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and to the Dr's sentiments, must now b6 left to the determination of those who have a capacity for judging in this affair, and integrity to judge in it without prejudice; or wrong biass; to whose judgment, and the Dr's own serious consideration, 1 now hum* bly submit the criticism.—For myself; I am a lover of truth, and a friend to free and candid inquiry. I have no private interest that I could wish to serve, or to be served, by error and falsehood. I lie open to conviction, and shall always be ready to correct any error in my sentiments as soon as I perceive it; and be very grateful to any person who will take the pains to set me right when he finds me under any mistake* Errare poffum, hereticum ejse nolo. May liberty and truth, in conjunction with piety. and virtue, always prosper and prevail; and' make their influence over mankind good against all opposition.
Containing an examination of another notion of the symbolical meaning and use of yewijhsacrifices, which is exhibited in an anonymous piece published at London, ann. ij\b. and intituled, An Essay on the nature, design, and origin of Sacrifice*.
TH E Author of this piece appears to be a man of great learning; but his inferences and reasonings from facts, generally speaking, are not so natural, clear, and conclusive, as to afford that satisfaction which a sincere and judicious enquirer after truth desires to have, and must have, before lie can yield his assent. It would require the writing of a large volume to enter thoroughly into all the reasoning of this Author which are chargeable with this defect, and to detect the fallacy and weakness of them; a work which I have neither time nor inclination to undertake. All that I propose to do at present, is, to exhibit his notion of the symbolical nature and design of Jewish-sacrifices, and to examine whatever he has: said in support of it.
The t The Author gives us his general definition of sacrifice in the following words, viz. ** Whatever is given or offered, in a solemn "manner immediately to God, so that "part of it, or the whole is consumed, "is what is meant by the word sacrifice. "Whether it be upon an altar, or what is "used instead of an altar; whether it be "by fire, or in any other manner, is not "material \"
I rather choose to take this definition of sacrifice as it is, than to contend with the Author about the propriety and justness of it. However, I cannot but observe, that the idea of sacrifice which it exhibits, agrees to the meat-offerings and drink-offerings which were appendages of sacrifice, and are never in scripture, as far as I remember, called sacrifices; nor, indeed, can, strictly and properly speaking, be so called, because the materials of which they consisted were inanimate, and, of course, incapable of deathb. But to proceed. i
The Author clearly expresses his opinion about the general, ultimate end of all sacrifices, in the following passages of his book,
a Page 4.
i> The root zabach signifies maflare, sacrtficare, to kill, or to sacrifice. Hence the noun sOf zebach, which signifies maflatio, animal maflatile, sacrijiciwn, i. e. a killing, an animal capable of death, a sacrifice. vide Buxtors. lexicon.
"into friendship with God; or if they had "violated friendship with God, by violat,c ing.the stipulation entered into, then sa"crifice implied a renewal of friendship \ "the great end of all sacrifices—was to "make friends with Godd.-r-rhe reason for "which sacrifices were intended, viz. to "engage in solemn friendship with God \ "—the nature and design of sacrifice being tc ;—to be in a state of friendship with him, ** &c.s. Sacrifices exprefled in their way cc what was principally intended, which "was friendship and reconciliation to God ** Sacrifices were all—applied to keep up "friendship betwixt God and man \—the "original intent, and indeed the design of ,c sacrifices, which was to be in friendship "with God5.
Frcm these passages, *tis plain, that the Author makes the engaging in, the renewal of, or the keeping up, friendship with God, to be the ultimate end of all sacrifices iri general. And in this I agree with him; because it must, without doubt, be the ultimate end of all religious institutions, as such, to promote one or other os the ends mentioned, or, to be the means of pleasing
God.—When, therefore, the ultimate ei
of sacrifice, specified by the Author, is added to his general definition of, sacrifice, his definition of sacrifice will run thus, viz. Cc Sacrifice is whatever is given ,or offered, "in a solemn manner, immediately to ** God, with a view- to engage in,, renew, '? or keep up friendship with him, so that ** a part, or the whole of it, is: consumed "either upon an altar, or what is used in<c stead of an altar, whether it be by fire, £c or in any other manner."
The next thing which we have to consider, is, the Author's opinion about the meaning of sacrifices, or their use and design in reference to the end mentioned. And here, if I mistake not, we shall find his sentiments neither uniform* nor supported by good evidence.
He observes, (( that it has been thought, *c that sacrifices Were external signs, by *c which the desires of people were exprefffi ed,-—and were the fame thing as prayer ** or thanksgiving, only expressed by ex-r <s ternal signs instead of wordsand that Dr. Oittram had cited passages from Abarbinel, to shew, " that the Jews thought fc their sacrifices to be a fort of symbolical fc prayers to God for pardon or blessings k." But this notion of the meaning and use of sacrifices, our Author censures and rejects
* Page 298, 299,