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Holy Spirit to have both a present significancy and a future. Which amounts but just to this, That Abraham receiving Isaac safe from mount Moriah, in the manner related by Scripture, he thereby became a Type. An ancient Interpretation, as appears from the reading of the vulgar Latin-L'nde eum & IN PARABOLAM accepit, for in parabola, as it ought to have been translated conformably to the Greek. However, I desire it may be observed, in corroboration of my sense of the Command, that the resemblance to Christ's sacrifice in all the circumstances of the story was so strong, that Interpreters could never overlook the resemblance, in their comments on the passage.
2. To the second part of the Objection, I answer thus; It is the office of History to assign the Causes of the facts related. In those facts therefore, which have seyeral Causes, of which the principal cannot be conveniently told, the inferior come in properly to take its place. Thus, in the case before us; though it be made, I presume, very evident that the principal design of the Command was to reveal to Abraham, by action instead of words, the Redemption of mankind; yet as this was a favour of a very high nature, and conferred on Abraham at his earnest request, it was but fit he should approve hiinself worthy of it by some proportionable Trial; agreeably to what we find in Scripture to be God's way of dealing with his favoured Servants. On this account, therefore, GOD was pleased, by the very manner in which this Mystery was revealed, to tempt or try Abraham. Where the making the favour itself the trial of his deserving it, hath all that superior elegance and beauty which is to be conceived in the Dispensations of divine Wisdom only. Now, as the principal reason of the Command could not be conveniently told by the Historian, this inferior one of the Trial is assigned with great truth and propriety And it came to pass after these things, God did tempt Abraham, and said, Take now thy son, fc. And it is to
be observed, that the very manner of recording this Feason shews it to be indeed what we suppose it; an inrferior one. For it is not said that God gave this Command in order to try Abraham, which expresses a principal reason; but that, in giving the Command, God did try him, which at most only implies an inferior
We have said, that a Trial, when approved, implied a following reward. Now as there may be more reasons than one for giving a Command, so there
he more rewards than one attendant on a Trial. Thus it was in the case before us. And it is reinarkable, that the sacred Historian has observed the same rule with regard to the reward of the Trial as to the reason of the Command. The principal and peculiar reward of Abraham's Trial here was the revelation of the mystery of Redemption: this the Historian could not mention, for the reasons given above: but besides this, God rewarded him with a repetition of all the former Promises. This the Historian could, and, in pursuance of the rules of History, does mention :-By myself hace I sworn, saith the Lord, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son, that in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplizing I will multiply thy seed as the stars of Heaven, und as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies ; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because thou hast obeyed my voice *.
On the whole, This Objection to the interpretation, the only one I can think of, is so far from obscuring, and weakening, that it adds great light and strength unto it, For, admitting the sense here proposed, to be indeed the true, we see the Story must of necessity have been told in the very manner we find it to be recorded t.
Before I conclude this part of the Discourse, I shall but just take notice how strongly this interpretation of the * Gen. xxii. ver. 16, &
seq. # See note [M] at the end of this Book.
Command 1. Let us see then how this case stood : God had been pleased to reveal to him his eternal purpose of * See note [N] at the end of this book,
Command concludes against the SOCINIANS, for the real sacrifice of Christ, and the proper Redemption of mankind. For if the Command was an information by action instead of words, the proof conveyed in it is decisive; there being here no room for their evasion of its being a figurative expression, since the figurative action, the original of such expression, denotes either a real sacrifice, or nothing at all.
H. I come now to the other part of this Discourse, viz. to shew, that the interpretation here given intirely dissipates all those blustering objections which Infidelity hath raised up against the historic truth of the relation.
They say, “GOD could not give such a Command to Abraham, because it would throw him into inextricable doubts concerning the Author of it, as Whether it proceeded from a good or an evil Being. Or if not so, but that he might be satisfied it came froin Gon, it would then mislead him in his notions of the divine Attributes, and of the fundamental principles of Morality. Because, though the revocation of the Command prevented the homicide, yet the species of the action commanded not being condemned when it was revoked, Abrahams and his Family must needs have thought HUMAN SACRIFICES grateful to the Almighty: fora siinple revoking was not condemning; but would be more naturally thought a peculiar indulgence for a ready obedience. Thus, the pagan fable of Diana's substituting a llind in the place of Iphigenia, did not make Idolaters believe that she therefore abhorred Human Sacrifices, they having before been persuaded of the contrary, from the Command of that Idol to offer up the daughter of Agamemuon.”--This is the substance, only set in a clearer light, of all their dull cloudy dissertations on the case of Abraham *.
making all mankind blessed through him : and likewise to confirm this promise, in a regular course of successive Revelations, each fuller and more explicit than the other. By this time we cannot but suppose the Father of the Faithful must, from the nature of the thing, be become very desirous of knowing the manner how this Blessing was to be brought about: A Mystery, if we will believe the Author of our Faith, that engaged the aitention of other holy men, less immediately concerned than Abraham, and consequently less stimulated and excited by their curiosity :--And JEsus turned to his Disciples, and said privately, Blessed are the eyes which see the things which
For I tell you that many Prophets and King's have DESIRED to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them, and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them **. But we are assured, by the same authority, that Abraham had, in fact, this very desire highly raised in bim; Abraham rejoiced to see my dry (says Jesus), and he same it, (ind wis glad; or rather, lle rejoiced that HE MIGHT SEE, INA IAI.; which implies, that the period of liis joy was in the space between the promise made, and the actual performance of it by the delivery of the Command; consequently, that it was granted at l.is earnest request t. In the second place, we shall sheiv- from the same words, that Alrahain, at the time whicu the Command was given, KYIW it to be that Revelation be liad so earnestly requested. This is of the highest importance for the. understanding the truc nature of the Coinmand.-Your Father Abrahan rejoiced to see my Day, and he saw it, and was glad. 'Αβρααμ. και σας υμών ήγαλλιάσαίο INA ΙΔΗ, την ημεραν την εμήν και είδε, κ; εχάρη. We have observed that iva lor, in strict propriety, signifies that he might see. The English phrase,-to see, is equivocal
* Luke x. 23, 24.
+ This all the Eastern Versions understand it : Syr. Cupidus fuit videndi.-- Pers. Cupidus erat ut videret.- Arab. Exoptavit videre. Ethiop. Desideravit, gavisus est ut videret.
and ambiguous, and means either the present time, that he then did see; or the future, that he was promised he should see : but the original ivæ iin, has only the latter
So that the text plainly distinguishes two different periods of Joy; the first, when it was promised he should see; the second, when he actually saw : And it is to be observed * that, according to the exact use of the words, in αγαλλιάομαι is implied the tumultuous pleasure which the certain expectation of an approaching blessing, understood only in the gross, occasions; and, in xaíow that calnı and settled joy which arises from our knowledge, in the possession of it. But the Translators, perhaps, not apprehending that there was any time between the Grant to see, and the actual seeing, turned it, he rejoiced to see ; as if it had been the Paraphrase of the Poet Nonnus,
ιδείν γάλλέθο θυμό. whereas this History of Abraham hath plainly three distinct periods. The first contains God's promise to grant Abraham's request, when he rejoiced that he should șee; this, for reasons given above, was wisely omitted by the Historian : Within the second period was the delivery of the Command, with which Moses's account begins : And Abraham's Obedience, through which he saw Christ's day and was glad, includes the third t. Thus the Patriarch, we tind, had a promise that his request should be granted; and, in regard to that promise, an action is commanded, which, at that time, was a common mode of information ; Abraham therefore must needs know it was the very information so much requested, so graciously promised, and so impatiently expected. We conclude then, on the whole, that this Command being only the Grant of an earnest request, and known by Abraham, at the time of imposing, to be such Grant, he could not possibly have any doubt concerning the Author of it. He was soliciting the God
* See note (O] at the end of this Book.