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12. Purification after Childbirth

And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 2Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If a woman have conceived seed, and born a man child: then she shall be unclean seven days; according to the days of the separation for her infirmity shall she be unclean. 3And in the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised. 4And she shall then continue in the blood of her purifying three and thirty days; she shall touch no hallowed thing, nor come into the sanctuary, until the days of her purifying be fulfilled. 5But if she bear a maid child, then she shall be unclean two weeks, as in her separation: and she shall continue in the blood of her purifying threescore and six days. 6And when the days of her purifying are fulfilled, for a son, or for a daughter, she shall bring a lamb of the first year for a burnt offering, and a young pigeon, or a turtledove, for a sin offering, unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, unto the priest: 7Who shall offer it before the Lord, and make an atonement for her; and she shall be cleansed from the issue of her blood. This is the law for her that hath born a male or a female. 8And if she be not able to bring a lamb, then she shall bring two turtles, or two young pigeons; the one for the burnt offering, and the other for a sin offering: and the priest shall make an atonement for her, and she shall be clean.

43 Ye shall not make yourselves abominable. He does not invite them to take care of their health, nor warn them of the danger of contracting’ diseases, but bids them beware of defiling themselves. And a clearer explanation is subjoined, “For I am the Lord your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves; for I am holy.” Lest they should imagine that the main part of religion was contained in external ceremonies, they were to consider the nature of God; for, inasmuch as He is a Spirit, He would be worshipped only spiritually. Thus holiness is only connected instrumentally with the distinction of meats; since their abstinence had no other object than that they should consecrate themselves to God. Therefore the superstition of the Jews was inexcusable, when they satisfied themselves with trifling observances; 4747     “Quand ils se sont arrestez a l’observation une et simple de choses frivoles; comme si quelqu’un apprenoit 1’ a, b, c, et qu’il ne luy chalust puis apres d’accoupler les lettres pour lire;” when they stopped at the bare and simple observation of frivolous things; as if one should learn the a, b, c, and cared not afterwards to join the letters together so as to read.—Fr. as if one should learn the letters of the alphabet without applying them to their use, and reading what is written. From their example we perceive how eagerly men lay hold of everything they can to sustain them in their hypocrisy, for they not only wrested to their earthly notions the things which were profitable in the pursuit of true integrity of heart; but, not content, with this, they heaped to themselves many supererogatory rites; 4848     Addition in Fr., “Comme si la religion eust este enclose en choses de neant;” as if religion had been comprised in things of nought. hence the water of expiation, or lustration always in use, even when they were unconscious of any pollution: hence their anxious labor in washing cups and platters, that it might readily appear how constantly the perversity of man abuses what God has appointed for the best of reasons.


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