Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

exists no discernible connexion between the one fice of Noah, and in the oblations of the patriand the other. On the contrary, Nature has no- archs, the sacrificial worship is given with the thing to say for such an expiatory power, and utmost simplicity of description. The altar is Reason every thing to say against it. For that raised, the oblation is brought, and the victim is the life of a brute creature should ransom the life sacrificed; but with what notions, with what of a man; that its blood should have any virtue specific intent, is not defined. This, it is conto wash away his sin, or purify his conscience, or ceived, becomes more apparent by contrasting it redeem his penalty; or that the involuntary suf- with the different scene which meets our view on ferings of a being, itself unconscious and irra- turning to the Mosaic law: “ For the life of the tional, should have a moral efficacy to his benefit, flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you, or pardon, or be able to restore him with God; upon the altar, to make an atonement for your these are things repugnant to the sense of reason, soul. For it is the blood that maketh an atonement incapable of being brought into the scale of the for the soul.” (Lev. xvii. 11.) This doctrine of first ideas of nature, and contradictory to all the atoning power of blood, the writers whom we genuine religion, natural and revealed. For as are noticing think to be a new doctrine, and one to the remission of sin, it is plainly altogether of which we find no positive information, nor any within the prerogative of God-an act of his probable vestige in the primeval religion ; and it mere mercy; and since it is so, every thing relat- is from disregarding this distinction, they assert, ing to the conveyance and the sanction, the pos- and from viewing primitive sacrifice through the session and the security, of it, can spring only law of Moses, that many writers have been led from his appointment. Reason teaches repent- into erroneous notions of the nature and character ance as a preliminary condition to the hope of of sacrifice in its first usage.t It, at least, admits pardon; but reason can do no more. External of a question, however, whether Mr. Davison has rites, merely human, whether rites of sacrifice or substantiated his idea, that no expiatory virtue any other, may exhibit the repentance, but they was annexed to primitive sacrifice; whether, if cannot rise above the efficacy of that inward act the permission to eat animal food was subsequent which they exhibit. They cannot supply the to the deluge, man could have any right over the shortness, or cure the infirmity, or satisfy the life of the creature, and, by consequence, any doubt, of its pretensions. The human instruments right to offer an animal sacrifice: whether the are here infinitely unequal to the end proposed. declaration, that " unto Adam, and to his wife, did They may speak the suppliant suing for pardon ; the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed themthey can never speak the suppliant absolved. (Gen. iii. 21), do not imply, that as it cannot be And though mere natural reason, when best in- supposed God would permit the taking away of the formed, may not always have thought justly, or lives of animals merely for clothing, the grant of argued soberly, on the subject of repentance, we animal food not being given till the flood, the may confidently assert that one of its last re- skins could be no other than those of animals slain sources would have been, that of adopting the in sacrifice—we shall not attempt to determine. blood of a victim as the positive remedy for the It is obvious to remark, however, that if the rite guilt of moral transgression. If, therefore, the of sacrifice be contrary to the dictates of natural primitive age had its expiatory sacrifices, sacri- reason, as is here presumed, it probably had some fices framed according to this standard, it would other source ; but if it be consonant with reason, he difficult to account for them as rational rites; it may nevertheless have been instituted by a still more difficult to think that under the palpable divine command. It would be absurd to reject incapacity of their human origin they could have the claim of a divine origin merely on the ground been accepted by God. No : expiatory sacrifice of consentaneousness with the natural dictates of must have been of God's own appointment, to human reason. Though Archbishop Magee and reconcile it either to God, or to man himself, till many others contend for the unreasonableness of he was fallen under a deplorable superstition."* piacular sacrifice, there are some of a different

6. These conclusions, as just as forcibly ex- opinion, who deem it irreverent to suppose that pressed, render it essential to the system to which the Deity would adopt a rite on account of its they belong, to evince, that in the primitive reli- being contrary to human reason, and yet contend, gion no expiatory or atoning virtue is ascribed to with equal zeal, for its divine origin. After all

, sacrifice. This is sought to be accomplished by the natural reasonableness or unreasonableness of an appeal to the Scripture history, where it is ob- sacrifice is a subject upon which the human mind served that in the offerings of Abel, in the sacri- is scarcely competent to form a judgment, without

* Inquiry, p. 27.

