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Of the looking-glasses of the women]. The contribution of the looking-glasses for making the laver must have been a greater act of sacrifice to those female donors than at first sight appears. Looking-glasses were articles of difficult manufacture, and rare, and highly prized even above golden ornaments. The motive, therefore, must have been a very powerful one that prompted them to the self-denial. Probably it was from a sense of sorrow over the sin for having contributed even their earrings to the golden calf, or perhaps too, to give expression to their disapproval of another Egpytian practice, which was that of women visiting the heathen temples with mirrors in their left hands.
MAIN HOMILETICS OF THE PARAGRAPH.—Exodus 38:1-20
“And he made the altar of burnt-offering of shittim-wood: five cubits was the length thereof, and five cubits the breadth thereof; it was four square; and three cubits the height thereof,” 38 Exodus 38:1.
I. The altar of burnt-offering, Exodus 38:1-7. This was a hollow square, three cubits high, and five in length and breadth, made of shittim-wood, and overlaid with pearls of brass, having horns, like the altar of incense, at its four corners, each one covered with brass (copper). According to Jewish writers, the hollow square was filled with earth or stones. A sort of terrace, or projecting board, halfway up the altar, compassed it about, and was supported by a brass grating. The various vessels used in connection with the altar were all made of brass. These vessels were—
(1) The pans, to cleanse it of the ashes that arose from burning the flesh of the sacrifice upon the altar;
(2) The shovels for cleaning the altar;
(3) The basins for receiving the blood, and sprinkling it upon the altar;
(4) The flesh hooks, or large forks, to turn the piece of flesh or to take them from the altar; and
(5) The fire pans, or coal scoops. As with all the other articles, the altar of burnt-offerings was carried by staves, which passed through rings at the corners: only the rings were of brass, and the staves were covered with brass.
II. The laver, Exodus 38:8, was a round caldron-shaped basin, made of brass. The brass, it is stated here, was taken from “the mirrors of the women assembling, who assembled at the door of the Tabernacle of the congregation; i.e., of the women who served, assembling by troops (served by turns). “Though not washerwomen, these were women who dedicated their lives to the service of Jehovah, and spent them in religious exercises in fasting and in prayer, like Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, mentioned in Luke 2:37.”—Delitzch. Their mirrors, which had been hitherto used for purposes of personal adornment, they cheerfully renounced for the service of the sanctuary. The brass laver was constructed from them. The use of this laver was for the washing of the priest’s hands and feet when they touched the holy things, or trod the holy ground. “As no mention is made of a vessel whereat to wash the parts of the victims offered in sacrifice, it is presumed that the laver served this purpose also.”—Kitto’s “Cyclopædia,” art. ‘Laver.’
III. The outside hangings, Exodus 38:9-20, consisted of spun byssus, or “fine twined linen,” and were supported on pillars with brass sockets and silvered capitals, with hooks and fastenings for the pillars of silver. On the southern and northern sides were twenty pillars; on the western side ten; and on the eastern side six pillars, three on each side of the gate. The length of the northern and southern sides was one hundred cubits; of the western and eastern sides fifty cubits. The hangings on each side of the gate were fifteen cubits: thus leaving twenty for the gate, which consisted of four pillars in sockets of brass with hooks, fillets, and capitals of silver, supporting a curtain or hanging of blue and purple and scarlet. It is noted that all the pins used in the construction of the Tabernacle and the court were of brass.
In perusing this account of the construction of the court and its different articles of furniture, we are reminded of several things which are prominently present in the Christian Church:—
1. Variation in construction. Not merely were the articles in the court different from those in the Holy Place, but in part the materials employed in their construction. Instead of the pure gold of the table and the candlestick and the incense altar, there are now the brass and silver of the altar of burnt-offering, the laver, and the court pillars; from which it may be gathered that there are degrees of importance in things connected with the Christian Church, as Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 12:4; yet, of course, parts which are less important are not the less parts of the one great body.
2. Self-abnegation among its inmates—a lesson frequently enforced on the attention, it is here again suggested by the generous conduct of the pious women in parting with their mirrors: a lesson on the consecration of property to God. Not a little remarkable that it was in connection with the making of the laver that these pious women parted with their mirrors. These mirrors were employed for purposes of personal adornment; and the laver was a symbol of the bath of regeneration which purifies and adorns the inner man, and which, wherever it is enjoyed, enables one to dispense with that adornment which is merely outward (cf. 1 Peter 3:3-6). Noticeable, too, that this very special act of self-renunciation was in connection with one of the less important parts of the Tabernacle furniture; which, however, only made it all the greater. Perhaps, too, this was the reason why it has received special mention.
3. Seclusion from the world. The dwelling and its furniture were shut off from the gaze of men by the court hangings; and so is the Church of Christ separated from the world, like “a garden enclosed, a spring shut up, a fountain sealed” (cf. John 15:19; 2 Corinthians 6:17). Three points emerge here that cannot be sufficiently insisted on, viz.,
(1) That the Church and the world are not the same societies, but essentially different, the first being founded on the covenant, and created by the hand, of grace; the second remaining on the platform of creation, and in the sphere of nature.
(2) That the Church ought to keep herself distinct from the world. God having separated her from the world, she should not obliterate the lines of demarcation which He has fixed; and
(3) That the true nature of the Church cannot be apprehended by the world, as the internal aspect of the court and Tabernacle were not visible to those who were without (cf. 1 Corinthians 2:9-14).
SUMMATION OF THE METAL USED
“This is the sum of the Tabernacle, even of the Tabernacle of the testimony, as it was counted, according to the commandment of Moses”—Exodus 38:21-31.
I. The quantity of metal used. Of gold there were 29 talents, 730 shekels; of silver, 100 talents, 1775 shekels; of brass, 70 talents, 2400 shekels. Difficult now to ascertain with accuracy the exact sum represented by these figures. “The original meaning of the term ‘talent’ is a circuit; hence it came to be put for a round cake, and for the weight called a talent (perhaps from its having been taken as ‘a round number’ or sum total). It is impossible to decide whether the Hebrews had one talent only, or several of different weights, as various other nations had.” Art. ‘Weights,’ in ‘Fairbairn’s Cyclopædia.’ The same writer is inclined to think that, in the passage now under consideration, the talent of gold, silver, and brass was a talent of the same weight. From Exodus 38:26, it may be gathered that 1 talent = 3000 shekels. The exact sum employed may be thus represented, reckoning the talent at 93 lbs. 12 oz. avoirdupois weight, and the price of gold and silver at £1, 10s. and 2 Samuel 1:0 d. per shekel, and taking the brass at 1s. per pound.
2741 lbs. 3 oz.
9430 lbs. 2½ oz.
6637 lbs. 8 oz.
Of course, this calculation makes no claim to accuracy. Dr. A. Clarke makes the sum total to be: Gold, £198,347, 12s. 6d.; silver, £45,266, 5s. 0d.; brass, £513, 17s. 0d. = £244,127, 14s. 6d. Dr. Jamieson calculates the gold as = £150,000 sterling, and the silver as = £35,207. Each of these assign a higher value to the shekel. The largeness of either of these sums has been advanced as an argument against the historic credibility of the narrative; but two things are overlooked by those who advocate it:—
(1) That gold and silver were in those days remarkably abundant among Eastern nations. (On this point see Keil in loco); and
(2) That the Israelites are represented as having left Egypt, not as paupers, but as enriched through spoiling the Egyptians. The offering of such a large sum in the circumstances in which they were then placed speaks volumes for the zeal of the offerers. It is doubtful if the liberality of the British nation for religious purposes is on the same scale of magnificence. 603,550 men, having been numbered for taxation, would give upwards of three millions of a population, about equal to the population of Scotland, which may be reckoned, without challenge, the most liberal portion of the empire. In the year 1876, the three great Presbyterian bodies of that country contributed for religious purposes—United Presbyterian, £378,268, 10s. 4d; Free Church of Scotland, £565,195, 10s. 4d.; Established Church, £384,106, 15s. 2d. Total, £1,327,570, 15s. l0d.; which is nearly ten times more, but still not larger in proportion to the wealth of the countries, and the greater work committed to the Church’s care in Gospel times.
II. Reasons for the employment of so much precious metal. Dr. A. Clarke suggests three, which are well worth consideration:—
1. “To impress the people’s minds with the glory and dignity of the Divine Majesty, and the importance of His service.”
2. “To take out of their hands the occasion of covetousness; for as they brought much spoil out of Egypt, and could have little, if any, use for gold and silver in the wilderness, where it does not appear they had much intercourse with any other people, and were miraculously supported, so that they did not need their riches, it was right to employ them in the worship of God, which otherwise might have engendered that love of money which is the root of all evil.”
3. “To prevent pride and vain glory, by leading them to give up to the Divine service even the ornaments of their persons, which would have had too direct a tendency to divert their minds from better things.”
