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Holy things ought to be used with a great deal of Reverence, and by Men of Holiness and Purity. And for this Reason their constant Custom was, before they went to their Sacrifical Banquets, to prepare themselves with many previous Rites and Ceremonies, supposing, that thereby they did Sanctifie, and fit themselves for the Service of their Deities. Thus the Pagan
Priests were wont to forFarinam fermento imbutam bear the very touching of attingere, ei fas non est. Aul. Gell. de Flam. Dial. Nolt: any Bread that was LeaArtic
. lib. 10. C. 1'5. Of these vened, left they should be in Sacror. to Sacrificior, descrip: forts of Lustrations and Preparatory Rites, See Stuckius polluted. They used many, pag. 79. &c. Gyrald. Hift. Di. orum Syntag: 17. P. 427. Natal
. Washings, cleansing as well Mythol. lib. 1. c. 9., 6. 14. their Cloathes Alex. ab Alex. Gen. dier, 1. 4.
as their Bodies (especially their
Hands) with the Purest Water, that was appropriated to that purpose. They abstained for many days before hand from Eating of Flesh, and from Drinking of Wine. They refrained from the Nuptial Bed, and from all Carnal Pleasures, using many Artificial Methods, to subdue and Mortifie their Sensual Appetites. And when the time for Sacrificing was come, they arrayed them- . selves with clean and spotless Garments, which they called their Holy and Religious Dress. Nor was this the Practice of the
he Priests only. For all the People that te were to Eat and Drink before their Deities,
were required also to Prepare and Purifie themselves throughly after their way ; believing that the
outward Sanctifications of their Bodies, did serve to Sanctifie and Cleanse their very Souls and Spirits. Thus they were wont to wash themselves often; to give themselves to Fastings and much Abstinence; to deny themselves those Fleshly Satisfactions, which at other times were lawful. Their Custom too, wasto make folemn acknowledgments of the Sins of their Lives, Praying to their Gods not to take Vengeance upon them. If any Man had his Hands Defiled with Blood, or was polluted and stained with any gross Wickedness, he was not to come to the Altar: And when their Services were See the Aubeginning, Proclamation was made, mis thors abore mnde, who are here? Whereunto they Answered, tomói, neganton, that is, Many and Good Men: And if any was found there, that was known to be otherwise, or to be in'a State of Guilt, he was turned out of the Company of the Réft; the very Heathens believing, that none
In Sacrificiis rite celebrandis were fit to meddle with things majorem nullam ceremoniam fuSacrificed, but such as were ifje videmus,quam nihil fibi conUpright in Mind, and void seire, bonos ac pios eje. Gyrala.
Syntag, 17. pag. 492. of an Evil Conscience.
AND as touching the Jews, every one knows how strictly they were commanded to Cleanse and Purifie themselves,according to the Sanctifications of the Law, before they presumed to Eat and Drink before the Holy One of Israel; especially at the Paschal Supper, in lieu whereof this Christian Solemnity is substituted and appointed : No Man was permitted to partake of the Passover, that was not duly Prepared for it. by the. Rite of Cir. cumcision. No Proselyte was suffered to come, that was not first Sanctified and fitted for it, according as the Law directed in that cafe. None that were in their Uncleanness, or in any respect legally. Impure, whether Men or Women, were to be admitted, till they were cleansed from their Pollutions. Nay, not the People themselves only, but their very Houses also'were to be free from all defilements. And hence it was, that some days before the Feast, they purged all manner of Leaven out of their Rooms; and for fear any ferment should remain in any part of their dwellings , they were wont, the Night before the Passover, to search with a Candle into every hole in their walls, and into every chink and crevise in their Floors. And whatsoever Leaven was found, their Custom was to burn it, using
this Form of words, Let all the Leaven, and every Leavened thing that is with
me, whether I have seen or not seen it, whether
Synag. I have carryed it forth or no,
or no, be disipated and destroyed, and accounted as the dust of the Earth : By which Solemn way of Imprecation, the Jews did clear themfelves of Guilt, and protested their Innocence to the utmost of their knowledge. And when the Hour was come for the Eating of the Passover, before they fat down, the Feet of the Commmunicants were washed, as at other Feasts ; only it is to be Noted, that at this Banquet they washed twice, to fhew the Preeminence,
great Dignity of this Religious Solemnity above the rest.
SEEING then this was the general Practice of the Fews and Gentiles both, it abundantly argues it to have been the common Sense of all Mankind, that
great and strict Preparations were necessary, bei fore they durst present any Sacrifice unto
God, or Feast together upon any parts
Holy Table, to Feast together upon a Sao crificed Saviour, the Spotless Lamb of God which taketh away the Sins of the world. For this is a Feast of the Highest and Noblest Nature, that ever was. We have an Altar, whereof, neither Heathen nor few, hath any right to Eat : And we have a Sacrifice to partake of, which is infinitely better than thousand of Rams, and ten thousands of Rivers of Oyi. For here we feed on the Son of God himself, Christ our Passover, that was Sacrificed for us, whole Flesh is Meat indeed, and whose Blood' is Drink indeed. Here we enter into a close Alliance with the Holy One of Israel; we are Ore with Chrilt by his Spiritual Body that is given us ; we Receive the Seals of our Adoption, and are pofleft of a Title to the Kingdom of Heaven. And this being the Highest Mystery of our Religion, we must not dare to Celebrate it after a rude and rash manner; bat come unto it after great Preparations, having first searched into our State, and measured our selves by the line of the Gospel, according to which we shall be Judged in the Great, and Terrible day; and so presenting our selves before the Holy Table, with clean Hands and a Pure Heart, and with Souls full of God, and in Love with all manner of Piety and Goodness. Those