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favorite hypothesis, as not to be over- far-fetched, we only keep up the imascrupulous as to means of support. gery of Scripture, when we take the
We dismiss, therefore, as untenable, church as that" true tabernacle" wherethe opinion which our wishes would of the Redeemer is the minister. have led us to espouse, and must seek And when we yet further call to mind elsewhere than in the humanity of that to God alone is the conversion of Christ for "the true tabernacle which man ascribed throughout Scripture, we the Lord pitched, and not man.” The see, at once, the truth of the account most correct and simple idea appears to given of this tabernacle, that the Lord be, that, inasmuch as Christ is the high pitched it and not man. Man reared priest of all who believe upon his name, the Jewish tabernacle, and man builded and inasmuch as believers make up his the Jewish temple. But the spiritual church, the whole company of the faith- sanctuary, of which these were but ful constitute that tabernacle of which types and figures, could be constructed he is here asserted the minister. If we by no human architect. A finite power adopt this interpretation, we may trace is inadequate to the fashioning and col. a fitness and accuracy of expression lecting living stones, and to the weav. which can scarcely fail to assure us of ing the drapery of self-denial and obe. its justice. The Jewish tabernacle, un-dience. We refer, undividedly, to Deiquestionably typical of the christian ty the construction of this true taberchurch, consisted of the outer part and nacle, the church. Had there been no the inner; the one open to the minis- mediatorial interference, the spiritual trations of inferior priests, the other to temple could never have been erected. those of the high priest alone. Thus In the work and person of Christ were the church, always one body, whatever laid the foundation of this temple. the dispersion of its members, is partly "Behold, saith God, I lay in Zion for a upon earth where Christ's ambassadors foundation a stone, a tried stone." Isa. officiate, partly in heaven where Christ 28 : 16. And on the stone thus laid himself is present. St. Paul, referring there would have arisen no superstructo this church as a household, describes ture, had not the finished work of reChrist Jesus as him " of whom the demption been savingly applied, by whole family in heaven and earth is God's Spirit, to man's conscience. named;" Eph. 3 : 15; intimating that Though redeemed, not a solitary indiit was no interference with the unity vidual would go on to be saved, unless of this family, that some of its mem- God recreated him after his own likebers resided above, whilst others re- ness. So that, whatever the breadth mained, as warriors and sufferers, be- which we give to the expression, it low. So that, in considering Christ's must hold good of Christ's church, that church as the tabernacle with its holy the Lord pitched it and not man. And place, and its holy of holies—the first it is not more true of Christ's humanion earth, the second in heaven-we ad. ty, mysteriously and supernaturally prohere most rigidly to the type, and, at duced, that it was a tabernacle which the same time, preserve harmony with Deity reared, than of the company
of other representations of Scripture. believers, born again of the Spirit and
And when you remember that Christ renewed after God's image, that they is continually described as dwelling in constitute a sanctuary which shows a his people, and that believers are repre- nobler than mortal workmanship. sented as "builded together for an habi- Now, upon the grounds thus briefly tation of God through the Spirit,” Eph. adduced, we shall consider, through the 2 : 22, there will seem to be none of remainder of our discourse, that "the that objection against this interpreta- true tabernacle," whereof Christ is the tion which we felt constrained to urge minister, denotes the whole church, against the former. If it be common to whether in earth or heaven, of the rerepresent believers, whether singly or deemed, made one by union, through collectively, as the temple of God; and faith, with the Redeemer. But before if, at the same time, Christ Jesus, as considering, at greater length, the the high priest of our profession, pre- senses in which Christ is the minister side at the altar, and hold the censor of of this tabernacle, we would remark on this temple; then we suppose nothing his being styled '" Minister,” and not
"High Priest.” We shall find, in the We shall proceed, therefore, to exsequel, that this change of title is too plain our text on the two assumptions, important to be overlooked, and that for each of which we have shown you we must give it our attention, if we a reason. We assume, in the first place, would bring out the full meaning of the that "the true tabernacle” is the colpassage. The word translated "minis- lective church of the redeemed, wheter," denotes properly any public ser. ther in earth or heaven: in the second, Fant, whatever the duties committed to that the office of minister, though inhis care. His office, or his ministry, is cluding that of high priest, has duties any business undertaken for the sake attached to it which belong specially of the commonwealth. Hence, in the to itself. These points, you observe, New Testament, the word rendered we assume, or take for granted, through " ministry” is transferred to the public the remainder of our discourse; and ofice of the Levites and Priests, and we wish them, therefore, borne in mind afterwards to the sacerdotal office of as ascertained truths. Christ. We keep the Greek word in our In strict conformity with these asown language, but confine it to the sumptions, we shall now speak to you, business of the sanctuary, describing in the first place, of Christ as minister as "a Liturgy” a formulary of public of the church on earth; in the second devotions. When Christ, therefore, is place, of Christ as minister of the church called the minister of the tabernacle, a in heaven. broader office seems assigned him than Now it is of first-rate importance that