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An Exposition

[An intimate acquaintance with the Holy Scriptures is a secure haven, and an impregnable bulwark, and an immovable tower, and imperishable glory, and impenetrable armour, and unfading joy, and perpetual delight, and whatever other excellence can be uttered.]


J. Collord, Printer.


NAAMAN, general of the army of Benhadad, king of Syria, mentioned 2 Kings v. He appears to have been a Gentile idolater; but being miraculously cured of his leprosy by the power of the God of Israel, and the direction of his Prophet Elisha, he renounced his idolatry, and acknowledged this God to be the only true God: Behold, now I know that there is no God in all the earth, but in Israel,” 2 Kings v, 15, and promised, for the time to come, that he would worship none other but Jehovah, verse 17. He also requested the prophet, that he might have two mules’ load of earth to carry home with him from the land of Israel, most probably intending to build an altar with it in his own country; which seems, indeed, to be implied in the reason with which he enforces his request: “Shall there not, I pray thee, be given to thy servant two mules’ burden of earth; for thy servant will henceforth offer neither burnt-offering nor sacrifice to other gods but unto Jehovah.” He farther says, In this the Lord pardon thy servant, that when my master goes into the house of Rimmon, to worship there, and he leaneth upon my hand, and I bow myself in the house of Rimmon; when I bow down in the house of Rimmon, the Lord pardon thy servant in this thing,” verse 18; which some understand to be a reserve, denoting that he would renounce idolatry no farther than was consistent with his worldly interest, with his prince’s favour, and his place at court. But, if so, the prophet would hardly have dismissed him with a blessing, saying, Go in peace,” verse 19. Others, therefore, suppose, that in these words he begs pardon for what he had done in times past, not for what he should continue to do. They observe, that , though rendered in the future tense by the Targum, and by all the ancient versions, is really the preterperfect; and they, therefore, understand it,--“when I have bowed myself,” or, because I have bowed myself” in the house of Rimmon, the Lord pardon thy servant. With this sense Dr. Lightfoot agrees, and it is defended by the learned Bochart in a large dissertation on the case of Naaman. Yet it does not seem very probable, that, if he meant this for a penitential acknowledgment of his former idolatry, he should only mention what he had done as the king’s servant, and omit his own voluntary worship of the idol. The more probable opinion, therefore, is, that he consulted the prophet, whether it was lawful for him, having renounced idolatry, and publicly professed the worship of the true God, still, in virtue of his office, to attend his master in the temple of Rimmon, in order that he might lean upon him, either out of state, or perhaps out of bodily weakness; because, if he attended him, as he had formerly done, he could not avoid bowing down when he did. To this the prophet returns no direct answer; making no other reply than, Go in peace;” putting it, 684probably, upon his conscience to act as that should dictate, and not being willing to relieve him from this trial of his recent faith.

After this we have no farther mention of Naaman. But in the following account of the wars between Syria and Israel, Benhadad seems to have commanded his army in person; from whence Mr. Bedford infers, that Naaman was dismissed from the command for refusing to worship Rimmon. But the premises are not sufficient to support the conclusion; for it appears that Benhadad had commanded his army in person twice before; once in the siege of Samaria, 1 Kings xx, 1, and once at Aphek, verse 26. Yet, from the total silence concerning Naaman, it is probably enough conjectured, that he either died, or resigned, or was dismissed, soon after his return.

NABOTH, an Israelite of the city of Jezreel, who lived under Ahab, king of the ten tribes, and had a fine vineyard near the king’s palace. Ahab coveted his property; but Naboth, according to the law, Lev. xxv, 23, 24, refused to sell it: and beside, it was a disgrace for a Hebrew to alienate the inheritance of his ancestors. Ahab, returning into his house, threw himself on his bed, and refused to eat, when Jezebel, his wife, took upon herself to procure the vineyard. She wrote letters in Ahab’s name, and sealed them with the king’s seal, and sent them to the elders of Jezreel, directing them to publish a fast, to place Naboth among the chief of the people, suborn against him two sons of Belial, or two false witnesses, who might depose, that Naboth had blasphemed God and the king. Accordingly, Naboth was condemned and stoned for the supposed crime, which brought upon Ahab and Jezebel the severest maledictions, 1 Kings xxi. See Ahab.

NADAB, son of Aaron, and brother to Abihu. He offered incense to the Lord with strange fire, that is, with common fire, and not with that which had been miraculously lighted upon the altar of burnt-offerings. Therefore, he was slain by the Lord, together with his brother Abihu, Lev. x, 1, &c.

NAHOR, son of Terah, and brother of Abraham, Gen. xi, 26. Neither the year of his birth nor of his death is exactly known. Nahor married Milcah, the daughter of Haran, by whom he had several sons, namely, Huz, Buz, Kemuel, Chesed, Hazo, Pildash, Jidlaph, and Bethuel. Nahor fixed his habitation at Haran, which is therefore called the city of Nahor, Gen. xi, 29; xxii, 20–22; xxiv, 10.

NAHUM is supposed to have been a native of Elcosh or Elcosha, a village in Galilee, and to have been of the tribe of Simeon. There is great uncertainty about the exact period in which he lived; but it is generally allowed that he delivered his predictions between the Assyrian and Babylonian captivities, and probably about B. C. 715. They relate solely to the destruction of Nineveh by the Babylonians and Medes, and are introduced by an animated display of the attributes of God. Of all the minor prophets, says Bishop Lowth, none seems to equal Nahum in sublimity, ardour, and boldness. His prophecy forms an entire and regular poem. The exordium is magnificent and truly august. The preparation for the destruction of Nineveh, and the description of that destruction, are expressed in the most glowing colours; and at the same time the prophet writes with a perspicuity and elegance which have a just claim to our highest admiration.

NAIL. The nail of Jael’s tent with which she killed Sisera, is called ; it was formed for penetrating earth, or other hard substances, when driven by sufficient force, as with a hammer, &c; it includes the idea of strength. The orientals, in fitting up their houses, were by no means inattentive to the comfort and satisfaction arising from order and method. Their furniture was scanty and plain; but they were careful to arrange the few household utensils they needed, so as not to encumber the apartments to which they belonged. Their devices for this purpose, which, like every part of the structure, bore the character of remarkable simplicitysimplicity, may not correspond with our ideas of neatness and propriety; but they accorded with their taste, and sufficiently answered their design. One of these consisted in a set of spikes, nails, or large pegs fixed in the walls of the house, upon which they hung up the movables and utensils in common use that belonged to the room. These nails they do not drive into the walls with a hammer or mallet, but fix them there when the house is building; for if the walls are of brick, they are too hard, or if they consist of clay, too soft and mouldering, to admit the action of the hammer. The spikes, which are so contrived as to strengthen the walls, by binding the parts together, as well as to serve for convenience, are large, with square heads like dice, and bent at the ends so as to make them cramp irons. They commonly place them at the windows and doors, in order to hang upon them, when they choose, veils and curtains, although they place them in other parts of the room, to hang up other things of various kinds. The care with which they fixed these nails, may be inferred, as well from the important purposes they were meant to serve, as from the promise of the Lord to Eliakim: And I will fasten him as a nail in a sure place,” Isa. xxii, 23. It is evident from the words of the prophet, that it was common in his time to suspend upon them the utensils belonging to the apartment: Will men take a pin of it to hang any vessel thereon” Ezek. xv, 3. The word used in Isaiah for a nail of this sort, is the same which denotes the stake, or large pin of iron, which fastened down to the ground the cords of their tents. These nails, therefore, were of necessary and common use, and of no small importance in all their apartments; and if they seem to us mean and insignificant, it is because they are unknown to us, and inconsistent with our notions of propriety, and because we have no name for them but what conveys to our ear a low and contemptible idea. It is evident from the frequent allusions in Scripture to these instruments, 685that they were not regarded with contempt or indifference by the natives of Palestine. Grace has been shown from the Lord our God,” said Ezra, to leave us a remnant to escape, and to give us a nail in his holy place,” Ezra ix, 8; or, as explained in the margin, a constant and sure abode. The dignity and propriety of the metaphor appear from the use which the Prophet Zechariah makes of it: Out of him cometh forth the corner, out of him the nail, out of him the battle bow, out of him every oppressor together,” Zech. x, 4. The whole frame of government, both in church and state, which the chosen people of God enjoyed, was the contrivance of his wisdom and the gift of his bounty; the foundations upon which it rested, the bonds which kept the several parts together, its means of defence, its officers and executors, were all the fruits of distinguishing goodness: even the oppressors of his people were a rod of correction in the hand of Jehovah, to convince them of sin, and restore them to his service.

NAIN, a city of Palestine, in which Jesus Christ restored the widow’s son to life, as they were carrying him out to be buried. Eusebius says, that this was in the neighbourhood of Endor, and Scythopolis, two miles from Tabor, toward the south.

NAKEDNESS, NUDITY. These terms, beside their ordinary and literal meaning, sometimes signify void of succour, disarmed. So, after worshipping the golden calf, the Israelites found themselves naked in the midst of their enemies. Nakedness of the feet” was a token of respect. Moses put off his shoes to approach the burning bush. Most commentators are of opinion, that the priests served in the tabernacle with their feet naked; and afterward in the temple. In the enumeration that Moses makes of the habit and ornaments of the priests, he no where mentions any dress for the feet. Also the frequent ablutions appointed them in the temple seem to imply that their feet were naked. To uncover the nakedness of any one, is commonly put for a shameful and unlawful conjunction, or an incestuous marriage, Lev. xx, 19; Ezek. xvi, 37. Nakedness is sometimes put for being partly undressed; en déshabillé. Saul continued naked among the prophets; that is, having only his under garments on. Isaiah received orders from the Lord to go naked; that is, clothed as a slave, half clad. Thus it is recommended to clothe the naked; that is, such as are ill clothed. St. Paul says, that he was in cold, in nakedness; that is, in poverty and want of raiment. Naked is put for discovered, known, manifest. So Job xxvi, 6: Hell is naked before him.” The sepulchre, the unseen state, is open to the eyes of God. St. Paul says, in the same sense, Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight; but all things are naked and open unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do,” Heb. iv, 13.

NAME. A name was given to the male child at the time of its circumcision, but it is probable, previous to the introduction of that rite, that the name was given immediately after its birth. Among the orientals the appellations given as names are always significant. In the Old Testament, we find that the child was named in many instances from the circumstances of its birth, or from some peculiarities in the history of the family to which it belonged, Gen. xvi, 11; xix, 37; xxv, 25, 26; Exod. ii, 10; xviii, 3, 4. Frequently the name was a compound one, one part being the name of the Deity, and among idolatrous nations the name of an idol. The following instances may be mentioned among others, and may stand as specimens of the whole, namely, , Samuel, hear God;” , Adonijah, God is lord;” , Josedech, God is just;” , Ethbaal, a Canaanitish name, the latter part of the compound being the name of the idol deity, Baal; , Belshazzar, Bel,” a Babylonish deity, is ruler and king.” Sometimes the name had a prophetic meaning, Gen. xvii, 15; Isa. vii, 14; viii, 3; Hos. i, 4, 6, 9; Matt. i, 21; Luke i, 13, 60, 63. In the later times names were selected from those of the progenitors of a family; hence in the New Testament hardly any other than ancient names occur, Matt. i, 12; Luke i, 61; iii, 23, &c. The inhabitants of the east very frequently change their names, and sometimes do it for very slight reasons. This accounts for the fact of so many persons having two names in Scripture, Ruth i, 20, 21; 1 Sam. xiv, 49; xxxi, 2; 1 Chron. x, 2; Judges vi, 32; vii, 1; 2 Sam. xxiii, 8. Kings and princes very often changed the names of those who held offices under them, particularly when they first attracted their notice, and were taken into their employ, and when subsequently they were elevated to some new station, and crowned with additional honours, Gen. xli, 45; xvii, 5; xxxii, 28; xxxv, 10; 2 Kings xxiii, 34, 35; xxiv, 17; Dan. i, 6; John i, 42; Mark iii, 17. Hence a name, a new name, occurs tropically, as a token or proof of distinction and honour in the following among other passages, Phil. ii, 9; Heb. i, 4; Rev. ii, 17. Sometimes the names of the dead were changed; for instance that of Abel, , a word which signifies breath, or something transitory as a breath, given to him after his death, in allusion to the shortness of his life, Gen. ii, 8. Sometimes proper names are translated into other languages, losing their original form, while they preserve their signification. This appears to have been the case with the proper names, which occur in the first eleven chapters of Genesis, and which were translated into the Hebrew from a language still more ancient. The orientals in some instances, in order to distinguish themselves from others of the same name, added to their own name the name of their father, grandfather, and even great grandfather. The name of God often signifies God himself; sometimes his attributes collectively; sometimes his power and authority. Of the Messiah it is said, And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, King of kings, and Lord of lords,” Rev. xix, 16. In illustration of this it may be remarked, that it appears to have been an ancient custom among 686several nations, to adorn the images of their deities, princes, victors at their public games, and other eminent persons, with inscriptions expressive of their names, character, titles, or some circumstance which might contribute to their honour. There are several such images yet extant, with an inscription written either on the garment, or one of the thighs. Herodotus mentions two figures of Sesostris, king of Egypt, cut upon rocks in Ionia, after his conquest of that country, with the following inscription across the breast, extending from one shoulder to the other: I conquered this country by the force of my arms.” Gruter has published a naked statue made of marble, and supposed to represent the genius either of some Roman emperor, or of Antinöus, who was deified by Hadrian, with an inscription on the inside of the right thigh, written perpendicularly in Roman letters, and containing the names of three persons. Near the statue, on the same side of it, stands an oval shield with the names of two other persons written round the rim in letters of the same form. In the appendix to Dempster’s Etruria Regalis” is a female image of brass, clothed in a loose tunic down to the feet, with a shorter garment over it, on the right side of which is a perpendicular inscription in Etrurian characters, extending partly on the lower garment. This figure, from the diadem on the head, and other circumstances which accompany it, Philip Bonarota, the editor of that work, supposes to have been designed for some Etrurian deity. Montfaucon has given us a male image of the same metal, dressed in a tunic, and over that another vestment something like a Roman toga, reaching to the middle of the legs, on the bottom of which is an Etrurian inscription written horizontally. There are likewise in both those writers two male figures crowned with laurel, which Montfaucon calls combatants, as the laurel was an emblem of victory. But Bonarota takes one of them for an image of Apollo, which has a chain round the neck, a garment wrapped over the right arm, and a bracelet on the left, with half boots on the legs; the rest of the body being naked has an Etrurian inscription written downward in two lines on the inside of the left thigh. The other figure has the lower part of the body clothed in a loose vestment, with an inscription upon it over the right thigh, perpendicularly written in Roman letters, which Bonarota has thus expressed in a more distinct manner than they appear in Montfaucon: POMPONIO VIRIO I. To these may be added from Montfaucon, a marble statue of a naked combatant, with a fillet about his head in token of victory. It is drawn in two views, one exhibiting the back and the other the fore part of the body, the latter of which has in Greek letters, FSS for FSOS, perpendicularly inscribed on the outside of the left thigh; and the former the name S in the like characters and situation on the right thigh; these together make one inscription signifying Caphisodorus filius Æschlamii. [Caphisodorus the son of Æschlamius.]

NAOMI. See Ruth.

