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scene rites. (Compare Hos. ix. 10.) Selden imagined that this idol was the same with Pluto, from Psal. cvi. 28. They joined themselves unto Baal-peor, and ate the sacrifices of the dead. But this may mean nothing more than the sacrifices and offerings made to idols, who are properly termed dead, in opposition to the true God, the Creator and Preserver of all things, who is in the Scriptures repeatedly and emphatically termed the living God. CHEMOSH, the abomination of Moab, to whom Solomon erected an altar on the Mount of Olives (1 Kings xi. 7.), is supposed to have been the same deity as Baal-peor. Servants are known by the name of their lord. As the Israelites were called by the name of the true God (2 Chron. vii. 14.), so the Moabites are called (Num. xxi. 29.) by the name of their god, the people of Chemosh; and other idolatrous nations were designated in a similar manner. (See Mic. iv. 5.)
4. RIMMON was an idol of the Syrians, but not worshipped by the Israelites: it is mentioned in 2 Kings v. 8. and is supposed to have been the same as the Jupiter of the
5. ASHTAROTH OF ASTARTE (Judg. ii. 13. 1 Sam. xxxi. 10. 2 Kings xxiii. 13.) is generally understood to have been the moon; though in later times this idol became identified with the Syrian Venus, and was worshipped with impure rites. Astarte is still worshipped by the Druses of Mount Libanus.'
V. PHOENICIAN IDOLS WORSHIPPED BY THE ISRAELITES. 1. None of the heathen deities, mentioned in the Old Testament, is more celebrated than BAAL.
The word signifies lord, master, and husband; a name which, doubtless, was given to their supreme deity, to him whom they regarded as the master of men and gods, and of the whole of nature. This name had its original from Phonicia, Baal being a god of the Phoenicians: and Jezebel, daughter of Ethbaal king of the Zidonians, brought this deity from the city of Zidon; for he was the god of Tyre and Sidon, and was certainly the Zas of the Greeks, and the Jupiter of the Latins. This god was known under the same name all over Asia: it is the same as the Bel of the Babylonians; and the same name and the same god went to the Carthaginians, who were a colony of the Phoenicians: witness the name of Hannibal, Asdrubal, Adherbal, all consisting of Bel or Baal, being the name of the deity of that country, which was according to the custom of the East, where the kings, and great men of the realm, added to their own names those of their gods. In short, it seems to be a name common to all idols, to whatever country they belonged; and when it is mentioned in the Holy Writings without any explanatory circumstance annexed, it is usually understood to be the principal deity of that nation or place of which the sacred writer was speaking.
This false deity is frequently mentioned in Scripture in the plural number, Baalim (1 Sam. vii. 4.), which may either signify that the name of Baal was give to many different gods, or may imply a plurality of statues consecrated to that idol, and bearing several appellations, according to the difference of places: just as the ancient heathens gave many surnames to Jupiter, as Olympian, Dodonaan, and others, according to the names of the places where he was worshipped.
The false gods of Palestine and the neighbouring nations were called Baal in general; but there were other Baals whose name was compounded of some additional word, such as Baal-peor, Baalberith, Baalzebub, and Baalzephon. The first of these has already been noticed in the preceding page.
2. BAALBERITH was the idol of the Shechemites (Judg. viii. 33.); and the temple of this deity was their arsenal and public treasury. As the Hebrew word Berith signifies a covenant or contract, this god is supposed to have had his appellation from his office, which was to preside over covenants, contracts, and oaths. In like manner, the Greeks had their Zeus Ops; and the Romans, their Deus Fidius.
3. BAALZEBUB or BELZEBUB was the god of the Ekronites (2 Kings i. 3.), but the origin of the name (which in Hebrew denotes the god of flies) it is difficult to ascertain. As the vicinity of this country was long after infested with minute 1 Dr. Clarke's Travels, vol. v. pp. 32. 453-459.
May it not be presumed that the ancient inhabitants of Ireland were a Phoenician colony, from the appropriation of the round towers, found in that island, to the preservation of the Baal-Thinne, or sacred fire of Baal? On this subject, the further prosecution of which is foreign to the lar of the present work, much curious and antiquarian information is colleeted in the notes to "The Druid," a Dramatic Poem, by Thomas Crom well. London, 1832, 8vo.
flies that stung severely all on whom they settled, it is not improbable that Ekron was infested in a similar manner, and that its inhabitants had a deity whom they supplicated for the prevention or removal of this plague. The Jews, in the time of Christ, called the prince of the devils by the name of Beelzebub. (Matt. xii. 24. Luke xi. 15.)
4. BAALZEPHON is supposed to have been an idol, erected to guard the confines of the Red Sea, and also the name of a place, where a temple was erected for the use of mariners. 5. DAGON, the tutelary deity of the people of Ashdod or Azotus, was the Derceto of the heathens. Its name signifies a fish; and its figure is said to have been that of a man from the navel upwards, and that of a fish downwards. It is not improbable that this idol was commemorative of the preservation of Noah in the ark.
