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With all the fates of men;
And makes his counsels shine:
Nor God the reason gives;
• Between the folded leaves.*
because grace abounds;" a layer without an, the law teach the open and unlimited extent altar would be to inspire a vain confidence of salvation by the great Atonement ? Rein an external and imperfect righteousness, ligion forbade, and the structure prevented, to the neglect of that which is of God by the body of the people from entering within faith, and which purifieth the heart. In con- the veil
, or penetrating into the mysteries junction, they represent man's happiest state, concealed under such a covering ; one fold and highest glory, sin forgiven, and nature passed, another, and another, in almost endrenewed.
less succession, opposed itself. Wo be to “ The holy place,” which was properly him who makes a mystery of what God has the tabernacle, presented itself at the upper graciously disclosed; and wo be to him who end of the court. Its dimensions are not laid presumes to pry into what God has intentiondown by Moses. Those who take it for grant- ally hid from his eyes. Thus sublimely sings ed that the tabernacle was a miniature repre- the enraptured British Psalmist. sentation of the temple from the measure
Chain'd to his throne a volume lies, ment of that great editice as described in the first book of Kings, make the length of the With every angel's form and size, holy place of the tabernacle to be twenty
Drawu by th' eternal pen. cubits, or thirty feet. It was separated from
His Providence unfolds the book, the court by a curtain, within which none
Each opening leaf, and every stroke but the priests were permitted to enter, and
Fultils some deep design. where they officiated at the altar of the Lord, in the order of their course. Josephus affirms,
Here he exalts neglected worms
To sceptres and a crown; that when the priests ministered in the holy Anon the following page he turns, place, the separating veil was drawn up, so
And treads the monarch down. that they could be seen of the people. Philo, Not Gabriel asks the reason why, with greater appearance of truth, maintains
Nor dares the favourite angel pry the contrary opinion. It is clear from a passage in the gospel according to Luke, that the priest who officiated in the holy place of The furniture of the holy place is minutely the second temple, was out of the sight of the described, and its meaning and use are not people ; for it is said of Zacharias, when he obscurely pointed out in many places of the was offering incense in the holy place, “ the sacred writings. It consisted of three artiwhole multitude was praying without;" that cles, the golden candlestick with seven lamps; they waited for him, and “ marvelled that the golden altar of incense ; and the table of he tarried so long in the temple, "* and they shew-bread. Each of which might easily discovered not the cause of it till he made it furnish matter for a separate discourse ; but known to them by signs.
we confine ourselves to general ideas, and Though we are not informed of the exact practical observations. dimensions of the “ holy place,” we know The first piece of furniture in the holy place that it was a covered tent, with one fold of was “ the golden candlestick to give light;" various materials upon another. First, ten all whose appurtenances were of pure beaten curtains of equal size, of blue, purple, scarlet, gold. It was placed on the south side, that is and fine twined linen; embroidered with on the left hand as you enter the tabernacle, cherubims; and coupled together with loops directly opposite to the table of shew-bread. of blue and taches of gold. Above these were It was a talent in weight; which is about extended eleven curtains of goats' hair, hung one thousand five hundred ounces, or one together by taches of brass. These again hundred and twenty-five Roman pounds, were covered with rams' skins dyed red; whose value, according to the calculation of and over all there was a covering of badgers’ the learned bishop of Peterborough, was five skins, probably as a protection from the inju- thousand and seventy-five pounds fifteen shilries of the air and weather. The intention lings and a fraction, of our money. It is the and meaning of this multiplied and varie- most generally received opinion, that all, or gated ceiling we pretend not to explain. Was some of these seven lamps in the candlestick, it intended to represent the impenetrable were kept continually burning : that they recesses of the Eternal Mind; to check the were extinguished in turn, to be cleansed and folly and sinfulness of an over curious in- supplied with fresh oil; and that their parts quiry into mysteries which are intentionally were made to separate for this very purpose. concealed; and to teach men to make a wise As the priests alone could enter the holy and temperate use of known and revealed place, to them of course was committed the truth? Was it not sufficient to every pious whole charge of lighting, trimming, and Israelite, that the altar of burnt-offering and cleaning the lamps. It is much easier to ask the laver of purification were under the open many questions on this subject than to ancanopy of heaven, seen of all, accessible to swer one. Why the number of seven lamps all ? And by this circumstance, did not even in one candlestick ; that number of perfec* Luke i. 10, 21.
