« VorigeDoorgaan »
me, and not to us only, but to all mankind. And, moreover, it is sent by one who cannot lie, who is no deceiver. Verily, verily, we may at all times trust in the LORD, not being afraid, for in the LORD Jehovah is everlasting strength.
EXODUS, Xxviii. 36, 37, 38.
First, THE high Priest.
Secondly, The furniture of his head-a mitre. Upon 'this mitre is placed a plate of pure gold, which plate of pure gold appears upon the fore front of the mitre.
Thirdly, Upon this plate was engraven HOLINESS TO THE LORD. Holiness consists in a conformity to the nature and will of God. Hebrews xii. 14. "Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the LORD." Why was not the plate and its engravings fixed upon the breastplate, upon which were engraved the names of the different tribes? Because this high Priest was a figure of the Saviour, of that Saviour who was made of God unto us, sanctification; and he only is holy: our holiness is in our head; all who are taught of God will devoutly say, Jesus shall be our constant theme, the one object of our unceasing adoration. It is the joy of the christian that Jesus is holy, and that this HOLY ONE is the HOLY ONE OF ISRAEL. Our high Priest is the HOLY ONE OF ISRAEL. A prophet shall the LORD your God raise up unto you, of your brethren, like unto me. HIM shall ye hear. This holy One God hath given to the unholy! God so loved the world that he gave unto them his holy One, and this that they may be accepted in the beloved, in his holiness. Hebrews iii. 1. "Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and high Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus:" In this passage those are denominated holy, who were, as they themselves confessed, remarkably unholy. Hence it is plain their holiness was only to be found in their head, in the Apostle and high Priest of their profession, in Christ Jesus.
Fourthly, This plate was to be fastened to the head of the high Priest with a blue lace. We have before seen that this colour was
emblematic of faithfulness and truth; and it was thus fastened that it might be upon the mitre.
Holiness is perfection. In the present state of things, the people of God are unquestionably imperfect; they are in themselves decidedly unholy. The oracles of God in, I had almost said countless passages, bear the most unequivocal testimony to this truth. Yet the family of man, although depraved and polluted, were beloved by their God, so much beloved that he gave them his Son, and as, in this Son, it pleased the Father that all fulness should dwell, in giving unto the people this son, he gave them himself. Every record, both in the law and in the gospel, combines to assure us for what purpose this arrangement was made, that the people of God might be saved from their sins, that their transgressions might be taken away in and by Christ Jesus, that individual members might be presented in their head, without spot and blameless, and that they might ultimately be without sin, even in their own characters. Psalm xciii. 5. "Thy testimonies are very sure: holiness becometh thine house, O LORD, forever." Zechariah xiv. 20. "In that day shall there be upon the bells of the horses, HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD; and the pots in the LORD's house shall be like the bowls upon the altar." There are, in the house, vessels of honour, and vessels of dishonour; but they are all in the house of the LORD; and, says the prophet Zechariah, in that day the pots in the LORD's house shall be like the bowls upon the altar. Those vessels of dishonour, those vessels of wrath, shall, in God's time, be broken, and of course emptied of their wrath, but they shall be made over again nobler vessels, fitted for the master's use, and instead of being filled with wrath, they shall be filled with the knowledge of the LORD. Bishop Lowth, commenting upon this passage, says, it seems to imply the promise of universal peace, a blessing which he acknowledges to be often mentioned in the prophets as a concomitant of the flourishing state of Christ's kingdom. Doth not every faculty of our souls ardently supplicate? Hasten, good God, this glorious era. Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly, for thine, and thine only, is the right to reign.
The subject of the preceding Sketches critically examined, copiously dilated, and considered with a single eye; together with reflections, serious, solemn and consolatory.
CONSIDERING the sacerdotal garments made for the Israelitish high Priest, under the especial direction of Almighty God, I may be excused if I indulge myself by expatiating particu larly upon those emblematick vestments, which I consider as a striking compendium of that grace and truth, which was brought to light by the gospel.
It appears to me that the different parts of these heaven directed garments contain information which is indisputably worthy of all acceptation.
The character priest. The very name priest-it is another term for advocate. The priest under the Mosaic law was never considered as an adversary. He was a peace maker, who brought near the offended and the offender. In 2 Chronicles, vi. 41, Solomon emphatically says, "Now, therefore, arise, O LORD God, into thy resting place, thou and the ark of thy strength: let thy priests, O LORD God, be clothed with salvation." How tremendously would our situation have been reversed, had Solomon said, let thy priests be clothed with damnation! The Apostle Paul dwelleth impressively upon the priesthood. In the first verse of the sixth chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews he thus expresses himself; "Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God."
There is unquestionably a growth in grace, and in the knowledge and love of God, and, leaving those things which are behind, we should press forward to the prize of our high calling, which is in Christ Jesus. Paul describes himself, and his brethren, in the ministry, in his Epistles to the Colossians, i. 28, as preaching Christ Jesus, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that they might present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. Indeed it is impossible a merely human being can be presented perfect any
where but in Christ Jesus; perfection can only be found in the Redeemer of men. Indeed, this arrangement in the divine economy is perfectly accommodated to the nature of man; were the individuals of mankind, during their continuance in this changeful state, entrusted with that which is eventually to constitute their felicity, they would as probably forfeit heaven, as did their first parents their high standing in the garden of Eden.
We indulge a hope, and it is a blessed hope, a hope which is full of immortality: we indulge, I say, a hope from the testimonies of sacred writ, that the glorious high Priest of our profession presents us before the divine nature as his fulness, as complete in him. The ceremonial law abounds with striking figures of grace and truth. The books of Exodus and Leviticus are a rich treasury of emblems, calculated to illustrate the grand plan of redemption. And yet, strange to tell, there are men, men famed for learning and for piety, professing christians too, who have not only regarded the law of ceremonies with sovereign contempt, but have spoken of it as ludicrous and lamented that it had obtained a place in the Bible!!
A celebrated preacher, a Doctor Foster, who was contemporary with Doctor Watts, boasted his infidelity respecting the ceremonial law. The christian poct frequently held converse with him, and in one of those interviews, he requested Mr. Foster to accompany him in a walk, engaging to introduce him to a friend of his, an old friend, possessing great excellence, but far advanced in life, for which reason, as he might soon be called home, he embraced every opportunity of visiting him. Doctor Foster readily consented to make the visit, and on their way to the residence of the old gentleman, Foster was prepared to meet an extraordinary person, by learning from Doctor Watts, that he was singular in his manners; but, continued the Doctor, I never interrupt him, I respect him too highly to counsel or direct him, yet, it must be confessed, there are times when, to a stranger, he would appear a complete idiot.
When our visiters reached the mansion of the sage, Watts would not permit the servant to announce them-No, said he, your master is acquainted with me, he is in his study, I presume? Yes Sir. Very well, we will walk up, but softly if you please, lest we surprise him. It happened that the old gentleman was seated with his back to the door, at a table, on which was placed an apparatus, to which Foster was a stranger. As they entered without noise, and the
sage was wrapped in contemplation, they remained unobserved, and he pursued his purpose. Watts held up his finger to his friend, as a token of silence, and Foster beheld him with sensations in which pity was a prevalent ingredient. After regarding him a considerable time, they turned about, making their exit as silently as they had entered. Immediately on their reaching the street, well, said Watts, what do you think of my friend? Alas! Sir, said Foster, my sensations were truly melancholy. The appearance of human nature, in such a state of degradation, cannot but give pain. I regarded the old gentleman with compassion, with pity; a view of man reduced to a state of second childhood, is a sad spectacle, and we are doubly mortified, when the character has been such as you represent that of your friend, highly respectable.
Yes, Sir, respectable indeed-But, my dear Sir, my sole object in attending you to his house this morning, was to give you an opportunity of detecting your own folly, in the remarks you have occasionally thrown out, upon the books of Moses, especially that law of ceremonies which those books record. You saw the old gentleman we have visited with pity; you beheld his cups and straws, and breath blown bubbles, and you imagined a derilection of his understanding; you supposed he was in a state of second childhood. Nothing can be farther from the truth; he was at the moment you beheld him, making experiments in science, which may probably conduce to the good of mankind, and astonish the world. Sir, it is the far-famed, and justly celebrated Sir Isaac Newton, whose pursuits we have this morning witnessed.
Sir Isaac Newton! you astonish me! I am confounded! Hasten, take me back immediately, that I may supplicate his pardonRather, returned Watts, go home, and supplicate pardon of your God, for thinking and speaking so unworthily, so contemptuously, of his directions to Moses, respecting the tabernacle, the priest, the sacerdotal garments, &c. &c. Spare me, Sir, I do assure you I deeply feel. So indeed you ought, and so I knew you would, when once the eyes of your understanding were open. I have long wished you to render to your Creator the homage which was his due-I thank you, my friend, you have gained your point; I will, in future, learn to respect what I cannot understand, especially if it is sanctioned by divine authority, and I will learn to regard the regulations of my God as sacred.