Sacrifices were of divine institution; and when they were offered in faith, and with repentance and reformation, God was greatly honoured by them and well-pleased in them. But they were often not only unacceptable, but an abomination, to God, and he declared so, which was an indication both that they were not required for their own sakes and that there were better things, and for effectual, in reserve, when sacrifice and offering should be done away. They were an abomination, 1. When they were brought by wicked men, who did not, according to the true intent and meaning of sacrificing, repent of their sins, mortify their lusts, and amend their lives. Cain brought his offering. Even wicked men may be found in the external performances of religious worship. Many can freely give God their beasts, their lips, their knees, who would not give him their hearts; the Pharisees gave alms. But when the person is an abomination, as every wicked man is to God, the performance cannot but be so; even when he brings it diligently; so some read the latter part of the verse. Though their offerings are continually before God (Ps. 50:8), yet they are an abomination to him. 2. Much more when they were brought with wicked minds, when their sacrifices were made, not only consistent with, but serviceable to, their wickedness, as Absalom’s vow, Jezebel’s fast, and the Pharisees’ long prayers. When men make a show of devotion, that they may the more easily and effectually compass some covetous or malicious design, when holiness is pretended, but some wickedness intended, then especially the performance is an abomination, Isa. 66:5.
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