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foundation of the whole institute. The patriarchal element was still strong and predominant in the Hebrew Commonwealth. There was no express provision made for public religious instruction. This was especially enjoined upon the heads of families. “ And these words which I command thee this day shall be in thine heart, and thou shalt teach them diligently to thy children, and thou shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.” Indeed, such was the scarcity and costliness of books, that it was impossible for the great mass of the people to possess a copy of the law. For this cause we may suppose that it was added : “ And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes, and thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and upon thy gates.” It was with reference to the scarcity of books and means of instruction we may suppose, that Moses commanded the Israelites to write their laws upon their public altars, that they might thus unite devotion and instruction. "And it shall be on the day when ye shall pass over Jordan unto the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, that thou shalt set there up great stones and plaster them with plaster, and then shalt write upon the stones all the words of this law very plainly.” Thus, those who were unable to procure a copy of the law, might at least
become acquainted with its general provisions when they came to sacrifice.
The public religious instruction of the nation, such as it was, devolved upon the Levites. We have in the same chapter of Deuteronomy a stated homily which they were commanded to rehearse in the ears of all the people. I doubt if there be any more impressive preaching even at the present day. The people were to be assembled in two companies, on two mountains over against each other, six tribes on one side and six on the other, one to pronounce the blessings and the other the cursings of the law, "And the Levites shall speak and say to all the men of Israel with a loud voice, Cursed be the man that maketh any graven image, an abomination to the Lord, the work of the hands of the craftsman, and putteth it in a secret place, and all the people shall say, Amen. Cursed be he that setteth light by his father or his mother : and all the people shall say, Amen.” Thus they went through the principal points of their law.
There were no public assemblies for religious instruction. The only religious meetings we read of were the three annual festivals, which were celebrated wherever the ark happened to be, and the local sacrifices generally kept at the new moon on tops of hills, denominated in the Old Testament, high places. These were places set apart for religious exercises, especially for prayer; and hence
called Proseuchac or oratories, after the Greek became the current language. Into one of these devoted and solitary places, it is supposed it was that our Saviour retired on the night previous to the choice of his disciples.
But in the Hebrew Commonwealth, church and state were closely amalgamated, the code of Moses, prescribing alike religious and civil duty. The Levites of course, were the judges and magistrates as well as the religious teachers of the people. That there were neither any provisions for the religious instruction of the people, nor many books among them, we should infer from the history of the times of Jehoshaphat. In the third year of his reign he sent some of his princes, and with them he sent Levites to teach in the cities of Judah. “ And they taught in Judah, and had the book of the law of the Lord with them, and went throughout all the cities of Judah and taught the people.”
But in the sacred institutions of the Jews it is evident that devotion predominated over instruction, the cultivation of the heart was made a more prominent object than that of the understanding. It was so in their temple service. Their tabernacle in the wilderness, and afterwards in the Holy Land, was intended as a perpetual memorial of God, and a symbol of his presence. It called the people off from idolatry, and reminded them that their worship was
to be directed to Jehovah alone. Its services, and those afterwards of the temple were perpetual, renewed every morning and every evening, that no pious Israelite should ever feel that the duties of adoration and gratitude could be omitted for a single day. The morning and evening sacrifice, we have every reason 'to believe, were to the religiously disposed an essential aid to devotion through the many centuries of the continuance of that imposing rite.
As no better occasion will probably present itself, I shall here give some account of the Jewish temple and its sacred rites. The temple of the Jews, the rallying point of their political existence, the consecrated seat of their religion, and the heart of their national affections, was built by Solomon one thousand years before the Christian era. It was placed on Mount Moriah in the south-eastern part of Jerusalem. On the east it was bordered by a deep valley called the Valley of Jehoshaphat, separating it from the Mount of Olives. If any one should attempt to form an idea of the temple from our modern churches he would be grossly deceived. Its purposes were different. The difference corresponds in some measure with the difference of the two dispensations. Christ said of the Old Temple, “It is written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer.” But to his own disciples he said, “Go teach all nations.” Modern churches are constructed
with reference to teaching as well as worship, the temple at Jerusalem for worship alone. There were no accommodations for the assembly to sit down, it was even unlawful for them to do so. simply a place for a national worship. It consisted of four enclosures, one within another on three sides, but having a common wall on the fourth. Only one of these was covered with a roof in our modern sense of the term, and that was the last or innermost enclosure, the Holy of Holies, containing the ark, the cherubim, and the mercy seat. The outer enclosure, into which all nations were permitted to enter, contained an area in the first temple of more than fourteen acres. The second was the court of the women, not because none but women were permitted to enter it, but because they were permitted to go no further. Within this was the court of Israel, which again surrounded on three sides that of the priests, where was the great altar
which the daily sacrifice was offered morning and evening. The great idea and design of the whole, was embodied in that simple sentence quoted by our Saviour: “My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer.” It was the primitive idea of worship by prayer and sacrifice, enlarged and nationalized. It was built to accommodate a nation assembled at their annual festivals, in which all the males were bound by a fundamental law to present themselves before God, and at