תמונות בעמוד

some sins which in the beginning did not exist, – such, for instance, as polygamy. Christ came not to destroy his law, but to fulfil it and complete it. In two things especially, how emphatic his teaching and how permanent his influence !- in respect to the observance of the Sabbath and the relations of the sexes. To him, more than to any man in the world's history, do we owe the elevation of woman, and the sanctity and blessing of a day of rest. In the awful sacredness of the person, and in the regular resort to the sanctuary of God, we see his immortal authority and his permanent influence.

The other laws which Moses promulgated are more special and minute, and seem to be intended to preserve the Jews from idolatry, the peculiar sin of the surrounding nations; and also, more directly, to keep alive the recognition of a theocratic government.

Thus the ceremonial or ritualistic law — an impor tant part of the Mosaic Code — constantly points to Jehovah as the King of the Jews, as well as their Supreme Deity, for whose worship the rites and ceremonies are devised with great minuteness, to keep His

personality constantly before their minds. Moreover, all their rites and ceremonies were typical and emblematical of the promised Saviour who was to arise; in a more emphatic sense their King, and not merely their own Messiah, but the Redeemer of the whole race, who should reign finally as King of kings and Lord of lords. And hence these rites and sacrifices, typical of Him who should offer Himself as a sacrifice for the sins of the world, are not supposed to be binding on other nations after the great sacrifice has been made, and the law of Moses has been fulfilled by Jesus and the new dispensation has been established. We see a complicated and imposing service, with psalms and hymns, and beautiful robes, and smoking altars, — all that could inspire awe and reverence. We behold a blazing tabernacle of gold and silver and precious woods and gorgeous tapestries, with inner and secret recesses to contain the ark and the tables of stone, the mysterious rod, the urn of manna, the book of the covenant, the golden throne over-canopied by cherubs with outstretched wings, and the mercy-seat for the Shekinah who sat between the cherubim. The sacred and costly vessels, the candlesticks of pure and beaten gold, the lamps, the brazen sea, the embroidered vestments of the priests, the breastplate of precious stones, the golden chains, the emblematic rings, the ephods and mitres and girdles, the various altars for sacrifice, the burnt-offerings, peace-offerings, meat-offerings, and sin-offerings, the consecrated cakes and animals for sacrifice, the rites for cleansing leprosy and all uncleanliness, the grand atonements and solemn fasts and festivals, — all were calculated to make a strong

impression on a superstitious people. The rites and ceremonies of the Jews were so attractive that they made up for all other amusements and spectacles; they answered the purpose of the Gothic churches and cathedrals of Europe in the Middle Ages, when these were the chief attractions of the period. There is nothing absurd in ritualism among ignorant and superstitious people, who are ever most easily impressed through their senses and imagination. It was the wisdom of the Middle Ages, — the device of popes and bishops and abbots to attract and influence the people. But ritualism — useful in certain ages and circumstances, certainly in its most imposing forms, if I may say it — does not seem to be one of the peculiarities of enlightened ages; even the ritualism of the wilderness lost much of its hold upon the Jews themselves after their captivity, and still more when Greek and Roman civilization had penetrated to Jerusalem. The people who listened to Peter and Paul could no longer be moved by imposing rites, even as the European nations — under the preaching of Luther, Knox, and Latimer- lost all relish for the ceremonies of the Middle Ages. What, then, are we to think of the revival of observances which lost their force three hundred years ago, unless connected with artistic music? It is music which vitalizes ritualistic worship in our times, as it did in the times of David and Solomon. The vitality of the Jewish ritual, when the nation had emerged from barbarism, was in its connections with a magnificent psalmody. The Psalms of David appeal to the heart and not to the senses. The ritualism of the wilderness appealed to the senses and not to the heart; and this was necessary when the people had scarcely emerged from barbarism, even as it was deemed necessary amid the turbulence and ignorance of the tenth century.

In the ritualism which Moses established there was the absence of everything which would recall the superstitions and rites, or even the doctrines, of the Egyptians. In view of this, we account partially for the almost studied reticence in respect to a future state, upon which hinged many of the peculiarities of Egyptian worship. It would have been difficult for Moses to have recognized the future state, in the degrading ignorance and sensualism of the Jews, without associating with it the tutelary deities of the Egyptians and all the absurdities connected with the doctrine of metempsychosis, which consigned the victims of future punishment to enter the forms of disgusting and hideous animals, thereby blending with the sublime doctrine of a future state the most degrading superstitions. Bishop Warburton seizes on the silence of Moses respecting a future state to prove, by a learned yet sophistical argument, his divine legation, beca use he ignored what so essentially entered into the religion of Egypt. But whether Moses purposely ignored this great truth for fear it would be perverted, or because it was a part of the Egyptian economy which he wished his people to forget, still it is also possible that this doctrine of immortality was so deeply engraved on the minds of the people that there was no need to recognize it while giving a system of ritualistic observances. The comparative silence of the Old Testament concerning immortality is one of its most impressive mysteries. However dimly shadowed by Job and David and Isaiah, it seems to have been brought to light only by the gospel. There is more in the writings of Plato and Cicero about immortality than in the whole of the Old Testament. And this fact is so remarkable, that some trace to the sages of Greece and Egypt the doctrine itself, as ordinarily understood; that is, a necessary existence of the soul after death. And they fortify themselves with those declarations of the apostles which represent a happy immortality as the special gift of God, — not a necessary existence, but given only to those who obey his laws. If immortality be not a gift, but a necessary existence, as Socrates supposed, it seems strange that heathen philosophers should have speculated more profoundly than the patriarchs of the East on this mysterious subject. We cannot suppose that Plato was more profoundly instructed on such a subject than Abraham and Moses. It is to be noted, however, that God seems

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