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it was not originally designed to be of invariable continuance, nor fitted in the nature of the thing for universal and perpetual obligation.
Again, another instance produced by this writer of the apostle Paul contradicting Moses is this : • That Moses every where most expressly establishes propitiations and atonements for sin by the blood of beasts, and declares upon the action of the priest in sprinkling the sacrificial blood, the atonement should be made, and the offence forgiven; and ordains daily and annual sacrifices for the sins of the whole people, and this without the least hint or intimation of any type or farther reference. But St. Paul, on the contrary, declares it is impossible for the blood of bulls or goats' to take away sins;' and condemns this literal sense of the law as a scheme of natural blindness and bondage that cannot consist either with the civil or religious rights or liberties of mankind.'
That Moses establishes propitiations and atonements for sin by the blood of beasts, will be readily acknowledged ; and if this author could prove that the apostle Paul denies that such sacrifices had been ever appointed by God at all, this would contradict Moses, who prescribes them as of divine appointment. But on the contrary, it is evident that the apostle all along supposes that these sacrifices had been appointed by God himself through the ministry of Moses. He represents them, indeed, as now abolished, but this is only to say, that the Mosaic law is no longer obligatory, and that God hath not thought fit to require those sacrifices under the New Testament. As to what he adds, that Moses declares that the atonement should be made and the offence forgiven upon the action of the priest in sprinkling the sacrificial blood, without the least hint or intimation of any type or farther reference. Whereas the apostle declares it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sin.' The apostle himself plainly shows us how to reconcile these, by declaring that the gifts and sacrifices under the law ' sanctified to the purifying of the flesh; and this external atonement is what Moses intends as the immediate consequence of the priests sprinkling the blood. The person thereupon was legally clean and free, but he never intended to signify that merely upon the outward act done of the priest's sprinkling the sacrificial blood, the man's conscience was immediately purged from the guilt of sin, without repentance and new obedience. For the necessity of repentance and obedience in order to forgiveness and acceptance with God is strongly represented in the law. The case then with respect to those sacrifices stands thus: The outward act of offering the sacrifice, and the priests sprinkling the blood when done as the law prescribes, was an external atonement or expiation, by which the person was outwardly and legally cleansed from the guilt he had contracted. Besides which to the truly penitent and sincere this rite was an outward sign or pledge of God's pardon and acceptance. And if the apostle Paul may be allowed a better interpreter of the design of those sacrifices than this writer, one great end for which they were instituted was to prefigure that of Christ, and by those
typical atonements to prepare them for that great propitiation of infinite virtue which he was to offer for the sins of the world. And if this was one primary intention of that part of the Mosaic law, it gives us a more comprehensive view of the wisdom of this constitution. It shows those sacrifices to have been originally appointed by God himself, and that the great end of them is now fulfilled, and consequently that this part of the law of Moses, instead of being contrary to the Gospel, was designed to be subservient to it. And as to the exception he makes that Moses himself gives no intimation of any type or farther reference, it shall be considered afterwards when I come more particularly to examine what he offers concerning the mystical sense of that law.
The next instance he produceth to prove that the law of Moses is contradicted_and denied by the apostle Paul is absolutely misrepresented. For it nowhere appears that Moses commanded all idolatry to be exterminated by fire and sword, not only in Canaan, but all the rest of the world, as far as his people should have it in their
power, of which he was very confident.' And as to the particular law about the punishment of idolaters in the Jewish commonwealth, this, with the author's pretence that it is inconsistent with the rights of private judgment and liberty of conscience, shall be considered afterwards.
The last instance he produceth to show the contradiction and inconsistency between the doctrine of the apostle Paul, and the law of Moses, amounts to no more than this, • that the Levitical order of priesthood is now abolished, and that the apostle Paul declares it to be so;' which will be easily granted. But at the same time, it is certain that even when he argues that the priesthood is now changed, he still plainly shows that he looked upon it to have been originally of divine appointment. And though he nowhere expressly declares in what particular way the Christian ministry is to be maintained, yet it is not true, as this author alleges, that he
leaves the Christian ministry to subsist only upon charity,' if by that he meant that it is a matter of mere courtesy; for it is certain he insists
upon it as a matter of right, and declares that the Lord hath ordained that those that preach the Gospel should live of the Gospel.'
