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type of our Saviour,--having offered a sacrifice in the outer, entered the inner, and offered incense upon the golden censer, kept there for the purpose. These two parts of the tabernacle were transferred to the temple afterwards, and were to have continued until the coming of the Messiah : until then the Holy of Holies was to have continued in all its strictness of exclusion to every one except the high priest once a year.
The exclusion was to continue until our Lord, by the sacrifice of himself in the outer tabernacle, that is, under the Jewish dispensation, should throw down the veil and enter, and open the Holy of Holies, the inner tabernacle, the emblem of the Christian dispensation, to all the world. And accordingly, the veil of the temple which inclosed the inner part, immediately on his death was rent in twain from the top to the bottom, and the interior opened. Now, all these things show clearly that the inner tabernacle was a type of the Christian dispensation,--of the kingdom of heaven: and in this tabernacle the mercy-seat and the commandments were to have been preserved if the repeated rebellions of the Jews had not forfeited the keeping of them. They were removed in fact, but I follow the apostle in considering them to remain in a figure, as showing the intentions of their founder, and the prophetic illustrations of the two dispensations.
Here, then, we have the commandments closely shut up in the part prefiguring the Christian dispensation, there to be preserved until they should be opened out in their spiritual perfection, with that spiritual dispensation, of which they were to form a part. Is it possible then to doubt this plain intention, that the commandments were intended to be carefully preserved either in fact or in figure, until the coming of Christ, to be a part of the gospel dispensation, and be coeval with it?
I have before remarked, that whatever is said of the ark is to be understood of the commandinents, of which it was merely the depository, and the outward case. So long as the ark was to continue either actually or figuratively, so long must the commandments also be understood to continue in force: and we have, in Rev. xi. 15, 19, a strong intimation that they were to abide for ever under the dispensation of grace, the full establishment of which is there described, and the ark (and of course the commandments) mentioned as a necessary part or accompaniment. “And the seventh angel sounded, and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord and his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever. And the temple of God was opened in heaven; and there was seen in his temple THE ARK of his testament (testimony*): and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.”
It may, however, be objected, that the commandments were preserved in the ark for the use of the Jews. This was not the case. Even the high priest was not allowed to enter within the veil, on pain of death, more than once a year, after solemn sacrifices of atonement for himself and all the people. So far from being permitted to look into the ark on that occasion, he was not allowed even to look on it, but to burn incense, so that the cloud arising from the incense should hide the ark, “lest he die.” On this annual entrance, no one, not even a priest, was suffered to remain in the outer tabernacle—no one was to see the ark. When the tabernacle was to be removed, the Levites were to cover up the ark with the curtains and coverings of the tabernacle. (Numb. iv. 5.) When the camp was to move,
* The word " testimony,” so constantly applied to the ark, is by St. Paul applied to the gospel. (1 Cor. i. 6 ; ii. 1. ; 2 Tim. i. 8.)
Aaron and his sons were to take down the covering veil, and cover the ark with it, and to put two more coverings over that; but they were not to touch the ark, lest they die. (ver. 15.) The ends of the staves by which it was borne appeared from under the veil of the Holy of Holies. These alone were ever seen,—and seen only by the priests who ministered in the outer tabernacle of the congregation. It was death to touch the ark. Uzzah was smitten with death for putting his hand to it even with a good intention. (1 Chron, xiii. 9, 10.) It was death to look into it: 1 Sam. vi. 19: “ And he smote the men of Bethshemesh, because they looked into the ark of the Lord: even he smote of the people fifty thousand, and threescore and ten men.”
From all that has been said it appears that the commandments were connected with the original and everlasting covenant, and not with the law; that the covenant was that given to Abraham, and to be confirmed in Christ; that the commandments are connected with that covenant and the Christian religion, and belong to all the nations of the earth; that they were shut up from the Israelites and Jews, from the law and its ceremonies; that the law was no part of the real everlasting covenant, but added because of transgressions; that the spiritual part of the covenant, and the spiritual meaning and sanctions and obedience of the commandments were suspended and locked up, until the transgression should be finished, the veil taken away, and the covenant perfected and confirmed in Christ.
A REVELATION, LAWS, AND COMMANDMENTS, BEFORE
The revelation by Moses having superseded any that might have preceded it, we cannot expect more information from his writings than faint traces, and incidental mention arising out of other subjects. We have no antediluvian history from the time of Adam to that of Noah, and next to none from the flood to Abraham. I have already shown the great probability of the divine presence having been established at the east of the Garden of Eden; and I think it likely that this continued as the medium of communication and revelation of the will of God as to the direction and instruction of mankind, and condemnation of their evil deeds. The Lord says before the flood, that “his spirit should not always strive with man.” Therefore we may conclude that it hadhither to been striving with them : but we do not read of any revelations in the history of God's dealings with man as given by Moses, without some visible appearance, except to Moses himself.
When God said that “his spirit should not always strive with man,” he adds, “yet his days shall be one hundred and twenty years;”— that is, “ he shall have a respite, and a similar trial for one hundred and twenty years to the trial and striving which I have hitherto had with him.” And I have shown before, that Christ preached to them during all that time while the ark was a building : and as he preached to the Israelites in the wilderness (Heb. iv. 2) from the Divine Glory, we may conclude that he preached to the
antediluvians in the same manner.
And I have given reasons for supposing that immediately before the flood the Divine presence removed into the ark, and remained there during the
year that it was inhabited. If my view as to the time before the flood be correct, surely mankind would require the same instruction afterwards; and accordingly we find that the people which continued in the same country still preserved the knowledge of the true God, while those who removed from thence quickly fell into idolatry. The distinction between clean and unclean beasts was known before the flood, which must have been established by divine revelation.
There must have been laws before the time of Moses ;for in Gen. xviii. 19, the Lord says of Abraham, “I know that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord to do justice and judgment." Therefore the way of the Lord must have been revealed, and they must have had laws, or how could they do justice and judgment? And in Gen. xxvi. 5, he says, " Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.” Indeed this expression is so strong, that the Jews found it impossible to account for it in
manner than by supposing that he kept all the Mosaic law which had been communicated to him by anticipation through a special revelation : Ezekiel (xx. 8, 9) says, that the Lord had even threatened to destroy the Israelites in Egypt “ for rebelling against him and not hearkening unto him.” Rebellion and not hearkening, suppose laws which they had broken.
I have shown, in my remarks on the transactions in the Wilderness of Sin, that there were laws antecedent thereto, and that the law of the sabbath was one of them.
Exod. xviii. 16. Before the Israelites came to Sinai, when Moses was giving an account to Jethro of the way in which he judged the people, he said, “When they have a matter