Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub
[merged small][merged small][graphic][merged small]

As other ancient cities, so Athens had, on an elevated spot, — where had been planted the first germ of its social life, — a citadel, or stronghold, termed the Acropolis. In relation to Athens, this is still a very interesting spot; for it bears the remains, in a mutilated state, of three temples, besides other ruins. In the days of its glory, however, the Athenian Acropolis, of which the cut gives a view as if it were restored, comprised objects of the deepest interest and concernment to the minds of the citizens. We can add only a few particulars. The west side of the Acropolis, which alone afforded a natural ascent, was, under the dominion of Pericles, furnished with a splendid flight of steps, and adorned with the Propyltea, and two beautiful buildings, one on each of its sides. The Tropyliea, built of Pentclican marble, was the work of the architect Mnesicles, who employed five years in the task. Before this edifice, there stood, in the age of the Csesars, two equestrian statues; of which one was erected in honour of Augustus, the other of Agrippa. Before its southern wing was a temple dedicated to ' Victory without wings.' On the left was a small picture gallery. On

the highest part of the platform of the Acropolis, about three hundred feet frcm the l'ropyhea, stood the Parthenon, of white Pentelican marble; erected under the care of Oallicratcs, Iclinus, and Carpion, and decorated with the finest sculptures of Phidias. North of the Parthenon was the Erccthteum; a complex building which comprised the temple of Minerva Polias, a building which was properly called the Erecthffium, and the Pandrosseum. This sanctuary held the holy olive-tree of Atlieno (whence Athens) or Minerva, the holy salt-brook, the very ancient wooden image of Pallas or Minerva, and other sacred things, to which the greatest reverence was paid: it was the scene of the oldest and most sacred recollections, myths, and ceremonies of the Athenian people. We must not omit to mention the brazen colossal statue of Pallas Promachos, made by Phidias, which stood between the Propylara and the Krecthaeum; and rose so high above all the edifices, that the plume of the goddess, and the point of her spear, could bo seen far otit on the sea. The Acropolis was moreover so occupied with monuments and statues, that it is wonderful how room was found for them, since the platform was only 1160 feet from south-east to south-west, with a breadth that did not much exceed 500 feet. How much was centered on this small spot, of which Athens was justly proud; but which, having no true religious vitality, perished in a few centuries, under changes consequent on the preaching there, and at other places, of the 'babbler' Paul, whom its refined citizens could, with all their love of novelty, barely hear with suitable decorum.

From the year 1814, Athens has been the capital of the new Greek kingdom, of which George is sovereign. By the aid of steam, railways, and ether European appliances, Athens is now undergoing a renovation scarcely less great than that which was commenced there nearly two thousand years ago by the Christian apostle.

ATONEMENT (At-one-ment; making one, or reconciling). The fundamental idea is that of bringing two alienated parties into harmony. This is effected by some instrumentality, which instrumentality is the atoning agency. All these ideas are expressed in these lines from Shakspere, which show the original meaning of our English word:

led. fa there division'twixt mj lord and Casato' ~most ""^PP? one: I would do much T atKmc them, for the love I bear to Casslo. Tyndal has applied the term to our Lord. | Paul sayth, One God, one Mediator (that is to say, advocate, intercessor, or an atonemaker) between God and men.'

The scriptural idea of atonement must be sought originally in the records of the Old Testament. The Hebrew word, in its radical meaning, signifies lo cover by means of "me substance or thing: for instance, the ark was covered with a blood-sprinkled lid. Bnt, if you cover, you obliterate, destroy, remove. Hence the term, when used of man, intended doing some act by which sin was covered or done away with: when used of God, it signified to blot out, to forgive. Accordingly, atonement is the means by which man obtains of God remission of sins. It is, in other words, God's method of pardoning his guilty creatures, and so receiving them into favour. As such, it is, in its very essence, an expression of mercy, not wrath. It is a divinely originated expedient, by "tich man is cleansed and his sin pardoned, and God is pleased to manifest his grace. The idea of atonement is not to paofy, but to cover, and so to pardon sin. further: sin it is which alienates man from t«d. * Your iniquities have separated between yon and your God' (Isa.lix.2). This J» the general doctrine of Scripture. The '»ct of man's alienation, necessitates atonement Hence God appointed means by wtuch sin should be covered and blotted oat; «o tbRt, the intervening obstacle and aworbing cause being removed, man miriit »• restored to God's favour, and, being at

one with him, might perfect holiness aud enjoy peace.

