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of the fynagogde to appear in af forrow
bylon, and who was murdered by Ilmael at Mizpah (k).' That on the tenth of December was in cosa memoration of the siege of Jerusalem, which was by Nebuchadnezzar begun upon that day (1).
Besides these fasts that were fixed to particular days, there were others, and those either publick, enjoined in the time of any general calamity, or private, appointed for particular occasions, such as were thola of David, Daniel, Nehemiah, &c (m). Notice was given of the first by the sound of the trumpet, that all the people might gather themselves together. And then the chest or ark, wherein the law was kept, was brought out of the synagogue, in the presence of the whole assembly, and Itrewed with alhes, in tokeo of sorrow and affliction. All persons were obliged to appear in fack-cloth. And one of the presidents of the synagogue made a speech suitable to the day and occasion, which was accompanied with several ejaculations and prayers. ,
When particular persons falted, they were wont likewise to cover themselves with fack-cloth and alhes, and to thew all other signs of grief, as to forbear washing, and anointing their bodies with oil, &c. The Pharisees having made an ill use of these outward expressions of forrow, Jesus CHRIST ordered his disciples to take a quite different method when they should fast, that their fasting might be concealed from men (n). Particular persons fafted not only in the times of affliction ; but the more devout sort were used to do it twice a week, on Mondays and Thursdays, as we find the Pharisee boasting in the gospel (o).
Fasting was unlawful at some certain times, as on festivals and fabbathdays, unless the day of expiation fell upon either of them. This custom feems to be of a very ancient date, since we find it related in the book of Judith, that she fafted all the days of her widow-hood, except the fabbaths, und new-moons, with their eves, and the feasts and foleinn days of the house of Israel (). It is a maxim among the Rabbins, that fasting was to cease upon the coming of the Messiah. If it be of any great anti, quity, as most of the Jewish sayings are, the disciples of John the Baptist, as well as the Pharisees, ought from thence to have learned that Jesus was the Messiah, instead of finding fault with him because his disciples did not falt (9). The answer he made to this objection of theirs, seems to allude to the notion above-mentioned. But here it is to be observed by the way, that the reproach cast on Jesus CHRIST about his disciples not fafting, ought undoubtedly to be understood of frequent and affected fastings, ic not being at all probable that the disciples of CHRIST, who, after the example of their divine master, were strict observers of the law, would have neglected to keep the same falts as the rest of their nation did. Jesus Christ himself fasted forty days, but that was a very extra
ordioary (k) Jer, xl. xli.
(1) 2 Kings xxv. (m) 2 Sam. xii. 16. Pfalm. xxxv. 13. Dan. X. 2. Neh. i. 4. () Matih, vi. 16.
10 Luke xviii. 12. 0) Judith yiii. 6.
(9) Maith, ix. 14, 15. Luk: v. 33.
ordinary kind of fasting (r). He allowed his disciples to observe this ceremony (s). The Apostles sometimes practised it, and exhorted their followers to do the same. But it is certain that Jesus Christ hath left no positive command about fasting, and that this custom hath crept only accidentally into the Christian institution. Did Christians but faithfully observe the precepts of the Gospel, their state would be a continual feast, and they would have no manner of occasion to afflict their fuls (*) by these marks of humiliation and repentance. Or, had God ordered it so, that the Christian church should be delivered from those calamitous times, in which, if I may so speak, the bridegroom is taken from her, by the violence of her enemies, there would have been no need for her to humble herself under his hand with fafting. For, in a word, nothing can recommend us to God's favour, but true holiness, and fasting is no farther acceptable to him, than as it leads us thereto.
The feas of tabernacles (t) lasted seven days, or eight, Of the feast of tabernacles.
as same authors infer from two or three passages of firis
ture, (t), and began on the fifteenth of the month Tisri (9). It was instituted by God, for a memorial of the Israelites having dwelt in tents or tabernacles while they were in the desert (u), or else, accord. ing to others, in remembrance of the building of the tabernacle. The design of this feast was moreover to return God thanks for the fruits of the vine, as well as of other trees, that were gathered about this time; and to beg his blessing on those of the easuing year. No feaft was attended with greater rejoicings than this ($), which was owing to the expectation they were in of the Messiah's coming, and for which they then prayed with a greater earneltness (i). The principal ceremonies observed in the celebration of this feast, were as follows. .
1. They were obliged to dwell, during the whole solemnity, in tents, which they at first used to pitch on the tops of their houses (x). 2. They offered every day abundance of sacrifices, besides the usual ones, of which there is a particular account in the book of Numbers (y). 3. During the whole feast, they carried in their hands branches or posies of palm-trces, olives, citrons, myrtles, and willows (2), singing Hosanna,
(r) Matth. iv. 2.
