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“the First-fruits from the dead," and the Forerunner of his redeemed, to sit down at the right hand of God, as the accepted token that the “first-fruits being holy, the lump is holy;" and all his have therein the earnest that where he is they also shall be. The repetition of atonements, whilst expressive of their inefficiency, proclaimed the fact that an efficient atonement was looked for; and that whilst our-sin made it imperatively needful that some availing sacrifice must be found, God himself had secretly “provided for himself a sacrifice," that in due time should be manifested as capable of “ making an end of sin, finishing transgression, and bringing in an everlasting righteousness.” The cleansings and divers washings testify of Him who should come “ by water and by blood,” and who besides
sanctifying the people with his blood," would also “cleanse them with the washing of water by the word,” and “shed on them abundantly, through himself, the washing of regeneration, and the renewing of the Holy Ghost” (Eph. v. 25, 26 ; Titus iii. 4, &c.)
4. The priesthood is also a shadow of Christ. All the priests, all their adornments, all their offices, find their antitype in Christ, who bears the real Urim and Thummim, the true breastplate of judgment; and has superseded all other priesthoods in his one sole sufficient office. Since he came, a “High Priest of good things to come,” all other priests are false priests, assuming an office which Christ alone bears ; ever himself "living to make intercession” for his people, and trusting the advocacy of their cause before the High Court of heaven to no other. He is the one Priest, the perfect Priest, the sufficient Priest, the ever-living Priest ; and every minor priesthood is, in him, wholly dispensed with. Every one of his followers has free and perfect access to him for all purposes of confession, repentance, and pardon, as well as for
spiritual counsel and advice. 5. The altar testifies of him ; and its testimony is three-fold. The altar is the place for worship; Christ alone is the place in which God is found ; God's living temple, to which all the spiritual worshippers come ; and coming, find it is there God has “recorded his Name, and it is there he blesses his people.” The altar is the place of refuge and safety, where the guilty finds protection from merited death; and thus is the shadow of the true “refuge from the storm, and covert from the tempest ;" to which, as the “Hope set before us in the gospel,” we all have “fled for refuge;" and have found a sure and stedfast anchor to our tempest-tossed souls. The altar fed those who served it. It was prescribed that “they who serve the altar shall live of the altar;" so Christ feeds with his own flesh and blood all that come to him, and makes them to eat of the “ marrow and fatness of his house ; and, living with the Son, they are made free by him, and have, as we may say, the freedom of the house granted to them; and their“ provision and store are blessed of God," and his “poor are satisfied with bread," even the bread of eternal life.
6. The promises of the land are shadows. The Egypt from which they came figures forth our bondage under the law. The wilderness through which they passed, our varied and ever-changing experience in life. The Jordan, the gloomy path of death, through which the ark of God alone can make a dry-shod passage for us. And the land itself is a testimony that there remaineth a rest for the people of God, to which they all shall attain by the power of that Hand that makes their “shoes as iron and brass, and as their day so their strength.”
Other points might be named, but these may serve to suggest others to the reader's mind.
If these shadows are expressive, what shall we say of the very Image ? For it is evident there is a true Image of God referred to. This very Image is Jesus "the brightness of the Father's glory, and the express Image of his person,” and being so, we may draw the inference : If we learn something from the examination of the shadows of the law, how much more we shall learn from the comtemplation of Him who is the substance of the shadow, and the very, true, express Image of God's person! They are " a shadow of good things to come ; but the body (or substance), is of Christ” (Col. ii. 17), Adam was an image of God, and as such possessed Godlike qualities, such as holiness, wisdom, dominion ; bút by sin he lost all but the
semblance of them : Christ possesses God-like qualities, as much higher than Adam's as the difference between the Creator and the creature. He has not lost his perfections, but having been obedient unto death, he inherits the throne of glory; and is anointed with the oil of gladness above all his fellows. His complex person of Deity and humanity is the substance of Divine revelation ; is the
mystery of godliness ;" the “wisdom of God in a mystery;"“the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory.” To know him, is to know what all the shadows can only reflect without describing: He is the living Word of God, and life, who in himself contains the “fulness of the Godhead bodily;" and "all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge ;" expressing in his own person, to the man of spiritual understanding, the “mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ.” As the very ever-living Image of God, and his covenants of promise, he “sits on the right hand of the Majesty on high ;" appears in the “holy places not made with hands;" as the “ Minister of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man;" and also the everlasting Prophet, Priest, and King, of all his true followers ; who, seeing Him behold the realization of those hopes which, so far as human work was concerned, had entirely become dashed, (Heb. ii. 9, &c.) March, 1869.
