William Beveridge on the ceremonial laws

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Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
... First, concerning the ceremonial law, it is here said, Although the law given from God by Moses, as touching ceremonies and rites, do not hind Christian men, implying, that that law is now of no force and virtue in obliging us to obedience, as it did the Jews: where we may briefly consider, first, what this law was; secondly, how it appears to be now disannulled. As for the first, what this law was, it is plain that it was that law whereby God was pleased to determine the outward circumstances of his own worship, and the outward performances of his people’s lives, containing several precepts:

1st, concerning their sacraments, viz. circumcision, and the eating of the paschal lamb; to which may be added also the eating of the shewbread, and their purification from several uncleannesses, as when any one was a leper, had touched a dead body, or the like.

2dly, Concerning their sacrifices; whether sin-offerings, or heave-offerings, or burnt-offerings; whether offered by the high priest only, by the ordinary priest, by all the people, or private persons; as also whether they were of living creatures, as goats or kids, rams or lambs, heifers or calves, doves or turtles; or inanimate, as bread or wine or oil.

3dly, Concerning their holy things: as, first, their holy places; as the tabernacle and temple, the one carried up and down, the other fixed, divided into three parts; the holy of holies, where the high priest only came, and that but once a year; the sanctuary, where the ordinary priests went continually; and the outward court, where the people stood: secondly, holy times; as their sabbaths, new moons, passover, pentecost, feast of tabernacles, the feast of in-gathering, the feast of trumpets, the day of atonement, Lev. xxiii.; the sabbatical year also, and the year of jubilee.

4thly, Concerning outward observances in priests or people; as, not to eat such and such flesh, not to wear such and such clothes, not to plough with an ox and an ass together, and such like.

Thus we see what these ceremonies and rites were. Now, secondly, that they are not obligatory unto us, as they were to. the Jews, appears from the determination of that canonical synod holden by the apostles themselves at Hierusalem. Acts xv. where this question being debated, whether circumcision, and so the other ceremonies of the law should be enjoined the Gentiles, they determined it in the negative, that the Gentiles which were turned to God should not be troubled with these things. ...

For more, see William Beveridge on the ceremonial laws.
 
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