Imatges de pàgina


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THE whole world being the workmanship of God, there is no
i. in which men may not testify their reverence for His supreme
ajesty. From the very first beginning of time God had always
some place appropriated for the solemn duties of religious worship.
Adam, even during his continuance in Paradise, had some place
where to present himself before the Lord ; and, after his expulsion
thence, his sons in like manner had whither to bring their oblations
and sacrifices. This ol. was the reason why Cain did not
immediately fall upon his brother, when his offering was refused, be-
cause perhaps the solemnity and religion of the place, and sensible
appearance of the divine Majesty there, struck him with a reverential
awe that might cause him to defer his villanous design till he came
into the field, where he slew him.
The patriarchs, both before and after the flood, used altars and
mountains and groves for the same purpose: thus we read of Noah's
building an altar to the Lord, and offering burnt offerings upon it.
(Gen. viii. 20.) Abraham, when he was called to the worship of the

true God, erected altars wherever he pitched his tent (Gen. xii. 8.

and xiii. 4.): He planted a grove in Beersheba, and called there on

the name of the Lord (Gen. xxi. 33.); and it was upon a mountain

that God ordered him to offer up his son Isaac. (Gen. xxii. 2.) Jacob

in particular called a place by the name of God's House, where he

o to pay the tithes of all that God should give him. (Gen. xxviii. 2.) .

In the wilderness, where the Israelites themselves had no settled habitations, they had by God's command a moving tabernacle; and as soon as they were fixed in the land of promise, God appointed a temple to be built at Jerusalem, which David intended, and his son Solomon performed : after the first temple was destroyed, another was built in the room of it (Ezra iii. 8.), which Christ himself owned for his house of prayer (Matt. xxi. 13.), and which both he and his *postles frequented, as well as the synagogues.

In the very first ages of Christianity we see in the sacred writings more than probable footsteps of some determined places for their solemn assemblies, and peculiar only to that use. Of this nature was

WOL. III. 29


that upper room into which the apostles and disciples, after their return from our Saviour's ascension, went up as into a place commonly known and separated to divine use. (Acts i. 13.) Such another (if not the same) was that one place, in which they were all assembled on the day of Pentecost, when the Holy Ghost visibly came down upon them (Acts ii. 1.); and this is the more probable because the multitude, who were mostly strangers of every nation under heaten, came so readily to the place, upon the first rumour of so extraordinary an incident, which supposes it to be commonly known as the place where Christians used to meet together. And as many of the first believers sold their houses and lands, and laid the money at the apostles' feet, to supply the necessities of the church, so it is not unlikely that others might give their houses, or at least some convenient room in it, for a place of worship; which may be the reason why the apostle so often salutes such and such a person, and the church in his house (Rom. xvi. 5. 1 Cor. xvi. 19. Coloss, iv. 15.): for that this salutation is not used, merely because their families were Christians, appears from other salutations of the same apostle, where Aristobulus and Narcissus, &c. are saluted with their household. (Rom. xvi. 10, 11. 2 Tim. iv. 19.) Solomon, indeed, at the consecration of the temple, acknowledges that the heaven of heavens could not contain God, and much less the house which he had built him. (1 Kings viii. 27.) But it will not therefore follow, that there is no necessity for places to be appropriated to divine worship : these are requisite for this purpose, that all the offices of religion may be performed with more decency and solemnity, and by such structures to defend us from many inconveniences, which would extremely incommode us in paying our duty to God. It is the same thing doubtless to the Almighty wherever we pray, so long as we pray with a pious mind and a devout heart, and make the subject of our prayers such good things as he has permitted us to ask; but it was not consistent with the preservation of the Jewish state and religion, that God should be publicly worshipped in every place; for, since the Jews were on every side surrounded with idolators, it was highly necessary that in all divine matters there should be a strict union between them all, both in heart and voice, and consequently that they should all meet together in one place to worship God, lest they should fall into idolatry, which actually came to pass after the kingdom was divided, and the places of worship by that means became distinct; and therefore though Solomon knew very well that in every place God was ready to hear the prayers of devout supplicants, yet so the preservation of peace and unity, he, at the consecration of th: temple, thought proper to leave this impression on the minds of the people, that as God had ordained he should be publicly worshipped in the manner prescribed by him, so he would be found more exorable to the prayers which were offered up in that temple (as the place of public worship) rather than in any other place, thereby to excite them to resort frequently to it. It is beyond all doubt, how

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ever, that pious persons among the Jews worshipped God also in
private, and in their families; in which they might be assisted by the
priests and Levites, who having no distinct portion of the land allotted
to them, were dispersed among all the tribes; and thus it is said of
Daniel, that in his chamber he kneeled upon his knees three times a
day, and prayed, and gave thanks before God. (Dan. vi. 10.
There were several public places appropriated by the Jews for
religious worship, viz. 1. The Tabernacle, which in time gave place
to 2. The Temple, both of which are oftentimes in Scripture called
the sanctuary; between which there was no other difference as to
the principal design (though there was in beauty and workmanship)
than that the tabernacle was a moveable temple, as the temple was
an immoveable tabernacle; on which account the tabernacle is some-
times called the temple (1 Sam. i. 9. and iii. 3.), as the temple is
sometimes called the tabernacle. (Jer. x. 20. Lam, ii. 6.) , 3. There
were also places of worship called in Scripture High places, used
promiscuously during the times of both the tabernacle and temple
until the captivity; and lastly, there were Synagogues among the
Jews, and other places, used only for prayer, called proseucha or
oratories, which chiefly obtained o the captivity; of these various
structures some account will be found in the following section.



I. Different Tabernacles in use among the Israelites.—II. The TA-
BERNAcLE, so called by way of eminence, not of Egyptian Origin.—
Its Materials.—III. Form and Construction of the Tabernacle.—
Its Contents.—IV. Its Migrations.

1 MENTION is made in the old Testament of three different tabernacles previously to the erection of Solomon's temple. The Jirst, which Moses erected, is called the tabernacle of the congregation (Exod. xxxiii. 7.); here he gave audience, heard causes, and inquired of Jehovah, and here also at first, perhaps the public offices of religion were solemnised. The second tabernacle was that erected by Moses for Jehovah, and at his express command, partly to be a palace of his presence as the king of Israel (Exod. xl. 34, 35.), and partly to be the medium of the most solemn public worship, which the people were to pay to him. (26–29.) This tabernacle was erected on the first day of the first month in the second year after the departure of the Israelites from Egypt. The third public tabernacle was that erected by David in his own city, for the reception of the ark, when he received it from the house of Obed-Edom. (2 Sam. vi. 7. 1 Chron. xvi. 1.) Of the second of these tabernacles we are now to treat, which was called The TABERNAcLE by way of distinction. It was a moveable chapel, so contrived as to be taken to pieces and put together again at pleasure, for the convenience of carrying it from so to place. II. It has been imagined that this tabernacle, together with all its furniture and appurtenances, was of Egyptian origin: that Moses projected it after the fashion of some such structure which he had observed in Egypt, and which was in use among other nations; or that God directed it to be made with a view of indulging the Israelites in a compliance with their customs and modes of worship, so far as there was nothing in them directly sinful. . The heathen nations, it is true, had such tabernacles or portable shrines as are alluded to by the prophet Amos (v. 26.), which might bear a great resemblance to that of the Jews; but it has neither been proved, nor is it probable, that they had them before the Jews, and that the Almighty so far condescended to indulge the Israelites, a wayward people, and prone to idolatry, as to introduce them into his own worship. It is far more likely that the heathens derived their tabernacles from that of the Jews, who had the whole of their religion immediately from God, than that the Jews, or rather that God should take them from the heathens." The materials of the tabernacle were provided by the people; every one brought his oblation according to his ability: those of the first quality offered gold, those of a middle condition brought silver and brass and shittim-wood;” and the offerings of the meaner sort consisted of yarn, fine linen, goats-hair and skins; nor were the women backward in contributing to this work, for they willingly brought in their bracelets, ear-rings, and other ornaments, and such of them as were skilful in spinning made yarn and thread. In short, the liberality of the people on this occasion was so great, that Moses was obliged by proclamation to forbid any more offerings, and thereby restrain the excessive zeal of the people for that service. (Exod. xxxv. and xxxvi.) This tabernacle was set up in the wilderness of Sinai, and carried along with the Israelites from place to place as they journeyed towards Canaan, and is often called the tabernacle of the congregation. The form of it appears to have closely resembled our modern tents, but it was much larger, having the sides and roof secured with boards, hangings, and coverings, and was surrounded on all sides by a large outer court, which was enclosed by pillars, posted at equal distances, whose spaces were filled up with curtains fixed to these pillars: whence it is evident that this tabernacle consisted first of the tent or house itself which was covered, and next of the

1 The hypothesis above noticed was advanced by Spencer in his learned, but in many respects fanciful treatise, De Legibus Hebræorum, lib. iii. diss. i. c. 3. and diss vi. c. 1: His arguments were examined and refuted by Buddeus in his Historia Ecclesiastica Veteris Testamenti, part i. pp. 310. 548.

* This shittim-wood is supposed to have been either the acacia or the cedar, both which #. in Egypt, and in Syria. The acacia is delineated by Prosper Alpinus, De Plantis o: c. 4. Hasselquist found it in Palestine (Tour in * Levant, p. 250), and Dr. Pococke found it both on Mount Sinai and in Egypt The cedar has been already mentioned

court that surrounded it, which was open : all which are minutely and exactly described in Exod. xxv.–xxx. xxxvi-xl. from which chapters the following particulars are abridged. Ill. The tent itself was an oblong square, thirty cubits in length, and ten in height and breadth. The inside of it was divided by a veil or hanging, made of rich embroidered linen, which parted the holy place from the holy of holies. The holy place, (which is called the first tabernacle, Heb. ix. 2. 6.) was twenty cubits long, and ten wide; and the holy of holies, (called the second tabernacle, Heb. ix. 7.) was ten cubits long, and ten broad. In the holy place stood the altar of incense overlaid with gold, the table of showbread, consisting of twelve loaves, and the great candlestick of pure gold, containing seven branches: none of the people were allowed to go into the holy place, but only the priests. The holy of holies (so called because it was the most sacred place of the tabernacle, into which none went but the high priest) contained in it the ark, called the ark of the testimony (Exod. xxv.22.) or the ark of the covenant. (Josh. iv. 7.) This was a small chest or coffer made of shittim-wood, overlaid with gold, into which were put the two tables of the law (as well the broken ones, say the Jews, as the whole) with the pot of manna, and Aaron's rod that budded (Heb. ix. 4.), which passage of the apostle explains what is meant by the pot of manna being laid up before the Lord (Exod. xvi. 33.), and Aaron's rod being laid before the testimony of the Lord (Numb. xvii. 10.), that is, within the very ark itself; for though when this ark was put afterwards into the temple of Solomon, it is declared that there was nothing in it save the two tables which Moses put therein at Horeb (2. Chron. v. 10.), yet that might be owing to the various accidents which besel it while in the hands of the Philistines and others. The lid or covering of this ark was wholly of solid gold, and called the mercy-seat: at the two ends of it were two cherubim (or hieroglyphic figures, the form of which it is impossible now to ascertain) looking inwards towards each other, with wings expanded, which, embracing the whole circumference of the mercy-seat, met on each side in the middle. Here the Shechinah or Divine Presence rested, both in the tabernacle and temple, and was visibly seen in the appearance of a cloud over it. (Lev. xvi. 2.) From this the divine oracles were given out by an audible voice, as often as Jehovah was consulted on behalf of his people. (Exod. xxv. 22. Numb. vii. 89.) And hence it is that God is so often said in Scri ture, to dwell between the cherubim (2 Kings xix., 15. Psal. lxxx. 1.), because there was the seat or throne of the visible appearance of his glory among them; and this was the reason why not only in the temple, when they came up there to worship, but every where else in their dispersion through the whole world, whenever they prayed, they turned their faces towards the place where the ark stood, and directed all their devotions that way. (1 Kings viii. 48. Dan. vi. 10.) The boards or planks, of which the body of the tabernacle was composed, were forty-eight in number, each a cubit and a half wide,

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