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visible to the naked eye; but, in warm climates in particular, in sects are so numerous and of such formidable dimensions, that it is absolutely necessary to put water through some process to free it from those unwelcome intruders, which would otherwise shock the eye and offend the taste.

How beautiful and appropriate is our Saviour's application of this Eastern custom to the Scribes of old, who were scrupulous in avoiding errors of a trifling nature, yet who had no hesitation in violating the divine laws in matters of the greatest moment !

3. At the 27th verse of the same chapter we have another ancient custom alluded to. “Woe unto you, Scribes and Pharisees, for ye are like unto whitened sepulchres, which indeed

appear

beautifn] outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness.” The Jewish sepulchres were generally naves hewn out of the solid rock, the door of which was closed by a stone cut to fit the place. Sometimes, also, their graves were dug in the ground, and generally outside the towns, in burial places set apart for the purpose. The Jews believed that by touching certain things they became ceremonially defiled, and from this notion, arose the frequency of their ablutions, always washing their hands before meat, for, by this external process, they fancied that they washed off any unknown and involuntary impurities which they might have contracted during the day. They believed that any one who touched a corpse or grave was thereby polluted ; and hence they adopted the custom of whitewashing their sepulchres, to warn pssengers not to come near them so as to be defiled. It is said that every year on the 15th February, the Jews took care to whiten their sepulchres anew. When a stranger was passing through the country, the whitewashed tomb, shining conspicuously among the surrounding objects, would at once catch his eye, and he would be duly warned not to approach the unclean place, but to turn his footsteps some other way. How truly appropriate is Christ's comparison of the Pharisees to these " whitened sepulchres,” for, like them, whilst they were fair in their outward appearance, they were rotten and unclean at the heart.

4. “ Then said Jesus unto his disciples, if any man will come after me let bim deny himself, and take up

his

and follow me.”—[Matt. xvi. 24] We have here an allusion to the Roman mode of punishment, Crucifixion—a punishment which was usually reserved for slaves and the vilest malefactors. The cross was made

cross,

of wood, and consisted of an upright beam about ten feet high, with a board crossing it at right angles, near the top, to which the hands of the criminal were nailed, and on which was written the crime for which he suffered. The upright part which was driven into the ground was called “the tree,” and in one place in the Gospels the entire cross is designated by this name. The place of Crucifixion at Jerusalem was a mount outside the walls of the city called Calvary in Latin), or Golgotha (in Greek) which, when translated into English, means “the place of a skull," and the mount, it is supposed, got this name from its being the usual place of execution.

It was a part of the punishment that the criminal should carry his own instrument of torture. The cross was kept within the city, and the culprit was made to bear this galling load upon his shoulders to the dreary spot where he was to expiate bis crimes. This must have been peculiarly mortifying to any one whose sensibilities were not wholly deadened — to be made to bear such a load through a populous city amid the jeers and curses of the soldiers and the rabble who congregate on such occasions to witness the tragic scene. Our dear Redeemer was subjected to this ignominy and pain. He bore his own cross for a considerable distance, till, fainting beneath the load, owing to the fatigues and watching of the preceding night, he became physically unable to carry it any farther, whereupon the soldiers seized upon Simon the Cyrenian, one of his own friends and followers, and compelled him to bear it for the remainder of the way.

From this brief statement, you will perceive that to “ bear one's cross ” after Christ, when divested of the figurative mode of speaking, means to endure the worst evils in his cause, and, if necessary, to submit resignedly even to death itself. Some of the primitive disciples had literally to bear their cross in their Master's service, for we know that Paul and Peter suffered martyrdom at Rome for their Christian integrity. All of us have, in some sense, to bear many crosses in our pilgrimage through this vale of tears. We cannot be the genuine followers of Jesus, if, in our pursuit of truth and duty, we are not prepared to endure trials and disappointments should it please our Heavenly Father to put them in our way.

5. In the following passage we have an allusion to the ancient mode of bottling wine. “And no man putteth new wine into old bottles, else the new wine will burst the bottles, and be spilled, and the bottles shall perish ; but new wine must be put into new bot

tles and both are preserved."— [Luke v. 37.] Now, to feel the beauty and truth of these words, it is absolutely necessary that we should know the material of which the ancient bottles were made. The bottles referred to were not made of glass, like ours, but of the skins of animals, as sheep and goats. When wine, or any other liquor which had a tendency to ferment and expand, was put into one of these new leathern bottles, it stretched it as far as it could bear without bursting ; so that if new wine were again put into a bottle which had been previously distended to the utmost, the result was that the bottle became rent and the wine was spilled. An old bottle when dry and crazy had not strength to resist the pressure of the expanding liquor, so that a bottle could never be used for this purpose more than once. New wine had always to be put into a new bottle. In the book of Joshua (ix. 13), we have confirmation of this statement. The Gibeonites complain of their bottles, saying And these bottles of wine, which we filled were new, and behold they be rent.” Here, you perceive, the new wine, in consequence of being carried in a hot climate, had torn even new bottles : how much more likely then would it have been to burst those that bad been previously in use?

