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matical construction is Arabic, contains a larger proportion of Hebrew words in its vocabulary than can be found in Arabic itself; which is to be accounted for by the familiar use of Hebrew in the country, from the time of Solomon onwards.
The religion and customs of Abyssinia may be the subject of another article; which may help us to observe how powerless a form of Christianity must be that is defective in doctrine, discipline, and worship, and that, by any compromise of principle, carries an element of ruizi in its bosom.
(Concluded from page 50.) III. But while other important purposes were intended and actually fulfilled by the command in question, the principal end was one which yet remains to be explained. It was the same as that which the Ceremonial Law had in view,--to afford a lively representation of the GREAT SACRIFICE, which in after days was to be offered up on Mount Calvary. A privilege was granted to Abraham in compliance with his eager and ardent longing; but in a manner how different from aught that he expected, or could have conceived! The practice of conveying information by actions and visible signs, instead of words, was common in ancient times.* From this early method of communication were derived—first, hieroglyphic, and then alphabetic, writing; it also gave birth to the highly figurative style of Oriental nations and uncivilized tribes, and to the parabolic mode of teaching. Of this method of speaking to the eye, instead of the ear, we have numerous instances in Holy Scripture; as the rending of Samuel's mantle, and of Jeroboam's new garment by the prophet Ahijah ; Zedekiah's horns of iron; the arrow of the Lord's deliverance from Syria; Jeremiah's linen girdle; his breaking a potter's vessel in the valley of Hinnom; the bonds and yokes he put on his neck, to symbolize the Captivity; the book of woes against Babylon, to be tied to a stone and sunk in the Euphrates; Ezekiel's delineation of the siege of Jerusalem on a tile; weighing the hair of his beard ; the carrying out of his household stuff; his joining the two sticks of Judah and Israel; and Agabus, the prophet, binding his own hands and feet, in token of Paul's arrest at Jerusalem.
In like manner, by a significant and representative action, was Abraham instructed in the mystery of Redemption. This was in perfect agreement with the manner in which New Testament facts and
* Thus, when Darius passed the river Ister to invade Scythia, the Scythian king sent him a mouse, a frog, a bird, a dart, and a plough. And when Alexander the Great projected a similar expedition, the Scythian ambassador presented him a yoke of oren, an arrow, and a goblet. Both presents were symbolical. The early Romans, before declaring war, were accustoncu to send to the offending people an ambassador bearing a white rod, in token of peace, and a spear, as a symbol of war ; thus offering either to their choice.
doctrines were dimly shadowed forth, in the patriarchal age, and under the Mosaic economy. The successive communications which Abraham had received from the Almighty, that God would make him a great and prosperous nation; that in bim “all the families of the earth ” should be" blessed;" the establishment of God's covenant with him and with his seed, and its appointed seal of circumcision; the promise concerning Isaac; and the sending away of Ishmael ;-all these would make him increasingly desirous to know how such great blessedness through him sbould come, not only on all his posterity, but to “all the families of the earth,” and thus prepare him to receive this last and supreme revelation of the Divine purpose. It is the final and most important communi. cation from heaven recorded in Abraham's history; and, while it had the closest connexion with all the preceding events narrated in the life of that patriarch, was the crown and consummation of the whole. “It came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him," &c.
