Page images

. I do not say


God's servants, Repent:' and thus, when Christ went abroad preaching, his doctrine was, “ I am not sent but to the lost sheep of i the house of Israel.' But while sovereign mercy is thus sovereign and free, it becomes those who have tasted the good word of God, . and the powers of the world to come,' to beware ; they and they alone, can commit that sin which is unto death, concerning which John says,

that shall

pray for it.' All unrighteousness is sin; and the sheep of Christ bave in all ages been an erring and wandering fuck, which needed the skilfulness of his hands to lead them, guide them, turn them again, and make his face to shine upon them; but all who belong to his folds, lest any inan be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin, ought to watch and pray, that we enter not into temptation ; and to commit the keeping of our souls in well doing, as to a faithful creator. Most suitable is the Psalmist's prayer : ( Who can understand his errors ? Cleanse thou me from * secret faults. Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins, • let them not have dominion over me ; then shall I be upright, and . I shall be innocent from the great transgression,' Psal. xix. 12, 13.

The first instance of sins of ignorance, respects the priest that is • anointed,' verse 2. viz. the high-priest, for he alone was anointed among the priests in the following ages, Lev. xi. 10. and xvi. 32. if he sin to the guilty sin, as the text literally reads, and implies more than can be collected from our English translation, according to the sin of the people ; and rather implies causing the people to sin. Thus it is said of David, · Why will he be a guilty son,' or, as we properly read it, a cause of trespass to the people, i Chron, xxi. 3. This the high-priest might do, not only by sinning himself, but by misleading the people, either by his precept or example. In the 6th verse, the high-priest, who is here represented, agreeably to Paul's doctrine, as offering, first for his own sin, &c. is enjoined to sprinkle the blood sever times before the Lord. This perfect member seems here to refer to the perfection that comes by the sprinkling of the blood of Christ ; or rather, to that seventh period, when the perfect cleansing by that blood shall take place, . For this is my covenant with them, when • I shall take away their sins.' In verse 7. we find that some of the blood was put upon the horns of the altar of swee incense, plainly pointing to the blood of atonement, as the ground of intercession at that altar. In the 12th verse we have a renewed instance of that particular in the law which so often occurs pointing to Christ suffering for us without the gate ; “ the place where the ashes are poured

out,' will readily remind the reader of GOLGOTHA, the place of a skull.

From the 13th verse, the law is laid down, in cases when the whole congregation are guilty; and it had been well, if many who have thought themselves congregations of the Lord, had remembered that the law supposes a whole congregation may sin.

Had this been attended to, we would have heard less of the infallibility of the holy mother church, and less either from her or her daughters. We know

not a more sure mark of antichrist than this, of forgetting or denying that a whole congregation may sin; and some of those churches, in our day, who can look around them, and talk of antichristian communion, would do well to bethink themselves of this genuine mark of the beast.

CHAP. V.-is occupied with the laws of the trespass-offering ; in ordinary cases, verse 1–13. and in things sacred from 14-19. It is observable, that the trespass-offerings were instituted chiefly for omitting or neglecting duties, or for typical defilements. The expression in verse 1. • Hear the voice of swearing,' implies, that if a person be sacredly sworn or adjured, that is, required upon oath to bear testimony ; if he do not tell the whole of what he knows, though he does not bear direct false witness, yet still he is a trans. gressor. The word adjuration implies, binding by a curse ; thus, Abraham's servant says, “then shalt thou be clean from my curse or • execration,' that is, the penalty of the oath. See Gen. xxvi. 28. and xxiv. 41. Deut. xxix. 12. 14. 19. 21. The Hebrew word alah, Paul expresses in Greek ana-thema, an oath of cursing ; see Numb. v. 21. Rom. iii. 14. The Septuagint translates the passage we are now considering by a Greek word, implying binding by an oath of cursing, as in Judges xvii. 2. Prov. xxix. 24. 1 Kings viii. 31. We have an example of adjuration, in the case of our Saviour : when Pilate questioned him, he ans ered him nothing ; when the highpriest, displeased by his silence, prays, “I adjure thee by the living • God,' that is, by the curse of the living God, that thou tell us, ' whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God,' Matt. xxvi. 63. To this adjuration Christ immediately replied. In like manner we hear Paul saying, “ I adjure you by the Lord,' Thess. v. 27. The law here plainly states, that any person so adjured, and concealing, by not uttering what he knows, shall bear his iniquity, viz. shall be a transgressor, and liable to the curse so entailed on him.

In the 2d and 3d verses, defilement is mentioned, either from touching unclean beasts, or other fatural uncleanness. Any one so defiled was a transgressor, and so needing purification by the tres. pass-offering. In the 4th verse, another kind of oath is mentioned,

swearing to do god or evil.' This is what the Jews called the oath of pronunciation; this is, when one swears to do any thing, whether good or evil, and it be hidden from him, that is, prevented from doing it, so as to be impossible for him to fulfil his oath, then he is guilty. It was such an oath that the Jews took, of whom we read Acts xxiii. 12. • Certain of the Jews banded together, and • bound themselves with an oath of execration (see margin), that they • would neither eat nor drink till they had killed Paul. Now this oath, it was hidden from them, that they could not execute, and they were guilty, by the law of Moses, of the execration; for such this trespass-offering was provided. It shall be when he shall be uilty ;' the word guilty in the Hebrew asham is the name of the

offering itself, an asham-corban, or trespass-offering. After confession of his guilt, he brings his offering, of which there is a difference for t.e sake of the poor. This trespass-offering, like all the rest, clearly pointed to Christ, who is the asham of his people ; thus, says Pail, he made himself asham for us, who knew no guilt.' The different ceremonies here enjoined seem to differ materially in nothing from 'what we have already had under consideration.

At the 15th verse, the law of trespass in holy things is entered upon. The first instance seems to refer to keeping back or ignorantly withholding what should be given to the service of the Lord. The word applied in the case of Ananias and Sapphira • keeping back • part of the price,' are borrowed from the law on this head. But in their case it was not ignorantly, but presumptuously, and punished accordingly by excision according to the law. The ram brought for this trespass, was not only to be without blemish, but to be estimata ed by the priest, that is, of a certain value, according to the law afterwards laid down for his regulation. The original deficiency behoved to be made up, with a fifth part more, and then confession and atonement to be made by the asham. The last case under this head, is, when a soul sinned, by transgressing any of the commandments, although ignorant of any such transgression, of which the Jewish rabbies enumerate nine kinds,

CHAP. VI.-contains an additional law concerning the trespassoffering, ver. 1-8. respecting breach of trust, or concealed dishonesty. It seems to have a particular respect to crimes which have not been detected, but arising from voluntary acknowledgment and conviction ; those in all the branches here enumerated, were to be included in the trespass-offering.

The 25th section of the law, begins with the 8th verse of this chapter, and commences with some additional regulations to the priest, as to the burnt-offering. This is the daily burnt-offering, offered morning and evening continually. In doing which, the priest was to be arrayed in the sacred garments ; but when he went out, even to carry forth the ashes to a clean place, these sacred

garments were to be laid aside. This regulation as to the ashes, is

very remarkable ; as the turning of the burnt-offering to ashes, was a sign of the divine acceptance, Psal. xx. 4. so the carrying them out of the camp, and that to a clean place, was a clear evidence of divine regard, and plainly pointed to the death and burial of Jesus Christ, when his precious body was laid in the new tomb, wherein yet never man had been laid, and so was a clean place not defiled with the dead ; see John xix. 16-18.; this is evidently opposed to the unclean place, mentioned Lev. xiv. 40. 41. where the stones and dust of the leprous house were to be laid.

From verses 14--19. we have the additional laws as to the meat. offering, in which we observe nothing particular, not already hinted

From 19-23. the offering of the high-priest is mentioned;


[ocr errors]

and it should be observed, that the expression in the day, ver. 20. should be read from the day; because this meat-offering was offered every morning by the high-priest, morning and evening continually. The whole of this offering was burnt upon the altar ; no part of it was eaten by himself, or any other of the priests. And this was the distinction in their offerings between the high-priest and the ordinary priests. He offered this offering every day; they offered their minchah at their initiation, and then only. It may

also be ob served in general, that the meat-offering, or minchah of the people, was eaten in the holy place by the priests, who made atonement for them ; but because no priest, being a sinner, could make atonement for himself, therefore kis meat-offering was not to be eaten, but all burnt on the altar.

