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being but badly understood, mankind were seduced, through the instigation of the devil, to pollute themselves with these inhuman and accursed sacrifices. Perhaps too, that most artful seducer had it in view, by such sacrifices, to prejudice the more acute and intelligent part of mankind against that life-giving sacrifice, that was to be destructive of his kingdom: for, such now held these atrocious sacrifices and detestable rites in abhorrence. However, to keep the minds of men in suspense, and in subjection to himself, he did not fail from another quarter, by words, obliquely, to spread abroad and send forth ambiguous oracles, as if such rites and sacrifices were of no avail for the expiation of sins : thence these verses in Cato's Distichs;
Cum sis ipse nocens moritur cur victima pro te?
Stultitia est morte alterius sperare salutem. "Since it is thyself that art guilty, why need any victim die for thee? It is madness to expect salvation from the death of another.'
I have no doubt but that this last verse is a diabolical oracle.
By such deceitful practices the old serpent, inflamed with envy, and being himself for ever lost, because he could not eradicate every sense of avenging justice (which is as a curb to restrain the fury of the wicked) from the minds of men, wished to lead them into mazes, that he might still keep them the slaves of sin, and subject to his own do minion.
There have been, and still are, some of mankind, I con fess it, who, from indulging their vices, are seared in their consciences, and whose minds are become callous by the practice of iniquity; who, flattering themselves to their own destruction, have falsely conceived, either that God does not trouble himself about such things, or that he can be easily appeased, and without any trouble. Hence that profane wretch, introduced by Erasmus, after having settled matters with the Dominican commissaries, to a jolly companion of his own, when he asked him, “Whether God would ratify the bargain ? answers, 'I fear rather lest the devil should not ratify it, for God by nature is easy to be appeased. It is from the same idea, that many of the barbarous natives of America idly fancying that there are two
gods, one good, and another evil, say, that there is no need to offer sacrifices to the good one, because being naturally good, he is not disposed to hurt or injure any one : but they use all possible care, both by words and actions, and every kind of horrible sacrifice, to please the evil one. Likewise those, who are called by Mersennus, Deists, exclaim, that the bigots, or superstitiously religious, who believe in infernal punishments, are worse than Atheists who deny that there is a God.' So too, some new masters among our own countrymen talk of nothing, in their discourses, but of the goodness of God: his supreme right, dominion, and vindicatory justice, are of no account with them: but he himself knows how to preserve his glory and his truth pure and entire, in spite of the abilities, and without regard to the delicacy of these fashionable and dainty gentlemen.
But Rutherford, on Providence, answers, that the Gentiles formerly borrowed their purgations and lustrations from the Jews, and not from the light of nature ;' but he must be a mere novice in the knowledge of these matters, into whose mind even the slightest thought of that kind could enter. For I believe there is no one who doubts the custom and ceremony of sacrificing among the Gentile nations to be much more ancient than the Mosaic institutions. Nor can any one imagine, that this universal custom among all nations, tribes and people, civilized and barbarous, unknown to one another, differently situated and scattered all over the world, could have first arisen and proceeded from the institutions of the Jews.
* But,' says he, 'the light is dark, that a sinful creature could dream of being able to perform a satisfaction, and make propitiatory expiations to an infinite God incensed, and such too as would be satisfactory for sin :' yea, I say, that a sinful creature could perform this is false, and a presumption only arising from that darkness which we are in by nature: but notwithstanding it is true, that God must be appeased by, a propitiatory sacrifice, if we would that our sins should be forgiven us; and this much he hath pointed out to all mankind by that light of nature, obscure indeed,
+ That is, their acts or ceremonies of cleansing or purifying themselves from guilt by sacrifice or otherwise ; the latter word more particularly means the operation of cleansing by water.
but not dark. Nor is it necessary, in order to prove this, that we should have recourse to the fabulous antiquities of the Egyptians, the very modest writer of which, Manetho, the high-priest of Heliopolis, who lived in the time of Ptolemy Philadelphus, and took his history from the Seriadic Hieroglyphicalu obelisks, writes, that the Egyptian empire, had endured to the time of Alexander the Great, through thirty-one dynasties,* containing a period of five thousand three hundred and fifty-three years : this is the sum of the years according to that writer, as Scaliger collects it, to which Vossius has added two years. But other Egyptians have been, by no means, satisfied with this period of time. For, from Isiris and Isis, to the reign of Alexander, who built a city of his own name in Egypt, they reckon more than ten thousand years; and as some write little less than thirteen thousand years,' says Diodorus; during which period of time, they say that the sun had four times changed his course, for that he had twice risen in the west and set in the east: which things, though they may seem the dreams of madmen, strictly and properly understood; yet some very learned men entertain a hope, by means of the distinction ofthe years which the Egyptians used, and the description of their festivals, of reconciling them with the truth of the Holy Scriptures.
But passing over these things, it can hardly be doubted, that Jupiter Ammon, among the Egyptians, was no other than Cham, the son of Noah, and Bacchus, Noah himself; and that Vulcan, among other nations, was Tubal Cain; to all whom, and to others, sacrifices were offered before the birth of Moses. What too do they say to this ? that Job, among the Gentiles, offered burnt-offerings before the institution of the Mosaic ceremonies : see chap. i. 5. xlii. 8. And Jethro, the priest of Midian, offered a burnt-offering and sacrifices to God, even in the very camp of the Israelites in the wilderness, Exod. viii. Either then the sacrifice of Cain and Abel, or that of Adam himself and Eve, con
u Hieroglyphics are emblems or pictures that were used in the first method of writing ; but after characters were introduced, they became generally unintelligible, and contributed much to promote idolatry. They were used by the Egyptian priests to conceal the mysteries of their religion from the vulgar, and were thence called hieroglyphics, i. e. sacred engravings or carvings. They were originally en-, graven or carved on walls and obelisks.
* A-dynasty, in history, means a succession of kings in the same line.
sisting of those beasts, of whose skins, coats were made to them by God, and by whose blood the covenant was ratified, which could not have been made with them after their fall without shedding of blood, gave the first occasion to mankind of discharging that persuasion, concerning the neeessity of appeasing the offended Deity, which hath arisen from the light of nature, through this channel of sacrificing. Yea, it is evident that this innate notion concerning vindicatory justice, and the observation of its exercise and
egress have given rise to all divine worship. Hence that expression, primus in orbe Deos fecit timor :' .fear first created gods.' And hence these verses in Virgil, spoken by king Evander.
Non hæc solennia nobis, &c.
The labours of a god we recompense. But I do not mention these things, as if it were my opinion that sacrifices are prescribed by the law of nature : but, from the agreement of mankind in the ceremony of sacrificing, I maintain, that they have possessed a constant sense of sin and vindicatory justice, discovering to them more and more of this rite, from its first commencement, by means of tradition.
But to return from this digression : it appears, that such a presumption of corrective justice is implanted in all by nature, that it cannot by any means be eradicated; but since these universal conceptions by no means relate to what may belong, or not belong to God at his free pleasure, it follows that sin-avenging justice is natural to God: the point that was to be proved.
I shall only add, in one word, that an argument from the consent of all, is by consent of all allowed to be very strong: For thus says the philosopher, 'what is admitted by all, we also admit; but he who would destroy such faith can himself advance nothing more credible.' Aristotle, Nicom. 3.
y Gen. iii. 21. · Unto Adam also, and to his wife, did the Lord God make coats of skins and clothed them.'
2 The most of the Romish clergy, says our author, maintain this opinion, that so they may pave the way for establishing the blasphemous sacrifice of the mass. Thus Less : on Justice and Right:' Suarez, book 2. however, is of a different opinion; "for,' says he, there is no natural precept, from which it can be sufficiently gathered that a determination to any particular mode of that worship is at all necessary to good morals.' In p. 3. of bis Theol. on quest. 8. distinct. 71. sect. 8.
And Hesiod says,
* That sentiment cannot be altogether groundless, which many people agree in publishing. And when we discourse of the eternity of the soul,' says Seneca,' the consent of mankind, is considered as a weighty argument; I content myself with this public persuasion.' Seneca. Ep. 117.
And again, Aristotle says,
. It is a very strong proof, if all shall agree in what we sball say.' And that observation another author concurs, • The things that are commonly agreed on are worthy of credit.' And here endeth the second argument.
The third argument. This divine attribute demonstrated in the works of
Providence. That passage of the apostle to the Romans, chap. i. 18. considered. Anger, what it is. The definitions of the philosophers. The opinion of Lactantius concerning the anger of God. Anger often ascribed to God in the Holy Scriptures. In what sense this is done. The divine anger denotes, 1. The effect of anger. 2. The will of punishing. What that will is in God. Why the justice of God is expressed by anger. The manifestation of the divine anger, what it is. How it is revealed from heaven. The sum of the argument. The fourth argument. Vindicatory justice revealed in the cross of Christ. The attributes of God. How displayed in Christ. Heads of other arguments. The conclusion
It remains then, that we should now consider, in the third place, what testimony God has given, and is still giving to this essential attribute of his in the works of providence. This Paul takes notice of; Rom. i. 18. For the wrath of God,' says he, 'is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness.
The philosopher, Aristotle, says, that anger is, ' A desire of punishing on account of an apparent neglect.” A de
a Book viji. chap. 5. of his Topics. .