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down, and the religion which they contain spread, to the reign of Constantine the Great, when christianity became the religion of the empire, and was established by human laws.
Considered in this point of view, the Old Testament seems to be in reality as St. Paul expresses it, a schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ; an introduction only, as it were, to christianity, to which the Jewish laws and history, their moral precepts as well as prophecies, were chiefly, if not wholly, subservient *
subservient *. And as the gracions scheme of man's restoration was coeval with his fall, we may perceive in what sense the Lamb is said to have been
* “I do not see my Saviour only in a few detached pas
of either testament. I see him conducting the ceco, pomy of the divine dispensations through both, from the øreation, to the consummation of all things." Home's Sermons, Vol. V, P. 428. Edit. 3.
slain, (or rather, sacrificed *) from the foundation of the world ; and that grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began. (2 Tim. i, 9.) To that sacrifice of Jesus the Lamb of God, alluded principally the types, sacrifices, and prophecies of the old testament. And this explains the great purpose for which the history of the children of Israel, was 'so copiously and so exactly written. Pheir institutions and ceremonies different from those of all other nations, were purposely so appointed, in order to make an effectual wall of separation between them and the neighbouring people; to the intent that the revelations and predictions concerning the promised Messiah, might be kept pure and unaltered; and the memory of them in such a manner preserved, being mixed with their own sacred records, that when he came he might refer to them as proofs of his divine mission *. And this our blessed Saviour actually did ; search the scriptures, said he, for they are they which testify of me; I am comemto fulfil the law and the prophets ; Moses wrote of me; This day is this scripture
* " Eopary p.ays," Rev. xiii. 8. A sacrificial term : However it may admit of a doubt whether the whole sentence is properly translated. It may be rendered," whose names are not written from the foundation of the world, in the book of life, of the Lamb which was sacrified." Indeed this is rather countenanced by Crispinus and by Mill, both of whose editions have a comma after “800x7|es"; and by Castalio, who says, “ quorum nomina ab orbe condito şcripta non sunt in vitæ libro agni mactati." Yet the common translation, with the substitution only of sacrificed for slain, seems to me the most easy and obvious.
*“ God gave the prophecies of the Old Testament, not to gratify men's cúriosities by enabling them to foreknow things; but that after they were fulfilled they might be interpreted by the event; and his own providence, not the interpreters, be then manifested thereby to the world.” Sir Isaac Newton, as quoted in Hurd's “ Introduction to Prophecy.” P. 251. 1
(Isaiah Ixi. 1, sc.) fulfilled in your ears. The study of the Old Testament is therefore not merely useful, but absolutely necessary ; because therein is contained the foundation of our belief, and because, without it, we should want the strongest and most convincing proofs of the important truth, that Jesus is the Christ, the son of the living God.
Hence appears the utility of an ac* count, in as plain a manner as the subject will allow, of the origin of Christianity at the fall of Adam, with its progress through the various revelations and prophecies of it, till the promised Redeemer actually came. And in this way a view of that religion may be exhibited as a whole; omitting all the historical and moral part of the Old Testament, together with all those jewish rites and ceremonies which have no immediate reference to Christ. For certainly a considerable part of those
institutions, though subservient to the great plan of Redemption, was meant sulely in the first instance, to distinguish and separate the descendants of Abraham from all other nations ; so that in all their errors and idolatries the worship of the true God might never be wholly lost, the expectation of a Saviour to come be constantly kept alive, and the seed of Abraham, from whom he was to proceed through Isaac the child of promise, be preserved from mixture with other races.
It is by no means the design of the present work to explain all the types, prophecies, and various notices of the Redeemer, to be met with in the Old Testament; nor to enlarge upon the allusions to the future state of his kingdom, which so abound in the writings of the Prophets ; for that would encrease it to a size quite incompatible with the proposed plan. But it is intended briefly to take a view of