6. TAMMUZ or THAMMUZ, though an Egyptian deity, is the same as the Adonis of the Phoenicians and Syrians. For this idol the Jewish women are said to have sat weeping before the north gate of the temple. (Ezek. viii. 14.) Lucian has given an account of the rites of this deity, which illustrates the allusion of the prophet. "I saw," says he, "at Biblis, the great temple of Venus, in which are annually celebrated the mysteries of Adonis in which I am initiated; for it is said, that he was killed in the country by a wild boar, and in perpetual remembrance of this event, a public mourning is solemnized every year with doleful lamentations: then follows a funeral as of a dead body, and next day is celebrated his resurrection, for it is said, he flew up into heaven one of the ceremonies is for women to have their heads shaved in the same manner as the Egyptians at the death of Apis. Those who refuse to be shaved are obliged to prostitute themselves a whole day to strangers, and the money which they thus acquire is consecrated to the goddess. But some of the Biblians say, that all those ceremonies are observed for Osiris, and that he is buried in their country, not in Egypt. In order to which there comes yearly a head made of papyrus, brought by sea, from Egypt to Biblis, and I myself have seen it." Procopius, in his commentary on Isaiah, more particularly explains this rite, and observes that the inhabitants of Alexandria annually prepare a pot in which they put a letter directed to the women of Biblis, by which they are informed that Adonis is found again. This pot being sealed up, they commit it to the sea, after performing some ceremonies over it, and command it to depart; accordingly, the vessel immediately steers its course to Biblis, where it puts an end to the women's mourning.
This Syrian Venus had a temple upon the top of a mountain, which was built out of the way in a by-place, in the midst of a wood; it was demolished by the emperor Constantine, who put an end to all the filthy ceremonies which had been performed in it. The image of this goddess, according to Macrobius, represented a woman in mourning covered with a veil, having a dejected countenance, and tears seeming to run down her face.
7. The BAITHYLIA or CONSECRATED SOTNES, adored by the early Phoenicians, are supposed to have been the most ancient objects of idolatrous worship; and, probably, were afterwards formed into beautiful statues, when the art of sculpture became tolerably perfected. They originated in Jacob's setting up and anointing with oil the stone which he had used for a pillow, as a memorial of the heavenly vision with which he had been favoured (Gen. xxviii. 18.), and also to serve as a token to point out to him the place when God should bring him back again. The idolatrous unction of stones, consecrating them to the memory of great men, and worshipping them after their death, must have prevailed to a great extent in the time of Moses, who therefore prohibited the Israelites from erecting them. (Lev. xxvi. 1.) The practice of setting up stones as a guide to travellers still exists in Persia and other parts of the East.
3 See Harmer's Observations, vol. iii. pp. 323-325.
In his treatise De Deâ Syria. Op. tom. ix. pp. 89-91. edit. Bipont. Eusebius de Laudibus Constantini, pp. 736, 737. edit. Reading. Saturnalia, lib. i. c. 21.
Dr. A. Clarke on Gen. xxviii. 18.
8 In the course of Mr. Morier's journey in the interior of that country,
he remarked that his old guide "every here and there placed a stone on a conspicuous bit of rock, or two stones one upon the other, at the same time uttering some words which" (says this intelligent traveller) "I learnt were a prayer for our safe return. This explained to me, what I had frequently seen before in the East, and particularly on a high road leading to a great town, whence the town is first seen, and where the eastern traveller sets up his stone, accompanied by a devout exclamation, as it were, in token of his safe arrival. The action of our guide appears to illustrate the vow which Jacob made when he travelled to Padan-Aram. (Gen. xxviii. 18-22.) In seeing a stone on the road placed in this position, or one stone upon another, it implies that some traveller has there made a vow or a
VI. BABYLONIAN AND ASSYRIAN IDOLS. 1,2. BEL and NEBO are Babylonian deities mentioned in Isa. xlvi. 1. Bel (the Belus of profane historians) was most probably a contraction of Baal, or the Sun. The planet Mercury has the name of Nebo or Nebu among the Zabians: it is found also in the composition of several Chaldæan names of persons, as Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuzaradan, &c. &c. 3. MEROPACH is supposed to have been a Babylonish monarch, who was deified after his death.2
4. NISROCH was an Assyrian idol, adored by Sennacherib. (2 Kings xix. 37. Isa. xxxvii. 38.) Perhaps it was the solar fire, to whose anger he probably attributed the destruction of his army before Jerusalem; and whom he was in the act of adoring, when he was assassinated by his sons.3
VII. IDOLS WORSHIPPED IN SAMARIA DURING THE CAP
represented as a woman, whose upper part was hung round with breasts, emblematic of the prolific powers of nature. Her image is said to have fallen down from Jupiter (Acts xix. 35.); whence some expositors have conjectured that it was an aerolite or atmospheric stone. But Pliny describes the image as having been made by one Caneti as from the wood of the vine. This notion of certain statues having descended on earth from the clouds to represent particular divinities, and to inspire devotion in their temples, was very common in the heathen world. The palladium at Troy, and the statue of Minerva at Athens, like this of the Ephesian Diana, are said to have dropped from the skies. The avarice of priests forged these stories to dupe and fleece a blind and bigoted people. The same ridiculous tale the Romans were taught to believe concerning their Ancilia or sacred shields, which their history represents to have fallen from heaven in the reign of Numa Pompilius."
