Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

which the Old Testament abounds, there was a regard paid not only to the blessings which were intended to be bestowed upon the world, in connection with the death of the Saviour, but also, as might have been expected, to the relative importance which these blessings bore to each other. Now, of all the attributes of the Deity that were to be proclaimed and glorified in the great scheme which God's infinite wisdom has devised, his mercy and his holiness were the chief; while the principal blessings to be conferred upon us are those of pardon and sanctification ; and hence we find that these two great boons of heaven are everywhere placed before us in their nature and effects. Those types, teaching the great doctrine of the atonement, were numerous and abundant, for “almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission;"* and because the next blessing in importance to pardon is sanctification, the representations of this were equally numerous and striking. Water was not only the emblem employed by the prophets when the pouring out of the spirit was the theme of their announcement, but this element was used by the Jews in a number of services, so much so that their religion is said to have “stood in meats and drinks, and divers washings;"+ but in no service, and at no time, was water used so plentifully as at this feast. It was not sprinkled, as on other occasions, but poured out copiously before the altar of God, indicating, as the Jews themselves believed, that in the days of the Messiah, the Spirit, who had * Heb. ix. 22.

† Heb. ix. 10.

always been connected with the Church and the world, and whose influences had constantly been more or less partaken of, should then be given in an extensive and permanent manner.

It typified the outpouring of the Spirit,

2. In its cleansing and purifying effects.

That in some of the adumbrations of the Old Testament, the connection between type and antitype partakes largely of an arbitrary character, and partially so in others, must be admitted; but perhaps this will appear to be the case only with respect to those which are of minor consideration, while such as are most important, designed to set forth essential blessings, or the principal attributes of the Deity, exercised in the work of redemption, are calculated, in their distinctive features, to point out correspondent parts between their own nature and the things to which they refer.

Now, the great work which the Spirit of God performs upon the human race is that of purifying. This fact is not only taught us in the Scripture by the continual references which are made to him and his operations, but some of the names by which he is distinguished are such as to show that he performs it;-he is designated by the terms Water* and Fire.† This being the case, the two most common figures by which the Spirit is set forth in the Old Testament are those correspondent with them; because, although one of these is of a more subtle nature than the other, and is on that account better suited to the end designed, the effect of the operations of both is to purify. * John iii. 5.

+ Matt. iii. 11.

This effect, though varied in its process, in order to show that God is not confined to any means, even of his own appointing, yet, with very few exceptions, is of a protracted nature; for “ the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day;"* and the kingdom of heaven is like seed which a man cast into the ground; there was “ first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear:"+ and those who are the subjects of the Spirit's work “grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ."I The second causes by which it is carried on are the word of God and the means of grace, both public and private, and in all cases the process is suited to us as rational beings. Hence we are exhorted to do, and are said to perform, that which the Spirit effects for us and in us: “ To crucify the flesh with the affections and lusts;"'S and “ to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in us both to will and to do of his good pleasure.”'ll

This feast may be considered,

III. As prefiguring the joy of the people of God while they are passing through this wilderness state.

This joy is distinguished,
1. By its greatness.

It is true, that in every age of the world, the essential properties of real religion have been alike, under whatever dispensation God has been worshipped. And as it is the same rela* Prov. iv. 18. + Mark iv. 28. 1 2 Pet. iii. 18. § Gal. v, 24,

Il Phil. ii. 12, 13.

tion which he sustains to his people now that he has ever borne, and the same blessings are bestowed upon the same conditions as always existed, there is no effect which these blessings now produce, or ever will result from them, but were, in some measure, partaken of before. As, however, it is not so much the existence of these things that gives joy, as our being able to realize our interest in them, it must always follow that just in proportion to the clearness of the light in which spiritual realities are beheld, will be the extent to which they are enjoyed. The happiness resulting from the relation which God sustains to his people—the joy of pardon and justification, and of the prospects of the heavenly world, have always been the portion of the saints; but because the clearness with which these things are placed before us in the Gospel is so much greater than that of the law, the experimental effects of them will be proportionably augmented. So great is this difference, that it may be compared to that between a copious shower and the few drops by which it is preceded; or the sprinkling among the Jews in their various rites, and the pouring out of the water in flowing streams on the great day of the feast of tabernacles. To sacred joy, in connection with the service of God, the Jews had not been strangers, but they seldom possessed it in such a degree as on this occasion; and it was when beholding this that the Saviour directed them to the blessings pointed out by it: “He that believeth on me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the

inteatest. On cachough joy

Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive.") *

2. This joy was distinguished by its long continuance.

The feast of tabernacles was of unusual length; and though joy was experienced and evinced on each day, yet at the last it became greatest. And how fit an emblem was this of that delight in God through Christ, and the agency of the Holy Spirit, which it is the privilege of believers to possess !

There is an interesting agreement between all the parts of the work which God performs in his people, as well as that which he executes for them. As their sanctification is not complete, and their spiritual joy always dependent on it, it will follow that one will be interrupted or retarded as the other remains defective; but still what portion may be possessed is solid and durable. It must be so, because it arises not from themselves but from God-his characterhis relation to his people, and the effect of the work of Christ. And like the joy at the feast of tabernacles, it will increase until it is complete in that world where nothing shall enter to interrupt it. Now has the believer reason to joy in God his Saviour, and here is he exhorted to rejoice in the Lord always; but too frequently it is the case that his harp is hung upon the willows. There it shall be strung afresh, never more to be laid aside.

* John vii. 38, 39.

« AnteriorContinuar »