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not want a man to stand before him for ever. The Rechabites flourished as a community about one hundred and eighty years but after the captivity, they were dispersed, unless the Essenes, who are noticed in a subsequent section, succeeded them in their way of life.
VII. The PROPHETS were eminently distinguished among the persons accounted holy by the Jews: they were raised up by God in an extraordinary manner for the performance of the most sacred functions. Originally they were called Seers: they discovered things yet future, declared the will of God, and announced their divine messages, both to kings and people, with a confidence and freedom that could only be produced by the conviction that they were indeed authorised messengers of Jehovah. The gift of prophecy was not always annexed to the priesthood: there were prophets of all the tribes, and sometimes even among the Gentiles. The office of a prophet was not confined to the prediction of future events; it was their province to instruct the people, and they interpreted the law of God hence the words prophet and prophecy are, in many passages of the Scriptures, synonymous with interpreter or teacher, and interpretation or teaching. It is unanimously agreed both by Jews and Christians that Malachi was the last of the prophets under the Old Testament dispensation: and it is a remarkable fact, that so long as there were prophets among the Jews, they were not divided by sects or heresies, although they often fell into idolatry. This circumstance may thus be accounted for.-As the prophets received their communications of the divine will immediately from God himself, there was no alternative for the Jews: either the people must obey the prophets, and receive their interpretations of the law, or no longer acknowledge that God who inspired them. When, however, the law of God came to be explained by weak and fallible men, who seldom agreed in their opinions, sects and parties were the unavoidable result of such conflicting sentiments.2
1 Lamy's Apparatus Biblicus, vol. i. p. 223. Michaelis's Commentaries on the Law of Moses, vol. i. pp. 227, 228. Mede's Works, p. 127. Calmet, Commentaire Littérale, tome vi. p. xvii. The reader will find an instructive discourse on the history of the Rechabites, in Dr. Townson's Works, vol. ii. pp. 215-225.
2 For a more particular account of the sacred prophets, see Vol. IV. Part I. Chap IV. pp. 137-144.
On the Sacrifices and other Offerings of the Jews.
General classification of sacrifices and offerings;-I. BLOODY OFFERINGS, and the divine origin of sacrifices;-1. Different kinds of victims ;-2. Selection of victims ;-3. Manner of presenting them;4. Libations ;-5. Immolation of the sacrifice;-6. The place and time appointed for sacrificing;-7. Different kinds of fire-sacrifices;-i. Burnt-offerings;-ii. Peace-offerings ;—iii. Sin-offerings;-iv. Trespass-offerings;-National, regular, weekly, monthly, and annual sacrifices,-II. UNBLOODY OFFERINGS. III. DRINK OFFERINGS.-IV. ORDINARY OBLATIONS, -the show-bread and incense.-V. VOLUNTARY OBLATIONS.Corban. VI. PRESCRIBED OBLATIONS;-1. First-fruits;2. Tithes.
THE sacrifices and oblations of the Jews demand particular notice in this sketch of their ecclesiastical state. Such a ritual as they were enjoined to observe, the multiplicity of victims they were appointed statedly to offer, together with the splendour of that external worship in which they were daily engaged,-all tended to replenish and adorn their language with numerous allusions, and striking metaphors derived from the pomp of their religion. Hence it is that the writings of the Jews, more than of any other people, abound with phrases and terms borrowed from the temple worship and service. The psalms and prophetical writings may in particular be adduced in illustration of this remark. Purge me with hyssop, says David, and I shall be clean.
Thou shalt be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness. (Psal. li. 7. 19.) Let my prayer come before thee as incense, and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice. (Psal. cxli. 2.) Therefore will I offer the sacrifice of joy. (Psal. cxvi. 17.) The sin of Judah, says Jeremiah, is -- --graven upon the horns of your altars. (Jer. xvii. 1.)-Take away all our iniquity and receive us graciously; so will we render thee the calves of our lips. (Hos. xiv. 2.) Nor are similar examples wanting in the New Testament, whose inspired authors being educated in the Jewish religion, retain the same phraseology, which has enriched their writings with numerous beautiful and expressive allusions to the national sacrifices and ceremonies.
