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Saturday, July 20th, 2024
the Week of Proper 10 / Ordinary 15
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Bible Commentaries
Exodus 30

Simeon's Horae HomileticaeHorae Homileticae

Verses 7-10


Exodus 30:7-10. And Aaron shall burn thereon sweet incense every morning: when he dresseth the lamps, he shall burn incense upon it. And when Aaron lighteth the lamps at even, he shall burn incense upon it; a perpetual incense before the Lord, throughout your generations. Ye shall offer no strange incense thereon, nor burnt-sacrifice, nor meat-offering; neither shall ye pour drink-offering thereon. And Aaron shall make an atonement upon the horns of it once in a year with the blood of the sin-offering of atonements: once in the year shall he make atonement upon it throughout your generations. It is most holy unto the Lord.

THE little acquaintance which Christians in general have with the Mosaic Law, unfits them for the reception of that instruction which the Law is well calculated to convey. Doubtless, to find the precise import of all its ordinances is beyond the power of man. But there is much of it explained in the New Testament; and much may not improperly be explained from analogy; and the light which it reflects on the truths of Christianity would richly repay any efforts that were made for the discovery of it.
In the altar of incense, in its materials, for instance, or its structure, we are not aware that any mystery of practical importance is contained, except indeed that it was preeminently holy, and therefore required peculiar sanctity in those who should approach it. Its situation too, as immediately before the mercy-seat, and separated from it only by the vail which divided the sanctuary from the holy of holies, marked in a peculiar way, that those who burnt incense upon it were to consider themselves as more than ordinarily nigh to God, and to have in exercise every disposition that became them in so high and holy an employment. The use to which it was ordained, is the point to which I would more particularly call your attention. And we may consider it,


As a typical institution—

And here are two things particularly to be noticed in relation to it; namely,


Its daily use—

[Aaron himself in the first instance, and afterwards other priests in their courses [Note: Luke 1:8-9.], was to trim the lamps every morning and evening, and to light any of them that might have gone out. At these seasons, he was to take fire from the altar of burnt-offering, and to put it on a censer, and to burn incense with it upon the altar of incense. This, I say, he was to do every morning and evening; and that was called “a perpetual incense before the Lord.”

This, beyond all doubt, was intended to typify the Lord Jesus Christ, who, as our great “High-Priest, is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a Minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man [Note: Hebrews 8:1-2.].” To him is assigned the office of interceding for his Church and people; and he has ascended up into the more immediate presence of his God for that end: as says the Apostle; “Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us [Note: Hebrews 9:24.].” There he superintends the lamps of his sanctuary, “walking amongst the seven golden candlesticks, which are the seven Churches [Note: Revelation 1:13; Revelation 1:20; Revelation 2:1,].” and either trimming or furnishing them with supplies of oil, as their various necessities may require. At the same time he offers up to God his intercessions for them, pleading with him in behalf of every individual, and obtaining for them all those blessings which they more particularly stand in need of.

To the Aaronic priests God had said, “There will I meet with thee:” and no doubt he did, in numberless instances, as well as in that of Zacharias [Note: Luke 1:11-13.], vouchsafe to them there more peculiar answers to their prayers. Our Great Intercessor could say, “I know that thou hearest me always [Note: John 11:42.]:” nor can we doubt but that myriads of his people are either preserved from falling, or restored after their falls, purely through “his intercession for them, that their faith may not ultimately fail [Note: Luke 22:32.].”]


