« AnteriorContinuar »
which he opposes to the oldness of the letter, that is, the letter of the Law. In the former part of the verse, he speaks of the Law being dead; and, here, of its being revived with a new spirit, in contradistinction to the oldness of the letter. So true was it, what in another place he observes, that the Law was a SHADOW of things to come; but the body was of Christ *. The shadow not of a body then to be seen or understood, as these Answerers imagine, but of a body that was to come, and, by its presence, to explain the meaning and reason of the shadow. For the Jews being, as the Apostle says, in bondage under the elements of the world t, were as men shut up in prison, with their faces kept turned from the light, towards the whited wall of CEREMONIES: on which indeed they saw many shadows; but the body or opposite substance at their backs, to which they could not turn, they saw not. And, in this state, says the same Apostle, they were kept shut up unto the Faith, which should afterwards be revealed I. Therefore till that time came, it appears that the great community of the Jews had no knowledge of this Faith; one of the essential articles of which is life everlasting. This, we must needs have concluded even though he had not said, that till that time came, they were in bondage under the elements of the world. A proper character truly of a People acquainted with the revealed Doctrine of life and immortality. But the Objectors pretend that the reason why Moses did not PLAINLY teach a future state, in the manner CHRIST hath taught it, was because the Jews were a carnal people, incapable of spiritual things. Now what is the consequence of this incapacity, but that the spiritual sense was reserved for better times, when their • Col. ii. 17 Gal. iv. 3. Gal. iii. 23. ¢ ¢ 4
minds minds should grow more pure and defecated from carnal things; which all along continued so gross and bounded, that even the most easy of their typical informations, the calling in of the Gentiles, was never understood by them; yet this truth the Prophets had, from time to time, so plainly cultivated, that the vail of typical embroidery seems often to have been drawn aside, to assist their weak sight. But farther, The better part of the Objectors, I suppose, will allow that temporal good and evil were not only proposed, but actually dispensed to the Jews, living for some time under an equal Providence. And what was the consequence of this but to confine them to the literal sense of their Sanction, and stop them from looking farther? Yet in defiance of Reason, of Scripture, of the order of things, nay even of their own systems, these men will suppose, because the Law is said to be spiritual, or to have a spiritual sense, that therefore this sense always went along with, and was inseparably attached to, the literal, in the understandings of the Jewish People. Which is so strangely absurd, that it takes away the very cause and occasion of two senses. For, Why, let me ask, had the Law a spiritual sense, under a carnal cover, but for this reason, that the first Jews were so grossly minded as to be incapable of spiritual things; and were therefore, in order to direct and go. vern their affections, presented with the carnal, to repose upon ? That Schoolmaster, as St. Paul calls the Law, which was to bring them by degrees, through those carnal elements, to the spiritual and sublime Doctrines of Christ.—Yet see the scheme of these Objectors. The early Jews are supposed of so sordid a taste as to be incapable of a spiritual Repast, and therefore they had a carnal Cover laid before them: yet were they, at the same time, so quick scented as to pieree through this carnal shell to which they were attached, into the spiritual substance, for which they had no relish. . This may be Reason, say these men ; but what is human Reason when opposed to Scripture? Just what it was, say I, before you set them at variance : and apparently for no other purpose than to silence and disgrace this modest Handmaid of Revelation. · However, Scripture, it seems, informs us that the figurative and literal, the spiritual and carnal senses of the Law, always went together. This, they say, the Author of the epistle to the Hebrews plainly teaches. There are Priests who offer gifts according to the Law; who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the Tabernacle. · For see (saith he) that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed thee in the mount *. But these words will never do the business. Could the Objectors, indeed, find a Text which tells us, that “as Moses was admonished • of God about the spiritual sense of the Law, so he « informed the People of it,” this would be to the purpose. As it is, it will hardly follow, that because Moses was adınonished of the spiritual sense, that therefore the spiritual and a carnal went together in the Intellects and Worship of the People. Moses's knowledge of this secret I allow, as it seems to follow from the privilege of his Mission; for if Abraham desired to see Christ's day, and saw it, and was glad, we are not to suppose that Moses, who had a higher office in the ministry of God's Dispensations than Abraham had, should be less favoured than Abraham was. Yet though I believe this, the text here urged in support of it, does in strictness, prove little of the matter. The Objectors suppose the sense of the text to be this " that the Priests served unto the example " and shadow of heavenly things, and that of this “ truth, Moses was admonished, by God in the mount." But the Apostle is here instructing us in a very different truth. The words—as Moses was admonished of God—are a Similitude or Comparison which conveys a sense to this purpose,—“ The Priests, who offer gifts according to the Law, serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, in as exact and close a manner as that Tabernacle, which Moses was admonished to make, answered to the pattern shewed him of it, in the mount." Not only the Argument which the Apostle is upon, but the propriety of the word Xompatizw points us to this sense : which signifies to command or direct the doing of a thing by an Oracle or Magistrate; and this Xenualoopós or direction we find in the place which the sacred writer refers toAnd look that thou make them after this pattern, which was shewed thee in the mount *. But there is nothing these men will not employ for the support of their absurdities. They will borrow aid even from a quibble or equivocation : And the following words of the same Apostle have been urged to prove that the Law taught its Followers the doctrines of the Gospel-Unto us (Christians] was the GOSPEL preached as well as unto them [Jews t.].
1. And now to proceed to the particular Texts produced from the PENTATEUCH, in support of this opinion, God says to Abraham, In thee, shall all the families of the earth be blessed 1. The Jews understoad this to signify a formulary, that men should use, when they invocated the choicest blessings on their friends and families, to this effect; May God bless thee as he blessed Abraham. And the first of Christian • Exod. XXV:40. + Heb. iv. 2. | Gen. xii. 3.
Interpreters, Interpreters, Hugo Grotius, understands it to signify a promised blessing, which, in time, should be derived to the whole earth, from Abraham's care that his posterity should continue in the belief and worship of the one true God. Indeed, when the fulness of time came, it would then be seen, both by Jews and Christians, that this blessing ultimately centred in the holy Jesus, the only begotten Son of God, to whom the Father hath delegated all power and dominion. Again, “ God says to ABRAHAM, I am thy erceeding great reward*.” And again: “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 possession; and I will “ be their God t.”. “ He repeats the same promise to Isaac and to Jacob personally; yet he gave Abraham no inheritance in the land, though he promised he would give it to him and to his seed after him.”—Thus have these texts been urged by an excellent Writer against the Sadducean opinion, as containing a promise of future rewards in another life : But urged by him, I will suppose, as proving such a promise in a secondary or spiritual sense only. Because that sense is sufficient for his purpose: and because in that sense only, is it true, that they do contain such a promise. For, 1. 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 collectively, signify the RACE OF ABRA* Gen. xv. 1. + Gen. xvii. 7, 8. Dr. S. Clarke, Evid. of Nat. and Rev. Relig. p. 241. ed. 6.