NAPHTALI, the sixth son of Jacob by Bilhah, Rachel’s handmaid. The word Naphtali signifies wrestling, or struggling. When Rachel gave him this name, she said, With great wrestlings have I wrestled with my sister, and I have prevailed,” Gen. xxx, 8. Naphtali had but four sons, and yet at the coming out of Egypt his tribe made up fifty-three thousand four hundred men, able to bear arms. Moses, in the blessing he gave to the same tribe, says, O Naphtali, satisfied with favour, and full with the blessing of the Lord, possess thou the west and the south,” Deut. xxxiii, 23. The Vulgate reads it, the sea and the south,” and the Hebrew will admit of either interpretation, that is, the sea of Gennesareth, which was to the south by the inheritance of this tribe. His soil was very fruitful in corn and oil. His limits were extended into upper and lower Galilee, having Jordan to the east, the tribes of Asher and Zebulun to the west, Libanus to the north, and the tribe of Issachar to the south. Under Barak, their general, they and the Zebulunites fought with distinguished bravery against the army of Jabin the younger; and at the desire of Gideon they pursued the Midianites, Judges iv, 10; v, 18; vii, 23. A thousand of their captains, with thirty-seven thousand of their troops, assisted at David’s coronation, and brought great quantities of provision with them, 1 Chron. xii, 34, 40. We find no person of distinguished note among them, save Barak, and Hiram the artificer. Instigated by Asa, Benhadad the elder, king of Syria, terribly ravaged the land of Naphtali; and what it suffered in after invasions by the Syrians we are partly told, 1 Kings xv, 20. The Naphtalites were, many, if not most of them, carried captive by Tiglath-pileser, king of Assyria, 2 Kings xv, 29. Josiah purged their country from idols. Our Saviour and his disciples, during his public ministry, resided much and preached frequently in the land of Naphtali, Isaiah ix, 1; Matt. iv, 13, 15.

NAPHTUHIM, a son, or rather the descendants of a son, of Mizraim, whose proper name is Naphtuch. Naphtuch is supposed to have given his name to Naph, Noph, or Memphis, and to have been the first king of that division of Egypt. He is, however, placed by Bochart in Libya; and is conjectured to be the Aphtuchus, or Autuchus, who had a temple somewhere here. He is farther conjectured, and not without reason, to be the original of the Heathen god Neptune; who is represented to have been a Libyan, and whose temples were generally built near the sea coast. By others, he is supposed to have peopled that part of Ethiopia between Syene and Meroe, the capital of which was called Napata.

NATHAN, a prophet of the Lord, who appeared in Israel in the time of King David, and had a great share in the confidence of this prince. His country is unknown, as also the time in which he began to prophesy. The first time we find him mentioned, is when David designed to build the temple, 2 Sam. vii, 3, &c. We find him mentioned again in the 687affair of David and Bathsheba, when he faithfully reproved the king for his wicked conduct, 2 Sam. xii, 1–14. And when Adonijah began to take upon him the state, and to assume the dignity, of a sovereign, and to form a party in opposition to his brother Solomon, Nathan repaired to Bathsheba, and sent her immediately to the king with instructions what to say; and while she was yet discoursing with the king, Nathan came in, reminded David of his promise, that Solomon should be his successor, and procured Solomon to be immediately anointed king of Israel.

NATHANAEL, a disciple of our Lord. He appears to have been a pious Jew who waited for the Messiah: and upon Jesus saying to him, Before Philip called thee, I saw thee under the fig tree,” Nathanael, convinced, by some circumstance not explained, of his omniscience, exclaimed, Master, thou art the Son of God, and the King of Israel.” Many have thought that Nathanael was the same as Bartholomew. The evangelists, who mention Bartholomew, say nothing of Nathanael; and St. John, who mentions Nathanael, takes no notice of Bartholomew. We read at the end of St. John’s Gospel, that our Saviour, after his resurrection, manifested himself to Peter, Thomas, Nathanael, and the sons of Zebedee, as they were fishing in the lake of Gennesareth. We know no other circumstances of the life of this holy man.

NATURAL, , is a term that frequently occurs in the apostolic writings: The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned,” 1 Cor. ii, 14. Here it is plain that by the natural man,” is not meant a person devoid of natural judgment, reason, or conscience, in which sense the expression is often used among men. Nor does it signify one who is entirely governed by his fleshly appetites, or what the world calls a voluptuary, or sensualist. Neither does it signify merely a man in the rude state of nature, whose faculties have not been cultivated by learning and study, and polished by an intercourse with society. The Apostle manifestly takes his natural man” from among such as the world hold in the highest repute for their natural parts, their learning, and their religion. He selects him from among the philosophers of Greece, who sought after wisdom, and from among the Jewish scribes, who were instructed in the revealed law of God, 1 Cor. i, 22, 23. These are the persons whom he terms the wise, the scribes, the disputers of this world--men to whom the Gospel was a stumbling block and foolishness, 1 Cor. i, 20, 23. The natural man is here evidently opposed to, peµat, him that is spiritual,” 1 Cor. ii, 15, even as the natural body which we derive from Adam is opposed to the spiritual body which believers will receive from Christ at the resurrection, according to 1 Cor. xv, 44, 45. Now the spiritual man is one who has the Spirit of Christ dwelling in him, Rom. viii, 9, not merely in the way of miraculous gifts, as some have imagined, (for these were peculiar to the first age of the Christian church, and even then not common to all the saints, nor inseparably connected with salvation, 1 Cor. xiii, 1–4; Heb. vi, 4–7,) but in his saving influences of light, holiness, and consolation, whereby the subject is made to discern the truth and excellency of spiritual things, and so to believe, love, and delight in them as his true happiness. If therefore a man is called spiritual” because the Spirit of Christ dwells in him, giving him new views, dispositions, and enjoyments, then the natural man,” being opposed to such, must be one who is destitute of the Spirit, and of all his saving and supernatural effects, whatever may be his attainments in human learning and science. It is obviously upon this principle that our Lord insists upon the necessity of the new birth in order to our entering into the kingdom of heaven, John iii, 3, 5.

NATURE. In Scripture the word nature expresses the orderly and usual course of things established in the world. St. Paul says, to ingraft a good olive tree into a wild olive is contrary to nature, Rom. xi, 24; the customary order of nature is thereby in some measure inverted. Nature is also put for natural descent: We who are Jews by nature,” by birth, and not Gentiles,” Gal. ii, 15. We were by nature the children of wrath,” Eph. ii, 3. Nature also denotes common sense, natural instinct: Doth not even nature itself teach you, that if a man have long hair, it is a shame to him” 1 Cor. xi, 14.

NAZARENES, or NAZARÆANS, a name originally given to Christians in general, on account of Jesus Christ’s being of the city of Nazareth; but was, in the second century, restrained to certain judaizing Christians, who blended Christianity and Judaism together. They held that Christ was born of a virgin, and was also in a certain manner united to the divine nature. They refused to abandon the ceremonies prescribed by the law of Moses; but were far from attempting to impose the observance of these ceremonies upon Gentile Christians. They rejected those additions that were made to the Mosaic institutions by the Pharisees and doctors of the law, and admitted the Scriptures both of the Old and New Testament. The fathers frequently mention the Gospel of the Nazarenes, which differs nothing from that of St. Matthew, but was afterward corrupted by the Ebionites. These Nazarenes preserved this first Gospel in its primitive purity. Some of them were still in being in the time of St. Jerome, who does not reproach them with any errors.

NAZARETH, a little city in the tribe of Zebulun, in Lower Galilee, to the west of Tabor, and to the east of Ptolemais. This city is much celebrated in the Scriptures for having been the usual place of the residence of Jesus Christ, during the first thirty years of his life, Luke ii, 51. It was here he lived in obedience to Joseph and Mary, and hence he took the name of Nazarene. After he had begun to execute his mission he preached here sometimes in the synagogue, Luke iv, 16. But because his countrymen had no faith in him, 688and were offended at the meanness of his original, he did not many miracles here, Matt. xiii, 54, 58, nor would he dwell in the city. So he fixed his habitation at Capernaum for the latter part of his life, Matt. iv, 13. The city of Nazareth was situated upon an eminence, and on one side was a precipice, from whence the Nazarenes designed, at one time, to cast Christ down headlong, because he upbraided them for their incredulity, Luke iv, 29.

The present state of this celebrated place is thus described by modern travellers:--Nassara, or Naszera, is one of the principal towns in the pashalic of Acre. Its inhabitants are industrious, because they are treated with less severity than those of the country towns in general. The population is estimated at three thousand, of whom five hundred are Turks; the remainder are Christians. There are about ninety Latin families, according to Burckhardt; but Mr. Connor reports the Greeks to be the most numerous: there is, beside, a congregation of Greek Catholics, and another of Maronites. The Latin convent is a very spacious and commodious building, which was thoroughly repaired and considerably enlarged in 1730. The remains of the more ancient edifice, ascribed to the mother of Constantine, may be observed in the form of subverted columns, with fragments of capitals and bases of pillars, lying near the modern building. Pococke noticed, over a door, an old alto-relief of Judith cutting off the head of Holofernes. Within the convent is the church of the annunciation, containing the house of Joseph and Mary, the length of which is not quite the breadth of the church; but it forms the principal part of it. The columns and all the interior of the church are hung round with damask silk, which gives it a warm and rich appearance. Behind the great altar is a subterranean cavern, divided into small grottoes, where the virgin is said to have lived. Her kitchen, parlour, and bed room, are shown, and also a narrow hole in the rock, in which the child Jesus once hid himself from his persecutors. The pilgrims who visit these holy spots are in the habit of knocking off small pieces of stone from the walls, which are thus considerably enlarging. In the church a miracle is still exhibited to the faithful. In front of the altar are two granite columns, each two feet one inch in diameter, and about three feet apart. They are supposed to occupy the very places where the angel and the virgin stood at the precise moment of the annunciation. The innermost of these, that of the virgin, has been broken away, some say by the Turks, in expectation of finding treasure under it; so that,” as Maundrell states, “eighteen inches’ length of it is clean gone between the pillar and the pedestal.” Nevertheless, it remains erect, suspended from the roof, as if attracted by a loadstone. It has evidently no support below; and, though it touches the roof, the hierophant protests that it has none above. All the Christians of Nazareth,” says Burckhardt, with the friars, of course, at their head, affect to believe in this miracle; though it is perfectly evident that the upper part of the column is connected with the roof.” The fact is,” says Dr. E. D. Clarke, that the capital and a piece of the shaft of a pillar of gray granite have been fastened on to the roof of the cave; and so clumsily is the rest of the hocus pocus contrived, that what is shown for the lower fragment of the same pillar resting upon the earth, is not of the same substance, but of Cipolino marble. About this pillar, a different story has been related by almost every traveller since the trick was devised. Maundrell, and Egmont and Heyman, were told that it was broken, in search of hidden treasure, by a pasha, who was struck with blindness for his impiety. We were assured that it was separated in this manner when the angel announced to the virgin the tidings of her conception. The monks had placed a rail, to prevent persons infected with the plague from coming to rub against these pillars: this had been, for many years, their constant practice, whenever afflicted with any sickness. The reputation of the broken pillar, for healing every kind of disease, prevails all over Galilee.”

Burckhardt says that this church, next to that of the holy sepulchre, is the finest in Syria, and contains two tolerably good organs. Within the walls of the convent are two gardens, and a small burying ground: the walls are very thick, and serve occasionally as a fortress to all the Christians in the town. There are, at present, eleven friars in the convent: they are chiefly Spaniards. The yearly expenses of the establishment are stated to amount to upward of nine hundred pounds; a small part of which is defrayed by the rent of a few houses in the town, and by the produce of some acres of corn land: the rest is remitted from Jerusalem. The whole annual expenses of the Terra Santa convents are about fifteen thousand pounds; of which the pasha of Damascus receives about twelve thousand pounds. The Greek convent of Jerusalem, according to Burckhardt’s authority, pays much more, as well to maintain its own privileges, as with a view to encroach upon those of the Latins. To the north-west of the convent is a small church, built over Joseph’s work shop. Both Maundrell and Pococke describe it as in ruins; but Dr. E. D. Clarke says, This is now a small chapel, perfectly modern, and neatly whitewashed.” To the west of this is a small arched building, which, they say, is the synagogue where Christ exasperated the Jews, by applying the language of Isaiah to himself. It once belonged to the Greeks; but, Hasselquist says, was taken from them by the Arabs, who intended to convert it into a mosque, but afterward sold it to the Latins. This was then so late a transaction that they had not had time to embellish it. The Mountain of the Precipitation” is at least two miles off; so that, according to this authentic tradition, the Jews must have led our Lord a marvellous way. But the said precipice is shown as that which the Messiah leaped down to escape from the Jews; and as the monks could not pitch upon any other 689place frightful enough for the miracle, they contend that Nazareth formerly stood eastward of its present situation, upon a more elevated spot. Dr. E. D. Clarke, however, remarks that the situation of the modern town answers exactly to the description of St. Luke. “Induced, by the words of the Gospel, to examine the place more attentively than we should otherwise have done, we went, as it is written, out of the city, ‘to the brow of the hill whereon the city is built,’ and came to a precipice corresponding to the words of the evangelist. It is above the Maronite church, and, probably, the precise spot alluded to by the text.”

NAZARITES, those under the ancient law who engaged by a vow to abstain from wine and all intoxicating liquors, to let their hair grow, not to enter any house polluted by having a dead corpse in it, nor to be present at any funeral. If, by accident, any one should have died in their presence, they recommenced the whole of their consecration and Nazariteship. This vow generally lasted eight days, sometimes a month, and sometimes their whole lives. When the time of their Nazariteship was expired, the priest brought the person to the door of the temple, who there offered to the Lord a he-lamb for a burnt-offering, a she-lamb for an expiatory sacrifice, and a ram for a peace-offering. They offered, likewise, loaves and cakes, with wine, for libations. After all was sacrificed and offered, the priest, or some other, shaved the head of the Nazarite at the door of the tabernacle, and burned his hair on the fire of the altar. Then the priest put into the hands of the Nazarite the shoulder of the ram roasted, with a loaf and a cake, which the Nazarite returning into the hands of the priest, he offered them to the Lord, lifting them up in the presence of the Nazarite. And from this time he might again drink wine, his Nazariteship being accomplished.

Perpetual Nazarites, as Samson and John the Baptist, were consecrated to their Nazariteship by their parents, and continued all their lives in this state, without drinking wine or cutting their hair. Those who made a vow of Nazariteship out of Palestine, and could not come to the temple when their vow was expired, contented themselves with observing the abstinence required by the law, and cutting off their hair in the place where they were: the offerings and sacrifices prescribed by Moses, to be offered at the temple, by themselves or by others for them, they deferred till a convenient opportunity. Hence it was that St. Paul, being at Corinth, and having made the vow of a Nazarite, had his hair cut off at Cenchrea, a port of Corinth, and deferred the rest of his vow till he came to Jerusalem, Acts xviii, 18. When a person found he was not in a condition to make a vow of Nazariteship, or had not leisure fully to perform it, he contented himself by contributing to the expense of sacrifices and offerings of those who had made and were fulfilling this vow; and by this means he became a partaker in such Nazariteship. When St. Paul came to Jerusalem, A. D. 58, St. James, with other brethren, said to him, that to quiet the minds of the converted Jews he should join himself to four persons who had a vow of Nazariteship, and contribute to their charges and ceremonies; by which the new converts would perceive that he did not totally disregard the law, as they had been led to suppose, Acts xxi, 23, 24. The institution of Nazaritism is involved in much mystery; and no satisfactory reason has ever been given of it. This is certain, that it had the approbation of God, and may be considered as affording a good example of self-denial in order to be given up to the study of the law, and the practice of exact righteousness.