Its annual expiation—

[It was enjoined that “an atonement should be made upon the horns of this altar once a year with the blood of the sin-offering of the atonements.” And this, I apprehend, was to shew that without the blood of atonement no intercession could be of any avail. An atonement must be made for sin: and “without it there could be no remission [Note: Hebrews 9:22.].” The blood, too, that must be put on this altar must be the blood of bullocks, and not either of goats or lambs: for in the very same offering which was made for sins of ignorance, the blood or bullocks which was shed for a priest, and for the whole congregation, was put upon the horns of the altar of incense; whereas that which was shed for a ruler, or a common person, which was of goats and lambs, was put upon the altar of burnt-offering; by which the sins of priests were marked as of greater enormity than the sins of others; and the altar of incense as of higher sanctity than the altar of burnt-offering [Note: Compare Leviticus 4:7; Lev 4:18 with Leviticus 4:22; Leviticus 4:25; Leviticus 4:27; Leviticus 4:30; Leviticus 4:34.]. This is very strongly expressed in the New Testament, there being always a superior efficacy ascribed to the intercession of Christ than even to his death. Thus when, to the question, “Who is he that condemneth?” the Apostle answers, “It is Christ that died,” he adds, “yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us [Note: Romans 8:34.].” Again, in the Epistle to the Hebrews he lays the greatest stress on the intercession of Christ as being the most effectual for the salvation of his people: “He is able to save to the uttermost all that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them [Note: Hebrews 7:25.].” And to the same effect, also, in his Epistle to the Romans: “If when we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life [Note: Romans 5:10.].” Whether this was intended to be marked by the atonement being only annual, whilst the offering of incense was daily, I pretend not to say. I should apprehend not. I should rather think that that part of the appointment signified that Christ would make the expiation but once, whilst his intercession would be continual: but, at all events, the union of the two is absolutely indissoluble; as St. John intimates, when he says, “If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous, who is also the propitiation for our sins [Note: 1 John 2:1.].” In fact, his atonement is the very plea which he offers in our behalf. When the high-priest entered within the vail, immediately after burning the incense he sprinkled the blood of the sacrifice upon the mercy-seat and before the mercy-seat [Note: Leviticus 16:11-14.] ; intimating thereby, that all his hope of acceptance, whether for himself or others, was founded on the sacrifice which he had offered. And precisely thus does the Lord Jesus Christ prevail: for it is in consequence of his having offered his soul a “sacrifice for sin,” that he is authorized to expect a spiritual seed to be secured to him; and in consequence of his “having borne the sins of many,” that he confidently and with effect “maketh intercession for the transgressors [Note: Isaiah 53:10; Isaiah 53:12.].”]

I have observed, that we may yet further consider this ordinance,


As an emblematic rite—

In this view it marks,


The privilege of Christians—

[We have before said, that common priests were ordained to officiate at this altar. And are not we “a royal priesthood [Note: 1 Peter 2:9.] ?” Are not we “made kings and priests unto our God [Note: Revelation 1:5-6.] ?” Yes; and “the prayers we present to God come up before him as incense; and the lifting up of our hands is as an evening sacrifice [Note: Psalms 141:2.].” In this manner are we privileged to draw nigh to God. We, every one of us, “have, through Christ, access by one Spirit unto the Father [Note: Ephesians 2:18.]:” yea, “we have boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus [Note: Hebrews 10:19.],” and to prostrate ourselves at the very footstool of God himself. Did God say to Aaron, “I will meet thee there?” so says he to us also: “Draw nigh to me; and I will draw nigh to you [Note: James 4:8.].” Nor need we go to Jerusalem, or to his tabernacle to find him: for he has said, that “in every place incense should be offered to him, and a pure offering [Note: Malachi 1:11.].” And, that we may feel ourselves more at liberty to approach him, his altar under the Christian dispensation is represented as of wood, and not of gold, and as being four times the size of that which was made for his tabernacle [Note: Compare –5 with Ezekiel 41:22.] ; to denote, I apprehend, the greater simplicity of Gospel worship, and the admission of all nations to the enjoyment of it.

We must indeed pay particular attention to that caution given to Aaron in the text: “Ye shall offer no strange incense thereon, nor burnt-sacrifice, nor meat-offering; neither shall ye pour drink-offering thereon.” The incense was to be that alone which God had appointed; and special care was taken to make no confusion between the offerings belonging to the altar of burnt-offering, which were for an atonement, and that which was proper to the altar of incense, which was for acceptance only. Thus, when drawing nigh to God in prayer, we must not bring the fervour of mere animal spirits, which are so often mistaken for true devotion; but a broken and contrite spirit, which alone sends forth an odour that is well pleasing to God [Note: Psalms 51:17.]. Nor must we imagine that by our prayers, or by any thing else that we can bring to God, we can atone for sin, or contribute in the least degree towards the efficacy of Christ’s atonement: these must be kept quite distinct: and whilst our prayers are offered on the altar of incense, our pleas must be taken solely from the altar of burnt-offering, even from the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ, “by whom alone our offerings can ascend to God [Note: Hebrews 13:15.],” and “through whom alone they can be acceptable in his sight [Note: 1 Peter 2:5.].”

