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Dotibe Offerings of the Lord
Leviticus 27:2.—Shall make a singular vow. The Rabbins interpreted the phrase as meaning to “pronounce a vow,” and the Chaldee version renders the words, “shall distinctly pronounce a vow.” From this followed the subtle and misleading theory that no vow, unless pronounced audibly, was binding: ignoring the solemn truth that “Our thoughts are heard in heaven”; that “there is not a word in our tongue but the Lord knoweth it altogether” (Psalms 139:4). Thus they made void the law by their traditions. Surely, if iniquity, which secretly is “regarded in our hearts” (Psalms 66:18), offends God, so that He will not hear our prayers, the formation of a solemn resolve in the privacy of thought is “regarded” by Him as equal to an uttered vow. He values a purpose when it is as yet only “in thy heart” (1 Kings 8:18).
Leviticus 27:1-13.—The persons shall be for the Lord by thy estimation. Gratitude impels to dedication; and it led individual Israelites to dedicate themselves or their children to God’s service in His house for life. Hannah thus devoted Samuel. But while this was right, and it is well for the zeal and love of the soul to find outlet in such acts of surrender, vows made rashly are harmful in themselves and displeasing to God, whereas hesitancy in fulfilling right vows, will equally wound our own conscience and dishonour the Lord (Ecclesiastes 5:2-5).
Leviticus 27:14-25.—Sanctify his house to be holy to the Lord. Just as “persons” (Leviticus 27:2) might be devoted to Jehovah, so might possessions—houses, lands, cattle, and all worldly substance. Yet God, while valuing the piety which led to such consecration, gently arrested excess of zeal which might carry persons beyond prudence in their act of dedication. In Leviticus 27:16 the words “some part of a field” hold the suggestion, which afterwards became a recognized regulation in Israel, that no man should vow the whole of his estates to sacred purposes, since that would reduce him and his family to penury. God values a zeal ruled by prudence. In this Christian age of spiritual obligations it rises into a privilege to be permitted to use all we possess for the glory of our Lord and His kingdom rather than to consign it by vows to any ecclesiastical order or priestly control. Each is a steward, and must “spend and be spent” for his Lord: the right fulfilment of our stewardship may not be entrusted to another. [See Romans 16:6-8]. Every man must bear his own burden, and give account of himself to God, for all are now priests unto God” (Revelation 1:6), each having his ministry to fulfil and his sacrifies to present (1 Peter 2:4).
Leviticus 27:26-27.—The Lord’s firstling: no man should sanctify it. Those firstlings belonged to Jehovah already; were His property by express enactment (Exodus 13:2), and therefore were not free for the possessor to dedicate. A vow implies something beyond defined duty. God has made some sacred demands upon His people so emphatic as to necessitate implicit obedience; but beyond these absolute duties there is a realm of liberty in which each may obey the incitements of gratitude and the spontaneity of love.
Leviticus 27:28-29—Every devoted thing is most holy unto the Lord. It was allowed to the Israelite to transfer to God complete and Irrevocable possession of his living treasures as children or servants, and also his material substance, cattle and estates. Once so devoted, it could never be redeemed. So Hannah devoted Samuel, and Jephtha his daughter. And we, who have surrendered ourselves to Christ, and devoted our children in baptismal covenant to the faith, may not “draw back” under penalty of death. The Lord’s possessions may not be recalled from their sacred purpose and aim. “Therefore glorify God in body and spirit, which are His.”
Leviticus 27:30-34.—The tithe of the land. [See “History of Tithes,” homily on this section of chapter].
