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Again, as the belly is of all the human body the part most frail and delicate, and that which demands the greatest care, so may it denote our humanity-weak and impotent in itself, but redeemed from its infirmities by Christ's fostering care, and by his having in our flesh known the trials wherewith we are encompassed, and can, therefore, pity, console, and save us.
It was of prepared ivory because it had no spot or corruption, for He had no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth (1st Peter, ii, 22). And studded with sapphires because of the heavenly graces with which Christ's manhood was endowed; for the sapphire, from its colour and purity, signifies God's majesty (Exodus, xxiv, 10).
The sapphire, again, gleams in Aaron's breastplate (Exodus, xxxviii, 18), and is the second jewel in the foundation of the heavenly Jerusalem (Rev. xxi, 19), and it is also the foundation of the new earthly Jerusalem, described in Isaiah, liv, 11.
We may remark, also, that as the blue of the sea and sky typifies God's infinite love, majesty, and purity, so do we see these colours reproduced in the tabernacle of the desert; in Aaron's robes; and in the sacred ephod, which was all blue; and again in the ribband of blue which the Israelites were ordered to hem on their garments (Exodus, xxv, 4; xxvi, 1 ; xxviii, 5, 31; Numbers, xv, 38), so that wherever they were, whatever they were doing, they might have before them a memorial of God's holiness, and of his infinite and inexhaustible love, and thus be led to adore the author and finisher of their salvation, and that whatsoever they did or said all might be done to the glory of God the Father, through whom the world was crucified to them and they unto the world. And we must never forget that it was this hem of blue which the woman with the issue of blood touched and was made whole (Matthew, ix, 20), and so may each sinner on earth obtain remission from all and every sin, and an entrance into the mansions of the blessed, by simply believing in and accepting God's precious gifts of His dear Son. It requires no human progression, no ascension in holiness, no feelings of religious improvement, no internal frames, sensations, or aspirations, no outward show of religion, it simply requires faith to lay hold of and impersonate, realise, accept, and appropriate God's gifts in Christ; no possible worthiness on our part, no acts, no prayers, no feelings, however good in themselves, could render us accepted in the beloved. It is Christ alone, who, shedding His blood for all mankind, can and does render us worthy to be associated with Him here on earth, and to be a participator of the coming glory.
Meeting with a small volume styled "The Songs of Solomon," I observed that on this passage the author remarked that “belly" signifies bowels, and was in all other instances so rendered. And from this and other remarks I was led to the belief that the author deemed the word indelicate. I may be wrong, but such was and is my impression; and I therefore feel bound to raise my voice against any such daring irreverence of God's word. It is an insult to divine inspiration, and utterly opposed both to fact and reason : if indelicacy is presumed, it originates in the breast of the commentator, not in the word employed by the translators of the authorised version.
Let us examine the meaning of the two words, and the manner in which they are employed in Holy Writ:
Belly” is the part of the body containing the entrails or bowels, the outward part.
" Bowels,” parts within the body, the intestines.
The Greek word for belly is “ Koilia," that for bowels is i splagknon."
How are these two terms employed in scripture? First—"Belly."
“Whatsoever goeth into the mouth passeth out by the belly (koilian).” Matthew xv. 17.
“He would fain have filled his belly with the husks (kiolian).” Luke xv. 16.
They serve &c., their own belly—“Koilia." Romans xvi. 18. Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats,-in both instances “ Koilia." 1 Corinthians vi. 13.
Whose god is their belly—“Koilia.” Philippians iii. 19.
It shall make thy belly sweet—"Koilia.” Revelation x. 9, 10, and other passages. Now turn to Bowels—"Splagknon.”
Judas burst and “bowels" gushed out. Acts i. 18.
“bowels" of mercy. Colossians iji. 12. Bowels of saints are refreshed. Philemon 7.
Other passages might be quoted, but these are sufficient to establish a vast difference in the meaning of the two words. One could not talk of the bellies of mercy being refreshed, nor of one whose god is their bowels ; much less could one say of the serpent-on thy bowels shalt thou go. Nor instead of “belly” could one say, whatsoever goeth on bowels is an abomination (Leviticus, xi. 12.) But I stop,
ECCLESIASTES, xii, 6.
“Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or
the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern."
The cord denotes the thread of life, the continuity of existence; being of silver shows what a noble possession it is, and how it came pure originally from the hands of the Creator. If gold is typical of the glory of God, as we find it is in the frame work and vessels of the sanctuary, from its exceeding purity, richness and value, so may we fitly apply silver to the greatest of God's works—the creation of man. Into whose nostrils He breathed the breath of life, and man became a living soul.
