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over which there was a floor of planks pierced through with many holes. On this floor they sacrificed a bullock, whose blood was freely poured out on the planks or floor, which, running through the holes, fell upon the priest, who stood underneath to receive this sacred aspersion, and who, in order to be completely covered with the blood, took care to present the whole of his body, his clothes, face, eyes, nose, lips, and even his tongue, to receive the drops of blood falling through the pierced floor above. Being completely covered with this sanguineous shower, he ascended from this subterranean place, and was acknowledged and adored by the people as Pontifex Maximus, or supreme high-priest.' These rites, which bear a striking similarity to those used in the consecration of Aaron, and from which they are probably borrowed, and disguised by their own superstitions, are particularly described by Aurelius Prudentius, in his book entitled Romani Martyris Supplicium; from which Dr. Adam Clarke has selected the verses, the substance of which is given above. *
The supernatural fire consuming the sacrifices. These victims were consumed by a fire of no human kindling. Josephus says (Ant. 1. iii. c. 8. § 6.) that a fire proceeded from the victims themselves, of its own accord, which had the appearance of a flash of lightning, and consumed all that was upon the altar.' It is not unlikely, that by the agency of the electric spark, sent immediately from the Divine Presence, the victims were consumed. The heathens, in order to give credit to their worship, imitated this miracle, and pretended that Jupiter testified his approbation of the sacrifice by thunder and lightning. See Virgil, Æn. 1. xxi. v. 200. +
The scape goat. Most ancient nations had vicarious sacrifices, to which they transferred, by certain rites and ceremonies, the guilt of the community at large. The white bull, sacrificed by the Egyptians to Apis, was of this kind: they cut off the head of the victim, loaded it with execrations, that if there was any evil hanging over them, or the land of Egypt, it might be poured on that head,' and then sold it to the Greeks, or threw it into the Nile. (Herod. Euterp.) Petronius Arbiter (Satir. in fine) says, that it was a custom among the ancient inhabitants of Marseilles, when afflicted by any pestilence, to take one of the poorer citizens, who offered himself for the purpose; and having fed him for a whole year with the purest and best food, adorned him with vervain, and clothed him with sacred vestments, they led him round the city, loading him with execrations, praying that all the evils to which the city was exposed might fall upon him, and then precipitated him from the top of a rock. Suidas (in Tερnua) observes, that it was a custom to devote a man annually to death, for the safety of the people, with these words, weρinμa nμwv yevov, be thou our purifier, and throw him into the sea, as a sacrifice to Neptune. † To what has been here adduced concerning these practices among va
* Comprehensive Bible, Note on Lev. 8. 24.
+ Idem, Lev. 9. 24.
various nations, we may add, that the nearest resemblance to the scapegoat of the Hebrews is found in the Ashummeed Jugg of the Hindoos; which is thus explained in the Code of Gentoo Laws, Section IX.: ' An Ashummeed Jugg is, when a person, having commenced a Jugg, (i. e. a religious ceremony) writes various articles upon a scroll of paper, on a horse's neck, and dismisses the horse, sending along with the horse a stout and valiant person, equipped with the best necessaries and accoutrements, to accompany the horse day and night, whithersoever he shall choose to go; and if any creature, either man, genius, or dragon, should seize the horse, that man opposes such attempt, and having gained the victory upon a battle, again gives the horse his freedom. If any one in this world, or in heaven, or beneath the earth, would seize this horse, and the horse of himself comes to the house of the celebrator of the Jugg, upon killing that horse, he must throw the flesh of him upon the fire of the Juk, and utter the prayer of his deity: such a Jugg is called a Jugg Ashummeed, and the merit of it, as a religious work, is infinite.'*
The offering of first-fruits. This offering was a public acknowledgment of the bounty and goodness of God for the kindly fruits of the earth. From the practice of the people of God, the heathen borrowed a similar one, founded on the same reason. The following passage from Censorinus, De Die Natali, is worthy of the deepest attention. 'Our ancestors, who held their food, their country, the light, and all that they possessed, from the bounty of the gods, consecrated to them a part of all their property, rather as a token of their gratitude, than from a conviction that the gods needed any thing. Therefore, as soon as the harvest was got in, before they had tasted of the fruits, they appointed libations to be made to the gods. And as they held their fields and cities as gifts from their gods, they consecrated a certain part in the temples and shrines where they worshipped.' Pliny is express on the same point, and attests that the Romans never tasted either their new corn or wine, till the priests had offered the first-fruits to the gods. Ac ne degustabunt quidem novas fruges aut vina, antequam sacerdotes primitias libassent. (Hist. Nat. 1. xviii. c. 2.) See also Hor. Sat. 1. ii. v. 12., and Tibullus, Eleg. 1. i. eleg. i. v. 13. et eleg. V. v. 27.†
The law of the Nazarite, Num. 6. 18. " And the Nazarite shall shave the head of his separation," &c. The hair, which was permitted to grow for this purpose, was shaven off as a token that the vow was accomplished. It was probably from this practice of the Jewish Nazarites, that the Gentiles learned the practice of consecrating their hair to their gods, of which Suetonius relates an instance in his life of Nero, (c. xii. 11.); informing us, that he cut off his first beard, and put it into a golden box set with jewels, and consecrated it to Jupiter Capitolinus. Homer relates (Il. 1. xxiii. v. 142.) that Achilles, at the funeral of Patroclus, cut off his golden locks, which his father had dedicated to the river-god Sperchius, and threw them into the flood. From Virgil we learn that the topmost lock of hair
* Comprehensive Bible, Note on Lev. 16. 26.
