Page images
PDF
EPUB

by his death, as the passover was of the deliverance of the Hebrews on: of Egypt. Of the T'entecost.

The second folemn festival of the Jews was the Pen

ve tecost. It was so called by the Greeks (z), because it was kept on the fiftieth day after the feast of unleavened bread, i. e. after the fifteenth of March (a). It was otherwise named the feast of weeks (6), because they celebrated it feven weeks after the passover ; and also the feast of harvest, because on it the first-fruits of the harvest were offered up to God. The law having been given from mount Sinai upon that day, as the Jews pretend, this festival was appointed for a memorial of this great favour. They then offered two cakes made of new wheat, which were not carried up to the altar, because they were leavened (c). One of them belonged to the priests then upon duty, and the other to those priests and Levites that kept the watch. They were obliged to eat them that very day in the temple, and to leave nothing of them re: maining. This oblation was accompanied with great numbers of sacrifices, and several other offerings and libations. The feast of Pentecost lasted but one day, and was kept with abundance of mirth and rejoic. ing. We have nothing further to observe about it with relation to the New Testament, except this, That the new law, or the gospel, was fully confirmed on this day of Pentecost by the Holy Ghost descendiog upon the Apostles. Of the day of

As the day of expiation happened between the Pentecost

and the feast of tabernacles, it will be proper to speak of it " in this place, though it was of a quite different nature from other festivals, and cannot be properly stiled one. It was celebrated the tenth day of the month Tisri (d); and was named the great falf, or the fas only, because they fasted all the day long, and began even the day before, but especially because this was the only fast enjoined by the law. This probably is the fast mentioned in the Acts (e), where it is said, that they were afraid of a storm, because the fast was already pasi; that is, it was about the beginning of October, when failing becomes dangerous. It may however be understood of a fast of the beathens, which was celebrated about this time, as we have observed on that place.

The institution of this day, and the ceremonies performed upon it, may be seen in the sixteenth chapter of Leviticus. Of those ceremonies fome were to be observed both by the priest and people, as the abstain ing from all kind of food, and all manner of work; others related only to the high-prielt A). Seven days before the feast he left his house, and went into the temple, to purify and get himself ready against the approaching solemnity. On the third, aud seventh, some of the ashes of the red heifer were put upon his head, which was a kind of expiation. The night before the feast, he washed several times his hands,

the tenth day of the cannot be porno it was of a qu

hii

(7) Daytixhen.

(a) Levit. xxiii. 10, 15, 16. ló) Jof. Antiq. I. iii. c. 10. (c) Exod. xxxiv, 25.' (d, Which was the first month of the civil year. (c) Acts xxvij. 9.

(f) Lev. xvi. 29. & xxiii. 27, 28.

others both for For his fara led his own chat were

and carried ive from one oreckoned a bheired, peop

his feet, and his whole body, and changed his garments every time. When the day was come, after the us al sacrifice. he offered several others both for the priests in general, and for himself and his family in particular (*). For his famn ly he offered a young bullock, on which he laid his hands, and confessed his own lins, and those of his house. He afterwards cast lots upon two goats, that were offered for the people, one whereof was to be sacrificed, and the other sent into the desert (g). From thence he came back and flew the calf and the ram that were appointed for the expiation of his own fins, and those of his brethren the priests.

When all these preparations were over, he went into the Holy of Holies, in the dress of a con mon priest (+), and burned before the mercyfiat the perfumes which he had brought from the altar. This perfume raised a kind of a cloud, that hindered people from looking into the ark (h), which was reckoned a heinous offence. Then he came out to receive from one of the priests the blood of the young bullock, and carried it into the Holy of Holies, where ftanding between the staves of the ark, he sprinkled some of it with his finger upon the mercy.feat (i). And by this ceremony he made himself fit to atone for the sins of the people. Afterwards he came out of the Holy of Holies, to take the blood of the goat he had nain (k), which he sprinkled upon the mercy- eat, as he had done that of the bullock before. He came once more out of the Holy of Holies, and took some of the blood of the goat and bullock, which he poured into the horns of the inner altar (ID). near the vail that divided the holy place from the most holy, and also on the basis of the outer altar. Each of these sprinklings was done feven times. Lastly, the high-priest laid both his hands upon the head of the other goat, and had him conveyed into the wilderness by a fit person, after he had confessed over him the sins of the people, and laid them upon his head (1).

This was a very expressive ceremony. The sins of the people were done way by the sacrifice of the first goat, and to thew that they would no more be had in remembrance, the second was loaden with " them (*), and carried them with him into the wilderness, which was thought to be the abode of devils (+), the authors of all vice and ini

quity. (*) They offered on that day 13 facrifices, viz. 12 whole burnt-offerings and other expiatory facrifices both for the people and priests. (8) Lev. xvi. 8.

