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· monial service of the legal Levites and Priests, which as a - Benjamite, he could not perform. *
How do all the pomp and pride of man shrink into contemptible meanness before the very thought of this immortal grandeur! The glory of princes, consisting of empty sounding names, or of a little gaudy splendor administered by dying worms like themselves, or of a multitude of idle ceremonies and perishing cares, or of distracting attentions to circumstances foreign to their own welfare, which consume their time and prey upon their spirits and their health, or of an affectation of vast importance, which they strive to feel and to have felt by others, without the acquisition of inward peace and substantial good; all this glory of the most dignified worms, alas! what is it now, but a fleetly passing imagination; and where will it shortly be, when Christ, the Lord of life shall appear, and his Christians shall appear with him in his glory! What a different estimate of things do grace and eternity teach men! and what beggary and folly will all that be found, which mortals now fondly
* Thus it was said of some priests under the law, that they were very able men for the work of the service of the house of God. There bypong2, strong in might, (1 Chron. ix. 13.) or strength for war, is the natural image for strength of grace in the spiritual warfare. The church was ever considered here as militant, and therefore called in v. 19. the host of Jehovah. The priests and Levites ranked as the principal officers, under the law: as the apostles and ministers of the word stand foremost under the gospel. But all the host must fight the good fight of faith, and war the good warfare. Tim. i. 18. Exod. xviii. 21. Judg. vi. 12.
pursue, as the summit and perfection of grandeur and happiness!
O my soul, seek thou the unfading honors and the durable riches of righteousness. Soon will all other things be but of very little importance, either in themselves or to thee. The clouds and shadows of time are swiftly flying; and the day-spring from on high will e'er long revisit the world with transcendent lustre. Well for thee, if thou canst hail his appearing, or canst join the apostle in the seraphic energy of his language and faith ; Come, Lord Jesus, conie quickly..
And what is life below, without faith in this Jesus! . And where is faith, but in union with him! And how can this union be obtained, but by his Spirit descending to the soul! And how doth this Spirit produce this union, but according to the divine will carried forth into the exercise of the divine power! And how is this power manifested, but, as the effect of this union, by working in the soul both to will and to do, according to the divine nature, to which it is united! And what is the willing and doing of God, but the sanctification of his children, making them meet for their inheritance, and conducting them in a gracious manner towards it!-0 may these things be in me, and abound, to the glory of my God and Redeemer!
Thus may I prove myself a Levite indeed, and evince my junction to the Lord, by having the fruits of his Spirit in my heart and life. From a Levite below, he will, I humbly trust, in due time, raise me up to the full possession of his royal priest-hood above. The way and the means are all in his hand. There I leave them,
not desiring to know beforehand the mode of his action, or the time of his ordination. Both are best and safest in his own power. The end is sure; because his covenant and promise have made it so; and, for this, I may confidentiy wait and assuredly trust. He will keep safely more than I am able, or know how, to commit unto him. He will give me, though the son of a stranger, by nature, because now joined to himself through his mercy, an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off : and will bring me to his holy mountain, and make me joyful in his house of prayer.*
LIVELY, OR PRECIOUS STONES.
EVERY thing, enjoined by the law of Moses, was a type or shadow of good things, either at the time spiritually existing, or more amply to be revealed or fulfilled in the time to come. Among other articles of that divine æconomy, the breast-plate of the high-priest was one of striking consideration. It is translated, the breastplate of judgement; but probably, with more propriety, it might have been rendered, the breast-plate of the decree; the decree of the Lord himself, concerning the things signified by it.
The form of this remarkable breast-plate was exactly square, and contained within it four rows of the most precious stones, three of which were in each row. Of what kinds these several stones precisely were, the most learned among the Jews or Christians are not entirely agreed. They are, however, uniformly of opinion, that the stones were of the most beautiful, costly, and resplendent species, and therefore the most proper to convey the idea for which they were chosen.
As it may not be unpleasant to some readers, I have endeavoured to collect the best opinion upon the names of the several stones, and their disposition in the breastplate, together with their respective colours; in which last particular, I have been materially assisted by a valuable friend, who is particularly intelligent in this branch of natural history; and who piously observes upon the subject, “ that as it bath pleased God, out of the four elements, to create such glorious, though inanimate, productions as these precious stones, which demon
strate beauty, light, perfection, excellency, choice, durability, &c. so we may learn, that it is truly in his power to do much greater wonders in our bodies and souls (in our whole man, as St. Paul speaks) at that day when he will make up his jewels.” Perhaps, the annexed order and description, may come near the truth of the original designation.