Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

25

terpretation, I do not recollect that this vice of cruelty, as a national vice, was ever imputed to them by Moses ; though he often charges them with incredulity, obstinacy, and rebellion. As there is nothing, however, in the context, that can be called decisive, I recur to the other passages in the New Testament wherein the word is found. These are but two, and both of them in Mark's Gospel. One of them is, 24 where the same occurrence is recorded as in the passage of Matthew above referred to.

In these two parallel places there is so little variation in the words, that the doubt as to the meaning of this term must equally affect them both.

The other passage is as in the account given of our Lord's appearance to his disciples after his resurrection. 66 Afterwards he “ appeared unto the eleven, as they sat at meat, and “ upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of « heart, την απιςιαν αυτων και σκληροκαρδιαν, be“ cause they believed not them which had seen him “after he was risen.” Nothing can be clearer than that the word here has no relation to inhumanity; as this great event gave no handle for displaying either this vice or the contrary virtue. Some commentators, after Grotius, render it here incredulity, making our Saviour express the same fault by both words

' ασιςια and oκληροκαρδια. I do not say that the use of such synonymas is without example in Scripture ; though I would not recur to them where another interpretation were equally natural, and even more

24 Mark x. 5.

25 xvi. 14.

a

[ocr errors]

probable. I think therefore, that by the first of these terms the effect is meant, and by the second the cause ; that is, their stiff and untractable temper, their indocility or perverseness. Now this is a fault with which the Jews are frequently upbraided by Moses. Besides, this interpretation perfectly suits the sense of both passages. In that first quoted, as well as in this, the connection is evident. “ Moses, “ because of your untractable disposition, permitted

you to divorce your wives ;" lest, by making the marriage tie indissoluble, ye had perversely renounced marriage altogether, saying, as some of the disciples did, “ If the case of the man be so with his

“ “wife, it is not good to marry.” The sense unbelief, which Grotius puts upon it, is rather more forced in that passage than the common acceptation. Castalio renders it very properly pervicacia. If, for further satisfaction, I recur to the Septua

, gint, I find invariably a connection with perverseness, never with inhumanity. Where we read in English”, “ Circumcise the foreskin of your heart, and be no

more stiff-necked,” the Seventy have it, Iepiteμεισθε την σκληροκαρδιας υμων, και τον τραχηλον υμων 8 σκληρυνειτε ετι. Here the opposition of the members in the sentence, which, in the Oriental taste, gives the same command, first in the positive form, and then in the negative, renders the meaning indubitable. The adjective oxanpoxapdios is used in the Book of Proverbs 27 for perverse or untractable. Doxanpo

26

26 Deut. x. 16.

27 xvii. 20.

xapdos, in Hebrew, 25 apy ghakesh leb, 8 ovvavta ayados; rendered justly in the Vulgate, Qui per. versi cordis est, non inveniet bonum ; in English, “ He that hath a froward heart, findeth no good.” There is another example of this adjective in Ezekiela, which appears to me decisive.

The verse runs thus in our version: “ The house of Israel “ will not hearken unto thee; for they will not “ hearken unto me, for all the house of Israel are “ impudent and hard-hearted;pihoveLxOL ELỢC Xau oxanpoxapdio. It is plain, from the context, that nothing is advanced which can fix on them the charge of inhumanity ; but every thing points to their indocile and untractable temper. In like manner, when the verb σκληρυνω is followed by την καρδιαν, the meaning is invariably either to become, or to render, refractory, rebellious, not cruel or inhumane. This is evidently the sense of it as applied to Pharaoh, whose obstinacy the severest judgments hardly could surmount. And can any person doubt that the meaning of the Psalmist, when he says ?, To day if ye

shall hear his voice, μη σκληρυνητε τας καρδιας vuov, is, be not contumacious or stiff-necked, as in the provocation? It is impossible either to recur to the history referred to 30, or to the comment on the passage in the Epistle to the Hebrews 31, and not perceive this to be a full expression of the sense. Hard-hearted, therefore, in our language, which

29

>

[ocr errors]

28 jii. 7.
30 Numb. xiv.

23 Psal. xcv. 7, 8.
31 Heb. iii. & iv.

stands always in opposition to tender-hearted or compassionate, is not a just translation, though in some

may be called a literal translation, of oxan ροκαρδιος.

sense, it

$ 23. If we inquire a little into the figurative sig. nifications given to the simple worů xapdia by the sacred penmen, we shall find their application of the compound to contumacy or indocility, as natural as ours is to cruelty and unfeelingness. Let it be observed then that, though the Greek word καρδια, when used in the proper sense for the part of

, the body so denominated, is equivalent to the English word heart ; it is not always so, when used metaphorically. With us it is made, by figure, to stand, sometimes for courage, sometimes for affection, of which it is considered as the seat; but hardly ever, that I remember, for understanding. To denote this faculty, we sometimes speak of a good or a bad head; we also use the term brain. This, and not the heart, we regard as the seat of intelligence and discernment. Yet this was a frequent use of the term heart among the ancients, not the Hebrews only, but even the Greeks and the Romans. Kapdia in Greek, even in the best use, as well as cor in Latin, are employed to denote discernment and understanding. Hence, the word cordatus in Latin, for wise, judicious, prudent.

For the present purpose it suffices to produce a few instances from Scripture, which will put the matter beyond a doubt. For the sake of brevity, I .

.

32

33

34

>

37

38

[ocr errors]

shall but just name the things attributed to the heart, referring to the passages in the margin ; that from them every person may judge of the figurative application. First then, intelligence is ascribed to it 33, also reasoning », likewise blindness », doubts 35, faith 36, thought ?", comparison 3$, reflection 38 ; in short, all that we commonly consider as belonging to the intellectual faculty, are applied, in Scripture, to the heart, a term which, in figurative style, is used with very great latitude. In this view of the metonomy, oxanpoxapdios comes naturally to signify indocile, untractable, of an understanding so hard, that instruction cannot penetrate it. Of simi- . lar formation is the term thick-skulled with us. But the sense is not entirely the same.

This implies mere incapacity, that an untoward disposition.

$ 24. Here it may not be improper to suggest a caution, for preventing mistakes, not only in the interpretation of Scripture, but in that of all ancient writers. Though a particular word, in a modern language, may exactly correspond with a certain word, in a foreign or a dead language, when both are used literally and properly; these words may

32 Matth. xiii. 15.

33 Mark, ii. 6. 34 iii. 5, &c. The term is twparis callousness, rendered hardness in the common translation, but which as often means blindness, and is so rendered Rom. xi. 25. Eph. iv. 18. A sense here more suitable to the context. 35 Mark, xi. 23.

36 Rom. x. 10. 37 Acts, viii. 22.

38 Luke, ii. 19.

« AnteriorContinuar »