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33 And Moses spake to the children of Israel, that t hey should bring forth him that had cursed out of the camp, and stone him with stones. And the children of Israel did as the Lord commanded Moses.
I. ^"^1 RE AT honour is done to Christian ministers, when they VJT are called to prepare light and food for God's people. The priests were appointed to serve in God's temple. The Christian ministry is an excellent and important office, designed to enlighten men's minds, and feed them with the word of God. In order to this, they should shine with knowledge and burn with zeal ; they should be the light of God's sanctuary; illuminate the mind, warm the heart, and endeavour to turn men from darkness to light. They are stewards of God's house; should provide bread for his people, and should take care to feed them with pure wheat, not with chaff: speaking the word of God faithfully; warning every man, and proving themselves to be -workmen that need not to be ashamed.
2. Let us learn to act with caution in every important affair, and earnestly desire to know the mind of God in it: thus Mosee did. We have no warrant to expect extraordinary revelation, have no oracle to consult, but the law and the testimony. Let us then attend to the voice of Providence, and compare it with hi* word. It is especially the duty of judges and magistrates to deliberate in the affairs of blood, and observe what the law of God requires, and what will be for the welfare of society. We have great encouragement to acknowledge God in all our ways, and to hope that he -will direct our paths. But .the principal use of this passage of scripture is,
3. That we learn to treat the name of God and religion with the greatest reverence. Profane swearing, and taking the name of God in vain, are most scandalous abominations, such as should grieve every pious heart. Those bold transgressors we should courageously reprove, and endeavour to biing them to that punishment which our laws have appointed; and not hear the sacred name of God blasphemed with silence. Let us guard against every thing that borders on this enormous crime. In order to avoid it, let us guard against pride and passion. It is not a sufficient excuse for swearing or cursing, that it was done in a passion, or to say, 'I was provoked.' Passion leads men to forget religion and reason too; but God abhors, and will punish such transgressors. Let us never allow ourselves to jest with the word or worship of God, or any thing serious and sacred. It is the light, irreverent use of his sacred name, that leads men into a neglect and contempt of him. It is trifling with those
words, sahation and damnation, that makes men neglect the for* mer, and run headlong into the latter. These sins of the tongue, threaten the ruin of our country. Jerusalem is ruined, and Judah is fallen; because their tongue and their doings are against the Lord, to provoke the eyes of 'his glory, Isa.m. 8. Let us resolve to take heed unto our ways, that we em not with our tongues: for as the apostle expresseth it, James i. 26. If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, that man's religion is 'vain.
CHAP. XXV. 1—34.
Of the sabbatical year, and the year of jubilee.
1 /% N D the Lord spake unto Moses in mount Sinai, in tlie
2 Jljl plain about it, where Israel still encamped, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye come into the land which I give you, then shall the land keep a sabbath unto the Lord ; not the first year, but probably the
3 seventh year alter their settling in it. Six years thou shalt sow thy field, and six years thou shalt prune thy vineyard, and
4 gather in the fruit thereof; But in the seventh year shall be a sabbath of rest unto the land, a sabbath for the Lord : thou shalt neither sow thy field, nor prune thy vineyard, not do any
5 work of husbandry. That which groweth of its own accord of thy harvest thou shalt not reap for thy own private use, but in common with others, neither gather the grapes of thy vine undressed, but share them in common with thy neighbours : [for]
6 it is a year of rest unto the land. And the sabbath of the land, the fruits of this sabbatical year, shall be meat for you; for thee, and for thy servant, and for thy maid, and for thy hired
7 servant, and for thy stranger that sojourneth with thee, And for thy cattle, and for the beast that [are] in thy land, shall the increase thereof be meat.*
8 And thou shalt number seven sabbaths of years unto thee, seven times seven years; and the space of the seven sabbaths
9 of years shall be unto thee forty and nine years. Then shalt thou cause the trumpet of the jubilee to sound,t on the tenth [day] of the seventh month, in the day of atonement shall ye make the trumpet sound throughout all your land, that is, the
* It was a proof of the extraordinary fruitfulness of the land, that it should be suffi•ient to lie fallow once in seven years ; whereas prudence would certainly have dictated that different parts should lie fallow in different years. The appointment, that the whole should lie unruled every seventh year, seems also to have been mtended as an exercise of their faith, and a constant pledge of the divine care.
t It was probably called the jubilee, because it was introduced by the sound of a trumpet, and other expressions of joy.
10 jubilee shall begin from the day of atonement. And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, not the forty ninth, (aa some learned •men think,) but precisely the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout [all] the land unto all the inhabitants thereof, /*raelites, chiefly servants and the floor, who mere now acquitted
from all iJieir debts, and restored to their possessions; it shall be a jubilee unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his fam
11 ily.* A jubilee shall that fiftieth year be unto you: ye shall not sow, neither reap that which groweth of itself in it, nor
12 gather [the grapes] in it of the vine undressed. For it [isj the jubilee ; it shall be holy unto you, dedicated to God, and to the exercise of holy joy and thankfulness : ye shall eat the increase thereof out of the field, that is, what it produces of itself.
13 In the year of this jubilee ye shall return every man unto his possession.
14 And if thou sell aught unto thy neighbour, or buycst [aught] of thy neighbour's hand, ye shall not oppress one an
15 other, neither by selling too dear, nor buying too cheap: According to the number of years after the jubilee thou shall buy of thy neighbour, [and] according tmlo the number of
16 years of the fruits he shall sell unto thee: According to the multitude of years thou shall increase the price thereof, and according to the fewness of years thou shall diminish the price of it: for [according] to Ihe number [of Ihe years] of Uie
17 fruits doth he sell wnto thee. Ye shall not therefore oppress one another; but thou shall fear Ihy God; for I [am] the Lord your God.
