Page images
PDF
EPUB

Job says,

ded, washed and laid on the altar, was burnt for an offering made by fire of a sweet savour to the Lord; and here the worshippers were led to think of Him, who gave himself for us an offering and a sacri. tice to God, of a sweet-smelling savour.

From verse 10. to 14. we have similar regulations, when the offering was of the sheep or goats ; and in these there seems to be no. thing different, but an expression in ver. 11. he shall kill it on the • side of the altar norihward before the Lord.' The Hebrew doctors allege, that as it is said, Jer. i. 14. • Out of the north, an evil • shall break forth, therefore, to restrain the judgments of God, the burnt and sin offerings were slain on the north side of the altar. It appears, however, from the text, that this was enjoined, in order that the death might take place directly before the Lord, On this subject, we recommend the following texts to the consideration of our readers.

· The Schechingh cometh out of the north, with God is terrible majesty,' Job xxxvii. 22. Ezekiel says, the divine glory coming from the same quarter, see Ezekiel i. 4. viji. 5. ; and accordingly in chap. xl. 46. it is said, ' And the chamber whose • prospect is towards the north, is for the priests, the keepers of • the charge of the altar.' The words of the Psalmist are remarkable, and much to our purpose, - Beautiful for salvation, the joy of " the whole earth is Mouni Zion; on the north side, stands the city • of the great king.' Perhaps it is not foreign to this subject to add, that the mountain on which the altar of Jehovah was built, where the one sacrifice, which for ever perfects the sanctified, was offered, was on the north side of Jerusalem. Whatever may be in this, one thing is obvious, from the simple text, that the offering was slain on the north side, that the face of the priest might be before the Lord.

From verse 14. to the end of the chapter, we have the laws of the offerings of the poor, turtle doves and pigeons. It will be remembered, that of these, the poor parents of Jesus Christ gave their offering at his birth. By examining the following texts, the reader will perceive, how fitly pigeons and doves were selected from other birds, as offerings to the Lord; see Song ii. 14. and iv. 1. Matth.

. 16. Isa. xxxviii. 34. and lix, 11. and Ix. S. Ezek, vii. 16. Hos. xi. 11. Psalm lxxiv. 19. The regulations of this species of offerings are exactly suited, to the nature of them, and point evidently to the same doctrines.

CHAP. II. This chapter lays down the law of the meat-offering. All sacrifices, offerings, or oblations whatever, may be reduced to three heads, 1. Expiatory, or atonements for sin ; 2. Eucharistical, giving thanks for blessings received; 3. Peace.offerings, declaration of divine satisfaction and reconciliation. The burnt-offerings, which we have been considering in Chap. I. were in general called corban ; indeed, that is the general name of all offerings ; but meat-offerings, that is, offerings of any thing where life was not sacrificed, are call. ed minchah. This name is expressive of any solemn gift or present, either to God or man ; hence we read of the children of Belial, that they said of Saul, . How shall this man save us ? and they brought 4 him no present,' (minchah,) 1 Sam. x. 27. The great object of the minchah, was, as well as the burnt-offering, the offering of him whose meat and drink was to do the will of him who sent him, and who gave

his flesh for the life of the world. He alone could say, • My fesh is meat indeed!' Hence Paul says, quoting the 40th Psalm, ! Sacrifice and offering (minchah) would not do ; then said I, « Lo I come, a body hast thou prepared me,' Hebrews x. 5. 8, 9, 10. So that the offering of Jesus Christ, once for all, put an end to the minchah as well as every other offering of the law.

The minchah evidently pointed for the atonement, and the expiation of sins ; thus, the Lord sware, that the iniquity of Eli's house should not be purged with sacrifice or minchah for ever,' 1 Sam. iii. 14. David in like manner says, “ If the Lord have stirred thee up a• gainst me, let him accept (the original word is smell) a minchah.' Agreeably to all this, when Daniel is pointing for the blessed effects of the death of Christ, he says, he shall cause the sacrifice and the

minchah to cease,' Daniel ix. 17. The minchah is also applied to the bodies of Christians, as presented to God a • living sacrifice.' Isaiah foretells, that they shall bring all your brethren for a minchah or meat-offering, as the sons of Israel bring a minchah in a clean • vessel,' Isa. lxvi. 20. And thus Paul

says, • That the offering of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy • Ghost,' Rom xv. 16. In like manner, it is applied to the sacrifice of praise. « Let my prayer be directed as incense before thee, and the • lifting up of my hands as the evening minchah,' Psal. cxli. 2. So when the Lord told the Jews, I will not accept a minchah at • your hand ;' he adds, · For from the rising of the sun to the going

