« PreviousContinue »
though some mocked, and some procrastinated, yet others believed, among whom was a member of the Council, 'Dionysius, the Areopagite.'
The court of Areopagus was one of the oldest and most honoured, not only in Athens, but in the whole of Greece, and, indeed, in the ancient world. Through a long succession of centuries, it preserved its existence amid changes corresponding with those which the state underwent, till at least the age of the Caesars.
Its origin ascends back into the darkest mythical period. From the first its constitution was essentially aristocratic; a character which to some extent it retained even after the democratic reforms which Solon introduced into the Athenian constitution. Following the political tendencies of the state, the Areopagus became in process of time less and less aristocratical, and parted piecemeal with most of its important functions. First its political power was taken away, then its jurisdiction in cases of murder, and even its moral influence gradually departed. During the sway of the Thirty Tyrants its power, or rather its political existence, was destroyed. On their overthrow it recovered some consideration, and the oversight of the execution of the laws was restored to it by an express decree. The precise time when it ceased to exist cannot be determined; but evidence is not wanting to show that in later periods its members ceased to be uniformly characterized by blameless morals.
It is not easy to give a correct summary of its several functions, as the classic writers are not agreed in their statements, and the jurisdiction of the court varied, as has been seen, with times and circumstances. They have, however, been divided into six general classes:-I. Its judicial function; II. Its political; III. Its police function; IV. Its religious; V. Its educational; and VI. (only partially) Its financial.
Passing by certain functions, such as acting as a court of appeal, and of general supervision, which under special circumstances, and when empowered by the people, the Areopagus from time to time discharged, we will say a few words in explanation of the points already named, giving a less restricted space to those which concern its moral and religious influence. Its judicial function embraced trials for murder and manslaughter, and was the oldest and most peculiar sphere of its activity. The indictment was brought by the second or king-archon, whose duties were for the most part of a religious nature. Then followed the oath of both parties, accompanied by solemn appeals to the gods. After this the accuser and the accused had the option of making a speech, which, however, they were obliged to keep free from all extraneous matter, as well as from mere rhetorical ornaments. After the first speech, the accused was permitted to go into voluntary banishment, if he had no reason to expect a favourable issue. Theft, poisoning, wounding, incendiarism, and treason, belonged also to this department of jurisdiction in the court of the Areopagus.
Its political function consisted in the constant watch which it kept over the legal condition of the state, acting as overseer and guardian of the laws.
Its police function also made it a protector
and upholder of the institutions and laws. In this character the Areopagus had jurisdiction over novelties in religion, in worship, in customs, in everything that departed from the traditionary and established usages and modes of thought, which a regard to their ancestors endeared to the nation. The members of the court had a right to take oversight of festive meetings in private houses. In ancient times they fixed the number of the guests, and determined the style of the entertainment. If a person had no obvious means of subsisting, or was known to live in idleness, he was liable to an action before the Areopagus; if condemned three times, he was punished with the loss of his civil rights. In later times the court possessed the right of giving permission to teachers (philosophers and rhetoricians) to establish themselves and pursue their profession in the city.
Its strictly religious jurisdiction extended itself over the public creed, worship, and sacrifices, embracing generally everything which could come under the denomination of sacred things. It was its special duty to see that the religion of the state was kept pure from all foreign elements. The accusation of impietythe vagueness of which admitted almost any charge connected with religious innovationsbelonged in a special manner to this tribunal. The freethinking poet Euripides stood in fear of, and was restrained by, the Areopagus. Its proceeding in such cases was sometimes rather of an admonitory than punitive character.
Not less influential was its moral and educational power. Isocrates speaks of the care which it took of good manners and good order. Quintilian relates that the Areopagus condemned a boy for plucking out the eyes of a quail-a proceeding which has been both misunderstood and misrepresented, but which its original narrator approved, assigning no insufficient reason, namely, that the act was a sign of a cruel disposition, likely in advanced life to lead to baneful actions. The court exercised a salutary influence in general over the Athenian youth, their educators and their education.
Its financial position is not well understood; most probably it varied more than any other part of its administration with the changes which the constitution of the city underwent. It may suffice to mention, that in the Persian war the Areopagus had the merit of completing the number of men required for the fleet, by paying eight drachmæ to each.
