed, the present constitution 
of things, and leaving not a wreck behind of all we now see and 
handle, but at the same time rectifying and improving the 
powers of nature, refining and elevating the whole framework 


of the earth, and impressing on all that belongs to it a transcen 
dent, imperishable glory ; so that in condition and appearance 
it shall be substantially a new world, and one as far above what 
it now is, as heaven is above the earth. 

There is nothing, then, in the other representations of 
Scripture, which appears, when fairly considered, to raise any 
valid objection against the renovated earth being the ultimate 
inheritance of the heirs of promise. And there is much to shut 
us up to the conclusion that it is so. We have enlarged on one 
testimony of inspiration, not because it is the only or the chief 
one on the subject, but because it is so explicit, that it seems 
decisive of the question. For an inheritance which has been 
already acquired or purchased, but which must be redeemed 
before it can really be our possession, can be understood of 
nothing but that original domain which sin brought, together 
with man, into the bondage of evil at the fall. And of what 
else can we understand the representation in the 8th Psalm, as 
interpreted by the pen of inspiration itself, in the Epistle to 
the Hebrews, ii. 5-9, and in 1 Cor. xv. 27, 28 ? These pas 
sages in the New Testament put it beyond a doubt, that the idea 
of perfect and universal dominion delineated in the Psalm, 
is to be realized in the world to come, over which Christ, as the 
head of redeemed humanity, is to rule, in company with His 
redeemed people. The representation itself in the Psalm, is 
evidently borrowed from the first chapter of Genesis, and, con 
sidered as a prophecy of good things to come, or a prediction of 
the dignity and honour already obtained for man in Christ, and 
hereafter to be revealed, it may be regarded as simply present 
ing to our view the picture of a restored and renovated creation. 
" It is just that passage in Genesis which describes the original 
condition of the earth," to use the words of Hengstenberg, 
" turned into a prayer for us," and we may add, into an object 
of hope and expectation. When that prayer is fulfilled, in 
other words, when the natural and moral evils entailed by the 
fall have been abolished, and the earth shall stand to man, when 
redeemed and glorified, in a similar relation to what it did at the 
birth of creation, then shall the hope we now possess of an in 
heritance of glory be turned into enjoyment. In Isa. xi. 6-9, 
the final results of Messiah s reign are in like manner delineated 


under the aspect of a world which has obtained riddance of all 
the disorders introduced by sin, and is restored to the blessed 
harmony and peace which characterized it when God pro 
nounced it very good. And still more definitely, though with 
reference to the same aspect of things, the Apostle Peter (Acts 
iii. 21) represents the time of Christ s second coming as " the 
time of the restitution of all things," that is, when everything 
should be restored to its pristine condition, the same condition 
in kind, all pure and good, glorious and blessed, but higher in 
degree, as it is the design and tendency of redemption to ennoble 
whatsoever it touches. 1 

It is precisely on the same object, a redeemed and glorified 
earth, that the Apostle Paul, in the 8th chapter of the Romans, 
fixes the mind of believers as the terminating point of their 
hopes of glory. An incomparable glory is to be revealed in 
them ; and in connection with that, " the deliverance of a suffer 
ing creation from the bondage of corruption into the glorious 
liberty of the sons of God." What can this deliverance be, but 
what is marked in the Epistle to the Ephesians, as " the re 
demption of the purchased possession ? " Nor is it possible to 
connect with anything else the words of Peter in his second 
Epistle, where, after speaking of the dreadful conflagration 
which is to consume all that belongs to the earth in its present 
form, he adds, as if expressly to guard against supposing that 
he meant the actual and entire destruction of this world as the 
abode of man, " Nevertheless we, according to His promise, 
look for new heavens, and a new earth, wherein dwelleth right 

It is only by understanding the words of Christ Himself, 
"The meek shall inherit the earth," of the earth in that new 
condition, its state of blessedness and glory, that any full or 
adequate sense can be attached to them. He could not surely 
mean the earth as it then was, or as it is to be during any 
period of its existence, while sin and death reign in it. So long 

1 That this is simply the force of the original here, it may be enough to 
give the meaning of the main word from the lexicographer Hesychius: oivo- 
KKTiiaToiois, " is the restoration of a thing to its former state, or to a better; 
restitution, consummation, a revolution of the grander kind, from which a 
new order of things arises, rest after turmoil." 


