"These are the commandments, which the Lord commanded Moses for the children of Israel in Mount Sinai." Lev. 27:34.
Leviticus thus ends. Bright is this jewel in the Bible-crown. This Book stands as a rich tree in a rich garden of delight. Happy are they, who gather wisdom from its laden boughs!
These last words fall with solemn weight. They are the farewell of these pages. They seem to seat us on some height, whence we survey the traversed plain. They bring the whole into a narrow view. They bid us to cast back a parting glance, and count our gain before we onward move.
As we reflect, one truth is obvious. The main lesson of this Book is Christ. He is the light and luster of each part. To read aright, is to walk up and down with Him. Have we thus found? Is He more deeply engrafted in our hearts? Is He more closely enshrined within our thoughts? Has He become the mainspring of our being? Have we no longer any mind but His? Christ is the juice—the life—the heart-blood of Leviticus. If it instruct not thus, the veil is on the reader's mind. He gropes in darkness amid glorious rays.
He who sees Christ—the glory of this Book—sees quickly, that our God is love. The Son reveals the Father's heart. The gift proclaims the Giver. Here golden letters write God's name of love.
Hear it, O Earth. Let this bright sunbeam shine through every climate. Behold God's loving mercy in redemption's plan. He calls His Son to bear the sinner's sins. He lays all help upon a mighty helper. Such scheme is as a flood of grace bursting from springs of love. The first thought and the last is love. When then Leviticus exhibits Christ, it calls us to adore our God, as Love.
This Book, also, is a signal proof of God's desire to bless. Strong efforts are here made to break down ignorance—to dispel mists—to introduce pure light—to open out the Gospel-way. A remedy unknown heals no disease. A shield unused wards off no blows. A chart unstudied is no guide. A savior hidden is savior none. Hence types and figures are profusely given. They leave no mode untried to picture Christ. They show clear models of His saving work. Part after part moves, as a living semblance, on the stage. The Gospel is here displayed in skillfully-constructed forms. One is exhibited. Another comes. And then another is adjoined. But all have one design—to set Christ before men. In varied colors the same features shine. In every portion "Christ is All." Can we thus read, and doubt God's mind?
Is not the significance as clear as day? If constant efforts prove desire, here is desire, that eyes may see—and hands may grasp—and feet may swiftly follow—and hearts may love—and souls may trust, the Savior sent by God. Who can draw back, when God thus strives to teach? Reader, can you pass through Leviticus to death?
Leviticus next graphically shows, how Jesus saves. It is a blood-stained record. The rites are full of death. The page resounds with victims' groans. Is not Christ here? He comes not with entreaties on His lips. He strives not to melt justice by appeals. He brings no pleas for mitigation or reprieve. He grants, that His poor flock are lost—wholly and helplessly undone. He writes condemned on each, and He allows, that endless misery is justly earned. He vindicates Jehovah's glory in demanding death. But He claims right to save by substitution. He pleads the Covenant, which gives Him license to be Surety. He comes a proxy by eternal compact. The sinful seed are flesh and blood. He takes this nature. He assumes this flesh. So He becomes our Kinsman. If flesh must suffer—He is flesh. If soul must agonize—a human soul is His. Thus He is wholly fit to bear—to suffer—and to die. He bounds, as ardent courser to the guilty place. With eager step He mounts the Altar. His people's sins are piled on Him. The hateful load is bound upon His back. And He endures, until every penalty is fully paid. He drinks the cup, until every dreg is drained. The sword of justice is sheathed within His heart. He verily sustains the all of all that torment, which endless hell would have been pouring on His flock.
This is that fact, on which Salvation hinges. Until this be fully seen, the soul drifts hopelessly towards shores of woe. Oh! it is worth ten thousand times ten thousand worlds, to be assured, that death has died—and sufferings suffered—and agonies endured—and the worm slain—and vengeance satisfied—and sins washed out—and debts all paid. It is the joy of joy, to see no frown in God—no stern repulse—no look but tenderness and smiles. It is, as heaven begun, to see hell's portals closed—its chains all shivered—its fires extinct. It is ecstatic rapture to behold an open passage to a glorious home—a blessed rest—a reign with God forever.
Leviticus is blazoned with this fact. The altar prominently stands. What is it, but an emblem of the cross? Victims without number die. They each are typal representatives of Christ. A stream of blood flows without ebb. Each drop displays the wounded Savior, and the dying Lamb. Priests spare not the death-blow. The uplifted arm shows justice with the avenging sword. The blazing fire consumes its prey. Here all demands of wrath are met. The tabernacle-service thus displays a reconciling Calvary. It leads directly to the curse-bearing tree. It is a varied model of Christ taking away guilt—of God inflicting punishment on Him—of sinners ransomed by His anguish—of wrath expiring in the God-man's wounds.
Such are the rays, which mainly constitute Leviticus' light. Reader, an earnest question knocks at your heart's door. What is your profit from this Book? It may be, that you see no heaven-born virtue in these signs—that all these rites seem but a meaningless parade of death. Tremble. The Gospel hidden is the grave of hope. But look again. Each sacrifice allures you to Christ's side. Each record brings the only Savior to your door. Each altar is a call to Calvary.
Ah! can it be, that Jesus's emblems have no charms for you! Sad is this evidence. The all-lovely is not lovely in your eyes. The all-precious is accounted vile. God's grandest gift is scorned. Heaven's glory is cast, as a husk to wind. But look again. Think of the misery of a Christless state—the peril of a Christless life—the anguish of a Christless death. You dare not say, that you are without sin. The hardest heart—the dullest mind—the blindest of the blind—allow, that there is error in their lives. Be sure iniquities are an appalling mass. The sands of all the ocean's shores reach not their number. In height, they tower above the skies—defying God. In depth, they penetrate to hell—there claiming the just due. Each stone of this tremendous pile is such an outrage against God, that finite penalty can never make amends.
Now read Leviticus again. Its pages cry, 'Sin need not be your ruin.' There is a death which saves from death. There is a stream, which cleanses from all stains. There is a wounded side, which shelters—hides—redeems. A Savior dies. And, if through grace you clasp His cross, all—all—is pardoned. Leave not Leviticus, until you shout, "I see salvation's glorious scheme. I see a God-man bleeding in my place. I see transgression laid on Him. He has endured my hell. He calls me to His heaven." Then will these types be chosen pleasure-ground, and steps to ever-brightening views.
But there are some, who, spirit-led, have found the cross. Thrice-happy men! You are God's sons, and glory's heirs. But here you pant—you long—you strive—you pray, for deeper knowledge of your precious Lord. More—more—is your intense pursuit. The day is blank, unless you study Christ. To you Leviticus is a boundless mine. The more you dig, the richer is the ore.
When Satan whispers that your sins are vile, these many sacrifices pass in review. Each puts a seal to the reviving truth, that God's own Lamb bears guilt away, and so these rites extract all conscience-stings.
You hear of coming wrath. You know that quenchless fire is terrible reality. But every altar shows fierce flame consuming an offering, that the offerer may be free. You thus are taught, that all the vengeance, which you earn, expires in Jesus's agony.
You seek renewed assurance, that God's smile is towards you. These rites forever sound, that enmity no more remains—that reconciliation is complete.
Your piercing eye would read the language of Christ's heart. These rites unfold it. Each death proclaims; 'Christ dies for you'. He counts no sufferings great, to buy you, as His own; He wades through all the billows of God's wrath—through all the flames of hell—through all the depths of torment, to set you free, and cleanse you from all stains, and rescue you from foes. His anguish passes thought. And why? Because His love for you exceeds all bounds. Leviticus displays its costly efforts, and thus proves its truth. Faith claps the hand in every ordinance—and sings, 'See how Christ loves me!'
But you are conscious of an evil heart. You would be pure, as God is pure; but vile corruptions raise their hated head. You would have every thought in heaven; but a depressing weight drags down to this earth's mire. You would have life one spiritual employ; but an indwelling foe prevents. Seek for relief amid these types of Christ. Draw nearer to the slaughtered victims, and the streaming blood, and the uplifted knife. Through these discern the tortures of the cross. Each pang shows sin to be exceeding sinful—a monster of unspeakable deformity—an enemy, which slew the Lord—the executioner of all His stripes. You must loathe that, which pierced Christ's heart. Down, down with that, which spared not Christ. Thus he, who probes by faith the wounds of Christ, most hates iniquity—most flies its touch. Leviticus thus leads to a sin-loathing walk.
Learn more and more the quickening lessons of this Book. You live in a cold world. You breathe a freezing air. You have to climb an adverse hill. You have to struggle with resisting tides. Your chariot wheels need oil. Fresh fuel is required to keep your fire alive. Seek warmth and a reviving gale from these invigorating rites. Here Christ is seen a quenchless flame of zeal. He is one effort to save souls. Behold and catch the holy warmth. Behold, and be Christ-like.
These are sad days of indolent profession. There is a 'superficial faith' in soft attire. There is much loitering by the brooks of sloth. Whence this indulgent ease? Christ and His dying love are little studied—and are poorly felt. He, whose eye cannot long be absent from the cross, will find his heart all fire—his feet all speed—his lips all fluency—his life all effort to save souls—to thwart Satan—to testify of Christ—to glorify his God. Self dies in Jesus's death. Life in Christ's service springs from Jesus's cross. Zeal is the fruit of this Book duly read.
"Great Spirit of the living God, we bless You for this Gospel-book. Hear an imploring prayer, and make Leviticus a seed of life—a ray of hope—a flood of peace—a pasture of delight—a garden of pure comfort—a step towards heaven—a text-book of redeeming love—a picture of Christ's heart, to many a pilgrim through this sin-sick world. Hear, for Christ's sake. Amen."