« AnteriorContinuar »
spent their best preparatory hours in the study of literatures which contain thoughts and influences that the Gospel was designed to supersede, should be led to give, and, owing to their own want of a proper regard for the Bible, should be the occasion of others giving, a preference over that book to Pagan writings whose almost sole merit lies in their qualities as works of art. It is not by this implied that the bulk of educated divines do not show and claim reverence for
the Word of God.' A verbal and outward reverence does prevail. “A reasonable service, founded on solid and well-understood grounds, is rendered by only comparatively few. Yet even in a mere literary point of view, the Bible contains compositions of the highest character. Why should not Isaiah be studied in our Colleges with as much care, diligence, and minuteness, as Aristophanes ? Is it not most extraordinary that the book which is professedly the source of all our obligations and hopes should, even in academical studies for the Christian ministry, hold nothing higher than a secondary rank ? Under such circumstances, it is not surprising that laymen, while they fill their minds and gratify their taste in perusing the productions of other writers, have no systematic knowledge of, no keen relish for, the sublime compositions of David, Ezekiel, John, and Paul, which most receive and read with the unawakened feelings of a certain passive traditional respect, and which others quietly disesteem or openly reject as childish things. Before a remedy can be applied to these evils, a new manner of studying the Scriptures must become prevalent; and that new manner cannot be established unless men shall have first so had their faith increased as to feel a lowly assurance that God's spirit will be given to those who calmly and faithfully follow the leadings of His providence in quest of Divine Truth. We subjoin to these remarks on the worth of the Sacred Writings a few words translated from The Apostolical Constitutions :—What fails you in the law of God, so that you give yourself to the reading of profane authors ? Are you fond of history? You have the Book of Kings. You love philosophers and poets? You will find in our Prophets, in the writings of Job, in the Book of Proverbs, topics of deeper interest than in any of the Gentile writers. Do you wish for lyric compositions ? You have the Psalms. Do you desire to peruse truly original antiquities ? Here is the Book of Genesis. Would you become acquainted with legislation and morals ? God puts into your hand the code of his holy law. These literary excellences, however, are a kind of surplus—something gratuitously added to the real and characteristic excellence of the Scriptures, which consists in their efficacy, with the aid of the Divine Spirit, to make men 'wise unto salvation through faith which is in Jesus Christ' (2 Tim. ii. 15); or perhaps it would be less incorrect to say that the sacred authors, who, before all others, are in their several styles free, natural, impressive, touching, and sublime, were, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, raised to the height that they hold by the great thoughts which filled their minds, the pure and spontaneous charities which moved their hearts, and the solemn purpose which directed the whole course of their lives.
Besides a variety of general information and statements respecting the antiquities of ancient nations, especially of Egypt, tending to promote the great purposes of the work, this Dictionary will be found to containI. A brief and popular introduction to a knowledge of the Books of the
Bible, in relation to their origin, preservation, contents, aim, and credibility; embracing remarks on the formation of the Canon, the Apocrypha, and Tradition, as well as the diffusion of the Scriptures in ancient and modern times:
II. A Summary of the Geography and Natural History of the Holy Land,
with a special reference to the narratives, opinions, and imagery of the sacred writers, given under a desire to aid the reader in forming an accu
rate and vivid conception of the scenes and localities of which they speak: III. Biographical notices of Biblical persons, bearing in fulness some pro
portion to the position which they severally hold in the great picture, and drawn up with an approach to a consecutive narrative, so as to present
the subject matter in a series of brief memoirs : IV. Sketches from Ancient History, with an outline of the history of the
chosen people, exhibiting the rise, progress, decline, and ruin of the nation and its institutions ; with observations on the arts and sciences in their connection with early stages of civilisation, and the mind, character,
literature, and social condition of the Israelites : V. An outline of Biblical Antiquities, treating of the Language, Manners,
Usages, and Institutions of the Hebrew race in the several periods of its history down to the fall of Jerusalem, and its relations to neighbouring
and kindred stocks : VI. An exhibition of opinions set forth or implied in the Bible, accompanied
by observations as to their source and permanent validity; comprising principles and rules to assist the student in comprehending and expound
ing the contents of the Old and New Testament: VII. Disquisitions and remarks of an explanatory and apologetic nature,
showing the grounds on which repose the religions of Moses and the Lord Jesus Christ, and designed to illustrate how solid is the historical basis of
the Gospel, and its claim to be accounted a Divine Revelation : VIII. A general view of Christian Truth, chiefly as conveyed in the life,
teachings, death, and ascension, of the Saviour of the world : IX. General remarks promotive of edification in the divine life, and so pre
senting views and sanctions of Christian morality in its application to individual wants and great social interests.
