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Received October, 1894. 
Accessions No. Ob V 7 ZL. Class No. 



Jntrokt&m is % fegcihal 













THE alternative title prefixed to this volume has 
been assumed, rather than the simple designation of 
" Hermeneutics of the New Testament," chiefly for 
the purpose of indicating, that a certain latitude may 
be expected in it, both in regard to the range of sub 
jects discussed, and in regard to the measure and 
method of treatment respectively applied to them. 
Works, indeed, could readily be named, bearing the 
title of Hermeneutics, which have taken nearly as much 
license in both respects, as I need to vindicate for my 
self in connexion with the present publication. But 
the term is strictly applicable only to such works as 
unfold the principles of Interpretation, and give to 
these a regular, consecutive, and scientific treatment. 
Of this sort is the comparatively recent work of Cel- 
lerier (Manuel <$ Hermeneutique, 1852,) which, how 
ever objectionable in respect to the principles it occa 
sionally enunciates, is one of the most systematic and 
complete in form, treating, after a pretty long intro 
duction, successively of the Psychological elements and 
aspects of the subject the Grammatical, the Histo 
rical, the Scriptuary (or more peculiarly Biblical,) the 
Doctrinal. In this province, however, it is possible to 
sacrifice to completeness or perfection of form greatly 
more than there is any reasonable prospect of gaining 


by it. Higher ends have here to be aimed at than 
can always be reached by a rigid adherence to scien 
tific method, or a close regard to artistic proportions. 
For, in a field so various as that of New Testament 
Scripture, so complicated, touching on so many rela 
tions, and embracing topics so diverse alike in nature 
and in importance, it often depends, not more, perhaps 
even less, upon the hermeneutical principles adopted, 
than upon the mode of applying these principles to 
particular cases, and passages of more peculiar diffi 
culty, that solid footing is to be obtained, and satis 
factory results accomplished. Accordingly, in those 
hermeneutical works, which take the more precise and 
scientific form, there is always what appears to me 
much needless waste in one direction, and ill-judged 
parsimony in another. Not a little space is occupied 
in announcing, or illustrating principles, which every 
one knows and admits, and which often have no special 
bearing on the interpretation of Scripture ; while many 
of the points more peculiarly calling for elucidation 
are summarily disposed of, and left much as they were 
found. Even when the simpler elements of the sub 
ject are correctly enough stated, little often in con 
nexion with them is properly wrought out ; and unless 
the student of Scripture is content to take all on the 
authority of his Master, he will often feel as much at 
a loss as ever in respect to the things for which he 
more especially seeks the help of a qualified instructor. 
A work that is really fitted in the present day to 
serve the purpose of a proper guide-book, must un 
doubtedly so far possess a scientific character, that it 
shall exhibit an acquaintance with the several branches 
of learning and knowledge, which illustrate the lan 
guage and structure, the incidental allusions, and the 


main theme of the sacred, books, and apply what it 
may thence appropriate in an orderly and judicious 
manner. If deficient in this, it fails in the fundamen 
tals of the subject. But it should be allowed to move 
with some freedom in the selection of its topics, and 
in the relative care and consideration that it expends 
upon some of them, as compared w r ith others. It can 
not otherwise occupy, in a serviceable manner, the 
intermediate ground, that properly belongs to it, be 
tween Lexicons, Grammars, Books of Antiquities, etc., 
on the one hand, and formal commentaries on the 
other turning, as it should do, to such account the 
materials furnished by the former class of productions, 
as may aid and qualify the student for an independent 
and discriminating use of the latter. This is the pecu 
liar province and object of a Hermeneutical work ori 
Scripture, and that will always come practically the 
nearest to the mark, which is the best fitted to place 
the student of Scripture in the position now indicated. 
In works composed with such an aim, there must 
ever be room for some diversity of judgment as to the 
subjects that should be brought into notice, and the 
degree of consideration respectively given to them. 
Different persons will naturally form their opinions 
from somewhat different points of view; and what will 
appear to some the fittest arrangement to be adopted, 
arid the points most in need of investigation, may not 
always be regarded in exactly the same light by others. 
In this respect I have simply to say, that I have en 
deavoured to exercise an impartial judgment, influ 
enced, no doubt, to some extent, by what my own 
experience, coupled with the general tendencies of the 
age, may have suggested to me as of importance. 
Throughout the volume prominence has been given 