The author might, at this rate of arguing, have produced most of the particular constitutions of the law of Moses which are no longer in force under the Gospel, and from thence have argued a contradiction and inconsistency between the Gospel and the law. But all that follows from it is, that the legal economy is now abrogated with its peculiar rites and injunctions. But it does not follow that therefore our Lord Jesus Christ and his apostles believed that it was not originally of divine institution : except it could be proved that God can never give any occasional injunctions, which are to last only for a time; or that all his laws must be as himself immutable; or that that cannot be fit and proper at one time, or in one circumstance of things, which is not so in another : the contrary to which this writer himself acknowledges, p. 207, where, having observed that all wise states and governments have ever found it necessary to abrogate and alter the old, or to enact new laws, according to mutable and variable relations and circumstances of persons in Society,' he adds, that 'this will equally hold good, when applied to the laws of God himself. For what God would require at one time under such particular relations and circumstances, he would not require at another time under other relations, and quite different or contrary circumstances.' From whence it is manifest that his argument to show an inconsistency between the law of Moses and the Christian religion is explained by St. Paul, because many things that were required in the one are abrogated by the other, hath nothing in it. It doth not follow that the Mosaic economy was not instituted by God, because many of its rites and constitutions were abrogated and superseded by a succeeding dispensation; when the circumstances of things were much altered from what they were at the first giving of the law, and the design for which that particular economy had been erected was answered and fulfilled.
I shall conclude this chapter with observing that this writer, in order to show an inconsistency between the law of Moses and the Gospel, absolutely denies any mystical or typical sense of the law of Moses, or that any of its rites had, in their original intention, any farther reference than the bare letter.
He asks, Whether there can be found any reason or foundation in all the writings of Moses, or his commentators the prophets, for that typical, figurative, and allegorical sense of the legal priesthood, sacrifices, and ceremonies which St. Paul supposes and argues upon in his reasonings against the Jews, in order to set aside this priesthood, and the law of ceremonies depending upon it, as fulfilled and accomplished in Christ ?' And observes, in the passage I mentioned before, that • Moses establishes propitiations and atonements for sin by the blood of beasts, and ordains sacrifices, without the least hint or intimation of any type or farther reference, p. 41. And therefore he concludes that St. Paul's rejecting and renouncing the ceremonial law in its literal sense, when Moses had delivered and inforced it in no other sense was a plain declaration that such a law could never be of divine institution,' p. 51. But it is not true that the apostle Paul condemned and renounced the ceremonial law in its literal sense, if by that he meant that he supposed its rites literally taken not to have been instituted by God; for he all along supposes that even literally taken the legal rites and ordinances were of divine appointment, and were imposed upon the Jews by a divine authority to be observed by them until the times of reformation:' that is, till the last and most perfect dispensation should be introduced under the Messiah. But he argues that beside the literal they had a mystical sense, and that in instituting them the divine wisdom had a farther view, and designed them as types and figures of greater and better things under that more perfect dispensation that was to succeed.
And let us see what this author offers to prove that it was not
All his long discourse about the typical mystical sense of the law, amounts to no more than this. That 'there is not the least hint in the writings of Moses, or his commentators the prophets, of any such typical sense or reference; that such a mystical sense of the law and prophets was never known nor heard of among the Jews till after the days of Ezra, when the Jewish cabalists put what sense they pleased on those writings; and when they could not prove the new doctrines they advanced (amongst which he reckons that of the resurrection, a general judgment, and a state of future rewards and punishments) by the original literal sense of those writings, they introduced a mystical allegorical sense of their original books, and pretended an oral tradition to justify their arbitrary interpretations. That the apostle Paul and Christ himself argued with the Jews in their own way,
their own concessions, and justified the Gospel scheme upon the foot of Moses and the prophets, not from the proper original sense of the prophets themselves, but by mystical allegorical interpretations, for which there was really no foundation in the writings themselves of Moses and the prophets. And he asks why might not they take up the same principles against such men to introduce and establish the true religion, which they had made use of and applied to establish and perpetuate a false one? This is the sum of what he saith from p. 43–51.
