« PreviousContinue »
I conclude therefore, that, coming from the coasts of Tyre and Sidon, she was a Canaanitish woman of Phenicia in Syria, by nation; and a Greek, that is a Gentile; and this conclusion seems to be corroborated by the text following the verses before quoted, “it is not meet to take the childrens' bread and cast it to dogs.” “ Spaldinensis observes, “ I think the words of Dr. Carpenter, in his “Geography of the New Testament,” will satisfactorily answer this question. “ Tyre and Sidon are several times mentioned in our Lord's discourses; and in the adjoining district, the coast of Tyre and Sidon. He miraculously cured the daughter of a woman of Sy. ROPHENICIA, that is that part of Phænice which bordered on Syria. As the remnant of the ancient Canaanites dwelt in Phænice, this woman is called by Matthew, a woman of Canaan.”
Thus the seeming difference between the two Evangelists is reconciled, but why Mark himself should call this woman both a Greek and Syrophænician, in the verse alluded to, may appear still more mysterious, if we consider the distance between Greece and Syria; but this difficulty also may be obviated by a little candour and reflection. It is well known that at the time of Christ's appearance upon the earth, all the world, except the Jews, were sunk in the grossest idolatry, especially the Greeks, who were so infatuated with their false gods, as to make the name Greek become proverbial for Idolater *. And in this substituted sense it was, that Mark used the word, without considering to what country the woman belonged ; as we sometimes say, such a man is an arrunt Frenchman, when we only mean to imply, that he is greatly disaffected to the interests and government of this country.
Mr. D. Copsey, after some very ingenious remarks corresponding very nearly with the above, adds: “ It has been observed by Bochart that the Canaanites were ashamed of their name on account of the curse denounced on their progenitor, and terrified by the wars continually waged on them by the Israelites; and that to avoid the ignominy of the one, and the danger of the
* In this sense the word Greek must be understood in Rom, ia 16, Gal. iii, 28,
other, they abjured their old name, and changed it for Phænicians, Syrians, Syrophænicians, and Assyrians. The borders both on the Phænician and Syrian sides, were called by the common name of Syrophænicians, as partaking equally of both nations.. Of a similar opinion was J. H. N..the proposer:
Query 38. · Mr. A. Hirst (the proposer) says, “If the edge of ar piece of pure silk be exposed to the flame of a candle it burns to a black.coal after the manner of wool or hair ; but if there be any cotton or linen mixed with it, they may be discovered, for they will not burn to a coal, but are turned to ashes in a moment, accompanied with a different kind of smoke, and by this means may be examined both the warp and the woof of any piece of silk by taking a thread of each."
Mr. M. Harrison observes that." cotton is extremely combustible, and burns with a clear lively flame. Silk on the contrary is but imperfectly combustible, though. fire rapidly blackens and decomposes it; these distin guishing characteristics are sufficient for the purpose required by the query."
Query 39. Añswered by Mr. J. Buines, jún. the proposer. We are informed, that before the deluge the life of man was generally about eight or nine hundred years ; after that event it fell almost all at once to about one hundred and fifty, or one hundred and eighty.. The diminution ever since, though small, has, been gradual and perceptible; so that it is now no more than seventy, or seventy-five. The great difference of the length of human life between the ante-diluvian and post-diluvian worlds was probably occasioned by some great alteration of the surrounding atmosphere; vegetable productions were rendered less nutritive, and animal food was. granted (Genesis ix, 3): from which, I think, it is reasonable to infer, that as human life has ever since de creased, the atmosphere has been gradually growing less pure and salubrious, and less fit for the support of animal life,
Mr. Copsey says, the period of man's life being protracted to such an extraordinary length before the flood, appears to have been designed for the more rapid peopling of the earth. Yet immediately after the deluge we find the life of man gradually decreasing to fourscore years. Various reasons have been assigned for this decrease; the most probable appears to be the change which must have taken place in the atmosphere in consequence of the deluge, which rendered it unfavourable to the constitution of man.
In many parts of the Old Testament we find men of a hundred and even of eighty years spoken of as very aged, (2 Sam. xix. 32.) which seems to prove that the duration of man's life has not varied for more than three thousand years. What is said in Genesis vi. 3. “My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh; yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years," appears to allude not to the length of his life, but to the term mercifully afforded the antediluvians for repentance, while the ark was building, (one hundred and twenty years) and it is so explained in 1 Pet. iii. 20. The stature of man does not appear to have suffered any change, for we find that giants were esteemed rarities and wonders of old times; but this is not the case with our bodily strength, which has certainly very much declined, and that greatly in the course of the last six or seven centuries. None of the present degenerate race could exist under the ponderous load of armour in which our forefathers were clad. This may be attributed in great measure to the introduction of luxurious living, which by creating numerous' artificial wants has proportionably enervated our bodies. The invention also of an infinite number of mechanical engines, by which manual labour is greatly lessened, and in many cases entirely superseded, must be supposed to have promoted in a great degree this declension of muscular power.
This Query was answered nearly similar as above by Mr. Joshua Bamford.
Answered by Spaldinensis. . Urim signifies light, and Thummin perfection ; and hence it is that the Septuagint translate Urim and Thummim by the words Aýawol rai Aagoslav, i. e, manifestation and truth.
What the Urim and Thummim were has occasioned a thousand ridiculous conjectures. Dr. Spencer and some others say they were two images, shut up in the doubling of the breast-plate which gave oracular answers : others, that it was the Tetragranematon or the ineffable name of God, written or engraved in a mysterious manner, and done up in two parts, in two different ways. But these are Rabinical fables. And they are equally puzzled to tell how the answers were given by them. The most commonly received opinion among the Jews is, that it was by the shining * and protuberating of certain letters in the names of the twelve tribes, graven on the twelve stones in the breastplate of the high priest, which constituted the answer. Such Talmudical tales are stated, and ably refuted by the learned Prideaux, in his “Connection of the Old and New Testament,” (vol. i. p. 213 to 223.) from whence I have drawn and condensed this answer.
All that can be determined with certainty respecting these so long agitated questions is, what the Scriptures inform us, viz. That the Urim and Thummim were some thing which Moses put into the breast-plate of the high priest; and its use was to ask counsel of God in diffi. cult and momentous cases, in which the interest of all the tribes of Israel were involved; and not for any individual in a private capacity. And it is most reasonable to suppose the responses were given in an audible voice to the high priest, when, according to the prescriptions of the divine law, he asked counsel by presenting himself, with the breast-plate on, over all his robes, before the veil, exactly over against the mercy. seat, where the Divine Presence rested. For in many instances which we have in Scripture of God's being consulted this way, the answer in every one of them,
* Cruden's Concordance, under the word Thummim.
except two, is ushered in with, “the Lord said :" and when the Israelites made peace with the Gibeonites, they are blamed because they asked not counsel at the mouth of God; both which phrases imply a vocal answer. And as the Lord permitted counsel to be asked of Him in the camp, without the Ark, as well as in the Tabernacle, where the Ark was, it seems probable that the priest anointed for the wars, had a tent in the camp on purpose, in which a part was separated by a veil, in the same manner as the Holy of Holies was in the Tabernacle. See Godwyn's Moses and Aaron," p. 183.
Mr. D. Copsey, after solving this query nearly as above, adds, “ One of the learned Jews * says, that the manner of asking counsel by the Urim and Thum-. mim was thus; when they enquired, the priest having the ephod on him, stood with his face towards the ark, and the enquirer stood behind him, with his face to. wards the back of the priest, and asked with a low voice, as one that prayeth by himself; forth with the Holy Ghost came on the priest, and he beheld the breast-plate, by the vision of prophecy, and gave the answer.”
Mr. M. Phoston says, “I am disposed to consider the names of the twelve tribes of Israel engraven on the twelve precious stones, as what alone was meant by the lustre and perfection, the Urim and the Thummim, which was appointed to be put in the breast-plate of judgment; Urim denoting the glory of the visible church, as bearing the light of truth (signified by the lustre of the precious stones); and Thummim, the unity of all its parts, constituting its perfection, signified by all the tribes of Israel engraven on these stones, and as it were enshrined in their glory. See a very ingenious paper on this subject, in the • Christian Observer, for March, 1812, from whence I' have extracted the above."
Communications on this query, similar to the above in substance, were received from Mr. J. Baines jun. J. H. N. and Mr. F. C. Spencer, Halifax.
* Maimon apud Ainsworth on Exodus xxviii. 90.