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were, re-absorb, in its pearly brightness, those few scattered rays which it has allowed to wander towards us here below : when every other good and perfect gift shall be melted and transmuted in this assimilating, purifying essence, and like the few dew-drops which have been necessary to refresh in the morning, and which are afterwards caught up by the evening swell of the ocean's tide - they, the imperfect and the small, sball yet become an element of the unlimited and the eternal.
We are thus, my brethren, placed between two different states, one which is past and the other which is to come; one whereof we are, as it were, the perfection, and another whereof we are the shadow; and one which must show in itself the consequent and the necessary characteristic of this two-fold office.
Now, this must give place to several very interesting analogies; for, as the course of God's dispensation goes on ever by a gradual development, without any violent shocks or sudden changes, we must undoubtedly find in this state wherein we exist, such a qualification as may prove it to be the perfecting of that dispensation that has already passed, as well as the type and the initiation, as it were, of that which is to come ; and, in the same manner as a skilful philosopher will, by the measurement of the shadow, be able to calculate for you, what is the size of the body which projected it, so may we, by the study of the older state, which is to us a shadow and a type, discover the necessary and essential proportions and qualities of that which it represented.
It is, therefore, this view which I wish to lay before you as briefly as the subject will permit; and you will see that it is of essential importance, to connect what has passed with that which I shall proceed to develop.
A word of hope was the first glad tidings which God gave to man after his fall; it was the promise of redemption; and this word of promise fell, indeed, like seed upon the soil; it took root therein, and grew there, and brought forth fruits—fruits the only ones that could recall to the poor exiled, his lost paradise ; fruits of heavenly knowledge, and of that restored life which were one day to be tasted without further danger; and we cannot be surprised, that the different tribes of earth, as they separated from the original stock of the human race, after the deluge, should have all of them carried away some seed or some graft of this precious plant, that they should have treasured it up and bequeathed it to their posterity, as the most precious gift of God, as the only representative of their lost, and their hoped-for destinies. For we do not find, even in the most corrupt nations, any portion of the human species so completely degraded from its original distinction, as not to have preserved some idea of better times, some hopes of a golden age, or perhaps even of one which was to come down among men, to heal
their present degraded and fallen condition ; and we have it even recorded in fable how, when man had lost, by his imprudence, all those gifts and blessings which had been bestowed upon him, hope was the only one which remained to him of his original stock. But, my brethren, how soon were all these promises frigbtfully corrupted and perverted! How was their very purport clean forgotten! How were they changed into the semblance of man's worst passions! How did they sink bim to the subserviency of his most pernicious desires! And hence it is, that whatever were the benefits intended by the Almighty to be conferred upon mankind by the granting of this blessing, these benefits would have been for ever lost, the goodness would have been entirely thrown away, and the blessing itself would have been but as a prejudicial gift, if the Almighty, in his eternal wisdom, had not devised a plan whereby this blessing might be perpetuated and preserved among
Now, for this purpose, he chooses out of all the nations one people, he separates them from the rest, he constitutes them the sacerdotal caste of the human race, he surrounds them with badges of his divine protection and peculiar watchfulness, he places in its hands the evidences and documents of its authority to teach ; and then, placing the rest of mankind however polished, however learned, in the humble condition of untaught scholars, he obliges them to go to that nation alone for all their knowledge of higher truths and of a divine revelation; and, not even contented with this, he imparts to this, his moral ordinance, that course which has been observed in the physical world, that, wherever any organic matter, in animate or inanimate nature, is destined to perform its part and function, it is almost all of its own nature composite, so that itself may be formed of other smaller ones, and these again of lesser, and almost in a continued decreasing series; so do we find, that, out of this nation, God chooses one tribe, and out of that one tribe one family, and out of that one family one man and his line ; that such order, so selected, should stand in the same superior relationship towards the one whence it was taken; that, in this manner, the bond of union which should connect mankind with his only altar, should be drawn, as it were, spirally round, and always in an ever-decreasing circle; so, on the other hand, those blessings that follow should be poured out through ever-winding channels upon mankind.
Hence, therefore, we find, that the method selected by his Provi. dence to preserve to mankind these truths of hope which he had delivered from the beginning, consisted in forming a compact, united society, distinct from the rest of mankind, in which he himself guaranteed and pledged himself to their preservation. We find, that his action upon this body was not detailed through each individual, but passed through a more select body, constituting a graduated hierarchy,
whose duty it was to edify by example, to purify by sacrifice, to instruct by the explanation of his law; in other words, to stand between him and his people as a sort of intermediate order, as his chosen servants, and as their appointed ministers; and, it is manifest, through the whole arrangement of this beautiful system, that the great object was, that all the most distant members, all the minutest parts which entered into its composition, should be held together in a bond of the strongest unity and harmony. It was on this account, that he obliged even the members of the most distant tribes to come at stated times, yearly, to his holy temple and altar, lest by their separation, any new rites or principles should creep in among them, so that that unity and perfect harmony which is the essence of every religious body, should be even partially disturbed.
