the Week of Proper 4 / Ordinary 9
The Poor Man's Morning and Evening Portions
June 8—Morning—Numbers 19:9; Numbers 19:3
"A red heifer without spot, wherein is no blemish, and upon which never came yoke. And ye shall give her unto Eleazar the priest, that he may bring her forth without the camp, and one shall slay her before his face."—Numbers 19:9; Numbers 19:3.
I remember well it is said of our Lord Jesus, that, in order to sanctify the people with his own blood, he suffered without the gate. But though I clearly apprehend that the law, with all its sacrifices, was but a shadow of good things to come, and the body was Christ, yet, had not the Holy Ghost been graciously pleased to illustrate and explain, by other scriptures somewhat either direct, or by allusion, in reference to Jesus, I should have overlooked how, in many striking points, Jesus is here set forth in this type. Surely, Lord, thy spotless purity was beautifully represented in the spotless heifer here appointed for sacrifice. And the very rare colour of a red heifer plainly testified the singularity of thy sacrifice. Adam himself was so called, as a token of the red earth from whence he was taken. And when Jesus, as the Son of man, came to do away all the effects of Adam’s sin and transgression, he manifested, by the redness of his apparel, and the blood sprinkled upon his garments, the gracious purposes which all implied. But I do not recollect, in any other type of my Redeemer, a particularity which pointed to the freeness of thy voluntary sacrifice, Oh thou Lamb of God! as the one here represented, in that this heifer was to be one upon which had never come yoke: nothing, Lord, but thine own free, sovereign love, and at the call of God thy Father, prompted thine infinite mind to be the willing sacrifice for poor sinners. There was no yoke, no obligation, nothing to compel thee. Lo, I come, was thy gracious voice, when neither sacrifice nor offering could ransom thy people. Oh Lord! let the sense of thy freeness in salvation comfort my soul under all heart straitenings in myself; and the consciousness that there was no yoke upon thee, Lord, but thine own everlasting love, be the sweet constraining yoke on my soul, to bind me to thy love and to thy service for ever.
June 8—Evening—1 Peter 1:8-9
"Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable, and full of glory; receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls."—1 Peter 1:8-9.
My soul! mark what a blessed testimony believers of the present hour are here said to give to an unseen, but dearly beloved Redeemer; and behold what blessed effects are induced in the soul by such lively acts of faith upon his person and righteousness! And, indeed, when it is considered who Christ is, what he is to us, what he hath done for us, and what he is for ever doing for us, and will do to all eternity, who but must love him? In his person all divine perfections center; whatever tends to make any creature lovely, in heaven or on earth, is found in Jesus in the most eminent degree. For there is nothing lovely in creatures of any character, whether angels or men, but it is derived from him: it is Jesus who gives all that excellency and grace which they possess; the whole is found in him, and received from him. And when to these views of what Christ is in himself, the believer adds the consideration of what he is to him, what he hath wrought, and what he hath accomplished in redemption for him, such thoughts of Jesus, under the teachings of the Holy Ghost, in his glorifying him to the soul, give "a joy unspeakable, and full of glory." My soul! what saith thine own experience to these truths? Surely Christ is a portion full enough, and rich enough for every poor needy sinner to live upon to all eternity. And if thou hast been taught (as I trust thou hast long since been taught, and long proved) that all the fulness in Jesus is for his people; that his grace is magnified in giving out of his fulness to supply their need; yea, that Jesus waits to be gracious, and is as truly glorified, when a poor creature lives by faith and joy upon his bounty, as he is when that poor creature lays himself out in praises for that bounty; surely, though thou hast never seen Christ in the flesh, yet by faith thou hast seen him, and lived upon him, and hast such believing views of him, as giveth thee present peace, and immediate enjoyment of salvation. Oh! the felicity of thus realizing future things by present possession! Oh! the blessedness of substantiating things unseen by the strength of that faith which worketh by love! See to it, my soul, that thy God and Saviour is increasingly precious, and increasingly lovely, day by day. See to it, that he who is lovely to the Father, and to the Holy Ghost; the praise of all his saints in glory; the joy and adoration of angels, and the spirits of just men made perfect; and lovely to all creation, but to devils and poor blind unawakened sinners: see to it, my soul, that this lovely and all-loving Jesus is the first, and best, and completely satisfying object of thy delight; that this blessed testimony, which the Holy Ghost hath here given of the faithful, may be thine; and that though not having seen Jesus, you love him, and though unseen, you believe in him. This will be to "rejoice with a joy unspeakable, and full of glory; receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your soul."