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houses, after they were established in the land of Canaan; in these cases it was evidently
put upon" them by the Lord, and not produced by any natural causes. It does not appear that it was infectious, but strictly confined to the person or thing to which God had sent it. It was painful to the sufferer, and loathsome in the sight of others. During the time that any person was afflicted with it, he was banished from all intercourse with his friends and fellow-men. He must live alone, or with lepers like himself, and was not permitted to come to the sanctuary of God, or partake of any of the ordinances of religion. Thus Uzziah, though a king, was driven out of the temple, and compelled to live in a separate house by himself all the days of his life, the leprosy, which was inflicted as the punishment of his sin, being never removed from him.
Now this disease, and the condition to which he, who was afflicted by it, was reduced by the law, formed a striking representation of that universal depravity and natural corruption with which our souls are
overspread. This has rendered us odious in the sight of God; it has separated between us and him, and driven us "far off" into banishment from his presence and favour, and if we be not cleansed from it in the appointed way, we can never have an entrance into his heavenly temple. So long as this leprosy of sin remains untaken away, the soul lies under all its guilt and punishment in the language of the text as applied to it, "All the days wherein the plague shall be in him, he shall be defiled; he is unclean; he shall dwell alone, without the camp shall his habitation be." The unpurified and unrenewed sinner is thus morally unclean, and has no spiritual health in him; he has also no participation whatever in the privileges and blessings of the people of God; he is without God and without Christ in the world. Such should be our view of the misery of being in a natural state of sin; such was the view to which the Jews might have been led by that ceremonial defilement to which they were continually subjected by the leprosy, and by so many other circumstances, and to
which, no doubt, all the pious among them were led by the internal teaching of the Holy Spirit.
The manner in which the Jew was taught to feel and lament his ceremonial uncleanness is also a strong illustration of the manner in which we should feel and bewail the corruption of our nature. In the first verse of the text we read, " And the leper in whom the plague is, his clothes shall be rent, and his head bare, and he shall put a covering upon his upper lip, and shall cry, Unclean, unclean." Here were all the usual and strong indications of horror, grief, and shame. The clothes were to be rent, a well-known expression of all these feelings; the head was to be uncovered, another token of deep mourning; the upper lip was to have a covering put upon it, which was a further token of selfabasement, as we see in the prophets Ezekiel and Micah, and indicated that he must not open his mouth for shame; and confession of his miserable condition was to be made by the humbling cry, "unclean, unclean." Who does not see in all this the feelings and acts
himself a miserable and polluted sinner? If we be made truly sensible of our own sinful condition, we shall rend our hearts, and not our garments; we shall lay our souls bare before the heart-searching God; our mouths will be stopped, for we shall know ourselves to be guilty; we shall smite, each one upon our breast, and cry, "God be merciful to me
Before we proceed to the method of its purification, it is worth our notice to see how it was to be discovered. As soon as any one was suspected of having the leprosy he was to be brought to the priest, who was carefully to examine the disease, and pronounce upon it. If this could not be done at once, more time was to be taken till the fact became evident. What does this show to us, but that we must take every means of discovering the plague spot of our own hearts? We must not be afraid of knowing the worst. We
must go to God who searcheth the heart and trieth the reins, and cry, "Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:" and we must also go to the word and the ministers of the word, that by their help we may know all the evil that is in us. Many are most backward in this. They would not only cloak their sin from others, but hide it as much as possible from their own eyes they would willingly be selfdeceivers in this all-important point, and think better of themselves than they ought to think. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. We should desire to be searched thoroughly, and to know the true nature, and also the whole of our disease. For as "they that are whole need not a physician, but they that are sick," so shall we never desire and apply to be cleansed from sin, except we are first shown how dreadfully we are infected with it. And we should wait on God, and the teaching of his ministers, until we become fully acquainted with the true state of the case.
And now I proceed to set before you the