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CEREMONIAL OBSERVANCES.

,תפלה The IIebrew

SECTION II.

“hymns were sung to Christ, as to a God,” is

explicitly stated by Pliny, in his 97th Epistle. In SPIRITUAL DUTIES.

the Hebrew church the practice of singing, in Divine Worship-Prayer-Thanksgiving-Singing.

offering thanksgivings to God, was common. See

Ps. xcii. 1, 2, lxix. 30, 31, xxxii. 2, 3, xcv. 1, 2; 1. To express the general idea of worship, the 2 Chron. v. 13, &c. Hebrew and Greek writers of Scripture have employed the words anu and 2900XuveW; the primary import of which is devout prostration. The obli

SECTION III. gation of this duty, which arises out of the relation in which man stands to his Maker, is enjoined in various parts of the Scriptures. See Ps. xcvi. The Jewish Ritual— Objects and Uses of the Ceremonial Law 8, 9, xcv. 6; John iv. 23; Acts xvii. 24, 25 ;

--Christian Rites-Jewish Festivals: the Sabbath ; the Pass

over; the Feast of Pentecost; the Feast of Tabernacles; the Phil. iii. 3.

Feast of the New Moon; Feast of Trumpets, Fast of Es. 2. Amongst the acts of divine worship must be piation; the Sabbatical Year; the Jubilee. primarily noticed that of prayer, or supplicatory addresses to the Most High.

,

§ 1.-The Jewish Ritual. interposition, mediation, intercessory supplication, is from $50, which is said to denote the idea of

1. Some writers on Jewish antiquities have judging, and, secondarily, that of petitioning. Ps. thought that the ceremonial lares were merely arbicix. 7, “his plea in court."* 11900euyn is of the trary, and that the reasons of them were only to be same frequent occurrence in the New Testament, sought for in the will of God, which he has not and signifies a prayer to God, whether petitioning chosen to reveal; making them thereby to differ good (Matt. xxi. 22) or deprecating evil, Acts essentially from the Christian institutions, which xii

. 5. The obligation of prayer is frequently are said to be “ rational milk,” and “a rational enjoined and enforced ; Phil. iv. 6; Luke xviii. 1; service," 1 Pet. ii. 2; Rom. xii. 1. But this is 1 Pet. iv. 7; Ps. 1. 15, lxii. 8; Job v. 8; James surely derogatory to the character of God, and i. 5—7; 1 Tim. ii. 1, 2, xi. 3; Isai. Iv. 6; Ps. hurtful to that obedience which he required. Let cxlv. 18; Matt. vii. 7, xxi. 22; Ps. Ixv. 2, &c.

us attend, therefore, to the indications given of its 3. Grateful confession, or thanksgiving, is de- purpose, and see what the intention of Jehovah noted in the Hebrew Scriptures by the term 17717; ends which it evidently served. It taught the

was in giving it to the Jews. There are three and from this parent stock have sprung the several ends which it evidently served. It taught the branches-vow, I celebrate; aow and asiów, I sing; leading doctrines of religion in a sensible and imand wôn, an ode. The well-known word Halle- pressive manner; it served as a fence against lujah is, literally, the English sound of abba idolatry; and prepared the minds of its subjects Praise ye the Lord,” and to the same source

for a brighter dispensation.* must be traced the acclamation of the ancient

2. It taught the Jews the leading doctrines of Greeks, Enchev In, with which they opened and religion in a sensible and impressive manner. closed their hymns in honour of Apollo. Injunc- Thus, it taught the unity of God, by having only tions to this delightful and grateful duty may be one presence; one most holy place, as the seat of found in Ps. lxvii. 3; Isai. xlii. 10, 12; Ps. cvii.

that presence; one altar, at which all the priests 8, 22; Eph. v. 20; Heb. xiii. 15; Ps. l. 14, 23,

were to minister, and all the sacrifices to be xcv. 1, 2.

offered (Lev. xvii. 1-9); and only one taberna4. The exercise of singing has formed a part of

cle and temple dedicated to that one Jehovah, the divine worship from the earliest ages. 77'w is a

Creator of all things, of what power or dignity song, ancient as the period of Israel's escape out

soever they were conceived to be. And, as it of Egypt (Exod. xv.); but used also in after times taught the unity of God, so it also taught the as well as 121, which is said to be a psalm or

doctrine of a general providence. The throne in hymn, from its regular composition, both in regard his throne in the heavens; and the daily sacrifices,

the tabernacle and temple was only the figure of to worels and music. That "spiritual songs" of various descriptions were extant, and even popu

the burnt-offerings appointed for the sabbaths lar, in the primitive churches, appears from several every week, for the new moons every month, and passages in the New Testament (Eph. v. 19; James v. 13; 1 Cor. xiv. 15, et al.); and that

* For the following exposition we are indebted to Dr. Brown, who has made a judicious abridgment of Lowman, with occa

sional selections from other writers of acknowledged celebrity, • Dr. Randolph's Cominent, in loco.

Jewish Antiquities, Part X., sect. 2.

for the feast of trumpets, on the first day of the it removed the principles which served to support civil year, were all intended to impress the Is- the practice of idolatry. raelites with a deep sense of the superintending (2) By giving them a ritual of their own, every care of God, at all times and in all places. Nor way fitted to their circumstances. At the time it did the ceremonial law inculcate a general provi- was promulged, they were in such circumstances dence only; it also taught the particular interest (the nations around them having all sensible obwhich Jehovah took in the works of his hands; jects of worship), that, if it had not then pleased for the whole of it encouraged the Hebrew to God to appoint them a ritual, and by that to make ask every blessing from Jehovah as his God, and them a separate nation and people, it seems to fear the evils denounced on disobedience as morally impossible to have kept them from idolinflicted by him. Indeed, every sacrifice and atry; and then the knowledge and worship of the offering were constant evidences of this truth, true God must have been lost in the world. The and encouragements to this hope ; for they taught same reasons which made a ritual convenient, and that, while God superintended the general affairs in their circumstances even necessary, made a full of the universe, he took a particular interest in ritual as convenient and necessary; such as should the family of Abraham. The Hebrew worship reach to every part of worship, as it was intended also taught the necessity of holiness in every wor- to be a hedge against idolatry every way. The shipper; for, if we consider the directions for numberless variety of ceremonies has often been consecrating the tabernacle and temple, for hal- remarked ; and to a superficial observer, all, or at lowing the sanctuary, for purifying and consecrat- least the most of them, appear to no purpose. ing the priests and Levites, that they might be But let him reflect on the consequences of one hallowed to minister before Jehovah, we shall less minute. They would have supplied its defects easily observe that they all taught holiness to the by amendments of their own, and, notwithstanding Lord. Indeed, nothing unholy or unclean was al- their own law, would have borrowed from their lowed to approach the Presence, till cleansed by the neighbours what they imagined had not been sufwashings and sacrifices it directed; and such purity ficiently provided for by their own lawgiver. Thus in lesser matters inferred a holiness of a higher the law would have failed in one of its designs, nature, and taught the importance of being holy as to prevent their falling into idolatry. A people God is holy, as well as being holy because He is so fond of ceremonies as the Jews were would so. Let it only be remarked further, on this part have been uneasy and impatient without them ; of the subject, that the ceremonial law was sanc- and when they saw that their neighbours had rites tioned by rewards and punishments; temporal, for every occasion, they would either have adopted indeed, in their nature, but well adapted to en- them for their own use, or have invented others force their observance.

of their own imagination, of equal danger, or of 2. A second use of the ceremonial law was to worse consequence.

Another circumstance represerve the Israelites from idolatry; and this it specting the Hebrew ritual was, that it was did in various ways.

uniformly held out as preferable to every other. (1) By removing the principles that supported From their long abode in Egypt, it is easy to conit; viz., ignorance of the true character of God, ceive the Jews well acquainted with, and even and ascription of divine honours to inferior intel- fond of, Egyptian ceremonies. Their reputation, ligences. From the just notions it gave the antiquity, and confirmation by miracles, esteemed Israelites of God and his government, it taught true, would all add some weight to this assertion. them that all other gods besides him were false, It became, therefore, any rule, if it was to guard vain idols, the works of men's hands. It showed them against its influence, to come recommended that those beings whom the heathen worshipped, by a higher authority than the considerations of of whatever nature or character, were but the antiquity, the use of the wisest people, or even creatures of the one Jehovah, and subject to him. the oracles of demons. Accordingly, we find it It taught that God was the fountain of all their recommended as the law of God himself, and blessings, and that he alone gave rains and fruit- given to them as his peculiar people. Hence the ful seasons; and, by so doing, it prevented them common preface to each of its laws—“ The Lord from falling into the error of worshipping inferior spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children intelligences, as the guardians and benefactors of of Israel, and say unto them;" and hence a proper mankind. It allowed of no such thing as inferior answer to the objection of its being unbecoming divine worship, but represented God as a jealous the wisdom of God to ratify, in so solemn a manGod, who would not give his glory to another, nor ner, a bare system of rites and ceremonies. Nor his praise to graven images. In these ways, then, I should we overlook even the burdensome nature

