« PreviousContinue »
CI. THE NATURE AND USE OF THE TYPES.
Col. ii. 17. Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.
MAN is naturally addicted to superstition; par ly from a consciousness of his needing mercy from God, and partly from a desire of reconciling himself to God by some meritorious services of his own. The Jewish œconomy had rather a tendency to foster this disposition, inasmuch as it prescribed many rites and ceremonies as means of acceptance with God. But from these the Gospel has set us free; and, in so doing, has introduced a more free and liberal spirit. Nevertheless, even under the light of the Gospel, we are prone to indulge the same servile desires, and to prefer a yoke of bondage to the freedom of God's children. Such was the case with many even in the apostolic age. St. Paul is cautioning the Colossians against two sorts of teachers, who were endeavouring to mislead them; against the advocates for Heathen philosophy,' and against the Judaizing brethren, who insisted on the observance of the Mosaic ritual. In opposition to the latter of these, he bids the Christians to assert their liberty from the observances of the ceremonial law, that being, in fact, no more than a shadow, of which they now possessed the substance.
We shall take occasion from his words to shew I. The nature of the types
The scripture sets before us several kinds of types
[Christians are in general but little acquainted with the types: yet the scripture abounds with them, and mentions various kinds of them. They may be reduced to three classes;
a Verse 8.
b Verse 16.
natural, historical, and legal. The natural are such as may be seen in the works of nature; (in this view, the creation of the universe is a type of the new creation, which the regenerate soul experiences through the word and Spirit of God) the historical are such as Joshua, David and others; and the legal are all the ceremonies of the Jewish law.]
These are shadowy representations of Christ and his benefits
[All of them relate to Christ in some view or other; either to his person and offices, or to his church and the benefits he confers upon it. They are the shadow, whereof he is the substance: and as a shadow represents, though but faintly, the image of the substance, so they portray, though in a very indistinct manner, the character and work of Christ.]
Nevertheless they must have been instituted of God for this purpose
[We are not at liberty to consider every common similitude as a type, or to launch into the boundless ocean of conjecture: in some instances indeed observations drawn from analogy may be almost as convincing as the declarations of God himself: but it is safest to adhere to those points, which scripture has determined for us: in them we are in no danger of erring, and therefore can speak with precision and authority. Nor should we ever forget, that, as those things alone are sacraments to us which God has appointed to be so, so those things alone were types to the Jewish church, which God instituted for that express purpose.]
The text, in connexion with the context, leads us further to declare
II. Their use
God would not have appointed them, if they had not been beneficial to his church. But with respect to the Jewi h and the Christian church, we shall, as they subserved different purposes, notice their use to each:
1. To the Jews
[The types served to shew them what sort of a person their Messiah should be: for though (as was before noticed) the notions acquired from a shadow are very indistinct, yet it conveys some idea of the substance, from which it is projected. They further kept up the expectation of him in the world. The first promise had been nearly forgotten; and most probably the repetition of it would have made but a transient impression: but the multitude of observances, daily repeated, and continually directing the eyes of the worshippers to him, could not fail of exciting a general, and increasing expectation of
his advent. They moreover led the people to exercise faith on him. Every intelligent worshipper must see that the blood of bulls and of goats could not take away sin; and therefore (as we are sure Abraham, David and others did) the devout Jews must look through the ordinances to Christ, and rely on him who was to come, just as we rely on him who is-come.]
2. To us
[The types are of signal use to us, in that they testify of Christ as the person promised from the foundation of the world, and prefigured in the whole of the Mosaic ritual. When we compare the account of Christ in the New Testament with the various ordinances of the Old, we see how impossible it was that such a coincidence of character should ever happen, but by the express ordination and appointment of God. But they are of further use to us also, in that they wonderfully illustrate the character of Jesus. We could not have formed any adequate idea of Christ's work and offices, if we had not been assisted by the typical institutions: these serve to embody our notions, and to make them, like a picture, visible to the eyes of men, and therefore intelligible to the meanest capacity: whereas, if we could not thus invest them, as it were, with matter, we could only offer to our hearers some abstract ideas, which, after all, would convey but little meaning, and leave no abiding impression.]
1. How great are the privileges of the Christian church!
[The Jews were oppressed with a yoke of ceremonies, which they were not able to bear, the import of which they could very faintly discern, and the observance of which yielded no permanent satisfaction to their consciences: but we are freed from that yoke, and enjoy a dispensation of light, and liberty. Let us be thankful for our privilege, and "stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free."]
2. What spirituality of mind should we possess!
[Our superior privileges doubtless demand a correspondent pre-eminence in our spirit and conduct. If we are "no longer servants but sons," we ought to manifest a filial affection towards God, and a delight in his service. But do not many of the pious Jews reproach us? O let us walk worthy of our high vocation, and shew forth the praises of him who has called us out of darkness into his marvellous light."].
CII. ADAM A TYPE OF CHRIST.
1 Cor. xv. 22. As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
THE fall of man in Adam, and his recovery in Christ, comprehend the whole circle of divine truth: every part of the revealed will of God is so connected with these two doctrines, that all must stand or fall together. Our death implies the former of them; and our resurrection the latter. Hence St. Paul, proving the doctrine of the resurrection, adverts to our fall in Adam as an acknowledged truth, and draws a parallel between that and our recovery in Christ.
I. Establish the points mentioned in the text Nothing can be more certain than that "in Adam all died"
[The penalty of eating the forbidden fruit was death, death temporal, spiritual, eternal: and, on the very day that Adam fell, the threatened punishment was inflicted on him, so far, at least, as could consist with God's purposes towards the world at large: the seeds of death were implanted in his body; a spiritual death seized upon his soul; and everlasting death awaited him, unless divine mercy should interpose to deliver him from it. Nor was this a matter which concerned him alone; it involved both him and all his posterity, insomuch that all the human race fell in him, and became obnoxious to temporal, spiritual, eternal death. The very words of the text prove this; yea, they prove it more strongly than any mere assertion could do; because they state it as an allowed fact; and make it the foundation of a most important comparison.]
Nor is it less clear that "in Christ shall all be made "alive"
[Christ was sent into the world to repair the ruins of the fall. By his Spirit he "quickens the souls that were dead in trespasses and sins;" and by his obedience unto death he reconciles them to their offended God. It is true, that the death of the body is still inflicted upon all: but this ceases to be a punishment to God's people, and must rather be considered as a blessing: "To whomsoever it is Christ to live, it is gain to die:" and the body which is consigned for a while to its native dust, shall at last be raised again in the likeness of Christ's glorious body," to participate the blessedness of its kindred
a Phil. i. 21
soul. All this is restored to us in and through Christ, who on this very account calls himself "the resurrection and the life."]
But both these points will be yet further confirmed, while we
II. Shew the correspondence between them
If it be asked, How did we die in Adam? and, How do we live in Christ? we answer;
1. By means of a fœderal relation to them
[Neither Adam nor Christ are to be regarded as private individuals, but as the representatives of all mankind. Adam was the covenant head of the whole world: the covenant was made with him for himself and them: had he fulfilled the conditions imposed upon him, there is reason to believe, that the benefits of his obedience would have descended to his latest posterity, who beyond a doubt are involved in the punishment of his disobedience. The death of infants is a decisive evidence, that the sin of Adam is imputed to them; for death is the punishment of sin; and a righteous God will not inflict punishment, where it is not in some way or other merited; therefore they, who have never committed actual sin, and yet are punished, must have guilt imputed to them in some other way, or, in other words, must be chargeable with Adam's guilt. This is the Apostle's own statement; and his conclusion is irresistible.
Christ in the same manner was the head and representative of the elect world: what he did and suffered, he did and suffered in our place and stead; "he, who knew no sin, became sin for us, that we, who had no righteousness, might become the righteousness of God in him." St. Paul himself not only asserts this, but draws at considerable length this very parallel between Adam and Christ, in order to evince, that, so far from being injured by this constitution of things, we have our loss in Adam far overbalanced by the remedy which God has given us in Christ.
2. By the 'communication of their nature to us
[Adam was formed after God's image, pure and holy; but he begat children in his own fallen image, corrupt and sinful.f Nor could he do otherwise; for "who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean?" The fountain being polluted, the streams that issued from it could not but participate of its malignant qualities. Hence it is that we are conceived in sin and born in iniquity; and that all, the apostles themselves not excepted, 66 are by nature children of wrath."i
b John xi. 25.
e Rom. v. 12, 14. and v. 3.
f Gen. i. 26, 27.
Eph. ii. 3.
d 2 Cor. v. 21.
g Job xiv. 4.