Page images
PDF
EPUB

of the Church. IX. Short Reviews and Notices of Books. X. Literary and Religious Intelligence.

De Bow's Review for January, has a rich and varied Table of Contents, consisting of fourteen Articles. This periodical is one of great value to every intelligent American.

Putnam's Monthly. We have received the first four numbers of this valuable Periodical. Most gladly do we welcome its entrance upon its career of usefulness, and wish for it a long and successful continuance. This new Monthly combines the solid qualities of the Quarterly and the lighter reading of the ordinary Monthly. The February and April numbers contain a curious and somewhat exciting discussion of Rev. Eleazer William's claim to be the Dauphin of France, or the long lost son of Louis XVI.

Harper's New Monthly for March, appears with its usual amount of varied and readable matter. It maintains it character with admirable fidelity.

The National Magazine. This work happily combines the departments of literature, art and religion; and is conducted with great spirit and ability, by its talented and indefatigable editor. It deserves a very wide circulation.

The Eclectic Magazine of Foreign Literature. This continues to give to American readers the cream of foreign Periodical Literature. It is unquestionably a work of great value. The present number gives us a beautiful specimen of art, in nearly a full length representation, of Lord Palmerston.

The Southern Eclectic, composed chiefly of Selections from the best Journals of Europe, is the title of a new Monthly, conducted by J. W. Fitten, and published at Augusta, Georgia. We have received the first number of this periodical. And we hail it with pleasure as a Southern contemporary. Its pages are filled with valuable and substantial matter, selected from the best foreign journals. We hope the South, especially, will rally to its support.

Revue des Deux Mondes, (Paris and New York.) We have received two numbers of this celebrated Review of the Two Worlds. It is regarded as a valuable representation of French Literature. The New York pub lisher is H. Bailliere.

The Southern Lady's Companion. This is a Southern Methodist publication; and no one will regret the subscription price, who will procure and read its varied and interesting contents, both of Prose and Poetry.

We note the following Periodicals. But our space will not allow us more than to give their titles:

The Temple; devoted to Masonry, Literature and Science. Edited by B. Parke and C. E. Blumenthal. Carlisle, Pa.

The Stethoscope and Virginia Medical Gazette. Edited by P. Claiborne Gooch, A. M., M. D., Richmond, Va.

The Jewish Chronicle. Rev. E. R. McGregor. New York. The Home and Foreign Record of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America. Being the Organ of the Boards of Missions, Education, Foreign Missions, and Publication. March. Philadelphia.

The American and Foreign Christian Union for March. New York. Forrester's Boys' and Girls' Magazine. Published by Henry V. Degen. Has a likeness of Daniel Webster, and many other wood-cuts. Which with its well adapted matter and style, will doubtless please and profit the Boys and Girls.

[blocks in formation]

The prophecy of Zechariah was divided by us into three parts, viz: I. Symbolical, chs. 1-6. II. Didactic, chs. 7, 8. III. Prophetic, chs. 9-end. The first part, which consisted of nine visions, having been considered in previous articles, we now take up the second part, or the didactic teachings, in regard to a particular subject, which however we shall also find to be connected, like the symbolic visions, with prophetic announcements in regard to the future.

The occasion that called forth this portion of the prophecy, VOL. VII.-21

was a question of casuistry. There was but one fast appointed by the Mosaic law, the day of atonement, and this was rather an incident connected with the day, than a prominent part of its observances. But in process of time other stated fasts were instituted among the Jewish people, which gradually became very stringent in their binding authority. One of these was on the anniversary of the capture of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, the 17th day of the 4th month; or the month Thammuz, answering to the moon of July. A second was on the 9th day of the 5th month, Ab; (August,) commemorating the burning of the city by Nebuzaradan, and the destruction of the holy and beautiful house of their fathers. A third was on the 3d day of the 7th month, Tishri, (the moon of October,) in memory of the massacre of Gedaliah and others by Ishmael, as recorded in Jer. 41 1-10. A fourth was on the 10th of the 10th month, Tebeth, (January,) the day that Nebuchadnezzar commenced the siege of Jerusalem. These were all merely human appointments, but like all similar additions to God's ordinances, they soon obtain a control over the minds of the people that led them into superstition. They were observed with great care doubtless during the captivity, and even after the return of the people from Babylon. But after the return, a question as to the propriety of their continuance arose in the minds of some, for the solution of which they desired the declaration of the prophet. Having been instituted on account of special reasons, the query was, when the reasons are removed, shall the observances continue? cessante ratione, cessatne ipsa ler?— When the city is reinhabited, and the temple rebuilt, shall we continue to mourn statedly their destruction? To answer these queries, a delegation was sent to the prophet, who, before replying to the direct question, reproves in ch. 7, the superstitions that had accumulated around the fasts, and then in ch. 8, answers the query in distinct and specific terms.

The following analysis will set forth the train of discussion pursued by the prophet.

ANALYSIS.

I. A question about the propriety of continuing the stated fasts under the altered circumstances of the people, brings a delegation to the prophet to solve this doubt. Ch. 7: 1-3. II. The answer of the prophet.

(1.) A reproof of the selfish and godless motives that inspired their observances. v. 4-7.

(2.) An exhortation to the performance of weightier matters of the law, by the example of their ancestors, who, in spite of the warnings of the prophets to this effect, neglected these duties and were severely punished. v. 8-14.

(3.) A further exhortation to obedience by promises of the future prosperity of Jerusalem. Ch. 8 v. 1-8.

(4.) An exhortation to the vigorous prosecution of the erection of the temple by reason of the manifest favour of God already shown, and the fulfilment of the promises already made. v. 9-12.

(5.) A further motive to obedience drawn from the future extension of the theocratic blessings to the heathen. v. 13-17.

(6.) Having thus prepared their minds for the answer to the question about fasts, the prophet declares that they were all to be set aside as incongruous to the joyful condition of the theocracy. v. 18-19.

(7.) He then concludes with a prediction of the calling of the Gentiles, of great dramatic beauty, thus linking the humble and struggling present with the magnificent and conquering future, and showing that all these passing duties of the present, were significant and important only because of their connection with the mightier unfoldings of the purposes of Jehovah in the scenes of the latter-day glory. v. 20-23.

1.

The preliminary facts are stated in ch. 7: 1-3.

"And it was so in the fourth year of Darius the king, that the word of Jehovah was to Zechariah in the fourth (day) of the ninth month, 2. in Chisleu. And Bethel sent Sherezer and Regem Melech, and their 3. men, to pray before the face of Jehovah; and to speak to the priests

which were in the house of Jehovah of Hosts, and to the prophets,

saying; Ought I to weep in the fifth month, separating myself, as I have done for so many years?"

The date of this transaction was two years after the symbolic visions of the preceding portion, and the temple was therefore advanced near to its completion. The condition of the theocracy was prosperous and promising, so that the people began to doubt the propriety of indulging mournful memories of the past, when there was so much to excite joyful hopes of the future.

The only difficulty in these verses is in the second, where our version translates it "when they had sent unto the house of God Sherezer, &c." This makes the singular verb (yishla) impersonal, and makes Beth-el an accusative, referring it to the temple. But the temple is never called Beth-el, but Beth-Jehovah, as in v. 3, and moreover the use of it in this clause would be rather tautological, as the latter part of the verse explains the where, and the why of this mission. Hence Hengstenburg, following Lightfoot, refers Beth-el (the house of God,) to the congregation, or the people of Israel. But this is equally unauthorised. There are instances of this tropical use of beth, referring to the people of Israel, but as far as we are aware of them, always in connection with Jehovah the covenant name of God, and never with El, which only expresses an attribute which belongs in smaller measure to creatures. Beth-el is uniformly used as the name of the old city of Luz, where the ark was for so long a time kept, and which for this reason was regarded as one of the sacred cities of the land. We are therefore compelled by usage to give it the same signification here, and the sense is a perfectly good one. The people of this old and sacred city would naturally be among the first to discuss such questions as these, and to send to Jerusalem for their solution. Hence it is said "Bethel sent," or the inhabitants of Bethel sent, &c., and in the reply it is intimated that the query was from a single city, for it is said, v. 5, "speak unto all the people of the land,” as if to assure them that the reply was designed to have a scope

« PreviousContinue »