But if we should grant that there is no hint of any such mystical typical sense or reference in the law of Moses or the prophets, this would not prove that there was no such sense in the original intention of the Holy Ghost in giving these laws. For supposing such an original typical intention, it might not be proper to declare this in the law itself, or to let the people directly and expressly know that its rites were typical, the shadows and figures of good things to come under another and more perfect dispensation. This might have diminished their regard to the law, and have rendered them negligent in the observation of its injunctions, even when it was proper for good reasons that they should be kept close to the observation of them. Types might be originally intended, though not then explained and understood when they were first instituted. And there is no absurdity in supposing, that God whose wisdom penetrates through all ages, had some ends in view in instituting those rites and ceremonies, which he did not open all at once, but which were to be understood in the proper season: and particularly that he designed them among other ends, (for it is not pretended that it is the only end) for types and figures of good things to come, with a view that when the time came for accomplishing them, their apt correspondency might more fully appear. And indeed the typical sense and reference could not be well understood till the antitype came, by comparing it with which, the exact and beautiful harmony between both, and the wisdom of God in appointing it so, might be fully manifest. And who so proper in that case to explain the original sense intended by the Holy Ghost, as those who were inspired by the same divine Spirit ?
I shall therefore beg leave to suppose that our Lord Jesus Christ and his apostles, particularly the apostle Paul, are more to be depended on for a just account of the original sense of Moses and the prophets, than this writer who confidently avers they had no such original typical sense and reference, though Christ and his apostles assure us they had.
But after all, it is not true, that there is not the least foundation in the writings of Moses or his commentators the prophets for that typical figurative sense of the legal priesthood, sacrifices and ceremonies, which St. Paul supposes and argues upon in order to set aside this priesthood, and the law of ceremonies depending upon it, as fulfilled and accomplished in Christ.' There are several hints concerning a Redeemer to come interspersed in the Mosaical writings, and still more in those of the prophets. He had been promised and foretold from the beginning at sundry times and in divers manners. This was the principal thing intended in the promise made to Abrahan concerning 'all nations being blessed in his seed,' and so Abraham himself understood it, who, if we may believe our Saviour, 'saw his day and was glad.' Jacob spoke of him under the name of Shiloh. And the Israelites had derived to them from the patriarchs an expectation of this glorious person as one that should arise from among them. And this being the case the most wise and understanding of them might be naturally led to think that there was a farther view and reference to the great event, in many of the rites that were then prescribed, and in that particular constitution and polity that was then erected, especially since Moses himself directed their views this way, by telling them of another prophet whom God would raise up from the midst of them like unto him,' to whom they were to pay an entire obedience, and to observe whatsoever laws or commands he should bring them from God. The sacrifices, the chief part of the legal rites and services, are sometimes spoken of in the Old Testament, with a seeming contempt, as things in which God had no pleasure. It is certain these expressions were not intended to signify that God had not instituted or required those sacrifices at all : but it was natural to conclude from those expressions, that they were not instituted merely for their own sakes, but had a farther view and reference. Thus particularly in the fortieth Psalm, ver. 5, 6, the person there spoken of, after having plainly declared the insufficiency of the legal sacrifices, adds concerning himself, “Then said I, lo, I come, in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O God.' Where he represents himself and his coming, as written of in the law. And this I think can scarce be understood to relate to any but the Messiah ; of whom David often speaks, and of whom the apostle interprets it, Heb. x. 5—9, and if so, here is an instance to prove, that at the time when this Psalm was composed, which was in the days of David, many ages before Ezra, the law was understood, as having a reference to the Messiah. And in that passage there is also a plain intimation that the legal sacrifices were to cease, and to be abolished at the