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takers of the sacerdotal office, a kingdom of priests. The frankincense also, which ascended in sweet odours, intimated the acceptableness of his sacrifice on our behalf.] . 2. Of our services
[The services of Christians are also frequently mentioned in terms alluding to the mincha, or meat-offering. Their alms are spoken of as a sacrifice well pleasing to God, an odour of a sweet smell. Their prayers are said to be as the evening sacrifice, that was always accompanied with the meat-offering: and the prophet Malachi, foretelling that, under the gospel, “ all men,” Gentiles as well as Jews, “should pray every where,"s uses this language; “ I have no pleasure in you (Jews) saith the Lord, neither will I receive an offering (a mincha) at your hand: for from the rising of the sun even to the going down of the same, my name shall be great among the Gentiles, and in every place incense shall be offered unto my name, and a pure offering; (mincha) for my name shall be great among the heathen, saith the Lord of hosts."! In a word, the conversion of sinners, and their entire devoting of themselves to God, is represented under this image: “ They shall bring all your brethren, says the Prophet, for an offering (mincha) unto the Lord, as the children of Israel bring an offering (mincha) in a clean vessel unto the Lord.”'u And St. Paul speaks of him. self, (in allusion to the flour mixed with oil) as ministering the gospel to the Gentiles, “that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost.”x
Nor is it without evident propriety that our services were prefigured by this ordinance. Was the flour to be of the best quality, and impregnated with oil? We must offer unto God, not our body only, but our soul; and that too, anointed with an holy unction. Was neither honey, nor leaven, to be mixed with it? Our services must be free from carnality,? or hypocrisy. Was a part of it, together with all the frankincense, to be burnt upon the altar, and the remainder to be eaten as holy food ? Thus must our services be inflamed with divine love, and be offered wholly to the glory of God; and, while they ascend up with acceptance before God, they shall surely tend also to the strengthening and refreshing of our own souls.b]
There is yet one circumstance in the meat-offering,
in Exod. xix. 6. with 1 Pet. ij. 9.
P Heb. xiii. 16. . 9 Phil. iv. 18. r Ps. cxli. 2. with Numb! xxviii. 4, 5... si Tim. ii. 8. • Mal. i. 10, 11. u Isai. lxvi. 20. * Rom. xv. 16. y 1 Thes. v. 23. 1 John ii. 20, 27.
z If we are to annex any other idea than that of leaven to “honey," that of carnality seems the most appropriate. Prov. XX V. :16, 27. a Luke xii. l. 1 Cor. v. 7, 8. ,b Isai. lviii. 10, 11.
which, for its importance, needs a distinct consideration; which will lead us to III. Notice the strict injunction respecting the season
ing of it with salt It surely was not in vain, that the injunction respecting the use of salt in this, and in every other offering, was so solemnly thrice repeated in the space of one single verse. But not even that injunction should induce one to look for any peculiar mystery (at least, not publicly to attempt an explanation of the mystery) if the scriptures did not unfold to us its meaning, and give us a clue to the interpretation of it.
The whole ordinance being typical, we must consi. der this injunction
1. In reference to Christ's sacrifice
[Salt, in scripture, is used to denote savouriness and perpetuity. In the former sense, our Lord compares his people to good salt, while false professors are as “salt that has lost its savour.” In the latter sense, God's covenant is often called sa covenant of salt."d Apply then these ideas to the sacriâce of Christ, and the reason of this reiterated injunction will immediately appear.
How savoury to God, and how sweet to man, is the atonement, which Christ has offered! In the view of its acceptableness to God, and in direct reference to the meat-offering, it is thus noticed by St. Paul; “He gave himself for us, an offer. ing and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour.”e And, as having laid, by his own death, the foundation of his spiritual temple, he is said to be “precious unto them that believe.”
Moreover the efficacy of his atonement is as immutable as God himself. In this, as well as in every other respect, “ Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever.”g The virtue of his blood to cleanse from sin, was not more powerful in the day that it purified three thousand converts, than it is at this hour, and shall be to all who trust in it.h] 2. In reference to our services
[Let the ideas of savouriness and perpetuity be transferred to these also, and it will appear that this exposition is not dictated by fancy, but by the scriptures themselves.
A mere formal service, destitute of life and power, may be justly spoken of in the same humiliating terms as a false professor, “ It is not fit for the land, nor yet for the dunghill.”i Hence our Lord says, in reference to the very injunction before us, “ Every sacrifice shall be salted with salt. Salt is good: but if the salt have lost its saltness, wherewith will you season it? HAVE SALT WITHIN YOURSELVES.” What can this mean, but that there should be a life and power in all our services, an heavenliness and spirituality in our whole deportment? We should have in ourselves, and present to God,m and diffuse on all around us," a " savour of the knowledge of Christ.”.
c Matt. y. 13, e Eph. v. 2.. bi John i. 7,
d Numb. xviii. 19. and 2 Chron, xiii. 5. fi Pet. ii. 7. & Heb. xiii. 8. i Luke xiv, 34, 35.
Nor is the continuance, or perpetuity of our services less 'strongly marked: for in addition to the remarkable expressions of our Lord before cited,o St. Paul directs, that our “ Speech be ALWAY with grace, seasoned with salt.”p There never ought to be one hour's intermission to the divine life, not one moment when we have lost the savour and relish of divine things.]
