Images de page


LANTERN. The word auras is rendered "lantern," in our version. (John 18. 3.) It is a term for lights in general, and here probably denotes some kind of military lamp with which the soldiers were furnished when they came to take Our Saviour, lest he might escape through the darkness of the night. See LAMP.

[blocks in formation]

sians, (4. 16,) mention is made of an epistle to the Laodiceans; and though some critics have maintained that it is identical with that to the Ephesians, the more probable conjecture is, that it has not come down to us. The persecution which raged in Asia Minor during the latter part of the first century, tended somewhat to abate the zeal of the Laodicean Christians, and hence the rebuke in the Revelations.

"Laodicea," observes Dr. Chandler, "was often damaged by earthquakes, and restored by its own opulence, or by the munificence of the Roman emperors. These resources failed, and the city, it is probable, became early a scene of ruins. About the year 1097, it was possessed by the Turks, and submitted to Ducas, general of the Emperor Alexis. In 1120, the Turks sacked some of the cities of Phrygia, but were defeated by the Emperor John Comnenus, who took Laodicea, and built anew or repaired the walls. About 1161, it was again unfortified. Many of the inhabitants were then killed, with their bishop, or carried with their cattle into captivity by the Turks. In 1190 the German emperor, Frederic Barbarossa, going by Laodicea with


Egyptian Guard with Military Lantern. From the Monuments, his army towards Syria, on a crusade, was received so

LAODICEA. There were five cities of this name, two in Asia Minor, two in Syria, and another in Media; but the Scriptures speak only of that in Phrygia, near Colosse, one of the seven primitive Christian churches. Its earliest name was Diospolis; it was afterwards called Rhoas; but Antiochus II., king of Syria, having rebuilt or enlarged and beautified it, called it Laodicea, after his wife Laodice. Strabo mentions it as being a great and important city in his time and in the age preceding.

kindly, that he prayed on his knees for the prosperity of the people. About 1196 this region, with Caria, was dreadfully ravaged by the Turks. The sultan, on the invasion of the Tartars in 1255, gave Laodicea to the Romans; but they were unable to defend it, and it soon returned to the Turks. We saw no traces of houses, churches, or mosques. All was silence and solitude. Several strings of camels passed eastward over the hills; but a fox, which we first discovered by his ears peeping" over a brow, was the only inbabitant of Laodicea."

The city finally came into the hands of the Turks in Laodicea was situated on the Lycus, a tributary of the the beginning of the fourteenth century, since which it Meander, one hundred and twenty miles E.S.E. of has been a mere ruin, "wretched and miserable, and Smyrna. It was an inconsiderable place under the poor and naked." (Rev. 3. 14-22.) Its ruins now only Syrian kings, but when it came into the possession of the remain, which bear among the Turks of the neighbouring Romans, they strengthened and enlarged it, so that at towns the name of Eski-hissar, or the Old Castle. length, about the Christian æra, it became, next to Apa- There is, in fact, not one of the seven churches, the overmea Cibotos, the largest city of Phrygia. There can be throw of which has been so severe, and the desolation little doubt that it was visited by St. Paul in the course of which is so entire, as that of Laodicea. It is indeed of his apostolic tour through Asia Minor, and probably the little else than a heap of ruins; from which, however, Christian converts of Laodicea, as well as those of Colosse ample evidence may be collected of the magnificence for and Hierapolis, both neighbouring towns, were the fruits which it was anciently celebrated. These ruins cover of the Apostle's preaching. In the Epistle to the Colos-three or four small hills, and are of very great extent.

[graphic][merged small]

Its three theatres, and the immense circus, which was capable of containing upwards of thirty thousand spectators, the spacious remains of which are yet to be seen, give proof of the greatness of its ancient wealth and population; and indicate too strongly, that in that city where Christians were rebuked, without exception, for their lukewarmness, there were multitudes who were lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God. There are no sights of grandeur, nor scenes of temptation, around it now. Its tragedy may be briefly told. It was lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold; and therefore it was loathsome in the sight of God.

[ocr errors]

Laodicea," says Dr. Smith, "is utterly desolated and without any inhabitant except wolves, and jackals, and foxes. It can boast of no human inhabitants, except occasionally when wandering Turcomans pitch their tents in its spacious amphitheatre."

Colonel Leake observes, "There are few ancient cities more likely than Laodicea to preserve many curious remains of antiquity beneath the surface of the soil. Its opulence, and the earthquakes to which it was subject, render it probable that valuable works of art were often there buried beneath the ruins of the public and private edifices."

