« AnteriorContinuar »
word hagios was become more familiar ; though the other meanings were not obsolete, as they are almost all at present.
Herod is said to have known that John the Baptist was a just man and a holy 179. There is nothing like this in all the Old Testament, When David pleads that he is holy 189, it is not the word kadosh that he uses. The many injunctions to holiness given in the law, as has been already hinted, have at least a much greater reference to ceremonial purity, than to moral. The only immorality, against which they sometimes seem immediately pointed, is idolatry, it being always considered, in the law, as the greatest degree of defilement in both senses, ceremonial and moral.
But, as every vicious action is a transgression of the law, holiness came gradually to be opposed to vice of every kind. The consideration of this, as a stain on the character, as what sullies the mind, and renders it similarly disagreeable to a virtuous man, as dirt renders the body to a cleanly man, has been common in most nations. Metaphors, drawn hence, are to be found, perhaps, in every language. As the ideas of a people become more spiritual and refined, and, which is a natural consequence, as ceremonies sink in their estimation, and virtue rises, the secondary and metaphorical use of such terms grows more habitual, and often, in the end, supplants the primitive and proper. This has happened to the term holiness, as now commonly understood
by Christians, or rather to the original terms so rendered. It had, in a good measure, happened, but not entirely, in the language of the Jews, in the days of our Lord and his Apostles. The exhortations to holiness, in the New Testament, are evidently to be understood of moral purity, and of that only.
On other occasions, the words holy, and saints, ayiol, even in the New Testament, ought to be explained in conformity to the fourth meaning above assigned, devoted or consecrated to the service of God.
8 16. Having illustrated these different senses, I shall consider an objection that may be offered against the interpretation here given of the word holy, when applied to God, as denoting awful, ve. nerable. Is not, it may be said, the imitation of God, in holiness, enjoined as a duty ? And does not this imply, that the thing itself must be the same in nature, how different soever in degree, when ascribed to God, and when enjoined on us? As I did not entirely exclude this sense, to wit, moral purity, from the term, when applied to the Deity, I readily admit that, in this injunction in the New Testament, there may be a particular reference to it. But it is not necessary, that, in such sentences, there be so perfect a coincidence of signification, as seems, in the objection, to be contended for. The words are, Be ye holy, for (not as) I am hoty. In the passage where this precept first occurs,
it is manifest, from the context, that the scope of the
charge given to the people, is to avoid ceremonial impurities; those particularly that may be contracted by eating unclean meats, and above all, by eating insects and reptiles, which are called an abomination. Now, certainly, in this inferior acceptation, the term is utterly inapplicable to God. But what entirely removes the difficulty, is, that the people are said, by a participation in such unclean food, to make themselves abominable. To this the
To this the precept, Sanctify yourselves, and be ye holy, stands in direct opposition. There is here, therefore, a coincidence of the second and fifth meanings of the word holy, which are connected, in their application to men, as the means and the end, and therefore ought both to be understood as comprehended; though the latter alone is applicable to God. Now, as the opposite of abominable is estimable, venerable, the import of the precept, Sanctify yourselves, manifestly is, : Be careful, by a strict attention to the statutes ye
have * received concerning purity, especially in what regards your food, to avoid the pollution of your body; maintain thus a proper respect for your persons, that your religious services may be esteemed by men, and accepted of God; for remem* ber that the God whom ye serve, as being pure and
perfect, is entitled to the highest esteem and vene* ration. Whatever, therefore, may be called sloven
ly, or what his law has pronounced impure in his servants, is an indignity offered by them to their 'master, which he will certainly resent.'
But as an artful gloss or paraphrase will sometimes mislead, I shall subjoin the plain words of Scripture 18), which come in the conclusion of a long chapter, wherein the laws relating to cleanliness in animal food, in beasts, birds, fishes, and reptiles, are laid down. Whatsoever goeth upon the belly, and whatsoever goeth upon all four, or whatsoever hath more feet among all creeping things, that creep upon the earth; them ye shall not eat, for they are an abomination. Ye shall not make yourselves abominable with any creeping thing that creepeth, neither shall ye make yourselves unclean with them, that ye should be defiled thereby. For I am the Lord your God; ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy ; for I am holy: neither shall ye defile yourselves with any manner of creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. For I am the Lord that bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God; ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy. It is plain that any other interpretation of the word holy than that now given, would render the whole
$ 17. Now, to come to the word 'on chasid, ócios, this is a term which properly and originally expresses a mental quality, and that only, in the same manner as p'78 tsaddik, dixalos just, 1998 amon, 1150s faithful, and several others. Nor is there any material variation of meaning that the word seems to have undergone at different periods. The most
common acceptation is, humane, merciful, beneficent, benign. When there appears to be a particular reference to the way wherein the person stands affected to God and religion, it means pious, devaut. In conformity to this sense, our translators have, in several places in the Old Testament, rendered it godly. The phrase ó OOLOL T8 Oɛ is, therefore, not improperly rendered the saints of God, that is, his pious servants. It most probably, as was hinted before, means pious in what is said of our Lord, that he was dolos, AXAxos, aulavTOS, as it seems to have been the intention of the sacred writer to comprehend, in few words, his whole moral character respecting God, the rest of mankind, and himself. In the enumeration which Paul gives to Titus 189, of the virtues whereof a bishop ought to be possessed, it is surely improper to explain any of them by a general term equally adapted to them all ; since nothing can be plainer than that his intention is to denote, by every epithet, some quality not expressed before.
His words are φιλοξενον, φιλαγαθον, σωφρονα, δικαιον, οσιον, εγκρατη. Το render oσιον holy (though that were in other places a proper version) would be here in effect the same as to omit it altogether. If the sense had been pious, it had probably been either the first or the last in the catalogue. As it stands, I think, it ought to be rendered humane.
There are certain words which, on some occasions, are used with greater, and on others, with
182 Titus, i, 8.