Michaelis classes the offerings prescribed to the Israelites under three general heads-namely, bloody offerings, or sacrifices strictly so called; unbloody offerings, or those taken only from the vegetable kingdom; and drink-offerings, or libations, which were a kind of accompaniment to the two preceding. We shall follow this classifi
cation, as enabling us to present to our readers the most compendious account of the Jewish sacrifices.
I. BLOODY OFFERINGS were sacrifices properly and strictly so called; by which we may understand the infliction of death on a living creature, generally by the effusion of its blood in a way of religious worship, and the presenting of this act to God as a supplication for the pardon of sin, and as a supposed mean of compensation for the insult and injury offered by sin to his majesty and government. Sacrifices have in all ages, and by almost every nation, been regarded as necessary to placate the divine anger, and to render the Deity propitious but whether this universal notion derived its origin from divine revelation, or was suggested by conscious guilt and a dread of the divine displeasure, is a question that cannot be easily decided. It is however not improbable that it originated in the former, and prevailed under the influence of the latter. The Scripture account of sacrifices leads us to conclude that they were instituted by divine appointment, immediately after the entrance of sin by the fall of Adam and Eve, to be a type or significant emblem of the great atonement or all-sufficient sacrifice of Christ. Accordingly we find Abel, Noah, Abraham, Job, and others, offering sacrifices in the faith of the Messiah that was to be revealed; and the divine acceptance of their sacrifices is particularly recorded.
1. In all bloody sacrifices it was essential that the animals slaughtered should be clean; but it does not appear that all clean animals were to be offered indiscriminately. Fishes were not brought to the altar; and hence the Israelites are no where prohibited from eating their blood, but only that of birds and quadrupeds. (Lev. vii. 26.) It would seem that all clean birds might be offered, (Lev. xiv. 4-7.) though the dove was the most common offering of this class. Of quadrupeds, oxen, sheep, and goats were the only kinds which were destined for the altar. No wild beasts were admissible: and hence comes the expression in the law of Moses (Deut. xii. 15. 22. xv. 22.), It shall be eaten like the roe or the hart; by which he means to intimate that, in killing a beast, all religious intention and all idea of sacrifice was to be avoided.3
2. In the selection of the victims, the utmost care was taken to choose such only as were free from every blemish. Unless it were pure and immaculate, it was to be rejected, as a sacrifice unacceptable to Jehovah. (Levit. xxii. 22.) In a beautiful allusion to this
1 To this notion of sacrifice our Saviour alluded in John xvi. 2. where he tells his disciples that such would be the enmity with which they should be pursued, that he who should kill them would be deemed to have slain a sacrifice highly acceptable to the Almighty-" He that killeth you shall think he doeth God service." In reference also to this notion of sacrifice, the apostle by a very beautiful and expressive figure represents Christ as loving us, and giving himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God, of a sweet-smelling savour. (Eph. v. 2.) Harwood's Introd. to the New Test. vol. ii. p. 218.
2 The divine origin of sacrifices is fully proved by Archbp. Magee, in his Discourses on the Atonement, vol. i. pp. 44-60. and vol. ii. pp. 22—46. 184—189. 3 Michaelis's Commentaries, vol. iii. p. 95.
