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THE CHRISTIAN'S BREASTPLATE.
When Aaron in the holiest place,
Twelve letter'd stones with sculpture bold,
Historical Notice. The BREASTPLATE was a part of the high-priest's fine apparel. It was a piece of embroidery of about ten inches square, of very rich work, which the high-priest of the Jews wore upon his breast, and which was set with four rows of precious stones, upon every one of which was engraven the name of one of the tribes of Israel. It was double, or made of two pieces folded one upon the other, like a kind of purse, or bag, that it might the better support the precious stones, and that it might receive the Urim and Thummin.--CRUDEN.
This ornament was never to be severed from the priestly garments; and it was called, “the memorial," being designed to remind the priest how dear those tribes should be to him, whose names he bore upon
his heart. It was also named, “the Breastplate of judgment;" probably, because by it were discovered the judgment and the will of God ;—or, because the highpriest who wore it was the fountain of justice, and put on this ornament when he exercised his judicial capacity in matters of great consequence, which concerned the whole nation.—CALMET.
The Breastplate is likewise a piece of defensive armour, to protect the heart. There is no question that this was the most ancient piece of armour for the protection of the upper portion of the body. When men began to extend to that the protection which the helmet had given to the head, a defence for the breast was naturally the first desired and attempted. This was the principal use of the thorax, which for a long time continued to be, under various modifications of form, the sole body-armour of ancient nations ; and which, under further modifications, was used, in addition to other pieces of armour, subsequently introduced. It probably originated with the Egyptians, among whom, according to Meyrick, it was the only body-armour,a position to which we apprehend that some exceptions must be allowed. It hung over the breast and shoulders in the manner of a tippet, and was made of linen, several times folded, and quilted in such a manner as to resist the point of a weapon. These linen pectorals came into extensive use among the neighbouring nations; and those of Egyptian manufacture were particularly valued. A linen thorax of this kind seems to have been worn, in the Trojan war, by the lesser Ajax, who
“With a guard Of linen texture light, his breast secured.”
Sir Samuel Meyrick thinks that the Persians were the first who gave a metallic character to the thorax; and it is also his opinion that it was the principal piece of body-armour among the Hebrews.-Kitto.
The Breastplate of God is Righteousness, which renders his whole conduct unassailable to any accusation. Christians are exhorted to take to themselves“ the Breastplate of Righteousness,"s and “the Breastplate of faith and love.' Being clothed with these graces, they will be enabled to resist their enemies, and quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.-CALMET.
Faith and love are called Breastplates. Faith is a defensive grace, not only as it assents to the doctrine of the gospel as true, but also as it doth depend upon God's faithfulness and all-sufficiency to perform his promises, and apply them to our souls for our support and comfort. Love, when it worketh, will defend against the persecutions, afflictions, and temptations of the world. Slavish fear will overcome us, if we want love to defend against it, when true religion is under disgrace, and persecuted in the world. Love will de