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mercy-seat in humble adoration of the high, eternal
purpose which God purposed in himself, that in the dispensation of the fulness of times, He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth, even in him ;* (Eph. i. 10;) their faces turned inward, to contemplate and comprehend the breadth and length, the height and depth of love, that works this great salvation ;t fostering, in the benignant guardianship of their extended wings, the covenant of mercy; majestic rising here upon, and crushing down, the covenant of death. Their vast expanse, far stretching forth on high, shadowing the infinite magnitude of God's eternal
purpose, wrought by the blood of sprinkling over the glorious mercy-seat, embracing in their coverture the real import of those illustrious types, the cherubims of glory, at that awful juncture when the Lord appeared to him surrounded by ten thousand of his saints.
* That eminent writer, Dr. Blair, cautions us not to suppose that our present discoveries unfold the whole influence of the death of Christ (see his Sermon on that subject;) and the passage just quoted from the Ephesians, powerfully suggests that this great event was productive of the most extensive consequences. But a full and very particular inquiry into this very interesting subject will be found in our subsequent pages.
+ “Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.” (1 Pet. i. 10-12.)
its whole circumference; their faces turned towards each other, in rapturous converse on the promised glory to be revealed on the redemption of the purchased possession. (1 Pet. v. 1.) For if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance, which glory was to be done away, how shall not the ministration of the Spirit be rather glorious ? For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory; for even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth. For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious. (2 Cor. iii. 7–10.) In this emblematic sanctum sanctorum was likewise deposited the golden censer, used by the high legal priest on the great solemn day of annual expiation, (Levit. xvi. 34,) when he approached nearest to the Divine Presence, in the holiest of holies, (Levit. xvi. 15,) where the Shekinah, or Divine glory, visibly rested, (Levit. xvi. 2,) to make atonement for the errors of the whole people of Israel.* For repented sins and sins of igno
* “ And all else of that nation who served God according to the Levitical law, made it the centre of their worship, and not only in the temple when they came up thither to worship, but everywhere else in their dispersion through the whole world, whenever they prayed they turned towards the place where the ark stood, and directed all their devotions that way. And therefore the author of the book, Cozri, justly saith, that the ark, with the mercy-scat and cherubims, were the foundation, * Doddridge.
rance,“ to the first and last of which, not those presumptuously committed, the efficacy of the atonement extended.”* (Numb. xv. 30.)
It is, we conceive, needless here to prove our essential requisition of a mediatorial priest, that being a position already established. (p. 27.) That the Aaronic priests ordained by the law were designed to typify that high illustrious Personage, the heavenly High Priest, is a fact of acknowledged notoriety. These only served as shadowy examples of things in the heavens, (Heb. viii. 5,) as frail precursors of the great consecrated Priest (Heb. vii. 28) over God's own house above; (Heb. X. 21 ;) the true sanctuary, the true tabernacle, pitched by the Lord, not man, (Heb. viii. 2,) as symbols of the sacred Minister of this true sanctuary, this true tabernacle ; as representatives of the glorious regal Priest, who is now set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens. (Heb. viii. 1.) He is the golden censer; bis righteousness the fragrant incense fuming ambrosial clouds around the mercy-seat, sweet scented and acceptable with God.
Stored in this hallowed treasury, within a golden vase, was also kept the precious relic of the blest heavenly manna, showered down in earnest of the blessed hidden manna, the promised blessed life that is hid with Christ in God. (Coloss. iii. 3.) In this holy repository was likewise preserved the Aaronic rod which root, heart, and marrow of the whole temple, and all the Levitical worship therein performed.”—Prideaux.
budded buds, and bloomed blossoms, yielding dulcet almonds,* till grafted with the mighty rodt from out the stem of Jesse, it branched gloriouslyl up to its resting-place, budding beauteous buds, f blooming balsamic blossoms, teeming celestial fruit, love, gentleness, and joy. (Gal. v. 22.) But the type of highest importthe type which in its signification comprised the meaning of all other types, was the symbolic blood of sprinkling over the mercy-seat; the prefigurative blood, which signed and sealed the everlasting covenant;ft without which, the legal high priest could not enter into the most holy place, where He appeared alone (when typifying him who alone has trod the wine-press) once each revolving year, as representative of the great heavenly Priest, who by his own precious blood alone has entered into the most holy place above. Therefore the first testament was not dedicated without blood, and almost all things by the law are purified with blood, for without shedding of blood is no remission ; (without overcoming evil by good, which could not be effected in our nature without the endurance of every evil unto which our nature was become obnoxious, there could be no remission; and this could not be brought to pass without the shedding of blood.) It was, therefore, necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified by blood, but the heavenly things themselves with a far better sacrifice-the precious blood of Christ, who, through the eternal Spirit, offered himself without spot to God. (Heb. ix. 7. 12. 18. 22-24.)
* Numbers xvii. 8. And it came to pass, that when Moses went into the tabernacle of witness before the Lord; behold the rod of Aaron for the house of Levi was budded, and brought forth buds, and bloomed blossoms, and yielded almonds.
+ Psalm lxxxix. 19. Then thou spakest in vision to thy Holy One, and saidst, I have laid help upon one that is mighty : I have exalted one chosen out of the people.
Isaiah xi. 1. And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots.
|| Isaiah iv. 2. In that day shall the branch of the Lord be beautiful and glorious.
$ Isaiah xi. 10. And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, and his rest shall be glorious.
Zechariah vi. 12, 13. Thus saith the Lord of hosts, Behold the man whose name is the branch; he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the Lord : even he shall build the temple of the Lord, and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne, and he shall be a priest upon his throne, and the counsel of peace shall be between them both. But of these passages more particularly hereafter.
Isaiah iv, 2. The branch of the Lord shall be beautiful. ** Malachi iv. 2. The sun of righteousness shall arise with healing in his wings.
† † It is through that righteousness which was demonstrated
As to attempt the dispersion of that gloom which has often so lamentably overspread that beautiful system of ethics, the Christian religion,
by sufferings, that the incense of sweet savour ascended up to God;—it was through the promised atonement resolved on in the eternal purpose of Almighty God, that the heavenly manna, which typified the heavenly grace infused in man's heart, was imparted by the Lord ;-it was through that perfection which was made perfect, or evinced by sufferings, that the mighty rod from out the stem of Jesse branched gloriously up to its restingplace, and teemed celestial fruit, love, gentleness, and joy.