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it should be a reproach to them, because the heathen had defiled it. Then was it dedicated with appropriate sacrifices, and with songs, and with instruments of music, all the people rejoicing and praising the God of heaven. The solemnity was continued for eight days; and it was at the same time ordained, that a festival of so many days should afterwards be celebrated from year to year, with mirth and gladness, in commemoration of the interesting and joyful occasion. Ever since accordingly, such a festival has been observed among the Jews. The dedication of the altar took place on the 25th of the ninth month, which answered in part to our December, and so the feast came to have its commencement ever after, still with that day, falling of course in the season of winter. (John x. 22.) An account of the profanation of the temple may be found in the first chapter of the first book of the Maccabees; and in the latter part of the fourth chapter of the same, is contained a history of the dedication now mentioned, and a notice withal, of the original institution of this festival to which it gave rise.



HAVING considered the Sanctuary, its ministers, and its service, it now becomes us to take some notice of the church at large; to glance at the manner of its organization, and the principles that were appointed to unite and regulate its general system.

The Jewish church had its origin in the person of the patriarch Abraham. From the midst of a world rapidly falling into the deep darkness of idolatry, God called him to become the Head of a chosen people, with whom his truth and promises might be deposited and preserved, till the fulness of time should come for the introduction of the gospel; and entered, accordingly, into a gracious covenant with him, to be, not only his God, but the God, also, of his seed after him, and to take them for a peculiar nation, consecrated to himself, out of all the families of the earth. That it might be a continual sign and seal of this covenant, he instituted the rite of circumcision, and required it to be observed with the greatest care. It became, therefore, a perpetual regulation, never to be dispensed with, that every male child among the Jews, arrived at the age of eight days, whether born in an Israelitish house, or bought with money of any stranger, should be circumcised. (Gen. xvii. 7-14.) The covenant thus solemnly entered into with Abraham, was afterwards renewed with his posterity at Mount Sinai. (Ex. xix. 3—8.)

Every descendant of Abraham, then, was a member of the Jewish church: his birth made him heir to all its privileges, and subjected him to all its authority. He had no liberty ever to withdraw himself from the relation, if he might even have been inclined to do so. Hence, the whole nation was comprehended within the pale of the visible church, and was spoken of as a holy people—a kingdom of priests, in covenant with God, and interested in his special VOL. II.



favour and care. The whole nation, accordingly, carried the sign of God's covenant in their flesh, and all its members were required to confirm their assent to it, year after year, by solemnly observing the passover supper, and the various other institutions which the law ordained; while they were, at the same time, considered equally partakers of all its earthly advantages, and equally concerned in all the public worship of the Sanctuary with which it was connected.

Still, there were certain qualifications of a ceremonial kind, required, in order to a full and free participation. at any time, of the outward privileges of the church. When these were wanting, individuals were removed, in some measure, from the advantageous state which the rest of the community enjoyed in this respect: they were not at once excluded, indeed, from their relation to God, as members of his visible family, but only shut out for a time, from the common liberty of its society; yet, if the disqualification under which they laboured, was wilfully allowed to continue, when it might be put out of the way, it caused them to be, in the end, entirely cut off from the sacred household, and from the commonwealth of Israel, as transgressors of Jehovah's covenant, and despisers of its glorious promises. To have part in the outward privileges of the church, or to engage acceptably in its outward worship, it was necessary, not only that a man should first of all have submitted to the rite of circumcision, but that he should be, at the time itself, ceremonially clean. Hereby, in that shadowy and symbolical system, it was signified, that moral purity is the first thing required for drawing ncar, acceptably, to the Most High, in any spiritual service, and that without holiness, no one can ever see the Lord in peace, or find admission into the happy family of Heaven.

Ceremonial uncleanness was contracted in a variety of ways, as may be seen by reading the 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th, and 15th chapters of Leviticus. Its necessary duration also varied in different cases; in some instances, continuing only till sunset; in others, for a whole week; and in a few others for a still longer period. While it lasted, it was attended with considerable inconvenience; for it not only shut out the subject of it from the privileges of the Sanc

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tuary, but cut him off, at the same time, from all free intercourse with his friends and neighbours; since, for any other person to touch one that was thus defiled, was to make himself in like manner unclean; and he was bound, therefore, to let his condition be known, and to keep clear of his acquaintances. The most distressing of all defilements, was that which the leprosy gave rise to. We have been called to notice already, how the unhappy victim of this disease, in addition to all the sufferings directly occasioned by his malady, was required to separate himself from society altogether, and to live a solitary outcast in the midst of the community, (unless he found some like himself, with whom to associate in melancholy fellowship,) all the days that his plague lasted upon him.

Uncleanness, however, though in most cases made necessary only for a limited and short period, did not, in any case, pass away of itself, without some ceremony of purification, undergone by the persons on whom it rested. In most cases, all that was required of such a person was to bathe his body and wash his clothes in water. In other instances, when the degree of defilement was considered to be greater, a more solemn purification was demanded. Thus, when one had become unclean by the touch of a dead body, or a sepulchre, or a single bone of any dead person, in which case the defilement could not be removed till a week was past, it was necessary that he should get some person that was clean, to sprinkle him, on the third and seventh days, by means of a bunch of hyssop, with sacred water of separation; after which, on the last day; he bathed and washed his clothes, as in ordinary cases, and so became clean at evening. (Numb. xix. 11-22.) The purification of persons recovered from the leprosy, was accomplished with a form of rites altogether peculiar, of which we have an account in the 14th chapter of Leviticus.

The water of separation, just mentioned, was pure fresh water, mixed in a vessel with some of the ashes of a red heifer, burned with particular solemnity for the purpose. An account of the singular manner in which it was burned, may be found in the first part of the 19th chapter of Numbers. A supply of these ashes was always kept on hand, for the use of such as might need them for purification;

for still, as the quantity furnished by one victim came near to be exhausted, an additional stock was provided, by selecting a new one and destroying it in the appointed way. As very little of the ashes was needed to make the water of separation in any case, the quantity supplied by one heifer lasted a great number of years; so that, according to the Jews, there were only eight burned for the purpose, during the whole time of the second temple. They tell us, also, that the one burned in the time of Moses, without any other, served the people as long as till the captivity; but in this, their tradition is not entitled to any credit.-As the service of burning the red heifer returned so seldom, it naturally came to be regarded as a solemnity of great interest; and in later times, accordingly, was burned with no small share of the general incumbrance of unmeaning and superstitious ceremonies, which tradition then contrived to hang, with so much industry and zeal, about the whole ancient system of worship. In the first place, the most scrupulous care was employed in making choice of the animal; for it was held, that if only two hairs could be found upon it of white or black colour, it could not be fit for this use. Then the priest who was to burn it, was shut up seven days beforehand, lest he might suffer some defilement by touching a grave or a dead body for the purpose of preventing which, also, when he passed with a company of elders and other priests, from the temple to the place of killing the victim, a great causeway was raised upon arches, clear across the valley of Cedron, from the eastern gate of the outer court, in such a way that no grave could possibly hide in secret under the ground and so pollute the procession, as it moved over it to the spot of its destination. This spot, which was arched underneath in like manner for the same purpose, was on the Mount of Olives, directly over against the front of the temple. When the company arrived there with the heifer, the person who had the principal service to perform, was required to bathe himself in a chamber erected there for the purpose; while the other priests made ready the wood, tied the animal, and laid it upon the pile. The person just mentioned then came forward, applied the instrument of death to its throat with his right hand, received the blood into a vessel in his left, and


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