18 Wherefore ye shall do my statutes, and keep my judgments, and do them ; and ye shall dwell in the land in
19 safely. And the land shall yield her fruit, and ye shall eat
20 your fill, and dwell-therein in safety. And if ye shall say, What shall we eat the seventh year? behold, we shall not
21 sow, nor gather in our increase : Then I will command my blessing upon you in the sixth year, and it shall bring fortli
22 fruit for three years.f And ye shall sow the eighth year, and eat [yet] of old fruit until: the ninth year; until her fruits come in ye shall eat [of] the old [store.]
* This was rhsigned to keep the crib« distinct; to preserve their genealogies clear, that the Messiah mi^ht be known; to prevent the ill consequences of avarice ала prodigality; that families might not be impoverished by losing tbeir estates; and to keep then •u a nearer equality with one another.
1* Enough to suffice for the remainder of the sixth year, the whole of the seventh, and the brs'uming of the eighth, till the harvest of that year should come: this might be called ibree years, as the time which Christ lay in his grave is called three days. It was a standing jmracle; for in the course of things the smallest crop might be expectedin the last year of tillage; and it is a strong proof that Mosca knew his law to be divine, or he would not have presumed to make я promise, which must in all probability have brought a disgrace. «l>on tac whule .yiteui, betöre the people had been settle J seven rear» in the uiuL
33 The land shall not be sold forever: for the land [is mine ;]
24 for ye [are] strangers and sojóurners with me. And in all the land of your possession ye shall grant a redemption for the land, suffer it to be redeemed at the year of jubilee.
25 If thy brother be waxen poor, and hath sold away [some] of his possession, and if any of his kin come to redeem it,
26 then shall he redeem that which his brother sold. And if a man have none to redeem it, and himself be able to redeem
27 it; Then let him count the years of the sale thereof, from the time of the sale to the jubilee, and restore the overplus unto the man to whom he sold it; that he may return unto his
38 possession. But if he be not able to restore [it] to him, then that which is sold shall remain in the hand of him that hath bought it until the year of jubilee: and in the jubilee it shall go out of the buyer'» hand vAthout any redemption money, and he shall return unto his possession.
29 And if a man sell a dwelling house in a Walled city, then he may redeem it within a whole year after it is sold ; [with
30 in] a full year may he redeem it. And if it be not redeemed within the space of a full year, then the house that [is] in the walled city shall be established for ever to him that bought it throughout his generations: it shall not go out in the jubi
31 lee. But the hoiAes of the villages, the farm houses, which have no wall round about them shall be counted as the fields of the country: they may be redeemed, and they shall go out in the jubilee.
32 Notwithstanding the cities of the Lévites, [and] the houses of the cities of their possession, may the Lévites redeem at
33 any time. And if a man purchase of the Lévites, then the house that was sold, and the city of his possession, shall go out in [the year of] jubilee: for the houses of the cities of the Lévites [are] their possession among the children of Is
34 rael. But the field of the suburbs of their cities may not be sold ; for it [is] their perpetual possession.
I. T E T us be thankful for the joyful sound of the gost j pel. Jewish Writers inform us, that when the jubilee was proclaimed by the sound of trumpets, there was a solemn cavalcade, especially of servants and those who had recovered their inheritance, crowned with flowers, 8cc. and this being the most joyful sound that ever was heard in ordinary among' the Jews, it is used for the gospel, Psa. Ixxxix. 15. and I.uke iv. 19. •which intimates to us, that the gospel provides for the remission of debts, redemption from servitude, and restoration to forfeited inheritances. The beginning of this year was fixed to the day
Vol. I. E«e
of atonement ; which has a beautiful analogy to the connection there is between those great gospel privileges typified by it, and the atonement of Christ, as the foundation of our receiving them. Thanks be to God, that we hear this joyful sound, that the acceptable year of the I.ord is preached to us! Blessed are the people that know this joyful sound; that believe these glad tidings; that joyfully embrace the gospel, and obey it from their heart: they shall be blessed in their present privileges ; they shall walk, O Lord, in the light of thy countenance; enjoy God's favour and presence in this world, and then be removed to another and better: to an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved hi heaven for them.
2. Let Us live up to the dignity of God's Israel. Once we were slaves, but now we are free ; once we had forfeited all by sin, but now our inheritance is restored, and our debts are forgiven. Christ hath made us free, and given us the inheritance of children; and, if children, then are we heirs, heirs of God, andjoint heirs with Christ. Being thus made free, let us not become the servants of sin any more ; let us not serve the world and the flesh again. Having been forgiven much, let us love much; and especially learn to forgive others, even as God, for Christ's sake, hath forgiven us. Let us live like God's children, and as the heirs of an eternal inheritance: ever remembering, that we are not redeemed with corruptible things, such as silver and gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish; and therefore, glorify ^Sod with our bodies and spirits, which are
CHAP. XXV. 35, to the end.
Of compassion to servants and the poor.
35 A N D if thy brother be waxen poor, and fallen in dexx cay with thee ; then thou shalt relieve him : [yea, though he be] a stranger, a proselyte, or a sojourner; that he
36 may live with thee. Take thou no usury of him, or increase, any consideration or advantage for the loan of any thing: but
37 fear thy God ; that thy brother may live with thee. Thou shalt not give him thy money upon usury, nor lend him thy
38 victuals for increase. I [am] the Lord your God, which brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, to give you the land of Canaan, [and] to be your God.
39 And if thy brother [that dwelleth] by thee be waxen poor, and be sold unto thee ; thou shalt not compel him to serve as
40 a bond servant: [But] as an hired servant, [and] as a sojourner, to be used kindly, and as a brother, fn. 43, 46.) he