« PoprzedniaDalej »
THE PEOPLE'S DICTIONARY OF THE BIBLE.* In attempting to give to the readers of the Reformer who have not already perused the People's Dictionary, some notion of the miscellaneous information contained in its pages, we feel ourselves embarrassed by the abundance of the materials which lie scattered before us. A Dictionary is not like a discourse on a given subject which may admit of being condensed, or a history which may be analyzed, or a narrative which may be abridged, yet still in such a manner as to indicate the development of the author's ideas, or his manner of treating his subject matter. Here every article is a distinct and separate treatise, each of which would require in many cases, for its satisfactory consideration, all the space that we can devote to the whole work. But this very remark will shew how copious and how various is the information which the author has gathered together and presented in these volumes. There is not a single page in the 1260 of which the work consists, that does not bear testimony to his indefatigable diligence, and to his manly sincerity and good faith. It is therefore a work the study of which brings satisfaction to the mind, and which cannot fail to be permanently and extensively useful, notwithstanding the occurrence here and there of some explanations and statements in which we conceive that the author has fallen into errors, or been led into them by the authorities whom he has consulted. Mistakes, indeed, are inseparable from the nature of such a work; and the reader who expects to find a Dictionary of the Bible free from such blemishes, expects what never yet has been realized, and never can be realized till men become infallible.
The simplest method we could adopt of doing justice to this meritorious work, would be to extract from it an article, or a portion of an article, on each of the principal topics into which its contents naturally divide themselves. These comprise, -Geography; Natural History, including Zoology and Botany; Civil History, including Ethnology and Chronology; Biography; Religion ; Jurisprudence ; Science, including Mental and Natural Philosophy; Arts, Manufactures and Commerce; Manners, Customs and Institutions. But many of these subjects we shall be obliged altogether to omit.
The articles relating to the Geography of the Holy Land and the countries mentioned in the Bible are very numerous; every region, every city, every hill, every river, every hamlet, mentioned in the Bible, is here described, not only as it existed in the times of the prophets and apostles, but as it has been found by intelligent travellers down to the present day. We select a few sentences, with the illustrative wood. cuts, from the description given of the city of Jerusalem. The article begins with an etymology of the name in which we think the learned author is beyond all doubt mistakent), and proceeds to describe the
• Continued from p. 231.
ť "JERUSALEM, a name made up probably of a Greek word, hieros, sacred,' and Salem, Heb. for ' peace' or 'safety :' Hierosolyma, denoting the sacred asylum or stronghold.” But who does not know that Hierosolyma is a mere Grecized form (or rather corruption) of the Hebrew Jerushalaim? Can any example be produced of a proper name for a city, compounded of a Greek adjective, with a Hebrew noun ? Is it possible that such a name should have been in common use in Judea five centuries at least before the Greeks penetrated into Palestine ?
situation of the city, the heights on which it is erected, the portions into which it is divided, the most remarkable buildings and other objects which it contains, and the history of the place from the first notice of it down to the date of the latest published tour. We regret our inability to give even an outline of this excellent dissertation, which extends to twelve pages in the Dictionary; but we copy the account of one locality which comprises, according to the popular belief, the scenes of many deeply-interesting events; and it is proper to add, that some who have investigated the subject with no partial feelings in favour of tradition, have expressed themselves as satisfied that here, at least, tradition is in the main correct, if not in all points perfectly accurate.
“ The street which runs north from the Pool in a westerly direction from Stephen's Gate, between the heights of Bezetha and Moriah, is the Via Dolorosa, or Way of Sorrow, along which the visiter is pointed to the buildings and spots which call to mind the sufferings of Jesus as he was led from judgment to execution. On the right as you enter Stephen's Gate, is the house of Anna, where the mother of our Lord is said to have been born. Farther on in the same direction, on the north-west corner of the wall of the mosque, is what is termed Pilate's House (now the residence of the Turkish governor), with the apartment in which Jesus was clad with a robe of purple and derided as the pretended king of the Jews. They also shew the spots where Jesus sat bound, where was the judgment-seat, and where
the crown of thorns was The flight of steps before the palace of Pilate, down which the Saviour went bearing his cross, called scala sancta, 'holy ladder,' is now in Rome, in a separate building next to the celebrated church, St. John Lateran. On the other side of the street is the chamber in which Christ is said to have been scourged; formerly a fine church, now a stable for the governor's horses. Farther on, near the steps, stands the arch where Pilate pointed out Jesus to the people with the words, ‘Behold the man! Still farther, you see the places where the Redeemer thrice fell under the weight of his cross, where he met Mary coming from a cross street, where Simon of Cyrene relieved him of his burden, and where he said to the matrons of Jerusalem, ‘Weep not for me, but weep for yourselves and your children. Beyond these spots is the house shown as that of the rich man,' the palace of Herod (north of the street), and the house of the holy Veronica who wiped from the brow of Jesus blood and sweat with her handkerchief, which was thereon imprinted with an indelible likeness of the Lord. Thence you reach the judgment-gate, now built up with a stone wall. The general direction of the Via Dolorosa is probably correct, but we can hardly conceive that memory and tradition could have transmitted in so many cases the exact spots on which these events took place, during the troubles and obliterating causes which ensued not long after the Saviour's death; though it must not be denied that the warm affections of the Jewish heart were eminently fitted to retain a hold on recollections which love, grief, and religion combined to make dear and venerable."— Vol. II. p. 83. VOL. V.
The next extract relates to the method by which the city of Jerusalem was anciently supplied with water :
“ Williams (Holy City') gives the following summary of his opinions as to the sources of the supplies of water enjoyed by the inhabitants : The upper spring of Gihon once had its issue on the north side of the city, not far from the tombs of the kings. Its water was originally received into a pool called the Serpents' Pool, out of which it flowed, probably down the valley of Jehoshaphat. In order to divert it from the uses of the enemy, and make it available to his own people in case of siege, Hezekiah stopped the upper fountain, and brought the water of the upper pool by an aqueduct down the valley which bisected the city, as far as the temple, where it supplied the reservoirs prepared by himself or former kings, and then flowed off by an old channel to the Fountain of the Virgin, and was continued through a new bore to the Pool of Siloam, otherwise called “the Lower Pool' and the King's Pool,' being, in fact, the veritable ‘Pool of Hezekiah.'
“On the east of Jerusalem, separated from it by the Cedron, or Kidron, is the Mount of Olives, the most considerable of the neighbouring hills. Olivet is divided into three elevations, of which the southern bears the name of the • Hill of Offence.' See 1 Kings xi. 7, 8. South of Mount Zion stands the
Hill of Evil Counsel.' It is beyond the valley of Hinnom, from which it rises abruptly with several ranges of rocks, in which are many excavated sepulchres." - II. 84, 85.
This extract reminds us of the account given of a still more remarkable pool at Jerusalem in the article on Bethesda, which, as it throws much light on a passage in our copies of the New Testament, by most critics received as genuine, though suspected by others, we here insert :
“A difference of opinion exists in regard to the place which is now to be considered as being the ancient Bethesda. Some have identified it with a deep pool north of the Temple, which Robinson disapproves, and is inclined to prefer what is called “the Fountain of the Virgin,' that lies on the west side of the valley of Jehoshaphat. The cavity of this fountain is deep, and is wholly excavated in the solid rock. To enter it, one descends first, sixteen steps: then comes a level place of twelve feet, and then ten steps more lead to the water. The basin itself is perhaps fifteen feet long by five or six wide; the height is not more than six or eight feet. The bottom is strewed with small stones. The water flows off by a low passage, leading under the mountain to Siloam. Down this channel, which is 1750 feet long, Robinson had the enterprise and patience to make his way. A popular impression prevails, that the water is irregular in its flow; which Robinson ascertained to be the fact. “As we were preparing,--he says (vol. i. 506)—to measure the basin, and explore the passage, my companion was standing on the lower step, near the water, with one foot on the step, and the other on a loose stone lying in the basin. All at once he perceived the water coming into his shoe, and, supposing the stone had rolled, he withdrew his foot to the step; which, however, was now covered with water. This excited our curiosity, and we now perceived the water rapidly bubbling up from under the lower step. In less than five minutes, it had risen in the basin nearly or quite a foot; and one could hear it gurgling off through the interior passage. In ten minutes more it had ceased to flow, and the water in the basin was again reduced to its former level. Thrusting my staff in under the lower step whence the water appeared to come, I found that there was a large hollow space. From a woman who came to wash at the fountain, he learned that the flowing of the water occurs at irregular intervals; sometimes two or three times a day, and sometimes, in summer, once in two or three days. She said, she had seen the fountain dry, and men and flocks dependent upon it, gathered around suffering from thirst; when all at once the water would begin to boil up from under the steps, and (as she asserted) from the bottom in the interior part, and flow off in a copious stream. Olin (ii. 148, seq.) confirms these statements. He further says, that the rise is not periodical; that it is sudden, and sometimes amounts to the height of several feet, flowing in with a strong current; he also heard that the rise is more frequent in spring than at other seasons. With a natural propensity to assign some cause of this extraordinary flow of water, the Hebrew result of which we have already seen in the alleged agency of an angel, the people of the country now say, that a great dragon lies within the fountain : when he is awake, he stops the water; when he sleeps, it flows."--I. 151, 152.
The most melancholy page of the description of modern Jerusalem respects the character of the Christian part of the population :
“All creeds of the Christian world have their representatives in Jerusalem. It is a marvellous sight, and one to make a spectator thoughtful, to see these various sectaries bending over the tomb whence all their hopes have arisen, each believing that his own proud heart contains the only real hope—each setting his miserable yet complicated heresy above the grand and simple truth of Christ, and exalting the notions of his sect above the magna charta of the soul. By the grave of the mortal friend we have loved and lost on earth, men meet even their enemies in peace; but at the Saviour's tomb, the Mohammedan watches with drawn sabre to prevent his followers from destroying one another. At this tomb, the chiefs of two rival and hating creeds unite for once on Easter ere, but it is in the cause of fraud. Enclosed within the chapel, Greek and Armenian bishops call down fire from heaven by the intervention of a lucifer-match. Their believers strive madly to light their torches by this sacred flame, while the priests of other faiths stand scowling by, waiting until their turn shall arrive to triumph in their own followers' superstition.
“But according to Tischendorf (Reise in den Orient, 1846), the worst consists not in the obvious deception practised, but in the licentiousness in which all share, and which make these observances resemble heathen orgies. Greek priests forget themselves so far as to have sympathy with Turkish dervishes in a manner that cannot modestly be spoken of. The same authority relates that on one occasion Ibrahim Pasha, as master of Syria, played in this firedelusion the part that Napoleon performed at the cheat of liquefying the blood of Januarius at Naples. "In the latter place the blood of the saint was tardy in becoming liquefied, which occasioned much distress among the people. Bonaparte bade it become liquid, and liquid at once it was.* A similar command was issued by Ibrahim, when from the gallery of the Greek chapel he witnessed some delay in the performance of the cheat. It is not surprising that, under these circumstances, Christians should be held in little esteem in Jerusalem. The current phrase, .To say it with respect, he is a Christian,' is characteristic of the feeling entertained towards them by the Mohammedan population. The force of the phrase becomes the more obvious when it is known that it is alike customary for Moslems to say, “To say it with respect, a woman.' The Christian population of Jerusalem, according to the Prussian consul, Dr. Schulz, consists of 2000 Greeks, 900 Roman Catholics, 350 Armenians, 100 Copts, 20 Syrians, and 20 Abyssinians ; besides 60 or 70 Protestants, who, except the American missionaries, are all Europeans. Schulz makes the entire population to amount to 15,510 souls.”—II. 91.
It is with regret that we leave a spot so deeply interesting to every believer in the Old and New Testament; but it is time to advert to some other among the manifold subjects discussed in these volumes.
As a specimen of the Zoology of the Dictionary, we select the account of the animal called in our Authorized Version the Concy:
“CONEY, from the Latin cuniculus, a rabbit, stands for the Hebrew Shaphan, which, from a root signifying to leap, denotes the mus montanus, or Jerboa. Some, however, prefer understanding by Shaphan the Hyrax Syriacus, or Gnaman, from whose flesh the Mohammedans and Eastern Christians
abstain: the Shaphan was classed among unclean animals (Levit. xi. 5). Its other characteristics, as far as they are made known in Scripture, may be found in the following passages, Deut. xiv. 7. Ps. civ. 18. Prov. xxx. 26; from which it appears that conies ruminated, frequented rocky places, which were their ordinary abode, and were 'a feeble folk.' The Syrian hyrax, however, is said to be neither rodent like rabbits, nor ruminant, but anoma
* Was Napoleon ever at Naples ? At all events, a similar story is told of the republican General Championnet, who commanded there in the year 1799, by an English officer who visited the place immediately afterwards. See Naples and the Campagna Felice, &c., p. 257.