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The Divine malediction was first pronounced
of Messiah.— upon the serpent, and in connexion with that,
Gen. iii. 14. 15. r .
he was made acquainted, that from the race he had degraded, and already rendered so miserable, his Destroyer should come; that it was to be so, gave ground of hope that the Conqueror of the enemy would restore the captives, and more than repair all their loss.
Adam and Eve must now leave their lovely
Eden —Gen. abode, and go forth to toil: the ground would
Iii. 22-24. . .
no longer yield abundance to light and pleasant labours; disquietude and difficulty would adhere to all their employments. With strong reluctance they departed from Eden, and entered upon the wide and dreary world. If, at this time of deep-felt woe, they in any measure understood the words that had been spoken to the tempter concerning the "seed of the woman," it must have been their only consolation. How gracious was their God, so soon to give an outline of the wondrous plan of kindness to the guilty, which would unfold his wisdom, power, and love, in such a manner that, compared with it, all his other acts of beneficence and holiness would appear as nothing!
From this period, through a long succession of ages, until the fulness of the time came, the ground of hope contained in the first prediction was more fully given to a sinful and suffering world, in a variety of forms; and the character, offices, and achievements of the Mighty One shown forth by patriarchs, prophets, kings—sometimes by incidents in their own history, shadowing forth circumstances in his life; often by distinct announcements of the minutest particulars connected with his advent and abode on earth. Many of the objects in nature were employed as emblems of his perfections—the sun, stars, trees, rock, lion, vine, lamb, the rose of Sharon. Indeed, there is nothing noble, beautiful, or useful in the world, that is not used in order to direct the faithful, loving heart to a contemplation of his graces.
The entire ritual of the Jewish worship was typical of him, daily, weekly, monthly, yearly.
In the brief words, "It shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel," we learn there would be a contest between two powerful beings; and in the wrestling for victory, the deliverer himself should suffer sharply, but permanently with the Holy One it could not be ; and that the enemy would be vanquished for ever. As Satan tempted Adam and Eve to break God's command, and by that means had alienated the whole human race from their beneficent Creator; the Son of God would, by taking upon him their nature, with deep humiliation and great suffering to himself, obtain pardon for them, and the Holy Spirit to create their hearts anew, making them again holy and happy; and he would place all who came to him by faith, in a position of greater safety and glory than they had before the fall, on account of his undertaking their cause.
This glorious plan of compassion for the guilty, every subsequent revelation more fully developed, by making him known who was to accomplish it. It far exceeded what the highest archangel could have conceived; none but the greatest intelligence in the universe could have thought of such a way to restore the rebel to favour —so righteous, so kind, so effectual, so like God; it made a new discovery of his attributes to the heavenly hosts.
The lamb slain by Abel, and burnt upon
Abel's burntoffering—Gen. the altar, is a vivid representation of the
Lamb^ of God, that should be immolated at Calvary on the cross; approaching God through that medium, by faith in the sacrifice of Immanuel, which it portrayed, Abel was accepted, and blessed with the presence of God in his soul, by whom he was taught thus to seek him, as we need no other evidence to prove. Every acceptable worshipper since his time, has found access to the God of holiness in the same way—through the burnt-offering of an innocent victim, and the sprinkling of its blood, until He came who put away sin by offering himself.
Noah's ark— Above sixteen hundred years passed away, Gat. in. during which time the hearts and lives of men, by their fallen origin and Satan's usurped influence over them, became so depraved, that the judgments of God must come upon them; they are thus described, "And God saw that the wickedness of man was great upon the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them: and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth" (Gen. vi. 5, 13). Then a type was given of him who would come to save, in the construction of Noah's ark; that as all who entered into it would be secure from the engulfing billows, so all who commit themselves to Christ will be safe for evermore from the waves of Divine indignation for transgressing the law. The ark rested on the mountain of Ararat, having traversed the world of waters until they receded from beneath it, containing in safety all who entered into it, and they only, of all the human race, were preserved.
Four hundred years after the Deluge, Gen. xw. 18-20; Abraham left his native land at the command
Heb. vii. 1-3.
oi God; then, and on two other occasions, he made the promise to him that one should be born amongst his descendants, so benign in his influence, and so extensive in his dominion, that all the families of the earth should receive blessings in him (Gen. xii. 3). When he was returning from his conquest over the hostile kings, he was further instructed in the dignity of him who should bless the human race—by Melchizedek, who was both king and priest; he came forth to Abraham, refreshed him in his toils, and blessed him. Melchizedek appears abruptly on the sacred page; nothing is mentioned of the beginning of his days, nor are we told of his death; so that all the circumstances related of him depict the benignity, the eternity of the Saviour, and would be thus understood by the Patriarch, who saw the day of Christ afar off, and rejoiced.
The offering up But Abraham was to have another reGeiT^u. i-i3; velation of hiin, of the most affecting kind, e . xi. 1/ 19. would connect with it a test of his own obedience to the will of God; the tender father must lay on the altar of burnt-offering his beloved and only son; his own hand must be stretched forth to inflict the death-wound. Abraham was delivered from the completion of so sad an appointment, and his son raised up again as from the dead; "but God so loved the world," that he would not spare his beloved Son, in whom he delighted, but would leave him to endure the pains of a shameful and cruel death. He would be raised again, but not as Isaac, until he had passed through the portals of the tomb. In this manner, the love of the Father in giving the Son, and his resurrection, was foreshown at that early period of the world.
Jacob, by his own guilt, was forced to
—Gen. Xxtul become an outcast from his happy home: 10-15. yj >
and, as he pursued his solitary journey, he felt its burden, and that it would exclude him from heaven as much as it had driven him from his father's house. With these sad thoughts he lay down to rest for the night, having stones for his pillow, and the canopy of heaven over his head. He was favoured with a remarkable dream, inspired from on high—a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven; angels went to and fro upon it on heavenly errands. The Lord appeared to him above the ladder, and renewed the promise made before three times to Abraham, and once to