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Levit. VI. 6, 7. And he shaU bring his trespass^offering unto the Lordy a ram nnthout blemish out of the Jlock^ with thy estimation, for a trespassoffering unto the priest : and the priest shaU make an atonement for him hefore the Lord: and it shall he forgiven him for any thing of aïí that he hath done in trespassing therein. I HAVE read to jou these words as introductory to the cousideration of another of those offerings which were enjoined upon the Jews, and which were so remarkably typical of the sacrifice of Christ. This is the trespass-offering, which in some particulars differs hut little from the sin-offering, but in others there is a
94 THE TRESPASS-OFFERI G. strong and plainly marked distinction, as we shall see by an examiuation of it. The offences which required the presenting of a trespass-offering, were, first, those which are mentioned in the four first verses of the fifth chapter. These were the concealing any part of tlie truth by a witness who gave evidence on oath ; the touching of any unclean person or thing; and the swearing rashly that he would do what might be sinful, or what he might not be able to perform. In all these cases he was to make a voluntary confession that he had sinned, and he was to bring as a trespass-offering unto the Lord^ a female lamb or kid, which was to be offered with precisely the same ceremonies as the sin-offering, except that the blood, instead of being put upon the homs of the altar, was to be sprinkled
round about the altar. If the offender was too poor to give a lamb, then he was to bring two turtle-doves, or twó young pigeons, one of which was to be offered with the ceremonies of the sin-offering, and the other with the ceremonies of the burnt-offering. If he was so very poor that he could not procure even
THE TRESPASS-OFFERI G. 95 these, then he was to offer the tenth part of an epfaah, that is about five piuts^ of fine flour, without either oil or frankincense, both which always accompanied the meat-oflfering, and tfais was to be offered with the ceremonies of the meat-offering. A second class of offences, for which a trespass.offering was necessarj, consisted in any trespass committed through ignorance in the holy things of the Lord, that is^ if any one had unwittingly kept back anj of the required offerings which were to be made to the Lord, or had eaten any of those parts of the sacrifices which were the due of the priests, then he was to bring as a trespassoffering a ram without blemish. But besides this, he was to make restitution, a proper estimatíon being made in standard monej of the yalue of that which had thus been misappropriated^ and moreover he was to add a fifth part more of this estimated value. ay even if he only suspected that he had offended in anj of these holy things of the Lord, he was to bring the ram as a trespass-offering, and to pay the estimated Talue, but without
96 THE TRESPASS-OFFERI G. the additíon of the fifUi part. Doing Úïvls the priest should make an atonement for him, and it shonld he forgÍTen hinu
A third class of offences which reqnired a trespass-offering were actions wherehy another person was injnred ; as when anj one denied what had been committed to his tmst, or dealt frandulently in any concem of partnership, or took any thing away by open violence, or secretly deceiyed his neíghbour to his loss, or denied the having fonnd that which was lost. In all these cases he mnst bring a ram for a trespass-offering, and mnst pay the valne, estimated by the priest, of the injury done, with the additíon of the fifth part thereof ; and thus again, " the priest should make an atonement for him before the Lord, and it should be forgiven him for any thing of all that he hath done in trespassing therein." I think that you cannot but haye noticed the number of yaríous sacrifices which were required of the Jews. We have now considered the bumt-offeríng; the meat-offering, the peace-offering, the sin-offerÍDg; and the
THE TRESPASS-OFFERI G. 97 trespass-oflfering. And besides these there were others expressly appointed for the priests, and for certain particular occasions^ as well as the daily bnmt sacrifices oflFered moming and evening, which we have yet hereafter to consider. ow these multiplied ojïerings, which the people were required to bring, with the many various minute ritual observances imposed upon them, were, as St. Peter says in the Acts of the Apostles, ^' a yoke, which neither their fathers nor they were able to bear." We have but one sacrífice ; nay we have not even to find that one sacrífice at our own cost; it has been found for us. The Apostle draws this contrast between the many sacrífices of the Jews, and the one sacrífice of Christ in a very striking manner in his Epistle to the Hebrews. He says in the tenth chapter, " Every high príest standeth
daily ministeríng and offeríng oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins : but this man, after he had offered ane sacrifice for sins, for ever sat down at the right hand of God, fi*om henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. VOL. III. F
98 THE TRESPASS-OFFERI G. For by one offeriiig he hath perfectedybr ever tliem that are sanctified." He had before said in tfae ninth chapter, and at the twenty-fifth verse, ^' or yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others ; for then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world : but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the jud^ent : so Chríst was once offered to bear the síns of many ; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation." Here then we have ^ a fiill, perfect, and sufficient sacrífice, oblation, and satisfaction/ in the one offering of Jesus Christ. That is of itself sufficient to atone for all our sins and trespasses. And justly is it sufficient, for it is an offering of value, of unspeakable, inconceivable value. The Apostle, in writing to the Colossians, sfaews the reason why " we have redemption through bis blood, even tfae forgiveness of sins/' when he describes faim
THE TRESPASS-OFFERI O. 99 thus, ^^ who is the image of the ÍBvisible God, the first-bom of every creature : for by him were all things created, that are in heayen and that are in earth, TÍsible and
invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers : all things were created by him and for him : and he is before all things, and by him aU things consist." He is, as you know, the second person in the Holy Trinity, who made this olSering of himself in human nature, and whose offering is therefore fully equal to compensate for all the sins of all mankind. Those who believe in him truly, and prove the reality of their faith by the devotedness of their lives to his service, have a part in this compensation, and will be delivered from guilt and condemnation. It is this divine nature, this etemal godhead, of Jesus Christ, which gives the value to his sacrifice. May God enable us all to see how necessarily that truth is connected with the circumstances of our redemption, and teach us to know that all " these things were written that we might believe that Jesus is the Son of God, and F2
100 THE TRESPASS-OFFERI G. that believing, we might have life through his name." I now desire your attention to some circumstances particularly mentioned as connected with the trespass-offering, and which therefore we have not had occasion to consider in our previous sermons. I. A voluntary confession was required. Thus we read in the fifth chapter and fifth verse, " And it shall be, when he shall be guilty in one of these things, that he shall confess that he hath sinned in that thing." othing can be more suitable in any case whatever than that a sinner should confess his sin, and such confession is a necessarj ingredient in that repentance, without which it is impossible to find mercy. It is expressly
said in the Proverbs, " He that covereth his sins shall not prosper, but he that confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy." And this acknowledgment of sin is not only to be made in all particular transgressions ; but as a feeling of sin must constantly be on the mind, so a confession of it must be constantly and universally made. So St. John teaches
THE TRESPASS-OFFERI G. 101 us in the first chapter of his first epistle and the eighth verse, " If we say that we have Do sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us." All have sinned ; all are sinners both by nature and practice ; and all must penitently acknowledge themselves to be sinners in the presence of God. Impressed with this truth the compilers of our excellent Liturgy have caused a general confession to be the first act of the whole congregation whenever we assemble together for public prayer, whether moming or evening. I hope that I need not repeat the words to you ; but I beseech you to consider how very appropriate both the act and the words are in such a place, and I pray that you may feel their force, and use them sincerely, and be truly penitent whenever you repeat them after the minister. The confession however which was to be made when a trespass-ofPering was presented,
102 THË TRESPASS-OFFËRI G. had reference to the particular sin wMch had been committed. This was to be confessed to God and his príest^ and to the individual also
who had been injured. The least that can be done, whether God or man has been oflfended, is for the ofTender to acknowledge his fault, express his contrítion, and ask forgiveness. It ís a necessary humiliation, and he must be full of insufferable príde^ who refíises it. The dutj is here expressly taught, and it is íully implied in our Lord's admonition^ ^^ Take heed to jourselves : If thy brother trespass against thee^ rebuke him^ and if he repent, forgive him ; and if he trespass against thee seven times in a day^ and seyen times a day tiurn again to thee saying I repent^ thou shalt forgive him." He is inculcating forgiveness, repeated forgiveness, but he forgets not to mark the duty of the ófFender, as well as of the person oflfended. There is however scarcely any Chrístian duty against which the heart more rebels. To confess and ask pardon of another is a hard saying to our natural pride. When we know that we have done wrong, when we would even willingly wish
THE TRESPA8S-OFFERI G. 103 to repaír the wrong, we are kept back ÍTom doÍDg it hj a proad unwillingness to acknowledge oiir fault. Perhaps there is scarcely a greater mortification than this. Yet it is a mortifícation which God requires in his law, as here, and in his gospel too. ^^ Confess your íaults one to another." My brethren, nothing is more aimed at in eyery part of the word of God than the producing of humility in our naturallj proud and unhumbled bearts. As we fell by pride, we must rise by humility : and as we must keep a conscience void of offence both towards God and towards man, so we must humble ourselves both towards God and towards man wheneyer we offend against either. We cannot leam this duty írom the example of Christ, for he did no sin, either against God or man^ but we are taught it most powerfuDy by the first principles of his word.
II. A second circumstance especially connected with the trespass-offering deserves our notice, namely the restitution which was required to be made, when any thing had been withheld or misapplied which ought to
104 THE TRESPASS-OFFERI G. have been given to the Lord or the priest, or when a neighbour had been defrauded of any thing which belonged to him. The law was that restitution should be made to the fuU estimated value^ and also a fífth part besides, and if the indÍTÍdual who had been injured was dead, and had no near kinsman to whom the restitution could be made, then it was to be given to the priest. You wiU find this part of the law in the fifth chapter of umbers, and seventh verse. This again is one of the works meet for repentance, nay, without which repentance can by no means be considered real. Whenever we have defrauded, we must restore at least to the full amount; but in all cases where restitution was required by the Jewish law more than the full amount was imposed, in some cases fourfold was to be restored, and in the most aggravated ones of theft, even sevenfold was to be paid. Though this be not always a matter of law with us, and there may be many cases of which the law cannot take cognizance, yet it must always be a matter of conscieuce. These cases, for which the trespass-oífering
THE TRESPASS-OFFERI G. 105 was appointed, were all such as the law could not reach. In every state of society much must necessarily be left to the conscience;
and here it is that the true penitent and the real Christian will appear. We have a bright example of this right feeling of conscience in the character of Zaccheus. He says, " Behold Lord the half of my goods I give to the poor, and if I have taken any thing from any man bj' false accusation, I restore four-fold." He was a Jew, and although he could not have been convicted by either the Jewish or the Roman law, yet his conscience led him to restore to the fuU amount required by the law which he professed. Little title can that man have to the character of Christian, whose conscience is satisfied so long as he can evade the penaltiës of the law of the land. But many, it is to be feared, do live in the frequent violation of the law of conscience. Frauds are committed on the revenue of the country, or on public trusts, or on indinduals, and the conscience sleeps ; no feeling is excited but that of fear of a discovery : the offender dies with F5
106 THE TRESPASS-OFFËRI G. his anjustlj-gotten gains in his possession, without confession and restitution; and he then, oh! then goes to give an account of the manner in which he obtained them before a tribunal^ which he cannot escape^ and whose judgments are recorded against all the unrighteous^ against all who do wrong, and defraud. — Behold then the Christian doctrines of confession and restitution taught us by the Jewish law respecting the trespassoíFering. The external ceremonies may be abolished or changed; but the great principles of pietj and moralitj remain. And those who are taught them^ as we are, both out of the law and out of the gospel, will have no excuse to offer if they transgress them, or if, having transgressed them, they d'o not humbly confess, and conscientiously repair the wrong, as far as lies in their power. May he, who is exalted to be a Prince and a Saviour, to give repentance and remission of sins, give us grace to exhibit these necessary marks of a genuine repentance, and pardon our sins through his own sacrifice.
THE TRESPASS-OFFERI G. 107 III. For I mast observe to you, as a third circumstance to be noticed in the trespassoffering, that although confession and restitution were both required, yet it was the sacrííice that made the atonement : ^^ the priest shall make atonement for him with the ram of the trespass-offering, and it shaU be forgiven him/' The great Christian doctrine here is seen as stronglj as possible, namelj^ that to the atonement alone we owe all our pardon ánd peace. Contrition, confession^ restitution, all the feelings which accompanj, and all the works which are meet for, repentance, are indispensible; but it is faith in the atonement of
Christ which alone justifies. Upon that alone mnst the penitent's hope be placed. While he weeps tears of grief and shame^ while he renounces all his evil wajs, while he striyes to imdo all the evil which he btad preyiously done, the sacrifice of Christ must be looked to as the only meritorious cause^ the onlj appointed method, of mercy. For this his ' eamest application must be made; without this his repentance^ or what might be called repentance, wiU ayail him nothing. We have
108 THE TRESPASS-OPFERI G. a most striking instance in the scriptures themselves of the inefficacy of such a repentance in the lamentable case of Jiidas Iscariot, the betrayer of our Lord. In him appear all the three great marks of repentance. There was a strong feeling of contrition and fear, for he could no longer bear his life under it ; there was confession of his crime^ for he came to the chief priest and said, I have sinned, in that I have betrayed the innocent blood; there was restitution, for he threw down the thirty pieces of silver, the price which he had received for his treachery ; but there was no application to Christ ; there was no faith in his atonement. Hence there was no hope ; there was nothing but despair ; he departed, and hanged himself. He died bj his own hand, without a hope of mercy, because he believed not in the efficacv of that innocent blood which he had beeu the means of shedding. In fact, if his feelings and actions be accurately looked into, they will all be found deficient. His contrition wanted that humbled shame and grief of spirit, which constitutes a godly sorrow ; his confession should
THE TRESPASS-OFFERI G. 109 ¦
have been made, Dot to the accomplices in his guilt^ but to the master whom he had betrayed^ and the fellow-disciples whom he had deserted ; he should iudeed have spumed the money which was the price of blood^ but his reparation of his sin should have been by a more fírm profession of the Saviour and his gospel : Kke St. Peter, he should have endeavoured the more to strengthen his bréthren ; like St. Paul, he should have more vigorously preached the faith which he had attempted to destroy. And all this deficiency is evidently to be attríbuted to that one great defect, his want of faith in the atonement of the Son of God, his want of application of that blood which cleanseth from all sin to his own crime. ITius I have endeavoured again to shew you how the great principles of the gospel are taught by the law. May the Holy Spirit enable you to understand, feel, and act upou these truths. May he give you a true repentance and a living faith. May he lead you to that atonement through which guilt is removed, so that you may not die in the trespass which
110 THE TRESPASS-OFFERI G. you have trespassed^ and in the sin which you have sinned, but rather, maj have all your trespasses and all jour sins forgiven through •the merit of that sacrifice which Jesus has offered for you. Oh ! that that divine Saviour may be more and more recommended to you by every view which we can take of him through these early ceremonies of the Mosaic law. For what were the scriptures written^ for what do you read them or listen to them, for what do we preach to you, but that you may believe in him, and believing may have life through his name ? My t)rethren, regard him as the sum and substance of all revelation, and read and hear that he
may become increasingly precious to your hearts by faith.
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