Monday, May 29th, 2023
the Week of Proper 3 / Ordinary 8
the Week of Proper 3 / Ordinary 8
Seiss' Lectures on Leviticus and Revelation Seiss' Lectures
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Seiss, Joseph A. "Commentary on Leviticus 8". Seiss' Lectures on Leviticus and Revelation. https://studylight.org/
commentaries/ eng/ sei/ leviticus-8.html.
Seiss, Joseph A. "Commentary on Leviticus 8". Seiss' Lectures on Leviticus and Revelation. https://studylight.org/
- Henry's Complete
- Clarke Commentary
- Bridgeway Bible Commentary
- Coffman's Commentaries
- Bullinger's Companion Notes
- Calvin's Commentary
- Bell's Commentary
- College Press
- Smith's Commentary
- Dummelow on the Bible
- Constable's Expository Notes
- Ellicott's Commentary
- Meyer's Commentary
- Gaebelein's Annotated
- Morgan's Exposition
- Gill's Exposition
- Everett's Study Notes
- Commentary Critical Unabridged
- Gray's Concise Commentary
- Sutcliffe's Commentary
- Trapp's Commentary
- Kretzmann's Commentary
- Lange's Commentary
- Grant's Commentary
- Henry's Complete
- Henry's Concise
- Pett's Commentary
- Peake's Commentary
- Preacher's Homiletical
- Poor Man's Commentary
- Benson's Commentary
- Sermon Bible Commentary
- Coke's Commentary
- The Expositor's Bible Commentary
- The Pulpit Commentaries
- Treasury of Scripture Knowledge
- Henry's Complete
- Keil & Delitzsch
- Mackintosh's Notes
- Seiss' Lectures
- Kelly Commentary
[The author divides this chapter by subject matter, first discussing Aaron immediately below, and then discussing Aaron’s sons further below.]
Aaron and His Consecration
All religions founded upon Priesthood—Man must have a Mediator—All priesthoods stun up in Christ—The Ceremonies by which Aaron was consecrated—His Baptism—His Vestments—His Anointing—His marking with the Blood of Sacrifice—Our High-priest
In entering upon this chapter, we pass from the consideration of sacred things, to sacred persons—from offerings, to the priests who were to officiate at their presentation. All religions are founded upon some sort of priesthood. All people, of whom we have any record, have had their priests. To say nothing of Adam, Abel, and Noah, we read in the days of Abraham of "Melchisedek, priest of the Most High God;" and a few generations after him, of one Potipherah, priest of On, whose daughter Pharoah thought a fit match for his chief favorite, Joseph, whom he had made ruler of all his house. After these, we read of Jethro, priest of Midian, who became the father-in-law of the illustrious Moses Then came the long line of Aaron’s order, as instituted in the chapter before us. Nor need I speak of the Hierophantæ of Egypt, the Magi of Persia, the Sacerdotes of Greece and Rome, the Druids of Gaul, the Caliphs, and Mufties, and various religious orders of other nations, to show how universally this system of priesthood, or attorneyship in sacred things, has pervaded all ages. Indeed, it is essential to religion. It enters into the very substance of intercommunication between God and fallen man. Of this no one can doubt who understands God, or our moral and religious relations to him.
Man is not now what he was originally made. His whole nature has come under a disastrous eclipse, a gangrenous disturbance, a deep disorder. He has turned aside from his Maker. He has strayed as a sheep into dangerous wilds. He has become greatly alienated from goodness. He has been betrayed into wicked rebellion against his rightful Sovereign. He has become guilty, corrupt, ignorant, faint, and afraid. He is not in a condition to be acceptable to God; he has lost his affection for God; he has sunk away from a right knowledge of God; he knows not how to get back into communion with God; and what spiritual consciousness still adheres to him, serves only to make him dread and fly the further from God. This picture is not too highly colored. It exhibits the real estate of man apart from priestly mediations. And on the other hand, God cannot desert his own law, or be untrue to his holiness, justice, and word, by conniving at sin, or looking complacently upon rebellion. A righteous sovereign may feel for and pity his convicts, but he dare have no fellowship with them without compromising his own character for righteousness. Here, then, is a chasm between man and his God. The fallen one goes on sinning, and the wronged Sovereign must go on maintaining his righteous administrations. Man cannot of himself come to God, and is only terrified when he thinks of his presence; and God cannot sacrifice his sovereignty or tarnish his throne by advancing with favors to those who continue to trample everything sacred under their feet. The whole bent and drift of man’s native affections are against God, and the whole divine nature and commitments are against all thus opposed to what is good. It is not in man to turn or change himself; and God cannot reverse his own immutability, or retire from his eternal constitution of right and holiness. Some have thought that the combined influence of nature, conscience, and reason, is competent in the end to bring man to the knowledge of the truth, and to restore him to right affections for his Maker. But no instances of this have ever occurred. Amid all the varieties of circumstances in which man has lived for six thousand years, no case has ever come to light of such a transformation by the forces of nature alone. And God, in his word, declares that no such case ever has occurred, or ever can occur. "They that are in the flesh cannot please God." Jesus says, "No man cometh unto the Father, but by me." The mere powers and workings of nature, then, can recover no man from sin. Nay, even when men had a right knowledge of God, these natural forces were not competent so much as to keep that knowledge alive in them. For "when they knew God, professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things; changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator." This is Scripture, and it is history. Nor is it difficult to trace the philosophy of it. It requires only a little attention and analysis of our commonest and most inward impressions and experiences under the workings of nature. "No man hath seen God at anytime;" and the power which is unseen is terrible. Fancy trembles before its own picture, and superstition clothes it with dark imagery. The voice of the thunder is awful; but not so awful as the conception of that angry Being who sits in mysterious concealment, and gives it all its energy. In such sketches of the imagination, fear is sure to predominate.
