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print on their skin various indelible marks, being figures and characters expressive of their devotedness to their gods, which must have been a painful operation. But this was also forbidden to the Hebrews, Lev. xix. 27, “ Ye “ shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for “ the dead, nor print any marks upon you, I 66 am the Lord.”
8. If the extreme of austerity was with fo much care avoided in the Hebrew institutions, that of sensual indulgence was avoided with more. Every incentive to lewdness, which was encouraged, and openly practised, in the heathen temples, was far removed from the worship of Jehovah. The heathens were fond of worshipping on the tops of mountains, and in groves, in which every species of abomination was committed; and for this reason both were forbidden in the Hebrew worship, Deut. vi. 21. 6 Thou shalt not plant thee a grove “ near to the altar of the Lord thy God, which rs thou shalt make unto him.”
In the rites of some of the heathen deities men were habited like women, and women like men. This was more especially the cafe in the worship of Venus. This manner of worship was also common among the Syrians,
and Africans, and thence it passed into Europe, the Phænicians having brought it to Cyprus. In a religious rite of the Argives, Plutarch says the women were clothed like men, and men like women. But in the laws of Moses it is faid, Deut. xxii. 5, “ The woman shall not “ wear that which appertaineth unto man, “neither shall a man put on a woman's gar“ ment. For all that do fo are an abomination “ to the Lord thy God.”
You have seen that the heathens had places adjoining to their temples, in which both men and women prostituted themselves in honour of their deities, and to augment the revenues of the place. With a view, no doubt, to this abominable custom, the Hebrews were commanded to avoid these practices.' Lev. xix. 9, “ Do not prostitute thy daughter, to cause her “ to be a whore, left the land fall into whore66 dom, and the land become full of wicked“ ness. Ye shall keep my fabbaths, and re“ verence my fanctuary, I am the Lord your 66 God.”
9. A superstitious respect for the heathen temples and altars made them asylums for all kinds of criminals, and it was deemed the greatest act of impiety to take any person from
thence, whatever his guilt had been, and however clear the proof of it. But this was not the case in the religion of the Hebrews, which Voltaire represents as the extreme of the most detestable superstition. Ex. xxi, 12, “ He that smiteth a man so that he die, shall “ surely be put to death. If a man lie not 66 in wait, but God deliver him into his hand, " then will I appoint thee a place whither he “ shall flee. But if a man come presumptu6 ously upon his neighbour, and slay him “ with guile, thou shalt take him from mine 66 altar, that he may die.” Where then do we find the proper characters of superstition, and where are those of good policy and good sense ?
DISCOURSE VI. The Excellence of the Mosaic Institutions.
Behold I have taught you statutes and judgments,
even as the Lord my God commanded me, that ye should do so in the land whither ye go to polless it. Keep therefore and do them. For this is your wisdom and understanding, in the fight of the nations which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people. For what nation is there so great, who hath God fo near unto them as the Lord your God is, in all things that ye call upon for; and what nation is there fo great that hath statutes and judgments fo righteous, as all this law which I set before you this day?
: :..: Deut. iv. 5–8.
In my last Discourse I began to give you a general view of the religious institutions of Moses, corresponding to that which, in two preceding Discourses, I gave you of the re
ligion of the heathens, to which they were opposed : in order to enable you to judge whether it was probable that the former were devised by men, or were of divine origin. You have seen that, in a variety of important respects, the religion of the Hebrew's, said by unbelievers to be a barbarous and superstitious people, had doctrines and rites infinitely superior to those of the heathens. I particularly mentioned the great doctrine of the scriptures concerning the unity of God, in opposition to the multiplicity of heathen deities, his being represented as having no definite form, so as to be worshipped under any image, his attributes of creating and governing the world, his omnipresence, omniscience, and infinite wisdom, the perfection of his moral character, and his making the strictest virtue the great end of his worship. I mentioned the decency of all the religious festivals of the Hebrews, as the reverse of the licentiousness encouraged in those of the heathens, and at the same time their freedom from any unnecessary or painful austerity, and the peculiar abhorrence in which human sacrifices, and other rites of
the heathen worship, were held by the He· brews. I also observed that the Hebrew