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BIBLE

WITNESS AND KEVIEW

FOR THE PRESENTATION AND DEFENCE OF REVEALED TRUTH

E/'s a.'rro'Koyiav rou ivayyi^.m xs^xa/ Phil. L 17

SECOND EDITION

LONDON

OFFICE OF rUBLICATIOX, 25 PATEKNOSTEr. SQUARE

1877

hjli.mOETOIT ,htC. MAR18b2 THSOLOGIC

CONTENTS.

PAGE

The Feasts of Jehovah. Lectures on Lev. xxiit. . . i

The Olive Tree, Fig Tree, and the Vine ... 49

Union in Incarnation the Root-Error of Modern Theology 55

Scriptural Unity and Union . . . . 76

Have wb-a Revelation from God ? . . . . loi

Christological Pantheism . . . . . 193

The Church and its Privileges . . , .240

The Bearing of 1 Peter il 24 . , .251

Biblical Annotations . . . . . 2G2

Epistolary Communications . . . . .364

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htC. iVlABl882

THSOLOGICAL

THE FEASTS OF JEHOVAH.

LECTUEE I.

The Sabbath, the Passovee, and Unleavened Bread.

Lev. XXIII. 1-8.

It is my hope to bring before you, in the Scripture we have entered on to-night, the whole outline of the dealings of God with His people on earth, not of course in detail, but, first, the original purpose as before God ; next, the foundation which He laid in order to accomplish this purpose ; then, again, the ways of God in the application which He made of the mighty work thus accomplished ; and, finally, the direct and full result.

It will be proved in the course of these remarks that God did reaUy look forward far beyond His ancient people. These feasts had a simple and primary application, as no one doubts, to the Jewish people ; they, at any rate the chief of them, served the purpose of gathering Israel around Himself where He had placed His name. But it is impossible to limit Scripture to such an application. I hope to give you what the Holy Ghost contemplates in the types ; for God was looking on to other things, and far greater than men are apt to allow. All was future in this point of view ; and even now we may see what will be, as well as that which is, and what has been accom- plished. He has anticipated that which would have an entirely different and superior character, indeed what we commonly call Christianity ; He removes the veil from the age to come when He will establish the kingdom in glory. Thus we shall be able to trace the dealings of God, first, not merely in letter but in grace, and then, when it will be no longer grace but glory, and

B

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that not only for heaven, hut mainly for the earth. It is quite a mistake to suppose that His glory is connected only with heaven. Undoubtedly He has allowed Satan to do his worst, but He has already M'on the victory morally in Christ, and efficaciously in His death and resurrection ; and He will prove it before every eye in a day fast approaching. But now we walk by faith, not by sight, and I trust that the Scripture thus brought before us may contribute to strengthen the faith of those who believe, as well as to rebuke those who dare to disbelieve, the word of God.

L The Sabbath.

The first thing I would draw your attention to is this, that the Sabbath is introduced in an altogether peculiar manner.

This is no mere idea of mine, nor of any one else. It is marked very clearly in the opening of the chapter before us.

"And Jehovah spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, concerning the feasts of Jehovah, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are My feasts. Six daj'S shall work be done ; but the seventh day is the Sabbath of rest, an holy convocation ; ye shall do no work therein ; it is the Sabbath of Jehovah in all your dwellings." Thus the feasts open ; but let us notice that the fourth verse begins again, " These are the feasts of Jehovah." Hence we see that in the beginning of the chapter, where the feasts are introduced generally, the Sabbath is named in par- ticular ; next, in verse fourth, there is a fresh beginning, which excludes the Sabbath. Now there is nothing in vain in Scripture ; not a word from Genesis to Revelation which God wrote could be changed but for the worse. I know certain minds find this diflicult to believe ; and the reason is because they judge of God by themselves. If you or I had written it, there would have been many a word to change for the better ; and we are apt to attribute our infirmities to God's word. No

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man can riglitly reason on God's word from himself ; nor is it sound to reason from nature up to nature's God. We must begin with God, and reason from Him, or His word, down to His works. If we begin with what we find in reason or things here below, we begin with what is frail, feeble, incon- stant ; and how can we reason soundly when we start from that which breaks at the touch ? When w^e begin with God and His word, we are guided by that which judges all around. But the tendency of men is to take on them to judge the word of God : did they believe that the word of God judges them, it would be safer and more becoming.

