Scripture Imagery.

J. C. Bayly.

 1 Introduction
 2 Kinds of Figures
 3 Variety of Figures
 4 The Serpent. The Sacrifice. The Cherub.
 5 Cain. The Sacrifice. Abel. Seth. Enoch.
 6 The Flood
 7 Noah: The Food: The Invitation.
 8 Probational Numbers. Birds, Raven, Dove. Olive Leaf and Tree.
 9 The Altar; Burnt-Offering; Miracles; Rainbow. Noah's Prophecy.
10 Line of Ham: Canaanites: Nimrod: Babel: Babylon.
11 Abram and Zion 5 Nimrod and Babylon: Faith.
12 Abram; Faith; Hope; Love; The Journey: The River.
13 Abram: Terah: Lot. Bushel: Bed: Candlestick.
14 Melchisedek: Bread: Wine: Cup etc. Stars: Sand.
15 Covenant-Victims: Amen. Lamp: Furnace.
16 Hagar and Ishmael.
17 Hagar and Ishmael. The Wells.
18 Well-Strifes: Well-Stopping: Sign of the Covenant: Sojourning: Lot's Wife.
19 Isaac: Character, Death and Resurrection.
20 Isaac: The Question. The Sacred Names.
21 Vicarious Suffering and the Result. Machpelah.
22 Sarah's Death. Eliezer's Mission. The Camels.
23 Eliezer: Rebekah: Laban.
24 Rebecca. Gold: Wrought Gold: Needlework.
25 Rebekah: Practical Reflections.
26 Keturah's Family. Abraham's Death.
27 Election of Jacob. Competition: Esau: Jacob.
28 Jacob Banished: The Ladder.
29 Jacob's Adversities.
30 The Pillow: The Pillar: Sympathy.
31 The Stone of Bethel.
32 The Three Flocks. Rachel. Leah. The Servant.
33 Jacob's Return.
34 Course of Discipline and Attainment.
35 Bethel. Oil. The Drink Offering.
36 Joseph: Typical Character.
37 Joseph: Separate from his Brethren.
38 Seclusion and Fellowship.
39 The Chief Butler and the Chief Baker.
40 A Gospel Episode.
41 Judah's Speech. Wagon v Staff.
42 Jacob Crosses His Hands. Manasseh. Reuben.
43 Reuben (Continued). Judah.
44 Judah. Issachar. Simeon and Levi.
45 Zebulun: "Ancient Lights." Dan.
46 Gad and Asher.
47 The Hind Let Loose.
48 The Fruitful Bough. The Shepherd. The Stone.
49 Benjamin's Portion.
50 Exodus. Jochebed. Miriam.
51 The Three Plenipotentiaries.
52 Zipporah. The Burning Bush.
53 The Rod-Serpent. The Leprous Hand.
54 Moses Losing Caste.
55 Pharaoh Negotiates.
56 Diplomacy Exhausted.
57 The Destroying Angel. The Blood. The Hyssop.
58 The Red Sea: Salvation: Miriam's Choir.
59 Mountain: Palace: Sanctuary: Tree.
60 Palms and Well-Springs. The Flesh-Pots.
61 The Quails. The Manna. The Sabbath.
62 The Omer of Manna: The Water: The Amalekites.
63 The General Assembly at the Mount of God.
64 The Law and the Testimony.
65 The Slave's Ear Bored: The Thirty Shekels.
66 Israel as Illustrating the Principles of Divine Service.
67 The Sanctuary. The Ark: The Mercy Seat.
68 The Table: The Candlestick: The Tongs.
69 Tabernacle Boards: Bars: Sockets: Curtain.
70 Three Coverings
71 The "Brazen" Altar.
72 The Court. The Priests: Aaron.
73 The Priests' Robes: The Breastplate.
74 The Altar Staves: The Laver.
75 Consecration of Aaron. The Golden Altar.
76 The Ointment. The Incense. Counterfeits.
77 The Golden Calf.
78 The Intercession of Moses.
79 Results of Moses' Intercession.
80 Outside The Camp. Illumined Faces.
81 The True Atlantes and Caryatides.
82 The Pillar of Cloud
83 Knops, Loops, And Taches.
84 Historical Abridgment of Two Thousand Years.
85 Death in the Sanctuary.
86 Forbidden Diet. The Swine: The Hare.
87 Lepers and Leprosy.
88 Provision For The Leper.
89 The Leper (continued.)
90 The Two Goats.
91 The Feast and Holy Convocations.
92 The First Fruits and Pentecost.
93 The Feasts of Trumpets, Atonement, and Tabernacles.
94 Painting the Lily.
95 The Lamp and Showbread.

1.

1884 12. The very abundant use which is made of symbolical language and actions in the sacred records is evidently for the purposes, (1) of compelling attention, for attention is more easily attracted to types and physical actions than to abstract statements: (2) of explanations, for scriptural subjects are so much above the ordinary power of human minds as to be only, or best, explained by figures; and (3) for rivetting to the memory, because an illustration is like a nail to hold a subject in the mind which otherwise would soon slip out. These three considerations, attractive, elucidative and mnemonic, I consider to be among the main purposes of the use of scripture figures; but obviously there is the further important consideration, that their use adds to language much picturesque beauty. This last characteristic may be regarded rather as an effect than as a purpose.

It was not Herr Froebel who first used the Kindergarten system, Germany adapts rather than invents. God had used symbol-teaching to "children of a larger growth" for thousands of years before. The Old Testament is one larger and divine Kindergarten, where, though all is historically true, the varied and dramatic figures of kings, shepherds, priests, worshippers, sacrifices, hosts, wanderers, pomps, miseries, triumphs, defeats, mercies, judgments, sufferings and glories are symbols and types of spiritual events (1 Cor. 10:11). The mightiest woes of the material realm are but as "Kriegspiel" to the gigantic conflicts of the spiritual; and its brightest glories are as the scintillating stars, presently to be flooded out by the majesty of the full-orbed day when the glory of the Lord shall cover the earth as the waters cover the sea.

In this way the new dispensation interprets the old. But we find that the reality is the spiritual; the material things serve as shadows, This is the formula: seen — temporal; unseen — eternal (2 Cor. iv 18). Thus interpreting the first chapter of Genesis by the first chapter of John, a correspondency will be seen, which reveals the operation of the same Mind in each case, and which suggests that the great spiritual truth of John 1 was present in that august Mind when it arranged the material operations of Gen. i., Genesis giving simply the shadow, and John the substance. In each case the soul is guided back to survey "in the beginning" God triune, sole, absolute, whose transcendent power and capacious wisdom was pleased to originate and develop all things. In Genesis then we see first the order of heaven and the earth (1) before the horror of darkness and chaos, over which wide desolation the billowing Spirit broods (2). At length came the days, in the first of which "light was" (not said to be then created) fighting with the darkness — never blending, over hostile — and divided from it (3). Then heaven, the expanse, was with a separating power and effect (6-8); dry land appears on the third day, the earth apart from the sea, with herbage and fruit to be produced (9-12); the sun is appointed (not now made but for the first time disclosed to the Adamic earth, having been hidden not merely during convulsive changes, but by the vast vapours and clouds that must in the previous glacial, marshy, or heated periods have existed). For light had been here from the first day; but now the great light-bearer of our system is disclosed to rule the day; the moon and subordinate lights also (14-19); then the sea is productive for man, and fowls are to fly in the expanse (20-23); the beasts too next day, and the race, man, to rule and be blessed (24-31). "This universal frame began, from harmony to harmony. Through all the compass of the notes it ran, the diapason closing full in man," made in God's image, after His likeness.

Now when the new creation is to be described, again, after the relation of the Word in His eternal glory, we see the darkness run amidst which the Spirit moves imparting life, (John i. 13), light shining in hostile darkness, — rejected and separated from it. (10-12). Light is the Word or Son who in the bosom of the Father reveals Him. It reveals as a word reveals a thought, and is therefore called the Word disclosing heavenly things (14-18-51), always with a separating effect (37-39); it is only by death and resurrection that solid ground and fruit appears. There had been light (instruction) in the world from the first day, the Adamic dispensation, and through the Patriarchal and Mosaic dispensations following; but now in the fourth epoch the light, the Son, is disclosed and appointed the regnant expression of all truth; — subordinate lights also to reflect His ways during His absence, whether corporately (moon) or individually (planets). In John i. 35-51 are passing shadows, as frequently pointed out, of the two great dispensations of Gentile and Jewish salvation; that is to say, the time comes (Rom. xi.; Rev. vii.) when the sea — the Gentiles, and the land — the Jews, shall both in their day be prolific. And then finally the veil is drawn aside to show us "greater things than these" to — "see heaven open and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of man." Thus again, "From harmony to harmony, Through all the compass of its notes it ran, The diapason closing full in man." But this time it is the Second man, the last Adam. "What is man that Thou art mindful of him; and the Son of man that Thou visitest Him . . . hast crowned Him with glory and honour . . . to have dominion over the works of Thy hands."

As a ship-builder makes first a model of his projected ship, and then builds the real vessel, so God has wrought first in model in the physical creation, then in the spiritual. A child looks on the toy-ship in the owner's office and sees no further; but the owner explains, from its symmetrical miniature, suggestions of the gigantic lines of some world-renowned craft. So do the glories of the spiritual realm and its phenomena surpass those of the physical.

2.

1884 28 Of the numerous kinds of figures used in Scripture there are four most frequent, of which the characteristics should be remembered. The simile is any case where a resemblance is drawn between two objects; as "the righteous shall flourish like the palm tree." The metaphor is the putting of one thing, because of its analogy, to express another, as "Ephraim is a cake not turned." The symbol is the designed use of one object to represent some other object or thought to which it has an affinity, as baptism to represent death and resurrection. And the type is the same as the symbol, except that the type relates to some future thing (called the antitype), whereas the symbol relates to something past or present. There are about a dozen others figures: but I think most of them explain themselves, and the distinction between them (metonymy, synecdoche, and so forth) are chiefly of interest to grammarians and rhetoricians.

It will therefore be apparent that we have no right to call a thing a type or symbol, unless there be some evidence of a divine intention that it should be so regarded, since the design is what characterizes these two figures.

It is consequently oftentimes accurate to say such and such a thing is a figure, simile, or illustration, where it would not be safe to call it a type or symbol. It is well to be careful in such matters; but we may be sure there is a "via media" of truth lying somewhere between the extremes of mysticism and hard literalism. If God uses figures, He wishes to teach us something by them. We should consider them attentively and reverently, desiring to discover what His meaning is. This meaning generally consists of some broad primal truth connected with the most striking features of each figure; and then subordinate features of more or less interest will be found to reveal themselves as details are examined.

To apply this to the figures referred to in a former paper: — what does "Light" signify? The broad grand truth in 1 John i. 5 is "God is light;" and the symbolism of creation discloses how that, as light shone into the chaotic darkness of a world-ruin physically, so God was to interpose in the spiritual darkness (evil ignorance) of the world for its instruction and salvation (light and life). Such is the grand parent meaning, evident to all, of this figure. But consider for a moment some of the collateral meanings; how that it is by the word that light comes (Gen. i. 3), and John i., because the Word was God. Nothing is more truly a part of an intelligent being than his word which expresses his mind. So Christ is called the Word, — and therefore the Light in instruction — because He reveals the Father, or expresses personally what is in the mind of God (2). The light makes day and separates it from night; so those who are illumined by Christ are called children of day (1 Thess. 5:5), separated from the influence of darkness. And here notice "the evening and the morning," that is, the order of God's diurnal cycle, and thus the Jewish day was reckoned; while the world generally took its day-time before its night-time. With God night-time precedes His day-time; the good wine is kept for the last. With Christ and His followers the time of darkness, anguish, pain and death comes first; and then the deliverance. "Hail, holy light, offspring of darkness,* first-born!" but with the world it is the reverse (4). The diffusion of light is at first without visible agency (Gen. i. 3); and then by the visible agency of a central source of great majesty which is to rule the day, and by attendants which, when he is invisible to the world, look on his face and reflect his light. And so in the new dispensation (5) the invisible source of light takes different aspects. Just so with Christ, who is spoken of as the "Morning Star" to those (the church) who wait now, and as "the Sun of Righteousness" to those who shall wait in the succeeding dispensation (6). Light reveals, and thus God by His word reveals the nature of everything, not only of sin — which thought seems to cling in our natural minds, always attributing a severe aspect to "God is Light" — but of everything right and lovely and of good report also, which aspect is seriously overlooked. "Verily the light is sweet and pleasant," Eccl. xi. 7, not merely severe. Into the horror of perilous darkness its celestial beams bring comfort and healing on their wings, revealing beauty as well as deformity — judging all things. Final judgment is outer darkness. As the ancient Arctic dwellers would assemble on their hill tops to greet the sun's return after their long long winter night, hailing his beams with plans of joy; so should the world have hailed the advent of spiritual light, heavenly truth; "but their eyes were blinded." (7) The mystery of light cannot be explained (as might be expected in any symbol of deity); but the undulatory theory generally accepted is the same theory in principle as explains the progress of sound, thus giving us another association between the ear and the eye, the word and the light. (8) Light not only reveals colours — as Lord Bacon writes, "all colours will agree in the dark" — but creates all colour; for it is the separation of light into elementary parts, and the absorption of some of these parts, that is the cause of colours. If light be broken on a prism, as in the case of falling raindrops, it separates into different colours, whence the rainbow; and again, if all the colours be put gradually on a disc and the disc revolved, they will blend into white (called technically the recomposition of light). So the divine character is not seen in its full beauty until it comes as revealed in Christ into contact with the weeping clouds of earthly misery, and then the different attributes of God are seen in the transcendent majesty of their stronger, and in the ineffable grace of their more tender, elements. And it is in this sense that Joseph's "coat of many colours," received by him from his father, represents the eternal character of Christ, as also the blue and purple and scarlet of the tabernacle curtains.

[* "Offspring" is poetry, or heathenism. In our God is no darkness, but He Himself is light, especially as revealed in Christ; and so are even we His children light in the Lord, though we were once children of darkness and Satan, and such alas! is man as fallen. Light is in no true sense the offspring of darkness, though in a world of ruin it precedes. But the light, in truth, was originally before the darkness. Ed.]

Many other analogies may be found in this figure; but the foregoing at least flow naturally, and without straining. They suggest something of the appropriateness of the figures used by the Holy Ghost; and the amplitude and opulence of the divine imagery.

3.

1884 78 The most remarkable fact in this subject is the extraordinary number and variety of the figures which are used in reference to the Son of God. And indeed this is a striking evidence of the exhaustless affluence of Him that filleth all in all — that God has drawn upon all the resources of the universe, bringing forth every object the most useful or beautiful, and advancing it to convey to us something of the varied and manifold aspects of the person, offices, and achievements of our Lord Jesus Christ. Each figure gives some fresh aspect, — like the turning of a celestial kaleidoscope — and so many fresh aspects are there to be conveyed, that everything lovely and beneficent which surrounds us has been invested with a halo of consecration by this sacred association. And thus anyone having fair knowledge of the scriptures cannot pass through the world without every moment seeing some object that reminds him of Christ or His work, — a star, a mountain, a stone, a lion, a door, a lamb, even a nail (Isa. xxii. 23), — things humble and serviceable, as well as the most dignified and splendid. Even were such a man blind, as Milton describes himself, with "wisdom at one entrance quite shut out," yet would the voice of the Ancient of days speak to him from the "noise of many waters: and were this gate of the ear closed also, the genial warmth of the sun's ray, the fragrance of lily or rose, the very bread he conveys to his mouth, have been consecrated by the Holy Ghost as symbols of Immanuel. Throughout this earthly life these lights gleam, — most brightly of al] in the darkness of adversity — until, over the dying bed, the medicine that assuages his pain, and the physician that administers it are found to have been appropriated, as emblems of the work of that great Physician who came to heal those that are sick and wrest them from the grasp of death.

Amongst the earliest of these emblematic objects is Adam, who is typical of the "last Adam," mainly in that He is appointed God's vice-gerent in His image and likeness to rule in the earth. And of subordinate points of resemblance, the following seem chief. As Adam was head of the human family (Rom. 5:14), so Christ is head of the whole race of the redeemed; as Adam was put to the test of temptation, so also Christ; as Adam's one act affected his whole posterity, so Christ's one act affects those of which He is head; as Adam receives a bride, bone of his bone, formed as the result of his having been cast into the deep sleep — the semblance of death, and presented to him when he awaked — the semblance of resurrection, so from the death of Christ results the formation of the spiritual bride, presented to Him, without spot or blemish, in His resurrection*. As with his bride he is brought into a relationship of unity in love, involving protection and devotion on his part, and submission and fidelity on hers; so the Bride is to be associated with Him in sorrow and dishonour as well as in dignity and happiness; and this unity is so complete that they are both included in one name, "He called their name Adam;" (Gen. 5) and in 1 Cor. xii. 12 the Head and the body, the church, are included in the one title Christ. That there should be points of divergence too is to be expected: the shadow is "not the very image." There is no type nor symbol able to express fully even one aspect of the Lord Jesus Christ. At least they fail somewhere, for the simple reason that He immeasurably surpasses in every particular anything which the universe could afford to illustrate that aspect. So in regard to His second point — a formal definite testing by temptation — Adam falls, in a paradise and under the most favourable circumstances; whereas Christ withstands in a wilderness, and under the most unfavourable circumstances.

[*Though the doctrine of the church as bride of Christ he not developed till the New Testament, yet there are several types of it in the Old Testament, showing it to be no afterthought, such as Joseph's and Moses' receiving Gentile brides during rejection by their own people, the Book of Ruth, etc.]

Immediately that Christ (in type) treads the earth rest succeeds; and so the Sabbath directly follows (Gen. ii. 2). Just so, when in redemption the Israelites get across to the wilderness, the manna appears (Christ on the earth) and the Sabbath is directly connected therewith (Ex. xvi. 15-23). There is this difference however, that Adam represents the Lord on earth ruling and therefore brings rest in the way of authority, something as it will be in the millennium; while the manna represents Christ in humiliation, in the character of the Gospels, yet giving rest; humbled and outcast, yet able to say "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." In one form or another rest is always characteristic of Him; but probably the most beautiful of all phases is that whereof the type is now before us — God resting in Him in divine satisfaction and complacency: "He will rest in His love." (Zeph. iii. 17.) Of course those who read this paper will know that the antitype of the Sabbath is not the "Lord's day" of the present dispensation, but that it is still in the future (Heb, iv. 9). "There remaineth therefore a keeping of Sabbath — sabbatismos — to the people of God." To keep Sabbath in that sense now would be to dissociate it from Christ, which is to miss its whole connection. Spiritually the same principle is true; it is only as Christ is apprehended that the soul has rest with God.

It is noteworthy too as being the seventh day. As a practical musician detects a distinct character in each note of the scale, from the solemn repose of the "first" to the piercing expectancy of the "seventh," so the scripture student recognises a peculiar meaning in the numbers used, which meaning is often the key to unlock the signification of a whole passage. Besides its other well known characteristics, it is well to remark that 7 is composed of the union of the earthly number 4 and the heavenly number 3 (the sevens of scripture are nearly always thus divided); it is the union of heaven with earth. No longer now Elohim, but Jehovah Elohim: relationship is established.

This progress had now reached a final stage. The material creation steadily develops till its "diapason closes full in man." There is nothing more correct than development: nothing more incorrect than evolution, which is being now quietly relinquished by those who most warmly supported it a very few years ago. And as there was no physical object to be subsequently created (here) higher than Adam — and indeed there does not seem to be a single species of plant or animals of any sort since his time — so there never has been nor can be any spiritual development higher than the last Adam. God rests in Him.

Then we see a bridegroom and bride in a paradise, the subject of celestial benediction, the objects of divine complacency; the centre of the organised system, — "he for God only; she for God in him." This, and infinitely more, is true concerning the anti-type. Concerning the type we may well say O si sic omnia! But it was the devil's province to bring evil into good; as God's is to bring good out of the evil.

4. The Serpent. The Sacrifice. The Cherub.

1884 93 The brightness and harmony of the earthly paradise is speedily changed into harmony and discord. Not far from the shadow of the tree of life is hidden the fruit of death. The agency of temptation is insidious: the sin is proffered in innocent and attractive guise. Mankind, allured by lust of eye, lust of flesh, and pride of life, grasps at the tendered bait and obtains a knowledge of good (by denying good) and evil (by gaining evil). All is instantly changed: henceforth the tree of life is reserved for another paradise, and its aspect is different, it is now — like the Scandinavian tree (Igdrasil), whose roots are in Hela or death, and whose branches, bearing perennial leaves and fruits, stretch into the Empyrean abodes — to be a tree of life in resurrection only.

We are told in Rev. xii. 9 and Rev. xx. 2 very definitely that the serpent represents our great adversary the devil. The figure is apt in these points, deceit and death. The two most characteristic features of all sin I believe to be craft and cruelty. "Instruments of cruelty are in their habitations; O my soul, come not thou into their secret." (Gen. xlix. 5, 6.) All the attributes of the father of sin are comprehended in these two terms, "A liar and a murderer." (John viii. 44.) In the serpent this is graphically expressed: it is "more subtle than any beast of the field;" and under the hooded glory of the cobra lurks the malignant virus of death. If we could forget this, we should see that it is not without semblance of outward innocence and beauty, which, however, only makes it the more to be dreaded. As Montague the statesman said of Wharton two centuries since, "He is like a fire-ship: dangerous at best, most so as a consort, least so when showing hostile colours."

It is for this reason that the worship of the serpent — ophiolatry, which has extended, in one form or another, all over the world* — is peculiarly heinous: it is the supplanting of God, not merely by a stock or stone, but by the symbol of Satan. For this reason also the character of its worship was distinct from general idolatry, in that it was the avowed worship of a dreaded and hated object, being somewhat similar in this respect to the worship of Ahriman the evil deity by the Persians, in contrast with the more intelligible worship of Ormuzd, the beneficent one. But it was reserved for professing Christians to develop this abyssmal wickedness to its utmost depth. The oriental sect of Gnostics, called the Ophites,** even went so far as to connect their adoration of the serpent with the observance of the eucharist; and that in a repulsive manner which I forbear describing. For this reason too God puts a perpetual curse on the serpent so that even in the millennium when all other creatures are in happiness, "dust shall be the serpent's meat." (Isa. lxv. 25.)

[* Deane traces its origin from Babylon, whence it overspread the ancient world.

** The Ophites, however, seem not to have dreaded but to have adored the serpent. A subdivision of them, — for they had their divisions too! — called the Cainites, had a peculiarly reversed way of reading the Bible; Cain and Judas were good men; Moses and Paul bad men etc. Yet these people flourished till the sixth century.]

There is another figure used of Satan in the lion (Isa. 65:25), seeking whom he may devour. Here the prominent feature is violent destructiveness, as in the foregoing figure it is the crafty destructiveness. These two features always alternate and, so far as I can see, the violent hostility comes first, and, when this fails, the crafty one generally succeeds. Thus, in the beginning, he seems to have assailed the power of the Omnipotent, but was defeated: he was "hurled headlong flaming from the ethereal sky, In hideous ruin and combustion down To bottomless perdition!" Then the tactics are changed and the specious deception of Eden succeeds — for a time at least. In like manner (not to mention other dispensations) he assailed the church, first, as Peter describes (1 Peter 5:8), imprisoning, burning, crucifying; but when three hundred years of that left the church still triumphant, the methods are again altered. Now it is as "Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses;" that is to say, by imitation and deception. The important thing to sec is that it is the same opponent and hostility though under different forms.

It is noteworthy that scripture applies the two figures — the lion and serpent — in certain limited aspects as types of Christ. I am aware that so popular an authority as the laborious compiler T. H. Horne restricts the typical application of the brazen serpent to the circumstances only;* but I think there can be no doubt that the serpent itself is meant in John iii. 14 to be typical, expressing that Christ is to be looked to as uplifted in the "likeness of sinful flesh." But the "likeness" is brass — that which is capable of bearing fire (judgment). He is capable of sustaining infinite judgment, as being of an infinite nature and capable of infinite suffering; but the reference there is more especially to His having been "made sin" though we know in Him was "no sin."

[* He quotes Wisdom iv. 12, but not of course as inspired, and says the brazen serpent itself is not meant typically — that it would be a very exceptionable figure.]

Amid the dark threatenings of the judgments, which must follow the first human offence, some words spoken concerning the "woman's Seed," and the action of clothing the first sinners in the skins of beasts, i.e. the covering belonging to a slain and innocent victim, are the first gleamings of heavenly light. But they are dim and nebulous, like the faint streaks of the milky way in the black dome of night — the blending "of gentle lights without a name." It is only when we view these dim nebulars through the telescope of the sacred word that we can sec they are composed of the confluent rays from far-off and unnamed worlds of truth and hope.

It is difficult to understand why the meaning of the cherub should be generally so misapprehended: the popular idea is expressed by the figure of a baby's face, which represents very correctly the exact reverse of the scriptural idea. The cherubim are described in much detail by Ezekiel (ch. i). It is frequently said that the cherubim meant in Genesis and Exodus are different from those; but on who t ground this is said I could never discover. The onus probandi of the matter is on the person who makes the assertion, and not on one who — in the absence of any qualifying terms — takes a word to mean substantially the same thing in different parts of the same book. In Ezekiel (Ezek. 1 — 10). it is very apparent that they are majestic and awful descriptions of the faculty and progress of judgment; as from Isaiah vi. we can see that the seraph expresses the faculty and progress of Mercy. The cherub has four wings; the seraph six: so Mercy is swifter than Judgment. In Rev. iv. we see in the "beasts"* round the throne the characteristics of both united — the numerous eyes and four faces of the cherub, and the six wings of the seraph — Mercy and Judgment met; ceasing not day or night in ascribing praise to the Holy Lord God Almighty.

[* It is zoon, a living being, (not necessarily, however a creature) in contrast with therion, a wild beast — Mark i. 13, and Rev. xiii. 1.]

It is sometimes said that the cherub signifies the executive function. Yes, very true, but executive of what? It is without doubt executive of judgment in Ezekiel, and here in Genesis iii. too its glittering sword reveals the same function (though for a merciful end no doubt). Then it may be thought that the fact of the cherubim being on the ends of the mercy seat yields a difficulty; but I think there is singular beauty in the expression of Judgment and Mercy being combined* as the basis of God's dealing with sinners; and especially is it to be remarked that the faces of the cherubim were to be turned downwards towards the mercy seat — not towards the sinful being — so that they ever saw the blood which the mercy seat provided as the sinner's atonement; Judgment looks upon what Mercy provides and maintains.

[* They were to be beaten out of the same piece of gold.]

The cherubim then (perhaps some readers may need to be told that cherubim and seraphim are merely the plural forms of cherub and seraph; they are untranslated words though somewhat distorted in being Anglicised, as most untranslated words are) come forth from the North (the place of judgment, Lev. i. 11) in resplendent glory of cloud and fire. They are four in number — universal operation: they have four faces — universality of aspect: they have four wings — slower than mercy: straight feet, like a calf's, and like burnished brass — progress ever stable and judicial; wings joined — every judicial operation interlocks with all other judicial operations, turning not as they went. Their faces were like a man's — intelligence and authority: a lion's — majesty and vengeance: an eagle's omniscience and ubiquity: a calf's (or a cherub's, these were the faces no doubt which were to be downward toward the mercy seat) — patience and stability; and they have hands — the executive faculty. "Whither the Spirit was to go, they went" — Ezek. i. 12. the blood is sprinkled before the oil.

They are further characterised by the colour of amber or fire, but "the appearance of the wheels and their work" a more hopeful colour, beryl, connecting itself with the rainbow that ever in Rev. iv. rises in divine promise above the fearful prospects of judgment. "Their work was as it were a wheel in the middle of a wheel" — indirect and collateral results, besides the leading characteristic of straightforwardness. They are full of eyes — see everything before and behind, judging not only results but causes.

Ezekiel says twice that the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels — not in the amber fire; the spirit of judgment is not in its direct work of destruction, but in the revolutions proceeding from its indirect work, — the beryl, the rainbow (Ezek. i. 28) the beneficent results. And here also may our spirits well repose, not in the horror of its yellow consuming flames, but there where the heavenly blue mingles with the yellow, — a verdant hope, like springing grass, of a new heaven and a new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness.

5. Cain. The Sacrifice. Abel. Seth. Enoch.

1884 109As Cain (Jude 11) represents the course of the "man of the earth" in sin, so Abel represents the course of the righteous, and especially of the Righteous One — Christ (Heb. xii. 24). Now both Abel and the sacrifice typify Christ in suffering — not in glory as Adam did — but in the sacrifice He is suffering at the hands of God (i.e., by His ordinance) for sins, whereas in Abel we see Him suffering at the hands of man for righteousness. In Abel's sacrificial action we see Christ "offering Himself." Three aspects are true: He suffered by the "determinate counsel" of God "for sins" of others; He was by "the foreknowledge* of God . . . by wicked hands taken and slain" for His own righteousness; and He laid down His life voluntarily (John 10, Heb. 9.) offering Himself without spot to God.

[* Not of course by the counsel this: observe the accuracy of the terms in Acts 2.]

There are other aspects of the sufferings and death of our Lord, but these seem the principal ways in which they are presented. It is exceedingly objectionable to make such a theme a subject of cold critical analysis, still we cannot err in following with reverence what is revealed. It has been pointed out how distinct are these presentations, and how invariably that, when the suffering from the hand of God is presented (as in Ps. xxii. and Ps. cii.) it is for sin, and the result at the end of these Psalms and in the following ones is blessing to mankind; but when suffering from man is spoken of (as Ps. lxix.) it is for righteousness and the result is judgment. It is in the former aspect the sacrifice is seen; in the latter aspect Abel. The characteristic of this type, then, is a Righteous life opposed in the world, hated and temporarily defeated, apparently crushed, but accepted by God, and in its results ultimately triumphant. Such a life breathes an atmosphere composed of two elements, Faith and Obedience — kindred elements of such mutual regard that one cannot live without the other. Judged outwardly this life seems to he lamentably wasted and resultless: the very name signifies something vain and transient — a breath; but it is a breath of divine inspiration, the effects of which travel over the dismal centuries. Abel "being dead yet speaketh," and one most definite speech is that there must be a future life in which wrongs are redressed and the perversions of human judgment reversed if there be such a thing as justice in the universe.

We are thus warned from the first against the crude and vulgar error of supposing that virtue is always rewarded and vice al ways punished in this life: a most mischievous delusion, which the multitude of novelists and dramatists work perpetually to uphold, notwithstanding that the daily experience of every one is otherwise. If we judge the virtue of lives by their outward success and results, then we have to account for the suffering and death of Abel the protomartyr, and the outward failure and disaster of thousands of lives, like his honourable, and like his apparently condemned and fruitless. The type of all such is Christ: there has been no such (outward) failure as that of the life and death of our Lord in human history. He said* "I have laboured in vain, I have spent my strength for naught;" and, after a dependent, laborious and devoted life, the outward result is a handful of ignorant fishermen as followers, who desert Him at the approach of danger, deny and betray Him; a crown of thorns, a sceptre of reed, a cross of wood, and a borrowed grave. If God be just, such a life cannot be allowed to terminate there: time is thus shown to be but a part of eternity; and what is not set right in the present existence will be set right in the future.

[* Isa. xlix. 2.]

Moreover Christ's death in this aspect is full of comfort for many a discouraged and broken life, apparently barren of results. It could not be more so than His; and yet, in outward defeat and disaster, He won far greater victories than when in the olden time, or in a day to come, He hurls the assaulting hosts from the battlements of heaven. The apostle is told that there is indeed One who has by the prowess of His victories acquired a right to unfold God's purposes (Rev. 5); and this One is the Lion of Judah. But when John turns to see the Lion, he sees, instead, "a lamb as it had been slain." It was in this way and character that Christ gained His mightiest triumphs — in misconstruction, hatred, suffering, disastrous defeat and death. And we too — Constantine's motto being better than Constantine — In hoc signo vinces

Seth, appointed or substituted in place of the dead Abel (Gen. 4:25), may represent Christ in resurrection. Then men begin to call upon the name of the Lord. There are two races thenceforward, the natural human line by Cain, citizens and embellishers of the world, and the death-and-resurrection line by Seth, who call upon the Lord. The line of Cain progresses on through a list of names suggesting a development of evil ending in Lamech — "humbled" — a bigamist and murderer, the "seventh from Adam" in natural life. Meanwhile the resurrection line proceeds through a list of names disclosing suffering and victory on to Enoch — a fit expression of the church's last privilege being translated without death before the judgment comes (Rev. 3:10; 1 Cor. 15:51.) — and Noah — a future dispensation of salvation, but through the midst of the judgment (Rev. 7) which destroys all Cain's posterity. It is a peculiar fact long ago pointed out by a Hebrew student, that the meanings of the first ten names along Seth's line run respectively thus: — 1, Man (that is, as God made him), — 2, Substituted — 3, Fallen man, subject to all evil — 4, One who laments — 5, The Illumination of God — 6, Shall descend — 7, Teaching (or dedicating, i.e., Enoch) — 8, His death shall send — 9, The humbled — 10, Consolation. I am not aware of any evidence of this remarkable sentence being designed; but, remembering how the names were invariably given with appropriate meanings then, it can hardly be doubted that it discloses a notable similarity in the development and progress of the principles that we find in redemption in a far larger scope. I have noticed something of the same kind of development to occur in the sequence of names through the line of Cain; but it is only development of evil: the end of Cain's line is Lamech — made low or humbled; but the end of Seth's line is Lamech — Noah, i.e. [to the] humbled, consolation. What a difference is made in the terminations of the two lines by this one name — Noah — and by means of this one man!

Enoch resembles the highest view of the church dispensation — the beau or divin idéal. He is called the seventh from Adam, the ultimate development of the resurrection line: he is without human history or political importance — "unknown and yet well known." Being "dedicated" to heaven, his home is there, and thither he is translated without seeing death, before the judgment comes on the earth; he leaves behind him a simple record that, walking by faith (Heb. 11:5), he pleased God and he testified of the advent of Christ (Jude 14). I need hardly say that this is not at all true of the historical or professing church.

6.

1884 142 There is no longer need for controversy, even with the most sceptical of the small scientists, as to whether there has been a general flood such as that recorded in Genesis. The history of every ancient nation on the globe goes back (with more or less vagueness and mythology) to it. Plato amongst the Greeks, Ovid amongst the Romans, Berosus amongst the Chaldeans, and numbers of other heathen writers, bear witness of the universal tradition. Its story is inscribed on Apamean medal, Assyrian cuneiform tablet, and South American monument: but that is the smallest part of the external testimony. In any part of the world, from the transatlantic prairies to the pinnacles of the Himalayan mountains, if a man stoop down and question the ground under his feet it will tell him the same story of a great general inundation of waters; sea shells and marine fossils being found on the highest hills and indeed everywhere. The remains of tropical animals and plants have been washed up into these temperate climes, mingling with millions of rounded stone, "boulders" manifestly brought down from the frozen north imprisoned in icebergs, coming by reason of some mighty disruption in that ocean of ancient ice, which Nares calls the Palaeocrystine Sea. In the basins of London and Paris great numbers of the bones of tropical animals are found. In Kirkdale Cave, Yorkshire, are the bones of the hyaena, tiger, rhinoceros, tropical animals, mingled with the bones of the wolf, bear, and deer, of northern or perhaps arctic climes. In many places — especially in Britain — are found fossils of monkeys, cocoa nuts and palms lying within a short distance of boulder-stones and drift clays evidently dropped from floating icebergs. What else could have produced all this except the northward wash of a mighty deluge from the great southern ocean main, with the returning wash of the retreating waves?

When the warring and unstable waters retreated, they left behind, in rock and fossil, manifest and substantial witnesses for succeeding ages of what had taken place; so underneath the conflicting and uncertain deluge of the theories of geology are the hard and established facts of geognosy* that nobody at this time of day thinks of questioning. Some geologists may give this or that reason (inconsistent, contradictory, or mutually exclusive reasons) for the above facts. But to one who believes the sixth chapter of Genesis the matter is plain enough — that God's word and God's world alike proclaim that there has been a general deluge. It is right to say that many eminent geologists used to believe this: geognosy reveals what is called a diluvial** period in all lands.

[* Strictly speaking, geognosy is the knowledge of the facts relating to the earth's crust; while geology (though in general loosely used) is the science founded thereon.

** Diluvial means violent action of water as contrasting with alluvial, the ordinary and continual action.]

These universal evidences of the Flood are monuments, revealing as to the past a mighty disturbance of the normal course of nature in order to punish human sin; and declaring, as to the future, that (Luke 17; 2 Peter 3:5, 6.) as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the. Son of man . . . "When the Son of man shall be revealed," that is after the church (Enoch) has been translated, "one shall be taken," (taken away by judgment) "and the other shall be left" (to enjoy, as Noah's kindred did, the blessings of the millennium). He "gathers out of His kingdom all that do offend (Matt. xiii. 41) . . . then shall the righteous shine forth." The order and manner of the advent of Christ, as Son of man, to do this is altogether different from His coming — quite unseen by the world — for the rapture, on which occasion those who are taken are taken for blessing and not for judgment. He who stood at Pilate's bar at Gabbatha has been appointed by God "to judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom." (2 Tim. iv. 1.) And so He judges the quick, or living, at His appearing, as thus described, in sudden and destructive advent (Zech. 14); contrasting with the solemn judicial procedure of the great white throne which will be at least one thousand years afterwards.

Through this fearful tempest of judgment a saved remnant is brought* in perfect safety into the new world, and the manner of their deliverance typifies Christ as (1) the ark — the means of their salvation; (2) Noah, the captain of their salvation; (3) the sacrifices; and (4) the food provided for their sustenance.

[* Rev. 7:14 (should be "THE great tribulation.")]

The ark then represents Christ as the sole and sufficient means of salvation, "the like figure . . . by the resurrection of Jesus Christ." (1 Peter iii. 21.) Let the reader notice the following points. It was God's arrangement; it was sufficient and perfect, but humble and inadequate to the outward view; it was of wood — humanity — the man Christ Jesus; it was pitched within — nothing can leak out, — and without, — nothing of evil or danger can leak into it; it was divinely and perfectly proportioned; it had rooms — varied dispensations, orders and families* of salvation but one Christ; it had three floors, that is, there is development in Christ — progress to higher and still higher altitudes. But manifestly all "in Christ" have perfect salvation, that being no matter of degree or attainment; salvation is as absolute, for the feeble coney creeping timorously for refuge on to its lowest deck as for Noah on its topmost floor — no more so and no less. The ark has a window "finished above:" its prospect is heaven, not the floating corruption surrounding it, its "look commencing with the skies." It is thus we approach God through Christ.

[* Eph. iii. 15 "the whole family" should be "every family."]

Gen. vii. 16 "And they that went in, went in male and female of all flesh, as God had commanded him: and the LORD shut him in." It is God as Creator, absolute and sovereign who commands the creature to take refuge in Christ; but notice how, directly he crosses the threshold, the name is changed, relationship is established. "Jehovah" shuts him in. When one approaches the Son of God and touches but the hem of His garment, instantly to that one the whole aspect of the universe is altered; above all things the aspect — and even the name — of God is changed; the anger of an offended sovereign is changed into for us the benign care of a Father. Notice also how this verse crushes the preposterous arguments as to there being separate Jehovistic and Elohistic documents. Here the two names occur together (as in some other passages) and with manifest symmetry and design.

7. Noah: The Food: The Invitation.

1884 159 When the angelic salutation aroused the shepherds, the advent was announced of the celestial Ambassador in the twofold character of Saviour and Lord. (Luke 2.) The world was in danger; He must be its Saviour; the world was disorganised: He must be its Lord. These two titles God has joined together and no man shall divorce them. But that is just what men wish to do: they do not object to any benefits that may accrue through Him as Saviour, but will not submit to His authority as Lord.

Yet see how indispensable and natural it is that He should be Lord. If a Camillus or an Alfred will deliver Rome or England from anarchy and peril they must command and lead, for they only are worthy of such position, and they only can adequately fulfil its duties. Hotham denied this principle when he insolently told Colonel Hutchinson that he would not obey him, "he fought for liberty and he expected it in all things." But Hutchinson was just the man to teach him that liberty does not mean anarchy. The puritanic Colonel — a man of singularly noble and pure spirit — had, himself in turn, to learn submission to the iron will of Cromwell. If Israel, groaning under the bondage of Antiochus, cries to God to "grant a leader bold and brave, if not to conquer born to save," the saviour whom He grants must be their chief, rallied round and obeyed. Mattathias unrolls his standard* and the people flock thereto. It is thus that in the plan of salvation we have not only the ark — the means of our salvation — but also Noah the Captain of our salvation — not only Jesus (Saviour) but the Lord Jesus; a Son over His own house. It is well for us to dwell frequently on this and consider how unnatural, ungrateful, and unwise it is for us ever in any way to ignore the claims of His authority upon us. "He is thy Lord (adonai), worship thou Him."

[* Whereon was written M. K. B. I. whence the name "Maccabees," the surname of the valiant Judas and his brethren. The initials stood for the Hebrew war cry Mi-Kamoka Baalim Jehovah," Ex. 15:11.]

The difference between that kind of authority typified in Adam and that typified in Noah is the difference between the reign of a king and the rule of a Lord. Christ is King of kings and Lord of lords. The ancient idea of these titles seems everywhere much the same as is suggested by Mr. Carlyle's remarks:* king, koenig, koenning — cunning, the canning, knowing or ableman; — Rex, Roi — Regulator. I think it is he also that gives "law word" as the origin of lord, but whether that or the more generally credited heaford (bread giver) be it, the distinction always seems to have been that whereas the ancient king in a broad comprehensive way legislated, arranged and commanded, the lord was the executive ruler to carry out in detail these comprehensive schemes. What the king established in theory, the Lord executed in practice. It is the difference between Agammemnon the "king of men" marshalling and ordaining the rival and scattered Grecian hosts and fleets to attack Troy, and Ulysses, "wise in the council, glorious in the field," acting under him — leading in the van; quelling the insurrection; smiting Thersites with rough blows; "a much experienced man." It is the difference betwixt the wise and comprehensive shepherd-care of David and the strong, ready energy and practical expediency of Joab. And the allegiance due in each case is different but consistent: the objects of Christ's salvation owe Him not only a general loyalty, an attitude of broad and comprehensive submission; they owe Him that and also an implicit obedience in every detail of their lives. Consider what an unnatural thing it would be for Japhet and the others to set aside Noah and arrange everything in the ark according to their own caprice: it is infinitely more unnatural for the saved within the ark, either in the present or the future dispensation, to set aside the rule and ignore the will of the Lord Jesus Christ — say for instance in His church, where not only Japhet and his brothers, but every living being down to the very "creeping things," seem to want everything arranged their own way or rather their own ways. It is to out-Hotham Hotham and say, "Thou foughtest for liberty and I mean to have it in all things." Liberty is good: obedience is better.

[* In "The Hero as King," and "Sartor Res"]

Noah then represents Christ, as the righteous and devout ambassador (1 Peter 3:19) to a corrupted and anarchic world first calling to repentance (preaching not grace but righteousness, like Jonah's preaching) and then when there is no hope of improvement — when judgment becomes the greatest mercy, — gathering up with him his people, regulating and conveying them securely through the flood of fearful judgments foretold in Revelation, into the "Rest" and happiness of a new earth, where the fragrance of his sacrifice ascends to an azure sky overarched by the iridescent beauty of the symbol of eternal hope. His name signifies Comfort or Rest, into which he conducts the redeemed who go through the great tribulation* after the Church's — Enoch's — translation. This rest is entered into in his seventh century (Gen. 8:13): it appears by no means improbable that the earth's sabbatic millennium will correspond with its seventh historical millennium in the same way: if so it is comparatively near at hand. Finally Noah is head of the redeemed race in the new earth.

[* Rev. vii. should be "THE great tribulation" — i.e. "Jacob's trouble," — emphatic, ek tes thl. tes meg.]

In an interesting and useful essay on "The Aversion of Men of Taste to Evangelical Religion," John Foster condemned the too-frequent use of figures relating to eating. Well, there may be some ground for that, but after all eating is a matter so generally understood, and of such strong and practical interest to every one that the numerous classes of figures relating thereto are amongst the most striking and important in the Bible. I shall only now say that its general significance is obvious enough. It is the means of sustaining life; it is the means of pleasurable satisfaction of a (more or less) painful demand of the body — or soul; it is the building up of the eater by something from outside, which is taken in to the body, or soul, and assimilated, made part of oneself. Can the reader conceive any other figure which would convey one tenth of the concentrated and vehement emphasis with which the soul's need of Christ is expressed when it is said, "Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, ye have no life in you!" Men of Taste, — the dilettanti few of a pseudo-culture, may object to a figure like that if they wish; but men of hunger, the thronging myriads that people the vast continents, to whom the others are but as "a drop in a bucket," will understand it more readily than any other metaphor which could be used.

Thus we find the redeemed are not left to their own resources when saved from the approach of judgment; that would be a poor starveling salvation, unworthy of a God of such affluence and benignity. No, He gives gracious direction to provide for them "all food that is eaten." As in this dispensation we have Christ the sustenance of our spiritual life strewing the wilderness as the Manna — the especial presentation of the four gospels — so in that or any dispensation, the saved shall find in some form or another that in Christ Himself is their perennial source of sustenance, strength and satisfaction. "All food that is eaten": all that can fully satisfy every renewed nature from the lowest to the most developed, from the dwarfed mind of the idiot Yeddie to the masculine intellect and capacious heart of a Wyclif, or a Paul.

I never noticed, till Juvencus lately pointed it out to me, the singular beauty of the final injunction. God does not say, Go into the ark, but Come* into the ark: He was "in Christ," (2 Cor. 5:19) and, when He invites them to Christ, He invites them to Himself. When the storm-threatened wayfarer approaches to make the divine Ark his refuge and dwelling place, he discovers that Another is there to welcome him: God has made it His own retreat and tabernacle. The crowning and final glory of Ezekiel's Temple is this — JEHOVAH SHAMMAH!

[*The word is altered to 'go' in a current translation of Genesis. I cannot see any ground for this needless change. It is true that boh is sometimes, when the context seems to require it, rendered 'go'. But in the vast majority of cases, where used, it mean 'come,' and it could be rendered no other way in Gen. 6:13 'the end of all flesh is come.' In Gen. 6:18; Gen. 7:1, it is the same word.]

8. Probational Numbers. Birds, Raven, Dove. Olive Leaf and Tree.

1884 172 The flood descended for forty days, which number indicates the period of probation: the nation of Israel was tested forty days, during the giving of the law, and forty years altogether in the wilderness: the Lord was tempted forty days: Canaan was spied forty days: Jonah's warning call to Nineveh forty days. It is composed thus — five is the human number (five fingers, toes, senses, etc.): therefore the number representing human responsibility must be twice five: thus there are two tables of law, and ten commandments: one set of duties to God and another to man. Well, let these ten responsibilities be universally tested (that is, multiply by 4), and the result is forty. But then divine forbearance sometimes prolongs the period of probation in which case it is again multiplied by three, the divine number, bringing us to 120: this is therefore the period through which the long-suffering of God waited during the preaching of Noah. Observe that this testing of things, while it destroys all else, bares up the ark (Gen. 7:18) on its face. Judgment vindicates and exalts Christ and all who are connected with Him.

On the expiry of this time Noah sends out first the raven and then the dove. The distinction between unclean and clean is many sided in meaning, but the broad general feature is that the unclean feeds on dead flesh, whereas the clean does not touch that, but, being herbivorous or graminivorous, eats what has been dead but is now alive in resurrection — grass or grain. Birds, dwelling in the air — the heavenly places, are symbolic of spiritual* natures either good or bad — clean or unclean.

[* Both in the Old and New Testaments the same word expresses spirit and air (in motion).]

The raven is representative of the latter; the nature "earthly, sensual and devilish." "The ghastly, grim, ungainly, gaunt and ominous bird of yore," haunting the "night's Plutonian shore"; delighting in carrion: its sable wing poised ever above the weak and sickly of the covey, and its iron beak plunging first at its victim's eyes — is so expressive a symbol as to need no explanation. Being released from the ark it gladly departs: it is much more at home on the floating carrion than in the ark: and then it is lost sight of for a time. Something similar takes place at the beginning of the millennial age which is here typified. The fowls of the air are afforded a great feast (at the end of Rev. xix.), the flesh of the overthrown opponents of Almighty God. Then follows on the new epoch wherein Satan and Satanic elements are out of sight — for a season.

But the dove finds no rest in such contemplations: she returns to the ark till judgment have completed its work. The wisdom that is from above, the divine nature, is first pure and then peaceable, gentle and easy to be entreated. (James iii. 17.) It is remarkable that so little attention has ever been directed to the form in which the Holy Ghost descended on Christ. Still it has not altogether escaped attention: Longfellow quotes "Old Fuller's saying wise and sweet, 'Not as a vulture, but a dove, The Holy Ghost came from above;'" and Francis Bacon, who anticipated many men in most things, anticipated Fuller in this saying.* The form this assumed was expressive of the character of the mission of the Son, then inaugurated — glory to God (which could only be by the way of Purity) and on earth peace.

[* In "Of Unity in Religion" published a few years before the birth of Fuller.]

Now on the first flight the dove having nowhere to rest, returns: the Holy Ghost can only rest where the work of judgment has been accomplished: the oil is put on after the water and blood. (Lev. xiii.; John vii. 39.) The dove returns to Noah but afterwards goes out from him and returns no more. And this is how, I think, John vii. 39 is to be understood: there have been, in Old Testament times, many visitations of the sacred Spirit to the earth, but not, until the ascension of Christ gave witness to the perfected efficacy of atonement, could the Holy Ghost be yet given: and He is then given as a witness (Heb. 10:15) of peace having been made with God. Thus it is that the dove, when the floods are overpast, bears witness of the fact by approaching the ark with an olive leaf in her month: and then, a fresh epoch having elapsed, can fold her silver wings in repose under the evergreen branches of the stately cedars in the radiance of a new heaven and earth. Witness — spiritual sight — is always given by the agency of the Spirit, and so the blind man goes to the pool of Siloam ("sent")*; and those who are blind are, in Rev. iii. 18, exhorted to have their eyes anointed with eyesalve: they would then have doves' eyes (Cant. i. 15), — seeing as the Spirit sees.

[* "Sent down from heaven." l Peter 1:12.]

That it is an olive leaf which the dove brings is expressive. A leaf is emblematic of profession or testimony ("so Noah knew." Gen. 8:11). In Eden and in the case of the barren fig tree it was mere empty profession and was accursed; but quite otherwise in the first Psalm, "his leaf shall not wither." The leaves contain the mouths and lungs of plants, and surround it like so many tongues to make known what tree it is and what fruit is (or should be) thereon. Here the testimony borne is of Righteousness, and Peace and Joy in the Holy Ghost. The olive tree is, in Scripture, a very important symbol of the position of favour and responsibility occupied by those who are in the place of witness for God. Rom. xi. explains it — see also Zech. iv. 3; Rev. xi. 4. The tree is a very remarkable one: its chief feature being the oil (Judges 9:9), — that is the vessel of testimony is chiefly characterized by its containing the Holy Ghost as the source of light. There are many other suggestive features: it is fruitful, the egg-shaped* fruit, disagreeable at first to the natural taste, is afterwards greatly relished, wholesome and medicinal: the bark is "bitter, the wood is beautiful, the blossom is cruciform. It is evergreen, and will grow in the most barren and stony soil, yet Egypt cannot produce it. It was on the Mount of Olives that the Lord spent many of His most sacred hours. There Gethsemane was situated, the meaning of which name (oil-press) can hardly be without a solemn significancy.

[* "Omne vivum ex ovo."]

The plants which have their blossoms shaped like a cross such as the olive (though the olive does not belong to the order cruciferae, but has an order of its own) are, generally speaking, humble-looking but wholesome and medicinal. They are very extensively used in diet — the radish, turnip, cabbage, etc. belonging to this order. It is the unfailing test of a true and wholesome religion, that, though it be ever so humble, it shall bear not only the crown, but also the cross manifestly stamped upon it.

Wherever we look, whether down upon the lowly cress, obscured by surrounding weeds, or up into the midnight sky — where the flaming splendour of the Southern Cross is answered by the glittering radiance of the Northern Crown — we see impressed on the universe the two great events of eternal history — the sufferings of Christ and the glories that follow.

9. The Altar; Burnt-Offering; Miracles; Rainbow. Noah's Prophecy.

1884 190It is a natural transition of thought from the dove and olive to the Altar — the advent and action of the Holy Ghost leads to worship.

The altar was a type of the basis of worship; and, being so, of course the only antitype is Christ. It has three aspects: the stone altar, which is typical in a general way of the basis of reverential approach to God; the brazen altar in the court of the tabernacle — the basis of the sinner's approach and forgiveness; and the golden altar within the veil, the basis of adoration. In the second case, the brass over the wood expresses the power of Christ to sustain judgment, sin being in question. In the third case we see expressed, in His humanity (the wood) and His divine righteousness (the gold,) that which shall form the only and sufficient foundation of eternal praise to God; and in the first case here referred to, Gen. viii. 29, we see a type of what is more general and comprehensive, the fulfilment of which shall be seen in the general approach to, and acknowledgment of, God in the millennial age, whereof we read, "In that day there shall be an altar to the Lord in the midst of the land of Egypt...The Lord of hosts shall bless, saying, Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel, mine inheritance." The other special typical features of the stone altar seem to be its ready accessibility, its stability, and the order (Ex. xx.) that no human elaborations be permitted on it.

It is important to see that the (material) altar is only a type. To retain it in use now, since the Anti-type has come, is to prefer the shadow to the substance. "We have an altar whereof they have no right to eat which [clinging to the old forms and external symbols] serve the tabernacle." (Heb. 13.) Happily however God gives people more than their rights; and it is not to be doubted that many who cleave to ancient types and symbols, do nevertheless participate in Christ. But, the apostle reasons, they have no right so. Now that the advent of the Son of God has brought the dispensations to maturity, the effort to drag into the present one the types belonging to the past is an incongruity of the same nature as though a child, grown to manhood, should carry about with him the toy symbols with which he first learned the rudiments of knowledge in the Kindergarten. Such an one would forfeit the "right" to be regarded as a man; though grace or courtesy would perhaps grant him a compassionate recognition.

Upon the altar are offered sacrifices mainly of five distinct characters: the burnt, meat, peace, sin and trespass offerings. The cleansed and renewed world approaches God with the burnt-offering. There is no sin-offering, for the question of sin had been settled by judgment. The five offerings are different aspects of the sacrificial work of our Lord. The salient points of the burnt-offering are its being a voluntary** sacrifice and its being wholly (Lev. 1:3, 9) dedicated to Jehovah. "The priest shall burn all on the altar." This is not so with the other sacrifices. It is the expression of a voluntary dedication* of the whole being to God — through fires of death and all-searching judgment; fit way to begin a new dispensation.

[* The burnt offering is called olah — "ascend." It all ascends to God; but the sin-offering is burnt (a different word — "consumed") in an unclean place outside the camp.]

NOTE. The Deluge was a miracle, which leads me to say that it is very strange that in the many definitions and illustrations of miracles, to be found in theological works, no one seems to have defined it as the Dispensing Power, for this is a precise and complete parallel.

Sovereigns have always claimed to have a power to act, apart from the law, in special circumstances; and, by virtue of their own authority entirely, to dispense certain fiats; this was called the dispensing power, and a remnant of it exists to this day, in the power of a sovereign to pardon a criminal, convicted by the law. (The symbol of this faculty is the curtana, a golden "sword of mercy" without point or edge.) This dispensing power in the hands of a wise ruler, and used sparingly on urgent occasions, would be a beneficial thing; but anyone can see that it was peculiarly liable to abuse. Augustus claimed to be above the law altogether. The Roman pontiffs used the power with prodigality; and in England the Stuart dynasty used it so freely that it produced the Revolution of 1688; and finally the nation greatly limited this power, so that at present there is hardly any of it left. Now if it be such a general thing for a human sovereign to be able to act by the exercise of direct fiat, without the operation of the laws; and if such a power were felt to be so natural a thing that even in the reaction of 1689 some remnant of it was left, surely the sovereign of the universe must be allowed to have and exercise power of the same nature. The dispensing power is beneficial, when used with wisdom, sparingly for special purposes, and so with miracles; but if miracles were frequent or continuous, then the exercise of the power would defeat its own object, and the ordinary processes of natural laws would be disorganised.

The sign of the covenant made between God and men, based upon the work of the altar, is the rainbow. I have referred somewhat to it in Paper II. The Newtonian theory of light and colour has been opposed by some notable men such as Hegel and Goethe; but any child can prove for himself, by a glass prism and a disc, that the colours of this beautiful symbol of hope are composed by the rain clouds dissolving light into its different elements. God is light, and when God is manifested in the flesh. and comes in contact with the clouds of earthly sorrows, His nature is revealed in a beauty and grace never before known.

The millennial age whether in type or antitype ends with sin and judgment; and the dispensational part here closes with Noah's solemn prophecy. It is figuratively spoken — being that kind of figure called a "metonymy of the cause" — and therefore it is considered here. We see the fulfilling of the prophecy in these times in a remarkable manner. Shem was to have the highest blessing, and so the Saviour of the world comes by that line, which occupies Asia. Japheth would enlarge and dwell in the tents of Shem. It was two thousand years before the first signs of such a thing occurred, when Alexander, from Europe (Japheth's abode), invaded the Asiatic countries; and today we see England and France steadily invading Asia from the south and east, and Russia coming down from the north and west. Diplomatists may plot and politicians wrangle about it, but they can no more hinder it than they can hinder the sunset. Four thousand years ago an old man said it would be, and it must be. Ham, of course, is Africa (except Canaan, who perished by Joshua); and though there have been, at times, such sons and daughters of Ham as Hannibal and Cleopatra, whose power and ambition threatened Europe, it was not to be. Africa has been the cradle of slavery. This curse, like all others, Christianity ameliorates and (ultimately) Christ annuls.

Time and speech are divine gifts; wherefore diffuse language, in wasting both, is a double offence, and conciseness is a double virtue. In two or three sentences Noah condenses a graphic and comprehensive epitome of the histories of all nations! The three words of Caesar — whose language is customarily so condensed as to take three times the number of words to translate it — compared with this is prolix verbosity. In all the records of human speech there is probably no parallel to the declamation of Noah for brevity of word and vastness of thought, — save in the utterances of One who in His dying hour proclaimed in the one word, tetelestai,* the overthrow of the power of hell, and the redemption of mankind.

10. Line of Ham: Canaanites: Nimrod: Babel: Babylon.

1885 206 Instead of there having been any immediate fulfilment of Noah's prophecy, the line of Ham at first takes a very leading place in the world. The posterity of his son Canaan — specially accursed — seize and divide among them the fairest and best situated of all lands, the garden of the orient, which God had already allotted to the seed of Shem (by Abraham). To the Phoenician* branch of Canaan the world is indebted for the invention of writing, arithmetic, astronomy, and shipping.** But the most remarkable of all the sons of Ham was Nimrod.

[* Professor Tytler — General History. p. 17.

** Ibid. From them also seem to have come the people whom the Greeks called Titans, if there be not rather an allusion to Gen. vi. ]

Nimrod was the Belus of the ancient Assyrians, who established the despotism of Babylonia, and founded the great cities of Babylon and Nineveh.* He was regarded as being deified and placed in the heavens, with his sword and leash of hounds — the brightest and largest constellation. In truth the vague and gigantic outline of the colossal figure of Orion, spreading athwart the whole eastern horizon, is no unfit representation of the huge personality of the mighty hunter and warrior, whose dim and vast form looms, from the starlit past, over the Asian plains. Apparently he was the original Baal, or lord; not so much a god as a demigod; not so much like Zeus on the Olympic heights, waving his ambrosial locks, as like the stupendous figure of Thor, grasping his ponderous hammer, and stalking amongst his companion Jotuns on the Norse mountains.

[* Gen. x. 11. Margin is generally accepted.]

Nimrod is the typical man of the world, and Babylon is the typical city. They are both strong and attractive to outward sight; Nimrod the very beau idéal of authority, but he is, as his name signifies, "Rebel"'; and Babylon the wonder of the world for beauty and organisation, but it means "Confusion." In due time, we find, God selects a man and develops a city; but the man is not the lordly Nimrod, nor is the city the stately Babylon. Thenceforward the man and city of the earth wage relentless war, century after century and millennium after millennium, against the man and city of God. Let the reader note well the characteristics of each and especially their origins. "All things," says Plato, "are symbolical, and what we call results are beginnings." The converse of this is also equally true: what seem beginnings are merely results; Babylon and its system are results of the great principles of human disposition which forced them into existence.

And this is what makes the offence of building Babel (which is now generally recognised, as having been the nucleus of Babylon) so extreme, and the judgment thereon so severe — the motive. It may be said, What crime is there in building a high tower? None, but the motive that impelled it made it a crime: that motive was a deliberate determination made by a people, who had lately been the object of God's mercy and deliverance, to exclude Him from all part in their arrangements; to take from His hand the sceptre of government and magnify their own name at the expense of His. It is not only high treason, but it transcends that crime as the high treason of Lotharius and his brothers, in deposing their father* from the throne of France, transcends ordinary high treason; it added thereto the heinous crime of ill-using one who had an especial claim on their affection and respect, the one who had given them being, sustenance, preservation, and wealth. Now Junius Brutus, when his sons conspired to dethrone, him, had them put to death; and though many may doubt the naturalness of Brutus' sentencing them, none doubt that they fully deserved it. The judgment, however, falling on the conspirators of Babel, was not of such an extreme nature.** God had originally told them to disperse and replenish the earth: they build this beacon tower to hinder that; whereon God scatters them in judgment. He has His way eventually (as always), and they have to submit; but whereas it should have been the submission of obedience and happiness, it is now brought about in the way of penalty, disaster, and to the race the permanent inconvenience of diverse speech.***

[* Louis le débonnaire.

