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tween members of the synagogue, instituted — the instruction of the and the power of ordaining ministers. congregation in the law, and the de
Second—The minister or angel of velopment and enjoyment of a spirit the congregation, (shelih hetsebur.) of devotion among the Jewish naThis officer, Prideaux thinks, was tion :-in the fulness of time, may we one of the rulers, to whom was as- not also conclude, a providential signed a special part of their joint arrangement preparatory to the more duty. He labored among the con- easy and untram melled introduction gregation in word and doctrine, of the great and more glorious organipreached, sometimes kept the book of zation of the Christian church ? the law, appointed the readers, de- Having thus briefly presented its signated the sections of the Prophets office-bearers, let us now consider to be read, and stood beside the for a moment the details of its service. readers and overlooked them, to see This, as before stated, was prayer, that they read aright. Hence he the reading of the Prophets, and was also called (hegen,) episkopos, or such expositions and remarks as the
passages read might seem to call for Third—The Deacon or Almoner. or suggest. The congregation being There were usually three of this rank, assembled and seated, the males and and their business was to collect alms females apart, with their backs to for the poor and appropriate them to the east and all facing the officers, the needy. These alms were gathered who sat with their backs to the west, from three sources :- 1st, Two or the minister of the congregation rose, three of the deacons went round the and with him the other officers and town with an almond-dish (lethmehui) all the congregation. Having ascendevery day, and collected what they ed into the pulpit
, the congregation could for “the world”—that is, the standing in an attitude of solemn devopoor Gentiles.
2nd, In the syna- tion, he proceeded to offer up public gogue there was placed a poor's chest, prayers. These were very numerous. (lekupe,) in which on Sabbath days, Those most generally used in the synthe charitable put what they could agogues were, in the days of Jesus and spare, for the relief of the poor Jews. his Apostles, the Shemene Oshre, or And 3rd, The alms from the field, the eighteen prayers supposed to have or the gleanings of the corn-fields — been composed by Ezra ; and, after of the vintage, &c.
the commencement of the Christian Fourth-The Thurgemin or inter- dispensation, a nineteenth, added by preter, who stood behind the reader, Rabbi Gamaliel, against the apostates and translated the portion read from or Christians. At the end of each of the original Hebrew into the vulgar these prayers, all the congregation, tongue.
male and female of age, said Amen! Fifth and Sixth—These are sup
After these nineteen prayers, conposed to have been the Doctor of the sidered the most solemn part of their divinity school and his interpreter. exercises, followed the repetition of This school was commonly attached their phylacteries, three portions of to the synagogue, and in it the tradi- scripture — found in the ivth Deut. tions were taught by the Doctors, 4 to 9, xi. 13 to 21 v. ; and arth who, for the purpose of inspiring the Numbers, 37th verse to the end. people with a deeper sense of their These were repeated, however, only dignity, always spoke in an under twice-a-day-morning and eveningtone to an interpreter.
and only by the males of free condition Thus organized, the Jewish syna- -women and servants being exempt. gogue was evidently well adapted to They were also interspersed with the great purpose for which it was short prayers ; and next came
The reading of the law. For this manner as the law had been, and acpurpose the law was divided off into cording to the same order, regularly fifty-four sections, to suit the number read in its stead. After the reading of weeks in their intercalated years of the law was restored by the Macbeing reduced by adding two or more cabees, the reading of the Prophets short ones together, to suit the number was still continued, and the two were of weeks in the common year. Thus read conjointly in their corresponding every year, commencing at the feast sections, down at least to the time of of tabernacles or the first Sabbath the Apostles ; for it is said that Paul after, they commenced anew the entered the synagogue at Antioch, reading of the law, and proceeded and after the reading of the law and regularly through according to the the Prophets, stood up to speak, and arrangement of the sections. But as more generally in Acts xii. 27, with only one section was read per week, xv. 21, that this was done every and the law must be read each syna- Sabbath day. gogue day, they adopted this order. As the law was read in the original On Monday morning they read one Hebrew, and the common language half the section for that week—on of the people after the captivity was Thursday morning they read the Syriac, it became necessary to call in other half, and on Sabbath day they the aid of an interpreter. This officer read the whole section over again, stood beside the angel and reader, both in the morning and evening ; so and translated the section read. If that those who had leisure to attend it was the law, the reader paused at the synagogue during the week, might the end of every verse, till it was hear the whole section read three translated ; but if the Prophets, then times ; and those who could only he read three verses together before attend on Sabbath days, could hear it pausing for the translation. twice. There were various readers After the reading, next in order appointed in every synagogue—on came the expounding of, and preachsome occasions as many as seven ing or exhorting from, the sections participated in reading one section-read. While the reading of the law and on no occasion could a section required always the officers to stand, be read by a fewer number than three. it appears from the example of our These were called upon in succession, Saviour, Luke iv. 20, that, in exby the angel or minister of the con- pounding, they resumed a sitting gregation, according to his pleasure ; posture ; yet Paul, we are told in and when he had summoned one to Acts xiii. 16, when invited by the the desk he always accompanied him rulers of the synagogue in Antioch of with the roll of the law, showing him Pisidia to preach or exhort, “stood the portion for the day, and overlook- up and beckoned with his hand.” It ing him as he read. He never de- appears that the business of expoundsired the reader to proceed, however, ing was performed by the reader till himself bidden by a ruler. according as the verses of the section
Thus was the law read regularly read might seem to require, and that in the synagogue till the time of the the expositions were interlarded with persecution by Antiochus Epiphanes. the reading, very much after the Among other restrictions laid upon manner of the explanatory notes of a the Jews by this bitter persecutor, commentator ; whilst the preaching was an inhibition, under heavy penal- or exhortation was after the entire ties, of the reading of the law. This section was finished led to the introduction of the pro- member of the synagogue whom the phecies, which, not being included in rulers might invite, or even a stranger the decree, were divided off, in like, whom they might observe worshipping
- and by any
part of the
with them in the congregation. Thus chapter of Leviticus and there found our Saviour, as his custom was, stood the order for the feast of tabernacles, up to read in his own synagogue, or which, since the days of Joshur, the that of his native city ; and after son of Nun, the children of Israel had reading three verses in Isaiah, closed neglected ; and understood that it the book, handed it to the angel or was their duty to observe it, they at messenger, who stood beside him and once set about the necessary preparaoverlooked him while he read ; and tions, and with great gladness resumed having sat down, began to expound the observance of this ancient and unto the congregation the passage long neglected feast. This was a true before them. But under other cir- reformation-one which set not out cumstances he preached and exhorted, with a new theory, perfect and comdeclaring the doctrine of his reign, plete, by which every thing was to be and developing, as one who spoke stereotyped, but one whose great not from a text, but from his own principle was to inquire diligently first authority, the great elements of that into what was written, and then with new system which was to regenerate perfect submission to the divine the world. So also his Apostles—as authority, to take measures for its Paul and Silas in the synagogue at observance. This, we trust, is the Salamis and Antioch, availed them- spirit and temper of the reformation selves of the opportunity which this of this nineteenth century, and that
synagogue service afforded, as we learn so will we all be ready to to preach Christ to the Jews.
live. Such is a brief and condensed May the Lord direct us in all our statement of the synagogue worship, inquiries into his will, and incline our evidently connected closely with that hearts to walk in all his ways ! order which we call ancient or apos
W. K. P. tolic. We trust in aiming at brevity, we have not been obscure ; but that, though omitting some minute details CORRESPONDENCE. peculiar to the Jewish system, we have presented in an intelligible form, THE WORKING-CLASSES & RELIGIOUS
INSTITUTIONS. a perfect outline both of the order required and the means by which it
“ THE NONCONFORMIST.” was maintained in their public assem- DEAR SIR, At the commencement of the blies, called for the purpose alike of present year, the Editor of the NONCONFORMIST edification and of comfort. Will opened his pages to a series of articles under
the title of The Working Classes and Relisuch of our readers, as feel an interest
gious Institutions ;” and in the March number in the great and important element of of the HARBINGER appeared an extract from the Christian system, which we are the concluding article of this series. From attempting to develope under the that period to the present time, no further nocomprehensive term discipline, give riodical. The why and wherefore” are left
tices have enlightened the readers of either peto this summary a careful considera- to be inferred. tion, that the after use we may make Now the articles alluded to were read with of it may be more readily and duly earnest attention by many, because they dealt appreciated, and the conclusions to vigorously with a subject of surpassing importwhich it may assist us in coming more
ance, involving considerations which ought to
have their due influence over the mind of every discreetly examined. We are told, inquirer after truth—namely, the alienation of that in the great reformation effected the working-classes from the religious instituunder the Tirshatha, Nehemiah and tions of the day-an alienation that cannot be the priest Ezra, after the Babylonish regret
. It is true, no additional light was
viewed but with the most profound feelings of captivity, when in the public reading thrown over matters which had already arrestof the law they came to the 23rd'ed the gaze of the thoughtful Christian man;
but the facts themselves were stated with a | wanderings ? Did not the poor receive the freedom from prejudice--and, apparently, a gospel gladly? Yes, it is so communicated to sincere desire to propound a remedy — not ex- us. Then, if there be this marked difference actly characteristic of the modern journalist, between the reception of the truth by the poor who, but too frequently, is “ cabin’d, cribb’d, in our times and the days of the apostles, we confined,” by the party which supports him, may depend upon it the cause originates not in and the boundary of whose views it is treason any variation in the message of Him who is to overstep.
