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SECT. purport of the ceremonial institutions.
When the guilt even of unintentional violence had been incurred, the offender was directed to flee to one of these cities, from which he was not allowed to depart till the death of the high-priest.
This ordinance shews the extreme hatred of God against any fin whatsoever; and proves that nothing but the death of our great high-priest could expiate that taint of original corruption, from which all our hidden and involuntary offences derive their origin. Before the mediatorial facrifice of Christ, we were confined, without a poffibility of deliverance, in the city of destruction. The mercy of God did not indeed suffer the destroyer to go forth against us: but we remained prisoners of hope, till set free by the meritorious oblation of the Lamb of God.
.8. Unclean meats.
8. The last peculiarity of the ceremonial institutes, which shall be considered, more particularly connects the Law and the Gospel. The Jews were ordered to abstain from certain kinds of meats, which, upon examination, will be found usually typical of some vices practised by the ido
laters; and, pursuant to the type, they chap, carefully withdrew from the company and fellowship of its antitype, the heathen na- -ţions. Thus the hog was a fit emblem of gluttony ; the vulture, and the kite, of rapacity and cruelty; and the owl, of those deeds of darkness, which shun the light. On the other hand, the kinds of food, which they were allowed to eat, were generally emblematical of some virtue; as the ox, of patience and industry; the sheep, of meekness and innocence. Consequently, those animals may be considered as typical of the Church of God, at that time confined to the Jews.
But, when the Gospel came, the wall of distinction, between the Jew and the Gentile, was to be broken down. In place of the external cleanliness of meats, the spiritual cleanliness of the soul is to be substituted ; and, instead of rejecting unclean food, we are commanded to reject unclean actions.
Let us now advert to a famous typical prophecy under the Law, with its interpretation and completion under the Gospel. "There shall come forth a rod out of the
sect. “ stem of Jesse, and a branch shall grow
« out of his roots-The wolf also shall
play on the hole of the asp, and the
destroy in all my holy mountain: for the “ earth shall be full of the knowledge of the
Lord, as the waters cover the sea. And “ in that day, there shall be a root of Jesse, “ which shall stand for an ensign of the “ people; to it shall the Gentiles seek : and « his reft shall be gloriousp.”
It is superfluous to assert, thąt no such change in the nature of real wild beasts ever took place literally ; this event therefore must have happened figuratively, or not at all. The prophecy above cited begins with announcing the advent of the
p Ifaiah xi, I.
Meffiah. Afterwards a wonderful alteration CHAP. is to be made in the temper of certain wild and savage animals, “ because (Heb.
')) the earth shall be full of the know
ledge of the Lord, and the Gentiles shall « feek” to the root of Jeffe. It appears, therefore, that the conversion of the heathens was to be the cause of this change in the wild beasts.
If, now, we turn to the New Testament, we shall find, that the first fruit of the conversion of the Gentiles was the devout centurion Cornelius. God, forefeeing the scruples of Peter on this head, was pleased to remove his error, by the revelation of a vision, manifestly explanatory of this very prophecy of Isaiah. " He fell “ into a trance, and saw heaven opened, " and a certain vefsel descending unto him,
as it had been a great sheet knit at the “ four corners, and let down to the earth : as wherein were all manner of four-footed “ beasts of the earth, and wild beasts and
creeping things, and fowls of the air. " And there came a voice to him, Rise, « Peter, kill and eat. But Peter said, Not
fo, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing, that is common or unclean. And
“ the voice spake unto him again, the se“ cond time, What God hath cleansed, “ that call not thou common. This was “ done thrice, and the vessel was received
up again into heaven q.”
In this vision of Peter, no mention whatfoever is made of the Gentiles, except under their types, the unclean animals. Peter at first doubted, till the men, who were sent by Cornelius, had made inquiry for him : all his difficulties then vanished, and the meaning of the vision became evident. He tells Cornelius, “ Of a truth I perceive, “ that God is no respecter of persons; but, “ in every nation, he that feareth him, and “ worketh righteousness, is accepted with “ him.” The prophecy of Ifaiah indeed is as yet only fulfilled in part. The lion and the bear, the leopard and the asp, have put aside their savage natures; but they have not hitherto lain down with the ox and the kid. Nevertheless, in the fulness of time, they shall all make but one fold, under one shepherd, Jesus Christ our Lord.
9 A&ts x. 10.