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3. Hebrew slaves were then set at liberty unless they voluntarily chose to remain in servitude (Exod. xxi. 2).
4. The Law was appointed to be read publicly in the ears of the people (Deut. xxxi. 10); and being a season of leisure from the cessation of agricultural employments, it was peculiarly favourable for religious instruction.
The Jubilee was every seventh sabbatical, or fiftieth ordinary, year (Lev. xxv. 8). This great sabbath of the Jubilee was to be kept as other sabbatical years. The ground was to remain uncultivated, &c. But the peculiar rite of the Jubilee, as distinguished from other sabbatical years, was this : every Hebrew slave was then set at liberty, and returned home ; and such lands as had been sold or mortgaged returned to their first owners, no one having the power to alienate his property from his family beyond this period. “ Ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubilee unto you, and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man to his family," Lev. xxv. 10. The jubilee commenced by the sound of a trumpet on the evening of the Day of Atonement (Lev. xxv.9); a time, Bishop Patrick remarks, peculiarly well chosen, as the Jews would be better disposed to forgive their brethren their debts, when they had been imploring pardon of God for their own transgressions.
The benefits of such an institution were many :
1. It was a check on oppression, and the inordinate desire of adding house to house and field to field; while it rescued every family from those peculiar temptations of abject poverty, which the misconduct of their ancestors might otherwise have entailed upon them.
2. It preserved their distinction of tribes; giving to each the strongest motive of interest to keep his genealogy, that he might prove his right to the inheritance of his forefathers.
3. By thus preserving the distinction of tribes, it was calculated to prepare for the promised coming of the Messiah, whom Jacob's prophecy, more than 1600 years before he came, had identified with the tribe of Judah. (Gen. xlix.)
4. It was typical of the spiritual liberty to be introduced by the Gospel dispensation. (Isa. lxi. 2, with Luke iv.)
5. It was one of the many proofs of the Divine authority under which Moses acted. If a legislator had dared to demand such a surrender of property every fifty years, would a people in actual possession of such property have yielded it up, but under the fullest conviction that it rested on a Divine command ? The same remark applies to the provisions of the Sabbatical Year. That a people whose characteristic was stubbornness, and who was so characterised by the very man who gave the law (Deut. ix. 6), whose subsistence was derived from agriculture and pasturage, should have submitted to laws apparently so contradictory to their interests, is a striking evidence and illustration of the miraculous providence by which they were governed, and which formed the peculiar feature of their government as a Theocracy. (See Stillingfleet.)
QUESTIONS ON CHAP. V.
The distinguishing feature of the government of the Jews was a Theocracy-explain what is meant by this. (pp. 112, 113.]
What was the religious state of the world and of the Jews, which peculiarly called for such a form of government ? [p. 111, 112.]
Shew that the great doctrine which this form of government proved and illustrated was the doctrine of Providence. [p. 112.]
As illustrating the spirit of the Mosaic law, shew (1), its adaptation to the circumstances of those for whom it was made—(2) the moral object of its rites and ceremonies—(3) that it required obedience from an inward principle—(4) shew what that principle wasm —(5) that it was impartially applied; and that (6), even in the general severity of its enactments, the Mosaic Law was subservient to the Gospel. [pp. 113–117.]
What were the Sabbatical Year and the Jubilee ?—(2) How were they observed ?-(3) Mention some of the benefits of these institutions ; and particularly (4) what proof do they afford that the laws of Moses were the laws of God ? [p. 117–119.]
THE PUBLIC WORSHIP OF THE JEWS.
Contents.—$ i. Its dist feature. § ii. The persons conduct
§ iii. The places where it was conducted. § iv. The seasons when conducted ; daily, weekly, monthly, yearly. As the leading object of this little work is to direct the reader to the Scripture, and the subjects of this chapter are derived almost entirely from Scripture, it has been thought desirable to put the information intended to be conveyed by it chiefly in the form of a question, referring to the Scripture for an answer.
§ i. Distinguishing feature of their Public Worship. The Jews had many ceremonies of purification, washing with water, &c. (Lev. xi.-xv.) What were these to represent to them ?-A. How much care the people of God should take to be separated and purified from every sin.
But what was the distinguishing feature of their public worship ?—A. The offering of sacrifices.
How may these sacrifices be divided ?—A. 1. Those when an animal was killed. 2. Those taken from the vegetable kingdom (as ears of corn, parched grain, frankincense, meal, bread, cakes, fc.) 3. And as accompaniments to these, a drink offering of wine. (Exod. xxix. 20.)
Of these, which were the most important ?-A. Animal sacrifice.
What animals were sacrificed ?-A. Oxen, sheep, goats, pigeons, and turtle-doves. (Lev. i. 3. xiv. 22.)
What was it particularly required they should be ?—Lev. xxii. 20; 1 Pet. i. 19.)
What is there in the disposition of the sheep or lamb which reminds
you of the disposition of our Blessed Lord ? (Matt. xi. 29 ; Isa. liii. 7; 2 Cor. x. 1.)
Is this the disposition you should cultivate ?-(1 Pet. ï. 21.)
What were the three kinds of animal sacrifice ?-A. 1. Whole burnt-offerings (Lev. vi. 9). 2. Trespass or sin offerings (in which there was no material difference), offered iii. 1).
for sins committed, not only against knowledge, but through ignorance (Lev. iv. 2–4). 3. Peace offerings, imploring mercies desired, or acknowledging mercies received (Lev.
What was mingling of the blood of animal sacrifice with such an offering, as a peace offering, calculated to teach them ?-A. at they were not worthy of the least of all God's mercies.
Were any parts of the peace offerings eaten by the priests and people? (Exod. xviii. 12) What was implied in this? ( The great condescension of God in receiving them thus as guests at his table.)
Some of the sacrifices were made on behalf of the NATION at large ; others were the voluntary or prescribed offerings of individuals (as Lev. xji. 1–8; Luke ii. 24 ; Lev. xiv. 2–7; Matt. viii. 4).
But where must every sacrifice be offered ?—(Lev. i. 3 ; Deut. xii. 5, &c. ; 2 Chron. vii. 12.)
What benefit would arise from such a public and official superintendence of the offering ?-A. It would be a great check to idolatrous and unauthorized rites.
Do we not read of Gideon, and Samuel, and David, and Elijah, building altars and offering sacrifices in other places ?-A. This was not lawful to be done but by prophets and inspired men, or at God's express command.
Shew that God principally regarded the state of the heart in those who offered sacrifice.—(1 Sam. xv. 22 ; Ps. 1. 8; Isa. i. 11, “ To what purpose,” &c.; Jer. vii. 22, “ I spake not unto your fathers .... concerning burnt-offering”-i. e.
I always laid a greater stress on obedience than on outward observances.' See also Micah vi. 6. even Balaam's view of this subject.
[On the intention of animal sacrifice, and in what sense the blood of bulls and goats could take away sin, see pp. 49.]
Where there was not a right state of the heart, how does God speak of the sacrifice ? (as an abomination, Prov. xv. 8.)
What were the two most important parts of the offering of sacrifice, considered as an atonement for sin, 1. on the part of the offerer; 2. on the part of the priest ?
On the part of the offerer, what was meant by his putting
his hands on the head of the victim ?-A. That he desired, by faith, to lay on it his iniquity (Lev. i. 4, &c. ; xvi. 21, where Aaron represented the nation; Isai. liii. 6).
On the part of the priest, what was meant by his sprinkling the blood on the altar, or bringing the blood out into the tabernacle and sprinkling it before the veil ?—A. That atonement was made for the sin of the offerer, and his pardon thereby sealed to him (Lev. xvii. 11; xvi. 14).
[The particular forms of confession used here have been handed down to us by Jewish writers. “ That,” remarks Archbishop Magee,“ prescribed for the individual, presenting his own sacrifice, seems particularly significant: 'O God, I have sinned ; I have done perversely; I have trespassed before thee; I have done [so and so]. Lo, now I repent, and am truly sorry for my misdeeds : let, then, this victim be my expiation:'-i. e. Let the evils which in justice should have fallen on my head, light upon the head of this victim.”—vol. i. p. 369.]
How does John the Baptist speak (John i. 29.) of our Blessed Lord ?
In what remarkable circumstance did the sacrifice of Christ differ from all those under the Law ?-A. Our blessed Lord was not only the Subject of the offering, but the Priest who offered it (Heb. ix. 14); thus, while by His sacrifice we are pardoned, by His continual intercession we are preserved (Heb. vii. 24, 25). § ii. The Persons conducting the public worship of the Jews.
The tribe of Levi. Why did God thus honourably distinguish this tribe, to conduct the public worship of the Jews ? (Deut. xxxii. 8, 9.)
They had no inheritance in land (see p. 89.); but who were they especially commanded to consider as their inheritance ? and what did God appoint for their support? (Numb. xviii. 20; xxxv. 7.)
Into what three ranks were they divided ?—A. The Highpriest, the Priests, and the Levites.
To what high office were Aaron and his sons consecrated? (Exod. xxviï. ; Lev. viii.)
What was the peculiar office of the High-priest?-A. To exercise a general oversight over the public worship, and to