« AnteriorContinuar »
ordinance of circumcision, with sufficient propriety be termed a Covenant ; but it is pertinent to observe that it is never so denominated in Scripture ; and that, when mention is made in the Epistles, of the two Covenants, the Old and the New, or the first and the second (for there are two so called by way of emni. nence), there appears no reference to any thing that related to Adam. In all such places, Moses and Jesus are contrasted, the Jewish economy and the Christian, Mount Sinai in Arabia, whence the law was promulged, and Mount Sion in Jerusalem, where the Gospel was first published.
$ 3. It is proper to observe further that, from signifying the two religious dispensations, they came soon to denote the books, wherein what related to these dispensations was contained; the sacred writings of the Jews being called η παλαια διαθηκη, and the writings superadded by the Apostles and Evangelists, 'n xaivn dadnxn. We have one example in Scripture, of this use of the former appellation. The Apostle says 35, speaking of his countrymen, Until this day remaineth the veil untaken away in the reading of the Old Testament, επι τη αναγνώσει της παλαιας διαθηκης. The word in this application is always rendered in our language Testament. We have in this followed the Vulgate, as most modern translators also have done. In the Geneva French, the word is rendered both ways in the title, that the
38 2 Cor. iii, 14.
one may serve for explaining the other, Le nouveau Testament, c'est a dire La nouvelle alliance, &c. in which they copied Beza, who says, Testamentum novum, sive Fædus novum. That the second rendering of the word is the better version, is unquestionable; but the title appropriated by custom to a particular book, is on the same footing with a proper name, which is hardly considered as a subject for criticism. Thus we call Cæsar's Diary, Cæsar's Commentaries, from their Latin name, though very different in meaning from the English word.
OF THE NAME Ó Xpisos. The only other term necessary to be examined here, is é Xpisos, the Messiah, or the Christ ; in English rendered, according to the etymology of the word, the anointed; for so both the Hebrew /', Meshiach, and the Greek Xpisos signify; and from the sound of these are formed our names Messiah and Christ. What first gave rise to the term, was the ceremony of anointing, by which the kings and the high-priests of God's people, and sometimes the Prophets 39, were consecrated and admit
39 1 Kings, six, 16.
ted to the exercise of their holy functions; for all these functions were accounted holy among the Israelites. As this consecration was considered as adding a sacredness to their persons, it served as a guard against violence from the respect had to religion. Its efficacy this way was remarkably exemplified in David, who acknowledges that, when he had it in his power to avenge himself of Saul his enemy who sought his life, he was, principally by this consideration, restrained from killing him. The Lord forbid“, said he, that I should do this thing unto my master, the Lord's anointed, to stretch forth mine hand against him, seeing he is the anointed of the Lord. The word here translated anointed is, as in other places, in Hebrew Messiah, and in the Greek of the Seventy, Christ. It was a term, therefore, in its original use, applicable to all the succession of kings and high-priests, good and bad, of the people of Israel.
ģ 2. But, as the king and the high-priest were the heads of the whole nation, the one in civil, the other in religious matters, the term anointed, that is Messiah or Christ, might, not improbably, serve, by a figure, to denote the head, chief, or principal of any class or people. So thinks the learned Grotius. Thus the high-priest is sometimes distinguished from ordinary priests by the title the anointed priest; in the Septuagint o ispevs ó xpisos; though
40 1 Sam. xxiv, 6.
this, I own, is not a proof of the point, since he was literally so distinguished from the rest“, But that the word is sometimes applied, when, in the literal sense, no anointing had been used, cannot be questioned. In this way it is applied to Cyrus the Persian monarch by the Prophet Isaiah “, Thus saith the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus ; yet Houbi. gant, differing from his usual manner, renders the words, de uncto suo Cyro. But whether the import of this expression be, that Cyrus was a chief among kings, a most eminent sovereign, as Grotius seems to imagine, or that he was selected of God for the restoration of Judah, and the rebuilding of the temple of Jerusalem, the only temple dedicated to the true God, may be made a question. For my part, I am inclinable to think that it is rather this latter interpretation which conveys the Prophet's idea, and the meaning intended by the Spirit of God. And to this interpretation the context entirely agrees. The word was also employed to denote those specially favoured of God, as were the Patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; concerning whom he is represented by the Psalmist“, as having said, Touch not mine anointed. The word is in the plural number, TWV Xpısww us, in the Vulgate Christos meos,
• The sons of Aaron were indeed all anointed, in their father's lifetime, by the express command of God; but it does not appear, that this practice descended to other ordinary priests. 42 Is. xlv. 1.
43 Psal. cv. 15. i Chr. xvi. 22,
which, in our idiom, is not distiguished from the singular. Now there is no ground from Scripture to believe that any of them was in the literal sense anointed.
s 3. But the most eminent use and application of the word is when it is employed as the title of that sublime Personage typified and predicted from the beginning, who was to prove, in the most exalted sense, the Redeemer and Lord of God's people. He is spoken of by the Prophets, under several characters, and, amongst others, under this of God's anointed, the Messiah, or the Christ. Those of the Prophets, who seem more especially to have appropriated this title, formerly more common, to the Mediator of the New Covenant, were the royal Prophet David , Isaiah “, and Daniel . The first represents him as anointed of God King of God's heritage, the second as set apart and consecrated to be the Messenger of good tidings to the inhabitants of the earth, the third as appointed to make expiation for the sins of the people.
$ 4. It deserves to be remarked that, in the English translation of the Old Testament, the word is always rendered anointed, to whomsoever applied, except in the two verses of Daniel quoted in the margin, where it is translated Messiah. In the New
44 Psal. ii. 2.
45 Isaiah lxi. 1, &c.
46 Dan, ix. 25, 26.