« AnteriorContinuar »
BIBLICAL EXPOSITION AND ILLUSTRATION,
No. V. “ And Lamech said unto his wives, Adah and Zillah, hear my voice; ye wives of Lamech, hearken unto my speech : for I have slain a man to my wounding, and a young man to my hurt: If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold, truly Lamech seventy and sevenfold,”' Gen. iv. 23, 24.
This address of Lamech is poetical, a ation; for it must at once be rejected as fact which has been universally acknow- arbitrary and unauthorised. It should ledged, and which cannot fail to strike never have been set forth by the transthe most superficial reader. It is a spe- lators as deserving of notice. Nor is there cimen of ancient poetry, the most ancient any reason to suppose, with the Jews, that probably in existence. Our present pur- Lamech alludes to two persons whom he pose is not to inquire whether the poem would slay or had slain. It is true that here preserved by Moses was received a man is first mentioned, and then a by oral tradition or from written records. young man; but both are descriptive of Were it desirable to examine the point, one and the same person. Nothing is the latter opinion might be rendered very more common in Hebrew poetry than to probable; for we look upon it as tole- repeat the sentiment of one member in ably certain that writing was known the next, and that too nearly in the same before the time of the historian, and that language. So in the opening verse of historical poems, or fragments of histori- the ninety-fifth psalm, cal poems, were inserted by him in the
Let us sing unto the Lord, Pentateuch. The present is a relic of
Let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our hoary antiquity deserving the attention
salvation. and attracting the interest of every intelligent Bible reader.
And in the beginning of the words under And Lamech said unto his wives,
consideration, Adah and Zillah, hear my voice;
Adah and Zillah, hear my voice ; Ye wives of Lamech, hcarken to my speech :
Ye wives of Lamech, bearken to my speech. For I have slain a man because of my wound
Thus Lamech had slain a young man, ing, A young man because of my hurt.
not two persona. And the reason of his If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold,
having killed the young man is given; Surely Lamech seventy and sevenfold.
Lamech had been wounded by him. He The
very short, and somewhat had therefore slain his adversary in selfobscure in meaning, though pervaded by defence, and was guilty of a justifiable all the characteristics of Hebrew poetry. homicide rather than of murder. The paWhether it be a fragment, or complete in triarch's own statement is, that the enemy itself, it is impossible to discover at the had hurt and wounded him. In defend. present day. Let us endeavour to ascer- ing himself he had deprived him of life. tain the correct sense of it.
But why does he address his wives on Some of the Jews, desirous to screen this occasion ? Because they had been Lamech from the guilt of murder which uneasy respecting him. Their minds the words obviously attribute to him, were filled with apprehensions for his have sought to give ancther turn to the safety. Hence the husband seeks to whole by translating “I would slay" | allay their fears and to quiet their soliciinstead of “ I have slain." Tbus Lamech tude by referring to the justifiable nature boasts or threatens what he would do, of the homicide in question. but does not speak of what he had done. he, Cain shall be avenged sevenfold, It is surprising to find our excellent though he committed an unprovoked translators putting this version in the murder by killing his innocent brother margin of the English Bible, as if it surely it is natural to suppose that were fairly entitled to a candid consider- / Lamech shall be avenged seventy-seven
fold in self-defence. In this manner he he is the first polygamist spoken of by endeavours to soothe the minds of his the historian. Some of Cain's wicked wives by representing the case as one posterity prior to Lamech may have had admitting of justification, since he had more wives than one. The silence of the acted simply on the defensive. Such ap- record is no proof of the non-existence of pears to us the most natural interpreta- polygamy in the world previously. tion of the address.
Another ingenious explanation has Different expositions have been given been given by Herder, who looks upon of the words before us, which savour of the poem as a triumphant song on the the fanciful rather than the obvious. invention of the sword and metallic weaSome refer them to the first workings of pons. His son Tubal-cain had discojealousy manifesting themselves in this vered the art of working metals, so as to early example of polygamy. In their make sharp instruments; and the father opinion, Lamech was the first polyga- breaks out into joy at the thought of mist; and we are directed to observe, being able to inflict vengeance on those how soon the consequences of departing who injured him. He had tried the sufrom the original marriage institution perior efficacy of the newly-invented appear. Mark, say they, the risings of weapons, and found them such as to a tormenting passion in the patriarch's please his haughty spirit. mind; and how he threatens his wives
I slew a man who wounded me, because of it. I would slay a man, even A young man who smote me with a blow. though I should be wounded by him; and If Cain shall be avenged seven times,
Then Lamech, seventy times seven. a young man, though I should suffer hurt. I would submit to bodily wounds and in- If Cain by the providence of God was juries, that I might slay the young man to be avenged seven times, how much who would presume to interfere with my more shall I be avenged, by the use of love to you. Beware, therefore, how ye these newly-invented weapons, which I encourage any one. This interpretation have tried for the first time and found is ingenious, but destitute of all proba- | all that I wished ? bility. It rests on a version of the verb It is difficult in this case to see the I hare slain, which is incorrect. Besides, | reason why Lamech boasts to his wives ; there is no reason to assume that Lamech and the wbole explanation is too refined was the first polygamist, merely because to be adopted.
PICTURES FROM LIFE.
THE HOME OF LOVE.
" Where burns the fireside brightest,
Cheering the social breast?
Its humble hopes possessid ?
With meek-eyed patience borne,
Which mirth's gay cheeks adorn?
To those who ever roam;
At home-sweet home." The word “Home," especially when | unfolded, is ever associated with images paternal, conjugal, filial, or fraternal love of endearment, tenderness, and affection, is developed, and when the fear of God, of the purest and most exquisite kind, as the governing and master principle, is and with scenes of quiet virtue, tranquillity, and joy. What can we find, in a height, uniting into a common level at world like ours, where there is so much the summit, and unfolding on every coldness, insincerity, and unmixed selfish- hand the most extended and lovely ness, that is comparatively worth possess- prospects. ing, or aspiring after, if we proceed be- The house to which we were accusyond our home? How little kindness is tomed to repair was one of a cottage-like experienced from others ! How much style, simple and chaste in its construcingratitude is realized! How often are tion and all its embellishments. A beauwe deceived! and where we have been tiful flower-garden extended some disreposing almost unsuspecting confidence tance in front, and an ample garden and we have frequently been the most sur- orchard stretched behind. Over some eleprisingly and painfully deceived. If, gant trellis-work in front "sweet jessathen, we want real friends, friends who mine” gracefully and luxuriantly crept, will never fail us, friends who will always whilesmall roses and honeysuckle blended be the same in sunshine and beneath their charms and diffused their fragrance. the cloud, in the day of prosperity and In the early part of June, when this adversity, in health and in sickness, let lovely scene was visited, it was like reus seek after them at home. If we are pairing to a little Eden in the desert. desirous of observing some of the finest The inmates of this peaceful and sunny mental and moral qualities developed, home were six in number--the parents, some of the loveliest features of the Chris- and four affectionate and devoted chiltian character expressed, let us mark dren; and what rendered it the more dethem in many of the peaceful, retired, lightful was this circumstance, that they virtuous, and happy homes of our own were all under the influence of the love highly-favoured country, where domestic of God, and thoroughly consecrated to affection is so much prized, and domestic his service. Indeed, it was the hallowhappiness is so extensively realized. ing influence and abiding presence of
It was in one of the most beauteous religion in the family which sweetened parts of a fair and fertile district of all, sanctified all, endeared all, and renEngland that we were acquainted, many dered this favoured abode so enviable and years ago, with one of these virtuous so happy. and tranquil homes. It was always re- The heads of the family were nearly freshing and delightful to repair to it, fifty years of age-intelligent, amiable, and it was never left without regret. pious persons, under the influence of the Memory, after the lapse of more than kindest disposition, and devotedly attwenty years, loves to recur to its scenes, tached to each other. The father was a its engagements, and its pleasures; and man of gentlemanly and elegant appearwhen recollection is awakened, associa- ance, and the most bland and prepossesstions are inspired which are peaceful, ing demeanour. He was very thoughtful ennobling, and happy.
and devout, and delighted in the rural The home to which we allude was and lovely scenery by which he was sursituated in a rich and lovely valley, ex- rounded. The mother was a woman of tending in a southerly direction, and quiet and retiring habits, exceedingly informing the bed of a small and mean- genuous and affectionate in her disposidering river in its course from a neigh- tion, and one who lived very near to bouring hill. The meadows which bor- God. There were two sons-one about dered this river were most verdant, and five-and-twenty and the other about onein early summer their richness was most and-twenty years of age. There was a attractive, and the beauty of the scene marked contrast in their minds as well as was augmented by its abruptly terminat- in their persons; still they were both ing in the steep green sides of a range alike in one respect, in their love to the of irregular eminences of considerable Saviour and their desire to advance his
glory in their own immediate circle and quickening impulse communicated to the the neighbourhood around.
best emotions of our nature. The eldest son possessed a vigorous The head of the family was very parmind, well-informed and well-disciplined, tial to the works of Flavel, that richly and he was continually adding to its experimental and useful writer. He bad stores. The youngest was modest and an elegantly bound octavo copy of his unassuming in his habits, and somewhat productions, and he daily and with inpensive in his thoughts and demeanour; creased pleasure consulted them. He still he was accustomed to indulge in was accustomed to say, "I never read excursive reflections and inquiries, and Fiavel without finding myself instructed, was much addicted to the study of the encouraged, and benefited. There is works of God.