In the golden bowl we see the source of life, the word employed for bowl is equivalent to "source” mentioned in Joshua, xv, 10; Judges, i, 15; Canticles, iv, 12, and has the same signification as the golden bowl of Zechariah, iv, 3, there employed as a reservoir for supplying oil to the seven golden candlesticks, and as the candlestick and appurtenances were made of the noblest metal to illustrate the glory of the redeemed, so here are we taught to look upon and value life as the noblest gilt of the Creator, and to feel daily that unless supplied by the grace of God's presence and filled continually by the living waters of his love the bowl, golden though it be, will be broken at last, and deprived then of the vivifying and refreshing spirit of God, shall, as an earthly thing, return to the earth as it originally was; but the spirit, the breath of life, shall return unto God who gave it.
The pitcher may represent individual as well as general life, which is frail and weak, that, as the pitcher at the well, it may be shattered by the veriest accident,—not that anythings happens by chance in God's governmental rule, for we know that not a sparrow falls to the ground without his knowledge, but life at times is so suddenly, so unexpectedly, so incomprehensibly snapt and broken that those who do not recognise God's hand in all things attribute it to chance or accident, forgetting that in Him are the issues of life, and that in the midst of life we are in death. Let Ecclesiastes, ix, 11, 12, be carefully read, remembering that what men call “time and chance” is the sudden manifestation of God's supreme will for purposes known only to himself. He takes away many from the coming wrath (1st Thessalonians, i, 10; Romans, v, 9), and many He openly destroys on account of their transgressions. See a striking proof in Acts, xii, 23, but the believer knows that though death comes to all, and after that the judgment (Hebrews, ix, 27), "yet that in the way of righteousness is life, and in the path thereof there is no death" (Proverbs, xii, 28). To him who is in Christ Jesus death is the door, the gate of life through which he enters into the joys of his Lord, and becomes an inhabitant of those blessed mansions where Jesus is gone before to prepare a place for him (John, xiv, 2). O death where is thy sting! O grave where is thy victory! Well may the believer exclaim, in songs of praise and adoration, “Thanks be to God which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
the words are distinct-their application different. The belly is the husk, the bowels the kernel : bowels the delicate substance, belly the external shell ; belly an outward object, bowels an interior from whence flow compassion, affection, and sympathy.
The cistern may represent the world, and the wheel from its rapidity of motion may denote life itself, but whatever may be the specific significance of the terms employed, the lesson Solomon the preacher, speaking by the power of God, is desirous of impressing upon our hearts and understanding is in the solemn truth, that awful trials and calamities are coming on the world to try and sift men, and that man is consequently warned, ere that hour comes, ere he goeth to his long home, “or the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern, and the dust return to the earth as it was, and the spirit return unto God who gave it,” “to seek the Lord his God, if haply he might feel after him, and find him though he is not far from every one of us" (Acts, xvii, 27). Happy in that day are those who have lain hold of Jesus, have felt themselves washed in His blood, and can consequently in the midst of all trials repose in His love, and confidently rejoice in His salvation, "for there is no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus, nay we are more than conquerors through him that loved us,” &c. (Romans, viii).
LEVITICUS, XXIV, 10-24.
The narrative here recorded, where the offspring of a mixed marriage (an Egyptian and an Israelitess) curses Jehovah, and is stoned in consequence outside of the camp, is to point out forcibly in a practical sense the awful consequences of any relation, connection, or fellowship with the heathen nations the Israelites were about to encounter. The law promulgated through Moses most positively insists on an entire seperation from the Canaanitish and other heathen nations, and at the same time demonstrated the necessity of their extirpation, and this on the ground that the sanctuary of Jehovah was in the midst of his people; it was the residence of God among them, “Sanctified by his Glory,” and was an fexternal token of His fellowship with them. The fundamental law of theocracy was based on this principle, and everything connected with it must be holy; nothing unclean must approach it, and only such as was clean and separated from sin and heathenism could enter into its precincts. No offering was accepted except in the sanctuary; no feast, sacrifice, or oblation could be prepared elsewhere.
The sanctuary was made the centre and day-star of the whole nation, and every one capable of attending its services must necessarily present himself in and at the place indicated; all worship must retain its relation thereto. In this way the every root and branch of heathenism was lopped off, there was no possible explanation for specious cxcuse or delinquency. Jehovah, and He alone, was to be the object of adoration; and deviation from this fundamental and well recognised law was immediately visited by a corresponding judgment, and this we see practically exhibited in the narrative under notice.
SONG OF SONGS, IV. 16.
Awake, 0 north wind ; and come, thou south ; blow upon my
garden, that the spices thereof may flow out; let my beloved come into his garden and eat bis pleasant fruit."
Throughout Scripture the north, as the region of cold and darkness, is typical of the powers of evil. Elihu says,