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II. The cities of refuge appear to have been typical of the Gospel salvation in some of the circumstances connected with them. We may notice
1. The facilities afforded for the enjoyment of their benefits. It was not to one city only that the appointment was confined, but several were set apart for the purpose of refuge. They appear to have been of considerable size, and variously situated in the Holy Land; and lest in his haste to escape from the avenger of blood any one should mistake the way, and so delay his entrance, directories are said to have been placed at every point at which it was possible the danger might occur.
Neither is our security in Christ, from the wrath of God, dependant upon uncertain contingencies, but fixed by the covenant and oath of Almighty God, and so plainly revealed, “ that he who runs may read, and the wayfaring man, though a fool, needs not err therein." Not only is it made the duty of every one to possess and read the Scriptures for himself, but the Sabbath is divinely appointed, on which they are explained and enforced. Hence the Apostle exclaims, “Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above ;) or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.) But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach.”* Men of like passions are raised up to point others to that refuge which they themselves have found,
* Rom. x. 6-8.
who, “Knowing the terror of the Lord, persuade men;"* " warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that they may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.”
2. It was associated with the priestly office, for not only were the cities of refuge localities in which the Levites dwelt, but the freedom of the man-slayer was made dependant upon the death of the high priest.
That this event, whenever it occurred, must have produced a great effect among God's ancient people is evident, from the office he sustained, and the connection which the religion of the Jews had with their civil polity; and no doubt there were many things upon which the good order and happiness of a family depended, affected by that event, requiring the presence of all its members, and particularly its head, and these considerations may have had much to do with the enactment of this part of the law. Still there were other persons whose death would have been an equally important event, if not even more so, than this; why, therefore, the death of the high priest was fixed upon rather than that of the king, and for what reason the death of the high priest and not his inauguration should be the period to the banishment of the man-slayer, there can be no explanation given so rational and scriptural, as the one which supposes that in that event was shrouded the death of the “great High Priest of our profession.”
In like manner our deliverance from the avenging hand of God, the fear of death and * 2 Cor. v. 11.
+ Col. i. 28.
hell, and our restoration to our former position, depended upon Jesus Christ, and upon no part of his office or work so much as his death. It was by this he destroyed death, "and him who had the power of death, that is, the devil; and delivered them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage."*
3. The benefits of the institution were not confined to the Jewish people, but were alike available for those of all other nations. This, although by no means peculiar to the cities of refuge, was yet one of the most interesting features of the appointment, for it tended not only to show that the truths which it taught were of a moral and not a cerenionial character, but it was another powerful intimation of that final result of which the Jews were so ignorant, and which they were at last so unwilling to acknowledge—the merging of the Mosaic distinctions, and the admission of the Gentiles with them, to the possession of the blessings of the Gospel. It taught that in Christ Jesus there should be “neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free; but Christ is all and in all." + * Heb. ii. 14, 15.
+ Col. iii. 11.
ON THE TYPES EMPLOYED IN THE RELIGION
OF THE JEWS,
The passover was
a well known festival amongst the Hebrews, instituted at the time of their leaving Egypt, and in commemoration of that great event.* For applying it to the death of Christ we have the authority of the Apostle Paul, who, in his first Epistle to the Corinthians, v. 7, says,
« For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us;" but as to the light in which this ancient institution is to be viewed by the church of God, there is nothing in these words themselves to enable us to decide, since they may mean only that the reference made by the writer is merely for the sake of illustration, or that the resemblance implied was designed, and the former sacrifice intended to be a type of the latter. Nevertheless, if in connection with the words of the Apostle, we consider the character and peculiarity of the rite to which they refer, we shall be led to conclude that the latter idea of them, which is the one pretty generally entertained, is correct.
The passover service being designed in the first place to commemorate the departure of the
See Exod xii.
Israelites out of Egypt, its different constituent parts, as a matter of course, were so framed as to admit of an easy application to that circumstance. This, however, was not the case with them all; but while some seem to have been so ordered as to have a special reference to their deliverance, there were others, for the peculiar character of which no reason can be found in that event itself. Indeed they seem to have had more to do with the antitype than the type; nor can any explanation be given of them but by a reference to the Lamb of God, whom the paschal lamb prefigured. Thus, for instance, it was to be roasted, and not boiled, and this appears to have been a principal thing); but why one of these ways of preparation should be so strictly insisted upon rather than the other there was nothing immediately present to show; for if the latter would not take less time than the former, they would appear to be at least equally expeditious. But that upon which a great and most important stress was laid was the requirement that it should be partaken of entire.* Considering the situation of the Israelites, and the haste with which their flight was to be effected, nothing would seem to be more inconvenient to them than this method of receiving it, as it would require the bringing together members of different families, a circumstance which must have had a tendency to expose them to inconvenience and danger,
Now this peculiarity is referred to by the Evangelist John, and said to have had a spiritual reference to the sufferings of Christ; for
. Exod. xii. 46.