« PreviousContinue »
prophecy was a demonstration to the contemporaries of Jeremiah, that all the woes denounced against Jerusalem, the Jews, and the surrounding cities and nations, should be fulfilled. So impossible is it to imagine that these men spoke their own words, instead of speaking as they were directed, urged, and impelled by a divine power. The Neologian writers, however (I could quote many in
stances), make the alleged fulfilment of a prophecy, the proof that the book or passage which records it, was written after the event. May God in his mercy preserve the Christianity of England from the poison of the infidelity which perverts talent and learning, to the overthrow of the evidences, the denial of the doctrines, and the destruction of the sacred influences of the Holy Scriptures.
EXODUS XXIV. 1, 2. DEUTERONOMY V. 30, 31.
EXODUS XX. 24-26. XXIV. 3—18.
TITLE.—The builders of the ark were drowned in the deluge. The partakers
of the miraculous gifts were banished from the society in heaven of those they helped to save. Nadab and Abihu are called up to the higher parts of Mount Sinai, though they were afterwards destroyed by fire from the Lord. An altar is raised, a covenant is made by sacrifice and sprinkling of blood, between God and the people. Nadab and Abihu, and the elders of Israel, like Peter, James, and John, at the Transfiguration, see the manifestation of the glory of God, and the lawgiver of Israel admitted to that glory.
INTRODUCTION.—The question has been often discussed with more vehemence than usefulness, whether the baptized Christian, who has received the grace of God, and who has known, experienced, and enjoyed in the heart the convincing, converting, comforting, and refreshing influences of the Holy Spirit of God, can ever finally fall away. I will not attempt to answer, in this place, the question of the possibility or impossibility of this great calamity, but of this the Christian may be assured, that he alone is safe, who believes that the best Christian may be endangered by temptation to the worst of sins; that the battle against evil will continue from the morning till the evening of life; that if the whole armour, the panoply of God, be not constantly worn, the wiles of the devil may ensnare, and the fiery darts destroy the soul, and therefore, that whatever be the fate of others, he himself may finally fall away. This lesson is taught us, not only by the consciousness of the continuance of evil passions, and of evil propensities within us, though we may have attained the highest privileges and blessings which attend and follow the partaking of the holy sacrament and communion with God; but by numerous passages of Scripture which represent the most favoured of the Church and people of God, as subject to the law of sin, working within the soul. The builders of the ark were destroyed in the deluge. We cannot
We cannot suppose that they all, every one of them, excepting Noah and his family, disbelieved the preaching of the Prophet, and were all ignorant of the strivings of the Holy Spirit with their souls. Among the numbers that shall be rejected by the Judge of the world, we are expressly informed there
shall be many who have been endued with power from on high to work miracles, and therefore to convert souls to God. The workers of miracles, we must believe, could not always have held the truth in unrighteousness, yet they were refused admittance into that holy society whose numbers they had been enabled to encrease. So it is also with some, whose names occur in the present Section. The law of the ten commandments had now been given from Sinai, and Nadab and Abihu, the two elder sons of Aaron, and the expected successors therefore to the privileges of their father, were commanded, in conjunction with their father, with Moses, and with seventy of the elders of Israel, to ascend to the mountain, and to make a covenant with God, in their own names and in the name of the people, to observe the law, and to secure their title to the blessedness of being the peculiar people of God. Nadab and Abihu obeyed the command ; but though they did so, we shall read in another part of the narrative that they were struck dead by fire from heaven, on account of their disobedience to the known will of God. And when we consider the wonderful events recorded in this Section, we shall, I think, certainly cease to believe that any, even the highest attainment of Christian perfection, can be regarded as a certain and undoubted proof of the impossibility of our falling from the grace and Spirit of God.-On comparing the accounts in Exodus and Deuteronomy, of the events that followed the giving of the ten commandments, we find that an altar of earth was directed to be made (Exod. xx. 24—26), that the people were required to return to their tents (Deut. v. 30), while Moses was commanded to remain near the miraculous fire that attested the presence of the Lord (Deut. v. 31): we read in the xxivth chapter of Exodus, that Moses obeyed the command that he should build an altar, and that he rose up early in the morning to do so; and in the same chapter we read of the covenant made at that altar between God and the people.