"Not a single Christian," says another writer, "is said to reside at Laodicea, which is even more solitary than Ephesus. The latter city has a prospect of a rolling sea or a whitening sail to enliven its decay; the former sits in widowed loneliness. Its temples are desolate, and the stately edifices of ancient Laodicea are now peopled by wolves and jackals. The prayers of the Mohammedan mosque are the only prayers heard near the yet splendid ruins of the city, on which the prophetic denunciation seems to have been fully executed in its utter rejection as a church."


LAP, hhotsen, (Nehem. 5. 13,) a sort of pouch formed by the clothes when something is carried in them. The passage in Nehemiah, wherein the word hhotsen occurs, is rendered in our version, "Also I shook my lap and said, So God shake out every man from his house, and from his labour, that performeth not this promise, [to make restitution of their usurious gains,] and thus be he shaken out and emptied." Gesenius has it, "I also shook the bosom of my garment." Roberts observes that, in India, "when men women curse each other, they shake the lap, that is, their cloth, or robe, and say, 'It shall be so with thee.' Does a man begin to shake his sali, or waistcloth, in the presence of another, the other will say, 'Why do you shake your cloth here? Go to some other place.' 'What, can you shake your lap here? Do it not, do it not.' "Yes, yes, it is all true enough; this misery has come upon me through that wretched man shaking his cloth in my presence.' The natives always carry a pouch made of the leaf of the cocoa, or other trees, in their lap; in one part of which they keep their money, and in another their areca nut, betel leaf, and tobacco. It is amusing to see how careful they are never to have that pouch empty; for they have an idea, that so long as a single coin shall be found in it, (or any of the articles alluded to,) the attraction will be so great that the contents of the pouch will not be long without companions. See the Englishman who wants anything out of the pouch or bag; if he cannot soon find the article he requires, he shakes out the whole. Do that! why, who knows how long the pouch will remain empty? It is therefore evident, that to shake the lap conveyed with it the idea of a curse."

Instead of the fibula that was used by the Romans, the Arabs join together with thread, or with a wooden bodkin, the two top corners of their upper garment;

and after having placed them first over one of their shoulders, they then fold the rest of it about their bodies. The outer fold serves them frequently instead of an apron, in which they carry herbs, loaves, corn, and other articles, and may illustrate several allusions made to it in Scripture: thus, one of the sons of the prophets went out into the field to gather herbs, and found a wild vine, and gathered thereof wild gourds his lap full. (2Kings 4.39.) And the Psalmist offers up his prayer that Jehovah would "render unto his neighbours sevenfold into their bosom their reproach." (Psalm 19. 12.). The same allusion occurs in Our Lord's direction, "Give, and it shall be given unto you, good measure, pressed down and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom." (Luke 6. 38.) See Bosoм; CLOTHING; DRess.

LAPIDES JUDAICI. In the chalky beds which surround in some parts the summit of Mount Carmel, are found numerous hollow stones lined in the inside with a variety of sparry matter, which, from some distant resemblance, are supposed by the natives to be petrified olives, melons, peaches, and other fruit. These are considered not only as curiosities, but as antidotes against several diseases. Those which bear some resemblance to the olive have been designated Lapides Judaici, and are superstitiously regarded as an infallible remedy for stone and gravel, when dissolved in the juice of lemons. Those supposed petrified fruits are, however, as Dr. Shaw states, only so many different sized flint stones, beautified within by sparry and stalagmitical knobs, which are fancifully taken for seeds and kernels.

LAPIDOTH, is the husband of Deborah the prophetess, is mentioned in Judges 4. 4. The conjecture that the word refers rather to her birth-place than to the name of a man, has no support from the Hebrew, where it distinctly mentions Deborah as his wife, The word signithough nothing more is known of him. fies in the Hebrew, "lamps or torches." See DEBORAH.

LAPPING. Lapping, by "putting their hand to their mouth," spoken of as a test in reference to Gideon's men, (Judges 7. 5,6,) is still in the East supposed to distinguish those who evince an alacrity and readiness which fits them in a peculiar manner for any active service in which they are to be engaged.

Among the Arabs, lapping with their hands is a common and very expeditious way of taking in liquids. "When they take water with the palms of their hands,” says Dr. Russell, "they naturally place themselves on their hams, to be nearer the water; but when they drink from a pitcher or gourd fresh filled, they do not sit down. on purpose to drink, but drink standing, and very often put the sleeve of their shirt over the mouth of the vessel, by way of strainer, lest small leeches might have been taken up by the water."

