« הקודםהמשך »
two ages before Christ's time, was in such reputation, that the sacred writers of the New Testament free quently represent Christ's and their own thoughts in the language of those translators ; which has given a kind of sanction to their version,
The LXX having used the word Kugsos for Jevovah gave occasion to those who made citations out of the Lxx in the New Testament, to render some pas. sages ambiguous, when that word stands alone: and hath occasioned incautious readers to apply it to Christ, when it ought to be applied to God.
This advantagè however we have from the LXX, that they generally, if not always, translate Elohim by the word eos in the singular number, which demonstrates that the LXX in their time understood Elohim in the singular number, as is particularly remarkable, Gen. i. 27, and likewise, it is their constant practice to join in syntax verbs and adjectives, &c. of the singular number, with the word Elohim, as is remarkable through the whole first chapter of Genesis, and I believe will be found in all the other books of the Old Testament. And the like syntax will certainly be found in all the passages where Jehovah is in construction. See Gen. xi. and 8 compared; and Deut. vi. 4, &c.
It is very remarkable, that in all the books of the Old and New Testaments, wheresoever the sacred writers introduce Almighty God speaking of himself, it is by the singular pronouns I and me; and where he is spoken to, it is by the words thou and thee; and when he is spoken of, it is by the words he and him: which language is so universally used, that it invincibly demonstrates the divine essence or vatüre to be one person alone. And it may, I think, be justly concluded, that all the translations which have been or ever will be made, have followed, and must follow this rule.
CHAP. III. Of the several senses of the word @EOE, God, used
by the writers of the New Testament. The Old and the New Testaments always, in every place, suppose and acknowledge one supreme Being, and most high God, and but one: the passages are innumerable: and this truth is maintained by all Christians, of all ages, and denominations; but very much obscured and perplexed by the bold and unskilful notions, as well as subtle expositions and metaphysical distinctions of many eminent ancient and modern wrirers.
Jesus Christ bimself believed in, worshipped, taught, and preached, this one true God, Mat. vi. 9. xix. 17. xxvii. 46.- Mark x. 18. compared with Mat, xix. 17. Luke xviii. 19. · Why callest thou me good? There is no one good, but the one God.' Mark xii. 29-34. John xvii. 3, ?. Thee, O Father, the only true God.' *x. 17. I ascend,' saith Christ, to iny Father and to your Father, to my God and to your God.'
Hence it is plain, that the four Evangelists represent Christ himself using the word God in the highest sense, of his God and our God. Yet he knew the word God was also used in the Old Testament in an inferior sense, of eminent persons; and John X. 34, 35, he cites Psalm Ixxxii. 6. I said ye are Gods'-— words spoken there of judges, to whom the word of God was a rule. And he reasons thus :: ' If they, the judges, to whom the word of God came, are called gods in your law, and sons of the Most High; do you charge me with blasphemy.? who do not say I am God,' as ye falsely accuse me; but I do say, that
the Father bath set me apart;' that is, sanctified and sent me; and that I am the son of God,' and that is not blasphemy in my mouth nor in your law.
St. John, the fourth evangelist, hath thus set forth Christ's defence against the cavilling Jews by the use
of the term :os for persons in authority. And thus the LXX likewise apply it in many places of the Old Testament. Vid. Buxtorf. Lexicon, voce 7778. And so we find Qeos applied in many other places of the New Testament. The people of Tyre and Sidon, flattering Herod who harangued them, cried out, • It is the voice of a God and not of a man,'
Acts xij. 22, a character very unsuitable to a wicked prince. They knew well the word God was used of persons eminent, &c. The people of Lycaonia, wondering at St. Paul's curing a lame person, Acts xiv. 11-15, forthwith style him Jupiter ;* and Barnabas, Mercury: saying, 'The gods in human shape were come down among them.' Acts xix. 26, to the end. Diana was the goddess worshipped at Ephesus, as one of the
* Cicero styles Pompey his God, that is, his chief patron, in pleading for his being recalled from his exile. And he styles Plato a God, in Epist. to Atticus. And Brutus and Cassius, who assaulted Julius Cæsar in the senate, he calls ant only heroes, but gods. Virgil: Eclog.i.
-Nainque erit ille mihi semper Deus In short, the styling persons of eminence in some extraordinary character, gods, was so common and general over all the Grecian and Rowan provinces; and occurs so often in the classic and pagan writers, before and after the time of St. John the Evangelist; that to cite authorities, in this case, would be needless and endless. St Paul, Gal. iv. 8, tells the Galatians that when they knew not God, they served such as by nature were not gods."
- The Romans ħad in old Rorne, a pantheon, or temple for all the gods; which Pope Boniface IIJ. dedicated to the Blessed Virgin and all the saints. This temple is a standing monument for ages, of the general and prevailing signification of the words £os and Deus throughout all the Roman empire. And, as I have said, all the classics, G:eek and Latin, as also the early eccle.iastical writers suffi. ciently assure us, of the undoubted use and application of the word God (or Deos and Deus) to persons of eminence in their characters, before, at, and after the time of Jesus Christ. As we find St. Paul, i Cor. viii. 5. 6, most expressly saying, “Though there be Gods many' so called; "yet to us (Christians) there is but one God, the Father.”
Now if the sense of ihe Greek word E05, God, was so well and so universally known and understood at the time when the books of the New Testament were written, then it can be no wonder if St. John in his Gospel, written and published in Greece, should apply that word to Jestis hrist, a person of so extraordinary a character.-But it must be 'well and always observed,
1. That St John alone (but not one of the three other evangelists) useth the word E05, God, of Christ (if he used it, of which some
have doubted). There is extant a very learned discourse, “ Initium Evang. S. Johannis restitutum et illustratum.” A. D. 1726.
2. Christ himself never assumed that name or title, but always acknowledged and worshipped ihe Father as his only true God, John xvii. 3, and in other places; and taught his disciples the same. Matt. vi. John xvi, 23-26.
3. Christ himself shunned and avoided all colour or pretence to the character of God, saying " He was able to do nothing of him. self.: John v 19, 30. •The Father shewing the Son what he the Father himself doeth.' ver, 20. He owns his gospel, his power, all his power was given him by the Father. In short, by all his words, living and dying he disclaimed the attributes and honours of God. See the chapters, Of God the Father, of God's Titles; Miracles, &c.
4. We are told by St. Paul. Phil. ii. 6-11, that though. Christ appeared in the form or resemblance of a God,' (by the miracles of which he was only the seeming, but not the real efficient) yet did not he snatch at divine honours, but shunned them, and humbled him. self-wherefore God, even his God, highly exalıed him, and freely gave him the superior names, or "honours of Lord and Christ.' But observe, to the glory of God the Father.” See the chapter, Of God' the Father. To the same purpose is Heb. i. 9. Acts ii. 36.
5. Admitting that St. John in his own original Gospel,* and only St. John, and in this one place, ch i, ver. 1, only styles Christ God; yet we must carefully mind his manner, and how he guards that character. The word who, he said, was God, is also said twice, was at, or with God Here are two Gods, in oui modern copies, named in the same sentence, one absolutely, with .wh m the word was, and the other, with the character of being with God. A character clearly distinguishing the latter from the former; and strongly denoting Christ's special presence, intimacy, and favour with God; but as strongly also denoting, his not being that God, with whom he was, nor God
* It appears in this note, and in other places, that the beginning of St. John's gospel was a difficulty with our author, how to account for Christ being there called the word, which was generally but erroneously supposed to be a peculiar name of Christ in John's writings. Bui it would have given him much satisfaction to have found it proved, without any arbitrary alteration of the text, that by the term word, aoyos, the apostle intended not Christ, but an attribute of God, his divine energy or wisdom, which is hir self, by which all things were first made and are governed, and which word, or wisdom, at last duelt in the man Christ Jesus, ii e most abundantly imparied to him. See Dr. Lardner's Supplement to his Credibility, &c. vol. i. p. 437, 433. EVITOR (of Second Edition).
twelve deities, who were of the highest rank among
indeed in the highest sense of that word. Otherwise it would follow,
6. For the honour of St John, and the Christian religion too, it is most reasonable to suppose, that in St. John's original it was written, Που Θεος ην ο λογος but Θεου ην ο Λογος. And so the sense of St. John isIn' or at the beginning,' of the Gospel, ' was the word,' that is, the preacher, the great publisher and interpreter of God's will; and this preacher was with God ' that is, intimate in the favour and the knowledge, of che will of God and then it is added, and this was God's preacher. This reading is confirmed by St. John hiirself, who expressly telle us, Rev. xix. 13, that Christ's name was, o. haih been called, in my Gospel, &c.-0 Aoyos TOU
€00, the word of God, that is, the preacher of God's word, or the Dui,lisher of God's will And this character of Jesus Christ is con. firmed by his whole ministry, through all the four gospels : in which we find Christ very often decl: ring, that the doctrine he taught, and the words he spake were not his own, but his that sent him doing nothing from myself,' saith Christ, but as my Father hath taught me, those things I am speaking. The word 'which ye are hearing is not mine, but the Father's, who hath sent me.' John vii.' 16, 17, 18, 28. viii. 28. xiv, 14.
If the reading in the Alexandrian MS. xéxylas, Rev. xix. 13, be preferred to the text in the othe Greek copies, then St John seems io intimate, that Christ had been named, or cailed 'the word of God,' by himself and others too If, I say, that be the true reading of the text, then it is no remote, but a reasonable conjecture, that Jesus, Christ might be commonly named, spoken of, and mentioned by this distinctive character, the word of God.' As he is also called the • Christ of God.' Luke ix. 20. 1 Cor. iii. 23. And the power of God.:' and the wisdom of God.' i Cor, i. 24. And the Lord's Christ:' and • God's Christ. Rev. xi. 15. xii, 10.