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rive more benefit from the Word, we should soon experienee more. If we did but receive it as the Word of God, we should surely find it to be His Word, by its powerful efficacy on our souls. That all of us may thus receive and find it, God of his infinite mercy grant, for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord !
The chief design of St. Paul in this Epistle, was to point out to the Jews the real meaning of their sacrifices; and so to lead them to Christ, the One great Sacrifice for sin. With this view having reminded them of the continual use of blood in almost every part of their religious worship, he adds, in the words of the text, “ without shedding of blood is no remission."
This is a truth, which the whole Jewish religion taught; which the whole history of man, as set before us in the Scriptures, teaches; and which I now purpose to explain and apply.
To which end, I shall endeavour,
I. To establish the fact, that in all ages of the world, the revealed and acceptable way
of the sinner's drawing near to God, has been by " the shedding of blood."
II. To show what the fact, thus esta. blished, proves.
It must be granted that we have no express account of the appointment of sacrifices from the beginning, nor of the exact manner in which Adam, as a sinner, was taught to draw nigh unto God. But we read in the third chapter of Genesis, that “unto Adam and to his wife, did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them.” * Now it is certain that the beasts, from which these skins were taken, were not slain for purposes of food; because before the flood no leave to feed on the flesh of animals was given. It is therefore probable, that they were slain for sacrifices; and that Adam was thus taught in this significant manner to express his belief of the great truth revealed to him under the first promise of a Saviour, that “ without shedding of blood was no remission.” This probability is greatly increased by finding, that within a few years after, the offering of animals was a distinguishing part of that way of worshipping God, which he accepted. “ In process of time, it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground, an offering unto the
Lord: and Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock, and of the fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering, but unto Cain and to his offering He had no respect.” *
But the history of Noah furnishes a more decisive proof to the point in question. In the directions given to the patriarch before his entering into the ark, the division of animals into clean and unclean strongly intimates, that the offering of animals was an usual and an appointed way of worshipping God. For since, as was observed above, ani. mals were not then used for food, on what other account, except on that of their being used for sacrifices, could such a distinction have been made ? In this view clean beasts were such as were appointed for sacrifice; and hence for this reason a greater number of these were preserved in the ark, than of the other kinds. “Of every clean beast, thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female ; but of beasts that are not clean, by two, the male and his female." +
What is said of Noah immediately on his coming out of the ark? He " built an altar unto the Lord, and took of every clean beast and of every clean fowl, and offered burntofferings on the altar.” — And how was this * Genesis, iv. 3, 4.
+ Genesis, vii. 2.
act of worship accepted ? “ The Lord smelled a sweet savour, and the Lord said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake.”*
At this time it pleased the Almighty to make a farther grant to men, and to permit them to make use of animal food. But in the very terms in which this grant was given, there is something particularly suited to our present subject. “Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you, even as the green herb have I given you all things : but flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall you not eat.” † The flesh was allowed to be eaten, but the blood was forbidden. What was the chief reason of this prohibition ? A passage in the seventeenth chapter of Leviticus, where this prohibition is repeated, expressly mentions the reason.
« Whatsoever man there be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers which sojourn among you, that eateth any manner of blood, I will even set my face against that soul, that eateth blood, and will cut him off from among his people.” Now mark the reason : « For the life of the flesh is in the blood : and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that maketh