* Watts, Horæ Lyricæ.
tion, as some have called it, and under which the powers of the heavens shall be shaken." so many mysteries are supposed to be con- We are transported to that celestial city, cealed? Why should it burn in a place which “has no need of the sun, neither of where no eye was to see its light, or to re- the moon to shine in it; for the glory of God ceive benefit from it, except a solitary priest ? doth lighten it, and the Lamb is the light Wherefore this waste of treasure for no ap- thereof." parent equivalent use? To all such ques Without encroaching on your time and tions it must be replied, “ Thus the great patience, or running over the subjects with Lawgiver would have it." “ We know in indecent and unprofitable haste, it were impart, and we prophesy in part. What he possible to convey any proper and useful doth we know not now, but we shall know idea of the remaining utensils of this venehereafter.”
rable structure, and the still more venerable From this created, confined, imperfect, recess inclosed within it, styled “the most self-consuming light, we are led to contem- holy place.” The description of these, thereplate that pure, eternal, undecaying Light fore, with the history of the august ceremo which communicates, of its own splendour, nies of setting up the tabernacle, and the whatever glory any creature possesses. “We relation of the whole to the “better things are led to Him who is the true light of the to come,” of which they were the shadows world."
shall be postponed to another Lecture, which We silently turn from the tabernacle in will conclude the second book of this Sacred the wilderness to adore Him who in the be- History, and another annual revolution of our ginning said, “ Let there be light: and there own frail, transitory life.—“Teach us," 0 was light.” We are conducted in the vi- God, “ so to number our days that we may sions of God, to contemplate the splendour apply our hearts unto wisdom."* Vouchsafe of the Christian churches, and behold “the to dwell with us in thy word and ordinances; Son of Man, walking in the midst of the let “Christ dwell in our hearts by faith," seven golden candlesticks.” We are hur- and raise us one after another to dwell with ried forward to the last awful hour of dis- thee in the holiest of all, through Christ solving nature, when the sun shall be Jesus our Lord. Amen. darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and|
* Psalm xc. 12.
And it came to pass in the first month, in the second year, on the first day of the month, that the taber
nacle was reared up. Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation, because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. And when the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the children of Israel went onward in all their journies. But if the cloud were not taken up, then they journeyed not, till the day that it was taken up. For the cloud of the Lord was upon the tabernacle by day, and fire was on it by night, in the sight of the house of Israel, throughout all their journies.-Exodus xl. 17. 34-38.
EVERY production of human power and rials of which it was composed, the sacred skill bears this inscription, “I am made to purposes to which it was applied, nor the perish.” Man himself, the moment he be- awful glory which once presided over and gins to breathe begins to die, and his noblest, resided in it
, have preserved from decay and most durable, and most glorious works are loss, the tabernacle of the congregation, the no sooner completed, than they begin to fall work of divinely inspired Bezaleel and Aho to decay. In vain we look for the monu- liab. Of the magnificent structure on mount znis of ancient grandeur and magnificence; Zion, the wonder and glory of the whole they have either wholly vanished away, or earth, not one stone remaineth upon anopresent to the eye scattered fragments, or ther. tottering ruins, ready to dash themselves All that was formal and instrumental in upon the ground. Where is now that city the ancient dispensation seems to have been, and tower which raised its proud head to by the special appointment of Providence, heaven, in defiance of the waters of a second destroyed and annihilated, that the spirit of deluge? Neither the solid and costly mate-it alone might remain. . The taberna le, and
lemple, and their service exist only in de- / first of these, we now proceed to recommend scription: and in those simpler and more spi- to your notice the other two. ritual ordinances to which they have given The “altar of incense," was made of shitplace. And the institutions which now re- tim, or incorruptible wood, overlaid with pure main, are only preparing the way for a more gold, of a cubit square, and its height double august, more splendid, and more durable ma- that dimension, with a golden horn arising nifestation of the divine glory. The legal at each angle, and the top encompassed with economy introduced that of grace by the a golden border or crown. It had two rings gospel and then passed away. The dispen- of gold immediately under the border, to sation of grace, in like manner, is now per- which were fitted two staves of the same forming its work, fulfilling its day, announc- wood, also overlaid with gold, for the conveing, untolding, introducing the kingdom of niency of transporting it from place to place, glory; and “when that which is perfect is as occasion required. Its use was to burn, come, then that which is in part shall be at stated times, a sacred perfume of a certain done away.”
