網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

provided you such a way of acceptance, and adopted such means to make you acquainted with it, and induce you to receive it.

Finally, I pray of all you Christian professors that the holiness of your characters and lives may silence the cavil of all who would murmur against the exercise of the grace of God in the choice of his servants. Let him be justified in the righteousness of his works before all the world, and do you shew forth such abundance of all those “ fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ to the glory and praise of God,” as may fully demonstrate that he hath indeed chosen you that you should be holy. The Saviour himself hath said, “Herein is my Father glorified that ye bear much fruit." Let it be

your

object to glorify him thus. Hold up the choice which he has made of you to the reverence of all mankind, and render his grace an object of desire to others by an exhibition of the sanctifying influence which it has had upon you.

Let such genuine piety, such humble meekness, such sincere religion, such purity of morals, such integrity in all circumstances, such ready charity, such active benevolence, ever appear in you, as that God's hand and grace may be seen in the buds blossoms and fruits of your productiveness, that so the objections and murmurings of all men against the ways of the gospel may be for ever removed, and God be justified, admired, and venerated by all.

SERMON III.

THE RED HEIFER.

NUMBERS XIX. 17, 18.

And for an unclean person they shall take of

the ashes of the burnt heifer of purification for sin, and running water shall be put thereto in a vessel : and a clean person shall take hyssop, and dip it in the water, and sprinkle it upon the tent, and upon all the vessels, and upon the persons that were there, and upon him that toucheth a bone, or one slain, or one dead, or a grave.

The ordinance, of which these words furnish a part of the description, and which we now come to consider, was a very extraordinary one, and any meaning to be attached to it would have been perfectly undiscoverable by us, had we not been instructed by the light of the gospel, that all the ceremonies of the fulfilled all its righteousness, yet was this altogether on our account, and not through any delinquency of his own: neither was there any compulsion laid on him, for he gave himself for our sins, a voluntary offering to his Father's justice. He says of himself, “ I lay down my life, that I might take it again ; no man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.” Thus in all these particulars may our thoughts be led, by comparison, to the great divine deliverer of mankind.

Pursuing the account of the law respecting the heifer, we find that being thus selected, it was to be taken by Eleazar, not by Aaron, because this was not a sacrifice, and also, we suppose, because uncleanness, as we shall see, would be contracted in the ceremony, which the high priest was to avoid. By him it was to be taken without the camp, and there killed in his presence: he should sprinkle the blood with his finger seven times before the tabernacle, and then the heifer was to be wholly consumed by fire, and the priest

was moreover to take cedar-wood, and hyssop, and scarlet, and cast it into the midst of the burning of the heifer. He was then to wash his clothes, and bathe his flesh, and be unclean until the evening. The person also who had burned the heifer was to wash and bathe in like manner, and be unclean until the evening. Finally, the ashes were to be gathered up by a person previously clean, but who by doing even this would be rendered unclean ; and the ashes were to be laid up in a clean place without the camp, and kept for use as long as they lasted. Now here we recall to our minds the violent and painful death of the divine Saviour, who moreover, that he might answer to these ceremonies even in minute circumstances, suffered without the gate; and here also we remember his blood of sprinkling. These are comparisons which were frequently drawn for you as we passed through the book of Leviticus.

II. I now proceed, in the second place, to consider the use of this water of separation. It is said to be “ a purification for sin,” and it was to be applied for the purifying of those

« 上一頁繼續 »