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“ brother will I require the life of man. " Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man “ shall his blood be shed ; for in the image " of God made he man.
may likewise be added, as an additional argument for abstaining from blood, that it is far from being a wholesome aliment, especially in hot countries, promoting leprous and scorbutic disorders *
Some have argued, that the precept given to Noah was only intended to prohibit the eating of the flesh of animals raw, or cut off without killing the animal; but the antient Jews understood it differently; and when Mofes repeats the injunction to the Jews in particular (where it cannot but be acknowledged, that he intended to express a prohibition of the use of blood itself) he gives
* What Dr. Lardner says upon this subject is pretty remarkable.
“Blood appears to me to be very unwholesome. Indeed, I esteem it filthy, and highly disagreeable. So that I “ cannot bear the thought of eating it. If it ever comes to me “in food, it is more than I know. And I suppose it is never “ brought, either alone, or mixed with other things, to the “tables of polite people.” Remarks on Ward's Differtation, P, 132.
precisely the same reason for it as in this case. Lev. xvii.
“ Ye Ihall eat the “ blood of no manner of flesh: for the life " of all flesh is the blood thereof." It is most probable, therefore, that the two commands differ only in terms, and that they have both the very fame meaning.
It might have been imagined that, by christianity, the Gentiles, at least, had been exempted from the observance of this
precept; but among other things, which were before held innocent or indifferent by them, but which were proper to be observed after their conversion to christianity, the apostles expressly included this, when they were folemnly assembled in council, in order to write to the disciples at Antioch, who had applied to them about their obligation to observe the laws of Mofes. And though it is not expressly said, that they were particularly directed by God to decide in this manner, yet it seems to be implied, when they say, that it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, sa well as to themselves, Acts xv. 28. “ It “ seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to “ us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things; that ye
ab. “ stain from meats offered to idols, and “ from blood, and from things strangled, " and from fornication : from which, if ye
keep yourselves, ye shall do well.”
It is said by some, and especially Dr. Lardner, that this was only a temporary provision, designed to prevent giving offence to the Jews; but, in answer to this, it may be said, that there is no intimation, or hint, of its being temporary, or any mention made of a time when the prohibition was to cease; and the apostle John wrote after the destruction of Jerusalem, when it cannot be pretended, that there was any necessity for observing so much tenderness with respect to the Jews.
Moreover, it is not impossible, but that our Lord himself might refer to this decree of the apostles, and thereby give his fanction to it, when, in his message to the church at Thyatira, he says, Rev. ii. 24. “ I will put upon you none other burden.
“ But that which ye have already, hold fast “ till I come.” No moral precept is ever properly called a burden in the scriptures; and, therefore, they are probably some observances of a ceremonial nature, that are referred to; and the very
same word, Best, burden, is made use of, both by the apostles, and by our Lord on this occasion *.
may seem extraordinary, that the prohibition of fornication should be joined to that of eating blood, in the same decree; but it should be considered, that fornication was not thought to be an immorality by the Gentiles; and even the Jews had not the same ideas of chastity and purity in this respect, which are enjoined upon christians.
It appears to me rather extraordinary, that Dr. Lardner should be of opinion, that our Lord refers to this apoftolical decree in the Revelation, which he supposes to have been written in the year 95 or 96, a long time after the destruction of Jerusalem, and yet that it hould have been intended to continue in force only till bis religion had made greater progress in the world; as if that was the meaning of his coming : whereas, I do not think, that any thing else in the language of the New Testament would lead us to conclude, that this phrase was applicable to any other than fome determinate event, and especially the deftruction of Jerusalem, or the time of the final judgment. See Remarks on Ward's Differtations, p. 122.
Dr. Lardner supposes that, by fornication in the apostolical decree, we are to understand marriage with heathens, from which the aposle Paul so earnestly dissuades the christians at Corinth.
Dr. Lardner also supposes, that, « decree is not to be understood as a pre
cept or commandment, but as advice “ and counsel, concerning matters of pru“ dence and expedience, considering the “ circumstances of things and persons in " that time.” Remarks on Ward's Dissertations, page 141. But it cannot be denied, that it becomes all christians to yield to such advice and counsel, if it extend to them. And if, as he allows, it did extend to christians after the destruction of Jerufalem, I do not see that there is not equal reason why it should extend to us. And one of the reasons for abstaining from blood, which was hinted at when the prohibition was given to Noah, is of as much weight now as ever it was.