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have even pushed their consistency to the still more absurd length of denying that the Jewish people entertained any expectation of a Messiah's coming. Our readers, however, would not thank us for proving either that the Jews entertained expectations of a Messiah's coming, or that such expectations were founded on their sacred books. If, then, we are compelled to admit this, there is only one other horn to the dilemma stated above, and it must be acknowledged, not only that Christ is to be found in the Old Testament in its plain predictions and its evident types, but that he is to be found in it elsewhere also.
It is not our design here to enumerate all the methods which have been proposed of solving the question before us, nor to enter upon the merits and demerits of each in detail. Several of the early fathers and others assumed an allegorical sense of Scripture, different from its plain and obvious meaning, and always underlying it; often, indeed, in their expositions superseding it. Others have employed every variety of method in dealing with Scripture types. One class, in order to make out a type everywhere, has assumed the most fanciful and grotesque analogies; another has affirmed with positiveness that nothing should be admitted to be a type, for which there cannot be adduced the express warrant of the New Testament writers in so many words; while another still has been willing to admit a type wherever it would be natural to conclude that one was contained, by proceeding on the same principles which the inspired writers of the New Testament appear to have followed. The fault of both the allegorical and the typical methods just referred to lies in assuming that there is either everywhere, or at least in certain parts of the Old Testament, what has been called a double sense, one obvious, one concealed-one designed by the writer, and lying within his immediate scope, the other designed by the Holy Spirit to refer to an entirely different subject from that which was intended by the writer, or which would be understood by his immediate readers. Thus, it is supposed that an Old Testament writer might be speaking of David, or Solomon, or Judah, and mean nothing more, and those of his own day see nothing more in it; whereas we, in New Testament times, might see that the Spirit designed in this language to describe Christ and the Christian church.
The objection to this theory is not to be found, perhaps, in the fact that it interprets the Bible differently from all other books; for the uniqueness in the mode of its composition, in that it has a divine and a human author, certainly renders it conceivable that it might contain such distinct senses. more serious objection is found in the want of any certain or
satisfactory criterion to tell us in what passages the Spirit designed a different sense from that which the human penman had, and what the sense of the Spirit was. Who is qualified to decide this point? And is it not apparent that the assumption of such a sense, with no rule to determine where it is or what it is, leaves every thing to vague conjecture, deprives us of all certainty in the interpretation of Scripture, and makes it, in fact, whatever any interpreter may choose to make it? A more serious objection still is, that it mistakes entirely the position and design of this portion of God's revelation, and its relation to the people and the age to which it was given as their instructor and guide. It disregards the significancy of the Old Testament for Old Testament times, as though it could not be explained by itself, and had no meaning for those for whom it was primarily and especially designed. It assumes that in the sense of the Spirit it was unintelligible to them; and, in fact, that this was never unveiled, until it was rendered comparatively unnecessary by the superior clearness of the New Testament. The revelation made to any age, though significant for all coming time, was specially adapted to the wants and capacities of that age. A hidden sense of the kind spoken of above would be of no use to the Old Testament saints, for it was undiscoverable by them; nor is it of use to us, for we have the same things which it is supposed to teach taught more plainly in passages where that sense is obvious.
The double sense of which we have spoken must not be confounded with that interpretation which assigns to the same prophecy a twofold or even manifold accomplishment. Nor must it be supposed, that in saying what we have of the former, we have meant in any wise to discredit the latter. It is very frequently the case that the same prophecy, after having been fulfilled in a lower, is fulfilled again in a higher subject; sometimes there is a series of fulfilments of ever increasing magnitude and extent, until in the last the acme is reached of perfect correspondence with the prophetic picture. But this is a very different thing from the assertion, that there is in the words of inspiration a concealed sense, which the Spirit of God intended, but which no rule of explication could ever evolve out of them.
The views of our author upon this subject are these. God's eternal purpose of redeeming fallen man is laid at the foundation of all human history, at least as that is viewed in the Bible. The sacred history of the world is from first to last nothing more nor less than the history of redemption; a history which is not yet fully unfolded, and will not be, until the curse shall be entirely done away, and the last ransomed of earth raised to the complete inheritance of the children of
God. This work, in its gradual progress to the consummation, has its successive stages, through which it has passed or has yet to pass; and it rests for its accomplishment upon another purpose that of the incarnation. God assumes human nature in order to raise man to a participation of the divine. The incarnation thus becomes the central point in human history, as it is the hinge on which the destinies of the world are suspended. All things converge to bring it about, that its effects may then diverge over the earth. Every thing is bent first to prepare the way for the coming of the Son of God, as that which shall provide salvation and spread it over all mankind. His coming, as the salvation which he effects, is not a thing by itself, unlooked for, with no previous preparation, and nothing to induce it, flashing suddenly and unaccountably upon the world as a meteoric phenomenon, but the end of a long process, the termination of a series which had it from the first in view, and was framing its steady progress towards its accomplishment. This is no mere growth of nature, no product of natural causes, either acting of themselves or under superior control. The result is due to God's almighty agency, yet not exerting itself in the way of some sudden unexplained intervention of bare omnipotence, but gradually maturing the fruit, whose seeds had ages before been cast into the soil of human history. This, which was true of the history of the world in general before the advent, was true in a very special manner of that portion of the race which was under particular divine conduct with reference to this very thing, which was made the depository of divine revelation, and from the midst of which the salvation of the world was to go forth. The incarnation of the Son of God with a view to the salvation of man is thus made the capstone of the Old Testament pyramid, the apex towards which all was converging; and as each successive course was laid from the foundation up, it was so placed as to indicate what the whole would be when completed, and to awaken the anticipation of what was yet to come. In this sense, the whole of that history is predictive of the future. It bears in itself the evidences of a plan, unfinished indeed, but so regular in its structure, and so evident in its design, that from any stage whatever of its advancement there may be derived data sufficient on which to base a conception more or less accurate of the whole.