The Romans, also, it is well known, worshipped the virtues and affections of the mind, as Justice, Fidelity, or Good Faith, Hope, Fortune, Fame, &c.; and the same superstition prevailed among the inhabitants of Malta, on which island Paul was shipwrecked. When they saw a venomous serpent fasten on the hand of Paul, they concluded that he was a murderer, whom vengeance-more correctly the goddess A (Diké or Vindictive Justice)-had not permitted to live. (Acts xxviii. 4.) We learn from the mythological poet Hesiod, that the Greeks had a female deity of this name. Nay, the superstition of the Pagans went so far as to worship the gods and goddesses of all countries, even those which they knew not. Thus there was at Athens an altar consecrated the unknown God; which gave St. Paul occasion to deliver that admirable discourse in the Areopagus, which is related in Acts xvii. 23-31.9
The deities noticed in the preceding pages are the chief idols anciently adored in Palestine; but there were other false gods worshipped there, which were imported into Samaria, after Shalmaneser had carried the ten tribes into captivity, by the colony of foreigners which he sent to occupy their country. These men brought their idols with them. The men of Babylon had their Succoth-benoth, which was the Babylonish Melitta, in honour of whom young women prostituted themselves. The men of Cuth or Cutha brought their Nergal, or the Sun: it was represented by a cock, which animal was dedicated to Apollo, or the Sun. The men of Hamath had Ashima; a deity of which nothing certain is known. The rabbinical writers say, that it was compounded of a man and a goat; consequently it answered to the Pan of the Greek and Roman mythology. The peo-to the gods and goddesses of Europe, Asia, Libya, and to ple of Sepharvaim brought Adrammelech and Anammelech, already noticed. The Avites brought Nibhaz and Turtak, which probably are two different names of the same idol. As Nibhaz in Hebrew and Chaldee signifies quick, swift, rapid; and Tartak in both languages denotes a chariot, these two idols together may mean the sun mounted on his car.
In Lev. xxvi. 1. Moses prohibits the Israelites from setting up any IMAGE OF STONE, literally, figured stone, or stone of a picture, in their land. This prohibition was directed against the hieroglyphic figures or stones of the Egyptians, the meaning of which was known only to the priests. With these stones idolatry was practised. In Egypt they were regarded as the god Thoth, the god of sciences, and so late as the time of Ezekiel (viii. 8-11.) we find an imitation of this species of idolatry common among the Jews. According, therefore, to that fundamental principle of the Mosaic policy, which dictated the prevention of idolatry, it became absolutely necessary to prohibit stones with hieroglyphic inscriptions. Besides, in an age when so great a propensity to idolatry prevailed, stones with figures upon them which the people could not understand, would have been a temptation to idolatry, even though they had not been deified (as we know they actually were) by the Egyptians. The walls of the ancient temples, particularly that of Tentyra, and also the tombs of the kings in Egypt, are covered with such hieroglyphics; which it is impossible to see and not be struck with the necessity of the injunction contained
in Deut. iv. 15-20.5
VIII. The idols mentioned in the New Testament are, doubtless, known to every classical reader. It will, therefore, suffice briefly to state here, that Jupiter was the supreme deity, or father of the gods, among the Greeks and Romans; Mercury was the god of eloquence, and the messenger of the other deities. The inhabitants of Lystra, in Lycaonia, struck with the miracle which had been wrought by Št. Paul, considered him as Mercury, from his eloquence, and Barnabas as Jupiter, probably from his being the more majestic person of the two, and consequently, answering to the prevalent notions which they had imbibed from statues concerning him. The Diana of the Greeks and Romans was worshipped with most solemnity at Ephesus, where she is said to have been thanksgiving. Nothing is so natural in a journey over a dreary country; as for a solitary traveller to sit down, fatigued, and to make the vow that Jacob did:-If God will be with me, and keep me in the way that I go, and will give me bread to eat and ruiment to put on, so that I reach my father's house in peace, &c. then I will give so much in charity :-or, again, that on first seeing the place which he has so long toiled to reach, the traveller should sit down and make a thanksgiving; in both cases setting up a stone as a memorial." Morier's Second Journey, p. 84.
1 Gesenius's Hebrew Lexicon, by Gibbs, p. 85. col. 2. p. 407. col. 2.
2 W. Lowth, on Jer. 1. 2.
Brown's Antiq. of the Jews, vol. ii. p. 32.
• Jowett's Christian Researches in the Mediterranean, pp. 132. 134.
IX. Very numerous are the allusions in the Sacred Writings to the idolatrous rites of the heathen, and to their persuasions concerning their power and influence. A few only of these can be here noticed.
1. With regard to the opinions which were entertained concerning their gods:
(1.) The heathens had generally a notion, that all deities were local, and limited to a certain country or place, and had no power any where else, but in that country or place; and thus we read in 2 Kings xvii. 26. that the colonists sent by the king of Assyria to Samaria in place of the Israelites attributed their being plagued with lions to their not knowing the manner of the god of the land. In conformity with this notion, Jonah (who lived in the midst of the mixed multitude of Gentiles, that had forced themselves into the district of Galilee, with their various forms of worship) seems to have considered Jehovah as the local god of Judæa; and in order to escape from his presence, he rose up to flee unto Tarshish, and went down to Joppa. (Jonah i. 3.) So also in 1 Kings xx. 23. it is said that the servants of the king of Syria persuaded their master, that the gods of the Israelites were gods of the hills; hearing, perhaps, that the law was given on Mount Sinai, that the temple was built on Mount Sion, and that they delighted to worship on high places; and therefore they imagined that they would have the advantage by fighting the Israelites in the plain. It is not unlikely that such of the Israelites who were murmurers in the wilderness (being those among them who were most tainted with idolatry) entertained the same opinion, and believed that God was a local deity and his power limited; for in this manner it is that the Psalmist represents them reasoning with themselves,-Can God furnish a table in the wilderness? Behold he smote the rock that the waters gushed out, and the streams overflowed, but can he give bread also? Can he provide flesh for his people? (Psal. xxviii. 19, 20.)