Topic: LAWS CONCERNING VOWS
Reasonable to suppose that pious Hebrews, anxious to obey the laws of the Lord, would resolve upon devoting themselves and their substance to His service. Some of them might make vows under sudden excitement or ecstatic feeling, which, upon calm reflection, they would devoutly wish commuted or remitted. Moses, and his successors, would need to know how to deal with such cases, with equity to worshippers, and the approval of Jehovah. Hence, necessity and blessing of such directions contained in this appendix to the book of Leviticus, which teach,
I. THAT VOLUNTARY AND SPECIAL VOWS WERE PERMITTED BY THE LORD.
The people were commanded, but never compelled to obey. In the strictest injunctions respecting ritual, a margin was left for voluntary service, free will offerings. Special vows were optional. “If thou shalt forbear to vow, it shall be no sin to thee” (Deuteronomy 23:22). Circumstances would be frequently occurring to prompt the formation and utterance of special dedication of persons or property to the Lord, e.g., special blessing, signal deliverances, etc. Gratitude would suggest and duty demand exceptional service. Enthusiastic love, always inventive and ready to lavish, is ready to offer what unsympathetic spectators rashly denominate “waste” (Mark 14:4). Jehovah accepts unaccomplished purposes, if unavoidable circumstances or personal inability prevent their fulfilment. Vows should be made cautiously, deliberately, and in most instances, conditionally; because further enlightenment, or changed conditions may render their fulfilment undesirable, unnecessary, or even impossible.
II. THAT VOWS WERE ACCEPTABLE TO THE LORD ACCORDING TO THE SPIRIT WHICH PROMPTED THEM, AND IN WHICH THEY WERE PAID.
When circumstances justified an Israelite repenting of his vow, it could be commutated or remitted, or some compensation offered in its stead. Jehovah would accept nothing that was recklessly or reluctantly presented. All adjustments and decisions were to be made according to the standards of the sanctuary, not according to human fallibility and caprice. Though a vow should not be literally performed, it must be perfectly fulfilled in respect to honourable intention, and sacred fidelity. The state of heart, in the presentation of sacrifice, determined the value of the gift. This law has never been repealed. Through the vail of the Levitical economy beam the rays of the Gospel, which do not destroy the law, but fulfil it.
III. THAT FREEDOM OF CHOICE GIVEN IN THE FULFILMENT OF VOWS DID NOT CONTRAVENE THE PURPOSES OF THE LORD CONCERNING HIS WORK AND WORSHIP.
The compensation paid in lieu of the original vow went to sustain the sanctuary services, and the Lord reserved to Himself some unalienable rights. Some things when devoted could not be withheld or withdrawn under any circumstances He demanded a tenth of the produce of the land, and enforced His claim with righteous and unrelaxing rigour. Thus the preservation and perpetuation of Jehovah’s worship were secured, and not left contingent upon the fickleness and uncertainty of human devotedness. Righteousness lies at the foundation of the Levitical economy; is the basis of natural and revealed religion.
Though in the gospel, Moses and Elias withdrew, and we see “Jesus only”; though under the new dispensation the yoke of service is easy, the burden of sacrifice light; yet obedience is the divine test of love, and Christly works are the essential proofs of saving faith. Leviticus is a witness to Christ and His gospel. In Him we have combined all that the law embodied,—Altar, Sacrifice, Priest.
Simplicity, and purity of aims, loftiest motives, deepest meanings, and incomparable excellence, lift the law and the gospel infinitely above all other religions of the world. The superiority to Jewish narrowness and bigotry, to human sinfulness and shortsightedness, demonstrate their divinity of origin, mutual dependence, absolute authority, undying vigour, and inestimable worth.—F. W. B.
Topic: COMPARATIVE ABILITY (Leviticus 27:1-8)
1. It is distinctly stated that no obligation enforces individuals to make a vow to the Lord (Deuteronomy 23:22).
2. But the stringency of fulfilling a vow when once made is emphatically laid down (Deuteronomy 23:21; Ecclesiastes 5:4-5).
3. The practice of making vows largely prevailed during the Mosaic dispensation (1 Chronicles 29:9; Judges 11:30; Numbers 30:2, etc.).
4. Voluntary vows had recognition or place in the Christian Economy (Acts 18:18, etc.). Yet in the act of devoting ourselves or our possessions, it must be considered that
I. ABILITY IS NO STANDARD FOR OUR PERSONAL ACCEPTANCE WITH GOD.
It was obviously a question of capacity or resources, when a man was making his vow, what that vow should be; but ability or resources had no place in God’s acceptance of the individual himself. The rule of personal acceptance appears in Exodus 30:15.