From verses 24-30. we have additional laws as to the sin-offer, ing. The priest who offered the sin-offering did eat it, and thus, as we learn, Lev. x. 17. he typically abolished the same. It was also a part of their livelihood, which was afterwards abused, eating the • sin of God's people, and lifting up their soul unto their iniquity,' Hosea iv. 8. it also pointed out our communion with Christ, our sacrifice. In verse 27. the contagion of sin and defilement is pointed out by touching the flesh of the sin-offering, or its blood staining any thing. The law in verse 30. prohibiting eating of the sin-offering, points out the inefficacy of the blood of buls and goats. It is very remarkable, that when the apostle says, Heb. xiii. · We have an

altar, whereof they have no right to eat who serve the tabernacle,' he is plainly alluding to this part of the Levitical law. The priests miglit eat of all the rest ; but of the bodies of those beasts, whose blood was carried into the holy place, they had no right to eat ; they behoved to be burnt without the camp. And thus the force of the apostle's reasoning appears most obvious. Christ the great sin-offering has been once offered for the sins of his people; his blood has been sprinkled ; now, those who adhere to the service of the earthly tabernacle, have no right to partake in eating of his flesh and blood, for their law forbade it.

Chap. Vil.sets before us, the law of the priests concerning trespass-offerings, verse 1-10.; concerning peace-offerings, 11-34. and a summary of the whole. Few of the particulars in this chapter are unnoticed formerly. There is one general observation which seems entitled to attention. In the case of the sin-offering and trespass-offering, the whcle sacrifice was either burnt upon the altar, or given to the priest, and the officer had no share iq it. But in the peace-offerings he had his share, and enjoyed communion with them in the feast. The former was an expression of sin and repentance, which it brings to view ; it was therefore attended with confession, humiliation, and occasionally fasting. But the peace-offerings were instituted to int out reconciliation with God, and the joy and gratitude, which pardoning mercy brings to view. On this occasion,

therefore he feasted before the Lord on his peace offering The one offering of Jesus Christ included all. In his sufferings and death, as the sacrifice for sin, we are called to lament those transgressions for which he was wounded ; at same time, his broken body and shed blood, brings to our view that peace of God which the blood of his cross hath purchased ; over which his call is, ' Eat, О friends ! drink, yea

drink abundantly, O beloved.' There is a circumstance allu. ded to, verses 15~-18. which should not pass unnoticed. No part of the filesh of the sacrifice was to stand over to the third day, because it might then begin to putrefy ; but especially, because on the third day, the offered body of Jesus Christ was to be raised, seeing no corruption. The solemn denunciation against the eater on the third day, plainly shews, that this was despising in Moses law, what was there considered most sacred, and that therefore the transgressor should die without


CHAP. VIII.--This chapter contains, the preparation, at God's command, for the consecration of Aaron and his sons, ver. 1-5. ; their washing, anointing, &c. together with the altar, laver, 6-13. ; the sacrifices offered for them, with the prescribed ceremonies, 14-32.; and their consecration for seven days, 33–36. This consecration of Aaron and his sons was ordered before, and the principal particulars now mentioned were then considered; see Exod. xxix. On this occasion, we see that all the congregation are gathered together. It was a matter in which the whole church of Israel were intimately concerned, verse 3. The word used here, put upon him, is ļiterally gave to him; this Paul adopts in such passages as these : But put

ye on the Lord Jesus Christ,' &c. In verse 12. it is said, " He

poured the anointing oil on Aaron's head.' The word implies to pour in great abundance. To this we find a reference in Psalm cxxxiii. where it is said, " It ran down the beard, even Aaron's beard, that • went down to the skirts of his garments.' How little do we know of the figurative meaning of scripture language? What would be said of the person, who would have ventured to insinuate, that the pouring of the ointment on the head and body of the high-priest, pointed to the anointing of the body of Christ, his church, and their unity and fellowship!

In examining this consecration of the priest, we find three sacrifices particularly mentioned, 1. The bullock for the sin-offering ; 2. The first ram for a burnt-offering; and, 3. The second ram for consecration ; and all these were necessary to point out the one offering by which our great High-priest sanctified himself. In the 1st, the sin-offering, the confession of iniquity, was made, for Aaron and his „sons laid their hands upon the head of the bullock for the sin-offering, thereby declaring that there was a necessity for another priest to arise. In the 2d, the burnt-offering, the atonement by the death of Christ was manifested : And in the 3d, the ram of consecration, that sanctification which comes by his blood alone. Now, the legal priest needed all this, because he was a sinner.

But Christ, B b

« PreviousContinue »