(2.) All the nations of antiquity, especially in the East, supposed the Deity to be surrounded by light so dazzling as to overpower all mortal vision. This mode of speaking was, in a later age, transferred to the divine majesty and perfections, as being utterly incomprehensible to the human faculties. (Psal. civ. 1-3. Ezek. i. 1 Tim. vi. 16.)10
(3.) "Another common opinion which prevailed among the heathens, was, that sometimes the immortal gods, disguised in human form, deigned to visit mortals, and con
versed with them. According to their theology, Jupiter and Mercury accompanied each other on these expeditions. Agreeably to this notion, which universally obtained among the Pagans, we find that the Lycaonians, when they saw a miracle performed upon a helpless cripple, immediately cried out in the last astonishment,-The gods are come down unto us in the likeness of men! (Acts xiv. 11.) Instantly Paul and Barnabas were metamorphosed, by their imaginations, into Jove and Mercury, who, according to their creed, were inseparable companions in these visits. These heathens (as we have already intimated) recognised Jupiter in Barnabas, because, probably, his appearance and person were more specious and striking; and Paul, whose bodily presence was weak, but whose public talents and rhetoric were distinguished, they persuaded themselves could be no other than Mercury, the eloquent interpreter of the gods.”1
having played the harlot, that is, worshipped idols on every high mountain, and under every green tree. Nor were only mountains, woods, and valleys appointed for the_worship of false gods; almost every thing else, among the Pagans, bore the marks of idolatry. Herodotuss says, that the Phonicians, who were the greatest seamen in the world, adorned the heads and sterns of their ships with the images of their gods: and Luke (Acts xxviii. 11.) has observed, that the vessel which carried St. Paul from Malta to Syracuse had the sign of Castor and Pollux; and it is not improbable, that the vessel in which Europa was carried away had the sign of a bull, which gave occasion to the poets to say, that Jupiter carried her away under that shape.
4. The statues of the deities were carried in procession, on the shoulders of their votaries. This circumstance is distinctly stated by Isaiah, in his masterly exposure of the (4.) Further, when persons were wrongfully oppressed insanity of idolatry. (xlvi. 7.) In this way do the Hindoos and afflicted, the heathens believed that the gods interfered at present carry their gods; and, indeed, so exact a picture in their behalf. The tokens of their presence were earth- has the prophet drawn of the idolatrous processions of this quakes, the opening of doors, and the loosing of their bonds.2 people, that he might be almost supposed to be sitting among In this manner God bore a miraculous testimony of his ap- them, when he delivered his prediction to the Jews.10 It was probation to his faithful servants Paul and Silas, when im- also customary to make shrines or portable models of the prisoned at Philippi; and the knowledge of this fact will temples of those deities which were the principal objects of account for the extreme fright of the gaoler, which termi- worship, and to place a small image therein, when they tranated so happily for his salvation. (Acts xvi. 25-29.)3 velled or went to war, as also for their private devotions at 2. Although the priesthood constituted a distinct class of home. From the celebrity of the temple of Diana at Ephepersons among the Jews, yet among the Romans, and it sus, it is but natural to suppose, that there would be a great should seem also among the Greeks, they did not form a demand for models of it, which would become a kind of subseparate order. Among the Romans they were chosen from stitute for the temple itself, to such of her votaries as lived among the most honourable men in the state. In the castern in distant parts of Greece. It is evident from Acts xix. 24 provinces of the Roman empire, persons were annually-27. that the manufacture of such shrines proved a source selected from among the more opulent citizens to preside of great emolument to Demetrius, and the artisans employed over the things pertaining to religious worship, and to exhibit by him, who might naturally expect a brisk demand for their annual games at their own expense in honour of the gods, in models, from the vast concourse of worshippers who were the same manner as the ædiles did at Rome. These officers present at the annual solemnization of the games in honour received their appellations from the districts to which they of Diana: which demand not equalling their expectations, belonged, as Syriarch (Eupans), Phoeniciarch (cs), Demetrius might ascribe his loss to St. Paul's preaching and the like: of course, in proconsular Asia, they were called against idolatry, as the apostle had now (Acts xix. 8. 10.) Asiarchs (Ag). The temple of Diana at Ephesus was been more than two years at Ephesus; so that all they which erected at the common expense of all the Grecian cities in dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Asia Minor. It is evident from Acts xix. 31. that at that Greeks. The tabernacle of Moloch (Amos v. 26.) is supvery time they were solemnizing games in honour of Diana, posed to have been a portable temple or shrine, made after who was one of the great celestial deities (the dii majorum the chief temple of that "horrid king," as Milton emphatigentium of the Romans), and who was, therefore, called the cally terms him.12 GREAT GODDESS, by the recorder or town-clerk of Ephesus. (Acts xix. 35.) This circumstance will account for St. Paul's being hurried before the tribunal of the Asiarchs.
3. We learn from various profane authors that High Places, or eminences, were considered to be the abode of the heathen deities, or at least as the most proper for sacrificing; and, therefore, sacrifices were offered either on the summits of mountains or in woods. Thus it was the custom of the ancient Persians to go up to the tops of the loftiest mountains, and there to offer sacrifices to Jupiter, distinguishing by that appellation the whole expanse of heaven. Further, as most of these sacrifices were accompanied with prostitution, or other impure rites, they seem to have chosen the most retired spots, to conceal their abominations. On this account, and also to obliterate every vestige of, or temptation to, idolatry, the Israelites were commanded to offer sacrifices to Jehovah, only and exclusively in the place which he should appoint (Deut. xii. 14.); and were also prohibited from sacrificing in high places (Lev. xxvi. 30.), and from placing a grove of trees near his altar. (Deut. xvi. 21.) The profligate Manasseh, however, utterly disregarded these prohibitions, when he built up again the high places, and reared up altars for Baal, and made a grove. (2 kings xxi. 3.) Thus Isaiah (lvii. 4, 5.) reproached the Israelites with the like prevarication, when he said, Are ye not children of transgression, a seed of falsehood, inflaming yourselves with idols under every green tree, slaying the children in the valleys under the clefts of the rocks? And Jeremiah (iii. 6.) reproaches them with
1 Dr. Harwood's Introd. vol. ii. p. 359.
2 Elsner, in his notes on Acts xvi. 26. has shown, by a series of most apposite quotations, that each of these things was accounted a token of the divine appearance in behalf of those who suffered unjustly, and who were dear to the gods.-Observationes Sacræ, vol. i. pp. 441-441. 3 Biscoe on the Acts, vol. i. p. 313.