down of the same, my name shall be great among the Gentiles ; • and in every place incense shall be offered unto my name, and • a pure minchak, Mal. ii. 10, 11. Of the minchak some were offered by the whole congregation, others by individuals. Those of the congregation were three, viz. the waved sheaf, Lev. xxiii. 10, 11. the waved loaves, Lev. xxiii. 17. and the shew bread, Lev. xxiv. 5. Individual meat-offerings were of eight different kinds, 1. The poor man's minchah, Lev. v. 11. 2. The jealousy minchah, Numb. v. 15. 3. The meat-offering of initiation, which every priest offered when he entered upon the service of the sanctuary, Lev. viii. 26. 4. The minchah which the high priest offered daily, Lev. vi. 20. 5. The minchah of fine flour. 6. The minchah baked on a plate. 7. The minchah baked in a frying pan. 8. The minchah baked in an oven. These last five are all mentioned Lev. ii. · All the different kinds of minchah were of fine four, except the jealousy offering, and waved sheaf. It behoved to be of fine flour for the same cause that the sacrifice must be spotless. Oil and frankina Bense were to be poured thereon ; the oil evidently pointed to the Holy Spirit ; and the frankincense to the sweet odour of these offer.,

Аа

ings. In the 2d verse, the priest is commanded to take a handful of the flour, with the oil and frankincense, and burn them on the ale tar for a memorial. We find this referred to in such passages as Ps. xx. 4. • Remember all thy offerings ;' or, as it should be read, · Let • the memorial of thy minchah, and thy burnt sacrifices be accepted.' With a reference to this, the angel says to Cornelius, · Thy prayers • and thine alms, thy memorial, are accepted before God,' Acts x. 4. The remnant of this meat-offering was given to the priest, and was considered as most holy. The same regulations are enjoined, from 4—12th verses as to the other meat-offerings. In the 13th verse, the general law is laid down for salting every sacrifice and offering to the Lord. Salt, in all nations, is the symbol of incorruption ; and thus the covenant of salt, or perpetual covenant, are synonymous terms. Lot's wife became a pillar of salt, that is, a lasting monument of looking back, or apostacy. The apostles were the salt of the earth, because to them was committed that word of the Lord which endureth for ever, which is that word by which the world that now is, is kept in store. Of the various references to this is the New Testament, we shall have occasion to speak in their proper place. In ver. 14. we have the law of the meat-offering of the first fruits, which is more fully detailed, Lev. xxiii. The word green ears of corn is abib, by which name the first or beginning of months is called, as in that month barley was eared and began to ripen. The green corn dried, then parched and broken, was a grand figure of the true grain of corn, the first ripe fruits of the heavenly harvest, who was cut off green, parched and broken for his guilty people. The last clause of this verse is noticeable, as introducing to our notice a word which often occurs in the metaphorical language of scripture, Full ears of corn ; in the Hebrew, Carmel ; from which that rich district of country in Judea derives its name. Throughout the prophets, Carmel is the fie gure of fertility. From this, minchah, a memorial, was also taken for a burnt-offering made by fire unto the Lord.

CHAP. III.-In this chapter the law of the peace-offering is laid before us. Peace-offerings were generally intended as thanksgivings to God for the peace and reconciliation of his word. Thus Solomon describes the false church as saying, ' Peace-offerings are upon me ; • this day have I paid my vows,' Prov. vii. 14. These sacrifices of peace were attended with confession and thanksgivings, which we will be led to consider, Lev. vii. 11 and were generally voluntary offer, ings, Lev. vii. 16. The word in the original is shelamim, many pay. ments or thanks to God for mercies ; and thus the Psalmist says, . I

will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon • the name of the Lord. I will pay my vows unto the Lord, in the

presence of all his people,' Psal. cxvi. 17, 18. It is remarkable, .that the Greek Septuagint sometimes translates this word eirenskee, that is, pacifying, or a peace-offering ; yet more generally, soterion, a sacrifice of salvation, or an offering or sacrifice of thanks to God, for

his salvation. The great object of these peace-offerings is thus point. ed out by Hoseah xiv. 2. • Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously, and we will

pay the bullocks of our lips ;' which Paul thus expounds, · By him, that is, Jesus, • let us offer the sacrifice • of praise continually, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to

his name,' Heb. xiii. 15. These peace-offerings were also paid, connected with prayers to God, for deliveratice and peace. See two remarkable instances of this, Judges xx. 26, and xxi. 4.

