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The law concerning the uncleanness of the leprosy forms the subject of this Chapter. The method of discovery in ascertaining the existence of the decease, is very particularly pointed out. To which are added laws for the regulation of persons infected with the leprosy, and for due regard to their garments.
In the opening of this Chapter I beg to remind the reader once again, that Moses wrote of JESUS. In the person of Aaron as the great high priest to whom the leper was to show himself, we discover strong leading figures of him whom Aaron prefigured.
Let the Reader keep in view through the whole of this account of the leprosy of the body, the striking affinity and agreement it bears to the sin of the soul. As first, it was deemed to be incurable by any human art or means. Nay, it was thought an impious presumption on the prerogative of GOD, to attempt to heal it. And is not this exactly the case in respect to the guilt of our fallen nature? Who can forgive sins but GOD alone? Mark 2:7 . And secondly, everyone infected by this filthy disease was to show himself to the priest. And who doth not see in this, that precious doctrine of the gospel shadowed forth, that the sinner must be brought unto JESUS before that he can find healing in his blood from sin? 1 John 1:7 .
How sweetly is the SPIRIT's work here pointed out in the priest's looking into the case of the diseased Israelite. JESUS'S SPIRIT is that blessed gift to a poor sinner, which first convinceth of sin. John 16:8 .
And how sweetly is the case of a fearful, doubting mind, described by this supposed uncertainly of the disease? Reader! how often when the HOLY GHOST hath been leading you to JESUS, your high priest, how often have you afterwards doubted whether the thing be real? John 5:13 .
Ought not this state of suspense to teach believers an useful lesson, to wait the LORD'S time upon all occasions of doubt? Habakkuk 2:2 . And ought not ministers, in a very particular manner, to learn here from with what caution they should decide in all cases of a spiritual nature? 1 Corinthians 4:1-5 .
Observe, the priest is not to say the leper is healed, but pronounce him clean. Reader! remark with me how evidently this refers to the cleansing from sin by the blood of JESUS. The ten lepers, which came to JESUS, were not said to be healed, but cleansed. And this was as they went, according to his command, to show themselves to the priest. Dearest JESUS! when drawing nigh to show myself to thee, as the high priest, being led thereto by the constraining influence of thy HOLY SPIRIT, so may I find my soul to be cleansed, and do thou thyself pronounce me clean by thy blood. Matthew 8:2-3 ; Luke 17:12-14 .
It is worthy observation, that the priests under the law, being men of like passions with ourselves, might err: and therefore a precept is given, that they are to look again. How sweet is it to remark, that our great High Priest cannot be mistaken. Paul's observation on this point is excellent. The law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath which was since the law, maketh the SON, who is consecrated forevermore. Hebrews 7:28 . And still more: the Jewish priest, though power and ability was given to him to know the leprosy, yet had neither power nor ability to heal it. But JESUS, our great High Priest, both knows what state of sin we are in, and can and will cleanse his people from it. Reader! If you and I go to JESUS, as the poor leper did, under the same conscious sense of our misery, and his competency to deliver, crying out, LORD, if thou wilt, thou canst make me whole; JESUS will say to us as he did to him, I will, be thou cleansed. Matthew 8:2-3 .
Observe, the leper is to be brought to the priest. So the sinner must be led of the SPIRIT. Romans 8:27 .
Observe, everything here indicates the spiritual disease of the soul. It is an old disease. It is folded up in the heart, and is not merely skin deep. A sinner is full of wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores. Isaiah 1:5 . And none but the Priest of priests, even the LORD JESUS CHRIST, that great High Priest of our profession, can cleanse from sin. 1 John 1:7 .
These verses convey the same doctrine, only they are diversified so as to answer the diversified appearances of sin. The spots which appear without may differ, but the disease, if leprous, is the same within. Sin breaks out in numberless ways, but the polluted fountain of our fallen nature is at the bottom, and therefore the disease is the same. Out of the heart proceed both evil thoughts and murders, and a long train of evils. Matthew 15:18-20 . Here again, the only remedy is JESUS. It is the blood of CHRIST alone which cleanseth from all sin. 1 John 1:7 .
So infinitely important is the doctrine of being convinced of a leprous state, and of the impossibility of being cleansed by anything short of divine power; that the HOLY GHOST prosecutes in these verses the same subject. The leper is here shown the dreadful state of being shut out, while the disease remained uncured, from all civil or religious communion. And as an evidence that he himself is conscious of it, he is continually to keep in mind and as frequently to cry out, by way of deterring any from approaching him, unclean, unclean. And what was all this designed to show, but that, in a gospel sense, when the heart is thoroughly awakened by almighty grace, to a knowledge of its own sinfulness and loathsomeness before GOD, to manifest by retirement from the world, and lying low in the dust under a deep sense of humiliation, that the unhumbled heart is at length subdued, and the man accepts the punishment of his iniquity. Covering the upper lip, renting the clothes, dwelling alone, and walking with the head bare; all these are so many outward signs, of an inward sorrow of soul. The church is represented as speaking this language of penitence by the prophet, when confessing we are all as an unclean thing. Isaiah 64:6 .
The apostle Jude, no doubt in allusion to this defiled state of the garment, speaks of the hatred that is to be shown to such as are spotted by the flesh. Jude 1:23 . Nothing can more fully indicate the dreadful malignity which there is in sin. It soils all that it comes near, and defiles everything with which it is once connected. Well might one of old exclaim, LORD cleanse thou me from secret faults. Psalms 19:12 . Dearest and ever blessed JESUS! do thou wash me from all the leprosy of sin in thy precious blood, and let the garment which I wear be the garment of thy complete salvation. For this can neither be spotted nor defiled, but will be my robe of thy justifying righteousness, to cover and adorn my soul to all eternity. Isaiah 61:10 .
How gracious was the HOLY GHOST, thus, in shadow and in figure, to teach the church the leprous state she stood in before GOD, by reason of sin. And how very precious is JESUS our Great High brought forward to our view, thus appointed by GOD our FATHER, to whom the convinced sinner might show himself and get freed from his leprosy. Teach me thou blessed teacher, in what a leprous state I was born by reason of sin. Give me to see that nothing but the fountain opened for sin, and for uncleanness, in JESUS'S blood, can cleanse my soul. Lead me to Him by thy sweet influences, who alone can say, Fear not, for I am thy great Salvation. And when I am enabled to draw nigh his footstool, and to show myself before him, that he may search me, and try me; when under the deepest conviction of misery, I cry to the depth of divine mercy; JESUS, master; have mercy on me, oh? do thou hear, and answer, and cleanse me from my leprosy. And may I add, dearest LORD, this humble boon, and do thou in mercy grant it! that I may ever be found clothed in thy garments, and arrayed in thy covering. The LORD the SPIRIT give me strength to put off, concerning the former conversation, the old man which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the Spirit of my mind: and to put on the new man which after GOD is created in righteousness and true holiness.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Leviticus 13". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
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