quality and composition, which it was unlawThe satisfaction of Moses, when the whole tul to compound, or apply to any other use, work of the tabernacle and of its furniture or in any other place. It is clear from many was completed, is more easily to be con- parts of scripture, that the smoke of the ceived than expressed. To see the pattern sweet incense which ascended from this showed him in the mout exactly copied, the altar, was intended to represent prayer or design of the great Jehovah perfectly ful- intercession. “ Let my prayer," says the tilled, must have filled the good man's mind Psalmist,“ be set forth before thee as inwith delight ineffable. With a holy joy, si- cense, and the lifting up of my hands as the milar to this, must every lover of the gospel evening sacrifice."* observe the exact coincidence between the While the priest, invisible to every eye, shadows of good things to come," and " the was employed in burning incense in the holy very image of the things;" between the pre- place, the multitude were praying without. diction concerning the Saviour of the world, This leads us directly to consider the great and their accomplishnent between the pro “ Apostle and High Priest of our profession, mises made unto the fathers, and the bless- who has for us entered, not into the holy place ings enjoyed by their childrer. And what made with hands, which was the figure of will it be, Christians, in that world of bliss, the true, but into heaven itself, there to apwhich is the end of our faith, and the grand pear in the presence of God for us.” Though object of our hope; what will it be, to find the veil be let down that we cannot behold the entire coincidence between the descrip- Him, the eye of faith penetrates it, sees Ilim tions contained in this book, of future and who is invisible; sees Him lifting up holy heavenly glory, and the things described ; and unwearied hands in our behalf; sees between the exceeding great and precious the Prince with God prevailing. The veil promises of the gospel, and the glorious reali- was drawn aside, and discovered to the raties of our Father's house above; between vished eyes of the beloved disciple, an angel the spirit which christianity now teaches and coming, and standing " at the altar, having inspires, in order to dignify and bless man- a golden censer: and there was given unto kind, and the spirit which all the redeemed him much incense, that he should offer it shall feel, enjoy, and express, when' raised with the prayers of all saints upon the golden to the dignity of being kings and priests altar which was before the throne. And the unto God?
smoke of the incense which came with the In the preceding Lecture we endeavoured prayers of the saints, ascended up before to lead your attention to the form, use, and God, out of the angel's hands.”+ The soliend of the tabernacle erected in the wilder- tary perfume of secret prayer, the combined ness, and of the several parts of its sacred incense of family worship, the mingled odours furniture. The outward court, under the of public devotion, the prayers of all saints open canopy of heaven, containing “ the bra- derive an activity, a force, an elevation from zen altar of burnt-offering,” on which inces- the merit and mediation of the Redeemer, santly burnt the consecrated fire for offering which raise them to the throne of God, where, up the daily sacrifice; and close by it the being accepted through the Beloved, they laver of brass for the priests to wash in.” descend again in showers of blessings on the We conducted you with trembling feet into believer's head. the “holy place,” concealed in front from Behold the altar which sanctifies the gift, every profane eye, by a veil which it was the ladder whose foundation is on the earth, death to draw aside; and from above, hy co- but its summit reacheth heaven, along which vering upon covering which no eye could the ministering spirits to the heirs of salvapenetrate. In this sacred recess were placed tion convey the vows, the praises, the holy " the golden candlestick to give light, the desires of the faithful, up to their Father and golden altar of incense, and the table of their God; and reconvey the gifts and graces shew-bread.” Having spoken briefly of the
| Rev. viii. 3, 4.
