« AnteriorContinuar »
general. Some authors took up this opinion on very erroneous grounds; and the rest followed without inquiry, like a flock of sheep or of wise bipeds. Mede says, “ Upon the morning watch of that very day, which they kept for their sabbath, he overwhelmed Pharaoh and all his host in the Red Sea, and saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians. This I gather from the repetition of the decalogue, Deut. v.'
Here are two errors. I have already shown that the day of the passage of the Red Sea was not the day of the departure out of Egypt; and I have shown that the day of the departure was not on the seventh, but the fourth day of the week : and I have also shown that the day of crossing the sea cannot be ascertained. But as the fifth of Deuteronomy is, in despite of calculation, relied upon as the proof of their erroneous opinion, it behoves me, after having proved what it cannot mean, to show what it really does
The passage is as follows, (Deut. v. 14, 15,) at the end of the fourth commandment: .“ That thy man-servant and thy maid-servant may rest as well as thou : and remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt; and that the Lord thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand, and by a stretched-out arm; therefore the Lord thy God commanded thee to keep the sabbath-day. The error which has been committed in the interpretation of the last sentence, arose from connecting it with the sentence immediately preceding, instead of the preceding sentences at the conclusion of the fourteenth, and beginning of the fifteenth verse, commanding them to let their servants rest on the sabbath, remembering their own bondage, when they were not allowed to rest on any day.
It would be very strange, that on the solemn delivery of the law on Sinai, immediately after their deliverance from Egypt, while the event was fresh in their memories, that
this reason for keeping the sabbath should not be mentioned; but that God should wait until all those men who had been actually delivered,,except three,—were dead, and then give the deliverance from Egypt, which happened forty years before, as a reason for keeping the commandments, to those who were either not born then, or so young as not to remember it. It would also seem strange and inconsistent, that in the stone tables of the commandments, which were ordered to be preserved in the ark, and which were actually there when Moses wrote and rehearsed the book of Deuteronomy, and to which he appeals in that very book—(" there they be,” Deut. x. 5,) that one reason should be given, and a totally different reason alleged in the recapitulation of the commandments on this occasion.
The message sent down by Moses, when he brought down the renewed stone tables of the commandments, seems to me to be decisive against this fanciful crotchet of some of our divines. Exod. xxxi. 16, 17, 18: “Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations for a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever ; for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed.” Here the rest after the creation is laid down to be the
perpetual reason for ever of the children of Israel keeping the sabbath. Can we suppose that Moses would have been guilty of such a gross contradiction, as to substitute, forty years afterwards, another reason in commemoration of another fact known at the time of the above perpetual injunction? Can we wonder that infidels pretend to discover contradictions in the Bible, when our own divines labour to establish them?
The interpretation I have given above, is the true one; and this mode of connecting what is given as a note or explanation, not with the immediately foregoing sentence, but with one more distant,--similar in sense and context, and not united by juxtaposition,-is very usual in scripture. I could produce a hundred such cases. These notes are frequently added at a great distance and after the intervention of much other matter, so as not to interrupt the sense, and often, as in this place, with the intervention of a single sentence, of which latter species, as more immediately parallel, I will, in the first place, give examples.
In Mark xi. 13:-“ And seeing a fig-tree afar off, having leaves, he came, if haply he might find anything thereon: and when he came to it, he found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet.” Now, a common reader supposes that the time of figs here mentioned is to be connected with the clause immediately following, and to mean the time of the growing of the figs, and he wonders why the tree was cursed for not having figs, when none could be expected. But, in truth, that last sentence means the time of gathering the figs; and, instead of belonging to the sentence immediately preceding, is a note on the clause, “ if haply he might find anything thereon,” for the time of gathering the figs had not arrived. The fruit of a fig-tree comes out before the leaves; and when leaves appeared on a fig-tree, it was a sure indication of its having fruit, and he had a right to expect to find fruit, as the time for taking them off the trees was not yet come. Therefore the show of leaves without fruit was a sure proof of the barrenness of the tree, and a fit emblem of the Jews, and the blasting of the tree a prophetic warning of their destruction.
And again, (Mark xvi. 3,) when the women came to the sepulchre, “ they said among themselves, who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre ? And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away : for it was very great." Here the third sentence manifestly belongs to the first, and not to the second.
Thus, also, in Matt. vi., when our Lord has delivered and concluded his prayer, he adds, “ For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Here verses 14 and 15 belong to verse 12, and are connected by the conjunction “ for,” without any intimation, except the sense and the context, to what part they belong. Thus in Isaiah xxxviii. (Hezekiah's sickness and thanksgiving,) verse 21 is a note on verse 5, and 22 on 7. And in Exod. xvi., verse 36 is a note on 16, 18, 22, 32. See also the following passages in Deut. itself, (xv. 12-15; xvi. 11, 12; xxiv. 1418, 19–22,) where the same motive is given almost in the same words in four different places, for showing kindness to servants, to strangers, and the fatherless : “ Thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in Egypt, and the Lord thy God redeemed thee thence: therefore I recommend thee to do this thing.” And in some of these cases the reader will perceive that this motive is separated by other subjects from the command which it is to enforce, in the same manner as in Deut. v. 15. See also Exod. xxii. 21; xxiii. 9. Lev. xix. 33, 34. Deut. x. 18, 19.
My interpretation of that passage is greatly strengthened by the literal Latin translation, which Walton gives in his Polyglot of the Hebrew word in verse 15, signifying 66 to keep,” in our English translation. He explains it by “ ad faciendum custodire,” to make to keep,*—not only to keep it themselves, but to make those in their employment keep it also. This sense still more strongly connects the end of the verse with the beginning.
(d) • In Deut. v. 15, the word translated “ to keep,” literally
to or for the keeping ;" it is the gerund of Kal. Gerunds are formed of infinitives, by prefixing the Hebrew L, which completes the sense of a preceding verb, or marks the purpose of such verb; as Gen. vi. 1,-" When men began to multiply;" Gen. xxiv. 15,4" He finished to speak;" Gen. xii. 5,—" And they went forth to go ;" Exod. iii. 8,_" And I came down to deliver him.” The root from whence the verb is derived, signifies to make, form, fushion, observe, to do, perform, act,' &c.-H. S.
THE SABBATH A SIGN, &c.
THE Archbishop of Dublin's arguments are taken chiefly from Heylyn, to whom he refers us for further information. Heylyn, az also Bramhall and Barrow, quote Exod. xxxi. and Ezek. xx. as a proof that the sabbaths were to be a sign between God and the Israelites, and therefore that they were intended only for the Israelites. His Grace applies this quotation in a very obscure manner, without consideration or examination of the text in the Bible, and shows a very defective memory of it. He quotes from Ezekiel, where it is only repetition, and makes no mention of Exodus, where it is original. He quotes only half the sentence, omitting the latter half, which gives the true meaning of the former; he quotes “ Ezekiel passim,”— a proof that he did not look at Ezekiel; for what he tells us occurs everywhere in Ezekiel, occurs only in one of fortyeight chapters, and there only twice, and only four times in the Bible. He does not make the same use of it as the other authors; but the way in which he throws it out, is