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mony, and edifying tendency, of the four Gospels, and on the information which they contain respecting the life, character, doctrine, death, and resurrection of Christ, our minds are filled with light; and we cannot refuse to allow that these unrivalled memorials were given to us of God.
I conceive that no man can truly imbibe the meaning of Paul, Peter, and John, in the doctrinal parts of their epistles, without arriving at a strong conviction, that doctrines so distinct and various, yet so exactly balanced; so novel and extraordinary, yet so satisfactory to the judgment, and so influential on the heart, must have flowed from the source of all knowledge and wisdom. Nor would any candid mind be likely to form a different opinion respecting the rich and full morality, which is to be found in the preceptive parts of those epistles, and in that most practical of treatises, the epistle of James.
As a last example we may mention the Revelation ; for although that remarkable book abounds in difficulties, a fair consideration of its contents will convince us, that nothing but the pen of inspiration could have drawn such a picture of the then future destinies of the church, of the fearful struggle which she must still maintain against the powers of darkness, and of her complete victory and endless glory.
Thus, it appears, that both the smaller and larger divisions of the Bible bear evident marks of that divine wisdom from which they originated; but our convictions on the subject cannot fail to be greatly strengthened when we observe the harmony of sentiment and doctrine which pervades the mighty whole. The Bible consists of numerous distinct works, - historical, prophetical, and didactic, - composed at a variety of dates, by very many individuals independent of each other, who differed in character, circumstance, and condition; and yet these writings all point in one direction, and combine in developing one system of truth. It seems impossible to account for this general result, except by the fact, that their authors all wrote under the influence of the same Spirit :
" Whence these agreeing truths ? or how or why
Should all conspire to cheat us with a lie ?!
The harmony of Scripture is the more remarkable, because this system of truth was unfolded by degrees. While the successive revelations recorded in Scripture admirably coincide, they manifest a gradual progress towards perfect light. The moral principles which were revealed to our first parents, and of which there are many traces in the history of the patriarchs, were confirmed and reduced to a code, in the days of Moses ; and the law of expiation by sacrifice, of which from the very date of the fall, mankind had possessed some clear notions, was, at the same period, defined and detailed. Yet, the light bestowed on Moses and his followers, with regard to morals, was preparatory to a still more extensive exbibition of them under the gospel; and the types and shadows with which the Jewish ritual abounded, were fulfilled in the Saviour of men made manifest in the flesh.
This fact suggests the remark, that besides the general harmony of Scripture, there are distinct parts of the Bible, composed at long intervals of time, which answer to each other, just as the image of a man in a mirror, answers to the living form.
Who can deliberately compare the types of the law with their great antitype as revealed in
the gospel, and take a fair view in succession, of the shadow and the substance, of the figure and the reality, without perceiving in the agreement of the one with the other, and in the keeping of the whole picture, the unquestionable evidence of truth?
Take for example the lamb of the passover, a male without spot or blemish, not a bone of which was to be broken; and call to mind that the sprinkling of its blood on the door-posts of the Israelite was the appointed means of ensuring his safety from the power of the destroyer. What a lively figure of the Lamb of God, whose blood, sprinkled on the heart, arrests the hand of justice and protects from the penalty of sin! Take again the serpent of brass which Moses lifted up on a pole, that the Israelites mortally diseased from the bite of the fiery serpents, might look upon it in faith, and live.* Who does not perceive in this circumstance an expressive shadow of Christ lifted up on the cross, to whom the believer, wounded by Satan, poisoned with sin, directs the eye of his soul, and is healed, and lives forever ?t
Peculiarly pertinent as shadows of the great doctrines of the Gospel were the ceremonies practised under the Mosaic law, on the day of atonement. Previously to the services of the day, the high priest puts off his gorgeous vestments, and clothes himself in humble yet holy linen garments,- offers up a bullock for his own sins or errors, and a goat for those of the people,- enters once for all during the year, into the holy of holies, where were the Cherubim and the glory of God's presence, - confesses the sins of the Israelities over the head of a second goat, which is suffered to escape with his figurative burthen into an uninhabited wilderness -- and finally resumes his splendid apparel and the usual condition of his office. In the mean time the bodies of the slain victims are burnt without the camp.*
* Num. xxi. 9,
† John iii. 14,
So the Son of God, the high priest of the Christian's profession, divests himself of his pristine majesty — assumes his pure yet lowly human nature — suffers “ without the gate”offers up one all-sufficient sacrifice for sin,carries away into oblivion the transgressions of his people - enters in once for all” into the holiest place where the angels dwell in
* Lev, xvi,