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"Handfuls of Purpose"
For All Gleaners
"And the Lord called unto Moses." Lev 1:1
The calls of Providence. Their number and variety. Every man is conscious of a call to higher life and duty. Account for it as we may, there is an inward voice alluring us in one of two directions. The voice of the Lord is not the only voice that addresses human attention. The devil speaks as well as God. The two voices can be easily distinguished by any earnest hearer who is determined upon doing the right deed. There are appeals addressed to self-interest and self-indulgence; these are the appeals which are never made by God. There are also appeals addressed to selfish cleverness and ingenuity, showing how prosperity can be secured or how personal interests can be advanced; such appeals need not be long considered as to their moral value: they bear upon them the stamp of an evil genius. God's calls are always in the direction of self-sacrifice, beneficence, higher and higher holiness. God calls through circumstances; through convictions; through the spontaneous action of friends of solid character; we are called upon to beware of every allurement that does not point in a distinctly lofty direction. God calls to deeper study of the Word. God calls to beneficent activity on behalf of others.
It is a deception of the enemy to suppose that we cannot always distinguish the voice of the divine. Whilst that may be true enough as to certain practical details which are so intermixed as not to admit of special moral valuation, it is absolutely false in all matters involving conscience, sacrifice, and loyalty to truth. The man who wishes to hear the divine voice must cleanse his ears of all worldly noises. These noises often constitute so many prejudices, through which, if the divine word is heard at all, it comes without emphasis and without authority. "He that hath ears to hear, let him hear." We should hear more divine calls if we listened more attentively. If God has ceased to speak, therefore, it may be only because we have ceased to listen. Nature says nothing to the unsympathetic man. Art delivers no message to eyes that are filled with mean objects. The speech often depends upon the hearer. The supreme prayer of life should be: Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth.
The Changeable and the Unchangeable
IN addition to what we have already said, there are some things in this first chapter which will justify varied repetition. What an important part the word "if" plays in the opening chapters of Leviticus! At first we did not seem to see it, but by frequent repetition it urges itself upon our notice as a term of vital importance in the argument of the subject, whatever that subject may be. We cannot enter into the subject except through the gate if. It is God's word. The meaning must be profound; the meaning must be in excess of the visible insignificance of the word. It is but a film of a word after all. Is there a less word in all the language? Yet it is no film in its moral significance and in its moral effect; it is a granite wall thicker than the earth and high as the sky. Even God condescends to make terms with us. One of the greatest of English writers has been perplexed by the suggestion that God is almighty. He says No; either His almightiness must be surrendered, or His all-goodness. If He were almighty, He never could permit the evil which is now afflicting mankind. The argument is inconclusive, hiding, from my point of view, a most obvious sophism. Yet this is a ground upon which the almightiness of God must be surrendered. He is no mightier than we in one direction. Viewed in the light of that direction we would seem to be almighty. We can withhold our consent or we can give it. A great if must be crossed before even God can continue his purposes of wisdom and love in our education and redemption. We are almighty in obstinacy. The word is not unfamiliar; we hear it in the expression, "To-day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts." God has fixed the time, made the proposition, offered the whole hospitality of his heart and heaven, and then waits for our treatment of his necessary if . We hear it in the statement latest in all the sacred books, "If any man will open the door." What I Cannot God break through any door that ever was framed and fashioned? No! To break through is not his object. Destruction is but the very poorest aspect of the working of almightiness. God's aim is persuasion, the winning of consent, the bringing over of the whole force of the will: and then almightiness must stand still and wait a beggar's answer. Nowhere is the greatness of man so broadly and vividly confessed as in the Bible. They do injustice to Holy Scripture who suppose that it is continually contemning, abusing, and degrading human nature. The whole scheme of education and redemption revealed in the Bible awaits the consent of the creature. God is ready, and we keep him waiting at the door; the King is in the chariot, and the horses are prancing, eager to be gone on some celestial journey, and we keep them all waiting. It is a daring assumption. No book that is not conscious of infinite resources and vindications could base itself upon such a theory of human nature.