to be virtually the same with a conditional ground 
for the other. The subject of discourse with me, how 
ever, was prophecy, simply as it appears in the writ 
ten Word, as an objective communication to men. In 
handling this, I, no doubt, occasionally spoke of the 
Divine purposes ; but of these, as is evident from the 
whole tenor and connexion of the discourse, not as 
formed in the mind of God, and determining- with in 
finite and unerring wisdom the entire system of the 
Divine administration. I purposely abstained from 
entering upon this higher region, and confined my 
attention to the intimations of the Divine will as dis 
closed in the prophetic word to these as coming into 
contact with men s obligations and responsibilities 
and therefore, in a greater or less degree (for they dif 
fer widely in the extent to which they admit it,) 
tinged with that anthropomorphic colouring, which 
is required to adapt the communications of Heaven to 
the thoughts and feelings, the ever varying states and 
conditions of men. The subject, as presented by me, 
might be assigned to that species of accommodation 
treated of in Part I. sect. 5 of this volume, according 
to which, while the form given to spiritual things 
bears the variable type of what is human, there are 
not the less realities lying behind, fixed and immuta 
ble. And in the very brief and general allusion, which 
was made to the Calvinistic writers of a former age, 
nothing more was designed than to intimate, in the 
shortest manner possible it was implied, indeed, 
rather than intimated that the distinction (however 
expressed) between the secret and the revealed, or 
between the absolute decrees and the conditional an 
nouncements of God, did not, to my view, satisfactorily 
explicate the matter at issue. I thought so then, and 


I think so still, notwithstanding the advantage I have 
derived from the instructions of so learned a reviewer. 
To divide, as he and his authorities do, between pro 
phecy, considered as equivalent to Divine decrees, and 
prophecy, as involving matter of commination or pro 
mise the former absolute, the latter conditional 
does not satisfy my "exegetical conscience/ and I am 
afraid never can. It seems to me to introduce an arti 
ficial distinction into the prophetic word, which is not 
indicated in that word itself, nor admits of being pro 
perly drawn; and has the appearance, at least, of at 
tempting, by the mere adoption of a particular phrase 
ology, or by arbitrarily singling out portions of the 
same prophetic message, to tide over difficulties in in 
terpretation, which attach to the subject as a concrete 
whole, as an objective communication addressed to the 
fears or the hopes of mankind. 

But this is not the place for minute or lengthened 
explanations on the subject. I wished merely, in a 
few sentences, to deliver my protest against a style of 
criticism which I hold to be essentially unfair, and 
which, if similarly applied to the sacred writers, might 
readily be made to turn one half of them against an 
other. It is not likely that I shall refer to any thing 
of the same sort in future. No one, who reads with a 
candid and unbiassed spirit what is written in this, or in 
previous productions of my pen, can have any doubt 
that the great principles of the Reformed churches are 
therein maintained and vindicated. 

The Third Part of the volume, which is devoted to 
the quotations from the Old Testament in the New, 
occupies a larger space than I could have wished. 
But it relates to a branch of the subject which, in the 
present day, is of special importance; and I did not 


see how my main object could be served without taking 
it up in detail, and examining somewhat carefully the 
parts which are more peculiarly attended with diffi 
culty. For those who would study the subject in its 
relation to Typology, and would trace the gradual 
evolution of the meaning of Old Testament Scripture, 
through the application of particular passages to the 
realities of the Gospel, I take leave to refer to .the 
first volume of my Typology, and especially to the 
Appendix in that volume on this particular subject. 

P. F. 

GLASGOW, May, 1858. 


In Page 19, line 3G, for ty, read 1%. 

" 35, lines 10 and 11, for ti$ and EIJ, read 
" 35, for tVa, read L va>. 

42, line 29, for at^ua, read cu ( ua. 
" 43, line 2, for "W3, read 
" 45, line 23, for W3>, read 
" 45, line 26, for Drn , read 
" 59, line 24, for a* cov, read di 
" 222, line 31, for (v. 36,) read (iii. 36.) 

326, line 19, for <xS?>, read a 
" 407, line 22, for o, read St. 
" 411, line 2, for drtofftMw, read a 
" 416, line 22, for ar wj, read avrotj. 
" 40, line 11, for aStv, read a8r t v. 
11 421, line 11, for "U, read !&. 

431, line 33, for foii^, read 1*01; 

; y jBtfv^i * J 






SECTION FIRST. The Original Language of the New Testament, 13 

SECTION SECOND. The Characteristics of New Testament Greek,. 25 

Deviation from classic purity, p. 25-31 ; its basis in the later com 
mon dialect, p. 31-37; its Hebraistic impress, p. 37-45; mis 
takes made respecting this, p. 45-54; impress derived from 
new relations and ideas, p. 54-61. 

SECTION THIRD. Collateral Sources for determining the Sense, and 

explaining the Peculiarities of New Testament Scripture, 61 

Writings of Philo and Josephus, p. 62-66; Jewish Rabbinical 
writings, p. 66-70; ancient versions, p. 70-74; early Fathers, 
p. 74-78; Books of Antiquities, etc., p. 78, 79. 

