Sunday, June 4th, 2023
Mackintosh's Notes on the Pentateuch Mackintosh's Notes
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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Mackintosh, Charles Henry. "Commentary on Leviticus 2". Mackintosh's Notes on the Pentateuch. https://www.studylight.org/
commentaries/ eng/ nfp/ leviticus-2.html.
Mackintosh, Charles Henry. "Commentary on Leviticus 2". Mackintosh's Notes on the Pentateuch. https://www.studylight.org/
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We, now, come to consider the meat offering which presents, in a very distinct manner, the man Christ Jesus." As the Burnt offering typifies Christ in death, the meat offering typifies Him in life. In neither the one nor the other, is there a question of sin-bearing. In the burnt offering, we see atonement but no sin bearing* - no imputation of sin - no outpoured wrath on account of sin. How can we know this? Because it was all consumed on the altar. Had there been ought of sin-bearing, it would have been consumed outside the camp. (Comp. Lev. 4: 11 , 22 , with Heb. 13: 11 )
*That is to say sin-bearing is not prominent, Of course, where there is atonement, sin must be in question.
But, in the meat offering, there was not even a question of blood shedding. We simply find, in it, a beauteous type of Christ, as He lived and walked and served, down here, on this earth. this one fact is, of itself, sufficient to draw the spiritual mind to the close and prayerful consideration of this offering. The pure and perfect manhood of our blessed Lord is a theme which must command the attention of every true Christian. It is to be feared that great looseness of thought prevails, in reference to this holy mystery. The expressions which one sometimes hears and reads are sufficient to prove that the fundamental doctrine of incarnation is not laid hold of as the word presents it. Such expressions may, very probably, proceed from misapprehension as to the real nature of His relations, and as to the true character of His sufferings; but, from what cause soever they arise, they should be judged in the light of holy scripture, and rejected. Doubtless, many who make use of those expressions, would recoil, with just horror and indignation, from the real doctrine contained in them, were it put before them in its broad and true characters; and, for this reason, one should be sorry to attribute unsoundness as to fundamental truth, where it may merely be inaccuracy of statement.
There is, however, one consideration which should weigh heavily in the estimation of every Christian, and that is, the vital nature of the doctrine of Christ's humanity. It lies at the very foundation of Christianity; and, for this reason, Satan has diligently sought, from the beginning, to lead people astray in reference to it. Almost all the leading errors which have found their way into the professing church disclose the Satanic purpose to undermine the truth as to the Person of Christ. And even when earnest, godly men have sought to combat those errors, they have, in many cases, plunged into errors on the opposite side. Hence, therefore, the need of close adherence to the veritable words which the Holy Ghost has made use of in unfolding this profound and most sacred mystery. Indeed, I believe that, in every case, subjection to the authority of holy scripture, and the energy of the divine life in the soul, will prove effectual safeguards against every complexion of error. It does not require high theological attainments to enable a soul to keep clear of error with respect to the doctrine of Christ. If only the word of Christ be dwelling richly, and "the Spirit of Christ" be in energy, in the soul, there will be no room for Satan to thrust in his dark and horrible suggestions. If the heart be delighting in the Christ which Scripture unfolds, it will, assuredly, shrink from the false Christs which Satan would introduce. If we are feeding upon God's reality, we shall unhesitatingly reject Satan's counterfeit. This is the best possible way in which to escape the entanglements of error, in every shape and character. "The sheep hear His voice, and . . . . . . follow him: for they know His voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him; for they know not the voice of strangers " ( John 10: 4 , 5 ) It is not, by any means, needful to be acquainted with the voice of a stranger, in order to turn away from it; all we require is to know the voice of the good Shepherd." This will secure us against the ensnaring influence of every strange sound. While, therefore, I feel called upon to warn the reader against strange sounds, in reference to the divine mystery of Christ's humanity, I do not deem it needful to discuss such sounds, but would rather seek, through grace, to arm him against them, by unfolding the doctrine of Scripture on the subject.
There are few things in which we exhibit more failure than in maintaining vigorous communion with the perfect manhood of the Lord Jesus Christ. Hence it is that we suffer so much from vacancy, barrenness, restlessness, and wandering. Did we but enter, with a more artless faith, into the truth that there is a real Man, at the right hand of the Majesty in the heavens - One whose sympathy is perfect, whose love is fathomless, whose power is omnipotent, whose wisdom is infinite, whose resources are exhaustless, whose riches are unsearchable, whose ear is open to our every breathing, whose hand is open to our every need, whose heart is full of unspeakable love and tenderness towards us - how much more happy and elevated we should be, and how much more independent of creature streams, through what channel soever they may flow! There is nothing the heart can crave which we have not in Jesus. Does it long for genuine sympathy? Where can it find it, save in Him who could mingle His tears with those of the bereaved sisters of Bethany? Does it desire the enjoyment of sincere affection? It can only find it in that heart which told forth its love in drops of blood. Does it seek the protection of real power? It has but to look to Him who made the world. Does it feel the need of unerring wisdom to guide? Let it betake itself to Him who is wisdom personified, and who of God is made unto us wisdom." In one word, we have all in Christ. The divine mind and the divine affections have found a perfect object in the man Christ Jesus;" and, surely, if there is that in the Person of Christ which can perfectly satisfy God, there is that which ought to satisfy us, and which will satisfy us, in proportion as, by the grace of the Holy Ghost, we walk in communion with God.
The Lord Jesus Christ was the only perfect man that ever trod this earth. He was all perfect - perfect in thought, perfect in word, perfect in action. In Him every moral quality met in divine and, therefore, perfect proportion. No one feature preponderated. In Him were exquisitely blended a majesty which overawed, and a gentleness which gave perfect ease in His presence. The Scribes and the Pharisees met His withering rebuke; while the poor Samaritan. and "the woman that was a sinner," found themselves unaccountably, yet irresistibly, attracted to Him. No one feature displaced another, for all was in fair and comely proportion. This may be traced in every scene of His perfect life. He could say, in reference to five thousand hungry people, "Give ye them to eat;" and, when they were filled, He could say, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost." The benevolence and the economy are both perfect and neither interferes with the other. Each shines in its own proper sphere. He could not send unsatisfied hungry away; neither could He suffer a single fragment of God's creatures to be wasted. He would meet, with a full and liberal hand, the need of the human family, and, when that was done, He would carefully treasure up every atom. The self-same hand that was widely open to every form of human need was firmly closed against all prodigality. There was nothing niggardly nor yet extravagant in the character of the perfect, the heavenly Man.