III. Reasons for its summation. These are not stated in the narrative, and can therefore only be conjectured. It does not appear that Moses was commanded by God to sum up the people’s contributions, but that he did so of his own accord. While, therefore, we have not here a Divine command to be obeyed, we have at least an excellent example to be copied. The summation of the metal used was—
(1.) A justification to Moses, vindicating, as it were, his integrity by showing that none of it had been embezzled for private uses—an example that might be copied with advantage by all who have charge of monies, and especially of church or charitable society monies. All matters of finance in connection with the Church of Christ should be conducted with scrupulous exactness. Religion will thrive none the less for noting its receipts and disbursements with business regularity and minuteness. Were this rule always followed, many scandals would be avoided.
(2.) An encouragement to the people, giving them some idea of the vastness of the work in which they had been engaged, and of the wide-spread interest it had evoked—from which the practical hint might be taken by those who are entrusted with the management of church affairs, that it is not always a disadvantage to publish printed lists of contributions for church building, missionary societies, and other schemes. People as a rule like to know what they are doing when they part with their money, and like to see where their money goes when it leaves them. To this rule Christians are no exception: nor is there cause why they should be exceptions.
REV. WILLIAM ADAMSON
Old Testament Truth! Exodus 38:1-31. Joseph Cook says that the Scriptures are a map of the universe, and not of Palestine merely. We are not abreast of our privileges when we live in Judea. If we are full of the spirit of the Scriptures, the wings of philosophy will tire us only by their tardiness and narrow range of flight. He means that the Old Testament was not designed to teach Jews only, but likewise Christians. There are many truths to be learned from that ancient schoolmaster—the Hebrew Theocracy. All the lesson-books he employed may not be of use to the world now, for Christianity has suspended these themes by her heavenly classics. But we need not discard—not even disregard—the old teacher. He can still tell us something about Divine wisdom and love. We may
“Still see, and hear, and breathe the evidence
Of God’s deep wisdom in that teacher’s school.”
Sacrifices! Exodus 38:1-7. The Vazimba were the supposed aborigines of the central parts of the Island of Madagascar. They neither made images, nor associated charms with their religious rites. A plain stone, or a mound of stones—often in the midst of a grove—was their temple and altar. Their worship—the most esteemed in the country—combined homage and invocation, and was accompanied with sacrifices of oxen, sheep, and poultry, the blood and fat of which were offered on the altar, and the rest eaten by the worshippers. These were the only sacrifices offered in Anhova. Were these rites derived from a knowledge of the Mosaic sacrifices, or do they owe their existence in Madagascar to some more primitive and patriarchal model, such as that of Abraham or Noah, when
“Altar of thanksgiving he
Built on Ararat”?—Gerok.
Burnt-Offerings! Exodus 38:1.
(1.) One of the saddest features of the modern ministry is the disposition to eliminate the idea of “substitution,” or “atonement,” from the Mosaic sacrifice; and so from that nobler Messianic sacrifice on which man rests for admission into God’s presence here before the incensealtar, and into His immediate presence hereafter before the throne on high. We give a Scotch Professor’s extraordinary theory, followed by the holy utterances of an English Dean:—“In the Passover, and in the subsequent sacrifices of the law of Moses, the idea predominates of salvation through sacrifice, not only the first idea of Abel, of life being owed to God, but the further idea, which would soon grow out of the first one, of life fulfilling its true end, attaining to its true position in the sight of God, doing its proper duty by Him, through sacrifice—sacrifice of which the offering of the lamb or other victim was but the type, sacrifice of self—of a life throughout its whole being and history devoted to God. This was the meaning of all sacrifice for sin.”
(2.) In every age, not least in this, Satan erects his many counterfeits, and calls them Christ. He decks them with false show. He slopes a flowery path to the bewitching snare. He smooths with skilful hands the slippery descent. He plants the altar of man’s fancied worth. He prompts the dream that rubbish dug from nature’s quarry, and shaped by sin-soiled hands, and worked by sin-soiled tools, may form a sufficient base. He bids men offer Christ on this, and then lie down content. Man’s merit forms the broad foundation. His tears of self-wronght penitence, his long array of self-denials, his train of ostentatious self-sacrifice, construct the fabric. Such altars stand on ruin’s ground. Think what the end must be of a creed thus emasculating the substitution of Christ, and substituting self instead! How miserable those
“Who strive to pull Christ Jesus from His Throne,
And in the place of heaven’s Eternal King,
Set up that pigmy “SELF.”
