« ÎnapoiContinuați »
fession of his faith before what were designated the fathers of the baptism' (our
It was indeed a great thing when, in the words of Maimonides, a stranger sought shelter under the wings of the Shechinah, and the change of condition which he underwent was regarded as complete. The waters of baptism were to him in very truth, though in a far different from the Christian sense, the ' bath of regeneration' (Titus iii. 5). As he stepped out of these waters he was considered as • born anew '-in the language of the Rabbis, as if he were a little child just born' (Yeb. 22 a; 48 b; 97 b), as a child of one day' (Mass. Ger. c. ii.). But this new birth was not ‘a birth from above' in the sense of moral or spiritual renovation, but only as implying a new relationship to God, to Israel, and to his own past, present, and future. It was expressly enjoined that all the difficulties of his new citizenship should first be set before him, and if, after that, he took upon himself the yoke of the law, he should be told how all those sorrows and persecutions were intended to convey a greater blessing, and all those commandments to redound to greater merit. More especially was he to regard himself as a new man in reference to his past. Country, home, habits, friends, and relations were all changed. The past, with all that had belonged to it, was past, and he was a new man—the old, with its defilements, was buried in the waters of baptism. This was carried out with such pitiless logic as not only to determine such questions as those of inheritance, but that it was declared that, except for the sake of not bringing proselytism into contempt, a proselyte might have wedded his own mother or sister (comp. Yeb. 22 a; Sanh. 58 b). It is a curious circumstance that marriage with a female proselyte was apparently very popular (Horaj. 13 a, line 5 from bottom), and the Talmud names at least three celebrated doctors who were the offspring of such unions (comp. Derenbourg, Hist. de la Palest., p. 223, note 2).
If anything could have further enhanced the value of such proselytism, it would have been its supposed antiquity. Tradition traced it up to Abraham and Sarah, and the expression (Gen. xii. 5) 'the souls that they had gotten' was explained as referring to their proselytes, since · every one that makes a proselyte is as if he made (created) him’ (Ber. R. 39, comp. also the Targums Pseudo-Jon. and Jerus. and Midr. on Cant. i. 3). The Talmud, differing in this from the Targumim, finds in Exod. ii. 5 a reference to the baptism of Pharaoh's daughter (Sotah 12 b, line 3; Megill. 13 a, line 11). In Shem. R. 27 Jethro is proved to have been a convert, from the circumstance that his original name had been Jether (Exod. iv. 18), an additional letter (Jethro), as in the case of Abraham, having been added to his name when he became a proselyte (comp. also Sebach. 116 a and
Targum Ps.-Jon. on Exod. xviii. 6, 27, Numb. xxiv. 21. To pass over other instances, we are pointed to Ruth (Targum on Ruth i. 10, 15), and to Nebuzaradan, —who is also described as a proselyte (Sanh. 96 b, line 9 from the bottom). But it is said that in the days of David and Solomon proselytes were not admitted by the Sanhedrin because their motives were suspected (Yeb. 76 a), or that at least they were closely watched.
But although the baptism of proselytes seems thus far beyond doubt, Christian theologians have discussed the question, whether the rite was practised at the time of Christ, or only introduced after the destruction of the Temple and its Services, to take the place of the Sacrifice previously offered. The controversy, which owed its origin chiefly to dogmatic prejudices on the part of Lutherans, Calvinists, and Baptists, has since been continued on historical or quasi-historical grounds. The silence of Josephus and Philo can scarcely be quoted in favour of the later origin of the rite. On the other hand, it may be urged that, as Baptism did not take the place of sacrifices in any other instance, it would be difficult to account for the origin of such a rite in connection with the admission of proselytes.
Again, if a Jew who had become Levitically defiled, required immersion, it is difficult to suppose that a heathen would have been admitted to all the services of the Sanctuary without a similar purification. But we have also positive testimony (which the objections of Winer, Keil, and Leyrer, in my opinion do not invalidate), that the baptism of proselytes existed in the time of Hillel and Shammai. For, whereas the school of Shammai is said to have allowed a proselyte who was circumcised on the eve of the Passover, to partake after baptism of the Passover, the school of Hillel forbade it. This controversy must be regarded as proving that at that time (previous to Christ) the baptism of proselytes was customary" (Pes. viii. 8, Eduj. v. 2).
1 The case supposed by the school of Shammai would, however, have been impossible, since, according to Rabbinic directions, a certain time must have elapsed between circumcision and baptism.