U

of the Jewish ceremonial, as a means of preserving the Israelites from idolaters. For as the heathens them from idolatry; for while it was burdensome believed in the eternity of the world, and disby the number of its precepts, extending from the regarded the observance of the sabbath ; so God greatest things to the most minute ; by their gave this institution to the Israelites, as commerigour in demanding obedience, and punishing morative of his having created the world, and condisobedience; by their comparative inutility, since sequently of its not being eternal. Nor should it they could neither obtain the pardon of moral be forgotten, that the great strictness that was guilt, nor impart virtue, nor procure admittance commanded on the sabbath, evidently had two into heaven by their expense ; by the constant ends in view; the solemnization of the mind for attention they required, to prevent contracting sacred purposes, and striking against the leading ceremonial guilt, and the expense of removing it; | violations of it among idolaters. The three puband by the length of time which was requisite | lic festivals were also public marks which distinbefore they could be distinctly understood, and guished the Jews from idolaters. For the passreadily acted upon ; yet this very burdensomeness, over, among other ends, showed God's judgment which attended the ceremonial institute, served as against the gods and idols of Egypt; Pentecost a means to keep them from idolatry. For they tended to root out idolatry, as being commemocould never forget that it was imposed by the rative of the giving of the law; and the Feast of Almighty, as a punishment for their making and Tabernacles contributed to the same end, by leadworshipping the golden calf; and that, to the ing them to acknowledge Jehovah as the God of conscientious observer, it left little time or inelina- seasons. Nor should we overlook that public and tion for searching after and adopting the rites of particular mark—the appointment of meats and the heathen.* Nor should it be forgotten, that it animals into clean and unclean, as articles of food was strictly enjoined them to add nothing to it, and or destined for sacrifice. Various reasons have to take nothing from it. In the Hebrew govern- been assigned for this ; but the true reasons, ment, the sole authority of making laws was in according to Spencer, seem to have been, that they Jehovah, as their king. Hence the true reason of might be a peculiar people, as it is expressed in the temporal rewards and punishments which Lev. xx. 24-26; that the observance of that law were attached to the ceremonial ritual. They might be a lesson of sanctity, that they were were suited to the rude state of the Jewish mind dedicated to the Lord (Lev. xi. 43–45, IX. after a long period of bondage : they came from 24—26); that it might mystically signify that the God, and not from the heathen deities : they were Jews were clean, and the Gentiles unclean, Acts suited to his character as their king under the x. 11-16; and especially that it might keep theocracy. Nations can only be punished as nations them from following the practices of the heathen. in the present life; and it would have been raising For the Israelites were acquainted with the superthe value of ceremonial obedience too high, to stitious opinions and practices of the Egyptians have sanctioned it with eternal rewards, or eternal in this respect, many of whom abstained from all punishments.

flesh whatever, from a notion of its unlawfulness; (3) The ritual law promoted the same end, by and had they been left in uncertainty, they might appointing certain public marks to distinguish have adopted the superstitious opinions relative to them from idolaters. The whole ritual was a dis- the holiness or impurity of animals which pretinctive mark; but there were some parts of it vailed in Egypt. God therefore appointed a dismore so than others. Thus circumcision, while tinction of meats under certain limitations; and it was a seal of the covenant of grace, was also a those animals were prohibited, among others, sign of the covenant of peculiarity. For as the which were used among the heathen in purificaworshippers of idols had often some distinguishing tions, sacrifices, magical rites, at festivals, and in mark on their bodies, to show their attachment to the ratification of covenants. + the idols they worshipped; so did God cause this (4) Another defence which the ceremonial law to be imprinted on the bodies of the Israelites, to afforded against idolatry, was the confining of most teach them, that as the lusts of the flesh prevailed of the sacred things to certain places, persons, and among the heathen, and around their temples, so times. Before the giving of the law they worthey should mortify these lusts, and carry on their shipped where they pleased, but after the giving bodies the distinctive mark of their own God. of the law that liberty was withdrawn. The The sabbath, also, was another mark to distinguish tabernacle, and afterwards the temple, were en

* Spencer, de Leg. Heb. Ritual, lib. i., chap. 14.

+ Spencer, lib. i., chap. 7.

And Paul says,

joined as the only places for offerings and worship | were called upon to address; which was very dif(Lev. xvii. 3—5; Deut. xii. 5—13). This regard ferent from the obscene rites of other nations.* to place was certainly a means of preventing idol- (5) Another defence which the ceremonial law atry: for, since they might not sacrifice but at afforded the Jews against idolatry was, the proJerusalem, they were hindered, even when at a hibition of too familiar an intercourse with heathen distance from that place, from frequenting the idols nations. It was impossible for them to avoid the and altars of the heathen. But if binding their common intercourse of life, when business resacred rites to the tabernacle or temple was a quired ; but that was different from making defence against idolatry, so also was the confining heathens their bosom friends, or connecting themthe priesthood to particular persons. In no nation selves with them by marriage. Accordingly such was there a priesthood like that of the Jews. intimate connexions were expressly forbidden, lest Others were called individually by the people, or they should be led after their idols; and a national recommended by accidental circumstances; but antipathy was created against all strangers, which theirs was from birth, and confined to the tribe of was noticed and condemned by heathen writers, Levi. They were chosen in place of the first- who were ignorant of the cause. born of Israel, and had their office confirmed to that they were contrary to all men,” 1 Thess. them by the blossoming of Aaron's rod (Numb. ii. 15. xvi. 8–11); and by the infliction of leprosy on (6) Lastly, their ritual preserved the Jews from Czziah the king, when he attempted to encroach idolatry, by the prohibition of every idolatrous upon it (2 Chron. xxvi. 1820). Before the law, rite. Thus, in Lev. xvii. 7, they were forbidden to the heads of families were the priests; but this offer sacrifices to devils, the hirci-footed deities of choice of the tribe of Levi excluded all others, and Egypt, because it was most debasing to human was productive to Israel of many advantages. For nature, and dishonouring to God. They were forit prevented sacrifices

any

where else than at the bidden to make their children pass through the temple, since they were accountable; it created a fire to Moloch (Lev. xviii. 21), because some burnt host to fight for the glory of God, and the honour them alive in honour of the sun ; and others shook of their order, against idolatry; it acted both on a them over, or threw them through, the flames, by regard for principle, and the esprit de corps ; whilst way of lustration, to insure the favour of the prethe instructions they communicated, and the ex- tended divinity, and devote them to his service. ample they exhibited, would naturally tend to But besides this visible countenance which they check their countrymen in their desire for idolatry. were forbidden to give to idolatry, we find God The confining of many of their sacred things to also providing against the approaches to it, by procertain times, was also a means to promote the hibiting every kind of divination and magic. Both same end. Thus, all their feasts depending on the were known among the heathens, and prohibited appearance of the moon, tended to show that she to the Jews (Lev. xix. 26, &c). They were also was only a creature ; since, whilst idolaters paid prohibited from observing "times.” Indeed, in her homage, they were worshipping the only true the law they are joined together (see the last-cited God. The beginning of the civil year, likewise, passage), as being near akin; for in beginning was much employed in heathen rites; and to journies, contracting marriages, engaging in war, counteract this, God appointed the feast of trum- &c., the heathen nations, from the earliest times, pets on the first day; the tenth was the day of appear to have used divination by birds, serpents, annual expiation; and from the fifteenth to the clouds, the viscera of animals, and staves, to learn twenty-third was the feast of tabernacles. The whether they would be successful or not. Such a Jews had, therefore, more feasts in this month to conduct engendered superstition, prevented often the true God, than the heathen had to their false the transaction of public and private business, and deities. Perhaps even their morning and evening was a virtual want of acknowledgment of and sacrifices were, among other reasons, appointed in dependance on God, as the sovereign of the uniopposition to those heathen sacrifices in the night, to verse. The Jews, therefore, were forbidden to the dead and the dii infernis, which were not always imitate the nations in these respects (Deut. xviii. the most chaste. One thing is certain, that by 14). They were further forbidden, in conjunction this limitation of sacred rites to particular persons, with the above-mentioned practices, to eat with places, and nes, the Jews were greatly prevented the blood, or rather, “at the blood." For the from imitating the practices of their heathen neigh. Zabians, or worshippers of the host of heaven, bours. They had a splendour in their worship which struck the senses ; an order which pleased the mind; and a purity becoming the Being they

Spencer, lib. i., chap. 8, 10.