In this manner we are to approach God, whilst we go in before him to trim our lamps, and to have them duly supplied with oil. Every morning and evening at the least must the odours of our incense ascend up before God; or, as the Apostle says, we must “pray without ceasing [Note: 1 Thessalonians 5:17.]:” and we may be sure that “God will meet with us,” and bless us in all that we solicit at his hands: “However wide we open our mouth, he will fill it [Note: Psalms 81:10.] ;” yea, “he will do for us exceeding abundantly above all that we can ask or think [Note: Ephesians 3:20.].”]


The ground of their acceptance in the use of it—

[This is strongly marked in the annual atonement made on this altar. Day and night was the priest to officiate there: yet, after he had presented incense on that altar for a whole year, he must make atonement on the altar with blood. And however much or devoutly we pray, we must trust, not in our prayers, but in the great Sacrifice that has been offered for us. Yea, our very prayers need that sacrifice: the very best service we ever offered, needed an atonement; nor could it come up with acceptance before God, if it were not washed in the Redeemer’s blood, and presented to God by him. Hear what St. John says, in the book of Revelation: “Another angel came, (the Angel of the Covenant, the Lord Jesus,) and stood at the altar, having a golden censer: and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar that was before the throne: and the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God, out of the angel’s hand [Note: Revelation 8:3-4.].” “Were God to call us into judgment for the very best prayer we ever offered, we could not answer him for one of a thousand [Note: Job 9:3.] ;” no, nor for one during our whole lives: but when cleansed in the Redeemer’s blood, both our persons and our services shall be regarded by God as pure, even “without spot or blemish [Note: Ephesians 5:25-27.].”

Of course, it is here supposed that we harbour no wilful sin within us: for, “if we regard iniquity in our hearts, God will not hear us [Note: Psalms 66:18.]:” our very “incense will be an abomination to him [Note: Isaiah 1:13.] ;” and, in offering it, “we shall be as though we offered swine’s blood, or blessed an idol [Note: Isaiah 66:3.].” But, if we “draw nigh to God with a true heart, we may also approach him with full assurance of faith [Note: Hebrews 10:22.].”]

Let us see here,

How highly we are privileged under the Christian dispensation—

[The Jews were privileged, and highly too, in comparison of all the nations of the earth, in that they had ordinances of divine appointment, in the due observance of which they might find favour with God. But how infinitely are we distinguished above the Jews themselves! We have not to seek the intervention of a man, a sinful man, yea, and a dying man, who must soon leave his office to another, and be followed by an endless succession of sinners like himself. We have an High-Priest, who is “Emmanuel, God with us;” “who needed not to offer first for his own sins, and then for the people’s;” and “who, having an unchangeable priesthood, continueth for ever,” and “is consecrated for evermore [Note: Hebrews 7:23-28.].” Moreover, we are not like the Jews, to whom all access to God in their own persons was prohibited; and who, if they had presumed to invade the priestly office, would have been made monuments of God’s vengeance on the very spot. No: we may draw nigh to God, every one of us for himself: even to God’s throne may we go, and offer him our sacrifices with a certainty of acceptance. The way prepared for us is “a new and living way;” and whilst going to him in that way, “we may ask what we will, and it shall be done unto us;” yea, even “before we ask, he will answer; and whilst we are yet speaking, he will hear [Note: Isaiah 65:24.].” Reflect on these privileges, Brethren, and be thankful for them; and improve them diligently in the way prescribed — — —]


What a holy people we should be unto the Lord—

[What the priests were in their attendance on the altar, yea, what the Lord Jesus Christ himself is before the throne of God, that should we be, to the utmost of our power. We should be ever delighting ourselves in the exercise of prayer and praise, and dedicating our whole selves to the service of our God. Let our “lamps” be ever kept burning bright before the Lord. Let us obtain “from the sacred olive branches fresh supplies of golden oil through the golden pipes” of his word and ordinances [Note: Zechariah 4:11-12.] ; and let our whole deportment shew, that we correspond with the description given us, “a people near unto the Lord [Note: Psalms 148:14.] ” — — —]

