Leviticus 14:2
"This is the law of the one afflicted with a skin disease on the day of his cleansing, when he is brought to the priest.
Sermons
The Cleansing of the Leper - Ceremonies Outside the CampJ.A. Macdonald Leviticus 14:1-9
Restoration SuggestionsW. Clarkson Leviticus 14:1-20
Thorough PurificationS.R. Aldridge Leviticus 14:1-20
The Cleansing of Sin as Illustrated in the Cleansing of the LeperR.M. Edgar Leviticus 14:1-57
A Sermon to Children on HyssopLeviticus 14:2-32
According to AbilityJ. Parker, D. D.Leviticus 14:2-32
Appropriate Return for the Saviour's Blood-SheddingS. S. ChronicleLeviticus 14:2-32
Blood-Washed ChristiansJ. Spencer.Leviticus 14:2-32
Ceremonies on Recovery of the LeperJ. Cumming, D. D.Leviticus 14:2-32
Christ Can Remove the Root of the Disease of SinLeviticus 14:2-32
Christ is an Almighty DoctorT. De Witt Talmage.Leviticus 14:2-32
Christ the Only HealerThe Church Scholars' MagazineLeviticus 14:2-32
Christian ConsecrationJohn Vaughan.Leviticus 14:2-32
Cleansing the LeperW. Sleigh.Leviticus 14:2-32
Do not Forget the RemedyMemoir of Wm. Marston.Leviticus 14:2-32
Freedom and Exultation of the Restored LifeC. Wadsworth, D. D.Leviticus 14:2-32
LessonsA. Willet, D. D.Leviticus 14:2-32
Provision for the PoorJ. A. Seiss, D. D.Leviticus 14:2-32
The Cured and UncuredT. De Witt Talmage.Leviticus 14:2-32
The LeperA. Willet, D. D.Leviticus 14:2-32
The Leper CleansedJ. A. Seiss, D. D.Leviticus 14:2-32
The Two BirdsS. H. Kellogg, D. D.Leviticus 14:2-32
The Two BirdsT. De Witt Talmage.Leviticus 14:2-32
The Two Birds Considered TypicallyD. Jamison, B. A.Leviticus 14:2-32
The ceremonies here enjoined in the event of leprosy being healed suggest four things.

I. AN INTERESTING PASSAGE IN THE LIFE OF OUR LORD. Our Saviour's experiences may be divided into:

(1) his sufferings and death;

(2) his life (and example);

(3) his works.

Of these the last may be the least important, but they will never be unimportant. They will always remain one strong, convincing proof of his Godhead. And of these works the healing of leprosy - incurable by human art - was one of the most decisive. In this work of mercy, more vividly than in any other, we see him before us as the Divine Healer of the sin-smitten heart of man. Great interest belongs, therefore, to the incident related in Luke 5:12-15. And in the instruction given in verse 14 we see our Divine Lord:

(1) mindful of the Law of Moses, which he ever honoured (Matthew 3:15; Matthew 5:17);

(2) while desirous of avoiding a noisy and hurtful notoriety, taking, due to establish the reality of his work.

II. THE CONSIDERATION WE OWE TO OUR FELLOW-MEN. In virtue of the Divine precept the leper might not enter human society. But this was not the only ground of exclusion; by reason of the character of his malady he was wholly unfit to enter. Once exiled, therefore, he might not return until every guarantee had been given that he was "whole," until numerous and prolonged ceremonies of cleansing had removed all stigma from him, and made him likely to receive a cordial welcome back. Hence the elaborate ceremonial of the text:

(1) priestly examination (verses 2, 3);

(2) the ceremony of the two birds (verses 4-7);

(3) personal ablution (verse 8);

(4) further exclusion for a week (verse 8);

(5) additional ablution, etc. (verse 9);

(6) offerings at the altar, attended with peculiar rites with the blood and oil (verses 10-20).

When by any folly or guilt of ours we have incurred the distrust or dislike of our brethren, it is due to them that we should give them every possible guarantee of our "cleanness," our integrity of heart and life, before they abandon their suspicion and give us again their cordial confidence. Society has a right to require that the man whom it has necessarily shunned is pure of his moral and spiritual malady. We may be unable to gain any certificate of character, but we may, to regain confidence and readmission to human fellowship,

(1) show ourselves as humble, earnest worshippers in the house of the Lord;

(2) seek the open confidence of the acknowledged servants of Christ;

(3) give the pledge of a scrupulously virtuous life, that we are really "washed and sanctified... by the Spirit of our God' (1 Corinthians 6:11).

III. THE OBLIGATIONS OF OFFICE. Those who hold high office have sometimes uninviting duties to discharge. The priests of Israel held honourable rank in the nation; doubtless they received a large share of public deference, and were regarded as those who occupied an enviable position. But their duties embraced some offices from which the humblest in the land might shrink. They had to make a most careful examination of the man who believed himself healed of leprosy. Probably, in their eagerness to return to the camp, these afflicted ones often sought readmission when the disease was still upon them. But the priest must examine all who came, clean or unclean. Those who now hold honourable positions in society (the minister, the medical man, etc.) must hold themselves ready, not only to do those duties which are inviting and congenial, but those also which are unpleasant and even painful, whether to the flesh or to the spirit.

