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his admiring and adoring love for the statutes, the ordinances, the testimonies, the judgments, the precepts, the commandments, the word, the law of Jehovah.
Thy word is very pure, therefore thy servant loveth it. Thy testimonies are wonderful, therefore doth my soul keep them The entrance of thy words giveth light. Open thou mine eyes that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law. Thy righteousness is an eternal righteousness; thy law is (eternal) truth. Forever, O Lord, thy word is settled in hea. ven. I have seen an end of all perfection, but thy commandment is exceeding broad. O how love I thy law ; it is my meditation all the day. I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts. How sweet are thy words unto my taste! O, sweeter are they than honey to my mouth. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. Thy testimonies have I taken as my heritage forever. Great peace have they who love thy law. Exceedingly do I love thy testimonies. I have longed for thy salvation, and thy law is my delight. Mine eyes prevent the night watches, that I might meditate on thy word. Thy word is from
İ the beginning, thy testimonies have I known of old, that thou hast founded them forever.”
Again-in the nineteenth psalm, just after that sublime hymn of praise to God for the wondrous display of natural law, in the heavens and heavenly bodies, how sudden, yet hearty is the transition to the higher theme of adoration. “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul ; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever, the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold; sweeter also are they than honey and the honey-comb."
So, also, in the more didactic portions, as in the first psalm, how vividly does the writer present the comparative blessedness of the man whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates therein day and night.” He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of waters; his leaf shall not wither; his fruit shall never fail; he shall stand in the judgment, when the wicked are driven away
like chaff before the wind. It might be said that this was the language of a comparatively advanced period, desirous of making all it could of the old barren ritual, and of spiritualising it to a higher sense; as some of the later schools of philosophy attempted to do with the old Greek mythology. Hence a sort of mystic meditation on the old statutes employed simply as a mirror, presenting in itself only a blank surface, but reflecting, by way of accommodation, the higher thoughts of the devotee's own soul. This would be an extravagant supposition for the age of David, or even of the captivity. The false Philonic spiritualising, arising from the influence of foreign philosophy, was of a much later time. But this language dates back to a period compared with which that of David might be viewed as modern. The same blessedness, in respect to the same character, and for the same reason, is pronounced away back in the olden time, before the law had acquired to itself an antiquarian veneration that discovered in it more than it really contained. Even in the days of Joshua, the son of Nun, it was the characteristic of the true Israelite to “meditate therein day and night;" that it might not depart out of his mouth; for in so doing was his life, his light, his security for the Divine favor, and the Divine presence. Vide Joshua 1 : 8.
Now it should be ever borne in mind, that this law, and these statutes, and these testimonies that called out such terms of devout and ardent attachment, were the same old Judaical ordinances which our more spiritual rationalist brands as gross, animal, ceremonial, and outward, -as occupied with the external cleansing of lepers, with bloody sacrifices of innocent animals, with frivolous rules about the construction of arks and tabernacles, and candlesticks, with directions respecting meats and drinks, and ceremonial uncleannesses, with sprinklings, and changings of garments, and the regulations of camps, together with barbarous statutes of social life and criminal jurisprudence, which the humanity of more enlightened ages rejects with abhorrence. There were no other Holy Scriptures in those days, in which the pious could “meditate by day and by night.” All the light and love, therefore, and holiness, and purity, and everlasting truth, which are so frequently spoken of in the devotional psalms we have quoted, must have been found in that stern old law of Moses, with which some are so much offended,—that same stern law which the modern sentimental reformer maintains Christ came to annul, but which Christ himself sums up as essential love and purity,—declaring, moreover, that heaven and earth shall pass away, before one jot or tittle of that ancient law should ever fail.
It was evidently to this higher, or typified, purity that the psalmist had regard, in the expressions of his deep contrition." Thou
“ wilt purge me with hyssop.” The emphatic reference would seem to be to that true washing of regeneration which God only could bestow, and of which the ritual hyssop was but the sign. There was felt the need of something more than the outward purification by the priest.“ Thou wilt purify me with hyssop (as the Hebrew may best be rendered) or, when thou shalt purge me with hyssop, then shall I indeed be clean; “When thou shalt wash me in thy spiritual laver) then shall I indeed be whiter than snow;" "When Thou shalt cause me to hear joy and gladness, then indeed shall my very bones rejoice.” It will be something far more than any ritual purity. When Thou thyself healest the leper, it will be something far more than any priestly annunciation of the completion of the outward ceremonial cleansing.
In the same light, also, may we view the many striking declarations of the Scriptures by which the Divine purity is itself set forth. . The neologist stumbles at such precepts as are contained Deut. 23: 12, or Exod. 20: 25. It is the grossest anthropomorphism, he exclaims. It ascribes to God not only the passions, but also the lowest senses of men; as though his eyes were offended at the display of personal nakedness, or his nostrils with the impurities of the campin which he was said to dwell. And yet may we not well conceive, that when a people have become accustomed to such injunctions of outward purity, they will, on this very account, be the more struck with those declarations of the inward holiness of the Divine character with which the same Scriptures abound. “Thou art of eyes too pure to behold iniquity; upon sin thou canst not look.” “How shall man be righteous before God; how shall he be clean that is born of woman. Behold even the moon; it shineth not; (Heb. Box for 337 it hath no splendor or glory on the comparison.) yea, the stars are not pure' in his sight.”
From the same idea of transcendent holiness and purity, coines that sublime expression, Ps. 104: 2, " Who veilest thyself with light as with a garment.” Behind even that “ bright effluence," in which God has dwelt from all eternity, there is a splendor, a clearness and a purity, in comparison with which light itself becomes an intervening shade, separating the Holy (or separate) One, as with a covering, from the universe with which the phlosophizing pantheist would confound him.
His robe is the light. Paul does no more than attempt to copy the Old Testament sublimity and spirituality, when he represents God as “dwelling in light unapproachable”-PWs Olxūv unpóoitov ; as also James, when he styles him “the Father of lights." o naing to purwv, intimating by the plural lights, that he is the source of all, to which the name is applied, whether literally or metaphorically. He is the Father of all lights, of all that reveals or “makes manifest," either in the natural, the moral, the intellectual or the spiritual world
" Since God is light,
Bright effluence of bright Essence Uncreate. “ The Lord is my light and my salvation.” “In thy light shall we see light.” The idea on which these sublime expressions are founded, is much older than the Psalms. It dates from this old law, so condemned as gross and outward. It was presented on the high-priest's pectoral, or breastplate, in the remarkable engraving of
1 The Hebrew 707 here, admirably unites the two ideas of moral and outward purity or cleanliness. It is used alike in reference to both. It denotes, no spot-no shade.
which has been variously האוּרָם וְהַתְפּים ,the Urim and Thummim
rendered revelatio et veritas, lux et veritas, qws xal almosla Exod. 28:30. Lev. 8:8, Deut. 33:8. It might be translated lights and perfections, if we keep in view the more usual acceptations of the root and related forms of born. The English word, however, is too vague. The radical idea of the Hebrew is purity and simplicity of heart, not so much perfection in regard to outward observances, or external rectitude, as that clean, clear, sincere, (sincerus, &xépanos integer) singleness of heart and motive, which may be called the light of the moral nature, in distinction from that of the intellect, the light af the heart, in distinction from that of the head. It is that of which our Saviour speaks, when he says, “ If thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.” To this idea Luther's version, Licht and Recht, would seem to make the nearest approach.
It is worthy of note, that it is 67972, in the plural, lights, as in the remarkable expression of the apostle James, The Father of Lights, indicating the three degrees, the light of the eye, or of sense ; the light of the intellect, or truth, and the light of the heart, or that moral clearness or purity, which clarifies the understanding, which imparts to truth all its value,' and enables the soul clearly to distinguish what in the intellectual world, or world of truth, is of higher and lower dignity. It is difficult to determine which of these applications of the word should be regarded as metaphorical, or whether they are alike literal. The last, however, is undoubtedly the highest and most important. It is that “ Light of the Lord, through which we see light," and which will finally bring the soul that possesses it, into the very presence of God. “ Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”
Gesenius would intimate that this idea of the Urim and Thummim, was stolen by Moses from the Egyptians. This frigid neologist devoted his life to the study of an old book, which he himself regarded in some sort of way, as being the word of God, a book, too, which certainly derives its great interest, from the façt of its being truly such, and yet in the face of its most solemn declarations, he presents a view which has no real evidence in its favor, and which could only have been chosen, because of its taking away all its spirituality from one of the sublimest portions of the Old Testament. : “And Aaron shall bear the names of the
Plato might be supposed to be darkly aiming at some such idea in his remarkable definition of the Agathon, or the Good, as being something not only higher than knowledge, or truth, or intellectual light, but as giving to it, its true value and reality-Και τούς γιγνωσκομένους τοίνυν μήμόνον το γιγνώσκεσθαι υπό του αγαθού παρείναι, αλλά και το είναι τε και την ουσίαν υπ' εκείνον αυτούς προσεϊναι. Ρlat. Repub. VI. p. 509. " For to things known, it may be said, that not only their being truly known, is derived to them from the Agathon, or the idea of the Good, but that their very being and escence is only truly perceived in connection with the same idea.
THIRD SERIES, VOL. VI., No. 1 2
children of Israel in the breastplate of judgment upon his heart, when he goeth in unto the Holy place, for a memorial before the Lord continually. And thou shalt put in the breastplate of judgment the Urim and the Thummim; and they shall be upon Aaron's heart, when he goeth in before the Lord; and Aaron shall bear the judgment of the children of Israel upon his heart continually." "And thou shalt make a plate of pure gold, and grave upon it like the engravings of a signet, HOLINESS TO THE LORD.” In all this, the German lexicographer and commentator discovers but a poor imitation of a very doubtful custom, which the Egyptians of a later age seem to have had, of suspending a tablet with the word truth from the neck of a judicial officer. Hebræi autem hoc in more symbolico Ægyptios imitati sedentur, apud quos judex supremus sapphirinam veritates imaginem e collo suspensam gestabat. But Aaron did not represent a judicial officer in this. Besides their being no evidence of any such thing in the account itself, we are expressly told, in the introduction of the chapter, that he was to appear in his priestly office, as mediator before God, on behalf of those whose names he bore upon his breast. "And take thou unto thee Aaron, thy brother, and his sons with him, from among the children of Israel, that he may minister unto me in the priest's office.” And he shall bear the names of the children of Israel upon his heart when he goeth in unto the Holy place.” Instead, then, of representing any agzısıxaorús he typified rather the great agziepɛús, the High Priest who has entered, once for all, into the Holy of holies, or Heaven of heavens, bearing on his breast the true Israel of God, his redeemed church, pure and spotless in his righteousness, that he might thus present it to God with its Urim and Thummim, its light and love, mon lyovoar σπίλον ή ρυτίδα αλλ' ίνα ή αγία και άμωμος (Εph. 5: 27,) having no stain or wrinkle, but holy (that is, separate,) and pure.
Great High Priest we view thee stooping
With our names upon thy breastHow much more of light for the intellect as well as the heart, is to be found in this simple hymn of the social prayer-meeting, than in all the learning and philosophy of the great lexicographer and critic. It will be found, moreover, that the passage in Diodorus, to which he refers, does not sustain his position, weak and untenable as it is in itself. The historian (Diod. I: 48,) says nothing of any inscription, nor even of any image. His words areέχoντα την αλήθειαν εξηρτημένην εκ του τραχήλου. With as much reason might the critic have traced a connection between the priestly Urim and Thummim of the Mosaic law, and the sword and scales of Themis, or the Grecian mythological jurisprudence.
1" The Hebrews in this symbolical custom seem to have imitated the Egyptians, among whom the chief justice was accustomed to wear suspended from his neck a sapphire image of Truth.”