Verses 14-16


Exodus 30:14-16. Every one that passeth among them that are numbered, from twenty years old and above, shall give an offering unto the Lord: the rich shall not give more, and the poor shall not give less, than half a shekel, when they give an offering unto the Lord, to make an atonement for your souls. And thou shalt take the atonement-money of the children of Israel, and shalt appoint it for the service of the tabernacle of the congregation; that it may be a memorial unto the children of Israel before the Lord, to make an atonement for your souls.

IT is always profitable to mark the accomplishment of the divine promises, that, from discovering the faithfulness of God, we may learn to acknowledge his providence, and depend upon his care. He had promised to Abraham, that “his seed should be as the stars of heaven for multitude:” and, though their increase for about three hundred years was but small, yet, previous to their departure from Egypt, they were become exceeding numerous: and God appointed that they should be occasionally numbered, and a stated tax be levied on every individual, that so the fulfilment of his word might be made manifest. In this appointment there were some circumstances peculiarly instructive, especially the equality of the tax, and the application of it to the service of the sanctuary.
Let us notice,


The tax levied—

The tax being “a ransom, and an atonement for their souls,” had evidently a spiritual import; and from the same being levelled upon all, we observe,


That the souls of men are of equal value in the sight of God—

[The half-shekel was equal to about fifteen-pence of our money; and this was to be paid by every one that was numbered, without any regard to his station or ability: “The rich were not to pay more, nor the poor less.” Now as this was “a ransom and atonement for their souls,” it is manifest, that all their souls were of equal value in the sight of God. And who is there that does not feel this? There are many things in this world the value of which is purely imaginary, and depends upon the taste of the possessor: but the worth of the soul is real: the poorest of men has as deep an interest in the welfare of his own soul as the richest: heaven is as desirable, and hell as terrible, to the one as to the other: and God has an equal respect for both [Note: Job 34:19.]. Let not any one despise others, as though their eternal interests were not to be consulted; or imagine that they themselves are overlooked by God, as though he did not will their salvation as much as that of any other person in the universe [Note: 1 Timothy 2:4.].]


That all equally need reconciliation with God—

[A ransom and an atonement were required for all: and as all of them needed mercy at God’s hands, so do all of us. We are far from saying that all are equally sinful; for there doubtless are different degrees of guilt, and will be corresponding degrees of punishment: but this we say, that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God; and consequently all are obnoxious to “that wrath of God, which is revealed against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men.” We know that many conceive so highly of themselves, as to imagine that God would be unjust if he should consign them over to destruction. But such persons have never considered what the law of God requires, or what it denounces against those who have violated its commands [Note: Galatians 3:10.]. We willingly concede, that, in the eyes of men, some may be comparatively innocent: but, “before God, every mouth must be stopped, and all the world become guilty.”]


That all must seek it on the same terms—

[Here again we remark, that no difference was put between one and another: all were to offer the half-shekel as an atonement for their souls. It is by an atonement too that we also must seek acceptance with God. None can merit forgiveness at his hands; none can do any thing towards meriting it: the atoning blood of Christ is that which alone can satisfy divine justice; and it is his obedience unto death which must constitute the justifying righteousness of all mankind [Note: Isaiah 45:24-25; Jeremiah 23:6.]. Any thing of our own, blended with that, or added to it, will invalidate it altogether. Salvation must be wholly of works or of grace [Note: Romans 11:6.]: and if we cannot earn it by our works, (which no created being can,) then must we accept it altogether as “the gift of God through Jesus Christ our Lord [Note: Romans 6:23.].” It is evident that so small a sum as half a shekel could not purchase the divine favour: it was a mere acknowledgment that they needed an atonement, and were willing to accept the favour of God on any terms that he should propose: so, our humiliation and faith can purchase nothing; but only manifest our cordial acquiescence in the way of salvation provided for us.]