Grotius, Hammond, Poole's Synopsis, Wetstein, and Doddridge on
See Elsner's Observationes Sacræ, vol. i. pp. 460, 461.
* In Sir William Ouseley's Travels in the East (vol. i. pp. 359-401.) the reader will find a very learned and very interesting memoir on the sacred trees of the ancients, which illustrates inany important passages of sacredWXİL
"When the heathens offered a sacrifice to any of those numerous divinities which they worshipped, it was usual on this sacred solemnity, in which religion and friendship were harmoniously interwoven and united with each other, for all the sacrificers to have their temples adorned with chaplets of flowers, and the victims, too, that were led to the altar, were dressed with fillets and garlands. Abundant examples of this custom are found in almost every page of the Greek and Roman classics. The Lycaonians, who recognised Jupiter in Barnabas, and Mercury in Paul, and, believing themselves honoured with a visit from these divinities, from the miracle which Paul had wrought in restoring a cripple to the full use of his limbs, intended to show their veneration of this illustrious condescension to them by celebrating a public and solemn sacrifice, and decked themselves, and the victims they intended to immolate, in this manner.13 The priest, therefore, of Jove, whom it seems they worshipped as the guardian of their city, and whose temple stood a little way out of the town, immediately brought victims and chaplets of flowers to crown the apostles, agreeably to the pagan rites, and in this manner advanced towards the door of the house, where the apostles lodged, designing to sacrifice to them. This custom, here mentioned, was in conformity with the heathen ritual. All wore garlands at a heathen sacrifice, both the people and the victims."15
5. When the victim devoted to the sacrifice was brought before the altar, the priest, having implored the divine favour and acceptance by prayer, poured wine upon its head; and after the performance of this solemn act of religion, which
8 Hist. l. iii. c. 37.
Biscoe on the Acts, vol. i. pp. 326, 327. 10 Ward's History, &c. of the Hindoos, vol. ii. p. 330. 11 Biscoe on the Acts, vol. i. pp. 301, 302. 304.
13 See Dr. Clarke's Travels, vol. vi. pp. 215-218., for some curious information concerning the portable shrines of the ancients.
13 Acts xiv. 13. Then the priest of Jupiter, which was before their city, brought oxen and garlands unto the gates, and would have done sacrifice unto the people.
14 Προ της πόλεως. Ibid. Το ΠΡΟ ΤΗΣ ΠΟΛΕΩΣ Ασκληπιείον, The temple of Esculapius which was before the town, or a little way out of the city. Polybius, lib. i. p. 17. edit. Hanov. 1619.
15 Dr. Harwood's Introduction, vol. ii. p. 301. Wetstein and Dr. Á Clarke
on Acts xiv. 11-15.
was termed a libation, the victim was instantly led to the slaughter. To this circumstance St. Paul, knowing the time of his martyrdom to be very near, has a very striking allusion; representing this rite, which immediately preceded the death of the victim, as already performed upon himself, implying that he was now devoted to death, and that his dissolution would speedily follow. I am now ready to be offered, says he (2 Tim. iv. 6.): literally, I am already poured out as a libation; the time of my departure is at hand. A similar expressive sacrificial allusion occurs in Phil. ii. 17. Yea, says the holy apostle, and if I be POURED OUT upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy and rejoice with you all. In this passage he represents the faith of the Philippians as the sacrificial victim, and compares his blood, willingly and joyfully to be shed in martyrdom, to the libation poured out on occasion of the sacrifice.
After the usual portions of the victims had been burnt on the altar, or given to the officiating priests, the remainder was either exposed by the owner for sale in the market, or became the occasion of giving a feast to his friends, either in the temple or at his own house. Meat of this description, termed dura, or meats offered to idols, in Acts xv. 29., was an abomination to the Jews; who held that not only those who partook of such entertainments, but also those who purchased such meat in the market, subjected themselves to the pollution of idolatry. The apostle James, therefore, recommends, that the Gentile Christians should abstain from all meats of this kind, out of respect to this prejudice of Jewish Christians; and hence he calls these meats ara, pollution of idols, that is, meats polluted in consequence of their being sacrificed unto idols. (Acts xv. 20., compare also 1 Cor. viii. 1. 4. 7. 10. x. 19. 28.) It appears from Judg. ix. 27. that feasting after sacrifice in the temples of idols was not unknown to the Shechemites.
as appears from Psal. ii. 12. There is an idolatrous rite mentioned by Ezekiel, called the putting the branch to the nose (Ezek. viii. 17.), by which interpreters understand, that the worshipper, with a wand in his hand, touched the idol, and then applied the wand to his nose and mouth, in token of worship and adoration. There appears to be this difference, however, between the idolatry of the Jews and that of other nations, viz. that the Jews did not deny a divine power and providence; only they imagined that their idols were the intermediate causes, by which the blessings of the supreme God might be conveyed to them; whereas the heathens believed that the idols they worshipped were true gods, and had no higher conceptions, having no notion of one eternal, almighty, and independent Being.