Altar-Sacrifices! Exodus 38:1. It is an interesting fact that in the Island of Madagascar the idea of blood having an efficacy to make atonement for sin is a marked feature in the sacrifices occasionally offered by the people; and also that the inner fat of the victim was regarded, as in the Jewish ritual, as the most appropriate portion to be offered, together with the blood. In crossing many of the smaller streams, certain rocks in the midst of the current are often seen smeared with fat as a propitiatory offering to the guardian genius or deity of the river. The upright stones fixed at the head of graves are anointed with blood and fat, as an offering to the spirits of the ancestors of the family.
“Thus the idolaters with fear approach
Their reverend shrines, and there for mercy sue,
And, trembling too, they wash the hallow’d earth,
And groan to be forgiven.”
Altar-Horns! Exodus 38:2.
(1.) Flandin mentions two fire-altars, upon which the sacred fire of the Persians was kept perpetually burning, as being still in existence at Nachi-i-Roustan. Upon a rock, which elevates itself to a moderate altitude from the plain, stand two altars sculptured out of the solid mass, and so exactly alike as to present the aspect of twins. The four corners are adorned with small pilasters cornered out in relief from the same block. These are in reality “horns.” Heathen altars were not only placed in groves, but on the summits of hills, us being nearer the gods to whom they were dedicated.
(2.) In Psalms 118:28 we have the sacrifice spoken of as bound with cords to the horn altars. This Psalm breathes a spirit of jubilant trust in the Lord. Its trumpet tones made it one of Luther’s hymns. Of it he says, “I would not give it in exchange for the honour, wealth, and power of all the world, Pope, Turk, or Emperor.” In the midsummer of 1530, when Melancthon was deputed to present the Confession of the Protestant Churches of Germany to the Diet at Augsburg, Luther was advised to abstain from any public appearance. In this “Desert,” as he calls it, he was able “to bind the sacrifice of thanksgiving with cords, yea, even unto the ‘horns of the altar.’ ”
“For truth shall flourish in immortal youth,
Unhurt amidst the war of elements,
The wreck of matter, and the crush of worlds.”
Horn-Hints! Exodus 38:2.
(1.) Strength! Law regards these as speaking of all-subduing might. The horned tribes move as the terror of the forest. When they assail their foes, whether man or beast, they prevail. Christ is thus armed for conquest. This thought is precious. Self is a broken arm, a pointless dart, a crumbling staff; and yet the soul has strong assaults to repel, strong corruptions to tread down, strong temptations to baffle, and heavy trials to bear. But Christ is strength. “I can do all things through Christ.” He is the horn of our salvation.
(2.) Shelter! Thomson says that the expression “horn of salvation” was probably derived from ancient altars, the raised corners of which were so-called. Temples, and especially the altars within them, were regarded as sanctuaries, and the greatest criminal, if he could but reach the temple, and lay hold of the altar, was for the time safe. These corners of the altar were indeed horns of salvation on this account, as many striking examples in Biblical History show.
(3.) Salvation! To the devout Hebrew Jehovah was the only reliable sanctuary, and these material objects were but significant symbols of Him. Christ is the horn of our salvation. Let nothing part you from your hold on Him. As Satan cannot seize Christ, and drag Him from His Throne; so he cannot pluck you from Christ if you hold fast by Him.
“What comfort to the saints to know
That He controls their every foe.”
Altar-Fire Coals! Exodus 38:4.
(1.) In Ezekiel 10:0 we have the vision of the man clothed in linen with the inkhorn at his side. He seals the faithful few who, when terrific judgments were about to burst on Jerusalem, had a mark set on their foreheads. He is commanded to go in between the wheels under the cherub, and fill his hand with coals of fire from between the cherubim, and scatter them over the city.
(2.) In Revelation 8:0 there is the beautiful vision of the Angel-Intercessor standing by the golden altar of incense. Immediately subsequent to the reception of the prayers of the saints, the same Angel-Priest took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it on the earth; and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake. In both books then we have the symbols of judgment.
(3.) The hot ashes, says Macduff, thrown by the very hand that had just been revealed as strong to save, indicate that to the wicked His arm is strong to smite. These glowing coals, if they mingle not with the prayer-offering of the saints, will be cast forth amidst despisers and scorners. The fire which does not purify will, as in the case of Nadab and Abihu, consume and destroy.