It will be yet further instructive to consider,


The use and application of the tax—

The tax was intended,


To obtain acceptance for the offerers—

[The very terms “ransom,” and “atonement,” clearly shew, that the offerers were considered as in a state of guilt and bondage: and they were warned, that, if they refused to pay “the atonement-money,” they would bring upon themselves the divine displeasure [Note: 2.]. It was certainly an aggravation of David’s sin in numbering the people, that, while he gratified his own pride and creature-confidence, he neglected to honour God by levying for him the appointed offering: and no less than seventy thousand of his subjects were destroyed in three days by a pestilence sent from God. This may give us some little idea of the vengeance that will overtake those who despise the atonement of Christ; and of the glorious deliverance which they shall obtain, who believe in him. The protection, the peace, the plenty, which his obedient people enjoyed in the wilderness, and their final possession of the promised land, represented the spiritual blessings which all “the ransomed of the Lord” shall eternally inherit.]


To convey instruction to the rising generation—

[The money, we are told, was to be “a memorial unto the children of Israel before the Lord.” We read of different memorials in the Scriptures. The censers in which Korah and his company offered incense were taken, out of the fire wherewith the offerers were consumed, and were made into plates for the covering of the altar, “to be a memorial, that none but the seed of Aaron come near to offer incense before the Lord [Note: Numbers 16:36-40.].” The jewels and bracelets of which the Israelites spoiled the slaughtered Midianites were presented to the Lord, “as a memorial unto the children of Israel,” that not one of their own army fell, though the whole Midianitish kingdom was utterly destroyed [Note: Numbers 31:48-54.]. Now such memorials were the half-shekels at the numbering of the people: they served to remind the whole nation of Israel, that, as sinners, they stood in need of an atonement, and that none who consecrated themselves to the service of their God should ever perish. Such memorials too are all who now seek for mercy through the atoning blood of Christ. They are as lights in a dark world: they unwittingly instruct all around them: as Noah by building the ark “condemned the world,” and tacitly admonished them of the impending judgments, so do they who flee to Christ for refuge, testify to all around them, that there is salvation in Him, and in him alone.]


To give honour unto God—

[It was by these offerings, that the various services of the tabernacle (by which above all things God was honoured) were maintained. And who are they that now honour God in the world? Who are they that truly and spiritually maintain his worship? We fear not to say, that God is more acceptably served by his penitent and believing people, than by all the world besides. The gift of his only-begotten Son to die for us is that which he himself most commends to our attention; nor can he be more glorified on earth, or even in heaven itself, than in acknowledgments of our obligations to him for this stupendous effort of his love.]


Amongst the Israelites there were several classes exempt from the payment of this tax: but none amongst us can plead any exemption from that which is required of us, the tribute of a broken and contrite spirit—


Not the Levites—

[These were not numbered for war, and therefore were not included in the tax [Note: Numbers 1:47.]. But the Levites amongst us should be the very first to devote themselves to God, and to render to him that tribute, which they demand from others — — —]


Not old people—

[These for the same reason were omitted both in the numbering and the taxation. But who have so much cause to bear in mind the atonement of Christ as they who are on the borders of eternity, and are so soon to stand at his judgment-seat? It is to be lamented, that people advanced in years too generally take for granted that all is well with them, though they have never sought “a ransom, or an atonement, for their souls.” But let the aged amongst us be diligent in working out their salvation, and “so much the more as they see the day approaching.”]


Not women—

[These were considered as included in the men; and therefore were not personally either taxed or numbered. But our offerings must be personal: nothing can be done by proxy: as there is “neither Jew nor Greek amongst us, so is there neither male nor female:” all must be judged by their own works, and all must be accepted through their own faith.]


Not children—

[Persons under twenty years of age were not deemed strong enough for war, and therefore were passed over. But who shall say at what age our responsibility to God begins? Who shall assign the limit at which God will “wink at,” or condemn, the transgressions of his law? Surely this were presumptuous and dangerous ground: let not any of you dare to stand upon it. If the services of a Samuel or a Timothy can be acceptable to God, the iniquities of childhood may be provoking. The tax required from you is not burthensome to any: seek not therefore, nor desire, an exemption from it. It is your heart, and not your property, that God requires: present it to him as purchased by the blood of his dear Son, and you shall be numbered amongst his people to all eternity.]

