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themselves? We know the contrary: for at his birth a whole multitude of the heavenly host burst forth into that rapturous hymn, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good-will towards men!" And as they ministered to our LORD, when he was here upon earth, so do they continue to minister to his faithful followers. From the moment of a sinner's return to God, they watch over him with the tenderest care. They encamp around him, and render him numberless kind offices. Little do we think how much we are indebted to their friendly aid; from how many snares they deliver us; in how many conflicts they succour us; and with what transports they bear our triumphant spirits to the world of bliss.* Nor are those benevolent spirits unconcerned about the promulgation of the Gospel. They were much engaged in the missionary enterprises of the primitive Church: and, since the miraculous gifts of the SPIRIT have ceased, their agency seems to be more needful than ever; nor do I know of any reason or scripture which disallows a belief of its continuance. Let us then encourage the cheering idea, and thank GOD, and go forward. Many of our dear youth, of both sexes, have become volunteers in the honourable, but self-denying and laborious drudgery of collecting pecuniary aid for our Missions from door to door. Now do not frown upon them, much less shut your door against them; "Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, their Angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven." Is a Missionary about to go forth with God's message to poor, perishing sinners? Angels are there. (Isai. vi. 2.) Is the Missionary disheartened and depressed? An Angel is there. (Isa. vi. 6.) Is the Missionary in danger of perishing by shipwreck? An Angel is there. (Acts xxvii. 23, 24.) Is a Missionary persecuted, and shut up in prison? Behold, an Angel is there. (Acts xii.7.) Is the Missionary countenanced by men, owned of GOD, and successsful in awakening and converting sinners, in turning them from dumb idols to the living God, and to wait for his SON from heaven? There are the Angels, deriving new joys from every triumph that the REDEEMER gains, and from every blessing that man receives. "Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?"
Thus we have endeavoured to show you, what are the great subjects of the angelic study;-what is the import of their desiring to look into them;-and the reasons which account for their anxiety respecting these things.-Let us now conclude with a few observations on the whole.
1. The Gospel is important in its nature.-Prophets, righteous men,
See SIMEON'S Hora Homileticæ, vol. ii. page 101; from which some sentences are borrowed, for the sake of the chaste simplicity of the expression. The thoughts, however, are precisely the same as I have several times delivered on the subject, long before the publication of that laborious and useful work.
VOL. I. Third Series. AUGUST, 1822.
and Kings, desired to see and hear what CHRIST said, and did, and suffered what the HOLY GHOST taught concerning CHRIST, the very Angels long to know, and stoop down to investigate. And surely that which has, throughout all ages, engaged the attention, and occupied the studies of so many illustrious personages, cannot be a trifle, however ingenious, nor a fable, however cunningly devised: it must be a matter of vast concernment to the creation of GOD in general, and of paramount importance to the human race in particular. Yes, my brethren; the doctrine of CHRIST Crucified, though to the Jews a stumbling-block, and to the Gentiles foolishness, is, emphatically, the power and the wisdom of GOD. Weighed against this, all other subjects are trifles, light as air; all the glories of human genius, of worldly science, of secular empire, when contrasted with this, have no glory, by reason of the glory which excelleth. May we give to this glorious doctrine all the attention, faith, love, admiration, and devotion, which it requires! May it have the homage of our body, spirit, soul; and may we account all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of CHRIST JESUS Our LORD!
2. The Gospel is worthy of all acceptation.-Careless people neglect the Gospel, as if it were not worth an effort, a prayer, a wish. Proud, self-sufficient, self-righteous men, always did despise the Gospel, and always will, as long as such men continue in the world. By wicked, bitter, persecuting men, it is now, as it ever has been, loaded with reproach, and stigmatized with opprobrious epithets. "The natural man receiveth not the things of the SPIRIT OF GOD: for they are foolishness unto him." Though the Angels are not unconcerned in the Gospel, yet their interest in it is nothing when compared with ours. Though no Saviour had ever come into our world, they would have been happy; they would have been Angels still; but where should we have been? what would have become of us? Had there been no Saviour, we must have led a wretched life, died a hopeless death, and then have suffered the punishment of eternal fire. Shall we then neglect that Gospel which the Angels study? Shall we pass lightly over that which they stoop down to investigate with such profound attention; or despise what they so much admire? CHRIST took not on him their nature he shed not his blood for them: it was for us he became a man: for us he died upon the cross. What guilt then do we contract in slighting all his overtures of mercy! Surely the Angels will rise up in the judgment, and condemn us, if we are indifferent to the salvation which he so dearly purchased, and which he so freely offers. And what do these scoffers really think of themselves? Do they imagine that they are greater than our father ABRAHAM? that they are wiser than SOLOMOV? that they are better than the Angels? Do they imagine that the Angels are so weak as to admire and investigate things which are beneath the notice of
rational men? Alas! these proud despisers of grace, and glory, and good men, and good angels, and the HOLY GHOST, and CHRIST, and GoD, evince to all the universe that they themselves are the greatest objects of pity and compassion. Were ST. PAUL here, he would probably say, " Behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and perish ;" but it becomes us better, and better suits our inclination, to say, “Behold, and wonder," and repent, and believe, and be saved!"Kiss the Sox, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him."-"As many as receive him, to them will he give power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name."-Whatever, then, GoD has bestowed upon you, value a knowledge of the Gospel, and an interest in CHRIST, above all : whatever he withholds from you, be satisfied with this. Whatever
you do, or whatever you neglect, be sure to cultivate this. Resemble the Angels in looking into these things; and you shall resemble them in holiness and happiness, and be for ever with them in glory.