“The Angel in his golden censer took
Fire blazing from that altar-hearth, and cast
Earthward the flaming coals, which as they fell
Kindled the tempest, charged electric air.”
Propitiation! Exodus 38:4-7. The wild people of the Khond district in India believed that the only way to make their crops grow was to capture a human victim—offer him up in sacrifice—and then sow bits of his body over the field with the seed-corn. This superstition cost hundreds of lives a year, and so immovably rooted was it, that when the practice was interdicted the Khonds rebelled. It became necessary to watch the Khonds, and to rescue all prisoners retained for slaughter. The result was that in ten years more than 1300 lives were rescued; and the practice was stamped out. But was the evil heart of unbelief extracted by this measure? No. Only the Gospel brought to bear upon the Khonds could eradicate the root of bitterness. Then they could understand the One Great Sacrifice that roots and fruits might abound over the field of humanity.
“Thou art the One! Yea, Lord, I now confess
Great is my sin to Thee;
Oh! in Thy pitying love and gentleness
Have mercy upon me!”
Divine-Purposes! Exodus 38:8-20.
(1.) During the age of ferns, the conditions of the earth were unsuitable for flowers. Flowers can only breathe oxygen—their bright colours being due to rapid oxidation; whereas the atmosphere of the early geological epochs was densely charged with carbonic acid gas.
(2.) So during the earlier epochs of humanity, the moral atmosphere was unsuitable for the flowers of New Testament truth. Only the fern-truths of blood of bulls and goats, of material fabrics, and of ritual observances were adopted to that early human atmosphere.
(3.) Dark and gloomy, however, as was the sight of the eye of ferns, there were not wanting faint rays of an approaching floral dawn. In those ferns were hints and predictions, typical speech, and silent prophecy of flower vegetation destined to appear above the horizon of human life.
(4) So those crimson tints on the fern-rites of blood and incense and brazen lustrations were in reality prefigurations of nobler truth-life yet to appear. Like the Baptist, they heralded greater yet to be manifested. Like Wickhffe, they announced a brighter yet to arise. They prefigured the blood of Christ, the fragrant intercession of the Mediator, and the purifying graces of the Spirit.
“And down the long and branching porticoes,
On every flower-sculptured capital,
Glitters the brilliance of the Gospel’s beams.”
Brazen-Laver! Exodus 38:8.
(1.) Eternal love devised the plan—eternal wisdom drew the model—eternal grace came down to build it. Observe the choice material. It is the strongest metal—brass—to shadow forth the strength of Christ. He came to do the mightiest of mighty works; therefore He brought omnipotence in His hands. But by whom can it be filled? Jesus Himself pours in the stream. He brings the rich supply; then with a voice loud as the sound of many waters, sweet as the melody of heaven, He cries, “Wash and be clean.” The waters symbolised the regenerating influences of the Holy Spirit. Hence we have St. Paul speaking of the “laver of regeneration,” which is the renewing “grace of the Holy Ghost, which God hath shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ.” Then
“Bathe thy wounds—His stream of mercy
Ever runneth o’er;
But when thou art healed and pardoned,
Go and sin no more.”
Mirror-Symbolism! Exodus 38:8.
(1.) Law says faith seeks, nor seeks in vain, to gain instruction here. Women give aid to form this Gospel-type. Here seems to be a bud of truth. The virgin-mother holds the full-blown flower. The gift of gifts comes in through female means.
(2.) New feelings bear new fruits. These mirrors were recently prized as implements of vanity—as handmaids of self-love. But now the eyes are opened to far nobler views. Self has no charms when one glimpse of things divine is caught.
(3.) The offering was not scorned. That which was framed to cast back poor nature’s image, is accepted to form semblances of grace. We see to what use our worldly vanities may rise when placed on the altar of Christian self-sacrifice.
“These things are our examples, given
Till He, Whom type and lay foretold
In mystic signs and songs of old,
Shall lead us o’er life’s dreary wold,
Safe to our happy home in heaven.”
Looking-glasses! Exodus 38:8.—Various metals were used in their composition. The Arabs at the present day use polished steel. Mirrors were never hung upon walls, as with us, but fixed to a handle, sometimes curiously, sometimes hideously carved; and were carried in the hand, or fastened to a girdle round the waist. The mirrors given by the devout Israelitish women were evidently of brass. The metallic composition of ancient mirrors illustrates Job 37:18, “A molten looking-glass.” In such mirrors as these the objects reflected would be but dimly and defectively seen. See 1 Corinthians 13:12.
