Imágenes de páginas

fix those fdeas. Ideas thus formed and fixed' are often indelible, and they often so predominate as to shew themselves prominent on all suitable occasions. Consistency of sentiment produces consis. tency of language: the words perhaps may vary, but the general meaning of the expression will in effect be the same, when we de, liver our thoughts on the same subject. The “xaroxécrable" of Socrates continually recurred to the good Xenophon. The sons of our Lord was ever present to the mind of the sublime St. Paul, and impressed it so forcibly, that he labours for words sufficiently strong to convey adequately the conceptions he had formed. Hence these passages ; " Who is over all, God blessed forever.” (Rom. ix. 5.) “ The Lord of Glory.” (1 Cor. ii. 8.) “Who being in the form of God.” (Phil. ii. 6.) “ In him dwelleth all the fulness of the God. head bodily.” (Col. ii. 9.) “ God was manifest in the flesh.” (1 Tim, jii. 16.) The brightness of his (God's) glory, and express image of his person.” (Heb. i. 3.) All which passages are by the Apostle used in reference to our Lord.

LIII. Our common Version of the New Testament ren. ders the words of Rom. ix, 5, in terms corresponding with the Original, as they were read in Manuscripts received by the interpreters, and since defended by Mill. In this, as on many other occasions, our Translators gave proof of their fidelity, and shewed they had a right sense of the manner in which they were to give an interpretation of Scripture for Public Use, They were bound to give a Literal Translation. “Literal Translations (says Michaelis) are those, in which it it proposed to express the original text verbatim, notwithstanding the obscurity of many Phrases, and the inelegance of many Constructions, in the language into which the book is translated, It is expedient that the Translations, which are intended for the public use of the whole Church, should be of this kind. For in these the Translator should presume as little as possible to obtrude his Interpretation, if it be in the least exceptionable, upon a whole Church ; for he is a man, and subject to error. If he doth not render verbatim certain Phrases, which admit of more than one Sense, he delivers, instead of the word of God, an arbitrary Interpretation of his own, which may chance to be false. The samo consideration obliges the Translator to render all Ambiguities in the Original Text, if possible, by words equally ambiguous, in order to leave to his reader the Choice of that Sense which appears to him most probable. It is folly in Translations of this kind to study ele: gance of style, and so incur the hazard of laying before the Church a doubtful exposition instead of the pure word of God. For as public Translations of this kind must be kept in use for some centuries, without an alteration, and as the taste of a language varies with almost every generation of men, those beauties of style are soon decay: ed.” Michaelis's Introduct. Lectures to H. Script. sect. 73, Translated by Butler in 1761.

These remarks are just, and should be observed by those, who at any time hereafter may be employed to revise our Translation of the Scripture. With all dcference, let another hint be suggested. Suchy persons would do well to take our Common Translation as their standard, and make very little farther alteration, than merely substituting words more modern, for some that in the course of Centuries have changed their meaning.

LIV. The commonly received reading of Rom. ix. 5, is this ξ ών ο Χριστος το καλα σαρκα, και αν επι πανίων Θιος ευλογήθος εις τας αιωνας. Not to know the efforts which have been made, sometimes to transpose, sometimes to new punctuate, and sometimes to alter, the words in this passage, would betray great ignorance. Not to acknowledge the fact would be a degree of dissimulation. But to change the reading on the ground of any one argument hitherto adduced from the days of Erasmus, or Crellius, down to the present moment, would be an act of weak concession. The passage in question corresponds with St. Paul's ideas expressed in his Epistles to the Colossians, to Timothy, to the Hebrews; to the Philippians ii. 9, to the Corinthians, 1 Cor. xv. 27. And it is difficult to conceive what point would be gained with respect to Doctrine and St. Paul's ideas of Christ's divinity, even if this passage were totally expunged, when there are so many other explicit declarations of the Apostle's sentiments on that important subject.

LV. When he applied to our Lord the appellation Osos, St. Paul in that term undoubtedly comprised the several attributes which Osos usually imports. Of course he ascribed to our Lord Divine Wisdom. How then is it, that, when speaking of the “ Everlasting God,” in Rom. xvi. 27, 28, where he confessedly means “the Father," he should say, “ To God only wise ?” and in his Epistle to Timothy, “ the only wise God ?” (i Timn. i. 17.)

Two explanations may be given of this. From the context of the passages just cited, St. Paul seems to have had in view a particular instance of divine wisdom : and that was, “ the salvation of mankind by Christ crucified;" a doctrine, offensive indeed to the Jews, and ridiculed by the Greeks, but to all Christians, “ the power of God and the wisdom of God.” (1 Cor. i. 24.) The Apostle's mind was ever full of astonishment and of gratitude, at the mercy thus vouchsafed to all Mankind, and to himself more especially. On various occasions he speaks of it as a stupendous demonstration of such Wisdom, as neither Jews nor Greeks, with all their pretensions, in the smallest degree or at the greatest possible distance were enabled to parallel. They must stand confounded, and acknowledge that all their learning and all their philosophy were but mere folly, when compared with this dispensation ; a dispensation which shewed that not Man, but God only was its author. So that St. Paul in these places appears to have called “God only Wise,” in opposition to ignorant and inefficient Man.

But farther; neither “ povos," nor “ solus," nor only,” is always taken in a sense so absolute and limited, as to admit not, under modification, any other than the single object to which it is applied. We say“ God only is to be feared ; God only to be praised ; God only to be honoured ;" yet we dread Men with fear ; we commend Men with praise ; we respect Men with honour.

On these and similar occasions, “Only" means" Primarily." So in the passage Morpo come Osm, the Apostle is speaking in strictness of speech, and with a view to primary and abstract meaning. The Annotators in Poole give this explanation : "He is said to be the Only Wise, because He is Originally Wise ; his Wisdom is of Himself.” But it does not thence follow that Divine Wisdom may not also be an attribute of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, communicated by Him who is “ Originally Wise." Accordingly St. Paul, when he would shew the high superiority of Christ to Angels, and point out Godhead to be tire attribute of Christ, but not of Angels, says to the Colossians, " In whom (q. d. and not in Angels) are hid all the treasures of Wisdom and Knowledge.” (Col. ii. 3.)

The acceptation in which we are to take poros, as used by St. Paul, will explain the words of our Lord himself in his solemn prayer; “ This is life eternal, that they may know Thee the only true God.” (St. John xvii. 3.) It is always to be recollected, that neither by himself, nor by the Evangelists, nor by the Apostles, is our Lord styled, “ The Father;" but “ The Son." The appellation “ Father" is applied to Him who (in the words of the Annotators in Poole, 1 Cor. viii. 6.) “ is the foundation of the Deity, communicating his divine nature to the other two persons, and of whom are all things ;" and who therefore is emphatically called the “ Father," that being "a term which signifies the primary cause and author of all things.” With Him and from Him the author of all things, “God the Father,” existed from eternity “God the Son." The correlative terms “ Father” and “ Son” convey an idea of Pa. ternity and Filiation. Paternity and Filiation imply identity of nature, but distinction in origin. To this distinction does our Lord refer, when he calls the Father “ The only true God." The Fa. ther is “ The only God,” in strictness of speech, because he is the author of Godhead, by whom, says Pearson, p. 323, ed. 1704, “ Godhead was communicated to the Son." And he is “ The True God," either abstractedly in the same point of view, or relatively in opposition to heathen idolatrous gods.

The explanation of one passage leads to the exposition of another. St. Luke calls Barnabas “a good man.” (Acts xi. 24.) And noth. ing is more common than to say of a person " he is a good man;" if we mean to commend his excellent virtues. Yet, when the Ruler applied that appeilation to our Lord, he received this answer ; "Why callest thou me Good ?” There is none Good but one, that is God.” (St. Matt. xix. 17.) The words of our Lord imply either of these meanings : “ All Goodness proceeds originally from God the Father, and therefore in strictness of speech He only is absolutely Good.” Or, “ Perfect Goodness is the attribute of a Divine Being, and as such you do not acknowledge me."

