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about them, to their false Gods; and from which therefore their Minds could not, without the greatest Difficulty, be wholly alienated.
But, notwithstanding this, we find God took all proper Opportunities to give them to understand that what he chiefly desir'd, the Thing which was really and truly most agreeable to Him, was a pure innocent Heart, a Life of Righteousness, Justice and Charity: and several of those People there were, all along, who understood and practis'd accordingly: and, to the Shame and Reproach of all the rest, their Prophets were continually putting them in mind of this important Truth.
Thus Samuel, fays to Saul (who, contrary to God's Command, had sav'd the Sheep and Oxen of the Amalekites, under Pretence of sacrificing with them;) Hath the i Sam. Lord as great delight in burnt-offeringsTM'22' andsacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey, is better than sacrifice; and to hearken, than the fat of
David says; sacrifice and offering thou Psalm didst not desire; burnt-offering and fin-offer- x1'6'8'9*
ing hast thou not required. I delight to do thy will, O my God; / have preached righteousness in the great congregation, Sec. In another place, he introduces the Lord, arguing this very point with his People.
7.sal9mi4 Hear> 0 my PeoPle> and 1 0
*3« Israel, and I will testify against thee; for I am God, even thy God. I will take no bullock out of thine house, nor he-goat out of thy folds, &c. Offer unto God thanksgiving. Whoso offereth praise, glorifieth me; and to him that ordereth his conversation right, will I Jhew the salvation of God. Again, when he is struck with Remorse after the Mur
^TM7L dcr of Uriah; thou destrest not sacrifice, else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt-offering. The sacrifices of God, are a broken spirit. * And Solomon makes it a
Prov xxi Prover^^a^ maxim, tnat to do justice and
3. judgment is more acceptable to the Lokd thansacrifice.
* As for the Sacrifices of Righteousness, and the Sa. crifices of Thanksgiving, mention'd in the Psalms and elsewhere, they are not to be insisted upon as Proofs in behalf of this Point, because they generally signify no more than legal Sacrifices and Peace-Offerings offier'd righteously or rightly, according as the Law dixeSls. .
The Lord himself expostulates largely upon this bead, with the Israelites, knowing that they thought to justify themselves by the abundance of these kind of Devotions. §Tfl what purpose is the multitude o/~Isaiah 5. your sacrifices unto me, faith the Lo Rd; I delight? not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he-goats. Bring no more vain oblations. Wash ye, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed; judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.
And another eminent Prophet, introduces the Lord expressing himself, upon the same Occasion, in these Words: 1hus^a'tuu faith the Lo Kd of hojls, the God of Israel, put your burnt-offerings unto your sacrifices, and eat flesh (take all your Sacrifices and eat them your selves; the only way they are like to do you any service.) For I spake not unto your fathers, nor commanded them, in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt-offerings or sacrifices. (That, being only an Indulgence, the stress of their Duty did not center there) But this thing commanded I them,
saying, Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and yejhall be my people; and ivalk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well with you.
And indeed the moral Law, contained in the ten Commandments, was prior to the Dispensation of Sacrifices. And the Commandment God refers to in the Passage last cited, was antecedent to the Promulgation of the Law itself; when they had been but three Days in the Wilderness j even at the Waters of Marah j where he
x*' made a statute and an Ordinance for them, andprov'd them. And said; If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Loud thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his fight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his fatutes; I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians.
And, after, when God condescends to argue with them, and to assign the Reason why he withdrew his favourable Protection from them, we find it was upon
Hos. vi.6.tms very account, i" des red mercy, and not
sacrifice-, and the knowledge of God more
than burnt-offerings. But they, like men,
have transgressed the covenant, there have they dealt treacherously against me. And to this Declaration it is that our blessed Lo Rd refers the censorious Pharisees in the Gospel.
And the fame Prophet, again, is urgent with them to repent, and return to the Lord with this Supplication, Take away H<£ x-lVt all iniquity and receive us gracioujly: so »• will -we render the calves of our lips. And this St. Paul alludes to; when, having ex- Heb. xiii. plain'd how Christ had fulfilled the types »S« in the ceremonial Law by being our HighPriest and Sacrifice both; he concludes, with this Exhortation; By Him there" fore, let us offer the sacrifice of praise t» God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips; giving thanks to his name. But to do good, and to communicate, forget not; for, with such sacrifices, God is well pleased.
In like manner the Lord is represented by another Prophet, as having a control ver/y with his people, and pleading with vi. 2. 6. Israel. And, after they are brought in, 7» 8' hypocritically prevaricating, and pretending their Ignorance as a Cloak for their Iniquity, by faying, Wherewith shall I come O before