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whilst suffering, as the effect of his being given up as a victim to his wrath, are numerous and striking. When he sent him into the world, though it was for the purpose of dying, angels announced his birth ; and having attended him all through his earthly course, they conducted him to heaven at its close. He had these at command, and most numerously; as his sufferings drew to a climax, he asserted that his Father was with him, and loved him,-yea, God himself declared from heaven, “ This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased ;'* and yet when He hung upon the cross, in order to convince the world that He had actually resigned him, His presence was withdrawn; and then followed that bitter cry, “ My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”f And numerous are the places in the Sacred Volume in which the love of God to us, and his love to Christ are expressed, in connection with each other.
4. Abraham's happiness, as a parent, was greater on receiving his child back after the trial than it had been before.
That the Patriarch understood the command to offer up Isaac, in a literal sense, notwithstanding all the difficulties with which the subject was surrounded, is certain, both from the fact of his taking the knife, and putting forth his hand, for the purpose of fulfilling the Divine injunction; and also especially from the words of the angel addressed to him, who gives him full credit for his intention, and speaks of the transaction as a thing actually done. Nevertheless, the strength of his faith appears to have been such that he * Matt. iii. 17.
† Matt. xxvii. 46.
never contemplated a perpetual separation from him, for on leaving his attendants, the expressions he used were, “ Abide ye here, and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you.”* These, as Benson observes, † “ were not idle and unmeaning words, nor was this the moment in which a man so holy would have spoken what he did not feel. They were the true and solemn representations of his thoughts and hopes, and they express in terms, which cannot reasonably be misunderstood, his faith in God's power and his trust in his will, to enable them, after having fulfilled the appointed sacrifice, to come again unto those they had left." And these words prove not only that he accounted God able to raise him up from the dead, but that he actually would restore him, and enable this affectionate father to return to the young men with the body of his son, reconstructed out of his ashes, and animated by a new life; for God's being able to do a thing is, in the language of Scripture, to intend to do it. Hence Jude writes, “Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy."# So Abraham, in this instance, accounting that God was able means, that he considered he would do it. The trial of his faith seems to have been before he arrived at this impression; and though in respect to the issue he appears to have been somewhat disappointed, yet it was so like what he had anticipated, that he considered it as the same thing: and so it became to him, and to all . Gen. xxii. 5. + Hulsean Lect. p. 306.
# Jude ver. 24.
the world in him, a striking representation of the resurrection of him who affirmed of himself, “I am He that liveth and was dead, and behold I am alive for evermore ;'
;" * and as upon the termination of this event the enjoyment of the Patriarch was greater in the son than ever it had been before, so Christ, although from eternity the object of the father's delight, is represented as giving him peculiar pleasure, by the work which he performed and the death he died. This circumstance may be considered as possessing a typical character,
II. In reference to Isaac.
1. His sufferings proceeded from the hand of his father. This was necessary on the part of Isaac, the type, in order to make the trial of the Patriarch more complete; and it was equally required in relation to Christ, the antitype, for the purpose of rendering his death available as a sacrifice for the sins of the world. God was the lawgiver, who had been offended, and with him it rested to inflict the penalty incurred, for from no other source could it have proceeded. Merely outward afflictions would have been comparatively light, yet men could do no more than cause them; but the eternal Father had access to the inmost soul of his Son. It was with the sufferings sustained there chiefly that the debt we had contracted could be paid, and numerous were the expressions to which the Saviour gave utterance, showing how his spiritual conflict was regarded by himself, as constituting the essence of his agony: “ It pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief.”+ The * Rev. i, 18.
of Is. liii. 10.
potion which he had to drink was the cup which his Father gave him ;* but nowhere does this appear so fully as in his dying words, “ My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me ?”+
2. Isaac was perfectly resigned.
This appears, not only from his accompanying his father to the place where the offering was to be presented, but more especially from no resistance being manifested when he found that he himself was to be the victim. What
have been the effect produced upon his own mind, by the novel and mysterious circumstance being disclosed to him, that he was to be the offering laid upon the altar, which his own hands had assisted in raising, we have no means of judging ; but had he been disposed to frustrate the intentions of his father, his own age and strength, compared with the years of the Patriarch, assure us of his success. He appears, however, to have been as willing to be made the victim as his father was to offer him up.
So, in like manner, it was said of Christ, “ He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter; and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth;"I and when his sufferings came to their greatest height, inducing him to say, “O my Father, if it be possible let this cup pass from me," he then added, "nevertheless, not as I will but as thou wilt." But how much greater was the resignation in one case than in the other ; had Isaac known from the beginning of this affair that he was to be the victim, it may be questioned whether he would, with such * John xviii. 11.
† Matt. xxvii. 46. I Is. liii. 7.
§ Matt. xxvi. 39.
in the ove himself weat, bere all high what hands
cheerfulness, have accompanied his father; but the fact broke upon his mind with all the surprising effect which such a circumstance was calculated to produce. Christ, however, did know, from before the foundation of the world, all he was to pass through, and from what hand it would proceed; yet with all his agony and tears, and bloody sweat, before him, he cheerfully gave himself up, saying, “Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart."*
3. His sufferings were endured alone. So Christ's “arm brought salvation unto him;"* He trod the winepress alone, and of the people there was none with him;"I and at his crucifixion “all the disciples forsook him and fled." In his sufferings before this they had been his companions; hence he said to them, “Ye are they who have been with me in my temptations."
Besides these particulars, in which the resemblance between Isaac and Christ appears, there are several other things in this transaction which bear so striking a similarity to the great and glorious facts of the Gospel, as to render it almost impossible not to see how one will apply to the other. Each individual concerned was the only beloved Son of his father-each was doomed by his father to be made a sacrifice; each bore on his own shoulder the wood on which he was to suffer; each was the heir of the promise by descent, and to each the promise was fulfilled * Psa. xl. 7, 8. Is. lix. 16. Is. lxiii. 3
§ Matt. xxvi. 56.