1. Atonement and acceptance stand on the common basis of guilt. And there is no difference between rich and poor in this.
2. Redemption requires an equal price for every human soul. Christ’s full merits are needed for and by each one.
3. No votive offering is accepted unless and until the atonement price has been paid.
Then we may come with our vows. But Christ’s preciousness must proceed. Personal merits or possessions have no regard with God until Christ has atoned for our souls. Into the relationship of acceptance with God we can only enter—and “we have boldness to enter”—by “the blood of Jesus.”
II. ABILITY WILL BE ESTIMATED AS REGULATING OUR OFFERINGS TO GOD.
When atonement is made for our souls, and which are accepted on that ground, then we may bring our offerings.
1. The diferences which separate us are reckoned in the “estimation” of our gifts. It is thus: “According to that a man hath.”
2. The righteousness of God requires that we offer according to what He has bestowed on us. If riches, then a large gift, etc.
3. Our own judgment is not sufficient to decide our obligation. “The shekel of the sanctuary is to weigh every offering. All this disposes of fitfulness and caprice in the performances of religion; God looks to our bringing our utmost; and He weighs what we bring.
III. ABILITY, WHEN BELOW THE MEASURE OF OBLIGATION, IS DETERMINED BY THE PRIEST OF GOD.
There was a rigid rule by which the votive offerings were estimated: but to this standard some were too poor to attain (Leviticus 27:8). “It be be poorer than thy estimation then shall he present himself to the priest.” Note: he turns from Moses to the priest: from the embodiment of righteous exaction to the representative of gracious mediation.
1. A sense of insufficiency for righteous requirements is here provided for. “We have a High Priest over the house of God.”
From the righteousness of the law we may turn to the spaciousness of the Priest.
2. Our poverty only serves to unfold the resources of divine compassion and grace. God does not burden the weak; He meets our penury with gentleness. His grace is magnified by our inability to rise to the standard of righteousness.
3. Yet every sinner is certainly found by the lawgiver “poorer than his estimation.” What then? “Where sin abounded grace doth much more abound.” “It is of grace that it might not be of works.” “To the poor the gospel is preached.”
Topic: REDEMPTION OF VOTIVE OFFERINGS (Leviticus 27:14-34)
(a) Vows were sometimes made erroneously and with faulty motives; for it is human to err. In God’s pity, arrangements were sanctioned for releasing devotees from these solemn obligations and bonds.
(b) By the imposition of a ransom price, which was in the nature of a fine, rashness was punished, and thus checked.
(c) This insistance upon an equivalent for the withdrawal of votive offerings, enforced the fact that inconsiderate action or impetuosity could not be neutralised by the mere feeling of regret for what had been done: God exacted His dues, and bound them to a reverence for His righteous claims.
I. SPONTANEITY IN RELIGIOUS OFFERINGS.
Into every career come such manifest mercies or gracious deliverances as to constrain the thought, “What shall I render unto the Lord for all His benefits towards me?”
1. A grateful recognition of God in our life impels to acts of devotion: The glad heart would “bring an offering.”
2. The outgoing of our gratitude is arrested by no strict imposts or demands. The offering may be a person or his possessions. God allows freedom where He can.
3. Exceptional causes for gratitude should find outlet in exceptional consecration. This “singular vow” was something in excess of the usual religious gifts and services; it was something besides the continual burnt offering.
Ask (a) Is there one of God’s children to whom God, in providence or grace, has not extended exceptional proofs of loving kindness or deliverance? “What hath God wrought!” What abounding grace has He shown!
(b) Is there one of God’s children from whom God has received no return of dedication or devotion for His wondrous goodness and love? Have our hearts been sepulchres in which to bury the records of His love?
(c) Is there one of God’s children in whom awakes a sense of “how mucoh he owes his Lord,” ready now to lay self, heart, powers on the consecrating altar? “I will pay my vows unto the Lord now in the presene of all His people.” God values a willing offering, and waits to receive what we earnestly bring.
