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presentation of things heavenly and spiritual, such as should be full of instruction to the church till the end of time. In this consideration we have unfolded a satisfactory reason for that extraordinary care with which the original plan was divinely determined, and also for the care of the Holy Spirit, in causing so full and particular an account of it to be preserved in the Scriptures for the use of piety in all ages. And should not this reflection excite us to seek an intimate and familiar acquaintance with the ancient sanctuary? Surely it becomes us to consider all the parts of its plan with serious and careful attention, remembering at every step the heavenly origin of all, and humbly endeavouring to penetrate through the shadow of its earthly service into the sublime and glorious realities, which, according to the wisdom of the Spirit, it proposes for our solemn contemplation.
To have a right conception of the sacred dwelling-place which the Most High caused to be made for Himself among the Israelites in the wilderness, we must consider the Tabernacle itself, its furniture, and its Court. Let us attend first to the Court.
THE COURT OF THE TABERNACLE was a lot of inclosed ground which surrounded the Tabernacle, and all that was connected with it, comprehending room enough for the accommodation of all that were to be at any time directly concerned with its religious services. It was required to be a hundred cubits long from east to west, and fifty broad from north to south. It was inclosed to the height of five cubits on every side, with curtains of fine twined linen. These were hung from brazen pillars, ranged at equal distances one from another in a row on each side, either by being fastened to them merely by hooks of silver, or else by means of silver rods reaching all along from one to another. The pillars had sockets of brass to stand upon. There were twenty of them on the north, and on the south side, and ten in each of the end ranges, east and west. The entrance into this court was on the east end, and exactly in the middle of it. It was twenty cubits wide. It was closed by a hanging different from the other cur tains, "of blue, and purple, and scarlet and fine twined
linen, wrought with needlework." This was hung from four pillars, and could be drawn up by means of cords, so as to leave the entrance open when there was occasion to go in or out. (Ex. xxvii. 9—18.)
The TABERNACLE stood well toward the west end of the Court just described, and in the middle of its breadth from north to south, so as to face exactly the entrance upon the east side. It was made of boards of shittim wood overlaid with gold, and four coverings of different materials, thrown over its whole frame, to shield it from the weather, and to shut out completely the light of day. When set up it was thirty cubits long, ten broad, and ten high. Like what has been noticed of the Court, it was required always to be placed with its length from east to west, and its entrance was at its east end. This end accordingly was not boarded. The boards were all ten cubits long, and a cubit and a half broad, and had each two tenons fashioned on one end. In the building, they stood upright, joined edge to edge, and every one resting by its two tenons on two silver sockets. Thus on each of the sides, north and south, were twenty boards, which standing the way now mentioned made a wall just thirty cubits long. The west end had six boards, and there was one besides at each of the corners of that end, which, while hey serv to connect it with the sides, seem also to have added somewhat to its extent, so as to make the breadth of the tabernacle ten cubits, that would with only the six boards have made no more than nine. Altogether then there were forty-eight boards standing upon ninety-six sockets of silver. Every socket weighed a talent. The boards, however, needed something to hold them together Bars, therefore, or poles, of shittim wood overlaid with gold, were made to pass across them through rings fixed on each one for the purpose, by which means all the boards of each side, or of the end, were firmly bound one to another. Five bars were employed in this way on each side, and also on the end: the middle one reached from end to end, across all the boards; the other four were, according to one opinion, each only half as long, two of them together making a whole length across at the top, and the other two a whole length across in like manner at the bottom. Another opinion is, that all the bars were of
full length, and that what is said about the middle one, means only that it was fixed in its place in a different way from the others, being either sunk into the boards in a sort of groove, all the way along, or else thrust through them, by means of a bar passing clear across from one to another. (Ex. xxvi. 15-30.)
Such was the frame of the tabernacle, presenting, when erected, on each of its sides and its western end, a heavy wall of shittim planks gorgeously covered over with gold, and supported beneath on ninety-six massy sockets of silver. It left the top, as well as the end toward the east, entirely open. But to make the sacred Tent complete, over this frame were to be spread four great coverings, one above another. The first was very beautiful and costly. It was composed of ten curtains of fine twined linen, and blue, and purple, and "scarlet, made with cherubim of cunning work;" that is, of fine twined linen into which pictures of cherubim were curiously wrought with various colours, blue, purple, and scarlet. Each of these curtains was twenty-eight cubits long, and four broad. Five of them were coupled together, side to side, so as to make one large piece, twenty-eight cubits long and twenty broad, and so in like manner were the other five united into another piece. Along the edge of the outermost curtain on one side of each of these great pieces, or couplings, were made fifty loops of blue, so placed, that those which belonged to one piece answered exactly to those which were on the other. Then fifty hooks or clasps of gold were provided, by which these loops might be all along linked one to another, and the two pieces thus knit together into one rich and magnificent covering. They were thrown across the frame of the tabernacle from north to south, and hung down on each side within a cubit of the bottom; for, since the frame was ten cubits high and ten wide, the measure over it from the base of the wall on one side to its base on the other, was just thirty cubits, that is, two cubits more than the length of the curtains.
One of the pieces seems to have been laid across, so as to reach from the front of the tabernacle, covering the top and sides, as far as twenty cubits back: then the other, linked upon it by the loops and clasps, was spread over the hinder
part, covering the top and sides in like manner from where the first stopped, and falling down in loose folds over the western end. Over this fine inner covering was spread another more substantial. It was composed of eleven curtains of goats' hair, each thirty cubits long and four broad. These also were united into two large pieces, one being made up of five, and the other of six; and provison was made, as in the case of the inner covering, for linking the pieces together by loops and clasps. The clasps used in this case, however, were made of brass, and not, as they were in the other, of gold.
These pieces, being thrown across the tabernacle like the others, reached down on each side to the row of silver sockets on which the boards stood; because they were thirty cubits long, which, as we have just seen, was equal to the distance from one base over to the other. The piece that was composed of six single curtains, lay toward the fore-part of the tabernacle, and the sixth curtain was doubled in the fore-front of it, so as to hang somewhat perhaps over the entrance. It is not easy, however, to determine precisely how this covering was disposed, in front and on the western end behind, so as to have its cloth which it had more than the other, completely occupied. But in whatever way arranged, it spread entirely over the top, and sides, and back part of the frame, so as to hide the inner covering altogether out of sight, and shield it on every part from injury. But still more effectually to shut out harm, there was added a third covering of rams' skins dyed red, and over that again a fourth one, made of the skins of some sea-animal. Thus the whole was most perfectly defended from the weather. (Ex. xxvi. 1—14.)
Across the east end, or entrance, of the tabernacle, were ranged five pillars of shittim wood, overlaid with gold, standing upon sockets of brass; and from these was suspended a curtain or hanging of blue and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen, ough with needlework, large enough to cover the whole front. This was the door of the tent. There was probably another curtain of coarser materials hung over this fine one on the outside, to keep it from being spoiled; at least we may suppose it was so when the weather was bad. (Ex. xxvi. 36, 37.)
The inside of the tabernacle was divided into two apartments, by another curtain hung entirely across it from the top to the bottom. This curtain was richly wrought with figures of cherubim, like the fine inner covering spread above, and was suspended upon four shittim pillars overlaid with gold, that stood on so many weighty sockets of silver. It was called the veil, and sometimes the second veil, as the one which hung over the entrance had to be passed through before coming to it. (Heb. ix. 3.) The front apartment formed by this hanging partition, which reached from it to the door of the tent, was twenty cubits in length: it was called the Holy Place, and also the First Tabernacle. The other apartment, reaching from the dividing veil to the western end of the tabernacle, was of course completely square every way, its length, its breadth, and its height, being each exactly ten cubits: it was called the Most Holy Place, the Holiest of holies, or the Holiest of all, and sometimes also the second or inner tabernacle. (Ex. xxvi. 31-33. Heb. ix. 2-8, 10, 19.)
The FURNITURE of the sanctuary and its court next claims our consideration. Here we are to notice the altar of burnt-offering and the brazen laver that stood in the court; the altar of incense, the candlestick, and the table of shew-bread which belonged to the holy place; and the ark of the covenant, with its mercy-seat overshadowed by the cherubim of glory, which abode in awful retirement within the holiest of all.
1. The Altar of burnt-offering, or the Brazen Altar, stood directly in front of the door of the tabernacle, off from it toward the centre of the courts, so as to be in a line between the tabernacle and the entrance of the court on the east end. Its frame was square, and hollow within, in length and in breadth five cubits, and in height three. The sides were made of boards of shittim wood completely overspread with brass: some think, however, that they were boarded in this way only from the middle upward, while below they were composed of some sort of brazen net-work. It is not altogether clear either, in what way the inside was occupied. We are told in the Bible, that a grate of network of brass was put under the compass of the altar beneath, so as to be even unto the midst of it. This some sup