Mr. Jukes maintains that the acts of God in the natural world, and the events that spring from them, are types of analogous acts and events in the spiritual world; and it is the aim of his volume to draw a parallel between the creation of the earth and man, and the renovation of the mind by the Spirit, and to show that Adam, Cain, Abel, Noah, Abraham, and others, are types, in their experiences and characters, of the experiences and characters of men generally in the sphere of religion.
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The Types of Genesis
The Types of Genesis, A. Jukes
Jazzybee Verlag Jürgen Beck
86450 Altenmünster, Loschberg 9
INTRODUCTION. THE WORK AND REST OF GOD.. 13
I. -- THE WORK OF GOD.. 14
II. -- THE FIRST DAY.. 17
III. -- THE SECOND DAY.. 19
IV. -- THE THIRD DAY.. 20
V. -- THE FOURTH DAY.. 24
VI. -- THE FIFTH DAY.. 27
VII. -- THE SIXTH DAY.. 29
VIII. -- THE SEVENTH DAY.. 32
PART 1. ADAM, OR HUMAN NATURE.. 41
I. -- ADAM, OR MAN.. 42
II. -- MAN'S WAY.. 44
III. -- THE FRUIT OF MAN'S WAY.. 48
IV. -- THE REMEDY FOR MAN.. 50
PART 2. CAIN AND ABEL,53
I. -- THE FIRST AND SECOND BIRTH.. 53
II. -- THE CARNAL AND THE SPIRITUAL. 56
III. -- THEIR LIVES. 57
PART 3. NOAH, OR REGENERATION.. 60
I. -- NOAH ON THE GROUND OF THE OLD MAN.. 61
II. -- NOAH IN THE WATERS. 66
III. -- NOAH ON THE EARTH BEYOND THE FLOOD.. 69
IV. -- NOAH'S SONS. 74
V. -- NOAH'S FAILURE.. 80
PART 4. ABRAHAM, OR THE SPIRIT OF FAITH.. 88
I. -- ABRAM'S SEPARATION FROM HIS COUNTRY AND HIS FATHER'S HOUSE 90
II. -- ABRAM'S SEPARATION FROM LOT.. 99
III. -- ABRAM'S CONFLICTS TO DELIVER LOT.. 104
IV. -- ABRAM'S TRIALS THROUGH THE WORD OF GOD AND PRAYER 110
V. -- ABRAM'S EFFORTS TO BE FRUITFUL BY HAGAR.. 114
VI. -- THE TRUE WAY FOR ABRAM TO BE FRUITFUL. 118
VII. -- THE END OF LOT.. 123
VIII. -- ABRAHAM IN THE PHILISTINES' LAND.. 129
PART 5. ISAAC, OR THE SPIRIT OF SONSHIP. 133
I. -- THE BIRTH OF ISAAC, AND ITS RESULTS. 134
II. -- THE OFFERING UP OF ISAAC.. 138
III. -- SARAH'S DEATH AND ISAAC'S UNION WITH REBEKAH.. 141
IV. -- KETURAH, AND ISAAC AT LAHAI-ROI. 148
V. -- THE TRIALS OF ISAAC RESPECTING SEED.. 151
VI. -- ISAAC'S TWOFOLD SEED, THE ELDER AND THE YOUNGER.. 155
VII. -- ISAAC IN THE PHILISTINES' LAND.. 160
PART 6. JACOB, OR THE SPIRIT OF SERVICE.. 165
I. -- JACOB'S CARNAL MEANS TO GAIN GOD'S ENDS. 166
II. -- THE MOTIVES TO SERVICE AND ENCOURAGEMENTS BY THE WAY 170
III. -- THE SERVICE FOR WIVES AND FLOCKS. 175
IV. -- THE DEPARTURE FROM LABAN.. 181
V. -- THE JOURNEY TO CANAAN, AND CHANGE OF NAME.. 184
VI. -- THE SOJOURN IN SUCCOTH, AND DINAH'S FALL. 187
VII. -- THE RETURN TO BETHEL. 190
VIII. -- THE SEEDS OF JACOB AND ESAU.. 193
PART 7. JOSEPH, OR SUFFERING AND GLORY.. 198
I. -- JOSEPH'S DREAMS, AND SUFFERING FROM HIS BRETHREN.. 199
II. -- JUDAH'S HISTORY.. 202
III. -- JOSEPH IN POTIPHAR'S HOUSE.. 206
IV. -- JOSEPH IN PRISON.. 209
V. -- JOSEPH EXALTED OVER ALL EGYPT.. 214
I wish, by way of Preface, to throw together a few thoughts on the mystic character of Scripture, and on other kindred matters.
Many are aware that the Books of Moses deal largely in typical representations, that is, figures of spiritual things, both facts and doctrines, of the Christian dispensation. We cannot read St. Paul without perceiving that he saw far more in Genesis than the mere letter. The creation with him is the figure of another work, which God accomplishes in every saved sinner. "God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined into our hearts." Then, "If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things have passed away; behold, all things are become new." As much as to say, that just as God began to work upon this earth, when all was dark and without form and void, and worked upon it, step by step, bringing forth fruits and forms of life, until the image of God, the man created in righteousness, was seen to rule it all; so is it with the soul of man, from "Let there be light, and there is light," till the new man in us rules every faculty. The story of Hagar and Sarah too, as is well known, has with St. Paul a sense far deeper than the mere letter. Melchisedek is another example, the import of whose name and acts is familiar to all readers of the Epistle to the Hebrews. These and St. Peter's allusion to the flood, as a figure of that judgment of the first creation which baptism declares, are too well known to need comment. In every age they have witnessed to the most unwilling that Genesis has treasures richer than those upon the surface, secrets of God's purpose and of man's ways, which the spiritual man may search, for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea the deep things of God.
