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1. And Nadab and Abihu, tbe song of Aaron, took either of them his censer and put fire therein and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the Lord, Which he commanded them not.
2. And there went out fire from the Lord, and devoured them, and they died before the Lord.
3. Then Moses said unto Aaron, This is it that the Lord spake, saying, I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me, and before all the people I will be glorified. And Aaron held his peace.
4. And Moses called Mishael and Elizaphan. the sons of Uzziel the uncle of Aaron, and saia unto them, Come near, and carry your brethren from before the sanctuary out of the camp.
5. So they went near, and carried them in their coats out of the camp, as Moses had said.
6. And Moses said unto Aaron, and unto Eleazar and unto Ithamar, his sons, Uncover not your head, neither rend your clothes; lest ye
die, and lest wrath come upon all the people: but let your brethren the whole house of Israel, bewail the burning which the Lord hath kindled.
7. And ye shall not go out from the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die: for the anointing oil of the Lord is upon you. And they did according to the word of Moses.
8. And the Lord spake unto Aaron, saying,
9. Do not drink wine nor strong drink, thou, nor thy sons with thee, when ye go into the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die: it shall be a statute forever throughout your geneiations.
10. And that ye may put difference between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean;
11. And that ye may teach the children of Israel all the statutes which the Lord hath spoken unto them by the hand of Moses.
What is the name of this Sunday? With what great subjects have the four Sundays before Advent to do? What is the theme of this day? What is the condition of the departed Christian? How is this taught in the Gospel and Epistle of the day? For what do we pray in the Collect?
What is the subject of the lesson to-day? Who were Nadab and Abihu? Num. iii. 3-4. What office was committed to them? What was the priesthood? What were the duties of the priests?
Verses 1-2. What is said of Nadab and Abihu here? What is meant by censer f What by incenee t How was the incense made? Exod. xxz. 34-35. What was its purpose and meaning? When and how was it offered? Exod. xxx. 7-8. Whence was the fire taken for the incense offering? Lev. xvi. 12. What then is meant by the expression ttranqe fire f How did Nadab and Abihu come to offer strange fire? How were they punished for the transgression? How are we to understand the statement that fire went out from the Lord?
Vbrse 3. What did Moses say to Aaron? To what declaration of the Lord does Moses refer here? Exod. xix. 22; xxix. 44. What is meant by the expression, / will be sanctified T What by glorified t How was the Lord glorified in Nadab and Abihu? Why did Moses hold his peace?
Verses 4-5. Who buried Nadab and Abihu? What relations were these? To what tribe then did they belong? Where did they carry them? Were all corpses buried without the camp? What judgment somewhat similar to this do we read of in the New Testament? Acts v. 1-10. But what important difference do we observe between the two?
Verses 6-7. What directions did Moses now give to Aaron and to his remaining sons? What was the meaning of uncovering the head and rending the clothes? What reason is given for these directions? Who might bewail the death of Nadab and Abihu? Why might not the priests do so? What was their business? Is it right for Christian people to mourn for the dead? How? 1 Thess. iv. 13. What is the state of the pious dead? Rev. xiv. 13. What of those who were not pious? Could mourning for them do them any good? Of what duty should this fact remind us?
Verses 8-11. What commandment doeB the Lord give here? Is there any particular reason for this commandment here? At what times were the priests required to abstain from intoxicating drinks? Were they allowed to use them at other times? Why were they not to use them when they went into the tabernacle? What lesson should we learn from this?
1. My soul, repeat His praise 2. High as the heavens are rais'd Whose mercies are so great, Above the ground we tread,
Whose anger is so slow to rise, So far the riches of His grace
So ready to abate. Our highest thoughts exceed.
Notes.—The four Sundays before Advent are devoted to the contemplation of the four last thing*, namely, death, the resurrection, the judgment and heaven. The theme of this day, then, is death, or the condition of the pious dead. These are in a state of rest, peace and joy. In the Gospel for the day death is described as sleep, because the dead are freed from the sufferings and sorrows of this life. The Epistle speaks of the inheritance of the saints in light, implying that death is at once a translation iuto heavenly light and joy. Our key-note (2 Cor. v. 1) involves both sides of the doctrine, teaching us that the-departed soul, having laid aside the tabernacle of its material body, is clothed with a spiritual or heavenly body corresponding to its heavenly abode.
The subject of our lesson to-day is the transgression and punishment of Nadab and Abihu, the two eldest sons of Aaron. Aaron and his sons were chosen to the office of the priesthood The account of their consecration is contained in Lev. viii-ix. By the divine direction and choice they constituted a sacred order, whose objtct was to mediate between a chosen, though still sinful people and their holy God. Their duty was to minister at the altar, to present sacrifices to God in the name of the people, and to bless the people in the name of God, to interpret the divine law and teach the people its observance, and to lead holy and exemplary lives. The incident recorded in our lesson is supposed to have occurred immediately at the close of the time of the consecration of the priest, which lasted eight days.
Verses 1-2.— Censer. Literally firepan, a vessel probably shaped somewhat like a pan, in whicti coals were taken up and incense burnt. Incense.—A perfume, composed of equal weights of stacte, onycha, galbanum and the gum of the frankincense tree. It could only be lawfully made for the purpose of being used in connection with sacrificial offerings; and when so used, it was a symbol of prayer. Compare Ps. exli. 2. Rev. v. 8. It was offered always in connection with the daily morning and evening sacrifice, as well as on some special occasion-", aud was presented on
the altar of incense which stood in the holy place, or the anterior department of the tabernacle. The fire for the burning of incense was taken from the altar of burnt offering. This is especially enjoined in regard to the incense offering on the day of atonement, and it is likely that the same ceremony was observed also on other occasions. Strange fire. — The sin of Nadab and Abihu consisted in offering strange fire before the Lord. This has been differently explained. According to some their offense consisted in presuming to discharge a function which did not belong to them, but to Aaron as high-priest; while, according to others, it consisted in offering incenee at the wrong time. But in neither case could it be properly described as offering strange fire. The probability is, therefore, that the offense consisted simply in getting fire from some other place than the altar of burnt offering. But this departure from the established order indicated something wrong in their moral state or disposition; just as Caiu's offering of the fruits of the earth was determined by his moral character. From the prohibition of wine in the 9th verse, Lange concludes that Nadab and Abihu were drunk, and that that condition accounts for their getting hold of Btrange fire, and for their committing other offenses which are not mentioned. This explanation is plausible, and it would be difficult to suggest a better. There went out fire from the Lord, etc. Fire in some way produced or kindled by Jehovah, that is, fire of mysterious origin, and therefore ascribed to Jehovah. Lange thinks that in their drunken condition the two priests set their clothes on fire while in the sanctuary, and perished thus through their intemperance. This might have been the case, and the fire might still have been ascribed to Jehovah. The accident probably happened to them while in the sanctuary, where nobody saw them. When they rushed out they were enveloped in flames, and no one dared to go near to assist them.
Verse 3. This is it that the Lord spake, etc. No declaration of the Lord in the precise words here following is anywhere recorded, but there are numerous declarations involving the thought Compare Exod. xix. 22 and xxix. 44. I will be sanctified .... glorified, etc. "All approach to Jehovah of tho9e who draw near to Him, of the priests in the holy acts of sacrifice, has the purpose of showing forth Jehovah in
His holiness and this hallowing
of His name in highest solitude should have the result of revealing Him before all the people in His majesty, in the glory of His manifestation."—Lange. But when men will not in this way sanctify and glorify the Lord positively, by a pure and holy service, when "they bring before the Lord, in passion or excitement, strange fire, the fire of intoxication or fanaticism, they may be seized and consumed by that tire changed, as it were, into the fire of Jehovah's judgment; and also by such judgments . . . may Jehovah be glorified before His people."—Lange. This was the way in which Nadab and Abihu were made to glorify Jehovah. Impure fanaticism in religion ever works injury to him who cherishes it Aaron held his peace. He acknowledged the propriety of the law as stated by Moses, and made no complaint against God's severity in the punishment of his sons.
Verses 4-5.—The uncle of Aaron Literally, the friend, relative of Aaron. But the relationship is correctly expressed by the word uncle. Uzziel was a brother of Amram, Aaron's fatl er. Mishael and Elzaphan, therefore, were second cousins of Nadab and Abihu. They belonged to the tribe of Levi, and were ministers of the sanctuary in the broad sense, but were excluded from the office of the priesthood. Out of the camp. All corpses were buried without the camp. The burial of Nadab and Abihu without the camp, therefore, involved no indignity. The judgment inflicted on these offending priests reminds us somewhat of the judgment inflicted on Ananias and Kapphira, described in Acts v. 1-10. In both cases the revelation of the offense is followed immediately by the death of the offenders. There is, however, an important difference between the two cases. Ananias and Sapphira were guilty of a deeply
of the profound diffewnce between the Old Testament and the New. The Christian worshipper, whether minister or layman, need not fear that some dreadful calamity is going to happen, because he has forgotten his canonical vestments or neglected his postures. What is required now is purity and sincerity of heart, though that also will manifest itself in a becoming outward form.
Verses 6-7.— Uncover not your heads, etc To uncover the head, to go about with loose and dishevelled hair, and to rend one's clothes, were signs of mourning. These were forbidden to the highpriest entirely, and permitted to the ordinary priests only within certain limits. Lest ye die. This is one reason why the priestly relatives of Nadab and Abihu are not to give any signs of mourning. To do so would have made them partakers of their guilt, and might have involved them in the same destruction. Sympathy with the wicked is a dangerous sentiment. Lest wrath come upon the whole people. Another reason for not mourning. The Bin of the priests might lead the people into sin, and thus become an occasion of wrath to them. The whole house.—The whole congregation of Israel might mourn for Nadab and Abihu, but the priests, because the anointing oil of the Lord was upon them, were to go on with their service in the sanctuary. Christian people may mourn for their dead, but they should not give way to unreasonable or immoderate grief. Their mourning for the dead, for instance, should not cause them to neglect their duties to the living. Our mourning should not be like that of the heathen, who have no hope in their bereavement (1 Thess. iv. 13). The state of the pious dead is one of blessedness (Rev. xiv. 13), On their account we need not grieve. And to those who were not pious, mourning could do no good. They are in the hands of a merciful judge, who will do right by them. This reflection, however, should remind us of our duty to the living. It would be in vain to mourn for persons when
moral and spiritual sin, while Nadab dead, for whose salvation we did nothing
and Abihu were guilty only, as far as when they were living. Our object
the record of Scripture goes, in a mat- should be to labor diligently for the
ter of outward ritual. An illustration salvation of the living.
Verses 8-11.—Do not drink wine nor strong drink when ye go into the tabernacle, etc. If Nadab and Abihu had sinned after the manner described above, then there was a particular reason for this commandment here; and it is not likely that it was given here without some special reason. The temperate use of wine and strong drink was permitted to the priest*, as to ethers, when they were not engaged in the service of the sanctuary, but then it was strictly prohibited. The object of this prohibition was that, in the time of their public service, the minds ©f the priests might be clear in the exercise of their own duties, and in the instruction of the people in regard to theirs. First, the necessity of a clear mind and selfpossession when we are engaged in the worship of God or employed about sacred things. The young man is guilty of a fearful sin who wanders into the house of God in a state of intoxication, and disturbs God's service. So any sort of excitement, no matter how produced, that unbalances the mind and makes it incapable of clear thought and correct judgment, unfits people for the service of God. Secondly, a lesson in regard to the use of strong drink in general. Wine was freely used among God's people in ancient times, and is sometimes spoken of approvingly in the Scriptures. But it must be remembered that the climate and conditions in which those people lived were different from ours, and that what was lawful for them may not be lawful for us. Besides, it is something that may deprive us of qur reason, and unfit ua for the discharge of our Christian duties, and should therefore be used, if at all, not only in very great moderation, but also with very great caution.
The Nobility of Life.
There is no action so slight nor so mean but it may be done to a great purpose, and ennobled therefor; nor is any purpose so great but that slight actions may help it, and may be so done as to help it much, most especially that chief of all purposes—the pleasing of God. We treat God with irreverence by banishing Him from our thoughts, not by referring to His will on slight occasions.
He is not the finite authority or intelligence which cannot be troubled with small things. There is nothing so small but that we may honor God by asking His guidance of it, or insult Him by taking it into our own hands; and what is true of the Deity is equally true of His revelation. We use it more reverently when most habitually; our insolence is in ever acting without reference to it; our true honoring of it is in its universal application. God appoints to every one of His creatures a separate mission; and if they discharge it honorably, if they acquit themselves like men, and faithfully follow the light which is in them, withdrawing from it all cold and quenchless influence, there will assuredly come of it such burning as, according to its appointed mode and measure, shall shine before men. and be of service constant and holy. Degrees infinite of lustre there must always be, but the weakest among us has a gift, however seemingly trivial, which is peculiar to him, and which, worthily used, will be a gift, also, to his race forever. Says George Herbert:
For all may have, If they choose, a glorious life or grave.—Ruskin.
Some Bible Facts.—In the Bible the word Lord is found 1,853 times; the word Jehovah 6,855 times, and the word Reverend but once, and that in Psalm oxi. 9- The 8th verse of Psalm cxv. is the middle verse of the Bible. 9th verse of Esther viii. is the longest verse, and John xi. 35 is the shortest. In Psalm cvii. four verses are alike— the 8th, 15th, 21st and 31st. Each verse of Psalm exxxvi. ends alike. No names or words with more than six syllables are found in the Bible. Isaiah xxxvii. and 2 Kings xix. are alike. The word Girl occurs but once in the Bible, and that in Joel iii. 3. There are found in both books of the Bible 3,586,483 letters, 773,693 words, 31,373 verses, 1,180 chapters, and 66 books. Acts of the Apostles xxvi. is the finest chapter to read. Psalm xxiii. is the most beautiful chapter in the Bible. John xiv. 2, John vi. 37, St. Matthew xi. 28, and Psalm xxxvii. 4 are the most inspiring promises in the Bible. Isaiah lx. 1 is the verse for the new converts to study.
"The Romance of Missions, or Life and Labors in the Land of Ararat," by Miss M. A. We:-t, a volume of 700 pages, is a work of extraordinary interest. It gives us life pictures of the site of the original Paradise as it now is. Its scenery, pr< ductions, the customs, habits, home-life and religious wants of the people are here graphically described by a finely educated Christian lady, who with wonderful self-forgetting devotion labored many years as a missionary in that country. Many a touching story she tells about her labors and intercourse with the mothers aud daughters, the old people and young folks in the garden of Eden. We came across this excellent work in a certain Sundayschool library, and could fain wish that all Sunday-school libraries would have a copy of it, with many persons to read and improve its lessons. This lady became quite a proficient in the different languages of Northern Syria. Speaking of Dr. Benjamin Schneider, well known to many people in the Reformed Church, and who labored with great success for almost half a century in that part of the world, she remarks that it was once said of him by Turks, that he spoke the Turkish "like an angel." The places where this good man labored, largely under the support of ihe Reformed Church, have now many flourishing congregations, day-schools, and seminaries for the training of ministers. Dr. Schneider sowed the seed of this rich harvest; he laid the foundations upon which others are now building.
Miss West speaks of a chronic scourge affecting all the system. It is called the "Aleppo button," or "year sore." The best medical skill has thus far
failed to discover its cause or devise its cure. Many a missionary wears upon his face or hands its unsightly and life-long scars. A son of Dr. and Mrs. ] Schneider, of Aintab, had sixty or seventy of these often painful and sometimes offensive sores (which last for a year) upon h;s person at one time; and his devoted mother (who, in the b auty and brilliancy of an early womanhood of more than ordinary attractions, cheerfully left the society of which she was a shining ornament, and consecrated her life to labors and self-denials among those who were little capable of appreciating either) did not utter one repining word. But as she afterwards looked upon the disfiguring scars which marked the face of her first-born, she simply said: 'They will not be seen in heaven!' 'Mrs. S. had one herself, an excrescence upon so prominent a feature, that for months she was obliged to wear a veil to screen it from view."
The 19th of October, 1781, witnessed the decisive victory of the American Revolution at Yorktown, Virginia. For months before Washington and his associates felt how much would depend upon this battle. As the day approached he hastened south, some days riding 60 miles on horseback. Oliver Wendell Holmes says, that on the night when the allied forces of the colonies stormed the British earth-works around Yorktown, "Victory twined double garlands around the homes" of France and America. At this siege the French furnixhed 37 ships of the line, and the Americans not one; the latter supplied 9,000 troops and the former 7,000. It was highly proper that Lafayette aud his 7,000 French soldiers, who so bravely fought for American Independence at this memorable siege, should