Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

An Essay on the Nature and Design of Sacrifces under the Mosaic Law. 375 rated” to that office by institutionary tabernacle, and there make certain and annual sacrifices: that they might sacrifices, accompanied with rites indibe holy in the eyes of the Israelites, cative of cleansing. These prescribed but polluted and abominable in the eyes rites were costly, and even the poor of all other people, so that they might man, (though in sin-offerings allowed never become the instruments of an to substitute a small offering of flour,) abominable or foreign worship. was not liere excused from offering a

Secondly, since the commonwealth lamb, a tenth deal of fine flour mingled of Israel had that peculiar form of with oil for a meat offering, and a government called a Theocracy, reli- log of oil and two turtle doves, or gious ceremonies became almost iden- two young pigeons, such as he is able tical with civil forms ; and had a po- to get. Levit. xiv. 21, 22. litical as well as a moral meaning. The tendency of this was to make Viewed in this light, the Tabernacle the people extremely careful to pracwas a royal pavilion, the priests were tise such rules of cleanliness and temministers of state, and sacrifices were perance as should save them from appointed ceremonies by which the such troublesome and expensive forms. people had admission to the kingly Observe also, that the profit accruing presence. Hence all the stated daily to the priests from the performance of and weekly sacritices were part of the such ceremonies, would make them state and pomp of civil government; extremely vigilant and sharp-sighted and, again, the laws of purification in detecting the presence of those danprescribed in various cases were to gerous complaints, of which the symphinder the appearance of any thing toms are given with so much exactin so august a presence, that would ness in the 14th and 15th chapters of be indecent or disrespectful.

Leviticus. Moreover, there are a few cases of The atonements and offerings remoral transgression (of such a kind quired in purification of various other as are capable of coming before a unclean states of body, (though in part court of law) in which, after ordinary they were probably designed to reprelegal damages are paid, it is required sent the necessity of moral purity, and that a trespass-offering shall be made. the sinfulness of indulging wrong It will not, perhaps, be thought tri- desires,) were principally devised with fling to describe this as a fine to the a view to considerations of health. crown. For the further illustration The following observation is made by of this view of the subject, see an ex Grotius upon Levit. xv. 2: “ Scien

“ On the Meaning of dum in Syriæ locis et vicinis non the Atonement,” &c. signed Eusebius, minus, any yorop poras, quam ta superra Theol. Repos. III. 385.

habere aliquid contagione nocens; Thirdly, sacrifices under the Jewish unde ista, legibus quæ a lepræ legibus law served for the support of the non longi abeunt constriguntur." To priests who had families, but were too this observation from "Grotius, Dr. much taken up with attendance upon Outram subjoins the following senthe niceties of the ritual service, to tence,“ Sed et ita forte significatum have time for providing other means mortalia et immunda hominum corof snpport. This use of sacrifices, pora non nisi sacrificio aliquo (id then, depends upon the expediency quod autem est sacrificium Christi of having a distinct order of men to cujus hæc omnia figuræ erant) ad imattend on these things, which will mortalitatem sacratum ivi.” 'And in scarcely be disputed.

a similar manner Dr. Magee argues, Lastly, sacrifices were in some cases (No. 38, p. 337, Vol. I.) It deserves appointed with the intention of secur- to be considered,” he says,

“ whether ing the general health and safety. The the pains of child-bearing, and all priests were likewise the physicians other diseases of the human body, of Israel; and those who had been (of which leprosy in the eastern counattacked by infectious disorders, were tries was deemed the most grievous,) to be subject to their examination, being the signal consequences of that and by them be pronounced clean, and apostacy which had entailed these then submit to certain ceremonies and calamities on the children of Adam, it purifications for seven days, and finally might not,” &c. to be presented at the door of the It is the prevalence of these gratui.

cellent essay,

tous and unfounded assertions which to record the divine institution of sacrihas made it necessary to give this sub- fice, and the end for which it was ject so full and so minute a consider- appointed, than any other circumation. We proceed briefly to shew, stance whatever connected with the that there is no authority for using patriarchal and Mosaic dispensations. such unnatural and fanciful interpreta- But the institution of sacrifice is not tions ; and having described that which on record, and we do not find it in any we conceive to have been the real de- way combined with those passages in sign and chief end of sacrifice under the Pentateuch, which are generally the Mosaic law, we go

considered as having a prophetic referIn the second place, to inquire whe- ence to Christ. ther there is any antecedent probabi If, as popular writers on theology lity in the supposition that sacrifices assert, this rite of sacrifice was instiunder the Mosaic law were intended tuted immediately on the fall of man, to have a prospective reference to dis- to typify the future sacrifice which tant events, (or in other words,) do should be made as a satisfaction for they appear to have been typical of sin by the death of Christ, why was Christ?

not this expressed on that occasion Our argument has hitherto been when prophetic mention is made of general, and to this effect: either to Christ? What could have been more prove that there were other good and natural than for the Almighty, when he sufficient reasons for the institution of spoke of the "seed of the woman,” Jewish sacrifices, or else that there to have connected with this prophecy was no vicarious import in any of the the mention of that visible symbol of Jewish sacrifices, or any of their ad- his death, and the satisfaction thereby junct ceremonies. My object, now, is afforded for sins, wbich it is affirmed to shew that it could not be inferred that sacrifice was intended to afford ? from any part of the Mosaic record Again, when Moses spoke of “ the that sacrifices were intended as types prophet like unto himself

, whom God of future events, or that Christ was in should raise up from the midst of any way expressed by them. I say Israel,” if he spoke of the same person inferred, for no one pretends to pro- whose sacrifice it was the chief object duce any positive declaration of this of his institutions to typify, how natudoctrine to be found in the books of ral, obvious and proper for him to Moses, or indeed in any part of the have pointed out the connexion beOld Testament.

tween his oral declaration, and the A type, in the theological sense, symbolical figures by which it was is correctly defined, a divinely ap- declared to the eye. pointed symbol of any thing future; Secondly, the Old Testament is un. or an example so given and provided favourable to the notion that sacrifice by God, as that by the nature of its was typical of Christ, in another reinstitution it plainly prefigures that spect, that its importance and efficacy future thing ““ Futuri alicujus sym- are in various passages of Scripture bolum quoddam, aut exemplum ita à studiously depreciated, and the strongDeo comparatum, ut ipsius planè est expressions used to shew its cominstituto futurum illud præfiguret.” parative insignificance. Now, as it is Outram, lib. i. cap. 18, § 1.

alleged that this Jewish ceremony Two things, then, are necessary to occupied the precise place of the great constitute a type : divine appointment sacrifice of Christ while the law lasted, of the thing as a symbol, and the it was to be expected that the holy futurity at the time of appointment of writers under the law would have the thing typified. To apply this, spoken of it with a portion of the sacrifice does not appear to have been same reverence and pious regard which

type of the death of Christ, or of is expressed by all who look upon the the satisfaction of sins by his death; death of Christ as the proper original because we do not see that it was of sacrifice; and that however they originally appointed for that purpose. might have blamed the error of those If it had been the main, nay the only who forgot the true end of sacrifice, real object of that rite when first and “placed its efficacy in the naked appointed to be a type of Christ, it rite as if aught accrued to God therewould have been of more consequence by,” still they would have taken due

a

An Essay on the Nature and Design of Sacrifices under the Mosaic Law. 377 care to guard against being understood .“ The sacrifice of the Son of God is to disparage the inherent and essential the chief article of our message; the importance of the rite. And yet, hear sun of our system, the central orb, to the style which they freely adopt : which all the lines of Christian truth. “ I will not reprove thee for thy sacri- converge.” (Dr. Pye Smith's Disc. fices or thy burnt-offerings, continu- p. 58.) A thousand equally glowing ally before me. I will take no bul- passages might be collected from the lock out of thy house, nor he-goats writings of Christians believing in the out of thy folds. For every beast of real sacrifice of Christ. the forest is mine, and the cattle upon We proceed, thirdly, to another a thousand bills.” Psalm 1. 8—10. argument taken from the Old Testa“ Thou desirest not sacrifice; else ment, as opposed to this typical syswould I give it: thou delightest not in tem of interpreting the ceremonial burnt-offering. The sacrifices of God observances under the Mosaic law : are a broken spirit: a broken spirit namely, the absence from the writand a contrite heart, O God, thou ings of the Old Testament of those wilt not despise." Psalm li. 16, 17. metaphysico-theological dogmas, upon “Wherewith shall I come before the which the necessity of a satisfaction Lord, and bow myself before the most for the sins of men by a substituted high God ? Shall I come before him victim is founded.

These dogmas with burnt-offerings, with calves of a should have been quite familiar to the year old ? Will the Lord be pleased holy writers of the Jewish Church, if with thousands of rams, or with ten it be true that daily ordinances of worthousands of rivers of oil Shall I give ship were formed for the express purmy first-born for my transgression, the pose of reminding them of it. fruit of the body for the sin of the And how terrific in the hands of soul? He hath shewed thee, O man, Isaiah, Hosea and Ezekiel, would have what is good; and what doth the Lord been the doctrines of vindictive justhy God require of thee, but to do tice, unmitigated hatred of sin, infijustly, to love mercy, and to walk nite wrath, inflexible severity in God; humbly before thy God?” Micah vi. in man, inherent depravity, the bur6-8. “I desired mercy and not then of damnation, an infinite penalty, sacrifice, and the knowledge of God and consequent despair, and an indumore than burnt-offerings.” Hosca bitable sense of Jehovah's righteous vi. 6. “To do justice and judgment abhorrence and rejection!” In what is more acceptable unto the Lord than strains of plaintive melancholy would sacrifice.” Prov. xxi. 3. See also Jeremiah have lamented over the lost Isaiah i. 12–20; Amos v. 21—24. state of man; and how might the rest

There are many other passages of of those sublime writers in the Jewish similar import; and an ingenious and Church have been expected to have able writer, (W. J. Fox, in Letters to lent the strength of their distinct Dr. Pye Smith,) makes the following powers, in magnifying the influence just remarks with regard to them : of these doctrines, and placing in every “ Ceremonial observances are brought grand and impressive light this awful into contrast with holiness of heart proof of divine justice, holiness and and life frequently, with a future and severity! But there is confessedly inore valuable sacrifice never."

little or nothing in these writings that Now, in what way is this to be can even be adapted to the use of this accounted for, but by supposing in- system of theology; whilst on the spired men under the old covenant other haud there are those large, unwholly ignorant of any such prospec- limited, vast and glorious declarations tive reference in their sacrifices: "For of the boundless freedom of the Divine only compare their mode of speaking grace, his absolute sovereignty over all of them, with the expressions used by the creatures he hath made, and laws Christian writers believing in the doc- which he hath enacted, enabling him trine of the real sacrifice of Christ. to forgive sin wherever he pleaseth How greatly this doctrine, too, has so to do; and finally, of his willingness been corrupted, all Protestants ac. to forgive without any payment of the knowledge, and yet what is their lan- penal debt upon the mere reformation guage?

of the sinner, that it scens impossible

VOL. XVIII.

3c

to devise language that shall more infinite Bcing, it follows, that all other strongly controvert all the positions beings must be thus subject; in other on which the necessity of the sacrifice words, it is not in the possible power of Christ is founded.

of infinity itself to create a being not [To be concluded in the next Number.] subject to moral and natural ill. In

proof of this proposition, it will be

granted that the one infinite Being Stapleton, near Bristol, cannot make an eqnal, since any creSIR,

March 10, 1823. ated being would be but a creature; A

BOUT twelve months ago, I felt hence he cannot make a being with

so strongly impressed with the unlimited or infinite attributes, but view of the origin of evil, which has only with limited or finite ones. Libeen stated in your last number, (p. mited attributes, therefore, must be 85,) by your correspondent “ Rusti- the inheritance of every created being, cus," that I recluced my thoughts to however exalted. Let us then trace writing, with the intention of commu- the consequent and necessary effects nicating them to you for insertion in of limited' attributes. Infinite attriyour valuable miscellany; but from butes alone can be always infallibly the important results' which appeared right; limited attributes, therefore, to follow from my new theory, and necessarily imply the liability and considering that the origin of evil was moral certainty of miscalculation, fal. a subject which had been deeply con- libility and error: for unless created sidered, and elaborately and repeated beings could look with the eye of ly investigated by the mightiest minds absolute omniscience and prescience; and the ablest pens, I was led to doubt act with the hand of omnipotence; either the originality or the truth of and direct with the unerring certainty my own impressions, and therefore of infinite Wisdom, it would be utterly laid the subject aside for future con- impossible for them to secure the sideration and inquiry; and from that intended effects of their own designs ; time till the present I have occasion, and hence must necessarily arise, misally mentioned my impressions to calculation, failure and error: and this, several of my theological friends, both without going a single step farther, ministers and others, for their opinions, introduces us to what is called moral and had recently made up my mind evil, if not to natural also, since all to transınit my thoughts to you with- moral evil is nothing more than a ' out farther delay, when on perusing miscalculation of happiness. And a your last number, I was both surprised similar train of reasoning will bring and pleased to observe that nearly the us to what is commonly termed natusame views had been taken of the sub- ral evil, which follows from the proof ject by your intelligent correspondent of moral evil, since as it must be Rusticus; but as my notion of the admitted that moral evil is only a origin and existence of evil is proposed miscalculation of happiness, and that and supported by a somewhat differ- that miscalculation produces pain inent train of argument, and may from stead of pleasure, it follows necessarily its being, if not more logically, more that at least some part of natural simply and methodically stated than evil, i. e. the pain and misery, both that of Rusticus, tend to confirm and mental and bodily, which arise from elucidate the subject, I shall subjoin intemperance or any other source, is an outline of the arguments as they in this point of view only the effect of occurred and were committed to write a miscalculation of happiness. But ing at the time before alluded to, and that all created beings must necessarily which appear to me to reduce the be subject to natural evil upon a still inatter to the certainty of demonstra- larger scale on account of the limited tion. Though you will see much repe- nuture of their attributes, will appear tition in it, I shall not attempt to by the following method of demonstraalter it lest I should destroy its force. tion. One infinite Being alone con

Proposition. Every being not sub- trouls the universe and all its causes ; ject to moral and natural evil must it is a contradiction to suppose the necessarily be infinite, and as it will existence of more than one; and hence be admitted that there can be but one it follows necessarily, that all other

[blocks in formation]

beings must be subject to to this con- productive of pleasure: and were we troul and those causes : limited attri- to investigate the subject deeply, we butes, therefore, necessarily imply should discover natural evil constantly subjection, dependence, comparative arising from moral evil, and vice versa; weakness, subjection to various con- since the miscalculation of happiness tending and opposite natural powers, which has before been proved to conover which the being has no controul stitute inoral evil, is only to be deplored the elements for instance, and hence on account of its consequent producwe are introduced to vulnerability, tion of natural evil, i. e. the pain and liability to injury, infirmity, pain, mi- misery attendant upon intemperance, sery, and all that is commonly called &c.; and hence all moral good and ill natural evil. Beside which, as we will be found to be nothing more than find that man is thus necessarily the the production of natural good and subject of opposite causes, these oppo- ill: and thus all good and ill, both site causes will necessarily produce moral and natural, must be referred opposite motives in his mind; and to, and determined by, the pain or two opposite motives will not both pleasure of which they are productive, produce the same effect; the one will for it is the consequences of all actions be pleasurable, and the other painful. which alone can constitute them good And here we must admire the wisdom or evil. And this is evidently the best and goodness which constituted man a and surest standard of vice and virtue; sentient being, since his happiness for since pain cannot be made pleamust thus necessarily, and entirely sure, so for the very same reason, vice depend on change and fluctuation; cannot be made virtue. In any other and since no created being, and espe- sense, moral and natural good and ill, cially one with his sensitive powers, vice and virtue, are but mere words, could derive any happiness whatever and have no precise meaning. in that torpid state which would be Imperfection, then, or rather necesthe necessary result of not being the sary evil, for I believe with Pope, that subject of these causes, and of the sen man's as perfect as he ought,or sations of pain and pleasure, hope and was designed to be, is the necessary fear, which serve to keep in action his inheritance of all created intelligences, powers and expand his faculties, in and I flatter myself that the proposithe ardent pursuit of pleasure and tion has been fully supported, that it avoidance of pain, and thus consti- is impossible even for infinite Power tute bis best happiness. Without itself to make a being free from evil. motion in the universe, there could Nor is this any detraction whatever be no life or animation; and thus with from infinite Power, since it cannot be man, his happiness is built upon that necessary to the existence of infinite opposition, fluctuation, counteraction, Power, that it should be capable of and motion of contending causes and working impossibilities; neither can effects, as necessarily yield that alter- it be essential to Deity, that he should nate change of pain and pleasure, hope be capable of making an equal. The and fear, which prompt him to perpe. vulgar maxim, that “nothing is imtual pursuit and amusement, and there- possible with God,” here finds, like fore to happiness : nor does the im- most other rules, an exception, and portance or insignificancy of the object that without being at all derogatory of pursuit matter at all; it is enough to the infinite nature of either of the that it occasions pursuit, and the hap- divine attributes. piness occasioned by pursuit, is the Supposing this hypothesis to be wel same whether the object of it be a founded, several highly important inbutterfly or a comet.

ferences arise from it, with the same Though I have for the sake of per- certainty of demonstration, which I spicuity, spoken of moral and natural am led to suppose attends the hypoevil, according to their common accep- thesis itself; and amongst others, tation as distinct principles, I ain fully 1. It affords a most complete anpersuaded that they are only arbitrary swer to the questions which have terms, which have the same meaning; hitherto perplexed alike every system since philosophically speaking, eril of theology, in every age of the world, can be only that which is productive i. c. Wły does an infinitely wise, of pain, and good only that which is omnipotent and benevolent God, allow

« AnteriorContinuar »