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§. 12. The second text which the Dr. produceth as a proof of his point, is, Prov. xv. 8. The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord; but the prayer of the upright is his delight.—In these words, there is an antithesis between what is affirmed of the sacrifice of the wicked, and what is affirmed of the prayer of the righteous. And this antithesis seems to me, to have occasioned the Dr. to conceive, that sacrifice is mentioned as a symbol of prayer: for I can find nothing else in the words, that can be thought a ground for such an inference. But the Dr. ought to consider, that, if these antitheses, which occur in any writing, were to be interpreted after this manner, the interpretation would be very absurd and ridiculous. Let us only try this new way of interpretation upon some of the antitheses which occur in the fame chapter, of which the text quoted is a part; and we shall presently perceive that the sense is rendered absurd and ridiculous by it. It is said, ver. i. A soft answer turneth away wrath; but grievous words fir up anger. ver. 2. The tongue of the wise useth knowledge aright; but the mouth of fools poureth out foolishness, ver. j. The lips of the wise disperse knowledge; but the heart of the foolish doth not so. ver. 15. The heart of him that hath understanding Jeeketh knowledge; but the mouth of fools feedeth on folly, ver. iS.~A
wrath^wrathful man Jiirreth up strife; but he that isflow to anger appeasethstrife; &c. &c. The antitheses, in each of these texts, is as clear and evident, as it is in that quoted by the Dr. Now should any person take it into his head to affirm, that the antitheses, in these several texts, are an intimation, that a soft answer is a symbol of grievous words; the tongue of the wise, of the mouth of fools; the lips of the wise, of the heart of the foolish; the heart of him that understandeth, of the mouth of fools; a wrathful man, of him that is stow to wrath; this person would think and reason in the same manner as the Dr. must be supposed to do here; but I need not say, how absurd and ridiculous his interpretation of these texts would appear to men of common fense: and yet he would have as much to fay, in support of that interpretation, as the Dr. can be supposed to have to say, in support of his interpretation of the text under consideration.—But we need not go so far abroad for a confutation of the Dr's interpretation, since there is that in the text itself which fairly subverts it. The antithesis in the text, is not an antithesis between something that is said of sacrifice, and something that is said of prayer; but an antithesis between something that is said of the sacrifice of the wicked, and something that is said of the prayer of the righteous: and, therefore, if any thing can be inferred
from from this antithesis about the symbolical nature of sacrifice, it must be this, that the sacrifice of the wicked is a symbol of the prayer of the righteous which is an absurdity so gross that it cannot be admitted; nor could it any way subserve the Dr's purpose, if it was admitted. The fense of this text appears to me to be this, viz. All the external dutys of religion which wicked men perform, even the most expensive, such as their sacrifices, are abominable and offensive to God: but all the external dutys of religion which good and righteous men perform, even those which are attended with no expence, such as prayer, are pleasing and acceptable to him. This interpretation is natural and unforced, and gives a fense to the words which is not only good but elegant. But it is so far from giving any countenance to the Dr's notion of Jewish sacrifices, that it supposes a very different notion of them. Upon the whole, I cannot fee, how this text can be thought to serve the Dr's purpose in any respect.
§. 13. The third text the Dr. mentions as a proof of his notion of the symbolical nature of Jewish sacrifices, is Hos. xiv. 2. Take with you words, and turn to the Lord, and fay unto him, Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously ; so will we offer up the bullocks of our lips. Here, the Dr. says, "Bullocks offered in sacrifice are elegantly
"put *c put for verbal prayer, or address to God:" But in this, I think, he is mistaken; for if we substitute the words, verbal prayer, in place of the words, bullocks of the lips, the fense will not be good, at least, it will be very frivolous and uncommon. When this substitution is made, the passage will run thus,—Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously ; so will we offer up to thee verbal prayer.—According to this reading, they promise to do for the future what they were doing at present, viz. to offer up verbal prayer to God; and with this promise, they enforce their prayer. This interpretation, to fay the very best of it, gives us a very jejune and frivolous fense of the prophet's words: and how consistent soever it may be thought to enforce prayer by a promise to pray on for the future, yet this doth not appear to be a very natural way of enforcing prayer; nor do I remember any instance we have of this way of proceeding in prayer, in holy scripture. Again, if, in this passage, the bullocks of the lips must be supposed to be symbolical of something, one would think that they should be symbolical rather of praise or thanksgiving, than of prayer; and that the bullocks, to which the allusion is made in this text, were those bullocks which were offered as sacrifices of thanksgiving, and not those which were offered for sin: for thus understood, the sage will have a good sense; take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously ; so will we offer unto thee the praises or thanksgivings of our lips.—But the truth is, if it were any way necessary, to understand the phrase, bullocks of the lips, in a figurative sense, there is no need for understanding it in a fense so highly figurative as the Dr's, because a lower figurative sense will do as well, if not much better. Bullocks were ordered, by the law of Moses, to be offered as sacrifices of praise or thanksgiving. These sacrifices were not, as the Dr. imagines, symbols of praise or thanksgiving; but they were real, genuine, and substantial testimonys or expressions of the gratitude of the offerers. Wherefore, since the bullocks which were offered as sacrifices of thanksgiving, were intended to be proper testimonys or expressions of the gratitude of the offerers; and since it is a thing so common and familiar in scripture, and in all other writings, to express one thing by the name of another thing, which has something in it that is similar; is it not natural to think, that this may be all that is done in the text before us; and that the praises or thanksgivings of the lips, which are expressions of the inward gratitude of the heart, are called the bullocks of the lips, in allusion to those bullocks which were offered as sacrifices of thanksgiving, which were also expressions of