Our Saviour's application of this ancient custom is peculiarly striking and appropriate. The disciples of John had been complaining that Christ did not require sufficient fasting and austerity from the new converts to his religion ; whereupon Christ defended and justified his conduct in this particular by showing them that too much strictness might have the effect of defeating his object, and drive away his disciples in disgust. He illustrated his meaning by a reference to the Jewish mode of bottling wine, shewing to them that, as men in ordinary life did not put things unsuited to each other together, so neither should hard duties be required from young Christians, lest it should give them a distaste to their new profession.

It would be most desirable that many persons would take a lesson from our Saviour's mode of acting on this occasion. flow many, by expecting too much sanctimoniousness and austerity from children, quite unsuited to the natural gaiety and vivacity of youth, give them an early dislike to religion, which requires the labour of years to remove. Men must not be so unreasonable as to expect that children can attend to religious services of great length without becoming wearied and restless. Even in the domestic circle many parents, from the best of motives, exercise a strictness and severity which often lead to ruinous consequences. If a child be too much restrained when in the Parents' presence, he will be the more apt to make an outbreak when from under his inspection ; whereas, if a becoming cheerfulness and relaxation be permitted and encouraged at home, the child will assuredly be more prudent and well behaved when abroad.

6. In that verse (Matt. xxiii. 5,) where Jesus is speaking of the Scribes, says “they make broad their phylacteries,” we have an allusion to a custom peculiar to the Hebrew nation. The word “phylacteries" is derived from a verb in the Greek language which signifies “ to keep,' and it means things to be especially kept or obserred. These phylacteries were slips of parchment whereon were written those passages of the Mosaic law which the Jews considered most important, such as Exodus xiii. 1, 10; Deuteronomy vi. 4, 9, xi. 13, 21, &c, and were worn on their forehead, their left arm, and sometimes on the fringe of their garments. They adopted this practice from interpreting literally that injunction in the book of Deuteronomy, vi. 8, “ And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine band, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes, and thou shalt write them on the posts of thy house and on thy gates." The Jews were determined to have the precepts of the law not merely figuratively, but literally, “ before their eyes." The Israelitish people in general wore these unseemly badges, but, the Pharisees, out of sheer ostentation, wore them broader than others, and had more sentences of the law inscribed

upon

them. It is for this that our Saviour so warmly and so deservedly reprehends them. Knowing, as he did, “what was in the heart of man,” he knew full well that their motive was bad: that they did it, not from any peculiar veneration for the divine records, or any extraordinary desire to keep their commandments, but, merely, that they might be seen of men and have glory of the same.

Let all men beware of hypocrisy-a pretending to be that which you are not.

There are few characters more contemptible, and none more strongly denounced in the Sacred Scriptures. It is good neither for here nor hereafter. The hypocritical man is generally detected and exposed even in this world, and, should he not, we know what his fate shall be in that world to come where “ the secreis of all hearts shall be made known.”

J. M.

( To be continued.)

SIMPLE THOUGHTS ON EXODUS

( Continued from Vol. II. page 197.)

CHAPTER XXXIII.

Jehovah, in testimony of his displeasure toward his ungrateful people, declares to Moses that he will no longer go up with them, that is, make his presence known to them iu the pillar of a cloud and the pillar of fire. Henceforth an angel shall go up with them. When the people hear these sad tidings they mourn, and no man putteth on his ornaments. Alas! they are now made to feel that they are unworthy to be sheltered and enlightened by Him who with a strong arm had brought them forth from slavery and darkness, and guided them in the solitary desert! Such are we when we prefer the world to Christ!

Moses taking the Tabernacle pitches it without the camp, and “every one who sought the Lord went out unto the Tabernacle of the Congregation."

“ And it came to pass when Moses entered into the Tabernacle, the cloudy pillar descended, and stood at the door of the Tabernacle, and the LORD talked with Moses.

And all the people saw the cloudy pillar stand at the Tabernacle door ; and all the people rose up and worshipped, every man at his tent door. And the Lord spake unto Moses face to face as a man speaketh to his friend."

We read such expressions as this last, the Lord spake unto Moses face to face : yet, in verse 20, a little below; God declares : “ No man shall see my face and live.And Jesus hath said, “ No man hath seen God at any time." The unbeliever exclaims exult. ingly; “ Here are contradictions !" We calmly reply “Not so." The expression face to face is not used personally, but simply as the strongest method of describing confidential intercourse. To see God is not to behold him with the bodily eye, but to obtain a knowledge of his character, and attributes, and some understanding of his dealings with ourselves. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” Does any person understand by this expression that, the single-minded and holy believer beholds with his bodily eye the majesty of God ? No, never-only that such a man perceives the designs of the Lord and submits himself willingly to his counsels and his will !

Thus there is no inconsistency, for here like every other part of

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