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shone very brightly about them. And God commanded Moses to go up into the mountain, and he would give him the commandments written on stone. So Moses went up into the Mount, and he was there forty days and forty nights. All this time he neither ate nor drank, but God kept him alive.
God now showed Moses the pattern by which he was to make a Tabernacle in the wilderness, in which to worship him. This was to differ from the Temple which was afterwards built in Canaan, as the Tabernacle was a kind of very grand tent, to move about from place to place as the Israelites moved ; but the Temple was a fixed building, like any one of our churches.
For the building of the Tabernacle, and the making of different articles to be used in it, the people were to give gold and silver, and brass: and fine linen of blue, purple, and scarlet colours, and skins of animals, and wood; and also oil, and spices for making incense; and precious stones to be worn by the high priest.
The people brought their offerings in the most liberal manner; and Moses soon got more money and things than he wanted, so that he was obliged to restrain them from giving him anything more.
The value of the gold and silver only, which was used for the work, was equal to one hundred and eighty-two thousand, five hundred and sixty-eight pounds of English money!
The Tabernacle was long and narrow. Its length was about fifty-five feet, its breadth ten, and its height ten, that is, about twice as high as a man. Its two sides, and one end, were made of a very durable wood, called Shittim wood ; and they were overlaid with thin plates of gold, and fixed in solid sockets of silver. At the top of the sides were rings of gold; and bars of wood, overlaid with gold, ran through these rings at each side, and held the boards upright. At the entrance were five pillars of the same wood, ornamented with gold, and fixed in sockets of brass. A richly-worked curtain hung on these pillars.
For its ceiling, there was a covering of fine linen, magnificently embroidered or worked in needle-work, with figures called cherubim, which it is not easy to explain. The colours of the work were blue, purple, and scarlet. On this ceiling was laid an outside covering, made of goats' hair ; then upon that another covering of rams' skins, dyed red; and a fourth covering was outside, to bear the weather; this was made of some other skins.
This Tabernacle was divided into two apartments. The partition was made by four pilars of the same wood as the rest, and overlaid with gold : and these stood in sockets of silver put in the ground, and on these pillars was hung a veil or curtain richly worked.
One part, at the further end, was for the Most Holy Place, where the people could not enter, but only the priest; and the part as large again as that, remained for the people.
This Tabernacle stood in a large court, surrounded with pillars of brass, ornamented with silver ; and all around there hung upon them curtains of fine twined white linen yarn, with cords to draw them up when necessary.
Within this square stood an altar for offering burnt-offerings, or offerings in which the animals offered were burnt, and there was also a laver for holding water, for the priests to wash themselves.
Having told you about this grand structure, I will now tell you about the rich and curious furniture which was put in it, as God commanded Moses.
In the Holy Place there was an altar of incense, on which incense was burnt morning and evening; which teaches us to pray to God morning and evening, and our prayers will, if sincere, and offered in the name of Christ, ascend up before God, as sweet incense or perfumed smoke ascends in the air. This altar was made of Shittim wood, and completely covered with plates of gold. It had four rings of the same precious metal, into which poles were put to carry it from one place to another. There was also the table for the shew bread. It had its dishes, spoons, covers, and bowls, all made of pure gold. The bread was made every week; and the priests had that which was taken away every Sabbath day, as a part of their reward for their services. Its quality was of the finest kind, being made of the best wheaten flour.
There were twelve cakes, being the number of the tribes of Israel ; these were piled up in two equal rows, and pure frankincense, a sweet perfume, put upon each row. The meaning of this bread, and the things about it, seems to have been, that God by his presence dwelt there; and though he need not eat as his creatures, yet these things were the signs of a dwelling place, by which the Israelites were to understand he was amongst them. There was also the golden candlestick, which had seven branches for lights, and ornaments beautifully worked in the shape of flowers, and was worth about six thousand pounds of our money,
The lamps of this were lighted every evening, and put out every morning. As there were no windows to the Tabernacle, this light was much needed. It was also a sign of that Holy Spirit, which now shines into the mind to give it divine light; and when Christ sent his Spirit, that light, as a sign, was needed no more. So, seventy years after Christ, Jerusalem was conquered by the Romans; and there is a large stone archway still at Rome, which was built in memory of that conquest; and, among the figures cut out on stone as taken from the Jews, is this candlestick, the table of shew bread, and some other things—so that the shape of the table and of the candlestick are well known to this day, and they are as the Lord commanded Moses. See how far back, and exactly, we can trace the correctness of the history of the Book of God, although it is so very old.
There were three things also very remarkable in the Most Holy Place, where the high priests went. First, the ark. This was a chest of the usual wood, overlaid within and without with pure gold. It had also gold rings to put staves or poles through, to carry it. Inside this ark were tables, or inscriptions on stone, of the covenant with God; a golden pot with some manna, to be kept in remembrence of God's feeding Israel, when that food
would be wanted no morc; and also Aaron's wonderful rod. There was a covering to the ark made of pure gold, called the mercy-seat, where God showed by signs of his glory, that he would be merciful to his people; and upon this were placed what were called the cherubim, or figures with wings. We do not exactly know what these meant.
One more subject you will find in these chapters connected with the Temple, which was the robes of the priests.
God commanded Moses— Thou shalt make holy garments for Aaron thy brother for glory and for beauty. And thou shalt speak unto all that are wise-hearted, whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom, that they may make Aaron's garments to consecrate him, that he may minister to me in the priest's office.”
There was to be a breastplate, in which twelve precious stones were set in four rows; they were very brilliant, and of different colours, and on these were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. Also, an ephod; the common priests had it made plain of cloth, but the high priest's was richly worked. This was a garment to cover the back and front of the body only, to be fastened to the shoulders by two precious stones; and a robe, or upper coat, which was under the ephod, that, perhaps, fastening it down : round the hem at the bottom of this garment there were a number of gold bells, to ring when the priest went into the Holy Place. And under this robe, next to the body, like a shirt, was to be what is called “a broidered coat." And further, on his head there was to be a mitre or turban, something like what is worn by the Turks instead of hats. A girdle was to go round the waist, the two ends of which, after it was tied, fell down in front; and lastly, there was a curious girdle to the ephod.
Besides what we have named, there was what is called the Urim and Thummim, which was put into the breastplate, and by which the priest inquired for direction from Jehovah in all times of difficulty. No one can now exactly tell what the meaning of Urim and Thummim is. There was also a plate of gold on the front of the mitre, on which was written, “ HOLINESS TO THE LORD.”
All these garments were designed to show the dignity of the high priest's office, and the purity which ought to belong to it.
The high priest enjoyed great honours, and was considered next to the chief Governor of the Jews. No other person could enter the Holy of Holies, and all sacred things were under his entire direction. He offered the people's sacrifices, blessed them, and interceded for them, and was a type