« السابقةمتابعة »
penfation for it too is evidently "a fhadow of good things to come."
-The flying" manflayer" is an affecting reprefentation of what every man is by nature and by wicked works; an unhappy creature, who has offended against his brother, violated the laws of fociety, broken his own peace of mind, and trampled on the divine authority, not only accidentally and unintentionally, but deliberately, prefumptuoufly. His confcience, "like the troubled fea," cannot reft. What he feels is dreadful, what he fears is infinitely worse. With trembling Cain, he apprehends that every one who meeteth him will flay him; his multiplied crimes cry out of the ground for vengeance upon his headwhile eternal, inflexible juftice, like "the avenger of blood," purfues him to the death. To flee from, or endure the wrath of an offended God, is equally impoffible. All nature is up in arms against him; he is become a terror to himfelf; the king of terrors aims hiş fatal dart, and hell follows after.
-The “refuge” provided by this statute for the unhappy man who had deftroyed his brother, and troubled his own foul, prefigures the remedy prefcribed by infinite wisdom for the recovery of a loft, perishing world-that difpenfation of Divine Providence in which "mercy and truth are met together, righteousness and peace have kiffed each other." Fear not, guilty creature, there is hope concerning thee; thou shalt not die. The God whom thou haft offended, even he, "hath found out a ranfom ;" he hath "laid help on One who is mighty to fave, even to the uttermoft, them who come unto God through him." Ceafe from the anxious inquiry, "Who fhall afcend into heaven, to bring Chrift down from above? Who fhall defcend into the deep, to bring up Chrift again from the dead?" "The word is nigh thee," and in this word the Lord "brings near his righteoufnefs," and his falvation. The name of JEHOVAH is as a ftrong tower, whofo runneth into it is fafe. Prophets, apostles,
apostles, evangelifts, with one accord, point to the fanctuary, faying, "This is the way, walk ye in it." "Turn ye to the ftrong hold, ye prifoners of hope." Here is an high way"-"the way-faring men, though fools, fhall not err therein." The Saviour himfelf proclaims, "Look to me, and be faved." "Him that cometh unto me, I will in no wife caft out,"
The very act of flying from "the avenger of blood," argued a confcioufness of criminality, and an apprehenfion of danger; and the courfe directed to a city of refuge, indicated a knowledge of its appointment, and of the privileges pertaining to it, In this we behold the character of the convinced, penitent finner, condemned of his own confcience, ftripped of every plea of felf-righteousness, alarmed with the ter rors of " the wrath to come," encouraged by the declarations of the mercy of God in Chrift, apprehending "falvation in no other," perceiving no way to ef cape but this, he flees "for refuge to lay hold of the hope fet before him," even to "Him who is mighty to fave;" to that "blood which speaketh better things than the blood of Abel;" to "the Lamb of God, who taketh away the fin of the world;" faying, in the words of the pfalmift, " O Lord, thou art my refuge; return unto thy reft, O my foul, for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee." "In Jehovah alone have I righteousness and strength;" "he alfo is become my falvation."
The fafety of the manflayer depended, not on having arrived at, but on remaining in the city of his refuge, To leave it prematurely was as fatal as to be overtaken on the way that led to it. The grace of the gofpel, in like manner, is extended, not to him, who, convinced of fin, and trembling with apprehenfion of judgment to come, has fled for refuge, to the great Propitiation for fin, but to him who abideth in Chrift. As there is Ás there is a "believing to the faving of the foul;" fo there is a "drawing back unto perdition :"
and “no man having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God." Hence the folemn injunction and warning of Chrift himself, "Abide in me, and I in you-if a man abide not in me, he is caft forth as a branch, and is withered and men gather them, and caft them into the fire, and they are burned.” "He that endureth unto the end, the fame fhall be faved." The great Apoftle and High-Prieft of our profeffion lives forever; there is therefore "no more going out." "In returning and reft fhall we be faved, in quietnefs and confidence shall be our ftrength."
-The fanctuary provided and opened, equally for the diftreffed Ifraelite and "the ftranger," is a happy prefiguration of the indifcriminating mercy, the unlimited extenfion of the gofpel falvation. "In Christ Jefus, ye who fometimes were far off, are made nigh by the blood of Chrift. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us." He "came and preached peace to you which were far off, and to them that were nigh; and through him, we both have an accefs by one Spirit unto the Father." The gofpel of Chrift is "the power of God unto falvation, to every one that believeth, to the Jew firft, and alfo to the Greek." It announces " glory, honour and peace to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and alfo to the Gentile." "For there is no refpect of perfons with God." Bleffed difpenfation, which hath abolifhed all invidious diftinctions!" where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcifion nor uncircumcifion, barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free, but Chrift is all, and in all!" Who art thou then, O man, who "judgeft thy brother? or why doft thou fet at nought thy brother?" He is a man like thyfelf, a criminal as thou art; for him alfo Chrift died, and for his admiffion, as for thine, the door of mercy ftands open, the city of refuge strengthens its walls, expands its gates. I conclude
I conclude with fuggefting a few hints, which will Terve to evince the glorious fuperiority of the object prefigured, over the figure; of "the very image of the things," above "the fhadow of good things to come." The inftitution under review was a provifion for one particular fpecies of offence and diftrefs, and for a cafe which could occur but in rarer inftances. Indeed the whole hiftory of Ifrael furnishes not a fingle one. But the provifions of the "better covenant eftablished upon better promifes," extend to every fpecies, and to every inftance of guilt and mifery. They are made not only for the heedlefs and the unfortunate, the weak and the helplefs, but for the ftouthearted and prefumptuous, for deliberate offenders and backfliding children, for the very chief of finners. Whatever, O man, be thy peculiar "weight, and the fin that doth more eafily befet thee;" whatever "the plague of thine heart," or the error of thy life, behold "help laid for thee on One mighty to fave." "Behold the Lamb of God, that taketh away the fin of the world." Hear, and accept his kind invitation, "Come to me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you reft." "Look to me, and be faved, all the ends of the earth." "Him that cometh I will in no wife caft out." The cities of Ifrael ferved as a temporary reprieve from a fentence of death, which, though the hand of the "avenger" was reftrained, the hand of nature was fpeedily to execute. The manflayer might be overtaken by it, in the very city of his refuge. But the believer's fecurity under the gospel never fails, never terminates. He is "paffed from death unto life;" he "fhall never perifh.' "There is no condemnation to them that are in Chrift Jefus." "Who fhall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that juftifieth: who is he that condemneth? It is Chrift that died, yea rather that is rifen again.' "I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither fhall any pluck them out of my hand my Father which gave them me is
greater than all, and none is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.” Under the law, the death of the high-priest, the final era of release to the manflay- + er, was an event entirely cafual, often diftant, always uncertain. Under the gofpel, that death, which is the finner's deliverance, the foul's ransom, is an event forever present, perpetually producing its effect. Chrift, by one offering, hath perfected forever them that are fanctified." "This man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood."
"We ought, therefore, to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, left at any time we let them flip." For if the intentional murderer was to be dragged from God's altar, to fuffer the punishment of his crime; and if the manflayer, who defpifed and neglected his refuge, fell a juft facrifice to the refentment of "the avenger of blood," and to his own prefumption and neglect of the merciful ordinance of God; "how fhall we efcape, if we neglect fo great falvation?" "He that defpised Mofes's law died without mercy, under two or three witneffes of how much forer punishment, fuppofe ye, fhall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was fanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done defpite unto the Spirit of grace?" "For if we fin wilfully, after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more facrifice for fins, but a certain fearful looking for of judgment, and fiery indignation, which fhall devour the adverfaries. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God."*"Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near. Let the wicked forfake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon." "Behold, now is
*Heb. x. 28, 29. 26, 27. 31.
+ Ifai. lv. 6, 7.