Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

and, as in the case of parables, there is a main truth that takes the lead, which is designed to appear prominent, while all the other truths or circumstances are supplied to make the parable complete: so it is with the types. If the type was to be instituted at all, although there might be but one principal thing designed in it, yet a number of other things were necessary to make the representation uniform and complete ; but it does not follow, that all these minute details were designed to be propounded and applied any more than it is intended in a parable that all that is mentioned is to have a particular explanation. A want of discretion here has led to much of the absurdity that has appeared in the works of writers on the types, and has conduced more than anything else to bring the whole subject of the typography of Scripture into disrepute.

It is true, and for obvious reasons, that we have no Scripture to guide us in this matter; but, generally speaking, the design may be observed from the connection in which the type is found, or from the occasion on which it is introduced. In this respect, as well as in every other, the word of God is its own best interpreter; and were it but adhered to, much inconsistency would be avoided. This design to teach one great truth, or fact, was noble and beautiful in itself, while it best accorded with the circumstances of those for whom the types were first and chiefly intended, and the period at which they lived. The tendency, however, of the practice of making numerous and various applications of the same type is to weaken the

power of that one truth or fact which may be taught, and therefore to be very sparingly and carefully adopted.

Section IV. On the Sovereignty of the appointment of the personal types.

In the appointment of personal types, the Almighty did not always make the holiness or even the morality of the character of the man indispensable to his choice. His conduct in this respect can give rise to no reflection upon his character as a perfectly pure Being, when it is remembered that he is a Sovereign, and does according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth. Not that the selection was purely arbitrary: it was dictated by considerations which made it perfectly proper in himself, and in harmony with his ultimate design. To discover the principle upon which his choice was made may often be beyond the capacity of finite creatures, and yet perhaps the preference may in many cases be accounted for. It was given to one person rather than another apparently more eligible, in order to attract the greater attention. In acting upon this principle with regard to the types, there is nothing in God's conduct which does not agree with his proceedings in the choice which he is known to have made of individuals for other purposes equally important. Many of the ancestors of the Messiah were persons of unholy lives, and some bad characters were chosen as the channels of Divine revelation, and the Spirit of prophecy spake by them. So there were many

men who sustained some of the most important offices in the commonwealth of Israel as judges and kings with whom the Almighty held intercourse, and to whom he communicated supernatural gifts to qualify them for the offices they sustained, but of whose lives and general conduct he could not, from his very nature, approve.

Neither was it in the official characters only which these persons sustained that they were types of Christ, for many of them had no official character at all; yet it cannot be denied that they prefigured, if not the Messiah himself, yet some persons or things which were to appear in connection with his kingdom; for the events and actions of their lives are referred to in the Scriptures themselves as shadowing forth the like things in the lives and actions of those who came after them. This seems to have been the case with Ahithophel, for it is to him that what is said in the 109th Psalm is thought to have a primary reference; yet the words are applied by the Apostle Peter, Acts i., to Judas, not by way of accommodation, but in a manner which shows that the one was typical of the other. A case somewhat similar to the one just mentioned, as to its moral character, is the conduct of Jacob in obtaining the blessing from his brother by clandestine means, although it is not, like that, made the subject of distinct Scripture reference; and the same is true of Hagar and Sarah, and other instances that might be mentioned. In many of these persons not only their good deeds, but also their sinful conduct, was typical.

It should be observed, however, that though bad men were sometimes chosen to be types of

eyes

Christ and of other persons, and even their immoral conduct had a typical aspect, it by no means follows that God was the author of those bad actions of which he was pleased to make such use. To suppose that, indeed, would be to make him the Author of sin who is of

purer than to behold iniquity. That his providence is conversant about moral evil and the sinful actions of men, as well as of the physical disorders in the universe, must be admitted; but all he does in the former case is, to allow things to take their course, and to use men as his instruments in the state in which he finds them; or, at the most, so to control their actions, without becoming in any way responsible for them, as to cause them to be types of what should afterwards appear.

Section V.

On the different kinds of types. Types have been divided into various classes ; and though the distributions that have been made have sometimes been arbitrary and fanciful, and such as had no foundation in fact, yet there is a real distinction to be traced between them, which, for the sake of order, and the better understanding of the subject, it may be well to observe. They may be all included in four classes. The first comprises those types that are personal, including a number of individuals whose transactions can neither be considered as history nor worship, being, in a great measure, distinct from both. These, however,

varied to some extent among themselves; for while some may be regarded as altogether typical throughout their whole lives, as far as they are made known to us, or nearly so, others were typical only at some periods of their existence, or in certain great and peculiar actions. Of the former of these descriptions was Moses; but Joshua and Jonah appear to belong to the latter.

The second class is composed of types of a historical description. They are component parts of the history of God's ancient church. Of these, the deliverance out of Egypt and the feast of tabernacles were among the most remarkable. The origin of the events and cir. cumstances celebrated by them is not to be traced to any design of the Almighty to constitute them types or emblems; but the same thing is true with respect to them as has been observed of the sinful part of the conduct of those persons whose lives were typical: they were not produced expressly for the purpose to which they were appropriated, but they were parts of real histories that would have occurred, and would have been recorded, as to their main features, had no typical use been made of them ; although such use being designed by the great Disposer of all events, there may have been certain inferior occurrences added not affecting their native character. In the third class is placed types that were ritual, being connected with the patriarchal and Mosaic worship. Indeed, the celebration and observance of them constituted part of the homage men rendered to God. Many of these partook largely of an arbi.

« AnteriorContinuar »