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and atonement for all sin, actual and original, and how it was set forth to the Jews under these shadowy representations of cleansing from the leprosy and other ceremonial uncleannesses.
Here was first the sprinkling of the mixture of blood and water seven times upon the person of him who was to be cleansed. This necessarily reminds us of the text in the first Epistle of St. John, the fifth chapter and sixth verse," This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood." The sprinkling seven times was to denote, seven being a perfect number, the perfect cleansing thus obtained; and the sevenfold repetition of the action intimates what David expresses in his prayer, wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and what we learn from the gospel, that the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin. In allusion to the use of the hyssop David also prays, purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean." Then the living bird was to be suffered to fly away into the open
field, a part of the ceremony which I need
not notice now, as I shall have to say more upon a similar circumstance in the next sermon. Then followed the washing and shaving of the whole body two separate times with the interval of seven days between. This shews us that we must put away our sins and iniquities, and all our moral defilement and guilt. We must wash in the fountain opened for sin and uncleanness; if we have made any application of the blood of Christ by faith to our consciences, we must take care to cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, to purge ourselves from our old sins, and to purify ourselves, even as he is pure. And this must be done again and again, for the infection of nature still remains even in those who are regenerate, and we have need to be daily washing in Christ that we may be clean.
The offerings to be presented remind us continually of the indispensible necessity of that great sacrifice which Jesus offered in his own body on the cross, to make atonement for us. This essential truth of the gospel is exhibited to us upon every occasion, and in
every possible form. As we comment on the Jewish laws and ceremonies we can never help observing how perpetually it recurs. And well it may, for it is the great essential truth of the gospel, that on which more stress is laid than any other, that which has the most decided influence upon the manner in which we shall view and hold all the rest. Here again is great use of the blood of the trespass-offering, some of which was to be applied to all the principal extremities of the body, shewing, along with the sprinkling of the blood and water, that the whole man is defiled, and that every part must be cleansed; and as the oil was to be applied in the same manner, and some of it put also upon the head, this shews that the grace of Christ is needed, (for oil is the emblem of his grace,) for our sanctification. By these united ceremonies we are taught what is so beautifully expressed in the Apostle's prayer; may “the very God of peace sanctify you wholly, and pray God your whole Spirit, and soul, and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ."
These ceremonies of the law being duly observed, the Jew was restored to the house and ordinances of God. The blood and spirit of Christ being rightly applied by us we shall be restored to spiritual intercourse and communion with him. "Such," saith the Apostle to the Corinthians, "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." Let us then all seek to be justified freely through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, and to be anointed with the unction from that holy one. Let us all seek, for we all need, the removal of the loathsome disease of sin from our souls, and the blessed gift of purity in spirit and life. Oh! may the Holy Ghost bestow these mercies upon us through our divine advocate and mediator, Jesus Christ.
THE DAY OF ATONEMENT.
LEVIT. XVI. 34.
And this shall be an everlasting statute unto you, to make an atonement for the children of Israel, for all their sins, once a year.
THIS chapter, which closes with the verse I have read to you, contains an account of the annual Day of Atonement, and of the ceremonies with which it was to be observed. This was one of the most important and interesting days in the whole Jewish calendar. It is deserving of the closest attention, for it sets forth most of the great peculiarities of the gospel in a very striking light.
I will describe to you, on the first head of this sermon, the circumstances peculiar to the day, and, on the second, the ceremonies with which it was to be observed. And then