II. ENFORCEMENT OF ESPOUSED OBLIGATIONS.
It is our melancholy tendency to lapse from vows made in times of mercy.
1. God holds us to our vows. In some covenants and consecrations He allows no recall (Leviticus 27:28-29); while in every instance some substitution or commutation is required. This is an enforcement of the law of fidelity. Between God and man there must be the fulfilment of rights. Never does He violate an obligation to which He has pledged Himself. He fulfils all that He covenants to regard—precious promises, supplies of grace, riches, provisions of mercy, plenteous redemption. There is no withdrawal from His word, on “that which He has caused us to hope:” “faithfulness is the girdle of His loins.”
Neither may there be fickleness in our obligations to Him. Jacob might forget Bethel amid his successes in Padan-aran; but God did not: “Arise, go up to Bethel, and make there an altar unto God that appeared unto thee,” etc. (Genesis 35:1).
2. God concedes to our weaknesses. “He is very pitiful and of tender mercy,” not a hard task-master. While maintaining the law of righteousness, and requiring our fidelity, He yet provides for our short-sightedness and variability. Vows made in an earnest moment might prove most burdensome and inexpedient to fulfil. We see only the moment; fuller reflexion may show us that the pledge we made was not wise, or that it would overtax us. Therefore, God allows commutation. Vows were redeemable on terms here defined.
a. A gracious principle of considerateness and concession runs through all God’s requirements of us. He looks for the spirit of fidelity, the wish to act aright; and then He relaxes the literal bond. For He sees our frailty. “Know then that the Lord exacteth of thee less than thine iniquity requireth” (Job 11:6).
b. The gentle law of substitution is here unveiled. God accepts something else, something less, in the place of that we owe Him. We owe Him perfect obedience. He accepts the wish and effort to obey. We owe Him all we are and have: He accepts a portion of our time, substance, and energies. We owe Him our complete ruin, for “the soul that sinneth shall die”; but He says, “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and let him return,” etc., and He will accept this, and stay the doom.
In the Person and Sacrifice of Christ, substitution reaches its climax. But it was not something less when He stood for the human race: it was infinitely more! A perfect Son for rebellious children; a spotless Sacrifice for a sinful world. “Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift.” See Addenda, Vows.
Topic: THE HISTORY OF TITHES (Leviticus 27:30-33)
I. THE SCRIPTURE RECORDS concerning the law of tithes.
1. Antecedent to the Mosaic legislation. The principle of dedicating a tenth to God was recognised in the act of Abraham, who paid tithes of his spoils to Melchizedek in his sacerdotal rather than his sovereign capacity (Genesis 14:20; Hebrews 7:6). Later, in Jacob’s vow (Genesis 28:22), the dedication of a “tenth” presupposes a sacred enactment, or a custom in existence which fixed that proportion rather than any other proportion, such as a seventh, or twelfth.
2. The Mosaic statutes. These given in this section lay claim in God’s name to the tenth of produce and cattle. An after enactment fixed that these tithes were to be paid to the Levites for their services (Numbers 18:21-24), who were to give a tithe of what they received to the priests (Leviticus 27:26-28). The sacred festivals were later made occasion for a further tithe (Deuteronomy 12:5-6; Deuteronomy 12:11; Deuteronomy 12:17; Deuteronomy 14:22-23); which was allowed to come in money-value rather than in kind (Deuteronomy 14:24-26).
3. Hezekiah’s reformation. This was signalized by the eagerness with which the people came with their tithes (2 Chronicles 31:5-6).
4. After the Captivity. Nehemiah made marked and emphatic arrangements concerning the tithing (Nehemiah 10:37; Nehemiah 12:44).
5. Prophets’ teachings. Both Amos (Leviticus 4:4) and Malachi (Leviticus 3:10) enforce this as a duty, by severely rebuking the nation for its neglect—as robbing God.
6. In Christ’s day. Our Lord exposed and denounced the ostentatious punctiliousness of the Pharisees over their tithing (Matthew 23:23).
