Sivut kuvina
PDF
ePub

think, to death. The Ephraimites, ren, prevented him from being a leader sensible of their importance, made war of their forces, and even induced them with him because he had not consulted on one occasion to deliver him bound them in his movements, but they were

into the hands of the Philistines. He was defeated by him. Of all war, that never subdued by his enemies, until he amongst brethren is most to be de- foolishly and wantonly violated the conprecated. Jephthah ruled six years.

ditions on which his great strength was Ibzan, Elon, and Abdon, judged Israel given him. His force was astounding. for some twenty-five years; and as we The following are some of his exploits. hear of no war it may be hoped that He killed a lion that came on him as if the reformation which preceded the de- it had been a kid. When he was defeat of the Ammonites, was lasting and livered bound by the men of Judah beneficial ; though it should seem that into the hands of the Philistines through while these rulers were exercising their fear of their oppressors, his bands were jurisdiction beneficially in the north- broken as thread, and with the jaweast of the land, the south-west was bone of an ass he then killed 1,000 subject, in some degree, to the control of armed Philistines. When in Gaza, the the Philistines.

chief city of the Philistines, and they Our attention is next called to one were all plotting how they might secure of the most extraordinary characters him, he arose in the night, trampled mentioned in the sacred pages, whose down all opposition, and, as the gates of amazing strength and prowess, and the the city were shut and barred, and deeds in which they were displayed, are guarded purposely to secure him, he supposed to have given origin to the lifted the massy gates, and carried them fables of the heathen god, Hercules, and far away. These, and other deeds of a who is ever known as the strongest of similar kind, are the evidences recorded men-Samson. He was a singular ex- of his matchless strength. But he was ample of strength and weakness. While subdued. When his folly had caused his physical power was prodigious and him to fall into the hands of the Philisunexampled, he was mentally and tines, they bored out his eyes, bound morally so feeble as to be the slave and him with fetters, and subjected him to victim of his own passions. So true it is, the degrading drudgery of a prison; and that he who conquers himself and his after a short time, when the lords, ladies, depraved propensities, is stronger than and immense numbers of the Philis. Samson. But even the weaknesses tines, were assembled at the temple of and follies of Samson were made sub- Dagon, (a hideous idol, half man and servient to the end for which he was half fish,) to sacrifice to him, and to raised up, viz., to humble and weaken revel, after the manner of the heathen, the Philistines, who then enslaved Israel. in honor of Dagon, as their deliverer So God, as in the case of Jephthah, from Samson, they sent for their sometimes uses and employs persons of captive, that they might insult him and mixed and doubtful character, for the his God, and pour contempt on their execution of his own will, and the de- now fallen foe. Having been paraded liverance of his people.

about for a time, the laughing stock of It is not necessary to notice all the the assembled multitude, as

one who events recorded in the very strange would kill no more of them, he rested career of Samson, and which are given between the two pillars which supin the thirteenth and three following ported the projecting circle of the temple, chapters of the book of Judges. Some crowded above and below with of them would not be suitable in this the idolatrous Philistines. Thoughts place. A few of the chief shall suffice. of his own degradation and folly, sentiHe was of the tribe of Dan. His birth ments of contrition, and zeal for God was by an extraordinary promise of who had been dishonored through his God. He was a Nazarite, or one un- folly and sin, deeply occupied his lashaven, by the special direction of God boring breast. Calling to mind the perhaps to distinguish him from others; fact, that, though his eyes were gone, and the condition on which his strength his hair was returning, he felt the was granted, was that he should remain movings of his great strength once more a Nazarite. But as he grew to maturity, within him, and silently lifting his his habits, and the timidity of his breth- prayer to God for help" this once,"

now

he devoted himself to death for God's in answer to prayer. His mother deglory. He laid his hands on the pillars, voted him to God; and, from his infancy, and bowed himself with all his might, he was with the high priest, attending the pillars rocked, and were loosed—the upon him. When God called him, by whole building tottered to its fall, and, a special revelation of himself, the sad amid the screams and cries of those fate of Eli's family was revealed to him; who trusted in Dagon, the temple fell and, as he attained to maturity, he bewith a tremendous crash, and buried gan to be recognized by the people as a 3,000 of the Philistines in its ruins. prophet of the Lord. How soon were the shouts of revelry, About this time it was, when Eli was the exultations of his enemies, and old, and some suppose soon after the the honor of Dagon, covered with shame, death of Samson, that the Israelites defeat, and death! So thine enemies determined to be rid of the yoke of the perish, O Lord! The greatest and best Philistines. They accordingly assem. deed of Samson was his last. Sam- bled their forces at Mizpeh, some twenty son's career continued for about twenty miles west of Jerusalem, but were deyears, and, though he did not liberate feated by their enemies. Without the the Israelites from the Philistines, yet sanction of God, they resolved to bring he was a terror and a defence.

the ark into the field of battle, in the It should seem that Eli was the high hope, that the fortune of a succeeding priest about the time of Samson's ex- struggle would thus be turned in their ploits.

