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SOME FARTHER EXAMPLES, WHICH SHEW HOW THE LAN
GUAGE OF THE OTHER PARTS OF THE SCRIPTURE IS
BORROWED FROM THE LANGUAGE OF
THE LAW OF
MOSES, AND TO BE INTERPRETED THEREBY. THE TEMPLE, THE SABBATH, CIRCUMCISION, CLEAN AND UNCLEAN ANIMALS, &c. THE WONDERFUL TES
TIMONY OF THE
LAW TO THE
Next in order to the offerings and the priesthood of the law, is the place of divine worship, wherein these services were accomplished, called the tabernacle; to which the scriptures both of the Old and New Testament referus, in many figurative passages, for the right understanding of which, we must first inquire what the tabernacle was in itself.
It was a moveable habitation; like a large tent, first erected in the wilderness, when the Israelites were on their pilgrimage to Canaan. It contained two apartments; the first of which was called the Holy Place, appointed for the daily services of sacrifice and prayer ; beyond which there was an inner apartment, called the most Holy Place, in which a service
was performed once in a year by the high-priest only: and these two apartments were separated by a veil reaching from the top to the bottom. In the most holy place, the presence of God was manifested, and his glory is said on some occasions to have filled the tabernacle: but it was usual for this glory to appear above or between the cherubims, which were placed here upon the mercy-seat which covered the ark; on which account the Apostle, in the Epistle to the Hebrews, calls them the cherubims of glory; and the Psalmist speaks of them as the proper seat of the Divine Majesty -Thou that dwellest between the cherubims, shine forth.*
There was this remarkable distinction between the two apartments of the tabernacle ; that as the one was the place of God's residence, the habitation of his holiness: the other had a conformity with this present world ; whence the apostle calls it a worldly sanctuary, resembling this visible world; as must indeed be evident to those who consider what relation it bore to the other sanctuary : how it was distinguished in its use from the most holy place which was the habitation of God; and how it was furnished with lights, as the visible heavens are, the chief of which are seven in number, and the lights of the tabernacle were made to answer them. From this known relation between the visible world and the sanctuary, the heavens are called the tabernacle of the sun; the whole world itself, and the firmament of heaven, with its glorious furniture, being one great tabernacle, comprehending the luminaries of the day and night, represented in figure by the lamps of the tabernacle. Josephus, in his Jewish Antiquities, has preserved a tradition, that this was the design of them, and that they had respect to the system of the heavens.* And this alliance between the furniture of the tabernacle and the furniture of the heavens, gives us a grand idea of the visible world; the inhabitants of which are all to consider themselves as
a or world-like sanctuary, that is, a sanctuary
* If the reader wishes to inquire into the form and design of the Cherubim, more particularly than the intention of these Lectures will permit me to do, as being designed for general use, I must refer him to the last edition of Mr. Parkhursts Hebrew Lexion; the most useful work, without exception, that has ever been published on the Literature or Philology of the sacred Language.
• The Emperor Numa placed a sacred fire in his temple, with the like allusion to the fire of the heavens: focum Vestæ virginibus colendum dedit, ut ad similitudinem coelestium siderum costos imperii flamma vigilaret. Flor. Hist. 1. c. 2.
comprehended in one great sanctuary, where the first and best employment (by necessary inference) is the service of that God who has brought them into it. Therefore the indevout mind, which is either ignorant or insensible of this doctrine of a sacred alliance and communion betwixt God and his creature, is a poor intruder into the great temple of the world ; on whom we ought to look as we should upon the rude savage, who should come staring into a Christian church in the time of divine service, without understanding what the nature of the place is, and how the people are employed.
From this description of the tabernacle we must proceed to the figurative acceptation of it: for that it actually was a figure, and had respect to things beyond itself, is shewn by the reasoning of St. Paul throughout the Epistle to the Hebrews; who there speaks of a true tabernacle, of a nature superior to that of the law, but signified and shadowed out by it. The same appears from the words spoken to Moses, See thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount : which direction was preserved, and is quoted in the New Testament twice, to teach us, that the visible tabernacle was nothing more than a copy from
an heavenly original, which came down from God out of heaven, (like the New Jerusalem in the Revelation,) and was exhibited to Moses in a vision on the mount. Hence the Apostle argues for a prophetic relation to heavenly things in the earthly tabernacle. As we hear of a Jerusalem that is above, corresponding to the earthly Jerusalem; so was there always understood to be a heavenly tabernacle; the eternal residence of God, as the tabernacle below was his temporary residence, while his presence was with Moses and the Jews. This heavenly original must be understood, where the Psalmist speaks of the dwelling of the righteous man in the secret place of the Most High, under the shadow of the Almighty, covering him with his wings, as the cherubim of glory are said to spread forth their wings in the secret place of the earthly sanctuary.* So where he saith in the 15th Psalm, Who shall dwell in thy tabernacle, or who shall rest upon thy holy hill? No man can be so ignorant as to think that the godly were to expect their rest and reward in a tabernacle, which had no existence after the days of David. The words must refer to that other tabernacle
spoken of by Isaiah, a tabernacle that shall not be
* Psalm xci, 1,4.