« PreviousContinue »
answer to our nine, twelve, three, and sun-set. The night parrs then commencing, and answering to our nine, twelve, three, and sun-rise. The length of the night and day not varying much within the tropics, they accommodate the matter by taking a gurry from one or the other as the season may require, and transferring it alternately as they lengthen or shorten. As they have no hour glasses, they measure their time by a kind of clepsydra. It is a small brass basin, about four inches in diameter, made thin enough to float on the water, with a hole in the bottom which admits as much as to fill it exactly in one gurry, or twenty-two and a-half minutes. The sinking, therefore, of the vessel, is the signal for striking the gurry, and warning the inhabitants. Let us next attend to
The gong.--This is a Chinesc instrument, and is generally used in war: its composition is unknown, but is thought to resemble that of the gurry. In one of thirty inches diameter the thickness of the metal in every part was about a quarter of an inch; and, if laid on a table, it would appear a double convex figure of five inches thick in the centre, and four inches thick at the side. It has a circular hole of twelve inches diameter in the back ; is suspended by a leathern thong from two holes in the edge, and struck with a stuffed mallet like a gurry. This is used by the southern Polygars in India to collect their troops, and is heard at the distance of six miles, having a fine deep tone, like that of a large bell. Since he obtained the above information, the author of this work has had the pleasure of examining three gongs which had been brought from India by different persons, and found them to answer the above deScription as to sound, but their forms were not uniform. For the first he saw resembled the account he had obtained from his East Indian friend, and forcibly reminded
him of the flat blue woollen bonnets which were so general half a century ago among the peasantry of the lowlands of Scotland ; but the other two were almost flat in the face, had a cup in the middle five inches and a half in diameter, the centre of which was about three-fourths of an inch below the general surface, and the edges of the gongs were turned back about two inches all round, so that, on the back, they resembled a large round dish about two inches deep, or a tambourine, with a very narrow hoop. They gave very sweet sounds when gently struck with the mallet, but very loud and tremendous when struck strongly. Now, what is the conclusion we are enable to draw from the foregoing remarks? Is it not, that there is reason to suppose, that the Megrupitha in the temple, resembled either the gurry or the gong, but most probably the latter? For a gurry of twenty inches diameter is heard a mile and a-half; a gong of thirty inches is heard six miles ; and we may easily suppose a gong to be made of such dimensions, as, when favoured by the wind, might realize the apparently hyperbolical language of the Jews concerning the Megrupitha, that was said to be heard at Jericho, which, Josephus tell us, was one hundred and fifty furlongs from Jerusalem, or eighteen English miles and three-quarters. It is scarcely necessary to add, that the intercourse between Judea and the east, by means of caravans, would readily account for the introduction of this instrument from one country into the other.
But it is full time to observe, that the last thing worthy of notice between the altar and the porch was the laver (marked No. 24, in Plate II.), at which the priests washed the sacrifices and their own hands and feet, during the times of the tabernacle, before they entered on their professional duty-a striking lesson to all the ministering servants of Christ, that they themselves should be washed from the filthiness and pollution of sin in the laver of regeneration, before they venture upon that sacred office.
* War, iv, 8.
In the days of Moses the shape and size of the laver are not mentioned, it is only commanded to be of brass;' and we afterwards learn, that the laver and its foot, or the pedestal on which it stood, were formed of the mirrors of polished brass, which the pious women of Israel had dedicated to Jehovah, instead of using them for the adorning of their persons. This I mention as the most favourable construction ; but Spencerd gives it a different meaning. For he supposes that the women of Israel had appeared at the door of the tabernacle with mirrors, like the women of Egypt at their heathen temples, when they came clothed in white linen, having a sistrum in their right hand, and a mirror in their left. According to this view, the laver and its foot might have been made of the mirrors of the idolatrous women of Israel, to deter others; in like manner as the plates of the brazen altar were made of the two hundred and fifty censers of Korah and his company for a similar reason.
We have no account of the fate of the laver which Moses made, whether it was destroyed before Solomon's days, or was placed by him in the temple; but it is probable that it was destroyed, for we find him making ten new ones, and placing them upon large pedestals of a beautiful construction ; each laver containing forty baths, or three hundred and two English gallons and a half,
a Exod. xxx. 18-21; xl. 7. 30–32.
b Ib. xxx. 18. · Exod, sxxviii, 8. d De Legibus Hebræorum Ritualibus, lib. i. cap. i. • Procop. Comment, in Exod. xxxvi. 8.
f Numb. xvi. 39, 40. & 1 Kings vii, 38.
allowing seven gallons four and a half English pints to the bath : and, consequently, the ten lavers, when full, would contain three thousand and twenty-five English gallons, or forty-eight hogsheads of water. They were set between the altar and the porch, five on the right. hand side, and five on the left; and were intended by Solomon for washing the sacrifices, whilst the hands and feet of the priests were washed at the molten sea,' of which there was none under the tabernacle, the laver at that time having been applied to both purposes.
Such were the lavers in the temple of Solomon : let us now attend to that which stood in the second temple. There was only one, the size and materials of which are not recorded ; but we are told that it resembled a large caldron ; that it was placed on the south side of the Court, between the ascent to the altar and the porch; that it had at first only two outlets for the water to wash the sacrifices and the hands and feet of the priests (for it should be remembered that there was no molten sea in the temple after the captivity, nor in that of Herod, and, therefore, that the Javer in these temples was restored to its original uses,") but a priest of the name of Ben Kattin afterwards augmented them to twelve, to answer the exigencies of the twelve priests that were constantly needed about the daily sacrifice; and that the manner in which it was filled every morning was by an engine called Muceni ('3319, un xam, machina,) which stood in the draw-well room at the Water Gate on the south side of the Court, and which raised the water from the reservoir to such a height as to enter the pipes which communicated with the laver. We are not to suppose, however, that the laver was always full of water through the day, for that would have been unnecessary; but they
1 2 Chron. iv. 6.
b Exod. xl. 31, 32.
had a tradition, that there must always be sufficient water for four priests at a time, since Aaron and his three sons were commanded to wash in the laver first made. And by another tradition, their manner of washing was fixed as follows :- After opening the cock, they laid their right hand upon their right foot, and their left hand upon their left foot, and in this inclined posture washed their hands and feet at the same time. Such are the particulars recorded concerning the laver; and with it we terminate our account of all the objects worthy of notice between the altar and the porch, or east front of the Temple. Hitherto, therefore, we have only been approaching the House of the Lord, or following the road which led through the east, or most frequented gate to that sacred edifice; and examining as we went the Court of the Gentiles, the Sacred Fence, the Court of the Women, the Court of Israel, and the greatest part of the Court of the Priests :--it only remains, that we proceed to the examination of the Temple itself, and the several chambers adjoining to it.
The Temple of Solomon.
Its dimensions ; side-chambers; appearance in perspective; the number of bands
employed; its time in building; its continuance; the quantity of precious metals used in it; their value in sterling money.
Before we commence a description of the Temple as it existed in the days of our Saviour, it
proper to notice its previous history. Strictly speaking, there were three temples, viz. that built by Solomon, that after the Captivity, and that built by Herod; all of which were of different dimensions.
a Exod. xxx, 19.