But though many have a general notion that Genesis contains types, few have any idea of the immense extent or depth of this hidden wisdom. Just as in nature the distinct orders under which plants are found to range are quite beyond the conception of any but a botanist, though every one must have generally noticed their great differences, or marked some peculiarity of this or that flower. Just as it needs the patient study of years to make an astronomer, though every educated man understands something of the phenomena of the heavenly bodies. So is it with the Word. And in this book of Genesis, diligence and prayer and God's Spirit will bring to light worlds of truth infinitely beyond the conception of the carnal mind; and humble faith will discover systems of wisdom as complete and wondrous in the Word, as science with all her researches has found in the material universe. We may indeed read the Scriptures, as men cultivate the earth, simply to find food to support the life which God has given. But we may also read with higher views, to know the ways of God. He who has given us the earth to bring forth food, has shewn us vast and mysterious heavens above, the contemplation of which is fitted to raise and humble and spiritualise us. In the Word are not only fruitful fields, but heavenly depths full of unnumbered lights. Often as we regard them must we confess our ignorance. Why should we scruple to do so, when even in nature the keenest eye, and the mightiest mind, is baffled on every hand. Errors even may mingle with views in the main correct, as men have erred in studying the phenomena of the heavens, and indeed must err until they have learnt to correct the readings of sense by the conclusions of a higher faculty. Yet diligence reaps its fruits, which, though open to abuse, may also be an offering to God's glory.
The form of the Word, however, and the wisdom of its form, is a subject which yet waits to receive that attention which is its just due. Four Gospels have forced some in every age to notice the distinct purpose of God in each Gospel. But for the rest of Scripture, why its form is what it is, -- why like a man, and with man, it grew from age to age, -- why it looks and is so human, -- what connection all this has with the mystery of the Holy Incarnation, -- these are questions seldom asked, or, if asked, rarely answered as befits His dignity from whom we say the Scripture came.
I do not attempt here to enter on the reasons for this form; but I notice one fact, namely, that the Word is given to us in many books or sections, each of which, I am assured, is a divine chapter, with one special end, illustrating in God and man, or the details of some relation between the Creator and the creature. As in the Gospels, one is to shew Christ as David's Son; the next to reveal Him, not so much as the King, as the meek and true Servant; the third, to set forth the Son of Adam; the fourth, the Son of God; each giving a distinct view of the various relationships of the same One Lord: so it is in the rest of Scripture; each book has its own end, and the order and contents of all, as they describe the progressive ways of God with man, answer to His ways in every soul, for within and without His ways are one, and His work the same from age to age.
As a base or ground for what is to follow, we first are shewn what springs from man, and all the different forms of life, which either by nature or grace can grow out of the root of old Adam. This is the book of Genesis. Then we see, that be it bad or good which has come out of Adam, there must be redemption; so an elect people by the blood of the Lamb are saved from Egypt. This is Exodus. After redemption is known, we come to the experience of the elect as needing access, and learning the way of it, to God the Redeemer in the sanctuary. This we get in Leviticus. Then in the wilderness of this world, as pilgrims from Egypt, the house of bondage, to the promised land beyond Jordan, the trials of the journey are learnt, from that land of wonders and man's wisdom, to the land flowing with milk and honey. This is the book of Numbers. Then comes the desire to exchange the wilderness for the better land, from entering which for a season after redemption is known the elect yet shrink; answering to the desire of the elect at a certain stage to know the power of the resurrection, to live even now as in heavenly places. The rules and precepts which must be obeyed, if this is to be done, come next. Deuteronomy, a second giving of the law, a second cleansing, tells the way of progress. After which Canaan is indeed reached. We go over Jordan: we know practically the death of the flesh, and what it is to be circumcised, and to roll away the reproach of Egypt. We know now what it is to be risen with Christ, and to wrestle, not with flesh and blood, but with principalities and powers in heavenly places. This is Joshua. Then comes the failure of the elect in heavenly places, failure arising from making leagues with Canaanites instead of overcoming them. This is Judges. After which the different forms of rule, which the Church may know, pass in review in the books of Kings; from the first setting up of rule in Israel down to its extinction, when for their sin the rule of Babylon supersedes that of the elect. When this is known with all its shame, we see the remnants of the elect, each according to its measure, doing what may be done, if possible, to restore Israel; some like Ezra returning to build the temple, that is, to restore the forms of true worship; and some coming up like Nehemiah to build the wall, that is, to re-establish by Gentile permission a feeble imitation of the ancient polity; while a third remnant in Esther is seen in bonds, but faithful, providentially saved, though God's name (and this is characteristic of their state) never appears throughout the whole record.
This subject would of itself fill a volume. I touch it here, not only to shew that each book has its own peculiar end, each being but the illustration of some one truth or fact, on which a revelation from God was needed by us; but to call attention also to their order and gradation, answering so exactly to the steps by which truth is ever apprehended by us in the world of thought within. In this light the position of Genesis is most suggestive. Its purport is to shew what Adam is, and what can spring out of him. And just as in our souls the Spirit of God first comes to shew us ourselves, that so "coming to ourselves," like the Prodigal, we may then "come to the Father" also; so does the Word open with the same, with Adam and his seed, that is the fruit of human nature. This, as it is the ground of all that follows, is not only an introduction: it is also an abridgment or summary of all the books. For what is the series but a revelation of God, shewing His resources by the very wants and failure of the creature. Genesis, in shewing us Adam and his outcome, man by grace and nature, reveals in embryo the whole mystery of grace and nature in the creature. It is thus an abstract of the Bible, with the long sum of the Divine counsels worked out and expressed in God's algebra.