7. Teaching of the New Testament. The fact of the existence of ministers as a distinct class, assumes provision made for their maintenance. The necessity for such provision, and the right on which it is founded, are recognized in such texts as Matthew 10:10; Luke 10:7; Romans 15:27; 1 Corinthians 9:7-14.
II. THE ECCLESIASTICAL DEVELOPMENT OF THE demand FOR TITHES.
1. The Fathers urged the obligation of tithing on the earliest Christians. The “Apostolical Canons,” the “Apostolical Constitutions,” St. Cyprian on “The Unity of the Church,” and the writings of Ambrose, Chrysostom, Augustine, and other Fathers of both divisions of the early Church, abound with allusions to this as a duty; and the response was made, not in enforced tithing, but by voluntary offerings.
2. The legislation of the first Christian Emperors recognised the obligation of maintaining the ministers of Christ. But while they assigned lands and other property to their support, they enacted no general payment of the tenth of the produce of the lands.
3. Ancient Church councils favoured tithings of land and produce, e.g., the Councils of Tours, A.D. 567; the second Council of Macon, A.D. 585; the Council of Rouen, A.D. 650; of Nantes, A.D. 660; of Metz, 756.
4. Its first imperial enactment. Charlemagne (king of the Franks, A.D. 768–814; and Roman Emperor, A.D. 800–814) originated the enactment of tithes as a public law, and by his capitularies formally established the practice over the Roman Empire which his rule swayed. From this start it extended itself over Western Christiandom; and it became general for a tenth to be paid to the Church.
5. Introduction of tithes into England. Offa, king of Mercia, is credited with its assertion here, at the close of the eighth century. It spread over other divisions of Saxon England, until Ethelwulf made it a law for the whole English realm. It remained optional with those who were compelled to pay tithes to determine to what Church they should be devoted; until Innocent III. addressed to the Archbishop of Canterbury, A.D. 1200, a decretal requiring tithes to be paid to the clergy of the parish to which payees belonged. About this time also, tithes, which had originally been confined to those called prædial, or the fruits of the earth, was extended to every species of profit and to the wages of every kind of labour.
6. The great and small tithe. The great tithe was made upon the main products of the soil, corn, hay, wood, etc.; the small on the less important growths. To the rector the great tithes of a parish are assigned, and to the vicar the small.
7. Tithes paid “in kind” These claim the tenth portion of the product itself (Leviticus 27:30-33). This is varied by a payment of an annual valuation; or an average taken over seven years; or by a composition, which, in a bulk sum, redeems the land from all future impost, rendering it henceforth “tithe free.”
III. THE ARGUMENTS FOR REJECTING THE MODERN impost OF TITHES.
1. The rule of Equity is infringed. When every man belonged to the one Church of the realm, all inhabitants might, with some show of rectitude, be called to support it. In Ireland the larger part of the nation was antagonistic to the Church, for which tithes were, through many generations, levied, and the impost was resented as an affront and injustice. In England a half of the population dissents from the Established Church, and both rears and maintains its own sanctuaries, and also sustains Noncomformist worship; on these adherents of English Free Churches the tithe is an oppression made in unrighteousness. In Wales, where the tithe-sustained Church has a vastly smaller proportional attachment, the enforcement of the law is even a greater breach of equity. The only law of equity in such ecclesiastical questions is—they who use a Church should pay for its support.
2. The genius and teaching of Christianity is violated. Christianity enforces no demand by law, it makes appeal to love. It asks willinghood. It states this principle: “That as there was a readiness to will, so there may be a performance” (2 Corinthians 8:11). And it limits the acceptableness of what is offered by this law: “If there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath,” etc. (2 Corinthians 8:12). If exaction and impost were to cease, there would be good hope that all sections of Christ’s Church in our land would conbine to maintain the historic sanctuaries of Episcopalianism, and prove that charity and willinghood have yet a deep root in the Christian heart of England.
3. The sacred persuasives to generosity in Church maintenance are:
(a) That as the gospel is superior to the law, and Christ to Moses, so should Christian generosity surpass Jewish.
(b) That as to Jews Zion was dear, and for her they lavished vast wealth, so should Christians bring, with yet grander bouutifulness, of their substance to the cause and Church of their blessed Lord.
