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The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary


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We meet with so many portions of Scripture where this word is used, and in senses so very different from each other, that it merits our more particular attention. The Israelites called it Melach—and probably from the sovereign properties with which it is endued.

I shall beg to set before the reader some of the Scriptures where we meet with it, in order that we may have a better apprehension of the design of God the Holy Ghost in the use of it. I shall begin with those which speak of its destructive quality.

The first account we read of salt is Genesis 14:3; where mention is made of the Salt Sea in the vale of Siddim; and this is probably what elsewhere is called the Dead Sea, forming the spot where once stood Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities of the plain, which the Lord destroyed by fire, and over which Jordan in the seasons of its overflowing pours itself. It is said even to the present hour to send up such steams of a sulphureous nature, as to kill every bird attempting to fly over it.

The next account of salt is in the instance of Lot's wife made a pillar of salt. (Genesis 19:26) We read in the prophecy of Ezekiel also concerning the miry places, and the marshy places, which were never to be healed, but to be given to salt. (Ezekiel 47:11) And the prophets Jeremiah and Zephaniah have much the same expressions concerning the perpetual barrenness of lands given to salt, (Jeremiah 17:6; Zephaniah 2:9) The psalmist saith, (Psalms 107:34) that the Lord turneth a fruitful land into saltness, (so the margin renders it) for the wickedness of them that dwell therein.

Those instances may be sufficient, in the view of the Scripture, concerning salt, where its use is marked in a way of destruction. Let us now look into the holy volume again for passages where an opposite quality is described, as resulting from the appointment of it.

The first account we meet with where salt is directed to be used in the way of a blessing is in Leviticus 2:13, "And every oblation of thy meat-offering shalt thou season with salt; neither shalt thou suffer the salt of the covenant of thy God to be lacking from thy meat-offerings; with all thine offerings thou shalt offer salt." So again when the prophet Elisha sweetened the waters of Jericho, he did it by casting a cruse of salt into them; and this was done by commission from the Lord, for the prophet added, "Thus saith the Lord, I have healed these waters; there shall not be from thence any more death or barren and." (2 Kings 2:21) And that salt was considered in the light of a blessing it is said, (2 Chronicles 13:5) "that the Lord God of Israel gave the kingdom over Israel to David for ever, even to him, and to his sons by a covenant of salt." Hence we find also that Jesus called his disciples the salt of the earth, as if to intimate that his grace in them preserved the earth from universal putrefaction. (Matthew 5:13) And elsewhere the Lord said, "have salt in yourselves, and have peace one with another." (Mark 9:50) And his servant Paul figuratively recommended the church that their speech should be always with grace seasoned with salt. (Colossians 4:6)

From both those views of salt, according to the holy Scripture, in being appointed as a figure of evil and of good, it becomes a very interesting enquiry to know yet somewhat more particularly the mind of God the Holy Ghost respecting the use of it. And if I do not greatly err, that service in the church concerning the salt of the oblation, throws a great light upon the whole. We there read that every oblation of the meat-offering was to be seasoned with salt. The salt was never to be wanting; with all offerings the salt was to be offered. And what gives a strong leading feature to the whole was this, that this was called "the salt of the covenant of JEHOVAH." (Leviticus 2:13)

Now if we first consider the property of salt, that it is to save from corruption, we discover that the salt, which was never to be omitted in the offering, was the grand object the Lord had regard to in the whole. It is expressly called "the salt of the covenant of thy God."Supposing then that this figuratively sets forth the Lord Jesus Christ, we instantly perceive that such is the importance that his person, blood, and righteousness, should be in and with all our offerings, that there can be no coming to the Father but by him. Where Christ is not, there is no savour; it is his blood which gives a fragrancy and a perfume to our most holy things, And if Jesus be the salt of the covenant of our God, and with all our offerings he be first and last presented, both the Alpha and Omega, in our view, as he is in the view of God our Father, then is that Scripture blessedly fulfilled which the Lord delivered by the prophet: "For in mine holy mountain in the mountain of the height of Israel, saith the Lord God, there shall all the house of Israel, all of them in the land, serve me. There will I accept them, and there will I require your offerings, and the first fruits of your oblations, with all your holy things. I will accept you with your sweet savour; and ye shall know that I am the Lord." (Ezekiel 20:40-42) Observe, your sweet savour! and the Holy Ghost by Paul, calls Christ's sacrifice a sweet-smelling savour. (Ephesians 5:2)

There is another consideration in the view of the subject which serves to confirm the doctrine yet farther, namely, the universal use of salt. It is essential to all the purposes of food. It not only ministers to give a taste to the several articles of meat, but to preserve animal life from leprosy, and similar diseases. What is called curing of meat, that is, salting it, hath much signification of a spiritual nature in it. I do not presume to say as much so as to decide upon it, but I venture to believe that the term of "curing of meat by salt" took its rise from the circumstance of the divine cure of our nature by the salt of the covenant. Job saith, "Can that which is unsavory be eaten without salt'?" (Job 6:6) Much more may it be said, Can our poor nature be accepted but in Christ? Can our nature be cured and preserved from everlasting corruption but by the Lord Jesus?