LVI. The Scriptures tell us David was a keeper of Rocks : shall we therefore deny he was a king? They tell us he was a king : shali therefore deny he was a eeper of flocks? In either case we should decide partially, because we considered not both state. ments together. Let us apply this illustration. St. Paul, to convince the Athenians a resurrection was possible, assures them a Man had actually risen from the dead; and he asserts this fact to be a ground of confident expectation, that the World would judged “ by that Man whom God hath ordained,” the very Man who had risen. (Acts xvii. 31.) He intimates to Timothy, and through him to the Ephesians, that salvation is intended for Gentiles, equally as for Jews. To confirm them in this persuasion, he points out the relation in which all Men indiscriminately stand to the One Mediator, from the circumstance of his having assumed the nature common to all Men. Therefore the Apostle not only insists on there being but One Mediator for all the race of Mankind, but specifies also the human character of that Mediator, calling him “ the Man Christ Jesus,” (1 Tim. ii. 5.) to shew the intimate connexion between the Mediator and the whole race of Mankind. On the Philippians he inculcates humility, by proposing for their imitation the example of Christ, when he “ took upon him the form of a servant, was made in the likeness of men ; was found in fashion as a man." (Phil. ii. 7, 8.) If we consider this and the two passages above quote ed, we shall find: they were used on particular occasions, which made the mention of Christ's human nature particularly apposite. But shall we hence conclude, our Lord's nature was therefore merely human? This would be either to forget, or to neglect, the several expressions, in which the same Apostle asserts our Lord's divinity : it would consequently be to conclude on a partial and limited view of the subject. Let us look again at Phil. ii. 7,8. The very place which speaks of Christ's human character, speaks also of his divine glory antecedent to his human character, and of his divine nature during the assumption of the human character. The closest reasoner among English Writers has proved this point. “ The person here spoken of, (says Sherlock) Jesus Christ, was in the form of God.-Being in the form of God, he laid aside the glories proper to the form of God, and took upon him the form of a servant, in the likeness of man. Whatever he was as to Nature and Essence, when he was in the form of God, that he continued to be still, when he became Man : but the oyna Osy, the glories of the form of God, he laid down : and although he continued to be the same, yet, as to the campuce, as to outward dignity and appearance, he was mere man, being found, as the Apostle says, “in fashion” as a man. Had the Apostle conceived him, whilst here on earth, to have been mere Man only, in what tolerable sense could he say of him, “ being found in fashion as a man?" for, in what fashion should a man be found but in the fashion of a man? What need was there of this limitation, that he was found a Man as to his fashion, if in reality he was not something more than a Man? But if you consider the man Jesus Christ to be the same person who was in the form of God, and who, according to that dignity of nature, had a right to appear in the majesty and glory of God, it is proper to ask, How did he appear on earth? And the Apostle's words are a proper answer to the question, “ He was found in fashion as a man.” APPEX.


There is yet another passage in which St. Paul by his subject is led to point out that Christ was man. He is drawing a contrast between Adain the natural Man, and Christ the Spiritual Man : between Adam the federal representative of mankind as subject to death, and Christ the federal representative of mankind as redeemed unto life. " The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is,” what? a mere human being ? infinitely above every thing human, or angelic ; " The Lord from heaven.” (1 Cor. xv. 47.) No words can more expressly shew that union of divine with human nature in our Lord, which the Scriptures uniformly assert.

St. Peter speaks of Christ as a man. (Acts ii. 22.) But does he ascribe to our Lord no other properties than those which had belonged either to men in general, or even to signal prophets, who had lived and died Lefore him! The sequel will shew. “ This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we are all witnesses. Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which you now see and hear”-i.e. the power of speaking in divers languages. (Acts ii. 32, 33.) " Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, Loth Lord and Christ." (36.) Could St. Peter mean to say that a mere man was thus incorruptible, thus exalted, thus denominated with divine appellation ? Impossible, because irreconcilable with the confessions he had made of our Lord's being “the Son of the living God, and having the words of Eternal Life," (St. John vi. 68, 69.) and with his declarations in i Ep. i. 19, 20. iii. 22. However then this Apostle may be understood as asserting the human nature of Christ, he must in this passage be understood us equally asserting the divine nature of our Lord.

LVII. Connect these circumstances ; namely, The Rabbinical manner of briefly alluding to passages in the Old Testament, and slightly quoting them ; the mystical interpretations of figurative types by real compictions; the method of softening down reproof before given ; the very striking instances of ihe curcegovopeos in that animated and finely written eleventh chapter ; all which peculiarities occur in the Epistle to the Hebrews, and all which are characteristics of St. Paul's writings ; consider the similarity of doctrines maintained, and duties inculcated in this Epistle, with doctrines and duties elsewhere delivered by St. Paul : recollect also, the certainty of its being composed while Jerusalem was standing; the coincidence of allusions in ch. x. 34, and ch. xiii. 23, with events recorded in the history of St. Paul's life ; and the general opinion of the Greek Fathers in its favour : put together all this, and you will have the strongest ground of internal evidence, and very powerful support of external testimony, on which to rest your persuasion, that the deep, interesting, and very valuable Epistle to the Hebrews was written by St. Paul. Witsius and Wolfius, Owen and Pierce, well considered the question. They decided in the affirmative. More than that. The Church admitted it into the Canon of Scripturc. But Epistles were not adınitted into the Canon till their gelie uineness had been proved.

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