« 上一頁繼續 »
of their religious duties and services, they omit them the more, perhaps altogether, and pretend that their minds are so distressed, that they cannot go up to the house of the Lord or attend at his sacramental table. These things ought not to be so. suffering friends, let every earthly affliction lead you nearer to God, make you more attentive to all parts of your service to him, and teach you to seek your comfort in the ordinances of his house. Oh! never sit at home brooding over your bereavements, or whatever other cause may fill your hearts with grief, but go to the holy house of God, and there shew your submission and love. Go to that house of which he has said, “In this place will I give peace.” There, my brethren, yes there, in the obedient fulfilment of every duty to God, you will be “accepted in his sight,” obtain also the testimony of an approving conscience, and find your sorrows soothed, and your burdens lightened.
THE PURIFICATION OF THE LEPER.
LEVIT. XIII. 45, 46.
And the Leper in whom the plague is, his
clothes shall be rent, and his head bare, and he shall put a covering upon his upper lip, and shall cry unclean, unclean. All the days wherein the plague shall be in him, he shall be defiled; he is unclean : he shall dwell alone, without the camp shall his habitation be.
We have seen much of the various offerings which the Jews under the law had to bring to make atonement for their sins, whereby the ceremonial guilt which they had contracted might be forgiven them. And in these things the gospel was preached unto them, and some shadowy intimations given them of the means by which their moral guilt might be put away. But another great truth had to be exbibited to them. There is such a thing as natural depravity and inherent corruption, an infection deeply seated in the very constitution of man, brought with him into the world at his birth, and breaking out upon him in various moral defilements. How was this great truth, which is so clearly revealed to us, which is so necessary to be both known and felt by all, and which, when known and felt, brings men so directly to Christ, how, I ask, was this great leading truth of the gospel shadowed forth unto the Jews in their preparatory state?
It was conveyed to them, indistinctly indeed, but yet most aptly, as it now appears to us who see it by the light of the gospel, by that multiplicity of enactments, under which God placed them, by which they would contract ceremonial uncleanness. From natural causes, by bodily diseases, by the touch of various things and animals, they were continually becoming ceremonially unclean. The thoughtful Jew could not help perceiving how frequently he became defiled by some one or other of these circumstances;
he would necessarily suffer great inconvenience from the laws which related to them and would feel great pain of mind at being banished so repeatedly from God and his ordinances. Now this was the method which God in his wisdom took to intimate to them, in that preparatory dispensation, the universal defilement of the human race, which is set forth so plainly in the gospel. And while this truth thus obscurely shone upon them, the other great truths of the gospel connected with it were at the same time shadowed forth, namely, the necessity of being both cleansed and sanctified, with the methods by which both cleansing and sanctification might be obtained. The requirement of God by these laws is expressed in the eleventh chapter, the forty-fourth and forty-fifth verses, “ I am the Lord your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am boly.” But they were necessarily often defiled, and made ceremonially unholy; and then the Lord shewed them that atonement must be made by sacrifice, and that they must be purified by blood, and sanctified by
oil. Now what does the Lord require of us but that we should be holy? And inasmuch as we are not holy, but defiled by sin, we also are required to bring a sacrifice, the sacrifice of Christ, we are also to be purified by his blood, and sanctified by his Spirit.
It is not my intention to discuss all the various ways by which the Jews might become ceremonially unclean, nor the minute differences in the manner of their purification. It seems sufficient for my purpose of expounding these books of Moses to you to take the case of leprosy alone. This will furnish us with all the great features of ceremonial defilement, and of the laws relating to its purification.
The leprosy was a most extraordinary disease, and the kind of it with which the Jews were afflicted, was peculiar to that nation. It was often, some think always, judicially inflicted as a punishment from God for some particular and grievous sin, of which Miriam, Ussiah, and Gehazi, are striking and wellknown instances. It was often found in garments of woollen or linen, and also in their