He is the only high priest, favor. It would have been better to except Phinehas, the grandson of Aaron, have humbled themselves before God whose name is mentioned in the period than thus to treat his sacred ark, as if it now under review. The tabernacle was was an idol. Hophni and Phinehas yet in Shilo, where it had been set up brought the ark into the camp, and, by Joshua ; and it is reasonable to sup- though it rang with their shouts, the pose, that the solemn and appointed Philistines overcame them with great rites of religion had never been entirely slaughter, slew the priests, and even suspended. They might, at some sea- took the ark itself, and placed it in the sons, be very much deserted, on account temple of their god, Dagon, in Ashdod. of the prevalence of idolatry and con- The news of these calamities so affected fusion; but surely he who had reserved Eli, who had trembled when the ark to himself 7,000 men, in the corrupt was removed, that he fell down and days of Ahab, who had not bowed the died; and all felt as if the greatest knee to Baal, saw, among the thousands calamity had happened to Israel.

“ The of Israel, many, in every generation, glory was departed." But the idol Dawho were uncontaminated by the pollu- gon fell down before the ark, and tions around them, and who, mourning when set up, it fell again, and was over the abominations of the land, wor- broken to pieces. So God dishonored shipped him in sincerity and truth. their daring folly. He also smotė the

Concerning the administration of Eli, inhabitants with plague and disease ; we read but little. His sons, Hophni and, when the ark was removed to Gath, and Phinehas, seemed as if they were the same evils followed; and the same disposed, by their lawlessness and vices, again at Ekron. God's people were to convert the tabernacle of God into a dishonored for their disobedience; but heathen temple; and, by their atrocious God asserted his own honor among their wickedness, the sanctuary was dishonored foes. After seven months' suffering, the in the estimation of the people; but Philistines took counsel, and the ark their father, instead of causing summary was sent to the people of Israel, with justice to be inflicted on them, only presents; and, at Bethshemesh, the mildly rebuked them. His foolish and Levites took the milch kine, that had timid fondness offended God, who fore- gone of their own accord thither when warned him by a propbet, that great yoked to the carriage that contained evils would come upon his house for the ark, and offered them a sacrifice his sin. A more marked threatening unto the Lord. A sinful curiosity led was conveyed to the prophet through the men of Bethshemesh to look into the medium of Samuel, a young man the ark, and they were smitten of God who was his attendant from childhood. for their presumption. It was removed Samuel was the child of a Levite, given thence to Kirjath-jearim, and was placed under the custody of an appointed per- rightly walketh surely”. Throughout son, and there it remained for many this book we see a faithful and merciful years, until David, in happier times, God. He defended his people when brought it to the house of the Lord. they were obedient, he delivered them

After the death of Eli and his sons, when penitent, and he punished them Samuel devoted himself diligently to the when they were rebellious. reformation of the people, and travelled

2 What an infatuated proneness is from place to place, to execute judg- here displayed to idolatry! In every ment, and to exhort them to turn to age, in spite of admonition, and trouble, God. His labors were successful, and and sorrow. Why was this? The an. when, at a fixed time, they were assem- swer is obvious—the deep corruption bled in Mizpeb, solemnly to ratify their of the human heart. Idolatry sanctions devotion to God, the Philistines, suppos- crime; true religion condemns it. Idolaing them met for battle, came upon them, atry exists and luxuriates in pollution; and the people were afraid ; but God the service of the true God is holiness. heard their cry, and, by his thunder, The latter appeals to our reason and assisted them to discomfit their foes, conscience; the former, to the corrupt who were at that time compelled to give propensities of fallen man. This is the up several cities they had taken from true secret. As in Hindostan, in the the Israelites, an for a considerable present day, the temple is a brothe and period, were kept in awe. This victory the priests and priestesses the vilest of was properly ascribed unto God; and creatures; so it was in Judea; and the Samuel took a stone, and set it up be- groves connected with their idols inditween Mizpeh and Shen, and called the cate their debased purpose. Great must name of it Ebenezer, or “the stone of have been the sorrows of the faithful help,” saying, “ Hitherto the Lord hath amongst these abominations. Like Lot helped us.” So did God deliver his in Sodom, their righteous souls would be people when they cried unto him. vexed with the filthy conversation of the

When Samuel was old, he made wicked. his sons judges over Israel; but they 3. Do we not see even here types were corrupt, and perverted judgment; and indications of the coming Messiah? so that the elders of the people com

Like Samson, that strange and inexpliplained to Samuel, and desired that cable character, the Lord Jesus Christ's a king might rule over them. This birth was previously announced; he request resulted in the appointment of annoyed and disturbed the enemies of Saul, of the tribe of Benjamin, which God by his discourses and miracles; took place about the year 1096, B.C. Into and, like him, he effected more by his the particulars of this change of govern death than his life. Thus, he “ spoiled ment, we shall not now enter, but call principalities and powers, and made a your attention, by way of conclusion, to show of them openly, triumphing over a few obvious reflections.

them in it;" and, just at the period 1. What an illustration is here given when they exulted over him, and thought of the important maxim, “The path of their triumph complete, was their conduty is that of safety." Had the Israel- fusion and defeat secured. ites been resolutely obedient, God would 4. Lastly. Let us not be unmindhave been with them, “their enemies ful of the deliverances and mercies we would have been found liars unto them,” experience, but from time to time erect and they would have trodden on their our Ebenezer, and say, “ Hitherto the high places! But, for want of this Lord hath helped us." courage and zeal, they were dishonored,

“My grateful soul, on Jordan's shore, their children corrupted, and often Shall raise one sacred pillar more; ruined. This should teach us, in our Then bear, in his bright courts above, spiritual warfare, to make no compro- Inscriptions of immortal love." mise with sin. • He that walketh up

PATRISTICAL AND EXEGETICAL INVESTIGATION OF THE QUESTION RESPECTING THE REAL BODILY PRESENCE OF CHRIST

IN THE ELEMENTS OF THE LORD'S SUPPER.

BY THE REV. J. J. OWEN.

en

of me.

of me.

In otr preceding articles, it has been blessed, and brake it and gave to them, our aim, to present an epitome of the and said, Take eat: this is my body; and opinions of the early

fathers on this im- he took the cup, and when ne had given portant subject. We have also thanks, he gave it to them, and they all deavored to shew that their views drank of it. And he said unto them, cannot possibly be the standard by This is my blood of the New Testament, which we are to regulate our faith. which is shed for many." Mark xiv. 22, If we have a revelation from heaven, —24.

“ And he took bread and gave it evidently follows that human au- thanks, and brake it, and gave unto thority must ever give way before its them, saying, This is my body which is unerring decision. It deserves how- given for you; this do in remembrance ever special notice, that supposing our

Likewise also the cup after theological creed is to be deduced from supper, saying, This cup is the New the lucubrations of the men to whom Testament in my blood, which is shed we have referred, it is peculiarly un- for you.” Luke xxii. 19, 20. “For I fortunate for the abettors of this sen- have received of the Lord, that which timent that their dogmas on the point also I delivered unto you, that the Lord in question, have no place in the writings Jesus, the same night in which he was of those whom they thus take for their betrayed took bread: and when he had guides. It is a palpable fact that the given thanks, he brake it and said, fathers, though often vague and ob- Take eat: this is my body, which is scure in their phraseology, and almost broken for you; this do in remembrance always disposed to indulge in the mar

After the same manner also he vellous, knew nothing of transubstan- took 'the cup, when he had supped, tiation, nor of its twin doctrine, consub- saying, This cup is the New Testament stantiation. And while we are ready in my blood. This do ye as oft as ye drink to support this assertion, and could, if it, in remembrance of me.” 1 Cor. xi. necessary, furnish a variety of proofs, 23–25. The reader in perusing the in addition to those already introduced, above passages will perceive that there we feel no hesitation in acknowledging are minute differences in all the details that though many of the most eminent of the various narrators. Matthew early teachers of the church regard the has the words, “ drink ye all of it,” eucharistic elements merely as sym

which Mark omits. Matthew also bolic, yet their views are so encumbered represents Jesus as saying in regard to with puerilities, extravagancies, and his blood, “which is shed for many, for direct violations of truth, that Protes- the remission of sins.” Mark wants tants cannot rely on, nor boast of this this clause, but records the following slight coincidence.

