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Leviticus 6:4. The lost thing which he found. This must be published and restored. If it be a garment, it should either be hung up on the road, or taken to some turnpike house. Else how can we expect to recover what we may lose. He who finds a thing, and conceals it, is regarded by ancient laws as a thief.
Leviticus 6:5. Shall add the fifth part. A thief was to restore double, because he was professedly a depredator. Exodus 22:4. But in embezzlement, a shade of human weakness is deemed a slight diminution of the guilt.
Leviticus 6:10. The priest shall take up the ashes, that is, when the fire has consumed the burnt-offering on the altar. So the French: Apres que le fen aura consumé l’ holocauste.
Leviticus 6:23. Every meat-offering [Hebrews mincha ] for the priest, shall be wholly burnt. The priests shared in the minchas of the people, but not in their own; the whole was consumed. Had the priest ate his own mincha, he had done nothing for his soul. This teaches that how lenient soever a minister may be to the people, he must not be lenient to himself.
Leviticus 6:25. Law of the sin-offering. Burnt-offerings were of two kinds; the one was burnt on the altar, and the other without the camp. Part of the former might, as in the prescribed cases, be eaten by the priests and their families, but not of the latter: the skin and all the interior must be burnt.
In the former chapter we have traced the atonements for sins of ignorance and negligence; we now come to known and wilful transgressions of the divine law. And blessed be God, that no sinner might be discouraged from repentance, atonement was provided for these sins also; but not without confession, restitution, and the superadding of a fifth part to the injured person.
Hence the promulgation of this law suggests a dreadful idea of the complicated nature of sin. The man who has defrauded his neighbour through covetousness, and other sins, will next tell lies to cover his crime, and by persisting, he is every moment keeping up a sort of living lie in the sight of God, and of his church. How dreadful is the state of his mind. Should death approach; should a stroke hurry him away in that state before the awful tribunal, we have every ground to fear that his soul is lost.
The covenant of God does not allow of private and concealed repentance; nor of bringing a sacrifice by proxy. He must come himself and acknowledge his sin, having first made restitution to his neighbour with interest. God will never receive a man’s prayers while he retains his neighbour’s goods. How happy would it be, if christians of all denominations would unite with the magistrates and peace-officers, to enforce the existing laws of morality and christian discipline; then taverns and alehouses would be brought under legal cognizance, drunkards and swearers would be punished, and the seducers of unprotected innocence would either be compelled to marry or flee their country. Professor Ostervald, in his treatise on the Causes of corruption, in conjunction with the ministers and magistrates, made a successful attempt in Switzerland; but perseverance is requisite in a good cause. What are good laws unenforced? The wicked, if left alone, will run to destruction.
The Jew who should presume to participate of the sacred feast with his sin unpurged, was to be cut off or excommunicated. He who despised the means of purity, despised the God of purity. And he who comes to worship God in his pride and covetousness, in his hatred and quarrels, shall have no access to him in prayer. And in the day when he shall knock without, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto me the Lord will answer, depart hence, I know you not.
The heart must not only be sincere in bringing its sacrifice, but the fire must be holy which consumes it, and ever kept burning on the altar; for it was the fire which went forth from the Lord, and burnt on the altar, accepting the first sacrifice in the covenant of Sinai. Into this fire pieces of the victims were continually thrown, which burnt upon the altar by night and by day, shadowing forth the sacrifice of Christ, the efficacy of which is for ever prevalent. The fire also of his holy love, shed abroad in the heart, should burn there in sanctifying comfort. Whenever that fire is low, and seems extinguished, we must stir it up, and add fresh fuel by meditation and prayer.
We here see that the priest so honoured as mediator between God and the sinner, must be a humble man. He must put off his fine linen; and in dirty clothes wheel the ashes out of the camp, or convey them away in some other manner. And seeing that Jesus has suffered for us without the camp, bearing our reproach, it becomes us to perform the humblest service in his church, out of regard for his holy name.
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Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Leviticus 6". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week of Advent