he says,

It was

among the Chaldeans and Egyptians, when they | to be a defence against idolatry: let us now attend sacrificed an animal to their demons, poured out to the third end for which it was given ; viz., to the blood, and ate a part of the flesh at the place prepare their minds for a brighter dispensation. where the blood was poured out, and sometimes a St. Paul, in his Epistle to the Hebrews, calls the part of the blood also, believing that they hereby Jewish ritual the shadow of good things to come" held communion with the demon.* To this Je- (chap. x. 1), “figures," or antitypes, “ of the hovah alludes, when he says, “Ye eat with (at) true” (chap. ix. 24), “ an example and shadow of the blood, and lift up your eyes towards your heavenly things” (chap. viii. 5); "a parable of the idols; and shed (or pour out) blood (into a vessel time to come” (chap. ix. 9); the whole law “a or ditch for their food); and shall ye possess this schoolmaster to bring us to Christ” (Gal. iii. 24); land ?” And to this does the apostle refer, when and its institutes “the elements of the world"

I would not that ye should have fel (chap. iv. 3), or rudiments to teach men the first lowship with devils (or demons). Ye cannot principles of piety and of the gospel, in a manner drink the

сир of the Lord, and the cup of devils ; adapted to the childhood of the world. Nor are ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table, and of there wanting sufficient reasons why God delivered the table of devils” (1 Cor. x. 20, 21). There gospel truths in this mysterious manner. It suited were times, indeed, when they were commanded the state of the Jews, to whom, as to an early and to pour out the blood of the animals they slew ; rude people, types, symbols, fables, and parables but it was either to be like water, that is, as a were the common modes of instruction. It was common thing, when they killed animals for food consonant to the education of Moses, who was (Deut. xii. 15, 16, 24); or to be covered with taught in all the hieroglyphics of Egypt. It was dust, when they killed venison, in opposition to fitted to the intermediate nature of the Jewish disthe heathen sportsmen, who left it exposed, as pensation ; giving it more light than the patrifood for the god of the chase (Lev. xvii. 13). archal, but less than the Christian. Various other prohibitions are to be found in the placing the old covenant and its mediator below law; such as boiling a kid in its mother's milk — the new covenant and its mediator. And as the rounding the corners of the head and beard — Jewish law was given to the whole Jewish nation, cutting the flesh for the dead—confounding or learned and unlearned, it was proper that there interchanging the dresses of the sexes—sowing should be truths for the carnal, and truths for the the fields with divers seeds—ploughing with an spiritual-minded (2 Esdr. xiv. 26, 44/48). Hence ox and an ass together—making garments of linen has the ceremonial law often been termed the and woollen interwoven-all of which have been Jewish gospel, because it exhibited to those who quoted with ridicule by the thoughtless, and vari- were exercised to godliness the leading doctrines ously explained by commentators.t But the true of the covenant of grace : faith in the Lamb of reason doubtless was, that these practices were God, who taketh away the sin of the world common among idolaters; and the object of the acceptance with God through the blood of atonelaw was, to make an obvious difference between ment—holiness of heart, and holiness of life, them and the worshippers of the true God. The through the gracious aids of the Holy Spirit—and words of Tacitus, therefore, are strictly true, if, a future state of rewards and punishments. On instead of Moses, we substitute God.

all these points the Epistle to the Hebrews forms that he might attach the nation of the Jews for a beautiful commentary. A religion, then, that ever to himself, instituted new rites, and contrary had such advantages as these to boast of, ought to the rest of men. For all things are profane to not to be too hastily decried. It was perfect, in them, which are accounted sacred by us; and all that it was suited to the situation and circumthings are permitted to them, which are prohibited stances of the people to whom it was given ; it to us." I

was only imperfect when compared with the more 3. Hitherto we have been considering the two complete economy of the gospel. ends of the ceremonial law, viz., that it was in

4. One cannot contemplate the ceremonial law tended to teach the Jews the leading doctrines of without also reflecting on its gradual abolition. religion, in a sensible and impressive manner; and For it was positively binding on every Jew till the

death of Christ, in whom its spiritual meaning

was fulfilled. Its observance became a matter of • Dr. James Townley has an interesting account of the Za bians, in his Essays on Ecclesiastical History, pp. 1-22.

indifference between the death of Christ and the + The reasonableness and utility of these laws are clearly

destruction of Jerusalem, and hence those pruin Brown's Jewish Antiq. vol. ii., pp. 165 – 182.

dential maxims and regulations which are to he Hist. lib. V., sub. init.

found in the Acts of the Apostles, and the several

“ Moses,

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