Imagens da página

was a sensible one is however an almost righteous, are, according to his style of writcertain inference. The effect of this upon ing, the same as “to be justified, pardoned, Cain was not to humble him before God, and dealt with as righteous.” Thus he argues but to excite anger against his brother; and, that Abraham believed God, “and it was being in the field with him, or, as the old accounted to him for righteousness,"-"that versions have it, having said to him, “Let us faith was reckoned to Abraham for rightego out into the field," "he rose up against ousness,”—“ that he received the sign of Abel his brother, and slew him ;” and for circumcision, a seal,a visible confirmatory, that crime, by which the first blood of man declaratory, and witnessing mark “ of the was shed by man upon the earth,-a murder righteousness which he had by faith.” In aggravated by the relationship and the righ- these cases we have a similarity so striking, teous” character of the sufferer, and having that they can scarcely fail to explain each in it also the nature of religious persecution, other. In both, sinful men are placed in the -- he was pronounced by the Lord “cursed condition of righteous men; the instrument, from the earth.”

in both cases, is faith ; and the transaction 2. As the sacrifice of Abel is the first on is, in both cases also, publicly and sensibly record, and has given rise to some contro- witnessed,-as to Abraham, by the sign of versy, it demands particular attention. It circumcision; as to Abel, by a visible acceptwas offered, says St. Paul, “ in faith,” and it ance of his sacrifice, and the rejection of that was “a more excellent sacrifice” than that of Cain. of Cain. Both these expressions intimate Abel had faith, and he expressed that faith that it was EXPIATORY and PREFIGURATIVE. by the kind of sacrifice he offered. It was

As to the matter of the sacrifice, it was an in this way that his faith “pleased God;” mimal offering. “Cain brought of the fruit it pleased him as a principle, and by the act of the ground; and Abel also brought of to which it led, which act was the offering the firstlings of his flock, and of the fat of a sacrifice to God different from that of thereof;” or, more literally, “the fat of Cain. Cain had not this faith, whatever them,” that is, according to the Hebrew might be its object; and Cain, accordingly, idiom, the sattest or best of his flock; and did not bring an offering to which God had in this circumstance consisted its specific “respect.” That which vitiated the offering character as an act of faith. This is sup- of Cain was the want of this faith; for his ported by the import of the phrase, wielora offering was not significant of faith: that dviar, used by the apostle in the Epistle which "pleased God,” in the case of Abel, to the Hebrews, when speaking of the sacri. was his faith ; and he had “respect” to his fice of Abel. Our translators have rendered offering, because it was the expression of that. it,“ a more excellent sacrifice.” Wickliffe faith; and, upon his faith so expressing itself, translates it, as Archbishop Magee observes, God witnessed to him that he was righteuncouthly, but in the full sense of the origi- ous.” So forcibly do the words of St. Paul, nal, “a much more sacrifice ;” and the con- when commenting upon this transaction, troversy which has arisen on this point is, show, that Abel's sacrifice was accepted, whether this epithet of “much more,” or because of its immediate connexion with his "fuller,” refers to quantity or quality; whe- faith, for by faith he is said to have offered ther it is to be understood in the sense of a it; and whatever it might be, which made more abundant, or of a better, a more excellent Abel's offering differ from that of Cain, whesacrifice. Dr. Kennicott takes it in the sense ther abundance, or kind, or both, this was of measure and quantity, as well as quality; the result of his faith. So evident also is it and supposes that Abel brought a double from the apostle, that Abel was witnessed offering of the firstlings of his flock, and of to be “righteous,” not with reference to any the fruit of the ground also. His criticism previous “ habit of a religious life,” as some has been very satisfactorily refuted by Arch- say, but with reference to his faith; and to bishop Magee. The sacrifice of Abel was this faith as expressing itself by his offering that of animal victims, and it was indicative a more excellent sacrifice.” Dot of gratitude but of "faith :” a quality 4. If, then, the faith of Abel had an immenot to be made manifest by the quantity of diate connexion with his sacrifice, and both an offering, for the one has no relation to with his being accepted as “righteous,”the other.

