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Jewish writers have supported the testimony, which we have adduced, respecting their expectation of a human Messiah. This will not be denied. It is expressly adınitted.
The solitary passage brought forward by Hengstenberg to prove that the Messiah was regarded by the ancient Jews as identical with the angel which appeared to the patriarchs, is the following. It is a remark in the book Sohar upon Gen. xxiv. 2, to be found in Schoettgen, Vol. 11., page 427, quoted as follows. “Sohar Genes. fol. 77, col. 303, ex versione Sommeri, p. 35. Cum dicitur servus ejus, intelligitur (secundum interpretationem mysticam,) servus Jehovæ, senior domûs ejus, paratus ad ministerium ejus. Quis vero ille est ? Resp. Metatron hic est, sicuti diximus, futurus ut conjungatur corpori, (i. e. corpus humanum assumat) in utero materno.'" This passage, as it stands here, seems to speak of an incarnation of the angel Metatron, the servant of Jehovah. There is nothing, however, in the passage to show that it has any reference to the Messiah, nor how the notion is derived from Gen. xxiv. 2. At any rate, without farther support, it cannot be regarded as an ancient Jewish tradition, but only a notion of the modern Cabalistic book Sohar, which has not been adopted by the Jews, and which possibly they may not find in the passage. How far such a passage contributes to show what was the doctrine of the Old Testament respecting the Deity of the Messiah, let the reader judge.*
* After writing the above remarks, we were lucky enough to find the passage repeated in Schoettgen, II. p. 367, with his remarks upon it. He
that the translation of Sommer is inconsistent with the language itself and with the connexion. The words are as follows,
nap ng ous noo'y tiny," which, Schoettgen says, should be rendered' “ exornaturus sit (futurus ut exornet, a rad. -70%), corpora in sepulcris.” In this rendering, so far as the meaning of the words is concerned, he is supported by Buxtorf. Schoettgen also produces the passage, to which “sicuti diximus” refers in the extract from Sohar. Sohar Genes. fol. 77. col. 303. “ Traditio est, R. Jochanan dixisse : Metatron, princeps facierum,” (that is, prince of the angels, who are called faces of God)" qui est puer, servus domini sui, dominantis ipsi, præfectus animæ omni tempore, ut liberet illam ab igne illo constituto. Et ille rationem sumpturus est in sepulcris a Dumah Angelo mortuis præfecto, illumque Domino suo oblaturus est. Idem ille fermenta tionem ossium intra terram jacentium suscipiet, ut corpora restituat, eaque in integritate suâ, sed sine animâ, constituat. Deus vero S. B. illam in locum suum collocabit.” — Schoett. II., p. 366.
Thus it appears, that the passage has no intimation of the incarnation of the Metatron, but only that, as the angel of life, the opponent of Sammael, he should be concerned in the resurrection of the dead.
As we have mentioned, Hengstenberg has abandoned the position of the identity of the Messiah with the Chaldee word of Jehovah. But, as some late writers have defended this opinion, especially Kuinoel, who has manifested great ignorance of the subject in his Introduction to John's Gospel, we will add a few words upon it. That the word of Jehovah does not denote a person distinct from Jehovah, we have already shown. That this “ word,” in whatever sense it was used, was not regarded as identical with the Messiah, is manifest from the following passages from the Targum of Jonathan. “ The Messiah and Moses will appear at the end of the
age, the one in the desert and the other at Rome, and the word of Jehovah will march between them.”
shall be dispersed to the end of heaven, the word of Jehovah shall bring you back by the hand of Elias, the high priest, and by the hand of the king Messiah.” *
Kuinoel also infers, that some of the Jews expected a superhuman personage as the Messiah, from such passages as the following. Jalcut Simeoni, p. 2, fol. 53, 3, from the book Tanchuma upon Isaiah lii. 3. "The king Messiah is intended. He shall be exalted above Abraham, and lifted up above Moses, and be higher than the ministering angels. But that such passages are wholly inconclusive appears from this, that the same things are said of righteous Jews. Thus Schoettgen remarks, in his note upon Matt. xxii. 30: “ The Jews attribute greater glory to men than to angels, not only in this but in the future life.” “The Jews ascribe greater excellence to men than to angels, because men, although frail, have overcome evil desires.' He supports his remarks by quotations from the same book Tanchuma, in Jalcut Simeoni, fol. 278, 1.
Observe that God loves the Israelites more than the ministering angels. How so? Ans. The latter are called D'x12, (messengers or angels,) and the Israelites are so called, in Psalm ciii. 20. The angels are called holy; so are the Israelites in Levit. xix. 2. Who then is most loved ? Ans. He whom God honors with his presence, according to Psalm lxxxii. 1." So in another passage.
“ The wisdom of the just, in the times of the Messiah, shall be greater than that of the minis
* We regret that we cannot now refer to the place where these two quotations are to be found, they having been made some years ago.
tering angels."* Kuinoel also adduces the Targum of Jonathan upon Isaialı xvi. 1, which he renders thus: dona Messiæ Israelitarum, qui robustus erit, propterea quod iste in deserto fuit rupes ecclesiæ Sionis." Walton in his Polyglott gives a very different sense to the passage, thus : “ Deferent tributa Christo Israel, qui fortis est super eos, qui erant in deserto, ad montem coetûs Sion.” The word 1979 is certainly plural, and, if 1197 by must have the construction which Kuinoel gives it, it must be rendered, “because they were in the desert.” And, supposing that Christ was called the rock in the desert, the meaning might be, that the Messiah would be strong, because he was prefigured by the rock in the desert.
