图书图片
PDF
ePub

These personages filled an important place and sustained a dignified office in the age in which they lived. The record of their ages supplies the data on which the chronology of nearly a third part of this world's duration is founded. They appear before us as composing the sacred line in which the true faith was preserved; and by them the first revelation to man, and the first discovery of the way of salvation, and of Jehovah's purposes in regard to the two seeds into which the human race should be divided, was handed down traditionally to their posterity.

Considering these circumstances, and the particularity with which their names and ages are recorded, together with the important meaning frequently conveyed by the Hebrew names borne by celebrated persons, it is not unreasonable to expect that these Patriarchs should have been so designated as to reveal and preserve a memorial of truths of much interest to the church; and if the following exposition of their names approaches accuracy, it will be found that most of the great events and eras connected with the history of the church of Christ, and to which the faith of the people of God has been since directed, and especially those connected with the latter days, were thereby set forth in accurate prophetic order.

1. The first-born of the holy seed was Abel, 527_“vanity,” or that which is transitory, and of short continuance—whose life was terminated by a murderer ; a representation of the period or state of man's continuance in innocence, which was soon terminated by the act of him who was “ a murderer from the beginning."

2. nu, Seth,was“set,” “appointed,” or“substituted,” for another (Gen. iv. 25);-descriptive of the age of substitution, or that in which sacrifices were set or appointed for suffering, in the room of the transgressor : which was terminated by the coming of Him who appeared in the end of that age, to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.

3. WIJN, Enos—"man, as the subject of weakness, frailty, and infirmity;"_his name foretelling the assumption of that state of humanity by his great Antitype, and describing the sojourn of Messiah'in humiliation here on earth.

4. 73'p, Cainan-“ abundant acquisition, riches ; ”_setting forth the consequence of Christ's humiliation, death, and resurrection; the fruitfulness of that“,grain of wheat” after it had “ fallen into the ground and died ;” when the Gentiles became fellow-heirs, and a great multitude, which no man can number, out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation,” was brought into the church, as the reward of the travail of the Redeemer's soul.

6.5x5502, Mahalaleel " the shining forth or bright irradia

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

tion of the Mediator;"-referring to that period when, preparatory to his appearing, he shall display himself in an especial manner, for the execution of judgments on the nations, for the dissemination of his truth, and for the calling in of his elect. To such a period, or to the verge of it, we seem to have arrived : a period which was probably intended in the expressions used in 2 Thess. ii. 8, “ whom the Lord shall.....destroy with the brightness of his coming..

6. 77 Jared—“ he shall descend” (see Acts i. 11);-the second advent immediately succeeding that “ brightness of his coming."

7. 7127, Enoch-the word signifies “ the handselling of something new, as the first entrance upon a new habitation." He was the first who took possession of the glorified body without tasting death, and was a type of those who shall be so translated at the second coming of Christ. (1 Cor. xv. 52; 1 Thess. iv. 15, 17.)

8 and 9. nburne Methuselah, and 735 Lamech, may be considered in connection. They intimated what shall befas the last enemy, when He that hath the keys of death shall come to unlock the prison-house. These names signify, the first, “ Death sending forth;” the second, “even until exhausted.” Considering that the characteristic of death is the retention of all that enter his portals, the act described under the name of Methuselah (“ death sending forth," instead of retaining)is peculiarly striking: And as the great gaol delivery is to consist of two distinct and far distant acts (Rev. xx. 4, 5), two patriarchs represented it: the first, the delivery of the prisoners of hope ; the second, the utter emptying or exhaustion of the grave. In the first the church has ever had the most intimate interest: to the last her faith has been directed, as the period of the final triumph over the last enemy, and the immediate harbinger of the entrance of the redeemed into full and ultimate glory.

10. 73, Noah-"rest.” His name was prophetical of the church's state of rest, and may be referred both to her millennial and to her final rest (Heb. iv. 9; 2 Thess. i. 7), the whole of which will be to her an unbroken period. Being once raised, and possessed of a glorious body, like unto that of her Lord and Head, she will never more, in her own person, know conflict or change.

Let us next take a view of the character of Melchizedek, and of the circumstances attending his appearance to Abraham. The first and only appearance of Melchizedek is recorded in the xiv th chapter of Genesis, and is explained at length, by an infallible expositor, in the viith chapter to the Hebrews. "The Apostle's exposition and argument fully establish to my mind three points : Ist, That Melchizedek was a typical person, and

not our Lord himself; 2dly, That he shadowed forth the Lord Jesus Christ in his conjoint character of Priest and King; and 3dly, That the time and circumstances of his appearance to Abraham prefigured a manifestation of our glorious and Divine Redeemer in that character, which is still future, and which is predicted by all the Prophets.

The first point has been so well maintained by able and well known writers, that it will be unnecessary to enter into the proofs of it in this place : the second is universally admitted, I believe, by all who concede the first; but, before I pass on to the third, I would just remark, to any who may differ from me on the other points, and hold Melchizedek to have been our Lord himself, that even that persuasion will not invalidate what is to be noticed on the third point : for the appearance of our Lord to Jacob at Bethel, though actual and personal, was still only the type and precursor of a corresponding but more glorious appearance, wbich, it has been declared by himself to Nathaniel (John i. 51), is yet future.