as it is in that condition, not only will the saints of God have 
many things to suffer in it, as our Lord immediately foretold, 
when He spake of the persecutions for righteousness sake 
which His people should have to endure, and on account of 
which He bade them look for their "reward in heaven;" but 
all the treasure it contains must be of the moth-eaten, perishable 
kind, which they are expressly forbidden to covet, and the earth 
itself must be that city without continuance, in contrast to 
which they are called to seek one to come. To speak, therefore, 
as many commentators do, of the tendency of piety in general, 
and of a mild and gracious disposition in particular, to secure 
for men a prosperous and happy life on earth, is to say com 
paratively little as regards the fulfilment of the promise, that 
they shall " inherit the earth." If it could even command for 
them the whole that earth now can give, would Christ on that 
account have called them blessed ? Would he not rather have 
warned them to beware of the deceitfulness of riches, and the 
abundance of honours thus likely to flow into their bosom? 
To be blessed in the earth as an inheritance, must import that 
the earth has become to them a real and proper good, such as 
it shall be when it has been transformed into a fit abode for 
redeemed natures. This view is also confirmed, and apparently 
rendered as clear and certain as language can make it, by the 
representations constantly given by Christ and the inspired 
writers, of His return to the earth and manifestation on it in 
glory, as connected with the last scenes and final issues of His 
kingdom. When He left the world, it was as a man going into 
a far country, from which He was to come again; 1 the heaven 
received Him at His resurrection, but only until the times of 
the restitution of all things ; 2 the period of His residence within 
the veil, is coincident with that during which His people have 
to maintain a hidden life, and is to be followed by another, in 
which they and He together are to be manifested in glory. 3 
And in the book of Revelation, while unquestionably the scenes 
are described in figurative language, yet when exact localities 
are mentioned as the places where the scenes are to be realized, 
and that in connection with a plain description of the condition 

1 Matt. xxv. 14 ; Luke xix. 12 ; John xiv. 3. 2 Acts iii. 21. 

3 Col. iii. 4 ; Heb. ix. 28 ; 1 John iii. 2 ; Rev. i. 7. 


of those who are to have part in them, we are compelled by all 
the ordinary rules of composition to regard such localities as 
real and proper habitations. What, then, can we make of the 
ascription of praise from the elders, representatives of a re 
deemed church, when they give glory to the Messiah, as " hav 
ing made them kings and priests unto God, and they shall 
reign with Him upon the earth?" Or what of the closing 
scenes, where the Evangelist sees a new heaven and a new 
earth in the room of those which had passed away, and the 
new Jerusalem coming down out of heaven to settle on the 
renovated earth, and the tabernacle of God fixed amongst 
men? 1 Granting that the delineations of the book are a 
succession of pictures, drawn from the relations of things in 
the former ages of the world, and especially under the Old 
Testament economy, and that the fulfilment to be looked for is 
not as of a literal description, but as of a symbolical representa 
tion, yet there must be certain fixed landmarks as to time and 
place, persons and objects, which, in their natures or their 
names, are so clearly defined, that by them the relation of one 
part to another must be arranged and interpreted. For ex 
ample, in the above quotations, we cannot doubt who are kings 
and priests, or with whom they are to reign ; and it were surely 
strange, if there could be any doubt of the theatre of their 
dominion, when it is so expressly denominated the earth. And 
still more strange, if, when heaven and earth are mentioned 
relatively to each other, and the scene of the Church s future 
glory fixed upon the latter as contradistinguished from the 
former, earth should yet stand for heaven, and not for itself. 
Indeed, the most striking feature in the representations of the 
Apocalypse is the uniformity with which they connect the 
higher grade of blessing with earth, and the lower with the 
world of spirits. As Hengstenberg has justly remarked on ch. 
xx. 4, 5, it invariably points to a double stage of blessedness, 
the one awaiting believers immediately after their departure out 
of this life, the other what they are to receive when they enter 
the New Jerusalem, and reign with Christ in glory. But we 
find the same in our Lord s teaching, as when He said to the 
thief on the cross, " To-day shalt thou be with Me in Paradise," 

1 Rev. v. 9, 10 ; xxi. 1-5. 
VOL. I. 2 D 


and yet pointed His disciples to the state of things on earth 
after the resurrection for their highest reward. (Matt. xix. 
28.) And, on the whole, we are forced to conclude with 
Usteri, that " the conception of a transference of the perfected 
kingdom of God into the heavens is, properly speaking, modern, 
seeing that, according to Paul and the Apocalypse (and, he 
might also have added, Peter and Christ Himself), the seat of 
the kingdom of God is the earth, inasmuch as that likewise 
partakes in the general renovation." 1 

Having now closed our investigation, we draw the following 
conclusions from it. 