when styled the High Priest. As the we consider Christ as withdrawn only High Priest of his church, he is alone; from the eye of sense, and, therefore, the functions of the office being such present as truly, after a spiritual manas himself only can discharge. But as ner, with his church, as when, in the the minister of his church, he is indeed day of humiliation, he moved visibly supreme, but not alone; the same title upon earth. The lapse of time has being given to bis ambassadors; as brought no interruption of his parting when St. Paul describes himself as the promise to the apostles, "Lo, I am with " minister of Jesus Christ to the Gen. you alway, even unto the end of the tiles, ministering the Gospel of God." world.” Matt. 28 : 20. He has provid. Rom. 15:16. You will perceive, at ed, by keeping up a succession of men once, from this statement, that our text who derive authority, in unbroken se. ought not to be expounded as though ries, from the first teachers of the faith, " Minister" and "High Priest” were for the continued preaching of his word, identical titles. No force is then attach- and administration of his sacraments. ed to a word, of whose application to And thus he hath been, all along, the Christ this verse is the solitary instance. great minister of his church: delegatIndeed we are persuaded that much of ing, indeed, power to inferior ministers the power and beauty of the passage who " have the treasure in earthen veslies in the circumstance, that Christ is sels;" 2 Cor. 4:7; but superintending called "the Minister of the true taber- their appointments as the universal uacle," and not the High Priest. If "the bishop, and evangelizing, so to speak, true tabernacle” be, as we seem to have his vast diocese, through their instruascertained, the whole church of the mentality. We contend that you have redeemed, that part of the church which no true idea of a church, unless you thus is already in glory appears to have no recognize in its ordinances, not merely need of Christ as a priest; and we may the institution of Christ, but his actual search in vain for the senses which the and energizing presence. You have no passage would bear, when applied to right, when you sit down in the sancibis part. But if Christ's prieslly functuary, to regard the individual who adtions, properly so called, relate not to dresses you as a mere public speaker, the church in heaven, it is altogether delivering an barangue which has prepossible that his ministerial may; so cisely so much worth as it may draw ibat there is, perhaps, a propriety in from its logic and its language. He is calling him the minister of that church, an ambassador from the great Head of which there would not be in calling the church, and derives an authority hin the High Priest,
from this Head, which is quite independent of his own worthiness. If Christ expecting a message from above, shall remain always the minister of his be addressed through the mouth, ay, church, Christ is to be looked at through even through the mistakes and errors, his ministering servant, whoever shall of the inferior. And in upholding this visibly officiate. And though there be truth, a truth attested by the experience a great deal preached in which you of numbers, we simply contend for the cannot recognize the voice of the Sa- accuracy of that description of Christ vior; and though the sacraments be which is under review. If, wheresoever administered by hands which seem im- the minister is himself deficient and unpure enough io sully their sanctity; taught, so that his sermons exhibit a yet do we venture to assert, that no wrong system of doctrine, you will not man, who keeps Christ steadfastly in allow that Christ's church may be proview as the "minister of the true ta- bited by the ordinance of preaching; bernacle,” will ever fail to derive profit you clearly argue that the Redeemer from a sermon, and strength from a has given up his office, and that he can communion. The grand evil is that men no longer be styled the "minister of ordinarily lose the chief minister in the the true tabernacle.” There is no midinserior, and determine beforehand that dle course between denying that Christ they cannot be advantaged, unless the is the minister, and allowing that, whatinferior be modelled exactly to their ever the faulty statements of his ordainown pattern. They regard the speaker ed servant, no soul, which is hearkensimply as a man, and not at all as a ing in faith for a word of counsel or messenger. Yet the ordained preacher comfort, shall find the ordinance worthis a messenger, a messenger from the less and be sent away empty. God of the whole earth. His mental And from this we obtain our first ilcapacity may be weak-that is nothing. lustration of our text. We behold the His speech may be contemptible—that true followers of Christ enabled to find is nothing. His knowledge may be cir- food in pastures which seem barren, cumscribed-we say not that is no. and water where the fountains are dry. thing. But we say that, whatever the They obtain indeed the most copious man's qualifications, he should rest upon supplies—though, perhaps, even this his office. And we hold it the business will not always hold good—when the of a congregation, if they hope to find sermons breathe nothing but truth, and profit in the public duties of the Sab- the sacraments are administered by bath, to cast away those personal con- men of tried piety and faith. But when siderations which may have to do with every thing seems against them, so that, the officiating individual, and to fix on a carnal calculation, you would supsteadfastly their thoughts on the oflice pose the services of the church stripped itself. Whoever preaches, a congrega- of all efficacy, then, by acting faith on tion would be profited, if they sat down the head of the ministry, they are inin the temper of Cornelius and his structed and nourished; though, in the friends: now therefore are we all here main, the given lesson be falsehood, present before God, to hear all things and the proffered sustenance little betihat are commanded thee of God." ter than poison. And if Christ be thus Acts, 10:33.
always sending messages to those who But if a sermon differ from what a listen for his voice; il he so take upon Gospel sermon should be, men will de- himself the office of preacher as to contermine that Christ could have had no- strain even the tongue of error to speak thing to do with its delivery. Now this, instruction to his people; and if, over we assert, is nothing less than the de- and above this conveyance of lessons posing Christ from the ministry assign- by the most unpromising vehicle, he be ed him by our text. We are far enough dispensing abundantly, by his faithful from declaring that the chief minister ambassadors, the rich nutriment of puts the false words into the mouth of sound and heavenly doctrine-every the inferior. But we are certain, as sermon, which speaks truth to the heart upon a truth which to deny is to assault being virtually a homily of Christ delithe foundations of christianity, that the vered by himself, and every sacrament, chief minister is so mindful of his office which transmits grace, an ordinance of that every man, who listens in faith, Christ superintended by himself-why, a fidelity the most extraordinary must coalition of Deity and humanity of be allowed to distinguish the descrip- which his person was the subject; and tion of our text; and Christ, though he took into his grasp the globe over removed from visible ministration, has whose provinces Satan expatiated as his yet so close a concernment with all the rightful territory; and, by one vast imbusiness of the sanctuary-uttering the pulse, he threw it back into the galaxy word, sprinkling the water, and break- of Jehovah's favor; and angel and arching the bread, to all the members of angel, cherubim and seraphim sang the his mystical body-that he must em- chorus of triumph at the stupendous phatically be styled, "a minister of holy achievement. things, of the true tabernacle which Now it is of this achievement that the Lord pitched, and not man.” intercession perpetuates the results.
But whilst the office of minister thus We wish you to understand thoroughincludes duties whose scene of perfor- ly the nature of Christ's intercession. mance is the holy place, there are When Rome had thrown from her the others which can only be discharged warrior who had led his countrymen in the holy of holies. These appertain to victory, and galled and fretted the to Christ under his character of High proud spirit of her boldest hero; he, Priest ; no inferior minister being privi- driven onward by the demon of releged to enter " within the veil.” 'You venge, gave himself as a leader where must, we think, be familiar, through he had before been a conqueror, and, frequent hearing, with the offices of taking a hostile banner into his pasChrist as our Intercessor. You know sionate grasp, headed the foes who that though he suffered but once, in the sought to subjugate the land of his nalast ages of the world, yet, ever living tivity. Ye remember, it may be, how to plead the merits of his sacrifice, he intercession saved the city. The mother gives perpetuity to the oblation, and bowed before the son ; and Coriolanus, applies to the washing away of sin that vanquished by tears, subdued by plaints, blood which is as expiatory as in its left the capitol unscathed by battle. first warm gushings. In no respect is Here is a precise instance of what it more sublimely true than in this, that men count successful intercession. But Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, there is no analogy between this interand to-day, and for ever.” The high cession and the intercession of Christ. priests of Aaron's line entered, year by Christ intercedes with justice. But the year, into the holiest of all, making con- intercession is the throwing down his tinually a new atonement "for them. cross on the crystal floor of heaven, and selves and for the errors of the people.” thus proffering his atonement to satisfy Heb. 9:7. But he who was constituted the demand. Oh, it is not the interces"after the order of Melchisedec,” king sion of burning tears, nor of half-choked as well as priest, entered in once, not utterance, nor of thrilling speech. It " by the blood of goats and calves, but is the intercession of a broken body, by his own blood,” Heb. 9 : 12, and and of gushing blood-of death, of pasneeded never to return and ascend sion, of obedience. It is the intercesagain the altar of sacrifice. It is not sion of a giant leaping into the gap, and that sin can now be taken away by any filling it with his colossal stature, and thing short of shedding of blood. But covering, as with a rampart of flesh, the intercession perpetuates crucifixion. defenceless camp of the outcasts. So Christ, as high priest within the veil, so that, not by the touching words and immortalizes Calvary that, though " he gestures of supplication, but by the reliveth unto God,” he dies continually sistless deeds and victories of Calvary, unto sin. And thus," is any man sin, the Captain of our salvation intercedes: we have," saith St. John, "an advocate pleading, not as a petitioner who would with the Father.” 1 John, 2 : 1. But move compassion, but rather as a conof what nature is his advocacy? If you queror who would claim his trophies. would understand it, you must take Hence Christ is "able to save to the the survey of his atonement. It was a uttermost," on the very ground that mighty exploit which the Mediator ef- " he ever liveth to make intercession;" sected in the days of humiliation. He Heb. 7: 25 ; seeing that no sin can be arose in the strength of that wondrous committed for which the satisfaction,
