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entrance there was a porch that supported a great tower a hundred and twenty cubits high, and twenty broad. I leave the learned to judge of the proportions. But I must desire those that think the temple small, to consider, that the people were never to go into it; only the priests, and such as waited on them; and that at stated times, morning and evening, to light the lamps, and offer bread and perfumes. The high priest was the only person that entered into the sanctuary where the ark of the covenant stood; nor did he go in oftener than once a year.
The whole temple and sanctuary too were wainscoted with cedar, adorned with carvings, and all covered with plates of gold. On the outside it was surrounded with two cedar-floors, which made three stories of chambers for different uses. Before the temple, in a great court, was the altar for holocausts, or whole burnt offerings, that is to say, a platform thirty cubits square and fifteen high. The priests went up to it by an easy ascent without steps, to place the wood and victims in order. In the same court were ten great brazen basons set upon rolling bottoms; and that which was supported by twelve oxen the Scripture calls the brazen sea.
This court belonged to the priests, especially that part betwixt the altar and the porch ; for the laity might advance as far as the altar to present their victims and slay them, when they offered sacrifices. The Levites stood upon the stairs of the porch, which faced the temple, to sing and play upon musical instruments. The court of the priests was enclosed with galleries, and surrounded with a first court much larger, which was the usual place for the people, where the women were separated from the men, and the Gentiles might not come any farther than to stand under the galleries which made the enclosure of the first court. There were several parlours, chambers, and storehouses, for different uses, adjoining to these galleries of each enclosure.'
• 2 Chron. iii. 4. 1 Kings vi. 3.
They had treasuries for the sacred vessels of guld and silver, which were so numerous, that even at their return from the captivity they brought home five thousand four hundred ;s vestries likewise for the sacerdotal habits ; "and storehouses, where they laid up the offerings set apart for the maintenance of the priests and Levites, widows and orphans; and what was committed to their charge by private people.' For it was customary with the antients to deposit what was given for the public in temples. In other places, they kept wine and oil for the libations, salt to season all the sacrifices, and the lambs that had been picked out to be offered at the evening and morning
Ezek. xl. xli. xlii.
Gazophylacia, Pastophoria, Thalami, Exedræ, vid. Jer. XXXV. 4. in the Vulgate. 61 Esd. ii. 14.
Ezek. xliv. 19. '2 Chron. xxxi. 11. 2 Macc. iii. 10.
Talmud. Cod. Middoth.
sacrifice, which was never omitted. In other places they made shew-bread, and what other pastry was necessary for the sacrifices. They had kitchens for the Aesh of the victims; eating rooms for the priests and guard of the Levites, that kept the doors and watched the temple day and night ; besides lodgings for those of them that were musicians ;' one, where the Nazarites were shaved after their vow; another, to examine lepers in ; a hall where the chief council of seventy elders was held ; and other rooms of the same nature, with which we are not so particularly acquainted. So many fine regular buildings gave, no doubt, a high idea of the Great King that was served in that sacred place.
They offered four lambs every day for an holocaust, two in the morning, and two in the evening: and this is what is called the continual sacrifice." On sabbath and festival days the sacrifices were multiplied in proportion to the solemnity, without reckoning the offerings of private people, which were daily very numerous.
We are offended at these bloody sacrifices which made the temple a sort of shambles : but it was the same amongst other nations; and the Israelites had taken sufficient precautions for performing these sacrifices with all the cleanliness and decency imaginable. The situation of the temple contributed to it: for it, as it was upon a mountain' they had many drains underneath to carry off the blood and nastiness. The peculiar part of the priests' office was only to pour out the blood, light the fire, and lay the pieces upon it that were to be offered." There were others to kill the victims, prepare them, cut them in pieces, and dress them ; we see it in the laws and the story of the sons of Eli. The priests never did those things but at the public sacrifices that were offered for all the people.
'Ezek. xl. 44.
qoron tameed, Heb. Evde de XYLOSg. Sept. juge saerificium. Vulgate.
After this we are not to think the comparison of a pot strange, which we read of in Jeremiah and Ezekiel, to represent Jerusalem.” These two prophets were priests, and used to see the sanctified meat dressed. Now they esteemed everything honourable that was employed in the service of God, and the performing of the law : besides, it was usual for the very best of people to work with their own hands, and do the necessary offices of life themselves, as we said before. Thus, in Homer, king Agamemnon kills the lambs with his own hands, the blood of which was the seal of the treaty he had made with the Trojans. Thus, when
Lev. iv. 10.
• 1 Sam. ii, 13.
And Agamemnon, drawing from its sheath
Nestor sacrificed to Minerva, his own sons kill the victims, cut the flesh in pieces, and broil it." Homer abounds with examples of this sort, not only when he is speaking of religious matters, but upon other occasions ; as when Achilles entertained the messengers of the other Grecian generals.
As to the rest, every thing that is prescribed by the law relating to the quality of 'victims, and the manner of performing the sacrifices, tended rather to cure the Israelites of their superstitions by confining them to a few ceremonies, than to introduce new ones.' Idolaters sacrificed in more places, used more ceremonies, and a greater variety of animals :' for they had every where temples and altars, and each family had their domestic gods and particular superstitions. Thus God prepared His people in a distant manner for the abolishing bloody sacrifices ; telling them often, at the same time by His prophets, that He had no need of them, that they were not essential to religion, and that the worship most agreeable to Him was gratitude and purity of heart."
It was necessary for the priests to be married, as the priesthood was annexed to the family of Aaron: but they parted from their wives during the time of their officiating, and drank neither wine nor any other liquor that could intoxicate.*
'Odyss. iii. ver. 448–460. · Tertull. in Marc. lib. ii. c. 18. i Herod. lib. ii. C. 40.
i Sam. xv. 22. Psalm l. 8, &c. Isaiah lxvi. 3. * Lev. x. 9.