« AnteriorContinuar »
436 . § 344. origin or synagogues.
above, each of twenty cubits. In the Sanctuary, was the golden candlestick, the golden table, and the altar of incense, but in the most Holy place, there was nothing deposited. The walls within and without, we are under the necessity of supposing, were covered with gold; and it was separated from the Sanctuary by an embroidered veil, Josephus, Jewish War, V. 5, 5.
§ 344. ORIGIN of SYNAGoGUEs.
Although the sacrifices could not be offered, except in the Tabernacle or the Temple, all the other exercises of religion were restricted to no particular place. Accordingly we find, that the praises of God were sung, at a very ancient period, in the Schools of the prophets, and those, who felt any particular interest in religion, were assembled by the Seers, on the Sabbath, and the New-moons, for prayers and religious instruction, 1 Sam. 10: 5–11. 19:18–24. 2 Kgs. 4: 23.
During the Babylonish Captivity, the Jews, who were then deprived of their customary religious privileges, were wont to collect around some prophet or other pious man, who taught them and their children in religion, exhorted to good conduct, and read out of the sacred Books, Ezek. 14:1. 20:1. Dan. 6: 11. compare Neh. 8:18. These assemblies or meetings became, in progress of time, fixed to certain places, and a regular order was observed in them. Such was the origin of Synagogues.
§ 345. OF THE STRUCTURE, Etc. of SYNAGogues.
In speaking of Synagogues, it is worthy to be noticed, that there is nothing said in respect to the existence of such buildings in Palestine, during the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes. They were, therefore, first erected under the Maccabean princes, and not long after were much multiplied; but in foreign countries, they were much more ancient, Josephus, Jewish War, VII. 3, 3.
Whether this statement be true beyond a question, or whether some be inclined to make an objection to it, it is, nevertheless, certain, that, in the time of the Apostles, there were Synagogues, wherever there were Jews. They were built in imitation of the Temple of Jerusalem with a court and Porches, as is the case § 345. of the structure of synagogues. 437
with the Synagogues in the East at the present day. In the centre of the count, is a Chapel, supported by four columns, in which, on an elevation prepared for it, is placed the Book of the Law, rolled up. This, on the appointed days, is publickly read. In addition to the Chapel, there is erected within the court, a large, covered Hall or vestry, into which the people retire, when the weather happens to be cold and stormy, and each family has its particular seat, Della Valle's Travels, P. IV. Epistle 5: p. 195. comp. Talmud, succoth 51, 2. The uppermost seats in the Synagogue, i.e. those, which were nearest the Chapel, where the sacred Books were kept, were esteemed peculiarly honourable, Matt. 23:6. James 2:3. The PRoseuchAE, 1900svyat, are understood by some to be smaller Synagogues, but by others are supposed to be particular places under the open sky, where the Jews assembled for religious exercises. But Josephus, in his account of his own Life, $ 54, calls the proseucha of Tiberius, a large house, which held very many persons. We inser, therefore, that 1900svyn is the same with rotog or ouxog trig (1900.svyng, viz. any place of worship, answering to the Aramean phrase, jor noz, which is used for Synagogue. They were distinguished from Synagogues on the ground merely, that they were not buildings especially set apart for divine worship, Acts 16:13, 16. Philo de Legat. ad Caium. p. 1011. Juvenal, Satire, III, 14. The Apostles preached the Gospel in Synagogues and PRoseuchae, and with their adherents performed in them all the religious services. When excluded, they imitated the Jews in those placces, where they were too poor to erect these buildings, and held their religious meetings in the houses of individuals. Hence we not only hear of Synagogues in houses in the Talmud, but of Churches in houses in the New Testament, Rom. 16: 5. 1 Cor. 16: 19. Coloss. 4: 15. Phil. 2. Acts 2: 46. 5:42, The Apostles sometimes hired a house, in which they performed religious services and taught daily, Acts 19: 9. 20:9.
Note. Xuvayoyn means literally a convention or assembly, but by metonymy, was eventually used for the place of assembling: in the same way, that oxx}notc., which means literally a calling to438 § 346. on the Antiquity of the sabbath.
gether, or convocation, signifies also at the present time the place of convocation. Synagogues were sometimes called by the Jews Schools, but they were careful to make an accurate distinction between such, and the Schools, properly so called, the two-yon, or sublimer Schools, in which the Talmud was read, while the Law merely was read in the Synagogues, which they placed far behind the Talmud.
OF SACRED SEASONS.
§ 346. On the ANTIquity of the SABBATH.
In speaking of sacred seasons, it will readily occur, that, of the periods of time, which may thus be denominated, the SABBATH, nzug, jing, oaftBarov, ow83ara, is especially worthy of attention. It may be remarked, that the Greek and Hebrew words, here mentioned, are applied, in some instances, to other periods of time, set apart for the purposes of religion or recreation, but are generally, and, more especially, used in reference to the seventh day of the week.
Whether the practice of consecrating the Sabbath originated from what is stated in Genesis 2: 1–3, is a question, which, while it has been defended by some, has been disputed by others, on the ground, that there is no express mention of it, previous to the time of Moses. But in regard to this point, viz. the origin and antiquity of the Sabbath, I proceed to state,
I. As we find, by an examination of the Mosaic Laws, that the greatest part of the ordinances, which are sanctioned by that Leg
346. ON THE ANTIQUITY OF THE SABBATH. 439
islator, existed in previous times, we have a right to say, the probability is, that this was the case in respect to the Sabbath also. II. What we should, therefore, naturally expect in this case, is rend, red more probable by the expressions, used in Exodus 20: 8 —11, where the command runs thus; Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. [For these expressions are of such a nature as evidently to imply, that the consecration of the seventh day, although it might have been omitted for a time during their residence in Egypt, was not a new thing to the Israelites, and that they understood, how the day should be kept or sanctified, and were able to do it, if they had a disposition to.] III. This view in respect to the Sabbath is further confirmed by the circumstance, that we are no where told, what things are to be done and what are to be omitted on that day; which implies, that the duties connected with it were known from custon. IV. There is mention made of the sanctification of the Sabbath, before the formal promulgation of the Law concerning it from mount Sinai, Exod. 16: 22–30. V. A week occurs under its appropriate name zono, as far back as Genesis 29:27, and we further find, that a definite period of seven days occurs in Genesis 7: 4, 10.8:10, 12; which implies, that one day of the seven was marked by some distinction. VI. As the very nature of the case compels us to believe, that the doctrines of the Creator and the creation could not have existed at so early a period, as they did, without a revelation; so there is far from being any improbability or inconsistency in considering Gen, 1: 1. 2: 2, 3, as a simultaneous revelation in regard to the Sabbath. VII. Finally, that this was the case, is hinted in Exodus 20:8 —11 ; and furthermore, it is on this ground only, viz. that the Sabbath was consecrated previous to the time of Moses, or, in other words, existed from creation, that we are able to account for the fact, that very many nations, who, it is certain, did not take the practice from the Mosaic Laws, have, in some way or other, distinguished that day, Josephus against Apion, II. 39.
440 § 347. ON THE DESIGN or The sabbath.
§ 347. ON THE DESIGN of THE SABBATH.
The design of the Sabbath, as mentioned in Exodus 20:8–11 and in 31: 12–17, where there is a repetition of the statement, made in Genesis 2: 1–3, was to exhibit a symbolick acknowledgment, that God was the Creator of the universe, and that He alone is worthy to be and ought to be, worshipped. Hence the same punishment was attached to a violation of this Institution, that there was to an open defection from the true God, viz. death, Exod, 35:2. Num. 15: 32—36.
In addition to this general object, there was another of a subordinate kind, viz. that men, especially slaves, might rest, and be refreshed, and might be led to rejoice in the goodness of God, who gave them this season of suspension from their toils, Exod. 23: 12.
That the Sabbath, as some maintain, was consecrated in commemoration of the deliverance from Egyptian servitude, is no where asserted; and the most, that can be contended for on this point, is, that the Jews are exhorted to remember the sufferings, they endured in that land, in order that, prompted by reminiscences of this kind, they might the more willingly allow the rest of the Sabbath to their servants and to their cattle, Deut. 5: 14, 15.
The statement, which is made in Exodus 31: 13–17, and Ezek. 20:20, 21, viz. that the Sabbath is the sign of a covenant between God and the Israelites, means merely this, that God, as creator, had a claim on the worship of the Jews, that He was disposed to exact such worship, and that they had promised to render it.
NotE. The more recent Jews distinguished certain Sabbaths by particular names. The Sabbath, for instance, immediately preceding the Passover, was denominated the great Sabbath, (John 19:31, comp. Orach. chajjim p. 430, and Shulchan Aruch p. 33, 2;) because the Israelites, while in Egypt, had witnessed on that day a great miracle. Indeed any Sabbath, which was immediately followed by one of the principal festivals, was denominated great.
Another kind of Sabbath is called the second first, oaffgozov Ösvrégoirgorov. It is worthy of remark, that the Sabbath, which is thus named in Luke 6: 1, the second first, is called in Matthew