Now if God has given a revelation of His mind, that revela- tion must be worthy of Himself; and He has taken particular pains to call it His word. Undoubtedly He wrought by various means ; but He never calls it the word of Moses, or David, or John, or Paul, but the word of God. Let us never forget this. It may be said that there is here a difficulty, and what appears even to be an irregularity. The Sabbath is introduced first as the beginning of the feasts ; and then, secondly, we begin again, when the Sabbath is left out. Why ? Because the Sabbath has a character altogether peculiar to itself. Evidently as a matter of fact, and merely looking at it from a literal point of view, all the other feasts were celebrated but once a year, the Sabbath every week. There is therefore a distinct line of demarcation ; and so the second beginning is justified. But still the Sabbath has the character of a feast, and with a most important aim, if in a way that marks no other ; for that feast, and that alone, was to be continually repeated, as the end of the week came round.

And here let us not fail to notice the difference between this and what Scripture calls " the Lord's day." Those who would and do confound the two understand neither. The Sabbath day was historically and originally at the end of the week, when man had accomplished his ordinary round of toil. The end lie gave to God. He had laboured Himself for six days, on the seventh He rested. According to God's law, it was not merely

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Ob seventh, but tlie seventh day. No other day of the week would have done so well, or at all, if one looked at it as truly fearing God. From an utilitarian point of view, one day was as good as another ; and that is man's way of dealing with things. But God knows that man is prone to forget Him even in crea- tion, and above all to forget the gracious purposes of God pledged in the Sabbath.

AVhat is it that God means to bring in ? A rest for His own, a rest worthy of Himself, and a rest which He will share with His people. AVhen will this be ? Not till the end of all things. I am far from meaning that every man will enjoy that rest. No one can think or say so wlio believes what sin is, or that God will judge the world by the INIan risen from the dead and ordained for it. But while acknowledging that God must show His deep resentment against evil, m'c believe also that He has brought in a Deliverer and a deliverance for us ; in due time a full and a perfect deliverance for creation. This is precisely what God will make good in the day of Christ's coming ; and His rest it will be.

Let me refer here to the great New Testament Scripture on the rest of God, In Heb. iii. and iv. you find the Spirit of God (after pointing to Christ on high, Sou of God, and Son of man, who had died atoningly), introducing this rest. What gave occasion to it was the evident danger for the Hebrew believers of taking their ease now, and thus forgetting they were only pass- ing tlirough the wilderness. They were so accustomed to con- nect with the coming of jNIessiah a present rest, that they could hardly understand that they were ushered into a scene of trial answering to His who suffered without the gate, and called to count it their privilege. They were in danger of seeking to make themseh'es at ease and comfortable here. The first Epistle to the Corinthians sliows that they were not alone in this. It is a very natural snare to the heart of man, even to those who have found the Saviour. After there has been doubt and anxiety, the soul knowing what the judgment of God on sin is, and its

THE FEASTS OF JEHOVAH.

own utter giiilt and condemnation, when deliverance in the Lord Jesus is once found, there is often danger of reaction. The soul is apt to settle down,' thinking that the campaign is over, because the great battle has been fought, and the victory is given through the Lord Jesus Christ. They flatter themselves" that there can be no more trouble, because the deep soul-distress is past. It is sufficiently plain that these Hebrews were in some such state, and the apostle not only reminds them how joyfully they took their early spoliation and sufferings, but here instructs them that they are not yet after the pattern of Israel settled in the land, but like Israel passing through the wilderness. Accordingly w^e find that the w'hole argument of the epistle supposes not the temple, but the tabernacle, from first to last ; and thus hails from the camp, not from the throne or kingdom set up after the conquest of Canaan. Hence he says, " Let us therefore fear, lest a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you sliould seem to come short of it" (ch. iv. 1). We see at once that the apostle is not speaking of believing in the Lord Jesus for present rest of conscience. Had this been the point before him, he would have boldly assured them there was no need to fear.