IV. THE OUTLOOK OF HUMAN MISERY. What was the prospect of the exiled leper? Human art had given him up as incurable, and human fellowship had cast him out as unworthy. What could he hope for? There were only two possible remedies - a Divine cure or the grave; the one blessed enough but sadly improbable, the other sad enough but a welcome certainty. If for a while we look at leprosy as the picture, not of human sin, but of human misery, we may be reminded that, for a Christian man, there are two remedies:

(1) deliverance in time from affliction (Psalm 30:11);

(2) comfort in affliction during life, and then "the glory which shall be revealed" (Romans 8:18). Though the night of weeping be lifelong, "yet joy cometh in the morning" of the everlasting day. - C.







The law of the leper in the day of his cleansing.
I. THE DISEASE.

1. Its peculiar designation. Leprosy the "plague of boils" (Deuteronomy 28.), which applies very forcibly to sin.

2. Its distinguishing characteristics. Small in appearance; so in a vicious course of life. It gradually spread, as does sin spread over all the powers and faculties of a man.

3. Its pernicious consequences. The malady was injurious to society, as being infectious and pernicious; to the person himself, excluding him from all society, civil and religions. So sinners corrupt others, while their abominable ways shut them from the communion of the faithful.

II. THE CURE OF THE DISEASE.

1. No human means could be availing. The leper would gladly have cured himself. No art of man was effectual (2 Kings 5:7). We have no remedy of man's devising for sin (Romans 7:19, 24).

2. If the leper was cured, it was by God alone, without the intervention of human means (Luke 17:14; Isaiah 51:7). Nothing was prescribed or attempted for the removal of this distemper. And none but God can remove sin, &c. (Romans 7:10, 18; Ephesians 5:9; 1 Peter 2:2).

3. But the cure was associated with blood and water. And to be cleansed from the leprosy of sin we must have applied the blood and spirit of Christ (1 John 1:7; Ezekiel 36:25).

III. THE CONFIRMATION OF THE CURE BY THE PRIEST,

1. A person was not to be pronounced clean on a sudden. The priest was to use much caution and deliberation. Caution should be exercised by ministers and office-bearers in the Church towards those who are candidates for fellowship.

2. When it evidently appeared that soundness had been imparted to his disordered body, this was declared with due solemnity. Here we see the pre-eminence of our High Priest; for while the priest merely declared the leper healed, He most effectually heals. Let those infected with the leprosy apply to their souls the Divinely appointed remedy; and let those who have been cleansed from it carefully discharge the duty enjoined on them. (ver. 10, &c.).

(W. Sleigh.)

1. How God is the Author of plagues and diseases. Not to hurt man, but to help him; for man being afflicted, is humbled; being humbled, he runs to Him who can raise him up.

2. That sin infects men's bodies, garments, and houses.

3. Of the office of ministers, in visiting the sick (ver. 44).

4. Of our cleansing by the blood of Christ.

5. Of the honourable calling of physicians. They should be —

(1)Skilful.

(2)Faithful to their patient.

(3)Religious, referring all to God's glory.

(4)Not covetous.

(A. Willet, D. D.)

1. Regeneration must be total in every part.

2. That vicious persons be not with too great facility reconciled.

3. God accepts of our obedience according to our heart.

4. To give thanks to God for our health.

(A. Willet, D. D.)

Although leprosy was not curable by human remedies, it did not always continue for life. It was often sent as a special judgment, as in the cases of Miriam, Azariah, and Gehazi. The Jews generally looked upon it in this light. Its very name denotes a stroke of the Lord. This of itself rather implies that it may cease with the repentance and forgiveness of the smitten offender. It was the anticipation of the healing, of at least some persons leprously affected, that formed the basis of the provisions here laid down. They constitute "the law of the leper in the day of his cleansing"; and if there was no possibility of cure, there was no use of this law. You will observe, however, that these regulations were not for the cure of the leper, but for his ceremonial cleansing after the cure. The disease had first to be stayed, and then began this process of cleansing off all its lingering effects and disabilities. I therefore take the deepest intention of these rites to be to illustrate the nature of sanctification. Justification is also implied, but only as connected with sanctification.

1. In the first place, it is presupposed that the leper's disease had been stayed. And this healing again points to some putting forth of Divine power and grace quite different from anything here brought to view, and far anterior to the commencement of these services. The first motion of our salvation is from God. It begins while we are yet in the very depths of our defilement and guilt. "While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." A full and free forgiveness of all our sins is provided. And the only remaining requirement is to "go show thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing, according as Moses commanded."

2. The leper, finding his leprosy stayed, was to go to the judge in the case and claim exemption from the sentence that was upon him. And to render this the more easy for him, the priest had to "go forth out of the camp" to meet him. The very moment the sinner believes in the healing proclaimed to him in the gospel, and sets himself to move for his cleansing, Christ meets him.

3. And when the healed leper thus presented himself to the priest, there was no alternative left. He had to be pronounced cured. And so Christ hath bound Himself to acquit and absolve every sinner who thus comes to Him in the strength of the gospel message. There is no further hindrance in the way. The man is justified. The sentence that was against him is rescinded and taken away. But the mere absolution of the priest did not fully restore the leper. Though his disease was stayed, there was a taint of it remaining to be purged off before he could join the camp or the holy services. And so our whole salvation must miscarry if it does not also take in an active holiness, purifying our hearts and lives, and transforming us into the image of our Redeemer. How this sanctification is effected is what we are now to consider.