THOUGHTS ON ISA. xxxv. 1, 2.
(Continued from p. 34.)
“ The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice and blossoin as the rose. It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing: the glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon: they shall see the glory of the Lord, and the excellency of our God."
2. Let us look at the future glory. We may look at it, but truly it requires the pen of a very“ ready writer” to describe that glory. The desert “ shall rejoice,” and that “with joy and singing.” It shall blossom“ as the rose," and that " abundantly.” It shall have a great gift, even “ the glory of Lebanon, and the excellency of Carmel and Sharon,” shall be given to it; and “they,” the inhabitants thereof, shall see a sight never to be forgotten through the coming ages of eternity—“the glory of the Lord, the excellency of our God.”
What a string of blessings ! The twelve stones on Aaron's breast were nothing to this set of precious jewels - they were but emblems, these are great realities those emblems were not the property of Aaron, but were to be worn by each high priest in succession, these realities are the “inheritance of the saints : " they cannot part with it, and none shall wrest it from them. Let us glance at these blessings:
First in the train comes joy. David says (Psa. ix. 14), "I will rejoice in thy salvation.” He had experienced its greatness, he had tasted its joys, he had discovered that it was nigh unto them that feared God ; he could testify that the Lord taketh pleasure in his people, and would clothe the meek with salvation; and, therefore, he exclaimed, “ Let Israel rejoice in him that made him” (Psa. cxlix.) David's experience is also that of all the Lord's people. They are all brands plucked from the burning, they are all subjects of grace unmerited, but distinguishing, and they all therefore fulfil the prophecy of Isaiah : “And it shall be said in that day we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation” (Isa. xxv. 9).
The rejoicing shall also be with joy and gladness. Joy and gladness have been described as an agreeable affection arising from felt possession, or from a hope of enjoying something pleasant or valuable, and the expression thereof in praise and mirth.' So with the Christian ; his rejoicing arises from both causes,-a “ felt possession,” and “hope of enjoyment.” He is the possessor of a new life in Christ Jesus his Lord, of a robe of righteousness which shall never wear out, of a relationship to God the Father which can never be sundered, and of a hope which maketh not ashamed. And he hopes also for an inheritance, incorruptible, undefiled, which fadeth not away; he hopes to partake of that “fulness of joy," which is in the presence of God, and of those pleasures which are at God's right hand for ever.
And this felt possession, and this lively hope are expressed by praise, and accordingly he “ rejoices in hope” (Rom. xii. 12), proves himself one of Christ's redeemed ones by “ holding fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end” (Heb. iii. 6), and rejoices with joy“ unspeakable and full of glory," and therefore receives the “ end of his faith, the salvation of his soul” (1 Pet. i. 8).
We thus see that the Christian's rejoicing is not without its meaning, nor without a just and sufficient cause.
Further, the Christian shall blossom as the rose. Now the rose is a flower, beautiful to the sight and exquisite in its odour. So the Christian, the follower of the meek and lowly One, however crooked he may appear in the eyes of men, possesses a beauty which God alone can see. Like the rose, he is tinted of a colour which alone can be acceptable to the Father—the crimson of his blood. As the rose-bud opens it begins to show its colour ; as it grows, its colour deepens ; and when in full bloom, it exhibits its beauty in full perfection. So with the believer. He only shows a little of the blood-washing at first ; as he grows, the spirit of Christ is more manifested in him ; as he ripens he shows still more of the effects of that blood on his soul ; and he reaches perfection only in the shinings of the Sun of Righteousness in the land above. It is true, like the rose, he has some thorns about him, but they remind him that he is still on earth. He is nevertheless washed in the Saviour's blood, and clothed in a beauty not his own ; and though Balak can see no beauty in Israel, yet God can see no perverseness in him. If Balak hates him and wishes him to be cursed, yet God can see no spot in bim, and will bless him ; because he is clothed in Christ's robe, bears the blood-marks on the lintels of his heart, wears the wedding garment supplied by the King, he bears an odour of the sweet-smelling sacrifice of the Beloved of God, and shall find acceptance in the chamber of one greater than Ahasuerus.
There shall also be an abundance in the blossoming. The believer shall add grace to grace; he shall go from strength to strength; he shall be clad in the beauty of holiness; the graces of the Spirit shall be poured out on him, and there shall arise from his heart and conversation, much fruit to the honour of his Lord and Master. The Lord who begius a work will not leave it, but carry it on, improve it, and perfect it unto the end. Faith shall strengthen, hope shall brighten, patience shall have her perfect work, the charity which covers a multitude of sins shall be deepened, the joy of the contrite in heart shall be manifest, and the light of heaven in the heart shall shine brighter and brighter unto the perfect day.
Next we find a great gift," The glory of Lebanon, and the excellency of Carmel and Sharon."
The glory of Lebanon consisted of its trees. They were famous all over the known world for their beauty, fragrance, strength, incorruptibility, and durability. Hence the figure is used in Psa. xcii
. 12, to signify the growth of the Christian : “He shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon." And in the Song of Songs, v. 15, the church likens her Beloved's countenance “ to Lebanon, excellent as the cedars.” Christ possesses, in the most eminent degree, all the characteristics which are attributed to those famous trees ; and because the life of the believer is hidden with him, because in him he possesses all things, because he is all things to him, he also is likened to the same figure. The Christian is beautiful in Jesus, fragrant in the reflection of the Redeemer's character, strong in the “Strength of Israel,” incorruptible in his inner life, and more enduring than the sun.
Again, fruitfulness shall characterize the Christian. He shall be like Sharon, a land noted for its beauty and fertility. He shall be fruitful in his works and ways, for those who are taught of the Spirit shall bring forth fruits meet for repentance, and show that they learn of the wisdom which is “ from above, and is full of mercy and good fruits,” their fruits “shall follow them," as they leave this world, as evidences before God that they have been followers and learners of the Holy One of Israel.
Lastly,--We shall have a glorious sight : “ They shall see the glory of the Lord, and the excellency of our God.” What are the glory and excellency of God ; for these terms may be taken as synonymous ? They are the man Christ Jesus.
Glory is the manifestation of excellency; hence Jesus is the “ brightness of the Father's glory, and the express image of his person," “the image of the invisible God,” in whom "dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.” That glory was manifested in his humiliation, for John says (i. 14): “ We have seen his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father.” By him and through him all things were made ; he is the Father's well-beloved Son, his is the only name by which men may be saved, he alone carried our sins and our sorrows; he alone bore the wrath of God for his church; he alone has cleansed her from sin and iniquity, and purged her from all fault; he only is the worthy One : he therefore has a more excellent name than the angels. He has been crowned with glory and honour, he has been made perfect through suffering ; and being thus perfect, he is the author of eternal salvation, and is called of God an High Priest after the order of Melchisedec, without generation and without end of days. He is the Ancient of Days ; he was before all things, and shall be the end of all, and in all things he shall have the pre-eminence.
He is the excellency of God as the slain Lamb, the Sacrifice for his people, the sin-atoning offering, consumed by the fire of Divine wrath, and as the great Conqueror of Satan.
He is the excellency of God in the complexity of his person. As God he is the Creator and Sustainer of his people ; as man he is their Mediator, their constant Friend, their loving elder Brother. Neither character shall outshine the other. As God' he shall be adored with the profoundest reverence ; as Man he shall be loved with pure, unselfish, and unsinning love. As both he shall be the object of worship, praise, adoration, and administration through unending ages.
And this excellent and adorable Redeemer shall be seen by the redeemed in his glory. They shall see him,“ the King in his beauty," seated on the great white throne;' they shall hear his voice, which is like the “sound of many waters ;” they shall read for themselves the name on his vesture; they shall enter into that city which no mortal eye has ever seen, and which has no other light than the glory of God and the Lamb; they shall walk for ever in the light of his visible countenance ; they shall drink of the “pure river of the water of life;" they shall eat of the “ tree of life," which grows on its banks, the type of which was forbidden to Adam in Eden ; they shall see the Lamb's face ;" his name shall be seen on their foreheads ;""and they shall reign for ever. E. St. B. C., Walworth.
H. G. D.
THE SWEETNESS OF THE MOUTH OF CHRIST.
“His mouth is most sweet.” Sol. Song v. 16.
(Continued from page 54.) But let us notice more particularly under what circumstances, and in what places this sweet experience is obtained of the sweetness of Christ's mouth; for he speaks his word, as before observed, in season; he always speaks to character, and speaks to purpose, when he does speak. The voice of Zion's beloved is á well-known voice too, and in Zion, the sheep of Christ shall all hear it, and follow it ; it is mighty in operation ; a still voice, yet a wonderfully influential voice, " and my sheep,” he says, “ know it."
“Down they sit beneath his feet,
Soon as once they hear his voice;
All he wills becemes their choice."
His voice is heard above the ragings of sin, the roarings of Satan, and the risings of fear. The voice of the Lord is full of majesty-a majestic sweetness overpowers the most stubborn will and hardest heart, and captivates the affections. The invitations of the gospel, how sweet they are as addressed to character and spoken by the Spirit of Christ home to the quickened soul, convinced of sin, when brought to feel his lost estate, and to apprehend the righteous wrath of offended Majesty, when labouring under the heavy load of guilt! Oh how sweet to such an one, that word drops from Christ's own lips into the burdened heart, “ Come unto me, and I will give you rest.” “ Come, now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord ; though your sins be as scarlet they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” Oh, when drawn with the cords of love to this most solemn sacred spot, the only meeting-place where God and the sinner are at one, to reason with him, and he to reason with the sinner. Sweet are the moments indeed ;- never to be forgotten, the season when pardon drops from the tree of life, a bleeding Christ, into the mouth of faith, and heals the broken heart; and what reasoning takes place! How the soul confesses and loathes his sin, while a just God reveals to the sinner the wondrous way in which he can be just and yet justify; in which he can abundantly pardon, and yet not clear the guilty; in which he can for ever bury all the crimes of the criminal and embrace his person ; a way in which sin, guilt, and all unworthiness are sunk into the depths of the sea of the Saviour's blood, and the hell-deserving sinner raised to the highest throne in glory. O what melting accents drop from the lips of a dying Christ. If ever we have tasted it, we know and can testify to the truth of the poet's words,
“Nothing half so sweet and pleasant,
As the Saviour's flesh and blood.”
Here at the cross we sit down secure, satiated, and full with the blessing of the Lord, and with wonder and delight indeed exclaim, “ His mouth is most sweet.” Here it is he brings salvation near, and shows us the amazing price, at which our souls were redeemed and for ever set free, and seals it all with a kiss. If we have been favoured to realize somewhat of this sweet
experience, we shall no longer wonder at Mary weeping copiously at her great Deliverer's feet. Love and grief here divides the heart and produces that genuine gospel repentance that needeth not to be repented of.
" It is finished ! oh what pleasure
Do these charming words afford !" when with an appropriating faith the soul is strengthened to say, finished for me. And when those words are Jropped from Christ's own mouth into the heart, “ Thou art mine ;" with rapture the heart replies, “ My beloved is mine, and I am his.” Son, daughter, thy sins which are many are all forgiven thee, and forgiven not at the expense of my justice, but in strictest harmony with the truth of God. Thus the Lord reasons on the ground of perfect satisfaction with the penitent sinner, and guilt, and doubts, and fears depart and leave the soul lost in holy wonder and astonishment. Here it is the soul could gaze and weep itself
away, the heart overflows with love. A God so good, and a wretch so vile,-grace so rich, and unworthiness so deep,—a sacrifice so great, and a worm so despicable,
-are contrasts so striking that, as Berridge says,
“ A heavenly joy his words convey,
The bowels strangely move;
O'erwhelmed with his love."