Sivut kuvina

twelvesilverbowls,twelvespoons offering: and the kids of the

of gold: goats for sin offering twelve.

85 Each charger of silver weigk- 88 And all the oxen for the sain^ an hundred and thirty she- crificeof the peace offerings were kels, each bowl seventy: all the twenty and four bullocks, the silver vessels weighed two thou- rams sixty, the he goats sixty, sand and four hundred shekels, the lambs of the first year sixafter the shekel of the sanctuary: ty. This was the dedication

86 The golden spoons were of the altar, after that it was twelve, full of incense, weigh- anointed.

ing ten shekels apiece, after the 89 And when Moses was gone shekel of the sanctuary: all the into the tabernacle of the congold of the spoons was an hun- gregation to speak with him, then dred and twenty shekels, he heard the voice of one speak

87 All the oxen for the burnt ing unto him from off the mercy offering were twelve bullocks, seat that was upon the ark of testithe rams twelve, the lambs of the mony, from between the twochefirstyear twelve, with their meat rubims: and he spake unto him.

LECTURE 251. That the church may ordain religious ceremonies. The offerings of the princes, recorded in this chapter, were evidently in addition to the provision made by God's command for the service of the tabernacle. Yet it was an addition no less evidently approved by God. Hence it seems not unreasonable to conclude, that even in the Jewish church, for which so many instruments of service, as well as rites and ceremonies, were appointed by express revelation, it was not unlawful for man to make addition of things really conducive to the better performance of divine worship. These things may have been omitted, on purpose to give occasion for the acts of devout homage in the worshippers. Or they may have been superfluous, but graciously accepted, in consideration of the willing mind which prompted them that gave. At all events they were accepted. He, who spake soon afterwards, with a voice, that might be heard, "from off the mercy seat that was upon the ark of the testimony, from between the two cherubims," had plainly said to Moses, "Take it of them;" ver. 5; and again, "-1 hey shall offer their offering, each prince on his day, for the dedicating of the altar." Ver. 11. Much more in the Christian church, where so little that is ceremonial has been revealed, much more must it be lawful, and acceptable unto God, that provision should be made of whatsoever is needful for doing "all things" " decently and in order." 1 Cor. 14. 40. We must take every command that we can find, in the Gospel, bearing upon the constitution, and discipline, and service, of the church. But as St. Paul left Titus in Crete, that he might set in order things that were wanting; see Tit. 1.5; we may trust, that what was ordained by Titus, and by other rulers in Israel since his time, when agreeable to the spirit of the Gospel, and with a view to the edification of the church, has been approved by our Lord Himself.

Aaron lighteth the lamps. Levites must be offered before the Lord. 1 And the Lord spake unto even fine flour mingled with oil,

Moses, saying,

2 Speak unto Aaron, and say unto him, When thou lightest the lamps, the seven lamps shall give light over against the candlestick.

3 And Aaron did so; he lighted the lamps thereof over against the candlestick,as the Lord commanded Moses.

4 And this work of the candlestick was of beaten gold, unto the shaft thereof, unto the flowers thereof, was beaten work: according unto the pattern which the Lord had shewed Moses, so he made the candlestick.

5 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,

6 Take the Levites from among the children of Israel, and cleanse them.

7 And thus shalt thou do unto them, to cleanse them : Sprinkle water of purifying upon them, and let them shave all their flesh, and let them wash their clothes, and so make themselves clean.

8 Then let them take a young bullock with his meat offering,

and another young bullock shalt thou take for a sin offering.

9 And thou shalt bring the Levites before the tabernacle of the congregation: and thou shalt gather the whole assembly of the children of Israel together:

10 And thou shalt bring the Levites before the Lord : and the children of Israel shall put their hands upon the Levites:

11 And Aaron shall offer the Levites before the Lord for an offering of the children of Israel, that they may execute the service of the Lord.

12 And the Levites shall lay their hands upon the heads of the bullocks: and thou shalt offer the one for a sin offering, and the other for a burnt offering, unto the Lord, to make an atonement for the Levites.

13 And thou shalt set the Levites before Aaron, and before his sons, and offer them for an offering unto the Lord.

14 Thus shalt thou separate the Levites from among the children of Israel: and the Levites shall be mine.

LECTURE 252. The light of grace derived from the Holy Ghost through Christ.

Directions for lighting the lamps of the candlestick were given, at the time when Moses was instructed how the candlestick must be made. See Exod. 25. 37. And when he set up the tabernacle, and put in order all things therein, " he put the candlestick in the tent of the congregation, over against the table, on the side of the tabernacle southward. And he lighted the lamps before the Lord." Exod. 40. 24, 25. Here he is told to commission Aaron to light the lamps, and to instruct him how to arrange them after the manner of God's appointment, so that they might " give light over against the candlestick." This is a point insisted on in the original directions. It seems to mean, that the lamps, which were moveable on the branches, must be so placed,

as to throw a light on the candlestick which supported them. And when we consider that it was made of " pure gold," and most richly adorned with "branches, and bowls, and knops, and flowers," Exod. 25. 31, we shall easily understand the reason for arranging the lamps, so as to light up all this curious workmanship. If this candlestick be a figure of the church, let us remember that each separate branch and member thereof, ought not only to make its light shine before unbelievers, that they seeing it may glorify God, but also to aid in lighting up the glory of the candlestick itself. Let us learn, with thankfulness, that we are considered not only as throwing light on them that are without, by our holiness of life, but also as giving lustre to that beauty and harmony, that richness and skilfulness of work, by which the church itself glorifies the Lord.

But if this be true, or rather ought to be, both of each portion of the church, and of each single Christian, how much more forcibly does it apply to those, who like the Levites, are set apart from among their brethren, called of God, and dedicated by man, " that they may execute the service of the Lord," as ministers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ! How much more striking is the resemblance of their office to that of a lamp giving light! How doubly are they bound to enlighten others, both by their preaching, and by their example! Let them never forget, let them never fail to inculcate, that though it be their special office, as well as the duty of every Christian, to give light " over against the candlestick;" yet it is not for them to light the lamps; it is not for them, but for the true Aaron, our High Priest eternal in the heavens. "In the midst of the seven candlesticks," which St. John saw in his Revelation, was "one like unto the Son of man." Rev. 1. 13. He it is who must supply the heavenly light, from those " seven lamps of fire," which St. John saw afterwards, "burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God;" Rev. 4. 5; the Holy Ghost with all his gifts. Let us pray that we may be thus lighted from heaven; lighted from the light of the Holy Spirit of God. Let us pray that our blessed Lord who alone can light us, may keep us burning brightly for the lighting of the church, and for his own endless glory.

O heavenly Father, who hast made all things for thy glory, and hast purchased to Thyself an universal church by the precious blood of thy dear Son, grant that every minister and member of the same may shine as a bright and burning light, which being lighted from heaven by Christ, and being fed out of the fulness of his Spirit, shineth ever more and more, unto the perfect day; to the honour of the same thy Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

The Levites are dedicated.

15 And after that shall the Levites go in todo the service of the tabernacle of the congregation: and thou shalt cleanse them, and offer them for an offering.

16 For they are wholly given unto me from among the children of Israel; instead of such

The time of their service. vites according unto all that the Lord commanded Moses concerning the Levites, so did the children of Israel unto them.

31 And the Levites were purified, and they washed their clothes; and Aaron offered them at an offering before the Lord;

as open every womb, even instead and Aaron made an atonement of the firstborn of all the chil- for them to cleanse them.

dreu of Israel, have I taken them unto me.

l~ For all the firstborn of the children of Israel are mine, both man and beast: on the day that I smote every firstborn in the land of Egypt I sanctified them for myself.

