The People's Bible by Joseph Parker
And it came to pass on the eighth day, that Moses called Aaron and his sons, and the elders of Israel;Consecration and Service
IT seems singular and almost frivolous that the priests were commanded not to go out of the door of the tabernacle of the congregation for seven days. This is our own practice. The accident has changed, but this is the philosophy of all calculated and well-set life. We think we have escaped all these mechanisms, whereas we have not escaped one of them. God is one, his method is one, his providence is one. Any variety which may please our little fancy is a very transient delight; at the root and core of things there is a marvellous, an eternal unity. Men are not permitted to go forth into the priesthood at a step. No priesthood is worth accepting that any fool may step into without notice, without preparation and without thought. The great priesthoods of life are all approached by a seven days' consecration. Men may rush at work, they may "rush in where angels fear to tread"; but looked at comprehensively and weighed wisely, the great philosophy covers all time that he who would accept any priesthood of life—by which is meant any of its highest offices, leaderships and utilities—must approach through a strait gate and go by a narrow way and obey the eternal law of consecration. This is not open to dispute; no theme of controversy is started by this suggestion. The practice of life is described almost literally even in this ancient text. There is no Old Testament in the sense of obsoleteness or exhaustion; there is an Old Testament in the sense of root, origin, first points, germs, authorities. Without the Old Testament we could have had no New Testament, as without eternity time would have been impossible. Does the medical priest run into his priesthood without consecration? is he not hidden for many a day in the tabernacle of wisdom—in the tent in which he meets all the authorities of his science? For a long time he may not prescribe; for a considerable period he has but to inquire and to give proof of capacity and industry. A whole week of time—meaning by that some perfect period—must elapse before he goes forth authoritatively to feel a pulse, or to prescribe a remedy. Why this repetition of Old Testament technicality, of obsolete and most frivolous pedantry? There is no such thing. The Old Testament has a grip of life in all its departments and issues—which is proof enough that it never wrote itself. Does the musical priest rush into his work quite suddenly without notice or preparation, without consecration and endorsement? Allow that in some conspicuous instances which could never be encompassed by mortal law there may have been bushes burning in wildernesses without the enkindling of the fire by human hands; allow for genius, for almost divine fulness of inspiration; still there remains the great common law of education, progress and influence; and seven days' consecration, silence, study, inquiry, qualification must precede a forthcoming priest and the assertion of his power. The same law applies to the preaching of the Gospel. The preacher must be long time hidden, during which no man may suspect that he is a preacher; his silence may be almost provoking; people may be driven to inquire what the purpose of his life is;—he says nothing; he never reveals himself; he looks as if he might be about to speak, but speak he never does; he is full of books and thoughts, and prayer seems to be written upon his transfigured face. What is the meaning of this? He is in the Tent of Meeting; he is in conference with the Trinity; he is undergoing consecration,—in no merely ceremonial sense: in the sense of acquiring deeper knowledge of God, fuller communion with the truth, and entering into closer fellowship with all the mysteries of human life. Even when he seems to be doing things that other men could easily do, it is the other men who are making the mistake. When the medical priest, hoary with long years, touches your pulse, remember that half a century is listening to the ticking of that life-pendulum; and remember that when any well-qualified critic pronounces an opinion in a moment upon any performance it may be half a century that speaks in the brief and urgent sentence. Our judgments are not to be founded upon the mere flash of the moment; behind what appears to be easy there may be a lifetime of study, prayer, and consecration. What is true of all these regions is equally true of every other region in life that is worth occupying—true of every workman, however humble his sphere of industry, true of every head of a business that requires care and thoughtful management, true of every man who attempts wisely to direct public opinion; there must be preparation, consecration, waiting, silence, and then the outcoming of the prepared man to do the work which God means him to execute. Thus life is no little trick, no momentary posture, no empirical venture; but a deep philosophy, a grand tragedy, a tremendous struggle. O! that men were wise, that they understood these things! In all thy ways acknowledge God, and he will direct thy path. Do not run before being sent. Remember that time spent in the wilderness is not time wasted. Never forget that there is a religious silence as well as a religious utterance; and let God fix the time of consecration and the place of concealment, and let him begin, continue and terminate the conference. After that all will be easy—not because of any frivolity in itself, but because of the divine store of strength treasured up in the prepared and consecrated heart
"So Aaron and his sons did all things which the Lord commanded by the hand of Moses" (Leviticus 8:36).
