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1881. Fourth Sunday before Advent. ' jf tot 9:18 KEY-NOTE: "If our earthly house of this tabernacle be dissolved. we have a building
of God, a house not made with hands; eternal in the heavens."
1. And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, die, and lest wrath come upon all the people: took either of them his censer and put fire therein | but let your brethren the whole house of Israel, aud put incense thereon, and offered strange fire bewail the burning which the Lord hath kind before the Lord, which he commanded them not. led.
2. And there went out fire from the Lord, and 7. And ye shall not go out from the door of devoured them, and they died before the Lord. the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die:
3. Then Moses said unto Aaron, This is it for the anointing oil of the Lord is upon you. that the Lord spake, saying, I will be sanctified | And they did according to the word of Moses. in them that come nigh me, and before all the | 8. And the Lord spake unto Aaron, saying, people I will be glorified. And Aaron held his 9. Do not drink wine nor strong drink, thou, peace,
nor thy sons with thee, when ye go into the 4. And Moses called Mishael and Elizaphan, tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die: it the sons of Uzziel the uncle of Aaron, and said shall be a statute forever throughout your unto them, Come near, and carry your brethren generations. from before the sanctuary out of the camp.
10. And that ye may put difference between 5. So they went near, and carried them in | holy and unboly, and between unclean and their coats out of the camp, as Moses had said. | clean ;
6. And Moses said unto Aaron, and unto Elea. | 11. And that ye may teach the children of zar and unto Ithamar, his sons, Uncover not Israel all the statutes which the Lord hath your head, neither rend your clothes; lest ye 'spoken unto them by the hand of Moses.
What is the name of this Sunday ? With VERSES 4-5. Who buried Nadab and Abihu ? what great subjects have the four Sundays before What relations were these? To what tribe Advent to do? What is the theme of this day? || then did they belong? Where did they carry What is the condition of the departed Chris them? Were all corpses buried without the tian? How is this taught in the Gospel and camp? What judgment somewhat similar to Epistle of the day? For what do we pray in this do we read of in the New Testament? Acts the Collect?
v. 1-10. But what important difference do we What is the subject of the lesson to-day? observe between the two ? Who were Nadab and Abihu? Num. iii. 3-4. VERSES 6-7. What directions did Moses now What office was committed to them? What give to Aaron and to his remaining sons ? What was the priesthood? What were the duties of was the meaning of uncovering the head and the priests?
rending the clothes ? What reason is given for VERSES 1-2. What is said of Nadab and these directions? Who might bewail the death Abihu here? What is meant by censer Wbat of Nadab and Abibu? Why might not the by incense? How was the incense made ? Exod. ) priests do so? What was their business? Is it xxx. 34-35. What was its purpose and mean: right for Christian people to mourn for the ing? When and how was it offered ? Exod. dead? How? 1 Thess, iv, 13. What is the xxx. 7-8. Whence was the fire taken for the state of the pious dead ? Rev. xiv. 13. What of incense offering? Lev. xvi. 12. What then is those who were not pious ? Could mourning meant by the expression strange fire? How for them do them any good? Of what duty did Nadab and Abihu come to offer strange fire ? should this fact remind us? How were they punished for the transgression ? VERSES 8-11. What commandment does the How are we to understand the statement that Lord give here? Is there any particular reason fire went out from the Lord ?
for this commandment here ? At what times VERSE 3. What did Moses say to Aaron ? were the priests required to abstain from inTo wbat declaration of the Lord does Moses toxicating drinks? Were they allowed to use refer here? Exod. xix. 22; xxix. 44. What is them at other times? Why were they not meant by the expression, I will be sanctified ? to use them when they went into the taberWhat hy glorified ? How was the Lord glorified nacle? What lesson should we learn from in Nadab and Abihu? Why did Moses hold this? his peace?
1. My soul, repeat His praise
Whose mercies are so great, Whose anger is so slow to rise,
So ready to abate.
2. High as the heavens are rais'd
Above the ground we tread,
Our highest thoughts exceed.
NOTES.—The four Sundays before the altar of incense which stood in the Advent are devoted to the contempla- holy place, or the anterior department tion of the four last things, namely, of the tabernacle. The fire for the death, the resurrection, the judgment and burping of incense was taken from the heaven. The theme of this day, then, altar of burnt offering. This is espeis death, or the condition of the pious cially enjoined in regard to tbe incense dead. These are in a state of rest, offering on the day of atonement, and peace and joy. In the Gospel for the it is likely that the same ceremony was day death is described as sleep, because observed also on other occasions. Strange the dead are freed from the sufferings fire. — The sin of Nadab and Abibu and sorrows of this life. The Epistle consisted in offering strange fire before speaks of the inheritance of the saints in the Lord. This has been differently light, implying that death is at once a explained. According to some their translation into heavenly light and joy. offense consisted in presuming to disOur key-note (2 Cor. v. 1) involves charge a function which did not belong both sides of the doctrine, teaching us to them, but to Aaron as high-priest; that the departed soul, having laid aside while, according to others, it consisted the tabernacle of its material body, is in offering incense at the wrong time. clothed with a spiritual or heavenly But in neither case could it be properly body corresponding to its heavenly described as offering strange fire. The abode.
probability is, therefore, that the offense The subject of our lesson to-day is consisted simply in getting fire from the transgression and punishment of some other place than the altar of Nadab and Abihu, the two eldest sons | burnt offering. But this departure from of Aaron. Aaron and his sons were the established order indicated somechosen to the office of the priesthood thing wrong in their moral state or disThe account of their consecration is con- position; just as Caiu's offering of the tained in Lev. viii-ix. By the divine fruits of the earth was determined by direction and choice they constituted a his moral character. From the prosacred order, whose object was to me- hibition of wine in the 9th verse, Lange diate between a chosen, though still sin- concludes that Nadab and Abihu were ful people and their holy God. Their drunk, and that that condition accounts duty was to minister at the altar, to for their getting hold of strange fire, present sacrifices to God in the name of and for their committing other offenses the people, and to bless the people in which are not mentioned. This exthe name of God, to interpret the di-planation is plausible, and it would vine law and teach the people its ob- be difficult to suggest a better. There servance, and to lead holy and exem- went out fire from the Lord, etc. Fire plary lives. The incident recorded in in some way produced or kindled by our lesson is supposed to have occurred Jehovah, that is, fire of mysterious immediately at the close of the time of origin, and therefore ascribed to Jethe consecration of the priest, which hovab. Lange thinks that in their lasted eight days.
| drunken condition the two priests set VERSES 1-2. - Censer. Literally fire their clothes on fire while in the sancpan, a vessel probably shaped somewhat tuary, and perished thus through their like a pan, in which coals were taken intemperance. This might have been up and incense burnt. Incense.—A per- the case, and the fire might still have fume, composed of equal weights of been ascribed to Jehovah. The accistacte, ouycha, galbanum and the guin dent probably happened to them while of the frankincense tree. It could only in the sanctuary, wbere nobody saw be lawfully made for the purpose of them. When they rushed out they being used in connection with sacrificial were enveloped in flames, and no one offerings; and when so used, it was a dared to go near to assist them. symbol of prayer. Compare Ps. cxli. 2. VERSE 3. This is it that the Lord Rev. v. 8. It was offered always in spake, etc. No declaration of the Lord connection with tbe daily morning and in the precise words here following is evening sacrifice, as well as on some anywhere recorded, but there are numerspecial occasions, and was presented on ous declarations involving the thought.
Compare Exod. xix. 22 and xxix. 44. of the profound difference between the I will be sanctified .... glorified, etc. Old Testament and the New. The “All approach to Jehovah of those Christian worsbipper, whether minister who draw near to Him, of the priests or layman, need not fear that some in the holy acts of sacrifice, has the dreadful calamity is going to bappen, purpose of showing forth Jehovah in because he has forgotten his canonical His holiness ..... and this ballowing vestments or neglected his postures. of His name in highest solitude should What is required now is purity and have the result of revealing Him before sincerity of beart, though that also will all the people in His majesty, in the manifest itself in a becoming outward glory of His manifestation.”-Lange. form. But when men will not in this way VERSES 6-7.- Uncover not your heads, sanctify and glorify the Lord positively, etc. To uncover the head, to go about by a pure and holý service, when “they with loose and dishevelled hair, and to bring before the Lord, in passion or ex- rend one's clothes, were signs of mourncitement, strange fire, the fire of intoxi- ing. These were forbidden to the highcation or fanaticism, they may be seized priest entirely, and permitted to the orand consumed by that tire changed, as dinary priests only within certain limits. it were, into the fire of Jehovah's judg. Lest ye die. This is one reason why the ment; and also by such judgments ... priestly relatives of Nadab and Abihu may Jehovah be glorified before His are not to give any signs of mourning. people.”—Lange. This was the way To do so would have made them parin which Nadab and Abihu were made takers of their guilt, and might have to glorify Jehovah. Impure fanaticism involved them in the same destruction. in religion ever works injury to him Sympathy with the wicked is a dangerwho cherishes it. Aaron held his peace. ous sentiment. Lest wrath come upon He acknowledged the propriety of tbe the whole people. Another reason for law as stated by Moses, and made no not mourning. The sin of the priests complaint against God's severity in the might lead the people into sin, and punishment of his sons.
thus become an occasion of wrath to VERSES 4-5.—The uncle of Aaron them. The whole house. The whole Literally, the friend, relative of Aaron. congregation of Israel might mourn for But the relationship is correctly ex- Nadab and Abihu, but the priests, bepressed by the word uncle. Uzziel was cause the anointing oil of the Lord was à brother of Amram, Aaron's father. upon them, were to go on with their Mishael and Elzaphan, therefore, were service in the sanctuary. Christian second cousins of Nadab and Abihu. people may mourn for their dead, but They belonged to the tribe of Levi, and they should not give way to unreasonwere ministers of the sanctuary in the able or immoderate grief. Their mournbroad sense, but were excluded from ing for the dead, for instance, should the office of the priesthood. Out of the not cause them to neglect their duties camp. All corpses were buried without to the living. Our mourning shonld the camp. The burial of Nadab and not be like that of the heathen, who Abihu without the camp, therefore, in- have no hope in their bereavement volved no indignity. The judgment in- (1 Thess. iv. 13). The state of the flicted on these offending priests re- pious dead is one of blessedness (Rev. minds us somewhat of the judgment xiv. 13). On their account we need inflicted on Ananias and Sapphira, de- not grieve. And to those who were scribed in Acts v. 1-10. In both cases not pious, mourning could do no good. the revelation of the offense is followed They are in the hands of a merciful immediately by the death of the offend- judge, who will do right by them. This ers. There is, however, an important dif- reflection, however, should remind us ference between the two cases. Ananias of our duty to the living. It would be and Sapphira were guilty of a deeply in vain to mourn for persons when moral and spiritual sin, while Nadab dead, for whose salvation we did nothing and A bihu 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 He is not the finite authority or intellistrong drink when ye go into the taber- gence which cannot be troubled with nacle, etc. If Nadab and Abihu had small things. There is nothing so small sinned after the manner described but that we may honor God by asking above, then there was a particular rea- His guidance of it, or insult Him by son for this commandment bere; and taking it into our own hands; and what it is not likely that it was given here is true of the Deity is equally true of without some special reason. The tem- | His revelation. We use it more reverperate use of wine and strong drinkently when most habitually; our jnsowas permitted to the prieste, as to lence is in ever acting without reference others, when they were not engaged in to it; our true honoring of it is in its the service of the sanctuary, but then universal application. God appoints to it was strictly prohibited. The object every one of His creatures a separate of this probibition was that, in the time mission; and if they discharge it honorof their public service, the minds of the ably, if they acquit themselves like men, priests might be clear in the exercise of and faithfully follow the light which is their own duties, and in the instruction in them, withdrawing from it all cold of the people in regard to theirs. First, and quenchless influence, there will asthe necessity of a clear mind and self- suredly come of it such burning as, acpossession when we are engaged in the cording to its appointed mode and meaworship of God or employed about sa- sure, sball shine before men, and be of cred things. The young man is guilty service constant and holy. Degrees inof a fearful sin who wanders into the finite of lustre there must always be, house of God in a state of intoxication, but the weakest among us has a gift, and disturbs God's service. So any however seemingly trivial, which is sort of excitement, no matter how pro- peculiar to him, and which, worthily duced, that unbalances the mind and used, will be a gift, also, to his race formakes it incapable of clear thought and ever. Says George Herbert: correct judgment, unfits people for the
For all may have, service of God. Sccondly, a lesson in If they choose, a glorious life or grave.-Ruskin. regard to the use of strong drink in general. Wine was freely used among SOME BIBLE FACTS.- In the Bible God's people in ancient times, and is the word Lord is found 1,853 times; sometimes spoken of approvingly in the the word Jehovah 6,855 times, and the Scriptures. But it must be remembered word Reverend but once, and that in that the climate and conditions in which Psalm oxi. 9. The 8th verse of Psalm those people lived were different from cxv. is the middle verse of the Bible. ours, and that what was lawful for them 9th verse of Esther viji. is the longest may not be lawful for us. Besides, it verse, and John xi. 35 is the shortest. is something that may deprive us of our In Psalm cvii. four verses are alike reason, and unfit us for the discharge the 8th, 15th, 21st and 31st. Each of our Christian duties, and should verse of Psalm cxxxvi. ends alike. No therefore be used, if at all, not only in names or words with more than six very great moderation, but also with syllables are found in the Bible. Isaiah very great caution.
