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forty thousand liberated Hebrews, besides servants and followers.* After their arrival, they appear to have set up, with as little delay as possible, the altar † of burnt-offering, and theu to have taken the necessary steps for availing themselves of the permission from Cyrus to procure cedars from Lebanon. In the second month of the second year of their coming from Chaldea into Palestine, they proceeded to lay the foundation of the house of God. From that time, their malignant neighbours, the Samaritan colonists, did all in their power to hinder the progress of the sacred work during the remaining years of Cyrus, but were unable to stop the builders altogether. When Cyrus died, the Samaritans wrote a letter of accusations against the Jews to his son and successor Cambyses (called Ahasuerus by Ezra) at the beginning of his reign, but seem to have failed in gaining all that they wished, which was, doubtless, to make the Jews desist altogether from going on with the rebuilding of their temple. This is perhaps what secular history would naturally lead us to expect. Wo do not, however, say this merely with reference to the ambitious plans of Cambyses, which would probably leave him neither leisure nor inclination to trouble himself with such an insignificant matter as the rebuilding of the temple at Jerusalem. For the malignant Samaritans would thus be encouraged to think that they might venture with impunity to molest and oppress the Jews in every possible way. We are here rather looking at Cambyses as the son of that Cyrus who so greatly aided and befriended the captive Jews, and who so publicly and solemnly acknowledged the God of Israel. And in this view it is striking, as well as interesting, to see the agreement which prevails between secular and sacred history.
For Gambyses must have been thoroughly aware of the sentiments of reverence entertained by his great predecessor for the God of the Jews, and of his earnest desire to rebuild the temple which the Chaldeans had destroyed. Cyrus would hardly keep his sons ignorant of such a transaction, as it would be his wish that they also should aid aud protect the Jews, should he himself be removed by death before the completion of the sacred building. It is therefore not likely that Cainbyses, as a son of Cyrus, should, in the very first year of his reign, consent to gratify the malignity of the Samaritan colovists, by casting something like dishonour on the memory of his royal parent by breaking the Medo-Persian 9 decree of the great Cyrus, which enjoined the rebuilding of the temple at Jerusalem. Nor must we fail to bear in mind, that in his expedition against Egyptone of the earliest enterprises in his reign-the Persian army would pass at no great distance
Ezra ii. 64,
+ Ezra iii. 1-8.
from the Holy City, and any gross and open violation of the solemn enactment of the conqueror of Babylon in behalf of the Jews might possibly be discovered, and bring down the vengeance of the merciless Cambyses upon the guilty parties.
We are thus not surprised that the Samaritan colonists failed to obtain from Cambyses (the son and successor of Cyrus, who must have been well aware of his father's feelings towards the Jews) a royal letter empowering them to compel the Hebrews to desist from their sacred task. But when the dynasty of Cyrus had passed away, the usurping Magian imposter would be restrained by no sentiments of filial reference, and of inherited superstitious regard towards Him whom the Jews worshipped, and whom Cyrus had publicly acknowledged to be the Most High God of heaven and earth.* And thus secular history prepares us to receive as a fact not at all improbable, that the usurping successor of Cambysest (who may perhaps have been previously ignorant of the very name of an obscure Hebrew tribe) consented to put a stop, at least for a time, to the work of the temple at Jerusalem.
We can see nothing wrong, under all the circumstances of the
case, in the compulsory obedience of Zerubbabel to the mandate of his supposed lawful sovereign, to whom his allegiance was due; or in the discontinuance, on the part of the Jews, of the work of the temple, so long as the Magian usurper was believed to be a son of Cyrus, and the lawful king of Persia. But on the very day that tidings of his death reached Jerusalem, and the Jews learned that he had been a base imposter, they also necessarily became aware that his mandate to stop the building of the house of God, being utterly worthless, was no longer binding upon them. They would thus know that they were, from that very hour, once more under the royal edict of Cyrus, and at liberty to apply themselves again to the fulfilment of the commands of the Most High, at least until another hostile decree should be addressed to them by their new sovereign Darius. All unnecessary delay, on the part of the Jews, in resuming the work of the sacred edifice, would be a proof of highly culpable unbelief
, and of a sinful forgetfulness (calculated to provoke the Divine Majesty) of one of the great purposes for which they were well aware the Most High had brought them from Babylon to the home of their fathers. What we read in Haggai would make it highly probable that this view was really taken by some of the leaders of the returned Jews. For when the Lord declares, “This people say, The time is not come, the time that the Lord's house should be built;" such language would incline us to believe it was in spite of the
• Ezra i. 2, 3. Vol. 63.-No. 315.
† Called Artaxerxes in Ezra iv. 7, 23.
remonstrances and exhortations of Zerubbabel, Joshua, and others, that the Jews had continued to refrain from resuming their labours at the temple eren so late as into the second year of Darius Hystaspes. (Haggai i. 2.)
Certainly all the previous analogy of the Hebrew Scriptures would lead us to expect that this selfish unbelief and disobedience would be followed by such results as are recorded in the book of Haggai. The rain and the dew were withheld; a divine blessing rested neither on seedtime nor harvest; there was drought, with all its disastrous consequence, upon the land. At length, the efforts of Zerubbabel and Joshua having apparently been without effect, the inspired prophets Haggai and Zechariah are divinely moved to call upon the people to ceaso from their unbelief and disobedience, and apply themselves with all diligence to complete the unfinished temple. The Lord “stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel and of Joshua, and of the remnant of the people, and they came and did work in the house of their God, in the four and twentieth day of the month, in the second year of Darius the king. (Haggai i. 14, 15.)
We may add, that the subsequent narrative of Ezra would seem to prove beyond question that Darius had little or rather no knowledge at all of Zerubbabel, or the temple at Jerusalem, until some time after the commencement of the second year of his reign. Nay, when the Samaritan colonists applied to this king against the Jews, he does not appear to have been aware that any special edict* had ever been passed by Cyrus in favour of the Jews. Indeed, authentic secular history might lead us to expect that this would be the case, if we take into account, among other reasons, that, according to Herodotus, Darius could not have been more than fourteen years of age when Cyrus sent the Jews under Zerubbabel from Babylon to Judæa. For this historian tells us that Darius was twenty years old when Cyrus fell in his campaign against the Massagetæ. And the best writers on chronology assign the death of the great Persian to B.c. 530; and the promulgation of his decree in favour of the Jews to B.c. 536.
It is also manifest, from a comparison of the fourth and fifth chapters of the book of Ezra with the first chapter of Haggai, that Zerubbabel was residing at Jerusalem,t as governor of the Jews, when the Magian imposter was slain and Darius elected to the throne of Persia, and that the Jewish prince certainly did not go to the far distant Persian court during either the first or second year of the reign of Darius, but was all that time living in Judæa; a fact which proves that what the apocryphal Esdras has related as having happened to Zerubbabel at the court of Darius, very early in the reign of that monarch (and before the resumption of the interrupted work of the temple recorded by Haggai), is merely an idle and childish legend.
* Ezra vi. 1.
+ Josephus expressly asserts this in the eleventh book of his Antiquities; and would bave us believe, in defiance of the unambiguous statements of Ezra and Haggai (and we may add also against obvious and legitimate inferences froin Herodotus), that Zerubbabel had for
merly been upon intimate terms with Darius while the latter was yet a private person, and that, in consequence of the recollection of that previous intimacy, he repaired to the Persian court as soon as he heard of the election of Darius to the vacant throne.
We thus cannot but feel confident that every candid Romanist will allow that no honest man of sound mind would think of interpolating the silly legend of the apocryphal Esdras with the authentic narrative of Ezra, the Hebrew scribe. Yet the fathers of the heretical council of Trent did not scruple to do what was equivalent to such an act of knavery or ignorance; and to anathematize all who refuse to accept the apocryphal books (among which the first book of Esdras holds a prominent place) as of equal authority * with the canonical Scriptures. We do not deny that there are righteous divine maledictions which bring certain sorrow upon those who wilfully incur them. Yet we could warn the Papal upholders of some of the Tridentine anathemas, which are as absurd as they are wicked and blasphemous, to give heed to the eastern proverb quoted by Southey, “ Curses are like young chickens, they come home to roost."
THE BISHOP OF OXFORD'S LATE CIIARGE.
To the Editor of the Christian Observer. DEAR SIR, -As a clergyman of the Evangelical School, whose painful lot it is to be placed in the diocese of Oxford, where I laboured before the appointment of the present Bishop, I ask a little space in your respected periodical to pour out some thoughts that
my own heart, and may possibly find a response in some others. As in duty bound, I listened in my place to the Charge lately delivered by that prelate throughout the diocese; and what I
* Writers should give themselves the trouble to ascertain what is really the view of the Church of England, before they ignorantly and rashly degrade her to the level of the Romish Apostasy, by
slanderously asserting that "the two churches of England and Rome, as all the world knows, are at one with respect to the canon of Scriptare.”
then heard with pain, I have since read with deeper and more confirmed sorrow. The unscriptural statements in that Charge, and the manner in which they have been almost universally received by the clergy, prove to my mind that his Lordship has well nigh succeeded already in unprotestantizing the teaching of the Church of England throughout the counties of Oxford, Bucks, and Berks. Let your readers, however, judge for themselves.
Observe, first, his exaltation of the Sacraments above the preaching of the Gospel. After speaking of "the blessing which," he says,
seems signally to have attended the Holy Communion," (styled in another part,
“the Blessed Sacrament of the Lord's Body and Blood,") he adds, “I should place thirdly” (and this is last) " the great good which has resulted from the earnest preaching of the Gospel.” In accordance with this teaching, the bishop has discontinued, at his visitations throughout the whole diocese, this “ earnest preaching of the Gospel ;" and has substituted in its place the administration of the -i Holy Communion of the Blessed Sacrament of the Lord's Body and Blood,” which seems so "signally to have been attended with blessing!” It was publicly reported that on one occasion five of the beneficed clergy declined to sanction this ominous change, and left the church iinmediately after the delivery of the Charge.
Notice, then, his putting the Church above the Bible; by teaching that the authority of the Bible depends upon the authority of the Church, and requires the Church's interpretation to be understood, thus opening the way for the authorization of all the vain traditions of the Church of Rome, from which we had escaped. His lordship
-“ If we give up the divine authority of the Church, we shall be unable to retain the divine authority of the Scriptures. The Church was, and must be, before the Bible; and we could have no Bible, if we had no Church.” “ The Church must propound the Bible to each separate soul, as the word of God.” And again, he calls the Bible “ the word, which, on the evidence of His Church, He has spoken to us." But surely we do not receive the Bible on the evidence of any Church ; but upon that evidence of its genuineness and authenticity, which any man who requires it cau examine for himself. If we took it upon the Church's authority, we must take the lying legends of the Apocrypha as part of it; for the Church of Rome authorizes these; and there is no allusion to more than one Church in the Bishop's Charge.
In like spirit we remark his placing the Prayer Bouk upon equal footing with the Bible; as if that also were the inspired word of God, which we might no more detract from, than from the Bible, without peril of forfeiture of our part in the Book of Life. He calls it an “ Organism which we do indeed believe that God the Holy Ghost framed for His indwelling," and which, therefore, we should accept
“ as the revelation of the truth of God.” In what higher light can we regard the Bible ? Upon this ground, he can discern no remedy for the falsehoods which the clergy grieve to be sometimes obliged to utter in the Burial Service ; not even admitting the idea of altering or leaving out a few words. And he discourages all hope of correcting it, except by the revival of a power which is more in accordance with