3. It is our duty to propagate the Gospel.-The Angels have set us a noble example. (Luke ii. 13, 14.) Not content to worship GoD themselves, they endeavoured to stimulate others by their information and example. Let us then say to others, "Behold, we bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people." Let us tell them, who is the SAVIOUR of the world, where and how they may find him, and that, in finding him, they will find present peace and eternal salvation. This is an employment worthy of Angels; and we, if we thus water others, shall be watered ourselves.-Every portion of Gospel-blessing comes to us with this inscription, "Freely ye have received, freely give." Are we seasoned with divine grace? It is, that we may be the salt of the earth. Are we enlightened by the Word and SPIRIT OF GOD? It is, that we may be the lights of the world. "Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and Kings to the brightness of thy rising. Lift up thine eyes round about, and see: all they gather themselves together, they come to thee thy sons shall come from far, and thy daughters shall be nursed at thy side. Then thou shalt see, and flow together, and thine heart shall fear, and be enlarged; because the abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee, the forces of the Gentiles shall come unto thee. The multitude of camels shall cover thee, the dromedaries of Midian and Ephah; all they from Sheba shall come: they shall bring gold and incense; and they shall show forth the praises of the LORD."
ON THE ANCIENT ZABII, OR ANTE-MOSAIC IDOLATERS:
BY THE REV. JAMES TOWNLEY."
(For the Wesleyan-Methodist Magazine.)
THE ZABII, or ZABIANS, were a sect of Idolaters who flourished in the early ages of the world, considerable in their numbers, and extensive in their influence. MAIMONIDES, whom SCALIGER designates as "the most learned and acute of all the Jewish writers," assures us in his celebrated Moreh Nebochim, or "Instructer of those who are Perplexed," that a very principal object in the ceremonial institutions of MOSES, was, the eradication of their idolatrous principles and practices; and has supported his position by an excellent exposition of the grounds and reasons of the Mosaic Laws. The learned SPENCER, in his work De Legibus Hebræorum, has adopted a similar principle; and in the same treatise maintains, with considerable learning, the more disputable opinion, that many of the rites and ceremonies enjoined by the Jewish Legislator were derived from the rites practised by the Egyptians, and other heathen nations. This latter conjecture, first noticed by MAIMONIDES, subsequently defended by SIR JOHN MARSHAM in his Chronicon, and by SPENCER in his treatise De Legibus Hebræorum, and countenanced by Bishop WARBURTON in his "Divine Legation," has been ably combated by WITSIUS in his Egyptiaca, a work replete with solid and extensive erudition, and by DR. WOODWARD in his valuable "Discourse on the Wisdom of the Ancient Egyptians."
When, therefore, the Zabian Idolaters are regarded as connected with the Mosaic Institutions, they become a serious and interesting subject of inquiry; and every attempt to collect the scattered rays of information concerning them, and to converge them to a point, will probably be received with candour. I shall, therefore,
In order to save room, we have taken the liberty, which the Author of this learned. Paper has allowed us to use, of omitting the numerous Latin quotations which occurred at length in the Copy sent to us; as an English
translation is always given.
offer some remarks on their NAME, their ORIGIN, and the COUNTRY they inhabit, their OPINIONS, their IDOLATROUS and SUPERSTITIOUS PRACTICES, and their PRESENT DE
I. NAME. The denomination of Zubii, given to these Idolaters, appears to have been derived from the Hebrew 8, Tzaba, a host; with reference to then, or Host of Heaven, which they worshipped; though others have derived it from the Arabic Tsaba, to apostatise, to turn from one religion to another; or from, or the Arabic Tsabin, Chaldeans or inhabitants of the East. (Vide Pocock11 Specimen. Hist. Arab. P. 139; SPENCER, De Legibus Heb. Persarum Hist. c. 3, p. 84; Caslib. ii. c. 1. sect. 1; HYDE, Veterum TELLI Lex. Hept. sub voc. x, et 7.)
