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to God," that is, by covenanting or intercourse with him, "being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit," 1 Pet. iii. 18, 19.
4. The last sort of sacrifices, are eucharistical sacrifices,* or thank-offerings, grateful remembrances of God's kindnesses; there is no expiatory offering for sin properly, but Jesus Christ, who is the end of the law, and antitype of all the types of old: there were also testificatory sacrifices, such as were symbols of divine worship, testimonies of man's gratitude and obedience; for under this notion of thankfulness must be comprized, not only verbal praises, but all that duty which God commandeth, and a Christian performeth: hence some have entitled the practical part of divinity, treatises on gratitude, or thankfulness, for all that a Christian doth God-wards, is the debt of gratitude, and yet God is pleased to call it all by the name of sacrifice; Psal. cvii. 22, "Let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving:" these are mincha or the meatofferings, and shelamim the peace-offerings, returns of gratitude for mercies received; and there were also vows and free-will-offerings, the difference between which is this, that in the free-will-offering, the worshippers did present the thing itself unto the Lord, but in a vow they did first promise it, being, it may be, not in a capacity to perform it, at that time, as Jonah in the whale's belly.
This last sort of gospel sacrifices I shall reduce to these four particulars:—namely, a broken heart, selfdedications, acts of charity, and prayer and praises.
I shall briefly consider, both how these may be called sacrifices, and how real saints make a covenant with God by these sacrifices; which will be introductory to that which I chiefly intend.
(1.) A broken heart, Psal. li. 17, "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;" one broken heart stands in the room of many costly sacrifices; a heart grieved for sin, sensible of God's dishonour and displeasure is more valued by the Lord, than a house full of sacrifices, he had said, ver. 16, "thou desirest not sacrifice," which is not to be understood absolutely, but comparatively; a tender, melting, contrite heart, is more acceptable than all other offerings. "My son, give me thy heart,"* saith God; mind, will, conscience, and affections must be entirely offered to God, the whole heart, yet a broken heart; undivided, yet grieved under the guilt of sin; a sincere, prompt heart, yet a rent, relenting heart ;† bring that to God, bind that close to him in covenant; a melted heart is fittest for impressions, ‡ yea, a heart of flesh is a great branch of the new covenant, Ezek. xxxvi. 26: this is the most proper to write God's laws on, this only will be cast into a gospel-mould, he that bears his broken heart in the hand of saving faith, and offers it to God through Christ, hath made a covenant with God by sacrifice, then will our Lord bind up the wounds of this broken-hearted sinner; God will dwell with this man of a contrite spirit,|| to such a one will he look, when he overlooks others, such only will enter, and be received into covenant with God; a melting broken heart only, passes in the channel of the new covenant, God-wards.
(2.) Self-dedication: not only is a broken heart, but the whole body a sacrifice, Rom. xii. 1, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service:" as if he had said, I beseech you as you have a due sense of
• Prov. xxiii. 26.
2 Cor. iii. 3. Rom. vi. 17.
+ Joel ii. 12, 13.
Isa. lxi. 1. lvii. 15. lxvi. 2.
Christ's offering himself a sacrifice for our sins, and of your salvation by grace, as Gentiles who have also been delivered from legal bondage, and costly sacrifices of beasts, that you dedicate yourselves wholly to God, in entire obedience to divine commands, this is an important and blessed service of God: "yield your members as servants to righteousness, unto holiness;"* this is nothing else but the covenanting of which I speak, every obligation laid upon us by God, calls for a fresh exhibition of ourselves unto the Lord, using our members not as our own, but the Lord's; mortifying earthly members, beating down the body, and keeping it in subjection to the soul,† and soul and body for the Lord; that the whole man may be regulated and ordered according to scripture rules. O blessed bond! O holy sacrifice! Jews offered a dead beast, Christians bring a living offering; theirs was passive, this is active: the living soul animating these useful organs brings both to the Former of all things: the body is not slain for God, yet is devoted to God. The sacrifice is entire, actuated not only by a rational soul but by a spiritual principle; the body lives, yet the deeds of the body die; the man converseth amongst men as others, yet lives to God; here is the mystery of this blessed covenanting, here is the marrow of this divine sacrificing.
(3.) Acts of charity: these are a true evangelical sacrifice, Heb. xiii. 16, "But to do good, and to communicate forget not, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased;" the former word uπouía, doing well, refers to our actions; Kowwvía communicating refers to money, clothes, meat, to be distributed to the necessities of saints, and is employed, Rom. xv. 26, when the apostle speaks of making a certain contribution, or communication for the saints, the same is called Rom. xii. 13.
Rom. vi. 19. + Col. iii. 5. 1 Cor. ix. 27.
diakovia, ver. 31, a service or ministration of a deacon; these offerings of love answer to the Shelamim or peaceofferings of old, which are acts of beneficence, and mutual fellowship in eating and drinking, like the lovefeasts in the beginning of gospel times: thus the primitive Christians had all things common,* using hospitality at home, sending presents abroad; these are called sacrifices, though immediately relating to men, yet ultimately designed for God's sake and glory; what the believing Philippians sent to Paul of this nature, was "an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well pleasing to God," Phil. iv. 18. Well, but how do God's people make a covenant by such sacrifices? I answer, by devoting themselves to God, when they distribute their property to men; and without the former the latter is insignificant; if you could give all your goods to feed the poor, yet if you have not those covenant graces of faith and love, you are nothing:† hence it is that the poor Macedonians, in their rich distributions, are commended, not only that they abounded in the riches of their liberality, 2 Cor. viii. 1—4, but there is an overplus in an act of piety also: wherein did that consist? Why, in this noble work of covenanting with God, ver. 5; "and this they did not as we hoped," that is, beyond what we could have expected, "but they first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God;" they devoted not only their goods but their persons, what they were, as well as what they had; they passed a deed of gift of themselves over to God: this act of piety is an essential part and property of true charity, nor were these alone; the believing Corinthians rivalled these gracious Macedonians, 2 Cor. ix. 12, 13, as they also made a professed subjection to the gospel of Christ, as well as a liberal distribution, ¿ñì tỷ + 1 Cor. xiii. 3
• Act. ii. 44. VOL. IV.
vπоτayй τñs dμodoyíaç, upon an obedience, or subjection, of mutual consent, as the word signifies, openly declared before the world, testifying their readiness to be at God's disposal, before many witnesses; nor, saith one, is there a more firm evidence of sincere faith, than communicating to the saints' necessities, for such a faith worketh by love:* the gift of the giver himself is better than the giver's gift, the former to God, the latter to men ; the former, in some sort, consecrates the latter. Doubtless, the poor widow's two mitest amounted to a vast sum in true value, who gave not only her livelihood, but her heart and life to God; this is covenanting with God by sacrifice.
(4.) Prayer and praise, are gospel sacrifices; for prayer, see Psal. cxli. 2, "Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense, and the lifting up of my hands, as the evening sacrifice:" so Mal. i. 11, it is prophesied, "that incense shall be offered to the name of the Lord, and a pure offering," which the new testament interprets to be prayer; and for praise and thankfulness, see Heb. xiii. 15, "By him let us offer the sacrifices of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to his name;" elsewhere called, the calves of our lips, || because calves were offered in sacrifice. There were in the law sacrifices of thanksgiving, which were peace-offerings. § Now in these euctical and eucharistical offerings, that is, in prayer and praise, it becomes God's people to make a covenant; prayers and vows go together; Jonah i. 16, " Then the men feared exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice, and made vows;" they had been praying and crying, ver. 14; some think that there is here an inversion, that
* Non firmius est veræ fidei specimen quàm sanctis communicare.-Slat. + Mark xii. 42-44.
1 Tim. ii. 8.
|| Hos. xiv. 2.
§ Lev. vii. 12, 15.