« 上一頁繼續 »
glory those most precious parts of all that he has bestowed upon you ; and be assured that however early this spiritual offering be made, you will never regret having remembered your Creator in the days of your youth: but when “ the years draw nigh, when you shall say, I have no pleasure in them,” when old age and all its infirmities oppress you, when the enjoyments of sense shall cease and the energies of the mind are broken, when the dust is about to return to the earth as it was and the spirit unto God who gave it,” then your
richest consolation will spring from the communion which you can hold with God; then it will be a wonderful comfort, if you can look back and say with Obadiah, “I have feared the Lord from my youth.” Thus indeed you will come to your end “ as a shock of corn in his season,” and be gathered by the heavenly reaper's hand, ripe, fully ripe, for the enjoyment of the eternal Father's love.
The oil which was poured upon the flour or the corn intimates to us that every offering which we offer should have that anointing of the holy one of which St. John speaks so largely in his first Epistle. That oil of divine grace, that principle of holiness, which the Spirit of the Lord pours out upon the true believer's heart, is indispensible to the acceptance of our offerings. Our hearts must be under the influence of gracious dispositions and emotions: the Spirit must be poured out upon us, producing love, gratitude, reverence, with all the other pious, devotional, and religious feelings, or else, “ though we offer him burnt-offerings and meat-offerings, he will not accept them.” In the very best frame in which we can offer neither ourselves nor our services can deserve his acceptance. This is given wholly to the merit of the great sacrifice of Christ. But that gracious work of the Spirit of God is equally necessary. We must be sanctified by the Spirit, as well as justified by Christ.
As the whole gospel assures us that there can be no salvation in the absence of either the work of Christ or the grace of the Spirit, so the necessity of both seems to be plainly intimated by the union of both oil and frankincense in the meat-offering of the Jews. For, as I stated in my description of the tabernacle, I take the frankincense to represent that divine intercession of Christ, by which he perfumes, and renders of a sweet smell, all the prayers, praises, good works, and holy affections, of his servants. That the frankincense is applicable only to Christ is evident from its being wholly consumed by fire. No part of his work is borne by any but himself; nothing renders our services acceptable but his atoning, justifying, interceding grace.
Yet when all desert of our own works is renounced, when we attribute all the favour and acceptance with which we meet to the merit and mediation of Christ, then our services for his honour and glory, our oblations to his priests or poor, our works of beneficence and kindness of any kind for his sake, are spiritual services, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ." The Apostle Paul who says in his Epistle to the Ephesians, that “ Christ hath loved us and bath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour,” says also in the Epistle to the Philippians, who had kindly ministered to his necessities, I have “received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God." I say then on the whole, , that when the heart is under the gracious influences of the Spirit of God, as represented by the oil on the meat-offering, and when the whole honour of acceptance is ascribed to Christ, and we glory in nothing but his cross and intercession, as we learn from the frankincense, then even a cup of cold water given to a disciple, in the name of a disciple, is an offering with which God is well pleased, and all our services, thus performed and thus regarded by us, will go up, as the prayers and alms of Cornelius, for a memorial before God, like that of the meat-offering, of which he will not be unmindful.
Something of the same kind is intimated to us by the prohibition of the use of leaven and honey. Leaven is a well-known emblem of pride and hypocrisy. These swell the heart
and puff it up with self-importance and selfdeceit. This was especially the leaven of the Pharisees, who made their
gave their alms, and did all, to be seen of men. Leaven is also used as an emblem of malice and wickedness, as the Apostle writes respecting the Christian passover, that is, the sacrament of the Lord's supper,
“ Therefore let us keep the feast, not with the old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” Honey may be well considered as the emblem of sensual indulgencies and worldly pleasures; and these also we are well assured are perfectly inconsistent with the acceptance of any offering which we can present unto God. Expressly are we told that we “ cannot serve God and Mammon,” and that “ if any man love the world, the love of the father is not in him," nay even that “the friendship of the world is enmity with God.” And how are those marked with abhorrence who are “ lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God!" Yet alas, how many are ever to be found wlio