ARETAS, the common name of several Arabian kings. 1. The first of whom we have any notice was a contemporary of the Jewish high-priest Jason and of Antiochus Epiphanes about B.C. 170 (2 Macc. v. 8). 2. Josephus mentions an Aretas, king of the Arabians contemporary with Alexander Jannæus (died B. 79) and his sons. After defeating Antiochus Dionysus, he reigned over Cole-Syria, being called to the government by those that held Damascus by reason of the hatred they bore to Ptolemy Mennæus.' He took part with Hyrcanus in his contest for the sovereignty with his brother Aristobulus, and laid siege to Jerusalem, but, on the approach of the Roman general Scaurus, he retreated to Philadelphia. Hyrcanus and Aretas were pursued and defeated by Aristobulus, at
a place called Papyron, and lost above 6000 men. Three or four years after, Scaurus, to whom Pompey had committed the government of Cole-Syria, invaded Petræa, but finding it difficult to obtain provisions for his army, he consented to withdraw on the offer of 300 talents from Aretas. 3. Aretas, whose name was originally Æneas, succeeded Obodas. He was the father-in-law of Herod Antipas. The latter made proposals of marriage to the wife of his half-brother Herod-Philip, Herodias, the daughter of Aristobulus their brother, and the sister of Agrippa the Great. In consequence of this, the daughter of Aretas returned to her father, and a war (which had been fomented by previous disputes about the limits of their respective countries) ensued between Aretas and Herod. The army
palm-trees are also seen, as well as the kharob and the sycamore. The streets are few; the houses are of stone, and many of them large and well built. There are five mosques, two or more of which are said to have once beer Christian churches; and there is here one of the largest Latin convents in Palestine. The place is supposed to contain about 3000 inhabitants, of whom two-thirds are Moslems, and the rest Christ ans, chiefly of the Greek church, with a
of the latter was totally destroyed, and on his sending an account of his disaster to Rome, the emperor immediately ordered Vitellius to bring Aretas prisoner alive, or, if dead, to send his head.
But while Vitellius was on his march to Petra, news arrived of the death of Tiberius, upon which, after administering the oath of allegiance to his troops, he dismissed them to winterquarters and returned to Rome. It must have been at this juncture that Aretas took possession of Damascus, and placed a governor in it with a garrison. For a knowledge of this fact we are indebted to the apostle Paul.
AR'GOB, a district in Bashan, east of the Lake of Gennesareth, which was given to the halftribe of Manasseh (Deut. iii. 4, 13; 1 Kings iv.
1. A'RIEL, a word meaning 'lion of God,' and correctly enough rendered by lion-like,' in 2 Sam. xxiii. 20; 1 Chron. xi. 22. It was applied as an epithet of distinction to bold and warlike persons, as among the Arabians, who surnamed Ali The Lion of God.'
2. ARIEL. The same word is used as a local proper name in Isa. xxix. 1, 2, applied to Jerusalem-as victorious under God'-says Dr. Lee; and in Ezek. xliii. 15, 16, to the altar of burntofferings.
ARIMATHE'A, the birth-place of the wealthy Joseph, in whose sepulchre our Lord was laid (Matt. xxvii. 57; John xix. 38). The Arimathea of Joseph is generally regarded as the same place as the Ramathaim of Samuel, which stood near Lydda or Diospolis. Hence it has by some been identified with the existing Ramleh.
Ramleh is in N. lat. 31° 59', and E. long 35° 28', 8 miles S.E. from Joppa, and 24 miles N.W. by W. from Jerusalem. It lies in the fine undulating plain of Sharon, upon the eastern side of a broad low swell rising from a fertile though sandy plain. Like Gaza and Jaffa, this town is surrounded by olive-groves and gardens of vegetables and delicious fruits. Occasional
few Armenians. The inhabitants carry on some trade in cotton and soap. The great caravanroad between Egypt and Damascus, Smyrna, and Constantinople passes through Ramleh, as well as the most frequented road for European pilgrims and travellers between Joppa and Jerusalem. The isolated tower, of which a figure is here given, is the most conspicuous object in or about the city. It is about 120 feet in height,
of Saracenic architecture, square, and built with well-hewn stone. According to the Moslem account it belonged to a ruined mosque. It bears the date 718 A.H. (A.D. 1310), and an Arabian author reports the completion at Ramleh, in that year, of a minaret unique for its loftiness and grandeur, by the sultan of Egypt, Nazir Mohammed ibn Kelawan. Among the plantations which surround the town occur, at every step, dry wells, cisterns fallen in, and vast vaulted reservoirs, which show that the city must in former times have been upwards of a league and a half in extent.
ARISTARCHUS, a faithful adherent of St. Paul, whose name repeatedly occurs in the Acts and Epistles (Acts xix. 29; xx. 4; xxvii. 2; Col. iv. 10; Philem. 24). He was a native of Thessalonica, and became the companion of St. Paul, whom he accompanied to Ephesus, where he was seized and nearly killed in the tumult raised by the silversmiths. He left that city with the Apostle, and accompanied him in his subsequent journeys, even when taken as a prisoner to Rome: indeed, Aristarchus vas himself sent thither as a prisoner, or became such while there, for Paul calls him his fellow-prisoner' (Col. iv. 10). The traditions of the Greek church represent Aristarchus as bishop of Apamea in Phrygia.
ARISTOBULUS, a person named by Paul in Rom. xvi. 10, where he sends salutations to his household. He is not himself saluted; hence he may not have been a believer, or he may have been absent or dead. Nothing certain is known respecting him.
Aristobulus is a Greek name, adopted by the Romans, and in very common use among them. It was also adopted by the Jews, and was borne by several persons in the Maccabean and Herodian families mentioned by Josephus and in the books of Maccabees.
ARITHMETIC, the science of numbers or reckoning, was unquestionably practised as an art in the dawn of civilization. In the absence of positive information we seem authorized in referring the first knowledge of arithmetic to the East. From India, Chaldæa, Phoenicia, and Egypt, the science passed to the Greeks, who extended its laws, improved its processes, and widened its sphere. To what extent the Orientals carried their acquaintance with arithmetic cannot be determined. The greatest discovery in this department of the mathematics, namely, the establishment of our system of ciphers, belongs undoubtedly not to Arabia, as is generally supposed, but to the remote East, probably India. Our numerals were made known to these western parts by the Arabians, who, though they were nothing more than the medium of transmission, have enjoyed the honour of giving them their name.
The Hebrews were not a scientific, but a religious and practical nation. What they borrowed from others of the arts of life they used without surrounding it with theory or expanding and framing it into a system. Of their knowledge of arithmetic little is known beyond what may be fairly inferred from the pursuits and trades which they carried on, for the successful prosecution of which some skill at least in its simpler processes must have been absolutely necessary;
and the large amounts which appear here and there in the sacred books serve to show that their acquaintance with the art of reckoning was considerable. Even in fractions they were not inexperienced. For figures, the Jews, after the Babylonish exile, made use of the letters of the alphabet; and it is not unlikely that the ancient Hebrews did the same.
ARK, NOAH'S (Gen. vi. 14). Vast labour and much ingenuity have been employed by various writers, in the attempt to determine the form of Noah's ark and the arrangement of its parts. The success has not been equal to the exertion; for, on comparing the few simple facts in the Scripture narrative, every one feels how slight positive data there are for the minute descriptions and elaborate representations which such writers have given. That form of the ark which repeated pictorial representations have rendered familiar-a kind of house in a kind of boat-has not only no foundation in Scripture, but is contrary to reason. The form thus given to it is fitted for progression and for cutting the waves; whereas the ark of Noah was really destined to float idly upon the waters, without any other motion than that which it received from them. If we examine the passage in Gen. vi. 14-16, we can only draw from it the conclusion that the ark was not a boat or ship, but a building in the form of a parallelogram, 300 cubits long, 50 cubits broad, and 30 cubits high. So far as the name affords any evidence, it also goes to show that the ark of Noah was not a regularly-built vessel, but merely intended to float at large upon the waters. We may, therefore, probably with justice, regard it as a large, oblong, floating house, with a roof either flat or only slightly inclined. It was constructed with three stories, and had a door in the side. There is no mention of windows in the side, but above, i. e. probably in the flat roof, where Noah was commanded to make them of a cubit in size (Gen. vi. 16).
The purpose of this ark was, to preserve certain persons and animals from the Deluge with which God intended to overwhelm the land, in punishment for man's iniquities. The persons were eight-Noah and his wife, with his three sons and their wives (Gen. vii. 7; 2 Pet. ii. 5). The animals were, one pair of every 'unclean' animal, and seven pairs of all that were clean.' By clean,' we understand fit, and by unclean,' unfit for food or for sacrifice. Of birds there were seven pairs (Gen. vii. 2, 3). Those who have written professedly and largely on the subject, have been at great pains to provide for all the existing species of animals in the ark of Noah, showing how they might be distributed, fed, and otherwise provided for. But they are very far from having cleared the matter of all its difficulties; which are much greater than they, in their general ignorance of natural his tory, were aware of. These difficulties, however, chiefly arise from the assumption that the species of all the earth were collected in the ark. The number of such species has been vastly under-rated by these writers-partly from ignorance, and partly from the desire to limit the number for which they imagined they required to provide. They have usually satisfied themselves with a provision for three or four hundred
species at most. But of the existing mammalia,' says Dr. J. Pye Smith, considerably more than one thousand species are known; of birds, fully five thousand; of reptiles, very few kinds of which can live in water, two thousand; and the researches of travellers and naturalists are making feequent and most interesting additions to the number of these and all other classes. Of insects (using the word in the popular sense) the number of species is immense; to say one hundred thousand would be moderate: each has its appropriate habitation and food, and these are necessary to its life; and the larger number could not live in water. Also the innumerable millions upon millions of animalcules must be provided for; for they have all their appropriate and diversified places and circumstances of existence.' Nor do these numbers form the only difficulty; for, as the same writer observes:
All land animals have their geographical regions, to which their constitutional natures are congenial, and many could not live in any other situation. We cannot represent to ourselves the idea of their being brought into one small spot, from the polar regions, the torrid zone, and ill the other climates of Asia, Africa, Europe, America, Australia, and the thousands of islands, their preservation and provision, and the final disposal of them, without bringing up the idea of miracles more stupendous than any which are recorded in Scripture.'