Let us turn to the Bible and enquire what it teaches on the snbject of 'atonement.' It is vain to think of constructing a religion out of our own minds. This were to repeat the error into which the ancients fell as regards natural science. Instead of going to nature, end investigating her laws and facts, they invented a system of philosophy, drawing from their imaginations solely, which was altogether useless, because it was wholly untrue. Religion cannot be invented. It can be known only on the Baconian method. It must be the result of observation, or matter of revelation. We must go to tho Bible, and bypatient and docile study ascertain its facts touching our relation to God, and its principles touching reconciliation and remission of sin. We turn to the Old Testament. The great fact that meets us here is, that Sacrifice constituted the worship of the church under the old economy. There was an altar, a victim, and a priest. It is the divinelyappointed method of worship. We trace it from the foundation of the world, down through the patriarchal ages, and tho Mosaic economy, till it ends at the foot of the cross. Here was a form of worship, to say the least, very peculiar, seeing it was by blood, kept up for four thousand years. During all that time the altar was the centra of the church, and sacrifice was tho foundation of all her ritual. Why was this? God never institutes a ceremonial which is void and meaningless. He appoints no mere histrionic worship; it is ever his care to educate the world in spiritual and moral truth. What was the truth at the centre of the sacrificial worship of the Old Testament church? We penetrate to that truth by observing more ilosely the sacrifice and its accompaniments. The sacrificial system is inaugurated in these words (Lev. i. 2) 'Speak unto the children of Israel and say unto them, If any man of you bring an offering unto the Lord, ye shall bring your offering of the cattle, even of the herd and of the flock.' The sacrifice must be a living creature. The essence of the sacrifice, then, lay in the life. It was life that must be offered; it was blood that must be shed; and without blood there was uo sacrifice—no covering of sin — no atonement. 'Without shedding of blood there is no remission.'

Of this a striking and memorable intimation was given at the very opening of sacrificial worship. Cain brought an offering of frnits; but it was rejected. Why? Because there was in it no life—no blood, and so it could not cover, nor expiate, nor atone. As we have said in a previous article, Cain's offering, lacking the essential of sacrifice, was a denial of a post fact, even the entrance of sin; and it was a renouncement of a promised blessing, even a coming redemption. Abel brought of the firstlings of his flock, and he was accepted.

But whose vis the sin that was corered— atoned for? Was it that of the animal whose life was offered? That idea is not admissible. And to shut out that idea, and to turn the eye in quest of the guilt, from the victim to another quarter, the animal must have upon it all the signs aud tokens of innocence. 'If his offering be a burnt-sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish' (Lev. 1. 3). And so in the Pascal sacrifice, 'Your lamb shall be without blemish' (Exod. xii. 5). An animal, so to speak, which has done no sin, was alone fit to be laid upon the altar. Whose, then, was the sin? in other words, in whose room was the life of the victim offered? We are told very plainly, both by words and by symbolic acts in whose room the life of the sacrifice was offered. 'He,' the person bringing the sacrifice, 'shall offer it of his own voluntary will. And he shall put his hand upon the head of the burnt-offering, and it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him' (Lev. i. 1-4).

Thi9 principle, even that of substitution— the innocent dying in the room of the guilty— was placed conspicuously at the head of the sacrificial institute. It is visible all throughout, and makes itself prominent as the ruling principle of the whole. Let us take, for instance, the day of high atonement, the tenth day of the seventh month. On that day the high priest was to make atonement, first, for himself and for his house, offering for that end 'a young bullock for a sin-offering, and a ram for a burnt-offering.' Next, he was to make atonement for 'the congregation of the children of Israel with two kids of she-goats, which were to be severally disposed of in the manner to be afterwards noted. Next, he was to make atonement for ' the holy place and the tabernacle of the congregation and the altar,' because of 'the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions in all their sins.' Having made this universal atonement, ho was 'to cast lots upon the two goats: one lot for the Lord, and the other lot tor the scape-goat.' The first was to be offered as a burnt-offering; the second was to be sent away into the wilderness, but laden with a burden which irresistibly suggests and teaches the doctrine of substitution—the innocent bearing the sin and enduring the punishment of the guilty. That burden was 'all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins' confessed over the live goat, by the high priest, both his hands being the while upon the head of the animal, to signify 'the putting' the sins of the people 'upon the head of the goat.' It is added, 'the goat shall bear upon bim all their iniquities into a land not inhabited.' The two underlying ideas here, beyond all doubt, are those of imputed guiltiacis and vicarious suffering, and we do not see bow it was possible, by words and signs, more dearly to teach these ideas. These were the great truths at the

centre of the Old Testament worship; and in these truths the world was indoctrinated during four thousand years. If not, what truth did that worship teach? What end did it serve? Did God, after the manner of certain governments on earth, knowing the love of his creatures for pantomime and play, devise and maintain this system to amuse and beguile the successive generations, and not rather that the world might advance in knowledge and truth?

But it may be asked, what relation is there between the Bufferings of an animal and the sin of man? or, as the apostle has put it, can the blood of bulls and goats take away sin? This is a most pertinent question, and one which helps forward our investigation, and makes more irresistible the conclusion to which that investigation points. The blood of bulls or goats could not really take away sin. These sacrifices were and could be nothing more than types and shadows. But there can be no shadow without a substance, and this compels us to ask where and what was the substance? There can be no mistaking the substance, which was Christ. The apcstle, writing under the direction of the Spirit, says of the Old Testament observances, that they were 'a shadow of good things to come; but the body is of Christ.' One whole book of the New Testament Scriptures, the ' Hebrews,' to wit, is devoted to an exposition of the Aaronie priesthood and sacrifices. And what is that exposition? It is in brief that in Christ we have the reality of that of which we bad only the shadow under the law. In the former all was typical, in the latter all is real: the priest is real; the sacrifice is real; the cleansing is real; and the redemption is real. The doctrine of a real substitution and of a vicarious sacrifice— the imputation of the sinner's guilt to the innocent substitute, and the actual expiation of that guilt by the blood of Christ, is taught as the substanoe of the gospel, and as the essence of that religion which God has made known to man for his salvation, in a manner so plain in the Epistle to the Hebrews that there is no way of getting quit of it save by denying the inspiration of that part of the canon. And to what avail should we do so, seeing the same truth remains written, in terms equally plain, in so many other portions of the New Testament Scriptures. This lets us into the reason why Christ, in instituting the Supper, said with reference to the bread and wine, 'This is my flesh,' 'This is my blood.' He did so to show that that in which lies the essence of a sacrifice was in His sacrifice; apd that, unlike Cain, He was not bringing the fruits of the field; but, like Abel, a veritable sacrifice. He had brought a holy nature; but that was not His sacrifice. He had brought a sinless life; but that was not His sacrifice. He had brought a perfect example; but neither was that His sacrifice. He bad brought love to God ami mar; hut neither is this His sacrifice. Now He brings Himself—His flesh anj blood, and therewith He makes a real expiation, and accomplishes the redemption of the world —J. A. W.

ATONEMENT, DAY OF (H. day of atonements), an annual festival of nniversal cleansing among the Israelites, which began on the evening before the tenth day of the seventh month (Tisri), and lasted to the evening of the same tenth day. It took place, therefore, nine days after the Feast of Trumpets, and five days before the Feast of Tabernacles. Its occurrence in the seventh month, and its name, Sabbath of Sabbutlis, that is, the great Sabbath, show that this institution made a part of the Judaical Sabbath system; on which account the two great festivals, the Sabbatical year and the year of Jubilee, opened with the Sabbath of Atonement. As a Sabbath, the day was to be kept free from all manner of work, both on the part of the Hebrews, and of strangers resilient among them. But the distinguishing peculiarity of the day was, that it was a season of annual purification, releasing the Jewish people from all lapses, omissions, and sins, into which they might hare fallen during the year. The particularity with which the observances of the day are laid down (Lev. xvi.; xxiii. 20—32. Numb. xxiz. 7—11), proves the importance that was attached to the institution, for which reason it is termed ' the day,' ' the great day;' and, as fasting was required among its usages, it is denominated 'the fast' (Acts xxvii. 8. Isa, lviii. 3. Ps. xxxv. 13). The word rendered ' fast' denotes, in the original, kuwulintumoftoul, as the seat of the affections, of which, humiliation the fast was the outward means and token. the day was therefore one of general mural review, of contrition, and self-abasement before Jehovah; a day of sorrow and mourning; but also, in consequence of the universal atonement then made, a day of deliverance, joy, and peace.

The purification was universal, beginning with the high priest, and descending to the furniture of the tabernacle. Hence the idea of sin must here be enlarged beyond its ordinary comprehension. In Mosaism ritual nncleanness bore the name, as well as moral defilement. The universality of the cleansing had a high spiritual import, betokening that there is nothing iu creation holy but Cod; thus raising man's idea of the Creator, and making that idea hallowing to the human soul. The purification did not omit the priests, and so brought them into tin- same class of sinners with their fellow-man, and aided to counteract any vain notion of self importance and sclf-rigbteousness which their position might otherwise engender. The rites of cleansing began with the priests, thus intimating that it is with holy hands and a purified heart that God's work was to be

undertaken. The moral import of these observances in genera] cannot be mistaken. If the effect corresponded only in part with the original design and tendency, the same may be said of Christianity itself. But the language of the prophets clearly shows, that the moral significance of the entire ritual was its divine element; towards a full conception of which the chief minds of the nation made rapid progress, and, at the same time, held forth their light to the whole of the people (Isa. lviii. I's. 1). Nor must it be forgotten that Judaism eventually gave rise aud place to Christianity,— the most ceremonial to the most purely spiritual religion upon earth. Moses and Christ are at the head of two very dissimilar cycles of divine revelation; yet the first was the harbinger of the second; such is the connection and such is the unity that prevail in the dispensations of Providence.

As no other nation had for its fundamental idea and aim 'Holiness to Jehovah' (Exod. xxviii. 36), so, amid all the religious observances of the world, there is none that corresponds with the day of atonement Some resemblance to it may be found in the Ramadan of the Mohammedans, which, however, most probably imitated the Jewish festival. At a less distance lies the Hindoo Sandrajonon (Priestley's 'Comparison'): most remote are the Supplicationes of the ancient Romans.

AUGUSTUS (L. honourable and inviolable), the title of honour by which is generally described in history, Coins Julius Caesar Octavius or Uctavionus, of the family of the Octavii, son of the praetor Cuius Octavius, adopted son and sole heir of his great uncle, the well-known warrior and writer, Cuius Julius Ceesar, whose name Augustus, according to custom, added to his own. He was born in the consulship of Cicero and Antony, 601, U.C; 62, A.C. After the assassination of Julius Caesar by Brutus and his associates (44, A.C), he united himself with Marc Antony and I.epiilus to make war on the slayers of his relative. The three soon disagreed. Augustus gained (31, A.C.) a final victory in the sealight at Artium on the Ambracius Sinus, on the western side of Northern Greece; and thus having set aside competitors, he pro ceeded to take possession of the universal empire, which Rome had ready to give to the linnl victor. Retaining the old republican forms, the senate (725, U.A.) handed over the state to the bands of a monarch, under the military title of imperator (commander): whence our word emperor. Augustus was also distinguished by the title of Ca-sar, iu honour of his uncle. Year by year the senate and himself played at the game of preserving the substance of a despotism under the shadow of republican forms; the emperor laying down his authority, and the o«aate entreating him to resume it. The title Augustus was conferred on him by the senate as an honourable designation, and has special allusion to the sacred character of the emperor in his capacity of the national chief priest. Liberality towards the army, moderation towards the senate, skill and mildness in the management of the people, patronage of the arts, and respectable powers of mind, secured Augustus in possession of the government for a period of forty-four years, and enabled him to found the greatest military dominion that was ever known. He died in tbe seventy-sixth year of his age, 707 after the foundation of Kome, and (according to the vulgar era) fourteen years after the birth of Christ, at Nola, in Campania.

Herod, who had taken sides with Antony, was, of course, implicated in the defeat which the latter underwent at Actiuin: he was, however, received by Augustus into favour, who gave him the title of' King of the Jews' and enlarged his dominions. He also raised Herod's brother to the dignity of tetrarch. As an expression of his gratitude, Herod built, in honour of Augustus, a marble tern

pie not far from the fountains of the Jordan, and showed, throughout his life, the greatest deference to the imperial will. After Herod's death, Augustus divided his dominions, agreeably to the testament of the deceased monarch, among his sons, but saw himself compelled to banish one of them, namely, Archelaus, when he attached that prince's territory of Judea and Samaria to the province of Syria. The liberal acts of Augustus towards Herod and the Jews arose from no feeling of respect for that people, but from considerations of policy, Mid a certain k:Md of favourable regard towards Herod personally.

AVOUCH (L. to claim), an old form of our usual word avow, to own, or take to oae'sself, in which sense the term is used in Deut. xxvi. 17,18, * Thou hast avouched the Lord this day to be thy God;' 'and the Lord hath avouched thee this day to be his peculiar people.' The Hebrew word is the same as that which is rendered 'say.' Shakespere thus uses the word :—

• If the duke avouch the justice of your dealing.'

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

BAAL (11. Lord) was the most popular, if not the supreme, male-divinity of the Canaanitish nations, as well as of the Carthaginians and the Babylonians. The name Baal, intended to denote the lord or master of the world, was applied to the sun as the great celestial influence; and, considered as the male deity, Baal represented the fructifying power of nature, in contradistinction from the passive and bearing power which was recognised in the moon under the appellation of Astarte. The service of Baal was therefore a corrupted form of nature-worship, or the worship of natural objects, to which the East so readily, so widely, and so thoroughly yielded, in conuqnence of the splendour hi which the hea

venly bodies there appear, and the diminutive proportions into which man is thereby reduced. Baal was the protecting divinity of the Tynans, who denominated him Melcartli, city-king. Images of Baal are found on coins, on which he is commonly seen beardless, his head encircled with a chaplet of ivy, clad with a lion's hide, and bearing a club; or he grasps a serpent, whence it may be that the Greeks termed him Hercules. Of the two cuts here given, the smaller deserves special notice. It is taken from a coin found in the Tyrian island Cosyra. Its style shows its antiquity, while the influence of Grecian art is visible in the impression from the larger coin.

[graphic][graphic][ocr errors][merged small]
« VorigeDoorgaan »