It is for the same reason they often prefer taking water with the palm of the hand, to lapping it from the surface. A modern traveller states that "a dog laps by means of forming his tongue into the shape of a shallow spoon. The Hottentots have a curious custom resembling the dog, and the three hundred chosen men of Gideon's army. On a journey, on immediately coming to water, they stoop, but no further than what is sufficient to allow their right hand to reach the water, by which they throw it up so dexterously, that their hand seldom approaches nearer to their mouth than a foot, yet I never observed any of the water to fall down upon their breasts. They perform it almost as quickly as the dog, and satisfy their thirst in half the

[blocks in formation]

time taken by another man. I frequently attempted to imitate this practice, but never succeeded, always spilling the water on my clothes, or throwing it against some other part of the face."

Another authority states, "On coming to water, a person who wishes to drink cannot stop the whole party to wait for him, when travelling in caravans; and therefore, if on foot, any delay would oblige him to unusual exertion in order to overtake his party. He therefore drinks in the manner described, and has satisfied his thirst in much less time than one who, having more leisure, or being disposed to more deliberate enjoyment, looks out for a place where he may kneel or lie down to bring his mouth in contact with the water, and imbibe long and slow draughts of it."

LAPWING. The word 7 dukiphath, rendered in our version "lapwing," according to the Septuagint, the Vulgate, and also the Arabic, signifies the hoopoe, (Upupa epops,) which is, no doubt, the bird intended. It is frequently mentioned in the ancient writings, and the head of this bird is often represented as the ornament on the top of the rod or sceptre in the hand of some of the Egyptian deities. It is about twelve inches

The Hoopoe.

long, with a fawn-coloured plumage, barred with black and white on the wings and lower parts of the back, the eyes are hazel, and the head is ornamented with a crest, consisting of a double row of feathers, of a pale orange colour, tipped with black, the highest about two inches in length. The tail is black, with a broad bar of white near the base. The female is said to have two or three broods in the year; she makes no nest, but lays her eggs in the hollow of a tree, and sometimes in a hole in a wall, or even on the ground. The hoopoes are migratory birds; in Egypt, where they are very common, they are seen only in small flocks; they are also met with in all the warmer regions of the old continent, and occasionally visit England.

LASEA, a maritime city of Crete, near which the Apostle Paul sailed on his voyage to Rome. (Acts 27.8.) It is not mentioned by any of the ancient geographers, and its exact site cannot now be ascertained.

LAST DAY. This expression in John 7. 37, refers to the eighth and great day of the Feast of Tabernacles. (See TABERNACLES, FEAST OF.) In other places (as John 11. 24; 12. 48,) it refers to the day of judgment. (See JUDGMENT, DAY OF.) "The last days" are those from the time of Christ's first coming to his second. (Acts 2. 17; Heb. 1. 2.)


LATCHET. John the Baptist, speaking of the coming of Our Lord, describes Him as one, "the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose." (Mark 1. 7.) The word rendered "latchet" is Todηua, which signifies properly "what is bound under" the foot, that is, a sandal, a sole of wood or hide, bound on with thongs. The expression appears to have been a customary one, implying inferiority, since unloosing the sandal was usually done only by menial servants, or slaves, for their masters. See SHOE.

LATIN VERSIONS. From the testimony of St. Augustine, it appears that the Latin church possessed a very great number of versions of the Scriptures, made at the first introduction of Christianity, and whose authors were unknown; and that in the primitive times, as soon as any one found a Greek copy, who thought himself sufficiently versed in both languages, he attempted a translation of it. In the course of time this diversity of translation produced much confusion, parts of separate versions being put together to form an entire composition, and marginal notes being inserted into the text; but one of these Latin translations appears to have acquired a more extensive circulation than the others, and for several ages was used in preference to the others, under the name of the Itala or old Italic, on account of its clearness and fidelity.

This version, which in the time of Jerome was received as canonical, is by him termed sometimes the Vulgate, and sometimes the Old, in opposition to the new translation undertaken by him. He mentions no other version. The old Italic was translated from the Greek in the Old Testament as well as in the New, there being comparatively few members of the Western church who were skilled in Hebrew. From the testimony of St. Augustine, it has been inferred that the old Italic version was made in the first century of the Christian æra; but the New Testament could not have been translated into Latin before the canon had been formed, which was certainly not made in the first century; there is, however, every reason to believe it was executed in the early part of the second century, and that it is quoted by Tertullian before the close of that century. The great number of Hebraisms and Syriasms observable in it, particularly in the Gospels of Matthew and Mark, have induced some eminent critics to conjecture that the authors of this translation were Jews converted to Christianity. Before the end of the fourth century, the alterations, either designed or accidental, which were made by transcribers, of the Latin Bible, had become as numerous as the alterations in the Greek Bible, before it was corrected by Origen. To remedy this growing evil, Jerome, at the request and under the patronage of Pope Damasus, towards the close of the fourth century, undertook to revise this translation and make it more conformable to the original Greek. But before Jerome had finished his revisal, he had commenced a translation of the Old Testament from the Hebrew into Latin, in order that the Western Christians, who used this language only, might know the real meaning of the Hebrew text, and thus be the better qualified to engage in controversial discussion with the Jews.

This version, which surpasses every former one, was executed at different times, Jerome having translated particular books in the order requested by his friends. We learn from St. Augustine that it was introduced into the churches by degrees, for fear of offending weak persons. At length it acquired so great an authority, from the approbation it received from Pope Gregory I., that ever since the seventh century, it has been exclusively


adopted by the Roman Catholic Church, under the name of the Vulgate Version; and a decree of the Council of Trent, in the sixteenth century, pronounced it to be authentic, and commanded that the Vulgate alone should be used whenever the Bible is publicly read, as also in all sermons, expositions, and disputations. The universal adoption of Jerome's new version throughout the Western church rendered a multiplication of copies necessary; and with them new errors were introduced, in the course of time, by the intermixture of the two versions (the old Italic and Jerome's, or the Vulgate) with each other. Of this confusion Cassiodorus was the principal cause, who, as minister of the Gothic rulers of Italy, then the most powerful sovereigns of the Western church, that the old version might be corrected by the Vulgate, ordered them to be written in parallel columns; and though Alcuin, in the eighth century, by the command of Charlemagne, provided more accurate copies, the text again fell into such confusion, and was so disfigured by innumerable mistakes of copyists, that the manuscripts of the Middle Ages materially differ from the first printed editions. Robert Stephens was the first who attempted to remedy this confusion, by publishing critical editions of the Vulgate in 1528, 1532, 1534, 1540, and particularly in 1545 and 1546. These, especially the last, having incurred the censures of the doctors of the Sorbonne, John Hentenius, a divine of Louvaine, was employed to prepare a new edition of the Vulgate: this he accomplished in 1547, in folio, having availed himself of Stephens's previous labours with great advantage. A third corrected edition was published by Lucas Brugensis, with the assistance of several other divines of Louvaine, in 1573, in three volumes octavo, which was reprinted in 1586, in quarto and octavo, with the critical notes of Lucas Brugensis. In the mean time, Pope

LATTICE. The word av sibachah, rendered "lattice" in our version, in 2Kings 1. 2, does not refer to a window as we generally suppose, but to a sort of latticed or net-work fence composed of wood; nor must it be confounded with pyn maakah, the battlement to the flat roofs of Oriental houses. It appears that in some cases the roof was secured with the sibachah, or latticed or net-work balustrade only, and thus "Ahaziah fell down through a lattice in his upper chamber;" by which we are to understand that he fell from the roof of the house, and not through a window, into the interior court or garden. He was perhaps leaning against this slight fence, when it gave way under him.

In Judges 5. 28, the word N eshnab, rendered in our version " lattice," refers to a window which was latticed in order to admit the cool air. In Canticles 2. 9, the word 'Ɔ hharakim, occurs, which signifies the same thing, the lattice or trellis of a window. See HOUSE.

LAUGH, LAUGHTER, pry tsihhok. Laughter is an indication either of delight or of mirth and mockhath made me to laugh." (Gen. 21. 6.) Roberts tells ery. Sarah, upon the birth of her son, said, "God us, that "In India a woman, under the same circumstances, would make a similar observation: 'I am made to laugh.' But this figure of speech is also used on any wonderful occasion. Has a man gained anything he did not expect, he will ask, 'What is this? I am made to laugh. Has a person lost anything which the moment before he had in his hand, he says, 'I am made to laugh.' Has he obtained health, or honour, or wealth, or a wife, or a child, it is said, 'He is made to laugh.' 'Ah! his all that laughter."" mouth is now full of laughter; his mouth cannot contain


"Let your laughter be turned to mourning," (James 4. 9;) your worldly joy shall terminate in sorrow and remorse. It also denotes conscious security, as "At destruction and famine thou shalt laugh," (Job 5. 22,) that is, thou shalt not fear it, thou shalt be perfectly secure against those evils.

