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He wishes them to regard the Magazine as the vehicle for the communication of such thoughts as they may deem worthy of general attention. Of course he must select from the papers which he receives, those which appear to him to be the best adapted to promote the purposes we have in view; and it cannot be expected that the writer of an article should always see the propriety of its omission, or of the preference given to the production of another. But, he does not wish to restrict the pages to the promulgation of suggestions which approve themselves entirely to his judgment, or of opinions which coincide exactly with his own. Controversy on topics which have been frequently debated, and respecting which almost every reader has a settled opinion, should, he thinks, be avoided, and every thing tending to angry debate he considers it his duty to exclude; but free discussion of modes of action and plans of usefulness may be advantageous, and, though it may be necessary for an editor sometimes to interpose, as with the authority of a chairman, he would rather err on the side of leniency than he too restrictive.
Well-written pieces on devotional and experimental subjects are those which the Editor finds it most difficult to procure. By furnishing short articles of this kind, some brethren might render a very acceptable service.
And almost every minister has it in his power to assist by communicating intelligence. Some readers of the work are apparently not aware, that if occurrences in their own vicinity, and even referring to their own movements, have not been notified, the fault has been their own. We have no corps of reporters scattered throughout the provinces, but are dependent for local intelligence on the spontaneous diligence and friendship of residents. It should be understood, also, that in the transmission of such accounts, promptitude and brevity are of great value.
The practical importance of that divine institution by our views of which we are distinguished from our brethren of other denominations, is becoming increasingly apparent. Passing events are unfolding to intelligent observers its intimate connexion with the purity of the churches, the personality of religion, and the overthrow of anti-christian systems. Decided support should, therefore, be given to that periodical work which is more adapted than any other to promote our peculiar tenets; which by the diffusion of information among the members of our churches lessens those evils which are most injurious to their stability and distressing to their pastors, the evils of ignorance; and which also subserves the interests of future generations, by giving permanence to documents and historical notices which would otherwise soon pass into remediless oblivion.
The profits of the Magazine continue to alleviate the afflictions of widows and fatherless children, once dear to men who laboured in the gospel ; and, in proportion to the extent of its circulation, it will be made conducive to the relief of others who will ere long be painfully reminded of the brittleness of those “earthen vessels” whence they derive their present supplies.
November 23, 1838.
THE FORDS OF THE JORDAN.
ABOUT len miles to the north of that when the panic-stricken Midianites were arm of the Dead Sea into which the flecing before Gideon, “he sent mesJordan falls, and about eight miles to sengers throughout Mount Ephraim, the west of Jericho, is a part of the river saying, Come down after the Midianites, which has been, from the earliest times, and take before them the waters unto the usual passage between the south of Beth-barah, and Jordan. Then all the Palestine and what was formerly the men of Ephraim gathered themselves toland of Moab. Its comparative shallow-gether, and took the waters unto Bethness and easiness of access have always barah and Jordan.” It is remarkable rendered it, in peace, a place of frequent that in the Septuagint version of this resort, and in war a post of great import- passage, while the Vatican manuscripts
When the spies sent by Joshua read Bethabara, the Alexandrine read were secreted on the house of Rahab, the Bethany; and that a similar variation inhabitants of the city “pursued after exists in the reading of the verse in them,” we are told,“ the way to Jordan which this locality is mentioned in the unto the fords.” In the account given gospel of John. The translators of the of the victory of Ehud, it is said of the common version read Bethabara ; but Israelites who engaged in the conflict, modern critics pretty generally agree that "they went down after him, and that the manuscripts which read Bethany took the fords of Jordan toward Moab, are more than a counterpoise to those and suffered not a man to pass over. which read Bethabara, both in number In like manver, when the Ephraimites and in value. Dr. Campbell's version is, from the west had attacked the men of " This happened at Bethany upon the Gilead who lived on the eastern side of Jordan, where John was baptizing.” the river, and had been defeated, "the He says in a note, “There is ground to Gileadites took the passages of Jordan think that the change of Bethany into before the Ephraimites. Here it was Bethabara took its rise from a conjecture that the fugitives were intercepted; and of Origen, who, because its situation when any one, in spite of his denial, mentioned here does not suit what is was proved to be an Ephraimite by his said of Bethany where Lazarus and his provincial pronunciation of the word sisters lived, changed it into Bethabara, Shibboleth, “they took him and slew the place mentioned, Judges vii. 24, him at the passages of Jordan,"
where our translators have rendered it It was probably for the accommodation Beth-barah. But one thing is certain, of travellers, that a building or buildings that in several instances, the same name were erected in the immediate vicinity was given to different places, and this of the fords, which obtained the name Bethany seems here to be expressly disof Bethabara, or the House of Passage. tinguished from another of the same This name appears to have been as an- naine, by the addition tepav tov 'Iopcient as the time of the Judges; for davov, upon the Jordan.' It adds,
VOL. I. ---FOURTH SERIES.
also, to the probability of the reading | Jordan might overflow its banks, when here adopted, that Bethany, by its ety- swollen by rains, sufficiently to inundate mology, signifies a place or house close this lower plain, though it would never by a ferry. The most probable suppo reach the upper one, it was most probasition, however, is, that the two names, bly from these, that the lions were driven Bethany and Bethabara, so similar in out by the inundation, which gave
rise to signification, were given to the same the prophet's simile, ‘Behold, he shall place, and that, therefore, in speaking come up like a lion from the swelling of or writing of it they were used indiffe- Jordan, against the habitation of the rently.
strong.' The overflowing is said to have When the son of Zacharias had re- been in the first month, which correceived his commission to proclaim in sponds to our March, as in the enumerathe most public manner the approach- tion of the armies that came to David at ing advent of the Hope of Israel, and to Hebron, those are spoken of who went baptize the people with the baptism of over Jordan in the first month, when he repentance, as a preparative for the re- had overflowed all his banks. In the ception of their holy King, he naturally description of the passage of the priests selected this place, as well adapted with the ark, while the waters were dito the purposes of his office. Here he vided and stood in a heap, as in the pasobtained the ear of travellers from diffe- sage of the Red Sea, it is said, too, that rent districts on either side of the river. Jordan overfloweth all his banks all the Hither, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, time of harvest, which would be both in which was scarcely thirty miles distant, the autumn and in the spring, as there resorted to hear his testimony, and re- are two harvests here, one succeeding ceive the ceremonial rite which he was the early, and the other the latter rains. authorized to administer. Here he stood “From our first descent into this lower in the midst of his attentive auditors, plain, we went on northerly again for when, seeing. Jesus walking towards about half an hour, and finding a small him, he exclaimed, “Behold the Lamb party of Arabs en camped on the west of God, which taketh away the sin of bank of the river, we alighted at their the world !". And here, most probably tents to refresh.
These were of the it was, that he complied with the requi- tribe of Zaliane, to which one of our sition of his condescending Lord, “Suf- guides belonged, and we met, therefore, fer it to be so now, for thus it becometh with the most welcome reception. A us to fulfil all righteousness."
meal of warm cakes and goat's milk was The scenery of this interesting spot is prepared for us, and we were glad to thus described by Mr. Buckingham, who shelter ourselves from the scorching crossed the river at the customary ford, heat of the sun, beneath the shade of in the year 1816:
these humble dwellings. Many inquiries “The whole of the plain, from the were made of our guides as to the momountains of Judea on the west, to those tives and object of our journey, yet, of Arabia on the east, may be called the though we were in safety among this valley of Jordan, in a general way; but portion of the same tribe to which one in the centre of the plain, which is at of our guides belonged, neither of them least ten miles broad, the Jordan runs in would explain, but merely said, we another still lower valley, perhaps a mile were going to Sham or Damascus, with broad in some of the widest parts, and which the rest seemed satisfied. As the a furlong in the narrowest.
road on the east of the Jordan was ac“Into this we descended, and we knowledged by all to be dangerous, we thought the hills of white clayey soil on took from the party here a third horseeach side, to be about two hundred feet man, the chief aim seeming to be, to in height, the second, or lower plain have our escort formed of those who being about a mile broad, generally were personally known among the Arabs barren, and the Jordan flowing down on the other side of the river, and who through the middle of it, between banks could therefore ensure us a safe and unwhich were now fourteen or fifteen feet molested passage through their territory. high, while the river was at its lowest “We quitted this encampment about ebb. There are close thickets all along noon, our party being now composed of the edge of the stream, as well as upon six horsemen, namely, three Arab guides, this lower plain, which would afford am- Mr. Bankes, Mohammed his Albanian ple shelter for wild beasts; and as the interpreter, and myself. We here cross