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NO. XLI.-ON THE DIVINE INSTITUTION OF SACRI
AND THE TRACES THEREOF DISCOVER
ABLE IN THE HEATHEN CORRUPTIONS OF THE
PAGC 35. (5) That the rite of sacrifice was not an invention of man, but an ordinance of God; that, however in passing among the nations of the earth, it might have become deformed by idola trous practices, it yet had not sprung from an idolatrous source--it is the principal object, of the second of the Discourses contained in this volume, and of many of the Dissertations which are to follow in the next, to establish.* I shall not therefore here enter upon a discussion of this question, but confine myself merely to a few extracts from Eusebius, with some accompanying observations, upon this subject.
* Dr. Randolph in his interesting and valuable volume of Advent Sermons, has expressed himself with felicity upon this subject.-“ From those who presumptuously deride the doctrine of Atonement, we would ask some reasonable solution of the origin of sacrifice. Will they make it consists ent with any natural idea, will they discover in the blood of an innocent victim, any thing recommendatory in itself of the offerer's suit and devotions ? Though they should clear away, what they term, a load of superstition from the Christian worship, they will find it encumbering every altar of their favourite natural religion; they will find these absur. dities forming the significant and generally indispensable part of all religious ceremonies : and however disgraced, as
are ready tu, aliow, with every abominable pollution, though retaining nothing to perfect the service, or to purify the offering, still in its expiatory form, in its propitiatory hopes, the sacrifice of heathen nations preserves the teatures of that sacred and solemn office, which was ordained to keep up the remembrance of guilt, till the full and perfect sacri. fice, oblation, and satisfaction was made by an eternal Mediator, for the sins of the whole world.” Sermons during Advent. pp. 46. 47.
That learned writer having deduced from the scripture account of the sacrifices of Abel, Noah, and Abraham, and from the sacrificial institutions by Moses, the fact of a divine appointment, proceeds to explain the nature and true intent of the rite in the following manner.--"Whilst men had no victim that was more excellent, more precious, and more worthy of God, animals were made the price and ransom* of their souls. And their substituting these animals in their own room bore indeed some affinity to their suffering themselves; in which sense all the antient worshippers and friends of God, made use of them. The holy spirit had taught them, that there should one day come a Victim, more venerable, more holy, and more worthy of God. He had likewise instructed them how to point him out to the world by types and shadows. And thus they became prophets, and were not ignorant of their having been chosen out to represent to mankind, the things which God resolved to accomplish.”*--In other words he pronounces, that the ancient sacrifices, those prescribed to the patriarchs, and those enjoined by the law, were types and figures, and known to be such, of that one great sacrifice, which was, at a future day, to be offered upon the cross for the sins of the whole human race.
Λυτρα της εαυτων ζωης, και αντιψυχα.”
Of the practices which grew out of this original institution, and of the abuses to which it led amongst the heathen world, perhaps the most remarkable
be discovered in the account of the mystical offering of the Phenicians recorded by the same writer from Sanchoniatho; which, as well from the extraordinary circumstances of the transaction itself, as from the interesting and important bearing given to it by a late ingenious writer, I here submit to the reader in the words of the historian.
“ It was an established custom amongst the antients” (speaking of the Phenicians,) “ on any
* Euseb. Demonst. Evang. lib. I. cap. 1. p. 36. The whole of the tenth chapter is well worth attention,
+ Eθος ην τους παλαιοις εν ταις μεγαλαις συμφοραις των κινδυνων, αντι της παντων φθορας, το αγαπημενον των τεκνων της κρατοντας η πολεως, η εθνες, εις σφαγην επιδιδοναι, λυτρον τους τιμωρους δαιμοσι. Κατεσφαττοντο δε οι διδομενοι ΜΥΣΤΙΚΩΣ. . -Κρονος τοινυν, ον οι Φοινικες Ισραηλ προσαγορευ8σι, βασιλευων της χώρας, και υπερον μετα σην τα βιε τελευτην εις τον τε Κρονα ασερα καθιερωθεις, εξ επιχωριας νυμφης, Αναβρεσ λεγομενης, υιον εχων μονογενη, ον δια τετο Ιεε
calamitous or dangerous emergency, for the ruler of the state, to offer up, in prevention of the general ruin, the most dearly beloved of his children, as a ransom to.avert the divine
εκαλουν, (τε μονογενες ετως ετι και νυν καλέμενε παρα τοις Φοινιξι) κινδυνων εκ πολεμε μεγιων κατειληφοτων την χωραν, βασιλικο κοσμησας σχηματι τον υιον, βωμον τε κατασκευασαμενος κατεθυσιν. Euseb. Præp. Evang. Lib. I, cap. x. p. 40. and Lib. IV. cap. xvi. pp. 156, 157.
It will be remarked here that the word lopana, in this extract of Eusebius, I have written Il in the translation. This I have done upon the authority of the ablest critics. Gro. tius, Vossius, and others, are of opinion, that the transcriber of Eusebius meeting with in (Il) supposed it to be a contraction of the word lopana, (Israel) often abridged thus in the MSS, of the Greek Christian writers, and wrote it at full length as we now find it. This is confirmed by the circumstance of Kronus being elsewhere called Il, as we learn from Eusebius himself, (pp. 36, 37.)—On this see Grotius in Deut. xviii. 10. Vossius de Idol. lib. I. cap. xviii. p. 143. Marsham Can. Chron. p. 79. and Bryant's Observat. on Hist. p. 288. The last named writer says,
66 Kronus originally esteemed the supreme deity, as is manifest from his being called Il and llus. It was the same name as the El of the Hebrews; and according to St. Jerome was one of the ten names of God. Phænicibus Il, qui Hebræis El, quod est unum de decem nominibus Dei. Damascius, in the life of Isidorus, as it occurs in Photius, mentions that Kronus was worshipped by the people of those parts, under the name of Εί. Φοινικες και Συρος τον Κρονον Ηλ, και Βηλ, και Βολαθην επονοual ol." Observations, &c. p. 289.It should be observed that the p (El) of the Hebrews is written "'N (II) in Sy. riac; and consequently is the Il of the Phenicians : so that Il and El are without doubt the same name.
they who were devoted for this purpose, were offered mystically. For Kronus truly, whom the Phenicians call Il, and who after his death was translated with divine honours to the star which bears his name, having, whilst he ruled over that people, begotten by a nymph of the country, named Anobret, an only son, thence entitled Jeud, (it being to this day usual with the Phenicians so to denominate an only son,) had, when the nation was endangered from a most perilous war, after dressing up his son in the emblems of royalty, offered him as a sacrifice on an altar specially prepared for the purpose.”
On the Phenician rites, and particularly upon their mystical offering here described, the late very learned Mr. Bryant has offered some curious and striking observations, from which I have made the following selection, which I trust will not be unacceptable to the reader.
It should not, however, be dissembled, that Stilling fleet, (after Scaliger and others) is of opinion, that the word might have been written Israel by Eusebius, as we now find it, and that by that Abraham might have been intended. (Orig. Sacr. p. 571.) He has not, however, advanced any thing to place this matter beyond doubt. And the authority of Eusebius himself as already giren, with the other references that have been noticed, renders it highly probable that Il was the word as originally written. Vossius also (p. 143) re. marks, “ Parum credibile est, Phænices pro Deo summo, hoc est Molocho, sive Saturno, habituros Israelem, parentem gentis vicinæ, maximeque exosæ ; quod satis sacra testatur historia."