صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

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 night, and over-shadowing by day, their trackless course through the burning desert of Arabia.


MRS. M. The sacred Tabernacle, and its furniture, be ing 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

hope to excite, yet we must not pass them in silence. The laws of Moses have been divided into three classes, Moral, Typical or Ceremonial, and Political. The first are of universal and immutable obligation, originally given to man, and since found impressed on the heart of every creature endued with reason and conscience-but now first delivered in written characters, and on tables of stone, to denote their permanent nature: the second, in shadows too obscure to be fully understood at the time of their prescription, yet sufficiently clear to elicit and sustain the faith of its subjects, indicated the pollution and guilt of every individual, and the one great sacrifice which should procure purification and pardon: the third, in subserviency to that great end, erected a wall of partition between the posterity of Abraham and their Gentile neighbours, and preserved them through all the revolutions of ages, a separate people. Conformity to its precepts was never required of any other people; not even of those who resided among them.

FANNY. I had not supposed that they were so very important-We shall thank you for examples of them: especially of the two last mentioned.

MRS. M. In the course of our narrative I shall find an opportunity of gratifying you.


The first care of Moses, when he had reared and dedi→ cated the Sanctuary, was to consecrate its ministers. ven days successively they waited in the outer court; were washed with water, anointed with holy oil, provided for that purpose exclusively, and they offered burnt offerings in the presence of the whole nation. On the eighth day, when the animals which were to be offered as sacrifices were killed, and laid in order on the altar, fire, immedi

ately from Heaven, descended and consumed them! This was an event unexpected by the people, and they hailed it with loud acclamations of triumph and praise! No other fire being afterwards permitted to be used in the Tabernacle, it became the duty of the priests to keep this sacred flame continually alive. Two of the sons of Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, very soon transgressed the divine command, by putting "strange fire," as it is termed, into their censers to burn incense; for which offence they were instantly destroyed by the element which they dared to profane. "Fire came out from the Lord, and devoured them.”

FANNY. Were not the people greatly shocked to find their priests, whom they had seen but lately consecrated by so many solemn forms, transgressing a law?

MRS. M. They had a right to expect the most scrupulous care in the conduct of their ministers, but they would discover their error, if they had imagined that solemn forms would sanctify the heart, and enable them to render perfect obedience. The purification of Aaron and his sons by water, and their sin-offerings so often repeated, were designed to exhibit the holiness of their office-and their own utter unworthiness; but could effect no change in them. The sin of Nadab and Abihu is supposed to have been committed in a state of ebriety, as it was immediately followed by a command to the priests, to "drink no wine or strong drink when they went into the sanctuary," lest they should die. Their awful punishment was just, and their brethren were forbidden to disfigure themselves by exterior signs of mourning-" for the anointing oil of the Lord is upon you,” said Moses. "He will be glorified before all the people," and in the concise and emphatical language of scripture, he adds, ." and Aaron held his peace."

« السابقةمتابعة »