« EdellinenJatka »
“ fountain-head of wisdom and science to “ all the known world; the mart to which “all men of penetration and curiosity dai
ly resorted to purchase wisdom at the highest rate; to purchase it at the expense of their time and treasure; at the
expense of their best years, and most in“ tense and continued study: which is well “ known to have been the case with Plato,
Pythagoras, and almost all the most re“ nowned sages, legislators, and mathema- ticians of antiquity.”
Moses, the illustrious leader and lawgiver of the Jews, himself taught in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, that wisdom for which they were indebted to his ancestors, contributed to the increase not only of the truth as it is in Jesus, but also to the promotion of the useful arts. His laws, enacted by divine authority, contain an immense mass of knowledge relative to social intercourse, political science, domestic life, and religious duty. On these topics he has furnished a rich storehouse, from whence, even in this day,
a Delany's Rev. &c. vol. iii. chap. ix. p. 196.
the soundest and most extensive information is derived · After the establishment of Israel in Canaan, particularly under the administration of Samuel, and subsequently, during the reigns of David and Solomon, they were greatly exalted above other nations. David made them great and wealthy, and under Solomon they became conspicuous in the arts and sciences. In the days of the latter, foreigners distinguished for learning and rank resorted to Jerusalem ber of strangers at this time in the land of Israel, was one hundred and fifty-three thousand and six hundred'. The king himself excelled all his cotemporaries in philosophical disquisitions and poetical compositions. He was acquainted with elegant architecture, sculpture, music, gardening, and agriculture". The temple which he erected, was a noble and magnificent monument of his genius and taste, as well as of the im
a Lowman's Civil Polity of the Jews. Levi's Answer to Paine. Graves on the Pentateuch. Michaelis' Commenta. ry on the Laws of Moses. b 1 Kings x. 1–13.
c 2 Chr. ii. 17. d 1 Kings iv. 29–34. Eccles. ii.
provement to which the arts had attained. He built a number of cities", engaged extensively in commerce', and “ 'exceeded all “ the kings of the earth for riches and for “ wisdom." From the history of his reign, as recorded in the Scriptures, it is evident that society had reached a high and commanding state of civilization, so as to make the people of God not only the object of attention to other nations, but the model which they imitated.
From the period that their illustrious ancestor left Ur of the Chaldees, to this consummation of their national greatness, God made use of his covenant people to spread abroad, in the countries that had either entirely apostatized from the true religion, or were verging fast to such a state, the revelation of his mercy, with all its blessed effects
society. The great events in their history did not fail of attracting public notice from time to time, and promoting the general good“.
a 1 Kings is. 17–19. b 1 Kings ix 26. & x. 22. c 1 Kings x. 23.
d Much historical information on this subject is contained in Law's Theory of Religion, Horne's Sermon on the Epiphany, and Leland's Ad. and Necess. of Div. Rev. p. 1. c. xix.
Besides the travels of the patriarchs, the settlement of their posterity in Egypt, the march of Israel through the wilderness, their final establishment in the promised land, and the commerce of Solomon, God sent prophets to the heathen, as in the case of Jonah to Nineveh, to make known his will among them. Nay, he made use of his very judgments upon the nation, to bring their teachers into situations among the heathen favourable to the dissemination of saving truth. Of this we have a striking instance in the Babylonish captivity, by which Daniel was introduced into the court of Nebuchadnezzar and Darius the Mede, and afterwards Nehemiah, into that of Artaxerxes king of Persia.
From their return out of captivity, the Jews were subject to Alexander the Great, the kings of Syria and Egypt. alternately, and finally to the Romans. Mixing with these different nations, they carried with them their religion and knowledge of the arts and sciences. Under the reign of Ptolemy Philadelphus, king of Egypt, their scriptures were translated into the Greek
language, and thus became accessible to the nations of the world in that day".
This period, of which a rapid and cursosory survey has been given, includes in it the most splendid times of ancient history, both sacred and profane: times in which Christ the Light of the world shed directly upon his people his enlightening and civilizing influences; and, through their instrumentality, originated among the other nations all the intellectual, moral, and political excellence which they displayed '.
During this period there were many sad and gloomy interruptions: such as the bondage of Israel under Pharaoh ; their rebellions in the wilderness; their apostacies under their judges and kings, and their captivity in Babylon. All these interruptions were, however, over-ruled for good, both to Israel and the Gentile world. On their return from captivity, the former no more relapsed into idolatry, and, in the different places to which they travelled for business or information, were witnesses against
a Prideaux's Connections, vol. 4.
6 The reader will find this subject more fully illustrated in the tivo following Sermons. VOL. I.