If we speak of the blood of Christ, and then should exhort to fear, it w^ould be the denial of Christianity. The gospel is the declaration of full remission, yea, of more than this, of jus- tification, of reconciliation witli God through the Lord Jesus. If forgiveness through Christ's blood was the question, he would rather call on them to vanquish every fear ; for, as the apostle John says, in discussing that point, " Perfect love casteth out fear," not " perfect love " on our j)art (the law asked for that, and never could get it), but the perfect love of God, which is only revealed in and throucfh the Lord Jesus Christ. "What are we to be afraid of then ? Not of the blood of Christ failing, not of losing the remission of sins through any change of mind or at any moment from grace in God. But be afraid of settling down

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in this world, and coming short of the true outlook of pilgrims and strangers on the way to a Ijetter land. To have rested in the wilderness would have been fatal to an Israelite ; and so we have to remember that this is not our home, and that to settle down would be virtually to deny ourselves the rest of heaven.

In passing let me remark that this epistle was written by the apostle Paul and no one else. Men may question, as they do everything now-a-days, but there is no real ground of doubt- ing it. For Peter proves it in his second epistle, where he says (chap. iii. 15) " Even as our beloved brother Paul also, accord- ing to the wisdom given unto him, hath written unto you!' Now, as we know, he was then addressing believing Jews ; so that Paul must have written to them also, and this can be only the epistle to the Hebrews. I refer to it now, simply because Satan is trying to undermine everything, and it becomes of growing consequence to meet lesser questions, as well as daring attacks on the word of God. It is high time that every man who is by grace a believer should declare plainly what he is. Does His goodness not claim it at our hands to be confessors if not martyrs %

1 say then, that in this epistle the Spirit of God brings before us the necessity of going forward to the rest of God ; and I press this as the only genuine meaning, because it is often applied to soul rest, which it rather tends to enfeeble or destroy. Tliat it is not within the scope of the passage in the text, we may see from verse 1], where it says, "Let us labour, therefore, to enter into that rest." AVhat sort of a gospel would it be to tell people they must labour for rest of conscience ? Evidently it would be to upset the gi'ace of God ; for it means no other than salvation by works. On the face of it, all can see that the apostle here is addressing such Jews as professed Christ, and that they then wore in danger of slipping into present ease, instead of pressing through the wilderness world on their way to that rest of God, the rest of His glory.

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Do not suppose that I deny for a moment that there is in Christ a present rest for faith. The Scriptures speak of it plainly : " Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." This is the rest of grace now, not of glory. Then there is something farther too : " Take my yoke upon you, and learn of Me ; for I am meek and lowly in heart ; and ye shall find rest unto your souls." First, He gives rest unconditionally, in pure sovereign favour, to all the weary that come ; and then, when walking in the path of submission to Him and obedience, the faithful find rest. For if one is dis- obedient, one must have (as John says) the heart ill at ease it condemns one ; and, then, how can there be rest ? But there remains a third thing : not only rest given by Christ as a pre- sent relief to the conscience, and, again, true rest of heart found in the path of obedience and learning of Him ; but, thirdly, the rest of God when it is no longer a question of man and sin and self-will and misery, but all the chequered scene of toil and suffering will be over, when Cod will rest in the satisfaction of His own love and glory, having brought His sons and people into His everlasting rest.

