The Leper & His Cleansing

WITH THE SPIRITUAL LESSONS


THEREIN CONSIDERED.

BY

B. A. WARBURTON.

"Open Thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of Thy law."-PSALM cxix. 18.

LONDON:
FARNCOMBE & SON, 30 IMPERIAL BUILDINGS,
LUDGATE CIRCUS, E.C.

1905

THE following little work is an attempt to unfold the spiritual and experimental signification of the disease of leprosy, with the God given rites appointed for its cleansing. The author has succeeded in writing an interesting and instructive book. He has shirked no difficulty, and carefully explains every point, setting forth his views with becoming modesty, where differences of opinion may exist. The chapters on the offerings, which were the means ordained for the removal of the leprosy, contain many suggestive and original thoughts, rendering them especially worthy of careful study.

The subject is of the greatest importance. All the people of God know and feel they are leprous sinners, and need the healing application of the Saviour's blood for the removal of their sins and the cleansing of their souls. These pages describe the malady clearly and distinctly, and they also unfold the glorious remedy as provided by God and revealed in the Scriptures of truth.

May the Holy Spirit bless their perusal, and use Mr. Warburton's words to convince of sin, and to lead leprous souls to Jesus, there to find pardon and peace through the blood of atonement.

E. C.

Bath.

AUTHOR'S PREFACE.

 

WHEN first undertaken, to while away a few hours of time and to follow up the course which a solitary ray of light had first revealed, the following work was in a form much different to that in which it now stands. Feeling, however, when the subject had grown to some considerable length, and further lessons still appeared, that it might not be unacceptable to a larger circle of readers than those for whom it was first intended, it was remodeled in the form which now appears before the reader.

 

To some few, perhaps, the lawfulness of treating the account of the leper and his cleansing in the deeply spiritual way in which it is treated in the following pages may appear a matter of question ; but to this objection, on whatever grounds made, we would simply point out the close parallel which is at once seen to exist between the natural account and the spiritual lesson which is found in it; a parallel so close that it at once shuts out every suggestion of incidental coincidence, and stamps itself to be a designed similarity. A further answer might be given by referring to the teaching of Christ with regard to the Old Testament containing a record of Him and His work, together with the truths of His kingdom. Again and again He pointed out to the Jews that all those things concerning Himself were to be found in the Scriptures which they were then in possession of. If we turn, however, to those Scriptures to verify Christ's words, and search out all those things which have a primary and an unmistakable reference to Christ's Person, work, and kingdom, we shall find how short the few passages, which are of such 'a nature, come of expressing those things which we know were contained in this great subject. We are therefore compelled to admit that the teaching which Christ asserted to be contained in the Old Testament lay in something more than in clear and express declarations ; that, in fact, it must have been contained in those symbols and ceremonies with which the old dispensation abounded. Granting this, which we find to be the very method of procedure adopted by the Apostle Paul, we are then obliged to admit that the subject contained in the following pages comes under the same head as any of those contained in the Levitical law, since in it are to be found many things which in other parts are plainly shown to be typical.

 

The presence of these, therefore, at once declares the whole to be a typical subject, containing in its depths those spiritual truths which had reference to the Redeemer's kingdom, and which in this way were preached unto the Jews prior to Christ's coming upon earth.

 

On these grounds alone, therefore, is it that we have taken upon ourselves to treat the subject in the spiritual way which forms the groundwork of the following pages. It was with no preconceived ideas that we entered upon it, nor with the intention of making the inspired account fit in with the views already held, as is very often the case in matters of Scripture exegesis. We were quite content to let the natural account form the groundwork upon which the spiritual must be built up, showing by the closeness with which it corresponded what reality existed in the interpretation of it in this way. How close the analogy is the honest reader must confess, and we must ourselves also acknowledge that, as we pursued the subject step by step, the closeness of the similarity between the natural and spiritual was matter of much surprise and wonder to us, and caused us to feel with impressive solemnity how deep, how wonderful, and how glorious was the revealed Word of God.

 

It may, perhaps, not be amiss to say that up to the time of the first drafting of the subject no work or publication upon the subject had come under our notice. In the midst of it, however, a friend kindly placed in our hands two sermons by the late J. C. Philpot having reference to it. Feeling, however, unwilling to plough with other men's oxen, and having found on previous occasions that it is much more profitable in spiritual matters to search out for one's self, we placed these on one side till the work was fully drafted out and had proceeded well on its way. On having recourse to these sermons we were much surprised, as well as gratified, to find that in some parts an almost identical similarity of thought existed. In others, we must acknowledge, a difference was found; but these were of such a nature that we did not feel warranted to make any alteration, but rather preferred to leave them, and especially as in some of the cases the form in which Mr. Philpot's labours were cast, by limiting the subject, seemed also to have lamed the interpretation in some measure. Where differences of a pronounced nature existed we have left them also, but have attempted to give the reasons which have induced us to vary from so gracious and learned a man. Those of our readers who are in possession of the sermons, The Leper Diseased and The Leper Cleansed, will be able to examine these places for themselves ; but to those who have not got them, we hasten to say that the disagreement is upon nothing of vital importance.

 

With regard to other works upon the subject, we know not any, nor yet have sought for any ; while the remarks of such commentators as we have had the opportunity of glancing through during the later progress of the work, have been too misty and undecided in their real meaning to be of any worth. In Mr. Philpot's sermons alone have we found anything approaching a clear and consistent interpretation, and these are but brief and fragmentary, while in some parts matter upon which we have felt constrained to enter has been entirely passed over.

 

The thought of this, therefore, that, so far as we are aware, the present volume occupies the position of a pioneer upon this subject, fills us with much diffidence and fear in committing it into the hands of the people of God, many among whom, from their long traveling in the way to the kingdom, are better able to speak of that path treated of, into which our feet, in comparison to them, has but newly entered. If, however, it but leads them into sweetness of thought, or increases the beauty and preciousness of the Word of God unto them, we shall be contented to know that our labour is not in vain in the Lord. Humbly craving, then, that this blessing at least may rest upon it, and earnestly desiring that God would graciously accept this mite thrown into His treasury, and use it for His own glory and the good of His chosen, we now leave it in His hands and in those of the reader.

CONTENTS.

 

 

 

 

I.

II.

INTRODUCTION .

LEPROSY, THE TYPE OF SIN

WHO DOES THE LEPER REALLY TYPIFY?

 

 

III.

THE LAW OF THE LEPER

 

 

IV.

FREE GRACE

 

 

V.

THE LAW OF THE LEPER'S CLEANSING:

TO THE PRIEST

 

 

VI.

THE PRIEST'S EXAMINATION

 

 

VII.

THE GROUNDS OF ADMISSION

 

 

VIII.

THE PERFECTING OF HOLINESS

 

 

IX.

BEFORE THE PEOPLE OF GOD

 

 

X.

THE EIGHTH DAY

 

 

XI.

BEFORE THE LORD

 

 

XII.

THE TRESPASS-OFFERING

 

 

XIII.

THE SIN-OFFERING

 

 

XIV.

THE BURNT-OFFERING

 

 

XV.

THE MEAL-OFFERING

 

 

 

CONCLUSION

 

 

L. H. Green, Wigan,
July, 1905.

B. A. W.

 

 

INTRODUCTION.

To by far the greater number of present-day Christians the sacrificial laws and ceremonies of the Levitical institution contain little more than the record of an ancient and long since abrogated form of religious worship. This at least, if not the professed, is the impressed opinion which one is bound to form from any conversation which may take place upon the subject. The deep spiritual truths underlying the outward covering of ritual and ceremony are but dimly seen and far more dimly understood, even if understood at all. But that all these observances which God enjoined upon the people of Israel were deeply figurative and typical of the great truths of the gospel is abundantly evident from the oft-repeated and varied assertions made in the New Testament writings, and especially in that book which forms, as it were, the key to the whole body of Levitical ceremonies -the Epistle to the Hebrews. No one after reading carefully through this book can doubt for one moment that the law was "the shadow of good things to come," and that though it was not in God's purpose for it to contain the substance, it yet pointed forward with wonderful clearness to the great antitypical fulfillment of all its shadowy ordinances. The great gospel truth of redemption through the blood of Christ shines out most clearly in the sacrifices which were appointed. The voice of God sounded out in marked decision over every sacrifice, that without shedding of blood was no remission. Sin brought guilt, and since guilt disturbed the covenant relationship which God had with Israel, each soul comprising that nation was taught to see in the sacrifice which he had to bring under such circumstances that God's pardon and favour was only to be gained through an appointed sacrifice. How many saw through the type to the great Antitype, who can tell ? but to all the outward truth was made manifest, that suretyship and bloodshedding was necessary to secure God's favour towards them ; and as this truth was thus made manifest, so also every other gospel truth was displayed in type unto them.

 

Their own sinfulness was revealed to them, and their own helplessness and utter insufficiency to extricate themselves from the perilous position in which they stood by their own plans and schemes was indelibly impressed upon their minds. The methods of service and sacrifice were all appointed by God, and only by coming in the way which He had appointed could acceptance or forgiveness be attained to. How plainly then in these things do we find the truths of the gospel uttered and displayed. How loudly did the blood of the sacrificial lamb speak of the blood of Him who is the Lamb of God; and how clearly did the entering of the priest within the vail tell the story of Him who entered with His own blood into heaven, there to stand as the accepted sacrifice for all His believing people.

 

Perhaps the greatest difficulty in understanding many of these typical rites, however, is owing to the fact of their great complexity. The earnest reader may acknowledge that all these things spake of Him who was to come in the fullness of time, and endeavour to trace out the analogy existing between the type and the Antitype; but in attempting to do so, he finds so much that appears to be meaningless, or at least unintelligible to him, that he gives up the attempt in despair. He may have managed to elicit some general truth, and have seen the broad features of gospel grace beaming forth from the shadowy confines in which they had been concealed; but when he takes up the separate details and proceeds to examine them, although he feels confident that some spiritual truth lies in them, he is unable to fathom their depth. The general truth which they had to tell they have told, the broad outlines of the message they had to give they have delivered ; but yet there remains left in them features and details which appear above and beyond the spiritual truth.

 

Through this cause, this deep, confusing complexity, many, no doubt, turn away their attention from these books of the Bible which treat of the ordinances of the Levitical institution. The confession which one candid Christian once made to the writer that they " seldom read Leviticus because it appeared so dry," is doubtless the very expression of many thoughts and also of many actions. But we must remember that as all Scripture was given by inspiration of God, so it is all profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works (2 Tim. iii. i6, 17); and that whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning (Rom. xv. ).

 

Seeing then that these things are so, we ought the more earnestly to seek to know the mind, will, and purposes of God as revealed in these types, and endeavour to trace out the glad tidings of the Gospel as contained in them. Did we follow this course, and by more prayerful consideration seek an entrance into the wondrous things of the law, we should no doubt discover that those complexities were all necessary for a perfect revelation of the spiritual truth, and that those things which appear more than necessary for the spiritual import were each and all essential to the right understanding of those things of which they speak. If we, moreover, stumble now over them, what must have been the case with the children of Israel ? They had the type alone to look upon; the great Antitype was yet in the far distant future. But we now look back to the Antitype ; the dim shadows and pre-figurations of the Mosaic economy have all vanished in the bright sunshine of fulfilled prophecy. What more then can be necessary than what we have got? What further light can be given than what has been bestowed, and how can we trace out the features of the divine portrait better than by comparing them with the original ? But to do this we shall need something more than outside knowledge. The man of the world may possess this ; he gazes on the outlined portrait and carefully considers all its features; he looks also on the original as living and moving before us in the Gospels, and yet he can discover no resemblance. Hearsay and natural knowledge may tell him that both are the same, but he cannot distinguish one feature or identify the original with the copy. Something more then is necessary to enable us to trace out in the shadow the Person, character, and work of the great Substance, and that something is living acquaintance with a personal Christ and vital experience of His grace. This is the great key to unlock the mysteries. If we know not the Christ for which we are searching, if we have not seen Him face to face, how shall we recognize Him when we see Him? and if we have had no vital experience of His love and grace, how shall we be able to trace out their workings when we only see them reproduced in shadows? Vital godliness and personal union and communion with an ever-living Christ is the great essential for all right understanding of the sacred Scriptures, and only as we possess this and these can we hope to recognize the face of our Lord when veiled in the shadows of the Levitical ordinances.

 

May God bless both reader and writer with an overflowing increase of these divine realities, that we may be enabled, b a-closer and more intimate acquaintance with the Lord Jesus, to penetrate through the shadows of the portion of His Word now before us, and by an enlarged experience of the workings of His Spirit in our souls recognize the features of those workings when set before us in figure. And if any should take up this little work who know nothing of these important realities, who have not been brought into living acquaintance with Christ, and who have felt nothing of His Spirit's work within, we would ask them in all love and tenderness to earnestly consider how solemnly important such things must be in the mind of God, that He should have set forth these truths in so many and diverse ways. And may God plant the living desire in their soul to be brought into practical acquaintance with these things, that their eyes may be enlightened, and that they may see in those things which have been barren and meaningless to them the sweet unveilings of a precious and ever-glorious Christ.

 

THE LEPER AND HIS CLEANSING

 

CHAPTER I.

 

LEPROSY, THE TYPE OF SIN.

 

THE plague of leprosy was to the children of Israel one of the most awful and the most dreaded of all inflictions which it was possible to suffer under. In such a light did they regard it, that it was ever looked upon by them as one of the most direct and signal of God's judgments, and the person who was afflicted or smitten with it was also regarded as being in some particular way and manner under the just displeasure and wrath of God.

 

The very term which was applied to it by them set this feature forth, its Hebrew name signifying "the stroke." That this interpretation was correct, and it was no mere hyperbolical manner of expression on the part of the Jews, may be seen from a careful examination of the cases which are recorded in the Scriptures where this disease was specially inflicted by God. In Numbers xii., we find that when Miriam and Aaron revolted against the divinely given authority of Moses, God smote Miriam, who was plainly the leader, with leprosy. She had rebelled against God's appointments, and had endeavoured to overthrow His decree, and so God in just punishment inflicted upon her that which was not only an awful sign of His anger, but that which was also His own special mark of sin.

 

Again, when Gehazi sought to make merchandise of God's free mercy, and under a false pretence gained possession of wealth, we find that the prophet, under divine impulse, was moved to inflict upon him the same awful judgment. What a solemn warning is this to all those who seek to make merchandise of the things of the Gospel, and who take up and dispense the ministrations of God's Word simply to make gain and to amass wealth. Though punishment may not be inflicted during this life, how solemn is the thought to know that, unless divine grace prevent, it must be inflicted in another world, where death cannot put an end to the sufferings.

 

In King Uzziah also we have another instance of the divine infliction of this awful plague. Uzziah had been prospered by God, and great success had been granted unto him. But prosperity is not always the best thing which can befall a man. Pride crept in ; he forgot to whom he was indebted for his greatness, and "his heart was lifted up to his own destruction ; for he transgressed against the Lord his God, and went into the temple of the Lord to burn incense upon the altar of incense " (2 Chron. xxvi. r6).

 

Notwithstanding the fact that he knew the services of the temple were only to be attended to by consecrated hands, and that God had specially set apart a particular family to attend to this sacred office, he in his pride and self-will arrogated to himself the rights pertaining only to those who were divinely appointed and consecrated. Though warned and opposed in the name of God, he still persisted in his perverseness, and then God stretched forth His hand and smote him with the most awful form of that most awful visitation of His wrath, even leprosy in the forehead.

 

From these three instances we may see how this plague was, so to speak, that which God specially exercised as His prerogative to inflict on those sins which were chiefly directed against Him. Under the law, however, leprosy appears to set forth not only the punishment of sin, but to be also the type of sin. This conclusion, the very rules and regulations which God laid down with regard to it, would cause us to arrive at when examined in a higher light than that of mere natural and sanitary precautions.

 

Deeply typical all the Levitical law was, as we have expressed in our introduction, and as the leper's restoration called forth the performing of a deeply significant part of the ritual which God had given, it must have been because the position of the leper was typically corresponding to the typical meaning of the ceremony enjoined. The working

of this out in detail, with the explanation of the typical meaning of the whole ritual, is that which will be treated of in the following pages; but we may say at the outset that the position of the leper, as typically corresponding to the ceremony of his cleansing, was that of being a sinner before God.

 

And how closely analogous do we find the plague of leprosy to be with the still more awful plague of sin! Slow in its operation, loathsome in its true appearance, and deadly in its ultimate end ; how clearly does it speak of the state of every unawakened sinner who, "born in sin," shows by his actions the workings of sin within, until when sin bath conceived it bringeth forth death.

 

But let us now examine a little more closely the parallel which exists between the natural disease and its spiritual counterpart, so that having traced out the analogy in this respect, we may be able the more easily to recognize the deep spiritual import of all the regulations laid down concerning it. Like sin, leprosy, unless inflicted in divine judgment, was a taint in the blood. The child might be born, according to all outward appearances, perfectly healthy. Not a sign of that awful curse which should confine it to a living death was manifest, and in this state perhaps the first few years of life might pass away. But though outwardly free, the curse still lurked in the very nature. It had been communicated by birth, and was a very part of the child's nature, sooner or later to make itself manifest in those livid and movable risings which at once proclaimed in an outward manner that no exemption had been granted to the cursed family.

 

And how strikingly does this set forth the nature and workings of sin ! Very often we hear the days of childhood spoken of as the days of innocence. But this is only outwardly. The divine testimony of Scripture asserts that all men are conceived in sin, and shapen in iniquity. This has been so ever since sin intruded its cursed presence into Eden's garden. Robbed by it of the image which God had created him in, Adam begat a son in his likeness, after his image (Gen. v. 3). In the likeness of the Fall and in the image of sin he was begotten, and so is every other son and daughter of the fallen, sin-cursed family of Adam. In the so-called days of innocency, indeed, no outward sign may be clearly given of the presence of this curse; but as years pass by the fact becomes often painfully manifest to every eye, and if the eyes of our fellow-creatures do not behold it, the loathsome plague is clearly seen by the eye of God, for "the Lord seeth not as man seeth, for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart "

 

(I Sam. xvi. 7), and while all the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes (Prov. xvi. 2) the Lord pondereth the hearts (Prov. xxi. 2), and out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies (Matt. xv. zg). And though these may not be openly indulged in, yet the cherished thought constitutes the same guilt, and brings under the same condemnation " (Matt. V. 28 ; Prov. xxiv. 9). How piercingly then does the light of God's holy law search out and make manifest unto us the leprous state of our nature owing to the presence of sin ! Who among us can claim exemption from the plague, or assert that those risings which betoken its presence have never taken place in us ?

 

Once the dreaded curse had made its appearance, no human power could eradicate it. All means might be tried, but all proved futile and in vain. Nothing but the power of God could remove it or make the leper clean again, and we notice how fully this was exemplified during the life of our Lord upon earth. Time and time again the lepers came to Him beseeching Him to heal them, and though the ceremonial law declared that contact with these masses of loathsomeness was defiling, our great Healer, rising up far above all the ceremonial restrictions by the infinite purity of His holy nature, touched them, and with a word cleansed them. The Socinian, or Unitarian, who refuses to accept the Deity of the Lord Jesus, may explain this to his own satisfaction, but certain it is that if the Lord Jesus had not been the God-man He could not in such a way have accomplished this divine work, and brought health and freshness and new life to those putrid and half-wasted forms which came unto Him.