Through the gate if we enter into the temple of obedience. Having crossed the threshold, then law begins to operate. After the if comes the discipline the sweet, but often painful necessity. Observe the balance of operation: Man must reply; having replied, either in one form or the other, necessary consequences follow. It is so in all life. There is no exception in what is known as the religious consciousness and activity. The great sea says in its wild waves, "If ye will walk on me and become citizens of this wilderness of water, then you must submit to the law of the country; you must fall into the rhythm of the universe; you must build your wooden houses or your iron habitations according to laws old as God; you need not come upon my waters; I do not ask you to come; when you come I will obliterate your footprints so that no man may ever know that you have crossed me; but if you come you must obey." The earth says, "If ye will build upon me, please yourselves: I do not ask you to build upon me; I shall swing around the sun if no stone be laid upon the top of another, and be as glad in my path of light as though I carried temples and towers and cities; but if ye will build, you must obey the law; I cast down everything that is out of plomb; I will not carry any structure with any guarantee of permanence that is not built by the geometry of the sun; I do not ask you to build, but if you build you then come under the dominion of laws which cannot be set aside permanently. For a time they may be evaded or trifled with, or apparently suspended; but they will assert their permanence and vindicate their justice." We have therefore no liberty after a certain time. That is quite right; it is the law of all life. But we never give up our liberty in response to the laws of the universe without our surrender being compensated after God's measure. We are accustomed to speak of the law: we quote sharp and imperative terms from the Pentateuch, saying, "These words are very emphatic, and are all-inclusive, and often touch the point of severity; they do not tamper with us, or compromise with us, or leave us any liberty." That is an unjust criticism, it it be all we have to say. There was a time when God was suppliant; there was an hour in which he prayed; there was a time when God was on his knees asking a beggar to allow him heart-room. Let us therefore take in the whole case, and state it in all its lines and elements, and we shall find a marvellous harmony of forces a union and reconciliation constituting a coherent and sublime ministry.
We call this the law, but it is the law with a golden fringe of mercy. The law gave great choice of offering. It said, "If you bring a burnt offering, bring it of the herd if you have one. If you have not a herd of cattle, bring it of the flocks; bring it of the flock of the sheep; but if you are too poor to have a flock of sheep, bring a goat from the flock of the goats; only in all cases this condition must be permanent: whatever you offer must be without blemish. But if you have no cattle, no sheep, no goats, then bring it of the fowls: bring turtle-doves or young pigeons; the air is full of them, and the poorest man can take them." Is that not mercy twice blessed? We are not all masters of cattle that browse upon the green hills; nor are we all flockmasters, and amongst flockmasters there are rich and poor. God says, "Let your offering be according to your circumstances, only without blemish, and it shall be accepted."
What was the object of the offerings? Atonement What is the meaning of the word "atone"? To cover. How then does the word atone refer to sin? By covering it, hiding it, concealing it and so destroying it. The object of the offerings was to atone, to cover, to hide. "Blessed is the man whose sin is covered" and sin can only be covered or hidden in one way. No cloth of human weaving can ever conceal it; it will rise and show its figure before the vision of the world through all the silk and purple ever thrown upon it. There is an appointed covering; have we accepted it? Observe, this is the law of all life. To atone in the sense of covering is not a religious idea only; it is the thing which is being done every day by every man. Where, then, is the awful dogmatism of the Scriptures, and the appalling arbitrariness of the divine decrees and requirements? God looks down from heaven and sees us engaged in the continual endeavour to cover our sin, and he says, "It cannot be done; you have undertaken the impossible; that miracle does not lie within the compass of human invention or mortal strength; you are right in endeavouring to cover it; you are working according to a law, the full operation of which you do not understand; I will provide the covering." One reason for attending to the proposition is that all our coverings have failed. We have heaped rocks upon the sin, and the tremendous vitality of the wrong has heaved off the rock; we have bribed the sin to be quiet, and it has devoured our investments and balances and prosperities, and has then looked at us with a look of insatiable hunger. Knowing this, we are prepared to listen to the new proposal. God undertakes what we ourselves have been undertaking and failing in. It may be the Lord will succeed where we have been baffled by mocking perplexities.
What was the method of the offerings? The hands were to be laid upon the head of the victim. Whether the priest laid his hands upon it or the man himself, the act was symbolic and representative a most beautiful and pathetic symbol. The hands were laid upon the head, and the meaning of the imposition was that the sin was communicated by being recognised, acknowledged, confessed with a contrite heart. These are symbols we must not take out of human history until we are prepared to remove from the history of our race one of the most pathetic signs which has blessed it with religious accentuation. "My faith would lay her hands on that dear head of thine."
