Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

κάτω της αυτοκρατορίας Τιβερία *. As the difference of two years is thus easily accounted for, by making allowance for the double commencement of Tiberius's reignt; the whole force of the objectors' remark consequently evaporates in esposing their want of learning, to perceive the meaning of Tecovia.

After we are told, though with what rational object we pretend not to divine, that,

« No allusion is made to the extraordinary events narrated in these chapters, in any subsequent passage of the sacred writings.''

We are next informed, with a due contempt for the authority of St. Luke (ii. 4-7.) and St. John (vii. 42.) as well as of St. Matt. (ii. 5-8.) that

If Jesus had been born as is here stated, his proper name, ac cording to the invariable custom of the Jews, would have been Jesus of Bethlehem, not Jesus of Nazareth. His disciples at least would always have designated him by a name which bore testimony to the supposed fulfilment of a remarkable prophecy in his person as the Messiah. Yet to the last moment of their history they call him by no other name than that which seemed to give the lie to such prediction. Even at the interview of our Lord with St. Paul, he denominates himself Jesus of Nazareth.” P. ix.

As our opponents are never more amusing than when they undertake to settle some point of ecclesiastical antiquity, and de

p. 411.

As accuracy was the object of St. Luke iii. 1. who disa tinguishes the Emperor, Procurator, Tetrarchs, and High Priests, under whom Christ's ministry commenced; no force is done to his words by taking them in the strictness of the letter. Had it been his object to date the reign of Tiberius, from its latest epoch, he might have marked it, by several terms; as novaexía, avtapxie ; Vid. Chron. Pasch. uti inf. n. t:: but the proper term would have been avtoxpa topía. Dio. Hist. Rom. Lib. LXVII. cap. xii. p. 1110.59. και απ' αυτών τω μεν Γλαβρίων όλεθρος, το δε Τραϊανό ή της αυτοκρατο. gías ápx) mposgelişimo Vid. Joseph. ap. Steph. Thesaur. Tom. II.

+ Pagi, Crit. Hist. Chron, in Annal. Baron, ad. An Chr. 29. p. 12. after Archbishop Ussher, and Langius de Ann. Christ. P. II.

P 324. ed. Lugd. Bat. 1649. have shown, that this double method of calculating the years of a prince ; from his first aclmission to power, and subsequent accession to the throne, was usual in sacred and profane history. Thus the Alexandrine Chronicle dates the reign of Augustus, from two epochs ; Chron. Pasch. p. 209. c. ed. Ducang. τεσσαρακοσώ της Αιώσε Καίσαρος βασιλείας, ή Γαν εικοσά ογδόω της αυτε μοναρχίας εγεννήθη κατά σάρκα Χριςός. .

cap. xiv.

it in their usual tone of modest assertion ; we shall merely refer, in illustration of this dictum to the case of Maimonides *; of whom the Jews declare, “ From Moses to Moses [ben Maimon) none was like unto Moses.” But as we are amused with the modesty of the assumption; we are charmed with its wisdom. The use of proper appellatives is, we believe, to distinguish persons; in bestowing which attentiou must be paid to the vulgar acceptance of language ; and some controversy, it is notorious, has arisen with respect to the person of the Messiab : how far the Apostles would have contributed to settle these controversies, and identify the person of their Lord, by terming him Jesus of Bethlehem, while he was generally known as Jesus of Nazareth our wise opponents are no doubt prepared to inform us, who are anxious to be instructed on this subject.

Having thus destroyed the credit of the opening chapters of St. Matthew, the credit of the concluding verses of the same Evangelist is dispatched with equal facility.

“ Baptizing them in the name of the Father,” &c. Matt. xxviii. 19. “ This part of the precept there is abundant reason to believe was not uttered by its supposed author. If the Apostles had been instructed by their master to baptize in this fashion—they could not have baptized “ in his name” only. And in no other does it appear did they ever baptize. See Acts ii. 38. viii. 12. 16. X. 48. xix. 5., Gal. iii. 27.P. x.

That he who is said, Acts ii. 33. viii. 16. x. 48. to be “baptized in the name of the Lord,” or “ of the Lord Jesus," is said

baptized in his name orily,is, we cannot deny, very effectually proved, by the dexterous insertion of this little expletive only, which converts an elliptical into an exclusive assertion. To do justice, however, to the inference thus logically deduced from the sacred text, we shall exhibit the context of Acts xis. 5. as deciding the controversy.—" And finding certain disciples, he said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John's baptism.” According to our dialectics, there is neither pertinence nor coherency in the reply of the Apostle,

to be so

* Buxtorf. de Abbrev. Hebræor. p. 186. v. San", ed. Basil. 1640. “R. Mosche filius Majemoni, abbreviate Rambam dictus. Patria fuit Cordubensis, sed in Ægypto educatus, et studiis consecratus, et inde vocatus Moses Ægyptius.

For

unless on the supposition, that baptism " in the name of the Holy Ghost” had been generally, if not universally, practiced. For, to us it appears, that there is no alternative, between admitting the text with the following explanatory phrase, and reducing the passage to palpable nonsense; “ unto what then [but the Holy Ghost] have ye been baptized ?" As of course baptism“ in the name of the Lord Jesus," Acts xix. 5, does not exclude baptism in the name of the Holy Ghost, Ibid. 3 : it cannot exclude it in any of the adduced

passages. Such sequently is “ the abundant reason which there is to believe, that Matt. xxviii. 19. was not uttered by its supposed author !"

The ingenuity by which the forecited passages of St. Matthew are proscribed, renders any vindication of Acts xx. 28. 1 Tim. m. 16. 1 John v. 7, which are next impugned, perfectly nugatory. If the former passages be not genuine, the entire body of evidence by which the latter are proved spurious, must be corrupt; and consequently not entitled to the least degree of attention. And yet, say the modest impugners of Matt. i. 19. xxviii.

con

19, &c.

* Griesbach, (the first of biblical scholars, and a Tri-uni-tarian) concludes a long disquisition in condemnation of it (1 John v. 7.] to this effect:- The whole text of the New Testament must be abandoned as doubtful, if we are to consider this genuine." P. xi.

[ocr errors]

May we now ask those equally consistent and ingenious reasoners, if Matt. xxviii. 19. be " of doubtful authority," by what mode of proof can the authority of any text be impugned or defended ?

We have thus endeavoured, at the expence of some patience, ter do justice to the ingenuity of our authors' objections to the received text or authorised Version. Before we take a final leave of “the Introduction" we would willingly acquit ourselves of every obligation to them, on the score of information as well as ingenuity: the example which it affords of the force of conjecture, when opposed to authority, having large claims on our admiration and gratitude.

In exonerating ourselves from this obligation, we observe, in conclusion, that the opening chapters of St. Matthew are not oily found in every Manuscript and Version which has been discovered, in whatever region or language they may have been published; but of the extraordinary facts recorded in these chapters, explicit mention is made by the Christian Fathers, from the

earliest

earliest period *. The very Jewst, Heathens, and Heretics $, have admitted the authenticity of those parts of the Sacred Records, while they have impugned the truth of the facts, which rest on their authority. And with respect to the particular incidents, to which the objectors except; the date of our Lord's nativity, or of the first inrolment of Judea under Quirinus, was an epoch determinable from the public records of the Romans; to which the primitive Christians absolutely appealed in confirmation of the truth of their accounts ||. With respect also to the place of his nativity, which is now called in question by those who affect to receive him as the Messiah ; the expectation of the Jews had not only been turned to Bethlehem, from the earliest period, but the very cave in which our Lord was laid, was shewn near that village; and sought as an object of sacred attention, by those who visited the Holy Land in pilgrimage **, for some centuries after his birth. Such is the weight of evidence which we are to carry along with us, in appreciating those invincible objections, in which the credit of the disputed passages is now overthrowu, by the force of conjecture and assertion.

In proceeding to estimate the objections specifically urged to THE LITURGY, it is to be observed, that the first place is assigned to the vindication of a blunder of Mr. R. Asplands. In replying to some remarks of that gentlemani, which he was pleased to consider “criticisms," we gave it as our opinion that his knowledge of the original language of the New Testament, did not extend to an acquaintance with the force of the preposition év. Here we would have willingly peronitted a subject to rest, which is as offensive to us as it is disgraceful to him. But his owu folly cr the folly of some of his besotted admirers, has now put us upon

622. e.

* S. Ignat. ad Eph. cap. xix. p. 16. Just. Mart. Dial. cum Tryph. p. 303. d. S. Iren. adv. Hær. Lib. III. cap. ix. . 2. p. 184. 2. Tert. adv. Jud. p. 192. c. d. 193. a.

+ Cod. Schabb. fol. 104. 2. Beth. Jacob. fol. 127. 1. Conf. Buxt. Lex. Talm. p. 1460. v. 760. I Cels. ap. Orig. contr. Cels. Lib. V.

cap.
lviii.

p. Valentin. Vid. Tert. Præscr. cap. xxxviii. p. 216. b. || J. Mart. Apol. Maj. p. 75. d. xóun to; (BrDreize] ésiv in τη χώρα Ιεδαίων, απέχασα ταδίες τριακούλαπέντε Ιεροσολύμων, έν ή εγεννήθη Ιησες Χριςός, ως και μαθείν δύνασθε εκ των απογραφών γενομένων επί Κυρηνία, τύ υμετέρα εν Ιεδαία πρώτα γενομένg επιτροπε.

Joh. vii. 42. ' Chald. Parapr. in Mic. v. 2. R, Salomon. R. Dav. Kimchi, ap. Pears. on Creed. Vol. II.

** Orig. contr. Cels. Lib. I. cap. li. p. 367. b. Euseb. Dem. Evang. Lib. VII. cap. ii. p. 341. d. 342. c.

the VOL. V. JUNE, 1816.

p. 97.

Qq

the proof of what we then merely affirmed. After due time taken to consider the force of that word, and our objection, it is observed, in reference to the phrase " for his sake” in the Ge. neral Confession, which is selected as the first object of animadversion :

“ For the sake.' This part of the petition is founded on a pole pable mistranslation of Eph. iv. 32. in our Authorized Version of the Bible. In the Greek text the expression is 'God in Christ.' Ged forgiveth sin freely, of his mere free grace and love, for no sake but his own." P. 3.

[ocr errors]

A reply to this learned objection need not be sought from any great depth. “In” interprets Dr. Johnson, 67. for the sake: and again, "sake” according to the same authority “ 1. final cause ; end; purpose, &c." “ 'E," interprets G. Pasor,

* propter, ex Hebraismo, Matt vi. 7. év tñ Tohumoriz, pro TÌv 70.2.cyiuv, in multiloquio, hoc est, propter multiloquium. Εph. iv. 1. δέσμιος εν Κυρίω, pro δια τον Κύριον, vinctus propter Dominum *.” Those different phrases,“ in their much speaking," and " bowd in the Lord” are lie;e taken as synonymous with ' for the suke of their much speaking," and“ bound for the sake of the Lord." The latter phrase èy Kugiw. Eph. iv. 1. comes preity hear tv Xgısw. Ibid. 92: being found in the same chapter; it will abundantly demonstrate, that in the doubts which we formerly espressed of Mr. R. Aspland's knowing any thing whatever of Greek, we were not nolly mistaken.

But the manner in which the repeaters of his objection have contrived to express themselves, warrants us in passing a higher commendation on their learning, as it justifies us in suspecting, that their knowledge of the meaning of the English word "sake” was not greater than that of the Greek preposition év : the reader who reviews the objection will probably see good reason to concur in the same opinion.

Trom the General Confession a transition is made to the Lord's Prayer; in commenting upon which it is apparently insinuated thai ye address llie Divine Being, in our prayers, umder a different title, than that of God the Father. To this objection it cannot be thought necessary, tłat we should condescend to make any reply. The phrase "Our Father” is however made introductory to the following profound observation, on the filiation of Christ.

* Pasor. Lex. Nov. Test. p. 284, 1.

« N. B.

« ForrigeFortsæt »