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the fall, and continuing in force to the death and resurrection of Christ, was sacrifice. A victim was brought to the altar, and being slain as a substitute for the offerer, first saved him from death, and then became food to support his life. And as Providence hath been ever careful to furnish us with continual mementos of the truths most important and interesting to us, it seems to be a circumstance worthy notice, that since the use of animals for food, and those chiefly which were made choice of in sacrifice, the world subsisteth by shedding of blood, and the death of the innocent is daily the life of the guilty. This is an additional reason why every meal should be “ sanctified,” according to the apostolical direction,
by the word of God, and by prayer o,” while the meat that perisheth reminds us, in so lively and striking a manner, of that which endureth unto . eternal life. The history of the paschal lamb, with the preservation of Israel from the hand of the destroyer, in that night to be remembered through all their generations, the night of their leaving Egypt, is a very particular, full, and beautiful exemplification of the nature and design of sacrifice. “Christ, our
passover, is sacrificed for us;" and, therefore, we too keep the feast P.”
That miraculous supply of food, vouchsafed by God to sustain his people during their journey through the wilderness, till they came to the borders of Canaan, was another sign or symbol of immortal life, and its support derived from above. This new
and extraordinary viand sprung not out of the earth, but came down, in rain or dew, from heaven, white to the eye, sweet to the taste, and agreeable to every palate; given freely to all; proportioned to the necessities of each; and renewed day by day, till the sojournings of Israel were over, and the promised rest attained. St. Paul, having occasion to speak of those events, which, as he expresses it, “happened "unto Israel for ensamples?,” as figures or shadows of things spiritual and divine, mentions this miracle, with that of the water brought out of the rock, in the following terms: “ They all did eat the same spi- . " ritual meat ; they did all drink the same spiritual “ drink; for they drank of that spiritual rock which " followed them; and that rock was Christ'.” Our
1 Lord, in the sixth chapter of St. John's Gospel, discoursing with the Jews upon this subject, says to them—"Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; “ but my Father giveth you the true bread from " heaven. For the bread of God is he that cometh “ down from heaven, and giveth life unto the “world •.” Christ here styleth himself the TRUE bread, plainly in opposition to that which was shadowy and figurative. He is the TRUE bread, which cometh down from heaven, and is given, day by day, to nourish and support the Israel of God, the camp of the saints, the church militant, during her pilgrimage in the world, till she shall come to the promised inheritance, the land of that everlasting rest, which remaineth for the people of God. There we shall find,
4 Τυποι συνεβαινον.
r1 Cor. x. 3, 4.
s John, vi. 32, 33.
and enjoy for ever, the truth and substance of this sacred figure. “ He that hath an ear, let him hear “ what the Spirit saith to the churches. To him that
overcometh will I give to eat of the HIDDEN “MANNA',” that is, to partake of that “ life,” which is “bid with Christ in God;" as the golden vessel of manna was laid up for a memorial, in “the holy
places made with hands"."
To the same purpose served that bread, called the shew bread, or bread of the presence", set forth new every morning, in the tabernacle and temple, and denoting the sustenance to be communicated to the souls of men from the body of the Messiah; to pre. figure which body, it is well known, that both tabernacle and temple were constructed under the direction of God himself.
Lastly-What the tree of life was to Adam in Paradise; what sacrifice in general was to the faithful, after the fall, from Abel downward ; what the paschal lamb was to Israel quitting Egypt; what manna was to that people in the wilderness; what the shew bread was in the tabernacle and temple; all this, and if there be any other symbol of like import, it is now briefly comprehended, during the continuance of the Christian church upon earth, in the holy eucharist. The former were prefigurative sacraments, this is a commemorative one. They
. showed forth the Messiah, and the life which is by him, until his first coming; this shows forth the
t Rev. ii. 17.
u Exod. xvi. 33 ; Heb. is. 4.
.להם פנים *
same Messiah, and the same life, “ until his coming "again.” Excluded from the tree of life in Paradise, we are admitted to partake of the bread of life in the church. Lost by the covenant of works, we are saved by that of grace. A cheering voice calls to us from the sanctuary, “Draw near with faith, and take " this holy sacrament to your comfort.” The elements are honoured with the names of the body and blood of Christ, because appointed to signify and convey, to the worthy communicant, the blessings purchased by his body broken, and his blood shed, upon the cross; blessings to the soul, like the benefits conferred upon the body by bread and wine; life, health, strength, comfort, and joy.
Such have been the different symbols and sacraments vouchsafed to mankind under different dispensations, all representing and shadowing out a glorious immortality in another and better world, where we shall sit down with the Author and Giver of it, at his table, to eat bread, and drink of the fruit of the vine, new in his kingdom; where we shall give glory to the Lamb that was slain ; where we shall partake of the hidden manna, and eat the fruit of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.
From the passages of Scripture thus laid together, the nature and design of the tree of life in Eden seem sufficiently clear. And, upon a review of what hath been said, it is impossible not to admire the consistency and uniformity running through both Testaments, from the second chapter of the Genesis of Moses, to the twenty-second of St. John's Revelation, which so mutually illustrate and explain each other. The analogy of faith, in this instance, proclaims aloud the wisdom and harmony of the divine dispensations, from the creation to the consummation of all things.
At sundry times, in divers manners, and by va. rious instruments, hath Heaven conveyed instruction to man. But the instruction conveyed, with the terms and figures employed to convey it, bespeak, at all times, the hand of the same omniscient and beneficent Author. They must be construed and expounded upon the same plan; and, when rightly construed and expounded, will be found to terminate in the same awful and interesting objects, eternal life, and the means of its attainment. To these great ends serve the symbols of Paradise, the sacrifices of the patriarchs, the types of the law, the visions of the prophets, and the sacraments of the Gospel, with the numberless expressions and descriptions borrowed from them, and referring to them. These constitute a kind of sacred language, peculiar to holy writ, and only explicable by it. The knowledge of this language is a science by itself, and the study of it well worthy the attention of such as have leisure and abilities to prosecute it, its own rich and exceeding great reward. The subjects are of such infinite moment, that all others must, in comparison, appear to be as nothing. And the dress in which they are presented to us, is the most ornamental and engaging in the world. It is of that kind to which both elo. quence and poetry, among men, owe all their charms.