Prior to true religion coming to Wales, and indeed persisting into the 18th century in rural areas, the nation was steeped in superstition and all sorts of ludicrous beliefs. It was through preachers of remarkable ability and power being raised up, that these superstitious practices were exposed for what they were, and gradually abolished.
One such practice was the hiring of “a sin eater.” When someone died, the family would send for the sin eater. On payment, he would place a plate of bread and salt on the chest of the corpse, and then proceed to eat those contents. He supposedly was eating the sins of the dead person, and so the corpse was relieved of any impediments to the afterlife. But then the sin eater was ceremonially beaten and driven out of the house. Vanity of vanities, but commercially profitable for him!
The Christian does not have a sin eater, but a Sin Bearer. Christ has taken the sins of that person on Himself, and borne their judgment also. Thus all that prevents the sinner coming unto God’s holy presence, has been actually removed, and there is acceptance through Christ.
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