1. The earthly Canaan was neither designed by God, nor 
from the first was it understood by His people to be the ultimate 
and proper inheritance which they were to occupy ; things 
having been spoken and "hoped for concerning it which plainly 
could not be realized within the bounds of Canaan. 

1 The above passage is quoted by Tholuck, on Rom. viii. 19, who him 
self there, and on Heb. ii., concurs in the same view. He also states, 
what cannot be denied, that it is the view which has been adopted by the 
greatest number and the most ancient of the expositors, amongst whom 
he mentions, though he does not cite, Chrysostom, Theodoret, Jerome, 
Augustine, Ambrose, Luther, etc. And Rivet, on Gen. viii. 22, states 
that the opinion which maintains only a change, and not an utter de 
struction of the world, has most supporters, both among the elder and the 
more recent writers, so that it may be called, says he, "the common one, 
and be said to prevail by the number of its adherents." In the present 
day, the opposite opinion would probably be entitled to be regarded as by 
much the most common ; and the view here set forth will perhaps by some 
be eyed with jealousy, if not condemned as novel. It may be proper, 
therefore, to give a few quotations from the more eminent commentators. 
Jerome, on Isa. Ixv. 17, quotes Ps. cii. 26 and 27, which he thinks "clearly 
demonstrates, that the perdition spoken of is not a reducing to nothing, 
but a change to the better ;" and having referred to what Peter says of the 
new heavens and the new earth, he remarks that the Apostle " does not 
say, we look for other heavens and another earth, but for the old and 
original ones transformed into a better state." Of the fathers generally, 
as of Justin Martyr in particular, Semisch states that they regarded the 
future destruction of the world by fire " far more frequently as a trans 
formation than as an annihilation." (Life and Times of Justin, Bib. Cab., 
vol. xlii., p. 366.) Calvin, while he discourages minute inquiries and 
vain speculations regarding the future state, expresses himself with con 
fidence, on Rom. viii. 21, as to this world being the destined theatre of 
glory, and considers it as a proof of the incomparable glory to which the 


2. The inheritance was one which could be enjoyed only by 
those who had become the children of the resurrection, them 
selves fully redeemed in soul and body from all the effects and 
consequences of sin, made more glorious and blessed, indeed, 
than if they had never sinned, because constituted after the 
image of the heavenly Adam. And as the inheritance must 
correspond with the inheritor, it can only be man s original 
possession restored, the earth redeemed from the curse which 
sin brought on it, and, like man himself, rendered exceedingly 
more beautiful and glorious than in its primeval state, the fit 
abode of a Church made like, in all its members, to the Son of 

3. The occupation of the earthly Canaan by the natural seed 
of Abraham was a type, and no more than a type, of this occu- 

sons of God are to be raised, that the lower creation is to be renewed for the 
purpose of manifesting and ennobling it, just as the disorders and troubles 
of creation have testified to the appalling evil of our sin. So also Haldane, 
as little inclined to the fanciful as Calvin, on the same passage, after 
quoting from 2 Pet. and Rev., continues : " The destruction of the sub 
stance of things differs from a change in their qualities. When metal of a 
certain shape is subjected to fire, it is destroyed as to its figure, but not as 
to its substance. Thus the heavens and the earth will pass through the 
fire, but only that they may be purified and come forth anew, more 
excellent than before. This hope the hope of deliverance was held out 
in the sentence pronounced on man, for in the doom of our first parents 
the Divine purpose of providing a deliverer was revealed. We know not 
the circumstances of this change, how it will be effected, or in what form 
the creation those new heavens and that new earth, wherein dwelleth 
righteousness, suited for the abode of the sons of God shall then exist ; 
but we are sure it shall be worthy of the Divine wisdom, although at 
present beyond our comprehension." To the same effect Fuller, in his 
Gospel its own Witness, ch. v. Thiersch says of the promise to Abraham, 
u Undoubtedly it pointed to a kingdom of God upon earth, not in an 
invisible world of spirits. Paradise itself had been upon earth, much more 
should the earth be the centre of the world to come." (History, i., p. 20.) 
See Olshausen also on Matt. viii. Mr Stuart, in his work on Romans, 
expresses his strong dissent from such views, on the ground of their being 
opposed to the declarations of Christ, and requiring such a literal inter 
pretation of prophecy as would lead to absurd and ridiculous expectations 
in regard to other predictions. We can perceive no contrariety, however, 
to any declaration of Christ or His apostles ; and the other predictions he 
refers to belong to quite another class, ami do not require, or even admit, 
as might quite easily be shown, of a strictly literal fulfilment. 