I. To cleanse the recovered leper, the first thing to be done was THE PROCUREMENT OF TWO CLEAN BIRDS, THE ONE OF WHICH WAS TO BE SLAIN, AND THE OTHER TO BE DIPPED IN ITS FELLOW'S BLOOD AND SET AT LIBERTY. These two doves, the gentlest of all God's creatures, at once carry our thoughts back to Christ and His wonderful history. The fate of the one shows us how He was mangled for human guilt, crushed to death for the sins of others, and brought down to the depths of the earth. The other, coming up out of the earthern vessel, out of the blood of its fellow, shows us how Jesus rose again from the rocky sepulchre, and ascended up out of the hand of His captor on strong and joyous pinions far into the high abodes of heaven, scattering as He went the gracious drops of cleansing and salvation. The introduction of these birds, in this connection, presents a great theological fact. As they typify Christ, they show that our sanctification, as well as our justification, proceeds from His Cross and resurrection.

II. The next thing to be done for the cleansing of the recovered leper was THE ARRANGEMENT AND USE OF MEANS TO APPLY THE CLEANSING OF BLOOD. Christ has appointed certain instruments and agencies to convey to us the purifying elements. First of all is the cedar stem of His Word, durable, fragrant, and instinct with celestial power and life, speaking through all the visible creation, but much more distinctly and powerfully in the written Scriptures. Along with this, and fastened to it, is the scarlet wool of the holy sacraments, absorbing, as it were, the whole substance of' Christ crucified, and performing an important part in the impartation of the same to our souls. And along with this scarlet wool, and bound to the same stem, are the many little aromatic stems of prayer, with the sanctifying blood running out and hanging in drops on every point, ready to flow upon and cleanse the humble worshipper.

III. A third requirement for the leper's cleansing was, THAT HE SHOULD "WASH HIS CLOTHES, AND SHAVE OFF ALL HIS HAIR, AND WASH HIMSELF IN WATER." This was his own work. It was to be done by the leper himself. Its spiritual significance is easily understood. It refers to the sinner's repentance and reformation. He must cleanse himself from all his old and base surroundings. He must separate between himself and everything suspicious.

IV. But there is another particular entering into this ritual cleansing. After everything else had been done, SACRIFICES WERE TO BE OFFERED. We must wash, and repent, and reform; but it avails nought without blood. Water, the purest that ever dropped from mossy rock, or gushed from the mountain spring, is not able to cleanse a man for heaven. Tears of repentance, though pure as those which trickled down the Saviour's cheeks, cannot wash out the stains of sin, except they be mingled with the blood that dripped from His wounds. And no moral improvements can entitle us to eternity's honours if they are not connected with the suretyship and sacrifice of Jesus. The source of all sanctification is in His death and resurrection. All the glories of eternal life still refer us back to Calvary. Grace in Christ Jesus commenced the work, and grace in Christ Jesus must complete it. The only peculiarity which I notice here is that some of the blood and oil was to be touched to the cleansed leper, the same as in the consecration of the priests. It points to the very culmination and crown of Christian sanctity. The blood of the trespass-offering stands for the blood of Christ, and the holy oil for the Holy Spirit. These are the two great consecrating elements of Christianity. "With these our High Priest approaches us through the gospel, to complete our cleansing and ordain us to the dignities and duties of our spiritual calling.

V. There is one point more in these ceremonies to which I will call your attention. I refer to THE TIME WHICH THEY REQUIRED. A leper could by no possibility get through with his cleansing under seven days. One day was enough to admit him into the camp; but seven full days were requisite to admit him to his home. There was therefore a complete period of time necessary to the entireness of his cleansing. This arrangement was not accidental. It has its full typical significance. It refers to the fact that no one is completely sanctified in the present life; and that a complete period of time must ensue before we reach the rest to which our cleansing entitles us. We have attained unto very high honours. We have secured very exalted privileges. But everything has not yet been done, and all our disabilities are not yet removed. Great services yet remain to take place when the seven days have elapsed. And until then we must patiently wait. The influences of sin still linger about the old tenement, and we must suffer the consequences of it until the term of this present dispensation ends. Then shall our High Priest come forth again, and "change our vile bodies, and fashion them like unto His own glorious body." The last lurking-places of defilement shall then be cut off. The last act of the leper's cleansing was to shave off his hair. When that was done he entered upon all the high services of the Tabernacle, and went to his home a saved man.

(J. A. Seiss, D. D.)