Doubtless, as the apostle argues, God gave the Sabbath at the beginning ; but this was not His rest, for sin spoiled creation, and He says afterwards, "If they shall enter into my rest." " If " implies that they had not entered it, and might fail also. So again, after Joshua (or " Jesus ") had put down the Canaanites (lie never completely conquered them), after Israel had settled themselves in the land, was that the rest of God ? By no means ; for the Psalm which speaks of that rest w\as written long after Adam and Joshua. The conclusion, then, is that "there remaineth therefore a rest {m^i^arieiiog, a keeping of sabbath) to the people of God." Consequently it has not yet come. The apostle strength- ens this from another principle, namely, that one cannot be both working and resting, in the same sense, at the same time. If one has entered into rest, one has done with works, even as is

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said of God Himself (ver. 10). But the bright day when we shall rest is not yet arrived. So that he is exhorting the saints to labour. NoV) is the time for work ; and every one that has the love of Christ in such a world as this must feel it, for the simple reason that there is sin and wretchedness in the world. Divine love, whether in God or in His people, refuses to rest in the midst of evil. After Christ comes this will not be so. " There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God."

It is not the same principle which wx find in the Lord's day, for this is the intervention of divine power in the resur- rection of the Lord Jesus, after He had gone down into death to make propitiation for our sins and reconcile us ami all things to God. Consequently the Lord's day is an excellent day for spiritual toil, for the work of faith and the labour of love ; and no one acquainted with Christ would think it wrong, if able, to preach a dozen sermons on that day, nor to take a dozen Sab- bath-days' journeys to preach them. Were it the Sabbath-day, he could not do so lightly. Thus they have a wholly different character. The source, nature, and end of the Lord's day is marked out by grace in the resurrection of Christ from the dead, as the Sabbath is by creation and the law of God.

It seemed good to the Lord then, and it is necessary for man, that there should be first the great truth of the Sabbath set forth before we enter on the ways of God. Before He accom- plished the mighty work. He hung out clearly and distinctly this initiatory pledge of rest at the end. I am coming to have my rest, He says, but not to have it alone : you shall share it in glory with Me. The Sabbath is to be fulfilled in a day yet to come ; and that both for heaven and earth. But the rest is after all work is done, whether in type or anti-type.

II. The Passover.

But now we come to another thing : God laying the founda- tion of it all ; and mark first, lie does not eifect it hastily. There

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are many who think it would have been exceedingly good if God had at the beginning given His Son to die for sinners. Instead of this He waited for 4000 years. Why so ? In the word we get the key to the difficulty. " When the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son," etc. It was not on the first day of the . first month that the Passover was instituted, that great stand- ing type of Christ slain for sinners, but on the fourteenth day. Was not God in this delay signifying the fulness of time ?

First, He leaves man to his own way ; and then, lest man should complain that he had gone astray because abandoned to himself, God took him in hand and tried him under law. So Israel, as the centre of mankind, was placed under His government. What was the result ? After all possible pains the bad tree bore more bad fruit. Israel at the close was worse than at the beginning. The end of man was the Cross of Christ. They hated the Son and the Father. Therefore do we hear of Christ's death at the con- summation of the ages. It is not a chronological expression ; but God had tried man in various ways, which ended in nothing but wickedness and ruin. AVhat does God do then ? He displaces man's religion and his failure by the infinite work of redemp- tion ; and this is what we have in the Passover.