Where an appeal to the eye seemed desirable, wood-engravings, plans, and maps have been supplied ; in which, as well as in relation to the materials in general, care has been taken to consult the highest as well as the most recent authorities.
After all his endeavours, the writer is painfully impressed with the feeling that the work is far inferior to what it should and might have been. In the final revision of it he gratefully acknowledges his obligations to one, much of whose life has been spent in these studies, and whose scholarship is extensive and exact.
DICTIONARY OF THE BIBLE.
AARON (H. mountain of strength. A. M. A description of the dress he was to wear 3919; A. C. 1729; V. 1574), first son of in his sacred office may be found in Exod. Amram and Jochebed, of the tribe of Levi, xxviii. We refer to the cut for the breastbrother of Moses and Miriam, was born in plate of judgment with cunning work, having the land of Goshen, 115 years after the death four rows of three precious stones each, of Jacob, and three years before the birth bearing the names of the twelve tribes like of Moses. His wife's name was Elisheba, the engravings of a signet, which Aaron who bore him Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar was to wear upon his heart when he went and Ithamar. While Moses was absent in into the holy place, for a memorial before the land of Midian, Aaron remained in Egypt Jehovah. The position which Aaron and with his people; but, when his brother re- Moses held, and the power which they exturned, Aaron went forth to meet him, and ercised, excited against them Korah, of the from that time co-operated with Moses for tribe of Levi, with Dathan and Abiram, and the liberation of the Israelites. Aaron was others, who, joining to themselves two hunnaturally eloquent, and was therefore made dred and fifty princes of the assembly, men spokesman to Moses in presence of Pha- of renown, boldly charged Moses and Aaron roah. As Moses was appointed a God to with taking too much upon themselves. Pharoah, so Aaron was a Prophet to Moses. Moses put the issue on the rebels dying a While Moses was absent during forty days natural death; and the earth is said to have in the Mount, Aaron yielded to the wishes opened her mouth, and swallowed up Korah of the people, and made a golden calf as 8 and his associates. This only incensed the symbol of Jehovah, in imitation of the entire body, who employed threats towards Egyptian god Apis or Mnevis. After the re- their leaders. On this, Jehovah is repredemption of Israel, Aaron, not unnaturally sented as preparing to destroy them all, when considering the part he had taken, was ap- Aaron, under the direction of Moses, makes pointed High Priest of the Mosaic religion an atonement, and the plague is stayed, after (Lev. viii. Exod. xxix.). His consecration 14,700 had died, besides those that had to that office was, at the divine command, perished with Korah. As, however, the dissolemnised by his brother Moses. Our en- content had not disappeared, an appeal is graving represents the moment when the ordered to be made to Jehovah by lot, after prophet, having purified Aaron with water, the manner of the Arabians, who determine and put on him the holy vestments, ' poured doubtful events by casting lots with their of the anointing oil upon Aarou's head, and staffs. Accordingly, a rod is taken to repreanointed him to sanctify him.'
sent each of the twelve tribes, to be laid up in the tabernacle: the rod that blossomed betokened on whom the choice and favour of God rested. That rod proved to be Aaron's. These accounts are not without their difficulty to the apprehensions of modern readers; but, in order to form a correct judgment, we must view them, not from our position, but from the position in which the actors stood. It is clear, that, unless the authority of Moses had been sustained, the purposes of God, in the establishment of his religion, would not have been realised. And the question which asks whether Moses and Aaron were disinterested and honest, must be determined, not by this or by any other particular event, but by their general conduct, and the general character of their institutions. Nadab and Abihu were destroyed for offering strange fire before Jehovah. This repeated destruction of life