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HEB. XIII. 8.
Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, to-day, and
HE nature of man being the same now as from the beginning of the world, and the nature of God being unchangeable; it must follow that the great object of the Dispensations of God must be the same in every age; though the form and manner after which that object is pursued may be different: so that what God spake in former times to the Fathers by the Prophets, will be found the same in sense and effect, with what he spake in the last days by his Son; though he spoke in divers manners, as occasion might require, at sundry times.”
Such was the inference meant to be drawn in a former Discourse, from the words of the text; considered as containing the following important position; That the doctrine of Salvation through Christ, was, and is, and always will be the same, independent of the imaginations of way. ward and sinful men.
That, as God is a Being 66 with whom is neither variableness nor shadow of turning;” as all his works are known unto him from the beginning; and can be known unto man only so far as He has been pleased to reveal them; it follows, that the Revelation which has been vouchsafed for that purpose, must necessarily be uniform and consistent.
When indeed it is considered, that the great scheme of human redemption engaged the divine councils before the world began ; that the three Great Ones in the Godhead, each made himself a Party in the execution of it; and that this great scheme, commencing with the Fall, was to travel on through all the successive "changes in the world, to its consummation at Christ's second coming in Glory;
it is but to be expected that a scheme, in which both Heaven and Earth, appear so deeply interested, should constitute the chief subject of Revelation; that its History should be coeval with that of the Globe itself, should run through every stage of its existence, and outlast its utmost duration.
With this idea before us, we shall readily conclude, that the mode which divine wisdom made choice of from time to time, for the purpose of keeping alive in the world the hope of the promised Redeemer, was the mode best suited to the circumstances of the age, and the condition of the parties, for whose use it was employed.
In this important point of view we have endeavoured to place the typical service of the Law ; as a Divine Institution, designed to be preparatory to a more perfect Dispensation, and, in the most prominent feature of it, to be expressly pre-figurative of that great sacrifice of the Cross, which constituted the completion of the Divine Covenant in favour of fallen man. But in so doing, we do not mean to
countenance that licentious interpretation of Scripture, which some of the Old Fathers of the Church inadvertently gave into; by which, with the help of forced and innatural Types, the Sacred Writings were made to mean every thing they were supposed capable of signifying; instead of that alone which they were designed to signify.
Neither Types nor Prophecies were intended to open a field for the airy excursions of a fanciful imagination ; but for the sober exercise of a sound and rational understanding; in the application of them to those particular subjects, to the illustration and evidence of which they were severally, though in different ways, dosigned to minister.
Our rule of judgement therefore in this case must be regulated by the standard set up for it in Scripture; which directs us not to reject all typical illustration, on account of the extreme to which it has been occasionally carried; but to confine the use of it within those bounds, which appear to have been drawn out for it by its Divine Author. In such case, whilst we
steer clear of imaginary allusions, which, by making the Scriptures subservient to the irregular flights of human fancy, tend to destroy the substance of all sound Divinity; we shall have more time to examine and appreciate the propriety and striking particularity of those Types ; which, having received the sanction of divine wisdom; must, the better they are understood ; in consequence of the correspondence between the Figure and the Reality being exactly traced out; contribute more powerfully to the establishment of that cause, to which they were originally designed to minister.
Imaginary types necessarily lead to imaginary interpretations; which seldom fail, more or less, to divert the mind from the proper subject of religious investigation. Whereas real types have that appropriate signification annexed to them, which, when properly understood, must lead to a decisive and unambiguous conclusion. The very name of Types implies a resemblance to the thing typified. But then it is not every sort of resemblance, that is sufficient to constitute a type; but such a simili