Imágenes de páginas

does his friends no wrong, for the terms on which He has hired every moral agent are, Thou must be made perfect through trials.) Whether virtue, however, is or is not inevitably involved in sufferance when combating with its opponent vice, is a point we shall not canvass, it being amply sufficient for our purpose to assert what no one can contradict_namely, that it often is exposed to, and does endure, very acute sufferings, when engaged in the arduous contest; and the mere liability of doing so renders it morally impossible for perfect goodness to be fully illustrated, without the actual endurance of the highest degree of sufferance to which the trial thereof can ever expose it. Therefore, in whatever nature Supreme Wisdom saw fit to delineate this perfection, that great achievement could not be accomplished without sustaining every misery to which that nature was liable; and as verily the great celestial Warrior took not on him the nature of angels, but took on him the seed of Abraham,* being found in fashion as a man, He could not glorify God by the manifestation of perfection, had He not become obedient to, and resisted even unto death, which effected by shedding of blood. For the blood is the life; (Lev. xvii. ;) therefore, without shedding of blood there can be no remission.* (The foregoing scriptures will be


* This reasoning also proves that no nature could be efficient for this purpose, which was not liable to as high a degree of temporary sufferance as could possibly be endured. But of this hereafter.

+ That the sole merit of Christ's death did consist in that

“ The perpe.

found, Heb. ii. 16 ; Phil. ii. 8.) tuation and prevalence of unblemished vicarial offerings throughout the earth,” exhibit the most incontrovertible traditionary evidence of their having been originally instituted immediately subsequent to the degradation of our nature, and the assurance of conditional pardon then given. By faith Abel offered the firstlings of his flock. (Heb. xi. 4.) “ And the whole Jewish economy was evidently ordained for the preservation of this faith by a long series of prophecies, visions, types, and figures, till the offering of the body of Jesus Christ our Lord abolished their necessity. * This great event was the centre in which they all met—the point to which they had all tended and verged throughout the course of so many generations. Without the death of Christ, the worship and ceremonies of the law would have remained a pompous but unmeaning institution; but in the hour when he was crucified, every rite assumed its significance, every symbol displayed its correspondence. Christ being come, an high priest of good things to come, by a

being the last high act by which he manifested this perfection, is a point which may, we think, be clearly inferred from the remarks already stated. But should further satisfaction on this head be still required, we feel assured that it will be amply found, when we come to treat on this most interesting of all subjects more at large.

* Through his propitiatory righteousness is procured an unfailing intercession-through this intercession is procured a spiritual regeneration for all who will accept it-for all who do not wilfully reject it. It is therefore a just deduction which asserts, that we are sanctified and perfected by Christ's blood.

greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands--that is to say, not of this building, neither by the blood of bulls and goats, (for it was impossible that their blood could take away sin,) but by his own blood, has now entered once for all into the most holy place in heaven, there to appear in the presence of God, and save to the uttermost all who come unto God through


The last observation which will be here subjoined is, that this sanctum sanctorum, this grand heaven of heavens, is the great celestial granary in which the vast ingathering of virtue will finally be harvested, and to which our hopes aspire; for through the blood of Christ we have boldness to enter into the holiest of all. (Heb. x. 19.) But that we shall not immediately on our dismission from our state of trial, attain this state of blessedness, we shall soon attempt to show. Upon the holy place, the second grand division, or intermediate heavens, and its express assignment, we shall first observe, our conceiving it as unquestionably intended to prefigure “ Paradise, or the happy seat of separated spirits,” † as is the before-named type unto the purpose stated ; the truth of which assertion we shall endeavour distinctly to ascertain. That the emblematic vails and walls portrayed by the law, were designed to prefigure the separating firmaments or boundaries of three separate regions, is a very obvious fact. When the prophet Ezekiel was honoured with a view of the celestial regions--when the

+ Doddridge.

* Blair.



heavens were opened, and he saw the visions of God; (Ezekiel i. 1 ;) when he saw the admeasurement of the most holy place, (xli. 4,) and the separation between the outward sanctuary, (which the court of the tabernacle is often called, Exod. xxvii. 9,) and the profane place (which the outer courts of the temple is sometimes styled, Ezekiel xlii. 20,) the division was then symboled by a wall. (Ezekiel xlii. 20.) And of the high import of these patterns and communications, suffice it again to say, that they were received from God himself. The prefigurative apparatus of the Mosaic institution, demonstrated by the legal representatives of the great heavenly priest being ordained to pass through the symbolic intermediate holy place to the last parting vail, within which they entered to the mercy-seat, clearly prove that it was that resplendent region, the holy place or intermediate heaven, into which our great high Priest was

was first ceived on ending his probation in these our lower heavens, through which He passed to the last parting firmament, within which He entered to the mercy-seat; for the gospel does expressly tell us, that this illustrious Priest is not entered in the holy places made with hands, the figures of the true: but that He is passed into the heavens ; (Heb. iv. 14 ;) and these we see described in the emblematic charts, as rising in direct majestic order the one above the other, rendering a passage through the holy place, or paradisaic region, the only way by which access can possibly be attained within the sanctum sanctorum.


Now, as the dying declaration of him who is the way,

the truth, and the life, announoes that he should be, upon the very day he here resigned his breath, received into paradise, (Luke xxiii. 43,) we may with certainty conclude, that the holy place portrayed by the law, and the paradisaic realms revealed by the gospel, to be one and the self-same region. For our blessed Lord does not, when granting pardon to his suffering petitioner, alone assure him that he should be conveyed into a state of happiness, but that He should be with him in paradise. Had He not been thus explicit, we might have supposed some little distant world allotted for the happy purpose of receiving the departed spirits which daily migrate from our earthly clod: but in this most comforting assurance, a constellation of mercies is included. It establishes, both by the New as well as Old Testament, a point of nearest, dearest interest, the certainty not only of the soul's existence in its separate state, but also of its holiness and happiness, by pointing out the sacred clime destined for its reception, affixing thereunto the epithets of "holy place and paradise,' which signifieth pleasure. And still further illustration of this blessed truth is derived from the book of Revelations, (vi. 9;) I saw under the altar (that is, the golden incense altar,) the souls of those that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held; and as these were required to rest a little season under the altar in the holy place, without the parting vail, we may with certainty conclude,

« AnteriorContinuar »