« PreviousContinue »
wine, that they might rejoice in the sight of their fallen foe. So Samson was led in among them by a boy ; his hair, in which his mysterious strength lay, had grown again; and he was bid to show before the Philistines feats of strength“ to make them sport”—for now he was blind, they supposed his strength could only be employed as they directed it.
But in the pause between these feats, Samson bid the boy lead him to two great pillars, that he might lean on them. Now on these two pillars rested the whole pavilion in which the Philistines were feasting; and when Samson felt the pillars, he called unto God to give him strength only this once more, and, taking hold of them, he bowed with all his might, and pulled down the whole house upon himself and upon all the people. “ So the dead which he slew at his death, were more than they which he slew in his life.”
It was in the “ days when the judges ruled," probably in the time of Gideon, that the events took place which are recorded in the book of Ruth. Elimelech, and his wife Naomi, with their two sons, were driven out of Canaan by a famine. They dwelt in Moab; and there Elimelech and his sons died; leaving Naomi with two Moabitish daughters-in-law, Orpah and Ruth. Naomi wished to return to her own land, and when she would have taken leave of her daughters, they lifted up their voices and wept. Orpah kissed her mother-in-law ; but Ruth clave unto her,” saying, Entreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee ; for whither thou goest, I will go ! and where thou lodgest, I will lodge; thy people shall be my people, and thy God
God. Where thou diest I will die,
and there will I be buried : the Lord do so to
and more also, if aught but death part thee and me.”
So Naomi and Ruth arrived at Bethlehem in the beginning of barley harvest; and Ruth went out to glean in the fields of Boaz, a rich kinsman of her deceased husband. While she was gleaning there, Boaz himself came into the field among his reapers, and asked them who the woman was ; and he looked at her with favour; and desired that she might glean in among the sheaves without reproach; and he bid the reapers let fall handfulls of corn in her path, and treat her with all respect. And as the year went on, she gleaned in his fields at the wheat harvest also, and found more and more favour in his eyes ; till finally he married her: and of this good humble woman was born Obed, who was the grandfather of David ; and through David, the progenitor of one greater than David, and all men else—the Holy Child of Bethlehem. Perhaps it is for this reason that this simple and touching story of Ruth is included in the Sacred Volume.
THE SERVICES OF THE JEWS. The grand feature of the Mosaic worship was its sacrifices. The continual burnt-offering; the great atonement; the various sacrifices ; — all types of that nobler One, which alone could take away sin ;- preached the Gospel to the intelligent and believing Israelite, and kept constantly before his mind the important truth, that “ without shedding of blood there is no remis
that it may
sion.” In their captivity they neither have nor can have a sacrifice, according to the law, and this they confess in various parts of their religious services. They say that “fasting, almsgiving, and prayer, make an atonement, or turn aside the evil decree; and yet, as if conscious that these are not said to do so as it regards the guilt of the soul, their prayers refer to the commanded offerings, and they lament that these exist no longer.
In the first of the following prayers, there is a petition that the temple may be rebuilt, and the continual burnt-offering restored, atone for them;" showing that the compilers of their prayer-book felt that no observances could atone for them; that no other duties could render the sacrifices needless, or give assured peace to Israel in their banishment from their father's land.
The following extracts are from the daily prayer-book, of the German and Polish Jews :
May it be acceptable in thy presence, o eternal, our God! and the God of our ancestors, to compassionate us, to pardon all our sins, forgive all our iniquities, and to grant us remission for all our transgressions; and that the holy temple may speedily be rebuilt in our days, that we may offer in thy presence the continual burntoffering, that it may atone for us; as thou hast commanded in thy law, written and delivered by the hands of thy servant Moses, as specified.”
[Then follows the commandment given in Numbers xxviii. 2—8, relative to the daily sacrifice, and then the following prayer.]
May this recital be as acceptable unto thee, 0 Eternal, our God! and the God of our an
cestors, as if we had offered thee continual burntoffering in its due season.”
[Then follows Numbers xxv. 11,
5. There is none holy as the Lord, for there is no God, save thee: nor is there a Creator like our God : for who is God besides the Eternal ? and who a Creator save our God?
“ Thou wilt arise, and have
mercy upon Zion ; for the time to favour her, yea the set time, is come.”
Sovereign of the Universe! whilst the holy temple was established, if a man sinned he brought an offering, and made an atonement for himself; but now because of our iniquities, we have neither sanctuary, nor altar, nor offering, nor priest to atone for us : there is nothing left us but the commemoration of them. O
that be our expiation, and we will render the prayers of our lips instead of offerings.
Thou, O Eternal, our God! art the same before whom our ancestors burnt incense whilst the holy temple was established, as thou didst command them in thy law, written and delivered by the hands of thy servant Moses.”'
In the above prayers there stands the confession that they have no atonement; there is exhibited the painful truth that the vail is on the heart when Moses is read, as it was in the days of Moses himself. They look not to the endthe scope and object of that which is abolished. They see not that the sacrifices had no value in themselves, and could not benefit him who offered them, only as he looked through them to their great anti-type—the Messiah. Hence the prayers that the commemoration of them, the recital of The great
them, may be put in their stead. truth, without blood-shedding there is no remission,” is not practically believed, or a bloodless commemoration, a mere recital, could not have been regarded as a substitute for the appointed victim. Thus in their present captivity, not only does Israel not keep the law ; but its great object, the typical character of its sacrifices, is for the most part overlooked.
One thing delights us in the prayer-book of the Jews—their constant acknowledgment of the faithfulness and unchangeableness of God, and their consequent expressed dependance on the Divine promises, which foretell their restoration :
Let it be willed before thy presence, O Lord ! our God, and the God of our fathers, that the holy temple may be rebuilt speedily in our days, and grant us our portion in thy law. And there will we serve thee in reverence, as in ancient days, and former years. And may the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the Lord, as in ancient days, and former years.”
“ O look upon our afflictions (we beseech thee) and plead our cause : and redeem us speedily for the sake of thy name ; for thou art a Mighty Redeemer. Blessed art thou, O Lord! who redeemest Israel.
“O sound the great cornet, as the signal for our freedom ; hoist the banner to collect our captives, so that we may be all gathered together from the four corners of the earth. Blessed art thou, O Lord ! who gathereth together the outcasts of his people Israel.
O be mercifully pleased to return to Jerusalem, thy city; and dwell therein, as thou hast