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but when Jesus objected, "how then does David in spirit call him Lord ?" saying, "the Lord said unto my Lord.” “ If then David call him Lord, how is he his son ?"* They were non-plussed, and thrown into the utmost confusion; for, no man was able to answer him a word." Matt. 22: 42, 46. Now, had it been the generally received opinion of the syna. gogue, at that time, that this Psalm was to be understood of some other person, and not of the Messiah, they could very easily have objected it to him; but Jesus seems to argue with them from what was agreed on, on all hands, and of which there could be no dispute among them, viz. that this Psalm was written by David, that it was written by him under the inspiration of the Spirit; and that the Messiah was the subject thereof.
§ 8. Before I leave this subject, I cannot but notice the opinion advanced by one of our people, a correspondent in the Jewish Repository, vol. 2, under the signature of S. M. In page 150 he saith, "this Psalm was wrote by Abner, Saul's general, when he united Israel under king David's dominion." Being called upon for a proof of his assertion, he saith in his next letter, page 252, "I do not bring ancient Rabbinical proof," (the reason is, it is impossible to do so,) "but one of a later date, say in the year 1720, from a work printed in London, entitled 'Espego Fiel de Vidas; its author is named Daniel Israel Lopes Laguna." With respect to the 110th Psalm, he saith, "this Psalm was addressed by Abner to king David, &c." The following observation, made by the editors in page 253, is an unanswerable refutation of this novel opinion of Mr. Lopes Laguna: "Does S. M. really think that the mere assertion of a writer in the year 1720 is entitled to be received as proof in such a case?
*Note. It is worthy of observation that our Lord did not ask this question to prove his simple divinity, but rather the union of the divine and human natures in the person of the Messiah. As God, he could not be David's son, and, as man, he could not be his lord; but in the union of their natures, he is both his son and his lord.
If this writer has given any ancient authority for the assertion, why has S. M. been wholly silent respecting it? If S. M. be not acquainted with any ancient authority in support of it, how does he venture to say that such 'authority' has been obtained?' Is Don Lopes Laguna's having been * acknowledged to be a man of profound learning,' sufficient to 'authenticate' every thing he may have affirmed? Do not the just rules of argument require the affirmative to be proved? Is not the necessity of proof so much the greater in proportion as the affirmation is at variance with the tes timony of antiquity on the point in question? Is it any bet ter than trifling to advance an assertion, and then say, 'it remains now for' an opponent' to disprove' it. Has S. M. disproved the ancient authorities which declare this Psalm to have been written by David? Suppose any writer of the present day, ‘acknowledged to be a man of profound learning,' should assert this Psalm to have been written by Daniel, and to have related to Cyrus, would S. M. admit such an assertion to be worthy of credit? If not, on what grounds would he reject it, that would not equally invalidate the assertion of Don Lopes? Would it be argued that this Psalm is not all applicable to Cyrus? But is it all applicable to David? Was David a priest-a priest for ever? Is the interpretation given by S. M. (that this language only indicates that the dominion of Israel shall for ever be in the house of David,') so self-evident as to require nothing to be said in support of it? And if such be the meaning of this language, how does S. M. suppose the prediction to have been fulfilled?
§ 9. Pardon this digression, dear Benjamin. To return to our subject. The priestly office may be divided into three prominent parts--to offer sacrifices, to make intercession, and to bless the people. As the soul and essence of the priesthood consisted in offering up sacrifices, this may be the proper place to show their origin and design.