fact, “and they all drank of it.” The All attempts to settle this question account furnished by Luke also is somefrom the fathers must prove abortive. We what different. Both Matthew and then hasten to an examination of the Mark say, “Take eat, this is my body.” word of God. The leading passages bear- Luke merely says, “ This is my body, ing on the subject are the following: which is given for you.” Likewise of And as they were eating, Jesus took the cup the two first evangelists say, bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and “This is my blood of the New Testagave it to the disciples and said, Take eat; ment;" while Luke says, “ This cup this is my body. And he took the cup is the New Testament in my blood.” and gave thanks, and gave it to them, Both the former say,

" which is shed saying, Drink ye all of it; for this is

my for many.Luke says, “ which is shed blood of the New Testament, which is for you ;" on the other hand, Luke says shed for many for the remission of of the bread, “this do in remembrance sins.” Matt. xxvi. 26-28. “ And as

of me,” which Matthew and Mark omit. they did eat, Jesus took bread and Paul differs in some respects from the VOL.6.-N. S.

2. W

same.

whole three evangelists, though he ap- lating the fact, that Jesus said concernproaches very near to the statements ing his blood, that "it was shed for presented by Luke. The apostle inserts many,” (Luke, for you. ;) and Matthew the words, " take eat,” which Luke does adds, “ for the remission of sins.” And not mention, * but which are intro- though Paul does not introduce this last duced by the other two evangelists. declaration, still the whole tenor of his Paul repeats the words, “this do in statement implies it. remembrance of me,” both after break- Having premised these remarks, the ing the bread and distributing the cup, question presents itself to our notice, while Matthew and Mark omit these What is the meaning of our Saviour's words entirely, and Luke has them only language at the institution of the ordiafter the breaking of the bread.

nance? Our view of the matter may be It is worthy of notice that it cannot embodied in the following language,be pretended that in all these accounts That the bread that was broken was a there is the slightest contradiction. sign, symbol, or emblem of our Lord's The case amounts simply to this. Here body that was to be broken; and after are four independent witnesses, and each his death, of his body that had been relates the transactions under considera- broken; and that the wine which was tion for himself, and in his own way. poured out was a symbol or emblem of his It is a fact which cannot be contro- blood that was then to be shed and afterverted, that four different and indepen- wards of his blood that had been shed. dent men never relate a circumstance in This statement, however, requires to be the same identical words, or with a re- proved, inasmuch as it is not in accordpetition of minute details precisely the ance with the literal sense of the word.

“Such testimony, if it could be We therefore lay it down as a principle found, would be regarded in no other which we shall endeavour to illustrate light than as a matter of mere collusion and confirm, that it is impossible to inand concert between the narrators, and terpret our Lord's words at the supper would consequently lose its credibility.” in a literal manner without renouncing So infinite wisdom has ordered it in the use of our reason and understandthis instance. " Each of the inspired ing, and without violating all sound writers preserves his own personal char- principles of scriptural interpretation. acteristics, his own style, his own views; Is the Bible always to be understood each has inserted something omitted by in a literal sense? What then shall we the others, and omitted something in- make of the representation which the serted by them; and yet there is a har- apocalypse contains of heaven, in which mony of method, in regard to the exhi- it is described as 375 miles square, haybition of all the essential facts of the ing walls eighteen miles high, and gates

All agree that Jesus said of the of pearl, and streets of gold; and a river bread, “This is my body,"—two of them running through its centre, adorned add, “which is given for you," which with rows of trees on its banks ? What is broken for you.” Substantially they shall be said of leaning on Abraham's all agree that Jesus said, respecting the bosom in the regions of glory, while recup, “ This is my blood of the New Tes- clining at the feast table; of the viands tament,” or as Luke and Paul express with which that table is spread; of the it, “This cup is the New Testament in feasts of love there held; of the banquetmy blood." We regard both these state- ing, and new wine there; of the crowns, ments as being essentially equivalent, and garlands, and palm branches, and for both declare the fact that the New white robes of saints, of harps and Testament or covenant is established

trumpets? Or what shall we say of and confirmed by the blood of Jesus. hell? now a deep, and lonely, and dark Three of the witnesses also agree in re- pit, in which the wicked are confined

[ocr errors]

case."

[ocr errors]

*“Take eat” (Aaßete payete). These words are not found in several MSS. of the western recension, such as Italic, Copt. and Sahidic versons, and are therefore cancelled by Griesbach and Scholz. But as the present account bears a strong similarity to that of Luke, by whom the words are not introduced,

may we not suspect that the early critics omitted the words for the purpose of making that correspondence the stronger? Besides the MSS. in question are all of the altered sort, and not many in number. Vide Bloomfield in Loc.

« EdellinenJatka »