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upon him his guilt,) the kind and cheering promise, 66 The seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent's head." He had established the rites of sacrifice. He walked with Enoch and Noah in the days when men began to call themselves by the name of Jehovah. And it is therefore exceedingly natural to suppose that there would be some stated place, some chosen hallowed spot, whither the pious of those times would resort to present before God their supplications and their sacrifices; and that place, in all probability, was none other than just this east end of the garden of Eden, where he had placed the cherubim and the flaming sword to keep the way of the tree of life. Now there are two different senses in which a way may be kept; it may be kept shut, or it may be kept open. The flaming sword kept this way shut up. against all who should ever seek for pardon, acceptance, or eternal happiness, by deeds of law. But the cherubim, on the other hand, kept it open, preserved it free and unobstructed to those who should believe in the promised seed-even in Him who is the way, the truth, and the life—through whom believers have access, by one Spirit, to the Father, and who is the only medium of approach to that better tree of life which is in the midst of the paradise of God.
You may see, brethren, that, in the manifestation of the cherubim and the flaming sword to our first parents on their expulsion from Eden, we have an express exhibition of the gospel of Christ, which unfolds at one and the same moment his mercy and his justice, his holiness and his grace. The mercy-seat, overshadowed by the cherubim, is, in the New Testament, called the Propitiatory. And hence this antediluvian
manifestation was just the gospel embodied—it was a preaching to the world before the flood, of Jesus Christ and Him crucified, whom God (saith the Apostle, (in reference to this very symbol,) whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness as well as his mercy for the remission of sins, that he might be just, and yet the justifier of him who believeth in Jesus. It was like Christ himself, of whom it was the symbol—the Lamb of God, for gentleness, meekness, atoning sacrifice; and the Lion of the tribe of Judah, to execute justice upon
his enemies. Seen in the flaming sword, he is the just God; seen in the mildly-beaming cherubim, he is the Saviour. You may perceive, moreover, that what God placed within the believing view of the antediluvian worshippers, was substantially the same with the tabernacle which Moses made and erected in the wilderness. There, too, he placed the cherubim, the same figures which were afterwards more permanently enshrined in the temple at Jerusalem. The tabernacle and the temple both had the very same symbols now before us—the shechinah, or gracious manifestation of Jehovah from the mercy-seat. And it was there, too, established for the same purpose as at the first, viz., to intimate to fallen man the only way of access to their offended Maker. It showed them how his anger was turned away, and how, in his love and pity, he would comfort and save them; and how, on his mercy-seat, he would meet with them and admit them to holy and blissful fellowship. Nay, in some respects, this was a more excellent tabernacle than that of Moses—a more glorious temple than that of Solomon. Aud now he shines out upon his chosen from between the cherubim in the sanctuary which is above, and communes with them from the mercy-seat which is in heaven.
Endeavouring now to realise the gracious character and presence of Him that dwelleth between the cherubim, be this your united question—be this your
What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits towards me? I shall take the cup of salvation-I shall call upon the name of the Lord-I shall pay my vows unto the Lord now, of all his people.
in the presence
“ There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of
God, the holy place of the Tabernacles of the Most High.”Ps. xlvi. 4.
THE visions of the happiness of gospel times which were vouchsafed to holy men of old, while they fix the devout contemplation of the pious by their own intrinsic interest, invite our fancy to linger amid the enchanting scenes they unfold, by the variety and aptness of the imagery employed to describe them. As the subjects of prediction were remote, and more or less obscure even to the mind's eye of the gifted seers themselves, they seek to illustrate them to us, "for whom they wrote,” by exhibiting them under every pleasing form and delightful aspect, and with all that vividness and splendour of colouring which the imagination delights to paint. In truth, brethren, the conceptions with which prophets and psalmists were inspired-conceptions so spiritual and sublime-could not have been expressed in the common phraseology of every-day life. They felt the utter inadequacy of ordinary language to do justice to the exalted themes with which their souls were swelling as if ready to burst; and, therefore, lighting up at the hallowed flame of prophecy, the torch of divine poesy, with it do they illumine the long vista of the future. Constrained by the very nature of their office to allow their fancy a boundless range, they seize on the liveliest figuresthey have recourse to the boldest metaphors—and in their search after these they almost have exhausted the world of nature around them, rich as it was in the wonders of their God.
But the prophets of Israel were not, like the poets of other countries, limited to the grand and beautiful in natural scenery, as a source of illustration and embellishment. There was ever near them—and they failed not to use it with effect- another source of poetical combinations, fresh, copious, interesting ; there was ever before them another kind of imagery which was familiar to their minds, as associated with their holiest services and their dearest recollections, and which bore peculiarly on the one grand subject of their predictions,—the fate and fortunes of the kingdom of the Messiah. For these men, be it observed, were not mere citizens of the world—they were natives of the beloved land; their opinions, their habits, their attachments, their very prejudices were all Jewish; and well was it so ordered for our advantage, since this circumstance gives to their pictures a character of definiteness and individuality, and consequently of distinctness, which they would not otherwise have possessed. The nation to which they belonged was the great type of the church of Christ; and hence you find that whenever they speak of the future destinies of that church, their desires as saints, and their anticipations as prophets are beautifully and most affectingly combined with their feelings as Israelites. Do they mourn over Zion's desolations? Never are their strains more plaintive, -never is their pathos more