Imatges de pàgina

when pledges were taken of the poor, they were not to be kept over night. When it was raiment, especially, it was to be returned before sundown. It was a law in favor of the poor.

Still further, with reference to the poor, the fatherless, and the stranger, as if the provisions already noticed were not enough, every third year there was to be a tithing of the increase for them, “ that they may eat within thy gates and be filled.” The stranger, also, was not to be vexed or oppressed, as was the custom among the surrounding and barbarous nations, the remains of which custom are to be found in modern legislation in the form of passports, imposts, prohibitions, and all disabilities laid upon the foreigner and his traffic. For the stranger, fatherless, and widow, also, the forgotten sheaf in the field was not returned for, and the olive-tree was not beaten the second time."

Notice, now, the law with regard to the servant. Any cruel treatment, by which bodily injury was occasioned, by which for instance an eye was destroyed or a tooth broken out, set a servant immediately free. If any servant ran away from his master, the presumption was, that he had reason for running away. At least, he was evidently discontented, and would be unhappy if returned. Accordingly, the law was : “ Thou shalt not deliver unto his master the servant which is escaped from his master unto thee: he shall dwell with thee, even among you, in that place which he shall choose in one of thy gates, where it liketh him best. Thou shalt not oppress him.” 5 This is the fugitive slave law of the Hebrew code. Which is most like a "barbarous and bloody code,” this, or that law, not yet erased froin our national statute book, which requires that the wretched fugitive — having run the gauntlet of blood-hounds and hunters, lying still by day and making the best of his long, weary way by night, guided by the north star - be seized and returned to his master, in hopeless bondage ?

i Deut. xxvi. 12.
8 Deut. xxiv. 19.
6 Deut. xxiii. 15, 16.

? Ex. xxi, 22.
* Ex. xxi. 26, 27.


A characteristic of Hebraism was its many festival sea

It was eminently a joyous religion. The Mosaic code provided for three principal festival seasons, and two lesser ones, during the year. They were seasons when families were re-united. In one of them especially, the Passover, friends and old acquaintance, from all parts of the land, met together at Jerusalem. They were times of great rejoicing. Notice, now, the beauty of the law: “ Thou shalt rejoice in thy feast, thou, and thy son, and thy daughter, and thy man-servant, and thy maid-servant, and the Levite, the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow that are within thy gates." ]

Sometimes suffering is occasioned by thoughtlessness regarding the payment of services as soon as rendered, or by consulting one's own convenience instead of the just dues, and perhaps necessities, of the laborer. A poor woman carries home a piece of needle-work; with the pay for it she is expecting to obtain a supper and the next day's supply for a half-dozen starving mouths. The payment is deferred, and the woman returns herself disappointed, and to bear disappointment to her hungry children. This, probably, is often the case in our larger towns and cities. And we have no law reaching it. Our legislators would probably think it impossible to ramify law so finely. In the Hebrew code, however, it was not found impossible. In that wonderfully thoughtful and fine-reaching body of laws is this : “ Thou shalt not oppress an hired servant that is poor and needy. ..... At his day (when it is due) thou shalt give him his hire, neither shall the sun go down upon it; for he is poor, and setteth his heart upon it; lest he cry against thee unto the Lord, and it be sin unto thee.”? In what statute-book in all the world is to be found that fine touch of humanity?

There is something in the military statutes of the Mosaic code, also, worthy of notice. In our military levies, all male persons between certain ages are liable to be drafted in case

The exceptions are, persons of certain occupation,

of war.

Deut. xvi. 11.

? Deut. xxiv. 14, 15.

as physicians, judges, and clergymen, and those in any was maimed or deformed. This looks, it will be seen, to the well-being of the country, — the necessities of those at home and the efficiency of the army in the field. The Mosaic code looks to this, and more. It has almost a paternal feeling and care for the people. It excepts, as we may readily suppose, the classes corresponding to these, and also every person who might be building a house, or have planted a vineyard, or who had newly married a wife; persons whose interests and feelings were especially engaged at home, and to whom it would be an individual loss or peculiar trial to leave. He who had newly married a wife, in any case, was to remain at home one year,

- a law which with us would apply to officers and soldiers of the army, and navy, to sea. men, and to that large number in mercantile pursuits who are mostly engaged in travelling, and would effect an important and beneficial change to their families. There was an especial provision in the military laws of the Mosaic code, also, for the protection and kind treatinent of women and children of captured cities. Such a law, made nearly fifteen hundred years before Christ, is in remarkable contrast with practices of nations in war not yet extinct. The campaigns of all modern civilized nations tell us terrible tales upon this point.

It is familiarly known that the roofs of oriental houses were flat, and used for the entertainment of company, and for sleeping purposes. The humane and kindly law, therefore, requires that a battlement shall be placed around them: “ That thou bring not blood,” it says, “ upon thine house, if any man fall from thence.2"

We must notice, finally, the laws relating to animals and birds. They are unexampled : “ Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn." 3 - Thou shalt not see thy brother's ox or his sheep go astray, and hide thyself from them ; thou shalt in any case bring them again unto thy brother."

“ Thou shalt not see thy brother's ass or his or

i Deut. xx. 5-7. 3 Deut. xxv. 4.

2 Deut. xxii. 8.
4 Deut. xxii. 1-3,

fall down by the way, and hide thyself froin them; thou shalt surely help him to lift them up again.” What fine touches of humanity are these! None but the Mosaic code exhibits anything like them. “If a bird's nest chance to be before thee, ..... and the dam sitting upon the young, ..... thou shalt not take the dam with the young; thou shalt in anywise let the dam go, and take the young to thee.”? If the birds were to be taken at all, and they were sometimes, for sacrifice, by those who were too poor to afford even a dove or a turtle-pigeon, the young were not to be deprived of the mother bird, for they might be starved. It was more merciful to leave the mother, who would still have her mate and be engaged in rearing another brood, and take the young!

And here is a still more beautiful provision. In every seventh year, – a year of peculiar festivity and rejoicing, a year of freedom to bond-servants, release to the debtor, and restoration of families to each other, — the whole land was to lie still and rest; and what it brought forth spontaneously was to be left, that the poor of the people might eat, “ and what they leave, the beasts of the field shall eat!” 3 A seventh year jubilee to the wild animals, the birds, and insects in all the land, as well as to its human inhabitants ! Set over against this our own laws, which allow us to wage unceasing war upon every poor animal, bird, or insect we imagine to feed upon the fruits of our gardens and fields ! It is pleasant to know, however, there is a law in Massachusetts, and we suppose a similar one in each of the States, against killing or destroying any of some eight or nine species of birds at any time.

These are the illustrations of the humaneness of the Mosaic code we have noted. We add to them the fact that it forbids sentiments of hatred and revenge, 4 and enjoins the forgetting of injuries, the cultivation of mutual love, and showing kindness even to enemies; that indeed the com

Deut. xxii. 4.
Ex. xxiii. 10, 11.

2 Deut. xxii. 6.
4 Lev. xix. 17, 18.

mand, “ Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself,” which we associate generally with the beneficent teachings of our Saviour, is but a quotation from the Mosaic law,' and we think the case is established. The Mosaic, so far from being a "barbarous and bloody code,” surpassess beyond comparison every other code of the world ever known, for delicate, thoughtful, and beneficent humaneness.




As there were two sacraments divinely ordained under the Old Testament dispensation, so Christ instituted also two for his church. The sacraments of the New Testa. ment, Christian Baptism and the Lord's Supper, perfectly correspond to those of the Old Testament, Circumcision and the Passover. Though differing in form, they were designed to express the same fundamental ideas. To prove the relation between the rite of 'circumcision and Christian baptism is not the object of the present investigation. We take it for granted, and start with the proposition, that the Lord's supper, instituted at the celebration of the passover, sustains the same relation to the passover, that the sacrament of Christian baptism does to the Old Testament sacrament of circumcision.

To obtain a right apprehension of the significance and design of the Lord's supper, we must, therefore, first enter into an investigation of the significance and design of the passover. While the previously ordained rite of circumcision had given to the Israelites a general title to the blessings of the covenant, the passover, afterwards instituted in

I Lev. xix. 18.

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