+ Ibid., p. 33.

a knowledge of the whole scheme of Providence, is, if possible, of still greater weight in the arguin the redemption of the world,—which we nei- ment: “And to Jesus, the mediator of the new ther have nor can have.*

covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that 7. It is a matter of still higher moment to in- speaketh better things than that of Abel.” The vestigate the grounds which have been alleged for comparison which is here made, is understood by the divine institution of sacrifice; but we can the advocates of the divine appointment of sacrionly advert to Archbishop Magee's main argu-fice to be between the sacrifice offered by Abel, ments, which are laid, (1) In certain notions and that of Christ; not between the blood of Abel respecting the nature and object of Abel's faith ; himself and that of the Redeemer. If this con(2) In a corrected version of the text relating to struction of the passage be the true one—and the Cain, Gen. iv. 7; (3) In the testimony of the arguments by which Archbishop Magee supports divine acceptance granted to the sacrifices of Abel it seem unanswerable—then there must be a corand others ; (4) In a comparison of the sacrifice respondency of nature in the two sacrifices ; and of Abel with that of Christ (Heb. xii. 24); and consequently that of Abel was an expiatory one; (5) In some general reflections which represent which, of course, implies a divine appointment. the primitive and the Mosaic worship as united 9. The doctrinal evidence by which the divine in a common system. Of these the text relating institution of sacrifice is thought to be evinced, is to Cain is of great importance : “If thou doest briefly this: “What is not commanded by God, well, shalt thou not be accepted ? and if thou cannot be a worship acceptable unto him.” For doest not well, sin lieth at the door ;" where the first, the worshipper cannot render it in faith, clause in Italics is rendered by Archbishop Magee, since “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by “a sin-offering lieth at the door;" that is, to make the word of God” (Rom. x. 17); and secondly, an atonement with, if thy deeds are evil. This there is a sentence of reprobation pronounced in construction of the passage, first proposed by Scripture upon “will-worship,” the mere invenLightfoot, has been espoused by Kennicott, Pii- tion of human reason, Col. ii. 23. In the strength kington, Parkhurst, Faber, Boothroyd, Dr. Adam of these objections to all voluntary institutions of Clarke, and others. The chief grounds upon which religion, there is thought to be contained the valid it rests are, (1) The grammatical structure ; for conclusion, that sacrifice must have been God's the neon chattath, though feminine, is here con- own ordinance, to render it capable of his appronected with the masculine verb 737 rebetz, which bation. In meeting this argument, Mr. Davison, is perfectly consistent with the supposition that it as the champion of the opposite theory, seems to denotes a sin-offering ;t and, (2) The peculiar force allow too much merit to spontaneous piety. God's of the verb pas, which strictly implies couching, will is the only measure of right and wrong in all or lying doron as a beast. Against the argument moral actions; and, if he have given us a revelafounded

upon
this
passage

the oppugners of the tion, it must contain every thing essential; otherdoctrine have contended in vain : it remains im- wise it would be an imperfect revelation. But pervious to all their assaults.

we are not to suppose that a special command8. The passage in Heb. xii. 24, so often appealed ment is given for every pious office, that every to as confirmatory of the divine origin of sacrifice, instance of moral and religious duty must be made

a matter of positive revelation. Leading truths,

and general principles, are alone declared; while * See the profound remarks of Bishop Butler, Analogy of

the application is left to the sober judgment of Nat. and Rev. Relig., p. 2, cap. v. For the opinions of Pagans

The law of nature and of reason is also see Grotius de Satisfactione Christi : Faber's Origin of Pagan confirmed by the Holy Scriptures ; so that it Idolatry, lib. 2, cap. viii. ; Magee's Disc. on the Atonement, becomes a co-existent rule of duty, and whatever Nos. 5, 23, et al.

is sanctioned by it, is for that reason obligatory + Dr. A. Clarke, in loc. says, " The words chattath and Txon chattaah, frequently signify sin; but I have observed broad line of distinction between duties so sanc

upon

the conscience. There is, nevertheless, a inore than a hundred places in the Old Testament where they are used for sin-offering, and translated åpapria by the Sep- tioned, and duties commanded in the sacred tuagint, which is the term the apostle uses in 2 Cor. v. 21: 'He writings : they are both binding, but binding upon hath made him to be sin (åpaprav, a sin-offering) for us, who different grounds ; and though it is a palpable knew no sin.' Cain's fault now was his not bringing a sinoffering when his brother brought one, and this neglect and

error to reject the obligation of the law of nature, contempt caused his other offering to be rejected. However, it is equally so to place it, in a religious point of God now graciously informs him, that, though he had miscarried, view, on the same footing with the law of revelahis case was not yet desperate, as the means of faith, from the tion. If the Bible, and the Bible alone, be the promise, &c., were in his power, and a victim proper for a sinoffering was lying (ran rebets, a word used to express the lying religion of protestants, every thing entitled to the down of a quadruped) at the door of his fold."

epithet “ religious," must be founded on the Biblc.

men.

חטאת

as

Actions may be fit, may be expedient, may be manifestation of his faith in the promise of a Mesrequired from other considerations; but, if they siah. It is at least beyond the reach of controbe not founded on the Bible, they cannot be called versy, that Abel's offering was “by faith ;” and as Christian duties. It is dangerous to hold up any this virtue cannot be exercised without something practice, not authorized by revelation, as a religious revealed as the object of it, his offering must have duty; a moral one it may be, and, as such, bind- testified his belief in that object, and therefore ing upon the conscience; but to enforce it on must have been in obedience to a divine appointreligious grounds, is to open a door for all the ment. Hence it is inferred, that sacrifice had its inventions of papal will-worship. As no article of origin in divine institution. Such is the mode of Christian faith, so no branch of Christian prac- argument pursued by those who ascribe sacrifice tice, is to be received as such, unless it can be to a sacred original. They aver that the most proved by certain warranty of Holy Writ; not probable ground of the acceptance of Abel's sacriindeed always enjoined by a positive enactment, fice is, that it testified his faith in the Messiah ;" but sometimes deduced by inferential reasoning, which it could not do, except it were the instituted yet in all cases resting on the fundamental truths means of testifying a belief in the promised deand principles of religion. Supposing, however, liverer. Cain must have had a general belief that that there may be acceptable religious services his sacrifice would be approved by the Almighty, without a positive revelation ; and supposing, or he would not have offered it at all; consefurther, that the Scripture has nowhere authorized quently this general faith could not be that which us to treat piacular sacrifices as shut out from rendered Abel's sacrifice acceptable. It must then acceptance, simply because they might not be have been a distinctive faith; and if the promise commanded and instituted by a revelation; it may of mercy in the Messiah was revealed to the first be doubted whether this will meet the exigencies pair, it seems the natural conclusion that Abel's of the case before us. The stress of the argument offering was approved, because it was in obedience built

upon the divine acceptance of the patriarchal to that revelation. sacrifices, appears to be, not that they could by no 11. It is thought by the oppugners of the docmeans have been acceptable without a divine com- trine here indicated, that the human beginnings of mand, but that their being accepted is presumptive sacrificial worship could not disqualify it for a evidence of such a command. With respect to place in the ordinances of the Levitical law, unless Abeľs sacrifice, for instance, it is more probable, the rite itself was founded in some error of belief

very circumstance of its being approved or obliquity of practice; that to suppose God would by the Almighty, that it was an act of obedience proscribe sacrifices merely on account of their to a sacred direction, than a spontaneous offering. human reason, would be equivalent to the supposiThough to assert, with Archbishop Magee, that the tion, that he must proscribe the essential duties of early sacrifices could not have received the divine thankfulness and penitence from which they proapprobation without the authority of a divine in- ceeded ; that if superstition had corrupted sacrifice

may be to transgress the limits of our before the institution of the law, that previous knowledge, yet does not such approbation highly corruption would not of necessity bring a stigma favour the notion of their divine institution ? upon the whole use of a rite which the wisdom of

10. Another very important passage is Heb. xi. God might adapt to his purposes ; that if sacrifice 4: “ By faith Abel offered unto God a more ex- had degenerated from its simplicity, the first incellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained stitution of it could make no difference in the prowitness that he was righteous, God testifying of priety of its subsequent adoption; that as the his gifts ; and by it, he, being dead, yet speaketh.” Mosaic religion was preparatory to Christianity, Here it is argued, that the apostle declares “faith” many things would for that reason acquire a fitness to be the reason why Abel offered a more accept- and use, which they would not otherwise have; able sacrifice than Cain. Now faith has always and that the typical and symbolical purport of relation to some revealed communication of God: sacrifice renders it a fit instrument of God's worwithout some revelation granted, some assurance ship beyond the power of all human abuse to as to the object of faith, Abel could not have ex- disable and discredit its adoption into his law. ercised this virtue. The object of this faith cannot 12. With respect to the essential doctrine of the be conceived to be any other than the great de gospel, it is argued, that those who have resisted liverer promised in the seed of the woman ; and the human origin of sacrifice, in the fear lest they therefore the offering of Abel was the ordained should forfeit the proper doctrine of Christianity

connected with this rite, have not sufficiently dis

tinguished its two-fold character; that God's re* Discourses op Atonement, No. 47.