What a lesson for us! How often, with us, does benevolence resolve itself into an unwarrantable profusion! and, on the other hand, how often is our economy marred by the exhibition of a miserly spirit! At times, too, our niggard hearts refuse to open themselves to the full extent of the need which presents itself before us; while, at other times, we squander, through a wanton extravagance, that which might satisfy many a needy fellow-creature. Oh! my reader, let us carefully study the divine picture set before us in the life of the "Man Christ Jesus." How refreshing and strengthening to "the inward man" to be occupied with Him who was perfect in all His ways, and who "in all things must have the pre-eminence!"
See Him in the garden of Gethsemane. There, He kneels in the profound depths of a humility which none but Himself could exhibit; but yet, before the traitor's band, He exhibits a self-possession and majesty which cause them to go backward and fall to the ground. His deportment before God is prostration; before His judges and accusers, unbending dignity. All is perfect. The self-emptiness and the self-possession, the prostration and the dignity, are all divine.
So also, when we contemplate the beauteous combination of His divine and human relations, the same perfectness is observable. He could say, How was it that ye sought me? Wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?" And, at the same time, He could go down to Nazareth, and there set an example of perfect subjection to parental authority. (See Luke 2: 49-51 .) He could say to His mother, Woman, what have I to do with thee?" And yet, when passing through the unutterable agony of the cross, He could tenderly commit that mother to the care of the beloved disciple. In the former case, He separated Himself in the spirit of perfect Nazariteship to accomplish His Father's will; while, in the latter, He gave expression to the tender feelings of the perfect human heart. The devotion of the Nazarite and the affection of the man were both perfect. Neither was permitted to interfere with the other. Each shone with undimmed lustre in its proper sphere.
Now, the shadow of this perfect man passes before us in the "fine flour" which formed the basis of the meat offering. There was not so much as a single coarse grain. There was nothing uneven - nothing unequal - nothing rough to the touch. No matter what pressure came from without, there was always an even surface. He was never ruffled by any circumstance or set of circumstances. He never had to retrace a step, or recall a word. Come what might, He always met it in that perfect evenness which is so strikingly typified by the "fine flour."
In all these things, it is needless to say, He stands in marked contrast with His most honoured and devoted servants. For example, Moses, though "the meekest man in all the earth," yet "spoke unadvisedly with his lips." In Peter, we find a zeal and an energy which, at times, proved too much for the occasion; and, again, a cowardice which shrank from the place of testimony and reproach. There was the assertion of a devotedness which, when the time for action arrived, was not forthcoming. John, who breathed so much of the atmosphere of the immediate presence of Christ, exhibited, at times, a sectarian and an intolerant spirit. In Paul, the most devoted of servants, we observe considerable unevenness. He uttered words to the high priest which he had to recall. He sent a letter to the Corinthians, of which at first he repented, and afterwards repented not. In all, we find some flaw, save in Him who is "the fairest among ten thousand, and altogether lovely.
In the examination of the meat offering, it will give clearness and simplicity to our thoughts to consider, first, the materials of which it was composed; secondly, the various forms in which it was presented; and, thirdly, the persons who partook of it.
As to the materials, the "fine flour" may be regarded as the basis of the offering; and, in it, we have a type of Christ's humanity, wherein every perfection met. Every virtue was there, and ready for effectual action, in due season. The Holy Ghost delights to unfold the glories of Christ's Person, to set Him forth in all His peerless excellence - to place Him before us in contrast with all beside. He contrasts Him with Adam, even in his very best and highest state; as we read, "the first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven." ( 1 Cor. 15: 47 ) The first Adam, even in his unfallen condition, was "of the earth;" but the second Man was "the Lord from heaven."
The "oil," in the meat offering, is a type of the Holy Ghost. But, inasmuch as the oil is applied in a twofold way, so we have the Holy Ghost presented in a double aspect, in connection with the incarnation of the Son. The fine flour was " mingled " with oil; and there was oil " poured " upon it. Such was the type; and, in the Anti type, we see the blessed Lord Jesus Christ, first, " conceived ," and then " anointed ," by the Holy Ghost. (Comp. Matt. 1: 18 , 23 , with Lev. 3: 16 ) This is divine! The accuracy, which is here so apparent, draws forth the soul's admiration. It is one and the same Spirit which records the ingredients of the type, and gives us the facts in the antitype. The one who has detailed for us, with such amazing precision, the types and shadows of the Book of Leviticus, has also given us the glorious subject thereof, in the gospel narratives. The same Spirit breathes through the pages of the Old and those of the New Testament, and enables us to see how exactly the one corresponds with the other.
The conception of Christ's humanity, by the Holy Ghost, in the womb of the Virgin, unfolds one of the most profound mysteries, which can possibly engage the attention of the renewed mind. It is most fully set forth in Luke's gospel; and this is entirely characteristic, inasmuch as, throughout that Gospel, it would seem to be the special object of the Holy Ghost to unfold, in His own divinely touching manner, "the Man Christ Jesus." In Matthew, we have "the Son of Abraham - the Son of David." In Mark, we have the Divine Servant - the Heavenly Workman. In John, we have "the Son of God - the Eternal Word - the Life - the Light, by whom all things were made. But the great theme of the Holy Ghost in Luke is "the Son of man."