NEBO, the name of an idol of the Babylonians: Bel boweth down, Nebo stoopeth,” Isaiah xlvi, 1. The word Nebo comes from a root that signifies to prophesy,” and therefore may stand for an oracle. There is some probability in the opinion of Calmet, that Bel and Nebo are but one and the same deity, and that Isaiah made use of these names as synonymous. The god Bel was the oracle of the Babylonians. The name Nebo, or Nabo, is found in the composition of the names of several princes of Babylon; as Nabonassar, Nabopolassar, Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuzar-adan, Nebushasban, &c.

NEBUCHADNEZZAR THE GREAT, son and successor of Nabopolassar, succeeded to the kingdom of Chaldea, A. M. 3399. Some time previously to this, Nabopolassar had associated him in the kingdom, and sent him to recover Carchemish, which had been conquered from him four years before by Necho, king of Egypt. Nebuchadnezzar, having been successful, marched against the governor of Phenicia, and Jehoiakim, king of Judah, who was tributary to Necho, king of Egypt. He took Jehoiakim, and put him in chains in order to carry him captive to Babylon; but afterward left him in Judea, on condition of paying a large tribute. He took away several persons from Jerusalem; among others Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, all of the royal family, whom the king of Babylon caused to be carefully instructed in the language and in the learning of the Chaldeans, that they might be employed at court, Dan. i. Nabopolassar dying about the end of A. M. 3399, Nebuchadnezzar, who was then either in Egypt or in Judea, hastened to Babylon, leaving to his generals the care of bringing to Chaldea the captives whom he had taken in Syria, Judea, Phenicia, and Egypt; for, according to Berosus, he had subdued all those countries. He distributed these captives into several colonies; and deposited the sacred vessels of the temple of Jerusalem, and other rich spoils in the temple of Belus. Jehoiakim, king of Judah, continued three years in fealty to King Nebuchadnezzar; but being then weary of paying tribute, he threw off the yoke. The king of Chaldea sent troops of Chaldeans, Syrians, Moabites, and Ammonites, who harassed Judea during three or four years, and at last Jehoiakim was besieged and taken in Jerusalem, put to death, and his body thrown 690to the birds of the air, according to the predictions of Jeremiah. See Jehoiakim.

In the mean time, Nebuchadnezzar being at Babylon in the second year of his reign, had a mysterious dream, in which he saw a statue composed of several metals, a head of gold, a breast of silver, belly and thighs of brass, legs of iron, and feet half of iron and half clay; and a little stone rolling by its own impulse from the mountain struck the statue and broke it. This dream gave him great uneasiness, yet it faded away from his memory, and he could not recover more than the general impression of it. He ordered all his diviners and interpreters of dreams to be sent for; but none could tell him the dream or the interpretation: and, in wrath, he sentenced them all to death, which was about to be put in execution, when Daniel was informed of it. He went immediately to the king, and desired him to respite the sentence a little, and he would endeavour to satisfy his desire. God in the night revealed to him the king’s dream, and also the interpretation: Thou,” said Daniel, art represented by the golden head of the statue. After thee will arise a kingdom inferior to thine, represented by the breast of silver; and after this, another, still inferior, denoted by the belly and thighs of brass. After these three empires,” which are the Chaldeans, Persians, and Greeks, will arise a fourth, denoted by the legs of iron,” the Romans. Under this last empire God will raise a new one, of greater strength, power, and extent, than all the others. This last is that of the Messiah, represented by the little stone coming out from the mountain and overthrowing the statue.” Then the king raised Daniel to great honour, set him over all the wise men of Babylon, and give him the government of that province. At his request he granted to Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, the oversight of the works of the same province of Babylon.

In the same year, as Dr. Hales thinks, in which he had this dream, he erected a golden statue, whose height was sixty cubits, and breadth six cubits, in the plains of Dura, in the province of Babylon. Having appointed a day for the dedication of this statue, he assembled the principal officers of his kingdom, and published by a herald, that all should adore this image, at the sound of music, on penalty of being cast into a burning fiery furnace. The result, as to the three Jews, companions of Daniel, who would not bend the knee to the image, is stated in Dan. iii. Daniel probably was absent. The effect of the miracle was so great that Nebuchadnezzar gave glory to the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; and he exalted the three Hebrews to great dignity in the province of Babylon, Dan. iv.

Jehoiachin, king of Judah, having revolted against Nebuchadnezzar, this prince besieged him in Jerusalem, and forced him to surrender. Nebuchadnezzar took him, with his chief officers, captive to Babylon, with his mother, his wives, and the best workmen of Jerusalem, to the number of ten thousand men. Among the captives were Mordecai, the uncle of Esther, and Ezekiel the prophet. He took, also, all the vessels of gold which Solomon made for the temple, and the king’s treasury, and he set up Mattaniah, Jehoiachin’s uncle by his father’s side, whom he named Zedekiah. This prince continued faithful to Nebuchadnezzar nine years: being then weary of subjection, he revolted, and confederated with the neighbouring princes. The king of Babylon came into Judea, reduced the chief places of the country, and besieged Jerusalem: but Pharaoh-Hophra coming out of Egypt to assist Zedekiah, Nebuchadnezzar overcame him in battle, and forced him to retire into his own country. After this he returned to the siege of Jerusalem, and was three hundred and ninety days before the place before he could take it. But in the eleventh year of Zedekiah, A. M. 3416, the city was taken. Zedekiah attempted to escape, but was taken and brought to Nebuchadnezzar, who was then at Riblah in Syria. The king of Babylon condemned him to die, caused his children to be put to death in his presence, and then bored out his eyes, loaded him with chains, and sent him to Babylon.

Three years after the Jewish war Nebuchadnezzar besieged the city of Tyre, which siege held thirteen years. But during this interval, he made war, also, on the Sidonians, Moabites, Ammonites, and Idumeans; and these he treated in nearly the same manner as the Jews. Josephus says these wars happened five years after the destruction of Jerusalem, consequently in A. M. 3421. The city of Tyre was taken in A. M. 3432. Ithobaal, who was then king, was put to death, and Baal succeeded him. The Lord, as a reward to the army of Nebuchadnezzar, which had lain so long before Tyre, gave up to them Egypt and its spoils. Nebuchadnezzar made an easy conquest of it, because the Egyptians were divided by civil wars among themselves: he enriched himself with booty, and returned in triumph to Babylon, with a great number of captives. Being now at peace, he applied himself to the adorning, aggrandizing, and enriching of Babylon with magnificent buildings. To him some ascribe those famous gardens, supported by arches, reckoned among the wonders of the world; and also the walls of Babylon, though many give the honour of this work to Semiramis.

About this time Nebuchadnezzar had a dream of a great tree, loaded with fruit. Suddenly, an angel descending from heaven, commanded that the tree should be cut down, but that the root should be preserved in the earth, Dan. iv. The king sent for all the diviners in the country, but none could explain his dream, till Daniel, by divine revelation, showed that it represented his present greatness, his signal approaching humiliation, and his restoration to reason and dignity. A year after, as Nebuchadnezzar was walking on his palace at Babylon, he began to say, Is not this great Babylon, which I have built for the 691house of the kingdom, by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty” and scarcely had he pronounced these words, when he fell into a distemper or distraction, which so altered his imagination that he fled into the fields and assumed the manners of an ox. After having been seven years in this state, God opened his eyes, his understanding was restored to him, and he recovered his royal dignity.

Nebuchadnezzar died, A. M. 3442, after having reigned forty-three years. Megasthenes, quoted by Eusebius, says, that this prince having ascended to the top of his palace, was there seized with a fit of divine enthusiasm, and cried out, O Babylonians, I declare to you a misfortune, that neither our father Belus, nor Queen Baltis has been able to prevent. A Persian mule shall one day come into this country, who, supported by the power of your gods, shall bring you into slavery. He shall be assisted by the Mede, the glory of the Assyrians.” This Persian mule is Cyrus, whose mother was a Mede, and whose father was a Persian. The Mede who assisted Cyrus was Cyaxares, or Darius the Mede. This story at least shows that the Heathens had traditions of an extraordinary kind respecting this monarch, and that the fate of Babylon had been the subject of prophecy.

NEBUZAR-ADAN, a general of Nebuchadnezzar’s army, and the chief officer of his household. He managed the siege of Jerusalem, and made himself master of the city, while his sovereign was at Riblah in Syria, 2 Kings xxv; Jer. xxxix; xl; lii.

NECESSITARIANS. The doctrine of necessity regards the origin of human actions, and the specific mode of the divine government; and it seems to be the immediate result of the materiality of man; for mechanism is the undoubted consequence of materialism. Hence all materialists are of course necessitarians; but it does not follow that all necessitarians are or must be materialists. Whatever is done by a cause or power that is irresistible, is by necessity; in which sense this term is opposed to freedom. Man is, therefore, a necessary agent, if all his actions be so determined by the causes preceding each action, that not one past action could possibly not have come to pass, or have been otherwise than it hath been; and not one future action can possibly not come to pass, or be otherwise than it shall be. But man is a free agent, if he be able at any time, in the circumstances in which he is placed, to do different things; or, in other words, if he be not unavoidably determined in every point of time by the circumstances he is in, and the causes he is under, to do that one thing he does, and not possibly to do any other thing. This abstruse subject has occasioned much controversy, and has been debated by writers of the first eminence, from Hobbes and Clarke, to Priestley and Gregory. The anti-necessitarians allege, that the doctrine of necessity charges God as the author of sin; that it takes away the freedom of the will; renders man unaccountable to his Maker; makes sin to be no evil, and morality or virtue to be no good; and that it precludes the use of means, and is of the most gloomy tendency. The necessitarians, on the other hand, deny these to be legitimate consequences of their doctrine, which they declare to be the most consistent mode of explaining the divine government; and they observe, that the Deity acts no more immorally in decreeing vicious actions, than in permitting all those irregularities which he could so easily have prevented. All necessity, say they, doth not take away freedom. The actions of a man may be at one and the same time both free and necessary. Thus, it was infalliblyinfallibly certain that Judas would betray Christ, yet he did it voluntarily; Jesus Christ necessarily became man, and died, yet he acted freely. A good man doth naturally and necessarily love his children, yet voluntarily. They insist that necessity doth not render actions less morally good; for, if necessary virtue be neither moral nor praiseworthy, it will follow that God himself is not a moral being, because he is a necessary one; and the obedience of Christ cannot be good, because it was necessary. Farther, say they, necessity does not preclude the use of means; for means are no less appointed than the end. It was ordained that Christ should be delivered up to death; but he could not have been betrayed without a betrayer, nor crucified without crucifiers. That it is not a gloomy doctrine they allege, because nothing can be more consolatory than to believe, that all things are under the direction of an all-wise Being, that his kingdom ruleth over all, and that he doeth all things well. They also urge, that to deny necessity, is to deny the foreknowledge of God, and to wrest the sceptre from the hand of the Creator, and to place that capricious and undefinable principle, the self-determining power of man, upon the throne of the universe. In these statements there is obviously a confused use of terms in different meanings, so as to mislead the unwary. For instance: necessity is confounded with certainty; but an action may be certain, though free; that is to say, certain to an omniscient Being, who knows how a free agent will finally resolve; but this certainty is, in fact, a quality of the prescient Being, not that of the action, to which, however, men delusively transfer it. Again: God is called a necessary Being, which, if it mean any thing, signifies, as to his moral acts, that he can only act right. But then this is a wrong application of the term necessity, which properly implies such a constraint upon actions, exercised ab extra, as renders choice or will impossible. But such necessity cannot exist as to the supreme Being. Again: the obedience of Christ unto death was necessary, that is to say, unless he had died guilty man could not have been forgiven; but this could not make the act of the Jews who put him to death a necessary act, that is to say, a forced and constrained one; nor did this necessity affect the act of Christ himself, who acted voluntarily, and might have left man without salvation. That the Jews acted freely, is evident from their being held liable to punishment, 692although unconsciously they accomplishedaccomplished the great designs of Heaven, which, however, was no excuse for their crime. Finally: as to the allegation, that the doctrine of free agency puts man’s self-determining power upon the throne of the universe, that view proceeds upon notions unworthy of God, as though he could not accomplish his plans without compelling and controlling all things by a fixed fate; whereas it is both more glorious to him, and certainly more in accordance with the Scriptures, to say that he has a perfect foresight of the manner in which all creatures will act, and that he, by a profound and infinite wisdom, subordinates every thing without violence to the evolution and accomplishment of his own glorious purposes.

The doctrine of necessity is nearly connected with that of predestination, which, of late years, has assumed a form very different from that which it formerly possessed; for, instead of being considered as a point to be determined almost entirely by the sacred writings, it has, in the hands of a number of able writers, in a great measure resolved itself into a question of natural religion, under the head of the philosophical liberty or necessity of the will; or, whether all human actions are, or are not, necessarily determined by motives arising from the character which God has impressed on our minds, and the train of circumstances amidst which his providence has placed us The Calvinistic doctrine of predestination is, that God for his own glory, hath foreordained whatsoever comes to pass.” The scheme of philosophical necessity, as stated by the most celebrated necessitarian of the age, is, that every thing is predetermined by the divine Being; that whatever has been, must have been; and that whatever will be, must be; that all events are preordained by infinite wisdom and unlimited goodness; that the will, in all its determinations, is governed by the state of mind; that the state of mind is, in every instance, determined by the Deity; and that there is a continued chain of causes and effects, of motives and actions, inseparably connected, and originating from the condition in which we are brought into existence by the Author of our being.” On the other hand, it is justly remarked, that “those who believe the being and perfections of God, and a state of retribution, in which he will reward and punish mankind according to the diversity of their actions, will find it difficult to reconcile the justice of punishment with the necessity of crimes punished. And they that believe all that the Scripture says on the one hand, of the eternity of future punishments, and on the other, of God’s compassion to sinners, and his solemn assurance that he desires not their death, will find the difficulty greatly increased.” It is doubtless an article of the Christian faith, that God will reward or punish every man hereafter according to his actions in this life. But we cannot maintain his justice in this particular, if men’s actions be necessary either in their own nature, or by the divine decrees. Activity and self-determining powers are the foundation of all morality; and to prove that such powers belong to man, it is urged that we ourselves are conscious of possessing them. We blame and condemn ourselves when we do amiss; but guilt, and inward sense of shame, and remorse of conscience, are feelings which are inconsistent with the scheme of necessity. It is also agreed that some actions deserve praise, and afford an inward satisfaction; but for this, there would be no foundation, if we were invincibly determined in every volition: so that approbation and blame are consequent on free actions only. Nor is the matter at all relieved by bringing in a chain of circumstances as motives necessarily to determine the will. This comes to the same result in sound argument, as though there was an immediate coäction of omnipotent power compelling one kind of volitions only; which is utterly irreconcilable to all just notions of the nature and operations of will, and to all accountability. Necessity, in the sense of irresistible control, and the doctrine of Scripture, cannot coëxist.

NECROMANCY, eµatea, is the art of raising up the ghosts of deceased persons, to get information from them concerning future events. This practice, no doubt, the Israelites brought with them from Egypt, which affected to be the mother of such occult sciences; and from thence it spread into the neighbouring countries, and soon infected all the east. The injunction of the law is very express against this vice; and the punishment to be inflicted on the practisers of it was stoning to death, Lev. xx, 27. What forms of enchantment were used in the practice of necromancy we are at a loss to know, because we read of none that the pythoness of Endor employed; however, that there were several rites, spells, and invocations used upon these occasions, we may learn from almost every ancient author, but from none more particularly than from Lucan in his Pharsalia. Whether the art of conversing with the dead was mere imposture, or grounded upon diabolical agency, is a question which has been disputed in all ages.

