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account of the institution of the Passover, is appointed to be read in the church on Easter Sunday. For as the blood of the Paschal Lamb, saved the Israelites from temporal destruction, so does the blood of Christ its antitype, save the world from the eternal punishment of their sins.
So also the brazen Serpent which Moses set on high upon a pole, that the people bitten by the fiery serpents, might look upon it and live, Numbers xxi. 10, was a type of the Redeemer to come; and concerning this, there can be no controversy, since our Lord applied it to himself. As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the son of Man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him, should not perish, but have eternal life. John iii. 14, 15. That is, as the people were healed by looking on the serpent so lifted up, so must Christ be lifted up on the cross, that whosoever believeth on him, should be healed of his sins ; should not suffer punishment in the world to come, but possess eternal life through his death.
These These typical resemblances and prefigu, rations, might be extended much farther, and many more pointed out; but these seem sufficient to prove, 'if indeed any doubt can exist on the subject, that the old law was in reality only the shadow of good things to come, the example and shadow of heavenly things *
Similar to prophecy however, it is the event, the fulfilling of the law, in the person of our blessed Saviour, that enables us to understand it. For there is no reason to suppose, that the ceremonies of the law were considered by the Jews, perhaps even by Moses himself, in any other light than as positive institutions; that is, institutions which were to be complied with, solely in obedience to the command of God, and with no reference to moral duties, or holi, ness of life. There was indeed another, and more obvious reason for them; which was, to separate the children of Israel, in the most marked and effectual manner,
* Hebrews x. 1, and viii. 5.
from all the neighbouring nations *. And the effects of this precaution, shewed the wisdom of it ; for nothing but this, preserved the Jews a peculiar people, with an unmixed race and pure genealogies, through all their sins, their alliances, their wars, and even a captivity of seventy years. Had this not been the case, we could not have known, that the promise of God to the patriarchs, that the Messiah should spring from them, was fulfilled in Jesus; and the great proofs drawn from his birth and descent, that he was the promised redeemer, would have been still wanting.
* See this subject ably elucidated, by the learned author of the “ Divine Legation,” Book iv. Sect. 6; where he supposes that the ritual law, statutes not good, were given to the Jews, because they had violated the moral law of the Decalogue.
From the Death of Moses, to the beginning
; of the Prophecies of David.
AFTER the Death of Moses, and the complete promulgation of the law, which so effectually separated the Israelites from all other nations; and after one part of the promise, made by God to Abraham and his descendants was fulfilled, that he would give the land of Canaan to their posterity; no farther revelation concerning the other more important branch of it, the coming of the Messiah, seems to have been given for many years.
During this interval however, several of the Rulers of Israel, are supposed to be types of Christ; but this circumstance not being understood at the time, needs not be insisted upon here. Yet it served to
shew, when the antitype appeared, that God had never forgotten his promise, and that all these things were by his appointment. There is indeed a more obvious resemblance between Christ, and Joshua the immediate successor of Moses, than there is between him and any of the other Judges, who are thought to be types of him. Joshua conducted the people of Israel, into the long sought-for rest of the promised land, as Christ shewed his disciples how to obtain a better home, a heavenly country, an eternal rest *. And the name of Joshua is the same as Jesus; for it is so rendered in the New Testament, and by the Greek translators.
However, when almost 400 years had passed after the death of Moses, God thought fit to give a farther revelation of
* These two rests to be obtained are well contrasted together, and the difference of them shewn, in the 4th chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews, If they shall enter, v. 3, &c, means in the Hebrew idiom a negative, they shall not enter. + Acts vij. 45, and Hebrews iv. 8.