The principle on which I have interpreted the Varieties of the Offerings is one which appears to lie open to an objection. My principle, it will be remembered, is that the Varieties in the Typical Offerings represent different aspects or apprehensions of Christ’s One Offering: the different offerings giving us different aspects of His Offering; the different grades the various apprehensions of some one aspect.
In the preceding pages I have briefly given the grounds for this judgment. An objection, however, may be made. It may be urged, that it is far more reasonable to suppose that God in His Word would give us representations of realities themselves rather than of certain apprehensions of them, inasmuch as since different apprehensions must be more or less imperfect, the representation of such in His Word would make that Word imperfect likewise.
The plausibility of this objection makes me notice it here. It is, however, I am convinced, unsound; proceeding throughout on an assumption opposed to reason and all experience. That this assumption is not sooner detected arises from the fact that it involves questions with which but few are conversant. The objection assumes, without appearing to assume anything, certain points connected with the capabilities of our perceptive faculties. The mass of mankind are content to use their perceptive faculties without ever troubling themselves to inquire what it is those faculties deal with. Any assumption, therefore, on such subjects, takes them into an unknown sphere, where, from misapprehension of what they seem to see, their most logical conclusions, because founded on misapprehension, may, and indeed necessarily must, be most irrational.
I say the objection makes assumptions. It does so on the subject of representations, assuming it reasonable to suppose that representations must be of realities rather than of certain apprehensions of realities. To this I say at once, that such a supposition, so far from being reasonable, is most unreasonable. For, first, it is acknowledged that the perceptive faculty, whether of things inward or outward, deals not with realities themselves, but only with their phenomena; which phenomena, though they pre-suppose the existence of realities, are not realities, but, as the name imports, only certain appearances of them. And secondly, it is equally plain, that pictures or similar representations, (and the types are confessedly such representations,) can of necessity be conversant with phenomena only, inasmuch as they only describe or represent what the perceptive faculty takes cognizance of. It follows hence at once, that if the Types are to represent what our perceptive faculties take cognizance of, they will necessarily be representations, not of realities themselves, but of certain appearances or apprehensions of them.
I am more and more satisfied that what we see of Christ and God, though true as far as it goes, (and surely most true it is,) is yet very far short of the ineffable reality “which passeth all understanding.” Certain forms of the truth we have got: the reality, who has yet attained to know it?
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