« AnteriorContinuar »
Containing an examination of the evidence which Dr. Taylor brings, from the way and manner in which the scriptures speak of Sacrifice and Sacrificing, in those passages which have no relation to Jewi/h sacrifices, in order to prove, that Jewish or Levitical sacrifices were symbols of Prayer and Praise, and of those dispositions, affeBions and desires of the mind which are expressed by Prayer and Praise,
§. 1.T"\R. Taylor introduces this branch of evidence with the following observation, viz. " As the Levitical law sup"plieth no answer to this question, In "what manner had sacrifices respect to "God? we must seek for it in other parts"of scripture; and consult the sense of ** prophets and apostles, who had a clear "and full knowledge of the nature and "ends of divine institutions; which, in "such cases, is a just and authentic method "of discovering and ascertaining the truth." To illustrate this, he subjoins, " In the "institution of circumcision, Gen. xvii. "no account is given of that religious "rite, any farther than as it was a token "of the covenant God then made with "Abraham. But if we look into the prc
"phetic "phetic and apostolic writings, (Deut. x. "16—xxx. 6- Jer. iv. 4. Rom. ii. 29. "Col. ii. 11.) we shall find it had rela"tion to the heart, and signified the re*c trenching inordinate affections, or the "putting off the body of the fns of the stejh, "in order to dispose the mind to the "sincere love and obedience of God. *c Every considerate person will allow this "account to be so far satisfactory. And "I doubt not, but evidence of the fame "kind will appear more abundantly full "and clear in the cafe before us, if we *< attend to the following considerations a."
§. 2. The Dr. here intimates, that the prophets and apostles, when they speak of circumcision as having relation to the heart, teach us something about the meaning of that rite, that was not expressed by its being called a token of the covenant between .God and Abraham. But in this, I think, the Dr. is mistaken.—-The covenant which God made with Abraham, like all other covenants between God and man, laid an obligation on Abraham to walk before Gody and be perfect; or, which is the fame thing, to cultivate purity of heart and life. Cir
* Scripture-doctrine of Atonement examined, Chap. II, §. 19. 4
cum-. cumcision was a token of this covenant; a visible and permanent mark, made in the flesh of Abraham and his posterity, as a memorial of it, in order to revive, and keep up, in their minds, from time to time, serious thoughts about that covenant'of God with them, by the tenor of which they were bound and obliged to the practice of the strictest purity both of Jieart and life; and, as such, it had (in the Dr's phrase) a relation to the heart, even before any of the following prophets or apostles took notice of this relation. Abraham himself saw, and could not but see, that circumcision had such a relation to the heart: for was it possible for him, or for any other man, to.consider it in another view, since it was a token, sign, or memorial of a covenant, by which he was bound to study purity of heart? When, therefore, prophets and apostles speak of circumcision as having a relation to the heart, they fay no more about the meaning of that rite, than what God had, before, plainly intimated to Abraham, when he told him, that circumcision was a token of the covenant which he had made with him.
§. 3. The Dr. having taken notice of this new explanation of circumcision, which he supposes to have been made by prophets and apostles, long after the institution of it, he subjoins, "I doubt not but evidence of the
"fame "same kind will appear more abundantly **. in the case before us." To this I reply, that if the Dr. proves his notions, about the meaning, efficacy, and design of Jewish sacrifices, were the notions which prophets and apostles had of them; or, that there is as much evidence of the truth of these notions, as there is of circumcision's having a relation to the heart, every Christian ought, and every good Christian will, be ready to receive them as true and just notions: and if the evidence should happen to be more abundant in this than the other case, they, who do not yield to it, will be utterly inexcusable—Let us, therefore, proceed to the examination of the scripture-evidence which the Dr. has produced in support of these notions.
Scripture-evidence produced by Dr. Taylor.
§. 4. " The Temple, fays the Dr. where the sacrifical rites were solemnized, is called 4t the house of prayer; Isai. lvi. 7. And with "relation too to the sacrifices and burnt*c offerings there offered. For so the Lord "speaks, All the sons cf the stranger that "join themselves to the Lord to serve him,—^ "even them will I bring to my holy mountain, ** (upon which the temple stood,) and "make them joyful in my house of prayer; ** their burnt-offerings and their sacrifices
** shall he accepted upon mine altar; for "mine house /hall be called an bouse of prayer "for all people. Here prayer, or solemn "address to God, and sacrifices, are terms "equipollent. And it is farther observable, "that the temple, here called of God an "house of prayer, is also called of God an "house of sacrifice, 2 Chron. vii. 12. I have "chosen this house to myself, for an house of "sacrifice. Incense was an emblem of *c prayer; fee Luke i. 10. Rev. viii. 3, 4. "And sacrifice too comes under the fame "notion of address to God, Pfal. cxli. 2* "Let my prayer be set forth before thee as "incense, aud the up-lifting of my hands as "the evening sacrifice b."
§.5. In this paragraph, the Dr. gives us two ideas of sacrifice, which seem to me to be inconsistent. He tells us, first, that sacrifices and prayer are terms equipollent: and then, towards the end of the paragraph, he fays, that sacrifice comes under the fame notion as incense, which, he tells us, was an emblem of prayer. Now these two ideas of sacrifice cannot be both true: for if sacrifice and prayer be equipollent terms, or words of the fame signification,
b See Scrip, doc. of Atoji. Chap. II. §. 20.