** "It is seldom God sends such calamities on men as men bring upon themselves." — Jeremy Taylor.

*** All the latest philological investigations tend to show that the great families of language have one origin.]

When the law comes it does nothing to accommodate itself to this confused speech; it is given in the one primitive language, and only one; and if men wanted to know God's requirements, they must learn that language. But when the gospel comes, the curse becomes a blessing: the way in which the difficulty of diverse speech is miraculously met at Pentecost is a present and overpowering evidence of the nature and origin of the message. All this is very characteristic: man brings curse out of blessing; and God brings blessing out of curse.

Nimrod and his city then are the outward symbols of rebellion "which is as the sin of witchcraft" — outward symptoms of inward disease. The inception and development is heroic and rapid; while yet God's man is undisclosed from Chaldean idolatry, Nimrod rises with colossal power, and while yet Zion is unfounded, Babylon shines with luminous glory. The world's wonder; in magnitude greater than London; in symmetry more beautiful than Paris; in temples and palaces more imposing than Rome; — surrounded by a wall as high as St. Paul's dome, and as broad as a wide road; so it developed. With a mighty overthrow, indelible disgrace, and eternal disaster — so it fell. After generations of laborious searching, travellers find a few heaps of calcined bricks to be all that is left of the powerful Babylon, while they puzzle each other as to which of the blasted and blackened piles, Mujelibe or Birs-Nimrod, is the original Babel.

But the enmity of Babylon against Zion does not end with the destruction of the material cities; it is prolonged into the spiritual realm, and so we find — as though the spirits of two deadly foes had escaped from their slain bodies, and continued the struggle — that, since the death of the two cities, there has arisen a spiritual Zion, attacked ceaselessly and ruthlessly by that spiritual Babylon, the final doom of which shall be when the mighty angel shall cast a great millstone into the sea, saying, "Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found again no more at all . . . Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen!"

11. Abram and Zion 5 Nimrod and Babylon: Faith.

1885 223 A distinct period is reached when the tendencies of human self-will and idolatry culminate in Nimrod and Babel. A concrete proof has been thus given of a deliberate determination to dethrone God and exclude Him from all part in the affairs of men. God's reply to it is: — firstly, judgment on the perpetrators of this crime; and, secondly, the calling out of Abram who is raised up as a new witness. Henceforth the place of divine favour and testimony is not with the world at large but with a man and a city separated from the world, persecuted by it, and yet returning good for evil by being appointed channels of mercy and benediction to all nations of the earth.

The development of the earth-man and city had been rapid, imposing and heroic; but the development of the divine selection is comparatively slow, unimposing and obscure: it was indeed heroic, but not in an outward sense — quite otherwise. In the time of Peleg God had made all arrangements. (Gen. 10:25; Gen. 11:8.) Yet after his birth Abram, the selected man, is not born for 191 years after, and is 75 years old before he starts from Haran, and is years in travelling 700 miles. Slow progress indeed; yet he has left such "footprints in the sands of time" as have petrified into an enduring record — like those portentous footprints which the mighty Saurians of the old world left in the sands of the mesozoic period, and which have since hardened into rock. They were apparently little valued at the time, but now the geologist prizes each one of them, as men of taste a priceless fragment of sculpture by Phidias.

This principle of a small beginning with a steady and gradual development — festina lente — is especially characteristic of God's work. Man works with a plank; God works with a seed. The man cuts and finishes his plank very soon: he puts it into the ground and — it begins to rot. God also puts His work into the ground, where it is hidden for a time. The small brown seed dies, but in due time rises from the dead and — begins to grow. The progress is so very slow as to be almost imperceptible; but it is increasing, and its "seed is in itself;" it is eternal. The seed differs from the plank in this: — the plank, how well polished and finished soever it be, is dead; but the seed, however humble looking, is alive. In the plank is a temporary triumph and then decay; in the seed there is temporary disappointment and defeat — it is trodden under foot and lost sight of — but ultimate success and eternal life; ever living, growing, and extending till the small acorn has become a forest of oaks which "against the stormy sky their giant branches toss."

We now therefore find the introduction of a new order of things. Henceforth the servant of God is to be no citizen of this world but a stranger; no resident in it, but a pilgrim, travelling steadily forward to a land of fairer promise than Shinar; looking for the city (whilst he passes by Babylon) which hath foundations, and whose Builder and Maker is God. He is "looking for" it, but sees it not — sees nothing but the wilderness and the foe — knows not whither he is going, but he knows that God knows, and this is sufficient: he walks by faith and not by sight. Abram is the personification of this principle of faith; he is the father of the faithful. We have in Genesis a series of Representative Men;* and this is what he represents — the nobility, security and happiness of a life based on a belief of God's words, and surrounded by a trust in God's works.

[*But somewhat different from Emerson's.]

For faith has these two general aspects, and a third resulting therefrom. Firstly it is a solid basis the foundation, "the substance — hypostasis* — of things." It is like the rock-foundation of a light-house, out of sight so that the building seems to rest on the unstable water; unless one mount skyward — then looking down, he can see, from where God sees, that its foundation is steadfast and eternal: or It is like the tranquil depth of the mountain lake, quite unruffled in its serene quietude, however much the surface may be disturbed. It is most like the bass part in music, binding the melodies, which wander over its head, into a harmony, giving them unity, strength and solidity. Especially is it like those strange "ground" basses, used in the seventeenth century, in which the deep notes moved through a constantly recurring melody of their own over and over again, while the higher parts were always varying yet always harmonising. There is one feature of the great blind musician's which makes him distinct from all the rest: it is the majestic and solemn gravity of tranquil repose and strength which characterizes the bass parts of his compositions, especially the marches. Now if there be one thing more noticeable than another as a general and pervading characteristic in Abram's life, it is this spirit of placid repose and calm deliberate movement; though he lived in especially troublous times, passing through exceptionally turbulent circumstances.

[* Heb. xi. 1. Hupostasis is the opposite of phantasia, a mere appearance of sight, Nimrod.]

The second aspect is of faith as a shield (Eph. 6) to "quench all the fiery darts." The man of faith is thus protected, in much the same way as the earth is, by an atmosphere which, though it seems nothing, being invisible and intangible, yet is an invulnerable guard against the fiery assaults from the heavenly places. The meteorites, which are launched in hundreds at the earth's bosom, fly towards it with viewless and noiseless death: at once on reaching the atmosphere they become ignited with the friction; they instantly flare, scream and explode, ultimately falling harmlessly to the ground. Few men stay to think how the earth is thus hourly menaced and defended. And this is how the man of faith is also defended: the deadly missiles hurled continually against him are darkly discharged but are instantly revealed when they come within the atmosphere of his trust in God, and even though they should hurt him, they cannot harm him. (1 Peter 3:13.)

The third aspect is that faith "worketh by love." (Gal. 5:6.) It is a dead or non-existent faith, unless there be works flowing from it. (James 2:17-20.) James demands "Was not Abraham justified by works"? Certainly he was, "but," says Paul, "not before God." Just emphasize those four words and at once the apparent difference between Rom. iv. and James ii. is reconciled. The soul's justification "before God" can only be by faith; but that faith is perfected in works James reasons, and this is how a man is externally recognised as being a possessor of faith. Well, the way in which these works (Christian actions) come about is on the principle of love. The law worked by fear. Faith worketh by love — this is the great motive. As a telegraph works by electricity; as an engine works by steam; as a compass works by magnetism; so faith flashes messages between earth and heaven, winged by love; so faith "overcometh the world," empowered by love; and so faith points day and night to the North Star of the universe, guided by love.

12. Abram; Faith; Hope; Love; The Journey: The River.

1885 238 A man's character can no more be composed of a single virtue than a rope of a single strand. But "a threefold cord who shall break?" When the element of faith is interwoven with hope and love we have the perfect character. So, while we find that the leading feature of Abram's life is faith, we find that it is intermingled with the other two spiritual graces, and each present in a marked degree: there is not only a presence of the other elements, but a proportionableness; but faith appears to be the leading characteristic because of the circumstances through which he passed. The principle is seen also in the Epistles. The leading theme of Paul is faith; nevertheless he writes much of hope and love. The leading theme of Peter is hope, but he is by no means confined to this. And the leading theme of John is love, notwithstanding which he writes "that ye may believe;" and that a man "may have this hope on Him."

Now Abram's life is divided into three epochs,* by the insertion of the words "After these things" in Gen. xv. 1 and xxii. 1, and I think the different aspects are seen thus: — firstly, the call and the response of faith; secondly, the promise and the response of hope; and, thirdly, the trial and the response of love. These aspects in a sort of way correspond to the threefold aspect of length, breadth, and thickness which the scientific men attach to all things; for there is nothing that reaches farther than hope; nothing broader than love; and nothing more substantial than faith. (Heb. xi. 1.)

[* Lectures on the Pentateuch by W. Kelly.]

From Gen. xi to xiv. then, we see the call and response. The call comes to a sinner amongst sinners; brings him out thence; and, after trouble and conflict, ultimately, notwithstanding his failure, the section closes on him as he stands triumphant over all foes and difficulties on the hills of Salem, whence Melchisedec comes forth to welcome him, and crown him with eternal benediction in the name of the Most High God. The Talmud as might be expected puts a different appearance on this call — that Abram had been a good little boy and broke his father's idols; that Nimrod had wanted to kill him, and so forth. But from Joshua's statement (Joshua xxiv. 2) the facts are evidently quite different. Abram was born and bred amongst idolaters in Ur, the centre of the worship of the Moon-God, Sin, and just under the shadow of Babylon's walls, beneath the bondage of Nimrod the Hamite, the despot of an alien race. From thence God, in supreme grace, calls him to come (Acts vii. 3, note the word "Come," as in Gen. 7, not "go.") into a land whither He would guide him and where He would welcome and endow him. In travelling to that land, he has to pass by and resolutely leave behind him the world-city, Babylon; has to undergo a difficult and arduous desert journey. But God accompanies him; His wisdom guides him; His grace sustains him, and His power protects him. The representative and typical bearing of all this is too obvious to need much comment. Believers are "called" by the word of God in a way that awakens the power to respond, — the call being personal in the experience of each. They are separated by this call from their old sins, penalties and associations; and consecrated to a blameless and glorious destiny. They are brought through the journey of life, which has become to them now, in some sense, barren and unfavourable, though its dreariness is illumined by the light of an accompanying Shechinah. At length they reach the cold and cheerless river that separates the present from the future. Here they must all cross (Abram was the "Hebrew — the immigrant:" Eber means "the passage over"). Some must cross through its chilly flood; others ("we shall not all sleep" 1 Cor. xv. 51. 1 Thess. iv. 17.) shall cross dryshod, as when the host passed over of old, nigh Jericho, into the "Land of Promise."* Every believer must follow the course of the father of the faithful. (Rom. iv. 16.)  It is a representative course; "they go from strength to strength," though outwardly it seems from weakness to weakness. "Every one of them in Zion appeareth before God" whose Great High Priest, "after the order of Melchisedec," welcomes them to "the Holy City" in whose golden streets "Righteousness and Peace have kissed each other," and pronounces upon them the ineffable benediction of the Most High God.

[* Heb. xi. 9. Crossing Jordan is rather death with Christ now. Ed. B.T.]  

"Part of the host have crossed the flood, and part are crossing now!" Some of them plunge boldly into the icy waters; others "linger shivering on the brink, And fear to launch away." Amongst the most pathetic pages ever written are those at the end of the second part of "The Pilgrim's Progress," where the weary pilgrims await their summons across the river. Christiana entered "with a beckon of farewell to those that followed her: the last words she was heard to say were, "I come, Lord, to be with Thee, and bless Thee! . . . . At her departure the children wept." Then came the summons to Mr. Ready-to-halt. The messenger says, "I am come from Him whom thou hast loved and followed, though upon crutches." Mr. Ready-to halt bequeaths his crutches, saying when he comes to the brink of the river, "Now I have no more need of them. . . Welcome life" — so he went his way. Then Mr. Feeble-mind is required and "nothing in his life became him so much as the leaving it." Mr. Honest had one named Good-conscience to help him over, but he relied not on him: his last words were, "Grace reigns!" Mr. Valiant-for-truth goes in gravely; he sinks deeply, but as he went down he said, "Death, where is thy sting?" and as he went down deeper, "Grave, where is thy victory?" The most touching part is where Mr. Despondency is summoned. His daughter Much-afraid says she will go too: and these two infirm and bruised reeds close their lives of doubting, fearing, and trembling, in the joy of their Lord and the power of His might. Mr. Despondency's last words were, "Farewell, night; welcome, day!" "His daughter went through the river singing, but none could understand what she said."

13. Abram: Terah: Lot. Bushel: Bed: Candlestick.

1885 254 There is an unhappy completeness in the typical character of Abram's life — its triumphs are chequered by defeats, and its virtues blended with failures. It would ill become us to dwell with any complacency on these failures of so great and eminent a servant of God. Nevertheless they are recorded for our instruction and warning; certainly not for our approval and imitation. After all, they were infirmities of a noble mind, they were "spots on the sun," they were the failures of virtue, not of vice, and originated in a disposition for concession in grace — of all dispositions the most to be desired and — feared.

The first case was, that he seemed very slow to sever himself from his home and kindred as God required. Instead of his going boldly and directly forth at the divine call, we read "Terah took Abram." (Gen. xi.) Now in a matter of this sort he ought to have ignored family relationships, for God had told him to leave his kindred. It might have been all very well for Torah to have accompanied Abram, but for Terah to take him! — Well, we see the result: they travel as far as Haran, a populous commercial centre where several caravan routes converged, but for the man of faith "a dry place," as the name signifies; and here they settle down until death dissolves this incongruous arrangement and sets Abram free. Other failures are found in the untruthful compact with Sarai (Gen. xx. 13) — probably it was failure for him to go down to Egypt at all, even to "sojourn" — and in the case of Hagar. In the first failure we see the slowness of the flesh; in the last the haste of it. In every case there is a failing of faith, his especial virtue. So Moses, the meekest man in the earth, fails in his meekness at Meribah: so David, the most valorous, fails in his courage at Gath: so wise Solomon failed in his wisdom; patient Job in his patience; and Paul the greatest of all innovators, yet clings to a rag of the dying ritual, and shaves his head at Cenchrea.

Terah represents a very large and well-known class of persons who start well and stop short in the journey: an encumbrance to themselves and all connected with them. A prosperous and comfortable place like Haran they find very agreeable to settle down in — much more agreeable than struggling through a hostile wilderness. And yet it is indeed "a dry place;" and they find instead of true case they have, like the ass of Issachar, bowed down to a double burden, and that, (like the ass of Buridanus which was said to be placed between two bundles of hay, and could not make up its mind which to eat till it died of starvation,) they have the satisfaction neither of Ur nor of Canaan, the pleasures neither of this life nor of that which is to come. If the influence of these lukewarm and commercial spirits ended with themselves, it would not matter much; for the loss of their services is not of any particular consequence. But unfortunately their influence is extensive and powerful in staying the foot and paralysing the arm of many an Abram from that day to this. Family relationships are very frequent elements in reference to these things.

It is possible that Terah was a real believer, though an inconsistent one: at least it is certain he was a "professor." There is a great deal about him in the Koran, which represents him as a highly respectable person, moving in the best circles. The eastern authors* all represent him as having been the inventor of images instead of pictures for idols, a material and aesthetic advance in divinity which proves him to have been a man of much religiousness, if not of much religion.

[* Sale: Koran, p. 25, note. Terah is called Azer.]

The aim to make the best of both worlds generally results in losing both, like the dog which lost the morsel he did possess by trying to snap at that other morsel which he saw reflected in the water. In this case Hesiod's dictum may be inverted: the whole is considerably less than the half. St. Augustine said, "God does not wish a man to lose his riches but merely to change their place." But Terah managed to lose his without their much changing place, leaving them all behind him. Speaking of a lately deceased American millionaire, a man enquired there of his friend, "How much did he leave" "Every dollar!" was the reply.

Now Lot's case is entirely different; he was "a righteous man:" there is no doubt of that, though probably nobody would ever have imagined such a thing, had not Peter speaking by inspiration, stated it. Instead of being, like Terah, a creditable and religious man of the world, Lot was a really discreditable if not irreligious believer. He was certainly justified by faith, brought into Canaan — fully into the then divine favours and privileges; and yet he was a dishonour to God, a burden and anxiety to Abraham, and a cause of shame and misery to all who were connected with him. Not lost but saved by faith, he yet walked by sight (2 Cor. 5:7) — an uncouth combination. These cross-bred beings are never comely and always sterile, and, whether they be symmetrical as a centaur or distorted as a Caliban, they are monstrosities, blotches and warts on the fair face of nature. Lot's name means "hiding" and Terah's "delay": Lot's case is the hiding a light under a bushel i.e. business; Terah's case is the attempt to hide a light (Abram) under a belt i.e. ease, slumber, luxury (Mark iv. 21) — at Haran.

Now both these temptations followed Abram in order to extinguish his testimony: he was too noble and elevated a man for so sordid a temptation as the bushel to have much effect on: but these large and dignified natures are peculiarly susceptible to the temptations of ease, otium cum dig., and so he was thus obscured at Haran. No vulgar bushel could have ever covered the brilliant light of David also, but "at the time when kings go forth to battle, David sent Joab" against Rabbah, instead of going himself. Sloth began the work which dishonour and death finished. It was the darkest hour of his life. (2 Sam. xi.)

It would be very incorrect to infer that repose or business prosperity are represented as bad things in themselves; this was the Thessalonian mistake, which the apostle corrects by telling them, (1) "to study to be quiet; and" (2) "to do their own business." What is condemned is the being so absorbed in either one or the other as to be hindered in the Lord's service. It is not that the bed or bushel is bad; it is putting candles under them that is to be condemned: the best thing that can happen then is for the candle to set fire to the whole concern. Abraham was a candle set on a candle-stick giving light to all the house. The Jewish Rabbis had a saying that "a candle lights a hundred men as well as one." Abraham's candle has lit a hundred generations and is not out yet. All this notwithstanding that he was a rich man.

But he had inward prosperity as well as outward. Torah was paste in a golden setting; Lot was a diamond in a clay setting — "a jewel in a swine's snout;" but Abraham was a diamond in a golden setting. Torah was like that Spanish Hidalgo whose friends thought him wealthy, but who, in his hidden life, was so poor as to eat with avidity the remains of a beggar's dinner. Lot was like the miser Daniel Dancer, who had enormous wealth but ate scraps from the bones he dragged out of the dogs' mouths. And there arc lives like his still — those who struggle with sinners for morsels of carrion, whilst they themselves are possessors of heavenly estates and endowments. But Abram, "lofty patriarch," is a truly rich man in every sense, inwardly and outwardly; he has a large, strong, generous, and richly endowed nature; he responds in every action to that noblest of mottoes, Noblesse oblige. He is a light in the darkness; an obedient servant to Almighty God; a gracious master to his own servants; a self-sacrificing friend, and a magnanimous foe; the father of the faithful, and the friend of God.

14. Melchisedek: Bread: Wine: Cup etc. Stars: Sand.

1885 285 Through a rift in the dark clouds which encompass the history of Lot we view for a moment the majestic and mysterious figure of Melchisedek, coming forth from Salem with regal welcome and priestly benediction for the victorious servants of the Most High. His sudden appearance is august and imposing besides its typical meaning. The subsequent references of scripture to Melchizedek invest him with a royal grandeur and magnificence, as a type of Christ, altogether unique.

A priest ordinarily is one who has a position of privilege between God and man: towards man his function is to disclose the will of God; and towards God he has to advocate, by sacrifice and intercession, the cause of man. Now there are two orders in scripture: the Aaronic, or hereditary; and that of Melchisedek which is prior to Aaron's and of very much grander dignity than his. The peculiarities of this order are, firstly, that it unites the priest's office with that of the king; and, secondly, that, instead of a qualification for the position being given by family descent, as in the order of Aaron, the qualification for this high office consisted in the holy and glorious nature inherent in the one on whom it was bestowed — not extrinsic but intrinsic. Now only God can judge what is in any being apart from his actions or lineage; and this is the peculiar feature here in this type; that the Father who "knoweth the Son," in all the depth and amplitude of His nature, judges Him to be qualified — by His nature and quite apart from His actions — to be "priest for ever after the order of Melchisedek."

The typical meaning is set forth in such detail in Hebrews vii., and is so familiar, that I only point out, (1) that the apostle gives us an example in accepting as a guide the meanings of the names used (at least in some instances), saying, "First being by interpretation King of Righteousness, and after that King of Salem, which is, King of Peace." Divine peace is always preceded by righteousness: "First pure, then peaceable "; "Righteousness and peace have kissed each other "; "And the work of righteousness shall be peace." (James iii. 17; Ps. lxxxv. 10; Isa. xxxii. 17.) (2) He shows that the silence of Scripture may be full of meaning sometimes: no mention is made of any genealogy of Melchisedek in the Old Testament, from which silence he deduces an important chain of reasoning. (3) This priest is a perfect intercessor (Heb. vii. 25): Abraham's intercession for Sodom, for instance, was exercised six times; had he gone on once more to the number of perfection, seven, would he not at the rate he was reducing the number of righteous men, we may say, have come down to ask that Sodom should be spared if there should be found even one there? and there certainly was one righteous man, Lot. Who can tell what the result of perfect intercession would have been even in that extreme case? But this priest after the order of Melchisedek "is able to save to the uttermost . . . seeing He maketh intercession."

Of course there is no special caste of priesthood in the present dispensation, for the simple reason that all Christians are brought into this lofty and privileged position. "Ye are a royal priesthood," says Peter, writing, not to any clergy or officials amongst them, but to "the strangers scattered." In Rev. i. 6 it is said of us that we are made, basileian,* a kingdom of priests. Consider what a splendour of magnificence there is in that short phrase — a kingdom of priests!

[* According to all the best authorities.]

Melchisedek brings forth bread and wine, emblems of the means of life and happiness. Wine, "that maketh glad the heart of man," (Ps. civ. 15; Judges ix. 13.) has however sometimes a second and very different application in Scripture, where we read of the "cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath." Treading the wine-press is an invariable figure of the execution of judgment. (Rev. xiv. 19.) The cup is a symbol of adjudication: the ruler of the feast sent the cup to whom, and in what order, and with what contents he judged best. Hence Ps. lxxv. 7, 8. "But God is the judge: he putteth down one and setteth up another: for in the hands of the Lord there is a cup." A judging or "divining cup" was a frequent thing amongst the ancients: Joseph alludes to the idea, Gen. xliv. 15. Now this cup may contain either happiness or condemnation. It may be either the "cup of blessing which we bless;" or its contents maybe of a nature so dread and awful as to cause the most patient of all sufferers to pray, "O My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me: nevertheless not as I will, but as Thou wilt."

There are two other humble domestic utensils which also are used to convey stupendous revelations of the divine nature. One is the bottle of Ps. lvi. 8, "Put Thou my tears into Thy bottle." This is an allusion to the ancient tear-bottles or lachrymatories* often found in Egyptian tombs. It expresses in a very powerful and living way the sympathy of the Lord with His suffering people. In all their afflictions He is afflicted. Jesus wept. The third symbol is in the expression "Moab is my washpot." (Ps. cviii. 9.) Moab's special sin was pride (Isa. xvi. 6; Jer. xlviii. 29), the most appropriate punishment for which is scorn — "surely He scorneth the scorner."

[* The bottles of the New Testament have nothing to do with this; they were skins.]

Abram then receives the promise of posterity, and his name is changed to Abraham — "father of a great multitude" when as yet he had no children at all! But God's promise is better than anyone else's performance. The promise is given with a double aspect Gen. 15:5; Gen. 22:17.); his children were to be as the stars, that is, the heavenly family, those who inherit his faith, as shown in Rom. iv. 16, which includes every believer; and they were to be as the sand on the sea shore, that is, the earthly posterity: the sea (Gentile world) may beat upon them, "cast up mire and dirt" upon them, and for a time submerge them, but can never dissolve nor assimilate them.

Certainly it is a very wonderful Book which uses figures so diverse and important as the stars of heaven and the sands of earth to express an old man's descendants; and which can at the same time, with a similar disregard for the laws of human rhetoric, take the humblest of common domestic utensils — a cup, a bottle, and a washpot — without loss of gravity or dignity to express the judgment of God, deliberate, vast, balanced, as a solar system; the sympathy of the Lord, descending as the dew upon Hermon, and the scorn of the Almighty scathing as a withering blight.

15. Covenant-Victims: Amen. Lamp: Furnace.

1885 304 A practical principle of extreme importance is brought out when Abraham asks, "Whereby shall I know?" in reference to God's promise: he is instantly pointed to the covenant-victims. That is to say, when anyone needs "assurance," he is pointed to Christ — not to his own feelings, spiritual experiences, good works, resolutions or anything else. The fact is, a man's spiritual emotions are apt to be very variable and change with the barometer or the state of his health; but even if they were not so, the "feelings" form no proper ground whatever to rest on, in reference whether to assurance of salvation or to anything else. The feelings vary; but Christ is the same yesterday and to day and for ever.

This is an aspect of our Lord's work very much overlooked; namely, that — quite distinct from the shedding of His blood in atonement — there is the sprinkling* of His blood, as Victim of the covenant, to ratify and seal it. All the promises of God in Him are yea [that is, affirmed and ratified], and in Him Amen (2 Cor. i. 20)  [that is, culminated and fulfilled]. But this word "Amen" is a very remarkable one: it is a symbol-word of absolute and final affirmative: it is the "formula of acquiescence "** amongst the Jews; with which a deponent responded, when examined on oath:§ it was the word which our Lord habitually used (being translated "verily" about 100 times in the Gospels): generally speaking it is not translated but is carried into the different languages of the earth intact. Like some few words of sacred importance, it is untranslatable and is pronounced by all tongues alike.*** Two foreigners of diverse languages met on a steamer in the South Pacific. One of them who was a christian thought from the demeanour of the other that he must be one also; but he knew no word by which to accost him. At length he approaches, raises his hands and eyes, and says "Hallelujah!" to which his companion responds, putting his hand on his breast, "Amen!" They compressed a great deal of excellent and orthodox theology in those two words and did one another quite as much good as if they had held a long disputation on the homoiousian controversy, the shape of tonsures, or the colour of vestments.

[* Heb. ix. 16-22. Testament and covenant are the same word in New Testament, diatheke.  

** Hebrew Lexicon, Bagster's.

§ Horne's Introduction. iii. 194

*** Except perhaps by English tongues, which pronounce vowels differently from all the rest of the world.]

For "Hallelujah" is the pervading harmony, and "Amen" the closing diapason of the vast universe. So we find in Rev. iii., when, at the Laodicean epoch, every purpose and promise of God seems thwarted and broken, Christ is presented as the AMEN. There is a strange presentation to Laodicea in every way. In all the former churches the Lord had been characterised by some of His possessions or attributes — even to the beloved Philadelphia where He "hath the key of David;" but in Laodicea (the present or approaching condition of the professing church) we have not the attributes or powers of Christ presented as a means of remedy, but Christ Himself. So He is called the Faithful and True Witness — others, as witnesses for God having proved unfaithful and untrue; the beginning of the creation of God — now that all things approach the end, God goes back to the beginning; and The Amen, in Whom all the divine and eternal decrees centre and coalesce — Who affirms and fulfils every word which has proceeded out of the mouth of God, and collecting the (apparently) broken lines of His counsels, reconciles, formulates, and fulfils them. The wailing discords of the groaning creation are "resolved" into an everlasting harmony in this closing diapason — AMEN.

"The fowls came down" — the evil spiritual powers and principles are ceaselessly trying to take away the sign of the covenant; that is, to rob us of Christ, or some part or attribute of Christ. Abraham shows us what we should do: he did not compromise with them nor give place to them, he "drove them away." We need ceaseless vigilance and uncompromising firmness in this respect, to yield (doctrinally) no particle of the truth concerning either His personality or His work, His name or His word.

In the mythical story of Senapus, the blind king of Ethiopia, his table used to be spread with rich and sumptuous viands; but as quickly as thus furnished, hell-born harpies would swoop down and snatch away the food.* And there is many a one still, who is crowned with divine favour and furnished with celestial food, but who is thus continually robbed of his portion, from before his sightless eyes, by the powers and principles of darkness. "Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit ye like men, be strong!"

[* Brewer.]

Then the patriarch is cast into a horror of darkness and oppressed sleep; but he wakes again. It is typical of what his posterity should go through of oppression and suffering ere they should rise in the national resurrection of which Daniel speaks. (Dan 12:2.) And through all the horror and oppression goes the smoking furnace and the burning lamp (Gen. 15:17), passing between the reeking bodies of the slain victims: and this was how the covenant was made and what it signified. For God had ordained that through judgment and calamity His people should be purified as in a fire and should give light as a lamp in the darkness. This would be true of both the lines of promise, the stars, the heavenly family, and the sand, the earthly family. Of the former — the spiritual family — none would question that this is the purpose and destiny; but of the latter, the fleshly family of Abraham, we need to be reminded, now in the day of their rejection, that the decree is no less certain to be fulfilled, and that the time must surely come when the heralds of Jehovah shall proclaim He hath "chosen thee in the furnace of affliction." "Arise, shine, for thy light is come and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee."

16. Hagar and Ishmael.

1885 320 Here is introduced, in remarkable contrast with the elevated, placid, and pensive life of Abraham, the pathetic story of Hagar, the wilful and despairing bond-woman. And this is typical of the contrast between the dignity of faith "in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free," and the slavery of legal bondage: "for this Hagar is mount Sinai" — "which gendereth to bondage." (Gal. iv. 22-31.) The outcome of this is the system of law, a carnal and conditional system of privileges, whose development is Jerusalem. Ishmael was the type of this subjection, this legal system of things. But Isaac was the type of a higher order of things in every direction: he came in the way (not of law and penal submission but) of promise and faith; and the development is the heavenly Jerusalem. Though Isaac was last in regard to time, he was first in regard to purpose: God promised him before Ishmael's birth, although Ishmael was here long before Isaac's advent. "For it is written, that Abraham had two sons; the one by a bond-maid, the other by a free-woman; but he who was of the bond-woman was born after the flesh; but he of the free-woman was by promise; which things are an allegory, for these [women]* are the two covenants." Ishmael represents those who are the "children" of the law-covenant — penal obedience and bondage; Isaac those of the covenant of faith — which worketh by love — and who stand in a "liberty wherewith Christ has made us free."

[* Conybeare and Howson's translation simplifies the sense here: see also the Revised Version.]

Ishmael represents also a material and fleshly system of things, as Isaac a spiritual one. And "as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so now." The apostle's reasoning is that christians are children of the heavenly Jerusalem (Sarah), and that "we brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise," and that we are to "cast out the bond-woman," that is, have nothing to do with anything of legal bondage and penal obedience. The Galatians were becoming involved in these, and he, with passionate urgency, entreats them away from such "weak and beggarly elements." These elements (or rudiments) were not weak and beggarly in themselves, but in contrast to the strength and opulence of the gospel; and now to turn back to them is to prefer the rudiment to the development, the shadow to the substance, or the skeleton to the body. It is to prefer the hard life of Ishmael to the princely dignity of Isaac; to choose the slave Hagar as a mother, rather than the wife and "princess" Sarah; to prefer condemnation to justification — Moses to Christ. All who take any ground of justification short of God's absolute grace — all who look to their own hearts as a ground of salvation, or fear their own demerits can prejudice the infinite efficacy of the work of Christ — all who turn to the law for righteousness before God, or as a guide of conduct, are by the apostle shown that they are electing to be sons of the slave Hagar rather than of the princess Sarah, to be citizens of the earthly Jerusalem rather than of the heavenly, in short Jews rather than Christians. The scripture is so complete that the Abrahamic portion they would turn to condemns them, and tells them to "cast out the bond-woman!"

17. Hagar and Ishmael. The Wells.

1885 336In personal history Hagar is an example or illustration (we could scarcely say a type) of the dealings of divine grace with a helpless and despairing sinner. She is found, partially by reason of her own fault, and partially by injustice and misfortune, in a position of the utmost misery and danger, yet remembered and seen by a God of compassion; she is dying of thirst, yet there is a well of springing water at her side (Gen. xxi. 19); she does not seem to remember God nor seek Him,* but He sends His angel with the gracious enquiry, "What aileth thee, Hagar? Arise." She is blind to the presence of the means of salvation, until "God OPENED HER EYES AND SHE SAW a well of water." She is not only saved from suffering and death but is endowed (in her son) with future possessions and blessings, and moreover receives directions for her personal right conduct.

[* I refer to Gen. xxi.,  In the elopement of Gen. xvi. it may have been different.]

(Though directions are given, and approved by God, "to cast out the bondwoman," yet He protects her when thus cast out: so we see God protecting the legal system though He warns us against harbouring it, saying "the law is holy; and the commandment is holy, and just, and good.")

The well in the desert of Beersheba was there before the poor woman had her eyes opened to see it. God had provided it just where it would be needed, and He guided her to it and gave her sight to behold it. All that she had to do was to take (when "the water was spent in the bottle" — every human resource had failed), what God's foreseeing grace had placed there for her salvation. A well represents to us the smitten Christ yielding the Holy Ghost: the ground is wounded by man, and in a noble revenge — like that "noble tree that is wounded when it gives the balm,"* — pours forth to him the water of life and refreshment. Hence Moses was told to smite the rock (Ex. xvii.) at Massah and the water streamed forth: "that rock was Christ."

[* Bacon: "goodness of nature."]

At the well of Sychar, another poor sinful and hopeless woman is found sitting with sightless eyes — until those eyes are divinely opened — beside the true spiritual Spring, who could say "If thou knewest . . . Who it is . . . thou would have asked of Him and He would have given thee living water." She would have drawn water out of the well of salvation (Isa. xii. 3), the true well, to which Israel in the coming day shall sing "Spring up, O well; sing ye unto it: the princes digged the well, the nobles of the people digged it"! Passing through the valley of tears, they shalt find in it a well.

A writer of some authority says that "you cannot get water from a well without first pouring some in." Probably he means a pump, for just the reverse is true of the well: it returns water for wounding, it gives freely, because of its noble nature. There is an ancient saying, "You are thinking of Parmenio, I of Alexander," referring to an utterance of that king's in giving a munificent award: that is, you are thinking of what Parmenio deserves, but I am thinking of what is befitting the dignity and bounty of Alexander to bestow. If we think of our deserts, then our claims are small indeed, but if we think of the affluence and bounty of the Giver, our expectations are enlarged to apprehend infinite and eternal endowments "without money and without price."

18. Well-Strifes: Well-Stopping: Sign of the Covenant: Sojourning: Lot's Wife.

1885 351 It may be observed how often the well, though so peaceful and beneficent in itself, is the occasion of bitter contention — as in Gen. xxi. xxvi. etc.: in the sense Christ says, "I came not to send peace, but a sword." Yet whilst all are contending around with clamorous party-shibboleths, each claiming a monopoly in the source of life, the well heeds not the clash of words or steel, but continues ever its gracious work of giving forth the living water. It yields allegiance to none of the contending factions, but yields blessings for them all. "It gives not to a party what was meant for mankind;"* nor will it ever be possible for any party, though it be as large and imposing as that which Gregory the Great founded, to establish a monopoly of Christ.

[* Goldsmith's Retaliation.]

"Isaac's servants digged in a valley and found there a well of springing (Heb. living) water." (Gen. 26:19.) It is in the low places that the living water is found. "And the herdmen of Gerar did strive with Isaac's herdmen, saying, The well is ours: and he called the name of the well Esek [conflict]. They digged another well and strove for that also: and he called the name of it Sitnah [hatred]." The Philistines had been stopping the wells (ver. 15) and had filled them with earth, but Isaac had re-digged them (ver. 18) and "he called their names after the names by which his father had called them." So there were afterwards "Philistines" who sought to destroy Christ, and for a time apparently succeeded in checking the streams of blessing. But Isaac (Christ in resurrection) unstops the fountains of grace; and he calls them by the same names; that is, Christ, in resurrection, carries on His accustomed work of mercy according to the same essential principles as from the beginning.

But, even after that, the pilgrim's journey is a progress of conflict. If the enemy cannot destroy the well, he will seek to deprive the pilgrim of it; and if Satan's power could not, even by death, cut off the source of spiritual life, he will seek to occupy the ground himself and thus deprive us of Christ; and this not once or twice but at every stage of the journey. So the pilgrimage is often marked by "conflict" and "hatred;" but, nevertheless, the pilgrim at last reaches Rehoboth where there is "room." This is like Bunyan's land of Beulah, for "he went up from thence to Beersheba" (the well of the oath), where God's benediction rests on him. "And he builded an altar there and . . . digged a well."

How fit that these two beautiful types of what our Lord Jesus Christ is — to God and to man — should rest together, side by side, at the close of the pilgrim's journey! As in the wilderness, with Israel, the rock followed them with its everflowing springs of refreshment, so here we trace from stage to stage of the journey the ministry of the well — from the first point where, at Lahai-roi, the helpless and despairing sinner found that "Thou God seest me," onward through hostility and hatred, until at last the border of Canaan is reached, and, at Beer-sheba, by the side of the well of "the oath," the journey is ended; the altar is erected by the side of the last and permanent well — the wicked cease from troubling and the weary are at rest.

It is remarkable that it was God who gave the name Isaac ("laughter") to the son of the promise. We are apt to think that gloom and austerity are the characteristics of devotedness, but Abraham laughed in God's presence, and so far from being rebuked for it, his laughter, being an expression of faith, is approved in the naming of his son. The laughter of Sarah is the amused expression of unbelief, and she is sharply rebuked. Though the Oriental peoples are habitually grave, there is a great deal about laughter in the Bible, and mostly it expresses these two notions of happiness and contempt. "Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh" are the comforting words addressed to His suffering disciples. But very different in meaning is the expression, "He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision."

In Romans iv. Paul draws especial attention to the fact that righteousness was imputed to Abraham before he received the ordinance of circumcision. This is the great principle of Scripture that ordinances follow and are based upon justification, and not that they in any way lead to it — which would be to reverse God's order. Both the justification and the promise precede circumcision, but this is remarkable — that an ampler revelation of God immediately follows it. (In Gen. 17.) To be an object of mercy in forgiveness or of grace in decree, Abraham did not need to be (previously) circumcised; but to commune with God as with a "friend," to be entrusted with the divine counsels, to make priestly intercession for others, it was necessary that he should be. Even in Old Testament times this rite was understood to be simply a type (Deut. x. 16, Jer. iv. 4.) of the cutting-off and repudiation of the flesh"* — the carnal nature. It took place on the eighth day, accompanied by naming or renaming, signifying a new creation. In this, as in all else dispensationally, the believer is "complete in" Christ, "in whom also ye are circumcised . . . in putting off the body of the flesh." But there is a certain application of its great principle: — if condemning and repudiating the "flesh" be rather a consequence than a cause of justification, yet it has its important place, and must precede anything like an intimacy and intercommunion with the Divine mind. Judicial dealing precedes experience.

[* This is well known to be the correct reading.]

A difference is drawn between the concision and the circumcision; that is, between the observers of the mere outward ordinance and those who apprehend the spiritual meaning which it represents. And this is connected with the exhortation to "beware of dogs:" (Phil. iii.) the characteristic of dogs is that they return to what they had previously rejected (Prov. xxvi. 11 and 2 Peter ii. 22) — in one word, apostacy. The writer proceeds, "For we are the circumcision, which worship in the Spirit of God, and rejoice in Christ Jesus and have no confidence in the flesh . . . If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more." He had all natural advantages, but repudiates them, and "counts them but loss that he may win Christ." On one occasion, in Parliament, the Speaker* had to rise to put the Question as to whether he himself had or had not been corrupt, and being obliged to confess that the "Ayes" had it, he had deliberately and formally to pronounce his own condemnation and abasement. It is this passing of judgment — "this sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God who raiseth the dead" that, though it be painful, is the means of bringing us into greater and richer endowments.

[* Sir John Trevor, in 1695.]

Consequent on all this comes the very important and characteristic word "Sojourn" (Gen. xx. 1) =so-jour-ning, séjourner. It is day-staying, in contrast to "dwelling" which is a permanent thing. Throughout both Testaments the two words occur with frequency, carrying important principles. Thus Peter entreats the believers as sojourners (paroikous) and pilgrims to abstain from fleshly lusts, and "to pass the time of your sojourning here in fear." They are to be merely travellers here in this world and not to make it their home or dwelling place. On the other hand these pilgrims dwell in God§ and His word "dwells" in them,§ and His Spirit "dwells" in them. In the collective sense, and as individuals, God Himself "dwells" in them,§ and it is desired for them that Christ may "dwell" in their hearts by faith. Finally they themselves shall "dwell" in the house of the Lord for ever.

§ 1 John iii. 24; Psalm cxxiii. 1; Eph. ii. 22; 1 John iv. 12.

We should not omit to "remember Lot's wife" as one who had great privileges in being in near relationship to a man who was saved and justified; and as one who had been divinely favoured and warned, because of that relationship; who for a time had taken the warning and determined to leave the guilty city; yet who, notwithstanding all this, perished. In Lot we see how near a man can be to damnation and yet be saved: in his wife we see how near one may be to salvation and yet be lost.

19. Isaac: Character, Death and Resurrection.

1885 366 Whilst, in regard to his nativity and heritage, Isaac represents the children of the covenant of grace, yet in his character and history he is a type of Christ in that aspect comprehended in the words "obedient unto death, even the death of the cross;" and also in some of the results flowing therefrom in resurrection. Isaac seems characterised by a quietness, yieldingness, and submission of life, which typifies the Lamb of God — the meekness, patience, and suffering of our Lord; just as David on the other hand, signifies a leonine and warlike set of features. Both are, of course, consistent; and the character of Christ is so large that it comprehends all, and much more than all that is set forth by these, and so many other varied types.

Now it is to be expected that the Isaac-character would meet, in this world, with a great deal of contempt; and so we find that that is its running accompaniment. The very promise of his birth excites a contemptuous laughter in her who was to be his mother: when he is an unconscious child he is mocked at and "persecuted" by "the flesh" (Ishmael): in fact the meaning of his name seemed to indicate not only the laughter of happiness, on the side of faith; but ever the laughter of contempt on the side of unbelief. In his closing days his own wife and son conspire to befool him: and, to the end, make him a laughing stock.

The leading characteristics, then, are submission (Gen. 22) and meditation (Gen. 24:63) — a placid contemplative life. There was a "submission unto death" and following therefrom were the two most important actions of unstopping the wells, and, in the close of his earthly life, the act of benediction. (Heb. 11.) So Christ, having passed through death, in a voluntary submission, unstops the sources of divine grace in resurrection, and then departs out of the world in the act of blessing His disciples. Subordinate to these are: (1) God insists on attaching the covenant to Isaac; (2.) Ishmael (or any one else) should "not be heir" with him; (3) the death of his mother, and the calling of his bride; (4) his father gives him all that he had;§ (5) the especial blessing of God rests on Isaac;§ (6) he intercedes for his wife* (church). These are all typical features of more or less interest, but the great course of his life is necessarily unheroic and obscure; a "life exempt from public haunt," finding "tongues in trees, books in the running brooks."

[§ Gen. xxv. 5, 11.

* Gen. xxv. 21, for fruitfulness, see John xvii.]

Seneca said, "He who has never had a calamity befall him, is unacquainted with true happiness." There seem to have been none of the eminent servants of God, of whom we know much, who have not been thus qualified for happiness by disaster. A heavy cloud lowers over Abraham and his son in Gen. xxii. They, in common with millions of the race, must reach light through darkness, and obtain blessing through sorrow. "The good are better made by ill, As odours crushed are sweeter still."*

* S. Rogers.

"Every one can master a grief but he that has it." It is remarkable how we can philosophize about the necessity for resignation, and the value of trials — in the cases of others; we are not generally so ready to exercise this resignation and recognise this value if our own nests are threatened. "I never knew any man in my life who could not bear another's misfortunes perfectly like a Christian."* Nevertheless some time or another sorrow knocks — loudly or gently — at everyone's door: good will it be if we can rise to meet it with the placid dignity and strength that characterises both Abraham and his son. It is important to remember that Isaac was at this time a young man** and Abraham a very aged one; and unless Isaac were willing to be bound and slain, the thing would have been impossible. This is the pre-eminent feature wherein he was a type of Christ: he was not only an innocent victim, but a submissive one — obedient unto death.

[* Pope.

** Josephus Ant. i., says 25 years old.]

There are some beautiful and suggestive shades too: — he was an only son, yet his father, when love and wisdom seem to require it, spares him not; the son carries the wood to Moriah, as the great Antitype carried the cross to Calvary (on or near the same spot); the father and son "went on both of them together" and, so far as the few words uttered during the "grief that does not speak," that "whispers the o'erfraught heart and bids it break," indicate, they went on together to the place of suffering in the perfection of mutual love and confidence, and then (outwardly) their relations undergo a terrible change. "The third day" Isaac is seen in resurrection life "in a figure."

I knew of a man who, during the progress of an eclipse, finding he could not look at it because the sun's light was too strong, took a piece of looking glass, and standing with his back to the sun, was able to see in the mirror all that took place. The corona of light from the eclipsed sun at Calvary is too blinding for us to have much perception of what took place there; and sometimes we can better apprehend it by seeing its reflection in a "glass* darkly." We see on Moriah the dim and feeble reflection of Calvary, a father and a beloved and only son deliberately preparing for the sacrifice of that son's life. But there the type breaks down, as every other type does; God mercifully interposes that Abraham's son may be spared, but He "spared not His own."

[*A mirror, di' esoptrou.]

20. Isaac: The Question. The Sacred Names.

1885 379 "And they went both of them together," but the progress seems to have been a silent one from the form of expression following: — "Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son." And now the son asks a question — the question of all time; the cosmic question, uttered and echoed by the myriad tongues of the groaning creation — "Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb?"

Here are the implements of judgment, but where is the Victim; here is the need but where is the supply; here is the sinner, but where is the Saviour; here is the worshipper, but where is the means of approach; here are the agencies of suffering, but where is the Sufferer? Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the Lamb? This was for four thousand years the enquiry — more or less mutely and imperfectly expressed — of every devout man; and there was but one answer that could be given, "My son, God will provide Himself a lamb." Faith gave that answer with placid assurance, not doubting nor questioning — nor understanding; and faith received it with silent submission.

The full answer and explanation came, however, at last; came when, at the end of a worn-out and dying dispensation, the aged Simeon held the celestial Babe in his arms and said, "Lord now lettest thou Thy servant depart in peace, for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation;" came, when the stern and ascetic Baptist, looking upon Jesus as He walked, said, "BEHOLD THE LAMB OF GOD!"

So it is found that "in the mount of the Lord, it shall be provided" (Gen. xxii. 14; see R.V.); and so the place is named JEHOVAH-JIREH. The name Jehovah was taken by God as showing the relationship which He would maintain by faith: it means I AM*, and whatever is needed can be, by faith, added to that "I am — ." It is like a signed cheque which is left for the possessor to fill in the amount as he requires. Thus we find the word Jehovah linked with qualifying terms several times, and on each occasion the qualifying term grows out of the character of the circumstances and suits it. In the passage before us, there is a position of extreme need, — Where is . . . ? and therefore we find JEHOVAH-JIREH, I am thy provider. In Ex. xvii., the people of Israel, unorganised and undisciplined, was attacked by a powerless and ruthless foe; and they required a rallying point, a banner, JEHOVAH-NISSI. Again, in the beginning of the book of Judges, the position is one of continual turbulence: in the sixth chapter "the mighty man of valour" was threshing "a handful of wheat by the winepress "to hide it from the Midianites." When he sees the departing angel, he cries in an agony of fear, "Alas, O Lord God!" But the Lord said, "Peace . . . fear not:" so the name of the altar is JEHOVAH-SHALOM =I am thy peace. Then in Jeremiah xxiii. the sin complained of is so great that the very pastors are seen to be wholly corrupt — "Woe be unto the pastors!" there is no hope when the rulers have thus become vile, until a heavenly light shines forth from the well-known and well-loved words JEHOVAH TSIDKENU.

[* That is, It is from the verb br. los. to be; it means self-existence.]

Finally observe the beautiful suitability of the last of these qualifying terms. Ezekiel (Ezek. 40 — 48) gives a very long description of the holy temple of the future; he describes the surroundings and furniture in the glorious words of his book. What is it but the house without the father, the home without the husband, the palace without the king? He describes, indeed, many grandeurs of the millennial temple, spacious, solemn, rich, brilliant, superb in its splendour and imposing magnificence; but only to lead to this, the zenith and culmination of all its manifold glories — JEHOVAH-SHAMMAH, Or, THE LORD IS THERE.

And, to the devout mind, unless the Lord be there, its beauty is ugliness and its glory is shame; and on the other hand the humblest position is, by the presence of the Lord, transformed and illumined as with the golden light of heaven. This is what has taken place at the first coming of Christ. He turned His back upon the earthly temple, and sat with His disciples in an "upper room." When king David was betrayed, dishonoured, and turned out of Jerusalem, those who were loyal to him and loved him went with him across Kidron and up the bleak mountain side. They preferred the king to the palace — wherever he was, was their palace; but there was no lack of time-servers then, as now, who remained behind, preferring the palace to the king, and were ready to welcome any usurper that would leave them their places. The time has been and will be again when the Lord would be found in temples of outward splendour, but not now; "Let us go forth, therefore, unto Him without the camp, bearing His reproach."

Observe that faith goes forward, not understanding how the provision will be made, but reckoning on God's aid, — "so they went both of them together." A Negro being in a difficulty to define faith, said, "Now see dat wall; well, if I prays to go froo dat ar wall, if I has faif, it's my business to jump at de wall, an' it's de Lord's business to put me froo." But if he did not go forward, nobody could expect him to get through. Real faith always gets what it expects, and more. Abraham said, "God shall provide a lamb;" but when the time came, he "lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold behind him a ram."

That was a good reply given by the mother of one who, coming down in the morning, swung open the cupboard door and said, "There, I prayed for a loaf of bread to be in the cupboard; and there's none, of course, just what I expected." The mother replied, "Then you got what you expected!" Unbelief also gets what it expects — nothing.

21. Vicarious Suffering and the Result. Machpelah.

1886 16 There is evidently something very wrong with the world, "the foundations of the earth are out of course." It is filled with vicarious suffering — the innocent victims bearing burdens, enduring pains and laying down their lives, leaving however legacies of perennial benefits to the race. It is not only a few individual cases, as where Lucilius shall deliver himself to death that Brutus may live, or Selwood dies for Fuller, or Lilla springs forward to receive Enmer's dagger, aimed at Edwin, into his breast; nor is it that a nation shall occasionally inherit salvation from the martyrdom of an innocent benefactor, as when king Codrus died for Athens, or mail-clad Curtius rides into the gulf for Rome, or Winkelreid dies on the Austrian spears to free the Swiss. It is that there is no human being alive whose existence is not the outcome of vicarious agonies. The child inherits the boons of life, love, and light from the suffering of the mother. And in every direction this strange principle operates; for it may be doubted whether there be a possession that we have worth holding — material, political, or religious — which is not the result of the toil, tears, and blood of sages, prophets, and martyrs, most of whom have died in shame and apparent failure, bequeathing gifts in exchange for blows, and benedictions for imprecations.

He who was to be, above all others, the Blameless and Vicarious Sufferer is everywhere foreshadowed in the Old Testament. And whenever, in any of the types or prophetic Psalms, vicarious suffering is brought before us, we find outflowing therefrom a stream of grace and blessing in which all may participate. Thus from the sacrifice on Mount Moriah flows out a course of divine favour and benison, beginning with the promise of posterity and dominion, and culminating in the birth of Jacob. (Gen. xxii. 17; Gen. xxv. 26.)

"But not unmixed with pangs" — a long time must elapse before the promise, or even its first syllable, is fulfilled; and meantime we receive the "sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead." The immediate sequence is the departure of Sarah and Abraham is brought in very personal contact with death. That is, that those who are connected with the sacrifice of Christ, and are the objects of present promises and future blessings by reason of it, should pass experimentally through the fellowship* of His sufferings, and bear about in the body the deadness — nekrosin — of the Lord Jesus Christ. Connected with this is an important surrender of all earthly rights: Abraham owned the whole country, God having given it to him; yet he will not accept — at present — so much as an acre of it without paying for it.

[* Hebron means fellowship, Gen. 23.]

If a man reckon himself dead (Rom. 6), he will not be insisting on his earthly rights. The sword of the Spirit is like that with which, in Scandinavian mythology, Wieland clove Amilias through helmet and armour with a blow so swift and keen, that he did not know that he had been struck till he essayed to move, and then he fell asunder in two pieces. It cleaves the natural man to the ground, though he knows nothing of it, nor suspects that he has such a "sentence of death in himself," till he is moved by the impulses of spiritual, life, and then (Rom. 7) he has practical experience of death. So much we may learn when we descend from the heights of Moriah and stand in the field of Ephron listening to the sighing of the wind through the trees (Gen. 23:17) of Mamre and its moaning and mourning in the caves of Machpelah.

Observe the courtesy of the man of faith: the dignity with which he declines the gift is noticeable at once. But if he is obliged to act with dignity and reject a proffered gift from the sons of Heth, he does not repulse with harshness but declines with grace. They address him with flattery and friendship: — "My Lord, thou art a mighty prince . . . in the choice of our sepulchres bury thy dead." Ephron says, "Nay, my Lord, hear me: the field give I thee and the cave that is therein I give it thee . . . what are four hundred shekels betwixt me and thee?" It is very hard to decline a gift thus proffered, when the refusal will evidently give pain. Abraham, however, must be unyielding in purpose, but he is by no means harsh or rigid in demeanour: he "stood up and bowed himself to the people, saying, If it be your mind that, etc. . . . and Abraham bowed down himself." Thus was conducted the first commercial transaction of human record. Probably it was more painful to Abraham to decline these friendly overtures than to join battle with the king of Chedorlaomer; but in consistency it must be done, and he does it in the most gracious way. The man that is firmest in purpose is generally the most courteous in bearing. We read of an iron hand in a velvet glove: suaviter in modo, fortiter in re.

22. Sarah's Death. Eliezer's Mission. The Camels.

1886 32 We should in typical things be much more expecting to hear of Hagar's death (the covenant of law) than of Sarah's (the covenant of grace); but the scriptures record the death of Sarah in much detail, and make no reference to that of Hagar. The fact is that, typically, Hagar never does die: the divine injunction is (not to kill but) to cast out the bondwoman. And we shall do well if we exactly obey the command — to avoid either sheltering or attacking the legal system: to shelter it is legality; to attack it is antinomianism. Unfortunately the swarthy Egyptian woman has some mysterious charm by which she wins her way into many hearts and finds a more cordial reception than is given to her who represents the covenant of grace.

But why this emphasized and detailed record of Sarah's death? Well, there is a sense in which this latter covenant dies.* The antitype is found in the beginning of Acts: there God advances a covenant of grace to the seed of Abraham; "Repent ye therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, that the times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord," is the proclamation which Peter makes to the Jews. But they reject this covenant, and it expires in the stoning of Stephen. Sarah, however, will rise from the dead and this covenant shall also, in the future day, be resuscitated. The enlarged and general sense in which the Sarah-covenant is applied in Galatians has been already referred to.**

[* See Lectures on the Pentateuch pp. 83, etc. W. Kelly. ** In Paper xv.]

The dying prayers of Stephen had hardly ceased when the Holy Ghost began an altogether new work amongst the Gentiles, in the call of the church — the bride: and so, immediately after Sarah's death (and distinctly connected with it by the scriptures) we find Eliezer charged with a mission by Abraham to the Gentile lands to find a bride for his son. There is a very solemn determination expressed that she shall not be taken from the land of Canaan: if a Jew be converted in this dispensation, he is incorporated in the bride, and he ceases to be a Jew; that would not be so in any other dispensation.

Eliezer is a well known type of the Holy Ghost "sent down from heaven" on this gracious embassy. He knows the mind of the father; he is in continualintercourse with God; he proceeds with deliberation, directness and dignity; he calls, wins, and adorns the bride; he conveys, and guards her through the wilderness until she is safely home, when he delivers her to the bridegroom, who goes forth to meet her.*

[* Gen. xxiv. 67. Rebecca is brought unto Sarah's tent.]

Eliezer, in doing this, uses instruments of a humble and imperfect, but, in his hands, effective nature — the camels: they only partially meet the requirements of God; they chew the cud, but do not fully divide the hoof. The Holy Ghost is conveyed by humble imperfect servants who have not a completely separated walk, but who nevertheless chew the true spiritual cud, and have inward resources of refreshment, which enable them to traverse the parching desert. But observe how defenceless they are! the camel has no means of protection in itself. How trackless the desert is! unless the Holy Ghost guard and guide the servants or the church, they are helpless. Would it be straining the figure for one to say that the time when their mission is being perfected is just the time when they are made to "kneel at the well?"

The sheep represents the believer as an object of protection, equally defenceless but dispensationally perfect — "clean every whit;" but there is no thought of the sheep working: the camel however is an instrument of service and therefore imperfect. The old Negro said that "the Lord could strike a straight blow with a crooked stick;" and it is to the greater glory of the Lord that He can do such wondrous work with such infirm instrumentality. It is of no particular credit to anyone to do good work with good tools; but to do good work with bad tools, what patience and wisdom are required! God is carrying on His work in the call of the bride, not by reason of the consistencies, but in spite of the inconsistencies, of His servants.

The Jew Abraham* went and came back a Christian. "Ah!" said his friend, "I knew that when you saw the holy lives." "Well, not exactly that," replied Abraham, "but I thought a religion must necessarily be divine that could survive so long, in. spite of so much inconsistency in its advocates." Even the best of the agents used by the Holy Ghost in the call and escort of the bride have been thus infirm: Peter denied his Master; James and John "knew not what spirit they were of "; Paul made serious mistakes; Origen instituted saint-worship, Augustine was tainted with Manicheanism,** and Thomas à Kempis with monasticism; John Huss was somewhat revolutionary, Erasmus somewhat cowardly, Luther somewhat overbearing,§ and Calvin somewhat extreme***; Wesley and Whitfield quarrelled And to look at our own times! — well, let us commence by judging ourselves.

[* Boccaccio's Dream.

** Before his mother Monica took him to hear Ambrose preach.

§ About consubstantiation.

*** Servetus, etc.]

23. Eliezer: Rebekah: Laban.

1886 48How far beyond the poor starveling hope of a bare and precarious salvation — which is the utmost reach of general human thought about the gospel — is the mission of Eliezer to Rebekah! He invites her to share the home, wealth, and love of Isaac, and to be taken also into the affection and adoption of his father. Of course this includes the promise of real sustenance — salvation: but how much more does it include! When Nicolas of Russia sought to win the German princess for his wife, he handed her a piece of bread with a ring upon it, a customary action with some classes of Russians: so Christ not only offers us the bread of life — we must have that, indeed, or perish — but crowns the gift of salvation with the golden pledge of eternal* love and union.

[* A ring is symbolic of eternity — without beginning or ending. — Gen. 24:22.]

Eliezer persuades her to go; yet that persuasion is not disconnected with the operation of her own will. She is asked, Wilt thou go? That is the question which tests as to whether she has FAITH in what is told her: and her decision is taken and expressed, "I will go." The journey is rough and tedious, but she goes forth to meet the bridegroom, and is escorted in right lordly fashion. This is how the Father and the Son would have it. Not as the wife of Gilbert à Beckett, who came to her espoused from the far east, knowing only two words of any western language, "Gilbert" and "London."* She reached London and met Gilbert eventually, after great sufferings and difficulties, as those also, who can truly pronounce the two divine words "Jesus" and "Heaven," shall eventually find themselves in heaven and welcomed by Jesus. But this was not the manner in which Gilbert it Beckett would have desired his affianced to come; nor is it the way in which Christ designs that the church should travel. The Holy Ghost has come and has adequate agencies of ministry to support and protect; happy are we if we yield ourselves entirely to His safe and sure guidance.

[* Whittaker's Pinnock.]

The Holy Ghost adorns the embryo Bride (Gen. xxiv. 22; Gal. 5:22.), as an earnest of what is to come, with symbols of espousal: "the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance." When Laban saw the gifts "he said, Come in, thou blessed of the Lord: wherefore standest thou without? for I have prepared the house, and room for the camels." This is the natural and frequent, but not universal, result (1 Peter ii. 12.): at least, it is the duly desired order of things; that those amongst whom the believer lives should perceive these spiritual adornments, and welcome to their own hearts and homes the ministrant Spirit "in the day of visitation." The messenger remained all night, as does the Holy Ghost, departing with the Bride-elect when the bright and morning star arises, to the great regret of impartial and upright men like Laban.

There are in Eliezer the true evangelistic traits: he has always the father's object in view, not to occupy himself in improving Mesopotamia, but to bring away the bride; to speak not of himself but of Isaac. He does every thing in prayer, thanksgiving, and seeking the divine guidance; he approaches with courtesy and consideration, but with much directness and energy — he will not eat nor drink till he has told his errand, and, like Philip to the Ethiopian, he ran (ver. 17).

It is very wonderful to consider what this implies typically. In Luke xv. the father of the prodigal also "ran" to meet him. All God's movements in creation are accomplished with that majestic and awful deliberateness which comports with the august dignity of His Being; yet when it is a question of saving sinful men, the Son is "straitened till it be accomplished." The descent of the Holy Ghost is like a "rushing mighty wind," and the action of the Father is typically expressed in that which reveals so emphatically that "the Lord will hasten it in His time!" (Isa. lx. 22.) The seraph "flew" with the coal of fire from the altar. — And so "the servant ran;" "Rebekah ran;" and "Laban ran;" (Ver. 17, 28, 29.) for a know, the camels and sheep ran too — what a commotion to be sure — I am afraid there must have been a little excitement! There are many excellent and well-meaning christians who are very censorious at any lack of propriety of this sort in gospel work.* Let them consider such things as I have referred to. No doubt a spurious sensationalism is much to be deplored and condemned; but there is something worse even than that — the benumbing chill of a criticising respectability.

[* It will be recollected that even so earnest a man as John Wesley was — at first — dismayed at the "excitement" attending the conversions under his own ministry.]

But there is no more need to shiver on that cold rock Scylla than there is to flounder in the "sensational" whirlpool of Charybdis.

24. Rebecca. Gold: Wrought Gold: Needlework.

1886 63 No doubt the chief outward points in which Rebecca typifies the church are her having been brought from out of the Gentiles to be the bride of Isaac, after his (figurative) resurrection; and her being brought into Sarah's tent after the death of the latter: but the chief moral point is that she believed without seeing. The Son of God wooed the "daughter of Zion" in a different way: He came in bodily presence, though in a manner disguised, to her place of abode, like the Sultan Aliris to Delhi, though not similarly successful. But it is the distinguishing characteristic of the church that she is won to espousal by faith in a message from her absent wooer: hence the highest blessing and closest affection is bestowed upon her. To Thomas (who represents the Jewish remnant) the Lord says, "Because thou hast seen Me thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen and yet have believed." Zechariah (Zech. xii. 10; Zech. xiii. 6.) says of the Jews that they shall repent when they look on Him Whom they have pierced and they shall mourn for Him as one mourneth for an only son. They shall say, "What are these wounds in Thine hands?" But it is different with us, of whom Peter says, "Whom not having seen ye love: in Whom, though now ye see Him not, yet believing" No wonder he calls it "precious faith," this God-given power to believe in the absent One Whom the world rejects.

When Galileo with his first rude telescope discovered the moons of Jupiter, all the world laughed at his statement except Kepler, who wrote to tell him that he believed his word. Galileo's reply was a pathetic expression of deep gratitude and affection. And we are justified in believing that He, Who has revealed to an unbelieving world the mysteries of the circling orbs of the deeper and more impenetrable heavens, has, and will manifest, a full appreciation of the trust reposed in Him by those who "have not seen and yet have believed." Even an impostor could be keenly alive to the claim that exceptional and isolated trust had on him. "Now am I not better than Khadijah: she was old and had lost her looks ": said the young and brilliant Ahesha to Mahomet; "You love me better than you did her?" "No," replied he, "she believed in me when none else would believe. In the whole world I had but one friend, and she was that." (Carlyle: Heroes.)

Though the bride of Psalm xlv. may not represent the church definitely, yet we find some important principles relating to her — as well as to the Jewish people. She is seen at her Lord's right hand, the place of honour: she is in "gold of Ophir" (v. 9); that is in divine righteousness, the work of God entirely, as virgin gold is. She is also "all glorious within; her clothing is of wrought gold" (v. 13); that is the work of the Spirit and its ultimate effects "within" the heart, and without in respect of the "clothing" or eternal character. But there is something besides this glorious investiture. It is a subject of great happiness that she shall be made worthy of Christ by being invested with the righteousness of God, and within and without adorned with the graces of the Spirit, but, by the transcendent favour of the Father, she is brought in "raiment of needlework;" that is to say, her own good works "cannot be hid." (1 Tim. 5:25.) When "His wife hath made herself ready" it shall be "to her granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white, for the fine linen is the righteousnesses (plural) of the saints." (Rev. xix. 7, 8.)

There is a place then for personal righteousness, good works: it is not in the justification of the sinner, that is all of God; as God makes the gold and puts it down in the ground, and the only part man has in its production is to stoop and take it thence, so we have to accept forgiveness and life as a free gift: there is also that spiritual adornment which should be the characteristics of the bride, partly divine and partly of human ministry, "wrought gold"; but beside these there should be in christian life a perpetual preparation of personal good actions, as an elaborate embroidery in which to appear at the Great Marriage. Even this, however, is inevitably sullied by earthly contacts, and therefore we read, not only that the saved are themselves washed "in His own blood," but also that they wash their robes and make "them white in the blood of the Lamb." (Rev. 1:5 and Rev. 7:14.)

So that in every respect she is primarily and ultimately dependent on the Lord Jesus Christ for all qualifications for His presence: she will be worthy, but it is Christ Who makes her so, whether by His own personal work, or that of the Father or the Holy Ghost, or by human agency for His sake. As for her she has no dower to bring him: the kings of the earth shall bring gifts; she only brings herself filled with imperfection, but He, by a glorious transformation of "heavenly alchemy" makes her worthy of the high and glorious destiny which His love designs. In the old time, when all Socratians came bringing him gifts, Aeschines said, "I have nothing to give thee; I give thee myself." "Do so," said Socrates, "and I will give thee back thyself better than I received thee!"

We do indeed feel gratitude for that which He has done for us, but we do not sufficiently consider what He is doing in us. "I found Rome brick and leave it marble," said Augustus; and that was the crowning glory of his humanly illustrious life.

25. Rebekah: Practical Reflections.

1886 77 There are two verses in the Psalm referred to of very practical and general bearing: I refer to those in which the words occur, "So shall the king greatly desire thy beauty." Surely every disciple earnestly wishes to know what the principles of conduct are which lead — in any dispensation — to such a blissful and glorious result. Let us then deeply consider them. "Hearken, O daughter;" that is the first thing, not merely to hear casually but to listen definitely and specially: "and consider;" the complaint of Isaiah (Isa. i. 3) against Israel was that they would not consider, and their hope of future salvation is connected by Jeremiah (Jer. xxiii. 20) with the statement that "in the latter day they shall consider;" it is a trait of the devout psalmist (Ps. 63:6, 7) that he can say, "When I remember Thee upon my bed and meditate on Thee in the night watches, because Thou hast been my help therefore in the shadow of Thy wings will I rejoice." "I will meditate of Thy works." "O how I love Thy law! it is my meditation all the day" — "day and night."

"The slothful man roasteth not that which he took in hunting," (Prov. xii. 27) and the consequence may well be a crude and indigestible diet. A distinguished public man has just been saying that "one of the greatest faults of the age is that thinking is going out of fashion, and that people think less and less: that is partly due to the hurry of life." Of course there is always a tendency to say, "the former times were better than these," — in many things very untruly: but it can hardly be doubted that, speaking generally, we are not so rich in contemplative life as those who — like Moses in the desert of Midian, or Elijah at Cherith, or David at Adullam, or Ezekiel at Chebar, or Paul in Arabia, or John at Patmos — spent months and years of the old dark ages in meditation. They indeed chewed the cud of spiritual rumination. Plato says* that Socrates, when with the army, once stood for the whole day and far into the night wrapt in meditation on some particular thought. But that was a good while ago. If anyone did so now, he would be put in a lunatic asylum, or at the least, told to "Move on."

[* In De Amore, or The Banquet.]

Meditation, it must be allowed, is certainly not much in vogue, and many blame printing for it, but unjustly. No doubt printing is not an unqualified boon. When the writing of every book was a tedious and laborious process, when men wrote everything in imprinted capital letters all through, it is likely that they would have more time to think while they were writing. Then the extreme labour would compel them to condense as much as possible what they wrote. And again when men had to read these laboured scrawls of drifting letters, without spaces between the words, they would have to take more time and thought to make them out. Besides which there was less tendency, by reason of this labour, either to write or read things of no consequence. But when all that is said, it must be admitted that the use of printing has been of immense service as a means of spiritual ministry since the extremely significant time* of its discovery. It does not say that it is the "reading" man who roasteth not what he took, but the "slothful" man, and that indicates the main cause of the mischief.

[* Just before the Reformation.]

Of course a great deal depends on what is read. "Beware of the man of one book," said Thomas Aquinas; but it is certain that St. T. Aquinas did not keep to one book himself, nor is that the most desirable course. Paul sends to Troas for his "books but especially the parchments"; which signifies plurality and preference.* Still it is true that a few books well chosen and well-studied are infinitely more beneficial than a prodigality of ill-judged or frivolous reading. And here is where the third injunction comes, — "incline thine ear." This exhortation recognises that there are so many voices in the world clamouring for attention that a distinct earnest and continuous effort is looked for, that we may hear the voice of the Good Shepherd (to mingle the metaphors).

[* Preference shows that they could not all have been Holy Scripture.]

We see then how great an importance our Lord attaches to our hearing His voice. An ancient divine said that a man had two ears and only one mouth that he should hear twice as much as he should speak. This then is the significance of that word, "So shall the king greatly desire thy beauty": not by reason of much intelligence or ability, for that is only within the reach of few; but by reason of that which is within the reach of all, the good part which the beloved disciple Mary chose — to sit at His feet and hear His word; and this to the comparative oblivion of all else. "Forget also thine own people and thy father's house."

"Comparative oblivion;" for there can be no doubt that such sentences as this are to be taken in a relative and not in an absolute sense, or we should not find so many precepts for us to show filial and family care and affection. We need to remember that the oriental character of language is much more absolute and antithetical than ours, or we shall misunderstand such a passage as "If any man come to Me and hate not his father and mother and wife and children . . . he cannot be My disciple;" which simply means that his love and allegiance to Christ should be so great as that his attachment to all else is by comparison hatred. Taking too literal and unqualified a view of such passages is only logically carried out in the life of St. Theresa who denied herself all the claims and joys of kindred; or a St. Elizabeth of Thuringia who, though Landgravine, forsook her own children to wash the feet of beggars; or a St. Francis who, according to Dante, "wedded poverty." Right noble were many such lives in motive though not in result: while we decline to accept their interpretation of precepts, we may well desire to be filled with their devotion and self-denial.

26. Keturah's Family. Abraham's Death.

1886 95 Immediately after the history of the union of Isaac and Rebecca we read of some other children of Abraham by a different line: and so after the episode of the church-dispensation there will be another order of things; and, though an inferior order, yet a dispensation in which there shall be many spiritual sons of Abraham=inheritors of his faith. "In these children of the second wife we get (typically) the Millennial nations."* "Abraham gave gifts [to them] and sent them away from Isaac." Those nations, who in the future shall inherit the blessings of the Millennium, shall be in a far more distant position from Christ than the church, of course; yet they shall have withal a rich and splendid endowment: "for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea." "They shall not hunger nor thirst: neither shall the heat nor sun smite them: for He that hath mercy on them shall lead them, even by the springs of water shall He guide them." This is said of the Gentiles; of Israel the refrain is, that "The ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away." "The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them, and the desert shall blossom as the rose." (Isa. xi. Isa. lxii. Isa. xxxv.)

[* J G. Bellett. Patriarchs.]

Keturah is the mother of them, and represents the earthly Jerusalem that shall be brought into blessing and union with Jehovah; Hagar answering to the earthly Jerusalem "that now is," as Sarah answers to the heavenly Jerusalem, "who is the mother of us all." The writer already quoted compares Keturah's position, in contrast with Sarah's, Co that of the Ethiopian wife of Moses, contrasted with Zipporah — a secondary and subordinate one. When, according to the Talmud, the children of Keturah and Ishmael came to the Rabbi Gebiah, claiming part of the inheritance of Israel, he replied that they had had theirs, that no man gives portions to his children in lifetime when he designs to leave them a future legacy: which was true in a larger sense than he wot of. Present and temporal prosperity is the blessing of the earthly peoples; future and eternal affluence the portion of the heavenly.

Then comes Abraham to his "grave in a full age, like as a shock of corn cometh in his season." A fruitful life indeed, and — typical of the man of faith — a fruitful death. It is characteristic of faith that it plucks the sting from death itself and transforms it into a servant, as a Hindu charms the serpent from which he has extracted the fang, into obedience. Even the dead body of Elisha when touching the dry bones of a forgotten corpse shall thrill them into life. Death cannot extinguish the light of these noble lives: indeed it brings to effect that which nothing else can; Isaac and Ishmael stand reconciled for a time at their father's grave! The hard untameable nature is touched and subdued at last by "The shadow cloaked from head to foot, Who keeps the keys of all the creeds."* "O eloquent, just and mightie Death! whom none could advise, thou hast perswaded; what none hath dared, thou hast done; and whom all the world hath flattered thou only hast cast out of the world and despised: thou hast drawne together all the farre stretched greatnesse, all the pride, crueltie and ambition of men and covered it all over with these two narrow words, Hic jacet!"**

The same principles — as fire or water — which are most horrible as masters, become when servants most beneficent. Death is yours, says Paul (1 Cor. 3:22), and what does it not do for us? "Sin brought in death, which put out Sin." It has satisfied the demands of justice, silenced the threatenings of judgment, and opened the portals of paradise.

[* In Memoriam. ** "Here lies" Sir Walter Raleigh.]

Still, Ishmael and Isaac must take divergent lines; the wolf and the lamb may meet amicably in the Millennium (whereof this is a type in some degree), but they are not likely to travel far together; for even if the wolf did not revive the consideration of that hereditary grievance, with which he considers the lambs have afflicted his race, yet their paces and goals are widely different. Ishmael travels too quickly for Isaac: while the man of faith is waiting for twenty years (Gen. 25:20, 26.) for the first signs of the fulfilment of his hopes, the man of flesh rapidly develops into a very efflorescence of prosperity; a round dozen of princes in the family in little or no time! Nevertheless the lamb outstrips the wolf in time, like the tortoise of the ancient fable. When a man is in the right path, time is on his side and he can afford to wait. "Time and myself," said Philip II. of Spain, "are stronger than any other two." It makes a great deal of difference whether we work with time or against it: put a seed into the ground and time will transform it into a forest; put a sword into the ground and time will transform it into a streak of rust.

27. Election of Jacob. Competition: Esau: Jacob.

1886 111Then, in the selection of Jacob in preference to Esau, even before their birth, the great principle of the sovereignty of God is asserted. It is needful sometimes for us to be reminded that God has perfect right and power to select whom He chooses, and to reject whom He chooses; and that no living being has any claim on Him whatsoever, except such claim as He Himself bestows, and the common claim of a creature on a creator, of weakness on power. In no way can this be more fully demonstrated than in the selection of the younger son before the birth of any: for when the younger son is selected — like Joseph or David — after birth, it may be said that their actions or natural characters have entitled them to this preference, or that the actions and characteristics of the other sons have precluded their claims. The important principle is that none of them have claims at all, and they require to be occasionally reminded of the fact, otherwise the instruments which God uses in His service would be apt to be self-complacent and arrogant; as it is there is no ground for anything in regard to the matter but gratitude to the Absolute and Almighty Ruler for His grace in taking up any one of us for service. Nor has Esau any ground for complaint; for if Jacob was chosen before his birth it was not said "Esau have I hated" till long after his birth, nor till his character and the character of his posterity had been fully revealed. (Mal. i. 3.) To notice this fact removes a difficulty found by some in Rom. ix. 13.

It frequently happens that so soon as God is going to raise up a man for some special work or destiny the adversary has another ready to anticipate the true one on the same lines; this is the most important of the two chief characters of opposition which are always being directed against any divine work (the other is violence, which never thoroughly succeeds). It was thus that "Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses "; that Korah withstood Aaron; that Simon Magus would have caricatured Philip, and the Pythoness-soothsayer would "co-operate" with Paul; that Theudas, Barcochba and many other false Christs have sought in the past, and will seek in the future, to take the ground from under the feet of the true Messiah, or the wind out of the sails of the gospel ship. Where God builds a city the devil develops a Babylon: where there is a Mount Zion there shall presently be a Mount Gerizim. To alter Defoe by one word: — "Wherever God erects a house of prayer, The devil always builds [another] there, And 'twill be found upon examination, The latter has the largest congregation." The heresy of the Nicolaitanes quickly competed with the Gospel, and the craze of Antinomianism with the Reformation.

Often the counterfeit presentation precedes the real one, as where the personality of Nimrod overshadowed Abram, or Ishmael anticipates Isaac: or, as here, Esau is born before Jacob, and for a time evidently takes the lead in prosperity. Under their resemblances there is a vital antipathy and contrast: Nimrod is the man of sight against the man of faith; Ishmael is the flesh persecuting the spirit, and Esau is the "profane person" who "despised his birth-right" in contrast with Jacob who, with all his faults, was in the main a devout person who esteemed it.

It is usual to contrast the characters of Esau and Jacob very much to the advantage of the former — to display Esau as of a fine generous disposition, noble, manly and forgiving, and Jacob as the precise reverse. This is done by friends of the Bible to enhance our thoughts of the divine grace in choosing Jacob, and by enemies in order to disparage "God's favourites." But the truth is that there is no ground for this fiction except the forgiving attitude of Esau when Jacob returned and met him at Peniel; yet there seems little doubt that his conciliatory attitude then was the result of God's interposition, and that Esau had originally started out with the four hundred men in order to be revenged. Then as to his generosity; — it is true he says, "I have enough my brother, keep that thou hast unto thyself:" but he takes the present for all that. After making the best bargain he could for his birthright he tries to get it back surreptitiously and only fails because Jacob forestalled him. That he was a brave, strong, capable, energetic man may be admitted, but that is a poor set-off against his counting on his father's death that he might be free to murder his brother, albeit that brother had grievously wronged him. This enmity against God's chosen ones always characterised the Edomites his descendants, until Obadiah's prophecy was, in comparatively recent times, fulfilled in their extermination.* Herod the Great (descended from Esau through Antipater and a Philistine slave), and his evil family, are notable members of this line. Nevertheless "God hath spoken in his holiness . . . over Edom will I cast my shoe, over Philistia will I triumph!"

[* See Keith's El. Proph.]

But that in which Esau is representative is that he "despised his birthright," which carried with it, besides other things, a double portion in inheritance (Deut. xxi. 17), family rule and the privilege of transferring the "Blessing;" all these he surrenders for a mess of pottage.* He barters manhood for animalism, and exchanges immense spiritual wealth and privilege for a morsel of sensuous satisfaction. In all this he is the standing type of the "profane person" who recklessly forfeits the future in grasping at the present, and traffics away the birthright of the spiritual affluence, with which God would endow him, for the momentary indulgence of temporal gratifications. He shall never be able to cancel the contract though he seek it "bitterly with tears."

[* He was not in any extremity for food apparently: the scripture says he was "faint." He himself says he was at a "point to die," but accuracy was hardly a family characteristic. The Talmud says he had just come home from killing Nimrod and he feared vengeance!]

"But Jacob was a plain man, dwelling in tents," whilst Esau was a somewhat heroic and attractive one dwelling in rocks. Yet God, who judged not by mere outward appearance, "loved Jacob and hated Esau;" and the tents of Shalem prove to have more enduring foundations than Edom's houses cut out of the solid rocks of Petra. The tent, readily moved from stage to stage on the surface of the earth (having no foundation therein) indicates the sojourner and the possessor of a divinely awakened faith. That he was grievously failing and inconsistent on many occasions must be admitted: that in his case "Complaint was the largest tribute heaven received, and the sincerest part of his devotion"* that he wronged his brother, deceived his father, cheated his uncle, mismanaged his family and failed in his faith must be greatly deplored: it remains true nevertheless that his life was in the main right and Esau's in the main wrong.

[* Swift.]

I hold it to be an intensely mischievous error to transfer our sympathies from a right cause to a wrong one because of some repulsive elements in the advocates of the right, or some attractive ones in the advocates of wrong: which has frequently occurred in the case before us. Here is an instance of it: "Jacob was a plain man" etc.; the Hebrew word tahm here translated "plain" means "perfect" or "upright," and everywhere else it is translated in that sense, yet it is not corrected in the Revised Version. If Jacob is to be deprived of his general characteristic of uprightness because of some serious failures, what of Noah or David?

As Abraham represents* the especial principle of Election; Isaac that of Sonship, so Jacob represents the principle of Discipline in its operations and effects.

[* J. G. Bellett.]

28. Jacob Banished: The Ladder.

1886 127 Besides illustrating in a general way the life of a believer under discipline — its need, operation, and result, Jacob foreshadows in his history the wanderings and final deliverance of his descendants, the nation of Israel, and, since Christ is the true Israel, of that particular aspect of the Son of God which relates to His earthly inheritance. The promises originally given to Abraham were of the stars (heavenly) and sand (earthly) (Gen. xxii. 17.) characters; but we find that they are divided, and that Isaac takes the line of Christ in resurrection, abiding in the heavenly place, to whom is brought the Gentile bride (therefore the repetition of the promise to him is of the stars only) (Gen. xxvi. 2); Jacob takes the line of Christ outcast, wronged, and wandering in the earthly places, and to him the promise is of the sands only (Gen. xxviii.14, "The dust of the earth."). Recently in opening the Liverpool Exhibition the Queen was handed a gold key which, being put into a small lock, by some elaborate mechanism, opened every door in the vast building: we know that Christ is the golden key to unlock all the courts of Scripture and lay open to us their opulent treasures of beauty and glory.

Therefore, after the episode of chapter xxvi., where we find Isaac dwelling in Canaan, blessed with the star-promises and, though not asserting his rights against Abimelech, yet digging again the wells (of hidden, heavenly ministry) which had been choked by Philistines, we read of Jacob travelling out of Canaan, blessed with the sand-promises which are fulfilled in a measure whilst he is in contact with the Gentiles and away from Canaan, and returning finally, having two wives and a great affluent household. In accomplishing this he has (unlike Isaac's yielding attitude) to defend his own cause against such as would wrong him, as will happen in the latter day when the "Kingdom and Patience" of Jesus Christ shall be succeeded by the Kingdom and Power. He "will gather all nations . . . and will plead with them." (Joel iii. 9.) "They that dwell in the wilderness shall bow before him, and his enemies shall lick the dust." (Ps. lxxii. 9.)

But there must intervene a long period of banishment, labour and adversity; and so we find Jacob "because the sun was set" lying down lonely and obscure on a stone-pillow at Luz. It is all very well for such as Burton (quoting from Seneca and Boethius) to say that "banishment is no grievance at all,"¶ and merely to change localities. But it is a bitter sorrow to most people; and especially to those who love their kin, and have the living tendrils of strong affections thus broken. Yet are there consolations and compensations even in this: the daylight of prosperity puts out the light of the heavenly spheres; but when darkness comes, then do we behold the ineffable glories of the celestial constellations. They were (like Hagar's well) there all the time; but we see them not till the kind night reveals to us the splendour of the stellar radiance. "Wondrous truths, and manifold as wondrous, God hath written in those stars." It is thus when outcast and lonely, that the servants of God have received their loftiest visions of rapt and holy ecstasy: that Moses in the desert sees the burning bush; that Ezekiel in Assyria sees the gorgeous cherubim; that Daniel in Elam saw the panorama of the world's history; that the ascetic Baptist in the wilderness of Jordan, saw Him on whom the Spirit descended; that john at Patmos, turning to hear the voice that spoke to him in his desolation, saw his Master invested with the loftiest attributes. It was thus in later times that Augustine, secluded at Cassiciacum, Luther at Wartburg, and Farel at Neuchatel, found the same divine Master in an especial way comforting their loneliness and sustaining their purposes; thus that Rutherford found in his "sea-beat prison, My Lord and I kept tryst;" and thus when Charles Wesley was mobbed and hunted, he crept into an outhouse and gave birth to that holy poem which has comforted so many millions, "Jesus, lover of my soul, Let me to Thy bosom fly!"

[¶ Anat. p. 405, but, p. 242, he says it is "a great misery."]

Like that banished Negro who, wandering in Brazil, found the "Star of the South" diamond, and instantly was prodigiously enriched; so the poor man of the Gospel who was cast out of the synagogue lifts up his new-found eyes, and, in his desolation, sees the Son of God approaching him, "fairer than all the earth-born race:" the wilderness and the solitary place are made glad by this mysterious Presence. And here in Jacob's banishment and darkness he lifts up his eyes and beholds a vision of Christ like that glorious and ecstatic one which his descendants shall see from "the Hill Mizar"* — that vision of regal magnificence found in the forty-fifth psalm; he sees in type what Christ Himself sees when standing in rejection, — "angels of God ascending and descending ON the Son of Man" — "a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached up to heaven; and, behold, the angels of God ascending and descending on it; and, behold, the Lord stood above it."

[* Ps. 42. This second book of Psalms shows the people driven out from their land.]

This ladder then is the "Mediator between God and men, the MAN Christ Jesus" — being set up on the earth.* "The top of it reached up to heaven," which reveals His divinity; as the reaching down to earth shows His humanity — "equal with God" yet "a little lower than the angels." It is the only means of man's approach to God, and of God's communication with man. Nathaniel** understood how that the Messiah was "Son of God and King of Israel" — how that in His highest title He would reign over a smaller country than Italy; — but the banished Christ must show him "greater things than these:" that hereafter in the Millennial earth He, Who has been thought unworthy by men to reign over a small province in His highest title, has been thought worthy by God to reign over the whole world in His lowest title. The second Psalm is answered by the eighth. "Ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the SON OF MAN!"

[* Questionable. Ed. B.T.

** John i. 49, 51.]

29. Jacob's Adversities.

1886 143 Everyone recognises the necessity for discipline — except perhaps for himself — in order to mature character and correct faults: "If folly were a pain," says the Spanish proverb, "there would be shrieking all over the world": it seems ingrained in human nature, and in the servants of God not less than others; and it is because He is their Father that God chastens His children (Heb. xii. 5-12); not because He dislikes them, but because He loves them; not to injure us, but "for our profit." All the world knows how great a benefit suffering may be: "He who harasses one teaches him strength," says the African: Crescit sub pondere virtus, virtue flourishes under adversity, says the classic, alluding to the palm being more fruitful when hung with weights. Sechele, chief of the Bakwains, said to Livingstone that he thought his subjects would all become good Christians when they had been well beaten. Another proverb from the savage tribes is, "The sword does not know the head of him that made it:" if it did, it would understand the reason of all the terrible blows with which he smites it; it glows with burning indignation as he puts it into the fire, it clamours mightily when he hammers it, it hisses a bitter disapproval when he plunges it into the chilling flood, it shrieks over the grindstone. But its maker knows what he is doing all the time: it cannot do its work without all this rough dealing; nor will he strike it one needless blow. Behold it at last keen, strong, symmetrical, glittering and tempered as Excalibur or Balmung. "No chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous; nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness."

Of course all suffering is not sent in the way of chastisement for faults: much of it may be as persecution for Christ's sake or righteousness' sake, and to be welcomed as a high honour (Matt. 5); much of it may be of the ordinary casualties of life, incident to all, but "to them that are exercised thereby" all kinds of tribulation work, patience, experience, hope. The word tribulation is itself taken from the tribulum,* the little instrument which separated the corn from the chaff; and this is the effect discipline will have on the devout mind. "Certainly virtue is like precious odours, most fragrant where they are incensed or crushed; for prosperity doth best discover vice, but adversity doth best discover virtue."§

[* Trench on words.

§ Bacon' Essays.]

In the old parable of "The Hermit "* we find that reverend man troubled as to how it is "That vice should triumph, virtue vice obey. This sprung some doubt of Providence's sway." Whereon he goes forth to explore the world, and "clear this doubt," but he only sees things that trouble him more than ever. He is met by a youth of attractive mien, who accompanies him. They are first sheltered by a very rich man, who bountifully welcomes them: next morning they go forth again, and the youth steals a golden goblet — a poor return for such generosity, thinks the hermit. The following night they are received by a churlish man; but "half he welcomes in the shivering pair," giving them "coarse bread and meagre wine." So far from robbing this man, however, the eccentric youth presents him with the goblet! They next are cordially welcomed by a host who has a truly devout and noble mind. Here the hermit is horrified by seeing his fellow-traveller creep over to the cradle and strangle the good man's babe; and, finally, a servant being sent to guide them (by the host, who knows not yet of his frightful bereavement), the young man throws him into the river and drowns him!

[* A poem by Th. Parnell, ob 1718.]

The hermit can bear it no longer (we are apt to be somewhat surprised that he has borne it quite so long). He, flaming with indignation, "madly cries, Detested wretch! — but scarce his speech began, When the strange partner seemed no longer man! His youthful face grew more scarcely sweet; His robe turned white and flowered upon his feet . . . Celestial odours breathe through purpled air." In short he assumes angelic guise and explains "the truth of government divine" to be "The Maker justly claims the world He made" — that in the first place He must be allowed to do as He likes with His own. But there were hidden reasons for all these strange proceedings. "And where you can't unriddle, learn to trust." The first host they went to was a "great vain man, who fared on costly food, Whose life was too luxurious to be good": he used to force his guests to morning draughts of wine, but now is rebuked by having his goblet abstracted. The second host was mean and suspicious; but he had relaxed with unwonted generosity on this occasion, and so he was given the goblet to encourage him. The third host was really excellent, and devout, "But now the child half weaned his heart from God"; so it was better for both that the child should be taken from his ruinously fond care. As for the old servant, he had designed to rob his master that night, and it was to save him from a second blow that such vigorous means were taken to prevent it.

Now, this parable is not meant to represent any complete view of methods of divine government: it is neither meant to imply that these things always go contrary to what we should expect, nor that everything is judged according to its merits in this life. But what it does is to illustrate in a singularly picturesque way the difficulties of our judging of God's dealings by mere outward events, "And where you can't unriddle, learn to trust." — As another* wrote, who had just been overshadowed by one of the most dreadful of human infirmities, "God moves in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform . . . Judge not the Lord by feeble sense, but trust Him . . . Blind unbelief is sure to err . . . God is His own interpreter." In Mincing Lane some of the foreign produce is sold "with all faults," because of its being in a generally defective and damaged condition. These goods used to be (more formerly than at present) "fired" or "refired," subjected to the action of great heat, with the result of very remarkable improvement. It is not the best kind of buying, to purchase things "with all faults;" for however badly they turn out, the purchaser has to put up with his bargain. That is, however, how sinners have been bought, and that is how they often have to pass through the furnace of tribulation. Do we not see the whole process when the coal, black and misshapen, is dragged from the depths of earthly darkness, is brought out into the light, is cast into the fiery gas-making retorts, whence it travels through the manifold tribulations of "ascension and dip pipes," "condenser," "exhauster" (suggestive names), through the tearing of the "scrubber," the chilling of the "washer," the cleansing of the "purifier," till at last, having gone through a tomb-like "station meter," it comes under the operation of the "governor," and behold it then! no longer a black, inert, shapeless mass, but a bright and living flame, to lighten the city's darkness, to illume the palace's banquet hall! How many a black and dead sinner is thus dug up, and thus by fire and water, by death and resurrection, transformed to a burning and shining light in the Lord. "Sweet are the uses of adversity, which, like the toad, ugly and venomous, wears yet a precious jewel in his head."

[* Cowper.]

But the effect of fire differs with differing natures; it melts the snow which comes from the skies, but it hardens the mud that comes from the earth: there is the "godly sorrow," that leadeth heavenwards, and there is "the sorrow of the world," [that] "worketh death." David in sorrow goes to the Lord; Saul goes to the witch: and there is no greater outward test of whether there be divine life in anyone, than in the result of the action of these fires. Like Shadrach and his companions, Jacob had One like unto the Son of God walking with him, albeit, it seemed as if his companions were only Sorrow and Fear, and so the fire consumed but his fetters and his enemies. The latter part of his troubled life was illumined with a holy light, and dignified with the ineffable calm of a sublime confidence. His dim eyes pierced through many a coming century, and discerned in the darkness a radiant gleaming of the coruscation of divine splendour that shines from Shiloh's celestial crown.

30. The Pillow: The Pillar: Sympathy.

1886 160 When banished Jacob comes, in weariness and darkness, to Luz, he does not find even a hut to welcome him, but he finds a stone, rejected of men, waiting for him on the ground: this stone he makes a pillow of in the darkness; and when the light comes he sets it up with a holy anointing as a pillar of testimony and adoration.

We know that Christ is the "Stone disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God and precious." We know that though to the natural mind it seems a hard and comfortless pillow, the spiritual mind arriving at Luz (separation) finds a sweet repose and a soft pillow in the bosom of Jesus — a pillow of rest first, and then this same Jesus a pillar of witness and worship, anointed with oil — the Holy Ghost. And so Luz becomes Beth-el — the House of God! This is the wanderer's sanctuary: it is not the home bird, "the sparrow hath found an house;" it is the bird of passage, "the swallow that hath a nest for herself where she may lay her young, even thine altars, O Lord of Hosts!" (Psalm 84.)

Amongst the "uses of adversity" one of the most important is that which awakens and discloses sympathy. We frequently hear sympathy when unaccompanied with help spoken slightingly of, but indeed it is a priceless quality under any circumstances. The little boy ran into his father's study, and holding up his hand, with trembling lip and troubled brow, said, "I'se hurted my finger." "Well, my little man," replied the philosopher, looking up over his spectacles and keeping his hand on the open page of the De Augmentis, "How can I help you?" The little fellow burst into a flood of tears and ran away.

The gentle mother meeting him, and ascertaining the cause, said, "Well but, my darling, what could your father do?" (She was, however, nestling the child's head on her bosom and kissing the tears away.) The little boy sobbed out, "I thought that he'd say, Oh!" And there is no doubt that to him that word "Oh!" sympathetically uttered would have contained as strange and mysterious a charm as the sacred Oh'm to a Hindu priest.

Thus with Jacob, in many places, but specially here at Luz, in the time of his adversity: God comforts him with gracious words and assuring promises, "Behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest . . . I will not leave thee!" When the weary wanderer lays his head on the neglected stone of Luz, what celestial visions shall he not see? what holy words of gracious comfort shall he not hear?

31. The Stone of Bethel.

1887 221 "And this stone, said Jacob, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God's house." At first view what a crude and poverty-stricken thought this appears. Certainly David's idea of what was suitable for the house of God was a great advance upon it; the contribution towards its construction which he "prepared in his trouble," amounted to 5,000 tons of gold and 50,000 tons of silver, besides brass, iron, timber, stone, etc. "without weight." And as Jacob's single stone is, compared with the splendour, magnificence and solemn grandeur of the Temple of God, so also is that Temple itself, or the highest of human conceptions, to what is ultimately disclosed as the true and eternal house of God.

Yet for all this Jacob's thought is correct; for was not this stone — which had been his pillow of rest and was now his pillar of witness — Christ Himself? and whether the possessor's thought of Him be meagre or otherwise, yet possessing Him, he has "all the fulness that filleth all in all." And every disciple has this, whether he know it or not; but "dove's eyes" — that is, eyes anointed by the Spirit — are required to perceive it. Agassiz looking upon a fragment of fossil bone can build up with accuracy the uncouth and gigantic form of some monstrous lizard that wandered in the ancient world; Galvani can see in the twitching leg of a frog the revelation of a vast and mysterious power; Le Verrier could see in the perturbations of the planets the approach of a fresh globe; and Galileo looking upon a swinging chandelier, or Newton upon a falling apple, can read the mighty and unbounded laws that govern the solar systems. So a geologist looking on Jacob's Stone may read in it much of a world that is past, and a disciple may read there, in embryo, the history of the world that is future.

Stone is the oldest and most enduring thing on the earth: for the granite was formed, we are told, as the globe cooled from its condition of liquid heat, and it is the foundation of everything else. In Daniel where Christ is spoken of as a stone cut out without hands, He is called the Ancient of Days; and there is no doubt that those are the chief features — Age and Stability. There is also passive strength and weight, the ironstones and ores; with value, the quartz, or diamond. But the type is presented in various ways: not only is he proclaimed as the Rock of Ages for a security for those in the tempests which Isaiah predicts, but also the Rock on which the church shall be built; a rock of habitation (Marg.); the rock of my heart (Marg.); "the rock that followed them," and other such names of dignity, but also in the humblest aspects of a stone rejected by men, yet chosen of God and made by Him a foundation stone (everything beginning in and resting on Christ), and the head stone of the corner (everything ending and culminating in Him), and also a living stone, a tried stone (tried by death), and an elect stone (elect in resurrection) — a precious stone.

He is also a stone of stumbling on which whosoever shall fall shall be broken and snared (for salvation), and a rock of offence which shall, on whomsoever it shall fall, grind him to powder. It is this that Daniel speaks of in the falling of the stone cut out without hands on the feet of the Image, destroying and supplanting it. The "man of the earth" beginning with the golden head, the Babylonish rule, and deteriorating downwards through the silver chest and two armed Medo-Persian dynasty, thence through the brass stage of the Greek rule, reaches the iron or Roman age, which, dividing into two legs, finally arrives at its present condition, subdivided into ten toes (kingdoms). The stone falls on the feet (that is, the Ancient of Days descends in judgment at this final stage) and "fills the whole earth."

The Caaba, or sacred stone of the Mahometans, is black; for the legend says, that though it came from heaven, clear as crystal, the lips of sinners have so often pressed against it that it has thus become changed. How different is that conception of a stone from what the Holy Word discloses — a nature as of One who could touch the leper without defilement. The Caaba touching a sinner contracts his pollution, but the Living Stone, touching a sinner, conveys to him His own holiness.

And not only this, but so conveys His own nature and characteristics that the Holy Ghost can pronounce that "As He is, so are we in this world." Therefore we are called Living Stones, and dispensationally all that is true of Christ is true of us. Hence, when the ark passed through Jordan, twelve stones, representing the people of God, are placed in the bed of the river, and twelve taken out of Jordan and placed in the Promised Land; so that we are thus seen (extraordinary statement) "raised up together and made sit in heavenly places in Christ Jesus." The term "living stone" is a very peculiar one, for nothing is so "dead as a stone": it gives us the idea of the immutability of the stone combined with the vitality and energy of the higher natures, an unchanging and yet a developing nature — "growing unto an holy temple." Elijah carried forward the idea when he built an altar of twelve stones on Carnal, and the special interest there is that, though the tribes were divided arid that there were no longer twelve, yet he still represents them — as God sees them and as faith apprehends them — "complete in Him."

32. The Three Flocks. Rachel. Leah. The Servant.

1887 255 Resuming the view of Jacob as typical of Christ in his earthly character, we find him come to the people of the East, where there are three flocks "waiting around a well which is as yet closed. When it is "high day" he (Gen. xxix. 7-10) opens the well and the waiting sheep are supplied. Isaiah prophesies of the future time when "Israel shall be third with Egypt and Assyria, . . . whom the Lord of Hosts shall bless, saying, Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hand, and Israel mine inheritance." "And thither were all the flocks gathered" — Jew, Gentile, and Church of God: — at least these three nations are evidently marked for special recognition and favour.

But for one of them is still more especial favour. Of Israel it is said, "Thy Maker is thine husband," "saith the Lord; for I am married unto thee:" (Isaiah liv. 5; Jer. iii. 14.) so here we find the type in Rachel, so long wooed yet withheld, so long barren, so long idolatrous, (Gen. xxxi, 34) so great a cause of sorrow and anxiety, and yet so greatly and ceaselessly beloved. We must remember that it is the course of the earthly Messiah which we are regarding here, and therefore it is in entire consistency that Rachel is the one on whom the chief care and affection seems to be bestowed. Leah (who is regarded as typifying the Gentile) was the first obtained, but was not the first sought, and here, in connection with the earthly Messiah and earthly dispensations, it is seen in a somewhat secondary light. For all that she is the most fruitful, and is honoured in the births of Judah and Levi, the Ruler and the Teacher, King and Priest.

If Leah typified the Gentile, it is not surprising that we should read that she was "tender-eyed:" the organs of outward vision were impaired. In this dispensation we walk "by faith and not by sight." It is a saying as old as Plato,* that "when our bodily eyes are at worst, generally the eyes of our souls see best." Democritus was blind, yet he "saw more than all Greece besides" (if he saw half as much as his namesake, Democritus junior, it is easy to believe that statement). "Some philosophers and divines," says this last-named, "have . . . put out their eyes voluntarily, the better to contemplate." Who has heard such lofty anthems, as the two blind musicians Handel and Bach? who has seen such ecstatic visions as the two blind poets Homer and Milton? Leah would appear to have been neither particularly favoured either in respect of outward appearance or outward vision; but from the little we read of her, in regard to naming her children, she seems to have had much inward and devout perception. This is what should be all true of the church in ifs earthly history, like its Lord having no beauty to the outward man that it should be desired; and — characteristically and peculiarly — walking by faith and not by sight.§

[* Quoted by the learned Burton.

§ In the great lesson deduced for the Christian we can all agree, even if some may count it far-fetched to found it here on the "tender" eyes of Leah. Ed.]

Faith should be of course characteristic of the devout in any dispensation, but there is no dispensation in which it is so emphatically necessary that men should not walk by sight as in this, the church era: for even Israel had to take some cognisance of the providential and 'national movements around them, and shape their policy to some extent accordingly. But now we are told, "Ye are not of the world." "Set your affection — or regard, or mind, ta ano phroneite — on things above." It is well to be accurate here: walking by sight does not mean the exercise of reason, sight refers to the outward evidences of mere external things, and may be contrary to faith, as every day we find it may be contrary to reason; for instance, if we look down over the bulwarks of a ship in progress, sight tells us that the water is rushing to the rear and our ship is stationary, but reason convinces us that it is the ship that moves and not the water. Reason — true reason not mere "reasoning" — never can contradict faith but travels in the same line, though in an infinitely lower plane. However much it is condemned in theological writings, the exercise of reason is nowhere condemned in the scriptures, where it is said, "Come, let us reason together," and that Paul "reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath."

A powerful opponent* of Christianity says in a sarcastic passage, "Our most holy religion is founded on faith, not on reason; and it is a sure method of exposing it, to put it to such a trial [the trial of reason], as it is by no means fitted to endure." This foolish kind of attack no doubt has got some encouragement from well-intentioned persons who spend their time in reasoning against the use of reason, as if it were not God's very best providential gift. Nor is sight itself to be condemned; is that not also a divine gift? It is the walking by it that is condemned, for it is a mere "dead reckoning," and no sailor would travel by such means — that is, by calculation from the log and the steerage, when there is a single star visible in the heavens to guide him.

[* David Hume.]

But in order to effect this union Jacob has to serve through weary years of bondage: he is a typical servant too, in some small sense not unworthy to foreshadow Him "Who took on Him the form of a servant." He submits to the wrongs of an injurious master in silence, he serves patiently, and suffers without complaint, his wages are changed ten times but he answers not again.* Meanwhile the discipline that characterises his life is steadily developing its effects. "God hath one Son without sin," said St. Austin, "but none without discipline."

[* J. G. Bellett.]

33. Jacob's Return.

1887 270 Laban is for a time greatly enriched by Jacob's visit, but turns out in the end ungrateful and fraudulent, seeking by violence to deprive the true servant of his rights. And that is what will happen when the earthly Christ visits the man of the world: for a thousand years all goes prosperously, but at the close of that time the man of the world will seek to grasp Jerusalem. However, in each case — Laban's and Gog's — there is signal defeat brought about by God's direct intervention, and thereupon the withdrawal of the Divine Servant with His family and household. To a certain point there is forbearance shown by the servant, but this grace is not at all carried to the extent of yieldingness which characterised Isaac (the heavenly Christ of the present period). The servant is willing to take the speckled and spotted of the flock for his hire — Christ is willing to accept what the world despises: but when it is known that by the contemplation of the rod partly peeled — which may mean the word with its inner meaning partly disclosed — they become strong and numerous, then Laban's cupidity and enmity is excited; and in result he loses one by whom he has received great wealth, and loses his wealth with him. There is a serious controversy, chiefly concerning Rachel (Israel, Gen. 31:33-39; Rev. 20), but the man of God is victor, and finally withdraws from the place to "return to the land of his kindred."

Not only, however, has Laban to be overcome in Mesopotamia, but Esau at the Jordan: not only the power of the world would hold back the household of Christ; but spiritual powers, malign and benign, barred their entrance to the promised land. Christ overcomes all.

There were many faults in the deceitful and timid way in which Jacob returned to Canaan, but he did proceed thither when God told him; and here we see that a right act may be done in a wrong way, which is certainly better than not at all. It was right of him to go to Canaan, but wrong to tell falsehoods, copious and fluent, on the way. The same principle applies to many other of the notable actions of scripture: it was right of Rahab to hide the spies, and of Shiphrah and Puah to save the male children of Israel; but if they had had the faith and courage to do so without telling deliberate untruths, God would have upheld them. We find that the deed is often approved though the manner of its doing is not; and here is an important lesson: a good deed may be done in a faulty way, and we certainly should — as God has done — approve the action and not let the manner of it blind us to its virtue. There is it great deal too much adverse criticism from people who never do anything on those who are in active service, because these latter do not shape all their methods to meet the approval of the former. The old school of German strategists found perpetual fault with Bonaparte, because he did not fight according to their conventional rules; but he kept on winning the battles somehow, and that was the great thing after all. But now Christ is revealed, and all evil is judged in His cross; and He reigns in our life. Let us, therefore, strive to eschew all wrong and to do right things in the right way, for feeble minds are unable to distinguish these things, being stumbled and hindered by our inconsistencies.

Thus comes he, fearing, plotting and praying, to Jordan; and indeed there were terrible dangers before him; a foe strong and vengeful, and Jacob as weak as a reed. But be must be weakened still more before he can conquer; he must be as weak as a bruised reed: so the angel cripples him, and then he is victorious, and the supplanter becomes a "prince with God." One of the most stimulating studies in literature would be a record of MAIMED VICTORS — but there is no such book extant, I think. It would contradict Emerson's discouraging theory that all the notable work in the world has been done by healthy men, with developed "arteries," and nothing by the weak-arteried and large-veined ones. It would give a history of Pyrrhic victories, and Parthian defeats: it would tell of Ehud, maimed in his right hand, but smiting Eglon such a blow with the dagger in his left, as delivered Israel; of leprous Naaman leading the Syrian hosts; of blind Sampson pulling down the temple of Dagon; of the four lepers who fed Samaria; of what has been done by Paul, imprisoned, aged, infirm and purblind; by such confirmed invalids as Calvin, Melancthon, Erasmus, and John Howard; by Cowper and Cruden, over whose minds brooded the horrors of insanity; above all and distinct from all, eternal victory wrought by One, when wounded in head, hands feet and heart, on a Roman cross.

Even in human histories many of the greatest achievements were performed by men maimed or dwarfed. Caesar was epileptic and headachy*; Alexander the Great was a little stooping man; Augustus Cassar and Napoleon very small; Horace "a little blear-eyed contemptible fellow;" Aesop a crooked dwarf; Ignatius Loyola, Epictetus, Agesilaus, Tamerlane, Shakespeare**, Byron and Wedgwood were lame; Homer, Democritus, Milton, Handel and Bach, were blind, Galileo so in later life, Socrates nearly so, and repulsive-looking; Hannibal had but one eye; Nelson but one eye and one arm; Beethoven and Kitto stone-deaf; Demosthenes nervous and stuttering. The two greatest warriors of the 17th century met to fight at Landen: "It is probable that among the hundred and twenty thousand soldiers who were marshalled, the two feeblest in body were the hunchback dwarf, who urged forward the fiery onset of France, and the asthmatic skeleton who covered the slow retreat of England***." It is very well when we can have mens sana etc., but often the sound mind is found in a very unsound body.

[* Plutarch.

** Sonnet 37.

*** Namely Luxembourg and William III. Macaulay's History of England.]

34. Course of Discipline and Attainment.

1887 288 Jacob is also one of the series of representative men; he represents the course of discipline and attainment; and now the most important point of his life is reached. He arrives at Jabbok (depletion), where he indeed is depleted, humiliated and crippled; yet he prevails with God, and attains to an altitude of spiritual power, for which he is divinely honoured and invested with a royal title. He comes thither, it is true, "planning" as well as praying, but I could never see why he is blamed for that. Is planning wrong? Do his critics never plan? Planning is only wrong when our plans are substituted for, or traverse God's plans; as "system" — so often denounced — is a highly desirable thing, unless it interferes with some divine system already announced. There is no evidence that this was the case here. He feared; yes, perhaps he ought not to have been afraid; but would his critics now, I wonder, feel at all nervous if they had all their loved ones menaced by the appearance of a hostile army led by a wronged and revengeful warrior?

But whether he feared or planned, he prayed, and he also went forward, and this was the important matter after all; like that soldier whose knees used to tremble when going into battle: but it did not stop him; he looked down at them and said, "Ah, you'd tremble more if you knew where I was going to take you."

He was under the discipline of suffering all his life; it was not he who could write that proverb: Si longa est, levis est; si gravis est, brevis est.* His burdens were long and heavy too. And it is remarkable that we have a chapter interjected to show us how Esau and his family were prospering, producing wealth with Midas-like power, and developing kings and nobles by the ton — I suppose that avoirdupois weight is most suitable here — while blow after blow fell upon Jacob. If we judge by mere outward signs — sight — as Jacob's friends did, we should assuredly conclude that Esau's was the right course and Jacob's was the wrong. A prolonged succession of disasters darken the tree servant's life, some of the heaviest of which occur when he is walking in the path to which God called him: the dishonour of Dinah; the cruelty of Simeon and Levi, and the consequent hatred of his neighbours; the death of Deborah; then of the thrice-beloved Rachel; Reuben's wickedness; Judah's profligacy and violence; the loss of Joseph, and then of Benjamin; the famine; and approaching blindness.

[* Seneca.]

The lesson of the first importance here is that outward calamities do not prove that a man is in the wrong place — of course outward persecution rather tends to prove that he is in the right place. (2 Tim. iii. 12.) Nor is outward success a necessary evidence of God's approval. This is certainly a very rudimentary lesson, yet it cannot be too often insisted upon. For there is such a strong tendency in us to judge in that vulgar and childish way, that we are not only likely to submit to the ruling of Job's comforters in judging of the lives of others, but also to be misled by such tests in reference to our own course. How many men, even devout and earnest, have been turned aside from a right course because they thought the calamities falling on them were signs of God's disapproval! This is a mere judging of the outside of things. No man would do anything so stupid in daily life; would he buy a horse without listening to its breathing, or seeing its action, because it was shapely? or an organ without hearing its chords, because it was well veneered? or a bale of goods because it was nicely canvassed?

But whilst this is all true as to the general course, there was undoubted failure in that course, and many of the ills that befell him probably — and some of them certainly — were the results of such local and temporary failures in a (generally) right course. He promised Esau that he would go and see him at Seir, in the south; but as soon as Esau's back is turned, he goes away eastward to Succoth, and settles down there, outside Jordan;* he builds a house, but not an altar. "Capua ruined Hannibal." Its luxuries and ease turned the victories of that illustrious conqueror into defeats. And that house at Succoth, the place of compromise, where the Gadites afterwards hung back, may have left far-reaching results of evil and misfortune. It is true he moves on to Shechem, within the land; but even here he "buys a field," and here happens to him one of the most dreadful calamities of his life: presently it comes out that there have been idols tolerated in the house. His management of his family seems quite faulty: it was lax, petulant, and partial (in justice though we admit that they were always an extremely awkward set to manage); and it is not surprising that heavy sorrows came upon him in consequence. When a young man was profane, Diogenes struck the youth's father: when Jacob's son (or daughter) was wicked, it generally reacted with special force on himself.

[* Some maps erroneously put it within the boundary of Canaan.]

But though in his haste and distress he cries, "All these things are against me," they were "all working together for good." "The Swedes," said Peter the Great, "will conquer us for a long time, but they will teach us to conquer them."* It was so with Jacob too; and we see him at last having overcome all, resting on his staff, calmly victorious. If Seneca's words be not applicable, at least old Rutherford's last words are: — "With mercy and with judgment My web of time He wove, And aye the dews of sorrow Were lustred with His love."

[* Hist. Charles xii.]

35. Bethel. Oil. The Drink Offering.

1887 302 Jacob and his family were in a very low condition at Shechem. In their objectless wanderings and settlements they had contracted a sort of "foot and mouth disease," a contagious ailment which attacks spiritual as well as physical sheep. There even were "strange gods" in the house, and Jacob seems to have known of it, and tolerated it. But as Luther says, "When we are most ready to perish, then is God most ready to help us." "He sent His word and healed them."

Here we see something of the power of the Word, in conveying instruction and, at the same time, conveying strength to receive and respond to that instruction. Acestes of old was said to have shot an arrow with such power that it was ignited in its course; so there is such power in the message sent to Shechem, that "The swift thought kindles as it flies,"* and, reaching the Patriarch's house, burns up fears, vacillations, and false gods, re-creating, phoenix-like, out of their ashes, a new Jacob, who shall no more be called the Supplanter but the Prince. It produces resolute purpose and vigorous action which terrifies the hostility of his foes; it purifies and directs him to Luz (separation), and transforms that place into Bethel (the house of God), where he finds Christ (the Pillar), and where he can approach, worship, and commune with the divine Majesty. He is now, and not till now, in his proper place: all his efforts to settle down short of this have been useless, and the time worse than wasted; hence he is renamed (Gen. xxxv. 10), and starts all over again. They are visited, it is true, by a fresh distress; Deborah dies. But God Almighty** blesses him with an extended benediction — the millennial blessing of the earthly Christ — "a company of nations," — an embryo of the seventy-second Psalm. Therefore he afterwards says, that the blessings on him "have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors, unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills." (Gen. xlix. 26.)

[* Longfellow.

** El Shaddai, ver. 11.]

The memorial of God's visiting and talking with him is the Stone Pillar, on which he pours oil — Christ "anointed by the Holy Ghost." Oil yields light, nourishment, warmth, and lubrication: that which is dark becomes illumined to us by the Holy Ghost; that which is unattractive becomes spiritual food and warmth; and that which is difficult or impossible becomes attainable or facile. Thus when the difficulties of building the second temple were apparently mountainous to Zerubbabel and his companions, Zechariah cheers them with the vision of the two "sons of oil," the olive trees, supporting the candlestick and affording an exhaustless supply of the "golden oil," through the "golden pipes;" and accompanying the vision by the explanation, "Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord . . . . Who art thou, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain." (Zech. iv.)

He also pours on a "drink offering," This was of wine "which maketh glad the heart of man," "which cheereth God and man." (Ex. xxix. 40; Psalm civ. 15; Judges ix. 13.) It is a symbol of joy; and it is associated with all the offerings, except the sin and trespass offerings: there could be nothing of joy connected with these to anyone. But with the other aspects of Christ's life and death, God has appointed that our happiness shall be mingled. The monkish idea that devotion is a gloomy and painful exercise is not divine; it is devilish. Yet it is an idea that, containing as it does a gross slander upon God and godliness, many excellent persons have done much to encourage and perpetuate. There is no human soul that has not been hindered by harbouring this slander. Not only where men have transformed cruelty into Deity, as where Moloch lapped the blood of human sacrifices, or where Kalee decorates herself with corpses for earrings, or Juggernaut crushes the bones of his victims; nor where Simon Stylites wasted on his pillar; nor where devout men like St. Anthony preferred such means of grace as dirt and horsehair, or where in the "cave, Honorius lone did dwell, In hope of gaining heaven by making earth a hell," — but wherever there lurks in our foolish hearts the wicked thought that God can take any pleasure in our suffering — is this lesson needed, that God wants us to be happy and tells us where happiness is to be found. The philosophers can tell us where it is not to be found, and that is all. "Happiness does not consist in strength," says Epictetus, "for Myro and Ofellius were miserable; nor in riches, for Croesus was unhappy; nor in power, for the Consuls were never satisfied; nor in all these things combined, for Nero, Sardanapalus, and Agamemnon raved and tore their hair." But we know where it is to be found. "The kingdom of God is . . . righteousness, peace, and joy." "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, . . . ." The desire of the Son is "that your joy may be full."

It was well for Jacob to be at Bethel: that seemed to be his right place. But "they journied from Bethel." Immediately we read of the heaviest sorrow of his life befalling him: the thrice-beloved Rachel died. He journeys again (ver. 21), and then comes the fearful wickedness of Reuben. He journeys again, and then comes his father's death. He then "dwelt in the land wherein his father was a stranger" (and only sojourned), and we read of the long series of troubles in connection with Joseph.

36. Joseph: Typical Character.

1887 317 Joseph is a well-known type of Christ, in aspects differing from the preceding types, and chiefly in these features: he is especially beloved by his father; hated by his brethren, "hated without a cause" — hated yet the more for his dreams, the righteous witness of his life and words for God and against them; he is sent a long journey to see after the welfare of his brethren, whom he finds removed from their original position; he follows them, and they seeing him afar off, conspire against him; he is sold for a few pieces of silver by Judah, as the Antitype was by Judas (the same name and descendant of the same man): they kill him ("in a figure"); he passes to the Gentiles, where he is tempted, calumniated, and numbered with transgressors; he is found between "two malefactors," one of whom is saved and one lost; there he suffers on account of the sin of another; bat God exalts him to be a prince and a saviour, giving him a new name, Zaphnath-paaneah*; he is made head over all, and receives a Gentile bride; after which, his Jewish brethren are brought to him, and he grants repentance to Israel, forgives them their sins, rescues them, and shares with them his honours and wealth. In general he represented the sufferings of Christ and the glories which follow: in particular he foreshadowed the moral beauty and dignity of character which caused him to be "separated from his brethren."

[* Said to mean in Hebrew, "Saviour of the world"; and in Egyptian "Revealer of secrets": uncertain.]

That Danish parable is pathetic: One day there was noticed in the farmyard an ugly duckling that seemed quite out of place. Of course the other vulgar little ducklings and goslings pecked and persecuted it; it was so absurdly clumsy, and had such a preposterously long neck — besides they thought it gave itself airs. It was finally excommunicated and driven to wandering about, everywhere ill-used, nowhere at home, nowhere welcome, bat somehow battling along, getting bigger, clumsier, and longer necked. At last it wanders in sight of a silver lake, embosomed amongst emerald and sapphire mountains. Suddenly a new impulse carries it striding and struggling to the water. Behold it then, seated upon its liquid throne: the long neck arched in regal dignity, the glittering wings fringed with glistening spray! It was not a duckling at all, but a cygnet, and had become a swan.

And this is all too apt to occur: all human records are full of it — how that, when large and noble natures have arisen amongst smaller and meaner ones, they have been hated for their very characteristics of promise and power; they have been hissed, and pecked, and driven out — not always, alas! to find the placid lake, at least in this life. It was thus that the Greeks poisoned Socrates; the Romans stabbed Caesar; the Israelites drove out Joseph, Moses, David; flogged Paul, stoned Stephen, sawed Isaiah asunder, imprisoned Jeremiah, and exiled those valiant men "who wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins: being desolate, afflicted, tormented." (Heb. xi.) How many of the world's greatest leaders have been mocked by "Luke's* iron crown and Damien's bed of steel!" Thus the Italians cried, "The christians to the lions"; the Austrians burnt Huss and Jerome; the English drove away or slew the pilgrim fathers and Scotch covenanters; the French expelled or slaughtered the Huguenots and Waldenses; and the Spaniards killed three millions by the Inquisition. It is a melancholy and instructive record: "they wandered in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth — of whom the world was not worthy." And yet some of us are surprised and dismayed when we find ourselves a little slandered or isolated on account of standing for the truth, as though it were not the customary thing.

[* Though it appears that it was George and not Luke Deck whom the Hungarians put on the red hot throne and crowned with burning iron.]

A man like Joseph is under the disadvantage that very few can appreciate his character; and therefore we find the prevailing idea of him seems to be that while everybody would now say that he was a good young man, they would mean that he was rather a "goody" young man, and somewhat effeminate. But if the history be read with ordinary attention, we can trace a character that, so far from being goody and effeminate, is essentially strong, wise, noble, generous, manly and magnanimous. It is true that he weeps frequently, but in one whose affections were so strong and so violently disturbed, there was nothing unmanly in that.* Wherever he was found, God was in all his thoughts: when tempted, he said, "How can I . . . sin against God?"
When brought to Pharaoh, his first words are, God shall give . . ."; when disclosing himself to his brothers, he says, "Be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, for God did send me before you": when they distrust him, "Fear not, for am I in the place of God?" When he is punished for his honourable conduct by being thrust into the dungeon, his words to the fellow-prisoners are, "Interpretations belong to God." He did not repine under that great calamity, but looks about to see what he can do to help others, even his jailors: he cannot see his companions in misery desponding, without asking, "Wherefore look ye so sadly today?"

[* Especially to Oriental thought. That stern warrior Achilles weeps when he sees Priam's "grey chin."]

"The archers sorely grieved him, and shot at him, and hated him: but his bow abode in strength." His confidence and energy were not weakened in adversity; and, on the other hand, when he has overcome all his enemies and difficulties, then we see how powerful a restraint he could put upon himself. He does not disclose himself to his family through weary years, much as he longed to do, until the right time comes. Instead of upbraiding them, he tempers their own sense of abasement; he never says, "I told you so," or, "A just judgment on you," or those other "faithful" sayings, which are so unlike the "faithful sayings" of the New Testament (his was not that kind of "faithfulness" which consists in saying disagreeable things to others). He was brave in adversity, and moderate in prosperity: undaunted as Ulysses in defeat; magnanimous as Caesar in victory.

37. Joseph: Separate from his Brethren.

1887 334 It was a necessity that Christ should be made "perfect through sufferings." As men suffer, so it was an important part of His charge that He should be the pre-eminent Sufferer. It is said — and if not true, as the Italians say, ben trovato — that when the devil, pretending to be Christ, appeared to St. Martin in his cell, the saint asked him to show his wounds, whereupon the adversary fled. These wounds are among the signs of the true Christ. Paul claims that he bears about in his body the stigmas* of the Lord Jesus. When Lepaux told Talleyrand that he purposed founding the new religion of Theophilanthropy, the cynical diplomatist replied that to found a new religion was a very difficult matter; but that if he could preach long enough, do miracles, and then be crucified and raise himself from the dead, he might possibly succeed.** It is in the "sufferings and glories" that Joseph typifies the Son of God, and especially in one character of suffering — he was rejected by his brethren.

[* stigmata.

** Hastings.]

It may be thought that all sufferings are very much alike, and that there is little use in distinguishing them; but this is not correct. "In the world ye shall have tribulation;" this is true of every saint: "Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution;" this is limited to a certain number. Persecution is a cumulative suffering: to the pain and inconvenience of ordinary tribulation is added the pain of seeing, and being the object of, the malignity and injustice of one's fellow-creatures; and the more noble a disposition is, the more keenly it will feel this, the more it, will be grieved at the malignity and shocked at the injustice.

