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for the purposes of religious worship, and I, as a subject, hold
At the crucifixion of our Redeemer, which astonishing event terminated the Jewish dispensation, the Jewish ceremonies became a subject of contest. Many Jews believed, who were still zealous for the law of ceremonies. It is difficult to surmount the force of habit, and the Jews were accustomed to the observation of days.
The Apostles were diligently employed in the cultivation of good morals, yet they laboured to destroy that attachment which their adherents manifested to ceremonies. Galatians iv. 9, 10, 11, "But now, after that ye have known God, or rather, are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain." Colossians ii. 16, 17, "Let no man, therefore, judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holy day, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come, but the body is of Christ." Here we are led to believe that the Sabbath is a shadow of the body, which body is Christ. Let no man judge you with respect to meat or drink, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath. It is observable, days were not in the original, the word is printed in italics. The Apostle in his Epistle to the Galatians speaks very fully, and feelingly upon this subject, iii. 22, "But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe." Thus we learn, that God concluded all under sin. For what purpose? that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. So that the promise, or
the grace it contained, came not on them by their own personal faith, but by the faith of Christ. There are who are shocked when we speak of the faith of Christ, although all the promises were made to the Redeemer, and it is said, he endured the cross for the joy that was set before him. Yet such individuals will not admit that our Saviour believed those promises. But the christian is a believer in Christ. He believes in Christ, that he may be justified by the faith of Christ. Jesus Christ was indeed raised from the dead for our justification, whether we believe it or not; and hence the Apostle says, if Christ be not risen, our preaching is vain; your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. If the change in the creature were in any sort the salvation of the sinner, that change would have remained the same, whether the Saviour had burst the barriers of the tomb, or whether he had not. But Christ Jesus having suffered death for sin, for our sin, because the wages of sin was death, he appears, in his resurrection, the second time without sin, and consequently unto salvation. Hence, saith the Apostle, we are begotten again unto a lively hope, by the resurrection of Christ Jesus from the dead.
Peter adverts to this sacred testimony in his first General Epistle, i. 3, "Blessed be the God and Father of our LORD Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead."
But these divinely instructed scribes were taught by the spirit of God to know, that in the birth, in the life, in the death, and in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, it pleased the Father that all fulness should dwell.
Yet there is one most essential and highly glorious consideration, which will ever render this day, this LORD'S DAY, truly precious to the soul of the christian man. We have reason to suppose it is the day on which the Saviour burst the barriers of the tomb on which he arose greatly triumphant over death and hell, leading captivity captive, and bestowing gifts unto men. This is sufficient; we ask no commandment to enroll this day among the dearest of our treasures; it comes forward with a most benign aspect; we embrace it as the first of blessings; it seems another word for whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are virtuous, whatsoever things are of good report; and
we would adopt the sentiments of a respectable clergyman, once of high standing in this town, but now, we believe, gathered into the garner of his God; who, upon being asked which he thought ought to be observed, Saturday or Sunday evening? pertinently and piously replied, I would treat the LORD's day as a very dear friend; and when I expected this very dear friend, I would choose to array myself in my best apparel, and go forth to meet this friend; I would certainly commence my journey on Saturday afternoon. And when a friend so very dear, was departing from me, I would certainly accompany him on his way; I should not wish to return again, until Monday morning, nor then except commanded by imperious necessity.
Thus do we, with every faculty of our souls, accept this splendid day, as the christian Sabbath; and while I can open my eyes upon the things of time, I will continue to call it blessed, to hail its return, and to regard it as a dear memorial of many rich, of many sweet enjoyments. What though they are gone past, they still live in my recollection, and they will ever be held by me in merited, in high, in sacred estimation.
NUMBERS, ii. 3.
And on the east side toward the rising of the sun, shall they of the standard of the camp of Judah pitch, throughout their armies: and Nahshon, the son of Aminidab, shall be captain of the children of Judah.
First, JUDAH is the first standard. Of whom was Judah a figure? A recurrence to the signification of the name Judah, will facilitate our ideas upon this question.
Judah in the Hebrew tongue signifies literally the praise of the LORD. But in Genesis xlix. 8-12, we have a luminous answer to this important, and highly interesting question. "Judah thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise: thy hand shall be
in the neck of thine enemies; thy father's children shall bow down before thec. Judah is a lion's whelp: from the prey my son thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion; and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up? The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be. Binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass's colt unto the choice vine; he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes: His eyes shall be red with wine, and his teeth wet with milk." From this passage it becomes evident that Judah was a type of the Redeemer.
Secondly, The standard of Judah was by the direction of God reared on the east side of the camp, toward the rising of the sun. Thus, the character of Judah or Jesus is supported. John i. 1, "In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God." Revelations i. 8, "I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the LORD, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty." Isaiah lx. 3, "And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising." And again, Isaiah lix. 19, "So shall they fear the name of the LORD from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him." Malachi i. 11, For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same, my name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place incense shall be offered unto my name, and a pure offering: for my name shall be great among the heathen, saith the LORD of hosts."
Thirdly, The literal idea conveyed by the word or name Nahshon is a divine, one who predicts events yet hidden in the womb of time. The business of a captain is to foresee difficulties, and to guard against every possible emergency. A captain is propcrly a leader. The spirit of truth is a leader. The spirit prophesying testifieth of Jesus. Revelations xix. 10, "And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me see thou do it not: I am thy fellow servant and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy." The spirit led Judah or Jesus into the wilderness. The spirit takes of the things of Jesus and exhibits them to the understanding. May this blessed spirit guide us into all truth.
NUMBERS vi. 22-27.
"AND the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto Aaron and unto his sons, saying, on this wise ye shall bless the children of Israel, saying unto them, The LORD bless thee and keep thee. The LORD make his face to shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee; The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace. And they shall put my name upon the children of Israel and I will bless them."
First, Moses is commanded to direct Aaron and his sons to bless the children of Israel. This commandment of God is perfectly conformable to all the dealings of the divine nature with the human being. The plans of Jehovah are full of grace and truth. In the same moment that the spirit gives us an account of the formation of our nature, we are furnished with multiplied instances of the goodness of our Creator. Genesis i. 28, 29, "And God blessed them, and God said unto them, be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. And God said, behold I have given you every herb bearing seed which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat."
How rich, how various the catalogue of blessings! But where is the page, chapter or text, which records the revocation of those blessings? God sendeth his rain upon the just and the unjust. Summer and Winter, day and night, sunshine and storms, seed time and harvest, succeed alike to all. No, assuredly, God doth not revoke his blessings. The Almighty in the garden of Eden was not heard to curse the human pair.
The first syllable which is uttered of cursing is in Genesis iii. 14, "And the LORD God said unto the serpent, because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt