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case before us, we are told, that he spake of the spirit, which they that believe on him should receive. (John vii. 37—39.)
THE GREAT DAY OF ATONEMENT.
THERE was no day in all the year, so important and solemn, in the Ceremonial System, as the 10th of Tishri, which fell, of course, not quite a week before the feast of tabernacles. This was the Day of Atonement, when guilt was called to remembrance in such a way as it was at no other time, and a service of expiation performed in behalf of the whole nation, altogether extraordinary and peculiar. It was required to be observed, therefore, not merely as a Sabbath of complete rest, but as a day of rigid fasting also, and general humiliation or affliction of soul, on account of sin. The atonement that was made, had respect to all the sins of all the people, from the highest to the lowest, committed throughout the preceding year; and was designed to clear away, as it were, by one general expiation, the vast array of guilt that was still left, after all the ordinary offerings for sin, resting with awful weight upon the nation. It comprehended in itself, in fact, the vitality and chief essence of the whole system of ceremonial expiation, and required for its accomplishment, accordingly, the service of the High-priest himself, in whom was concentrated the virtue of the entire priesthood, and an entrance with blood into the Holy of holies, where all the life and glory of the Sanctuary were appointed to reside.
We have a full account of the manner of this atonement in the 16th chapter of Leviticus. We are there told, how the High-priest was required to make himself ready, by washing, and putting on his plain linen garments, in place of the richer apparel he usually wore; how he came before the Sanctuary with a bullock, as a sin offering for himself and his family, and two goats for the whole congregation; how he selected one of the goats by lot, for a sin offering, and set apart the other for a scape-goat into the wilderness; how he killed the bullock for himself, and after.
wards the goat for the people; how he first carried a censer of coals, with some incense, into the Most Holy Place, and there caused a fragrant cloud instantly to spread over the mercy-seat, and fill the apartment; how he then brought the blood of the bullock, and the blood of the goat, into the same awful place, and sprinkled them upon the mercy-scat, and seven times upon the floor in front of it; how, when he came out into the Holy Place, he applied them also to the horns of the golden altar, and sprinkled them upon it seven times; how he afterwards placed his hands upon the head of the living goat, confessed over it all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, and then sent it away, thus loaded, as it were, with the people's guilt, into the wilderness; and how, after all was over, he again washed himself in the Holy Place, put on his splendid dress, and offered a burnt-offering for himself and for the people, while the whole bodies of the bullock and the goat, whose blood had been carried into the Sanctuary, were sent away to be burned without the camp, as altogether polluted and unclean.
It was an awful thing to come before the throne of God, as the High-priest did this day; and no dou the duty was often performed with fear and trembling. The greatest care was needful, to attend to every part of the service in a proper manner, and with becoming reverence, lest the anger of the Lord should suddenly display itself, to crush him with destruction. It was necessary that he should be free, at the time, from every sort of ceremonial defilement; and it became his duty, accordingly, to guard himself with the utmost diligence, from every kind of contamination, for some time beforehand. In later times, if the Jews are to be believed, he used to retire from his own house, a whole week before the solemnity, taking up his residence, for that time, altogether in a chamber of the temple, that he might the better be in readiness for his great duty; for which he was accustomed to prepare himself by practice, in various ways, and by reading over, or having read to him, repeatedly, the order and manner of the service he would have to go through.
In the law, it is said, that the scape-goat should be let
go in the wilderness, to carry clear away, as it were, the iniquity that was laid upon it, and it would seem that was always allowed to escape with life; but under the second temple, a different interpretation of the direction gained place, and it came to be held essential that the animal should be destroyed. This was always done, accordingly, by precipitating it from a certain rock, about twelve miles off from Jerusalem, to which it was led away directly from the temple. The rock was very lofty and steep, so that when the unhappy beast came to the bottom, it was dashed to pieces.