pation by a redeemed Church of her destined inheritance of 
glory ; and consequently everything concerning the entrance 
of the former on their temporary possession, was ordered so as 
to represent and foreshadow the things which belong to the 
Church s establishment in her permanent possession. Hence, 
between the giving of the promise, which, though it did not 
terminate in the land of Canaan, yet included that, and through 
it prospectively exhibited the better inheritance, a series of im 
portant events intervened, which are capable of being fully and 
properly explained in no other way than by means of their 
typical bearing on the things hereafter to be disclosed respecting 
that better inheritance. If we ask, why did the heirs of promise 
wander about so long as pilgrims, and withdraw to a foreign 
region before they were allowed to possess the land, and not 
rather, like a modern colony, quietly spread, without strife or 
bloodshed, over its surface, till the whole was possessed ? Or 
why were they suffered to fall under the dominion of a foreign 
power, from whose cruel oppression they needed to be redeemed, 
with terrible executions of judgment on the oppressor, before 
the possession could be theirs ? Or why, before that event 
also, should they have been put under the discipline of law, 
having the covenant of Sinai, with its strict requirements and 
manifold obligations of service, superadded to the covenant of 
grace and promise ? Or why, again, should their right to the 
inheritance itself have to be vindicated from a race of occupants 
who had been allowed for a time to keep possession of it, and 
whose multiplied abominations had so polluted it, that nothing 
short of their extermination could render it a fitting abode for the 
heirs of promise ? The full and satisfactory answer to all such 
questions can only be given by viewing the whole in connection 
with the better things of a higher dispensation, as the first part 
of a plan which was to have its counterpart and issue in the 
glories of a redeemed creation, and for the final results of which 
the Church needed to be prepared by standing in similar re 
lations, and passing through like experiences, in regard to an 
earthly inheritance. No doubt, with one and all of these there 
were connected reasons and results for the time then present, 
amply sufficient to justify every step in the process, when con 
sidered simply by itself. But it is only when we take the whole 


as a glass, in which to see mirrored the far greater things 
which from the first were in prospect, that we can get a compre 
hensive view of the mind of God in appointing them, and know 
the purposes which He chiefly contemplated. 

For example, the fact of Abraham and his immediate de 
scendants being appointed to wander as pilgrims through the 
land of Canaan, without being allowed to occupy any part of it 
as their own possession, may be partly explained, though in that 
view it must appear somewhat capricious, by its being con 
sidered as a trial to their own faith, and an act of forbearance 
and mercy toward the original possessors, whose iniquities were 
not yet full. But if we thus find grounds of reason to explain 
why it may have been so ordered, when we come to look upon 
the things which happened to them, as designed to image other 
things which were afterwards to belong to the relation of God s 
people to a higher and better inheritance, we see it was even 
necessary that those transactions should have been so ordered, 
and that it would have been unsuitable for the heirs of promise, 
either entering at once on the possession, or living as pilgrims 
and expectants, anywhere but within its borders. For thus 
alone could their experience fitly represent the case of God s 
people in Gospel times, who have not only to wait long for the 
redemption of the purchased possession, but while they wait, 
must walk up and down as pilgrims in the very region which 
they are hereafter to use as their own, when it shall have been 
delivered from the powers of evil who now hold it in bondage, 
and purged from their abominations. Hence, if they know 
aright their relation to the world as it now is, and their calling 
as the heirs of promise, they must sit loose to the things of 
earth, even as the patriarchs did to the land of their sojourn, 
must feel that it cannot be the place of their rest so long as it 
is polluted, and that they must stedfastly look for the world to 
come as their proper home and possession. And thus also the 
whole series of transactions which took place between the con 
firmation of the covenant of promise with Jacob, and the actual 
possession of the land promised, and especially of course the 
things which concerned that greatest of all the transactions, the 
revelation of the law from Sinai, is to be regarded as a delinea 
tion in the type, of the way and manner in which the heirs of 


God are to obtain the inheritance of the purchased possession. 
Meanwhile, apart