« AnteriorContinuar »
ous kinds, among others the well known ten commandments, Chapter 20th, &c.
An obvious design of the arrangements for external religion, was the preservation of it amidst the errors of Polytheism. But how many coverings were then necessary, to procure for the truth an entrance among a people so affected by matters of sense! The victor's song (Chapter xv.) belongs to the oldest and most beautiful triumphal poetry.
Leviticus. The greatest part of the contents consists of laws for the priests, or precepts respecting that which the Israelite was required to observe as to his offerings, as to his sicknesses, towards his slaves, and in respect to marriage, and that over which the priests were required to watch. Some portions are historical. The whole is manifestly composed of separate carlier injunctions. As being instructions for the priests, it would be especially important for this class.
Numbers. The numberings of the people, (whence the name,) compose the beginning. Religious and civil laws fill up another considerable portion. The historical events fall partly in the second year after the departure; partly after an unflied chasm of thirty-seven years, in the 40th year of the long march.
To a Hebrew it was valuable, as a genealogical account, as a land-record, as a document respecting boundaries, and as a contribution to the national history. This importance it cannot have to later readers. A part of the events is besides very dark, and the illustration very difficult. The oracle of Balaam, as well as the whole history, is remarkable in more respects than one.
Deuteronomy. Much that is contained in the three preceding books is repeated here. One can consider this as a compressed representation of the Mosaic constitution. Besides, it contains powerful speeches of Moses; and, in his sublime poem and his farewell benediction, magterly remains of oriental poetry.
A part only of this book could Moses have written down himself. Some of it falls even in the times after his death. But it is an authentic monument of his spirit, a justification of his designs, an assurance of his pure patriotism; altogether after his manner, fervent and moving.
Morality and piety are made, in this book, the condition of the prosperity, the freedom, and the greatness of the nation. They seem, according to the notions and the speech of antiquity, as their immediate, positive reward. The particular laws, here partly repeated, partly more definitely fixed, show a comprehensive regard to the maintaining of civil order, by a pure and elevated morality.
The Book of Joshua, Joshua, an upright man, and a valiant warrior, formed by the most intimate acquaintance with Moses to be his successor, was,
without opposition from the people, acknowledged in that dignity He stood at the head of affairs seventeen years, and subdued Pal. estine.
The book, which derives its name from him, not as its author, but as the principal person, contains partly a history of the war; partly it is a geographical document. It consists of several memorials partly indeed older, (Chapters 1-8) partly more modern. Its importance is rather national than general.
The Book of Judges. Judges were extraordinary magistrates, or warlike heroes, or even heroic women, as Deborah, who, inspired by patriotism, placed themselves at the head of the nation, and considered themselves as its deliverers ; particularly in those unquiet and oppres-sive times which followed the death of Joshua, under whom the tribes had become more closely connected. The Book of Judges contains their names, and deeds, together with some events which happened in the same time.
What had been preserved of the history of this period, (14441100 before Christ,) some writer described, and thus filled up a chasm in the Israelitish history.
As the antiquity itself, so likewise the language and spirit of the book resembles that which is known of the heroic antiquity of other nations. A heroic book must be read with a due regard to the spirit of the heroic age.
To the sections peculiarly worthy of remark, on various accounts, belong the administration of Deborah, the history of Jephtha, Abimelech, Jotham, (in which the oldest known fable occurs,) Samson ; and the appendix to the book, as a warning to what end men are brought by superstition, sensuality, and revenge.
The Book of Ruth. Ruth, the principal person in this little domestic sketch, a Moabitess, is worthy of notice iu history, as the female ancestor of David. Hence, too, is illustrated his connexion with the Moabites, (1 Sam. xxii. 3.) The time and the author of the sketch are unknown.
The spirited manner with which some family scenes are represented, has something remarkably attracting and moving; for instance, chapter i. 8–18. ii. 11–16. iii. 16–18. iv. 14–16.
The Two Books of Samuel, and the Two Books of Kings. The history of the Israelitish kingdom is written in a connected historical work, which begins with the last Judge, Samuel, and ends with the overthrow of the Jewish government. It embraces a period of four hundred years.
This historical work was extracted from mor comprehensive works, to which it also refers, (1 Kings xi. 41. 2 Kings xiii. 12.) and must have originated when these sources of history were known. The rulers are sometimes praised, and sometimes blamed, without constraint.
Still later, some one divided the whole into four books, and uamed the first two, Books of Samuel, and the two others, Books of Kings. Of these, the first contains the life of Sainuel, the administration of Saul, David's election, and his misfortunes until Saul's death, the second contains the greater part of the history of David's administration.
Of the Books of Kings, the first commences with the last occurrences of David, and the nomination of Solo.non as joint ruler, contains the history of the administration of the latter, particularly of the building of the temple; the partition of the kingdom after his death, under Rehoboam his son, as the first king in the kingdom of Israel, and his successors, to Ahab. The second continues the account of the rulers of both kingdoms. The history of the two prophets, Elijah and Elisha, is interwoven in this, and several speeches and poems are inserted.
For modern readers these books are instructive, 1, as illustrations of many passages in the Psalms and the Prophets; 2, as, particularly for rulers, a remarkable picture of absolute government; 3, as peculiarly rich in noble and in ignoble characters.
The Two Books of Chronicles. In a certain measure, the Books of Chronicles (Journal of the times) deliver a repetition, in part a gleaning of that which the preceding historical work contained; they were, at a later period, divided into two parts. They contained partly genealogies, partly the history of the rulers of the people, to the overthrow of the kingdom.
The unknown author used in part the same sources, in part others, as the compiler of the preceding bistorical work, to which it is very similar in manner, purpose, and worth, as in the contents, although here and there it differs in brevity or in fulness as well as in respect to the events.
The Book of Ezra. It takes its name from the principal person, the leader, empowered by Artaxerxes, of many considerable Jewish families who returned from the Babylonish captivity to Jerusalem, Ezra, the reformer of the worship of God and of morals. It contains what was done before his time by Zerubbabel and afterwards by himself.
Ezra was the author, if not of the whole, yet of the greater part which relates to himself. He also added the existing fragments, so that a part of the book (Chapter iii. 7-Chapter viii. 18.) is written in Chaldee.
The Book of Nehemiah. Nehemiah, who employed his respectability at court for the benefit of his nation, carried forward with untiring and very disinterested activity, partly in connexion with Ezra, what his predecessors had commenced. He appears to have written himself the accounts of his patriotic activity, which could not have been without interest, especially for the nation.
The Book of Esther.
and tell of creation's wonders to explore the wilds of Africa,
Memoir of Mrs Matilda Smith, late of Cape Town, Cape of Good
Hope. By John PHILLIP, D. D. London: F. Westley. pp. 189. 8vo.
No quarter of the world affords more interesting scope for research ihan Africa. Our ignorance of its contents and the disap pointment which has almost invariably connected itself with efforts to explore that vast continent, only serve to sharpen curiosity, and throw fresh attractions in the path of African discovery. The most interesting associations are blended with that continent, and when we gaze on its map we immediately think of Park and Lang, Bowditch and Clapperton, and a long train of other martyrs to the service of discovery.
And Africa is most interesting to the eye of the philanthropist and the Christian. The thousands of Israel are pressing the accomplishment of prophecy at the mercy-seat, and their prayer is, May Ethiopia soon stretch out her hands unto God. The schools have sent out the sons of science to
her deep recesses, and the churches of our Lord Jesus Christ have sent forth brethren beloved to turn the wilderness into à garder), and spread the beauties of a new creation.
Travellers have told us of the amazing solitudes of the country, and the rude features which it exhibits; and they have portrayed its romantic beauties in glowing colors. Our missionaries, too, have described the mournful moral wastes abounding far and wide; but even in the wilderness they have met with lovely plants and trees of righteousness, which God himself hath planted; and as we are peculiarly alive to the perception of natural beauties, when found in association with desert wastes, so we are delighted to gaze on the triumphs of grace and the fruits of piety, when we behold them amid the gloom and darkness of surrounding heathenism.
Ever since we read the travels of Campbell, and learned from him the successful operations of the missionary stations in Southern Africa, we have loved to think of the hills of Zion that are planted in her waste places
“ The little spots enclosed by grace,
Out of the world's wide wilderness." And it was with no ordinary pleasure that we took up this volume, which contains the life of one of the chosen few to whom the distinguished honor was allotted to aid in casting up a highway for the Redeemer in that field of his future glory.
The earliest missionary laborers in South Africa were the simple hearted and holy brethren known by the name of the “Unitas Fratrum,” or Moravians. They made a settlement at Bavian's Kloof, and gathered souls to Jesus.
The London Missionary Society turned their attention to the Ilottentots in 1799, and sent out Dr Vanderkemp, Mr Kitcherer, and another in 1801. The little band was reinforced by the brethren Vanderlingen and Reed at Graafrenet. In 1802 this sta
tion was moved to Algoa Bay, and the settlement received the appropriate name of Bethelsdorp, and to many a Hottentot it has been a place of bread-a house of God—the gate of heaver..
In the prosecution of their designs the Missionaries have met great opposition from the Boors, and from the incursions of the Bushmen and Caffres; but their numbers have been augmented, and their stations multiplied. God has blessed them; he has made the wrath of man to praise him, and the remainder of wrath he has restrained.
As many of our readers will have no opportunity of obtaining an acquaintance with the character of Mrs Smith, but by this notice of her Memoir, we shall aim to condense the narrative, and afford a general view of her life and actions, and trust the tendency will be to produce not a mere admiration of her virtues, but to al. lure to the imitation of her example.
Mrs Smith was born at the Cape of Good Hope, in 1749. Her maiden name was Kornbrinck, and her parents were worthy characters. She wrote a memoir of her life up to her fortyninth year, and her biographer has drawn largely from this source. She was induced to undertake this from a deep impression made under a public discourse, when the Lord's dealings towards her from earliest infancy were brought to her mind and appeared to be written in a book.
At six years of age she was preserved from sudden death. While playing on the shore with other children, a wave of the sea carried her to a considerable distance ; her screams brought her assistance, and she was spared. Shortly after this, she lost her father; and the mother and six children were all afflicted with the small-pox, About this time she was in great danger from suffocation, but the Lord preserved her soul to the day of grace and salvation. Up to her ninth year she writes, “vanity and folly strengthened with my natural growth.” At about nine she was under serious conviction, and studied the Bible so that at fifteen she had acquired much scriptural knowledge, and after learning her catechism she was admitted a member of the Dutch Reformed church in Cape Town, but had no proper idea of her lost state by nature. She approached the Lord's Supper as "a thorough Pharisee," and regarded “ reading, prayer, and fasting” as righteousness.
At twenty-two she entered on the matrimonial state“ with a heart full of vanity. The loss of her child and husband affected her deeply. He had sought the Lord and found mercy, and now she appeared anxious for a sense of pardoned sin. Her heavenly Father saw fit again to inflict the rod; her remaining child and beloved mother were taken from her. Providence once
more brought her into the matrimonial state; but trials awaited her and she was called to weep for her children because “they were not;" but the Lord enabled her to bow to his will.
At length her mind became greatly distressed; she deemed her trouble so great that God himself could not relieve her. She had no idea how the divine attributes were magnified in the salvation of sinners through the death of Christ; but the period of her de