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that he come not at all times into the holy place within the vail, before the mercy-seat, which is
upon the ark, that he die not. For I will appear in the cloud
mercyseat. Thus shall Aaron come into the holy place with a young bullock for a sin-offering, and a ram for a burnt-offering .
Then follows a particular detail of all the ceremonies and rites to be observed by Aaron on this occasion; of the vestments in which he was to appear ; of the sin-offering he was to make for himself, and also for the people ; of the determination by lot of the scape-goat; and of other points, all very minutely pointed out, and ordained by the Almighty himself. After the specification of these various ceremonies, in a manner strongly marking the high import of this ordinance, the Lord
proceeds to a solemn and authoritative declaration, establishing the observance of it through the successive generations of the Jewish hierarchy. He says,
66 This shall be a statute for ever unto' you ; that in the seventh month, in the tenth day of the month, ye shall afflict your souls, and do no work at all, whether it be one of your own country, or a stranger that sojourneth among you : for
& Lev. xvi. 2, 3.
on that day shall the priest make an atonement for you, to cleanse you, that you may be clean from all your sins before the Lord".' And again he says, "This shall be an everlasting statute unto you, to make an atonement for the children of Israel for all their sins, once a year'."
There does not appear to be any solid ground for assuming that, upon the institution of these and similar typical ceremonies of the law, any revelation was made to the bulk of the Jewish nation, respecting the ulterior objects to which they had reference. Indeed, a very superficial view of their state and opinions, would lead us to the conclusion that they were then not fitted to receive this know
h Lev. xvi. 29, 30.
Ibid. ver. 34.
"But, as the gross perversions which had pervaded the Gentile world, had reached likewise to the chosen people; and as the temptations to idolatry which surrounded them on all sides, were so powerful as perpetually to endanger their adherence to the God of their fathers, we find the ceremonial service adapted to their carnal habits. And since the law itself, with its accompanying sanctions, seems to have been principally temporal; so the worship it enjoins is found to have been, for the most part, rather a public and solemn declaration of allegiance to the true God, in opposition to the Gentile idolatries, than a pure and spiritual obedience in moral and religious matters, which was reserved for that more perfect system, appointed to succeed in due time, when the state of mankind would permit."-Magee on Atonement, vol. i. p. 59, 60.
say, to infer
ledge. They were yet, to use the Apostle's expression, “ babes” in the knowledge of
6 God's dispensations. But we have good reason to infer, that as the time of the accomplishment of these types, in the person and actions of our Saviour, drew nearer, light was gradually dawning upon them, and they were progressively admitted to more distinct views of the hidden and ultimate design of these types. We have reason,
I this, even with respect to the bulk of the
people. For it can hardly be supposed, that the explicit declarations of the prophets respecting the intrinsic efficacy of these types, and their inadequacy to take away sins, without a view to something else, could be so often and so energetically made, without causing some light to break in upon the minds of the people. Indeed, this inference is very strongly supported by the general belief in a future state, that prevailed at the time of Christ's coming, and the well-known expectation entertained, of the coming of a Messiah and Deliverer.
But whatsoever questions may be raised upon the extent of the views of the Jewish nation in general into these ceremonies ; we have very distinct evidence, that many of the wiser
and more eminent' amongst them, certainly saw beyond the declared and immediate pur
1 The learned and able Archbishop of Dublin, in summing up the result of his reflections upon Heb. xi. 4, lays down the following positions.
"What, then, is the result of the foregoing reflections? The sacrifice of Abel was an animal sacrifice. This sacrifice was accepted. The ground of this acceptance was the faith in which it was offered. Scripture assigns no other object of this faith but the promise of a Redeemer; and of this faith the offering of an animal in sacrifice, appears to have been the legitimate, and consequently, the instituted expression."Magee on Atonement, vol. i. p. 54.
In a note upon this part of his discourse, he observes too, that "the sacred writer again informs us, at the 13th verse of the same chapter, that Abel, and all the others whom he had named, died in faith, (i. e. as Hallett paraphrases it, 'retained their faith until their death, or the time of their leaving the world,') not having received the promises, (not having received the completion of them; that being reserved for later times, as is intimated in the concluding part of the chapter, and is clearly expressed in Acts xiii. 32, 33. We declare unto you glad tidings, how that THE PROMISE which was made unto the FATHERS, God hath FULFILLED the same UNTO US, THEIR CHILDREN,'); and were persuaded of them, and embraced them," Ibid. vol. ii. p. 180.
The case of Abel and of some of these faithful men enumerated by the Apostle as having seen the promises, refers to a period prior to the giving of the law, but the Apostle also names many under the law, and intimates plainly that there were innumerable others whom he has not mentioned. To all these we are fairly entitled to apply the reasoning which was urged in the case of Abel, that no other object of their faith is proposed in Scripture, than the promised Redeemer, and that they had some intimations of his coming being shadowed under the ceremonies of the law.
port of them. They perceived in them reference to an agent more august, to a sacrifice more efficacious, and to blessings more permanent than those they beheld under the literal purport of the Jewish ritual.
As the seventh article of our Church declares, "they are not to be heard which feign that the old fathers did look only for transitory promises." Abraham "rejoiced to see' Christ's day, "and he saw it, and was glad"." Holy men of old were permitted to discern that more was meant by these ceremonies than was declared in the mere terms of their institution. Blessings beyond those of legal purification and temporal advantages, were perceived by them to be prefigured by these rites. "These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off"." These knew and believed that the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, "is not the God of the dead, but of the living." It is surely no unreasonable supposition, that many a wise and reflecting Jew might be struck, both with the apparent inefficacy of these institutions considered by themselves, to take away sin, and with the manner in which their prophets often spake of the utter
m John viii. 56.
"Heb. xi. 13.
° Matt. xxii. 32.