Leviticus 25:23
The land must not be sold permanently, because it is Mine, and you are but foreigners and sojourners with Me.
Sermons
Sojourners with GodAlexander MaclarenLeviticus 25:23
A Sabbath of Rest unto the LandW. H. Jellie.Leviticus 25:2-55
Deliverance from SinHoward James.Leviticus 25:2-55
Freedom Through ChristT. De Witt Talmage.Leviticus 25:2-55
Jubilee GladnessJ. Cairns.Leviticus 25:2-55
Land Laws Among Other NationsM. M. Kalisch, Ph. D.Leviticus 25:2-55
Land TenureT. T. Munger.Leviticus 25:2-55
Laws of Trade-WagesHom. ReviewLeviticus 25:2-55
Lessons from the Sabbatical YearF. W. Brown.Leviticus 25:2-55
Liberty Through ChristRichard Newton, D. D.Leviticus 25:2-55
Man Need not Despair of -ProvidenceBp. Babington.Leviticus 25:2-55
Practical Reliance Upon GodIndian Witness.Leviticus 25:2-55
Released from DebtChristian AgeLeviticus 25:2-55
Results of Jubilee YearT. Guthrie, D. D.Leviticus 25:2-55
Sojourners with GodHomilistLeviticus 25:2-55
The Hebrew System of Land TenureR. Reid.Leviticus 25:2-55
The Joyful SoundC. S. Robinson, D. D.Leviticus 25:2-55
The JubileeHomilistLeviticus 25:2-55
The JubileeHomilistLeviticus 25:2-55
The Jubilee a Type of the GospelWm. Sleigh.Leviticus 25:2-55
The Jubilee Year: its Fourfold SignificanceW. H. Jellie.Leviticus 25:2-55
The Oppressor Rebuked and the Oppression RemovedC. F. S. Money, M. A.Leviticus 25:2-55
The Purpose of the Sabbatical YearM. M. Kalisch, Ph. D.Leviticus 25:2-55
The Resemblance Between the Year of Jubilee and the GospelT. B. Baker.Leviticus 25:2-55
The Sabbath of the FieldsH. Macmillan, D. D.Leviticus 25:2-55
The Sabbatic Year and JubileeJ. A. Seiss, D. D.Leviticus 25:2-55
The Sinner's Chains are Self ForgedPreacher's Lantern.Leviticus 25:2-55
The Year of JubileeA. G. Brown.Leviticus 25:2-55
The Year of JubileeA. H. Currier.Leviticus 25:2-55
The Year of JubileeWalter Roberts, M. A.Leviticus 25:2-55
The Year of JubileeD. C. Hughes, M. A.Leviticus 25:2-55
The Year of JubileeT. Binney.Leviticus 25:2-55
The Year SabbathDr. Ide.Leviticus 25:2-55
What Shall We Eat the Seventh Year?A. G. Brown.Leviticus 25:2-55
The Year of JubileeR.A. Redford Leviticus 25:8-34
The JubileeR.M. Edgar Leviticus 25:8-55
Year of JubileeW. Clarkson Leviticus 25:8-55
Year of Jubilee: Ii. the World's RedemptionW. Clarkson Leviticus 25:8-55
Year of Jubilee: Iii. the Blessed KingdomW. Clarkson Leviticus 25:8-55
RedemptionJ.A. Macdonald Leviticus 25:23-34
This subject is intimately connected with that of the jubilee; and the redemption of the Law prefigured that of the gospel, which also stands intimately related to the glorious jubilee of the great future. In this light we have to consider -

I. THE NATURE OF THE REDEMPTION. This we may view:

1. In respect to the possession.

(1) Canaan may be taken as a specimen of the earth at large. The Hebrew word for that land (ארצ is the term also for the whole world. In the largest sense the earth was given to mankind for an inheritance (Genesis 1:26-29; Psalm 8:5-9; Psalm 115:16). If the Israelites were ever reminded that they had their possession of Canaan from God (verse 23), we must never forget that we have nothing that we receive not (John 3:27; 1 Corinthians 4:7; James 1:17).

(2) The Hebrews held their possession upon the tenure of faith and obedience (Deuteronomy 1:34-36; Deuteronomy 30:15-20; Hebrews 3:18, 19). Such also is the tenure upon which the earth at large is held. And as the expulsion of Adam from Eden vividly brought home to him his forfeiture of right to the earth, so did the forfeiture of Canaan keep alive in the Israelite the remembrance of the consequences of the Fall.

(3) The land of Canaan was not only a specimen of the earth at large, but also of a type of the new earth of the future. Eden also was a "like figure." Like the garden, Canaan was "the glory of all lands" (Deuteronomy 8:7-10; Ezekiel 20:6, 15). So in the institution of the law of redemption we have bodied forth the means by which we shall recover our interest in the earth (see Luke 21:28; Romans 8:23; Ephesians 1:14; Ephesians 4:30).

(4) While Satan is the god of this world, the true heir may be kept out of his inheritance, but his title cannot be ultimately defeated. This was one of the important lessons of the jubilee, and of the law of redemption (verses 23, 24, 28; see also Ephesians 1:4; Hebrews 11:9-14).

(5) As the possessions of the Levites were inalienable (verse 34), so the "kingdom of priests" shall for ever enjoy their possessions in the renovated earth (1 Peter 2:5; Revelation 1:6). We may view this subject:

2. In respect to the person.

(1) By sin we have not only forfeited our right to Eden, to Canaan, to the old earth, to the new earth, but we have also become enslaved. The habit of evil is a chain of iron. The terror of death is formidable bondage. The tyranny of Satan is merciless. Bad enough to have our liberties sold to a fellow-man; but to be sold over to this "stranger" from the infernal world is intolerable.

(2) But there is redemption for the Hebrew slave. He may redeem himself if he have the means. His next of kin has the right of redemption (verses 25, 26). He may be redeemed by his brother Hebrew (see Nehemiah 5:8). So to the truly penitent, who like the Hebrews are the people of the Law, there is the redemption of the gospel.

(3) But the Law has no provision for the redemption of the stranger who cannot purchase freedom for himself. Yet might he be the subject of mercy. The gospel reaches those whom the Law discourages. The pagan slave might become a Jewish proselyte, and be released in accordance with the Law. So those who are furthest off may in true repentance be brought nigh to God.

(4) But the mercy of the gospel has its limits. It may be forfeited by obstinacy. It may also be forfeited by neglect. A year only is allowed in which to redeem a house in a city (verse 30). The house is a common figure for the people; and the interpretation of the year of recovery may be seen in Isaiah 61:2; Isaiah 63:4; 2 Corinthians 6:2. If taken in time, the whole city of God may be redeemed; but the period of probation missed, the case is hopeless. Consider -

II. THE QUALIFICATIONS OF THE REDEEMER.

1. A slave might redeem himself.

(1) That is, if it be in the power of his hand. Under favourable conditions of earning and saving, this might become possible.

(2) But when the slave is the sinner and he is in bondage to the justice of God, this is impossible. Our deeds are sin. And the wages of sin is death.

2. The near kinsman is the legal redeemer.

(1) This kinsman was a type of Christ. Bishop Patrick quotes a rabbi, who says, "This Redeemer is the Messiah, the Son of David." Job speaks of Messiah as his Redeemer (Job 19:25). So is he elsewhere termed in Scripture (see Isaiah 59:20; Romans 11:26).

(2) To be qualified to redeem, Jesus became our Kinsman by taking up our nature. As any Hebrew brother might become a redeemer, so Jesus, in our flesh, became "the brother of every man," that he might redeem. Job speaks of seeing his Redeemer in his flesh, or incarnate - for this I take to be the sense.

(3) Every near kinsman may not have it in his power to become a Goel or Redeemer. No mere human being can give to God a ransom for his brother (Psalm 49:7). But Christ is a competent Redeemer, having in his Godhead all resources.

(4) We can imitate Christ as redeemers of our brethren only by endeavouring instrumentally to recover them from the snares of Satan.

(5) What a blessing is liberty! "Whom the Son maketh free is free indeed." - J.A.M.







A Sabbath of rest unto the land.
1. I do not suppose that these sabbatic regulations referred severally to separate and distinct things. The seventh day, the seventh month, the seventh year, and the year of jubilee, as I take them, all express the same great thought, and are related to each other in signification as the different sections of a telescope. They fold into each other. The one is only a repetition of the other on a larger scale. And they all range in the same line to give a focus for gazing the further into the depths and minuter details of one and the same scene. We have sabbaths of days, and sabbaths of months, and sabbaths of years, and septenaries of years, all multiplied in each other with augmenting interest, to indicate the approach of some one great seventh of time when all God's gracious dealings with man shall come to their culmination, and to point the eye of hope to some one grand ultimate sabbath, in which the weary world shall repose from its long turmoil and all its inhabitants keep jubilee.

2. The word "Jubilee" is of doubtful origin and signification. Some derive it from a verb which means to recall, restore, bring back; which would very appropriately designate an arrangement which recalled the absent, restored the captive, and brought back alienated estates. Some trace it to Jubal, the inventor of musical instruments, and suppose that this year was named after him from its being a year of mirth and joy, of which music is a common attendant and expression. Our English word "jovial" may perhaps be traceable to this origin. Others think it a word meant to denote the extraordinary sounding of trumpets with which this particular year was always introduced, some making it refer to the kind of instruments used, and others to the particular kind of note produced. But, after all, it may have been a name invented for the occasion, and intended to, carry its meaning in its sound, or to get it from the nature of the period which it was thenceforward to designate. It is a word which, if not in sound, yet in its associations, connects with the sublimest joys, ushered in with thrilling and triumphant proclamations.

I. First of all, it is to be A SABBATH — a consecrated and holy rest. The year of jubilee was the intensest and sublimest of the sabbatic periods. The Sabbath is the jewel of days. It is the marked and hallowed seventh, in which God saw creation finished, and the great Maker sat down complacently to view the admirable products of His wisdom, love, and power — blessed type of a still more blessed rest, when He shall sit down to view redemption finished, the years brought to their perfect consummation, and the life of the world in its full and peaceful bloom. The jubilee is therefore to be the crown of dispensations, and the ultimate glory of the ages, when the Son of God shall rest from the long work of the new creation, and sit down with His saints to enjoy it for ever and ever.

II. In the next place it is to be THE PERIOD OF RESTITUTION. Everything seemed to go back to the happy condition in which God had originally arranged things. Man, in this present world, is a dispossessed proprietor. God gave him possessions and prerogatives which have been wrested from him. God made him but a little lower than the angels, crowned him with glory and honour, and set him over the works of His hands. All creatures were given to him for his service, and he was to "have dominion over every living thing that moveth upon the earth." But where is all that glory and dominion now? How has the gold faded and the power waned How much are we now at the mercy of what was meant to serve and obey us! Gone, are our once glorious estates. Gone, the high freedom which once encompassed man. Gone, all the sublime dignity which once crowned him. But we shall not always remain in this poverty and disgrace. Those old estates have not gone from us for ever. When the great joyous trump of jubilee shall sound, the homesteads of our fathers shall return to us again, nor strangers more traverse those patrimonial halls.

III. Again, it shall be A TIME OF RELEASE FOR ALL THAT ARE OPPRESSED, IMPRISONED, OR ROUND. The year of jubilee struck off the bonds of every Jewish captive, and threw open the prison doors to all who had lost their liberty. We are all prisoners now. Though the chains of sin be broken, the chains of flesh and remaining corruption still confine us and abridge our freedom. Even those pious ones who have passed away from earth are still held in the power of death. Their souls may be at rest, but their bodies are still shut up in the pit of the grave. There still is groaning and "waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body." But when the great trump of jubilee shall sound these groanings shall cease and these fetters all dissolve.

IV. Another feature of that happy time is, THAT IT SHALL BE A TIME OF REGATHERING FOR THE SCATTERED HOUSEHOLD. It is not possible in this world for families to keep together. A thousand necessities are ever pressing upon us to scatter us out from our homes. The common wants of life, to say nothing of aims and enterprises for good, honour, or distinction, operate to drive asunder the most tenderly attached of households. And if we should even succeed in overcoming dividing forces of this kind, there are others which do their work in a way which we cannot hinder. Death comes, and, one by one, the whole circle is mowed down, and sleep in separate graves, mostly far apart. But there cometh a day when all the households of the virtuous and good shall be complete. The year of jubilee shall bring back the absent one. For when the Son of man shall come, "He shall send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together His elect from the four winds, from the one end of heaven to the other." Not one shall be overlooked or forgotten.

V. But there is still another feature of this blessed time to come to which I will refer. The sounding of that trump shall be THE SUMMONS TO A SACRED FEAST UPON THE STORES LAID UP BY THE INDUSTRY OF PRECEDING YEARS. Though no sowing or gathering was to be done in the year of jubilee, Israel was to have plenty. The bountiful hand of Heaven was to supply them. Years going before were to furnish abundance for all the period of rest. The Sabbath of the land was to be meat for them. Now is our harvest-time. The fields are waving with beautiful golden products which God means that we shall gather and store for our jubilee. Industry and toil are required. We must thrust in the sickle, and gather the blessed sheaves, and lay up for ourselves treasures in heaven. It will not do to play the sluggard while that ripe vintage is inviting us to gather. We must work while we may, and lay up while it is within reach. When once the trumpet sounds it will be too late to begin to lay up for the year of rest.

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

The great year-sabbath carried with it many important advantages and benefits that belonged to no other period; and it is interesting to observe how accurately they all symbolised the blessings conferred by the redemptive work of our Emmanuel.

I. ONE OF THESE WAS THE UNIVERSAL EXTINCTION OF DEBT. Here is a man who has inherited from his ancestors a narrow strip of land on the rocky slopes of Mount Ephraim. He cultivates a small vineyard on the hillside, sows a few patches of wheat and barley, and has a few cows and bullocks grazing in his little meadow. With health and good seasons he could supply the modest wants of his household, and escape the necessity of debt. But calamities have befallen him. Under the pressure of his needs he has been compelled to contract debts, hoping that more auspicious days would enable him to discharge them. But those days come not. His creditors grow stern and exacting, demand immediate payment, and threaten to eject him from his heritage, cast him into prison, and sell his children into slavery. Still he struggles on. Yet, toil as he may, he cannot master the difficulties that environ him. The encumbrance is too heavy, the danger too near and too pressing. But just as he is on the point of giving up all further effort and resigning himself to despair, the morning of the jubilee breaks over the land. The joyful acclamations that welcome its coming swell out on the air and reach him among the hills. Blessed sounds are they to him! They tell him that his trials are ended, his home secure; and that, by the benign decree of Israel's God, he may now go forth to his daily labour, safe from the peril that has menaced him so long. Go with me to the debtor's gaol in Jerusalem, and look at another on whom adversity has dealt blows still more terrible. Liable to claims which he could not meet, he was stripped of all that he possessed. There was no kinsman rich enough, or generous enough, to redeem his property or become surety for his person, and his creditors, having the power, shut him up in prison. Many years have passed since then. He has lost all reckoning of time — has forgotten to note the slow years, as they drag wearily by him — forgotten that the hour of deliverance is drawing nigh. The Day of Atonement dawns in the heavens, but he knows it not. He hears the loud trumpets proclaiming the year-sabbath without any thought of their meaning. The door of his cell is thrown open; he is told that the jubilee has come, and that he is free. Rising listlessly from his bed of straw, he looks round amazed and stupefied. The truth at last flashes upon him, and with a low, trembling cry of thanksgiving, he goes forth to tread the green earth once more, to feel the soft breath of spring, and exult in the bright sun and sky. Call to mind how many cases, analogous to those now supposed, there must have been in Israel at each recurrence of the year of release, and you will be able to form some conception of the blessings connected with that sacred season. Nor can you fail to perceive with what force and beauty the feature which we have considered illustrates the grace of the gospel. By our numerous and aggravated sins we have come under tremendous liabilities to the justice of God, and have incurred an amount of obligation which no human arithmetic can compute, and no human efforts can liquidate. Judgment has been entered against us in the court of heaven, execution issued; and the stern messenger, Death, only awaits the Divine signal to bear us away to the dungeons of hell. But in this fearful exigency the Saviour has interposed for our rescue. By faith in His atoning sacrifice our mighty debt is cancelled; the uttermost farthing is paid; the demands of the law are satisfied; and through the suretyship of Him who died for us, we stand exonerated before the tribunal of Infinite Holiness.

II. IN THE YEAR-SABBATH THERE WAS AN END OF BONDAGE. See that slave delving and sweltering in the hot cane-fields of Jericho, condemned to toil through the long summer day under a burning summer sun, without rest, and without reward. His childhood was passed on the breezy heights of Carmel, among babbling brooks, the singing of birds, and the odour of flowers. There he grew up, a bold, free-hearted youth, erect and tall, with an eye keen as a falcon's and a foot fleet as the roe which he chased on the mountain-side. But misfortune, swifter still, overtook him. A ruthless claimant, to whom his parents were indebted, seized him, and doomed him to bondage. Look at him now. Slavery has bowed his strong frame, and stiffened his elastic limbs, and on the brow, once so joyous, sits hopeless gloom. As he bends to his task, what sad memories are busy within him! He thinks of the dear ones far away — of his happy boyhood — of all that he might have been — of the hard lot that has been his instead — and tears, bitter tears, are on his bronzed cheek. But while he thus muses and weeps his ear catches the distant note of a trumpet. Now it is nearer, louder. It comes rolling down the gorges of the wilderness in the way toward Jerusalem, bounding from cliff to cliff, and pouring its jocund waves upon the plain below. Others take up the strain, and send it from wall and housetop, from crag and valley, till the very air seems alive with it. For a moment he listens uncertain; then shouting, "The jubilee, the jubilee!" tears off the badge of his servitude — stands up a freeman — and with the stride of a giant, journeys back to the scenes where his heart has ever been. By nature we are all the subjects of a moral thraldom as grinding as it is criminal. We are the slaves of our own depravity, "sold under sin," and "led by the devil at his will." But the Cross of Christ touches our chains, and they are shivered into fragments; His grace rends the serf-livery from our spirits, and we walk forth in the joy of a blessed emancipation.

III. THE JUBILEE BROUGHT WITH IT THE RESTORATION OF PROPERTY. Picture to yourselves an Israelite thrust out by adversity from the inheritance of his ancestors. He has struggled hard to keep the old home; but losses have fallen heavily upon him and he must depart. The roof beneath which he was born, the streams by which he has walked, the fields he has tilled, the trees in whose shade he has reclined, the graves where his fathers sleep, all must be left, and left, alas I in the keeping of strangers. He casts one long, farewell look on the scene which he loves so well, and then, with wife and little ones, goes forth an exile. Years pass on. Farther and farther he wanders, finding no resting-place, and "dragging at each remove a lengthening chain." But, hark I a trumpet-blast breaks upon the air. It is caught up and repeated from city and hamlet, from hill-top and glen, from highways and byways, till the whole land rings with the joyous echo. The wanderer hears it. His heart knows and feels it. It is the jubilee signal. Oh, with what rapture does he now hasten back to the home once more his own! Old friends greet his return; old familiar faces smile upon him; hands that he grasped in youth now grasp his in happy welcome. The days of his exile are over. He is among his kindred again. And what an image is there here of our own restoration by the gospel to the heritage which we have lost! Our condition, as fallen creatures, resembles that of the beggared Jew driven out from his birthright. Our sins have stripped us of cur all. The original holiness of our nature, the likeness and favour of God, our kindred with angels, our title to a blessed immortality, are gone, and gone beyond our power to recover. But the mercy of God has provided for us a jubilee. By believing in His only-begotten Son we receive back, aye, more than receive back, our alienated inheritance. We are again invested with a glorious property, and made rich with a wealth which empires could not bestow.

IV. THE YEAR-SABBATH WAS INTENDED TO BE A SEASON OF HARMONY AND REPOSE. During its continuance the land was to rest, the implements of husbandry to be put away, and labour to cease, that social intercourse and kindly feeling might be cultivated without restraint. There was to be no strife, no oppression; all disputes were to be laid aside, all contentions abandoned; and society in every rank was to present one unbroken scene of brotherhood and peace. How beautifully does this feature of the sacred year prefigure the results which Christianity contemplates. Its design is to impart to all who truly embrace it a peace which comes from heaven, and is the earnest of heaven, and then to unite them to each other in one harmonious and holy fraternity. All its elements, all its tendencies, are those of union and love. Mankind shall become one great family. Public and private animosities, the jar of conflicting interests, the opposition of classes, the insolence of the rich, the overbearing of the strong, shall be remembered only to excite wonder that they could ever have been. Then will be the jubilee of the creation, the great Sabbath of the world. Over the face of humanity, long agitated by wrong, and struggle, and sin, shall come a holy calm; like the quiet of a still eventide after the turmoil of a tempestuous day, when the winds have gone down, and the clouds disappear, and the blue sky breaks forth, and the setting sun sprinkles gold over the smiling land and the sleeping waters. And this universal peace on earth will be the prelude of everlasting peace in heaven.

V. One more evangelic analogy of the year-sabbath may be traced in THE EXTENT AND FULNESS GIVEN TO ITS PROCLAMATION. "Ye shall make the trumpet sound throughout all your land." The manner in which this was done was very interesting and suggestive. As the time for proclaiming the jubilee drew on a company of priests was stationed at the door of the Tabernacle or Temple, each with a silver trumpet in his hand. The Levites in the cities and towns, and every householder in the nation, were also furnished with silver trumpets. When the hour had arrived, the company of priests sounded the appointed signal. Those in their immediate neighbourhood repeated it. It was answered by the Levites and the inhabitants of the next town. And thus it was sent on from dwelling to dwelling, from city to city, from mountain to mountain, from tribe to tribe, till the farthest borders of the land echoed and re-echoed with the glad music. The sounding of the silver trumpets was unquestionably a symbol of the proclamation of the gospel. The ministers of Christ are commanded to publish redemption by His blood, and to invite the disinherited and the ruined to return to their Father's house. And in the work of spreading this message all the people of God are to bear part. The tidings of mercy announced by the priests and Levites are to be taken up by private Christians and carried out into all the walks of life. At the fireside, in the Sabbath-school class, in the social circle, in the resorts of business, the trumpet is to be sounded. Neighbour should sound it to neighbour, village to village, city to city, land to land, until the most distant and secluded spot on the globe has been penetrated by the joyful summons. And the hour is at hand when this blessed consummation shall be realised. Peal out, O trumpet of redemption l along our storm-swept skies, ringing over land and sea, proclaiming the end of sin, the end of travail, and heralding the birth of the new spiritual creation in which dwelleth righteousness.

(Dr. Ide.)

The principal object of the sabbatical year, at least in the eyes of the Levitical legislator, was not its economic usefulness in invigorating the soil, or any other of the many material advantages which have been attributed to it, but its spiritual significance as a general Sabbath devoted to God; for as the week is a complete cycle for the labour of man, so is the year for the cultivation and produce of the land; and man was to rest every seventh day, and the land every seventh year, in order that, by sacrificing one day's labour and one year's produce, the Israelite might express his gratitude to the mercy of God who blesses his works, and who sustains him during the temporary suspension of his efforts. He was to be reminded that the treasures of the earth were indeed created for the benefit of man, but that he should not use them selfishly and greedily; and on the other hand, that the soil had indeed been laden with God's curse, but that His bounty gives abundance and grants respite from wearying toil. Who will assert that these and similar abstract ideas, which underlie the laws of the sabbatical year were conceived in the early Mosaic age, or could be profitably conveyed to the untutored people who meant to worship their Deliverer by dancing round the golden image of a calf? The views of Philo, who gives the oldest comment on our laws, may be briefly stated. Moses thought the number seven, he observes, worthy of such reverence, being "the pure and ever virgin number," that he ordained in every seventh year the remission of debts in order "to assist the poor, and train the rich to humanity"; he commanded that then the people should leave the land fallow and untilled, and "deliberately let slip out of their hands certain and valuable revenues," in order to teach them not to be "wholly devoted to gain, but even willingly to submit to some loss," and thus to prepare them to bear patiently any mischance or calamity; he desired, moreover, to intimate that it was sinful to weigh down and oppress man with burdens, since even the earth, which has no feelings of pleasure or of pain, was to enjoy a period of relaxation; and that all benefits bestowed upon our fellow-men are sure to meet with reward and requital, since even the inanimate earth, after having been allowed to rest for one year, gratefully returns this favour by producing in the next year much larger crops than usual; just as athletes, by alternating recreation and exertion "as with a well-regulated harmony," greatly enhance their strength, and are at last able to perform wonders of endurance; or as nature has wisely ordained man to work and to sleep by turns, that he may not be worn oat by toil. But the lawgiver's chief object was "humanity, which he thought fit to weave in with every part of his legislation, stamping on all who study the Holy Scriptures a sociable and humane disposition." With this view he "raised the poor from their apparent lowly condition, and freed them from the reproach of being beggars," by "appointing times when, as if they bad been deriving a revenue from their own properties, they found themselves in the possession of plenty, being suddenly enriched by the gift of God, who had invited them to share with the possessors themselves in the number of the sacred seven." In these remarks the charitable and moral motives of the sabbatical year are admirably, but its theocratic tendencies imperfectly, unfolded; nor can Philo be expected to appreciate the gradual development manifest in the various Books of the Pentateuch: in the law of Leviticus charity is no more than an incidental and subordinate object.

