« PreviousContinue »
In the Apocrypha, it is said, Ifafted fe- 2 Efdras even days, moúrning and weeping ; where we also read, that Judith, after she was a Widow, put on Jackcloth upon her loyns, and Judith fasted all the days of her widowhood, fave the eves of the fabbaths, and the labbaths, and the eves of the new moons, and the new moons, and the feasts, and
folemin days of the house of Israel.
These being their Practices in their privåte 'Fastings, no wonder we find those
Hypocrites, the Pharisees, in the Gospel, e endeavouring to raise Merit among the
People, that Way, They wore a sad coun- Mat. vi. tenance, 'and disfigured their faces
, that 16, &c. they might appear unto men to fast. One of them is introduc'd, enumerating his own Virtues to the allseeing God; and among the rest, reckoning this for one, I fast twice in the week. And they and Luke their Disciples wonder'd at Christ and his xviii. 12. Disciples for not fafting, (in a diftinguish'd remarkable manner.)
Bụt, our LORD condemns fuch a Bohaviour, and recommends that which is quite contrary; to anoint the head, and wash the face;. so as not to appear unto men to fast, but unto the father, wbich seeth in secret. Which Direction, as well as his Practice in the Wilderness, thews that he did not disapprove of Fasting, though he did not like the Oftentation of it. For, as Justice and Charity were always more acceptable to the LORD than Sacrifice, so was the inward Sorrow and Contrition of the Heart what he truly respected, and not the outward Affliction and mal
treating the Body, The Precept in the Lev. xvi. Law is, Ye shall afilist your souls.
And the Prophet Isaiah introduces these
Hypocrites pleading for themselves to the Isaiah LORD; W berefore have we fafted, say they, lvii
. 3, and thou seest not? Wberefore, have we afa &c.
flicted our foul, and thou takest no knowledge?
labours : Behold, ye fast for ftrife and debate, and to smite with the fift of wickedness; ye shall not fast, as ye do this day, to make your voice to be heard on bigb.
sentative. In which sense,
Is it fuch'a fast that I have chosen? a day H
for a man to affli&t his soul? Is it to bow le down bis head as a bulrush; and to spread
Jackcloth and afhes under bim? wilt thou call
LORD?"Is not this the fast that I have 2 chofen; to loose the bands of wickedness ;
to undo the heavy burdens; and to let
So much for the sacred Rites of the
C HA P. VII.
HE Fourth and last Particular, in
their Religion, which we have to treat of, is, the Persons who were ordained to officiate and administer about holy Things, in the Places, at the Times, and with the sacred Rites above mention'd. Of these there were several Orders; The High-Priest; The Priests; The Levites; The Singers ; The Door-Keepers, or. Porters; and the Nethinims. These were all, except the last, of the Tribe of Levi; and had no other Inheritance or Income than what arose from the Fees of their Office, the Sacrifices and sacred Donations which accrued to them, in Proportion to the Dignity of the Station in which they serv'd.
S E C T I.
Defignation of tbe Tribe of LEVI,
The Designation of this Tribe to the Priesthood, was in lieu of the First-born in Exod. every Family, throughout all the Tribes; whom God had appointed to be consecrated to Himself at the Time that he brought them out of the Land of Egypt. But, as that, upon many Occasions, would have been inconvenient for them; God was pleas'd to dispense with them as to that Obligation, and to accept of the whole Tribe of Levi, in the stead thereof. The Numb. LORD spake unto Moses saying; Behold, iii. 11, I have taken the Levites from among the children of Israel, instead of all the firstborn that openeth tise matrix among the children of Israel: therefore the Levites shall be mine.
Now, as no Profeffion whatever can be conceived to be so honourable, as that which is peculiarly instrumental, in teaching and assisting Mankind how to keep themselves at Peace with God; and to reconcile themselves to Him, after they