(s) Matth. vi. 16. (*) This is the phrase used in fcripture to denote a faft.
(1) Or of booths. For the tents used in this feast were made of branches of trees.
' (t) Lex. xxii. 36. Nehem. viii, 18. (II) Which answered to part of our September and OEtober. (u) Lev. xxiii. 43.
($) For which reason it was named chag, i. e. a day of rejoicing. It was besides called the feast of in-gathering. Exod. xxiii. 16. Deut. xvi. 13.
(1) The days of the Meffiah were stiled by the Jews, the feast of tabernacles. (3) Nehem. viii. 16. Which in that country were flat, and like terrafles. (y) Numb. xxix.
(3) Lev. xxiij. 40. Nehem. viii. 15. 2 Macc. x. 7. These they tied with gold and filver lines, or with ribbons ; and did not leave them all the day, but carried them with them eveu into the synagogues, and kept thein by them all the time they were at prayer. Lamy's Introd. p. 135.
that is, Save, I beseech thee. By which words, taken out of the hundred and eighteenth psalm, they prayed for the coming of the Messiah. These branches bore also the name of Hosanna, as well as all the days of the feast. In the same manner was Jesus Christ conducted into Jerusalem by the believing Jews, who looking upon him as the promised Mefliah, expreffed an uncommon joy upon finding in him the accomplishment of those petitions which they had so often put up to heaven, at the feast of tabernacles (a). They walked every day, as long as the feast lasted, round the altar with the forementioned branches in their hands (*), singing Hosanna. To this last ceremony there seems to be an allulion in the Revelations (6.), wherein St. John describes the saints, as walking round the throne of the Lamb, with palms in their hands, and singing the following hymn, “ Salvation cometh from God and the Lamb."
4. One of the most remarkable ceremonies performed on this feast, was the libations, or pouring out of the water, which was done every day. A priest went and drew some water (t) at the pool of Siloam, and carried it into the temple, where he poured it on the altar (II), at the time of the morning sacrifice, the people singing in the mean time these words out of the prophet Isaiah (c), °« With joy Ihall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation." As, according to the Jews 'themselves, this water was an emblem of the Holy Ghost, Jesus Christ manifestly alluded to it, when on the last day of the feast of tabernacles, he cried out to the people, “ If any man thirft, &c (d).
We must not forget to observe, that during the whole solemnity, the Jews used all imaginable expressions of an universal joy, (still keeping within the bounds of innocence) such as feasting, dancing, continual music, and such vast illuminations, that the whole city of Jerusalem was enlightened with them ($). The greatness of these rejoicings, and their happening in the time of vintage, hath made some authors believe, that the Jews were wont to sacrifice to Bacchus (e).
(a) Mátt. xxi. 8, 9.
(*) During which ceremony the trumpets founded on all sides. On the seventh day of the feast, they went seven times round the altar, and this was called The great Hosanna. Lamy. p. 136.. (6) Revel. vii. 9:
(f) In a golden vessel. ibid. (1) Whilst the members of the sacrifice were upon it. But first he mixed fome wine with the water. Id. ibid.
(c) II. xii. 3. and lv. l. The antient Latin translator hath properly enough rendered the last words of the first passage here quoted, by, “ The wells of the Saviour."
(d) John vii. 37.
(8) It is supposed that these rejoicings were performed in the court of the women, that they might partake of the public mirth.
(e) Plutarch, Symp.l. iv. s. Tacit. Hift. da va
Of the Sabbath.
Of the fabbath,
THERE were three forts of fabbaths, or times of
T rest (f), among the Jews; the fabbath properly so called, that is, the seventh day in each week; the fabbatical year, or every seventh year; and the jubilee, which was celebrated at the end of seven times feven years. We shall give an account in the first place of the fabbath properly so called.
The sabbath is a festival instituted by God, in commemoration of the creation of the world, which was finished on the sixth day, as appears from the book of Genesis (8), and also from the law (1), wherein it is said, that “in six days God made the heaven and the earth, and rested on the seventh day.” This institution was appointed chiefly for the two fol. lowing reasons; first, To keep in men's minds the remembrance of the creation of the world, and thereby to prevent idolatry, and the worshipping of creatures, by setting that day apart for the service of the Creator of all things : And fecondly, to give man and beast one day of respite and rest every week. Besides these two general views, the fabbath was established for a more particular end, with regard to the children of Israel, namely, to celebrate the memory of their deliverance out of Egypt, as we find it expressly recorded in the book of Deuteronomy (i). Hence the sabbath is called in fcripture, “a sign between God and the Israelites (k).”
