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fices which were thought less holy, as the paschal lamb, it was sufficient to eat them within the walls of Jerusalem, but no where else.
But besides these sacrifices of animals there were likewise, as has been said, some oblations among the Jews, which were made of bread, wine, oil, and incense. And of these there were three sorts; viz. Ist, such as were ordinary, or common; 2dly, such as were free ; and, 3dly, such as were prescribed.
1st, The ordinary oblations that were made among them were, Ist, of a certain perfume called thumiama, which was burnt every day upon the altar of incense ; and, 2dly, of the shew-bread, which was offered new every sabbath-day, and the old taken away and eaten by the priest.
. 2dly, The free oblations were either the fruits, Ist, of promises ; or, 2dly, vows : but the former did not so strictly oblige as the latter. And of vows there were two sorts : Ist, the vow of consecration, when they devoted any thing, either for a sacrifice, or for the use of the temple, as wine, wood, salt, and the like ; and, 2dly, the vow of engagement, when persons engaged themselves to do something which was not in itself unlawful, as not to eat of some particular meat, not to wear some particular habits, not to do such and such innocent things, not to drink wine, nor to cut their hair, not to live longer in any house, and such like. When they made a vow, they made use of these forms: I
• Maimonides de Ratione Sacrificiorum, cap. xi. n. 5.
charge myself with a burnt-offering ; or, 1 charge myself with the price of this animal, for a burntoffering. Besides which, they had likewise other shorter forms; as for example, when they devoted all they had, they only said, All I have shall be Corban, that is, I make a present of it to God. For the word corban signifies a present made to God; which is the very same thing that St. Mark says of it, Corban (that is to say, a gift,) by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me. The Pharisees taught, that as soon as a man had once said this to his parents, as soon as he had pronounced the word corban, he thereby consecrated all he had to God, and could not even retain enough to support his father and mother: and therefore JESUS Christ with reason reproaches them with having destroyed by their tradition that commandment of the law which enjoins children to honour their fathers and mothers. The law required an exact performance of these vows; and the things that were thus given to God were reckoned among things sacred, which nobody could alienate without sacrilege.
3dly, The prescribed oblations were either, 1st, First-fruits ; or, 2dly, the Tenths.
1st, All the first-fruits of both fruit and animals were due to God. Among animals, the males only belonged to God; and they not only had the liberty, but were even obliged to redeem them, in the case of men and unclean animals, which could not be
+ Chap. vii. 11.
• Exod. xxii. 29.
offered up in sacrifice to the LORD. And as to fruits, they were forbidden to begin the harvest till they had offered up to God the omer, that is, the new sheaf, the day after the great day of unleavened bread ; and were forbidden to bake any bread made of new corn till they had presented the new loaves on the day of Pentecost. Before the offering up of the first-fruits, all was unclean ; after this oblation, all was holy: to which St. Paul alludes in the eleventh chapter of his epistle to the Romans, ver. 16, when he says, If the first-fruit be holy, the lump is also holy. The law commands, says Philo, that as often as the people make bread they should lay aside the first-fruits for the priests ; and this keeps up religion in their hearts; for when they accustom themselves to lay aside something for God, they cannot easily forget Him. To which Maimonides adds, that he who ate of his fruits before he had paid the tithe of it, was punished with sudden death. And as of fruits and animals, so likewise of oil and wine; the first-fruits of them were paid to God."
2dly, Besides first-fruits, the Jews likewise paid the tenths of all the fruits of the earth. St. Jerom, in his commentary on the fifty-fourth chapter of Ezekiel, divides the tenths into four sorts ; Ist, such as were paid to the Levites by the people, who were forbidden the eating of any fruit before this tenth was paid, upon pain of death : 2dly, such as were paid by the Levites to the priests ;
* Deut. xviii. 4.
3dly, such as were reserved for the banquets which were made within the verge of the temple, to which the priests and Levites were invited : and, 4thly, such as were paid every three years, for the support of the poor. If any one had a mind to redeem the tithes he was to pay, he was obliged to pay one fifth above their real value; and the tithes that belonged neither to the priests nor Levites were carried to the temple of Jerusalem, from all parts of the world where any Jews were. But the distant provinces converted it into money which was sent to Jerusalem, and applied to the sacrifices and entertainments at which the law required gaiety and joy. Josephus, who relates this custom, calls this money consecrated ; and we may say that it was either in order to support this pious custom, or else in order to substitute a more necessary one in the room of this, which was now no longer so, that the apostle took care to send alms to JerusaJem from all parts of the world. The account of it is in the first epistle to the Corinthians, xvi. 1-3, where St. Paul says, Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. Upon the first day of the week, let every one of you lay by him in store as God has prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come. And when I come, whomsoever you shall approve by your letters, them will I send to bring your liberalily unto Jerusalem.
of the Ministers of the Temple, the Priests, Le
vites, Nazarites, and Rechabites.
THE Jews, in the establishment of their republic, had no other king but God Himself; and the place appointed for their sacrifices and prayers was at the same time both the temple of their God, and the palace of their Sovereign. And hence comes all that pomp and magnificence in their worship; that prodigious number of ministers, officers, and guards; and that very exact order in their functions; which was first established by Moses, and afterwards renewed by David with yet greater splendour.. The tabernacle was the first palace God had among the Hebrews, and to that the temple succeeded; and the tribe of Levi was chosen, if I may so speak, to form His household. And for this reason, it was disengaged from all other cares, and absolutely devoted to the service of the altar : but the honour of the priesthood was reserved to the family of Aaron alone, and the rest of the tribe divided only the inferior offices of the teinple among them, so that all the priests were indeed Levites, but all the Levites were not priests. Nor were the priests and Levites the only sacred persons among the Jews; and therefore, in order to comprehend them all, I shall in this Chapter