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REVELATION PREPARATORY TO THE INCARNATION.
In the inward and direct operation of the Spirit of Christ in the soul, we have what every one who is its subject is conscious of, as something not of himself. He feels the quickening his nature undergoes, and he is conscious of its harmonizing tendency; but beyond this, the inward operation does not directly teach. It is the operation of a benign power, but the sufficiency and the persistency of that power cannot be learned by the individual from the beginning, from the operation of the power itself. Inasmuch, therefore, as this is the ultimate Divine operation on behalf of man, we must look for some preparatory revelations of God in a lower sphere, which will enable us to receive the higher; like as in our philosophy we are compelled first to take the testimony of our senses to the existence of intellectual and moral qualities underlying and pervading the objective universe. This is necessary also, not only because an inward spiritual revelation merely, would only be to a part of our nature, and would be incapable of transmission, but because it would leave the recovery of man too exclusively in the hands of his Creator, and remove the possibility of that personal culture which is the only means of improvement to beings like ourselves.
Accordingly, we find from the beginning, facts anticipatory of the full manifestation of God in the flesh—the first utterances of the · Word of God.' Before the sin of Adam, 'the voice of the Lord'—the Revealer-was in intercourse with him, and when his sin had stopped the free and constant fellowship and sympathy of a friend, a way and a place of periodic intercourse was provided, in which he might have assurance of the Divine presence, and of his own acceptance.
In the case of Cain and Abel, we have proof of an outward and sensible sign of acceptance and rejection, in the appointed way of sacrifice. All through pre-Christian times, we have records of such sensuous revelation in human form, as the Angel-Jehovah, or at least with human voice. In these appearances He made known His
will to man, declared His own purposes of grace and judgment; as the King interposed for the help and deliverance of His servants, and from time to time enlarged and confirmed His promise of redemption to the world. From the time of Abraham this was continued in his line until the Redeemer appeared. But when He did appear, He appropriated all the past revelation as a prophecy of Himself, and claimed to be the fulfiller of all type and promise ; thus showing Himself to be the one Revealer.
From the first blessing in Eden, till the Redeemer was taken up into heaven, there was no communication which was not addressed to the senses, perceived by the intellect, and capable of translation into all the languages of earth. It is by means of the record of these Divine acts that we learn the character of our Creator and King, our relations to Him and to one another, and the obligations and duties which spring out of them. It must also be remembered that the nation of Israel, and the prophets especially, were chosen of the Lord as His witnesses, that all the nations might know that before Him, beside Him, and after Him there was no God.' For this cause such
commissions as this were given to the prophets, Now go,
write it before them in a table, and note it in a book, that it may be for the time to come for ever and ever. So that this instruction has not come to us by the caprice of man, but by the appointment of God, who would have these acts of His in the moral sphere of His kingdom in perpetual remembrance, that the warning, counsel, and consolation of them might be universal and everlasting. And not only do we find this process sufficient for the purpose,
but we can conceive of no other by which we can know those sides of the Divine nature and government which most
In no other way can we be assured of His personality, fatherhood, righteousness, pity, and grace.
It is of great importance to remember that the revelation of God which we have in the Bible, although given in divers forms and at various times, is yet one. And this unity is not only to be found in the Author, but also in the subject; and this is, more or less directly, the incarnate God. There can be no question as to the connection of sacrificial worship with this central fact, as it is impossible to account for its existence but as a type of the Redeemer.
And in the pre-Abrahamic record, we have little more than a statement of its continual practice down to his time. In Abraham, we have a renewal of the primitive promise, and the line of its fulfilment fixed in him; therefore we have a more definite record of sacrificial worship As soon as his descendants had grown into a nation, an elaborate system of sacrificial type and symbol was instituted for their use, and this was from the first declared to be according to a Divine pattern shown to Moses. In the New Testament, and in the Epistle to the Hebrews especially, we are shown how the whole and the several parts prefigure the redeeming and saving work of the Lord Jesus. And what is the history of the Israelites but a record of the manner in which the Lord governed the nation of which He was King, until the time came for the appearance of His Son to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself? The worship of the period was effectual to the conscious joy and purification of the worshippers, as the Psalms and devotional fragments of the prophetic books show. Without the genealogies, the history, and the experience, we should have no proof of the continuity of the nation, of the fulfilment of the