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With what joy should Christians enter into these sacred places, in which the LORD is equally present, though invisible!
Though priests have no intrinsic holiness, every one ordained for the sacred offices of religion, should be honoured and respected as the minister of God.
THE FIRST SERVICE IN THE TABERNACLE.
From Levit. Chap. ix. AND it came to pass on the eighth day, that Moses called Aaron and his sons, and the elders of Israel ; and he said unto Aaron, Take thee a young calf for a sin-offering, and a ram for a burnt-offering, without blemish, and offer them before the LORD.
And unto the children of Israel thou shalt speak saying, Take ye a kid of the goats for a sin-offering; and a calf and a lamb, both of the first year, without blemish, for a burnt offering ; also a bullock and a ram, for peace-offerings, to sacrifice before the Lord; and a meat-offering mingled with oil: for to-day the LORD will appear unto you.
And they brought that which Moses commanded before the tabernacle of the congregation : and all the congregation drew near and stood before the Lord.
And Moses said, This is the thing which the LORD commanded that ye should do : and the glory of the LORD shall appear unto you.
And Moses said unto Aaron, Go unto the altar, and offer thy sin-offering, and thy burnt-offering, and make an atonement for thyself, and for the people: and offer the offering of the people, and make an atonement for them; as the LORD commanded,
Aaron therefore went unto the altar, and slew the calf of the sin-offering, which was for himself.
And the sons of Aaron brought the blood unto him ; and he dipped his finger in the blood, and put it upon the horns of the altar, and poured out the blood at the bottom of the altar : but the fat, and the kidneys, and the eaul above the liver of the sin-offering he burnt upon the altar; as the LORD commanded Moses.
And the flesh and the hide he burnt with fire, without the camp.
And he slew the burnt-offering: and Aaron's song presented unto him the blood, which he sprinkled round about upon the altar.
And they presented the burnt-offering unto him, witli the pieces thereof, and the head; and lie burnt them upon
the altar. And he did wash the inwards and the legs, and burnt them upon the burnt-offering on the altar.
And he brought the people's offering, and took the goat, which was the sin-offering for the people, and slew it and offered it for sin, as the first.
And he brought the burnt-offering, and offered it according to the manner.
And he brought the meat-offering, and took an handful thereof, and burnt it upon the altar, beside the burnt sacrifice of the morning.
He slew also the bullock and the ram for a sacrifice of peace-offerings, which was for the people: and Aaron's sons presented unto him the blood, (which he sprinkled upon the altar round about) and the fat of the bullock, and of the ram, the rump, and that which covereth the inwards, and the kidneys, and the caul above the liver ; and the breasts and the right shoulder Aaron waved for a wave-offering before the Lord, as Moses commanded.
And Aaron lifted up his hand towards the people; and blessed them; and came down from offering of the sin-offering, and the burnt-offering, and peace-offerings.
And Moses and Aaron went into the tabernacle of the congregation, and came out, and blessed the people: and the glory of the LORD appeared unto all the people.
And there came a fire out from before the LORD, and consumed upon the altar the burnt-offering, and the fat: which when all the people saw, they shouted, and fell on their faces.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS. From this section we may form a good idea of the nature of the Jewish sacrifices, and probably of the first sacrifices also offered by Cain and Abel, though the number of offences being multiplied, and a particular deliverance wrought for Israel, there were doubtless additional ceremonies.
The conditions of the sacrifices under the Mosaic Dispensation were, that the victims and offerings should be without blemish, and presented publicly before the congregation, in token that those for whom they were offered confessed themselves to be sinners, standing in need of redemption. In the New Testament, we see, what exact analogy these particulars bore to CHRIST; and we also find, that not only the victims, but the various sorts of sacrifices, bore an evident reference to Him. It was not the blood of bulls, or of goats, that took away sin *; but these animals were appointed as means of procuring, through faith in GOD's mercy, an interest in the blood of the GREAT REDEEMER, of
whose human nature all the victims that were slain, according to the ordinances of Gón, from the time of Adam's fall to the crucifixion of our Saviour, were representatives; and as Gon had, even before the world was created, determined to accept of the death of the REDEEMER, and knew that he would offer Himself on the cross for the redemption of mankind, it may properly be said, that Christ was slain from the foundation of the world *, because His death operated, through Divine grace, long before it happened ; GOD, for the sake of the salvation of mankind, considering that as actually done, which he foreknew would be done.
Moses, by Divine appointment, as the Mediator of the temporal Covenant, purified and consecrated the priests, and made atonement for them with the blood of beasts, so that they were fit to offer sacrifices ; and the sacrifices they offered for themselves, expressive of their faith, procured them admittance into the earthly Tabere nacle ; but into the Tabernacle belonging to the Ever, lasting Covenant, not made with han?
quas, which the LORD pitched, and
mot man, even Heaven itself t, none can enter, who are not purified by the GREAT HIGH Priest, por will any blood avail, but that of the ReDEEMER, the true Paschal Lamb.
It is manifest, from this short view of the Jewish sa, crifices, that, under the first Covenant, there was no re, mission of sins, without shedding the blood of an inno: cent victim, by way of atonement for the guilt of a sin. ner; and we find from several texts of Scripture, that the first covenant was designed as a shadow of the Everlasting Covenant. We should stedfastly hold fast the doctrine of atonement for the sins of the world by the blood of CHRIST. It must appear evident, to un,
* Rev. xii. 8,
+ Heb. ix. 11, 12.
prejudiced reason, that we cannot clear ourselves from the guilt of sin ; for having once sinned, sinners we should remain for ever in the sight of God, because we cannot call back our offences, nor do any thing to satisfy Divine justice ; all our hopes of pardon then must arise from our reliance on the mercy of God; and God has expressly revealed in the Scriptures, that it is in consistent with His justice to clear the guilty, without atonement * : how foolish, then, would it be to slight the means God has so graciously appointed for salvation, and to render ineffectual, through unbelief, the blood of CHRIST, with which he hath redeemed us to God, and opened a way to everlasting life and happiness !-Had the Israelites despised the sacrifices which the LORD ordained, and relied on their own repentance only, they never could have obtained pardon, nor have been permitted to behold His glory on earth ; and if we, who have been initiated into the Christian Covenant, despise the sacrifice of our Great Rede EMER, we shall never behold him in Heaven.
OF THE SOLEMN FESTIVALS.
The Israelites were required to observe a variety of holy times, besides the weekly Sabbath, particularly three great festivals, viz. the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Pentecost, and the Feast of Tabernacles. The first of these was joined to the Passover, which, as has been already related, was kept in remembrance of the Lord's passing over the houses of the