(M. M. Kalisch, Ph. D.)

I. DIVINE OWNERSHIP IN THE SOIL

II. MAN'S HIGHEST INTERESTS ARE NOT MATERIAL AND EARTHLY.

III. NEIGHBOURLINESS AND BENEVOLENCE SHOULD BE CULTIVATED.

IV. RELIANCE ON GOD, IN IMPLICIT OBEDIENCE TO HIS WILL. To desist from effort to provide for their own maintenance would —

1. Elicit their faith in the fatherly care of God.

2. Summon them to a religious use of the time which God had set free from secular toils.

3. Incite them to grateful thoughts of God's dealings with them as His people, and win them to a renewed recognition that they were "not their own," but His, who had redeemed and still cared for them.

V. SABBATIC REST: HEAVEN'S GRACIOUS LAW FOR EARTHLY TOILERS, Man needs the Sabbath pause, in order to realise —

1. That higher possibilities are opened to him by God's grace, than to be a servant of the soil on which he dwells.

2. That God desires of men the devotion of fixed seasons, and leisurely hours for sacred meditation and fellowship with the skies.

(W. H. Jellie.)

1. Palestine was designed and arranged by God, when He laid the foundations of the earth and divided to the nations their inheritance, to be a natural fortress for the preservation of religious truth and purity; a home in which a covenant people might be trained and educated, in the household of God and directly under His eye, to be zealous of good works themselves, and to be a royal priesthood to mankind — to carry out in their history God's promise to the founder of their race, that in him should all the families of the earth be blessed. And therefore God surrounded it with natural fortifications which kept it separate and secluded — even although placed in the very midst of the most concentrated populations of the world, in the very focus towards which their intercourse with one another radiated — until the objects of the hermit training and discipline of its inhabitants were accomplished.

2. The Jews could not help being a nation of farmers. As a new seed of Adam, subjected to a new trial of obedience, they were placed in this new garden of Eden, to dress and keep it, in order that through their tilling of the ground the wilderness and the solitary place might be made glad, and the desert to rejoice and blossom as the rose. Their thoughts, bounded on every side by impassable walls, were turned inward upon their own country for the development of patriotism and the formation of a more compact and concentrated national life. Their energies were employed exclusively in the cultivation of the soil, and in developing to the utmost the resources of the land. And very rich and varied were these resources. No other country in the world presented, within a similar limited area, such diversities of soil and climate.

3. It was in beautiful accordance with all these natural provisions of the country for the isolation of the people during the ages of their discipline under God's special care to be the benefactors of mankind, that the remarkable arrangements of the seventh or sabbatical year were Divinely instituted. Every seventh year was holy unto the Lord, as well as every seventh day. During that whole year the entire nation kept holiday. The people were not, indeed, absolutely idle; for that would have proved demoralising, and neutralised the beneficent nature of the whole arrangement. Much of their time was spent in religious observances, and in hearing and studying the law of God. Their attention was directed from their ordinary material affairs to their spiritual concerns. And although all cultivation of arable land was strictly forbidden, they had still to look after their sheep and cattle, and to tend with more or less care their gardens anti orchards

; while, doubtless, a good portion of their leisure would be occupied with the repair of their houses, implements of husbandry and domestic furniture, and in weaving and the various other economical arts. At the end of a week, or seven of these sabbaths of the years — or after the lapse of forty-nine years — the sabbatical scale, beginning with the seventh day and going on to the seventh month and the seventh year, received its completion in the year of jubilee. This was the great political sabbath of the people and of the land. The sabbath day was the rest of the individual; the sabbath year was the rest of each farm and household; while the jubilee was the rest of the whole commonwealth, for it was only as a member of the state that each Israelite could participate in its provisions.

4. What was the design of these remarkable sabbatical years, confining our attention solely to their agricultural relations, and leaving out of sight their other provisions? Why were these sabbaths of the fields instituted? The first reason must obviously have reference to the soil itself; for the ladder of all the human relations, social, political, and religious, necessarily rests upon the tilling of the ground. It was to benefit the land itself in the first instance, that the sabbaths of the fields were ordained. The whole arable land of the country was to lie fallow a whole year at fixed recurring intervals, so that during these long periods of rest it might acquire, from the atmosphere, from the operations of the elements and of animal life, and from the decay of the plants which it spontaneously produced, the fertile substances which it had lost. More than most soils, that of Palestine needed this complete periodical rest. Being principally composed of disintegrated limestone, and very loose, light, and dry in its texture, it parted, under the influence of an arid climate, very easily with its phosphates and other fertilising materials. But upon this physical reason there were based very important moral reasons for the sabbaths of the fields. It was required that the whole land should rest periodically, not only that its fertility might be preserved, but also in order to limit the rights and check the sense of property in it. The earth and all the fulness thereof are indeed the Lord's, as the Creator and Preserver of all things; but, in a very special sense, the Land of Promise was His property. He let out His vineyard to husbandmen who should render unto Him the spiritual fruits thereof; and the rent which He required as Superior was. that one year in seven, and one year in forty-nine years, the land should lie fallow — should pass from the yoke of man to the liberty of God — should be offered up a sacrifice, as it were, unto Him upon the great mountain-altar of Palestine. The very abstinence from agricultural work during the sabbaths of the fields — the self-denial in refraining periodically for a whole year to till the ground — the trustfulness needed in looking to God for bread during so long a period of enforced rest — the confidence that He would in previous years secure from the land an increase adequate to meet the strain which the law of the sabbatical year laid upon its productive energies — all this was but a repetition of the conditions annexed to the possession of Eden, namely, that Adam should abstain from eating the forbidden fruit. The sabbaths of the fields were a trial of the faith of the Israelites, a test of their obedience. Only so long as they kept these sabbaths, abstained from eating the forbidden fruit of their fields, did the land yield to them its abundance, and nourish them with its fruits of life. "The land is Mine," said God, when enacting this sabbatical law; "for ye are strangers and sojourners with Me." The Israelites were living as truly a tent life — a life of pilgrims and strangers on earth amid their settled possessions in Canaan — as they had been in their wanderings in the wilderness. But, further still, the sabbaths of the fields connected, in a most beautiful and interesting manner, the agriculture of the Israelites with the institutions of their religion. The law enacting them was given in words corresponding to those of the fourth commandment: the one was only an extension of the other. The natural, social, and spiritual uses of the sabbath day suggested those of the sabbath year. The same sacredness and Divine obligation attached to the one as to the other. Under the theocratic government of Israel, the sanctuary and the farm lay within the same circle of holy influences. But perhaps the most interesting of all the aspects of the sabbaths of the fields was their relation to the future — their prophetic character. As the sabbath day pointed forward to the true and final rest that remaineth to the people of God, so the sabbatical year and the year of jubilee pointed forward to the jubilee of the world — the times of refreshing and the restitution of all things spoken of by all the prophets — the regeneration and the glorious kingdom to be inherited by the true Israel of God when they shall receive back an hundredfold all that they have lost. The sabbath day commemorated the relief of man from the burden of toil imposed upon him because of his sin; the sabbaths of the fields the relief of nature from the curse on the ground for man's sake. The year of rest for worn-out nature was a prefiguration of the change which is in store for the outward world, when every wilderness shall become a fruitful field, and instead of the thorn shall come up the fir-tree, and out of which it shall issue as a new heaven and a new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness.

5. But, alas! beneficient as it was, a law so peculiar, and requiring so much faith and self-denial, was not thoroughly and uninterruptedly observed. After four centuries of obedience, during which the land preserved its primitive fertility, and there were no famines arising from impoverishment of the soil, but only from unusual droughts and other atmospheric causes, the people ceased to keep the fallow year, not only through want of trust in God's providence amid so peculiar a mode of living, but also through the moral corruption of the times. Then the land, originally the most fertile in the world, became one of the most capricious and uncertain; the store of fertilising materials was rapidly used up by incessant cultivation; and that state of things which Moses foretold took place — "And your strength shall be spent in vain, for your land shall not yield its increase." Famine after famine, some of them of excessive severity and long continuance, arising from the overdriving and exhaustion of the soil, swept over the land and decimated the people. Henceforth the disregard of the sabbatical year became the burden of every prophetical denunciation, and "the voice of historian and prophet was one continual wail of famine." In this painful extremity of the country's fortunes, the judgment threatened by Moses against the violation of the fallow year was inflicted — "And I will scatter you among the heathen, and will draw out a sword after you, and your land shall be desolate and your cities waste. Then shall the land enjoy her sabbaths as long as it lieth desolate, and ye be in your enemies' land; even then shall the land rest and enjoy her sabbaths. As long as it lieth desolate it shall rest, because it did not rest in your sabbaths when ye dwelt upon it." Throughout the Babylonish captivity there was a continuous fallow of seventy years. During all that long period the fields of Palestine lay desolate, were neither sown nor reaped; and by this timely and much-needed rest the land recovered a large portion of its old fertility. And thus God graciously mingled mercy and judgment; combined the punishment of His people with the renovation of their inheritance. Weary, footsore, in tears, the saddened exiles returned to their native land, taught by their own experience that it is an evil and a bitter thing to sin against God.

(H. Macmillan, D. D.)

I. THAT THE LORD WAS THE SOLE PROPRIETOR OF THE LAND.

II. THAT THE LAND HAD RESTING UPON IT, CONTINUALLY, THE FAVOUR OF THE LORD.

III. THAT THE DIVINE FAVOUR PROVIDES FOR THE WELL-BEING OF EVERY LIVING THING.

IV. THAT OF EVERY LIVING THING, MAN IS THE NEAREST AND DEAREST TO THE GREAT CREATOR.

V. THAT THE GREAT CREATOR TEACHES MORAL TRUTHS TO MAN BY MEANS OF WORKS OF NATURE.

(F. W. Brown.)

The year of jubilee.
I. THE CHRISTIAN DISPENSATION OF GOSPEL LIBERTY AND REST (see Luke 4:18-21).

II. THE BELIEVER'S PRIVILEGED LIFE OF SACRED RELEASE AND JOY (cf. Ephesians 1:13, 14; Hebrews 4:9; Hebrews 8:12).

III. THE MILLENNIAL AGE, OF ESTABLISHED RIGHTEOUSNESS AND PEACE (see Isaiah 66:18-23; Revelation 20:2-5).

IV. THE HEAVENLY STATE OF ETERNAL SECURITY AND SERENITY (see 2 Peter 3:13; Revelation 14:13; Revelation 21:4). In the application of the jubilee incidents to each of these grand fulfilments of its symbolism, the following facts stand out clearly: —

1. Bounty. God gave a supernatural abundance the year preceding the jubilee, that in the enjoyment of vast supplies there should be no necessity for toil, no occasion for care (see ver. 21). And assuredly there is(1) Bounty in the provisions of the gospel (1 Timothy 1:14).(2) Fulness of grace for the believer in Jesus (2 Corinthians 4:15; Titus 3:6).(3) Abundance of good to be enjoyed in the millennial age (Psalm 72:7).(4) Limitless bliss in the heavenly land (Psalm 16:2),

2. Rest. That sabbatic year was to be consecrated to repose; the land was to be allowed to rest; the toiler was to cease from toil. Every want was supplied without the weariness of labour. Equally true of the —(1) Gospel rest which Christianity announces (Matthew 11:29).(2) Believer's rest which faith secures (Hebrews 4:3).(3) Millennial rest for a wearied Church (Revelation 20:2, 3).(4) Heavenly rest for Christ's redeemed followers (Revelation 14:13).

