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opening of his commission—the beginning of his public ministry; and it is not likely that he would rest the argument, which was to prove him to be the true Messiah, on a mere accommodation.*
Taking all the above considerations into account, there would seem to remain no doubt that the Jubilee was typical in its character.
Nearly allied to the Jubilee was another Jewish institution — the Sabbatic Year, or seventh year's rest, of which we have an account in Lev. xxv. 2. Had this been the only institution of the kind among God's ancient people, and the Jubilee not appointed, it would, from its typical character, have merited a distinct notice; but as all its advantages, and everything that was taught by it, are found in the Jubilee, to which it bore a striking resemblance, we shall only make occasional allusion to the former, and that chiefly to show wherein it was excelled by the latter.
The year of Jubilee appears to have been typical in two respects.
1. In the advantages derived from it. Of these we may notice,
1. The rest it afforded to the land ; and, as a consequence, to those by whom it was tilled.
The wisdom of God appears not only in the institutions which he appoints, but also in the methods he adopts to secure their end. Labour is engaged in from necessity or choice; but in either case, though profitable to a certain extent, when unmitigated, it becomes injurious both to man's physical constitution and spiritual affairs;
* See Doddridge on Luke iv. 16.
to the former, by exhausting his energies, and bringing on a premature decay; and the latter, by engrossing that time which is required for religious exercises, and giving an undue bias to the mind, and so rendering it difficult, if not impossible, to attend to the claims of another life. To prevent these consequences was the design of the sabbath, and to do it still more effectually, as well as to point out more fully that better rest which was also foreshadowed by the sabbath, was the intention of the Jubilee. It was a protracted and highly beneficial abstinence from toil.
In this respect it typified the character of the gospel state, which is one of repose and peace, fully answering to the announcement of the angels in their song at its introduction, “ Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good-will toward men.” So they who believe are said to “enter into rest,”*_a cessation from sin, from the works of the law, and from an anxious solicitude about the affairs of this life. They cease from their own works, as God did from his. And while the Jubilee pointed out the time of the Gospel dispensation generally, it had respect particularly to the latter portion of that period, or the millenium, when its blessings shall be universal on earth, and succeeded by that happiness which is eternal in heaven, “there the wicked cease from troubling, and there the weary be at rest."op
2. Another blessing which the Jubilee afforded was liberty. The engagement of the servant terminated—the debtor was released from his * Heb. iv. 3.
# Job iii. 17.
liabilities—the captive went free, and all slaves were restored to their former position in society.
Designed as man was at first to be free in his circumstances, as well as in himself, and even to have dominion over the inferior creatures, there is no consequence of his fall from God that he feels more than his subjection to others, especially when that state is the result of circumstances which he cannot control ; and, in that case, it is not only trying but also degrading. An institution, therefore, which had for one of its principal immediate objects to put him in possession of the blessing of liberty, and again elevate him in society, was sure to be observed with joy, and kept with punctuality.
Like the Jubilee-trumpet, the Gospel proclaims a freedom, but from a bondage far more afflictive and degrading than any in which the ancient Jews were held, or that can be experienced by any of the fallen sons of Adam, either in their natural or civil capacity. It is freedom from the wrath of Heaven-the curse of God's holy law—the bondage of Satan, who leads his slaves captives at his will—the tyranny of lust and corruption, and the fear of death through which the wicked are all their lifetime subject to bondage.* “ If ye continue in my word,” said Jesus Christ, “ ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” £ “ He has delivered us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us;"I" for we were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, but with the precious blood of Christ.” § * Heb. ii. 15. † Johu viii. 32. Gal. iii. 13.
$ 1 Pet. i. 18.
And equal to the liberty which believers enjoy in their condition is that effected in them : hence the Apostle writes to the Romans, “ Sin shall not have dominion over you ; for ye are not under the law but under grace.” *
3. A further blessing resulting from the Jubilee was the restoration of inheritances. “ And ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family.” †
And by this we are reminded that the work and sufferings of Christ lead not only to the restoration of the moral image of God in the soul of man, which had been lost by the fall, but also to our possession in heaven, which we had forfeited in our first parents.
In this part of the design of the type we see the extent of the Divine mercy in reserve for lost man, as in the other views of it we behold its reality and greatness. It was not a portion only of the alienated estate that was restored. Had that been all, the gratitude of every impoverished Israelite would have been due to the Author of so wise and benevolent an insti. tution; but the repossession was fully as extensive as the original occupation.
The same may be said of our condition as sinners. Heaven is the inheritance which was reserved for man, and to the full enjoyment of it he would have been raised, when the successful period of his probation had terminated; and now, though all claim to it has been forfeited, it is given back as the fruit of Divine mercy, through the sufferings of the Son of God. * Rom. vi. 14.
+ Lev. xxv. 10.
Yea, that is the case with us, which was never experienced among those to whom the Jubilee was proclaimed-more is restored than was forfeited. Their inheritances, being of an earthly nature, were ever subject to the changes and decay of time; so that often, with little propriety could it be said, that the person who had been deprived of one for fifty years, received it back as it was when taken from him; besides which, they might sell their inheritances again when the Jubilee had ended. But in the case of the believer, “where sin abounded grace did much more abound,"* and the inheritance to which he is raised “is incorruptible, and undefiled, and fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for them, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation."
Many of the blessings which the Jubilee afforded had long been enjoyed by the people of God on the return of the seventh year's rest; but all that was then received, in a partial degree, was now to be had more perfectly, and other persons,
besides their own nation, were to enjoy these advantages.
This is true of the Gospel Jubilee. Many of its blessings had been held under former dispensations, but in this type was an intimation of the manner in which they should be extended, and also that the Jews were not to consider themselves as alone entitled to the blessings of the Messiah, but Gentiles as well as Jews should be delivered from the galling yoke of sin-restored by Divine mercy, and blessed with the heavenly inheritance. * Rom. v. 20.
+ 1 Pet. i. 4.