There were particular public sacrifices prescribed for the day of atonement, besides those that were connected with the great expiation. (Numb. xxix. 8—11.) These, the Jews say, were offered directly after the regular morning sacrifice, before that solemn service commenced. They tell us, too, that no one but the High-priest might do any of the priestly work that belonged to these or to any other offerings of this day; but that he was required to perform himself, in his rich dress, all the morning service, and all that was connected with these additional offerings; then to change his garments, and go through the work of atonement; and afterwards, in his common apparel again, having first offered the two burnt offering rams, one for himself and the other for the people, to conclude all with the duties of the evening sacrifice.
The great annual atonement, embodying in itself, as we have seen, the essential virtue of the whole Jewish system of expiatory sacrifices, was, of course, the most perfect picture which the ceremonial dispensation had, of the true Atonement that was afterwards to appear. The whole institution of sacrifice was a shadowy representation of the Redeemer's death, and the whole priestly service had respect to his mediatorial work; they presented, in common cases, however, only some particular features of these mysteries in any single view, without bringing the scattered sketches at any time together, or supplying, even in this separate way, all that were wanting for filling up the general representation. But, in the case before us, there was, as it were, an orderly and complete concentration of typical images, into a single, full, and striking exhibition of the
whole at once; such as, the more narrowly it is contemplated, cannot fail to excite the higher admiration, and to display the more convincingly, in all its colouring, the inimitable touches of a divine pencil.
Here was a symbolic representation of Christ's voluntary sacrifice for the sins of the world, and of his all-prevailing intercession in the presence of the Father, by which his people are made partakers of righteousness and eternal life. The Most Holy Place was a figure of heaven, where God dwells in eternal glory. As the High-priest entered into the one to intercede with incense for the Israelitish nation, so Jesus has ascended into the other, to intercede for the whole congregation of his church, gathered out of all the kingdoms of the world. But as the intercession, in the first casc, could not be admitted, except as it came recommended by blood of expiation, previously shed, so, also, without shedding of blood, there could be no such intercession of any avail, in the second; wherefore, our Lord appeared not before the infinite Majesty on high, for this purpose, till he had first offered an adequate sacrifice, on the merit of which he might found his mediation. He gave his blood for the remission of sins, and then presented himself in the presence of God, with the atonement, as it were in his hands, to make reconciliation with it for guilt, and to plead its virtue in favour of all who apply to him for life. In the typical transaction, there was not, indeed, an entire correspondence throughout, with the mystery it represented: it was not possible, in the nature of things, that it should be so. Thus, in the type, the High-priest and the victim were altogether distinct, while in the true transaction, they were found in one and the same person; Christ was himself the sacrifice and the priest: he offered himself, of his own accord, as a victim for sin, (as he says in John x. 17, 18. and in that plea of his prayer for his disciples, " For their sakes I sanctify myself ;") endured, in his own person, all the suffering of an expiatory death; and then passed, in the power of an all-sufficient High priest, into the Holy of holies on high, to sprinkle the mercy seat, as it were, with his own blood, and obtain eternal redemption for his church. In the type, moreover, there was, besides the offering for the people, a separate sacrifice for the High priest and his family,
inasmuch as he himself was encumbered with personal guilt, and needed atonement for his own sins, before he could come acceptably before God, to make intercession for the people but the sacrifice of Christ was single, and had respect, altogether, to the sins of his people-he, himself, being holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners. In the type, at the same time, besides the sin-offering sacrifice, there was a scape-goat appointed, to bear away, symbolically, the sins of the nation: both these figures, however, were answered at once in the death of Jesus Christ. They presented only two different aspects of the general nature of the atonement it accomplished; the one shadowing the transaction itself and its influence in heaven; while the other expressed, in significant emblem, its full efficacy to purge the conscience from all guilt, and to remove the transgressions of all that make application for its benefit, so that they shall not be remembered in the way of judgment any more for ever.
The Apostle Paul dwells upon this subject in his epistle to the Hebrews; representing the whole priestly office, and the whole sacrificial system, as typical of the mystery of redemption, but more particularly directing attention to the great service of the High-priest on the day of atonement, as that which comprehended in itself, more especially, its most perfect and expressive image. Christ being come, he tells us, an High Priest of good things to come; by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building, neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood, he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. For Christ, he adds in another place, is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us: nor 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. (Heb. ix. 11, 12, 24-26.)