Obedience is the best preparation for service. We cannot rule until we can obey. That was the motto of the great Napoleon. It is a philosophy expressed in the briefest terms. Aaron and his sons did not take a primary place; they did not rush upon their destiny; they waited, accepted the law, obeyed it to the letter, stood still like a commanded sun, and would not move until God bade them go forward. It is at this point that many of us lose much. We are impatient: we think we are prepared for action when we are not at all qualified to undertake it. The teacher knows better than the pupil; the master knows when we have been long enough in the wilderness or undergoing processes of spiritual education and religious chastisement. God is the time-keeper. To obey is to express in the form most suitable to modesty a spirit of genuine greatness. He who obeys, accepts discipline. To obey is to confess the power of others; to obey is to be willing to learn. How often is obedience masked! It has a look of complete surrender, though it is hooked and seamed through and through with subtle reluctance. In that case it is not obedience. None of the happy issues of obedience are secured by it; it is but a varied form of vanity, it is but a concealed expression of self-idolatry. The same rule holds good in Christian service. In the words of judgment we read, "Thou hast been faithful... I will make thee ruler." The sense is even more clearly and graphically expressed by another word in the same judgment, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful... I will make thee ruler." We should have more influence if we were more inspired by the spirit of obedience. Our word would go further if our character justified the assertion of our claim. It has come to a sad state when men undervalue what may be called, or rather miscalled, the negative virtues. We praise open heroism, military adventure, and in doing so we may within certain bounds be perfectly right; but we should not forget patience, obedience, modesty, uncomplaining resignation, the eyes that are weary with long watching, and the lips that are sometimes tempted to move to profanation and yet are recovered suddenly and shaped in prayer. It is no mark of progress that we undervalue negative virtues, passive qualities, simple waiting until we are told to go forward. A meek and a quiet spirit is, in the sight of God, of great price.
The time came when Aaron was to go forward to his work. "And it came to pass on the eighth day, that Moses called Aaron and his sons, and the elders of Israel," and gave them their orders; and Aaron went forth and took the "young calf for a sin offering, and a ram for a burnt offering." There is something very pathetic about a man's first action. We ought to look lovingly upon the young who try for the first time to realise the mystery of their vocation. It little becomes us to sneer. We ourselves, however old and skilled, had to begin. We should rather remember our own stumblings, and blunderings, and misadventures, and remembering these, should keep back the word of stinging criticism and bitter reproach, the utterance of which on the part of any man is an insult to the Spirit of Christ. Are any beginning the Christian race? We who are a mile or two on must pray that the new runners may run well; we remember where we slipped, where we well-nigh fell and should have fallen quite, but for friendly interposition and gentlest encouragement given by stronger men. He is not an able man who shows his ability in cynicism and in sneering. It is the curse of some families that they are always bitter. They mistake sneering for ability. It is the sting of a wasp, it is the fang of a serpent, it is the hoof of an ass,—it is not ability. Ability sustains, comforts, encourages, builds up with gracious edification and speaks the word of encouragement when heart and flesh do fail. We owe everything to encouragement—nothing to bitter cynicism. Encouragement was given in the case of the early priests.
"And Moses said, This is the thing which the Lord commanded that ye should do: and the glory of the Lord shall appear unto you." Duty and glory—not glory and duty—must be the motto of life. Read the words,—ponder them: "This is the thing which the Lord commanded that ye should do:—" The sentence is punctuated by a colon; the thing is supposed to be done, and on the other side of the colon we read—"and the glory of the Lord shall appear unto you";—harvest after seedtime, honour after service, heaven after earth, immortality after triumphant death.
Jesus Christ did all that is here ascribed to Aaron and his sons. Christ underwent preparation: for thirty years he was practically silent; he was being consecrated in a sense we cannot perfectly understand; he was being set apart, and in the end he brought all the completeness of his strength to bear in redeeming tenderness upon the awful situation of the world. He walked in long silence; no man dared ask him any question about his reticence. He might have spoken before—so human impatience reasoned; but he was fulfilling a destiny; he was representing the most solemn mystery of life. Christ obeyed. In saying so, we are abiding strictly by the Scriptural line; we are not venturing upon some idle or poetic fancy. He accepted the position: he "became obedient unto death, even the death of the Cross"; as a Son he served in the Father's house. Study this aspect of the divine character of Jesus; his Deity suffers no loss by this stoop of his humanity. He is not the less God to the soul, but the more, and the more priestly and the more sympathetic, that he understands all the bending, all the condescension, all the service of life. There is no work of a permitted kind to which the hand can be put which Christ did not do long before he commanded us to attempt its execution. Jesus Christ also had his first work. We read such words as these: "Jesus began to preach." They are tender words; they touch the heart with a most subtle pathos. Christ, who never himself began—for he was Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last—"began to preach"—heard his own voice in public for the first time. What a beginning it was! How like a beginning when he began! He said "Repent!" It was a short discourse,—yes, in words, but a discourse that filled all time with its meaning. Then we read—"This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee." He who began to preach began to work miracles—did his first wonder. They say that to the true speaker the sentences he utters are greater surprises to himself than to his hearers. Was the miracle greater to Christ than to the observer? Was there any element of surprise in the Redeemer's mind when he saw that the water had blushed into wine? We cannot tell. The human mind must wonder, and put reverent questions, and may do so without profaning sanctities divine. Have we begun? Have we begun to preach? Have we tried to do the first miracle? Have we never begun at all? It is high time to awake out of sleep: the night is far-spent, the day is at hand; redeem the time, buy up the opportunity,—begin now. One man's miracle may be the speaking of a gracious word, or the utterance of a forgiving declaration, or the offering of a hand long withheld, or the serving of the poor and the ignorant and those that are out of the way. Another man's miracle may be begun in opening his lips for the first time in audible prayer. Each man must find out for himself the point at which he must begin his preaching and his miracle. Christ associated duty and glory; he said—"I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do,... glorify thou me... with the glory which I had with thee before the world was." He, too, would be glorified. Moses finished the work, then the glory of the Lord descended; Aaron did the things that were commanded, then the glory of the Lord appeared; Jesus Christ finished the work which was given him to do, and the glory was not withheld,—a marvellous sentence; it seems to separate the coincident lines and divide them for ever.
"Aaron therefore went unto the altar, and slew the calf of the sin offering, which was for himself" (Leviticus 9:8).
There the scene ends. We look for analogies and consummations, but where is the analogous line in this instance? There is a sentence in the New Testament which makes us quail bearing upon this very doctrine. In the Epistle to the Hebrews (Hebrews 7:27), that sentence is recorded: "Who needeth not daily, as those high-priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's: for this he did once, when he offered up himself." All the meaning of that sentence no man may explain. Does it relate to the latter part of the previous sentence or to the entire declaration? Read again: "Who needeth not daily, as those high-priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's: for this—" Which? "... first for his own sins, and then for the people's: for this he did once, when he offered up himself." He was without sin, and therefore would need no sin-offering;—a Lamb without blemish or spot or drawback, he had no sin to confess; but when he was baptized he said "... thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness"; and when he was slain, what know I how much of his pure humanity was itself involved in the mysterious oblation? Silence is best. That he had no sin, he knew no sin, that he was spotless, pure, holy as God in himself we know; but representatively, humanly, fleshly, who can tell—for the exposition must put itself into the form of a question—the whole meaning of this ineffable mystery?
Thus stands the sublime appeal: a time of consecration, an act of obedience, glory crowning duty. To that programme of life and to no mean policy are we called, every one, by the Spirit of Christ and the vision of his Cross.
The order of God for the consecration of Aaron is found in Exodus 29, and the record of its execution in Lev. viii.; and the delegated character of the Aaronic priesthood is clearly seen by the fact, that, in this its inauguration, the priestly office is borne by Moses, as God's truer representative (Hebrews 7).
The form of consecration resembled other sacrificial ceremonies in containing, first a sin offering, the form of cleansing from sin and reconciliation; a burnt offering, the symbol of entire devotion to God of the nature so purified; and a meat offering, the thankful acknowledgment and sanctifying of God's natural blessings. It had, however, besides these, the solemn assumption of the sacred robes (the garb of righteousness), the anointing (the symbol of God's grace), and the offering of the ram of consecration, the blood of which was sprinkled on Aaron and his sons, as upon the altar and vessels of the ministry, in order to sanctify them for the service of God. The former ceremonies represented the blessings and duties of the man, the latter the special consecration of the priest.
The solemnity of the office, and its entire dependence for sanctity on the ordinance of God, were vindicated by the death of Nadab and Abihu, for "offering strange fire" on the altar, and apparently for doing so in drunken recklessness. Aaron checking his sorrow, so as at least to refrain from all outward signs of it, would be a severe trial to an impulsive and weak character, and a proof of his being lifted above himself by the office which he held.
From this time the history of Aaron is almost entirely that of the priesthood, and its chief feature is the great rebellion of Korah and the Levites against his sacerdotal dignity, united with that of Dathan and Abiram and the Reubenites against the temporal authority of Moses.
The true vindication of the reality of Aaron's priesthood was, not so much the death of Korah by the fire of the Lord, as the efficacy of his offering of incense to stay the plague, by which he was seen to be accepted as an intercessor for the people.
—Smith's Dictionary of the Bible.
And Aaron lifted up his hand toward the people, and blessed them, and came down from offering of the sin offering, and the burnt offering, and peace offerings.Blessing and Judgment
A most happy change! We feel as if we could join the thankful and rapturous host of Israel. There has not been much blessing up to this period in our studies. We have come face to face with law, rule, exaction, discipline, and all the apparatus of profound and life-long education. A tender tone would have helped us now and again. We have not been without such tone. When we have heard it, we have made the most of it; we have magnified the tenderness into a great heaven-filling benediction. We took it as preliminary; we interpreted it typically; we hailed it as an earnest; we said, "The cloud at present is only about the size of a man's hand, but quickly the sky will be charged with rain, and upon the earth it will plash in gracious benediction." This is the right way to read gentle providences—all light helps by the way; regard them as earnests, pledges, hints, and promises in substance. A great human passage is before us. Up to this time we have been dealing with priests, and ceremonies, and mechanisms; we have been conscious of the want of what may be represented as the universal; on every hand we have been bounded, shut up in stern iron, with a look upward, but no horizon. Now Aaron stretches forth his hands and blesses the people: stern Moses joins him: they enter the tent of meeting and return, and they both bless the people. The ministry is widening; there is a streak of light on the faraway horizon; the two greatest men have at present seen the possibility of millenniums of light and rest and comfort; a new tone is in their voices; feeling begins to enter into the ministry of law. The people may behave better after this. Who can rebel immediately after a benediction? Does not a blessing block us on our rebellious way and make us think a little whether we may not have been wrong, and whether it is not better to turn round and go the other—the upward—road? What has been wanting in our education, personally, domestically, socially, may be this element of feeling, sympathy, benediction,—this utterance of infinite hope, this covering up of wounds and blemishes and shortcomings and life-wanderings by a great and divine benediction. We seem to have sudden summer coming upon us in the winter-time of this law and mechanism.
Blessings of this kind do not come alone; other comforts attend and consummate them. We read in the twenty-fourth verse of the ninth chapter:
"And there came a fire out from before the Lord, and consumed upon the altar the burnt offering and the fat: which when all the people saw, they shouted, and fell on their faces." (Leviticus 9:24)
It was a rare time in Israel—a time of rapture, of melting tenderness, of that sacred emotion which lifts up the level of the whole life by enlarging and ennobling all the best sentiments of the heart. This is what is now granted to men. All true service is glorified by a consciousness of the Divine presence. Again and again we say, "Did not our heart burn within us?" We knew hardly why; we had seen a Stranger: he had conversed with our inmost spirit: he had delivered messages straight to the hearing ear of the soul, every tone of which was heard, every tone of which was new; and the fire began to burn, and the heart became a new heart—soft, tender, filled with a sense of mystery: love rose above the region of words and shaped itself before the inner vision in apocalypses of symbol and type and wizardry such as might have been inspired by the Holy Spirit: and the air danced with new images, and the sun burned with new light, and all time seemed too short for the expression of the rapture which thrilled the spirit. Then we were charged with fanaticism; some did not hesitate to say: "These men are drunken; they have had new wine, and they are under the influence of intoxicants,"—not knowing that we were not drunken with wine wherein is excess, but were filled with the Spirit of God; and the only word in all the daily language of mortals which touched our experience at all, and gave it articulation, was the word fire, because it seems to hold all other words that mean earnestness, purity, elevation, beauty, suggestiveness. The fire in the humblest grate outshines the king's diamonds. The fire, read by open and discerning eyes, is a continual history, battle, unfoldment, revelation.
There have been grand days in the Church—days when the mechanical priest has shaken off his mechanism and blessed the people; days when great legislators have dropped the baton of statesmanship, and with free hands stretched out over a wondering people have blessed the common human heart. One may come in the ages who will sit down upon a mountain, and when he opens his mouth he will say, "Blessed, blessed, blessed!" he will begin his sermon by putting the crown upon all the best history of the heart; he will begin, where other men close, with congratulation and beatitude.
The history pauses a moment. It ought here to be punctuated by a whole century. Some time should elapse before the next sentence is read. Yet we had better not lengthen the pause, or we may sacrifice reality for poetical completeness. Our own life to-day is just as hurried, rugged, and contradictory as is this piece of ancient story. So we may come into the next chapter with an awful familiarity. Men can go from the altar to forbidden places; men can unclasp their hands from God's grip and put those hands into other keeping. Poetical justice might have closed the book of Leviticus with the ninth chapter. It would have been a glorious close,—Aaron moved to feeling: Moses giving way to emotion: the Lord's fire consuming the offering upon the altar: the people singing, shouting, and falling down in adoration. Why did not the history close there? That would have been Canaan enough for any nation, paradise enough for any people. But there is another chapter. The tenth chapter opens with a sketch of character which appears from day to day:
"And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the Lord, which he commanded them not." (Leviticus 10:1)
What a set-back in the grand advance! How often have we been within one step of heaven, and have turned suddenly round and fallen right back to the earth that has every reason to be ashamed of us! They were priests too; they were the sons of the pontiff. The evil began in the upper places. The scepticism is in the Church to-day. It pleases us to organise missions to those who are supposed to be unbelievers; but the unbelief of the day is in the Church. There is (as we have said again and again) no possible unbelief outside the Church. There may be ignorance, only partial knowledge, prejudice, perverted judgment; but, as we have again and again averred—and growing time becomes growing conviction,—the enemies of the Church are not outside the Church. The pulpit may be leprous; the ministry may be filled with scepticism. They were in the sacerdotal line, who blasphemously took their own censers,—a thing forbidden in the law. These men were not at liberty to take each his own censer; there was a utensil provided for that action, and for any man to bring his own ironmongery to serve in such a cause was to insult the Spirit of the universe. This is how we stand to-day: every man bringing his censer—his own censer,—which means the prostitution of personality, the loss of the commonwealth-spirit and of the recognition of the unity and completeness of the Church. There are men who spend their time in amending Providence: Nadab and Abihu represent two such men to-day. There are men who are always trying to naturalise the supernatural: this is what Nadab and Abihu did. They said in effect, "This evil fire will do quite as well; build your life on reason; order all the ministry of your life by coherent and cumulative argument; drop the ancient words, and choose and set new words of your own; there is no supernatural: let us banish superstition and inaugurate the reign of reason." Nadab and Abihu had a kind of church, but a church without the true God,—an uninhabited shell, a mockery, a base irony—the baser because it was in a sense religious. There are men who substitute invention for commandment. This is what Nadab and Abihu did: they invented a new use of the common censer; they brought into new service common fire; they ventured to put incense thereon when only the pontiff of Israel was allowed to use such incense; they invented new bibles, new laws, new churches, new methods; they were cursed with the spirit of extra independence and individuality, with the audacity of self-trust—not with its religious worship and adoration. This all occurs every day, and it occurs quite as rudely and violently in the current and flow of our own history. All this invention and all this deposition of God and of law comes just as swiftly after our conscious realisations of the divine presence as this instance came swiftly upon the conscious benediction of God. "There is but a step between me and death." It would seem as if a universe might intervene between true prayer and the spirit of distrust and cursing—yet not a hair's-breadth intervenes. A man on his knees is next to the worst self, namely,—a man with clenched fists defying the heavens. It is possible to lay down the Bible and take up the unholy book and read the corruptest pages with conscious interest if not positive sympathy. Thin is the veil which keeps the right action from the wrong deed. The place of devils is next door to the sanctuary always. For some men it is never so easy to rebel as after a great Amen spoken in the ear of Heaven.
Another action of fire is found in this incident:
"And there went out fire from the Lord, and devoured them, and they died before the Lord" (Leviticus 10:2).
The same fire! Is it not said that the Gospel is a savour of life unto life, or of death unto death? Fire had just consumed the burnt offering and the fat upon the altar in token of divine complacency and sacred nearness and the acceptance of human worship and that same fire went out from the Lord and devoured the audacious priests—the sacerdotal blasphemers,—ate them up as if they had been common bones! It is an awful flame! "Our God is a consuming fire." Priests, officers, leaders, men of position, men of wealth, play not your little fantastic tricks on God's altar! Your vanity and pomp and fashion and base wealth will be no protection against the anger and righteous judgment of God. The pulpit must obey; the foremost men must obey as the hindmost. The law must have obedience—simple, complete, honest, unquestioning obedience;—ours not to ask the reason, or make objection, or start new difficulty, or invent new methods; but to be found in loving and holy obedience evermore.
This is what has always happened in the history of such men as Nadab and Abihu. History is full of the white ashes of burned heretics. Leave the Lord to handle the infidel—whether he be priest or outside sceptic. The Lord has never been negligent of his own altar. Men have arisen from century to century proposing the use of new censers, granting to every man the use of his own censer—and thus paying a subtle tribute to the vanity of the human heart; in many ages men have arisen to write down the Bible, to tear down the altar, to supersede the sanctuary. For a time they succeeded; but because there was "no deepness of earth" they soon withered away—that is to say, they were not rooted in the Heart of the Universe, which is a living Heart, an eternal Heart; they were planted on the surface of things, and were in very deed quite green and gave promise of blossom and of fruit; but we looked for them; and, lo, they were not; yea, we sought them, but they could not be found. The Lord will burn every Nadab and Abihu, and burn them the more quickly that they were priests. If they had been sound heretics—really out-and-out enemies and assailants—he might have conferred with Moses and Aaron about them as he conferred with an elder man about Sodom and Gomorrah; but he has no parleying when priests do wrong, for the evil is at the altar: there is nothing between the deed and the judgment. It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for preachers, teachers, professors, who have played the fool, and have substituted the traditions of elders for the commandments of God. It is a sad time in the Church when the altar is forgotten. The Lord said "I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me, and before all the people I will be glorified.... And Moses called" two of the family" and said... Carry out these men and bury them outside the camp"; and Moses would have no mourning by Aaron or Eleazar and Ithamar:
"Uncover not your heads, neither rend your clothes; lest ye die, and lest wrath come upon all the people: but let your brethren, the whole house of Israel, bewail the burning which the Lord hath kindled" (Leviticus 10:6).
"Moses said unto Aaron, and unto Eleazar, and unto Ithamar... Ye shall not go out from the door of the tabernacle of the congregation" (the tent of meeting), "lest ye die: for the anointing oil of the Lord is upon you"; if you go out you will reflect upon God's ministry in the world. Aaron must not mourn along the track of the divine judgment; he must remain at the altar; what may occur in his own heart none can tell, for God will not be hard upon him; but he must not be found going after burned men as one might go after those who had died complacently with Heaven and in the discharge of duty.
The reason is given in the words—"For the anointing oil of the Lord is upon you." That oil must separate between you and the appearance of unbelief; that oil is a restraint as well as an inspiration. Is it not so now, varying the terms and the relations of things? If we could enter into the spirit of that restriction, what different men we should be! The name of your country is upon you: dishonour it not. A venerable name, never associated with meanness, cowardice, corruption, or fear of man. Rise to the dignity of the signature which is upon you. When you flee, the enemy will say your country has fled; when you play the coward, the enemy will say the throne has tottered and the sovereign has succumbed. The holy vow is upon you. You said you would be better and do better. You punctuated the vow with hot tears; your emphasis was quite an unfamiliar tone, so much so that we wondered at the poignancy of your utterance, and felt in very deed that you were speaking the heart's truth. Remember that vow. The vow of the Lord is upon you. If you stoop, it will not be condescension, it will be base prostration; if you palter with the reality of language, it will not be ability in the use of words, it will be the profanation of the medium which God has established for the conveyance and the interchange of truth. The exalted position is yours. You are the head of a family: if you go wrong, the whole family will suffer to the second and third and fourth generations. You are known and trusted in business: if you be found mean, untrustworthy, faithless, deceitful, the whole city will feel the anguish of a pang, for you were regarded as a trustee of its honour and its reputation. The anointing oil is upon you in some form or in some way. The name of Christ is upon us all. We cannot get rid of it. In this way or in that we have all to do with Christ, with his name, his honour, his cross, his crown. Tell it not in Gath, publish it not in the streets of Askelon, lest the daughters of Philistia rejoice. Who can tell what savage joy there is when Lucifer, son of the morning, trembles in his orbit—staggers—falls? The anointing oil of the Lord is upon you, and when the Christian professor speaks the base word, does the base deed, bends at the forbidden altar, withholds the sacrifice, forbears to speak the word of faithful testimony and allegiance,—the enemy laughs, and hell says: "Art thou also become as one of us?"