SECTION FOURTH. General Rules and Principles to be followed in the 

Interpretation of Particular Words and Passages, 79 

SECTION FIFTH. Of False and True Accommodation ; or the Influence 
that should be allowed to Prevailing Modes of Thought in fa 
shioning the views and utterances of the Sacred Writers, 106 

SECTION SIXTH. The Respect due in the Interpretation of the New 
Testament to the Analogy of the Faith, or from one part of 
Scripture to another; and the further respect to be had to the 
Religions of the Ancient World, the True and the False, 121 

SECTION SEVENTH. The Relation of the Old to the New in God s Dis 
pensations more exactly denned, with the view of preventing 
mistaken or partial Interpretations of such portions of New 
Testament Scripture as bear on it, ,. 139 

SECTION EIGHTH. On the proper interpretation of the Tropical parts 

of the New Testament, 157 

SECTION NINTH. The Parables of Christ, their proper Interpretation 

and Treatment, 173 

SECTION TENTH. On the Subject of Parallelism as bearing on the 

Structure and Interpretation of New Testament Scripture, 189 




SECTION FIRST. The Two Genealogies of Christ, given respectively 

by the Evangelists Matthew and Luke, .............................. 205 

SECTION SECOND. The designations and doctrine of Angels, with re 
ference more especially to the Interpretation of passages in 
New Testament Scripture, .............................................. 225 

SECTION THIRD. On the Names of Christ in New Testament Scripture, 

and, in particular, on the use of Xptoroj and TLOJ tov dvflpwrtov, 257 

SECTION FOURTH. On the Import and Use of certain terms, which 
express an antagonistic relation to Christ s Person and Autho 
rity, ^vSo8i8daxahot , ^cvSorfpcxJ^T ac., 4 vSo#pKjT oj, dj"ri^piOT oj r ... 275 

SECTION FIFTH. On |3a7tftw and its cognates, with special reference 

to the mode of administering Baptism, .............................. 294 

SECTION SIXTH. Import and Use of Hades, #Sjjs, in Scripture, ......... 315 

SECTION SEVENTH. On the Import and Use of Siafl^jj in the New Tes 

tament, ........ . ............................................................. 338 

SECTION EIGHTH. On the Import of certain terms employed in New 
Testament Scripture to indicate the nature and extent of the re 
novation to be accomplished through the Gospel, juttcM/ota, rta- 


SECTION NINTH. On the use of Paraskeuc and Pasclia in St. John s 
account of our Lord s last sufferings; and the question there 
with connected, whether our Lord kept His last Passover on the 
same day as the Jews, .................................................. 368 





SECTION FIRST. Quotations from the Old Testament in the New, con 
sidered in respect to the manner of citation, 393 

SECTION SECOND. Quotations from the Old Testament in the New, con 
sidered in respect to the mode of application, 456 

APPENDIX. The historical circumstances that led to Christ s birth at 

Bethlehem Cyrenius and the taxing, 504 





IN the more exact and scientific study of the Sacred Scrip 
tures, the first object, in the order of nature, that calls for 
examination, has respect to the state of the original records. 
The possession of a pure text is an indispensable preliminary 
to a thoroughly correct and trustworthy exposition. And, as 
well from its importance as from the peculiar character of the 
investigations belonging to it, this is now fitly assigned to a 
distinct branch of Biblical study. Next to it in order, and 
certainly not inferior in importance, is a correct and discri 
minating acquaintance with the original language of Scripture, 
and the principles that should guide our inquiries into its 
meaning and purport. All theology that is really sound, and 
that will stand the test of time, must have its foundation here. 
The reformers, to their credit, clearly perceived this, and were 
hence led to doctrinal results, which, in the main, never have 
been, and never can be displaced. They proceeded on the 
sound maxim of Melancthon, that Scripture cannot be under 
stood theologically, unless it has been already understood gram 
matically, (Scriptura non potest intelligi theologice, nisi an- 
tea sit intellecta grammatice.) In such statements, of course, 
the term grammatical must be taken in its wider sense, as 
comprehending all that is necessary to a just discernment of 


the import and spirit of the original. And if such a critical 
acquaintance with the mere language of sacred Scripture be 
but one element of success, it still is an element of very pe 
culiar moment to the -well-furnished theologian ; since it has 
respect to the ultimate source of all that is sound and valua 
ble in theological attainment. 

As regards the Scriptures of the New Testament, with 
which alone we have properly to do at present, it is only the 
Greek language that comes directly into notice; since the 
whole of the writings that compose the New Testament are 
found, as to their orfginal form, in no other language than 
that of the Greek. If any of them ever existed in a prior 
original, it no longer does so. Nor, with the exception of St. 
Matthew s Gospel, and the Epistle to the Hebrews, has it ever 
been imagined, but by a few dreaming and speculative minds, 
that the books of the New Testament appeared originally in 
any other language. The Epistle to the Hebrews is now also 
held by all men of competent learning to have been originally 
composed in Greek. And there only remains the gospel of 
St. Matthew about which there may stili be some room for 
difference of opinion though, even in regard to it, the con 
viction has of late been growing in favour of the proper origi 
nality of its present form, which was certainly in current use 
before the close of the apostolic age. 

Whence, then, did this predilection for the Greek arise? 
Were our Lord s discourses, and the writings of the Evange 
lists, as well as of the apostles, transmitted to us in Greek, 
because that was the current language of the place and time? 
Was this really the language in which our Lord and his apostles 
usually spoke? So, some have been disposed to maintain ; and 
though it is a question rather of antiquarian interest, than of 
any vital moment for the interpretation of Scripture, it is en 
titled to some consideration at our hands. It has also a certain 
bearing on the dispute respecting the original language of St. 
Matthew s Gospel. Indeed, it was chiefly in connexion with 
this more special question, that the other pressed itself on the 
attention of Biblical students. Thus Hug, in his introduction 
to the New Testament, went at considerable length into the 


investigation of the subject, for the purpose of vindicating the 
proper originality of the Greek gospel of Matthew; and en 
deavoured to prove, that the Greek language was in current 
use throughout Palestine at the commencement of the Chris 
tian era so much so, that the people generally understood 
it, that our Lord himself often employed it, nor had His evan 
gelists and apostles any proper reason for resorting to another 
in those writings, which were intended for circulation in Pa 
lestine and the neighbouring regions. But the fullest and, 
we believe, also the ablest defence of this view, is to be found 
in the treatise of an Italian Ecclesiastic, Dominici Diodati, 
entitled De Christo Graece loquente exercitatio, originally 
published at Naples in 1767, and re-published in this country 
not many years since. In this treatise the subject is discussed, 
partly on general grounds, as on its own account interesting 
and important to the Biblical student, and partly also with 
reference to its bearing on the question of the original lan 
guage of Matthew s Gospel. The position which the author 
labours to establish, is, that "neither Hebrew, Syriac, nor 
Latin, was the vernacular language of the Saviour, but Greek." 
It will be readily understood, on the other side, that those who 
held the contrary opinion respecting Matthew s Gospel viz., 
that it was originally written in Hebrew for the use of the 
Jewish believers in Syria were naturally led to controvert 
the position, that Greek was generally spoken and understood 
in Palestine : they held, that not Greek, but Aramaic, a sort 
of broken Hebrew, was the only language in general use, and 
that also commonly employed by our Lord and his apostles in 
their public discourses. 

Now, on a question of this kind, it is not difficult for an 
ingenious theorist, or an eager disputant, to sort and apply 
some scattered notices of ancient writers, either directly or 
indirectly bearing on the subject, in such a way as to give 
them a plausible appearance, and compel them to pay tribute 
to the side of the controversy he has espoused. But there 
are certain great principles applicable to the case which, with 
all sober and impartial minds, must go far to settle it, and 
which cannot be overthrown, or materially modified by any 


occasional statements or fragmentary notices culled out of 
ancient records. It is found, not in the history of one people, 
but in the history of nations generally, that there is nothing 
which is more tenacious of its grasp, and which more slowly 
yields to the force of foreign influences, than the vernacular 
language of a people. " Language is after all the most du 
rable of human monuments. Conquerors may overthrow em 
pires and states; earthquakes may swallow up cities; time 
may confound all things besides: but the winged words, in 
which man gives utterance to his feelings and thoughts, often 
outlast all these ravages, and preserve the memory of nations 
long after they have ceased to exist. That which seems the 
most fragile, the most variable, the most evanescent of human 
attributes or possessions, becomes in reality the most perma 
nent, the most indestructible. If no longer able to support 
an independent existence, it clings to and coalesces with some 
more recent and robust dialect: if lost in one form, it is al 
most certain to re-appear in another exhibiting amidst all 
changes and disfigurations incontestable traces of its origin. 
This law of decay and reproduction, of fluctuation yet perma 
nence, is so general, that it is principally from analytical in 
quiries into the origin, composition, and affinities of language, 
that we derive what knowledge we possess of the early history 
and fortunes of nations." 1 

