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obscurity of the dispensation of which he was the minister; the second to show the darkness of the minds of the Jews : that he speaks really with respect to Moses and the vail which he wore, but metaphorically in regard to the Israelites. Their state was such that it was as if they had been vailed.
It appears pretty plain, however, that the Apostle considered the vail of Moses designed chiefly as an emblem of the law, and not so much of the state of the Israelites, from the manner in which he contrasts the conduct of Moses with his own, and that of the other Apostles. His words are, “Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech : and not as Moses, which put a vail over his face, that the children of Israel could not stedfastly look to the end of that which is abolished.”
Now, had the vail been intended to represent the state of those to whom the law was delivered only, there would have been as much reason for the Apostle and his brethren to put it on as there was for Moses doing so, since the hearts of those to whom the Gospel was preached were dark as well as theirs to whom the law was delivered ; but when he says, great plainness of speech,” he evidently implies that Moses did not do so, and that plainness was not a property of the former dispensation, but while they preached the Gospel in a familiar way, the object of Moses was to obscure the law, or to show that it was concealed.
The design of the vail of Moses then was to afford an emblematical representation of the
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law; that there was an intended ignorance of the Mosaic economy in which the people were kept—a glory in it which they were not allowed to see.
Any explanation that might be required of the reason for the Divine conduct in regard to the obscurity of which the vail of Moses was the emblem, would require the whole of the ceremonial law with which it was connected to be brought under review. It was quite in character with it, and as it took place at the commencement of the dispensation, the wisdom of the Almighty is seen no less in the time appointed than in the emblem selected.
Comparisons and Illustrations. As the New Testament is inseparably connected with the Old, which it is designed to explain and enforce, it is very natural to expect that on all proper occasions references to it would be made by Jesus Christ and his Apostles. This we find was the case in numerous instances, but there is a great difference in the use which is made of it. Sometimes the things spoken of in the former are said to be fulfilled by the latter and the events to which they allude, while, in many cases, nothing more is implied by the expressions used than the resemblance there might be between the passing event or action, and some other which preceded it, or with which the hearers were familiar.
Of the latter description of reference are the words of Christ, where, speaking of the nature
of bis kingdom, or the work to be done by his Gospel, he compares it to a harvest, and directs his disciples to to pray to the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest."* So, when he would represent the powerful effect to be produced by his grace on the hearts of men, he likened it unto leaven which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened ;% and in like manner, because the ancients were familiar with social entertainments, and such things were common among the Jews, he set forth the blessings which he came to impart under the idea of a feast, I as Isaiah had done before him.ş
With this kind of allusion both the Gospels and the Epistles abound, and every reader of the Scripture must be too familiar with the several instances, to allow the idea that a more particular reference to them can be required in this place.
Allegories. An allegory is an appropriation of a real history to a purpose differing from that for which it was at first designed, to suit the convenience of him by whom it is used—the fabrication of events and circumstances for the sake of teaching or eliciting truth. It is a collection of figures, in which, instead of one word being used in a metaphorical sense, a number are so employed. It so nearly resembles a parable as to be often confounded with it; and, indeed, it is * Matt. ix. 38. + Matt. xiii. 33. I Matt. xxii. $ Isa. xxv. 6.
sometimes difficult to distinguish one from the other.
Perhaps the real distinction is, that the former is generally founded upon real history, while the latter commonly owes its origin to that which is only imaginary. An allegory differs from a type, chiefly in this, that the design of God is involved in the latter, but is not necessary to the former. An allegorical use is one that was not necessarily intended, whereas anything to be a type must have been ordained by the Almighty for such a purpose. Allegories, like types, have respect to the past and the future, as well as the present.
1. The earliest specimen we have of an allegory in the Scripture is that of Jotham, recorded in Judges ix. 6: “And all the men of Shechem gathered together, and all the house of Millo, and went and made Abimelech king, by the plain of the pillar that was in Shechem. And when they told it to Jotham, he went and stood on the top of Mount Gerizim, and lifted up his voice, and cried, and said unto them, Hearken unto me, ye men of Shechem, that God may hearken unto you. The trees went forth on a time to anoint a king over them; and they said unto the olive-tree, Reign thou over us. But the olive-tree said unto them, Should I leave my fatness, wherewith by me they honour God and man, and go to be promoted over the trees? And the trees said to the fig-tree, Come thou, and reign over us. But the fig-tree said unto them, Should I forsake my sweetness, and my good fruit, and go to be promoted over the trees? Then said the trees unto the vine, Come
thou, and reign over us. And the vine said unto them, Should I leave my wine, which cheereth God and man, and go to be promoted over the trees? Then said all the trees unto the bramble, Come thou, and reign over us. And the bramble said unto the trees, If in truth ye anoint me king over you, then come and put your trust in my shadow; and if not, let fire come out of the bramble, and devour the cedars of Lebanon."
This is a real allegory, because founded upon a real history, while the facts are set forth otherwise than they were in truth. Gideon—who by his victories had obtained for himself honour and renown-is here represented as an olivetree; and as the people of Israel had offered to him the kingdom, their proposing to invest him with regal dignity is compared to inferior trees requesting the olive-tree to reign over them, but he declined the dignity; and as his refusal was intended not only for himself, but had relation to his sons also, the offer is described as made to them respectively, considered as the fig-tree and the vine, but in vain. At length the application was presented to the bramble, by which Abimelech is intended. By him the offer was accepted willingly, and accompanied with a threat. Here the whole is true to history, with only one exception, namely, that Jotham insinuates that the design originated with the people, whereas it was first conceived by Abimelech.
2. So when Amaziah, king of Judah, without any provocation, sent a hostile message to Jehoash, king of Israel, saying, “Come, let us look one another in the face," the latter returned this allegorical answer: “ The thistle that was in