Verse 5, " In the fourteenth day of the first month, at even, is Jehovah's passover." What was the great principle of this feast ? God had come down to deliver His people from the house of bondage. It was not because of any good in them, for the children of Israel at that time were worshipping false gods, and were utterly indifferent to the glory of the True. But next, if God delivers them, He must deliver them righteously. Pay particular attention to this. It is not simply a question of mercy in forgiving those who are wicked, but He will have them before Him on a foundation of right. He is a just God and a Saviour. Hence on that night He sent through the land a destroying angel to avenge sin. It was judgment of evil, and the first thing done. He came down by that angel to deal

lo THE FEASTS OF JEHOVAH.

with whatever was offensive to His character. And there was but one thing which stayed the hand of the destroying angel. What was it ? The blood of the slain lamb. Wherever it was not on the doorposts or upper lintel, death reigned. Not that God was yet judging all mankind. It was a sample, which tes- tified what sin deserved, and what alone could screen from God's judgment. God declared, in that blood on the sprinkled doorposts of the children of Israel, that death only could stay judgment.

It was in the last degree solemn the lamb judged for sin. But what M'ondrous grace ! Judgment falling on the lamb ; not on the guilty, but on their substitute ! It was the judgment of God because of our sins which Christ had to endure, the spotless Lamb of God. What was it made the Lord Jesus sweat, as it were, great drops of blood ? Was it the mere act of dying ? This would lower the Lord below yourself if you are a believer. Why, a Christian rejoices in the thought of departing to be with Christ, who alone suffered and died for our sins.

What was the meaning of that cry, " My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me ?" It was the judgTnent of sin which then fell on Christ. It was not what the Jews did, nor Pontius Pilate, nor Herod, nor man in general laid on Him. I know the popular hymn says, " I lay my sins on Jesus." But the truth is far better than that : God laid them there. If it had been you or I that must bring our sins for expiation, we might have forgotten many ; but Jehovah laid our burden on Him. And hence the Lord suffered on the Cross as never did before either any other or Himself. For if He had been bearing sins aU. His life, as sofne say, either He must have been forsaken of God all His life, or God must have acted as if sin was tolerable till then. Is either thought true ? Neither ; indeed, without even an appearance of truth. Christ suffered once for sins.

This judgment of God falling on the Lamb alone explains what sin is and deserves ; and the sprinkling of the blood on the doors answers to the believer's application of Christ's

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blood by faith to his own case. In this and this alone was seen that which has made it a righteous thing to put away sin. God's judgment fell on His Son, because He is His Lamb, who was able to bear it. The blood of the Lamb is the witness of the judgment, but in richest fullest grace because it was on . His Son it fell. This was God's view of it ; and you must re- member that in these types we are considering not what Moses or others understood, but what God said and faith receives in and through our Lord Jesus. Do you ask my authority for all this ? Turn to 1 Cor. v. 7, " For even Christ, our Passover, is sacrificed for us." Is not this ample authority ? And God says this to those who had been Gentiles and now were His church ; for He was looking far beyond the Jew on to another day, and this is the day in which we find ourselves. Christ's death is the groundwork of all our blessing, the blood of the slain Lamb, the Lamb of God that beareth away the sin of the world. We may see too, that it was not a question of continuous or re- peated offering ; as the apostle argues in Heb. ix. 26, " For now once in the end of the world hath He appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself" Further, " He bore," as Peter says, " our sins in His own body on the tree." The consequence of His work is perfect peace to the believer. If it were continually going on, one could, one ought, never to have settled peace. The perfect efficacy goes with the singleness of Christ's offering, through righteousness as the apostle teaches in Rom. v.

III. The Feast of Unleavened Bread.

But there is another feature to be noticed. The Passover was followed immediately by the feast of unleavened bread. There was not a single day that intervened.

Now, as an ordinary rule, there was a space between these different feasts ; but here is an exception to the rule. And let me ask you, who could, save by God's power, have appreciated the force of this beforehand ? Now that it is revealed, we may

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follow. Like JMoses from the cleft of the rock, one cau see Him as He passes before us ; but who can go before Him ? The Passover was followed immediately by the feast of unleavened bread. There was not the lapse of a day between them one being on the fourteenth, the other on the fifteenth, day of the same month. Indeed, as the feast of unleavened bread in the N'ew Testament is treated as beginning with the killing of the paschal lamb, the immediate response of the Christian to Christ's blood is to walk in holiness. God will not have him to take a single day to himself. At once he is called by the grace of God to own himself responsible to put away all leaven. We know from 1 Cor. v. that leaven is symbolic of corruption. Yer. 7 : " For even Christ, our Passover, is sacrificed for us ; therefore let us keep the feast." What feast ? The Passover ? No ; the feast of unleavened bread.