When the angel Gabriel had announced to Mary the dignity which was about to be conferred upon her, in connection with the great work of incarnation, she, not in a spirit of scepticism, but of honest ignorance, enquired, "How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?" It, manifestly, seemed to her that the birth of this glorious Person who was about to appear should be according to the ordinary principles of generation; and this her thought is made the occasion, in the exceeding goodness of God, of developing much valuable light, in reference to the cardinal truth of incarnation. The angel's reply to the virgin's question is unspeakably interesting, and cannot be too closely considered. "And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee; therefore also that Holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God." ( Luke 1: 35 )
From this magnificent passage, we learn that the human body into which the eternal Son entered, was formed by "the power of the Highest." "A body hast thou prepared me." (Comp. Psalm 40: 6 with Heb. 10: 6 ) It was a real human body - real "flesh and blood." There is no possible foundation here, on which Gnosticism or mysticism can base its vapid and worthless theories no warrant for the cold abstractions of the former, or the misty fancies of the latter. all is deep, solid, and divine reality. The very thing which our hearts needed- the very thing which God has given. The early promise had declared that the seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent's head," and none but a real man could accomplish this prediction - one whose nature was as real as it was pure and incorruptible. Thou shalt conceive in thy womb," said the angelic messenger, "and bring forth a son"* And, then, lest there should be any room for an error, in reference to the mode of this conception, he adds such words as prove unanswerably, that "the flesh and blood" of which the Eternal Son "took part" while absolutely real, was absolutely incapable of receiving, of retaining, or of communicating a single taint. The humanity of the Lord Jesus was, emphatically, that holy thing." And, inasmuch as it was wholly without taint, it was wholly without a seed of mortality. We cannot think of mortality, save in connection with sin; and Christ's humanity had nought to do with sin, either personally or relatively. Sin was imputed to Him, on the cross, where He was made sin for us." But the meat offering is not the type of Christ as a sin-bearer. It foreshadows Him in His perfect life, here below - a life in which He suffered, no doubt, hut not as a sin-bearer - not as a substitute - not at the hand of God. Let this be distinctly noted. Neither in the burnt offering, nor in the meat offering, have we Christ as a sin-bearer. In the latter, we see Him living ; and, in the former, we see Him dying ; but, in neither, is there a question of the imputation of sin, nor of enduring the wrath of God, on account of sin. In short, to present Christ as the sinner's substitute any where else save on the cross, is to rob His life of all its divine beauty and excellency, and to displace the cross altogether. Moreover, it would involve the types of Leviticus in hopeless confusion.
*"But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law." ( genomenon ek gunaikos, genomenon hupo nomon .) This is a most important passage inasmuch as it sets forth our blessed Lord as Son of God, and Son of man. "God sent forth his Son, made of a woman" Precious testimony.
I would, at this point, solemnly admonish my reader, that he cannot be too jealous in reference to the vital truth of the person of the Lord Jesus Christ, If there be error as to this, there is no security as to anything. God cannot give the sanction of His presence to ought that has not this truth for its foundation. The Person of Christ is the living - the divine ground which the Holy Ghost caries on all His operations. Let slip the truth as to Him, and you are like a vessel broken from its moorings, and carried, without rudder or compass, over the wild watery waste, and in imminent danger of being dashed to fragments upon the rocks of Arianism, Infidelity, or Atheism. Question the eternal Sonship of Christ - question His Deity - question His unspotted humanity, and you have opened the floodgate for a desolating tide of deadly error to rush in. Let no one imagine, for a moment, that this is a mere matter to be discussed by learned theologians - a curious question - a recondite mystery - a point about which we may lawfully differ. No; it is a vital, fundamental truth, to be held in the power of the Holy Ghost, and maintained at the expense of all beside - yea, to be confessed, under all circumstances, whatever may be the consequences.
What we want is simply to receive into our hearts, by the grace of the Holy Spirit, the Father's revelation of the Son, and, then, our souls shall be effectually preserved from the snares of the enemy, let them take what shape they may. He may speciously cover the trap of Arianism or Socinianism with the grass and leaves of a most plausible and attractive system of interpretation; but directly the devoted heart discovers what this system attempts to make of the Blessed One to whom it owes everything, and where it attempts to put Him, it finds but little difficulty in sending it back to where it manifestly came from. We can well afford to do without human theories; but we can never do without Christ - the Christ of God - the Christ of God's affections - the Christ of God's counsels - the Christ of God's word.
The Lord Jesus Christ, God's eternal Son, a distinct Person in the glorious Trinity, God manifest in the flesh, God over all, blessed for ever, assumed a body which was inherently and divinely pure, holy, and without the possibility of taint - absolutely free from every seed or principle of sin and mortality. Such was the humanity of Christ, that He could at any moment, so far as He was personally concerned, have returned to heaven, from whence He had come, and to which He belonged. I speak not here of the eternal counsels of redeeming love, or of the unswerving love of the heart of Jesus - His love to God - His love to God's elect, or of the work that was needful to ratify God's everlasting covenant with the seed of Abraham, and with the whole creation. Christ's own words teach us that it behoved Him to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day." ( Luke 24: 46 ) It was necessary that He should suffer, in order to the full manifestation and perfect accomplishment of the great mystery of redemption. It was His gracious purpose to "bring many sons unto glory. He would not abide alone," and, therefore, He, as the corn of wheat, "should fall into the ground and die." The more fully we enter into the truth of His Person, the more fully do we apprehend the grace of His work.
When the apostle speaks of Christ's being made perfect through suffering," it is as "the Captain of our salvation that he contemplates Him, and not as the eternal Son who, as regards His own abstract Person and nature, was divinely perfect and could not possibly have ought added to Him. So, also, when He Himself says, "Behold I cast out devils, and I do cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I shall be perfected," ( Luke 13: 32 ) He refers to His being perfected, in the power of resurrection, as the accomplisher of the entire work of redemption. So far as He was personally concerned, He could say, even on His way forth from the garden of Gethsemane, "Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?" ( Matt. 26: 53 , 54 )
It is well that the soul be clear as to this - well to have a divine sense of the harmony which exists between those scriptures which present Christ in the essential dignity of His Person, and the divine purity of His nature, and those which present Him in His relation with His people, and as accomplishing the great work of redemption. At times we find both these things combined, in the same passage, as in Heb. 5: 8 , 9 : "Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; and being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation to all them that obey him." We must, however, bear in mind that not one of those relations into which Christ, voluntarily, entered - whether as the expression of divine love to a lost world, or the servant of the divine counsels not one of these could possibly interfere with the essential purity, excellency, and glory of His Person. "The Holy Ghost came upon" the virgin, and the power of the Highest overshadowed her;" and "therefore that holy thing which was born of her was called the Son of God." Most magnificent unfolding, this, of the deep secret of Christ's pure and perfect humanity - the great antitype of the "fine flour mingled with oil!"
And here, let me observe, that, between humanity, as seen in the Lord Jesus Christ, and humanity, as seen in us, there could be no union. That which is pure could never coalesce with that which is impure. That which is incorruptible could never unite with that which is corruptible. The spiritual and the carnal - the heavenly and the earthly - could never combine. Hence, therefore, it follows that incarnation was not, as some have attempted to teach, Christ's taking our fallen nature into union with Himself. If He could have done this, there would have been no need of the death of the cross. He needed not, in that case, to feel "straitened" until the baptism was accomplished - the corn of wheat did not need to fall into the ground and die." This is a point of great moment. Let the spiritual mind ponder it deeply. Christ could not possibly take sinful humanity into union with Himself. Hear what the angel said to Joseph, in the first chapter of Matthew's gospel. "Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife; for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost." See now Joseph's natural sensibilities, as well as Mary's pious ignorance, are made the occasion of a fuller unfolding of the holy mystery of Christ's humanity; and also of guarding that humanity against all the Blasphemous attacks of the enemy!
How, then, is it that believers are united to Christ. Is it in incarnation or resurrection? In resurrection, assuredly. How is this proved? "Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone ." ( John 12: 24 .) At this side of death, there could be no union between Christ and His people. It is in the power of a new life that believers are united to Christ. They were dead in sin, and He, in perfect grace, came down, and, though Himself pure and sinless, was "made sin" - "died unto sin " - put it away - rose triumphant over it, and all pertaining to it, and, in resurrection, became the Head of a new race. Adam was the head of the old creation, which fell with him. Christ, by dying, put Himself under the full weight of His people's condition, and having perfectly met all that was against them, rose; victorious over all, and carried them with Him into the new creation, of which He is the glorious Head and Centre. Hence, we read, He that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit." ( 1 Cor. 6: 17 .) But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins , hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus." ( Eph. 2: 4-6 .) For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones." ( Eph. 5: 30 .) "And you being dead in your sins, and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses." ( Col. 2: 13 .)
Passages might be multiplied, but the above are amply sufficient to prove that it was not in incarnation, but in death, that Christ took a position in which His people could be "quickened together with him." Does this seem unimportant to the reader? Let him examine it in the light of Scripture. Let him weigh all the consequences. Let him view it in its bearing upon Christ's Person, upon His life, upon His death, upon our condition, by nature, in the old creation, and our place, through mercy, in the new. Let him consider it thus, and, I feel persuaded, he will no longer regard it as a light matter. Of one thing, at least, he may rest assured, that the writer of these pages would not pen a single line to prove this point, did he not consider it to be fraught with the most momentous results. The whole of divine revelation so hangs together - is so adjusted by the hand of the Holy Ghost is so consistent in all its parts, that, if one truth be disturbed, the entire arch is injured. This consideration should suffice to produce, in the mind of every Christian, a holy caution lest, by some rude touch, he mar the beauteous superstructure. Every stone must be left in its divinely appointed place; and, unquestionably, the truth as to Christ's Person is the keystone of the arch.
Having thus endeavoured to unfold the truth typified by the "fine flour mingled with oil," we may remark another point of much interest in the expression, "He shall pour oil upon it." In this we have a type of the anointing of the Lord Jesus Christ, by the Holy Ghost. The body of the Lord Jesus was not merely formed, mysteriously, by the Holy Ghost, but that pure and holy vessel was also anointed for service, by the same power. And it came to pass when all the people were baptised, and Jesus also being baptised and praying, the heaven was opened, and the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape, as a dove, upon him, and there was a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in thee I am well pleased." ( Luke 3: 21 , 22 )
The anointing of the Lord Jesus, by the Holy Ghost, previous to His entrance upon His public ministry, is of immense practical importance to every one who really desires to be a true and an effectual servant of God. though conceived, as to His manhood, by the Holy Ghost; though, in His own proper Person, "God manifest in the flesh;" though embodying, in Himself, all the fullness of the Godhead; yet, be it well observed, when coming forth, as man, to do the will of God, on the earth, whatever that will might be, whether preaching the gospel, teaching in the synagogues, healing the sick, cleansing the leper, casting out devils, feeding the hungry, or raising the dead, He did all by the Holy Ghost. That holy and heavenly vessel in which God the Son was pleased to appear in this world, was formed, filled, Anointed, and led by the Holy Ghost.
What a deep and holy lesson for us! A most needful and salutary lesson! How prone are we to run unsent! How prone to act in the mere energy of the flesh! How much of that which looks like ministry is only the restless and unhallowed activity of a nature which has never been measured and judged in the divine presence! Truly, we need to contemplate, more closely, our divine "meat offering" - to understand, more fully, the meaning of the "Fine flour anointed with oil." We need to meditate, more deeply, upon Christ Himself, who, though possessing, in His own Person, divine power, nevertheless, did all His work, wrought all His miracles, and, finally, offered himself without spot to God, by the eternal Spirit. He could say, "I, by the Spirit of God, cast out devils."
Nothing is of any value save that which is wrought by the power of the Holy Ghost. A man may write; but, if his pen be not guided and used by the Holy Ghost, his lines will produce no permanent result. A man may speak; but, if his lips be not anointed by the Holy Ghost, his word will not take permanent root. This is a solemn consideration, and, if properly weighed, would lead to much watchfulness over ourselves, and much earnest dependence upon the Holy Ghost. What we need is thorough self-emptiness, so that there may be room left for the Spirit to act by us. It is impossible that a man full of himself can be the vessel of the Holy Ghost. Such an one must, first, be emptied of himself, and, then, the Spirit can use him. When we contemplate the Person and ministry of the Lord Jesus, we see how that, in every scene and circumstance, He acted by the direct power of the Holy Ghost. Having taken His place, as man, down here, He showed that men should not only live by the Word, but act by the Spirit of God. Even though, as man, His will was perfect - His thoughts, His words, His acts, all perfect, yet would He not act, save by the direct authority of the Word, and by the direct power of the Holy Ghost. Oh! that in this, as in every thing else, we could, more closely, more faithfully, follow in His steps. Then, indeed, would our ministry be more effective, our testimony more fruitful, our whole course more entirely to the glory of God.
The next ingredient in the meat offering demanding our consideration is "the frankincense." As has been remarked, the "fine flour" was the basis of the offering. The "oil" and "frankincense" were the two leading adjuncts; and, truly, the connection between these two latter is most instructive. The "oil" typifies the power of Christ's ministry; the "frankincense" typifies the object thereof. The former teaches us that He did everything by the Spirit of God; the latter that He did everything to the glory of God. The frankincense presents that in the life of Christ, which was, exclusively, for God. This is evident from the second verse: "And he shall bring it (the meat offering) to Aaron's sons, the priests: and he shall take thereout his handful of the flour thereof, and of the oil thereof, with all the frankincense thereof; and the priest shall burn the memorial of it upon the altar, to be an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the Lord." Thus was it in the true meat offering - the Man Christ Jesus. There was that in His blessed life which was exclusively for God. Every thought, every word, every look, every act of His, emitted a fragrance which went up, immediately, to God. And, as in the type, it was the fire of the altar" that drew forth the sweet odour of the frankincense; so, in the Anti type, the more he was "tried," in all the scenes and circumstances of His blessed life, the more fully was it manifested that, in His manhood, there was nothing that could not ascend, as an odour of a sweet smell, to the throne of God. If, in the burnt offering, we behold Christ "offering himself, without spot, to God;" in the meat offering, we behold Him presenting all the intrinsic excellence and perfect actings of His human nature to God. A perfect, a self-emptied, an obedient man, on the earth, doing the will of God, acting by the authority of the word, and by the power of the Spirit, had a sweet odour which could only be for divine acceptance. The fact that all the frankincense" was consumed on the altar, fixes its import in the simplest manner.
It now only remains for us to consider an ingredient which was an inseparable adjunct of the meat offering, namely, " salt ." "and every oblation of thy meat offering shalt thou season with salt; neither shalt thou suffer the salt of the covenant of thy God to be lacking from thy meat offering: with all thine offerings thou shalt offer salt." The expression, "salt of the covenant," sets forth the enduring character of that covenant. God Himself has so ordained it, in all things, that nought can ever alter it - no influence can ever corrupt it. In a spiritual and practical point of view, it is impossible to over-estimate the value of such an ingredient. "Let your conversation be always with grace, seasoned with salt ." The whole conversation of the Perfect Man exhibited the power of this principle. His words were not merely words of grace, but words of pungent power - words divinely adapted to preserve from all taint and corrupting influence. He never uttered a word which was not redolent with "frankincense" and seasoned with salt. The former was most acceptable to God, the latter most profitable for man.
Sometimes, alas! man's corrupt heart and vitiated taste could not tolerate the pungency of the divinely salted meat offering. Witness, for example, the scene in the synagogue of Nazareth. ( Luke 4: 16-29 ) The people could bear him witness, and wonder at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth;" but when He proceeded to season those words with salt , which was so needful, in order to preserve them from the corrupting influence of their national pride, they would fain have cast Him over the brow of the hill whereon their city was built.
So, also, in Luke 14 , when His words of "grace" had drawn "great multitudes" after Him, He instantly throws in the "salt," by setting forth, in words of holy faithfulness, the sure results of following Him. Come, for all things are now ready," Here was the "grace." but, then, "whosoever forsaketh not all that he hath, cannot be my disciple." Here was the salt." Grace is attractive; but "Salt is good." Gracious discourse may be popular; but salted discourse never will. The pure gospel of the grace of God may, at certain times, and under certain circumstances, be run after by the multitude" for a while; but when the "salt" of a fervid and faithful application is introduced, it will soon thin the benches of all save such as are brought under the power of the word.
Having thus considered the ingredients which composed the meal offering, we shall now refer to those which were excluded from it.
The first of these was "leaven." No meat offering which ye shall bring unto the Lord, shall be made with leaven." This ingredient is used throughout the inspired volume, without so much as a single exception, as the symbol of evil . In Lev. 23 , which will be noticed in due course, we find leaven admitted in the two loaves which were offered on the day of Pentecost; but from the meat offering, leaven was most sedulously excluded. There was to be nothing sour: nothing that would puff up, nothing expressive of evil in that which typified the Man Christ Jesus." In Him, there could be nothing savouring of nature's sourness, nothing turgid, nothing inflated. All was pure, solid, and genuine. His word might, at times, cut to the quick; but it was never sour. His style never rose above the occasion. His deportment ever exhibited the deep reality of one walking in the immediate presence of God.
In those who bear the name of Jesus, we know, too well, alas! how leaven shows itself in all its properties and effects. There has been but one untainted sheaf of human fruit - but one perfectly unleavened meat offering; and, blessed be God, that one is ours - ours to feed upon in the sanctuary of the divine presence, in fellowship with God. No exercise can be more truly edifying and refreshing for the renewed mind than to dwell upon the unleavened perfectness of Christ's humanity - to contemplate the life and ministry of One who was, absolutely and essentially, unleavened. In all His springs of thought, affection, desire, and imagination, there was not so much as a particle of leaven. He was the sinless, spotless, perfect Man. And the more we are enabled, by the power of the Spirit, to enter into all this, the deeper will be our experience of the grace which led this perfect One to place Himself under the full consequences of His people's sins, as He did when He hung upon the cross. his thought, however, belongs entirely to the sin-offering aspect of our blessed Lord. In the meat offering, sin is not in question. It is not the type of a sin-bearer, but of a real, perfect, unblemished Man, conceived and anointed by the Holy Ghost, possessing an unleavened nature, and living an unleavened life, down here; emitting, ever, to God-ward, the fragrance of His own personal excellency, and maintaining, amongst men, a deportment characterised by grace seasoned with salt."
But there was another ingredient, as positively excluded from the meat offering as leaven," and that was honey." For ye shall burn no leaven, nor any honey, in any offering of the Lord made by fire." (Ver. 11). Now, as "leaven" is the expression of that which is positively and palpably evil , in nature, we may regard honey" as the significant symbol of that which is apparently sweet and attractive. Both are disallowed of God - both were carefully excluded from the meat offering - both were unfit for the altar. Men may undertake, like Saul, to distinguish between what is "vile and refuse," and what is not; but the judgement of God ranks the delicate Agag with the vilest of the sons of Amalek;. No doubt, there are some good moral qualities in man which must be taken for what they are worth. hast thou found honey , eat so much as is convenient;" but, be it remembered, it found no place in the meat offering, nor in its Antitype. There was the fullness of the Holy Ghost; there was the fragrant odour of the frankincense; there was the preservative virtue of the salt of the covenant." All these things accompanied the fine flour," in the Person of the true "meat offering;" but "no honey."
What a lesson for the heart is here! yea, what a volume of wholesome instruction! The blessed Lord Jesus knew how to give nature and its relationships their proper place. He knew how much honey "was convenient." He could say to His mother, "Wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?" And yet He could say, again, to the beloved disciple, Behold thy mother." In other words, nature's claims were never allowed to interfere with the presentation to God of all the energies of Christ's perfect manhood. Mary and others too might have thought that her human relation to the blessed One gave her some peculiar claim or influence, on merely natural grounds. There came, then, his brethren ("after the flesh") and his mother, and standing without, sent unto him, calling him. And the multitude sat about him; and they said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren without seek for thee." What was the reply of the true Meat Offering? Did He, at once, abandon His work, in order to respond to nature's call? By no means. Had He done so, it would have been to mingle honey" with the meat offering, which could not be. The honey was faithfully excluded, on this, as on every occasion, when God's claims were to be attended to, and instead thereof, the power of the Spirit, the odour of the frankincense," and the virtues of the salt" were blessedly exhibited. And he answered them, saying, Who is my mother, or my brethren? And he looked round about on them which sat about him, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and my mother."* ( Mark 3: 31-35 .)
*How important to see, in the above beautiful passage, that doing God's will brings the soul into a relationship with Christ, of which His brethren according to the flesh knew nothing, on merely natural grounds. It was as true, with respect to those brethren, as any one else, that except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." Mary could not have been saved by the mere fact of her being the mother of Jesus. She needed personal faith in Christ as much as any other member of Adam's fallen family. She needed to pass, by being born again, not of the old creation into the new. It was by treasuring up Christ's words in her heart that this blessed woman was saved. No doubt, she was highly favoured" in being chosen as a vessel, to such a holy office; but, then, as a lost sinner, she needed! to rejoice in God her Saviour, like any one else. She stands on the same platform, is washed in the same blood, clothed in the same righteousness, and will sing the same song, as all the rest of God's redeemed.
This simple fact will give additional force and clearness to a point already stated, namely; that incarnation was not Christ's taking our nature into union with Himself. This truth should be carefully pondered. It is fully brought out in 2 Cor. 5 , "For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: and that he died for all that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh, yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more . Therefore if any man be in Christ , he is a new creation: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new." (Ver. 14-17)
There are few things which the servant of Christ finds more difficult than to adjust, with spiritual accuracy, the claims of natural relationship, so as not to suffer them to interfere with the claims of the Master. In the case of our blessed Lord, as we know, the adjustment was divine. In our case, it often happens that divinely-recognised duties are openly neglected for what we imagine to be the service of Christ. The doctrine of God is constantly sacrificed to the apparent work of the gospel. Now, it is well to remember that true devotedness always starts from a point within which all godly claims are fully secured. If I hold a situation which demands my services from ten till four every day, I have no right to go out to visit or preach, during those hours. If I am in business, I am bound to maintain the integrity of that business, in a godly manner. I have no right to run hither and thither preaching, while my business, at home, lies in sixes and sevens, bringing great reproach on the holy doctrine of God. A man may say, I feel myself called to preach the gospel, and I find my situation, or my business, a clog. Well, if you are divinely called and fitted for the work; of the gospel, and that you cannot combine the two things, then resign your situation, or wind up your business, in a godly manner, and go forth, in the name of the Lord. But, clearly, so long as I hold a situation, or carry on a business, my work in the gospel must begin from a point within which the godly claims of such business or situation are fully responded to. This is devotedness. Ought else is confusion, however well intended. Blessed be God, we have a perfect example before us in the life of the Lord Jesus, and ample guidance, for the new man, in the word of God; so that we need not make any mistakes, in the varied relationships which we may be called, in the providence of God, to all, or as to the various claims which God's moral government has set up, in connection with such relationships.
2. The second point, in our theme, is the mode in which the meat offering was prepared. This was, as we read, by the action of fire. It was "baken in an oven" - "baken in a pan" - or "baken in a frying pan." The process of baking suggests the idea of suffering. But inasmuch as the meat offering is called "a sweet savour" - a term which is never applied to the sin offering, or trespass offering - it is evident that there is no thought of suffering for sin - no thought of suffering the wrath of God on account of sin - no thought of suffering at the hand of infinite Justice, as the sinner's substitute. The two ideas of "sweet savour" and suffering for sin, are wholly incompatible, according to the Levitical economy. It would completely destroy the type of the meat offering, were we to introduce into it the idea of suffering for sin.
In contemplating the life of the Lord Jesus, which, as we have already remarked, is the special subject foreshadowed in the meat offering, we may notice three distinct kinds of suffering; namely, suffering for righteousness; suffering by the power of sympathy; and suffering, in anticipation.
As the righteous Servant of God, He suffered in the midst of a scene in which all was contrary to Him; but this was the very opposite of suffering for sin. It is of the utmost importance to distinguish between these two kinds of suffering. The confounding of them must lead to serious error. suffering as a righteous One, standing amongst men, on God's behalf, is one thing; and suffering instead of men, under the hand of God, is quite another. The Lord Jesus suffered for righteousness, during His life . He suffered for sin, in His death. During His life, man and Satan did their utmost; and, even at the cross, they put forth all their powers; but when all that they could do was done - when they had travelled, in their deadly enmity, to the utmost limit of human and diabolical opposition, there lay, far beyond a region of impenetrable gloom and horror into which the Sin-bearer had to travel, in the accomplishment of His work. During His life He ever walked in the unclouded light of the Divine countenance; but, on the cursed tree, the dark shadow of sin intervened, and shut out that light, and drew forth that mysterious cry, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" This was a moment which stands absolutely alone, in the annals of eternity. From time to time, during the life of Christ, down here heaven had opened to give forth the expression of divine complacency in Him; but on the cross God forsook Him, because He was making His soul an offering for sin. If Christ had been a sin-bearer all His life, then what was the difference between the cross and any other period? Why was He not forsaken of God during His entire course? What was the difference between Christ on the cross, and Christ on the holy mount of transfiguration? was He forsaken of God, on the mount? Was He a sin-bearer there? These are very simple questions, which should be answered By those who maintain the ides of a life of sin-bearing.
The plain fact is this, there was nothing either in Christ's humanity, or in the nature of His associations, which could possibly connect Him with sin, or wrath, or death. He was made sin" on the cross; and there He endured the wrath of God, and there He gave up His life, as an all-sufficient atonement for sin; but nothing of this finds a place in the meat offering. True, we have the process of baking - the action of fire; but this is not the wrath of God. The meat offering was not a sin offering, but a sweet savour" offering. Thus, its import is definitely fixed; and, moreover, the intelligent interpretation of it must ever guard, with holy jealousy, the precious truth of Christ's spotless humanity, and the true nature of His associations. To make Him, by the necessity of His birth, a sinbearer, or to place Him, thereby, under the curse of the law, and the wrath of God, is to contradict the entire truth of God, as to incarnation - truth announced by the angel, and repeated, again and again, by the inspired apostle. Moreover, it destroys the entire character and object of Christ's life, and robs the cross of its distinctive glory. It lowers the sense of what sin is, and of what atonement is. In one word, it removes the keystone of the arch of revelation, and lays all in hopeless ruin and confusion around us.
But, again, the Lord Jesus suffered by the power of Sympathy; and this character of suffering unfolds to us the deep secrets of His tender heart. Human sorrow, and human misery ever touched a chord in that bosom of love. It was impossible that a perfect human heart could avoid feeling, according to its own divine sensibilities, the miseries which sin had entailed upon the human family. Though, personally free, both from the cause and the effect - though belonging to heaven, and living a perfect heavenly life, on the earth, yet did He descend, by the power of an intense sympathy, into the deepest depths of human sorrow yea, He felt the sorrow, more keenly by far, than those who were the direct subjects thereof, inasmuch as His humanity was perfect. And, further, He was able to contemplate both the sorrow and its cause, according to their just measure and character, in the presence of God. He felt as none else could feel. His feelings - His affections - His sensibilities - His whole moral and mental constitution were perfect; and, hence, none can tell what such an One must have suffered, in passing through such a world as this. He beheld the human family struggling beneath the ponderous weight of guilt and wretchedness; He beheld the whole creation groaning under the yoke; the cry of the prisoner fell upon His ear; the tear of the widow met His view; bereavement and poverty touched His sensitive heart; sickness and death made Him groan in the spirit;" His sympathetic sufferings were beyond all human conception.
I shall quote a passage for my reader, illustrative of that character of suffering to which we are now referring. When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick; that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses." ( Matt. 8: 16 , 17 ) This was entirely sympathetic - the power of fellow-feeling, which in Him was perfect. He had no sicknesses or infirmities of His own. Those things which are sometimes spoken of as sinless infirmities," were, in His case, but the evidences of a veritable, a real, a perfect manhood. But by sympathy, by perfect fellow feeling, He took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses." None? but a perfect man could have done this. We may feel for, and with, each other; but only Jesus could make human infirmity and sickness His own.
Now, had He been bearing all these things by the necessity of His birth, or of His relations with Israel and the human family, we should have lost all the beauty and preciousness of His voluntary sympathy. There could be no room for voluntary action when absolute necessity was laid upon Him. But, on the other hand, when we see His entire freedom, both personally and relatively, from human misery and that which produced it, we can enter into that perfect grace and compassion which led Him to take our infirmities, and bear our sicknesses," in the power of true sympathy. There is, therefore, a very manifest difference between Christ's suffering as a voluntary sympathiser with human misery, and His sufferings as the sinner's substitute. The former are apparent throughout His entire life ; the latter are confined to His death .
Finally, we have to consider Christ's sufferings, by anticipation. We find the dark shadow of the cross casting itself athwart His path, and producing a very keen order of suffering which, however, must be as clearly distinguished from His atoning suffering as either His suffering for righteousness, or His suffering by sympathy. Let as take a passage, in proof: And he came out, and went, as He was wont, to the mount of Olives; and his disciples also followed him. And when he was at the place, he said unto them, Pray that ye enter not into temptation and he was withdrawn from them about a stone's cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless, not my will but thine, be done. And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven strengthening him. and being in an agony, he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground." ( Luke 22: 39-44 .) Again, we read, And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. Then saith he unto them, my soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me . . . . . he went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done." ( Matt. 26: 37-42 .)
From these verses, it is evident, there was a something, in prospect, which the blessed Lord had never encountered before. There was a cup" being filled out for Him of which He had not yet drunk. If He had been a sin-bearer all His life, then why this intense agony at the thought of coming in contact with sin and enduring the wrath of God on account of sin? what was the difference between Christ, in Gethsemane, and Christ, at Calvary, if He were a sin-bearer all His life? There was a material difference! but it is because He was not a sin-bearer all His life. What is the difference? In Gethsemane, He was anticipating the cross! at Calvary, He was actually enduring it. In Gethsemane, there appeared an angel unto him from heaven strengthening him;" at Calvary, He was forsaken of all. There was no angelic ministry there. In Gethsemane He addresses God as Father ," thus enjoying the full communion of that ineffable relationship; but at Calvary, He cries, My God , My God , why hast thou forsaken me?" Here the sin-bearer looks up, and beholds the throne of eternal Justice enveloped in dark clouds, and the countenance of inflexible Holiness averted from Him because He was being made sin for us."
The reader will, I trust, find no difficulty in examining this subject for himself. He will be able to trace, in detail, the three characters of the life -sufferings of our blessed Lord, and to distinguish between them and His death -sufferings-His sufferings for sin. He will see how that, when man and Satan had done their utmost, there yet remained a character of suffering which was perfectly unique, namely, suffering, at the hand of God, on account of sin - suffering as the sinner's substitute. Until He came to the cross, He could ever look up and bask in the clear light of His Father's countenance. In the darkest hour, He found a sure resource above. His path down here was a rough one. How could it be otherwise, in a world where all was directly contrary to His pure and holy nature? He had to endure the contradiction of singers against himself." He had to endure" the reproach of them that reproached God." What had He not to endure? He was misunderstood, misinterpreted, abused, maligned, accused of being mad, and of having a devil. He was betrayed, denied, deserted, mocked, buffeted, spit upon, crowned with thorns, cast out, condemned, and nailed between two malefactors. All these things He endured at the hand of man, together with all the unutterable terrors which Satan brought to bear upon His spirit; but let it be, once more, emphatically repeated, when man and Satan had exhausted their power and enmity, our blessed Lord and Saviour had to endure a something compared with which all the rest was as nothing, and that was the hiding of God's countenance - the three hours of darkness and awful gloom, during which He suffered what none but God could know.
Now, when scripture speaks of our having fellowship with Christ's sufferings, it refers, simply, to His sufferings for righteousness - his sufferings at the hand of man. Christ suffered for sin, that we might not have to suffer for it. He endured the wrath of God, that we might not have to endure it. This is the ground of our peace. But, as regards suffering from man, we shall always find that the more faithfully we follow in the footsteps of Christ, the more we shall suffer in this respect; but this is a matter of gift, a matter of privilege, a favour, a dignity. (See Phil. 1: 29 , 30 ) To walk in the footsteps of Christ - to enjoy companionship with Him - to be thrown into a place of sympathy with Him, are privileges of the very highest order. Would that we all entered, more fully, into them! But, alas! we are too well content to do without them - too well satisfied, like Peter, to follow afar off" - to keep aloof from a despised and suffering Christ. All this is, undoubtedly, our heavy loss. Had we only more fellowship with His sufferings, the crown would glisten, far more brightly, in our soul's vision. When we shrink from fellowship with Christ's sufferings, we rob ourselves of the deep joy of His present companionship, and also of the moral power of the hope of His future glory.
3. Having considered the ingredients which composed the meat offering, and the various forms in which it was presented, it only remains for us to refer to the persons who partook of it. These were the head and members of the priestly house. "And that which is left of the meat offering shall be Aaron's and his sons: it is a thing most holy of the offerings of the Lord made by fire." (Ver. 10) As in the burnt offering, we observed the sons of Aaron introduced as types of all true believers, not as convicted sinners, but as worshipping Priests; so, in the meat offering, we find them feeding upon the remnant of that which had been laid, as it were, on the table of the God of Israel. This was a high and holy privilege. None but priests could enjoy it. This is set forth, with great distinctness, in "the law of the meat offering," which I shall here quote at length. And this is the law of the meat offering: the sons of Aaron shall offer it before the Lord, before the altar. And he shall take of it his handful, of the flour of the meat offering, and of the oil thereof, and all the frankincense which is upon the meat offering, and shall burn it upon the altar for a sweet savour, even the memorial of it unto the Lord. And the remainder thereof shell Aaron and his sons eat: with unleavened bread shall it be eaten, in the Holy place; in the court of the tabernacle of the congregation they shall eat it. It shall not be baken with leaven. I have given it unto them for their portion of my offerings made by fire; it is most holy, as is the sin offering, and as the trespass offering. All the males among the children of Aaron shall eat of it: it shall be a statute for ever in your generations, concerning the offerings of the Lord made by fire: every one that toucheth them shall be holy." ( Lev. 6: 14-18 )
Here, then, we are furnished with a beauteous figure of the Church, feeding, "in the holy place," in the power of practical holiness, upon the perfections of the Man Christ Jesus." This is our portion, through the grace of God; but, we must remember, it is to be eaten with unleavened bread." We cannot feed upon Christ if we are indulging in anything evil. Every one that toucheth them shall be holy." Moreover, it must be in the holy place." Our position, our practice, our persons, our associations, must be holy, ere we can feed upon the meat offering. Finally, it is, all the males among the children of Aaron shall eat of it." That is to say, real priestly energy, according to the divine idea of it, is required, in order to enjoy this holy portion. Aaron's Sons " set forth the idea of energy in priestly action. His " daughters," feebleness therein. (Comp. Num. 18: 8-13 ) There were some things which the sons could eat which the daughters could not. Our hearts should earnestly desire the highest measure of priestly energy, so that we may discharge the highest priestly functions, and partake of the highest order of priestly food.
In conclusion, let me add that, inasmuch as we are made, through grace," partakers of the divine nature," we can, if living in the energy of that nature, walk in the footsteps of Him who is foreshadowed in the meat offering. If only we are self-emptied, our every act may emit a sweet odour to God. the smallest as well as the greatest services may, by the power of the Holy Ghost, present the fragrance of Christ. The paying of a visit, the writing of a letter, the public ministry of the word, giving a cup of cold water to a disciple, giving a penny to a pauper, yea, the common-place acts of eating and drinking - all may emit the sweet perfume of the name and grace of Jesus.
So, also, if only nature be kept in the place of death, there may be, in us, the exhibition of that which is not corruptible, even a conversation seasoned with the "salt" of abiding communion with God. But, in all these things, we fail and come short. We grieve the Holy Spirit of God in our ways. We are prone to self-seeking or men-pleasing, in our very best services, and we fail to "season" our conversation. Hence, our constant deficiency in the "oil," the "frankincense," and the Salt while, at the same time, there is the tendency to suffer the "leaven" or the "honey" of nature to make its appearance. There has been but one perfect meat offering;" and, blessed be God, we are accepted in Him. We are the sons" of the true Aaron; our place is in the sanctuary, where we can feed upon the holy portion. Happy place! Happy portion! May we enjoy them more than ever we have done. May our retirement of heart from all but Christ be more profound. May our gaze at Him be so intense, that we shall have no heart for the attractions of the scene around us, nor yet for the ten thousand petty circumstances, in our path, which would fret the heart and perplex the mind. May we rejoice in Christ, in the sunshine and in the darkness; when the gentle breezes of summer play around us, and when the storms of winter rage fiercely abroad; when passing over the surface of a placid lake, or tossed on the bosom of a stormy ocean. Thank God "we have found Him" who is to be our satisfying portion for ever. We shall spend eternity dwelling upon the divine perfections of the Lord Jesus. Our eyes shall never be averted from Him, when once we have seen Him as He is.
May the Spirit of God work mightily in us, to strengthen us, "in the inner man." May He enable us to feed upon that perfect Meat Offering, the memorial of which has been fed upon by God Himself! This is our holy and happy privilege. May we realise it, yet more fully!