In like manner, David in the threshing-place of Ornan, the Jebusite, I Chr. xxi. 26. They had a manifest reference to the peace-speaking blood of the cross; and to Him who is the peace of all bis people, and left them his peace which passeth all understanding, as his last and invaluable legacy, when leaving them to lay down his life an offering to God in their room. Some have been led to suppose, that these offerings were instituted with a reference to the peace between Jew and Gentile, or slaying of the enmity by his blood ; and that this is the reason why the distinction of male and female is set aside in the peace-offerings, así pointing to the time, when in Christ Jesus there should neither be Jew nor Greek, Barbarian nor Scythian, bond nor free, male nor female, but all one in Cbrist Jesus. There is nothing heterodox in this idea, but it does not seem sufficiently demonstrable.

As we have uniformly mentioned, our intention is not to touch upon every verse, but merely to draw the attention of our readers to such parts of the law of Moses as tend particularly to preach the gospel, we shall only hint at such passages, as we glance through the levitical law, as mention circumstances of this kind, and which have not been elsewhere noticed. The chief distinction in the laws of the peace-offerings, which we have observed, are the following :

In the 11th verse, the flesh which was to be eaten up or consumed on the altar, is called the food, or the bread of the offering. This is perfectly obvious from Numbers xxviii. 2. and Ezek. xliv. 7. And thus the priests who burned this flesh on the altar, are said to offer the bread of their God, Lev. xxi. 6. 8. 17. And thus the holy things which the priests eat, are called by the same name, Lev. xxi. 22. In the two last verses of this chapter, we find the fat and the blood are forbidden to be eaten throughout their generations in all their dwellings. From this the advocates for blood eating have asserted, that fat and blood are on the same footing ; that both were forbidden under the law of Moses, because they were given to the Lord upon the altar; and hence, that when the law of Moses waxed old, that law was abrogated, and the prohibition ceased. But this evasion will not do ; we will have a more suitable occasion to enter into this subject ; át present it is only necessary to mention, that the fat, viz. on those places of the animal which are particularly mentioned, and which we have already seen had a typical object, was forbidden to Israel, as well as the blood. But blood, the life of the animal, was prohibited

[ocr errors]

For every

on a different priociple, and enforced upon Gentiles, on whose consciences the law of Moses never was binding.

Chap. IV.- This chapter is entitled to much attention, as setting before us a very important distinction, between sins of ignorance, and presumptuous sins. This is a subject on which it becomes us to speak with great caution, neither to conceal the truth of God, nor limit his grace.

sin of ignorance, the law provided atonement ; but he that despised Moses's law, died without mercy : hence, says Paul, but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly,' and in unbelief. The word Shegagah, here translated ignorance, in its strict meaning, implies error, or going astray out of the way. To this Paul's words evidently refer : speaking of every high-priest taken from among men,' he

says, • Who can have compassion on the ignorant, even them that are out of the way; for that he himself is compassed (or begirt) • with infirmity,' Heb. v. 1, 2. It implies all kinds of guilt, originating from, not only ignorance, but, as Ainsworth expresses it, forgetfulness of the law of God, unadvisedness, being deceived and the like, in a word, every thing short of sinning with a high hand, or presumptuously; as described, Numb. xv. 17-30. The Greek state the contract by expressing the one agnoia, ignorantly, and frequently, as in this very passage, acousios, unwillingly; whereas the other is expressed h-cousios, willing' y or wilfully, as Heb. x. 26. The one includes ail those wandtrings out of the way, those departures from the truth, those errors in way, which arise, not merely from ignorance, but losing view of the gospel ; while the other points to that confirmed apostacy, which is connected with hatred, malice and persecution of Christ and his members. And we may also here observe, that though the law instituted no offering of atonement for the presumptuous sinner, this arises from no want of worth or value in the blood of Jesus to cleanse from all sin ; but Paul gives the reason, when he says, “ It is impossible to renew them again to repentance. The heart and conscience, which has been purged and cleansed from old sins, entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse than the beginning. Hence Peter says, it were better for them not to have • known the way of righteousness.' That conscience which has been purged and cleansed of Satan, if again given up to his rule, he taketh with him seven other spirits, more wicked that himself, and the last state of that man is worse than the first. We have already said, nor can it be too strongly enforced, (for were it otherwise, what but despair could remain for us), that every departure from the truth, every wandering from the right way, is not presumptuous sinning. The high-priest of old was a sinful mortal, begirt with infirmity, and thus he could shew compassion to wanderers. Israel of old was not cut off for every act of rebellion ; her prophets, during her grossest departures, were commissioned to proclaim from the Lord, I will heal their backslidings.' The Spirit says to the churches, even during that period when they suffered that woman Jezebel to teach and seduce

« PreviousContinue »