Once more—salt is of the Lord's own providing: it is among the natural productions of the earth. There is indeed a process of art now used for refining salt, and making it minister to various ways of usefulness; but the rock salt in its own pure nature is not of human production nor contrivance; like the earth itself, it is of JEHOVAH'S forming. "The earth is the Lord's and the fulness thereof." (1 Corinthians 10:26) Such then is Christ, JEHOVAH'S own providing for curing the souls of his people. So that in the salt of the covenant we offer nothing of our own for acceptance, but what God hath first given to us. JEHOVAH is very jealous of his honour. "An altar of earth shall thou make unto me: and if thou wilt make me an altar of stone, thou shall not build it of hewn stone, for if thou lift up thy tool upon it thou hast polluted it." (Exodus 20:24-25)

Fourthly, if the reader will consult the context concerning this meat-offering with the salt of the covenant, he will find that it was an offering also made by fire unto the Lord. (See Leviticus 2:13-16) Hence the salt of the covenant was not simply to cleanse and render pure for acceptance, but it was to sprinkle the offering made by fire. Hence therefore, when the offering was offered with the salt of the covenant, and the Lord gave token of his acceptance by consuming the sacrifice with fire, this formed a confirmation of the divine favour. This is beautifully explained, Leviticus 9:24 "And there came a fire out from before the Lord, and consumed upon the altar the burnt offering and the fat, which when all the people saw they shouted and fell on their faces." Here was both God's acceptance of the salted offering, and testimony at the same time given that the consumption of the sacrifice became the salvation of the people. The fire that consumed the one would, but for the acceptance of the salted sacrifice, have consumed the other. Well might the redeemed shout for joy while they fell on their faces with the lowest reverence.

Now if the reader will pause over the subject, and by looking back take a retrospective view of the whole, he will perceive that salt in the church of God had a twofold dispensation: and, like Him whom it evidently prefigured, it became "the savor of life unto life, or of death unto death?" (2 Corinthians 2:16) Jesus was set for "the fall and rising again of many in Israel, and for a sign which shall be spoken against." (Luke 2:34) Where Jesus is like the salt of the covenant, he will preserve from putrefaction, "That little leaven shall leaven the whole lump." (1 Corinthians 5:6) Like the tree of Marah, Jesus makes the waters sweet. (Exodus 15:25) Like the cruse of salt at Jericho, though salt in its own nature will make sweet water brackish, Jesus will heal the spring, and make it wholesome. In short, where Jesus is there is the salt of the covenant—"Destroy it not, there is a blessing in it." (Isaiah 65:8)

On the other hand, "if the gospel be hid it is hid to them that are lost." (2 Corinthians 4:3) Where Christ, the salt of the covenant, is rejected, that land, that people, that family, is given up to perpetual, barenness: it never can be healed. Oh, for grace to know our mercies, and truly to value them! For he that now saves from corruption, will one day be the everlasting condemnation of those that reject him. "For (he saith himself) every one shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt. Salt is good, but if the salt have lost his saltness," (if Jesus be not the savour of life unto life) "wherewith will ye season it?" (who can then give acceptance to the sinner?) Christ"becomes the savour of death unto death"—graciously therefore he adds, "have salt in yourselves, and have peace one with another." (Mark 9:40; Mar 9:50)

Very largely as I have trespassed on this article, I cannot forbear, by way of confirmation to the whole, to add the relation given by a traveller concerning the usage in the eastern nations of making solemn engagements with salt. He tells us, that one of those people, willing to assure him of the seriousness of his promise to him, and that he would certainly fulfil it, called to a servant to bring him bread and salt; as soon as it was brought, he took a little of the salt between his fingers, and looking very gravely, he put it on a morsel of the bread and ate it, assuring me that now I might rely on his promise. Baron Du Tott. Is it not possible that this might have been a custom received by tradition, however understood, and worse applied, of the offering made with salt in the Scripture?

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Hawker, Robert D.D. Entry for 'Salt'. Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance and Dictionary. London. 1828.

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Tuesday, December 10th, 2019
the Second Week of Advent
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