We gather an impression of nature’s God, from those scenes in which nature threatens and looks most dreadful. With all the parade of scholastic demonstrations, the theology of every man’s actual feelings is as here represented. God is most present to our imaginations when nature is most terrific—when winter with its mighty elements sweeps the forest of its leaves, and the rushing of the storm is heard upon our windows, and man flees to cover himself from the desolation that walketh over the face of the earth. From the dreadfulness of nature’s elements, we feel how dreadful must be that mysterious and unseen Being who sits behind the elements he has formed, and gives birth and movement to all things. Our souls are awed and frightened at the mystery in which he is shrouded. Terror and wrath become the mantle in which our fancies robe him. And the outcry of conscience is, "Let not God speak with us, lest we die!" Instead of being drawn to him we are repulsed. Like Adam, we are impelled to seek for some place to hide from his presence. And so the natural and inevitable results of these awakenings and promptings of nature are, to induce us to worship God only in symbols and representations which soon must assume our own corrupt attributes, or else to drive us to expel all thought of him from our minds, and resign to a dark and grovelling atheism. Hence nature cannot bring us into peaceful relations to the true God. (See Chalmers on Job 9:33.)
How, then, may God and man be brought harmoniously together? How shall man have the veil of terrific and repellant mystery lifted off of Deity, that he may have hope in returning to his Maker; and how shall God show himself in any other form to rebels and traitors? There is but one way. There must be a Days-man—a spiritual attorney—between the two, who can lay his hands upon both. There must be some competent one to mediate from God to sinners, and from sinners to God. There must be some great officer (of the character shadowed forth in the various orders of priesthood), who shall, in his peculiar qualifications and office, bring God down to the right apprehension of men, and bring men up in some acceptable form to God. The idea of priest hood, then, and the exercise of priestly functions, enter into the very heart and substance of religion. Paul, in his masterly appeal to the Hebrews, takes it as one of those deep essential principles upon which his whole argument is built. It is presupposed in the whole framework of the Christian system. It is the root trunk, and sap of the tree of Life—the very spine, marrow and soul of the Gospel.
Previous to the institution of this Levitical ritual, the offering of gifts and sacrifices for sins, and the priestly functions in general, were much like prayer—the right and duty of all, without much distinction. They were not specifically entrusted and confined to any one order or class of men. Cain and Abel, even in the lifetime of their father, seem to have officiated for themselves. So far as one performed sacerdotal duty for another, perhaps more from the natural proprieties of the case than from any divine regulation, the work usually devolved upon the father of the family, or the prince of the tribe. Noah and Job officiated for their respective families, and Melchisedek was a king as well as a priest; and may have been a priest, in part at least, because he was a king. But, unless Melchisedek, of whom we know but little, is to be regarded as an exception, there were no divinely constituted priesthoods—no established sacerdotal orders, previous to the appointment and consecration of Aaron and his sons. And the fact that this office was at first free to all, and then gradually narrowed down, first to the father or chief, then to the tribe of Levi and the house of Aaron, and then to the great High Priest whom all former priesthoods foreshadowed, may have been designed to show, that the longer the race went on, the more unworthy and unfit man became to approach God. The moral history of mankind, from beginning to end, presents the appearance of an inverted arch, bending downward from Adam to Christ, and then gradually upward again to the time when holiness shall once more be the inheritance of earth. Adam began the work of degrading his species. In Eden, the balance between good and evil began to dip the wrong way. Sin became more facile and deep-colored with every generation; till the scale came heavily down. Depravity was at its depths, and all the hopes of the world settled upon Jesus.
There is no authentic priesthood now, but that which has its centre in the "great High Priest that is passed into the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God." He alone of all earth’s generations—he alone of all the heavenly principalities—is the one selected. ordained, invested and set forth to mediate between God and man, to effect at-one-ment between the righteous Sovereign and the guilty rebel. More holy than an angel, more Divine than a seraph, more deeply pervaded with Godhead than anything that ever took form, and yet more tenderly human than any mere man, the world has looked for him, the ages have prophesied of him, and in the fulness of time God sent him, to fill the breach between earth and heaven, to bring the unknown God to man’s understanding and affection, and to bring man up to God’s acceptance and approval. For this he was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, put to death under Pontius Pilate, raised from the dead by Almighty power, received up to heaven amid the devout acclaim of angels, and now appears in the presence of God for us to the wonderment of celestial orders, and to the everlasting redemption of those who believe. And from the nature of things there is no real priesthood but his, and no true priest but himself. Whatever other priesthoods God may have appointed, or approved, or even tolerated, resolve themselves into this one, and have been or are only prophecies, types, pictures, foreshadowings, or subordinate distributions from this sublime and only original.
Entering, then, upon a survey of the Levitical priesthood, we must take with us the thought, that we are about to look upon what was meant to set forth a higher priesthood than that of Aaron. It is not so much with the Levites that we have to do, as with Christ, of whom these Levites were the living hieroglyphics. In the earthly we are to see the heavenly From the typical we are to rise to the contemplation of the real. Aaron and his sons constitute the subject, and yet, Jesus and Ms people are the theme.
The chapter before us gives a description of the ceremonies by which the priests were consecrated, and formally inducted into their high office. These ceremonies were, for the most part, the same for Aaron and his sons; but it is the case of the high-priest more particularly that I propose to present now. The case of the common priests is reserved for another occasion.
I. Fixing attention, then, upon Aaron, as about to be set apart for the high-priest-hood, the first thing I notice is the publicity with which the consecration was performed. The whole congregation of Israel had to be gathered together to witness the solemn transaction. The creation of so high an officer for the whole people, required to be done in open daylight, and in the view of all concerned. And the scene presented an imposing spectacle. In the background stood Mount Sinai in solemn silence, terrible yet in the imaginations of the people, for the fires that had so lately enveloped it, and the holy law that came thundering down its gorges. In long bending lines through the valley at its base, stood the white tents of Israel. In the centre hung the cloudy pillar, stretching high into the heavens, its shadow resting upon the holy tabernacle. The princes of Jacob were there arranged about the door of the sanctuary in devout expectancy. In view of them all came Aaron and his sons, and Moses, the man of God, thoughtful and solemn, and half-trembling in their steps. The very breezes seemed to hush their soft whispers, and the sun himself to stand still in the sky. A breathlessness was upon all the witnessing hosts; for the priests of the Lord were entering into their great office!