This feast, again, we see, is not like the Passover ; for one day was to be kept in the latter case, seven days in the former. I may assume that all here who have read their Bibles know the force of " seven days." It was a complete cycle of time, and also doubtless in connection with God's people on the earth. " Day " might be used of heavenly or eternal things, not " seven days."

AVe may get important instruction in God's ways from all this. There are in Scripture several applications of leaven. The Lord speaks of the leaven of the Pharisees, of the Sadducecs, and of Herod. The Holy Ghost uses the expression " a little leaven" twice in the Epistles of Paul ; but from this we do not well to allow the thought that thej^ are parallel passages. Each has its own force, though there is of course a common character. But I feel very strongly, as to all such passages aj^t to be loosely huddled together and called parallel, that we should seek to dis- criminate. True wisdom is not manifested, as the sages say, in trying to see resemblances in things which differ, but in discern- ing the real difference among those which resemble one another.

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What you need to cultivate is a sound judgment, and you will never get it by hunting up so-called parallel passages. The habit is, on the contrary, destructive to intelligence in the word of God. Hence I believe it would be far better if such references were left out of our Bible, and the readers had to learn it thoroughly- for themselves. I do not mean you should not have a concord- ance or kindred help ; but the Bible should be printed alone, and is incomparably richer without than with these additions, which habitually mislead by confounding the distinctions which lie under phrases more or less verbally similar. The headings of the chapters and at the top of the columns are often worse than useless, conveying at best the mere views of men, and encum- bering the page which should give only what is divine.

It is written then that " a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump." Hence to many, as the same words appear in two different passages, the too rapid inference is tliat they point to just the same thing. So far is this from being true that the application is wholly different. AYhat then is the bearing of each ? Let me call your attention to the general principle, that, if you wish to understand any verse of Scripture, you must always interpret it by its context. In 1 Cor. v. leaven represents what is unclean and corrupting, and manifestly immoral. They were not to allow " the wicked person " in their midst, for evil sj)reads, and ever so little leaven, if allowed, sours and taints the whole lump. In Galatia evil was taking what we may call a religious or legal form (Gal. v. 9). The Christians were ob- serving days, months, times, and years. They were crying up circumcision as a desirable supplement to faith. This was the Pharisaic leaven, as the other was the Sadducean. The leaven of the Sadducees was the evil of free thought and licentious action. The leaven of the Pharisees was that of rigorous legalism and human tradition.

Keeping the feast of " unleavened bread " typifies the main- tenance of personal holiness. So Scripture insists : Pom. vi.

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xiL xiii. ; 1 Cor. v. vi. ; Gal. v. vi. ; EjdIi. iv. v, ; 1 Thess. iv. 1-8 ; Heb. xii. 14, etc. If we do lift up our hands to the Lord, let it be piously, without wrath or doubting ; let the walk and ways be under the sense of responsibility, as separate to the Lord ; let love be without dissimulation and with incorruptness. But is the person all ? Not so. Leaven was to be banished from the house as well as from the individual. You will often find people careful and jealous as to personal walk, and to the last degree lax as to ecclesiastical impurity. The Lord calls on us here to beware of the allowance of leaven anywhere. Cor- porate purity is worthless without due regard to personal holi- ness. Some bring their horror of clericalism or of the sects into shame and contempt by their carelessness about their spirit and ordinary walk. We are bound to eschew all evil, whether collective or individual. In short, what God has at heart is this that we should please Him in every relation, in what is collective as well as individual walk. The feast of " unleavened bread " takes in the entire pilgrimage, our whole course public as well as private. Thus we may see that if the feast was to begin on the first day after the Passover, the greatest care is taken to show that it was to be continued throughout our entire life here below. To keep this feast is ever our calling while on earth.

