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Chapter XXXVII.—The Holy Place.

“In addition to these things, he also appointed a place in which alone it should be lawful to them to sacrifice to God.560560    Deut. xii. 11; 2 Chron. vii. 12.  And all this was arranged with this view, that when the fitting time should come, and they should learn by means of the Prophet that God desires mercy and not sacrifice,561561    Hos. vi. 6; Matt. ix. 13; xii. 7. they might see Him who should teach them that the place chosen of God, in which it was suitable that victims should be offered to God, is his Wisdom; and that on the other hand they might hear that this place, which seemed chosen for a time, often harassed as it had been by hostile invasions and plunderings, was at last to be wholly destroyed.562562    Matt. xxiv. 2; Luke xix. 44.  And in order to impress this upon them, even before the coming of the true Prophet, who was to reject at once the sacrifices and the place, it was often plundered by enemies and burnt with fire, and the people carried into captivity among foreign nations, and then brought back when they betook themselves to the mercy of God; that by these things they might be taught that a people who offer sacrifices are driven away and delivered up into the hands of the enemy, but they who do mercy and righteousness are without sacrifices freed from captivity, and restored to their native land.  But it fell out that very few understood this; for the greater number, though they could perceive and observe these things, yet were held by the irrational opinion of the vulgar:  for right opinion with liberty is the prerogative of a few.”


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