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thy of the divine institution, and of man's obser: vance; except as typifying that great act of God's justice in laying upon Christ the iniquities of all his people, and the exercise of their faith in cordially assenting to this act, and embracing him as their only Surety.
III. The victim was thus legaliy subjected to the curse merited by the transgressor. As an evidence of this, all the fin-offerings, whofe blood was to be carried into the holy place, were to be burned without the camp, that it might not be defiled d. This prefigured Christ's being “ made “a curse for us,” when substituted as our atoning facrifice. · We have already viewed the execution of the seven fons of Saul, because of the guilt of their parent in slaying the Gibeonites, as a striking proof of God's visiting the iniquities of the fathers upon the children. The same event contains a remarkable illustration of the doctrines of fubftitution and atonement. God fubjected Ifrael to a temporary curse, in giving them up to famine for three years, because of Saul and his bloody house. According to the will of God, this curse must be transferred to seven of the fons of Saul; a mystical number, expressive perhaps of the legal perfection of the atonement thus to be made. Although, as far as appears, they were personally innocent, as to this crime, the curse was transferred to them. This appears from the
5. Lev. vi. 30.
design, from the consequence, and from the manner of their punifhment. The depgn of their punishment was legally to remove the guilt of innocent blood from the nation of Israel. David, being divinely instructed as to the caufe of the famine, said unto the Gibeonites, “ What shall I “ do for you? and wherewith shall I make the a“ tonement, that ye may bless the inheritance of “ the Lord?” The consequence of the execution and interment of the fufferers was, that“ God was “ entreated for the land.” He accepted the atonement. But there was also something very remarkable in the manner of their punishment. From God's approbation of this whole affair, there can be no reasonable doubt that the Gibeonites were providentially directed, not only as to the atonement that they demanded, but the manner in which they proposed it should be made : “ Let “ seven men of his fons be delivered unto us, and “ we will hang them up-in Gibeah of Saul.” They propose that themselves should act as priests in this extraordinary facrifice; and that the punishment should be hanging, the only one pro. nounced accursed by the law. Their language is Atill more express. They do not merely say, “ We “ will hang them up ;" but, “ We will hang " them up unto the LORD,” as victims offered unto him, and folemnly devoted to bear that curse to which the nation had been subjected, and legally to bear it away. The expression is afterwards a little varied, in the narrative of the fact; but so as still to convey the same idea. VOL. II.
“ hanged them on the hill before the LORD." The legal atonement was to be made for Israel, by means of their suffering in the very fame manner in which He was to suffer, who was truly to be made a curse for us, being hanged on a tree; and who was thus to take away the iniquity of his people in one day. God was not entreated for the land, till these men were not only hanged, but buried. This having been long delayed, David viewed it as a matter of such importance that he engaged in the work himself. For according to the law, he that was hanged, was to be buried on the same day, as being “ the curse “ of God l.” This ordinance prefigured that the burial of Christ should be a folemn and practical evidence that our sins were covered and removed from God's fight, so as no more to rise up against us in judgment.
iv. It was necessary that atonement should be made by the shedding of blood. What rites foever were used, without this in ordinary cases there was no proper expiation. For “ without “ shedding of blood there is no remiffion.” It was not enough that the victim was flain: it was necessary that it should be lain by the effusion of blood. This institution referred both to the curse of the broken covenant, and to the manner in which it should be removed. The sentence of the law was, “ Dying thou shalt die;" “ The soul that sinneth, it shall die.” Now, it is declared that “ the blood is the soul,” that is, “ the life ;” not as if the blood were, strictly speaking, either the soul, or the animal life ; but because the animal spirits, which are the organs of the soul, are in the blood. It, therefore, was the will of God that the blood of the victim should be shed; not only to shew the reality of its death, as, when the blood is separated from the body, the life is gone; but to declare that the perfon, for whom it was offered, had forfeited his life, his very soul, to divine justice, and that the law would not mitigate its sentence. In this shedding of blood there was a plain declaration of the substitution of the one for the other, as ap• pears from the language of God to the Ifraelites ; “ The life of the flesh is in the blood ; and I have
c 2 Sam. xxi. 1.-14.
f Deut. xxi. 23.
given it to you upon the altar, to make an atone
ment for your souls; for it is the blood that “ maketh an atonement for the soul : ;" literally “ the soul of the flesh is in the blood." For the same word is used, as afterwards when we read of “ an atonement for the foul.” The life or soul of a beast is not here put on a footing with that of man.
But this language is employed to declare that when the blood of a beast was shed, so that death ensued, all the soul which it possessed was given up instead of those for whom it was of- . fered. This mode of offering also fitly prefigured the work of Christ, in “ pouring out his “ soul unto death,” in shedding his blood for the remiffion of fins.
There & Lev, xvii. 11.
There was but one case, in which atonement could be made, for any particular transgression, without blood. This was merely on the supposition of absolute necessity. If the offerer was so very poor that he could bring nothing that had blood, he might present a small quantity of four h.
By the law almost all things were purged “ with blood.” Not only the tabernacle and all the holy vessels, but also the garments of the priests were fprinkled with it i. Before there could be any acceptable ministration for others, it was requisite that the priests should make atonement for themselves k. For the altar itself an atonement was necessary!
v. Sacrifice was the great mean of confirming the covenant of grace, as dispensed before the coming of Christ. When God revealed this covenant to Abraham, he commanded him to sacrifice several creatures, and to divide them into different parts m. Hence the phrase often used in the Old Testament, and indeed in the passage referred to.", of striking or cutting a covenant ; because it was made by striking the victims, and sometimes by dividing them, as in the sacrifice offered by Abraham. This implied that the parties imprecated a similar vengeance on themselves, if they broke their engagement; especially as they sometimes passed between the parts of the
i Exod. xxix. 21.
k Lev, xvi. 6.
h Lev. v. 11.-13. I Exod. xxix. 36.
m Gen. xv. 9, 10.
R Ver. 18.