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of vowing a private fast : some forbidden to fast privately; men and
women fasted apart
SECT. I. The Synagogue.-The other modes of instruction hinted at; proseu-
chas explained; their utility; places where situated; usual form. Syna.
gogues the chief
SECT. II. Office-bearers of the Synagogue.-Places of erection, and form of the
building --Stated office-bearers-their general duties
SECT. III, The Service of the Synagogue.-1. Their manner of sitting. 2. The
public prayers. A translation of the She-menè Oshrè, or eighteen prayers;
the summary, the great stress laid on them. 3. The repeating their phy.
lacteries. 4. The reading of the law and the prophets; the portions of both
that were read throughout the year; times when read; manner of reading
and interpreting. 5. Preaching from them to the people
There has always been, in every age, some family or nation which has been the repository of religion for the time; but the most remarkable instance with which we are acquainted, is that of the family of Abraham. They were evidently under a particular providence, and highly distin. guished by the Divine Being; for, besides the miracles which were wrought in their behalf, “ to them,” as the apostle speaks, “pertained the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; and of them, as concerning the flesh, Christ came.”* Thus were they a lamp, set up by Jehovah, to enlighten mankind; in or. der that, from Judea, as from a centre, his knowledge and his fear might extend through the earth. Small
, indeed, was that spot which the Jews inhabited, but it was admirably situated for the intentions of Providence. It was in the neighbourhood of Egypt and Phænicia, the great trading nations : and it touched upon, or had connection with Arabia, Assyria, and Persia, the key to the whole of the eastern world. If the classical scholar, therefore, surveys with delight the states of Greece and the territory of Rome, as the cradle of the arts, and the places where genius and valour shone with peculiar lustre ; with much more pleasure ought the mind of the Christian to contemplate Judea as the land of revelation, and the birth-place of the Saviour. Let us employ ourselves, then, in considering the antiquities and usages of these singular people: and begin with the tabernacle, as the foundation of that ritual for which they were so distinguished.
* Rom, is. 4, 5.
THE TABERNACLE DESCRIBED.
The court of the congregation, the tabernacle, and all
, the vessels connected with it, having been ordered to be constructed after a Divine model, which was shewn to Moses on the Mount;a the Lord commanded him to inform the Israelites that they were at liberty to give whatever was needed for that important work ;' and accordingly we are told, that multitudes, both of men and women, were so anxious to contribute, that Moses was obliged to restrain their liberality. But when God intends a work, he also provides persons qualified to execute it: hence Bezaleel, the son of Uri, of the tribe of Judah, and Aholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan, are mentioned as having been eminently skilled to devise cunning work, and works in gold, in silver, and in brass ; in cutting stones to set them, carving of wood, weaving and embroidery; and as well qualified to teach and superintend others in these departments :d for we may easily suppose, that a number of persons of both sexes would be requisite for preparing the materials, and making them up into the different articles.
Let us proceed, then, to consider the various parts of this divinely-contrived tabernacle in their order.
2 Ex. xx. 40; xxvi. 30.
b Ex. xxv, 1-8; XXXV. 49. c Ex. XXXY. 20
_29; xxxvi. 4-7. d Ex. xxxi. 1-6; xxxv. 30-35; xxxvi. 1--3; xxxviii. 22, 23. e Ex, xxxv, 10-19, VOL. I.