Now, this plan of God, not left for human sagacity to discover and figure out, but revealed, and under such gracious superintendence as secures that it shall not be ultimately defeated, but be ever advancing to its accomplishment, renders sacred history, which is the field of its development, predictive in two ways-both from its positive and its negative side, both by rea
son of its possessions and its needs, what has been gained and what is still lacking, what it has and what it has not.
This plan is furthered to its completion not so much by aggregation, like the successive courses of a building, as by what more resembles an organic development; not so much by superposition from without as by an unfolding from within. That is from the first given to man in embryo which is destined for him in its perfection. At any period in this progress, then, what is possessed is nothing for itself; it is not the end, but only a step towards the end, and as such a sign of what is yet to come. It has ever in it the germ of a succeeding future, waiting for its season to be unfolded. Just as the seed reveals to the observer the future plant wrapped up in itself, or as the bud holds in it the flower, and the flower the fruit, and this again is but the seed of a new growth, so each stage of the history has that in it which marks it as preparatory to a succeeding stage--that which it would not have were it the end beyond which nothing is to be looked for. Each fresh advance grows out of that last preceding, and is itself prog
nostic of the next.
The negative side of the sacred history is equally predictive with the positive. A perfect Saviour and a complete salvation is the end designed. It is only necessary, therefore, that a deficiency or a want should make itself felt, in order to furnish an indication of something to be provided as its supply. The partial is predictive of the complete, the limited of the universal. Every thing imperfect, every felt necessity which is not as yet adequately met, reveals a new constituent which will be required to make up that which is to come, in which there shall be no imperfection.
While, however, all the history is thus tending to its ultimate goal, and is everywhere predictive of it, it is not so equally in every part. It does not flow with a steady, uniform current throughout; but there are premonitions of the sublime cataract, in which it is to have its issue, in the many antecedent waterfalls scattered along its course. Before it reaches the end it passes through several crises, as it were, in which the characteristics of the end come more evidently out, are brought more prominently into view; which are in a more eminent sense preliminary, a foreshadowing of what is yet to come. As in climbing a mountain we rise by a succession of steep ascents, followed by a level space or even slight declivities, each of these ascents being in brief what the mountain is on a grander scale; so in the history we find some characters and some events, in which He, for whose coming all is a preparation, is more plainly imaged forth. While all is typical, these are types par excellence. It is as though the history were a living thing, and were
endowed with an instinctive struggling to bring forth the like of that which is its grand and ultimate product. Abraham, David, Solomon, clearly foreshadowed Christ, and the period of the Exodus overflowed with typical references to him; while in other men and other times the prediction was often faint.
The preparation which was going forward on Old Testament ground for the coming down of God into the flesh had both its divine and its human factors. The plan was of God, the efficiency was of God; yet its unfolding was to take place upon the arena of human history, the product in a measure of the free agency of man. Hence the possibility of an abnormal as well as of a normal development. The plan being of God, could not be endangered as to its ultimate success; yet for a season, through the culpability of man, it might seem to stand still, or even to go backward, and there be nothing to point to the destined end. The men to whom the process was confided might betray their trust; and for that season the type would go wholly out in darkness. Only those who act the part assigned them, and in some good measure correspond to the ideal pattern of what they ought to be, are predictive, and only in so far as they do this are they predictive. All the rest are excrescences on the plant, not part of its natural healthy growth, not belonging properly to it. Thus the kings of the theocracy as a whole are emblems of Messiah the Prince; but among those kings, pious princes, such as David and Hezekiah, are to be reckoned specific types of Christ, while in wicked princes, such as Ahaz and Jehoiachin, the type is almost, if not quite obscured. Solomon reigning righteously is predictive of Christ, but not Solomon building high places for the abominations of the heathen.
That this development, which God is conducting amongst men, may not be, on the one hand, as respects them, a violent or an unconscious one, but that they may be free, intelligent, and responsible actors in it; and that it may, on the other hand, be raised above all possibility of failure through their ignorance or perverseness, two things were necessary-they must be enlightened, and they must be controlled.
In the first place, they amongst whom this plan is unfolding must be made acquainted with the end toward which all is tending, and with the place which each advance, as it is made, holds in the general scheme. The plan did not originate with them. The grace and wisdom of God projected it. It is not any thing springing from them, but solely the presence of God in the history, which renders it predictive. As a general rule, men never understand their own age; much less could they detect this supernatural plan, and discover its real nature, unless it were revealed to them from heaven. This revelation