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XII. DOCTRINE OF IMMORTALITY IN THE PENTATEUCH.— The words of Ex. iii. 6, “Moreover he said, I am the God of thy fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob," viewed in relation to Matt. xxi. 32, suggest the inquiry, whether the Pentateuch promulgates the doctrine of immortality. It is probable that Moses knew the doctrine, having learned it from the Egyptians; and that he developed it better than they by virtue of the Spirit of God in him. But it must be admitted that if he had the same sentiments as they, he could not have entertained an exalted opinion of the nature of the soul. The kind of immortality held by the Egyptians was not an elevated one, since they supposed that unless the soul remained in union with the body by some secret method it could not continue alone but must pass from body to body, performing its circuit in three thousand years. In this way it is not an independent entity but subjected to body. However Moses may have purified this doctrine of immortality in his own cogitations and brought it to the true ideal, he could not introduce it into his religion because it could not be promulgated apart from mythology,-a thing which he keeps remote from his system—and because it might give occasion to the worship of the dead. Nor was it agreeable to the design of the Mosaic code as a system of state legislation to propose motives derived from a future state. It may also be true, as Warburton argues, that Moses being assured of his divine mission had not the same necessity with other teachers, for using threatenings drawn from a future world. The Hebrew people were prone to idolatry. They were carnally minded, occupying a low position in the scale of intelligence and civilisation. Bodily wants and appetites enslaved them ; so that they lusted after the flesh-pots of Egypt even after deliverance from slavery. Their leader out of the house of bondage found them contumacious and refractory. The idea of a just and holy God whose power might be risibly displayed was what they needed; not One whose rewards and punishments were afar off. Hence the tendency of the Mosaic discipline was to fill their minds with the fear and love of a present Deity, that they might have experimental proof of a present avenger of His holy law, and a present protector of the pious. Accordingly Mosaism places the happiness of the pious upon earth. Terrestrial felicity is promised to the righteous. The fruits of the earth in abundance; victory over enemies; long life and good health ; a numerous offspring, and such like, are set before those who should diligently keep the divine laws. All this is associated with the presence and communion of God.


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In the same manner punishments in the present life are threatened to the wicked—the absence of terrestrial good; premature death, etc. The patriarchs, like weary travellers full of years and satiated with the earthly blessings they had, looked upon death with calmness as the resting-point of their pilgrimage;

belief in the happiness of continued existence. Yet the Hebrews did not think that the soul was material and perished with the body. Their psychology it is true was very imperfect, for they connected the soul with the blood through which it gives life to the body, and with the breath ; yet they thought of it nevertheless as an emanation from God (Gen. ii. 7), and susceptible of the divine spirit. It was also supposed to continue after death : but here their ideas vere vague and indistinct. Hence the phrase to be gathered to his people (Gen. xxv. 8, xxxv. 29; Numb. xx. 24, etc.) implying a union of the dead; and the word Systej sheol denoting a large subterranean abode into which the spirits of the dead were received (Gen. xxxvii. 35; xlii. 38; xliv. 29; Numb. xvi. 30, 33). An obscure intimation of a blessed life with God is contained in the myth respecting Enoch, which finds its parallel in that of Elijah. It is said that God took him. But neither the wish of Balaam, “let me die the death of the righteous;" nor the words of dying Jacob, “I have waited for thy salvation 0 Lord;” nor the laws of Moses against necromancy prove a general belief in the immortality of the soul in the time of the divine lawgiver. Such a doctrine is foreign to the religion he promulgated. All that can be affirmed with truth is, that the germ of the doctrine is in Mosaism-a germ out of which a definite knowledge of future reward and punishment might afterwards be developed. This is warranted by the reasoning of Christ in opposition to the Sadducees, from Ex. iii. 6. If God call Himself the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob long after their death, those patriarchs were still living with Him. It cannot be said that because the writer of the epistle to the Hebrews deduces the patriarchs' expectation of a life after death from such texts as Gen. xlvii. 9, they themselves believed in immortality. We sum up our observations by repeating, that the doctrine of immortality is not promulgated in the Mosaic books; though the lawgiver himself probably held it. It is consistent with the belief of Macdonald to hold, that “the doctrines of a future state and a resurrection are taught in the Pentateuch and were believed from the earliest times." No true critic, however, will ever agree with him, or conclude that his proof is aught but the weakest. It is enough to say that he makes the cherubim teach Adam a higher life than any thing of which the first man could have had a concep

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tion before. The death of Abel is invested with similar power. Some vague, indirect intimations of the doctrine may be traced. A few Hebrews before and at Moses's time


have had a dim foreshadow of it; especially as the human mind reflecting on man's destiny longs for immortality, in order to make higher advances in that moral and spiritual life where the attainments of the best are here so poor. The craving is a natural one,

and would scarcely have been implanted not to be gratified. But the notion of immortality could not have risen, even in these few exceptions, to a definite belief. It was vague and obscure; like the twinkling of a little star hardly perceptible from its remoteness.