+ Idem, Lev., 23 10.
was dedicated to the infernal gods; see his account of the death of Dido, Æn. 1. iv. v.698.*
The dedication of the altar. The sacrifices of peace-offerings were more numerous than the burnt-offering or the sin offering; because the priests, the princes, and as many of the people as they invited, had a share of them, and feasted, with great rejoicing, before the Lord. This custom, as Mr. Selden observes, (De Synedriis, 1. iii. c. 14. nu. 3, 6, 7.), seems to have been imitated by the heathen, who dedicated their altars, temples, statues, &c. with much ceremony; and the ancient Greeks ToλurεXEOTEPOLC Lεpois, with more sumptuous sacrifices. Among the Romans, they were dedicated with plays, feasting, and public donations; and at last their feasts became anniversaries, as the feast of dedication also was among the Jews, after the time of Antiochus. In this feast, there were Avxvokaιa, or illuminations, as expressive of the public joy.†
The passover, of which nothing was to be left till the morning. From this ordinance the heathens borrowed their sacrifice, termed Propter Viam. It was their custom, previously to their undertaking a journey, to offer a sacrifice to their gods, and to eat the whole, if possible; but if any part was left, they burned it with fire; this was called propter viam, because it was made to procure a prosperous journey. It was in reference to this, that Cato is said to have rallied a person called Q. Albidius, who, having eaten up all his goods, set fire to his house. 'He has offered his sacrifice propter viam,' said Cato, because he has burned what he could not eat.' Macrobius, Saturn. 1. ii.‡
The feast of trumpets, on the month Tisri, the seventh month of their ecclesiastical year, but the first of their civil year, answering to our September. This, which was their new year's day, was a time of great festivity, and ushered in by the blowing of trumpets; whence it was also called the feast of blowing the trumpets. In imitation of this Jewish festival, different nations began the new year with sacrifices and festivity. The ancient Egyptians did so; and the Persians also celebrated their jj, naw rooz,
or new year's day, which they held on the vernal equinox, and which 'lasted ten days, during which all ranks seemed to participate in one general joy. The rich sent presents to the poor; and were dressed in their holiday clothes; all kept open house; and religious processions, music, dancing, a species of theatrical exhibition, rustic sports, and other pastimes, presented a continued round of varied amusement. Even the dead, and the ideal beings were not forgotten; rich viands being placed on the tops of houses and high towers, on the flavour of which the Peris, and spirits of their departed heroes and friends, were supposed to feast.' (Richardson's Dissertation on the Languages, &c. of Eastern Nations, p. 59.) After the Mohammedan conquest of Persia, the celebration of this period sensibly declined, and at last totally ceased, till the time of Jelaladin, (about
• Comprehensive Bible, Note in loco.
+ Idem, Note on Num. 7. 35.
A D. 1082.) who, coming to the crown at the vernal equinox, re-established the ancient festival, which has ever since been celebrated with pomp and acclamations.*
The law of heiresses. The similarity between this, and the law of the Athenians is so striking, that Grotius thinks the latter an evident imitation. At Athens in like manner, an heiress was bound to marry, by the law of Solon, her nearest relation, who inherited the estate. See Jac. Perizonii, Dissert. de Leg. Voconia, vii. p. 137, and S. Petitus, Comment. in Leg. Attic. 1. vi. tit. 1. p. 441.†
Division of the sacrifices in making a covenant, Deut. xxix. 12. thou shouldest enter (Heb. pass) into covenant,' &c. This is an allusion to the solemn ceremony used by several ancient nations, when they entered into covenant with each other. The victims, slain as a sacrifice on this occasion, were divided, and the parts laid asunder: the contracting parties then passed between them, imprecating as a curse on those who violated the sacred compact, that they might in like manner be cut asunder. Of the Divine institution of this ceremony, we have a detailed account in Gen. xv. 9-17: "And he said unto him, Take me an heifer of three years old, and a she goat of three years old, and a ram of three years old, and a turtle dove, and a young pigeon. And he took unto him all these, and divided them in the midst, and laid each piece one against another : but the birds divided he not. And when the fowls came down upon the carcases, Abram drove them away. And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram ; and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him."-" And behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp that passed between those pieces.” Thus also Homer says, Μερους τ' εξέταμον, κατά τε κνισση εκαλύψαν, διπτυχα ποιησαντες, επ' αυτών δ' ωμοθετησαν. “They cut the quarters and cover them with the fat: dividing them into two, they place the raw flesh upon them.' St. Cyril, in his work against Julian, shows that passing between the divided parts of a victim was used also among the Chaldeans and other people; and Livy (l. i. decad. i. c. 24.) has preserved the form of the imprecation used on such occasions, in the account he gives of the league between the Romans and Albans, Hence the expression (Jos. ix. 6.), ♫ » 1, kirthoo lanoo berith, cut or divide with us a covenant;' or rather the covenant sacrifice offered on these occasions. The same form of speech obtained among the Greeks and Romans. Thus Homer uses the phrase opкia Tεuvεv, to cut in pieces the oath offerings, which he expressly says (Il. iii. v. 245, 246.) were two lambs; and Eustathius on Il. ii. v. 124, remarks, dia roμns ¿wwv Ovoμevov oi eti μeyadoıç oproɩ εyivovto, by the cutting of sacrificed animals, oaths in important affairs were confirmed.' It is well known that the Romans had the similar expressions ferire, icere, percutere, scindere fœdus, to strike, smite, or cleave a covenant, for simply making or entering into a covenant. ↑
• Comprehensive Bible, note on Num. 29. 1.
+ Idem, note n Num. 36. 8.
EVIDENCE OF THE INSPIRATION OF THE SCRIPTURES.
1. From the Sacred Writers expressly claiming Divine Inspiration.
(1.) With respect to the Old Testament, from inspiration being claimed by the prophets both for themselves and predecessors. 2 Sam. 23. 1, 2; Neh. 9.30; Psal. 19. 7-11; Isa. 8. 20; Jer. 20. 7-9; 25. 3, 4; 27.12-19; Eze. 1. 1-3; 38. 16, 17; Dan. 9. 12, 13; Mic. 3.
8-12; Zec. 1. 5, 6.*
By their Writings being expressly recognised as inspired by the Sacred Writers of the New Testament, and especially by our Saviour. Mat. 4. 4-11; 5. 17, 18; 15. 1—14; Mar. 7. 1-9; 16. 29-31; John 5. 39-47; Matt. 12. 1-5;
Matt. 21. 15, 16;
Matt. 22. 29-32; Luke
Luke 6. 3, 4; Matt. 12. 22. 41-46; Mark 12. Matt. 13. 13-15; 15.
41, 42; Luke 4. 23-27; 35-37; Luke 24. 44-46; 7-9; 21. 13; Mark 7. 6, 7; Luke 4. 17-21; Matt. 24.15; Mark 13. 14; Matt. 9. 13; 12. 7, 39-41; 16. 4; Luke 11. 29-32; Matt. 10. 35, 36; 11. 10, &c; Luke 7. 27; Matt. 17. 10-12; Mark 9.1113; Matt. 21. 42, 43; 26. 54-56; Luke 24. 27, 44—46.*
(2.) With respect to the New Testament, from the Sacred Writers expressly claiming inspiration for themselves individually and for one another. 1 Cor. 7. 39, 40; 1 Th. 4. 6-8; 5.23-28; 2 Pe. 3. 1-4, 14-16; 1 John 4. 4-6.†
2. Because a great many wise and good men of all ages and nations have agreed to receive the Bible as a Divine Revelation.
(1.) Thus the Jews have uniformly acknowledged the Scriptures of the Old Testament as the Word of God. For the testimony of the Jews, in the time of Christ, it is sufficient to refer to the New Testament, and to Josephus (Cont. Apion, 1. i. § 8.); and for the belief of the modern Jews, see their confession of faith, which has been in use ever since the thirteenth century, in Lamy's Apparatus Biblicus, vol. i. pp. 245, 246.†
(2.) Christians also, from the earliest ages to the present time, have testified their belief of the Inspiration both of the Old and New Testament, and in many instances laid down their lives in testimony of their unshaken belief. The testimonies of the early Christians are collected and ably
• Comprehensive Bible, Introd. p. 60.