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the red sea, being under the cloud, their eating manna in the wilderness, and drinking water that came out of the rock. All these things are expressly mentioned, by the apostle, as types, 1 Cor. x. 1, 3, 4. compared with ver. 11. and we may add thereto the brazen serpent, which was plainly a type of Christ, and, as such, our Saviour applies it to himself, in John iii. 14. But all these were occasional types, which were ordinances to the church no longer than the action was continued.
Again, there were other things, which seemed to be standing types, or ordinances, in all successive ages, till Christ the Antitype came, as circumcision, the passover, sacrifices, and other rites of worship, used in the temple service; these things being expressly mentioned, in scripture, as types, we have ground to determine them to be so. Thus concerning the covenant of grace, as revealed to the church of old.
2. We are now to consider, that the method which God took in the administration of the covenant of grace, under the Old Testament, was sufficient to build up his elect in the faith of the promised Messiah. There were, indeed, many types given to the church, but these would not have led them into the knowledge of Christ, and salvation to be obtained by him, unJess God had taken some method to explain them; for they had not a natural tendency to signify Christ, and the blessings of the covenant of grace, as words have, according to the common sense thereof, to make known the ideas they convey: but their signification was, for the most part, if not altogether, instituted, or annexed to them, by the divine appointment, and many of them had not the least resemblance, in themselves, of what they were ordained to signify; therefore it was necessary that they should be explained. For we may say the same thing of a type, that is said of a parable, as they are both figurative representations of some less known ideas, that are designed to be conveyed thereby; now a parable is styled, by the Psalmist, A dark saying, Psal. lxxviii. 2. and, by the prophet Ezekiel, A riddle, Ezek. xvii. 2. and our Saviour, speaking thereof, in this sense, tells his disciples, that unto them it was given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to others in parables, Luke viii. 10. and they are elsewhere opposed to a plain way of speaking, as when the disciples say, Now speakest thou plainly, and speakest no proverb, or parable, John xvi. 29. as it is rendered in the margin ; so when Nathan reproved David for his sin, in the matter of Uriah, he first represented it by a parable, taken from the rich man's robbing the poor man of his ewe-lamb, which, before he explained the meaning of it, was not understood by him, 2 Sam. xii. 1-6. But when he told him, Thou art the man intended hereby, it was as evident to bjm, as though he had made use of the most significant words
relating to this matter. The same may be said concerning types under the Old Testament dispensation; they would have been unintelligible, had there been no explication annexed to them, whereby the spiritual meaning thereof might be understood. And, if we consider them as a part of religious worship, we cannot suppose that that consisted only in some bodily exercises, such as killing of beasts, sprinkling the blood, &c. for that is no part of religion, any otherwise than as it refers to, and leads the faith of those, who are engaged therein, into the knowledge of some things, in which it is more immediately concerned.
But this argument having been insisted on elsewhere,* and the necessity of God's leading his church into the meaning of the ceremonial law, having been considered and proved, from the divine goodness, and a brief account having been given of the method which God took to lead them into it, which tends to obviate any objection that might be made against it we shall only observe, at present, that as there is a very clear explication given hereof, in several places in the New Testament, so there are some expressions used in the Old, which seem to refer to the spiritual meaning thereof; and, if it be allowed that the church had then the least intimation given them, either by some hints, contained in scripture, or by some other methods of revealing it, that there was a spiritual meaning affixed thereunto, which it is plain there was, then it will follow, that they might easily, from this direction, have applied this to particular instances, and have attained a very great degree of the knowledge of the spiritual meaning of these types and ordinances.
That this may farther appear, let it be considered, that they were led into several doctrines relating to the Messiah, and the offices that he was to execute as Mediator, by express words, and they must be given up to a very great degree of judicial blindness, as the Jews are at this day, if they could not understand thereby many of those great truths, which relate to the way of salvation by Christ. Now, if they were led into them, by this more plain method, they might easily accommodate the typical ordinances thereunto, and accordingly the one would be a key to the other: thus, when they were told of the Messiah's bearing the iniquity of his people, as the prophet Isaiah does, or of the Lord's laying on him the iniquity of us all, Isa. liii. 4, 6. they might easily understand that the same thing was signified by some rites used in sacrificing, as when the priest was to lay his hand on the head of the sacrifice, before he slew it, and its being, upon this occasion, said to bear the iniquity of the congregation, Lev. iv. 4. compared with chap. xvi. 2i, 22. therefore they could not be at a loss, as to the spiritual
* See Vol, 1. pages 53-56.
meaning thereof. And, when we read elsewhere such expres. sions, as plainly refer to the thing signified, by some ceremonial ordinances, viz. The circumcision of the heart, Deut. XXX. 6. The calves of the lips, Hos. xiv. 2. The sacrifice of thanksgiving, Psal. cxvi. 17. and many other passages of the like nature, it cannot reasonably be supposed that they were wholly strangers to it; and therefore these types and ordinances were, in an objective way, sufficient to build them up in the faith of the Messiah.