In confirmation of this, it is only necessary to point to a 
few well-known examples. One of the most striking is fur 
nished by the ancient country of the Pharaohs, after the time 
that their dynasty came to an end, and a succession of con 
quests, followed by the ascendency of a foreign power, swept 
over the land. Persian, Macedonian, Roman, and Arabian 
conquerors in turn held possession of the throne of Egypt, 
each endeavouring to establish as firmly as possible their do 
minion over the vanquished, and to render their sway enduring 
and complete. Yet after this subduing and fusing process 
had been proceeding for twelve or fourteen centuries, we have 
the best grounds for believing that the language of the Pha 
raohs still survived, and continued, though not, we may well 

1 Encyclopedia Britannica, 7th ed., Art. Hieroglyphics, c. 2d. 


conceive, without the introduction of many foreign admixtures, 
to form the staple of the vernacular tongue of the people. 
What is called the Coptic language is but a correct form of 
the old Egyptic, (as the name also, perhaps, is. 1 ) Into this 
language the Scriptures were translated in the earlier ages of 
Christianity; a liturgy in common use probably about the 
fifth or sixth century, is still employed by the few remaining 
Copts of the present day though the Coptic tongue in which 
it is written is no longer understood by them. They adhere 
to it merely as a venerable relic of the better past of their 
history ; of which it forms an abiding, though a mournful and 
mummy-like witness. But its introduction into the churches 
of Egypt a few centuries after the Christian era testifies to 
the fact, that the substance of the ancient language had with 
stood the influences of foreign conquest and dominion for more 
than a thousand years. 

We may, however, take an example nearer home. The 
Norman conquest took place in the year 1066; and it is well 
known to have been the policy of the first Norman kings a 
policy, too, that was continued with steady aim by their suc 
cessors to get rid of the old Saxon entirely, and have it sup 
planted by their own Norman French. In this French the 
statutes of the realm were written ; so also were commentaries 
upon the laws, and the decisions of the courts of justice. In 
many places it was at length introduced into the common 
schools; so that an old chronicler (Ralph Higden) complains 
of it as a thing " against the usage and manner of all other 
nations," that " children in schools are compelled for to leave 
their own language, and to construe their lessons and their 
things in French." A change in this respect only began to 
be introduced about the year 1885 more than three centu 
ries after the conquest when the English again resumed its 
place in the schools ; and though it was English materially 
altered, betraying in many respects the influence of Norman 
domination, yet it still retained its old Saxon root and trunk. 
The power and policy of the conquerors, though in active ope 
ration for more than three centuries, could prevail no further 

? Gyptos, Coptos, Coptic. 


than to superinduce some partial changes upon the mother 
tongue of the people, and introduce some additional terms; 
and that, too, while this tongue itself was in a comparatively 
crude state, and very far from having reached its matured 

Other examples might be referred to such as the Welsh, 
the Gaelic, and the Irish-speaking portions of the British Isles, 
from which still more powerful and long-continued influences 
have not freen sufficient to dislodge the ancient dialects from 
their place, as the customary vehicles of intercourse among 
the people. But it is needless to enlarge. The cases adduced 
are by no means singular; they are but specimens of a multi 
tude exemplifications of principles and habits that are inhe 
rent in human nature, operating equally among all races and 
in all climes. And is it, then, to be conceived, with such facts 
presenting themselves in the linguistic history of tribes and 
nations, that the effect of a foreign rule in Palestine a rule 
that had not for more than two or three centuries possessed 
the form of a stringent and pervasive domination the rule, 
too, of masters, who themselves spoke different languages, 
first Persian, then Greek, then lioman, and who never were 
so closely identified with the subjects of their sway as in the 
cases already noticed is it yet to be conceived, that the ef 
fect here was to be such, as to bring about an entire revolu 
tion in the vernacular language of the people? The suppo 
sition is in the highest degree improbable we may even say, 
morally impossible; the rather so, as the Jews had reasons 
connected with their religion, their history, and their pros 
pects, for cleaving to their language, which no other people, 
either in ancient or in modern times, equally possessed. 
Every thing in the past and the future contributed to throw 
an air of sacredness and grandeur around the Hebrew lan 
guage, which must have doubly endeared it to their minds, 
and, on the part of their conquerors, have greatly aggravated 
the difficulty of supplanting it by another altogether different. 

It is, therefore, against all analogy, .and in opposition to 
the strongest tendencies of human nature, to suppose that in 
such circumstances the Greek tongue should, in the age of 


our Lord and His apostles, have come into general use in Pa 
lestine, and to any considerable extent taken the place of 
Aramaic. "With far more probability might it be maintained 
that Norman and not Anglo-Saxon was the language of com 
mon life among the English in the thirteenth and fourteenth 
centuries, or that in the present day English is understood 
and spoken by the mass of the population in the Principality 
of Wales, or in the Highlands of Scotland. It is true, how 
ever, that the ancient language of Palestine had undergone a 
certain change; it had in some degree suffered by the misfor 
tunes of the people, and had lost its original purity. The 
long sojourn in Chaldea, in the first instance, then the in 
tercourse kept up with the neighbouring Syrian tribes through 
commerce, war, and marriage relationships, naturally brought 
into it foreign elements, and imparted to it a Syro-Chaldaic 
form. Of this we have undoubted indications, both in the 
later books of the Old Testament, and in occasional notices 
and expressions that occur in the New. But these successive 
changes only affected the accidents of the language ; they in 
troduced new dialects, antiquated particular words and phrases, 
and obtained currency for others in their stead; but as in 
all similar cases they left the bones and sinews of the lan 
guage, its structure and essence, substantially what they were. 
The historical proofs of this are perfectly sufficient. Jose- 
phus, for example, constantly distinguishes between his native 
tongue and the Greek. While he speaks of having applied 
diligently to domestic and foreign literature, so as even to be 
acknowledged by all his countrymen as a person of superior 
learning, he yet confesses himself to have been so long accus 
tomed to his own tongue (xdrpcoz auvfjdeta) that he could not 
attain to an accurate pronunciation of the Greek, (Antiq. xx. 
11, 2.) In the introduction, as well to the Antiquities as to 
the Wars, he speaks of writing in the Greek language and in 
his native tongue, as two distinct things, and says, that what 
he originally wrote in the one he afterwards translated into 
the other, ( E/j.o.ot ~()M Gay /j-ZTufictAaju, & ro?c fiapfidpotz ?"fi ~u- 
roUu (Twrdzaz, Bell. Jud. Pro. 1, Antiq. Pro. 2.) And once 
and again he represents the communications sent from Titus 


during the siege of Jerusalem as being interpreted by himself 
to the Jews, or by some other person who Hebraised (j8a^av,) 
as he terms it, or spake to them in their own tongue (narpiaj 
fhoocrfl, Bell., v. 9, 2, vi. 2, 11.) At the same time he shows, 
by occasional allusions to Syriac or Babylonian terms, that 
the Hebrew current in his day was not altogether identical 
with that of earlier times as when, speaking of the high 
priest s upper robe or girdle, he tells us the old designation 
for it had been dropt (GJ3K, abaneth,) and it was now called by 
the Babylonian name Emia, (Antiq. iii..T, 2,) a proof that 
the foreign influence had reached even to the terms for sacred 
things, and if to these, then assuredly to many others. 

When we turn to the New Testament, the evidence is not 
less clear on both points both, that the language in common 
use in Palestine was of the Hebrew, not of the Greek cha 
racter, yet Hebrew of the Aramaic, not of the older and purer 
Hebrew stamp. Thus, when our Lord appears in the attitude 
of addressing any one very familiarly, of giving or adopting 
designations for common use, He is represented as speaking 
in Aramaic: as when He said to the daughter of Jairus, Ta- 
litha cumi, ^p*p wvSp, Mark v. 41,) and to the blind man, 
Ephphatha, (nnanN, Mark vii. 34;) or when He referred to 
the terms currently employed among the people-, such as raka, 
rabbi, corban; when he applied to His disciples such epithets 
as Cephas, Bar-jona, Boanerges, ( &.*? "2? ;) or when on the 
cross He exclaimed, Eli, Eli, lama Sabacthani. Similar in 
dications are also to be found in the Acts of the Apostles 
in the name, for example, reported to have been given by the 
Jews to the field purchased by the reward of Judas treachery, 
Aceldama, (properly <A*AJ*jw*> ^?^p3, i. 19;) or of tabitha 
as the familiar term, the native word for the Greek opxet$, 
(ix. 36;) or, finally, in the fact of St. Paul addressing the 
Jewish multitude on the occasion of his being apprehended in 
the temple, in the Hebrew tongue, and their giving, on that 
account, the more attentive heed to him, as addressing them 
through a medium which was at once intelligible and congenial 
to their minds, (ch. xxii. 1.) The composition also of Targums 
among the Eastern Jews, some time about the apostolic age, 