circumstance, St. Paul beseeches Christians, by the mercies of God, to present their bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable, which is their reasonable service. (Rom. xii. 1.) Hence also Jesus Christ is styled a lamb without blemish and without spot. (1 Pet. i. 19.) Further, it was a custom among nations contiguous to Judæa, and particularly among the Egyptians, to set a seal upon a victim that was deemed proper for sacrifice. With this custom the Jews could not be unacquainted; and it is possible that similar precautions were in use among themselves, especially as they were so strictly enjoined to have their sacrifices without spot and without blemish. To such a usage Jesus Christ is supposed to have alluded, when speaking of the sacrifice of himself, he says-Him hath God the Father SEALED. (John vi. 27. 51.) "Infinite justice found Jesus Christ to be without spot or blemish, and therefore sealed, pointed out and accepted him as a proper sacrifice and atonement for the sin of the whole world. Collate Heb. vii. 26-28. Eph. v. 27. 2 Pet. iii. 14. and especially Heb. ix. 13, 14. For, if the blood of BULLS and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth, -how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the Eternal Spirit offered himself WITHOUT SPOT to God, purge your consciences from dead works!2
3. The victim thus chosen, being found immaculate, was led up to the altar by the person offering the sacrifice; who laid his hand upon its head, on which he leaned with all his strength; and, while the sacrifice was offering said some particular prayers; and if several persons united in offering the same victim, they put their hands upon it in succession.3 By this imposition of hands the person presenting the victim acknowledged the sacrifice to be his own; that he loaded it with his iniquities; that he offered it as an atonement for his sins; that he was worthy of death because he had sinned, having forfeited his life by violating the law of God; and that he entreated God to accept the life of the innocent animal in the place of his own. In this respect the victims of the Old Testament were types of Jesus Christ, the lamb of God that TAKETH AWAY the sin of the world (John i. 39.), and on whom Jehovah in
1 The following account of the manner in which the Egyptians provided white bulls for their sacrifices, will materially explain the custom above alluded to."They sacrifice white bulls to Apis, and for that reason make the following trial. If they find one black hair upon him, they consider him as unclean. In order that they may know this with certainty, the priest appointed for this purpose views every part of the animal both standing and lying on the ground: after this, he draws out his tongue, to see if he be clean by certain signs; and in the last place he inspects the hairs of his tail, that he may be sure they are, as by nature they should be. If, after this search, the animal is found unblemished, he signifies it by tying a label to his horns; then, having applied wax, he seals it with his ring, and they lead him away, for it is death to sacrifice one of these animals, unless he has been marked with such a seal." Herodotus, lib. ii. c. 38. vol. i. p. 113. edit. Oxon. 2 Dr. A. Clarke, on John vi. 27.
3 The nature and mystical import of laying hands on the head of the victim are largely considered by Archbp. Magee in his Discourses on the Atonement, vol. i. Pp 336-377.
the fulness of time laid the iniquity of us all.1 (Isa. liii. 6. with 1 Pet. ii. 24.)
4. Further, in certain cases it was required that the victim should be one, on which never came yoke (Numb. xix. 2. Deut. xxi. 3. 1 Sam. vi. 3.); because any animal which had been sed for a common purpose, was deemed improper to be offered in sacrifice to God.2
5. When the victim devoted to the sacrifice was brought before the altar, the priest, having implored the divine favour and acceptance by prayer, poured wine upon its head and after the performance of this solemn act of religion, which was termed a libation, the victim was instantly led to the slaughter. To this circumstance St. Paul, knowing the time of his martyrdom to be very near, has a very striking allusion; respecting this rite, which immediately preceded the death of the victim, as already performed upon him, implying that he was now devoted to death, and that his dissolution would speedily follow. I am now ready to be offered, says he (2 Tim. iv. 6.); literally, I am already poured out as a libation; the time of my departure is at hand. A similar expressive sacrificial allusion occurs in Phil. ii. 17. Yea, says the holy apostle, and if I be POURED OUT upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy and rejoice with you all. In this passage he represents the faith of the Philippians as the sacrificial victim, and compares his blood, willingly and joyfully to be shed in martyrdom, to the libation poured out on occasion of the sacrifice.3
1 On the vicarious import of the Mosaic sacrifices, see Archbp. Magee's Dis courses on the Atonement, vol. i. pp. 352-366.
2 The heathens, who appear to have borrowed much from the Hebrews, were very scrupulous in this particular. Neither the Greeks, nor the Romans (who had the same religion, and consequently the same sacrifices with the Greeks), nor indeed the Egyptians, would offer an animal in sacrifice that had been employed in agriculture. Just such a sacrifice as that prescribed here does Diomede vow to offer to Pallas. Iliad, x. 291-294.
Ως νυν μοι εθελουσα παρίξασα, και με φυλασσε.
So now be present, O, celestial maid,
In the very same words Nestor promises a similar sacrifice to Pallas. Odyss. iii. 382. Thus also VIRGIL. Georg. iv. 550.
Quatuor eximios præstanti corpore tauros,
It is very probable that the Gentiles learnt their first sacrificial rites from the Patriarchs; and on this account we need not wonder to find so many coincidences in the sacrificial system of the patriarchs and Jews, and of all the neighbouring nations. (Dr. A. Člarke, on Numb. xix. 2.)
3 Parkhurst's Greek Lexicon, p. 621. Drs. Macknight and A. Clarke on the passages cited.