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angels, he accepted the hard conditions, left the bosom of his Father, put himself in our place, and submitted to endure the penalty due to sin. O what transcendent love! how inconceivable its heights, how unsearchable its depthsy! Let our minds dwell upon it continually; that our hearts being warmed with this mysterious, incomprehensible love, we may be ever vying with the hosts of heaven in singing, “ To him who loved us and washed us from our sins in his own blood, be glory and dominion for ever and ever?.] y Eph. iii. 18, 19.

z Rev. i. 5, 6.



Heb. ix. 23. It was therefore necessary that the patterns of

things in the hearens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better things than these.

THERE is very considerable difficulty in this passage. The scope of the whole chapter is clear : it is intended to shew, that, whilst the sacrifice of Christ was shadowed forth by the Levitical sacrifices, it was infinitely superior to them all. But the difficulty arises from the double meaning of the word which we translate “ Testament:" it means either a covenant, or a testament: and the Apostle, having used it evidently in the former sense, comes, apparently at least, to use it in the latter sense: and the doubt is, whether the entire passage should be construed as relating to the covenant, or whether the idea of a testament should be admitted. On either construction, there will be difficulty ; for, on the one hand, it is not easy to see what a mediator has to do with a testament; nor, on the other hand, what need there is for a person, making a covenant, to die, before it can become valid. Perhaps the best solution of the difficulty, if solution it may be called, is this : That an agreement, as entered into between two parties, is a covenant : but that a free gift, as that agreement evidently is on God's part, and a gift of something through the death of him who obtains it for us, assumes somewhat of the character of a testament. A covenant, it is well known, was ratified with a sacrifice; and the victim must die, before the covenant could be complete. It is equally clear, that a testament is of force only when the testator is dead: so that, in both cases, death must ensue, before the instrument can be valid: in the one case, the death of a victim ; in the other case, the death of the party himself. But, I confess, this is not very satisfactory; and perhaps, after all, the best way is, to take the idea of a covenant throughout the whole, and to put that construction on the word in the different places where it is translated “ testament.” This will preserve more of unity throughout; and be, upon the whole, least liable to objection.

Ilowever, whilst I state the difficulty as appearing in the context, it is proper to observe, that it does not at all affect the sense of our text. That is clear and determinate ; and it will open to us a field of rich instruction, whilst I shew from it, I. Whence arose a necessity for typical purifica

tionsTypical purifications were made on many occasions

[The Apostle here refers to them, first, as made for the ratification of the covenant which God entered into with his people on Mount Horeb: yet, if we compare his account with that of Moses, we shall see several points of difference between the two; because, though the Apostle principally referred to that occasion, he had other occasions in his mind, which he comprehended with it. The account of Moses is, that Moses first related to the people the terms of God's covenant—that the people consented to them—that Moses then wrote them in a book-that the next morning early he built an altar, and offered burnt-offerings and peace-offerings upon it—that he then put half of the blood into basons, and sprinkled the other half upon the altar, having previously, it should seem, put the book upon the altar—then he read to them from the book the very same words which he had before delivered orally; and they again renewed their consent to them, and their perfect acquiescence in the terms proposed—then he took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, “Behold the blood of the covenant which the Lord hath made with you concerning all these words." To this account the Apostle adds, that the blood was mixed with water; and that, by means of scarlet wool and hyssop, he sprinkled with it the book, and all the peopleb. His sprinkling of the book is easily accounted for, by supposing it to have been laid upon the altar: and his sprinkling of all the people, by his sprinkling it on the representatives of all. And it may be, that water was mixed with the blood in order to facilitate the sprinkling of it; and that scarlet wool and hyssop were used by him for the purpose of sprinkling it more widely than he could do with his fingers. If we suppose these things, there will be no disagreement between the two statements; only the Apostle's will be the fuller. But, as the Apostle unquestionably refers to other occasions of sprinkling besides that when the covenant was made, I rather suppose, that he, in this particular enumeration of minute circumstances, (such as the use of water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop,) refers to the purification of the leper, in which these things were used by the express command of Godo.

I have said, that the Apostle unquestionably refers to other occasions besides the making of the covenant: and that he does so, appears from his mention of " the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministryd." for the tabernacle was not then reared; nor were the vessels of the ministry made; nor had the covenant above-mentioned any thing to do with “ remission of sins." But afterwards, when the tabernacle was reared, and furnished with all the vessels belonging to it, then was there a solemn sprinkling of them all with blood. The account deserves particular attention, because it reflects the clearest light upon the Apostle's statement in my text. At that time, and for ever afterwards on the great day of atonement, was

an atonement made for the holy sanctuary itself, as well as for the tabernacle of the congregation; and for the altar too, no less than for the priests and the congregation.” On every thing was the blood of atonement sprinkled, in order to cleanse the whole, even every vessel from the pollution it contracted by being used in the service of sinful man!]

But whence arose a necessity for these purifications ?

[Doubtless, the necessity arose, primarily, from the mere arbitrary appointment of God, who had commanded them to be made. But, subordinate to that, there were other, and most important, reasons too for these ordinances : for by purifying every thing with blood, God first shewed to his people their extreme need of mercy; next, He shadowed forth


a Exod. xxiv. 3–8. d

ver. 21.

ver. 19, 20. e ver. 22.

c Lev. xiv. 4—7.
f Lev. xvi. 15—20, 33.

to them the mercy which he had in reserve for them; and, lastly, He confirmed their expectation of that mercy in his appointed time.

What could a sinner think, when he understood that the very altar of God itself, yea, and the most holy place, the immediate residence of the Deity, needed to be purified with blood, because they were defiled by their use in the service of man? Must he not feel that his depravity was extreme, when his very best services were so polluted, that not only must they be purified with blood, but the very altar, on which his offerings were laid, and the sanctuary itself also, into which the blood of them was carried, must be purged with blood also ? Truly these ordinances were a daily source of the deepest humiliation to every soul amongst them.

But knowing, as of necessity they must, that these ordinances were only “ shadows of good things to come,” they would look forward to a better sacrifice, which should in due time be offered. They would see that remission of sins can be obtained through blood alone, through the blood of an innocent victim shed in their place and stead, and through the sprinkling of that blood upon their souls.

And by the daily repetition of the same ordinances, they must be constantly reminded of God's gracious purposes towards them; and be assured that he would, in due time, accomplish all that he had promised.

Thus were the typical purifications necessary in their place.]

But it was not in the patterns only of heavenly things that there existed a need of purification, but “in the heavenly things themselves.” I must therefore proceed to shew, II. What necessity there is for purification in the

things typifiedUnder the new covenant, no less than under the old, must every thing be purified with blood

[Our persons are altogether polluted and defiled: our bodies are a mass of corruption, our souls a sink of iniquity. There is no abomination that sin has brought into the world, but the soul is the very womb in which it is generated, or rather the fountain from whence it flows, as its proper and perennial source. How can such a creature find acceptance with a holy God, if there be not found some blood capable of purifying him from guilt, and some water capable of cleansing him from his inherent defilements ?

6 Heb. x. 1.

Our services also must, of necessity, partake of all this defilement: for “ who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean ?” Verily, as our common actions in life need purification; so do our very tears need to be washed, and our repentances to be repented of.

But of " the heavenly things” spoken of in my text, heaven itself is the principal: for it is that which was typified by the most holy place; it is that of which the sanctuary was intended to be a " pattern." And does that need purification? Yes, it does: nor could God himself endure it as a residence, so to speak, if it were not cleansed from the defilement it contracts by the introduction of sinners into it. Therefore, as the highpriest sprinkled the sanctuary with blood; so does our great High-priest, who " has entered into heaven, with his own bloodh" sprinkle and purify that holy place, and thus “prepare it as a mansion for his believing people..]

But for this end there must be a better sacrifice than any that were offered under the law

[The blood of beasts might suffice to cleanse men from ceremonial defilement: but it could never avail for the cleansing of moral guilt in any one particular: no; “ it was not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away

sink." To effect that was beyond the power of any created being. Had the first archangel assumed our nature for that end, he would have failed in the attempt. To so great a work none but God himself was competent: and God himself must become a man, and shed his own blood for us, ere one single sin can be blotted out from the book of God's remembrance, or one of our fallen race be able to present to God one acceptable service. All that was shadowed forth under the law must actually be fulfilled. The Son of the living God must take upon him our nature; must die as an atonement for sin; must enter into heaven with his own blood ; must sprinkle that blood upon the mercy-seat, and before the mercy-seat; must sprinkle us also, even every child of man who shall ever be interested in his atonement: even the covenant itself, too, must he sprinkle with his blood, in order to its ratification before God, and its application to our souls: all this, I say, must be done, in order to the admission of any human being to the realms of bliss. It is all necessary for God's honour; for no less a sacritice than this would satisfy his justice: and it is all equally necessary for our happiness ; since nothing less can bring peace into our consciences, or operate with a transforming efficacy on our souls.

As the patterns then of these things needed a purification

i John xiv. 2, 3.

k Heb, x.



ver. 12. VOL. XIX.

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