(c) That it is beyond question a New Testament obligation on all believers to support the ministry and maintain the ordinances of the gospel (1 Corinthians 9:13-14).
(d) That while the Gospel supplies motives to love and consecration and sacrifice, it leaves Christians to apply these to themselves, and work out sacred principles in beautiful performances.
Note.—The Jew devoted nearly one-third of his income to religious purposes, by the command of the law; a tenth for the Levites, in property (Numbers 18:20, etc.); another tenth for the Sanctuary, chiefly in cattle and grain (Deuteronomy 14:22, etc.); and every third year a tenth to the poor.
Christian: “How much owest thou unto my Lord? Take thy bill and write down quickly.”
Topic: EPILOGUE.—THE LAW AND THE GOSPEL
Leviticus, like the Tabernacle, may present to the cursory observer, a rough and uninviting exterior; but within are found priceless blessings for those who devoutly draw near, and reverently worship. The Law may seem cumbrously elaborate, needlessly exacting; but sanctified intelligence and patient investigation will discover mercy in its purposes, and evangelical doctrines in its statutes. The letter may sometimes kill, but the spirit invariably gives life. In their sublime ends, the old and the new dispensations are indissolubly linked together, thus suggesting—
I. THE POINTS UPON WHICH THE LAW AND THE GOSPEL ESSENTIALLY AGREE.
1. Both proclaim the spotless holiness and inflexible justice of Jehovah. The law allows no connivance at, or compromise with sin; so the gospel shows no weakness or flaw in the inflexibility of justice, for Christ fulfilled the law and satisfied the utmost claims of Divine justice. Perfect holiness is exhibited in His blameless life, enforced in His immaculate example.
2. Both proclaim the extent and heinousness of sin. For all sins, even those of ignorance, sacrifices were provided. The high priest, with the whole nation, needed forgiveness. Many and costly oblations taught how universal, inveterate and deep-dyed is sin. The Cross teaches that the sins of the world can only be washed away by the precious blood of Christ.
3. Both proclaimed the necessity of mediation and vicarious sacrifice in order to reconciliation to God. Priests introduced men to God, interceded for them. The sacrifices offered were in the offerer’s stead. The gospel reveals one Mediator between God and man, one offering of the sins of the whole world.
4. Both proclaimed the necessity of faith and obedience in order to salvation. The offerer of Jewish sacrifices identified himself with the victim, and appropriated the promised blessing. Sanctification and consecration were to accompany the application for forgiveness. Sacrifices were only efficacious when associated with holiness, the adoption of a new life. So, in the gospel believers are saved from, not in, their sins. Without holiness no man can see the Lord. All who bear the name of Christ and believe on Him must depart from iniquity.
II. THE POINTS UPON WHICH THE LAW AND THE GOSPEL PROGRESSIVELY DIFFER.
1. The Law enforced authoritative commands; the Gospel exhibits gracious constraints. The former appealed to fear, the latter appeals to love. Thunders peal from Sinai, music rings from Calvary.
2. The Law seemed to limit its legislation to time; the Gospel discloses immortality, and points to eternity. The Israelites met with retribution at the hands of Moses, wrong-doers are now reminded of the final account, “the judgment seat of Christ.”
3. The Law revealed God as man’s Sovereign King; the Gospel reveals Him as man’s loving Father. Revelations at Sinia were august, awe-inspiring: made God known as Sovereign and Governor. Christ revealed the Fatherhood of God; that man, though fallen and profligate, is His child; that for him there are many mansions and unfading joys.
4. The Law took main cognizance of overt acts; the Gospel has primary respect to motives and intentions of the heart. Thus, the morality of the New Testament is exceedingly pure and absolutely perfect; a transcript of the holiness of the Divine nature.
5. The Law was to be supplanted by some better thing; the Gospel is final, conclusive, and complete. We look back to the law and see the foregleaming of the gospel; we look forward through Apocalyptic visions to the glorious consummation, when the redeemed universe will echo with the song of Moses and the Lamb, “Hallelujah! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth.”—F.W.B.
