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neither eat nor drink until they had slain the enemy of their nation or of their God. This was the school which supplied that execrable faction, who added tenfold to the miseries of Jerusalem in the day of her visitation, and who contributed more than all the legions of Rome to realize the bitterness of the curse which was poured upon her devoted head.
A succession of unprincipled governors, who were sent forth to enrich themselves on the spoils of the Syrian provinces, accelerated the crisis of Judea. About the middle of the first century the notorious Felix was appointed to the government, who, in the administration of affairs, habitually combined violence with fraud, sending out his soldiers to inflict punishment on such as had not the means or the inclination to bribe his clemency. An equal stranger to righteousness and temperance, he presented a fine subject for the eloquence of St. Paul, who it is presumed, however, made the profligate governor tremble, without either affecting his religious principles or improving his moral conduct.
The short residence of Festus procured for the unhappy Jews a respite from oppression. He laboured successfully to put down the bands of insurgents, whose ravages were inflicted indiscriminately upon foreigners and their own countrymen; nor was he less active in checking the excesses of the military, so long accustomed to rapine and free quarter. Agrippa at the same time transferred the seat of his government to Jerusalem, where his presence served to moderate the rage of parties, and thereby to postpone the final rupture between the provincials and their imperial master. But this brief interval of repose was followed by an increased degree of irritation and fury. Florus, alike distinguished for his avarice 'and cruelty, and who saw in the contentions of the people the readiest means for filling his own coffers, connived at the mutual hostility which it was his duty to prevent. In this nefarious policy he received the countenance of Cestius Gallus, the prefect of Syria, who, imitating the maxims of his lieutenant, studiously drove the natives to insurrection, in order that their cries for justice might be drowned amid the clash of arms.
But he forgot that there are limits to endurance even among the most humble and abject. Unable to support the weight of his tyranny, and galled by certain insults directed against their faith, the Jewish inhabitants of Cesarea set his power at defiance, and declared their resolution to repel his injuries by force. The capital was soon actuated by a similar spirit, and made preparations for defence. Cestius marched to the gates, and demanded an entrance for the imperial cohorts, whose aid was required to support the garrison within. The citizens, refusing to comply, anticipated the horrors of a siege, when after a few days they saw, to their great surprise, the Syrian prefect in full retreat, carrying with him his formidable army. Sallying from the different outlets with arms in their hands, they pursued the fugitives with the usual fury of an incensed multitude; and, overtaking their enemy at the narrow pass of Bethhoron, they avenged the cause of independence by a considerable slaughter of the legionary soldiers, and by driving the remainder to an ignominious flight.
Nero received the intelligence of this defeat while amusing himself in Greece, and immediately sent Vespasian into Syria to assume the government, with instructions to restore the peace of the province by moderate concessions or by the most vigorous warfare. It was in the year sixty-seven that this great commander entered Judea, accompanied by his son, the celebrated Titus. The result is too well known to require details. A series of sanguinary battles deprived the Jews of their principal towns one after another, until they were at length shut up in Jerusalem ; the siege and final reduction of which compose one of the most affecting stories that are anywhere recorded in the annals of the human race.
On the Literature and Religious Usages of the Ancient
Obscurity of the Subject-Learning issued from the Levitical Colleges
Schools of the Prophets-Music and Poetry- Meaning of the term Prophecy-Illustrated by References to the Old Testament and to the New--The Power of Prediction not confined to those bred in the Schools—Race of False Prophets-Their Malignity and Deceit-Micaiah and Ahab--Charge against Jeremiah the Prophet-Criterion to distinguish True from False Prophets--- The Canonical Writings of the Prophets-Literature of Prophets--Sublime Nature of their Compositions—Examples from Psalms and Prophetical Writings, Humane and liberal Spirit-Care used to keep alive the knowledge of the Law -Evils arising from the Division of Israel and Judah-Ezra collects the Ancient Books--Schools of Prophets similar to Convents--Sciences --Astronomy-Division of Time, Days, Months, and Years—Sabbaths and New Moons-Jewish Festivals--Passover- Pentecost-Feast of Tabernacles--of Trumpets-Jubilee--Daughters of ZeluphedadFeast of Dedication-Minor Anniversaries--Solemn Character of Hebrew Learning--Its easy Adaptation to Christianity--Superior to the Literature of all other ancient Nations.
THERE is no subject on which greater obscurity prevails than that of the learning and schools of the Hebrews prior to their return from the Babylonian captivity. The wise institution of Moses, which provided for the maintenance of Levitical towns in all the tribes, secured at least an hereditary knowledge of the law, including both its civil and its spiritual enactments. It is extremely probable, therefore, that all the varieties of literary attainment which might be deemed necessary, either for the discharge of professional duties or for the ornament of private life, were derived from those seminaries, and partook largely of their general character and spirit. An examination of the scanty remains of that remote period will justify, to a considerablo extent, the conjecture now made. It will appear that the poetry, the ethics, the oratory, the music, and even the physical science cultivated in the time of Samuel and David bore a close relation to the original object of the Levitical colleges, and were meant to promote the principles of religion and morality, no less than of that singular patriotism which made the Hebrew delight in his separation from all the other nations of the earth.
Our attention is first attracted by the several allusions which are scattered over the earlier books of the Old Tes. tament to the schools of the prophets. These were establishments obviously intended to prepare young men for certain offices analogous to those which are discharged in our days by the different orders of the clergy ; maintained in some degree at the public expense; and placed under the superintendence of persons who were distinguished for their gravity and high endowments. The principal studies pursued in these convents appear to have been poetry and music, the elements of which were necessary to the young prophet when he was called to take a part in the worship of Jehovah. In the book of Samuel we find the pupils performing on psalteries, tabrets, and harps; and in the first section of the Chronicles it is said that the sons of Asaph, of Heman, and of Jeduthan prophesied with harps, with psalteries, and with cymbals. For the same reason Miriam the sister of Moses is called a prophetess. When preparing to chant her song of triumph, upon the destruction of the Egyptians at the Red Sea, “ she took a timbrel in her hand, and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances."
On a similar ground is the expression to be interpreted when used by St. Paul in the eleventh chapter of his First Epistle to the Corinthians. “ Every woman praying or prophesying with her head uncovered dishonourethher head;" that is, every female who takes a part in the devotions of the Christian Church,—the supplications and the praises-ought, according to the practice of eastern nations, to have her face concealed in a veil, as becoming the modesty of her sex in a mixed congregation. The term prophesy, in this instance, must be restricted to the use of psalmody, because exposition or exhortation in public was not permitted to the women, who were not allowed to speak or even to ask a question in a place of worship. Nay, the same apostle applies the title of prophet to those persons among the heathen who composed or uttered songs in praise of their gods. In his Epistle to Titus he alludes to
the people of Crete in these words, “one of themselves, even a prophet of their own, has said, the Cretans were always liars." And every classical scholar is perfectly aware that in the language of pagan antiquity a poet and a prophet were synonymous appellations.
But the function of the prophet was not confined to the duty of praise and thanksgiving ; it also implied the ability to expound and enforce the principles of the Mosaical Law. He was entitled to exhort and entreat; and we accordingly find that the greater portion of the prophetical writings consist of remonstrances, rebukes, threatenings, and expostulations. In order to be a prophet, in the Hebrew sense of the expression, it was not necessary to be endowed with the power of foreseeing future events. It is true that the holy men through whom the Almighty thought meet to reveal his intentions relative to the church, were usually selected from the order of persons now described. But there were several exceptions, among whom stood preeminent the eloquent Daniel and the pathetic Amos. To prophesy, therefore, in the later times of the Hebrew commonwealth meant most generally the explication and enforcement of Divine truth -an import of the term which was extended into the era of the New Testament, when the more recondite sense of the phrase was almost entirely laid aside.
In truth, it should seem that even before the days of Samuel the opinions, or rather perhaps the popular notions connected with the name and offices of a prophet, had undergone some change, and began to point to higher objects. Saul, when employed in seeking his father's asses, had journeyed so far from home that he despaired of finding his way thither; and when he was come to the land of Zuph he said to his servant, “ Come, and let us return; lest my father leave caring for the asses, and take thought
And he said unto him, Behold now, there is in this city a man of God, and he is an honourable man; all that he saith cometh surely to pass : now let us go thither; peradventure he can show us our way that we should go. Then said Saul to his servant, But, behold, if we go, what shall we bring the man ; for the bread is spent in our
vessels, and there is not a present to bring to the man of God : what have we? And the servant answered Saul again,