Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

THE

CHRISTIAN OBSERVER,

CONDUCTED BY

Members of the Established Church.

FOR

THE YEAR 1841.

LONDON:
PUBLISHED BY J. HATCHARD AND SON, PICCADILLY.

[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]

PREFACE.

AFTER completing forty volumes, of which one hand has now traced five-and-twenty annual Prefaces, far from finding any exhaustion of subjects for consideration, they seem from year to year to increase both in number and magnitude ; so that it is difficult to select from among them a few topics of the most pressing interest.

In looking back at the events of the past year, we are reminded of the fourth decennial census of the population ; and as former ones were noticed in our pages, we cannot perhaps better close our present volume, than by offering a few remarks suggested to our minds by that of the present year.

The practice of numbering the people of a land, is not only of high antiquity, and of obvious usefulness as a basis for legislation, and as connected with a great variety of questions of civil, moral, religious, political, and international interest ; but it is directly of divine sanction. We mention this, because some persons have erringly regarded it as an act of presumption highly offensive to God; and even a clergyman, acting under this mistake, subjected himself to a penalty for refusing to obey the law which commanded him to give an account of the names and ages of his family. Such a misconception is the more extraordinary, seeing that one of the books of Sacred Writ takes its name from the divinely-directed enumerations of the Hebrew population. We read (Numbers i.) that in the second year after the deliverance from Egypt a reckoning was commanded to be made of the males from the age of twenty to sixty ; that is, of the portion of the people “able to go forth to war,” and which amounted to 603,550. This enumeration did not include the Levites ; who were afterwards numbered separately (Numbers iii.), from one month old and upwards. In the same chapter we read of the enumeration of the first-born males of each family from one month old, the number being 22,273. There is further (Numbers iv.) an enumeration of the male descendants of Levi, through his three sons Kershon Kohath, and Merari, from twenty years of age to fifty ; that is, of those who were in vigour for the service of the sanctuary, and who amounted to 8580. These details completed the first general census after the deliverance from Egypt.

We might mention, if we were commenting on the facts, several special lessous to be learned from these particulars, one of which is, that whereas only those of the males who were neither juvenile nor

« PoprzedniaDalej »