3. Liberty. All bondservants were set free the moment the jubilee trumpet sounded (vers. 39-44). And assuredly this finds verification in the —(1) Liberty which Christ proclaimed to souls enslaved in sin and fear (Luke 4:18; Hebrews 2:15).(2) Spiritual freedom realised by faith (Romans 8:15; John 8:36).(3) Emancipation from thraldom which shall distinguish the millennial reign (Isaiah 49:8, 9).(4) Glorious liberty of the children of God in heaven (Romans 8:21; Revelation 21:24, 25).

4. Restitution. If the Israelite had parted with his inheritance, its possession was restored to him in the year of jubilee, and that without payment (vers. 25-37). So —(1) The redemption of Christ recovers for man all that sin had forfeited.(2) Believers in Jesus regain all the virtue, happiness, and hopes which the fall had ruined.(3) The weary and wronged world would enjoy paradisal gladness through Christ's millennial sway.(4) Heaven will realise all which on earth had been desired, and restore all which death had desolated.

V. Let it be marked that the jubilee, with all its blessings, was CONSEQUENT UPON ATONEMENT. Not till the blood of expiation had been shed, and the living goat had borne into the land of oblivion the sins which (ceremonially) had been transferred to it, did the silver trumpets peal forth their exultant notes, proclaiming liberty and rest, restitution and rectitude for the people. And it is because of Christ's atonement that —(1) Christianity has come to sinful man, with all its tidings of good and wealth of salvation (John 1:29; Ephesians 1:6).(2) Spiritual blessings are inherited by the believer in Jesus (Romans 5:11).(3) The Church will enjoy the sabbatic millennial glory (Revelation 19:11-14).(4) Heaven will be the eternal possession of the redeemed (Revelation 8:14-17).

(W. H. Jellie.)

I. LET US LOOK AT THE GOSPEL AGE AS THE WORLD'S JUBILEE. And notice particularly that the jubilee year was ushered in on the Day of Atonement. Now, how is it with our jubilee? Was it not also ushered in by atonement? The prophets foretold the coming of the acceptable year, but there was no jubilee Until Christ came, and there was no true trump of jubilee until after Christ had died. Three clays He lay in the grave, and the third day He rose again, and then after forty days He ascended, the Great High Priest, and entered into the Holiest Place, bearing there His own blood. Then, the atonement having been made, He sends down the Spirit on the day of Pentecost, and His servants go forth everywhere preaching the jubilee that had come in — a jubilee based upon an infinite atonement. Now, it is equally true that the atonement of Christ must usher in all gospel proclamations. There is no gospel without the atonement, any more than there was any trump of jubilee without first the atonement day. A bloodless gospel is no gospel, but hell's choicest weapon. A gospel that ignores the Lamb slain is worse than no gospel at all, for it not merely leaves men in their original ignorance, but stupefies and chloroforms them with a fresh lie. Let us look for a moment at a few of the chief things included in gospel preaching, and see how they are all connected with the great day of Christ's atonement.

1. Certainly, peace must be classed among the first and chiefest notes. The gospel, like an angel, flies through the world, crying, "Peace! — Peace! — Peace!" Methinks, this is one of the sweetest notes in the whole of gospel harmony. But what kind of peace is the gospel peace? It is peace that is based on blood!

2. If peace be one of the chief notes in the gospel, surely we may place by its side remission of sins. Oh, let us tell it out that God can forgive all sin, though He cannot overlook one. By all means tell it out that God can remit all iniquity — that there is no sinner so wicked that God cannot forgive him, no sin so heinous that it cannot be pardoned; but remember, remission of sins, like peace, is based on the blood.

3. Cleansing is also one of the most sounded notes of the gospel, and it is a blessed thing to be able to tell a sinner that however sin-stained he is he can yet be purified, and that the soul that is black as perdition can be made as white as wool, and that the soul that is crimson dyed with iniquity may yet be so cleansed that even the driven snow shall look black in comparison. But remember that it is the blood that cleanses. Now, notice next, that the jubilee was proclaimed with trumpet-note.The atonement has been made, and from every hill-top the note is heard.

1. And who blows the trumpet? Why, man. It must have been joyous work to him. No angel but would have coveted the honour, but it is man that receives the commission for the work, and surely, he will blow it best, for as he blows he says, "I am blowing good news unto myself." Perhaps the man on yonder hill-top owed a debt and knew not how to pay. Oh, with what right good will would that man blow the trumpet! Says he, "I am blowing my own debt away." Or perhaps that other man had a boy that was in prison. Says he, "I will blow a blast that shall be heard far and wide, for I am blowing a note that will open the prison doors to my own boy." He had got an exile, perhaps, afar off, and for family reasons that boy had been unable to return home. "The moment this note is heard," says the trumpeter, "the exiled one will be able to come back again." So the man blows, ay, as no angel or seraph could have blown. So no angel could preach the gospel like the man who is himself saved by the gospel. When we preach Christ we may well preach Him with a holy ecstacy, for we preach that which saves us; and when me are telling the tale of atonement made we may tell it out with all the whole soul. The trumpets were blown by man.

2. And then observe, they were blown everywhere. This is what you and I have to do. We have to help to sound the trumpet throughout all the land. Go, blow it amongst the great ones of the earth, and tell kings and potentates that they must be born again. Go and blow the note amongst the humblest and the poorest that fill our mission halls and theatres and tell how Christ can save the vilest. Go and be Christ-like, and proclaim to the perishing everywhere that the acceptable year of the Lord is come, and that He is willing to bind up broken-hearted ones, and to open the prison-doors unto all captives.

3. We notice further that the notes of the jubilee trumpet and the notes of the gospel are identical. What was it that that trumpet proclaimed? First and foremost it proclaimed a return to all exiles and to all who were banished from their homes. I think I see the father when that trumpet sounds; he pulls the bolt back and takes the chain down and says, "My boy will be back soon. For years he has been shut out of the home. We did not care to have him in." That boy perhaps had offended in something, and did not care to show his face in the neighbourhood, so for many a long year the father had sighed to see his face again. But the moment he heard that note he says, "See that the door is not fastened till he comes back. My boy has heard the note as quickly as I have. Depend upon it that by this time his face is turned homeward." The trumpet sounded "home sweet home," to all banished ones. There was a pale captive in a dungeon; but the trumpet note found its way between the iron bars, and I think I see him as he says, "Now jailor, off with these fetters I and off with them quickly! You have no power to keep me in durance vile a moment longer." See how he flings the shackles down on the floor and stretches his unfettered arms with ecstacy! That trump said to him the one glorious word "Liberty!" These were some of the notes that the trumpet of jubilee sounded; but, oh, does not the gospel trumpet sound not merely the same notes, but the same notes pitched to a higher "Selah," still.

II. NOW WHEN DOES THE SOUL RECEIVE ITS JUBILEE? I can imagine one saying, "Well, my case is a very bad one indeed. It is all very well to be talking about a jubilee age, but that and a jubilee heart are two different things." I know it, and I think I can understand you. Do I not express your feelings when I put the matter thus: — "I am everything that you have spoken about, I am an exile far from my Father's house, I am a captive, and the iron eats into my soul. I am a debtor, and I feel that I owe that which I can never pay. I am over head and ears; I am drowned in debt. I am a miserable bankrupt. I cannot pay a farthing in the pound. I am a lost man. How am I ever to have a jubilee?" Why, I tell thee, thou wilt have a jubilee the very moment thou believest the report of the jubilee trumpet. Thank God, the jubilee of the soul can come any day. It is not once in fifty years, or once in fifty days, or once in fifty hours, or once in fifty minutes. God is willing to give salvation any moment. The moment thou acceptest Christ, the moment thou believest the report of the gospel, that moment shall thy jubilee come. Remember, that it is not enough to have the gospel preached all round about you. It is not enough to live in a gospel age. There must be a personal reception of the truth.

(A. G. Brown.)

Homilist.
I. THE TENDENCY OF SOCIETY TO GO WRONG. The evils remedied by the jubilee were —

1. Debt.

2. Slavery.

3. Destitution.

4. Exhausting toil.

II. THE CONSTANT INTERPOSITION OF GOD TO PUT SOCIETY RIGHT.

(Homilist.)

I. MAN'S NEED OF OCCASIONAL BEST FROM TOIL. The Hebrew system was remarkable for the number and variety of its provisions for this. By the emphasis thus given to rest, God hallowed it as being both a duty and privilege. It is needful in this age of excessive labour, when the struggle for wealth consumes men's energies so fast, and makes them so weary and prematurely old and broken. We can think of many who ought to take a sabbatic year of rest, and then add to it a year of jubilee.

II. ALL MEN ARE ENTITLED TO A SHARE OF GOD'S BOUNTY. Men were not allowed in the jubilee year to store up aught of what grew in the fields. God was manifestly the sole author of it. It was to be distributed, therefore, like the other pure bounties of His hand, like the rain and the sunshine, to all alike. This happened every sabbatic year, as well as in the jubilee. Christian faith endorses this. The fact of holding a title to a piece of land does not warrant one in engrossing to himself all that it yields. Christian charity says, "Distribute the benefit of it."

III. THE WELFARE OF SOCIETY IS IMPERILLED BY THE ACQUISITION OF GREAT LANDED ESTATES. The operation of the jubilee was to prevent the accumulation of land in the hands of a few. If in the course of fifty years such an accumulation occurred, the jubilee redistributed it. The public good demanded its general division among the people. Great Britain suffers greatly from excessive concentration in the ownership of land. The principle of charity, if given full operation, would restrain excessive accumulation.

IV. THE DIGNITY OF MAN VIEWED AS A RANSOMED CHILD OF GOD IS ANOTHER IDEA EMBODIED IN THE JUBILEE (ver. 42).

(A. H. Currier.)

I. ITS ORIGIN. It stands connected with two of the leading Jewish institutions.

1. With the weekly sabbath. It comes from the sabbath by two steps; first, by the institution of a sabbath for the land, falling on every seventh year; and secondly, by the conferring of a special sanctity on the seventh of these land sabbaths.

2. With the Day of Atonement.

II. ITS PROVISIONS. Restoration —

1. Debtor released from debts.

2. Slave released from bondage.

3. Exile restored to inheritance.

III. ITS LESSONS FOR OURSELVES.

1. The coming of Christ was the inauguration of a greater jubilee, bringing world-wide and lasting blessings. We too are debtors, debtors to the law in the whole round of its requirements; we are slaves to sin and Satan; we have forfeited our fair inheritance of innocence and heaven. But hear how Christ ushers in His ministry (Luke 4:16-21).

2. With us as with the Jews it is still on the Day of Atonement that the jubilee trumpet sounds. Our liberty and restoration have been dearly won (1 Peter 1:18, 19). With the Jews the neglect of the Day of Atonement led to the loss of the jubilee. And if the atonement of which we speak so much has never yet been anything to us, in our sense of the need of it, in our quest after the blessing of it, to us there has been no jubilee — we are yet in our sins. Will we be less in earnest than the debtor or the slave when we have so much more need to be in earnest?

(Walter Roberts, M. A.)

I. ITS PECULIAR FEATURES.

1. It was a great boon to all sorrowing ones.

(1)Every captive was liberated.

(2)The exiled wanderer returned.

(3)The oppressed debtor was released from his debts.

(4)The unfortunate poor were restored to their ancestral heritage.

(5)Families that had been separated were now reunited.

(6)Every estate reverted to the families to whom they were originally allotted in the conquest of Canaan.

2. All this was intimately connected with the Day of Atonement.

3. It was to be a year of perfect freedom from toil.

4. Every business transaction had reference to the year of jubilee.

II. ITS TYPICAL MEANING.

1. It has special reference to the millennial glory of Israel in the land which Jehovah keeps for them through all generations.(1) God claims Canaan as He does no other.(2) God has honoured Canaan as He has no other.

(a)There His throne and sanctuary were.

(b)There His priests ministered, and His prophets spoke.

(c)There His own Son was born, grew up, worked, wept, suffered, died, and rose again.

(d)When Jesus returns, His feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives.

2. It is a beautiful and correct type of heaven.(1) Where every believer will enter upon his inheritance, and enter into his perfect rest.(2) Where all exile, captivity, separation, poverty and oppression will for ever cease.

(D. C. Hughes, M. A.)

Homilist.
I. THE DEGENERATIVE FORCES OF SOCIETY ARE IN ITSELF. Debt. Slavery. Poverty. Materialism.

II. THE CORRECTIVE FORCES OF SOCIETY ARE FROM GOD.

1. Man is superior to property. The violation of this truth is the ruin of society, and it is violated every day.

2. God is the disposer of property. "The earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof."

3. Society has higher wants than property. Spiritual services.

(Homilist.)

I. IN THE BLESSINGS IMPARTED.

1. Remission of debts (see Acts 13:38).

2. Liberation from bondage (see Romans 6:22).

3. Restoration of forfeited possessions (see 1 Peter 1:4).

4. Freedom from toil (see Hebrews 4:3).

5. Abundant provisions and universal joy (see 1 Peter 1:8).

II. THE JUBILEE WAS TO BE PROCLAIMED ON A PARTICULAR DAY AND IN A PECULIAR WAY.

1. On the Day of Atonement (ver. 9; see Luke 24:46, 47).

2. It was announced by the sound of trumpets (ver. 9; see Romans 10:14, 15). The proclamation was to be to all (see Mark 16:15).

III. THE BLESSEDNESS OF THE GOSPEL DISPENSATION AS EXPERIENCED BY BELIEVERS,

1. The personal enjoyment of liberty (see Romans 8:21; Galatians 5:1).

(1)Liberty from Satan.

(2)From the world.

(3)From mental darkness and sin.

2. The realisation of rest (see Isaiah 14:3).

(1)Rest in Christ.

(2)From works.

(3)In labour.

(4)In prospect.

3. The possession of abundance (see Romans 5:20, 21).

(1)The word.

(2)The sacraments.

(3)Joy.

(4)Holy Ghost.

(5)Glory.

4. The enjoyment of salvation (see Isaiah 12:2).

(1)Present salvation.

(2)Perfect and complete salvation.

(3)Everlasting and infinite salvation.

(T. B. Baker.)

One interpretation of the word "jubilee" connects it, in a wild sort of way, with a rabbinical legend concerning the ram caught in the thicket, at the time when Abraham was tempted to sacrifice his son Isaac. It was fabled in the foolish tradition that the body of this animal was burned to ashes, but God raised it to life again afterwards by miracle. Then out of its skin was made the mantle that Elijah wore in the wilderness; out of its entrails were fashioned strings for the harp which David played upon. From one of its horns was constructed the trumpet which was blown upon Mount Sinai; from the other, the trumpet which remained to be blown at the coming of the Messiah. So some of the early commentators said that the term "jubilee" was derived from an Arabic word that signified a ram. But the latter and better interpretation is referred to an expression in the Book of Joshua (Joshua 6:5). There the verse would read, rendered literally, "as they draw out with the horn of jubilee." The meaning seems to be, that this name of "jubilee" was not given to the instrument exactly, but to the note it uttered — the peculiar clanging, continuous, vibrating sound of a horn. The word most likely represents the prolonged, quick-rushing, far-reaching, deeply penetrating blast of the trumpet as it swept across the whole land. As we press into the investigation of this most interesting portion of Hebrew history, we must pause long enough at the beginning to insist on the connection of the great Day of Atonement with the great Day of Jubilee. It came right after it in date. It appears right after it in the record of institution; and in spiritual teaching it is indispensably associated with it. There can be no jubilee in God's universe till atonement for sin is completed.

I. THE TYPE.

1. What was the design of the jubilee year as God gave it? A necessary question this is, but the answer will not be difficult if we take into consideration the entire story of the institution. In general, it appears to have been placed in the midst of human life as a barrier against the three greatest ills humanity is heir to. It insisted on relief from overwork. One grand idea of the ordinance was rest — rest to the soil, rest to the toilers upon it. The jubilee also demanded deliverance from oppression. There will be found reward for the closest study in just searching out in detail the skilful provisions made to relieve the weight of every kind of bond-service permitted in those times. A consideration for such exigency is inserted in the commandment. There is one for the "brother," and one for the "stranger," and one for the "sojourner." All servants are here declared to be God's servants, as the whole land is declared to be God's land. And in this great year of grace the time has come for all slaves to go free — free for ever. The jubilee likewise ordered release from obligation. Among all the weights and worries of human life surely one of the cruellest is debt. "Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats?" It is only natural that they should; for human nature knows little change. The wisest man in the world once said plainly: "The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender." Here again is an intervention from heaven in behalf of distressed debtors. The law made provision for the restoration of estates, and clearance from usury at the end of the fiftieth year.

2. What was the welcome of the jubilee as the people gave it reception? There can be but one answer: A great glad day of universal rejoicing it was through the length and breadth of the land.

II. THE ANTITYPE. In general, it may be said that the sound of those trumpets was the symbol of the proclamation of Christ's gospel over all the earth. The purpose of this gospel was to check the deteriorating forces in human society; to set up principles which would deliver men from all weights and oppressions of sin and sinners.

1. So there is such a thing as a jubilee in the heart. When the bondage of corruption is broken, the debt of transgression paid, the handwriting that was against us (Colossians 2:14) taken away and nailed to the Cross, the soul freed indeed because freed by the truth, our Redeemer surely coming (Job 19:25) and certain to stand on the earth — then it is that there seems to sound a great joy of deliverance through all the nature of the regenerate man I

2. There is such a thing as a jubilee in the Church. Times have been in history when piety was low, and godly men failed; the ways of Zion mourned, the city sat solitary, the fires on the altars were dim in the ashes. Then came a rushing sound of spiritual presence, almost like a pressure, and a blast of silver trumpets, calling to activity, to penitence, to singing, and to religious life again. The Redeemer came to Zion (Isaiah 59:20), and unto them that turned from transgression in Jacob.

3. There is such a thing as a jubilee in the state. Poets are singing about, "the good time coming"; but it has not yet arrived. Still, it is promised (Isaiah 61:1, 2).

4. There is such a thing as a jubilee in the world. This is the final restitution, the day of all days on the earth. Of course, the blessing will come through the Church; but the whole race will share something of its vast benediction.

(C. S. Robinson, D. D.)

I. ITS PRIMARY PURPOSE.

1. Kind and benevolent.

2. Wise and politic.

3. Good and beneficial.

II. ITS TYPICAL REFERENCE.

1. The jubilee of grace.

2. The jubilee of glory.

III. ITS JOYFUL COMMENCEMENT (Psalm 89:15).

(Wm. Sleigh.)

The Old Testament jubilee was meant to be a type of the entire New Testament dispensation in three points, imaging by its sabbatic character the gospel rest in Christ, by its unreserved deliverance of captives and slaves the Christian redemption from guilt and spiritual bondage, and by its universal restitution of property to the poor and needy the fulness of that inheritance which is treasured up for all the faithful in Christ, whose unsearchable riches, like the national possessions, opened up by the jubilee, enrich all, without impoverishing any who make good their title.

I. The first element of jubilee gladness, common to the Jew of old and the Christian amid the celebrations of the gospel age, is THE JOY OF DISTINCTION OR OF PRIVILEGE. There was not a single memorial of blessing or promise, temporal or spiritual, which the jubilee did not recall, and hold up before the eyes of that most favoured nation, so that it was on God's part an impressive reiteration of His covenant, and on their part a grateful recognition that they were indeed a "chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a peculiar people." The Christian Church, and we as members of it, are privileged —

1. As to safety.

2. As to character.

3. As to work.

4. As to suffering.

II. The second great element of the gladness of jubilee is THE JOY OF STABILITY AND PROGRESSION. Traces of progress are to be found in every leading country of the Christian world. The last half century has seen the cause of missions pass through all its phases, and encounter all its perils from ridicule, neglect, hope deferred, till now it ranks perhaps as the most distinctive and glorious feature of our age.

III. The third element in the jubilee gladness is THE JOY OF ANTICIPATION OR CONSUMMATION. We believe that faith and hope shall in God's own time effect a marvellous conquest of this long-revolted earth, and that love, working in a united and purified Church, shall through great periods gather up and treasure the spoils of victory. But it is to Christ's coming that we look forward and hasten, as the crown and consummation of Christian hope.

(J. Cairns.)

All men ultimately get their living out of the soil. There never will be a process by which the original elements that enter into food will be manufactured into food. We may fly in the air, or travel around the earth with the sun; but we shall never take the unorganised substances that form grass and grain and the flesh of animals, and directly convert them into food; they must first be organised into vital forms. Hence, questions pertaining to land are the most imperative that come before men. To get man rightly related to the soil, in such a way that he shall most easily get his food from it, this is the underlying question of all history, its keynote and largest achievement. The chief struggles in all ages and nations have turned upon this relation. There are two forces at work in the matter, both proceeding out of what seems almost an instinct for ownership of the soil. The earth is our mother, and she woos us perpetually to herself. To own some spot of land, and be able to say, "This is mine," is one of the sweetest of personal feelings; it declares our kinship with this natural world that nurses our life and upholds our feet. These two forces that draw men to the soil are, first, a natural, almost instinctive sense of keeping close to the source of life, as a wise general does not allow himself to be separated from his supplies. The other force is the pride and greed and love of power of the strong. Here is a triple-woven force out of which has sprung by far the greater part of the injustice and oppression that have afflicted the race. The possession of the soil is the surest exponent and standing-ground of worldly force. Everything else may fail: the hearts of men, coined treasures, ships and houses, bonds and promises to pay, but so long as society keeps a man in the possession of land he is so far forth strong; he has a place to stand in, the fortifications built by nature, and the arms and defences that spring perpetually out of the earth; he realises the fable of Antaeus. The remarkable feature of the Jewish Commonwealth is its anticipatory legislation against probable, and otherwise certain abuses. The struggles of other nations, and the skill of statesmanship, have been to correct abuses; in the Jewish Commonwealth they were foreseen and provided against. There are no words to express the wonder felt by the student of social science as he first measures the significance of that feature of the Jewish state known as the year of jubilee. It is little understood, hidden away in an uninteresting book, stated in ancient and blind phraseology, a thing of long past ages, nevertheless it remains the most exalted piece of statesmanship the world has known — an example of social sagacity, and broad, far-reaching wisdom, such as we look for in vain in the annals of any other nation. It settled at the outset the problem that no other people ever solved except through ages of struggle and revolution. The Hebrew nation existed under the consciousness of a covenant with Jehovah. It would be petty criticism that pried into the origin of this belief, moved by contempt at the seeming presumption of this little nation of fugitive slaves — petty and narrow indeed! It were wiser and more scientific to regard every nation as under covenant with God, if it but had the wisdom to know it. That this nation discerned the eternal fact, and wrought it into the foundations of their State, only shows its insight into the nature of the State, and its receptivity of inspired truth. It does not lessen the wisdom of this legislation that it probably did not meet the exigencies of the later development of the nation, nor even that its details may have become a hindrance in the more complex state of society that followed the captivity when it probably ceased to be enforced. Its wisdom is to be found in its previsionary features, in its reversal of ordinary history, that is, it planted the nation on equal rights at the outset instead of leaving them to be achieved by struggle, and in its assertion of the general principle that it is wise to keep the body of the people as near the source of their subsistence as possible. It was not given up until it had educated and grounded the nation in those conceptions of practical righteousness that are found in the pages of the prophets, through whom they have become the inspiration of the world. Its design and effect are evident. It was a bar to monopoly of the land. All greed and pride in this direction were limited. One might add field to field for a series of years, but after a time the process ceased and the lands went back to their original owners. The purpose was to make such a habit unprofitable, to keep the resources of society evenly distributed, to prevent the rich from becoming too rich and the poor hopelessly poor, to undo misfortune, to give those who had erred through sloth or improvidence an opportunity to improve the lessons of poverty, to prevent children from reaping the faults of their parents; one generation might squander its portion but the next was not forced to inherit the consequences. Though a political measure, it is informed with spiritual significance. It is throughout instinct with mercy. It taught humanity. It rebuked and repressed the great sins. It was in keeping with the underlying fact of the national history which was deliverance, and, as well, with the central idea of the world, which is redemption, redemption from evil however caused and of whatever kind. It was an assertion of perpetual hope, hope which, though long delayed, comes at last to all, and every man returns to the possessions his Creator gave him. It was in its profoundest meaning a prophecy wrought into the practical economy of a nation. It shadows forth the recovery from evil, the undoing of all burdens that weigh down humanity, the eternal inheritance awaiting God's children when his cycle is complete. This ancient piece of statesmanship is full of pointed lessons for these modern times. It cannot be reproduced in form, but it still teaches the ever necessary lesson, float nations and corporations and individuals are always forgetting, that the world belongs to all men by the gift of God. It teaches the wisdom of showing mercy to the poor and unfortunate, and the unwisdom of permitting endless monopolies and limitless increase of wealth. It is the business of the State to see that these things are restricted, as both right and safe, as necessary for the rich as for the poor. The methods employed may sometimes seem to lack in technical justice, but there is a righteousness that lies back of formal justice. As the world goes, the forms of justice are apt to become the instruments of oppression in the hands of the avaricious, the proud, and the strong. These three always lie in wait to oppress the poor, the humble, and the weak; and their choicest instruments are those legal forms and institutions that are necessary to society. But they have their limits by a law which is above all such laws and formal institutions. When wealth oppresses the poor, or keeps them at the mere living point, when monopolies tax the people, whenever a few own the soil, however legal the form of possession, when there is any process going on by which the rich are growing richer and the poor poorer, there is a Divine justice above all formal justice, that steps in and declares that such processes must stop.

(T. T. Munger.)

The principal and distinguishing point in the jubilee year was, that all landed property reverted to its original possessors. The institution was this: the people coming as a whole people, consisting of distinct tribes and families, and settling down upon the territory, God says, "This land is Mine; I give it to you, in distinct portions for your distinct families, never to be alienated." So that the, proper way of putting it, in our modern language, would be that the land, the freehold of any estate never could be sold, but only the produce of it for so many years. It never could go entirely out of the family to whom it belonged. But the price to be given would vary according to the nearness or the distance of the jubilee year; according to the number of years till that time, less or more would be paid for the produce of the land; for when that time came the lands were given up by those who had bought the produce of them till then, and everybody went back to his original paternal possession. Houses that were built in villages, and connected with the open field, were subject also to that law; and they went back. But houses that were built in cities were not subject to that law. At any time during the years that preceded the jubilee, any portion of land, any field or farm, could be redeemed; if the man that had parted with it could go and offer the money it was worth, he could demand it; any of his relatives could redeem it in the same way. They could only do this for one year with a house in a city; after that it went from them entirely. But the principal point in the jubilee year was this liberty, this remission of debts, this return of everybody to their original inheritance, which might have been parted with by vice, by improvidence, by indiscretion, or which might have gone from them by misfortune and unavoidable vicissitude. The objects of this very peculiar institution, I think it is fair to suppose, might be such as these. It was intended to produce a recollection in the mind of the people, of the manner in which God had brought them in, and settled them there, and given them their possessions; and of course, of their peculiar covenant relation to Him. It would have a tendency also to prevent the rise of a large landed power, that might become an oppressive and tyrannical aristocracy. It would certainly have a tendency also to make the people very careful about their genealogies, in order that they might easily establish their claim to such and such property. And that, we think — the distinctness and clearness of the genealogy with respect to the tribes and families — had also a bearing upon the prophecies respecting the Messiah and His coming through a particular tribe and family. It was intended, perhaps, or at least it would have that tendency, even to mitigate the evils that men by their indiscretion and improvidence might bring upon themselves and upon their families; give to them, as it were, another chance of recovering themselves, or at least to their descendants, of recovering possessions that ought to have been kept. And altogether, the influence of it would be, I think, to diffuse a very humanising and kind and happy feeling throughout the whole community.

(T. Binney.)

It was in ancient Israel, as in the heavens above us, whose luminaries, after a certain period of time has elapsed, always return to the same place in the firmament, and the same relative position to each other. The sun, for instance, although changing his place daily, shall rise and set, twelve months from this date, at the same hour, and appear at his meridian in the same spot as to-day. Corresponding to that, or like the revolution of a wheel, which restores every spoke to its former place, society, whatever change meanwhile took place in personal liberty or hereditary property, returned, among the old Hebrews, to the very same state in which it was at the commencement of those fifty years whose close brought in the jubilee.

(T. Guthrie, D. D.)

It is a sad sight to see men bound with chains, so that they cannot use their limbs. And if they arc shut up in prison, as well as bound with chains, this is still more sad. But there are chains and prisons for the souls of men, as well as for their bodies. If we give way to any sin, that sin binds our souls so that they can have no more freedom of action than our bodies would have if they were bound in chains of iron. This is what is meant in one of the beautiful collects of our Church, in which we pray that we may "be delivered from the bands of those sins which by our frailty we have committed." And this is the reason why the Bible speaks of men as being "taken captive by Satan at his will" (2 Timothy 2:26). He tempts men to commit sins, and then binds them in the chains of those sins; and in this way they are made his prisoners or captives. And when Jesus seeks a poor sinner, and converts him by His grace; when He delivers him from the power of his sins, changes his heart, and helps him to lead a new life, then it is that He is blessing that man by giving liberty to the captive. But there are no chains that Satan makes for men so strong as those which he fastens on the soul of the poor drunkard. He is bound hand and foot. The prison in which he is made captive has walls so thick, and doors so strongly bolted and barred, that he never can get out by any efforts of his own. But Jesus is able to break the strongest chain by which any poor drunkard was ever bound, and to open the prison door in spite of all the bolts and bars that may secure it. Here is an illustration of this statement, which I know to be true. One day, while Mr. Moody was preaching in our city, I received a letter written by a person who signed himself "A Reformed Drunkard." He wished me to read this letter in the noonday meeting for the encouragement of those who were trying to break loose from the chains by which the drunkard is bound. And I did read it there. The writer of this letter called to see me before I read it in public, that I might be sure it was all right. I was surprised at his appearance when I saw him. He was as fine-looking, gentlemanly a man as I had ever seen. He was intelligent and well educated. This was his story, as briefly as I can give it. "My family," he said, "is one of the most respectable in Philadelphia. They belong to the Society of Friends. My mother, now in heaven, was formerly a preacher in the Society. For seven years I had been a confirmed drunkard. By this terrible evil I had lost my money, my business, my character, my health, my friends, and my self-respect. It had even separated me from my wife and family, and made me an outcast from society. I was lost to all that was good. I had tried again and again to stop drinking, but in vain. I had taken different medicines, and had signed the temperance pledge a number of times, but without any benefit. Everybody said my case was hopeless. At last, when I was in a public hospital, sick with that dreadful disease which drunkenness causes, called delirium tremens, and was given up to die; then, as I believe, in answer to the prayers of my sainted mother, I was led to look to Jesus. I called on Him for help. He heard my cry, and helped me. By the power of His grace He broke the strong chains of that dreadful sin by which I had been bound, and which nothing but the grace of God can break. I rose from my sick bed a changed man. By the help which Jesus gave me I was able to stop drinking. And now for months I have been a sober man. I am restored to health, to happiness, and usefulness, to my friends and to my family, and am on the way to heaven, where I hope to meet that beloved mother through whose prayers I have been saved. "Such was this man's story. Here we see how Jesus gives deliverance to the captives. And what He did for this poor prisoner of sin and Satan He is able and willing to do for all who call upon Him. And if He has power to help men in this way, then it may well be said that He was "sent to bless them."

(Richard Newton, D. D.)

It is told of a famous smith of mediaeval times, that having been taken prisoner and immured in a dungeon, he conceived the idea of escaping, and began to examine the chain that bound him, with a view to discover some flaw that might make it easier to be broken. His hope was vain, for he found, from marks upon it, that it was one of his own workmanship, and it had always been his boast that none could ever break a chain that he had forged. And now it was his own chain that bound him. It is thus with the sinner. His own hands have forged the chain that binds him, a chain which in endless and evermultiplying coils is around his soul, and which no human hand can break. Yet is there a hand can break it — the hand of Him who brings "liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound."

(Preacher's Lantern.)

It is stated on good authority that when the old Emperor of Russia died, he made the present Emperor promise to set all those serfs free. So the present emperor called the Imperial Council together, and said, "I want to see if you can make some plan by which we can set these men free." They were the proprietors of these serfs, and, of course, they didn't want to free them. The Imperial Council was in session for six long months, and one evening they sent in their decision, sealed, that it was not right, and it is said that he went down to the Greek Church, partook of the sacrament, and went to his palace; and the next morning there was a great commotion, and people could not understand it. Great cannons were brought up around his palace, and in a little while 65,000 soldiers were gathered around the royal palace; and just at twelve o'clock at midnight there came out what we call a proclamation, but what they call a ukase, to the serfs of Russia, that they were free for ever. It spread through the empire, and a shout went through the nation, "The men born in slavery are set free!" They had found one that had set them free. Wasn't that good news? But here is the news of the gospel, that every man born in sin, and taken captive by Satan, can be set free through the power of the Lord Jesus.(T. De Witt Talmage.)

Sin is the great evil of the world. It has infected all hearts, and there is none righteous — no, not one. This is the witness of Scripture: "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God." But it needs no revelation to tell men this. The wise ones of the heathen world before Christ came to bear the same testimony, l learned Greek, called Xenophon, said, "It is clear that I have two souls; when the good one gets the upper hand it does right; when the evil it enters on wicked courses." A still wiser man, named Plato, used the image of a good and bad horse, yoked to a chariot, and driven by the same charioteer. There are two powers at work in human nature, dragging in different directions. And Crates, another great man of olden times, said that it was impossible to find a man who had not fallen; just as every pomegranate had a bad grain in it, so every character had some flaw, some seed of corruption. So we find that men of heathen lands to-day, who have never heard the name of Christ, echo the cry of the Apostle Paul, "O wretched man that I Am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" They feel their bondage to evil; they feel their need of a deliverance. Now Jesus is the Saviour of men. Only Christ has borne this great name. Mohammed is prophet; Buddha is teacher only; Jesus is Saviour. He can deliver us from the bondage of sin. One of my friends, who is a missionary in China, told me the other day that the creed of many a Christian convert may be summed up in a sentence: "I believe that Jesus Christ is able to deliver me from the opium habit." The gospel wins them by the promise of deliverance from that frightful vice. They begin with that. They put the saving power of Jesus to the proof. "I am given up to every sin you can imagine," said Liu Kisa Shan; "I am an opium smoker, a libertine, a gambler, a drunkard, an unfilial man, and everything that is bad. Can Christ Jesus save me?" He had strolled into the chapel at Hankow, and the preacher's words had stirred the hope of deliverance in his heart. "Can Christ Jesus save me?" "Yes; He can, and He will," said the preacher. And they knelt down together and cried to Him for salvation. And the new heart was given of which we were talking last week. And Liu went home to his friends, to show them how great things the Lord had done for him; and is to-day the centre of a gospel work where once he was notorious for evil living. Jesus saves men to-day. He can save you, for "He is able to save unto the uttermost all that come unto God through Him."

(Howard James.)

Christian Age.
The great Henry Clay was once placed in a position where he could not refuse a favorer, and yet where he would not have credited himself with doing anything to earn the release he received. He owed £2,000 at the Northern Bank of Kentucky, and his note for that amount had been renewed from time to time, in spite of all his efforts to contrive a way to meet it — until the debt became a source of almost hopeless .anxiety to him. The thought of it intruded upon him everywhere, and embarrassed his work, and worried his rest. The day for payment would come again, and find him as helpless as ever. He chafed like a lion in a net. Whether or not he ever betrayed his uneasiness, there were at least a few who came to know its secret — and with results such as he was the last man to expect. He went into the bank one morning on the old errand. "I have called to see about my debt." The cashier replied, "It has been paid; you don't owe us anything." He was struck with amazement, and, under strong emotion, he turned and went out. Those men who paid the embarrassed statesman's debt did it because they loved him. Christ Jesus loved us so well that He died to release us from the sins of the past, and became Surety Himself for our debt to God's broken law which we never could pay. We never earned such a boon. It was only His love that gave it.

(Christian Age.)