LECTUEE IL The Wave-Siieaf and the Wave-Loaves.

Lev. XXIII. 9-22. I HAVE already shown the character of the Sabbath, and how God introduced it in a manner altogether peculiar. He presented it at the very beginning of the feasts, though in fact its accomplishment, viewed now as a type, wdU be at the end. It is the great purpose to which all lead. As a present witness to this God attached such importance to the Sabbath, that,

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differing from all the other feasts, it was to be repeated at the end of every week.

Further, it is a mistake to suppose the Sabbath is done with, for it is to be in force throughout the millennium. I am not speaking of the Lord's day, when we very properly meet to- gether as Christians ; and I believe, so far from its being a mere question of man or churches appointing that day, that it has the very highest divine sanction. So true is this, that a Christian losing sight of the import, object, and character of the Lord's day would be more guilty than a Jew that dishonoured the Sabbath day. But as the Lord's day came in by the resur- rection of Christ for the Christian and the church meanwhile, it will be the Sabbath and not the Lord's day when the Lord God establishes the kingdom and our Lord Jesus Christ reigns manifestly ; when idolatry shall be abolished, superstition swept away, and every kind of iniquity that now raises its head Avill have met its end ; when every creature in this world will be restored. For I pity the man who thinks the world was only made to be spoiled : certainly he who does not believe it is spoiled must be more lamentably wrong ; but it is a gloomy and false thought that God made creation only to be ruined. As surely as the first Adam was the means of universal ruin for the creature, so the Second Adam will be the great Deliverer not only of us but of it. He will reconcile to God all that He made, that is, all things : I say not ^i^crsons, for this is fatal error. In Scripture you never read of all persons being reconciled.

One little word makes all the difference between blessed truth and hateful error. What can be more false than the infidel dream of universal restoration ? God M'ill judge all whose sins have not been borne away by faith in Christ and His cross.

There is a day coming when all creation will rejoice, when the heavens and the earth and all in them will sinu to'^ether. God has taken particular pains to express the earth's joy also, and it is a singular proof of the infatuation of man that he can-

l6 THE FEASTS OF JEHOVAH.

not see it though clearly revealed. This will be the rest of God ; and, when it comes, the Sabbath and not the Lord's day will again be the distinctive sign of God, which He will have observed and honoured through the whole earth. You will judge then from this that I am anything but an anti-Sabba- tarian. Yet it is an indisputable fact now that all is changed. We do not keep the last but the first day of the week. And what principle lies at the bottom of the change? That the Lord is risen indeed, and not only so, but is gone to heaven, and the first day of the week shines from the person of the risen Lord Jesus in the heavens, now opened, on a heavenly people who are as yet here, but going to be with the Lord Jesus there. Hence it will always follow that, when men confound the Sabbath and the Lord's day, they are earthly-minded. As the Sabbath is bound up exclusively with the earth and an earthly people, so is the Lord's day with those who are heavenly.

The next feast, indeed the first of the feasts proper as here begun, is the passover. " In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is Jehovah's passover." The foundation of all the ways of God for a fallen people is laid not in grace, only but righteous- ness ; it is the deatli, the efficacy of the blood, of the Lamb. Theology would ho//e ordered otherwise, and made it tlie law or Christ's obedience of it. But mark it well : the first feast is not even a witness of the incarnation, nor of the Lord's path. on earth ; but His blood staying divine judgment. God begins with Christ's deatli : and no wonder ; He could not overlook our sins ; and there they were for the first time righteously met, and one may add, as far as the type goes, for the last time as well as first. They were perfectly met for us by Him. It made no difference to the revealing Spirit whether the facts were present or future, so far as the communication of God's mind was concerned. All was before His eyes, though in Christ and after redemption the truth comes out with deeper and infinite fulness. But every scripture is divinely inspired, and it was just as impossible that

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God could lie before His atoning work was accomplished as when it was ; and that is in part my reason for taking this chapter to speak on. It is high time for every Christian to stand for the word of God, and for every written word of His. The dif- ficult times of the last days are come. Those that hesitate their dislike, or openly declare it, against what they call verbal in- spiration, are apt to lose all right sense of God's word. It might be profitable, for such as shrink from the inspiration of the word, to say what remains for themselves to depend on. If you give up to the infidel the words of Scripture, he will not leave you the thoughts of God. You may try to separate the truth from the words of God ; but truth is communicated by words ; and the apostle claims to speak " in words which the Holy Ghost teacheth." The Bible is the only book which possesses such a character ; and the Christian who is led by the Spirit in searching the word of God wiU learn how worthy of all confidence is the only and absolutely perfect communication of the mind of God.

On the paschal night God acted as Judge. This was neces- sary and righteous. And let me remark here how dangerous it is when people talk about His love, where they ought to think and bow before His solemn judgment of sin.

I do not deny love for an instant ; but even the boundless love of God cannot treat with sin, except by His own judgment of it. K sin were to be judged in our persons, we must be lost for ever. But then grace provided an offering, the only adequate one, in Christ on the cross ; and, accordingly, all the holy unsparing force of God's judgment fell on the head of the Lord Jesus there and then. It is not merely that He died in love in order to meet our need this He did most surely, but far more and of deeper im- port, for He met the judgment of God. He suffered what sin deserved at the hand of God. And this is so essential to truth that one could not call a true believer in the atonement the man who only sees Christ dying in love to man, and so only takes in the outward fact and human side of the cross.

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i8 THE FEASTS OF JEHOVAH.

It is plain fact tliat those who that day only saw Christ crucified were none the better, but rather worse. They were hardened at the sight, and afterwards more careless than ever. Those whom grace gave to believe what God wrought therein were saved from wrath. It was shadowed in the blood of the slain lamb.

Thereon immediately (and there is nothing morally more remarkable in these feasts) follows the feast of unleavened bread. Indeed, as may be seen elsewhere, the two are so bound up together that they are both sometimes called the Passover. Not one day is allowed to separate them ; and this because God will not allow that the remission of our sins brought in by the blood of the Lamb shall be for ever so little separated from our responsibility to holiness. The moment the Israelite was under the shelter of the blood of the lamb, he was forbidden to eat leavened bread, or have leaven in any shape within his house.

The Wave-Sheaf.

But now we come to another principle. It was not merely that God was at the cross as the Judge of sin. What was shown at Christ's resurrection ? We all know, as it is written, that God, the very One who smote Jesus, raised Him from the dead. Sin was condemned, not for every one, but for those who believed. For those who do not believe there will only be the greater con- demnation, for their sins are aggravated by the fact that, in the face of God, they have despised and rejected the Son of God ; and, more than that, the Son of God dying as a propitiation for sins. Thus the divine judgment of sin on the cross makes the case of the unbeliever incomparably graver ; for he is not only a sinner, but refuses the grace of God that M'ould save him.

Here we come to a new section, and indeed a new utterance of Jehovah to Moses, not precisely a new feast, but at any rate introductory to a new feast and indeed the whole pivot on which it turns. " Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the land which I give unto

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you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the first-fruits of your harvest unto the priest" (v. 10). What is the bearing of this ? I am addressing those who, it may be taken for granted, believe that every word of God has a mean- ing, and a most important meaning. You do not require to be reminded that God's word before Christ is just as truly inspired as the New Testament.

The wave-sheaf then is introduced as quite separate from the passover and accompanying feast of unleavened bread. But in point of fact the wave-sheaf was waved on the first day of the week that