that is, justified, in St. Paul's use of the term, 3. This will more fully appear if we con- -to what had his faith respect? The parsider the import of the words of the apostle, ticular object of the faith of the elders, cele-"By Faith Abel offered unto God a more brated in Hebrews xi., is to be deduced from excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he the circumstances mentioned by St. Paul as obtained witness that he was kighteous, illustrative of the existence and operation of God testifying of his gifts; and by it, he, this great principle, and by which it manibeing dead, yet speaketh.” Now what is the fested itself in them. Let us explain this, meaning of the apostle, when he says that it and then ascertain the object of Abel's faith was witnessed or testified to Abel that he was also from the manner of its manifestation -righteous ? His doctrine is, that men are sin- from the acts in which it embodied and renners; that all, consequently, need pardon; dered itself conspicuous. and to be declared, witnessed, and accounted Faith, in this chapter, is taken in the sense




of affiance in God, and, as such, it can only tecedent revelation to which his faith, as be exercised toward God, as to all its par- thus expressed, had respect, and on which ticular acts, in those respects in which we that peculiarity of his offering, which distinhave some warrant to confide in him. This guished it from the offering of Cain, was supposes revelation, and, in particular, pro- founded; a revelation which indicated that mises or declarations on his part, as the the way in which God would be approached ground of every act of affiance. When, acceptably, in solemn worship, was by ani. therefore, it is said that “by faith Enoch mal sacrifices. Without this, the faith to was translated that he should not see death,” which his offering, which was an offering of it must be supposed that he had some pro- the firstlings of his flock, had a special fitmise or intimation to this effect, on which, ness and adaptation, could have had no warimprobable as the event was, he nobly relied; rant in divine authority. But this revelation and in the result. God honoured his faith in must have included, in order to its being the sight of all men. The faith of Noah had the ground of faith, as “the substance of immediate respect to the threatened flood, things hoped for,” a promise of a benefit to and to the promise of God to preserve him be conferred, in which promise Abel might in the ark which he was commanded to pre- confide. But if so, then this promise must pare. The chapter is filled with other in- have been connected, not with the worship stances, expressed or implied, and from the of God in general, or performed in any way whole, as well as from the nature of things, whatever indifferently, but with his worit will appear, that, when the apostle speaks ship by animal oblations; for it was in this of the faith of the elders in its particular way that the faith of Abel specially and disacts, he represents it as having respect to tinctively indicated itself. The antecedent some promise, declaration, or revelation of revelation was, therefore, a promise of a God.

benefit to be conferred, by means of animal This revelation was necessarily antecedent sacrifice; and we are taught what this beneto the faith ; but it is also to be observed, fit was, by that which was actually received that the acts by which the faith was repre- by the offerer,—“He obtained witness that sented, whenever it was represented by par- he was righteous ;which must be interticular acts, and when the case admitted it, preted in the sense of a declaration of his had a natural and striking conformity and personal justification, and acceptance as righcorrespondence to the previous revelation. teous, by the forgiveness of his sins. The So Noah built the ark, which indicated that reason of Abel's acceptance and of Cain's he had heard the threat of the world's destruc- rejection is hereby made manifest; the one, tion by water, and had received the promise of in seeking the divine favour, conformed to his own preservation, and that of his family, his established and appointed method of as well as that of a part of the beasts of the being approached by guilty men, and the earth. When Abraham went into Canaan at other not only neglected this, but profanely the command of God, and upon the promise and presumptuously substituted his own that that country should become the inherit- inventions. ance of his descendants, he showed his faith 5. It is impossible, then, to allow the by taking possession of it for them in anti- sacrifice of Abel, in this instance, to have cipation, and his residence there indicated been an act of FAITH, without supposing the kind of promise which he had received. that it had respect to a previous revelation, Thus these instances show, that when the which agreed with all the parts of that faith which the apostle commends exhibited sacrificial action by which he expressed his itself in some particular act, that act had a faith in it. Had Abel's sacrifice been euchacorrespondency to the previous promise or ristic merely, it would have expressed gratirevelation which was the ground of faith. We tude, but not faith ; or if faith in the general must therefore interpret the acts of Abel's sense of confidence in God that he would faith so as to make them also correspond receive an act of grateful worship, and reward with an antecedent revelation. His faith had the worshippers, it did not more express faith respect to some previous revelation, and the than the offering of Cain, who surely believed nature of the revelation is to be collected these two points, or he would not have from the significant manner in which he de- brought an offering of any kind. The offering clared his faith in it.

of Abel expressed a faith which Cain had not; Now that which Abel did“ by faith,” and the doctrinal principles which Abel's was, generally, to perform an act of solemn faith respected were such as his sacrifice worship, in the confidence that it would be visibly embodied. If it was not an euchaacceptable to God. This supposes a revela- ristic sacrifice, it was an expiatory one ; and, tion, immediate or by tradition, that such in fact, it is only in a sacrifice of this kind, acts of worship were acceptable to God, or his that it is possible to see that faith exhibited faith could have had no warrant, and would which Abel had, and Cain had not. If then. not have been faith, but fancy. But the case we refer to the subsequent sacrifices of expiamust be considered more particularly. His tion appointed by Divine authority, and their faith led him to offer “a more excellent explanation in the New Testament, it will be sacrifice” than that of Cain; but this as obvious to what doctrines and principles of necessarily implies, that there was some an.. an antecedent revelation the faith of Abel had respect, and which his sacrifice, the ex- Baal-peor, for which God punished them by hibition of his faith, proclaimed: confession the destruction of twenty-four thousand perof the fact of being a sinner,-acknowledg- sons in one day. ment that the demerit and penalty of sin is ABIAH, the second son of the prophet death,-submission to an appointed mode Samuel, and brother of Joel. Samuel having of erpiation,-animal sacrifice offered vica- entrusted to his sons the administration of riously, but, in itself, a mere type of a better public justice, and admitted them to a share sacrifice, “the Seed of the woman,” ap- in the government, they behaved so ill, that pointed to be offered at some future period, the people demanded a king, 1 Sam. vii. 2. -and the efficacy of this appointed method A. M. 2999. of expiation to obtain forgiveness, and to ABIATHAR, the son of Ahimelech, and admit the guilty into the divine favour. the tenth High Priest among the Jews, and

“ Abel,” Dr. Magee justly says, “in firm fourth in descent from Eli, 2 Sam. viii. 17 ; reliance on the promise of God, and in obe- i Chron. xviii. 16. When Saul sent to Nob dience to his command, offered that sacri, to murder all the priests, Abiathar escaped fice which had been enjoined as the religi- the massacre, and fled to David in the wilderous expression of his faith ; whilst Cain, ness. There he continued in the quality of disregarding the gracious assurances that High Priest ; but Saul, out of aversion to had been vouchsafed, or at least disdaining Ahimelech, whom he imagined to have beto adopt the prescribed mode of manifesting trayed his interests, transferred the dignity of bis belief, possibly as not appearing to his the High Priesthood from Ithamar's family reason to possess any efficacy or natural fit- into that of Eleazar, by conferring this office ness, thought he had sufficiently acquitted upon Zadok. Thus there were, at the same himself of his duty in acknowledging the time, two High Priests in Israel, Abiathar general superintendence of God, and express- with David, and Zadok with Saul. In this ing his gratitude to the Supreme Benefactor, state things continued, until the reign of by presenting some of those good things Solomon, when Abiathar, being attached to which he thereby confessed to have been de- the party of Adonijah, was, by Solomon, dirived from his bounty. In short, Cain, the vested of his priesthood, A. M. 2989; and firstborn of the fall, exhibits the first fruits the race of Zadok alone performed the funcof his parents' disobedience, in the arrogance tions of that office during the reign of Soloand self-sufficiency of reason rejecting the mon, to the exclusion of the family of Ithaaids of revelation, because they fell not mar, according to the word of the Lord to within its apprehension of right. He takes Eli, 1 Sam. ii. 30, &c. the first place in the annals of Deism, and ABIB, the name of the first Hebrew sacred displays, in his proud rejection of the ordi- month, Exod. xiii. 4. This month was after. rance of sacrifice, the same spirit which, in wards called Nisan; it contained thirty days, later days, has actuated his enlightened fol- and answered to part of our March and lowers, in rejecting the sacrifice of Christ.” April. Abib signifies green ears of corn, or

Abel was killed about the year of the fresh fruits, according to Jerom's translation, world, 130.

Exod. xiii. 4, and to the LXX. It was so ABEL-MISRAIM, the floor of Atad, be- named because corn, particularly barley, was yond the river Jordan, where Joseph, his in ear at that time. It was an early custom brethren, and the Egyptians mourned for the to give names to months, from the appeardeath of Jacob, Gen. I. 11. On this occasion ances of nature; and the custom is still the funeral procession was, at the command in force among many nations. of Joseph, attended by "all the elders of among the Jews commenced in September, Egypt, and all the servants of Pharaoh, and and consequently their jubilees and other all his house, and the house of his brethren, civil matters were regulated in this way, chariots and horsemen, a very great com- Lev. xxv. 8—10; but their sacred year began pany ;” an affecting proof, as it has been in Abib. This change took place at the reremarked, of Joseph's simplicity and single- demption of Israel from Egypt, Exod. xii. 2, ness of heart, which allowed him to give to “This shall be to you the beginning of the great men of Egypt, over whom he bore months.” Ravanelli'observes, that as this absolute rule, an opportunity of observing deliverance from Egypt was a figure of the his own comparatively humble origin, by redemption of the church of Jesus Christ, leading them in attendance upon his father's who died and rose again in this month, it corpse to the valleys of Canaan, the modest was made the “beginning of months,” to eradle of his race, and to their simple burial lead the church to expect the acceptable year places.

of the Lord. On the tenth day of this ABEL-SHITTIM, a city situate in the month the paschal lamb was taken ; and on plaids of Moab, beyond Jordan, opposite to the fourteenth they ate the passover. On Jericho, Num. xxv. 1, &c. ; xxiii. 49; Joshua the seven succeeding days they celebrated xi. 1. Eusebius says it stood in the neigh- the feast of unleavened bread, on the last of bourhood of mount Peor. Moses encamped which days they held a solemn convocation, at Abel-Shittim some time before the He. Exod. xii., xiii. On the fifteenth they gabrew army passed the Jordan. Here the thered the sheaf of the barley first-fruits, and Israelites fell into idolatry, and worshipped on the following day presented an offering of

The year who pr

it to the Lord, which having done they might in his youngest son shall he set up the gates begin their harvest, Levit. xxiii.

of it,” Joshua vi. 26. Hiel of Bethel, about ABIHU, the son of Aaron, the High five hundred and thirty-seven years after Priest, was consur

sumed, together with his bro- this imprecation, having undertaken to rether Nadab, by fire sent from God, because build Jericho, whilst he was laying the founhe had offered incense with strange fire, in- dation of it, lost his eldest son, Abiram, stead of taking it from the altar, Lev. x. 1, 2. 1 Kings xvi. 34 ; and Segub, the youngest, This calamity happened A. M. 2514 ; within when they set up the gates of it: A remarkeight days after the consecration of Aaron able instance of a prophetic denunciation and his sons. Some commentators believe fulfilled, perhaps on a person who would not that this fire proceeded from the altar of credit the tradition, or the truth of the preburnt-offerings; others, that it came from diction. So true is the word of the Lord; the altar of incense. Several interpreters, 80 minutely are the most distant contingenas the Rabbins, Lyra, Cajetan, and others, cies foreseen by him; and so exact is the are of opinion, that Nadab and Abihu were accomplishment of divine prophecy ! overtaken with wine, and so forgot to take 2. ABIRAM, the son of Éliab, of the tribe the sacred fire in their censers. This con

of Reuben, was one of those who conspired jecture is founded on the command of God with Korah and Dathan against Moses in the delivered immediately afterwards to the wilderness, and was swallowed up alive, priests, forbidding them the use of wine with his companions, by the earth, which during the time they should be employed in opened to receive them, Num. xvi. the service of the temple. Another class ABISHAG, a young woman, a native of allege, that there was nothing so heinous Shunam, in the tribe of Issachar. David, in their transgression, but it was awfully at the age of seventy, finding no warmth in punished, to teach ministers fidelity and his bed, was advised by his physicians to exactness in discharging their office. It had procure some young person, who might com. a vastly more important meaning,—this in- municate the heat required. To this end stance of vengeance is a standing example of Abishag was presented to him, who was one that divine wrath which shall consume all of the most beautiful women in Israel,

tend to serve God, except with in- i Kings i. 3; and the king made her his cense kindled from the one altar and offering wife. After his death, Adonijah requested by which He for ever perfects them that are her in marriage, for which he lost his life; sanctified,