“And yet, as angels in some brighter dreams
Call to the soul when man doth sleep,
So some strange thoughts transcend our wonted themes,
And into glory peep.”
Revelation-Growth! Exodus 38:9-20.
(1.) How instructive it is to notice the elevation of the part that bears our human food during the geological epochs, from flat lichens creeping over rocks, and roots of ferns to the summits of annual plants and the boughs of trees—from roots to fruits—from the first and lowest stage of growth to the last and highest development of the plant—from the humblest and least organised to the noblest and most perfectly organised plants.
(2.) More instructive still is it to observe the gradual development of the mystery of God in the Holy Scriptures, from the “seed” in the garden of Eden to the “stem” of Abraham, and from the “plant” of Moses to the “flower” of Isaiah, until the fruit-growth is attained in the New Testament. Thus even nature’s progressive developing growth was, like the ritual of the tabernacle, a type of “better things to come.”
(3.) The wilderness tent, with its sandy foundation, its perishable curtains and draperies, gave place to the more stable foundations of Zion-rock, with its lordly temple-pile of less decaying materials; while these in turn were succeeded by that to whose advent they silently testified in type, viz., the Rock of Ages, with the uprising structure of living stones—the house eternal in the heavens.
“And then were new discoveries soon made
Of God’s unbounded wisdom, power, and love,
Which gave the understanding larger room
To swell its hymn of ever-growing praise.”
Tabernacle-Typism! Exodus 38:21-31.
(1.) It is interesting to notice in the earliest natural productions of our earth the same laws and processes which we observe in the latest and most highly-developed flowers and trees. The earlier forms of plant-life are but the types of those of later creation. The later complex forms of vegetalion are but developments of rudimentary parts existing in the more simple.
(2.) God’s dealings with mankind, as revealed in Scripture, are precisely analogous. The earlier events and persons were types of those of later date; and spoke of coming greater ones. Christianity itself is but the development of the types and shadows and beggarly elements of the Jewish dispensation which preceded it.
(3.) Even the Mosaic enumeration of the costliness and self-sacrifice connected with the tabernacle were an emblem of the great treasures required, and the great self-sacrifice demanded for the construction of that more glorious fabric—built, not on the shifting sands of time, but on the “Cleft Rock,” which endureth unto eternal life, for Him hath God the Father scaled.
“So teach us on Thy shrine to lay
Our hearts, and let them day by day
Intenser blaze, and higher.”
Tabernacle-Cost-Hints! Exodus 38:24-31.
(1.) Gray says that the cost of the tabernacle reminds us that, however great, it may be defrayed by the many—that, however small, it will help to make up the great whole—and that nothing is impossible to diligent minds, industrious hands, and earnest hearts.
(2.) It is the many blades of grass, bristling like spears in the sunlight, or sparkling at the dawntide with jewels of dew, that unitedly make the verdant carpet of nature which we admire so much. A drop of water is but a little, yet if it were not for the drops where would the vastness be? What wonderful results spring from those tiny coral builders in the Southern Seas, or from the industrious bee of our own land.
(3.) The various missionary societies have the larger portion of their enormous incomes made up of these many, many littles. There is a story told of a magnificent church being erected by the united efforts of a whole community.—each of whom brought a atone, or a beam of wood, or a pane of glass.
“Despise not then the pence,
They help to make the pound;
And each may help to spread abroad
The Gospel’s joyful sound.”
Mosaic-Typology! Exodus 38:1-31.
(1.) Turn upon the sky your unarranged telescope at random, and you see nothing. Direct it properly, but fail to arrange its lenses, and everything visible through the tube is blurred. But arrange the lenses, and bring the telescope exactly upon the star, or upon the rising sun, and the instant there is perfect accord between the line of the axis of the tube and the line of the ray from the star, or the orb of day, the image of the star or sun starts up in the chamber of the instrument.
(2.) Is it not so with the Word-firmament? The soul must direct the telescope of the human mind straight at some truth-orb, or type-star; and the human mind must be rightly adjusted to the focus of faith to enable us to see that orb of truth which the hand of the Invisible has placed in the Old Testament sky. The mind is the glass—the faith of Christ is the focus—the soul is under the guidance of the Spirit, the directing and adjusting power.
“Then shall this scheme, which now to human sight
Seems so unworthy Wisdom Infinite,
A system of consummate skill appear,
And, every cloud dispersed, be beautiful and clear.”
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Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on Exodus 38". Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany