THE WASHBASIN"Make a bronze basin, with its bronze stand, for washing. Place it between the Tent of Meeting and the altar, and put water in it." Exodus 30:18
Reader! whatever your earthly lot may be, your outward frame contains a priceless gem! You hold within you an immortal soul. No matter what your condition, you are on an inevitable passage to a changeless home! Our common portion is eternity! What, then, is man's grand concern? Surely, to make safe provision for this wondrous soul. What should be the first, the last of all his efforts? Surely to win endless happiness for endless days. This point is clear. All who can think, admit it to be true. God's Word directs us to life's only way. Oh! that His Spirit might give eyes to see it.
The soul, both by nature and by practice, is one vile mass of sin! Christ alone can remove these stains. The everlasting hope is lost through sad transgression. Christ only can restore it. Hence, God from His high throne, Jesus in countless ways of love, the Spirit by most gracious strivings, the Bible in its every page, call sinners to accept the one great cure. Such is the aim which now knocks at your heart's door. Such motive brings the holy washbasin to your sight. It is a clear-toned witness of redeeming grace. It paints in vivid rays the cleansing worth of Christ. Use it, and your soul is clean. Use it, and your eternity is joy.
God bids His servant to construct the washbasin. 'Make a bronze basin, with its bronze stand, for washing. Place it between the Tent of Meeting and the altar, and put water in it.' Exodus 30:18
Observe the choice material. It is bronze. This strongest metal shadows forth the strength of Christ. He came to do the mightiest of mighty works. And He brings omnipotence in His hand. But where is the bronze obtained? Whose hands supply it? The piety of females furnishes it. They gladly give their mirrors for this holy use. 'The bronze washbasin and its bronze pedestal were cast from bronze mirrors donated by the women who served at the entrance of the Tabernacle.' Exodus 38:8
Faith seeks, nor seeks in vain, to gain instruction from this fact. Women give aid to form this Gospel-type. Here seems to be a bud of truth. The virgin-mother (Mary) holds the full-blown flower. Look to Bethlehem's inn. There the meek Jesus lies, made of a woman, the kinsman of our race. The gift of gifts comes in through female means!
They bring their mirrors. The bias of their hearts is changed. New feelings bear new fruit. These mirrors recently were prized as implements of vanity, and handmaids of self-love. But now the eyes are opened to far nobler views. Self has no charms, when once the wondering gaze has caught some glimpse of things divine! Reader! if your faith sees the glorious beauties of the Lord, surely all other features are a dismal blank.
The offering is not scorned. That which was framed to cast back poor nature's image is accepted to form semblances of grace. We see to what high use our worldly vanities may rise. Reader! you perhaps have stores of needless extravagance. Turn them to real benefits. Devote them to the Lord. Present them as the means to spread abroad some tidings of His truth. Do not forget that the washbasin, which in these pages preaches Christ, was bronze from women's mirrors.
It occupied a midway space between the bronze altar and the tabernacle's door. A strict command was issued that no priest should touch the one or pass the other until his hands and feet had been here washed. Such is the ordinance. It sternly warns that no defilement may approach the Lord. It sweetly adds that He who demands such purity provides the purifying stream. The Lord who says that you must be cleansed, brings near His cleansing Laver!
Believer, mark well your calling. It is to minister a livelong service to the Lord. Life is not life, until each act serves our God. Our feet should only move for Him. Our hands should know no work but His. But Ah! these feet, these hands, how soiled, how black they are! The dust of earth forms a polluting path, and through it is our daily walk. The things of earth leave a defiling stain, and such we always handle. With feet, with hands like these, can we bring the sacrifice of faith, or burn the incense of devoted love? But a washbasin is prepared! It stands beside us at each step. It has a voice loud as the roar of many waves, sweet as the melody of heaven—Wash and be clean.
Eternal love devised the plan. Eternal wisdom drew the model. Eternal grace comes down to build it. But by whom can it be filled? Jesus Himself pours in the stream. He brings the rich supply. It is blood, blood from His own veins, blood from His very heart! Nothing in heaven or earth could help, but this. He bleeds, to fill the washbasin. He dies, to open wide the pardoning fount.
But is there virtue in this flood to wash out sin? It is a significant point. My soul, rest not until you grasp a clear reply. Sin is indeed a hell-dark stain! Wash it with all that human nature knows or man can bring, and its black dye becomes more black. If tears of penitence could flow forever, they would not lessen the frightful filthiness. The waters from the murky puddle of man's best resolves leave the stained soul in aggravated stains. Let rivers after rivers of religious rites and forms, and strictest self-denial and most severe observances pass over it, yet still the deeply-grained pollution would be uncleansed. If all angelic hosts could wash the spots with all the innocence of angels' tears, the crimson would be crimson still. And why? Because of sin's intense malignity. Infinity belongs to its polluting touch. Its slightest breath inflicts irreparable soil.