relation was in the atonement, and man's discocery

from the

stitution,*

in the guilt; that the coincidence which obtains the idea that animal sacrifice was enjoined in the between the act of sacrifice on the part of man, general, as the religious sign of faith in the proand the method of redemption on the part of God, mise of redemption, without any intimation of the is not the consequence of God's adaptation of his way in which it became a sign." method to man's worship, nor of man's previous 14. Such are the principal arguments on either knowledge of God's design, but of his own con- side of this interesting question. We have merely stitution of things; that the real atonement of the indicated their character and weight, and refer gospel is rescued from dishonour by a just con- to the respective works already mentioned, for a sideration of the defective nature of sacrifice, so full and satisfactory discussion of its several long as it remains the mere creation of human parts. reason; and that, therefore, the legal atonements,

II. Under the Mosaic economy, every thing inasmuch as they are the legal signs of the Chris- pertaining to sacrifice was prescribed and regutian one (and that is their true specific character), lated with the most minute particularity; and any are as far above any collision with the mere human deviation from the sacred order was punished with rites, as the Christian sacrifice itself is above all great rigour. competition with them. Against this it is to be 1. The first thing relating to this subject has observed, however, that if the divine institution reference to the various kinds of sacrifice offered of sacrifice be taken away, the rite thereby forfeits under the Levitical law. Michaëlis, whose division its prophetic character ; it becomes simply a has been adopted by many subsequent writers, branch of the primitive religion. In which re- divides these sacrifices into three sorts : viz., bloody duced idea of it, however it might express the and unbloody sacrifices, and drink-offerings.t But piety of the worshipper, it cannot be reckoned this distinction is defective, inasmuch as it examong the typical signatures of Christianity; for cludes those oblations which in some measure though the action of sacrifice was in either case partook of the nature of sacrifices, without being the same, not so the force of it. What God had wholly such. We shall adopt the more comprenot ordained, could not, under its institution, hensive division, therefore, of animal sacrifices

, merely human, serve afterwards to attest the design, and meat and drink-offerings. or confirm the truth, or explicate the sense, of any 2. There were but five kinds of animals of his special appointments, so far removed from accepted as sacrifices by the Mosaic law; viz., the reach of all human cognizance as that of the bullocks, sheep, goats, turtle-doves, and young evangelical atonement. This is admitted even by pigeons. Of these animals the most careful seMr. Davison himself; though it is difficult to re- lection was to be made. Nothing “ blind, or concile the position with his theory.

broken, or maimed, or having a wen or scurvy, or 13. Some importance is attached to the fact, scabbed," nor “that which was bruised, or crushed, that no disclosure was made in the primitive times or broken, or cut," could lawfully be brought to of a connexion between the rite of sacrifice and the altar, Lev. xxii. 22–24. The prohibition the future expiatory sacrifice of the gospel ; but also extended to such animals as had disto this it may be replied, that there may be a con- proportion in their members, whether of excess nexion of this kind, without any such disclosure or defect. Indeed, the Jews consider the blehaving been then made. The connexion between mishes just enumerated as being only a sample of the two could be no less real, though it only became those which disqualified an animal for a sacrificial apparent by the reflected light of Christianity. It victim ; and Maimonides has reckoned up fifty of is, moreover, not necessary to the theory of the this sort, in his Ratione de Sacrificii. Every divine appointment to contend that the particular animal, therefore, before it was brought to the relation of that rite to the sacrifice of Christ was altar, was diligently examined. It must be added, made known in the patriarchal ages. It is enough that no animal procured either by the price of a dog if the typical and representative character of sacri- or by whoredom could be offered to God (Deut. fice was then so far understood as to be generally xxiii. 18), it being impossible that there should be an exercise of faith in the promise of redemption. any value in sacrifices procured by such base “ There is nothing improbable (says Archbishop means. Of those animals destined for the altar, Magee) even in the supposition, that that part of the age also was to be taken into the account. the signification of the rite which related to the None were to be offered that were not eight days sacrifice of Christ, might have been, in some degree, made known from the beginning. But not to contend for this (Scripture having furnished * Discourse on Atonement, vol. i., p. 52; Quarterly Theol. no express foundation for the assumption), room Review, vol. iii., p. 277. for the exercise of faith is equally preserved, on + Commentary on Laws of Moses, vol. iž., p. 9