NEHEMIAH professes himself the author of the book which bears his name, in the very beginning of it, and he uniformly writes in the first person. He was of the tribe of Judah, and was probably born at Babylon during the captivity. He was so distinguished for his family and attainments, as to be selected for the office of cup bearer to the king of Persia, a situation of great honour and emolument. He was made governor of Judea, upon his own application, by Artaxerxes Longimanus; and his book, which in the Hebrew canon was joined to that of Ezra, gives an account of his appointment and administration through a space of about thirty-six years to A. M. 3595, at which time the Scripture history closes; and, consequently, the historical books, from Joshua to Nehemiah inclusive, contain the history of the Jewish people from the death of Moses, A. M. 2553, to the reformation established by Nehemiah, after the return from captivity, being a period of one thousand and forty-two years.

693NEOLOGY. This term, which signifies new doctrine, has been used to designate a species of theology and Biblical criticism which has of late years much prevailed among the Protestant divines of Germany, and the professors of their universities. It is now, however, more frequently termed rationalism, and is supposed to occupy a sort of middle place between the orthodox system and pure deism. The German divines themselves speak of naturalism, rationalism, and supernaturalism. The term naturalism arose first in the sixteenth century, and was spread in the seventeenth. It was understood to be the system of those who allowed no other knowledge of religion than the natural, which man could shape out by his own strength, and, consequently, excluded all supernatural revelation. As to the different forms of naturalism, theologians say there are three: the first, which they call Pelagianism, and which considers human dispositions and notions as perfectly pure, and the religious knowledge derived from them as sufficiently explicit. A grosser kind denies all particular revelation; and the grossest of all considers the world as God. Rationalism has been thus explained: Those who are generally termed rationalists,” says Dr. Bretschneider, admit universally in Christianity, a divine, benevolent, and positive appointment for the good of mankind, and Jesus as a messenger of Divine Providence, believing that the true and everlasting word of God is contained in the Holy Scripture, and that by the same the welfare of mankind will be obtained and extended. But they deny therein a supernatural and miraculous working of God, and consider the object of Christianity to be that of introducing into the world such a religion as reason can comprehend; and they distinguish the essential from the unessential, and what is local and temporary from that which is universal and permanent in Christianity.” There is, however, a third class of divines who in fact differ very little from this, though very widely in profession. They affect to allow a revealing operation of God, but establish on internal proofs rather than on miracles the divine nature of Christianity. They allow that revelation may contain much out of the power of reason to explain, but say that it should assert nothing contrary to reason, but rather what may be proved by it. Supernaturalism consists in general in the conviction that God has revealed himself supernaturally and immediately. The notion of a miracle cannot well be separated from such a revelation, whether it happens out of, on, or in men. What is revealed may belong to the order of nature, but an order higher and unknown to us, which we could never have known without miracles, and cannot bring under the laws of nature.

The difference between the naturalists and the rationalists, as Mr. Rose justly remarks, is not quite so wide either as it would appear to be at first sight, or as one of them assuredly wishes it to appear. For if I receive a system, be it of religion, of morals, or of politics, only so far as it approves itself to my reason, whatever be the authority that presents it to me, it is idle to say that I receive the system out of any respect to that authority. I receive it only because my reason approves it; and I should, of course, do so if an authority of far inferior value were to present the system to me. This is what that division of rationalists, which professes to receive Christianity, and at the same time to make reason the supreme arbiter in matters of faith, has done. Their system, in a word, is this: They assume certain general principles, which they maintain to be the necessary deductions of reason from an extended and unprejudiced contemplation of the natural and moral order of things, and to be in themselves immutable and universal. Consequently, any thing which, on however good authority, may be advanced in apparent opposition to them must either be rejected as unworthy of rational belief, or, at least, explained away till it is made to accord with the assumed principles; and the truth or falsehood of all doctrines proposed is to be decided according to their agreement or disagreement with those principles.

It is easy, then, to anticipate how, with such principles, the Biblical critics of Germany, distinguished as many of them have been for learning, would proceed to interpret the Scriptures. Many of the sacred books and parts of others have, of course, been rejected by them as spurious, the strongest external evidence being thought by them insufficient to prove the truth of what was determined to be contradictory to their reason; and the inspiration of the rest was understood in no higher a sense, to use the language of one of their professors, than the expressions of Cicero as to the inspiration of the poets, or those of Quintilian respecting Plato. It would be disgusting, says Rose, to go through all the strange fancies which were set afloat, and which tended only to set Scripture on the same footing as an ingenious but improbable romance. They all proceeded from the determination that whatever was not intelligible was incredible, that only what was of familiar and easy explanation deserved belief, and that all which was miraculous and mysterious in Scripture must be rejected; and they rested perpetually on notions and reasonings which were in themselves miracles of incredibility. But there were many of the German divines of this rationalist period who went much farther, and who imputed a deception to our Lord and his disciples, not for evil but for good purposes. In reading or in hearing of these wretched productions, the mind is divided between disgust at folly, and indignation at wickedness. What can be said for the heart which could suppose that the founders of Christianity could have taught the sublime and holy doctrines of the Gospel with a lie in their hearts and on their lips or for the intellect which could believe that ambitious and designing men would encounter years of poverty, and shame, and danger, with no prospect but that of an ignominious death But 694where the supernatural and miraculous accounts were not rejected, they were, by many of the most eminent of these writers, explained away by a monstrous ingenuity, which, on any other subject, and applied to any ancient classic or other writer, would provoke the most contemptuous ridicule. When Korah, Dathan, and Abiram were swallowed up, Moses had previously secretly undermined the earth.” Jacob wrestled with the angel in a dream;” and a rheumatic pain in his thigh during sleep suggested the incident in his dream of the angel touching the sinew of his thigh. Professor Paulus gravely explains the miracle of the tribute money thus: That Christ only meant to give a moral lesson, that is, that we are not, if we can avoid it by trifling sacrifices, to give offence to our brethren; that he probably reasoned thus with St. Peter: Though there is no real occasion for us to pay the tribute, yet, as we may be reckoned as enemies of the temple, and not attended to when we wish to teach what is good, why should not you who are a fisherman,” a remark which might very properly be made at a place where St. Peter had been engaged in a fishery for two years, “and can easily do it, go and get enough to pay the demand Go, then, to the sea, cast your hook, and take up t , the first and best fish.” St. Peter was not to stay longer at his work this time than to gain the required money: t often refers not to number but to time; and may undoubtedly be taken as a collective. St. Peter must either have caught so many fish as would be reckoned worth a stater at Capernaum, (so near to a sea rich in fish,) or one so large and fine as would have been valued at that sum. As it was uncertain whether one or more would be necessary, the expression is indefinite, t ata t ; [the fish first coming up;] but it would not be ambiguous to St. Peter, as the necessity and the event would give it a fixed meaning. a t µa. [Opening the mouth.] This opening of the mouth might have different objects, which must be fixed by the context. If the fisherman opens the mouth of a fish caught with a hook, he does it first to release him from the hook; for if he hangs long he is less saleable: he soon decays. The circumstantiality in the account is picturesque. Take the hook out his mouth!” se se is used in Greek in a more extended sense than the German finden, as in Xenophon, where it is to get by selling.” When such a word is used of saleable articles, like fish, and in a connection which requires the getting a piece of money, it is clear that getting by sale and not by finding is referred to. “And this from a professor’s chair!” In like manner the miracle of feeding the five thousand in the desert is resolved into the opportune passing by of a caravan with provisions, of which the hungry multitude were allowed to partake, according to eastern hospitality; and the Apostles were merely employed in conveying it out in baskets. Christ’s walking upon the sea is explained by his walking upon the sea shore, and St. Peter’s walking on the sea is resolved into swimming. The miracles of healing were the effect of fancy operating favourably upon the disorders; and Ananias and Sapphira died of a fright; with many other absurdities, half dreams and half blasphemies; and of which the above are given but as a specimen.

The first step in this sorrowful gradation down to a depth of falsehood and blasphemy, into which certainly no body of Christian ministers, so large, so learned, and influential, in any age or period of the church ever before fell, was, contempt for the authority of the divines of the Reformation, and of the subsequent age. They were about to set out on a voyage of discovery; and it was necessary to assume that truth still inhabited some terra incognita, [unknown region,] to which neither Luther, Melancthon, nor their early disciples, had ever found access. One of this school is pleased, indeed, to denominate the whole even of the seventeenth and the first half of the eighteenth century, the age of theological barbarism; an age, notwithstanding, which produced in the Lutheran church alone Calovius, Schmidt, Hackspan, Walther, Glass, and the Carpzoffs, and others, as many and as great writers as any church can boast in an equal space of time; writers whose works are, or ought to be, in the hands of the theological student. The general statements of the innovators amount to this, that the divines of the age of which we speak had neither the inclination nor the power to do any thing but fortify their own systems, which were dogmatical, and not to search out truth for themselves from Scripture; that theology, as a science, was left from the epoch of the Reformation as it had been received from the schoolmen; that the interpretation of the Bible was made the slave, not the mistress, of dogmatical theology, as it ought to be.

The vain conceit that the doctrines of religion were capable of philosophic demonstration, which obtained among the followers of Wolf, is considered by Mr. Rose as having hastened onward the progress of error. We find some of them not content with applying demonstration to the truth of the system, but endeavouring to establish each separate dogma, the Trinity, the nature of the Redeemer, the incarnation, the eternity of punishment, on philosophical and, strange as it may appear, some of these truths on mathematical, grounds. We have had instances of this in our own country; and the reason why they have done little injury is, that none of those who thus presumed, whether learned or half learned, had success enough to form a school. So far as such a theory does obtain influence, it must necessarily be mischievous. The first authors may hold the mysteries of Christianity sacred; they may fancy that they can render faith in them more easy by affecting demonstrative evidence, which, indeed, were the subjects capable of it, would render faith unnecessary; but they are equally guilty of a vain presumption in their own powers, and of a want of real reverence to God, and to his revelation. 695With them, this boast of demonstration generally ends in the rejection of some truth, or the adoption of some positive error; while their followers fail not to bound over the limits at which they have stopped. The fallacy of the whole lies in assuming that divine things are on the same level with those which the human mind can grasp, and may therefore be compared with them. One of these consequences must therefore follow: either that the mind is exalted above its own sphere, or that divine things are brought down below theirs. In the former case, a dogmatical pride is the result; in the latter, the scheme of revelation is stripped of its divinity, and sinks gradually into a system of human philosophy, with the empty name of a revelation still appended to it to save appearances. What can bear the test of the philosophical standard is retained, and what cannot be thus proved is, by degrees, rejected; so that the Scripture is no longer the ground of religious truth; but a sort of witness to be compelled to assent to any conclusions at which this philosophy may arrive.

The effect in Germany was speedily developed, though Wolf, the founder of this school, and most of his followers, were pious and faithful Christians. By carrying demonstrative evidence beyond its own province, they had nurtured in their followers a vain confidence in human reason; and the next and still more fatal step was, that it was the province of human reason in an enlightened and intellectual age to perfect Christianity, which, it was contended, had hitherto existed in a low and degraded state, and to perfect that system of which the elements only were contained in the Scripture. All restraint was broken by this principle. Philosophy, good and bad, was left to build up these elements” according to its own views; and as, after all, many of these elements were found to be too untractable and too rudely shaped to accord with the plans of these manifold constructions, formed according to every pattern,” except that in the mount;” when the stone could not be squared and framed by any art which these builders possessed, it was rejected,” even to the head stone of the corner.” Semler appears to have been the author of that famous theory of accommodation, which, in the hands of his followers, says Mr. Rose, became the most formidable weapon ever devised for the destruction of Christianity.” As far as Germany is concerned, this language is not too strong; and we may add, that it was the most impudent theory ever advocated by men professing still to be Christians, and one, the avowal of which can scarcely be accounted for, except on the ground, that as, because of their interests, it was not convenient for these teachers of theology and ministers of the German churches to disavow Christianity altogether; it was devised and maintained, in order to connect the profits of the Christian profession with substantial and almost undisguised deism. This theory was, that we are not to take all the declarations of Scripture as addressed to us; but to consider them as, in many points, purposely adapted to the feelings and dispositions of the age when they originated; but by no means to be received by another and more enlightened period; that, in fact, Jesus himself and his Apostles had accommodated themselves in their doctrines to the barbarism, ignorance, and prejudices of the Jews; and that it was therefore our duty to reject the whole of this temporary part of Christianity, and retain only what is substantial and eternal. In plain words they assumed, as the very basis of their Scriptural interpretations, the blasphemous principle, that our Lord and his Apostles taught, or, at least, connived at doctrines absolutely false, rather than they would consent to shock the prejudices of their hearers! This principle is shown at length by Mr. Rose, to run through the whole maze of error into which this body of Protestant divines themselves wandered, and led their flocks. Thus the chairs of theology and the very pulpits were turned into the seats of the scornful;” and where doctrines were at all preached, they were too frequently of this daring and infidel character. It became even, at least, a negative good, that the sermons delivered were often discourses on the best modes of cultivating corn and wine, and the preachers employed the Sabbath and the church in instructing their flocks how to choose the best kinds of potatoes, or to enforce upon them the benefits of vaccination. Undisguised infidelity has in no country treated the grand evidences of the truth of Christianity with greater contumely, or been more offensive in its attacks upon the prophets, or more ridiculous in its attempts to account, on natural principles, for the miracles. Extremes of every kind were produced, philosophic mysticism, pantheism, and atheism.