But, through this scene in the Hebrew camp, I ascend at once to the contemplation of a more glorious spectacle. There rises up before me, in awful grandeur, the mount of Almighty Holiness. Around it, in seried orders, lie the princedoms and principalities of heaven. Myriads of holy ones, who looked on when the world was made, stand in compact throngs to watch in solemn silence the development of that new thought which has been thrown into their celestial contemplations. The four-and-twenty elders, with their crowns of gold glittering in the sublime effulgence of the great white throne, wait in impressive seriousness; when out upon the glassy sea, spanned by emerald bows, and radiant in jewelry of Godhead, steps the blessed Son, saying, "Lo! I come to do thy will, O God!" "I will redeem them from death: I will ransom them from the power of the grave!" And The Father From His Everlasting Seat Lifts Up His Hand In Solemn Oath And Says, "Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchisedek!" What saith the Scripture? "Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest;"—he did not ambitiously or clandestinely obtrude himself into this momentous office—"but was called of God, as was Aaron;" and all the congregation of heaven were witnesses to his rightful investiture and consecration.
II. The first thing to be done after the appearance of Aaron before the congregation as the designated priest, was to wash him with water. There has always been more or less washing connected with priesthood. The Egyptian priests washed twice a day in water; the Greeks had their sprinklings; the Romans also had numerous lustrations; and the Church of Rome still retains a shadow of the old rites in the use made of what is called "holy water," All this I take to be the distorted remains of what God himself appointed at the institution of his ancient ritual, and the consecration of his ancient priesthood. They are the traditional relics of what had a glorious significance once, but having neither dignity nor meaning in any of their modern associations. The water applied to Aaron was a token of cleansing and purity, without which no man can approach the holy and sin-hating God. It was meant to impress the idea of cleanness in him who was to act as an attorney between man and his Maker. And Aaron in his outward purification shows us our great High-priest in the sublime purity which he brought to his mediation-work. Jesus "was holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners." It was partly in token of this pureness and separation that John, as another Moses, baptized him in Jordan vale. He needed no cleansing. He always was pure. But, to indicate this purity, and to enter upon his priesthood in the regular way, he consented to be washed, as was Aaron. His baptism was part of his priestly installation. It is one of the items of proof that ho meant to be and is a priest. And it was done in the presence of thousands of Israel.
III. The next thing done for Aaron’s consecration was, the putting of the sacred vestments upon him. The priest was to be endowed with grace and glory as well as purity. He had to be clothed in righteousness and girt for active obedience He needed covering for those shoulders, which were to bear the people’s guilt, and for that brow, which was to be lifted up in confession. A rich, curious, graceful, and imposing suit was therefore provided for him—a suit which received its pattern from God, and was made according to specific divine directions.
The first article was "the coat," elsewhere called "the ephod;" a sort of frock, thrown over the shoulders, and extending down to the ankles, made of pure fine linen. This was the innermost part of the priest’s vestments, It had sleeves to the wrists It was the symbol of grace and righteousness in the hidden as well as visible man.
The next article was "the girdle," a narrow, long band or belt of linen, tied around the waist to confine the ephod close to the body. The priest was not only for show, but for service, and all his graces and endowments of righteousness were to be held subservient to his office. He had to be girded up for work.
A third article was "the robe," or "robe of the ephod," a seamless garment, curiously embroidered with blue, purple, scarlet, and gold. Its lower border was ornamented with a row of red pomegranates and little golden bells, encircling the entire robe in alternate succession. It was a garment which extended from the shoulders to a little below the knees. This was a robe altogether peculiar to the High-priest. Its tinge was heavenly. It had about it the greatest intensity of ornament. And it bespoke an exaltation and glory beyond anything worn by common priests.
Next came "the embroidered coat" of fine linen, with sleeves, and extending about half the way down the skirt of "the robe of the ephod."
Over this coat, and wound several times around the waist, was "the curious girdle;" a piece of fine twined linen, embroidered with blue, purple, scarlet and gold, tied in front of the body, with the ends left hanging nearly to the feet.
Then came "the breastplate," with "the Urim and Thummim." This was a fabric about nine inches square, set with twelve different jewels, large and well arranged. Its two upper corners had gold rings, by which it was connected with jewelled shoulder pieces, with wreathed chains of gold. At its lower corners it was fastened to the girdle with blue ribbons. The twelve jewels stood for the twelve tribes of Israel, and each jewel had upon it the name of its tribe. They were the most precious things belonging to the priest’s attire. They were called "Urim and Thummim; that is, Lights and Perfections. Some say that the law was written upon them, and that it was to the law as seated in these pure and precious gems, flashing with light and glory, that the Psalmist alluded when he said, "the law of the Lord is perfect"—"the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes." This breastplate was at any rate an exceedingly sacred thing, glorious in appearance and fall of stirring suggestion. A thrill of deepening interest must have run through the congregation of Israel as they beheld this jewelled heart-piece put upon their priest.
The seventh item was the putting of "the mitre upon his head." This was a kind of turban, made of fine linen, somewhat resembling the diadems of ancient kings It was a fit and imposing crown to the other parts of the priest’s dress, and doubtless brought a shout of admiration from Israel when they saw it adorning the brow of Aaron, fronted as it was with a plate of shining gold, in whose glittering sheen appeared the solemn inscription—"Holiness to the Lord."
Thus did God direct for the clothing of his ancient priest "for glory and for beauty." No man can approach God uncovered. The very seraphim cover their faces and their feet before his terrible majesty. And as Aaron was to serve before the Lord in the priest’s office, this was to be his glorious covering when on duty. A noble object he was to look upon as he stood that day before the congregation of Israel. Fold upon fold of pure linen enveloped his person. His breast, and his shoulders, and his brows, and even the girdle and hem of his robe, blazed with costly jewelry and gems. All native deformities were hidden in glory and beauty.
But, from the picture we lift our thoughts to the original. Aaron in his robes and jewels is but an earthly type of our great High-Priest arrayed in the sublime glories of his everlasting righteousness. True, Isaiah says, "he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him." But it is his appearance to this world’s carnal and perverted taste of which the prophet there speaks, and not his appearance to minds and hearts capacitated to appreciate him. This same prophet elsewhere tells of a vision which he himself had of this blessed one. "In the year that king Uzziah died," says he, "I saw the Lord." There was no absence of dignity and glory in that vision. "A throne, high and lifted up" was there, and upon it sat our royal High-Priest, the mere train or skirt of whose glorious robe was like "the fulness of the whole earth." Around him stood the seraphim in rapt admiration, crying one to another, "Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory!" until the very door-posts moved at the power of their words. It was more than the prophet could endure to look upon. He fell down upon his face and cried, "Wo is me! for I am undone: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts! "At another time this same prophet, contemplating the magnificence of Jesus and his achievements, breaks out with the exclamation: "Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah, glorious in his apparel, and triumphing in the greatness of his strength?" A glorious High-Priest is Jesus. Fold upon fold of glory and beauty encompass him. With round upon round of heavenly excellency and celestial praise is he girded. Purity, and holiness, and power, and grace, and majesty, and ten thousand indescribable attractions, cluster upon him, and surround him with flames of perfection and light, which only the most costly jewelry can typify, which angels bend to contemplate, and which archangels cannot find words competent to express. Even the Eternal Father looks on him with delight, and says, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased!" Fit is he to draw near to God, and worthy of our holy adoration—"chief among ten thousand, and the one altogether lovely"—"holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; who needeth not like those high-priests to offer up sacrifices for his own sins: for the law maketh men high-priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath which was since the law, maketh the Son [an High-priest], who is perfected for evermore." (Hebrews 7:26-28.)
