Page images
PDF
EPUB

vey spiritual inftruction; that it was a token of his acceptance of their facrifices, and of his accounting them as innocent as the victims they had offered, as their faith, by means of these, terminated on the spotlefs innocence of the promised feed. We muft view this act of God as a fymbolical, but folemn, teftimony, that he had provided for them "a robe of righteousness, and garments "of falvation." Did" the LORD God make" this covering? And is not the raiment, provided for us in the gospel," the righteousness of God?" Is it not a righteoufnefs fulfilled by a divine Perfon?

This covering was made by God, inftead of that which our first parents had themselves provided. It may thus be viewed as expreffive of the excellency of our Redeemer's righteousness, as oppofed to our own; and as denoting the gracious work which God performs towards the veffels of mercy, in bringing them to renounce all their righteousneffes as filthy rags. They "made "themselves aprons" only; but God "made "them coats." This might be meant to fignify both the extent of their guilt, and of the Suretyrighteousness of Jefus. They looked only to the bodily nakednefs, and provided a covering for thofe parts alone, over which modefty draws a veil. But God teftifies at once the imperfection of their views, and of their raiment. He declares that the whole man is defiled by fin, and that we cannot appear before him, without raiment that fhall

[ocr errors]

fhall completely cover us. For any covering, that the finner can provide for himself, is "nar"rower than that he can wrap himself in it ." Their aprons were of fig-leaves, and therefore could neither defend them from the ftorm, nor laft for any length of time. The coats that God made were of skins; and fitly reprefented that righteousness, which proves a complete defence, and which endures for ever. By this gracious action, then, our divine Surety, who appeared in Paradife after the fall, fymbolically fupplied them with " "white raiment, that they might be clothed, "and that the fhame of their nakednefs might "not appear "."

"Unto

This covering was provided for both.

Adam, and to his wife, did the LORD God make "coats." Had he meant merely to inftruct them in the proper mode of providing a covering for their bodily nakednefs, or defending themselves from the inclemency of the weather; it had been enough to make raiment for one, and thus to leave an excitement to diligence. But here also we perceive the mystery of the divine conduct in this action. Both had finned, and thus loft the garment of original righteoufnefs; therefore, both needed a complete covering. Both believed the promife concerning the feed of the woman, and in the faith of this promife, concurred in offering facrifice; both, therefore, received the fame token of acceptance. "The righteousness of God," which this raiment prefigured, " is unto all and

1

A a 3

66 upon

66

[blocks in formation]

upon all them that believe; for there is no "difference. For all have finned, and come short of the glory of God." Here "there is neither "male nor female; for we are all one in Chrift Jefus ."

The LORD God not only made thefe coats for our firft parents, but clothed them. This doubtlefs prefigured that work which our gracious God fill performs, when he "juftifieth the ungodly." He it is who clothes them with the garments of falvation, who covers them with the robe of righteoufnefs". It is not enough that he hath made this garment for us, and brought it near in the gofpel. Still will we prefer our wretched coverings of fig-leaves, unlefs God himfelf put it on us. It is the work of the Father, in his economical character as "the Judge of all," to impute the righteoufnefs of the Surety to the finner, legally to account it his. It is the work of Christ, as our Kinfman-Redeemer, to caft his fkirt over us. This gracious work he performs in relation to his Church, as he teftifies to her; "When I "paffed by thee, and looked upon thee, behold, "thy time was a time of love, and I fpread my "fkirt over thee, and covered thy nakednefs "."

It was in confequence of the faith of our first parents, that they were thus covered. When it is faid, "Unto Adam alfo, and to his wife, did "the LORD God make coats," there may be a reference, in this connective particle, to the promise previously

u Ifa. lxi. 1o.

66

66

& Rom. iii. 22, 23. Ruth iii. 9.

t Gal. iii. 28.

w Ezek. xvi. 8.

previously revealed, as well as to their faith. For in the verfe immediately preceding, we are informed, that" Adam called his wife Eve, because she was "the mother of all living:" and this furely expreffes his faith in the promise of life by the feed of the woman; and fignifies, that he viewed her as the mother of all who fhould be made alive unto God. For, otherwife, he might rather have called her the mother of all dying; in correfpondence with the account elfewhere given of himfelf. Now, it is only by faith that we are interefted in this righteoufnefs. It is indeed put upon us by God. But it is " upon them" only Therefore it is faid to be " by

"that believe."

"the faith of Jesus Christ ›."

Here I fhall only obferve further, that this whole tranfaction, both of Adam's offering facrifice, and of God's clothing him with the fkins, has been viewed as the origin of that ordinance afterwards given to the Ifraelites; "The priest "that offereth any man's burnt-offering, even the prieft fhall have to himself the skin of the burntoffering which he hath offered.”

66

[ocr errors]

11. He, who according to the law had been formerly accounted a tranfgreffor, was, in confequence of the inftituted atonement, legally viewed as innocent. What was done by the pricft, with refpect to leprofy, feems to have a fpecial refpect to the bleffing of juftification. He was to pronounce the perfon clean or unclean. Now, juftification

A a 4.

y Rom. iii. 22.

z Lev. vii. 8..

x 1 Cor. xv. 22.

cation is a legal declaration, that a person is righteous in the fight of God. Even when the plague was already healed, the priest could not pronounce him clean who had been leprous, until he made atonement for him by blood. Seven times was he to fprinkle blood " upon him that was to be "cleanfed;" which fignified the imputation of the righteoufnefs of Chrift to the finner, and the perfection of his juftification, in confequence of this fprinkling. The rite of fprinkling is indeed generally underftood, as if it had exclufively denoted our fanctification; but improperly, we apprehend. For the blood of Chrift is called "the "blood of sprinkling," and faid to "speak better "things" than that of Abel; where its juftifying efficacy is evidently meant, as oppofed to the condemning cry of the other. And when the blood of Chrift, as typified by "the blood of bulls and "of goats," is faid to "purge our confcience "from dead works b;" juftification is intended as well as fanctification: for thefe works, as dead, are not only defiling, but damning.

Was the priest not only to make atonement for the leper, but to pronounce him clean? This fitly reprefents the work of our royal High-prieft, who is exalted" to give-forgiveness of fins ." He not only pronounces the spiritual leper clean : but he does fo, in confequence of an act of his own fovereign pleasure. He fays, "I will, be "thou clean d."

a Lev. xiv. 7.

d Matth, vii: 3.

b Heb. ix. 14, 15.

When

c Acts v. 31.

« PreviousContinue »