Genesis then reveals to us all that can spring out of Adam. In the letter it gives us the story of Adam and his sons. Here we may read how Adam behaved, and what races and peoples sprung out of him. In spirit we may learn how old Adam behaves, what the old man is in each of us, and all the immense variety which can grow out of him. And what an outcome it is. Some forms of life there are which spring out of Adam or human nature, simply by nature, according to the course of nature; and some forms of life there are which spring out of Adam by grace, which are the result of a divine seed sown in that poor soil, contrary to nature, and to the common course of nature. It is a wondrous tale, yet within and without it is but one. For the development of Adam or human nature in the great world without, has its exact image and counterpart in the little world within; I call it "little," though indeed it is not little; for if "the kingdom of God is within us," there must be room enough. And what confusion it seems: life and death, evil and good, love and hate, and pride and meanness everywhere: men praying, cursing, blessing; palaces and hovels, churches and armies, schools and markets, jails, cities, asylums, unions; such are some of the fruits of old Adam, in whom all this was before it was seen, and is only seen without because it was and is within him.
But whether within him or without, man finds it hard to unravel all this tangled skein of life and being; for man looks only on the outward appearance; God who looketh upon the heart knows and can trace out the whole development. In the book of Genesis He tells the story, how both human society and divine spring by grace or nature from the same root. To illustrate this subject is my aim in this volume, the details of which I will not here anticipate, further than to say that there are seven very distinct forms of life, owned by God, which this book of Genesis fully reveals to us; first Adam, then Abel, then Noah, then Abraham, then Isaac, then Jacob, then at last Joseph. These seven are the various shades of the true light of life, as it appears when refracted through body, soul, and spirit, the triangular prism of human nature; from the red of Adam on the one hand, up to that regal purple, in which he may be said to shine who completes and is over all the rest. Connected with all these are other forms of life disowned of God, various shades, that is, and degrees of darkness; but these seven lives give us all the light which beams through this book. These are all representative men. In Adam we see the old man, human nature as it is in itself, ready to trust the tempter, and to distrust God and rob Him of His glory; then hiding from His presence, and covering its nakedness with fig leaves, and laying the blame on the very gifts which God has given it; yet pitied and visited with a promise and a gift, -- a promise that, weak as he is, the Seed of the woman shall at length prevail, -- a gift by which, naked as he is, his nakedness may be covered. All that can be said of mere human nature, -- of man as man, -- is set forth in the history of poor, fallen, yet pitied and redeemed Adam. Soon we have another stage or picture. In Adam's sons, the elder and younger, a type is given us of two seeds, the flesh and the spirit, the natural and the spiritual, which have grown by nature or by grace out of the root of old Adam. That is not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural. Both are seen here in all their main outlines. Then comes Noah who is more than the spiritual man; for there may be spiritual men who have not passed the mystic waters. Noah is a type of the regenerate, of those who know what it is to be taken out of one world and placed in another. His seed shew us all the works which may be, and have been, wrought by those who are regenerate. Then Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph, set forth those four great forms of life, which are known and enjoyed after regeneration has been fully reached by us; Abraham being the life of faith, shewing how the man of faith goes forth, not knowing whither, yet seeking to go to Canaan; Isaac, revealing the life of sonship in the land, dwelling by wells of water, with many joys and few conflicts; Jacob, the life of service, begotten on resurrection ground, and going down into the far country, to win a bride and flocks, whom he may bring back to share his joy in heavenly places; Joseph, the last, most perfect life, the life of suffering, which first dreams of rule, and ends with all things brought into subjection to it.
How the order of these lives answers to the development of Adam in us is sufficiently known to all who understand much of that development. First, we learn old Adam; then the difference between flesh and spirit; then the way through the flood, that is, regeneration: after which faith begets sonship, and sonship service, and service that life of suffering, which now, as then, ends in glory. The series never changes, nor do its stages come by chance. Abraham or faith now and ever precedes sonship, even as sonship will ever precede that evangelic service of which Jacob is the figure. All the path we may not know, but as far as we know it, the order will be that set forth in Genesis. In each newborn man is some portion of this history fulfilled, from the day when he knows not that he is naked, when the thing which is true for him in fallen Adam is not yet realised, (for as things are true for us in Christ before we experimentally know them, so is it in old Adam,) until stage by stage the things which have been realised by man, both the old man and the new man, are all part and parcel of his own experience. Thus Genesis and its history becomes again incarnate. He, in whom man is developing after God, will have lived as in the world before the flood. He has known, because he is by nature in Adam, what it is to live in the old world, in the first creation, before its judgment. He has known too, like Noah, the judgment of the first creation, and that there is a way of safety through the deep waters. And he may know, if he is faithful, the walk and life in the new creation, and the many developments there, from sonship to service, and from service to glory; if unfaithful, other developments, the forms of which are foretold, and which though partaking of some of the blessings of the elect are not elect.
The measure therefore in which these truths will be apprehended will depend on the difference of spiritual experience or growth of different souls. Experience is proving the truth; and just in proportion as we have proved these truths, so far shall we be able to enter into the lives here depicted. Thus I can foretell that, inasmuch as all know something of human nature, all will have some understanding and apprehension of the parable set forth in Adam's life. Those who can discern the flesh and the spirit will decipher Cain and Abel: those who have reached to regeneration will understand Noah; those who know the path of faith will be at home in Abraham's trials; while the spirit of sonship will open Isaac's path. In like manner, service will explain Jacob, and suffering, Joseph; the likeness in each case being easily to be recognised by those who know and love the original. If we will do the works, we shall know of the doctrine.
But is not this all mere imagination? What proof have we that there is anything but fancy to support all this? I am not careful to answer this; first, because I write for those, who, though requiring help, fully believe that some such secrets are treasured here; and also because the spiritual sense is its own proof, as a key by opening a complicated lock sufficiently proves that it has been designed for it; a proof indeed which requires some capacity in the observer, and some exercise and intelligence in the things of God, but which will, I am assured, be increasingly satisfactory to those who will test it in the daily study and meditation of the Word of God.