--I consider this rising up early in the morning to build the altar, to have occurred the day after the command : and I place, therefore, the two accounts together. Let us then consider the whole narrative as it is given in Exodus, as well as the additions to it in the Epistle to the Hebrews. After Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, with the seventy elders, were commanded to come nearer to the glory of the Lord, and the people were directed to return to their tents ; Moses is commanded to build an altar, which should not be, like those they were afterwards permitted to make, of stone, but it was to be of earth only, in opposition to the altars of the gods of the nations around them. He built it under the hill, in contradistinction to the idolaters, who built their altars on high places (Exod. xxiv. 4). And he built twelve pillars, or set up twelve stones, to represent the people who had promised to keep the laws and judgments of Jehovah (ver. 4), while the altar represented the God of Israel, who had promised a blessing on those who served Him. Having done this, he sent a certain number of young men, to whom the office of sacrificing had been committed, who killed and offered burnt-offerings and peaceofferings (ver. 5); and when the victims were thus killed and sacrificed, then Moses took half the blood of the calves and goats that had been slain, and mingled some water with the blood; he then took some hyssop tied together with scarlet wool, as St. Paul relates—and because the covenant between God and the people was to be ratified, and no covenant could be ratified but by the blood of victims, and a covenant over dead victims was valid, but not while the ratifying victim lived-Moses, therefore, with half the blood sprinkled the altar (ver. 6); then, after reading the words of the covenant, and hearing the vow of the people, “ All that the Lord said we will do” (ver. 7),—he took the other half of the blood, and sprinkled it on the pillars which represented the people. “Behold," he said, “the blood of the covenant, which being alike sprinkled on the altar, which represents God, and on the pillars, which represent the people, binds both in one covenant, which God will not break, and which Israel ought perfectly and fully to keep.”- Such is the meaning of the sprinkling of the blood of the victims (ver. 8). When all this had been done, Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, went higher still up the mountain (ver. 9); and there they were permitted to see the glory of God, the pure flame above the brightness of the sun, from which the God who brought them out of Egypt was sometimes manifested. Beneath that glory there seemed a sapphire pavement; or, as the Hebrew is, there seemed as the work of bricks of sapphire.' In Egypt they had made bricks of clay; here they saw as it were bricks of sapphire. The glory of God represented heaven, and the sight before them seemed to denote that the very cares and afflictions of earth, when they are sanctified to the soul, become the materials of the happiness to the soul in the future life ; for that work of sapphire brick was “like the strength of heaven in its clearness.” When the mortal puts on its immortality, the remembrance of the bondage of evil shall constitute one part at least of the felicity of the Israel of Israel.—The spirits of Moses and Elias spake with Christ on the Mount of Transfiguration, on the sufferings He must endure at Jerusalem. Christ, before He resumed His glory, endured the cross, and suffered the shame. Calvary must be ascended with pain ; as well as Mount Thabor with pleasure. Both are before us in our road to heaven, the home of our Father. Such was the appearance which they were permitted to see. The nobles of Israel beheld the God of their fathers ; and though that God neither put forth His hand to destroy them, nor laid His hand upon them to set them apart for the priestly office which His Providence intended to be for others; still they saw God, they did eat and drink of the offerings, and they held communion with Him as the God of the covenant (ver. 11.)—But as there are degrees of sorrow for the condemned, so are there degrees of happiness to those who hold communion with God; and as the people had been commanded to remain at a greater distance than the elders of Israel, so now the elders of Israel were not admitted to the glory of which Moses was to be a partaker. Moses was commanded to ascend higher to receive the tables of stone, and other laws and commandments, and he went with Joshua higher on the mountain (ver. 13); and there, while Aaron and' Hur directed the people, after he bad waited near the glory of God six days, he was called on the seventh day, the Sabbath-day, by a voice from the midst of the cloud and fire. And like as Christ was seen by Peter, James, and John, at the Transfiguration, so Moses was seen by the elders of Israel, obeying the voice which came forth
from the cloud. - And while the glory of the Lord was as devouring fire, he was seen to go into the midst of that cloud, and there to remain forty days and forty nights. This same appearance of the cloud was granted unto Peter, James, and John. Moses and Elias, the giver and restorer of the law, were beheld to be partakers of the same glory with the Son of God, the obeyer, the establisher, and yet the superseder of the greater portion of the law of Moses. The same appearance of the glory of God shall be manifested at the end of the world, and the whole Church of God, the Patriarchs, the Israel of Israel, Moses, Elias, Christ, the followers of Christ, of Peter, James, and John, shall all form one society, to eat and drink of the blessings of the kingdom of God, to be the eye-witnesses of His glory, to remain with Him for ever.—The whole narrative before us forms a picture, or type, or emblem, of the gradations by which the soul of man ascends to the highest happiness of his immortality. First, he hears God's law, then he offers by faith the better sacrifice of the Lamb, whose blood is the blood of the New Covenant. He enters into covenant with God. He eats and drinks in His presence, as a guest at His holy altar and table. He ascends higher and higher on the mount, till, like Christ at His transfiguration, or like Moses at Sinai, he loses sight of earth and earthly things, and partakes of the Divine nature as the end of his promised reward. He who has revealed these great things, invites us to understand His law, keep His covenant, and partake His glory. And never, never shall we fall away from the possession of these more than earthly blessings, if to our knowledge, faith, and hope, we add jealousy over our own hearts, watchfulness and humility, with perseverance, and patience, and prayer.
