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• temple, which were made up of the offerings
of David, Samuel, Saul, Abner, and Joab.* Ít was chiefly of the booty taken from enemies. The Gentiles made such offerings in the temples of their false gods, sometimes upon other occasions: we need no other example than the temple of Delphi, and the rich presents that Cresus sent to obtain favourable oracles. . ;
The most considerable vow was that of the Nazarites, who obliged themselves for so long a time to drink no wine nor strong drink, nor to cut their hair, and to keep themselves carefully from all legal impurities, particularly coming near dead bodies. The rule of the Rechabites seems to be founded upon such vows. The author of it was Jonadab the son of Rechab,s who lived in the time of Jehu king of Israel, and the prophet Elisha. He forbad his children to drink wine, build houses, to plant, have lands, or vineyards. They abode therefore under tents, employing themselves, in all probability, as the Levites did, in breeding cattle, and exactly imitating the pastoral life of the patriarchs : they were married, and inviolably observed this rule in their family, at least one hundred and eighty years, for we cannot tell what became of them after the captivity. .....:
ANOTHER sort of religious people,' and much more considerable, were the prophets. There was'a great number of them from Samuel's. time: witness that company which Saul met, who prophesied at the sound of instruments, transported by the spirit of God;*, and that other company which prophesied before : Samuel, and seem to have been his disciples. t But it does not appear that there ever were so many, as from the days of Elijah and Elisha, to the Babylonish captivity. They lived separate from the world, distinguished by their habit and way of living : they dwelt upon mountains, as Elijah and Elisha did upon Carmel and Gilgal. The rich woman, who lodged Elisha when he went by Shunem, had a chamber, as I said, built and furnished for him, I where he lived so retired, that he did not speak so much as to the · person who entertained him, but made his servant Gehazi speak to her for him: and when she came to intreat him to raise her son to life again, Gehazi would not let her touch the prophet's feet. When Naaman, general of the Syrian armies, came to him to be cured of his leprosy, he sent him word what to do, without being seen by him.||
Two other of this prophet's miracles shew that his disciples lived in societies; that of the herb-pottage which he made wholesome, and that of the barley-bread which he multiplied :* which shews also the plainness of their food.
There were a hundred prophets that lived together in this: society, and they wrought with their hands ; : for, finding their lodgings tob strait, they went themselves to cut down wood to build with, and were, so poor, that one of
them was obliged to borrow a hatchet. iii L' Their dress was sackcloth or hair-cloth, that
is, mourning, to shew they were always in afflietion for the sins of the people. Thus, to describe Elijah, they said, he was a man clothed in a hairy garment, and girt with a girdle of leather about his loins.t. Thus, when God bids Isaiah undress himself, he, orders him to loose his sackcloth from.off his loins [ It appears, that the two great prophets mentioned in the Revela tion were both clothed in sackcloth.Ş • The prophets, at least some of them, were nevertheless, married men; and that widow, whose oil Elisha multiplied, was a prophet's widow. It seems also as if their children followed the same profession ; for the prophets are often called sons of the prophets : which made . Amos say, I am no prophet, nor prophet's son, but only a herdsman; to shew that he did not prophesy by profession, but by an extraordinary call. For though God most frequently made
use of such as led a prophetic life; to declare his will, yet was he under no obligation not to 'make revelations to any one else.
Yet commonly none were reckoned prophets, but such as led that sort of life; whence it comes, -that the writings of David, Solomon, and Daniel, are not put by the Jews among the prophetic books;* because the two first were kings, living delicately and magnificently, and the other, a Persian governor, who also lived at court, and in the hurry of the world: but this distinction is not attended to by our Lord, who expressly calls Daniel à Prophet. Matt. xxiv. 15.
These holy men, after the patriarchs, preserved the purest tradition of the true religion: Their employment was meditating upon the law of
God, praying to him often day and night, both . for themselves and others; and inuring them
-selves to the practice of every virtue. They in-structed their disciples, explained to them the spirit and meaning of the law, and opened to them the sublime mysteries relating to the state of the church, either upon earth, or in heaven, after the Messiah should come, that were hidden under allegories of things sensible, and seemingly mean. They instructed the people too who came to hear them upon Sabbath and other feast days. They reproved them for their vices, and exhorted them to repent, often foretelling, from God, what was to happen to them.f This - liberty, which they took of speaking the most
disagreeable truths, even to kings, made them hated, and cost many of them their lives.
However, there were many impostors who counterfeited the outward demeanor of true prophets, wore sackcloth as they did, spake the same language, pretending they were also inspired by God:* but they took care not to foretell any thing that would be disagreeable either to the prince or people. The false gods also had their prophets, as the eight hundred and fifty whom Elijah caused to be slain.t Of the same sort were the soothsayers among the Greeks, that were called ManTEIG, as Calchas and
Tiresias in the times of the heroes: such likewise were they that gaye out oracles, or made money of them, and the poets, who said they were inspired by the gods. For they did not mean to have it thought that they said so only in a poetical manner, but to make it believed that they Teally were: and in fact, these false prophets, cither by the operation of the devil, or some artifice, became transported, and spake in an unusual style, to imitate the visible effects which the spirit of God caused in the true prophets. Now, those Israelites, that were not thoroughly confirmed in their religion, lay under great temptations to consult these diviners and false oracles, and it was a part of idolatry which they were very subject to fall into, during the whole period of which we speak.