If, then, the washbasin would cleanse sin, it must contain a stream of more than human or angelic power. It must be perfectly divine. It must have all the properties of God. My soul, now view this washbasin. It holds a remedy, large as your every need. The blood therein is Jesus's blood—and Jesus is Jehovah's fellow. It must suffice, because its might is vast as He who shed it—and He who shed it is the God-man Jesus.
Your sins, indeed, are many, black and vile. They have all aggravation and all filth. They have been acted and reacted, in defiance of all light, all conscience, all rebukes, all checks. Their number leaves the sands behind. Their color makes the night seem bright. But plunge them into these waters. They meet an essence which is infinite to change their hateful hue. No speck can now be found. It flees, as night before the face of day. The sin-black soul becomes as white as wool, whiter than the whitest snow.
Satan beholds, and can discern no remnant of a flaw. Nothing is left which he can touch. God looks with an all-searching eye, but sin has fled as far as the east is from the west. It has vanished in the efficacy of this perfect cleansing. The blood, the all-powerful blood has washed it out. The Christ-bathed soul is pure and clean and bright and spotless and as fit for heaven, even as Christ Himself. It is so. It must be so. Hear the Spirit's witness. 'The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.' 1 John 1:7.
Lift up your eye! Behold the bright array which throng the throne. Where is their title to the heavenly home? The blood which bought them has removed all stains. Look down to that dark pit where darkness spreads its ever-darkening pall. Ah! what a spectacle of filth and woe! But why do these wretched spirits writhe in their polluted beds? They never sought, they never found, they never used, the cleansing Laver of a Savior's blood. Hell holds not one who found it. Unwashed souls must sink. The washed must rise. Vile fetters chain the one. The others mount up with silver wings, and feathers of yellow gold.
But sins forgiven in the court of heaven are not soon forgotten in the court of conscience. Satan finds entrance here in our conscience. With savage voice and clamorous demand, he drags our bygone acts before its bar. If he cannot cast victims into hell, he will affright the heaven-ward pilgrims with wild storms of fear. Thus he reads out long scrolls of past transgressions. He argues that souls so black are only fuel for his endless flames. Woe unto them who strive to reason with this wily foe! Denial cannot be. The case is true. Memory bears tearful witness. Excuses are in vain. These vessels are all full of leaks. They cannot give any defense.
The only refuge is this washbasin! They who have Gospel-light will cast themselves therein. Then peace resumes her peaceful reign. Then Satan flees in disappointed rage. Then terrifying threats melt into songs of safety. The adversary yields. He cannot destroy a blood-supported peace.
Reader! would you have conscience to be an unruffled calm? Would you repose in pastures of heart-ease? Then heal all memory's wounds in this pure washbasin! Beside its brink you may securely shout—"God is appeased! my troubles shall not live! He sees my sins no more! they are behind His back! they therefore shall not frown before my face."
But the washbasin holds more precious water yet. He, who finds Christ, finds every good in one! Do you ask—Can more be needed, if sin has lost its filth and guilt? Yes, its vile seeds remain. There is the evil heart bent on all evil. The fire of lust burns strong. The oven of impure desire is hot. But there is water here to purify the will. Christ gives His Holy Spirit to work renewal and to conquer sin. What streams of comfort flow in the channel of the Word. "Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. Your filth will be washed away, and you will no longer worship idols. And I will give you a new heart with new and right desires, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony heart of sin and give you a new, obedient heart." Ezekiel 36:25-26. The Gospel echoes: He is made unto us, not only wisdom and righteousness, but sanctification too!
Reader! has this washbasin brought this change to you? Are you a new-made creature in Christ Jesus? Mark well the solemn truth, 'Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.' There is no heaven, but for newborn souls. Insuperable bars shut the old nature out. If title to heaven must be found in Christ, so fitness for heaven must be gotten from Him.
But steadily behold the washbasin. All is ready here. The blood which buys all pardon, and confers all peace, earns all supplies of sanctifying grace. The constant cry is: Wash and be clean from every outward stain. Wash and be clean from all accusing fears. Wash and be clean from the deep springs of inward evil. Wash and be clean from this world's corrupting love.
There was only one washbasin. If Israel's priests had sought some other fount, their case would have been hopeless; the wrath would have consumed them. Reader! cast out the vain conceit that anything but Christ can cleanse the soul. He is enough, He is at hand. But fail to use Him, and your filth remains! Wash here; wash only here. No other vessel can add merit where all merit thus abounds. So only will your walk be clean on earth. So only will you reach the pure abodes where holy lips forever sing, 'Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of hosts.'
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