That is of ordinary persecution, which is the inheritance of all, in every sphere, who do their full duty — misrepresentation, calumny, hatred, opposition: "Woe unto you when all men shall speak well of you." The man that is daunted by being slandered a little, is not fit for any responsible work. But persecution from one's own brethren is a far more virulent and concentrated affliction. Of this Joseph was the prototype, and so it is fit that we should read that God endowed him with an affluence of hidden benedictions — "on the crown of the head of him that was separate from his brethren."

To be separate from one's brethren is no affliction at all to some natures. In Corinth there were those that seemed to revel in schisms. Jude speaks of such as separate themselves, having not the Spirit — wanton schismatics, who have no love-tendrils, uniting them to their brethren, to be broken; who would rend the church from the Baltic to the Pontus, to carry some crotchet of their own, such as the shape of a priest's tonsure; or put their brethren wholesale to the sword for dropping their h's, and calling the word "Sibboleth" instead of "Shibboleth." But all that is not of God Who gathers, but of the enemy that scatters. Indeed nothing is more emphatic in scripture than the countless exhortations to unity, mutual love and forbearance; and the condemnation of heresies and schisms among the people of God. Joseph was certainly no wanton separator; he followed his brethren forty miles to be with them and serve them, but "they hated him without a cause." He was to prefigure One Whose deepest human sorrow was that "His own received Him not:" "He was wounded in the house of His friends:" Who said to those whom He had cherished in His bosom, "One of you shall betray me;" Who knew that, besides this, another of them would presently deny Him, and the rest desert Him. These events were signally foreshadowed in Joseph's history, and in it we have revealed to us the keenest of conceivable distresses to which a sensitive and noble nature can be subjected — to be separated from those whom he best loved, to be misunderstood, hated, and wronged by them. They said afterwards, "We saw the anguish of his soul, when he besought us, and we would not hear."

The physical effect of a blow is the same from whose hand soever it comes, but the moral and mental effect is widely different. The mental effect of a blow from an open foe is exhilarating and bracing; but when it comes from "mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted," then is the heart likely to be cast down in the deepest discouragement. When Casca* struck Caesar in the neck with his sword, the veteran warrior turned to defend himself with the dexterity and prowess that had carried him through his five hundred battles: the odds he saw against him he cared little for, and, undaunted, took from his assailants two and twenty wounds; but suddenly his close friend Brutus steps from amongst them and stabs him in the groin. He says, "Thou also Brutus"! It is enough: he covers his face with his mantle, and sinks dying before them. David could calmly face "the complicated wrong of Shimei's hand and Shimei's tongue"; but he never recovered from the blows dealt him by Absalom and Ahithophel.

[* Plutarch.]

38. Seclusion and Fellowship.

1887 357 Joseph is one of the chief of those illustrious men who have suffered for righteousness' sake, and consequently his life shows two phases of persecution to which all who stand up for the truth are liable. On the one hand he is disgraced by isolation, being thrust out from kith and kin; and (when he has struggled through those circumstances into honour and independence) he has then, on the other hand, to brave a second disgrace in association. The Israelites were shepherds, and belonged to a class loathed and feared by the Egyptians since the invasion by the Hykshos or "shepherd" kings; yet Joseph, inspired by justice and affection, voluntarily identifies himself with them — they were God's people — and takes a share in their disgrace, whilst he invests them with all that is transferable of his own prestige.

Some, who have courage to stand alone in a right cause, have not that superlative courage to enable them to associate themselves with a discredited people, for this is much more mortifying and humbling. There is something of an appearance of heroism in standing alone against the world; there is nothing of such an appearance in being connected with a derided "Faction," but quite the reverse. There may be, however, a more lofty heroism in being so, for all that.

Erasmus had courage to publish the principles of the Reformation and satirize the priests; but he dared not associate himself with the humble, ignorant, and somewhat disorderly peasantry led by the Saxon miner's son. He said Luther was "too violent and extreme." And the worst of it was, that this was quite true; Luther often was so, and so were his adherents. It is unfortunately too true that the contemptible few who hold the truth in any age are excessively open to attack, and are — like Israel's family — blemished with great sins and inconsistencies, which their critics are swift to detect and exaggerate. Nevertheless they are the people of God, and His servant identifies himself with them. He says not only, "I will speak of Thy testimonies also before kings, and will not be ashamed," but, "I am a companion of all them that fear Thee, and of them that keep thy precepts." (Psalm cxix. 46, 63.) Yea, he eats for them the sin-offering in the holy place, and confesses, as the Messiah does in the sixty-ninth Psalm, their sins as his own. The world despises them cordially, but yet fears them, and never tires of chronicling their sins and caricaturing their infirmities; yet, strange to say, the gravest charge against them is a matter in which they are not only innocent, but commendable. The Egyptians hated them mainly because they were shepherds! (Gen. xlvi. 34.)

It is well to see the truth and declare it as Erasmus did; but how much nobler to be willing to calmly take the consequences of it and identify oneself with its disadvantages and associations. Thus did the courtiers, Joseph, Moses, Mordecai, Nehemiah, and others, sanction the cause of the persecuted and faulty people of God, and identify themselves with it.

How grateful was Paul to Onesiphorus, "for he oft refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chain, but when he was in Rome, he sought me out very diligently and found me!" Fancy that for a position of obscurity as well as dishonour. So John of Gaunt stood by Wycliff, and "three Bohemian gentlemen" by Huss, and Benjamin Franklin welcomed Whitfield, at a time when, as Cowper said of him, he was "Pilloried on infamy's high stage, And bore the petty scorn of half an age." So Christ did not stand alone; He was the friend of publicans and sinners. His constant association was originally composed of a very few "ignorant and unlearned" labouring men and women. There may be then a further trial than having to stand alone for the truth; and a higher quality needed — in some cases — in being associated with others. The quality needed for the first position is courage; for the second, grace. You may not fear blows: do you fear derision?

When there is such a union of grace and strength, we have indeed a symmetrical disposition. When one has undergone injustice and persecution like Joseph, the mind is apt to be soured: strength alone would not enable it to retain its sweetness. The strong men stand at bay and defy the whole world; but combined strength and grace can stand just as resolutely and pray for the world. The stern, strong spirit of Raleigh is an instance of the first attitude. At his execution he writes a poem, in which he sends forth his soul to give the whole world "the lie": — "Go, tell the Court it glows, And shines like rotten wood; Go, tell the Church it shows What's good and doth no good: If Church and Court reply, Then give them both the lie." He proceeds like this through all classes with bitter and withering irony: "Tell zeal it lacks devotion, Tell love it is but lust, Tell time it is but motion, Tell flesh it is but dust; And wish them not reply, For thou must give the lie." And this defiance is sustained by an unconquerable faith in his own cause and principles: one that gives the lie, he says, deserves stabbing; "Yet stab at thee who will, No stab the soul can kill."

But that young wife, whose hitherto affectionate husband turned her out of doors because she had imbibed the doctrines of the Reformation*, showed, I think, a spirit equally undaunted, but a loftier and more serene courage, "unmoved by poisoning wrath . . . unchanged in faith, unchilled in love." She was torn on the rack and burnt to death, but left a noble legacy to us in that holy song which she composed and sang in Newgate prison: — "Like as the armed knighte, Appointed to the fielde, With this world wil I fighte, And faith shal be my shielde." What a martial ring there is in this! something like that part in Homer where Ulysses stands alone and undaunted, "the Greeks all fled, the Trojans coming on." But here is something greater than Homer: — "Yet, Lorde, I Thee desire, For that they doe to me, Let them not taste the hire Of their iniquitie."

[* Anne Askew, burnt 1546.]

It is the difference between Zechariah and Stephen. It is the spirit of the new dispensation surpassing the old, as the blood of Christ speaketh better things than that of Abel. Joseph had somewhat anticipated it, "Unmoved by . . . wrath, . . . unchilled in love."

39. The Chief Butler and the Chief Baker.

1887 364 The prison episode in Joseph's history seems typical in a peculiar way of the present dispensation. Thus the Son of the Father had been rejected by his own brethren (Israel), sold for a few pieces of silver, put to death ("in a figure"), had risen from the dead and passed over to the Gentiles, to become the Saviour of the world and the Revealer of secrets. He is, however, for a long time despised and ill-treated by these Gentiles; and He is found amongst the captive and afflicted, whom His presence and words necessarily separate into the two classes of saved and lost — the butler and baker being separated like the penitent and impenitent thieves on Calvary. When that work is done, Joseph shaves and changes his raiment (i.e., conforms to a new order of things and alters his outward characteristics), ascending from the dungeon to the throne, to inaugurate a new millennial era, "until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in." But the millennial time is still future: the prison scene is now going on; and it is of this nature:

Here were two men in the same place of bondage, equally condemned, and, so far as we know, equally guilty — or innocent; — just alike in all outward appearance. Christ (Joseph) comes amongst them and pronounces one saved and the other lost.

This seems strange, and, to the crude mind a hard saying; but in truth it is a process that in nature and art is going on every day and all day long. Persons and things that superficially appear much the same are being continually separated as widely as the poles, by some test judicial, philosophic, or chemical. Two jewels are shown to an expert: they appear exactly the same until he touches them with nitric acid, and then one of them is accepted — it might be for a king's regalia — and the other, with a black smear of condemnation on it now, is adjudged as worse than worthless; for it is an elaborated fraud. I have watched the coins in the mint travelling down the grooves of those exquisitely delicate weighing machines. No human being can see any difference between one and another till they come to the slots, but the machine, with infallible accuracy, slides one of them down the main slot to go forth on its useful and honourable career, with the royal image and subscription on its golden face; and slides another down the lightweight slot condemned, to be cast into the furnace. The two coins that look so entirely alike have been submitted to the test of the great universal law of gravitation. That vast and inexorable law cannot err: it vindicates one and condemns the other.

But while there may be no apparent difference between the position or actions of the two men, there is yet a marked difference in their reception of Joseph's overtures. The butler readily opens his heart to him; but of the other one we read, "When the chief baker saw . . . He held back till encouraged by some external circumstances: he "saw," he walked by sight. And there is a much more instructive difference in the elements with which they are seen connected. The butler is brought before a vine,* triple branched, living and fruitful. Pharaoh's cup (the symbol of God's judgment, Psalm lxxv. 7, 8.) is in his hand; he takes the grapes and presses them into the cup, and then gives the cap into Pharaoh's hands. That is, the man takes his place in the presence of Christ, the true Vine, and, accepting God's judgment, offers the blood of Christ, according to the measure of that judgment, which God accepts; and the man is forgiven and exalted.

[* It used to be an objection by opponents that there were no vines in Egypt, because Herodotus (who contradicts himself on the subject, Bk. ii. 37) says so. Of late years many sculpturings of vines have been found on the monuments there.]

But the baker covers himself with baskets filled with human works; and how fair, sweet, elaborate, and symmetrical soever they may be, they are not accepted by Pharaoh: the fowls of the air devour them — and him. The "basket is full of holes" too (Gen. 40:16): "Work without hope draws nectar (or ambrosia either) in a sieve, And hope without an object cannot live."* There were "three days" in each case: death and resurrection delivers one and condemns the other.

[* Coleridge.]

Bake-meats are not enough. Though men should pile them, ornate and fragrant, to high heaven, the evil spirits shall waste them, and the baskets are full of holes. The confectionery of human religion is like Cain's sacrifice, his own design and labour — lifeless and bloodless. There was the uppermost basket full of them — the very altitude of spirituality — "prepared for Pharaoh" too: but Pharaoh would have none of them. Bake-meats are not enough.

But that which God has provided is enough — the vine and the blood of the grape, Christ and His work — enough for God and man, enough for time and eternity. Should he not be grateful, that chief butler? And so Joseph says, "Think on me when it shall be well with thee." Is there anything typical in that?

"Yet did not the chief butler remember Joseph, but forgat him!" Is there anything typical in that?

40. A Gospel Episode.

1887 379 It is, no doubt, mischievous to pursue types too far, and calculated to weaken our estimate of the literal and historical value of scripture. Still we know from the scripture itself that many parts are to be applied most usefully in an allegorical sense, such as Paul's use of the histories of Hagar and of Melchisedek. Some passages are distinctly stated by the inspired writers to be typical, and in others the typical character is so obvious as to need no further warrant for its adoption. If we have a complicated lock, and only one key opens it, that is the proper key: if we have a cypher manuscript and only one system interprets it and lays all its fumbled letters into intelligible words, that is the true system: if we find passages in the lives of the patriarchs which are all opened and gleaming with light when we apply to them the principles of Christ, then we are justified in using them as types. Where there is evidence of such a design they do not come thus by chance.

"Do you think," said Kepler, as he sat down to supper with his wife, still revolving in his capacious mind the conflicting problems of chance and design, "Do you think that a salad like this could by any possibility come thus together by Chance?" "No," replied the wife promptly, "certainly not such a good one, nor so well seasoned." And the answer has a great deal of philosophy in it, though perhaps not much logic.

The details of Joseph's life are especially rich in (if not typical) at least, illustrative passages of much interest and instruction. As, however, they are generally sufficiently obvious, I will only draw attention to one or two further instances. After his induction as Saviour of the Gentiles, we find (Gen. xlii.-xlv.) his own brethren, Israel, being brought to him, as in Rom. xi. 25-26. But whereas we have the great principles of salvation illustrated in the former case, we have details illustrated in the latter.

Thus his brethren have already received from him a limited temporary assistance (during the Gentile period, such as the Jews are having now in the proffer of the gospel and providential care). But they will not go to their saviour till they have proved every other source exhausted; and even then they go most reluctantly; while there is every indication that, if they had known who he was, they would sooner have gone to the other end of the earth. The Talmud says that they spent three days looking for Joseph when they entered Egypt, but like many other things in the Talmud that is an assertion for which there is no particle of evidence, and at the same time an assertion quite contrary to the general characteristics: "quite curiously the reverse of the truth" is the sentence that would most aptly characterise every independent "fact" of that book.

Jacob says first they shall not go; then, "Go again and buy us a little food." (The words "buy" and "little" are generally associated: one who thinks of buying salvation only expects a little of it; and indeed there is none upon earth who can pay for more than a little.) At last he says, "If it must be so now, do this: take of the best fruits of the land in your vessels, and carry down the man a present, a little balm and a little honey" . . . and so forth, and "double money," and then Benjamin as a kind of make-weight; finally he groans a vague appeal to the general mercy of God: "and God Almighty give you mercy before the man . . . If I am bereaved"

Here we see in a saint the worst phase of the natural sinful heart, whether in Jew or Gentile. It hates to approach Christ, and will not do so till it feels the pangs of hunger and the fear of death; then when at last it resolves to go to Him, it approaches with a total misconception of His nature and purpose, with dread in the heart, and a gift scraped from the famine — stricken ground to propitiate and to "buy a little" installment of favour; with balm to soothe, and honey to sweeten. But how little they know of that great heart filled with tender and beneficent compassion towards them! "Do you not know," said James II. to Ayloffe, "that it is in my power to pardon you?" "I know it to be in your Majesty's power, but not in your Majesty's nature," was the reply. Ayloffe had good grounds for such an attitude, but Jacob had none.

In some passages we find grouped together several different types of the same Christ, signifying different offices. For instance, in Lev. xvi., there is the ram for a burnt offering, the high priest who sacrifices, then the goat of sin-offering and the scape-goat, the bullocks, the incense and so forth. These all are distinct and well-known types of the same Christ, at the same time, but in varied characters. There is something similar in Gen. xlii., xliii. Firstly, there is Joseph the receiving and dispensing saviour; the dreamer, once rejected but now exalted, to whom they come. Secondly, there is Benjamin, the true propitiation, by whom they come. Joseph could only receive them in connection with Benjamin: Christ can only receive and pardon those who come on the ground of His own personality and merits. We come to Christ and with Christ. This is precisely what the "old man," Jacob, seeks to avoid; and when it can no longer be avoided, he prepares his gift of balm, honey and the rest, putting Benjamin last, and then groaning an appeal to the general providence of God for mercy. But Benjamin was all that was required; and it is strange that the more Jacob adds to Benjamin, the more uneasy he gets. The sinner that relies wholly and only on Christ has always a more settled peace and assurance (I don't say a more settled salvation) than one who wants to add on his own good works, religiousness, or anything — his money, balm, and honey. The philosophers say that the truths of mathematics must be the same all over the universe; that two and two must make four in the most distant world: but the heavenly arithmetic seems to me quite peculiar — whatever we add to Christ we deduct from Him: so that Christ and my merits are less — less acceptable to God and less satisfactory for my peace — than Christ alone. It may be true that in heaven itself "two parallel lines will never meet;" yet one and one make nothing there sometimes.

Then, there is Judah, who exemplifies the principle of suretyship; and Simeon the principle of substitution. Finally, there is the corn — the Bread of Life.

The case of Simeon is a very fine passage and of much interest. He is put into prison for the sins of others and kept as hostage. When the men came trembling and fearing, with their "little balm," etc., they of course will do anything rather than go direct to their Saviour; they seek out the steward. Now the steward's function is to pay creditors, and demand from debtors — he represents, if not the law itself, yet the principle of law. Of course the men would sooner go to him than to Joseph: what sinner ever at first did not prefer law to grace? So with deep humility they approach, as sinners mostly affect, to establish two things; that they were innocent and virtuous, and yet that they will atone for their faults — rather inconsistent, but what happens?

The steward ignores their little litany, and says, "Peace be to you . . . Fear not! I had your money, and he brought Simeon out to them." (Gen. 43:23.) Joseph had paid their debt, and Simeon's deliverance was the proof that there was nothing against them. It is the resurrection of Christ, the Substitute, from the prison of death, that gives the trembling sinner the assurance that his debt is paid; and the verdict of acquittal is pronounced by the justice of God not by His mercy. Mercy provides the sacrifice, but Justice accepts it: He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins." (1 John i. 9.) It is the voice of a satisfied justice that speaks: it says, not "you are forgiven" (mercy says that), but it says, "Fear not, I HAD your money." "Payment God will not twice demand, First at my bleeding Surety's hand, And then again at mine." There will never be stable peace in the soul till the resurrection of the Substitute, and what is thus declared is attained. Everything is unstable till "the third day the dry land appears," producing the fruitful trees.

41. Judah's Speech. Wagon v Staff.

1888 13Following immediately upon the pardon and justification illustrated in Gen. xliii. we find the discipline and intercession in Gen. xliv.; and this is the natural order of events. Discipline and intercession characterise the period which lies between the forgiveness of sins and the public recognition, or the adoption, as it is termed in Rom. viii., in which chapter we have, whilst waiting for the said adoption, the intercession of the Spirit. Of course the Spirit may use human instruments; and it is an impulse of the Holy Ghost that Christians should intercede for one another. No one however was so fit and strong an intercessor amongst Israel's sons as Judah. He stood there as the head of the family (Reuben, etc. having been set aside) and as the voluntary surety: so Christ "bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors."

Pray observe how an illustration easily removes a difficulty. Many find it difficult to understand why there should be any occasion for intercession with God, when He is in an attitude of perfect love towards us. Well, here Joseph was in an attitude of perfect love towards these forgiven sinners, and had fully made up his mind, from the beginning, to save and bless them: and yet how natural, how fit and comely, how beautiful and pathetic is Judah's noble, generous, and sublime intercession. It did not alter the final issue (though it may have hastened it), but it altered everything else. The reason Joseph recalled the men was to test if they were ready to give up Benjamin now in the same heartless way in which they had formerly given up their other brother; or if they were changed. Judah's speech is a complete answer to that: it showed that Joseph's patient disciplining and handling of them had been perfectly successful. By his generosity Joseph was saving his brethren; by his self-restraint and wise dealing with them he has changed their disposition. And now what takes place is calculated to awaken the finer and nobler instincts in all of them — to strengthen their mutual sympathy and deepen their mutual affection.

Judah's appeal is no empty rhetoric; he offers to give himself up to save Benjamin. This spirit of self-sacrifice characterises all true intercession. "Blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book," said Moses. "I could wish myself accursed," said Paul. "Let me be slave instead of Benjamin" (in effect), says Judah. All these professed what they were willing to do: the wounds of Christ show what He has done. When Aeschylus was being condemned at Athens, his brother Amynias came forward to advocate the cause of the prisoner. He bared his scarred chest and mutilated arm, the hand of which had been lost in the service of the state at Salamis.

When intercession is not a result of nobility of spirit, it is a cause of it and will tend to produce it. It is hardly possible to pray sincerely to God for another whilst continuing to hold hard or unworthy feelings toward the one for whom the prayer is made. The three kindred offices of intervention are thus distinguished. Mediation is "between God and men" (1 Tim. ii. 5) — the Creator and the sinful creature. Intercession is on behalf of the reconciled man to God. (Rom. viii. 23-27.) Advocacy is exercised with the Father in the case of some definite failure. (1 John ii. 1.)

When the men returned and told Jacob that Joseph was still alive, though he had before him the cumulative evidence of the eleven (besides, doubtless, many servants) "his heart failed and he believed them not" — even when they told him "all the words of Joseph." But when "he saw the wagons," his spirit revived, and he said, "It is enough, I will go." Those rude wooden conveyances were visible and tangible evidences of a brightened horizon and a new and glorious world, as yet unknown and unseen; and the sight of them confirmed his wavering mind, as Columbus and his companions were encouraged in their belief in that new unknown world which they sought through the weary waste of the wild Atlantic, when the "table board and carved stick" were drifted to the bow of the Santa Maria.

How true this is in the life of an "unbelieving believer"; that he is more confirmed by some slight and inconsequent outward evidence, some tangible and material gift from the Lord, than by the cumulative testimony of the eleven Apostles and all their followers. It is not creditable to us that such should be the case, when some passing providential physical gift, or answer to prayer, should confirm and encourage us more than the sacred words of Christ Himself; it indicates a low spiritual condition. That is the difference between faith and credulity. Faith reposes on the strongest evidence which the universe affords, — the word of God (attested as being His word by overwhelming and cumulative testimony); but credulity, whilst not receiving that, will swallow any preposterous dogma that is accompanied by a geologist's chip of stone, or a priest's tonsure — anything from an ape-man to a monk's miracle. Faith floats, resting only on the waters of life; credulity grasps at a straw, and sinks.

Further on, we read that "Israel bowed himself on the staff." (This would appear to be the correct reading of Gen. xlvii. 31. The LXX have it thus, as also the Apostle in Heb. xi. The difference is simply in the vowel points, which would alter the word from mittah to matteh.) A great contrast with the wagon is the staff, which is an emblem of the word of God, as the support and defence of the soul. There must be importance in this apparently slight action of Jacob's, or we should not have had it twice recorded. The staff is connected with the rod in Psalm xxiii., "Thy staff and Thy rod they comfort me:" that is, not only is the supporting staff comforting, but the chastening rod is so — being a proof of a Father's love and care. The fact is that now Jacob returns to the simplicity of entire dependence on God. In the midst of his prosperity he had said that with only his staff he had set out and crossed Jordan, and that since then he had got great wealth. Now he is going to leave it all and come back to the bare staff; leaning on that alone he worships God. As Antaeus, when brought to the ground, uprose with increased vigour received from its contact; so Jacob, now brought down to the staff, receives an exaltation of spiritual power which closes his troubled and pathetic life in lofty praises and far-reaching prophecies.

42. Jacob Crosses His Hands. Manasseh. Reuben.

1888 31 It is when the oyster in the Persian Gulf is wounded and dying that it forms the pearl; and Jacob's expiring exclamation is a priceless gem of wisdom and beauty. Dying utterances are sometimes characteristic of a whole life. Richard Baxter's last words were, "I have pain . . . but I have peace." Raleigh, feeling the headsman's axe, said, "It is a sharp medicine, but it cureth all sorrow"; Ignatius, "Yea, all torment which the devil can invent, so I may but attain Christ." Diderot's last words were, "The first step towards philosophy is incredulity." Gibbon said, "All is dark and doubtful"; Beethoven said, "I shall hear." The polite Lord Chesterfield is reported to have last said, "Pray give Dayboles a chair": Bonaparte, "Tête d'armée." Julian the Apostate said, taking some of his blood and throwing it in the air, "Galilean, Thou hast conquered." And Jacob's last words were similarly characteristic of his long and, on the whole, faithful life. Besides which they seem an inspired prophecy, and therefore come down carrying divine light through the centuries. If some fixed stars were plucked from their places, their light would still continue streaming down for ages afterwards: Jacob was withdrawn, but his life and words still enlighten us.

But especially his words; for it sometimes occurs that a man of weak and imperfect character speaks with the eloquence of perfect wisdom. In extreme cases such inconsistency is repugnant, and the natural reflection suggested is, "Physician heal thyself." Pope calls Bacon "the wisest, brightest, meanest of mankind;" and of a celebrated preacher it was said, that when he was in the pulpit (he talked so well that) he never should go out; and when out of it (he "walked" so badly that) he never should go in. Demosthenes made such soul-stirring orations against Philip that the Greeks who heard him rose and cried for arms; but whilst they were using them, Demosthenes himself preferred to use his legs (at Chaeronea). Truth is however so valuable that no matter from whom it comes, we should not let the speaker's inconsistencies hinder our reception of it. Halting, Jacob's life might have been; but his words were generally peculiarly wise, beautiful, and pathetic. Here at the close, as was feigned of the swan, "Death darkens his eyes and unplumes his wings, Yet the sweetest song is the last he sings." – Donne.

Since he has come to lean on the bare staff he can neither say nor do anything amiss. Joseph brings Manasseh and Ephraim for his blessing, but the old patriarch crosses his hands,* and reverses their order in the succession. The sign of the cross, traversing and reversing natural order and human expectations, is found here as everywhere — from the cruciferae up to the constellations. Children begin early making "noughts and crosses," and find noughts and crosses to the end of life. "My thoughts are not as your thoughts," God says; and this not because the divine thoughts are designed to be apart from or opposed to ours, but because they are right and we are wrong — we look at the eddies; He sees the stream.

[* Genesis 48:14; LXX. Syr. and Vulg. Ellicott. ]

Jeremy Taylor remarks on the strangeness of the idea of the cross. Indeed it is difficult now to understand the import of it to those of old time: it has actually reversed its own original meaning. Now, it is outwardly honoured. It is set in precious gems above crown and tiara, orb and sceptre; it is an object of worship to three hundred millions of civilized people. It surmounts the most gorgeous and stately human edifices: magnificent cathedrals are built in its shape. It floats over land and ocean emblazoned on the standards of the most powerful nations. But then, when originally used, what was it a symbol of? A criminal's death, ghastly, agonizing, and degrading! Something far worse than what the gallows suggests now, for only slave-criminals were crucified.

Thus the shadow of the cross falls on all that follows. It transposes the members both of Jacob's and of Joseph's families, rejecting and selecting in a sovereign and final way, which sets aside human hopes and regulations. It selects Ephraim and Judah, and rejects Manasseh, Reuben, and others. If we are surprised as Joseph was, then the reply is, "I know it, my son, I know it." It is absolute, and we must submit whether we understand its action or not. At the same time, if we consider in the light of subsequent events, we shall often find wise reasons for the peculiarity of that action. Manasseh's very name had an infirm suggestion in it, which was quite fulfilled in his half-hearted descendants: when they came to the Jordan, half of them stop short, and half go on: that was characteristic of the tribe, and the embryo of it may have been seen in Manasseh by Jacob, as the embryo of the irresolution of the tribe of Reuben was certainly seen by him in their head.

Of the latter he says, "Unstable as water," and the simile is perfect. Water takes the colour of anything adjacent, and the shape of everything with which it comes in contact. "Water," says Burke,* ". . . is insipid, odourless, colourless, and smooth . . . For as fluidity depends . . . on the roundness, smoothness, and weak cohesion of the component parts of any body, . . . it follows that the cause of its fluidity is likewise the cause of its relaxing quality — namely, the smoothness and slippery texture of its parts." One would think that he was describing the character of the Reubens — all those who are accursed with infirmity of purpose, invertebrate molluscs, who have no more backbone than a jelly fish. When Joseph was in danger from his brothers, Reuben who should, as eldest, have protected him, does proceed so far as to say, "Shed no blood" — the thought of blood is repugnant to this tribe, especially in theology — "put him down this pit." He meant to rescue him; but something always happens to upset a Reuben's good intentions. He means to be an upright man, no doubt, but falls into the terrible sin of which his father accuses him.

[* Essay on the Sublime and Beautiful.]

The tribe carries permanently that disease of vacillation. They decrease in the wilderness, and when they come to Jordan stop short, and, though they promised, and undoubtedly meant to go across and fight the battles of Israel, yet they never do so, but were the first to be led away captive by Hazael and Tiglath-pileser. After the great crisis, when the Israelites cast off the yoke of the Canaanites, by defeating Sisera's vast army, Deborah celebrates the victory in a lofty paean, distributing praise and blame. Ephraim and others receive honourable mention; Meroz is bitterly cursed for inaction; but Reuben is dismissed with one of the keenest satires that the stinging tongue of woman ever uttered. (Judges 5) "For the divisions of Reuben there were great thoughts of heart!" [Heb. "impressions."] "Why abodest thou among the sheepfolds, to hear the bleatings of the flocks? For the divisions of Reuben there were great searchings of heart!"

That was what Reuben gave when his brethren, in the agony of that mortal struggle, were giving their heart's blood, Reuben was giving his heart-searchings. Whilst Zebulun and Naphtali were "jeoparding their lives on the high places of the field," in death clutch with a valiant foe, Reuben was amongst the sheepfolds, searching his heart as to what he ought to do — in the expressive American phrase, "sitting on the fence." I expect he had nearly made up his mind about the time that the battle was over. Well, it is a convenient way. And he has left many descendants.

43. Reuben (Continued). Judah.

1888 48 There are two other features generally prominent in the Reuben character. One of them is the general misery of the irresolute mind: it is, while never effectively repentant, always remorseful for its weaknesses or neglected opportunities. When Reuben returned to the pit and found Joseph gone, "he rent his clothes . . . and said, The child is not, and I, whither shall I go?" Tiberius seems to have been of the same irresolute mould, though no doubt a far worse man than Reuben. There is a very characteristic passage in a letter of his to the Roman Senate, in which he says that if he knows what to write to them, or how to write, or what not to write, may all the gods and goddesses torment him more than they are already tormenting him.

The other feature is the tendency of the irresolute man to use strong speech, and make vigorous promises. Indeed he may generally be distinguished by this alone: it is good counsel never to trust any one that uses habitual superlatives. Reuben wants his father to send Benjamin with him, and says, "Slay my two sons if I bring him not [back] to thee." That sounded very emphatic indeed, — slay his own son, — his two sons too! It is so vigorous that we are hardly left room for a mild enquiry as to who on earth wanted to slay his two sons, as to what consolation this would be to their already sorrowing grandfather; also a reflection, that the sacrifice he proposed was not of himself, but of a very vicarious nature; and finally, a desire to know what the two sons themselves thought on the subject.

What his father thought was soon shown: he says, "My son shall not go down with you." He knew Reuben, "unstable as water;" and knew that the strength of his words was balanced by the weakness of his actions. He reversed the saying of the iron hand in the velvet glove, and transforms the motto to fort. in modo, suav. in re. Moses says, "Let Reuben live and not die; and let his men be few."

Our translators, thinking there must be some mistake interjected the word not, — let not his men be few. But Moses knew perfectly well what he was saying. Let Reuben live and not die, to just exist without expiring was all that could be expected or desired for him; but let his men be few — the fewer the better.

The contrast of Judah's character is very striking everywhere, and nowhere more than in the passage just referred to. Judah makes no large offers at the expense of his sons; what offer he makes is much more moderate, and at his own risk. "Send the lad with me . . . I will be surety for him." Jacob instantly trusts to him and lets Benjamin go. In doing which he showed again his discernment of character; for Judah nobly redeemed his pledge of suretyship, when he stood forth in Egypt and proffered himself as a substitute for Benjamin.

This was the nature of Judah, and also of Benjamin, who ever after remained closely associated. When the ten tribes fell away into Jeroboam's idolatry, these two tribes stood by themselves. And wherever their descendants are found to this day, something of that character pertains to them, their unconquerable determination and persistence — sometimes unhappily clinging to an evil or mistaken course — and that through frightful and appalling persecutions. A lion is the metaphor used by Jacob in his blessing of Judah; and a lion was emblazoned on Judah's standard, the most appropriate figure possible of the power of a strong and determined mind. In Foster's "Decision of Character" there are passages where he contrasts the lion with the ox, as showing that while the lion is not so large, or strong, nor better armed than the ox, yet by reason of their different dispositions, whilst the ox can be driven anywhere, few dare interfere with the lion. "A man," he proceeds, "who excels in the power of decision has probably more of the physical quality of a lion in his composition than other men." The blessing of Moses on Judah is "Let his hands be sufficient for him;" and they generally have been — like that Norse family that Dellinger speaks of whose crest is a pickaxe, with the accompanying motto, "I will find a way or make one." The order should be first deliberation, then action. The motto of Von Moltke is said to be, "Erst wägen, dann wagen," first weigh, then venture. The moment that closes the decision begins the action.

In its highest forms this character is not to be shaken in its purpose, even amidst calamity, ruin, and disaster. Paul, looking forward to bonds and death, calmly says, "None of these things move me." After the battle of Marathon, Cynaegirus seized one of the Persian boats which was pushing off from the shore. The Persians instantly lopped off his hand. He seized the boat then with the other, and they cut that off also: then he seized hold of it with his teeth.

44. Judah. Issachar. Simeon and Levi.

1888 63 "The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet (from amongst his descendants) until Shiloh come." This was remarkably fulfilled: the tribe always retained its cohesion and autonomy, even when in captivity, until "there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed," rather enrolled for taxation.* It was when the Jews were thus going to lose their nationality, and become merged as units into the Roman Empire, — when Joseph and Mary had gone to their native town of Bethlehem for the very purpose of being registered as Roman subjects, that Messiah was born. Shiloh** came. "And unto Him shall the gathering of the peoples (plural) be," but that gathering is still future.

[* The taxation itself did not take effect till the time of Cyrenius (or Quirinus) fifteen years after. This explains the apparent anachronism in Luke 2.  

** "Peacemaker."]

Observe this remarkable peculiarity in prophecy; there is no perspective in it. There was to be an interval of at least nearly two thousand years between Shiloh's coming and the gathering of the peoples to Him yet the prophet connects the one event immediately with the other, the vast interval in no way diminishing the importance and prominence of the more distant one. Thus, instead of prophecy's being like a picture with prominent foreground, diminishing "perspective" and "vanishing point," it is like a chart, in which the object retains the same magnitude whether it be near or distant; and the reason is plain. In a picture we look along from the ground, from the point of human sight; but in a chart we are looking down from above, and everything is comprehended at once in the view. The mind of the Most High, therefore, sees and comprehends everything in one vast and infinite plan; past, present, and future — the whole events of eternity — being within the stupendous range of that omniscient intelligence. The abrupt connection of events separated by long ages is one of the proofs that a prophecy is divine. Men do not write so, for men do not think in such a manner. They look at events from the ground line, and see but a limited range with a perspective — what is future constantly diminishing in value and prominence in proportion to its distance.

I should define prophecy as an infinite reasoning — the conclusions formed by perfect wisdom on the basis of perfect knowledge. Men can tell by their imperfect wisdom and limited knowledge that certain results will follow such and such causes. But even the wisest men are often entirely at fault. Metternich, who was one of the most astute diplomatists, said to Lord Hardinge in 1848 at Vienna, that he thought there would be "disturbances, but nothing much;" yet four days afterwards he was flying for his life, and his house was sacked. If one knew everything and reasoned correctly, he could tell the whole chain of results to all eternity: of course God alone can do this, and therefore, as Newton said, "If the scripture prophecies are accomplished, the scripture must be the word of God;" and this kind of evidence to the inspiration of scripture is a continuous one, as years progress and the prophecies are fulfilled — and a cumulative one. Miracles attest a revelation at the time of its announcement; prophecies, which are miracles of knowledge, attest it for subsequent times; so that we are never without supernatural evidence of God's words. Regarding prophecy in this light, we can get some slight idea of that august and stupendous Mind which, comprehending and remembering all phenomena, reasons to their consequences through millions of ages.

Judah was to stoop and couch (the first of these original words implies a compulsory abasement, the second a voluntary humiliation, Psalm cii. 10; Phil, ii. 7). But he was to couch as a lion, ultimately to rise up in royal dignity and judgment. It is, in principle, the "sufferings of Christ and the glories that follow." In the end of the Book, when the apostle John is called to behold the Lion of Judah who had prevailed to open and accomplish God's governmental decrees, he turned and beheld, not a lion but, a "Lamb as it had been slain": that was how the lion had prevailed — by humiliation, suffering, and death, which He had descended into to rise again into regal dominion and power.

Not so Issachar. He was an ass couching down supinely between two burdens. (The word translated "strong" appears derisive, — lit. "bony." The usually correct Gadsby* seems at fault for once in thinking that this is meant to be eulogistic of Issachar: it is certainly the reverse.) He saw that rest was good and bowed between two burdens; like those who, living by sight, seek to make this world their place of rest, but really find themselves doubly burdened — with spiritual and temporal responsibilities. The world takes it out of him too; he becomes "a servant unto tribute." There is a difference between Buridan's ass and Issachar: the former could not make up his mind which of the two bundles of hay to eat, and so stood starving — Reuben-like. The latter would have both and they were too much for him; he could not digest them. He couched in a voluntary humiliation: to him the earth becomes a Grotto del Cane; the air near the ground soporific and poisonous.

[* Wanderings ii. 187.]

But Judah couched to rise again, his purpose indomitable whether in defeat or victory. For some reason most of those who have risen highest in human history have had lives of previous probation in extreme humiliation. David, Joseph, and Moses, minding a few sheep, censured and slandered; Julius Caesar in captivity with the pirates; the Russian Peter labouring in the Saardam and Deptford dockyards; the Prussian Frederick degraded in his childhood and youth; Luther singing for bread in the streets; King Alfred slapped in the face for burning the cake; Washington, like "Cincinnatus awful from the plough," rising to rule armies and states; Grant from the tannery; Lincoln and Garfield from the canal boats. The gold is found down in the dirt of the earth before it is formed into a crown to encircle the king's brow; the pearl must be made by the oyster's saliva in the ooze of the sea, ere it rest on the queen's breast. There are those who ascend, but it is like going up the Tarpeian rock to come down in crushing disaster; and there are those who are trodden under foot, but like the fruitful seed to rise again, some thirty, some sixty, and some an hundred fold. If we suffer with Him, we shall also reign with Him.

The condemnation of Simeon and Levi shows us the witness of the Holy Ghost against religions intolerance and persecution. (See Gen. 34:13, etc., and Gen. 49.) They are confederate and deceitful, as religious bigotry always is, but every truly religious man will echo Jacob's repudiation, "O my soul, come not thou into their secret; unto their assembly, mine honour, be not thou united; for in their anger they slew a man . . . they houghed oxen (lit.)." The innocent suffer with the guilty in these accursed crusades — the innocent ox with the guilty Shechem — not that Shechem was half as bad as they. The worst of this crime is, they do it in the name of God, religious order and separation; and so bring religion into the abhorrence of unthinking minds. They thus contrive to wrong the world and the church at the same time.

"Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce; and their wrath for it was cruel. I will divide them . . . and scatter them." They were thus scattered but in different ways. It is frequently said that the tribe of Simeon were scattered as schoolmasters, but I know of no sufficient evidence for the statement, and think that there was nothing in the disposition which could qualify them for the office — except perhaps in one of its branches, the castigatory. Levi was also scattered, but the subsequent faithfulness and zeal of the tribe caused this curse to be turned into a privilege: they bore the sacred offices of the service and the priesthood.

Bigotry is not banished: it is around us — within us perhaps. The Protestant communities have indeed the comforting fiction that the Romanists have absorbed it all. It is convenient for instance to remember the burning of protestants by Mary, and to forget the hangings and embowelings of papists by Elizabeth — who made a law that, if a papist converted a protestant, both were to be put to death. No, Babylon has no monopoly of this quality, nor her "daughters" either.

45. Zebulun: "Ancient Lights." Dan.

1888 79 "Zebulun shall dwell at the haven of the sea." That is, he traffics with the Gentile world, which in that dispensation indicated a condition of compromise of divine order. Yet strange to say when great crises came, and the people of God were in imminent danger, Zebulun was one of those who took a leading and valorous part in defence of divine principle. They struggled with Sisera's host "unto the death in the high places of the field"; (Judges 5:18) they rallied round Gideon when that mighty man of valour sounded the God-inspired blast in the valley of Jezreel (Judges 6); and to David there gathered to battle fifty thousand of them, "expert in war, . . . which could keep rank, not of a double heart." (1 Chron. 12:33.)

However much we may be surprised at the inconsistency, the fact remains that there are many Christians who have far too much traffic with the world, yet who, if foundational principles be attacked, will throw off their worldly spirit and come forward vigorously, even to death struggle and martyrdom, in defence of the word of God and the honour of Christ. The middle ages afford us very many examples. That rough sturdy warrior, Crillon, when hearing of the sufferings of the Lord Whom he professed to follow, could not restrain his emotion, but cried out in the church, "Où étais tu, Crillon?" His thought was that, if he had been there, he and his valiant troops would have fought to the death to deliver their Master. But in a peculiar way the present time affords us an example of this strange and — so far — gratifying sight.

For when the enemy is not a raging lion, he is a specious minister of light. "New lamps for old" is his cry, like that ancient magician who was said to have deceived the prince's servant. He has at present an attractive variety of new lamps to select from: there are sober looking ones, almost fit for a philosopher's study, of German-silver, manufactured by Strauss & Company; there are elegant, aerial "fairy lights," French-polished and marked with such names as Rénan; then there are others of trans-alpine and trans-atlantic design (the former stately and antique, the latter with every possible convenience of adaptability); and there are not a few of Britannia metal.* All are, warranted to look bright and do everything (except to continue a light when the time of darkness comes). And there is such a determined effort to get the old lamp away from us that one might suspect that the magician knew full well that, if we give it up, we shall lose with it every thing worth possessing. Nay, if we will not give it up, he will refurbish and rectify the old lamp itself for us, only let him have the opportunity. Now there are many of the children of Zebulun as well as the children of Joseph and Judah who say, "No, we shall not let him. So long as, by the grace of God, we have the faculties of life and thought, we shall not let him. We shall cling to the old lamp; for, dull and battered as it looks, it throws a light over all eternity." Many modern designs are good, but we object to a modern gospel. "This lamp, from off the everlasting throne, Mercy took down and in the night of time, Stood, casting on the dark her gracious bow." – Pollok.

[*Have we not also this Brahmo-Yoga Lamp, which the ingenious Hindoo mind of Keshub Chunder Sen has constructed out of the selected pieces of other lamps?]

Yet there are those who are busy exchanging; who know not that, when the old lamp is given up, with it will vanish "the cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, The solemn temples . . . And like the baseless fabric of a vision, Leave not a rack behind."

Prominent among the exchangers will be always Dan, ever enterprising, erratic, and seeking a new departure. He is "religious" too, and this is what makes him dangerous — "a serpent in the way, an adder in the path, that biteth the horse's heels so that his rider shall fall backward." It was the sons of Dan who robbed that religious young man, Micah, of his idol and priest, and then set it up at Laish; thus being the first to formally institute the treasonable wickedness of idolatry.

"Little children, keep yourselves from idols," for this sin is the specious snare that lies like a serpent — "earthly, sensual, devilish" — in the path, to bite the horse's heels, and cause the very catastrophe of apostacy. Such an innocent looking adder too, like that frozen snake which the man in Aesop took home for his children to play with. The warmth restored the snake and then —! So we find that, when the tribes are recorded in Rev. vii. in the character of servants of God (ver. 3), Dan is omitted; for idolatry is the sin that broods the eggs of all other sins in its nest. It cannot be "regarded as mental error merely," nor "the Jews regarded as an ordinary community. In a theocracy it was civil treason; and the great purpose, moreover, of the whole institution [of Judaism] was to redeem our race from the depraved and wretched condition which that sin involved."*

[* Dr. Angus.]

Nevertheless such is the grace of God that in Ezekiel's prophecy of the restoration of the tribes (where it is a question not of service but of mercy) Dan is the first mentioned and provided for — the worst sinner of all (though very appropriately he is the least near to the sanctuary); then at last is fulfilled Jacob's assurance which even their wickedness could not cancel, "Dan shall judge his people as one of the tribes of Israel." We see in other ways the blending of mercy and judgment. Moses said, "Dan is a lion's whelp: he shall leap from Bashan." He has some of the same characteristics as Judah; and so (while we never get a leader from such a tribe as Reuben's) we find that Dan with all its faults is honoured by having a deliverer called from his sons, when from that tribe strode forth the heroic and stalwart form of Samson, disastrous to the enemies of God in his life, more so in his death: a curious personification of the blended natures of a snake and a lion's whelp,

There is thus seen a steady decline from Reuben. Beginning with infirmity of purpose, it proceeds through craft and cruelty (Simeon and Levi), through worldliness and sensuality to idolatry, in Dan who is the seventh. As usual the seven is divided at the fourth stage, where God (in Judah) intervenes with the name of Shiloh. From thence the virus and the antidote work side by side, until the evil gets 1 to its worst. This causes the prophet to ejaculate, "I have waited for Thy salvation, O Lord!" When that seventh and worst stage of evil is reached, then comes God's salvation; just as, when the leper was quite covered with his disease, the priest could pronounce him clean; so when the wickedness of the race culminated in the murder of the Son of God, "The very spear that pierced His side, Drew forth the blood to save." From that moment all is changed to blessing and victory, culminating in Benjamin, who is man's twelfth, but God's ninth* — "Son of my Right Hand," though it had been said, "Son of my sorrow."

So that in the principles relating to this plain Syrian family, and the order of their progress, we see in a microcosm the course of the history of the whole human race: as in the falling of an apple, the swinging of a chandelier, or the quivering of a frog's leg, were discovered the course of those vast sidereal laws that hold the solar systems in their courses.

46. Gad and Asher.

1888 95 The word "salvation" is a spring which if touched by the feeblest finger instantly swings open the colossal gates of Paradise and lets out upon our brows, "in all triumphant splendour," the golden flood of that holy light, the gospel of the glory of the blessed God, shining from the face of Jesus Christ. Directly Jonah said, "Salvation is of the Lord," he is delivered from his darkness and misery. "The old, old sea, as one in tears" casts him from his "foamy lips." Moses says, "Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord," and at once the divine command goes forth, and the affrighted multitude cross the yawning gulf in safety. Sinking Peter cries, "Lord save me! and IMMEDIATELY Jesus stretched forth His hand and caught him." The importance of this principle cannot be overrated. In Mark x. the disciples are dismayed to find that even a rich man is not sure of entering the kingdom, and enquire in dismay, "Who then can be saved?" That last word instantly brings the response, "With God all things are possible."

From the moment therefore that Jacob, hopeless of all else, exclaims, "I HAVE WAITED FOR THY SALVATION, O LORD," the whole character of his dying charge changes: old things have passed away, and all things become new. No longer do we read a melancholy record of sensuality, wickedness, and judgment, but promises of beneficence, happiness, and triumph. The electric current has touched the black rough carbon and it gleams with celestial light.

It proceeds: "Gad, a troop,* shall overcome him, but he shall overcome at the last:" that is the inevitable character of the new order of things, — conflict and at first defeat, but ultimate victory. So "to him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me," says Christ, "in My throne, even as I overcame and am set down with My Father in His throne."

[* There is a play on the meanings of the names. Gad means "a troop"; Judah, "praise"; Issachar, "a hire"; Zebulun, "dwelling"; Dan, "judge"; Asher, "happiness," etc.]

But that is a strange starting for the glorious new life. If we had the arrangement of matters, we would have it settled quite differently no doubt; but perhaps it is as well that we have not (besides, do not even the kings of the earth always put their young sons into the army to "endure hardness," discipline and conflict. And they cannot promise ultimate triumph, or should we ever hear of a Prince Imperial, death-stricken with the savage assegais?). This new life begins mostly with the cry of suffering, with pain, struggling and constriction. The bitter waters of Marah come soon after the salvation at the Red Sea bank.

We should have more care and patience towards the newly converted, if we considered how painful a time of transition the beginning of the new life is; what "troops" attack and often overcome them; what a tearing of tendrils, as old habits and associations are broken away from; what a sense of flatness and disappointment when enthusiasm cools, and persecution, contempt, and disparagement arise; what surprise to find that the ordinary calamities of life strike and hurt as much as ever; what dismay to discover that Christians have faults still, and even that from his own heart the convert hears the language of doubt and sin — like that poor pilgrim, sore beset, crossing the valley of the shadow of death. These are amongst the troops that attack the nascent life. Let us not yield to that widespread instinct of adding to them, to carp and snarl and think we are being "faithful"; let us protect it from needless blows, and cherish it in love and wisdom, for Moses says, "Blessed be he that enlargeth Gad" — he has a glorious future, though a painful present. The ugly duckling may prove to be a young swan after all: meanwhile most of the fowls of the farmyard hiss and peck a little at the new comer, awkward as he is, with a world of conceit in his head, and a bit of shell still clinging to his wing.

"But he shall overcome at the last." In the battle of spiritual life some Blücher shall come before the night falls, and bring with him the victory that was never really doubtful, though it often seemed so.

The wilderness is not all desert; there are oases, Elims as well as Marahs: "out of Asher his bread shall be fat." "Happiness" comes now, and fruitfulness. "Let him be acceptable to his brethren*": they no longer look askance and with suspicion on him. "Let him dip his foot in oil," that is, walking in the grace of the Holy Spirit. "Shoes iron" — what pertains to his walk shall be in strength; "and brass," capable of bearing judgment. "As his days so shall his strength be." (Deut. 33:24, 25.) We should often prefer this promise reversed so as to read, As thy strength [is little] so shall thy days be [easy] — the difficulties smoothed and accommodated to our weakness.

The unclean writer Sterne's phrase, "God tempers the wind to the shorn lamb," is generally quoted as scripture, while it is peculiarly the reverse of the spirit of scripture. God does not usually temper the wind, putting the whole world out of gear for the lamb's accommodation. He does something much more simple, natural, and wise: He strengthens the lamb to bear it. It is His way, much more natural and far better for us, that He should strengthen us to walk on a rough road, than that He should polish the surface of the wilderness smooth for our behoof. If the road is too rough, we may stumble; it might be too smooth, and then we may slip: people stumble forwards; they slip backwards.

But Asher is happy nevertheless, for happiness really is much less dependent on outward circumstances than we are apt to think. It "does not consist in strength, or Myro and Ofellius would have been happy; nor in riches, or Croesus would have been so . . . Why should Socrates go to Philip, when he had all he wanted at Athens, "four measures of wheat flour for an obolos, and abundance of good spring water for nothing"? Why, indeed! All Diogenes wanted from Alexander was for him to get out of his sunshine; and Diogenes content with his kennel and crust was a happier man than Alexander weeping for other worlds to conquer. Then observe how happiness is ever connected with fruitfulness; "Let Asher be blessed with children." Whatever person or community is fruitful in gospel work is sure to be characterised by a rejoicing spirit: the words "rejoice" and "fellowship in the gospel" characterise the epistle to the Philippians, and the Philippian spirit everywhere.

"He shall yield royal dainties" too — not only taste them but supply others with them. The chief thing that makes the queen-bee so much larger and more regal than the others is the different food supplied to it in its early life. The egg and young larva are just the same as the others; it is the fact of its being nourished on "royal dainties" that causes its royal development in body and mind.* So those who nourish their spirits with royal dainties become royal-spirited.

[* This was proved by Schirach's experiments.]

47. The Hind Let Loose.

1888 111 The third stage of the new course is Naphtali, who "is a hind." Here the idea of conflict continues — "My wrestling," — and weakness; it is a hind, not a hart. The hind* however expresses cleanliness (Deut. xii. 15); devotion (Psalm xlii. 1); activity (Isa. xxxv. 6); grace (Cant. ii. 9); swiftness** (2 Sam. ii. 18); exaltation and security (Hab. iii. 19); tender love (Prov. 5:19); especially of the young (Job xxxix. 1). The twenty-second Psalm is called Aijeleth Shahar, the Hind of the Day-break; and many of these qualities are found expressed in it.

[* In common with the hart.

** "That other disciple did outrun Peter."]

"Naphtali is a hind let loose, he giveth goodly words." The chief thoughts are Liberty, Ministry, and — in Deut. xxxiii. — Satisfaction. It is not merely a free hind, but a freed hind; one that had been kept in bondage, but now is "let loose," with all that delightful sense of liberty which only the once-imprisoned can feel, who are not so likely voluntarily to enter some fresh bondage as those who have never been galled by its chain: though in truth the hind is not very intelligent in such matters, and never can be quite depended upon. That is to say, that persons who have passed through the bitter experience of Romans vii., who have turned in despair to all religious expedients to relieve their troubled consciences in vain, and at last have cried, "Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" — that such persons have a much keener appreciation of the "liberty with which Christ hath made us free," a much higher estimate of the value of the gospel in its enfranchising power than others who have not passed through such experiences, though there is that general tendency in all to become "entangled again within the yoke of bondage," which we see rebuked so sternly in the Epistle to the Galatians.

There is a lower grade, too, of those who are willing to surrender their consciences to the keeping of others because of the ease which it affords them (for liberty increases responsibility); or even for the more sordid price of temporal benefits, like the dog in sop that boasted of the fine fare and easy times he had, till the wolf asked him what that thing round his neck meant; and on learning that the collar was his badge of servitude, the wolf continued that he preferred scarcity and freedom (it might have been a conversation between Naphtali and Issachar). "Beware of dogs" and the canine spirit, which returns to what it has rejected, and submits to a human chain.

And this "glorious liberty* of the children of God" may be, and often has been, the portion of those who are galled with outward chains, slavery and imprisonment. There were many christian slaves who were Christ's freedmen. (1 Cor. vii.) Peter sleeps calmly "between two soldiers, bound with two chains." Paul and Silas sing hymns of praise with their feet in the stocks, in that "inner prison." In Rutherford's "sea-beat prison," his Lord and he "kept tryst." The Countess de Roeulx wondered how de Bray could sleep or eat with such fetters as she saw upon him: but he said, "These shackles are more honourable to me than golden rings and chains . . . And as I hear them clank, methinks I hear the music of sweet voices and the tinkling of lutes."$ When they led him and la Grange out to execution, his companion said, "We are here for preaching the word of God:" whereat the hangman pushed him off the ladder, and as the rope tightened round his neck his enfranchised soul sprang into a liberty as boundless as the universe. "His lifeless body lay, A worn out fetter which the soul Had broken and thrown away." Though its body be caged yet the voice of "the lark at heaven's gate sings." Zenobia's golden chains** meant slavery: de Bray's clanking irons meant freedom.

[* "Liberty of the glory" rather. It is the future and complete deliverance. Ed.

$ Motley. Dutch Rep. ii. 77.

** Gibbon's Decline and Fall, xi.]

When this condition is reached, and these qualities (indicated in the first paragraph) attained, there is a natural development of ministry, "he giveth goodly words." This ministry may not be public nor official, yet it is true Ministry none the less. It is a loss to us that we are so accustomed to associate the thought of ministry with an official position, or a distinctive dress — something formal and authoritative. The New Testament applies the word in a very comprehensive way, and sometimes applies the word — diakonos — to a woman. (Rom. xvi. 1.) A course of this sort, simple and sincere service to the people of God as opportunity offers, is a course above all others to lead to Satisfaction, though not unmixed with griefs. "He that watereth shall be watered also himself." "Of Naphtali he said, O Naphtali, satisfied with favour, and full with the blessing of the Lord."

And this, though there can hardly be anything in the universe more difficult to satisfy than the human heart; for in it live the horseleech's two daughters, incessantly crying, Give, give. It is more insatiable than the grave: the maw of the sea and the yawning earthquake are less greedy. Apicius killed himself because he had only eighty thousand pounds left; Ahab had all Israel, but sickened for Naboth's vineyard; a "little corporal," having all the best parts of Europe, must also try and rob the Muscovite of his frozen plains; "a little stooping man," having conquered the whole world, sits down and weeps for another to conquer. "To be equal with God" would not satisfy the Antichrist: he will exalt himself "above all that is called God." Though "Ambition hath one heel nailed in hell, She doth stretch her fingers to touch the heavens."

That pleroma or "Fulness," which the ancient sages ever sought but never found, has been discovered by the fishermen of Galilee — the land of Zebulun and Naphtali, (Isa. ix. 1; Matt. iv. 15.) those two who "jeoparded their lives unto the death in the high places of the field," of old against the enemies of God — whence arose the great Light that illumines those that sit in darkness and the shadow of death. They have revealed to us "the fulness of Him that filleth all in all"; and "of His fulness have all we received."


God, thine everlasting portion,
Feeds thee with the mighty's meat;
Price of Egypt's hard extortion,
Egypt's food, no more to eat.
Art thou weaned from Egypt's pleasures?
God in secret thee shall keep,
There unfold His hidden treasures,
There His love's exhaustless deep.

48. The Fruitful Bough. The Shepherd. The Stone.

1888 127 The new life is further developed in Joseph,* in whom it arrives at full spiritual manhood — he is the eighth from Judah. He possesses some qualities that have little or no place in the struggling and rejoicing activities of Gad, Asher, and Naphtali — not so much the activities of spiritual life as its passivity, showing that what we are is of more importance even than what we do. For a great part of his life he could do apparently nothing: he was shut up and could not come forth, bound in fetters, the iron entering into his soul; but he had that noblest of qualities, fortitude; "his bow abode in strength."

[* Other aspects of Joseph's typical character have been referred to in former papers.]

This is the last and highest development in human beings of spiritual life. "Joseph is a fruitful bough," which receives every rough blow without resentment, yielding up in return its own rich fruit — "that noble tree that is wounded itself when it giveth the balm;" that divine passivity of fruitfulness, which, when nailed to a cross, showers down from its dead branches pardon and beneficence on the murderers. "The archers have sorely grieved him [it is not the passivity of callousness]; and shot at and hated him, but his bow abode" [he did not use it against them; he kept it for their enemies]. And it "abode in strength": it is the self-restraint of power; not the supineness of weakness. Here is a remarkable verse in Colossians: "Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power unto." — Unto what, now, would the mind expect this grand cumulative energy to lead? "Unto all patience and longsuffering, with joyfulness." The balance-wheel of a watch seems to be doing all the work, but the spring, hidden away and apparently unmoving, does more. Incessant motion may be, like the shaking palsy, a sign of weakness, not of strength. There is a calmness like that of a star, apparently lonely and motionless in the darkness, but when viewed by more than mortal sight, it is seen to be filled with a teeming and fruitful energy, travelling in the exact course its Creator appoints, and irradiating the darkness of Cimmerian night to myriads of unthankful eyes.

"A fruitful bough by a well:" hidden sources of nourishment as of energy — the water of life springing from the wounded ground. Though he may be imprisoned, he is like a noble tree in a gaol-yard: for him, "Stone walls do not a prison make, Nor iron bars a cage." "His branches run over the wall." When Pellico was at Brün, and sinking into torpid misery, through the protracted sufferings of his imprisonment, he was comforted and strengthened by Count Oroboni, a fellow-prisoner of singular beauty and nobility of character. This man, suffering all that a refined mind in loathsome surroundings can, combined with prolonged illness from accident and disease, retained a lofty serenity of confidence in God and good will to man. "Too kind for bitter words to grieve, Too firm for clamour to dismay," "Oroboni was indefatigable in turning my attention to the motives which man has to show kindness to his enemies," says Pellico." "Many men had injured him, yet he forgave all, and had the magnanimity to relate some laudable trait or other belonging to each, and seemed to do it with pleasure . . . . his noble virtue delighted me. Struggling as well as I could to reach him, I at least trod in the same track, and I was then enabled to pray with sincerity; to forgive, to hate no one, and dissipate every remaining doubt and gloom."

The cactus is a churl: he wounds every one who touches him. The nettle is a meaner though softer nature: those that touch him gently he stings; grasp him strongly, and he is soft as velvet. The thistle is determined and "high-spirited"; he reverses that: touch him gently and he is harmless; but let those that roughly handle him beware — Nemo me impune lacesset! Far above all these, living "in those bright realms of air," where "The chestnuts spread their palms, Like holy men at prayer," is the "Fruitful Bough," extending to all his gracious beneficence. The insects shall burrow in it; the woodpeckers pierce it; the sparrow find there "an house and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young"; the grass shall be sheltered by its shadow, and the air scented and tinted by its odour and bloom: to those who treat it kindly, yielding ever fragrance and fruit in its season; and to those who assail it with rough blows, maintaining a god-like dignity of patience, showering down upon their heads its opulent benediction. For as high as the heaven is above the earth; so great is a lofty spirit above a "high spirit'; so much higher is dignity than pride.

Therefore the blessing on Joseph is of a nature spiritual and hidden, having the character of eternity and infinitude. "The Almighty shall bless thee with the precious things of heaven, the dew and the deep that coucheth beneath, blessings of the breasts and of the womb . . . unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills." These descended on the head of Joseph and on the crown of the head of him that was separate from his brethren. He had suffered a double rejection — from the world and from his brethren — and the benison is thus doubly emphasised.

"From thence [i.e. from the Mighty God of Jacob] is The Shepherd, The Stone of Israel." It is very appropriate that the promise of the Messiah in His patient and passive character should be thus connected with Joseph; it is the more striking as the connection is only moral, not by lineage as in the case of Judah and Shiloh. The mind naturally passes from thinking of Joseph in these aspects to the patient and suffering Redeemer Whom he typified. Whatever there was in Joseph of tender love, of watchful care, of painful self-sacrifice and vicarious suffering, is a fleeting shadow to us of the Great Shepherd of Israel. Whatever there was of solid and abiding passivity, of weight and strength, of constancy and consistency that, formed in fire and flood, can endure through fire and flood, is an adumbration of that Stone — "tried" and "precious" — which the builders rejected, but which the Almighty has made the head of the corner. "And He shall bring forth the Headstone with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace, unto it! "

49. Benjamin's Portion.

1888 143 Jacob's prophecy closes with the ultimate triumph of the divine life in Benjamin, and the judgment of its adversaries; for though Joseph may take personal wrong patiently, God cannot allow it to end there. He must, as the Supreme Ruler, intervene with a Judge and Avenger; in which sense Benjamin, "Son of my right-hand," is a type of Christ, Who is ordained to judge the quick ("in the morning," Gen. xlix. 27 — the ushering of the millennial day) and the dead ("at night," or at its close).