· The following notice from Josephus (Ant. xviii. 5. 2) is not only interesting in itself, but for the view which it presents of baptism. It shows what views rationalising Jews took of the work of St. John, and how little such were able to enter into the real meaning of his baptism. “But to some of the Jews it appeared, that the destruction of Herod's army came from God, and, indeed, as a righteous punishment on account of what had been done to John, who was surnamed the Baptist. For Herod ordered him to be killed, a good man, and who commanded the Jews to exercise virtue, both as to righteousness towards one another, and piety towards God,
and so to come to baptism. For that the baptizing would be acceptable to Him, if ther made use of it, not for the putting away (remission) of some sins, but for the purification of the body, after that the soul had been previously cleansed by righteousness. And when others had come in crowds, for they were exceedingly moved by hearing these words, Herod, fearing lest such influence of his over the people might lead to some rebellion, for they seemed ready to do any. thing by his counsel, deemed it best, before anything new should happen through bim, to put him to death, rather than that, when a change should arise in affairs, he might have to repent,' &c. On the credibility of this testimony see the Article on Josephus, in Smith's • Dictionary of Christian Biography,' vol. ii. pp. 441-460 (see especially pp. 138, 459).
WITHOUT here entering on a discussion of the doctrine of Angels and devils as presented in Holy Scripture, the Apocrypha, and the Pseudepigrapha, it will be admitted that considerable progression may be marked as we advance from even the latest Canonical to Apocryphal, and again from these to the Pseudepigraphic Writings. The same remark applies even more strongly to a comparison of the latter with Rabbinic literature. There we have comparatively little of the Biblical in its purity. But, added to it, we now find much that is the outcome of Eastern or of prurient imagination, of national conceit, of ignorant superstition, and of foreign, especially Persian, elements. In this latter respect it is true-not, indeed, as regards the doctrine of good and evil Angels, but much of its Rabbinic elaboration that the names of the Angels (and of the months) were brought from Babylon' (Jer. Rosh. ha Sh. 56 d; Ber. R. 48), and with the names,' not a few of the notions regarding them. At the same time, it would be unjust to deny that much of the symbolism which it is evidently intended to convey is singularly beautiful.
I. ANGELOLOGY. 1. Creation, Number, Duration, and Location of the Angels. We are now considering, not the Angel-Princes but that vast unnumbered • Host' generally designated as the ministering Angels' (nova 850). Opinions differ (Ber. R. 3) whether they were created on the second day as being 'spirits,''winds' (Ps. civ. 4), or on the fifth day (Is. vi. 2) in accordance with the works of Creation on those daye. Viewed in reference to God's Service and Praise, they are a flaming fire': in regard to their office, winged messengers (Pirké de R. El. 4). But not only so: every day ministering Angels are created, whose apparent destiny is only to raise the praises of God, after which they pass away into the fiery stream (Nahar deNur) whence they originally issued (Chag. 14 a; Ber. R. 78). More than this-a new Angel is created to execute every behest of God, and then passeth away (Chay. u. s.). This continual new creation of Angels, which is partly a beautiful allegory, partly savours of the doctrine of 'emanation,' is Biblically supported by an appeal to Lament. iii. 23. Thus it may be said that daily a Cath, or company, of Angels is created for the daily service of God, and that every word which proceedeth from His mouth becomes an 'Angel' [Messenger-mark here the ideal unity of Word and Deed], (Chag. 14 a).
The vast number of that Angelic Host, and the consequent safety of Israel as 1 This stream issues from under the throne creatures' in their awe at the glory of God of God, and is really the sweat of the living (Ber. R. 78).
against its enemies, was described in the most hyperbolic language. There were 12 Massaloth (signs of the Zodiac), each having 30 chiefs of armies, each chief with 30 legions, each legion with 30 leaders, each leader with 30 captains, each captain with 30 under him, and each of these with 365,000 stars—and all were created for the sake of Israel ! (Ber. 32. b). Similarly, when Nebuchadnezzar proposed to ascend into heaven, and to exalt his throne above the stars, and be like the Most High, the Bath Kol replied to this grandson of Nimrod that man's age was 70, or at most 80 years, while the way from earth to the firmament occupied 500 years, the thickness of the firmament was 500 years, from one firmament to the other occupied other 500 years, the feet of the living creatures were equal to all that had preceded, and the joints of their feet to as many as had preceded them, and so on increasingly through all their members up to their horns, after which came the Throne of Glory, the feet of which again equalled all that had preceded, and so on (Chag. 13a). In connection with this we read in Chag. 12 b that there are seven heavens: the Vilon, in which there is the sun; Rekia, in which the sun shines, and the moon, stars, and planets are fixed ; Shechakim, in which are the millstones to make the manna for the pious; Szebhul, in which the upper Jerusalem, and the Temple and the Altar are, and in which Michael, the chief Angel-Prince, offers sacrifices; Maon, in which the Angels of the Ministry are, who sing by night and are silent by day for the sake of the honour of Israel (who now have their services); Machon, in which are the treasuries of snow, bail, the chambers of noxious dews, and of the receptacles of water, the chamber of the wind, and the cave of mist, and their doors are of fire; lastly, Araboth, wherein Justice, Judgment, and Righteousness are, the treasures of Life, of Peace, and of Blessing, the souls of the righteous, and the spirits and souls of those who are to be born in the future, and the dew by which the dead are to be raised. There also are the Ophanim, and the Seraphim, and the living creatures, and the ministering Angels, and the Throne of Glory, and over them is enthroned the Great King. [For a description of this Throne and of the Appearance of its King, see Pirké de R. Elies. 4.] On the other hand, sometimes every power and phenomenon in Nature is hypostatised into an Angel—such as hail, rain, wind, sea, &c.; similarly, every occurrence, such as life, death, nourishment, poverty, nay, as it is expressed : 6 there is not a stalk of grass upon earth but it has its Angel in heaven' (Ber. R. 10). This seems to approximate the views of Alexandrian Mysticism. So also, perhaps, the idea that certain Biblical heroes became after death Angels. But as this may
be regarded as implying their service as messengers of God, we leave it for the present.
