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blood upon the people, that is, upon the twelve pillars that represented the twelve tribes, or on the twelve youths, the first-born that sacrificed, or on the elders of the people, or on the people that drew near: this signified,
First, their ratification of the the covenant on their parts, and an implicit wishing of the effusion of their own blood if they did not keep it.
Secondly, the sprinkling of their consciences with the blood of Christ,* and their obtaining redemption, justification, and access to God through it alone; and thus it is called the blood of the covenant, that is, by which the covenant was made and confirmed, so it is usually called in other scriptures ; and betwixt these sprinklings on the altar and people, Moses took the book of the covenant and read in the audience of the people, then was God's part declared, and they said, “ All that the Lord hath said, will we do, and be obedient,” ver. 7, here was the people's voluntary consent. This is an express platform of the mutual covenant made by sacrifice; this was the first solemn covenant between God and Israel, often repeated and renewed afterwards, which for brevity I omit: this is making a covenant by typical sacrificing.
2. There is in scripture mention made of a providential sacrifice, that is, some remarkable act of providence whereby some men's lives are taken away by slaughter, mediately by man, or immediately by the Lord himself, and this either, of the wicked, or of the godly.
(1.) Of wicked men, the church's enemies, Jer. xlvi. 10,“ The Lord God of hosts hath a sacrifice in the north-country,” that is, of the Egyptians; justice shall make a terrible slaughter of his incurable enemies; this is called a sacrifice, because the power and justice of God are eminently glorified : by such a sacrifice as this there is a covenant made sometimes betwixt God and souls: hence that lasting covenant of the priesthood granted to Phinehas and his posterity, for his being zealous for God's glory, in slaying Zimri and Cosbi, Num. xxv. 8, 12. Phinehas was not a private but public person, and did it upon a divine command: “Wherefore, behold, I give unto him my covenant of peace," saith God; as a happy effect of this heroic action, whereby he made peace between God and his people, and partly with regard to the principal end of his office as priest, which was to mediate between God and man, and so obtain reconciliation; I confess the text saith, “it was the covenant of an everlasting priesthood,” ver. 13, but this proves what I say, that a covenant may be made by such a sacrifice. Blood shed in God's cause, and upon a divine call, was so far from polluting him, and thereby casting him out of his priesthood, that it was a means to confirin him in it, God calls this a covenant of life and peace. O what security, serenity, satisfaction and communion with God had the faithful priests under the law, and spiritual priests in the gospel, by virtue of this confirmed covenant! And this act of justice is called a consecration, Exod. xxxii. 29, “ Consecrate yourselves to day to the Lord, every man upon his son, and upon his brother, that he may bestow upon you a blessing this day:" the word is fill your hands, that is consecration: thus they offered themselves in a difficult service for God, with the hazard of their lives, therefore it was their oblation or consecration of themselves to God, and though it might seem a barbarous, yet was really an acceptable work to God; as the destruction of God's enemies is called a sacrifice:t but this is very rare.
* Heb. ix. 14. + Matt. xxvi. 28. Luke xxii. 20.
(2.) There is another sort of providential sacrifice, and that is martyrdomn; when God's children give their lives for the testimony of the truth, resist unto blood, overcome by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony, and love not their lives unto the death,* this is called a sacrifice, Phil. ii. 17, "yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy and rejoice with you all :” the word onévdoua signifies a being poured out as a drink-offering, which was an appurtenance to the meat-offering; and was never offered alone, but in conjunction with the slain sacrifices : for what signifies our blood without Christ. This is a precious and blessed sacrifice, whereby God's children do seal the covenant with their blood : Maimonides expounds my text of those that confirm the covenant of God with their death, saying,t that they chose rather to die than suffer themselves to profane the name of God; now this is every man's duty. It is a most certain truth, that none go to heaven but martyrs, either (roto, or facto,] in vow and resolution, or in performance or execution: for such as will not in a firm purpose of heart and preparation of soul forego all worldly enjoyments, and life itself for Christ's sake, cannot be his disciples : truth itself affirms this, Luke, xiv. 26. The soldiers that will not venture and willingly lose their lives for our dear Lord that laid down his life for us, shall be discarded his service; this, this is a noble way of covenanting by sacrifice; thousands have gone in this way to the celestial Canaan. O how blessed a thing it is to mount to heaven in a fiery cha
* Rev. xii. 11. 2 Tim. iv. 6. Si pro libamento offerar.—Beza. + Num. xv. 5. Num. xxviii. 7.
# Mori præoptantes quam ut se ad prophanandum Dei nomen adigi patiantur.
riot! The martyr said, * () Christ, in flames of fire, this soul I offer thee; here is a brave offering, to sacrifice all that is dear to us, to the rage of the worst of men, rather than prostitute conscience to the pleasure of men; this is a sacred tie, a strong band that is twisted with the saint's blood, and consecrated by the blood of Christ. This is the next sort of covenanting by sacrifice, and is no more than what God sometimes calleth for, and saints chearfully submit to; consult Acts, xx. 24. xxi. 13. Psal. xliv. 22. Rom. viii. 35, 36. Rev. ii. 13. vi. 9, 11.
3. There is an evangelical, ilastical sacrifice, which is Christ's meritorious death upon the cross, to satisfy the justice of God for the sins of men. This is the proper evangelical sacrifice; Eph. v. 2, “ Walk in love as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God, for a sweetsmelling savour ;” this answers to all the types of the old testament, they all centre in Christ, they ceased on his once “ appearing to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself; by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctiñed; this is the blood of the new testament, or covenant, that was shed for many for the remission of sins;" † this blood speaks good things to us, it declares that prophecies are accomplished, shadows vanished, promises confirmed, law satisfied, Satan nonsuited, sins pardoned, and souls saved that actually enter into covenant with God by faith in Christ; and though sacrifices have varied as to external administration, yet the covenant is the same in all generations, and Christ is that “ Lamb slain from the beginning of the world.”+ As to the virtue of his efficacious sufferings, all providential sufferings look to
• Hanc animam in flammis offero, Christe, tibi.
this, for if a man give his body to be burnt, and that sacrifice be not salted with Christ's merits, it will neither be acceptable to God nor available to himself; as this one only sacrifice terminates all typical, so it consecrates all providential sacrifices. And this blood confirms the covenant made to the fathers, and to us, therefore is Christ called the covenant of the people, as he only is the bond to unite God and man;* hence also he is called the mediator of the covenant, the angel, the surety,t that undertakes for both parties, and by his blood makes them friends, yea at once he reconciles both Jews and Gentiles unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity.thereby ; thus the covenant of grace foundeth a universal church,|| purchased and sealed by the blood of Christ ; Zech. ix. 11, “ As for thee also, by the blood of thy covenant,” or whose covenant is by blood, “I have sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit, wherein there is no water." Blood brings expiation to justice, and salvation from hell; this is the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than the blood of Abel ; § it is true, this blood crieth out against us as Abel's blood, for revenge, , if unbelievers, but saveth us by satisfying punitive justice, as applied by saving faith, so that we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins. I Observe this, that whatever covenants you make with God, and not in Christ, they are void and insignificant. Your persons must be united to Christ, and your covenants must be ratified by this blessed sacrifice, or they find no acceptance with God, and will be of no advantage to you; “For our Lord Jesus hath once suffered for sin, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us
• Isa. xlii. 6. xlix. 8.
Eph. i. 7.