Page images
PDF
EPUB

Indeed,

key: that Christ Jesus is of God made to us righteousness, sanctification, and redemption: and thus may the church appropriate to herself all the triumphant passages; because, whilst glorying, she glories in her Lord. By this means every passage applies both to Christ and to the church. To Christ literally, the passages of triumph; and by imputation, the humiliating ones: and to his bride, the converse. on any other supposition, it is inconceivable what consistent sense can be affixed to the Psalms. Since confessions of sin, and declarations of innocence; lamentations under God's wrath, and bursts of triumph in his favour, are continually intermingled in the very same Psalms, and often in the very same passage; in order that we may, as it were, be forced off the literal into the spiritual sense of the passage.

That the spiritual is, in fact, the principal sense of Scripture, is indeed a truth so obvious that it is irresistibly forced upon us from every part of holy writ. Thus David says, in the seventy-eighth Psalm," I will open my mouth in a parable. I will utter dark sayings of old.Also in the forty-ninth Psalm, “ I will incline mine ear to a parable. I will utter my dark say. ing upon the harp." Yet, after these declarations, what follows appears most perfectly clear to those who only take it in the literal sense. The seventy-eighth Psalm consisting only of a recapitulation of the early Jewish history, which Josephus assures us was perfectly known to every man, woman, and child in Judæa. The forty-ninth being composed of what would appear the most commonplace truisms in their direct sense. Yet David expressly warns his readers, that these apparently obvious, historic, and preceptive truths, are dark parables. What then can such a warning mean, but to inform as that the history of the children of Israel, which forms the subject of the one; and the preceptive parts of Scripture, which form that of the other; are in reality chiefly valuable from the hidden and spiritual meaning they convey; and that the person who would read the plainest parts of the history of the children of Israel, or the most apparently trite precepts of the book of Proverbs (or Parables, as its Hebrew name should be translated), would be most egregiously mistaken, and would entirely miss the fruit enveloped in the rind, if they imagined that the primary sense of the one was historical, or that of the other prudentially preceptive.

Those persons who wish to establish the literal as the only interpretation, might soon convince themselves of their mistake by an

examination of all those passages in the Old Testament which are explained by the word of inspiration in the New. This examination cannot fail of bringing absolute conviction, how different the interpretation would have been on their literal plan : and it must bring a conviction that the mode of interpretation, which the inspired penmen have adopted, is precisely that one which they brand as enthusiastic and fanatical.

What literalist would have allowed God's oath of his people's reot entering into rest, a sig. nification beyond the limits of the earthly promised land, had not St. Paul especially declared its primary reference to the heavenly Canaan? Which of them would have tolerated the allegorized applications of Hagar and Sarah, to the Jewish and Christian churches, had not that apostle made the application? What literal interpreter would not have branded with fanaticism the explanation of the manna, and the brazen serpent, and the temple, as the types of Christ, had he not himself expressly put it beyond all dispute? Or which of them would have conceded the grand end of the morning and evening sacrifices to be types of Jesus, had not John the Baptist sanctioned this explanation,

R

by declaring him the Lamb which taketh away the sins of the world? Would any one of them have applied the type of the red heifer to Christ, bad he not been expressly stated to have, like her, been sacrificed without the camp? Would they have granted that the passover was instituted to show forth the death of the true Paschal lamb, unless the apostle Paul had expressly declared Chrisi our passover who was sacrificed for us? Would they have allowed him to be typified by the rock of the Israelites, by the stream which followed them ? Would they have acknowledged Melchizedek as the type of his unchangeable priesthood, and eucharistic sacrifice? Or Jonah, as that of his call to the Gentiles, his death, and resurrection, unless the inspired writers of the New Testament had not only recorded the rule that the Scriptures testify of Christ, and can only make wise unto salvation through faith in him; but unless in all these several instances, besides hundreds of others which might be named, they had made their formal and express application to him?

Let those who reject the rule of interpreting Scripture as centering in Christ, although a rule given by himself, seriously consider how very

widely astray their rule of interpretation would have led them, in all the above instances, and in all similar ones.

Is it not (I will not say perceptible), but is it not indisputable, that, in all such instances, these things in the Old Testament were really principally, if not altogether, intended as figures of our Lord in the New ?

Thus, however fanciful such interpretations may appear to irreligious persons, or to unscriptural professors, they are nevertheless absolutely and certainly true; and they must be allowed to be true by all who do not reject the divine authority of the New Testament (the sanctions of which come within the scope of historic record), because we have it from the lips and example of inspiration, consequently of divinity itself; and therefore there can exist no room for doubt on the subject.

The uses, nay the necessity, in the very nature of things, for adopting this parabolic mode of instruction, will soon appear evident if we attend to the following considerations.

The Scripture being the voice of God to all ages, people, and languages, it is absolutely necessary that it should speak a language incapable of substantial falsification or adulteration. It was necessary that it should be effectually

« PreviousContinue »