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The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary


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I think it not a little important, for every serious reader of the Bible, to have proper ideas of the Scripture meaning of dancing, and therefore it would have been wrong, in a work of this kind, to have passed it by. It is very evident, that dancing formed, sometimes, a part in the religious duties of the Hebrews. Hence we read, (Psalms 149:3) "Let them praise his name in the dance." And David is said, (2 Samuel 6:14) to have danced before the Lord. Yea, the Lord himself is represented, (Jeremiah 31:4) as comforting his people with this assurance, "that they should again go forth in the dances of them that make merry." All which very evidently proves, that the dancing spoken of in Scripture totally differed from that vain, frivolous, and idle, not to say sinful, custom of dancing practised in modern times. It should seem to have been used among the people of God in a solemn manner, though, no doubt, accompanied with bursts of holy joy and praise. Hence, when "Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand, and all the women went after her with timbrels and with dances," at the triumph over the enemies of God and the church at the Red sea, we are told, that she answered them in holy song—"Sing ye to the Lord, for he hath triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea." (Exodus 15:20-21) Some have thought, that the holy dances of the Scripture were by way of resembling the motions of the heavenly bodies, as if in the joy of the heart, in any renewed instances of God's grace and mercy manifested to the people, they looked up to heaven, and endeavoured by action of the body, as well as the going forth of the soul in praise, to testify their sense of the divine goodness. And certain it is, that when the heart is under very strong impressions of the Lord's special favour, there will be an involuntary motion of the whole frame. Even in modern times we have heard of whole congregations, such as the Jumpers in Wales, and the Shakers (so called) in America, whose devotions have been marked with action as well as voice. Yea, the Holy Ghost hath testified of certain instances where "smiting the thigh, and stamping the foot," have been observed as solemn tokens towards the Lord. (See Jeremiah 31:19; Ezekiel 6:11) But all these are so foreign to what is now known by the term dancing, that they differ in every point but the name. I cannot dismiss this article without adding, that it were devoutly to be wished every parent of the rising generation would seriously consider to what danger of seduction they are preparing their little ones, when sending them forth to the dance. Who shall calculate the numberless instances of the kind, which dancing, by inflaming the passions, hath given birth to in modern life! (See a solemn account of such parents, and such children, with the issue of both,) Job 21:11-13

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Bibliography Information
Hawker, Robert D.D. Entry for 'Dancing'. Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance and Dictionary. London. 1828.

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