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"If someone's offering is a peace offering, and he offers an animal from the herd, whether male or female, he is to present before the Lord an animal without defect." Leviticus 3:1

"On earth peace!" Thus angels' lips announce the Savior's birth. "On earth peace!" It comes, it lives, it thrives with Christ. "On earth peace!" Such is the olive-branch, which these brief lines would wave. "On earth peace!" Great Spirit, plant this happy inhabitant in each reader's heart!

God strives in every way to bring poor sinners to His peaceful sway. Before the worlds, eternal councils planned the way of peace. When enmity began, grace hastened to reveal it. A stream of prophecy rolled the news onward. And here a graphic ordinance portrays it. A model stands to show the parts and working of the reconciling scheme.

Some anxious soul sighs for felt peace with God. What shall be done? God smooths the way. His voice declares, let the sin-appeasing victim be now brought. Peace rightly sought shall surely be obtained.

Now mark this VICTIM. It may be male or female. It may be taken from larger cattle, or from sheep or goats. Lev. 3:1, 6, 12. This is permission of unusual breadth. The prince—the peasant—from richest pastures, or bare mountain's brow, may readily obtain the expiating means. The purport is both gracious and distinct. Where is the man, who would have peace with God? No barrier keeps him back. No distant search is needed. The appointed offering touches his threshold. The soul at every moment may find Christ. The hand may grasp Him at each turn. He is the nearest object to the rich man's hall. He sits beside each Lazarus at the gate. He is ever present—ever willing. No sinner pines in wretchedness, because the Peace offering is beyond his reach. Behold Me—take Me—is the burden of the Gospel-cry.

But from whatever flock the male or female came, one test must prove it. It must be without defect, free from fault. A blameless type proclaims the blameless Lord. He is the essence of pure excellence. He was made flesh without corruption's taint. His walk on earth was as holy as His throne in heaven. If but one speck had soiled Him, it would have turned God's smile into a frown. To have bought favor for Himself would then have cost His all. But now His hands are sinless; therefore they can take our sins. He needs no payment for Himself; and so can buy our peace.

Such are the marks of the Peace offering. God next directs the offerer to "lay his hand on the head of his offering." Lev. 3:2. This act denotes the transfer of all guilt. The burdened one thus rolls off his load. The lightened shoulder thus receives relief.

This is the happiest exercise of faith. It knows, that Christ is called, and comes, and dies, to take His people's guilt. It sees Him ever ready to receive the weight. With rapid step it ventures near. With eager hand it casts off misery. The unburdened conscience grasps deliverance.

Believer, why should you lie in dust, oppressed and crushed by fears? Why are your eyes so dull to see heart-ease? Hark! our Peace offering presents Himself. Christ calls, Give Me your every sin—transmit the whole mass of it to Me! I will remove it, so that God no more shall find it. Wrong not your soul—obey. There is no peace, while sin-distress weighs down. There is all peace, when the huge mountains of sin sink. The sting extracted leaves no pain.

The victim is then slain. Lev. 3:2. Here is the wondrous fact, which is the light of types, and rites, and prophecies, and solemn texts. Here is the brightest sunshine of the Bible-page. Death is denounced, as the desert of sin. But, through amazing grace, it falls on Christ! He claims the dying place. He gives His life to the avenging stroke. Each blood-besprinkled altar preached a peace thus bought. It told of sin-satisfying agony, and reconciling blood, and an accepted surety. It showed the price all paid—the wrath removed—the curse endured—the flock all free.

Reader, you often hear and read this blessed truth. Say, is this peace-procuring work the perfect rest of your reposing soul? Do you sit down beneath the cross and sing, 'The enmity died there?'

The slaughtered animal was then divided. The best—the choicest of the parts, were placed upon the burning altar. Devouring flames preyed on them. Lev. 3:3-5. Another portion was the priest's own due. Lev. 7:31-32. The rest supplied the offerer with food.

Here is a wondrous feast! Three parties are regaled. O my soul, you too are called. The Gospel-banquet has an open door. Each hungry soul may find a welcome seat.

1. God claims His share. All, which seems rich and precious, is first brought to Him. The holy fire reduces it to dust. It is the fuel of the raging blaze. Thus Jesus meets the fierceness of Jehovah's wrath. Thus every attribute is as filled as an overflowing cup. Justice exacts its dues. Anger, and righteous vengeance, and pledged truth have large demands. But are they not content, when they have reveled at this costly table? God's name is honored in a God-man slain! and heaven takes up a hymn of peace. Reader, in faith place Christ between God and your sins, and then, live, rejoice, work, die in the sweet knowledge, that God's scales are full.

2. Provision is then made for those who ministered. The altar-servant never lacks. They, who leave all for God, have all in God. Zeal in His cause is richest gain. The Lord is never debtor unto man. Strength spent for Him is strength recruited with the best supplies. Toil in His vineyard is the wealth of wealth. His service is a golden mine. It is a field, where harvests always wave. Each happy workman finds his wages in his work.