The difficulty of assembling in one spot, and of providing for in the ark, the various mammalia and birds alone, even without including the otherwise essential provision for reptiles, insects, and fishes, is quite sufficient to suggest some error in the current belief. We are to I consider the different kinds of accommodation and food which would be required for animals of such different habits and climates, and the necessary provision for ventilation and for cleansing the stables or dens. And if so much ingenuity has been required in devising arrangements for the comparatively small number of species which the writers on the ark have been willing to admit into it; what provision can be made for the immensely larger number which, under the supposed conditions, would really have required its shelter?
There seems no way of meeting these difficulties but by adopting the suggestion of Bishop Stillingfleet, approved by Matthew Poole, Dr. J. Pye Smith, Le Clerc, Rosenmüller, and others, uamely, that, as the object of the Deluge was to sweep man from the earth, it did not extend beyond that region of the earth which man then inhabited, and that only the animals of that region were preserved in the ark. The bishop expresses his belief that the Flood was universal as to mankind, and that all men, except those preserved in the ark, were destroyed; but he sees no evidence from Scripture that the whole earth was then inhabited; he does not think that it can ever be proved to have been so; and he asks, what reason there can be to extend the Flood beyond the occasion of it? [DELUGE.]
As Noah was the progenitor of all the nations of the earth, and as the ark was the second cradle of the human race, we might expect to find in all nations traditions and reports more or less distinct respecting him, the ark in which he was
saved, and the Deluge in general. Accordingly no nation is known in which such traditions have not been found. Our present concern, however, is only with the ark. And as it appears that an ark, that is, a boat or chest, was carried about with great ceremony in most of the ancient mysteries, and occupied an eminent station in the holy places, it has with much reason been concluded that this was originally intended to represent the ark of Noah, which eventually came to be regarded with superstitious reverence. On this point the historical and mythological testimonies are very clear and conclusive. The tradition of a deluge, by which the race of man was swept from the face of the earth, has been traced among the Chaldæans, Egyptians, Phoenicians, Assyrians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Goths, Druids, Chinese, Hindoos, Burmese,
Mexicans, Peruvians, Brazilians, Nicaraguans, the inhabitants of Western Caledonia, and the islanders of the Pacific; and among most of them also the belief has prevailed that certain individuals were preserved in an ark, ship, boat, or raft, to replenish the desolated earth with inhabitants. These traditions, moreover, are corroborated by coins and monuments of stone. the latter there are the sculptures of Egypt and of India; and it is not unlikely that those of the monuments called Druidical, which bear the name of kist-vaens, and in which the stones are disposed in the form of a chest or house, were intended as memorials of the ark.
ARK OF THE COVENANT
With regard to the evidence furnished by coins, we shall confine our illustrations to the two famous medals of Apamea. These medals belong, the one to the elder Philip, and the other to Pertinax. In the former it is extremely interesting to observe that on the front of the ark is the name of Noah, in Greek characters. The designs on these medals correspond remarkably, although the legends somewhat vary. In both we perceive the ark floating on the water, containing the patriarch and his wife, the dove on wing, the olive-branch, and the raven perched on the ark. These medals also represent Noah and his wife on terra firma, in the attitude of rendering thanks for their safety. The genuineness of these medals has been established beyond all question, and the coincidences which they offer are at least exceedingly curious.