In the account of the decisive triumph of true religion over idolatry, related in 1 Kings xviii., we have a very striking delineation of the idolatrous rites of Baal; from which it appears that his four hundred and fifty priests, or prophets, as they are termed, employed the whole day in their desperate rites. The time is divided into two periods, 1. From morning until noon, which was occupied in preparing and offering the sacrifice, and in earnest supplication for the celestial fire, (for Baal was unquestionably the god of fire or the sun, and had only to work in his own element), vociferating, 0, Baal, hear us (1 Kings xviii. 26.); and, 2. They continued from noon until the time of offering evening sacrifice (the time when it was usually offered to Jehovah in the temple at Jerusalem), performing their frantic rites.
They leaped up and down at the altar, that is, they danced around it with strange and hideous cries and gesticulations, tossing their heads to and fro, with a great variety of bodily contortions, precisely as the Ceylonese do to this day. In like manner the priests of Mars among the Romans danced and leaped around the altars of that divinity, from which cir6. Singing and dancing were the general attendants of cumstance they derived their name,-Salii. And it came to some of these idolatrous rites: thus, the Israelites danced pass at noon that Elijah mocked them had not the intrepid before the golden calf. (Exod. xxxii. 19.) To this day, dancing prophet of the Lord been conscious of the divine protection, before the idol takes place at almost every Hindoo idolatrous he certainly would not have used such freedom of speech, feast. But their sacrifices were not confined to irrational while he was surrounded by his enemies: And said, Cry victims: it is well known that the practice of offering human aloud! Oblige him, by your vociferations, to attend to your victims prevailed to a great extent; and among the Ammon- suit. Similar vain repetitions were made by the heathen in ites and Phoenicians they were immolated to propitiate the time of our Saviour, who cautions his disciples against Moloch and Baal; and children were in some manner dedi- them in Matt. vi. 7.7-For he is a god-the supreme God; you cated and devoted to them. The idolatrous worshippers are worship him as such; and, doubtless, he is jealous of his own said to make them pass through the fire; denoting some rite honour, and the credit of his votaries. Either he is talkingof dedication and purification. This was most expressly he may be giving audience to some others: or, as it is renforbidden to the Israelites. (Lev. xviii. 21.) In this manner dered in the margin of our larger Bibles,-he meditateth-he Ahaz devoted his son (2 Kings xvi. 3.); but as Hezekiah is in a profound reverie, projecting some godlike scheme-or afterwards succeeded his father on the throne of Judah, it is he is pursuing-taking his pleasure in the chase-or he is on evident that he was not put to death. From the declarations a journey-having left his audience chamber, he is making of the psalmist (cvi. 36-40.), and of the prophet Ezekiel some excursions or peradventure he sleepeth and must be (xvi. 21. xx. 26. 31.), it is however, certain that many hu- awaked.-Absurd as these notions may appear to us, they are man victims were thus barbarously sacrificed. believed by the Hindoos, to each of whose gods some particular business is assigned, and who imagine that Vishnoo sleeps for months in the year, while others of their deities are often out on journeys or expeditions. Accordingly the priests of Baal cried aloud, and cut themselves, after their manner. This was not only the custom of the idolatrous Israelites, but also of the Syrians, Persians, Indians, Greeks, Romans, and, in short, of all the ancient heathen world. Hence we may see the reason why the Israelites were forbidden to cut themselves, to make any cuttings in their flesh for the dead, and to print any marks upon themselves. (Deut. xiv. 1. 3 On the subject of the idolatrous worship of the heathens, the editor of Calinet's Dictionary has accumulated much interesting information. See the Fragments, particularly Nos. 107. 185. 212, 213. This is the marginal rendering, and most correct, of 1 Kings xviii. 26. 5 From the statement of a Ceylonese convert to Christianity (who was formerly one of the principal high-priests of Budhoo) Dr. A. Clarke has described the manner and invocations of the pagan inhabitants of that island (Comment. on 1 Kings xviii.), to which we are indebted for part of the present elucidation of the rites of Baal; and his account is confirmed by Dr. John Davy, in his Travels in Ceylon. Jain dederat Saliis (a saltu nomina ducunt)
The adoration or worship which idolaters paid to their gods did not consist barely in the sacrifices which they offered to them, but likewise in prostrations and bowings of the body; thus Naaman speaks of bowing in the house of Rimmon. (2 Kings v. 18.) It was also a religious ceremony, to lift up the hand to the mouth and kiss it, and then, stretching it out, to throw as it were the kiss to the idol: both this and the former ceremony are mentioned in 1 Kings xix. 18. And so Job, in order to express his not having fallen into idolatry, very elegantly says, If I beheld the sun while it shined, or the moon walking in brightness, and my heart had been secretly enticed, or my mouth hath kissed my hand, &c. (Job xxxi. 26, 27.); for to kiss and to worship are synonymous terms in Scripture, Parkhurst's Gr. Lexicon, p. 621. Harwood, vol. ii. pp. 219, 220. Drs. Clarke and Macknight on the passages cited.