Do I then despise the letter? God forbid. With sincerest faith I receive it, and thank God for it, throughout Scripture. Most precious is it, speaking to all in words of truth, shewing how the outward daily life on earth may be sanctified, and is watched and cared for by God. Especially now, when so many act as if the earthly calling were a path of which God took no notice, and in which faith availed us nought, most precious is the letter, as shewing God, for He changeth not, in all His providence over the outward path of those who love and fear Him; shewing how the path of lonely men, if they walk with Him, their wells, and sheep, and feasts, and wars, are all His interests; that not a marriage, birth, or death, -- not the weaning of a child, or the dismissal of a maid, -- not the bargain for a grave, or the wish respecting the place of burial, -- but He watches and directs it. Thus precious is the letter; a daily guide and comfort to us as dwellers here.
But holding this, I see much more, -- that while the letter is a guide for things on earth, in spirit it veils and yet reveals to us the things of heaven; in this like the world around us, which, while supplying means for this life, in those very supplies sets before the opened eye the secrets and treasures of the world within the veil; in this too like the Lord, coming under our hands in human form, under that lowly form veiling yet revealing the glory of the eternal Son. Christ, the Incarnate Word of God, seems to me, not an illustration only, but a proof, both of the preciousness of the letter, and of the deeper spirit which everywhere underlies the letter throughout the Word of God. He was a man, but He was God. There was the human form of the Word, the outcome of David and Abraham, for He sprung out of Judah. This was the humble form which men despised; but besides and under this was the Divine, full of the unspeakable depths of the wisdom of Almighty God; giving forth draughts of that wisdom, emitting rays of that light, to as many as had capacity to receive of His fulness; and yet in mercy hiding from others awful depths which they were unfit to know; being, like the world His hands had made, an "open secret" to all around Him.
Such also is the Written Word. Coming to us in human form, as the outcome of David or of some other Israelite, and judged by most as Joseph's son, it has a higher birth, truly human indeed, and yet no less divine; in its letter, in its human form, coming down to teach men upon the earth, full of lessons of love and truth for us pilgrims here; in its spirit to shew us the things within the veil, and to lift us up to live and walk and dwell above; in the letter, even as the flesh of Christ, "never to see corruption," though rejected; and in spirit to be seen as shining with unearthly glory. I have known Christ after the flesh. I can never cease to adore the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ for the grace of the mystery of His Holy Incarnation, by which He has come as a man to speak to men; but I have also seen His glorious resurrection and ascension, and the coming of the Holy Ghost. So have I known the Word in the letter. Most sweetly has it spoken. When I walked, it led; when I slept, it kept; when I awaked, it talked to me (Prov. 6:22). It has been my guide, my staff, my bread, my counsellor, my comfort, all through this lonely pilgrimage. But I have also felt its spirit, and seen the depth within the veil, where I could but fall down, and cry, Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty.
And to turn from God's Word to man's, our own words, which in their very form confess that human language can only speak of spiritual things under outward images, might prepare us to find that God, who is a Spirit, in speaking of outward things, in them is teaching spiritual things. All our words for spiritual things are, if we mark them, figures. We take something from outward nature and apply it morally. The language which forms the medium of our intercourse with heaven, is constituted out of the forms of this world, and if we look at its letter only points us to the outward world around. Thus sin (hamartia) is simply missing the mark; grace is outward beauty; right is straight; wrong twisted: spirit is wind: transgression is a stepping over: error is only wandering. The same is true of countless other words, which, originally forms of outward life, through that mysterious correspondence which exists between all works of the Divine Word, have come to express the relations of the mind and the world within. For, indeed, His works are words. There is a word in the forms of things, by which they are prepared to represent what is inmost in our souls. There is a word in all nature, in light and darkness, cold and heat, in summer and autumn, in fruits, in storms, in sunshine. There is a word in the lives of men, yea, even in beasts and birds, each saying somewhat to us, not unintelligibly. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their word unto the end of the world. Surely "there are many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them is without signification."
Wondrous, therefore, as it is, that the facts of man's first and natural development should figure the growth and progress of his spiritual life, -- that a chain of events, such as Genesis records, should spiritually express all the manifold history of man's inward life in every age, -- it is but the wonder which meets us everywhere, that all we see, and far more than any see, -- every law of nature, the seasons, the days, every tree in its laws of growth, each beast and creeping thing, -- speak to our souls of other higher things, and have been so felt to speak by man in every age. We do not make these things significant. Light, darkness, cold, warmth, spring, and winter, are in themselves significant. Why they are so, few may understand. The fact remains still undeniable. And as the growth of seeds is to the eye of Paul a silent yet sufficient witness of higher things (1 Cor. 15:35-36); so the growth of the human tree, as it is drawn in Genesis for us by One who knows it perfectly, tells of another higher growth in man, in which God's spiritual image may be discerned yet more perfectly.
But it is not a point for debate. He who walks as becomes his calling, will sooner or later, if he can bear it, have all the proof before him. Arguments are of little service here. He who saw Christ as the Eternal Word, whose eye, divinely taught, discerned in that human form, not so much the son of Abraham or Adam, as the Only Begotten Son, characterises himself as "the disciple which testifieth" (John 21:24); agreeably to which his Gospel, and his only, is peculiarly marked by the reiterated, "Verily, Verily;" for testimony, not proof, is all that disciples can offer the world, on those subjects which eye hath not seen, but which are revealed by God's Spirit. Paul may argue, if he will; but John, though he tells what he has seen and handled of the Word of Life, only testifies. The "Verily, Verily," has spoken to him. He relies on its finding its own witness in other hearts.