Ye
I. THE OPPRESSION WHICH NOW EXISTS, AND WHICH IT IS OUR DUTY TO REMOVE. There can be no doubt that there is a fierce spirit of competition abroad — a spirit which pervades every trade, which enters every profession, which stalks about our exchange, sits by the merchant and the banker at their desks, opens the shop early and closes it late, excites angry feeling and envy, makes the man of business anxious and excited abroad, sullen or fretful at home, which unfastens the restraints of religion and honour, interposes between neighbour and neighbour, friend and friend, relation and relation: it suggests enterprises which are rash, bargains which are hard, speculations of doubtful morality, and acts which once would have made the honest cheek to glow with the blush of shame. This spirit it is which leads to fearful embarrassments, unlawful expedients, a wretched parsimony, a false appearance, a costly display, a feverish existence, an untimely end. Oh! if there be a people to whom it is a duty to sound this warning, "Take heed and beware of covetousness," that nation is our own. It has been most truly said, that the "desire of accumulation is the source of all our greatness and all our baseness. It is at once our glory and our shame. It is the cause of our commerce, of our navy, of our military triumphs, of our enormous wealth, and our marvellous inventions; and it is the cause of our factions and animosities, of our squalid pauperism, and the worse than heathen degradation of our population." This spirit has burst forth with such a fearful wide-spreading influence that men begin to look aghast, and wonder what it will lead to. Poets have sung of such a time; the Word of God has warned us against it; statesmen are meditating upon it; the press is thundering against it; and very late — alas! too late!-the pulpit is giving utterance to the wise, loving counsels of One who said, "A man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesses." Now, before I proceed to place before you the oppression which prevails, and the serious consequences which are resulting from it, let me ask, however this question may affect yourself, whether you would wish such a state of things to go on unchecked and unrebuked? Would you wish the fever of speculation, of competition, to increase? Would you wish the spirit of dissatisfaction amongst the working classes to strengthen? There can be no question that whilst many schemes of Christian benevolence and piety have been started and carried out, having reference to other lands, there has prevailed amongst ourselves a wretchedness and depth of suffering which ought long ago to have been investigated and relieved. This misery has been unheeded, not because other objects have enlisted sympathy and received attention — for that would be a foul libel upon that charity which "never faileth," and can alike stretch forth its arms to succour the African slave and bend down to whisper comfort and advice to the miserable at home — but there has grown up so silently and gradually a monster evil, that even the victims themselves have been slow to discern its character, and slower still to suggest a remedy. The human frame is limited in its power of enduring fatigue; and when we consider that there are thousands who are employed in constant labour for more than twelve hours, often, too, in an unwholesome atmosphere and in a constrained position, you will be prepared for the statement, made upon medical testimony, that impaired, exhausted frames, and often an untimely death, are the fruits of this system. Oh! think, I pray, of these bitter wrongs; think of the agony of spirit, the long-protracted hopeless effort, the attenuated frame, the hollow cheek, the chilled eye, the tottering limbs, the constant heart weight, the cheerless room, the sleepless night, the voiceless, gnawing feeling of despair; yes, think of this occurring in London, with its churches, and Houses of Parliament, and Exeter Hall meetings, and greetings to Crimean heroes, and running to help some sturdy vagabond beggar, and then remember, with shame and confusion of face, that it has been written, "Ye shall not therefore oppress one another; but thou shalt fear thy God: for I am the Lord your God."

II. It would not be of any use if we were to content ourselves with sighing over all these miseries, instead of inquiring WHAT STEPS MAY BE TAKEN TO ALLEVIATE AND REDRESS THEM. I have, therefore, drawn your attention to that painful subject in the hope of inducing you to sympathise with the efforts which are now made, especially by the Early Closing Association, to ameliorate the condition of the working classes. It is very satisfactory, then, and encouraging to feel, that the interests of the employer and the employed are in this respect identical; for it is evident that it cannot be for the advantage of the employer that, the health, and energy, and spirit, and moral principle of those he employs should be undermined. The manufacturer would soon suffer if the quality of his raw material became deteriorated; and if the stamina of England's working men became weakened, her producing power would necessarily become less. Now it is encouraging to find that the employers of labour are themselves becoming more alive to the necessity of something being done. I could easily multiply instances of employers who are alive to the duty as well as advantage of taking steps to improve the condition of the employed. And what are these steps? The closing earlier every day, the payment of wages on Thursday or Friday, or, at all events, at an early hour on Saturday, and the Saturday half-holiday. Are these inconsistent with the interests of employers? Far from it. We have ample testimony to prove that the labourers so relieved will apply themselves with increased alacrity to their work, animated with gratitude to their employers, and stimulated by a new-found hope. Then will the English home resume its cheerfulness; then will the husband and father taste the delights which purify and soften, and then, too, will the Sabbath dawn on many who will spring forth to perform its hallowed duties, to feel its soothing influence, and to worship in the courts of Him who hath said — "Ye shall not oppress one another; but thou shalt fear thy God: for I am the Lord your God."

(C. F. S. Money, M. A.)

Hom. Review.
It is said that John Wanamaker, when a girl told him that she could not possibly live on the three and a half dollars a week that he offered her, replied: "I know it, but the fact is that I am overrun with applications from girls, daughters of mechanics, tradesmen, &c., who have their homes already, and use their wages merely for dress, and they set the scale. "The story of the employer who coolly told a girl who came with the same complaint: "Most of our girls have gentlemen friends who provide for them; you had better do the same," has been not only widely told, but widely believed. A gentleman went to a wealthy importer on Broadway to ask for a situation for a friend, and received the reply: "He had better not come here. The fact is, all our men are underpaid, but we can get all we want at present wages. Why should we pay any more?" It is notorious that an immense amount of the "piecework" done by women for the great stores and manufactories is done by those who merely wish to provide themselves with some additional comforts. So instances innumerable might be given of the fact that the wage-earners suffer most from the competition of those who are, at least in a measure, independent. That this is wrong and unjust will be acknowledged at once by all right-minded people. The remedy, however, is not so easily recognised. As a rule, it has been supposed to lie with the employed themselves. It is said that these others have no right to work at such low terms. Undoubtedly, if all were unselfish, there would result much alleviation of the difficulty. There is, however, another phase of the case to which we would call attention, and that is the responsibility of the employer. How far is it right for a man to accept of service for which he does not pay a fair price — i.e., a price such that the one who receives it can live upon it fairly and comfortably? There are, of course, limitations. No iron rule can be laid down. Inexperience cannot claim the same as experience, extravagance should not lay down the law for economy. Yet, after all, every employer knows perfectly well whether or not he is paying what are called "living wages." It is much the fashion to decry the Mosaic laws as belonging to a period and state of society entirely foreign to modern needs. No one, however, who carefully studies those laws can fail to recognise the fact that they touch very closely upon the demands that we hear on every side for a more equal distribution of property, a more just relation between employer and employed. The German Empire has already endorsed the same principle in stating clearly the obligation of the community to provide for its individual member's. The Occident is not the Orient. Anglo-Saxons are not Semites; but the fundamental law that one man shall not oppress another, by taking advantage of his necessities is just as true now and here as it was in the desert of Arabia many centuries ago.

(Hom. Review.)

I. Let us first LISTEN TO THE QUESTION. "What shall we eat the seventh year?" Now this was a question of mere nature. Grace had nothing to do with it. It is man trusting in his own native strength, man who judges all things by his own reason, man who goes no further in his belief than what he can see and what he can understand. Human nature can understand ploughing and reaping. Nature can comprehend scattering the seed. Nature can believe in a self-dependent life, but nature cannot understand renouncing all human activity and living absolutely on Jehovah's blessing, and, therefore, in a spirit of querulous unbelief, it asks, "But what shall we eat?" Asking this question is virtually to arraign God at the bar of Reason, and say, "It is all very well to tell us that we are not to plough, and not to gather, and not to reap; but what shall we eat? We shall starve if we are only to feed on what Thou givest us. If we do this thing we shall have empty barns, and empty barns will mean empty mouths, and empty mouths will mean national ruin and death." Thus blinded nature always argues, and will not trust for more than it can see. A plough that can be beheld is valued far before a God that can only be believed. Now is not this a question continually being asked in the present day? Is it not being put by some here this morning? There is one yonder asking it in this wise: If I do all that God tells me, how shall I get on in life or make my way? If I conduct my business according to high Christian principles, if I give absolute and complete obedience to all the commands of Scripture, if I keep my fingers clean of those things that defile the world's hands, and if I maintain my integrity, and refuse to stoop to all the petty little meannesses that I find common in the business of the world, well, then, what shall I eat? May I not as well put up the shutters at once? This very matter was brought before me only yesterday by a professing Christian. Said he, "Sir, it is all very well for you to talk as you do, and right you should, but if we don't do these little things, our children will have to suffer for it. We are living in the world, and we have to do in a measure as the world does, for if we don't, what shall we eat?" Thus unbelief steps in, and says, "Perfect obedience to God means starvation." Whilst on the other hand faith replies, "Perfect obedience means a feast on blessing." Faith cares not from whence the supply may come; faith troubles not about probable results; it obeys God's commands, asks no questions, and raises no objections. Let us not, however, be too hard on these persons, for this question is often asked more in a spirit of anxiety than a disposition to cavil. A timid believer, with no thought of limiting the Holy One of Israel, may put the question in some such form as this: "Well, sir, it is all very true what you say, and God forbid I should doubt His providence, but supposing I should be sick during this year — supposing I should have a long, weary illness, that keeps me from work for weeks! What should I do? Facts are stubborn things, and if I cannot earn a penny, how am I to purchase anything for the family? If there is to be a long cessation from employment, what shall we eat?" Or, it may be, there are some already in this position, who are saying, "It is easy, sir, for you to stand up on that platform and talk, but you would alter your language if you were in my place. Look! When I scan the horizon, I cannot see one harvest-field that I am likely to reap this year. If I go to all my barns I find them empty; if I go to my trees I find them stripped. Humanly speaking, I can see no hope of anything but hardship and privation, and the question of my heart this morning is, 'What shall we eat this year?' and though I have asked it a hundred times, I seem no nearer the solution of the problem." Well, dear friend, you have my heart's truest sympathy, and I would that I could help you, and all like you, but yet I must say, "Trust in God and do the right." "I will command My blessing," is God's answer to your question of anxiety. Sometimes, however, the question is asked more from curiosity than even anxiety. It is in such spirit that we ask the question this morning, "What shall we eat?" It is not a question whether God will give us food or not; we know He will; but we should like to know what manner of food it is He will put into our mouths this seventh year. Will it be the same as last year or better? Will there be a new flavour about it, or a repetition of the old savour? Shall it be fruit from a new tree, or new fruit from an old tree? What shall be our kind of experience during this year? Shall we, during its months, eat of the fruit of Canaan, or shall we be satisfied with the manna of the wilderness?

II. Well, we will try now TO GIVE YOU THE ANSWER as you have it in the text. We shall live on the blessing of our God. Israel had to learn one truth, and that one truth was this — that God's blessing was worth more than all their own efforts; that if God spake a word of commanding blessing, it was worth more to them than all their ploughs and agricultural labour. Beloved, is not this true for you? Have not you in three ways to learn the lesson that the Lord will provide? It will be true this year in your life as far as temporal matters are concerned. It is not the expenditure of brain power, or the employment of arm muscle that will win you your bread; it is the blessing of God resting on you. There is nought apart from that; and we pray that you may acknowledge the precious truth, and at the end of this year say, concerning your gettings, "It is because Jehovah has commanded His blessing." But there is a higher life you and I have to live, and that is soul life. How will that be maintained this year? I answer — By the blessing of God. No man has power to keep the fire within his own soul aglow; no man has might sufficient to keep his own faith from staggering; no one has self-contained ability to keep his own heart from wandering. And how true will it be in reference to us as a Church! The preacher this year must look to God for his texts. "The Lord will provide" must be recognised even in that. It is not the service, it is the blessing on the service. It is not the word, it is the blessing on the word. It is the dew that is on the manna that makes it so refreshing; it is Jehovah's benediction that alone satisfies; and though we may drive our own plough, and though we may try and scatter the seed broadcast on every hand, yet if you obtain one spiritual feast this year, the speaker steps back and says it is not of him. If God makes him a means of blessing unto one soul, it is neither he nor his sermon, it is the Lord's commanded blessing that has refreshed the heart. Had we time, we might show you how this applies to everything in connection with the Church. Our schools will prosper just as Heaven's blessing is their portion. There is one other thought which arises naturally out of the subject; it is this, that the answer to the question, "What shall we eat the seventh year" is "Exactly the same as you had on the sixth year," because you will observe, if you look at the context, that God gave them a double blessing on the sixth year, so that the trees yielded twice their wont — treble rather — and the fields a threefold harvest. So that on the seventh and eighth years they had no new kind of fruit to that they had on the sixth. It was the same fruit, and of the same flavour.

(A. G. Brown.)