We have hitherto referred chiefly to Mr. Rose’s work on this awful declension in the Lutheran and other continental churches. In a work on the same subject by Mr. Pusey, the stages of the apostasy are more carefully marked, and more copiously and deeply investigated. Our limits will, however, but allow us to advert to two or three points. In Mr. Pusey’s account of the state of German theology in the seventeenth century, he opens to us the sources of the evil. Francke, he observes, assigns as a reason for attaching the more value to the opportunities provided at Halle for the study of Scripture, that “in former times, and in those which are scarcely past, one generally found at universities opportunities for every thing rather than a solid study of God’s word.” In all my university years,” says Knapp, I was not happy enough to hear a lecture upon the whole of Scripture; we should have regarded it as a great blessing which came down from heaven.” It is said to be one only of many instances, that at Leipzig, Carpzoff, having in his lectures for one half year completed the first chapter of Isaiah, did not again lecture on the Bible for twenty years, while Olearius suspended his for ten. Yet Olearius, as well as Alberti, Spener says, were diligent theologians, but that most pains were employed on doctrinal theology 696and controversy.” It is, moreover, a painful speaking fact, which is mentioned by Francke, (1709,) that in Leipzig, the great mart of literature as well as of trade, “twenty years ago, in no bookseller’s shop was either Bible or Testament to be found.” Of the passages in Francke, which prove the same state of things, I will select one or two only: Youth are sent to the universities with a moderate knowledge of Latin; but of Greek, and especially of Hebrew next to none. And it would even then have been well, if what had been neglected before had been made up in the universities. There, however, most are borne, as by a torrent, with the multitude; they flock to logical, metaphysical, ethical, polemical, physical, pneumatical lectures, and what not; treating least of all those things whose benefit is most permanent in their future office, especially deferring, and at last neglecting, the study of the sacred languages.” “To this is added, that, they comfort themselves, that in examinations for orders these things are not generally much attended to. Hence most who are anxious about a maintenance, hurry to those things which may hasten their promotion, attend above all things a lecture on the art of preaching, and if they can remain so long at the university, one on doctrinal theology, (would that all were anxious about a salutary knowledge of the sacred doctrines,) and having committed these things to paper and memory, return home, as if excellently armed against Satan, are examined, preach, are promoted, provide for their families.” And having spoken farther on the superficial knowledge, pedantry, and other faults of those few who acquired knowledge of these subjects, he sums up: As the vernacular Scriptures are ordinarily neglected or ill employed by the illiterate, so are the original by the lettered: whence there cannot but arise either ignorance in matters of faith, or an unfruitful and vain knowledge; a pleasurable fancy is substituted for the substance of the faith; impiety daily increases. In a word, from the neglect of Scripture all impiety is derived; and so again from the impiety or unbelief of men, there is derived a contempt of Scripture, or at all events an abuse, and an absurd and perverted employment of it: and hence follows either a neglect of the original languages, or a senseless method, or an unfitting employment of them; which evils, since they are continued from the teachers to the disciples, the corrupted state of the schools and universities continually increases: and these we cannot remedy, unless we can prevail upon ourselves to make the word of God our first object, to look for Christ in it, and to embrace him, when found, with genuine faith, and perseveringly to follow him.” Pfaff thus describes the previous state of doctrinal theology: All the compendia of holy doctrines, which have hitherto appeared, are of such a character, that, though their excellence has been hitherto extolled by the common praise of our countrymen, and they still enjoy considerable reputation, (suâ utique luce niteat,) they can even on this ground not be satisfactory to our age,--that since one system was extracted and worked out of the other, with a very few variations, they dwell uniformly on the same string; and that metaphysical clang of causes, which sounds somewhat harshly and unpleasantly to well cultivated ears, constantly reverberates in them, the same terms uniformly recurring in all. To this is added, that a certain coldness appears to prevail in the common mode of treating these subjects, especially in the practical topics of theology; these being set forth as theoretical propositions, so that scarcely any life or any religious influence finds its way into the minds of readers; and the edification of mind, (though it should be the principal object in sacred theology,) derived from them is very slight. Nor does it appear less a subject of blame, that various theological tp, and those the very chief, are here altogether omitted; that every thing is choked with the thorns of scholasticism; and that divine truths are often made secondary to the zeal for authority: nor is there sufficient reference to the language of the symbolical books, to the promotion of the peace of the church, to the exhibition of what is of real importance in controverted points, and of the unreality of the mere logomachies, with which all theology abounds; nor again, to destroy theological pedantry and a sectarian spirit, or to treat the subjects themselves in a style becoming to them: but most of all, sufficient pains are not bestowed upon that which is of chief importance, the building up the kingdom of God in the hearts of men, and the influencing their hearts more thoroughly with vivid conceptions of true Christianity.”

Yet these were but effects of a still higher cause,--the rapid decay of piety in this century, of which the statements of Mr. Pusey, and the authorities he quotes, present a melancholy picture. Speaking of J. V. Andrea, he says, the want of practical religious instruction in the early schools, the perverted state of all education, the extravagance and dissoluteness of the universities, the total unfitness of the teachers whom they sent forth and authorized, the degraded state of general as well as of theological science, the interested motives for entering into holy orders, the canvassing for benefices, the simony in obtaining them, the especial neglect of the poorer, the bad lives, the carelessness and bitter controversies of the preachers, and the general corruption of manners in all ranks, are again and again the subjects of his deep regrets or of his censure. “After the evangelic church,” he says, in an energetic comparison of the evils which reigned in the beginning of this period with those which had occasioned the yoke of Rome to be broken, “after the evangelic church had thrown off the yoke of human inventions, they should have bowed their neck under the easy yoke of the Lord. But now one set of human inventions are but exchanged for another, equally, or indeed very little, human; and these are called the word of God, though in reality things are nothing milder than before. Idols were cast out, but the idols of sins 697are worshipped. The primacy of the pope is denied, but we constitute lesser popes. The bishops are abrogated, but ministers are still introduced or cast out at will; simony came into ill repute, but who now rejects a hand laden with gold the monks were reproached for indolence,--as if there were too much study at our universities; the monasteries were dissolved,--to stand empty, or to be stalls for cattle; the regularly recurring prayers are abolished, yet so that now most pray not at all; the public fasts were laid aside, now the command of Christ is held to be but useless words; not to say any thing of blasphemers, adulterers, extortioners,” &c. After many testimonies of a similar and even stronger kind from other pious divines, who lifted up their voice strongly but almost ineffectually against the growing corruption of the universities, the clergy, and the people, Mr. Pusey adds the following passages from Francke: “The works of the flesh are done openly and unrestrainedly, with so little shame, that one who does not approve of many things not consistent with the truth which is in Jesus, would almost be enrolled among heretics. Ambition, pride, love of pleasure, luxury, impurity, wantonness, and all the crop of foulest wickednesses which spring from these; injustice also, avarice, and a species of rivalry among all vices every where sensibly increases, atheism joining itself with epicurism and libertinism. Thus while Christ is held to, while orthodoxy is presented as a shield, all imitation of Christ, all anxiety for true and spiritual holiness, “without which no one shall see the Lord,” nay, all the decorum befitting a Christian, is banished, is exterminated, that it may not disturb the societies of perverse men.” Into the state of the clergy he enters more fully in another work. I remember,” he says, “that a theologian of no common learning, piety, and practical knowledge, , told me, that a certain monarch, at his suggestion, applied to a university, where there was a large concourse of students of theology, for two candidates for holy orders, who, by the excellence and purity of their doctrine, and by holiness of life, might serve as an example to the congregation committed to their charge; the professors candidly answered that there was no such student of theology among them. Nor is this surprising. I remember that Kortholt used to say with pain, that in the disgraceful strifes, disturbances, and tumults in the universities, which were, alas, but too frequent, it scarcely ever happened that theological students were not found to be accomplices, nay, the chiefs. I remember that another theologian often lamented, that there was such a dearth in the church of such persons as the Apostle would alone think worthy of the ministerial functions, that it was to be regarded as a happiness if, of many applicants, some one of outwardly decent life could at length be found.”

With several happy exceptions, and the raising up of a few pious people in some places, and a partial revival of evangelical doctrines, which, however, often ran at length into mysticism and antinomianism, the evil, both doctrinally and morally, continued to increase to our own day; for if any ask what has been the moral effect of the appalling apostasy of the teachers of religion, above described, upon the people of Germany, the answer may be given from one of these rationalizing divines themselves, whose statement is not therefore likely to be too highly coloured. It is from a pamphlet of Bretschneider, published in 1822, and the substance is, Indifference to religion among all classes; that formerly the Bible used to be in every house, but now the people either do not possess it, or, as formerly, read it; that few attend the churches, which are now too large, though fifty years ago they were too small; that few honour the Sabbath; that there are now few students of theology, compared with those in law and medicine; that if things go on so, there will shortly not be persons to supply the various ecclesiastical offices; that preaching had fallen into contempt; and that distrust and suspicion of the doctrines of Christianity prevailed among all classes.” Melancholy as this picture is, nothing in it can surprise any one, except that the very persons who have created the evil should themselves be astonished at its existence, or even affect to be so. But the mercy of God has begun to answer the prayers of the few faithful who are left as the gleanings of grapes after the vintage; and to revive, in some active, learned, and influential men, the spirit of primitive faith and zeal. The effect of the exertions of these excellent men, both from the professor’s chair, the pulpit, and the press, has been considerable; and it is remarked by Mr. Rose, that no small degree of disgust at the past follies of the rationalists prevails; that the cold and comfortless nature of their system has been perceived; that a party of truly Christian views has arisen; and that there is a disposition alike in the people, the better part of the divines, and the philosophers, to return to that revealed religion which alone can give them comfort and peace. It is equally clear that some at least of the governments perceive the dangerous tendency of the rationalist opinions, and that they are sincerely desirous of promoting a better state of religious feeling.

We close this article with the excellent remarks of Dr. Tittman of Dresden, on the neological interpreters: What is the interpretation of the Scriptures, if it relies not on words, but things, not on the assistance of languages, but on the decrees of reason that is, of modern philosophy What is all religion, what the knowledge of divine things, what are faith and hope placed in Christ, what is all Christianity, if human reason and philosophy is the only fountain of divine wisdom, and the supreme judge in the matter of religion What is the doctrine of Christ and the Apostles more than some philosophical system But what, then, I pray you, is, to deny, to blaspheme Jesus the Lord, to render his divine mission doubtful, nay vain and useless, to impugn his doctrinedoctrine, to disfigure it shamefully, to attack it, to expose it to ridicule, and, if possible, to suppress it, to remove 698all Christianity out of religion, and to bound religion within the narrow limits of reason alone, to deride miracles, and hold them up to derision, to accuse them as vain, to bring them into disrepute, to torture sacred Scripture into seeming agreement with the fancies of human wisdom, to alloy it with human conjectures, to bring it into contempt, and to break down its divine authority, to undermine, to shake, to overthrow utterly the foundations of Christian faith What else can be the event than this, as all history, a most weighty witness in this matter, informs us, namely, that when sacred Scripture, its grammatical interpretation and a sound knowledge of languages are, as it were, despised and banished, all religion should be contemned, shaken, corrupted, troubled, undermined, utterly overturned, and should be entirely removed and reduced to natural religion; or that it should end in a mystical theology, than which nothing was ever more pernicious to the Christian doctrine, and be converted into an empty µa, or even into a poetical system, hiding every thing in figures and fictions, to which latter system not a few of the sacred orators and theologians of our time seem chiefly inclined.”

NEOMENIA, eµa, new moon, Col. ii, 16, a Greek word, signifying the first day of the moon or month. The Hebrews had a particular veneration for the first day of every month; and Moses appointed peculiar sacrifices for the day, Num. xxviii, 11, 12; but he gave no orders that it should be kept as a holy day, nor can it be proved that the ancients observed it so: it was a festival of merely voluntary devotion. It appears that even from the time of Saul they made, on this day, a sort of family entertainment, since David ought then to have been at the king’s table; and Saul took his absence amiss, 1 Sam. xx, 5, 18. Moses insinuates that, beside the national sacrifices then regularly offered, every private person had his particular sacrifices of devotion, Num. x, 10. The beginning of the month was proclaimed by sound of trumpet, at the offering of the solemn sacrifices. But the most celebrated neomenia was that at the beginning of the civil year, or first day of the month Tizri, Lev. xxiii, 24. This was a sacred day, on which no servile labour was performed; on this they offered public or national burnt-sacrifices, and sounded the trumpets in the temple. In the kingdom of the ten tribes, the serious among the people used to assemble at the houses of the prophets, to hear their instructions. The Shunamite, who entertained Elisha, proposing to visit that prophet, her husband said to her, Why do you go to-day, since it is neither Sabbath nor new moon” 2 Kings iv, 23. Isaiah declares that the Lord abhors the new moons, the Sabbaths, and other days of festival and assembly of those Jews who in other things neglected his laws, Isaiah i, 13, 14. Ezekiel says that the burnt-offerings offered on the day of the new moon were provided at the king’s expense, and that on this day was to be opened the eastern gate of the court of the priests, Ezek. xiv, 17; xlvi, 1, 2; 1 Chron. xxiii, 31; 2 Chron. viii, 13. Judith kept no fast on festival days, or on the new moon, Judith viii, 6. The modern Jews keep the neomenia only as a feast of devotion, to be observed or not at pleasure. They think it rather belongs to the women than to the men. The women forbear work, and indulge a little more on this day than on others. In the prayers of the synagogue, they read from Psalm cxiii, to cxviii. They bring forth the roll of the law, and read therein to four persons. They call to remembrance the sacrifice that on this day used to be offered in the temple. On the evening of the Sabbath which follows the new moon, or some other evening following, when the new moon first appears, they assemble and pray to God, as the Creator of the planets, and the restorer of the new moon; raising themselves toward heaven, they entreat of God to be preserved from misfortune; then, after mentioning David, they salute each other, and separate. See Moon.

NEONOMIANISM, so called from the Greek , new, and µ, law. This is not the appellation of a separate sect, but of those both among Arminians and Calvinists who regard Christianity as a new law, mitigated in its requisitions for the sake of Christ. This opinion has many modifications, and has been held by persons very greatly differing from each other in the consequences to which they carry it, and in the principles from which they deduce it. One opinion is, that the new covenant of grace which, through the medium of Christ’s death, the Father made with men, consists, according to this system, not in our being justified by faith, as it apprehends the righteousness of Christ; but in this, that God, abrogating the exaction of perfect legal obedience, reputes or accepts of faith itself, and the imperfect obedience of faith, instead of the perfect obedience of the law, and graciously accounts them worthy of the reward of eternal life. Toward the close of the seventeenth century, a controversy was agitated among the English Dissenters, in which the one side, who were partial to the writings of Dr. Crisp, were charged with antinomianism, and the other, who favoured those of Mr. Baxter, were accused of neonomianism. Dr. Daniel Williams was a principal writer on what was called the neonomian side.

The following objection, among others, was made by several ministers in 1692, against Dr. Williams’s Gospel Truth Stated,” &c: “To supply the room of the moral law, vacated by him, he turns the Gospel into a new law, in keeping of which we shall be justified for the sake of Christ’s righteousness, making qualifications and acts of ours a disposing subordinate righteousness, whereby we become capable of being justified by Christ’s righteousness.” To this, among other things, he answers: “The difference is not, 1. Whether the Gospel be a new law in the Socinian, popish, or Arminian sense. This I deny. Nor, 2. Is faith, or any other grace or acts of ours, any atonement for sin, satisfaction to justice, meriting qualification, or any part of that righteousness 699for which we are justified at God our Creator’s bar. This I deny in places innumerable. Nor, 3. Whether the Gospel be a law more new than is implied in the first promise to fallen Adam, proposed to Cain, and obeyed by Abel, to the differencing him from his unbelieving brother. This I deny. 4. Nor whether the Gospel be a law that allows sin, when it accepts such graces as true, though short of perfection, to be the conditions of our personal interest in the benefits purchased by Christ. This I deny. 5. Nor whether the Gospel be a law, the promises whereof entitle the performers of its conditions to the benefits as of debt. This I deny. The difference is, 1. Is the Gospel a law in this sense; namely, God in Christ thereby commandeth sinners to repent of sin, and receive Christ by a true operative faith, promising that thereupon they shall be united to him, justified by his righteousness, pardoned, and adopted; and that, persevering in faith and true holiness, they shall be finally saved; also threatening that if any shall die impenitent, unbelieving, ungodly, rejecters of his grace, they shall perish without relief, and endure sorer punishments than if these offers had not been made to them 2. Hath the Gospel a sanction, that is, doth Christ therein enforce his commands of faith, repentance, and perseverance, by the foresaid promises and threatenings, as motives to our obedience Both these I affirm, and they deny; saying, the Gospel in the largest sense is an absolute promise without precepts and conditions, and a Gospel threat is a bull. 3. Do the Gospel promises of benefits to certain graces, and its threats that those benefits shall be withheld, and the contrary evils inflicted for the neglect of such graces, render these graces the condition of our personal title to those benefits This they deny, and I affirm,” &c.

It does not appear to have been a question in this controversy, whether God in his word commands sinners to repent, and believe in Christ, nor whether he promises life to believers, and threatens death to unbelievers; but whether it be the Gospel under the form of a new law that thus commands or threatens, or the moral law on its behalf, and whether its promises to believing render such believing a condition of the things promised. In another controversy, however, which arose about forty years afterward among the same people, it became a question whether God did by his word, call it law or Gospel, command unregenerate sinners to repent and believe in Christ, or do any thing also, which is spiritually good. Of those who took the affirmative side of this question, one party maintained it on the ground of the Gospel being a new law, consisting of commands, promises, and threatenings, the terms or conditions of which were repentance, faith, and sincere obedience. But those who first engaged in the controversy, though they allowed the encouragement to repent and believe to arise merely from the grace of the Gospel, yet considered the formal obligation to do so as arising merely from the moral law, which, requiring supreme love to God, requires acquiescence in any revelation which he shall at any time make known.

NERO. The Emperor Nero is not named in Scripture; but he is indicated by his title of emperor, and by his surname Cæsar. To him St. Paul appealed after his imprisonment by Felix, and his examination by Festus, who was swayed by the Jews. St. Paul was therefore carried to Rome, where he arrived A. D. 61. Here he continued two years, preaching the Gospel with freedom, till he became famous even in the emperor’s court, in which were many Christians; for he salutes the Philippians in the name of the brethren who were of the household of Cæsar, that is, of Nero’s court, Phil. i, 12, 13; iv, 22. We have no particular information how he cleared himself from the accusations of the Jews, whether by answering before Nero, or whether his enemies dropped their prosecutions, which seems probable, Acts xxviii, 21. However, it appears that he was liberated in the year 63. Nero is reckoned the first persecutor of the Christian church: his persecution was A. D. 64. Nero, the most cruel and savage of all men, and also the most wicked and depraved, began his persecution against the Christian church, A. D. 64, on pretence of the burning of Rome, of which some have thought himself to be the author. He endeavoured to throw all the odium on the Christians: those were seized first that were known publicly as such, and by their means many others were discovered. They were condemned to death, and were even insulted in their sufferings. Some were sewed up in skins of beasts, and then exposed to dogs to be torn in pieces; some were nailed to crosses; others perished by fire. The latter were sewed up in pitched coverings, which, being set on fire, served as torches to the people, and were lighted up in the night. Nero gave leave to use his own gardens, as the scene of all these cruelties. From this time edicts were published against the Christians, and many martyrs suffered, especially in Italy. St. Peter and St. Paul are thought to have suffered martyrdom, consequent on this persecution, A. D. 65. The revolt of the Jews from the Romans happened about A. D. 65 and 66, in the twelfth and thirteenth of Nero. The city of Jerusalem making an insurrection, A. D. 66, Florus there slew three thousand six hundred persons, and thus began the war. A little while afterward, those of Jerusalem killed the Roman garrison. Cestius on this came to Jerusalem to suppress the sedition; but he was forced to retire, after having besieged it about six weeks, and was routed in his retreat, A. D. 66. About the end of the same year, Nero gave Vespasian the command of his troops against the Jews. This general carried on the war in Galilee and Judea during A. D. 67 and 68, the thirteenth and fourteenth of Nero. But Nero killing himself in the fourteenth year of his reign, Jerusalem was not besieged till after his death, A. D. 70, the first and second of Vespasian.

NESTORIANS, a denomination which arose in the fifth century, from Nestorius, bishop of 700Constantinople; a man of considerable learning and eloquence, and of an independent spirit. The Catholic clergy were fond of calling the Virgin Mary Mother of God,” to which Nestorius objected, as implying that she was mother of the divine nature, which he very properly denied; and this raised against him, from Cyril and others, the cry of heresy, and perhaps led him into some improper forms of expression and explication. It is generally agreed, however, by the moderns, that Nestorius showed a much better spirit in controversy than his antagonist, St. Cyril. As to the doctrine of the trinity, it does not appear that Nestorius differed from his antagonists, admitting the coëquality of the divine Persons; but he was charged with maintaining two distinct persons, as well as natures, in the mysterious character of Christ. This, however, he solemnly and constantly denied; and from this, as a foul reproach, he has been cleared by the moderns, and particularly by Martin Luther, who lays the whole blame of this controversy on the turbulent and angry Cyril. (See Hypostatic Union.) The discordancy not only between the Nestorians and other Christians, but also among themselves, arose, no doubt, in a great measure, from the ambiguity of the Greek terms hypostasis and prosopon. The councils assembled at Seleucia on this occasion decreed that in Christ there were two hypostases. But this word, unhappily, was used both for person and subsistence, or existence; hence the difficulty and ambiguity: and of these hypostases it is said the one was divine, and the other human;--the divine Word, and the man Jesus. Now of these two hypostases it is added, they had only one barsopa, the original term used by Nestorius, and usually translated by the Greeks, person;” but to avoid the appearance of an express contradiction, Dr. Mosheim translates this barbarous word aspect,” as meaning a union of will and affection, rather than of nature or of person. And thus the Nestorians are charged with rejecting the union of two natures in one person, from their peculiar manner of expressing themselves, though they absolutely denied the charge.

In the earliest ages of Nestorianism, the various branches of that numerous and powerful sect were under the spiritual jurisdiction of the Catholic patriarch of Babylon,--a vague appellation which has been successively applied to the sees of Seleucia, Ctesiphon, and Bagdad,--but who now resides at Mousul. In the sixteenth century the Nestorians were divided into two sects; for in 1551 a warm dispute arose among them about the creation of a new patriarch, Simeon Barmamas, or Barmana, being proposed by one party, and Sulaka, otherwise named Siud, earnestly desired by the other; when the latter, to support his pretensions the more effectually, repaired to Rome, and was consecrated patriarch in 1553, by Pope Julius III., whose jurisdiction he had acknowledged, and to whose commands he had promised unlimited submission and obedience. Upon this new Chaldean patriarch’s return to his own country, Julius sent with him several persons skilled in the Syriac language, to assist him in establishing and extending the papal empire among the Nestorians; and from that time, that unhappy people have been divided into two factions, and have often been involved in the greatest dangers and difficulties, by the jarring sentiments and perpetual quarrels of their patriarchs. In 1555, Simeon Denha, archbishop of Gelu, adopted the party of the fugitive patriarch, who had embraced the communion of the Latin church; and, being afterward chosen patriarch himself, he fixed his residence in the city of Van, or Ormia, in the mountainous parts of Persia, where his successors still continue, and are all distinguished by the name of Simeon; but they seem of late to have withdrawn themselves from their communion with the church of Rome. The great Nestorian pontiffs who form the opposite party, and who have, since 1559, been distinguished by the general denomination of Elias, and reside constantly at Mousul, look with a hostile eye on this little patriarch; but since 1617 the bishops of Ormus have been in so low and declining a state, both in opulence and credit, that they are no longer in a condition to excite the envy of their brethren at Mousul, whose spiritual dominion is very extensive, taking in great part of Asia, and comprehending within its circuit the Arabian Nestorians, as also the Christians of St. Thomas, who dwell along the coast of Malabar.

NETHINIMS. The Nethinims were servants who had been given up to the service of the tabernacle and temple, to perform the meanest and most laborious services therein, in supplying wood and water. At first the Gibeonites were appointed to this service, Joshua ix, 27. Afterward the Canaanites who surrendered themselves, and whose lives were spared, were consigned to the performance of the same duties. We read, Ezra viii, 20, that the Nethinims were slaves devoted by David and the other princes to the ministry of the temple; and elsewhere, that they were slaves given by Solomon; the children of Solomon’s servants, Ezra ii, 58; and we see, in 1 Kings ix, 20, 21, that this prince had subdued the remains of the Canaanites, and had constrained them to several servitudes; and, it is very probable, he gave a good number of them to the priests and Levites for the service of the temple. The Nethinims were carried into captivity with the tribe of Judah, and there were great numbers of them near the coast of the Caspian Sea, from whence Ezra brought some of them back, Ezra viii, 17. After the return from the captivity, they dwelt in the cities appointed them, Ezra ii, 17. There were some of them also at Jerusalem, who inhabited that part of the city called Ophel, Neh. iii, 26. Those who returned with Ezra were to the number of two hundred and twenty, Ezra viii, 20; and those who followed Zerubbabel made up three hundred and ninety-two, Ezra ii, 58. This number was but small in regard to the offices that were imposed on them; so that we find them afterward instituting a solemnity called Xylophoria, in which 701the people carried wood to the temple with great ceremony, to keep up the fire on the altar of burnt sacrifices.

NETTLES. We find this name given to two different words in the original. The first is , Job xxx, 7; Proverbs xxiv, 31; Zeph. ii, 9. It is not easy to determine what species of plant is here meant. From the passage in Job, the nettle could not be intended; for a plant is referred to large enough for people to take shelter under. The following extract from Denon’s Travels may help to illustrate the text, and show to what an uncomfortable retreat those vagabonds must have resorted. One of the inconveniences of the vegetable thickets of Egypt is, that it is difficult to remain in them; as nine-tenths of the trees and the plants are armed with inexorable thorns, which suffer only an unquiet enjoyment of the shadow which is so constantly desirable, from the precaution necessary to guard against them.” The , Prov. xxiv, 31; Isaiah xxxiv, 13; Hosea ix, 6; is by the Vulgate rendered urtica,” which is well defended by Celsius, and very probably means the nettle.”

NICE or NICENE CREED is so denominated, because the greater part of it, namely, as far as the words, Holy Ghost,” was drawn up and agreed to at the council of Nice, or Nicæa, in Bithynia, A. D. 325. This council was assembled against Arius, who, though he brought down the Son to the condition of a creature, inferior, for that reason, in nature to the Father, yet acknowledged his personal subsistence before the world, and his superiority in nature to all the things that were created by him. So that there was need of some higher expression in this case than the other, to import his equal dignity of nature with the Father and Creator of all; and nothing was found to answer the purpose so well as the term µs. The rest of this creed was added at the council of Constantinople, A. D. 581, except the words, and the Son,” which follow the words, who proceedeth from the Father,” and they were inserted A. D. 447. The addition made at Constantinople was caused by the denial of the divinity of the Holy Ghost by Macedonius and his followers; and the creed, thus enlarged, was immediately received by all orthodox Christians. The insertion of the words, and the Son,” was made by the Spanish bishops; and they were soon after adopted by the Christians in France. The bishops of Rome for some time refused to admit these words into the creed; but at last, A. D. 883, when Nicholas the First was pope, they were allowed, and from that time they have stood in the Nicene creed, in all the western churches; but the Greek church has never received them. See Arius.

NICODEMUS, a disciple of Jesus Christ, a Jew by nation, and a Pharisee, John iii, 1, &c. At the time when the priests and Pharisees had sent officers to seize Jesus, Nicodemus declared himself openly in his favour, John vii, 45, &c; and still more so when he went with Joseph of Arimathea to pay the last duties to his body, which they took down from the cross, embalmed, and laid in a sepulchre.

NICOLAITANS. St. John says in his Revelation, to the angel of the church of Ephesus, But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate,” Rev. ii, 6; and again, to the angel of the church of Pergamos: So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate,” Rev. ii, 15. These are the only two places where the Nicolaitans are mentioned in the New Testament: and it might appear at first, that little could be inferred from these concerning either their doctrine or their practice. It is asserted, however, by all the fathers, that the Nicolaitans were a branch of the Gnostics: and the epistles, which were addressed by St. John to the seven Asiatic churches, may perhaps lead us to the same conclusion. Thus to the church at Ephesus he writes: Thou hast tried them which say they are Apostles and are not, and hast found them liars,” Rev. ii, 2. This may be understood of the Gnostic teachers, who falsely called themselves Christians, and who would be not unlikely to assume also the title of Apostles. It appears from this and other passages, that they had distinguished themselves at Ephesus; and it is when writing to that church, that St. John mentions the Nicolaitans. Again, when writing to the church at Smyrna, he says: I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan,” Rev. ii, 9. The Gnostics borrowed many doctrines from the Jews, and thought by this means to attract both the Jews and Christians. We might therefore infer, even without the testimony of the fathers, that the Gnostic doctrines were prevalent in these churches, where St. John speaks of the Nicolaitans: and if so, we have a still more specific indication of their doctrine and practice, when we find St. John saying to the church in Pergamos, I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to cast a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication,” Rev. ii, 14. Then follow the words already quoted, So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.” There seems here to be some comparison between the doctrine of Balaam and that of the Nicolaitans: and I would also point out, that to the church in Thyatira the Apostle writes, I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols,” Rev. ii, 20. The two passages are very similar, and may enable us to throw some light upon the history of the Nicolaitans. Tertullian has preserved a tradition, that the person here spoken of as Jezebel was a female heretic, who taught what she had learned from the Nicolaitans: and whether the tradition be true or not, it seems certain, that to eat things sacrificed unto 702idols, and to commit fornication, was part of the practice of the Nicolaitans.

These two sins are compared to the doctrine of Balaam: and though the Bible tells us little of Balaam’s history, beyond his prophecies and his death, yet we can collect enough to enable us to explain this allusion of St. John. We read, that when Israel abode in Shittim, the people began to commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab: and they,” that is, the women, called the people unto the sacrifices of their gods: and the people did eat, and bowed down to their gods,” Num. xxv, 1, 2. But we read farther, that when the Midianites were spoiled and Balaam slain, Moses said of the women who were taken, Behold, these caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to commit trespass against the Lord in the matter of Peor,” Num. xxxi, 16. This, then, was the insidious policy and advice of Balaam. When he found that he was prohibited by God from cursing Israel, he advised Balak to seduce the Israelites by the women of Moab, and thus to entice them to the sacrifices of their gods. This is what St. John calls the doctrine of Balaam,” or the wicked artifice which he taught the king of Moab: and so he says, that in the church of Pergamos there were some who held the doctrine of the Nicolaitans. We have therefore the testimony of St. John, as well as of the fathers, that the lives of the Nicolaitans were profligate and vicious; to which we may add, that they ate things sacrificed to idols. This is expressly said of Basilides and Valentinus, two celebrated leaders of Gnostic sects: and we perhaps are not going too far, if we infer from St. John, that the Nicolaitans were the first who enticed the Christians to this impious practice, and obtained from thence the distinction of their peculiar celebrity. Their motive for such conduct is very evident. They wished to gain proselytes to their doctrines; and they therefore taught that it was lawful to indulge the passions, and that there was no harm in partaking of an idol sacrifice. This had now become the test to which Christians must submit, if they wished to escape persecution: and the Nicolaitans sought to gain converts by telling them that they might still believe in Jesus though they ate of things sacrificed unto idols.” The fear of death would shake the faith of some; others would be gained over by sensual arguments: and thus many unhappy Christians of the Asiatic churches were found by St. John in the ranks of the Nicolaitans.

We might wish perhaps to know at what time the sect of the Nicolaitans began; but we cannot define it accurately. If Irenæus is correct in saying that it preceded by a considerable time the heresy of Cerinthus, and that the Cerinthian heresy was a principal cause of St. John writing his Gospel, it follows, that the Nicolaitans were in existence at least some years before the time of their being mentioned in the Revelation; and the persecution under Domitian, which was the cause of St. John being sent to Patmos, may have been the time which enabled the Nicolaitans to exhibit their principles. Irenæus indeed adds, that St. John directed his Gospel against the Nicolaitans as well as against Cerinthus: and the comparison which is made between their doctrine and that of Balaam, may perhaps authorize us to refer to this sect what is said in the second Epistle of St. Peter. The whole passage contains marked allusions to Gnostic teachers. There is another question concerning the Nicolaitans, which has excited much discussion. It is a question entirely of evidence and detail; and the two points to be considered are, 1. Whether the Nicolaitans derived their name from Nicolas of Antioch, who was one of the seven deacons: 2. Supposing this to be the fact, whether Nicolas had disgraced himself by sensual indulgence. Those writers who have endeavoured to clear the character of Nicolas have generally tried also to prove that he was not the man whom the Nicolaitans claimed as their head. But the one point may be true without the other: and the evidence is so overwhelming, which states that Nicolas the deacon was at least the person intended by the Nicolaitans, that it is difficult to come to any other conclusion upon the subject. We must not deny that some of the fathers have also charged him with falling into vicious habits, and thus affording too true a support to the heretics who claimed him as their leader. These writers, however, are of a late date; and some, who are much more ancient, have entirely acquitted him, and furnished an explanation of the calumnies which attach to his name. We know that the Gnostics were not ashamed to claim as their founders the Apostles, or friends of the Apostles. The same may have been the case with Nicolas the deacon; and though we allow, that if the Nicolaitans were distinguished as a sect some time before the end of the century, the probability is lessened that his name was thus abused; yet if his career was a short one, his history, like that of the other deacons, would soon be forgotten: and the same fertile invention, which gave rise in the two first centuries to so many apocryphal Gospels, may also have led the Nicolaitans to give a false character to him whose name they had assumed.

NICOPOLIS, a city of Epirus, on the gulf of Ambracia, whither, as some think, St. Paul wrote to Titus, then in Crete, to come to him, Titus iii, 12; but others, with greater probability, are of opinion, that the city of Nicopolis, where St. Paul was, was not that of Epirus, but that of Thrace, on the borders of Macedonia, near the river Nessus. Emmaus in Palestine was also called Nicopolis by the Romans.

NIGHT. The ancient Hebrews began their artificial day in the evening, and ended it the next evening; so that the night preceded the day, whence it is said, evening and morning one day,” Gen. i, 5. They allowed twelve hours to the night, and twelve to the day. Night is put for a time of affliction and adversity: Thou hast proved mine heart, thou 703hast visited me in the night, thou hast tried me,” Psalm xvii, 3; that is, by adversity and tribulation. And the morning cometh, and also the night,” Isaiah xxi, 12. Night is also put for the time of death: The night cometh, wherein no man can work,” John ix, 4. Children of the day, and children of the night, in a moral and figurative sense, denote good men and wicked men, Christians and Gentiles. The disciples of the Son of God are children of light: they belong to the light, they walk in the light of truth; while the children of the night walk in the darkness of ignorance and infidelity, and perform only works of darkness. Ye are all the children of the light, and the children of the day; we are not of the night, nor of darkness,” 1 Thess. v, 5.

NIGHT-HAWK, , Lev. xi, 16; Deut. xiv, 15. That this is a voracious bird seems clear from the import of its name; and interpreters are generally agreed to describe it as flying by night. On the whole, it should seem to be the strix orientalis, which Hasselquist thus describes: It is of the size of the common owl, and lodges in the large buildings or ruins of Egypt and Syria, and sometimes even in the dwelling houses. The Arabs settled in Egypt call it massasa,” and the Syrians banu.” It is extremely voracious in Syria; to such a degree, that if care is not taken to shut the windows at the coming on of night, he enters the houses and kills the children: the women, therefore, are very much afraid of him.

NILE, the river of Egypt, whose fountain is in the Upper Ethiopia. After having watered several kingdoms, the Nile continues its course far into the kingdom of Goiam. Then it winds about again, from the east to the north. Having crossed several kingdoms and provinces, it falls into Egypt at the cataracts, which are waterfalls over steep rocks of the length of two hundred feet. At the bottom of these rocks the Nile returns to its usual pace, and thus flows through the valley of Egypt. Its channel, according to Villamont, is about a league broad. At eight miles below Grand Cairo, it is divided into two arms, which make a triangle, whose base is at the Mediterranean Sea, and which the Greeks call the Delta, because of its figure . These two arms are divided into others, which discharge themselves into the Mediterranean, the distance of which from the top of the Delta is about twenty leagues. These branches of the Nile the ancients commonly reckoned to be seven. Ptolemy makes them nine, some only four, some eleven, some fourteen. Homer, Xenophon, and Diodorus Siculus testify, that the ancient name of this river was Egyptus; and the latter of these writers says, that it took the name Nilus only since the time of a king of Egypt called by that name. The Greeks gave it the name of Melas; and Diodorus Siculus observes, that the most ancient name by which the Grecians have known the Nile was Oceanus. The Egyptians paid divine honours to this river, and called it Jupiter Nilus.

Very little rain ever falls in Egypt, never sufficient to fertilize the land; and but for the provision of this bountiful river, the country would be condemned to perpetual sterility. As it is, from the joint operation of the regularity of the flood, the deposit of mud from the water of the river and the warmth of the climate, it is the most fertile country in the world; the produce exceeding all calculation. It has in consequence been, in all ages, the granary of the east; and has on more than one occasion, an instance of which is recorded in the history of Joseph, saved the neighbouring countries from starvation. It is probable, that, while in these countries, on the occasion referred to, the seven years’ famine was the result of the absence of rain, in Egypt it was brought about by the inundation being withheld: and the consternation of the Egyptians, at witnessing this phenomenon for seven successive years, may easily be conceived. The origin and course of the Nile being unknown to the ancients, its stream was held, and is still held by the natives, in the greatest veneration; and its periodical overflow was viewed with mysterious wonder. But both of these are now, from the discoveries of the moderns, better understood. It is now known, that the sources, or permanent springs, of the Nile are situated in the mountains of Abyssinia, and the unexplored regions to the west and south-west of that country; and that the occasional supplies, or causes of the inundation, are the periodical rains which fall in those districts. For a correct knowledge of these facts, and of the true position of the source of that branch of the river, which has generally been considered to be the continuation of the true Nile, we are indebted to our countryman, the intrepid and indefatigable Bruce. Although the Nile, by way of eminence, has been called the river of Egypt,” it must not be confounded with another stream so denominated in Scripture, an insignificant rivulet in comparison, which falls into the Mediterranean below Gaza.

NIMROD. He is generally supposed to have been the immediate son of Cush, and the youngest, or sixth, from the Scriptural phrase, Cush begat Nimrod,” after the mention of his five sons, Gen. x, 8. But the phrase is used with considerable latitude, like father” and son,” in Scripture. And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar: out of that land he went forth to invade Assyria; and built Nineveh, and the city Rehoboth, and Calah, and Resin, between Nineveh and Calah: the same is a great city,” Gen. x, 8–12. Though the main body of the Cushites was miraculously dispersed, and sent by Providence to their destinations along the sea coasts of Asia and Africa, yet Nimrod remained behind, and founded an empire in Babylonia, according to Berosus, by usurping the property of the Arphaxadites in the land of Shinar; where the beginning of his kingdom was Babel,” or Babylon, and other towns: and, not satisfied with this, he next invaded Assur, or Assyria, east of the Tigris, where he built Nineveh, and several other towns. 704The marginal reading of our English Bible, He went out into Assyria,” or to invade Assyria, is here adopted in preference to that in the text: And out of that land went forth Ashur, and builded Nineveh,” &c. The meaning of the word Nineveh may lead us to his original name, Nin, signifying a son,” the most celebrated of the sons of Cush. That of Nimrod, or Rebel,” was probably a parody, or nickname, given him by the oppressed Shemites, of which we have several instances in Scripture. Thus nahash, the brazen serpent” in the wilderness, was called by Hezekiah, in contempt, nehushtan, a piece of brass,” when he broke it in pieces, because it was perverted into an object of idolatrous worship by the Jews, 2 Kings xviii, 4. Nimrod, that arch rebel, who first subverted the patriarchal government, introduced also the Zabian idolatry, or worship of the heavenly host; and, after his death, was deified by his subjects, and supposed to be translated into the constellations of Orion, attended by his hounds, Sirius and Canicula, and still pursuing his favourite game, the great bear; supposed also to be translated into ursa major, near the north pole; as admirably described by Homer,--

t ’, a µaa ps as,
t’ at feta, a t’ a dee.
Iliad xviii, 485.

And the bear, surnamed also the wain, by the Egyptians, who is turning herself about there, and watching Orion.” Homer also introduces the shade of Orion, as hunting in the Elysian fields,--

d µt’, a pe esesa
Ta µ eeta, at’ sfde eµa
at atpefe ps ess
es pa pae, a a.
Odyss. xi, 571.
Next, I observed the mighty Orion
Chasing wild beasts through an asphodel mead,
Which himself had slain on the solitary mountains:
Holding in his hands a solid brazen mace, ever unbroken.”

The Grecian name of this mighty hunter” may furnish a satisfactory clue to the name given him by the impious adulation of the Babylonians and Assyrians. nearly resembles, a, the oblique case of a, which is the Septuagint rendering of Uriah, a proper name in Scripture, 2 Sam. xi, 6–21. But Uriah, signifying the light of the Lord,” was an appropriate appellation of that most brilliant constellation. He was also called Baal, Beel, Bel, or Belus, signifying lord,” or master,” by the Phenicians, Assyrians, and Greeks; and Bala Rama, by the Hindus. At a village called Bala-deva, or Baldeo in the vulgar dialect, thirteen miles east by south from Muttra, in Hindustan, there is a very ancient statue of Bala Rama, in which he is represented with a ploughshare in his left hand, and a thick cudgel in his right, and his shoulders covered with the skin of a tiger. Captain Wilford supposes that the ploughshare was designed to hook his enemies; but may it not more naturally denote the constellation of the great bear, which strikingly represents the figure of a plough in its seven bright stars; and was probably so denominated by the earliest astronomers, before the introduction of the Zabian idolatry, as a celestial symbol of agriculture The thick cudgel corresponds to the brazen mace of Homer. And it is highly probable that the Assyrian Nimrod, or Hindu Bala, was also the prototype of the Grecian Hercules, with his club and lion’s skin.

Nimrod is said to have been a mighty hunter before the Lord;” which the Jerusalem paraphrast interprets of a sinful hunting after the sons of men to turn them off from the true religion. But it may as well be taken in a more literal sense, for hunting of wild beasts; inasmuch as the circumstance of his being a mighty hunter is mentioned with great propriety to introduce the account of his setting up his kingdom; the exercise of hunting being looked upon in ancient times as a means of acquiring the rudiments of war; for which reason, the principal heroes of Heathen antiquity, as Theseus, Nestor, &c, were, as Xenophon tells us, bred up to hunting. Beside, it may be supposed, that by this practice Nimrod drew together a great company of robust young men to attend him in his sport, and by that means increased his power. And by destroying the wild beasts, which, in the comparatively defenceless state of society in those early ages, were no doubt very dangerous enemies, he might, perhaps, render himself farther popular; thereby engaging numbers to join with him, and to promote his chief design of subduing men, and making himself master of many nations.

NINEVEH. This capital of the Assyrian empire could boast of the remotest antiquity. Tacitus styles it, Vetustissima sedes Assyriæ;” [the most ancient seat of Assyria;] and Scripture informs us that Nimrod, after he had built Babel, in the land of Shinar, invaded Assyria, where he built Nineveh, and several other cities, Genesis x, 11. Its name denotes the habitation of Nin,” which seems to have been the proper name of that rebel,” as Nimrod signifies. And it is uniformly styled by Herodotus, Xenophon, Diodorus, Lucian, &c, , the city of Ninus.” And the village of Nunia, opposite Mosul, in its name, and the tradition of the natives, ascertains the site of the ancient city, which was near the castle of Arbela, according to Tacitus, so celebrated for the decisive victory of Alexander the Great over the Persians there; the site of which is ascertained by the village of Arbil, about ten German miles to the east of Nunia, according to Niebuhr’s map. Nineveh at first seems only to have been a small city, and less than Resen, in its neighbourhood; which is conjectured by Bochart, and not without reason, to have been the same as Larissa, which Xenophon describes as the ruins of a great city, formerly inhabited by the Medes,” and which the natives might have described as belonging la Resen, to Resen.” Nineveh did not rise to greatness for many ages after, until its second founder, Ninus II., about B. C. 1230, enlarged and made it the greatest city in the 705world. According to Diodorus, it was of an oblong form, a hundred and fifty stadia long, and ninety broad, and, consequently, four hundred and eighty in circuit, or forty-eight miles, reckoning ten stadia to an English mile, with Major Rennel. And its walls were a hundred feet high, and so broad that three chariots could drive on them abreast; and on the walls were fifteen hundred towers, each two hundred feet high. We are not, however, to imagine that all this vast enclosure was built upon: it contained great parks and extensive fields, and detached houses and buildings, like Babylon, and other great cities of the east even at the present day, as Bussorah, &c. And this entirely corresponds with the representations of Scripture. In the days of the Prophet Jonah, about B. C. 800, it seems to have been a “great city, an exceeding great city, of three days’ journey,” Jonah i, 2; iii, 3; perhaps in circuit. The population of Nineveh, also, at that time was very great. It contained more than sixscore thousand persons that could not discern between their right hand and their left, beside much cattle,” Jonah iv, 11. Reckoning the persons to have been infants of two years old and under, and that these were a fifth part of the whole, according to Bochart, the whole population would amount to six hundred thousand souls. The same number Pliny assigns for the population of Seleucia, on the decline of Babylon. This population shows that a great part of the city must have been left open and unbuilt.

The threatened overthrow of Nineveh within three days, was, by the general repentance and humiliation of the inhabitants, from the highest to the lowest, suspended for near two hundred years, until their iniquity came to the full;” and then the prophecy was literally accomplished, in the third year of the siege of the city, by the combined Medes and Babylonians; the king, Sardanapalus, being encouraged to hold out in consequence of an ancient prophecy, that Nineveh should never be taken by assault, till the river became its enemy; when a mighty inundation of the river, swollen by continual rains, came up against a part of the city, and threw down twenty stadia of the wall in length; upon which, the king, conceiving that the oracle was accomplished, burned himself, his concubines, eunuchs, and treasures; and the enemy, entering by the breach, sacked and rased the city, about B. C. 606. Diodorus, also, relates that Belesis, the governor of Babylon, obtained from Arbaces, the king of Media, the ashes of the palace, to erect a mount with them near the temple of Belus at Babylon; and that he forthwith prepared shipping, and, together with the ashes, carried away most of the gold and silver, of which he had private information given him by one of the eunuchs who escaped the fire. Dr. Gillies thinks it incredible that these could be transported from Nineveh to Babylon, three hundred miles distant; but likely enough, if Nineveh was only fifty miles from Babylon, with a large canal of communication between them, the Nahar Malka, or Royal River. But we learn from Niebuhr, that the conveyance of goods from Nosul to Bagdat by the Tigris is very commodious, in the very large boats called helleks; in which, in spring, when the river is rapid, the voyage may be made in three or four days, which would take fifteen by land. The complete demolition of such immense piles as the walls and towers of Nineveh may seem matter of surprise to those who do not consider the nature of the materials of which they were constructed, that is, of bricks, dried or baked in the sun, and cemented with bitumen, which were apt to be dissolved” by water, or to moulder away by the injuries of the weather. Beside, in the east, the materials of ancient cities have been often employed in the building of new ones in the neighbourhood. Thus Mosul was built with the spoils of Nineveh. Tauk Kesra, or the Palace of Chosroes, appears to have been built of bricks brought from the ruins of Babylon; and so was Hellah, as the dimensions are nearly the same, and the proportions so singular. And when such materials could conveniently be transported by inland navigations, they are to be found at very great distances from their ancient place, much farther, indeed, than are Bagdat and Seleucia, or Ctesiphon, from Babylon.

