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to the profession of a doctrine by baptism. For the Pharisees do not find fault with John's baptism, but only blame him for baptizing when he was neither the Messich, nor Elias, nor that prophet. When therefore this fore-runner of the Messiah baptized such persons as he disposed and prepared to receive him, he did no more than practise a thing that was common among.

the Jews, but his baptism was consecrated and authorized by a voice from heaveno.

The proselytes were baptized in the presence of three persons of distinction, who stood as witnesses. To this JESUS CHRIST seems to allude, when he ordered his disciples to baptize in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; and St. John, when he speaks of the three witnesses of the Christian religion?. The proselyte was asked, whether he did not embrace that religion upon some worldly view; whether he was fully resolved to keep and observe the commandments of God; and whether he repented of his past life and actions ? John the Baptist did exactly the same to the Pharisees and Sadducees that came to his baptism?. Maimonides relates, that the miseries and persecutions which the Jewish nation was then exposed to, were also represented to the proselyte, that he might not rashly embrace their religion. Jesus Christ dealt almost in the same manner with the scribe who was willing to become his disciple". When the proselyte had answered all the questions that were put to him, he was instructed in the principal articles and duties of religion, and the rewards and punishments annexed to the breach or observance of them in the world to come, that is, eternal life and death. It is evident from the question which the young man in the gospel put to Jesus Christ', Lord, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? that this truth was already acknowledged and received

(0) John i. 33.
(1) Matt. viii. 20.

(p) i John v. 8.
(s) Luke xviii. 18.

(9) Matt, iii. 7--10.

among the Jews. It is upon the account of these instructions that were given to proselytes before their being baptized, that the word baptism is sometimes taken in scripture for the instructions themselves, and that to baptize in some places signifies to teach, or make disciples. For this very reason undoubtedly it was, that baptism is by some antient writers styled enlightening.

The third ceremony performed at the admission of a proselyte, was a sacrifice, which generally consisted of two turtle doves, and two young pigeons. When the proselyte had gone through all these ceremonies, he was looked

upon as a new-born infant ; he received a new name, and no longer owned any relations in the world. To this there are frequent allusions in the New Testament'. Such a proselyte was thenceforward reckoned a Jew, from whence it appears, that when we find in the Acts the Jews distinguished from the proselytes”, it is to be understood of the proselytes of the gate, and not of those of righteousness. But though they were looked upon as Jews, yet it is maifest from the thalmudical writings, that they were admitted to no office, and were treated with great contempt.

Which was a most inexcusable piece of injustice, especially from the Pharisees, who being extremely zealous in making proselytes, ought in all reason to have dealt gently and kindly with them, for fear, of creating in them an aversion to their religion.

OF THE HOLY THINGS.

The oblations and sacrifices of the Jews, deserve to be set at the head of their holy things. It is evident from the offerings of Cain and Åbel, that sacrificing is

(t) John iii. 3. Lake xiv. 26. 2 Cor. v. 16, 17. 1 Pet. ii. 2.
(u) Acts ii, 10. xiii, 43., (2) Matt. xxiii. 15..

as ancient as the world. It is not well known whether they offered those sacrifices by the positive command of God, or of their own accord; reason and religion teaching them that nothing could be more just, than for them to profess some gratitude to their munificent benefactor for the manifold advantages they received from his bountiful hand.

This last opinion is the most probable for the following reasons. 1. Had God given any such command, the sacred historian would undoubtedly have mentioned it. 2. Though God had appointed sacrifices under the law, yet it appears from several passages of the Old Testament, that he had instituted them, not because this kind of worship was in itself acceptable to him, but for some other wise reasons; either because it was a shadow of things to come, or else adapted to the circumstances of the people of Israel. He even saith expressly by his prophet Jeremiah”, that in the day when he brought the children of Israel out of Egypt, he gave them no commandment concerning burnt-offerings and sacrifices. Now it is not at all probable that God would have spoken in that manner concerning sacrifices, if he had enjoined them to the first inhabitants of the world immediately after the creation. 3. If sacrificing had been ordained from the beginning, as a worship acceptable to God in itself, it would not have been annulled by the gospel. This annulling of it manifestly shews, that the end and design of the sacrifices under the law ceasing upon the coming of Jesus Christ, whose death and sacrifice was typified by those sacrifices, as St. Paul teaches us, the gospel brought men back to a spiritual service, and to the religion of the mind. The author of the epistle to the Hebrews says indeed, that by faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain ; but this very passage may serve to prove that God did not enjoin sacrifices to

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the first men.

For if by faith, we were to understand obedience to the revealed will of God, the sacred writer might have said it of Cain as well as of Abel, since they had both of them the same revelation. It is then plain, that by faith here we are to understand that good disposition of a grateful mind, which being fully persuaded that God rewards piety, freely offers to him the first fruits of the benefits which it hath received from him, as we have observed in our note on that place. This was a natural and a reasonable service, especially in the infancy of the world, when mankind had not perhaps a true notion of the nature of the supreme being. This hath been the opinion of the greatest part of the Jewish doctors, and of the ancient fathers of the church. But how true it is, we shall not go about to determine.

However it be, it is certain that the sacrifices of the law were of divine institution. Besides their being figures of things to come, as we are assured in the gospel they were; God's design in appointing them, was moreover to tie up the people of Israel to his service, by a particular kind of worship, but which should not be very different from what they had been used to; and also to turn them from idolatry, and to keep them employed, that they might have no leisure of inventing a new kind of worship. And indeed if we reflect upon the great quantity, and prodigious variety of the sacrifices of the law, as well as upon the vast number of ceremonies that were enjoined, we shall have no reason of wondering at what St. Peter says, Acts xv. 10.

The Jewish doctors have distinguished the sacrifices into so many different sorts, that the following their method could not but be tedious and ungrateful to the reader. We shall therefore just touch upon

their general divisions. They have divided them into sacrifices properly, and sacrifices improperly so called ; the last were so named, because though they were consecrated to God, yet they were not offered upon the altar,

as ancient as the world. It is not well known whether they offered those sacrifices by the positive command of God, or of their own accord; reason and religion teaching them that nothing could be more just, than for them to profess some gratitude to their munificent benefactor for the manifold advantages they received from his bountiful hand.

This last opinion is the most probable for the following reasons. 1. Had God given any such command, the sacred historian would undoubtedly have mentioned it. 2. Though God had appointed sacrifices under the law, yet it appears from several passages of the Old Testament, that he had instituted them, not because this kind of worship was in itself acceptable to him, but for some other wise reasons; either because it was a shadow of things to come, or else adapted to the circumstances of the people of Israel. He even saith expressly by his prophet Jeremiah”, that in the day when he brought the children of Israel out of Egypt, he gave them no commandment concerning burnt-offerings and sacrifices.

Now it is not at all probable that God would have spoken in that manner concerning sacrifices, if he had enjoined them to the first inhabitants of the world immediately after the creation. 3. If sacrificing had been ordained from the beginning, as a worship acceptable to God in itself, it would not have been annulled by the gospel. This annulling of it manifestly shews, that the end and design of the sacrifices under the law ceasing upon the coming of Jesus Christ, whose death and sacrifice was typified by those sacrifices, as St. Paul teaches us, the gospel brought men back to a spiritual service, and to the religion of the mind. The author of the epistle to the Hebrews says indeed', that by faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain ; but this very passage may serve to prove that God did not enjoin sacrifices to

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