* Psalm cxli. 2.
of their heavenly Father to his children upon , altar, but of different dimensions, two cubits earth. The approach to the golden altar of in length, by one of breadth, and one and a incense was by way of the brazen altar of half in height: and, like it, furnished with burnt-offering: the new and living way that staves fitted to four rings for the purpose of conducts “into the holiest of all,” is through conveyance. Its use was to hold the showthe rent veil of the Redeemer's flesh. Jesus bread, consisting of twelve cakes, according having suffered the things which were ap- to the number of the twelve tribes, of the pointed, entered into his glory. As by the finest flour, prepared according to a special altar of burnt-offering, so by the laver of pu- prescription, in two piles of six cach, to be rification, the holy place was approachable; renewed every sabbath-day, and that which for “ without holiness no man shall see God;" | was removed to become the property of, and and “ every one that nameth the name of to be eaten in the holy place by the priests, Christ must depart from iniquity."
the sons of Levi, who ministered at the altar. The horns at the corners of the altar have Now upon the very first sight of it, this ordibeen considered as emblematical of strength, nance, besides those circumstances which it and being tipped with the blood of the atoning possessed in common with others, seems devictim, are conceived to represent the power signed to be a perpetual acknowledgment, of God, and the grace that is in Christ Jesus, on the part of man, of the care and kindness united in the work of man's redemption. of a gracious Providence, which gives to
The quadrangular figure of the altar, and men the rich enjoyment of the principal supthe equality of its sides, may point out the port of human life, bread, and with it, all the impartial regards of the great Father of all, inferior accommodations and comforts which under the dispensation to which that given render it desirable. It was, on the other by Moses conducted, to men of every nation hand, the security and pledge which God under heaven, and they prefigure the day vouchsafed to give to his church and people, when, according to the words of the Saviour that bread should continually be given them: himself, “ men should come from the east that while Israel owned and acknowledged and the west, and shall sit down with Abra- God in the way of piety and devotedness to ham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom his service, he would own and acknowledge of heaven."*
them, by an unwearied and effectual attenThe materials of the altar, shittim-wood tion to their necessary demands and reasonaoverlaid with pure gold, by a bold imaginable wishes. tion have been supposed a figure, of the two A common table is the badge of familiarifold nature of Christ: the purity, solidity, ty and friendship, is the sweetest emblem impassableness of the one, encompassing, of domestic union and happiness; of patersupporting, securing the fragility of the nal concern, of filial tenderness, of brotherly other, defending it at all points, and bestow- love. ing upon it a value, strength, and duration The “shew-bread" was appropriated to which it possessed not before.
persons of a sacred profession, to sacred seaFinally, the staves fitted to the rings, and sons, and a holy place; unless when the perpetually in their place for the conve- greatness of the occasion superseded the niency of motion, have been, with what pro- strictness of the letter, and the law of mercy priety you will judge, construed into an em- took precedence of the law of sacrifice. O blein of the transitory nature of the whole how much more extended the grace of the dispensation, which looked continually for- gospel! David alone and his company, and ward to something better than itself; which that only once, on a necessitous occasion, for ever warned the comers thereunto of their was admitted to the privileges of a son of pilgrimage state, saying, “ Arise ye, and de- Levi, to a participation of the consecrated part, for this is not your rest." And it is re- bread; but “ behold,” says the great head markable, that after Israel was come to his of the Christian church, " I stand at the door, rest in the land of promise, and the holy and knock: if any man hear my voice, and furniture of the tabernacle was lodged for open the door, I will come in to him, and perpetuity in the temple at Jerusalem, this will sup with him, and he with me.”* What memorial of motion and change still offered an honour was it to these Levites to be reitself to view: the altar, the table, the ark, ceived and treated as the guests of the great had the instrument of removing them always Jehovah! But it is not once to be compared in its place, and, in concert with every part with the unspeakable felicity and honour of of the system of nature and providence, call receiving and entertaining the King of glory. upon men with a loud and distinct voice, And such felicity is the portion of the meansaying, “Seek ye another country, that is est of the saints: thus shall it be done to the an heavenly.” But we proceed.
man, however poor or despised among his The third and last piece of furniture in equals, whom He by whom kings reign dethis solemn repository was “the table of lighteth to honour: for “ behold the tabernashew-bread,” of the same materials with the cle of God is with men.”+ The twelve
| Rev. xxi. 3.
* Matt. viii. 11.
* Rev. iji. 20.
tribes, represented by so many cakes of bread, looking down together towards the mercypresented without ceasing before God in the seat and concealing it from the eye. For holy place, were without ceasing admonished any one to touch this with so much as a of their common relation to one another, and finger, or to presume to look into it, except their constant security under their heavenly those who were divinely appointed for the Father's watchful eye, and the shelter of his purpose, was instant and certain death, as expanded wings. “ Can a woman forget her the dreadful punishment of Uzzah and of the sucking-child, that she should not have com- men of Bethshemesh awfully evinced. Its passion on the son of her womb? yea, they contents were the two tables of testimony, may forget, yet will I not forget thee."* the golden pot with manna, the memorial of
The renewal of the cakes every returning Israel's miraculous supply in the wilderness, sabbath, different yet the same, removed yet and Aaron's rod that budded. Its principal remaining, the old applied to one use, the use was to point out a way in the pathless new to another, may not untitly represent wilderness for Israel to march in. From bethat bread of life which our heavenly Fa-tween the cherubims the divine oracles were ther's love has provided for the fare of our delivered, at first to Moses by a voice; for Christian sabbaths—the very food which our God conversed with him as a man with his forefathers lived upon; not another gospel, friend; and afterwards to the high priest, but that which was from the beginning; but who consulted by Urim and Thummim, which served up for our use, by men possessed of is supposed to have been a supernatural dedifferent gifts, “ according as God hath dis- claration of the divine will
, by means of rays tributed to every man the proportion of of glory darted from the most holy place, faith :” and it is the happiness and the praise upon the breastplate which was 'studded of every scribe who " is instructed unto the with twelve gems. But the nature and kingdom of heaven, to be like unto a man manner of this consultation and response, that is a householder, which bringeth forth now are, and likely to remain so, a secret to out of his treasure things new and old.”+ mankind.
Once more, might not this table of the Besides marking out the way, and directLord, perpetually covered, perpetually fur- ing the several encampments in the wildernished, be intended as a figure of that table, ness, we shall meet in the course of this which the eternal wisdom of the Father has history with a special interposition of it in prepa red and provided with “ the bread which many noted particular cases. By it the came down from heaven, to give life to the waters of Jordan were divided asunder, and world ?" And from wence, by an easy and opened a passage for Israel into the promised natural transition, the eye ascends to our land. Before it the proud walls of Jericho Father's house above, in which “ there are were levelled with the ground, after having many mansions," and where " there is bread been encompassed by it for seven days: its enough and to spare ;" and O how happy is presence confounded Dagon, and plagued the that man who “shall eat bread in the king- Philistines. Treated with respect, or apdom of God.”
proached carelessly and presumptuously, it Such was the holy place and its furni- became a protection and a source of blessing to ture; the uses to which it was applied, and one family; a terror and a curse to another. the spiritual objects which it presents to our The king of Israel reckoned it the glory of view.
his house, and the protection of his kingdom; With reverence we draw nigh to the last and had it conveyed with all suitable solemsolemn recess of this venerable structure, nity to the place prepared for it. And, walled “the ark,” by way of eminence and finally, it completed the splendour and magdistinction; sometimes, " the ark of the cove- nificence of the sacred edifice on mount Zion, nant;" the ark of the “ testimony;" the ark the joy and wonder of the whole earth. And of " his strength;” the ark “whose name is the divine presence, of which it was the called by the name of the God of Israel.” symbol, constitutes the safety, strength, and We shall pass by those circumstances which happiness of every living temple which the were in common to it, with the other imple- Holy Ghost hath reared. Let my heart, O ments of the worldly sanctuary, the holy God, be an altar, from whence the sweet inplaces made with hands; and point out a few cense of gratitude, love, and praise may conof those which were peculiar to itself. It tinually ascend. “ Arise, O Lord, into this was a close chest of two cubits and a half thy rest; thou and the ark of thy strength. long, one and a half broad, and one and a Let thy priests be clothed with righteoushalf in height: of the self-same materials ness; let me with all thy saints shout for with the rest. The covering was denomi-joy. Turn not away the face of thine nated the mercy-seat; from the two ends of anointed.” which arose two figures of cherubims, of The conjectures of the learned on the subbeaten or solid gold, with their faces turned, ject of the cherubim, are various, many of and their wings extended towards each other: them fanciful, and for the most part unsatis
† Matt. xiii. 52.
factory. The most obvious and most gene
* Isa. xlix. 15.