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projected in the councils of heaven, and partially revealed from time to time, travelled on through several successive stages of advancement, till it arrived at that fulness of time, when, from a variety of concurrent circumstances, the world was in some degree, prepared for a more complete display of Divine Revelation, in the personal ministry of the Son of God.")*
The sacrifices, the priesthood, and the services of the Mosaic law, had all reference, either by type or allusion, to the person or ministry of Christ ;-and would form an additional class of testimonies, as numerous in their detail, as those which I have already mentioned. All of them pointed to him as the Great Sacrifice, without whose precious bloodshedding, there could have been no remission for the sins of men. The sacrifices under the law represented him by anticipation,—in the same manner as the sacrament of the Lord's supper with us now, represents him by commemoration. He was the true paschal Lamb, slain from the foundation of the world, to expiate our sins and thus to satisfy the divine justice and exemplify the divine mercy. In the same point of view, he is the Great High Priest who, by the offering of his own blood, intercedes for us with his heavenly Father in the celestial Holy of Holies, and presents our prayers and services,-in virtue of his inestimable atonement. It would lead me too far at present to form an induction of particulars upon these points ; -and there is the less occasion for it, because enough
* Daubeny's Eight Discourses on the Atonement. page 164. ed. 1802.
has been said to prove, that the Scriptures of the Old Testament contain the doctrine of “eternal life,” and that they “ testify of Jesus Christ” that he is the Messiah who was to come. The doctrine and the testimony coincide in one point, and are mutually essential to each other ;-the notion of eternal life, of life to be enjoyed by creatures, who for their transgression had incurred from the divine justice the punishment of eternal death ;--the notion, I say, of eternal life under this state of things, supposes that there must and would be some means of satisfying the Divine Justice,—and the medium of this satisfaction is Jesus Christ, the blessed Son of God, who is our Advocate with the Father, and the Propitiation for the sins of the whole world. On the other hand, the notion of a Messiah who was to make this satisfaction, supposes the doctrine of eternal life :-otherwise the ancient patriarchs and holy men who looked forward to his coming, looked forward to an event in which they could have no interest, inasmuch as their bodies, and their souls too, would have ceased to exist.
The absurdity is so gross, that the bare mention of it is its refutation.
If the duty of searching the scriptures was required from the Jews, how much more incumbent is it
upon us, who have not only the writings of the Old Testament, but those also of the New Testament, to give us ample testimonies of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to guide us in the paths of wisdom and duty, to the joyful possession of that life and immortality which he
has more clearly brought to light in his blessed Gospel. The matters of faith and doctrine that might, be, it is confessed, in some considerable degree, obscure to the Jews before our Saviour's coming, and even till the completion of his great work on earth, are not obscure to us, in any one point, that respects our relation to him, or the benefits we may derive from his atonement and mediation. Whatsoever things were written aforetime, either in the Old Testament or in the New, “ were written for our learning ; that we through patience, and comfort of the scriptures, might have hope.” We should therefore, study them with a diligence and an earnestness suitable to their paramount importance. If we read them for mere curiosity, or to furnish us with matter for debate and argument, we shall pervert them from that holy use for which they were intended :—and this perversion will itself be imputed to us as a sin. If we read them with humble and docile minds, and accompany their perusal with prayers to our heavenly Father for the aids of his suggesting grace; if "we cry to him for knowledge, and lift up our voice to him for understanding," if we seek his divine wisdom as silver, and search for it as for bid treasure, then he will bless us with the aid of his holy spirit till we come to understand, gradually but savingly, “the wonderful things of his law." From those divine sources and records of inspiration, we shall derive every thing that can be profitable for our spiritual condition,-doctrines, that will teach us
to eschew all things that are evil, and to follow those things only that are good,—reproofs, that will check us after having committed any sin, and will rouse our hearts and consciences against committing sins in future,-corrections, that, in our state of ignorance or of infirmity, will check our presumption and increase our diligent cautiousness,—and instruction in righteousness,--that righteousness which includes all the active and meditative duties of our holy religion, so that we may, as St. Paul expresses himself to his beloved Timothy, “ be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” Amidst the cares and the calamities of life, the Scriptures,—the consoling truths of divine love and wisdom, will administer to the comfort and refreshment of our souls. They will withdraw our thoughts from worldly objects to those higher and beatific scenes, where the happiness and the reward of good men are placed. They will enable us also to bear our portion of worldly care and industry with less danger to our innocence, with more effectual vigour and constancy, and with cheerful peace of heart. For as we delight more and more in God's law, he will more and more befriend us. He will enable us, like the trees planted by the rivers of water to bring forth our fruit in their season ;-our leaf also shall not wither, and whatsoever we do in obedience to his holy will, shall prosper.
ECCLESIASTES vii. 16.
Be not righteous overmuch; neither make thyself over wise :
why shouldst thou destroy thyself?
Though the author of this verse is acknowledged to have had a great insight into human nature, and much sagacity in discovering the real motives of men's actions and professions, yet the precept of the text seems, at the first glance, to be somewhat contrary to our general opinion of things. We may not easily comprehend how a man can be “ righteous overmuch,” or how he can be “over-wise ;” because goodness can never be immoderate, nor can wisdom run into excess :-indeed, they are generally found to be deficient rather than superabundant in the hearts and mind of men. The precept, however, is applicable, not to such as are extraordinary proficients in righteousness or wisdom, but to such