Pius IV. commanded some divines of the Romish Laughter in general implies rejoicing: "There is church to collect and collate the most ancient manua time to weep and a time to laugh." (Eccl. 3. 4.) scripts which they could procure. This collation was "Blessed are ye that weep now; for ye shall laugh." continued during the pontificate of Pius V., who further (Luke 6. 21,25.) It is also used for excessive and irrecaused the original text to be consulted. Under Gre-ligious mirth: "I said of laughter, it is mad." (Eccl. gory XIII. the work ceased, but it was resumed completed under the auspices of Sixtus V., who personally devoted much time and attention to it, correcting the proof sheets himself of the edition published at Rome, 1590. This was pronounced to be the authentic Vulgate; but notwithstanding all this care, the edition was discovered to be so exceedingly incorrect, that his successor, Clement VIII., caused it to be suppressed, and published another authentic Vulgate in 1592. This, however, differs more than any other edition from that of Sixtus V., and mostly resembles that of Louvaine. These fatal variances between editions, all alike promulgated by pontiffs claiming infallibility, have not passed unnoticed by Protestant divines, who have taken advantage of them in a manner that sensibly affects the Church of Rome.

The Vulgate version is regarded by Papists and Protestants in very different points of view: by the former it has been extolled beyond measure; while by most of the latter it has been depreciated as much below its intrinsic merit. Although the Latin Vulgate is neither inspired nor infallible, yet it is allowed to be in general a faithful translation, and sometimes exhibits the sense of Scripture with greater accuracy than the more modern versions; and, notwithstanding the variations between the Sixtine and Clementine editions, and that several passages are mistranslated in order to support the peculiar dogmas of the Church of Rome, it preserves many true readings where the modern Hebrew copies are corrupted.

LAVER, keyor, (Exod. 30. 18,28; 31. 9; 1Kings 7. 38,) signifies a laver, or basin, especially for washing.

The brazen laver, which stood between the altar and the Tabernacle, was of a circular form, and was made of the brazen ornaments which the women had presented for the use of the Tabernacle. The size of this laver is not stated, but was probably considerable. It is supposed that the laver stood upon another basin, more wide and shallow, as a cup on a saucer; and that the latter received from cocks or spouts, in the upper basin, the water which was allowed to escape when the priests washed themselves with the water which fell from the upper basin. The Rabbins say the laver had several cocks, or "nipples," as they call them, from which the water was let out as wanted; but the number is differently stated. In what manner the priests washed their hands and feet at the laver seems uncertain. That they did not wash in either the laver or its base appears

evident, because the water in which they washed would then have been considered impure by those who washed before or with them. The Orientals, in their washings, make use of a vessel with a long spout, and wash at the


stream which issues from thence, the waste water being received in a basin which is placed underneath. This may probably illustrate the idea of the laver with its base, as well as the ablutions of the priests. The laver had thus its upper basin from which the stream fell, and the under basin for receiving the waste water. The Jewish commentators state that any kind of water might be used for the laver, but that the water must be changed every day. They also mention that ablution before entering the tabernacle was in no case dispensed with. A man might be perfectly clean, might be quite free from any ceremonial impurity, and might even have washed his hands and feet before he left home, but still he could by no means enter the tabernacle without previous ablution at the laver.

In the Temple of Solomon there was a very large brazen laver called the molten sea; it was ten cubits in diameter, five deep, and thirty in circumference. It was capable of containing 3,000 baths, or 22,500 gallons English measure; but it was commonly supplied with only 2,000 baths, or about 15,000 gallons. (2Chron. 4. 2-5; 1Kings 7. 26.) It was adorned on its upper edge with figures that resembled lilies in bloom, and was cast of fine brass, a hand's breadth thick, and mounted on twelve brazen oxen, three facing to the north, and three to the east, and the others in the opposite directions. In addition to the brazen sea, there were ten smaller brazen lavers, which were also set off with various ornaments, five on the north, and five on the south side of the court. They rested on bases and wheels of brass, were each four cubits in circumference, and each held 40 baths, or 315 gallons. The flesh of the victims that were sacrificed was washed in these lavers. (1 Kings 7. 27-39; 2Chron. 4. 6.)

LAW, ni♫ torah. This term, Law, beside other meanings, is in the Scriptures pre-eminently applied to the code contained in the Pentateuch, or the religious and civil regulations imposed, by Divine authority, upon the Hebrews by Moses. "The right consideration of this Divine institution," says Dr. Graves, "will surround it with a glory of truth and holiness, not only worthy of its claims, but which has continued to be the light of the world on theological and moral subjects, and often on great political principles, to this day."

The Mosaic dispensation, in its general provisions, comprehended a complete form of government, both civil and religious; and, in both these respects, it was purely a theocracy. Its civil enactments were adapted to peculiar cases and circumstances; but they enjoined the duties of social life in all its several relations. Its religious enactments contained certain doctrines, promises, threatenings, and predictions, which were the authoritative rule of faith to the Jews; those enactments also prescribed a great multitude of ceremonial and judicial institutions, which, however indifferent in themselves, were obligatory on the Jews, by the commanding authority of God. The precise use of all these institutions we cannot, at this distance of time, fully ascertain: but some of them were manifestly established in opposition to the rites of the Egyptians and other neighbouring nations, and with a view to preserve the Jews from the infection of their idolatries; others of these rites were instituted as memorials of signal and extraordinary acts of Divine Providence towards them, especially those by which their Law had been confirmed and established. It has been justly remarked, that they who supposed Moses himself to have been the author of the institutions, civil or religious, that bear his name, and that in framing them he borrowed much from the Egyptians

[blocks in formation]

or other ancient nations, must never have compared them together, otherwise they could not but have perceived many circumstances in which they differed most essentially from them all. That a correspondence subsisted between some of the Mosaic ordinances and the customs of other people, is granted; but that they were derived from the practices of idolatrous nations appears inconsistent and absurd. The true source of the similarity is to be traced to those primitive revelations and patriarchal examples retained by both the Israelites and the Gentiles, but corrupted by the latter; whilst the striking and radical opposition discoverable between the most important parts of their respective systems of worship and religious service, mark with indubitable evidence the design of the Deity to separate the one from the other. It is only necessary to give to the following instances of the dissimilarity betwixt the laws and institutions of Moses and those of other nations, the consideration they merit, to be fully convinced that the Mosaic ritual was vastly superior to every other, and formed with too much contrariety to other systems ever to have been borrowed from them.

(1.) No heathen ever conceived an idea of so great an object as that of the institutions of Moses, which appears to have been nothing less than the instruction of all mankind in the great doctrine of the Unity and moral government of God, as the creator of the world, and the common parent of all the human race, in opposition to the polytheism and idolatry then prevailing, which, besides being grossly absurd in its principles, and leading to endless superstitions, threatened the world with a deluge of vice and misery. For this purpose the Hebrew nation was placed in the most conspicuous situation among all the great civilized nations of the earth, which were universally addicted to idolatry of the grossest kind, to divinations, necromancy, and other superstitions of a similar nature, and practised as acts of religion; some of their rites abominably licentious, and others most horribly cruel, yet enjoined as the necessary means of recommending the persons that performed them to the various objects. of their worship.

As all mankind imagined that their outward prosperity depended upon the observance of their respective religions, that of the Hebrew nation was made to do so in the most conspicuous manner as a visible lesson to all the world. They were to prosper beyond all other nations while they adhered to their religion, and to suffer in a manner equally exemplary and conspicuous in consequence of their departure from it. Of this all mankind might easily judge.

These great ideas occur in the sacred books of the Hebrews, and nowhere else. They are all distinctly advanced by Moses, and more fully unfolded in the writings of the later Prophets; but certainly nothing so great and sublime could have been suggested to Moses from anything that he saw in Egypt, or could have heard of in other countries.

(2.) In no system of religion, besides that of Moses, was purity of morals any part of it. All the heathen religions were systems of mere ceremonies, and the sole business of the priests was to attend to those rites, which were so far from being favourable to morals that they were ordinarily of the most impure and abominable nature.

The contrary to this appears not only in the Ten Commandments, but in all the writings of Moses. The purest morality, the most favourable to public and private happiness, was the principal and ultimate object of the whole system. Sacrifices and ceremonial observances of every kind, are always represented as of no signification without morals. Such precepts as these, “Be ye

« PrécédentContinuer »