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God. Not that every one was instated in that office; for to make an office common to all, is to destroy it. For it includes an especial privilege, faculty, power, and duty; which being made common, their being ceaseth. But every one was then to perform that duty for himself, which upon the erection of the priesthood was confined and limited thereunto. It doth not therefore follow that because every one was to offer sacrifice, that therefore every one was a priest in office. God giving out the prefigurations of the priesthood and sacrifice of Christ woλvegas, by distinct parts and degrees; he ordained the duty of sacrificing, before he erected an office for the peculiar discharge of it. Thus Cain and Abel, as we have before observed, offered their own sacrifices, but could not both of them be priests, nor indeed was either of them so. Nor was Adamı, nor was it possible he should be so, before the increase and multiplication of his family. For a priest is not of one, but must act in the name of others. Wherefore sacrifices being a worship prescribed to believing sinners, every one in his own person was to attend to it, and did so at stated times, or on solemn occasions, according as they apprehended the mind of God requiring it of them.
§ 4. Secondly, As persons were united into any community natural or political, this worship was required of them in that community. For this is a prescription of the law of nature, that every society, wherein men do coalesce according to the mind of God, should own their dependance on him, with some worship common unto, and to be performed in the name of, the society. Especially is it so with respect of that society, which is the foundation of all others, namely, a household or family. So God gives to Abraham the testimony of sincerity, that he would order and take care of his worship in his family, Gen. xviii. 19. Hence there were sacrifices peculiar to families before the law, wherein it cannot be doubted, but the father of the family was the sacred administrator. So Job offered burnt offerings for himself and his family, Chap. i. 5. And Jacob for his, Gen. xxxv. Yet are they not hereon to be esteemed priests by office, seeing they had their warrant for what they did from the light and law of nature, but the office of the priesthood depends on institution. And such family sacrifices were famous among the heathens. An eminent instance hereof the Roman historian gives us in C. Fabius, who, when Rome was sacked by the Gauls, and the capitol besieged, upon the stated time of the solemn worship and sacrifices of the family of the Fabii, passed through the enemy's camp to the Quirinal hill, and discharged the accustomed sacra, returning to the capitol without disturbance or affront from the enemy, Liv. lib. 5. And the family ceremonies in the sacrifice of an ox unto Hercules, by the Potitii and Pinarii, were adopted by Romulus and Numa,
for the use of the whole people, the posterity of those families being made as it were their public priests thereby. And after they had confirmed the administration of their sacra, in public solemnities for the whole community, yet they left it free to single persons and families, to sacrifice for themselves as they saw good. For as they took up the former course, probably from the form and example of Mosaic institutions, so they retained the latter, from the original practice and tradition of the world. Even the meanest of the people continued their family libations. Sacrima they called the wine which your countrymen offered to Bacchus, as Festus testifies; and Carpar the vessel out of which they drew the wine whereof they made a libation to Jupiter. Struferta and Suovetaurilia, were the sacrifices of poor families. And something in resemblance of this original practice continued among the people of God after the giving of the law. So the family of Jesse had a yearly sacrifice, which was a free-will offering and a feast thereon, 1 Sam. xx. 6. But it may be, by the ai there intended, was only a feast, at which there was a slaughter of beasts. If a sacrifice be intended, the time and place were irregular. Or if the whole were pretended by David, yet is it hence evident that such things were in common use at that time, or no pretence could have been made of it. And if it were a sacrifice it was offered by a legal priest, or the whole of it was an abomination. Philo. lib. 3. de vita Mosis, admits all the people afresh to this duty at the passover. Νομό πρόσταξε σύμπαν το εθνος ἱεραται του κατα μερος έκαστε τὰς ὑπες αυτε θυσίας, ανάγοντος τότε και XElgeyoutos. By the appointment of the law the whole nation sacrificeth,' (or is employed in sacred duties) whilst every one brings his own sacrifice and slays it.' But this saying of his is not without its difficulties, and deserves further inquiry.
§ 5. Persons united into greater societies for the end of human conversation, had, as we observed, the use of sacrificing among them as such, and which they were by the light of nature directed unto. So was it among the Israelites, when the twelve original families being multiplied into so many numerous tribes, were by common consent united into one people or nation, without any policy, rule or order peculiarly accommodated unto the whole community. This was the condition of that people before the giving of the law, the bonds of this union being consanguinity, agreement in design, outward state in the world, with respect to other nations, all under the conduct of divine Providence unto a certain designed end. In this state there were some that offered sacrifices for the whole people, Exod. xxiv. 4, 5. "Moses built an altar under the hill, and twelve pillars according to the twelve tribes of Israel, and he sent young men of the children of Israel which offered burnt-offerings, and sacrificed
peace-offerings of oxen unto the Lord." It is probable these young men were the same with those who are called the priests, chap. xix. 22, 24. when as yet the office of the priesthood was not erected.
§ 6. There hath been great inquiry who these priests were ; or who they were who thus offered sacrifices for families or greater associations, and by what means they were invested with that privilege. By most it is concluded that they were the first-born of the families and tribes, and that the right of the priesthood before the giving of the law, was a branch of the primogeniture. But whatever similitude there may be in what the light of nature directed to, and what was after sacredly appointed, yet this opinion will not easily be admitted by them, who judge it necessary to resolve the original of the priesthood, into a voluntary institution, as that which was to be typical and representative of the priesthood of Christ, which must be an immediate effect and emanation of divine wisdom and grace. Yet some suppose that this opinion may be confirmed by the example of Melchisedec, who first was called a priest of God, and whom they suppose to have been Shem the eldest son of Noah. But the whole of this argument is composed of most uncertain conjectures. It is uncertain whether Shem were the eldest son of Noah, and most probable that he was not so; it is more uncertain whether Melchisedec were Shem or not, yea it is at the next door of the highest certainty, that he was not so. And it is absolutely certain that he was not a priest, on any account common to him with others, but by the immediate call or appointment of God; for had it been otherwise, when the Lord Christ was made a Priest acccording to the order of Melchisedec, he must have been so according to that common order whereof his priesthood was, which is contrary to his singular call to that office. And if an extraordinary instance may contribute any thing to satisfaction in this inquiry, that of Moses is express to the contrary. He was a priest unto God, Psal. xcix. 6. Moses and Aaron among his priests; and there is not any thing peculiar to a priest but he discharged it in his own person; yet was not he the eldest son of Amram his father, but younger than Aaron by three years, who was alive all the while that Moses executed his priesthood. But from these extraordinary instances nothing certain in this case can be concluded. Micah afterwards, when he fell off from the law of institution in setting up a teraphim and graven image, consecrated 1278, one of his sons from amongst them, which he thought meet, without regarding the primogeniture, Judges xvii. 5. I have formerly thought, that the own in, Exod. xix. 22, 24. thepriests which drew nigh to the Lord," which, as was now said, I still suppose and judge to be the same with the young men
employed by Moses in the first solemn sacrifice in the wilderness, Exod. xxiv. 5. to have been the first-born of the families. But I now rather judge that they were persons delegated by common consent, or immediate divine designation, which in that extraordinary dispensation supplied the room thereof, to act representatively in the name of the people. For the other opinion is attended with many difficulties, and exposed to sundry exceptions not to be evaded.
§ 7. The rise of this opinion, concerning the office of the priesthood, or peculiar right of sacrificing for themselves and others, being annexed unto the primogeniture, is usually taken from the words and fact of Jacob with respect to Reuben his eldest son, Gen. xlix. 3, 4. «Reuben, thou art my first born, my might and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity and the excellency of power; unstable as water thou shalt not excel." The Targums make jointly this interpretation of the words. Thou hast a threefold right above thy brethren ;' 3, the primogeniture, the priesthood and the rule. But seeing thou hast sinned, the primogeniture shall be given to Joseph, the priesthood to Levi, and the rule or dominion to Judah. But their authority, without farther evidence, is not sufficient to determine this case. The privileges of the first born were certainly great from the beginning. There was 71102 DWD a right of primogeniture founded in the law of nature, determined in the Judicial law unto Israel, and generally owned in some degree or other, among all nations in the world. The foundation
כחי וראשית אוני ; of it is expressed in these words of Jacob
"My might and the beginning of my strength;" that is, the spring unto all power and excellency, that was to arise out of his posterity. In him it began, and in him was the foundation of it laid. And the same reason is repeated in the establishment of
-He is the begin * ; הוא ראשית אנו לו משפט הבכרה ; the law
ning of his strength, his is the right of primogeniture,” Deut. xxi.
xiii. 2. which among men was restrained to the male, Exod. xxii. 29. "The first-born of thy sons thou shalt give unto me." And therefore we have added in way of exposition of this law in our translation, chap. xxxiv. 19. «All that openeth the matrix is mine" (that is male.) And it was instead of the first-born males only, that the Levites were taken in exchange, Num. iii. 40—42. But this was a peculiar ceremonial law and privilege. There were two things that eminently belonged unto the rewтeroxia, or right of primogeniture, before the law, the one whereof was confirmed also under it. And this was the privilege in familia herciscunda, or distribution of the estate and inheritance of the family; for whereas every son was to have 7 Dw, Gen. xlviii. 22. one part or shoulder to bear the charge of his own especial family; so the first-born was to have, Deut. xxi. 17. that is diñλa, or μegos diña, a double portion of the inheritance. And this evidently Jacob took from Reuben and gave to Joseph, when he adopted his two sons and gave each of them the inheritance of a tribe, Gen. xlviii. 5. 22. And there belonged hereunto civil pre-eminence and right unto rule. The first-born had a principal honour among his brethren, and when rule and dominion was erected without especial cause and alteration made by God himself, it belonged unto them. So do the words of God to Cain plainly signify. "If thou dost wellunto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him," Gen. iv. 7. And when God transferred in prophecy the birthright from Esau to Jacob, he did it in these words, "The elder shall serve the younger," Gen. xxv. 23. which Isaac also in the confirmation of it so expresseth. "Be lord over thy brethren, and let thy mother's sons bow down to thee," chap. xxvii. 29. and so he tells Esau afterwards, "Behold I have made him thy lord, and all his brethren have I given him for servants," ver. 37. And this was by Jacob taken from Reuben and given unto Judah. Both these are expressly mentioned 1 Chron. v. 1, 2. Reuben was the first-born; but forasmuch as he defiled his father's bed, his birthright was given to the sons of Joseph, and the genealogy is not to be reckoned after the birthright; for Judah prevailed above his brethren, and of him came the chief ruler, but the birthright was Joseph's." I confess the birthright here seems to be confined unto the double portion only, and is therefore proposed as totally transferred to Joseph, and to have comprised all that was lost by Reuben. The matter of rule is introduced so, as that when God would erect it, he gave it to Judah without depriving any other of a right to it. I will not therefore be positive, that by the law of nature, or any previous constitution of God, right unto rule belonged unto the primogeniture; but suppose it might be disposed unto the most worthy, as the Roman