Page images
PDF
EPUB
[graphic]
[graphic]

at it would be fatal to her; but i Iscovered his divine majesty, and vid. Metam. I. mi, fab. Ir. 5. when receiving the lar, being forty ount Sinai, (Exod. m. 28, as the

the Parsees, and also by several and, for some years together, the incoFrom the familiar converse wtch Moses

heathen invented the sian:la: acmcts of o receive his laws from l'esta ad Max .ave received his from Jupiter and Azwing y Diodorus Siculus, (l. 1.' who als cat Jao, as he pronounces at Jehorah.

we cannot determine. Some, observing that vriac, sometimes means to resemble, ma luie, e dov, signifies no more than an image, fur, thing. Josephus (Ant. I. in. c. 6. § 5), savs, they none of those which are seen by man, but such throne of God. In another place (Ant. I. vu. c. 3. the cherubim, nobody can tell or conceive what they

bolical figures, according to the description of them 10 10. 14.) were creatures with four heads and one ils of which these forms con isted were the noblest of

among the wild beasts ; the bull, among the tame mong the birds; and man, at the head of all; so that Dr. Priestley, the representatives of all nature. Hence w them to be somewhat of the shape of flying oxen; lavour of this opinion, that the far more common meankerav, in Chaldee, Syriac, and Arabwe, 'x.r?'aigh, 15 of 3173, kerooo, is a creature in Hng. 1'. 1. 1. ii. c. 38.) This seems to Dutse pen he mr.rar Wition had handed down, Ernespinge wat jou lie

Haming sword, that gourdes! Op rasa get to. Me concerning Jason's grades tests Wing rafost ws, breathing out fire, was portaça para mosm

[ocr errors]

y imitations of the Mosaic n.41.lulang. Dia

?covenant. 1776, aron, which denotes that tosin :- applied particularly to the chest ir tik n mua hp -ables of the covenant were land up's on fier ist on rre --y or mercy-seat; and at the end of which ist le ... -en whom the visible sign of the arres, so

.

irehensive Bible, Note in loco,

holes, we could see many bodies under several degrees of decay; from which it may be conjectured, that this grave does not make that quick dispatch with the corpses committed to it, which is commonly reported.'

[ocr errors]

9. By allusions to, or corrupt traditions of, the accounts of the

Sacred Writers. Such are those respecting

The Rainbow, given as a token between God and man, Gen. ix. 13. Both the Greeks and Latins have ever considered the rainbow as a divine token or portent, and have deified and made it a messenger of the gods. Thus Homer, (Il. xi. 28.) speaking of the figures on Agamemnon's breastplate, says, there were three dragons, whose colours were like the rainbow, which Saturn, (father of time) placed in the clouds as a sign to short-sighted men. See also, Æn. v. 605. and ix. 803. †

The Rod of Moses, Exod. iv. 4, from which the heathens have invented the fables of the Thyrsus of Bacchus, and the Caduceus of Mercury. One Bacchus, according to Orpheus, was born of the Nile; or according to the common opinion, on the banks of that river. He is expressly said to have been exposed on the Nile, and hence called Nilus by both Diodorus and Macrobius; and in the hymns of Orpheus, he is named Myses, because drawn out of the water. He is represented by the poets to have been very beautiful and an illustrious warrior, who overran all Arabia with a numerous army of both men and women; to have been an eminent lawgiver, who wrote his laws on two tables; and to have always carried in his hand the thyrsus, a rod wreathed with serpents, by which he is reported to have wrought many miracles. The caduceus or rod of Mercury, well known in poetic fables, is another copy of the rod of Moses. He also is reported to have wrought a multitude of miracles, particularly to kill and make alive. Homer (Odyss. 1. xxiv. v. 1.) represents Mercury taking his rod to work miracles, precisely in the same way as God commands Moses to take his. +

From the real manifestations of Jehovah in a cloud, Exod. xix. 9, the heathen ascribed similar appearances to their false gods. Thus in Homer, Jupiter is described on mount Gargarus, αμφι δε μιν θυοεν νεφος εστεφανωτο, • veiled in a fragrant cloud' (11. 1. xv. v. 153.) Minerva enters the Grecian army—Troppupen vepeln Tukaoaoa kautnv,' clad in a purple cloud;' (II. 1. xvii. v. 551.) and when Apollo attended Hector, Eluevos Whouv vepelny, "a veil of clouds involved his radiant head,' (I1. 1. xv. v. 308.) See also Il. 1. v. v. 186, 866. 1. xx. v. 150. Virgil, Æn. ii. 616. x. 634. xii. 415. Ovid. Met. I. ïïi. Fab. iii. 273. Horat. Carm. I. i.t

From some disguised relation of the request of Moses to see the glory of God, &c. (Exod. xxxiii. 18—20.) the fable of Jupiter and Semele was formed : she is reported to have entreated Jupiter to shew her his glory,

• Idem, Note on Acts i. 19. For a more full illustration the reader is necessarily referred to the pages of the Comprehensive Bible, it being impracticable to cite here every instance of • Comprehensive Bible, Note in loco.

who was first very reluctant, knowing that it would be fatal to her ; but, at last yielding to her importunity, he discovered his divine majesty, and she was consumed by his presence. Ovid. Metam. I. iii, fab. iv. 5.*

