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ing of assemblies, I cannot away with, it is iniquity) even the solemn meeting. Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth. They are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them. And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you ; yea, when ye make many prayers I will not hear : Your hands are full of blood. This pointed testimony against outward services, agreeing, in their visible form, with the precepts of the Sinai covenant, which however had their principle in disaffection of heart, was made under the administration of that covenant, and had evident respect to it. This covenant must be what is intended by law, and requirement. Surely then the Sinai covenant required and accepted nothing but true piety;
9. It may be asked, how true piety could operate and express itself, but in obedience to the Sinai law? Was there a superior law, more spiritual in its precepts or motives, which piety obeyed ? Certainly there was no such law. There was no other piety known in Israel, nor was any other possible, than that which was obedience to the Sinai covenant. Then piety and mere civil allegiance, if the latter were required, are the same thing. Yet, according to the hypothesis opposed, they are entirely distinct from, and even contrary to each other,
10. With respect to the God of Israel himself ; How is it possible that he should so degrade, and sink himself, from the height of his glory, as to take rank with the miserable kings of the earth, the most of whom have been the. mere scourges of humanity ; that he should give the stamp of righteousness to actions de. monstrably sinful, and declared by himself to be so; and that he should institute a system, or segment of a system, to form to himself mere mercenary subjects, kept in awe, and driven to obedience by terror; and not drawn by the willing principle of love? Here I shall avail myself of the sentiments of a Reverend Brother, on this subject, expressed, with his usual cor. rectness. * The sinai covenant was not a mere exter.
nal covenant, which required only external obedience ; for it was inconsistent with the nature and character of God, to make such a covenant with his people. An earthly prince whose authority extends to the overt acts of the subject only, may require mere external obedience; but God, whose authority reaches the heart, cannot require mere external obedience, without giving up his authority, and indulging his creatures in sin. If God had told his people that he would be their governor, preserver, and benefactor, if they would pay him only external allegiance and homage, he would at once have given up his moral government over them, and indulged them in all the wickedness of their hearts. But could he have given them such an indulgence in wickedness consistently with his perfect holiness, and ifinite hatred of sin ?*
11. If we attend to the precepts transfused through the Sinai covenant, which respected the moral intercourse of Israel, one with another, it will appear that they all involved real piety of heart. Obedience to these precepts could not have been rendered on a selfish and mercenary principle.
These precepts required, Benevolence to the poor and stranger-Lev. xix. 9. 10.
Equity in dealings—Ib. 13. verse ;
Impartiality in judging --Ib. 15. verse ; that each one should love his neighbour as himself; that there should be no hatred, revenge, or grudging ; and that in brotherly love they should rebuke offenders and not suffer sin in each other. Ib. 17 and 18 verses :
That necromancy and witchcraft should be extirpa. ted-Ib. 31;
That reverence should be shown to the aged 33 ;
That there should be no intermarriages with the heathen, lest they should introduce corruption of faith, worship, and manners, Deut. vii. 3;
* Emmons's Dissertation against Hemmenway. Page 86.
And generally it was required that they should be altogether just, and holy, because God is holy.
Even the ritual law, which has been represented as burdensome and carnal; disconnected from moral righseousness, and inward piety; and which Bishop Warburton says, was imposed on the Iraelites, as a pun. ishment of antecedent rebellions, very impressively taught, that real holiness was required as the distinc. tive character of Israel.
Such for example was the evident language of the laws which required,
A sin offering, for Aaron and his sons, at their consecration to the priesthood—Exod. xxix. 10.
That leaven should not be intermixed in things consecrated-Lev, ii. ll.
That things offered should be without blemishDeut. xvii. l.
That Aaron and his sons should totally abstain from strong drinkIb. X. 9.
That certain beasts should be reputed, and not eaten, as unclean ; that things touched by them should be deemed unclean; and that even the substance on which any water should come, in which an unclean thing had been rinsed; should itself be reputed unclean Lev. xi, passim.
Other things in the ritual law, suggesting perpetually the same instruction, were,
The engraving upon the breastplate of the high priest, Holiness to the Lord;
The priests being forbidden to approach to God in the service of their order if they were subjects of any blemish-Lev, xxi. 16;
The interdiction of bastards, and mutilated persons, from entering into the Congregation of the Lord Deut. xxiii. 1 ;
The requisition of cleanliness in the camp, as the res: idence of God Ib. 14
The impurity of women, after parturition, and the purifications prescribed-Lev. 12.