We say that all this is changed. Is it? What is changed? I am not aware that the change has taken place in any sense that would justify contempt for the ancient history. Changes have taken place, but they have only transpired in the sense of completion and fulfilment. What is confirmed? God has chosen the offering now. We are no longer called upon to say, Shall it be a burnt sacrifice of the herd? or shall the offering be of the flocks, whether of the sheep or of the goats? or shall the burnt sacrifice be of fowls, whether turtle-doves or young pigeons? But we are called upon to accept God's choice: "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world" the Son of man for the sons of men, Emmanuel: God with us always explaining itself to the consciousness and the necessity and the love, but never condescending to exchange the mystery for words which men can change into pointless controversy. What is changed? The mere mechanism, the personal expense, the humiliation undoubtedly, but not the Atonement. Really next to nothing has been changed. The accidentals or accessories have all been changed, but the central truth the Atonement remains for ever. There is no short and easy method with sin. It never has been one of the easy problems of human history. It has pained all men. It has distressed the supreme intellect of the world, and brought that intellect into the darkness and silence of despair. It has driven men away to find in beauty some solace for a conscious hideousness within; and men have found it to be cold and monotonous work, to be worshipping unresponsive sculpture, painting, and art of every name and kind. Men have sought by excess of the very thing itself to destroy sin, and if they could have gone forward from indulgence to indulgence, from insanity to insanity, they might have escaped the remorse of this world; but God has so constituted the universe that men have moments of sobriety, times of mental and moral reaction, periods in which they see themselves and their destiny with an appalling vividness, and in those hours it is found that the sin which began the mischief is still there. There is no way out of it but God's way. We have tried most of the ways ourselves, and it is but just to acknowledge that all our trials have ended only in the embitterment of our lot. "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." Seeing therefore that I must grapple with this problem of sin: that in proportion as I grow in wisdom I am conscious of the presence of the sin something that marks the fairest sheet upon which I would write my history, something that plagues the heart in its innermost delights, something that twists and perverts everything I do that is of the quality of goodness I will look into God's proposal. It is a proposal amounting to a miracle. He says, "Your sin is red like crimson, I will make it white as snow; it is a scarlet thing, I will make it like speckless wool: come now, let us reason together." It is for me to accept the invitation. This will I do: I will arise and go to my Father, and say unto him, "I have sinned, and the spot marks the guilt I can never erase." What is changed? Not the priestly idea, though the priestly person is changed. There is one Mediator, or Priest, between God and man, the Man Christ Jesus. We have a High Priest that abideth for ever. All we do in relation to the heavens we do through the medium of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and the Priest of the universe. He is able to save unto the uttermost all that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for us.
So then, now I examine the change, I find it is practically no change at all. In things accidental, accessory, contributory, in mere externals, the change is very great, but a very great change within a very small compass. What is left is this: God, sin, atonement, priestliness. Now I understand what Jesus said: "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil." What remains? The different offerings, they remain. We can never offer the same thing to God. Every man offers according to his quality and resources. What is prayer to one man is no prayer to another. God is judge. If I bring a turtle-dove or a young pigeon, when I might have brought the head of the herd, the poor bird will not be accepted; it will fly downwards. If I bring out of the flocks the best of the sheep, it will not be accepted if I could have brought my sacrifice of the herd, a male without blemish. We bring what we have. We do not all contribute in the same kind. The greatest contributors may be those who seem to contribute nothing. Even in the matter of giving of our wealth, Jesus Christ has a law of measurement. He said, concerning one who gave two mites, which make one farthing, "She hath given more than they all." Some contribute thought, inspiration, personal magnetism; some communicate the contagion of enthusiasm; some give new ideas concerning the old truths, or set old truths in new lights and aspects; some give of the herd, some of the flock, and some of the aviary; some but two mites. What is it gives the value to the offering? The spirit. The primest bullock that ever browsed is a worthless offering, if it be given with begrudgement or reluctance; and the poorest effort in speech, in service, in prayer, in oblation, is a miracle, if done with the passion of the heart.
If a man were rich and could afford it, he would bring his burnt sacrifice, with which he designed to honour God, out of his herd of larger cattle. He who considers what God is will resolve to give him the best he has; else he gives him not the glory due unto his name... Those of the middle rank, who could not well afford to offer a bullock, would bring a sheep or a goat, and those who were not able to do that would be accepted of God if they brought a turtle-dove or a pigeon. It is observable that those creatures were chosen for sacrifice which were most mild and gentle, harmless and inoffensive; to typify the innocence and meekness that were in Christ, and to teach the innocence and meekness that should be in Christians.
The Jews say this sacrifice of birds was one of the most difficult services the priests had to do. The priest would need to take as much care in offering this sacrifice as in any of the others; to teach those that minister in holy things to be as solicitous for the salvation of the souls of the poor as of the rich; their services are as acceptable to God, if they come from an upright heart, as the services of the rich; for he expects according to what a man hath, and not according to what he hath not ( 2Co 8:12 ). The poor man's turtle-doves or young pigeons are here said to be an offering of a sweet savour, as much as those of an ox or a bullock, that hath horns and hoofs. Yet, to love God with all our heart, and to love our neighbours as ourselves, is better than all burnt-offerings and sacrifices ( Mar 12:33 ).
Commentary, Henry and Scott.
The Order of the Ancient Offerings
There is something very remarkable in the order in which the offerings, patriarchal and Jewish, were presented unto the Lord. I do not advise young readers to make themselves learnedly familiar with patriarchal and Jewish usage or ritual, but I do recommend them to look sufficiently into the old histories to make themselves acquainted with the elements that are permanent, and which throw light upon a development which was consummated in the cross and in the whole priesthood of Jesus Christ. The order of offering itself is a revelation. I do not go beyond that order to find proof that the book which sets it forth in historical sequence is a book inspired. The order in which the offerings were presented enables me to address every man as religious. It is a large sanctuary that throws out its sacred screen until it includes the man who is supposed not to be in church at all. God builds no little houses. He is not given to making small, dwarfed sanctuaries that can hold but a few. He means his Church to be typified by the blue sky when there is no cloud or fog in it, when it is at its very best in all the infinitude of its summer glory. It is then the blue dome best emblematises the Church and Kingdom of him who is all heart when he loves and all light when he guides.
I would that I could sufficiently prepare your minds, if they have not already undergone adequate preparation, for the statement of the order in which the offerings occurred. I could announce them at once. I do not want to throw the announcement away. I want to dally with you until I get you into the true tone and temper of mind for a revelation so brilliant and startling. I want to lead you away from commerce and anxiety, to excite you to a pitch of expectation, so that you may realise the infinite grandeur of the development The first offering that was presented in patriarchal ages was the burnt-offering. It was an appeal to fire. It did not mean destruction. The meaning of the burnt-offering was that which ascends. Think of it; that man first directed his attention to fire as a medium of worship. The flesh was not regarded as destroyed by burning, but as being sent up to God as a sweet-smelling savour. It was a typical offering of the hope of the whole life of the man who offered the sacrifice. Being put into modern language it meant, "I am God's creature; my life is his; I give it to him; on the wings of fire my life ascends to his holy place, and daily I rise to the source of my being." All religious acts mean more than they seem to mean. No religious act is measurable by words. It is not to be brought within a parenthesis, and yarded off into so many inches or ells; therefore it is more than probable that those who offered the burnt-offering had some deep conceptions of a moral kind. But these do not appear in the act; they are latent; they are hidden and stowed away in the consciousness of the worshipper who is dumb because of the vastness of the work he has undertaken. But the elementary meaning is ascending, returning as fire to the sun, for your fire in your little grate is a child of the sun, and when it flickers and spurts and crackles and blazes, what is it doing but seeking its source? Find Abel and find Noah, and others of patriarchal times, lighting their fire and offering their burnt-offering, and you find the very first principle of natural religion. That burnt-offering might represent the operation of an instinct Man is spoken of as a religious being. He goes out after the unknown God, and you cannot keep him back. He will make a God rather than not have one. He aspires, he ascends; earth is too little for him, time chokes him. He is almost God, even as fire in its blaze and glow and heaven-seeking flame is almost a human spirit at times. It burns for God, it seeks him fervently.
The patriarchal burnt-offering represented the indestructible God-seeking element in human nature. In that sense the fire upon the altar never goes out There are men amongst us to-day who are not in the Church, and who have no hymn-book and no pastor, and no locus standi in ecclesiastical courts, who are presenting the burnt-offering. They stand with Abel, they worship with Noah; they are in the twilight far back, but they are still within God's great day of worship and grace and hope. The burnt-offering is the expression of an instinct. Now these men have dropped the word God. Perhaps they do not like it; perhaps the associations which have gathered round it have somewhat discouraged, or even distressed, them; perhaps they have been troubled by sectarian definitions of that infinite term, and by endeavours to house the Eternal within bricks of a merely denominational boundary, but they offer the burnt sacrifice to the Secret, the Force, the Totality of Being, the Something beyond, the plus, whatever it is. When they lift their necks and sigh because they have no speech, they are offering the burnt sacrifice; they are going up in pure flame to the Unmeasured and the Unnamed. Do I drive such men away as heathen, pagan, and alien? God forbid. I would they could offer at another altar which I shall presently name; meanwhile, if they sigh, they will be saved; if they want to know, they shall know; if they are offering the fire of an earnest and fervent wish, that fire will be accepted in its fullest meaning. Yet I would speak these words cautiously, and with distinct reservation, because, as a Christian teacher, I have to enforce Christian truth. I am speaking of men now who are sincere, real-hearted, simple-minded, without disingenuousness or complexity of thought, but who have come up to a point unknown, a secret unnameable, an uncontrollable force, and who worship by lifting silent eyes, or sighing out their wondering hearts, after that which they have not yet understood. The Lord accept their fire, and make their hearts warm with ever-growing desire after himself.
What was the next offering presented in patriarchal times and under the Jewish ritual? It was the peace-offering. The peace-offering had a double aspect. It was heaved, the action being the uplifted hand, ejaculated, thrown up, to the enthroned God, and there was a secondary action, lateral, waving, having great human meanings, pathetic outgoings towards human moods, human obligations, social trespasses and sins. Certain portions of the victim were offered upon the altar in burning, and the remainder of the flesh was eaten by the man who offered the sacrifice, and those who were associated with him. In heathen sacrifices the portion that was not burnt was saved to furnish materials for a feast There are some persons who do not understand eating and drinking. They are merely animal exercises to them. They do not like toasts; they disapprove them; and they are perfectly light under their narrow definitions. But to eat should be a religious exercise; the lifting of a hand over a table of feast should mean, "God be with us, every one; God forgive our sins and bind us in tenderer love." Let us learn from the old heathen nations, when they had burnt part of the offering to the gods, they kept the other for a social feast, that eating and drinking, are sacramental acts when performed by religious souls they may be acts that can be done in stable or stye, they may be made sacraments unto God.
The peace-offering had therefore a divine uplifting and a human outlook and application. At times the innate brotherhood of the race declares itself in bursts of benevolence. We have to be at peace with one another. What is the meaning of apologising, pardon-seeking, mutual explanation, agreeing with the adversary quickly whilst he is in the way with us? What is the meaning of going to one another, and saying, "Brother, I have sinned against you; I have done you wrong"? That is the permanent element in the old patriarchal, Jewish, and pagan peace-offering. So, then, up to this point we are under the operation of what I may term religious instinct. Heathen nations have found out the things I have now been speaking about fire seeking, tremblingly, a source, with a modesty that makes it quiver, with an energy that cannot be turned aside; and a peace-offering, meaning, "I have injured you, we have injured one another, we have done to one another the things we ought not to have done; we apologise, we repent, we express contrition; we have a wave-offering; let us all accept it, and be at peace among ourselves."
The burnt-offering, the peace-offering what next? The SIN-offering! It is a beautiful development. The sin-offering comes under law and is full of mystery. Unlike the burnt-offering and the peace-offering, it is not wholly measurable by an instinct. It roots itself in an instinct, but goes beyond it. The sin-offering is a revelation: not in patriarchal annals but in Mosaic records we read how the blood shed in sacrifice was to be treated. Now we come to blood. Where do you first read of the blood, in this relation? You should make yourselves, younger readers, familiar with the beginnings of great rivers; you should explore these Niles of thought. We read of blood in this relation for the first time in the twelfth chapter of Exodus, which treats of the sprinkling of the blood of the lamb on the door-posts of the houses of the Israelites. It was to save them from destruction. The next mention of blood is in the twenty-fourth chapter of Exodus. This should be specially noticed. Blood was now to be used in common with burnt-offerings and peace-offerings of the covenant of Sinai. Thus all that was instinctive was taken up into the region of revelation, and was baptized with blood. The burnt-offering and the peace-offering were no longer instinctive ceremonies, they were baptized with the red blood and made holy unto the Lord as offerings that expressed his revealed will.
When the sin-offering was presented, a portion of blood was offered to the Lord by being put on the horns of the altar, and the rest, except on certain occasions, was poured away at the base of the altar. The blood was the life: to offer the blood was typically to die: in emblem the sinner slew himself. Now look at the development the burnt-offering, consecration; the peace-offering, the humanity of religion; the sin-offering, atonement, sacrifice, propitiation words not to be caught within a theory, and to be seen only once in a lifetime. Distrust those who have theories of the atonement. You can only see the atonement for a moment. Christ could only suffer his agony once. Such agonies are not to be repeated. You do not see the atonement with a cold reason: you cannot analyse it and then synthesise and play theologico-metaphysical tricks and games with the heart of God. Once your eyes will be opened you will see it see the Cross, see the bursting heart, and you will be saved. God's Christianity is a religion of fire. Only under the excitement of the soul, which amounts to a divine inspiration, an opening of the eyes by God himself, can we see the Cross. I once saw it: it abides within me as the sun abides: after you have seen it for a moment with the open eye, close the eye and the sun is still there. It is in you. As to reasoning about it, and logically persuading a man that God died for him logic and God are never brought together in this connection; it is an unholy union; see the Sin and you will see the Mercy!
Through some such process must we all come. You are offering the burnt sacrifice; I thank God, I hail you as a brother. You are offering peace sacrifices, you want good will amongst men, peace on earth, happy family relationships you want to diffuse the spirit of brotherhood. Thank God; you are not far from the kingdom. Only get a man out of himself to think about anybody else in the world, and he is on the road to God. Now that is not enough: the sin-offering takes up the preliminary sacrifices, gives them their true meaning, their highest application, and extracts from them all that is permanent and valuable in their purpose. We have not come to the mount that might be touched, to Mount Sinai; we have not come to the Jewish shambles, red with blood, reeking with outpoured life we have come to Calvary, to the slain Man, to the Lamb of God a great mystery, but I wanted it to round off my thinking, I wanted it as a sky to my earth I had made a little mud floor which I called earth, I wanted that higher floor to set above it like a sky, rich with one sun, wealthy with innumerable stars.
Where are you? Still following your instinct? I call you to obey a revelation. Still occupying yourself with human relationships? I call upon you to see the divine meaning and purpose. Where are you at the Cross? Stay there. With Jesus? Never leave him. With the blood that speaketh better things than the blood of Abel? Long for no higher eloquence. Then is my life to be spent in sighing at the Cross? No. How? On the Cross. We are to be crucified with Christ, we are to know the fellowship of his sufferings, we are to be living sacrifices. The Lord drive back those baptized in grace who are making a luxury of Christianity, a pillow of down of Christian revelation the Lord send them back to the burnt-offering and the peace-offering, for they have mistaken the genius of the last revelation. If our Christian religion is not a passion, it is a lie. The old doctors of the Church said that if Christ was not God, he was not good. " Non Deus, non bonus ." If we are not alive with fire we are twice dead we shall be plucked up by the roots.
And as for thee, earnest man, all flame, know the spirit of judgment is to be united with the spirit of burning, that zeal is to be balanced by knowledge, that the true logic is love, not reason, directed by all the highest powers of the mind. Thou shalt love with all thy mind. Intellect itself is to be a flame, cold understanding is to be warmed up into a burning affection. These are great mysteries, but the elect of God will understand them.
Almighty God, all things do change, but thou changest not: thou art the same, and thy years do not fail. The heavens grow old, and the earth, and all things made by thine almightiness; but thou remainest upon the throne from age to age, ruling, governing, redeeming, and blessing the sons of men. Thou wilt reign evermore: the Lord reigneth, let the earth rejoice. Jesus Christ thy Son shall reign till all enemies are put under his feet The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death: death shall be swallowed up in victory; then shall there be a shouting of great gladness in thine house, because there shall be no more death. Thou art taking away one and another, still thy Church abides; speech after speech ends and is forgotten, but the word of the Lord abideth for ever. We bless thee for that which is permanent amidst that which is always passing away. Thou thyself art the Living One: the generations come and go, but the Creator sits upon the throne time without end. May we be found worshippers of God through our Lord Jesus Christ, adoring the Father, loving and serving the Son, and receiving constantly the sanctifying ministry of the Holy Ghost, until we become temples of the triune God, and body, soul, and spirit all, is without flaw, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, glorious with the splendour and beautiful with the comeliness of Christ. The Lord light a fire in the midst of us that shall not consume; the Lord address a gospel to every heart that shall call it to its noblest hopes and consecrate it to divinest service. Reordain all thy ministers every day; baptize thy people with a double portion of thy Spirit morning by morning; regard the lambs of the flock with shepherdly tenderness; may all workers work with both hands, and may all sufferers magnify the patience of Christ. Amen.
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Parker, Joseph. "Commentary on Leviticus 1". Parker's The People's Bible. https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany