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are pleasing to hinn from any intrinsic merit of their own.
III. The writings of the prophet Isaiah abound with declarations of the very same tendency. :). To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the Lord : [ am full of the burnt-offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts ; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he-goats. When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand to tread my courts ? Bring no more rain oblations ; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling 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.
After this immediately follows the reason, why these ceremonies were a trouble to God, and what was the only true method of gaining his favour; namely, the real possession of those virtues, of which the legal observances were only the shadow'.
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. Wash ye, make ye clean : put away thc evil of your doings from before mine eyes ; cease to do evil ; learn to do well ; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, pleud for the widow.'
2. In another part of his Prophecies, Isaiah foretells the blind attachment of the Jews to rites and ceremonies; and predicts, that, in consequence of their not being converted to a purer revelation, they should be removed from their own land, and scattered among the Gentiles.
Go and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not ; and see ye indeed, but perceide not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes ; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and concert, and be healed. Then said 1, Lord, how long? And he answered, Until the cities be wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the land be utterly desolate, and the Lord have removed men far away, and there be a great forsaking in the midst of the land."
3. The same lip-service, to which men in all ages are so prone, is, in a siinilar manner, upbraided in the following passage.
Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men: therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, eren a marvellous work and a wonder : for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid.
The judicial blindness here spoken of remains to this day. Still does the wisdom of their wise men perish ; and still is the understanding of their prudent men hid. But darkness is only come upon Israel for a season: God, in his own due time, will enlighten their hearts; and the whole world with forın only one flock under one shepherd.
IV. Next to Isaiah, in order of succession, is Jeremiah.
I. This prophet, in one of his predictions, expressly foretells the introduction of a pure and spiritual religion, the abolition of legal ordinances, the call of the Gentiles, and the final restoration of Israel
I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding. And it shall come to pass, when ye be multiplied, and increased in the land, in those days, saith the Lord, they shall say no more, The ark of the covenant of the Lord: neither shall it come to mind; neither shall they remember it ; neither shall they visit it ; neither shall that be done any morc. At that time, they shall call Jerusalem, the Throne of the Lord: and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of the Lord, to Jerusalem : neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart."
2. The other prophecy of Jeremiah, relative to the same event, is perhaps yet more particular.
Behold the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah ; not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers, in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt ; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the Lord. But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel: After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts ; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.'
According to this prediction, the ancient Levitical covenant was to be dissolved ; and the ordinances of Moses were to be succeeded by a law, not typical but real, not ceremonial but written in the heart.
V. To the same purpose speaks a very remarkahle prophecy of Hosea; which, with some variation from our common English version, I would exhibit in the following terms.
Many days shall the children of Israel tarry without the King even without the Ruler, and without sacrifice, and without statue, and without ephod and Teruphim. Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek Jehovah their God even the David their King; and shall adore Jehorah and his goodness in the latter days.”
Jerem. xxxi, 31--33.
2 Hosca iii. 4, 5.
We here have it foretold, that the Mosaical dispensation should be abrogated; that the Israelites should long remain without the divine king, who was the acknowledged head of their theocracy; that, during that period, they should be without sacrifice either typical or antitypical, being withheld from offering up animal victims, and having no interest in the atonement wrought out by the sacrifice of the Messiah ; that, during the same period, they should be debarred from the ceremonial worship of Jehovah, conducted by an ephod-clad priest before the faces of the Cherubim; and that yet, notwithstanding their temporary estrangement, they should carefully abstain from all participation of idolatry. This allotted period however having expired, they are to return and seek Jehovah their God, even the mystical David their Messiah King; and, in the latter days, are to adore the Lord and his goodness under a purer dispensation than that of Moses.
VI. Though the seed of Abraham rejected the Messiah, when he did come; yet, after their manner, they were always eagerly anticipating his advent. This earnest but ignorant wish of the Jews for the manifestation of Christ, and their mistaken notions concerning his office, are severely reprehended by Amos.
He foretells, that the glorious light of the Gospel would be darkness to them, on account of their unbelief and the hardness of their hearts; that their ceremonies were an abomination to God;