18 And I have taken the Levites for all the firstborn of the children of Israel.

22 And after that went the Levites in to do their service in the tabernacle of the congregation before Aaron, and before his sons: as the Lord had commanded Moses concerning the Levites, so did they unto them.

23 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,

24 This is it that belongeth unto the Levites: from twenty and

19 And I have given the Le- five years old and upward they vites as a gift to Aaron and to shall go in to wait upon the serhis sons from among the children of Israel, to do the service of the children of Israel in the tabernacle of the congregation, and to make an atonement for the children of Israel: that there be no plague among the children of Israel, when the children of Israel come nigh unto the sanctuary,

vice of the tabernacle of the congregation:

25 And from the age of fifty years they shall cease waiting upon the service thereof, and shall serve no more:

26 But shall minister with their brethren in the tabernacle of the congregation, to keep the

20 And Moses, and Aaron, and charge, and shall do no service, all the congregation of the chil- Thus shalt thou do unto the Ledren of Israel, did to the Le- vites touching their charge. LECTURE 25a Of increasing the supply of ministers of the Gospel. The offering of the Levites was in many respects very different from the consecration of the priests, previously described. See Lev. 8. But there was the same cleansing, to betoken purity of mind; the same remembrance made for sin by sacrifice; and until these things were performed, they could not "go in to do the service of the tabernacle of the congregation." "And Moses, and Aaron, and all the congregation of the children of Israel, did to the Levites according to all that the Lord commanded Moses concerning the Levites, so did the children of Israel unto them." What a striking testimony of obedience! What an edifying account for man to hear! What a sight for angels to behold! A whole people, with their rulers, and priest, and prophet, doing, though but in one single matter, "according unto all that the Lord commanded." Surely there must have been joy in heaven, amongst those ministering spirits, by whose ministry the law was ordained. See Gal. 3. 19. Surely there is improvement here for us, correction, and instruction in righteousness. See 2 Tim. 3. 16. Which one of all God's commandments do we thus wholly keep? Which one is to be seen, honoured throughout the land, by high and low, rich and poor, one with another? In what respect are the people and their rulers doing according to all that our Lord has commanded us? How different is the aspect of this Christian country, most eminently privileged as it is, with Christian knowledge, and Christian ordinances! How shocking must be the sight presented from all quarters to the cloud of heavenly witnesses around us, by the drunkenness, the uncleanness, the violence and wrong, the pride and covetous ness, the jealousy and malice and mutual strife, which reach not unto them alone, but are known to God also! Oh that He may not soon be provoked to consume us in his wrath! Oh that He may remember the atonement made for sin, and give us grace to be at peace with each other and with Him, through Jesus Christ our Lord! Then only can we hope that holiness will triumphantly

Erevail, when the truth, as it is in Christ Jesus, shall be brought ome to the hearts of sinners, with all its fulness, and with all its force; when it shall be proclaimed by the ministry of faithful men, not only in every church, but in every cottage, and mansion, and palace; when it shall be shewn to be at once the power of God unto salvation, and the grace of God unto obedience, and the revelation of the righteous judgment of God against all ungodliness. In order to the consummation of an end so glorious, no one means that we can see would be more helpful, than a great increase in the number of those, who labour, after the way of God's appointment, in the ministry of the Gospel. One whole tribe, amongst the Israelites, was set apart for the service of the tabernacle. They were exempt from hard labour both before and after the prime of life; beginning to wait at five and twenty years, to work at thirty, see ch. 4. 3, and at fifty keeping charge instead of serving. If this were reasonable in the work of rites and ceremonies, are we not ashamed to see the cure of souls entrusted to the young and inexperienced, to find the aged minister often forced for his livelihood to do the same service as in youth; and to know that frequently, both young and old have singly more duty on their hands than ten men could properly discharge? Shall we not pray, shall we not help, if to help be in our power, that there may be a larger provision for the ministry of the Gospel, and also a better husbandry of the large provision which we have?

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