First of all, "he shall be brought unto the priest; and the priest shall go forth out of the camp," and see him; and then the priest, when he finds that he is clean, shall pronounce him clean. Next the priest was to take "two birds alive and clean, and cedar-wood and scarlet, and hyssop: and the priest shall command that one of the birds be killed in an earthern vessel over running water." Now it seems absurd to speak of an earthern vessel, and water in it called "running water." But all the absurdity is taken away when we recollect that the original is "living water." It is the same expression that occurs in other parts of Scripture. "I will give unto him living water" — "It shall be in him a well of living water." And the real meaning of this passage is "fresh water" from the fountain, and not stagnant, and unfit for physical, or for spiritual, or for ecclesiastical purposes. Then it has been supposed that the one bird that was slain was meant to describe the death of Christ; and the dismissal of the other bird, after being dipped in the blood of the slain bird, was meant to be a type and prefiguration of the resurrection. It is nowhere in Scripture said to be so, but it is obviously typical of sacrifice; and no one sacrifice, no one symbol, could set forth the completeness of the work of Christ; and therefore many symbols may have been employed and combined to set forth that great and blessed act. We read, then, that the person, after this, was still to present an offering of "two he-lambs, without blemish"; and to remain at the door of the Tabernacle of the congregation till the priest had offered these; and by this he was to have access to the congregation. We read that the priest was to sprinkle him seven times; that is, completely, the number meant to denote perfection. He was also to touch the tip of his right ear, to denote that that ear should be opened only to all that was pure. He was also to touch the thumb of the right hand, to teach that every act was to be consistent with his character. And upon the right foot, to show that he was to walk in God's ways, which are ways of pleasantness and of peace. So that the man should feel — what is stated by the apostle in Romans 12. — that he was to present himself, soul and body, a living sacrifice, acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. Now the language employed here-the hyssop, and the cedar-wood, and the sprinkling — casts light upon many passages in the Psalms, and those passages, again, cast light upon the phraseology of the New Testament. "Ye are come unto the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus." We read again, in another passage, of "the sprinkling of His blood," the "blood of sprinkling." The meaning of that is, just as the life of the turtledove, the lamb, or the bird, was sacrificed by the shedding of its blood, and typically and ecclesiastically, or Levitically, virtue or qualification was imparted to the person related to it; so the efficacy of Christ's death, represented by His blood — that is, the atoning efficacy of it — is to be applied so to our hearts and consciences that we may have peace with God, free pardon of our sins, and the hope of an inheritance among all them that are sanctified.

(J. Cumming, D. D.)

Cecil had been a great sufferer for years, and none of his medical friends had been able to ascertain the cause. At length Mrs. Cecil was told of a physician who was extremely skilful in intricate cases, and whom she entreated him to consult. On entering the physician's room, he said, "Welcome, Mr. Cecil; I know you well by character, and as a preacher. We must have some conversation after I have given you my advice." Mr. Cecil then described his sufferings. The physician considered a moment, and then said, "Dear sir, there is only one remedy in such a case as yours; do first try it; it is perfectly simple," and then he mentioned the medicine. Mr. Cecil, fearing to occupy too much of his time, rose to leave, but the physician said, "No, sir, we must not part so soon, for I have long wished for an opportunity of conversing with you." So they spent half an hour more, mutually delighted with each other's society. On returning home, Mr. Cecil said to his wife, "You sent me to a most agreeable man — such a fund of anecdote, such originality of thought, such a command of language." "Well, but what did he prescribe for you?" Mrs. Cecil anxiously inquired. There was a pause, and then Mr. Cecil exclaimed, "I have entirely forgotten the remedy; his charms of manner and conversation put everything else out of my mind." "Now, young men," said Mr. Cecil, "it will be very pleasant for you if your congregations go away saying, ' What eloquence! what original thought! and what an agreeable deliver!' Take care they do not forget the remedy, the only remedy, Christ and His righteousness, Christ and His atonement, Christ and His advocacy."

(Memoir of Wm. Marston.)

Christ cared the demoniac, the paralytic, the leper. He took the most chronic and complicated diseases, and they could not stand before His fiat. To one He said, "Be thou clean"; to another He said, "Take up thy bed and walk"; to another, "Damsel, arise"; and all these were not only cured as to the body, but cured as to the sicknesses of the soul. A pastor went into the house where there was a young Christian dying in great triumph. He entered the room to congratulate her as she was about to enter heaven, and as he went into the room and began to talk cheerfully about the joys that were immediately before her, her sister left the room. A few weeks after the pastor was called to the same house, and this sister who had left the room was about to take her departure into the eternal world, but she was not ready. She said to the pastor, "You don't remember me, do you?" "Oh, yes," he replied, "I remember you." "Do you remember when you were talking to my sister about heaven I left the room?" "Yes," he said, "I remember that." She said, "Do you know why I left?" "No," he replied, "I don't." "Well," she said, "I didn't want to hear anything about my soul, or about heaven, and now I am dying. Oh, sir, it is a dreadful thing to die!" Now, what was the difference between those two sisters? The one was perfectly cured of the terrible disease of sin, the other was not.

(T. De Witt Talmage.)

The Church Scholars' Magazine.
Now, children, if my watch has lost its mainspring, where shall I go to get it mended? To the tailor's? No. To the blacksmith's? No. To the watchmaker's? Yes. Why? Because he makes watches, and knows how to mend them. Now, if your hearts are bad, where will you go to have them healed? To your parents? No. To the priest? No. To Jesus Christ? Yes. Why? Because Be made the heart, and knows how to heal it.

(The Church Scholars' Magazine.)

Christ is an Almighty Doctor. At midnight a sudden disease comes upon your little child. You hasten for a physician, or you telegraph for the doctor as soon as you can, and hour after hour there is a contest between science and the King of Terrors. And yet you stand there and you watch and you see the disease is conquering fortress of strength after fortress of strength, until after a while you stand over the lifeless form and have to confess that there is a limit beyond which human medicament cannot go. But I hail at this moment an Almighty Doctor, who never lost a patient. Why, a leper came out with a bandage over his mouth and utterly loathsome, so they drove him out from all society, and when he came out the people all ran, and Christ ran. But Christ ran in a different direction from the people. They all ran away from the poor man; Christ ran towards him. And then a second leper came out with a bandage over his mouth, and a third, and a fourth, and so on until there were ten lepers, and I see Christ standing among them. It is a dangerous experiment, you say. Why, if you caught the breath of one such man as that, it would be certain death. There, sublimely great in goodness, Christ stood among the ten lepers, and He cured the first, and the second, and the tenth.

(T. De Witt Talmage.)

Some time ago a man wished to cut down a tree in his garden, and took it in hand to do it himself. Taking a spade, he cleared away the earth from the roots, and laid them bare for the axe. He hewed all the roots and suckers he saw, and then pushed and pulled at the tree, but it remained as firm as ever. Going to his gardener, he consulted him about it, and his reply was, "Ah, sir, you have not cut the tap-root. You may hack and cut away at all the rest of the roots, but unless you cut it the tree will never fall." There are hundreds of sin-sick souls who persist in pruning away this sin and that sin, but they wilfully refuse to cut the tap-root of sin.

Two birds.
I. In the first bird let us see the SAVIOUR.

1. The bird was to be "clean." Christ perfectly holy.

2. A bird's being chosen in this rite may point us whence our Saviour came — from heaven.

3. The bird was slain. Christ tasted death for us. This shows —

(1)The evil of sin.

(2)The certainty of its punishment.

(3)God's unspeakable love.

4. As to what bird it was, we do not certainly know, but commentators tell us all the birds prescribed by Moses were common and accessible. So the Saviour is not far off, but near at hand.

5. The "earthern vessel" reminds us of the Saviour's humanity. And the fact that it contained not only blood but also clear water, may remind us that He saves by His Spirit as well as by His blood — that His salvation includes sanctification as well as justification.

II. Let us see in the other bird the BELIEVER.

1. That the Christian is represented by a bird, just as the Saviour is, may teach us —

(1)That Jesus in some sense makes the Christian equal to Himself; and

(2)That every Christian should seek to be Christlike (see 1 John 3:4).

2. That the Christian is represented by a clean bird teaches —

(1)That the man who believes is justified from all things; and

(2)That the Christian's effort should ever be after cleanness of character as well as of condition.

3. That this bird was dipped in the blood of the slain bird shows us plainly the way of salvation — by faith.

4. That the bird on being dipped was then let loose into the open field, teaches the blessed freedom, the glorious change which immediately takes place on a man's believing.

5. May we not also learn that while the Christian is free, yet he will always use his liberty as the bird does, not to sink earthward, but to soar heavenward?

III. As the living bird seems to have been dipped into the blood of the dead by means of a cedar staff, to which, along with a bundle of hyssop, it was attached by a band of scarlet wool, we take this staff as a representation of the GOSPEL, through the foolishness of preaching which it pleases God to save them who believe. Doing so, we learn from 1 Kings 4:30, that cedar-wood and hyssop were regarded as the two extremes of vegetable creation; and so the gospel is

(1)adapted to the two extremes of men;

(2)addressed to the highest and lowest;

(3)to the best and the worst.

(D. Jamison, B. A.)

As in all the Levitical types, so in this case, at the very entrance on the redeemed life stands the sacrifice of a life, and the service of a priest as mediator between God and man. Blood must be shed if the leper is to be admitted again into covenant standing with God; and the blood of the sacrifice in the law ever points to the sacrifice of Christ. But that great Sacrifice may be regarded in various aspects. Sin is a many-sided evil, and on every side it must be met. As often repeated, because sin as guilt requires expiation, hence the type of the sin-offering; in that it is a defrauding of God of His just rights from us, satisfaction is required, hence the type of the guilt-offering; as it is absence of consecration, life for self instead of life for God, hence the type of the burnt-offering. And yet the manifold aspects of sin are not all enumerated. For sin, again, is spiritual death; and, as death, it involves corruption and defilement. It is with special reference to this fact that the work of Christ is brought before us here. In the clean bird, slain that its blood may be applied to the leper for cleansing, we see typified Christ, as giving Himself, that His very life may be imparted to us for our life. In that the blood of the bird is mingled with water, the symbol of the Word of God, is symbolised the truth, that with the atoning blood is ever inseparably united the purifying energy of the Holy Ghost through the Word. Not the water without the blood, nor the blood without the water, saves, but the blood with the water, and the water with the blood (1 John 5:6). But the type yet lacks something for completeness; and for this reason we have the second bird, who, when by his means the blood has been sprinkled on the leper, and the man is now pronounced clean, is released and flies away heavenward. What a beautiful symbol of that other truth, without which even the atonement of the Lord were nought, that He who died, having by that death for us procured our life, was then released from the bonds of death, rising from the dead on the third day, and ascending to heaven, like the freed bird, in token that His life-giving, cleansing work was done. Thus the message which, as the liberated bird flies carolling away, sweet as a heavenly song, seems to fall upon the ear is this (Romans 4:25).

(S. H. Kellogg, D. D.)

There is nothing more suggestive than a caged bird. In the down of its breast you can see the glow of southern climes. In the sparkle of its eyes you can see the flash of distant seas. In its .voice you can hear the song it learned in the wild wood. It is a child of the sky in captivity.

