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READER, I warn you to peruse this treatise with great caution, and without any deference to my judgment ; for possibly I may have mistaken the sense of revelation. But as I trust God will forgive the errors of an upright intention ; so I heartily wish you may clearly discover and candidly correct them.
SCRIPTURE DOCTRINE OF ATONE
THE OCCASIONS OF OFFERING SACRIFICES, AND THE CEREMONIES USED IN OFFERING THEM.
1. THAT the Jewish religion consisted very much in symbols, that is, in outward material signs, by which inward moral dispositions were represented, is very evident. And, as God himself was the author of it, we need not doubt but it was well adapted to the genius of the people, and to the times.
2. A great part of those symbols and figures are of little use to us now adays ; and therefore it is of no great consequence whether we do, or do not understand them. But their sacrifices seem to bear such relation to the death of Christ; and are so frequently referred to in the writings of the
New Testament, that it seems necessary to have just ideas of the one, in order to our forming a right judgment of the other.
3. Sacrifices were to be offered in the sanctuary, and in no other place, that being considered as the house, or palace, of God; where his extraordinary presence was signified by the ark of the covenant, and a bright appearance above it. A splendid apparatus of utensils, and great numbers of select persons were employed in the sacred rites. Various were the offerings here presented ; bullocks, rams, lambs, goats, kids, pigeons, turtles, corn, wine, oil, &c. Various were the ceremonies with which, and the occasions upon which, they were offered.
4. 1. The occasions were either general, or particular. General, when no special reason is given for sacrificing; but it seems to have been an act of homage paid to God, as the Maker, Owner, Ruler, and Preserver of all things. Under this head most of the sacrifices before the law of Moses are to be ranked; and they commonly go by the name of burnt-offerings. ,
5. The particular occasions of saorificing were three : either for the impetra