Solomon perceiving in this a design upon ABIJAH, the son of Jeroboam, the first the crown also. Adonijah was his elder king of the ten tribes, who died very young, brother, an intriguing man, and had aspired 1 Kings xiv. 1, &c. A. M. 3046.—2. The son to be king before the death of David, and of Rehoboam, king of Judah, and of Maa- had had his life spared only upon the conchah, the daughter of Uriel, who succeeded dition of his peaceable conduct. By this his father, A. M. 3046, 2 Chron. xi. 20; xiii. request he convinced Solomon, that he was 2, &c. The Rabbins reproach this monarch still actuated by political views, and this with neglecting to destroy the profane altar brought upon him the punishment of treason. which Jeroboam had erected at Bethel ; and ABISHAI, the son of Zeruiah, David's with not suppressing the worship of the sister, who was one of the most valiant men golden calves there after his victory over of his time, and one of the principal generals: that prince.

in David's armies. ABILENE, a small province in Cælo- ABLUTION, purification by washing the Syria, between Lebanon and Antilibanus. body, either in whole or part. Ablutions of this place Lysanias was governor in the appear to be almost as ancient as external fifteenth

year of Tiberius, Luke iii. 1. Abela, worship itself. Moses enjoined them; the or Abila, the capital, was north of Damascus, heathens adopted them; and Mahomet and and south of Heliopolis.

his followers have continued them : thus ABIMELECH. "This seems to have been they have been introduced among most the title of the kings of Philistia, as Cæsar nations, and make a considerable part of was of the Roman emperors, and Pharaoh of all superstitious religions.—The Egyptian the sovereigns of Egypt. It was the name priests had their diurnal and nocturnal ablualso of one of the song of Gideon, who became tions; the Grecians, their sprinklings; the a judge of Israel, Judges ix.; and of the Jew- Romans, their lustrations and lavations ; the ish High Priest, who gave Goliah's sword, Jews, their washings of hands and feet, bewhich had been deposited in the tabernacle, side their baptisms; the ancient Christians and part of the shewbread, to David, at the used ablution before communion, which time this prince was flying from Saul, 1 Sam. the Romish church still retains before the xxi. 1.

mass, sometimes after; the Syrians, Copts, ABIRAM, the eldest son of Hiel, the &c., have their solemn washings on Good Bethelite Joshua having destroyed the city Friday; the Turks, their greater and less of Jericho, pronounced this curse : Cursed ablutions, &c. be the man, before the Lord, that riseth up Lustration, among the Romans, was a and buildeth this city, Jericho: he shall lay solemn ceremony by which they purified the foundation thereof in his first-bo' a, and their cities, fields, armies, or people, after

[blocks in formation]

the gods.

[blocks in formation]



, ver his uested s life;


elder spired

any crime or impurity. Lustrations might always of an infamous and licentious nature. be performed by fire, by sulphur, by water, For this reason, Chrysostom affirms, that and by air ; the last was applied by ven- every idol, and every image of a man, was tilation

, or fanning the thing to be purified. called an abomination among the Jews. The All sorts of people, slaves excepted, might “abomination of desolation,” foretold by the perform some kind of lustration. When a prophet Daniel, x. 27, xi. 31, is supposed by person died, the house was to be swept in some interpreters to denote the statue of a particular manner; new married persons Jupiter Olympius, which Antiochus Epiphawere sprinkled by the priest with water. nes caused to be erected in the temple of People sometimes, by way of purification, Jerusalem. The second of the passages above ran several times naked through the streets. cited may probably refer to this circumThere was scarcely any action performed, at stance, as the statue of Jupiter did, in fact, the beginning and end of which some cere- “make desolate,” by banishing the true wormony was not required to purify themselves ship of God, and those who performed it, and appease