Sacrificing is a religious act, in which a creature devoted
to God was in a solemn manner destroyed in his presence, for sacred ends. "A sacrifice," saith the great and learned Dr. Owen, "is a religious oblation of something consecrated and dedicated to God by the ministry of a priest, according to God's institution, to be destroyed for a testimony of the worship of God, and an external symbol." This mode of worship is of great antiquity. It was in use in the first ages of the world. We are sure that Job offered sacrifices, both for his children and for his friends. Our fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob built altars and offered their sacrifices unto the God most high. Noah offered up sacrifices immediately on his coming out of the ark. Cain and Abel brought their respective offerings unto the Lord; and from the manner in which the transaction is introduced, it seems pretty clear that there was a regular fixed time for this religious exercise. The expression alluded to is in Gen. 4 : 3, "and in the process of time it came to pass." The original is, "and it came to pass at the end of days." This intimates (as has been observed) a stated time for the performance of this duty; and the whole turn of the phrase marking a previous and familiar observance. Nor can it reasonably be doubted that Adam himself offered up sacrifices. For whence came the skins with which our first parents were clothed? Gen. 3:21. The beasts to whom they belonged cannot, so soon after their creation, be supposed to have died of age; they must have been slain; and as animal food was not in use until after the flood, it is most natural to suppose that they were slain in sacrifice, as a constant memorial of their transgression, of the death which it merited, and of the divine mercy by which that death was withheld.
10. It is a remark of the pious and learned Dr. Witsius, "that God's clothing our first parents was a symbolical act, as seems evident from our Lord's own words, 'I counsel thee to buy of me white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear,' Rev. 3: 18. The mystical is first, As that clothing which
Adam contrived for himself could not cover him so as to appear before the eyes of God; in like manner, nothing that a sinner can work or toil by his own industry, or wisdom, falsely so called, can produce any thing that can procure him a just and well grounded confidence by which he may appear before the tribunal of God. Their webs, which are spiders' webs, shall not become garments, neither shall they cover themselves with their works.' Isa. 59: 5, 6.
Secondly, As the bodies of our first parents were covered with the spoils of mortality, and the skins of slain animals, so the garment of grace, whereby the body of sin is covered, is owing to the very death of Christ, without which, that righteousness which makes us acceptable to God, could not have been performed." I would further observe, that as the slaying of the animal exhibited the suffering and death of the Messiah, so its acceptance was an assurance of the acceptance of the sacrifice of the Savior; and the clothing of our first parents with the skins of the sacrifice, pointed out the righteousness of Messiah, brought in when he was "cut off, but not for himself." Dan. 9: 24, 26.
That Adam had been in the habit of offering up sacrifices, has been the general opinion of our Rabbins. See Targum and Rashi on Ps. 69: 32. Maimonides Mishn book S. treat. on the temple, chap. 2. sec. 2.
Behold the bleeding Lamb of God,
Our spotless sacrifice!
By hands of barb'rous sinners seiz'd,
Nail'd to the cross, he dies.
Blest Jesus, whence his streaming blood?
And whence this foul disgrace?
Whence all these pointed thorns, that rend
"I sanctify myself (he cries)
"That thou may'st holy be:
"Come, trace my life; come, view my death.
THE SUBJECT CONTINUED.
1. Having in my last letter traced the practice of sacrifices to the family and person of Adam, I will now endeavor to show the divine authority for their conduct. I am perfectly aware, my dear Benjamin, that it has been a subject of great controversy, whether sacrifices are a human invention or a divine institution, yet, after a long and close examination of the arguments on both sides of the question, I am fully satisfied that sacrifices were appointed by God himself, and that immediately after the giving forth of the first promise of a Messiah. In favor of this opinion many divines have argued and written well, but, in my humble opinion, Dr. Magee, in his invaluable work on the atonement, has demonstrated it in the clearest and most convincing manner; and to this work I freely acknowledge myself indebted for many of the ideas I now wish to impress upon the mind of my dear Benjamin.
That sacrifices are not a human invention, will appear from the following considerations:
2. No satisfactory reason can be given for their ongin or design. Some of the enemies of "Jehovah and his anointed" have triumphed in their imagined discovery that sacrifices are the invention of "priest-craft," for the purpose of "sharing with their gods, and reserving the best bits for themselves." But these honest men have craftily omitted to tell us who those priests were, before the institution of the Aaronic priesthood, when the head of each family, &c. &c. offered up his own sacrifices. Was it gain