 

And as the natural leprosy was incurable by any human power, so the leprosy of sin which is in our nature is incurable by every earthly means which we may try. "Though we wash us with nitre and take thee much sope, yet our iniquity is marked before God " (Jer. ii. 22). Nothing can take out the stain, and no power on earth remove the roots of the disease. In every drop of blood which courses through our veins the seed of sin lurks. In every breath we draw the corruption of sin is hidden, and in every action we perform the workings of sin are often secretly, if not openly, present. Nothing but that same power which brought cleansing to the leper can free us from the plague of sin or its ultimate punishment. "The wages of sin," says the Apostle, " is death," and under this sentence we by nature each stand, for we read that God hath concluded or shut all up under sin, and consequently, unless some deliverance is effected for us, we must each and all suffer the punishment due to the state which we are in.

 

Again, we find that the leper, immediately he was found to be afflicted with the plague, was shut out of the camp. He was deprived of all the privileges and advantages which were bestowed upon and in the possession of those who were still within the camp. He had no longer access to the courts of the tabernacle, nor could he enter among the congregation of the people. He was entirely shut out and cut off as one consigned to a living death. And in this how clearly we see the repetition of that which transpired when sin entered Eden, causing Adam to be thrust forth out of all those blessings and favours which he had been in possession of while in the garden in a state of innocency. In our individual case, no thrusting forth and shutting out is necessary. This was done to us when it was done to Adam, and it is as without the camp, and as deprived of all those blessings and privileges belonging to those within, that we are born.

 

The leper also, when thrust out, had to wear the signs of mourning upon him, intimating that, so far as they within the camp were concerned, he was dead. And is this not also the very position into which sin has brought us ? " Dead in sin " is the divine comment of the Apostle with regard to our state by nature. We are dead to every hope of deliverance, and dead to every hope of restoration or of being brought into the possession of the camp privileges by every ordinary means. Shut out of God's camp upon earth, shut out from union and communion with Him, we are also shut out of heaven, and must ever be so, unless God in His mercy stretch forth His hand and heal us.

 

Such are some of the similarities between leprosy as a disease, with its results and its spiritual counterpart. Such also, whether we realize it or not, is our position by nature. We are sinners in the sight of a just and holy God. The leper's awful malady, in its figurative and far more awful import, is that under which we are suffering, is that from which our death must come. 0 that this truth in all its awful solemnity might be burned into our hearts as we consider, step by step, the leper and his cleansing, with its deep spiritual import ! The disease we have found in itself speaks of that plague which man's disobedience in Eden has brought upon every one of his descendants, that it sets forth before us the position which we occupy in the sight of God, if not in the sight of men, nor yet in our own experience. May we then, as we pursue our way, be brought to feel this ourselves, and as we follow the leper in his cleansing, may it be God's will to grant unto us a personal realization of the spiritual truth of those things which we shall consider.

CHAPTER II.


WHO DOES THE LEPER REALLY TYPIFY?

AT the very outset we find our path to be obstructed with a somewhat serious difficulty, and one upon the satisfactory removal of which depends all our future progress. That difficulty is as to who we are to understand by the leper under the law. Granting the truth of what we have remarked in our opening chapter, and in measure endeavoured to show-that the plague of leprosy was a typical representation of the plague of sin, we should, carrying out our figure to the fullest extent, and still remembering the Old Testament dispensation was the shadow of the New, expect to find that all they under the Old dispensation were lepers. Startling as this may seem, the laws of analogy, on which all typical relations hang, demand it. Such, however, we do not find to be the case. Only a small percentage of the people were smitten with the plague, and these were they for whom the laws in the first place were ordained. On the surface this fact would seem to point to one of two conclusions-either, granting the Levitical institutions to be typical, that all are not sinners, a thing which the whole teaching of the Bible plainly asserts to be the case, and which none have yet dared to oppose, or that the Levitical institutions are not typical, and that leprosy is not a type of sin, nor the leper the type of our position and standing as sinners in the sight of God. This difficulty has caused many, while otherwise granting the typical nature of all those things connected with the rites and sacrifices of the Levitical law, to exempt from this class the leper. With this, however, we cannot agree, owing to the fact that those rites which had to be performed at the cleansing of the leper were some of the most typical which existed under the whole dispensation, and thus, if one part is typical, essentially so by God's command for typical ceremonies to be performed over it, the other must of necessity be typical also.

 

This, then, is the difficulty which lies before us, and which it is necessary for us to have an answer to before we can proceed any further with our subject. If leprosy is typical of sin, and if the dispensation of the law is typical of the truth of God as revealed in the gospel, how is it that all under the law were not smitten with leprosy, and its typical character thus made fully manifest ? This not being the case, then we ask, Who does the leper represent ? An answer has been given to this question to the effect that though leprosy is the type of sin, and the leper the type of the sinner, it is only as sin revealed by the Spirit of God, and the sinner awakened out of his nature state and regenerated by the power of God. This answer would undoubtedly have solved many of the difficulties which the subject possesses, were it not for the fact that it must of necessity call for the cleansing of every one of those who were afflicted with the awful plague. Of this we have no evidence, but rather proof to the contrary. All that were shut out of the camp were not re-admitted again. With many no cleansing ever took place, but they lived and died as wretched outcasts and miserable sufferers under that terrible curse which had come upon them. For these no ceremony of cleansing was ever performed, and thus under the typical character of the subject they must have been strangers to the reality of that which these ceremonies typified. Out of the camp they lived, out of the camp they died, and out of the camp they were buried and ever remained-striking figure, not of the regenerate but of the unregenerate soul, who, shut out of the assemblies of the faithful in life, is shut out of them in death and through eternity. Thus we see that it is impossible for the leper to typify a soul born again of the Spirit of God, and thus brought to the knowledge of his true state and condition before God, since this view, explanatory as it is in part of some of the difficulties surrounding the subject, would involve us in difficulties of much greater magnitude, and cause us, by carrying out the type, to assert that God, after having regenerated a soul, left it to perish in its sin or under the punishment of sin. This we cannot, dare not, grant, and thus we are compelled to look somewhat further to see if we can find another explanation of what and who the leper was really a type of as we find him existing under the law, and set forth in those rules and regulations which God laid down concerning him.

In doing this we shall return to our original standpoint, that the leprosy was the type of sin and the leper that of the sinner. But instead of these types being meant solely for us, or for the individual affected, let us look upon them as being meant for the children of Israel in general, as was indeed the case. Looked at from this standpoint, the plague of leprosy was to the children of Israel just as much as what any of the other typical objects of the law was, a lesson unto them. In it they saw that which was the curse of their own nature, their own position through sin was set before them in the awful infliction from which the leper suffered, and when they beheld the plague-stricken form taken forth and shut out of the camp, they were brought face to face with what their own sins called forth from a God of truth and justice. In the re-admission of the leper back into the camp, they were brought to see that it was only by God's power being manifested in that peculiar way which the ceremony of the leper's cleansing typified, that they could be brought into the true camp of God's chosen, and the full pardon of all their sins granted unto them. And when also they saw one shut out of the camp, there to live and die, they saw what their own position must be if God did not have mercy upon them, how they must for ever suffer under sin, shut out from God's camp throughout their life, and shut out also in their death.

 

Looked at from this standpoint, the typical character both of leprosy and of the leper himself is at once made visible. The one truly set forth sin and the other the sinner, but the type was chiefly to set before others their own state, and not only to make the person suffering the plague conscious of it. Were this latter the only lesson it contains, then there are insuperable difficulties in the way of carrying out the type, but the moment we regard the leper as being a type for the whole nation by means of which God designed to show them their own position by nature-the ultimate end which must come upon them if God did not have mercy upon them, and also the only way by which He could have mercy upon them, then we at once find that every difficulty is removed, and the whole typical nature of the subject at once stands out clear before our eyes. The difficulty has arisen, we believe, by looking upon the leper in his typical character as being such unto himself, and not the instrument, conscious or unconscious, by means of which God taught His truths to the whole people of Israel.

 

We would here have it noticed that we are not saying that God afflicted with leprosy in order to teach this lesson, but that He made use of a natural disease which more than any other typified sin, and which, from its peculiar character, was regarded as the special sign of God's anger against sin. In themselves many of the regulations laid down with regard to it may have been of a sanitary nature, but in giving those regulations God had also in view the teaching of spiritual lessons, and so in the very ceremonies which He enjoined as attending the disease, both in its manifestation and also in its cure when He was pleased to put forth His almighty power and heal the leper, He set forth the typical character which it was to bear before the eyes of the people of Israel, ever calling them to the remembrance of what sin was, what it did, and what their own position was through it, unless they had experimentally proved the spiritual reality of that which they saw typically set before them whenever any leper was restored again and brought into the camp.

 

Thus we see who the leper is really meant to typify that he is the sinner in the abstract only, who, suffering under a peculiar disease with highly figurative connections, is used by God to set forth before His ancient people the gospel in a figure, making manifest in those who were healed again His love and mercy, and in those who were left to suffer and die under the plague His truth and justice.

CHAPTER III.


THE LAW OF THE LEPER.

As we have remarked in our preceding chapter, there is doubtless much in the laws which God gave concerning the detection of the plague of leprosy which is only of a sanitary nature, given by God for the protection of His people, and in order that none should suffer by being wrongfully shut out of the camp. Inattention to this, we believe, has resulted in much ingenuity being spent to find a spiritual meaning to that for which no spiritual meaning in reality exists ; every detail in those rules and regulations which God laid down being made to set forth some deep spiritual truth of general religious or experimental import. That deep spiritual truths underlie much of that which is set forth in the laws and in the various regulations laid down we are convinced of, but that we are to spiritualize every item is a matter that we are not so sure about. The rules and regulations of the Mosaic economy were not meant to reveal unto us all the various matters connected with the gospel and with spiritual experience. In them much of this is certainly to be found, but if we examine carefully we shall find that those things wherein this is contained are those which were openly visible to the children of Israel ; that is, that the gospel which the Apostle Paul declares was also preached unto them was not contained in the details and the minutia with which the laws, the rules and the regulations which God laid down concerning such matters as those before us abounded, but in the more salient features and the more public ceremonies which were attached to them. To treat, therefore, as spiritual those laws which were given by God to enable the priests to separate between real leprosy and that which was only similar in its outbreak but contrary in its nature, we believe to be carrying the subject of spiritual interpretation somewhat too far. A spiritual lesson it is certainly permissible for us to obtain from them, but we do not think a spiritual interpretation is primarily contained in them, and especially since, if so, it would not be made manifest to the children of Israel in the same manner as what those things which had reference to the true leper would be. For these reasons, therefore, we are more inclined to think that those laws which were given to the priests for the detection of the plague, and which made manifest that which was only an ordinary sore or wound in the flesh, were primarily of a precautionary nature, protecting those not suffering in reality from this awful plague from being placed under the same ban which they were placed under who were found really suffering from it.

 

The laws concerning this latter class, however, we believe to be deeply significant, and especially as the sending forth of the leper to his living death outside the camp was more or less of a public character, thus bringing forth before the whole people the lesson which was contained both in the disease and also in the position which the leper now occupied as being shut out of the camp. In the former class no such public ceremony attended the examination of the priest, and thus the spiritual lesson, if any was contained in it, could not have been given to those for whom it was intended. Our spiritual interpretation, therefore, of the law of the leper must begin with the time when he was really discovered to be such, when the priest, after having shut the person up again and again, found every sign there which testified to the presence of the awful plague. Here it was that leprosy first assumed its deep spiritual signification before the mind of the people of Israel, here it was they received the lesson which it was meant to convey unto them, and here it is at this point that we wish to enter more particularly into that spiritual meaning which the children of Israel were meant by God to behold in it.

 

After having found unmistakable evidence that the one who had hitherto been shut up under suspicion was indeed suffering from that most dreaded of all plagues, the priest was to pass sentence upon him, which consisted in his being shut out of the camp, or banished from all those privileges which belonged to those who were in the camp. From Jewish writings we also learn that the leper's name was struck off the registers of his house, and that he was henceforth regarded as dead. The same lesson is meant to be conveyed to us in the custom or practice to which the leper was to conform during the time he was suffering under the plague. " The leper in whom the plague is," we read, "his clothes shall be rent and his head bare, and he shall put a covering upon his upper lip." (Lev. xiii. 45.) All these customs were those which were observed among the Jews on the occasion of a death among them, and thus, by the leper being called upon to practise them during the period which he was shut out of the camp, he was taught by God to look upon himself as dead, and to mourn also because of it. The people also were taught the same solemn truth. He who hitherto had been one among them, and one with them, was now dead in every sense of the word to them as regarded everything of a practical nature.

Brought home to them in its spiritual signification, of what solemn importance was the law of the leper to the children of Israel, and of what solemn importance also is it unto us.

Here they, and here we also, can see in what light God regards all those who are sinners before Him. Here He made manifest the separating power of sin ; that like as the leper was shut out from the services of the sanctuary, and from meeting in the place where the presence of God was revealed ; like as he was also shut out from participation in the blessings derived from those ceremonies which were attended to, so also all they who spiritually occupied his position as sinners must be shut out from all those privileges and blessings which were bestowed only upon those whose sins were forgiven, and who were brought experimentally into union and communion with Him. More than this, also, was made manifest unto them in the law of the leper, for they saw pictured before them in the custom which he was to observe their own true condition. If he, through this plague, was to be struck off the registers of his house, was to be looked upon as dead, and was to mourn for himself also as dead, under what light must they regard themselves who were suffering under the plague of sin? Was it possible for them in God's sight to occupy a less awful position than that which their leprous brother occupied in theirs ? If leprosy meant to him a living death, must not that which it typified mean a living death to all those who were found under its power-a living death on earth as being shut out from the enjoyment of God's spiritual blessings, and a more awful living death hereafter as being shut out of God's presence and shut up under the punishment of their sin ?

 

Thus in the law of the leper the Israelite had set before him the most solemn truths of God's law with regard to sin. Not merely was it taught hint, but it was enacted in living reality before his eyes. In that loathsome form, shrinking away from his brethren with unkempt head, torn garments, and covered lip, crying out in anguish and misery, " Unclean ! unclean ! " he saw, if he had had given unto him a spiritual perception, a picture of his own state and condition before God. The loathsomeness of the leper, hideous as it was, was no greater than that which rendered him odious in the sight of God, nav it was far less, for that of the leper's only existed in the body, while his was in his soul. The state of death also in which the leper was regarded was but a type of his own spiritual condition-dead in sin, dead to every hope of mercy, dead to every true spiritual feeling, and dead as regarded all inherent power to deliver himself out of that state.

 

Such then was the lesson which the law of the leper was meant to contain for the children of Israel. Such was the method which God used to teach them their state before Him. Our state is clearly revealed unto us in the preaching of the gospel, but, though under the shadowy dispensation of the law, the state of the children of Israel was no less clearly revealed unto them in the state of, and the laws attending, the leper. Clearly it spoke to them of that death in trespasses and sins which is the spiritual state wherein every unregenerate soul now is. With no uncertainty was there set before them the separation and banishment from the presence of the Lord which sin has procured for us. The first great lesson in the work of redemption, the revelation of their lost and ruined state by nature, was that which the law of the leper taught them, even as it teaches us; and only as they understood this could they hope to understand those subsequent events which were enacted before them whenever any of those who had previously been shut out were brought in again. Had they failed to recognize the meaning contained in this law, and looked upon it simply in its natural light, then everything else connected with it was also without any deeper signification than the natural. Many no doubt there would be to whom this would be its only meaning, who, neither in the plague itself, nor the law of the leper's banishment, nor yet in the ritual of his readmission, would see anything further than that which appeared on the surface. Its deep typical meaning was to them hidden, the voice with which it spake to them of their own deeply similar state under a far more awful plague was by them unheard, and thus unconsciously they were the living realities of that truth which was proclaimed before them in the law of the leper and his being shut out of the camp.

 

And even under the gospel, how many are there who are in this same awful position, totally unconscious that those things which transpire before them in the manifestations of God's anger against sin have any reference to them or any lessons for them to learn. They will acknowledge that they are sinners, but they are unconscious of what it really is to be sinners before a just and holy God. They believe that a state of sin is a state of death, but they know not that they are dead, and if told they were so would not believe it, though they have never been brought to experience that sense of having been brought into the camp which they must have done had they been made alive. Unlike the leper, we are not born within the camp and then shut out, but we are born outside of the camp, born in that state of death which the leper's shutting out was typical of. This being so, we can know no more experimentally of what true life is within the camp, nor yet of our own real state, which must be the first lesson learned, than what the dead naturally do.

 

0 let us then each ask ourselves the question as to whether we do know anything experimentally of our state before God ; as to whether we have been brought to see in the leper banished out of the camp the type of ourselves, and of our felt position ; as to whether we too, spiritually, with all the signs of mourning within our souls, have cried out, "Unclean! unclean!" or, with the publican in the temple, have smote upon our breasts and cried, " God be merciful to me, a sinner? " If so, then God has taught us the lesson which the law of the leper contains. In the leper we have learned to see the position which we by nature occupy in the sight of God, and which must ever be our portion unless His grace prevent. But if we have not been brought to this knowledge, then how awful is our position. It is true we are only still in the typical position of the leper, but the awfulness of it is, we are unconscious of it. We are dead in sin and exposed to the wrath of God, and yet we are not so conscious of it as to realize our position, or seek to flee from it. We are dead, dead in sin, and dead to God, and very soon we shall be plunged into that eternal death which means final separation and total banishment from the presence of God and the joys of heaven.

 

0 reader, meditate upon which is thy position. Art thou so conscious of thy position as to mourn over it, and to seek God's grace that thou shouldst not be left shut out of the camp, or art thou entirely unconscious and totally indifferent with regard to it ? If the first is thy position, there is something more in store for thee. The state of the leper and his banishment from the camp is only thy first lesson upon which others more sweet and pleasant to learn shall follow. But if the latter be thy condition, the law of the leper is not merely a lesson to thee, but the figure of thy real condition before God, loathsome, cast out, and dead in thy filthiness and sin. Dead even while thou livest, and if grace prevent not, dead to all eternity ; dead to all happiness, dead to all peace, dead to all joy, dead to all comfort, and shut out for ever and ever from the felicities of heaven and the presence of God, to be shut up in the everlasting pain and torment of the second death.

 

CHAPTER IV.

 

FREE GRACE.

" THIS," we read in the opening verses of Lev. xiv., " shall be the law of the leper in the day of his cleansing." Leprosy, however, as we have said, was of an incurable character. The taint was in the blood, from which no human power could eradicate it. Physicians might he sought unto, and all manner of treatment tried, but once the plague had broken out, there was nothing which could stay its workings until the grave closed its mouth upon the miserable sufferer. Thus it is we read in those instances where God inflicted this plague for special sins against Him, that they were lepers until the day of their death. The infliction had been no temporary chastisement, such as Miriam's was, but it was life-long, and sometimes also even made hereditary, breaking out continuously in every succeeding member of the family. It was with regard to this latter form that the laws in Lev. xiii. were given, in order that these hereditary sufferers might be detected and excluded from the camp, there to suffer that living death which must be their portion until death should relieve them from their sufferings.

 

If leprosy, then, was of this nature, that having once broken out, nothing could cure it, what are we to make of this assertion concerning the law of the leper's cleansing The words in themselves would appear to favour the conclusion which has been drawn by some, that there were cases of leprosy which were only of a temporary character, and which having run their course freed the whilom sufferer from the laws under which he had been shut out of the camp. This conclusion, however, we cannot agree with, as in no instance do we find that leprosy, as a disease, was of a temporary character. When inflicted by God, as we have said, it might be, but when it was present in the ordinary way, it was of a life-long nature. The leper's cleansing, then, as intimated and set forth in Leviticus xiv., could only point to one thing-God's direct intervention on behalf of the sufferer, and His tower being made manifest in the expelling of the awful plague out of the system. Not in every case was this made visible ; not in every one who was shut out of the camp was this work effected. Many lived and died the victims of the dread curse.

 

From the camp they had been driven, never to enter into it again, never to enjoy the pleasures they had once enjoyed, nor to come again into union and communion with their brethren. But with some few, such was not the case. God's hand was put forth on their behalf, the plague was stayed and driven out from the body, and they were fitted once more to enter into the camp and to partake again of those privileges and enjoyments of which their plague bad deprived them and separated them from.

 

And what can we see in this but the proclamation of God's free and sovereign grace ? That, as His Word declares, " He will have mercy upon whom He will have mercy." Not one of those shut out of the camp had any claim upon God that He should put forth His power on their behalf. Their disease was no arbitrary manifestation of His anger, but the righteous results of His justice, or the self-inflicted punishment brought upon themselves by the transgression of God's inflexible law. Thus God might have left each and all to suffer and die under the awful curse which had come upon them. But as He had placed a lesson in the plague itself, and also in the one suffering under it, making manifest unto His people in them the nature of sin, and their state and condition thereby, so in this fact of some among those who were inflicted with the plague being healed again, while others were left to suffer and die under it, He had another lesson to teach, even that of His own sovereignty and His free, electing love. Man's boasted free-will and creature-power are here shown to be just what they are-a vain delusion. The leper might will with all his power, and work with all his might, but this did not render him clean, this did not purge out his disease, this did not cause God to put forth His hand. Outwardly, and in all respects, they were the same, the one just as much under the curse as the other, yet, while one was taken, healed, and brought back into the camp, the other was left.

 

In such manner, then, even under the law, did God make manifest His discriminating grace and sovereign mercy. Here was election plainly spoken of in God healing the one and leaving the other. " Jacob have I loved," He declares, " but Esau have I hated," and yet men set themselves up to oppose this most express declaration, and fight against the solemn testimonies of His Word. Throughout the Scriptures we are given to see that God is a sovereign, that He hath mercy upon whom He will have mercy, and whom He will He hardeneth ; that while He predestinates some to the adoption of children, He leaves others to perish in their sin, just as He chose some from among the lepers on whom to manifest His healing power, and left the rest to perish, shut out of the camp. Each and all might justly have been left, but He chose out some upon whom He might show forth His power, and to whom He might reveal His mercy and compassion. And what are we that we dare say, Nay ? Hath not God the right to do as He will with His own, even as Nebuchadnezzar was obliged to admit, " that He doeth according to His will in the army of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth ; and none can stay His hand, or say unto Him, What doest Thou ? " Sin having entered into the world, death came by sin. In Adam we all died to every hope of mercy and salvation. God's justice demanded our punishment, and when Adam was cast forth out of Eden, we in him were also cast forth out of that which Eden had been typical of. The gates of heaven were closed against us. All communion with God was now at an end. Innocency and happiness were gone, and nothing now on all natural grounds can loom before us but punishment for sin. Such is our position under God's justice. We and the leper in his banishment occupy one level. But as God manifested His mercy towards some of those who were thus shut out of the camp, so also God had designed to show mercy towards some of those who had been banished because of sin. That all were not included we may see in the state of those around us. Some are brought into the knowledge of the Gospel, and are made manifest as God's people, who were quite as unlikely as any others, while they are left, left in the power of sin, and left to perish in sin. The case of the leper also now before us impresses upon us this same truth. The one is healed and restored to all the privileges which re-admission into the camp means, while others who naturally were quite as likely, and quite as deserving also, were left. How are we to interpret this as God giving every man a chance, and of it being man's own fault if hee is not saved? Was it the leper's own fault that he was left out to perish, while another was healed an restored ? Not so ; but all lay in God's free favour and His sovereign mercy. And so also is it spiritually. Men are not saved because of their own free will, but of God's mercy; nor are men lost because they have refused to accept God's mercy. Does that which is dead tend towards life? and is not the sinner dead in his sins? How then can he exert himself in spiritual things? How can he manifest that which the presence of life only can give? The leper did not begin first with the performance of those ceremonies which were enjoined. God commenced first and healed him, and then followed the manifestation of it in those things which were afterwards done by the leper. And so is it with the soul dead in the leprosy of sin. God must begin the work. God must first impart life, and then the working of the soul commences in being brought to realize the grounds of its acceptance before God, and the grounds upon which God has been pleased to have mercy and compassion upon it in its lost and ruined condition. But if this life is not imparted, if God's hand is not put forth for the healing of the plague, if God does not first manifest His mercy, on what ground is it that the sinner has perished? He has perished it is true, but how and why ? Is it not because God has left him in that state in which he was born, not having chosen to show mercy unto him ? while he through sin brings down upon himself the outpouring of the vials of God's wrath. Such is the truth proclaimed in the Word of God itself. God was under no compulsion to have mercy upon any, and He might justly have left all to perish in that state into which sin had brought them. But having chosen to have mercy upon some, He manifests His power towards them, brings them into the camp, and restores unto them those privileges from which sin has really excluded every son and daughter of Adam's posterity.

 

Such is the lesson, then, which is taught us in that fact which comes before us in the history of leprosy, that, while incurable, shutting up its victim to a living death, God was pleased in some to stay the ravages of the plague and to bring them back into the camp once more, the monuments of His rich, free, and sovereign grace.

 

CHAPTER V.

 

THE LAW OF THE LEPER'S CLEANSING

BROUGHT TO THE PRIEST.

WE have now come to a part of our subject where all general truths must be laid aside, and where experimental, personal truths alone can be of any service unto us in unlocking the typical meaning contained in the account of the leper's cleansing. So long as the leper occupied his position of being shut out of the camp, he typified to us the general truth of our position in sin with which we are each and all acquainted, in some measure at least. AVhen the leper, however, had been taken in hand by God, and God had made manifest His power towards him, the typical position of the leper is at once changed. No longer is the general truth before us, but we are brought face to face with particular truths. The leper is now no longer a type of the sinner dead in trespasses and sins, but he is the type of the sinner manifestedly chosen by God, and about to be brought into all the privileges and enjoyments of the Gospel. This then being so, it is necessary for us to know something of experimental truths, and to have a personal acquaintance with the work of salvation in the soul, if we are to understand aright those ceremonies which God commanded to be observed in the law of the leper's cleansing.

 

And here it may not be out of place to say a few words in reference to the great complexity which our subject has. Being the medium whereby a lesson was to be preached unto others, and that lesson having reference to a sinner's restoration to the favour of God and His complete forgiveness, it was necessary that the ceremonies used in the leper's re-admission into the camp should contain in them the whole body of the Gospel; that, in fact, all those things which it is necessary to know and to experience before we can be assured of our own salvation, must in type be found in those things which were enacted in the eyes of the people when the leper was cleansed. The fact of this causes a deep complexity to rest upon the whole subject from this point. One thing may come before us which, spiritually considered, we can easily understand, but side by side and inseparably bound up with it is something else, the meaning of which is not quite so easy to grasp. Owing to this complexity, the deep spiritual meaning existing under the types of the old dispensation seem much obscured, and many even now, with the great antitypical fulfilment and reality existing before them, fail to understand many parts of those typical rites enjoined under the law. This complexity, however, we find, once the nature of the subject is opened up to us, to be absolutely essential, in order to give a full representation of those spiritual truths bound up in these typical ceremonies, and to set before us in perfect measure that Gospel which, while preached openly to us, was no less preached to the children of Israel in the various sacrificial rites and ceremonies connected with the Levitical law. In order then to rightly understand the meaning of those ceremonies which are to come before us, and of the peculiar turn of much of the phraseology connected with them, it is necessary that we should keep well in mind the typical character which the leper in his present position bears. This we have spoken of above, but in order to render it more clear and make our path as straight as possible, let us speak of it once again, and in doing so we will briefly review the subject so far as we have been enabled to go.

 

Leprosy then, spiritually considered, is the type which God set before the children of Israel to demonstrate unto them in awful reality what sin was in its nature and workings. In the leper smitten with this terrible plague, and shut out from the camp in bitter loneliness, or only amongst those who like himself were the sufferers from this dread affliction, they were taught to see the position which they occupied in the sight of God through sin ; that they were shut out of heaven and deprived of all those privileges and blessings which God had to bestow, and that they were also shut out to undergo a living death in sin and through sin, both for time and eternity, if God's grace did not prevent. In the case of the leper whose plague had been supernaturally healed, they saw the type of one in whom this grace of God was made manifest, one who was the object of His free and sovereign love, one whom He had chosen and had determined to forgive his iniquities, and to cleanse him from all his sins. Such then was the typical position of the leper as he now stands before us. He is the type of the sinner chosen by God, and now about to experimentally realize his admission into the favour of God, and to be brought to see the grounds upon which this is effected. This truth we must not fail to keep before us, as upon our acknowledgment and remembrance of this will depend our right understanding of those things which are now to come before us. Having thus set forth the standpoint from which the subject is to be viewed, we will now commence our examination of the law which God laid down to be observed in the leper's cleansing, and in doing so let us seek the aid of the Spirit of truth, who alone can guide us into all truth, and reveal unto us the real spiritual import of those typical rites and ceremonies which were performed before the leper was reinstated into the position which they in the camp occupied.

 

" And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, This shall be the law of the leper in the day of his cleansing. He shall be brought unto the priest."

 

Such was the first step which was to be taken with the one to whom God had displayed His almighty power in the healing of his plague. He was to be brought unto the priest. His position and situation had been without the camp, and thus from these words we should gather that he was now to be brought back again into the camp and set before the priest. Such, at first glance, would seem to be the meaning contained in these words, "He shall be brought unto the priest." This meaning, however, the next words show to be wrong, for we there read that the priest shall go out of the camp to him. Had he been brought into the camp to the priest, it would be entirely contradictory to say that the priest was to go out of the camp to him. What then is the meaning of these first words, and how are we to reconcile them with the following clause ? Such a reconciliation is necessary, since it is only by thoroughly understanding the literal facts as they occur in the leper's cleansing, that we shall be able to rightly grasp the spiritual truths which these are meant to convey.

 

Here then is our first difficulty. On the one side we are told the leper is to be brought to the priest, and on the other that the priest is to go out of the camp unto him; two statements which in their apparent meanings are, as we have said, entirely contradictory to each other. But this contradiction may only be apparent and not real. If by the leper being brought to the priest we understand not the leper in person, but the case of the leper, then we shall see how easily the two statements may be reconciled. The story of the leper's healing was told unto the priest by those interested in him. While the leprosy had remained in him he had been as one dead unto them, but the moment that God commenced His work and healed him of his plague, intercourse and communion was set up between he who had been the leper and they who were within the camp. He himself could not yet enter the camp, inasmuch as, while God had manifested His power towards him, there yet remained those God-appointed rites which must first be performed to declare and make manifest unto him his perfect cleansing. His case, however, could be presented before the priest, and thus, as in the words which we read, while the priest had in reality to go out of the camp unto him, he yet was brought to the priest.

 

Before we proceed any further, let us examine the matter so far as we have gone, and see what spiritual meaning lies contained in the fact of the case of the leper being brought unto the priest. The truth of the leper's identity, spiritually considered, we think we have already sufficiently established without reiterating those things which constitute this proof. It remains for us then to consider who is set forth by the priest, and what is meant by the leper being brought unto him, in his case being laid before him. As to the priest's identity then, spiritually considered, we have no need to travel far for an answer. The Scriptures themselves supply us with this, and that in such a manner as cannot be refuted. In the Epistle to the Hebrews we find much of the old ceremonial law laid open before us in its spiritual signification, and there we are shown that the priest, under the old dispensation, was the type and shadow, faint and imperfect it is true, but still, in his office and public character, a type of Him who is made a great High Priest over the house of God, even the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. We are well aware that many godly men have interpreted the priest in the case before us to be a representative of a minister of the Gospel, but if we examine carefully the position which the priest occupies in these ceremonies which now come before us, we shall soon see that it can be typical of no minister of the Gospel, unless we are prepared to invest them with privileges which they cannot and dare not wear. Thus we are brought to the conclusion we have expressed, that the priest in the subject before us is the typical representative of our blessed Lord Himself. This, however, will become still more clear as we proceed, and when we see the typical meaning of the ceremonies which ushered in, and followed upon, the leper's admission into the camp.

 

Thus we have the two great essentials in the truth of a soul being brought into visible union and fellowship with God in Christ. First, we have the sinner upon whom God's power has been made manifest and His grace shown ; and secondly, we have the Saviour of the sinner, the Lord Jesus. Here the two stand, the One as the divinely appointed Priest and Head of those within the camp; the other a sinner, no longer, however, dead in sin, but one upon whom God's work of grace has been commenced, but who has not yet been brought into the privileges of the Gospel, or, to use the term before us, who has not yet been brought into the camp.

 

Such then is the spiritual illustration of the subject so far as the priest and the leper are concerned, and now let us inquire as to whether there can be a spiritual counterpart to that which is spoken of as the leper being brought to the priest, and which, as we have seen, must have consisted of a remembering of the leper's case unto the priest. To do this, as we have said, a bond of communication must have been set up between the leper and those within the camp. He was no longer looked upon by them as dead, but although not absolutely restored and brought amongst them, that work which had passed upon him had brought with it a restoring of the relationship between them. Though not one with them, he was yet one of them, and in order that he might become one with them, those that were in the camp, who knew of that which had been done for him, brought his case before the priest in order that his full manifestation might take place.

 

And how beautifully does this set forth that which is so often the case when a soul has been brought into that position typified by the leper, when God had miraculously healed him. How we do see then that the barrier which had existed between him and the saints of God within the camp is in measure taken away, and a relationship which had hitherto been kept secret is now made manifest as existing between them. The fact of God having commenced His work in that soul, proves that they are now all of one family, and that although the soul is as yet without the camp, his true place is within the camp. Union is felt, a spirit of communion is found at work, and often in their prayers and pleadings at a throne of grace, the saints of God who are acquainted with this soul-once leprous and defiled, cast out from among them, and as dead to them, but now making manifest the work of God with him-bring him and plead his case before the Lord, beseeching the Lord that He would continue His work, that He would openly manifest that soul to be his, and would bring him into the camp.

 

And what is this but the spiritual counterpart of the leper being brought unto the priest? " He shall be brought," is the command of God, and may we not here observe that which He assigns as the duty of His people towards those who, while manifesting that God has put forth His hand and healed them, are yet wandering without the camp. They shall be brought. 0 let the people of God then ever remember this their divinely appointed duty, and fail not to bring before our High Priest, the Lord Jesus, all those who appear to make manifest that the work of grace has been commenced within their souls, earnestly beseeching the Lord that He would look upon them and bring them into the camp for the building up of His people and the establishing of His kingdom upon earth.

 

CHAPTER VI.

 

THE PRIEST'S EXAMINATION.

 

IN the next circumstance connected with the cleansing of the leper we seem to have more of a contrast between the type and the anti-type than a similarity. After the case of the leper had been brought unto the priest, the priest, we read, was to go forth out of the camp and look upon the leper in order that he might know for a certainty whether that which those within the camp had assumed was correct. It was quite possible that a mistake might have been made, and that the leprosy, instead of having been healed, had only died down from the surface for a period, and would shortly break forth again in all its virulent power. Under such circumstances the leper could by no means be admitted into the camp. His cure was only such in outward appearance, and that for a short time only. The disease still raged with the same power as formerly, but it was now hidden from sight. Its workings were within, and not outward as before. To prevent, therefore, any mistake being made, the priest was to go forth out of the camp to look upon the one who was supposed to be healed, and to examine him. Unto the priest, by means of those various rules which God had laid down, was given the power of being able to prove whether a cure had really take place, and whether the one before him had been wrought upon by the power of God or no. If he had, then the priest had to perform the ceremony which God had appointed in order that he might be brought into the camp, but if not, and the leprosy still remained in him, though not so visible as before, he must still be left out of the camp and be reckoned as one dead.

 

Turning from the natural figure to the spiritual interpretation, it may at first sight appear rather difficult to find the spiritual lesson contained in this circumstance. Spiritually considered, it is not necessary for the great High Priest of our profession, the Lord Jesus Christ, to go forth and look upon those cases which we bring before him, since, if the work of grace has been commenced, it has been by His own power, and thus the reality of it is well known unto Him, without having to do that which the priest was commanded to do.

 

Here then, instead of agreement we have the contrast which exists between the Levitical priesthood and the office which the Lord Jesus now holds. They, as the Apostle Paul observes in his divine commentary upon the Levitical laws, were taken from among men, and were subject to all the infirmities and limitations which pertain to humanity. Thus it was impossible for them to know the reality of the leper's cure without going forth to make examination and to try the case by those rules which God had given them as tests for the same. The Lord Jesus as the God-man equal with the Father, omniscient and omnipresent, knows all things, and thus this regulation which God here lays down to be observed by the priest with regard to the leper, while absolutely necessary for the priest, does not appertain to Him of whom the priest was but an imperfect type and representative.

 

But while this is so, and this regulation serves to show the great contrast between the office and character of the priest under the Mosaic dispensation, and that of the Lord Jesus under the gospel, there is yet a deep spiritual lesson contained in this circumstance of the priest being commanded to go forth and look upon the leper before he was admitted into the camp, and one which we consider to be of primary import. The object of this regulation was, as we have said, to prevent any mistake being made in the admission of an unhealed leper into the midst of the camp. And how forcibly would this impress upon the minds of the people of Israel the impossibility of their admission into the true privileges of which their national and natural privileges were only figures, without having really been healed of their spiritual malady. There, in the sharp examination to which the leper was subjected, they saw themselves beneath the searching eyes of God, and were taught that it was impossible to deceive Him who searcheth the heart and trieth the reins of the children of men. This lesson also it has for us, warning us against any attempt to deceive ourselves under the vain delusion that we can deceive God or gain the blessings of His heavenly kingdom without having been made the objects of His powerful work. How many are there, however, who seem to pay no regard to this, and go on careless and indifferent, buoying themselves up with false hopes that they shall be alright at last, and that God will receive them, although they cannot now show one proof that God has healed them of the awful plague of sin by implanting His grace in their soul. How awful is the position of these when that day which trieth every man's work shall come upon them, and they shall be found to have been deceived in their presumptuous hope.