See, then, and sink it into your heart soundly, what God is able to do for you touching all worldly necessaries, if you will obey Him and trust in Him. Such a promise in Exodus He made also, to keep all things in safety for them at home, while they were at Jerusalem serving Him according to this law. And what loss had the shepherds when they left their flocks in the fields and went to the child Jesus, according as the angel had told them? Let this place again strengthen your faith against all objections of flesh and blood, made from natural reasons and causes as they seem to men. For if the Lord be able, even then when the earth is weakest, having been worn out with continual tillage, five years together, to make the sixth year bring forth a triple blessing, enough for that year, for the seventh year, and for the eighth year, till harvest were ready; what unseasonable weather, what barrenness of land, what this, what that, shall make a man despair of God's providence for things needful? Leave God to Himself, and to His almighty power: do you your duty, fear Him, love Him, serve Him, obey Him with a true heart, call upon your children and servants to do the like, and you shall see the lovingkindness of the Lord to your comfort. These things shall be cast upon you, and He that knoweth your charge, and gave you that charge, will never fail you nor them of what is fit. You see here what He can do, and let it profit you. I will tell you the feeling of my heart further in this point, and thus I reason: Can God be thus strong when the land is weak, and will He be thus strong to the comfort of His servants? Why, then, cannot He be, or why will He not be, strong in my weakness, in your weakness, and in every man and woman's weakness that believe in Him? Away, Fear, away, I may not hearken unto thee! when I am weakest He will be strongest. For His power is best seen in weakness, and I will put my whole trust and confidence in Him, drawing an argument with David from my weakness to move Him, and not to discomfort me. Heal me, O Lord, for I am weak. My weakness shall drive me unto Thee, not from Thee, and I will tarry Thy good leisure. Lord strengthen me, Lord comfort me, and under the covering of Thy wings let me be safe from all temptations displeasing Thee and hurting me!

(Bp. Babington.)

A faithful and zealous Methodist minister in North Carolina writes to a friend in Calcutta: "There are two cotton factories here, and my charge consists chiefly of the proprietors, operatives, and others connected with the factories. The proprietors are Christians and Methodists, and stand ready to do what they can for the cause of Christ. The leading man takes a lively interest in our Church work, and teaches a large class of little boys in our Sabbath School, although weighed down by the cares of an immense business all the week. When the new factory was built, the building, with all its machinery, was solemnly dedicated, by a public religious service, to be used for the glory of God. Two years ago a great revival was in progress here. Mr. — stopped the factory that all hands might attend the meetings. He received an urgent order from New York for goods. He replied that the goods could not be furnished. They telegraphed from New York that they must have the goods. Then the wires flashed back the message: ' The Lord is at work; the factories will not run this week.' Would that we had more such men! Christ requires that money as well as intellect and heart, be consecrated to Him. 'The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine, saith the Lord of hosts.'" Surely the Lord would say to that millowner, as He said to the Canaanitish woman, Great is thy faith!

(Indian Witness.)

The land is Mine; for ye are strangers and sojourners with Me.
I. The first and fundamental principle of the land system prescribed to the chosen people who were to inhabit this typical land was, THAT THE LAND BELONGED TO JEHOVAH, AND WAS TO BE HELD BY THE PEOPLE IMMEDIATELY OF AND UNDER HIM, AS THEIR SOVEREIGN AND PARAMOUNT SUPERIOR AND LORD.

II. Flowing naturally — indeed, one might say logically — from the principle of the Divine ownership of the soil, and its possession by the Israelites as the Lord's chosen people, is the next feature of the Israelitish land system — viz., THE EQUAL PARTITION OF THE LAND AMONG THE WHOLE FAMILIES CONSTITUTING THE NATION (see Numbers 26.). It is to be noticed that, in the actual division of the land, each tribe was to receive its allotment in proportion to its numerical extent, distinct from the others; and that the tribal allotment was thereafter to be apportioned among the whole families composing the tribe, so that each should have its own definite share. Besides, it was subsequently provided that an allotment in the territory of one tribe should never become the possession of any member of a different tribe, so that heiresses or heiress-portioners, could marry only "in the family of the tribe of their father." These subsidiary enactments, doubtless, had reference specially to the peculiar character and aims of the Israelitish constitution. They tended to preserve and perpetuate family and tribal traditions and sentiments; they facilitated the keeping of accurate genealogical records; they provided a basis for the practical operation of the law of jubilee; they promoted the self-government of the people by the graduated judicatories of the family and the tribe; and they, at the same time, welded the people into one compact commonwealth, by the bonds of an equal interest in the soil. It is, of course, impossible here even to glance at the much-discussed question of the relative merits of an aristocratic or a peasant proprietory, of large or small landowners, of extensive or limited farms. But it is interesting to notice that, in the Israelitish land legislation, we have precisely and practically that system of peasant proprietory which we find existing and flourishing in many countries, and to which not a few of those who have given the most independent and thoughtful and earnest attention to the matter, look for the solution of the difficulties which are gathering around the subject in our own land.

III. The next feature of the Israelitish land system is, THAT THE RETURN TO BE MADE BY THE PEOPLE FOR THEIR LANDS WAS PRECISELY THE SAME AS THAT WHICH JOSEPH FIXED TO BE PAID BY THE EGYPTIAN CROWN TENANTRY — VIZ., ONE-FIFTH OF THE GROSS ANNUAL PRODUCE. In the case of the Israelites, however, this fifth was divided into two-tenths, and its payment was prescribed in a form breathing the spirit rather of grateful religious acknowledgment than of strict legal exaction.

IV. The next characteristic of the Israelitish land system is, THAT THE LAND THUS ALLOTTED TO THE PEOPLE, AND HELD BY THEM AS THE VASSALS OF THE LORD, WAS INALIENABLE. "The land shall not be sold for ever, for the land is Mine, saith the Lord." It was clearly requisite, for the maintenance of the essential characteristics of the Israelitish constitution, and for the realisation of the national destiny, that the land should be inalienable. A system which permitted of the aggregation, more or less rapidly, of the land of the country into the hands of the few; and of the consequent detachment, more or less extensively, of the population from the soil, would have been fatal to the preservation of the national existence and to the realisation of the national destiny. The law distinctly and absolutely forbade the sale or alienation of the land, and fortified the prohibition by the enactments against usury or interest. The successive landholders had, therefore, in reality, only a different interest in it; and it was equitable and conceivably beneficial that they should possess the power of disposing of this limited interest. Innocent misfortune might compel, or other causes might induce, them to part with it. And this the law of jubilee enabled them to do. By that law the landholder was enabled to dispose of the usufruct — the right to the fruits — of the land for a period not exceeding, at its ultimate possible limit, the interval between the age of twenty, when a male Israelite attained full majority, and seventy, the estimated end of a normal human life. All that the landholder was empowered to dispose of was his own liferent interest. But neither the seller nor the purchaser knew what would be the certain duration of that interest; and in these days actuarial tables, exhibiting the average expectation of human life, did not exist. The law of jubilee therefore stepped in and converted each liferent interest into an interest terminating at the next jubilee; and the purchaser paid for it a price corresponding to the number of years intervening between the sale and the jubilee, under deduction of the sabbatic or fallow years. But the disposal even of this limited interest in the soil was not an absolute or irredeemable one. The power to sell it at all was a concession to human frailty or necessity. It was not to be presumed that a true-hearted Israelite would alienate his interest in the soil of the covenanted land except under the severe pressure of adverse circumstances. Indeed, so strong do we find this attachment to the soil that even in the troublous times of Ahab, Naboth repels the overtures of the king for his land with the exclamation, "The Lord forbid it me that I should give the inheritance of my fathers unto thee" (1 Kings 21:3). And so, to afford an opportunity for the redemption of the land, if the circumstances of the seller should improve, or a kinsman be willing to take his place, the law of jubilee provided that the seller or his kinsman should at any time be entitled to redeem the liferent by paying to the purchaser the value of the usufruct for the period still to elapse between the redemption and the jubilee, calculated on the basis of the original price. It is only to be noticed further that the prohibition to alienate did not extend to dwelling-houses in walled cities. As these were not in any way connected with the agricultural occupancy of the land they might be sold in perpetuity; but to prevent coercion, or thoughtless disposal, or hardship from other causes, the law provided a species of annus deliberandi, so that the house could be redeemed at the stipulated price at any time before the expiry of a year from the day of sale, after which it became irredeemable. The law of jubilee had, of course, a national as well as an individual purpose, a religious as well as a secular significance. It was part of that great system of types which ran through the whole of Mosaism. It made provision for the periodical removal or modification of the inequalities which sprang up among the people in the course of years. It prevented families being permanently impoverished through the incapacity, the profligacy, or the misfortune of an individual member. It periodically restored all diverted lands to their true owners, freed of all encumbrances and trammels. It was a national rejuvenescence, a periodical restoration and renewal of the original constitution of the commonwealth, and an infusion of fresh life and spirit into the whole community!

V. The only other portion of the Israelitish land system that remains to be noticed is THE LAW OF SUCCESSION. The Israelitish law of inheritance is expressed in Numbers 27:8-11. The Mosaic law makes no provision regarding the testamentary disposal of property; and the idea of such a power is excluded both by its fundamental principle, to which we have adverted, and by the system of heritable succession which it expressly prescribes. The principle that the land was the Lord's and that the successive generations of Israelites were merely "strangers" temporarily "sojourning" upon it, necessarily excluded the power of posthumous settlement no less than that of alienation during life.

(R. Reid.)

Homilist.
The institution of the jubilee year had more than one purpose. As a social arrangement it tended to prevent extremes of wealth and poverty. As a ceremonial institution it was the completion of the law of the sabbath. It was appointed to enforce, and to make the whole fabric of the national wealth rest upon, this thought contained in the text. The land was not theirs to sell — they had only a beneficial occupation. They were only like a band of wanderers settling for a while, by permission of the Owner, on His estate.

I. HERE IS THE LESSON OF GOD'S PROPRIETORSHIP AND OUR STEWARDSHIP. "The land is Mine."

1. This thought should nurture thankfulness. The darkest night is filled with light, and the loneliest place blazes with angel faces, and the stoniest pillow is soft to him who sees everywhere the ladder that knits earth with heaven, and to whom all his blessings are as the messengers that descend it on errands of mercy and lead up the heart to the God from whom they come.

2. This thought should bring submission. We should not murmur, however we may regret, if the Landowner takes back a bit of the land which He has let us occupy. He does not take it away for His advantage, but "for our profit" — that we may be driven to claim a better inheritance in Himself than we can find even in the best of His gifts.

3. This thought should produce a sense of responsibility in the use of all we have.

II. HERE IS THE LESSON OF THE TRANSIENCY OF OUR STAY ON EARTH. "Ye are strangers and sojourners."

1. The contrast between the external world and our stay in it

2. The constant change and progression of life.

3. The true and only permanent home. Use the transient as preparation for the eternal.

III. HERE IS THE LESSON OF TRUST. "With Me." We have companionship even when most solitary. Whoever goes, God abides.

(Homilist.)

Some knowledge of our ordinance reached heathen authors; thus Diodor of Sicily writes: "Moses divided the land by lot, giving equal portions to the private citizens, but larger ones to the priests; and he forbade the former to sell their lands, lest some greedily buy up many allotments, eject the less prosperous, and thus cause a decrease of the population." Among other ancient nations we find some arrangements slightly analogous to the Biblical laws. Lycurgus, after having distributed the land essentially in equal parts, made it infamous for any one either to buy another's possession or to sell his own; yet by permitting the citizens to give their property away or to bequeath it, he paved the way for that which eventually happened that "some had far too much, others too little, by which means the land came into few hands." Solon enacted a law restraining persons from acquiring land beyond a given limit. Plato believed that no one ought to possess more than four times as much as the lowest income or as "a single lot." The Locrians were forbidden to sell their ancient patrimony or their original lots of land unless notoriously compelled by distress; and in some other countries it was unlawful to sell such lands on any account. The Dalmatae made a partition of their land every eighth year. With a view of equalising the property of the citizens Phaleas of Chalcedon ordained that the rich should give marriage portions, but never receive any, while the poor should always receive but never give them. Yet even these and similar measures, imperfect and desultory compared with the complete and well-balanced law of the Pentateuch, were found impracticable, and for the most part remained a dead letter. Aristotle thus comments on equality of property: "It is possible that an equality of goods is established, and yet that this may be either too great, when it leads to a luxurious living, or too little when it obliges the people to live hard. Hence it is evident that the legislator must aim at a proper medium or a moderate sufficiency for all. And yet it is even of more consequence that the citizens should entertain a similarity of feelings than an equality of property; but this can only be if they are properly educated under the direction of the laws." Would the great philosopher, had he known the legislation of the Pentateach, have found in it the realisation of his ideal? He certainly describes with precision its main features.

(M. M. Kalisch, Ph. D.)

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