made upon Calvary, proffers not an im- the tongue; or rather, it is the sound mediate and thorough expiation. And produced, when the Spirit has swept if, as the intercessor, or advocate, of the chords of the soul, and there is a his people, Christ Jesus may be said to correspondent vibration of the lip. But stand continually at the altar-side; and though prayer and praise be thus, emif he be momentarily offering up the phatically, the breathings of the Holy sacrifice which is momentarily required Ghost, they ascend not up in their by their fast recurring guilt, is he not purity, because each of us is compelled most truly a minister of the tabernacle? to exclaim with Isaiah, "Wo is me, If, though the shadows of Jewish wor- because I am a man of unclean lips." ship have been swept away, so that, Isaiah, 6 : 5. Even the voice of the inday by day, and year by year, a typical terceding Spirit, when proceeding from atonement is no longer to be made, the that tongue which " is a fire, a world constant commission of sin demand, as of iniquity," James, 3 : 6, penetrates it must demand, the constant pouring not the holy of holies, unless the Interout of blood; and if, standing not in- cessor, who is at God's right hand, give deed in a material court, and offering it wings and gain it access. The atnot the legal victims, but, nevertheless, mosphere, so to speak, which is round officiating in the presence of God, "a the ihrone of the Eternal One, must be lamb as it had been slain,” Rev. 5:6, impervious to the incense burnt in the the Redeemer present the oblation pre- earthly tabernacle, unless moist with scribed for every offence and every that mysterious dew which was wrung short-coming ; is not the whole business by anguish from the Mediator. of the tabernacle which man pitched
And how then shall we better repretransacted over again, and that too sent the office which the Intercessor exevery instant, in the tabernacle which ecutes than by saying, that he holds in God pitched; and, Christ being the his hands the censer of his own merits, high priest who alone presides over this and, gathering into it the prayers and expiatory process, how otherwise shall praises of his church, renders them a we describe him than as the "minister sweet savor acceptable to the Father ? of the sanctuary, and of the true taber- Perfumed with the odor of Christ's pronacle which the Lord pitched, and not pitiation, the incense mounts; and God, man ?"
in his condescension, accepts the offerBut once more. We may regard the ing, and breathes benediction in return. prayers and praises of real believers as And what then, we again ask, is Christ incense burnt in the true tabernacle, Jesus but the "minister of the true and rising in fragrant clouds towards tabernacle?" If it be the Intercessor heaven. Yet who knows not that this who carries our prayers and praises incense, though it be indeed nothing within the veil, and, laying them on the less than the breathings of the Holy glowing fire of his righteousness, causes Spirit, is so defiled by the corrupt a spicy cloud to ascend and cover the channel of humanity through which it mercy-seat; does not this Intercessor passes, that, unless purified and ethe. ofiiciate in the true tabernacle as did rialized, it can never be accepted of the high priest of old in the figurative; God? The Holy Ghost, as well as Christ and have we not fresh attestation to the Jesus, is said to make intercession for truth of the description, that Jesus is us. But these intercessions are of a "a minister of holy things, of the true widely different character. The Spirit tabernacle which the Lord pitched, and pleads not sor us as Christ pleads, hold not man?" ing up a cross, and pointing to wounds. We think that the several particulars The intercession of the Spirit is an in- thus adduced constitute a strong wittercession made within ourselves, and ness, so far as the church on earth is through ourselves. It is the result of concerned, to the accuracy of the detithe Spirit's casting himself into our nition presented by our text. We have breasts, and there praying for us by in- shown you that to all true believers structing us to pray for ourselves. 'Thus Christ Jesus is literally the minister of real prayer is the Spirit's breath; and the sanctuary, preaching through the what else is real praise ? Real praise preacher, and administering, through is the Spirit's throwing the heart into his hands, the sacraments. And though