2. The Angel-Princes, their location, names, and offices. Any limitation, as to duration or otherwise, of the Ministering Angels does not apply either to the Ophanim (or wheel-angels), the Seraphim, the Chayoth (or living creatures), nor to the Angel-Princes (Ber. R. 78). In Chag. 13 a, b the name Chashmal is given to the living creatures. The word is explained as composed of two others which mean silence and speech-it being beautifully explained, that they keep silence when the Word proceeds out of the mouth of God, and speak when He has ceased. It would be difficult exactly to state the number of the Angel-Princes. The 70 nations, of which the world is composed, had each their Angel-Prince (Targ. Jer, on Gen. xi. 7, 8; Midr. R. and Yalkut on the passage), who plead their cause with God. Hence, in some respects these Angels are hostile to Israel, and
1 Some add the Cherubim as another and years journey, which is proved from the separate class.
numerical value of the word straight' ? According to Jer. Ber. ix. 1, the abode of (Ezek. i. 7). the living creatures was to an extent of 515
may be regarded as not quite good Angels, and are cast down when the nationality which they represent is destroyed. It may have been as a reflection on Christian teaching that Israel was described as not requiring any representative with God, like the Gentiles. For, as will soon appear, this was not the general view entertained. Besides these Gentile Angel-Princes there were other chiefs, whose office will be explained in the sequel. Of these 5 are specially mentioned, of whom four surround the Throne of God : Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, and Uriel. But the greatest of all is Metatron, who is under the Throne, and before it. These Angels are privileged to be within the Pargod, or cloudy veil, while the others only hear the Divine commands or counsels outside this curtain (Chag. 5 b, Pirkė d. R. El. iv.). It is a slight variation when the Targum PseudoJonathan on Deut. xxxiv. 6 enumerates the following as the 6 principal Angels : Michael, Gabriel, Metatron, Jophiel, Uriel, and Jophjopljah. The Book of Enoch (ch. xx.) speaks also of 6 principal Angels, while Pirké d. R. Elies. iv. mentions
In tbat very curious passage (Berachoth 51 a) we read of three directions given by Suriel, Prince of the Face, to preserve the Rabbis from the Techaspith (company of Evil Angels), or, according to others, from Istalganith (another company of Evil Angels). In Chag. 13 6 we read of an Angel called Sandalpon, who stands upon the earth, while his head reaches 500 years' way beyond the living creatures. He is supposed to stand behind the Merkabah (the thronechariot), and make crowns for the Creator, which rise of their own accord. We also read of Sagsagel, who taught Moses the sacred Name of God, and was present at his death. But, confining ourselves to the five principal Angel-chiefs, we have,
a. Metatron,' who appears most closely to correspond to the Angel of the Face, or the Logos. He is the representative of God. In the Talmud (Sanh. 38 b) a Christian is introduced as clumsily starting a controversy on this point, that, according to the Jewish contention, Exod. xxiv. 1 should have read, 'Come up to Me.' On this R. Idith explained that the expression referred to the Metatron (Exod. xxxiii. 21), but denied the inference that Metatron was either to be adored, or had power to forgive sins, or that he was to be regarded as a Mediator. In continuation of this controversy we are told (Chag. 15 a, b) that, when an apostate Rabbi had seen Metatron sitting in heaven, and would have inferred from it that there were two supreme powers, Metatron received from another Angel 60 fiery stripes so as to prove his inferiority! In Targ. Ps.-Jon. on Gen. v. 24 he is called the Great Scribe, and also the Prince of this world. He is also designated as the Youth,' and in the Kabbalah as the Little God, who had 7 names like the Almighty, and shared IIis Majesty. He is also called the ‘Prince of the Face,' and described as the Angel who sits in the innermost chamber (Chag. 5 b), while the other Angels hear their commands outside the Veil (Chag. 16 a). He is represented as revealing secrets to Moses (Ber. R. 4), and as instructing infants who have died without receiving knowledge (Abod. Sar. 3 b). In the Introduction to the Midrash on Lamentations there is a revolting story in which Metatron is represented as proposing to shed tears in order that God might not have to weep orer the destruction of Jerusalem, to which, however, the Almighty is made to refuse His assent. We hesitate to quote further from the passage. In Siphré on Deut. (ed. Friedm., p. 141 a) Metatron is said to have shown Moses the whole of Palestine. He is also said to have gone before Israel in the wilderness.
1 On the controversy on the meaning of the name Metatron, whether it means under the throne, or behind the throne, or is the same as
Metator, divider, arranger, representative, we will not enter.