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by Dr. John Thomas
According to the sanctity of each object, the precious metals were distributed in thin leaves, or in solid masses.
The spectator was dazzled by the glittering aspect of the cupola; the sanctuary contained forty thousand pounds weight of silver; and the holy vases and vestments of the altar were of the purest gold, enriched with inestimable gems".
Such are the words of Gibbon; and no description of things could more palpably demonstrate the applicability of the text to any other person, than this does to Justinian as the individual emperor of the little Greek Horn, who "in his kingdom honoured an accursed god of guardian saints in their bazaars with gold, with silver, and with precious stones, and with things desired".
"Thus shall he do," saith the scripture, "in the most strong holds with a strange god," or accursed dissembler.
In the margin of the passage instead of "in the most strong holds;" it reads, "in fortresses of munitions," which does not help the matter at all.
The Hebrew words are le-mivtzahrai mahuzzim.
The root of mivtzahrai is bahtzar, and signifies "to enclose with a wall, or the like, for safety.
As a noun, it signifies store, or treasure so secured.
Derivative -- a bazaar, a kind of covered market-place among the eastern nations, somewhat like our Exeter 'Change, but frequently much more extensive" (Parkhurst's Lexicon).
"In the strongholds of Mahuzzim," or "in Mahuzzim-Bazaars," comes nearer to the original.
Understanding that Mahuzzim are deified ghosts, worshipped as patrons and protectors, the question need only be asked, what are their strong holds, or bazaars?
and every reflecting mind will answer immediately -- "Why, the churches to be sure!
" This is the truth.
The churches, chapels, and cathedrals are the strong holds, and houses of merchandise, dedicated by the prospering craft to guardian-saints and angels.
There are the images and pictures of the saints.
They are saints' houses in which are deposited their shrines; silver, gold, and ivory crucifixes; old bones, and various kinds of trumpery.
They are literally "dens of thieves," without ever having been the houses of the Father, where people are robbed of their money under divers false pretences.
They are places where pews are sold by auction; where fairs are held for "pious objects"; and where spiritual quacks pretend to cure souls in exchange for so much per annum.
In view of these facts, the scriptural epithet bestowed upon the church-houses of the apostasy is most appropriate.
They are truly Bazaars of spiritual merchandise; and the prospering craft, "the great men of the earth," made rich by trading in their wares, are the bazaar-men, who extort all kinds of goods from their customers by putting them in fear, and comforting them with heavenly pay.
They buy and sell under license from the State, having received the mark on their foreheads, and in their hands.
The reader may find the catalogue of sale in the eighteenth of Revelation.
Among the articles of merchandise are (swmavtwn, cai; fuca;" ajnqrwvpwn) bodies, and souls of men.