In order to a due IMPROVEMENT of this subject, let us reduce it to practice
1. Let us take of Christ's sacrifice, and both present it to God, and feed upon it in our souls
[All the Lord's people are “ kings and priests unto God:"4. all therefore have a right to present to him this offering, and to feed upon it: both of these things may be done by faith; and both must be done by us, if ever we would find acceptance with God. Let us think what would have been the state of the Jewish priests, if they had declined the execution of their office? Let us then put ourselves into their situation, and rest assured, that a neglect of this duty will bring upon ws God's heavy and eternal displeasure." On the other hand, if we believe in Christ, and feed on his body and blood, we shall be monuments of his love and mercy for evermore.s]
2. Let us devote ourselves to God in the constant exercise of all holy affections
[All we have is from the Lord; and all must be dedicated to his service. But let us be sure that, with our outward services, we give him our hearts. What if a man, having good corn and oil, had offered that which was damaged ? Should it have been accepted?" Or, if he had neglected to add the salt, should it have had any savour in God's estimation? So neither will the form of godliness be of any value without the power;? but, if we present ourselves, or any spiritual sacrifice whatever, it shall be accepted of God through Christ, to our present and eternal comfort.]
CXXXV. THE TRESPASS-OFFERING A TYPE OF
CHRIST. Lev. v. 17-19. If a soul sin, and commit any of these things
which are forbidden to be done by the commandments of the Lord; though he wist it not, yet is he guilty, and shall bear his iniquity. And he shall bring a ram without blemish out of the flock, with thy estimation, for a trespass-offering unto the priest: and the priest shall make an atonement for him concerning his ignorance wherein he erred, and, wist it not; and it shall be forgiven him. It is a trespass-offering: he hath certainly trespassed against the Lord.
THE ceremonial law was intended to lead men to Christ, and was calculated to do so in a variety of ways, It exhibited Christ in all his work and offices, and direct. ed every sinner to look to him. Moreover, the multitude of its rites and ceremonies had a tendency to break the spirits of the Lord's people, and to make them anxiously look for that period, when they should be liberated from a yoke which they were not able to bear, and render unto God a more liberal and spiritual service. It is in this latter view more especially that we are led to consider the trespass-offering, which was to be presented to God for the smallest error in the observation of any one ordinance, however ignorantly or unintentionally it might be committed. In order to elucidate the nature and intent of the trespass-offering, we shall 1. Shew the evil, and the remedy of sins of ignorance
It is often said that the intention constitutes the crimi. nality of an action. But this principle is not true to the extent that is generally supposed.
It is certain that ignorance extenuates the guilt of an action
Our Lord himself virtually acknowledged this, when he declared that the opportunities of information which he had afforded the Jews, greatly enhanced the guilt of those who rejected him.« And he even urged the ignorance of his murderers as a plea with his heavenly Father to forgive them;
Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do." St. Peter palliated their crime upon the very same principles; “ I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers.” And St. Paul speaks of himself as obtaining mercy
Acts iii. 17.
John ix. 41, and xv. 22.
b Luke xxiii. 34.
because what he had done was done ignorantly and in unbelief:1 whereas if he had done it, knowing whom he persecuted, he would most probably never have obtained mercy.)
But it is equally certain that ignorance cannot excuse us in the sight of God
A man is not blameless who unwittingly violates the laws of the land: he is obnoxious to a penalty, though from the consideration of his ignorance that penalty may be mitigated. Nor does any man consider ignorance as a sufficient plea for his servant's faults, if that servant had the means of knowing his master's will: he rather blames that servant for negligence and disrespect in not shewing greater solicitude to ascertain and perform his duty.
With respect to God, the passage before us shews in the strongest light that even the slightest error, even in the observance of a mere arbitrary institution, however unintentionally committed, could not be deemed innocent: on the contrary, it is said, “ He shall bring his offering; he hath certainly trespassed against the Lord.” Much more therefore must every violation of the moral law be attended with guilt, because there is an inherent malignity in every transgression of the moral law; and because man's ignorance of his duty, as well as his aversion to duty, is a fruit and consequence of the first transgression. Hence is there an eternal curse denounced against every one that continueth not in all things that are written in the book of the law to do them.
It is yet further evident that ignorance is no excuse before God, because St. Paul calls himself a blasphemer, and injurious, and a persecutor, yea, the very chief of sinners, for persecuting the church, notwithstanding he thought he ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus.f And God declares that men perish for lack of knowledge, and that, because they are of no understanding, he will therefore shew them no favour."]
The only remedy for sins, how light soever they may appear to us, is the atonement of Christ
[The high priest was appointed particularly to offer for the errors of the people. And as soon as ever an error, or unintentional transgression, was discovered, the person guilty of it was to bring his offering,k and to seek for mercy through the blood of atonement. There was indeed a distinction in
di Tim. i. 13.
e Gal. iii. 10. f Acts xxvi. 9. with 1 Tim. i. 15.
& Hos. iv. 6. de Isai. xxvii. 11. i Heb. ix. 7. with Ezek. xlv. 19, 20.
k The offering was to be of proper value according to the priest's « estimation.” Lev. xxvii. 2-8.