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Angel of the presence was wont to appear, and in which he was at length to be born as an infant.
Further light is thrown upon the character of Metatron by the curious exposition, which the Gemara of Babylon gives of the following text from Isaiah : Whom shall he teach knowledge, and whom shall he malce to understand doctrine?' This work is, in the first instance, ascribed to God : next however it is asked, But who taught them from the beginning, or during the period (for so the passage is understood) which elapsed before the destruction of the temple? The answer is : If you please, you may say Metutron ; but, if you prefer it, he huth done both the one and the other. 2 Here the author most plainly alludes to the office, sustained by the Angel of Jehovah, under the Patriarchal and Levitical dispensations. He it was, who from the beginning taught knowledge : but, in thus ascribing the functions of an instructor to Metatron, we in effect ascribe them to God; because in Metatron is the name of Jehovah.
These sentiments prevailed among the Jews to a very late period, notwithstanding their virulent hatred of Christianity: and I strongly suspect, that they still prevail among their Rabbins as an esoteric doctrine, though carefully withheld from the profane vulgar. R. Moses Gerundensis, who wrote about the year 1220, gives the following explanation of the passage wherein the captain of
1 Isaiah xxviii. 9.
Avoda Sara. p. 13, 14.
the Lord's host is said to have anthropomorphically appeared to Joshua. This Angel,
This Angel, says he, if we speak exactly, is the Angel-Redeemer, of whom it is written, My name is in him ; that very Angel, who said to Jacob, I am the God of Beth-El; he, of whom it is said, God called to Moses out of the bush. He is styled An Angel, because he governs the world : for it is written, Jehovah brought you up out of Egypt; and, He sent his Angel and brought you out of Egypt. Besides it is written, The Angel of his face saved them. He is that Angel, who is the face of God; of whom it is said, My face shall go, and I will give you rest. In fine, he is that Angel, of whom the prophet Malachi says : The Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple ; even the Messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in-Diligently attend to the meaning of these words, My face shall go before thee. For Moses and the Israelites always desired the Chief Angel : but, who this was, they could not truly understand. For neither did they learn it from others, nor could they sufficiently attain it by prophecy. But The face of God signifies God himself ; which is acknowledged by all interpreters. But no one can have the least notion of these things, unless he be truly instructed in the mysteries of the Law—My face shall go before you : that is, The Angel of the covenant whom ye desire, in whom my face shall be seen ; of whom it is said, In an acceptable time have I heard thee, My name is in him, and I will cause thee to rest or I will cause that he shall be gentle and benign to thee. Neither shall he lead thee with rigour, but calmly and mercifully.'
III. From these authorities we learn, that the sentiments of the Hebrew Church, both before and after the advent of our Lord, respecting the end of the Law and the nature of the Angel of Jehovah, were in substance much the same as those of the Catholic Christian Church.
The views indeed of the Jewish doctors are so remarkably clear on the points in question : that, while we admire the good providence of God, in having so amply prepared for the reception of the Messiah by the predictions and the phraseology of the Old Testament, which were the only sources whence the Rabbins could derive their knowledge; we cannot but lament and wonder at the strange blindness of the chosen people in not perceiving, that Christ is the end of the Law for righteousness to every one that belicoeth, that he is the incarnate Word of the Targumists, that he is the longexpected Angel Metatron in whom is the name of Jehovah, that he is the great Messenger of the covenant, who dwelt among us bodily veiling his celestial majesty in a tabernacle of human flesh.
But this blindness is among the mysteries of God: and, unaccountable as it may appear upon any principles of moral evidence, we know that it is to continue, until the fulness of the Gentiles shall arrive, or until the full expiration of those times which are denominated the times of the Gentiles. Then shall all Israel be saved : as it is written; There shall come out of Sion thé Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob."
'Poli Synop. in Josh. v. 14. Owen on Heb. vol. i. ex. X. p. 123. For many of the preceding citations, I acknowledge myself indebted to Dr. Jamieson's Vind, of the doctrine of Scripture. book i. c. 1, 5, 6, 7.
ERRONEOUS OPINIONS RESPECTING THE CON
NECTION OF THE THREE DISPENSATIONS.
ON THE ETERNAL PERSONALITY OF THE WORD,
We have seen, that the Word or the Angel of Jehovah is the peculiar God of all the three Dispensations, and yet that he is invariably described as a separate person from the unseen Jehovah who sends him. Such being the case, his distinct personality must have subsisted during the whole period of the three Dispensations : and, as he is further said to have been the creator of the world, he must have existed as a distinct person anterior to its creation.
1. A term is used respecting this mysterious being, which demands our special attention.
The Word or the Son of God is said to have been born or to have been begotten of the Father