1. Now the dead bird of my text, captured in the air, suggests the Lord Jesus, who came down from the realms of light and glory. He once stood in the sunlight of heaven. He was the favoured of the land. He was the King's Son. But one day there came word to the palace that an insignificant island was in rebellion, and was cutting itself to pieces with anarchy. I hear an angel say: "Let it perish. The King's realm is vast enough without the island. The tributes to the King are large enough without that. We can spare it." "Not so," said the Prince, the King's Son; and I see Him push out one day, under the protest of a great company. He starts for the rebellious island. He lands amid the execrations of the inhabitants, that grow in violence until the malice of earth has smitten Him, and the spirits of the lost world put their black wings over His dying head and shut the sun out. The hawks and vultures swooped down upon this dove of the text, until head and breast and feet ran blood — until, under the flocks and beaks of darkness the poor thing perished. No wonder it was a bird taken and slain over an earthern vessel of running water. It was a child of the skies. It typified Him who came down from heaven in agony and blood to save our souls.

2. I notice also in my text that the bird that was slain was a clean bird. The text demanded that it should be. The raven was never sacrificed, nor the cormorant, nor the vulture. It must be a clean bird, says the text, and it suggests the pure Jesus, the holy Jesus. Although He spent His boyhood in the worst village on earth, although blasphemies were poured into His ear enough to have poisoned any one else, He stands before the world a perfect Christ.

3. I remark also, in regard to this first bird, mentioned in the text, that it was a defenceless bird. When the eagle is assaulted, with its iron beak it strikes like a bolt against its adversary. This was a dove or a sparrow — most probably the former. Take the dove, or pigeon, in your hand, and the pecking of its beak upon your hand makes you laugh at the feebleness of its assault. The reindeer, after it is down, may fell you with its antlers. The ox, after you think it is dead, may break your leg in its death struggle. The harpooned whale, in its last agony, may crush you in the coil of the unwinding rope. But this was a dove — perfectly harmless, perfectly defenceless — type of Him who said, "I have trod the winepress alone, and there was none to help." None to help! The murderers have it all their own way. Where was the soldier in the Roman regiment who swung his sword in the defence of the Divine Martyr? Did they put one drop of oil on His gashed feet? Was there one in all that crowd manly and generous enough to stand up for Him? Were the miscreants at the Cross any more interfered with in their work of spiking Him fast than the carpenter in his shop driving a nail through a pine board? The women cried, but there was no balm in their tears. None to help! none to help!

4. But I come now to speak of this second bird of the text. The priest took the second bird, tied it to the hyssop branch, and then plunged it in the blood of the first bird. Ah, that is my soul plunged for cleansing in the Saviour's blood. There is net enough water in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans to wash away our smallest sin. Sin is such an outrage on God's universe that nothing but blood can atone for it. You know the life is in the blood, and as the life had been forfeited, nothing could buy it back but blood. What was it that was sprinkled on the door-post when the destroying angel went through the land? Blood. What was it that went streaming from the altar of ancient sacrifice? Blood. What was it that the priest carried into the Holy of Holies, making intercession for the people? Blood. What was it that Jesus sweat in the Garden of Gethsemane? Great drops of blood. What does the wine in the sacramental cup signify? Blood. What makes the robes of the righteous in heaven so fair? "They are washed in the blood of the Lamb." What is it that cleanses all our pollution? "The blood of Jesus Christ, which cleanses from all sin."

5. I notice now that as soon as this second bird was dipped in the blood of the first bird, the priest unloosed it, and it was free — free of wing and free of foot. It could whet its beak on any tree-branch it chose; it could pick the grapes of any vineyard it chose. It was free. A type of our souls after we have been washed in the blood of the Lamb. We can go where we will. We can do what we will. You say, "Had you better not qualify that?" No; for I remember in conversion the will is changed, and the man will not will that which is wrong.

6. The next thing I noticed about this bird, when it was loosed — and that is the main idea — is, that it flow away. Which way did it go? When you let a bird loose from your grasp which way does it fly? Up. What are wings for? To fly with. We should be going heavenward. That is the suggestion. But I know that we have a great many drawbacks. You had them yesterday, or the day before; and although you want to be going heavenward, you are constantly discouraged. But, I suppose, when that bird went out of the priest's hands it went by inflections — sometimes stooping. A bird does not shoot directly up — but this is the motion of a bird. So the soul soars towards God, rising up in love, and sometimes depressed by trial. It does not always go just in the direction it would like to go. But the main course is right.

(T. De Witt Talmage.)