Topic: “COMMANDMENTS WHICH THE LORD COMMANDED MOSES” (Leviticus 27:34)
The Divine regulations and requirements of Leviticus are to be classified as—
1. Ceremonial: and consequently special to the Jewish nation; not binding upon or applicable to this Christian age.
2. Moral: for precepts and teachings intermingle with the ceremonies, whose relevancy and urgency are not to be restricted to any nation or period; there are Divine directions for us as for Israel.
3. Spiritual: A foreshadowing of gospel doctrines and of the better covenant of grace, and of the privileges of the Christian life, runs through the Levitical institutes. In these types and premonitions Christ and His work are prefigured; and, therefore, we read our inheritance in these Jewish signs.
I. SACRIFICE AND INCENSE. These have found their verification in the substitutionary death of Jesus.
II. TABERNACLE SANCTITIES AND SOLEMNITIES. These have become glorified in the incarnation of Christ which they predicted, and the indwelling of the Spirit in the believer which they pourtrayed.
III. CAMP DUTIES AND PURIFYINGS. These find their sacred realization in those obligations, responsibilities, and services, which now distinguish believers who form the community of Christ’s living Church.
IV. HOLY FEASTS AND CONVOCATIONS. These proclaim the spiritual fulness and delights with which the redeemed in Christ are now enriched; and those “times of refreshing” with which the Spirit gladdens humble hearts in which Emmanuel dwells.
V. ALTAR OFFERINGS AND VOWS. These mark that consecration of life and love which all who know the Lord should yield to Him, and which both distinguish the Christian character and dignify the Christian name.
“Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father; to Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever, Amen.”
ILLUSTRATIVE ADDENDA TO CHAPTER 27
“Praise should always follow answered prayer. It was thus with one man; he was very ill; a great, strong man in his day; yet disease shrivelled him up, laid him upon a lowly bed, made him pray to the humblest creature in his house for favours hour by hour. As he lay there, in his lowliness and weakness, he said, “If God would raise me up I would be a new man, I would be a devout worshipper in the sanctuary. I would live to His glory.” And God gathered him up again; didn’t break the bruised reed; did not quench the smoking flax, but permitted the man to regain his faculties. And he was not well one month till he became as worldly as he was before his affliction. He prayed as if his heart loved God; and when he got his health back again he was a practical atheist, he was virtually the basest of blasphemers.”
Joseph Parker, D.D.
“Call to thy God for grace to keep
Thy vows; and if thou break them weep;
Weep for thy broken vows, and vow again;
Vows made with tears cannot be made in vain.
Then once again
I vow to mend my ways;
Lord, say Amen,
And Thine be all the praise.”
“It is the purpose that makes strong the vow;
But vows to every purpose must not hold.”
‘Unheedful vows may heedfully be broken.”
“I know of two men who started business with this view: ‘We will give to God one-tenth of our profits.’ The first year the profits were considerable; the tithe was consequently considerable. The next year there was increase in the profits, and, of course, increase in the tithe. In a few years the profits became very, very large indeed, so that the partners said one to another: ‘Is not a tenth of this rather too much to give away? Suppose we say now we will give a twentieth?” And they gave a twentieth; and the next year the profits had fallen down; the year after they fell down again, and the men said to one another as Christians should say in such a case, ‘Have not we broken our vow? Have we not robbed God?’ And in no spirit of selfish calculation, but with humility of soul, self-reproach and bitter contrition they went back to God and told Him how the matter stood, prayed His forgiveness, renewed their vow, and God opened the windows of heaven and came back to them and all the old prosperity,”—Joseph Parker, D D.
“Restore to God His due in tithe and time;
A tithe purloined cankers the whole estate.”
“I cannot love Thee as I would,
Yet pardon me, O Highest God!
My life, and all I call my own,
I lay before Thy mercy throne:
And if a thousand lives were mine,
O sweetest Lord, they should be Thine,
And scanty would the offering be,
So richly hast Thou loved me.”
From the German.
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Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on Leviticus 27". Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 8 / Ordinary 13