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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.


VEIL. Women were wont to cover their faces with veils in token of modesty, of reverence, and subjection to their husbands, Gen. xxiv, 65; 1 Cor. xi, 3, &c. In modern times, the women of Syria never appear in the streets without their veils. These are of two kinds, the furragi and the common Aleppo veil; the former being worn by some of the Turkish women only, the latter indiscriminately by all. The first is in the form of a large cloak, with long straight sleeves, and a square hood hanging flat on the back; it is sometimes made of linen, sometimes of a shawl or cloth. This veil, reaching to the heels, conceals the whole of the dress, from the neck downward; while the head and face are covered by a large white handkerchief over the head dress and forehead, and a smaller one tied transversely over the lower part of the face, hanging down on the neck. Many of the Turkish women, instead of the smaller handkerchief, use a long piece of black crape stiffened, which, sloping a little from the forehead, leaves room to breathe more freely. In this last way, the ladies are completely disguised; in the former, the eyes and nose remaining visible, they are easily known by their acquaintances. The radid is a species of veil, which Calmet supposes is worn by married women, as a token of their submission and dependence, and descends low down on the person. To lift up the veil of a virgin is reckoned a gross insult; but to take away the veil of a married woman is one of the greatest indignities that she can receive, because it deprives her of the badge which distinguishes and dignifies her in that character, and betokens her alliance to her husband, and her interest in his affections. This is the reason why the spouse so feelingly complains: “They took away my veil, , from me,” Cant. v, 7. When it is forcibly taken away by the husband, it is equivalent to divorce, and justly reckoned a most severe calamity; therefore, God threatened to take away the ornamental dresses of the daughters of Zion, including the radidim, the low descending veils: “In that day the Lord will take away the changeable suits of apparel, and the mantles, and the fine linen, and the hoods, and the veils,” Isaiah iii, 18, &c.

The ordinary Aleppo veil is a linen sheet, large enough to cover the whole habit from head to foot, and is brought over the face in a manner to conceal all but one eye. This is 942perhaps alluded to by the bridegroom in these words: “Thou hast ravished my heart with one of thine eyes,” Cant. iv, 9. In Barbary, when the ladies appear in public, they always fold themselves up so closely in their hykes, that, even without their veils, one can discover very little of their faces. But, in the summer months, when they retire to their country seats, they walk abroad with less caution; though, even then, on the approach of a stranger, they always drop their veils, as Rebekah did on the approach of Isaac. But, although they are so closely wrapped up, that those who look at them cannot see even their hands, still less their face, yet it is reckoned indecent in a man to fix his eyes upon them; he must let them pass without seeming at all to observe them. When a lady of distinction, says Hanway, travels on horseback, she is not only veiled, but has generally a servant, who runs or rides before her to clear the way; and on such occasions the men, even in the market places, always turn their backs till the women are past, it being thought the highest ill manners to look at them. A lady in the east considers herself degraded when she is exposed to the gaze of the other sex, which accounts for the conduct of Vashti in refusing to obey the command of the king. Their ideas of decency, on the other hand, forbid a virtuous woman to lay aside or even to lift up her veil in the presence of the other sex. She who ventures to disregard this prohibition inevitably ruins her character. From that moment she is noted as a woman of easy virtue, and her act is regarded as a signal for intrigue. Pitts informs us that in Barbary the courtezan appears in public without her veil; and, in Prov. vii, 13, 14, the harlot exposes herself in the same indecent manner: “So she caught him, and kissed him, and with an impudent face,” a face uncovered and shameless, “said unto him, I have peace-offerings with me, this day have I paid my vows.” But it must nevertheless be remarked, that, at different times, and in different parts of the east, the use, or partial use of the veil has greatly varied.

VINE, , Gen. xl, 9; µpe, Matt. xxvi, 29; Mark xiv, 25; Luke xxii, 18; John xv, 4, 5; James iii, 12; Rev. xiv, 19; a noble plant of the creeping kind, famous for its fruit, or grapes, and the liquor they afford. The vine is a common name or genus, including several species under it; and Moses, to distinguish the true vine, or that from which wine is made, from the rest, calls it, the wine vine, Num. vi, 4. Some of the other sorts were of a poisonous quality, as appears from the story related among the miraculous acts of Elisha, 2 Kings iv, 39, 41. (See Grapes.) The expression of “sitting every man under his own vine,” probably alludes to the delightful eastern arbours, which were partly composed of vines. Capt. Norden, in like manner, speaks of vine arbours as common in the Egyptian gardens; and the Prænestine pavement in Dr. Shaw gives us the figure of an ancient one. Plantations of trees about houses are found very useful in hot countries, to give them an agreeable coolness. The ancient Israelites seem to have made use of the same means, and probably planted fruit trees, rather than other kinds, to produce that effect. “It is their manner in many places,” says Sir Thomas Rowe’s chaplain, speaking of the country of the Great Mogul, “to plant about and among their buildings, trees which grow high and broad, the shadow whereof keeps their houses by far more cool: this I observed in a special manner, when we were ready to enter Amadavar; for it appeared to us as if we had been entering a wood rather than a city.” “Immediately on entering,” says Turner, “I was ushered into the court yard of the aga, whom I found smoking under a vine, surrounded by horses, servants, and dogs, among which I distinguished an English pointer.” There were in Palestine many excellent vineyards. Scripture celebrates the vines of Sorek, of Sebamah, of Jazer, of Abel. Profane authors mention the excellent wines of Gaza, Sarepta, Libanus, Saron, Ascalon, and Tyre. Jacob, in the blessing which he gave Judah, “Binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass’s colt unto the choice vine, he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes,” Gen. xlix, 11; he showed the abundance of vines that should fall to his lot. “Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well, whose branches hang over the wall,” Gen. xlix, 22. “To the northward and westward,” says Morier, “are several villages, interspersed with extensive orchards and vineyards, the latter of which are generally enclosed by high walls. The Persian vine dressers do all in their power to make the vine run up the wall, and curl over on the other side, which they do by tying stones to the extremity of the tendril. The vine, particularly in Turkey and Greece, is frequently made to entwine on trellises around a well, where, in the heat of the day, whole families collect themselves, and sit under the shade.”

Noah planted the vine after the deluge, and is supposed to have been the first who cultivated it, Gen. ix, 20. Many are of opinion that wine was not unknown before the deluge; and that this patriarch only continued to cultivate the vine after that event, as he had done before it: but the fathers think that he knew not the force of wine, having never used it before, nor having ever seen any one use it. He was the first that gathered the juice of the grape, and preserved it till by fermentation it became a potable liquor. Before him men only ate the grapes like other fruit. The law of Moses did not allow the planters of vineyards to eat the fruit before the fifth year, Lev. xix, 24, 25. The Israelites were also required to indulge the poor, the orphan, and the stranger, with the use of the grapes on the seventh year. A traveller was allowed to gather and eat the grapes in a vineyard as he passed along, but he was not permitted to carry any away, Deut. xxiii, 24. The scarcity of fuel, especially wood, in most parts of the east, is so great, that they supply it with every thing capable of burning; cow dung dried, roots, parings of fruits, withered stalks of herbs and flowers, Matthew vi, 30. Vine twigs are particularly 943mentioned as used for fuel in dressing their food, by D’Arvieux, La Roque, and others: Ezekiel says, in his parable of the vine, used figuratively for the people of God, “Shall wood be taken thereof to do any work Or will men take a pin of it to hang any vessel thereon Behold, it is cast into the fire for fuel,” Ezekiel xv, 3, 4. “If a man abide not in me,” saith our Lord, “he is cast forth as a branch” of the vine, “and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned,” John xv, 6.

VINEGAR, , Num. vi, 3; Ruth ii, 14; Psalm lxix, 21; Prov. x, 26; xxv, 20; , Matt. xxvii, 48; Mark xv, 36; John xix, 29, 30; an acid produced by a second fermentation of vinous liquors. The law of the Nazarite was that he should “separate himself from wine and strong drink, and should drink no vinegar of wine, nor vinegar of strong drink, nor any liquor of grapes.” This is exactly the same prohibition that was given in the case of John the Baptist, Luke i, 15, a sea µ , wine and sikera he shall not drink. Any inebriating liquor, says Jerom, is called sicera, whether made of corn, apples, honey, dates, or other fruits. One of the four prohibited drinks among the Mohammedans in India is called sakar, which signifies inebriating drink in general, but especially date wine. From the original word, probably, we have our term cider or sider, which among us, exclusively means the fermented juice of apples. Vinegar was used by harvesters for their refreshment. Boaz told Ruth that she might come and dip her bread in vinegar with his people. Pliny says, ”Aceto summa vis in refrigerando.” [There is the greatest power in vinegar, in cooling.] It made a very cooling beverage. It was generally diluted with water. When very strong, it affected the teeth disagreeably, Prov. x, 26. In Proverbs xxv, 20, the singing of songs to a heavy heart is finely compared to the contrariety or colluctation between vinegar and nitre; untimely mirth to one in anxiety serves only to exasperate, and as it were put into a ferment by the intrusion.

The Emperor Pescennius Niger gave orders that his soldiers should drink nothing but vinegar on their marches. That which the Roman soldiers offered to our Saviour at his crucifixion, was, probably, the vinegar they made use of for their own drinking. Constantine the Great allowed them wine and vinegar alternately, every day. This vinegar was not of that sort which we use for salads and sauces; but it was a tart wine called pesca, or sera. They make great use of it in Spain and Italy, in harvest time. They use it also in Holland, and on shipboard, to correct the ill taste of the water.

VIPER, , Job xx, 16; Isaiah xxx, 6; lix, 5; da, Matt. iii, 7; xii, 34; xxiii, 33; Luke iii, 7; Acts xxviii, 3; a serpent famed for the venomousness of its bite, which is one of the most dangerous poisons in the animal kingdom. So remarkable, says Dr. Mead, has the viper been for its venom, that the remotest antiquity made it an emblem of what is hurtful and destructive. Nay, so terrible was the nature of these creatures, that they were very commonly thought to be sent as executioners of divine vengeance upon mankind, for enormous crimes which had escaped the course of justice. An instance of such an opinion as this we have in the history of St. Paul, Acts xxviii, whom the people of Melita, when they saw the viper leap upon his hand, presently concluded to be a murderer; and as readily made a god of him when, instead of having his hand inflamed, or falling down dead, one or other of which is usually the effect of these bites, he without any harm shook the reptile into the fire: it being obvious enough to imagine that he must stand in a near relation at least to the gods themselves, who could thus command the messengers of their vengeance, and counterwork the effects of such powerful agents.

VISION, the act of seeing; but, in Scripture, it generally signifies a supernatural appearance, either by dream or in reality, by which God made known his will and pleasure to those to whom it was vouchsafed, Acts ix, 10, 12; xvi, 9, xxvi, 13; 2 Cor. xii, 1. Thus, in the earliest times, to patriarchs, prophets, and holy men God sent angels, he appeared to them himself by night in dreams, he illuminated their minds, he made his voice to be heard by them, he sent them ecstasies, and transported them beyond themselves, and made them hear things that eye had not seen, ear had not heard, and which had not entered into the heart of man. The Lord showed himself to Moses, and spoke to him when he was at the mouth of the cave. Jesus Christ manifested himself to his Apostles, in his transfiguration upon the mount, and on several other occasions after his resurrection. God appeared to Abraham under the form of three travellers; he showed himself to Isaiah and Ezekiel, in the splendour of his glory. Vision is also used for the prophecies written by the prophets. The beatific vision denotes the act of angels and glorified spirits beholding in heaven the unveiled splendours of the Lord Jehovah, and privileged to contemplate his perfections and plans in and by himself.

VOCATION, or CALLING, is a gracious act of God in Christ, by which, through his word and Spirit, he calls forth sinful men, who are liable to condemnation and placed under the dominion of sin, from the condition of the animal life, and from the pollutions and corruptions of this world, 2 Tim. i, 9; Matt. xi, 28; 1 Peter ii, 9, 10; Gal. i, 4; 2 Peter ii, 20; Romans x, 13–15; 1 Peter iii, 19; Gen. vi, 3, unto “the fellowship of Jesus Christ,” and of his kingdom and its benefits; that, being united unto him as their head, they may derive from him life, sensation, motion, and a plenitude of every spiritual blessing, to the glory of God and their own salvation, 1 Cor. i, 9; Gal. ii, 20; Eph. i, 3, 6; 2 Thess. ii, 13, 14. The end intended is, that they who have been called answer by faith to God and to Christ who give the call, and that they thus become the covenanted people of God through Christ the Mediator of the new covenant; and, after having become believers and parties to the covenant, 944that they love, fear, honour, and worship God and Christ, render in all things obedience to the divine precepts “in righteousness and true holiness,” and that by this means they “make their calling and election sure,” Prov. i, 24; Heb. iii, 7; Rev. iii, 20; Eph. ii, 11–16; Titus iii, 8; Deut. vi, 4, 5; Jer. xxxii, 38, 39; Luke i, 74, 75; 2 Peter i, 1, 10. The glory of God, who is supremely wise, good, merciful, just, and powerful, is so luminously displayed in this communication both of his grace and glory, as deservedly to raise into rapturous admiration the minds of angels and of men, and to employ their loosened tongues in celebrating the praises of Jehovah, Rev. iv, 8–11; v, 8–10. See Calling.

VOW, a promise made to God, of doing some good thing hereafter. The use of vows is observable throughout Scripture. When Jacob went into Mesopotamia, he vowed to God the tenth of his estate, and promised to offer it at Bethel, to the honour of God, Gen. xxviii, 22. Moses enacts several laws for the regulation and execution of vows. A man might devote himself, or his children, to the Lord. Jephthah devoted his daughter, Judges xi, 30, 31. Samuel was vowed or consecrated to the service of the Lord before his birth, by his pious mother Hannah; and was really offered to him, to serve in the tabernacle, 1 Sam. i, 21, &c. If a man and woman vowed themselves to the Lord, they were obliged to adhere strictly to his service, according to the conditions of the vow; but in some cases they might be redeemed. A man from twenty years of age till sixty, gave fifty shekels of silver; and a woman thirty, Lev. xxvii, 3. From the age of five years to twenty, a man gave twenty shekels, and a woman ten; from a month old to five years, they gave for a boy five shekels, and for a girl three. A man of sixty years old, or upward, gave fifteen shekels, and a woman of the same age gave ten. If the person was poor, and could not procure this sum, the priest imposed a ransom upon him, according to his abilities. If any one had vowed an animal that was clean, he had not the liberty of redeeming it, or of exchanging it, but was obliged to sacrifice it to the Lord. If it was an unclean animal, and such as was not allowed to be sacrificed, the priest made a valuation of it; and if the proprietor would redeem it, he added a fifth part to the value, by way of forfeit. They did the same in proportion, when the thing vowed was a house or a field. They could not devote the first born, because in their own nature they belonged to the Lord, Lev. xxvii, 28, 29. Whatever was devoted by way of anathema, could not be redeemed, of whatever nature or quality it was. An animal was put to death, and other things were devoted for ever to the Lord. The consecration of Nazarites was a particular kind of vow. The vows and promises of children were void, of course, except they were ratified either by the express or tacit consent of their parents. It was the same with the vows of a married woman; they were of no validity, except confirmed by the express or tacit consent of her husband, Num. xxx. But widows, or liberated wives, were bound by their vows, whatever they were.

Whosoever invokes the awful name of God to witness any untruth, knowing it to be such, is guilty of taking it in vain. Our Lord did not mean to preclude solemn appeals to heaven, whether oaths or vows, in courts of justice, or in important compacts. For an oath, or appeal to the greatest of all beings, as the Searcher of hearts, to witness a transaction, and to punish falsehood or perjury, is necessary, for putting an end to all strife or controversy among men, to promote confirmation or security of property, Heb. vi, 16. And it was sanctioned by the example of God, swearing by himself, Genesis xxii, 15; Heb. vi, 17, 18; and by the example of the patriarchs and saints of old; thus Abraham swore by the most high God, Creator of heaven and earth, Gen. xiv, 22; the transjordanite tribes, by the God of gods, the Lord, Joshua xxii, 22. And the law prescribed, “Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God, and serve him, and shalt swear by his name,” Deut. vi, 13. And afterward, “All Judah rejoiced at the oath, for they had sworn unto the Lord with a loud voice, with all their heart, and sought him with their whole desire: and he was found of them; and the Lord gave them rest round about,” 2 Chron. xv, 14, 15. And a highly gifted Apostle uses the following most solemn asseveration, “The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is blessed for evermore, knoweth that I lie not,” 2 Cor. xi, 31. See the vows of the priests and Levites, to put away strange wives, Ezra x, 5; and to take no usury from their brethren, Neh. x, 29. St. Paul also vowed a vow, which he performed, Acts xviii, 18; xxi, 23. Our Lord, therefore, reënacted the law, while he guarded against the abuse of it, by prohibiting all oaths in common conversation, as a profanation either of God’s name, where that was irreverently used, or where any of his works was substituted instead of the awful and terrible name of the Lord, which the Jews, through superstitious dread, at length ceased to use, from misinterpretation of Deut. xxviii, 58: “But I say unto you, Swear not at all,” in common conversation, by any of your usual oaths, “neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne; nor by the earth, for it is his footstool,” &c. For, by the detestable casuistry of the scribes and Pharisees, some oaths were reckoned binding, others not, as we learn from the sequel; thus, to swear by the temple, the altar, heaven, &c, they considered as not binding: but to swear by the gold of the temple, by the gift on the altar, &c, they considered as binding; the absurdity and impiety of which practice is well exposed by our Lord in Matt. xxiii, 16–22.

VULGATE, a very ancient Latin translation of the Bible; and the only one the church of Rome acknowledges to be authentic. The ancient Vulgate of the Old Testament was translated almost word for word, from the Greek of the Septuagint. The author of the version is not known. It was a long time known by the name of the Italic, or old version; 945as being of very great antiquity in the Latin church. It was the common, or vulgar version, before St. Jerom made a new one from the Hebrew original, with occasional references to the Septuagint; whence it has its name Vulgate. Nobilius, in 1558, and F. Morin, in 1628, gave new editions of it; pretending to have restored and re-collated it from the ancients who had cited it. It has since been retouched from the correction of St. Jerom; and it is this mixture of the ancient Italic version, and some corrections of St. Jerom, that is now called the Vulgate, and which the council of Trent has declared to be authentic. It is this Vulgate alone that is used in the Romish church, excepting some passages of the ancient Vulgate, which were left in the Missal and the Psalms, and which are still sung according to the old Italic version. St. Jerom declares that, in his revisal of the Italic version, he used great care and circumspection, never varying from that version but when he thought it misrepresented the sense. But as the Greek copies to which he had access were not so ancient as those from which the Italic version had been made, some learned authors have been of opinion that it would have been much better if he had collected all the copies, and, by comparing them, have restored that translation to its original purity. It is plain that he never completed this work, and that he even left some faults in it, for fear of varying too much from the ancient version, since he renders in his commentaries some words otherwise than he has done in his translation. This version was not introduced into the church but by degrees, for fear of offending weak persons. Rufinus, notwithstanding his enmity to St. Jerom, and his having exclaimed much against this performance, was one of the first to prefer it to the vulgar or Italian. This translation gained at last so great an authority, by the approbation of Pope Gregory I., and his declared preference of it to every other, that it was subsequently brought into public use through all the western churches. Although it was not regarded as authentic, except by the council of Trent, it is certainly of some use, as serving to illustrate several passages both of the Old and New Testament.

The two principal popish editions of the Vulgate are those of pope Sixtus V. and Clement VIII.: the former was printed in 1590, after Pope Sixtus had collected the most ancient MSS. and best printed copies, summoned the most learned men out of all the nations of the Christian world, assembled a congregation of cardinals for their assistance and counsel, and presided over the whole himself. This edition was declared to be corrected in the very best manner possible, and published with a tremendous excommunication against every person who should presume ever afterward to alter the least particle of the edition thus authentically promulgated by his holiness, sitting in that chair, in quâ Petri vivit potestas, et excellit auctoritas, [in which the power of Peter lived, and his authority excelled.] The other edition was published in 1592, by Pope Clement VIII.; which was so different from that of Sixtus, as to contain two thousand variations, some of whole verses, and many others clearly and designedly contradictory in sense; and yet this edition is also, ex cathedrâ, [from the chair,] pronounced as the only authentic one, and enforced by the same sentence of excommunication with the former. Clement suppressed the edition of his predecessor; so that copies of the Sixtine Vulgate are now very scarce, and have long been reckoned among literary rarities. Our learned countryman, Dr. James, the celebrated correspondent and able coadjutor of Archbishop Usher, relates, with all the ardour of a hard student, the delight which he experienced on unexpectedly obtaining a Sixtine copy; and he used it to good and effective purpose in his very clever book, entitled “Bellum Papale,” in which he has pointed out numerous additions, omissions, contradictions, and glaring differences between the Sixtine and Clementine editions. All the popish champions are exceedingly shy about recognizing this irreconcilable conflict between the productions of two such infallible personages; and the boldest of them wish to represent it as a thing of nought. But it is no light matter thus to tamper with the word of God.

The Romanists generally hold the Vulgate of the New Testament preferable to the common Greek text; because it is this alone, and not the Greek text, that the council of Trent has declared authentic: accordingly that church has, as it were, adopted this edition, and the priests read no other at the altar, the preachers quote no other in the pulpit, nor the divines in the schools. Yet some of their best authors, F. Bouhours for instance, own, that among the differences that are found between the common Greek and the Vulgate, there are some in which the Greek reading appears more clear and natural than that of the Latin; so that the second might be corrected from the first, if the holy see should think fit. But those differences, taken in general, only consist in a few syllables or words; they rarely concern the sense. Beside, in some of the most considerable, the Vulgate is authorized by several ancient manuscripts. Bouhours spent the last years of his life in giving a French translation of the New Testament according to the Vulgate. It is probable that at the time the ancient Italic or Vulgate version of the New Testament was made, and at the time it was afterward compared with the Greek manuscripts by St. Jerom, as they were then nearer the times ofof the Apostles, they had more accurate Greek copies, and those better kept, than any of those used when printing was invented.

“Highly as the Latin Vulgate is extolled by the church of Rome,” says Michaëlis, “it was depreciated beyond measure at the beginning of the sixteenth century by several learned Protestants, whose example has been followed by men of inferior abilities. At the restoration of learning, when the faculty of writing elegant Latin was the highest accomplishment of a scholar, the Vulgate was regarded with 946contempt, as not written with classical purity. But after the Greek manuscripts were discovered, their readings were preferred to those of the Latin, because the New Testament was written in Greek, and the Latin was only a version; but it was not considered that these Greek manuscripts were modern in comparison of those originals from which the Latin was taken; nor was it known at that time, that the more ancient the Greek manuscripts and the other versions were, the closer was their agreement with the Vulgate. Our ablest writers, such as Mill and Bengel, have been induced by F. Simon’s treatise to abandon the opinion of their predecessors, and have ascribed to the Latin Vulgate a value perhaps greater than it deserves.”

VULTURE, , and , Lev. xi, 14; Isa. xxxiv, 15; a large bird of prey, somewhat resembling the eagle. There are several birds of the vulturine kind, which, though they differ much in respect to colour and dimensions, yet are all easily distinguished by their naked heads, and beaks partly straight and partly crooked. They are frequent in Arabia, Egypt, and many parts of Africa and Asia. They have a most indelicate voracity, preying more upon carrion than live animals. They were declared unclean in the Levitical constitution.