any

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

old (Lev. xxii. 27), and the Jews considered it as type of the sacrifice of Christ; as nothing less absolutely unlawful to offer old cattle. In sacri- than his complete and full sacrifice could make ficing birds, no selection of sex was enjoined; but atonement for the sin of the world. In most other the victims chosen from cattle consisted some- offerings, the priest, and then the offerer, had a times of males, sometimes of females, according share, but in the whole burnt-offering all was to the nature of the sacrifice, and the circum- given to God. This sacrifice might be offered of stances of the offerer. The peace-offerings of any of the five kinds of animals above specified, individuals were both males and females. The and the manner of offering it was as follows: victims offered for the whole congregation (to During the time that the tabernacle stood, the whatever class of sacrifices they belonged) all the offerer brought his victim to the door of the burnt-offerings, all trespass-offerings, and all sin- tabernacle, " before the Lord” (Lev. i. 3); but offerings for a ruler or high-priest, were to be when the temple was erected, this phrase was males ; but the sin-offering of a private individual interpreted to mean the court of Israel, and espewas required to be a female lamb or kid, Lev. iv.* cially of the priests. So indispensable was the

3. Dr. Clarke supposes that some such custom of appearance of the offerer, with his sacrifice, before sealing the victim after it had been selected, pre- the Lord, that even women, who were forbidden Failed

among the Jews, as among the nations the court of Israel at all other times, were obliged contiguous to them. After quoting a passage to enter it when they presented a burnt-offering. from Herodotus, in order to show the method of The offerer, having brought his sacrifice, laid his selecting and sealing the white bull sacrificed to hands upon its head, and repeated the usual Apis in Egypt, he remarks, “ The Jews could not solemn prayer. This was intended as a transfer be unacquainted with the rites and ceremonies of of sin from himself to the animal, and as a sothe Egyptian worship: and it is possible that lemn acknowledgment of his own liability to such precautions as these were in use among suffer, Lev. i. 4. What a striking type of the themselves ; especially as they were so strictly great atonement is observable in this transaction ! enjoined to have their sacrifices without spot and The divinely-appointed victim, CHRIST, bore without blemish.In allusion to this custom it our sins, and carried our sorrows."

Having thus is, he supposes, that our Lord says of himself, presented his offering to Jehovah, the offerer "Him hath God the Father sealed,” John vi. 27. transferred it to the priests 1 to be slain, which “ Infinite justice found Jesus Christ to be with was done by cutting the throat and windpipe out spot or blemish, and therefore sealed, pointed through. The blood, being caught in a vessel out, and accepted him as a proper sacrifice and provided for the purpose, was sprinkled upon the atonement for the sin of the whole world. Collate altar (Lev. i. 5), to make atonement for the transwith this passage Heb. vii. 26, 27, 28: Eph. v. gressor ; that which remained being poured out 27; 2 Pet. j. 14; and especially, Heb. ix. 13, 14, at the foot of the altar,|| where was a drain which * For if the blood of Bulls and of goats, and the carried it to the brook Kedron. It was because ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean sancti- of the blood making atonement for the soul, and fieth—how much more shall the blood of Christ, being, in that case, typical of the blood of Christ, who through the Eternal Spirit offered himself that the Jews were forbidden to eat it, Lev. xvii. WITHOUT SPor to God, purge your consciences from dead works?'”+ III. Having noticed the animals used in sacri- slew the animal himself.

# During the time of the tabernacle, the offerer frequently fice, we proceed to consider the several kinds of

|| There is a very striking allusion to this sacrificial rite, in offerings to which they were devoted; beginning 2 Tim. iv. 6, where the apostle, seeing his impending fate, with

and intimating to Timothy its near approach, says, “I am now 1. Burnt-offerings. The reason of this name is ready to be offered”—poured out as a libation, as the blood at given in Lev. vi. 9, and the Hebrew word for the foot of the altar ; “ and the time of my departure is at hand."

The same expressive sacrificial term occurs in his Epistle to the them is oulut, or sacrifices which ascend in flame Philippians : " Yea, though I be offered upon the service and or smoke. They were either intended to expiate sacrifice of your faith, I joy and rejoice with you all," ch. ii. 17. the evil thoughts of the heart, by the faith of the In which passage, whose force and beauty, or indeed meaning, offerer looking to the Messiah as the great anti- faith or Christian profession of the Philippians as a sacrifice,

cannot be comprehended from our translation, he represents the type, or to expiate the breach of affirmative pre- and his blood, as a libation poured forth to hallow and consecepts. The burnt-offering was a very expressive crate it. For which, on account of his willingness to shed his

blood in the cause of Christianity, which they had espoused, he rejoiced and congratulated them all; and, adds he,“ do you

rejoice and congratulate me on the same account.” See Har* Oatram's Dissertation on Sacrifices, Diss. i. c.9.

wood's Introduction, vol. i., p. 220, and Parkhurst's Greek + Comment. on John vi. 27.

Lexicon, Enevow.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »