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what you yourself have observed, No. 5, that the particular occasions of sacrific
ing were three : either for the impetra. tion of blessings desired ; or for thanks'giving, when received ; or for the remo' val of some guilt or uncleanness;' though I do not see but that I might justly do it : for though you speak there expressly, only of the particular occasions of sacrificing ; yet, as the passages in the law, upon which your division of sacrifices into impetratory, gratulatory, and piacular, is founded, obvi. ously lead us, if I mistake not, to consider the first sort of them, as expressions of dependence upon God for blessings desired, or wanted ; the second sort, as grateful acknowledgements for blessings received ; and the last sort, as, in general, a means appointed for the removal of some guilt or uncleanness; they seem to be hardly reconcilable, strictly speaking, with what you are pleased to intimate ; that the levitical law does not shew us, in what manner, sacrifices had respect to God : for if, to in- . stance only in the last sort of them, it directs us to consider them, though it be only in general, as an appointed means for the removal of guilt or uncleanness; surely
it cannot be justly said, that it does not point out to us, in what light, or under what notion, (for that seems to be the strict and most obvious meaning of your words) we are to consider sacrifices with respect to God.
But though, as I said, so far as I can see, it might justly be done ; I shall not insist upon this : and the rather, as from what follows in this chapter (particularly from the 22d, 24th, and 27th paragraphs) there is some reason to think, that your real meaning is more limited and confined, than at first sight it seems to be. Perhaps it is this, or may be thus expressed : In what manner are we to conceive of sacri. fices with respect to God ? are we to conceive of them, as having a respect to him, or their effect with him (27.) only as symbolical expressions of a pious, grateful, or penitent disposition of mind (22.) or as having a respect to him, and their effect with him, in some other way also ? as of. fered, for instance, by the appointment of God, in the stead of the sacrificers ? Now, supposing this to be the meaning of your question ; I must still beg leave to say, that, so far as I can judge, it is not true, 158
CANDID REMARKS UPON
CANDID REMARKS UPON
that the levitical law supplies no answer to it. As to those sacrifices, which were offered by way of impetration for blessings desired ; or thanksgivings for blessings received ; and which, as you observe (5.) are called peace-offerings; you may, if you please, consider them in the light of symbolical addresses to God, or as significant expressions of a pious and grateful mind. And indeed, those passages in Leviticus to which you refer, chap. vii. 11-16, and which expressly relate to sacrifices of thanksgiving, and voluntary offerings, seem to me plainly to lead us to consider them in that light; which however, you will observe by the way, if it be the case, evidently shews us, that the levitical law can. not well be said to supply us with no answer to your question. But then, though that law may direct us to consider some sacrifices as having a respect to God, and their effect with him (see Lev. vii. 18,) as symbolical addresses to him ; yet it by no means appears, that this was the case with them all : many of them (I mean, as you will readily suppose, sin-offerings) seem to me to have had their effect with God, as well as a respect to him, chiefly at least, in
another way; viz. as appointed substitutes (if I may be allowed the expression) in the stead of the offerers : and in this light, if I mistake not, the law itself leads us to consider them. I do not say, that it expressly tells us, that those sacrifices were offered in the place or stead of the sacrificers : if that had been the case, there could have been no room for dispute : but this I say, that it leads us to consider them in that light. Thus, in that well known passage, Lev. xvii. 10, 11, where God himself is introduced, saying to the people of Israel : I will even set my face against that soul that eateth blood, and will cut him off from among his people : for the life of the flesh is in the blood ; and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls : for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul : what less is suggested, especially if we consider it in conjunction with those other passages in the law,* in which the sparing persons' lives is represented as the consequence, or effect of the appointed atonements, which
* See Exod. xxx. 12, &c. and the other texts quoted, and argued from to this purpose, by Dr. Chapman, Eusebius, vol. 2, p. 464-477.
had been made for that purpose ; what less, I say, is suggested by those words (especially when thus considered) than that God had graciously given the Israelites the blood, that is, the lives of animals, to be offered as sacrifices upon his altar, for the preservation of their own lives ; and that he would accept of the blood, or lives of the animals so offered, instead of the lives of the Israelites, which are both here and elsewhere supposed to be forfeited ? and if it be suggested in the words, that God would accept of the lives of the sacrifices, instead of the forfeited lives of the sacri. ficers; what less can be implied in them, than that the former were to be offered in the place of the latter? at least, this seems to me to be the import of the words : nor can it be thought strange, that it should ; since they have appeared in this light, so far as I can find, almost universally both to Jews and Christians. And indeed, it seems to me difficult to account for the great stress which is laid (here especially) upon the blood, or lives of the sacrifices, as procuring, in a more particular manner, their effect with God, that is, the redemption, or preservation of the lives of the sa