صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني
[ocr errors]

CATHERINE. Did Aaron, their high priest, participate in the monstrous defection ?

Mrs. M. He had not yet been invested with that dignified character; but he had been the minister of God, and ought to have resisted the clamours of a turbulent people; whose crime can be but little extenuated, by the charitable supposition, that they meant not to impair their allegiance to their legitimate sovereign ; but merely to erect an ensign or standard to go before them; to which, among a people addicted to polytheism, they had learned to ascribe a sort of mystical influence. Moses had been forty days in the mount; they saw it involved in smoke, and the

glory of the Lord,” like devouring fire on its summit. He might have perished in its flame, and left them without a visible captain-still their offence was most flagrant, both in its nature and circumstances, as we learn unequivocally from the signal punishments inflicted--three thousand of the principal rebels put to death by the hands of their more loyal brethren!

On this occasion the illustrious Chieftain gave a noble example of his disinterestedness, by entreating, that his own life might be accepted as an expiation for the sins of his people; that he might be excluded from the promised and rather than the whole people of his charge should be cut off : but a full pardon was granted for all except the leaders, on his intercession, and the penitent congregation testified their gratitude by contributing materials for the tabernacle and the vestments of the priests, with profuse liberality. Silver and gold, and brass and jewels; threads, spun by the women, of purple, of blue, and scarlet febrics of the finest texture, were brought in till all was completed.

a

Charles. There is, I remember, a very long description of the tabernacle, but I don't understand it. Will you, mother, give us some idea of it?

Mrs. M. The directions given to Moses for constructing the tabernacle were very particular, therefore tedious to you. They were necessarily minute, because every part was significant; a general description, however, will suffice for our present purpose. The tabernacle, strictly so called, was a large Tent thirty-two cubits* in length and twelve in breadth, divided into two apartments. In the inner one, stood the Ark of the covenant ; that is, a chest containing the two tables of stone which were given to Moses on mount Sinai ; this was denominated the Most holy place. A vail of singular beauty, and impenetrable thick. ness concealing this sacred depository, and excluded every creature except the High Priest. Without the vail, in the second division, stood an altar for burning incense (a table called the table of shew-bread, and a candlestick with seven lamps, of equisite workmanship, to keep a light continually burning. To these two apartments was appended a third, which was called the court of the tabernacle and was an hundred cubits long and fifty broad. This court was appropriated to the altar for burnt offerings --the lava or bath, to purify the priests, before they went within to officiate, and for the reception of the people who waited in prayer whilst their sacrifices were consuming. This last was open at top, the other two divisions were covered. The whole was surrounded by curtains of rich tapestry, and comprehended under the general appellation of the Tabernacle, or, the Sanctuary. Staves of wood

[ocr errors]

* This cubit was half a yard of our measure, according to Burder.

overlaid with gold, were prepared to carry both the ark and the table from place to place.

The table and the candlestick were of gold, and the ark was inlaid, within and without, with that precious metal. The cover, which was called the Mercy Seat, was of pure gold, and over it two cherubim of beaten gold, extended their wings; between them, and over the ark, which contained the Covenant, the God of Mercy was pleased to manifest his presence, and to answer the supplications of his people.

FANNY. A Covenant, I understand to mean, a contract; why were the tables called a Covenant ?

Mrs. M. Because they expressed the conditions on which the Great Supreme, on the one part, had condescended to promise certain blessings to the posterity of Jacob; and they, on the other, had accepted the terms, and solemnly promised obedience, the tables were, therefore, a Covenant, or contract.

CATHERINE. The manufacture of all these curious articles would require a considerable knowledge of the fine arts.

MRS. M. Egypt, the native country of the Hebrews, possessed all the requisite knowledge in very early times, but the sacred furniture was not committed to the previous acquirements of the travellers. Several persons were expressly named to Moses, and endowed with extraordinary talents for the execution of the work.

(B. C. 1490.) Every thing being finished, according to the model prescribed in the mount, the sacred sanctuary was raised, the vail was suspended, the altars, the table, and the candlestick, were fixed in their places, on the first day of the second year of their abode in the wilderness of Sinai. The Princes of the tribes presented their oblations -silver and golden vessels, and cattle and herds, for the dedication. Sacrifice and incense were offered, and the most glorious demonstration of the divine presence attested their acceptance. Light, insupportably resplendent, filled the tabernacle, of Jehovah, so that not even Moses could remain within, while the bright cloud descended, and covered the exterior. So long as this authoritative signal remained in that position, and ever afterwards during their long pilgrimage, whensoever it was assumed--the Israelites rested. When the cloud was taken

up

and moved forward, they followed; their benignant conductor irradiating by nigh and over-shadowing by day, their trackless course through the burning desert of Arabia.

LEVITICUS.

MRS. M. The sacred Tabernacle, and its furniture, being in perfect readiness for the religious service of the children of Israel, the book of Leviticus proceeds to prescribe its ordinances, and the duties of the Levites, its ministers. It is chiefly devoted to these details, without the intervention of much incident.

FANNY. We are to have a dull conversation, then, this evening; but pray let me ask, is it necessary that we should be made acquainted with a system in which we are wholly unconcerned ?

MRS. M. If that were the case, I would not ask your attention. I have known your seniors in age, my dear, commit the same error into which you have fallen ; I would

! rectify that, by showing you our interest in the Jewish economy, although I do not intend to be so minute as you seem to apprehend. The scheme of salvation is one and the same from all eternity, although it is exhibited under different dispensations. That gospel, which was published by the Redeemer of the world

and confirmed by his death, was pre-figured in emblems, by the ceremonial law of the Israelites. They explain and establish one another; the analogy has been elucidated by many excellent volumes, some of which you will read with more pleasure than I can

« السابقةمتابعة »