O! could I speak the matchless worth,
O! could I sound the glories forth,
Which in my Savior shine!
I’d soar and touch the heavenly strings,
And vie with Gabriel while he sings,
In notes almost divine.
IV. The next thing in this impressive service was the holy chrism, or the anointing with oil. This was not common oil, but the sacred, fragrant, and costly compound used only in solemn consecrations. It was "precious ointment on the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard, and went down to the skirts of his garments," enveloping him in aroma as grateful to the smell as his garments were to the eye. It was the symbol of divine gifts and unction. It pointed to that solemn chrism or christing of Jesus, by the pouring out upon him of the Holy Spirit and energy of God "without measure." Our great High-priest was not only washed in Jordan, but he was also immediately after solemnly anointed by the visible descent of the Spirit upon him. It was that, that constituted him the Christ; that is, the anointed one. It was by that unction that he was endowed from on high with the rights and powers, with the gifts and graces, of his blessed priesthood. From that time forward he was installed forever in the sublime office of mediatorship between God and man. From that time forever, the command of the Father to all the children of men is, "Hear ye him." And if the anointing of Aaron was a thing to be sung about by (inspired minstrels, what shall be said of the christing of Jesus and those adorable official powers with which it invested him! We have read of his wonderful gifts of teaching—how the people were astonished at his doctrine—how skepticism stood confounded at his words—how all Judea was moved by his presence—how light, and grace, and blessing gilded and perfumed everything along the paths which he passed—how even the children in the streets lifted up their voices and shouted "Hosanna!" as he rode by—how the poor, and sick, and lame, and blind, and deaf, and palsied, and possessed, came crying to him and were relieved and healed—how he wrestled with Satan in the wilderness, and overcame him, and spoiled his dark kingdom—how he invaded even the territories of death, and brought back the departed to their afflicted friends—how he burst the rocky doors of the sepulchre and ascended up in triumphant power, whilst leaving to his church ample gifts of miracle and grace to overcome all earth’s mighty superstitions, and to tread in the same victorious path with himself to glory, honor, immortality, and eternal life. We have learned something of the wondrous might by which he draws men unto himself, and slays the enmity of their hearts, and moulds them to a spiritual life, and connects them once more with a heavenly commonwealth, and reinstates them in the favor of God, and makes his life and teachings live in them, and endows them with joint-heir-ship with himself to an inheritance which is incorruptible, undefiled, and fadeth not away. We have read how the Father hath committed all judgment to him, that men should honor the Son even as they honor the Father, and how he is gone to prepare a place for as and will come again to take us to himself, that we may live and reign with him in that New Jerusalem whose streets are gold, whose gates are pearls, whose foundations are jewels, whose watchmen are angels, and which blazes forever with the glory of God and of the Lamb. Yet, the consecration, anointing, investiture, and official endowment for all this was performed and given when the Holy Ghost came down upon him on Jordan’s banks, filling him with his amazing official fulness as the Christ, the Redeemer of the world.
Great was the day, the joy was great,
When the Divine disciples met;
While on their heads the Spirit came,
And sat like tongues of cloven flame.
What gifts, what miracles he gave!
What power to give and power to save!
Furnished their tongues with wondrous words
Instead of shields and spears and swords.
What glory, then, is to be attached to the blessed christing of Jesus, of which these gifts and powers to his disciples were only the remote and secondary effects! Blessed, blessed unction of our great High-Priest!
V. But still, Christ was not yet "made perfect." Moses had yet to mark and sprinkle Aaron with the blood of sacrifice; and, as the Captain of our salvation, Christ had to be "made perfect through sufferings." He needed to have upon him the marks of blood. And as he was both the sacrifice and the priest, he had to give himself to death before he could enter the holy place as our availing intercessor. We read that "Moses took of the blood, and put it upon the tip of Aaron’s right ear, and upon the thumb of his right hand, and upon the great toe of his right foot. And he took of the anointing oil, and of the blood upon the altar, and sprinkled it upon Aaron and upon his garments." It was the picture of "the blood of Christ, who through the Eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God," marking our great High-priest with the final touches of his installation as the Savior of the world. Thus "being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him."
"Holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High-priest of our profession, Christ Jesus." Survey him as these ancient pictures place him before us. From the heights of eternity he looked down upon the breach which sin had made between man and God. He saw our frailty and helplessness, and pitied us in our misery and ruin. And when there was no daysman, he stepped forward in the presence of the congregation of heaven, and said, "Here am I, send me." The Almighty Sovereign answered, "It is done; go thou and he a priest for ever. A body have I prepared thee!" In the fulness of time he came. John, like another Moses, was commissioned to wash him for his consecration. By an unspotted life and an ineffable oneness with Godhead, he was adorned and beautified with the sublimest excellence and glory. On the banks of the holy river, the christing unction descended in unmeasured profusion upon him. In the hall of judgment, the thorny crown was pressed upon his head, and marked his ears with blood. On Calvary the nails were driven, and brought out the crimson drops upon his hands and feet. On the cross the victim of the consecration was pierced, flayed, disjointed, all its tender parts given to the fires, and all its substance turned to dust in the place of ashes. In the tomb of Joseph, the Spirit, mingling with the blood from the altar, brought about the final baptism which completed the solemn round of his official investiture. And lo! he stands before men and angels a perfect High-priest, "able to save unto the uttermost all them that come unto God by him."
