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us at once with joy and humility; with joy that we have such testimonies given to us ; with humility that we are utterly unworthy of even the least of his mercies. Every repeated or increased token of his « kindness towards us in Christ Jesus" should humble us in the very dust before him, making us more and more conscious that this is far beyond our deserts. That such poor services as we can offer him should meet with such returns would indeed be beyond all comprehension and belief. But what may we not believe and what may we not expect when we think of the richness and value of the offering offered, and the service performed by the Priest who now sitteth on the right hand of the throne of God? There, Christian brethren, are the merits and the worthiness. There is the procurer of every token of acceptance and favour; and the more simply we trust in his merits, and the more entirely we rely on his sacrifice, the more of such tokens shall we assuredly receive.
Alas that any of you should be negligent of Christ, and of his great undertaking on
What possible hope can you have of the mercy of God, or of any testimonies of your acceptance, while you neither bring the appointed sacrifice, nor rely on the consecrated High Priest ? The appointed sacrifice, even the burnt-offering, and the sin-offering, and the peace-offering, and the meat-offering, is the sacrifice of Christ, which you are to bring, by faith, to the altar. He is also the consecrated High Priest of the Christian church, and there is no way of access or possibility of acceptance except through him. Without him every service that you could offer would be rejected. A multitude of sacrifices would be to no purpose ; oblations would be vain; incense would be an abomination; even the solemn meeting would be iniquity. Let me then beseech you to apply your whole soul to the sacrifice and merits of Christ, that you may be blessed by him, that from him also you may receive the spiritual tokens of acceptance, and finally partake of his glory in the day when he shall again appear to judgment.
And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron,
took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the Lord, which he commanded them not. And there went out fire from the Lord, and devoured them, and they died before the Lord. Then Moses said unto Aaron, This is it that the Lord spake, saying, I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me, and before all the people I will be glorified. And Aaron held
WE read here of one of those awful visitations by which God has in different ages manifested his resentment against sin, and his power to punish it. Generally he beareth long; and hence too many are found who presume upon impunity, nay, who not only do not fear and repent of their first sin, but repeat it again and again, and even proceed to other and greater transgressions. Thus we find it written, “ Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil." But the scriptures also record instances in which God has not unfrequently exhibited his righteous indignation against sinners and their transgressions in a manner which cannot be mistaken, and which ought to operate as a powerful warning to all who read or hear of them. The present is one of them. May God shed a holy fear of himself upon all our hearts, as we consider it.
I. Let us, in the first place, consider who and what they were upon whom this judgment was executed. They were Nadab and Abihu, the two eldest sons of Aaron. From the expectations which are naturally entertained of the eldest sons, they would be regarded by Aaron as the hopes of his family.
And not only so, but they had already been much distinguished by God. These two had been expressly permitted by name to go with their father to Mount Sinai, when God was. about to deliver the law to him. They were admitted nearer than the rest of the congregation ; they had a glorious manifestation of the Lord : we read in Exodus, the twentyfourth chapter and ninth verse, “ Then went ир
Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel : and they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness." What a privilege was this which these young men had enjoyed! How abiding a sense of the majesty of God should it have impressed upon them!
But besides this, they had just been consecrated, along with their two younger brothers, Eleazar and Ithamar, to be the priests of the Lord, while their father had been exalted to the dignity of high priest, to which office Nadab, as the first-born, might look forward to succeed. They had just been assisting