But mark what constitutes the priestly food. It is part of the self-same victim, in which God delights. The dying Jesus regales heaven. The dying Jesus regales earth. But the refreshment mainly cheers the pastor's heart. Here, then, we clearly learn, that ministers derive their health—their vigor—their success, from the grand truth of peace through Christ. Those cannot work with zeal—with unction—and with fervent love, who have not tasted this substantial feast. Knowledge of reconciling grace is the grand pulpit-power. It warns the heart. It girds the loins. It arms with courage, which no difficulties check. It brings an energy, which cannot flag.

You Ministers, live at this table. Rejoice in the victim, who slays wrath, and opens wide the gates of peace. And then strong in the Lord, and tranquil in His love, go toil, strive, pray, until thronging numbers crowd the banquet-house, where Christ is All.

3. The offerer then takes his part and eats. Here is a teaching fact. We see the essence of true faith. It finds soul sustenance in Jesus' work. Light in the head will not give peace. Lips may be fluent to depict Christ's praise, while all within is death. The outward handling of truth lulls not the conscience-fears. More is required. Christ to be peace must be received within. The hungry soul must draw sweet juices from the dying Lamb! Wretched are they, who mourn, and pine, and starve, when such supplies are near!

A solemn warning is adjoined. The legally unclean might not partake. Lev. 7:20. Impurity excluded from the table of peace. Means are provided to cleanse stains. But means neglected, raise exclusion's bar. They are cast out, who seek the wedding with no wedding-robe. Mat. 22:13.

Reader, this precept loudly testifies, that none taste peace, who wilfully offend. Sin willingly retained must plunge into a troubled sea. Can Israel prosper, while accursed goods are hidden? Can he gain health, who lingers in infected air? Shall he, who sows the whirlwind, reap a calm? The path of evil leads from peace. The love of evil hides God's smile.

But the believer hourly mourns, that sad corruption follows him as his shadow. He loathes iniquity, but still its roots are deep, and constant outbreaks prove its life. His thoughts, his words, his works fly, as vile broods of vipers from a vile nest. May he not venture to the Peace offering feast, while this indwelling evil is his plague? The ordinance foresees the case; and thus provides. Unleavened cakes must fill the offerer's hand. Lev. 7:12. This leaven is the emblem of the tainting principle. Its presence teaches, that sinners may draw near, although the hated trouble be not dead.

Reader, if you have any light from heaven, you see poor nature's proneness to transgress. While flesh is flesh, its tendencies are base. This malady should not obstruct your way to peace. No, let it prompt you to more vigorous effort. When the wolf prowls, the lambs leave not the fold. Your restless foe should drive you to the fort of peace.

We next are told what special motives prompted the Peace offering. They were two-fold; a sense of gratitude for mercies past, and a desire to bind the heart by vow. Lev. 7:12, 16. He, who would praise—he, who would vow, thus sought the altar. Here are spiritual dealings, which cannot be performed, until the soul knows peace with God. These are plants, which only bloom in reconciliation's sunshine. These are barks, which only glide on tranquil waves.

Believer, let not this teaching be in vain. There is no moment, when the inner man should not flow forth in boundless streams of praise. Count—but the number baffles thought—count, if you can, the crowning mercies, which fill high your cup. Each MERCY should awaken songs of love.

Next, weigh your mighty DEBTS to God. He ever lives, pouring His blessings on your head. Each binds you to devote your all to His one service. His throne should ever hear your self-surrendering vows.

But mark, you cannot praise nor vow apart from peace in Christ. These are the acts of an accepted child. This is free converse with a reconciled Father. Praise only lives, where peace abounds. He only consecrates himself, who fears no wrath. You must draw near in Christ, or you can never serve.

When the Peace offering came, as token of thanksgiving, it must be eaten before the morning's light. When it bore witness to a voluntary vow, the rule was still the same. The feast must be without delay. No remnant on the third day might be touched. Lev. 7:15-16. Who can hear this, and not discern the tenderness of grace? God would not leave one moment's space between the cross and peace. The Gospel-cry is, Rejoice, Rejoice. Why tarry? Why linger? Why hesitate? What mean those miserable doubts? Why such trembling and reluctant steps? God spreads a feast of peace, and bids His guests sit down to instant joy!

Believer, hasten to obey. Today, this hour, receive the gladness of the offered blessing. There is some lurking pride—some seeds of unbelief in slow acceptance of this gracious boon.

Reader, this offering was ordained "to guide your feet into the way of peace." Come then to the banner of the Prince of Peace. Is not His kingdom peace above, within, around, forever? The Spirit cries, "Of the increase of His government and peace, there shall be no end." Is. 9:7. Hear, and the Lord of Peace Himself will give you peace, always, by all means. 2 Thess. 3:16.


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