The previous post for this poem may be found here: https://memoirandremains.wordpress.com/2013/12/06/edward-taylor-raptures-of-love-3/
Out rampant Justice steps in sparking white
Him rends in twain, who on her altar lies
A lump of glory flaming in her bright
Devouring flames, to be my sacrifice
Until her fire goes out well satisfied:
And then he rose in glory to abide.
Jesus having obliged himself to pay the demands of justice for the elect,now finds himself the sacrifice demanded by justice. The imagery here is difficult: Christ is all the elements of the sacrificial system: priest, sacrifice, altar, temple, veil. The temple system set forth in the Old Testament and described in greatest length in the book of Leviticus. The New Testament book commonly known as [the book itself is an untitled first century sermon], “(To the) Hebrews” develops the theme that Jesus replaces the elements set forth in the Mosaic Covanent.
A/the basic theme of Hebrews is that Jesus gives himself as sacrifice and secures salvation for all who by faith receive his sacrificial work. Jesus having become the high priest for his people, continues as priest and king forever, the mediator between God and human beings.
Three aspects are particularly in view in this place: The previous stanza emphasized Jesus as priest by offering the sacrifice to satisfy the demands of Justice. In this stanza the sacrifice and acceptance, and the everlasting position of Jesus are made most plain.
One further point must be understood to understand Taylor’s theology: Justice is right to make its demand. It is fashionable to think the demands of justice are barbaric or primitive. Yet, we all have some sense of outrage which justice is scoffed. When we have been personally wronged, we know the wrong must be righted in some manner (and while we can all overlook some faults, there are others which require some response). Or, what if oppression and violence against the weak and vulernable: even criminals hate those who misuse children.
God could not be God were he to wink at injustice. The atheistic argument that God cannot exist because he has not prevented or has yet to avenge harm proves Taylor’s point: Justice must be met.
The following passage from the tenth chapter of Hebrews is one expression of the scene described by Taylor:
1 For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered every year, make perfect those who draw near.
2 Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, since the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have any consciousness of sins?
3 But in these sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year.
4 For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
5 Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said, “Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body have you prepared for me;
6 in burnt offerings and sin offerings you have taken no pleasure.
7 Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come to do your will, O God, as it is written of me in the scroll of the book.'”
8 When he said above, “You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings” (these are offered according to the law),
9 then he added, “Behold, I have come to do your will.” He does away with the first in order to establish the second.
10 And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
11 And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins.
12 But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God,
13 waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet.
14 For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.
Rampant justice: Justice rushes out; it cannot but make a demand. Justice by definition does not entail mercy.
Him rends in twain: Justice rends Christ in two; that is, sacrifices Christ.
It is Christ who lies on the altar.
A lump of glory: this line sounds strange because “lump” has a negative connotation; at the very least a “lump” sounds ugly. Taylor would have had no such association: this would have been a spectacle of beauty.
Her flames: the demands of justice.
13 For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh,
14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.
The sacrifice of Jesus fully satisfies the demands of justice.
James 2:13, “Mercy triumphs over justice.”
A primary tenant of Hebrews is that Jesus having made his sacrifice, rose again and now continues as the everlasting priest.
His continuing priest rests upon the power of his indestructible life, “who has become a priest, not on the basis of a legal requirement concerning bodily descent, but by the power of an indestructible life.”
Hebrews 1 describes the Jesus as follows:
1 Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets,
2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.
3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,
4 having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.
5 For to which of the angels did God ever say, “You are my Son, today I have begotten you”? [This is not a reference to birth. In the idiom of the ANE, it is a reference to being appointed King.] Or again, “I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son”?
6 And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says, “Let all God’s angels worship him.”
7 Of the angels he says, “He makes his angels winds, and his ministers a flame of fire.”
8 But of the Son he says, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom.
9 You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.”
10 And, “You, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the work of your hands;
11 they will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment,
12 like a robe you will roll them up, like a garment they will be changed. But you are the same, and your years will have no end.”
13 And to which of the angels has he ever said, “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet”?
14 Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?