EXODUS XXIV. 1, 2.
. ch. 28. 1.
1 And he said unto Mo-off.
Lord, thou, and Aaron, shall come near the LORD: ever. 13, 15,
Israel; and worship ye afar people go up with him.
DEUTERONOMY V. 30, 31.
30 Go say to them, Get statutes, and the judgments, you into your tents again. which thou shalt teach
31 But as for thee, stand them, that they may do • Gal. 3. 19. thou here by me, d and I them in the land which I
will speak unto thee all the give them to possess it.
EXODUS XX. 24-26.
24 An altar of earth and shalt sacrifice thereon thou shalt make unto me, thy burnt offerings, and thy
Ezra 6. 12.
CHRIST peace offerings, e thy sheep, stone: for if thou lift up CHRONET
and thine oxen: in all thy tool upon it, thou hast Lev. 1. 2. places where I record my polluted it. 11, 21. & it. name I will come unto
26 Neither shalt thou Neh. 1. 9. & 16.6. thee, and I will 8 bless thee. go up by steps unto mine Jer. 7. 10, 12. 25 And "if thou wilt make altar, that thy nakedness Deut
. 7. 13. 2 Chron. 6. 6. me an altar of stone, thou be not discovered there87. 16. & 12. shalt not tbuild it of hewn on.
Ps. 74. 7.
II. & 26. 2.
& 9. 3.
Deut. 27. 5. Josh. 8. 31. 1 Heb. build them with hewing.
EXODUS XXIV. 3-18.
i ver. 7.
cb. 19. 8. Deut. 5. 27.
Ezek. 1. 26. & 10. I.
• Matt. 17. 2.
& 31. 45.
ch. 33. 20. Gen. 16. 13. & 32. 80.
3 And Moses came and 9 4 Then P went up Mo-P ver. 1. told the people all the words ses, and Aaron, Nadab, and of the LORD, and all the Abihu, and seventy of the judgments: and all the elders of Israel : people answered with one 10 And they saw the 9 See Gen. 32. voice, and said, i All the God of Israel : and there ch. 3. 6.
words which the LORD hath was under his feet as it were Judg. 13.22. Gal. 3. 19, 20. said will we do.
a paved work of a "sapphire with ch. 33. 1 Deut. 31. 9. 4 And Moses' wrote all stone, and as it were the John 1. 18.
the words of the LORD, and body of heaven in his clear- Tom. 6. 16.
the nobles Rev. 4. 3. under the hill, and twelve of the children of Israel he Gen. 28, 18. k pillars, according to the laid not his hand : also'ch. 19. 21.
twelve tribes of Israel. u they saw God, and did 'eat' ver. 10.
5 And he sent young and drink. men of the children of Is
12 1 And the LORD said Deut. 4. 33. rael, which offered "burnt unto Moses, " Come up to th: 31.54. offerings, and sacrificed me into the mount, and be ch. 18. 12. peace offerings of oxen unto there : and I will give thee the LORD.
* tables of stone, and a law, ! Hebr. 9. 18. 6 And Moses 'took half and commandments which Deut. 5. 22.
of the blood, and put it in I have written ; that thou
13 And Moses rose up,
read in the audience of the the mount of God.
that the LORD hath said elders, Tarry ye here for us,
8 And Moses took the you: and, behold, Aaron
the people, and said, Be- any man have any matters • Hebr. 9. 20. hold •the blood of the cove- to do, let him come unto 1 Pet. 1. 2. nant, which the Lord hath them, made with you concerning
15 And Moses went all these words.
up into the mount, and
11 Cor. 10. 18. * ver. 2,15,18. ich. 31. 18.&
32. 15, 16.
• Heb. 9. 19.
& 13. 20.