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divided victims . When God revealed his covenant, the effusion of blood always referred to the sacrifice of Christ ; and signified that the complete satisfaction, made by this facrifice, was and could be the only foundation of a gracious covenant, and of the restoration of transgressors to the divine favour.
This was the great confirmation of the covenant made with the Israelites. « For when Mo“ fes had spoken every precept unto all the peo
ple according to the law, he took the blood of “ calves and of goats,-and sprinkled both the “ book and all the people ; saying, This is the “ blood of the covenant which God hath enjoin
ed unto you p.” This prefigured the confirmation of the new covenant by blood of infinitely greater value and efficacy.
By this blood, it was at length actually confirmed, in the death of the antitypical Surety. Hence, in “ coming to Jesus the Mediator of the “ new covenant," we also come “ to the blood of
sprinkling :" and the commemorative cup, in the ordinance of the Supper, is called “ the new
covenant in his blood.” For as all the saving benefits of the covenant were purchased, they are all confirmed, by this blood, and made over to us as legacies, which have derived full validity from the death of the Testator.
When men entered into leagues of amity with each other, it was also called striking a covenant ; and it would appear, that as they slaughtered
beasts, Jer. xxxiv. 18.
p Heb. ix. 19, 20.
beasts, it was not merely to feast on them, but as an act of religion 9. The mode enjoined by God, when he entered into covenant with man, seems to have been the pattern they followed. It is most probable, indeed, either that this plan was adopted in consequence of divine direction ; or that the believing patriarchs meant to give greater folemnity to the transaction, by invoking that God as their witness, with whom they had “ made a covenant by facrifice !.” They acknowledged him, not only as the Maker of heaven and earth, but in that peculiar and federal character in which he had made himself known to the Church by a revelation of grace.
vi. The worship of the Church, from the beginning, especially consisted in sacrifice. Whatever other acts were performed, they were unacceptable, except in as far as they were connected with this. No pure offering could be presented, unless the hands of the worshipper were sprinkled with blood. Read the history of the Church, in relation to her religious services; and for four thousand years it will be found written in the blood of her facrifices.
The first account given of acceptable worship, is that of the offering of Abel; and as his faith was manifested in this way, we may be assured that the faith of all the antediluvian patriarchs had the same evidence. Were further proof necessary, we have it in Noah's particular acquaint
ance 3 Gen. xxxi. 54
Psal. 1. 5.
ance with the distinction between clean and unclean beasts or fowls; which certainly proceeded from the use which had been hitherto made of them in the worship of God. Did divine justice require that the wicked should be “ cut down out “ of time,” that their “ foundation should be over“ thrown with a flood ?" Still God could not look with pleasure on the earth. An ablution by water was not sufficient. It must be washed with blood. He could not “ smell a favour of rest,” till Noah, as the high-priest of a new world emerging from the waters, presented a facrifice “ of
every clean beast, and of every clean fowls." And it was undoubtedly with a view to this, as the principal service of the Church, that God preserved in the ark those beasts and fowls, which were clean, by fevens ; “ while the unclean were “ admitted only by two t."
So fully were the patriarchs convinced of the importance of this worship, that when they took up
their residence in any particular place, they no sooner pitched their tent, than they erected an altar. Even while on a journey, if they enjoyed any special token of the divine favour, they halted till they had built an altar, and called on the name of the LORD. While the progress of those, whom the world calls great, might, even in an early period, be marked by the remains of their encampments, or by the carcases of those whom they had llain ; the various stations of the patriarchs might be traced by the altars they erected,
s Gen. viii. 20, 21
1 Chap. vii. 2, 3.
as monuments of their reconciliation with God, and of their peace with man".
When God made choice of a peculiar people, for the preservation of his truths and ordinances, the sacrifical worship of the Church was augmented, instead of being diminished. The Pallover was not merely to be observed on that night in which the destroying angel passed through, but during the existence of the Church of Israel. We can scarcely conceive a more lively emblem of substitution, than what took place in its first celebration. The Israelites were to sprinkle the blood of the paschal lamb on the door-posts and lintels of their houses; and wherever this blood was sprinkled, the first-born were faved, while those of the Egyptians were involved in a common destruction. Here the blood of the lamb was evidently substituted and accepted instead of that of the first-born of Israel ; and clearly prefigured the flaying of that “ Lamb of God, who "taketh away the fin of the world,” by the efficacy of whose “precious blood, as of a lamb “ without blemish, and without spot,” we are redecmed from eternal destruction.
It was the will of God, that, from the nature of her worship, the Church should constantly be taught the necessity of an atonement.
Blood was perpetually streaming before her eyes. The Lamb of God was typically offered every morning, and every evening. On the Sabbath, the oblation was doubled; two lambs being offered instead of one.
u Gen. xii. 7, 8. ; xïï. 3, 4. 18.
For, on this day of spiritual rest, the efficacy of the blood of Jesus is most eminently manifested; in the communication of grace to the souls of men. This sacrifice was offered, both morning and evening, for the whole congregation of Israel, and in their name ". This denoted the exercise of all the spiritual Israel, in looking daily to Christ as their sacrifice, through whom alone they have access to God, and in deriving virtue from him as " made unto them fanctification.” A distinct sacrifice was to be offered every new moon w. When the Israelites presented their first-fruits, in the feast of harvest, they could not be accepted fingly. It was necessary that blood should be offered with them . For however acceptable a sacrifice of thansgiving be to God, it is acceptable only through the meritorious blood of Christ.
Besides the multitude of sacrifices, occasionally offered for the transgressions of individuals, one day every year was peculiarly appropriated to expiation. It was therefore distinctively denominated “ a day of atonement y.” Such was the solemnity to be observed on this day, that the highpriest was previously to offer for his own purification, in the same manner as he had done at his first confecration Notwithstanding the multiplicity of offerings, many fins must have been committed during the course of a year, for which no atonement had been made. The atonement made on this day was therefore meant, for legally
taking v Num. xxviii. 2, 3. 9.
x Lev, xxiii. 18, 19. y Ver. 27, 28.
2 Lev. xvi. 5, 6.; ix. 2. 8.
w Ver, 11.