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THE TABERNACLE.-ITS FURNITURE. PASSING from the Tabernacle proper to the sacred court by which it was surrounded, two pieces of furniture are met with, the brazen altar of burnt offerings, and the brazen laver.

Both stood between the door of the court and the door of the Tabernacle, so that none could enter that consecrated place without coming in contact with, first the altar, and then the laver.

The first of them is fully described in Exod. xxvii. 1-8, and Xxxviii. 1-7, and our readers had best turn to and consult these passages before reading our description. From the accounts there given, it appears to have been a sort of square frame of shittim wood, overlaid with brass plates, about nine feet square by three feet high, and with a horn or projection at each corner. By some it is supposed that the sides were solid to the ground; by others, that they were only solid about half-way down; and that then there was an open work, or sort of grating, reaching to the ground, and through which the air would readily pass to feed the fire above. To support the fire and the sacrifices was a grate of network of brass," which was attached to the sides of BIBLE CLASS MAGAZINE.] [APRIL, 1849.



the altar by rings. Some have thought that this network was so made as to be readily lifted out, and carried separately from the altar frame, and that thus the sacred fire was readily preserved from being extinguished in the marchings of the Israelites; while the altar was carefully covered up, according to the inspired directions; but the "fire-pans" described below were probably for this end.

The ascent to this altar was made, at every place where it was pitched, by means of earth thrown up into a sloping pathway, as no steps, nor ascent of hewn stone, were permitted to be used. See Exod. xx. 26. Some have thought, too, that beneath the network on which the fire was placed was a mound of earth, forming an altar of earth," in compliance with the directions given in Exod. xx. 24, 25.



For this altar were made “pans,” for the removal of the ashes that fell through the grating to a clean place, to which allusion is made in Lev. iv. 12; "shovels," for scraping the ashes together; "basons," to receive the blood of the victim that was sacrificed, to sprinkle on the people, the horns of the altar, &c., &c. ; "flesh-hooks," probably three-pronged instruments similar in form to what are called tridents, and which would be useful in picking up and replacing any portion of the sacrifices that might have fallen on one side, or remain unconsumed about the fire; and "fire-pans," which Bishop Patrick thinks were a large sort of vessel wherein the sacred fire which came down from heaven (Lev. ix. 24) was kept burning whilst they cleansed the altar and the grate from the coals and ashes, and while the altar was carried from one place to another." This is much more probable than the idea that the grating itself was removed; for, in the description, the rings of the grate are evidently the only rings for carrying the frame of the altar, and appear to have passed through the sides to receive the poles of shittim wood by which it was borne, and which would bind all thus together, and convey it as one piece from place to place.

This altar was considered most holy, and seven days were employed in the work of its consecration, Exod. xxix. 37. It was the one authorised spot for the presentation of bloody offerings, and upon it sacrifices were almost perpetually smoking. Occasionally we find sacrifices offered elsewhere, as in the case of Joshua, Judges ii. 5; Gideon, Judges vi. 25–27; Samuel, 1 Sam. ix. 12—14; Elijah, 1 Kings xviii. 19-32. But in all these, and

other cases, a peculiar state of things in the nation either rendered it right and necessary to depart from the ordinary law, or some direct command was given, justifying such a course. At the altar in the Tabernacle alone, God and the sinner properly could meet; there only would he accept their sacrifices; there only deign to hold communion with them; and there only impart the forgiveness or the blessing they sought.

On this altar was placed, every morning and evening, the daily oblation; and as the smoke was seen ascending towards heaven by all the camp without, every heart would be lifted up in prayer, and the faith of the whole of the people directed to it, as the medium of their confidence and hope.


Between this altar and the door of the Tabernacle stood the brazen laver, very briefly described in Exod. xxx. 18-21, and

xxxviii. 8.

This laver was made entirely of brass, furnished by the brass mirrors (called "looking-glasses" in our version) belonging to the women of the camp. Neither the dimensions nor the form of this vessel are given, but it is probable that it was something of the form given above. The Rabbins say that it had several cocks or pipes for the drawing off of the water into the smaller vessels, in which the priests washed their hands, feet, &c. Of this, however, nothing is said in Scripture, and it is perhaps better to leave the account there given without any additions of this kind. The water could easily be lifted out by smaller vessels, and used as occasion required, especially as the vessel does not appear to us to have been of so large and lofty a character as some would make it.

By "the foot" some have understood a lower vessel at which the priests washed, giving the form to the laver of a cup standing in a saucer, and which to us would appear to be quite unobjectionable. At this laver various ablutions were performed, and no priest could enter the Tabernacle till he had gone through the prescribed forms.

Our descriptions of the Tabernacle close with this paper, but the symbolic reference has still to be taken up. All that was essential to man's right acceptance with his God, and proper meetness for a higher, holier state, were here beautifully shadowed forth. God spoke by types, and shadows, and pictures; but they were types, shadows, and pictures; they did set forth the great realities we now enjoy. True light shone amongst them all; and with truth might it be said of those who possessed these pictures, "The gospel was preached unto them as well as unto us."



Query.-Can Isa. xlv. 7, be reconciled with Hab. i. 13?

"I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things."-Isa. xlv. 7.

"Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity: wherefore lookest thou upon them that deal treacherously, and holdest thy tongue when the wicked devoureth the man that is more | righteous than he?"-Hab. i. 13.

THE circumstances in which any sentence is uttered must at all times greatly influence its meaning and force. And the light of one class of circumstances will present one meaning to a sentence, while the light of another class of circumstances will present another and almost opposite meaning to the same sentence. If the same sentence, from the influence of circumstances, may be viewed so diversely, it must not be surprising if a different sentence, though having some elements of similarity about it, and the utterance of the same mind, should, from the influence of circumstances, appear on a prima facie view to be quite contradictory. These remarks apply with peculiar power to both the passages of sacred writ now under consideration; for the assumed contradiction is only in appearance, and the real meaning of both will be elicited by an examination of the respective circumstances in which each was uttered.

Isa. xlv. 7, "I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things," was addressed to God's professed people, who, though surrounded

with all the advantages of heaven-derived privileges, yet so yielded to the temptations of idolatry as to imbibe its doctrines and adopt its practices to an extent most offensive to Jehovah, the only true God.

Among the pernicious doctrines which the advocates of idolatry taught, and which greatly prevailed in the days of Isaiah, was the doctrine," That light and darkness were the palpable forms of moral good and evil, that these were now in a state of perpetual antagonism, and that these were the causes of all human enjoyments and human woes." To show the absurdity of this doctrine, Jehovah asserts his creative and controlling power over the elements of light and darkness, and of all the joyous and all the woful events that happen to men. The words peace and evil are to be understood as synonymes for prosperity and calamity. But as the difficulty or apparent contradiction arises from the latter phrase, "I create evil," it is explained by its use in other portions of God's word, where his control of all events is asserted; and the word, here translated “evil,” is evidently used to express calamity, and not moral evil. The usus loquendi is a safe rule of interpretation, and in the application of this rule the plain will elucidate the obscure.

In Gen. xl. 7, Joseph is presented to our notice as asking Pharaoh's officers, "Why look ye so sadly to-day?" literally, Why have ye evil faces to-day?

In Deut. xxxi. 17, the Lord declares his displeasure against the idolatry of Israel's tribes, "Then my anger shall be kindled against them in that day, and I will forsake them, and I will hide my face from them, and they shall be devoured, and many evils and troubles shall befall them; so that they will say in that day, Are not these evils come upon us, because our God is not among us?"

In Psa. cxli. 5, David, recording his estimate of the reproof administered by the righteous, and the gratitude it awakened, says, "For yet my prayer also shall be in their calamities;" literally, "in their evils.

In Amos iii. 6, when God calls the attention of his heedless and inconsiderate people to observe the judgments their sins had brought upon them, he says, "Shall there be evil in a city, and the Lord hath not done it?" By this, and the accompanying inquiries, the Lord, by the prophet Amos, is calling the people to consider their iniquities as deserving the tokens of divine anger; and the infinite resources of the Eternal, as instruments he can employ in inflicting punishment. A calm examination of the foregoing passages will fix the meaning of the phrase in Isa. xlv. 7, "I create evil," as paraphrased, "As a part of my moral government I cause sorrow and calamity to be the palpable expressions of my displeasure against sin."

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