xxxvii. and 2 Kings xix. are alike.
The word Girl occurs but once in the The Nobility of Life, Bible, and that in Joel iii. 3. There
are found in both books of the Bible There is no action so slight nor so 3,586,483 letters, 773,693 words, 31,373 mean but it may be done to a great pur verses, 1,180 chapters, and 66 books. pose, and ennobled therefor; nor is any Acts of the Apostles xxvi. is the finest purpose so great but that slight actions chapter to read. Psalm xxiii. is the may help it, and may be so done as to most beautiful chapter in the Bible. belp it much, most especially that chief John xiv. 2, John vi. 37, St. Matthew of all purposes the pleasing of God. xi. 28, and Psalm xxxvii. 4 are the We treat God with irreverence by ban-most inspiring promises in the Bible. ishing Him from our thoughts, not by Isaiah lx. 1 is the verse for the new conreferring to His will on slight occasions. verts to study.
failed to discover its cause or devise its
cure. Many a missionary wears upon “ The Romance of Missions, or Life his face or hands its unsightly and and Labors in the Land of Ararat," by life-long scars. A son of Dr. and Mrs. Miss M. A. West, a volume of 700 Schneider, of Aintab, had sixty or pages, is a work of extraordinary in- seventy of these often painful and someterest. It gives us life pictures of the times offensive sores (which last for a site of the original Paradise as it now year) upon his person at one time; and is. Its scenery, productions, the cus- his devoted mother (who, in the b.auty toms, habits, home-life and religious and brilliancy of an early womanhood wants of the people are here graphically of more than ordinary attractions, described by a finely educated Christian cheerfully left the society of which she lady, who with wonderful seli-forgetting was a shining ornament, and consedevotion labored many years as a mis- crated her life to labors and self-denials sionary in that country. Many a touch- among those who were little capable of ing story she tells about her labors and appreciating either) did not utter one intercourse with the mothers and daugh- repiving word. But as she afterwards ters, the old people and young folks in looked upon the disfiguring scars which The garden of Eden. We came across marked the face of her first-born, she this excellent work in a certain Sunday- simply said: 'They will not be seen in school library, and could fain wish that heaven !' “Mrs. S. had one herself, all Sunday-school libraries would have an excrescence upon so prominent a a copy of it, with many persons to read feature, that for months she was and improve its lessons. This lady be- obliged to wear a veil to screen it from came quite a proficient in the different view.” languages of Northern Syria. Speaking of Dr. Benjamin Schneider, well. The 19th of October, 1781, witnessed known to many people in the Reformed the decisive victory of the American Church, and who labored with great Revolution at Yorktown, Virginia. For success for almost half a century in months before Washington and his asthat part of the world, she remarks that sociates felt how much would depend it was once said of bim by Turks, that upon this battle. As the day approached be spoke ihe Turkish “like an angel.” | he hastened south, some days riding The places where this good man la- 60 miles on horseback. Oliver Wendell bored, largely under the support of ihe Holmes says, that on the night when Reformed Church, have now many the allied forces of the colonies stormed flourishing c ingregations, day-schools, the Briiish earth-works around Yorkand seminaries for the training of town, “Victory twined double garlands ministers. Dr. Schneider sowed the around the homes" of France and seed of this rich harvest; he laid the America. At this siege the French foundations upon which others are now furnished 37 ships of the line, and the building.
Americans not one; the latter supplied
9,000 troops and the former 7,000. It Miss West speaks of a chronic scourge was highly proper that Lafayette and affecting all the system. It is called his 7,000 French soldiers, who 80 the “ Aleppo button," or " year sore.” bravely fought for American IndependThe best medical skill has thus far ence at this memorable siege, should