Now, my brethren, if such was the system of God's providence; and, if in all this state, there was a type and faint representation of that which was to succeed it, it cannot certainly be difficult to find a coincidence between the two, for we cannot fail to be struck at seeing in what manner the Old and New Testament are really linked together, by their resolving mutually the one in prophecy, and the other in explaining the fulfilment of the images and the phraseology which are found in the older dispensation. We find, that, throughout the prophets, and, in like manner, in the New Testament, the church which Jesus Christ came to establish among men is called precisely by the same name“his kingdom.” It is spoken of as the kingdom of David, which was to be restored by the Son of David; we are told that the Levites are to be the priests of the new kingdom. We have equal mention made of teachers, and of those that have to learn; of the men in authority, and those who are bound to obey; of perfect subordination, as existing in a temporal dominion; and surely, therefore, we cannot but conclude, that all these things as found in the new, are referred to similar institutions in the old, and must be explained on similar principles. The explanation may be said to consist in this, in the first place, that our blessed Redeemer, as he himself tells us, did not come to destroy the law and the prophets, but to fulfil them; and, by the fulfilment, to perfect them. In the second place, by considering that they stood to one another in the relation of the figure to the reality, of the type to the fulfilment; and thus, it is merely, as it were, a prolonged and renewed existence of that which was of old. We have a true oblation, instead of a typical sacrifice; we have redemption given instead of redemption offered : and thus we may say, that the former state was to the present one as the chrysalis wherein this one was included; so that the life which is now received is, in some degree, a prolongation of that which was before enjoyed, though under new and more beautiful forms, so that it is the same being, as it were, though in some respects essentially different.
If this, therefore, be the case, we must expect to find, as I before observed, certain essential counterparts-analagous resemblancesbetween the one and the other; analagous resemblances, though including, on the part of the present state, a greater development of whatever was good and beautiful in the former : so that it may truly be considered to have brought to its perfection wbatever was given it of old, to ensure it respect before the nations of the world, to ennoble it in their sight, to draw them towards it, and to make them listen to its doctrines. We must expect to find there, also, a much stronger guarantee and security of God's love, protection, and constant assistance; we must, assuredly, discover therein all that beautiful combination of parts, all that sympathy of feeling, all that harmony of design, which is so conspicuous in the type and the emblem. If you do not admit this, not only do you give the preference to the more imperfect state, not only do you consider it as developed and finished in a more high degree, but you essentially destroy the progressive character of God's providential proceedings, which, without any violence, without any sudden interruption, may be said to advance by the most softly guided ordinances. And, can we, for a moment say, that the doctrines and truths which have been delivered in this dispensation are such as require a less secure, and less jealous precaution for their preservation than those doctrines of hope which were delivered to the ancients; or, shall we say, that mankind have so improved, that they no longer need the same protecting care? On the contrary, my brethren, we may well say, that that hope which was the principal deposit given to the old law, is the feeling which we are the earliest to embrace, but which is the most difficult for us ever to put off. It is a feeling more dangerous from its tendency to increase than from any fear of its being too small; whereas faith, which has been given to us, is of a drier and of a stronger quality, something which we find a certain repugnance in ourselves to adopt, and which we lose with the greatest facility, and which, consequently, requires much stronger means for preserving. And besides, this hope, from its own nature, is dubious; it may draw its scenery, and form its images, from whatever may appear most desirable to each individual; whereas faith is essentially the impress, the coinage, as it were, of God's own truth upon our souls, and the one truth of God, most essential, but always the same.
In all this, therefore, we think we have a very powerful and efficient key towards explaining much of that which we read in the new law; for, if there also we shall find that, for the purpose of preserving the truths given by God to his apostles, and intended to be communicated through them to the whole of mankind, and to all generations, till the end of time; if we shall find him establishing exactly similar institutions ; if we shall find him even there in exactly the same manner selecting one
order to whom he gives his command and power to teach; if he promises that he himself will be the security for their being able to teach, until the end of time, all that he has given them commission to teach ; if we find, in other words, that every part of the system corresponds exactly to that which was delivered of old ; and if we discover also in it, a beautiful adaptation of the same means to the same purpose; if, in the present institutions, we are purified and perfected by the more exalted and more dignified character of the doctrines, and of the objects, from the divine sanction that is given them-I think we must conclude, that it is only in something of this sort that we can have the condition to the accomplishment of that system which was to be typical of ours; and that we must necessarily come to the consequence, that no other picture, no other form or system, could possibly be correct. But if, on the other hand, you consider religion nothing but a collection of individuals, each of whom bas his own peculiar method and measure of faith; who are bound, as it were, in a bundle, by external ties, but do not necessarily communicate one with the other by any vital principle, like branches of the same tree; if you do not allow the existence of any one aggregation towards which all mankind, whatever their country, whatever their complexion, may turn, as confident that therein they shall find life; if you strip off that only indefeasible power which can be grounded only upon authority and the divine sanction, assuredly when you have formed to yourself the conception of some such system as this, and then go to find in it the perfection, the accomplishment of that which had before been given, you will be obliged to acknowledge that, if this be the accomplishment, the usual proceedings and methods of Almighty providence have undergone the strangest perturbations.
But, my brethren, I see that bere I may easily be met with an apparently strong objection. It may be said, after all, did not the system established by God in the old law, through the just decrees of his providence, fail in its purpose ? Did not the Jewish people fall into absolute forgetfulness of all those doctrines which so much pains had been taken by this system to preserve ; and is it probable, therefore, that God in his more perfect dispensation, would have bad recourse to the same means which failed him so sadly then? Now, my brethren, so far from seeing in this any objection, I consider that therefrom may be drawn the most beautiful demonstration of the accomplishment of what was before exhibited in figure, in the new dispensations of Christ. For many trials, indeed, had the faithful of old; in many ways was their confidence in God put to the test ; but a total loss and extinction of the deposit put into their hands never took place. God, by an analogous order, which I can very well illustrate, in the present dispensation, allowed them to be tried in the first place during their sojourn in the wilderness, and then afterwards by the more cruel temptations to which