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taking away the guilt of fins of every kind, which had been formerly committed, and not expiated. But it was not confined to thefe. As the atonement was made for the whole congregation, both priefts and people; it would feem to have been meant for all their former fins, for there is no exception of any. Thus it at once proclaimed the imperfection of the legal facrifices, and in a very ftriking manner prefigured the efficacy of that atonement to be made by the antitypical Highprieft, when he should "remove the iniquity of "the land in one day "."
VII. Even the defective nature of the ceremonial inftitute directed the worshippers to a better atonement. Sacrifice was appointed for fome fins, and not for others; appointed for the fmalleft offences, and not for the greateft. Thus, according to the law, no atonement was provided for idolatry or murder. These crimes, indeed, and others of a like nature, admitted of no legal expiation; because the tranfgreffor was to be punished with death. But as God proclaimed that he was merciful and gracious, pardoning iniquities of every kind, and yet appointed no expiation in fome cafes; it fhewed, that he had a better atonement provided, the efficacy of which might extend even to thofe who could find no mercy from the law. Of this we have an example in the cafe of David. God defired not facrifice or burnt-offering; becaufe none had been appointed for the expiation
a Zech. iii. 9.
of fuch crimes. Yet he intimated to him, that he had "taken away his fin." This intimation being made by Him who "will by no means clear the guilty," plainly fignified, that divine mercy was exercifed in relation to a better atonement than any the law could provide.
VIII. The mercy-feat was a permanent figure of a true atonement. As the ark contained the two tables of the law, its lid or covering was overlaid with pure gold; and on this the cloud of glory refted. This was called the covering mercy-feat, from a word which primarily fignifies to cover, or to overlay with pitch; and in a fecondary fenfe, to expiate, to make reconciliation, and alfo to pardon. As it interpofed between the glory of God and the tables of teftimony; it fignified the work of Chrift, in covering our breaches of the law from the holiness and juftice of God, by interpofing himself as a Surety. We thus perceive the reason why the fame word, which fignifies to cover, is ufed to exprefs the bleffing of forgivenefs for when our fins are pardoned, they are covered from the eye of God as a condemning Judge, the perfect righteoufnefs of our Elder Brother being caft over them. It is perhaps not unworthy of obfervation, that this word occurs but once in its literal and primary fignification, to denote the covering of pitch given to the ark in which Noah and his family were faved b. As this was neceffary for preferving them from the
b Gep. vi. 14,
waters by which the wicked were deftroyed; the covering given to another ark represented the neceffity of a better defence, as it was a type of the fame falvation prefigured by the deliverance of the Church from the deluge .
The word, ufed to denote the covering of the ark, is by our tranflators very properly rendered mercy-feat. For the Spirit of infpiration employs a term precifely of this meaning, in the New Teftament, when Chrift is called a propitiatory d; the fame term indeed, which often occurs in the Septuagint, as expreffing the fenfe of the Hebrew. The literal mercy-feat was a ftriking emblem of him, "whom God hath fet forth to be a propitia
tory." For not only are our tranfgreffions of the law covered by his righteoufnefs; but as the typical mercy-feat as it were united the law of God and the vifible fymbol of his prefence in the Church, fo in Chrift" mercy and truth are met "together, righteoufnefs and peace have kiffed "each other."
On the day of atonement, the mercy-feat was to be fprinkled with the blood of the facrifices. This fhews how we are accepted. It is only becaufe of the atonement which our Redeemer hath made by the facrifice of himself. Is he "fet forth "to be a propitiatory," that is, "a mercy-feat?" It is only" through faith in his blood, to declare "God's righteoufnefs in the remiffion of fins." The blood of the legal facrifices was to be fprinkled before the mercy-feat feven times. This be
c1 Pet. iii. 21.
d Rom. iii. 21.
e Lev. xvi. 14.
ing used in Scripture as a myftical number, expreffive of perfection, it intimated that he, who "is our propitiation," fhould give complete fatisfaction to divine juftice.
When the high-prieft entered the most holy place with the blood of the facrifices, the cloud of incenfe was to cover the ark and mercy-feat. This teftifies, not only that the facrifice of Chrift is" of a sweet-fmelling favour;" but that, on the ground of his own oblation, he ftill effectually intercedes for his people; nay, that all the benefit they derive from his oblation, is immediately the effect of his eternal life as an interceding High-prieft.
Wherefoever the profeffors of the true religion were scattered, they were ftill to pray towards the mercy-feat. Thus are we taught, that our prayers and other duties can be accepted only through the antitypical propitiatory. Whatever we ask the Father, it must be in the name of Chrift; that is, in the exercife of faith in his facrifice and interceffion.
All the fellowship with God, which the Church of Ifrael enjoyed, was in relation to this type, according to his promife; "There I will meet with "thee, and I will commune with thee from above "the mercy-feath." In like manner, there can be no communion with God, no reception of any covenant bleffing, no intimation of his love, but through the one Mediator. Our " fellowship is
f Lev. xvi. 13. xxviii. 2.; Dan. vi. 10.
g 1 Kings vi. 16. 19.; viii. 47, 48.; Pfal.
h Exod. xxv. 22.
"with the Father," only as he hath "called us "to the fellowship of his Son Jefus Chrift our "Lord."
IX. As the Old Teftament contains a fymbolical reprefentation of the atonement, we have, in the New, a diftinct and complete hiftory of the real expiation made for fin, by the facrifice of Jefus Chrift. From this history it is evident, that the one correfponds with the other, as the fubftance with its fhadow. Under the law, the most ufual facrifice was a lamb, which fitly reprefented the innocence and meeknefs of the "Lamb of God," as well as his usefulness to the Church, fupplying her both with food and raiment. Was this offering to be without blemish? Jefus was " holy, harmless, "undefiled and feparate from finners." Was it to be taken out of the flock? Jefus was "raised
up from among his brethren." Strength and youth were requifite in the typical victim; and our Saviour fuffered in the prime of life. The facrifice, in the paffover, was separated for some time before it was offered. Jefus was feparated or fet apart, as the Surety for finners, in the eternal purpose and covenant, in his miraculous conception, and in his folemn inauguration at Jordan. The pafchal lamb was thus feparated four days; and it has been obferved, that Christ made his solemn entry into Jerufalem, nearly about the fame time before his fuffering. Were the facrifices under the law hallowed or fanctified, in their be