Page images
PDF
EPUB

and sacred music, both vocal and instrumental. For each department of these services, numerous officers were appointed, whose stated employment it was to conduct them with great exactness, and latterly with equal superstition. They consisted of twenty-four courses of priests, as many of the singers who were the Levites, and an equal number of porters. To these were added also twenty-four courses of officers, who were called Israelites of the station ; each of these courses consisting of a considerable number of individuals. Though this latter title does not occur in the Scriptures, it seems however plainly deducible from thence ; for by a maxim in reference to their sacrifices, the greater part of them could not be offered, except the persons were present whose sacrifices they were. The princi. pal of them, as the daily morning and evening offering of a lamb for instance, were sacrifices in behalf of the whole people. But the whole people could not at any time be present. And in other cases of sacrifices presented by individuals, it might often happen that the persons whose offerings they were would unavoidably be ab. under the Old Testament;" Reland's “ Antiquitates Sacræ Veterum Hebræorum delineatæ ;" Godwin's “ Moses and Aaron;" Selden's Works, vol. i.; “ The Book of the Religious Ceremonies and Prayers of the Jews, translated from the Hebrew, by Gam. Ben Pedahzur,” 8vo. London, 1738; but especially Vitringa de Synagoga Vetere, and Buxtorf's Synagoga Judaica.

Lightfoot's “ Temple Service," ch, viii. sect. 3. p. 62. b Lev. i. 3. ii. 2, 8.

[ocr errors]

sent. It became necessary, therefore, that on all these occasions some persons should be deputed to represent them; and this being more than the same individuals were equal to constantly, twenty-four courses of them were appointed for this purpose. These officers were also called the angels, or messengers, of Israel, because they were sent, or deputed to appear before God in behalf of the people; and though no notice is taken of them in the Scriptures, there is ample proof of their existence in the ancient Jewish writers.

It was considered, moreover, as the duty of all the people to be present, not only at the daily sacrifices morning and evening, but also at the reading of the law, and at the prayers; and as this could never happen, the Israelites of the station were appointed to appear as their representatives in their absence at all these services, in order that a congregation might be constantly ensured. And though they were not required to attend at some of the sacrifices, because it was not necessary that the persons on whose behalf the sacrifice was offered, should be present to lay their hands on its head, the standing of these officers constantly at prayers, supplications, and orisons, says Lightfoota, and at the reading of the law, was called

2 “ The Temple Service as it stood in the Days of our Saviour," ch. vii. sect. 3. pp. 64 and 65; Godwin's “ Moses and Aaron,” lib. i. ch. v. p. 22. See also Lewis's “ Antiquities,” Millar's " Church History," and the other writers on this part of the subject.

the station, from which their name is derived. With the absurdity of worshiping God by proxy, whether by Jews or others, our argument has no concern; but the constant attendance of these representatives of the people, who were necessarily absent, is by no means irrelevant. They were always considered as forming a congregation; and this circumstance alone proves that the whole services of the Temple were strictly social.

The Sacrifices. The religious services of the Temple began with the sacrifices, the design of which was to express the religious sentiments of the worshiper by actions instead of words: they were synıbols of the devout homage of the mind in acknowledgement of divine beneficence, or expressions of penitence, intended to conciliate the favour of an offended Deity. They consisted of animals, as heifers, sheep, goats, turtle-doves, and pigeons; and of inanimate things, as tithes of first fruits, flour, wine, oil, frankincense, and salt. The most holy sacrifices were those of the whole people, as burnt-offerings, sin-offerings, trespassofferings, and peace-offerings. The inferior were those which were the offerings of individuals, as the paschal-lamb, fatlings, and tenths.

The appointed time for the commencement of the daily sacrifice of a lamb in the morning was sunrise. Part of the priests who were on duty for the week, in order to be in readiness, slept in

a building in one of the courts of the Temple, and when the lamb was brought forth to be slain, the gates of the outer court were thrown open, and the trumpets sounded for the attendance of the rest of the priests, the Levites, and the Israelites of the station, and then the sacrifice was slain. The evening services commenced with a like sacrifice at the ninth hour of the day, or at three o'clock in the afternoona.

Public Prayers. Though public prayer, any more than the reading of the law, might not be considered by the high priest as any part of the duty over which he presided officially, because no directions are given respecting it by their lawgivers ', as there are in the case of sacrifices and offerings; and though there might be no ministers of the Temple whose business it was to conduct the devotions of the people', yet it is certain, not only

a Acts iii. I.

o The ancient Jews, however, not only considered the command, Deut. x. 12, “ Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God," &c. as signifying prayer, but they put the same construction upon Deut. x. 12,

“ What doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, and to love him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart and soul ?” &c.; for they compare this and other similar passages with Exod. xxiii. 24, 25, &c. where to bow down to the gods of the heathen, and to serve them, evidently means to worship, or to pray, as well as sacrifice to them. See Selden's Works, London, 1726, vol. i. lib. iii. cap. iii. p. 286. See also note, page 2 of this Treatise.

• Vitringa de Syn. Vet. prol. p. 51.

that prayer from the first always constituted a prominent and material part of the services of the Temple, but that it was practised under a divine şanction. This is evident from expressions in Solomon's prayer at the dedication of this magnificent building, and from our Lord's quotation of Isaiah', when he cleared the outer court of the buyers and sellers; “ My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations.” One of the chief distinctions of the Temple, then, was this ; it was denominated by God himself not a house of sacrifice, but a house of prayer, and thither the tribes of Israel went up to give thanks unto the name of Jehovaho. And, as Lewis observesd, “ It is certain that prayers were daily put up together with their offerings; and though we have very few constitutions concerning them, yet the constant practice of the Jewish church, and the particular fornis of prayer yet extant in their writings, are sufficient evidence. For this purpose they had liturgies, or prescribed forms, which may be proved to have been in use from

a 1 Kings viii. 33, 34.

" Matth. xxi. 13. Isaiah lvi. 7. See also Eccl. v. 1, 2, which evidently alludes to prayer : “ Keep thy foot when thou goest into the house of God; and be more ready to hear than to offer the sacrifice of fools,” &c. " Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thy heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth; therefore let thy words be few," See also I Maccabees, vii. 37. c Ps, cxxii. 4.

Origines Hebræa, Antiquities, &c. vol. ii. book iii. ch. xix. and book iv. ch. xii. p. 557.

D

d

« PreviousContinue »