Leviticus 11:1
The LORD spoke again to Moses and Aaron, saying,
Clean and UncleanJ.A. Macdonald Leviticus 11:1-8
HolinessS.R. Aldridge Leviticus 11:1-47
The Religious Use of NatureR.M. Edgar Leviticus 11:1-47
As man is made after the image of God, so is the outward and sensible world constituted as a kind of apographa to represent the spiritual world which is the subject of faith (Romans 1:20). The key to unlock the mysteries of this system is to be found in the Scriptures of truth; and animals, according to it, are to be viewed as representing men.


1. The clean. The marks of cleanness are:

(1) That they "divide the hoof." By the division of the hoof, as in the ox and sheep, the animal is able so to order its steps as not to throw up the mud upon itself, as the horse does whose hoof is not cloven.

(2) They "chew the cud." So their food is more perfectly prepared for digestion. The manner in which this is done, while the creature rests, is so suggestive of thoughtfulness and meditation that it is described as ruminating.

(3) The clean animals were therefore chosen to represent the Israelites, who were a holy nation. They were ceremonially holy:

(a) So walking in the ways of God's commandments as not to be polluted with the abominations of idolatry.

(b) So meditating upon the Law as inwardly to digest it to their nourishment (see Psalm 1:2; 1 Timothy 4:13-15).

(c) Thus also they became morally greatly superior to the nations around them.

2. The unclean.

(1) The Gentiles in contrast to the Jews were so, ceremonially, and were therefore shut out from communion with the Jews. But it was competent to them to be made holy by becoming proselytes.

(2) They were in general idolaters, and so morally abominable. It was mainly to keep the Israelites from being contaminated with the idolatries of their neighbours, that these laws were instituted (see verse 45; 20:23-25; Deuteronomy 14:1-3).

3. There are but two classes of men.

(1) Though some animals divide the hoof, they are not clean unless they also chew the cud. The hog is of this order, and is filthy to a proverb (2 Peter 1:22). So it does not make men clean to have the faculty for walking cleanly when their disposition otherwise leads them to wallow in the mire of sin.

(2) Though some chew the cud, yet if they divide not the hoof they are unclean. The "camel," the "coney," and the "hare," or whatever creature, the word ארנבת may describe, are of this order. For what good is the semblance of meditation and repentance, if the walk of the life be not clean (James 1:20)?

(3) As there are varieties of clean and also of unclean animals, so are there varieties and degrees of goodness, on the one hand, and of wickedness on the other, amongst men. Still the classes are but two. The one is led by Christ, the other by Satan (Matthew 12:30; Matthew 25:2, 32, 33). To which class do you belong?


1. The gospel is freely preached to the Gentiles.

(1) They are not now under obligation to be proselyted to Judaism. This subject was debated in the early Church, and settled at the Council of Jerusalem.

(2) The same decision, which was at the instance of Peter to whom the Lord had assigned that distinction (see Matthew 16:19), released the Jews also from the yoke of the Law (see Acts 15).

2. This was according to prophetic indication.

(1) Under the figure of the unclean wolf dwelling with the lamb, etc., (Isaiah 11) describes the Gentile and Jew as to be wonderfully reconciled in the days of Messiah.

(2) To show that the Jew must have no fellowship with the Gentile, the Law forbade the yoking together of the clean ox with the unclean ass (Deuteronomy 22:10). But prophecy anticipates the blessedness of the time when the seed, viz. of the gospel, should be sewn beside all waters - not those of Judea only, but of the wide world; and that in this business the ox and the ass - the Jew and the Gentile - should become fellow-workers (see Isaiah 32:20; comp. also Deuteronomy 25:4; 1 Corinthians 9:9-11; 1 Timothy 5:18).

3. Peter's vision instructed him that this lime was come.

(1) The animals contained in the sheet were those described as unclean in the Law, and represented the Gentiles. Peter, therefore, when commanded to kill and eat, hesitated, for that he "had never eaten anything that was common or unclean." He therefore held that "it was an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company or come unto one of another nation."

(2) But the linen sheet which enclosed the animals was the emblem of purity; and they were thrice lifted into the heavens. To these symbols agreed also the voice which said, "What God hath cleansed that call not thou common."

(3) When therefore Peter had all this corroborated by the counter-vision of Cornelius, he was convinced that henceforth he "should not call any man common or unclean." For the universality of the mercy of the gospel had been testified in that the sheet was knit at the four corners, showing that the Gentiles were to be gathered together from the four quarters of the world.


1. For the gospel is that spirit.

(1) The glory on the face of Moses was veiled to the Jews. So concerned were they with the letter that they could not steadfastly look upon the true glory of their own Law. Moses therefore put a vail upon his face, viz. the vail of the letter. This vail is still upon their hearts, and must so remain until they turn to the Lord, or become converted to Christ.

(2) When Moses turned to the Lord, from whom he derived his glory, he took off the vail; and it is the same glory which falls upon us. The only difference is that in the spirit of the Law we see the glory of the Lord reflected from the face of Moses; but in the spirit of the gospel we see the same glory as Moses himself saw it, immediately, in the face of Jesus.

(3) Thus passing from the Law to the gospel, a spiritual person is changed from glory to glory. This brightening transfiguration is effected "by the Spirit of the Lord," or, as the margin construes it, "by the Lord who is the Spirit," viz. of the Law. The Spirit of the Lord is the Spirit of the Law.

2. The gospel insists upon moral purity.

(1) We have seen that the law of yoking together the ox and the ass is repealed under the gospel. This was as to the letter. But we shall find it still insisted upon, viz. as to the spirit. For Paul clearly refers to it (2 Corinthians 6:14) when he forbids the unequal yoking together of Christians and infidels.

(2) In the spirit of it Christ came not to destroy, but to fulfill, the Law, and that to the jot and tittle (Matthew 5:17-20). What a rebuke is here to the antinomian! What a stumbling-block to the Jew is the antinomianism in false theories of Christianity! Christians who neglect the study of the Law miss the benefit of many glorious views of precious gospel truth. How just is the remark of Augustine, that "the Old Testament, when rightly understood, is one great prophecy of the Sew"! - J.A.M.

Do not drink wine.
Combine with this verse Jeremiah 35:6; Ephesians 5:18; 1 Thessalonians 5:7. Intemperance, one of the giant evils of the land, is self-imposed. This is its saddest feature. All the evils connected with it might be swept away if men so willed.

I. THE NATURAL. Use no intoxicants; and thus never acquire a passion for them.

II. THE MEDICAL. Some treat drunkenness as a disease; and by medicine seek to destroy the appetite for alcohol.

III. THE SANITARY. Asylums for inebriates have been opened, which combine physical and moral means to effect a cure; and with success.

IV. THE LEGAL. Its object is to control or arrest the evil; and by prohibition of its manufacture and sale, to remove it from the land.

V. THE VOLUNTARY. This involves the pledge and membership in societies banded together for mutual help and safety. Earnest work for others is a good preventative, so long as it is actively continued.

VI. THE SPIRITUAL. Grace, wherever received, casts out the demon of drink.

VII. THE PHILANTHROPIC. Here is a reform in which to engage. The beneficent change in public sentiment demands devout thankfulness, and is prophetic of what shall be achieved.

(Lewis O. Thompson.)

It is one of the attractions of a glass of wine to those who like it, that it gives a different colour to everything the drinker looks at, just as soon as it has any effect at all. If there were no effect from wine-drinking, there would be no temptation to drink wine. But so soon as the wine takes hold of the brain, the brain takes hold with a new grip of everything it thinks of. Memory is keener, anticipation is brighter, and the present is a great deal livelier. Everybody in sight or in thought looks brighter, too. This isn't so bad a world as it seemed an hour ago! "When the wine is in, the wit is out." What does a man under the influence of champagne know of sharp distinctions in morals, or in social life, or in logic? The inspired teacher was never more clearly inspired than when that teacher wrote, "It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine, nor for princes strong drink; lest they drink and forget the law, and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted." And it was God Himself who insisted that priests should let wine and strong drink alone, lest they should fail to know the difference between holy and unholy, clean and unclean, and lest they should be unable to teach the truth aright. If you want to know what is right, and to do what is right, and to be able to teach others to know and do right, do you let wine and strong drink alone — before you go to church, and after you come back from church. What is good enough for a king, and safe enough for a priest, can wisely be your choice wherever you are.

(H. C. Trumbull.)

The effect of wine is to excite nature, and all natural excitement hinders that calm, well-balanced condition of soul which is essential to the proper discharge of the priestly office. The things which excite mere nature are manifold indeed — wealth, ambition, politics, the various objects of emulation around us in the world. All these things act, with exciting power, upon nature, and entirely unfit us for every department of priestly service. If the heart be swollen with feelings of pride, covetousness, or emulation, it is utterly impossible that the pure air of the sanctuary can be enjoyed, or the sacred functions of priestly ministry discharged. If we are not keeping our priestly garments unspotted, and if we are not keeping ourselves free from all that would excite nature, we shall, assuredly, break down. The priest must keep his heart with all diligence, else the Levite will fail, and the warrior will be defeated. It is, let me repeat it, the business of each one to be fully aware of what it is that to him proves to be "wine and strong drink" — what it is that produces excitement — that blunts his spiritual perception, or dims his priestly vision. It may be an auction-mart, a cattle-show, a newspaper. It may be the merest trifle. But no matter what it is, if it tends to excite, it will disqualify us for priestly ministry; and if we are disqualified as priests, we are unfit for everything, inasmuch as our success in every department and in every sphere must ever depend upon our cultivating a spirit of worship.

(C. H. Mackintosh.)

The Rev. S. Hooke, vicar of Clopton, Woodbridge, offers the following testimony: — "As there are so many of my clerical brethren who are doubtful if they could carry on their arduous labours if they abstained from alcoholic drinks, I write my experience of the last seven years, during which time I have been an abstainer. I believe I can do treble the amount of work without the use of these drinks than with them. At first I doubted if I could, and it was with trembling hand that I signed the pledge of the C.E.T.S. But I thank God from the depth of my heart that I took that step, for I am certain that I have been able to do more real good by my advocacy of total abstinence than I did before. On looking through my diary of last year I find I have preached a hundred and seventy-five times, given forty-four temperance lectures, ninety-five gospel addresses and cottage lectures, besides travelling nearly four thousand miles. Included in the above are the sermons and addresses I delivered at two Church Missions of ten days each. I am thankful to say I enjoy robust health, which I am confident is the result, in part, at least, of total abstinence. I am sure the happiness and joy of doing good to our fallen brothers and sisters more than compensates for the loss of a trifling gratification."

It was Dr. Hook's boast that for more than thirty years he had "laboured in the manufacturing districts, not for the working classes, but with them, in the measures desired by themselves for the improvement of their class, and having for their object the formation of habits of temperance and prudence; and especially that he had worked with them in the cause of rational recreation and education." It was with a view to aid this wide and general step in the education of the masses that, late in life, he joined the temperance movement, and became a pledged teetotaler. He used to tell the story of his change in this direction in the following way: — "I had in my parish at Leeds a man who earned 18s. a week; out of this he used to give 7s. to his wife, and to spend the rest in drink; but for all that, he was a good sort of man. I went to him and said, ' Now, suppose you abstain altogether for six months.' 'Well, if I do, will you, sir?' was his reply. 'Yes,' I said, 'I will.' 'What,' said he, 'from beer, from spirits, and from wine?' 'Yes. And how shall I know if you keep your promise?' 'Why, sir, you ask my "missus," and I'll ask yourn.' It was agreed between us for six months at first, and afterwards we renewed the promise. He never resumed the bad habit that he had left off; and he is now a prosperous and happy man in business at St. Petersburg, and I am Dean of Chichester."

On almost all boilers connected with engines there can be found a safety-valve. Whenever the boiler gets too full of steam and is in danger of bursting, this little valve opens and lets the steam out. No one has to watch it, for it opens of itself. There was once a man who wanted to travel on a certain steamboat. He went to the boat and examined the machinery, but he found that there was not an efficient safety-valve on the boiler, so he said to the captain, "I won't go on your boat, captain. You haven't a proper safety-valve, and I am afraid the boat may be blown up without it." "Come down with me to the engine-room," said the captain, "and I will show you the best safety-valve in the world." When they reached the engine-room the captain went up to the engineer, and laying his hand on his shoulder, said, "There, sir, is my safety-valve, the best to be found anywhere — a man who never drinks anything but cold water." "You are right, captain; I want no better safety-valve than that. I will go on this boat." He knew that the engineer would always watch the machinery, and if anything went wrong he would know it instantly. Only a sober man ought to be trusted in such a responsible position; and when boats have such engineers they have the best safety-valves in the world.

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