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· The ephod was also to be blue, and composed of gold, purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen. It was a part of the High Priest's dress which hung from his shoulder before and behind. And because the shoulder is the place for the ensign of rule, it has been considered that the ephod was intended as a symbol of authority. Attached to the ephod was the breastplate; this consisted of a piece of fine twined linen, in a square form. In it were inserted twelve precious stones, on which were graven the names and signs of the twelve tribes of Israel. This breastplate is called in the Scriptures “the breastplate of judgment;" from which circumstance, together with its situation, upon the heart, it has been inferred that it symbolized the High Priest's power and right to judge and discriminate amongst the tribes of Israel. Then there was the mitre, or head-dress, which appears to have been common to all the priests, that of the High Priest differing from the rest only by excelling them in its dimensions. Besides all these articles of dress there was one thing of peculiar interest, called in the Scriptures the Urim and Thumnim, but what this was, or whether it were a part of the breastplate, or something detached from that article, it is perhaps impossible to say. The words seem to signify light and perfection, and it appears to have been used in some way to ascertain the Divine mind and will on any particular occasion. For the feet it is observable no covering was provided, and the reason is thought to be, to set forth the holiness of those duties the Priest had to discharge. The shoes being to protect the
feet from defilement, taking them off, or being without them, indicated the purity of the place where the person was; as Moses was commanded at the Bush to put off his shoes from off his feet, for the place whereon he stood was holy ground. *
But, although these different parts of the High Priest's dress have been explained in the manner above mentioned, it may be fairly questioned whether any such particular minuteness was intended as separate lessons by the various articles. It is far more probable they were intended to be taken together to command for the High Priest that reverence which was due to his character and office, and also to point out in general the glorious character of Him whom he typified. No such variety of designs as those above, with respect to the separate articles of the High Priest's attire, was intimated to Moses when he was commanded to prepare it, but he was simply directed to make holy garments for Aaron, his brother, for glory and beauty; nor is there in all the notice which is taken in the New Testament of the High Priest and his office, any allusion made to his dress, or anything to lead us to conclude that any symbolical meaning was intended by it more than a general adumbration. The last thing we have to notice in the High Priest is,
IV. The performance of his office.
Jehovah is a God of order. This appears in everything he does, and the more any object partakes of himself, the greater does his regard to order show itself in it. It is in the religious
* Exod. iii. 5.
services and institutions he has appointed that his character and perfections are: eminently involved, and by them his glory is most promoted, consequently to secure it in connection with these he is especially solicitous.
The High Priest, although not always a man whose heart was endowed with the true spirit of religion, was yet one who, from his professed strictly moral character, was very eligible to be put in trust with the service of the sanctuary; upon him, therefore, it devolved to direct it. He was in fact the superintendent of the worship of God, as his office was to see that the requirements of the ceremonial law were complied with, and that each one who acted as an inferior priest discharged the duty devolving on him.*
It is maintained by some writers, that there · were certain duties the same, performed both by the High Priest and those of an inferior order; but whether the directions relating to this made the duty binding on the former personally, or only regarded him as responsible for them while they might be discharged by others acting under him, is not easy to determine.
But however this may have been with regard to some duties, there were others which belonged to him alone, and could not be discharged by any one deputed by him. They were such as inquiring before the Lord, and making use of the Uriin and Thummim.
But the principal business of the High Priest was to officiate on the great day of atonement, when he alone went into the most holy place, carrying with him the blood of the
* See Jenning's “ Jewish Antiquities," p. 158.
beasts that had been slain. This blood he sprinkled upon the mercy-seat, and burnt incense before the Lord.
In all these duties he was a most lively type of Christ--" the High Priest of our profession." Commissioned by his Father to reveal his will, and establish the order of his worship, he appointed the inferior agents by whom that service is carried on, while in his person and his office he maintains an infinite superiority to them all; and having made an atonement to God, not by the blood of beasts, but by his own most precious blood, which he shed upon the cross, he has passed by virtue of it “not into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us."
THE TABERNACLE IN THE WILDERNESS. *
As man lost his earthly paradise by yielding to sense, the council of God has ordained that the heavenly one shall be obtained by faith; nevertheless, his condescension is wonderfully displayed, in allowing him to assist and strengthen his faith by the use of the senses. There is nothing of which we are less able to form a correct idea than heaven; and consequently, nothing with regard to which implicit trust would seem to be more required; yet even of that celestial place visible representations have been given. This has been the case more or
* Ex. xxv. 26, 27.
less under every dispensation, but never so strikingly as in the instance of the tabernacle and the temple. These two structures being appointed for one main end, they will now be considered in that light; and our object will be to show wherein the former was symbolical, and then to notice the additional typical instruction conveyed by the latter.
The tabernacle which Moses made in the wilderness, by the special appointment of the God of Israel, was the first religious structure in which the Eternal Nature vouchsafed to dwell, and not unfitly esteemed the centre of the ceremonial worship.*
That this sacred moveable house of God was exactly suited to the circumstances of the Israelites in their journeyings, every one who considers the subject must be fully aware. In their migratory state nothing would have been more absurd than to attempt the erection of a stately building, such as that which in after years adorned their settled abode; and that this ta. bernacle should be constructed of the materials and in the manner described in the Scriptures, was perfectly in harmony with all the rest of the essential objects connected with the Mosaic worship.
But that it was also typical in its character is clear, from the manner in which the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews alludes to it; for speaking of Christ, chap. viii. 2, he designates him “a minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man." So in chap. ix. 11, referring to the
* M“Ewen, p. 249.