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cardinal events in the history of man, the fall and the recovery-the death denounced against sin, and the death appointed for that holy One who was to lay down his life to deliver man from the consequences of sin. The institution of animal sacrifice seems, then, to have been peculiarly significant, as containing all the elements of religious knowledge; and the adoption of this rite, with sincere and pious feelings, would at the same time imply an humble sense of the unworthiness of the offerer, a confession that the death inflicted on the victim was the desert of those sins which had arisen from man's transgression, and a full reliance upon the promises of deliverance, joined to an acquiescence in the means appointed for its accomplishment." Magee, I. 53. Now unto the Lamb of God, slain from the foundation of the world, be all honor and glory, for ever and ever. Amen. Farewell.
DESIGN OF SACRIFICES.
1. Agreeably to promise, we proceed to point out the design of the institution of sacrifices. It may be necessary to distinguish between their original institution, and their re-appointment under the Levitical priesthood.
With respect to the former I would observe, in addition to what has already been hinted in the last letter, viz. that it was calculated, 1. To teach our first parents the nature of death. They had been threatened with death; but what
motion could they have of dying? they had never felt the cold hand of death nor witnessed the agonies of expiring nature; but to behold the struggles of the dying victim was calculated to excite and preserve in their minds a lively sense of what was meant by death, and what they had to expect for their transgression.
§ 2. 2. To illustrate the nature of the death of "the seed of the woman," by which we were to be reconciled unto God. As it was not designed by God that the Messiah should suffer and die before the lapse of several thousand years after the promise was made, there is nothing more natural than to suppose that the institution of sacrifices was ordained by God, as a sign and representation, to be observed in faith and expectation of the death and sacrifice of the promised Savior, as we now celebrate the sacrament of the Lord's supper in remembrance of that death and sacrifice already past.
3. To seal the promise to Adam, and confirm the new covenant with him, as he did afterward to Noah, to Abraham, and others, by accepting their sacrifice. The learned and pious Dr. Eusebius, having deduced from the Scripture account of the sacrifices of Abel, Noah, and Abraham, and from the sacrificial institution by Moses, the fact of a divine appointment of sacrifices, proceeds to explain the nature and true intent of the rite in the following manner: Whilst men had no victim that was more excellent, more precious, and more worthy of God, animals were made the price and ransom of their souls; and their substituting these animals in their own room, bore, indeed, some affinity to their suffering themselves, in which sense all the ancient worshippers and friends of God made use of them. The Holy Spirit had taught them that there should one day come a victim, more venerable, more holy, and more worthy of God. He had likewise instructed them how to point him out to the world by types and shadows. And thus they became prophets, and were not ignorant of their having been
chosen out to represent to mankind the things which God resolved to accomplish." Eus. Dem. Evang. L. I. cap. 10. p. 36. § 3. Dr. Owen, in his elaborate and invaluable exercitations, prefixed to his exposition of the Epistle to the Hebrews, having described the nature of the eternal covenant between the Father and the Son, says, When God came to reveal this counsel of his will, this branch and part of the eternal compact between him and his Son, and to represent unto the church what had been transacted within the veil, for their faith and edification, as also to give them some previous insight into the manner of the accomplishment of these his holy counsels, he did it by the institutions of a priesthood and sacrifices, or a sacred office and sacred kind of worship, united and adapted to be a resemblance of this heavenly transaction between the Father and the Son. For the priesthood and sacrifices of the law were not the origina. exemplar of these things, but a transcript and copy of what was done in heaven itself, in counsel, design and corenant, as they were a type of what should be afterward accomplished on the earth. Now although the names of priest and sacrifice are first applied unto the office mentioned under the law and their work, from whence they are traduced under the New Testament, and transferred unto Jesus Christ, that we may learn thereby what God, of old, instructed his church in; yet the things themselves intended and signified by these names, belong properly and firstly unto Jesus Christ, upon the account of this his undertaking, and the very names of priests and sacrifices were but improperly ascribed unto them who were so called, to be obscure representations of what was past, and types of what was to come." This tradition of sacrifices was handed down to all nations of the world, but the knowledge of their design was lost.
4. I close this part of the subject with a short but striking quotation from the interesting sermons of Dr. Randolph : From those who presumptuously deride the doctrine of atonement, we would ask some reasonable solution of the
origin of sacrifice. Will they make it consistent with and natural idea, will they discover in the blood of an innocent victim, any thing recommendatory in itself of the offerer's suit and devotions? Though they should clear away what they term a load of superstition from the Christian worship, they will find it encumbering every altar of their favorite natural religion; they will find these absurdities forming the significant and generally indispensable part of all religious ceremonies; and however disgraced, as we are ready to allow, with every abominable pollution; though retaining nothing to perfect the service, or to purify the offering, still, in its expiatory form, in its propitiatory hopes, the sacrifice of heathen nations preserves the features of that sacred and solemn office, which was ordained to keep up the remembrance of guilt till the full and perfect sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction was made by an eternal Mediator, for the sins of the whole world."
5. I proceed to show the design of the re-appointment of sacrifices under the Levitical priesthood. Were it my intention to point out the design of the whole Mosaic dispensation, (as I hope to do, if life be spared,) I might easily show that it was the effect of infinite wisdom, love and grace; that all the ceremonial laws were serviceable to try the obedience of our nation, to restrain them from idolatry; that they were suitable to their then present condition; full of instruction as images and types of spiritual things, representing and pointing out the Messiah with all his blessed undertakings, and the unspeakable benefits which accrue to us from thence. But this would lead us too far from the
subject under consideration. I shall therefore confine myself to that part of the Mosaic dispensation which relates more particularly to the priesthood of the Messiah.
To represent this all-important subject în as clear a light as possible, it will be necessary to show,
§ 6 First, that sacrifices were reappointed to make atonement. This was the case with most of them, but especially
with the daily lambs, the sin, trespass and burnt offerings, and the two goats on the annual day of atonement. That these are piacular and vicarious, i. e. substituted in the place of the guilty, to make atonement, i. e. to remove the wrath of God, and to procure the pardon of sin, and to restore to his favor, will appear,
7. 1. From sacred Scripture. In the following passages sacrifices are expressly said to make atonement, and procure the pardon of sin: see Levit. 4: 20, 26, 31, 35; 5: 10, 13, 16, 18. c. 7: 19-22. Numb. 15:25, 26, 28. The Hebrew word Copher, translated atonement, is from the root Caphar, which signifies to cover over; it intimates that our offences are, by a proper atonement, covered from the avenging justice of God; that the penalty of the transgression is remitted, and the offender restored to the privileges which he had forfeited. See the following issages: Ex. 32:30-32. Numb. 16 46, 48; 25: 11, 13. Hence the pardon of sin is expressed by its being covered, and the punishment by its not being covered; Ps. 32:1; 85: 2; Neh. 4 45. This word Caphar in Piail signifies to remove or take away, and consequently to be propitious and merciful in taking away of sin, as also to appease, atone, reconcile, and purge, whereby sin is taken away. See particularly the following passages: Gen. 32: 20. Deut. 28: 8. Ps. 65: 3; 78: 38; 79: 9. Prov. 16: 14. Hence you know, my dear Benjamin, that the tenth day of the seventh month is called Yom Kiphpurim, i. e. day of atonement or expiations; because of the extraordinary expiatory sacrifices offered therein. On this account also, the lid which covered the ark containing the two tables of the law, or ten commandments, was called Caphporeth, i. e. a mercy-seat, or propitiatory, as fitly signifying the effects of God's mercy to transgressors of his law. Here the effect is put for the cause. The expiatory and atoning sacrifice of the Messiah, by which justice is satisfied, and sin, as it were, hid from the sight of Jehovah, hath opened a way for the free