Thus we have found no support in the Old Testament for either of the two propositions, which Hengstenberg undertakes to prove, that “the angel of Jehovah, who appeared to the Patriarchs, was a person distinct from Jehovah and yet Jehovah himself,” or " that the Messiah was identical with the angel.” We have shown that the passages from the New Testament, which he forces into the service of proving what was revealed in the Old, afford him no aid. And we have shown, that Jewish tradition, instead of supporting, is altogether inconsistent with, the supposition, that a duality of persons in God, and that the Deity of the Messiah, are doctrines of the Old Testament.
G. R. N.
ART. V. – 1. The Primitive Creed, Examined and Explain
ed; in Two Parts. The First Part containing Sixteen Discourses on the Apostles' Creed. Designed for Popular Use. The Second Part containing a Dissertation on the Testimony of the early Councils and the Fathers, from the Apostolic Age to the end of the fourth Century, with Observations on certain Theological Errors of the Present Day. By John Henry Hopkins, D. D., Bishop of the
* See Schoettgen, II., 163. So Pirke R. Eliezer, in Jalcut Rubeni, fol. 107, 2, in Schoett. I. 514. 66 Before the Israelites had made the golden calf, they were more beautiful in the sight of God than the ministering angels."
Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Vermont.
Burlington. 1834. 12mo. pp. 415. 2. Christianity Vindicated, in Seven Discourses on the Ec
ternal Evidences of the New Testament, with a Concluding Dissertation. By John Henry Hopkins, D. D., Bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese
of Vermont. Burlington. 1833. 12mo. pp. 174. 3. The Primitive Church, compared with the Protestant
Episcopal Church of the Present Day; being an Examination of the Ordinary Objections against the Church, in Doctrine, Worship, and Government. Designed for Popular Use. With a Dissertation on Sundry Points of Theology and Practice, connected with the Subject of Episcopacy. By John Henry HOPKINS, D. D., Bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Vermont. Burlington. 1835. 12mo.
By the Primitive Creed, Bishop Hopkins does not mean the creed of Peter, the oldest Christian creed of which we have any account; “ Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God."* This was the only article of faith originally deemed necessary to constitute a person externally a Christian. It
presupposed, of course, a belief in one God, the Father. But the Jews had already been initiated into this belief. believe in God,” said Jesus; he adds, “believe also in me," + as the “ Christ,” the “anointed,” the commissioned of him ; the only additional truth the belief of which he required as distinctive of the Christian profession. We find the two articles again conjoined in his last solemn prayer; “ This is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent," that is, Jesus Christ as sent of thee.f And thus we find, that Jews and others already acknowledging the existence of the only true God, were, by the Apostles, admitted to baptism, upon simply professing, in addition, their belief of the latter article.
We here see the origin of creeds. They were baptismal confessions, baptism being regarded as an initiatory rite by which a person was introduced into the community of believ
* Matt. xvi. 16. John vi. 69.
+ John xiv. 1. | John xvii. 3. St. Paul's creed corresponded. 6. There is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus." 1 Tim. ii. 5.
ers, numbered among Christians. These confessions were the symbol,* sign, token, or mark of Christian faith, as the ceremony of baptism was of Christian consecration. They embraced originally as we have said, in addition to the belief in the existence of one God over all, the Father, always tacitly implied, if not expressed, one simple truth, that Jesus was the Christ
, the Son of God, which was the primitive Christian creed, as a belief in the one only true God constituted the primitive Jewish creed. Other articles were added from time to time, according to the discretion of individuals, or communities of believers.
The most fruitful source of additions was the numerous heresies which, in process of time, sprang up in the church, in opposition to which new clauses were successively introduced into the creeds, or symbols. They were thus perpetually growing in bulk, and, in the same proportion, becoming more dark and metaphysical, abounding more and more in absurd or unintelligible distinctions and refinements, till every feature of their original simplicity was obliterated.
By the “primitive creed,” Bishop Hopkins means that usually termed the “ Apostles' Creed,” and he more than insinuates that it really had an apostolic origin. Such is the impression he evidently means to leave on the minds of his readers. Many,” says he, “ believe, not without reason, that this is the precise form or summary of the faith which was left to the church of Rome, by the Apostles Peter and Paul.” | Again; “ What consideration can endear this venerable relic of early faith, more than the fact, that the disciples of the blessed Apostles, the holy martyrs and confessors, the workers of miracles, and the eminent saints, who adorned the first ages of Christianity, made it a part of their solemn worship to recite these very words.” I
* “Perhaps,” says Neander, “this word at first denoted only the 'formula' of baptism, and was afterwards transferred to the confession of faith.” — History of the Christian Religion and Church, Vol. I. p. 352, note. Ed. Lond. 1831.
Page 1. | Page 2. The Bishop is mistaken as to the use made of creeds by Christians of the early ages. The recital of them did not form “part of their solemn worship,” strictly speaking ; they were not introduced, in fact, into the ordinary services of public worship; they were used only at baptism. The person to be baptized was examined as to his belief of certain Scriptural truths, or summaries of truth, to each article of which