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ceive of a way, which in that age and stage of society, could have so effectually impressed these truths upon bis mind.
All the local and particular privileges and disabilities promises and penalties of the law, exemplified those more general and significant truths relating to the spiritual interests of the entire world. The legal sacrifices, and their delivery of the offender from temporal death and the danger of being cut off from the congregation, denoted the redemption of Jesus Christ, and those invaluable privileges of life and blessedness which he has purchased for sinners. That temporal death which the law denounced, denoted that everlasting punishment to which the finally impenitent are exposed. And the outward admission to the service of the Tabernacle, denoted the spiritual privileges of access to God, as well in the present ordinances of the church, as in the future inheritance of glory. Through these symbolic exhibitions, the Jewish worshiper was enabled to rise to a conception of the truth sufficiently clear for all the purposes of his salvation. It was not the services which saved him; it was God and truth working through these services as subordinate means.
Such then were the services of the Tabernacle-their naturetheir design—and their efficacy, which were “imposed until the time of reformation.” The reformation here alluded to, was that grand re-modification and re-construction of the church of God made by Jesus Christ during his stay on earth. When this grand reformation took place, the Tabernacle services became obsolete. They bad then accomplished the whole end for which they were intended; and having become old and decrepid, they vanished into uselessness. Some in their blindness clung to them, and cling to them to the present moment; but the new state of things which the Sa. vior introduced, so effectually superceded them, that all their force and significance was lost in the spiritual realities of the Gospel.
From what has now been said of the services of the Tabernacle and Temple, we may learn first, that God in the institution of or. dinances of worship wisely and mercifully adapts them to the condition and circumstances of those for whose benefit they are intended. The idolatrous besetments of the Jews were all carefully provided against. The age in which they lived being comparatively rude one, one in which men were not competent to grasp
abstract ideas without some living exemplification, God wisely made all
their services of worship the living and distinct representatives of all necessary truths. There was nothing essential to their salvation, which had not an adequate representation in the Jewish system.
We should also learn from this subject, to be grateful that it is our lot to live in that period of the history of man's redemption, when it is no more necessary for such burdensome rites as were appointed for former ages. The ordinances of worship appointed for us, are simple and spiritual. We live to enjoy all the advantages of that grand reformation effected by Jesus Christ. Let us then be grateful for it. Let us be careful to attend well upon all those services binding upon us. They are the means appointed for our salvation. And Oh, that God may help us to enter into them with a becoming spirit, and bring us at last to unite in celebrating his praise in that glorious world which is yet to come!
THE ANCIENT AND CHRISTIAN DISPENSATIONS COMPARED.
Heb. ix. 11–28. But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by
a great and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building ; neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh : how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And for this cause he is the mediator of the New Testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. For where a lestament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth. Whereupon neither the first testament was dedicated without blood. For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book, and all the people, Saying. This is the blood of ihe testament which God hath enjoined unto you. Moreover he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry. And almost all things are by the Jaw purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission. It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these ; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itsell, now to appear in the presence of God for us : nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others; for then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world : but now once in the end of the wolrd hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: so Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall be appear the second time without sin unto salvation.
I HAVE repeatedly remarked in this course of Lectures, that the great purpose of this epistle was, to inspire the Jews with a due respect for the Gospel-to preserve those faithful to their profession who had embraced it, and to induce those who had not yet acknowledged Christ's messiahship to do so without delay. In the words just read the apostle comes to apply what he said concerning the Jewish tabernacle—its utensils and its services to the purpose
for which he was writing. In doing so, he proceeds to compare these matters of the old dispensation with corresponding matters in the new. It is this comparison, together with its practical bearings upon us, which I propose in this discourse to present for
your meditation. May the Holy Ghost so vouchsafe his assistance that the work may be faithfully performed !
Observe then in the first place, that under the christian dispensation as under the Jewish, there is a particular place where the atonement-service is attended to. The Hebrews had their tabernacle, and their temple. It was there before the affecting symbols of the holy of holies, that the high priest yearly entered with the blood of expiation. And “Christ being come an high priest of good things to come” had also a tabernacle in which to enter—" a more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands.” It is said that he entered with the blood of atonement “ into the holy place"_" into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us.” Both dispensations have each a particular place in which the priestly services are performed. Mark however, the superiority of the christian tabernacle.
That of the Jews was earthly. It had an earthly location-it was constructed of earthly material—and it was erected by earthly architects. That which Christ our high priest entered is heavenly_even “heaven itself.” Heaven is that high world in which the omnipresent Deity affords a nearer and more immediate view of his perfections, and a more sensible manifestation of his glory, than in the other parts of the Divine empire. Whether heaven is in the centre of the vast machinery of creation, thus constituting the metropolis of the universe, I am not able to learn from the Scriptures. What it is, its arrangement and general character, is equally mysterious. But wherever it is, and whatever it is, it is there where Christ has gone to appear before God in our behalf. And as heaven is higher than the earth, so is it superior to the tabernacle of Moses.
The Jewish tabernacle was typical. It was a “shadow”_"a figure for the time then present.” It was at best but a picture-a representation of something else. But the place where Christ officiates is an original reality. It is the “true (real) tabernacle, which the Lord pitched and not man,” As the original is superior to the picture which represents it--as the thing typified is superior to the type—and as the substance is superior to the shadow, so is the christian tabernacle superior to the tabernacle of Moses. It was “a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building," which Christ “has for us entered."
Observe in the next place, that under the christian dispensation as under the Jewish, blood only is used as the material for the atonement. When the Levitical high priest entered into the holy of holies in the tabernacle, he did it “not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people.” It is said that Moses “sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry. And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission. It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these.” In the same way is blood used in the services of the new economy. The high priest of our profession does not appear before God for us without blood. "Neither with the blood of goats and calves, but with his own blood.” Blood you perceive is an indispensable requisite in both dispensations. 1st. Because blood is the only true representative of life. The Lord declared to Moses, that the life of all flesh is the blood.” 2nd. Life is the thing forfeited by our transgressions. Justice requires that life as a satisfaction for the insult and injury it sustains by our sins. Hence blood, as the grand principle of vitality—the proper representative of life, is the only thing which can make a satisfactory atonement. Hence it was that the blood of beasts was used as the substitute for the offender's forfeited life under the old economy; and hence it is that Christ's blood was shed and is presented in heaven as the only adequate substitute for the forfeited existence and happiness of the ransomed under the new.
Observe then the superiority of the blood which atones for the christian, over that which the Jewish priests offered in the tabernacle.
The blood offered by the Levitical priests was the blood of inferior and brute creatures. It was the blood of bulls and of goats,” of rams and of heifers. But the blood wherewith we are sanctified was not obtained from the inferior animals. It was not obtained from mere men, much superior as this might have been It was not obtained even from the angelic orders. The fountains of life in a far more noble being were drained to obtain it. He did not rank among the highest of created dignities, but above them all. It was he who is the brightness of Jehovah's glory and the express image of his person-he in whom dwelt all the fulness of the Godhead bodily-he who amid the splendors of a wide and