The book of Nahum was avowedly prophetic of the destruction of Nineveh; and it is there foretold that the gates of the river shall be opened, and the palace shall be dissolved. Nineveh of old, like a pool of water, with an overflowing flood he will make an utter end of the place thereof,” Nahum ii, 6; i, 8, 9. The historian describes the facts by which the other predictions of the prophet were as literally fulfilled. He relates that the king of Assyria, elated with his former victories, and ignorant of the revolt of the Bactrians, had abandoned himself to scandalous inaction; had appointed a time of festivity, and supplied his soldiers with abundance of wine; and that the general of the enemy, apprised by deserters, of their negligence and drunkenness, attacked the Assyrian army while the whole of them were fearlessly giving way to indulgence, destroyed great part of them, and drove the rest into the city. The words of the prophet were hereby verified: While they be folden together as thorns, and while they are drunken as drunkards, they shall be devoured as stubble fully dry,” Nahum i, 10. The prophet promised much spoil to the enemy: Take the spoil of silver, take the spoil of gold; for there is no end of the store and glory out of all the pleasant furniture,” Nahum ii, 9. And the historian affirms that many talents of gold and silver, preserved from the fire, were carried to Ecbatana. According to Nahum, iii, 15, the city was not only to be destroyed by an overflowing flood, but the fire, also, was to devour it; and, as Diodorus relates, partly by water, partly by fire, it was destroyed.

The utter and perpetual destruction and desolation of Nineveh were foretold: The Lord will make an utter end of the place thereof. Affliction shall not rise up the second time. 706She is empty, void, and waste,” Nahum i, 8, 9; ii, 10; iii, 17–19. The Lord will stretch out his hand against the north, and destroy Assyria, and will make Nineveh a desolation, and dry like a wilderness. How is she become a desolation, a place for beasts to lie down in,” Zeph. ii, 13–15. In the second century, Lucian, a native of a city on the banks of the Euphrates, testified that Nineveh was utterly perished, that there was no vestige of it remaining, and that none could tell where once it was situated. This testimony of Lucian, and the lapse of many ages during which the place was not known where it stood, render it at least somewhat doubtful whether the remains of an ancient city, opposite to Mosul, which have been described as such by travellers, be indeed those of ancient Nineveh. It is, perhaps, probable that they are the remains of the city which succeeded Nineveh, or of a Persian city of the same name, which was built on the banks of the Tigris by the Persians subsequently to A. D. 230, and demolished by the Saracens, A. D. 632. In contrasting the then existing great and increasing population, and the accumulating wealth of the proud inhabitants of the mighty Nineveh, with the utter ruin that awaited it, the word of God by the Prophet Nahum, was, Make thyself many as the canker worm, make thyself many as the locusts. Thou hast multiplied thy merchants above the stars of heaven: the canker worm spoileth and flieth away. Thy crowned are as the locusts, and thy captains as the great grasshoppers which camp in the hedges in the cold day: but when the sun riseth, they flee away; and their place is not known where they are,” or were. Whether these words imply that even the site of Nineveh would in future ages be uncertain or unknown; or, as they rather seem to intimate, that every vestige of the palaces of its monarchs, of the greatness of its nobles, and of the wealth of its numerous merchants, would wholly disappear; the truth of the prediction cannot be invalidated under either interpretation. The avowed ignorance respecting Nineveh, and the oblivion which passed over it, for many an age, conjoined with the meagreness of evidence to identify it, still prove that the place where it stood was long unknown, and that, even now, it can scarcely with certainty be determined. And if the only spot that bears its name, or that can be said to be the place where it was, be indeed the site of one of the most extensive of cities on which the sun ever shone, and which continued for many centuries to be the capital of Assyria,--the principal mounds, few in number, which show neither bricks, stones, nor other materials of building,--but are in many places overgrown with grass, and resemble the mounds left by intrenchments and fortifications of ancient Roman camps, and the appearances of other mounds and ruins less marked than even these, extending for ten miles, and widely spread, and seeming to be the wreck of former buildings,--show that Nineveh is left without one monument of royalty, without any token whatever of its splendour or wealth; that their place is not known where they were; and that it is indeed a desolation, empty, void, and waste,” its very ruins perished, and less than the wreck of what it was. Such an utter ruin, in every view, has been made of it; and such is the truth of the divine predictions!

NISAN, a month of the Hebrews, answering to our March, and which sometimes takes from February or April, according to the course of the moon. It was made the first month of the sacred year, at the coming out of Egypt, Exod. xii, 2; and it was the seventh month of the civil year. By Moses it is called Abib. The name Nisan was introduced only since the time of Ezra, and the return from the captivity of Babylon.

NISROCH, a god of the Assyrians. Sennacherib was killed by two of his sons, while he was paying his adorations in the temple of this deity, 2 Kings xix, 37; Isaiah xxxvii, 38. It is uncertain who this god was.

NITRE, , Prov. xxv, 20; Jer. ii, 22. This is not the same that we call nitre, or saltpetre, but a native salt of a different kind, distinguished among naturalists by the name of natrum. The natrum of the ancients was an earthy alkaline salt. It was found in abundance separated from the water of the lake Natron in Egypt. It rises from the bottom of the lake to the top of the water, and is there condensed by the heat of the sun into the hard and dry form in which it is sold. This salt thus scummed off is the same in all respects with the Smyrna soap earth. Pliny, Matthiolus, and Agricola, have described it to us: Hippocrates, Galen, Dioscorides, and others, mention its uses. It is also found in great plenty in Sindy, a province in the inner part of Asia, and in many other parts of the east; and might be had in any quantities. The learned Michaëlis plainly demonstrates, from the nature of the thing and the context, that this fossil and natural alkali must be that which the Hebrews called nether. Solomon must mean the same when he compares the effect which unseasonable mirth has upon a man in affliction to the action of vinegar upon nitre, Prov. xxv, 20; for vinegar has no effect upon what we call nitre, but upon the alkali in question has a great effect, making it rise up in bubbles with much effervescence. It is of a soapy nature, and was used to take spots from clothes, and even from the face. Jeremiah alludes to this use of it, ii, 22.

NO, or NO-AMMON, a city of Egypt, supposed to be Thebes.

NOAH, the son of Lamech. Amidst the general corruption of the human race, Noah only was found righteous, Gen. vi, 9. He therefore found grace in the sight of the Lord,” and was directed for his preservation to make an ark, the shape and dimensions of which were prescribed by the Lord. In A. M. 1656, and in the six hundredth year of his age, Noah, by divine appointment, entered the ark with his family, and all the animals collected for the renewal of the world. (See Deluge.) After the ark had stranded, and the earth was 707in a measure dried, Noah offered a burnt-sacrifice to the Lord, of the pure animals that were in the ark; and the Lord was pleased to accept of his offering, and to give him assurance that he would no more destroy the world by water, Genesis ix. He gave Noah power over all the brute creation, and permitted him to kill and eat of them, as of the herbs and fruits of the earth, except the blood, the use of which was prohibited. After the deluge Noah lived three hundred and fifty years; and the whole time of his life having been nine hundred and fifty years, he died, A. M. 2006. According to common opinion, he divided the earth among his three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth. To Shem he gave Asia, to Ham Africa, and to Japheth Europe. Some will have it, that beside these three sons he had several others. St. Peter calls Noah a preacher of righteousness, because before the deluge he was incessantly preaching and declaring to men, not only by his discourses, but by the building of the ark, in which he was employed a hundred and twenty years, that the cloud of divine vengeance was about to burst upon them. But his faithful ministry produced no effect, since, when the deluge came, it found mankind practising their usual enormities, Matt. xxiv, 37. Several learned men have observed that the Heathens confounded Saturn, Deucalion, Ogyges, the god Cœlus or Ouranus, Janus, Protheus, Prometheus, &c, with Noah. The fable of Deucalion and his wife Pyrrha is manifestly drawn from the history of Noah. The rabbins pretend that God gave Noah and his sons certain general precepts, which contain, according to them, the natural duties which are common to all men indifferently, and the observation of which alone will be sufficient to save them. After the law of Moses was given, the Hebrews would not suffer any stranger to dwell in their country, unless he would conform to the precepts of Noah. In war, they put to death without quarter all who were ignorant of them. These precepts are seven in number: the first was against the worship of idols; the second, against blasphemy, and required to bless the name of God; the third, against murder; the fourth, against incest and all uncleanness; the fifth, against theft and rapine; the sixth required the administration of justice; the seventh was against eating flesh with life. But the antiquity of these precepts is doubted, since no mention of them is made in the Scripture, or in the writings of Josephus, or in Philo; and none of the ancient fathers knew any thing of them.

NOD, Land of, the country to which Cain withdrew after the murder of Abel. As the precise situation of this country cannot possibly be known, so it has given rise to much ingenious speculation. All that we are told of it is, that it was on the east of Eden,” or, as it may be rendered, before Eden;” which very country of Eden is no sure guide for us, as the situation of that also is disputed. But, be it on the higher or lower Euphrates, (see Eden,) the land of Nod which stood before it with respect to the place where Moses wrote, may still preserve the curse of barrenness passed on it for Cain’s sake, namely, in the deserts of Syria or Arabia. The Chaldee interpreters render the word Nod, not as the proper name of a country, but as an appellative applied to Cain himself, signifying a vagabond or fugitive, and read, He dwelt a fugitive in the land.” But the Hebrew reads expressly, He dwelt in the land of Nod.”

NONCONFORMISTS, dissenters from the church of England; but the term applies more particularly to those ministers who were ejected from their livings by the Act of Uniformity in 1662; the number of whom, according to Dr. Calamy, was nearly two thousand; and to the laity who adhered to them. The celebrated Mr. Locke says, Bartholomew-day (the day fixed by the Act of Uniformity) was fatal to our church and religion, by throwing out a very great number of worthy, learned, pious, and orthodox divines, who could not come up to this and other things in that act. And it is worth your knowledge, that so great was the zeal in carrying on this church affair, and so blind was the obedience required, that if you compare the time of passing the act with the time allowed for the clergy to subscribe the book of Common Prayer thereby established, you shall plainly find, it could not be printed and distributed, so as one man in forty could have seen and read the book before they did so perfectly assent and consent thereto.”

By this act, the clergy were required to subscribe, ex animo, [sincerely,] their assent and consent to all and every thing contained in the book of Common Prayer,” which had never before been insisted on, so rigidly as to deprive them of their livings and livelihood. Several other acts were passed about this time, very oppressive both to the clergy and laity. In the preceding year 1661, the Corporation Act incapacitated all persons from offices of trust and honour in a corporation, who did not receive the sacrament in the established church. The Conventicle Act, in 1663 and 1670, forbade the attendance at conventicles; that is, at places of worship other than the establishment, where more than five adults were present beside the resident family; and that under penalties of fine and imprisonment by the sentence of magistrates without a jury. The Oxford Act of 1665 banished nonconforming ministers five miles from any corporate town sending members to parliament, and prohibited them from keeping or teaching schools. The Test Act of the same year required all persons, accepting any office under government, to receive the sacrament in the established church.

Such were the dreadful consequences of this intolerant spirit, that it is supposed that near eight thousand died in prison in the reign of Charles II. It is said that Mr. Jeremiah White had carefully collected a list of those who had suffered between Charles II. and the revolution, which amounted to sixty thousand. The same persecutions were carried on in Scotland; and there, as well as in England, numbers, to avoid the persecution, left their 708country. But, notwithstanding all these dreadful and furious attacks upon the dissenters, they were not extirpated. Their very persecution was in their favour. The infamous character of their informers and persecutors; their piety, zeal, and fortitude, no doubt, had influence on considerate minds; and, indeed, they had additions from the established church, which several clergymen in this reign deserted as a persecuting church, and took their lot among them. King William coming to the throne, the famous Toleration Act passed, by which they were exempted from suffering the penalties above mentioned, and permission was given them to worship God according to the dictates of their own consciences. In the reign of George III., the Act for the Protection of Religious Worship superseded the Act of Toleration, by still more liberal provisions in favour of religious liberty; and in the last reign the Test and Corporation Acts were repealed.

NOPH, Memphis, a celebrated city of Egypt, and, till the time of the Ptolemies, who removed to Alexandria, the residence of the ancient kings of Egypt. It stood above the dividing of the river Nile, where the Delta begins. Toward the south of this city stood the famous pyramids, two of which were esteemed the wonders of the world; and in this city was fed the ox Apis, which Cambyses slew, in contempt of the Egyptians who worshipped it as a deity. The kings of Egypt took much pleasure in adorning this city; and it continued in all its beauty till the Arabians made a conquest of Egypt under the Caliph Omar. The general who took it built another city near it, named Fustal, merely because his tent had been a long time set up in that place; and the Fatimite caliphs, when they became masters of Egypt, added another to it, which is known to us at this day by the name of Grand Cairo. This occasioned the utter decay of Memphis, and led to the fulfilment of the prophecy, that it should be waste and without inhabitant.” The prophets often speak of this city, and foretel the miseries it was to suffer from the kings of Chaldea and Persia, Isaiah xix, 13; Jer. xliv, 1; xlvi, 14, 19; Hosea ix, 6; Ezek. xxx, 13, 16.

NOVATIANS, the followers of Novatian, a priest of Rome, and of Novatus, a priest of Carthage, in the third century. They were distinguished merely by their discipline; for their religious and doctrinal tenets do not appear to be at all different from those of the church. They condemned second marriages, and for ever excluded from their communion all those who after baptism had fallen into sin. They affected very superior purity; and, though they conceived that the worst might possibly hope for eternal life, they absolutely refused to reädmit into their communion any who had lapsed into sin. They separated from the church of Rome, because the members of it admitted into their communion many who had, during a season of persecution, rejected the Christian faith.

NUMBERS, a canonical book of the Old Testament, being the fourth of the Pentateuch, or five books of Moses; and receives its denomination from the numbering of the families of Israel by Moses and Aaron, who mustered the tribes, and marshalled the army, of the Hebrews in their passage through the wilderness. A great part of this book is historical, relating several remarkable events which happened in that journey, and also mentioning various of their journeyings in the wilderness. This book comprehends the history of about thirty-eight years, though the greater part of the things recorded fell out in the first and last of those years; and it does not appear when those things were done which are recorded in the middle of the book. See Pentateuch.

NURSE. The nurse in an eastern family is always an important personage. Modern travellers inform us, that in Syria she is considered as a sort of second parent, whether she has been foster-mother or otherwise. She always accompanies the bride to her husband’s house, and ever remains there an honoured character. Thus it was in ancient Greece. This will serve to explain Genesis xxiv, 59: And they sent away Rebekah their sister, and her nurse.” In Hindostan the nurse is not looked upon as a stranger, but becomes one of the family, and passes the remainder of her life in the midst of the children she has suckled, by whom she is honoured and cherished as a second mother. In many parts of Hindostan are mosques and mausoleums, built by the Mohammedan princes, near the sepulchres of their nurses. They are excited by a grateful affection to erect these structures in memory of those who with maternal anxiety watched over their helpless infancy: thus it has been from time immemorial.