This hath given rise to a question, that hath very much exercised the learned world, whether the fabbath was appointed from the beginning of the world, and only renewed after the coming of the Hebrews out of Egypt; or whether it be a ceremony instituted with respect to the children of Israel, to turn them from idolatry, by putting them in mind of their Creator and Deliverer; in a word, whether the fabbath is a mere ceremonial institution, or an universal law, which binds all mankind? We shall not determine this question either way, but only set down the chief arguments that render the first opinion the most probable, and give an answer to the objections that have been advanced against it. 1. The scripture does not make the least mention of the fabbath's being observed before the coming of the children of Israel out of Egypt, though there are frequent accounts of the worship which the patriarchs rendered to God. Now, is it probable that the sacred hiftorian would have omitted so holy and folemn a law as that of the fabbath, (a law, the violation whereof was punished with death; a law, which having been delivered from the beginning of the world, ought to have been universally received) and not have spoken of it, till two thousand years after its institution ? Moses, indeed, when giving an account of the times that went before him, speaks of the number seven, as if it had
(f) The Hebrew word fabbath signifies rest. (s) Gen. ii. 1, 2, 3.
(5) Exod. xx. 10, 11. (i) Deut. v. 15.
(*) Exod. xxxi, 13, 16, 17.
been accounted holy, but says not the least word about keeping the sabbath. Would the same sacred historian, that hath so carefully and exactly transmitted to posterity the travels of the patriarchs, not have sometimes taken notice of their stopping to celebrate the fabbath ? or, can it be supposed, that the patriarchs would have neglecte! to observe so strict a command ? 2. The sacred writings never repres :nt the fabbath otherwise than as a sign between God and the children of Israel, as a privilege peculiar to that nation, as a rest which God ad granted them, and a festival whereby they were distinguished from the rest of the inhabitants of the world. “ Consider,” saith Moses to the Israelites (1)“that God hath given you the fabbath,” or rest; and in another place (in), “My fabbath shall you keep, for it is a sign between me and you, throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the Lord, who hath sanctified you,” that is, separated you from the rest of mankind. Nehemiah speaks of the fabbath, as of a particular favour which God had granted the Israelites, and places the ordinance relating to it among those other laws, which he had given unto them by the hand of Moses (n). In the prophet Ezekiel (0) the fabbath is ranked among the special mercies which God had vouchsafed his people, and the marks of distinction he had been pleased to honour them with. Accordingly the most ancient writers that have spoken of it, have considered it under no other view. Philo doth expressly rank the sabbath among the laws of Moses (P), and when in another place (7) he calls it the feast, not of one people or country alone, but of the whole universe, it is plain that he there fpeaks figuratively. Josephus also mentions it always as a ceremony peculiar to the Jews, and stiles it the law of their country (r). The ancient fathers of the church had the same notion of this matter; Justin Martyr, in his dialogue with Trypho the Jew, tells him (s), that the sabbath was given to the Jews upon the account of their transgressions, and for the hardness of their hearts; and Theodoret (*) also says, that the observation of the fabbath was injoined them, with a design to distinguish them from all the other nations of the world. The Jewish doctors are of the same opinion, telling us, that their countrymen were so strict observers of the fabbath, that they would not even allow the profelytes of the gate to celebrate it with the same ceremonies as themselves, because they were not circumcised (t). 3. The keeping of the fabbath was attended with such circumstances, as plainly shew, that it was a ceremonial institution peculiar to one people, and not an universal law given from the beginning of the world ; as appears from their superstitious exactness in not doing any manner of work, for the space of four and twenty hours, and that under pain of death. Reason itself will teach us, that one day
version and files is also mentiuniverse, it is
(1) Exod. xvi. 29.
(m) Exod. xxxi. 13, 16, 17. (n) Nehem. ix. 14.
(0) Ezek, xx. 11, 12. (p) Phil. de Decal. p. 185. de Vita Mofis, p. 529. (9) De Opif. Mundi, p. ig.
(r) Jor. Ant. l. (s) Just. Mart. Dialog. contra Tryph.:
(*) Theodor. in Ezek. xx. To which may be added Cyril of Alexandria. Hom. 6. de Fest. Pasch. and several other, both Greek and Latin, fathers.
(0) Seld. de Jur. Nat, et Gent. I. iii. c. 5. 10.