ARK OF THE COVENANT. The word here used for ark is, as already explained, different from that which is applied to the ark of Noah. It is the common name for a chest or coffer, whether applied to the ark in the tabernacle, to a coffin, to a mummy-chest (Gen. 1. 26), or to a chest for money (2 Kings xii. 9, 10). Our word ark has the same meaning, being derived from the Latin arca, a chest. The distinction between aron and the present word has already been suggested. The sacred chest is distinguished from others as the ark of God' (1 Sam. iii. 3); ⚫ark of the covenant' (Josh. iii. 6); and ark of the law' (Exod. xxv. 22). This ark was a kind of chest, of an oblong shape, made of shittim (acacia wood, a cubit and a half broad and high, two cubits long, and covered on all sides with the purest gold. It was ornamented on its upper surface with a border or rim of gold; and on each of the two sides, at equal distances from the top, were two gold rings, in which were placed (to remain there perpetually) the goldcovered poles by which the ark was carried, and which continued with it after it was deposited in the tabernacle. The lid or cover of the ark was of the same length and breadth, and made of the purest gold. Over it, at the two extremities, were two cherubim, with their faces turned towards each other, and inclined a little towards the lid (otherwise called the mercy seat). Their wings, which were spread out over the top of the ark, formed the throne of God, the King of Israel, while the ark itself was his footstool (Exod. xxv. 10-22; xxxvii. 1-9).
This ark was the most sacred object among the Israelites: it was deposited in the innermost and holiest part of the tabernacle, called 'the holy of holies' (and afterwards in the corresponding apartment of the Temple), where it stood so that one end of each of the poles by which it was carried (which were drawn out so far as to allow the ark to be placed against the back wall), touched the veil which separated the two apartments of the tabernacle (1 Kings viii. 8). In the ark were deposited the tables of the law (Exod. xxv. 16). A quantity of manna was laid up beside the ark in a vase of gold (Exod. xvi. 32, 36; 1 Kings viii. 9); as were also the rod of Aaron (Num. xvii. 10), and a copy of the book of the law (Deut. xxxi. 26).
Nothing is more apparent throughout the historical Scriptures than the extreme sanctity which attached to the ark, as the material sym
bol of the Divine presence. During the marches of the Israelites it was covered with a purple pall, and borne by the priests, with great reverence and care, in advance of the host (Num. iv. 5, 6; x. 33). It was before the ark, thus in advance, that the waters of the Jordan separated; and it remained in the bed of the river, with the attendant priests, until the whole host had passed over; and no sooner was it also brought up than the waters resumed their course (Josh. iii.; iv. 7, 10, 11, 17, 18). The ark was similarly conspicuous in the grand procession round Jericho (Josh. vi. 4, 6, 8, 11, 12). It is not wonderful therefore that the neighbouring nations, who had no notion of spiritual worship, looked upon it as the God of the Israelites (1 Sam. iv. 6, 7), a delusion which may have been strengthened by the figures of the cherubim on it. After the settlement of the Jews in Palestine, the ark remained in the tabernacle at Shiloh, until, in the time of Eli, it was carried along with the army in the war against the Philistines, under the superstitious notion that it would secure the victory to the Hebrews. They were, however, not only beaten, but the ark itself was taken by the Philistines (1 Sam. iv. 3-11), whose triumph was, however, very short lived, as they were so oppressed by the hand of God, that, after seven months, they were glad to send it back again (1 Sam. v. 7). After that it remained apart from the tabernacle, at Kirjath-jearim (vii. 1, 2), where it continued until the time of David, who purposed to remove it to Jerusalem; but the old prescribed mode of removing it from place to place was so much neglected as to cause the death of Uzzah, in consequence of which it was left in the house of Obededom (2 Sam. vi. 1-11); but after three months David took courage, and succeeded in effecting its safe removal, in grand procession, to Mount Zion (ver. 12-19). When the Temple of Solomon was completed, the ark was deposited in the sanctuary (1 Kings viii. 6-9). The passage in 2 Chron. xxxv. 3, in which Josiah directs the Levites to restore the ark to the holy place, is understood by some to imply that it had either been removed by Amon, who put an idol in its place, which is assumed to have been the trespass' ' of which he is said to have been guilty (2 Chron. xxxiii. 23); or that the priests themselves had withdrawn it during idolatrous times, and preserved it in some secret place, or had removed it from one place to another. But it seems more likely that it had been taken from the holy of holies during the purification and repairs of the temple by this same Josiah, and that he, in this passage, merely directs it to be again set in its place. What became of the ark when the Temple was plundered and destroyed by the Babylonians is not known, and all conjecture is useless. It is certain, however, from the consent of all the Jewish writers, that the old ark was not contained in the second temple, and there is no evidence that any new one was made. Indeed the absence of the ark is one of the important particulars in which this temple was held to be inferior to that of Solomon. The most holy place is therefore generally considered to have been empty in the second temple.
ARKITES, the inhabitants of Arka, mentioned in Gen. x. 17; 1 Chron. i. 15, as descended from the Phoenician or Sidonian branch of the great