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principal blessing pronounced by Aaron and his sons under the Old Testament dispensation as we find, (Numbers vi. 23,)“ Speak unto Aaron and unto his sons, saying, On this wise ye shall bless the children of Israel, saying unto them, The Lord bless thee and keep thee : the Lord make his face to shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: the Lord lift up his countenance upon thee and give thee peace.” Its value appears also from the forın of the apostolic salutations and benedictions, which run almost uniformly in these terms, “ Grace be unto you, and peace from God our father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ.” The ministers of God in every age have no better blessing to give, or happier tidings to announce. “ How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace,” sung the prophet Isaiah. Glory to God in the highest, and in earth peace, good will towards men,” sung a host of heavenly angels when the birth of Jesus was announced.
How grateful should we be to him who has
procured us this blessing! It is said even of men that “ Blessed are the peace-makers.” And if a blessing is on him who only reconciles two fellow-creatures to each other, how very blessed must he be who reconciles God and man! Who could have done this but he who was both God and man ? This was the daysman between us, who laid his hand
upon both.” This was he who stood in the way between the opposed parties, and died, yes even died himself, that they might again be one, died that we might not be utterly consumed. Oh! that wondrous act, which has so powerful an influence. Neither party, if we may venture so to speak, could withstand it. God was moved by it to cast aside his great indignation: man is moved by it to cast away all the arms of his rebellion. It melts God to pity, and man to penitence. It makes God ready to pardon, and man ready to desire pardon. It inclines God to hear, and man
It makes God to hold out his hand with the offer of peace, and man to fall on his knees and sue for it.
“ But there is no peace,” saith my God,
“ to the wicked.” This is strongly intimated in the law of the peace-offering, (vii. 20, 21,) which forbade any one that was unclean to eat of it. My brethren, I pray you to remember that every soul of man, who lives wickedly, and continues in wickedness impenitently, and dies therein, never can have peace. He can have no peace with God while he lives; and hereafter he can have nothing but weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth eternally. Oye, who are living in sin, depart from iniquity, and cast away all your transgressions. Humble yourselves penitently before the God who is merciful to the penitent. Cast yourselves upon the offering of his son Jesus, for he justifies those who believe in him. Seek peace through his death that you may experience peace of conscience now, and hereafter enjoy peace, happiness, and glory with God in his kingdom of heaven.
LEVIT. IV. 3.
If the priest that is anointed do sin according
to the sin of the people : then let him bring for his sin which he hath sinned, a young bullock without blemish, unto the Lord, for a sin-offering
The essential doctrines of divine truth are enforced upon us by every view which we take of any part of the Mosaic law, and particularly the holiness of God, and the sinfulness of man. The holiness of God is especially presented to us by the ceremony which we have now to consider, called the sin-offering. For it intimates that the holiness of God is such that it cannot tolerate sin however small. Let sin be committed in any way, and there must be a sacrifice to atone for it. Hence in the ceremonial law an offering was required even when the sin committed was done in ignorance. In this view the ceremony which we have now to consider is full of importance. For many may be ready to think that an offence committed unintentionally or unknowingly cannot incur the charge of guilt. But the law of God determines otherwise. It expressly declares that if any commit a sin through ignorance, they are guilty : it expressly provides that a sacrifice shall be presented to make an atonement for them. The sin, it is true, is not so great as if it were done knowingly, wilfully, and presumptuously; yet still it is sin. In that dreadful sin of the Jews, when they “ killed the prince of life,” St. Peter, extenuating it as far as he could, says, “ And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers,” yet he adds, «