XIII. THE GOLDEN CALF.—The manner in which the golden calf was reduced to powder has been the subject of many speculations. Commentators have looked to men of science, who have examined it in the light of modern advancement, assumed that knowledge possessed by the Israelites has been lost, and have offered elaborate explanations of the process supposed to have been employed. None of the expositions advanced accords with the description given by the writer or writers of what Moses did; or with the known simplicity of the operations of workers in metals in those remote times. The true and obvious meaning has been obscured by scientific elaboration. It has been sought for in the processes of modern chemistry; whereas it is to be found on the surface of antique science. The refinements of chemical science are altogether inapplicable ; since the operators could only be acquainted with the simplest processes of metallurgy.

Two passages describe the action performed by Moses, viz., Ex. xxxii. 20 and Deut. ix. 21. An attentive consideration of these would have suggested the correct explanation to any intelligent person acquainted with the common processes of separating metals froin the quartz and other matters in which they are found in nature.

In preparing ores of gold and silver for the smelter, it is necessary to employ stamps or massive beams shod with iron, which sometimes weigh as much as eight hundred each. These are lifted by machinery, and allowed to fall on the ore contained in iron troughs. The process of stamping is one requiring great vigilance and judgment; because if continued too long, the metal is stamped too small, and is technically said to be “stamped dead,” or reduced to such infinitesimally small particles that they float away with the water and cannot be recovered by any known device. Metals are liable to loss from


1 Introduction to the Pentateuch, vol. ii. p. 97 et seqq.

this cause in proportion to their malleability. And as gold possesses that property in a much higher degree than any other metal, it is more liable to be wasted by orerstamping. The gold of which the calf made by the Israelites was composed was designedly and indignantly overstamped. “I burned it with fire,” i.e., smelted it, “and stamped it and ground it very small.” Being cast upon the water in this state, it would unavoidably float away; and it is certain that the Israelites knew no way of recovering it.

Gold in a state of such minute division, suspended in water might be drunk with the water without producing any injury to health. No taste would be imparted to the water; so that the ingenious supposition of the soluble gold rendering the water peculiarly nauseous and offensive, is wholly gratuitous.



I. CONTENTS.—The book of Leviticus may be thus divided :1. The general law of offerings, chaps. i.-vii.

2. A historical section describing the consecration of Aaron and his sons, their first offerings, with the death of Nadab and Abihu, chaps. viii.-X.

3. Ordinances respecting uncleanness and its removal, chaps. xi.-xvi.

4. Injunctions about purity in the people and priests, chaps. xvii.-xxii.

5. Miscellaneous laws relating particularly to holy seasons or festivals, with an appendix referring to vows, chaps. xxiii.-xxvii.

In the first chapter voluntary regulations are given respecting animal offerings. If of a quadruped, the victim was to be a male without blemish of the herd or of the flock, i.e., a bullock, he-goat, or ram ; if of birds, the victims were to be turtle-doves or young pigeons. The next chapter treats of vegetables or unbloody offerings termed meat-offerings. These consisted either of fine flour, with oil and frankincense poured upon it; or bread prepared in three different ways; or corn unground. Salt was to be mixed with meat-offerings in all cases, and oil in all but

Leaven and honey were forbidden. Peace-offerings are next noticed. Here the victim might be an ox, a sheep, or a goat, male or female. The offerer having laid his hand on the animal's head, as in the case of the holocaust; it was slaughtered at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation; the blood sprinkled on the altar, and a small part of the animal consumed. The fourth chapter treats of sin-offerings, for the priest and for the congregation, on behalf of which a young bullock was to be presented in either case; for a ruler, who was to offer a kid; and for a common citizen, a kid, a female without blemish. The trespass-offerings are next described. These relate to persons who sin in concealing their knowledge of swearing, in touching unclean things, or in making an oath, and consist of a female lamb or kid; but if the parties are too poor to afford one

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