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questions ; we shall endeavour to unfold the great aim and object of our text, and apply it more particularly to the use of our hearers. For this purpose it will be necessary to institute a twofold parallel.
I. We shall institute a parallel between the altar of burnt-offerings, at the table of the shew-bread, and the table of the Eucharist ; and shall endeavour to unfold the mystical views of both the one and the other.
II. The second parallel shall be, between the profanation of the altar, or the table of the shew-bread, and the profanation of the Christian sacramental table : we shall indicate what is implied, with respect to the Jews, and with respect to Christians, in offering to God polluted bread, and in looking on the table of the Lord as contemptible; and we will endeavour to make you sensible of the keenness of the reproach conveyed by the mouth of the prophet: “A son honoureth his father, and a servant his master: if then I be a father where is mine honour ? and if I be a master, where is my fear : saith the Lord of Hosts unto you, O priests, that despise my name. say, Wherein bave we despised thy name? Ye ofser polluted bread upon mine altar ; and ye say, Wherein have we polluted thee? In that ye say, The table of the Lord is contemptible.”
For a Communion Sabbath.
MALACHI i. 6, 7.
A son honoureth his father, and a servant his master ; if then I be a father, where is mine honour ? and if I be a master, where is my fear? saith the Lord of Hosts unto you, O priests, that despise my name. And ye say, Wherein have we despised thy name? Ye offer polluted bread upon mine altar ; and ye say, Wherein have we polluted thee? In that ye say, The table of the Lord is contemptible.
HAVING endeavoured to remove the difficulties in which the text may seem to be involved, and shewn what we are to understand by polluted bread, by the table of the Lord, and by calling the table of the Lord contemptible, we proceed to institute the twofold parallel proposed.
I. Let us state a parallel between the altar of burnt-offerings, the table of the shew-bread and the sacramental table of the Lord's supper; the offerings which were presented to God on the first, and those which we still present to him on the second. The sacramental table of the supper, as the altar
of burnt-offerings, and as the table of the shewbread, is the table of the Lord. The viands, presented on both the one and the other, are the meat of God, or the bread of God. And those sacred ceremonies, however they may differ as to certain circumstances, have been, nevertheless, destined to the same end, and represent the same mysteries: namely, the intimate union which God wishes to maintain with his church and people.
You will be convinced that this was the destination of the altar os burnt-offerings and of the table of the shew-bread, if you have formed a just idea of the temple and of the tabernacle. The tabernacle was considered to be the tent of God, as the Leader and Commander of Israel, and the temple was considered as his palace. For this reason it is, that when God gave commandment to construct the tabernacle, he said to Moses, “Let them make me a sanctuary: that I may dwell amongst them," Exod. xxi. 8. And when Solomon substituted the temple in room of the tabernacle, he was desirous of conveying the same idea of it; “I have surely built thee an house to dwell in, a settled place for thee to abide in for ever.” The following are the words of a very sensible Rabbi on this subject :* "God, to whom be all glory inscribed, gave commandment to build for him an house, similar to the palaces of the kings of the earth. All these things are to be found in the palaces of kings: they are surrounded by guards ; they have servants to prepare their victuals; musicians who sing to them, and play on instruments. There are likewise chambers of perfumes ; a table on which their repasts are served up : a closet into which favourites only are admitted. It was the will of God, that all these things should be found in his house, that in nothing he might yield to the potentates of the earth. And all these things are designed to inake the people know, that our King, the Lord of Hosts is in the midst of us.”
* Rabbi Schem Job Comment. in More Nevoch. Part III. Cap. xliv. fol. 171. Venet. 5311.
This general idea of the tabernacle justifies that which we are going to give of the altar of burnt-offerings, and of the table of the shew-bread.
1. That of the altar of burnt-offering : it was denominated the table of the Lord, and the viands served upon it were denominated the meat or the bread of Jehovah, because the end of the sacrifices there of fered up by his command, was to intimate that he maintained with his people an intercourse as familiar as that of two friends, who eat together at the samne table. This is the most ancient, and the most usual idea of sacrifice. When alliances were contracted, victims were immolated : and the contracting parties made a common repast on their flesh, to express the intimate union which they formed with each other.
This was the reason of all the rites which were served between God and the people of Israel, in the alliance formed previous to the promulgation of the Jaw. They are recorded in the twenty-fourth chapter of the book of Exodus. Moses represented God; Aaron, Nadab and Abihu his two sons, and