This being considered, it may very evidently be inferred, from hence, that they had full remission of sins, and eternal life, as it is farther observed ; and therefore it is not necessary to suppose, with some of the Pelagians and Socinians, that they might be saved without the knowledge of Christ; nor, with the Papists, that they were incapable of salvation, till Christ came and preached to them after his death, and so discharged them from the prison, in which they were detained; nor with some among the Protestants, who extend the bondage of the Old Testament-church so far, as though they were not fully justified, but lay under a perpetual dread of the wrath of God. This we often meet with in the writings of many, who, in other respects, explain the doctrine of the covenant of grace in a very unexceptionable way. And here I cannot but observe, what is well known, by those who live in the United Netherlands, that this matter has been debated with so much warmth in those parts, that it has occasioned divisions and misunderstandings among divines, who, in other respects, have adhered to, and well defended the doctrines of the gospel, against those who have opposed them. The judicious and learned Cocceius, whom I cannot but mention with the greatest respect, who lived about the middle of the last century, has been, and is now, followed by many divines, in those particular modes of explaining this doctrine, which he makes use of: his sentiments, indeed, about this matter, were not wholly new; but having written commentaries on several parts of scripture, he takes occasion to explain great numbers of texts, agreeably to that particular scheme, which he maintains; and while, on the one hand, he runs gréat lengths, in explaining what he reckons to be scripture-types and predictions, and thereby gives great scope to his imagination on the other hand, he extends the terror, bondage, and darkness, which the church was under, during the legal dispensation, farther than can well be justified, and advances several things in defending and explaining his scheme, which many divines, who do not give into his way of thinking, have excepted against.
Instead of making but two dispensations of the covenant of grace, according to the commonly received opinion, he sup poses that there were three; * namely, the first from God's giving the promise to our first parents, immediately after they fell, relating to the seed of the woman, that should break the serpent's head, to his delivering the law from mount Sinai; which dispensation had nothing of terror, or bondage, in it, any more than the dispensation which we are under; and he supposes, that the church had clearer discoveries of Christ, and the blessings of the covenant, than they had after Moses's time. The second dispensation was, that which took place when God gave Israel the law from mount Sinai, which he generally describes as a yoke, which they could hardly bear; and sometimes as a curse, a rigorous dispensation, in which there was a daily remembrance of sin: and the reason of God's exercising this severity, and shutting them up in a judicial way, under terror, darkness, and bondage, was, because they revolted from him, by worshipping the golden calf, a little before the law was given ; upon which occasion, God put a vail upon his ordinances, covered the mysteries of the gospel by types, and, at the same time, did not lead them into the meaning thereof, which as was before observed, would have a tendency to leave them in a state of darkness, as to the great doctrines that were signified by these types and ordinances of the ceremonial law. And this he supposes to be the meaning of what the apostle says, concerning the double vail; one put on the things themselves, the other, on the hearts of the Jews; and both these were typified by the vail, which Moses put over his face, 2 Cor. iii. 13-15, and this darkness was attended with distress and terror of conscience, whereby they were, as the apostle says elsewhere, All their life-time subject to bondage, Heb. ii. 15. which they explain, concerning the church of the Jews, under the legal dispensation. And they add, that all this continued as long as that dispensation lasted, or till it was succeeded by the third, viz. the gospel-dispensation, which we are under, whereby the church was delivered from this yoke, which neither they, nor their fathers, were able to bear. But that which I would take occasion to except against, in this scheme, is,
1. They seem to make the terror, bondage, and darkness, which the church was under, greater than they ought to do; for, I humbly conceive, all those scriptures, which they refer to for the proof hereof, are to be taken, not in an absolute, but a comparative sense. It is one thing to say, that this dispensation was less bright and comfortable, than the present dispensation, which we are under, is; and another thing to say,
• The first, he and his follower3 call, Oeconomia promissionis, or, ante-legalis the second, Oeconomia legalis; the third, Oeconomia evangelica.
that it was so dark and comfortless, as they generally represent it to be.
2. I cannot but think, as I have before observed, that the church of Israel had a clearer discerning of the meaning of the ordinances of the ceremonial law, than these divines would allow them to have had; or, at least, that the vail, that was upon their hearts, principally respected a part of them, and that in some particular ages, not in every age of the Jewish church; for some of the Old Testament-saints seem to have discovered a great degree of light in the doctrines of the gospel, as appears more especially from several of the Psalms of David, and some of the writings of the prophets.
3. Whatever degree of judicial blindness and darkness the church of the Jews might be exposed to for sin, it does not so fully appear that this was inflicted as a punishment on them, for worshipping the golden calf at the foot of the mount Sinai: but there were several instances of idolatry and apostacy from God, that gave occasion thereunto, which, when they repented of, and were reformed from, the effects of his wrath were taken away; therefore we are not to suppose, that the ceremonial law was given, at first, as a yoke, or curse, laid on them 'for this sin in particular.
4. We are not to extend the bondage and darkness thereof so far, with respect to any of them, as to suppose, that, under that dispensation, they had not full remission of sin ; for the contrary hereto seems to be contained in several scriptures; as when it is said, Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered, blessed is the man to whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, Psal. xxxii. 1, 2. and, There is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared, Psal. cxxx. 4. and elsewhere, Thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive, and plenteous in mercy, to all that call upon thee; and thou hast forgiven the iniquity of thy people, thou hast covered all their sin, Psal. lxxxvi. 5. and lxxxv. 2. and elsewhere, Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? He retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy. He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us, he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea, Micah. yii. 18, 19.
These, and such-like scriptures, seem so plainly to overthrow this part of their scheme, that they are obliged, in defence thereof, to understand them all, as containing nothing else, but a prediction of that blessedness, which the New Tes. tament-church should receive, and not as a privilege that was enjoyed under the legal dispensation, which I cannot but think to be an evasive perversion of the sense of those scriptures, but