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But the evidence, my dear friend, is by no means closed. We have as yet examined but one witness; and, indeed, have heard but a small part of his testimony. He will appear again before us. And, besides Moses, we have Isaiah, Ezekiel, and St. John, to examine; and the evidence of the second of these will be found more full than that of either of his brethren. In addition to this we shall find some incidental notices of the subject in the other inspired writers, which are not without their importance in the argument. For the present I must take my leave of you, praying that He who inhabited The CHERUBIM,* may dwell in your heart by faith, and also in the heart of
Your faithful and affectionate brother,
be rendered " who dwelleth or ישב ה-כרובים Why should
Symbolically; as afterwards, substantially, “ God was in Christ:" In Him the whole fulness" (viz. of the Godhead) was pleased to dwell.” Col. i. 19. comp. ch. ii 9.
5“ sitteth between the Cherubim, since there is no preposition in either of the passages where this description of the Divine Majesty occurs ? 1 Sam. iv. 4. 2 Sam. vi. 2. 2 Kings xix. 15. Isai. xxxvii. 16. Ps. Lxxx. 1. xcix. 1. are, I believe, all the places in which this description is found.
THE CHERUBIM ON THE MERCY-SEAT.
MY DEAR FRIEND,
The manner in which St. Paul has spoken of the law of Moses, or the whole Mosaic dispensation, in two of his epistles, seems to demand attention in writing on the subject to which this letter will be devoted. That subject is the symbolic intention of the CHERUBIC IMAGES on the mercy-seat, in the Holy of holies of the Tabernacle and Temple. The Apostle speaks of the Mosaic institution under the character of an intermediate dispensation, designed to answer certain purposes which he states, during a limited period. It was a sort of parenthesis in the great plan of mercy, which, though connected with that which preceded it and that which followed it, was not absolutely essential to the plan itself.—“ It was added because of transgressions,"* viz. added
* Gal. iii. 19. ΤΩΝ ΠΑΡΑΒΑΣΕΩΝ χαριν προσεθετη, It was added because of the deviations, viz. from the patriarchal doctrine and practice, and especially from the purity of the prefigurative institutions which had been Divinely appointed on the expulsion of man from Paradise, but which had been corrupted, and
to the covenant, the dispensation of mercy,* before revealed in the promise made to Abraham, and which had been so confirmed that no intermediate institution could make any alteration in it. This parenthetical dispensation was, to those who were under it, “a school-master to lead them to Christ,” by exhibiting their need of such a Saviour in a clearer light, and by symbolizing, in all its types, what the Saviour when He came, was to be, to do, and to suffer. (See Gal. iii. 15, &c.) By partaking of the nature both of the original dispensation under which the first Adam, and his posterity in him, were placed before the fall, and also of that into which those who are in union with the second Adam are brought; it diseovered in the fullest point of view the impossibility of justification by any law of works; or that, “ if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law;" and that “the Scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of
thereby rendered obscure and unintelligible, not only in the world at large, but also among the descendants of Abraham, during their abode in Egypt. In order therefore to restore the purity of typical exhibition, and so to renew the expectation of the promised Saviour, the introduction of the Mosaic code became a necessary provision of Divine mercy. That code was, like its more simple predecessor of the patriarchal age, shadow of good things to come," when its substance should be rey aled to the world by the Gospel of Christ. * διαθηκη not συνθήκη
preserve as well as to guard, and commonly expresses the duty of man in regard to ceremonial observances. These symbols, then, were the means of keeping open the way to the antitypical • Tree of Life which is in the midst of the Paradise of God;" from which it never could have been the intention of its Divine Planter to deter a conscious sinner. While, during the Patriarchal and Levitical periods, the awakened penitent saw the victim laid on the altar of God, and, after its blood had been poured out before the faces of the CHERUBIM, its remains consumed by sacred fire which God Himself had kindled; he had before his eyes the liveliest exhibition that can be conceived of his own fallen, guilty, and ruined state, of the just desert of sin, and of its unavoidable consequences without Divine interposition for the removal of its guilt ; and, at the same time, the clearest discovery and the fullest assurance of Divine mercy, and of the way in which it would exert itself for the salvation of sinners: He saw, in type, the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world.”
To the objector who charges me with a disposition to carry the allegorical sense, which he must allow to be often necessary in the interpretation of Scripture, to an undue extent; I shall only answer that I would rather err in looking for Him who is the recognized Alpha and Omega of Divine Revelation, where He is not to be found, than omit to inquire for Him where He
Him whom my soul loveth,” is an inquiry that will not be resented by Him for whom the inquiry is made. I am fully aware of the necessity which exists for attending to the analogy of faith, to the consistency of symbolical interpretation with that analogy, and to the connexion which the symbol holds with other things and with itself; but when I read that the whole ceremonial
process was “ shadow of good things to come, and that of those “good things” Christ is the soul and
when I find that a ceremonial code existed, at least in substance, from the fall; that THE CHERUBIM and their appendages were divinely exhibited to our first parents in immediate connexion with the first promise, and with the institution of sacrific rites; that in the history of Cain and Abel, the first born sons of Adam, the existence of a fixed place,* as well as of a
*,“ From the very beginning of time God had always some place appropriated for the solemn duties of religious worship. Adam, even during his continuance in Paradise, had some place where to present himself before the Lord; and after his expulsion thence, his sons in like manner had whither to bring their oblations and sacrifices. This probably was the reason why Cain did not immediately fall upon bis brother, when his offering was refused, because perhaps the solemnity and religion of the place, and sensible appearance of the Divine Majesty there, struck him with a reverential awe that might cause him to defer his villainous design till he came into the field where he slew him.” Horne's Introduction to the Critical Study and Knowledge of the Holy Scriptures. Vol. iii. p. 229.