Obrázky na stránke
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

are buffeted, and have no certain dwelling-place; and Church : “ Are they ministers of Christ ? I am more; in labour, working with our own hands; being reviled, we labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in bless; being persecuted, we suffer it: we are counted as prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews the filth of the world, and the offscouring of all things to five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice this day.” Their book opens with the story of their was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I Master's birth in a stable, with the manger for his suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in cradle; and one of its last pictures is that of his vener- the deep; in journeyings often, in perils of waters, in able apostle chained in a dungeon, and begging his perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in friend to bring his old cloak from Troas, and to do liis perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in diligence to come before winter.

the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among Unpopular, pure, and penniless, if the gospel story false brethren; in weariness and painfulness, in watch

, , were not true, how could it have had preachers ? They ings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold at least believed it.

and nakedness" (2 Cor. xi. 23–27.) The last and most convincing testimony which any Man can give no higher proof of his veracity than a man can give to the truth of a statement of fact, is to life such as this, unless it be to seal it with his blood; suffer rather than deny it. Many have wondered why and this crowning testimony to the truth the apostles God allowed his dear servants to suffer so much per- gave. Save the aged disciple who, after torments worse secution in the first ages of the Church. One principal than death, survived to address the persecuted Church reason was to give future ages an irresistible proof of as “Your companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom the sincerity and faithfulness of the witnesses for and patience of Jesus Christ,” they all suffered martyrChrist. The apostles lived lives of persecution and dom for the truth of the gospel history. suffering for the name of Jesus --sufferings which they Let me again remind you that the gospel is not a might have avoided if they had only abstained from collection of dogmas, but a relation of facts--that these preaching any more in this name. But, said they, “We twelve men did not preach the death and resurrection cannot but speak the things we have seen and heard.” of Jesus, because they had read them in a creed, but One who had no personal acquaintance with Jesus, and because they had seen them with their own eyes-that whose first interview with him was while he was they lived holy lives of toil, and hardship, and poverty, breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the and suffering, in preaching these facts to the world: disciples of the Lord, is converted and called to be au and that they died painful and shameful deaths, as apostle ; and behold the prospect Jesus presents to him : martyrs for their truth. You admit these things. “I will show him how great things he must suffer for Then I demand of you, “What more could either my name.” “ The Holy Ghost testifieth,” says Paul, God or man do to convince you of their truthfulness ?" "that in every city bonds and afflictions abide me. Yet none of these things move me." That at least was a this last, undeniable test of veracity. With the true prophecy. “Seven times,” says Clement, "he was certainty of an ignominious death before him, be in bonds, he was whipped, he was stoned ; he preached soleninly swears to the truth of this fact, and dies for both in the East and West, leaving behind hin the it. “And the high priest answered and said unto hin, glorious report of his faith, and so having taught the I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether whole world righteousness, and for that end travelled thou be the Christ, the Son of God. Jesus saith unto even to the utmost bounds of the West, he at last hin, Thou hast said: Hereafter shall ye see the Son of suffered martyrdom by the command of the governors, man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in and went to his holy place, having become a most the clouds of heaven." eminent pattern of patience to all ages.”

." * Hear his Unbeliever, are you prepared to meet him there, and own appeal to those who envied his authority in the prove him a perjured impostor ?

[ocr errors]

THOUGHTS ON THE GOSPEL OF LEVITICUS.

IN TWO PAPERS.

