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When God revealed his covenant, the effufion of blood always referred to the facrifice of Chrift; and fignified that the complete fatisfaction, made by this facrifice, was and could be the only foundation of a gracious covenant, and of the restoration of tranfgreffors to the divine favour.
This was the great confirmation of the covenant made with the Ifraelites. "For when Mo❝fes had spoken every precept unto all the people according to the law, he took the blood of "calves and of goats,-and fprinkled both the "book and all the people; faying, 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 Jefus the Mediator of the "new covenant," we alfo come " to the blood of fprinkling" and the commemorative cup, in the ordinance of the Supper, is called "the new "covenant in his blood." For as all the faving 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 Teftator.
When men entered into leagues of amity with each other, it was alfo called ftriking a covenant; and it would appear, that as they flaughtered 23 beasts,
p Heb. ix. 19, 20.
o Jer. xxxiv. 18.
beafts, it was not merely to feaft 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 confequence of divine direction; or that the believing patriarchs meant to give greater folemnity to the tranfaction, by invoking that God as their witnefs, 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, efpecially confifted in facrifice. Whatever other acts were performed, they were unacceptable, except in as far as they were connected with this. No pure offering could be prefented, unless the hands of the worshipper were fprinkled with blood. Read the hiftory of the Church, in relation to her religious fervices; 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 manifefted in this way, we may be affured that the faith of all the antediluvian patriarchs had the fame evidence. Were further proof neceffary, we have it in Noah's particular acquaint
ance with the diftinction between clean and unclean beafts or fowls; which certainly proceeded from the ufe which had been hitherto made of them in the worship of God. Did divine juftice require that the wicked fhould be "cut down out 66 of time," that their "foundation fhould be over"thrown with a flood?" Still God could not look with pleasure on the earth. An ablution by water was not fufficient. It must be washed with blood. He could not "fmell a favour of reft," till Noah, as the high-priest of a new world emerging from the waters, prefented a facrifice "of "every clean beaft, and of every clean fowls." And it was undoubtedly with a view to this, as the principal service of the Church, that God preferved in the ark those beafts and fowls, which were clean, by fevens; "while the unclean were "admitted only by two '."
So fully were the patriarchs convinced of the importance of this worship, that when they took up their refidence in any particular place, they no fooner pitched their tent, than they erected an altar. Even while on a journey, if they enjoyed any fpecial token of the divine favour, they halted till they had built an altar, and called on the name of the LORD. While the progrefs of those, whom the world calls great, might, even in an early period, be marked by the remains of their encampments, or by the carcafes of thofe whom they had flain; the various ftations of the patriarchs might be traced by the altars they erected, 24
t Chap. vii. 2, 3.
s Gen. viii. 20, 21.
as monuments of their reconciliation with God, and of their peace with man ".
When God made choice of a peculiar people, for the prefervation of his truths and ordinances, the facrifical worship of the Church was augmented, instead of being diminished. The Paffover was not merely to be observed on that night in which the deftroying angel paffed through, but during the existence of the Church of Ifrael. We can scarcely conceive a more lively emblem of substitution, than what took place in its firft celebration. The Ifraelites were to fprinkle the blood of the pafchal lamb on the door-posts and lintels of their houfes; and wherever this blood was fprinkled, the firft-born were faved, while thofe of the Egyptians were involved in a common deftruction. Here the blood of the lamb was evidently fubftituted and accepted inftead of that of the firft-born of Ifrael; and clearly prefigured the flaying of that " Lamb of God, who "taketh away the fin of the world," by the efficacy of whofe "precious blood, as of a lamb "without blemish, and without fpot," we are redeemed from eternal deftruction.
It was the will of God, that, from the nature of her worship, the Church fhould conftantly be taught the neceffity of an atonement. Blood was perpetually ftreaming 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 inftead of one.
u Gen. xii. 7, 8.; xiii. 3, 4. 18.
For, on this day of fpiritual reft, the efficacy of the blood of Jefus is moft eminently manifefted, in the communication of grace to the fouls of men. This facrifice was offered, both morning and evening, for the whole congregation of Ifrael, and in their name ". This denoted the exercise of all the spiritual Ifrael, in looking daily to Chrift as their facrifice, through whom alone they have access to God, and in deriving virtue from him as "made unto them fanctification." A distinct facrifice was to be offered every new moon ". When the Ifraelites presented their first-fruits, in the feaft of harveft, they could not be accepted fingly. It was neceffary that blood fhould be offered with them. For however acceptable a facrifice of thanfgiving be to God, it is acceptable only through the meritorious blood of Chrift.
Befides the multitude of facrifices, occafionally offered for the tranfgreffions of individuals, one day every year was peculiarly appropriated to expiation. It was therefore diftinctively denominated "a day of atonement ." Such was the folemnity to be observed on this day, that the highprieft was previoufly to offer for his own purification, in the fame manner as he had done at his first confecration 2. 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
x Lev. xxiii. 18, 19.
Num. xxviii. 2, 3. 9. y Ver. 27, 28.
w Ver, II.
7 Lev. xvi. 5, 6.; ix. 2. 8.