from the temple. But the former passage, ABNER was the uncle of king Saul, and considered in its whole connexion, bears more the general of his army. After Saul's death, immediate reference to that which the evan. he made Ishbosheth king; and for seven gelists have denominated the “ abomination years supported the family of Saul, in oppo- of desolation,” Matt. xxiv. 15, 16 ; Mark xiii. sition to David ; but in most of his skirmishes 14. This, without doubt, signifies the ensigns came off with loss. While Ishbosheth's and of the Roman armies under the command David's troops lay near each other, hard by of Titus, during the last siege of Jerusalem. Gibeon, Abner challenged Joab to select The images of their gods and emperors were twelve of David's warriors to fight with an delineated on these ensigns; and the ensigns equal number of his. Joab consented: the themselves, especially the eagles, which were twenty-four engaged ; and fell together on carried at the heads of the legions, were obthe spot. A fierce battle ensued, in which jects of worship; and, according to the usual Abner and his troops were routed. Abner style of scripture, they were therefore an himself was hotly pursued by Asahel, whom abomination. Those ensigns were placed upon be killed by a back-stroke of his spear. Still the ruins of the temple after it was taken and he was followed by Joab and Abishai, till he, demolished ; and, as Josephus informs us, who in the morning sported with murder, was the Romans sacrificed to them there. The obliged at even to entreat that Joab would horror with which the Jews regarded them stay his troops from the effusion of blood, sufficiently appears from the account which 2 Sam. ï.

Josephus gives of Pilate's introducing them Not long after, Abner, taking it highly into the city, when he sent his army from amiss for Ishbosheth to charge him with lewd Cæsarea into winter quarters at Jerusalem, behaviour toward Rizpah, Saul's concubine, and of Vitellius's proposing to march through Fowed that he would quickly transfer the Judea, after he had received orders from whole kingdom into the hands of David. Tiberius to attack Aretas, king of Petra. He therefore commenced a correspondence The people supplicated and remonstrated, with David, and had an interview with him at and induced Pilate to remove the army, and Hebron. Abner had just left the feast at Vitellius to march his troops another way, which David had entertained him, when Joab, The Jews applied the above passage of Daniel informed of the matter, warmly remonstrated, to the Romans, as we are informed by Jerome. asserting that Abner had come as a spy. The learned Mr. Mede concurs in the same On his own authority he sent a messenger to opinion. Sir Isaac Newton, Obs. on Daniel invite him back, to have some further com- ix, xii., observes, that in the sixteenth year munication with the king ; and when Abner of the emperor Adrian, B.C. 132, the Romans w28 come into Joab's presence, the latter, accomplished the prediction of Daniel by partly from jealousy lest Abner might be building a temple to Jupiter Capitolinus, come his superior, and partly to revenge his where the temple of God in Jerusalem had brother Asahel's death, mortálly stabbed him stood. Upon this occasion the Jews, under in the act of salutation. Dávid, to show the conduct of Barchochab, rose up in arms how heartily he detested the act, honoured against the Romans, and in the war had fifty Abner with a splendid funeral, and composed cities demolished, nine hundred and eightyan elegy on his death, 2 Sam. iii.

five of their best towns destroyed, and five ABOMINATION. This term was used hundred and eighty thousand men slain by with regard to the Hebrews, who, being shep- the sword ; and in the end of the war, B.C. berds, are said to have been an abomination 136, they were banished from Judea upon to the Egyptians ; because they sacrificed the pain of death; and thenceforth the land reanimals held sacred by that people, as oxen,

mained desolate of its old inhabitants. Others goats, sheep, &c., which the Egyptians es- again have applied the prediction of Daniel teemed unlawful. This word is also applied to the invasion and desolation of Christenin the sacred writings to idolatry and idols, dom by the Mohammedans, and to their not only because the worship of idols is in

conversion of the churches into mosques. itself an abominable thing, but likewise be

From this interpretation they infer, that the cause the ceremonies of idolaters were almost religion of Mohammed will prevail in the east

1, and


this e was

this 202.


men eral

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »