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absence of any inspired direction to Moses, to establish his laws on the foundation of that important truth. The inspiration of the builders of the tabernacle. The perpetual obligation of the Sabbath, as a sign between God and the soul of man, upon all who believe in God as their Creator, value His holy covenant, rejoice in their weekly religious rest, and humbly anticipate their better Test in heaven.
INTRODUCTION.-Much discussion took place about a century ago among the most learned men in the Church, on the question whether Moses was instructed to establish his laws on the doctrine of a future state. Now it is certain, that the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead was the one great fact which demonstrated the certainty of the world to come; and as that event had not taken place, we may say that the doctrine of a future state was not so plainly revealed in the Old, as in the New Testament; and that Moses, therefore, did not establish his laws upon that sacred truth.—It has appeared, however, no less certain to the most eminent divines, that though the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead, and the certainty of the future state, were not made the foundations of his laws; still it was,—that the types and figures of the law, the translation of Enoch, the manifestation of the God of Israel from the invisible world, the assertion that man did not live by bread alone, (the food for the body,) but by the word of God, which was therefore the food of the soul, not only in its mortality, but in its immortality,—the names of God as eternal, and Father of all the spirits as well as the bodies of all flesh,—the prosperity of the enemies of the Church, and the covenant,—and the depression, misery, and distress to which the faithful and pious were exposed in the present life,—all proved the certainty of a future state.-Still it has been abundantly proved, that the inspired lawgiver of the Jews did not say to his people as Christ said to the Jews, that the Great Head of the Church should come in His glory to summon the living, to awaken the dead, to gather the nations before Him, and to separate the good from the bad; and the question is, (as the clear knowledge of this truth seems to be essential to spiritual obedience, common morality, and human happiness,) why was it not made by Moses as it was by Christ, the sanction of the laws, which God Himself commanded Him to enact for His people?- We must gather the answer from the circumstances of the Church of Israel, after its departure from Egypt.— There can be no doubt that the Egyptians were well acquainted with the truth of a future state. It is proved by all writers on the subject of Egypt, and more especially by the sculptures which still remain on the walls of the ruined temples of Thebes, and which have been made generally known by the labours of Sir Gardner Wilkinson. These sculptures, too, appear to me to discover to us the causes for which Moses was not instructed to establish his laws on the foundation of a future state-namely, that this doctrine was so shamefully and wickedly perverted to political and party purposes by the Egyptians; that as Luther, even if he had believed the doctrine of purgatory, would not have established the Reformation on that doctrine, because of its perversions by Tetzel and the Church of Rome: so also Moses was withheld from founding
his laws upon a doctrine which was universally believed but as scandalously perverted.- As no man would have wisely defended the truth that the people are entitled to liberty, at the very hour when the people were abusing their liberty by cold blooded massacres in the streets of Paris, in the first French Revolution ; -or as no man would have wisely defended the divine right of kings, when a king of France was firing on his own religious subjects at the massacre of St. Bartholomew; -as the two abstract and undoubted truths, that the people are entitled to their liberty, and that governments are entitled to honour, became unacceptable and injurious at the time, and under the circumstances when they were thus perverted,-so it might have been with the doctrine of a future state as taught by the Egyptians.—A custom prevailed among this people, that the priesthood sat in judgment upon the dead, and solemnly decided upon their condition in the future world.
They claimed the power, and they exercised the authority of deciding to the joy of the survivors, or to the horror of the mourning survivors, whether the souls of the dead were admitted into the regions of the gods, or whether they returned to earth under the forms of pigs, or of other animals; having been weighed in the scales of Osiris, and found wanting. The apprehension of the disgrace of such condemnation, or the hope of obtaining a favourable sentence from the forty-two assessors who were appointed to try the dead, may possibly have sometimes deterred a wicked man from committing great crimes --but the Egyptians, like all other highly cultivated and civilized nations, were divided into parties and factions; and as the priesthood of Egypt would certainly have condemned the Israelitish dead, the children of Jacob and Joseph, or Moses and Aaron, if they had died in Egypt; as unworthy to live with Osiris and the gods; and fit only to return to the earth in the degraded form of some beast or reptile, so it would have been that the sacred doctrine would have been desecrated also by the partial and unjust sentences pronounced by the Egyptian priesthood upon all whom they deemed the enemies of their monstrous idolatries.— The doctrine of a future state, therefore, having been perverted to be the source of injustice and crime, had lost its influence; and the consequence was, that Moses was commanded, while the doctrine of a future state in general was still taken for granted, to establish his laws upon the doctrine of a particular, perpetually interfering providence; and the fulness of time was yet to come, when the declarations of Christ as a prophet, and when the resurrection of Christ from the dead, were unitedly to explain the true, though hitherto indistinctly understood doctrine of the nature and the certainty of the world to come.-If there was ever among the laws of Moses a fit place for the declaration that a blessed immortality would be the reward of those who should so partake of the influences of the Spirit of God, which were promised to the builders of the tabernacle, the type and emblem of the spiritual Church of God, it would probably be in this Section; which relates the impartation of the divine power upon the skilful to increase their skill (ver. 211), in executing all that God had commanded to be done in the work of the tabernacle. The announcement of the doctrine of a future state, as the Sabbath, the perpetual rest, which remaineth for the people of God, might also have been expected in this Section, in which we meet with the most solemn repetition of the command to keep the Sabbath-day holy, as a sign between God and the soul (ver. 13), as a perpetual covenant, and as a remembrance of the ceasing of the creation.—But the sanctions of the law are temporal, because God was the temporal as well as the eternal ruler of Israel, governing the Church by His particular, as well as by His more general and universal providence.—The same providence rules over us; and those alone are wise who, in all the dispensations that relate to themselves, to the world, and to the Church, (while they submit their reason where they cannot trace nor understand the Providence of God,) still believe ;--that as a sparrow falls not to the ground without permission, so it is also that an especial and particular, as well as a general and universal, Providence rules over them ;—and that all the mysteries and difficulties of the journey of life which now beset us, will be made plain and satisfactory to us in that better tabernacle, the house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens; and which will be the subject, therefore, of our gratitude and praise, among the employments of that eternal Sabbath, of which the Sabbaths upon earth are the type, the emblem, and the shadow.
.ch. 35. 30.
& 36. 1. 1 Chron. 2.
ech. 35. 31.
1 And the LORD spake make all that I have comunto Moses, saying, manded thee;
2 a See, I have called by 7 * The tabernacle of the ch. 36. 8. name Bezaleel the son of congregation, and 8 the ark ch. 37. 1. Uri, the son of Hur, of the of the testimony, and h the 6 ch. 37.6. tribe of Judah :
mercy seat that is there3 And I have o filled him upon, and all the + furni- + Heb.vessels. with the spirit of God, in ture of the tabernacle, wisdom, and in understand- 8 And ithe table and ch. 37. 10. ing, and in knowledge, and his furniture, and k the pure ch. 37. 17. in all manner of workman- candlestick with all his ship.
furniture, and the altar of 4 To devise cunning incense, works, to work in gold, 9 And the altar of 1 ch. 38. 1. and in silver, and in brass, burnt offering with all his
5 And in cutting of furniture, and m the laver - ch. 38. 8. stones, to set them, and in and his foot, carving of timber, to work 10 And n the cloths of ch. 39. 1, 41.
Numb. 4.5,6, in all manner of workman- service, and the holy garship.
ments for Aaron the priest, © And I, behold, I have and the garments of his • ch. 35. 34. given with him a Aholiab, sons, to minister in the
the son of Ahisamach, of priest's office,
the hearts of all that are oil, and P sweet incense for p ch.30. 34. & och. 28. 3. & ° wise hearted I have put the holy place : according
wisdom, that they may to all that I have com
35. 10, 35. &
'manded thee shall they rest, + holy to the Lord:
whosoever doeth any work
13 Speak thou also unto 16 Wherefore the chil
the children of Israel, say-dren of Israel shall keep Lev. 19:3, ing, 9 Verily my sabbaths the sabbath, to observe the Ezek. 20. 12, ye shall keep: for it is a sabbath throughout their 20.& 11. 24. sign between me and you generations, for a perpetual
throughout your genera- covenant.
rael for ever : for win six Gen. 1. 31. 14 - Ye shall keep the days the Lord made heaEzek. 20. 12. sabbath therefore ; for it ven and earth, and on the
is holy unto you: every seventh day he rested, and
upon mount Sinai,
x two tables of testimony, 15 Six days may work tables of stone, written 34. 28, 29. "Gen: 2,2 be done; but in the u se- with the finger of God.
venth is the sabbath of
& 2. 2.
rch. 20.8. Deut. 5. 12.
sch. 35. 2. Numb. 15. 35.
Ich. 24. 12. & 32. 15, 16. &
ch. 16. 23. &
Deut. 4. 13.& 5. 22. & 9. 10,
11. 2 Cor. 3. 3.
PRAYER.—Let Us PRAY, that we be found worthy to serve and honour God,
as the faithful and holy members of His visible Church on earth; and be so imbued with the graces of His Holy Spirit, that we be received after death into that better Tabernacle not made with hands, in heaven ; that we observe with gratitude and humility the Lord's day Sabbaths in the Church upon earth, as a sign between God and ourselves, in remembrance of God the Creator, of Christ's resurrection, and of the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Church and upon our own souls ; that the rest of the Sabbath upon earth be the anticipation and beginning of the rest in heaven.
O Almighty God, Giver of all good gifts, who didst teach the hearts of Thy faithful servants in the days of the Church in the wilderness, to do all that Thou commandedst for the service of the altar and of the tabernacle; and didst impart to them, by Thy Holy Spirit, wisdom, understanding, and knowledge—so be with us, however unworthy of the least of these Thy mercies, that we also, in the place and station which Thy Providence hath allotted to us in the Church and in the world, may have the spiritual wisdom to perceive and to discern the things which Thou hast commanded, and the things which Thou hast not commanded ; that we never attempt to bring to Thee, at Thy tabernacle or at Thine altar, the services and the offerings which our vain imaginations or our will-worship may invent or devise to please Thee.—Give us such understanding of the spirit, and such knowledge of the letter of Thy holy law, that we never be misled by the vain learning or the false conclusions of those who depart from the only wisdom which maketh wise unto salvation ; but that we ever be so im
bued with the spirit of counsel and of the fear of the Lord, that we be found faithful and holy members of Thy visible Church upon earth. May we adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things, and so prove our faith by devoting, dedicating, and consecrating our time, talents, wealth, and influence to the benefit, the establishment, and the building up of this Church in the wilderness ; that we be admitted by the same mercy, when the days of our pilgrimage are ended, into that better tabernacle, the house of God, not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.-From the service of the Church in prayer and praise on earth; may we pass to the higher and more sinless services of the angels in heaven, and love Thee without a rival, and praise Thee without the interruptions of temptation, and sin, and weariness.- Pardon the imperfection of all our earthly services, and so grant us Thy grace, that while we patiently persevere to the end of our lives in the discharge of all our duties to man, to our own souls, and to Thee, our God and Saviour; we may ever rejoice in the holy comfort which Thy Spirit alone can give, of hope and peace in the anticipation of the death of the body, and of our better service to our God in heaven.—And that this our hope and trust may be assured to us, make us ever mindful, we pray Thee, of the solemn and merciful command which Thou hast given to Thy children from the day of their creation to the day of the commemoration of the resurrection of Christ from the dead,—that we keep holy the Sabbath day. We praise Thee, we bless Thee, for the merciful institution of the day of rest. We bless Thy holy name for all Thy mercies vouchsafed to us, for the hope of glory and for the means of grace; and more especially for that most sacred rest from the engagements and the pleasures of the world, which is the sign to our souls that we live in the hope of that glory, which shall be to us the better Sabbath, the rest that remaineth for the people of God.—When the day of rest, when the Lord's day returns to us, never, oh! never may we consider the Lord's day to be a burthen and a weariness, as the interruption to the pursuits, or as the enemy to the pleasures of the soul. May the Sabbath be unto us a delight and a joy. May we esteem it ever to be holy to the Lord, honourable to His glory, the best pleasure to our own souls. May we rejoice in the return of the day to honour Thee, not doing our own ways, nor finding our own pleasures, nor speaking our own words.—The preparation of the heart is from Thee. pare our hearts and souls, we pray Thee, by the pleasure we find in Thy Sabbath upon earth ; that we become more and more prepared for the enjoyment of the Sabbaths in heaven.—May our spirits be soothed amidst the troubles of life, by the calmness of holy contemplation, by more thoughtful communion with God, by the humility and holiness of prayer, and by the gratitude and joyfulness of our solemn praise to Thee. Make us to rejoice in the courts of the Lord; to be glad when they say unto us, “We will go up to the house of our God.” May we join with Thy people in their public worship. May we commemorate the death of Thy Son with the faithful who delight in His mercy. May our private meditations be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord, our strength and our Redeemer.—Make the Sabbaths of earth the secret, inward, and certain sign and token between God and our souls, that there is, and that there shall ever be, a holy covenant between us ; that the God of heaven has promised to be, and that He is and will be, our Father, our Friend, and our Saviour; and that we, unworthy as we are of His mercies, are His children and His servants, His friends and His beloved, the sheep of His pasture and the people of His hand.-Make the Lord's day on earth the season of blessedness to the soul. May we be in the Spirit on the Lord's day.—Raise our souls to the contemplation of the creation of the world around us, that we may see, and know,