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§ 372. officers in the syNAGogues. 471
III. The collectors of alms, HRTs "sza, &&zovot, deacons. Although every thing, which is said of them by the Jews, was not true concerning them in the time of the Apostles, there can be no doubt, that there were such officers in the Synagogues at that time, Acts 6: 1, et seq. IV. The servants of the Synagogue, Tori, witngèrns, Luke 4:20; whose business it was to reach the Book of the Law to the person, who was to read it, and to receive it back again, and to perform other services. The ceremonies, which prevail in the Synagogues at the present day, in presenting the Law, were not observed in the time of our Saviour. V. The messenger or legate of the Synagogue, nãzs no. This was a person, who was sent from Synagogues abroad, to carry alms to Jerusalem, Philipp. 2:25. I Cor. 16:1–4. This name, (messenger of the Synagogue,) was applied likewise to any person,) who was commissioned by a Synagogue, and sent forth to propagate religious knowledge, Acts 14:4. Rom. 16: 7. 2 Cor. 8: 23. The person likewise was denominated the messenger, &yyoos, &yyskog tos éxxâmolus, etc. who was selected by the assembly to recite for them the prayers; the same that is called by the Jews of modern times the Synagogue-singer or CANTilAtoR, Rev. 2:1, S, 12, 18. 3:1, 7, 14. Vitringa de synagogA vet. Lib. III. P. I. c. 1, et. 2. P. II. 6, 1–3. Note. The Jews anciently called those persons, who, from their superiour erudition, were capable of teaching in the Synagogue, Eve: -e, shepherds or pastors. They applied the same term, at least in more recent times, to the elders of the Synagogue, and also to the collectors of alms or deacons. The ground of the application of this term in such a way, is as follows. The word bone is, without doubt, derived from the Greek word tigvog, bread or a fragment of bread, and, as it is used in the Targums, it corresponds to the Hebrew verb Hso to feed. It is easy to see, therefore, how the word bi-le might be applied to persons, who sustained offices in the Synagogue, in the same way that Hyn is applied to kings, etc. In the time of Christ, however, learned men generally were called by this name, (="8:-le.) pastors; in allusion to the sentiment, which prevailed among the Stoics, viz. that wise or learned men alone were true kings. Comp. Philo de Agricult, p. 150.
OF SACRED THINGS.
§ 373. ON the Question, What is a Sacrifice?
A sacrifice is that, which is offered directly to God, and is in some way destroyed or changed, which is done, as far as respects the flesh employed in the sacrifice, by burning it, and as far as concerns the libation, by pouring it out. [“It differs from an oblation in this ; in a sacrifice, there must be a real change or destruction of the thing offered; whereas an oblation is but a simple offering or gift.” CALMet.]
It is, accordingly, to be understood, that neither the wood necessary for cherishing the fire of the altar, nor any presents, which might at any time be offered for the use of the temple or sanctuary, are properly called sacrifices, but Top, Hong and Ho-n; words, which, it is true, are in some instances applied to sacrifices, but which are nevertheless, of broader signification, and comprehend every thing, that was in any way employed in, or offered for sacred
§ 374. ON the ORIGIN of Sacrifices.
SAcrifices, as it would seem, according to the accounts given us in Genesis, were coeval with the existence of the human race, Gen. 4:3–5. 8:20. 12: 7. 13:4. 15:9–21. 22: 13. Moses, therefore, merely fixed more definitely, than had hitherto been done, the ceremonies, which were to be employed, when sacrifices, which existed among all ancient nations, were offered. (Compare Lev. 1: 2.)
In respect to the origin of sacrifices, whether it was human or divine, it must be admitted, that they cannot be shown by clear and decisive arguments to have arisen originally from any com
§ 374. on the origin of SACRIFICEs. 473
munications from God in regard to them, since no express divine command to this effect is recorded, and since their origin can perhaps be explained, by a reference to a principle of gratitude, which would prompt men to offer to God a portion of those gifts, which they had received.
On the other hand, it is by no means clear, that they were not of divine origin, since the accounts in the fragmentary documents, which compose the eleven first chapters of Genesis, are very concise, and it is possible, that the divine communications, from which they may have originated, are omitted in those accounts; the more so, when it is remembered, that God, in Gen. 15: 9. commands sacrifice to be offered, and in other places approves of this religious rite. If it should be objected, that in some passages sacrifices are represented, as not being approved of God, viz. in Is. 1: 11 —18. Jer. 6: 20. Hos. 6: 6. Mal. 1: 10. the answer is, that the discourse in those passages is concerning sacrifices, as mere rites, or efficacious means of themselves, without taking into consideration the state of the mind. Furthermore, it has been clearly shown by Ernesti, (vindici AE Abitrii divini IN REligione constituENDA,) that it was not unworthy of God, and not at war with the equity of his character, to introduce arbitrary religious exercises or ceremonies of such a nature, that human reason itself could not object to them as improper, and which suited the infancy of our race.
In defence of the opinion, that sacrifices were of divine origimal, we observe further, that the supposition is hardly a reasonable one, that all external worship should have been left to the mere will of the earliest of our race, who were such children in knowledge. This remark is especially true, as far as concerns bloody sacrifices, or the slaying of animals in sacrifice, which was something evidently above the invention of those early periods.
It is not, therefore, improbable, although nothing is expressly said to this effect, that God taught our first parents by the death of animals, whose skins were used as clothing, not only what they themselves deserved on account of their sins, but also gave them to understand, that animals should be often slain, in order to remind them of guilt and punishment. Perhaps the idea occurred to them of itself, when first called upon to witness the sudden and violent death of animals.
474 $ 375. of the division or kinds of sacrifices.
If, however, these views be incorrect, if it were the fact, that sacrifices were of merely human origin, they, nevertheless, had a meaning. They, in this case, resulted from, and were the indications of a grateful and reverential state of the mind towards God, and were the means of acknowledging God in a solemn manner, as the great and universal ruler, and as the source and sustainer of life, as well as all other things.
§ 375. Of the Division of Kinds of Sacrifices.
The only sacrifices, which are mentioned previously to the time of Moses, are the whole burntoffering, the thankoffering, and the sacrifice, by which covenants were confirmed. No others are mentioned, and very little is said in respect to the ceremonies, which attended these. Nothing is said, previously to that period, of sacrifices for sins and trespasses, of libations, of mealofferings, and the like. Moses was the first among the descendants of the patriarchs, who reduced the subject of sacrifices to some system. He accommodated those, which had existed from the days of the fathers, to the circumstances of the times, in which he lived, and increased the number of the ceremonies, which were attendant upon them. His object in thus doing, was, to prevent the Hebrews from being led astray by the superiour pomp of the Gentiles on such occasions, (who had already made sacrifices a systematic part of their worship ;) to impress their minds the more deeply, by a repetition of public religious exercises, with ideas of a religious nature; to excite in the people a spirit of gratitude towards God, and a disposition to maintain his commands. It may be added, that the new relation, which the people had now entered into by accepting God for their king, required an augmentation of the ceremonies, and an increase of the splendour of their religion. Some of the sacrifices, that were authorized by the Mosaic ritual were bloody, (slain victims;) others were not ; the latter consisted of cakes, wafers, meal, and libations of wine. The bloody sacrifices were some of them expiatory, and some of them thankofferings. The expiatory offerings were either holocausts, sacrifices for sin, or trespass-offerings. The holocausts and sacrifices for sin § 376. The place of sacrifices. 475
were to be offered not only for individuals, but for the whole people. The expiatory sacrifices secured no expiation in a moral, but merely in a civil point of view, and were accepted of God not in his character of moral, but political ruler. Sacrifices of this kind were slain to the North of the altar, and were regarded, as most holy, pop go. The person, who brought the sacrifice, if it were an expiatory one, had no share in it himself, Lev. 6: 18, 22. 7: 1. 10: 17. 14: 13.
The thankoffering sacrifice was slain to the South of the altar, and when the parts, which were to be burnt, were placed upon the fire, and the portions, which pertained to them, were given to the priests, the rest of the parts were allotted to the person, who brought the sacrifice; with the exception to be made in the case of the first-born of animals, which, when offered, were given wholly to the priests.
Note. The division of sacrifices, which was made by the old scholastic theologians, viz. into those of adoration, supplication, thanks, and expiation, is not found in the laws of Moses.
§ 376. The Place of Sacrifices.
Sacrifices, according to the laws of Moses, could not be offered, except by the priests; and at no other place, than on the altar of the tabernacle or the temple. Furthermore, they were not to be offered to idols, nor with any superstitious rites. See Lev. 17: 1–7. Deut. 12: 15, 16. Without these precautionary measures, the true religion would hardly have been secure.
lf a different arrangement had been adopted, if the priests had been scattered about to various altars, without being subjected to the salutary restraint, which would result from a mutual observation of each other, they would no doubt some of them have willingly consented to the worship of idols, and others, in their separate situation, would not have been in a condition to resist the wishes of the multitude, had those wishes been wrong.
The necessity of sacrificing at one altar, (that of the tabernacle or temple,) is frequently and emphatically insisted on, Deut. 12: 13, 14; and all other altars are disapproved, Lev. 26: 30, comp. Josh. 22: 9–34. Notwithstanding this, it appears, that, subse