« PreviousContinue »
ical, and unquestionably they have a striking resemblance to such as are typical. In common with types, they are actions as distinguished from words; they are symbolical and prophetical actions. Hence we commonly find them classed under the head of prophetical types. But notwithstanding these points of resemblance, the two are not identical. The significant acts in question, were avowedly performed for a specific purpose, and with reference, for the most part, to some event or events near at hand. In every case they were insulated acts, and not interwoven into the ordinary transactions of the prophets' lives. Indeed they had no relation to the prophet himself; he performed them in an assumed character and with exclusive reference to future events. But typical actions, properly so called, arise directly out of the transactions in which the typical person is engaged. They often form a part of the ordinary occurrences of his life. The character in which he performs them is his own proper character, and not an assumed one. The acts themselves are performed without any consciousness of their prospective and prophetical reference, and the persons or events which they prefigure are remote.
It is hardly necessary to say that a type is wholly distinct from a metaphor. Many things, to which our Saviour is compared, are in no sense instituted with a particular and designed reference to him. He is called a door, a vine, a foundation, a corner-stone; but what reasonable man would hence infer that doors, vines, foundations, and corner-stones are types of the Messiah? But when our Lord is called the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world, the assertion is much more than the application of a metaphor. It intimates a designed connexion between the lamb slain in sacrifice under the Mosaic dispensation, and the great expiation to be made in the person of the Messiah. So when Christ is called our Passover which is sacrificed for us, the assertion is not a mere figure of speech; but it implies that the passover, in all its circumstances, bore a designed resemblance to the death of Christ.
From what has been said, it will be perceived that three things must conspire to make one person, institution or action,
made this too exclusively the object of attention. Accordingly when a resemblance, real or imaginary, has been discovered between two persons or events, this has been deemed quite sufficient to establish a preordained connexion between them. In this way it is easy to see how such persons as Job, Bazaleel, Aholiab, Phineas, Boaz, Absalom, Eliakim, Daniel, Zerubbabel, Antiochus Epiphanes, the unmarried brothers of him who left his widow childless, and the hanged malefactors came to be regarded as types.
When it is said that similarity, in certain respects, between the type and the antitype, is requisite to place them in the relation of corrolates, one to the other, this does not preclude the idea of dissimilarity in other respects. And when the points of dissimilitude are brought under our notice, in the way contrast, the type is called antithetic. We have an example in Rom. 5: 14.
2. The second requisite in a type is, that it be prepared and designed by God to prefigure its antitype. Similarity between two persons or things, no matter how numerous may be the particulars to which it extends, is insufficient by itself to make them type and antitype. A resemblance in certain circumstances of the history of two individuals, living at different periods, may exist without the remotest connexion between
One person, for instance, may successfully imitate the actions of another. One may casually be placed in circumstances like those of another, and the conduct of the two may be very similar. Mankind are pretty much alike in all ages. Nations and empires rise, flourish and decay, very nearly in the same manner. And what is true of nations, applies to individuals. Numerous instances have occurred in history of a remarkable similarity between individuals. Yet, however close and striking the agreement may have been, it is very different from that of type and antitype. The connexion in the latter case must have been originally preconcerted and preordained by God himself. And it is this original design and preordination, which constitutes the peculiar characteristic of a type. Where this does not exist, the relation between any two persons or things, however similar, is not the relation of type and antitype.*
3. The last requisite in a type is, that it have respect to something future. This feature, as we have seen, constitutes the specific difference between a type and a mere symbol or emblem. Those institutions of Moses which partook of the nature of types, are called by the apostle the shadow of good things to come; while the antitype is the substance. Col. 2: 17. Heb. 10: 1. The daily and annual sacrifices of the patriarchal and Jewish dispensations adumbrated the great sacrifice, which, in the fulness of time, was to be offered effectually, and once for all. The ulterior and prophetic reference was not, indeed, the only purpose for which a religious rite was anciently appointed. It might, and generally did, subserve other purposes, subordinate perhaps to this, but nevertheless in themselves highly important and beneficial. Nay, further, the subordinate purpose may
have been the only one which at the time was clearly and distinctly understood by the persons who observed the rite. Many, if not most of the Mosaic ordinances, in point of fact performed the two offices of symbol and type. So far as they signified to the Hebrews any religious duties or moral virtues which they were to practise, they were symbols; and so far as they were divinely appointed to represent things future, they were types.
It is evident, from the nature of a type, as here defined and explained, that it is a species of prophecy. It differs from a direct, verbal prophecy only in this; in one case, the future person or event is prefigured, in the other, predicted. In both there is the same display of the foreknowledge of God, and of his moral government over the world. This species of evidence for the truth of revealed religion, like what is called the experimental evidence of Christianity, addresses itself rather to believers than to skeptics. From its peculiar character, it is less likely to make an impression on the mind of an unbeliever than direct verbal prophecy. It assumes—as a fact previously established—the inspiration of the Scriptures; which the objector might first require to be satisfactorily proved. But to one
type must be instituted by God, who alone can establish the relation ; and it is by no means sufficient, that, between two distinct persons or events, there should be an accidental resemblance. The essence of a type consists not in its similarity to another object, but in its being divinely appointed to be a representative of it.” Theol. Vol. I. p. 144.
who has become convinced of this truth, and consequently of the reality of the doctrines they inculcate, this kind of evidence is of great value. To such a one, the judicious, discreet study of the historical types of the Old Testament cannot fail to prove both interesting and edifying.
The important inquiry now presents itself: How are we to determine, whether the acknowledged resemblance between two persons or events is designed by God? The preordained connexion between a type and its antitype must be shown by adequate testimony. It will not answer, in a matter of this kind, to be guided by fancy or mere conjecture. Our conclusions must be based upon satisfactory evidence. What evidence, then, should be regarded as sufficient to establish a designed connexion between any two things? The following principle furnishes, we apprehend, a proper and sufficient answer to this question. No person, event or institution should be regarded as typical, but what may be proved to be such from the Scriptures. The correctness of this principle is, we think, established by the following considerations. The typical character of a person or thing depends on the fact of a preordained connexion between that and some other person or thing.
The former must have been originally designed by the Deity to prefigure the latter. But no one, surely, is competent to make known to us the divine intention except God himself, or some person authorized by him. The testimony of an inspired writer, therefore, is requisite; for no other person is authorized to express the divine intention. Again; as types partake of the nature of prediction, they can have no recorded existence, except in the inspired volume; and it is solely on the testimony of that volume, that we can be apprized of their existence. Consequently, we are bound to believe in the reality of types just so far as we are warranted in doing so, by the express declaration or clear intimation of the Scriptures. And we are not justified in advancing a single step beyond the information and testimony of the Holy Spirit, the only infallible interpreter of the mind of God. This is a
the one was designed to prefigure the other, is the authority of that work in which the scheme of divine Providence is unfolded. Destitute of that authority, we may confound a resemblance, subsequently observed, with a resemblance preordained. We
may mistake a comparison, founded on a mere accidental parity of circumstances, for a comparison founded on a necessary and inherent connection. There is no other rule, therefore, by which we can distinguish a real from a pretended type, than that of Scripture itself. There are no other possible means, by which we can know, that a previous design and a preordained connection existed. Whatever persons or things, therefore, recorded in the Old Testament, were expressly declared by Christ or by his apostles to have been designed as prefigurations of persons or things, so recorded in the former, are types of the persons or things with which they are compared in the latter. But if we assert, that a person or thing was designed to prefigure another person or thing, where no such prefiguration has been declared by divine authority, we make an assertion for which we neither have, nor can have the slightest foundation."*
Bishop Van Mildert : “It is essential to a type, in the scriptural acceptation of the term, that there should be competent evidence of the divine intention in the correspondence between it and the antitype,-a matter not to be left to the imagination of the expositor to discover, but resting on some solid proof from Scripture itself.”+
Ernesti: “Those who look to the counsel or intention, as they call it, of the Holy Spirit, act irrationally, and open che road to the unlimited introduction of types. The intention of the Holy Spirit can be made known to us only by his own showing. I
Prof. Stuart: “If it be asked how far we are to consider the Old Testament as typical, I should answer, without any hesitation, just so much of it is to be regarded as typical as the New Testament affirms to be so, and no more. The fact, that any thing or event under the Old Testament dispensation was