II. ORIGIN and COUNTRY.-LACTANTIUS, in his book De Origine Erroris, considers HAM, the son of NOAH, as the first seceder from the true religion after the Flood; and supposes Egypt, which was peopled by his descendants, to have been the Country in which Zabaism, or the worship of the Stars, first prevailed: "But he (HAM) fled, and settled in that part of the earth which is now called Arabia, on which account this country was called Canaan, and his descendants Canaanites. This was the earliest nation ignorant of GOD, its founder and chief not having received the true worship (cultum) of Gop from his father, by whom he had been cursed. From the increase of this people originated the surrounding nations. But they who inhabited Egypt were the first of all others to observe the heavenly bodies, and to worship them."-(LACTANTII Opera, lib. ii. p. 103, Edit. Cantab. 1685.)—It is worthy of remark, that one of the grandsons of HAM was named SEBA, from whom it is procalled SABA. The predatory exbable Arabia Felix was formerly
cursions of the Sabeans are also noticed by the Author of the book of JOB. (i. 15.)
That the worship of the Heavenly Bodies prevailed in the East, at a very early period, is certain from the words of Joв, who thus exculpates himself from the charge of idolatry: "If I beheld the Sun when it shined, or the Moon walking in brightness, and my heart hath been secretly enticed, or my mouth hath kissed my hand; this also were an iniquity to be punished by the judge: for I should have denied the GoD that is above." (Job xxxi. 26-28.)-MAIMONIDES, (in Moreh Nebochim, P. 3, c. 29,) expressly affirms that ABRA HAM was educated in the faith of the Zabii. He maintains the same opinion also in his book De Idololatriâ, §6: "In Ur of the Chaldees he had been surrounded by silly idolaters. His father and mother, and all the people, worshipped idols, and he with them." It would appear, therefore, that the idolatrous opinions of the Zabii originated with the posterity of HAM, at a very early period after the Flood, in Egypt or Chaldea; but spread so rapidly and extensively, that in a very short time nearly the whole of the descendants of NOAH were infected with their pestiferous sentiments and practices: "This people (i. e. the Zabii) had filled the whole world." (MAIMON. Mor. Neb.)
1. Their first and principal adoration was directed to the Host of Heaven, or the Stars. "They affirmed, that there is no God except the Stars," are the words of MAIMONIDES, who adds, " They expressly say, that the Stars are divinities, or inferior deities, and that the Sun is the GREAT GOD." They also affirmed, "That the other five planets were gods, but that the two luminaries, the Sun and Moon, were gods of a superior order. It will also be found, that they clearly assert, that the Sun governs the higher and lower world." (MAIMON. Mor. Neb. P. 3, c. 29.)
2. They were Ignicola, or Worshippers of Fire. The city of Ur, in Chaldea, seems to have had its name from the inhabitants being devoted to the worship of fire. (Vide
Voss Not. in Maimon. De Idololat. $8, and MENASSEH BEN ISRAEL in Genes. Quæst. XL.) MAIMONIDES also calls them "Cultores Ignis," worshippers of fire."-Mor. Neb. P. 3, c. 37.-(See likewise SELDEN, De Diis Syris, Syntag. 11. c. 8, P. 321; and MAIMON. Mor. Neb. P. 3, c. 30.)
3. They dedicated images to the Sun and the other. Celestial Orbs, supposing that, by a formal consecration of them to those luminaries, a divine virtue was infused into them, by which they acquired the faculty of understanding, and the power of conferring prophecy and other gifts upon their worshippers. These images were formed of various metals, according to the particular Star to which any of thein was dedicated. They also regarded certain trees as being appropriated to particular Stars, and, when idolatrously dedicated, as being possessed of very singular virtues. "Moreover, according to these opinions of the Zabii, they erected images to the Stars; to the Sun, statues of gold; and to the Moon, images of silver; and, in like manner, they assigned the various metals and the climates of the earth to the different Stars. Afterwards they built small temples, and placed images in them, supposing the virtues of the Stars to be imparted to the images, which thereby acquired the faculty of intelligence, and power to confer the gift of prophecy on men, and to discover things salutary and useful. They say also of the trees which belong to these Stars, that when a tree is dedicated to any Star, planted in its name, and worshipped in this or that particular mode, that the spiritual virtues of the Star are infused into the tree, so that it speaks prophetically with men, that they may prophesy, and also converses with them in dreams." (MAIMON. Mor. Neb. P. 3, c. 29.)
4. From these opinions sprang the adoption of astrology by them, in all its varied forms. "When you have read," says MAIMONIDES, "all those books of which I have spoken, it will be manifest, that astrology or magic was practised by the Zabii, Chasdæi, and Chaldeans, and still more frequently by the Egyptians and Canaanites." (MAIMON. Mor. Neb.