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a positive religious observance. The second 'word' indeed regulates the general character of the national cultus. The true worship of God is to be not only monolatrous, but imageless? We have seen that the question has been raised, when this principle was first explicitly affirmed. The choice lies between the sup
. position that material representations of Jehovah were forbidden by Moses, though the prohibition was to a great extent forgotten or ignored for centuries; and the view that the commandment was first inserted in the Decalogue at the time when the prophets began to protest against the use of images in worship. In favour of the first supposition is the fact that at the official centres of worship like Shiloh, and afterwards Jerusalem, the use of images seems to have been unknown ; and it is also certain that the prophets of the eighth century, who believed themselves to be the true exponents of Mosaism, regarded the bull-worship of the northern kingdom as a danger and a snare to Israel, if not an actual form of apostasy from Jehovah ? We must not, however, insist too strongly on the significance of these facts. It is enough that the prophets bear witness to the essential characteristics of the Mosaic legislation : first, in their silence as to questions of ritual—a silence which reflects the negative attitude of the ten commandments; secondly, in their positive insistence on social and personal righteousness as Jehovah's sole requirement. Their attitude towards ritual and sacrifice, to say nothing of such explicit statements as that of Jeremiah vii. 22, incontestably proves that the Mosaic Torah was not mainly concerned with matters of cultus. Certainly the legal and ritual Torah of the priests was traced to Moses, but so also was the Torah or word of the prophets— that very word which habitually subordinated ritual observance to the fulfilment of moral duty. This original supremacy of the ethical element in Mosaism corresponds to the conclusion arrived at by criticism that the discipline of the ceremonial law was subsequent to the work of the prophets; that the high development of ritual is characteristic of a totally different and comparatively late stage in Israel's history.
1 Montefiore, p. 127. Renan points out that the nomadic Semite was distinctly lacking in a taste for the plastic arts, and was if anything averse by temperament to the use of images in worship (Histoire du peuple d'Israël, bk. i. ch. 4 init.). This fact seems to add credibility to the traditional view of the second commandment.
2 See Montefiore, p. 128. Amos alludes only once, and with indignant contempt, to the bulls of Samaria (viii. 14). But Hosea's attitude is one of strong antagonism. “He does not hesitate to call the idols of the national god Baalim, and the service thus rendered to Yahveh Baal-service.' Cp. ii. 13-16; iii. 1; xiii. 2; xiv. 3. On the difference between the attitude of Hosea and that of Amos, see Robertson Smith, Prophets of Israel, pp. 176 foll.
3. One more point may be noticed, namely, that the positive institutions and observances of Hebrew religion gradually came to be regarded in the light of Moses' ethical teaching, as moral symbols, expressive of a spiritual status and vocation, and as outward
; emblems of the holiness that became a kingdom of priests. Thus the rite of circumcision, which in Egypt was apparently confined to the priesthood, was looked upon as a token of the purity of life to which every Israelite was called. The ordinance of the Passover again, participation in which was enjoined under pain of extirpation in case of neglect, symbolized the sacerdotal status of the nation. It was a yearly memorial of the deliverance which had made Israel a people holy to Jehovali, a yearly renewal of the covenant, a yearly reconsecration of individual Israelites. Each household in which the sacred meal was solemnized was thereby constituted a sanctuary, and each family a priestly company'. The readmission of the healed leper to his forfeited privileges was accompanied by ceremonies similar to those observed in the consecration of priests? The same idea was implied in the
? sanctification of the firstborn, which represented the
Cp. Riehm, ATI. Theologie, Ø 26.
vocation of the entire people to Jehovah's special service 1.
Even when these rudimentary institutions had been developed into an elaborate ceremonial law, yet the prophetic element derived from the Mosaic covenant would make the levitical code a real aid to the religious life. Its ordinances concerning sabbaths, festivals and fasts, its ideal agrarian regulations, even its careful dietary and distinction between clean and uncleanmust have tended to give a certain dignity and sanctity to life ?,' and to foster true thoughts in regard to the worth of time, the responsibilities of property, and the solemnity of everyday acts and occupations when carried on under the consciousness of the divine presence. Even in such a book as Chronicles, which is entirely pervaded by the levitical spirit, we find occasionally the prayer for inward devotion, for a perfect heart and a willing mind 3, as if this after all was the one thing needful for acceptance with God. So in the ceremonial law, as in the law of worship presently to be considered, we miss the inspiring and informing element if we overlook the result towards which it tended, and which in part it successfully achieved. For the ceremonial observances of the ancient law had a spiritual aim. They were intended to result, says a recent writer, ‘in clean hands and a pure heart, in a conduct characterized by separation from sin and devotion to the cause of righteousness 4. Indeed, as Origen observes, there are evangelical elements even in the law : Sic ergo invenitur et Evangelii virtus in lege, et fundamento legis subnixa intelliguntur evangelia 5.
1 Exod. xiii. i foll. Cp. Num. viii. 16 foll.
2 Cp: Montefiore, op. cit. p. 511. See also a striking passage in Dr. Fairbairn's Religion in History and in Modern Lise, lect. ii. pp. 127 foll. 3 i Chron. xxviii. 9 ; cp. xxix. 18, 19; 2 Chron. xvi. 9, &c. (Montefiore,
W. S. Bruce, Ethics of the 0. T. p. 210. Bin Num. hom. ix. 4. On the application of the Decalogue to Christian conduct, see Gore, The Sermon on the Mount, Appendix ii.
There are two institutions minutely described in the Pentateuch which specially presuppose and embody the idea of covenant fellowship-the sanctuary and the sacrifices. Mosaism is throughout a religion of symbolism. Its characteristic institutions give concrete expression to a very vivid and spiritual faith. For we must remember that, in their developed form, the Pentateuchal ordinances do not merely prefigure and typify spiritual realities, but actually give material form to spiritual ideas. There lies behind them the prophetic conception of a holy people, in whose midst the God of holiness Himself has deigned to make His abode. Hence that typical character which belongs to Jewish institutions; they give substance to essential verities of catholic and spiritual religion, and they foreshadow in visible objects and in external ceremonies a consummation towards which Hebrew religion was ever tending . In the Christian dispensation all things are made new. The tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them and will be their God?. Yes; but we must not forget that this great thought penetrated the prophet whose influence is most decidedly impressed on the entire sacrificial system. Modern criticism has enabled us to understand the historical place and significance of the ritual code or Torah which closes the book of Ezekiel—a passage which has even been described as 'the key of the Old Testament 3 Ezekiel's plan is partly ideal, partly allegorical, partly based on old priestly usage, re
Aug. c. Faust. Manich. vi. 9 : 'Illud enim erat tempus significandi, hoc manifestandi. Ergo ipsa scriptura, quae tunc fuit exactrix operuin significantium, nunc testis est rerum significatarum, et quae tunc observabatur ad praenuntiationem, nunc recitatur ad confirmationem.'
2 Rev. xxi. 3. Cp. Ezek. xxxvii. 27.
3 Orth ap. Wellhausen, Prolegomena, p. 421. On Ezekiel's draft skeich, see Robertson Smith, 0. T. in l. C. pp. 376 foll. ; Montenore, llibbert Lectures, p. 255.
modelled in accordance with the idea of Jehovah's holiness. Probably in great measure it shaped the postexilic organization of the priesthood, and the sacrificial worship of the second temple. But the dominating idea of the entire sketch is one which the Incarnation alone was destined to verify; it is indicated in the closing words of Ezekiel's prophecy: The name of the city from that day shall be, The Lord is there! This indeed may be said to be the Messianic ideal of the priesthood : the enthronement and permanent presence of Jehovah in the midst of His people. The sanctuary and worship of Israel may or may not have been institutions actually realized in detail ; but in any case the description of them has a providential and didactic purpose. We are warranted not only by New Testament references, but by our knowledge of the motive which dictated the elaborate description of the sanctuary, in believing that it was expressly intended to embody certain characteristic ideas of Judaism, and to symbolize religious truths ? From this point of view it makes no material difference whether the sketch is strictly faithful to historical fact, or whether it is a partially ideal creation. In either case the religious idea is present, and this to a Christian reader of the Old Testament is the point of paramount interest.
It follows from what has been said that the symbolical interpretation of the tabernacle and its services, which we find in the New Testament, especially in the Epistle to the Hebrews, has a foundation in reason and in spiritual fact. There is a sense in which, as Origen boldly says, the Law is always new 3.' It interprets
1 Ezek. xlviii. 35. Cp. Darmesteter, Les Prophètes d'Israël, p. 108.
2 Wellhausen, Prolegomena, p. 81, says: “The spiritualization of the worship is seen in the Priestly code as advancing pari passu with its centralization. It receives, so to speak, an abstract religious character.'
3 Orig. in Num. hom. ix. 4: 'Nobis autem qui eam [legem] spiritaliter et evangelico sensu intelligimus et exponimus, semper nova est, et utrumque nobis novum testamentum est, non temporis novitate sed intelligentiae novitate.' Cp. Aug. de util. cred. 9: 'Évacuatur namque in Christo non vetus testamentum sed velamen eius, ut per Christum