To brethren, therefore, who love the Word, who have seen cure upon cure wrought by it, but have not yet seen how its very form may be transfigured and shine with heavenly glory, I say, -- Yet love and abide by the Word; it may be you shall not taste death, until you see something of this transfiguration; and if you see not here on earth, you shall see it in heaven, where He who loves you is gone to prepare a dwelling. Yet if we walk with Christ, daily walking by the Word, (for of His disciples all do not follow all His steps, and therefore see not His transfiguration,) -- if we will not leave Him, no, not for a day, but will yet walk with Him, -- not by what this or the other man saith, but by the simple Word alone, living by it hour by hour, -- we may see it changed before us. Then the raiment of the letter shall be filled and beam with heavenly glory; the human form, which we have so long taken for a true prophet indeed, but only as the outcome of David, will shew with unearthly glory that it is something far higher; and we shall see Moses and Elias, law and prophets, not in the flesh, but transfigured also, shining like Him of whom they bear witness; no longer a mere letter, much less a dead letter, but full of God and radiant with His brightness. We must indeed come down again from thence; for though, as Peter says, "it is good for us" to be there, it is better for others that we descend to those who stay on lower ground; but they who have seen the glory there, even if they come down from that mount, at once to meet a devil (See Matt. 17:1-18), will not forget the glory, or the shining raiment of Moses and Elias, or the voice from heaven, witnessing to Him, who, though He veiled Himself, was the Only Begotten Son.
Others there are, hoping in the Word, who may see their likeness in that blind man who sat beside the way by Jericho (Mark 10:46-52); like him in darkness, nigh to that cursed and mystic city, whose walls, once blown down by the blast of rams' horns, have been rebuilt to tempt some Israelites again to seek a dwelling there (Joshua 6:26). And there they sit, both poor and blind; yet they sit "by the way." They have not rightly seen the Word, even in the flesh or letter. They cry, "Thou Son of David," little thinking that the Word which is so nigh them has glories greater than those of David's Son. And some disciples, whose eyes are open to see and confess the Son of God, bid the blind to hold their peace, because they give not the Son His due title. Not so the living Word. Such as seek Him shall be healed. They may not see His transfiguration, but with open eyes they shall follow in the way.
I would that all who touched the Word were thus climbing the holy mount, or having blind eyes opened by the wayside near Jericho. There are, alas, many more who say and think they see, -- who see the letter, even as the Jews saw the flesh of Christ, -- who yet nor love nor follow His ways, and yet can sit and judge, and justify to themselves their own narrow views of the eternal Word. To them the Word is Joseph's son. They know exactly whence it is. They have never seen that human form transfigured; therefore it cannot be. With such souls, all that is above them is "imagination;" all that is below them is "carnal formalism." What they see, -- where they are, -- that is right. What they cannot receive is, if downright error, at least questionable. Such souls, instead of trying to understand what others speak, try rather to make others speak only what they understand. Thus their ignorance measures all things. But they too shall see one day, when the veil is taken away, and the Truth returns to judge all things.
The question is one of fitness to receive the Word; for He who is THE TRUTH, because he knows all men, and knows what is in man, will not commit Himself to all men, because all are not prepared to receive Him (John 2:24-25). If He has told us earthly things, and we believe not; how shall we believe if He tell us of heavenly things. But just as we can receive Him, so will He reveal Himself; shewing Himself after the flesh to fleshly men (Psalm 18:25-26); in the glory of His resurrection only to the elect and spiritual (Acts 10:40-41). But whether He veils or unveils, all is love. If He unveils, it is that we, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, may be changed into the same image. If He veils Himself, it is because He knows that His brightness would destroy us; therefore He tempers for us the glory through the cloudy veil. We cannot yet bear the best things. He has many things to say, which, for a season His children cannot bear. Isaac, the seed of promise, has but milk till he is weaned: when he is weaned, a great feast is made in Abraham's house (Gen. 21:8); even as to this day there are fat things on the lees for weaned souls, which unweaned souls receive not, only because they cannot bear them. For the spiritual man may say with Paul, "For me to depart, and be with Christ," -- for me to pass away from earthly things to the Word within the veil, to Christ out of sight of men in His heavenly glory, where Moses and Elias witness of Him, -- "this is far better. Nevertheless to abide in the flesh," -- in that which the world can apprehend, in outward forms of truth, -- "for others, this is more needful." So Paul abides on earth, saying little of what he had seen when he was caught up into Paradise; while John is permitted to record some of the wonders which an opened heaven had revealed to him.
All this, because unaccustomed, may to some seem strange. Then "as a stranger give it welcome;" receive the stranger; "for thereby some have entertained angels unawares." What is foreign to our notions, or to the notions of our age, may to us be new, while yet not new to saints. It is mere folly to condemn, because what meets us is new to us, and greater folly to mock things as mere dreams or fancies because we cannot see them. The wisdom of man is as nothing to a beast; so is the wisdom of God counted as nothing by carnal animal men. The chariots of fire were round Elisha, though his servant saw them not, until in answer to prayer the young man's eyes were opened to see what to the seer had all along been open vision" (2 Kings 6:13-17). A voice may come from a cloud, understood by sons of God, although scoffing Jews, who have no ears to hear, "said it thundered" (John 12:28-29). Even a prophet may be blind, and animal natures, like Balaam's ass, see more than those who ought to guide them (Numb. 22:23,31). Not without reason therefore is the prayer, "Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law." For "the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit, neither can he know them, for they are spiritually discerned; but he that is spiritual discerneth all things, while he himself is discerned of no man" (1 Cor. 2:14-15).
For the views here given, there is the authority, not of one or two, but of many saints through many hundred years. And though these things were not first shewn me by the Fathers, but opened in solitary communings with the Word of God; yet I am thankful to see that I am in the same great circle and in the same spirit with the Church of other days. With them I see the letter, and within it what I call an inward, an outward, and a dispensational application. They may call these moral, allegoric and anagogic senses; but the thing meant remains the same, namely, a perception of the same work of God on different platforms. For they saw how God's work is reflected in many spheres, in the world within, and without, and through extended ages; His work on earth shadowing forth still higher forms of the same work of the same unchanging Lord. Thankful am I that brethren gone before had eyes to see and hearts to apprehend all this. For what I owe them too I am thankful, thus proving that the members of the body from age to age are not independent of one another. Besides, some will not take truth for authority, but want authority for truth. Such may hearken to the witness of saints of other days. The spiritual sense has indeed a witness far higher than holy men: its works will prove from whence it is: but as the Son of God received John's witness, so may the spiritual sense, while possessing a higher testimony, refer to the witness of the burning and shining lights of other days. I have, therefore, added a few quotations from the Fathers. Some may hearken to Augustine, who would not receive truth as truth on its own authority. Such, having first heard the witness of men, may at length hear the witness of the Truth itself. But such lights shew where those are who need them; for the light of the heavenly city and its inhabitants is the Lamb.
Meanwhile He that hath the key of David is not far off. He can shut so that none can open, and open that none can shut. And my prayer is, that, where these things should be hidden, they may be hidden, and where they can be opened, they may be yet more opened. The book, though sealed with seven seals, opens to the once slain Lamb. And if we, as members of His body, reach to participation in His cross and resurrection, -- if with Him we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter, daily dying that we may live another higher life, -- things once sealed will open, being opened by the Lamb to those who are partakers with Him in His death and resurrection. For it is the death of nature, not its improvement, which takes us through the veil. Improved nature will only better shew us the things of nature. But let nature die, -- let the flesh be judged, -- the spiritual world will dawn with glories never to pass away.
I now submit these notes to my brethren, in a deep sense of their imperfectness. I have written the things which I have seen; and they are the things which are, and the things which shall be. But I am assured that my view is but one of many, and if it is definite, it is only because I have not touched what is infinite. Of this view I have attempted to trace the fulfilment, not only within, but without, and in the dispensations. For in the world-fulfilment of some of the scenes of man's development, every eye will see the figure, which few will have eyes to discern in the little sphere of their own soul. In a larger sphere we may see what is beyond us in a smaller. In a globe of quicksilver we see the whole horizon reflected; but if this drop be shaken or sublimated so as to divide and form a hundred or a thousand smaller spheres, in each one of the globules every object will be reflected as perfectly as in the larger globe, though now the reflection on each is quite beyond the range of our unaided vision. Thus the world-fulfilment of the outcome of Adam will be perceived by many, who cannot see the same fulfilment as wrought within themselves. Let each learn what he may. The lengths and depths of this ocean are all unfathomed and unfathomable.
For myself, as one has said, to whom I am a debtor, "I now return from the utterance of words, to the chamber of my heart, to examine myself, whether in attempting right things I have spoken the truth in a wrong way. For a thing is rightly spoken, when he who speaks it, seeks by what he says to please Him alone from whom he has received it. And though I am not conscious of having said wrong things, I do not maintain that there are not any. If I have said any true things by a gift from above, it is my own fault that they are spoken so imperfectly. Yet when I look closely at the very root of my intention, I find that in this work I wished to please God; and yet the desire of human praise in some secret way may have crept in; and when at last and slowly I discern this, I find that I do a thing in one way, which I know I began in another. I believe it is worth my while to disclose this to my brethren; for since in my writing I have expressed my better thoughts, in this my confession I would not hide my failings. And because in the Church there are not wanting little ones, whom I may teach, nor yet great ones, who may pity and help my weakness, when made known to them, from the one I withdraw not the help of my words, from the other I conceal not the pain of my infirmities; by my words seeking to confer assistance on some at least of my brethren, by my confession hoping to receive aid in return from them. I therefore beg every one who reads this book, to give me before the Holy Judge the solace of his prayers, and with tears for me to wash away every filthiness he may discover in me. My reader will surpass me in his recompense, if, where he receives words by my means, he gives me tears in return."
"If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new" (2 Cor. 5:17).
"God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ" (2 Cor. 4:6).
GENESIS, like all the other books of Scripture, has its own special end. Its object is to shew us the outcome or development of Adam or human nature -- to trace all the different forms of life, which, either by grace or nature, can grow out of the root of old Adam. In the letter we are shewn here how old Adam acted, and what races and peoples sprung out of him. In spirit we see how the "old man" acts in us, and all the immense variety which can and does grow out of him. Thus some forms of life are presented to us which spring out of Adam or human nature, simply by nature, according to the course of nature; and some forms of life there are which spring out of Adam by grace, which are the result of a divine seed sown in that poor soil, contrary to nature and to the course of nature. It is a wondrous tale throughout, but all its secrets are here, told out by Him from whom no secrets are hid.
As a divine preface to this book, which shews us what man is, and the fruit which his earthy nature can produce under the creative word and will of God, we are shewn what this earth was, and the gradual steps of its adorning, from the time when it was "without form and void," with "darkness upon the face of the great deep," until after light and life and fruit, "the image of God," the man created in righteousness, is seen to rule it all. A fit preface; for in a man or world the work is one; and, indeed, man is himself a world, with realms within him vast and affluent. Darkness and light, and a great deep, and earth and heaven, are in him. Passions move him as the storms: volcanic fires rage or smoulder in him. Thoughts too, as the work of God proceeds, stir in him, and the realms within are peopled by them, as the air with birds, the sea with fish, and the earth with living creatures. Lest, therefore, our blindness should be unable to trace God's work in the inner world of man, God writes it in creation on the broad platform of an outer universe. Lest we should be perplexed by the long detail of the gradual development of Adam and his seed, God gives the outline of it in the work of seven days. In each there is a work of God upon an earthly creature. In each we are shewn what in successive stages can be brought by grace out of the creature. Thus the seven days of creation are a type of all God's work. Nothing is afterwards revealed, but the seed of it is to be found in the days of labour or in the day of rest. For in Genesis is hid all Scripture, as the tree is in the seed; and in the days of creation is the seed of all Genesis. We shall see how exactly the special work of the six days and the seventh day's rest answer in their order to the stages of development which are depicted in the seven great lives of Genesis. The tale is one, like Ezekiel's vision, "a wheel within a wheel," with "rings high and dreadful and full of eyes on every side."
To this tale of creation I would now turn. Each part will amply repay us. We may consider first the outline, then some of the details, as illustrating the new creation or regeneration.
FIRST then there is a creation of God announced -- then a partial ruin -- then a restoration. "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth" (Gen. 1:1). Of these first "heavens" nothing further is here revealed to us; but of the "earth" we read that it was "without form and void," language used by the prophets to describe a state of judgment and utter ruin (Jer. 4:23). In some way not revealed God's work had been destroyed. God then, in the six days, restores that earth, not made dark by Him, yet now in darkness; and on this ruined earth His work proceeds, till His image is seen, and He can rest there. Thus a creation utterly wrecked is the ground for the six days' work. On this dark and ruined mass appears what God can do.
The nature and state of the mass here worked on -- the means of its change -- the steps of the work -- all speak a lesson not to be forgotten.
For its nature, it is "earth;" its state, "without form and void," with "darkness on the face of the great deep." Nevertheless, it is not uncared for. God's Spirit broods over it: -- "the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters" (Gen 1:2).
This is yet true of the creature before God's work begins. Why it is what we see it to be, is another deeper question -- one here left unsolved -- but its state remains a fact. Before God's word is heard, the creature, which is earthy, is void and formless, with an unknown deep within. Upon this deep all is darkness; yet God's Spirit is brooding there. The creature is helpless, but God is very near.
This creature begins nothing, continues nothing, perfects nothing. Of its change the agent is throughout the Word of God. Life and power is in the Word. "God said:" -- this is the means, as in the first, so in the new, creation. In both the first move is on God's part. When nothing else moved, "the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters." In both each new transformation is the work of the Word, and its extent in exact proportion to the measure in which the creature hears it.
All this is the A B C of Christian experience. Those, in whom the work goes on, know that each succeeding step is simply by the Word. From everlasting all the work had been hid in Christ, the Eternal Word. Then, in time, that which was in the wisdom of God is wrought actually in the creature. Whether light, or a heaven, or fruits, or heavenly lights, or the living creatures, or the man in God's image, -- each form of light and life, once hid in Christ, is reproduced, manifested in the creature to the Creator's praise. What was in Christ is step by step accomplished in the earth by the transforming power of the same Word of God. Without this no change is or can be wrought. No saint can grow or live without the Word. What was in the Word from everlasting, by the Word is wrought in us, just in proportion as we are subject to it. Observe two men, both Christians; one neglects the Word, and can pass day after day, buried in earthly things, without God's Word or meditation. Compare with him the man whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates therein day and night. The one is barren; there is no aptness to receive, and nothing is received. The other grows like a tree planted by the rivers.
As to the steps of the work, its details must be traced, if we would have anything like a just view of the wonderful stages of regeneration. It may be well, however, to premise a few remarks as to the general character of this amazing work.
I observe then first, that the work was progressive. Not at once, but through six successive days, was the creation perfected. In nature we have first the blade, then the ear, then the full corn: the babe, the child, and then the perfect man. So is it in grace. Days of labour, stage on stage, must intervene, after which those in whom God works may surely look for rest. Further, in spirit as in letter, the work proceeds in all its stages from evening to morning, from growing darkness to growing light, with alternations of either, but ever from night to day, and not from day to night. The evening and the morning make the day. Though the light has come, darkness still at times seems to threaten to resume its ancient reign. The shades of temptation and the light of faith alternate for awhile, till the day of rest comes, without an evening: the one to remind us again and again of what the creature is in itself; the other, what it is in Christ, the Word of God. Thus from all things wrong does the work advance step by step, till all is "very good." Let none forget this; for some there are who seeing God's end, to shew His glorious image in the creature, forgetting the steps to this end, bitterly judge themselves, because as yet the image of God is not revealed in them. Let such wait in patience. He who hath begun the good work will perform it unto the day of Jesus Christ.
Further, each stage, though imperfect, was "good" in God's eyes. At each step it is repeated, "And God saw that it was good." To the awakened soul, feeling its imperfections, this is blessed, that from the first God can find something which He pronounces "good." Not till the sixth day is God's image seen. Then "behold, it is very good" (Gen. 1:31). But from the first, at every step, "God saw that it was good." At first nothing was changed: waters still reigned everywhere: but the light had broken in. Darkness at least now had a name: its character was perceived; and God saw this, that "it was good."
It is thus with God. When He looks upon us, He ever sees what is of Christ, while a carnal brother perhaps is only seeing the sin and failure in us. It is God-like to see Christ in each other in the first stage of His work. One can scarce fail to see Him when the image of God is come. The thing is to see Him, as God sees Him, in the creature's change from the first. St. Paul in his Epistles always does this. If he reproves the darkness and calls it by its name, he sees the light also. Every Epistle begins with a recognition of what was good in each Church. The same may be seen in the Epistles to the Apocalyptic Churches. So Barnabas, who "was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost," when he went to Antioch, "saw the grace of God" in the disciples (Acts 11:23, 24). Pilate would have seen only their weakness. For a devil can mark our faults, but it needs the grace of God to mark the dawn of grace. And even if the fruit is not mature, if the juice be sour, grace yet will say, "The vine with the tender grape gives a good smell" (Cant. 2:13).