Similar to the account of Moses, when receiving the law, being forty days and nights with the Lord in mount Sinai, (Exod. xxxv. 28), is the tradition mentioned in the books of the Parsees, and also by several ancient writers, that Zoroaster received, for some years together, the instructions of Ormuzd in a mountain. From the familiar converse which Moses had with God, it is probable the heathen invented the similar accounts of their Zamolxis, who pretended to receive his laws from Vesta and Minos, and Lycurgus, who is said to have received his from Jupiter and Apollo, and several others mentioned by Diodorus Siculus, (1. i.) who adds, that Moses had his from the God Jao, as he pronounces 717 Jehovah.*

What the Cherubim were we cannot determine. Some, observing that the verb 0:2, kerav, in Syriac, sometimes means to resemble, make like, conceive the noun 293, keroov, signifies no more than an image, figure, or representation of any thing. Josephus (Ant. I. iii. c. 6. § 5), says, they were flying animals, like none of those which are seen by man, but such as Moses saw about the throne of God. In another place (Ant. I. vii. c. 3. § 3.) he says, “ As for the cherubim, nobody can tell or conceive what they were like.' These symbolical figures, according to the description of them by Ezekiel, (ch. 1. 10; 10. 14.) were creatures with four heads and one body; and the animals of which these forms con isted were the noblest of their kind; the lion, among the wild beasts; the bull, among the tame ones; the eagle, among the birds; and man, at the head of all; so that they might be, says Dr. Priestley, the representatives of all nature. Hence some have conceived them to be somewhat of the shape of flying oxen; and it is alleged in favour of this opinion, that the far more common meaning of the verb 273, kerav, in Chaldee, Syriac, and Arabic, being to plough, the natural meaning of 3173, keroov, is a creature used in ploughing, (Bochart, Hieroz. P. 1. 1. ii. c. 38.) This seems to have been the ancient opinion which tradition had handed down, concerning the shape of the cherubim with the flaming sword, that guarded the tree of life. (Gen. iii. 24.) Ovid's fable concerning Jason's golden fleece being guarded by brazen-footed bulls, breathing out fire, was perhaps derived from it."

10. Finally, by imitations of the Mosaic institutions, &c.; such as

The ark of the covenant. 1778, aron, which denotes a chest or coffer, in general; but is applied particularly to the chest or ark, in which the testimony or two tables of the covenant were laid up; on the top of which was the propitiatory or mercy-seat; and at the end of which were the cherubim of gold, between whom the visible sign of the appearance of God appeared as seated upon his throne. We meet with imitations of this divinely instituted emblem among several heathen nations, both ancient and modern. Apuleius (De Aur. Asin. 1. ii.) describing an idolatrous procession after the Egyptian mode, says, ' A chest, or ark, was carried by another, containing their secret things, entirely concealing the mysteries of religion.' Plutarch (De Is. et Os.) describing the rites of Osiris, says, “On the tenth day of the month, at night, they go down to the sea, and the stolists, together with the priests, carry forth the sacred chest, in which is a small boat or vessel of gold.'* In addition to these notices respecting the imitations of the ark among the heathen, it may be observed, that Pausanias (1. vii. c. 19.) testifies that the ancient Trojans had a sacred ark, in which was the image of Bacchus. Tacitus (De Moribus German. c. 40.) informs us, that the inhabitants of northern Germany, our Saxon ancestors, in general worshipped Herthumı or Hertham, i. e. mother earth, (plainly derived from yox, eretz, earth, and on, am, a mother); that to her in a sacred grove, in a certain island of the ocean, a vehicle, covered with a vestment, was consecrated, and allowed to be touched only by the priests (2 Sa. 6. 6,7; 1 Ch. 13. 9, 19) who perceived when the goddess entered into her secret place, penetrale, and with profound veneration attended her vehicle, which was drawn by cows. (1 Sa. 6. 7–10.) A sacred ark was also discovered among the inhabitants of Huaheine, one of the South Sea Islands, by Captain Cook, (Voyage round the World, vol. 2. p. 252.) +

+ Idem, Note on Exod. 36. 8.

The table of shewbread. Imitations of this sacred utensil also we find in the temples of ancient heathen nations. In the temple of Juno Populonia, there was a magnificent table for the utensils required at sacrifices and libations, as Macrobius (Saturnalia, l. iii. c. 11) states from older accounts. F. Montfaucon (Antiq. vol. 1, P. ii. 1. ii. c. 1) has given us a draught of a very celebrated piece of antiquity, called the table of Isis, which was a table made of brass, almost four feet long, and nearly the same breadth. The ground work was a black enamel, curiously filled with silver plates inlaid, which represented figures of various kinds, distinguished into several classes and compartments, and interspersed by various hieroglyphics. Though nothing can be confidently asserted respecting the signification, or the original design of this table, yet it seems not improbable that it was an imitation of the table of shewbread. (See Shuckford's Sacred and Profane History connected, vol. ii. pp. 316–328.)

The tabernacle, and the temple, of which the heathen temples were evident imitations. They consisted of 1. the area or porch; 2. the vaos, or temple; 3. the adytum or holy place, called also penetrale and sacrarium ; and 4. the oniododouos, or inner temple, where they had their mysteria, and which answered to the Holy of Holies. One of the most

* Comprehensive Bible, Note on Exod. 25. 10. + Idem, Note on Exod. 40. 21.

« PreviousContinue »