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by divine authority and peremptory. command. And, in many cases, it was not only a demand made upon them for fins which they bad committed, but likewise, the means by which atonea ment was made for these fins, and the pardon of them obtained. Wherefore, however defra able and interesting it is to mankind, to bave a clear and right understanding of the use, defign, and rationale of piacular. sacrifice, yet the effeet, which is afcribed to it, creates fome. dificulty in coming at it; it being not easy to comprehend what end, in respect of God, the exacting of sacrifice for fin could answer, or bow the oblation of sacrifice should be the mean of obtaining the pardon of fin.
A fenfe however, of the interesting nature and great importance of the discovery, has been a motive to many men of good sense and great learning, to employ their thoughts and pens in clearing up this difficulty. And, indeed, many volumes have been written with that view. But alas ! the success in this at-, tempt, has, in no degree, been answerable to the
great pains which have been taken in maka ing it. The writers on this subject have not yet arrived at any certainty, or to any agreement among themselves, about the point in queftion. The difficultys attending the inquiry, and the falfe scents upon which they have been put by a falje philosophy, preconceived hypothe
ses, or a too liberal indulgence of fancy and imagination, bave led them into diverse systems,
and trains of thoughts, which are as incompatible with each other, as they are all likewise, in my apprehenfion at least, with the doctrine of revelation, and the di&tates of common sense.
The popular notion of piacular-sacrifice, which has long prevailed, is that which proceeds upon the supposition of a transfer of guilt from the offerer to the sacrifice, and of vicarious punishment. But this notion of the use and dehgn of piacular sacrifice bas,
Dr. Taylor, the Author of the effay on the nature, dehgn, and origin of sacrifices, and others, been demonstrated to be wholly unsupported by scripture-evidence, absurd in itself, and attended with ill consequences. For which reason, they who make the scriptures the sole rule of religious faith, or will be guided by the dičtates of common sense, must, if they act a conf/tent part, rengn this notion of the use and design
piacular facrifice, as unscriptural, absurd, and dangerous.
To supply the place of this exploded notion of the use and design of piacular facrifice, two others have, of late been offered to us; the one, by the learned Dr. Taylor, who considers piacular sacrifices as being fymbols, or emblems of
penitent disposition, and penitential address or prayer to God; and accounts for the efficacy and effect of them in the fame manner, as for those of penitence and penitent prayer. The other notion of the use and design of this species of facrifice, is, that which is advanced by the Author of the before-mentioned esay on the nature, dehgn, and origin of sacrifices, who confiders eating and drinking with God to have been the main intention of all sorts of facrifices ; and conceives this eating and drinking together to have been a symbol of friendship betwixt God and the offerers, and a fæderal rite whereby be and they did engage in, renew, and keep up friendship with one another. + These two notions of the nature and design of piacular sacrifices agree in this, that they make these sacrifices to be symbols or emblems. But then, the things of which they make them fymbols, are of such a different nature, that tbe one or other of them must be false. rea, as each of the mentioned Authors, grounds his notion of the symbolical nature of these facrifices upon scripture evidence, and yet differ fo widely in their sentiments about the use and
design of them, this gives reason to suspect, that scriptureevidence, for the symbolical nature of piacular sacrifices is veryobscure and doubtful, if not quite deficient : for bad it been clear, or, in any perceptible degree, probable, men of their parts
and learning, and so free from prejudice, must have not only discovered it, but been led, by the discovery, to an barmony of sentiments. 'Tis, therefore, much to be questioned, whether the scriptures give any countenance at all to the conceiving of sacrifices, as having a symbolical nature and design; and whether all notions of this kind may not be groundless, and rather the effects of a lively and luxuriant imagination, than the result of any real evidence,
What then is now to be done, in this dark and perplexed case ? Nothing, surely, but to examine each of these two notions of the fynbolical nature and dengn of piacular sacrifice, and to try whether they bave, or have not, any real foundation in scripture-evidence, or in truth and common sense. I know of no one ill consequence that can arise from free, candid, and sober inquiry, among reasonable men ; and, I am sure, that it is the only way of coming at truth. We have been fairly stript of the pofeffion of the common and popular notion of the use and design of piacular sacrifice by the ingenious, learned, and commendable labours of the two Authors mentioned : and two other notions of them are offered in place of it. But let us beware of receiving them without due fcrutiny and careful examination, left we should be led, a second time, into error and mistake,
by the do&trines of fallible men; and imbibe new notions of sacrifice as unscriptural, and wide of truth, as the old one, which we have been compelled to rehgn.
In the course of the following criticism, upon the works of these two Authors which treat of this subject, I have, I think, made it evident, that the notions of the symbolical nature of facrifices, exhibited by them, are utterly unsupported by scripture-evidence, and both of them chargeable with absurditys and ill consequences; and, particularly, that the
which is advanced by the Author of the essay on the nature, design, and origin of sacrifices, is such, as can, by no means, be brought to any agreement with the manner of the oblation and disposal of piacular sacrifices.
To my criticism upon Dr. Taylor's notion of the meaning and design of Jewish-facrifices, I have subjoined an examination of his fentia ments about the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ; which appear to me to be no less uncommon, than unsupported by scripture-evidence,
- In the execution of this whole work, I have ufed all juf freedom: and have, every where, ftudied to express my sentiments in a plain, intelligible, and unartful manner; and to