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On the first day of the first month the tabernacle was to be set up. May not this well remind us of Him, who said, “Behold, I make all things new”? Rev. 21. 5. The ark of the testimony was to be put therein, and covered with the vail. Can we not see in this, the vail of Christ's flesh, under which was hidden the glory of the godhead, and the mercy seat, God's mercifulness, and the testimony of his covenant with mankind in Christ? The table and the shewbread thereon, the candlestick and the burning lamps ; will not the review of these things set before our thoughts Him, who is as bread, the staff of life, and as a light to give light to all that come into the world? The altar of gold, for the incense, reminds us of the intercession continually made in our behalf before the throne of the Father by the Son. The altar of the burnt offering, sets forth Jesus as our sacrifice. In the laver, we see Him that washed us by his blood. In the court round about, we see the multitude of them that believe in Christ; and are led by that sight to pray more earnestly, that when so many are admitted, we ourselves may not be shut out. And what now is the boly anointing oil, with which Moses was to anoint the tabernacle, and all that was therein, and the altar, and his vessels," and “the laver, and his foot," and " Aaron and his sons"? Is it not this, that “ God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power"? Acts 10. 35. And is it not this also, that we have an unetion from the Holy One, see 1 John 2. 20, and that He which stablisheth us in Christ and hath anointed us is God? See 2 Cor. 1. 21. Yes, it is the Spirit that testifies of Christ. It is the Spirit that must draw us nigh to Christ. It is the Spirit that must make us like to Christ. And if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
“ Thus did Moses: according to all that the Lord commanded him, so did he.” This is that which is so often pressed upon our attention, in the saints and servants of the Lord. This is that which we are apt to suppose an impossibility: to do all that the Lord has commanded us. But “ take, my brethren,” says St. James, “the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience.” James 5. 10. Take them for an example of patience in well doing. Take Moses, and observe how he did “all that the Lord commanded him.” What could seem more nigh to impossibility, than to induce the people to give up the spoil they had taken from their enemies, the ornaments they wore upon their persons, and the mirrors in which they bebeld themselves when adorned; and further to find workpeople capable of working up the materials, into the form described?' And how was all this compassed? By the grace of God. He gave the willing heart, the understanding mind, the skilful hands. He gave Moses the disposition to trust in his assistance. Moses believed, had the help he trusted in, did the work appointed him. Let us believe, and trust in God. His strength will be made perfect in our weakness.
Moses reareth up the tabernacle. 17 And it came to pass in the first 25 And he lighted the lamps month in the second year, on the before the LORD, as the LORD first day of the month, that the commanded Moses. tabernacle was reared up. 26 And he put the golden altar
18 And Moses reared up the in the tent of the congregation tabernacle, and fastened his sock- before the vail : ets, and set up the boards thereof, 27 And he burnt sweet incense and put in the bars thereof, and thereon; as the LORD comreared up his pillars.
manded Moses. 19 And he spread abroad the 28 And he set up the hanging tent over the tabernacle, and at the door of the tabernacle. put the covering of the tent 29 And he put the altar of above upon it; as the Lord burnt offering by the door of commanded Moses.
the tabernacle of the tent of the 20 And he took and put the tes- congregation, and offered upon timony into the ark, and set the it the burnt offering and the staves on the ark, and put the meat offering; as the LORD mercy seat above upon the commanded Moses. ark:
30 And he set the laver between 21 And he brought the ark into the tent of the congregation and the tabernacle, and set up the the altar, and put water there, vail of the covering, and covered to wash withal. the ark of the testimony; as the 31 And Moses and Aaron and LORD commanded Moses. his sons washed their hands and
22 And he put the table in the their feet thereat: tent of the congregation, upon 32 When they went into the the side of the tabernacle north- tent of the congregation, and ward, without the vail.
when they came near unto the 23 And he set the bread in order altar, they washed; as the Lord upon it before the Lord; as the commanded Moses. Lord had commanded Moses. 33 And he reared up the court
24 And he put the candlestick round about the tabernacle and in the tent of the congregation, the altar, and set up the hangover against the table, on the side ing of the court gate. So Moses of the tabernacle southward. finished the work.
LECTURE 183. Our joy on admission to the church in heaven. That we may be the better impressed with the care which Moses took, to do all things as God commanded him, we are here told of his doing each particular thing, in order, as he did it. And now, when he was putting the work together, it is not improbable that some would be tempted to object, of what use is it to rear up this tabernacle, when we are just about to set off on our journey towards Canaan? Certainly there are many who argue thus, in regard to their own attendance on divine worship, and the devotion of themselves to the service of God. If their habitations, or their plans of life, are unsettled, they think this a fit excuse, for delaying all attention to religious ordinances.
They will wait till such or such a thing is done, till such or such a point is fixed, and then they will attend at church more regularly, then they will adopt family worship, then they will be more constant, and more fervent in their private prayers; then they will give more heed to the motions of the Holy Ghost, and cultivate that faith, and hope, and charity, in their hearts, without which all prayers are lifeless forms, all worship little else than mockery of God. But if the Israelites had waited to set up their tabernacle, until their arrival at the promised land, how few of this generation would have ever seen it at all! We know concerning all but Joshua and Caleb, that their carcases were left in the wilderness. If we wilfully put off any good that our hands find to do, or neglect any opportunity of growth in grace, how great is our risk, that death may cut us off when we least expect it; with our work not done, our talents not improved, our graces not thankfully enjoyed, our souls not fit for heaven!
Whilst some may have thus objected, the greater part, we doubt not, gladly hailed the sight of Moses rearing up the tabernacle. Welcome to their eyes was each board, and bar, and pillar, as they were put in place one by one.
