Leviticus 13* Directions to the priest to judge concerning leprosy. (1-17)Further directions. (18-44) How the leper must be disposed of.(45,46) The leprosy in garments. (47-59)1-17 The plague of leprosy was an uncleanness, rather than adisease. Christ is said to cleanse lepers, not to cure them.Common as the leprosy was among the Hebrews, during and aftertheir residence in Egypt, we have no reason to believe that itwas known among them before. Their distressed state andemployment in that land must have rendered them liable todisease. But it was a plague often inflicted immediately by thehand of God. Miriam's leprosy, and Gehazi's, and king Uzziah's,were punishments of particular sins; no marvel there was caretaken to distinguish it from a common distemper. The judgment ofit was referred to the priests. And it was a figure of the moralpollutions of men's minds by sin, which is the leprosy of thesoul, defiling to the conscience, and from which Christ alonecan cleanse. The priest could only convict the leper, (by thelaw is the knowledge of sin,) but Christ can cure the sinner, hecan take away sin. It is a work of great importance, but ofgreat difficulty, to judge of our spiritual state. We all havecause to suspect ourselves, being conscious of sores and spots;but whether clean or unclean is the question. As there werecertain marks by which to know it was leprosy, so there aremarks of such as are in the gall of bitterness. The priest musttake time in making his judgment. This teaches all, bothministers and people, not to be hasty in censures, nor to judgeanything before the time. If some men's sins go before untojudgment, the sins of others follow after, and so do men's goodworks. If the person suspected were found to be clean, yet hemust wash his clothes, because there had been ground for thesuspicion. We have need to be washed in the blood of Christ fromour spots, though not leprosy spots; for who can say, I am purefrom sin? 18-44 The priest is told what judgment to make, if there wereany appearance of a leprosy in old sores; and such is the dangerof those who having escaped the pollutions of the world areagain entangled therein. Or, in a burn by accident, ver. #24|.The burning of strife and contention often occasions the risingand breaking out of that corruption, which proves that men areunclean. Human life lies exposed to many grievances. With whattroops of diseases are we beset on every side; and thy allentered by sin! If the constitution be healthy, and the bodylively and easy, we are bound to glorify God with our bodies.Particular note was taken of the leprosy, if in the head. If theleprosy of sin has seized the head; if the judgment becorrupted, and wicked principles, which support wickedpractices, are embraced, it is utter uncleanness, from which feware cleansed. Soundness in the faith keeps leprosy from thehead. 45,46 When the priest had pronounced the leper unclean, it puta stop to his business in the world, cut him off from hisfriends and relations, and ruined all the comfort he could havein the world. He must humble himself under the mighty hand ofGod, not insisting upon his cleanness, when the priest hadpronounced him unclean, but accepting the punishment. Thus mustwe take to ourselves the shame that belongs to us, and withbroken hearts call ourselves "Unclean, unclean;" heart unclean,life unclean; unclean by original corruption, unclean by actualtransgression; unclean, therefore deserving to be for ever shutout from communion with God, and all hope of happiness in him;unclean, therefore undone, if infinite mercy do not interpose.The leper must warn others to take heed of coming near him. Hemust then be shut out of the camp, and afterward, when they cameto Canaan, be shut out of the city, town, or village where helived, and dwell with none but those that were lepers likehimself. This typified the purity which ought to be in thegospel church. 47-59 The garment suspected to be tainted with leprosy was notto be burned immediately. If, upon search, it was found thatthere was a leprous spot, it must be burned, or at least thatpart of it. If it proved to be free, it must be washed, and thenmight be used. This also sets forth the great evil there is insin. It not only defiles the sinner's conscience, but it bringsa stain upon all he has and all that he does. And those who maketheir clothes servants to their pride and lust, may see themthereby tainted with leprosy. But the robes of righteousnessnever fret, nor are moth-eaten.
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