 

But, on the other hand, what a lesson does this convey as to the carefulness which ought to exist among the people of God lest they should admit an unconverted sinner into the camp of the saints upon earth. With the leper the people might be mistaken. They might imagine the plague to have been healed, and importune the priest on behalf of the man, and yet it all be a mistake. And is not such often the case among the people of God ? They see one who has been running in the ways of sin, in whom the spiritual leprosy has been plainly apparent, rendering him odious unto them, one whom they had accounted dead in sin, suddenly change. The old ways are forsaken, and they draw near unto the camp of God's saints, many among whom, thinking that in this they see the commencement of God's work of grace in the soul, are ready to receive them, and make them the subjects of their prayers and petitions before God. In other words, they bring them before the priest and plead that they may be brought into the camp.' But despite that which they take to be a sure sign, no true healing has taken place. The leprosy of sin has just as strong a hold upon them as what it had formerly. The only difference which has taken place is that the disease has changed its course of working. No longer is it to be seen outwardly, but inwardly it rages with the same power. Thus, notwithstanding all the prayers which are made on their behalf, how often is it seen when they are left solely to the decision of the great High Priest of our profession that they are not brought by Him into the camp. Unknown to us, our great High Priest does in a manner go forth and look upon them, but knowing that no real change has taken place in them, they are left where they are ; in their experience is not wrought those figurative ceremonies which the priest was commanded to perform when a true healing had taken place, and thus no admission is divinely given them into the camp. Here it is that this circumstance of the priest's examination contains a solemn lesson for us. Many there are, upon seeing such a character as we have above described, who are ready to bring him on their own accord into the camp. They take the seeming cure to be a real one, and, without waiting for the Lord Jesus Himself to decide the case, which He would in the case of a real cure by giving them to realize that which is contained in the ceremonies next to be considered, hurry them at once into the camp of the saints, and into visible membership with the people of God. How many are there among our churches who have been thus rushed in because one or two have imagined that God's work has been commenced in their souls.

 

They may perchance have come to an outward knowledge of their state as sinners. They may have realized in some measure that they are without the camp, and so they draw a little nearer to the camp, and, like job of old, scrape off the sores which mark the presence of the foul disease. They make the outside of the cup and platter clean, and thus deceive those of the Lord's people, who, harmless and simple as doves, have not combined with it the wisdom of the serpent, and who thus in zeal without knowledge have brought them into the camp. Deceivers, our Lord said, would creep in unawares, but how much different is this to our bringing them in? If they creep in with the intention of deceiving, knowing at the time that their true position is outside, the sin lies at their own door. But all the deceivers that are in the churches of Christ upon earth have not thus crept in. Many have been rushed in by those who have not been sufficiently careful and strict in the things of God, and upon whose shoulders does the blame of this rest ; not only perchance deceiving others, but deceiving maybe the very ones that are brought in by making them believe that they are the right characters.

 

Thus we see the lesson which the circumstance of the priest's going forth to look upon the leper has for us. It teaches us that great care ought to prevail as to who we permit to enter the camp ; that mere outward change is not sufficient, but that under every circumstance, when a change is apparent, we ought to leave it for full decision in the hands of the Lord Jesus, who, if it is real and God has commenced His work of grace, will in His own time make it manifest by the performance in the spiritual experience of that character of those things typified in those ceremonies which the priest, having found the leper to have been healed by God, was now enjoined to carry out before he was to be admitted into the camp.

CHAPTER VII.

THE GROUNDS OF ADMISSION.

HOLDING the position which they do, midway between the leper having been brought under the power of God and his admission into the camp, we should expect to find in the ceremonies which now come under our notice some typical illustration of the grounds upon which alone a sinner can be admitted into the camp of God. Naturally this was the substance of the ceremonies. In them the children of Israel were led to see the grounds of the leper's admission into the camp, and consequently, spiritually considered, the grounds of their admission into the number of God's chosen. With this thought before us as a key, let us now proceed with our subject, looking first at the natural event from which by analogy the spiritual lesson has to be inferred.

 

Having found that the case which had been brought to him was a real case wherein the power of God had been made manifest, and that the person before him had been healed of his leprosy, we read that the priest was to " command to take for him that is to be cleansed two birds alive and clean, and cedar wood, and scarlet [wool], and hyssop." One of these birds was then to be killed in an earthen vessel over running water, after which the living bird, together with the cedar wood, the scarlet wool, and the hyssop, was to be dipped into the blood of the bird which had been slain, and he that "was to be cleansed " sprinkled seven times therewith, after which the living bird was to be loosed and allowed to soar up into the air. This was the first part of the ceremony of cleansing upon which the leper's admission into the camp depended. And now let us look as to what its spiritual lesson can be.

 

The first thing which calls for our attention is the peculiar phraseology found in the account. The priest, we read, shall ,command to take for him." Naturally we might have read it, or at least think it ought to read, that the priest shall take for him, or that the leper shall take for himself. But such is not the reading. The words are, " the priest shall command to take for him." Another person is brought into the account, in whose hands the ceremony in part is. The priest, as we have seen, is the Lord Jesus Christ, and the leper is the sinner, but who are we to understand by this other character which now appears, this intermediate one who is to take for the sinner ? Shall we say it is the Holy Spirit ? Such appears to be the only meaning which it is possible to give, but this will appear more clear unto us when we come to consider the ceremony itself. Here, however, it will be necessary for us to say that the ceremony we are about to examine, while being the ground of the leper's admission into the camp in a measure, is not altogether so, spiritually considered, but rather the manifestation of the grounds of admission. Here it is that the real complexity of our subject begins, and it is only perhaps by much repetition and a constant recurring to the standpoint from which we are supposed to view it that we shall be able to render it sufficiently intelligible to our readers. If we do this, however, we feel that the depth of meaning and the clearness of the gospel truth contained in it will well repay both we and they for the close attention which the subject demands. Our standpoint then, spiritually considered, is that in the leper and his cleansing, with all that is connected with that event, we have the type of a regenerated soul being brought manifestly and experimentally into the kingdom of God's dear Son. And now, with this digression, which the extreme complexity of our subject seemed to demand, we will again proceed.

 

The things commanded to be taken by the priest, as we have seen, were two birds alive and clean, one of which was to be killed, and its blood, with the water over which it had been killed, sprinkled with the living bird and the various other articles upon the one to be cleansed. In this bird which is slain we can have nothing set before us but the death of Christ. And here it is that we must bear in mind the difference between what is implied in the grounds of a sinner's admission, and the manifested grounds. Had it been the grounds of a sinner's admission into the presence of God, the whole ceremony would have been different, and the leper himself would have had no place in the scene. The grounds of admission are Godward, and we see this typified in the law of burnt offerings which God enjoined, and in the great day of atonement. The manifestation of the grounds of admission are necessarily manward, and thus the person of the leper is necessary as the type of the one towards whom this manifestation is represented as taking place. The bird killed, then, is the manifestation by the Spirit of God of the death of Christ. Of this the Apostle Paul speaks in his epistle to the Galatians, and his words will probably afford the best explanation of this part of the ceremony. After chiding them for their change of attitude with regard to the gospel, he testifies to the reality of the work of grace among them in these words : " Before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth crucified among you." It is here not the death of Christ as an event to which the Apostle refers, nor yet the death of Christ in its bearings upon the great work of atonement, but it is the death of Christ as set forth before the eyes of faith and manifested to the sinner as the ground of his admission into the family of God.

 

Such then is the meaning of the rite before us, and for this reason it is that we read that the priest shall command to take. The Priest, the Lord Jesus, sends forth the Holy Spirit to testify to the sinner that His death is the ground of the sinner's pardon and acceptance among the people of God. " He shall take of Mine," said the Lord Jesus, when promising the gift of the Spirit, " and shall show it unto you." Again, He said concerning the Spirit, " He shall not speak of Himself." Christ alone should be the subject of His work and teaching in the soul, while that work, while powerful, should yet be secret. How fully, then, is the Spirit and His work set forth, though not mentioned, in those few words, " the priest shall command to take."

The bird slain, we have said, is Christ, and now let us look at the points of resemblance manifesting this to be the case, and also at the various things used in order to set this forth before us in its entirety. The very choice of the birds was suggestive. As the inhabitants of the heavens, they speak most clearly of Him who was the Lord from heaven, and who came down to earth to bleed and die. The choice of two was essential, as we shall see later, in order to give a full representation of that which was required. By the command which was given also with regard to the birds, that they were to be alive and clean, we seem to have much gospel truth prefigured. "In Him," we read, with reference to Christ, "was life," life as distinct from the Father ; as we read again, " For as the Father hath life in Himself, so also hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself." (John v. 26.) This was necessary for Christ's work of redemption. He must be a real, self-existent Person, the God-man. By the birds having to be clean we have, as in all the other offerings and sacrifices, the allusion to the spotless humanity of the Lord Jesus as holy, harmless, and undefiled, and separate from sinners. Necessary in the type, it was doubly necessary in the antitype that He should be clean, that no spot or blemish of sin could be found upon Him, or else He could by no means have stood in the sinner's place and laid the grounds of the sinner's admission into the camp.

 

The bird slain, we read, was to be so in an earthen vessel over running water. At one time we thought the earthen vessel might signify Christ's humanity. Though Son of God He was also the Son of man, made like unto His brethren, and it was in an earthen vessel, in a human body, that He was to be killed. With this interpretation, however, we are not fully satisfied, as indeed we are not with those which have been advanced by commentators and ministers. Some deep spiritual truth beyond doubt lies in it, but it seems somewhat too deep to be successfully grappled with. The running water, or living water, which is spoken of, undoubtedly points us to the Spirit of God and His cleansing operations, which are in various parts of the Scriptures referred to under this figure (cf. John iv. 10 ; Zech. xiii. i, xiv. 8, etc.), and which the work of Christ was the means of dispensing. Thus, in the one bird slain, we have the representation of the death of Christ. But the death of Christ only was not sufficient grounds for His people's deliverance, and thus to show the work of Christ in its fulness another bird was necessary. This second bird, we find, was to be taken after the first had been slain, and, together with the cedar-wood, the hyssop, and the scarlet wool, was to be dipped into the blood of the first. As the first bird was Christ slain, so we see by the second bird being dipped into the blood of the first, that it also is meant to set forth Christ, the dipping, so to speak, providing the bond of connection, and proving the identity of the two birds as setting forth but one character. The meaning of this will be clear shortly, if it is not so already. But now let us enquire as to what can be the figurative meaning of these articles, which were to be taken with the bird and dipped into the blood and water. By cedar-wood in Scripture we are generally given to understand strength. It may also be used to set forth durability and incorruption, and thus would have reference to the incorruptibility of our blessed Lord. As the Scriptures speak, God's Holy One, though going down to the grave, though being swallowed up in death, should not be left there, nor yet see corruption. In its meaning of strength it may also have reference to Christ's power and strength, and speak unto us of Him who, while the Son of God and the mighty God, yet became obedient to death and went down into the grave. By the hyssop, it is somewhat doubtful what we are to understand. Hyssop was used in general for the purpose of sprinkling, especially in the ceremony of purification from sin, and thus, as being so closely connected with this ceremony of cleansing from sin, it might here be used with reference to sin, and the atonement made for sin. The scarlet wool also is somewhat difficult of interpretation. To refer to it, however, as figurative of the blood of Christ is, we think, altogether out of the question, inasmuch as the type of that blood was present in the blood of the bird which had been slain, and therefore the scarlet wool as a type was altogether unnecessary. For ourselves, we are inclined to think that it has more of a reference to the fiery wrath of God, and under this interpretation we shall be able to find a connection running all through, binding each to each in wonderful unity and deep spiritual signification. Recognizing in the cedar the strength of the Godman, in the hyssop as used in the ceremony of purification the type of sin, and in the scarlet wool which, it would seem, was used to bind all together, the wrath of God, what a picture have we of the Lord Jesus going down to death with the sins of His people bound fast unto Him by the wrath of God, because He had offered Himself as their surety. It was by this that sin and wrath were for ever put away. Thus bearing His people's sins and enduring the wrath of God, He gave Himself up to death, and by His own blood purged away those sins under which He was suffering, and appeased the fiery wrath of God against the same.

 

The dipping of the living bird into the blood of that which had been slain was undoubtedly, as we have said, to prove the oneness of the type, and here we see the necessity of two birds having to be provided. With the bird thus dipped the leper was now to be sprinkled. The dead bird would not suffice for the sprinkling, but it must be the living bird, baptized into the blood of the dead and brought forth again. And what does this bespeak but the resurrection of Christ ? A dead Christ only is of no value. There must be also a risen Christ. By a dead Christ there could be no sprinkling, no cleansing, and no pardon. "If Christ be not raised," saith the Apostle, "your faith is vain ; ye are yet in your sins." (I Cor. xv. 17.) The resurrection of Christ was a necessity in order that the blessings of redemption might be dispensed, that His blood might be sprinkled and His Spirit bestowed upon His people. How necessary then were the two birds to set this forth, and how fully do we see it to be set forth in these Old Testament shadows. How clearly to the illumined eye of faith, as it gazed upon these rites as performed in the cleansing of the leper, was the work of Christ made manifest. How emphatically was it declared unto them that their admission into the camp, that their adoption into the family of God, was based entirely upon the death and resurrection of Christ, and that only as they had experimental realization of the same, just as the leper had experimental realization of the natural ceremony and the sprinkling, could they hope to enter into and partake of the privileges belonging to the people of God.

 

The sprinkling of the leper, we read, was to take place seven times, after which the living bird was to be loosed and allowed to fly away into the heavens. The number seven is much used in Scripture, and is generally expressive of completeness. And what does this show unto us but the perfect cleansing which the work of Christ effects, the full forgiveness which it ensures ? "By one offering," says the Apostle, " He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified." No more sacrifices are needed. His one offering has completely finished redemption's work, and brought in everlasting righteousness for the people of God. After the sprinkling, the loosing of the bird took place, and here we have set before us the glorious truth of Christ's ascension, when he having, by dying, destroyed death, made an end of sin and appeased the wrath of God, soared up to His seat at the right hand of the Father in eternal glory, there to appear with all the marks of His sufferings-as the bird was marked with the blood of its companion-in the presence of God for us.

 

Thus we see how the leper, or, spiritually considered, how the regenerated soul, is made to feel and realize that his admission by God into the family of His chosen is solely through the death, resurrection, and ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ. How full and clear we may now see the type to be, and how essential is all the complexity of it, in order to set before us the full work of Christ. Even the gift of the Holy Spirit is shown, as we have noticed, to be dependent upon the shedding of the blood, and so for that purpose the blood and the water are together ; the bird slain being so in the earthen vessel over living water, that the blood might drop into the water and both be sprinkled together. And is not such what we find the antitype to be ? Where the blood of Christ is sprinkled the Holy Spirit is also bestowed, and where the Spirit is bestowed the blood of Christ is sprinkled. The one cannot be without the other, since, as is typified in the subject before us, they are bound up together in inseparable union.

 

And as the work of Christ is so fully and clearly portrayed in this ceremony of the leper's cleansing, so also is the position of the sinner. This we see is an entirely passive one. Not so much as a finger does the leper, uplift, in the matter of his cleansing. The things enjoined for the ceremony are to be taken for him, and slain for him, and the blood and water sprinkled upon him by another. Need we any clearer proof than this of the falsity of those assertions which make the sinner's admission into the family of God dependent upon his own doings, and upon the creature-faith which it is his duty to put in exercise ? Nothing to typify this is found in the ceremony which has passed under our notice, but instead we find everything to be just the contrary. The sinner, typified by the leper, is no working subject, but one entirely passive. His salvation, both in itself and in the manifestation of it to him, is entirely outside of and independent of himself, only so far as he is made the partaker of it.

 

Such then is the ceremony of the leper's cleansing, and such also is the spiritual interpretation of it so far as we have yet gone. On these grounds only was it that the leper could be admitted into the camp ; and is it not on these grounds only that the true children of God find admittance into God's family ? There must be an experimental realization of Christ's death on their behalf, and upon them, by the work of the Spirit, must be sprinkled of the blood of the atonement. If this experience is not present in some measure ; if the soul has not been made to prove its entire dependence upon the work of Christ, and to see that its sole ground of admission lies in the death, the resurrection, and the ascension of Christ, and if its personal interest in this is not made manifest by an application of the blood of sprinkling, then, whatever outward reformation may take place, there is no evidence that such a character has been brought under the powerful work of God. Their position is simply that of those in whom the plague might appear to have been healed, and who were consequently brought unto the priest, but who, on the priest's examination, were found not to have been healed. Over these no such ceremony as that before us was performed, and thus they could not enter into the camp. And, spiritually considered, the same law should exist. The spiritual signification of this typical ceremony should first have transpired in the sinners' experience before, with open arms, they are received into the Church of God. This strictness, it is true, is not fashionable among churches in these days. The very desire to enter into membership is, with many, quite sufficient for them to open their arms, and the doors of the church likewise, and receive them into the same. As in many other things, quantity and not quality seems the prevailing thought, and if they have a large body of members everything is deemed in a prosperous condition. But such is not the rule of conduct contained in the Word of God. Such is not the lesson set before us in this subject. Had the whole camp of Israel been inflicted with this plague, no admission could have been administered only by the carrying out of this rite. God's powerful work must first have taken place, and then the grounds of admission made manifest before one person could have re-entered the camp. What a lesson is here set forth for churches as to the manner of their acting in receiving into membership those who are brought before them. From the testimony of God's own Word we see that strictness is essential, and that it is not every one of those who may be brought forward that are to be admitted, but those only in whose experience has been fulfilled in some measure the typical ceremonies of the leper's cleansing.

 

This being so, let us now ask ourselves the question, Do we, as members of churches, know anything of this ? The question is no light one, to be hastily put aside, but one of most solemn moment. Into the camp we have been admitted, but upon what grounds has it been done ? Has it been because God put forth His hand to the work of our healing, implanting within us a new principle of life, a new nature, thus making us new creatures, no longer as dead in sin but as dead to sin ? This is the real spiritual parallel of the leper's healing. Sin itself is  never taken out of our old nature, but a new nature is imparted whereby, we being dead to sin, no longer serve sin. Has this then been effected for us ? Has Christ been set forth crucified among us ? Has the blood of atonement been sprinkled upon us, and the water of the Spirit's purifying influences cleansed us? Or, if this has not been granted in full assurance and in a perfect manifestation, have we had the sweet peace-bringing whispers of the Spirit in our soul, cheering us with the hope that we are interested in the work of Christ? Many seem able to testify more to the application of the blood of sprinkling than what others can. They have a solid assurance of their salvation through the appointed sacrifice of Christ. Others seem not to experience this in the same way, but they have instead more of the gentle leadings, teachings, and whispers of the Spirit. If either of these, however, is our experience, our admission into the camp is real and on solid grounds. Though so much different experimentally, both these characteristics testify to the reality of God's work, and the performing of the ceremony of cleansing. The blood and the Spirit are, as we have said, inseparably linked together, and where the one is the other must be also, though, as in the latter case above, the blood is not always realized, and more doubts and fears are apt to prevail. But in either case admission has been upon real grounds, and happy indeed are we if we have been brought into the camp upon these manifested grounds. If, however, such has not been our experience, where is the evidence that the position we occupy is a real one, and that we are truly what we have professed to be ? How solemn is the thought that we may be hypocrites, false pretenders, bastards, and not sons. The hope of the hypocrite, we read, shall perish when God taketh away his soul. We may go through life built up with vain hopes and a false confidence, but when death comes all these must go, and we shall be called upon to face the naked reality, to have the very secrets of our heart revealed, and to stand before God exactly as we are. 0 what searching's of heart ought the consideration of these things to cause, and how earnestly ought we to seek to know whether we have passed through the experience typified in that ordinance enjoined by God for the leper's cleansing, thus obeying the exhortation given by the Apostle Peter to make our " calling and election sure."

 

CHAPTER VIII.

THE PERFECTING OF HOLINESS.

 

NOTWITHSTANDING the fact that the ceremony which afforded the grounds of his admission into the camp had now been effected, the leper was not yet allowed to enter into the camp, until he had himself performed certain other ceremonies or duties assigned unto him. Our next step, therefore, will be to examine these to see if we have in them any deep, significant truths, such as we have found lying under the preceding portion, as contained in our last chapter.

 

The opening words of the eighth verse, wherein the account of these additional ceremonies is contained, afford us another instance of the peculiar phraseology which, as we have mentioned, is to be found in this subject. And " he that is to be cleansed," we read, " shall wash his clothes." In the preceding verse we read that the priest, after having sprinkled him seven times, was to pronounce him clean, in token of which he was to loose the living bird. This, we said, set forth the regenerated soul's perfect redemption by the blood of Christ, and its perfect cleansing before God by the bestowal of the Holy Spirit. "Know ye not," saith the Apostle, "that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you ? " and " The temple of God is holy, which ye are" (I Cor. iii. i7). Here, then, is the spiritual counterpart of the priest's declaration that the leper was clean. Yet, as we here find, after this declaration the reference to the leper is made in the words above quoted, " he that is to be cleansed." The spiritual meaning of this we will endeavour to trace out after we have examined those natural ceremonies or duties which the leper himself was now to perform. The first of these, we find, was that he should wash his clothes. Next, he was to shave off all his hair, and after that he was to wash himself in water, in order, as the verse informs us, "that he may be clean." Naturally, the purpose of these ceremonies is plainly apparent. They were essentially necessary, so that every vestige of the plague which might lurk about his person, in his hair, or in his garments, should be purged out. This, in itself, might seem sufficient to account for the peculiar form of the language used ; but this is not so, since we find the same form of expression used at a later period in the case, when all these washings and shavings were ended.

 

The spiritual signification underlying these duties enjoined upon the leper are almost too plain to need any explanation. Indeed, it is in an almost exact parallel with the natural signification attending them. Hitherto we find that all has been done for him and to him. Now the things done are to be done by him. The sinner has been manifestly acknowledged as a child of God ; as one of those who comprise His family within the camp, by Christ being set forth before Him in His death, resurrection, and ascension, and by having the application of the blood of sprinkling upon his conscience, and being made a partaker of the Holy Spirit. He is thus rendered clean before God, and is divinely declared also to be clean. " Now ye are clean," saith Christ, " through the word which I have spoken unto you " (John xv. 3). But this cleansing is an internal one, or in other words it is the result accruing from the implantation of that principle of the divine nature in the sinner's heart, and which is an altered relationship between God and the sinner, wherein God accounts the sinner just and holy as viewed in Christ. But something more than this internal cleansing is necessary, there must be also an outward, visible conformity with it. And this is that which is signified by these various ceremonies which it was incumbent upon the leper now to perform. That which prefigured the Internal cleansing, the sinner's regeneration, and the manifested grounds of his adoption into the family of God, is done for and to the leper. That which prefigures the fruits and effects of this is done by the leper. He is to shave off his hair, to wash his garments, and to bathe his whole body in water that all the outward marks of his plague might be cleansed away. And such also is that which is enjoined upon the regenerated soul. Having been born again by the power of God, his life and conduct must now be as becometh the gospel. He is to loathe the garment spotted by the flesh, and his actions and outward appearance must in future be clean. We have this clearly set before us by the Apostle Paul in 2 Cor. vii. I: "Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God." So clearly does this text set forth the spiritual signification of those things enjoined upon the leper, that it is hard to think otherwise than that the Apostle had these very rites of the leper's cleansing in his mind when he wrote. His characters we find are those who were spiritually in the same position as is typified by the leper. They had been brought under the powerful hand of God, and had been made new creatures in Christ (v. 17), their sins having been forgiven them and they declared clean (v. 2I). But now, following the order of the leper's cleansing, and using in effect the very same terms, the apostle bids them to cleanse themselves from the remaining filthiness, perfecting holiness, or, as the word thus translated signifies, completing holiness; that is, making holiness manifestly complete by an outward carriage in agreement with the internal reality. This same truth is brought before us also in other parts of the New Testament. Peter speaks of this having been the conduct of those to whom he wrote (i Peter i. 22), and the Apostle John also in his first Epistle refers to it as being the very conduct which is displayed by those who have been manifested as the sons of God. " Every man," he declares, "that hath this hope purifieth himself, even as He is pure" (I Jno. iii. 3). By this ceremony of self-cleansing, then, being thus linked to the cleansing which had been effected by the priest, and made also one of the conditions upon which the leper's entrance into the camp depended, we see how essential it is that outward evidences should be given as to the reality of the change which has taken place. Though pronounced clean, and made clean by the blood of Christ, the believing soul is yet to be made clean. There are actions which in the past he has been accustomed to do, but which have now to be cut away as containing in them the remains of sin, or as being sinful. Continually is he engaged in this work of purifying himself, perfecting that holiness which God has implanted within him by a becoming walk, endeavouring to walk holily and unblameably before God in love. And unless these signs are seen, where is the evidence that the work of grace is commenced ? Evidences must be given ; they are essential, and thus it is that the washing and selfcleansing of the leper is so closely linked with his cleansing by the priest. Spiritually considered, we have here the two aspects of God's work of grace. In the cleansing by the priest we have it as manifested in the sinner's own experience. This is more or less of a secret nature. It is carried on and performed in the soul of a sinner, and is perchance unknown to those around. But even with these, though the work is real, fruits and effects must be seen; indeed, if the work is real they will be seen. These are the outward testimonies given to those around that the work is indeed real ; that the principle of grace implanted in the soul is working outward in the life, cleansing from all the remaining filthiness of the flesh and spirit, and purging away all the outward marks of the plague under whose dominion he has formerly been. Thus we are taught to look for fruits in the outward life. " By their fruits," said the Lord Jesus Christ, " ye shall know them ; " and this same Divine teaching is conveyed to us in this typical account of the leper's cleansing. By all those who from the leper's former position entered into the camp this cleansing was to be performed ; and so also in its spiritual counterpart, all those who enter into visible fellowship with the people of God ought to be expected to make manifest their Divine cleansing by their self-cleansing-turning from all the ways wherein they walked in time past, and forsaking all those habits in which they indulged. And if this is not done, then we have a perfect right to say from the teaching now before us in these typical lessons, from the teaching of Christ in the Gospels, and from the teaching of the Apostles in their various letters, that no real change has taken place, notwithstanding all the profession which may be made concerning it. " Let every one," saith the Apostle, " that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity." This is incumbent upon him as being the Divine teaching concerning the conduct of all those who make a profession of Christ's name. This is the self-cleansing which must of necessity flow forth from the Divine cleansing, and thus we now see the reason why all those things previously performed were done for and to the leper, but the washing of himself and the cleansing of his garments are done by him. Thus, also, we see the reason of the peculiar form of the phraseology, as witnessed in the pronouncing of him clean, and then the subsequent " He shall be wade clean." With the Divine cleansing there can be no perfecting. It is already perfect and complete. The saints by that are made holy as God is holy, and are looked upon by Him under that cleansing as " complete in Christ." But as regards themselves in their outward walk and conversation, there is still a necessity of being made clean, of cleansing themselves that they may be clean.

 

How wonderful, then, are the lessons contained in these much-neglected portions of Scripture ; and how, as we have remarked before, the children of Israel had presented before them the whole body of the Gospel in those rituals and ceremonies enjoined by God upon them ; and especially, as we now see, in those connected with the law of the leper's cleansing.

 

In our last chapter we noticed how strict were the laws which God had here laid down with regard to admission into the camp, but from these things we have now examined how much more strict do they appear to be ! There we saw how it was not sufficient from what others might regard as a change in the character of persons to allow them admission into fellowship with the people of God, unless they could also lay claim to the spiritual fulfilment of those typical rites which the priest was commanded to perform for and to the leper. Here, however, we have those outward signs set before us as being one of the evidences which must testify to the reality of the change. This however, it must be noted, is not the change or apparent change as seen by one or two, but it is, so to speak, the public change-a change in the whole character and being of the individual, not merely a washing of the dress, but one also of the body, and which is visible by each and all. A profession might be made (and how often is this the case!), a claim made as to having realized an application of the blood of Christ, and of having had manifested to the soul the grounds of its adoption into the family of God, but despite all this there is no washing of the garments, no shaving off of the hair, and no cleansing of the body. A claim to the experimental is made, but there is no practical joined with it, and thus the falsity of the claim to the experimental is made manifest.

 

0 how solemn ought this to be unto us, and how we may address the question to ourselves as to whether we make manifest the fruits and effects of that Divine cleansing which we have professed to have been made the subjects of; as to whether with our profession of the experimental we display the practical-walking worthy of the vocation wherewith we are called. By walking carelessly and indifferently, gratifying every desire of the flesh and mind, pursuing every flesh-pleasing course and pampering every worldly wish, shrinking back from the mortification of our members and the crucifying of the flesh with its affections and lusts, we are not only (if the children of God) lessening our own comfort, but we are casting reproach upon the name of Christ, and thus are giving very grave reason to suspect as to whether we are after all the real children of God. Lip profession is not sufficient, but there must be also the corresponding manifestation in the life and practice. To the things done to and for there must be joined the things done by-a working not for life, but from life ; and only as this is seen do we make manifest our real adoption into the family of God, and our regeneration by His Spirit. O for more grace, then, that if such is not our course of action, it may in future be so ; and if such is our course of action, it may be more so, that we may make it abundantly manifest to those around that we are yielding unfeigned obedience to the Gospel, and are seeking to walk in the way of its precepts and commandments.

 

CHAPTER. IX.

BEFORE THE PEOPLE OF GOD.

 

STRICT as may appear the various rites which led up to the leper's admission into the camp, and in consequence the strictness which is taught as necessary to be exercised in that which affords the spiritual counterpart, there was yet quite as strict a regulation, if not more so, which affected him after his entrance into the camp. After having washed his clothes and shaved off his hair, and attended to the various self-cleansings which devolved upon himself to perform, the leper was to come into the camp, but was to tarry abroad out of his tent seven days. The purpose of this undoubtedly was to give the people a full opportunity of seeing whether the leprosy had indeed been healed, or whether, despite the precautions which had been taken, a mistake had been made. Seven days we find was the period during which a person suspected of the plague was to be shut up, and the reason of this seems to have been because the plague, if present, made some show of its workings in that period. So also was it with the one now brought into the camp. If some mistake had been made after all, it would be discovered in these seven days during which the leper must stay out of his tent before the whole people, and before he entered upon the various functions of his civil and religious life which would bring him into direct contact with others.

 

Such, naturally considered, appears to have been the purpose intended in this law enjoining upon the leper a seven days stay without his tent. And now let us examine as to what can be the spiritual meaning of this regulation. Spiritual meaning it undoubtedly has, and from the parallel which exists, it must have reference to the position of those who have newly been brought into fellowship with the people of God. Carrying out the parallel, we are taught that these, notwithstanding the profession which they have made of spiritual experience, and notwithstanding the fact that they have washed themselves and their garments, or cleansed their walk and conduct before entering into fellowship, must still be under the surveillance of those in the camp. They are to be kept under the watchful eye of the people for a sufficient period to attest the reality of their regeneration, before being allowed to enter into the performance of public duties. Strict this may appear, but such it is intended to be, and when rightly examined how necessary we find it to be. As with the leper, a mistake may possibly have been made. The rites of the priest's cleansing while professed may not really have taken place. Solemn to say, an experience may be learned and appropriated without having been passed through, and a corresponding effect maintained in the life prior to entrance into church fellowship. How many, alas, there are in whom this has been proved to be the case. How many, alas, we fear there are at present existing among our churches. But in this regulation now before us, we have the rule which ought to be observed among churches, and especially is this necessary in the present day. Not only before having admitted into churchfellowship are they to look that signs of true conversion are given, but also after admission they are to watch no less closely, so that they may see if any signs are given of the pursuing of the former course of life, thus making manifest the falsity of their former claims. And in how many may this be seen. Every mark attending a genuine conversion may outwardly be seen. There is a profession of faith, and a purifying of the life made manifest for a time, but when admission into church-fellowship has been gained, there is a gradual returning to the old way. Carelessness and indifference begin to be shown. The spirituality (?) formerly displayed wanes away, and the signs of the plague are shown once more. In some cases this is seen, as we have said, almost immediately. Admission into church-fellowship seems to have been interpreted as admitting of a return to every former practice, and where this is the case it is evident that no work of grace has really taken place, and that such a character has been wrongly admitted. Here it is that church discipline is necessary, instead of that spiritual laxity which now appears to prevail so much among churches ; and where this discipline is exercised, strict though it may be, yet when done in a right spirit and from a sufficient cause, they are but fulfilling that which is set before us in the case of the leper tarrying without his tent in full view of the people for seven days, in order that the reality, or no, of his cure might fully be seen and dealt with according to the way in which it turned out.

 

After having passed through this period of his trial, the leper, we read, was on the seventh day to repeat those ceremonies and ablutions which marked his admission into the camp. His hair was again to be shaved off, his garments washed, and his flesh bathed. But in this second performance of this ceremony, it will be noticed that a greater strictness prevails; the instruction given is more minute. Previously he had been enjoined simply to shave off all his hair. Now the instruction is that " he shall shave all his hair off his head, and his beard, and his eyebrows, even all his hair he shall shave off." Naturally considered, the restored leper by these means made it publicly manifest that nothing of the plague now remained with him, but that both internally and externally it had been purged away; internally by the powerful work of God eradicating it from his blood and nature; externally by the various washings, shavings, and purifications which he had passed through.

 

And when we now come to the spiritual signification contained in this repetition of the self-cleansing, can we not see that the lesson intended for us is to show unto us that which will separate between the formal professor and the child of God ? With the formal professor, as we have said, admission into church-fellowship often means a return, in a great measure, to the former course of life. And even if no gross acts are indulged in, which would at once call for his banishment without the camp again, there is yet that careless, indifferent spirit which is no less sinful in the eyes of God. Earthly things are pursued with the greatest possible ardour, but heavenly things in the spirit of them are neglected. This must of necessity be the result, since the reality which has been professed has not existed ; since the plague has not been healed, and is therefore once again making its appearance. But with the real child of God, we see in the subject before us how much different is the case. Not simply prior to his admission into the camp is the purification of his life and conduct seen, but subsequent to that event also it is seen, and that in a more complete degree than formerly. Before, the more manifest actions of sin might have been cut away and cleansed, but now the re-growths of sin, though not present in great measure, are cut away. The actions of sin, at first, may be hated, but with the child of God, the very thought of sin also becomes hateful. The more he advances in the spiritual life, and the more he grows in grace, the greater care and zeal does he make manifest with regard to his actions before God. Though no presence of sin may outwardly be seen, yet he shaves, and washes, and cleanses himself in a more thorough and searching manner after his admission into the camp than before.

 

Here is the line of demarcation which most decisively separates between the professor and the possessor, the deceiver and the child of God ; and this is the lesson which we are intended to learn from that part of our subject now before us. And how solemn and searching is it when we come to apply the matter. Casting our eyes over the body of professing Christians, of those within the camp, how many are there in whom this washing and cleansing seems sadly deficient, who appear careless and in no way burdened with the solemnity of their standing, who can say what they like, and do what they like, causing the weak among God's children almost to stumble and fall, and yet they never see the wrong of their actions, nor appear to feel how much need there is of an oft-renewed cleansing of the heart and life, of the conduct and the conversation, purging themselves again and again from the filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. Progressive sanctification, rightly understood, is a reality among real Christians. Not that the child of God becomes so holy as to live without sin. Far from it, for the farther he progresses in the divine life, the more he feels his innate corruption, and that he is defiled from head to foot with sin. But the progressive sanctification which the true believer realizes is that the longer he lives, and lives in the fear of God, the more he is solemnly impressed with the great and the weighty truth that God hath set him apart for Himself, to live to His honour and His glory. This works in the believer a godly jealousy over his actions, over his words, and over his very thoughts, that he should not sin against God. There is a continual washing and cleansing, a continual putting off of the old man and his deeds, and a putting on of the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness, or holiness of truth, as distinguished from that false holiness which marks the mere professor. 0 that this may indeed be our experience! that we, although in the camp, may not cease to attend to that which is the distinguishing mark of the true believer, and which also is that whereunto he is exhorted by God Himself, who declares, " Be ye holy, for I am holy." Throughout the various epistles also this is set before us as the end of the Christian's calling, that he may walk before God uprightly and be holy and without blame before Him in love. May God then grant us grace so to walk and so to act, that we may indeed make it manifest that our cleansing by God has been real, proving our faith by our works; and not, while professing a living faith, showing no signs which makes our possessing it real and apparent.

 

CHAPTER X.
THE EIGHTH DAY.

 

HAVING passed through the ordeal of a seven days' stay without his tent in the full view of the people, and having attended to the second washing which had been enjoined upon him, the restored leper was on the eighth day to enter into the performance of various other sacrificial rites and offerings, all of which were intended for the same purpose as the things through which he had already passed, viz.: to make him clean. At the first glance there may appear to be nothing singular in the choice of this particular eighth day. It was, we see, that which marked the conclusion of his open-air stay, and the period appointed by God wherein the truth and reality of his cure might be made fully manifest, and consequently no other meaning may be thought to underlie this choice than that which is contained in this. The eighth day, however, is very often mentioned in the account of the Levitical ordinances and ceremonies, and from the position in which it repeatedly occurs one is led to believe that some deep spiritual truth is foreshadowed in it.

 

The first mention made of the eighth day is in Genesis xviii. 12, where God commands that the rite of circumcision is to be performed when the child is eight days old (cf. Gen. xxi, 4). Then again we find that when God appointed Aaron and his sons to the priests' office, the ceremony of consecration lasted for seven days, during which Moses performed all the ceremonies appointed, while they waited at the door of the tabernacle. On the eighth day, however, they were allowed to enter upon their ministry, to offer the various sacrifices which God had appointed, and to appear themselves before God (Lev. ix. I). The same peculiar feature with regard to the eighth day appears also in the enjoinment of those offerings and sacrifices which were allowed to be presented to God. In Leviticus xxii. 27 we read, " When a bullock, or a sheep, or a goat is brought forth, then it shall be seven days under the dam, and from the eighth day and thenceforth it shall be accepted for an offering." The same law prevailed with the first-born, which were to be, in the case of all clean animals, presented to God. This we find could only be done on the eighth day. " Seven days it shall be with his dam ; on the eighth day thou shalt give it Me" (Exodus xxii. 30).

 

Now what can this repetition and peculiar position of the eighth day signify ? That it has a significant meaning is beyond doubt, since its presence is only found in those things which have a deep import in them, and which, moreover, are very closely connected with each other. For instance, by circumcision the child entered into, or was made a partaker of, that covenant relationship with God, for the purpose of demonstrating which God had instituted the rite. The sacrifice of the first-born also set forth God's right of ownership, and His real possession of those things which the people of Israel had. In other words, they taught the full resignation and consecration of everything to God. The eighth-day entering upon office, also, was the constituting of a new phase of life-the entering into a new sphere of existence. Hitherto Aaron and his sons had been in no ways separated from the rest of the people, except perhaps by way of anticipation, but after the seven days consecration they on the eighth entered into a life of entire devotedness to the service of God, and had, as we have said, stepped into a new phase of life or a new sphere of existence. With the leper also we find the same to be the case. His seven days in the camp are connected with the period spent out of the camp ; connected, because in these seven days the full proof alone is given of his real cure. On the eighth day, however, his cure has been fully made manifest, and he is brought as it were to another sphere of life, another phase of existence, wherein the old order has passed away and a new order prevails. A close examination also will reveal much similarity between the ceremony of the priest's consecration and that of the leper's cleansing. Like the latter, the priest was passive over a large share of the ceremonies performed, with the exception of the washings and cleansings ; and it was only on the eighth day that he was permitted to take anything and enter into the presence of God. In the offerings, also, the same truth appears to underlie that restriction which only permitted the lambs, bullocks, or goats to be offered on and after the eighth day. Up to this period they were dependent in a peculiar manner upon the dam ; their life, so to speak, was not entirely separated from the mother. On the eighth day, however, they were separate-their life was their own ; they were creatures apart, and so on this day they were permitted to be offered in sacrifice.

 

From all this, then, we learn that this eighth day points either to an actual birth, or a typical one, and to a new phase of existence ; wherein in one the animal is sacrificed to God, and in the other the person is dedicated to God, or brought into a special relationship with Him. Looking at it now from a spiritual standpoint, analogous to the position it occupies in the case of the leper, do we not find that the same truth of a new birth is spoken of ? The eighth day with the leper was his birth into the full privileges of the camp. While without the camp he had been regarded as dead, but now he was alive again. And so also is it with the believer. He is born again into a newness of life. Old things are passed away, and all things become new. He is now brought into the manifestation of a covenant relationship with God, and is also now permitted to enter upon the solemn service of the sanctuary. In a word, we have here the resurrection-life by which every believer is made to live again. If we look in the New Testament at Christ's resurrection we shall see that this is indeed the case, and shall notice also how all those eighth-day ordinances spoke of this. For instance, the firstfruits, as we find recorded by Paul, spake of Christ rising from the dead, the firstfruits of them that slept. His day of resurrection also was the very one upon which the firstfruits were to be offered, and this, although spoken of as the first, was no less the eighth day. On this day also Christ entered in a peculiar manner into new relationship to the Father. Though the eternal Son, yet we read (as referring to His resurrection), " Thou art My Son, this day have I begotten Thee" (Acts xiii. 33). By this also He entered upon the service of the sanctuary, having passed through the rent veil of His flesh into the holy of holies, even heaven, there to appear in the presence of God for us.

 

Thus we see how deeply significant is this eighth day, and how glorious is the truth which it figures out before us. Having passed through what is signified by the seven days' ordeal, and the work of God being made manifest as real, the believer is shown to be a new creature in Christ Jesus, to have been made a recipient of His resurrection life, to have died to sin, and to have been raised again into a newness of life.

 

How clearly then have we in these typical things pertaining to the Levitical law the whole Gospel shadowed forth before us in all its fulness and completeness ; and how forcibly (as we have before remarked) was there made to appear before the Jewish consciousness those things of which their whole dispensation was but a preparation and a foreshadowing. Not only is sin set before us, and that in all its awfulness and malignity ; not only is the work of Christ seen as the grounds of a sinner's acceptance and admission into God's favour, but there is also plainly spoken of, though in shadow, the truth of the new birth and of a resurrection life in which the once dead sinner is now made to live and to appear before God, even as the leper upon this eighth day. How wondrous then are the Scriptures of truth, and what depths are contained in them ! And how necessary also it is that we should seek from God fresh light in order that we may learn those wondrous things which are written in His law. Here it is that Christ is shadowed forth. Here it is that His work is spoken of, and the whole truths of the Gospel arrayed before us in types and shadows. Here it was that Christ directed His disciples when on the way to Emmaus, when they were filled with grief and sorrow at what they regarded as the disastrous things which had come upon them. "Beginning at Moses," we read, " He expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself." There in type and shadow, in sacrifice and offering, in ritual and ceremony, His whole work was contained, and when their eyes had been opened how glorious would all these things appear. To them they had been before unknown, but to us they are known. We are acquainted with the fact that these great truths are contained in these portions. And yet how careless and indifferent we are with regard to them. How often we slight these chapters as being of no interest unto us, and as containing nothing of profit. Brethren, these things ought not so to be. In these places also, as we have seen, Christ and the precious truths of the Gospel are contained. Let us then seek more earnestly and diligently to understand those things which are written, and may God grant unto us a felt experience of what is contained in the leper's eighth-day appearing before the Lord. May we also in its spiritual signification thus appear before the Lord, not only making it outwardly manifest, but inwardly proving also that we are " born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever " (i Peter i. 23).

 

CHAPTER XI.

BEFORE THE LORD.

 

BEFORE we enter however into the consideration of those ceremonies which had now to be performed, let us look at the position into which the leper was brought. In the tenth verse we read, that on the eighth day he was to take two he-lambs without blemish, and one ewe lamb of the first year without blemish, and three tenth deals of fine flour for a meat offering, mingled with oil, and one log of oil. And the priest that maketh him clean, we read in the following verse, shall present the man that is to be made clean and those things before the Lord at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.

 

The frequent repetition of these words, '1 before the Lord," in the account of the Levitical institutions, at once points out some deep meaning being contained in them. Time and time again we read of the offerings and presentations being made " before the Lord," and in such a way is this impressed upon us that we at once feel ourselves to be in the presence of a very solemn truth. This appearing then before the Lord took place, we read, at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, or rather, the tent of the congregation. This, we find, was the place which God had fixed as that wherein He would dwell, and wherein His presence should be made manifest. Thus the position of the leper was that of one now brought into the holy, aweinspiring presence of Jehovah. How solemn indeed would he feel it to be. Hitherto he had stood before the priest while the blood and water had been sprinkled upon him, but now he stands in the very presence of God Himself.

 

And is it not so also with the sinner born again of God ? After lie has been sprinkled with the blood of atonement and the water of regeneration, he too is brought to stand before the Lord, brought by the great High Priest and presented there. And 0, how solemn does he feel his position to be! There at the door of God's dwelling he stands, feeling that His piercing eyes are bent upon him. Everything he feels to be naked and open before Him, and it is to his wonder and amazement that he stands unconsumed. Our God, we read, is a consuming fire, and in the case of Nadab and Abihu, we see how awful it is to stand before the Lord in a wrong manner. They came, came in the way which God had appointed, but, with one exception, they brought false fire in their censers. The fire which God had commanded them to bring was that which had been miraculously kindled upon the altar, that whereby the sacrifices were consumed, and which thus spake of the pouring out of the consuming fire of God's wrath upon His Son, in order that the sinner might be pardoned. In the bringing of this false fire, therefore, these great essential truths were in a figure rejected, and thus we read that fire went out from the Lord and devoured them, and they " died before the Lord " (Ex. X. 2). In the same place where in the leper now stands, there they had died-died under the wrath of God for having dared to approach Him in a way contrary to that which He had laid down.

 

In the leper's appearing before the Lord, however, we find that it is in the way which God has commanded; that he comes not himself, but that he is brought, brought with certain things in his hands, and brought also by the priest. How beautifully figurative is this of the regenerated sinner's appearing before the Lord. He too comes not of His own accord, but is brought even by the great High Priest of our profession, the Lord Jesus Christ, and presented before the Father. And as he is thus brought he stands in double security. He is secured by the blood of sprinkling, and he is secured also by the presence of Christ, who has thus taken him in His charge. And only as we thus stand in the presence of God, only as we are thus brought before the Lord, are we safe. In no other way can we be " accefted before the Loyd " (Ex. xxviii. 38), but must perish like Nadab and Abihu, perish in the very position which, while solemn, is such a blessed one to those who come into it aright. Nor did the leper come into this position empty-handed. Certain things were enjoined upon him which he had to bring for sacrifices and offerings, which were to be made while he stood in this position. The spiritual signification of this, most blessedly true in the experience of every child of God, we will examine separately ; but let it now be noticed that the same peculiar phraseology we have before noticed is again brought before us in these verses, and that the leper, while pronounced clean in the seventh verse, and told that the result of his washings and shavings is that he shall be clean, yet he here comes before us as one that is to be made clean. Even while he stands " before the Lord " it is in the position of one that is to be cleansed. There is still that present which makes him in himself unclean, and yet for all this he stands unhurt and unharmed, and not only so, but also accepted "before the Loyd."

 

 

The deep meaning of this we will also leave for the present, since our examination of those ceremonies which now come before us will render it almost, if not entirely, self explanatory. And now let us ask ourselves the question as to what we know of being brought to stand before the Lord, and how we are thus brought. Many there are who, like the offending sons of Aaron, appear before Him with false fire ; who may offer prayer and praise in the name of Christ, but do not come in the faith that Christ was the wrath-bearer, and therefore the only way of acceptance before the Lord. They bring something of their own, something which shall be for a sacrifice whereby God shall accept them. But alas ! we can never be accepted by God in this way. This is coming in our own person, and not being brought. And only as we are brought is it that we can appear truly before the Lord. Only as the Lord Jesus brings us and presents us before the Father can we stand before Him, for then

 

'Tis He, instead of we, is seen

When we approach to God."

 

But even when we thus appear, do we come empty-handed? There are two expressions often heard in public prayer, and though three little words only distinguish them from each other, there is a vast difference in the meaning implied. One is the expression, " We have nothing to bring before Thee." The other is, " We have nothing of our own to bring before Thee." How little the difference is verbally, but how vast is it really. If we have nothing to bring before God, how are we to stand before Him ? Empty-handed we cannot come. The leper had something to bring, and all those who were brought into the leper's position had something to bring also. If we come empty-handed, God cannot accept of us, but we must perish from before Him, and be cast out of His presence. But how much different is the expression, " We have nothing of our own to bring." Nothing of our own. Had we, our position would be no less terrible than to come empty-handed. It was for having something of their own that Nadab and Abihu were consumed by God, and it is for having something of their own that thousands will feel the fire of God's wrath consuming them. Nothing of our own. The words imply a feeling of something being necessary to bring before God, and of that something being altogether outside of and apart from ourselves, and yet it being something which God shall accept on our behalf. We feel as the leper was taught, that although pronounced clean, we have yet need to be cleansed, and that in appearing before God we must have something without blemish to bring before Him. Blessed are we if we know this, and if with the leper we are taught to bring those offerings which God has enjoined. These we shall now attempt to consider, and may the Lord grant unto us His light, that we may be enabled to understand those blessed truths which are contained in them, and that we may thereby learn if we have spiritually been brought before the Lord in the same way, neither empty-handed, nor yet with something of our own in our hands, but rather with those things which God has enjoined, and by which alone we can hope to approach unto God aright, and to be accepted before Him.

 

CHAPTER XII.

THE TRESPASS-OFFERING.

 

THE things which the leper was commanded to bring with him in his eighth-day appearance before the Lord, when, as we have noticed, he entered upon a new phase of existence, which, spiritually considered, set forth the new life which a believer enters upon after having been regenerated, were "two he-lambs without blemish, and one ewe-lamb of the first year without blemish, and three tenth deals of fine flour for a meat-offering mingled with oil, and one log of oil."

 

Four offerings are here set forth in this verse and the subsequent account, viz., the trespass-offering, the sin-offering, the burnt-offering, and the meat ; or, to alter the obsolete phraseology of our translators, the meal-offering. That all these offerings pointed to, and shadowed forth, Christ, is plainly evident when we compare Psalm xl. 6, 7, with Hebrews x. 5. There in Hebrews we find the words in the Psalm are interpreted as being uttered prophetically by Christ, and when we turn to the Psalm we find that all the four offerings which here come before us in the account of the leper are made use of by Christ as being prefigurative of His coming to do that which they only typified. "Sacrifice and offering" (meat-offering) He declares to God, " Thou didst not desire ; burnt-offering and sin-offering hast Thou not required. Then said I, Lo, I come." The great Antitype, we thus see, was to take the place of all these, and therefore we are taught that all these pointed in some way or another to one and the same thing. In what way, however, this pointing out took place, and why it is that four separate and distinct sacrifices were necessary for it, it will now be our duty to examine. We may often hear it acknowledged and asserted that the offerings and sacrifices of the Levitical law pointed to Christ, but what it is they really point to in Christ, or why it is that so many different and varied offerings were commanded, few seem to know. That, while pointing to one object, they did not all speak of one aspect of the truth is clear from the different forms of ritual which were enjoined to be observed with them. Each had different lessons to teach, different aspects of the truth to present, the combined result of which only should suffice to fully prefigure that of which they were each and all partial types. What these aspects were then, we have now to enquire, and what lesson also they were meant to convey unto us from the position which these offerings held in the ritual of the leper's cleansing.

 

It will be noticeable in the first place how much different is the account of the bringing of these offerings to that which had been effected while the leper was yet without the camp. There we find the birds were to be taken for the leper ; here we find that the things required are to be taken by the leper. How strikingly is the difference in his position made manifest, and how fully does it set forth the truth of a new birth, which makes a no less striking difference in the position of the sinner before God. This difference, moreover, teaches us also to recognise the two different stages of experience to which these things refer-the one to that wherein the grounds of his acceptance before God are first revealed to the sinner, the other to that subsequent period when he is brought to stand before the Lord, even before the presence of the great and heart-searching God. Then it is that the sinner knows something of bringing his offerings, and of taking for himself those things which God has commanded.

 

The leper having brought his offerings, and been presented with them before the Lord, the priest, we read, was to take one of the he lambs and offer it for a trespass-offering. This offering was very similar in character to that which was to follow it, viz., the sin-offering. What difference really lay between them it is almost impossible to say, but it is supposed that, while the sin-offering made an atonement for the whole person, the trespass-offering only atoned for a special offence. Another explanation of the difference between them, drawn from the Hebrew term describing them, is that the trespass-, or, as it is better translated, the guilt-offering, was to cleanse the conscience of the guilt accruing from the sin, while the sin-offering was to make an atonement for the sin itself. But while some such distinction existed between these offerings, and the former of those advanced may be taken as a near approach to the truth, it is as well to say that the Scriptures, while separating the sacrifices themselves, give no clear grounds for distinguishing the difference between them. This lamb, therefore, for a trespass-offering, the priest was now to take, and with it the log of oil, and wave them for a wave-offering before the Lord. This ceremony of waving, which is only found connected with the trespass-offering in this place, would appear to signify the passing of the sacrifice to and fro before the eyes of the Lord in order that He might, so to speak, scrutinize every part, and thus see if it fulfilled the condition required of it, viz., to be without blemish. The spiritual interpretation, with the meaning of the oil, we will examine later. This having been done, the priest was now to slay the lamb, and this, we find, was to take place in the same spot where the sin-offerings and the burnt-offerings were slain. This, we discover from Lev. i. i i, was to be "on the side of the altar northward before the Lord." Having killed the lamb, the priest was now to take some of the blood and put it upon the tip of the right ear of him that is to be cleansed, and upon the thumb of his right hand, and upon the great toe of his right foot. And the priest shall take some of the log of oil and pour it into the palm of his own left hand. And the priest shall dip his right finger in the oil that is in his left hand, and shall sprinkle of the oil with his finger before the Lord. And of the rest of the oil that is in his hand shall the priest put upon the tip of the right ear of him that is to be cleansed, and upon the thumb of his right hand, and upon the great toe of his right foot, upon the blood of the trespass-offering.

And the remnant of the oil that is in the priest's hand he shall pour upon the head of him that is to be cleansed, and the priest shall make an atonement for him before the Lord." Such was the ritual to be observed in connection with the trespass-offering of the leper, with the following additions, which are not found in this account, but are gathered from the laws ruling the same offering in other places-the blood of the lamb was to be sprinkled upon the altar, and all the fat covering the inwards was to be burnt.

 

And now let us look at the spiritual lesson which this sacrifice is intended to teach us. The offering itself, as we have seen, represents Christ, and the fact of it having been commanded to be without blemish points out to us the spotless purity of Christ. As an offering to God this was necessary. Had the slightest spot of sin passed upon Him He could not have been acceptable unto God. But, as we read in the epistles, He was holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners, or, as Peter says, connecting type with antitype, He was "a lamb without spot or blemish." By the fact of this sacrifice being necessary for the trespass-offering, do we not see that our single offences, our omissions, and those transgressions of the right which scarcely seem so heinous as to call for this (see chap. Vi. 2, 3), and which are looked upon by many as not being sinful, are not only so, but can only be cleansed away, atoned for, or covered over by Christ becoming the expiatory offering. But a still greater and deeper truth than this is shadowed forth when we come to examine the place where the sacrifice was slain. But before we do this let us look at the waving which took place, and what it spiritually represented. The object of this, as we have said, seems to have been to cause the offering to pass before the searching gaze of God. Its appropriateness and suitability for that for which it was intended was to be seen by God. And does not this show unto us the glorious acceptability of the Lord Jesus ? All through His life upon earth He was being waved to and fro under the piercing gaze of the Father, and just before the time of His offering, when He was upon the mount of transfiguration before the Lord, the divine acceptance was declared in the words, ' This is My beloved Son, hear Him." Thus He was accepted to be the offering which should make atonement. If this waving, however, took place after the lamb was slain, we have a somewhat different aspect of divine truth set before us, and this we will look at after having considered the place where the sacrifice was to be slain. This, as we have above noticed, was on the north side of the altar before the Lord. Many different opinions have been expressed as to what the north side of the altar can signify. Some have imagined it to be chosen because it pointed to the region of gloom and darkness, while others have said it was chosen because the Jews imagined God to dwell in the north. This latter opinion may be dismissed as puerile and fanciful, and altogether wrong, as we have here not what the Jews imagined but what God intended to set forth. The former opinion, while touching in a measure what we think is the true explanation, does not clearly set it forth. To understand, then, what is meant by the north side, we must take into consideration the Jewish method of determining the four cardinal points. This was done by standing with the face to the east. In this position the north would be on the left hand, and when we turn to the Scriptures to see what is connected with the left hand, we find what is the meaning of this slaying on the north side of the altar, which would, from the peculiar position in which the tabernacle was pitched with the entrance towards the east, be on the left hand of the divine symbol of God's presence in the holy of holies. While, then, in the Scriptures the right hand is the place of honour and acceptance, the left hand is the place of disgrace, humiliation, rejection and curse. This we see in the parable which Christ spake when upon earth with reference to the last judgment. The right hand is the place of the saints, " Come, ye blessed of My Father." The left hand is the place of rejection and curse, " Depart, ye cursed." The north side of the altar, then, "before the Lord," was symbolically on God's left hand, and was, therefore, the place of the curse. And in the lamb being slain there, we see our Lord Jesus, in accordance with the Apostle's declaration, " made a curse for us." Thus we are taught that even for those single offences which we commit there can be no expiation, no forgiveness, and no acceptance before the Lord only by Christ having been made a curse, and here we learn also, which we shall treat of later, that even for these offences the child of God must bring his offering before God, presenting before Him, through Christ Himself, as the great High Priest, the sacrifice of Christ as a curse for his sins.

 

If, now, the lamb was waved after having been slain, we have most beautifully set before us Christ not only made a curse, even for the most minute offences of the believer, but Christ as the curse being presented to the Father in the room and stead of the sinner. His being made a curse in itself was a general truth, but His being brought and waved before the Lord in the same spot and place as that wherein the leper stood, combined with that application of the blood which also took place, brought down that general truth to a particular case. Christ the curse was now the leper's offering. It was his sin for which Christ had been made a curse, and for that sin he offered Him to God, even for the least sins of his life, for his shortcomings, and for his failings in particular things. Many persons trust that Christ will save them from the wrath of sin, and pardon their great sins, but they appear to think God will forgive their small transgressions for their own sake, or because of His great mercy, without any reference to Christ. But as we see here, even the trespass-offering was to be Christ the curse. Without this, even for those offences which on earth are deemed small, there could be no remission, no atonement, and this we see the leper was taught by his trespass-offering being the first which was offered.

 

By the offering of the inward fat upon the altar, and the burning of the same, it would appear we have another sweet truth with regard to the acceptability of the Lord Jesus. In other places where we read of this burning of the inward fat we read that it is for a sweet savour unto the Lord. The inward fat, being that which proved the healthiness and inward vigour of the animals, would speak unto us of the complete inward devotedness of Christ unto His work, and to the carrying out of God's will. He was a sacrifice from His very birth, His whole life, and thoughts, and affections being sacrificed unto God, that He might perform that which He had laid upon Him. Thus, spiritually considered, we see how it is not only Christ being made a curse for us, but also Christ's obedience and complete devotedness to the will of God, which can alone suffice to make atonement. By the one sin is forgiven, guilt is suffered under and put away, and by the other righteousness is conveyed and placed upon the guilty sinner.

 

By the sprinkling of the blood upon the altar the great truth seems to be implied that being made a curse called for the death of the victim. The blood was the life, and thus we see Christ not only in His life of obedience, not only as being made a curse, but, as was the essential outcome of this, in order that sin might be for ever put away to rise up no more against His people, we see Him bowing His head in death, and going down into the pit. He poured out His soul unto death. (Isa. liii. 12.) He died the just for the unjust. Death was necessary and essential, or else the curse could not have been completely removed. And as the blood was sprinkled upon the altar, there was the presentation of the death of Christ before the Lord as a substitute for that of the sinner.

 

Closely connected with this was the application of the blood to the person of the leper himself. In three places, we read, the priest was to do this-on the tip of the right ear, on the thumb of the right hand, and on the great toe of the right foot. It had only been by application that the grounds of his admission had been revealed, and now it is only by application that the ceremony which has taken place is fully made manifest as securing his pardon by God. Deep meaning is expressed by these three places whereon the blood was applied. By the ear, the organ of hearing, being touched, it was intended to show that this, the channel whereby all manner of sin and iniquity enters into the mind and stirs up sin in the soul, was now cleansed from its guilt. By the thumb being touched, the hand, the instrument of our actions, was shown to be purified from its uncleanness ; and by the great toe of the right foot being touched also, we are meant to learn that that member is now purged from all the guilt of walking in crooked ways. Thus the whole man, his thoughts, his actions, and his walk, are shown to have partaken in the atonement which has been effected.

 

 

We have now to examine the spiritual signification of the oil. This was brought by the leper with his offerings, and this also was waved before the Lord. By the oil we are undoubtedly meant to understand the Holy Spirit. This, in its operation, is spoken of as anointing, a term which at once connects it with the oil used in the subject before us. Having carried out the rest of the ceremony, the priest was now to take some of the oil in his right hand and sprinkle it with his finger seven times before the Lord. And here it is that we must now turn to the experimental position which this whole ceremony bears in the life of a believer after he has been regenerated by the power of God, and has entered upon his new life in Christ Jesus. Immediately this has taken place, the child of God, whereas before he has been passive in the work of regeneration, and the manifestation of the grounds of his adoption into the family of God, is now an active agent, and has himself to bring before God that which is typified by these offerings which the leper has brought. While approaching to God he is brought before God. There he stands sheltered by the person of Christ, his great High Priest. The offerings also which he brings is Christ, and it is also Christ who presents these offerings before the Father, and seals home upon the believer's soul his interest in them by the application of the blood of sprinkling to him. Here, as we have seen before, there is a deep complexity in order to figure out the whole spiritual truth, but when thoroughly grasped we see how beautiful and fitting it is. Before, when the ceremony making manifest the grounds of admission was performed, Christ did not stand out so close to the sinner as now. Everything was done for and to the sinner by the command of the priest, or Christ, thus setting forth that which is the first part of a sinner's experience in his regeneration. He realises the death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ as being the grounds of his admission, but it is only later that he comes into the experience of being brought before the Lord in the Person of Christ ; of presenting before the Lord, through Christ, his offering of the life and death of Christ on his behalf, and of experiencing a full realisation of a full interest in these, and of that which they effected, being on his behalf. In this Christ is the Priest, Christ is the Offerer, and Christ is also the sacrifice. The position of the sinner is only that of the bringer. He brings the offering, but Christ presents it, thus bringing before God that which He Himself has done for the sinner to blot out every sin.

 

And now with regard to the oil. This, we have seen, typifies the Holy Spirit, and by the leper, or the sinner, being represented as bringing it we are to understand that his offerings are brought through the Holy Spirit. How beautifully does this set forth that which is the truth in the case of every truly regenerate soul. His offerings, brought when pleading for the pardon of sin, are by the Holy Spirit, and through His operations. By the priest sprinkling this seven times before the Lord we see Christ making manifest before the Father the real position of the one approaching, that he is a son, coming before Him through the power and indwelling of the Holy Spirit. If we read Ex. xxx. 22, 23, we shall find how strict were the laws which God laid down with regard to the holy anointing oil which was to be made, and which was figurative of the Spirit. Any person making any like unto it, or using it for an improper purpose, was to be put to death. Though not the same in this instance now before us, the type is the same. The oil represents the Spirit, and it is to make this, so to speak, fully manifest before the Father, and to show the reality of the sinner's approach, that the oil is sprinkled before the Lord. In the application of it to those places which had already been touched with blood, we have another blessed truth made apparent. The application of the blood had purged away the sins belonging to those parts thus touched; the application of the oil, or the Holy Spirit, sanctified them and set them apart for a new use. The ear was now to be engaged in listening to the voice of Christ, "My sheep hear My voice." The hand was now tobe engaged in the Master's service, in doing those things which God commanded ; while the foot was now to walk only in the ways of God, to tread in the steps of Christ, and to run in the ways of God's commandments. Redemption and sanctification are ever linked together. Time and time again in the Scriptures we find them connected. The Christian is not redeemed to occupy a middle position, but he is redeemed to hear God's words and obey them in his actions, and to walk before God in all the ways of the gospel.

 

Such is the lesson contained for us in this account of the trespass-offering. The very least misdemeanor of our life calls for the same redemption as the whole life of sin, and it is only as Christ is seen and offered as the one who bore the curse for these offences that atonement is sealed. Every single transgression, as much as the whole life of sin, demanded that Christ should be made a curse, that He should be holy and obedient both in life and unto death, else no redemption could ever have been effected. Thus we see how contrary to gospel teaching is that spirit which would make differences in sin. Insofar as the outward consequence is regarded, differences truly exist, but when we come and look upon them in the light of Christ's sufferings, then we see that there is no difference, but that the sin of omission, or ignorant commission, as much demanded Christ being made a curse for us to free us from God's wrath as what the most willful transgression did.

 

Have we indeed learned this truth ? Do we realize that every sin demands our bringing of Christ as an offering to God, in order that we may stand before the Lord ? No standing truly can we have unless this is done ; unless on all occasions whenever guilt disturbs our peace we come before God bringing the appointed sacrifice, and pleading for atonement for the sake of Christ, who bore our sins in His own body, and was made a curse for us. 0 that we might realise more of this, being led more of the Spirit and brought before the Lord; and, as we bring our offering, being made to feel that it is being presented by Christ Himself, who, pleading what He has done, and done for us, grants unto us the felt application of the blood of atonement, and bestows upon us the gift of His Spirit, not only sanctifying our ear, our hands, and our feet, but, as was the case with the leper and the oil, pouring out upon us of the gift of the Spirit in bountiful measure upon our heads, sanctifying us wholly unto Himself.

 

CHAPTER XIII.

THE SIN-OFFERING.

 

THE abundance of the spiritual truths underlying these typical ceremonies connected with the leper's cleansing, together with the deep and puzzling complexity of those rites themselves, made so in order to represent the truth in its fulness, make the interpretation and application of these ceremonies a very hard task, and one requiring much careful handling. The fact also that it is not only spiritual, but experimental truth which thus comes before us, increases this difficulty, and makes the matter of really understanding what can be said upon the subject of a very doubtful nature. This we felt in our examination of the trespassoffering, filled as it was with so many complications, all of which, while necessary to set forth spiritual and experimental truth, yet serve to render any clear interpretation very difficult. In the offering which now comes before us, though complex enough, there is not that redundance of figures which marked the previous offering. The reference to the sin-offering in the account is very brief, and it is therefore from the rules concerning it which are given in other places that we shall now have to draw the ceremony attending it, and the spiritual signification which underlies it. In the account here it simply says, " And the priest shall offer the sin-offering and make an atonement for him that is to be cleansed from his uncleanness."

The sin-offering, as we have previously said, was separate from the trespass, or guilt-offering, in that while the latter made atonement for some special offence, the former made atonement for the person. From this standpoint, therefore, it could be regarded as more of an offering for atonement than the other, since one, so to speak, only covered the offence, while the other covered the entire person of the offerer, thus shielding him from the full punishment due to his whole sin. The ceremonies of offering were, in general, the same. Some few differences however did exist, and it is these, with what they teach us, that we wish to examine at present.

 

The chief difference which lay between the trespass offering and the sin-offering was with regard to the position and action of the offerer. Having brought the offering he was required, before it was slain, to place his hand upon the head of the intended victim, after which it was to be slain on the north side of the altar as with the trespass-offering. Another difference lay in the disposing of the blood. This, as we have seen, in the trespass-offering was simply sprinkled upon the altar. In the sin-offering, however, the blood was first to be put upon the horns of the altar of burnt-offering, and the remainder poured out at the foot of that altar. Other differences existed at times, but these were dependent upon what and whom the sin-offering was for, and it would be deeply instructive could we enter into the spiritual truths which these variations upon different occasions were meant to convey. This, however, our present subject will not allow us to do, and so we shall have to content ourselves with only noticing those differences which existed in the law of the leper's cleansing.

 

The first of these, as we have said, is found in the offerer laying his hands upon the head of the victim. The Hebrew word in this place has the signification of leaning hard, or to press heavily, upon the victim, and by this ceremony was meant to be conveyed the typical truth that the sins of the offerer were thus transferred to the lamb, and that the lamb stood now in the same place with regard to the sin as the offerer had formerly stood. It is of no doubtful signification that the word " offering " is never found in the Hebrew with regard to the various sacrifices. We read simply of " the bullock, the sin," and " the lamb, the sin," thus testifying that the offering had had transferred upon it all the sins of the offerer, and was thus typically made sin. And how clearly does this speak unto us of Christ, who, as the Apostle declares, " was made sin for us." The expression is much stronger than that so often heard that God imputed unto Him our sin. It means not only that, but it also means that God made Him the receptacle, the very embodiment, of the sins of His people, in order that by His sufferings His wrath might be completely turned away. And in the laying of the hand of the offerer upon the head of the victim, how beautifully do we see the experience of the believer when he brings Christ as his sin before the Father. Watts most sweetly describes it in his well-known hymn

 

" My faith would lay her hand

On that dear head of Thine,

While like a penitent I stand

And there confess my sin."

 

There upon the head of Christ sins are confessed and transferred. There is a passing over of them from one to another. A substitute is found who is to suffer for them, and be the means of atonement. In the trespass-offering this was not seen. The victim died, but there had been no laying on of the hands upon its head, and there we saw Christ made a curse and a sacrifice even for the unconscious sins of His people, for those things which they had inadvertently and unknowingly committed. Even from these there can be no deliverance save by the atonement of Christ, and this was impressed most forcibly upon us in that it was the blood of this offering which was to be applied. Now, however, we have another part of the great truth of redemption. There it was atonement for the offence ; here it is atonement for the person. The knowledge of sin is present, and the offerer feels the need of a substitute if he is to escape the punishment due unto him. How expressive is this of the believer bringing Christ before the Father as his substitute, and confessing upon His head all his sins and transgressions, that the wrath of God might pass from him on to the victim. And the result following this laying on of the hands was death, death on the north side of the altar, the place of the curse. Here the believer sees that it is his sins which put Christ to death. Accepted by God as a substitute whereon His wrath against sin might be poured, Christ is seen suffering death and the curse on the behalf of the guilty sinner.

 

How full, as we have had occasion to remark again and again, are these types, and how clearly do they teach us the work of Christ, not in one aspect only, but in every aspect necessary for the full representation of the Gospel, both in its relations to God, and in its relations to man.

 

With reference to the placing of the blood upon the horns of the altar of burnt-offering, it seems impossible to arrive at any clear interpretation. A deeper lesson undoubtedly lay in it than what was intended by the sprinkling of the blood, but what that lesson was is very hard to determine, as is also that contained in the pouring out of the rest of the blood at the foot of the altar. There is, however, it would seem certain, some reference here made to that great and solemn truth, that " without shedding of blood is no remission." " He poured out," we read in Isa. liii. 12, " His soul unto death ; " and in the 22nd Psalm, where we have undoubtedly the atoning sacrifice of Christ before us, we read, " I am poured out like water " (verse 14). The Lord Jesus also in His institution of the Supper on the night of His betrayal made an allusion to this. " He took the cup," we read (Matt. xxvi. 27, 28), "and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it, for this is My blood of the new testament, which is shed (literally, toured out) for you." Thus it would seem, as we have said, to refer to that sublime truth, without the shedding of blood there can be no remission. It was the blood of Christ which made expiation for sin, and redeemed His Church and people from the curse and the wrath of God.

As with the trespass-offering so also was it with the sinoffering with regard to the fat, which was to he burned as a sacrifice of a sweet-smelling savour to God. The meaning of this, however, we have examined, and therefore it only remains for us now to look at one feature which was present both in the trespass-offering and the sin-offering, with regard to the disposing of the body of the victim. This we have left to the present because of the peculiar variations which are found in connection with it, according as the offering was for one of the priests, or for one of the common people. In the former case, the blood was to be taken into the holy place and sprinkled seven times before the Lord, while the carcase of the victim was to be taken and burned without the camp. In the latter case, which was similar with the case of the leper before us, the blood, as we have seen, was not thus disposed of, nor yet was the body; which in this case, with the exception of those parts which were burned, went into the possession of the priest, and was eaten by him. This variation, strange though it may seem on the surface, yet, we think, points out the distinction between the sacrifice of Christ as an offering to the Father, and the sacrifice of Christ as brought by the sinner. The blood taken into the holy place, and sprinkled before the Lord, showed the God-ward character of the one, and this was shown more clearly in that the whole body of the victim was to be taken without the camp and there burned, nothing of it being retained by the priest, but all being offered up unto God as a burnt-offering. In the sinoffering, however, now before us, the ritual was different. None of the blood was taken into the holy place, and the carcase moreover entered into the possession of the priest, and was eaten by him. Looking at this from the standpoint we have indicated, how beautiful is the truth set forth. The sinner brings his offering of Christ as his trespass-offering and sin-offering. This is presented before God by Christ Himself on the sinner's behalf. He, as it were, sets forth before the Father once again that work which He has effected on the behalf of the sinner, and makes it manifest that the sinner has built his whole hope here ; that lie only expects to escape punishment because of his substitutionary work. And as these are accepted, and the sinner realises his pardon, Christ, if we may use the expression, eats of His own sacrifice. He sees of the travail of His soul, and is satisfied. He beholds the fruits of His work, and His own soul is filled with joy and gladness. The angels, we are told by our Lord Himself, rejoice over the repenting sinner, but here we see the rejoicing of our Lord Himself. He feeds upon His own work as brought by the sinner in his offering unto God, inasmuch as He beholds in it that for which He was willing to forego heaven, and to offer Himself as that sacrifice first of all. Of both trespass- and sin-offering, the priest partook, and the priest only. The offerer in these offerings had no share, and is not this just as it is in reality in the soul's experience ? When these offerings are brought, there is no joy in the sinner's soul. Joy may be in heaven, but in the heart of a sinner is nothing but grief and sorrow and confession of sin. Bitterness alone is that whereon his soul feeds, the bitterness of repentance and contrition. His soul has come longing for pardon and reconciliation, which alone can be granted by Christ being the sinner's substitute, the sinner's sacrifice, and the bearer of the curse. From this reconciliation flows; from that made the curse comes the cleansing, and the sinner is thus brought into peace and fellowship with God.

 

Such are the sweet truths which shine forth in the account of the sin-offering, and such is the experience of the character typified by the leper. Has this, then, been our experience ? Have we, from the position without the camp, been brought not only into the camp, but also to pass through the same things, spiritually considered, that the leper was brought to pass through? Do we know anything experimentally of Christ becoming a curse for us, of Christ being our substitute ? Have we, with broken and bleeding hearts, been led to confess our sins upon His head, and been made to realise that those sins have caused His death? that the passing over of our transgressions upon Him caused God to draw the sword of His justice, and to pour out His wrath upon Him? 0 how solemn is it to realise this ! to know that we are spared only because of Christ having been put to death in our stead. At such a time, sin becomes a terrible reality, and the soul desires to be kept from it and to walk in ways where alone bloodbesprinkled, oil-anointed feet should walk ; to do those things which alone blood-besprinkled, oil-anointed hands should do; and to listen to those things which alone bloodbesprinkled, oil-anointed ears should listen to. May this indeed be our desire and our experience, and may we realise more and more as we journey on of Christ being our trespass-offering and our sin-offering, and the sole ground of our acceptance in the sight of God.

CHAPTER XIV.

THE BURNT-OFFERING.

HAVING offered the trespass-offering and the sin-offering, and attended to the deeply significant ritual in connection with those offerings, the priest was now to take the remaining lamb which the leper had brought, and offer it up as a burnt-offering. This offering was the chief one among all those which God had enjoined, and to its offering was attached the most significant results, inasmuch as it was that offering which, so to speak, kept Israel in a constant state of acceptance with God, it being commanded to be offered both evening and morning daily.

