Page images


that is always the prominent and central object, are frequently described as reared up in their proud stateliness and decoration by a certain more laboured effort and lengthened process of skill and power :“The city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God,"_" The true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched and not man,”—The sanctuary “not of this building,”—The shrine “not made with hands." The comparison involved in this allusion between the heavenly and the earthly sanctuary, as having been made, the one with hands, the other without; as the one the product of human labour, the other of Divine Omnipotence, sufficiently indicates how worthy the latter is to be entitled “ the greater and more perfect tabernacle.” The limited resources of human skill and human might, even when working after a heavenly model, can never produce a work which shall not bear upon its front and in its fabric the traces of a being limited at once in his resources and in his faculties. The structures of sublimest aspect which the families of men have ever piled up to the honour of the powers immortal, though in them have been concentrated, by the collective Genius of Humanity, the very extremest conceptions which human intelligence can form of grace and grandeur,--all have some point of weakness or deformity about them.--all admit of some addition to their ultimate perfection, which reminds us that they are only the clay-structures of a clay-creator,--that they are “ temples made with hands.” How, then, must the most glorious of them all,—not to speak of the tabernacle in the wilderness, on which the de sert-wanderers must have had comparatively trifling wealth, and skill, and power to expend,-how must the temple itself, for whose erection and decoration the victorious David, with his nobles and his people, made such overflowing provision, and the magnificent Solomon tasked to the utmost the resources of his royalty, when he excelled all kings of the earth in riches and in wisdom, compelling the earth to yield its costliest marbles, and the forest of Lebanon its rare and odorous woods, with the gold of the Indian continent, and gems of the Indian deep, how must even the temple of Zion, when it yet stood “the marvel of all lands,"_" the joy of the whole earth," appear poor, and paltry, and obscure, when compared, but in imagination, with the sanctuary not made with hands, in rearing which Jehovah himself has made proof of his omnipotence, to produce a structure worthy of himself to inhabit through eternity,--to be the wonder and the glory of this glorious universe,-to be admired throughout création as the labour of a God! It is with this proportion, therefore, always kept in view,--the proportion between the feebleness of man and the omnipotence of God, in producing what is fair, and mighty, and magnificent,--that we are to conceive of the second point of comparison between the Holy

of Holies in the ancient tabernacle, and the Holy of Holies in this great universe,--that even as we may believe the former to have surpassed in sumptuousness and splendour all the other parts, so we have reason to suppose that that innermost heaven, where Jesus, the Christian High Priest, ministers before the throne of God, if unveiled before our gaze, would cast into profoundest shade the utmost displays of radiance, and sublimity, and beauty, which adorn these outer courts of creation, this verdant earth, and its star-spangled canopy.

There still remain for illustration two very important and interesting particulars, in which the ancient Holy of Holies bears a striking analogy to the Heaven of Heavens : 1st, That the former was to those who worshipped in the exterior courts of the temple, as the latter is to us who adore Jehovah from afar in these distant regions of the universe, a veiled, a hidden, and mysterious place; and, 2dly, That the office performed by the Jewish high priest in the former, when he entered with the blood of sacrifice and the censer of incense, and having sprinkled with the sacred aspersion the mercy-seat and footstool of Jehovah, presented there, before the propitiated Divinity, his intercessions on behalf of the people without the veil, was a most significant emblem,—was the intended prefiguration of the function to be discharged by the Anointed Priest of our profession, when, “not with the blood of bulls or

of goats, but with his own blood, he entered in once into the holy place” which lies beyond the starry firmament, " there to appear in the presence of God for us,"—to plead, on our behalf, the completion of the one sacrifice, by which “ he hath perfected for ever all them that are sanctified,” and, because he ever liveth, ever to make intercession for us. I regret sincerely, that it is impossible this evening to proceed to the discussion of this more spiritual and practical part of the subject before us, and that the only conception we have yet been able to form of the eternal sanctuary, is that of a place of unequalled physical magnificence, without contemplating it in its more interesting light, as the scene of the most important moral transactions, and these most intimately connected with our own state, and character, and eternal destination. And yet, my brethren, even the conceptions of physical grandeur which we have this evening been endeavouring to form, are not, in the connexion in which we have been regarding them, without a certain spiritual bearing and significance. There is an argument, you must remember, involved in all the comparisons of this chapter, and especially in the comparison of the earthly and the heavenly sanctuary in point of natural magnificence and grandeur,--an argument to this effect, that in proportion to the splendour of the sanctuary is the greatness of the officiating priest. As far as the Heaven of Heavens transcends the Holy of Holies, so far the

High Priest of our profession excels in dignity the high priest of the order of Aaron.

« Of the things which we have spoken, this is the sum,”--the leading and primary conclusion :-“ We have such an High Priest who is set on the right hand of the Majesty in the heavens,& minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the Lord pitched and not man." All the grandeurs of the empyrean heaven are here referred to by the apostle, and will be, by the Christian, realized as but the appendages and collateral indications of the sovereign glory of the Son of God, in the character of man's High Priest and Intercessor. On his person, placed, as it were, in the focal point of the ethereal effulgence, are reflected and concentrated from

side the flashing glories of the heavenly temple. “Seeing, then, that we have so great a High Priest, Jesus, the Son of God, who is passed through the heavens," through all the starry curtains of the Heaven of Heavens, “ let us hold fast our profession." Let us feel the surpassing glory of that Divine religion which is invested and hung round on every side with such sublime associations, whose primary and central temple, erected on the hills of immortality, and bright with the magnificence of eternity, so far outshines the oracle that glorified of old the earthly Zion, and was itself adorned with the uttermost resources of human grandeur. And so let us live,relying on the atonement which Jesus for ever


« PreviousContinue »