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An Exposition

[An intimate acquaintance with the Holy Scriptures is a secure haven, and an impregnable bulwark, and an immovable tower, and imperishable glory, and impenetrable armour, and unfading joy, and perpetual delight, and whatever other excellence can be uttered.]


J. Collord, Printer.


BAAL, BEL, or BELUS, denoting lord, a divinity among several ancient nations; as the Canaanites, Phœnicians, Sidonians, Carthaginians, Babylonians, Chaldeans, and Assyrians. The term Baal, which is itself an appellative, served at first to denote the true God, among those who adhered to the true religion. Accordingly, the Phœnicians, being originally Canaanites, having once had, as well as the rest of their kindred, the knowledge of the true God, probably called him Baal, or lord. But they, as well as other nations, gradually degenerating into idolatry, applied this appellation to their respective idols; and thus were introduced a variety of divinities, called Baalim, or Baal, with some epithet annexed to it, as Baal Berith, Baal Gad, Baal Moloch, Baal Peor, Baal Zebub, &c. Some have supposed that the descendants of Ham first worshipped the sun under the title of Baal, 2 Kings xxiii, 5, 11; and that they afterward ascribed it to the patriarch who was the head of their line; making the sun only an emblem of his influence or power. It is certain, however, that when the custom prevailed of deifying and worshipping those who were in any respect distinguished among mankind, the appellation of Baal was not restricted to the sun, but extended to those eminent persons who were deified, and who became objects of worship in different nations. The Phœnicians had several divinities of this kind, who were not intended to represent the sun. It is probable that Baal, Belus, or Bel, the great god of the Carthaginians, and also of the Sidonians, Babylonians, and Assyrians, who, from the testimony of Scripture, appears to have been delighted with human sacrifices, was the Moloch of the Ammonites; the Chronus of the Greeks, who was the chief object of adoration in Italy, Crete, Cyprus, and Rhodes, and all other countries where divine honours were paid him; and the Saturn of the Latins. In process of time, many other deities, beside the principal ones just mentioned, were distinguished by the title of Baal among the Phœnicians, particularly those of Tyre, and of course among the Carthaginians, and other nations. Such were Jupiter, Mars, Bacchus, and Apollo, or the sun.

The temples and altars of Baal were generally placed on eminences: they were places inclosed by walls, within which was maintained a perpetual fire; and some of them bad statues or images, called in Scripture “Chamanim.” Maundrell, in his journey from Aleppo to Jerusalem, observed,observed, some remains of these enclosures in Syria. Baal had his prophets and his priests in great numbers; accordingly, we read of four hundred and fifty of them that were fed at the table of Jezebel only; and they conducted the worship of this deity, by offering sacrifices, by dancing round his altar with violent gesticulations and exclamations, by cutting their bodies with knives and lancets, and by raving and pretending to prophesy, as if they were possessed by some invisible power.

It is remarkable that we do not find the name Baal so much in popular use east of Babylonia; but it was general west of Babylonia, and to the very extremity of western Europe, including the British isles. The worship of Bel, Belus, Belenus, or Belinus, was general throughout the British islands; and certain of its rites and observances are still maintained among us, notwithstanding the establishment of Christianity during so many ages. A town in Perthshire, on the borders of the Highlands, is called Tilliebeltane or Tulliebeltane; that is, the eminence, or rising ground, of the fire of Baal. In the neighbourhood is a Druidical temple of eight upright stones, where it is supposed the fire was kindled. At some distance from this is another temple of the same kind, but smaller; and near it a well still held in great veneration. On Beltane morning, superstitious people go to this well, and drink of it; then they make a procession round it nine times. After this they in like manner go round the temple. So deep-rooted is this Heathenish superstition in the minds of many who reckon themselves good Protestants, that they will not neglect these rites, even when Beltane falls on the Sabbath.

In Ireland, Bel-tein is celebrated on the twenty-first of June, at the time of the solstice. There, as they make fires on the tops of hills, every member of the family is made to pass through the fire; as they reckon this ceremony necessary to ensure good fortune through the succeeding year. This resembles the rites used by the Romans in the Palilia. Bel-tein is also observed in Lancashire.

In Wales, this annual fire is kindled in autumn, on the first day of November; which being neither at the solstice nor equinox, deserves attention. It may be accounted for by supposing that the lapse of ages has removed it from its ancient station, and that the observance is kept on the same day, nominally, though that be now removed some weeks backward from its true station. However that may be, in North Wales especially, this fire is attended by many ceremonies; such as running through the fire and smoke, each participator casting a stone into the fire.

The Hebrews often imitated the idolatry of the Canaanites in adoring Baal. They offered human sacrifices to him in groves, upon high places, and upon the terraces of houses. Baal had priests and prophets consecrated to his service. All sorts of infamous and immodest actions were committed in the festivals of Baal and Astarte. See Jer. xxxii, 35; 2 Kings xvii, 11716; xxiii, 4, 5, 12; 1 Kings xviii, 22; 2 Kings x, 19; 1 Kings xiv, 24; xv, 12; 2 Kings xxiii, 7; Hosea iv, 14. This false deity is frequently mentioned in Scripture in the plural number, Baalim, which may intimate that the name Baal was given to several different deities.

There were many cities in Palestine, whose names were compounded of Baal and some other word: whether it was that the god Baal was adored in them, or that these places were looked upon as the capital cities,--lords of their respective provinces,--is uncertain.

BAAL BERITH, the god of the Shechemites, Judges viii, 33; ix, 4, 46.

BAAL PEOR. Peor is supposed to have been a part of Mount Abarim; and Baal was the great idol or chief god of the Phœnicians, and was known and worshipped under a similar name, with tumultuous and obscene rites, all over Asia. He is the same as the Bel of the Babylonians. Baal, by itself, signifies lord, and was a name of the solar or principal god. But it was also variously compounded, in allusion to the different characters and attributes of the particular or local deities who were known by it, as Baal Peor, Baal Zebub, Baal Zephon, &c. Baal Peor, then, was probably the temple of an idol belonging to the Moabites, on Mount Abarim, which the Israelites worshipped when encamped at Shittim; this brought a plague upon them, of which twenty-four thousand died, Num. xxxv. Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, to whom Solomon erected an altar, 1 Kings xi, 7, is supposed to have been the same deity. Baal Peor has been farther supposed by some to have been Priapus; by others, Saturn; by others, Pluto; and by others again, Adonis. Mr. Faber agrees with Calmet in making Baal Peor the same with Adonis; a part of whose worship consisted in bewailing him with funeral rites, as one lost or dead, and afterward welcoming, with extravagant joy, his fictitious return to life. He was in an eminent degree the god of impurity. Hosea, speaking of the worship of this idol, emphatically calls it “that shame,” Hos. ix, 10. Yet in the rites of this deity the Moabite and Midianite women seduced the Israelites to join.

BAAL ZEBUB, BEELZEBUB, or BEL-ZEBUB, signifies the god of flies, and was an idol of the Ekronites. It is not easy to discover how this false deity obtained its name. Some commentators think that he was called Baal Samin, or the lord of heaven; but that the Jews, from contempt, gave him the name of Baal-zebub. Others with greater reason believe that he was denominated “the god of flies” by his votaries, because he defended them from flies, which are extremely troublesome in hot countries; in the same manner as the Eleans worshipped Hercules under the appellation of pµ, the fly chaser. Pliny is of opinion, that the name of Achor, the god invoked at Cyrene against flies, is derived from Accaron, or Ekron, where Baal-zebub was worshipped, and where he had a famous temple and oracle. Winkelman has given the figures of two heads, “both of them images of Jupiter, called by the Greeks pµ, and by the Romans Muscarius; that is to say, fly driver; for to this Jupiter was attributed the function of driving away flies.”

It is evident that Beelzebub was considered as the patron deity of medicine; for this is plainly implied in the conduct of Ahaziah, 2 Kings i. The Greek mythology considered Apollo as the god of medicine, and attributed also to him those possessions by a pythonic spirit which occasionally perplexed spectators, and of which we have an instance in Acts xvi, 19. Apollo, too, was the sun. Hence we probably see the reason why Ahaziah sent to Beelzebub to inquire the issue of his accident; since Beelzebub was Apollo, and Apollo was the god of physic. The Jews, who changed Beelzebub into Beelzebul, “god of a dunghill,” perhaps had a reference to the Greek of pytho, which signifies putrefied. In Scripture Beelzebub is called “the prince of devils,” Matt. xii, 24; Luke xi, 15; merely, it would seem, through the application of the name of the chief idol of the Heathen world to the prince of evil spirits. This was natural, since the Jews were taught in their own Scriptures to consider all the idols of the Heathens “devils.” Those commentators who think that the idol of Ekron himself is intended, have indulged in an improbable fancy. See Hornet.

BAAL ZEPHON, or the god of the watch tower, was probably the temple of some idol, which served at the same time for a place of observation for the neighbouring sea and country, and a beacon to the travellers by either. It was situated on a cape or promontory on the eastern side of the western or Heroopolitan branch of the Red Sea, near its northern extremity, over against Pihahiroth, or the opening in the mountains which led from the desert, on the side of Egypt, to the Red Sea.

BAASHA, the son of Ahijah, commander-in-chief of the armies belonging to Nadab, the son of Jeroboam, king of Israel. Baasha killed his master treacherously at the siege of Gibbethon, a city of the Philistines, A. M. 3051, and usurped the crown, which he possessed twenty-four years, 1 Kings xv, 27, &c. And, to secure himself in his usurpation, he massacred all the relatives of his predecessor; which barbarous action proved the accomplishment of the prophecy denounced against the house of Jeroboam by Ahijah, the prophet, 1 Kings xiv, 1, &c.

BABEL, the tower and city founded by the descendants of Noah in the plain of Shinar. The different tribes descended from Noah were here collected, and from this point were dispersed, through the confusion of their language. The time when this tower was built is differently stated in the Hebrew and Samaritan chronologies. The former fixes it in the year 101 after the flood, which Mr. Faber thinks encumbered with insuperable difficulties. This writer then goes on to show, that the chronology of the Samaritan Pentateuch reconciles every date, and surmounts every difficulty. It represents Shem as dying nearly a century and a half before the death of Peleg, instead of more than that number of years afterward, and 118almost four centuries and a half before the death of Abraham; whom, in accordance with the history, it makes to survive his father Terah precisely a hundred years. It removes the difficulties with which the Hebrew chronology invests the whole history, by giving time, while it allows the dispersion to have taken place in the latter part of Peleg’s life, for the thirteen sons of his younger brother Joktan to have become heads of families; for Noah and his sons to have died, as it is proved they must have done, prior to the emigration from Armenia; for Nimrod, instead of being a boy, to have been of an age suitable to his exploits, and to have acquired the sovereign command, not, in the face of all probability, while the four great patriarchs were living, but after their decease; and for the families of mankind to have multiplied sufficiently to undertake the stupendous work of the tower. It explains also the silence respecting Shem in the history of Abraham, by making the former die in Armenia four hundred and forty years before the latter was born, instead of surviving him thirty-five years; and, lastly, it makes sacred history accord with profane; the Babylonic history of Berosus, and the old records consulted by Epiphanius, both placing the death of Noah and his sons before the emigration from Armenia.

The sum of the whole is as follows: All the descendants of Noah remained in Armenia in peaceable subjection to the patriarchal religion and government during the lifetime of the four royal patriarchs, or till about the beginning of the sixth century after the flood; when, gradually falling off from the pure worship of God, and from their allegiance to the respective heads of families, and seduced by the schemes of the ambitious Nimrod, and farther actuated by a restless disposition, or a desire for a more fertile country, they migrated in a body southwards, till they reached the plains of Shinar, probably about sixty years after the death of Shem. Here, under the command of their new leader, and his dominant military and sacerdotal Cuthites, by whom the original scheme of idolatry, the groundwork of which was probably laid in Armenia, was now perfected; and, with the express view to counteract the designs of the Almighty in their dispersion into different countries, they began to build the city and tower, and set up a banner which should serve as a mark of national union, and concentrate them in one unbroken empire; when they were defeated and dispersed by the miraculous confusion of tongues. All this probably occupied the farther space of twenty or twenty-one years; making eighty-one from the death of Shem, and five hundred and eighty-three after the flood. All of which also will come within the life of Peleg, who, according to the Samaritan Pentateuch, died in the year 640. The tower of Belus in Babylon, mentioned by Herodotus, was probably either the original tower of Babel repaired, or it was constructed upon its massive foundations. The remains of this tower are still to be seen, and are thus described by Captain Mignan, in his Travels in Chaldea:--

“At day light I departed for the ruins, with a mind absorbed by the objects which I had seen yesterday. An hour’s walk, indulged in intense reflection, brought me to the grandest and most gigantic northern mass, on the eastern bank of the Euphrates, and distant about four miles and a half from the eastern suburb of Hillah. It is called by the natives, El Mujellibah, ‘the overturned;’ also Haroot and Maroot, from a tradition handed down, with little deviation, from time immemorial, that near the foot of the ruin there is a well, invisible to mortals, in which those rebellious angels were condemned by God to be hung with their heels upward, until the day of judgment, as a punishment for their wickedness. This solid mound, which I consider, from its situation and magnitude, to be the remains of the Tower of Babel, (an opinion likewise adopted by that venerable and highly distinguished geographer, Major Rennell,) is a vast oblong square, composed of kiln-burnt and sun-dried bricks, rising irregularly to the height of one hundred and thirty-nine feet, at the south-west; whence it slopes toward the north-east to a depth of one hundred and ten feet. Its sides face the four cardinal points. I measured them carefully, and the following is the full extent of each face: that to the north, along the visible face, is two hundred and seventy-four yards; to the south, two hundred and fifty-six yards; to the east, two hundred and twenty-six yards; and to the west, two hundred and forty yards. The summit is an uneven flat, strewed with broken and unbroken bricks, the perfect ones measuring thirteen inches square, by three thick. Many exhibited the arrow-headed character, which appeared remarkably fresh. Pottery, bitumen, vitrified and petrified brick, shells, and glass, were all equally abundant. The principal materials composing this ruin are, doubtless, mud bricks baked in the sun, and mixed up with straw. It is not difficult to trace brick work along each front, particularly at the south-west angle, which is faced by a wall, composed partly of kiln-burnt brick, that in shape exactly resembles a watch tower or small turret. On its summit there are still considerable traces of erect building; at the western end is a circular mass of sold brick work, sloping toward the top, and rising from a confused heap of rubbish. The chief material forming this fabric appeared similar to that composing the ruin called Akercouff, a mixture of chopped straw, with slime used as cement; and regular layers of unbroken reeds between the horizontal courses of the bricks. The base is greatly injured by time and the elements; particularly to the south-east, where it is cloven into a deep furrow from top to bottom. The sides of the ruin exhibit hollows worn partly by the weather, but more generally formed by the Arabs, who are incessantly digging for bricks, and hunting for antiquities.”

BABYLON, 2 Kings xxiv, 1. The capital of Chaldea, built by Nimrod, Gen. x, 10. It 119was under Nebuchadnezzar that Babylon, then become the seat of universal empire, is supposed to have acquired that extent and magnificence, and that those stupendous works were completed which rendered it the wonder of the world and of posterity: and accordingly, this prince, then the most potent on the earth, arrogated to himself the whole glory of its erection; and in the pride of his heart exclaimed, “Is not this great Babylon that I have built” The city at this period stood on both sides of the river, which intersected it in the middle. It was, according to the least computation, that of Diodorus Siculus, 45 miles in circumference; and according to Herodotus, the older author of the two, 60 miles. Its shape was that of a square, traversed each way by 25 principal streets; which of course intersected each other, dividing the city into 626 squares. These streets were terminated at each end by gates of brass, of prodigious size and strength, with a smaller one opening toward the river. The walls, from the most moderate accounts, were 75 feet in height and 32 in breadth; while Herodotus makes them 300 in height and 75 in breadth: which last measurement, incredible as it may seem, is worthy of credit, as Herodotus is much the oldest author who describes them, and who gives their original height; whereas, those who follow him in their accounts of these stupendous walls, describe them as they were after they had been taken down to the less elevation by Darius Hystaspes. They were built of brick, cemented with bitumen instead of mortar; and were encompassed by a broad and deep ditch, lined with the same materials, as were also the banks of the river in its course through the city: the inhabitants descending to the water by steps through the smaller brazen gates before mentioned. The houses were three or four stories high, separated from each other by small courts or gardens, with open spaces and even fields interspersed over the immense area enclosed within the walls. Over the river was a bridge, connecting the two halves of the city, which stood, the one on its eastern, and the other on its western, bank; the river running nearly north and south. The bridge was 5 furlongs in length, and 30 feet in breadth, and had a palace at each end, with, it is said, a subterraneous passage beneath the river, from one to the other: the work of Semiramis. Within the city was the temple of Belus, or Jupiter, which Herodotus describes as a square of two stadia, or a quarter of a mile: in the midst of which arose the celebrated tower, to which both the same writer, and Strabo, give an elevation of one stadium, or 660 feet; and the same measure at its base; the whole being divided into eight separate towers, one above another, of decreasing dimensions to the summit; where stood a chapel, containing a couch, table, and other things of gold. Here the principal devotions were performed; and over this, on the highest platform of all, was the observatory, by the help of which the Babylonians arrived to such perfection in astronomy, that Calisthenes the philosopher, who accompanied Alexander to Babylon, found astronomical observations for 1903 years backwards from that time; which reach as high as the 115th year after the flood. On either side of the river, according to Diodorus, adjoining to the bridge, was a palace; that on the western bank being by much the larger. This palace was eight miles in circumference, and strongly fortified with three walls one within another. Within it were the celebrated pensile or hanging gardens, enclosed in a square of 400 feet. These gardens were raised on terraces, supported by arches, or rather by piers, laid over with broad flat stones; the arch appearing to be unknown to the Babylonians: which courses of piers rose above one another, till they reached the level of the top of the city walls. On each terrace or platform, a deep layer of mould was laid, in which flowers, shrubs and trees were planted; some of which are said to have reached the height of 50 feet. On the highest level was a reservoir, with an engine to draw water up from the river by which the whole was watered. This novel and astonishing structure, the work of a monarch who knew not how to create food for his own pampered fancy, or labour for his debased subjects or unhappy captives, was undertaken to please his wife Amyitis; that she might see an imitation of the hills and woods of her native country, Media.

Yet, while in the plenitude of its power, and, according to the most accurate chronologers, 160 years before the foot of an enemy had entered it, the voice of an enemy had entered it, the voice of prophecy pronounced the doom of the mighty and unconquered Babylon. A succession of ages brought it gradually to the dust; and the gradation of its fall is marked till it sinks at last into utter desolation. At a time when nothing but magnificence was around this city, emphatically called the great, fallen Babylon was delineated by the pencil of inspiration exactly as every traveller now describes its ruins.

The immense fertility of Chaldea, which retained also the name of Babylonia till after the Christian æra, corresponded with the greatness of Babylon. It was the most fertile region of the whole east. Babylonia was one vast plain, adorned and enriched by the Euphrates and the Tigris, from which, and from the numerous canals that intersected the country from the one river to the other, water was distributed over the fields by manual labour and by hydraulic machines, giving rise, in that warm climate and rich exhaustless soil, to an exuberance of produce without a known parallel, over so extensive a region, either in ancient or modern times. Herodotus states, that he knew not how to speak of its wonderful fertility, which none but eye witnesses would credit; and, though writing in the language of Greece, itself a fertile country, he expresses his own consciousness that his description of what he actually saw would appear to be improbable, and to exceed belief. Such was the “Chaldees’ excellency,” that it departed not on the first conquest, nor on the final extinction of its 120capital, but one metropolis of Assyria arose after another in the land of Chaldea, when Babylon had ceased to be “the glory of kingdoms.”

2. Manifold are the prophecies respecting Babylon and the land of the Chaldeans; and the long lapse of ages has served to confirm their fulfilment in every particular, and to render it at last complete. The judgments of Heaven are not casual, but sure; they are not arbitrary, but righteous. And they were denounced against the Babylonians, and the inhabitants of Chaldea, expressly because of their idolatry, tyranny, oppression, pride, covetousness, drunkenness, falsehood, and other wickedness. The burden of Babylon, which Isaiah the son of Amos did see: “The noise of a multitude in the mountains, like as of a great people: a tumultuous noise of the kingdoms of nations gathered together: the Lord of Hosts mustereth the host of the battle. They come from a far country, from the end of heaven, even the Lord and the weapons of his indignation, to destroy the whole land. Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it. Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees’ excellency, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. It shall never be inhabited, neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation: neither shall the Arabian pitch tent there: neither shall the shepherds make their fold there. But wild beasts of the desert shall lie there: and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures; and owls shall dwell there, and satyrs shall dance there. And the wild beasts of the islands shall cry in their desolate houses, and dragons in their pleasant palaces.” “Thou shalt take up this proverb against the king of Babylon, and say, How hath the oppressor ceased! the golden city ceased! Thy pomp is brought down to the grave, and the noise of thy viols: the worm is spread under thee, and the worms cover thee. Thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit. Thou art cast out of the grave like an abominable branch.--I will cut off from Babylon the name, and remnant, the son, and nephew, saith the Lord. I will also make it a possession for the bittern, and pools of water: and I will sweep it with the besom of destruction, saith the Lord of Hosts.” “Babylon is fallen, is fallen; and all the graven images of her gods he hath broken unto the ground.” “Thus saith the Lord, that saith unto the deep, Be dry; and I will dry up thy rivers: that saith of Cyrus, He is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure,--and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two-leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut.” “Bel boweth down,” &c. “Come down, and sit in the dust, O virgin daughter of Babylon: sit on the ground, there is no throne, O daughter of the Chaldeans. Sit thou silent, and get thee into darkness, O daughter of the Chaldeans; for thou shalt no more be called the lady of kingdoms.”

Many other prophecies against Babylon, and the whole land of Chaldea, are found in the Old Testament; and though the limits of this article will only allow a reference to be made to the exact fulfilment of a few, there is not one of the great number of predictions on record, the accomplishment of which has not been remarked by numerous writers, and more especially by those who have visited the spot. For, though for many centuries the site of Babylon was unknown, or the ruins of other Chaldean cities mistaken for its remains, its true situation and present condition have been, within a few years, satisfactorily ascertained, and accurately described, by several most intelligent and enterprising travellers.

When in the plenitude of its greatness, splendour and strength, Babylon first yielded to the arms of Cyrus, whose name, and the manœuvre by which the city was taken, were mentioned by Isaiah nearly two hundred years before the event; which was also predicted by Jeremiah: “Go up, O Elam, (or Persia,) besiege, O Media. The Lord hath raised up the spirit of the kings of the Medes, for his device is against Babylon, to destroy it.” The kings of Persia and Media, prompted by a common interest, freely entered into a league against Babylon, and with one accord entrusted the command of their united armies to Cyrus, the relative and eventually the successor of them both.--But the taking of Babylon was not reserved for these kingdoms alone: other nations had to be “prepared against her.” “Set up a standard in the land; blow the trumpet among the nations, prepare the nations against her, call together against her the kingdoms of Ararat, Minni, and Aschenaz: Lo, I will raise and cause to come up against Babylon an assembly of great nations from the north country,” &c. Cyrus subdued the Armenians, who had revolted against Media, spared their king, bound them over anew to their allegiance, by kindness rather than by force, and incorporated their army with his own.--“The mighty men of Babylon have foreborne to fight. They have remained in their holds; their might hath failed, they became as women.” So dispirited became its people, that Babylon, which had made the world to tremble, was long besieged, without making any effort to drive off the enemy. But, possessed of provisions for twenty years, which in their timid caution they had plentifully stored, they derided Cyrus from their impregnable walls, within which they remained. Their profligacy, their wickedness and false confidence were unabated; they continued to live carelessly in pleasures: and Babylon the great, unlike to many a small fortress and unwalled town, made not one struggle to regain its freedom or to be rid of the foe.--Much time having been lost, and no progress being made in the siege, the anxiety of Cyrus was strongly excited, and he was reduced to great perplexity, when at last it was suggested and immediately determined to divert the course of the Euphrates. And while the unconscious and reckless citizens were engaged in dancing and merriment, the river was suddenly turned into the lake, the trench, and the canals; and the Persians, both foot and horse, so soon as the subsiding 121of the water permitted, entered by its channel, and were followed by the allies in array, along the dry part of the river. “I will dry up thy sea, and make thy springs dry. That saith to the deep, Be dry, I will dry up thy rivers.”--One detachment was placed where the river first enters the city, and another where it leaves it. And “one post did run to meet another, and one messenger to meet another, to show the king of Babylon that his city is taken at the end, and that the passages are shut.” “They were taken,” says Herodotus, “by surprise; and such is the extent of the city, that, as the inhabitants themselves affirm, they who lived in the extremities were made prisoners before any alarm was communicated to the centre of the place,” where the palace stood. Thus a “snare was laid for Babylon, it was taken, and it was not aware; it was found and also caught; for it had sinned against the Lord. How is the praise of the whole earth surprised!”--“In their heat I will make their feasts, and I will make them drunken, that they may rejoice and sleep a perpetual sleep, and not wake, saith the Lord. I will bring them down like lambs to the slaughter,” &c. “I will make drunken her princes and her wise men, her captains and her rulers, and her mighty men, and they shall sleep a perpetual sleep,” &c. Cyrus, as the night drew on, stimulated his assembled troops to enter the city, because in that night of general revel within the walls, many of them were asleep, many drunk, and confusion universally prevailed. On passing, without obstruction or hinderance, into the city, the Persians, slaying some, putting others to flight, and joining with the revellers, as if slaughter had been merriment, hastened by the shortest way to the palace, and reached it ere yet a messenger had told the king that his city was taken. The gates of the palace, which was strongly fortified, were shut. The guards stationed before them, were drinking beside a blazing light, when the Persians rushed impetuously upon them. A louder and altered clamour, no longer joyous, caught the ear of the inmates of the palace, and the bright light showed them the work of destruction, without revealing its cause. And not aware of the presence of an enemy in the midst of Babylon, the king himself, (who had been roused from his revelry by the hand writing on the wall,) excited by the warlike tumult at the gates, commanded those within to examine from whence it arose; and according to the same word, by which “the gates” (leading from the river to the city) “were not shut, the loins of kings were loosed to open before Cyrus the two-leaved gates” of the palace. The eager Persians sprang in. “The king of Babylon heard the report of them; anguish took hold of him;” he and all who were about him perished; God had “numbered” his kingdom and finished it; it was “divided,” and given to the Medes and Persians; the lives of the Babylonian princes, and lords, and rulers, and captains, closed with that night’s festival; the drunken slept “a perpetual sleep, and did not wake.”--“I will fill thee with men as with caterpillars.” Not only did the Persian army enter with ease as caterpillars, together with all the nations that had come up against Babylon, but they seemed also as numerous. Cyrus, after the capture of the city, made a great display of his cavalry in the presence of the Babylonians, and in the midst of Babylon. Four thousand guards stood before the palace gates, and two thousand on each side. These advanced as Cyrus approached; two thousand spearmen followed them. These were succeeded by four square masses of Persian cavalry, each consisting of ten thousand men: and to these again were added, in their order, the Median, Armenian, Hyrcanian, Caducian, and Sacian horsemen,--all, as before, “riding upon horses, every man in array,”--with lines of chariots, four abreast, concluding the train of the numerous hosts. Cyrus afterward reviewed, at Babylon, the whole of his army, consisting of one hundred and twenty thousand horse, two thousand chariots, and six hundred thousand foot. Babylon, which was taken when not aware, and within whose walls no enemy, except a captive, had been ever seen, was thus “filled with men as with caterpillars,” as if there had not been a wall around it. The Scriptures do not relate the manner in which Babylon was taken, nor do they ever allude to the exact fulfilment of the prophecies. But there is, in every particular, a strict coincidence between the predictions of the prophets and the historical narratives, both of Herodotus and Xenophon.

3. Every step in the progress of the decline of Babylon was the accomplishment of a prophecy. Conquered, for the first time, by Cyrus, it was afterward reduced from an imperial to a tributary city. “Come down and sit in the dust, O daughter of Babylon: sit on the ground, there is no throne, O daughter of the Chaldeans.” After the Babylonians rebelled against Darius, the walls were reduced in height, and all the gates destroyed. “The wall of Babylon shall fall, her walls are thrown down.”--Xerxes, after his ignominious retreat from Greece, rifled the temples of Babylon, the golden images alone of which were estimated at 20,000,000l, beside treasures of vast amount. “I will punish Bel in Babylon, and I will bring forth out of his mouth that which he has swallowed up; I will do judgment upon the graven images of Babylon.”--Alexander the Great attempted to restore it to its former glory, and designed to make it the metropolis of a universal empire. But while the building of the temple of Belus, and the reparation of the embankments of the Euphrates, were actually carrying on, the conqueror of the world died, at the commencement of this his last undertaking, in the height of his power, and in the flower of his age. “Take balm for her pain, if so be that she may be healed. We would have healed Babylon, but she is not healed.” The building of the neighbouring city of Seleucia was the chief cause of the decline of Babylon, and drained it of a great part of its population. And at a later period, or about 130 years before the birth of Christ, Humerus, a 122Parthian governor, who was noted as excelling all tyrants in cruelty, exercised great severities on the Babylonians; and having burned the forum and some of the temples, and destroyed the fairest parts of the city, reduced many of the inhabitants to slavery on the slightest pretexts, and caused them, together with all their households, to be sent into Media. “They shall remove, they shall depart, both man and beast.” The “golden city” thus gradually verged, for centuries, toward poverty and desolation. Notwithstanding that Cyrus resided chiefly at Babylon, and sought to reform the government, and remodel the manners of the Babylonians, the succeeding kings of Persia preferred, as the seat of empire, Susa, Persepolis, or Ecbatana, situated in their own country: and in like manner the successors of Alexander did not attempt to complete his purpose of restoring Babylon to its preeminence and glory; but, after the subdivision of his mighty empire, the very kings of Assyria, during their temporary residence even in Chaldea, deserted Babylon, and dwelt in Seleucia. And thus the foreign inhabitants, first Persians and afterward Greeks, imitating their sovereigns by deserting Babylon, acted as if they verily had said, “Forsake her, and let us go every man unto his own country; for her judgment is reached unto heaven, and is lifted up even to the skies.”

4. But kindred judgments, the issue of common crimes, rested on the land of Chaldea, as well as on its doomed metropolis. “They come from a far country, from the end of the earth, to destroy the whole land. Many nations and great kings shall serve themselves of thee also,” &c. The Persians, the Macedonians, the Parthians, the Romans, the Saracens, and the Turks, are the chief of the many nations who have unscrupulously and unsparingly “served themselves” of the land of the Chaldeans: and Cyrus and Darius, kings of Persia; Alexander the Great; and Seleucus, king of Assyria; Demetrius and Antiochus the Great; Tragan, Severus, Julian, and Heraclius, emperors of Rome; the victorious Omar, the successor of Mohammed; Holagou, and Tamerlane,--are “great kings” who successively subdued or desolated Chaldea, or exacted from it tribute to such an extent, as scarcely any other country ever paid to a single conqueror. And though the names of some of these nations were unknown to the Babylonians, and unheard of in the world at the time of the prophecy, most of these “many nations and great kings” need now but to be named, to show that, in local relation to Chaldea, “they came from the utmost border, from the coasts of the earth.”--“I will punish the land of the Chaldeans, and will make it perpetual desolations; cut off the sower from Babylon, and him that handleth the sickle in the time of harvest. A drought is on her waters, and they shall be dried up. Behold the hinder-most of the nations, a dry land and a desert.” The land of the Chaldeans was indeed made--perpetual, or long continued, desolation. Ravaged and spoiled for ages, the Chaldees’ excellency finally disappeared, and the land became desolate, as still it remains. Rauwolff, who passed through it in 1574, describes the country as bare, and “so dry and barren that it cannot be tilled.” And the most recent travellers all concur in describing it in similar terms. On the one side, near to the site of Opis, “the country all around,” says Mr. Buckingham, “appears to be one wide desert, of sandy and barren soil, thinly scattered over with brushwood and tufts of reedy grass.” On the other, between Bussorah and Bagdad, “immediately on either bank of the Tigris,” observes Mignan, “is the untrodden desert. The absence of all cultivation, the sterile, arid, and wild character of the whole scene, formed a contrast to the rich and delightful accounts delineated in Scripture. The natives, in travelling over these pathless deserts, are compelled to explore their way by the stars.” “The whole country between Bagdad and Hillah is a perfectly flat and (with the exception of a few spots as you approach the latter place) uncultivated waste. That it was at some former period in a far different state, is evident from the number of canals by which it is traversed, now dry and neglected; and the quantity of heaps of earth covered with fragments of brick and broken tiles, which are seen in every direction, the indisputable traces of former population. At present the only inhabitants of the tract are the Sobeide Arabs. Around, as far as the eye can reach is a trackless desert.”--“Her cities are desolations.” The course of the Tigris through Babylonia, instead of being adorned with cities, is marked with the sites of “ancient ruins.” Sitace, Sabata, Narisa, Fuchera, Sendia, “no longer exist.” A succession of longitudinal mounds, crossed at right angles by others, mark the supposed site of Artemita, or Destagered. Its once luxuriant gardens are covered with grass; and a higher mound distinguishes “the royal residence” from the ancient streets. “Extensive ridges and mountains, (near to Houmania,) varying in height and extent, are seen branching in every direction.” A wall, with sixteen bastions, is the only memorial of Apollonia. The once magnificent Seleucia is now a scene of desolation. There is not a single entire edifice, but the country is strewed for miles with fragments of decayed buildings. “As far,” says Major Keppel, “as the eye could reach, the horizon presented a broken line of mounds; the whole of this place was a desert flat.” On the opposite bank of the Tigris, where Ctesiphon its rival stood, beside fragments of walls and broken masses of brick work, and remains of vast structures encumbered with heaps of earth, there is one magnificent monument of antiquity “in a remarkably perfect state of preservation,” “a large and noble pile of building, the front of which presents to view a wall three hundred feet in length, adorned with four rows of arched recesses, with a central arch, in span eighty-six feet, and above a hundred feet high, supported by walls sixteen feet thick, and leading to a hall which extends to the depth of a hundred and fifty-six feet,” the width of the building. A great part of the back wall, and of the roof, is broken down; but that which remains “still appears much larger than Westminster 123Abbey.” It is supposed to have been the lofty palace of Chosroes; but there desolation now reigns. “On the site of Ctesiphon,” says Mignan, “the smallest insect under heaven would not find a single blade of grass wherein to hide itself, nor one drop of water to allay its thirst.” In the rear of the palace, and attached to it, are mounds two miles in circumference, indicating the utter desolation of buildings, formed to minister to luxury.

5. But let us come to the fulfilment of these wonderful prophecies in the present condition of Babylon itself, as described by those who have most recently visited it.

“Babylon shall become heaps.” Babylon the glory of kingdoms is now the greatest of ruins. “Immense tumuli of temples, palaces, and habitations of every description,” are every where seen, and form “long and varied lines of ruins,” which, in some places, says Sir R. K. Porter, “rather resemble natural hills than mounds which cover the remains of great and splendid edifices.” These buildings, which were once the labour of slaves and the pride of kings, are now misshapen heaps of rubbish. “The whole face of the country,” observes Rich, “is covered with vestiges of building, in some places consisting of brick walls surprisingly fresh, in others, merely a vast succession of mounds of rubbish, of such indeterminate figures, variety, and extent, as to involve the person who should have formed any theory in inextricable confusion.”--“Let nothing of her be left.” “Vast heaps constitute all that now remains of ancient Babylon,” says Rich. All its grandeur is departed; all its treasures have been spoiled; all its excellence has utterly vanished; the very heaps are searched for bricks, when nothing else can be found; even these are not left, wherever they can be taken away; and Babylon has for ages been “a quarry above ground,” ready to the hand of every successive despoiler. Without the most remote allusion to this prophecy, Captain Mignan describes a mound attached to the palace, ninety yards in breadth by half that height, the whole of which is deeply furrowed, in the same manner as the generality of the mounds. “The ground is extremely soft, and tiresome to walk over, and appears completely exhausted of all its building materials; nothing now is left, save one towering hill, the earth of which is mixed with fragments of broken brick, red varnished pottery, tile, bitumen, mortar, glass, shells, and pieces of mother of pearl,”--worthless fragments, of no value to the poorest. “From thence shall she be taken, let nothing of her be left.” While the workmen “cast her up as heaps” while excavating for bricks, that they may “take” them “from thence,” and that “nothing may be left;” they labour more than trebly in the fulfilment of prophecy: for the numerous and deep excavations form pools of water, on the over-flowing of the Euphrates, and, annually filled, they are not dried up throughout the year. “Deep cavities are also formed by the Arabs, when digging for hidden treasure.” Thus “the ground,” says Buckingham, “is sometimes covered with pools of water in the hollows.”

“Sit in the dust, sit on the ground, O daughter of the Chaldeans.” The surface of the mounds which form all that remains of Babylon, consists of decomposed buildings, reduced to dust; and over all the ancient streets and habitations, there is literally nothing but the dust of the ground on which to sit.--“Thy nakedness shall be uncovered.” “Our path,” says Captain Mignan, “lay through the great mass of ruined heaps on the site of ‘shrunken Babylon;’ and I am perfectly incapable of conveying an adequate idea of the dreary, lonely nakedness that appeared before me.”--“Sit thou silent, and get thee into darkness.” “There reigns throughout the ruins,” says Sir R. K. Porter, “a silence profound as the grave.” “Babylon is now a silent scene, a sublime solitude.”--“It shall never be inhabited, nor dwelt in from generation to generation.” From Rauwolff’s testimony it appears that, in the sixteenth century, “there was not a house to be seen.” And now “the eye wanders over a barren desert, in which the ruins are nearly the only indication that it had ever been inhabited.” “It is impossible,” adds Major Keppel, “to behold this scene and not to be reminded how exactly the predictions of Isaiah and Jeremiah have been fulfilled, even in the appearance Babylon was doomed to present, that ‘she should never be inhabited;’ that ‘the Arabian should not pitch his tent there;’ that she should ‘become heaps;’ that her cities should be ‘a desolation, a dry land, and a wilderness.’” “Babylon is spurned alike by the heel of the Ottomans, the Israelites, and the sons of Ishmael.” It is “a tenantless and desolate metropolis,” remarks Mignan. “It shall not be inhabited, but be wholly desolate. Neither shall the Arabian pitch tent there, neither shall the shepherds make their folds there.” It was prophesied of Ammon that it should be a stable for camels and a couching place for flocks; and of Philistia, that it should be cottages for shepherds, and a pasture of flocks. But Babylon was to be visited with a far greater desolation, and to become unfit or unsuited even for such a purpose; and that neither a tent would be pitched there, even by an Arab, nor a fold made by a shepherd, implies the last degree of solitude and desolation. “It is common in these parts for shepherds to make use of ruined edifices to shelter their flocks in.” But Babylon is an exception. Instead of taking the bricks from thence, the shepherd might very readily erect a defence from wild beasts, and make a fold for his flock amidst the heaps of Babylon; and the Arab who fearlessly traverses it by day, might pitch his tent by night. But neither the one nor the other could now be persuaded to remain a single night among the ruins. The superstitious dread of evil spirits, far more than the natural terror of the wild beasts, effectually prevents them. Captain Mignan was accompanied by six Arabs, completely armed; but he “could not induce them to remain toward night, from the apprehension of evil spirits. It is impossible to eradicate this idea from the minds of this people, who are very deeply imbued with superstition.”

124“Wild beasts of the deserts shall lie there, and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures; and owls shall dwell there, and satyrs (goats) shall dance there,” &c. “There are many dens of wild beasts in various parts. And while the lower excavations are often pools of water, in most of the cavities are numbers of bats and owls.” The king of the forest now ranges over the site of that Babylon which Nebuchadnezzar built for his own glory. And the temple of Belus, the greatest work of man, is now like unto a natural den of lions. Two or three majestic lions were seen upon its heights by Sir Robert Ker Porter, as he was approaching it; and “the broad prints of their feet were left plain in the clayey soil.” Major Keppel saw there a similar foot-print of a lion. It is also the unmolested retreat of jackalls, hyenas, and other noxious animals. Wild beasts are numerous at the Mujelibé, as well as on Birs Nimrood. “The mound,” says Kinneir, “was full of large holes: we entered some of them, and found them strewed with the carcasses and skeletons of animals recently killed. The ordure of wild beasts was so strong, that prudence got the better of curiosity; for we had no doubt as to the savage nature of the inhabitants. Our guides, indeed, told us, that all the ruins abounded in lions, and other wild beasts: so literally has the divine prediction been fulfilled, that wild beasts of the deserts should lie there, and their houses be full of doleful creatures; that the wild beasts of the islands should cry in their desolate houses.”

“The sea is come upon Babylon. She is covered with the multitude of the waves thereof.” The traces of the western bank of the Euphrates are now no longer discernible. The river overflows unrestrained; and the very ruins, with “every appearance of the embankment,” have been swept away. “The ground there is low and marshy, and presents not the slightest vestige of former buildings, of any description whatever.” “Morasses and ponds,” says Porter, “tracked the ground in various parts. For a long time after the general subsiding of the Euphrates, great part of this plain is little better than a swamp,” &c. “The ruins of Babylon are then inundated, so as to render many parts of them inaccessible, by converting the valleys among them into morasses.” But while Babylon is thus “covered with the multitude of waves, and the waters come upon it;” yet, in striking contrast and seeming contradiction to such a feature of desolation, (like the formation of “pools of water,” from the “casting up of heaps,”) are the elevated sunburnt ruins, which the waters do not overflow, and the “dry waste” and “parched and burning plain,” on which the heaps of Babylon lie, equally prove that it is “a desert, a dry land, and a wilderness.” One part, even on the western side of the river, is “low and marshy, and another,” says Mignan, “an arid desert.”

Many other striking particulars might be collected; and we may conclude in the words of Mr. Keith, from whose work on the prophecies several of the above particulars have been extracted:--“Is it possible that there can be any attestation of the truth of prophecy, if it be not witnessed here Is there any spot on earth which has undergone a more complete transformation ‘The records of the human race,’ it has been said with truth, ‘do not present a contrast more striking than that between the primeval magnificence of Babylon and its long desolation.’ Its ruins have of late been carefully and scrupulously examined by different natives of Britain, of unimpeached veracity; and the result of every research is a more striking demonstration of the literal accomplishment of every prediction. How few spots are there on earth of which we have so clear and faithful a picture as prophecy gave to fallen Babylon at a time when no spot on earth resembled it less than its present desolate solitary site! or could any prophecies respecting any single place have been more precise, or wonderful, or numerous, or true, or more gradually accomplished throughout many generations And when they look at what Babylon was, and what it is, and perceive the minute realization of them all, may not nations learn wisdom, may not tyrants tremble, and may not skeptics think”

The reasons why prophecies so numerous and particular were recorded concerning Babylon, appear to have been, 1. That Babylon was the great oppressor of the Jews. 2. That it was the type of all the powerful persecuting enemies of the church of God, especially of Rome; and in its fate they may read their own. 3. That the accomplishment of prophecy in the destruction of so eminent an empire might give a solemn testimony to the truth of the Scriptures to the whole earth, and to all ages.

BACKSLIDING, a falling off, or defection in matters of religion; an apostasy, Acts xxi, 21; 2 Thess. ii, 3; 1 Tim. iv, 1. This may be either partial or complete: partial, when it is in the heart, as Prov. xiv, 14; complete, as that described in Heb. vi, 4, &c; x, 6, &c. On the latter passage Chrysostom observes, “When a house has a strong foundation, suppose an arch fall, some of the beams break, or a wall decline, while the foundation is good, these breaches may be repaired; so in religion, whilst a person maintains the true doctrines, and remains on the firm rock, though he fall, true repentance may restore him to the favour and image of God: but as in a house, when the foundation is bad, nothing can save the building from ruin; so when heretical doctrines are admitted for a foundation, nothing can save the professor from destruction.” It is important in interpreting these passages to keep it steadfastly in mind, that the apostasy they speak of is not only moral but doctrinal.

BADGER, . This word in a plural form occurs, Exod. xxv, 5; xxvi, 14; xxxv, 7, 23; xxxvi, 19; xxxix, 34; Num. iv, 6, 8, 10–12, 14, 25; Ezek. xvi, 10; and is joined with , skins used for the covering of the tabernacle in the wilderness. The Jewish interpreters are agreed as to its being some animal. Jarchi says it was a beast of many colours, which no more exists. Kimchi holds the same opinion. Aben Ezra thinks it some animal of the 125bovine kind, of whose skins shoes are made; alluding to Ezek. xvi, 10. Most modern interpreters have taken it to be the badger, and among these our English translators; but, in the first place, the badger is not an inhabitant of Arabia; and there is nothing in its skin peculiarly proper either for covering a tabernacle or making shoes. Hasæus, Michaelis, and others, have laboured to prove that it is the mermaid, or homo marinus, the trichekus of Linnæus. Faber, Dathe, and Rosenmuller, think that it is the seal, or sea calf, vitulus marinus, the skin of which is both strong and pliable, and was accounted by the ancients as a most proper outer covering for tents, and was also made into shoes, as Rau has clearly shown. Niebuhr says, “A merchant of Abushahr called dahash that fish which the captains in English vessels call porpoise, and the Germans, sea hog. In my voyage from Maskat to Abushahr, I saw a prodigious quantity together near Ras Mussendom, that were all going the same way, and seemed to swim with great vehemence.” Bochart thinks that not an animal, but a colour, was intended, Exodus xxv, 5; so that the covering of the tabernacle was to be azure, or sky blue.

BAG, a purse or pouch, Deut. xxv, 13; 1 Sam. xvii, 40; Luke xii, 33; Job xiv, 17. The money collected in the treasuries of eastern princes was reckoned up in certain equal sums, put into bags and sealed. These are, in some parts of the Levant, called purses, where they estimate great expenses by so many purses. The money collected in the temple in the time of Joash, for its reparation, seems, in like manner, to have been told up in bags of equal value; and these were probably delivered sealed to those who paid the workmen, 2 Kings xii, 10. In the east, in the present day, a bag of money passes, for some time at least, currently from hand to hand, under the authority of a banker’s seal, without any examination of its contents. See Tobit ix, 5; xi, 16.

BAKING BREAD. Abraham directed Sarah to bake cakes upon the hearth, for the use of the strangers who had visited him, Genesis xviii, 6. Elijah requests the same of the widow of Zarephath, 1 Kings xvii, 13. Amnon the son of David requests Tamar his sister to come and make cakes in his sight, that he might eat at her hand, 2 Sam. xiii, 6. These and other allusions to the preparation of bread will be explained by referring to eastern customs. Rauwolff observes that travellers frequently bake bread in the deserts of Arabia, on the ground heated for that purpose by fire, covering their cakes of bread with ashes and coals, and turning them several times till they are enough. The eastern bread is made in small thin cakes, and is generally eaten new. Sometimes it was however made to keep several days, as the shew bread; and a sort of rusks, or bread for travelling, Joshua ix, 12. The eastern ladies of rank often prepare cakes, pastry, &c, in their own apartments.

BALAAM, a prophet of the city of Pethor, or Bosor, upon the Euphrates, whose intercourse with Balak, king of the Moabites, who sent for him to curse the Israelites, is recorded at large by Moses, Num. xxii-xxiv. It has been a subject of controversy, whether Balaam was a true prophet or a mere diviner, magician, or fortune teller. Origen says that his whole power consisted in magic and cursing. Theodoret is of opinion that Balaam did not consult the Lord, but that he was supernaturally inspired, and constrained to speak against his own inclination. Cyril says that he was a magician, an idolater, and a false prophet, who spoke truth against his will; and St. Ambrose compares him to Caiaphas, who prophesied without being aware of the import of what he said. Jerom seems to have adopted the opinion of the Hebrews; which was, that Balaam knew the true God, erected altars to him, and that he was a true prophet, though corrupted by avarice, Num. xxii, 18. St. Austin and other commentators have inclined to this opinion. Dr. Jortin supposes that Balaam was a worshipper of the true God, and a priest and prophet of great reputation; and that he was sent for by Balak from a notion which generally prevailed, that priests and prophets could sometimes, by prayers and sacrifices duly and skilfully applied, obtain favours from God, and that their imprecations were efficacious. He conceives that the prophet had been accustomed to revelations, and that he used to receive them in visions, or in dreams of the night. It cannot be denied that the Scripture expressly calls him a prophet, 2 Pet. ii, 15, and therefore those are probably right who think that he had once been a good man and a true prophet, till, loving the wages of unrighteousness, and prostituting the honour of his office to covetousness, he apostatized from God, and, betaking himself to idolatrous practices, fell under the delusion of the devil, of whom he learned all his magical enchantments; though at this juncture, when the preservation of his people was concerned, it might be consistent with God’s wisdom to appear to him and overrule his mind by the impulse of real revelations. As to what passed between him and his ass, when that animal was miraculously enabled to speak to its master, commentators are divided in their opinions; whether it really and literally happened as Moses relates it, or whether it be an allegory only, or was the mere imagination or vision of Balaam. But St. Peter evidently mentions it as a fact literally and certainly occurring: “the dumb ass, speaking with man’s voice, when she forbade the madness of the prophet,” 2 Pet. ii, 16. This, it is true, has frequently been made the subject of profane banter by those whose skepticism leads them to scoff at all prodigies. But how absurd is it to subject a miraculous event to the ordinary rules of reasoning! “Say what you will of the formation of the tongue and jaws being unfit for speaking,” says Bishop Newton, “yet an adequate cause is assigned for this wonderful event; for it is expressly said that ‘the Lord opened the mouth of the ass;’ and who that believes a God, can doubt his power to do this and much more The miracle was by no means needless or superfluous; it was well adapted to convince Balaam 126that the mouth and tongue were under God’s direction, and that the same divine power which caused the dumb ass to speak contrary to its nature, could, in like manner, make him utter blessings contrary to his inclination. And, accordingly, he was overruled to bless the people, though he came prepared and disposed to curse them; which was the greater miracle of the two; for the ass was merely passive, but Balaam resisted the good motions of God.” The prophecy which Balaam delivered concerning Israel on this remarkable occasion, and which is contained in Numbers xxiv, 5–9, has been greatly admired by critics. Bishop Lowth, in particular, remarks that he knows nothing in the whole scope of the Hebrew poetry more exquisite or perfect. “It abounds,” says he, “in splendid imagery, copied immediately from the tablet of nature; and is chiefly conspicuous for the glowing elegance of the style, and the form and diversity of the figures.”

After his predictions, Balaam returned into his own country; but before he left the land of Moab, as if vexed with his own disappointment in missing the promised reward, and with a purpose of revenging himself on the Israelites, as the cause of it, he instructed the Moabites and Midianites in a wicked scheme, which was to send their daughters into the camp of the Israelites, in order to draw them first into lewdness, and then into idolatry, the certain means of depriving them of the help of that God who protected them. This artifice succeeded; for as the Israelites lay encamped at Shittim, many of them were deluded by these strange women, not only to commit whoredom with them, but to assist at their sacrifices, and worship their god Baal-Peor, Num. xxv, 1–3; xxxi, 16; Mic. vi, 5; 2 Pet. ii, 15; Jude 11; Rev. ii, 14; Deut. xxiii, 4, 5; Joshua xxiv, 9, 10; Neh. xiii, 2. God commanded Moses to avenge this crime. He therefore declared war against the Midianites, killed five of their princes, and a great number of other persons without distinction of age or sex, among whom was Balaam himself.

Moses says that Balaam consulted the Lord, and calls the Lord his God: “I cannot go beyond the commandment of the Lord my God,” Num. xxii, 18. The reason why Balaam calls Jehovah, “my God” may be, because he was of the posterity of Shem, who maintained the worship of Jehovah, not only in his own person, but among his descendants; so that while the posterity of Ham fell into idolatry, and the posterity of Japhet were settled at a distance in Europe, the Shemites generally, though not universally, retained the worship of God.

BALDNESS is a natural effect of old age, in which period of life the hair of the head, wanting nourishment, falls off, and leaves the head naked. Artificial baldness was used as a token of mourning; it is threatened to the voluptuous daughters of Israel, instead of well set hair, Isaiah iii, 24. See Mic. i, 16; and instances of it occur, Isaiah xv, 2; Jer. xlvii, 5. See Ezek, vii, 18; Amos viii, 10.

The insult offered to Elisha by the young people of Bethel, improperly rendered “little children,” who cried out after him, “Go up, thou bald head,” may here be noticed. The town of Bethel was one of the principal nurseries of Ahab’s idolatry, and the contempt was offered to Elisha in his public character as a prophet of the Lord. If in the expression, “Go up,” there was also a reference to the translation of Elijah, as turning it into jest, this was another aggravation of the sin, to which these young people were probably instigated by their parents. The malediction laid upon them by the prophet was not an act of private resentment, but evidently proceeded from prophetic impulse.

BALM, , Gen. xxxvii, 25; xliii, 11; Jer. viii, 22; xlvi, 11; li, 8; Ezek. xxvii, 17. Balm, or balsam, is used with us as a common name for many of those oily resinous substances, which flow spontaneously or by incision, from certain trees or plants, and are of considerable use in medicine and surgery. It serves therefore very properly to express the Hebrew word , which the LXX have rendered t, and the ancients have interpreted resin indiscriminately.

BALSAM TREE, ; in Arabic, abuschâm, that is, “father of scent,” sweet-scented. According to Mr. Bruce, the balessan, balsam, or balm, is an evergreen shrub, or tree, which grows to about fourteen feet high, spontaneously and without culture in its native country, Azab, and all along the coast to Babelmandel. There were three kinds of balsam extracted from this tree. The first was called opobalsamum, and was most highly esteemed. It was that which flowed spontaneously, or by means of incision, from the trunk or branches of the tree in summer time. The second was carpobalsamum, made by expressing the fruit when in maturity. The third, and least esteemed of all, was hylobalsamum, made by a decoction of the buds and small young twigs. The great value set upon this drug in the east is traced to the earliest ages. The Ishmaelites, or Arabian carriers and merchants, trafficking with the Arabian commodities into Egypt, brought with them as a part of their cargo, Gen. xxxvii, 25; xliii, 11. Josephus, in the history of the antiquities of his country, says that a tree of this balsam was brought to Jerusalem by the queen of Saba, and given among other presents to Solomon, who, as we know from Scripture, was very studious of all sorts of plants, and skilful in the description and distinction of them. And here, indeed, it seems to have been cultivated and to have thriven; so that the place of its origin, through length of time, combined with other reasons, came to be forgotten. Notwithstanding the positive authority of Josephus, and the great probability that attends it, we cannot put it in competition with what we have been told in Scripture, as we have just now seen that the place where it grew, and was sold to merchants, was Gilead in Judea, more than 1730 years before Christ, or 1000 before the queen of Saba; so that in reading the verse, nothing can be plainer than that it had been transplanted into Judea, flourished, and had become an article of commerce in Gilead, long 127before the period he mentions. “A company of Ishmaelites came from Gilead with their camels, bearing spicery and balm, and myrrh, going to carry it down to Egypt,” Gen. xxxvii, 25. Theophrastus, Dioscorides, Pliny, Strabo, Diodorus Siculus, Tacitus, Justin, Solinus, and Serapion, speaking of its costliness and medicinal virtues, all say that this balsam came from Judea. The words of Pliny are, “But to all other odours whatever, the balsam is preferred, produced in no other part but the land of Judea, and even there in two gardens only; both of them belonging to the king, one no more than twenty acres, the other still smaller.” The whole valley of Jericho was once esteemed the most fruitful in Judea; and the obstinacy with which the Jews fought here to prevent the balsam trees from falling into the possession of the Romans, attests the importance which was attached to them. This tree Pliny describes as peculiar to the vale of Jericho, and as “more like a vine than a myrtle.” It was esteemed so precious a rarity, that both Pompey and Titus carried a specimen to Rome in triumph; and the balsam, owing to its scarcity, sold for double its weight in silver, till its high price led to the practice of adulteration. Justin makes it the chief source of the national wealth. He describes the country in which it grew, as a valley like a garden, environed with continual hills, and, as it were, enclosed with a wall. “The space of the valley contains 200,000 acres, and is called Jericho. In that valley, there is wood as admirable for its fruitfulness as for its delight, for it is intermingled with palm trees and opobalsamum. The trees of the opobalsamum have a resemblance to fir trees; but they are lower, and are planted and husbanded after the manner of vines. On a set season of the year they sweat balsam. The darkness of the place is beside as wonderful as the fruitfulness of it; for although the sun shines no where hotter in the world, there is naturally a moderate and perpetual gloominess of the air.” According to Mr. Buckingham, this description is most accurate. “Both the heat and the gloominess,” he says, “were observed by us, though darkness would be an improper term to apply to this gloom.”

BANGORIAN CONTROVERSY, a controversy that arose with Dr. Hoadly, bishop of Bangor. That prelate, in a sermon preached before George I, asserted that Christ was supreme in his own kingdom; that he had not delegated his power, like temporal lawgivers during their absence, to any persons as his vicegerents or deputies; and that the church of England, as all other national churches, was merely a civil or human institution, established for the purpose of diffusing and perpetuating the knowledge and belief of Christianity. On the meeting of the convocation, a committee was appointed to examine this publication. A heavy censure was passed against it, as tending to subvert all government and discipline in the church of Christ, to reduce his kingdom to a state of anarchy and confusion, and to impugn and impeach the royal supremacy in matters ecclesiastical, and the authority of the legislature to enforce obedience in matters of religion, by severe sanction. To these proceedings a sudden stop was put by proroguing the convocation; but the controversy which had been commenced was continued for several years.

BANNER, an ensign, or standard, used by armies or caravans on their journeys in the eastern countries. The original , is rendered by lexicographers and translators under this word, as a noun, in which form it often occurs, a standard, banner; as a verb, once, to set up a banner; Psalm xx, 5; as a participle pahul, vexillatus, one distinguished by a banner, the chief; as a participle niphal, bannered, or with banners. The meaning of the root is illustrated by the very ingenious and sensible author of “Observations on Divers Passages of Scripture,” who shows, from Pitts and Pococke, that, “as in Arabia and the neighbouring countries, on account of the intense heat of the sun by day, people generally choose to travel in the night; so, to prevent confusion in their large caravans, particularly in the annual one to Mecca, each company, of which the caravan consists, has its distinct portable beacon, which is carried on the top of a pole, and consists of several lights, which are somewhat like iron stoves, into which they put short dry wood, with which some of the camels are loaded. Every company has one of these poles belonging to it; some of which have ten, some twelve, of these lights on their tops, more or less; and they are likewise of different figures, as well as numbers; one, perhaps, in an oval shape; another, triangular, or in the form of an M, or N, &c, so that by these every one knows his respective company. They are carried in the front, and set up in the place where the caravan is to pitch, before that comes up, at some distance from one another. As travelling then in the night must be, generally speaking, more agreeable to a great multitude in that desert, we may believe a compassionate God, for the most part, directed Israel to move in the night. And in consequence, must we not rather suppose the standards of the tribes were movable beacons, like those of the Mecca pilgrims, than flags or any thing of that kind” This ingenious author seems, however, to forget, 1. That the pillar of fire was with the Israelites to direct their marches. 2. That the Israelites were not a mere caravan, but an army; and, as such, for order, required standards as well by day as by night. See Armies.

BANQUET. The hospitality of the present day in the east exactly resembles that of the remotest antiquity. The parable of the “great supper” is in those countries literally realized. And such was the hospitality of ancient Greece and Rome. When a person provided an entertainment for his friends or neighbours, he sent round a number of servants to invite the guests; these were called vocatores by the Romans, and te by the Greeks. The day when the entertainment is to be given is fixed some considerable time before; and in the evening of the day appointed, a messenger comes to bid the guests to the feast. The custom is 128thus introduced in Luke: “A certain man made a great supper, and bade many; and sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come, for all things are now ready.” They were not now asked for the first time; but had already accepted the invitation, when the day was appointed, and were therefore already pledged to attend at the hour when they might be summoned. They were not taken unprepared, and could not in consistency and decency plead any prior engagement. They could not now refuse, without violating their word, and insulting the master of the feast, and, therefore, justly subjected themselves to punishment. The terms of the parable exactly accord with established custom. The Jews did not always follow the same method; sometimes they sent a number of servants different ways among the friends they meant to invite; and at other times, a single male domestic.

The Persians send a deputation to meet their guests: this deputation are called openers of the way; and the more distinguished the persons sent, and the greater the distance to which they go, so much greater is the honour. So it is proclaimed, “Go forth and behold king Solomon, with the crown wherewith his mother crowned him.” “The bridegroom cometh, go ye forth to meet him.” The names of the persons to be invited were inscribed upon tablets, and the gate was set open to receive those who had obtained them; but to prevent any getting in that had no ticket, only one leaf of the door was left open; and that was strictly guarded by the servants of the family. Those who were admitted had to go along a narrow passage to the room; and after all who had received tickets of admission were assembled, the master of the house rose and shut to the door; and then the entertainment began. The first ceremony, after the guests arrived at the house of entertainment, was the salutation performed by the master of the house, or one appointed in his place. Among the Greeks, this was sometimes done by embracing with arms around; but the most common salutation was by the conjunction of their right hands, the right hand being reckoned a pledge of fidelity and friendship. Sometimes they kissed the lips, hands, knees, or feet, as the person deserved more or less respect. The Jews welcomed a stranger to their house in the same way; for our Lord complains to Simon, that he had given him no kiss, had welcomed him to his table with none of the accustomed tokens of respect.

The custom of reclining was introduced from the nations of the east, and particularly from Persia, where it seems to have been adopted at a very remote period. The Old Testament Scriptures allude to both customs; but they furnish undeniable proofs of the antiquity of sitting. As this is undoubtedly the most natural and dignified posture, so it seems to have been universally adopted by the first generations of men; and it was not till after the lapse of many ages, and when degenerate man had lost much of the firmness of his primitive character, that he began to recline.

The tables were constructed of three different parts or separate tables, making but one in the whole. One was placed at the upper end crossways, and the two others joined to its ends, one on each side, so as to leave an open space between, by which the attendants could readily wait at all the three. Round these tables were placed beds or couches, one to each table; each of these beds was called clinium; and three of these being united, to surround the three tables, made the triclinium. At the end of each clinium was a footstool, for the convenience of mounting up to it. These beds were formed of mattresses, and supported on frames of wood, often highly ornamented; the mattresses were covered with cloth or tapestry, according to the quality of the entertainer. At the splendid feast which Ahasuerus made for the nobles of his kingdom, beds of silver and gold were placed round the tables; according to a custom in the east of naming a thing from its principal ornament, these must have been couches profusely ornamented with the precious metals. Each guest inclined the superior part of his body upon his left arm, the lower part being stretched out at length, or a little bent; his head was raised up, and his back sometimes supported with pillows. In conversation, those who spoke raised themselves almost upright, supported by cushions. When they ate, they raised themselves on their elbow, and made use of the right hand; which is the reason our Lord mentions the hand of Judas in the singular number: “He that dippeth his hand with me in the dish, the same shall betray me,” Matt. xxvi, 23. See Accubation.

When a Persian comes into an assembly, and has saluted the house, he then measures with his eye the place to which his degree of rank entitles him; he straightway wedges himself into the line of guests, without offering any apology for the general disturbance which he produces. It often happens that persons take a higher seat than that to which they are entitled. The Persian scribes are remarkable for their arrogance in this respect, in which they seem to bear a striking resemblance to the Jews of the same profession in the days of our Lord. The master of the entertainment has, however, the privilege of placing any one as high in the rank of the assembly as he may choose. And Mr. Morier saw an instance of it at a public entertainment to which he was invited. When the assembly was nearly full, the governor of Kashan, a man of humble mien, although of considerable rank, came in and seated himself at the lowest place; when the master of the house, after numerous expressions of welcome, pointed with his hand to an upper seat in the assembly, to which he desired him to move, and which he accordingly did. These circumstances furnish a beautiful and striking illustration of the parable which our Lord uttered, when he saw how those that were invited chose the highest places.

Before the Greeks went to an entertainment, they washed and anointed themselves; for it was thought very indecent to appear on such an occasion, defiled with sweat and dust; but they who came off a journey were washed, and 129clothed with suitable apparel, in the house of the entertainer, before they were admitted to the feast. When Telemachus and Pisistratus arrived at the palace of Menelaus, in the course of their wanderings, they were immediately supplied with water to wash, and with oil to anoint, themselves, before they took their seats by the side of the king. The oil used on such occasions, in the palaces of nobles and princes, was perfumed with roses and other odoriferous herbs. They also washed their hands before they sat down to meat. To these customary marks of respect, to which a traveller, or one who had no house of his own, was entitled, our Lord alludes in his defence of Mary: “And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman I entered into thine house; thou gavest me no water for my feet, but she hath washed my feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head. Thou gavest me no kiss; but this woman, since the time I came in, hath not ceased to kiss my feet. My head with oil thou didst not anoint; but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment,” Luke vii, 44. Homer mentions it as a custom quite common in those days, for daughters to wash and afterward to anoint the feet of their parents. Our Saviour was in the circumstances of a traveller; he had no home to wash and anoint himself in, before he went to Simon’s house; and, therefore, had a right to complain that his entertainer had failed in the respect that was due to him as a stranger, at a distance from the usual place of his residence. The Jews regularly washed their hands and their feet before dinner; they considered this ceremony as essential, which discovers the reason of their astonishment, when they observed the disciples of Christ sit down at table without having observed this ceremony: “Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders for they wash not their hands when they eat bread,” Matt. xv, 2. After meals they wash them again; for, says the evangelist, “the Pharisees and all the Jews, except they wash their hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders,” Mark vii, 3, 4. When they washed their hands themselves, they plunged them into the water up to the wrists; but when others performed this office for them, it was done by pouring it upon their hands. The same custom prevailed in Greece, for Homer says, the attendants poured water on the hands of their chiefs. This was a part of the service which Elisha performed for his master Elijah; and in every instance under the law where water was applied to the body by another, it was done, not by plunging, but by pouring or sprinkling. To wash the feet was a mean and servile office, and, therefore, generally performed by the female servants of the family. It was occasionally performed, however, by females of the highest rank; for the daughter of Cleobulus, one of the Grecian sages, and king of Lindus, a city on the south-east part of Rhodes, was not ashamed to wash the feet of her father’s guests. And it was customary for them to kiss the feet of those to whom they thought a more than common respect was due; for the daughter of Philocleon, in Aristophanes, washed her father, anointed his feet, and, stooping down, kissed them. The towel which was used to wipe the feet after washing, was considered through all the east as a badge of servitude. Suetonius mentions it as a sure mark of the intolerable pride of Caligula, the Roman emperor, that when at supper he suffered senators of the highest rank, sometimes to stand by his couch, sometimes at his feet, girt with a towel. Hence it appears that this honour was a token of humiliation, which was not, however, absolutely degrading and inconsistent with all regard to rank. Yet our blessed Redeemer did not refuse to give his disciples, and Judas Iscariot himself, that proof of his love and humility.

The entertainment was conducted by a symposiarch, or governor of the feast. He was, says Plutarch, one chosen among the guests, the most pleasant and diverting in the company, that would not get drunk, and yet would drink freely; he was to rule over the rest, to forbid any disorder, but to encourage their mirth. He observed the temper of the guests, and how the wine worked upon them; how every one could bear his wine, and to endeavour accordingly to keep them all in harmony, and in an even composure, that there might be no disquiet nor disturbance. To do this effectually, he first proclaimed liberty to every one to drink what he thought proper, and then observing who among them was most ready to be disordered, mixed more water with his wine, to keep him equally sober with the rest of the company; so that this officer took care that none should be forced to drink, and that none, though left to their own choice, should get intoxicated. Such, we have reason to believe, was the governor of the feast at the marriage in Cana of Galilee, which our Lord honoured with his presence. The term t literally signifies the governor of a place furnished with three beds; and he acted as one having authority; for he tasted the wine before he distributed it to the company, which, it is universally admitted, was one of the duties of a symposiarch. Neither the name nor the act accords with the character and situation of a guest; he must, therefore, have been the symposiarch, or governor of the feast. The existence of such an officer among the Jews is placed beyond a doubt, by a passage in the apocryphal book of Ecclesiasticus, where his office is thus described: “If thou be made the master of a feast, lift not thyself up, but be among them as one of the rest; take diligent care of them, and so sit down. And when thou hast done all thine office, take thy place, that thou mayest be merry with them, and receive a crown for the well-ordering of the feast,” Ecclesiasticus xxxii, 1. See Architriclinus.

BAPTISM, from the Greek word ßapt, is a rite or ceremony by which persons are initiated into the profession of the Christian religion; or, it is the appointed mode by which a person assumes the profession of Christianity, or is admitted to a participation of the privileges belonging to the disciples of Christ. It 130was by this mode that those who believed the Gospel were to be separated from unbelievers, and joined to the visible Christian church; and the rite accompanying it, or washing with water, was probably intended to represent the washing away, or renouncing, the impurities of some former state, viz. the sins that had been committed, and the vicious habits that had been contracted; and to this purpose it may be observed, that the profession of repentance always accompanied, or was understood to accompany, the profession of faith in Christ. That our Lord instituted such an ordinance as baptism, is plain from the commission given to the Apostles after his resurrection, and recorded in Matt. xxviii, 19, 20. To this rite there is also an allusion in Mark xvi, 16; John iii, 5; Acts ii, 41; viii, 12, 36–38; xxii, 16. The design of this institution, which was to express faith in Christ on the part of those who were baptized, and to declare their resolution of openly professing his religion, and cultivating real and universal holiness, appears from Rom. vi, 3, 4; 1 Peter iii, 21; Ephes. v, 26; and Titus iii, 5. We find no account of baptism as a distinct religious rite, before the mission of John, the forerunner of Christ, who was called the “Baptist,” on account of his being commanded by God to baptize with water all who should hearken to his invitation to repent. Washing, however, accompanied many of the Jewish rites, and, indeed, was required after contracting any kind of uncleanness. Also, soon after the time of our Saviour, we find it to have been the custom of the Jews solemnly to baptize, as well as to circumcise, all their proselytes. As their writers treat largely of the reasons for this rite, and give no hint of its being a novel institution, it is probable that this had always been the custom antecedent to the time of Moses, whose account of the rite of circumcision, and of the manner of performing it, is by no means circumstantial. Or, baptism, after circumcision, might have come into use gradually from the natural propriety of the thing, and its easy conformity to other Jewish customs. For if no Jew could approach the tabernacle, or temple, after the most trifling uncleanness, without washing, much less would it be thought proper to admit a proselyte from a state so impure and unclean as Heathenism was conceived to be, without the same mode of purification. The antiquity of this practice of proselyte baptism among the Jews, has been a subject of considerable debate among divines. It is strenuously maintained by Lightfoot. Dr. John Owen considers the opinion, that Christian baptism came from the Jews, as destitute of all probability. On the other hand, Mr. Wall has made it highly probable, to say the least, from many testimonies of the Jewish writers, who without one dissenting voice allow the fact, that the practice of Jewish baptism obtained before and at, as well as after, our Saviour’s time. There is also a strong intimation, even in the Gospel itself, of such a known practice among the Jews in the time of John the Baptist, John i, 25. The testimonies of the Jewish writers are of the greater weight, because the practice, reported by them to have been of so ancient a date, did still remain among them; for if it had not been of that antiquity to which it pretends, viz. before the time of Christ, it is not likely that it would ever have become a custom among the Jews afterward. Would they begin to proselyte persons to their religion by baptism in imitation of the disciples of Jesus of Nazareth, whom they held accursed And yet if this proselyte baptism were adopted by the Jews since the time of Christ, it must have been a mere innovation in imitation of Christians, which is not very likely. This ceremony is performed by immersion in the oriental churches. The practice of the western churches is, to sprinkle the water on the head or face of the person to be baptized, except in the church of Milan, in whose ritual it is ordered, that the head of the infant be plunged three times into the water; the minister at the same time pronouncing the words, “I baptize thee in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost;” importing that by this ceremony the person baptized is received among the professors of that religion which God, the Father of all, revealed to mankind by the ministry of his Son, and confirmed by the miracles of his Spirit.

2. It is observable that the baptismal form, above cited from St. Matthew, never occurs in the same words, either in the book of the Acts, or in any of the Epistles. But though the form in St. Matthew never appears elsewhere, the thing intended thereby is always implied. There are many ceremonies delivered by ecclesiastical writers, as used in baptism, which were introduced after the age of Justin Martyr, but which are now disused; as the giving milk and honey to the baptized, in the east; wine and milk, in the west, &c. They also added unction and the imposition of hands. Tertullian is the first who mentions the signing with the sign of the cross, but only as used in private, and not in public worship; and he particularly describes the custom of baptizing without it. Indeed, it does not appear to have been used in baptism till the latter end of the fourth or fifth century; at which time great virtue was ascribed to it. Lactantius, who lived in the beginning of the fourth century, says the devil cannot approach those who have the heavenly mark of the cross upon them as an impregnable fortress to defend them; but he does not say it was used in baptism. After the council of Nice, Christians added to baptism the ceremonies of exorcism and adjuration, to make evil spirits depart from the persons to be baptized. They made several signings with the cross, they used lighted candles, they gave salt to the baptized person to taste, and the priest touched his mouth and ears with spittle, and also blew and spat upon his face. At that time also baptized persons wore white garments till the Sunday following. They had also various other ceremonies; some of which are now abolished, though others of them remain in the church of Rome to this day.

3. The Quakers assert, that water baptism was never intended to continue in the church 131of Christ any longer than while Jewish prejudices made such an external ceremony necessary. They argue from Eph. iv, 5, in which one baptism is spoken of as necessary to Christians, that this must be a baptism of the Spirit. But from comparing the texts that relate to this institution, it will plainly appear that water baptism was instituted by Christ in more general terms than will agree with this explication. That it was administered to all the Gentile converts, and not confined to the Jews, appears from Matt. xxviii, 19, 20, compared with Acts x, 47; and that the baptism of the Spirit did not supersede water baptism appears to have been the judgment of Peter and of those that were with him; so that the one baptism spoken of seems to have been that of water; the communication of the Holy Spirit being only called baptism in a figurative sense. As for any objection which may be drawn from 1 Cor. i, 17, it is sufficiently answered by the preceding verses, and all the numerous texts, in which, in epistles written long after this, the Apostle speaks of all Christians as baptized; and argues from the obligation of baptism, in such a manner as we can never imagine he would have done, if he had apprehended it to have been the will of God that it should be discontinued in the church. Compare Rom. vi, 3, &c; Col. ii, 12; Gal. iii, 27.

4. Baptism, in early times, was only administered at Easter and Whitsuntide, except in cases of necessity. Adult persons were prepared for baptism by abstinence, prayer, and other pious exercises. It was to answer for them, says Mosheim, that sponsors, or godfathers, were first instituted in the second century, though they were afterward admitted also in the baptism of infants. This, according to M. Daillé, was not done till the fourth century. Wall refers the origin of sponsors, or godfathers, on the authority of Tertullian, to the commencement of the second century; who were used in the baptism of infants that could not answer for themselves. The catechumens were not forward in coming to baptism. St. Ambrose was not baptized before he was elected bishop of Milan; and some of the fathers not till the time of their death. Some deferred it out of a tender conscience; and others out of too much attachment to the world; it being the prevailing opinion of the primitive times, that baptism, whenever conferred, washed away all antecedent stains and sins. Accordingly they deferred this sanctifying rite as long as possible, even till they apprehended they were at the point of death. Cases of this kind occur at the beginning of the third century. Constantine the Great was not baptized till he was at the last gasp, and in this he was followed by his son Constantius; and two of his other sons, Constantine and Constans, were killed before they were baptized. As to the necessity of baptism, we may observe, however, that, though some seem to have laid too great stress upon it, as if it were indispensably necessary in order to salvation; it must be allowed, that for any person to omit baptism, when he acknowledges it to be an institution of Christ, and that it is the will of Christ that he should submit to it, is an act of disobedience to his authority, which is inconsistent with true faith.

5. The word baptism is frequently taken for sufferings, Mark x, 38; Luke xii, 50; Matt. xx, 22, 23. Of expressions like these we find some traces in the Old Testament also, where waters often denote tribulations, Psalm lxix, 1, 15; cxxiv, 4, 5; and where to be swallowed up by the waters, and to pass through the great waters, signify to be overwhelmed with miseries and calamities.

6. St. Paul, endeavouring to prove the resurrection of the dead, among several other reasons in support of the doctrine, says, “If the dead rise not at all, what shall they do who are baptized for the dead” 1 Cor. xv, 29. Of this phrase various interpretations have been given; three of which only shall be here mentioned. “It means,” say some, “‘baptized in the room of the dead just fallen in the cause of Christ, and who are thus supported by a sucession of new converts, immediately offering themselves to fill up their places, as ranks of soldiers who advance to combat in the room of their companions, who have just been slain in their sight.’” Others think it signifies, “In hope of blessings to be received after they are numbered with the dead.” Dr. Macknight supplies the words, t ase, and reads the clause, “Who are baptized for the resurrection of the dead;” or in consequence of their believing in the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead; on account of which faith, and their profession of it, they are exposed to great sufferings, for which they can have no recompense, if there be no resurrection of the dead, nor any future life at all.

7. As to the subjects of baptism, the anti-pædobaptists hold that believing adults only are proper subjects, because the commission of Christ to baptize appears to them to restrict this ordinance to such only as are taught, or made disciples; and that, consequently, infants, who cannot be thus taught, ought to be excluded. “It does not appear,” say they, “that the Apostles, in executing the commission of Christ, ever baptized any but those who were first instructed in the Christian faith, and professed their belief of it.” They contend that infants can receive no benefit from baptism, and are not capable of faith and repentance, which are to be considered as prerequisites.

8. As to the mode, they observe that the meaning of the word ßapt signifies to immerse or dip, and that only; that John baptized in Jordan; that he chose a place where there was much water; that Jesus came up out of the water; that Philip and the eunuch went down both into the water; that the terms, washing, purifying, burying in baptism, so often mentioned in the Scriptures, allude to this mode; that immersion only was the practice of the Apostles and the first Christians; and that it was only laid aside from the love of novelty, and the coldness of climate. These positions, they think, are so clear from Scripture, and the history of the church, that they 132stand in need of but little argument for their support. Farther, they also insist that all positive institutions depend entirely upon the will and declaration of the institutor; and that, therefore, reasoning by analogy from previously abrogated rites is to be rejected, and the express command of Christ respecting baptism ought to be our rule.

9. The Pædobaptists, however, are of a different opinion. As to the subjects of baptism, they believe that qualified adults, who have not been baptized before, are certainly proper subjects; but then they think, also, that infants ought not to be excluded. They believe that, as the Abrahamic and Christian covenants are the same, Gen. xvii, 7; Heb. viii, 12; that as children were admitted under the former; and that as baptism is now a sign, seal, or confirmation of this covenant, infants have as great a right to it as the children of the Israelites had to the seal of circumcision under the law, Acts ii, 39; Rom. iv, 11. Farther, if children are not to be baptized because there is no positive command for it, for the same reason they say that women should not come to the Lord’s Supper; nor ought we to keep holy the first day of the week; neither of these being expressly commanded. If baptizing infants had been a human invention, they also ask, how such a practice could have been so universal in the first three hundred years of the church, and yet no record have remained when it was introduced, nor any dispute or controversy about it have taken place Some reduce the matter to a narrower compass; urging, (1.) That God constituted in his church the membership of infants, and admitted them to that privilege by a religious ordinance, Gen. xvii; Gal. iii, 14, 17. (2.) That this right of infants to church membership was never taken away: and this being the case, they argue, that infants must be received, because God has appointed it; and, since they must be received, it must be either with baptism or without it; but none must be received without baptism; therefore, infants must of necessity be baptized. Hence it is clear that, under the Gospel, infants are still continued exactly in the same relation to God and his church in which they were originally placed under former dispensations. That infants are to be received into the church, and as such baptized, is also inferred from the following passages of Scripture: Gen. xvii; Isa. xliv, 3; Matt. xix, 13; Luke ix, 47, 48; Acts ii, 38, 39; Rom. xi, 17, 21; 1 Cor. vii, 14.

10. Though there are no express examples in the New Testament of Christ and his Apostles baptizing infants, yet there is no proof that they were excluded. Jesus Christ actually blessed little children; and it is difficult to believe that such received his blessing, and yet were not to be members of the Gospel church. If Christ received them, and would have us “receive” them, how can we keep them out of the visible church Beside, if children were not to be baptized, it is reasonable to expect that they would have been expressly forbidden. As whole households were baptized, it is also probable there were children among them. From the year 400 to 1150, no society of men, in all that period of seven hundred and fifty years, ever pretended to say it was unlawful to baptize infants: and still nearer the time of our Saviour there appears to have been scarcely any one who advised the delay of infant baptism. Irenæus, who lived in the second century, and was well acquainted with Polycarp, who was John’s disciple, declares expressly, that the church learned from the Apostles to baptize children. Origen, in the third century, affirms, that the custom of baptizing infants was received from Christ and his Apostles. Cyprian, and a council of ministers, held about the year 254, no less than sixty-six in number, unanimously agreed that children might be baptized as soon as they were born. Ambrose, who wrote about 274 years from the Apostles, declares that the baptism of infants had been practised by the Apostles themselves, and by the church down to that time. “The catholic church every where declares,” says Chrysostom, in the fifth century, “that infants should be baptized;” and Augustine affirmed, that he never heard or read of any Christian, catholic or sectarian, but who always held that infants were to be baptized. They farther believe that there needed no mention in the New Testament of receiving infants into the church, as it had been once appointed and never repealed. So far from confining baptism to adults, it must be remembered that there is not a single instance recorded in the New Testament, in which the descendants of Christian parents were baptized in adult years. The objection that infants are not proper subjects for baptism, because they cannot profess faith and repentance, falls with as much weight upon the institution of circumcision as infant baptism; since they are as capable or are as fit subjects for the one as the other. Finally, it is generally acknowledged, that if infants die, (and a great part of the human race die in their infancy,) they are saved: if this be the case then why refuse them the sign of union with Christ, if they be capable of enjoying the thing signified

11. As to the mode, the Pædobaptists deny that the term ßapt, which is a derivative of ßpt, and, consequently, must be something less in its signification, is invariably used in the New Testament to express plunging. It is denied, therefore, that dipping is its only meaning; that Christ absolutely enjoined immersion; and that it is his positive will that no other mode should be used. As the word ßapt is used to express the various ablutions among the Jews, such as sprinkling, pouring, &c, Heb. ix, 10, for the custom of washing before meals, and the washing of household furniture, pots, &c, it is evident from hence that it does not express the manner of doing a thing, whether by immersion or effusion, but only the thing done; that is, washing; or the application of water in some form or other. It no where signifies to dip, but in denoting a mode of, and in order to, washing or cleansing; and the mode or use is only the ceremonial part of a positive institute; just as in the Lord’s 133Supper, the time of day, the number and posture of the communicants, the quantity and quality of bread and wine, are circumstances not accounted essential by any part of Christians. If in baptism there be an expressive emblem of the descending influence of the Spirit, pouring must be the mode of administration; for that is the Scriptural term most commonly and properly used for the communication of divine influences, Matt. iii, 11; Mark i, 8, 10; Luke iii, 16–22; John i, 33; Acts i, 5; ii, 38, 39; viii, 12, 17; xi, 15, 16. The term sprinkling, also, is made use of in reference to the act of purification, Isa. lii, 15; Ezek. xxxvi, 25; Heb. ix, 13, 14; and therefore cannot be inapplicable to baptismal purification. But, it is observed, that John baptized “in Jordan:” to this it is replied, To infer always a plunging of the whole body in water from this particle, would, in many instances, be false and absurd. The same Greek preposition, , is used when it is said they should be “baptized with fire;” but few will assert that they should be plunged into it. The Apostle, speaking of Christ, says, he came not, , “by water only;” but, , “by water and blood.” There the same word, , is translated by; and with justice and propriety; for we know no good sense in which we could say he came in water. It has been remarked that is, more than a hundred times, in the New Testament, rendered at; and in a hundred and fifty others it is translated with. If it be rendered so here, John baptized at Jordan, or with the water of Jordan, there is no proof that he plunged his disciples in it.

Jesus, it is said, came up out of the water; but this is no proof that he was immersed, as the Greek term, p, often signifies from: for instance, “Who hath warned you to flee from,” not out of, “the wrath to come” with many others that might be mentioned. Again: it is urged that Philip and the eunuch went down both into the water. To this it is answered, that here also is no proof of immersion: for, if the expression of their going down into the water necessarily includes dipping, then Philip was dipped, as well as the eunuch. The preposition e, translated into, often signifies no more than to, or unto: see Matt. xv, 24; Rom. x, 10; Acts xxviii, 14; Matt. iii, 11; xvii, 27: so that from none of these circumstances can it be proved that there was one person of all the baptized, who went into the water ankle deep. As to the Apostle’s expression, “buried with him in baptism,” that has no force in the argument for immersion, since it does not allude to a custom of dipping, any more than our baptismal crucifixion and death has any such reference. It is not the sign, but the thing signified, that is here alluded to. As Christ was buried, and rose again to a heavenly life, so we by baptism signify that we are separated from sin, that we may live a new life of faith and love.

To conclude: it is urged, against the mode of immersion, that, as it carries with it too much of the appearance of a burdensome rite for the Gospel dispensation; as it is too indecent for so solemn an ordinance; as it has a tendency to agitate the spirits, often rendering the subject unfit for the exercise of proper thoughts and affections, and indeed utterly incapable of them; as in many cases the immersion of the body would, in all probability, be instant death; as in other situations it would be impracticable, for want of water; it cannot be considered as necessary to the ordinance of baptism, and there is the strongest improbability that it was ever practised in the times of the New Testament, or in the earliest periods of the Christian church.

BAPTISTS, or ANTIPÆDOBAPTISTS, so called from their rejecting the baptism of infants. The Baptists in England form one of “the three denominations of Protestant Dissenters.” The constitution of their churches, and their modes of worship, are congregational, or independent. They bore a considerable share in the sufferings of the seventeenth and preceding centuries: for there were many among the Lollards and Wickliffites who disapproved of infant baptism. There were also many of this faith among the Protestants and Reformers abroad. In Holland, Germany, and the north, they went by the names of Anabaptists and Mennonites; and in Piedmont and the south, they were found among the Albigenses and Waldenses. The Baptists subsist chiefly under two denominations,--the Particular or Calvinistical, and the General or Arminian. The former is by far the most numerous. Some of both denominations, General and Particular, allow of free or mixed communion; admitting to the Lord’s table pious persons who have not been immersed, while others consider that as an essential requisite to communion. These are sometimes called Strict Baptists. Other societies of this denomination observe the seventh day of the week as their Sabbath, apprehending the original law of the Sabbath to remain in force, unaltered and unrepealed. These are called Seventh-day Baptists. A considerable number of the General Baptists have gone into Unitarianism; in consequence of which, those who maintained the doctrines of the Trinity and atonement, in the latter part of the eighteenth century, formed themselves into what is called “The New Connection,” or Association. These preserve a friendly correspondence with their other brethren in things which concern the general interests of the denomination, but hold no religious communion with them. Some congregations of General Baptists admit three distinct orders of church officers: messengers or ministers, elders, and deacons. The Baptists in America, and in the East and West Indies, are chiefly Calvinists; but most of them admit of free communion. The Scottish Baptists form a distinct denomination, and are distinguished by several peculiarities of church government. “No trace can be found of a Baptist church in Scotland,” says Mr. Jones, “excepting one which appears to have been formed out of Cromwell’s army, previous to 1765, when a church was settled at Edinburgh, under the pastoral care of Mr. Carmichael and Mr. Archibald 134M’Lean. Others have since been formed at Dundee, Glasgow, and in most of the principal towns of Scotland:” also at London, and in various parts of England. They think that the order of public worship, which uniformly obtained in the Apostolic churches, is clearly set forth in Acts ii, 42–47; and therefore they endeavour to follow it out to the utmost of their power. They require a plurality of elders in every church, administer the Lord’s Supper, and make contributions for the poor every first day of the week. The prayers and exhortations of the brethren form a part of their church order, under the direction and control of the elders, to whom it exclusively belongs to preside in conducting the worship, to rule in cases of discipline, and to labour in the word and doctrine, in distinction from the brethren exhorting one another. The elders are all laymen, generally chosen from among the brethren; but, when circumstances require, are supported by their contributions. They approve also of persons who are properly qualified for it, being appointed by the church to preach the Gospel and baptize, though not vested with any pastoral charge. The discipline and government of the Scottish Baptists are strictly congregational.

BARACHIAS, the father of Zacharias, mentioned Matt. xxiii, 35, as slain between the temple and the altar. There is a great diversity of opinions concerning the person of this Zacharias, the son of Barachias. Some think him to be Zacharias, the son of Jehoiada, who was killed by the orders of Joash, between the temple and the altar, 2 Chron. xxiv, 21. Campbell thinks, with Father Simon, that Jehoiada had two names, Barachias and Jehoiada. See Zacharias.

BARAK, son of Abinoam, chosen by God to deliver the Hebrews from that bondage under which they were held by Jabin, king of the Canaanites, Judges iv, 4, 5, &c. He refused to obey the Lord’s commands, signified to him by Deborah, the prophetess, unless she consented to go with him. Deborah accompanied Barak toward Kedesh of Naphtali; and, having assembled ten thousand men, they advanced to mount Tabor. Sisera, being informed of this movement, marched with nine hundred chariots of war, and encamped near the river Kishon. Barak rapidly descended from mount Tabor, and the Lord having spread terror through Sisera’s army Barak easily obtained a complete victory. Sisera was killed by Jael. Barak and Deborah composed a hymn of thanksgiving; and the land had peace forty years from A. M. 2719 to 2759, B. C. 1245.

BARBARIAN. The word (rendered barbarian; LXX, ßßa,) in the Hebrew sense of it, signifies a stranger; one who knows neither the holy language nor the law. According to the notions of the Greeks, all nations who were not Greeks, or not governed by laws like the Greeks, were barbarians. The Persians, Egyptians, Hebrews, Arabians, Gauls, Germans, and even the Romans, were, in their phraseology, barbarians, however learned or polite they might be in themselves. St. Paul comprehends all mankind under the names of Greeks and barbarians: “I am a debtor both to the Greeks and to the barbarians; to the wise and to the unwise,” Rom. i, 14. St. Luke calls the inhabitants of the island of Malta barbarians, Acts xxviii, 2, 4. St. Paul, writing to the Colossians, uses the terms barbarian and Scythian almost in the same signification. In 1 Cor. xiv, 11, he says, that if he who speaks a foreign language in an assembly be not understood by those to whom he discourses, with respect to them he is a barbarian; and, reciprocally, if he understand not those who speak to him, they are to him barbarians. Barbarian, therefore, is used for every stranger or foreigner who does not speak our native language, and includes no implication whatever of savage nature or manners in those respecting whom it is used. It is most probably derived from berbir, “a shepherd;” whence Barbary, the country of wandering shepherds; Bedouins, Sceni, Scythei, as if, wanderers in tents; therefore barbarians.

BAR-JESUS, or, according to some copies, BAR-JEU, was a Jewish magician in the island of Crete, Acts xiii, 6. St. Luke calls him Elymas. He was with the pro-consul Sergius Paulus, who, sending for Paul and Barnabas, desired to hear the word of God. Bar-Jesus endeavouring to hinder the pro-consul from embracing Christianity, Paul, filled with the Holy Ghost, “set his eyes upon him, and said, O full of all subtilty and mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord Behold, the hand of the Lord is upon thee, and thou shalt be blind, not seeing the sun for a season;” which took place immediately. The pro-consul, who saw this miracle, was converted. Origen and Chrysostom think that Elymas, or Bar-Jesus, was converted likewise; and that St. Paul speedily restored his sight.

BARLEY, , Exod. ix, 31; Lev. xxvii, 16, &c;; a well-known kind of grain. It derives its Hebrew name from the long hairy beard which grows upon the ear. Pliny, on the testimony of Menander, says that barley was the most ancient aliment of mankind. In Palestine the barley was sown about October, and reaped in the end of March, just after the passover. In Egypt the barley harvest was later; for when the hail fell there, Exodus ix, 31, a few days before the passover, the flax and barley were bruised and destroyed: for the flax was at its full growth, and the barley began to form its green ears; but the wheat, and more backward grain, were not damaged, because they were only in the blade, and the hail bruised the young shoots which produce the ears.

The rabbins sometimes called barley the food of beasts, because in reality they fed their cattle with it, 1 Kings iv, 28; and from Homer and other ancient writers we learn, that barley was given to horses. The Hebrews, however, frequently used barley bread, as we find by several passages of Scripture: for example, David’s friends brought to him in his flight wheat, 135barley, flour, &c, 2 Sam. xvii, 28. Solomon sent wheat, barley, oil, and wine, to the labourers King Hiram had furnished him, 2 Chron. ii, 15. Elijah had a present made him, of twenty barley loaves, and corn in the husk, 2 Kings iv, 22. And, by miraculously increasing the five barley loaves, Christ fed a multitude of about five thousand, John vi, 8–10. The jealousy-offering, in the Levitical institution, was to be barley meal, Num. v, 15. The common mincha, or offering, was of fine wheat flour, Lev. ii, 1; but this was of barley, a meaner grain, probably to denote the vile condition of the person in whose behalf it was offered. For which reason, also, there was no oil or frankincense permitted to be offered with it. Sometimes barley is put for a low, contemptible reward or price. So the false prophets are charged with seducing the people for handfuls of barley, and morsels of bread, Ezek. xiii, 19. Hosea bought his emblematic bride for fifteen pieces of silver, and a homer and a half of barley, Hosea iii, 2.

BARNABAS, a disciple of Jesus Christ, and companion of St. Paul in his labours. He was a Levite, born in the isle of Cyprus. His proper name was Joses, to which the Apostles added Barnabas, signifying the son of consolation. He is generally considered one of the seventy disciples, chosen by our Saviour. He was brought up with Paul at the feet of Gamaliel. When that Apostle came to Jerusalem, three years after his conversion, Barnabas introduced him to the other Apostles, Acts ix, 26, 27, about A. D. 37. Five years afterward, the church at Jerusalem, being informed of the progress of the Gospel at Antioch, sent Barnabas thither, who beheld with great joy the wonders of the grace of God, Acts xi, 22, 24. He exhorted the faithful to perseverance. Some time afterward, he went to Tarsus, to seek Paul, and bring him to Antioch, where they jointly laboured two years, and converted great numbers; and here the disciples were first called Christians. They left Antioch A. D. 44, to convey alms from this church to that at Jerusalem. At their return they brought John Mark, the cousin of Barnabas. While they were at Antioch, the Holy Ghost directed that they should be separated for those labours among the Gentiles to which he had appointed them. They departed into Cyprus, where they converted Sergius Paulus, the pro-consul. They preached at Perga in Pamphylia without much success, by reason of the obstinacy and malice of the Jews; but being come to Iconium, they made many converts. Here the Jews stirred up a sedition, and obliged them to retire to Derbe and Lystra, in Lycaonia, where St. Paul curing one Æneas, who had been lame from his birth, the people of Lystra regarded them as gods; calling Barnabas, Jupiter; and Paul, Mercury; and would have sacrificed to them, which the two Apostles with great difficulty hindered: nevertheless, soon afterward, they were persecuted in this very city. Having revisited the cities through which they had passed, and where they had preached the Gospel, they returned to Antioch in Syria.

In A. D. 51, Barnabas was sent with Paul from Antioch to Jerusalem, on occasion of disputes concerning the observance of legal rites, to which the Jews wished to subject the Gentiles. Paul and Barnabas were present in the council at Jerusalem, and returned immediately to Antioch. Peter, arriving there soon afterward, was led to countenance, in some degree, by his conduct, the observance of the Mosaic distinctions. Barnabas, too, (who, being by descent a Levite, might retain some former notions,) used the like dissimulation: but Paul reproved Peter and Barnabas with great freedom. Paul afterward determining to visit the churches in the isle of Cyprus, and in Asia Minor, Barnabas desired that John Mark might accompany them: but Paul objected, because Mark had left them on the first journey. Hereupon the two Apostles separated: Paul went toward Asia; and Barnabas, with Mark, to Cyprus. This is all we know certainly concerning Barnabas.

There is extant among the writings of the fathers an epistle which is attributed to Barnabas; though, being without an inscription, it is not known to whom it professes to have been addressed. It was first published by Archbishop Usher, in Greek and Latin, and translated by Archbishop Wake, in his “Genuine Epistles of the Apostolical Fathers,” and has often been reprinted. That it is not the production of Barnabas, the companion of Paul, may be safely concluded from internal evidence; though it may have been written by some other person of the same name. There is also a tract which goes by the name of, “The Gospel of Barnabas,” still extant; from which Dr. White, at the end of his Bampton Lectures, has given extracts sufficiently copious to satisfy any impartial mind that it is spurious.

BARRENNESS. This was looked upon as reproachful among the Greeks and Romans, but more particularly so among the Jews; which may be accounted for by the constant expectation of Messiah, and the hope that every woman had, that she might be the mother of the promised seed. This constant hope of the speedy coming of the great “Seed of the woman” serves also to account for many circumstances in the Old Testament history. “Couple it,” says the Rev. J. J. Blunt, “with this consideration, and I see the scheme of revelation, like the physical scheme, proceeding with beautiful uniformity: a unity of plan ‘connecting,’ as it has been well said by Paley, ‘the chicken roosting upon its perch with the spheres revolving in the firmament;’ and a unity of plan connecting in like manner the meanest accidents of a household with the most illustrious visions of a prophet. Abstracted from this consideration, I see in the history of Moses details of actions, some trifling, some even offensive, pursued at a length (when compared with the whole) singularly disproportionate; while things which the angels would desire to look into are passed over and forgotten. But this principle once admitted, all is consecrated; all assumes a new aspect; 136trifles, that seem at first not bigger than a man’s hand, occupy the heavens; and wherefore Sarah laughed, for instance, at the prospect of a son, and wherefore that laugh was rendered immortal in his name; and wherefore the sacred historian dwells on a matter so trivial, whilst the world and its vast concerns were lying at his feet, I can fully understand. For then I see the hand of God shaping every thing to his own ends, and in an event thus casual, thus easy, thus unimportant, telling forth his mighty design of salvation to the world, and working it up into the web of his noble prospective counsels, Gen. xxi, 6. I see that nothing is great or little before Him who can bend to his purposes whatever he willeth, and convert the light-hearted and thoughtless mockery of an aged woman into an instrument of his glory, effectual as the tongue of the seer which he touched with living coals from the altar. Bearing this master-key in my hand, I can interpret the scenes of domestic mirth, of domestic stratagem, or of domestic wickedness, with which the history of Moses abounds. The Seed of the woman, that was to bruise the serpent’s head, Gen. iii, 15, however indistinctly understood, (and probably it was understood very indistinctly,) was the one thing longed for in the families of old; was ‘the desire of all nations,’ as the Prophet Haggai expressly calls it, Hag. ii, 7; and, provided they could accomplish this desire, they (like others, when urged by an overpowering motive) were often reckless of the means, and rushed upon deeds which they could not defend. Then did the wife forget her jealousy, and provoke, instead of resenting, the faithlessness of her husband, Gen. xvi, 2; xxx, 3, 9; then did the mother forget a parent’s part, and teach her own child treachery and deceit, Gen. xxv, 23; xxvii, 13; then did daughters turn the instincts of nature backward, and deliberately work their own and their father’s shame, Gen. xix, 31; then did the daughter-in-law veil her face, and court the incestuous bed, Gen. xxxviii, 14; and to be childless, was to be a by-word, Gen. xvi, 5; xxx, 1; and to refuse to raise up seed to a brother, was to be spit upon, Gen. xxxviii, 26; Deut. xxv, 9; and the prospect of the promise, like the fulfilment of it, did not send peace into families, but a sword; and three were set against two, and two against three, Gen. xxvii, 41; and the elder, who would be promoted unto honour, was set against the younger, whom God would promote, Gen. iv, 5; xxvii, 41; and national differences were engendered by it, as individuals grew into nations, Gen. xix, 37; xxvi, 35; and even the foulest of idolatries may be traced, perhaps, to this hallowed source; for the corruption of the best is the worst corruption of all, Num. xxv, 1, 2, 3. It is upon this principle of interpretation, and I know not upon what other so well, that we may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men, who have made those parts of the Mosaic history a stumbling-block to many, which, if rightly understood, are the very testimony of the covenant; and a principle which is thus extensive in its application and successful in its results; which explains so much that is difficult, and answers so much that is objected against, has, from this circumstance alone, strong presumption in its favour, strong claims upon our sober regard.”

BARSABAS. Joseph Barsabas, surnamed Justus, was one of the first disciples of Jesus Christ, and probably one of the seventy. When St. Peter proposed to the disciples to fill up the place of Judas the traitor, by choosing another Apostle, Acts i, 21, Barsabas was nominated along with Matthias; but the lot fell on Matthias, who was therefore numbered with the eleven Apostles. We know nothing farther of the life of this Barsabas.

2. Barsabas was also the surname of Judas, one of the principal disciples mentioned, Acts xv, 22, &c. Barsabas and some others were sent by the Apostles, with Paul and Barnabas, to Antioch, and carried a letter with them from the Apostles, signifying what the council at Jerusalem had decreed. After the reading of the letter to the brethren, which was received with joy, Barsabas and Silas continued here some time longer, instructing and confirming the brethren; after which Silas and Barsabas returned to Jerusalem. This is all we know of Barsabas Judas.

BARTHOLOMEW, one of the twelve Apostles, Matt. x, 3, is supposed to be the same person who is called Nathanael, one of the first of Christ’s disciples. This opinion is founded on the circumstance, that as the evangelist John never mentions Bartholomew in the number of the Apostles, so the other evangelists never mention Nathanael. And as in John i, 45, Philip and Nathanael are mentioned together as coming to Jesus, so in the other evangelists Philip and Bartholomew are constantly associated together. The supposition also acquires additional probability from considering, that Nathanael is particularly mentioned among the Apostles to whom Christ appeared at the sea of Tiberias, after his resurrection; Simon Peter, Thomas, and Nathanael, of Cana in Galilee; the sons of Zebedee, namely, James and John; with two other of his disciples, probably Andrew and Philip, John xxi, 2. It is an early tradition, that Bartholomew propagated the faith as far as India, and also in the more northern and western parts of Asia, and that he finally suffered martyrdom. But all the particulars respecting the life and labours of the Apostles, not mentioned in the New Testament, are exceedingly uncertain.

BARUCH, the son of Neriah, and grandson of Maaseiah, was of illustrious birth, and of the tribe of Judah. He had a brother of the name of Seraiah, who occupied an important station in the court of King Zedekiah; but he himself adhered to the person of the Prophet Jeremiah, and was his most steady friend, though his attachment to him drew on himself several persecutions and much ill treatment. He appears to have acted as his secretary during a great part of his life, and never left him till they were parted by death. In the reign of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, A. M. 3398, Jeremiah having been thrown into prison, the Lord commanded him to commit to writing all the 137prophecies that he had delivered until that time. He accordingly sent for Baruch, and dictated them to him by word of mouth. Some time afterward he instructed the latter to go and read them to the people, who were then assembled in the temple; on which Michaiah, who happened to be present, and heard them, instantly gave notice of them to the king’s counsellors. The latter immediately sent for Baruch, and commanded him to repeat to them what he had been reading to the people in the temple; which he accordingly did, to their great astonishment: and, finding that they contained some very unwelcome tidings respecting the fate of the kingdom, they inquired how he came into possession of them; intimating that their duty to the king required that they should make him acquainted therewith. Baruch was at the same time advised to consult his own safety, and to let no man know where he was to be found; after which they took from him the roll of his prophecies, and deposited it in the chamber of Elishama, the scribe. They next waited on the king, and told him what had passed. The latter sent Jehudi to fetch the book; which being brought, Jehoiakim commanded it to be read in his presence, and in the presence of his nobles who surrounded him. But Jehudi had not proceeded far before the king took the book, cut it with his secretary’s penknife, and threw it into the fire, where it was consumed before their faces. He at the same time gave orders to have both Baruch and Jeremiah seized; but the hand of Providence concealed them from his fury.

Jeremiah was instructed a second time to commit his prophecies to writing; and Baruch wrote them as before, with the addition of several others which were not contained in the former book. In the fourth year of the reign of Zedekiah, Baruch went to Babylon, carrying with him a long letter from Jeremiah, in which the Prophet foretold the judgments that should come upon Babylon, and promised the Jews, who were then captives in that country, that they should again be restored to their own land. The latter were exceedingly affected at hearing Jeremiah’s letter read to them, and returned an answer to their brethren at Jerusalem. After his return to Jerusalem, Baruch continued his constant attendance on Jeremiah; and when Jerusalem was besieged by Nebuchadnezzar, and Jeremiah thrown into prison, Baruch also was confined with him: but when the city had surrendered, Nebuzaraddan showed him much kindness, granted him his liberty, and permitted him to go with Jeremiah wherever he chose.

The remnant of the people who had been left in Judea under the care of Gedaliah, having adopted the resolution of going into Egypt, and finding that Jeremiah opposed their taking that journey, threw the blame upon Baruch; insinuating that the latter had influenced the Prophet to declare against it. They were, however, both of them at last compelled to follow the people into Egypt, where Jeremiah soon afterward died; on which Baruch retired to Babylon, where the rabbins say he also died in the twelfth year of the captivity, Jer. xxxvi; xliii. The book of Baruch is justly placed among the apocryphal writings. Grotius thinks it a fiction written by some Hellenistic Jew; and St. Jerome gives as the reason why he did not write a commentary upon it, that the Jews themselves did not deem it canonical.

BASHAN, or BASAN, one of the most fertile cantons of Canaan, which was bounded on the west by the river Jordan, on the east by the mountains of Gilead, on the south by the brook of Jabbok, and on the north by the land of Geshur. The whole kingdom took its name from the hill of Bashan, which is situated in the middle of it, and by the Greeks is called Batanæa. It had no less than sixty walled towns in it, beside villages. It afforded an excellent breed of cattle, and stately oaks, and was, in short, a plentiful and populous country. Og, king of the Amorites, possessed this country when Moses made the conquest thereof. In the division of the Holy Land, it was assigned to the half tribe of Manasseh. Of the present state of this portion of the ancient possessions of the Israelites, Mr. Buckingham, in his Travels, gives the following account: “We ascended the steep on the north side of the Zerkah, or Jabbok; and, on reaching the summit, came again on a beautiful plain, of an elevated level, and still covered with a very rich soil. We had now quitted the land of Sihon, king of the Amorites, and entered into that of Og, the king of Bashan, both of them well known to all the readers of the early Scriptures. We had quitted too, the districts apportioned to the tribes of Reuben and of Gad, and entered that part which was allotted to the half tribe of Manasseh, beyond Jordan eastward, leaving the land of the children of Ammon on our right, or to the east of the Jabbok, which, according to the authority before quoted, divided Ammon, or Philadelphia, from Gerasa. The mountains here are called the land of Gilead in the Scriptures, and in Josephus; and, according to the Roman division, this was the country of the Decapolis, so often spoken of in the New Testament, or the province of Gaulonitis, from the city of Gaulon, its early capital. We continued our way over this elevated tract, continuing to behold, with surprise and admiration, a beautiful country on all sides of us: its plains covered with a fertile soil, its hills clothed with forests; at every new turn presenting the most magnificent landscapes that could be imagined. Among the trees, the oak was frequently seen; and we know that this territory produced them of old. In enumerating the sources from which the supplies of Tyre were drawn in the time of her great wealth and naval splendour, the Prophet says,says, ‘Of the oaks of Bashan have they made thine oars,’ Ezek. xxvii, 6. Some learned commentators indeed, believing that no oaks grew in these supposed desert regions, have translated the word by ‘alders,’ to prevent the appearance of inaccuracy in the inspired writer. The expression of ‘the fat bulls of Bashan,’ which occurs more than once in the Scriptures, seemed to us equally inconsistent, as applied 138to the beasts of a country generally thought to be a desert, in common with the whole tract which is laid down in our modern maps as such between the Jordan and the Euphrates; but we could now fully comprehend, not only that the bulls of this luxuriant country might be proverbially fat, but that its possessors, too, might be a race renowned for strength and comeliness of person. The general face of this region improved as we advanced farther in it; and every new direction of our path opened upon us views which surprised and charmed us by their grandeur and their beauty. Lofty mountains gave an outline of the most magnificent character; flowing beds of secondary hills softened the romantic wildness of the picture; gentle slopes, clothed with wood, gave a rich variety of tints, hardly to be imitated by the pencil; deep valleys, filled with murmuring streams and verdant meadows, offered all the luxuriance of cultivation; and herds and flocks gave life and animation to scenes as grand, as beautiful, and as highly picturesque as the genius or taste of a Claude could either invent or desire.”

BASILIDEANS, the followers of Basilides of Alexandria, a gnostic leader of the early part of the second century. See Gnostics.

BASTARD, one born out of wedlock. A bastard among the Greeks was despised, and exposed to public scorn, on account of his spurious origin. In Persia the son of a concubine is never placed on a footing with the legitimate offspring; any attempt made by parental fondness to do so would be resented by the relations of the legitimate wife, and outrage the feelings of a whole tribe. The Jewish father bestowed as little attention on the education of his natural children as the Greek: he seems to have resigned them, in a great measure, to their own inclinations; he neither checked their passions, nor corrected their faults, nor stored their minds with useful knowledge. This is evidently implied in these words of the Apostle: “If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards and not sons,” Heb. xii, 7, 8. To restrain the licentious desires of the heart, Jehovah by an express law fixed a stigma upon the bastard, which was not to be removed till the tenth generation; and to show that the precept was on no account to be violated, or suffered to fall into disuse, it is emphatically repeated, “A bastard shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord; even to his tenth generation shall he not enter into the congregation of the Lord,” Deut. xxiii, 2.

BASTINADO, the punishment of beating with sticks. It is also called tympanum, [a drum,] because the patient was beaten like a drum. Upwards of a hundred blows were often inflicted, and sometimes the beating was unto death. St. Paul, Heb. xi, 35, says that some of the saints were tortured, tµpa, suffered the tympanum, that is, were stretched on an instrument of torture, and beaten to death.

BAT, , Lev. xi, 19; Deut. xiv, 18; Isaiah ii, 20; Baruch vi, 22. The Jewish legislator, having enumerated the animals legally unclean, as well beasts as birds, closes his catalogue with a creature whose equivocal properties seem to exclude it from both those classes: it is too much a bird to be properly a mouse, and too much a mouse to be properly a bird. The bat is therefore well described in Deut. xiv, 18, 19, as the passage should be read, “Moreover the othelaph, and every creeping thing that flieth, is unclean to you: they shall not be eaten.” This character is very descriptive, and places this creature at the head of a class of which he is a clear and well-known instance. It has feet or claws growing out of its pinions, and contradicts the general order of nature, by creeping with the instruments of its flight. The Hebrew name of the bat is from darkness, and to fly, as if it described “the flier in darkness.” So the Greeks called the creature te, from , night; and the Latins, vespertilio, from vesper, “evening.” It is prophesied, Isaiah ii, 20, “In that day shall they cast away their idols to the moles and to the bats;” that is, they shall carry them into the dark caverns, old ruins, or desolate places, to which they shall fly for refuge, and so shall give them up, and relinquish them to the filthy animals that frequent such places, and have taken possession of them as their proper habitation.

BATH, a measure of capacity for things liquid, being the same with the ephah, Ezek. xlv, 11, and containing ten homers, or seven gallons and four pints.

BATH-KOL, , daughter of the voice. By this name the Jewish writers distinguish what they called a revelation from God, after verbal prophecy had ceased in Israel; that is, after the prophets Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi. The generality of their traditions and customs are founded on this Bath-Kol. They pretend that God revealed them to their elders, not by prophecy, but by the daughter of the voice. The Bath-Kol, as Dr. Prideaux shows, was a fantastical way of divination, invented by the Jews, like the Sortes Virgilianæ [divination by the works of Virgil] among the Heathen. For, as with them, the words first opened upon in the works of that poet, was the oracle whereby they prognosticated those future events which they desired to be informed of; so with the Jews when they appealed to Bath-Kol, the next words which they should hear drop from any one’s mouth were taken as the desired oracle. With some it is probable that Bath-Kol, the daughter of the voice, was only an elegant personification of tradition. Others, however, more bold, said that it was a voice from heaven, sometimes attended by a clap of thunder.

BATTLE. See Armies.

BAXTERIANISM, a modification of the Calvinistic doctrine of election advocated by the celebrated Baxter in his treatise of “Universal Redemption,” and in his “Methodus Theologiæ.” The real author of the scheme, at least in a systematized form, was Camero, who taught divinity at Saumur, and it was unfolded 139and defended by his disciple Amyraldus, whom Curcellæus refuted. Baxter says, in his preface to his “Saint’s Rest,” “The middle way which Camero, Crocius, Martinius, Amyraldus, Davenant, with all the divines of Britain and Bremen in the synod of Dort, go, I think is nearest the truth of any that I know who have written on these points.” Baxter first differs from the majority of Calvinists, though not from all, in his statement of the doctrine of satisfaction:--

“Christ’s sufferings were not a fulfilling of the law’s threatening; (though he bore its curse materially;) but a satisfaction for our not fulfilling the precept, and to prevent God’s fulfilling the threatening on us. Christ paid not, therefore, the idem, but the tantundem, or æquivalens; not the very debt which we owed and the law required, but the value: (else it were not strictly satisfaction, which is redditio æquivalentis: [the rendering of an equivalent:])equivalent:]) and (it being improperly called the paying of a debt, but properly a suffering for the guilty) the idem is nothing but supplicium delinquentis. [The punishment of the guilty individual.] In criminals, dum alius solvet simul aliud solvitur. [When another suffers, it is another thing also that is suffered.] The law knoweth no vicarius pœnæ; [substitute in punishment;] though the law maker may admit it, as he is above law; else there were no place for pardon, if the proper debt be paid and the law not relaxed, but fulfilled. Christ did neither obey nor suffer in any man’s stead, by a strict, proper representation of his person in point of law; so as that the law should take it, as done or suffered by the party himself. But only as a third person, as a mediator, he voluntarily bore what else the sinner should have borne. To assert the contrary (especially as to particular persons considered in actual sin) is to overthrow all Scripture theology, and to introduce all Antinomianism; to overthrow all possibility of pardon, and assert justification before we sinned or were born, and to make ourselves to have satisfied God. Therefore, we must not say that Christ died nostro loco, [in our stead,] so as to personate us, or represent our persons in law sense; but only to bear what else we must have borne.”

This system explicitly asserts, that Christ made a satisfaction by his death equally for the sins of every man; and thus Baxter essentially differs both from the higher Calvinists, and, also, from the Sublapsarians, who, though they may allow that the reprobate derive some benefits from Christ’s death, so that there is a vague sense in which he may be said to have died for all men, yet they, of course, deny to such the benefit of Christ’s satisfaction or atonement which Baxter contends for:--

“Neither the law, whose curse Christ bore, nor God, as the legislator to be satisfied, did distinguish between men as elect and reprobate, or as believers and unbelievers, de presenti vel de futuro; [with regard to the present or the future;] and to impose upon Christ, or require from him satisfaction for the sins of one sort more than of another, but for mankind in general. God the Father, and Christ the Mediator, now dealeth with no man upon the mere rigorous terms of the first law; (obey perfectly and live, else thou shalt die;) but giveth to all much mercy, which, according to the tenor of that violated law, they could not receive, and calleth them to repentance, in order to their receiving farther mercy offered them. And accordingly he will not judge any at last according to the mere law of works, but as they have obeyed or not obeyed his conditions or terms of grace. It was not the sins of the elect only, but of all mankind fallen, which lay upon Christ satisfying. And to assert the contrary, injuriously diminisheth the honour of his sufferings; and hath other desperate ill consequences.”

The benefits derived to all men equally, from the satisfaction of Christ, he thus states:--

“All mankind, immediately upon Christ’s satisfaction, are redeemed and delivered from that legal necessity of perishing which they were under, (not by remitting sin or punishment directly to them, but by giving up God’s jus puniendi [right of punishing] into the hands of the Redeemer; nor by giving any right directly to them, but per meram resultantiam [by mere consequence] this happy change is made for them in their relation, upon the said remitting of God’s right and advantage of justice against them,) and they are given up to the Redeemer as their owner and ruler, to be dealt with upon terms of mercy which have a tendency to their recovery. God the Father and Christ the Mediator hath freely, without any prerequisite condition on man’s part, enacted a law of grace of universal extent, in regard of its tenor, by which he giveth, as a deed or gift, Christ himself, with all his following benefits which he bestoweth; (as benefactor and legislator;) and this to all alike, without excluding any; upon condition they believe and accept the offer. By this law, testament, or covenant, all men are conditionally pardoned, justified, and reconciled to God already, and no man absolutely; nor doth it make a difference, nor take notice of any, till men’s performance or non-performance of the condition makes a difference. In the new law Christ hath truly given himself with a conditional pardon, justification, and conditional right to salvation, to all men in the world, without exception.”

But the peculiarity of Baxter’s scheme will be seen from the following farther extracts:--

“Though Christ died equally for all men, in the aforesaid law sense, as he satisfied the offended legislator, and as giving himself to all alike in the conditional covenant; yet he never properly intended or purposed the actual justifying and saving of all, nor of any but those that come to be justified and saved; he did not, therefore, die for all, nor for any that perish, with a decree or resolution to save them, much less did he die for all alike, as to this intent. Christ hath given faith to none by his law or testament, though he hath revealed, that to some he will, as benefactor and Dominus Absolutus, [absolute Lord,] give that grace which shall infallibly produce it; and God 140hath given some to Christ that he might prevail with them accordingly; yet this is no giving it to the person, nor hath he in himself ever the more title to it, nor can any lay claim to it as their due. It belongeth not to Christ as satisfier, nor yet as legislator, to make wicked refusers to become willing, and receive him and the benefits which he offers; therefore he may do all for them that is fore-expressed, though he cure not their unbelief. Faith is a fruit of the death of Christ, (and so is all the good which we do enjoy,) but not directly, as it is satisfaction to justice; but only remotely, as it proceedeth from that jus dominii [right of dominion] which Christ has received to send the Spirit in what measure and TO WHOM HE WILL, and to succeed it accordingly; and as it is necessary to the attainment of the farther ends of his death in the certain gathering and saving of THE ELECT.”

Thus the whole theory amounts to this, that, although a conditional salvation has been purchased by Christ for all men, and is offered to them, and all legal difficulties are removed out of the way of their pardon as sinners by the atonement, yet Christ hath not purchased for any man the gift of FAITH, or the power of performing the condition of salvation required; but gives this to some, and does not give it to others, by virtue of that absolute dominion over men which he has purchased for himself, so that, as the Calvinists refer the decree of election to the sovereignty of the Father, Baxter refers it to the sovereignty of the Son; one makes the decree of reprobation to issue from the Creator and Judge, the other, from the Redeemer himself.

If, however, any one expects to find something in the form of system in Baxter’s opinions on the five disputed points, he will be much disappointed. The parties to whom he refers as the authors of this supposed “middle way,” differ as much among themselves as Baxter occasionally does from himself. Bishop Davenant and Dr. S. Ward differed from Amyraut, Martinius, and others of that school, on the topic of baptismal regeneration; and, as the subjects of baptism, according to the sentiments of the two former, are invested with invisible grace, and are regenerated in virtue of the ordinance when canonically performed, such divines far more easily disposed of their baptized converts in the ranks of strict predestination, than the others could who did not hold those sentiments. But they exhibited much ingenuity in not suffering it to “intrench upon the question of perseverance.” Their friend Bishop Bedell, however, maintained, that “reprobates coming to years of discretion, after baptism, shall be condemned for original sin; for their absolution and washing in baptism was but conditional and expectative; which doth truly interest them in all the promises of God, but under the condition of repenting, believing and obeying, which they never perform, and therefore never attain the promise.” Bishop Overal has also been claimed as a patron of this diversified “middle system;” but it will be evident to every one who peruses his productions, that his chief endeavour was to display the doctrines of the English church as identical with those of St. Augustine, yet basing them upon the antecedent will of God and conditional decrees. After all the refined distinctions which Baxter employed to render the theory of common and special grace plausible and popular, the real meaning of the inventors was frequently elicited when such a question as this was asked, “Have any men in the world grace sufficient to repent and believe savingly who do not” After asserting that he knows nothing about the matter, the reply of Baxter is, “If we may conjecture upon probabilities, it seemeth most likely that there is such a sufficient grace, or power, to repent and believe savingly, in some that use it not, but perish.” “This,” says one of Baxter’s apologists, “seems to me very inexplicable!” and in the same light it will be viewed by all who recollect that this “sufficient grace or power” is that “portion of special grace which never fails to accomplish its design,--the salvation of the individual on whom it is bestowed!” Baxter’s celebrated “Aphorisms of Justification,” published in 1649, afforded employment to himself and his theological critics till near the close of his life; and in the many modifications, concessions, and alterations which were extorted from him by men of different religious tenets, he sometimes incautiously proved himself to be more Calvinistic than Calvin, and at others more Arminian than Arminius. The following observations,observations, from “Orme’s Life of Baxter,” are on the whole just and instructive:--

“Thus did Baxter, at a very early period of his life, launch into the ocean of controversy, on some of the most interesting subjects that can engage the human mind. The manner in which he began to treat them was little favourable to arriving at correct and satisfactory conclusions. Possessed of a mind uncommonly penetrating, he yet seems not to have had the faculty of compressing within narrow limits his own views, or the accounts he was disposed to give of the views of others. All this arose, not from any indisposition to be explicit, but from the peculiar character of his mind. He is perpetually distinguishing things into physical and moral, real and nominal, material and formal. However important these distinctions are, they often render his writings tiresome to the reader, and his reasonings more frequently perplexing than satisfactory. Baxter is generally understood to have pursued a middle course between Calvinism and Arminianism. That he tried to hold and adjust the balance between the two parties, and that he was most anxious to reconcile them, are very certain. But it seems scarcely less evident, that he was much more a Calvinist than he was an Arminian. While this seems to me very apparent, it must be acknowledged, that if certain views which have often been given of Calvinism are necessary to constitute a Calvinist, Richard Baxter was no believer in that creed.

“While satisfied that among Baxter’s sentiments, no important or vital error will be found, yet in the style and method in which he too generally advocated or defended them, there is 141much to censure. The wrangling and disputatious manner in which he presented many of his views, was calculated to gender an unsanctified state of mind in persons who either abetted or opposed his sentiments. His scholastic and metaphysical style of arguing is unbefitting the simplicity of the Gospel, and cannot fail to injure it wherever such is employed. It not only savours too much of the spirit of the schools, and the philosophy of this world; but places the truths of revelation on a level with the rudiments of human science. I am not sure whether certain effects which began early in the last century to appear among the Presbyterian part of the Nonconformists, may not be traced, in some degree, to the speculative and argumentative writings of Baxter. His influence over this class of his brethren was evidently very great. He contributed more than any other man to mitigate the harsh and forbidding aspect which the Presbyterians presented during the civil wars and the commonwealth. This was well, but he did not stop here. He was inimical to all the existing systems of doctrine and discipline then contended for, or ever before known in the world; while he did not present any precisely defined system as his own. He opposed Calvinism; he opposed Arminianism; he would not allow himself to be considered an Episcopalian, in the ordinary acceptation of the word; he denied that he was a Presbyterian, and scorned to be thought an Independent. He held something in common with them all, and yet he was somewhat different from all. He contended for a system more general, and more liberal, than was then approved; and, as we have stated, wished to place a variety of theological truths on grounds belonging rather to philosophy or metaphysics, than to revelation.

“On himself, this species of latitudinarianism produced little injurious effect, but I fear it had a baneful influence on others. The rejection of all human authority and influence in religion, requires to be balanced by a very strong sense of the divine authority, to prevent its generating a state of mind more characterized by pride of intellect, and independence of spirit, than by the humility and diffidence which are essential features in the Christian character. It is a singular fact, that the Presbyterians, though at first more rigid in their doctrinal views, and more exclusive in their spirit and system of church government, than the Independents, became before the death of Baxter the more liberal party. High views began to be ascribed by them to their now moderate brethren; and, to avoid the charge of Antinomianism, which Baxter was too ready to prefer against such as differed from some of his views, the Presbyterians seem gradually to have sunk into a state of low, moderate orthodoxy, in which there was little of the warmth or vitality of evangelical religion.

“In farther illustration of the influence now adverted to, it must be remarked, that the first stage in that process of deterioration which took place among the Presbyterian Dissenters, was generally characterized by the term Baxterianism; a word to which it is difficult to attach a definite meaning. It denotes no separate sect or party, but rather a system of opinions on doctrinal points, verging toward Arminianism, and which ultimately passed to Arianism and Socinianism. Even during Baxter’s own life, while the Presbyterians taxed the Independents with Antinomianism, the latter retorted the charge of Socinianism, or at least of a tendency toward it, in some of the opinions maintained both by Baxter and others of that party. To whatever cause it is to be attributed, it is a melancholy fact, that the declension which began even at this early period in the Presbyterian body, went on slowly, but surely, till, from the most fervid orthodoxy, it finally arrived at the frigid zone of Unitarianism.

“I wish not to be understood as stating that Baxter either held any opinions of this description, or was conscious of a tendency in his sentiments toward such a fearful consummation; but, that there was an injurious tendency in his manner of discussing certain important subjects. It was subtle, and full of logomachy; it tended to unsettle, rather than to fix and determine; it gendered strife, rather than godly edifying. It is not possible to study such books as his ‘Methodus,’ and his ‘Catholic Theology,’ without experiencing that we are brought into a different region from Apostolic Christianity; a region of fierce debate and altercation about words, and names, and opinions; in which all that can be said for error is largely dwelt upon, as well as what can be said for truth. The ambiguities of language, the diversities of sects, the uncertainties of human perception and argument are urged, till the force of revealed truth is considerably weakened, and confidence in our own judgment of its meaning greatly impaired. Erroneous language is maintained to be capable of sound meaning, and the most Scriptural phrases to be susceptible of unscriptural interpretation, till truth and error almost change places, and the mind is bewildered, confounded, and paralyzed. Into this mode of discussing such subjects, was this most excellent man led, partly by the natural constitution of his mind, which has often been adverted to; partly by his ardent desire of putting an end to the divisions of the Christian world, and producing universal concord and harmony. He failed where success was impossible, however plausible might have been the means which he employed. He understood the causes of difference and contention better than their remedies; hence the measures which he used frequently aggravated instead of curing the disease. While a portion of evil, however, probably resulted from Baxter’s mode of conducting controversy, and no great light was thrown by him on some of the dark and difficult subjects which he so keenly discussed, I have no doubt he contributed considerably to produce a more moderate spirit toward each other, between Calvinists and Arminians, than had long prevailed. Though he satisfied neither party, he must have convinced both, that great difficulties exist on the subjects in debate, if pursued beyond a certain length; that allowance ought to be made by each, for the weakness or prejudices of the 142other; and that genuine religion is compatible with some diversity of opinion respecting one or all of the five points.” A similar effect as that which Mr. Orme ascribes to Baxter’s writings on the English Presbyterians, followed also, on the continent among the reformed churches. It was the same middle system with its philosophical subtleties, which Camero and Amyraut taught abroad, and which produced in them those effects that have been falsely ascribed, both in England and abroad, to Arminianism. See Amyraut and Cameron.

BAY-TREE. . It is mentioned only in Psalm xxxvii, 35, 36: “I have seen the ungodly in great power, and flourishing like a green bay-tree. Yet he passed away, and lo, he was not. Yea, I sought him, but he could not be found.” Aben Ezra, Jarchi, Kimchi, Jerom, and some others say that the original may mean only a native tree; a tree growing in its native soil, not having suffered by transplantation. Such a tree spreads itself luxuriantly. The Septuagint and Vulgate render it cedars; but the high Dutch of Luther’s Bible, the old Saxon, the French, the Spanish, the Italian of Diodati, and the version of Ainsworth, make it the laurel.

BDELLIUM, , occurs Gen. ii, 12, and Num. xi, 7. Interpreters seem at a loss to know what to do with this word, and have rendered it variously. Many suppose it a mineral production. The Septuagint translates in the first place, a, a carbuncle, and in the second, a, a crystal. The rabbins are followed by Reland in calling it a crystal; but some, instead of bedolah, read berolah, changing the into , which are not always easily distinguished, and are often mistaken by transcribers; and so render it the beryl, which, say they, is the prime kind of crystal. The bedoleh, in Genesis, is undoubtedly some precious stone; and its colour, mentioned in Numbers, where the manna is spoken of as of the colour of bdellium, is explained by a reference to Exod. xvi, 14, 31, where it is likened to hoar frost, which being like little fragments of ice, may confirm the opinion that the bdellium is the beryl, perhaps that pellucid kind, called by Dr. Hill the ellipomocrostyla, or beryl crystal.

BEAN, , occurs 2 Sam. xvii, 28, and Ezek. iv, 9. A common legume. Those most usually cultivated in Syria are the white horse-bean, faba rotunda oblonga, and the kidney-bean, phaseolis minimus, fructu viridi ovato, called by the natives masch. The Arabic ban, the name of the coffee berry, corresponds with our bean, and is probably its etymon.

BEAR. That bears were common in Palestine appears from several passages of the Old Testament. Their strength, rapacity, and fierceness, furnish many expressive metaphors to the Hebrew poets. The Hebrew name of this animal is taken from his growling; so Varro deduces his Latin name ursus by an onomatopæia from the noise which he makes: “ursi Lucana origo, vel unde illi, nostri ab ipsius voce:” [the origin of the term ursus (bear) is Lucanian, (whence also the bears themselves,) from the noise made by the animal.] David had to defend his flock against bears as well as lions, 1 Sam. xvii, 34. And Dr. Shaw gives us to understand that these rugged animals are not peculiar to the bleak regions of the north, being found in Barbary; and Thevenot informs us that they inhabit the wilderness adjoining the Holy Land, and that he saw one near the northern extremities of the Red Sea. The ferocity of the bear, especially when hungry or robbed of its whelps, has been mentioned by many authors. The Scripture alludes in three places to this furious disposition. The first is, 2 Sam. xvii, 8, “They be mighty men, and they be chafed in their minds as a bear robbed of her whelps in the field.” The second, Prov. xvii, 12, “Let a bear robbed of her whelps meet a man rather than a fool in his folly.” And the third, Hosea xiii, 8, “I will meet them as a bear that is bereaved of her whelps, and will rend the caul of their heart.”

BEARD. The Hebrews wore their beards, but had, doubtless, in common with other Asiatic nations, several fashions in this, as in all other parts of dress. Moses forbids them, Lev. xix, 27, “to cut off entirely the angle, or extremity of their beard;” that is, to avoid the manner of the Egyptians, who left only a little tuft of beard at the extremity of their chins. The Jews, in some places, at this day suffer a little fillet of hair to grow from below the ears to the chin: where, as well as upon their lower lips, their beards are long. When they mourned, they entirely shaved the hair of their heads and beards, and neglected to trim their beards, to regulate them into neat order, or to remove what grew on their upper lips and cheeks, Jer. xli, 5; xlviii, 37. In times of grief and affliction, they plucked away the hair of their heads and beards, a mode of expression common to other nations under great calamities. The king of the Ammonites, designing to insult David in the person of his ambassadors, cut away half of their beards, and half of their clothes; that is, he cut off all their beard on one side of their faces, 2 Sam. x, 4, 5; 1 Chron. xix, 5. To avoid ridicule, David did not wish them to appear at his court till their beards were grown again. When a leper was cured of his leprosy, he washed himself in a bath, and shaved off all the hair of his body; after which, he returned into the camp, or city; seven days afterward, he washed himself and his clothes again, shaved off all his hair, and offered the sacrifices appointed for his purification, Lev. xiv, 9. The Levites, at their consecration, were purified by bathing, and washing their bodies and clothes; after which, they shaved off all the hair of their bodies, and then offered the sacrifices appointed for their consecration, Num. viii, 7.

Nothing has been more fluctuating in the different ages of the world and countries than the fashion of wearing the beard. Some have cultivated one part and some another; some have endeavoured to extirpate it entirely, while others have almost idolized it; the revolutions of countries have scarcely been more famous than the revolutions of beards. It is a great mark of infamy among the Arabs to cut off the 143beard. Many people would prefer death to this kind of treatment. As they would think it a grievous punishment to lose it, they carry things so far as to beg for the sake of it: “By your beard, by the life of your beard, God preserve your blessed beard.” When they would express their value for any thing, they say, “It is worth more than a man’s beard.” And hence we may easily learn the magnitude of the offence of the Ammonites in their treatment of David’s ambassadors, as above mentioned; and also the force of the emblem used Ezek. v, 1–5, where the inhabitants of Jerusalem are compared to the hair of his head and beard. Though they had been dear to God as the hair of an eastern beard to its owner, they should be taken away and consumed, one part by pestilence and famine, another by the sword, another by the calamities incident on exile.

BEASTS. When this word is used in opposition to man, as Psalm xxxvi, 5, any brute creature is signified; when to creeping things, as Lev. xi, 2, 7; xxix, 30, four-footed animals, from the size of the hare and upward, are intended; and when to wild creatures, as Gen. i, 25, cattle, or tame animals, are spoken of. In Isaiah xiii, 21, several wild animals are mentioned as dwelling among the ruins of Babylon: “Wild beasts of the desert,” , those of the dry wilderness, as the root of the word implies, “shall dwell there. Their houses shall be full of doleful creatures,” , marsh animals. “Owls shall dwell there,” ostriches, “and satyrs,” , shaggy ones, “shall dance there. And the wild beasts of the islands,” , oases of the desert, “shall cry in their desolate houses, and dragons,” , crocodiles, or amphibious animals, “shall be in their desolate places.” St. Paul, 1 Cor. xv, 32, speaks of fighting with beasts, &c: by which he does not mean his having been exposed in the amphitheatreamphitheatre to fight as a gladiator, as some have conjectured, but that he had to contend at Ephesus with the fierce uproar of Demetrius and his associates. Ignatius uses the same figure in his Epistle to the Romans: “From Syria even unto Rome I fight with wild beasts, both by sea and land, both night and day, being bound to ten leopards;” that is, to a band of soldiers. So Lucian, in like manner, says, “For I am not to fight with ordinary wild beasts, but with men, insolent and hard to be convinced.” In Rev. iv, v, vi, mention is made of four beasts, or rather, as the word a signifies, living creatures, as in Ezek. i; and so the word might have been less harshly translated. Wild beasts are used in Scripture as emblems of tyrannical and persecuting powers. The most illustrious conquerors of antiquity also have not a more honourable emblem.

BED. Mattresses, or thick cotton quilts folded, were used for sleeping upon. These were laid upon the duan, or divan, a part of the room elevated above the level of the rest, covered with a carpet in winter, and a fine mat in summer. (See Accubation and Banquets.) A divan cushion serves for a pillow and bolster. They do not keep their beds made; the mattresses are rolled up, carried away, and placed in a cupboard till they are wanted at night. And hence the propriety of our Lord’s address to the paralytic, “Arise, take up thy bed,” or mattress, “and walk,” Matt. ix, 6. The duan on which these mattresses are placed, is at the end of the chamber, and has an ascent of several steps. Hence Hezekiah is said to turn his face to the wall when he prayed, that is, from his attendants. In the day the duan was used as a seat, and the place of honour was the corner, Amos iii, 12.

BEELZEBUB, Matt. x, 25. See Baalzebub.

BEERSHEBA, or the well of the oath; so named from a well which Abraham dug in this place, and the covenant which he here made with Abimelech, king of Gerar, Gen. xx, 31. Here also he planted a grove, as it would appear, for the purpose of retirement for religious worship. In process of time, a considerable town was built on the same spot, which retained the same name. Beersheba was given by Joshua to the tribe of Judah, and afterward transferred to Simeon, Joshua xv, 28. It was situated twenty miles south of Hebron, in the extreme south of the land of Israel, as Dan was on the north. The two places are frequently thus mentioned in Scripture, as “from Dan to Beersheba,” to denote the whole length of the country.

BEE, , occurs Deut. i, 44; Judges xiv, 8; Psalm cviii, 12; Isa. vii, 18. A well known, small, industrious insect; whose form, propagation, economy, and singular instinct and ingenuity, have attracted the attention of the most inquisitive and laborious inquirers into nature. Bees were very numerous in the east. Serid, or Seriad, means “the land of the hive;” and Canaan was celebrated as “a land flowing with milk and honey.” The wild bees formed their comb in the crevices of the rocks, and in the hollows of decayed trees. The passage in Isa. vii, 8, which mentions the “hissing for the bee,” is supposed to involve an allusion to the practice of calling out the bees from their hives, by a hissing or whistling sound, to their labour in the fields, and summoning them again to return when the heavens begin to lower, or the shadows of evening to fall. In this manner Jehovah threatens to rouse the enemies of Judah, and lead them to the prey. However widely scattered, or far remote from the scene of action, they should hear his voice, and with as much promptitude as the bee that has been taught to recognise the signal of its owner and obey his call, they should assemble their forces; and although weak and insignificant as a swarm of bees, in the estimation of a proud and infatuated people, they should come, with irresistible might, and take possession of the rich and beautiful region which had been abandoned by its terrified inhabitants.

The bee is represented by the ancients as a vexatious and even a formidable enemy; and the experience of every person who turns his attention to the temper and habits of this insect attests the truth of their assertion. The allusion, therefore, of Moses to their fierce hostility, Deut. i, 44, is both just and beautiful: “The Amorites, which dwelt in that mountain, 144came out against you, and chased you as bees do, and destroyed you in Seir even unto Hormah.” The Amorites, it appears, were the most bitter adversaries to Israel of all the nations of Canaan. Like bees that are easily irritated, that attack with great fury and increasing numbers the person that dares to molest their hive, and persecute him in his flight to a considerable distance, the incensed Amorites had collected their hostile bands, and chased the Israelites from their territory. The Psalmist also complains that his enemies compassed him about like bees; fiercely attacking him on every side. From these allusions it would however appear, that the bees of the east were of a more quarrelsome temper than ours, which exist chiefly in a domesticated state.

BEETLE. . It occurs only Lev. xi, 22. A species of locust is thought to be there spoken of. The word still remains in the Arabic, and is derived from an original, alluding to the vast number of their swarms. Golius explains it of the locust without wings. The Egyptians paid a superstitious worship to the beetle. Mr. Molyneaux, in the “Philosophical Transactions,” says, “It is more than probable that this destructive beetle we are speaking of was that very kind of scarabæus, which the idolatrous Egyptians of old had in such high veneration as to pay divine worship unto it, and so frequently engrave its image upon their obelisks, &c, as we see at this day. For nothing can be supposed more natural than to imagine a nation, addicted to polytheism, as the Egyptians were, in a country frequently suffering great mischief and scarcity from swarms of devouring insects, should, from a strange sense and fear of evil to come, (the common principle of superstition and idolatry,) give sacred worship to the visible authors of these their sufferings, in hopes to render them more propitious for the future. See Fly and Locust.

BEHEMOTH. . This term has greatly tried the ingenuity of the critics. By some, among whom are Bythner and Reiske, it is regarded in Job xl, 16, as a plural noun for beasts in general: the peculiar name of the animal immediately described not being mentioned, as unnecessary, on account of the description itself being so easily applied at the time. In this sense it is translated in various passages in the Psalms. Thus, l, 10, in which it is usually rendered cattle, as the plural of it means unquestionably a beast or brute, in the general signification of these words: “For every beast of the field is mine, and the cattle,” behemoth, “upon a thousand hills.” So again, Isa. lxxiii, 22: “So foolish was I, and ignorant; I was as a beast,” behemoth, “before thee.” It is also used in the same sense in chap. xxxv, 11, of the book of Job: “Who teacheth us more than the beasts,” behemoth, “of the earth.” The greater number of critics, however, have understood the word behemoth, in the singular number, as the peculiar name of the quadruped described, Job xl, of whatever kind or nature it may be; although they have materially differed upon this last point, some regarding it as the hippopotamus, or river horse, and others as the elephant. The evidence in favour of the hippopotamus appears, however, to predominate. The hippopotamus is nearly as large as the rhinoceros. The male has been found seventeen feet in length, fifteen in circumference, and seven in height. The head is enormously large, and the jaws extend upwards two feet, and are armed with four cutting teeth, each of which is twelve inches in length. The body is of a lightish colour, thinly covered with hair. The legs are three feet long. Though amphibious, the hoofs, which are quadrifid, are not connected by membranes. The hide is so thick and tough as to resist the edge of a sword or sabre. Although an inhabitant of the waters, the hippopotamus is well known to breathe air like land animals. On land, indeed, he finds the chief part of his food. It has been pretended that he devours vast quantities of fish; but it appears with the fullest evidence, both from the relations of many travellers, and from the structure of the stomach, in specimens that have been dissected, that he is nourished solely, or almost solely, on vegetable food. Though he feeds upon aquatic plants, yet he very often leaves the waters, and commits wide devastations through all the cultivated fields adjacent to the river. Unless when accidentally provoked, or wounded, he is never offensive; but when he is assaulted or hurt, his fury against the assailants is terrible. He will attack a boat, break it in pieces with his teeth; or, where the river is not too deep, he will raise it on his back and overset it. If he be irritated when on shore, he will immediately betake himself to the water; and there, in his native element, shows all his strength and resolution.

BEHMENISTS, a name given to those mystics who adopted the explication of the mysteries of nature and grace, as given by Jacob Behmen. This writer was born in the year 1575, at Old Siedenburg, near Gorlitz, in Upper Lusatia. He was a shoemaker by trade, and is described as having been thoughtful and religious from his youth up, taking peculiar pleasure in frequenting the public worship. At length, seriously considering within himself that speech of our Saviour, “Your heavenly Father will give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him,” he was thereby awakened to desire that promised Comforter; and, continuing in that earnestness, he was at last, to use his own expression, “surrounded with a divine light for seven days, and stood in the highest contemplation and kingdom of joys!” After this, about the year 1600, he was again surrounded with a divine light and replenished with the heavenly knowledge; insomuch as, going abroad into the fields, and viewing the herbs and grass, by his inward light, he saw into their essences, uses, and properties, which were discovered to him by their lineaments, figures, and signatures. In the year 1610, he had a third special illumination, wherein still farther mysteries were revealed to him; but it was not till the year 1612 that Behmen committed these revelations to writing. His first treatise is entitled, “Aurora,” which was seized by the 145senate of Gorlitz before it was completed. His next production is called, “The Three Principles,” by which he means the dark world, or hell; the light world, or heaven; and the external, or visible world, which we inhabit. In this work he more fully illustrates the subjects treated of in the former, and supplies what is wanting in that work, showing, 1. How all things came from a working will of the holy, triune, incomprehensible God, manifesting himself as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, through an outward, perceptible, working, triune power of fire, light, and spirit, in the kingdom of heaven. 2. How and what angels and men were in their creation; that they are in and from God, his real offspring; that their life begun in and from this divine fire, which is the Father of Light, generating a birth of light in their souls; from both which proceeds the Holy Spirit, or breath of divine love, in the triune creature, as it does in the triune Creator. 3. How some angels, and all men, are fallen from God, and their first state of a divine triune life in him; what they are in their fallen state, and the difference between the fall of angels and that of man. 4. How the earth, stars, and elements were created in consequence of the fall of angels. 5. Whence there is good and evil in all this temporal world; and what is meant by the curse that dwells in it. 6. Of the kingdom of Christ, how it is set in opposition to the kingdom of hell. 7. How man, through faith in Christ, is able to overcome the kingdom of hell, and thereby obtain eternal salvation. 8. How and why sin and misery shall only reign for a time, until God shall, in a supernatural way, make fallen man rise to the glory of angels, and this material system shake off its curse, and enter into an everlasting union with that heaven from whence it fell.

The next year, Behmen produced his “Three-fold Life of Man,” according to the three principles above mentioned. In this work he treats more largely of the state of man in this world: that he has, 1. That immortal spark of life, which is common to angels and devils. 2. That divine life of the light and Spirit of God, which makes the essential difference between an angel and a devil; and, 3. The life of this external and visible world. The first and last are common to all men; but the second only to a true Christian, or child of God. Behmen wrote several other treatises; but these are the basis of all his other writings. His conceptions are often clothed under allegorical symbols; and, in his later works, he frequently adopted chemical and Latin phrases, which he borrowed from conversation with learned men. But as to the matter contained in his writings, he disclaims having borrowed it either from men or books. He died in the year 1624; and his last words were, “Now I go hence into paradise!” Behmen’s principles were adopted by Mr. Law, who clothed them in a more modern dress, and in a style less obscure. The essential obscurity of the subjects indeed he could not remedy. If they were understood by the author himself, he is probably the only one who ever made that attainment.

BEL, or Belus, a name by which many Heathens, and particularly the Babylonians, called their chief idol. But whether under this appellation they worshipped Nimrod, their first Baal, or lord, or Pul, king of Assyria, or some other monarch, or the sun, or all in one, is uncertain. It is, however, probable, that Bel is the same as the Phenician Baal, and that the worship of the same deity passed over to the Carthagenians, who were a colony of Phenicians. Hence the names Hannibal, Asdrubal, &c, compounded with Bel or Baal, according to the custom of the east, where great men added the names of the gods to their own. Bel had a temple erected to him in the city of Babylon, on the very uppermost range of the famous tower of Babel, wherein were many statues of this pretended deity; and one, among the rest, of massy gold, forty feet high. The whole furniture of this magnificent temple was of the same metal, and valued at eight hundred talents of gold. This temple, with its riches, was in being till the time of Xerxes, who, returning from his unfortunate expedition into Greece, demolished it, and carried off the immense wealth which it contained. It was, probably, the statue of this god which Nebuchadnezzar, being returned to Babylon after the end of the Jewish war, set up and dedicated in the plain of Dura; the story of which is related at large, Dan. iii. See Babel.

Bel and the Dragon, an apocryphal and uncanonical book. It was always rejected by the Jewish church, and is extant neither in the Hebrew, nor in the Chaldee languages; nor is there any proof that it ever was so, although the council of Trent allowed it to be part of the canonical book of Daniel, in which it stands in the Latin Vulgate. There are two Greek texts of this fragment, that of the Septuagint, and that found in Theodotion’s Greek version of Daniel. The Latin and Arabic versions are from the text of Theodotion. Daniel probably, by detecting the mercenary contrivances of the idolatrous priests of Babylon, and by opening the eyes of the people to the follies of superstition, might furnish some foundation for the story; but the whole is evidently charged with fiction, though introduced with a pious intent. St. Jerom gives it no better title than, “The fable of Bel and the Dragon.” Selden thinks that this history ought rather to be considered as a poem or fiction, than a true account: as to the dragon, he observes, that serpents, dracones, made a part of the hidden mysteries of the Pagan religion, as appears from Clemens Alexandrinus, Julius Firmicus, Justin Martyr, and others. See Serpent.

BELIAL. The phrase, “sons of Belial,” signifies wicked, worthless men. It was given to the inhabitants of Gibeah, who abused the Levite’s wife, Judges xix, 22; and to Hophni and Phineas, the wicked and profane sons of Eli, 1 Samuel ii, 12. In later times the name Belial denoted the devil: “What concord hath Christ with Belial” 2 Cor. vi, 15; for as the word literally imports “one who will do no one good,” the positive sense of a doer of evil was 146applied to Satan, who is the author of evil, and, eminently, “the Evil One.”

BELLS. Moses ordered that the lower part of the blue robe, which the high priest wore in religious ceremonies, should be adorned with pomegranates and bells, intermixed alternately, at equal distances. The pomegranates were of wool, and in colour, blue purple, and crimson; the bells were of gold. Moses adds, “And it shall be upon Aaron to minister; and his sound shall be heard when he goeth in unto the holy place before the Lord, and when he cometh out; that he die not.” Some of the Hebrews believe that these little bells are round; others, that they were such as were commonly in use. The ancient kings of Persia are said to have had the hem of their robes adorned like that of the Jewish high priest, with pomegranates and golden bells. The Arabian ladies, who are about the king’s person, have little gold bells fastened to their legs, their neck, and elbows, which, when they dance, make a very agreeable harmony. The Arabian women of rank, generally, wear on their legs large hollow gold rings, containing small flints, that sound like little bells when they walk; or they are large circles, with little rings hung all round, which produce the same effect. These, when they walk, give notice that the mistress of the house is passing, that so the servants of the family may behave themselves respectfully, and strangers may retire, to avoid seeing the person who advances. It was, in all probability, with some such design of giving notice that the high priest was passing, that he also wore little bells at the hem of his robe. Their sound intimated also when he was about to enter the sanctuary, and served to keep up the attention of the people. A reverential respect for the Divine Inhabitant was also indicated. The palace of kings was not to be entered without due notice, by striking some sonorous body, much less the sanctuary of God; and the high priest did, by the sound of his bells at the bottom of his robe, ask leave to enter. “And his sound shall be heard when he goeth into the holy place before the Lord, and when he cometh out; that he die not.”

Bells were a part of the martial furniture of horses employed in war. The Jewish warrior adorned his charger with these ornaments; and the prophet foretels that these in future times should be consecrated to the service of God: “In that day shall there be upon the bells of the horses, Holiness unto the Lord.” Chardin observes that something like this is seen in several places of the east; in Persia, and in Turkey, the reins of their bridles are of silk, of the thickness of a finger, on which are wrought the name of God, or other inscriptions. A horse which had not been trained was by the Greeks called, “one that had never heard the noise of bells.”

BELLY is used in Scripture for gluttony, Titus i, 12; Philip iii, 16; Rom. xvi, 18. For the heart, or the secrets of the mind, Prov. xx, 27, 30; xxii, 18. The “belly of hell” signifies the grave, or some imminent danger, or deep distress, Jonah ii, 2; Ecclus. ii, 5.

BELSHAZZAR, the last king of Babylon, and, according to Hales and others, the grandson of Nebuchadnezzar, Dan. v, 18. During the period that the Jews were in captivity at Babylon, a variety of singular events concurred to prove that the sins which brought desolation on their country, and subjected them for a period of seventy years to the Babylonish yoke, had not dissolved that covenant relation which, as the God of Abraham, Jehovah had entered into with them; and that any act of indignity perpetrated against an afflicted people, or any insult cast upon the service of their temple, would be regarded as an affront to the Majesty of heaven, and not suffered to pass with impunity, though the perpetrators were the princes and potentates of the earth. Belshazzar was a remarkable instance of this. He had an opportunity of seeing, in the case of his ancestor, how hateful pride is, even in royalty itself; how instantly God can blast the dignity of the brightest crown, and reduce him that wears it to a level with the beasts of the field; and consequently how much the prosperity of kings and the stability of their thrones depend upon acknowledging that “the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will.” But all these awful lessons were lost upon Belshazzar.

The only circumstances of his reign, recorded, are the visions of the Prophet Daniel, in the first and third years, Dan. vii, 1; viii, 1; and his sacrilegious feast and violent death, Dan. v, 1–30. Isaiah, who represents the Babylonian dynasty as “the scourge of Palestine,” styles Nebuchadnezzar “a serpent,” Evil Merodach “a cockatrice,” and Belshazzar “a fiery flying serpent,” the worst of all, Isaiah xiv, 4–29. And Xenophon confirms this prophetic character by two atrocious instances of cruelty and barbarity, exercised by Belshazzar upon some of his chief and most deserving nobles. He slew the only son of Gobryas, in a transport of rage, because at a hunting match he hit with his spear a bear, and afterward a lion, when the king had missed both; and in a fit of jealousy, he brutally castrated Gadatus, because one of his concubines had commended him as a handsome man. His last and most heinous offence was the profanation of the sacred vessels belonging to the temple of Jerusalem, which his wise grandfather, and even his foolish father Evil Merodach, had respected. Having made a great feast for a thousand of his lords, he ordered those vessels to be brought during the banquet, that he, his princes, his wives, and his concubines, might drink out of them, which they did; and to aggravate sacrilege by apostasy and rebellion, and ingratitude against the Supreme Author of all their enjoyments, “they praised the gods of gold, silver, brass, iron, and stone, but the God in whose hand was their breath, and whose were all their ways, they praised or glorified not.” For these complicated crimes his doom was denounced in the midst of the entertainment; a divine hand appeared, which wrote on the plaister of the wall, opposite to the king, and full in his view, a mysterious inscription. This tremendous apparition struck Belshazzar with 147the greatest terror and agony: “his countenance was changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his loins were loosed, and his knees smote against each other.” This is one of the liveliest and finest amplifications of dismay to be found throughout the sacred classics, and infinitely exceeds, both in accuracy and force, the most admired of the Heathen; such as “et corde et genibus tremit,” of Horace, and “tarda trementi genua labant,” of Virgil.

Unable himself to decypher the writing, Belshazzar cried aloud to bring in the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers, promising that whosoever should read the writing, and explain to him its meaning, should be clothed with scarlet, have a chain of gold about his neck, and be the third ruler in his kingdom. But the writing was too difficult for the Magi; at which the king was still more greatly troubled. In this crisis, and at the instance of the queen mother, the Prophet Daniel was sent for, to whom honours were promised, on condition of his explaining the writing. Daniel refused the honours held out to him; but having with great faithfulness pointedly reproved the monarch for his ingratitude to God who had conferred on him such dignity, and particularly for his profanation of the vessels which were consecrated to his service, he proceeded to the interpretation of the words which had been written, and still stood visible on the wall. They were, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin. “This is the interpretation of the thing, Mene, ‘God hath numbered thy kingdom and finished it;’ Tekel, ‘thou art weighed in the balances and art found wanting;’ Peres, ‘thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.’” In that very night, in the midst of their mirth and revelling, the city was taken by surprise, Belshazzar himself put to death, and the kingdom transferred to Darius the Mede. If the character of the hand-writing was known to the Magi of Babylon, the meaning could not be conjectured. Perhaps, however, the character was that of the ancient Hebrew, or what we now call the Samaritan; and in that case it would be familiar to Daniel, though rude and unintelligible to the Chaldeans. But even if Daniel could read the words, the import of this solemn graphic message to the proud and impious monarch could only have been made known to the prophet by God. All the ideas the three words convey, are numbering, weighing, and dividing. It was only for the power which sent the omen to unfold, not in equivocal terms, like the responses of Heathen oracles, but in explicit language, the decision of the righteous Judge, the termination of his long suffering, and the instant visitation of judgment. See Babylon.

BELUS, a river of Palestine. On leaving Acre, and turning toward the south-east, the traveller crosses the river Belus, near its mouth, where the stream is shallow enough to be easily forded on horseback. This river rises out of a lake, computed to be about six miles distant, toward the south-east, called by the ancients Palus Cendovia. Of the sand of this river, according to Pliny, glass was first made; and ships from Italy continued to convey it to the glass houses of Venice and Genoa, so late as the middle of the seventeenth century.

BENEDICTION, in a general sense, the act of blessing in the name of God, or of giving praise to God, or returning thanks for his favours. Hence benediction is the act of saying grace before or after meals. Neither the ancient Jews, nor Christians, ever ate without a short prayer. The Jews are obliged to rehearse a hundred benedictions every day; of which, eighty are to be spoken in the morning. Rabbi Nehemiah Baruch, in 1688, published a discourse on the manner wherein the sacerdotal benediction is to be pronounced. In the synagogue of Ferrara, it is rather sung than spoken. Among the ancient Jews, as well as Christians, benedictions were attended with the imposition of hands; and Christians, in process of time, added the sign of the cross, which was made with the same hand, elevated or extended. Hence, in the Romish church, benediction was used to denote the sign of the cross, made by a bishop or prelate, from an idea that it conferred some grace on the people. The custom of receiving benediction by bowing the head before the bishops, is very ancient; and was so universal, that emperors themselves did not decline this mark of submission. Under the name benediction the Hebrews also frequently understood the presents which friends made to one another; in all probability because they were generally attended with blessings and prayers, both from those who gave and those who received them. The solemn blessing pronounced by the Jewish high priest upon the people, is recorded Num. vi, 22, &c: “The Lord bless thee, and keep thee: the Lord make his face to shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: the Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.” The great Christian benediction is, “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God the Father, and the fellowship of the Holy Ghost, be with you always.” See Blessing.

BENHADAD, the son of Tibrimon, king of Syria, came to the assistance of Asa, king of Judah, against Baasha, king of Israel, obliging the latter to return home and succour his own country, and to abandon Ramah, which he had undertaken to fortify, 1 Kings xv, 18. This Benhadad is thought by some to have been the same person with Hadad the Edomite, who rebelled against Solomon toward the end of that prince’s reign, 1 Kings xi, 25.

2. Benhadad, king of Syria, son of the preceding, made war upon Ahab, king of Israel, but was defeated. In the following year, however, he came with a most powerful army to Aphek, where Ahab again engaged him, killed a hundred thousand of his men, and the remainder endeavouring to take refuge in Aphek, the walls of the city fell upon them, and killed twenty-seven thousand more. Thus completely defeated, Benhadad submitted to beg his life of the king of Israel, who not only granted his request, but gave him his liberty, and restored him to his crown upon certain conditions, 1481 Kings xx. Twelve years afterward, A. M. 3115, Benhadad declared war against Jehoram, the son and successor of Ahab, 2 Kings vi, 8; but his designs were made known to Jehoram by the Prophet Elisha, and they were accordingly frustrated. Suspecting some treachery in this affair, Benhadad was informed that all his projects were revealed to his enemy by Elisha, and getting intelligence that the latter was at Dothan, he sent a detachment of his best troops to invest the city and apprehend the prophet; but they were struck with blindness at Elisha’s prayer, so that they were unable to distinguish him, when he was in the midst of them and held a conversation with them. He then led them into the city of Samaria, and having conducted them safely there, he prayed to God again to open their eyes, and induced Jehoram to dismiss them without violence. Generous as this conduct was, it produced no salutary effect on the infatuated Benhadad; for about four years afterward, he laid close siege to Samaria, and reduced the city to such distress that the head of an ass, which the Israelites considered to be an unclean animal, was sold for fourscore pieces of silver, about 2l. 9s. sterling; and the fourth part of a cab of dove’s dung, or rather three quarters of a pint of chick pease, as Bochart understands the word, for five pieces of silver. In fact, such was the pressure of the famine at this time in Samaria, that mothers were constrained to eat their own children. Jehoram, hearing of these calamities, attributed them to Elisha, and sent orders to have him put to death; but before his messengers could reach the prophet’s house, he came thither himself. Elisha predicted that the next day, about the same hour, a measure of fine flour would be sold at the gate of Samaria for a shekel, which, however incredible at the moment, proved to be the case; for in the night, a general panic, supernaturally induced, pervaded the Syrian camp; they imagined that Jehoram had procured an army of Egyptians to come to his assistance, and, abandoning their horses, tents, and provisions, they all took to flight. Four lepers, whose disease did not permit them to live within the city, and being ready to perish with hunger, ventured into the Syrian camp; and finding it deserted, and at the same time abounding with all sorts of provisions, communicated the information to Jehoram. The king immediately rose, though in the middle of the night; but reflecting that probably it was only a stratagem of Benhadad to draw his people out of the town, he first sent parties to reconnoitre. They, however, speedily returned, and informed him that the enemy was fled, and that the roads were every where strewed with arms and garments, which the Syrians had abandoned to facilitate their flight. As soon as the news was confirmed, the Samaritans went out, pillaged the Syrian camp, and brought in such quantities of provisions, that a measure of fine flour was, at the time specified by Elisha, sold at the gate of Samaria for a shekel, 2 Kings vii.

The following year, A. M. 3120, Benhadad fell sick, and sent Hazael, one of his officers, with forty camels, loaded with valuable presents, to the Prophet Elisha, to interrogate him, whether or not he should recover of his indisposition. Elisha fixed his eyes steadfastly on Hazael, and then burst into tears: “Go,” said he, “and tell Benhadad, Thou mayest certainly recover; though the Lord hath showed me that he shall assuredly die.” He at the same time apprised Hazael that he himself would reign in Syria, and do infinite mischief to Israel. Hazael on this returned and told Benhadad that his health should be restored. But on the next day he took a thick cloth, which, having dipped in water, he spread over the king’s face and stifled him. He then took possession of the kingdom of Syria, according to the prediction of Elisha, 2 Kings viii.

3. Benhadad, the son of Hazael, mentioned in the preceding article, succeeded his father as king of Syria, 2 Kings xiii, 24. During his reign, Jehoash, king of Israel, recovered from him all that his father Hazael had taken from Jehoahaz his predecessor. He defeated him in three several engagements, and compelled him to surrender all the country beyond Jordan, 2 Kings xiii, 25.

BENI KHAIBIR, sons of Keber, the descendants of the Rechabites, to whom it was promised, Jer. xxxv, 19, “Thus saith the Lord, Jonadab, the son of Rechab, shall not want a man to stand before me for ever.” They were first brought into notice in modern times by Mr. Samuel Brett, who wrote a narrative of the proceedings of the great council of the Jews in Hungary, A. D. 1650. He says of the sect of the Rechabites, “that they observe their old rules and customs, and neither sow, nor plant, nor build houses; but live in tents, and often remove from one place to another with their whole property and families.” They are also mentioned in Neibuhr’s travels. Mr. Wolff, a converted Jew, gives the following account in a late journal. He inquired of the rabbins at Jerusalem, relative to these wandering Jews, and received the following information: “Rabbi Mose Secot is quite certain that the Beni Khaibir are descendants of the Rechabites; at this present moment they drink no wine, and have neither vineyard, nor field, nor seed; but dwell, like Arabs, in tents, and are wandering nomades. They receive and observe the law of Moses by tradition, for they are not in possession of the written law.” Mr. Wolff afterward himself visited this people, who have remained, amidst all the changes of nations, a most remarkable monument of the exact fulfilment of a minute, and apparently at first sight an unimportant, prophecy. So true is it, that not one jot or tittle of the word of God shall pass away! See Rechabites.

BENJAMIN, the youngest son of Jacob and Rachel, who was born, A. M. 2272. Jacob, being on his journey from Mesopotamia, as he was proceeding southward with Rachel in the company, Gen. xxxv, 16, 17, &c, the pains of child-bearing came upon her, about a quarter of a league from Bethlehem, and she died after the delivery of a son, whom, with her last breath, she named Benoni, that is, “the son of 149my sorrow;” but soon afterward Jacob changed his name, and called him Benjamin, that is, “the son of my right hand.” See Joseph.

BEREA, a city of Macedonia, where St. Paul preached the Gospel with great success, and where his hearers were careful to compare what they heard with the scriptures of the Old Testament, Acts, xvii, 10; for which they are commended, and held out to us as an example of subjecting every doctrine to the sole test of the word of God.

BERNICE, the daughter of Agrippa, surnamed the Great, king of the Jews, and sister to young Agrippa, also king of the Jews. This lady was first betrothed to Mark, the son of Alexander Lysimachus, albarach of Alexandria; afterward she married Herod, king of Chalcis, her own uncle by the father’s side. After the death of Herod, which happened A. D. 48, she was married to Polemon, king of Pontus, but did not long continue with him. She returned to her brother Agrippa, and with him heard the discourse which Paul delivered before Festus, Acts xxv.

BERYL, , a pellucid gem of a bluish green colour, whence it is called by the lapidaries, aqua marina. Its Hebrew name is a word also for the same reason given to the sea, Psalm xlviii, 7. It is found in the East Indies, Peru, Siberia, and Tartary. It has a brilliant appearance, and is generally transparent. It was the tenth stone belonging to the high priest’s pectoral, Exod. xxviii, 10, 20; Rev. xxi, 20.

BETHABARA, or BETHBARAH, signifies in the Hebrew a place of passage, because of its ford over the river Jordan, on the east bank of which river it stood over against Jericho, Joshua ii, 7; iii, 15, 16. To this place Gideon sent a party to secure the passage of the river, previous to his attack on the Midianites, Judges vii, 24. Here John commenced his baptizing, and here Christ himself was baptized, John i, 28. To this place, also, Jesus retired, when the Jews sought to take him at the feast of dedication; and many who resorted there to him believed on him, John x, 39–42.

BETHANY, a considerable place, situated on the ascent of the mount of Olives, about two miles from Jerusalem, John xi, 18; Matt. xxi, 17; xxvi, 6, &c. Here it was that Martha and Mary lived, with their brother Lazarus, whom Jesus raised from the dead; and it was here that Mary poured the perfume on our Saviour’s head. Bethany at present is but a very small village. One of our modern travellers tells us, that, at the entrance into it, there is an old ruin, called the castle of Lazarus, supposed to have been the mansion house where he and his sisters resided. At the bottom of a descent, not far from the castle, you see his sepulchre, which the Turks hold in great veneration, and use it for an oratory, or place for prayer. Here going down by twenty-five steps, you come at first into a small square room, and from thence creep into another that is smaller, about a yard and a half deep, in which the body is said to have been laid. About a bow-shot from hence you pass by the place which they say was Mary Magdalene’s house; and thence descending a steep hill, you come to the fountain of the Apostles, which is so called because, as the tradition goes, these holy persons were wont to refresh themselves there between Jerusalem and Jericho,--as it is very probable they might, because the fountain is close to the road side, and is inviting to the thirsty traveller. Bethany is now a poor village, but pleasantly situated, says Dr. Richardson, on the shady side of the mount of Olives, and abounds in trees and long grass.

BETHAVEN, the same with Bethel. This city, upon the revolt of the ten tribes, belonged to the kingdom of Israel, and was therefore one of the cities in which Jeroboam set up his golden calves. Whence the prophet in derision calls it, “Bethaven,” the house of vanity or idols, Hosea iv, 15, instead of “Bethel,” the house of God, the name which Jacob formerly gave it, when he had the vision of the mysterious ladder, reaching from earth to heaven, Gen. xxviii, 19.

BETHEL, a city which lay to the west of Ai, about eight miles to the north of Jerusalem, in the confines of the tribe of Ephraim and Benjamin. Here Jacob slept and had his vision. The name of this city had formerly been Luz, which signifies an almond, and was probably so called from the number of almond trees which grew in those parts. See Jacob.

BETHESDA. This word signifies the house of mercy, and was the name of a pool, or public bath, at Jerusalem, which had five porticos, piazzas, or covered walks around it. This bath was called Bethesda, because, as some observe, the erecting of baths was an act of great kindness to the common people, whose infirmities in hot countries required frequent bathing; but the generality of expositors think it had this name rather from the great goodness of God manifested to his people, in bestowing healing virtues upon its waters. The account of the evangelist is, “Now there was at Jerusalem, by the sheep market, a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue, Bethesda, having five porches. In these lay a multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water; for an angel went down at a certain season into the pool: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had,” John v, 2–4. The genuineness of the fourth verse has been disputed, because it is wanting in some ancient MSS, and is written in the margin of another as a scholion; but even were the spuriousness of this verse allowed, for which, however, the evidence is by no means satisfactory, the supernatural character of the account, as it is indicated by the other parts of the narrative, remains unaffected. The agitation of the water; its suddenly healing virtue as to all diseases; and the limitation to the first that should go in, are all miraculous circumstances. Commentators have however resorted to various hypotheses to account for the whole without divine agency. Dr. Hammond says, “The sacrifices were exceedingly numerous at the 150passover, at a, (once a year, Chrysostom,) when the pool being warm from the immediate washing of the blood and entrails, and thus adapted to the cure of the blind, the withered, the lame, and perhaps the paralytic, was yet farther troubled, and the congelations and grosser parts stirred up by an officer or messenger, e, to give it the full effect.” To this hypothesis Whitby acutely replies, 1. How could this natural virtue be adapted to, and cure, all kinds of diseases 2. How could the virtue only extend to the cure of one man, several probably entering at the same instant 3. How unlikely is it, if natural, to take place only at one certain time, at the passover for there was a multitude of sacrifices slain at other of the feasts. 4. Lastly, and decisively, Lightfoot shows that there was a laver in the temple for washing the entrails; therefore they were not washed in this pool at all.

Others, however, suppose that the blood of the victims was conveyed from the temple to this pool by pipes; and Kuinoel thinks that it cannot be denied that the blood of animals recently slaughtered may impart a medicinal property to water; and he refers to Richter’s “Dissertat. de Balneo Animali,” and Michaelis in loc. But he admits that it cannot be proved whether the pool was situated out of the city at the sheep gate, or in the city, and in the vicinity of the temple; nor that the blood of the victims was ever conveyed thither by canals. Kuinoel justly observes, that though in Josephus no mention is made of the baths here described, yet this silence ought not to induce us to question the truth of this transaction; since the historian omits to record many other circumstances which cannot be doubted; as, for instance, the census of Augustus, and the murder of the infants. This critic also supposes that St. John only acts the part of an historian, and gives the account as it was current among the Jews, without vouching for its truth, or interposing his own judgment. Mede follows in the track of absurdly attempting to account for the phenomenon on natural principles:--“I think the water of this pool acquired a medicinal property from the mud at its bottom, which was heavy with metallic salts,--sulphur perhaps, or alum, or nitre. Now this would, from the water being perturbed from the bottom by some natural cause, perhaps subterranean heat, or storms, rise upward and be mingled with it, and so impart a sanative property to those who bathed in it before the metallic particles had subsided to the bottom. That it should have done so, at a, is not strange, since Bartholin has, by many examples, shown, that it is usual with many medicinal baths, to exert a singular force and sanative power at stated times, and at periodical, but uncertain, intervals.” Doddridge combines the common hypothesis with that of Mede; namely, that the water had at all times more or less of a medicinal property; but at some period, not far distant from that in which the transaction here recorded took place, it was endued with a miraculous power; an extraordinary commotion being probably observed in the water, and Providence so ordering it, that the next person who accidentally bathed here, being under some great disorder, found an immediate and unexpected cure: the like phenomenon in some other desperate case, was probably observed on a second commotion: and these commotions and cures might happen periodically.

All those hypotheses which exclude miracle in this case are very unsatisfactory, nor is there any reason whatever to resort to them; for, when rightly viewed, there appears a mercy and a wisdom in this miracle which must strike every one who attentively considers the account, unless he be a determined unbeliever in miraculous interposition. For, 1. The miracle occurred at a, from time to time, that is, occasionally, perhaps frequently. 2. Though but one at a time was healed, yet, as this might often occur, a singularly gracious provision was made for the relief of the sick inhabitants of Jerusalem in desperate cases. 3. The angel probably acted invisibly, but the commotion in the waters was so strong and peculiar as to mark a supernatural agent. 4. There is great probability in what Doddridge, following Tertullian, supposes, that the waters obtained their healing property not long before the ministry of Christ, and lost it after his rejection and crucifixion by the Jews. In this case a connection was established between the healing virtue of the pool and the presence of Christ on earth, indicating HIM to be the source of this benefit, and the true agent in conferring it; and thus it became, afterward at least, a confirmation of his mission. 5. The whole might also be emblematical, “intended,” says Macknight, “to show that Ezekiel’s vision of waters issuing out of the sanctuary was about to be fulfilled, of which waters it is said, They shall be healed, and every thing shall live where the river cometh.” It cannot be objected that this was not an age of miracles; and if miracles be allowed, we see in this particular supernatural visitation obvious reasons of fitness, as well as a divine compassion. If however the ends to be accomplished by so public and notable a miraculous interposition were less obvious, still we must admit the fact, or either force absurd interpretations upon the text, or make the evangelist carelessly give his sanction to an instance of vulgar credulity and superstition.

Maundrell and Chateaubriand both describe a bason or reservoir, near St. Stephen’s gate, and bounding the temple on the north, as the identical pool of Bethesda; which, if it really be what it is represented to be, is all that now remains of the primitive architecture of the Jews at Jerusalem. The latter says, “It is a reservoir, a hundred and fifty feet long and forty wide. The sides are walled, and these walls are composed of a bed of large stones joined together by iron cramps; a wall of mixed materials runs up on these large stones; a layer of flints is stuck upon the surface of this wall; and a coating is laid over these flints. The four beds are perpendicular with the bottom, and not horizontal: the coating 151was on the side next to the water; and the large stones rested, as they still do, against the ground. This pool is now dry, and half filled up. Here grow some pomegranate trees, and a species of wild tamarind of a bluish colour: the western angle is quite full of nopals. On the west side may also be seen two arches, which probably led to an aqueduct that carried the water into the interior of the temple.”

BETH-HORON. About twelve miles from Jerusalem, lies the Arab village of Bethoor, where Dr. E. D. Clarke was by accident compelled to pass a night. It is noticed by no other traveller; and yet, there is the highest probability that this is the Beth-horon of the Scriptures. St. Jerom associates it with Rama, in the remark that they were in his time, together with other noble cities built by Solomon, only poor villages. Beth-horon stood on the confines of Ephraim and Benjamin; which, according to the learned traveller, exactly answers to the situation of Bethoor. He supposes it, from its situation on a hill, to be Beth-horon the upper, the Beth-horon superior of Eusebius, of which frequent notice occurs in the apocryphal writings. Josephus mentions that Cestius, the Roman general, marched upon Jerusalem by way of Lydda and Beth-horon.

BETHLEHEM, a city in the tribe of Judah, Judges xvii, 7; and likewise called Ephrath, Gen. xlviii, 7; or Ephratah, Micah v, 2; and the inhabitants of it, Ephrathites, Ruth i, 2; 1 Sam. xvii, 12. Here David was born, and spent his early years as a shepherd. And here also the scene of the beautiful narrative of Ruth is supposed to be laid. But its highest honour is, that here our divine Lord condescended to be born of woman:--“And thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me, that is to be ruler in Israel, whose goings forth have been of old, from everlasting.” Travellers describe the first view of Bethlehem as imposing. The town appears covering the ridge of a hill on the southern side of a deep and extensive valley, and reaching from east to west. The most conspicuous object is the monastery erected over the supposed “Cave of the Nativity;” its walls and battlements have the air of a large fortress. From this same point, the Dead Sea is seen below on the left, seemingly very near, “but,” says Sandys, “not so found by the traveller; for these high, declining mountains are not to be directly descended.” The road winds round the top of a valley which tradition has fixed on as the scene of the angelic vision which announced the birth of our Lord to the shepherds; but different spots have been selected, the Romish authorities not being agreed on this head. Bethlehem (called in the New Testament Bethlehem Ephrata and Bethlehem of Judea, to distinguish it from Bethlehem of Zabulon) is situated on a rising ground, about two hours’ distance, or not quite six miles from Jerusalem. Here the traveller meets with a repetition of the same puerilities and disgusting mummery which he has witnessed at the church of the sepulchre. “The stable,” to use the words of Pococke, “in which our Lord was born, is a grotto cut out of the rock, according to the eastern custom.” It is astonishing to find so intelligent a writer as Dr. E. D. Clarke gravely citing St. Jerom, who wrote in the fifth century, as an authority for the truth of the absurd legend by which the cave of the nativity is supposed to be identified. The ancient tombs and excavations are occasionally used by the Arabs as places of shelter; but the Gospel narrative affords no countenance to the notion that the Virgin took refuge in any cave of this description. On the contrary, it was evidently a manger belonging to the inn or khan: in other words, the upper rooms being wholly occupied, the holy family were compelled to take up their abode in the court allotted to the mules and horses, or other animals. But the New Testament was not the guide which was followed by the mother of Constantine, to whom the original church owed its foundation. The present edifice is represented by Chateaubriand as of undoubtedly high antiquity; yet Doubdan, an old traveller, says that the monastery was destroyed in the year 1263 by the Moslems; and in its present state, at all events, it cannot lay claim to a higher date. The convent is divided among the Greek, Roman, and Armenian Christians, to each of whom separate parts are assigned as places of worship and habitations for the monks; but, on certain days, all may perform their devotions at the altars erected over the consecrated spots. The church is built in the form of a cross; the nave being adorned with forty-eight Corinthian columns in four rows, each column being two feet six inches in diameter, and eighteen feet high, including the base and the capital. The nave, which is in possession of the Armenians, is separated from the three other branches of the cross by a wall, so that the unity of the edifice is destroyed. The top of the cross is occupied by the choir, which belongs to the Greeks. Here is an altar dedicated to the wise men of the east, at the foot of which is a marble star, corresponding, as the monks say, to the point of the heavens where the miraculous meteor became stationary, and directly over the spot where the Saviour was born in the subterranean church below! A flight of fifteen steps, and a long narrow passage, conduct to the sacred crypt or grotto of the nativity, which is thirty-seven feet six inches long, by eleven feet three inches in breadth, and nine feet high. It is lined and floored with marble, and provided on each side with five oratories, “answering precisely to the ten cribs or stalls for horses that the stable in which our Saviour was born contained!” The precise spot of the birth is marked by a glory in the floor, composed of marble and jasper encircled with silver, around which are inscribed the words, Hìc de Virgine Mariâ Jesus Christus natus est. [Here Jesus Christ was born of the Virgin Mary.] Over it is a marble table or altar, which rests against the side of the rock, here cut into an arcade. The manger is at the distance of seven paces from the altar; it is in a low recess hewn 152out of the rock, to which you descend by two steps, and consists of a block of marble, raised about a foot and a half above the floor, and hollowed out in the form of a manger. Before it is the altar of the Magi. The chapel is illuminated by thirty-two lamps, presented by different princes of Christendom. Chateaubriand has described the scene in his usual florid and imaginative style: “Nothing can be more pleasing, or better calculated to excite devotional sentiments, than this subterraneous church. It is adorned with pictures of the Italian and Spanish schools, which represent the mysteries of the place. The usual ornaments of the manger are of blue satin, embroidered with silver. Incense is continually burning before the cradle of our Saviour. I have heard an organ, touched by no ordinary hand, play, during mass, the sweetest and most tender tunes of the best Italian composers. These concerts charm the Christian Arab, who, leaving his camels to feed, repairs, like the shepherds of old, to Bethlehem, to adore the King of kings in the manger. I have seen this inhabitant of the desert communicate at the altar of the Magi, with a fervour, a piety, a devotion, unknown among the Christians of the west. The continual arrival of caravans from all the nations of Christendom; the public prayers; the prostrations; nay, even the richness of the presents sent here by the Christian princes, altogether produce feelings in the soul, which it is much easier to conceive than to describe.”

Such are the illusions which the Roman superstition casts over this extraordinary scene! In another subterraneous chapel, tradition places the sepulchre of the Innocents. From this, the pilgrim is conducted to the grotto of St. Jerom, where they show the tomb of that father, who passed great part of his life in this place; and who, in the grotto shown as his oratory, is said to have translated that version of the Bible which has been adopted by the church of Rome, and is called the Vulgate. He died at the advanced age of ninety-one, A. D. 422. The village of Bethlehem contains about three hundred inhabitants, the greater part of whom gain their livelihood by making beads, carving mother-of-pearl shells with sacred subjects, and manufacturing small tables and crucifixes, all which are eagerly purchased by the pilgrims.

Bethlehem has been visited by many modern travellers. The following notice of it by Dr. E. D. Clarke will be read with interest: “After travelling for about an hour from the time of our leaving Jerusalem, we came in view of Bethlehem, and halted to enjoy the interesting sight. The town appeared covering the ridge of a hill on the southern side of a deep and extensive valley, and reaching from east to west; the most conspicuous object being the monastery, erected over the cave of the nativity, in the suburbs, and upon the eastern side. The battlements and walls of this building seemed like those of a vast fortress. The Dead Sea below, upon our left, appeared so near to us that we thought we could have rode thither in a very short space of time. Still nearer stood a mountain upon its western shore, resembling in its form the cone of Vesuvius near Naples, and having also a crater upon its top which was plainly discernible. The distance, however, is much greater than it appears to be; the magnitude of the objects beheld in this fine prospect causing them to appear less remote than they really are. The atmosphere was remarkably clear and serene; but we saw none of those clouds of smoke, which, by some writers, are said to exhale from the surface of the lake, nor from any neighbouring mountain. Every thing about it was in the highest degree grand and awful. Bethlehem is six miles from Jerusalem. Josephus describes the interval between the two cities as equal only to twenty stadia; and in the passage referred to, he makes an allusion to a celebrated well, which, both from the account given by him of its situation, and more especially from the text of the sacred Scriptures, 2 Sam. xxiii, 15, seems to have contained the identical fountain, of whose pure and delicious water we were now drinking. Considered merely in point of interest, the narrative is not likely to be surpassed by any circumstance of Pagan history. David, being a native of Bethlehem, calls to mind, during the sultry days of harvest, verse 13, a well near the gate of the town, the delicious waters of which he had often tasted; and expresses an earnest desire to assuage his thirst by drinking of that limpid spring. ‘And David longed, and said, O that one would give me to drink of the water of the well of Bethlehem, which is by the gate!’ The exclamation is overheard by ‘three of the mighty men whom David had,’ namely, Adino, Eleazar, and Shamnah, verses 8, 9, 11. These men sallied forth, and having fought their way through the garrison of the Philistines at Bethlehem, verse 14, ‘drew water from the well that was by the gate,’ on the other side of the town, and brought it to David. Coming into his presence, they present to him the surprising testimony of their valour and affection. The aged monarch receives from their hands a pledge they had so dearly earned, but refuses to drink of water every drop of which had been purchased with blood, 2 Sam. xxiii, 17. He returns thanks to the Almighty, who had vouchsafed the deliverance of his warriors from the jeopardy they had encountered; and pouring out the water as a libation on the ground, makes an offering of it to the Lord. The well still retains its pristine renown; and many an expatriated Bethlehemite has made it the theme of his longing and regret.”

BETHPHAGE, so called from its producing figs, a small village situated in Mount Olivet, and, as it seems, somewhat nearer Jerusalem than Bethany. Jesus being come from Bethany to Bethphage, commanded his disciples to seek out an ass for him that he might ride, in his triumphant entrance into Jerusalem, Matt. xxi, 1, &c. The distance between Bethphage and Jerusalem is about fifteen furlongs.

BETHSAIDA, a city whose name in Hebrew 153imports a place of fishing or of hunting, and for both of these exercises it was well situated. As it belonged to the tribe of Naphtali, it was in a country remarkable for plenty of deer; and as it lay on the north end of the lake Gennesareth, just where the river Jordan runs into it, it became the residence of fishermen. Three of the Apostles, Philip, Andrew, and Peter, were born in this city. It is not mentioned in the Old Testament, though it frequently occurs in the New: the reason is, that it was but a village, as Josephus tells us, till Philip the tetrarch enlarged it, making it a magnificent city, and gave it the name of Julias, out of respect to Julia, the daughter of Augustus Cæsar.

The evangelists speak of Bethsaida; and yet it then possessed that name no longer: it was enlarged and beautified nearly at the same time as Cæsarea, and called Julias. Thus was it called in the days of our Lord, and so would the sacred historians have been accustomed to call it. But if they knew nothing of this, what shall we say of their age In other respects they evince the most accurate knowledge of the circumstances of the time. The solution is, that, though Philip had exalted it to the rank of a city, to which he gave the name of Julias, yet, not long afterward, this Julia, in whose honour the city received its name, was banished from the country by her own father. The deeply wounded honour of Augustus was even anxious that the world might forget that she was his daughter. Tiberius, whose wife she had been, consigned the unfortunate princess, after the death of Augustus, to the most abject poverty, under which she sank without assistance. Thus adulation must under two reigns have suppressed a name, from which otherwise the city might have wished to derive benefit to itself; and for some time it was called by its ancient name Bethsaida instead of Julias. At a later period this name again came into circulation, and appears in the catalogue of Jewish cities by Pliny. By such incidents, which are so easily overlooked, and the knowledge of which is afterward lost, do those who are really acquainted with an age disclose their authenticity. “But it is strange,” some one will say, “that John reckons this Bethsaida, or Julias, where he was born, in Galilee, John xii, 21. Should he not know to what province his birthplace belonged” Philip only governed the eastern districts by the sea of Tiberias; but Galilee was the portion of his brother Antipas. Bethsaida or Julias could therefore not have been built by Philip, as the case is; or it did not belong to Galilee, as John alleges. In fact, such an error were sufficient to prove that this Gospel was not written by John. Julias, however, was situated in Gaulonitis, which district was, for deep political reasons, divided from Galilee; but the ordinary language of the time asserted its own opinion, and still reckoned the Gaulonitish province in Galilee. When, therefore, John does the same, he proves, that the peculiarity of those days was not unknown to him; for he expresses himself after the ordinary manner of the period. Thus Josephus informs us of Judas the Gaulonite from Gamala, and also calls him in the following chapters, the Galilean; and then in another work he applies the same expression to him; from whence we may be convinced that the custom of those days paid respect to a more ancient division of the country, and bade defiance, in the present case, to the then existing political geography. Is it possible that historians who, as it is evident from such examples, discover throughout so nice a knowledge of geographical arrangements and local and even temporary circumstances, should have written at a time when the theatre of events was unknown to them, when not only their native country was destroyed, but their nation scattered, and the national existence of the Jews extinguished and extirpated On the contrary, all this is in proof that they wrote at the very period which they profess, and it also proves the usual antiquity assigned to the Gospels.

BETHSHAN, a city belonging to the half tribe of Manasseh, on the west of Jordan, and not far from the river. It was a considerable city in the time of Eusebius and St. Jerom, and was then, as it had been for several ages before, called Scythopolis, or the city of the Scythians, from some remarkable occurrence when the Scythians made an irruption into Syria. It is said to be six hundred furlongs from Jerusalem, 2 Macc. xii, 29. After the battle of Mount Gilboa, the Philistines took the body of Saul, and hung it against the wall of Bethshan, 1 Sam. xxxi, 10. Bethshan is now called Bysan, and is described by Burckhardt as situated on rising ground on the west of the Ghor, or valley of Jordan.

BETHSHEMESH, a city of the tribe of Judah, belonging to the priests, Joshua xxi, 16. The Philistines having sent back the ark of the Lord, it was brought to Bethshemesh, 1 Sam. vi, 12, where some of the people out of curiosity having looked into it, the Lord destroyed seventy of the principal men belonging to the city, and fifty thousand of the common people, verse 19. It is here to be observed that it was solemnly enjoined, Num. iv, 20, that not only the common people but that even the Levites themselves should not dare to look into the ark, upon pain of death. “It is a fearful thing,” says Bishop Hall, “to use the holy ordinances of God with an irreverent boldness; fear and trembling become us in our access to the majesty of the Almighty.”

BETHUEL, the son of Nahor and Milcah. He was Abraham’s nephew, and father to Laban and Rebekah, the wife of Isaac, Genesis xxii, 20, 23.

BETROTHMENT, a mutual promise or compact between two parties for a future marriage. The word imports as much as giving one’s troth; that is, true faith, or promise. Among the ancient Jews, the betrothing was performed either by a writing, or by a piece of silver given to the bride. After the marriage was contracted, the young people had the liberty of seeing each other, which was not allowed them before. If, after the betrothment, the bride should trespass against that fidelity she 154owed to her bridegroom she was treated as an adulteress. See Marriage.

BEZER, or Bozra, or Bostra, a city beyond Jordan, given by Moses to Reuben: this town was designed by Joshua to be a city of refuge; it was given to the Levites of Gershom’s family, Deut. iv, 43. When Scripture mentions Bezer, it adds, “in the wilderness,” because it lay in Arabia Deserta, and the eastern part of Edom, encompassed with deserts. Eusebius places Bozra twenty-four miles from Adraa, or Edrai. This city is sometimes said to belong to Reuben, sometimes to Moab, and sometimes again to Edom; because, as it was a frontier town to these three provinces, it was occasionally in the hands of one party, and then was taken by another. The bishops of Bostra subscribed the decrees of several councils.

BIBLE, the book, by way of eminence so called, as containing the sacred Scriptures, that is, the inspired writings of the Old and New Testament; or the whole collection of those which are received among Christians as of divine authority. The word Bible comes from the Greek , or , and is used to denote any book; but is emphatically applied to the book of inspired Scripture, which is “the book” as being superior in excellence to all other books. ß again comes from , the Egyptian reed, from which the ancient paper was procured. The word Bible seems to be used in the particular sense just given by Chrysostom: “I therefore exhort all of you to procure to yourselves Bibles, a. If you have nothing else, take care to have the New Testament, particularly the Acts of the Apostles and the Gospels, for your constant instructers.” And Jerome says, “that the Scriptures being all written by one Spirit, are one book.” Augustine also informs us, “that some called all the canonical Scriptures one book, on account of their wonderful harmony and unity of design throughout.” It is not improbable that this mode of speaking gradually introduced the general use of the word Bible for the whole collection of the Scriptures, or the books of the Old and New Testament. By the Jews the Bible, that is, the Old Testament, is called Mikra, that is, “lecture, or reading.” By Christians the Bible, comprehending the Old and New Testament, is usually denominated “Scripture;” sometimes also the “Sacred Canon,” which signifies the rule of faith and practice. These, and similar appellations, are derived from the divine original and authority of the Bible. As it contains an authentic and connected history of the divine dispensations with regard to mankind; as it was given by divine inspiration; as its chief subject is religion; and as the doctrines it teaches, and the duties it inculcates, pertain to the conduct of men, as rational, moral, and accountable beings, and conduce by a divine constitution and promise, to their present and future happiness; the Bible deserves to be held in the highest estimation, and amply justifies the sentiments of veneration with which it has been regarded, and the peculiar and honourable appellations by which it has been denominated.

2. The list of the books contained in the Bible constitutes what is called the canon of Scripture. Those books that are contained in the catalogue to which the name of canon has been appropriated, are called canonical, by way of contradistinction from others called deutero-canonical, apocryphal, pseudo-apocryphal, &c, which either are not acknowledged as divine books, or are rejected as heretical and spurious. (See Apocrypha.) The first canon or catalogue of the sacred books was made by the Jews; but the original author of it is not satisfactorily ascertained. It is certain, however, that the five books of Moses, called the Pentateuch, were collected into one body within a short time after his death; since Deuteronomy, which is, as it were, the abridgment and recapitulation of the other four, was laid in the tabernacle near the ark, according to the order which he gave to the Levites, Deut. xxxi, 24. Hence the first canon of the sacred writings consisted of the five books of Moses: for a farther account of which see Pentateuch. It does not appear that any other books were added to these, till the division of the ten tribes, as the Samaritans acknowledged no others. However, after the time of Moses, several prophets, and other writers divinely inspired, composed either the history of their own times, or prophetical books and divine writings, or psalms appropriated to the praise of God. But these books do not seem to have been collected into one body, or comprised under one and the same canon, before the Babylonish captivity. This was not done till after their return from the captivity, about which time the Jews had a certain number of books digested into a canon, which comprehended none of those books that were written since the time of Nehemiah. The book of Ecclesiasticus affords sufficient evidence that the canon of the sacred books was completed when that tract was composed; for that author, in chapter xlix, having mentioned among the famous men and sacred writers, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, adds the twelve minor prophets who follow those three in the Jewish canon; and from this circumstance we may infer that the prophecies of these twelve were already collected and digested into one body. It is farther evident, that in the time of our Saviour the canon of the Holy Scriptures was drawn up, since he cites the law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms, which are the three kinds of books of which that canon is composed, and which he often styles, “the Scriptures,” or, “the Holy Scripture,” Matt. xxi, 42; xxii, 29; xxvi, 54; John v, 39; and by him therefore the Jewish canon, as it existed in his day, was fully authenticated, by whomsoever or at what time it had been formed.

3. The person who compiled this canon is generally allowed to be Ezra. According to the invariable tradition of Jews and Christians, the honour is ascribed to him of having collected together and perfected a complete edition of the Holy Scriptures. The original of the Pentateuch had been carefully preserved in the side of the ark, and had been probably introduced with the ark into the temple at Jerusalem. 155After having been concealed in the dangerous days of the idolatrous kings of Judah, and particularly in the impious reigns of Manasseh and Amon, it was found in the days of Josiah, the succeeding prince, by Hilkiah the priest, in the temple. Prideaux thinks, that during the preceding reigns the book of the law was so destroyed and lost, that, beside this copy of it, there was then no other to be obtained. To this purpose he adds, that the surprise manifested by Hilkiah, on the discovery of it, and the grief expressed by Josiah when he heard it read, plainly show that neither of them had seen it before. On the other hand, Dr. Kennicott, with better reason, supposes, that long before this time there were several copies of the law in Israel, during the separation of the ten tribes, and that there were some copies of it also among the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, particularly in the hands of the prophets, priests, and Levites; and that by the instruction and authority of these MSS, the various services in the temple were regulated, during the reigns of the good kings of Judah. He adds, that the surprise expressed by Josiah and the people, at his reading the copy found by Hilkiah, may be accounted for by adverting to the history of the preceding reigns, and by recollecting how idolatrous a king Manasseh had been for fifty-five years, and that he wanted neither power nor inclination to destroy the copies of the law, if they had not been secreted by the servants of God. The law, after being so long concealed, would be unknown almost to all the Jews; and thus the solemn reading of it by Josiah would awaken his own and the people’s earnest attention; more especially, as the copy produced was probably the original written by Moses. From this time copies of the law were extensively multiplied among the people; and though, within a few years, the autograph, or original copy of the law, was burnt with the city and temple by the Babylonians, yet many copies of the law and the prophets, and of all the other sacred writings, were circulated in the hands of private persons, who carried them with them into their captivity. It is certain that Daniel had a copy of the Holy Scriptures with him at Babylon; for he quotes the law, and mentions the prophecies of Jeremiah, Dan. ix, 2, 11, 13. It appears also, from the sixth chap. of Ezra, and from the ninth chap. of Nehemiah, that copies of the law were dispersed among the people. The whole which Ezra did may be comprised in the following particulars: He collected as many copies of the sacred writings as he could find, and compared them together, and, out of them all, formed one complete copy, adjusted the various readings, and corrected the errors of transcribers. He likewise made additions in several parts of the different books, which appeared to be necessary for the illustration, correction, and completion of them. To this class of additions we may refer the last chapter of Deuteronomy, which, as it gives an account of the death and burial of Moses, and of the succession of Joshua after him, could not have been written by Moses himself. Under the same head have also been included some other interpolations in the Bible, which create difficulties that can only be solved by allowing them; as in Gen. xii, 6; xxii, 14; xxxvi, 3; Exodus xvi, 35; Deut. ii, 12; iii, 11, 14; Prov. xxv, 1. The interpolations in these passages are ascribed by Prideaux to Ezra; and others which were afterward added, he attributes to Simon the Just. Ezra also changed the old names of several places that were become obsolete, putting instead of them the new names by which they were at that time called; instances of which occur in Genesis xiv, 4, where Dan is substituted for Laish, and in several places in Genesis, and also in Numbers, where Hebron is put for Kirjath Arba, &c. He likewise wrote out the whole in the Chaldee character, changing for it the old Hebrew character, which has since that time been retained only by the Samaritans, and among whom it is preserved even to this day. The canon of the whole Hebrew Bible seems, says Kennicott, to have been closed by Malachi, the latest of the Jewish prophets, about fifty years after Ezra had collected together all the sacred books which had been composed before and during his time. Prideaux supposes the canon was completed by Simon the Just, about one hundred and fifty years after Malachi: but, as his opinion is founded merely on a few proper names at the end of the two genealogies, 1 Chron. iii, 19; Nehem. xii, 22, which few names might very easily be added by a transcriber afterward, it is more probable, as Kennicott thinks, that the canon was finished by the last of the prophets, about four hundred years before Christ.

4. It is an inquiry of considerable importance, in its relation to the subject of this article, what books were contained in the canon of the Jews. The Old Testament, according to our Bibles, comprises thirty-nine books, viz. the Pentateuch or five books of Moses, called Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, the books of Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings, 1 & 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, the Song of Solomon, the prophecies of Isaiah, Jeremiah with his Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi. But, among the ancient Jews, they formed only twenty-two books, according to the letters of their alphabet, which were twenty-two in number; reckoning Judges and Ruth, Ezra and Nehemiah, Jeremiah and his Lamentations, and the twelve minor prophets, (so called from the comparative brevity of their compositions,) respectively as one book. Josephus says, “We have not thousands of books, discordant, and contradicting each other: but we have only twenty-two, which comprehend the history of all former ages, and are justly regarded as divine. Five of them proceed from Moses; they include as well the laws, as an account of the creation of man, extending to the time of his (Moses) death. This period comprehends nearly three thousand years. From the death of Moses to that of Artaxerxes, who was king of Persia after Xerxes, the prophets, 156who succeeded Moses, committed to writing, in thirteen books, what was done in their days. The remaining four books contain hymns to God, (the Psalms,) and instructions of life for man.” The threefold division of the Old Testament into the Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms, mentioned by Josephus, was expressly recognised before his time by Jesus Christ, as well as by the subsequent writers of the New Testament. We have therefore sufficient evidence that the Old Testament existed at that time; and if it be only allowed that Jesus Christ was a teacher of a fearless and irreproachable character, it must be acknowledged that we draw a fair conclusion, when we assert that the Scriptures were not corrupted in his time: for, when he accused the Pharisees of making the law of no effect by their traditions, and, when he enjoined his hearers to search the Scriptures, he could not have failed to mention the corruptions or forgeries of Scripture, if any had existed in that age. About fifty years before the time of Christ were written the Targums of Onkelos on the Pentateuch, and of Jonathan Ben-Uzziel on the Prophets; (according to the Jewish classification of the books of the Old Testament;) which are evidence of the genuineness of those books at that time. We have, however, unquestionable testimony of the genuineness of the Old Testament, in the fact that its canon was fixed some centuries before the birth of Jesus Christ. Jesus the son of Sirach, author of the book of Ecclesiasticus, makes evident references to the prophecies of Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel, and mentions these prophets by name: he speaks also of the twelve minor prophets. It likewise appears from the prologue to that book, that the law and the prophets, and other ancient books, were extant at the same period. The book of Ecclesiasticus, according to the best chronologers, was written in the Syro-Chaldaic dialect A. M. 3772, that is, two hundred and thirty-two years before the Christian æra, and was translated by the grandson of Jesus into Greek, for the use of the Alexandrian Jews. The prologue was added by the translator; but this circumstance does not diminish the evidence for the antiquity of the Old Testament: for he informs us, that the law and the prophets, and the other books of their fathers, were studied by his grandfather; a sufficient proof that they were extant in his time. Fifty years, indeed, before the age of the author of Ecclesiasticus, or two hundred and eighty-two years before the Christian æra, the Greek version of the Old Testament, usually called the Septuagint, was executed at Alexandria, the books of which are the same as in our Bibles; whence it is evident that we still have those identical books, which the most ancient Jews attested to be genuine. The Christian fathers too, Origen, Athanasius, Hilary, Gregory, Nazianzen, Epiphanius, and Jerom, speaking of the books that are allowed by the Jews as sacred and canonical, agree in saying that they are the same in number with the letters in the Hebrew alphabet, that is, twenty-two, and reckon particularly those books which we have already mentioned. Nothing can be more satisfactory and conclusive than all the parts of the evidence for the authenticity and integrity of the canon of the Old Testament scriptures. The Jews, to whom they were first committed, never varied respecting them; while they were fully recognised by our Lord and his Apostles; and, consequently, their authenticity is established by express revelation. And that we now possess them as thus delivered and authenticated, we have the concurrent testimony of the whole succession of the most distinguished early Christian writers, as well as of the Jews to this day, who, in every age, and in all countries, the most remote from one another, have constantly been in the habit of reading them in their synagogues.

5. The five books of the law are divided into fifty-four sections, which division is attributed to Ezra, and was intended for the use of their synagogues, and for the better instruction of the people in the law of God. For, one of these sections was read every Sabbath in their synagogues. They ended the last section with the last words of Deuteronomy on the Sabbath of the feast of the tabernacles, and then began anew with the first section from the beginning of Genesis the next Sabbath after, and so went round in this circle every year. The number of these sections was fifty-four, because in their intercalated years (a month being then added) there were fifty-four Sabbaths. On other years they reduced them to the number of the Sabbaths which were in those years, by joining two short ones several times into one. For they held themselves obliged to have the whole law thus read over in their synagogues every year. Till the time of the persecution of Antiochus Epiphanes, they read only the law; but being then prohibited from reading it any more, they substituted in the room of the fifty-four sections of the law, fifty-four sections out of the prophets, the reading of which they ever after continued. Thus, when the reading of the law was restored by the Maccabees, the section which was read every Sabbath out of the law served for their first lesson, and the section out of the prophets for their second lesson; and this practice was continued to the times of the Apostles, Acts xiii, 15, 27. These sections were divided into verses, called by the Jews pesukim, and they are marked out in the Hebrew Bible by two great points at the end of them, called from hence, soph-pasuk, that is, the end of the verse. This division, if not made by Ezra, is very ancient; for when the Chaldee came into use in the room of the Hebrew language, after the return of the Jews from their captivity in Babylon, the law was read to the people first in the Hebrew language, and then rendered by an interpreter into the Chaldee language; and this was done period by period. The division of the Holy Scriptures into chapters is of a much later date. The Psalms, indeed, appear to have been always divided as they are at present, Acts xiii, 33; but as to the rest of the Bible, the present division into chapters was unknown to the ancients.

6. From the time when the Old Testament 157was completed by Malachi, the last of the prophets, till the publication of the New Testament, about four hundred and sixty years elapsed. During the life of Jesus Christ, and for some time after his ascension, nothing on the subject of his mission was committed to writing. The period of his remaining upon earth may be regarded as an intermediate state between the old and new dispensations. His personal ministry was confined to the land of Judea; and, by means of his miracles and discourses, together with those of his disciples, the attention of men, in that country, was sufficiently directed to his doctrine. They were also in possession of the Old Testament scriptures; which, at that season, it was of the greatest importance they should consult, in order to compare the ancient predictions with what was then taking place. Immediately after the resurrection of Jesus Christ, his disciples, in the most public manner, and in the place where he had been crucified, proclaimed that event, and the whole of the doctrine which he had commanded them to preach. In this service they continued personally to labour for a considerable time, first among their countrymen the Jews, and then among the other nations. During the period between the resurrection and the publication of the New Testament, the churches possessed miraculous gifts, and the prophets were enabled to explain the predictions of the Old Testament, and to show their fulfilment. After their doctrine had every where attracted attention, and, in spite of the most violent opposition, had forced its way through the civilized world; and when churches or societies of Christians were collected, not only in Judea, but in the most celebrated cities of Italy, Greece, and Asia Minor, the scriptures of the New Testament were written by the Apostles, and other inspired men, and intrusted to the keeping of these churches.

The whole of the New Testament was not written at once, but in different parts, and on various occasions. Six of the Apostles, and two inspired disciples who accompanied them in their journeys, were employed in this work. The histories which it contains of the life of Christ, known by the name of the Gospels, were composed by four of his contemporaries, two of whom had been constant attendants on his public ministry. The first of these was published within a few years after his death, in that very country where he had lived, and among the people who had seen him and observed his conduct. The history called the Acts of the Apostles, which contains an account of their proceedings, and of the progress of the Gospel, from Jerusalem, among the Gentile nations, was published about the year 64, being thirty years after our Lord’s crucifixion, by one who, though not an Apostle, declares that he had “perfect understanding of all things, from the very first,” and who had written one of the Gospels. This book, commencing with a detail of proceedings, from the resurrection of Jesus Christ, carries down the evangelical history till the arrival of Paul as a prisoner at Rome. The Epistles, addressed to churches in particular places, to believers scattered up and down in different countries, or to individuals, in all twenty-one in number, were separately written, by five of the Apostles, from seventeen, to twenty, thirty, and thirty-five years after the death of Christ. Four of these writers had accompanied the Lord Jesus during his life, and had been “eye witnesses of his majesty.” The fifth was the Apostle Paul, who, as he expresses it, was “one born out of due time,” but who had likewise seen Jesus Christ, and had been empowered by him to work miracles, which were “the signs of an Apostle.” One of these five also wrote the book of Revelation, about the year A. D. 96, addressed to seven churches in Asia, containing Epistles to these churches from Jesus Christ himself, with various instructions for the immediate use of all Christians, together with a prophetical view of the kingdom of God till the end of time. These several pieces, which compose the scriptures of the New Testament, were received by the churches with the highest veneration; and, as the instructions they contain, though partially addressed, were equally intended for all, they were immediately copied, and handed about from one church to another, till each was in possession of the whole. The volume of the New Testament was thus completed before the death of the last of the Apostles, most of whom had sealed their testimony with their blood. From the manner in which these scriptures were at first circulated, some of their parts were necessarily longer in reaching certain places than others. These, of course, could not be so soon received into the canon as the rest. Owing to this circumstance, and to that of a few of the books being addressed to individual believers, or to their not having the names of their writers affixed, or the designation of Apostle added, a doubt for a time existed among some respecting the genuineness of the Epistle to the Hebrews, the Epistle of James, the second Epistle of Peter, the second and third Epistles of John, the Epistle of Jude, and the book of Revelation. These, however, though not universally, were generally acknowledged; while all the other books of the New Testament were without dispute received from the beginning. This discrimination proves the scrupulous care of the first churches on this highly important subject.

At length these books, which had not at first been admitted, were, like the rest, universally received, not by the votes of a council, as is sometimes asserted, but after deliberate and free inquiry by many separate churches, under the superintending providence of God, in different parts of the world. It is at the same time a certain fact, that no other books beside those which at present compose the volume of the New Testament, were admitted by the churches. Several apocryphal writings were published under the name of Jesus Christ and his Apostles, which are mentioned by the writers of the first four centuries, most of which have perished, though some are still extant. Few or none of them were composed before the second century, and several of them were 158forged as late as the third century. But they were not acknowledged as authentic by the first Christians; and were rejected by those who have noticed them, as spurious and heretical. Histories, too, as might have been expected, were written of the life of Christ; and one forgery was attempted, of a letter said to have been written by Jesus himself to Abgarus, king of Edessa; but of the first, none were received as of any authority, and the last was universally rejected. “Beside our Gospels, and the Acts of the Apostles,” says Paley, “no Christian history claiming to be written by an Apostle, or Apostolical man, is quoted within three hundred years after the birth of Christ, by any writer now extant or known, or, if quoted, is quoted with marks of censure and rejection.” This agreement of Christians respecting the Scriptures, when we consider their many differences in other respects, is the more remarkable, since it took place without any public authority being interposed. “We have no knowledge” says the above author, “of any interference of authority in the question before the council of Laodicea, in the year 363. Probably the decree of this council rather declared than regulated the public judgment, or, more properly speaking, the judgment of some neighbouring churches, the council itself consisting of no more than thirty or forty bishops of Lydia and the adjoining countries. Nor does its authority seem to have extended farther.” But the fact, that no public authority was interposed, does not require to be supported by the above reasoning. The churches at the beginning, being widely separated from each other, necessarily judged for themselves in this matter, and the decree of the council was founded on the coincidence of their judgment. In delivering this part of his written revelation, God proceeded as he had done in the publication of the Old Testament scriptures. For a considerable time, his will was declared to mankind through the medium of oral tradition. At length he saw meet, in his wisdom, to give it a more permanent form. But this did not take place till a nation, separated from all others, was provided for its reception. In the same manner, when Jesus Christ set up his kingdom in the world, of which the nation of Israel was a type, he first made known his will by means of verbal communication, through his servants whom he commissioned and sent out for that purpose; and when, through their means, he had prepared his subjects and collected them into churches, to be the depositaries of his word, he caused it to be delivered to them in writing. His kingdom was not to consist of any particular nation, like that of Israel, but of all those individuals, in every part of the world, who should believe in his name. It was to be ruled, not by means of human authority, or compulsion of any kind, but solely by his authority. These sacred writings were thus intrusted to a people prepared for their reception,--a nation among the nations, but singularly distinct from all the rest, who guarded and preserved them with the same inviolable attachment as the Old Testament scriptures had experienced from the Jews.

7. Respecting the lateness of the time when the scriptures of the New Testament were written, no objection can be offered, since they were published before that generation passed away which had witnessed the transactions they record. The dates of these writings fall within the period of the lives of many who were in full manhood when the Lord Jesus was upon earth; and the facts detailed in the histories, and referred to in the Epistles, being of the most public nature, were still open to full investigation. It must also be recollected, that the Apostles and disciples, during the whole intermediate period, were publicly proclaiming to the world the same things which were afterward recorded in their writings. Thus were the Scriptures, as we now possess them, delivered to the first churches. By the concurrent testimony of all antiquity, both of friends and foes, they were received by Christians of different sects, and were constantly appealed to on all hands, in the controversies that arose among them. Commentaries upon them were written at a very early period, and translations made into different languages. Formal catalogues of them were published, and they were attacked by the adversaries of Christianity, who not only did not question, but expressly admitted, the facts they contained, and that they were the genuine productions of the persons whose names they bore. In this manner the Scriptures were also secured from the danger of being in any respect altered or vitiated. “The books of Scripture,” says Augustine, “could not have been corrupted. If such an attempt had been made by any one, his design would have been prevented and defeated. His alterations would have been immediately detected by many and more ancient copies.” The difficulty of succeeding in such an attempt is apparent hence, that the Scriptures were early translated into divers languages, and copies of them were numerous. The alterations which any one attempted to make would have been soon perceived; just even as now, in fact, lesser faults in some copies are amended by comparing ancient copies or those of the original. “If any one,” continues Augustine, “should charge you with having interpolated some texts alleged by you as favourable to your cause, what would you say Would you not immediately answer that it is impossible for you to do such a thing in books read by all Christians; and that if any such attempt had been made--by you, it would have been presently discerned and defeated by comparing the ancient copies Well, then, for the same reason that the Scriptures cannot be corrupted by you, neither could they be corrupted by any other people.” Accordingly, the uniformity of the manuscripts of the Holy Scriptures that are extant, which are incomparably more numerous than those of any ancient author, and which are dispersed through so many countries, and in so great a variety of languages, is truly astonishing. It demonstrates both the veneration in which the Scriptures have been always held, and the singular 159care that has been taken in transcribing them. The number of various readings, that by the most minute and laborious investigation and collations of manuscripts have been discovered in them, are said to amount to one hundred and fifty thousand; though at first sight they may seem calculated to diminish confidence in the sacred text, yet in no degree whatever do they affect its credit and integrity. They consist almost wholly in palpable errors in transcription, grammatical and verbal differences, such as the insertion or omission of a letter or article, the substitution of a word for its equivalent, or the transposition of a word or two in a sentence. Taken altogether, they neither change nor affect a single doctrine or duty announced or enjoined in the word of God. When, therefore, we consider the great antiquity of the sacred books, the almost infinite number of copies, of versions, and of editions, which have been made of them in all languages, in languages which have not any analogy one with another, among nations differing so much in their customs and their religious opinions,--when we consider these things, it is truly astonishing, and can only be ascribed to the watchful providence of God over his own word, that, among the various readings, nothing truly essential can be discerned, which relates to either precept or doctrine, or which breaks that connection, that unity which subsists in all the various parts of divine revelation, and which demonstrates the whole to be the work of one and the same Spirit.

8. Having considered the appellations by which the Bible is distinguished, the books of which it consists, the time and manner in which they were collected, it may not be improper to subjoin a few observations on the genuineness and authenticity of the Scriptures, on their high original and divine authority, and on their great importance and utility.

It should here be considered, that the genuineness of the Scriptures proves the truth of the principal facts contained in them; to which purpose we may observe that it is very rare to meet with any genuine writings of the historical kind, in which the principal facts are not true, unless it be in instances where both the motives which engaged the author to falsify, and the circumstances which gave some plausibility to the fiction, are apparent; neither of which can be alleged in the present case with any colour of reason. As this is rare in general, it is more rare when the writer treats of things that happened in his own time, and under his own cognizance and direction, and communicates his history to persons under the same circumstances; all which may be said of the writers of the Scripture history. Beside, the great importance of the facts mentioned in the Scriptures makes it more improbable, that the several authors should either have attempted to falsify, or have succeeded in such an attempt. The same observation may be applied to the great number of particular circumstances of time, place, persons, &c, mentioned in the Scriptures, and to the harmony of the books with themselves, and with each other. These are arguments both for the genuineness of the books, and truth of the facts distinctly considered, and also arguments for deducing the truth from the genuineness. Moreover, if the books of the Old and New Testaments were written by the persons to whom they have been ascribed, that is, if they be genuine, the moral characters of these writers afford the strongest assurance, that the facts asserted by them are true. The sufferings which several of the writers underwent both in life and in death, in attestation of the facts delivered by them, furnish a particular argument in favour of these facts. Again, the arguments here alleged for proving the truth of the Scripture history from the genuineness of the books, are as conclusive in respect of the miraculous facts, as of the common ones. It may also be observed, that if we allow the genuineness of the books to be a sufficient evidence of the common facts which they record, the miraculous facts must also be allowed from their close connection with the others. It is necessary to admit both or neither. We cannot conceive that Moses should have delivered the Israelites from their slavery in Egypt, or conducted them through the wilderness for forty years, at all in such manner as the common history represents, unless we suppose the miraculous facts intermixed with it to be true also. In like manner, the fame of Christ’s miracles, the multitudes which followed him, the adherence of his disciples, the jealousy and hatred of the chief priests, scribes, and Pharisees, with many other facts of a common nature, are impossible to be accounted for, unless we allow that he did really work miracles. And the same observations hold, in general, of the other parts of the Scripture history. We might urge that a particular argument in favour of the miraculous part of the Scripture history, may be deduced from the reluctance of mankind to receive miraculous facts; which would put the writers and readers very much upon their guard, and would operate as a strong check upon the publication of a miraculous history at or near the time when the miracles were said to be performed; and thus it would serve as a strong confirmation of such a history, if its genuineness be previously granted.

9. In connection with the preceding proposition we may observe, that the genuineness of the Scriptures proves their divine authority. Porphyry in effect acknowledges the truth of this proposition, in its reference to the book of Daniel, by being unable to devise a method of invalidating its divine authority implied in the accomplishment of the prophecies which it contains, without asserting that they were written after the event, or that they were forgeries. Many of the other books of the Old and New Testaments have unquestionable evidences of the divine foreknowledge, if they be allowed genuine; such are those supplied by Moses’s prophecy concerning the captivity of the Israelites, or of a state not yet erected; Isaiah’s concerning Cyrus; Jeremiah’s concerning the duration of the Babylonish captivity; Christ’s concerning the destruction of Jerusalem, and 160the captivity that was to follow; St. John’s concerning the great corruption of the Christian church; and Daniel’s concerning the fourth empire in its declension; which last was extant in the time of Porphyry, at least; that is, before the events which it represents. The truth of the proposition might also be argued from the sublimity and excellence of the doctrines contained in the Scriptures; in no respect suiting the supposed authors, or the ages in which they lived, their education or occupation; so that, if they were the real authors, we are under the necessity of admitting the divine assistance. The converse of this proposition, namely, that the divine authority of the Scriptures infers their genuineness, will be readily and universally acknowledged. Moreover, the truth of the principal facts contained in the Scriptures proves their divine authority. Such is the frame of the human mind, that the Scripture history, allowed to be true, must convince us that Christ, the Prophets, and the Apostles, were endued with a power greater than human, and acted by the authority of a Being of the highest wisdom and goodness. By such mode of reasoning it is shown that the genuineness of the Scriptures, the truth of the principalprincipal facts contained in them, and their divine authority, appear to be so connected with each other, that, any one being established upon independent principles, the other two may be inferred from it. On the subject of the inspiration of the Scriptures, see Inspiration.

10. Another argument in favour of the genuineness of the books of the Old and New Testaments, and of the truth of the principal facts contained in them, may be deduced from the manner in which they have been transmitted down from one age to another; resembling that in which all other genuine books and true histories have been conveyed down to posterity. As the works of the Greek and Roman writers were considered by these nations as having been transmitted to them by their ancestors in a continued succession from the times when the respective authors lived, so have the books of the Old Testament been accounted by the Jews, and those of the New by the Christians; and it is an additional evidence in the last case, that the primitive Christians were not a distinct nation, but a great multitude of people dispersed through all the nations of the Roman empire, and even extending itself beyond the bounds of that empire. As the Greeks and Romans always believed the principal facts of their historical books, so the Jews and Christians did more, and never seem to have doubted of the truth of any part of theirs. In short--whatever can be said of the traditional authority due to the Greek and Roman writers--something analogous to this, and for the most part of greater weight, may be urged for the Jewish and Christian. Now, as all sober minded persons admit the books usually ascribed to the Greek and Roman historians, philosophers, &c, to be genuine, and the principal facts related or alluded to in them to be true, and that one chief evidence for this is the general traditionary one here recited, they ought, therefore, to pay the same regard to the books of the Old and New Testaments, since there are the same, or even greater, reasons for it. Beside, these traditionary evidences are sufficient; and we thus obtain a real argument, as well as one ad hominem, for receiving books thus handed down to us. For it is not conceivable, that whole nations should either be imposed upon themselves, or concur to deceive others by forgeries of books or of facts. These books and facts must therefore, in general, be genuine and true; and it is a strong additional evidence of this, that all nations must be jealous of forgeries for the same reasons as we are.

11. We may proceed to state farther, that the great importance of the histories, precepts, promises, threatenings, and prophecies contained in the Scriptures, is in evidence both of their genuineness, and of the truth of the principal facts mentioned in them. The history of the creation, fall, deluge, longevity of the patriarchs, dispersion of mankind, calling of Abraham, descent of Jacob with his family into Egypt, and the precepts of abstaining from blood, and of circumcision, were of such concern, either to mankind in general, or to the Israelites in particular, and some of them of so extraordinary a nature, as that it could not be a matter of indifference to the people among whom the account given of them in Genesis was first published, whether they received them or not. On the supposition that this account was first published among the Israelites by Moses, and then confirmed by clear, universal, uninterrupted tradition, it will be easy to conceive how it should be handed down from age to age among the Jews, and received by them as indubitable. But, supposing the account to be false, or that there were no such vestiges and evidences of these histories and precepts, it will be difficult to conceive how this could have happened, let the time of publication be what it may. If early, the people would reject at once the account, for want of a clear tradition; if late, it would be natural to inquire how the author was informed of things never known before to others. As to other cosmogonies and theogonies current among Pagans, which are evident fictions, they furnish no just objection against the Mosaic history, because they were generally regarded merely as amusing fictions; and yet they concealed in figures, or expressed in plain words, some truths which agree with the book of Genesis, and afford a strong presumptive evidence in favour of this book. With respect to the law of Moses, this was extremely burdensome, expensive, and severe, particularly in its reference to the crime of idolatry, to which mankind were then extravagantly prone; and it was absurd, according to human judgment, in the instances of prohibiting their furnishing themselves with horses for war, and of commanding all the males of the whole nation to appear at Jerusalem three times a year. Nevertheless, it claims a divine authority, and appeals to facts of the most notorious kind, and to customs and ceremonies of the most peculiar nature, as the memorials of these facts. Can we then conceive 161that any nation, with such motives to reject, and such opportunities of detecting, the forgery of the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, should yet receive them, and submit to this heavy yoke That the Jews did submit to the law of Moses in these circumstances, is evident from the books of the Old and New Testaments, if we allow them the least truth and genuineness, or even from profane writers, and from the present observance of it by the Jews scattered through all the kingdoms of the world. Should it be said that other nations have ascribed divine authority to their lawgivers, and submitted to very severe laws, it may be alleged in reply to this, that the pretences of lawgivers among the Pagans to inspiration, and the submission of the people, may be accounted for from their peculiar circumstances at the time, without recurring to real inspiration; and more especially if we admit the patriarchal revelations related by Moses, and his own divine legation, as Heathen lawgivers copied after these, and hence we derive a strong argument in their favour. Beside, no instance occurs among the Pagans of a body of laws framed at once and remaining invariable; whereas the body politic of the Israelites assumed a complete form at once, and has preserved it, with little variation, to the present time, and under many external disadvantages; thus supplying us with an instance altogether without parallel, and showing the high opinion which they entertained of the great importance of their law. In short, of all the fictions or forgeries that can happen among any people, the most improbable is that of the Jewish body of civil laws, and seems to be utterly impossible.

12. If we farther examine the history contained in the books of Joshua, Judges, Ruth, Samuel, Kings, Chronicles, Ezra, and Nehemiah, and extending from the death of Moses to the reëstablishment of the Jews after the Babylonish captivity by Ezra and Nehemiah, we shall find a variety of important facts, most of which must be supposed to leave such vestiges of themselves, either external and visible, or internal in the minds and memories of the people, as would verify them if true, or cause them to be rejected if false. The conquest of the land of Canaan, the division of it, and the appointment of cities for the priests and Levites by Joshua; the frequent slaveries of the Israelites to the neighbouring kings, and their deliverance by the judges; the creation of a kingdom by Samuel; the translation of this kingdom from Saul’s family to David, with his conquests; the glory of Solomon’s kingdom; the building of the temple; the division of the kingdom; the idolatrous worship set up at Dan and Bethel; the captivity of the Israelites by the kings of Assyria; the captivity of the Jews by Nebuchadnezzar; the destruction of their temple; their return under Cyrus, rebuilding the temple under Darius Hystaspes, and reëstablishment under Artaxerxes Longimanus, by Ezra and Nehemiah:--these events are some of them the most glorious, and some of them the most reproachful, that can happen to any people. How can we reconcile forgeries of such opposite kinds, and especially as they are interwoven together by various complicated and necessary connections, which do not admit of separation The facts, indeed, are of such importance, notoriety, and permanency in their effects, that no particular persons among the Israelites could first project the design of feigning them, that their own people would not concur with such a design, and that neighbouring nations would not permit the fiction to pass. Nothing but the invincible evidence of the facts here alleged, could induce a jealous multitude among the Israelites or neighbouring nations to acquiesce. This must be acknowledged upon the supposition that the several books were published in or near the times when the facts that are recorded in them happened. But suppose all these historical books forged by Ezra; the hypothesis is evidently impossible. Things so important and notorious, so honourable and so reproachful to the people for whose sake they were forged, would have been rejected with the utmost indignation, unless there were the strongest and most genuine traces of these things already among the people. They must therefore, in part at least, be true. If it be said that additions were made by Ezra, these additions must have been either of important or trivial matters. On the first supposition, the difficulty already stated recurs; and if the important facts are true, what possible motive could have induced Ezra to make additions of no importance Beside, if any ancient writings were extant, Ezra must either copy after them, which destroys the present supposition, or differ from and oppose them, which would betray him. If there were no such ancient writings, the people would be led to inquire with regard to matters of importance, for what reason Ezra was so particular in things of which there was neither any memory, nor account in writing. Should it be said that the people did not regard what Ezra had thus forged, this reduces the subject in question to matters of small or of no importance. Beside, why should Ezra write if no one would read or regard Farther: Ezra must have had, like other men, friends, enemies, and rivals; and some, or all of these, would have been a check upon him, and a security against him, in matters of importance. If we suppose these books, instead of having been forged at once, to have been forged successively, at the interval of one, two, or three centuries after the facts related, we shall involve ourselves in the same or similar difficulties. Upon the whole, then, we may conclude, that the forgery of the annals of the Israelites appears to be impossible, as well as that of the body of their civil laws. It is needless to examine the books of Esther, Job, the Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Canticles; and we might proceed to the Prophecies; but this will be resumed under the article Prophecy. For the subjects comprehended in the books of the New Testament. See Gospel:GOSPEL, and #Christianity.

13. We shall here subjoin some general evidences 162in attestation of the truth of the books of Scripture. That Jews and Christians have thought their sacred books very highly important, most genuine, and true, appears from the persecutions and sufferings which they have undergone on account of their attachment to them, and because they would not be prevailed upon to surrender them. The preservation of the law of Moses, probably the first book written in any language, whilst many others of a later date have been lost, shows the great regard that has been paid to it; and from this circumstance we may infer that this and the other books of the Old Testament have been preserved on account of their importance, or from some other cause, equally evincing their genuineness and truth. The great value set upon these books appears also from the many early translations and paraphrases of them; and these translations and paraphrases serve to correct errors that are unavoidable in the lapse of time, and to secure their integrity and purity. The hesitation and difficulty with which some few books of the New Testament were received into the canon, show the great care and concern of the primitive Christians about the canon, and the high importance of the books admitted into it; and afford a strong evidence of their genuineness and truth. The same observation is in a degree applicable to the Jewish canon. Moreover, the religious hatred and animosity which subsisted between the Jews and Samaritans, and between several of the ancient sects among the Christians, convince us of what importance they all thought their sacred books, and disposed them to watch over one another with a jealous eye. Farther: the genuineness of the books of the Old and New Testaments may be evinced from the language, style, and manner of writing used in them. The Hebrew language, in which the Old Testament was written, being the language of an ancient people, who had little intercourse with their neighbours, would not change so fast as modern languages have done, since different nations have been variously blended with one another by the extension of trade, arts, and sciences; and yet some changes must have occurred in the interval that elapsed between the time of Moses and that of Malachi. The biblical Hebrew corresponds so exactly to this criterion, as to afford a considerable argument in favour of the genuineness of the books of the Old Testament. Beside, these books have too great a diversity of style to be the work of either one Jew, or of any set of contemporary Jews. If they be forgeries, there must have been a succession of impostors in different ages, who concurred in the same iniquitous design. Again: the Hebrew language ceased to be spoken, as a living language, soon after the time of the Babylonish captivity; and it would be difficult or impossible to forge any thing in it after it became a dead language. Hence it appears, that all the books of the Old Testament must at least be nearly as ancient as the Babylonish captivity; and as they could not all be written in the same age, some must be much more ancient, and this would reduce us to the necessity of supposing a succession of conspiring impostors. Moreover, there is, as we have already observed, a simplicity of style, and an unaffected manner of writing, in all the books of the Old Testament, which is a strong evidence of their genuineness. The style of the New Testament, in particular, is not only simple and unaffected, but is Greek influenced by the Hebrew idiom, and exactly answers to the circumstances of time, places, and persons. To which we may add, that the narrations and precepts of both the Old and New Testament are delivered without hesitation; the writers teaching as having authority: and this circumstance is peculiar to those who unite, with a clear knowledge of what they deliver, a perfect integrity of heart. But a farther argument for the genuineness and truth of the Scriptures is supplied by the very great number of particular circumstances of time, place, persons, &c, mentioned in them. It is needless to recount these; but they are incompatible with forged and false accounts, that do not abound in such particularities, and the want of which furnishes a suspicion to their discredit. Compare, in this respect, Manetho’s account of the dynasties of Egypt, Ctesias’s of the Assyrian kings, and those which the technical chronologers have given of the ancient kingdoms of Greece, which are defective in such particulars, with the history by Thucydides of the Peloponnesian war, and with Cæsar’s of the war in Gaul, and the difference will be sufficiently apparent. Dr. Paley’s admirable treatise, entitled, “Horæ Paulinæ,” affords very valuable illustrations of this argument as it respects the genuineness of the books of the New Testament. The agreement of the Scriptures with history, natural and civil, is a farther proof of their genuineness and truth. The history of the fall agrees in an eminent manner both with the obvious facts of labour, sorrow, pain, and death, with what we see and feel every day, and with all our philosophical inquiries into the frame of the human mind, the nature of social life, and the origin of evil. Natural history bears a strong testimony to Moses’s account of the deluge. Civil history affords many evidences which corroborate the same account. (See Deluge.) The Mosaic account of the confusion of languages, of the dispersion of Noah’s sons, and of the state of religion in the ancient postdiluvian world, is not only rendered probable, but is in a very high degree established, by many collateral arguments. See Confusion of Languages, and Division of the Earth.

14. The agreement of the books of the Old and New Testaments with themselves and with each other, affords another argument both of their genuineness and truth. The laws of the Israelites are contained in the Pentateuch, and referred to, in a great variety of ways, direct and indirect, in the historical books, in the Psalms, and in the Prophecies. The historical facts also in the preceding books are often referred to in those that succeed, and in the Psalms and Prophecies. In like manner, the Gospels have the greatest harmony with each other, and the Epistles of St. Paul with 163the Acts of the Apostles; and, indeed, there is scarcely any book of either the Old or New Testament, which may not be shown to refer to many of the rest, in one way or other. For the illustration of this argument, let us suppose that no more remained of the Roman writers than Livy, Tully, and Horace; would they not, by their references to the same facts and customs, by the sameness of style in the same writer, and difference in the different ones, and numberless other such like circumstances of critical consideration, prove themselves, and one another to be genuine, and the principal facts related, or alluded to, to be true Whoever will apply this reasoning to the present case will perceive, that the numberless minute, direct, and indirect agreements and coincidences, that present themselves to all diligent readers of the Scriptures, prove their truth and genuineness beyond all contradiction.

The harmony and agreement of the several writers of the Old and New Testament appear the more remarkable, when it is considered that their various parts were penned by several hands in very different conditions of life, from the throne and sceptre down to the lowest degree, and in very distant ages, through a long interval of time; which would naturally have led a spirit of imposture to have varied its schemes, and to have adapted them to different stations in the world, and to the different vicissitudes of every age. David wrote about four hundred years after Moses, and Isaiah about two hundred and fifty after David, and Matthew more than seven hundred years after Isaiah; and yet these authors, with all the other Prophets and Apostles, write in perfect harmony, confirming the authority of their predecessors, labouring to reduce the people to the observance of their instructions, and loudly exclaiming against the neglect and contempt of them, and denouncing the severest judgments against such as continued disobedient. Consequently, as the writers of the Holy Scriptures, though they all claim a divine authority, yet write in perfect connection and harmony, mutually confirming the doctrine and testimony of each other, and concurring to establish the very same religious truths and principles, it is a strong proof that they all derived their instructions from the same fountain, the wisdom of God, and were indeed under the direction and illumination of the same Spirit. This leads us to add, that the unity of design, which appears in the dispensations recorded in the Scriptures, is an argument not only of their truth and genuineness, but also of their divine authority. In order to perceive the force of this argument, it is only necessary to inquire what this design is, and how it is pursued by the series of events and divine interpositions recorded in the Scriptures. (See Dispensation.) It should also be considered, that the historical evidences in favour of the genuineness, truth, and divine authority of the Scriptures, do not become less from age to age; but, on the contrary, it may rather be presumed that they increase. Since the three great concurring events of printing, the reformation of religion in these western parts, and the restoration of letters, so many more evidences and coincidences have been discovered in favour of the Jewish and Christian histories, as may serve, in some measure, to supply the want of those that have been lost in the preceding times; and as this accumulation of evidences is likely to continue, there is great reason to hope that it will at length become irresistible to all and silence even every gainsayer.

15. The moral characters of the Prophets, and the Apostles, prove the truth and divine authority of the Scriptures. The characters of the persons who are said in the Scriptures to have had divine communications, and a divine mission, are so much superior to the characters that occur in common life, that we can scarcely account for the more eminent individuals, and much less so for so large a succession of them, continued through so many ages, without allowing the divine communications and assistance which they allege. Notwithstanding considerable imperfections that pertained to many of these eminent persons, and the occasional offences chargeable upon one or two of them, yet the impartial reader should consider whether the Prophets, Apostles, &c, were not so much superior, not only to mankind at an average, but even to the best men among the Greeks and Romans, as is not fairly to be accounted for by the mere powers of human nature. If this statement should not be conceded, their characters, however, are too good to allow the supposition of an impious fraud and imposture, which must have been the case if they had not divine authority. Beside, it should be recollected, that the undisguised and impartial manner in which the imperfections and faults of the eminent persons mentioned in Scripture are related, furnishes a remarkable additional evidence for the truth of those parts of the Scripture history in which such relations occur, beside such evidences as extend to the whole.

16. The excellence of the doctrine contained in the Scriptures is an additional evidence of their authority. This argument has great force independently of all other considerations. Suppose, for instance, that the author of the Gospel, which goes under the name of St. Matthew, was not known, and that it was unsupported by the writers of the primitive times; yet such are the unaffected simplicity of the narrations, the purity of the doctrine, and the sincere piety and goodness of the sentiments, that it carries its own authority with it. The same observation is applicable in general to all the books of the Old and New Testaments; so that if there was no other book in the world beside the Bible, a man could not reasonably doubt of the truth of revealed religion. If all other arguments were set aside, we may conclude from this single consideration, that the authors of the books of the Old and New Testaments, whoever they were, cannot have made a false claim to divine authority. The Scriptures contain doctrines concerning God, providence, a future state, the duty of man, &c, far more pure and sublime than can in any way be accounted for from the natural powers 164of men, so circumstanced as the sacred writers were. Let the reader consider whether it can be reasonably supposed, that Jewish shepherds, fishermen, &c, should, both before and after the rise of the Heathen philosophy, so far exceed men of the greatest abilities and accomplishments in other nations, by any other means than divine communications. Indeed, no writers, from the invention of letters to the present times, are equal to the penmen of the books of the Old and New Testaments in true excellence, utility and dignity; and this is surely such an internal criterion of their divine authority, as ought not to be resisted.

17. The many and great advantages which have accrued to the world from the patriarchal, Judaical, and Christian revelations, confirm the whole. These advantages relate partly to the knowledge, and partly to the practice, of religion. The internal worth and excellence of the Scriptures, as containing the best principles of knowledge, holiness, consolation, and hope, and their consequent utility and importance in a moral and practical view, fully and directly demonstrate their divine original. For an enlarged view of this branch of evidence see Christianity.

BIBLISTS, or BIBLICI, a term applied to certain doctors in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, who expounded the sacred writings in their public schools, and endeavoured to establish their doctrines by the authority of Scripture, in opposition to uncertain traditions, or the speculations of the schools. Upon the same principle, the Pietists of the seventeenth century formed what they called Biblical colleges, for expounding the Scriptures.

BIER. See Burial.

BILDAD, the Shuhite, one of Job’s friends, thought by some to have descended from Shuah, the son of Abraham, by Keturah, Job ii, 11; viii, xviii, xxv.

BILHAH, Rachel’s handmaid, given by her to Jacob her husband, as a concubinary wife, that, through her she might have a son, Gen. xxx, 3, 4, &c. See Barrenness.

BIND. To bind and loose are taken for condemning and absolving: “And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven,” Matt. xvi, 19. By binding and loosing, in the language of the Jews, is understood, likewise, permitting and forbidding; or declaring any thing in a judicial manner to be permitted or forbidden; and on the promotion of their doctors, they put the keys into their hands with these words, “Receive the power of binding and loosing.” So our Lord says, “I am not come to destroy,” to unloose or dissolve, “the law, but to fulfil,” that is, to confirm and establish it, Matt. v, 17. See Keys.

BIRD, , a common name for all birds, but is sometimes used for the sparrow in particular.

Birds are distinguished by the Jewish legislator into clean and unclean. Such as fed upon grain and seeds were allowed for food, and such as devoured flesh and carrion were prohibited.

Moses, to inspire the Israelites with sentiments of tenderness toward the brute creation, commands them, if they find a bird’s nest, not to take the dam with the young, but to suffer the old one to fly away, and to take the young only, Deut. xxii, 6. This is one of those merciful constitutions in the law of Moses which respect the animal creation, and tended to humanize the heart of that people, to excite in them a sense of the divine providence extending itself to all creatures, and to teach them to exercise their dominion over them with gentleness. Beside, the young never knew the sweets of liberty; the dam did: they might be taken and used for any lawful purpose; but the dam must not be brought into a state of captivity. The poet Phocylides has a maxim, in his admonitory poem, very similar to that in the sacred texts:--

d t a a µa ta s,
tea d’ pp, ’ tsde ett.
Nor from a nest take all the birds away,
The mother spare, she’ll breed a future day.

It appears that the ancients hunted birds. Baruch, iii, 17, speaking of the kings of Babylon, says, “They had their pastime with the fowls of the air;” and Daniel, iii, 38, tells Nebuchadnezzar that God had made the fowls of the air subject to him.

Birds were offered in sacrifice on many occasions. In the sacrifices for sin, he who had not a lamb, or a kid, “might offer two turtles, or two young pigeons; one for a sin-offering, the other for a burnt-offering. These he presented to the priest, who offered that first which was for the sin-offering, and wrung off the head from the neck, but did not divide it asunder: the other he was to offer for a burnt-offering,” Lev. v, 7, 8. When a man who had been smitten with a leprosy was healed, he came to the entrance of the camp of Israel, and the priest went out to inspect him, whether he were entirely cured, Lev. xiv, 5, 6. After this inspection, the leprous person came to the door of the tabernacle, and offered two living sparrows, or two birds; (pure birds, those of which it was lawful to eat;) he made a wisp with branches of cedar and hyssop, tied together with a thread, or scarlet ribbon; he filled an earthen pot with running water, that the blood of the bird might be mingled with it; then the priest, dipping the bunch of hyssop and cedar into the water, sprinkled with it the leper who was healed; after which he let loose the living bird, to fly where it would. In Palestine dead bodies were sometimes left exposed to birds of prey, as appears from Scripture; but, generally, they were buried in the evening: even criminals were taken down from the gallows.

BIRTHRIGHT, or PRIMOGENITURE, the right of the first-born or eldest son. The birthright, or right of primogeniture, had many privileges annexed to it. The first-born was consecrated to the Lord, Exod. xxii, 29; had a double portion of the estate allotted him, Deut. xxi, 17; had a dignity and authority over his 165brethren, Gen. xlix, 3; succeeded in the government of the family or kingdom, 2 Chron. xxi, 3; and, as some with good reason suppose, in ancient times to the priesthood or chief government in matters ecclesiastical. Jacob, having bought Esau’s birthright, acquired a title to the particular blessing of his dying father; and, accordingly, he had consigned to him the privilege of the covenant which God made with Abraham, that from his loins the Messiah should spring: a prerogative which descended to his posterity. Reuben forfeited the blessings of his birthright, as we see by the express declaration of his father Jacob, in his benediction of his children, Gen. xlix, 1, &c, for the crime of incest with his father’s concubine, on account of which his tribe continued all along in obscurity; while the priesthood was conferred on Levi, the government on Judah, and the double portion on Joseph, to descend to their respective tribes. And this preëminence of the first-born took place from the beginning, and as much belonged to Cain, before his forfeiture of it, as it did to Reuben before his. See Genesis iv, 7; xlix, 3. Thus the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, offered sacrifices, and were priests as well as kings in their respective families, Gen. xii, 7, 8; xiii, 18; xvii, 7; xxvi, 25; xxxi, 54; xxxv, 7. Job, in Arabia, acted in the same capacity, Job, i, 5; and it is highly probable that, among the ancient Heathen nations in general, the first-born were entitled not only to the civil authority, but also to the priesthood. This seems to have been the case in Egypt, in the time of Moses: and hence Jehovah’s destroying their first-born, as it was the last miracle wrought in that country before the Exodus, so was it the most dreadful, and most effectual in prevailing on Pharaoh and the Egyptians to dismiss the Israelites.

BISHOP, , psp, signifies an overseer, or one who has the inspection and direction of any thing. Nehemiah speaks of the overseer of the Levites at Jerusalem, Neh. xi, 22. The most common acceptation of the word bishop is that in Acts xx, 28, and in St. Paul’s Epistles, Philip, i, 1, where it signifies the pastor of a church. St. Peter calls Jesus Christ “the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls,” 1 Peter ii, 25; and St. Paul describes the qualities requisite in a bishop, 1 Tim. iii, 2; Titus 1, 2, &c. It is not improbable that the overseers of Christ’s church are in the New Testament called psp, from the following passage in Isaiah: “I will also make thy officers peace, and thine overseers” (psp,) “righteousness,” Isa. lx, 17. The word, as used by the Apostolic writers, when referring to the pastors of Christian churches, is evidently of the same import as presbyter or elder; for the terms, as they occur in the New Testament, appear to be synonymous, and are used indifferently. Thus the same persons that are called psp, bishops are also called esßte, elders. Hence, when St. Paul came to Miletus, he sent to Ephesus for the presbyters of the church, and thus addressed them: “Take heed unto yourselves, and to all the flock over which the Holy Ghost hath made you” (the presbyters) “psp, bishops,” or overseers, Acts xx, 17. “Here,” says Dr. Campbell, “there can be no question that the same persons are denominated presbyters and bishops.” Nor is this the only passage in which we find the terms used convertibly. In Titus i, 5, it is said, “For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders” (Greek, esßt) “in every city;” and then it follows in verse 7, “For a bishop” (psp) “must be blameless.” In like manner, the Apostle Peter, 1 Peter v, 1: “The elders” (esßt) “which are among you I exhort; feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof; pspte, that is, discharging the office of bishops.” See Episcopacy.

BITHYNIA, a country of Asia Minor, stretching along the shore of the Pontus Euxinus, or Black Sea, from Mysia to Paphlagonia; having Phrygia and Galatia on the south. In it are the two cities of Nicæa, or Nice, and Chalcedon: both celebrated in ecclesiastical history, on account of the general councils held in them, and called after their names. The former city is at present called Is-Nick, and the latter Kadi-Keni. Within this country, also, are the celebrated mountains of Olympus. St. Peter addressed his first Epistle to the Hebrew Christians who were scattered through this and the neighbouring countries.

BITTER HERBS. . Exod. xii, 8, and Num. ix, 11. The Jews were commanded to eat their passover with a salad of bitter herbs; but whether one particular plant was intended, or any kind of bitter herbs, has been made a question. By the Septuagint it is rendered ep d; by Jerom, “cum lactucis agrestibus;” and by the Gr. Venet., ep s. Dr. Geddes remarks, that “it is highly probable that the succory or wild lettuce is meant.” The Mischna in Pesachim, cap. 2, reckons five species of these bitter herbs: 1. Chazareth, taken for lettuce: 2. Ulsin, supposed to be endive or succory: 3. Tamca, probably tansy: 4. Charubbinim, which Bochart thought might be the nettle, but Scheuchzer shows to be the camomile: 5. Meror, the sow-thistle, or dent-de-lion, or wild lettuce. Mr. Forskal says, “the Jews in Sana and in Egypt eat the lettuce with the paschal lamb.” He also remarks, that moru is centaury, of which the young stems are eaten in February and March.

BITTERN. . Isa. xiv, 23; xxxiv, 11; and Zephaniah ii, 14. Interpreters have rendered this word variously: an owl, an osprey, a tortoise, a porcupine, and even an otter. “How unhappy,” says Mr. Harmer, “that a word which occurs but three times in the Hebrew Bible should be translated by three different words, and that one of them should be otter!” Isaiah, prophesying the destruction of Babylon, says that “the Lord will make it a possession for the bittern, and pools of water;” and Zephaniah, ii, 14, prophesying against Nineveh, says that “the cormorant and bittern shall lodge in the upper lintels of it: their voice shall sing in the windows.” The Arabic version reads “al-houbara.” 166According to Dr. Shaw, the houbara is “of the bigness of a capon, but of a longer body. It feeds on little shrubs and insects, like the graab el Sahara; frequenting, in like manner, the confines of the desert.” Golius interprets it the bustard; and Dr. Russel says that the Arabic name of the bustard is “houbry.”

BITTERNESS, waters of. See Adultery.

BLASPHEMY, ßasfµa, properly denotes calumny, detraction, reproachful or abusive language, against whomsoever it be vented. That ßasfµa and its conjugates are very often applied, says Dr. Campbell, to reproaches not aimed against God, is evident from the following passages: Matt. xii, 31, 32; xxvii, 39; Mark xv, 29; Luke xxii, 65; xxiii, 39; Rom. iii, 8; xiv, 16; 1 Cor. iv, 13; x, 30; Eph. iv, 31; 1 Tim. vi, 4; Titus iii, 2; 1 Pet. iv, 14; Jude 9, 10; Acts vi, 11, 13; 2 Pet. ii, 10, 11; in the much greater part of which the English translators, sensible that they could admit no such application, have not used the words blaspheme or blasphemy, but rail, revile, speak evil, &c. In one of the passages quoted, a reproachful charge brought even against the devil is called s ßasfµa, Jude 9; and rendered by them, “railing accusation.” The import of the word ßasfµa is maledicentia, in the largest acceptation; comprehending all sorts of verbal abuse, imprecation, reviling, and calumny. And let it be observed, that when such abuse is mentioned as uttered against God, there is properly no change made in the signification of the word: the change is only in the application; that is, in the reference to a different object. The idea conveyed in the explanation now given is always included, against whomsoever the crime be committed. In this manner every term is understood that is applicable to both God and man. Thus the meaning of the word disobey is the same, whether we speak of disobeying God or of disobeying man. The same may be said of believe, honour, fear, &c. As, therefore, the sense of the term is the same, though differently applied, what is essential to constitute the crime of detraction in the one case, is essential also in the other. But it is essential to this crime, as commonly understood, when committed by one man against another, that there be in the injurious person the will or disposition to detract from the person abused. Mere mistake in regard to character, especially when the mistake is not conceived by him who entertains it to lessen the character, nay, is supposed, however erroneously, to exalt it, is never construed by any into the crime of defamation. Now, as blasphemy is in its essence the same crime, but immensely aggravated by being committed against an object infinitely superior to man, what is fundamental to the very existence of the crime will be found in this, as in every other species which comes under the general name. There can be no blasphemy, therefore, where there is not an impious purpose to derogate from the Divine Majesty, and to alienate the minds of others from the love and reverence of God. The blasphemer is no other than the calumniator of Almighty God. To constitute the crime, it is as necessary that this species of calumny be intentional. He must be one, therefore, who by his impious talk endeavours to inspire others with the same irreverence toward the Deity, or perhaps, abhorrence of him, which he indulges in himself. And though, for the honour of human nature, it is to be hoped that very few arrive at this enormous guilt, it ought not to be dissembled, that the habitual profanation of the name and attributes of God by common swearing, is but too manifest an approach toward it. There is not an entire coincidence: the latter of these vices may be considered as resulting solely from the defect of what is good in principle and disposition; the former from the acquisition of what is evil in the extreme: but there is a close connection between them, and an insensible gradation from the one to the other. To accustom one’s self to treat the Sovereign of the universe with irreverent familiarity, is the first step; malignly to arraign his attributes, and revile his providence, is the last. The first divine law published against it, “He that blasphemeth the name of the Lord” (or Jehovah, as it is in the Hebrew) “shall be put to death,” Lev. xxiv, 16, when considered along with the incident that occasioned it, suggests a very atrocious offence in words, no less than abuse or imprecations vented against the Deity. For, in what way soever the crime of the man there mentioned be interpreted,--whether as committed against the true God, the God of Israel, or against any of the false gods whom his Egyptian father worshipped,--the law in the words now quoted is sufficiently explicit; and the circumstances of the story plainly show, that the words which he had used were derogatory from the Godhead, and shocking to the hearers. And if we add to this the only other memorable instance in sacred history, namely, that of Rabshakeh, it will lead us to conclude that it is solely a malignant attempt, in words, to lessen men’s reverence of the true God, and, by vilifying his perfections, to prevent their placing confidence in him, which is called in Scripture blasphemy, when the word is employed to denote a sin committed directly against God. This was manifestly the attempt of Rabshakeh, when he said, “Neither let Hezekiah make you trust in the Lord,” (the word is Jehovah,) “saying, Jehovah will surely deliver us. Hath any of the gods of the nations delivered his land out of the hand of the king of Assyria Where are the gods of Hamath and of Arpad Where are the gods of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Iva Have they delivered Samaria out of my hand Who are they, among all the gods of the countries, that have delivered their country out of mine hand, that Jehovah should deliver Jerusalem out of mine hand” 2 Kings xviii, 30, 33–35.

2. It will naturally occur to inquire, what that is, in particular, which our Lord denominates “blasphemy against the Holy Spirit,” Matt. xii, 31, 32; Mark iii, 28, 29; Luke xii, 10. But without entering minutely into the discussion of this question, it may suffice 167here to observe, that this blasphemy is certainly not of the constructive kind, but direct, manifest, and malignant. First, it is mentioned as comprehended under the same genus with abuse against men, and contradistinguished only by the object. Secondly, it is farther explained by being called speaking against in both cases: p at t t p,-- d’ p at t eµat t . “Whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of Man.”--“Whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost.” The expressions are the same, in effect, in all the Evangelists who mention it, and imply such an opposition as is both intentional and malevolent. This cannot have been the case of all who disbelieved the mission of Jesus, and even decried his miracles; many of whom, we have reason to think, were afterward converted by the Apostles. But it was the wretched case of some who, instigated by worldly ambition and avarice, slandered what they knew to be the cause of God; and, against conviction, reviled his work as the operation of evil spirits. This view of the sin against the Holy Ghost is confirmed by the circumstances under which our Lord spoke.

If we consider the Scripture account of this sin, nothing can be plainer than that it is to be understood of the Pharisees’ imputing the miracles wrought by the power of the Holy Ghost to the power of the devil; for our Lord had just healed one possessed of a devil, and upon this the Pharisees gave this malicious turn to the miracle. This led our Saviour to discourse on the sin of blasphemy. The Pharisees were the persons charged with the crime: the sin itself manifestly consisted in ascribing what was done by the finger of God to the agency of the devil; and the reason, therefore, why our Lord pronounced it unpardonable, is plain; because, by withstanding the evidence of miracles, they resisted the strongest means of conviction, and that wilfully and malignantly; and, giving way to their passions, opprobriously treated that Holy Spirit whom they ought to have adored. From all which it will probably follow, that no person can now be guilty of the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, in the sense in which our Saviour originally intended it; but there may be sins which bear a very near resemblance to it. This appears from the case of the apostates mentioned in the Epistle to the Hebrews, to whom “no more sacrifice for sins” is said to remain; whose defection, however, is not represented so much as a direct sin against the Holy Ghost as against Christ, whom the apostate Jews blasphemed in the synagogues. It implied, however, a high offence against the Holy Spirit also, with whose gifts they had, probably, been endowed, and their conduct must be considered, if not the same sin as that committed by the Pharisees, yet as a consenting with it, and thus as placing them in nearly, if not altogether, the same desperate condition. Even apostasy in the present day, although a most aggravated and perilous offence, cannot be committed with circumstances of equal aggravation to those which were found in the case of the persons mentioned by St. Paul; and it may be laid down as certain, for the relief of those who may be tempted to think that they have committed the unpardonable sin, that their horror of it, and the trouble which the very apprehension causes them, are the sure proofs that they are mistaken. But although there may be now fearful approaches to the unpardonable offence, it is to be remembered that there may be many dangerous and fatal sins against the Holy Ghost, which are not the sin against him, which has no forgiveness.

BLEMISH, whatever renders a person or thing imperfect or uncomely. The Jewish law required the priests to be free from blemishes of person, Lev. xxi, 17–23; xxii, 20–24. Scandalous professors are blemishes to the church of God, 2 Peter ii, 13; Jude 12, and therefore ought to be put away from it, in the exercise of a godly discipline.

BLESS, BLESSING. There are three points of view in which the acts of blessing may be considered. The first is, when men are said to bless God, as in Psalm ciii, 1, 2. We are then not to suppose that the divine Being, who is over all, and, in himself, blessed for evermore, is capable of receiving any augmentation of his happiness, from all the creatures which he has made: such a supposition, as it would imply something of imperfection in the divine nature, must ever be rejected with abhorrence; and, therefore, when the creatures bless the adorable Creator, they only ascribe to him that praise and dominion, and honour, and glory, and blessing, which it is equally the duty and joy of his creatures to render. But when God is said to bless his people, Gen. i, 22; Eph. i, 3; the meaning is, that he confers benefits upon them, either temporal or spiritual, and so communicates to them some portion of that blessedness which, in infinite fulness, dwells in himself, James i, 17; Psalm civ, 24, 28; Luke xi, 9–13. In the third place men are said to bless their fellow creatures. From the time that God entered into covenant with Abraham, and promised extraordinary blessings to his posterity, it appears to have been customary for the father of each family, in the direct line, or line of promise, previous to his death, to call his children around him, and to inform them, according to the knowledge which it pleased God then to give him, how, and in what manner, the divine blessing conferred upon Abraham was to descend among them. Upon these occasions, the patriarchs enjoyed a divine illumination; and under its influence, their benediction was deemed a prophetic oracle, foretelling events with the utmost certainty, and extending to the remotest period of time. Thus Jacob blessed his sons, Gen. xlix; and Moses, the children of Israel, Deut. xxxiii. When Melchizedeck blessed Abraham, the act of benediction included in it not merely the pronouncing solemn good wishes, but also a petitionary address to God that he would be pleased to ratify the benediction by his concurrence with what was prayed for. Thus Moses instructed Aaron, 168and his descendants, to bless the congregation, “In this wise shall ye bless the children of Israel, saying unto them, The Lord bless thee, and keep thee; the Lord make his face to shine upon thee; the Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace,” Num. iv, 23. David says, “I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord,” Psalm cxvi, 13. This phrase appears to be taken from the practice of the Jews in their thank-offerings, in which a feast was made of the remainder of their sacrifices, and the offerers, together with the priests, did eat and drink before the Lord; when, among other rites, the master of the feast took a cup of wine in his hand and solemnly blessed God for it, and for the mercies which were then acknowledged, and gave it to all the guests, every one of whom drank in his turn. To this custom it is supposed our blessed Lord alludes in the institution of the cup, which also is called, 1 Cor. x, 16, “the cup of blessing.” At the family feasts also, and especially that of the passover, both wine and bread were in this solemn and religious manner distributed, and God was blessed, and his mercies acknowledged. They blessed God for their present refreshment, for their deliverance out of Egypt, for the covenant of circumcision, and for the law given by Moses; and prayed that God would be merciful to his people Israel, that he would send the Prophet Elijah, and that he would render them worthy of the kingdom of the Messiah. See also 1 Chron. xvi, 2, 3. In the Mosaic law, the manner of blessing is appointed by the lifting up of hands. Our Lord lifted up his hands, and blessed his disciples. It is probable that this action was constantly used on such occasions. The palm of the hand held up was precatory; and the palm turned outward or downward was benedictory. See Benediction and Lord’s Supper.

BLINDFOLDING. This is the treatment which Christ received from his enemies. It refers to a sport which was common among children, called µda, in which it was the manner first to blindfold, then to strike, and to ask who gave the blow, and not to let the person go till he had named the right man who had struck him. It was used in reproach of our blessed Lord as a Prophet, or divine instructer, and to expose him to ridicule, Luke xxii, 63, 64.

BLINDNESS is often used in Scripture to express ignorance or want of discernment in divine things, as well as the being destitute of natural sight. See Isa. xlii, 18, 19; vi, 10; Matt. xv, 14. “Blindness of heart” is the want of understanding arising from the influence of vicious passions. “Hardness of heart” is stubbornness of will, and destitution of moral feeling. Moses says, “Thou shalt not put a stumbling block before the blind,” Lev. xix, 14, which may be understood literally; or figuratively, as if Moses recommended that charity and instruction should be shown to them who want light and counsel, or to those who are in danger of going wrong through their ignorance. Moses says also, “Cursed be he who maketh the blind to wander out of his way,” Deut. xxvii, 18, which may also be taken in the same manner. An ignorant or erring teacher is compared by our Lord to a blind man leading a blind man;--a strong representation of the presumption of him that professes to teach the way of salvation without due qualifications, and of the danger of that implicit faith which is often placed by the people in the authority of man, to the neglect of the Holy Scriptures.

BLOOD. Beside its proper sense, the fluid of the veins of men and animals, the term in Scripture is used, 1. For life. “God will require the blood of a man,” he will punish murder in what manner soever committed. “His blood be upon us,” let the guilt of his death be imputed to us. “The voice of thy brother’s blood crieth;” the murder committed on him crieth for vengeance. “The avenger of blood;” he who is to avenge the death of his relative, Num. xxxv, 24, 27. 2. Blood means relationship, or consanguinity. 3. Flesh and blood are placed in opposition to a superior nature: “Flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father who is in heaven,” Matt. xvi, 17. 4. They are also opposed to the glorified body: “Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God,” 1 Cor. xv, 50. 5. They are opposed also to evil spirits: “We wrestle not against flesh and blood,” against visible enemies composed of flesh and blood, “but against principalities and powers,” &c, Eph. vi, 12. 6. Wine is called the pure blood of the grape: “Judah shall wash his garments in the blood of the grape,” Gen. xlix, 11; Deut. xxxii. 14. 7. The priests were established by God to judge between blood and blood; that is, in criminal matters, and where the life of man is at stake;--to determine whether the murder be casual, or voluntary; whether a crime deserve death, or admit of remission, &c. 8. In its most eminent sense blood is used for the sacrificial death of Christ; whose blood or death is the price of our salvation. His blood has “purchased the church,” Acts xx, 28. “We are justified by his blood,” Rom. v, 9. “We have redemption through his blood,” Eph. i, 7, &c. See Atonement.

That singular and emphatic prohibition of blood for food from the earliest times, which we find in the Holy Scriptures, deserves particular attention. God expressly forbade the eating of blood alone, or of blood mixed with the flesh of animals, as when any creature was suffocated, or strangled, or killed without drawing its blood from the carcass. For when the grant of animal food was made to Noah, in those comprehensive words, “Even as the green herb have I given you all things,” it was added, “but flesh with the life thereof, namely, its blood, ye shall not eat,” Gen. ix, 4. And when the law was given to the children of Israel, we find the prohibition against the eating of blood still more explicitly enforced, both upon Jews and Gentiles, in the following words, “Whatsoever man there be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among you, that eateth any manner of blood; I will even set my face against that soul that eateth 169blood, and will cut him off from among his people: for the life of the flesh is in the blood; and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul,” Lev. xvii, 10, 11. And to cut off all possibility of mistake upon this particular point, it is added: “Therefore I said unto the children of Israel, No soul of you shall eat blood, neither shall any stranger that sojourneth among you eat blood; and whatsoever man there be of the children of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among you, which hunteth and catcheth any beast or fowl that may be eaten; he shall even pour out the blood thereof and cover it with dust, for it is the life of all flesh; the blood of it is for the life thereof; therefore I said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall eat the blood of no manner of flesh: for the life of all flesh is the blood thereof; whosoever eateth it shall be cut off,” verses 12–14. This restraint, than which nothing can be more express, was also, under the new covenant, enjoined upon believing Gentiles, as “a burden” which “it seemed necessary to the Holy Spirit to impose upon them,” Acts xv, 28, 29. For this prohibition no moral reason seems capable of being offered; nor does it clearly appear that blood is an unwholesome aliment, which some think was the physical reason of its being inhibited; and if, in fact, blood is deleterious as food, there seems no greater reason why this should be pointed out by special revelation to man, to guard him against injury, than many other unwholesome aliments. There is little force in the remark, that the eating of blood produces a ferocious disposition; for those nations that eat strangled things, or blood cooked with other aliments, do not exhibit more ferocity than others. The true reason was, no doubt, a sacrificial one. When animals were granted to Noah for food, the blood was reserved; and when the same law was reënacted among the Israelites, the original prohibition is repeated with an explanation which at once shows the original ground upon which it rested: “I have given it upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls.” From this “additional reason,” as it has been called, it has been argued, that the doctrine of the atoning power of blood was new, and was, then, for the first time, announced by Moses, or the same cause for the prohibition would have been assigned to Noah. To this we may reply, 1. That unless the same reason be supposed as the ground of the prohibition of blood to Noah, as that given by Moses to the Jews, no reason at all can be conceived for this restraint being put upon the appetite of mankind from Noah to Moses; and yet we have a prohibition of a most solemn kind, which in itself could have no reason, enjoined without any external reason being either given or conceivable. 2. That it is a mistake to suppose that the declaration of Moses to the Jews, that God had “given them the blood for an atonement,” is an “additional reason” for the interdict, not to be found in the original prohibition to Noah. The whole passage occurs in Lev. xvii; and the great reason there given of the prohibition of blood is, that it is “the life;” and what follows respecting “atonement,” is exegetical of this reason;--the life is in the blood, and the blood or life is given as an atonement. Now, by turning to the original prohibition in Genesis we find that precisely the same reason is given: “But the flesh with the blood, which is the life thereof, shall ye not eat.” The reason, then, being the same, the question is, whether the exegesis added by Moses must not necessarily be understood in the general reason given for the restraint to Noah. Blood is prohibited because it is the life; and Moses adds, that it is “the blood,” or life, “which makes atonement.” Let any one attempt to discover any reason for the prohibition of blood to Noah, in the mere circumstance that it is “the life,” and he will find it impossible. It is no reason at all, moral or instituted, except that as it was LIFE SUBSTITUTED FOR LIFE, the life of the animal in sacrifice for the life of man, and that, therefore, blood had a sacred appropriation. The manner, too, in which Moses introduces the subject, is indicative that, though he was renewing a prohibition, he was not publishing a new doctrine; he does not teach his people that God had then given, or appointed, blood to make atonement; but he prohibits them from eating it, because he had already made this appointment, without reference to time, and as a subject with which they were familiar. Because the blood was the life, it was sprinkled upon, and poured out at, the altar: and we have in the sacrifice of the paschal lamb, and the sprinkling of its blood, a sufficient proof that, before the giving of the law, not only was blood not eaten, but was appropriated to a sacred sacrificial purpose. Nor was this confined to the Jews; it was customary with the Romans and Greeks, who, in like manner, poured out and sprinkled the blood of victims at their altars; a rite derived, probably, from the Egyptians, who deduced it, not from Moses, but from the sons of Noah. The notion, indeed, that the blood of the victims was peculiarly sacred to the gods, is impressed upon all ancient Pagan mythology.

BOANERGES. This word is neither Hebrew nor Syriac, and some have thought that the transcribers have not exactly copied it, and that the word was benereen, ßeee, which expresses the sound of the Hebrew of the phrase, “sons of thunder.” Parkhurst judges the word to be the Galilean pronunciation of the Hebrew expressed in Greek letters. Now, properly signifies a violent trembling or commotion, and may therefore be well rendered by ßt, thunder, which is a violent commotion in the air; so, vice versâ, any violent commotion is figuratively, and not unusually, in all languages, called thunder. When our Saviour named the sons of Zebedee, Boanerges, he perhaps had an eye to that prophecy of Haggai, “Yet once, and I will shake the heavens and the earth,” ii, 6; which is by the Apostle to the Hebrews, xii, 26, applied to the great alteration made in the economy of the Jews by the publication of the Gospel. The name 170Boanerges, therefore, given to James and John, imports that they should be eminent instruments in accomplishing the wondrous change, and should, like an earthquake or thunder, mightily bear down all opposition, by their inspired preaching and miraculous powers. That it does not relate to their mode of preaching is certain; for that clearly appears to have been calmly argumentative, and sweetly persuasive--the very reverse of what is usually called a thundering ministry.

BOAR, . The wild boar is considered as the parent stock of our domestic hog. He is smaller, but at the same time stronger and more undaunted, than the hog. In his own defence, he will turn on men or dogs; and scarcely shuns any denizen of the forests, in the haunts where he ranges. His colour is always an iron grey, inclining to black. His snout is longer than that of the common breed, and his ears are comparatively short. His tusks are very formidable, and all his habits are fierce and savage. It should seem, from the accounts of ancient authors, that the ravages of the wild boar were considered as more formidable than those of other savage animals. The conquest of the Erymanthian boar was one of the fated labours of Hercules; and the story of the Calydonian boar is one of the most beautiful in Ovid. The destructive ravages of these animals are mentioned in Psalm lxxx, 14. Dr. Pococke observed very large herds of wild boars on the side of Jordan, where it flows out of the sea of Tiberias; and saw several of them on the other side lying among the reeds by the sea. The wild boars of other countries delight in the like moist retreats. These shady marshes then, it should seem, are called in the Scripture, “woods;” for it calls these animals, “the wild boars of the woods.”

BOHEMIAN BRETHREN, a sect of heretics, according to the church of Rome; but, in truth, a race of early reformers, who preceded Luther. At first they were charged with so many heresies, that the great reformer was shy of them; but, upon receiving from themselves an account of their tenets, in 1522, he readily acknowledged them as brethren, and received them into communion. Some time after this, they were driven by persecution from their native country, and entered into communion with the Swiss church, as reformed by Zuinglius; and from thence sprang the church of the United Brethren.

BONDS were of two kinds, public and private; the former were employed to secure a prisoner in the public jail, after confession or conviction; the latter when he was delivered to a magistrate, or even to private persons, to be kept at their houses till he should be tried. The Apostle Paul was subjected to private bonds by Felix, the Roman governor, who “commanded a centurion to keep him, and to let him have liberty, and that he should forbid none of his acquaintance to minister, or come unto him,” Acts xxiv, 23. And after he was carried prisoner to Rome, he “dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him,” xxviii, 30.

BONNET was a covering for the head, worn by the Jewish priests. Josephus says, that the bonnet worn by the private priests was composed of several rounds of linen cloth, turned in and sewed together, so as to appear like a thick linen crown. The whole was entirely covered with another piece of linen, which came down as low as their forehead, and concealed the deformity of the seams. See Exodus xxviii, 40. The high priest’s bonnet was not much different from that which has been described.

BOOK, a writing composed on some point of knowledge by a person intelligent therein, for the instruction or amusement of the reader. The wordword is formed from the Gothic boka, or Saxon boc, which comes from the Northern buech, of buechaus, a beech or service tree, on the bark of which our ancestors used to write. Book is distinguished from pamphlet, or single paper, by its greater length; and from tome or volume, by its containing the whole writing on the subject. Isidore makes this distinction between liber and codex; that the former denotes a single book, the latter a collection of several; though, according to Scipio Maffei, codex signifies a book in the square form; liber, a book in the roll form. The primary distinction between liber and codex seems to have been derived, as Dr. Heylin has observed, from the different materials used for writing, among the ancients: from the innerside of the bark of a tree, used for this purpose, and called in Latin liber, the name of liber applied to a book was deduced; and from that tablet, formed from the main body of a tree, called caudex, was derived the appellation of codex.

2. Several sorts of materials were formerly used in making books: stone and wood were the first materials employed to engrave such things upon as men were desirous of having transmitted to posterity. Porphyry makes mention of some pillars preserved in Crete, on which the ceremonies observed by the Corybantes in their sacrifices were recorded. The works of Hesiod were originally written on tables of lead, and deposited in the temple of the Muses in Bœotia. The laws of Jehovah were written on tables of stone, and those of Solon on wooden planks. Tables of wood and ivory were common among the ancients: those of wood, were very frequently covered with wax, that persons might write on them with more ease, or blot out what they had written. And the instrument used to write with was a piece of iron, called a style; and hence the word “style” came to be taken for the composition of the writing. The leaves of the palm-tree were afterward used instead of wooden planks, and the finest and thinnest part of the bark of such trees as the lime, ash, maple, and elm; and especially the tilio, or phillyrea, and Egyptian papyrus. Hence came the word liber, (a book,) which signifies the inner bark of the trees. And as these barks were rolled up in order to be removed with greater ease, each roll was called volumen, a volume; a name afterward given to the like rolls of paper or parchment. From the Egyptian papyrus the 171word paper is derived. After this, leather was introduced, especially the skins of goats and sheep. For the king of Pergamus, in collecting his library, was led to the invention of parchment made of those skins. The ancients likewise wrote upon linen. Pliny says, the Parthians, even in his time, wrote upon their clothes; and Livy speaks of certain books made of linen, lintei libri, upon which the names of magistrates, and the history of the Roman commonwealth, were written, and preserved in the temple of the goddess Moneta.

3. The materials generally used by the ancients for their books, were liable to be easily destroyed by the damp, when hidden in the earth; and in times of war, devastation, and rapacity, it was necessary to bury in the earth whatever they wished to preserve from the attacks of fraud and violence. With this view, Jeremiah ordered the writings, which he delivered to Baruch, to be put in an earthen vessel, Jer. xxxii. In the same manner the ancient Egyptians made use of earthen urns, or pots of a proper shape, for containing whatever they wanted to inter in the earth, and which, without such care, would have been soon destroyed. We need not wonder then, that the Prophet Jeremiah should think it necessary to inclose those writings in an earthen pot, which were to be buried in Judea, in some place where they might be found without much difficulty on the return of the Jews from captivity. Accordingly two different writings, or small rolls of writing, called books in the original Hebrew, were designed to be inclosed in such an earthen vessel; but commentators have been much embarrassed in giving any probable account of the necessity of two writings, one sealed, the other open; or, as the passage has been commonly understood, the one sealed up, the other left open for any one to read; more especially, as both were to be alike buried in the earth and concealed from every eye, and both were to be examined at the return from the captivity. But the word translated open, in reference to the evidence, or book which was open, (1 Sam. iii, 7, 21; Dan. ii, 19, 30; x, 1,) signifies the revealing of future events to the minds of men by a divine agency; and it is particularly used in the book of Esther, viii, 13, to express a book’s making known the decree of an earthly king. Consequently the open book of Jeremiah seems to signify, not its being then lying open or unrolled before them, while the other was sealed up; but the book that had revealed the will of God, to bring back Israel into their own country, and to cause buying and selling of houses and lands again to take place among them. This was a book of prophecy, opening and revealing the future return of Israel, and the other little book, which was ordered to be buried along with it, was the purchase deed.

4. By adverting to the different modes of writing in eastern countries, we obtain a satisfactory interpretation of a passage in the book of Job, xix, 23, 24, and a distinct view of the beautiful gradation which is lost in our translation: “O that my words were now written! O that they were printed (written) in a book! that they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever!” In the east there is a mode of writing, which is designed to fix words in the memory, but the writing is not intended for duration. Accordingly we are informed by Dr. Shaw, that children learn to write in Barbary by means of a smooth thin board, slightly covered with whiting, which may be wiped off or renewed at pleasure. Job expresses his wish not only that his words were written, but also written in a book, from which they should not be blotted out, nay, still farther, graven in a rock, the most permanent mode of recording them, and especially if the engraved letters were filled with lead; or the rock was made to receive leaden tablets, the use of which was known among the ancients. So Pliny, “At first men wrote on the leaves of palm, and the bark of certain trees, but afterward public documents were preserved on leaden plates, and those of a private nature on wax, or linen.”

5. The first books were in the form of blocks and tables, of which we find frequent mention in Scripture, under the appellation sepher, which the Septuagint render e, that is, square tables: of which form the book of the covenant, book of the law, book, or bill of divorce, book of curses, &c, appear to have been. As flexible matters came to be written on, they found it more convenient to make their books in form of rolls, called by the Greeks ta, by the Latins volumina, which appear to have been in use among the ancient Jews as well as the Grecians, Romans, Persians, and even Indians; and of such did the libraries chiefly consist, till some centuries after Christ. The form which obtains among us is the square, composed of separate leaves; which was also known, though little used, among the ancients; having been invented by Attalus, king of Pergamus, the same who also invented parchment: but it has now been so long in possession, that the oldest manuscripts are found in it. Montfaucon assures us, that of all the ancient Greek manuscripts he has seen, there are but two in the roll form; the rest being made up much after the manner of the modern books. The rolls, or volumes, were composed of several sheets, fastened to each other, and rolled upon a stick, or umbilicus; the whole making a kind of column, or cylinder, which was to be managed by the umbilicus, as a handle; it being reputed a kind of crime to take hold of the roll itself. The outside of the volume was called frons; the ends of the umbilicus were called cornua, “horns;” which were usually carved and adorned likewise with silver, ivory, or even gold and precious stones. Whilst the Egyptian papyrus was in common use, its brittle nature made it proper to roll up what they wrote; and as this had been a customary practice, many continued it when they used other materials, which might very safely have been treated in a different manner. To the form of books belongs the economy of the inside, or the order and arrangement of points and letters into lines and pages, with margins and other appurtenances. 172This has undergone many varieties: at first, the letters were only divided into lines, then into separate words; which, by degrees, were noted with accents, and distributed by points and stops into periods, paragraphs, chapters, and other divisions. In some countries, as among the orientals, the lines began from the right, and ran to the left; in others, as in northern and western nations, from the left to the right; others, as the Grecians, followed both directions alternately, going in the one and returning in the other, called boustrophedon, because it was after the manner of oxen turning when at plough. In the Chinese books, the lines ran from top to bottom. Again: the page in some is entire, and uniform; in others, divided into columns; in others distinguished into texts and notes, either marginal, or at the bottom: usually it is furnished with signatures and catch words; also with a register to discover whether the book be complete. To these are occasionally added the apparatus of summaries, or side notes; the embellishments of red, gold, or figured initial letters, head pieces, tail pieces, effigies, schemes, maps, and the like. The end of the book now denoted by finis, was anciently marked with a <, called coronis, and the whole frequently washed with an oil drawn from cedar, or citron chips, strewed between the leaves to preserve it from rotting. There also occur certain formulæ at the beginning and end of books; as among the Jews, the word , esto fortis, which we find at the end of the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Ezekiel, &c, to exhort the reader to be courageous, and proceed on to the following book. The conclusions were also often guarded with imprecations against such as should falsify them; of which we have an instance in the Apocalypse. The Mohammedans, for the like reason, place the name of God at the beginning of all their books, which cannot fail to procure them protection, on account of the infinite regard which they pay to that name, wherever found. For the like reason it is, that divers of the laws of the ancient emperors begin with the formula, In nomine Dei. [In the name of God.] At the end of each book the Jews also added the number of verses contained in it, and at the end of the Pentateuch the number of sections; that, it might be transmitted to posterity entire. The Masorites and Mohammedan doctors have gone farther; so as to number the several words and letters in each book, chapter, verse, &c, of the Old Testament and the Alcoran. The scarcity and high price of books in former ages, ought to render us the more grateful for the discovery of the great art of printing, as especially by that means the Holy Bible, “the word of truth and Gospel of our salvation,” is made familiar to all classes.

The universal ignorance that prevailed in Europe, from the seventh to the eleventh century, may be ascribed to the scarcity of books during that period, and the difficulty of rendering them more common, concurring with other causes arising from the state of government and manners. The Romans wrote their books either on parchment, or on paper made of the Egyptian papyrus. The latter, being the cheapest, was of course the most commonly used. But after the Saracens conquered Egypt, in the seventh century, the communication between that country and the people settled in Italy, or in other parts of Europe, was almost entirely broken off, and the papyrus was no longer in use among them. They were obliged on that account to write all their books upon parchment; and as the price of that was high, books became extremely rare and of great value. We may judge of the scarcity of materials for writing them from one circumstance. There still remain several manuscripts of the eighth, ninth, and following centuries, written on parchment, from which some former writing had been erased, in order to substitute a new composition in its place. Thus, it is probable, several of the works of the ancients perished. A book of Livy or of Tacitus might be erased, to make room for the legendary tale of a saint, or the superstitious prayers of a missal. Nay, worse instances are recorded, of obliterating copies of the Holy Scriptures to make room for the lucubrations of some of the more modern fathers of the church. Manuscripts thus defaced, the vellum or parchment of which is occupied with some other writings, are called “palimpsests,” codices rescripti or palimpsesti, from aµ, “that which has been twice scraped.” As this want of materials for writing will serve to account for the loss of many of the works of the ancients, and for the small number of MSS. previous to the eleventh century, many facts prove the scarcity of books at this period. Private persons seldom possessed any books whatever; and even monasteries of note had only one missal. In 1299, John de Pontissara, bishop of Winchester, borrows of his cathedral convent of St. Swithin, at Winchester, “bibliam bene glossatam,” that is, the Bible, with marginal annotations, in two folio volumes; but gives a bond for the return of it, drawn up with great solemnity. For the bequest of this Bible to the convent, and one hundred marks, the monks founded a daily mass for the soul of the donor. If any person gave a book to a religious house, he believed that so valuable a donation merited eternal salvation, and he offered it on the altar with great ceremony. The prior and convent of Rochester declare, that they will every year pronounce the irrevocable sentence of damnation on him who shall purloin or conceal a Latin translation of Aristotle’s Poetics, or even obliterate the title. Sometimes a book was given to a monastery, on condition that the donor should have the use of it for his life; and sometimes to a private person, with the reservation that he who receives it should pray for the soul of his benefactor. In the year 1225, Roger de Insula, dean of York, gave several Latin Bibles to the university of Oxford, on condition that the students who perused them should deposit a cautionary pledge. The library of that university, before the year 1300, consisted only of a few tracts, chained or kept in chests, in the choir of St. Mary’s church. The price of books became so high, that persons of a moderate 173could not afford to purchase them. In the year 1174, Walter, prior of St. Swithin’s at Winchester, purchased of the monks of Dorchester, in Oxfordshire, Bede’s homilies, and St. Austin’s psalter for twelve measures of barley and a pall, on which was embroidered in silver the history of St. Birinus converting a Saxon king. About the year 1400, a copy of John of Meun’s “Roman de la Rose” was sold before the palace gate at Paris for forty crowns, or 33l. 6s. 6d. The countess of Anjou paid, for a copy of the homilies of Haimon, bishop of Halberstadt, two hundred sheep, five quarters of wheat, and the same quantity of rye and millet. Even so late as the year 1471, when Louis XI. of France borrowed the works of Rhasis, the Arabian physician, from the faculty of medicine at Paris, he not only deposited by way of pledge a considerable quantity of plate, but he was obliged to procure a nobleman to join with him as surety in a deed, binding himself under a great forfeiture to restore it. But when, in the eleventh century, the art of making paper was invented, and more especially after the manufacture became general, the number of MSS. increased, and the study of the sciences was wonderfully facilitated. Indeed, the invention of the art of making paper, and the invention of the art of printing, are two very memorable events in the history of literature and of human civilization. It is remarkable, that the former preceded the first dawning of letters and improvement in knowledge, toward the close of the eleventh century; and the latter ushered in the light which spread over Europe at the æra of the reformation.

6. If the ancient books were large, they were formed of a number of skins, of a number of pieces of linen and cotton cloth, or of papyrus, or parchment, connected together. The leaves were rarely written over on both sides, Ezek. ii, 9; Zech. v, 1. Books, when written upon very flexible materials, were, as stated above, rolled round a stick; and, if they were very long, round two, from the two extremities. The reader unrolled the book to the place which he wanted, apta t ßß, and rolled it up again, when he had read it, pta t ßß, Luke iv, 17–20; whence the name , a volume, or thing rolled up, Psalm xl, 7; Isaiah xxxiv, 4; Ezek. ii, 9; 2 Kings xix, 14; Ezra vi, 2. The leaves thus rolled round the stick, which has been mentioned, and bound with a string, could be easily sealed, Isaiah xxix, 11; Dan. xii, 4; Rev. v, 1; vi, 7. Those books, which were inscribed on tablets of wood, lead, brass, or ivory, were connected together by rings at the back, through which a rod was passed to carry them by. The orientals appear to have taken pleasure in giving tropical or enigmatical titles to their books. The titles, prefixed to the fifty-sixth, sixtieth, and eightieth psalms appear to be of this description. And there can be no doubt, that David’s elegy upon Saul and Jonathan, 2 Sam. i, 18, is called or the bow, in conformity with this peculiarity of taste.

The book, or flying roll, spoken of in Zech. v, 1, 2, twenty cubits long and ten wide, was one of the ancient rolls, composed of many skins, or parchments, glued or sewed together at the end. Though some of these rolls or volumes were very long, yet none, probably, was ever made of such a size as this. This contained the curses and calamities which should befal the Jews. The extreme length and breadth of it shows the excessive number and enormity of their sins, and the extent of their punishment.

Isaiah, describing the effects of God’s wrath, says, “The heavens shall be folded up like a book,” (scroll,) Isaiah xxxiv, 4. He alludes to the way among the ancients, of rolling up books, when they purposed to close them. A volume of several feet in length was suddenly rolled up into a very small compass. Thus the heavens should shrink into themselves, and disappear, as it were, from the eyes of God, when his wrath should be kindled. These ways of speaking are figurative, and very energetic.

7. Book is sometimes used for letters, memoirs, an edict, or contract. In short, the word book, in Hebrew, sepher, is much more extensive than the Latin liber. The letters which Rabshakeh delivered from Sennacherib to Hezekiah are called a book. The English translation, indeed, reads letter; but the Septuagint has ßß, and the Hebrew text, . The contract, confirmed by Jeremiah for the purchase of a field, is called by the same name, Jer. xxxii, 10; and also the edict of Ahasuerus in favour of the Jews, Esther ix, 20, though our translators have called it letters. The writing which a man gave to his wife when he divorced her, was denominated, in Hebrew, “a book of divorce,” Deut. xxiv.

Books, Writers of. The ancients seldom wrote their treatises with their own hand, but dictated them to their freedmen and slaves. These were either taf, amanuenses, notarii, “hasty writers,” or af, librarii, “fair writers,” or ßßf, librarii, “copyists.” The office of these last was to transcribe fairly that which the former had written hastily and from dictation; they were those who were obliged to write books and other documents which were intended to be durable. The correctness of the copies was under the care of the emendator, corrector, dµ t eaµµa. A great part of the books of the New Testament was dictated after this custom. St. Paul noted it as a particular circumstance in the Epistle to the Galatians, that he had written it with his own hand, Gal. vi, 11. But he affixed the salutation with his own hand, 2 Thess. iii, 17; 1 Cor. xvi, 21; Col. iv, 18. The amanuensis who wrote the Epistle to the Romans, has mentioned himself near the conclusion, Rom. xvi, 22.

Books, modes of publication. Works could only be multiplied by means of transcripts. Whenever in this way they passed over to others, they were beyond the control of the author, and published. The edition, or publication, by means of the booksellers, was, only at a later period, advantageous to the Christians. The recitatio [reading aloud] preceded the publication, which took place often merely 174among some few friends, and often with great preparations before many persons, who were invited for that purpose. From hence the author became known as the writer, and the world became previously informed of all which they might expect from the work. If the composition pleased them, he was requested to permit its transcription; and thus the work left the hands of the author, and belonged to the publicum: [public.] Frequently an individual sent his literary labours to some illustrious man, as a present, strena, [a new-year’s gift,] munusculum; [a small present;] or he prefixed his name to it, for the sake of giving him a proof of friendship or regard, by means of this express and particular direction of his work. When it was only thus presented or sent to him, and he accepted it, he was considered as the person bound to introduce it to the world, or as the patronus libri, [patron of the book,] who had pledged himself, as the patronus personæ [patron of the person] to this duty. It now became his office to provide for its publication by means of transcripts, to facilitate its approach ad limina potentiorum to the gates of men of great influence, and to be its defensor.

Thus the works of the first founders of the Christian church made their appearance before their community. Their Epistles were read in those congregations to which they were directed; and whoever wished to possess them either took a transcript of them, or caused one to be procured for him. The historical works were made known by the authors in the congregations of the Christians, per recitationem: [by reading aloud:] the object and general interest in them procured for them readers and transcribers. St. Luke dedicated his writings to an illustrious man of the name of Theophilus.

Book of Life, or Book of the Living, or Book of the Lord, Psalm lxix, 28. Some have thought it very probable that these descriptive phrases, which are frequent in Scripture, are taken from the custom, observed generally in the courts of princes, of keeping a list of persons who are in their service, of the provinces which they govern, of the officers of their armies, of the number of their troops, and sometimes even of the names of their soldiers. Thus, when it is said that any one is written in the book of life, it means that he particularly belongs to God, and is enrolled among the number of his friends and servants: and to be “blotted out of the book of life,” is to be erased from the list of God’s friends and servants, as those who are guilty of treachery are struck off the roll of officers belonging to a prince. The most satisfactory explanation of these phrases is, however, that which refers them to the genealogical lists of the Jews, or to the registers kept of the living, from which the names of all the dead were blotted out.

Book of Judgment. Daniel, speaking of God’s judgment, says, “The judgment was set, and the books were opened,” Dan. vii, 10. This is an allusion to what was practised when a prince called his servants to account. The accounts are produced and examined. It is possible he might allude, also, to a custom of the Persians, among whom it was a constant practice every day to write down the services rendered to the king, and the rewards given to those who had performed them. Of this we see an instance in the history of Ahasuerus and Mordecai, Esther iv, 12, 34. When, therefore, the king sits in judgment, the books are opened: he obliges all his servants to reckon with him; he punishes those who have failed in their duty; he compels those to pay who are indebted to him; and he rewards those who have done him services. A similar proceeding will take place at the day of God’s final judgment.

Sealed Book, mentioned Isa. xxix, 11, and the book sealed with seven seals, in the Revelation v, 1–3, are the prophecies of Isaiah and of John, which were written in a book, or roll, after the manner of the ancients, and were sealed, which figure truly signifies that they were mysterious: they had respect to times remote, and to future events; so that a complete knowledge of their meaning could not be obtained till after what was foretold should happen, and the seals, as it were taken off. In old times, letters, and other writings that were to be sealed, were first wrapped round with thread or flax, and then wax and the seal were applied to them. To read them, it was necessary to cut the thread or flax, and to break the seals.

BOOTY, spoils taken in war, Num. xxxi, 27–32. According to the law of Moses, the booty was to be divided equally between those who were in the battle and those who were in the camp, whatever disparity there might be in the number of each party. The law farther required that, out of that part of the spoils which was assigned to the fighting men, the Lord’s share should be separated; and for every five hundred men, oxen, asses, sheep, &c, they were to take one for the high priest, as being the Lord’s first fruits. And out of the other moiety, belonging to the children of Israel, they were to give for every fifty men, oxen, asses, sheep, &c, one to the Levites.

BOOZ, or BOAZ, the son of Salmon and Rahab, Ruth iv, 21, &c; Matt., i, 5. Rahab, we know, was a Canaanite of Jericho, Joshua ii, 1. Salmon, who was of the tribe of Judah, married her, and she bore him Booz, one of our Saviour’s ancestors according to the flesh. Some say there were three of this name, the son, the grandson, and the great grandson, of Salmon: the last Booz was Ruth’s husband, and the father of Obed.

2. Booz, or Boaz, was the name of one of the two brazen pillars which Solomon erected in the porch of the temple, the other column being called Jachin. This last pillar was on the right hand of the entrance into the temple, and Booz on the left, 1 Kings vii, 21. The word signifies strength or firmness. Mr. Hutchinson has an express treatise upon these two columns, attempting to show that they represented the true system of the universe, which he insists was given by God to David, and by him to Solomon, and was wrought by Hiram upon these pillars.

175BOSOM. See Accubation.

BOSSES, the thickest and strongest parts of a buckler, Job xv, 20.

BOTTLE. The eastern bottle is made of a goat or kid skin, stripped off without opening the belly; the apertures made by cutting off the tail and legs are sewed up, and, when filled, it is tied about the neck. The Arabs and Persians never go a journey without a small leathern bottle of water hanging by their side like a scrip. These skin bottles preserve their water, milk, and other liquids, in a fresher state than any other vessels they can use. The people of the east, indeed, put into them every thing they mean to carry to a distance, whether dry or liquid, and very rarely make use of boxes and pots, unless to preserve such things as are liable to be broken. They enclose these leathern bottles in woollen sacks, because their beasts of carriage often fall down under their load, or cast it down on the sandy desert. These skin bottles were not confined to the countries of Asia; the roving tribes, which passed the Hellespont soon after the deluge, and settled in Greece and Italy, probably introduced them into those countries. We learn from Homer, that they were in common use among the Greeks at the siege of Troy; for, with a view to an accommodation between the hostile armies, the heralds carried through the city the things which were necessary to ratify the compact, two lambs, and exhilarating wine, the fruit of the earth, in a bottle of goat skin:

e d, a fa, ap ,
s ae. Il. lib. iii, l. 246.

The bottle of wine which Samuel’s mother brought to Eli, 1 Sam. i, 24, is called , and was an earthen jug. Another word is used to signify the vessel out of which Jael gave milk to Sisera: she opened a bottle of milk, and gave him drink, Judges iv, 19. This is called , which refers to something supple, moist, oozing, or, perhaps, imports moistened into pliancy, as that skin must be which is kept constantly filled with milk. This kind was usually made of goat skins. This word is also used to denote the bottle in which Jesse sent wine by David to Saul, 1 Sam. xvi, 20. It is likewise employed to express the bottle into which the Psalmist desires his tears may be collected, Psalm lvi, 8; and that to which he resembles himself, and which he calls a bottle in the smoke, Psalm cxix, 83, that is, a skin bottle, blackened and shrivelled. Beside the words already considered, another , in the plural, is used, Job xxxii, 19. This signifies, in general, to swell or distend. On receiving the liquor poured into it, a skin bottle must be greatly swelled and distended; and it must be swelled still farther by the fermentation of the liquor within it, as that advances to ripeness. In this state, if no vent be given to the liquor, it may overpower the strength of the bottle, or it may penetrate by some secret crevice or weaker part. Hence arises the propriety of putting new wine into new bottles, which, being strong, may resist the expansion, the internal pressure of their contents, and preserve the wine to due maturity; while old bottles may, without danger, contain old wine, whose fermentation is already past, Matt. ix, 17; Luke v, 38.

BOUDDHISTS, or BUDHISTS, one of the three great sects of India, distinct both from the Brahminical sect, and the Jainas. The Bouddhists do not believe in a First Cause: they consider matter as eternal; that every portion of animated existence has in itself its own rise, tendency, and destiny; that the condition of creatures on earth is regulated by works of merit and demerit; that works of merit not only raise individuals to happiness, but, as they prevail, exalt the world itself to prosperity; while, on the other hand, when vice is predominant, the world degenerates till the universe itself is dissolved. They suppose, however, that there is always some superior deity, who has attained to this elevation by religious merit; but they do not regard him as the governor of the world. To the present grand period, comprehending all the time included in a “kulpu,” they assign five deities, four of whom have already appeared, including Goutumu, or Bouddhu, whose exaltation continues five thousand years, two thousand three hundred and fifty-six of which had expired, A. D. 1814. After the expiration of the five thousand years, another saint will obtain the ascendancy, and be deified. Six hundred millions of saints are said to be canonized with each deity, though it is admitted that Bouddhu took only twenty-four thousand devotees to heaven with him. The lowest state of existence is in hell; the next is that in the forms of brutes: both these are states of punishment. The next ascent is to that of man, which is probationary. The next includes many degrees of honour and happiness up to demigods, &c, which are states of reward for works of merit. The ascent to superior deity is from the state of man. The Bouddhists are taught that there are four superior heavens which are not destroyed at the end of “kulpu;” that below these there are twelve other heavens, followed by six inferior heavens; after which follows the earth; then the world of snakes; and then thirty-two chief hells: to which are to be added, one hundred and twenty hells of milder torments. The highest state of glory is absorption. The person who is unchangeable in his resolution; who has obtained the knowledge of things past, present, and to come, through one “kulpu;” who can make himself invisible; go where he pleases; and who has attained to complete abstraction; will enjoy absorption. Those who perform works of merit are admitted to the heavens of the different gods, or are made kings or great men on earth; and those who are wicked are born in the forms of different animals, or consigned to different hells. The happiness of these heavens is described as entirely sensual. The Bouddhists believe that at the end of a “kulpu” the universe is destroyed. To convey some idea of the extent of this period, the illiterate Cingalese use this comparison: “If a man were to ascend a mountain nine miles high, and to renew these journeys 176once in every hundred years, till the mountain were worn down by his feet to an atom, the time required to do this would be nothing to the fourth part of a ‘kulpu.’” Bouddhu, before his exaltation, taught his followers that, after his death, the remains of his body, his doctrine, or an assembly of his disciples, were to be held in equal reverence with himself. When a Cingalese, therefore, approaches an image of Bouddhu, he says, “I take refuge in Bouddhu; I take refuge in his doctrine; I take refuge in his followers.” There are five commands given to the common Bouddhists; the first forbids the destruction of animal life; the second forbids theft; the third, adultery; the fourth, falsehood; the fifth, the use of spirituous liquors. There are other commands for superior classes, or devotees, which forbid dancing, songs, music, festivals, perfumes, elegant dresses, elevated seats, &c. Among works of the highest merit, one is the feeding of a hungry infirm tiger with a person’s own flesh.

BOURIGNONISTS, the followers of the celebrated Mad. Antoinette Bourignon de la Ponte, a native of Flanders, born at Lisle, in 1616. She was so much deformed at her birth, that it was even debated whether she should not be stifled as a monster. As she grew up, however, this deformity greatly decreased, and she discovered a superior mind, a strong imagination, and very early indications of a devotional spirit, strongly tinctured with mysticism. She conceived herself to be divinely called, and set apart to revive the true spirit of Christianity that had been extinguished by theological animosities and debates. In her confession of faith, she professes her belief in the Scriptures, and in the divinity and atonement of Christ. The leading principles which pervade her productions are these: that man is perfectly free to resist or receive divine grace; that God is ever unchangeable in love toward all his creatures, and does not inflict any arbitrary punishment, but that the evils they suffer are the natural consequences of sin; that true religion consists not in any outward forms of worship, nor systems of faith, but in immediate communion with the Deity, by internal feelings and impulses, and by a perfect acquiescence in his will.

This lady was educated in the Roman Catholic religion; but she declaimed equally against the corruptions of the church of Rome and those of the Reformed churches: hence she was opposed and persecuted by both Catholics and Protestants, and after being driven about from place to place, she died at Franeker, in 1680. She maintained that there ought to be a general toleration of all religions. Her notion on God’s foreknowledge was, that God was capable of foreknowing all events, but, his power being equal to his knowledge, he purposely withheld from himself that knowledge in certain cases, that he might not interfere with the free agency and responsibility of his creatures. Her works are very numerous, making eighteen volumes in octavo: of which the principal are, “The Light of the World;” “The Testimony of Truth;” and “The Renovation of the Gospel Spirit;” which are much in esteem among the admirers of mystical theology.

BOW. The expression, “to break the bow,” so frequent in Scripture, signifies to destroy the power of a people, because the principal offensive weapon of armies was anciently the bow. “A deceitful bow” is one that, from some defect, either in bending or the string, carries the arrow wide of the mark, however well aimed. See Arms.

BOWELS. The bowels are the seat of mercy, tenderness, and compassion. Joseph’s bowels were moved at the sight of his brother Benjamin; that is, he felt himself softened and affected. The true mother of the child whom Solomon commanded to be divided, felt her bowels move, and consented that it should be given to the woman who was not its real mother, 1 Kings, iii, 26. The Hebrews also sometimes place wisdom and understanding in the bowels, “Who hath put wisdom in the inner parts” or bowels, Job xxxviii, 36. The Psalmist says, “Thy law is within my heart,” literally, in the midst of my bowels,--it is by me strongly and affectionately regarded, Psalm xl, 8.

BOX TREE, , Isa. xli, 9; lx, 13; Ezek. xxvii, 6; 2 Esdras xiv, 24, where the word appears to be used for tablets. Most of the ancient, and several of the modern, translators render this word the buxus, or “box tree;” but from its being mentioned along with trees of the forest, some more stately tree must be intended, probably the cedar.

BRACELET. A bracelet is commonly worn by the oriental princes, as a badge of power and authority. When the calif Cayem Bemrillah granted the investiture of certain dominions to an eastern prince, he sent him letters patent, a crown, a chain, and bracelets. This was probably the reason that the Amalekite brought the bracelet which he found on Saul’s arm, along with his crown, to David, 2 Sam. i, 10. It was a royal ornament, and belonged to the regalia of the kingdom. The bracelet, it must be acknowledged, was worn both by men and women of different ranks; but the original word, in the second book of Samuel, occurs only in two other places, and is quite different from the term which is employed to express the more common ornament known by that name. And beside, this ornament was worn by kings and princes in a different manner from their subjects. It was fastened above the elbow; and was commonly of great value.

BRAHMINS, or BRACHMINS, the highest caste of Hindoos, to whom is confined the priesthood, and, in general, all their ancient learning, which is locked up in their sacred language, called the Sanscrit. The Brahmins derive that name from Brahma, the Creator; for they maintain the doctrine of three embodied energies, the creative, the preserving, and the destroying; personified under the names of Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva, all sprung from Brimh; and to each of them is assigned a kind of celestial consort, a female deity, which they describe as a passive energy.

177Like the philosophers of Greece, they seem to have had an open and a secret doctrine: the latter, a species of Spinozism, considering the great Supreme as “the soul of the world;” endowed with no other quality than ubiquity; requiring no worship, and exerting no power, but in the production of the three great energies above mentioned. These are so ingeniously diversified as to produce three hundred and thirty millions of gods, or objects of idolatry; so various in character as to suit every man’s taste or humour, and to furnish examples of every vice and folly to which humanity is subject.

As it respects a future state, two of the principal doctrines of Brachminism are transmigration and absorption. After death, the person is conveyed, by the messengers of Yumu, through the air to the place of judgment. After receiving his sentence, he wanders about the earth for twelve months, as an aërial being or ghost; and then takes a body suited to his future condition, whether he ascend to the gods, or suffer in a new body, or be hurled into some hell. This is the doctrine of several “pooranus;” others maintain, that immediately after death and judgment, the person suffers the pains of hell, and removes his sin by suffering; and then returns to the earth in some bodily form. The descriptions which the “pooranus” give of the heavens of the gods are truly in the eastern style; all things, even the beds of the gods, are made of gold and precious stones. All the pleasures of these heavens are exactly what we should expect in a system formed by uninspired and unrenewed men: like the paradise of Mohammed, they are brothels, rather than places of rewards for “the pure in heart.” Here all the vicious passions are personified, or rather, deified: the quarrels and licentious intrigues of the gods fill these places with perpetual uproar, while their impurities are described with the same literality and gross detail, as similar things are talked of among these idolaters on earth.

But the highest degree of happiness is absorption. God, as separated from matter, the Hindoos contemplate as a being reposing in his own happiness, destitute of ideas; as infinite placidity; as an unruffled sea of bliss; as being perfectly abstracted, and void of consciousness. They therefore deem it the height of perfection to be like this being. Hence Krishnu, in his discourse to Urjoonu, praises the man “who forsaketh every desire that entereth into his heart; who is happy of himself; who is without affection; who rejoiceth not either in good or evil; who, like the tortoise, can restrain his members from their wonted purpose; to whom pleasure and pain, gold, iron, and stones are the same.” “The learned,” adds Krushnu, “behold Brumhu alike in the reverend ‘branhun,’ perfected in knowledge; in the ox, and in the elephant; in the dog, and in him who eateth of the flesh of dogs.” The person whose very nature, say they, is absorbed in divine meditation; whose life is like a sweet sleep, unconscious and undisturbed; who does not even desire God, and who is thus changed into the image of the ever blessed; obtains absorption into Brumhu. The ceremonies leading to absorption are called by the name of “tupushya” and the persons performing them, a “tupushwee.” Forsaking the world; retiring to a forest; fasting, living on roots, fruits, &c;--remaining in certain postures; exposure to all the inclemencies of the weather, &c; these, and many other austere practices are prescribed, to subdue the passions, to fix the mind, habituate it to meditation, and fill it with that serenity and indifference to the world which is to prepare it for absorption, and place it beyond the reach of future birth.

BRAMBLE, , a prickly shrub, Judges ix, 14, 15; Psalm lviii, 9. In the latter place it is translated “thorn.” Hiller supposes atad to be the cynobastus, or sweetbrier. The author of “Scripture Illustrated” says, that the bramble seems to be well chosen as the representative of the original; which should be a plant bearing fruit of some kind, being associated, Judges ix, 14, though by opposition, with the vine. The apologue or fable of Jotham has always been admired for its spirit and application. It has also been considered as the oldest fable extant.

BRANCH, a title of Messiah: “And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots,” Isaiah xi, 1. See also Zech. iii, 8; vi, 12; Jer. xxiii, 5; xxxiii, 15. When Christ is represented as a slender twig, shooting out from the trunk of an old tree lopped to the very root and decayed, and becoming itself a mighty tree, reference is made, 1. To the kingly dignity of Christ, springing up from the decayed house of David; 2. To the exaltation which was to succeed his humbled condition on earth, and to the glory and vigour of his mediatorial reign.

BRASS. . The word brass occurs very often in our translation of the Bible; but that is a mixed metal, for the making of which we are indebted to the German metallurgists of the thirteenth century. That the ancients knew not the art of making it, is almost certain. None of their writings even hint at the process. There can be no doubt that copper is the original metal intended. This is spoken of as known prior to the flood; and to have been discovered, or at least wrought, as was also iron, in the seventh generation from Adam, by Tubal-cain: whence the name Vulcan. The knowledge of these two metals must have been carried over the world afterward with the spreading colonies of the Noachidæ. Agreeably to this, the ancient histories of the Greeks and Romans speak of Cadmus as the inventor of the metal which by the former is called a, and by the latter æs; and from him had the denomination cadmea. According to others, Cadmus discovered a mine, of which he taught the use. The name of the person here spoken of was undoubtedly the same with Ham, or Cam, the son of Noah, who probably learned the art of assaying metals from the family of Tubal-cain, and communicated that knowledge to the people of the colony which he settled.

178BRASEN SERPENT, the, was an image of polished brass, in the form of one of those fiery serpents which were sent to chastise the murmuring Israelites in the wilderness, and whose bite caused violent heat, thirst, and inflammation. By divine command “Moses made a serpent of brass,” or copper, and “put it upon a pole; and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived,” Num. xxi, 6–9. This brasen serpent was preserved as a monument of the divine mercy, but in process of time became an instrument of idolatry. When this superstition began, it is difficult to determine; but the best account is given by the Jewish rabbi, David Kimchi, in the following manner: From the time that the kings of Israel did evil, and the children of Israel followed idolatry, till the reign of Hezekiah, they offered incense to it; for it being written in the law of Moses, “Whoever looketh upon it shall live,” they fancied they might obtain blessings by its mediation, and therefore thought it worthy to be worshipped. It had been kept from the days of Moses, in memory of a miracle, in the same manner as the pot of manna was: and Asa and Jehoshaphat did not extirpate it when they rooted out idolatry, because in their reign they did not observe that the people worshipped this serpent, or burnt incense to it; and therefore they left it as a memorial. But Hezekiah thought fit to take it quite away, when he abolished other idolatry, because in the time of his father they adored it as an idol; and though pious people among them accounted it only as a memorial of a wonderful work, yet he judged it better to abolish it, though the memory of the miracle should happen to be lost, than suffer it to remain, and leave the Israelites in danger to commit idolatry hereafter with it. On the subject of the serpent-bitten Israelites being healed by looking at the brasen serpent, there is a good comment in the book of Wisdom, chap. xvi, 4–12, in which are these remarkable words:--“They were admonished, having a sign of salvation,” that is, the brasen serpent, “to put them in remembrance of the commandments of thy law. For he that turned himself toward it, was not saved by the THING that he saw, but by THEE, that art the Saviour of all,” verses 6, 7. To the circumstance of looking at the brasen serpent in order to be healed, our Lord refers, John iii, 14, 15: “As Moses lifted up the (brasen) serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.”

BREAD, a term which in Scripture is used, as by us, frequently for food in general; but is also often found in its proper sense. Sparing in the use of flesh, like all the nations of the east, the chosen people usually satisfied their hunger with bread, and quenched their thirst in the running stream. Their bread was generally made of wheat or barley, or lentiles and beans. Bread of wheat flour, as being the most excellent, was preferred: barley bread was used only in times of scarcity and distress. So mean and contemptible, in the estimation of the numerous and well-appointed armies of Midian, was Gideon, with his handful of undisciplined militia, that he seems to have been compared to bread of this inferior quality, which may account for the ready interpretation of the dream of the Midianite respecting him: “And when Gideon was come, behold, there was a man that told a dream unto his fellow, and said, Behold, I dreamed a dream, and lo, a cake of barley bread tumbled into the host of Midian, and came unto a tent and smote it that it fell, and overturned it, that the tent lay along. And his fellow answered and said, This is nothing else save the sword of Gideon, the son of Joash, a man of Israel; for into his hand hath God delivered Midian, and all the host.” In the cities and villages of Barbary, where public ovens are established, the bread is usually leavened; but among the Bedoweens and Kabyles, as soon as the dough is kneaded, it is made into thin cakes, either to be baked immediately upon the coals, or else in a shallow earthen vessel like a frying-pan, called Tajen. Such were the unleavened cakes which we so frequently read of in Scripture; and those also which Sarah made quickly upon the hearth. These last are about an inch thick; and, being commonly prepared in woody countries, are used all along the shores of the Black Sea, from the Palus Mæotis to the Caspian, in Chaldea and Mesopotamia, except in towns. A fire is made in the middle of the room: and when the bread is ready for baking, a corner of the hearth is swept, the bread is laid upon it, and covered with ashes and embers; in a quarter of an hour, they turn it. Sometimes they use small convex plates of iron, which are most common in Persia, and among the nomadic tribes, as being the easiest way of baking, and done with the least expense; for the bread is extremely thin, and soon prepared. The oven is also used in every part of Asia: it is made in the ground, four or five feet deep, and three in diameter, well plastered with mortar. When it is hot, they place the bread (which is commonly long, and not thicker than a finger) against the sides: it is baked in a moment. Ovens, Chardin apprehends, were not used in Canaan in the patriarchal age: all the bread of that time was baked upon a plate, or under the ashes; and he supposes, what is nearly self-evident, that the cakes which Sarah baked on the hearth were of the last sort, and that the shew bread was of the same kind. The Arabs about Mount Carmel use a great strong pitcher, in which they kindle a fire; and when it is heated, they mix meal and water, which they apply with the hollow of their hands to the outside of the pitcher; and this extremely soft paste, spreading itself, is baked in an instant. The heat of the pitcher having dried up all the moisture, the bread comes off as thin as our wafers; and the operation is so speedily performed, that in a very little time a sufficient quantity is made. But their best sort of bread they bake, either by heating an oven, or a large pitcher full of little smooth shining flints, 179upon which they lay the dough, spread out in the form of a thin broad cake. Sometimes they use a shallow earthen vessel, resembling a frying pan, which seems to be the pan mentioned by Moses, in which the meat-offering was baked. This vessel, Dr. Shaw informs us, serves both for baking and frying; for the bagreah of the people of Barbary differs not much from our pancakes; only, instead of rubbing the pan in which they fry them with butter, they rub it with soap, to make them like a honey-comb. If these accounts of the Arab stone pitcher, the pan, and the iron hearth or copper plate, be attended to, it will not be difficult to understand the laws of Moses in the second chapter of Leviticus: they will be found to answer perfectly well to the description which he gives us of the different ways of preparing the meat-offerings. As the Hebrews made their bread thin, in the form of little flat cakes, they did not cut it with a knife, but broke it; which gave rise to the expression, breaking bread, so frequent in Scripture.

The Arabians and other eastern people, among whom wood is scarce, often bake their bread between two fires made of cow dung, which burns slowly, and bakes the bread very leisurely. The crumb of it is very good, if it be eaten the same day; but the crust is black and burnt, and retains a smell of the materials that were used in baking it. This may serve to explain a passage in Ezekiel, iv, 9–13. The straits of a siege and the scarcity of fuel were thus intimated to the Prophet. During the whole octave of the passover, the Hebrews use only unleavened bread, as a memorial that at the time of their departure out of Egypt they wanted leisure to bake leavened bread; and, having left the country with precipitation, they were content to bake bread which was not leavened, Exod. xii, 8. The practice of the Jews at this day, with relation to the use of unleavened bread, is as follows: They forbid to eat, or have in their houses, or in any place belonging to them, either leavened bread or any thing else that is leavened. That they may the better observe this rule, they search into all the corners of the house with scrupulous exactness for all bread or paste, or any thing that is leavened. After they have thus well cleansed their houses, they whiten them, and furnish them with kitchen and table utensils, all new, and with others which are to be used only on that day. If they are movables, which have served only for something else, and are made of metal, they have them polished, and put into the fire, to take away all the impurity which they may have contracted by touching any thing leavened. All this is done on the thirteenth day of Nisan, or on the vigil of the feast of the passover, which begins with the fifteenth of the same month, or the fourteenth day in the evening; for the Hebrews reckon their days from one evening to another. On the fourteenth of Nisan, at eleven o’clock, they burn the common bread, to show that the prohibition of eating leavened bread is then commenced; and this action is attended with words, whereby the master of the house declares that he has no longer any thing leavened in his keeping; that, at least, he believes so. In allusion to this practice, we are commanded to “purge out the old leaven;” by which “malice and wickedness” are intended; and to feed only on the “unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”

2. Shew Bread, or, according to the Hebrews, the bread of faces, was bread offered every Sabbath day upon the golden table in the holy place, Exod. xxv, 30. The Hebrews affirm that these loaves were square, and had four sides, and were covered with leaves of gold. They were twelve in number, according to the number of the twelve tribes, in whose names they were offered. Every loaf was composed of two assarons of flour, which make about five pints and one-tenth. These loaves were unleavened. They were presented hot every Sabbath day, the old ones being taken away and eaten by the priests only. This offering was accompanied with salt and frankincense, and even with wine, according to some commentators. The Scripture mentions only salt and incense; but it is presumed that wine was added, because it was not wanting in other sacrifices and offerings. It is believed that these loaves were placed one upon another, in two piles of six each; and that between every loaf were two thin plates of gold, folded back in a semicircle the whole length of them, to admit air, and to prevent the loaves from growing mouldy. These golden plates, thus turned in, were supported at their extremities by two golden forks, which rested on the ground. The twelve loaves, because they stood before the Lord, were called , t se, or p, the bread of faces, or of the presence; and are therefore denominated in our English translation the shew bread.

Since part of the frankincense put upon the bread was to be burnt on the altar for a memorial, even an offering made by fire unto the Lord; and since Aaron and his sons were to eat it in the holy place, Lev. xxiv, 5–9, it is probable that this bread typified Christ, first presented as a sacrifice to Jehovah, and then becoming spiritual food to such as in and through him are spiritual priests to God, even his Father, Rev. i, 6; v, 10; xx, 6; 1 Peter ii, 5. It appears, from some places in Scripture, (see Exodus xxix, 32, and Numbers vi, 15,) that there was always near the altar a basket full of bread, in order to be offered together with the ordinary sacrifices.

BREASTPLATE, or PECTORAL, one part of the priestly vestments, belonging to the Jewish high priests. It was about ten inches square, Exod. xxviii, 13–31; and consisted of a folded piece of the same rich embroidered stuff of which the ephod was made. It was worn on the breast of the high priest, and was set with twelve precious stones, on each of which was engraven the name of one of the tribes. They were set in four rows, three in each row, and were divided from each other by the little golden squares or partitions in which they were set. The names of these stones, and that of the tribe engraven on them, as also their disposition 180on the breastplate, are usually given as follows; but what stones really answer to the Hebrew name, is for the most part very uncertain:--

Sardine, Topaz, Carbuncle,
Reuben. Simeon. Levi.
Emerald, Sapphire, Diamond,
Judah. Dan. Naphtali.
Ligure, Agate, Amethyst,
Gad. Asher. Issachar.
Beryl, Onyx, Jasper,
Zebulun. Joseph. Benjamin.

This breastplate was fastened at the four corners, those on the top to each shoulder, by a golden hook or ring, at the end of a wreathen chain; and those below to the girdle of the ephod, by two strings or ribbons, which had likewise two rings or hooks. This ornament was never to be separated from the priestly garment; and it was called the memorial, because it was a sign whereby the children of Israel might know that they were presented to God, and that they were had in remembrance by him. It was also called the breastplate of judgment, because it had the divine oracle of Urim and Thummim annexed to it. These words signify lights and perfections, and are mentioned as in the high priest’s breastplate; but what they were, we cannot determine. Some think they were two precious stones added to the other twelve, by the extraordinary lustre of which, God marked his approbation of a design, and, by their becoming dim, his disallowance of it; others, that these two words were written on a precious stone, or plate of gold, fixed in the breastplate; others, that the letters of the names of the tribes, were the Urim and Thummim; and that the letters by standing out, or by an extraordinary illumination, marked such words as contained the answer of God to him who consulted this oracle. Le Clerc will have them to be the names of two precious stones, set in a golden collar of the high priest, and coming down to his breast, as the magistrates of Egypt wore a golden chain, at the end of which hung the figure of truth, engraven on a precious stone. Prideaux thinks the words chiefly denote the clearness of the oracles dictated to the high priest, though perhaps the lustre of the stones in his breastplate might represent this clearness. Jahn says the most probable opinion is, that Urim and Thummim (, , light and justice, Septuagint, ds a ea) [manifestation and truth] was a sacred lot, 1 Samuel xiv, 41, 42. There were employed, perhaps, in determining this lot, three precious stones, on one of which was engraven , yes; on the other, , no; the third being destitute of any inscription. The question proposed, therefore, was always to be put in such a way, that the answer might be direct, either yes or no, provided any answer was given at all. These stones were carried in the purse or bag, formed by the lining or interior of the pectoral; and when the question was proposed, if the high priest drew out the stone which exhibited yes, the answer was affirmative; if the one on which no was written, the answer was negative; if the third, no answer was to be given, Joshua vii, 13–21; 1 Sam. xiv, 40–43; xxviii, 6. In the midst of all this conjecture, only two things are certain: 1. That one of the appointed methods of consulting God, on extraordinary emergencies, was by Urim and Thummim: 2. That the oracles of God rejected all equivocal and enigmatical replies, which was the character of the Heathen pretended oracles. “The words of the Lord are pure words.” His own oracle bears, therefore, an inscription which signifies lights and perfections, or, the shining and the perfect; or, according to the LXX, manifestation and truth. In this respect it might be a type of the Christian revelation made to the true Israel, the Christian church, by the Gospel. St. Paul seems especially to allude to this translation of Urim and Thummim by the Septuagint, when he speaks of himself and his fellow labourers, “commending themselves to every man’s conscience by manifestation of the truth;” in opposition to those who by their errors and compliances with the Jewish prejudices, or with the philosophical taste of the Greeks, obscured the truth, and rendered ambiguous the guidance of Christian doctrine. His preaching is thus tacitly compared to the oracles of God; theirs, to the misleading and perplexed oracles of the Heathen.

BRIDE and BRIDEGROOM. Under this head an account of the marriage customs of ancient times, the knowledge of which is so necessary to explain many allusions in the Holy Scriptures, may be properly introduced. Among the Jews, the state of marriage was, from the remotest periods of their history, reckoned so honourable, that the person who neglected or declined to enter into it without a good reason, was thought to be guilty of a great crime. Such a mode of thinking was not confined to them; in several of the Grecian states, marriage was held in equal respect. The Jews did not allow marriageable persons to enter into that honourable state without restriction; the high priest was forbidden by law to marry a widow; and the priests of every rank, to take a harlot to wife, a profane woman, or one put away from her husband. To prevent the alienation of inheritances, an heiress could not marry but into her own tribe. The whole people of Israel, being a holy nation, separated from all the earth to the service of the true God, and to be the depositaries of his law, were forbidden to contract matrimonial alliances with the idolatrous nations in their vicinity. The marriage engagement of a minor, without the knowledge and consent of the parents, was of no force; so sacred was the parental authority held among that people. These customs appear to have been derived from a very remote antiquity; for when Eliezer of Damascus went to Mesopotamia to take a wife from thence unto his master’s son, he disclosed the motives of his journey to the father and brother of Rebecca; and Hamor applied to Jacob and his sons, for their consent to the union of Dinah with his son Shechem. Samson also consulted his parents about his marriage; and entreated 181them to get for him the object of his choice. Marriage contracts seem to have been made in the primitive ages with little ceremony. The suitor himself, or his father, sent a messenger to the father of the woman, to ask her in marriage. In the remote ages of antiquity, women were literally purchased by their husbands; and the presents made to their parents or other relations were called their dowry. Thus, we find Shechem bargaining with Jacob and his sons for Dinah: “Let me find grace in your eyes, and what ye shall say unto me, I will give: ask me never so much dowry and gift, and I will give according as ye shall say unto me; but give me the damsel to wife,” Gen. xxxiv, 2. The practice still continues in the country of Shechem; for when a young Arab wishes to marry, he must purchase his wife; and for this reason, fathers, among the Arabs, are never more happy than when they have many daughters. They are reckoned the principal riches of a house. An Arabian suitor will offer fifty sheep, six camels, or a dozen of cows: if he be not rich enough to make such offers, he proposes to give a mare or a colt, considering in the offer the merit of the young woman, the rank of her family, and his own circumstances. In the primitive times of Greece, a well-educated lady was valued at four oxen. When they are agreed on both sides, the contract is drawn up by him that acts as cadi or judge among these Arabs. In some parts of the east, a measure of corn is formally mentioned in contracts for their concubines, or temporary wives, beside the sum of money which is stipulated by way of dowry. This custom is probably as ancient as concubinage, with which it is connected; and if so, it will perhaps account for the Prophet Hosea’s purchasing a wife of this kind, for fifteen pieces of silver, and for a homer of barley, and a half homer of barley. When the intended husband was not able to give a dowry, he offered an equivalent. The patriarch Jacob, who came to Laban with only his staff, offered to serve him seven years for Rachel: a proposal which Laban accepted. This custom has descended to modern times; for in Cabul the young men who are unable to advance the required dowry “live with their future father-in-law, and earn their bride by their services, without ever seeing the object of their wishes.” The contract of marriage was made in the house of the woman’s father, before the elders and governors of the city or district. The espousals by money, or a written instrument, were performed by the man and woman under a tent or canopy erected for that purpose. Into this chamber the bridegroom was accustomed to go with his bride, that he might talk with her more familiarly; which was considered as a ceremony of confirmation to the wedlock. While he was there, no person was allowed to enter: his friends and attendants waited for him at the door, with torches and lamps in their hands; and when he came out, he was received by all that were present with great joy and acclamation. To this ancient custom, the Psalmist alludes in his magnificent description of the heavens: “In them he set a tabernacle for the sun; which, as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, rejoices as a strong man to run a race,” Psalm xix, 4. A Jewish virgin legally betrothed was considered as a lawful wife; and, by consequence, could not be put away without a bill of divorce. And if she proved unfaithful to her betrothed husband, she was punished as an adulteress; and her seducer incurred the same punishment as if he had polluted the wife of his neighbour. This is the reason that the angel addressed Joseph, the betrothed husband of Mary, in these terms: “Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife; for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.” The Evangelist Luke gives her the same title: “And Joseph also went up from Galilee unto Bethlehem, to be taxed, with Mary his espoused wife,” Luke ii, 4, 5.

2. Ten or twelve months commonly intervened between the ceremony of espousals and the marriage: during this interval, the espoused wife continued with her parents, that she might provide herself with nuptial ornaments suitable to her station. This custom serves to explain a circumstance in Samson’s marriage, which is involved in some obscurity. “He went down,” says the historian, “and talked with the woman,” (whom he had seen at Timnath,) “and she pleased him well,” Judges xiv, 7, &c. These words seem to refer to the ceremony of espousals; the following, to the subsequent marriage: “And after a time he returned to take her,” Judges xiv, 8. Hence a considerable time intervened between the espousals and their actual union. From the time of the espousals, the bridegroom was at liberty to visit his espoused wife in the house of her father; yet neither of the parties left their own abode during eight days before the marriage; but persons of the same age visited the bridegroom, and made merry with him. These circumstances are distinctly marked in the account which the sacred historian has given us of Samson’s marriage: “So his father went down unto the woman, and made there a feast; for so used the young men to do. And it came to pass when they saw him, that they brought thirty companions to be with him,” Judges xiv, 10. These companions were the children of the bride chamber, of whom our Lord speaks: “Can the children of the bride chamber mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them” Matt. xix, 15. The marriage ceremony was commonly performed in a garden, or in the open air; the bride was placed under a canopy, supported by four youths, and adorned with jewels according to the rank of the married persons; all the company crying out with joyful acclamations, “Blessed be he that cometh!” It was anciently the custom, at the conclusion of the ceremony, for the father and mother and kindred of the woman, to pray for a blessing upon the parties. Bethuel and Laban, and the other members of their family, pronounced a solemn benediction upon Rebecca before her departure: “And they blessed Rebecca, and said unto her, Thou art our sister, be thou the mother of thousands of millions; and let thy 182seed possess the gate of those that hate them,” Gen. xxiv, 60. And in times long posterior to the age of Isaac, when Ruth, the Moabitess, was espoused to Boaz, “all the people that were in the gate, and the elders, said, We are witnesses: the Lord make the woman that is come into thine house like Rachel, and like Leah, which two did build the house of Israel; and do thou worthily in Ephratah, and be famous in Bethlehem,” Ruth iv, 11, 12. After the benedictions, the bride is conducted with great pomp to the house of her husband: this is usually done in the evening; and as the procession moved along, money, sweetmeats, flowers, and other articles, were thrown among the populace, which they caught in cloths made for such occasions, stretched in a particular manner upon frames. The use of perfumes at eastern marriages is common; and upon great occasions very profuse.

3. It was the custom among the ancient Greeks, and the nations around them, to conduct the new-married couple with torches and lamps to their dwelling; as appears from the messenger in Euripides, who says he called to mind the time when he bore torches before Menelaus and Helena. These torches were usually carried by servants; and the procession was sometimes attended by singers and dancers.

“In one of the sculptured cities, nuptials were celebrating, and solemn feasts; through the city they conducted the new-married pair from their chambers, with flaming torches, while frequent shouts of Hymen burst from the attending throng, and young men danced in skilful measures to the sound of the pipe and the harp.”

A similar custom is observed among the Hindoos. The husband and wife, on the day of their marriage, being both in the same palanquin, go about seven and eight o’clock at night, accompanied with all their kindred and friends; the trumpets and drums go before them; and they are lighted by a number of flambeaux; immediately before the palanquin walk many women, whose business it is to sing verses, in which they wish them all manner of prosperity. They march in this equipage through the streets for the space of some hours, after which they return to their own house, where the domestics are in waiting. The whole house is illumined with small lamps; and many of those flambeaux already mentioned are kept ready for their arrival, beside those which accompany them, and are carried before the palanquin. These flambeaux are composed of many pieces of old linen, squeezed hard against one another in a round figure, and thrust down into a mould of copper. The persons that hold them in one hand have in the other a bottle of the same metal with the copper mould, which is full of oil, which they take care to pour out from time to time upon the linen, which otherwise gives no light. The Roman ladies also were led home to their husbands in the evening by the light of torches. A Jewish marriage seems to have been conducted in much the same way; for in that beautiful psalm, where David describes the majesty of Christ’s kingdom, we meet with this passage: “And the daughter of Tyre shall be there with a gift; even the rich among the people shall entreat thy favour. The king’s daughter is all-glorious within; her clothing is of wrought gold. She shall be brought unto the king in raiment of needle work; the virgins, her companions that follow her, shall be brought unto thee. With gladness and rejoicing shall they be brought: they shall enter into the king’s palace,” Psalm xlv, 12, &c. In the parable of the ten virgins, the same circumstances are introduced: “They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried,” leading the procession through the streets of the city, the women and domestics that were appointed to wait his arrival at home, “all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh! Go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out,” Matt. xxv, 6.

The following extract from Ward’s “View of the Hindoos” very strikingly illustrates this parable: “At a marriage, the procession of which I saw some years ago, the bridegroom came from a distance, and the bride lived at Serampore, to which place the bridegroom was to come by water. After waiting two or three hours, at length, near midnight, it was announced, as if in the very words of Scripture, ‘Behold, the bridegroom cometh! Go ye out to meet him.’ All the persons employed now lighted their lamps, and ran with them in their hands to fill up their stations in the procession; some of them had lost their lights, and were unprepared; but it was then too late to seek them, and the cavalcade moved forward to the house of the bride, at which place the company entered a large and splendidly illuminated area, before the house covered with an awning, where a great multitude of friends dressed in their best apparel were seated upon mats. The bridegroom was carried in the arms of a friend, and placed on a superb seat in the midst of the company, where he sat a short time, and then went into the house, the door of which was immediately shut, and guarded by Sepoys. I and others expostulated with the door keepers, but in vain.”

4. But among the Jews, the bridegroom was not always permitted to accompany his bride from her father’s house; an intimate friend was often sent to conduct her, while he remained at home to receive her in his apartment. Her female attendants had the honour to introduce her; and whenever they changed the bride’s dress, which is often done, they presented her to the bridegroom. It is the custom, and belongs to their ideas of magnificence, 183frequently to dress and undress the bride, and to cause her to wear on that same day all the clothes made up for her nuptials. These circumstances discover the force of St. John’s language, in his magnificent description of the Christian church in her millennial state: “And I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband,” Rev. xxi, 2.

5. Those that were invited to the marriage were expected to appear in their best and gayest attire. If the bridegroom was in circumstances to afford it, wedding garments were prepared for all the guests, which were hung up in the antechamber for them to put on over the rest of their clothes, as they entered the apartments where the marriage feast was prepared. To refuse, or even to neglect, putting on the wedding garment, was reckoned an insult to the bridegroom; aggravated by the circumstance that it was provided by himself for the very purpose of being worn on that occasion, and was hung up in the way to the inner apartment, that the guests must have seen it, and recollected the design of its suspension. This accounts for the severity of the sentence pronounced by the king, who came in to see the guests, and found among them one who had neglected to put it on: “And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither, not having a wedding garment And he was speechless,” Matt. xxii, 11, because it was provided at the expense of the entertainer, and placed full in his view. “Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

The following extract will show the importance of having a suitable garment for a marriage feast, and the offence taken against those who refuse it when presented as a gift. “The next day, Dec. 3d, the king sent to invite the ambassadors to dine with him once more. The Mehemander told them, it was the custom that they should wear over their own clothes the best of those garments which the king had sent them. The ambassadors at first made some scruple of that compliance; but when they were told that it was a custom observed by all ambassadors, and that no doubt the king would take it very ill at their hands if they presented themselves before him without the marks of his liberality, they at last resolved to do it; and, after their example, all the rest of the retinue.”

BRIER. This word occurs several times in our translation of the Bible, but with various authorities from the original. 1. , Judges viii, 7, 16, is a particular kind of thorn. 2. , Prov. xv, 19; Micah vii, 4. It seems hardly possible to determine what kind of plant this is. Some kind of tangling prickly shrub is undoubtedly meant. In the former passage there is a beautiful opposition, which is lost in our rendering: “The narrow way of the slothful is like a perplexed path among briers; whereas the broad road” (elsewhere rendered causeway) “of the righteous is a high bank;” that is, free from obstructions, direct, conspicuous, and open. The common course of life of these two characters answers to this comparison. Their manner of going about business, or of transacting it, answers to this. An idle man always takes the most intricate, the most oblique, and eventually the most thorny, measures to accomplish his purpose; the honest and diligent man prefers the most open and direct. In Micah, the unjust judge, taking bribes, is a brier, holding every thing that comes within his reach, hooking all that he can catch. 3. , Ezek. ii, 6. This word is translated by the Septuagint, pass, stung by the œstrus, or gadfly; and they use the like word in Hosea iv, 16, where, what in our version is “a backsliding heifer,” they render “a heifer stung by the œstrus.” These coincident renderings lead to the belief that both places may be understood of some venomous insect. The word may lead us to sarran, by which the Arabs thus describe “a great bluish fly, having greenish eyes, its tail armed with a piercer, by which it pesters almost all horned cattle, settling on their heads, &c. Often it creeps up the noses of asses. It is a species of gadfly; but carrying its sting in its tail.” 4. , Ezek. xxviii, 24, and , Ezek. ii, 6, must be classed among thorns. The second word Parkhurst supposes to be a kind of thorn, overspreading a large surface of ground, as the dewbrier. It is used in connection with , which, in Gen. iii, 18, is rendered thorns. The author of “Scripture Illustrated” queries, however, whether, as it is associated with “scorpions” in Ezek. ii, 6, both this word and serebim may not mean some species of venomous insects. 5. , mentioned only in Isaiah lv, 13, probably means a prickly plant; but what particular kind it is impossible to determine. 6. . This word is used only by the Prophet Isaiah, and in the following places: Isa. v, 6; vii, 23–25; ix, 17; x, 17; xxvii, 4; and xxxii, 13. It is probably a brier of a low kind; such as overruns uncultivated lands.

BRIMSTONE, , Gen. xix, 24; Deut. xxix, 23; Job xviii, 15; Psalm xi, 6; Isaiah xxx, 33; xxxiv, 9; Ezek. xxxviii, 22. It is rendered e by the Septuagint, and is so called in Luke xvii, 29. Fire and brimstone are represented in many passages of Scripture as the elements by which God punishes the wicked; both in this life, and another. There is in this a manifest allusion to the overthrow of the cities of the plain of the Jordan, by showers of ignited sulphur, to which the physical appearances of the country bear witness to this day. The soil is bituminous, and might be raised by eruptions into the air, and then inflamed and return in horrid showers of overwhelming fire. This awful catastrophe, therefore, stands as a type of the final and eternal punishment of the wicked in another world. In Job. xviii, 15, Bildad, describing the calamities which overtake the wicked person, says, “Brimstone shall be scattered upon his habitation.” This may be a general expression, 184to designate any great destruction: as that in Psalm xi, 6, “Upon the wicked he shall rain fire and brimstone.” Moses, among other calamities which he sets forth in case of the people’s disobedience, threatens them with the fall of brimstone, salt, and burning like the overthrow of Sodom, &c, Deut. xxix, 23. The Prophet Isaiah, xxxiv, 9, writes that the anger of the Lord shall be shown by the streams of the land being turned into pitch, and the dust thereof into brimstone. See Dead Sea.

BROOK is distinguished from a river by its flowing only at particular times; for example, after great rains, or the melting of the snow; whereas a river flows constantly at all seasons. However, this distinction is not always observed in the Scripture; and one is not unfrequently taken for the other,--the great rivers, such as the Euphrates, the Nile, the Jordan, and others being called brooks. Thus the Euphrates, Isaiah xv, 7, is called the brook of willows. It is observed that the Hebrew word, , which signifies a brook, is also the term for a valley, whence the one is often placed for the other, in different translations of the Scriptures. To deal deceitfully “as a brook,” and to “pass away as the stream thereof,” is to deceive our friend when he most needs and expects our help and comfort, Job vi, 15; because brooks, being temporary streams, are dried up in the heats of summer, when the traveller most needs a supply of water on his journey.

BROTHER. 1. A brother by the same mother, a uterine brother, Matt. iv, 21; xx, 20. 2. A brother, though not by the same mother, Matt. i, 2. 3. A near kinsman, a cousin, Matt. xiii, 55; Mark vi, 3. Observe, that in Matt. xiii, 55, James, and Joses, and Judas, are called the def, brethren, of Christ, but were most probably only his cousins by his mother’s side; for James and Joses were the sons of Mary, Matt. xxvii, 56; and James and Judas, the sons of Alpheus, Luke vi, 15, 16; which Alpheus is therefore probably the same with Cleopas, the husband of Mary, sister to our Lord’s mother, John xix, 25.

BUCKLER. See Arms.

BUILD. Beside the proper and literal signification of this word, it is used with reference to children and a numerous posterity. Sarah desires Abraham to take Hagar to wife, that by her she may be builded up, that is, have children to uphold her family, Gen. xvi, 2. The midwives who refused obedience to Pharaoh’s orders, when he commanded them to put to death all the male children of the Hebrews, were rewarded for it; God built them houses, that is, he gave them a numerous posterity. The Prophet Nathan tells David that God would build his house; that is, give him children and successors, 2 Sam. vii, 27. Moses, speaking of the formation of the first woman, says, God built her with the rib of Adam, Gen. ii, 22.

BUL, the eighth month of the ecclesiastical year of the Jews, and the second month of the civil year. It answers to October, and consists of twenty-nine days. On the sixth day of this month the Jews fasted, because on that day Nebuchadnezzar put to death the children of Zedekiah in the presence of their unhappy father, whose eyes, after they had been witnesses of this sad spectacle, he ordered to be put out, 2 Kings xxv, 7. We find the name of this month mentioned in Scripture but once, 1 Kings vi, 38.

BULL, the male of the beeve kind; and it is to be recollected that the Hebrews never castrated animals. There are several words translated “bull” in Scripture, of which the following is a list, with the meaning of each: , a bove, or cow, of any age. , the wild bull, oryx, or buffalo, occurs only Deut. xiv, 5; and in Isaiah li, 20, , with the interchange of the two last letters. , a word implying strength, translated “bulls,” Psalm xxii, 12; l, 13; lxviii, 30; Isaiah xxxiv, 7; Jer. xlvi, 15. , herds, horned cattle of full age. , a full grown bull, or cow, fit for propagating. , a full grown, plump young bull; and in the feminine, a heifer. , Chaldee taur, and Latin taurus; the ox accustomed to the yoke: occurs only in Ezra vi, 9, 17; vii, 17; Dan. iv, 25, 32, 33; xxii, 29, 30.

This animal was reputed by the Hebrews to be clean, and was generally made use of by them for sacrifices. The Egyptians had a particular veneration for it, and paid divine honours to it; and the Jews imitated them in the worship of the golden calves or bulls, in the wilderness, and in the kingdom of Israel. The wild bull is found in the Syrian and Arabian deserts. It is frequently mentioned by the Arabian poets, who are copious in their descriptions of hunting it, and borrow many images from its beauty, strength, swiftness, and the loftiness of its horns. They represent it as fierce and untamable; as being white on the back, and having large shining eyes. Bulls, in a figurative and allegorical sense, are taken for powerful, fierce, and insolent enemies, Psalm xxii, 12; lxviii, 30.

BULRUSH, , Exodus ii, 3; Job viii, 11; Isaiah xviii, 2; xxxv, 7. A plant growing on the banks of the Nile, and in marshy grounds. The stalk rises to the height of six or seven cubits, beside two under water. This stalk is triangular, and terminates in a crown of small filaments resembling hair, which the ancients used to compare to a thyrsus. This reed, the Cyperus papyrus of Linnæus, commonly called “the Egyptian reed,” was of the greatest use to the inhabitants of the country where it grew; the pith contained in the stock served them for food, and the woody part for building vessels, figures of which are to be seen on the engraven stones and other monuments of Egyptian antiquity. For this purpose they made it up, like rushes, into bundles; and, by tying these bundles together, gave their vessels the necessary shape and solidity. “The vessels of bulrushes,” or papyrus, “that are mentioned in sacred and profane history,” says Dr. Shaw, “were no other than large fabrics of the same kind with that of Moses, Exodus ii, 3; which, from the late introduction of plank and stronger materials, are now laid aside.” Thus Pliny takes notice of the “naves 185papyraceas armamentaque Nili,” “ships made of papyrus, and the equipments of the Nile;” and he observes, “ex ipsâ quidem papyro navigia texunt,” “of the papyrus itself they construct sailing vessels.” Herodotus and Diodorus have recorded the same fact; and among the poets, Lucan, “Conseritur bibulâ Memphitis cymba papyro,” “the Memphian” or Egyptian boatboat is made of the thirsty papyrus; where the epithet bibulâ, “drinking,” “soaking,” “thirsty,” is particularly remarkable, as corresponding with great exactness to the nature of the plant, and to its Hebrew name, which signifies to soak or drink up. These vegetables require much water for their growth; when, therefore, the river on whose banks they grew was reduced, they perished sooner than other plants. This explains Job viii, 11, where the circumstance is referred to as an image of transient prosperity: “Can the flag grow without water Whilst it is yet in its greenness, and not cut down, it withereth before any other herb.”

BURIAL, the interment of a deceased person; an office held so sacred, that they who neglected it have in all nations been held in abhorrence. As soon as the last breath had fled, the nearest relation, or the dearest friend, gave the lifeless body the parting kiss, the last farewell and sign of affection to the departed relative. This was a custom of immemorial antiquity; for the patriarch Jacob had no sooner yielded up his spirit, than his beloved Joseph, claiming for once the right of the first-born, “fell upon his face and kissed him.” It is probable he first closed his eyes, as God had promised he should do: “Joseph shall put his hands upon thine eyes.” The parting kiss being given, the company rent their clothes, which was a custom of great antiquity, and the highest expression of grief in the primitive ages. This ceremony was never omitted by the Hebrews when any mournful event happened, and was performed in the following manner: they took a knife, and holding the blade downward, gave the upper garment a cut in the right side, and rent it a hand’s breadth. For very near relations, all the garments are rent on the right side. After closing the eyes, the next care was to bind up the face, which it was no more lawful to behold. The next care of surviving friends was to wash the body, probably, that the ointments and perfumes with which it was to be wrapped up, might enter more easily into the pores, when opened by warm water. This ablution, which was always esteemed an act of great charity and devotion, was performed by women. Thus the body of Dorcas was washed, and laid in an upper room, till the arrival of the Apostle Peter, in the hope that his prayers might restore her to life. After the body was washed, it was shrouded, and swathed with a linen cloth, although in most places, they only put on a pair of drawers and a white tunic; and the head was bound about with a napkin. Such were the napkin and grave clothes in which the Saviour was buried.

2. The body was sometimes embalmed, which was performed by the Egyptians after the following method: the brain was removed with a bent iron, and the vacuity filled up with medicaments; the bowels were also drawn out, and the trunk being stuffed with myrrh, cassia, and other spices, except frankincense, which were proper to exsiccate the humours, it was pickled in nitre, in which it lay for seventy days. After this period, it was wrapped in bandages of fine linen and gums, to make it adhere; and was then delivered to the relations of the deceased entire; all its features, and the very hairs of the eyelids, being preserved. In this manner were the kings of Judah embalmed for many ages. But when the funeral obsequies were not long delayed, they used another kind of embalming. They wrapped up the body with sweet spices and odours, without extracting the brain, or removing the bowels. This is the way in which it was proposed to embalm the lifeless body of our Saviour; which was prevented by his resurrection. The meaner sort of people seem to have been interred in their grave clothes, without a coffin. In this manner was the sacred body of our Lord committed to the tomb. The body was sometimes placed upon a bier, which bore some resemblance to a coffin or bed, in order to be carried out to burial. Upon one of these was carried forth the widow’s son of Nain, whom our compassionate Lord raised to life, and restored to his mother. We are informed in the history of the kings of Judah, that, Asa being dead, they laid him in the bed, or bier, which was filled with sweet odours. Josephus, the Jewish historian, describing the funeral of Herod the Great, says, His bed was adorned with precious stones; his body rested under a purple covering; he had a diadem and a crown of gold upon his head, a sceptre in his hand; and all his house followed the bed. The bier used by the Turks at Aleppo is a kind of coffin, much in the form of ours, only the lid rises with a ledge in the middle.

3. The Israelites committed the dead to their native dust; and from the Egyptians, probably, borrowed the practice of burning many spices at their funerals. “They buried Asa in his own sepulchres, which he made for himself in the city of David, and laid him in the bed which was filled with sweet odours, and divers kinds of spices, prepared by the apothecaries’ art; and they made a very great burning for him,” 2 Chron. xvi, 14. Thus the Old Testament historian entirely justifies the account which the Evangelist gives, of the quantity of spices with which the sacred body of Christ was swathed. The Jews object to the quantity used on that occasion, as unnecessarily profuse, and even incredible; but it appears from their own writings, that spices were used at such times in great abundance. In the Talmud it is said, that no less than eighty pounds of spices were consumed at the funeral of rabbi Gamaliel the elder. And at the funeral of Herod, if we may believe the account of their most celebrated historian, the procession was followed by five hundred of his domestics carrying spices. Why then should it be reckoned incredible, that Nicodemus brought of myrrh 186and aloes about a hundred pounds’ weight, to embalm the body of Jesus

4. The funeral procession was attended by professional mourners, eminently skilled in the art of lamentation, whom the friends and relations of the deceased hired, to assist them in expressing their sorrow. They began the ceremony with the stridulous voices of old women, who strove, by their doleful modulations, to extort grief from those that were present. The children in the streets through which they passed, often suspended their sports, to imitate the sounds, and joined with equal sincerity in the lamentations. “But whereunto shall I liken this generation It is like unto children sitting in the markets, and calling unto their fellows, and saying, We have mourned unto you, and ye have not lamented,” Matt. ix, 17. Music was afterward introduced to aid the voices of the mourners: the trumpet was used at the funerals of the great, and the small pipe or flute for those of meaner condition. Hired mourners were in use among the Greeks as early as the Trojan war, and probably in ages long before; for in Homer, a choir of mourners were planted around the couch on which the body of Hector was laid out, who sung his funeral dirge with many sighs and tears:--

“A melancholy choir attend around,
With plaintive sighs and music’s solemn sound;
Alternately they sing, alternate flow
The obedient tears, melodious in their wo.”   Pope.

In Egypt, the lower class of people call in women who play on the tabor; and whose business it is, like the hired mourners in other countries, to sing elegiac airs to the sound of that instrument, which they accompany with the most frightful distortions of their limbs. These women attend the corpse to the grave, intermixed with the female relations and friends of the deceased, who commonly have their hair in the utmost disorder; their heads covered with dust; their faces daubed with indigo, or at least rubbed with mud; and howling like maniacs. Such were the minstrels whom our Lord found in the house of Jairus, making so great a noise round the bed on which the dead body of his daughter lay. The noise and tumult of these retained mourners, and the other attendants, appear to have begun immediately after the person expired. It is evident that this sort of mourning and lamentation was a kind of art among the Jews: “Wailing shall be in the streets; and they shall call such as are skilful of lamentation to wail,” Amos v, 16. Mourners are still hired at the obsequies of Hindoos and Mohammedans, as in former times. To the dreadful noise and tumult of the hired mourners, the following passage of Jeremiah indisputably refers; and shows the custom to be derived from a very remote antiquity: “Call for the mourning women that they may come; and send for cunning women, that they may come, and let them make haste, and take up a wailing for us, that our eyes may run down with tears, and our eyelids gush out with waters,” Jer. ix, 17. The funeral processions of the Jews in Barbary are conducted nearly in the same manner as those in Syria. The corpse is borne by four to the place of burial: in the first rank march the priests, next to them the kindred of the deceased; after whom come those that are invited to the funeral; and all singing in a sort of plain song, the forty-ninth Psalm. Hence the Prophet, Amos viii, 3, warns his people that public calamities were approaching, so numerous and severe, as should make them forget the usual rites of burial, and even to sing one of the songs of Zion over the dust of a departed relative. This appears to be confirmed by a prediction in the eighth chapter: “And the songs of the temple shall be howlings in that day, saith the Lord God; there shall be many dead bodies in every place; they shall cast them forth with silence;” they shall have none to lament and bewail; none to blow the funeral trump or touch the pipe and tabor; none to sing the plaintive dirge, or express their hope of a blessed resurrection, in the strains of inspiration. All shall be silent despair. See Sepulchres.

BUSH. . This word occurs in Exod. iii, 2, 4, and Deut. xxxiii, 16, as the name of the bush in which God appeared to Moses. If it be the mentioned by Dioscorides, it is the white thorn. Celsius calls it the rubus fructicosus. The number of these bushes in this region seems to have given the name to the mountain Sinai. The word , found only in Isa. vii, 19, and there rendered “bushes,” means fruitful pastures.

BUTTER is taken in Scripture, as it has been almost perpetually in the east, for cream or liquid butter, Prov. xxx, 33; 2 Sam. xvii, 29. The ancient way of making butter in Arabia and Palestine was probably nearly the same as is still practised by the Bedoween Arabs, and Moors in Barbary, and which is thus described by Dr. Shaw: “Their method of making butter is by putting the milk or cream into a goat’s skin turned inside out, which they suspend from one side of the tent to the other; and then pressing it to and fro in one uniform direction, they quickly separate the unctious and wheyey parts. In the Levant they tread upon the skin with their feet, which produces the same effect.” The last method of separating the butter from the milk, perhaps may throw light upon a passage in Job of some difficulty: “When I washed my steps with butter, and the rock poured me out rivers of oil,” Job xxxi, 6. The method of making butter in the east illustrates the conduct of Jael, the wife of Heber, described in the book of Judges: “And Sisera said unto her, Give me, I pray thee, a little water to drink, for I am thirsty: and she opened a bottle of milk, and gave him drink and covered him.” In the Song of Deborah, the statement is repeated: “He asked water, and she gave him milk; she brought forth butter in a lordly dish,” Judges iv, 19; v, 25. The word , which our translators rendered butter, properly signifies cream; which is undoubtedly the meaning of it in this passage: for Sisera complained 187of thirst, and asked a little water to quench it;--a purpose to which butter is but little adapted. Mr. Harmer, indeed, urges the same objection to cream, which, he contends, few people would think a very proper beverage for one that was extremely thirsty; and concludes that it must have been butter-milk which Jael, who had just been churning, gave to Sisera. But the opinion of Dr. Russel is preferable,--that the hemah of the Scriptures is probably the same as the haymak of the Arabs, which is not, as Harmer supposed, simple cream, but cream produced by simmering fresh sheep’s milk for some hours over a slow fire. It could not be butter newly churned, which Jael presented to Sisera, because the Arab butter is apt to be foul, and is commonly passed through a strainer before it is used: and Russel declares, he never saw butter offered to a stranger, but always haymak; nor did he ever observe the orientals drink butter-milk, but always leban, which is coagulated sour milk, diluted with water. It was leban, therefore, which Pococke mistook for butter-milk, with which the Arabs treated him in the Holy Land. A similar conclusion may be drawn concerning the butter and milk which the wife of Heber presented to Sisera: they were forced cream or haymak, and leban, or coagulated sour milk, diluted with water, which is a common and refreshing beverage in those sultry regions. In Isaiah vii, 15, butter and honey are mentioned as food which, in Egypt and other places in the east, is in use to this day. The butter and honey are mixed, and the bread is then dipped in it.

BYSSUS. By this word we generally understand that fine Egyptian linen of which the priests’ tunics were made. But we must distinguish three kinds of commodities, which are generally comprehended under the name of linen: 1. The Hebrew , which signifies linen: 2. , which signifies cotton: 3. , which is commonly called bussus, and is the silk growing from a certain shell fish, called pinna. We do not find the name butz in the text of Moses, though the Greek and Latin use the word byssus, to signify the fine linen of certain habits belonging to the priests. The word butz occurs only in 1 Chron. xv, 27; Ezek. xxvii, 16; Esther i, 6. In the Chronicles we see David dressed in a mantle of butz, with the singers and Levites. Solomon used butz in the veils of the temple and sanctuary. Ahasuerus’s tents were upheld by cords of butz; and Mordecai was clothed with a mantle of purple and butz, when king Ahasuerus honoured him with the first employment in his kingdom. Lastly, it is observed that there was a manufacture of butz in the city of Beersheba, in Palestine. This butz must have been different from common linen, since in the same place where it is said, David wore a mantle of byssus, we read likewise that he had on a linen ephod.