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at it would be fatal to her; but, Ascovered his divine majesty, and Ovid. Metam. 1. ni, fab. v. 5. when receiving the law, being forty ount Sinai, (Exod. xxxv. 28, is the the Parsees, and also by several and, for some years together, the instrucFrom the familiar converse wtach Moses heathen invented the similar accounts of o receive his laws from Vesta and Minos, ave received his from Jupiter and Apoio, by Diodorus Siculus, (1. 1. who ad is, that Jao, as he pronounces Jehovah.
we cannot determine. Some, observing that Syriac, sometimes means to resemble, mane like, esoov, signifies no more than an image, figure, thing. Josephus (Ant. l. iii. c. 6. § 5), says, they
none of those which are seen by man, but such throne of God. In another place (Ant. l. vu. c. 3. the cherubim, nobody can tell or conceive what they mbolical figures, according to the description of them 10: 10. 14.) were creatures with four heads and one ils of which these forms con isted were the noblest of among the wild beasts; the bull, among the tame mong the birds; and man, at the head of all; so that Dr. Priestley, the representatives of all nature. Hence
d them to be somewhat of the shape of flying oxen; favour of this opinion, that the far more common meankerav, in Chaldee, Syriac, and Arabic, bear to plough, ing of 112, keroov, is a creature used in ploding. P. 1. 1. ii. c. 38.) This seems to have een he mc.ear addition had handed down, concerning the muse whe pe flaming sword, that guarded he traps.te.
desconcerning Jason's gouden terre ng antet so wills, breathing out fire, was perhaps termat mm 1
y imitations of the Mosaic matalans.
the covenant. x, aron, which denotes the r
is applied particularly to the chest or a
ables of the covenant were laid up; on he is of ra
ry or mercy-seat; and at the end of which he veen whom the visible sign of the are
prehensive Bible, Note in loco,
holes, we could see many bodies under several degrees of decay; from which it may be conjectured, that this grave does not make that quick dispatch with the corpses committed to it, which is commonly reported.' *
9. By allusions to, or corrupt traditions of, the accounts of the Sacred Writers. Such are those respecting
The Rainbow, given as a token between God and man, Gen. ix. 13. Both the Greeks and Latins have ever considered the rainbow as a divine token or portent, and have deified and made it a messenger of the gods. Thus Homer, (Il. xi. 28.) speaking of the figures on Agamemnon's breastplate, says, there were three dragons, whose colours were like the rainbow, which Saturn, (father of time) placed in the clouds as a sign to short-sighted men. See also, En. v. 605. and ix. 803. †`
The Rod of Moses, Exod. iv. 4, from which the heathens have invented the fables of the Thyrsus of Bacchus, and the Caduceus of Mercury. One Bacchus, according to Orpheus, was born of the Nile; or according to the common opinion, on the banks of that river. He is expressly said to have been exposed on the Nile, and hence called Nilus by both Diodorus and Macrobius; and in the hymns of Orpheus, he is named Myses, because drawn out of the water. He is represented by the poets to have been very beautiful and an illustrious warrior, who overran all Arabia with a numerous army of both men and women; to have been an eminent lawgiver, who wrote his laws on two tables; and to have always carried in his hand the thyrsus, a rod wreathed with serpents, by which he is reported to have wrought many miracles. The caduceus or rod of Mercury, well known in poetic fables, is another copy of the rod of Moses. He also is reported to have wrought a multitude of miracles, particularly to kill and make alive. Homer (Odyss. 1. xxiv. v. 1.) represents Mercury taking his rod to work miracles, precisely in the same way as God commands Moses to take his. †
From the real manifestations of Jehovah in a cloud, Exod. xix. 9, the heathen ascribed similar appearances to their false gods. Thus in Homer, Jupiter is described on mount Gargarus, αμφι δε μιν θυσεν νεφος εστεφάνωτο, veiled in a fragrant cloud' (II. 1. xv. v. 153.) Minerva enters the Grecian army-wopprpen vegeλy #vraoasa savrny,' clad in a purple cloud;' (II. 1. xvii. v. 551.) and when Apollo attended Hector, &чevog wμouv vedeλnv, a veil of clouds involved his radiant head,' (Il. 1. xv. v. 308.) See also Il. 1. v. v. 186, 866. l. xx. v. 150. Virgil, En. ii. 616. x. 634. xii. 415. Ovid. Met. 1. ììì. Fab, ììì, 273. Horat. Carm, l. i. †
From some disguised relation of the request of Moses to see the glory of God, &c. (Exod. xxxiii, 18-20.) the fable of Jupiter and Semele was formed; she is reported to have entreated Jupiter to shew her his glory,
Idem, Note on Acts 1. 19. For a more full illustration the reader is necessarily referred to the pages of the Comprehensive Bible, it being impracticable to cite here every instance of
who was first very reluctant, knowing that it would be fatal to her; but, at last yielding to her importunity, he discovered his divine majesty, and she was consumed by his presence. Ovid. Metam. 1. iii, fab. iv. 5.*
Similar to the account of Moses, when receiving the law, being forty days and nights with the Lord in mount Sinai, (Exod. xxxv. 28), is the tradition mentioned in the books of the Parsees, and also by several ancient writers, that Zoroaster received, for some years together, the instructions of Ormuzd in a mountain. From the familiar converse which Moses had with God, it is probable the heathen invented the similar accounts of their Zamolxis, who pretended to receive his laws from Vesta and Minos, and Lycurgus, who is said to have received his from Jupiter and Apollo, and several others mentioned by Diodorus Siculus, (1. i.) who adds, that Moses had his from the God Jao, as he pronounces
