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than by internal regulations. But the prins cipal and final aim of all this ordinance was to shadow forth the moral purity required of those, who would be acceptable in the fight of God. Thus the rite, by which they were instituted into the Legal Covenant, was expressive of the duty imposed upon them to renounce and abandon every species of impurity. To the fame purpose also was that variety of washings and sacrifices and other ri. tual observances ordained by the fame authority; the spirit of all which, as their law expressly taught, was “ that they might be clean from all their fins before the Lord.” And indeed it was allowed by the wise and good among them, that as the Ceremonial was a shadow of the Moral Law, it was no otherwise acceptable in the fight of God, than as it was accompanied with a faithful observance of moral purity. Thus the Psalmist, when he humbled himself in penitence for his sin, makes this confession to God; “ Thou desirest no facrifice, else would I give it thee: but thou delightest not in burnt offerings."
Though facrifices and offerings of various kinds had been expressly enjoined by their divine Lawgiver, yet unless accompanied by moral services, they would not be pleasing to him, nor available to the pardon and acceptance
of the worshipper : “ The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: A broken and contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.” Accordingly the Pfalmift thus devoutly and in spirit prays; “ Wash me from mine iniquities; and cleanse me from my fin. Create in me a clean heart; and renew a right fpirit within me b."
Thus also Isaiah in reproof of his countrymen declares, that the multitude of their facrifices, oblations, and folemn observances were fo far from being acceptable to God, though they all were of his appointment, that they were hateful in his fight, because they were offered by hands that were stained with blood and defiled with iniquity. For the recovery of the divine favour he exhorts them to purify themselves in a moral sense, by a complete repentance from fin and a total amendment of life ; “ Wash you, make you clean: put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes ; cease to do evil ; learn to do well ; seek judgment, relieve the opprefled, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow." On condition of which radical change and renovation of spirit they might hope for the pardon and the peace of God. “Though
b Psa. li. 2, 10, 16, 17.
their fins were as scarlet, they should be white as snow ; though they were red like crimfon, they should be as wool.”
Notwithstanding this remonstrance of the Prophet, and many more injunctions to the like effect, it was a prevailing error, even among those who professed themselves to be masters of divine truth in Israel, to cultivate the ritual, yet forget the moral Law, to observe the letter, but overlook the spirit of the Mosaic ordinances. This especially was the error of the Pharisees and Scribes; who accordingly are open to our Lord's reproof for washing their hands with punctilious attention, yet neglecting to purify themselves from the grosser turpitude of extortion and excefs ; for scrupulously paying tithe of mint, anise, and cummin, yet carelessly disregarding the weightier matters of judgment, mercy, and faith; for outwardly appearing righteous unto men, yet inwardly being full of hypocrisy and iniquity d.
To rectify the understandings and the hearts of men in this important branch of human duty he pronounced a Blessing on the Pure in heart. In support of the character, which he thus proposed to the cultivation of his Dif
clfa. i. 10–18.
Mat. xxiii. 23, &c.
ciples, he stands forward himself a full and perfect Exemplar. He was pure and spotless both in heart and life. Though he submitted to all the other infirmities of our nature, he was totally free from every moral stain. When he offered himself a propitiation for our sins, he had that essential quality of an acceptable facrifice in its true and spiritual purpose, that he was without blemish and without spot. Thus being essentially holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from finners, he was not only qualified to make a full atonement for sin, but also to yield a complete example of holiness. And while he shewed in himself an unexceptionable pattern of moral purity, he was able to impress it with greater weight and influence on the hearts of his Disciples. To this intent the Prophet Malachi had foretold, that he should purify the Sons of Levi, as gold and silver is purified, that they might offer to the Lord an offering in righteoufnesse
As it became him to fulfil all righteousness, he not only exemplified the Moral Law in all its parts, but he submitted also to the observ. ance of the whole Mosaic ritual. And as in his infant years he had undergone the initiatory rite of that Covenant, and in the capacity of eldest born had been presented in the temple and redeemed by the appointed offering; so when he arrived at maturity of years, he regularly attended the more folemn ordinances of the temple; he paid the accustomed tributes; he performed the established services; and when he had healed any lepers, he enjoined them to Thew themselves to the Priest, and to offer the gift, which Mofes had commanded. Yet may it be collected from the fpirit of his conversation, that he did not insist upon a continued observance of the Mosaic ritual as an obligatory law upon the professors of his faith. Thus when he signified, that the time was come, when they should no longer worship God either at Jerusalem or at any other fixed and peculiar seat of public worship, he no doubt implied, that with the appropriate place the appropriate folemnities of that place should cease: as indeed may be clearly inferred from the sequel; “ For the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in fpirit and in truth : for the Father seeketh such to worship him.” Nor was it expedient that men should be tenacious of the semblance, when once they
e Mal. iii. 3.