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though he insinuated to the messengers, that w if Balak would give him his house full of silver and gold, he could not go beyond the word of the Lord his God, to do less or more,” he tempted God, and wished for the liberty of cursing the Lord's people. He detained the messengers a second night, under the pretext of consulting the will of the Lord; and because he was not a second time positively restrained, he concluded that permission was granted him to go, and, in the morning, told the princes of Moab that he was ready to proceed with them. But God, who was perfectly acquainted with the secret springs that actuated the conduct of Balaam, and who knew them to be no other than a “ love of the wages of unrighteousness," sent his angel to meet him in the way, who, with a drawn sword, opposed him on his journey. The eyes of Balaam, and of the princes of Moab, were at first supernaturally restrained, so that they did not perceive the angel; but the ass on which the prophet rode, perceived him, and turned aside out of the path. Balaam became cnraged, and smote the ass. A wall being on each side of the road, and the angel still opposing her progress, she threw herself against the wall, and crushed Balaam's foot. This exasperated him still more, and he smote her yet more unmercifully. Coming at length into a narrow avenue, the angel stood directly before her, leaving the beast no room to turn, either to the right hand or to the left. Urged by Balaam on the one hand, and resisted by the angel on the other, the ass fell down, and Balaam's wrath was so vehemently excited, that he beat her with his staff. “ The Lord now opened the mouth of the ass," and she spake with an articulate voice, “ What have I done unto thee, that thou hast smitten me these three times!" Possibly the rage into which the prophet was thrown, prevented his adverting to the miraculous man
ner in which the question was put, and he answered her as a familiar acquaintance— Because thou hast mocked me these three times; I would there were a sword in mine hand, for now would I kill thee;" ver. 26–29. The eyes of Balaam were on this opened, and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the way, with a drawn sword in his hand. Terrified at the sight, “he bowed down his head, and fell flat on his face!” And the angel said unto him, “Why hast thou smitten thine ass? Behold, I went forth to withstand thee, because thy way is perverse before me; and the ass saw me, and turned from me these three times-surely, unless she had turned from me, I had ere this slain thee, and saved her alive; ver. 31–33. Balaam was moved; he offered to return, but, having come thus far, the Lord permitted him to proceed, being resolved to prove to Balak's face that he would not curse Israel.
Balaam himself was slain shortly after, along with five kings of Midian, in an engagement which took place between the Israelites and that people. Numb. xxxi. 8.
BACK-parts: as applied in Exod. xxxiii. 23, to the Creator, is evidently figurative of a diminished view of God's glory, Moses, it appears, desired to see God's glory; “I beseech thee shew me thy glory,” said he. (v. 18.) The Lord answered, “Thou canst not see my face:" (that is a full view of God's glory,) "for there shall no man see me and live." (v. 20.) But the Lord consents to give him such a diminished view of his glory as Moses could bear. (v. 21, 22.) And as the face of God was put for a full view of his glory which no man could behold and live; so back-parts, in contradistinction to face, or front-parts, were put for a diminished view of God's glory-even such as Moses could behold and live. For example, we cannot behold the full blaze of the meridian Sun; the human eye naked, could not stand that degree of light: something must intervene, such as clouds &c., ere we can look at it: and then we behold not its face, that is its full brightness. But for some time after the sun has set, or gone down in the west (Infidels will excuse this unphilosophical language!) some of his glory is still visible, we behold his back-parts. See Face.- Language.
BAPTIZED. It is written in John iii. 22, "and there he (Jesus) tarried with them and baptized.” It is again written in John iv. 2, “Jesus baptized not.” In another part of the same verse it is written “Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples.” This reconciles the whole. See Causes of apparent discrepancies.-Language.
BELIEVE. To believe, or to have faith, are synony, mous terms, simply signifying a giving credit to a declaration; but in the sacred Scriptures implying such a degree of persuasion, or full assurance of the truth of God's revealed will, that corresponding effects are necessarily produced in him who really believes. The Living God is emphatically called the God of Truth; while Satan is denominated a Liar and the father of Lies: for he told the first lie committed on this earth, "ye shall not surely die,” said he to our first parents. (Gen. iii. 4.)
Till we believe “the record God hath given of his Son," we virtually make him a liar; till then we must consider him as such. (1 John v. 10.) If we believe not what God has revealed, we will not do his will, that is certain. And it is equally certain, that just in proportion to our confidence in Him as a God of truth, will we delight to obey him, to do his commandments. The prominent characteristic given in the Scriptures of him who does
not obey the laws of his Creator is, “he that believeth not." While he that doeth the will of God is called “he that believeth:” believing in God's word being, under the influence of his Spirit, the main-spring of our actions. Therefore, condemnation is denounced against the former character, not simply because he does not believe, but because he is a violator of God's laws. It is not to be supposed that the declaration - he that believeth shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned,” implies, that a man's eternal state depends, or hinges upon his believing or disbelieving; but simply as the scriptural characteristics of those who are, and who are not Christ's disciples--of those who do, and who do not, obey the commandments of God of those who really fear, and those who fear not the voice of God. The contrary opinion involves within it, the greatest absurdities -attributes to God conduct, the antithesis to his attributes of justice and mercy-puts a powerful weapon in the hands of His enemies, and has not a shadow of defence from the Scriptures of truth.
BETHANY. A small town once of some note: it is situated about fifteen furlongs eastward of Jerusalem on the Mount of Olives. It is written in Luke that, “He (the Lord Jesus) led them out as far as to Bethany; and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them. And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven:” (Luke xxiv. 50, 51:) thereby implying that he ascended into heaven from Bethany, Now, in Acts i. 12., it is intimated, that it was from the Mount called “Olivet" that Christ ascended! Which tells the truth? Both! For Bethany was the town, and Olivet was the mountain, at the foot of which was this town! A modern Infidel writer in this country, makes a great noise about this dreadful contradiction, so fatal to the veracity of the sacred writers! This miserable creature, by this conduct only makes more manifest the ignorance, insanity or dishonesty by which the Bible is assailed. For example, suppose two authors writing the life of Washington, one was to say, “Washington died in Virginia,” and the other was to say, “Washington died at Mount Vernon," to what could you attribute the conduct of a man, who would from this circumstance, slander these two authors, by attempting to prove that neither of them was worthy of credit? Certainly either to ignorance or to dishonesty: for if he did not know that Mount Vernon was in Virginia, it proved his ignorance; and if he did, such conduct proved his dishonesty and malice!
The following account of it, is from a modern traveller. “Having crossed the valley of Jehoshaphat, and part of Mount Olivet, we came in half an hour to Bethany; at present only a small village. At the first entrance into it, is an old ruin, which they call Lazarus's castle, supposed to have been the mansion house of that favourite of our Lord. At the bottom of a small descent, not far from the castle, is shown the sepulchre out of which he was raised to a second mortality, by that enlivening voice of Christ, “LAZARUS COME FORTH." You descend into the sepulchre by twenty-five steps; at the bottom of which, you first arrive at a small square room, and from thence creep down into another lesser room, about a yard and a half deeper, in which the body is said to have been laid.” “Translated from Maundrell's Journey from Aleppo to Jerusalem, 4th ed. p. 79. See Calvary. Contradiction. Causes of apparent discrepancies.
BETHESDA. The name of a pool wiih five porches