Alas for any poor beguiled soul that turns away in scorn of the glorious gospel of the blessed God! Ye mistake it who regard it as a summons to a slavish and sorrowful life. It is a great voice out of heaven crying, "Come up hither." It is a call of the radiant dayspring as it bursts on the poor bird nestling in the withering grass, revealing the grandeurs of the everlasting firmament, that it may fly — fly — fly! Let me tell you again my old story of the eagle. For many months it pined and drooped in its cage, and seemed to have forgotten that it was of the lineage of the old plumed kings of the forest and the mountain; and its bright eye faded, and its strong wings drooped, and its kingly crest was bowed, and its plumes were torn and soiled amid the bars and dust of its prison-house. So in pity of its forlorn life we carried its cage out to the open air, and broke the iron wire and flung wide the lowly door; and slowly, falteringly, it crept forth to the sultry air of that cloudy summer noon and looked listlessly about it. But just then, from a rift in an overhanging cloud, a golden sunbeam flashed upon the scene. And it was enough. Then it lifted its royal crest, the dim eye blazed again, the soiled plumes unfolded and rustled, the strong wings moved themselves, with a rapturous cry it sprang heavenward. Higher, higher, in broader, braver circles it mounted toward the firmament, and we saw it no more as it rushed through the storm-clouds and soared to the sun. And would, O ye winged spirits! who dream and pine in this poor earthly bondage, that only one ray from the blessed Sun of Righteousness might fall on you this hour! for then would there be the flash of a glorious eye, and a cry of rapture, and a sway of exulting wings, as another redeemed and risen spirit sprang heavenward unto God!

(C. Wadsworth, D. D.)

-It is said in Germany, of one Prince Henry, when a little boy, that he had a great aversion to his bath. He didn't like it, and cried and squealed every morning when the time for his ablutions came round. One morning, to his very great pleasure, the nurse said he need not have it, and he soon took to showing to the other children how he had conquered the nurse to his royal mother's aggravation. He went out for a walk later in the day, and when he entered the palace gates on the return journey, the sentinel at that point offered him no salute, and that had never happened before. Being a prince he was greatly respected, and felt proud of the salute of the soldiers. Coming up to the palace door, there the soldier stood on guard, but no salute was given. The little boy went up to the stalwart sentinel quite angry, and said, "Do you know who I am?" .... "Oh, yes, Prince Henry, but we never salute unwashed princes." He never said anything in reply, but passed quietly into the palace, and the next morning he took his bath as required. They did not salute unwashed princes, and the world does not salute unwashed Christian:.. You are a royal blood-washed prince if you believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and the world will take knowledge of you if you have been with Jesus, taking knowledge of Christ in you the hope of glory.

(J. Spencer.)

S. S. Chronicle.
In an Italian hospital was a severely wounded soldier. A lady visitor spoke to him, dressed his wounds, smoothed his pillow, and made him all right for the day. When leaving she took a bouquet of flowers, and laid it beside his head. The soldier, with his pale face and eyes full of tears, looked up, and said: "That is too much kindness." She was a lady with a true Italian heart, and looking back to the soldier, she quietly replied, "No, not too much for one drop of Italian blood." Shall we not freely own that the consecration of all our powers of body and spirit is not too much to give in return for the shedding of our Emmanuel's blood on our behalf?

(S. S. Chronicle.)

Did you ever hear of Hedley Vicars, that good soldier? He was once reading the Bible, and accidentally — he was not religious then, I believe — accidentally he happened to come upon the verse — "The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin." Be thought, "Is that true? Is that true to me? Does the blood of Jesus Christ wash out all my sin? Then I resolve I will henceforth live as a man who has been washed in the blood of Jesus Christ." A noble resolve! Remember it —" I will live as a man ought to live who has been washed in the blood of Jesus Christ." How is a man to live who has been washed in the blood of Christ? That was a noble resolve!

(John Vaughan.)

Hyssop.
(Leviticus 14:4.) Text chosen to illustrate one simple truth. A very little and insignificant thing may be used for very important work. Of this "hyssop" the Jews were to make a sort of brush to sprinkle the door-posts with. It was but a little plant, for of Solomon it is said, "He spake of trees, from the cedar-tree even unto the hyssop that springeth out of the wall." It is a short-stemmed plant, growing in crevices like the ferns in our walls. It is bristly, and so suitable for making into a brush. It is bitter, and so it was thought to have cleansing properties; and, therefore, the Psalmist prays, "Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean."

1. God uses little things for His work. True He uses the great cedar for making His temple, and the acacia boards for His tabernacle; but He also uses the little hyssop. Children are but "little things," and yet the Lord needs and uses them. Illustration: Naaman's maid. Children at our Lord's triumphal entry. The nurse who influenced the good Lord Shaftesbury.

2. God chooses the little things He wants to use. There are many little plants besides the hyssop; but only that one was chosen for this particular work. There are many sorts of grass, but only one, with specially interlacing roots, is used to keep up the great dams that hold back the sea in Holland. God will find out some particular work for each one of us; and all through life, as well as now, our joy will be to do what He finds for us to do.

3. God expects us to put something of our own into our service. The hyssop had something of its own. It put it into its work when it was used to soothe Christ's pain on the Cross. It is not enough just to do right, we must try to do right earnestly, skilfully, cheerfully, prettily: putting our own best selves into the doing. We are to be God's agents, but we must never forget this — He would have us put our love, our goodwill, our abilities, and our happy spirit, into all His work.

If he be poor.
The poor man is often overlooked. There is always a strong tendency in the more favoured classes to pass him by, and to forget, if not to despise him. But God does not forget him. The directions for his particular case are just as special and authoritative as any contained in this ritual. The Lord would thus assure him of His care — that He feels for him the same deep interest as for others, and brings atonement equally within his reach. There is a common level in the Divine administrations, upon which "the rich and poor meet together, and the Lord is the Maker of them all." The poor are His children, as well as the rich. He anointed His Son Jesus, to preach the gospel to them. And the most neglected and down-trodden child of want has just as good a right to cleansing and heaven, and may count as much upon the sympathy and grace of God, as his wealthy neighbour. If he cannot get three lambs, he is just as welcome and acceptable with one lamb and two doves. The poor widow's mite cast into the treasury of the Lord receives a higher commendation than all the costly donations of the wealthy. Mary, with her two young pigeons is just as completely cleansed as she who could add thereto a lamb of a year old. But although the law favoured the leper who was poor it did not exempt him. It accommodated the burden to his strength, but it did not remove it. If he could not bring three lambs he was still bound to bring one lamb and two doves. If he could not get three deals of flour one deal had to be forthcoming. There are sore, people who make poverty a virtue, and claim exemption from everything because they are poor. But God's commands are upon the poor as well as upon those more favoured in earthly possessions. He does not excuse them because they are indigent. They are sinners as well as other men, and must be cleansed by the same processes. There is no more merit in being poor than in being rich. Poverty cannot save a man. Beggars may go down to eternal death as well as millionaires. There is often as much crime in lags as in purple and fine linen. All classes are infected, and all classes must have recourse to the blood of the Lamb and receive upon them the same "blood of sprinkling," and the same consecrating oil of the Spirit.

(J. A. Seiss, D. D.)

Such as he can get
He shalt "offer." That is the law. But he shall offer only "such as he can get." That is the mercy. But in mercy there is a law. Pity is not unruly, out of harmony with eternal righteousness and truth; tears are part of the Divine economy, as well as constellations. See how everywhere in the holy Book we find judgment and mercy, law and love, discipline and rest of soul. Christianity is a yoke, a burden, but light and easy. Here is the considerateness of God even in law. The law is not cast-iron; the law is not an expression of arbitrary will. The law rises high as heaven, and yet it stoops as lowly as human infirmity and need. The next verse is even more explicit in its tenderness; ver. 31 begins, "Even such as he is able to get." The emphasis is on the word "able"; all the meaning is to be found in that word. Not, such as he can casually pick up; not, such as may happen to come in his way at the moment; that is not law, that is folly, h thought of that kind would wreck the order and unity of creation. How very different is the instruction or injunction, "Even such as he is able to get" — after he has walked ten miles, after he has done the very best in his power, after he has strained his thought to the agony of anxiety; then if his offering, how poor soever it be, shall prove to be the very best of his ability, it shall go right up into heaven and be accepted there as if it were a king's offering, without spot or blemish, without infirmity of age, or without sign of unequal conflict. Here, then, is unity combined with diversity. If you bring a thousand pounds, it may be much, it may be nothing. If you bring the smallest coin of the realm, which indeed is no coin at all but a mere token, if it be all you can do, if it be such as you are able to get, it is a mountain of fine gold and there is hardly room for such a gift in heaven. What a variety of offering may be found on the Christian altar! There is a great offering of gold. Some men have nothing but gold to give, but they give it with both hands, they give it with a blessing; they send their love with it, and love doubles every gift. Here is a great offering of work; morning, noon, and night the offerer is wondering what he can do next. All his time is God's; he will accept any position that may be given to him. He does not elect his own place, he simply tells what his faculty is, and he is willing to give the whole of that faculty twelve hours in the day to the service of Christ. Here is a great offering of music; here is a leading voice, here is a spiritual interest in that sweet department of public worship; the voice is given, all that the voice means is joyously contributed; the giver says, "I would give more if I could, but this is all I have been able to get, take it, O Christ, it is given in Thy name; receive it all." Here is a great offering of home-service. That home-church has never had its history written. The history of the home-church never can be put into words. It is the great church, it is the church out of which all other churches are cut, like palaces out of the solid rocks. Palaces owe themselves to the great quarries of the earth; they are not select, dainty, specially-jewelled stone; the great cathedrals all came out of the quarry. And the home-church is, if it may be so expressed without roughness, the quarry, the stone bed, out of which all the other churches are built, though they be called minsters and temples and cathedrals. What a great offering there is of love. Love has no hours. Love never entered into a union or a federation for the purpose of seeing how little it could do and how much it could get. Love never begins, because it never ceases. "Such as he can get." Nor is this the only phrase that indicates the tenderness of law. In ver. 21 of this very chapter we read, "And if he be poor, and cannot get so much; then," &c. We need not ask if this book is an inspired book. The righteousness, the tenderness, meet so uniquely and cooperate so perfectly that there must be more than human thought in all these economic and considerate arrangements. Points of this kind are the true arguments for inspiration. "If he be poor, and cannot get so much; then," &c. Thus God makes room at the altar for the poor man, and any altar that makes room for the poor, stands on earth, but reaches up to heaven. By this sign know ye that ye are in front of God's altar. "Such as he can get" often means nothing more than, "Such as God has given him." What have we that we have not received? God orders the business of men. If men would recognise this they would be quieter and more thankful. There is a sense in which we can all do more. What is that sense? It is only true in so far as it proceeds out of the deeper doctrine that we can all be more. This is a question of quality; this a question of moral capacity. The great thing in this Christian education and discipline is to make the man himself more, his quality finer, his sensitiveness more exquisite, his consciousness of indebtedness to God profounder and livelier. We shall never have any revival of hand-action that is worth anything until we have a revival of heart-life, heart-love, heart-faith. Let us pray for increase of heart.

(J. Parker, D. D.)

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