What the Cherubim were we cannot determine. Some, observing that the verb, kerav, in Syriac, sometimes means to resemble, make like, conceive the noun, keroov, signifies no more than an image, figure, or representation of any thing. Josephus (Ant. 1. iii. c. 6. § 5), says, they were flying animals, like none of those which are seen by man, but such as Moses saw about the throne of God. In another place (Ant. 1. vii. c. 3. § 3.) he says, As for the cherubim, nobody can tell or conceive what they were like.' These symbolical figures, according to the description of them by Ezekiel, (ch. 1. 10; 10. 14.) were creatures with four heads and one body; and the animals of which these forms con isted were the noblest of their kind; the lion, among the wild beasts; the bull, among the tame ones; the eagle, among the birds; and man, at the head of all; so that they might be, says Dr. Priestley, the representatives of all nature. Hence some have conceived them to be somewhat of the shape of flying oxen; and it is alleged in favour of this opinion, that the far more common meaning of the verb 172, kerav, in Chaldee, Syriac, and Arabic, being to plough, the natural meaning of 1, keroov, is a creature used in ploughing, (Bochart, Hieroz. P. 1. l. ii. c. 38.) This seems to have been the ancient opinion which tradition had handed down, concerning the shape of the cherubim with the flaming sword, that guarded the tree of life. (Gen. iii. 24.) Ovid's fable concerning Jason's golden fleece being guarded by brazen-footed bulls, breathing out fire, was perhaps derived from it.†
10. Finally, by imitations of the Mosaic institutions, &c.; such as
The ark of the covenant. 1, aron, which denotes a chest or coffer, in general; but is applied particularly to the chest or ark, in which the testimony or two tables of the covenant were laid up; on the top of which was the propitiatory or mercy-seat; and at the end of which were the cherubim of gold, between whom the visible sign of the appearance of God appeared
Comprehensive Bible, Note in loco.
+ Idem, Note on Exod. 36. 8.
writers, as implied or expressed in their writings, exactly coincides with the accounts of contemporary writers. Thus it is stated that it was divided into three principal parts, Judæa, Samaria, and Galilee ;* that it was then subject to the Romans, but had formerly been governed by its own kings ;† that a Roman governor resided at Jerusalem; that the Jews enjoyed the free exercise of their religion, but were deprived of the absolute power of life and death; that the temple was then standing, and was annually visited by a great number of Jews, who were scattered abroad in different parts of the world; that two religious sects, the Pharisees and Sadducees, bore the chief sway among the Jews; the former, by teaching a mechanical religion, deceiving and tyrannizing over the people; and the latter, who adopted an Epicurean philosophy, being supported by the principal characters of the nation; ‡ these, and many other circumstances, agree most exactly with the accounts of Josephus, and other historians.§
Among other instances may be mentioned the murder of some "Galileans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices.” (Luke xiii. 1.) Now the Galileans are frequently mentioned by Josephus as the most turbulent and seditious people, being upon all occasions ready to disturb the Roman authority. And though it is uncertain to what event our Lord refers; it is probable that they were the followers of Judas Gaulonitis, who opposed paying tribute to Cæsar and submitting to the Roman government. A party of them coming to Jerusalem during one of the great festivals, and presenting their oblations in the court of the temple, Pilate treacherously sent a company of soldiers, who slew them, and mingled their blood with their sacrifices.' Jos. Ant. 1. xviii. ||
Again, Herod Antipas, tetrarch of Galilee, is termed by our Lord a "fox;" (Luke xiii. 42.); and he is described by Josephus as a crafty and incestuous prince, with which the character given him by our Lord, and the narratives of the Evangelists, exactly coincide.||
Nay, by the most undesigned coincidence, the accounts of the Evangelists agree in some of the most minute particulars with Josephus.
Thus, we read in St. Luke, ch. iii. 14, that "the soldiers likewise demanded of him (John the Baptist) saying, And what shall we do." The Evangelist does not say, στρατιωται, soldiers, but στρατευομενοι, men actually under arms, or marching to battle. Now, as we learn from Josephus that Herod was at this time engaged in war with Aretas, a king of Arabia, Michaëlis concludes, that these military men were a part of Herod's army, then on its march from Galilee, which must of necessity have passed through the country where John was baptizing. ||
Again, in the account of the execution of John, by order of Herod, (Mar. vi. 27.) it is said, that "the king sent an executioner," σπεкOVλA*Josephus, Ant. 1. xiii. c. 18; Bell. 1. ii. c. 9; 1. iii. c. 2, 4, and notes in the Comprehensive Bible on Mar. 1. 39; John 7. 1; Acts 8. 5.
+ Josephus, Ant. 1. xx. c. 7, &c. and note on Acts 25. 1.
See a confirmation of these particulars respecting the Pharisees and Sadducees in the Introduction to the Comprehensive Bible, pp. 82, 83.