 

The ritual in connection with this offering we find in the first chapter of Leviticus, and from the account there we learn that the burnt-offering differed in several respects from the other offerings we have noticed. On every occasion whereon this offering was made, it had to be a male without blemish. The person offering it had to put his hand upon its head, as in the sin-offering, after which it was slain as usual on the north side of the altar. The blood on this occasion was to be sprinkled differently than on either of the former occasions, it having now to be sprinkled round about the altar. The chief difference, however, which distinguished this offering from the others, was with regard to the disposing of the sacrifice. All this, we find, was to be burnt, and not only so, but prior to the burning it was to be prepared in a very peculiar way. The animal was first to be flayed, the flesh then cut up, and all the inward parts and the hind legs washed with water. The whole then were laid upon the altar and consumed away.

 

Literally, this was the consummation of the leper's offering, and the completion of his ceremony of cleansing. He stood now upon the level of any of those within the camp, and had full participation in every right or privilege pertaining to that position. But it is now for us to enquire as to what can be the meaning intended to be conveyed unto us by this offering ; as to what is the spiritual signification set forth in it. That Christ is again the object we need not repeat, that we have already seen in the passage contained in the 4oth Psalm, and quoted in Hebrews; but what we now need to ask is, as to what particular aspect of the work of Christ this is meant to set forth before us. In two aspects we have already seen it, and now, if we interpret rightly, we have a third.

 

From the fact that the burnt-offering was to be wholly consumed upon the altar, and no part of it to fall to the priest, the aspect of this offering would seem Christ's own work God-ward-Christ's work of redemption, viewed in the light of being His sacrifice of Himself to the Father for the atonement of the sins of His people. He gave Himself a sacrifice. The burnt-offering was termed a " voluntary offering," thus speaking of Him who was led as a lamb to the slaughter, the voluntary offering for atonement. This aspect of the offering becomes more clear unto us when we pay attention to that peculiar ceremony of the cutting up of the carcase, and the washing of all the parts, with the hind legs, in water. Here was a laying open before God of the internal parts of the animal. Everything was presented to the eyes: the head, the seat of mind and intellect ; the heart, the seat of the will and affections ; and the legs, the type of the outward walk and conduct. All was thus seen by God, and seen in their cleanness and purity. And what does this bespeak again, but the spotless purity of Christ, His perfect holiness in every respect, both in mind and heart and ways ? All this was seen by God in the sacrifice of His Son, and all this was demanded by God in that sacrifice. His justice, no less keen than the priest's knife, laid open every part to the inspection of God, and the result we see in those divinely inspired records of the New Testament, wherein, on four separate occasions, we are told He was without sin (2 Cor. V. 21 ; Heb. iv. 15 ; i Pet. ii. 22; i John iii. 5). Even though tempted in all points like as we are, yet He came through every ordeal without the least shadow of sin having passed upon Him or left its mark in Him; and as He lay upon the altar a sacrifice unto God, the piercing eyes of God's justice could detect nothing which could in any way nullify that offering which He was presenting. Being laid upon the altar, every part of this offering was to be burnt. There are two words used in connection with the burnt-offerings found under the Levitical law which, while both expressing the burning, are very different in their meaning. One implies a burning in wrath, and is used with regard to the death of Nadab and Abihu. The other signifies a burning of a sweet savour. Though not found in the account before us, yet these two words with their different meanings speak much unto us concerning the meaning of this offering, and emphasize the view which we have taken, that this offering sets forth the sacrifice of Christ in its relationship to the Father. There we see in the one word used for the burning that it was the fire of God's wrath which consumed Him. In the other word we see, that while this was the case, He was yet an offering of a sweet-smelling savour unto the Lord. While His anger rested upon Him, and His soul was burned in the fire of wrath, God, as with the offering of Noah, smelled a sweet-smelling savour, a savour of rest. His justice was satisfied, His wrath appeased, and now God could rest from His anger against sin among His people, and rest in His love towards them. Thus the burnt-offering sets forth before us Christ's death under the wrath of God, as that of the sin-offering spake of it as owing to the sins of His people. Closely linked together, we cannot separate these two. Both speak of the death of Christ under wrath, but the one seems to set forth the eternal satisfaction which has been rendered more clearly than the other ; and while in the sin-offering it appears to be more of the experimental nature of it in the soul of the sinner, in the burnt-offering it seems rather to be the soul of the sinner being taught more fully that God's acceptance of his offerings of Christ is alone founded on the divine satisfaction which Christ, as the burnt-offering, has rendered.

 

The disposing of the blood in this offering, as we have noticed, was also different from the manner of its disposing in the other. On this occasion it was sprinkled upon the altar round about. Blood had before been sprinkled upon the face of the altar, and poured out at the base of the altar, and now it was sprinkled all round the altar. On every side the marks of blood were seen, and the signs of death visible. No approach could be made unto it; and none could be brought before the Lord without being brought in sight of the blood. And is this not the truth which the believer is brought to learn? No access can be had unto God only by the blood of Christ. It is this which opens up the way, and ever affords the plea wherewith we may approach unto God. The shed blood is the atonement, and the blood applied and sprinkled is the reconciliation. And thus the believer has free access unto God, and is brought into peace with God through the offering of Jesus Christ once for all.

 

How sweet and precious, then, are the truths which thus come before us. From first to last we have Christ set before us as the only ground of approach unto God. We see Christ, the sin-bearer ; Christ, the curse ; Christ, the wrath-bearer, and Christ, the substitute, all contained in these typical offerings. Christ is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. It is the sacrifice of Christ which hides the offence. It is the sacrifice of Christ which covers the person, and it is the sacrifice of Christ also which appeases the wrath of God, and which, having been the offering for sin, and having put sin away, is also a savour of rest unto God, causing God to turn away from His fierce anger, and to accept as righteous all those for whom Christ suffered. Truly blessed then are they who are found in Christ, for whom Christ thus became the substitute and curse. To them, God is no longer an angry judge, but a reconciled Father. He looks upon them in His Son, and accepts of them and their offerings for His sake. He is reconciled to them, and bestows upon them His blessings, causing them to rejoice in His felt nearness unto them when they approach the throne of grace. No blessings of earth can be compared to these, and these are they which come to us in the felt experience of those things which are shadowed forth in the rites of the leper's cleansing. May God in His mercy grant us to realise something of them, and make us feel more and more the all-sufficiency of the sacrifice of Christ to do everything for us that is necessary in bringing us into the adoption of children, and redeeming us from all the curse of sin and the wrath due to sin.

 

CHAPTER XV.

THE MEAL-OFFERING.

 

WITH the burnt-offering was also offered the meat, or, to be more correct, the meal-offering. The reason of this being offered at the same time was because it partly set forth the same truth, or perhaps we may say wholly so, but with some very important additions and one exception. In the mealoffering it is not altogether the death of Christ which is set forth, but rather the Person of Christ-more of what Christ is, or was, than what Christ did.

This we shall see more clearly as we proceed, as also the connection which lay between this offering and the burnt offering, with which on every occasion mentioned it had to be offered. On no occasion do we find the one separate from the other, but with each burnt offering was offered the meal-offering.

 

This offering, we find, was to consist of fine flour unleavened mingled with oil. With it was also to be offered incense, and to it was to be added salt. Each of these ingredients has a typical meaning, and it is only by finding what these are and applying them that we shall see what is meant by these combined offerings, and the reason also why they are combined. First then, let us look at the meaning of the fine flour unleavened. This could only be got by subjecting the grains of wheat to several processes. "Bread corn," we read, is "bruised" or crushed, and so before this fine flour could be procured there must have been a bruising or crushing in the preparation of it. By this means flour was gained, but the commandment was for "fine flour." Fine flour, then, must signify flour that has been sifted, that has been freed from all grit, and from every particle of the husks which might otherwise have been found in it.

 

And now, what meaning can this have but that which has before come beneath our notice, even the spotless purity and unsullied holiness of the Lord Jesus amid all the trials and temptations which He through His life had to undergo. It was to a grain of wheat that Christ compared Himself in His life, when He said, " Except a grain of wheat fall into the ground and die, it bringeth forth no fruit," and it is as this same grain of wheat that He here comes before us. The same, and yet not the same, because here it is the grain of wheat bruised, crushed, and sifted. And does not this testify most fully to Christ's life upon earth? ,He was bruised," we read in Isa. liii. 5, " for our iniquities." He was bruised by God, bruised by man, and bruised by Satan. He was crushed under sufferings and sorrows, and sifted by temptations and trials, but at the end of it all He was as fine flour unleavened. Spotless purity and unsullied holiness, untainted and unmixed with the slightest degree of evil. In all His words His righteous character was seen, and in all His actions His holiness was made apparent. Pilate must confess, when He was brought before him, that he could find no fault in Him. He was the sinless One, the guileless One, the holy One-fine flour unleavened. Here we see Him in that body prepared for Him, in that holy humanity with which He was clad, bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh ; subject to the same sinless infirmities that we are subject to, tried and tempted like as we are, opposed on all sides, reproached even by His friends, and yet, amid it all, His holiness and His purity remains untainted and unsullied. Such is the meaning of the fine flour unleavened. It is Christ in His life; Christ, in His obedience and subjection to the Father, going about performing the will of the Father.

By the fine flour being mingled with oil, we are taught to see the presence of the Holy Spirit in every action of Christ, in every deed, and in every word. As the oil pervaded every part, so Christ was permeated through and through with the Spirit. As He Himself said, God gave not the Spirit by measure unto Him, but its was poured out upon Him in His fullness, and is seen beautifully typified in His results in this mingling of the oil with the flour wherein no part is left untouched. The Spirit as bestowed upon the believer is typified by the anointing of the head with oil, and the application of it upon the ear, the thumb, and the great toe. His presence is with the believer, and marks his actions, too, but in a far different degree to what He did with Christ. His actions were not marked simply, but, as we have said, both they and He Himself were permeated through and through with Him.

 

To this fine flour thus mingled with oil was added incense. This, in the Scriptures, is generally taken to signify prayer, but from a close examination of those places where incense is mentioned we think this interpretation is not correct. The incense, we find, that was to be used in those special offerings which God enjoined under the law was of a specially sacred character. Four ingredients were to be used, and that in a divinely apportioned measure. None, moreover, as with the holy anointing oil, were allowed to make any like unto it, under pain of death. Interpreting the incense as being typical of prayer, the force of these stringent regulations is quite lost sight of. Why should such strict rules be laid down with regard to the imitation of the model of prayer ? Is not this imitation expressly sanctioned in our Lord's teaching of His disciples how to pray ? "After this manner," He says, " pray ye." But the full proof that incense is not figurative of prayer may be seen from the 5th chapter of Revelation and the 8th verse. There we read that the four and twenty elders which stood before the throne had golden vials full of odours (marg. incense), which are the prayers of the saints. This passage is often interpreted as meaning that the incense is the prayers of the saints, and it is from this that incense in general has had this meaning attached to it. This meaning, however, is not the correct one. The connection in the Greek is to the vials, and not the incense being the prayers of the saints ; and literally translated the passage would read that the elders had each of them golden vials which are the prayers of the saints, and they were filled with incense. In the 8th chapter of the same book we have the same again set before us, but this time even more clearly than in the 5th chapter. There in the third verse we read, " And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer ; and there was given unto him much incense that he should offer it, or add it to (marg.) the prayers of the saints." Here incense is at once shown to be something separate from prayer, and something which is added to prayer to render it prevailing with God. (See verses 4 and 5.) Against this may be urged the Psalmist's declaration, 'I Let my prayer be set before Thee as incense" (Psalm cxli. 2), but if the reader will notice he will see the connecting particle as has been added by our translators, and we consider it would have been more correctly rendered had the word "with" been added instead of "as," and the verse read, " Let my prayer be set before Thee with incense." This would at once connect it with the ceremony which existed in the Jewish worship, and which we find mentioned in Luke i. Io. The time of prayer was also the time of the offering of incense, and as the prayers ascended the incense also ascended with them, as though to render them acceptable and prevailing with God. From these passages, then, it would seem to be clearly apparent that prayer is not the right signification of incense ; but what, then, can incense mean ? Without entering into further discussion, let us interpret it as the merits of Christ, and under that interpretation read all those passages wherein the typical incense is made mention of. Doing so, we shall find what new light those passages now gather, and we shall also be able to see the reason why such strict rules should surround the making of it as recorded in Exodus xxx. 34--38. Applying this interpretation to the place now before us, we see that spotless humanity of Christ, His holy actions and unswerving obedience, all represented as having merit attached to them, of being what they were not merely for their intrinsic value in themselves, but for another purpose, which is to present them as a sacrifice on the altar of His burnt-offering.

 

Besides these ingredients there was yet another which had to be used in the meal-offering. This was salt. On no occasion had this to be absent, but the command was very particular. " 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 meatoffering : with all thine offerings thou shalt offer salt." (Lev. ii. i3.) The presence of this ingredient had undoubtedly something to do with its keeping quality, and its power to preserve from corruption. It was thus figurative of endurance and incorruptibility. Viewed therefore as having this meaning, how appropriate do we find it to be that salt should be present in this offering, setting forth as it does the spotless humanity of Christ and His work upon earth. Here we see that while death is one portion of His work, there is no corruptibility in His body. " Thou wilt not suffer Thine Holy One to see corruption." His work and merits, too, are of an enduring nature. They are of no ephemeral character, but they are firm and abiding. How beautifully, then, in the combination of these two offerings do we see the sacrifice of Christ. There we see Him in His Godhead and manhood, see Him in His work upon earth, and His death upon the altar of sacrifice. There we see that it is not in His death only that He was made a sacrifice, that it is not by His sufferings only that He atoned for sin, but that His life also was a sacrifice, and that His obedience to the Father's will was also a part of the work of expiation and of bringing in an everlasting righteousness for His people.

 

his sacrifice having been offered, the final declaration was now made concerning the leper that he should now be clean. And how does this express the truth of the gospel, both in itself and in the experience of the people of God? Not only is it the death of Christ which the believer looks upon as his atonement, but also the life of Christ. Every action which Christ performed upon earth in that glorious obedience which He rendered to the Father he sees to be on his behalf, as being that righteousness wherein he can stand before God. And as all this is made manifest unto him, and he realises that he is indeed made clean, he can sing, in the words of the poet,

 

Fully I am justified,

Free from sin, and more than free ;

Guiltless, since for me He died,

Righteous, since He lived for me."

 

Such then is the lesson which is contained in this account of the burnt-offering and the meal-offering. There before the eyes of the leper was portrayed Christ in life and in death as the great sacrifice of atonement, as the firm and abiding grounds of the sinner's acceptance before God. Do we, then, realize this ? Can we by faith use the words of the poet quoted above ? Do we see and feel that it is through Christ's obedience and Christ's sacrifice that our redemption has been effected ; that it is His passive work as well as His active which was laid upon the altar of sacrifice; the one to appease the wrath of God, and the other to impute for righteousness to the sinner ? Many there are who, while professing to trust in the death of Christ for forgiveness, look not to the obedience of Christ for their righteousness. They hope to stand before God in that which they can work out. They bring the burnt-offering, but not the meat-offering which had always to be with it. Not so, however, the real child of God, brought as he is to realize that, even although Christ has died for sin, he needs another righteousness than his own wherein to approach unto God. This he finds in Christ's spotless obedience, and thus, in every approach unto God, he offers the burnt-offer ing and the meal-offering as being, by their united results alone, sufficient to render him clean before God.

CONCLUSION.

WE have now gone through the account of the leper and his cleansing, and have, as far as we have been enabled, set forth some of those spiritual lessons which are contained in it. We have seen how leprosy was the symbol of sin, which God used to impress the children of Israel with the dreadful reality of the latter. We have seen also what is meant to be conveyed by the leper having to be shut out of the camp, how it is intended to set forth the position in which every sinner naturally stands before God, shut out from the spiritual congregation of His people, and from all union and fellowship with Him. In the plague of the leper being supernaturally healed, we see the type of God meeting with an unregenerate sinner, and by the implanting of divine grace in his soul, healing him of the leprosy of sin. In those ceremonies performed without the camp, we see how the sinner is made to realize that his admission into the family of God is solely by the death, the resurrection and the ascension of the Son of God. Having thus been brought into the camp, after having made manifest the reality of his conversion by a walk and conversation becoming the Gospel, the sinner is left under the eyes of those among whom he has come, in order that they may see further signs of the reality of that work which he has professed. These having been given, the soul is now brought into a deepening experience of Gospel truth. Sin still lurks within him, and when overtaken by it and caused to stumble and fall, he learns the necessity of bringing the sacrifice of Christ as a trespass-offering to atone for the sin which he has committed, and to cover it over from the eyes of God. But not only does he commit sin, but he learns as he goes on his way that he is altogether sinful. Then he is taught to bring the sacrifice of Christ as a sin-offering, not alone now to cover his sin, but to cover his person ; to shield him from the wrath due to sin, inasmuch as Christ bore the curse of sin. But as he progresses still more, and his experience still deepens, he is brought to realize that Christ must be his burnt-offering and his meal-offering, that His redemption has alone been effected by Christ, although pure and without sin, being made sin and bearing the wrath of God against it. And not only so, but lie is made to prove also, that it is Christ's obedience, His perfect submission to the will of the Father, His spotless life and walk, and the merits which these have, that alone can provide him with a righteousness wherewith he can approach unto God. Thus he is made to learn that it is Christ only by whom he can hope to be saved, that it is Christ in His life, and Christ in His death, Christ in His resurrection, and Christ in His ascension, which alone affords the grounds of his everlasting redemption from hell and sin, and provides the abiding security of his acceptance before God, and his admission into the joys of heaven.

 

These, then, are the lessons which have passed before us, and now, in conclusion, let us again ask if we know anything about them ; if we have been made to realize all these things, and whether our life and our experience are in accordance with them. If so, then we are blessed indeed, and it is meet that we should with overflowing hearts sing the praises of Him who has done so much for us. But if such is not our experience, then we possess none of those evidences which betoken us to be the children of God, but on the contrary give every proof that we are still without the camp. We may profess different to this, we may lead others to believe that we are real children of God, true believers ; but if we are not in possession of those things we profess, we are but deceivers ; deceiving, maybe, our own selves, and deceiving the people of God. 0 how needful is it then that we should search our hearts to see if we know anything of those things which have passed before our notice, even though it be in but a small degree, and, as it were, but a partial fulfilment of the rites of the leper's cleansing. Even this renders our position a blessed one, since possessing so much we shall be led on and on until we fully realize in our experience these things which we have considered ; being brought to prove that Christ must be the Alpha and the Omega of our salvation. If, however, we know nothing of them whatever, our position is an awful one. We are dead in sin, and therefore abide under the wrath of God, and must, if God's grace prevent not, for ever perish from before Him, and be cast out into outer darkness, where there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. May none of those who, it may be, shall read these pages be left in this condition, but may they of God's free and sovereign grace be brought to realise His regenerating power, and be led into the camp, there to prove all those spiritual blessings and privileges which belong only to the people of God, and to see their entire dependence upon the atoning work, the sacrificial death, and the justifying righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

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