Harmony Of The Law Volume 2 by Jean Calvin
And thou shalt command the children of Israel. I have transferred these two passages from elsewhere, since they relate to the service of the tabernacle; for the children of Israel are commanded to contribute as much oil as may be sufficient for the seven lamps. Now, since Divine illumination and the grace of the Holy Spirit were, as we have seen, the truth of this symbol, God requires pure oil, i.e., not muddy, or mixed with lees, for, had it been in any respect faulty, so much would have been detracted from the dignity of the mystery. Its purity, then, shewed that nothing mean or common was signified by it; that the Israelites also might bring with them pure minds, and duly prepared and disposed to consider the spiritual light. He again repeats, that the oil must be supplied seasonably at its proper hours, so that the lamps may be always burning; that thus the children of Israel might learn that nothing is more opposed to the worship of God than obscurity and darkness; and that it is not to be interrupted at intervals, but that the direction of the Spirit should shine from heaven in a perpetual flow. Thus, in the second passage cited, He thrice reiterates the word |continually,| to shew that the true light should never be put out in any respect. This office God enjoins upon the priests, because they ought to be ministers of light when they are interpreting the Law, which David calls |the lamp of our feet, and the light of our paths.| (Psalm 119:105.) But what is the meaning of the offering (of the oil) by the people, since men are possessed of no power for the spiritual enlightening of their own minds? I reply that, in the types of the Law, the several parts are not to be so scrupulously forced to the rule, as if there were nothing in the outward sign with which the reality did not correspond; and again, that although men having nothing of their own and of themselves to bring, yet, that they may more diligently exert themselves in their endeavors to serve God, they are justly required to dedicate themselves and all that they have to God. At the end, where the words |a statute for ever| are added, understand them to mean, until the real manifestation of those things, of which the candlestick and its lamps were a type. This point I have discussed in Genesis It is called |a statute from the children of Israel,| (a filiis Israel,) since God requires its observance from them; unless it be preferred to translate it with Jerome, |Before (coram) the children of Israel.| The exposition of others, |among (apud) the children of Israel,| or from the fathers to the children, is harsher, and altogether forced.