II. yo

T is now that the Sin-offering comes hardly think so. Accepting its position as sig.

into view, and only now. (Lev.iv.) Is nificant, we must view it as the offering, not of its postponement accidental - a dis. the sinner, but of the saint; not as that which

arrangement merely, which we are avails to justify, but as that which cleanses anew at liberty to correct by transposition ? We can the conscience of one justified already. Instead * Wake's Trans. of Clement, Ep. ad Cor. V.

of symbolizing a first approach to God, we must

a

66

view it as the washing of the feet on the part of ings of a child, who, froin want of care and watchone who, having bathed already in the opened fulness, stumbles into sin. Not the less culpable, fountain, is clean every whit (John iii. 10). however, are they, but the more, because of the

Let us see how far this agrees with the re- new relation in which he now stands to God, striction of the offering to sins of ignorance; for and because oiten and plainly taught his duty. that it was specifically for such sins is plain from Nevertheless, being in the hands of a Father, the law of the offering, the preface to which runs not of a Judge, he is chastened, but not conthus --" If a soul shall sin through ignorance demned: though visited with the rod, the parenagainst any of the commandments of the Lord, tal loving-kindness is not taken from him (Ps. concerning things which ought not to be done, Ixxxix. 80-33), and the kiss of reconciliation and shall do against any of them,” &c. (Lev. ever follows on repentance. iv. 2.) Such is the preamble; and in every one Such we think to be the interpretation of the of the illustrative cases that follow, the offering term “ignorance” in the Mosaic ritual. While is expressly declared to be for sins committed in comprehending all the sins of the believer, it is ignorance (Lev. iv. 13, 22, 27).

at the same time descriptive of their character. That there should be any limitation wnatever This interpretation is corroborated by the fact in the design of this oblation may well occasion that afterwards we find sins of ignorance set surprise; still more, that the limitation should in contrast with wilful or presumptuous sin; be to sins of ignoranco-an expression in its very and this in a manner the most striking. The terms contradictory, sin being the violation of a two classes are placed side by side, as if there law or known rule (Rom. iv. 18). It cannot, were but the two, and no other. The chartherefore, be taken literally. Is it, then, to be acter of each is exhibited, and emphasized by understood of sin committed unconsciously; or repetition: for the one class, pardon is proof sin committed under a mistaken apprehension mised; the other is declared to be unpardonableof the will of God, as in the case of Paul before a sin unto death. Thus, in God's own wordsconversion? (1 Tim. i. 13.) The interpretation "If any soul sin through ignorance, then he shall must needs be wider, else were the Israelite in bring a she-goat of the first year, and the priest evil case. To avail even for the secondary cleans- shall make an atonement for the soul that sinneth ing of God's children, the virtue of the offering ignorantly, when he sinneth by ignorance before 'must be plenary. What, then, is the explanation ? the Lord, to make an atonement for him, and it Is it not that we have here the Old Testament shall be forgiven him.” The other offence, and form of a New Testament paradox—to wit, that its doom, is then set forth with like solemnity " whosoever is born of God doth not commit and emphasis : " But”- the transition is direct sin,.....and cannot sin, because he is born of and immediate—“ but the soul that doeth ought God” (1 John iii. 9). In effect, both the igno- presumptuously” (or, as in the margin, “ with an rance and the inability mean the same thing; | high hand”), “the same reproacheth the Lord, for if by the latter we are to understand that the and that soul shall be cut off from among his believer cannot sin wilfully, by the former we people. Because he hath despised the word of

. must understand that he does not sin knowingly- the Lord, and hath broken his commandment, that is, of forethought or purpose. On the con- that soul shall utterly be cut off; his iniquity trary, his sins are the result of infirmity, sur- shall be upon him” (Numb. xv. 27, 28, 30, 31). prise, or temptation : they are falls, rather than And, as if to prevent the possibility of doubt or deliberate acts, and take place so unexpectedly, misconception as to the nature of presumptuous and with such an absence of intention or fore- sin, there follows immediately (in the very next knowledge, as to make them in a sense sins of verse) an illustrative case—that of the man who ignorance. There is thus a certain fitness in the gathered sticks upon the Sabbath-day. The act Old Testament designation. For, however fla- of this man has been viewed as trivial—one where grant the transgressions of the believer, they are the rigour of the penalty was altogether dispronever the defiant acts of the rebel, but the offend. | portioned to the offence; but here, as in the case

a

66

or

of the primeval sin, it is the motive, not the murder : it is an enormity so foul that all men cry deed, that must be looked at. Here, as there, out against it. The sin of the other is a solitary the thing done was trivial-anything more trivial act; and that, neither in its own nature immoral, can hardly be imagined; and this, no doubt, on nor in its consequences hurtful to any one. very purpose to teach the more impressively that Inwardly, and in the sight of God, it is far sin is to be estimated, not by the magnitude of the otherwise. While the sin of David is not less, but act, but by the feeling in which the act origin- / more heinous than it appears to human eye, that ates. Thus viewed, the transgression of the of the Sabbath-breaker is of quite a different type, Sabbath - breaker, so far from being a venial having a malignancy all its own. For David in offence, was a wilful, contemptuous insult to heart loves the law of the Lord, and has no foreGod—the ne plus ultra of rebellion. For mani- thought of transgressing it; but walking unfestly it was not a sin of appetite; nor was it a warily, his footsteps slide, and in a moment he sin of passion; neither was it from an urgent is precipitated, falling from sin to sin with frightnecessity; for He who had said to Israel, “ Ye ful rapidity. But the Sabbath-breaker scorns shall kindle no fire throughout your habitations the divine law, and tramples it under foot. In on the Sabbath day” (Exod. xxxv. 3), had also, the one man a spark has kindled passion; and by peculiarity of food and climate, rendered fuel because not stamped out instantly, there follows unnecessary. The offence was therefore entirely the resistless conflagration. In the other, there gratuitous : it was the act of one spurning autho- is no passion, but the coolness of a deliberate rity, and bidding defiance to the Divine Majesty-purpose. Like the wild vibrations of the mag. a repetition of the old challenge, “Who is the netic needle when rudely tossed and shaken, the Lord, that I should obey him?” (Exod. v. 2); actings of the one are in violent contradiction of

What is the Almighty, that I should serve his inner nature; but, like the needle too, that him?” (Job xxi. 15). And accordingly the nature will reassert its power, and, through the transgressor, because he thus wilfully and with agonies of a terrible repentance, will turn again an high hand despised and set at nought the to God and rest in him when the maddening commandment of the Lord, was put to death circumstances cease.* With the other it is not (Numb. xv. 32-36).

He is self-moved, and acts from within. Have we not here again the Old Testament When asserting his independence, and bidding shadow of a truth afterwards plainly declared in God defiance, he but acts out the enmity of bis the New Testament-a dread and solemn truth nature. The cases, so opposite in principle, how

- that “there is a sin unto death” (1 John different in result ! The one offender comes v. 17); a sin unpardonable, because to the very anew to the blood of sprinkling, and is forgiven; last God continues to be resisted ?

the other, by the judgment of God, is cut off, and Over against this illustration of presumptuous that without remedy. sin, let us place the sin of ignorance as exem- In the law of the leper—which is singularly plified in the life of a believer. Let us take the case of David. But can sin like his, so grievous,

With the defence of David's backslidings -- which he hath 80 prolonged, and involving the preconcerted himself more keenly scrutinized, more clearly decerned against,

and more bitterly lamented, than any of his censors — we do not sacrifice of life, by any possibility belong to the charge ourselves, because they were in a manner necessary that

he might be the full-orbed man which was needed to utter every category of ignorance? It is startling to think

form of spiritual feeling. But if, when of these acts he became But is it less startling to be told that the convinced, he be found less true to God and to righteousness,

indisposed to repentance and sorrow and anguish, exculpatory child of God does not and cannot commit sin? of himself, stout-hearted in his courses, a formalist in his peniSurely if the inability admits of explanation, the

tence, or in any way less worthy of a spiritual man in those than

in the rest of his infinite moods, then verily strike him from the ignorance may

canon... ..But if these penitential psalms discover the soul's

deepest hell of agony, and lay bare the iron ribs of misery whereoa Outwardly, what contrast can be greater than

the very heart dissolveth,--and if they, expressing the same in between the case of David and that of the Sab

words which melt the soul that conceiveth and bow the head that

uttereth them, then, we say, let us keep these records of the bath-breaker? The sin of the one is a chain of psalmist's griet and despondency as the most precious of his

utterances, and sure to be needed in the case of every maa bo many links; of which lust is the first—the last,

essagetb to live a spiritual life." -EDWARD IRVING.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

а

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

ness!

illustrative of this subject--we seem to have yet his transgressions. It showed him as no longer another of the many Old Testament teachings of “ under the law, but under grace," and his New Testament truth. Thus, when the leprosy offendings to be no more the subject of judicial broke out, “ covering all the skin of him that had condemnation, but fatherly correction. the plague, from his head to his foot”- making It is important to remark that the Sin-offering the man a spectacle from which all other men was not “ of a sweet savour unto the Lord.” turned aside—he was pronounced clean! (Lev. In this respect it differed from all the offerings xiii. 12, 13). But when the disease appeared in the going before. It was the setting forth of God's head, though but as a spot, he was pronounced un- strange work”-of what was “strange to the clean," utterly unclean;" and as if to mark the essential benignity of the Divine nature”* malignity of the case, it was added, “ his plague Christ the Holy One "made sin” and “a curse.”. is in his head” (Lev. xiii. 42-44).

It prefigured the crucifixion, when darkness And what but the very same is the lesson of overspread the land—when the earth quaked and our Lord's parable touching the eye? (Matt. vi. the rocks were rent-when the Father's face was 22, 23.) Is it not that, as the ruling principle hid, and the voice which before had testified of within a man is light or darkness, so is the man complacent regard, was silent to the agonizing in the sight of God? When evil is held to be cry of the Forsaken. good, and good evil,—when intellect and will are To educate the conscience being one great end perverted, and the very light that should guide of the Mosaic ritual, occasions of ceremonial unhas become darkness,—“how great is that dark- cleanness were purposely multiplied; and this in

so many ways that the Jew was constantly conBut it is not thus with the child of God. His tracting defilement, often unconsciously. Hence sins are never committed with approving consent the need of unceasing circumspection and conof the will, but are lapses and aberrations from tinual review. And is there no meaning in all the law he loves. Though his life be a leprosy this for the Christian, surrounded as he too is and an abhorrence, it is most of all abhorrent to by things which contaminate? Is not he also himself; and because he is ever coming back to amid dangers that appear not-in a world where God through the blood of the Atonement, he is things innocent and even good are not seldom clean in God's sight, however vile in the eyes of perverted, and in a way so specious as to draw him his fellows.

unawares into doubtful or wrong compliances ? As pointing to the one great Sacrifice, the Nor is it, perhaps, till, in the solitude of his Sin-offering consisted always of a single victim, chamber, the thoughts and the doings of the day and when presented with other oblations, ever are reviewed in the presence of the Holy One, had precedence. Its primary and fundamental that he comes to know the guilt that is upon him. character was thus indicated.

The Sin-offering thus speaks of watchfulness and Most of all was the supremacy of the offering self-examination; while it provides for the daily ket forth on the great day of annual atonement, cleansing of God's children, on whom, as a holy when “the high priest entered that mysterious people, sin must not be allowed to rest. shrine which but one man in each generation, In closing our remarks upon the Sin-offering, and but once he in each year, was suffered to set let us quote again the words of Ainsworth : his foot in," and with the blood of the victim Whereas by former sacrifices was taught the sprinkled the mercy-seat seven times, “ because way of life and peace, now, because there is not of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and a just man upon earth that sinneth not' (Eccles. because of their transgressions in all their sins.” | vii. 20), but in many things we offend all' The infinite efficacy of the Sacrifice was then (James iii. 2), the Lord appoints means for made manifest. But it was never less than in- cleansing his people from the infirmities, errors, finite; for the limitation at other times to sins of and ignorances they fall into. But 'if we sin ignorance denoted the changed relation of the worshipper and the change in the character of

[ocr errors]

* Stewart

[ocr errors]

wilfully after that we have received the know. | against thee, leave there thy gift, and go thy ledge of the truth, there remaineth no more way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then sacrifice for sin' (Heb. x. 26).”

come and offer thy gift” (Matt. v. 23, 24). We quote again also from “The Tree of Pro- Repentance and its fruits were thus the lessons mise," by the late Mr. Stewart of Cromarty, a of the Trespass - offering : repentance towards work eminently deserving of study: "Beyond God, evidenced by sacrifice; and towards man, evidoubt, sins of ignorance comprehended far more denced by immediate overtures of reconciliation than merely errors and inadvertencies.......The and ample recompense. opposite of sins of ignorance are presumptuous sins —sins of reproach and defiance of the Lord. We have now completed our attempted de......For presumptuous sin no atonement was lineation of the sacrificial system of Judaism — provided. The New Testament proceeds on the that marvellous gospel of prophetic symbols desame principle. Pardonable sins are described livered to Moses from the mercy-seat. as sins of ignorance (1 Peter i. 14; 1 Tim. First of all, and as the foundation of the entire i. 13)."

system, we have the atonement, in its fulness 5. The Trespass-offering (Lev. v., vi.; Numb. and ever-living efficacy, set forth in the continual v. 6-8)—the last of the group appears to have Burnt-offering. Next, we have faith's approbeen but a modified and secondary form of the priation of the great sacrifice, in the Meat-offerSin-offering : “As is the sin-offering, so is the ing. Next again, the sense of reconciliation, in trespass-offering, there is one law for them” the Peace-offering. And, finally, we have the (Lev. vii. 7). The one law, however, does not daily cleansing of the conscience, and the evihold throughout; yet it is difficult, if not in-dences of repentance, set forth in the Sin and possible, to draw the discriminating line between the Trespass offerings. them. But besides sins of ignorance, the Tres- As a system of doctrine, how compact! Obpass-offering covered wrongs done to a neigh-jective and subjective, it exhibits the great fact bour, and legal pollutions. For such wrongs of vicarious propitiation, and the faith that lays the fullest compensation was required; but the hold of it; it exhibits the peace which comes sacrifice that followed showed that the offence, from this faith, and the tenderness of conscience in its deepest shade of guilt, was against God, which comes of this peace; in short, we have for his law was broken, and the heaviest penalty in it acceptance with God and the peaceful boly lay there. For this there could be no recom- life—the life that strives to be without offence, pense ; nothing could avail but a sacrifice of both as regards God and man. All this is in it; blood and fire.

and the order in which it is set forth is preIf unable to bring even the two turtle doves cisely the order of the Christian experience. It or young pigeons prescribed by the law, a small has been ours to trace but the outline: how rich quantity of flour sufficed for the poor man's the field within, others have shown. offering. Of this a handful was burned as That the complex and curiously intricate “a memorial.” “The priest shall burn it on ritual of Judaism should thus, after the lapse of the altar,......it is a sin-offering.......and the ages, find its fulfilment in Christianity, is proof priest shall make an atonement for him as touch-surely that the one is the counterpart of the ing his sin,....and it shall be forgiven him" | other, and that both are divine. “ Each fits (Lev. v. 11-13). Here the term “sin-offering” into, completes, explains each ; backward and is applied to what, throughout the chapter, is forward, through both, circulates the life-blood treated as “ trespass-offering;" and in verse sixth of grace and truth : Christ is all in all." * the one sacrifice receives both names (Lev. v. 6). We might now stop. But in a time when the

The place of the Trespass-offering in the fundamental doctrine of the Atonement is so Christian life may be learned from our Lord's greatly controverted - denied by some and er. words: “If thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought

* Dr. C. J. Vaughan.

s

« PredošláPokračovať »