One thing more I notice here. The work of creation has two great parts; the work of the first three days answering to, and yet remarkably differing from, the work of the last three. In each half the order is alike, and the part of creation touched is the same. The difference is, that in the first three days the work is bounding and dividing; in the last three, furnishing and adorning. In the first three days a separation takes place between, or is caused by, that which is created of the Lord, and that which is proper to the creature; by which what is natural to the creature is restrained and bound: then the character of each is marked by a name bestowed on each, the creature being thus made to know the thoughts of God. On the first day light shines out, and is divided from the darkness. Thus darkness at once receives a bound. Then the light and darkness have each a name bestowed: -- "God called the light, Day, and the darkness, Night" (Gen. 1:5). On the second, the expanse comes in to bound and divide the waters: then comes its name: -- "God called it, Heaven" (Gen. 1:8). On the third, the earth appears, and is divided from the seas, both at once receiving a name from God in like manner (Gen. 1:10). Thus far the work is dividing and bounding. In the next three days the order is the same, but the work is furnishing. In these days we do not find "God called," but "God made" (Gen. 1:16, 21, 25); this latter half being throughout perfecting.
All this is yet fulfilled in regeneration, and will be apprehended by those who press on to "the perfect man" (Eph. 4:13). Half the process is bounding; a dividing in the creature between that which is of self and that which is of God. At this stage we are submitting to have what is natural to us restrained, and thus learning to distinguish His work from what is ours in us. At the same time we are taught to call things as God calls them. After this, after the third day, when resurrection power is known, (for on the "third day" here as elsewhere resurrection comes out clearly,) the work is to adorn or perfect rather than to divide and bound. Light, and heaven, and earth now are not only distinguished from their opposites; but each gets furnished with the life or light suited to it. At this stage we perceive "God made," for, as the work proceeds, it is more and more seen that all is done by God. From the first God had said, "Let there be," and "It was so:" but now it is seen, not only that "He spake and it was done," but further that "He did it." So true is it that advance in grace shews that all things are of God, and that only of His own do we give Him. We shall see this better as we come to each successive step; best of all, if we experimentally know the work within.
I now turn to the special work of each of the days in order, to trace the progressive steps of the new creation; for though the work has two great parts, first bounding, then adorning, yet each of these has steps, answering to the successive days. In these steps we shall be shewn how all the mind of God, that which was in the Son from everlasting, -- whether light, or a heaven, or fruits, or heavenly lights, or the living creatures, or the man in God's image, -- each form of light and life, once hid in Christ, is by the Word reproduced and manifested in the creature. The depths here are unfathomed; what is upon the surface will suffice to shew lengths and breadths more than enough for us.
THE work begins with light. God said, "Let there be light" (Gen 1:3), and at once light shone where all before was dark. God says, "Repent ye -- the kingdom of heaven is at hand:" then our darkness displeases us, and we are turned to light. Thus of all those blessings hid in Christ from everlasting, and which are predestinated to be accomplished in the creature, light is the first that is bestowed: "God shines in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ" (2 Cor. 4:6). But the "heaven" announced "at hand" is yet unformed. No sun yet shines, no fruits adorn the creature. Many steps remain before the image of God will come, the man created in righteousness, to rule all things. But the light is come, and it is good: "truly the light is sweet," though as yet we cannot add, "and a pleasant thing it is to see the sun" (Eccl. 11:7). It is, however, yet "light" rather than "lights;" not defined as it shall be; for as the voice differs from the word, so this light differs from that sun which appears in due season. Whether it is the reflected light of faith resting on the Church's witness, or the direct light of truth from Christ Himself within us, or whether it be something more undefined, is not yet perceived: it is at least "light," and "it is good." "God saw the light that it was good." After awhile the day-star too shall rise within (2 Pet. 1:19).
Then at once comes a division between what is of God and what is not; between the natural darkness in the creature and the light which God has made (Gen. 1:4). The darkness is yet unchanged, but it is bounded by the light; each by its nature more clearly shewing what the other is: and these not mingled together, for "what fellowship hath light with darkness?" but separate, as it is written, -- "God divided the light from the darkness." This is a well-known stage. The light shines in darkness, but the darkness comprehends it not. Two conflicting powers are striving each to gain the day, making the old domain of darkness a continually shifting but ceaseless battle field.
Then a name is given by God both to light and darkness (Gen. 1:5); that is, the character of each is learnt according to the mind of God. It is not yet seen indeed how the creature's darkness, like death, will bring to view still greater wonders of God's work in worlds of light innumerable. This is seen at a later stage, when in our night and darkness, yea even by it, the countless forms of God's light in heavenly places, which the day hides from sight, are made manifest. But now the darkness has at least a name. What God calls it, we call it. His thoughts are not altogether strange to us. Natural as the darkness may seem to the creature, God calls it "night," or deviation. It is a turning from the right or straight line. The light is "day," or movement: there is a disturbance of the darkness. Death rules no longer; life with light is come. Besides in this name there is a form given to both. Until now light and darkness were unformed, but "day" and "night" intimate order and distribution. Night is darkness put within limits. So with light; it is not "day," till it is arranged and put in form and order. When thus arranged, we can say, not of night only, but of darkness, "The day is thine, the night is thine also" (Psalm 74:16). And though as yet on the face of the creature little is wrought, though as yet salt and barren waters may extend everywhere, a change has been effected by the light, the importance of which none can fully estimate but those who from being once darkness are now light in the Lord, and which shall advance step by step till God's will is done in the earth as it is in heaven.
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