Welcome the curtains spread abroad." Welcome the ark of the testimony, and the table of shew bread, the candlestick, and the two altars, and the laver, and the court round about the tabernacle. More especially all they, who had in any degree assisted in the work, must have watched with the deepest interest the putting together of each part; and must have been delighted to see the glorious appearance of the whole. And may we not hope in all humility, that something like to this, will be our own emotions of wonder and joy, when we are admitted to a sight of the heavenly Jerusalem, of the things above, whereof these were figures? It is but one very small portion of the work which is entrusted to the hands of each Christian in particular. Enlightened by the Holy Spirit of God, and strengthened by his strength, we do our part, according to our power.
And having taken in our work to our heavenly Master, we go to our place in peace. We awake at the resurrection of the dead. We arise to meet the Lord in the air. We behold in all its glory the true tabernacle, reared up by Him in heaven. And can it be that we have had any part, however slight, in a work so past all words to praise as this? Have we woven or spun a single thread, in the tent of the church which is above; in which the beauty of its holiness, and the fulness of its joys surpass the utmost conception that we can possibly frame, from all that we behold glorious in nature, or from all that we feel pleasant and lovely in grace? O Lord, it is not in us, except so far as Thou givest us ability! O Lord, to Thee be all the honour, all the praise ! Thine was the design, when Thou didst
graciously say unto the Father in heaven “ Lo I compe!” Heb. 10.9. Thine was the perfect execution, when Thou didst meekly declare to men, from the cross, “It is finished”! John 19. 30.
The cloud filleth the tabernacle. 34 Then a cloud covered the tent cle, the children of Israel went of the congregation, and the onward in all their journeys: glory of the LORD filled the 37 But if the cloud were not tabernacle.
taken up, then they journeyed not 35 And Moses was not able to till the day that it was taken up. enter into the tent of the con- 38 For the cloud of the LORD gregation, because the cloud was upon the tabernacle by day, abode thereon, and the glory of and fire was on it by night, in the Lord filled the tabernacle. the sight of all the house of Is
36 And when the cloud was rael, throughout all their jourtaken up from over the taberna- neys.
appear in the
The privilege of living amidst Christian light. “ So Moses finished the work.” Ver. 33. But see, he is not able to enter into the tent, which his own hands so lately put together; for the glory of the Lord has filled it. It is God's house. It is where He deigns to dwell. It is where He would have his people consider that they may always have access to their King. Moses is not able to enter. It must be signified to the Israelites, that there is another Mediator, and a better covenant; that it is a greater than Moses who must 6 presence of God for us;" Heb. 9. 24 ; and that it is not till there shall be “a new heaven and a new earth,” that “the tabernacle of God” will be “ with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.” Rev. 21. 1, 3. But though we may not as yet dwell in the light of God's countenance, He shews enough of his glory to guide “ all the house of Israel, throughout all their journeys." It is brightness in the midst of cloud. It is the will of God, revealed in the language of men, and by means of ordinances adapted to human infirmity. Whatsoever therein seems dark, is by reason of the weakness of our sight; which could not bear its unveiled brightness. Whatsoever therein is light, this is that truth of God, which shines through the veil of cloud, to signify what glory is within. How great is our advantage in the abundance of the light of truth, in the midst of which we live! How eminent ought to be our faith, and obedience, our love, and holiness, and thankfulness; when we have not only Moses and the prophets for our guidance, but also “ the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ, who is the image of God”! 2 Cor. 4. 4.
Direct us, ( Thou gracious Saviour, in all our journeying to the land of promise! Open Thou our eyes, that we may behold the wondrous things of thy Law, the inestimable value of thy Gospel! And incline our hearts that we may love to follow where Thou leadest us, from sin to holiness, from earth to heaven!
THE THIRD BOOK OF MOSES, CALLED LEVITICUS.
The uses of the Levitical ordinances.
This book is called Leviticus, because it relates for the most part to the duties of the tribe of Levi, and especially to those of Aaron the high priest, and those of the priests, who were Aa. ron's sons, and their posterity. These duties consisted in ministering about the sacrifices, which were to be offered on various occasions here set down, and with a variety of ceremonies here specified. In our study of this portion of God's word, we must bear in mind the purpose for which it was revealed ; and we shall find it well adapted, by divine wisdom, both for the religious ceremonial of the Jewish people, as long as that was intended to last, and for confirming the faith of Christians, ever after, to the end of time.
As to the Jews of old, the Levitical priesthood, and their ceremonial ordinances, served to separate this chosen people from the idolatry of a whole heathen world. They were also fitted to maintain, in the minds of the worshippers, a sense of their own sinfulness, which needed such constant mediation, so much purifying, so many sacrifices. And they were calculated to keep the attention of the people fixt on a more effectual intercession, an all sufficient atonement, to be made in after time for sin, and sinners, by One, of whom all other sacrifices, all other priests, were types or spiritual figures. And as for Christians, to us it is most profitable, and it ought to be most interesting; to watch how the many precious uses of our Saviour's death and passion were shadowed forth, in all these particulars, at least fifteen hundred years before the hour of his suffering on the cross. In Him, and by Him, all these things are fulfilled. Nor can any written word of prophecy afford more striking evidence of God's power and wisdom, of his foreknowledge, and overruling providence, than these many prophetic acts, performed for so many centuries in the public worship of a nation, of whose antiquity, and history, and religious observances, there never has been, nor can be, any reasonable doubt.
May the God of Ísrael enable us hy faith to see his Son, our Saviour, in all his ordinances, in both his Testaments ! what we behold of his grace and truth, in the old dispensation, may He confirm our faith in the Gospel !
0. T. VOL. I. PART II.