As in Joseph, the eighth* from Judah, we have the highest development of the divine nature in man; so in regard to Benjamin, the ninth, we have disclosed to us the highest revelation of the divine nature in God. Nine is the number of Deity — the triune God — the square of heavenly number 3. Multiply 4, the earthly number, by 9 and we have 36, the number of books in the Old Testament,** where God is administering on earth: it ends in judgment, its last word being "curse." Then multiply 3 by 9 =27, the number of the books of the New Testament, in which God is administering a heavenly dispensation (the church), and revealing His own nature, the character not being judgment and curse, but grace and blessing. Now in connection with Benjamin we have first the side of judgment in Genesis, for "God is light": and then, in Deuteronomy we find the latter aspect, for "God is love."

[* 5 man's number + 3.

** Counting the double books as one.]

Hiero of Syracuse asked Simonides, "What is God?" The philosopher requested a day to consider his answer, at the end of which he asked for two days more; then for a week: finally he replied that the more he considered the subject, the more dark and unfathomable it seemed. Now, strange to say, we can see the divine nature far better in connection with a worthless creature like Benjamin than with a Joseph; just as one can see the sun better through a smoked glass than through a crystal. For when we hear "God is love," it is no description unless we know what love really is, and how wholly it is self-sustaining, and independent of the elements of admiration or approval, or of any qualities in its object that would awaken these elements; how it is also independent of its object's gratitude, or reciprocated affection. Dwelling in the ecstasy of its own bliss, pouring forth its flood of opulent light and warmth upon that object, it irradiates it with its own splendour, as the sun's light makes a vulgar soap-bubble iridescent with beauty and glory.

The difference between admiration and love is like that between lightning and light. Lightning selects its objects, preferring bright and substantial ones; but light, while shedding its benign beams on all, appears in its greatest beauty on objects that are out of its direct range. It is beautiful all along that hemisphere which it directly illumines, but having reached the limits of the horizon, it makes the atmosphere bend its rays round, so as to touch the hidden regions beyond, and there — though it is not stronger — it appears at its greatest beauty, to "Flatter the mountain tops with sovereign dye, Kissing with golden face the meadows green, Gilding pale streams with heavenly alchemy," in the east; or purpling the evening sky with its gorgeous tapestry in the west. "Its holy flame for ever burneth, From heaven it came, to heaven returneth." "As strong as death: many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it."

For who would expect this? "Of Benjamin he said, The beloved of the Lord shall dwell in safety by him: and the Lord shall cover him all the day long, and he shall dwell between his shoulders!" (Deut. xxxiii. 12.) Observe the eccentricity of love; that is its character. It moves in a peculiar orbit, amenable to no formula of line and compass, though some day, when our vision is enlarged, we may find that there are reasons for its eccentric course; as Adams and Leverrier discovered, by reasoning almost superhuman, the cause, hidden hitherto in the deepest recesses of the heavens, for the variations in the planet Uranus' course. Meanwhile we can only wonder at that love which thus selects and glorifies with its beams as worthless and troublesome a tribe as can be found. Benjamin was the spoiled child, l'enfant gûté and l'enfant terrible of the family, continually a cause, whether by fault or misfortune, of distress and disaster to the rest, from the time when, in giving him birth, the poor mother dies, to the fearful calamities brought on all Israel. A modern traveller* singles out its present representatives as being specially repugnant in habit and appearance amongst the many unattractive tribes in Palestine.

[* Warner: In the Levant.]

Yet for all this, the star of Benjamin always seemed passing through a heaven of love. His father almost breaks his heart at the mere thought of danger approaching him. Judah is ready to go into slavery to protect him. When Joseph sees him in Egypt, he begins, "Is this your younger brother of whom ye spake?" but his iron imperturbability breaks down; he has only time to say, "God be gracious unto you, my son," and hurries out to hide his tears; and so always. After the battles of Gibeah, where Benjamin's tribe slew forty thousand of the others, those tribes, having conquered them at last, sat down and wept long and sore, not for their own slain, but for "little Benjamin" himself. And here we have him spoken of as the "beloved of the Lord, who shall dwell between his shoulders." He shall have the heaped up plate at Joseph's table. He shall have the first king of Israel, and the chief apostle, called from his sons; he shall have the holy metropolis of Zion given to his lot, and what has he done to merit all this? Why is it — why?

"Brother, no eye of man not perfected, Nor fully ripened in the flame of love, May fathom this decree." "Celestial love in itself . . . With such effulgence blazeth, as sends forth All beauteous things eternal."* It throws its own "halo o'er the loved one's head" for reasons that neither mathematician nor meta-physician can trace; nor will it pause to explain its course. Enough for us that the warmth and light of its benign beams rest upon us, and are shed abroad in our hearts. We are the objects of this divine love; and there is much blessing and power in contemplating how independent is its nature; for we are prone to think that modesty would exclaim, "Who am I that God should love me?" Consider that this ineffable grace rests upon us by reason of its own spontaneous action, like the light of heaven, without needing anything to draw it forth. She, to whom the question was contemptuously put, "And do you really think that the Almighty chose you before you were born?" replied, "Yes, I know it; for I am sure He never would have chosen me since." No, nor before either, but that God is Love.

 [* Dante, Paradise.]

50. Exodus. Jochebed. Miriam.

1888 158 The section comprising Genesis to Deuteronomy forms one book of five volumes — called popularly The Pentateuch, but called in scripture The Torah* (Law, Neh. 8:1, etc.) — being divided into the five parts, each having its peculiar character, like the Psalms and other portions of the scriptures. Besides this, however, Genesis forms a kind of overture to the whole Bible, where in a vague, inchoate, dream-like way all the themes which are detailed in the following oratorio — the great oratorio of the Messiah — are found suggesting themselves, conflicting, mingling, dying away and rising again, wailing in adversity, and triumphing in victory. Then comes the next movement, the book of Exodus, having one distinct theme — redemption.

The colossal and majestic figure of Moses towers far above all the world's sages and leaders so unquestionably — whether from a spiritual or secular point of view, for every nation in all ages since has been enormously affected by his actions — that it is strange to look at the humble home and surroundings of his origin: a poor persecuted slave woman, doubtless with agonizing tears and prayers, trying to hide her child from the wolfish pursuers; her poor little girl watching and plotting for the safety of a crying babe. In such a way is the personality of Moses shaped and disclosed. As one might look upon his huge and sublime statue by Michael Angelo, and find it difficult to realize so great and god-like a figure being fashioned by such a common-looking uncomely old man; so it is difficult to realize so mighty and stupendous a nature shaped by persons and things thus humble and mean. They were however, but chisels of the divine Sculptor, and little knew what vast eternal work they were doing.

But how little any of us know what we may be doing when we are fulfilling the humblest duty that lies nearest to hand! Poor Jochebed thought she was only making a rush basket, when she was in reality making an ark that would save one nation, and carry an argosy of blessing to all others: little Miriam thought she was only "minding the baby," when she was watching over the destinies of the world.

And little Miriam's stratagem: was it not delicious? Hasn't it made ninety generations of people smile at its acuteness, and rejoice at its success? Let us learn that we do not badly but well when we put thought, care, and strategy (so that it be honest strategy), into the work of God. "I became as a Jew to the Jew," a Gentile to the Gentile; "being crafty I caught you with guile": so says one of the most honourable men that ever lived.

"And the woman took the child and nursed it." She had faith in God and courage,* and the child, "when he was come to years" chose the same path of faith, "esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt;" "refusing to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter." Who can tell us how much a man's character is formed by the mother (with perchance something derived too from that little elder sister that minds the baby like Miriam, watching over it with a patient love that is one of the most beautiful and pathetic things upon earth)? It is significant that the Holy Ghost has written so frequently thus: "Hezekiah . . . his mother's name also was Abi, the daughter of Zachariah. And he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord." "Manasseh . . . his mother's name was Hephzibah; and he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord." This is always the most important part of "woman's rights," and "woman's work"; nor could the selfishness of man ever deprive her of it, even in the darkest ages — the right of suffering, and the work of labouring, for the future race — the sacred privilege of giving the earliest and most effective tendency to the character of the sons of men. "Thou barest me not for thyself," said Iphigenia to Clytemnestra, "but for all the Greeks." That, too, is not the least painful of her rights, that when the object of her care and training is come to years and beginning to show some result of her labour and anxiety, she must deliver him up, leaving him to take his choice between Pharaoh's daughter and the reproach of Christ. In either case she loses him, and knows that for him it is the beginning of sorrows. "So short a time," says Thetis looking mournfully upon her son Achilles,** "the light of heaven to view; So short a time, and filled with sorrow too!" In Aristophanes the magistrate wants to know what women have to do with war; "they contribute nothing." "Indeed!" replies Lysistrata. "Do we not contribute our sons?" Plato was a very wise man; but his proposal of having a public nursery, and for the mothers not to be allowed to know which were their own children would hardly — humanly speaking — produce men like Moses.

[* Heb. xi. 23, etc. Her husband also.

** Homer's Iliad.]

Naturally, then "it came to pass that when Moses was grown, he went out unto HIS BRETHREN and looked on their BURDENS." What a revelation in two words! He, the exalted courtier, identifies himself with the herd of crouching slaves, and "is not ashamed to call them brethren"; he looks not on their sins (though we know that, as with all enslaved races, oppression had generated amongst them all the foulest and meanest vices), but on their burdens, the grinding affliction and misery of their daily lives. As he looked, his heart swelled until it became the heart of a redeemer and his nature grew till "Deep on his front engraven Deliberation sat, and public care; And princely counsel . . . . Sage he stood, With Atlantean shoulders, fit to bear The weight of mightiest monarchies." Ah, what a different world, and what a different church, it would be, if we looked more on one another's burdens, and less on one another's faults!

But all this was of God's designing and producing, preparing a redeemer for His poor sinful and afflicted people, who seem (except a few like Amram and Jochebed) entirely to have forgotten His existence. And "all these things happened to them for ensamples . . . for our admonition." Moses is the Saviour, persecuted even in infancy; rejected at His first advent by the people for whom He had surrendered all, but received at His second advent — after an absence amongst the Gentiles where He had received the Bride, — ultimately delivering His enslaved brethren from the thraldom of the spiritual Egypt, and the dominion of the usurping king, from the judgments of divine justice, as of human injustice; leading, defending, suffering, interceding for them; giving up every comfort, pleasure and ambition of life for them; and receiving in return the murmurings and suspicions of their ungrateful and rebellious natures; — yet never forsaking them until the harassing dangers of the desolate wilderness are past, and they see on "The low dark verge of life, The twilight of eternal day" dawning upon the summits of "that goodly mountain and Lebanon."

51. The Three Plenipotentiaries.

1881 175 There are three ambassadors from God, bearing different messages to the world, who stand out from all else, like the pole-star and the "pointers" of Ursa Major in the northern skies. As the pole-star looks down on the earth with unsleeping care day and night, so Christ, the greatest of these ambassadors, remains ever the central pivot, round which the creation progresses, and in which it centres. And as the two "pointers" circle round that central star from eternity to eternity, nearer to one another than to it, as though placed at a reverential distance from it, yet always in a direct line pointing to it, the well-known and unfailing guides of way-worn travellers and storm-tossed mariners, so the other two ambassadors, Moses and Elias, always, whether consciously or unconsciously, visibly or invisibly, stand out as burning and shining lights circling round and pointing to Christ, the pole-star and pivot of the vast realm of all the gleaming constellations of God's desires and decrees.

Though such immeasurable distance separates the two subordinate ambassadors from their chief, yet there is much in common to the three. Each is tested by the forty days' fasting, and attested by miraculous works. Characteristically, the miracles of Moses (the dispensation of law) are nearly all works of judgment and punishment. The miracles of Elijah (the prophet) of a mingled character — he calls down fire, but rain also. The miracles of Christ are (as becomes the gospel) entirely of a healing, beneficent, saving nature.* These three ambassadors met eventually, on the holy mountain, in the hour that joined and separated two eternities, as the Isthmus of Panama connects and severs the two oceans; and they spoke together of that which they had in their different spheres of testimony always spoken of — whether by word or action — the event to which all the eternal histories converge and focus — "His decease which He should accomplish at Jerusalem." When that final combined testimony is effected, the mysterious cloud envelopes them and removes the ambassadors of law and prophecy, leaving only Him of the gospel, whilst the Voice from the excellent glory pronounces, "This is My beloved Son, Hear HIM."

[* Save giving up the swine to the demons and cursing the fig tree — each a symbolic action.]

There was especially one feature in common in the lives of these three ambassadors. It was — contrary to what might be expected — outward defeat. We are apt to think that the great benefactors of the earth live in a continual whirl of victory. Certain the truth is that the greatest of them have lived in a vortex of disasters. They may go from strength to strength, but outwardly it seems to be from weakness to weakness. And this reveals the quality of their natures. For it is not difficult to be virtuous and venturesome when every effort is crowned with success. It is infinitely nobler to adhere to a right purpose when every effort is mocked with failure. It is perhaps the noblest of all qualities in a created being to cling to a right cause when providential circumstances are perpetually adverse. To Christ by every outward test God Himself seemed so; as in that hour when the Voice of agony cried in the darkness, "My God! why hast Thou forsaken Me?" Yet He who thus suffered from God and man knew that what He was accomplishing was according to the will of God, and endured to the end.

It was this quality — God-given — in Moses that makes him so pre-eminently a type of Christ, and fitly one of the three great plenipotentiaries. In very many ways he was typical, but in this above all, that his life and work was a prolonged series of defeats and retreats, and without one tangible result of benefit at its close. Yet for all this he adheres to the revealed will of God to the disastrous end, and achieves vastly more than any other human being that ever lived.

But consider this element of undaunted devotion to a right course through defeat: how infinitely it is above that useful but common-place virtue of doing right in the expectation that virtue will always be rewarded and vice punished. Seneca's pilot has far higher thoughts than that when in the tempest he cries to the God of the seas, "You may save me if You will; you may sink me if You will; but what ever happens I shall keep my rudder true!" The truth is that there is no possibility of our seeing the highest moral qualities — nor perhaps of their existing at all in a created being — apart from defeat. The noble nature will survive and qualify defeat, and often by "heavenly alchemy" transmute it into victory. Caesar falls on the shore while landing: the soldiers are dismayed at the ill-omen; but he grasps the ground with his hands, saying, "Thus I take possession of thee, Africa!" Thus also he of Normandy, falling down at Bulverhythe, said, "I have taken seisin of this land with both mine hands." There have been some very great men who have done strange things with defeats. The august Washington constructed a new continent with them; and the illustrious William the Silent, into whose labours Washington entered, not only hardly ever gained a battle, but lost continually under all kinds of untoward, unexpected, disastrous circumstances, yet to no one man, since Luther, does the world owe more for deliverance from religious and political tyranny. This quality seemed to characterize this man's family too: his kinsman, "*Admiral Coligni, said, 'I have lost four battles; yet I show to the enemy a more formidable front than ever.' The blood of Coligni ran in the veins of William (III., of England), and with the blood had descended the unconquerable spirit which could derive from failure as much glory as happier commanders owed to success."**

[* Macaulay's Eng. II.

** Fabius who was called the Cunctator (delayer) baffled Hannibal by continually retreating before him, until Hannibal was worn out and ultimately defeated. This method of conquering by retreats was practised by Duguesclin in France, and by Wellington in Spain.]

The ancient Scandinavians said that Thor smote the sleeping earth-demon, Skrymir, three colossal blows with his hammer on the face; but Skrymir merely woke up and brushed his cheek, saying that a leaf must have fallen. Thor seemed to have quite failed, and left the Utgard much discouraged. But afterwards he found that the three blows had dented three great valleys into the earth. Time often reveals that what had been derided as a falling leaf was really a giant's blow.

But for the present there is but apparent failure; and we do well to avoid the vulgar error of judging of causes by their outward success, or being influenced by the desire of popularity or the fear of defeat. "'Tis not in mortals to command success, But we'll do more, Sempronius, we'll deserve it."$ Outwardly the life of Moses was one long retreat from foe and assault from friend; and when at last he stands, after a century of hard endurance, labour, strife, and self-sacrifice, with undimmed view and undaunted heart, within sight of the goal, "Comes the blind Fury with the abhorred shears, And slits the thin-spun life." Alas, for hope, "if thou wert all, And nought beyond, O earth!"

[$ Addison's Cato.]

52. Zipporah. The Burning Bush.

1888 191 Moses, seeing his brethren oppressed, intervenes to save them from their enemies with temporary effect (Ex. ii. 11, 12.); but when he further tries to save them from themselves (Ex. ii. 13, 14.), they scornfully reject him. Consequently he retires into Midian amongst the Gentiles, There he finds others suffering injustice and oppression, and defends them: undaunted by the previous discouragements. Opening to them the resources of the well, he woos and wins Zipporah; after which he returns afresh to redeem Israel: this time he is received and submitted to. All this is obviously typical of the rejection of the Messiah by the Jews, and His consequent work since amongst the Gentiles, where He receives the church as His bride, and assumes relationships and responsibilities in respect of her family and her children (the Gentile remnant of Rev. vii.), returning afterwards with her *Zech. xiv. 4, 5.) to save His Jewish people.

Zipporah typifies the bride in the adversity of the wilderness — the church militant; as Asenath, Joseph's wife, typifies the church triumphant in the future glory. Asenath is a kind of additional lustre to her husband; but Zipporah is much the reverse — a hindrance and a discredit to him, a source of danger and sorrow; besides which she is murmuring and ungrateful, continually misunderstanding him — took him at first to be an Egyptian!§ When we hear of a king Cophetua wedding a beggar maid, or a Duke Chandos rescuing the wife of a groom from his blows and subsequently marrying her, and other instances of that kind of event embodied in the myth of Cinderella, we first think of the romantic side of the transaction, and admire the chivalrous devotion that has been shown; but reflection compels us to admit that the inconveniences of such mésalliances are enormous and continuous. Though love smiles at them, prudence recognises them: they are not to be ignored. But there is nothing that a just and wise man like Moses could do under the circumstances, except maintain patience and silence. He should have foreseen, and did foresee, all that at the beginning; it was part of the sacrifice he had to make. Then there is this to be said in regard to Zipporah, — that when she met the Hebrew ruler, his glories were obscured; he was a homeless outcast; and it was then she received him in love and faith. We may be sure he never forgot this. Now all that is manifestly typical of the church. — Zipporah means "little bird;" whether by design or not, the name suggests the same blending of contrary thoughts, — pathetic suggestions of weakness and waywardness; yet also of a nature belonging to the heavenly places; and of affection and divine care.

[§ Ex. ii. 19. See also Ex. iv. 24-26.]

For the purpose of redemption God reveals Himself from Horeb. Consider the position from which He speaks: a judge's attitude and words would be wholly different, when sitting on some committee to relieve the poor, from that which it would be when sitting on the bench to declare the law or punish criminals. Sinai is the throne of judgment: Horeb is the throne of grace. They are distinct mountain summits in the same range: Horeb (Ras Safsefah), being much lower and more accessible than Sinai (Mousa) the rugged and imposing mountain of the law. This is now pretty well established; but it is strange how general has been the tendency to regard them as the same plane; just as men usually confuse law and grace. It is at Horeb alone the bush can be burnt without being consumed; there is to be held the great assembly of the redeemed, the Bride, Gentile, and Israel, being grouped round the Redeemer.* Hither also came Elijah when he wanted to surrender his charge; and here he found that God was not to be found in fire, tempest, or earthquake, but in the still small voice. The voice on Sinai was very different. (Heb. xii. 18, etc.)

[* Ex. iii. 12, and Ex. xviii. 5; therefore is it called, "The Mount of God."]

Moses turns aside to see why the bush is not consumed: "And when the Lord saw that he turned aside, God called "him to reveal Himself to him as the God of holiness, Who was as a consuming fire, and yet was able in grace to take up such a people as Israel — a frail useless bush of the desert, yet not destroy them, but purify and glorify them with His own presence. It is the whole cardinal plan and idea of redemption: and what discloses Moses as the seer is that he turns aside to study it, not passing on in indifference. "When the Lord saw that," He called him to the prophetic office.

The Seer looks on all things with eyes that pierce through the mere outward shell, and discern the vital and spiritual meaning; not like the "dumb driven cattle," who "have eyes and see not," except what lies on the surface. This principle affects all sides of life. When the lady said to Turner that she could see no colours similar to his in nature, the great painter replied, "Don't you wish, madam, that you could?" He could see them — could see all the gorgeous hues of the sunset in a bit of wet stone. Bruce could see how to win a battle, and Solomon how to live in king's palaces, by looking at a spider; as another learnt how to build a bridge over the Tweed by looking at a spider's web. Young Watt's aunt could see nothing but steam coming out of the kettle that she chid him for watching so continually; but he could see how to develop a more stupendous power from thence, than that monstrous genie whom the fabled fisherman let out of the little box, and who grew till he rose athwart the whole sky.

As a philosophic Kirchoff can by the lines in the spectrum tell us what the sun's flame is composed of, — by holding a piece of triangular glass to a ray of light coming through a hole in a shutter, discern what are the materials that form the distant worlds; so Gideon looking upon a bit of wet fleece, or Moses viewing a burning bush can tell us the nature of those spiritual worlds which no telescope has power to reach — can tell us the very thoughts that live and shine from the heart of their Creator.

53. The Rod-Serpent. The Leprous Hand.

1889 207 Here is another great principle in a small subject, "The Lord said, What is that in thine hand? And [Moses] said, A rod." Jehovah then empowers him to perform prodigious wonders with his rod — to create and destroy life, to blacken the heavens, to break the vast power of Egypt, to divide the sea — eventually in the deliverance of Israel. (Of course the Talmudists, with that airy inventiveness so characteristic, which spurns such vulgar aids as facts and proof, say that this was the rod which Adam had in paradise, which descended to Seth, Jacob, and so forth. But that is just the common tendency to transfer the virtue to the instrument in order to take the glory of it away from God.) The reader may rest assured that the rod was in itself nothing but a piece of common dead wood; and the principle is this: That while men are apt to think, How much would I do if I had only such and such instruments, God is saving, "What is that in thine hand? Do it with that." "With that! why 'tis only a bit of stick. Ah, if it were a sceptre, — or even a crosier; but it is only a crook." Yet knowest thou not, O man, that thou canst do greater wonders with that bit of common stick, if God send thee, than thou couldest otherwise with sceptre or crosier, though it were the sceptre of Charlemagne, or the crosier of Gregory?

For Moses shall break the iron sceptre of Thothmes with a stick; Shamgar shall slay the Philistines with an ox-goad; Joel shall destroy great Sisera with a bit of iron; Judith slay Holifernes, or Ehud smite Eglon, with a bit of steel; David and the woman of Thebez shall deliver Israel with a stone; Gideon rout the Midianites with a few candles and pitchers; Samson overthrow Israel's enemies with a bone. There is not such glory in doing great things with great means: there is in doing great things with small means. If Columbus had gone exploring in the Alert or Challenge, 'twere no wonder that he found a new world; but he went trusting in God, and did it with three open boats and a few mutinous men.

But the whole passage here is very comprehensive and important. Moses says that the people will not believe him; therefore Jehovah gives him two signs (Ex. 4) to prove the truth of his mission: and these signs are, in one form or another, the outward evidences that should accompany any one at any time who claims to speak for God to men:

First Credential. — The rod is always the emblem of authority, whether it be the king's sceptre, the bishop's crosier, the field marshal's staff, the musician's baton, the magician's wand, or the shepherd's crook: and the authority of man — that talisman by which he has power and rule over other creatures — is his intellect. Sir J. Herschel draws an extraordinary picture of what man's condition would be without this faculty; having no natural means of defence (much less of offence), helpless, driven before the elements, and devoured by beasts. Now what has taken place is, that this faculty of man, having fallen to the ground, has become "earthly, sensual, and devilish" — a serpent of a fearful and deadly power in the earth, though not without its own kind of attraction (there is a sort of beauty in that into which Moses' rod is changed); and occasionally innocent too: many serpents are not poisonous. That this degradation and perversion of the human intellect has taken place, let all history attest. The most frightful evils to man and beast in the world have ever been caused by human skill in devising oppression and torture. As if the ordinary ills of life were not sufficient, the fallen intellect invents such playthings as the rack, Baiser de la Vierge, and a thousand other forms of hideous cruelty.

Therefore the first sign is that a man shall, in obedience to and faith in God's word, stretch out his hand and reclaim this rod; and when thus retaken it is changed from something malign and dangerous into an instrument of valuable service. The intellect of man is raised from its prone condition; and is no longer earthly, sensual, and devilish, but informed by that wisdom from above — consecrated to the service of God and the welfare of men. What miracle could be greater than change of a Saul into a Paul, or to turn the intelligence of a John Newton from managing a slave-ship to composing, "How sweet the name of Jesus sounds?"

Second Credential. — Then the hand withdrawn from the bosom is leprous — "Out of the heart are the issues of life" (Prov. iv. 23): not out of the head; nor merely by outward contact. That is to say, The evil uncleanliness of a man's outward actions (hand) originates in the "heart," or that side of the mind which includes the Will and the Affections — the emotional side, as contrasted with the intellectual side. Hence "the fool says in his heart, There is no God:" for there is no fool great enough to say it in his head — i.e., by intellectual process. The Indian Chief Teedyuscung was never trained in metaphysics; but he rapidly came to follow this "trail," when the pale-face missionary told him that the Great Spirit required His servants to forgive their enemies. "That cannot be," said the warrior, looking out at the long row of scalps that hung at the door of his wigwam. "That is so," said the missionary, "And His own Son, dying on the cross, prayed that His murderers might be forgiven. To which the Chief rejoined, "Before that could be, a man must have a new heart." Which statement contains a fund of sound theology. Now Moses is commanded to put his hand again into his bosom; but when it is drawn forth, it is found to be cured and cleansed. God has dealt with the hidden fountain of life and now the outward actions of life are sound and pure.

The first sign deals with what is popularly called the "head," the second with the "heart"; and these accompany every divine message, and constitute outward proofs of its origin. In the opening nine chapters of his Evidences of Christianity, Paley works out with overwhelming power that witness which is given by the changed lives of (especially the earliest) Christians; how those who had previously lived selfish lives contaminated with all the foulness of the classic idolatry, now voluntarily passed their days in "labours, dangers, and sufferings," solely because of the divine message which they had received. Paul catalogues (1 Cor. vi. 9-11.) a list of the vilest criminals conceivable to the Greek Christians, and adds, "Such were some of you; but ye are washed . . . your body is [a] temple of the Holy Ghost . . . Glorify God in your body." How shocked Augustine is in his Confessions with his old life at Carthage; how distressed is Bunyan in his Grace Abounding with his old sins; and how great a testimony to Carthage and to Bedford there was, when the grace of God transformed those powerful intellects, and fervent spirits, into agents of His own service for the welfare of His people!

This kind of evidence is continuous and omnipresent; therefore God says, "If they will not believe these two signs, neither hearken to thy voice, thou shalt take of the water of the river and pour it upon dry land, and the water shall become blood." (Ex. iv. 9, 10.) That which is the appointed means of life and purity — the water* — becomes to the rejector the appalling symbol of death and judgment. "There remaineth . . . but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation which shall devour the adversaries."

[* Nile.]

54. Moses Losing Caste.

1889 223 It would naturally seem that the best way for Moses to help the oppressed Israelites would be for him to retain his high position in Pharaoh's council. Being an adopted son of Princess Thermuthis, he might reasonably have thought, "I can do them most good here as a patron and friend at court: if I identify myself with them in their sins and miseries, I can do nothing." There would be in most princes a natural reluctance to be associated with the herd of slaves who were so bitterly hated and despised by the Egyptians whom their toils enriched. Radbod drew back when Bishop Wolfran was just going to baptize him, saying, "I would sooner be with my ancestors in Woden's Hall, than in heaven itself with your starveling band of Christians." And there would be much inducement to even more benevolent men than he to prefer remaining in a secure and dignified position, where they could do good to the "lower classes" without any serious loss to their own pockets or reputations.

But Moses was to take a different course; like those Moravian preachers who went in amongst the lepers, and bade farewell to all the world beside. No earnest mind has approval for the Sybarite of Herodotus, who could not rest when a crumpled rose leaf was on his couch, and who fainted on seeing a man working hard. But many earnest minds have admiration for St. Simon Stylites receiving the homage of the people as he stood year after year on his uncomfortable pillar above them. It were better that he should come down and "walk the radiant path that Howard trod to heaven," by plunging into the squalor and infection of prisons and charnel houses, that he might rescue those that were bound in affliction and iron. To be sure this way has its disadvantages: Howard dies of the fever; the Jesuit priests, who nursed the cholera-stricken in Paris, were buried with their patients; Father Damon has just written from the leper settlement in the Sandwich Islands, to say that at last the disease has seized upon himself. Yes, it certainly has its disadvantages. If one be afraid of losing caste, he had better not rashly adopt it.

He Whose course was thus foreshadowed and aftershadowed, being in the form of God, became a little lower than the angels; and, being found in fashion as a than, humbled Himself unto death, even the death of the cross. He made Himself of no reputation. So completely does He identify Himself with fallen, guilty, unclean men, that He says to Jehovah, "My goodness extendeth not to Thee"; and, being blameless and holy, He confesses* our foolishnesses and sins as His own. He is not ashamed to call us brethren!

[* Ps. xvi. 2 and lxix. 5.]

Moses therefore voluntarily takes his place amongst the outcasts. He finds them broken by internal contentions (Ex. 2); and so suffocated by oppression that they are more ready to settle down in their afflictions than to welcome his aid. There is a process called scientifically "alternate generation": the insect aphid gives life to a larva which remains a worm, but gives birth to a new aphid, which in its turn originates a new worm. And this is the course of sin and misery; sin produces misery and misery produces further sin. The one is a cause and also an effect of the other, like famine and pestilence; together they conspire to degrade Israel, and sink them to a depth from which it seemed impossible to raise them. "What can you do with such dogs?" said the explorers of the Africans. "What is the use of preaching to such dogs?" echoed the colonist to the preacher. (The preacher was old Dr. Moffat; and so he gave out his text, "Yet the dogs under the table eat of the children's crumbs.") Well, no doubt these "dogs" are bad enough, but the oppressor's testimony against his victim cannot be implicitly relied on: men generally slander those whom they wrong. The wolf in the fable made a very plausible statement against the lamb and his family; but it was an ex parte statement after all, and would hardly do to go before a jury without some judicial comment.

Moses demands their release from Pharaoh, who treats him with scornful brutality. But what would you? Consider what unbounded impudence it must have seemed to Pharaoh for these firebrands to come agitating amongst his slaves, upsetting the whole fabric of society! Truly the evangelist must not be too sensitive to rebuffs: he needs toujours l'audace to bind the strong man and spoil his goods; he will find a grim earnestness in those other little French sayings, that one cannot make a revolution with rose water, nor make an omelette without breaking eggs. And there is a still greater trial that will meet him. To Moses it must have been the keenest sorrow of all when he found that the result of his sacrifices and labours is but to intensify the already bitter misery of their lives. For the usual course of things when people seek to keep others in oppression takes place now. Their slave-drivers say they are listening to these agitators because they are idle, and so their work must be increased; they must make bricks without straw. Pharaoh regards Moses and Aaron as the sole cause of these disturbances in his Arcadia (Ex. 5:4, 9), and roughly drives them from his presence. On their way thence they are met by the elders of the wretched Israelites, who solemnly denounce them with bitter upbraidings for being the cause of their fresh miseries.

All this is very natural and very typical: the Hebrew proverb says, "When the tale of bricks is doubled, Moses comes." But the case usually is, that the deliverer's approach causes the work and suffering to be increased. The Hindu saying is more appropriate; that when a person is threatened by a serpent, he is awakened by a lizard crawling over him. For we usually find that the awakening of those, who are sunk in a lethargy of temporal or spiritual oppression to a sense of their condition, is in all ways a repugnant process. It is when the drowning man is being resuscitated that he suffers most severely; it is a necessary suffering if he is to be saved; but it is painful for the rescuer to contemplate.

The emancipator brings war; the evangelist brings trouble: the first signs of the new life are often cries of pain. "These that have turned the world upside down have come hither also," said the Thessalonians (Acts xvii.), "and Jason has received them!" The first coming of the Prince of Peace brought a sword, worldwide contention, the destruction of Jerusalem with a million lives. And yet it is not the deliverer that is responsible for this, nor does anyone grieve over it so bitterly as he. "Moses said, Lord, wherefore hast Thou so evil entreated this people? Why is it that Thou hast sent me? For since I came to Pharaoh, he hath done evil to this people: neither hast Thou delivered Thy people at all." In that crisis of insult and disaster he utters no word of retaliation to the attack of the elders, nor of complaint as to the treatment which he has received, either from king or serf; no complaint, even like that of Elijah's, that his work was in vain (much less any complaint in that wretched spirit of Jonah, who would sooner see a city destroyed than he should suffer in professional reputation). In the nadir of his course he thinks of their sufferings; not of his own. There is no higher expression of magnanimous sympathy than this; except in that sacred life of One, Who, though He knows that to His people "Death is the crown of life" appointed by God "to free the oppressed and crush the oppressor," yet weeps at the grave of Lazarus; Who in all our afflictions is afflicted, though well-knowing that each pain is but the birth-pang of some future happiness; Who, in the hours of His passion and death, wept for the guilty Jerusalem, whilst telling her daughters to weep not for Him but for themselves.

55. Pharaoh Negotiates.

1889 239 When the adversary finds that he cannot destroy the people of God with the fury of a Nero, he tries, with far more success, the caresses of a Constantine. The erstwhile roaring lion assumes the role of a minister of light: Pharaoh, finding violence of no effect with the Israelites, tries diplomacy. Herodotus says that the ancient Egyptians used to capture crocodiles by putting clay into their eyes: the simplicity and the effectiveness of this method are very ingenious. It is the way in which the king of Egypt now endeavours to deal with the Hebrew Ruler. To be sure there is the initial difficulty that the crocodile may object to the proposed treatment, as Moses did in the manner we shall now consider:

Pharaoh's first attempt at throwing the clay was rather coarse and crude: he said, "Go ye, sacrifice to your God in the land."* This is the low unworthy suggestion which is usually made to blind every awakened soul. "If you are determined to be religious, well, be it so; but don't cut yourself off from the rest of the race. Here are plenty of places of worship, objects of worship, and methods of worship, to suit every possible, and impossible, disposition. Choose one of them and do not, with more than pharisaic self-sufficiency, separate from them all and condemn them all." Pharaoh does not now seek to hinder them from worshipping their own God as long as He is placed on a level with Amun-Ra, Thoth, and Osiris; and once thus placed on a level with the Sun, the Intellect, and the Hidden Life, His glory is sure presently to be reduced to the level of Anubis, Pasht, or Scaraboeus — the Jackal, Cat and Beetle; or Seb the Earth-goose, or even Seth — the Devil. If however one will only be content with a God, for instance, a little more to be reverenced than the sacred beetle, and a little less than the holy bull, why then there are all the appliances of worship that Egypt can afford at his disposal.

[* Of Egypt. Ex. viii. 25.]

And such appliances! Where else could such grandeur and solemnity in religion be found? It is adorned all the way down from the Second Cataract to the Delta with the most magnificent temples the world has ever seen. The Karnak was approached by an avenue nearly two miles long of vast granite sphinxes, the temple itself huge enough to hold thirty modern churches, its central hall large enough to contain a couple of modern cathedrals. Where has there ever been a more imposing and gorgeous ceremonial; a more venerable and learned priesthood; a more majestic ritual? Apparently Egypt was the place of all others to be religious in, especially now when it showed itself so tolerant (or latitudinarian?) as to admit a new deity.

But toleration springs from principle; latitudinarianism from policy: and there is as much difference between them as between zeal and bigotry. Bigotry will inflict suffering for a Cause; zeal will endure it. "The bigot's mind is like the pupil of the eye; the more light you pour on it the more it contracts*:" but the zealous mind is like a flower, which the light expands and colours. The tolerant man is often zealous; while the latitudinarian is often bigoted. In Christendom latitudinarianism ends, as its name ends, in Arianism.

[* A figure used — by a strange coincidence — independently by two eminent writers.]

The test of Pharaoh's first proposal is constantly arising in a large and historic sense. The first disciples of Christ had to turn their backs on the glorious temple of Solomon when the spiritual Egypt had captured it and made it a place of idols. God was no longer to be found there when His Son had been dishonoured: they elected to worship in the caves and dens of the earth; "Heaven, Lord, is there where'er Thou art." Later on there came a time when the spiritual Egypt proposed to the people of God that they should mingle their worship with the revived Babylonish idolatry; but there were found not a few who had the fidelity to prefer the bleak mountain sides and caverns of Scotland, or the Vaudois valleys to the magnificence of a St. Peter's Cathedral; as those who preceded them had preferred the catacombs to Jerusalem's temple, or the "waste howling wilderness" to the Karnak of Thebes. The same principle and choice arise in the history of every converted soul: which will you have, a sensuous religion without God, or God without sensuous religion? You cannot have both, though Pharaoh proposes that you should; — but that is only his clay; coarse and crude it is too — simple mud.

His second attempt is much more adroit; the clay of better quality, more plastic and adhesive. He says, "I will let you go . . . only ye shall not go very far away." Now that seems a fair enough proposal. Why should one travel farther than is needful? and who is to determine the precise distance? All distance is relative. Reasoning thus the soul will find itself settled in a new Haran, on a kind of border land of spiritual life, a land of earthly worship and fleshly associations; a land of doubt and danger. It is a poor condition when a man shall say, "How near can I live to the world without being involved in its judgments?" "Is it wrong to do this?" "It cannot be much harm to do that." When he says — not "May I," but "Must I do such a thing for the Lord?" it is a poor condition and a dangerous position: like walking on the edge of a precipice to see how near you can go without falling in. An eccentric man engaging a coachman asked some of the candidates how near they could drive to the edge of an adjacent cliff. Some of them said they could go within the breadth of a three-penny bit. At last came one who said he would go as far away from it as ever he could: this one was instantly engaged.

To these two Machiavellian propositions the Seer, "firm to resolve, stubborn to endure," makes answer with that calm dignity which gives far more evidence of an inflexible purpose than all the tempestuous wrath which has been shown against him. "We will go three days' journey into the wilderness, and sacrifice to the Lord our God, as He shall command us." (Ex. viii. 27.) That is the shortest distance that must separate Israel from Egypt: three days — death and resurrection. "Three days' journey" carried them to the other side of the Red Sea — that Red Sea where God's righteousness is vindicated; where Justice strikes and Mercy saves. It is the type of the Cross, where in an infinitely larger sense judgment was executed and salvation was accomplished; and which ends for the disciple the course of Egypt, and begins that of the wilderness. In that Cross the world is crucified to him and he to it.

56. Diplomacy Exhausted.

1889 255 Pharaoh's third proposal was that the adult Israelites might go from Egypt, but they must leave their children behind them. The wolves in Aesop made a somewhat similar overture to the sheep; namely, that the latter should exchange their lambs for the young of the wolves. What a friendly proposition that seems at first view (yet on reflection misgivings arise). Pharaoh however only suggests that the Hebrews shall leave their own little ones in his care: has he not already given some evidence of his strong interest in them?

By such an arrangement that astute diplomatist knew full well that he would have them all back in his power sooner or later. If the Hebrews had gone without their children their hearts would have remained in Egypt, while their bodies were in the wilderness: a truly miserable condition and an insult to God; for their bodies are no use to Him without their hearts, — dumb, driven cattle were better than that. God's purpose is to bring them entirely out of Egypt, and to fix all the objects of their interest and affections outside its borders, through the wilderness on Canaan — "to deliver us from the present evil world," and to set our "affection on things above." Pharaoh's purpose is to fix the objects of their love and interest in the old kingdom of sin and condemnation, and so keep them tethered to it as securely as if bound by chains. For the force of attraction is very marvellous: we see for instance, an immense body like the moon held swaying round the earth by a chain so slight as to be absolutely invisible, — else would she instantly bound away into the recesses of the heavens, but her heart is thus linked by earthly ties. In this, too, as in her celestial origin and borrowed light is she not fitly a type of the church?

By-ends' great-grandfather was a waterman, said the Dreamer; he rowed in one direction whilst he looked in another. This was the position proposed by the third compromise; only that Pharaoh wanted the Hebrew boat tautly moored to the Egyptian shore: then they might row as hard as they liked in the other direction. It is the general principle that we have here of the displacement of the centre of attraction — the attachment of the interests and sympathies of God's people to worldly allurements of any sort. But still it is remarkable how often the Devil hinders the advance, and thwarts the usefulness of even the most devout and earnest by the special means before us, namely, their children. If he can only get possession of them as hostages, we have some terrible examples of how he will use his power: Jacob wailing over Simeon and Levi, as David over Absalom; Aaron's ministry silenced by the sight of his sons struck dead before the altar. The spiritual Pharaoh also got possession of Eli's sons, and so, though an aged and devoted servant of God, he has to bear the rebukes of a child; to have the ministry of his life turned into a reproach; to close it in a storm of disaster, and to remain a perpetual example of the evil effects of a man's neglecting his own home. It is quite safe to censure him, for he cannot defend himself: his eyes, dimmed in ninety-eight years of service to God, darkened entirely, and his white hairs bowed in death when he heard that His Ark had been captured by the enemy: — perhaps his censors might not have taken such a thing so much to heart. Nevertheless we must learn — a hard lesson — that the ardent prosecution of the highest duties will not exempt us from the evil results of neglecting the lowest. The glory of the illustrious John Howard's achievements is dimmed by the death of his own son from insanity through wickedness.

When a third compromise is rejected, Pharaoh, exhausting the resources of diplomacy, makes his last proposal: he will let them go when, how, and whither they like, but they must leave their flocks and herds. Now this proposal appears innocent enough; it seems a mere matter of their surrendering a little property; but Moses' answer reveals the subtle deadly nature of the overture, — like that spear of Ithuriel, the touch of which disclosed the lurking fiend. For the prophet's answers not only disclose his own mind, but also his questioner's. A remarkable mode of answering exercised by his Antitype in later times; for our Lord usually not only replied to the words of those who questioned Him, but also to their very thoughts (Mark xii. 18, 24, 26.), which fact reveals largely the meanings of His utterances. Moses answers, "Our cattle also shall go with us, that we may sacrifice to the Lord our God: there shall not an hoof be left behind."* (Ex. x. 24, 26.) He regarded the cattle, and so did Pharaoh, not merely as so much property, or food supply (for they ate manna in the wilderness), but as the sacrificial means of approach to Jehovah. In fact they were so many types of CHRIST. The enemy wants us to go into the wilderness without Christ: it would be miserable indeed; but it would mean certain destruction.

It is peculiarly the proffer of the present time. The coarser and cruder attempt of the enemy against the people of God have more or less failed, and he is now ready to surrender everything if he can but deprive us of the sacrificial Christ. He will let us have the Christ of the manna; but not the Christ of the passover. That is to say, there is a fashion of religion rapidly growing that affects to receive and reverence our Lord in His heavenly life here on earth, but it rejects and treats with slight and repugnance the doctrine of his sacrificial death, His vicarious suffering and atoning blood. Now there are some stern and terrible words in the New Testament (John vi. 31-33, 53.) on this subject. In that chapter, in which we have the Son of God set before us as the Anti-type of the manna, we are told, "Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink His blood, ye have no life in you." That is, except you receive into the soul and appropriate, as food is received and appropriated by the body, the Son of Man in His blood-shedding and death, ye have no spiritual life at all. It is stated here in contrast with the manna which was the wilderness food of the redeemed — the earthly life of Christ; and the connection is that unless the Israelites had eaten the passover sacrifice before starting, they would never have lived to get to the wilderness at all. This passage has no connection with the Lord's Supper, except that in the symbolism of the Lord's Supper we profess all this. Nor is it a continuous matter like the manna; the tense is, "except ye shall have eaten (phagete, piete," that is, once for all appropriated) the death and atonement of the Son of Man.*
[* This is not the full truth of the passage. Ed.]

However greatly the religion of emasculated sentimentality may extend, the truth shall remain, that before mercy can be satisfied justice must be appeased; before the gospel can be preached, the law must be vindicated. Before the Saviour can accomplish His first miracle in turning water into wine, the Law-giver must accomplish his first miracle and turn water into blood.

57. The Destroying Angel. The Blood. The Hyssop.

1889 271 Those mysterious sphinxes, like Silent Destinies, with that passionless and inscrutable gaze that seems to reveal nothing but comprehend all things, have looked down on many strange events in the thousands of years during which their calm, imperturbable faces have watched over Egypt; but on nothing more wonderful and dreadful than the tornado of judgments which swept down on that doomed country when Jehovah, with mighty hand and stretched out arm, enfranchised His people and crushed their oppressors.

Pharaoh had hardened himself, before God — by means of His forbearance* — had hardened him still further, till there is now no chance of bending him: he must be broken. The reed advised the oak to bow to the coming storm; but the oak haughtily scorned the advice: so the mighty wind flouted it, broke it, blasted it, tore it up by the roots and tossed it aside in its anger, whilst it passed over the weak bending reed unharmingly.

[* Angus. — See also Ecc. viii. 11.]

There went forth the fiat, "Against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment!" Each blow insults and abases some amongst them. Serapis blushes till his Nile waters, erst so translucent, turn to a blood red: Ra, the sun-god, is compelled to smile on Israel and frown on Mizraim. The sacred frog and fly become objects of loathing. The bull-god, Apis, cannot protect himself nor his fellow-cattle from the murrain. Seb, the earth, is covered with vermin. Osiris and Isis are extinguished in the sky; and Netpe, the vault of heaven, is covered with a shameful darkness as with a garment of mourning. The whole obscene brood are "hurled headlong flaming from the ethereal sky, In hideous ruin and combustion down To bottomless perdition."

The priests had taught the people to look for another god yet to come;* for though, as the ancient Greek said, It was easier to find a god than a man in Egypt, yet to every human heart there was one still wanting. Had we as many as the Hindus yet there is One more — the Unknown God, as the Athenians called Him — that some principle in the heart mutely calls for. What Balder was to the Norseman, Hapi was to the Egyptians. Him they ever looked for (as a possibility) in the firstborn in each family.** Now as a last judgment of culminating horror the hand of the Lord is stretched out against Hapi, against the delusion of an earthly Messiah from a fleshly and evil source. Egypt had oppressed Jehovah's first-born: Egypt's first-born is slain: "Balder the beautiful is dead." The expectation of Hapi is cut off for ever!

[* Kohus: Arius.

** As Eve and the Jewish mothers expected the Messiah.]

From this hurricane of devouring punishments sweeping through the land, what is to protect Israel? Not their strength or intelligence, for they are enfeebled and abased; nor their innocence, for they are sinners like their neighbours. God must undertake it; He must not only deliver them from their enemies but deliver them from Himself. "A god all mercy is a god unjust," and in some way His justice has to be satisfied if He intervenes to rescue them. Therefore it is we now come to that means of deliverance, and lo! here is a strange thing. The angel of destruction is approaching — to whose descending blows of Almighty power all that was fabled of Odin, and of giant Thor's crashing hammer, or Jötuns casting avalanches in the Asgard, or Gigantes throwing rocks and mountains at Olympus, is as the tales of children playing; and the agent appointed to protect them from this awful Omnipotence is — a lamb!

The important type of the paschal lamb is happily so well known that I will only say here: Its distinctly typical meaning as denoting the atoning and vicarious death of our blessed Redeemer permeates the New Testament, and is definitively affirmed in John i. 29, 1 Peter i. 18, etc. It must be a dead lamb; the death of Christ alone atones. It must become so by a non-natural death as evidenced by the blood-shedding; that is, something penal and repellent — for sin is the cause of it. (Those whose false delicacy is shocked when we speak of the blood are not shocked at the sin that causes its flow — that is merely "moral obliquity ": but if we deny the substitutional death of the Lamb of God, we must tear such passages as this out of the Bible and then we only have a mutilated fragment of it left.) The Israelites take shelter under the blood and eat of the victim inside the house, identifying themselves with, appropriating and assimilating, the Substitute. (John vi.) It is roast with fire; subjected to God's judgment. To be eaten with bitter herbs (the repentance of a contrite heart) and unleavened bread ("of sincerity and truth," 1 Cor. 5:7, 8). It was to be no ordinary feast: they were to eat of it standing — with solemn reverence: with loins girt — the girdle of truth Eph. vi.: with shoes — "shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace": a staff — the word of God — in their hands: in haste — a matter of urgency; the whole attitude betokening a journey away from Egypt — no thought of receiving Christ and remaining in the world. It commenced a new era and closed the old one; Nisan, the seventh month of the old year, becomes Abib the first of the new.

The lamb was taken on the 10th of Abib, the day (John xii. 1, 12.) when our Lord entered Jerusalem on the ass' colt and was slain on the 14th, the day He died. It was slain "between the two evenings" (Ex. xii. 6, marg.): the Jewish day would commence at sundown on the Thursday evening, at which time the Lord and His disciples took the passover, but the bulk of the people evidently took it before sundown on the Friday evening.* The Lamb of God having been slain on the Friday "between the two evenings."

[* This is a simple explanation of a difficulty that volumes of learned controversy have been written on. Luke xxii. 15, John xviii. 28.]

The blood was to be sprinkled with hyssop, "From the cedar of Lebanon to the hyssop that springeth out of the wall:" it was like that sprig of Plantagenet bush that the earl of Anjou wore on his pilgrimage to Palestine; it was a symbol of humility. We may well doubt the reality of that conversion which asserts itself by a levity of flippant self-sufficiency and dogmatism: that is more likely to be real which shows itself in self-judgment, in a contrite heart and a lowly mind. "I abhor myself and repent in dust and ashes," said Job. "Woe is me, for I am a man of unclean lips," said Isaiah. "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord"! said Peter. The agonies of self-judgment and abasement which such men as Augustin, Luther, Cowper, and Bunyan (especially the last) endured for a time almost unsettled their reason, and dissolved their frames. Indeed this ordeal is meant to cause a practical dissolution of a nature that all things may become new. The autumn leaves that strew the ground must be withered and decomposed ere they can come up as flowers again: the black coal must be broken and dissolved in the retorts before it is spiritualized into that etherial vapour that gives us so bright a light: the dirty rags are thrown into the vats, humbled, torn to pieces, turned into a very pulp, and then presently we see them rolled off in the new form on the "calendars" white, pure paper, on which may be inscribed the maxims of sages, seers, martyrs; yea, even the words of the living God Himself.

It is for this reason no doubt that the record of the exodus is here interrupted by chap. xiii. in which the command is given to associate man with the ass in redemption, ver. 12, 13; a principle most humbling and instructive. (The proud flesh that is shocked by the thought of blood, and speaks of "the dignity of humanity" will resent this humiliation; but I think I would rather be classed by God with the asses than by man with the apes.) After all the ass, though ceremoniously unclean, is no unworthy emblem of patient humility which has been crowned with supernal honour. Does it not carry a cross like the humble and wholesome plants of the cruciferae? And was it not bestrode on that eternally memorable 10th Abib by One Who in lowly pomp rode forth to die, what time "The angel armies in the sky, Looked down with sad and wondering eyes To see the approaching sacrifice."

58. The Red Sea: Salvation: Miriam's Choir.

1889 288 Salvation is a great, comprehensive word. In one sense the Christian has now salvation — "receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls," 1 Peter 1:9) that is, from the divine judgment against sin, which corresponds to the passover in Egypt, and the deliverance at the Red Sea. In another sense it is still future, "ready to be revealed in the last time," though now "nearer than when we [first] believed." (1 Peter 1:5; Rom. 13:11.) In a third sense it is a daily experience (2 Cor. i. 6. Phil. i. 19.), "Work out your own salvation." The Red Sea marks an important stage. Israel had been sheltered from the Destroying Angel by taking refuge under the blood of the paschal lamb; but at Pi-hahiroth they seem to be in a more terrible position than ever, the mountains on each side, the sea in front, and a rapidly approaching army of overwhelming power behind. They cry out in a panic of fear, whilst their leader's stern and reticent face holds converse with the skies. Then he turns to them and says, "Fear ye not, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord."

This is the state in which those are who have been converted and have accepted the sacrificial Saviour, but have not yet seen the great and glorious consequences of His death and resurrection. The soul then sees itself beset by every evil power and sinister principle of the world, the flesh, and the devil — "the devil is most busy on the last day of his term," says old Fuller — and sees no way of escape, apparently nothing but disaster. Thus the poor pilgrim who had set out from the City of Destruction fell into the Slough of Despond before he reached the wicket-gate and the path of life (but if he had taken heed to the steps — the promises, — says the Dreamer, he would not have fallen into such extreme misery). Thus Paul cried, "O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me?" Thus Luther groaned and cried at Erfurt, and threw his inkstand at the devil at Wartburg. (I think, though, that he did the devil more harm with ink than with inkstands). Thus Whitefield fell morbid and despairing at Oxford. Bunyan's fears were so great that he thought that his breast-bone would split. Cowper took a coach to drown himself. Yet undoubtedly it was because these men had divine life and faith that they were so afflicted. What is wanted is for such to STAND STILL, AND SEE THE SALVATION OF THE LORD; to see (not the forgiveness of sins, that is the passover, but) the judgment of sin (the root principle, which is not forgiven but condemned, Rom. viii. 3), and the great and permanent deliverance ensuing thereon.

When Bilbao planted his flag in the sea to assert his authority, or the Venetian Doge cast his ring into it, or Canute scolded it for approaching his chair, or Xerxes flogged it for wrecking his ships, I am not aware that much impression was produced on it. "Ten thousand fleets sweep over thee in vain, Man marks the earth with ruin — his control Stops with the shore." But when the Hebrew seer lifted up his shepherd's rod over it, the great angry desolate sea recoiled in affright from his feet, making a path through its depths, and then returned with its frightful flood of roaring waters to overwhelm their pursuers. Thus Israel sees the salvation of the Lord, which, as by the one dreadful judgment of the cross, delivers and separates for ever His people from Egypt and its power. "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ,"* not alone because God had forgiven them (that was proclaimed five chapters previously in Rom. iii. 25, etc.), but because, Rom. viii. 3, He, "sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh." For the Christian it is done with, and can never come up again for judgment: he is to reckon himself dead, and live accordingly in righteousness. If he fail, he is dealt with on a new ground; not punished as a criminal by the judge, but chastened as a child by the Father.

[* The Rev. Version has happily restored this verse, Rom. viii. 1, to its absolute character, by striking out the words at the end, which had been so unwarrantably interpolated.]

THEN burst forth from the myriads of throats of the whole assembled nation that great anthem of sevenfold hallelujahs which billowed up from earth to sky and surged in through the portals of pearl, over the sapphire floor. Its echoes have come down to our ears through the clamours of thirty-three centuries, and even now stir our blood like the sound of Gabriel's trumpet: — "He hath triumphed gloriously . . . He is become my salvation. He is my God. I will prepare Him an habitation . . . Thy right hand, O Lord, hath dashed in pieces the enemy! . . . Glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders! . . . Thou in Thy mercy hast led forth the people which Thou hast redeemed . . . Lord, the people pass over which Thou hast purchased . . . Sing
ye to the Lord, for He hath triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider hath He thrown into the sea!"

And Miriam — poor little Miriam that was, that used to stand in the Nile mud watching over her little brother — she it is who is leading the choir of those millions enfranchised souls, and doubtless doing this as well as she then did that. Glorious work, Miriam! Better than minding the baby? "Glorious? yes! Better? no! Had I not watched there, I had not worshipped here." And Moses, the babe whom her childish hands had protected, where is he? Ah! he is a brother born for adversity, and is never prominent in days of triumph like this. Presently there will be trouble again, and then we shall see him coming forward to pray, plan, labour, suffer, conquer for them; anon when the crisis is over, to again quietly obliterate himself. And this always, till he bring them right home to the promised land: then, having overcome every obstacle, he calmly closes his eyes in death and rests.

59. Mountain: Palace: Sanctuary: Tree.

1889 30 Directly Israel reaches the wilderness, they naturally meet with a group of important and beautiful types of the Messiah, and even in their song at the Red Sea there is a triple presentation of Him as the goal toward which the redeemed travel: — (Ex. xv. 17.) (1) "the mountain of thine inheritance, (2) the place, O Lord, which Thou hast made for Thee to dwell in, (3) the sanctuary, O Lord, which Thy hands have established."

Stasicrates proposed that he should shape Mount Athos into a vast statue of Alexander. This, he said, would be a monument worthy of such a king — "with a river running to the sea in its right hand and a city of ten thousand inhabitants in its left." But the idea — which is probably the most stupendous that history records — was anticipated by this first type, which was afterwards developed by Daniel (Dan. ii. 35.), and was, very likely, taken by Stasicrates from him; for Josephus says that when Alexander and his party came to Syria, Jaddua met them and read to them parts of Daniel's prophecy.

That prophet says that the Stone which falls on the image becomes a great mountain. Therefore all the features which we have seen in the type of the stone and rock* become projected and magnified in the mountain. Besides which there are the obvious characteristics of Security and Dignity. Gianavello and seven men defended themselves successfully in mountain passes against four-hundred troopers, and with seventeen against a thousand. "As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, [Zion and Acra on the south and west, Moriah and Bezetha on the east and north], so the Lord is round about His people from henceforth and for ever." "They that trust in the Lord shall be as Mount Zion which cannot be moved." Resting broad-based upon the earth, rising into the sky crowned with celestial light: though clouds may for a time hide from us those soft and verdant vales that nestle in its bosom, we know they are there still. Lightning and flood beat against it in vain. "He is our everlasting strength." "Trembling, I* survey the mountain head of eternity; dazzling summit! from whose height my dimly-perceiving spirit floats into the everlasting!"

[* Nos. xxviii. and xlviii.

** Klopstok: Chamouni.]

Further (2), this is God's dwelling place. Monarchs select the most beautiful and glorious abodes in their realms for themselves: so the King of kings has selected from the whole universe the person of the Messiah. Shall a Hadrian have so magnificent a villa, or a Nero build for himself an Aurea Domus, and shall the Ruler of the Solar systems not have one too? yes, verily a true Golden House, a palace of delights. — (3), Here also is the Sanctuary, that is, a place of meeting for God and the worshipper.* "And HE shall be for a sanctuary."

[* Mikdahsh, trans. "Chapel," Am. vii.]

Yet, strange to say, when the redeemed people go forward, they are allowed to suffer for want of so cheap and vulgar a thing as water; and straightway their songs of triumphant worship are changed to murmurs of discontent. It would be difficult to believe it, unless we look within ourselves and see also the same gross inconsistency, the same swift forgetfulness and heartless ingratitude; we who have trusted God for our everlasting destinies will often fail to trust Him for tomorrow's bread. But it is easier for us to be astonished at their failures than to avoid imitating them. After all, this test to which Jehovah in perfect wisdom submitted them — "to prove what was in their hearts" — was more severe than many of us have been put to, or can understand. Gadsby, who passed through this wilderness, says, it is a "burning sandy sea . . . it
was dreadful. The stirrups were so hot that I could not bear my feet to touch them, as they burnt through my slippers. Being parched with thirst, I took up my water bottle, but found the sun had cracked it and let all the water out. You cannot walk . . .
to burn your feet on the sand. You can hardly ride, for to do so is to add the heat of the camel to that of the air . . . You cannot rest under your tent, for that is to add suffocation to heat. The eyes grow inflamed, the tongue and lips swell...the brain seems on fire...and all this from the want of a little water!"

And when at last they arrived at Marah, the water was too brackish to drink: this was a terrible disappointment. "Then God showed them a tree which when [Moses] had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet." Once more the outward form changes — a mountain, a palace, a sanctuary, now a tree, — yet it is the same Christ, but now slain, for the tree must be cut down and cast in. We must all travel by the way of Marah some time. Well it is if we can so connect with those bitter waters of suffering the remembrance of that patient and blameless Sufferer, Who has consecrated affliction and shown us how to bear it. If suffering brings to us a nearer revelation of the Man of Sorrows Who was cut down in death for us, "then pain Were sweet, and life or death were gain."

Near every poisonous plant there grows the antidote. On the edge of the grave we may pluck the amaranth; and hard by Marah's bitter waters is hidden that noble Tree which when wounded yields its healing balm, and when stricken showers down its golden fruit; sheltering the wandering birds and scenting the air, as it lifts towards heaven its pyramid of foliage in God-like magnanimity, yet withal powerful enough to stretch out its great arms and grapple with the hurricane. It is cut off from the earth and cast into the bitter waters; it must be steeped in that which we shudder to taste, and must take its customary noble revenge by imparting its own sweetness to the waters. Lord, help us, and lead us in all our afflictions to this thrice-blessed Tree: how blindly do we grope about for everything but that!

60. Palms and Well-Springs. The Flesh-Pots.

1889 318 At Elim there is an oasis in the desert, representing the divinely appointed provision of ministry by earthly instruments. There are twelve well-springs (not "wells," b'ehr, but ngahyin, that is, Christ being the hidden well, there are channels or ducts from Him — as apostles, prophets, teachers, and so forth). Twelve; the earthly number, four, multiplied by the heavenly number, three,* for it is spiritual ministration dispensed on earth; twelve tribes, twelve gates to the New Jerusalem, twelve apostles through whom the Holy Ghost, the living water, is given; but the palm-trees represent a more general ministry. "The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree," (Ps. 92:12) a beautiful simile, expressing not only the elegance and grace that caused the name of the palm (Tamar) to be given to the Jewish maidens; not only that hardy vitality which can live where almost everything else dies; not only that its fruits are sweet and nourishing, its evergreen bough a worldwide symbol of victory and praise, its bark yielding medicine for the sick, or made into mats for the devout, its mass of perennial foliage making "the scorching sunlight dim, That drinks its greenness from the ground," or indicating to the weary traveller afar off across the desert, where the hidden springs are to be found, — that in fact there are three hundred and sixty** different uses made of it, alive and dead, by the Arabs; — expressing not only all this, but above all, that participation in the sufferings and glories of the Messiah which caused its branches to be strewn prostrate before Him as He approached Jerusalem to die, and its boughs to be waved in joyous triumph at His ultimate exaltation in the feast of tabernacles.***

[* "Three" is the number of full testimony, "two" of sufficient. It applies to objects earthly no less than heavenly. Ed.

** Dr. Angus: Handbook.

*** This remarkable tree, "The princess of the Sylvan race," has sometimes, according to Humbolt, 600,000 flowers, and many thousands of fruits (either dates, cocoa nuts or otherwise). The pith yields sago, etc. It produces everything some tribes use or need, from vegetable ivory to cordage. It gives its best fruit in old age.]

This is a divine definition of a righteous man or woman. It is a pity that our conceptions are often so different — of something hard, rigid and ungenial. We have all met with these beautiful and bountiful natures, whose fruit is never more sweet to our taste than when we have just passed by the bitter waters of Marah. We rest under the shadow of their gracious benediction, and for the moment cease to swell the chorus of those who are always crying that Christians are the worst people in the world.

Two such natures, lately transplanted, have shown how difficult it is to destroy the usefulness of a palm tree: — one was she who was deaf, dumb, blind and otherwise infirm, yet who surrounded herself with an atmosphere of fragrant spiritual life, and earned by her own labours enough to give help to others who were in need; a second was he who went to and fro at Molokai, labouring with his remaining faculties, as one by one they were palsied, and his limbs rotted off, with leprosy. A Latin proverb* conveys the general belief that a palm tree grows best when it is burdened by weights — like the similar belief that a walnut tree thrives most on being beaten. Perhaps it is true, and that that is why the All-wise Husbandman lays burdens, and heavy ones sometimes, on the righteous — such as the weight of these three million people on the heart of Moses, and certainly he grew stronger by it. Mohammed says,** "The Christians say, 'We are the children of God and His beloved.' Answer, 'Why therefore doth He punish you for your sins?'" Well, in the first place, God does not punish us at all; the Father chastens us (two as different matters as for a judge to be dealing with a criminal in the dock and for the same man in his private and domestic capacity to be dealing with his own child at home for disobedience). And, secondly, the christian is chastened because he is "His beloved," just as the tree might be either weighted, beaten or pruned, because the Husbandman cares for it. The number of palm trees is larger and more elaborate than the number of wells. It is five (man's number) doubled=ten, human responsibility, i. e., to God and man — the law has two tables: this is multiplied by seven, the heavenly and earthly numbers combined (three and four)=seventy. Twelve represents a mission amongst the community: seventy represents the community itself. Moses appoints twelve pioneers and seventy elders, as Christ twelve apostles and seventy messengers. Twelve is an official number — twelve gates to the New Jerusalem, etc.: seventy is non-official.

[* Crescit sub pondere virtus.

** Koran ch. 5]

They journey again and the whole congregation murmurs. Moses was beginning to feel the weight of them now. Usually we are apt to think that the qualities which a leader most needs are the strong, vigorous, dominant ones. But, when Pitt was asked his opinion, he replied that the quality which a prime minister most needed is patience.* Pliny said the same things about a judge; and, though Moses had more patience than anyone living (Num. xii. 3), it was exhausted at last at Meribah. "Would to God," say these emancipated slaves, "that we had died by the hand of the Lord [how pious we can make our blasphemies sound by a few interjections of sacred names] in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the fleshpots [I doubt whether they sat much] and when we did eat bread to the full, etc., etc . . . we remember the fish . . . the leeks, and the onions, and the garlic!" Ah, "those good old times" that never really existed: what a glamour is over them — once we are well out of them. What an enchantment distance lends to the view, whether prospective or retrospective. How impressed we should be with a sense of the former highly respectable connections of these people, but that we happen to know that all they had to do with the leeks, the onions and the garlic was to grow them for their taskmasters; and that all they had to do with the fleshpots was to clean them.

[* Dr. Smiles.]

61. The Quails. The Manna. The Sabbath.

1889 335 The learned critic, searching the Pentateuch for flaws with his microscopic mind, — much as a midge might study a mountain — is as grateful for the quails as the Israelites themselves were. Exodus xvi. and Numbers xi. record the giving of quails in different ways: in Numbers a heavy punishment falls on the people whilst they eat them; in Exodus there is nothing said of this, besides other differences. That is enough for the learned critic: the quails are no longer a preliminary dish of mere game; they become evermore a pièce de résistance and are served up with every kind of variety, réchaufée again and again. In his calmly dogmatic way the L. C. announces that the whole Bible is now finally proved — by means of the quails — to be a mere human composition. Numbers and Exodus differ, because Exodus is "Elohistic" and the other "Jehovistic." (These are his two cabalistic words, the open sesame to the esoteric recesses of the dark unwholesome caves of his philosophy.) It is true that Ex. xvi. has more "Jehovahs" in it than Numbers xi., but that is of no consequence to the learned critic: he has said it, and that settles it; — Exodus is Elohistic and Numbers Jehovistic.

If the L. C. will examine a banknote with the same sharp scrutiny, he will find some "flaws" in that (e.g. the tail of the letter f, in the last "of" but one, is forked, — a most defective letter, — and generally on the edge of one of the vowels of the word indicating the note's value there is a white speck, and so forth). But he will be a poor man if he rejects as spurious all the notes thus "flawed," because these are the very signs which at once convince the man of business that the note is genuine: these "flaws" are secret signs, designedly placed there, and the note would be worthless without them. In like manner the L. C.'s "flaws" in the Scripture, when examined, are found to be striking evidences of its divine inspiration and accuracy. "The accounts are not identical." Why, if they were, we should not need more than one of them: it is because they are different and relate to two different events that we have two of them. The events, too, are more than a year apart as Num. ix. 1, etc., proves. In the first case God did not punish the Israelites when giving the quails, because they were as yet being dealt with entirely on the ground of grace; whereas between that and the second case they had voluntarily put themselves under the law and its penalties, and were dealt with entirely on a new ground. Besides, a special decree of forbearance is naturally shown by the Lord to His people in their transitional stage which could not be allowed later on, just as a mother has a special patience with her child when it is being weaned which she could not exercise toward it a year later. — But we will leave the quails with the learned critic. To him they are congenial diet: we have something better.

In both accounts, they are contrasted with the manna, which is food supplied from heaven, with no carnal or mortal element in it. It is a type of Christ (John 6), as the divine Man come down to the earth, as we have Him presented in the Gospels. "That glorious form, that light insufferable, And that far-beaming blaze of majesty, Wherewith He wont at heaven's high council-table To sit the midst of trinal unity He laid aside."* It is a strange mystery. The people say one to another Man-hu? "What is it?" And the question remained to designate it, for no one ever found out really what it was — nor ever will.$ But something we know: it is the sustenance and strength of the redeemed soul. It is the Son of God come down in humiliation; it comes from heaven and rests on the earth, but separated from the defiling ground by the dew (Num. xi. 9)=sanctified by the Spirit and the word. It is "small "=despised, contemned, neglected; but "round" (spherical), it retains its heavenly and perfect character. It is "white "=pure, holy; and it is "sweet."

[* Milton: Nativity.

$ Though the learned critic says it was tamarix mannifera; but we decline to accept him as an authority on this subject.]

What that means no mortal tongue can tell. It tasted like honey, but no one ever yet defined what that is like. From despised things we often get the most valued, the gold from the dust, the pearl from the oyster-shell; from the common coal tar come the most exquisite scents, the beautiful aniline dyes, and, above all, the saccharin, three hundred times sweeter than sugar. We can neither understand nor define, yet we use the term and think we know something of what it suggests. For from the time when Peter wrote of "Him Whom not having seen, ye love . . . in Whom ye rejoice with joy unspeakable" till now, the records of the church abound with evidences of the sweetness of this holy and delightful ambrosia.

What an anthologia of rapturous expressions of personal delight in our blessed Saviour and personal affection to Him, of the sense of His sweetness and loveliness, could be culled from even the musty tomes of "the Fathers" or the driest volumes of the school-theology of their children! It is worth while wading through the long pages of their puerilities to come to such words as these, for instance, from Augustine, "O Lord, I love Thee, Thou hast transfixed my heart. I could not be satiated with Thy wondrous sweetness." The iron fetters of the sombre theology of the dark centuries could not prevent St. Bernard from singing that beautiful hymn, "Jesus, the very thought of Thee With sweetness fills the breast"; nor prevent those outpourings of devout ecstasy from Thos. à Kempis and St. Francis de Sales. "The sacred humanity of our Lord," says old Baxter, "is the most proportionable, delightful, sweet . . ." and sings of "the flowers that grow in Christ's sweet meadows." "O Christ, He is the fountain, The deep, sweet well of love," says S. Rutherford. "When I say 'Sweet Jesus' the third time," said the Earl of Derwentwater to the executioner, "Then strike:" and he knelt down and put his neck on the block, saying, "Sweet Jesus, sweet Jesus, sweet . . ." but the axe fell all too soon.

Nor is it alone the cultured or intelligent that taste this sweetness. The poor Scotch idiot boy will babble about "yon lovely Man": and the poor dying Irishwoman cries, "Ma sheached mile gra," "My seven thousand times beloved." And with these expressions there is always a sense of heart-rest which shows us what a mysterious connection there is, as in this chapter, between the manna and the sabbath; as if one should hear the peaceful humming of the bees whilst he tastes the sweetness of the honey. "Thou hast made the heart for Thyself," says the converted prodigal of old, "And it is restless until it finds its rest in Thee." The converted captain of the slave-ship sings, "How sweet the name of Jesus sounds . . . 'Tis manna to the hungry
soul, And to the weary, rest."

62. The Omer of Manna: The Water: The Amalekites.

1889 351 The same creature will at different times of its existence entirely change its food, rejecting the old and relishing the new. The caterpillar gorges itself with cabbage-leaf whilst it crawls prone on the earth; but, when that mysterious change comes which transforms and glorifies it into an ethereal being flying over sunlit gardens, it cares nothing for the old gross food; it sips with delicacy and delight from the nectaries of the flowers. The food of Egypt — the leeks, the onions, and the garlic — is of the earth, earthy, the roots which are pulled out of the ground. The food of Canaan grows above the earth in the heavenly places — the fig, the vine, the pomegranate, the old corn of the land. Between the two is the wilderness where the food is different from either, coming down from heaven and resting on the earth — the heavenly Christ in humiliation, for which one must indeed stoop, but neither grovel nor burrow. Of this intermediate wilderness food an omer, that is, a fall man's daily portion, is afterwards laid up in the Ark of the Testimony, being perpetually kept as a. treasure and memorial before the Lord by the people. When they reach the promised land, they will five by the other food referred to, which typifies Christ in resurrection and ascension — having fallen as a corn of wheat into the ground and died, and now no longer abiding alone. But each soul will for ever treasure a full remembrance and appreciation of that lovely and holy human life, the contemplation of which was our spiritual strength and nourishment here. For this purpose the manna could be kept without losing its freshness during the sabbath (Millennium, Heb. iv.) or throughout eternity. But when men sought to lay it by for other purposes, they were disappointed: if instead of appropriating Christ when He is proffered, while it is "today," we presume to make a mere convenience of Him, we shall find no result but corruption and defilement: the proffered blessing becomes a curse.

The people reach Rephidim, and Moses is commanded to take the rod (of judgment) and with it to smite the Rock; on which the waters streamed forth, giving renewed life, cleansing and refreshment to the tribes. "That rock was Christ," and, consequent on His sacred suffering under the judgment of God, the Holy Ghost proceeds forth with an exhaustless regenerating, purifying, and restoring power. — (The learned critic confuses this event with one that occurs twenty years afterwards in Numbers xx., but there are some deeply instructive differences, which he calls discrepancies: chiefly that in Numbers Moses is not told to strike the rock, but to speak to it, for Christ, having once suffered, must not be put afresh to suffering. Also he is told to take the rod [of Aaron's priestly office]; he does take it, but smites the rock, and smites it with his own judicial rod, making a serious double mistake, as we are told in ver. 7.)

Then a remarkable change of attitude occurs. That which is connected with the manna is the sabbath — with Christ comes rest; but when they get the water, the Amalekites come and give them battle — with the Holy Ghost's advent is conflict.* The disciples were to stay at Jerusalem until the promised Spirit was given; and then immediately began their tremendous struggle with the powers of evil — not before, for God does not let the battle commence till His soldiers are thus empowered to meet the foe. A new leader is now required. The wise, all-comprehensive, shepherd-care of Moses continues ever; but an aggressive attitude is now to be assumed, and so Joshua leads in the van of the host, and chooses lieutenants (Acts xiii. 2) — a type of the leadership in the power of the Holy Ghost of the people of God against their spiritual foes through the wilderness of life, whilst Moses, aloft in prayer, represents the simultaneous intercession of our Lord on high: if the intercession cease for a moment, the battle goes against them.

[* W. Kelly's Lectures on the Pentateuch.]

It is necessary that the redeemed people of God should have training and practice in warfare. Though strife in itself is so contrary to the divine nature, yet we are placed in conditions where it is necessary to tight earnestly and ceaselessly; therefore discipline and instruction are needed. David says, "He teacheth my hands to war, so that a bow of steel is broken by mine arms." There may be (to reason on Bp. Butler's lines*) no need of conflict in the future life, but there may be every need for those qualities of character produced by conflict here, qualities that could be only produced by this means. "Plenty and peace breed cowards; hardness ever Of hardiness is mother." There are studies, such as mathematics, which we have to go through in our schooling days, which the bulk of us find no necessity for using in later life; but we always find the benefit of the logical habit and mental discipline that could be produced only by such studies. King Arthur's sword is hung up by his emblazoned shield never to be used in war again, but its record ennobles it. We know that fire, blows, and attrition have evolved temper, power, keenness, and beauty in it, and that these qualities for ever remain; we know that the king's arm has wielded it against his foes in battle, and that, above all, is what glorifies Excalibur and distinguishes it from a piece of common metal.

[* Analogy, ch. 5, p. 92.]

And since these qualities have to be developed, and can only — so far as we know — be developed by conflict, it is one of the highest attributes of Christianity that it leads us to war, not against our fellowmen — much less against our fellow-Christians — but against the evil principles* that assail both them and us. Its genius is presented in the similitude of a Physician Who, whilst He mercifully heals and saves men, grapples with and slays the malignant, lurking evils that fasten on them and seek to destroy them. The conflicts of the physician with ghastly and insidious disease, often in peril of his life, call for as much courage, energy, vigilance, and capacity as those of the soldier on the field of battle. The qualities needed are the same, but the tendency of their action is reversed. "The Son of God goes forth to war . . . His blood-red banner streams afar; Who follows in His train? . . . Who patient bears his
cross below, He follows in His train." Conflict may be in passive suffering and endurance as truly as in energetic assault.

[* And spiritual powers of evil too, wicked spirits. Accordingly Amalek represents Satan working by flesh, though not in the heavenlies. The enemy has various spheres of evil energy. Ed. B. T.]

Each of Israel's foes has its peculiar typical character and methods of warfare. The Amalekites represent those carnal and sinful principles which seek now in the wilderness to hinder and injure us. Their method of warfare — quite different from that of the politic Philistine or the brave Jebusite — was mean and cowardly: they "smote the hindmost . . . all that were feeble . . . when thou wast faint and
weary," a dastard foe that lies in wait for every subtle and unfair advantage against our souls, — whom God has sworn to destroy and concerning whom He has commanded, "Thou shalt blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven, — thou shalt not forget, it." Other foes might be treated leniently, but not this one. There must be no truce; no quarter — guerre à l'outrance.

If we indulge the evil fleshly nature, we are feeding Amalek instead of fighting him, and are traitors to our leader and cause. The synapta, or "sea cucumber," has a power of great and rapid growth when it has much to feed on — like the sinful principles within and around us; but when deprived of food, it has the power to shed off parts of its body, bit by bit, till there is little but the head left (that, indeed, is very slow to die, but it is not formidable without limbs to work with). The most effective way of fighting Amalek is by cutting off his supplies. He lingers long, and many times after he seems to have been entirely destroyed, we meet his accursed race in very unexpected places — Agag on the throne; Haman in the council-chamber; but the ruthless sword of the prophet shall hew Agag in pieces, and Haman shall perish on the gallows that he had designed for Mordecai.

63. The General Assembly at the Mount of God.

1889 366 In contending with Amalek there is as great a necessity for praying (ver. 11) as for fighting: one is the complement of the other — as much so as eating and drinking; and one will not suffice without the other, or we may drift either into the dreamy fatalism of the hermit, or else into the barren "perpetual motion" of the sensationalist. Cromwell's maxim about the powder is sound theology; and though his troops were often seen on their knees by their enemies, they found they were not on their knees to them; their enemies never had the advantage of seeing them with their backs turned, anyway. There is no antagonism between prayer and energy, trust and vigilance: true prayer will lead to energy; true energy will lead to prayerfulness. We should pray as if all depended on God, and fight as if all depended on us.

When Amalek has been conquered, the first thing; to be established is naturally an altar. The principle of organised public worship is to be the distinguishing characteristic and most salient feature of the Pilgrim Nation, so Moses calls the altar Jehovah-Nissi, "the Lord my banner."

For a fighting army always needs a standard, which forms, not only a rallying point and expression of unity, but an inspiring emblem of the Cause for which it is contending, and a public demonstration of the same. There are few evidences of the power of sentiment and symbolism so great as the banner — a mere piece of silk or bunting, with a name or rough figure on it, intrinsically worth only a few shillings; yet warriors will grapple in deadly fray around it, the young ensign's eye glaze in death as he tries to hold it, and one man after another will spring forward and pour out his heart's blood in its defence. For this reason all that sentiment can do to invest a banner with every accessory that can awaken and sustain enthusiasm is usually accomplished: sovereigns personally present the regimental flags, while the chief religious dignitaries pronounce their benedictions on them amid circumstances of the utmost pageantry. On Israel's banner is inscribed the august name of JEHOVAH, and it requires no addition of party name, symbol or shibboleth. It is great enough for us all to fight under — so be it that we fight not one another, but Amalek. Nor shall we be allowed either to monopolise it or to rip it into sections (this is an abnormal taste truly, which would prefer a section of a flag to the whole, yet, strange to say, the taste exists). And we can rest assured that, like the battle flag of the old Norse champion, which, though fatal to him that carried it, ultimately led all that followed it to victory, this banner of the Lord shall advance from strength to strength, until it waves on the ramparts of Zion.

The passage that then follows is an adumbration of that time of final triumph. The clouds open and reveal to us a radiant and glorious vision on the MOUNT OF GOD of Moses receiving Zipporah from Jethro the Gentile, while Gershom and Eliezer stand by, and the hosts of the warriors and chiefs surround them, having by the power of God overcome their enemies and reached their (immediate) goal. So the divine Saviour shall be revealed in the future with the spiritual Bride who came from the Gentile home; while the upright Gentile of Matt. xxv., who is received with a kiss of peace and affection, is allowed to sacrifice*, and the Jewish remnant in "two bands" (Gershom and Eliezer) are received there in friendship and safety in the presence of the myriads of the Redeemed, whose conflicts and sufferings are over.**

[* Ex. xviii. 7-12. Isaiah xix. 19.

** Of these overcomers the Leader appoints rulers of different orders of importance as in Matt. xxv. 21, etc.]

Thus do we see that, however broken and incoherent the divine purposes may seem to be during their development, at some period or other, in time or eternity, they grow naturally and certainly to a denouement which is perfect in beauty and splendour. There is in the classics a vision of vapours rising — heavy and vague — from a great plain; but as the sun shines on them they gradually assume the semblance of a noble city with "cloud-capped towers, solemn temples and gorgeous palaces," which seems risen from the ground as an exhalation indeed, but an exhalation of glory and magnificence, like "the holy Jerusalem descending out of heaven from God."

We can as yet see only "through a glass darkly," and know only "in part." Let us not judge prematurely of the ways of the Most High; they tend toward a glorious goal. The grand and resplendent consummation of which we have the type shall assuredly come, but we must wait until the solar light from the battlements of heaven shall shine on these seeming earth-clouds. Shall we judge of the building whilst the scaffolding with its litter of ropes and rude timbers encloses the unfinished walls? or of the ship whilst still on the stocks? or of the tapestry whilst it is in a cluster of running threads in the midst of jangling wheels, all driving in contrary directions? How many shapes of ugliness does the clay take as the potter's thumb touches it on the flying wheel before at last it reaches its perfection of symmetry? "We see but dimly through the mists and vapours, Amid these earthly damps; What seem to us but sad funereal tapers May be heaven's distant lamps." And what seems to us but as a mass of clouds overhead shall soon open and reveal the unutterable glories of the constellations of the accomplished purposes of God, all governed by that supreme Pole-star whom He has appointed as the pivot of "the vast universe of bliss."

Moreover, the Pole-star is a double star. And what a strange mystery that double star is! — two distinct globes, yet seeming but one by reason of their mingled lustre; one sphere of light for ever circling round another; each consecrated to the companionship of the other, yet together projecting their combined light far through the darkness of infinite space; each one gleaming with the complementary colours of the other, and together combining a glory of radiance blended into one pure light, which streams out upon a universe teeming with the multiform phases of perennial life. "This is THE GREAT MYSTERY; but I speak concerning Christ and concerning the church." "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth His handiwork!"

64. The Law and the Testimony.

1889 378 The course of Israel, as illustrating God's dealings and purposes with the redeemed people, culminates in the supreme and resplendent glories of the General Assembly on the holy mount. It is the close of a record of absolute grace on the one side and absolute unworthiness on the other. We now come to the consideration of a new aspect of things altogether (Ex. 19, etc.): namely, the history of Israel, (1) as illustrating man under the law; and (2) as being the repository of the principles of (a) divine service and (b) divine testimony.

"All other nations but the Jewish," says S. T. Coleridge in his 'Table Talk', "seem to look backwards, and also to exist in the present; but in the Jewish scheme everything is prospective and preparatory: nothing, however trifling, is done for itself alone; but all is typical of something yet to come." "Old Fuller" has an ingenious conceit to the effect that "the Hebrew tongue hath no proper present tense, but two future tenses." The author of Religio Medici says, "It is not unremarkable what Philo first observed, that the law of Moses continued two thousand years without the least alteration; whereas we see the laws of other commonwealths do alter with occasions; and even those that pretend their original from some divinity too have vanished without trace or memory." Even Renan, whose difficult task it is to put as changeable and evolutionary an appearance on the Jewish system as possible, says, "This organism was completed 450 years [more like 1450, though] before Christ. Judaism then became an abridgment of all the religious work of the world."*

[* Hist. Jews, Vol. ii.]

Thus do even the smallest actions of the Jews become magnified and thrown forward over the field of the world's vision, as in the spectre of the Brocken in Hungary, when the traveller sees his shadow projected by the light behind him athwart the whole sky, enormously enlarged in all its dimensions: when he raises his walking-stick or casts a stone on the ground, the projected shadow seems like Odin plucking up a tree by the roots, or Jupiter casting Mount Etna on Typhon.

In considering the Jewish records then we are not merely studying ancient history, but contemporary history, of principles and events such as we are now passing through. So when Israel is placed under the law he is tested as representing all mankind, and when he has the sanctuary and testimony committed to him, he is privileged on behalf of the whole race: it is not merely national or parochial, it is cosmic. To test the whole world in any other way so as to give a definite historic result would be manifestly impossible. The principle is the same as that which we see going on all day long in every-day life: in nearly all cases of trading the buyer only sees a small sample of the merchandise that he is invited to purchase. It is impossible for him to see, taste, and smell the whole bulk. So the hand is pushed into the corn sack, cotton bale, or tea chest, and a little taken out to represent the whole; or the "valinch" is plunged into the wine-butt and withdrawn with a sample so small that its absence is not missed, yet by it both buyer and seller agree to abide. If it be satisfactory, well and good; if not, the bulk is judged by the sample and rejected. And this last is what happened when Israel's corruption was finally proved: the time of probation was ended, and it was said, "Now is the judgment of this world."

The law is given amid circumstances of appalling grandeur, with lurid "fire, and blackness, and darkness, and tempest," in contrast with the gospel, which came in with the symbolism of luminous tongues — the law being given in one language, the gospel in all; the law to condemn, the gospel to save; the law to detect what was lacking, the gospel to supply it; the law to disclose sin, the gospel to disclose righteousness; the law to pronounce judgment, the gospel to proclaim mercy; the law to detect man, the gospel to reveal God. The law's commands are numerous, negative, and complicated; the gospel's command is simple and single — "That we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ" and "love one another."

Yet "the law is holy . . . and just, and good," and perfectly adapted to the testing purpose to which it has been applied, and also to the purpose for which it has been designed, of being a "schoolmaster [to bring us] unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith." This figure implies a preparatory stage of things during a period of immaturity, at the expiration of which is found the liberty of Christ, which the Galatians so little understood. But that liberty no more implies license than the liberty of a youth freed from the authority of his schoolmaster implies freedom from the restraints of the amenities of honour and propriety. "Liberty" is bounded by "Christ." Usually we have a stronger regard for, and appreciation of, our schoolmasters when we reach maturity than we ever had before. We certainly do not wish to destroy them-that would be antinomian — nor to continue in subjection to them — that were to be Galatian and antichristian.

Of (2a) the principles of divine service anon. But of (2b) the testimony I may here say that Israel has certainly at all times been a powerful evidence to God's rule and the character of it in the earth. "Ye are My witnesses;" and not only so in being the custodians of the divine oracles, but in themselves and in respect of their whole history whether in good or evil. For infinite wisdom had so adjusted the matter that whilst they jealously guarded and carried about those scriptures that condemned nearly every step they took, even their national sins and judgments were evidences that those oracles were divinely inspired. The more deeply this is considered the more will be seen the wisdom of the reply which Frederick the Great's chaplain made when the king asked him for an evidence in brief of the inspiration of scripture. He answered, "The Jews, sire." And very powerful negative evidence to this comes just now from an opponent. Renan says, "It was only eighteen hundred years after Jesus Christ that the work of the Jewish people met with the first severe blow [from those of his own line of thought]. It then became doubtful to minds that were at all cultivated whether the things of this world were ruled by a just God." This is naive, but very important: the Jewish people have carried the evidence of the rule of a just God over the whole earth even till now. It is true that some small scientists are stated to have recently upset the whole thing; but perhaps it may even survive that. (We seem to remember that a brilliant fellow-countryman of M. Renan claimed to have done something of the sort a century ago, when he said that it took twelve men to build up Christianity and only one (i.e., himself) to pull it down. Still, somehow it survived and used his own house afterwards to print Bibles in.)

The purpose of God is sure to be brought about. If He says to the Jews, "Ye are My witnesses," they shall be so in one way or another. He does not light candles to put them under beds or bushels: if they are not a testimony in the burning and shining light of obedience and blessing, they shall be so in the gross darkness of sin and curse. If not by a flaming candle, it shall be by a smoking candle. And no one can hide it: Pharaoh and many another tried to do so, but, like the man in the Indian proverb who tried to shut up the sun, moon, and stars in three chests, with very imperfect success.

65. The Slave's Ear Bored: The Thirty Shekels.

1890 15 When Tischendorf went to Mount Sinai, he found a copy of the Gospels there, where it had been for nearly 1,500 years. It was a strange phenomenon, the mountain labouring and bringing forth — a dove. In the same way when the Law itself had existed for about 1,500 years, the Interpreter came Who showed us (Matt. 5, etc.) that in some respects within the letter of its text it held the spirit of the new dispensation. "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God . . . and thy neighbour as thyself." "Love is the fulfilling of the law." The gospel goes beyond it, but not against it. There is sometimes a mistaken effort to exalt the gospel by contrasting it with, and by inference disparaging, the law. This is not "using the law lawfully." For in its most legal and condemnatory passages it contains by implication or prophecy, a foreshadowing of good things to come; and even the record of the giving of the ten commandments is immediately followed by a most remarkable passage (Ex. xxi.), where the obedience of love is compared with the obedience of law — the spirit with the letter.

The slave who had to be set free on the sabbatic year might elect to remain in perpetual servitude. "If the servant shall plainly say, I love my master, my wife, and my children: I will not go out free; then his master shall bring him to the door post and bore his ear through with an awl; and he shall serve him for ever." Here the thought is so far from an obedience sub poena, that the slave voluntarily suffers pain and sheds his blood sooner than not serve. Nor can there be any doubt that the interpretation is right which regards this as a type of the divine Servant voluntarily engaging Himself to perpetual servitude because of His love to God and to the spiritual Bride. In Ps. xl. 6 He says, "Mine ears hast Thou opened:" the word translated "opened" — kahhrah — is translated in Ps. xxii. 16 "pierced" (my hands and my feet).

As Jacob's seven years' service for Rachel suggests Christ's becoming a servant in order to win the church, so this represents an everlasting service willingly undertaken in order to retain it. The depth of love and the height of devotion here implied only seem the more infinitely beyond our contemplation the more we meditate upon them. Now and then we see some faint reflection here on earth, as when Devine, following her whom he had wooed into prison, was wedded to her in the condemned cell, and held her dead body in his arms till he himself expired with a last "Je t'aime" dying on his lips; or when Leonhard Dober deliberately gave himself into slavery that he might preach the liberty of Christ to his fellow-slaves in the West Indies. Sometimes too we see some reflection of such love and fidelity in a servant — "I love my master" — as when that brave Russian leaped amongst the wolves to save his master, or when the French bonne recently gave herself to the mad dog that her mistress's children might escape.

There are two other typical references in this chapter which are significantly associated with this. In ver. 13 the Cities of Refuge are briefly alluded to, whither the poor outcast, blood-guilty by misfortune, might fly for protection; and in ver. 32 the mention of thirty pieces of silver, which we find stated as the compensation for a dead slave. To the dishonour of our race we remember that this was the precise value which, after bargaining, was put upon the Son of God by the religions leaders of the day. It was a sober business transaction, and therein consists its bitter contempt, its being undesigned. They thought Him a wicked man, but, even so, not worth more than a few shekels' reward. This insult was keenly felt, even amongst so many other terrible injuries. "They weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver . . . Cast it unto the potter; a goodly price that I was prized at of them! (Zech. xi. 11-13.) We frequently see twenty times as much offered for the apprehension of some common malefactor. This was a long time ago. Yes, but there are millions of people around us who would not surrender even that for the possession of Christ now.

Consider for a moment what became of the money for which our Lord was sold. The traitor could not keep nor use it: it blistered his hands, and he threw it back to the priests; but their piety prevented their taking it. Eventually it was paid for a potter's field, as had been prophesied. Now is there anything more desolate than a field — robbed of its clay, and strewn with calcined cinders and other refuse — which a potter has done with? And to what purpose was the field put? The most miserable and melancholy of all, though perhaps in this world the most useful and necessary of all — "to bury strangers in! Therefore that field was called the Field of Blood unto this day." Characteristically to the last, even the blood-money of the great Martyr goes to buy a refuge and resting-place for the bodies of wretched aliens. Oh, can there be a more pathetic connection of thought in all the long eternity, past or future, than the thought of the dead Benefactor hanging on that rude cross, with His thorn-crowned head sunken on His breast, and the desolate burying-ground for nameless paupers that was purchased by the price of His betrayal!

66. Israel as Illustrating the Principles of Divine Service.

1890 30 (2a) Xenophon relates a conversation which Socrates had with Aristodemus the Little concerning the obligation of divine worship. Aristodemus was inclined to atheism, but by an argument which Socrates advanced in his usual, courteous, questioning manner, he succeeded in convincing him. Up to this part of the dispute the old philosopher had been perfect: his arguments in proof of a divine design, wisdom and beneficence have been the model of all such reasonings ever since; the embryo of Paley's famous illustration of the watch and Lord Brougham's of the crab's tentaculae might be found in the remarks to Aristodemus about the human ear and eyelash. When, however, Aristodemus at last says, "I would have [the Deity] send on purpose to let me know expressly all that I ought to do or not to do," the sage's reply shows us how lamentably in the dark on these subjects the human race was. For the greatest and most capacious mind of a nation of philosophers gives answers concerning portents and prodigies; and (subsequently to Euthydemus) he says approvingly that the Delphian oracle commands to "follow the custom of your country."

It seems harsh and crude to say that a modern Sunday-school child knows much more of this subject than the ancient philosopher, yet it is quite true — as true as that the modern child knows very much more of geography and astronomy than Plato and Aristotle, who never suspected that the western hemisphere had continents, that Saturn had rings, or Jupiter moons; but of course all this is no matter of credit to the modern child or discredit to them. What was unknown to them has been disclosed to us, that is all. "If I can see more than others," said Sir Isaac Newton, "it is because I am standing upon giants' shoulders," meaning that his discoveries were based upon those of Copernicus and others who preceded him. And if we in the christian era know more as to the service of God than those of former times, it is because we have been raised on giants' shoulders to see that which God has been pleased to reveal — primarily by means of the Hebrew system.

"Do but consider," continued Socrates on this subject, "that the sun, that seems to be exposed to the sight of all the world, does not suffer us to gaze fixedly upon him, and whoever has the temerity to undertake it is punished with sudden blindness." This is only partially true whether of the type or of the antitype: the sun will sometimes, while still visible, veil himself sufficiently to be gazed on by all; "Lo, in the orient when the gracious Light Lifts up his burning head, each under eye Doth homage to his new-appearing sight, Serving with looks his sacred majesty . . . Attending on his golden pilgrimage." If Herschel sat to study the sun for twenty-five years, so may those whose telescopes reach into that heaven far beyond the stars contemplate for ever the great Source of all light and life, with reverence and godly fear indeed, but with ever increasing love and adoration: ever to apprehend, never to comprehend. "When I have laved the sea dry," said the boy to St. Augustine, "then thou shalt understand the Trinity."

But it is true that this kind of contemplation has a powerful effect on the sight. Gazing long on the sun somewhat unfits the eye for the time for minute discernment of surrounding things. Sir Isaac Newton had looked so much on it that its image remained continually impressed on his sight, even, it is said, when in the darkness of night; and there seems to have been some similar persistency of vision on the spiritual retina of his namesake, the friend of Cowper — "I meditate on Thee in the night watches." A recent biographer says that when John Newton was getting old he used sometimes to forget himself when preaching, and would turn to an old servant standing near him, saying, "What was I speaking of?" when the answer invariably was, "You were speaking of the Lord Jesus Christ, sir."

Now that which Aristodemus and multitudes of others sought vainly to know, which even a Socrates could not disclose, has been revealed to man by means of the Hebrew system. God thus made known the principles on which and the methods by which He required that men should approach, worship, and serve Him. At that time they were only to stand "afar off," it is true, and behold Him with the outward eye. (Ex. xxiv. 10.) When Christ, the true Israel, was appointed, He disclosed infinitely more; then men were "brought nigh" and beheld Him with the inward and spiritual vision,* — in a sense in which He had never been seen before. But all the main elements relating to Approach, Worship, and Service, are here set forth in a system of symbol-teaching; this part of the Pentateuch being arranged as a Kindergarten for the world, in the childhood of the race. This system of instruction has been for three thousand years on the earth; therefore it would be strange indeed if we did not know more on such subjects than the ancient philosophers. How much mankind need the instruction, and how terribly misguided the most devout minds may be for the lack of it, we may see in the puerile superstitions, the gross cruelties and foul abominations of even such highly civilised peoples as the ancient Greeks and modern Chinese. How pitiful it is to read of that devout Phoongye who deliberately burnt himself to death the other day, to offer himself to God. If he had had some of our knowledge! and if we had some of his devotion!

[* John i. 18. heoraken — Acts viii. 23, trans. "perceive."]

The method in which this instruction is conveyed is by a vast and elaborate system of symbols in connection with the scheme of the tabernacle. These symbols are impressive by reason of a certain majestic dignity in their arrangement, which is most strange; for it must be admitted that symbols are in a sense toys, though useful ones; and it is not easy in general to keep the mind from a kind of levity in considering them. This, however, is chiefly a matter of association. For we may sometimes see a bereaved mother weeping as if her heart would break over a few little toys, which to her are as pitiful and pathetic as to others they are puerile and unmeaning. Symbolism had to be used, as Italian is used in music, because it is the only language universally understood (in connection with that subject); and, further, there are no other means — even now, much less in olden times — of conveying in human language many of the highest spiritual principles. Besides this, symbols attract the attention, impress the memory, and enlighten the understanding.

67. The Sanctuary. The Ark: The Mercy Seat.

1890 47 "Let them make me a sanctuary that I may dwell among them:" (Ex. xxv. 8, etc.) the primary principle of worship was enunciated in that word "sanctuary." The dignity and majesty of God is of such nature that no worship can be acceptable that is not holy; and, as there was no word in human language that would convey the true meaning of this, it has to be conveyed by physical types, ordinances and emblems.

There were, indeed, words which conveyed part of the meaning. All those terms which carry the idea of consecration, corban, taboo, fetish, signify that a thing must be kept apart for the deity's service and must not be made common use of. This principle we see all day around us. The head of the house, of the firm, or of the state, will object to have other persons using his implements. He says, "That is my pen, or sword, or sceptre: leave it alone." He would not use them if they become common and unclean by general handling. Nay, do we not all extend this kind of sequestration over our immediate belongings to a certain extent, and feel somewhat resentful if people roughly use and coarsely handle them? Does not every mother say at times to her child, "You must not touch that; it is your father's"

And this is not merely a question of dignity: one of the chief reasons for this exclusive appropriation is in order that the instruments may be kept clean and fit for the master's use, which would be impossible if everyone be allowed to take them. Precisely the same considerations apply to the use of instruments appropriated by God, but the elements which disqualify them from being fit for His service, being moral and spiritual, are naturally little understood by men. Hence they needed an elaborate ritual (originally) to enable them to understand this word sanctify; that it does not merely mean "keep apart" (like taboo, corban, or fetish) but it means, keep apart in purity.

For instance the priests separated to many of the Greek and Roman gods organised as part of their worship the most horrible and nameless crimes; and it was generally true of any idolatrous priests of old, that so long as he observed certain exclusive attitudes and forms he could be as evil as he liked; as now in such places as Dahomy where a person or thing is "Ju-Ju," set apart for the deity, Je-whe, but it may be the foulest person in the tribe or the most unclean thing — a serpent frequently. The gigantic high-priest of the Hawaiians was perhaps the most wicked man in that hemisphere: he would kill a man for treading on his shadow. But a priest sanctified to Jehovah must avoid evil, for that is especially what is abhorrent to his God; and (since no man but One has avoided it altogether) the ordinances taught him to live in the habitual condemnation of evil, and provided him with a means of cleansing himself, when from casualty or infirmity he was defiled by earthly contacts (but they made no provision whatever for his wanton continuance in it).

The directions for making the Ark are given first of all, even before the building in which it was to be placed. Who but God would think of the furniture before the house? Yet the reason is plain: the Ark was the type of Christ, and consequently everything had to be built out from and in connection with it; for it sets Him forth as the core from which everything flows centrifugally, and the Centre to which everything tends centripetally in God's system of worship. Around it all the people were to assemble; when it moved they were to follow, when it stopped they were to encamp, till it ultimately led them through the Jordan into the promised land: arrived thither, it is deposited in the magnificent temple constructed for its reception where it still maintained its central and dominant position.

It was made of a fragrant wood (signifying the humanity of Christ) covered with gold, "within and without" (the symbol of His divine majesty). It contained the tables of the law ("thy law is within my heart" Psalm 40:8.), also the pot of manna, the treasured memorial of His humiliation here on earth; and (subsequently) Aaron's rod that budded, the emblem of priestly power and authority. Upon it was placed the mercy seat, and upon that rested the Shekinah, the visible semblance of the divine presence. That is, Christ is the basis on which mercy is exercised and dispensed; the Mercy Seat rests on, and is in a sense part of, the Ark*: the mercy seat is beaten out of solid gold, however, — no wood or human element in the divine mercy; it is absolute — and beaten out of the same piece of gold are the cherubim, one at each end, emblems of judgment.** Justice and mercy are thus met in Christ and combined in favour of the approaching worshipper, for the cherubs' faces are toward each other and toward the seat: that is to say, justice answers to the face of justice, and, looking upon the mercy seat, sees the atoning blood sprinkled thereon.

[* Christ Jesus Whom God hath set forth to be a mercy seat - same word as in Heb. ix. 8 — hilasterion

** See Paper IV. for detailed explanation.].

They were commanded to make staves to carry the ark by. These were symbols of itinerancy, and express to us the manner in which our Lord accompanies His people in all their wanderings through the wilderness, "I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." Until they crossed Jordan they were commanded to leave the staves in their rings; but when they reach their goal in the promised land they take out the staves (1 Kings 8:8.), for now they were to wander no more.

There was to be a golden crown round the top of the ark. This would be about the edge of the mercy seat, and thus we see what is expressed in the words "Thy glory crowns Thy grace." Men usually connect crowns with physical conquests and material successes, not with patience and forbearance. The nine crowns of heraldry are of this nature. The Romans had indeed the corona civis which was awarded for the rescue of a citizen in battle, and the corona obsidionalis for a general who saved an army; but the first was of oak-leaves, and the second of grass or wild flowers, while their crowns for deeds of prowess and slaughter were of gold. No man ever thought that there was anything glorious in grace that a crown of beauty and dignity should be awarded to it: we had derided it and awarded it a crown indeed, but — of thorns. But God's thoughts are not as ours. He "beheld His glory, the glory [not of outward dignity as Messiah or Son of man, though these also are His, but the inward moral beauties of divine nature] as of the Only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." "Grace is poured into Thy lips: therefore God hath blessed Thee for ever."

68. The Table: The Candlestick: The Tongs.

1890 62 The next thing in the tabernacle that is treated of is the position of the people of God. They are represented by the twelve loaves of showbread, corresponding to the number of the tribes; and these emblems are placed on a table before the ark — but outside a veil. This veil is removed in the present dispensation, having been rent asunder at the death of our Lord. (Matt. xxvii. 51; Heb. x. 20.) It was torn from the top to the bottom, signifying, (a) that it was done by God and not by man — from His side, not ours; and (b) that the action is final and absolute. Therefore the people are brought immediately into the divine presence — "brought nigh." The table on which the showbread rested was a further type of Christ. It was made of wood covered with gold (deity covering and investing His humanity), surrounded by a golden crown and border, or guard: and over the bread, which lay in rows,* was laid the frankincense. Thus we have them in a certain sense "in Christ." His people rest on Him, as the bread rests on the table. They are surrounded by Him, as the guard and crown surrounded the bread on that table, to protect and glorify them; and they are covered by the fragrant frankincense of His holy and perfect nature, ever ascending to God in their favour. The table has rings and staves, which fact shows that its application is now, during the time of their earthly pilgrimage, that all this is true of the redeemed. We do not wait to be in heaven to be in Christ in this position of extraordinary privilege and honour. The best robe is brought forth from the father's house (to apply another type) that the prodigal may be invested with it just where he stands.

[* Not in piles as usually represented, Lev. xxiv. They were all on the same level, like those at king Arthur's table, which was round, that none should have higher or lower place than another.]

Immediately connected with that is the Candlestick (or lampstand) of pure gold. It consisted of the central shaft with triple branches at each side something in the form of a vine, with which its meaning is somewhat parallel, though distinct. There is the same primary idea of the branches abiding in Christ as their centre and support, but in the vine the chief thought is fruit-bearing; here it is light-giving. The two services, though continually mingled, are distinct operations. In the vine each branch is supplied with the life-giving sap from the central stem, as each soul receives his power for spiritual bloom and fruitfulness by abiding in Christ. And each branch of the candlestick is made with a flower, and the developing fruit (knop) behind it. As light-givers, however, the source of power is the Holy Ghost, symbolised by the usual figure of the oil; even our Lord Himself, the central shaft, gives light in this way, that is, by the power of the Holy Ghost. This light shines continually on the table upon which in symbol the redeemed are exalted, covered with frankincense in the divine presence.

The light-giving function is at its highest and most appropriate use in. the tabernacle, where it reveals all the relations between God and His people, but of course its use is universal. That was the true light, which (lit.) coming into the world lighteth every man. That of Galilee, and not — for example — Buddha, though his name signifies the Enlightened One, nor even Moses, though he gave an anticipatory reflection of that light, as a mirror might. What literal darkness, with its sins and doubts, its fears, perils, and lurking evils, is to the outward man, spiritual darkness — ignorance, prejudice, evil — is to the inward man. Light is knowledge; which seems a very meagre definition, but it is beautiful in itself as well as in what it discloses and creates. For it discloses loveliness as truly as deformity, and not only discloses but creates all the beauties of colour that deck the gorgeous universe. Light, which is the primal work of creation and which is a symbol of God Himself, is of so mysterious a nature that even though we find out year by year more about it, yet we do not know even now for certain what it is, — whether for instance it be an element that travels to us from the heavens, or the vibration of some omnipresent ether, impalpable and all-pervading. None can understand it, but all can benefit by it. Each decade brings us some fresh discovery concerning it. Its susceptibility to sound; its power to produce sound; its power to reproduce form; its actual physical power to move bodies, as shown by the radiometer; its power to draw the tender shoot of the plant above the black earth; and when the darkness is doing its deadly work of producing poisonous carbonic acid gas from its leaves, the light suddenly appears, stops it, and in its turn produces the life-giving oxygen.

All this is true of that spiritual revelation and instruction which comes primarily from on high, to show us our sins and dangers, to guard us from hell and guide us to heaven, to heal and refresh our eyes — though it be painful at first as the sun's rays to those who have been long buried in the dark mines. When we struggle in darkness and the shadow of death with unseen foes, and cry in an agony for light, like Ajax of old; or when we feel the world sinking from us, the pall of a heavy, benumbing gloom settling down over us, and call for more light, like Goethe, then how good and how pleasant it is to behold the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

There is no wood in the candlestick: it is all gold. All the appliances are divine. The only element that could suggest anything merely human is the wick, and that was consumed in doing its beneficent work. Even the tongs and snuff-dishes — those instruments with which the wick is trimmed and kept in order — must be of gold. "And look that thou make them after their pattern which was showed thee in the mount." All that pertains to light-giving must be in a divine way, the way shown in the mount to Moses, and in that other Mount of Olives, whence came the oil — where the divine instruction shone forth, not in a way dogmatic, bigoted, or apologetic, but full of grace and truth. And for all that the pattern be divine and the construction per: feet, yet must the work of discipline and affliction take its course: the gold must be beaten and the wick must be shorn.

69. Tabernacle Boards: Bars: Sockets: Curtain.

1890 77 As the temple is stated in the New Testament to be merely typical of the body of the redeemed, who are built together as "living stones," so the tabernacle is another aspect of the same principle. The latter gives the aspect of the church in the wilderness; and it is strange to see that in God's view and purpose it is as complete in all details (though somewhat differing) as the temple is ultimately in the promised land. In the tabernacle the people of God are living boards. They are built in together around the Ark and then covered with the gorgeous curtains which represent the resplendent glories and beauties of Christ.

These various boards are formed into one complete whole for the indwelling of God. (Eph. ii. 22. ) The literal house of God is a people, not a building. "He dwelleth not in temples made with hands." The word "church" in the scripture always means a people, never a building. Thus we read, "Tell it to the church;" "Feed the church;" "the church that is in thy house:" expressions that could not be used except in reference to persons. These boards are formed from the same wood as the ark: the regenerate nature is of the same character as the nature of our Lord; and they are covered with gold — invested with the divine righteousness. "As He is, so are we in this world."

They are founded on large heavy sockets of silver, and this silver was formed of the half-shekels that the Israelites had to pay for their redemption. (Ex. xxx. 11-16.) They were to be shaped by discipline of cutting, planing, and polishing as divinely ordained; and they were linked together at the corners above and below by rings. There were then five bars shot through these upright boards transversely, to aid in holding them together in their places. These horizontal bars, kept in their position by golden rings, correspond with the five gifts in the church, (Eph. 4:11) "apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers, for the perfecting of the saints."

Thus "all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord; in Whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God." The whole building, surrounding its sacred contents, was then over-canopied by a curtain of gorgeous tapestry in beautiful and elaborate symbolism of blue, purple, scarlet, fine twined linen, and cherubim of cunning work. Each of these things, like the swan of Wordsworth on St. Mary's Lake, "Floats double, swan and shadow;" and we are told that their resemblance to the things of which they are types is the resemblance of a shadow, not of a reflection. That is, the law has "a shadow of good things to come." Let us consider what that word "shadow" implies. All the brightness and splendour, all the affluence and elaborate skill, all the solemn pomp and imposing magnificence of the ancient tabernacle and ritual, in comparison with the spiritual privileges of the present and coming dispensations, is but as the dark rough shadow to the regal beauty of the crested swan whose supreme grace it so imperfectly adumbrates. These colours in the tabernacle curtains have doubtless all significant meanings, and though there are many who suffer from what Livingstone called "the soul's colour-blindness," yet the colours are real and full of meaning. Those who have especially studied these subjects consider that the blue (which is in the harmony of shades what the treble is in music) suggests the heavenly attributes of Christ, as in John's Gospel; the scarlet suggests His Jewish royalties, as in Matthew; the purple, His characteristics as the Son of man as in Luke, and the fine twined linen indicates that pure and perfect human life of interwoven service to God and man which we find to be the special feature of Mark's Gospel. The cherubim typify the power of truth and faculty of judgment with which Christ is invested, for the whole curtain is unquestionably typical of our Lord Jesus Himself covering and investing His people with His own glorious attributes.

Now consider how an individual board is kept in its place. It was made with two tenons (Heb., "little hands"), which were to fit into and take hold on the solid silver socket of the redemption-money underneath. But that is not all; for the little hands would soon yield to the enormous leverage of any pressure on the top of the board. Much more than what strength is found in itself is needed to keep any one soul in its place in the building of God. It is founded on accomplished redemption; that is its faith. It rises up into the iridescent glories of the enfolding curtain; that is its hope. It is built in amongst all its fellow boards, standing shoulder to shoulder with them, stretching out on either side to them, holding them and being held by them; that is its charity. Moreover it is supported by the five transverse bars (gifts) and rings, also by the other rings above and below, the symbols of union and eternity. But above all and more powerful than all else to keep the board in its place of honour and security was the weight and strength of the curtain, in which verily it is a type of the ever-blessed Saviour Who over-canopies, surrounds, and encompasses His redeemed people, investing them with the resplendent glories of His own personality and attributes. "AS HE IS, SO ARE WE IN THIS WORLD." These humble pieces of dead wood are taken up from the wilderness dust, and emblazoned with the splendours of a mystic heraldry in the hieroglyphics of the celestial worlds.

70.

1890 95 There were, then, three coverings over the completed tabernacle to shield it from defilement and injury. First, the curtain of goats' hair which presents its aspect to man — nothing indeed very attractive to sight: a curious contrast to its aspect toward God, which we saw in the gorgeous and radiant beauties of the tapestry now hidden underneath. The goats' hair signifies more than this, however. It was the sign of a prophetic function, (Zech. 13:4) and an expression of separation from the world — perhaps also of an exalted and estranged life. Over this went the covering of rams' skins dyed red, which means consecration (Lev. viii. 2) and leadership (Dan. viii. 3): consecration being an advance on separation, the one negative, the other positive. "Cease to do evil; learn to do well." And over all a covering of badger skins, which would protect from harm and evil. The badger is peculiar for its hardiness (the skin is so impervious that the stings of bees make no impression on it); and its caution, cleanliness, and watchfulness are well known. It is the pilgrim aspect.

Inside, the holiest place was to be secluded by the veil, which until the death of our Lord divided it from the part where the table of showbread and the candlestick stood. "The veil, that is to say, His flesh," was rent in death, and a way was made open for the worshippers into the immediate presence of the divine Majesty. We are thus told then that the veil is the flesh or human life of Christ; and the symbolism of blue, purple, and scarlet is reproduced here as in the curtains. The colours are varied features of character (and of office, as already indicated§). There is a harmony and meaning in the seven colours as truly as in the seven musical sounds, and there is much affinity between the two modes of expression. Complementary colours are as pleasing as concordant notes, and discordant sounds as displeasing as hues garish and ill-assorted. Red is spoken of by scientific men as the bass in colour, as blue (the colour of the heavens and of the sun's flames, according to Dr. Marcet, before the earthly atmosphere modifies them) is the treble. Purple is a blending of these other two, and many interesting applications have been made of such facts as these. At least there is no doubt whatever that these passages before us indicate the analysis and interblending of the heavenly and earthly elements of our Lord's nature, the divine light, dissolved into its different elements, just as when one looks at the sun through a prism. And pray observe that, while everything else in nature becomes repulsive when dissolving into its elements (decomposing), light alone grows the more exquisitely beautiful, the more its component parts are revealed.

[§ In many of the applications of these tabernacle-types I do not, of course, claim originality. On the contrary, I am indebted to writers too numerous to quote; and especially to Mr. E. C. P.'s Lectures and a series of articles published years ago in "The Household of Faith."]

The veil was to be hung on four pillars, which doubtless represent the four evangelists whose mission is to set forth and disclose that holy and beautiful life in the Gospels, whilst hiding themselves in Him. These four pillars* are probably much larger and stronger than the boards, and occupy in a sense a more honoured position; but they neither rise higher nor are founded deeper, and they are just the same in being of the common wood and being based on the silver sockets of redemption. Their hooks are of gold — all that connects them with Christ and enables them to support Him is divine: mere developed human nature will not do. The table and candlestick are then placed outside the veil; the candlestick on the south side, the side of grace (2 Chron. 4:10), with which truth is associated — "grace and truth;" and the table on the north or judicial side (Ezek. 40; Lev. 1:11.), for the principle of fellowship is always connected with the exercise of discipline in one form or another.

[* The word is thus applied to the apostles in Gal. ii. 9.]

The doorway (or "hanging") through which the holy place was entered was supported by five pillars which cannot typify men, for they are not socketed on silver but on brass. Perhaps these express the five gifts as occupied in advancing and supporting Christ as "the door," the sole means through which intending worshippers can enter into this highly privileged position. These pillars being socketed on brass (i.e., copper) suggest that the capability to bear judgment unscathed is the foundational element in respect of the exercise of all ministerial gift; for this is what brass signifies, whence it is put on the altar of atonement to sustain the fires that would consume the wood. This hanging has all the same Messianic symbols of blue, purple, scarlet, and fine twined linen as glorify the tapestry of the curtain and the veil, but the cherubim are omitted; the symbols of judgment would be unsuited there, where it is a question of receiving a guest. They might repel. The brass sockets indeed speak of judgment, but a judgment borne; and they are hidden out of sight. The old welcoming word on the Roman door-steps of Salve was more encouraging than the warning one of Cave.

Indeed it is remarkable how the invitations of the gospel are always set in the terms that can make them most attractive, and how everything that could possibly repel is removed out of the way. When the Philistines said to Jonathan, "Come," they meant to slay him. When Leonidas said to the Persians, "Come," he meant to withstand them. When Mahmoud said to the Grecian slave, "Come," it was in order that the gleaming scimitar might sever his head from his body. But from the mouth of the divine Ambassador the whole mystery of godliness is expressed and characterised by that invitation, "Come," and the accompanying assurance, "Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out."

71. The "Brazen" Altar.

1890 109 Directions having now been given regarding everything within the tabernacle except the golden altar, we might naturally expect that that would be the next thing treated of, but three long chapters intervene. We must not think however that there is any lack of order here: the lightning may move (to apply a figure of Dr. Holmes') in a zigzag way as if undecided, but it knows perfectly well where to strike. The order in which the scripture comes is one of the most powerful evidences of its divine origin; and we shall find ample reasons why, instead of our going on to the golden altar, we are led abruptly outside into the court to the brazen altar to learn that the foundation of all this fabric of worship is in the Atonement.

That which is appropriately called the "religious world" would naturally omit this part, constructing a religion without a basis, a house without foundation. The atonement is becoming ignored or else characterised as a slander upon God. If however we take anything direct from God's own word we can be in no danger of receiving any such slander. But the present increasing surrender of the doctrine of the atonement is a natural reaction against those strained and irreverent analyses of this awful and sacred theme by scholastic disputants who have contended over such hard and artificial subtleties as Objective and Subjective, Crypto-dualistic, Dynamic or Organic atonement and the like.* From such hard and barren theories it is not surprising that the "religious world" should oscillate to a religion which its leaders define as "morality touched with emotion," "a stream of tendency," etc., etc., where there is no need of a brazen altar at all, and only need of an altar of — say, Britannia metal or German silver, — in order that men might burn incense to one another. For they reverse the maxim of old King George, who indignantly said to the fulsome preacher that he had come to his "place of worship" to hear the praises of God and not his own.

[*E.g., Dr. Simon's "Redemption of Man."]

The religion that omits the brazen altar is bloodless and consequently lifeless, for the life is in the blood; and it bears the same relation to the religion which God has inspired that the corpse on a dissecting table bears to the man who is examining it. The parts and arrangements are similar; nothing is wanting but the vital principle — the blood. It was said that the war-horse of the Paladin Orlando was in every respect perfect but for one fact — it was dead. And even a dead horse is of more value than a dead religion, for though it may be given a spasmodic semblance of life, such as that which the magnetic current gave to Galvani's frog, yet it is only for a time.

But in the divine plan the brazen altar is an all-essential part. It represents Christ as the means by which a sinful being can approach the holy sanctuary of God — a seeming impossibility; and by which he can whilst thus approaching become divested of his polluting guilt and absolved from sin's tremendous curse and penalty — a still greater seeming impossibility. For it is natural to expect that as a sinner approached God, his sin would be but the more fastened on him, and his penalty the more imminent and threatening: all of which would assuredly be true if this brazen altar were not found on the way. Now the thought is familiar, that the sacrifice on the altar typifies Christ offered, suffering and slain as the atoning Victim; but we have to see in the altar itself which supports the sacrifice the same divine Being in another aspect. The wood of its symbolic humanity was covered by the flame-enduring metal, which represents that oar Lord's infinite capacity to support and endure the fire of judgment is the basis on which His sacrifice rests. Being infinite, His atonement was infinite, because His sufferings were infinite. That is why the brazen altar is larger than the other appointments of the tabernacle. The number of those who are illuminated by the sacred candlestick, or represented on the table of showbread, or permitted to approach the golden altar, is limited; but in respect of the sacrifice at the brazen altar we read, "He tasted death for every man." The measurements of these former are in restricted numbers, 1.5, 2.5, etc.; but the circumference of the brazen altar is in fives; the number of human responsibility, universally quadrupled. And, while the brazen altar is double the height of the ark and table and even a cubit higher than the golden altar, the grating on which the sacrifice is laid is adjusted to exactly the height of the mercy-seat. (Ex. 25:10-23; Ex. 27:1-5.) There is to be round this altar no crown, nor attraction, nor ornament — nothing but a terrible presentation of judgment and suffering.

And how much there may be in all of the details! Its "horns" are the symbols of the authority by which it claimed, and the power by which it held, the destined victim of its terrible purpose. "Bind the sacrifice with cords, even to the horns of the altar." In the Antitype this power was exercised by Himself in deliberate self-surrender and solemn self-dedication. It is "hollow with boards:" He emptied Himself. The staves signify its earthly and present character: that wherever the people of God are, they are seen associated with that infinite atonement. "And thou shalt make his pans to receive his ashes, and his shovels, and his basins, and his flesh-hooks, and his fire-pans; all the vessels thereof thou. shalt make of brass." To trivial minds alone such words are trivial: for others they contain suggestions of an infinite pathos, thoughts that "lie too deep for tears." Each figure is a hieroglyphic of suffering; each implement a symbol of pain and death. The same God that gave solemn directions concerning the ashes of the sacrifice ordained that the dead Christ should be tended and shielded from insult by reverent hands and loving hearts.

72. The Court. The Priests: Aaron.

1890 126 The tabernacle was surrounded by a spacious court which was enclosed by white curtains suspended from sixty pillars, socketed on "brass" and filleted with silver: the curtains being five cubits high, one hundred long and fifty wide. The court represents the especial sphere of God's operations by human instruments in the world, and though the measurements (five and multiples of five) indicate human responsibility, yet the curtains of fine twined linen express that purity is expected to be maintained on the basis of a capacity to bear judgment, around all that pertains to God's service on the earth. The silver filleting connected the whole. The principle of redemption traverses and unites all that is really divine. A religion that ignores redemption and what it implies is not of God at all.

When we reach the gate of the court we find, as we might well expect, that the Messianic glories and beauties are emblazoned upon it; but again the judicial cherubim were absent, for it typifies the One through Whom "if any man shall enter in he shall be saved." The first thing seen by one who enters thus through Christ is the sacrifice on the brazen altar, which at once reveals the inexorable justice of God, and the gracious provision by which its claims are satisfied. The three entrances then are, (1) this outer "gate" which admits the sinner to the ground of salvation, and reconciliation; (2) the "door" of the tabernacle, which admits to fellowship in the Light with the people of God; and (3) the "veil" which — being rent — admits to the inmost mysteries of the divine abode, the ineffable glories of the Shekinah and the exalted privilege of worship.

The house of Aaron is typical of the whole body of the followers of Christ, "whose house are we," and Aaron, of course, typical of Christ Himself, "the High Priest of our profession." The high priest was usually understood to be the most noble, wise, learned, devout, and sympathetic amongst men; and in that character — as the very highest development of manhood — he stands towards God to represent and intercede for men. When he turns, then, towards men to represent and intervene for God, he is invested with the absolute power and exalted dignity of his divinely privileged position. It is extremely unfortunate that human sin or infirmity have so obscured to our minds the majesty and magnificence of the original idea of a priest. His "holy garments of glory and beauty" — of blue, purple and scarlet, of exquisite embroidery, and of the iridescent splendour of gold and flashing gems — were full of a sacred symbolism of hieroglyphic meanings. From the mystic mitre that crowned his head to the golden bells and pomegranates pendant from his robe, his raiment was emblazoned with an elaborate heraldry of manifold spiritual significations. The names of the people of God were engraved on precious stones to be carried on his shoulders and in his breastplate; their memorial too was in the formula upon the mitre on his head; signifying that on the seat of power, affection and intelligence our Great High Priest continually carries the remembrance of His beloved people. The head plans for them; the shoulders support them; the heart beats for them. And one thing more has He assured them of — for all types are imperfect — that their names are also engraved on the palms of His hands.

That is the original idea of a high priest and it abides still, notwithstanding the way in which men have maligned and burlesqued it. Aaron the first to fill the office was the first to dishonour it. Yet probably there has been no living man — then or since — so fit for the position: evidently a man of noble presence and of an exalted eloquence, of calm and dignified bearing, even in times of crisis and calamity. When his sons are smitten dead at his feet, "Aaron held his peace." He had attained the faculty which that illustrious German prince, who had suffered so much, recently desired for his son — "Learn to suffer without complaining." When he hears that he is to die without seeing the promised laud, toward which he has fought and laboured for forty years, he calmly prepares for his lonely pilgrimage up the sides of Mount Hor. He was in the main a consistent and devout man and had to sustain a certain amount of obloquy by being associated with the enterprises of Moses, but such a man as Aaron is generally respected. Even the Koran, which is pretty hard usually on makers of idols, deals very gently and apologetically with him: while those writers who have, like Paine, written with the greatest virulence against Moses, generally leave his brother alone.

And this indicates where his shortcomings were: a man who is never abused, never accomplishes anything of the first order. "Woe unto you when all men shall speak well of you!" Aaron was weak and was turned aside at one time by the influence of the strong mind of his sister, at another by the pressure of popular opinion. To him vox populi was become vox del, when he should have recognised (in t hat case) the vox diaboli. Not that he was weaker than men generally, but his position required one who was stronger. The position needed one who could, like Soüis, look upon the thousands of his prostrate companions appeasing their thirst, whilst lie suffered on and merely sprinkled his face with water. Within the imposing personality and behind the eloquent tongue of the first high priest there was a spirit infinitely less powerful than that which enabled the little battered old man whose "bodily presence was weak" to look on the furious opposition of whole nations and say, "None of these things move me": or even than that which enabled the common-looking old Greek philosopher to refuse to escape from the poison cup of his enemies, when he was offered the opportunity. "Why are you surprised," he said to Hermogenes, "that God thinks it best for me to leave this earth?" But when such a man as Aaron is led astray, the noble gifts which he has received become perverted to unworthy uses: that faculty of language which formerly had resounded with such sonorous power before the Egyptian courtiers is afterwards used to effect a most dexterous palliation of his offence. "Thou knowest the people, that they are set on mischief . . . then I cast it [the gold] into the fire, and there came out this calf!

73. The Priests' Robes: The Breastplate.

1890 143 The long and elaborate explanation of the priests' dress is of course full of important spiritual meaning. The Messianic colours and symbols are everywhere interwoven. The golden bells and pomegranates pendant from his robes are considered by some to signify the principles of testimony and fruitfulness. When the fine linen is spoken of, it doubtless indicates personal purity. The Urim and Thummim were the means by which the will of God was made known to the priest. They correspond with the Spirit and word possessed by the priests (i.e., every christian) of the present dispensation.

From the front of the high priest's gorgeous apparel flamed a splendid coruscation of blended lights, gleaming from the mass of precious stones of which the "breastplate" is made. The names of the tribes of Israel were engraved on them; for, like the twelve stones at the bottom of Jordan, the twelve on the bank thereof, and the twelve which Elijah built into an altar at Carmel, these twelve also represent the people of God. The character, however, of these stones and the position in which they are placed show in a marvellous way in what estimation our Great High Priest holds his unworthy disciples and consider, I pray you, what unutterable meaning there is in this type. We are accustomed to the thought of being regarded by divine mercy as objects of pity, or by divine favour as objects of benevolence, but we are perhaps very little accustomed to the thought of our being regarded by divine love as objects of value and beauty, objects of adornment, of radiance and rarity. Ah! that is very different. The apprehension of it would enlarge our knowledge of that love which passes knowledge, and it would give us a higher estimate of the value of every one even to the humblest of those whom He calls "My jewels." It requires but a comparatively slight exercise of faith to believe that His mercy compassionates us, or that His goodness has bountiful designs for us — as that our names are on His shoulders or our memorial on His brow; but it requires all the faith we posses to credit that His love actually values us, that He bears us on His heart, regarding us not merely as pitiful creatures that have been rescued, but as precious gems of intrinsic and inestimable worth. (Mal. iii. 17; Matt. xiii. 45.) And this is very strange: we can never understand it though we must believe it. Our Great High Priest regards us as valuable and — because His eyes have rested on us — beautiful and worthy of admiration. In another connection we have the same principle. The Bridegroom says to her who bewails that she is black, "Thou art all fair, My love." And it is at the time when she is conscious of her blackness that she is told so. The German philosopher said, The more that he knew of men the more he liked dogs: probably we all have such a feeling at times. The more we know of one another and ourselves the more marvellous does that love seem which could not only suffer for us, but could set such a value upon us. How to account for it? Who can? Who can explain love and the ways of love? When the mother of the Gracchi said, "These are my jewels," pointing to her children, did she think them valuable because she had suffered and laboured for them? or because it really gave her pleasure to look upon them — or both?*

[* I think the different stones may correspond to the different tribes. There is, however, some indistinctness as to what some of the stones really are. An Italian wrote on these subjects some years ago, but I forget now whether the book got beyond the proof-sheets. W. G. Fullerton has recently published an interesting volume on "God's Jewels."]

Gems are the most valuable and beautiful things the earth contains. As valuable as the rare metals, they are more beautiful: as beautiful as the flowers, they are more durable. But, after all, what are they, what is their origin? There is a well-known passage in a modern writer where he traces the course of the common mud or slime, composed of clay, sand, and soot. By process of time and the mysterious alchemy of divine power operating everywhere, the clay is gradually developed into a sapphire, the sand into an opal, the soot into a diamond. And this is not mere poetry but common scientific fact. The diamond is indeed "crystallised carbon," glorified — soot. It is the Lord's doing and it is marvellous in our eyes. How have they been thus transformed so that they adorn the king's crown, the queen's coronet, the high priest's breastplate? By the power of the Most High working mysteriously by means of heat and flood, of pressure, of darkness, and light. And when picked up from the dust the work is not yet done: they have to pass through the discipline of cutting and grinding. The lapidary bends over them on the revolving lathe and makes them scream as he touches them here and there. He hurts them a good deal, but he will not harm them. They will shine with a more beauteous lustre presently.

What a sense of security this gives! Those who possess gems protect them with the greatest care. The gem may perhaps be in a poor environment, like that rich ruby which the Russian Peter took from his pocket in a piece of crumpled paper, and handed to King William; or unpolished as the Koh-i-noor, before the Iron Duke used to take it for his royal mistress to the lapidary to be cut and ground. But it is too valuable to be uncared for. The duke would sit by, never letting the gem out of his sight till a new facet was cut, and then would carefully wrap it up in a silk handkerchief and take it away till the morrow. Even such a care protects, even such a value is set upon, the people of God. The heavenly Lapidary bends over the crude mis-shapen stones as they move on the revolving wheel of life, and He touches them with many a sharp instrument and polishes them with their own dust. But Ho will neither harm them Himself nor let anyone else do so; and He says, "They shall be Mine in that day when I make up My jewels!"

74. The Altar Staves: The Laver.

1890 160 Directions are then given to provide staves wherewith to carry the Golden Altar; signifying that the basis of worship is to accompany us in our wanderings down here, They indicate that worship — like the Ark or Mercy-seat — is not to be a matter of one locality, but of all localities; though indeed there is only one "place of worship," and that is within the veil. In like manner the sailor carries his compass all over the world, but it always connects itself with the centre of the heavens where the pole-star shines; otherwise it is useless.

The pilgrim fathers, the Huguenots and many others, have been scattered over the face of the earth; but though they had to leave their household possessions, every remnant of them could carry the golden altar with them by its unseen staves, yet there was but one altar:
"Our hearths we abandon, our lands we resign:
But Father we kneel to no altar but Thine."

Worship is, however, an exercise of so holy a nature that a means is next introduced by which the worshippers are required to cleanse themselves of any defilement that they may have contracted before approaching the throne of divine majesty. This was the Laver, a large reservoir of water, with a "foot" underneath into which some of it flowed from above as required and in it the intending worshipper was commanded to wash his hands and feet.

This signifies the practical purification of the general course of conduct ("walk" — the feet) and of all definite actions (the hands) by means of "the water of the word." It is therefore the second and practical side of sanctification, a thing continuously needed, whereas the first aspect of sanctification, the complete submergence already described, never needs repetition. Peter in a mistaken modesty declined to allow his feet to be washed until the Lord told him that it must be done:

"If I wash thee not thou hast no part with me." Then the ardent disciple made another mistake: he said, "Lord, [wash] not my feet only, but also my hands and my head." But that would be to repeat what is not to be repeated. The Lord replies, "He that is bathed [lit.] needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit."

There is a tendency to overlook this need of purification: the callous and ignorant will rush in where angels fear to tread. Hence the material of which the laver was constructed was brass, which speaks of the searching of divine judgment. Moreover the laver was made from brass mirrors (Ex. xxxviii. 8) and thus it represented that character of the word by which a man sees himself reflected in all his need of cleansing, and at the same time, which from its own resources affords means of cleansing.

That mirror-like faculty in the word of God is one reason why so many have an enmity against it. They find themselves reflected in it in a very unflattering light, "warts and all," as Cromwell told the painter. But it is a necessity in any true religion, as Pascal says, that it should know human nature: Il faut, pour qu'une religion soit vrai, qu'elle ait connu notre nature. Therefore they assail it, only to find, like Praxiteles when he broke the mirror that offended him by revealing his mutilated face — that all the broken pieces took up and reflected the same representation (so that there were now twenty unsightly Praxiteles' instead of one). It is a mirror which, if it be broken, only multiplies its testimony; and they had thought it to be like that little glass toy, the "Prince Rupert drop" which will explode and vanish if you give it ever so slight a scratch! No, that is the difference between truth and error perhaps. What is that phrase that says though Truth is run over by a locomotive and crushed out of all shape, yet she will eventually recover, whereas Error dies of mortification from a pin-scratch? May be so; I only know that Error is an unconscionably long time dying, and that Truth is being run over all the tine.

This purification by the laver is very stringently commanded. If it were omitted, the approaching worshipper was cut off by death. This would be in the antitype of course spiritual — there would be no spiritual vitality in the exercise. There may be much of fluent and complaisant verbosity — or even eloquence — that assumes to be ministry and worship; but unless there be a practically purified course of life and action in those through whom it comes, it is all vapid and lifeless; and there ascends but an odour of death and decay instead of a fragrant incense.

75. Consecration of Aaron. The Golden Altar.

1890 176 There is a sort of double consecration of Aaron for the position of high priest. Firstly, as typifying Christ personally, where it is without blood — simply with water and oil, that is, by the word and Spirit. There was no need of blood in this case, for of course there was no sin. And the same thing took place anti-typically at the Jordan. When our Lord had been baptised, immediately the Holy Ghost (anti-type of the oil) descended upon Him. He was "anointed by the Holy Ghost." However it is instructive also to see that, though for Himself personally He was independent of atonement, yet He did not take the place of being independent of the Word. He therefore insisted on being baptised when the Baptist himself demurred.

In the second phase of the consecration, Aaron is associated with his sons as head of the priestly house, and he identifies himself with them as the Lord does in grace with His disciples in John xvii., Psalm xvi. etc. Then we find that after they are "washed" (or rather, bathed, submerged:   rahghatz, see Lev. xvi. 26.) in water, it is necessary, before the oil rests on them, that their garments should be sprinkled with blood, and their right ears, thumbs, and toes touched with it, signifying that whatever they hear, do, or proceed in, should be in relation with the sacrifice and death of Christ and all that it involves. The bathing in water signifies that of which Peter speaks: "through sanctification of the Spirit [by means of 'the water of the word' of course] unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ." It is not here the practical purification of conduct that is in question — that is dealt with elsewhere. But what is meant is that primal and absolute sequestration of the soul from all else to God which is effected directly that His word is received. We see the two aspects of sanctification in Thessalonians; this absolute and final one which is the portion of every Christian: "God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification . . . and belief . . ." And that which is relative and progressive; "The very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and your whole spirit, soul and body be preserved blameless."

All this with Aaron is a shadow, no doubt, "but like a shadow, proves the substance there." When the commands have been given for the priests to be ordained and for perpetual sacrifices to hallow the sanctuary, the LORD gives His promise to dwell among them, and gives directions for the golden altar to be made. We now reach the culmination of the whole fabric — a mystic fabric which "sprung like some tall palm in majestic silence." But there was to be a majestic eloquence there too.

For the Golden Altar, with its sacred fire and ascending incense, expresses Worship*; and this is the loftiest occupation to which it is possible for a created intelligence to attain. Alas! that we understand so little and care so little to know what it is. Doubtless those mysterious celestial beings, those powers and hierarchies that people the skies and solar systems, have many occupations but none so exalted, so privileged, so honourable and, perhaps we may say, so delightful as worshipping and communing with their Creator. The condemned sinner who passes by the way of the brazen altar arrives here at last, into the very presence of deity, to lift hands made holy by the absolving sacrifice, and face made radiant with the celestial light in adoration of his Redeemer, the triune God, throned amid the mystic cherubim.

[* That is (the gold and wood as in the ark), Christ as the basis and medium of worship, intercession and prayer.]

Of necessity worship is usually mingled with thanksgiving, prayer and intercession; but the highest worship is that pure adoration which "joys in God" for what He is in Himself, quite distinct from anything that He has done for us:
"Forth from the last corporeal are we come
Into the heaven, that is unbodied light,
Light intellectual replete with love,
Love of true happiness replete with joy.
Joy that transcends all sweetness of delight." – Dante: Paradise

We see how in the vision the four-and-twenty elders, who cast their crowns before the rainbow‑circled throne, assign a reason for their worship: "Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power; for Thou hast created all things." The four "beasts," or symbolic representatives of mercy and judgment, were saying "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was and is and is to come." Then the beasts and the elders worship the One Who has taken the book, assigning a further reason, "for Thou wast slain and hast redeemed to God by Thy blood out of every kindred and tongue and people and nation. . . . This leads up to the highest of all forms of worship, where the worshippers even cease to contemplate the effect of divine mercy upon their own destinies, or what divine power has accomplished around them. From the myriads of those assembled choirs rises the anthem of adoration, "Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne and unto the Lamb for ever and ever."

If we knew more of this, we should feel like him of old, "How amiable are Thy tabernacles, O LORD of hosts! My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the LORD;" (but there was something even beyond that) "my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God." Men think it an honour to be allowed to see some merely human being who has accomplished some great achievements: how much greater the honour and delight of being brought into the presence of the Being Who achieved him. When we look on the excellence of some human work, we think with admiration of its author and even desire to meet him and express our appreciation. Can we look upon God's work even in creation without the same desire? Shall I search with the telescope the infinitude of the midnight sky and look with awe upon the ice gathering on the hills of Mars, the great trade winds circling in the Belt of Jupiter, or the whirling debris making another moon on Saturn; — and then look down through the microscope and see the myriad forms of sentient life in a drop of water . . . see them, too, all manifestly made and impelled by the same One Mind, — the almost invisible volvox twirling round exactly on the same principle as the most distant sun, — can we see all these without longing to come into the presence of Him "Who rounded in His palms those spacious orbs, And bowled them flaming through the dark profound?" And even though we had no mouths to feed, no souls to save, no sins to be forgiven, there is nothing so natural, suited and incumbent as that the soul should long, even faint, for the courts of the Lord, and the heart, yea, and the flesh cry out for the living God; and nothing that can be more delightful than to join the "sevenfold chorus of hallelujahs and harping symphonies" around the throne of the Most High.

76. The Ointment. The Incense. Counterfeits.

1890 191 Directions followed for making the holy ointment with which the tabernacle and its appurtenances were to be anointed. The chief component is the olive oil, which, being mingled with certain fragrant and medicinal qualities, typifies the unction of the Holy One who sanctifies by His presence the true Tabernacle of God.

Then the Incense or Holy Perfume is described. The making of this, and also of the ointment, was a sacred commission, invested with a charge of unusual solemnity; and the reason is evident, for the one typifies the essential personality of the Divine Son, and the other that of the Divine Spirit. None but the omniscient can comprehend all that is here signified; and it behoves us to have much care and reverence in considering these things, where the essential nature of Divine Being is presented. The command is given that whosoever should make any imitation of the incense should be cut off from his people, because what experience has seen, prophecy has foreseen — that there is nothing so attractive to a certain class of mind as this very occupation of composing counterfeit Christs. We can no more comprehend the nature of our Lord than we can comprehend infinitude; and all we can do is to accept what is presented in the scriptures for our reverent contemplation, and not essay to go beyond with our shallow reasonings and carnal speculations. But the pedant will rush in where angels fear to tread. He undertakes to explain the whole mystery of godliness. Has he not measured the Infinite with his three-foot rule? Has he not litmus paper in one hand and a pair of small compasses in the other? How deftly does he apply the terms of arithmetic to the Eternal!

Having thus analysed he commences to reconstruct; but just here is where his efforts are outwardly least satisfactory. He makes something that is like the original — so like indeed that many can see no difference — but there is a difference. The difference is that which generally exists between what God makes and what man counterfeits, the difference between diamond and paste, between gold and pinchbeck.

The system of the pedant is by no means a new thing. It is as old at least as Arius the Libyan, whom stout old Athanasius withstood. Arius was indeed the very high priest of pedants. He analysed and reconstructed till he presented the church with a Christ so like the real Christ that many till this day cannot tell the difference. But it was not the same. To use his own pedantic language, it was homoiousian but not homoousian. Arius however was undoubtedly a man singularly devout, venerable, and learned. That is not the case always with the learned pedant; but, to compensate for the absence of these three qualities he has "l'audace, encore l'audace, et toujours l'audace" that is usually sufficient to found and lead a new school on.

Now the peremptory command given against this class of offence takes no cognizance as to whether the imitation is a good or a bad one of the original; the command is against making the attempt at all. I have always thought, besides, that in respect of these speculations on the personality of our Lord, it is not so much a question as to whether they be correct or incorrect. The sin is in entering into such speculations at all, nor is the least part of the offence the peculiarity in this, that it compels the minds of multitudes of persons to enter into the same profane sphere of thought, and turns themes of a delicacy and solemnity too great for speech into the faction cries of vulgar controversy.

All this, however, should not hinder us from reverently contemplating what the scripture has revealed, whether by type or abstract statement. The boundary line between devotion and profanity is not passed to long as we keep within what God has been pleased to disclose. In the components of the ointment and perfume before us, for instance, we can perceive the elements of light-giving (in the olive oil); elements which express an inward origin (as the myrrh), an inward shield (as the cinnamon), an outward characteristic (as the cassia). The calamus then is the pith of a reed. This ointment was not to be put on "man's flesh." The mere fleshly nature, how innocent soever it may be, cannot receive the Spirit of God.

In the incense there is expressed a reference to grace (stacte, Cant. 5:13, etc.); inward richness (galbanum), and fragrance (onycha — while the word itself comes from a root signifying "a lion"). The frankincense is expressive amongst other things of purity. All these elements were to be salted together (lit., Ex. xxx. 35).

This incense was to be "beaten very small," and burned on the golden altar. It is the highest expression of worship. Its substance is deliberately consumed in the service of God, and before His face. What ardour and devotion are here signified? And in this as all else is our Lord an example for His disciples. The martyr of Prague gave it expression when he said, "This body in flames, I give to Thee!" "If they had not been flesh and blood," says "old Fuller," speaking of the martyrs, "they could not have been burnt; and if they had been no more than flesh and blood, they would not have been burnt." He speaks too of "The Forgotten Martyrs"  "God's calendar is more complete than man's best martyrologies, and their names are written in the book of life who on earth are wholly forgotten." Nor is it only of those who have died in material fires that I speak. It may be that this kind of worship is going on around us every day far more than we know of — where one immolates the whole body, soul and spirit like the old apostle, who said with as much grandeur as simplicity, "I am now ready to be offered." This immolation is a submissive and passive attitude, "ready to be offered." It is not meant of course that there can be any justification for men in wantonly inviting death. Indeed the sacrifice is not so much carried out by death as terminated by death. The distortion of this principle may be seen in those who are misled into taking away their own lives, as did the warriors of Otho when he died, or that Burmese who of late burnt himself before his god; their action we know to be wrong. Yet we may well desire the devotion that impelled it.

"Beaten very small!" And every blow that falls upon it only causes it to yield some fresh fragrance. This was its sole retaliation, like that noble tree which, when wounded, yielded its goodly balm. Every blow that fell on him, and every crushing humiliation, brought out more and more the fragrant beauties of His nature.

Burnt with fire! And as the scorching flames consume it, it only becomes more and more transformed into a burning and shining light. Consumed it seems to the outward sight; but the eyes of Faith, Love, and Hope can see that it has not perished, but that it is by the sufferance of these fires transformed, spiritualized, and etherealized, and that it ascends odorous with the beauties of its holy perfume into the bosom of the Father.

77. The Golden Calf.

1891 207 Whilst God was elaborating a system of warship of such mystic beauties and splendours that angels desired to look into it, those for whom it was being designed prepared a system for themselves, gross and bestial, on the plain below. The incense is ever the climax: the golden calf the anticlimax.

Men are constructed so that they must worship. If they do not worship the true God, they will inevitably worship some false god. I say "inevitably" because, though there are some who profess not to believe in any God at all, yet even these are found to be worshippers of something or other that occupies the position of deity towards them. Sometimes it is Nature or as the ancients called him Pan; or Humanity with a capital H, or Ignorance, re-christened Agnosticism to make it seem more learned (but all its dignity fades into vulgarity when you give it the English name — that is often the case with the deities and theories). Sometimes, says the apostle, their god is their belly. "Belial comes last, than whom a spirit more lewd Fell not from heaven, or more gross to love Vice for itself."

Even to Christians it was necessary that the apostle should write, "Little children keep yourselves from idols!" In general we may say that any person, or thing, or theory — such as I call "principle" when I hold it myself, and "fad" when somebody else holds it — that we allow to take that position in relation to us, to exercise that authority over us, and exact that devotion from us which rightly belongs to our Creator, is a false god that we are serving, no matter by what euphemistic name soever it may be called. As in a benign sense, so in a malign sense, the outward forms and physical symbols pass away, but the spiritual and essential meanings abide and become more developed. In the worship of the true God the types of outward form have passed away with the childhood of the race; and they that worship do so "in spirit and in truth." So the gross outward forms of idolatry pass also; but they that worship the false gods still worship in spirit and in fact. Men do not, it is true, worship a physical Apollo, or a visible Aphrodite, or a material Bacchus, but they are often devoting their most precious possessions to the principles represented by these names, whether it be the refined dissipations typified by the first, or the grosser license and debaucheries of the others. They do not offer Apollo a hawk, but will devote years of valuable time to some phase of artificial culture that, beyond a slight and questionable service as a recreation, is of no real use to anyone in the world, where people's bodies are starving and their souls dying. They do not offer Aphrodite a dove or Bacchus a pig; but to the principles that these names suggest there are thousands every day sacrificing health, strength, reputation, home, family, body, soul and spirit. There are those more innocent deities too that receive the service due to Jehovah, Hercules for instance, or Fame, "the sister of the giants." We don't worship beetles now; but we hear it commended as a virtue to pass a lifetime dissecting the antenna) of some minute insect with no object* on earth except to be able to state that the Melitta is or is not the larva of the Melöe.

[* All this is a question of object. Another man spends years examining animalculae, but in order that he may cure or prevent disease. Of course this is different.]

All this is widespread, not to speak of those services of the fouler deities, the worship of "Mammon, the least erected spirit that fell," of "Moloch, the horrid king besmeared with blood Of human sacrifice and parents' tears;" of the worship of the Lords of Malebolge, and of the viler creeping things, obscene as Chemosh, horrible as Kalee. How many offer their most precious gifts to such principles as these! as they said Titania twined her garlands round the coarse and brutal ears of her ass-headed lord. When the eyes are touched with the eye-salve, what an awakening! "There lies your love." "Oh, how mine eyes do loathe his visage now!"

The worship of the calf was not however so degraded as this. It was taken from their old masters the Egyptians; and that remarkable people was generally cleanly even in their idolatry. Apis, the bull, representing Osiris, was adopted by Israel, and to say the truth, at first view there seems little harm in it. More respectable people than they had worshipped at his shrine for centuries without apparent disadvantage. Where was the sin? Aaron might think. It was a clean and useful animal, and represented the valuable principle of Prosperity. Yet God looks down out of the heavens full of anger and goes near to destroy them off the face of the earth. We soon find that He deals in a different way with His own people from that in which He deals with the rest of the world. He says, "You only have I known of all the families of the earth: THEREFORE will I punish* you for all your iniquities." It is not safe to presume because of the immunity of others. Is He going to allow this stupendous insult, that His own redeemed people dethrone Him in favour of a calf!

[* lit. "visit upon." Amos 3:2.]

See how evil communications corrupt, though the effect of the contagion perhaps does not show till long afterwards, when the disease has had time for incubation and the weak state of the constitution gives it opportunity to develop. Moreover, one often takes the disease in a malignant form from another who has it only mildly. The calf idolatry in Egypt had been comparatively decent and cleanly: in Israel it developed at once into horrible orgies.

"Little children, keep yourselves from idols."

78. The Intercession of Moses.

1891 222 We are apt to suppose that the position of a ruler is easy and enviable. And so doubtless it would be, if one could accept its privileges without feeling its responsibilities, like an oriental Pasha. Generally those who covet such positions would feel but little of the obligations, and therefore they are unfit; and the obverse of this is true too. There is nothing that we know of Moses to indicate that he ever had the slightest personal ambition to rule Israel: but when he was forced into the post, there is much to show that he felt the responsibilities of a ruler as only such a large and noble nature could. The heartless ingratitude and wickedness of the people however are almost too much for him; and it appears as if he would gladly relinquish his post till he hears God threatening to destroy them. Then, when he sees them in sin and danger, he offers himself up altogether — even to the eternal obliteration of his existence — sooner than desert them; as King Codrus gave his noble life up in secret for the Athenians; as Mettus Curtius leaped his horse into the gulf of everlasting oblivion for the Romans: so surpassed he the legends of Greece and Rome. This is one of the phases of the mediator. He is the Man of opportunity, the Friend in need, that loveth at all times, that sticketh closer than a brother — that says, Call upon Me when you are in trouble.

Those who saw him down amongst the people denouncing their idolatry with flaming words of consuming wrath, could have had no conception of the infinite pity with which he had just pleaded their cause — and would again plead it — even to the offering up of himself in propitiation for them. If Zobeidé, in the Eastern story, seemed to beat her weeping dogs cruelly, it was because she was compelled: she afterwards mingled her tears of sorrow with theirs. "Let the righteous smite me: it shall be a kindness!" The man of the world condones our faults to our faces and condemns them — perhaps exaggerates them — behind our backs. But the true Advocate reverses this: to men's faces He said "Ye generation of vipers"; but to God He groaned "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do"!

Some have asked, What is the use of intercession with Deity? If God's disposition be merciful, what need is there that anyone should intercede for others? Is He likely to be swayed from His irrevocable decrees and inexorable purposes by any petitions whatsoever? This is a kind of reasoning most quickly answered by type or illustration. Here the great indignation of God with Israel for their gross insult and national treason is entirely natural. But so is the pleading of Moses for mercy to his sinful brethren. So also is the mercy that is at last granted in response to that impassioned intercession. It is quite natural, then, that a ruler should desire to grant mercy to a sinful people, and yet find it out of accord with the dignity of his throne and laws to do so unless some one pleaded their cause; — quite natural, for instance, that Edward III. should have desired to spare Eustace St. Pierre and his companions, when they were led to him with the halters round their necks, but that he should have found it impossible to do so, until the queen urgently interceded for them. To spare them before that would have seemed weakness: after that it was grace. Yet it is easy to believe that the monarch was quite as benevolently disposed as his wife. He might even have suggested the intercession to her himself (though I do not believe he did, yet it would have been entirely natural). For all that, it is certain that without the intercession the men would have been hanged by the neck outside the walls of Calais till they were dead.

Not only so but cases are found where the ruler himself searches directly or indirectly for an advocate of sufficient importance for this very purpose; much as the Scotch government (theoretically) appoints the first law-officer of the Crown to defend a criminal who is not otherwise supplied with an advocate, in order that everything which can possibly be alleged in favour of the accused to justify him or mitigate the severity of the punishment should be advanced. And if punishment must come, it will then appear the more impartial and deliberate. Thus the advocate brings out either the vindication of the judged or of the judge, or both. In fact advocacy is one of the very few things that are always productive of some good results (and consequently it is but natural that shallow minds should think it useless).

Besides all this there is its reflex effect. No one can pray or intercede for another without receiving the answer in his own bosom, without becoming larger and stronger in soul (speaking now of ourselves). Let me put this question to the reader: Is your habit of mind that of intercession? Is it your tendency to condone, with that charity that covereth a multitude of sins, the offences of others, — so far as justice permits — and to appeal to God and man in their favour? If so, that is Christ-like. Or is it the reverse? The name of the middle ages, "Advocatus Diaboli", was well invented; but the function is a very old one, and a very bad one. Better to be an Advocatus Dei

The Daysman, for whom Job in the ancient darkness groaned, has three principal functions: He is the Interpreter, whence the name "Word," because He expresses the thoughts of God — and of man too. He is the mediator between God and man — that being broad and universal. Besides this, in the divine family of those whom He is not ashamed to call His brethren, He is the "Advocate with the Father".

79. Results of Moses' Intercession.

1891 239 When the positivist young man told the minister that he would never believe anything that he could not understand, the old man replied that his creed, then, must be very short. And the reply was well within the truth, which is, perhaps, more fully expressed by the German paper in which I lately saw this conversation reported: — "She: 'So you believe in nothing'? He: 'I believe in nothing that I cannot understand.' She: 'Well, that comes to the same thing!'" The reply might have been meant satirically, but it is sober, sound philosophy, for all that; we can really understand nothing until we first believe something.

It is especially true that it is "by faith we understand" in reference to heavenly things, whether they be physical or spiritual. For instance, in regard even to physical things in the heavens, are there not thousands of ships at this very moment safely and surely guiding their courses by the positions of the stars? When their navigators look in the Nautical Almanac that can tell them for years ahead where such and such a star will be at such a moment, not one in a thousand of them, perhaps, understands how it has been made out. If any of them comprehend the method of the calculation, they cannot stay to work it out for themselves. Yet they dream no more of doubting their nautical almanac than of doubting their existence. Any of their calculations, or of the astronomer's whom they trust, are based first of all on belief in the figures and statements of other men who have proved them. It is through faith they understand. At the bottom it is on that basis that they safely convey and protect the thousands of lives and millions of value entrusted to them.

Men say that they do not understand how a perfect and omniscient God can repent. Yet when I read that "the Lord repented of the evil which he thought to do unto the people" after the impassioned and devoted intercession of Moses for them, I find it easy to believe exactly what is stated; and if I cannot understand how it is so, I find it tenfold more difficult to understand how it could be otherwise. And this is true of a large class of scripture difficulties. When it is difficult to conceive how the original statement can be true, consider for a moment how much more difficult it is to conceive anything else of the matter to be true. Is it difficult to believe that God was filled with anger against the wickedness of Israel, and yet that He exercised forbearance toward them when His beloved and honoured servant offered to give himself up in their stead? Perhaps it is difficult, but it is impossible to believe otherwise, that is assuming the main historical events to be true, of course.

Then something consists in rightly apprehending the meaning of the word "repent." In general, in scripture, it does not mean remorse or contrition, as so many think, but simply a change or revolution in the attitude of the mind. "Godly sorrow leadeth to repentance," but that shows it is not the same thing. There is, indeed, a secondary use of the word repent, as where we are told Judas repented (a different Greek word is. however, used). That is the vain remorse of baffled sin. In any such senses as regret or remorse in reference to His personal actions, we are assured that God "is not a man that He should repent." There is no inconsistency in these statements for people of ordinary intelligence. (The Learned Critic is not included here, of course. His intelligence is extraordinary — whether upwards or downwards who shall say? — At any rate a language has not yet been invented sufficiently explicit for him.)

There is far more honour in accomplishing great work with small and apparently inadequate means than with strong and suitable instruments, so we are not so much struck with the fact that Shamgar and Samson delivered Israel, as that the one did it with a common ox-goad, the other with the jaw-bone of an ass. God, who constructs the basin of an ocean by means of the minute encrinitae, or builds up a thousand miles of rocks on the Australian coast by the agency of coral insects, reveals the glory of His power and wisdom, chiefly by accomplishing work vast and stupendous, by instrumentalities feeble and despised.

It was thus in the Israelitish history. Those whom He took up to promulgate and preserve the knowledge of the true deity on the earth were not a band of angelic beings, but a nation of men quite as sinful as any that ever had existed. It suits modern criticism to speak well of them as a nation whose fitness caused their survival, and their evolution of a religion gradually from a low to a high standard. But ancient criticism had a different opinion; according to the author of Religio Medici, it held that "the Israelites were turned out of Egypt because they were scabbed." The truth, as usual, holds its own even way between the extremes: they were about the same as their fellow-men, not much better nor much worse. Human nature is much the same wherever you find it. As to the Israelites, having a tendency to develop upwards, however, the facts seem peculiarly the other way. The greatest height they ever reached of pure and lofty devotion was on the banks of the Red Sea. A very short time afterwards they fall into the vilest orgies of idolatry. It was with people like these that God has transformed the face of the earth, instruments that continually broke in His hand; and that is full of encouragement for His servants now. All this is too obviously typical to need comment.

On this occasion, when they fell down before a golden calf He turns to cast them away, but listens to the intercession of Moses and retains them. The advocacy of Moses then takes another character. He makes their very wickedness a ground of appeal to Jehovah to go with them. "I pray thee go amongst us, for it is a stiff-necked people, and pardon our iniquity and sin, and take us for thine inheritance." It is not that we are so good that He cannot do without us, but we are so bad we cannot do without Him. If this be presumption, it is the presumption of faith; and I wish we had more of it.

In truth it was one of the finest pieces of advocacy even in God's records. He first carries his point on the grounds of the Judge's goodness, when it was the people's badness that was really in question; and then he turns round and makes the very badness of the people a fresh basis of appeal — this time ad misericordiam and in formâ pauperis — for fresh clemency. Moses had said that he was not eloquent and of course believed it, but that was only because of the innate modesty and diffidence of his great nature. He had indeed a massive and magnificent character. "Great, not as a hewn obelisk, but as an Alpine mountain . . . . unsubduable granite, piercing far and wide into the heavens; yet in the clefts of fountains, green beautiful valleys with flowers."* If he seemed at times to be rock, then it was after the similitude of that rock at Fontainebleau, la roche qui pleure; from its hard and rugged face the tears continually falling that fertilize the ground which it protects.

80. Outside The Camp. Illumined Faces.

1891 255 A principle of the highest practical importance is shown us when, after the idolatry of Israel, "Moses took the tabernacle and pitched it without the camp, afar off from the camp . . . and every one which sought the Lord went out unto the tabernacle of the congregation which was without the camp". (Ex. xxxiii. 7.) We see thus that a time may come when an institution which has undoubtedly been set up by God Himself must be abandoned, because of its present corruption and apostacy. A time may come when it is as clear a duty to forsake it as till then it had been clearly a duty to support it. The drummer boy told his captors that he could not play the signal for retreat — "they didn't use it in the English army"; and the brave French officer, who liked courage and loved epigram, smiled and sent him back free to his own company. But the boy's statement, though well invented, was not true. The greatest general of that age had said that the most important quality in a commander was to see when it was necessary to retreat, and to dare to do it.

This principle is sometimes misapplied, and then, like all else that is valuable when misused, it is apt to be dangerous — even disastrous. Obviously, if we can follow our own inclinations in such matters, there is no obligation to unity and cooperation in a divine testimony at all. Every great little man that can find a few followers can seize a few boards of the tabernacle and trot outside to make a new camp whenever he cannot get his own way in everything. It is nothing to the purpose to say that the seceders will march and fight in the same direction as the others. What commander could admit of that kind of thing — a substitution of guerilla strife for organised and united battle? It is not "magnificent," and it certainly "is not war"

And yet there is a time when withdrawal is commanded. Before that time to withdraw is cowardice: after that time to remain is treason.* As to when the hour is, we are not left to our own capricious judgment. No private voice, no merely human chief, however influential, is authorised to initiate such a movement. When on one of the Spanish galleons, at the battle of Gravelines, a man was hauling down the flag, the commander stabbed him on the spot. Who gave the man any authority to pull down the flag? Surely that is a matter for the leader. In the case before us it is when Moses (typical of Christ as Leader) removes the tabernacle containing the ark (typical of Christ as the Centre of worship and testimony) that the time has come. When such an institution is found neither to possess Christ as Leader or Centre, it is no longer treason to leave it: it is treason to remain.

[* Of course where one desiring to act rightly is misled, these terms are too harsh — as to motive.]

But we have much evidence that the forbearance of the Lord is so great that, so far from forsaking for a light cause anything which He has set up, He will linger till the last instant that there is the slightest possibility of any reformation. In the ancient days the Shekinah lingered near Jerusalem for a long time before finally departing. In the Gospels Jesus visited the temple to the last and purged it judicially until their infamous bargain with Judas was concluded; then He leads the disciples to Olivet. In the church history of Revelation, even after the Laodiceans have excluded Him from their assemblies, He lingers at the door and knocks. And the disciple is not above his Master: so long as the Master can bear with a disorderly and inconsistent condition of things, the disciple should be able to do so likewise. We should not leave the sinking ship before the captain has decided that the time has come. To do so before that is to act as the rats do: hence the verb "to rat" — a vile verb truly, and though it goes smoothly enough in the first persons singular and plural, a horribly irregular one.

Let those who are easily offended by the inconsistencies of their fellow-servants consider however what an extremity of patience their Master exercises before He gives such cases up. In this case before us there was no removal of the tabernacle until the mass of the people in their idolatrous apostacy had treasonably elected a calf to Jehovah's throne. In the Epistles we see frequently indications of the gravest inconsistencies and disorders in the churches — as at Corinth and Galatia — but no directions given for any to withdraw and commence afresh. All efforts and exhortations are directed towards reform, except where conditions of general apostacy and idolatry render all such attempts hopeless. Then the apostle says, "From such turn away". "Come out from among them and be ye separate."

"And I will receive you and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty:" thus the passage proceeds. When such a step has to be taken, with all that it involves of obloquy and renunciation, there is granted — always provided that the step is taken in obedience to the expressed will of God — a special revelation of divine favour and countenance. Moses then asks, "If I have found grace in Thy sight, show me now Thy way, [for what?] that I may know Thee: and consider that this nation is Thy people". Jehovah replies by granting him a special revelation of Himself, and by saying, "My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest!"

And thereafter the man's face became so illumined with an unutterable, celestial glory, that the people were filled with awe and wonder. In this there was a type of that "light of the knowledge of the gospel of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ". Only, as Paul tells us (2 Cor. iii.) concerning it, the light from the face of Moses, being symbolic of the legal covenant, was so powerful that it repelled the unregenerate beholders: the light of the gospel, however, shining in the face of Jesus Christ, carries a peculiar power with it which enables the beholders to draw nigh and gaze unharmed.

In any case the face of a man who communes thus with God becomes thereby illumined with a divine glory and beauty, which (though he may be all unconscious thereof himself), when turned upon his fellow-men, yields them a celestial light. This is indeed a beauty "which age cannot wither nor custom stale". It is independent of all external form. Paul is traditionally held to have been infirm and mean in outward appearance; yet always in all our minds, when we think of him, we think of "a light that ne'er was seen on land or sea" resting on his face, a light of spiritual and intellectual beauty. Plato speaks of the beauty of Socrates, and Phavorinus, comparing him (about the ugliest man in Greece) with his friend Alcibiades (who was about the handsomest), says that the beauty of Socrates will endure undimmed when that of Alcibiades was withering — ay, and when it shall rot in corruption.

And in no way can the French proverb apply more truly than in this. "To be beautiful one must suffer." That is what Paul proved and what Moses proved. It is what the smith cries to the iron as he burns and smites it: it is what the lapidary mutters to the stone as he cuts and grinds. it: — "Il faut souffrir pour être belle."

81. The True Atlantes and Caryatides.

1891 285 The Israelites gave very generously of their possessions in order to construct the tabernacle; for so inconsistent are men that they will offer gifts freely to the true God one day and worship veal the next. People are only consistently good or bad in books. When the satyr turned the poor man out of his cabin for blowing on his soup to cool it, and then on his fingers to warm them, (he would have nothing to do with one that could blow hot and cold, he said,) he merely did it after his manner, satirically. He knew very well that the whole human race could blow hot or cold at will, and that even he who said the more he knew of men the more he liked dogs was probably not a great deal better than his fellows. Nor was he who said his countrymen were so many millions "mostly fools," much wiser (though unquestionably more learned) than the bulk.

When the different materials were collected for the building, much necessarily has to be done before the tabernacle is finished, and this is accomplished by human instrumentality. A number of artificers led by Bezaleel (an ancestor and type of Christ) are called, who take up the materials and so design, fit and perfect them, that they are worthy to be built in with the rest of the sacred edifice. The tabernacle being by one aspect a type of the body of believers, we have before us then a figure of the place and value of ministry by human instruments.

The same principle is seen in another connection in Psalm xlv. There is "the gold of Ophir"; that, is what God gives. It is put in the ground and men stoop and pick it up. No man can make it, though they have been trying for ages (and have indeed succeeded in making something like it). This gold is the divine nature of which we are made partakers (2 Peter i. 4.), which is communicated in the gospel. Then there is the "wrought gold," that is where human design and labour are worked into the God-given gold. The bride had a third attribute too — raiment of needlework: this she had of course prepared for herself; "the fine linen is the righteousnesses of the saints." These last are in the tabernacle symbolised by the hangings of the court.

But it is to the ministry by human agents that we are directed in this passage. Bezaleel and his assistants took the rough-hewn members of the tabernacle as they were brought, and by their patient and ingenious care, design and labour, they gradually developed and perfected the character of each, till they were formed finally into one glorious and harmonious whole. The important place given in the sacred records to the mention of these artificers may suggest to all who know and serve the Lord a consideration of the great value and importance of their work; and not only to those whose sphere of work is public and prominent, but as Peter says, "As each man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another." If there is by grace a faculty, there is also a responsibility. We are all given the care of the characters of one another. We are called to be cunning artificers in human souls, so to care for, study, and act upon, one another as that the impression of the divine idea shall be wrought out in each according to his position, nature, and capacity.

What work this is! There is nothing more important in the universe. How infinitely more important than all the carving and sculpturing in literal wood and stone could ever be, how important soever were it. It is the spiritual artificer who has most right to say, "Art is long though life is short." When Michael Angelo was told by his friend that some finishing touches, that he had been weeks in giving to a statue, were only trifles, he replied that all these trifles constitute perfection, and that perfection is no trifle. When told that he worked slowly, the great artist merely replied, Yes, but that he worked for a long time. And the artificers of the Lord work for a long eternity: as eternity exceeds time, so does the work of the spiritual sculptor surpass the physical, but, alas, so does not his sense of the importance of his work, it is to be feared.

Mutual soul influence is hourly going on everywhere for good or evil whether we recognise it or not. Let each consider whether the influence he is exercising on others is of Bezaleel or Beelzebub. Is the form we are carving to be a Galatea or a Frankenstein; to be animated by the spark from heaven, or the fire of hell? And let us consider, too, that to exercise an influence for evil on one human being for a moment has a baleful effect that can perhaps never be cancelled, nor can it be compensated for by beneficial influences exercised on others, however large. The man of God who wrote hymns a century ago of such strength and grace that millions of Christians still sing them and find them a soul-forming power, — that man used to say that he never could forget nor cease to sorrow for the bad effect of his own conduct on a young shipmate of his in his early days.

Let us therefore consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works. Let us make it a matter of consideration, of thought, of effort, of design: endeavouring to produce in each the impress of God, the semblance of Christ; not using the same tools and methods with each, but having some care as to what is appropriate. Nor let us be discouraged if some are more difficult to manipulate than others. Beech and oak are much harder to work than deal, but the result is worth the extra labour. If there be knots in the wood — or eccentricities in the character — the patient and able artificer can often turn these to adornments by careful treatment. Who would not prefer walnut wood to pine? If there be a discipline implied in all this, well, then if the righteous smite me, it shall be a kindness: here again "to be beautiful one must needs suffer."

82. The Pillar of Cloud

1891 303 At length the Tabernacle stands finished in the midst of the enormous multitude of worshippers. And as it stands, radiant and resplendent with ineffable glories, it expresses to the universe the thoughts of God concerning Christ and His people. Pray reflect on what a wonderful possibility it is for a creature on this small planet to be able to follow the thoughts of the Deity at all, and especially those thoughts and designs pertaining to the most exalted and spiritual themes, the inmost counsels of the Most High. How strange were it for a dog to be enabled, through some subtlety of human invention, to follow the thoughts of a man? Yet the gulf between divine and human intelligence is infinitely wider than that between human and canine. Once in a lifetime there will flash into one's mind the stupendous meaning of those words that He has "made known to us the mystery of His will." When Kepler was discovering the mathematical laws that move the solar system, he rapturously exclaimed, "O Almighty God, I think Thy thoughts after Thee!" And yet the laws of the solar system in comparison with the eternal principles before us are as transient and trifling as the rules of a game of marbles.

When the building containing the sacred Ark has been anointed with the holy ointment — in the same manner in which the antitypical ark, "tabernacled* with men," was anointed with the Holy Ghost — "the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle." This pillar of Cloud, which represented the Divine Presence, protected them from the torrid heat by day and the innumerable dangers and terrors of the darkness by night, guiding the myriads of wayward and ignorant beings through the waste howling wilderness home to the promised land. But in order to accomplish this, the people had to be guided in all their journeying by the movements of the cloud. Here we have the two great essential principles of protection and subjection.

[* John i. 14, Rev. xxi. 3. lit.]

A condition of relationship between God and His people is thus expressed. He engages to protect them, and in order to do this requires that they should obey Him. Wherever there is relationship there is responsibility, and there is a certain complementary complexion always between the relationship and the responsibility which is like that which exists between the complementary colours or sounds; the one suggesting and implying the other. When the ray of light comes to the rose, directly she absorbs all the shades that combine to form the green into her heart, she wears its complementary red on her bosom. When any musical note is sounded, the trained ear can simultaneously hear the vibrations — though faint indeed, as in some spiritual realm — of its accordant harmonic tones. The one cannot exist without the other. I know of no gospel — from God, though plenty from men — which does not advance Christ in the two-fold character, indissolubly joined, of Saviour and Lord. Protection always necessitates obedience, and obedience always necessitates protection. To omit the first is legalism: to omit the second is lawlessness.

There is no other way of managing that ever I heard of. Everywhere men agree to submit to human governments, more or less faulty, because of the protection they give; for experience proves that the worst of them is better than anarchy. The citizen says, "If I surrender to you my natural savage rights of offence and defence, I expect you to protect me." The government says," If I am to protect you, I must have your allegiance and obedience." Of course in the human social contract this is limited to physical matters. The rulers do not protect our souls and therefore should not dictate to our consciences. When the rulers of Jerusalem or Bedford commanded Peter or Bunyan not to preach, these very properly refused to obey. They had commands to the contrary from a higher court. At the same time when a government commands that one shall not preach at such and such a particular place because of interference with the public convenience, it is entirely within its jurisdiction, and should be obeyed. Many zealous Christians get themselves into trouble and create scandal through not seeing this distinction.

But as the protection of the Cloud is eternal, so the claim on our loyalty and submission is infinite. It is well to see, too, that His people's submission gives them — — so far as a creature can have it — a claim upon God's care which is thoroughly recognised and responded to. Human rulers do not always fulfil their part of the contract. When Philip of Macedon told an old woman that he had not time to consider her petition, she replied, "Then you ought not to be king;" and he, about the fiercest and proudest man on earth at the time, was so impressed with the justice of the taunt that he immediately undertook to examine her claim. The people used to contrast with this the conduct of Demetrius who ruled afterwards. This latter received affably the petitions of suppliants and folded them in his robe till he had an armful of them: he then went to the bridge of the Axius and threw them all in the river, which made the populace very indignant.

But what chiefly concerns us is obedience; readiness to advance when commanded, — like those six hundred, "Their's not to reason why." When Paulus Aemilius found his army talkative, says Plutarch, busy and ready to direct their general, he said that each should keep his hand fit for action and his sword sharp, and leave the rest to him. Chrysantes, too, is handed down to us by the same writer as a fine example of military obedience. He was seen with his hand raised in the act of striking a foe when the trumpet sounded to cease, and his arm fell quietly to his side.

How can we down in the ranks expect always to understand our Leader's designs? If our carcases fall in the wilderness, our souls shall reach the promised land. If there are wounds there are balms. "How many a Christian pilgrim," said Krummacher, "would never have seen anything of the spiritual manna and the spiritual stream from the rock, had God listened to him when, with fear and trembling, he besought Him not to lead him into a desert." The road is rough, but the goal is sure. Down here on the plain we cannot expect to see the way so well as Omniscience can see it from the summit of the pillar of cloud. It has been said, Abraham went forth not knowing whither he went, but he knew that God knew, — or as Whittier wrote,
"I know not where His islands lift
Their fronded palms in air;
I only know I cannot drift
Beyond His love and care,"

83. Knops, Loops, And Taches.

1891 318 Those qualities of diversity and unity which, being combined, form the principle of Fellowship, are illustrated in every detail of the Tabernacle. The coverings and curtains are made in several pieces, but linked by loops and taches of blue and gold. The building is of so many different boards but united by horizontal bars with golden rings. The twelve loaves rest under the same holy incense on the one table. The branches of the candlestick are all distinct in their individual places, but are all united in the central Shaft whence they originate. They were to be made with "three bowls . . . with a knop and a flower in one branch; . . so in the six branches . . . And a knop under two branches of the same, and a knop under two branches of the same, according to the six branches." (Ex. 25:2.) Not only do their various lights blend into one confluent glory, but, distinct as they are individually, the flowers and knops (i.e., the promise and potency of fruitfulness) are distributed in such a way as suggests co-operation, and precludes exclusive claim. The successful evangelist visits a place with rich results in conversions. He would be the first to acknowledge that the previous labours and prayers of others had prepared the way for him, and to deny that he was the only instrument used, or that the immediate cause is always the sole cause.

Very early in the world's history its teachers sought to open its eyes to the value of fellowship. In the plain of Shinar they were accomplishing a work so stupendous that God Himself thought necessary to "go down" to stop it. What is there a united mass of people cannot do — either for good or evil? "The Lord said, Behold the people is one, . . . and now nothing will be restrained from them!" God divided and conquered them. It was He first used that principle divide et impera, and it proved such an effective one that the Devil, who has often a better appreciation of divine methods than we have, and largely imitates them, has adopted it as his chief mode of warfare.

The Greeks would never have been conquered by that Roman plan of campaign, "Divide and rule," if they had only listened to their ugly little hunch-backed slave's story about the four bulls that the lion dared not attack so long as they kept together, so that he plotted to get them separated and conquer them in detail: or that other story of the old man who reunited his quarrelsome sons by showing them, how easy it was to break the faggots one by one, but how impossible to do so when they were all tied together in a bundle, with a band round, holding them close together, strengthening, and being strengthened by, one another. Ah, that uniting band, how important it is! "Above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness." Herr Hebich's illustration of the tub is none the less graphic and powerful because it is homely. It must be fitly joined together and then bound together, or else it would not hold water. Everything, from the sewing on of a button up to the making of a Jupiter or Saturn, wants a final belt or ring put round it to unify its atoms. There was only one thing that the foreign cook omitted when he made an English plum-pudding, following the directions with scrupulous accuracy. He did not put it in a cloth; and the result was more interesting than satisfactory.

There can be no such thing as fellowship without something of public spirit; and probably there never was a time in the church's existence when public spirit was more weak. For in general there seems neither grace nor persecution enough to evoke it. If everyone is selfishly to consider his own things and no one those of his neighbour, public spirit is dead and fellowship dissolved. It is necessary to remember that the church has a claim on the sympathies and services of every one of her members, just as the state has on her citizens, under penalties by the law of Misprision, and it is an unnatural thing if the members do not respond. The Greek word "idiot" — idiotes — meant a private person who took no part in public transactions. It was not perhaps originally a term of reproach; in fact it was innocent enough, but not all the powers of language could prevent its ultimately passing into a term of pity and contempt. The Christianity which limits its public interest to occasional sneers at the quarrels of Christians is a poor thing.

Yet, poor thing as it is, it is still infinitely preferable to that contentious and ferocious religiousness which wastes the time and gifts granted by God for the tending of His flock, in quarrelling and wrangling. "Blind mouths!* that scarce themselves know how to hold A sheep-hook, or have learned aught else the least That to the faithful herdman's art belongs! What recks it them?" . . . so long as their petty and paltry ambitions are satisfied. La Fontaine renders the story of the old man and the faggots** pathetically. He dies imploring his sons to be united by bonds of love: "Soyez joints, mes enfants; que l'amour vous accorde!" It were bad enough after such an appeal for them to be disunited, but for them to enter into fratricidal strife . . . !

[* Ruskin's remarks in Sesame and Lilies on this passage from Lycidas are very instructive.

** Or, "dards," Livre iv. 15, Le vieillard et ses enfants.]

And of all fighting that is the worst — when brothers fight — and the bitterest. A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city. The nearer people approach in resemblance and interests, the more virulently they contend when strife arises. The Jews hated the Romans, but they hated the Samaritans, whose worship most closely of all the world resembled their own, a great deal more. The Mohammedan of the Sunnite sect hates his brother Mohammedan of the Shiites worse than he does a Christian. And the strangest thing of all is that the bitterness of religious quarrels is always in inverse ratio to the importance of the subject in dispute: the smaller the point at issue is, the more fierce and disastrous the convulsion on account of it is in church or state. What an array of power, learning, and eloquence do we see all through the church's history joining battle over the respective merits of Tweedledum and Tweedledee, whilst matters serious enough receive no attention at all. How many thousands are slaughtered for calling Shibboleth, sibboleth, 'tis merely dropping an H! How many years spent in dividing the churches from John o' Groats to Constantinople simply to determine whether the tonsure is to be crescent like Saint This, or circular like Saint That, while men's souls are dying and "The hungry sheep look up and are not fed, But, swollen with wind and the rank mist they draw, Rot inwardly, and foul contagion spread: Besides what the grim wolf with privy paw Daily devours apace" . . .

"But we must contend earnestly for the faith." We must indeed, but not for tonsures, shibboleths, and the like. Better a thousand times that the church be wrecked than the faith surrendered; but what do we of the "laity" care how the "priests" wear their hair, or how they pronounce their H's, that we should century after century be scattered, disheartened, and anathematised over such things? Every fresh pedant too that comes will tell us that "orthodoxy is my doxy; heterodoxy is your doxy: go to, let us make a new sect and say that it is the church (that has been from the beginning), formed on the basis of my new truth — which of course it has always possessed." And perhaps he will hold up his rush light to the Sun and insist on our seeing spots there, when we know that those spots are only defects in his own vision, like the "Mariotte blind spots" on the retina.

Some day men may find that to do all that is possible to maintain fellowship is a greater service to God than to get the best of a polemical wrangle; that he who weakens fellowship by pulling its cords so tight as to strain them, or by relaxing them so loose as to surrender them; or who stultifies discipline by laxity to serious evils, or severity to slight offences; or wantonly introduces or encourages elements of strife amongst the people of God — that such as do these things are not serving but opposing the Head of the church. "Let your moderation be known unto all men." If we each want our own way in everything, fellowship is impossible.

I do believe, in spite of all that seems to contradict the conviction, that Love is greater than Pedantry, and that such things as rings, cords, knops, loops, and taches are better than dynamite.

84. Historical Abridgment of Two Thousand Years.

1891 335 The construction of the tabernacle proceeds "from harmony to harmony" through "all the compass of its notes" until finally it closes with the full chords of a splendid diapason.

The fulness of time — the octave, the Eighth Day (Lev. 9:1-24.), has come, and the building in all its beauty and magnificence is erect, every inch of it bearing in mystic heraldry some divine principle; the august presence of the Shekinah arising out of it far into sky. The enormous multitudes of the whole nation of Israel, with their chiefs and elders, and their six-hundred thousand warriors, surge around it. Far in the north sways the banner of the cherub over Dan, Ashur, and Naphtali: westward, southward, and eastward wave the standards of the ox over Ephraim, of the man over Reuben, and of the lion over Judah. "With them rose A forest huge of spears, and thronging helms."

As the people look, they see their inspired ruler, accompanied by the newly ordained high priest in his gorgeous symbolic robes, standing in the midst of the court of the tabernacle. The priest offers sacrifices and turns to the people, solemnly lifting his hand, to pronounce upon them the ineffable benediction of the Most High. Then the ruler and priest together "went into the tabernacle of the congregation, and came out, and blessed the people: and the glory of the Lord appeared unto all the people. And there came a fire out from before the Lord, and consumed upon the altar the burnt offering and the fat: which when all the people saw, they shouted, and fell on their faces!

And all this was a shadow — not even a reflection but a shadow — of the things which were to come. What then must the substance be? We know this is entirely typical and that we possess the antitypes now and in the future through Christ. "In Him the shadows of the law Are all fulfilled and now withdraw." In the Talmud one of the emperors impugns the character of the Hebrews' God because He "stole from Adam a rib." Said the daughter of Rabbi Gamaliel in reply, "A thief came in the night, and stole a silver vase." "Bad," said the emperor. "But he left a golden one," said she. "Good," said the emperor, "I wish he would come every night." "So," said the Rabbi's daughter, "If Jehovah took the rib away, He left Eve." If God takes anything away it is to give us something better. If He takes the shadow, He gives the substance. Yet there are those who cling to the old shadow rather than the substance, those who prefer the rites of the law to the realities of the gospel. Like Narcissus they fall in love with a mere reflection and pine away. Like the dog, they drop the food they have, to grasp at that visionary and transient similitude in the unstable water, Beware of the spirit of Narcissus. "Beware of dogs."

For all these things were types of that which Christ was coming to accomplish. There was no other way of explaining that to human minds except by means of these types, just as we teach children by toy-symbols in the kindergarten. But they are not to remain always in the kindergarten. When they have learned the lesson, the toys which have served so useful a purpose are for ever put away, and the pupils grow up to deal with realities (for the most part invisible and intangible). The case is reversed then. Instead of dealing by means of physical objects with invisible and intangible things, the mind has been trained to deal with vast physical interests by means of abstract and theoretical thoughts. The merchant never sees the property that he buys and sells all day long — except perhaps small samples of merchandise occasionally. The diplomatist does not see the countries and nationalities concerning which he labours all his lifetime — though he may have seen scraps of some of them.

Before entering the tabernacle, Aaron offered all the sacrifices prescribed by the law. That expressed in figure Christ "offering Himself" in all the aspects symbolised in the four offerings referred to, — "Sacrifice and offering [i. e., peace and meat offerings] and burnt offerings and offerings for sin Thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein, which are offered by the law. Lo, I come to do Thy will, O God! — He taketh away the first [i. e., the type] that He may establish the second "(Heb. 10.) [the antitype]. Briefly, the meat offering was a kind of loaf of fine flour burnt on the altar, or baken in a pan. There was no death involved, and it expresses the offering of the perfect earthly existence of our Lord Jesus Christ up to God in continuous daily devotion, during which He was searched and tried by the fiery ordeals of human life. The fine flour is His unsullied nature; the oil signifies the Holy Spirit which He possessed; the salt is truth. The other three sacrifices involved the death of the victim. The in offering was required in expiation for sin; "He bare our sins in His own body on the tree." In the peace offering then God and the forgiven sinner find a communion of satisfaction and enjoyment in the contemplation of the sacrifice of Christ. This is a very wonderful figure; yet it would be hard to say that it is more wonderful than any of the others. In the aspect of the burnt offering, the divine Priest has offered Himself spontaneously and entirely, — absolutely, spirit, soul and body, — in life and death, in devotion to God. All these aspects of sacrifice were either culminated or fulfilled — unitedly yet distinctly — in the cross of our blessed Redeemer. In all there are, to be more precise, five sacrifices, which number corresponds to the number of human responsibility. The trespass offering is however a second phase of the sin offering. Broadly, sin is the abstract pollution, and trespass is a concrete action which violates the rights of others and consequently necessitates indemnity. (Lev. vi. 4.) The reason why so much difficulty has been found in distinguishing them is, I believe, because the two things overlap each other so much and are as difficult to limit precisely as body and mind, or soul and spirit.

When all the work of the sacrifice has been completed, the Priest and Ruler in the act of blessing the people passes within the tabernacle out of sight. That was the last attitude in which His assembled disciples have seen their Lord. "While He blessed them, He was parted from them and carried up into heaven." (Luke xxiv. 51, Acts i.) His people stood there gazing, wondering, worshipping, and have been waiting ever since for Him to appear, "He Who with hands uplifted, Went from this earth below, Shall come again all gifted, His blessings to bestow." These are the two great events since the crucifixion which obliterate all other records. Moses and Aaron (typifying Christ in His regal and sacerdotal characters) while blessing the people "WENT IN and CAME OUT." Everything occurring between, though it should comprehend "all the farre stretched greatnesse, all the pride, crueltie and ambition of men is drawne together and covered over with these two narrow words, Hic jacet!" and its history written in the one little word "and." In the sight of God, in comparison with the entrance of Christ into heaven after His accomplished work and His coming forth again to judge and bless the world, all human events for nineteen centuries are only worthy of a copulative conjunction.