Trembling soul, behold thy Redeemer! This is He, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write. This is He, of whom it was said from the beginning, "He shall come." This is that "Branch of the Lord, beautiful and glorious, whose name is, The Lord our Righteousness." This is He, of whom the rejoicing angels said, "Unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a Savior, which is, Christ the Lord." Yea, this is He, of whom the expecting Church for ages sang, "He shall come down like rain upon the mown grass: as showers that water the earth; in his day shall the righteous flourish; and his name shall endure for ever." And let all the congregation fall down at his feet and cry, "Blessed be the Lord God, the God of Israel, who only doeth wondrous things; blessed be his glorious name for ever: and let the whole earth be filled with his glory; Amen, and Amen!"
The Consecration of Aaron’s Sons
Two Orders of Priesthood—Inferior priests the sons of the High-priest—Particulars connected with their Consecration—The Consecration itself—Baptism—The Robe of Righteousness—The Lord’s Supper—The Days of Waiting.
In our comment thus far upon this chapter, we have occupied ourselves mostly with the High-priest—with Aaron, and the Lord Jesus Christ as represented in Aaron. And the High-priesthood, indeed, includes the whole priesthood, and everything that appertains to the work and office of mediation. But it had some inferior and subordinate honors and services, which were distributed among a number of associated, lower priests. Aaron was not alone; his sons were consecrated with him; not to the same high office, not in all things in the same way, but to a lower grade of priesthood, in connection with, and depending upon, the one only High-priest. There were two orders. There was the High-priesthood of Aaron, and there was the lower, associated priesthood of Aaron’s sons. We have considered Aaron’s induction into the one; and it now remains for us to consider the induction of his sons into the other. This, then, is what I propose for the present occasion. (See Leviticus 8:6, Leviticus 8:13-16, Leviticus 8:22-25, and Leviticus 8:30-36.)
You will notice in these consecration services, that in many things Aaron and his sons are dealt with alike—made partakers alike of the same rites Apart from his peculiar investments, Aaron occupied a position in common with the inferior priests. This was not accidental. It pointed to a great fact in the history of our great High-priest that has passed into the heavens. In many things he was a man, the same as other good men. Whatever there was superhuman and divine in him, he lacked nothing that was human. He is "the Son of Man"—the child of Mary. "Both he that sanctifieth, and they who are sanctified, are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren. As the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same. In all things it behooved him to be made like unto his brethren." And it is an affecting thought, that in many particulars, and in all the common constituents and conditions of human life, we occupy a place just as high, and exactly the same as our blessed Savior. If we feel the pressure of this world’s woes, so did he. If we are tried with sore temptations, he was "in all points tempted like as we are." If we have the duties of piety to go through with, it is no more than our glorious Redeemer had in common with ourselves. Though he is "the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth," "yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered." Aaron, in a great part, was consecrated by the selfsame services with his sons.
It is also proper to remark here, that these ancient priesthoods had nothing in common with the pretended priesthoods of modern times. The Levitical priesthood embraced two orders—no more, and no less—the High-priesthood of Aaron, and the common priesthood of Aaron’s sons. The first could never have more than one occupant at a time, who, in that position, represented the Lord Jesus Christ.
The inferior priests, according to divine arrangement, were all of equal dignity, and represented all the people of Christ—his sons by regeneration through his Spirit. Christ having come, and entered himself upon the High-priesthood, there can now be no High-priest but himself; for there could not be more than one High-priest at the same time. And as all the people of Christ are alike priests of God and of Christ, we have the two orders complete, and there is no other priesthood but these two, and even these two are one.
We know certainly that Christ is a priest; that he is a priest now; and that he always will be a priest; for he is "a priest for ever, after the order of Melchisedek." In him, then, we have the High-priesthood.
And it is equally certain, that all Christ’s people, without distinction of laity or clergy, male or female, are also priests; that they are priests now; and that they will ever continue to be priests hereafter. Of old already did God say to all who should obey him—"Ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests." Isaiah, by the inspiration of God, repeated the announcement—"Ye shall be named the priests of the Lord." Peter, by the same Spirit, says to all the scattered household of faith, "Ye are a royal priesthood." Paul says, "We have an altar." John, in the name of all the saints, ascribes glory and dominion to him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, for having "made us kings and priests unto God." And of all who have part in the first resurrection, it is written, "They shall be priests of God and of Christ." All Christians, then, are priests. This is the dignity which God himself has conferred upon them. Here, then, are the common priests. We thus identify the present occupants of both orders. The High-priesthood is filled by Christ; the common priesthood is filled alike by all the people or children of Christ. This is the entire priesthood, so far as God has constituted it. Any other priesthood is therefore foreign to the divine constitution, and an innovation upon it. God has not appointed any other, or sanctioned any other, in his word. Whatever claim may be set up for another priesthood, it is a mere device of man, an earthly fabrication, without warrant or authority. If it is really a priesthood, it is antichristian, and an invasion of the rights and honors of Christ or his people; and if it is not really a priesthood, it is wrong to call it so. Aaron and his sons, that is Jesus with his children, as such, are the only divinely appointed priests; and to hold to any other priests, is to pronounce against the institutions of God, and a sin against holy order. Our High-priest is Christ, and all we are common priests alike.
It is further to be noticed, that common priests were the sons of the High Priest. Their attainment of this high honor depended upon, and was the result of their filial connection with Aaron. They became common priests, because their father was the High-priest. In other words, their priesthood grew out of the High-priesthood of Aaron, and was based upon it. This fact was also the shadow of a great Gospel truth. We can only become priests, by connection with Jesus the High-priest. Our priesthood proceeds out of his, and can only become ours by virtue of a filial relation on our part to him. If Aaron is not our father, we cannot be God’s priests, We must be "born again"—"born of the Spirit"—born children of the ever-blessed Lord,—or these high honors do not belong to us. Christ must first become our life; we must become members of him, of his flesh and bones and blood; we must be grafted upon him, and united to him, as the branch is united to the vine, as the child to the father, as the wife to her husband; we must become one with him in the bonds of a spiritual sonship; or we are in no way partakers of his glory. There was no priesthood for Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, or Ithamar, but by virtue of their being Aaron’s sons.
And this thought refers us back again to those spiritual experiences and acts to which our attention was directed by the law of offerings. It is by means of those acts and experiences, that a man comes into saving relationship with Jesus, and is made spiritually his son. So here now we have the results of that sonship, a blessed priesthood. I cannot but more and more admire the deep moral, spiritual, logical, and connected history of the sinner in the process of his redemption, that is presented in the order and construction of this Levitical ritual. First we see him helpless, casting about for something wherewithal to come before the Lord, and at length finding a sufficient sacrifice in Jesus the Lamb, upon whose head he leans with his burden, and is released. Next he is presented as offering himself in grateful return a living sacrifice to Him who hath redeemed him with the price of blood. Then we behold him feasting upon the fat things of hope and joy that come to him through his offerings. After that we see him struggling with remaining weaknesses of nature, but still clinging closely to his great Advocate in heaven.
And by virtue of all this, we here come to view him as designed for, and actually being induced into, the high honors of a glorious and eternal priesthood. It is this sacred inauguration that we are now to consider; We will first look at some of its surroundings, and then at the particulars of which the transaction was composed.
1. These sons of Aaron, as well as Aaron himself, had been previously and divinely called to be priests. They had not been elected by men, but designated of God. The voice of the Almighty had said to Moses, "Take thou unto thee Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him, from among the children of Israel, that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office, even Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron’s sons." Even so our calling and election to be priests of God and of Christ has come not from any workings of nature, but from the supernatural interposition of Divine grace. God, by his word and Spirit, has come forth, and nominated every one of us to the high service of ministering at his altar. He has sent forth his ministers and commissioned them to set apart all men whom they can reach, to be his priests. There is not one among you, however thoughtless, however wicked, but Jehovah has said of him, set him apart that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office. Whether old or young, poor or rich, high or low, male or female, young man or maiden, there is no difference; every individual, of all nations and times, has been divinely singled out and nominated for this holy consecration. The command is, "Go and make disciples of all nations." Not one is left out. All are named, and all that Lear the Gospel are called, elected, and appointed, to enter at once upon this sublime and holy office. And not more really were Aaron and his sons called of God to the ancient priesthood, than you, and I, and all the people among whom we live, have been called of God to the "royal priesthood" of believers in Christ Jesus.
2. Aaron and his sons obediently assented to their Divine appointment. Would to God that I could say as much for all who are called to be priests under the new and better covenant! But it cannot be said. Though God calls, many refuse. Though all are nominated, thousands will not consent to serve. They prefer to be priests of sin and self, to being priests of God and of Christ. They choose rather to minister for iniquity and Satan, than minister at the pure altar of Him who made them. It is a sad, and melancholy, and wicked perverseness, thus to resist heaven’s high election to heaven’s highest honors; but alas, it is a perverseness which multitudes cherish and glory in. God has commanded us to set them apart to be his priests, but they will not consent; and without their obedient concurrence they never can be inducted into the offices for which they have been named. Like Aaron and his sons, we must agree to be made priests, or we cannot become priests.
3. Aaron and his sons were consecrated according to specific Divine directions. As Moses proceeded to attend to it, he said, "This is the thing which the Lord commanded to be done." No wisdom or ingenuity of man can set apart priests for God. No rites that we can devise, no observances which this world’s sages may invent, can ever induct a man into Christian offices. Not even Moses had any right to proceed a single step, or to do one thing, except as God directed him. And everything which God commanded had to be done. There was to be no adding to, and no taking from the services as God had arranged them. The investment of Aaron and his sons with the dignities of priesthood, was God’s work. And he did, in the ceremonies which he appointed, put forth his hand, and lay it, as it were, upon the heads of these men, and himself constituted them his ministers in the priest’s office. Nor is it different now. We can only be set apart as priests of God and of Christ by the ceremonies which God himself, by his Son, has prescribed. No rites of human make, no decrees of councils, or commands of earthly sovereigns, in Church or State; no liturgies; no manual impositions; no services, however solemn or dignified; nothing, can avail one feather’s weight toward making any one a priest of God. His own clear and specific appointments alone can do this. It must be done by means of God’s own unmutilated prescriptions, or it cannot be done at all.
4. The consecration of Aaron and his sons was a public and open transaction. The command of God was, "Gather thou all the congregation together;" and the history says, "the assembly was gathered together unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation," around the spot where the solemn deed was done. We cannot secretly be inducted into the holy priesthood to which the Gospel calls us. If there is any such a thing as secret discipleship, it is a very imperfect discipleship. People sometimes think they will be good, and prayerful, and holy, and gain for their souls the full portion of the blessed, and do it all without letting the thing be known. They will come to Jesus, but only like Nicodemus, tinder covert of the night, and in the secresy of retirement. They wish to be the priests of God and of Christ, but they are not willing to be brought before the congregation of Israel—not willing to submit to a public and daylight consecration. With all their many valuable experiences, they yet have a lingering shame to give themselves up to all God’s appointments. They wish to abridge God’s own ritual; and are sometimes more than half offended because their way of expecting to get into the holy Christian priesthood is not thought as good as God’s way. But, whatever people may think, God’s prescriptions for the consecration of his priests involve publicity. Christ requires of us to confess him before men. He demands of us an open and unreserved following of him. He exacts submission to all his holy ordinances, some of which are essentially public. He has arranged the way to enter into the sheepfold, and pronounces him a thief and a robber who undertakes to climb in some other way. Let men beware, then, how they undertake to stint and curtail the appointments of God. If he has instituted sacraments, it is our business to attend to them. If he has commanded a public acknowledgment of the faith and identification with his people, we have no right to decline it. And if we are not willing to be openly known as God’s consecrated priests, I doubt whether your secret religion is of a sort that will avail in the great day.
We come now to consider the particulars of the consecration itself.
1. "And Moses brought Aaron and his sons, and washed them with water." This was the first item in the service. And what does it typify, but that "washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost, shed on us abundantly, through Jesus Christ our Savior?" "Verily, verily," says the Son of God, "except a man be born of water, and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." Nay, for this very purpose hath Christ given himself for the Church, "that he might sanctify and cleanse it, with the washing of water by the word."
