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trary character, since they were not necessarily required to constitute the observers of them a religious people, nor to maintain their devotions. Any different institutions would have answered the same purposes, had they have been appointed. Why they were to be preferred, therefore, rested with the will and decision of the Almighty Being who was served. Of this kind the paschal lamb, the scape goat, and the offering on the great day of atonement, were the chief.

These types differed in the degrees of clearness with which they set forth the antitype, and also in the time of their standing,—some of them being of short continuance, others of long duration and of perpetual use. Besides these, there is a fourth class, which may be called general, as consisting of things and events which could not properly be considered as belonging to any of the above. The number of types in this class, however, being but small, they are not now deemed worthy of distinct notice.

Although all that is contained in these divisions may justly claim the appellation of types, nevertheless it is not pretended that the distinctions are strictly proper or correct. In many instances the types were so intimately connected one with another that they cannot be fully considered apart. In these cases both the signs, or institutions, and those who were actively connected with them, were typical, and both were intended to instruct at one and the same time : but there were others in which either the persons more particularly, apart from their transactions, or, on the other hand, what was done,


and not so much the doer of it, was designed to teach the lesson intended to be imparted. Of the former description—where both were to be regarded—was the deluge and Noah, Joseph and his brethren, the paschal lamb, the rock in the wilderness smitten by Moses, the high priest officiating on the great day of atonement, and many events in the history of David. In these cases, both the things acted upon and the actors were of a typical character, and in them we behold how the personal and other types were brought out in connection : but of the latter description was the burning bush, Jacob's ladder, the ark of the covenant, and others of a similar kind. In these latter cases, not so much the persons themselves, as the events recorded in connection with them, were the instructors.

But though this distinction is not so perfect as to include all the features of every variety of type, it will answer each purpose for which a division is now required; and, therefore, in conformity with it what is hereafter said upon the subject will be advanced.




That a written revelation of the Divine mind and will was necessary to guide us in the discharge of our duty, and in securing happiness and salvation, is evident from the defect and uncertainty of the light of nature, and the instability of human tradition. When it is considered, however, that our responsibility was not dependent on any particular form of the heavenly communication which did not involve an impossibility of understanding its contents, it cannot be viewed in any other light than that of a great inducement to attend to what God has caused to be written, that he has discovered himself to us in such a variety of ways. Nevertheless this circumstance, if it is an advantage, yet, like many other privileges, it is capable of becoming a source of error, and requires care in order to make it productive of all that good it is calculated to impart. A variety of modes of communicating the Divine mind is made use of, and the distinction existing between thein must be carefully noticed.


Of similes. Amongst those things which have sometimes been mistaken for types, are to be reckoned similes. Men in their earliest intercourse with each other, were accustomed to employ picture writing, in which the full-length representation of the thing intended to be made known was drawn out, whether it was a horse or an ox, or any one of the heavenly bodies. Thus kings are called flies and bees, * because those creatures were the ancient similes by which they * Isaiah vii. 18.

were set forth; and so, because they were represented by a shepherd, Christ is called by that name on account of the care which he takes of his flock, and to show the relation in which his people stand to himself.

In process of time, however, as similies became familiar, contractions of them took place, until at length small portions only of those things which had been fully given were retained, and metaphors-similes compressed into words —took the place of picture representations. In these metaphors, things are invested with properties which they do not in reality possess, and are said to perform actions which do not belong to them. Thus blood is said to cry from the ground, and the earth to groan; and the Deity is represented as having hands and feet, and the other faculties of human beings, which we are sure are not strictly proper in their application to Him who is an infinite spirit. So he himself speaks of his ancient church as his vineyard; and Christ, in allusion to his sufferings, is said to tread the wine-press of the Divine anger.

Similes and metaphors are to be ascribed to the earliest period of time, when language was in its infancy and poverty, as well as to the warm temperament of the ancients, and the disposition of men to invest everything with imaginary qualities, and on that account we find that the older the production in which they are contained, the bolder is the character by which they are distinguished. Now, the books of the old Testament are of the highest antiquity; in them, therefore, they are more frequently to be

* Ezekiel xxxvii. 24.

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met with than in more modern inspired writings. For the same reason it follows, as a matter of course, that amongst persons of a different character and disposition, and as language became improved and rendered more copious, these would be less frequently employed. Hence it is, that although they are still to be found in the New Testament, their use is comparatively sparing, and confined chiefly to the Book of the Revelation.

Writers on the Scriptures have not only very frequently confounded metaphors with similes, but they have especially identified the latter with types. That there is a distinction between them is evident; for though it should be admitted that nothing is a type which is not also a simile, yet it is clear that there are many things which are similes which cannot properly be called types. Thus human life is compared to a wind that passeth away,* and to a shadow that declineth.+ In like manner man is a flower, and death a sleep. S. In these things there is a general likeness which constitutes them similes, but the resemblance is not sufficiently full and extensive to entitle them to any other character.


Of signs and significant actions. Signs may be considered as of various kinds; some were standing or permanent, differing from others of an occasional character. Some* Ps. lxxviii. 39. + Ps cii. 16. I Job xiv. 2.

§ 2 Thess, iv. 13.

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