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Lord in the name and on the behalf of the
whole nation. They were not to eat any the year's production of that grain, until they had thus offered the first unto the Lord. The flour so presented was to be waved by the priest in the manner that the breast of the peace-offering was waved. They were also to offer a he-lamb of the first year, and without blemish, as a burnt-offering, and a meat-offering, consisting of two tenth-deals of fine flour mingled with oil; and with it a drink-offering of the fourth part of a hin of wine, that is, about two pints and a half.
Now this was a grateful acknowledgment of God's mercy to them in making the corn to grow, and in thus beginning to provide bread for them through the year, and by this they sought a blessing and a sanctified use of all the remainder. And surely every grateful heart will desire to render again unto the Lord for all the mercies which have been received from him, and to devote something from his earthly bounties to his honour and service according as he has been pleased to bestow them.
Now in applying this ceremony to our own circumstances I may well observe that we have cause to remember this day of the firstfruits of barley harvest on a special account most interesting to us. It was as on this day that the blessed Jesus rose from the dead. He was crucified on the day on which the Passover supper was celebrated, the next day, the first of the feast of unleavened bread, itself a holy convocation and to be kept as a sabbath, fell at that time on the regular weekly Jewish sabbath, so that that sabbath day was, as St. John says, a high day; and on the day following, the first day of the week, which was the appointed day of the first-fruits, Jesus quitted his temporary prison of the grave, because it was not possible that he should be holden of it. To this circumstance St. Paul alludes when establishing a doctrine above all others full of comfort and holy joy, in that most beautiful passage in the fifteenth chapter of his first epistle to the Corinthians, which is introduced with so much propriety into the burial service of our church; "Now is
Christ risen from the dead, and become the first-fruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the first fruits, afterward they that are Christ's at his coming." Nothing can be more consolatory than this assurance that Christ rose as a pledge and earnest of the resurrection of all his faithful followers to eternal life and infinite glory; and we are indebted to the Jewish law of the first-fruits for this most impressive and beautiful illustration of it. Now we know that Jesus, rising as the first-fruits of the dead, rose in our human nature as our covenant head and representative: so that as we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so may we be assured that them also that sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
II. The second feast mentioned in this chapter is the second feast of first-fruits, which were to be presented at the time and on account of the reaping of the wheat
This was to be held in seven weeks, or fifty days, after the offering of the first-fruits of the barley harvest. Hence it is sometimes called the feast of first-fruits, sometimes the feast of harvest, sometimes the feast of weeks, and the New Testament names it the day of Pentecost, which last is a Greek word, and means the fiftieth day. On this feast the offering of the first-fruits consisted of two loaves of fine flour, baked with leaven; and besides these there were also brought seven lambs, a young bullock and two rams for a burnt-offering, with the meat-offering and the drink-offering belonging thereto; also one kid of the goats for a sinoffering, and two lambs of the first year for a sacrifice of peace-offerings; and the loaves and the peace-offerings were to be waved in the usual manner before the Lord. The form of words is given with which those who brought their first-fruits were to offer them, whether at this time or at any other. We find it in Deuteronomy, the twenty-sixth chapter and fifth verse. The purport of it is a commemoration of the Lord's mercies in
bringing them out of their bondage in Egypt; and it concludes thus "And he hath brought us into this place, and hath given us this land, even a land that floweth with milk and honey. And now, behold, I have brought the first-fruits of the land which thou, O Lord, hast given me.”
In addition to this presentation of the firstfruits to the Lord on this particular day, provision was mercifully made for the poor at the time of their fully reaping their fields, as follows in the twenty-second verse, “ When ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not make clear riddance of the corners of thy field when thou reapest, neither shalt thou gather any gleaning of thy harvest: thou shalt leave them unto the poor, and to the stranger: I am the Lord thy God." And this was enjoined both at the barley and the wheat harvest, and also at the gathering of their grapes, and the beating of their olive trees. In all cases they were to leave something to be afterwards picked up by the poor.
Now in applying this second feast of the Jews to our our own circumstances, let me