« 上一頁繼續 »
sacred offering, though only a part was expressly offered to God, and that even the remainder, though given to the priests, was to be considered as given to him; or the intention of its being thus named might be that God might be thus put in mind of his covenant. The remainder of the meat-offering was the portion of the priests, and constituted a part of those means by which God provided for their subsistance, and from which it is said that they who wait at the altar are partakers with the altar. Sometimes the meat-offering instead of being made of fine flour, consisted of the first fruits of the corn.
In this case the ears were to be taken when full but yet green, to be parched before the fire, the corn to be beaten out, and offered with oil and frankincense and salt as the former. Thus I have given you some account of the law of the meat-offering and its ceremonies : and I now proceed to set before you such spiritual instruction as I think may be derived from it.
The meat-offering, as being composed of the fruits of the earth, may be looked upon as a thankful ackuowledgement of God's
providence. And we, and all his creatures, as well as the nation of the Jews, have abundant cause to honour God, who maketh the corn to grow for the use of man, and blesses the fields with fertility for our subsistance and comfort. We
may well be thankful for the gift, and honour the giver. And we may learn to shew our sense of these bounties which he bestows upon us, and our thankfulness for them, by consecrating a portion of them as a memorial of his goodness. We are not now to offer them up by fire, but there are still those who are appointed by him as receivers of his people's acknowledgements. The ministers of his word still claim their support. It is the rule of the gospel deduced from these offerings of the ancient church, as the Apostle writes to the Corinthians, “ Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple ? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar? even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.” Moreover, the Lord hath other receivers of his people's offerings, the poor, who for that purpose shall never cease out of the land ; and whom, like his priests, ye have always with you. And all such gifts are termed sacrifices by the Apostle, who says,
" To do good, and to communicate, forget not, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.” But oh! that the Lord's ministers, and his poor, yea, and those who are offerers too, may all know that “man doth not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God," and desire and obtain " meat to eat which the world knows not of.” And again, though ministers and poor have a scriptural claim upon the offerings of the Lord's people for their support, yet neither should be craving, or expecting; both should learn to be content with what is done for them, and thankful for all that is received. If we, the ministers of Christ, or you, the poor, claim these things as our right, and murmur about the want of them, we are no better in our spirit and conduct than those who think that the labourer is not worthy of his hire, or those who withhold
more than is meet, or those who would suffer a fellow-creature to perish. Take heed and beware of all such feelings; a “man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesses.'
As the meat-offering was to be made of the finest of the flour, I may hence again take occasion to observe, that all that we offer to God should be the best of its kind ; and this observation applies more particularly to the various endowments which God has bestowed upon us. Almost all persons have some thing for which they are more or less distinguished above those around them. Some have rank and influence, some have wealth, some have learning, some have fluency of speech, some have great amiability of temper, some peculiar powers of pleasing. Oh! that all would employ the talent which they possess for the glory of God, and consecrate that fine flour to his service, not studying to be admired or envied for it, but to render it useful.
The meat-offering of the corn taken from the green ears may instruct us, not only to
give our best, but our earliest services to the Lord. How happy
How happy would it be if our young people felt this truth! How happy for us their ministers, their parents, and friends, but above all how happy for themselves! Oh! that by any recommendations or persuasions we could induce you to lay your first ripe fruits upon the altar of God, as a memorial of your love and gratitude to him, and of your
humble earnest desire to be members of his covenant. Oh! that the principles of true piety and devotedness to God might mark your early years, and give earnest of a glorious harvest of faith and holiness as you advance in life. Remember, my young friends, that God has given you, immediately from himself, those souls which are within you, those immortal souls which will now from henceforth be capable of the most exquisite feeling of happiness and misery, which never more can cease to be, never can lose the consciousness of their existence, or of the manner in which they have felt and acted during their time of probation in union with the body. Oh! give to his service and