85. Death in the Sanctuary.

1891 366 Directly after the tabernacle has been set up and consecrated with such imposing solemnity and happy anticipation, a frightful event occurs. Nadab and Abihu, Aaron's sons, are stricken down dead before the altar by a blast of divine wrath.

They had offered "strange fire." As though the burning inspiration of the God-given afflatus, already there, were not sufficient, they provide from their own artificial resources, — and perish. No! Other things men may and should provide, but not that. Moses explains to his brother that this was the reason; but it may well be doubted whether this explanation in any way assuaged the horror and anguish of the venerable high priest, as he saw the charred corpses of his sons carried out from the sanctuary. With that calm dignity, however, which characterised him and veiled the real weakness of his nature, he "held his peace." But what awful and agonised questionings there are sometimes under the peaceful exterior.

Why should this terrible sorrow fall on him just at this moment when he had done all that the Lord had commanded, and was more than at any former time in accord with the divine will? If it had happened when he sinned in making the golden calf, for example, none would wonder, but now —! Could not God have prevented the young men's sins, (which seemed so much more to partake of the character of rashness than wickedness)? Could He not — seeing whose sons they were — have arrested so fearful a judgment?

The flippant mind has a ready tongue to answer all such questions as these. It is another question whether such facile answers are satisfactory. Aaron had sinned and now his sin had found him out. He must have brought up his family badly too, like Eli, and this is the natural result. "I told you so." "See how the prohibition against wine is brought in just there." These answers do not always proceed from coarse brutality as one might think: they generally come merely from levity, heartlessness, and self-sufficiency. "My dear brothers," as Cromwell used to say, "I beseech you to consider that it is possible you may be wrong." And consider too, that whether you are wrong or not, such explanations as those. are only likely to fill the sufferer with indignation and draw down a rebuke from God on the Zophars, Bildads, and Eliphaz's who torment His stricken servants with their shallow conceits.

There is another class of those who, with much better intentions than these, yet are perhaps more irritating. They approach the sufferer with an airy cheerfulness, and with complaisant smiles tell him that it is all for the best. "This is sent for his good" (fancy a man consoled by the thought that, for instance, his sons are struck down for his good!), and again "there are millions worse off" than he: this last form of consolation is doubly irritating to a right-minded person, as in the first place it insults the sufferer by assuming that he can be consoled, instead of pained by the fact that other people are suffering more than himself; and, secondly, it takes away that little morsel of consolation that everyone finds in believing his own misfortunes are peculiar. Solomon knew these people and said it was like taking away a garment in winter to sing songs to those who have a heavy heart. We are not told by the All-wise to rejoice with them that weep.

But we are told to act as He did Whose mission it was to comfort those who mourn: "Jesus wept." To "weep with those that weep", and not to pretend to know too much of the mysterious causes of their suffering. It is possible we may be mistaken in our judgments. Why is it that one of the most honoured and influential of God's servants at this time on earth, who has for years endured continual extreme bodily suffering and domestic sorrow, is (now while I write) protractedly struggling with pain and death, just at the time when we would think his powerful voice most needed to combat those attacks on the foundations of the faith which he has already withstood? Why should Carey, when translating the Bible into twenty four heathen languages, be obliged to hear the screaming of his mad wife from the adjoining room?

"Teach thy tongue to say, I do not know." From the Jewish Talmud comes that advice, but it is sound and good. Nothing produces so much infidelity as the idea that we have to account for everything, or that there is any human being who can — in respect of its absolute origin — account for anything. Goethe's Doctor begins by thinking he knows all things (though, as a few matters have been discovered since his time, he probably would not pass a modern school-board examination). He had thoroughly and painfully studied, he says, Philosophy, Jurisprudence, and Medicine, und, leider! auch Theologie, — "unfortunately" indeed, for when a man exhausts all that, there is nothing but Demonology left, and it is no wonder he took to it. Yet he could not then tell the cause of the restlessness in his own heart, nor find a means to cure it. How much he must have known, that Doctor then, by his own account of what he had durchaus studirt! Yet I think that the man knew more, who discovered the laws of the solar systems and said he was only like a child picking up shells on the shore while the ocean of truth stretched beyond him out to infinity. Did it ever occur to you when such and such an one has been followed by calamities, and men said God was chastening him for his sins, that perhaps the truth was, the devil was punishing him for his righteousness? Such mistakes have been made since Job's time.

How patiently we can bear the trials — of others. We are optimists then: everything is for the best. But when sorrow knocks at our own door, we are pessimists; then we think Schopenhauer may be right after all, and "think that the bottom is come out of the universe when our own gallipot leaks."

"Teach thy tongue to say, I do not know." "If any man think that he knoweth anything, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought." He knows merely the outsides and secondary causes of things: of the primal causes, the inward origin, the "fourth dimension," of even the simplest object we know nothing. If the Learned Critic can explain to me what it is that makes one little brown seed come up with a red flower and another little brown seed come up with a blue flower, I will explain to him every mystery in every part of the universe, from the Bathybius to the Gadarene pigs.

We know some things however, though not yet indeed as we ought: — that knowledge, though a good thing, puffeth up, and that intellectual pride was the original damnation, and it is the special danger of the present day; that, whilst knowledge puffeth up, charity buildeth up. We know that, if a man love God, the same is known of Him. We know that our blessed Redeemer wept in sympathy with human sorrow, and that in all our afflictions He is afflicted; and we know that there have been some here on earth who in the midst of the most crushing disasters could calmly say, "Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him" — that there is
"A faith which sees the ring of light
Round nature's last eclipse!

86. Forbidden Diet. The Swine: The Hare.

1891 379 It appears somewhat strange that Keshub Chunder Sen's religion of Yoga has not been more successful than at present seems to be the case, for it has in it every element of popularity. The only way of accounting for its failure is in recognising the truth of what Talleyrand cynically said to the founder of Theophilanthropy, when the latter was bewailing the poor reception which the public were giving to his invention. It is very hard indeed to make a new religion popular. If one however could perpetually preach it, deny oneself all rest and comfort, be put to death and rise again to establish it, it might eventually succeed; but otherwise 'tis poor work. The fact is that people — with the exception of a few, like the hare-brained Athenians, always looking for some new thing, and a few professional sceptics (who have generally credulity enough to believe almost anything, have we not lately seen a leading atheistic teacher become a believer in Madame Blavatsky's Theosophic "miracles"?) — the fact is that the bulk of people are very reluctant to accept a new Faith: otherwise Chunder Sen's Yoga* would have had a worldwide acceptance, for it fits human nature to perfection. It consists in selecting the fancy hits out of the other religious systems (rejecting the rest), and joining them neatly together, for all the world like a patchwork quilt, though perhaps hardly so useful.

[* This is something of the principle of Lewis Caroll's "Caucus Race." The competitors started when they pleased, ran as far as they liked, left off when they felt disposed, and all took prizes.]

Now these remarks apply to such passages as the eleventh chapter of Leviticus, where certain prohibitions and restraints are announced to the Israelites as to diet and other matters. For we see round us those who take portions of the Jewish religion, who put themselves nominally under the Jewish law, keep the Jewish feasts, and ceremonials, and appropriate the Jewish promises: but do we ever see a single person abstaining from the meats forbidden to the Jews, or submitting to those restraints which are inconvenient?

For instance we ask, "Why do you follow the lines of worship ordained for the Jews, and appropriate the Jewish feasts, ceremonies, and promises?"

"Because it is thus commanded in the Scriptures."

"Commanded to the Jews, yes. They are also commanded to offer animals in sacrifice, not to eat pork, nor to light fires on the Sabbath. Do you also obey these commands?"

"No, all that is different."

"Ah, that is different. You think then that you are at liberty to take what you like and leave what you don't like. So did Chunder Sen. Yoga? I am afraid that will not do."

These directions respecting food were given to the Jews, firstly, in order to make a distinction between them and all other peoples, for at that period God had an object in secluding His own people that they might have a fair trial by being kept from mingling with other nations and their contaminations. Now, however, the people of God are sent out amongst the peoples of the world to disseminate their principles and are to be distinguished not by outward actions or garb, but by what is inward and spiritual. Therefore what was physical with the Jews becomes typical to the Christians.

Now there is perhaps nothing that has so much effect for good or bad on human beings as what they consume for the nourishment of the body, and appropriate for the nourishment of the soul. A foul-eating people will be in most ways physically foul, and a foul-thinking man will be in most ways spiritually unclean. Consequently all that the Jews took into the body by eating, must be cleanly, and all that the Christian takes into the soul should be pure. Some think it strange that the Hebrews' God should concern Himself about the details of their diet. It would be still stranger if He did not; if He allowed those whom He called His peculiar people to eat such loathsome food as was then common, or even such as so civilised a people as the Chinese now esteem delicacies, rats, birds' nests, dogs, and lizards; whilst others eat infinitely worse.

Appetite is a matter primarily of inherent tendency and though, to be sure, it may he trained by custom and restrained by such directions as these before us, yet the great principle that develops itself in the passage before us is this, — the difference in the natures of beings: where there is any being with an unclean nature, it for ever remains so unless it have a new nature. In the Hindoo fable the dove flies down to the marsh and seeks to enchant the crane, which is eating snails, by recounting the beauties of paradise. At length the crane draws its beak out of the mud and enquires whether there are any snails there. The dove is afraid there are not. At least has never noticed them. Whereat the crane buries again its beak in the mud with an air that implies that the conversation is irrelevant and intrusive. Heaven itself were hell to the crane without snails.

As to Israel, almost the whole natural realm — the earth, the air, the sea — was at their disposal for food, but there were certain restrictions. The forbidden things were in general things unwholesome or unsafe for that climate: that is natural and very obvious. But all these things were given to them for ensamples and are typical in many ways. For instance, taking them as types of natures or characters, to be clean an animal required the foot divided — that is, the principle of separation in the "walk" or general conduct, for there is evil in the earth, the foot must not sink into it. But this. feature by itself a swine may have, and this principle without the chewing of the cud only produces the ascetic or pharisee — a hard, rigid, uncomfortable, God-forsaken, religiousness, whose highest reach of piety consists in, "God, I thank Thee that I am not as other men." On the other! hand, the camel or hare, which chews the cud but does not divide the hoof, is equally to be rejected, though perhaps it is not entirely so objectionable_ This indicates a nature that eats spiritual food — that which is unseen is spiritual — and food that has been dead but is now alive again in resurrection (i.e., grass or grain, whereas the carnivora only feed on what is dead), but at the same time a nature which has no principle of stability and separation in its walk.

Such natures as these can charm with their apprehension of the highest spiritual themes while their lives are low and unworthy. Balaam was such an one. How lofty the flight of his spiritual emotions; how base his cunning and avaricious. life. The pathos of Lawrence Sterne over the caged bird and the dead donkey has drawn tears from thousands who perhaps would have been touched only with contempt did they know of the cruelty with which the writer neglected his own wife and home; yet his sermon on conscience is one of the finest things I ever read. In Bunyan, Christian and Faithful are met by "a tall man more comely at a distance than at hand." This man is extremely fluent on spiritual matters and. quite charms Faithful with his fine discourse. Christian however is not so much enamoured. He says that the man's name is Talkative, and that "notwithstanding his fine tongue he is but a sorry fellow." Faithful replies, "Well, he seems to be a very pretty man;" whereon Christian says, "That is to them that have not a thorough acquaintance with him, for he is best abroad; near home he is ugly enough . . . all he hath lieth in his tongue." Faithful then says this reminds him of Lev. xi. and Deut. xiv. "The hare cheweth the cud, but yet is unclean, because he parteth not the hoof." And this truly resembleth Talkative: he cheweth the cud, he seeketh knowledge; he cheweth upon the word, but he divideth not the hoof. He parteth not with the way of sinners." "You have spoken," says Christian, "for aught I know, the true gospel sense of those texts."

And for aught I know, too.

Israel's Diet: continued.

1892 15 In regard to the quadrupeds selected and rejected then we can see a fair evidence of a spiritual application, but that may not be quite so obvious in regard to the fish and birds.

A fish to be accepted must have both scales and fins. The scales were considered by Agassiz to be of sufficient importance to form a basis on which to distinguish the different species, and this basis has been generally accepted. They form a bright, strong, flexible, defensive armour, and may remind one of Eph. vi. 11. With this armour the fish are more hardy, and less liable to be injured and influenced by passing external impressions. The fins are serviceable for balancing, guiding and staying. (Of course all fish swim through the water by means of the tail, therefore fins can — in a way — be done without, as far as mere progress goes.) In addition to this the fins are rudiments of higher powers. We see this in the development of the pectoral fins into a kind of limb in the climbing perch, and into a kind of wing in the flying gurnard and Exo. Volitans. Fins consequently suggest a nature which has poise and self-control, and has also in itself the impulses and rudiments of faculties which belong to a higher existence, a life in a celestial sphere. We need not believe in the evolutionary dogma, that one animal changes into another just because it has rudiments of faculties which that other possesses, any more than that a kettle will ultimately become a teapot because it has a spout: still there is a relationship between the wing and the fin which is traced back even to the saurians of the Paleozoic times, and there is an embryo wing implanted even in the most unlikely places, as in caterpillars. The human caterpillar, feeling his proneness, sighs, "O that I had wings like a dove!" Some day perhaps, when he has passed through the chrysalis stage, they will come.

The birds of prey are excluded — ". . . the vulture and the kite after his kind, every raven after his kind." These feed not only on death like the carnivora, but on corruption. This is the nature that finds delight in the contemplation and appropriation of what is not only dead but foul and putrid. But is there any such nature? Unfortunately we know too well that there is, and when we stand outside the cage of a bird like the African "Sociable Vulture," and see it plunge its reeking beak in some loathsome carrion, we are apt to wonder what enjoyment it finds in that. But this is typical. There are European Sociable Vultures as well who feed on garbage, it may be.

All of this description are unclean, whether they are characterised by power and dignity like the eagle, cruelty like the hawk, impudence like the cuckoo, or the ponderous and shallow gravity, the stupid wisdom, of the owl. "I don't believe," said Fox, "any living man is half so wise as Lord T— looks." Amongst them all there is none so impressive looking as the owl — to those that do not know that his omniscience is only parochial; that his attitude of grave impartial rebuke is only the fear to commit himself; that his preference for the twilight is not because he loves meditation (for he is only dozing when he looks so thoughtful), nor because of his exceptional devoutness, but simply because he is always confused by the daylight. His demeanour of calm disparagement does not mean a bit that he is superior in sanctity to everyone else: it only means that he thinks himself so. It is the general censoriousness which characterises this predaceous nature. We can forgive him much on account of his purblindness, but surely it is going too far when, like the mantis religiosa, he spells "pray" with an "e," instead of with an "a."

A habit of inherent fault-finding is one of the most commonly known features of this nature and one of the most rapidly developed. But it finds faults not so much from a desire to correct them as that, from a natural aptitude, it looks for them in every direction (except inwardly). It loves to pick up morsels of evil from all sides, and whilst shaking its head over them and appearing to condemn them, quietly puts them in the mouth, masticates and ruminates them. Finally, whatsoever things are untrue, whatsoever things are dishonest . . unjust . . impure . . unlovely and of bad report; if there be any vice; if there be any blame, the carrion-feeding nature thinks on these things. The elements of all these evil tendencies are of course in each of us. But if we have also been granted new natures, we have the power to "reckon dead" and "make no provision for the flesh." Was not old Ulysses right (to speak as a man) when he smote down the scurrilous Theorists with rough blows, and Achilles when he slew him?

But oh, for the wings of the dove "covered with silver and her feathers with yellow gold!" "Though we have lien among the pots" yet may we be so. "Not as a raven but a dove The Holy Ghost came from above," — that wisdom which is from above, first pure, then peaceable, gentle and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. It is simple concerning evil, wise concerning that which is good. Far from the carrion-feeding natures, it rejoices not in iniquity, but in the truth, imputes no evil but hopes all things and believes all things. Nay, even when the evil is unquestionably there, it is slow to see it, as to which we read even of the Most Blessed, that if He should mark iniquities who shall stand; that He had not seen iniquity in Jacob nor perverseness in Israel (though there was little else there). The Lord, I think, would be well pleased to see more of the same nature in us all; that we might have dove's eyes and not vulture's. Thus the Bridegroom says, "Behold thou art fair, my love; behold thou art fair; thou hast dove's eyes within thy locks!"

In general too, all creeping things — all crawling, prone, and grovelling natures — are rejected. But if they "had legs above their feet to leap withal upon the earth" like the locusts, they were accepted.* For these had an inherent power that could over-leap those earthly obstacles that the absolutely prone nature is stopped by. "If you cannot plough through the log," Abraham Lincoln used to say, "plough round it." It is better still when there is that inward faculty, which he himself possessed so largely, that enables us to rise over it.

87. Lepers and Leprosy.

1892 30 Pursuing the subject of the natures of creatures in Lev. xi, we have man brought before us in the succeeding chapters. In the twelfth we find him to be of such a nature — shapen in iniquity . . . conceived in sin (Psalm 51:5) — as to require that there should be a sin offering even in connection with his birth, before he had committed any action good or bad, and then under the figure of the leper we have a truly frightful picture of that which a sinful man may become.

This horrible and melancholy disease is not, I think, so much a type of sin in general — other diseases typify that — but of some of the worst forms of sin, especially in respect of its loathsomeness and corruption, its contagion and its impossibility of cure, save by the direct power of God.

That the type is of this character, and not, as has been so frequently supposed, a type of sin in general, is shown by the fact that the leper is invariably shut out from the camp.* Now "the thought of foolishness is sin;" but it would he very wrong to suppose that one should be shut out of the assembly for that or any such offences as those for which milder forms of discipline are prescribed. On the other hand the apostle refers to various kinds of sin (In 1 Cor. 5:11 and elsewhere) with which if professing Christians were corrupted, they were not to be kept company with, not so much as to be eaten with. Thus Peter, guilty of an error of judgment and a lapse of moral cowardice that even such a wise and brave man at times falls into, commits a most sectarian offence in refusing to associate with certain Gentiles. He is rebuked, but it would have been outrageous to expel him from the assembly for that. Whereas the incestuous man in the church at Corinth they were peremptorily commanded to put away from amongst them; and the same extreme treatment was necessary in cases where the corruption was of a spiritual rather than a moral character, as with the blasphemers Hymenaeus and Alexander; or where it was of a doctrinal character, as for instance in the case of the Nicolaitanes, (1 Tim. i. 20, Rev. ii. 15.) Spiritualism, Blavatskyisim, etc.

[* So in the assembly the sinner as such has no place, any more than the leper in the camp. "If any man sin" is quite distinct, and in no way sets aside the usual application of the type. Ed. B.T.]

This action has to be taken, not from harshness and severity, but because of the corrupt and deadly nature of the contagion. There is place enough indeed for compassion and sorrow. The subjects of such disease — whether spiritual or physical — are of all the afflicted race of mankind the most to be pitied. There is no condition more terrible except one; and that is the condition of those who could shut a leper out of the camp, or a sinner out of the church without sorrow and reluctance. Angels must look on such beings as these with indignation, and devils with complacency.

But is the thing itself so very bad? for so many are constantly saying that the disease is not infectious or contagious at all. At St. Kitts they thought so till lately when they find the number of lepers nearly doubled in the last few years through their being allowed to pass to and fro amongst the people. So now there is "great alarm" and will probably be a reaction toward stringency like the reactions in former centuries, when there were laws such as those in Scotland, where one who escaped from a leper asylum was hanged or buried alive. M. Pasteur lately said that the Swedish Dr. Hankel had found the microbe; but two years ago at a meeting of the Epidemiological Society, high medical authorities, speaking in vigorous terms of warning as to the increase of the disease in India and England, brought in two London lepers and showed the leper germ in their saliva by a microscope. Dr. Thompson, who had had charge of a leper hospital, said his experience satisfied him that the disease was contagious. Other authorities testified to the same effect. Pere Damien, it is said, received the disease through flies settling on a part of his head where the flesh was abraded. In Robben Island they distinctly traced the contagion in the cases of two boys lately. That is a terrible place, Robben Island. Conceive an abode of maniacs, convicts — half of whom are murderers — and lepers. * We passed through one ward, and then another and another," says a visitor. "Here one could see a poor fellow sitting huddled up on his bed, ceaselessly rocking himself to and fro to ease the pain. . . . A truly awful sight was a poor man with both eyes gone . . . In a corner, working quietly was a leper tailor. . . .

In dealing with the matter, the first thing necessary is to prevent contagion and therefore anything resembling the disease was regarded with suspicion and the patient for a time secluded. While things are even doubtful, it is so desirable to be on the right side that a state of quarantine is requisite. Precise and elaborate tests were given by which to distinguish the disease from ailments which resembled it in appearance. These are detailed, but the importance of the enquiry hinders them from being trivial. A mother sometimes looking at her sick child, will feel her heart beat with a suffocating anxiety as she watches the doctor examining the little pimples upon it. If they are rose-coloured, it is only chicken pox; if they are red coloured it is the smallpox. The mark of leprosy is at first the "white bright" spot It doesn't look at all so bad in beginning. The Roman poet had a good deal of reason for saying that, if Sin were only to be seen in her natural deformity, instead of being disguised with all false attractions, men would hate her instead of loving her (though I think this is chiefly true at first; after awhile all her foulness does not repel). Leprosy does not look at all bad — at first.

There must be the utmost deliberation and care in judging. It is either malice or wicked thoughtlessness to attach so horrible a stigma, whether in a physical or spiritual sense, without entire certainty. When the professing church shut out Arius (notwithstanding his eloquence and accredited piety), I believe it was entirely right. When it shut out men like Luther and Wesley, it discredited itself and not them. The same is true as to private judgments. The main test of leprosy was that, whereas the other ailments tended to become better and more restricted as they were watched and cared for, leprosy always tended to become worse and to spread. Everyone who has noticed the course of leprous and zymotic morals or doctrines will recognise the accuracy and importance of the similitude.

Bacon says it is of the philosophia prima that, whereas in medicine when a disease is at its height, it is less likely to be communicated than when it is in progress, so also in morals, when a man's life is quite abandoned in wickedness, his example is much less likely to be pernicious than the example of one in whom vice has not yet extinguished all the good qualities. Macaulay, while objecting to this being regarded as a first principle, says that it is a "very happy similitude." Undoubtedly the principle illustrates the striking verses in Lev. xiii. where it was commanded that when "the leprosy covers all the skin of him that hath the plague from his head to his foot, . . . the priest shall . . . pronounce him clean." It was on the distortion of a principle like this that the Spartans used to thoroughly intoxicate their slaves in order that their children, seeing them in their debasement might be shocked and repelled. Had they however only partially intoxicated them, their children might have been only amused and attracted.

88. Provision For The Leper.

1892 45 It seems pitiless to put the leper out from the camp, but in reality it is in pity that it is done, pity to others. Moreover there are some evidences that God has a special consideration for the dreadfully unfortunate creatures thus expelled from the company of their fellows, and that — on some occasions at least — He reveals Himself in an especial nearness to the Banished, as in the case of that ecstatic vision to the exiles of Judah in the forty-fifth Psalm. And here is matter for thought: "Where God can go, I may go," say some; but no; not always. To go there may mean defilement to the disciple, but He can no more be defiled by any contamination than the sunbeams which fall on the pestilent swamp. The Lord who touched the lepers without contracting defilement goes where and does what He pleases: we should go where and do what we are told.

But we have not learnt the first rudiments of Christianity if our sympathies do not go out after the outcast and afflicted, to pray and desire that their way may be through darkness to light, through sorrow to joy, through misery to God. How must the celestial light of the gospel seem to shine with unutterable brightness in a place like the Leper Settlements in Molokai or Robben Island, like a constellation in the blackness of a midnight sky. These poor wretches who have no hope on earth have appeared to be especially ready to welcome the proffer of hope for a future life, and divine sympathy. The four lepers shut out of Samaria reached the spoil first after all, and became privileged ambassadors: the ten lepers of Samaria lifted up their blighted eyes and saw One approaching them whom the princes of the earth shall seek in vain. There may be more compensations than we know of in some of these afflicted lives, especially if we join on time to eternity, for the one is not complete without the other.

Here is a chord sounded in the bass, — discordant, jarring, wailing, repelling. . . Wait, till we sound this treble chord with it. . . Ah, that is different; now it is a complete concord; the higher clef is joined on to the lower, interblends with it, explains and harmonises it. The celestial answers to the terrestrial and resolves its wailing discords. It may be that the higher chord is a long and weary time withheld. . . and meanwhile the jarring and wailing goes on,
"No one so utterly desolate,
But some heart, though unknown,
Responds unto his own;
Responds — as though with unseen wings
An angel touched its quivering strings;
And whispers in its song,
'Where hast thou stayed so long?'

When shall we cease to reason within ourselves as though time were all and death ended all. It transfigures everything to lengthen our view and widen our horizon, to see that eternity is joined on to time, that our journey does not cease at the cold disconsolate wharf, but stretches out beyond over the illimitable and infinite sea. In the poem beginning "La tombe dit à la rose," the grave enquires of the flower what becomes of all the "tears" that fall upon her bosom in the dawn, and the rose replies that she transforms them into a perfume "d'ambre et de miel." She demands then what the grave does with all those who fall into its ruthless maw, and the grave says he transfigures them into celestial spirits. Death does not end all. It is merely the line which comes between the bass and treble clefs.

Is there not a special design and appeal of the heavenly invitation to those who have a miserable destiny in this world? "The poor have the gospel preached unto them." Christ is specially at home in the Lazarettos. He can contract no contamination and His sympathising words give present consolation and future hope. Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted. I think of the times when the Black Death, the Plague, and Cholera stalked, grim and ghastly, through the habitations of men, and of the red cross painted on the plague-stricken houses, with the words "Lord have mercy upon us" underneath; and think how strange it is that this Roman gibbet, once the infamous symbol of a penal death, should be now a universal symbol of sympathy and mercy. What misery has it covered through the long dark ages! What consolation it has yielded! I cannot easily forget what a negress once told me of the christian leper assemblies in the West India Isles; what solace it is to them in all their misery to have a hope and portion in Christ; how they fulfil His dying request to eat bread and drink wine together in remembrance of Him; how the bread had to be broken and placed on the wrists of some, because their hands were — gone!

Resuming consideration of the matter typically, we find that God has made especial and elaborate arrangements to meet the desperate need of persons in this terrible condition. There were four things required, namely, Healing, Pardon, Cleansing, and Consecration. As to the first, men have tried many things but there seems no authentic case of real leprosy cured by human means on record. Dr. Koch's injections are the latest means used in Robben's Island, but without the slightest success. We think we know everything now that they tell us that the white blood-corpuscles or phagocytes eat up the disease germs. We have only to increase the number of phagocytes and disease is killed; yet somehow men still suffer and die. Nor would we in any way undervalue the skill and service of those who have advanced the medical science in the van of all the others; but simply say that leprosy, or sins of leprous types, God alone has been able to cure, and — so far as we at present know — God alone by direct power ever will be able to cure.

But there was much more besides curing. "This shall be the law of the leper in the day of His cleansing. He shall be brought unto the priest, and the priest shall go forth out of the camp. . .

It is not a thing that is to take place in heaven by-and-by, but now and here (as to the antitype). And behold if the plague of leprosy be healed in the leper." . . Then succeeds a long and elaborate, though happily familiar and well-understood, series of types; concerning which it is perhaps simplest to say that when our blessed Saviour stretched out His hand and touched the leper with the words "I will, be clean," He fulfilled them all and supplanted them all.

89. The Leper (continued.)

1892 62 In accordance with the principles already referred to, there was a special provision made for the leper, even in respect of his cleansing and consecration. Besides the usual sin, trespass, and burnt offerings required by others, there was the impressive and expressive ceremony of the Two Birds. By the command of the priest these birds were taken, and one of them "killed in an earthen vessel over running water." That is of course the death of Christ "come in the flesh," — the earthen vessel, — and in inseparable connection with the living "water of the word." Birds pertain to the ethereal sphere; that is to say, the highest conception of His being and personality is required in such a case as that before us. Of course it is always the same Christ in absolute perfection that is our atonement in fact, but the different values of the figures used indicate the different degrees of estimation in which His work is held by persons of different capacities. The poor man, that is, the man with a poor capacity and apprehension, brought a handful of meal: that was his apprehension of Christ — very meagre; the rich man brings a bullock; that is his apprehension of Christ, a far higher degree of estimation. A great difference in apprehension but no difference whatever in application, for in each case the infinite merits of the infinite Saviour apply. This difference of capacity to apprehend is often caused by the sense of the evil of sin being weaker in one than in another. The poor woman in Luke loved much, for site felt that she had been forgiven much; "but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little".

In the leper's case it is not so much amplitude of apprehension as altitude of apprehension that is contemplated. It is the soul from out of its dungeon in the deepest abyss of human woe looking up and apprehending the advent of the heavenly Christ in His most celestial aspect, imprisoned and dying in the "earthen vessel," — albeit over running water, — and the cedar wood, scarlet, and hyssop — that is to say, all that pertains to the glory,* majesty, and ambition — and even the humility — of the world, dipped in the blood, buried in the grave of Christ.

{* Psalm xcii. 12, 2 Sam. i. 24, 1 Kings iv. 33, etc.}

Happily that is not all, or it were but a dead hope. The priest takes in his hand, with the cedar wood, scarlet, and hyssop, the second bird, the living bird; and plunging them all under the blood of the dead victim, he sprinkles the leper seven times therefrom — thus identifying him in the most solemn and awful way with the whole of these transactions. He then lets the living bird loose in the open field, and the leper is pronounced clean. The meaning of all tins is very obvious. It is the death and resurrection of Christ. In the slain bird He is delivered for our offences; in the freed bird He is raised again for our justification. It is liberty out of condemnation. The idea of setting birds free in order to express deliverance from captivity, — as, for instance, the lazzaroni of Naples did in honour of Nelson after the battle of the Nile, by which conflict they considered their liberties secured, — is a very old and well-known one. In this case, the bird being dipped in the blood of the slain one is identified with it. It is in a sense the same bird. It is the same Saviour risen again from the dead, and the fact is full of infinite meaning. Yet unfortunately how few give it consideration. How few consider what is implied by the resurrection of Christ, "for if Christ be not risen ye are yet in your sins;" there is no justification, nor is there assurance that the sacrifice is sufficient and acceptable, nor that there will ever be any resurrection at all.

Yet how many christians there are who see only the slain bird, who stop at the cross and do not go forward to the opened sepulchre; and in consequence of this do not see how great and thorough their deliverance has been. That is why at the beginning the apostles used to preach "Jesus and the resurrection."

The details are then given of the cleansed leper's consecration. He is the only one except the priest concerning whom such particulars are given. He is submitted to the action of water (the word), of blood (the Atonement) and of oil (the Holy Ghost). The water goes all over him. The blood is put on the tip of his right ear, the right thumb, and great toe, and then the oil on the same places, signifying that all that pertains to his actions, "walk," and receptivity should be in accordance with the solemn ordeal through which he has passed — should be such as is not unbeseeming to one who has been cleansed by the blood of Christ and sealed with the Holy Spirit. Noblesse oblige. For the future his position demands of him a certain course of action, attitude, and thought. No blood is put upon the head itself, but the remainder of the oil is poured thereon. "The head of every man is Christ," and when Christ personally is typified, He is anointed without blood, for He was personally sinless and needed no expiation. Thus when the High Priest is separately consecrated, (Lev. viii. 6-12) he is bathed and then directly the oil is put upon him in the same way as, when our Lord was baptised in the Jordan, He was "anointed by the Holy Ghost" by the immediate descent, in the form of a dove, of the divine Spirit. Had it been anyone else, atonement (either typically or otherwise) would have been required before the anointing could take place.

Thus is the leper raised from the very lowest depths of human misery to the highest altitudes of divine felicity, the variety and extremity of his need only serving to disclose — in a way that nothing else could — the exhaustless affluence of the unsearchable riches of Christ.

90. The Two Goats.

1892 78 One of the incidental proofs of the inspiration of the Scriptures is the way in which the precepts and commands are intermingled with the principles and historical circumstances whence they originally sprang. In that way not only is avoided the monotony, which is the bane of classified theology, but the ethical lessons are conveyed gradually and are impressed mnemonically by the context; whilst the precept throws light on the principle and the principle on the precept, the book interpreting and illustrating itself; as Giuliani used to say that Dante was his own interpreter, "Dante spiegato con Dante." If the Bible had been constructed by professional theologians, it would have had a methodical arrangement like their own writings, no doubt, — doctrines here, history there, precepts somewhere else — all neat, symmetrical, and useful as a kitchen garden. Whereas it has been arranged more in the way in which God makes a continent, with a gigantic appearance of disorder which becomes, more and more orderly and magnificent as we view it from higher and more comprehensive standpoints. Moreover, it is more difficult to avoid meeting the precepts when they are everywhere interspersed with the text.

After dealing in Leviticus with the subject of the leper, where human nature is shown in its most repulsive forms, we find some chapters of precepts which show by implication what horrible things it is capable of doing, and these are immediately connected with the atonement in the important and well known sixteenth chapter. They were very real sinners, these Israelites, these men for whom the atonement was provided. But, thank God, the atonement provided is very real too. And that is the difference between a divine gospel and a human religion. The human inventions are so grotesquely inadequate, inconsistent, and inconsequent, that they are seldom or never meant to be taken seriously. The reply of the ancient oracle (which fairly represents popular religion in all ages) is that men "To the pure precincts of Apollo's portal" must "come pure in heart, and touch the lustral wave." There is no hope for the real sinner, but for the fictitious "pure in heart" it says, "One drop sufficeth for the sinless mortal; All else e'en ocean's billows cannot lave!" Now if a man be pure, he does not require cleansing at all; whereas those who really require and desire cleansing are informed that there is no power that can accomplish it. Men do not practice such preposterous foolishness in any other matters; no one ever saw a doctor professing that one drop of his medicine was sufficient for those who were perfectly well, and that not all the medicine he possessed could save any sick person. "They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick." The fountain which God opens is "a fountain for sin and for uncleanness."

Thus as these chapters which recount such a fearful catalogue of sins are connected with the Great Day of Atonement, so does the sense of sin at all times — in some form and degree — lead to the apprehension of the atoning work of Christ. And it is the weakening of this sense of sin that in recent times has been undermining the doctrine of atonement and other foundational doctrines of Christianity. A recent writer in the Revue des Deux Mondes says, "With us the notion of sin has long been abolished. Adultery is the contravention of a certain article of the Code — the violation of a contract signed in the presence of such and such lawyers." Though I refuse to believe that such words are true of the bulk of the French people, yet unquestionably they are true of a very large number in that and all other nations professedly religious.

There are a great many who fancy they can see quite well; but when their eyes are tested, it is found that they are very defective: that they are myopic or, it may be, suffer from "Daltonism" — they are incapable of distinguishing certain colours, most frequently red. These people are astounded when told of the defect and find that others can see what they cannot. There is often the same kind of defect in the spiritual sight, and frequently those who assume to guide are unwittingly stone blind to the most important things which exist, and exist terribly, without their knowledge. These blind guides are more dangerous than the engine drivers who cannot distinguish the red lights on the railway that we hear of sometimes, for those lead only our bodies to destruction. One of the most fatal infatuations is for me to suppose that a danger does not exist because I do not see it, as one of the most stupid is to think that a phenomenon cannot exist because I do not understand it.

But the "advanced" theologians will find it more difficult to remove the atonement from the hearts of the people than probably they think. They have not yet quite succeeded in removing it even from the creeds. Heidelberg and Brooklyn must have been somewhat surprised lately when at the burial of that strong man of God who repudiated their "modern criticism," the multitude burst with a great emotion into singing, "Dear dying Lamb, Thy precious blood Shall never lose its power!"

The great Day of Atonement was ushered in with the most solemn, awful, and imposing ordinances. When modern criticism says that atonement by blood is shocking and terrible, it says what is true. It is meant to be shocking and terrible, for sin is shocking and terrible. The especial feature is the taking of the Two Goats, which give the two great aspects of the death of Christ. The first goat is the LORD's lot: it is slain in order that His justice may be vindicated in respect of the presence of sin in the world, (apart altogether from the question of the forgiveness of sins). On the head of the second goat all the sins of His people are charged and it is sent into the wilderness bearing their offences for ever away from them to a land not inhabited — where there is no one to know them or charge them upon us. The first aspect — where God has the first and highest claim on the atonement — is perhaps little considered by us. In this sense Christ "tasted death for every man." The blood was sprinkled once on the mercy seat, for one testimony is sufficient towards God, but it is sprinkled seven times before the throne out towards men, for the testimony must be repeated over and over again to man in order to be effectual. Goats are taken, because whilst they are really clean, yet they are put in the place of being unclean and regarded as symbols of impurity.* God sent His Son "in the likeness of sinful flesh," yet was He "holy, harmless, and undefiled."

{* As in Matt. xxv. 33.}

91. The Feast and Holy Convocations.

1892 125 The experiences of a Drop of Water are not, one would think, very exciting; yet I remember being much interested in reading Grube's Geschichte eines Wassertropfen, and afterwards being deeply impressed with Paul's question, "Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead?" Why indeed! for it is a thing of just the same nature, only a degree less wonderful, and entirely as impossible for us to comprehend, that God can transform and etherealise a drop of water, lift it up in its new invisible form in the air, and carry it flying through the heavens. The learned Professor will not believe that God can raise the dead because he cannot understand how it can he done; but can he understand how the other transformation is done? He says it is the heat that expands and turns the water into vapour, etc., etc. But can he tell you how the heat does it, or why, or what heat is, or anything beyond one or two mere outward facts. Ah, when we get to the original causes, the "how" and "why," the professor finds there is a point beyond which if one seek to go, he finds that he is "like a man trying to lift himself by his own waistband." (This was the expression that the professor's able colleague himself used in his famous infidel address to the British Association some years ago).

Grube's drop of water lay long troubled in the restless, melancholy sea until one day a ray came down from the sun bringing it a message to come up hither to the Lord of Life and Glory. As the sunbeam kissed it, the drop of water (together with many of his neighbouring drops, says Grube) felt a strange lightness and emotion — a strong sehnsucht — seize them. They disappeared from mortal sight, became changed into a spiritual and ethereal nature arid rose into the sky, bathing in the sun's light and warmth. But its life was only now beginning: the Sun and the Wind sent it hither and thither on its delightful and beneficial course, — now flying in the cloud, now lashing in the hail, now plashing in the rain, row flashing in the snow, roaring in the cataract, glistening in the dew, moistening the fevered lip, or gleaming in the rainbow, eventually finding repose again in the vast and peaceful sea — not the same sea, though, — whence it originated.

It is the same God, working according to the same great principles, whether in the physical or spiritual realms, Whose light and warmth shining from the face of Jesus Christ, the Sun of Righteousness regnant in the celestial sphere, rest upon the sea of human strife and transform myriads of the drops that compose that sea into an invisible spiritual life, drawing them upwards into His own presence and favour. The natural and normal effect of the rays coming from the Sun of Righteousness upon the human Wassertropfen is to draw him upwards by the mysterious power of Warmth and Light.

In being changed the Wassertropfen leaves all its bitterness, its acids and its alkalis behind, becoming purified by the sun's chaste and genial beams, and being drawn upwards to survey the broad earth from above, and to see its wide panorama sweeping forth underneath. This is always the first thing that happens. Christ gathers His disciples round Him and shows them the course of the world's past, present, future, when sending them forth on their various missions. And the principle is the same here in Leviticus. So soon as the work of redemption is finally settled, we are lifted up and taken in a rapid flight over the Whole dispensations of human history, which pass under us (in the twenty-third chapter) like the islands and continents of the revolving globe.

This is done by means of the divine appointment of the Seven Feasts (or Festivals) — they were by no means all of a joyful character — though some of them were so. These were solemn convocations at certain periods of the year: Holy-days, Feiertage. Unfortunately "holiday" expresses to us now only the ideas of indolence, pleasure, perhaps even debauchery (which fact gives us an instance of apostasy in words such as Dean Trench writes of). These Festivals do not commemorate but anticipate; for as the thoughtful S. T. Coleridge said, the Hebrew institutions differed from all others in this, that whereas other nations commemorated the past, with the Hebrews everything was prospective and preparatory, "nothing is done for itself alone, but all is typical of something yet to come;" and elsewhere, "Sublimity is Hebrew (not classical, Greek or Latin) by birth."

I ask the reader to ponder those words of Coleridge's: his wide and deep knowledge of the classics and his heterodoxy in some things make his testimony the more remarkable. The heathens compose their calendars to commemorate a past mythology (composed of nursery tales smeared with the slime of Tophet). The Christians, disobeying the apostle, who discountenances their observance of such things, fill their calendar with days in memorial of St. This or St. That, or of a gunpowder plot or a "martyred" king. But the Hebrews, contrary to all the world, have feasts appointed which (so far as we can judge) anticipate and reflect the whole future history of the world. Thus tended also all their ritual, religion and public policy. What an overwhelming proof of the finger of God there is in this fact alone!

With the Jews, then, the calendar is a small chart, annually renewed, of future history. The first great event is the solemnisation of the Passover which is expressly stated in 1 Cor. 5:7, 8 to be typical of the atonement of Christ, and immediately connected will it is the Feast of Unleavened Bread which in the same verse is shown to be typical of a course of life devoid of evil. The apostle says, "Christ our passover has been [lit.] slain for us; therefore let us keep the Feast [or holy-day, — he means, of course, the Feast of Unleavened bread which began at the Passover] not with the old leaven, [i.e., in this connection, the horrible profligacy that characterised the Corinthians' heathen worship] neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness [elsewhere we read of the leaven of Herodians — political religiousness; the leaven of the Pharisees which was hypocrisy, etc.] but [keep the feast] with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth." The Feast of unleavened bread must not be divorced from the Passover, nor must the acceptance of the atonement of the true Paschal Lamb be separated from a pure and upright course of life.

92. The First Fruits and Pentecost.

1892 142 It is not merely a matter of conjecture when we say that the Hebrew Festivals were typical of the future dispensations. There is the most distinct scriptural authority for so regarding them. The verse just quoted from 1 Cor. 5 authoritatively applies in this way the feasts of the Passover and the Unleavened Bread, and the five others are (either directly or inferentially) thus applied and explained in other passages, as we shall see:

On the third day after the Paschal Lamb was slain ("on the morrow after the sabbath" Lev. xxiii. 9, etc.) a sheaf of the first fruits of the new harvest was taken by the priest and waved before the Lord with the usual sacrifices, — but not with a sin offering as a solemn dedication of what the ground would produce. This we are warranted in applying to the resurrection of the true Lamb of God on the third day (the morning after the sabbath, the first day of the week), "for now," says Paul, "is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first-fruits of them that slept."

Nothing of the harvest was to be eaten until this solemn dedication of the first sheaf to God had taken place, and the meaning of this we see shown in a peculiar and beautiful way in the Gospel of John. Our Lord had risen but not yet ascended. This ascension was the act of dedication of the life now begun in resurrection; and therefore He says to the sorrowing disciple with whom He speaks at the side of the sepulchre, "Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father." No created being was to participate in Him, not even so much as touch Him, until His sacred life was as the first fruits of resurrection proffered to the God of the harvest.

But what takes place is entirely characteristic and beautiful. With reverence we may say, He could not go on His way, even on such a solemn embassy, and leave that sorrowing heart despairing beside the sepulchre without one word of comfort; and it is well to see that there is nothing in the claims of the highest ardour of devotion to God that hinders one from the flow of human sympathy whilst passing onwards. He could not see Mary bowed at the grave without saying, "Why weepest thou: whom seekest thou?" And she supposed it was the gardener! Ah! we often think that it is only the gardener when it is the Christ. There was no blaze of glory around His head even in resurrection: though we cannot believe otherwise than that there was dignity and grace, yet He took on Him the nature and semblance of man so completely that He was mistaken for a gardener, and thus — as the sheaf of plain barley was waved before the Lord — He ascended as the first-fruits of them that sleep. This was on the sixteenth of the month Abib: it was on the seventeenth of Abib that Noah's ark had rested on the summit of the mountain.*

{* Gen. viii. 4: of course the seventh month, old style, had become the first month, new style.}

Exactly seven weeks after the waving of the sheaf came the Feast of Pentecost in which was offered "a new meat offering" of the general harvest in the form of two wave-loaves of bread; but this time they were to be accompanied by a sin-offering, for there was leaven (typical of evil) in them. They were to be baked, however, so that the leaven should not continue to work. The antitype of this is given in Acts ii. There we are told that "when the day of Pentecost was fully come" — that is, not merely come, but "fully" — in the antitype — come, the disciples being together, the Holy Ghost descended upon them and formed them into the one body of the church. Until then they had been so many separate particles, like the grains of flour which were to form the pentecostal loaf until the oil* was poured upon them. Directly that was done, the separate particles were united into one mass. This figure is very beautiful and expressive: the individual disciples being gathered together, upon them the Holy Ghost (typified by the oil — "the unction of the Holy one," — ) was poured forth, and they are thus baptized into one body in identity, unity, and cohesion, "for we," says Paul, "being many, are one bread" [though formed out of two loaves, Jew and Gentile] "one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread**." This day of Pentecost was the day (according to Maimonides and the Rabbis) on which the law was given. It was in every way appropriate that it should be also the day on which the Spirit and the gospel were given.

{* See Ex. xxix. 40.

** Cor. x. 17. It is true that in both the Hebrew and Greek the same word is used for both loaf and bread, but I think this is the sense of the two passages. Thus also the Israelites were represented by twelve leaves (for the twelve tribes), which was collectively "the showbread."}

Now Paul says, "If the first fruit is holy, the lump is also holy*." How can that be if there be leaven in the bread? Simply because there is a sin-offering also with the bread, which was not required with the pure unblemished sheaf. Does not that view then give sanction to the allowance of evil in the church? By no means, for the leaven was baked; that is, the action of fire — judgment is passed upon it and its corrupting action is stopped.

{* Rom. xi. 16.}

To the superficial mind there is nothing to notice, except indeed it be of a grotesque nature here in the offering of a couple of loaves of ordinary bread, accompanied by the elaborate ceremonial and sacrifices that seemed so disproportioned to the value of the bread itself — the whole round of sacrifices on an exceptionally large scale being commanded — two rams, seven lambs and so forth; but there are meanings in things which the superficial glance cannot perceive. There is a kind of ink made from oxalomolybdic acid, the writing of which is invisible till the sun shines upon it, and these sacred hieroglyphics of the Holy Ghost cannot be rightly read until the light shining from the face of Jesus Christ, "The light that never was on sea or land, The consecration . . . ," rests on them. And much depends too on the eyes that look: he that would bring back the wealth of the Indies must take out the wealth of the Indies; the more the mind is already filled with the affluence of the scriptures, the more treasures shall we find on every fresh contemplation. If our eyes are filled with the beauties of the living Word, we shall see His glorious radiance transferred on to the page of the written word as we read.

But much depends on the way in which we look at things as to what we can see in them. The companions of Columbus only saw driftwood at the bow of their vessel; but Columbus saw, and saw correctly, a new world. The friends of Galileo and Newton saw chandeliers swing and apples fall, thinking them trifling matters no doubt; but the unveiled sight of the philosophers saw hidden in these little things the secrets of the laws which govern the swaying solar systems. The Viscount who escaped from Metz took a morsel of paper out of his tooth and they found on it, reduced by microscopic photography, the vast plan of the enemy's movements. The German officers play at Kriegspiel as Pyrrhus played in ancient times with the blocks of wood, but the blocks of wood mean regiments and battalions, the game is war, and the stakes are continents. This morsel of paper from the book of Leviticus may be to us merely the "Jehovistic account" of a Hebrew feast, or the reflection, as on a telescopic mirror, of the vast church dispensation.

93. The Feasts of Trumpets, Atonement, and Tabernacles.

1892 157 The period introduced by the feast of Pentecost covers a long time, as it pre-figures the present era, and is characterised by a very peculiar feature. It is commanded, "When ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not make a clean riddance of the corners of thy field . . . neither shalt thou gather any gleaning of thy harvest: thou shalt leave them unto the poor and to the stranger." It is especially the period of charity and grace, during which "the gospel of the grace of God" is proclaimed in contrast with the gospel of the kingdom in the future, "the everlasting gospel" all through, and other characters of dispensation. And even when it is finished, there shall be still a reserve of mercy, gleanings left for the poor [of the Jewish flock] and the stranger [the Gentile] whereof we see the result in the vast redeemed multitude of the seventh of Revelation, assembled after the rapture of the church: "they shall hunger no more . . . ."

Can one see into the future? The learned professor smiles superciliously. He says, there have been plenty of people who said they could, but that is not quite the same thing. Many cases of course where there have been, even with these "monthly prognosticators," happy shots, they could not always be wrong; but as to really foreseeing what is still future, nonsense! Even the most astute and learned are grotesquely often wrong when they forecast a week ahead. "A false prophet is a tautological expression." Do you remember that Abbé who wrote the book proving that the Swedish constitution was now permanently settled, and while he was revising the proofs of the book, Gustavus III. came and upset it all? or the great and far-sighted Metternich who said the disturbances in Vienna would be "nothing much," and four days after was flying for his life from his ruined house? or how Napoleon sent off the messenger to Paris from Waterloo announcing that he had won the battle, just a couple of hours before his defeat? No, no; "better not prophesy unless you know." And you can never know of anything till it is positively there before you. That is the true 'agnostic,' or, (if you prefer the Latin to the Greek word) 'ignoramus,' view of the matter.

Can we then never see the things which are not actually there, the things which are invisible? Do not the travellers see the town of Messina, for instance, when entering the Straits long before it is actually visible? "Yes," the professor admits, "but that is the Fata Morgana." Do they not see the oasis in the desert long before it is in range of sight? "Yes, but that is the mirage." Cannot the whole world every morning see the sun right up above the horizon at the very moment when you, the professor, prove that it is actually out of sight below the horizon? "Yes, but that is refraction." Very well then, there is the same power, operating spiritually, which produces by a fata morgana, mirage, or refraction of the celestial medium; that effect which enables us to see "those things which be not as though they were," and to look on the things that are invisible.

The fourth great festival, the Feast of Trumpets (Lev. xxiii. 24) has the clearest reference to the ingathering of Israel after the close of the present period of the Two Loaves. Isaiah says, "Ye shall be gathered one by one, O ye children of Israel. And it shall come to pass in that day that the great trumpet shall be blown, and they shall come which were ready to perish in the land of Assyria and the outcasts of the land of Egypt and shall worship the LORD in the holy mount at Jerusalem." Isaiah (and other prophets) further explain that in that time the enmity between the ten tribes and the two tribes will be removed (Isa. xi. 13). But in order to be welded together they must pass through a most fiery ordeal, "the great tribulation."

This Réveille was to be on the 1st of the month Tisri, and on the 10th of the month the great day of Atonement was appointed. "Ye shall afflict your souls." In fulfilment of this, Zechariah says, (Zech. xii. 9-11) they shall look upon Him whom they have pierced and shall mourn as one mourneth for his only son . . . In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem." They become conscious at last of their great and heinous sin in rejecting their Messiah. This day of Atonement has just been explained in Lev. xvi.

Five days after this, on the 15th of Tisri, the last great feast — of Tabernacles — is commenced, It continues for seven days. The vast multitudes dwell in the open in booths. They take the branches of goodly trees — willows of the brook which recall their sorrows and banishments, palm branches to celebrate their victories — and rejoice before the Lord their God. In that day — the period here typified says Isaiah, "the glory of the Lord shall cover the earth as the waters cover the sea."* In that day, says Zechariah, they shall go up to Jerusalem "to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles**. . . In that day shall there be upon the bells of the horses HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD. In that day living waters shall go out from Jerusalem . . . In that day there shall be one LORD and His name one . . . and at evening time it shall be light." It is the beginning of eternal day. The time is come for which all nations long, when Gurmi is loosed from his chain, and, coming out of the dark cave, at last devours the war god Tyr, "and the ransomed of the LORD shall return and come with singing into Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head . . . and sorrow and
mourning shall flee away.

{* This has evidently not yet taken place.

** This verse, Zech. xiv. 16, and John vii. leave no possibility of doubt as to the feasts being typical of the Millennium.}

94. Painting the Lily.

1892 172 The whole Hebrew year was typical. It was "a dome of many-coloured glass" through which one looked out on "the white radiance of eternity." It had two beginnings, each of them in the seventh month dating from the other. The month Tizri began the civil year, when we pass through cold and barren season till we come to the seventh month, Abib, which then becomes the first month of the new era (Ex. xii. 2, Ex. xvi. 1.) when all is changed, "when the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; the flowers appear on the earth, the time of the singing of birds is come;" all is in resurrection life. Then again, the period beginning at Abib culminates on the seventh month, in a new Tizri when the Feast of Tabernacles reveals to us the glory of the Lord covering the earth as the waters cover the sea.

The feasts were all but one arranged in these first months: three feasts (Passover, Unleavened-bread, and First-fruits) in Abib, the beginning of the spiritual year; and three (Trumpets, Atonement, and Tabernacles) in Tizri, the beginning of the civil year. The remaining feast, that of the Two Loaves, which typified the Church period, is, so to speak, interjected in the month Sivan distinct from the other two groups of festivals but connecting them, like Panama betwixt the two seas.

Looking forward along the year from Tizri, the natural commencement, it begins with ploughing and sowing, and ends in the general vintage (judgment). Looking forward from Abib, the spiritual commencement, the year begins with the Passover and First-fruits (death and resurrection) passes on through the period of Unleavened-bread, the barley* and wheat harvests (the time of salvation), the blossoming fig-tree (devotion), the former and the latter rain, the vintage, culminating in the holy convocations and rejoicings of the Feast of Tabernacles. The sabbaths running through the year are perpetually recurring pledges of the coming divinely-appointed rest. The seventh year was sabbatic. Seven sevens brought round the jubilee when the slaves were set free, mortgages were cancelled, and land that had been sold reverted to the original owner. In proportion as the jubilee was near, the lease of the land diminished in value to the holder. In proportion as the coming of Christ seems near to us, so is the value of the earth and earthly things lessened in our estimation.

{* The barley which comes three weeks earlier (in that country) seems to me to indicate especially the blessing of the Gentile period, Ruth i. 22. John. vi. 9; and wheat that of Israel, Mat. xiii 29.}

This complete prophetic chart, this perfect picture of the dispensations, was handed to the Hebrews, and immediately they began to "improve" it; as though one should take a chart prepared by the Admiralty and make fresh lines on it to suit one's own taste, or take a picture, finished (say) by Turner or Leighton, and trim it up. "Just let me put a little carmine here, a little gamboage there; ah, there's nothing like good red and yellow" . . . Go to, let us "add another hue to the rainbow."

I do not speak of the impiety of this; indeed I do not think the impiety of adding to what God has perfected so great as that of taking from it; but I would ask you to consider its astounding impudence! I ask you, Theologians, how would you like everything you did to be taken and improved upon with clumsy fingers; as Neologus, whom you follow, improves upon every divine injunction and precept. This is the spirit of Neologus; and you can see its impudent folly in everything else, but are blind to it in spiritual matters. When the carpenter drives in a nail, Neologus insists on giving it a few more blows, and leaves his mark on the place. When he is shown a beautiful chord of Beethoven's, he says, "Yes, no doubt very fine; but there are only seven notes in it altogether, bass and treble. See I have three fingers still to spare; I may as well use them. Listen!"

Well, whether the chord be better than before or not, we must no longer call it Beethoven's; it is Neologus'. And when the Jews had added on the feasts of Purim, Dedication, etc., to the "Feasts of Jehovah," and otherwise degraded them, we find them no longer called the Feasts of Jehovah at all, but "feasts of the Jews! (Lev. 4, John 5:1.) as the institution which was once called the church of God comes to be called "the church of the Laodiceans." You may "paint the lily," but then it is God's lily no longer.

For instance, God demands repentance and faith for salvation; but Neologus insists on that and something more, — creed, ceremonial, or action, — I do not understand exactly, nor does he. All I know is that it is not the "salvation of God" that he proclaims; it is something of his own. The Founder of Christianity established two sacraments Neologus says there must be seven. The Founder gave a cup of wine to His disciples; Neologus says, "No! It must be wine and water." Have you considered the colossal IMPUDENCE of all that?

And there is a way of developing this principle by which every foundational doctrine may be diluted away to nothing. I read a sermon by Theologicus, in which he was defending his own orthodoxy. "Do I believe in the doctrine of regeneration?" said he, "Most assuredly I do, 'Except a man be born again, and again, and again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.'" Thus, whilst he appeared to be underlining the word, he had dexterously scored it out. He kept on hammering the nail in till he split the board.

Nevertheless the firm foundation of God standeth. And the building mysteriously grows towards completion,
"No hammers fell, no ponderous axes rung;
Like some tall palm the mystic fabric sprung.
Majestic silence!"

"And He shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying Grace, Grace unto it!"

95. The Lamp and Showbread.

1892 189The whole diapason of the Levitical harmony closes in a double chord of promise, which is expressed by the perpetual renewal of the Lamp and Showbread. (Lev. xxiv.) The light of the testimony is to be always maintained through the darkest and longest nights, and the showbread to be for ever supported on the holy table, covered with fragrant incense in the divine presence, — the whole twelve loaves:* "everyone of them in Zion appeareth before God." Thus whatever comes, we have this gracious assurance, "The Light Thy love has kindled Shall never be put out." — this assurance that the Lord is continually looking on His people in their brightest and most favourable aspects, and regarding them as a shining light by the power of the Holy Ghost, and as the nourishment of life resting on Christ (the table of wood and gold), surrounded by the "border" with its "golden crown" and covered with the frankincense, — "complete in Him."

{* In the sight of God all His people, however scattered, are eternally present. Elijah builds His altar with twelve stones, even when the tribes were split up.}

I pray you take notice of this. For to whomsoever else the light of the testimony has been extinguished, it has never been extinguished for God, and never will be. "Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen."

This assurance is proved to be greatly needed, for the first thing we read of is that one of the Israelites does what lies in his individual power by contention and blasphemy to upset the whole organisation. The evil is so grave that by divine command the people put him to death. There is usually a Thersites,* — or spirit of Thersites — to be found at hand in every enterprise, to discredit it by his conduct, to discourage and disparage his comrades, and blaspheme his leaders. Sometimes he will assume a charitable tone; but you will find all his charity is directed to the enemy, and all his hatred to his brethren. You fancy what a fine candid and liberal nature this is, when you hear him speaking of the Trojans: but when he speaks of his fellow Greeks, of the great leaders especially, the heroic Agamemnon and Odysseus who are giving up their homes and lives to the cause which he is supposed to advocate, then you find what foul misrepresentation and vituperation can co-exist with unctuous but spurious liberality.

{* Thersites only clamours in the throng,

Loquacious, loud, and turbulent of tongue (Homer's Iliad.)}

It is always difficult to understand why Thersites does not go over to the Trojans, if he likes them so much better than his companions. He often does go finally; and ah, what a relief it is! But his wretched work lives after him unhappily. What crops of doubts and contentions spring up from the seeds which he has sown! So that, when we contemplate them, we can at last get to understand how it was that one of the most gracious men who ever lived said with grief, "I would they were even cut off which trouble you!" As to arguing with Thersites and endeavouring to persuade, one may as well argue with a sewer and persuade a pestilence. That much-experienced, much-afflicted man Odysseus, the crafty, strong, and valiant Odysseus, used very short arguments with him: "Except detraction, what hast thou bestowed? he demanded of the slanderer, as he smote him down to the dust with rough and ruthless blows.

Though perhaps after all David chose the more excellent way when he said to Abishai, "Let him alone, let him curse."

On the whole, Rabshakeh is preferable to Thersites; Rabshakeh was coarse and abusive, but he was an open enemy and kept outside the wall. But let us be assured of this, that neither Shimei, Thersites, nor Rabshakeh, have breath enough, albeit they speak great swelling words, to blow out the light that God's love has kindled. It shall continue to burn — though perhaps feebly — through all the dark long night, till the dawn shall appear and the bright and morning star shall arise. We oscillate between optimisim and pessimism. Truth is neither the one nor the other. It is neither true that "whatever is is right" nor that "whatever is is wrong." There is much that exists that is right, and much that is wrong; and bright above all, "White-handed Hope, the hovering angel, girt with golden wings."

The Comprachicos used to cut the facial nerves of children, so that the poor little creatures were disfigured by a perpetual laughter or a perpetual weeping. It was all ghastly and unnatural, but not more so than the ancient laughing and weeping philosophers, or modern optimism and pessimism. The Herr Professor has looked so long through the microscope that he has become myopic, he cannot see White-handed Hope hovering above, nor the ring of light round nature's last eclipse, though he can see the myriads of microbes better than we others. For him the bottom of Pandora's box is eaten away by them. He thinks the ancients were mistaken when they saw hope there — and I think so too.

It is a strange statement of scripture that experience leads to hope. If we listen to the man of the world, we hear that experience leads to caution, to distrust and hopeless cynicism: and yet truly experience leads distinctly to hope. One who for the first time saw the sun go down behind the ocean would despair of ever seeing it again; but we, who have seen it thus descend many times before, are emboldened by our experience to hope that in a few hours it will rise again at the other side of the universe to "flatter the mountain tops with sovereign dye." He who for the first time beheld the melancholy autumn deepening into winter, would surely think all things were sinking into chaos and old night; but experience leads us to an assured expectation of the resurrection of all things in the coming springtide.

And though many beautiful qualities are seen even in the darkness of despair, yet few great achievements are accomplished without hope; and those who have the most completely conquered the world, whether physically or spiritually, have been those who were distinguished by this faculty. "If you thus give everything away," said Perdiccas to Alexander, "what will you have for yourself?" To which the world-conquerer replied, "Hope": and a greater man than he, the founder of an infinitely greater dynasty, wrote to his fellow-disciples — a handful of common workpeople who were trying to convert the world whilst being persecuted by all the powers of earth, — wrote to them about "rejoicing in hope." J. C. Bayly.