Let us, in reference to the third point, observe the time of Melchizedek's appearance to Abraham, and some of the circumstances immediately preceding and attendant upon it. St. Paul specially directs our minds to the fact, that Melchizedek met Abraham " after the slaughter of the kings,” and blessed bim. We learn, from the history recorded in the xiv th chapter of Genesis, 14-17, that Abraham had armed all his servants, and pursued the confederate kings who had overcome and spoiled the king of Sodom and his allies, and had carried captive Lot, the kinsman of Abraham. Abraham had smitten and slain the hostile kings, had released their captives, and was met by Melchizedek on his return from the expedition ; who then for the first time appears upon the stage of the history, although he was previously living in the possession of the titles which are then, and not till then, openly ascribed to him by the sacred historian.

There is a striking accordance in this remarkable history with what is predicted concerning the glorious second advent of our Lord and Saviour. The time of his appearing is described by the Prophets as being that in which his people Israel are suffering oppression and distress (as Lot was) at the hands of the enemies of the spiritual Sodom (Dan. xii. 1; Rev. xi. 8); even of those infidel kings who shall have “ hated ” Babylon, “and made her desolate and naked, and eaten her Alesh, and burned her with fire” (Rev. xvii. 16). The followers of the Lamb, the “called and chosen and faithful,” the family of Abraham (Gal. iii. 29), are to take part in the execution of this vengeance; and when it is executed, afier the slaughter of the kings,” the

VOL. 11.-NO. I.

P

.

great Antitype of Melchizedek shall be displayed to, and acknowledged by, the natural seed of Abraham, in all the offices, and as possessed of all the dignities, which were ascribed to the royal priest of old : offices and dignities which he already has, and exercises in a limited degree and as it respects his church, but which he shall then come forth and exercise openly before the world. He shall in that day be seen as the Priest of the Most High God, bearing the emblems or marks which designate himself as the true sacrifice : just as the Lamb, who is then to be revealed, appeared unto John “a Lamb as it had been slain(Rev. v. 6); for “ in that day," when the Lord shall pour upon the house of David and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication, they shall look upon him whom they have pierced, and mourn*.”—He shall be seen also as the Melchizedek, the King of Righteousness, or the righteous King, superseding and displacing the unrighteous dominions of this world, and binding the god of this world, “the spirit that now ruleth in the hearts of the children of disobedience;" and shall exercise himself a righteous rule over “ the new heavens and the new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.”—He shall be seen, further, as the peaceful King, or King of Peace. In his days shall the righteous (one) flourish, and abundance of peace so long as the moon endureth [margin, or till there be no moon). Ps. lxxii. 7.

The seat of his kingdom seems in this type to have been also pointed out. He shall be King of Salem or Jerusalem (the name signifying, “ It shall inherit peace,” or “the peace.”) Jerusalem, whether by that name we understand that city which is described by John as descending out of heaven, or the rebuilt capital of the restored tribes, or both united, shall be his metropolis, the throne of the Lord. “ The name of that city from that day shall be, The Lord is there" (Ezek. xlviii. 35).

I will trouble you with but one other type : one which appears to designate a large division of the enemies of our Lord and the opponents of his reign-namely, Moab.

W. L.

* The manifestation of Melchizedek as Priest of the Most High God, to bless Abraham, seems to accord with the concluding ceremony of the Day of Atonement, when the high priest, after having entered within the vail in his linen garments, and having remained for a season, returned, to bless the waiting congregation, clad in his high-priestly attire.

107

THEOLOGICAL DEPARTMENT.

ON THE HUMAN NATURE OF CHRIST.

When, in the first Number of this Journal, we opened the great question of our Lord's humanity, we endeavoured to give it a form as little controversial as possible ; stating in few words what we hold to be the true doctrine, and the opposite, held by others, whom, to avoid personality, we did not name.

We substantiated our belief by the Scripture ; by all the orthodox creeds, confessions, and fathers ; by large extracts from English divines ; and by a summary of the theology involved in the question. So desirous were we of letting others speak for us, that we did not even translate our quotations, lest we should unconsciously bend them to our own view of doctrine. And, after all that has been written against us, we are bold to avow that not one tittle of what we then held has been shaken by the

arguments of our opponents; but, on the contrary, further consideration of the subject has only deepened our former impressions, and strengthened our convictions of the importance of this question; lying, as it does, at the very foundations of all doctrine, where any unsoundness endangers the whole superstructure. In our further prosecution of this great question we shall endeavour to adhere, as far as possible, to the same method of conducting it with which we began. We deeply feel our own frailty, and that even the word of God we are liable, and even tempted, to pervert: we shall therefore endeavour, on all occasions, to bring forward the authority of the Church in support of our interpretations of Scripture; a proper reverence for whose authority would have saved many of our opponents from what we cannot but pronounce to be error and heresy. But if we should in any point have reason to think we have been mistaken, we hope God will give us grace frankly and fully to acknowledge our error, and to thank that man, bé he friend or foe, who is the instrument of bringing us to a knowledge of the truth. Our many antagonists have been of various grades, but, as far as we yet know, they have all one feature in common,-that of shewing themselves to be unsound in some one or other of the capital points of doctrine. Their manner of conducting the controversy has also been as various as their doctrine : some have descended to vulgar personalities ;. some have published private letters; some have betrayed confidential communications : all these classes we leave to enjoy their own imaginary triumph in our silence, for to them we make no reply, Toward s'our more wortby opponents we would endeavour to

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
« 上一页继续 »