Verses 25-31


Exodus 30:25-31. Thou shalt make an oil of holy ointment, an ointment compound after the art of the apothecary: it shall be an holy anointing oil. And thou shalt anoint the tabernacle of the congregation therewith, and the ark of the testimony, and the table and all his vessels, and the candlestick and his vessels, and the altar of incense, and the altar of burnt-offering with all his vessels, and the laver and his foot. And thou shalt sanctify them, that they may be most holy: Whatsoever toucheth them shall be holy. And thou shalt anoint Aaron and his sons, and consecrate them, that they may minister unto me in the priest’s office. And thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel, saying, This shall be an holy anointing oil unto me throughout your generations.

OF the Ceremonial Law in general we may say, it was intended to shadow forth the Lord Jesus Christ in the whole of his work and offices. The Epistle to the Hebrews admirably illustrates it in this peculiar view, shewing with minuteness and precision the scope and object of it as relating to him, and as fulfilled in him. To his priesthood, in particular, the ordinance which we here read of more especially referred; for in the fortieth chapter, where the words of my text are, again almost literally repeated, it is said, “Their anointing shall surely be an everlasting priesthood throughout their generations [Note: Exodus 40:10-15.].”

But it is remarkable, that after the Babylonish captivity this ointment, so far as we are informed, was never made. And this seems to have been permitted of God, in order to direct their minds to that richer unction, which they were to receive from their Messiah. Previous to the time of Christ, the Holy Spirit was very sparingly and partially bestowed; as it is said, “The Holy Spirit was not yet given, because that Jesus was not yet glorified [Note: John 7:39.]:” but after the ascension of our Lord and Saviour to heaven, “the Spirit was shed forth abundantly” upon God’s Church [Note: Titus 3:6.] ; and from that time, multitudes, both of priests and people, have been wholly sanctified unto the Lord. Under this dispensation it is our happiness to live; so that, with a special reference to ourselves, I may well proceed to shew,


The universal need there is of the Holy Spirit’s influence—

There was nothing under the Law so holy, but that it needed this divine unction—

[“The tabernacle” itself, the immediate residence of the Deity; and “the ark,” wherein the tables of the Law were placed, and which was a preeminent type of the Lord Jesus Christ, who fulfilled the Law for us; these, I say, were anointed; as were also “the table” of shewbread, and the candlestick, the one representing Christ as the bread of life, and the other “as the light which lighteneth every man that cometh into the world.” Now, whence was it that these needed such purification? They were used in the service of sinful man, and therefore were polluted, and needed to be so purified; as heaven itself, the abode of all the glorified hosts, is said to be: for “the patterns of things in the heavens were purified with these earthly sacrifices, whilst the heavenly places themselves were purified with better sacrifices than these [Note: Hebrews 9:23.].”

That “Aaron and his sons” needed this holy ointment, we do not wonder, since they were sinners like unto us. But taking the whole together as used for sinful man, they serve to shew us, that there is not a thing or person in the universe that must not be so sanctified, before God can find pleasure in any services presented to him.]

Nor is there any thing under the Gospel which does not need it—

[What are the ordinances of religion, or what the souls of men, without the Holy Spirit? The one are an empty form; and the other, “a cage of every unclean bird.” Regard us as men, and every thing we do is defiled before God. But consider us as priests, for into that office every true Christian in the universe is brought [Note: 1 Peter 2:9; Revelation 1:6.], and how can we approach the Most High God, and offer any acceptable sacrifice unto him, unless we be first consecrated with that divine unction, which God has promised to all who seek him in spirit and in truth [Note: Luke 11:13.] ? It is the duty of the greatest of men, and the privilege of the meanest, to get himself anointed with this holy oil. Even our Lord Jesus Christ himself, as man and as Mediator, needed it. We are informed, that “God anointed him with the Holy Ghost and with power [Note: Acts 4:27; Acts 10:38.]:” much more, therefore, must we, corrupt and sinful creatures, need, under all circumstances, his gracious communications: indeed we are expressly told, that, “if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his [Note: Romans 8:9.].”]


