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allotted to them, lest their minds should be distracted from their peculiar calling by the necessity of closely attending to worldly business.
Now, in his capacity of an universal paramount, Jehovah claimed to himself, as a sort of rentcharge, the tenth part of all, which his creatures should produce, and which he allowed man to enjoy as his vassal or tenant.' This tribute to the superior lord, that lord, to whom it of right belonged, was pleased by a special endowment to make the property of the Levites; that it might be to them for an inheritance; for the service which they served, even the service of the tabernacle of the congregation.*
But such a claim on the part of God, and such an arrangement in favour of his sacerdotal ministers, was no way peculiar to the Law of Moses. Each had previously existed under the Patriarchal dispensation; and, from that, each was recognized under the Levitical. Thus the claim of God is fully allowed by Jacob; when he vows, that of all, which the Deity should give him, he would surely devote the tenth to the munificent donor:3 and thus Abraham is said to have given tithes of all to a very remarkable personage, on the express ground of his sustaining the office of the priest of the most high God.+
1 Levit. xxvii. 30-33. Numb. xviii. 26.
2 Numb. xviii. 21, 24.
3 Gen. xxviii. 22.
4 Ibid. xiv. 18-20.
(6.) Without building too much upon those moral precepts of Noah, which the Rabbins detail with no less precision than if they had been present at the delivery of them, we have every reason to believe, that the oral code of the Patriarchs was the basis of the written code of Moses: for, as the civil practice of a brother espousing the widow of a deceased brother and raising up seed to him was adopted from the first dispensation into the second, much more would those moral and religious precepts, which respect our duty to God and to our neighbour.*
(7.) But I am inclined to believe, that not only the sacred code of the Mosaical Law was greatly indebted to the oral code of the Patriarchal dispensation, but likewise that a very conspicuous implement of the Hebrew ritual may be traced to the ritual of the early fathers.
When a commandment is given to Moses to frame the ark and the Cherubim, though he has a general direction to make all things according to the pattern shewed to him in the mount, and though it seems natural to conclude that he there beheld the form of the Cherubim; yet we do not find, that any special charge is communicated to Bezaleel as to the precise figure of those remarkable images for any thing that appears to the contrary, he is simply ordered to make them, just as he might be ordered to make any other implement the form of which was perfectly familiar to him.
Gen. xxxviii. 8, 9, 11, 14, 26.
I suppose then, that the workman previously knew the form of the Cherubim; and that not only he was well acquainted with it, but likewise the whole congregation of Israel.
The mode, in which I trace this supposed knowledge, is as follows.
When our first parents were ejected from Paradise, we are informed, that God placed Cherubim with a bickering flame of fire at the eastern approach to the garden, that they might keep the way of the tree of life. Now the force of the original Hebrew is, that God placed those Cherubim in a tabernacle and we are no way bound to think, that they were manifested on the eastern side of Paradise more than on any other side, though it is probable enough that this might have been the case; for the word, which our translators render at the east, may just as well be rendered before But we are taught, that the sacred garden is a type of heaven; and we are likewise taught, that heaven was no less typified by the holy of holies in the Levitical tabernacle.* Now the Cherubim, under the Law, were placed in the holy of holies, directly fronting the entrance, and guarding (as it were) the approach to the consecrated adytum: just as the Cherubim, under the Patriarchal dispensation, were placed at the edge of Paradise, guarding the avenue which led to the
Gen. iii. 24.
2 Luke xxiii. 43. 2 Corinth. xii. 4. Rev. ii. 7. Heb. ix. 3-12, 24-28.
tree of life. In both cases therefore, the Cherubim have the very same relative position: for, in both cases, they directly front the person who might wish to penetrate into the recesses of that, which shadowed out the heaven of heavens. In both cases too, we find them placed in a consecrated tabernacle: and, as no hint is given that the Paradisiacal Cherubim were ever withdrawn before the flood, and as the same reason which first caused them to be stationed before the garden still subsisted until the very time of the deluge; we have ample ground for concluding, that their manifestation was not temporary but permanent. If then we put these several points of coincidence together; the Cherubim themselves, the tabernacle in which they were stationed, their position at the entrance of that which symbolized heaven, and their apparent permanence in that position: it is almost impossible to avoid concluding, that they were not more characteristic of the Levitical dispensation, than of the Patriarchal before the deluge.
At all events, even if the Paradisiacal Cherubin were withdrawn after a short interval; a circumstance however utterly improbable, for then the way to the tree of life would have been no longer guarded: but, even if they were soon withdrawn, still the great patriarch Noah could not have been ignorant of their form; for such was the longevity of the antediluvians, that a single intermediate person might have conversed both with Adam and with Noah. This being the case, we may be sure
that the second father of mankind would speak of them to his posterity: and the interval between Noah and Abraham on the one hand, and between Abraham and Moses on the other hand, was not so great, that all recollection of their extraordinary appearance should have been obliterated. According therefore even to such a supposition, the form of the Cherubim must have been generally known among the Israelites in the time of Moses.
But, so far from thinking the supposition of their early removal to be probable; I judge it to be altogether improbable, for the obvious reason which has already been given. If however the Paridisiacal Cherubim were permanent until the epoch of the flood; we can scarcely avoid concluding, when we reflect upon the close analogical resemblance in every particular, that they bore the very same relation to the stated worship of Patriarchism, as the Cherubim of the Levitical tabernacle did to the stated worship of the Law.
Supposing then that they were withdrawn after the deluge, still we might reasonably contend that they were adopted from the first dispensation into the second and their discontinuance under the one before its final abrogation would only be analogous to their discontinuance under the other before its final abrogation; for the Rabbins inform us that the Cherubim and the ark were among the things wherein the second temple was deficient, and their assertion is corroborated by the declaration of Tacitus that Pompey found the sanctuary of the Jewish temple entirely empty