The representative or typical character of the transaction, and it importance in this view, is evinced by a comparison of all the circumstances with those of the GREAT SACRIFICE. The points of resemblance are numerous and striking, and we feel the difficulty of doing justice to them within the brief space at our disposal. In respect of Abraham's offspring by Sarah, Isaac was “his only begotten,” uovoyevýs. (Heb. xi. 17.) And though God has “ many sons,” Christ is frequently called “the Only Begotten Son,” and “the Only Begotten Son of God," ó povoyevs viós. (John i. 14, 18; iii. 16, 18.) Isaac's birth, which was the subject of a Divine prediction and promise, was out of the ordinary course of nature. (Gen. xviii. 9-14; xxi. 1-7.) Christ's birth was foretold by several prophets, and by the angel who appeared to Mary; and it was above the ordinary course of nature. (Isaiah vii. 14; ix. 6; Micah v. 2; Matt. i. 18-23; Luke i. 26–38.) Isaae, the only, the beloved son, was by his father given up to die, in obedience to the Divine command. And “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son,” His " beloved Son, in whom ” He was "well pleased.” (John ii. 16; Matt. iii. 17.) God "spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all.” (Rom. viii. 32.) “Abraham took the wood of the burnt-offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son,” who bore it to the place where he was to be laid thereon as a sacrifice. The place was " one of the mountains” of Moriah, which, comprehending several, included that on which the temple was afterwards built by Solomon; (2 Chron. iii. 1;) and must also have embraced the neighbouring mount of Calvary, to which Jesus, bearing His cross, went forth from Jerusalem to be crucified. (Luke xxiii. 33.) The journey of Abraham with Isaac from Beersheba to “the land of Moriah," appears to have been for the especial purpose, that the typical sacrifice should be near, and probably on, the very spot where the GREAT SACRIFICE was to be offered. Isaac was not, as he is sometimes
represented, a mere child, but a young man. By a comparison of dates it is inferred, and generally believed, that at the time of this transaction he was at least twenty-five years of age. Yet he submitted to be bound and laid upon the altar, a meek and patient victim. And Jesus, in prospect of His arrest and crucifixion, said, “Not as I will, but as Thou wilt;” “He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He openeth not His mouth.” (Isaiah liji. 7.) For three days during the journey, Isaac was, in his father's account, “as good as dead," being appointed to die; and then, by a Divine interposition, was delivered from death, and restored to his father and his father's house. And “ Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures; and He was buried, and rose again the third day, according to the Scriptures.” (1 Cor. xv. 3, 4.)
During the journey to Moriah, Isaac, as yet uninformed of the Divine command and his father's purpose, had asked, “My father, behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt-offering ?” and Abraham had replied, “My son, God will provide Himself a lamb for a burnt-offering.” This was a prophecy of that unintentional kind which the Jews denominate Bath KOL, the “ Daughter of a Voice.” But it received a twofold accomplishment, a speedy and a distant one. The first, in the substitution of the ram which was sacrificed instead of Isaac.* The second, in our Great Substitute, “the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world.” The prophecy became a standing one. “Abraham called the name of that place JEHOVAH JIREH,” (“The Lord will see, or, provide :") “ as it is said to this day, In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen ;” or, “ He will provide,”-namely, a burnt. offering; “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”
As a type of the Messiah, and of His death and resurrection, the sacrifice of Isaac stands pre-eminent and alone : the resemblance to the Antitype is much nearer, and the comparison more perfect, than in any other instance. For while all the other sacrifices which prefigured the Divine VICTIM consisted in the slaughter of inferior and irrational animals, in which God had no “ pleasure.” (Heb. x. 8,) this was the nobler sacrifice of a human, intelligent, and voluntary victim,--the only one of the kind that ever God required or would accept. It was the offering up of a man, conscious of the high purpose to which he had been consecrated, and for which he was doomed to bleed: for doubtless Abraham had secured the acquiescence of Isaac by making known to him, at the proper juncture, the command which God had given him. And such were Isaac's filial reverence, and his faith in, and piety towards, God, that he yielded an unhesitating compliance. It was therefore the nearest representation of the Great Sacrifice that could be made, the fittest and most striking type that was ever employed to prefigure it.
In other sacrifices, too, while the expiation was figurative, the
* It is observable, Ibat in the story of Iphigenia, as told by Euripides, about one thousand years after the time of Moses, Diana, satisfied with Agamemnon's compliance in giving up his daughter for sacrifice, causes a hind to be substituted for her.Iphig. in Aulis.
death was real; and there was no resurrection of the victim, nor could there be without a miracle. Under the Ceremonial Law, on the great day of annual expiation, to typify the death and resurrection of our Saviour, tro animals were employed in the ordinance of the scapegoat; one was slain, and the other let go free. (Lev. xvi. 5, &c.) But, by the sacrifice of Isaac, both these particulars were figuratively represented in one and the same person.
As the principal design of God's command to Abraham was to reveal to him, in compliance with his earnest wish and importunate request, the Redemption of Mankind, it was proper that by some suitable trial, in some degree proportioned to this high privilege, he should prove himself worthy of it. That this revelation should be made by a repre. sentative or typical action, was in conformity with the custom of early times and the usual methods of Divine revelation in the Old Testament. And it is a striking instance of the Divine wisdom, that the same transaction constitated the favour for which the patriarch longed, and the trial by which he was to prove himself deserving it. Further, as the trial of Abraham, by the figurative offering up of Isaac, was a trial unprecedented, a transaction which was never to be repeated; so the Great Sacrifice which it prefigured was offered" once for all !” He needed Dot to "offer Himself often...... but now once in the end of the world hath He appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.” (Heb. ix. 25, 26; 1. 10.) This is the great distinction between it and the legal sacrifices : because they were symbolical and inefficient, they were many and oft-repeated; but because this is real and effectual, its repe. tition was unnecessary. "For by one offering He hath perfected for Ever them that are sanctified.” (Heb. x. 14.)
But if the sacrifice of Isaac was typical, and its representative character formed the principal reason of the command, why was not this reason distinctly mentioned by the sacred historian? To this we answer, that this is in entire accordance with Old Testament usage, where few, if any, of the types are accompanied with their explanation ; but they are left to be explained only by their evangelical fulfilment. This is obviously the case with the whole system of sacrifice, from Abel's offering to the completion of the Pentateuch. For what was it, but a shadow of good things to come, a faint outline or dim resem. blance? The veil which Moses put upon his face was itself a symbol of that veil of mystery which partially concealed the gracious purposes of Heaven, which the Ceremonial Law obscurely revealed; making that economy the means of preparing the minds of men for a fuller display of Divine truth, when life and immortality should be brought to light by the Gospel. In the ancient sanctuary, the inner and most sacred portion was covered with a veil, which only the high priest could pass : "The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was. not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing." (Heb. ix. 8.) In the time of Moses, and long after, the Jewish nation generally were a carnal race, as we see from their whole history, from the complaints of their law giver and their prophets, the censures on them by our Saviour, and the testimony of their countrymen, St. Paul and Josephus. They were therefore placed "under the law of a
carnal commandment," as best suited to their condition. And as they were thus upprepared for a full and complete revelation of the great scheme of human redemption, had the narrative of Isaac's sacrifice been accompanied with a full explanation, and a statement of the principal reason for it, the information would certainly have been premature. And yet it seems to us, that the Oracle gave a plainer indication of the Antitype in this case, than in almost any other of the types in the Old Testament. For Moses records that the Angel spake to Abraham the second time from heaven, saying, “In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed My voice.” The princi. pal and peculiar reward of Abraham's faith and obedience was a reve. lation to him of the Messiah, and of the mystery of redemption.
But if the Old Testament was reserved or silent respecting the reason of its precepts and commands, the New Testament makes ample compen. sation for that reticence. For not only does it illustrate by its facts the types and ceremonies of the ancient law, but in many cases affords a direct and formal explanation of them. Thus in the Epistle to the Galatians, (iv. 22-26.) an incident in the history of Abraham and Isaac, which we should hardly have supposed to have a figurative sense, is declared to have been "an allegory," and is applied to "the two covenants.” And almost the whole of the Epistle to the Hebrews is employed in expounding the ceremonies and sacrifices of the Mosaic institution, in their evangelical meaning and application. In the command given to Moses respecting the brazen serpent, no explanation is given, no reason assigned why that method of cure was adopted. (Num. xxi. 7-9.) But this is given by our Lord in His con. versation with Nicodemus, John iii. 14, 15: “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up: that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.”
To the important narrative under consideration, respecting Abraham and Isaac, there are several references in the New Testament. St. Paul, in the Epistle to the Galatians, (iii. 8, 16,) makes the follow. ing observation thereon. “The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the Gospel unto Abra. ham,” (i. e., before the law was given,) “ saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.......Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many ; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.” In the Epistle to the Hebrews, we have the following, which could scarcely have been more express in asserting the typical character of the action : “ By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him kai év tapasokn, even for a parable,” or “IN A PARABLE."* In Chapter ix. 9, it is said, that the Tabernacle was a parable, fapaßoń,
* The first is Macknight's rendering, the second is Warburton's, and that of the Latin Vulgate.