the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever"In these articles certain facts were brought it rests with man, who either does not present out prominently, and the public mind-or, ra- the gospel in its purity for reception by the ther that portion of it which is acted upon by working-classes, or fails to exemplify its pracour religious periodicals—unfamiliar with such tical worth in his life and institutions. It restartling pictures of truth, directed its atten- mains the same. The lapse of time affects not tion to the sketches so strikingly pourtrayed. its all-subduing power. As it was in the early What, then, were these facts ? They may be dawn of the Christian era, so it remainsstated in a few words. That the working- beautiful, beneficent, and pervading-beneficent classes are beyond the pale of modern religious as the Mind whence it emanated, its pervading institutions; and that Christianity as embodied spirit is essentially grateful to the sons of toil. in the New Testament, and Christianity as de- It seeks to establish principles that would exveloped in the institutions of various denomi- ercise a benign influence over their condition. nations, are very different objects — diverse in If, therefore, our religious institutions fail to spirit and action. We do not deny that these attract the sympathies of the working-classes, diversities have their respective peculiarities, as did the message of glad-tidings proclaimed which approach nearer to the standard of truth by the apostles, it becomes important to inquire than others; but the dissimilarities become whether they agree with each other, and if the only the more apparent as the divine original difference is not such as to produce the alienais brought in contact with them. The deduc- tion already referred to. So acute an observer tion arrived at by the writer of the articles in as the writer in the NONCONFORMIST could the NONCONFORMIST seems to have been some- scarcely fail to perceive this difference. what of this character-that inasmuch as there
P. Q. existed a wide difference between Christianity as evidenced in the lives of the early disciples
[NOTE.--The Editor ofthe NONCONFORMIST of Jesus, and Christianity as practically exhib- having dismissed the subject referred to in the ited amongst us, the working-classes remained foregoing communication, it is sent for inserunimpressed by any manifestation of its claims. tion in the HARBINGER, instead of to that pubThis is the conclusion to which the teaching lication. Before Christianity can produce its of the writer most assuredly points.
It is somewhat disheartening to find that the original effect on the understanding and conwriter has not moved forward in his investiga- science, or bring under its elevating and sanctition. Having cleared the grouud, and levelled fying influence the working-classes, there must the surface, it was surely incumbent upon him be a return to first principles. Proclaimers of to throw out some hints as to the object contemplated in so doing. If the inquiry be left Jerusalem ; or, in other words, they must an
the gospel en musse must begin their work at where the NONCONFORMIST has abandoned the matter, it might as well never been entered
nounce the doctrine of the Lord as it was proupon. The aim of investigation into the source mulged at the commencement of the gospel or origin of evil, should be suggestive of dispensation, and for the same purpose. What remedy. In this instance, however, we have
was announced as gospel then ought to be pronothing of the kind. The evil is pourtrayed in all its sombre hues, and then dismissed with claimed now; and, in order to success, our some hopeful trust in the future. Very irra- theory and practice must be the same as in the tional, this sort of inquiry.
days of the apostles. What was then matter Now, having accounted — satisfactorily ac- of fact is so still--what were then established counted to his own mind — for this alienation
as Christian law and institution remain in opeof the working-classes from the religious insti- ration until the coming of Christ, when He tutions of the day, and having, moreover, pointed out the features which this alienation will judge the world in righteousness according assumes, it was surely the part of duty as well to the gospel. He has given no authority, as of sound wisdom, to indicate the way by either to friend or foe, to compromise llis which this anomaly may be put an end to. truth, or to pander to the caprice, ignorance, Was there this alienation, or any symptoms of unbelief, or will-worship of men. The primiit, in the time of the apostles ? Do we read of it in their inspired writings ? Is it chronicled tive Christians were steadfast in the apostles' in the records which transmit their acts to the doctrine, in the fellowship, (contribution) in the human family, in all their ramifications and breaking of bread, and in prayers. These were the divinely consecrated channels---the institu- | I allude to the articles entitled Emigration tions of public worship by which the disciples and Christianity." Fully assenting to all you of Christ held communion with their Father in have said relative to the distress of the workheaven, and with each other on earth. By ob- evident that the project of the churches of the
ing-classes in Great Britain and Ireland, it is serving these institutions on the first day of the Reformation uniting to afford help to such of week, the disciples became separated from the the poorer brethren as desire to emigrate to worship of both Jews and Gentiles, being ca
other lands, is at once a work in unison with lumniated, of course, by each party, as “ teach the church's duty to the brethren, and also one
which will exert a reflex influence on the world ing customs” which were not lawful for them in worldly matters. If the labour supply of to receive, especially as before they could offer these lands be greater than the demand, it needs acceptable worship, they had to renounce the no argument to show that the lessening of the vain traditions received from their fathers, and supply by emigration, will greatly benefit those
who remain. Thus viewed, such a course as to be baptized into Christ for the remission of sins, that they might commence a new and de- church, present the beautiful spectacle of the
have advocated will, if pursued by the
you voted life to Him who had tasted death for church doing good to all men, and to the houseevery man. To be saved by a crucified one, hold of faith. But this, like all other works in and through such a medium, was highly offen- which the church can righteously engage, bas sive to the pride of human wisdom. This gos- stretch far away into the eternal world. There
no limits assigned to its consequences they pel was a stumbling-block to the Jew, and is one feeling which occupies my mind when I foolishness to the Greek; but to those who em- read of the exertions made by various bodies of brace its principles, it was, and is still, the professors in preaching the gospel : it is a power and wisdom of God to their present and shame that we are doing so little for the heaeternal salvation. To be regarded by men as
then. Besides, by a neglect of the means in uncharitable and narrow-minded, when pleading vineyard ; and while we cannot but rejoice that
our power, we permit others to occupy the for divine institutions, and a return both in the gospel has been preached, there is cause for theory and practice to the commandments of grief that with it there is mixed up so much of the Lord, is nothing new under the sun; nor
mau's invention. The heathen are learning is it any disgrace even to be persecuted for much of Jesus, but how much have they to un
learn before they can see him in his beauty ? righteousness sake. But to be persecuted while Invited by missionaries to become members of following thecommandments of men in the name their churches, how much that is worldly must of religion, can yield honour to no one. What be swept away before they spiritually discern a catalogue of vindicators of divine truth we
that church which has but one head, even have recorded in the Bible--men and women
Christ Jesus. of vigorous and uncompromising minds. What fear, but ill-adapted to the spread of primitive
Again, the modern system of missions is, I calumny and reproach they endured on their order. We send a missionary to foreign lands, pilgrimage to eternity; and to no one are such and secure him in the receipt of an annual remarks more applicable than to Jesus, the salary: but what is the effect on the minds of author and finisher of faith, who is the way, the the heathen? So far as they have learned any
thing, the history of priesthood (whether of truth, and the life - who for the joy that was idolatrous, or of the so-called Christian religion) before him, endured the cross, despising the conveys to them an impression of rapacity in shame, and is now sat down at the right hand regard to gold-of an exclusiveness that tends of the Majesty on high, from thence expecting to subvert private judgment, and exalts the till all his enemies be made his footstool. Will priest as a God above his fellows. Again, is it any of our readers take up the subject, “ The after approving the sincerity, zeal, and ability
not asking too much of human nature, that Working Classes and Religious Institutions,” of a brother among us here, we send him to a where the Editor of the NoncoNFORMIST left strange land as a missionary? Is it not, I ask, it? A short space under the head of Corres- too much to hope that he will (should the Lord pondence, shall be allotted it.-J. W.]
give him soils for his hire) assert that scriptural doctrine among his flock, the effect of which
is to exalt them to the high calling of being EMIGRATION AND CHRISTIANITY.
fellow-workers with Christ, and to lower him
to the standard of the rest ? The terms on DEAR SIR--I have had my attention called," which the primitive church can send out a misin your HARBINGERS for June and July, to a sionary are, that he be supported by his brethsubject, the proper working of which is in my ren at home, till the Lord has made a people opinion fraught with important consequences. 'willing in the day of his power, and that then