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succeeded in their labours complished Erasmus, from by being ministers of the the spiritual wisdom of the spirit; that is, by interpret- first ages. To revive and ing and reasoning accord- promote which, within my ing to an inward or figura- own little sphere, is the detive sense in the law, the sign of this and the followprophets, and the psalms. ing lectures: in all which All the fathers of the Chris- I shall invariably follow the tian Church followed their rule of making the Scripexample; particularly Ori- ture its own interpreter. gen, one of the most useful And now I have opened the and powerful of primitive way by shewing in what expositors. Then were the respects and for what reaJews confounded, the hea- sons the style of the Scripthens converted, the word ture differs from that of of God was efficacious, and other books, and that it is the people were edified. symbolical or figurative; I The same way of teaching propose with God's leave to was observed in the middle distinguish the figures of ages, till the times of the the Scripture into their Reformation; and even then proper kinds, with examour best scholars still drew ples and explanations in their divine oratory, parti- each kind, from the Scripcularly the learned and ac- ture itself.
It hath been shewn in men, and reveal many the former Lecture, that as things to them, while the the Scripture teaches spiri- same words reveal nothing tual things which cannot be to others : like that pillar taught in words, the wisdom in the wilderness, which was of God hath made use of a cloud of darkness to the things, as signs and figures, Egyptians, while it gave to explain them. This is light to the Hebrews. done for several reasons : Thirdly, because an outfirst, because cannot ward sign, such as those conceive things of a spi- of the Scripture are, beritual nature but by bor- a pledge and an rowing our notions of them ' evidence of the thing sigfrom the things that are nified ; as it doubtless is a visible and familiar to our wonderful confirmation of senses. Secondly, because the gospel to see its mysthe Scripture can speak teries exactly delineated under this form to some so long before in the ser
vices of the law of Moses ; an illustration or sign of and much more to see them some spiritual truth, we written in the characters call it a natural image. of nature itself.
The Scripture calls them The things which the similitudes ; as in that pasScripture uses as figures of sage of the prophet Hoseaother things are taken, “I have multiplied visions, 1. From the natural crea- and used similitudes by the tion, or world of sensible ministry of the prophetsa." objects. 2. From the insti- A discourse made up of tutions of the law. 3. From such is called a parable ; the persons of the prophets a form of speech which our and holy men of old time. Saviour as a divine Teacher 4. From the history of the thought most agreeable to Church. 5. From the actions the nature of His own of inspired men, which in preaching, and to the wants many instances were not of His hearers. In which, only miracles but signs of however, He only did what something beyond them- the Scripture had always selves, and conformable to done ; He instructed the the general plan of our eyes of the understanding salvation and redemption. by placing some natural
These are the materials object before them; and as of that figurative language the visible world throughin which the Bible is writ-out is a pattern of the inten; and of the several | visible, the figures of the kinds of them, as here dis- sacred language built upon tinguished, I shall treat in the images of nature, are their order, after I have as extensive as the world given a general descrip- itself ; so that it would be tion of each.
a vain undertaking to in1. When any object is terpret all the figures which taken from the visible are reducible to this class. creation, and applied as 2. Other figures are bor
a Hosea xii. 10.
rowed from the institutions was figurative, his minisof the ceremonial law, which tration was so likewise, and are applied to the things of consequently the law was the gospel; and in this ca- a pattern of the gospel. pacity the law is all figure. 3. The things relating to It is nothing considered in our Saviour's person, that itself but a copy,“ a shadow is, to His birth, dignity, of good things to comeb:" actions, sufferings, death, and as a shadow, it had resurrection and glorificaonly the form, not the sub- tion, were foreshewn in the stance (or very image, as history of other great and the Scripture calls it) of the remarkable persons, who, in things hoped for. Its ele- the former ages of the ments were like those of the Church, were saviours upon gospel in form ; and there- occasion to their people, or fore it was a school-master, examples of persecuted ina teacher of such elements nocence, truth, and holias prepared the mind for ness, as He was to be. Such the reception of a spiritual persons acting, or suffering, dispensation, in which its or triumphing, in this proshadows are now realized. phetic capacity, are called
When our Saviour Jesus types. In the gospel they Christ is called a Priest, a are called signs; and as a character is given to Him, specimen for the present, which cannot be understood we may take the two chatill we go back to the law. racters of Jonah and SoloThere we see what a priest mon, as referred to in the was, and what he did ; and 11th chapter of St. Luke. thence we learn the nature Our Saviour proposed of our Saviour's priestly Jonah to the Jews as a office. And as the whole law, sign of His own future rein its ritual, consisted chiefly surrection. This prophet of priestly ministration; went down into the mouth then, if the priest himself of a monster, as Christ was to be swallowed up like the laws and economy of other men by the devour. His spiritual kingdom ; ing jaws of death. As the while the Jews should deprophet was detained there spise His words and persethree days, Christ was so cute His Church ; for which long to be confined to the the example of the queen sepulchre ; and as Jonah of Sheba shall rise in judgwas restored to the light ment to condemn them. at the divine command, so
b Heb. x. 1.
c Matt. xii. 40.
4. Next to the persons of was Christ to rise again the prophets is the history from the dead. Jonah was of the Church at large; contherefore a sign of His cerning which the wisdom death and resurrection, of God ordained, that things such as
no words could past should represent things have delivered ; for mi- to come, and serve as adraculous fact is best signi- | monitions and signs to the fied by a miraculous sign, people of God to the end of which shews us that the the world. Hence it comes thing was known and deter- to pass, that “no Scripture mined before it came to is of any private interpretapass.
tione :" its sense does not Such another sign was end in the persons of whom Solomon ; the fame of it speaks, but is of public whose wisdom brought the application for the benefit queen of Sheba from a of all places and of all times. heathen land to hear his The Apostle speaking of words, and wonder at the some remarkable circumgreatness of his kingdom, stances in the history of and admire the rde of the Church, assures us, that his governmenta: a sign all those things “happened that the gentiles should for ensamples, and are writlisten to the word of Him ten for our admonition f." that was greater than Solo- The deliverance of the Hemon, and be converted to brews from Egypt was a
d 1 Kings x. 1; 2 Chron. ix. 1.
e 2 Peter i. 20.
f 1 Cor. x. 11.