The priests which were anointed.
I. AN INCIDENTAL ILLUSTRATION OF THE EXALTED PERSONAL CHARACTER AND THE DIVINE MISSION OF MOSES.
II. AN INTIMATION THAT THE DUTIES OF THE MINISTERS OF RELIGION DEMAND FOR THEIR FAITHFUL DISCHARGE THEIR ENTIRE CONSECRATION THERETO.
III. AN EXAMPLE OF WICKED SONS DESCENDING FROM A GODLY PARENT.
IV. AN EXAMPLE OF THE WIDEST DIFFERENCE OF CHARACTER AND DESTINY IN CHILDREN OF THE SAME PARENTS. Our subject utters earnest counsels —
1. To the children of godly parents. Trust not in the character and prayers of your parents for salvation. These are of priceless value, yet they will not avail to your salvation apart from your own faith and obedience. (See Ezekiel 18.)
2. To parents. Be diligent and faithful in the discharge of your duty to your children.
(1) (2) (3) (4) (W. Jones.)
(2) (3) (4) (W. Jones.)
(3) (4) (W. Jones.)
(4) (W. Jones.)
The dedication of the Levites—
I. THE OFFICES OF THE CHURCH ARE DIVINELY INSTITUTED.
II. THERE ARE DIFFERENT RANKS IN THE OFFICES OF THE CHURCH AS INSTITUTED BY GOD.
III. THE LOWLIEST LABOUR IN THE SERVICE OF GOD IS SACRED AND BLESSED.
IV. GOD ALSO APPOINTS THE PERSONS TO FILL THE VARIOUS OFFICES IN HIS CHURCH.
V. INTRUSION INTO SACRED PLACES AND DUTIES AWAKENED THE STERN DISPLEASURE OF THE LORD.Conclusion:
1. Encouragement to those who are called of God to Christian work. He who has called you to your work will sustain you in it, make it efficient by His blessing, and confer upon you rich rewards.
2. Admonition as to our estimate of the ministers of the Lord. They "are ambassadors for Christ." God Himself speaks through them to men.
I. GOD'S CLAIMS UPON MAN'S SERVICE ARE INCONTESTABLE. Upon what are they grounded?
1. Upon what He is in Himself.
2. Upon what He does for man.
II. THERE IS A CORRESPONDENCE BETWEEN THE GIFTS AND THE CLAIMS OF GOD. His demands are proportioned to His bestowments.
1. This is righteous.
2. This is beneficent.
III. THE DIVINE ARRANGEMENTS ARE EVER MARKED BY INFINITE WISDOM AND KINDNESS.
I. GOD GAVE THE BEST HE HAD TO EFFECT OUR SALVATION.
II. THE SON GAVE HIMSELF. Let us sacrifice ourselves to God as He sacrificed His Son for us.
1. Thus only can we attain to a high ideal in religion. Be the best possible Christian: be not content with mediocrity: aim high.
2. This is the best way to be useful. The power of Christianity is in the fact of Christ giving Himself. Our influence for good is in proportion to our selfsacrifice.
3. This is the way to enjoy religion. The more we give of self to God, the more will He give of Himself to us. Let all think of what God has done for them, and consider what returns they have made to Him.
1. A certain and settled ministry is an evident token that God hath a church and a people to be begotten by the immortal seed of the Word.
2. Without the light of the Word the people remain in darkness and cannot see: they grope at noonday, and know not what they do — as it was in Egypt when the plague of palpable darkness was sent among them (Exodus 10:23).
3. The necessity of a ministry is so evident that all the Gentiles had their priests and prophets that attended on their profane and superstitious altars, and it was their first care to establish a religion, such as it was, among them. If it were thus among them who saw darkly, and were without the true light of the Scripture, much more ought we to learn it, that have been taught better things, and have the sure word of the prophets to guide us.
4. Such is our frailty, that notwithstanding we live under a settled ministry, and have given our names to the faith, yet we are ready to start back again. For as the body is prone to pine away without supply of daily food, so are our souls ready to perish, being destitute of the heavenly manna of the Word of God.Uses:
1. There is offered unto us this truth arising from the doctrine itself, that the preaching of the Word by the minister, and the hearing of it by the people, is no ceremony nor a matter of indifferency, such as may either be done or left undone at our own discretion, but it is such a part of the public service of God as ought not to be neglected without great sin.
2. It serveth to reprove divers abuses.(1) Such as think and spare not to say that the ministry is a vain and superfluous thing, and that the ministers are men that may very well be spared, as if they were a sixth finger upon the hand, or a sixth toe upon the foot; that is bringing a burden rather than a benefit. For as they account the Sabbath the loss of one day in a week, so they account the maintenance of the ministry the loss of their goods. These have learned another language than the tongue of Canaan. They do not the works that beseem Christians, and they cannot speak as beseemeth those that profess the fear of God, if so be they do profess so much. Is it a needless thing to have the light of the sun in the firmament, without which all things are covered with darkness, and nothing can have life and quickening? But the sun is not more necessary to be in the world than the light of the Word in the Church to give life and light unto them that sit in darkness (Matthew 4:16). Is it needless to have labourers to reap down our corn in time of harvest? To have meat brought unto us and provided for us when we are hungry, or drink when we are thirsty?(2) The vain conceit of their hearts, who having learned the principles of religion and some grounds of knowledge, proceed no further, as if they had no more use of the Word, whereas there is matter of instruction always to be learned out of the Word for all persons. When we have eaten one kind of meat one day, we eat the next day as hungrily of it as we did before.(3) They that extol to the skies the kingdoms and commonwealths of the heathen as the only prosperous, flourishing, and happy nations, which indeed excelled in outward glory and thereby dazzled the eyes of many, yet indeed were no better than assemblies of men destitute of religion, and consequently of salvation. Their peace and prosperity, their wealth and dignity, were all carnal and momentary, rising out of the earth, and sinking down into the earth again; their praise also is of men. It is the maintenance of true religion that maketh a people truly happy, and the means of spreading abroad true religion is the ministry of the Word. There is no way to know it and to practise it but by this.
3. Must the ministry be established among all people under heaven? Then let every one of us be careful for our parts to plant it among us, and to bring it home to the places of our abode.
4. Let the ministers be careful to discharge their calling, and to teach the people in season and out of season. They must be lights of the world, and as savoury salt to season them with wholesome doctrine.
5. Let the people carefully attend to the ministry of the Word, where it is settled and planted, with a good conscience, as to God's holy ordinance vouchsafed unto them. Let them bring attention in hearing, diligence in marking, and obedience in practising. Let them not use any delays to shift off the performance of this duty.
Christian World.If we agree that the Christian ministry is a vocation for the teaching, in various forms, of Christian righteousness, the question next comes, What is meant by a "call" to it? Is this anything different from that inward impulse to a specific form of work which arises in a man from a consciousness of special gifts in that direction? In that sense a man may be said to be called to the work of a musician or artist. The parents of Mozart, when they found their son, at the age of seven, playing before the crowned heads of Europe, need have been in no doubt as to his life work. It was revealed in his gifts more plainly than it could have been by a voice from heaven. And when, on the other hand, Mozart's own son, once asked whether he loved music, replied by flinging down some coins on the table and exclaiming, "That's the only music I care for," it was equally evident that whatever he came into the world to do, it was not to follow in the steps of his father. Vocation here undoubtedly is in a line with fitness. The tools are for him who can use them.
From a month old.: — That He taketh them from a month old is a thing of good use, and we may note it, for it notably showeth that we may destinate our children to God before they be fit for any other course of life. In the Gospel, those parents that brought little children to Christ are chronicled up for an eternal praise of them, and for an example to all parents to the end of the world. Matthew calleth them "little children." Luke calleth them "babes," even such as yet hanged upon the breast, effectually noting how soon we should bring them to Christ. Satan's envy even against these babes to be brought to Christ appeareth there, and our Saviour's unspeakable good against that malice, commanding them to be brought unto Him, and not to be hindered, taking them in His arms, putting His hands upon them, blessing them, and graciously affirming, that "of such is the kingdom of God." A natural parent wishes all good to his child, and as he is able, procureth it, even as the root spreadeth his sap to the branches without grudge or exception; and a religious parent, above all worldly good, careth for God's holy fear to be planted in his child. For the effecting whereof soon he bringeth him unto Christ, knowing that the first liquor put into a vessel is of great force ever in the same. Alas, what will the whole world profit them, were we able to give it them, ii eternally they be damned — yea, they and we both, they for not knowing Christ, and we for not bringing them to Christ. Wherefore earnest is that commandment of the Holy Ghost, "Fathers, bring up your children in instruction and information of the Lord." Abraham is registered up for this care; and whilst this Book of God remaineth it will be found written to their praise that Timothy's grandmother and mother brought him up in the knowledge of the Scripture from a child. Honour may shine and glory may glitter, but how soon covered with a cloud. Beauty much wished, but permanent with neither wishes nor wisdom whatsoever. Only the good gotten by bringing children to Christ remaineth for ever in his reward. And therefore let religious parents have a care of it, even soon, soon, remembering this place, that the Levites, appointed for His service, He would have numbered from a month old.
(H. Bushnell, D. D.)
These shall pitch on the side of the tabernacle.
1. Consider the titles that are given unto God in the Scriptures. He is worthily called the King of His Church, and the Lord and Master of His house. Is not He "the Shepherd of Israel that leadeth Josephlike sheep"? (Psalm 80:1). Will a shepherd that hath any care of his sheep, or any love unto them, look unto some of them and not to all? Will a king regard only the chief cities and most populous places of his kingdom, and suffer the rest to live as they list, without laws and good orders? Or will the master of a house look to some in his family, and not to all?
2. Such is the grace and goodness of God, that He would have all His people come to knowledge. Such as know not His will are none of His servants. If then He require the understanding of His ways, not only of rich men, of great men, of learned men, and of the ministers, but of all the people, we must hereof conclude that He hath ordained that all of them should have the means of knowledge and salvation offered unto them, and published among them.
3. The Word of God was penned for all estates, degrees, and conditions of men.
4. All persons, whatsoever they be, have souls to save: simple persons, small congregations, little assemblies, as well as others that ale many in number.Uses:
1. It is God's ordinance that every congregation should have a learned minister to teach them the true religion and fear of God.
2. It is required of the ministers of the Gospel, whom the Holy Ghost hath made overseers of their several flocks, to look to their whole charge from one corner of it to another. They are to give an account for every soul that dies through their ignorance or through their negligence.
3. We have warrant from hence to desire most earnestly that the kingdom of God may flourish everywhere. Christ our Saviour teaches us to pray that His kingdom may come (Matthew 6:10), and so to be erected in the hearts of men.
4. This doctrine serveth as an instruction to all magistrates (as their places serve them) to further the preaching of the Word, and to furnish such places as belong unto them with able teachers.