2 The Egyptians had several cities, which were termed Typhonian,such as Heliopolis, Idithya, Abarei, and Busiris,-where at particular seasons they immolated men. The objects thus devoted were persons of bright hair and a particular complexion, such as were seldom to be found among that people. Hence we inay conclude that they were foreigners; and it is probable that while the Israelites resided in Egypt, the victims were chosen from their body. They were burnt alive upon a high altar, and thus sacrificed for the good of the people: at the conclusion of the sacrifice, the priests collected their ashes, and scattered them upwards in the air, most likely with this view, that, where any of the dust was wafted, a blessing might be entailed. By a just retribution, Moses and Aaron were commanded to take ashes of the furnace (which in the Scriptures is used as a type of the slavery of the Israelites, and of all the cruelty which they experienced in Egypt), and to scatter them abroad towards the heaven (Exod. x. 8, 9.), but with a different intention, viz. that where any the smallest portion alighted, it might prove a plague and a curse to the ungrateful, cruel, and infatuated Egyptians. Thus there was a designed con tra t in these workings of Providence, and an apparent opposition to the superstition of the times. Bryant, on the Plagues of Egypt, p. 116. On the prevalence of human sacrifices in ancient times, see vol. i. p. 5. and
Armaque et ad certos verba canenda modos.--OVID. Fast. iii. 387, 388. On the custom of dancing around the altars of the gods, the reader will find much curious information in Lomeier's treatise De veterum Gentilium Lustrationibus, cap. 33. pp. 413. et seq.
The infuriated worshippers of Diana all with one voice about the space of two hours cried out, "Great is Diana of the Ephesians." (Acts xix. 34.) Not to multiply unnecessary examples, see an illustration of these vain, repetitions in the Heautontimoreumenos of Terence, act v. scene 1. We are informed by Servius that the ancient heathens, after supplicating the particular deity to whom they offered sacrifice, used to invoke all the gods and goddesses, lest any one of them should be adverse to the suppliant. Servius in Virgil. Georg. lib. i. 21. (vol. i. p. 178. of Burmann's edition, Amst. 1746. 4to.) For a remarkable instance of the "vain repetitions" of the modern Mohammedans, see Dr. Richardson's Travels in the Mediterranean, &c. vol. i. pp. 462-464. Ward's History, &c. of the Hindoos, vol. ii. p. 324.
$1. ACCOUNT OF THE JEWISH SECTS MENTIONED IN THE NEW
I. The Pharisees.—II. The Sadducees.-III. The Essenes
The Zealots.-X. The Sicarii.
I. The PHARISEES were the most numerous and powerful sect of the Jews. The precise time when they first appeared is not known but, as Josephus mentions the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Essenes, as distinct sects, in the reign of Jonathan (B. c. 144-139), it is manifest that they must have been in existence for some time. Calmet is of opinion that their origin cannot be carried higher than the year of the world 3820, corresponding with the year 184 before the Christian æra. They derived their name from the Hebrew verb w (PHARASH) to separate; because they professed an uncommon separation from the apparel and customs of the world to the study of the law, and an extraordinary devotion to God and sanctity of life, beyond all other men. Hence one of them is represented as thanking God, that he was not as other men are, and St. Paul, in his masterly apology before king Agrippa, terms them axpiferarn apsors, the most rigorous sect, in our version rendered the most straitest sect. (Acts xxvi. 5.) They were not restricted to any particular family or class of men: there were Pharisees of every tribe, family, and condition. The credit which they had acquired by their reputation for knowledge and sanctity of life early rendered them formidable to the Maccabæan sovereigns; while they were held in such esteem and veneration by the people, that they may be almost said to have given what direction they pleased to public affairs.2 They boasted that, from their accurate knowledge of religion, they were the favourites of heaven;3 and thus, trusting in themselves that they were righteous, despised others. (Luke xi. 52. xviii. 9. 11.)
Among the tenets inculcated by this sect, we may enumerate the following; viz.
1. They ascribed all things to fate or providence, yet not so absolutely as to take away the free will of man, though fate does not co-operate in every action. They also believed in the existence of angels and spirits, and in the resurrection of the dead (Acts xxiii. 8.): but, from the account given of them by Josephus, it appears that their notion of the immortality of the soul was the Pythagorean metempsychosis; that the soul, after the dissolution of one body, winged its flight into another; and that these removals were perpetuated and diversified through an infinite succession, the soul animating a sound and healthy body, or being confined in a deformed and diseased frame, according to its conduct in a prior state of existence. From the Pharisees, whose tenets and traditions the people generally received, it is evident that the disciples of our Lord had adopted this philosophical doctrine of the transmigration of souls; when, having met with a man who had been born blind, they asked him whether it were the sins of this man in a pre-existent state which had caused the Sovereign Disposer to inflict upon him this punishment. To this inquiry Christ replied, that neither his vices or sins in a pre-existent state, nor those of his parents, were the cause of this calamity. (John ix. 1—4.) From this notion, derived from the Greek philosophy, we find that during our Saviour's public ministry, the Jews speculated variously concerning him, and indulged several conjectures, which of the ancient prophets it was whose soul now animated him, and performed such astonishing miracles. Some contended that it was the soul of Elias; others of Jeremiah; while others, less sanguine, only declared in general terms that it must be the soul of one of the old prophets by which these mighty deeds were now wrought. (Matt. xvi. 14. Luke ix. 19.)6
1 Ant. Jud. lib. xiii. c. 5. § 9.
2. The Pharisees contended that God was in strict justice bound to bless the Jews, and make them all partakers of the them eternally happy, and that he could not possibly damn terrestrial kingdom of the Messiah, to justify them, to make any oxe of them! The ground of their justification they de rived from the merits of Abraham, from their knowledge of God, from their practising the rite of circumcision, and from the sacrifices they offered. And as they conceived works to be meritorious, they had invented a great number of supererogatory ones, to which they attached greater merit than to the observance of the law itself. To this notion St. Paul has some allusions in those parts of his Epistle to the Romans in which he combats the erroneous suppositions of the Jews.? 3. The Pharisees were the strictest of the three principal sects that divided the Jewish nation (Acts xxvi. 5.), and affected a singular probity of manners according to their system, which however was for the most part both lax and corrupt. Thus, many things which Moses had tolerated in civil life, in order to avoid a greater évil, the Pharisees determined to be morally right; for instance, the law of retaliation, and that of a divorce from a wife for any cause. (Matt. v. 31. et seq. xix. 3—12.) During the time of Christ there were two celebrated philosophical and divinity schools among the Jews, that of Schammai and that of Hillel. On the question of divorce, the school of Schammai maintained, that no man could legally put away his wife except for adultery: the school of Hillel, on the contrary, allowed a divorce for any cause (from Deut. xxiv. 1.), even if the wife found no favour in the eyes of her husband,—in other words, if he saw any woman who pleased him better. The practice of the Jews seems to have gone with the school of Hillel. Thus we read (in Ecclus. xxv. 26.), "If she go not as thou wouldest have her, cut her off from thy flesh; give her a bill of divorce and let her go;" and in conformity with this doctrine, Josephus, who was a Pharisee, relates that he repudiated his wife who had borne him three children, because he was not pleased with her manners or behaviour.
4. Further, they interpreted certain of the Mosaic laws most literally, and distorted their meaning so as to favour their own philosophical system. Thus, the law of loving their neighbour, they expounded solely of the love of their friends, that is, of the whole Jewish race; all other persons being considered by them as natural enemies (Matt. y. 43. compared with Luke x. 31-33.), whom they were in no respect bound to assist. Dr. Lightfoot has cited a striking illustration of this passage from Maimonides. An oath, in which the name of God was not distinctly specified, they taught was not binding (Matt. v. 33.), maintaining that a man might even swear with his lips, and at the same moment annul it in his heart! So rigorously did they understand the command of observing the Sabbath-day, that they accounted it unlawful to pluck ears of corn, and heal the sick, &c. (Matt. xii. 1. et seq. Luke vi. 6. et seq. xiv. 1. et seq.) Those natural laws which Moses did not sanction by any penalty they accounted among the petty commandments, inferior to the ceremonial laws, which they preferred to the former, as being the weightier matters of the law (Matt. v. 19. xv. 4. xxiii. 23.), to the total neglect of mercy and fidelity. Hence they accounted causeless anger and impure desires as trifles of no moment (Matt. v. 21, 22. 27-30.); they compassed sea and land to make proselytes10 to the Jewish religion from among the Gentiles, that they might rule over their consciences and wealth: and these proselytes, through the influence of their own scandalous examples and characters, they soon rendered more profligate and abandoned the New Test. vol. ii. p. 355. To this popular notion of a transmigration of souls, Dr. H. ascribes the alarm of Herod, who had caused John the Baptist to be beheaded, when the fame of Christ's miracles reached his court; but, on comparing Matt. xvi. 6. with Mark viii. 15., it appears that Herod was a Sadducee, and, consequently, disbelieved a future state. His alarm, therefore, is rather to be attributed to the force of conscience which haunted his guilty mind in despite of his libertine principles.
See Rom. i.-xi. Josephus, Ant. Jud. lib. xvii. c. 2. $4. De Bell. Jud lib. ii. c. 8. § 4. Justin. Dialog. cum Tryphon. Pirke Aboth.
8 Life of himself, § 76. Grotius, Calmet, Drs. Lightfoot, Whitby, Dod dridge, and A. Clarke (on Matt. v. 30. et seq. and Matt. xix. 3. et seq.) have all given illustrations of the Jewish doctrine of divorce from rabbinical writers. See also Selden's Uxor Hebraica, lib. iii. c. 22. (Op. tom. ii. col. 782-786.)
The high reputation and influence of the Pharisees are strikingly illustrated by the following anecdote:-When Alexander Jannæus lay on his death-bed, about eighty years before the Christian æra, his queen Alexandra having expressed great anxiety on account of the exposed state in which herself and sons would be left, the dying monarch recommended her to court the Pharisees, and delegate part of her power to them. Alexandra followed this advice; and the Pharisees, availing themselves of 9"A Jew sees a Gentile fall into the sea, let him by no means lift him the opportunity, made themselves masters of the government, and dis-out: for it is written, Thou shalt not rise up against the blood of thy posed of every thing as they pleased. Josephus, Ant. Jud. lib. xiii. c. 15. neighbour. But this is NOT thy neighbour." Works, vol. ii. p. 152. $5. c. 16. § 1. Bell. Jud. lib. i. c. 4. Ant. Jud. lib. xvii. c. 2. §4. 10 Justin Martyr bears witness to the inveterate malignity of the proselytes of the Pharisees against the name of Christ, at the beginning of the second century. "Your proselytes," says he to Trypho the Jew (p. 350.), "not only do not believe in Christ, but blaspheme his name with twofold more virulence than yourselves. They are ready to show their malicious zeal against us; and, to obtain merit in your eyes, wish to us reproach, and torment, and death." See further Dr. Ireland's Paganism and Christianity compared, pp. 21-23.
Ibid. lib. xiii. c. 5. § 9. lib. xviii. c. 2. §3. De Bell. Jud. lib. ii. c. 8. § 14. Acts v. 38, 39. Ibid. lib. xviii. c. 1. §3. De Bell. Jud. lib. ii. c. 8. § 14. lib. iii. c. 8. § 5. The author of the Book of Wisdom (ch. viii. 20.) seems to allude to the same doctrine, when he tells us, that, being good, he came into a body undefiled.
Dr. Lightfoot's Works, vol. ii. pp. 568, 569. Dr. Harwood's Introd to