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DESCRIPTION OF THE TABERNACLE.
EXODUS XL. 17.
And it came to pass in the first month in the second year, on the first day of the month, that the tabernacle was reared up.
THE Jewish ordinances, as I have often before observed to you, were types and shadows of the mercy and grace of the gospel. It is useful for us to know them, not only as matters of scripture history, but as outlines of that perfect dispensation which we now enjoy. The better we understand the several parts of the law and worship appointed to the Jews through Moses, the more clear will be our perceptions of the religion given to us by Jesus Christ.
Having seen, in the last sermon, the liberality of the Israelites in bringing their offerings for the erection of the tabernacle, propose, in the present sermon, to give a description, first, of its appearance, and secondly, of its furniture.
I. On the first head, namely, the appearance of the tabernacle, let us look, first, at its exterior.
1. The tabernacle was an oblong tent, about eighteen yards long, and about six yards in width and height. It was framed together with twenty boards on each side, each board having two tenons at the bottom, which fitted into two sockets, made in pieces of silver of a hundred pounds weight, placed upon the ground, with bars to strengthen the sides. The west end was formed with eight boards after a similar manner. The east end, which was the entrance, was covered with a very rich curtain, of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen, wrought with needle-work. This curtain was supported by five pillars which fell into five sockets of brass. The boards, bars, and pillars, were
all made of shittim wood, which is supposed to be the Acacia, a wood not liable to rot, and overlaid with plates of gold, the rings through which the bars were thrust being also of gold. The roof was a square frame of planks. The whole erection' was covered with four different kinds of curtains. The first curtain was made of the finest linen, of the richest colours, woven in a curious manner, and embroidered with figures of cherubim. It was woven in ten breadths, which were firmly fastened together, probably by needlework, in two divisions of five breadths each, and these were attached to each other by loops of blue and buttons of gold, so as to form one curtain when it was thrown over the tent. This first covering of the tabernacle went quite over the top, and hung down on both the sides, to within a yard from the ground. The next covering was of goat's hair, woven in eleven breadths, which were fastened together in two divisions of five and six, and attached to each other, in a similar manner with the others, by loops of blue and buttons of brass. These reached
down to the ground on both sides, and also overhung both the ends, but were doubled or probably festooned up, at the east end. Above this was another covering of ram's skins dyed red, and above all, a covering of badger's skins, so that the whole was completely protected from the weather. tabernacle was surrounded by a court, about sixty yards long and thirty wide, the inclosure of which was made by pillars, and curtains of net-work. Afterwards, however, when Solomon's temple was erected, that noble structure had three courts surrounding it, the first, or nearest to the temple, being called the Court of the Priests, the second the Court of the Israelites, and the third the Court of the Gentiles.
This then was the Israelites' first place of general worship. Hither the people brought their sacrifices, and here their priests performed the various services of their religion. It continued to be such during all their sojourn in the wilderness, and for four hundred and forty years after their settlement in Canaan, even to the time when Solomon
built his magnificent temple on Mount Zion. It was to be looked upon as the dwelling place of the Lord among them, for to this end was it ordered to be built, "Let them make me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them," and he testified that he dwelt there by the cloud, the symbol of his presence, which "covered the tent of the congregation."
Before I proceed with any further description of the tabernacle, I will briefly set before you its typical import, considered as the dwelling place of Jehovah.-It is typical of heaven. Thus, in the epistle to the Hebrews, the Apostle speaks of our High Priest, who 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." And again, "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. It is also typical, in this view, of the human nature of Christ. We know that "in