Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

appearance of that seat of glory in the holy place, which was the instituted likeness of the seat of the divine glory in the heavens. And in a like vision of Isaiah, the throne of God, and the display of his glory, is still present in his temple: / saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and his train filed the temple*. So, where the same prophet saith, Look down from heaven, and behold from the habitation of thy holiness and of thy glory f; the words habitation and holiness and glory all refer to the earthly sanctuary as a pattern of the heavenly.

The tabernacle was also a figure of the church of Christ: and therefore the renovation and establishment of the church amongst the Gentiles by the preaching of the gospel, is described under the idea of a restoration of the tabernacle which had ceased from the time of David. The prophet Amos speaks of this gathering of the Gentiles into the church of Christ, as into the tabernacle taken in this new sense; and St. James made the proper application of it, when the great question was debated concerning the reception of the heathens. To this, says he, agree the words of the prophets, as it is written, J will return and will build again

the * Isaiah yi. I. + lb. lxiii. 15.

the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down->that the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles upon whom my name is called *. To the same effect St. Stephen had .observed in his apology to the Jews, that the tabernacle had originally been brought in with Jesus into the possesion of the Gentiles; and therefore the church might reasonably go thither again; whereto the preaching of the gospel under the true Jesus should remove and settle it.

The propriety with which the Christian church is signified by this name, is too plain to be enlarged upon; inasmuch as we have already seen, that all things are there done* hi spirit and in truth, which were done in figure in the tabernacle of the law.

But the tabernacle, as well as the temple, is farther applied as a figure of the body of Christ; and this in a passage not open to common observation. The word, saith St. John, was made flesh and dwelt amongst us; where the true sense of the original is, he tabernacled amongst us: and then it is added, and we be* held his glory,- for where the, true tabernacle is, there must be also the glory of it. Here then we have the manifestation of Christ in the

flesh, * Acts xy. 6.

flesh, signified by the dwelling of God's presence in the tabernacle; than which there can be no higher proof of his divinity to those that understand the thing in this light. As the glory of the Lord was once present in the tabernacle, so it is said, with reference to the same, that in him dwelt all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. Well therefore might he say of his body, destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up again; for it was both a tabernacle and temple in a stricter sense than had ever been before; the Godhead had occasionally dwelt in the buildings made with hands; but with him it abode continually. The use our Saviour made of this term amounted to an assertion of his Godhead to the Jews; but as the Jews did not then understand the sense of his expression, so are many Christians as blind to it at this day.

After the pattern of Christ, and according to their proper measure, all Christians have the presence of God abiding within them; whence their bodies also are the temples of the Holy Ghost; from which consideration they are instructed to dedicate them, to the service of God; for that is certainly one use of a temple; and not to defile them for that is sacrilege. And the subject gives them this consolation, that though their earthly house of this tabernacle be dissolved, he who raised up the tabernacle of David from its ruins to a more glorious state in the Gentile world, and raised up the temple of Christ's body which the Jews destroyed, shall in like manner quicken our mortal bodies by the spirit that dwelleth in us, and give us an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

It was observed above, that the tabernacle of David is a figurative term for the Christian church as the mystical body of Christ: we shall likewise find, that the blessings and privileges of the Christian society or assembly of Christian people do all correspond with the ceconomy of the congregation of Israel, and are described in terms borrowed from the law; of which the following example in the epistle to the Hebrews will be sufficient, where the apostle says—Ye are come unto Mount Sion, and unto tke city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the first born which are written in heaven, and to God the judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made'perfect, and to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaketh better

things

things than that of Abel. Every Christian is to conceive what his own state is, by looking back to the privileges of the church of old. He is come to mount Zion, to a situation exalted above the world; a mountain chosen and favoured of Cod, blessed with the dew of heavenly grace, and inheriting the promise of eternal life ; even to that holy hill, on which Christ is established as King against all the opposition of the world below. It is the new Jerusalem, because it is ordained to be, as that city was of old, at unity with itself, and a principle of unity to all the land; where all the tribes of the earth unite in one religion, as the tribes of Israel assembled to worship at Jerusalem. The cities of the neighbouring nations were dedicated to some tutelary idol ; Jerusalem alone to the true and living God; so now^ is the same God connected with the Christian city and with that only; and all the company of heaven, innumerable as they are, who assisted at the delivery of the law, are with him. As the firstborn of Israel, who had the right of inheritance, were redeemed and written down by name; so are all the children of the Christian society enrolled in heaven as the first-born of God, and the book of life in which they are written answers to the register of the church

of

« AnteriorContinuar »