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rich and use violence to the needy ; nor can any one in such things be an imitator of God, for these things are all incompatible with his majesty. But he who takes his neighbour's burden on himself; he who, in the thing wherein he is superior, wishes to benefit another who is inferior; he who supplies to others in need those things which he has received of God, becomes as a god to those who receive. This man is the imitator of God. Then thou shalt see on earth that God reigns in heaven; then thou shalt begin to speak the mysteries of God; then thou shalt love and admire those who are punished because they will not deny God; then thou shalt condemn the deceit and imposture of the world, when thou hast learnt to live really in heaven, when thou hast come to despise what is here considered death, when thou hast come to dread what is truly death, reserved for those who shall be condemned to eternal fire, to be the punishment of those delivered to it even unto the end; then shalt thou admire those who for righteousness' sake endure the temporary fire, and shalt pronounce them blessed,
when thou hast known that [other] fire. (Here ends that part of the Epistle which is held to be genuine.)
“[XI. I am not speaking strange things, nor instituting un
reasonable inquiries, but, being a disciple of the apostles, am become a teacher of the Gentiles; those things which are delivered to me I minister to such as become disciples of the truth. For who that is rightly instructed and begotten by the beloved Word does not seek to know accurately those things which were manifestly shown to disciples, to whom the Word having appeared manifested them, speaking with freedom of utterance, not comprehended by the unbelieving, but discoursing to disciples, who, accounted faithful by him, have known the mysteries of the Father? For which cause he sent the Word, that he might appear unto the world; who being dishonoured by the people, preached by the apostles, was believed on by the Gentiles. The same who was from the beginning appeared now, and was found to be ancient, and ever new is begotten in the hearts of the saints. The same who was from eternity, to-day is reckoned Son; by whom the church is enriched, and grace spread abroad is multiplied in the saints, affording intelligence, disclosing mysteries, announcing times, rejoicing over the faithful, bestowed on those who seek, by whom the boundaries of faith are not broken, nor the boundaries of the fathers transcended. After this the fear of law is hymned, and the grace of prophets is known, and the belief of gospels is established, and the tradition of apostles is guarded, and the grace of the church leaps for joy. If thou grievest not this grace, thou shalt know what things the Word speaks, by whom he chooses, and when he pleases. For whatsoever things we are moved, by the will of him that commandeth, to utter with labour, we are partakers [of the same] with
you out of love for what has been revealed to us. "XII. Which having obtained and heard with attention, you
shall know what things God affords to those who love aright; being made a paradise of delight, having reared within you the all-fruitful, well-germinating tree; being adorned with manifold fruits. For in this very place were planted the tree of knowledge and the tree of life; but it is not the [tree] of knowledge that slays, but the disobedience slays. Nor are those things obscure which are written, how God from the beginning planted the tree of life in the midst of Paradise, indicating life through knowledge; which when those who were from the beginning did not use purely, they were made naked by the deceit of the serpent. For neither is there life without knowledge, nor is knowledge safe without true life. Therefore each was planted in proximity, which power the apostle perceiving, and blaming that knowledge which is exercised (in order] to life, without the truth of the commandment, says, * Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth.' For whoso supposes that he knows any thing, without true knowledge, witnessed by the life, knows not, is deceived by the serpent, not having loved the life; but whoso with fear thoroughly knows, and seeks life, the same plants in hope, expecting fruit. Let the heart be to the knowledge, and the life the true Word, [as] accepted. Of which, [thou] bearing the tree and plucking the fruit, shalt gather always those things which are desired of God, which the serpent touches not, nor meddles with by imposture; nor is Eve corrupted, but is deemed a virgin ; and salvation is shown forth, and apostles are instructed, and the Lord's passover advances, and tapers are brought together and fitted with decorum, and the Word who teaches the saints is made joyful, by whom the Father is glorified ; to whom be glory
for ever. Amen.] ” ” In regard to that large portion of this Epistle which is of undoubted genuineness, some observations may well be allowed. And, first, it breathes the spirit of a very early age. It much more resembles the apostolical fathers, and indeed the canonical epistles, than any later productions of Greek Christians.
VOL, II.-NO. I.
The allusions are to a state of things in which believers had not lost their distinctive character, and in which they were separate from the world. The splendid amplification of the fifth chapter, has attracted universal admiration. Its resemblance to certain passages of the Apostle Paul, need not be pointed out to any mindful reader. The silence of the Epistle, moreover, on certain points which stand out glaringly on every page of the later fathers, is very instructive. If image-worship had begun in any shape, the line of argument pursued by the writer would necessarily have been unlike what it is; he would have been driven to the subterfuges and distinctions which grew out of the iconoclastic controversy, and which disgrace the arguments of Rome. The same remark applies to the denunciations of Judaism, in regard to set days. If Christians at that time had possessed a calendar of feasts and fasts, it would have been difficult to write the latter sentences of the fourth chapter, without a salvo for such observances. The writing proceeded from a time anterior to all ecclesiastical distinction of days and meats. Equally silent is our eloquent author concerning any claims of hierarchy. Not a word does he utter about sacramental grace, priesthood, distinction of laity and clergy, baptismal regeneration, the necessity of coming to an external catholicism for safety. But these are assumptions on which we perpetually stumble, in the fathers of the fourth and fifth centuries. In all these respects the air of the production is healthful and primitive. Nor does it contain, in its genuine portions, a syllable on which a Papist could build a plausible argument.
We remark, secondly, on the inadequate and erroneous view which the author takes of the Old Testament dispensation. This it is, as we have said above, which has led many to class the Epistle among Gnostical works. In our apprehension, however, these passages, though painfully aside from truth, only serve to corroborate the opinion that the work is of early date. In later periods, the Old Testament was assigned to its proper standing. But when early converts came over from gentilism to the gospel, unless belonging to the class of proselytes, they did not, like the Jews, pass through the Old Testament as a vestibule. In
many cases, we may suppose it was long before even the version of the Seventy was put into their hands. One who at this stage should write a defence of Christianity, would be very apt to indulge in just such undiscriminatiny censures of Judaism as charaterise this Epistle. It is indeed one of the most obscure points in church history, to determine by what process the early converts from heathenism were brought acquainted with the Old Testament Scriptures and economy. What difficulties it has offered to the greatest Christian historian of our age, may be seen in Neander's delightful but unsafe volume on the Planting and Training of the Church.
Our third remark is of a more pleasing kind. The Epistle to Diognetus abounds in the statement of vital Christian doctrine. Even our bald version cannot altogether conceal the sublimity of that passage of the seventh chapter, in which the writer sets forth the uncreated dignity of the Redeemer. Here we read, that when God would save men, he sent, “not some servant, or angel, or prince, or any of those who govern earthly things, or any of those entrusted with the heavenly provinces, but the Framer and Creator of the universe himself;" (an expression which certainly savours little of Gnosticism); and the words following rise in a climax unsurpassed in patristical eloquence. The value of faith is clearly asserted in the eighth chapter. But it is in the ninth that we have expressions concerning the method of justification, such as we have often toiled in vain to find in some church-fathers of the highest name. “By our own works unworthy of life,” we are “deemed worthy of it by the kindness of God.” The desert and impotence of fallen nature are strongly asserted. God “ gave his own Son, a ransom in our stead; the holy for the lawless; him that knew not wickedness, for the wicked; the just for the unjust." The doctrine of justification, as something beyond mere pardon, is taught: “For what else was able to cover our sins, but His righteousness ?” And he breaks forth, “ ( sweet exchange! O design past finding out! O bounties never to have been expected! That the iniquity of many should be hidden in One righteous; that the righteousness of One should justify many unrighteous!”
We have said enough, we trust, to draw the attention of inquiring students to the Epistle to Diognetus. By all means they should study it in the original. So doing, they will find much light cast on the history of the church, and of early opinion.
Robinson's Greek and English Lexicon of the New Testament. New
Edition. Longman & Co., London. Tuere are some amongst us old enough to remember the days when Schrevel found deference, and Hederic held sway as an oracular authority, among students of Greek. In no department of literature has greater improvement been visible than the transition from the old lexicons of the Greek language—with all their defects of arrangement both in the words themselves, and the meanings assigned to them, while every meaning and definition loomed through the mist of a questionable Latinity—to the lexicons of the same language now in use, and in which the student enjoys mental training of the best kind as he ponders the learning and philosophy exhibited in the arrangement, etymology, and history of the words, with the copious analysis of every shade of meaning attached to them. This new era in Greek lexicography may be held to date from the appearance of Schneider's third edition of his lexicon in 1819. Passow, in the successive parts and editions of his work, from 1819 to 1831, made a great advance even upon Schneider, adopted better principles in the simple matter of arrangement, and bestowed far more care in the historical development of the words. In the special department of Hellenistic Greek, Wahl and Bretschneider by their learned labours conferred signal benefit on the religious world, not to speak of the work of Schleusner, which, considering the state of lexicography at the time of its appearance, deserves respectful mention now that it is almost superseded by dictionaries of higher character, among which, so far as the illustration of the Greek Testament is concerned, the Lexicon of Dr Robinson holds no second place.
The author may be said to have undergone a lengthened training for the execution of his important task. Ile bad translated the Claris Philologica of Wahl in 1825, and after the diligent labour of many years he produced the first edition of his own lexicon in 1836. His translation, moreover, of the Lexicon of the Hebrew language by Gesenius familiarised him with subjects of research, a thorough knowledge of which is indispensable in order to understand the Greek of the New Testament. His labours in the constant prosecution of Biblical literature disciplined his mind still further in questions of lexicography. His travels and inquiries in the East, of which his “Biblical Researches" -by far the most important work of the kind since the days of Reland. -form the lasting memorial, enriched him with information, fresh and varied, of which he has availed himself in the historical articles of the present edition of his work. His official duties, moreover, bad for many years consisted in the daily interpretation of the New Testament to large classes of young men, and he had kept pace with all that Wahl and Bretschneider had been doing in the improvement of their respec