His sufficiency for all to whom that influence is applied—

This appears,


From the preciousness of the ointment which was used—

[The spices were peculiarly rare and odoriferous; and the oil with which they were blended was most pure. And was this appointed for nought? Doubtless this was intended to shadow forth the excellency of the Spirit’s gifts: for on whomsoever he was poured, whether on the Saviour himself or on any of the sons of men, he was “a spirit of wisdom and understanding, a spirit of counsel and of might, a spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord, and he made the person of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord [Note: Isaiah 11:2-3,].” There is not a faculty in man to which the Spirit’s influence does not extend, or which it will not sanctify: it imparts light to the understanding, flexibility to the will, purity to the affections, tenderness to the conscience, and holiness to the entire man: it makes us altogether “a new creation,” and sanctifies every offering which we present to God; so that “God smells a sweet savour from it [Note: Philippians 4:18.],” and is well pleased with services which could not otherwise be accepted of him.]


From the virtue infused into every thing anointed with it—

[Every vessel that was anointed with that ointment, imparted a sanctity to every thing with which it came in contact [Note: 9.]. And thus, in like manner, every true Christian communicates to others, so far as his influence extends, the same divine principles which he himself has imbibed. As it was said of the Saviour, so may it be said of all the Lord’s anointed, “Their garments smell of myrrh, aloes, and cassia [Note: Psalms 45:8.]:” and wherever they come, they diffuse around them “the savour of the knowledge of Christ.” We cannot have a more complete idea of its efficacy, than the Corinthian Church, through the instrumentality of St. Paul, exhibited. In their unconverted state, many of them had been of a most abandoned character: yet, having drawn that character in all its most degraded forms, he says of them, “Such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified, in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God [Note: 1 Corinthians 6:9-11.].” Only let the Spirit of God accompany the word to the hearts of men, and the day of Pentecost fully shews us what effects it will produce.]

I entreat you then, my brethren—


Seek the Holy Spirit for your own souls—

[There is “an unction of the Holy One,” which every one of you may obtain, and which will operate upon you to your complete salvation [Note: 1 John 2:20; 1 John 2:27.] — — — But I must guard you against every counterfeit that may be mistaken for it. There is such a thing as enthusiasm: and it is by no means uncommon for persons to mistake some feelings or conceits of their own for the sanctifying influences of the Spirit of God. And I must warn you, that, as any person compounding for himself an ointment similar to that which was made for God was to be cut off from his people [Note: 2, 33.], so a substitution of any thing in the place of God’s Holy Spirit will infallibly issue in your destruction. You shall not however err, if you go to your great High-Priest, and ask for the Holy Spirit at his hands: for he has been anointed with “the Spirit without measure [Note: John 3:34.] ;” and the Spirit that has been poured so largely upon him shall “descend to the skirts of his garments [Note: Psalms 133:2.],” and to the very meanest of all his members.]


Guard against every thing that may reflect dishonour upon him—

[The high-priest under the Law was forbidden to display those feelings which were incident to common men, because “the crown of the anointing oil was upon him [Note: Leviticus 21:10-12.].” And you likewise, my brethren, if you have been indeed anointed with the Spirit of God, must shew that superiority to earthly things, which would be in vain looked for from the natural and unconverted man. Very striking is that expression of Solomon, “Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savour: so doth a little folly him that is in reputation for wisdom and honour [Note: Ecclesiastes 10:1.].” There is a sanctity about the Christian character which should be kept inviolate. If you are “sons of God, you should be blameless and harmless in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, shining among them as lights in the world [Note: Philippians 2:15.].” The Spirit of God may be soon “grieved;” yea, he may be even “vexed,” and “quenched” by any deliberate sin: for sin in you will “cause the very name of God himself to be blasphemed.” I pray you, then, walk circumspectly, and in a way “worthy of your high calling,” yea, “worthy also of Him who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory.” O “may the Spirit of God sanctify you wholly! and I pray God that your whole spirit and soul and body may be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”]

Bibliographical Information
Simeon, Charles. "Commentary on Exodus 30". Simeon's Horae Homileticae. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/shh/exodus-30.html. 1832.
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