I said a little while ago, that God has sent forth and commissioned his ministers to set apart all men to be his priests. And that same commission prescribes how it is to be done; viz. by "baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." Not merely by the outward application of water to them in solemn religious service; but also "teaching them to observe all things whatsoever Jesus has commanded." Our washing is not a mere external rite, but an inward grace, "the answer of a good conscience toward God." It is not mere water; but water joined with the word of God, in which we by faith receive the cleansing and renewing efficacy of the Holy Ghost. A man may be outwardly baptized, and still be impure, but he cannot spiritually apprehend, appropriate, and enter into his baptism, without becoming a renewed and sanctified man. Nay, his whole spiritual renovation is included in this washing; so that his baptism is virtually no baptism at all, unless attended or followed by the death and burial of the old man of sin, and the planting in the soul of a new, pure and vigorous righteousness. I have no sympathies with the aberrations of Tractarian folly upon this subject. I locate no transforming or renewing power in the mere outward ceremony.
The outward rite is not the substance of the baptism It is the moral purgation, the inward renovation, the spiritual experience of the purifying grace of the Holy Ghost, that fills out the scriptural conception of Christian baptism. And without this spiritual cleansing, the baptismal washing is a mere empty rite, and our baptism is no baptism to us. But if we have the real faith to lay hold of the grace offered and proposed to us in our baptism, it becomes to us the "laver of regeneration"—the burial of the old man, and the quickening of the new man; "that as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life." And this is the true washing of the Christian priest—the first item of his consecration to the holy ministry of eternal priesthood. "Except we be born of water and of the Spirit, we cannot enter into the kingdom of God."
2. "And Moses brought Aaron’s sons, and put coats upon them, and girded them with girdles, and put bonnets upon them." This was the second item in the service. After their cleansing they had to be clothed with ornaments "for glory and for beauty." The long flowing robe of linen, clean and white, covering the whole body from the neck to the hands and feet, the curious girdle, figured with blue, purple and scarlet, surrounding the loins, and the pyramidal crown upon the head, constituted the beautiful and imposing regalia in which each was arrayed. But this also was a figure for the time then present. It was a type of the glory of grace, and the beauty of holiness, in which we must be enveloped in order to become priests of God and of Christ; "for the fine linen is the righteousness of the saints". We must be pure, and we must be holy. Our native deformities must all be covered. We must "put on the Lord Jesus Christ," and be arrayed in his loveliness. His own glorious attirements are to be reflected in ours. The one must be, in its degree, of the same kind as the other. By our own weak endeavors, this never could be. No man is able to work out a satisfactory righteousness of his own. But it was not left to the priests to find their own dress. God had provided it for them. The wedding guest need not bring a wedding garment with him; that is an article furnished by the maker of the feast. And so, our moral equipment in Christ Jesus is given us by him who hath called us to be his priests. Our Savior is our Righteousness. What we lack personally, is supplied by him as our surety. "As by the offence of one, judgment came upon all men to condemnation, even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life." And "as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous." If we are in Christ Jesus, united to him as his sons by faith, he is "made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption;" that he that glorieth may glory in the Lord. The law contemplates the saints in Christ, and sees them arrayed in his holiness, and accordingly pronounces them acceptable and just. Their faith in Christ secures to them the imputation of the righteousness of Christ. And under the complex workings of grace, this imputed righteousness also takes root in the believer’s heart, and works itself into his experiences, so as in part to become a personal as well as an imputed righteousness. "For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin." Every Christian must needs be holy; holy by virtue of relationship to Christ, and holy in the aims, purposes, desires, and efforts of life. And this is the robe of glory and beauty that we must needs put on to be constituted priests of God. As without the wedding garment we cannot partake of God’s supper, so without holiness we cannot come into the presence of our Lord to minister in the priest’s office. Jehovah hath written on the gates of the everlasting city, "There shall in no wise enter into it anything that defileth, or worketh abomination, or maketh a lie." And unless we have fully given up to be holy and good, we have not yet come to be God’s priests.
3. A third item in this consecration service, was the leaning of hands upon the head of the sin-offering. Sin—sin—sin;—in everything there is remembrance made of sin, as man’s great, ever present, crushing burden, and of the bloody sacrifice of Christ Jesus as its only remedy. Everywhere, even in our holiest moods and most sacred doings, there still flashes out the stern and humiliating accusation—"O man, thou art a sinner! All thy goodness is but abomination apart from Christ! Thy only hope is in him whose body was broken and whose blood was shed for the remission of sins!" There must, therefore, be a habitual recurrence of our minds to this fact. Our hand must be ever kept on the brow of the atoning Lamb. We must never cease to rest upon Jesus and his offering of himself for us. Here must we
—sit, forever viewing
Mercy streaming in his blood.
This underlies everything else. There is no heavenly consecration which does not take in this. It is the beginning, and the middle, and the end, of all human sanctification. And without resting upon Christ as the sin-offering, we never can come to the high honors of the priesthood of saints.
4. "And Moses put of the blood upon the tip of their right ear, and upon the thumbs of their right hands, and upon the great toes of their right feet." The whole person is visibly dedicated to the Lord. Every faculty and power is consecrated with the blood of the Lamb. Jehovah touches that blood to the right ear, hand, and foot; as much as to say, "As my priests, all the faculties and powers represented in these parts, from ear to toe, are to be used only for me." The ear is consecrated, that it may be ever open to the gentlest whispers of the Divine word, and listen to nothing but what is of God. The hand is consecrated, that it may never more be stretched out unto iniquity, but ever lifted up in devotion to him to whose service it is set apart. The foot is consecrated, that it may never again be set down in the ways of sin, but ever made to move and carry us in the paths of righteousness. Such is our solemn consecration of the whole man as God’s priests. We are no longer our own; we are bought with a price—"with the precious blood of Christ as of a lamb without blemish and without spot;" and forever set apart to glorify God in our bodies and our spirits which are his. This is the consecration of priests; and unless we have surrendered to be thus devoted to God, we are not partakers of the glorious priesthood to which we have been called.
5. "And Moses took of the anointing oil, and of the blood which was upon the altar, and sprinkled it upon Aaron, and upon his garments, and upon his sons, and upon his sons’ garments with him." Even after their setting apart to be priests, they needed to be yet farther sanctified as priests. Not only themselves, but their very garments also, were marked as holy. The sacred oil was emblematic of the gifts and graces of the Holy Spirit. And so the Holy Ghost, in conjunction with the blood of the Lamb, sanctifies and endows us for holy services. Sprinkled with these sacred elements—touched with moral unction and constrained by the dying love of Jesus, we become equipped for duty, and qualified "to show forth the praises of him who hath called us out of darkness into his marvellous light." It is not enough that we are installed in the priesthood. It is not the ultimatum of our calling merely to attain the honor and place of priests. Even this honor and place are to be made subservient to something more. Our very priesthood must be consecrated, as well as we to the priesthood. Not for our beauty and glory only does God invest us with our Christian offices and gifts, but for his own praise. We must therefore aim not merely at getting ourselves into heaven, but at being saved for the further purpose, that, as saved men, we may the better glorify God, and set forth the praise of his glorious grace. There is danger that we think too much of the blessings of the Gospel and our portion as believers, as the end.
They are not the end. They are only means to the end. We are not called to be priests, for the mere sake of being priests; but that we may "minister unto God in the priest’s office." We are ordained for a purpose beyond our ordination. Our very priesthood must be set apart for God. All the gifts and efficacies of the Spirit and the blood upon our nature, are to be for the everlasting praise of our Redeemer. And as we look forward to that nearing world when our sanctification shall be complete, we must not contemplate it as a mere scene of resting upon our dignities, but as a scene of sublime, noble, and unceasing services, rendered unto God and the Lamb.
6. Still another item in the consecration of God’s ancient priests, was, that they had to eat the boiled flesh of the offered lamb with unleavened bread, at the door of the tabernacle. This boiled lamb of course typifies the Savior as offered for our sins. It calls to mind the great sufferings which he endured as our substitute and sacrifice of consecration. Every joint in him was relaxed. He was "poured out like water." We cannot contemplate the scenes of his passion without feeling that "his countenance was more marred than the face of any man." But it was a necessary part of the process by which we are constituted priests of God. Christ had to die, and have all the tender parts of his nature brought under the fires of wrath, and his body given to be food for our souls, to qualify us to come acceptably before our Maker. And now that he is thus made an offering for our sanctification, it appertains to us to put forth our hands, and eat of that offering, as the life and feast of our souls. He is the bread of life, and upon that bread we must feed to be God’s priests. For "Except we eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, we have no life in us." And as our washing is connected with our baptism, so this eating is connected with the sacramental supper. The one points to the birth of the new man; the other points to the nurture and nourishment of that new creature. Merely receiving the baptismal water is not regeneration; and so merely eating and drinking in the holy Supper is not partaking of the flesh and blood of Christ. There is an inward in both, as well as an outward. But as it is only real renewal by the Holy Ghost that takes up and fills out our baptism, so it is only a believing and real appropriation of Christ’s body and blood that constitutes a complete and effective participation of the holy supper. It is more a spiritual than an oral eating; nay, it is essentially a spiritual eating, only assisted by means of outward elements and bodily manducation. Faith must do the work, and the external is only a representation on which faith may more easily lean, and receive aid in laying hold upon Christ crucified. Faith is the hand that reaches out to take Christ as our salvation, and faith is the mouth by which we receive him; but the physical hand is extended to grasp the consecrated elements, and the mouth of the body receives them, to give unto faith a greater vigor, and thus aid the inward thought by an outward act. And thus feeding continuously upon our slain and boiled Lamb, we are nourished and strengthened for our spiritual priesthood, and consecrated to serve in it for ever.
7. There is yet one point in these consecration services to which I will call your attention, and then leave the subject to your own management. Aaron and his sons, having attended to these several particulars, were further required to "abide at the door of the tabernacle day and night seven days," before they could enter fully upon the high offices to which they had been consecrated.
The number seven is very often used in the Scriptures as the type of perfection and completeness. The "seven Spirits of God" represent the fulness and perfection of the one Holy Spirit. "The seven stars," or "the seven angels," represent the entire or complete ministry of the Christian Church. And so generally, the number seven is identified with completeness. This is especially true when used with reference to time. We read of the "seven days" of the week in which creation was finished; "seven years" as completing a reckoning; and seven times seven years bringing round the grand sabbatic year of jubilee, when things went back and started again afresh. It was a completion of the period. So then, the priesthood of Aaron and his sons was made perfect; it took in the completing number seven—"seven days." The consecration period was a complete period—a full measure of time. It was not only the fact of completeness, but a duration through which this fact was brought out. We are not only to be completely consecrated to a complete spiritual priesthood; but it is to take a complete period of time in which this completeness is to be effected. We are called and consecrated now. We are real priests as soon as we have attended to the sanctifying services of which I have spoken. But we must yet abide "seven days" at the door of the tabernacle before we can go into it. We must yet wait the revolution of a complete period before we can come into the Holy of holies. That complete period can be nothing short of our entire earthly life.
These present days, then, are the days of waiting. Though we are set apart as priests, we have to abide here at the door of the Holy Sanctuary until the days of our consecration be at an end. We cannot yet go in to see God in his glory, and to bend before him where his holy angels adore and wonder. We must wait until the "seven days" are fulfilled. It may seem like an imprisonment. It may often make us feel somewhat impatient. It may tie down and fetter our desires. But it is only to make us perfect. It is necessary to complete our glorious installation, as priests of God and of Christ. And it will soon be over. It is only "seven days"—the shortest of all the complete periods of human reckoning. Before we think of it, it will have passed. For some of us, much of it has already gone. Two, three, four, five, six, and to some even a part of the seventh, of these days of waiting, are even now numbered with the past. Presently the whole term will have expired. it will not be long till we all find the period completed.
And what a scene then awaits the elected and consecrated priests of the Lord! Found abiding at the door of the tabernacle when the clock strikes the finishing hour, who shall describe what follows!
In vain our fancy strives to paint
The moment after death;
The glories that surround a saint,
When yielding up his breath.
One gentle sigh his fetters breaks;
We scarce can say "He’s gone!"
Before the willing spirit takes
Its mansions near the throne
And then begin the everlasting services. Then shallwe hear the tinkling of the golden bells that herald the motions of the great High-Priest in heaven. Then shall we look upon the beauties of redemption’s jewelry that hangs in glorious splendor around his noble form. Then shall we walk in the light of the golden lamps which fill the celestial sanctuary with the brightness of wisdom and the warmths of love. Then shall we eat holy bread in the presence of God, and wave the golden censers of heaven with the sweet incense of everlasting praise. Then shall we hear Jehovah speaking to us from his eternal seat, and look with adoring angels into the awful mysteries of his Being, and rejoice in the great heart of our Father’s love pulsating with Almightiness.
Oh! glorious hour! Oh, blest abode!
We shall be near, and like our God!
And flesh and sin no more control
The sacred pleasures of the soul.