(+) Becaute this was a day of affliction, (b) Lev. xvi. 12, 13. i Sam, vi. 19. . (i) Levit. xvi. 14. ik) Ibid. v. 18. (ID) Which were hollow for that purpose. See before page 144, &c. (1) Lev. xvi. 21, 22, 23.

(*) This goat was called azazel, that is, according to fime a devil, because it was sent away with the fins of the people, as hath been said elsewhere. The LXX. have rendered it by a word that lignities to remove or turn away evil. The word azazel may also signify an emisary or fcape-goat, from the word [AZ] which fignifies a goat, and azal to separaie. See Prid. Conn, P. II. B, Ī, under the year 291.

(+) It was a common opinion among the ancient Hebrew's, that deserts and uninhabited places were the abode of devilo Matt. xii. 43. Rev. xviii. 2. W

quity. And therefore the people were wont to insult over and curse him, to spit upon him, to pluck off his hair, and in short to use him as an accursed thing. There appear no foot-steps of this usage in the law, but it is certain that it was very ancient, since St. Barnabas (m), who was cotemporary with the Apostles, makes express mention of it. The ill treatment Jesus Christ met with from the Jews, had some conformity with this custom, and it is evident that his enemies dealt with him in the same manner as they were used to do with the goat azazel, as Tertullian hath observed (12). It is very probable that the ancient Jews took occasion from some passages out of the prophets (0), to bring in the custom of insulting thus the goat azazel, and crowning him with a red ribbon (t).

If it be asked, For what reason God was pleased to chuse the vilest and most dispicable of those animals that were clean, to be offered on the days of expiation, we shall answer with some learned authors (0): that the Egyptians entertaining a very great veneration for goats, and the. Israelites themselves having worshipped them in Egypt (7), God's design was to turn them from this kind of idolatry, by appointing the one to be offered for a sacrifice, and the other to be loaden with the iniquities of the people.

When the high-priest had performed all these functions, he went into the court of women, and read some part of the law. Lally, he came the fourth time into the Holy of Holies to fetch back the censer, and the pan wherein the fire was. When therefore it is faid in fcripture (r), that the high-prielt entered only once a year into the Holy of Holies, it must be understood of one day in the year, and not of ince on that day. Every thing was done in order, and when one function was over, he was obliged to come out and perform other cere. monies; which, according to the law, could not be done in the most holy place, as washing himself, changing his clothes, slaying the facrifices, &c.

We have dwelt the longer upon this feast, because it hath a greater conformity with the Christian religion than any other, since through all its parts it was typical of the most important mysteries of Christianity. The feast in general was a most lively representation of the atonement which was made for the sins of mankind by the blood of Jesus CHRIST. It is observable that Philo-Judæus had some notion of this truth, for he says (s), that the word of God, whereby he means the Son,

is

(m) Ep. p. m. 22. This epille must have been written not long after the destruction of Jeruialem.

(n) Tertull. ad v. Jud. I. iii. 3.
(0) Isa. i. 6. 1. 6. liii. 3. Zechar, xii. 10.

(3) Or, a piece of red tuft which was in the shape of a tongue, faith Lama, P, 134. It was also the cuitom among ibe heathens to load with curles and imprecations those human facrifices that were offered for the publick wuliaic, and to crown them with red ribbons. See Virg. En. l. 2. V, 133.

(p) Bochart. de Animal. Sac. Ser. l. i. c. 53.
(9) Lev, xvij. 7. (r) Exod. xXx. 10. Lev. xvi. 34. Heb. ix. 7.

Phil. de Somo. p. m. 4+7.

every page of the last (4), and fuchionnot only for cure propitiation

is the head and glory of the propitiation, i. e. of what renders men aca ceptable to God. These passages of scripture, that JESUS CHRIST gave himself a ransom for many (1), that he was made the propitiation for our fins (u), that he was the propitiation not only for our sins, but also for those of the whole world (x), and such like expressions that occur almost in every page of the gospel, can mean nothing more, but that Jesus CHRIST hath, by the sacrifice of himself, performed that which was only prefigured by those of the law, and particularly by the general and solemn expiation we are now speaking of. The same Jewish author quoted just before, had also some notion of this matter. It will be proper to set down his very words, not as if we thought they were any confirmation of the Christian revelation, but only to sew that these were truths which the wiselt part of the nation acknowledged, and had found out by close and serious meditation. He faith then, that whereas the priests of other nations offered sacrifices for their own country-men only, the high-priest of the Jews offered for all mankind, and for the whole creation (y).

And not only these facrifices that were offered on the day of expiation were a more exact representation of the sacrifice of JESUS CHRisT than any other, but also the person, by whom the atonement was made, was in every respect qualified to represent the high-priest of the Christian church. And that,

1. Upon the account of his dignity, which, according to the Jews, was at its utmost height, when he entered into the Holy of Holies. For which reason he was called Great among his brethren (Z): this dignity was so very considerable, that Philo does not scruple to say, according to his lofty and rhetorical way of speaking, that the high-priest was to be something more than human, that he more nearly resembled God than all the rest, that he partook both of the divine and human nature (*). It seems to have been with a design of expressing both the holiness and dignity of the high-priest, that the law had injoined none should remain in the tabernacle, whilst the high-priest went into the Holy of Holies (a).

2. He further represented our high-priest by his holiness. We have Thewed before what extraordinary care the law had taken to distinguish him from his brethren in this respect. It was to denote this holiness, that in the anointing of the high-priest a greater quantity of oil was used, than in that of his brethren, from whence he was called the priest anointed (6). Nothing can better represent the great holiness of Jesus CHRIST than this great plenty of oil used in the consecration of Aaron, and it was undoubtedly with allusion to this anointing, that Jesus Christ is stiled in scripture the holy one, by way of eminence (c). 3. He represented Jesus Christ by his being on that day a mediator

between

(t) Matth. xx. 28. (1) 1 John iv. 10. (x) i John ii. 2.
(y) Philo de monar. p. 637.

(3) Lev. xxi.
(*) Philo de monar. p. 63. de Somn. 872. (a) Lev.xvi, 17.
(6) Levit. iv. 3. 5.

(c) Acts iii. 14. Rev. ill. 7,

between God and the people. For though Moses be called a mediator in the New Testament, yet it is certain that the high-priest was invested with this office on the day of expiation. Moses mult indeed be acknow. Jedged as a mediator, God having by his means made a covenant with the children of Israel. But as they were very apt to transgress the law, it was necessary there should be a mediator, who by his intercession and facrifices, might reconcile them to God. Now this was the high. priest's function. So that Moses and Aaron were exact types of the two-fold mediation of JESUS CHRIST. By him was the new crvenant made, and by his own blood hath he for ever reconciled God to mankind.

4. The entrance of Jesus Christ into heaven once for all, there to present his own blood to God, as an atonement for our fios, was very clearly typified by the high-priest's going once a year into the Holy of Holies with the blood of the victiins (a).

As for the two goats, we learn from the epistle of St. Barnabas, as quoted above, that they were even then looked upon as typical. They both represented the same thing, but under different ideas. The offering of the one was a manifest token of the people's iniquities being remitted and forgiven ; and the sending of the other into the wilderness Mewed, that they were carried away, or blotted out of God's remembrance. To which there seems to be an allusion in the prophet Isaiah (e), when it is said, that God casts fins behind his back, and in the bottom of the sea. The sacrifice of Jesus Christ may be considered under these two different views, he hath done away our sins, hath taken them upon himself, and nailed them to his cross (f). Of fasts.

It hath been already observed that the only fast appointed se by the law, was the day of expiation. The institution of the other Jewish fasts is however of a very ancient date. We find mention in the prophet Zechariah of a fast of the fourth, fifth, seventh, and tenth month (8). From whence the Jews undoubtedly took an occasion of celebrating four folemn fasts in remembrance of some particular cala. mities or misfortunes. That which was kept on the 17th of June, for instance, was, to put them in mind of Moses's breaking the two tables of the law, and of other mischances that happened on the same day (h). The faft that fell on the oth of July, was appointed upon account of the teinple's having first been burnt on that day by Nebuchadnezzar, and afterwards by Tirus. This fast was the most folemn of the four, and which every person was obliged to observe. The next fabbath after is, the fortieth chapter of Ifaiah was read, which begins with these words, Comfort ze my people, &c. From whence the consolation of Israel (1) came to be used to denote the coming of the Mefliah. On the faft which was kept the third day of Sepiember, they mourned for the death of Gedaliah, who had been appointed ruler over the Jews that remained in the land of Israel, when the reft were carried away captive to Ba

. bylon,

of the law, and to put them in which was kept on some particulaation of ther tatt that fell on't mischances thar holes's breaking the of June, for and afteple's having" fühe 9th of Julho

muy people che

sepiemiler overried awa

(0) Heb. ix. 12. 24. (3) Zech. vin. 19.

re) Isa. xxxviii. 17.
(b) Exod. xxxii, 19.

(f) 1 Pet. ii, 24 (1) Luke-ii, 25.

« PreviousContinue »