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“ The glory
in the Father's glory as well as his own.
* Heb. xii. 28, 29, receives a beautiful illustration here. “ Grace," forgiving love, teaches to serve God with “reverence and godly fear;" for while it brings us to his nearest presence, it shows him to us as a God who consumes iniquity. od is a consuming fire.” The light that guides us into his presence is the very blaze of the sacrifice on which our sins are laid.
of ours, with every groan, with every sigh of the prisoner ! And soon, soon come forth
again! yea, even before we have slept with our fathers, if it seem good in thy sight; come forth to bless us, and to receive the shout of multitudes adoring and confessing that thou art Lord alone !
WHO REFUSED HIM THAT SPAKE ON EARTH, MUCH MORE SHALL NOT WE ESCAPE, IF WE TURN AWAY FROM HIM THAT SPEAKETU FROM HEAVEN."—Heb. xii. 25.
Vers. 1, 2. " And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of
them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the Lord, which he commanded them not. And there went out fire from the Lord, and devoured them, and
they died before the Lord.” This event occured at a time when its effect was likely to spread the most solemn awe over priest and people; and occurring, as it did, in the persons of Aaron's sons, who were men of station and office, the influence of the lesson taught would diffuse itself over all ranks of men
in the camp.
After spending the day in the manner mentioned in the former chapter-after presenting the blood (vers. 12, 13, 18, and seeing their father, Aaron, go in with Moses into the holy place—they seem to have felt impatient at not being allowed to take a more prominent part in conducting the services. And perhaps they thought that they, too, might enter the holy place and offer incense. Accordingly, next morning, it would appear, they both engaged in a most daring and presumptuous project. If, as many believe from vers. 9, 10, they had drank too freely, and so become elated, their sin might be reckoned a sudden temptation. But I rather suppose that it was a deliberate sin, proceeding from a jealous sullen heart; and the injunction in vers. 9, 10, like that of Ezekiel xliv. 21, was suggested at such a time by the fact, that what they did deliberately others would be much and often tempted to do suddenly, through the influence of such excitement.
The expression, “ Which he commanded them not,'. applies to the many ingredients that were contrary to God's will; and the force of it is equal to, “which he had expressly forbidden." Their motive, the strange fire used, the time when it was done, were all opposed to the Lord's command ; and the example of disobedience thus set was fitted to be awfully ruinous in the camp.
It was probably done in the morning of the day following the events of last chapter. For ver. 16, where the question about eating the sin-offering is asked, shows that certainly it did not take place later than the second day; since the law required all remnants of the sinoffering to be burnt, if kept beyond that time. And ver. 16 would also lead us to think that the sons of Aaron had been occupied with other sacrifices since the consecration-day; for Moses searches for the goat of the sinoffering. If, too, the goat had been burnt on the very day of the consecration, Moses could scarcely have failed to observe the flames, as on that day there was no other · offering but the priest's.
Nadab and Abihu took a censer, and kindled their incense. But they did so,-1. At a time not command
ed : Aaron should have been consulted for this. 2. In a place, or in a part of the tabernacle not commanded ; for they were in the open court (ver. 4; where Uzziel's sons, who were only Levites, went to them), not at the golden altar. 3. In a manner contrary to the Lord's declared will: for the priests understood that the only fire to be used in the tabernacle was to be fire from the altar-fire that had come from heaven. Probably, too, they used what spices were at hand, not the proper incense. The Lord had commanded neither the time, place, nor manner. But if the sinner's eye be blind to God, it sees not any. thing of the Lord's authority. And neither education, nor station, nor privileges (see Exod. xxiv. ver. 9), are sufficient to keep men from this presumption. The heart may continue unrenewed after all such blessings.
The Lord forthwith vindicated his own honor. These are priests, and they stand in the holy courts, and they hold the censers of the tabernacle in their hands, and the cloud of incense is ascending from them; but the Lord is dishonored under that cloud of incense, and therefore he must go forth in majesty. The stroke comes " from before the Lord"—the fire shoots across the mercyseat, and through the holy place, and finds the sinners under their cloud of incense! How awful to observe that it crosses the mercy-seat to reach them! And though their cry reaches his ear over the mercy-seat, it is too late now! The Lord has risen up. It is like the events that will attend Christ's second coming when from himself—the mercy-seat itself-fire shall consume his foes, and their cry, though the Lamb himself hear it, is in vain. He consumes all that have defied him; and many among these shall be found in the act of holding up the incense of vain worship to the Lord.