always something on which I can dwell, Jane, the eldest daughter, was a fine, by which I can be fed, and in which I tall, elegant girl, devotedly attached to can rejoice.” He was wont to observe, her parents and brothers, and exceedingly “I wish our young ministers would all fond of home. She was regular and uni- endeavour to preach and do good to form in her habits; she greatly aided her souls like Flavel. There is no tinselbeloved mother in attention to domestic no glare; but a scriptural simplicity, 'an duties; but she daily performed the be- unction from the Holy One,' a tender nevolent engagement of visiting the poor affection, an impassioned earnestness, and the sick in her neighbourhood, and most attractive.” He was very fond also administering all the kind and Christian of the Life of Philip Henry, by his son offices which she could possibly fulfil. Matthew. He had this book always near
Ellen, the youngest of the family, was him. “This,” he would often say, "is one of smiles and happiness. She pos- a precious little volume. It is one of my sessed a lively and superior imagination, classics. I never consult it without getting which she daily cultivated. She looked good; finding something which I can at everything on the bright side. She find nowhere else.” seemed to live continually in the sun- His beloved partner was devotedly atshine, and, what was the best of all, she tached to Baxter, especially his “Call lived encircled by that light which is to the Unconverted,” and his “Saints' communicated by the hope of immor- Rest.” The latter volume in her postality.
session was one of the early editions, This was the happy family with which and so much did she prize it that she we were acquainted; and the remem- had it bound in morocco, and she could brance of whose kind spirit, bland and not bear it to be out of her chamber. affectionate manners, benevolent, virtu- The eldest son was a great admirer of ous, and devotional habits, we can never Hannah More. He appreciated her vigour, recur to, after the lapse of so long a her fulness of remark and illustration, period, without being sensibly affected. her sageness, her Johnsonian copiousness Many and many an evening have we and force. He would read her “Stricspent in the most rational and improving tures on Female Education," and her manner with the inmates of the peaceful "Hints on the Education of a Young abode to which we take our readers. Princess," again and again, and would They were all exceedingly fond of read- observe: “I never read them without ing; and conversations were held on the having my information augmented, and books perused, discussions pursued on my interest increased." the subjects contemplated, and inquiries The younger son was an excursive elicited which proved invigorating to the reader of works developing the beauties, mind, and most beneficial to the heart. the wonders, and the glories of the uniOften and often have we had an eleva- verse. To the science of astronomy he tion given to our best thoughts, and a was peculiarly addicted, and an almost the poor
boundless range of thought and inquiry and-twenty years! This beloved family was pursued.
is broken up. This home of love is the The youngest daughter was passion- same no longer. The domestic hearth is ately fond of flowers, and she had a desolate. choice collection to which she attended, The parents are both gone to their and over which she would assiduously rest above, dying peacefully and happily watch. She was an early riser, and in in the Lord. The two daughters were the fine mornings of May, June, and very delicate, and a fever removed one, July she would be up with the lark to while a cold, too long neglected, was the tend her pinks and carnations, her va- means of taking away the other to a rieties of the pansy, her tulips and roses, brighter world. One of the sons died unfolding their beauties and diffusing when he was five-and-thirty, and the their odours around. She would often other, by a singular vicissitude of cirsay, “How much I see of God in my cumstances, located himself in one of our flower-garden! I have always a fresh colonies. So that the walls of this dolesson to learn, and a new beauty to mestic sanctuary are broken down; the admire."
fire wbich used to glow on the altar is The eldest daughter, after visiting extinguished. The peaceful, intelligent,
and sick, would have a and happy evenings of this engaging little class of children at the house of family are enjoyed no longer. The her father, which she would catechise flowers are no longer tended by the same and instruct in the great principles of hands, gazed at with the same admiring religion, and teach them to write and eyes. The poor in the neighbourhood practise arithmetic. She always thought have another visitor, the sick around it an honour to do good to a child, and another comforter, the children another nothing gave her so much pleasure as teacher. What changes ! what ravages ! when any of the children under her care --how numerous! how sad! how entire! showed that they profited by her un- are occasioned by death, the ruthless wearied attentions.
destroyer, in twenty or five-and-twenty This was the happy family with which years ! we were acquainted. This was the home
“ And parted thus they rest who play'd of virtue, religion, and love, where we Beneath the same green tree, bave spent some of our sweetest and
Whose voices mingled as they pray'd
Around one parent knee. happiest hours-hours which will always be associated with the sunniest period of
They that with smiles lit up the hall, our existence. But, what changes! what
And cheer'd with song the hearth;
Alas! for Love, if thou wert all, revolutions occur among families and And nought beyond, O Earth." our acquaintances in twenty or three
THE CERTAIN, SUDDEN, AND, PROBABLY, SPEEDY DOWNFAL OF
To the Editor of the Evangelical Magazine. Dear Sir,—It may be useful to lay , may have to conflict with, is the return before your readers, in these times, when of Popery into this land. Half the talk Popery seems to threaten us, the views of the world is upon this subject. I and principles of that great man, Dr. verily believe that those who have the John Owen, upon the above subject. conduct of the Papal antichristian affairs, He says, in his sermon on the Use of throughout the world, are endeavouring l'aith, if Popery should return upon us, to bring it in upon us. I remember “The second difficulty that we have, or what holy Latimer said when he came to