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subject; from whence it is to be concluded, that the analogy, by which this emblematic exhibition was calculated to convey spiritual information to the human mind, is now not necessary to be particularly known, because we are now living under a more perfect Dispensation; still, with any one duly conversant with the Hebrew Scriptures, there seems to be no room for doubt, that the Cherubim were designed as an emblematic representation of the Covenant of Grace, entered into by the three Great Ones in the Godhead; set up
for the comfort and support of man in his fallen condition; and before which, as a sacred memorial of that sublime mystery, which was, in the fulness of time, to be more perfectly revealed, the religious service of the infant Church, was, in faith, to be offered up.
That this is not mere unfounded conjecture, may be concluded from the testimony, which Solomon bears to this subject; where he says, either on the authority of revelation or tradition, that the altar in the Temple, was a resemblance of that which had been set up by God in
the Holy Tabernacle from the beginning. • Thou hast commanded me, says Solomon, to build a Temple upon thy Holy Mount, and an altar in the city wherein Thou dwellest, a resemblance of the Holy Tabernacle, which Thou hast prepared from the beginning.” Wis. of Sol. ix. 8.
Now we know, that the blood of atonement shed on the altar, was afterwards sprinkled before the Cherubim in the Holy of Holies; for, as it has been above observed, it was unto the exemplar, or pattern. of heavenly things that the Priests ministered. From whence the fair conclusion is, that the Cherubim were originally set up at the east of Paradise, for the purpose of the same religious service being performed before them there, that was, in process of time, performed before them in the 'Temple.
It is true, indeed, that on the first setting up the Cherubim, no express command is to be found in Scripture, directing the form of worship by sacrifice. Still the first mention made of sacrifice, in the way of relation, proves its early institution. We know, moreover, that under the Law,
the service of sacrifice was established by express direction delivered to Moses from the Deity. As natural reason, then, is utterly unable to point out any analogy between the blood of an innocent firstling of the flock offered up in sacrifice, and the sin of guilty man; we are, from the foregoing premises, fully justified in concluding, that it was in consequence of a
, divine command, that the blood of the sacrificed creature assumed its important significance, as the appointed emblem of that precious blood, which, according to the eternal purpose was to redeem the life of man.
On this head, modern philosophers and we are so far perfectly agreed, that animal sacrifices could not have gained establishment in the world, either on the principles of natural reason or religion. But when they ascribe the origin of them to superstition, we must remind them, that
superstition is but the corruption of revelation, and consists in following the dictates of our own imagination in religious worship, instead of scrupulously abiding by the divine institutions. Had there been no true
Religion, there could not have been any that is false. Had there been no divine institutions, superstition would have had no foundation on which to have raised its imaginary superstructure. But God never established a covenant, without appointing some outward signs, or memorials, as pledges of his promises, and man's obedience. The very abuse of sacrifice, therefore, to the purposes of heathenism, proves the divinity of its origin. For to the
perversion of sacred tradition,* are the corruptions of heathenism to be traced up.fi
* Isaiah i. 11. Psalm lx. 6.-1.9.-li. 16.
+ The more this subject, the most fruitful in the whole compass of literature, is investigated, the more satisfied shall we be, that the images of heathen idolatry, were but the corruptions, according to the imaginations of men at different times, of that primitive symbolical representation, originally set up at the Fall, for the purpose of preserving the Faith, and characterizing the worship of the true Religion. The reader has only to go far enough back, and he will arrive at the same divine fountain, to which the pure stream of patriarchal tradition, and the corrupt one of heathenish superstition are to be traced up. Mr. Maurice, in his “ Dissertation on the Oriental Trinities,” (which, by bringing the counterfeits, the Pagan Triads, to prove the Realities,
And as the Deity repeatedly and formally disclaimed all virtue, considered as inherent in the sacrifices themselves, the divine appointment of them could have no other object in view, than to direct the eye
of the offerer to that great atonement, which the blood of the slain animal was designed to shadow forth.
In correspondence with this conclusion warranted by the practice of sacrifice, the ceremonial part of the first religious service of which the Scriptures make mention, considered as the fæderal rite of that new covenant, which was instituted immediately after the Fall; the reception which
thereby makes the corruption of revelation bear testimony to the truth of it,) has done much in assisting the reader in this interesting research. If the reader would be further assisted, he will find more useful, because more correct information upon it, in the “ Trinitarian Analogy,” by that most excellent Divine, the late W. Jones. But should he be desirous of entering more deeply into this subject, (provided he be not prejudiced by the sound of a name) he will find most fall and curious information upon it, in the writings of the late celebrated Mr. Hutchinson, who, with an industry of investigation peculiar to himself, has traced the ductrines and rites of heathenisin backward to the remotest antiquity.