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call the. . It may, therefore, be matter of criticism, whether such a mode of expression may not imply, that the cherubim had been set up in paradise, and that the mention made of it in this place was only a removal of it out of Paradise, into which man durst no longer enter, to be set up in another place, whither he might approach for the purpose of worship. Objections, I know, will be made against this interpretation, as there will be against any interpretation, which depends on the idiom of language; though I make no doubt but this is one which might be sufficiently defended, if there were absolute necessity for it'. Without however insisting much upon this, it will abundantly answer the present purpose to follow up the several accounts, which the scripture gives us of the cherubim, in order to discover what this exhibition was, and for what end it was set up or instituted.
" In order to prove that the cherubim were not in Paradise, it is observed, that they contained a revelation of the scheme of redemption, and were the figure of the persons in Jehovah regarding the blood of tbe great sacrifice. But I do not see how this observation militates against their paradisaical institution. For, it is certain, God had by his threatening, (Gen. ii. 17.), raised in man's mind an idea both of sin and death ; and if Adam was thereby put in fear of death, as is evident, from Eve's communing with the serpent, (Gen. iii. 3.) both Adam and she were, then it is not to be doubted but some emblem of comfort, some symbolical representation of deliverance, would be set up for them too. And I still think, that the setting up the cherubim without Paradise after the fall, to this purpose, seems even to say that it was in Paradise before.
After the expulsion of Adam from Eden, we hear nothing further of cherubim, till we meet with them as a part, and indeed an essential part of the furniture of the Jewish tabernacle. With respect to which, we find their institution thus recorded': • Thou shalt make two cherubim of gold, in the two *ends of the mercy-seat. And the cherubim shall
stretch forth their wings on high, covering the .mercy-seat with their wings, and their faces one
'to another, toward the mercy-seat shall the cheru* bim be. And there I will meet with thee, and * I will commune with thee from above the mercy
seat, from between the two cherubim , &c. Thus they continued all the time of the tabernacle-worship; and when, by God's command, Solomon built a temple for divine worship, the cherubim were set up in the temple also; of which we have a full account in the first book of Kings 3. Yet at neither of these times iş it mentioned what the cherubim were, or what those faces, spoken of in Exodus, were. Nor would it have been possible for interpreters or commentators to resolve this question, had not the spirit of God, by the mouth of the prophet Ezekiel, taken them by the hand and led the way.
In the first chapter of Ezekiel's prophecies, we
vita - Was
1 Exod. xxv. 18. 20. 22. 2 Compare with this order the formation of the cherubim, as we have it, Exod. xxxvii. 7, 8, 9:
3 Kings vi. 23-29.
have a most ample description of this divine exhibition. "Out of the midst of the fire the likeness • of four living creatures, and this was their appear
ance: They had the likeness of a man,' (according to the Hebrew, of Adam), “and every one had four • faces, and every one had four wings.' * • As for the • likeness of their faces, they four had the face of a • man,' (of Adam), and the face of a lion on the right side; and they four had the face of an ox
on the left side ; they four also had the face of • an eagle: thus were their faces.'. 3. And a·bove the firmament, that was over their heads, • was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance • of sapphire stone ; and upon the likeness of the • throne, was the likeness, as the appearance of a ! man (Adam) above upon it,' &c. The same vision was again exhibited to the prophet, as we read in two of his subsequent chapters 4: all which call for our utmost attention and consideration; and are to be compared with what St John saw ?_ • In the midst of the throne, and round about the • throne were four beasts,' or, as the word signifies, living creatures, · full of eyes before and behind. . And the first beast was like a lion, and the second • beast like a calf, and the third heast had a face • as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying • eagle,' &c.
2 V. 10.
1 v. S.
3 v. 26. 5 Rev. iv. 6, &c.
. From all this put together, we can now form an idea of the cherubim ; and that it was, by universal acknowledgement, first set up to the east of Paradise; again in the Mosaic tabernacle; and lastly in the temple of Solomon, to be a representation of the Trinity, the Jehovah Aleim, and of the mysterious æconomy of man's redemption, by the incarnation of one of these divine persons'. But why the appearance of living creatures, and their faces, were by appointment chosen for this purpose, tho' by referring all to the divine will and wisdom this difficulty might be easily removed, yet it is possible to assign some reasons, which, if not absolutely satisfactory, will yet appear plausible and just. As the goodness of God, in compassion to poor fallen and self-convicted man, had condescended to make a gracious promise of recovery and redemption, and that, too, to be effected by one of their own likeness and posterity, assuring them, that " the • seed of the woman should bruise the serpent's • head; so in order to keep them in mind of this, and to afford consolation to their dejected spirits, it was determined to make a manifestation of this wonVOL. II.
i Upon this subject it is observed by the learned President Forbes, in his · Christianity near as old as the Creation,' p. 98.. that the form of the cherubim was so well known in the days of Moses, that without any other description of them but the name, and the matter of which they were to be, the workman Bezaleel made them; whereas the rest of the sacred furniture being new, and of a present institution, was particularly described, and, as it were, measured out to the workmen.
. Gen. iii. 15.
derful and abstruse dispensation, by some proper symbols or emblems; since writing, or the conveyance of knowledge and remembrance by letters, was not yet begun. But as God, the Lord, could not be personally seen by man, these symbols of manifestation could be taken only from some part or parts of the visible creation, Angels in their own spiritual nature could not be seen; and if any figures, by which to represent them, had been set up, that would have shewn them as parties to the eternal covenant, which was impossible. The figures of men could not be used, because one of them was to be a party, and therefore to be really exhibited. But the Bull, the chief of the tame kind ; the Lion, the chief of the wild ; and the Eagle, the chief of the winged kind-were set up separately, without confusion, to represent the separate and distinct existence of the three divine Persons in Jehovah; and at the same time united and joined together, to shew the unity or sameness of the undivided Godhead; and the face of the man, joined with the face of the lion, in Ezekiel's description, to exhibit the assumption of the humanity or human form into the divinity, by one of the Three, the word (the lion of the tribe of Judah ') becoming flesh. Nay, their title of cherubim is evidently derived from the Hebrew word 77, rub, which is the highest epithet that language affords, and signifies great, in power, in strength, and in every possible
s Rev¥. 5.