Page images

were so many assembled as on that succeeding the passover.

First the morning sacrifice was offered. Incense was burnt upon the altar, and the lamb was sacrificed to Jehovah, with the usual meat and drink-offering. Then followed the special offering for the feast, two young bullocks, a ram, seven yearling lambs, with meat and drink-offerings. Next, a goat was offered as a sin-offering,* the Hallel (psalms one hundred and thirteen, to one hundred and eighteen) was sung, and the blessing pronounced. The whole body of the priests too, divided into twenty-four courses or classes, were present on this occasion.

On ordinary occasions, a few families of priests alone were present. Helah took Jonathan and Simon with him early to the temple, that they might witness all the splendours of the scene. He stationed them in a position in the court of Israel, from which they could look in upon the ceremonies in the court of the priests. Among the priests appeared the high-priest, whom they had not seen before.

* Numbers xxviii. 16–23.

A breastplate filled with precious stones beamed from his breast.* He was clothed in a flowing purple robe, thrown over the common white robe of the priests. Little bells were hung around his robe, which tinkled as he walked.t Over this purple robe he wore the ephod, a short white robe, embroidered with purple, dark blue, crimson and gold thread. On his forehead was a plate of gold, on which were written the words 66 Holy to the Lord.” On his head was a white turban, or mitre, and above this a blue one. The whole was surmounted by a triple crown of gold, which had been added by the Maccabees, to signify that they were both priests and princes.

Thus attired, the splendid description of the high-priest Simon, the son of Onias, given us in one of the ancient writers, is seen to have a beautiful application to him.

• When he came from behind the veil, he was as the morning star in the midst of a cloud ; and as the moon at the full. As the sun shines on the temple of the Most High ; as the rainbow with its beautiful colours ; as

* Exodus xxvii. 31-35, 36. † Exodus xxxix. 9.

the beautiful rose in spring; as the lily by the rivers of waters; as the branches of the frankincense-tree in time of summer; as fire and incense in the censer ; as a vessel of beaten gold, set with all manner of ornaments of precious stones ; as a fair olive-tree, budding forth fruit; as a cypress-tree growing up to the clouds.” (Eccl. l.)

William. Mr. Anderson, is not that in one of the books called the Apocrypha ? 1 thought those books were not true, and I m st not read them. Mother told me that they did not belong to the Bible.

Mr. Anderson. They are not considered to be inspired books, and so are not a part of the Bible. But they are ancient books, pro'bably written by Jews, and are deserving of as much credit as other ancient histories. Many of the descriptions in them of Jewish customs and scenes are very fine. be read, but not regarded as a part of the Bible.

As Jonathan and Simon stood near the fif. teen steps which led from the court of Israel into that of the priests, they had a fair view of the whole scene. The priests stood within,

They may

arranged in the order of their courses, with the high-priest, in his robes, in the centre. On the other side, all the courts, even to the foot of Mount Moriah, were filled with an immense multitude, waiting for the blessing of the high-priest, and expecting to be purified by his offering. During the offering of the sacrifice, and while the smoke and flames ascended from the altar, the singers stationed on the pillars round it, and the Levites on the steps, sung the grand hallelujah. The great multitude joined in chorus with their ten thousand voices, and the whole mountain shook, as it were, with the sound. When the sacrifice and praise were ended, the people fell upon their knees, and bowed themselves to receive the high-priest's blessing. He then washed his hands, and advanced to the steps of the Levites, praying thus : “Praised be thou, O Lord our God, thou King of the world, who has sanctified us with the consecration of Aaron, and commanded us to bless thy people Israel in love." He then turned first to the sanctuary, and then to the people, and lifting up his hands over them, pronounced the blessing :

The peo

“The Lord bless thee and keep thee, The Lord make his face to shine upon thee, and be gra

cious unto thee, The Lord lift up the light of his countenance upon thee,

and give thee peace.”-Num. vi. 24. Every time he repeated the word thee, he turned to the north and the south. ple replied : “Praised be the name of his kingdom for ever."

The public services were now ended. It now remained for individuals to offer their private thank-offerings and burnt-offerings. Jonathan and Simon were entirely lost in the wonders of the scene. But they did not forget what Selumiel had often told them, that these ceremonies were soon all to pass away ; that this very temple, so glorious and so great, was to be levelled with the earth, and not one stone be left upon another. They remembered, too, that Jesus had been present at these same scenes which they had witnessed ; and they recollected particularly the time when he came up from Nazareth with his parents, when he was twelve years old, to attend the passover.

Here too in these courts he had discoursed with the Jews, and rebuked them for their sins. But, alas ! (and it deep

« PreviousContinue »