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than at the fulness of the divine benevolence; and have doubted the willingness of God to give to one so fallen and so unholy; do not henceforth be deceived by such a false view of your case. It is not your riches, but your poverty that makes you the fit object of divine compassion. God does not require of you a moral qualification to ask mercy at his hands, but he looks to your want and helplessness as a sinner, and in the sovereignty of his grace, he says, "Ask, and ye shall receive; seek, and ye shall find." Do not, then, suffer yourself to be kept back by the desponding contemplation of your unfitness to come to God; but come to him at once, as able and willing to save. Consider the depth of your necessities. Consider the infinite merits of Christ, which are given to you as your plea before God. Consider the gracious, the pressing invitation of your heavenly Father. Consider the clear, specific, unfettered language of his promise; and never hesitate to ask, and to ask largely, while he is so willing to give.
THE RENT VEIL.
MATTHEW XXVII. 51.
And behold! the veil of the temple was rent in twain, from the top to the bottom.
THE merely superficial reader of Holy Scripture, must lose much of its force and beauty; because there are many passages which are full of meaning, but that meaning is not immediately obvious. It is only to be gathered by patient and accurate thought. Such examination, however, is amply repaid; for by it, many passages, which, on a casual reading, appear of comparatively small importance, are found to tend most powerfully to enlighten our understanding, and to confirm our faith.
The incident recorded in the text, is one of the cases to which I refer. Many read the statement of the fact, that the veil of the temple was rent at the moment of our Saviour's death, and consider it
merely as one of those extraordinary phenomena, which attended that melancholy scene, in order to mark its importance; and they inquire no further. And yet to those who do endeavour, in a prayerful spirit, to get a deeper insight into the scripture, what a train of useful and important thought does that fact recorded in these few words, suggest! I purpose to direct your attention to this, by considering,
I. What the veil of the temple was. II. What the rending of it implied. And then we will draw some practical inferences from the whole.
I. What was the veil of the temple,really and typically?
First, Really. At the time of our Saviour's crucifixion on Mount Calvary or Golgotha, which is a small eminence of Mount Moriah, the temple was standing upon Mount Sion, which is another height of the same mountain. This was the second temple, and was begun to be built during the reign of Cyrus, 536 years before the Christian era, and was afterwards so much neglected, that in the time of Herod it underwent a general repair to such an extent, that it was almost re-erected. This took place about forty-six years before the death of Christ. Previous, however, to the erection of this second temple, a much more splendid edifice had
been built by king Solomon in the same place, which was subsequently destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar, as it is recorded in the 2nd book of Chronicles, chap. xxxvi. 19. And, previous to the erection of any such temple, the worship of Jehovah was carried on in the tabernacle of the wilderness, which Moses made according to the pattern that he had seen in the mount; and this tabernacle, in all its leading and essential features, became the plan of those more substantial and permanent buildings, which were subsequently erected.
Now, it appears that both in the tabernacle and the temple, the inner compartment of the building was divided into two; the one of which was called the holy place, or the sanctuary, and the other the holiest of all, or the holy of holies. In the first of these, there was the furniture, emblematic of the ordinances of a divine service and worship, viz. the golden altar of incense, on which the blood of atonement was sprinkled, the candlestick, and the table of the shew-bread. And in the holy of holies, there were the symbols of God's gracious and covenanted presence; the ark of the covenant and the mercy-seat, shadowed by the cherubim of glory. And here, upon this spot, on the mercyseat, which rested for its basis on the ark of the covenant, dwelt, as on a throne of grace, the Shekinah or visible glory, the peculiar manifestation of the divine presence. And between these two apartments,-the one in which the sacra
mental parts of worship were carried on, and the other in which the divine presence mysteriously dwelt ;-between these two the veil was hung. The instructions for the making of this veil, are thus given in Exodus xxvi. 31. "And thou shalt make a veil of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen, of cunning work with cherubim shall it be made.-And thou shalt hang up the veil, that thou mayest bring in thither within the veil, the ark of the testimony: and the veil shall divide unto you between the holy place and the most holy. And thou shalt put the mercy-seat upon the ark of the testimony in the most holy place." Then again, in Exodus xl. 21. it is said, that Moses brought the ark into the tabernacle, and set up the "veil of the covering, and covered the ark of the testimony, as the Lord commanded." So that we have a very distinct account given us of the veil in the tabernacle of the wilderness. Then on turning to the third chapter of 2 Chronicles, which gives us the account of the building of the temple by Solomon, we read in the 14th verse, that "he made the veil of blue, and purple, and crimson, and fine linen, and wrought cherubim thereon ;" and it is evident from verses 8 and 10, that the writer, when he mentions the formation of the veil, is speaking of the most holy place of the temple, in which the two cherubim were that overshadowed the mercy-seat. So that here also we have an accurate, though shorter account of the