(certainly little if at all later,) can only be explained on the 
supposition that the Aramaic language in which they were 
written, was that currently employed at the time by the Jews 
in Palestine and the adjoining regions. Nor is there any clear 
or even probable evidence of the Greek translation of the Old 
Testament Scriptures ever having been used in the synagogues 
of Palestine and Syria. The eiforts that have been made to 
establish this point, have utterly failed ; indeed, it can scarcely 
be said, that so much as one of the proofs advanced by Dio- 
dati in support of it, has any proper bearing on the subject. 1 
On all these grounds it appears to us a matter of historical 
certainty, that the Aramaic, or later Syro-Chaldaic form of 
the Hebrew, was in the age of our Lord the vernacular lan 
guage of the Jewish people, and consequently the medium of 
intercourse on all ordinary occasions. At the same time, it 
cannot be reasonably doubted, on the other side, that from a 
long and varied concatenation of circumstances, the Greek 
language must have been very commonly understood by the 
higher and more educated classes throughout Syria. It was 
the policy both of Alexander and of his successors in that 
part of the world, to extend the language and culture, as well 
as ascendency of Greece. With this view cities were planted 
af convenient distances, which might be considered Grecian 
rather than Asiatic in their population and manners. The 
Syrian kings, by whom the Macedonian line of rulers was 
continued, kept up Greek as the court language, and were 
doubtless followed by their official representatives, and the 
influential classes generally throughout the country. The 
army, too, though not entirely, nor perhaps even in the major 
part, yet certainly in very considerable proportions, was com 
posed of persons of Grecian origin, who could not fail to make 
the Greek language in some sense familiar at the various mili 
tary stations in the regions of Syria. Even after the Mace 
donian rule had terminated, and all became subject to the 
sway of the Romans, it was still usually through the medium 

1 The arguments by Diodati are well met by Dr. Pfannkuche, in vol. II., 
of Bib. Cabinet. A fair summary of the arguments on both sides is given by 
Dr, Davidson, in his Introduction to the New Testament, I. pp. 38 40. 


of the Greek tongue that official intercourse was maintained, 
and the decrees of government were made known. It is in 
the very nature of things impossible that so many Hellenizing 
influences should have continued in operation for two or three 
centuries, without leading somewhat generally to a partial 
knowledge of Greek among the better classes in all parts of 
Syria. There were also circumstances more strictly peculiar 
to the Jewish people, which require to be taken into account, 
and which could not be without their effect in bringing them 
to some extent acquainted with the Greek language. Partly 
from special encouragements held out to them at the founding 
of Alexandria, a Grecian city, and partly, perhaps, from the 
mercantile spirit which began to take possession of them 
from the time of the Babylonish exile, Alexandria became 
one of their great centres, where, as we are told by Philo, 
they formed about two-fifths of the entire population. They 
abounded also, as is clear alone from the Acts of the Apostles, 
in the Greek-speaking cities of Asia Minor, and in those of 
Greece itself. From whatever causes, the dispersion seems, 
for some generations previous to the Christian era, to have 
taken very much a western, and specially a Grecian di 
rection; in every place of importance inhabited by Greeks, 
members of the stock of Israel had their homes and syna 
gogues. It is only, too, what might have been expected in 
the circumstances, that the culture and enterprise which dis 
tinguished the communities in those Grecian cities, would act 
with stimulating effect upon the Jewish mind, and bring its 
powers into more energetic play and freedom of action, than 
was likely to be found among the Palestinian Jews, who were 
sealed up in their national bigotry and stagnant Pharisaism. 
Hence, the only moral and religious productions which are 
known to have appeared among the Jews between the closing 
of the Old Testament canon and the birth of Christ those 
contained in the Apocryphal writings came chiefly if not 
entirely from the pen of the Hellenistic Jews, and exist only 
most probably never did exist but in the Greek language. 
Hence also the Greek translation of the Old Testament, which 
was completed several generations before the Christian era, 


and which, there is good reason to believe, was in extensive 
use about that era among the Jewish people. So that, look 
ing to the numbers, the higher intelligence, and varied resources 
of the Hellenistic Jews, and taking into account their frequent 
personal visits to Palestine at the ever-recurring festivals, we 
cannot doubt that they materially contributed to a partial 
knowledge and use of the Greek tongue among their brethren 
in Palestine. 

As regards the question, then, whether our Lord and his 
immediate disciples ever spoke in Greek to their countrymen 
in Judea, it may be admitted as perfectly possible, perhaps 
even probable, that they sometimes did so but the reverse of 
probable, that such should haye been their usual practice, or 
that their public addresses should have been originally de 
livered in that tongue; the more so, as their intercourse for 
the most part lay, not with the more refined and educated, 
but with the humbler classes of society. But in respect to 
the further question, why in such a case the books of the New 
Testament, including those which contain our Lord s personal 
discourses, should, with at most one exception if the Gospel 
of St. Matthew be indeed an exception have been originally 
composed in the Greek, rather than the Aramaic language? 
the answer is obvious that at the time those books were 
written, and for the individuals and communities whose spiri 
tual good they more immediately contemplated, the Greek 
language was on every account the fittest medium. It was 
comparatively but a small portion of the people resident in 
Jerusalem and Judea, who embraced the Christian faith; and 
those who did, having in the first instance enjoyed many op 
portunities of becoming personally acquainted with the facts 
of gospel history, and enjoying afterwards the ministry of 
apostles and evangelists, who were perfectly cognisant of the 
whole, were in a jnanner independent of any written records. 
Besides, the troubles which shortly after befel their native 
land, and which were distinctly foreseen by the founders of 
the Christian faith, destined, as they were, to scatter the 
power of the Jewish nation, and to render its land and people 
monuments of judgment, presented an anticipative reason 


against committing the sacred and permanent records of the 
Christian faith to the Hebrew language. That language, it 
self already corrupted and broken, was presently to become 
to all but the merest fragment of the Jews themselves, anti 
quated and obsolete. The real centres of Christianity the 
places where it took firmest root, and from which it sent forth 
its regenerating power among the nations from the time that 
authoritative records of its facts and expositions of its doc 
trines became necessary were to be found in Greek-speaking 
communities the communities scattered throughout the cities 
of Asia Minor, of Greece, at Rome and the West where also 
the first converts to the faith consisted chiefly of those whose 
native tongue was Greek. Whether, therefore, respect were 
had to the immediate wants of the first Christian communities, 
or to the quarters in which the gospel was to find its most ac 
tive agents and representatives, and the direction it was ap 
pointed to take in the world, the Greek was obviously the lan 
guage in which its original and authoritative documents be 
hooved to be written. Whatever reasons there were for the 
adherents of Judaism getting the Scriptures of the Old Tes 
tament rendered into Greek; whatever reasons also Josephus 
could have for translating into Greek his Jewish histories, and 
the authors of the Apocryphal writings for adopting that lan 
guage in preference to Aramaic, the same reasons existed, 
and in far greater force, for the inspired writings, which were 
to form in earlier and later times the fundamental records of 
the Christian faith, being composed in the Greek language, 
and in that language committed to the faithful keeping of 
the church. Had they not been originally composed in Greek, 
the course of Providence would presently have required that 
they should be translated into Greek ; and considering how 
much depended on the correct knowledge of them, and how 
many sources we have for illustrating Greek, as compared 
with Aramaic productions, it was unspeakably better that, 
from the first, they should have appeared in a Greek form. 




I. Being satisfied that the books of the New Testament 
were written in Greek, our next inquiry naturally turns on 
the precise character of this Greek. Is it fashioned after the 
model of classical Greek, or has it laws and properties of its 
own? If the latter, wherein consist its distinctive peculiari 
ties? This is evidently a subject of no small moment for the 
correct interpretation of the New Testament writings, and de 
mands a careful examination. In the present day, it can 
scarcely be said, that there is any material difference of opi 
nion upon the subject. This common agreement, however, 
is the result partly of a long controversy, and partly of the 
more exact and impartial treatment of Scripture, which is the 
general characteristic of present, as compared with earlier, 
times. Indeed, the question, in so far as it has been agitated, 
has usually turned, not so much upon the fact of a difference 
between New Testament and classical Greek, (which no com 
petent scholar could fail to perceive,) as upon the extent of 
the difference, and the precise light in which it was to be re 
garded. So early as the period of the Reformation, we find 
distinct notice taken of the difference. Erasmus, for exam 
ple, says on Acts x. 38, " The apostles had not learned their 
Greek from the speeches of Demosthenes, but from the lan 
guage of common discourse ; and I should think it best suited 
to the gospel of Christ, that it was communicated in a simple 
and unpolished style, and that the discourse of the apostles 
resembled their clothing, their manners, and their whole life. 
Pious persons should as little take offence at the language of 
the apostles, as at their unwashed bodies, and their plebeian 
garments." Beza, in a long note on the same chapter, only 
so far controverts the sentiments of Erasmus, as the latter had 
affirmed the language of the apostles to be relatively imper 
fect and obscure, as well as unpolished; but he admits the 


existence of Hebraistic peculiarities, and of occasional sole 
cisms. Practically, however, the theological writers of that 
period treated the language of the New Testament much as 
they would have done any other production in Greek, and as 
if it had no very marked peculiarities of its own. The doc 
trinal discussions, too, in which they, and their immediate 
successors in sacred learning, were so much engaged, tended 
not a little to impede the exact philological study of the Greek 
Scriptures, and their relation in point of dialect to other Greek 
writings, from a too prominent regard to polemical discussions. 
Often, indeed, Greek studies were prosecuted for the pur 
pose mainly of impugning or defending out of Scripture a par 
ticular class of doctrines; and, as a natural consequence, the 
New Testament came to be regarded as an ordinary specimen 
of Greek, and to be commonly used as a class-book for the 
acquirement of the language. Nor, by and by, were there 
wanting persons to contend for the absolute purity of its style 
including among others the well-known printer, Robert Ste 
phens persons who sought to prove, that the seeming pecu 
liarities of the New Testament dialect were also to be met 
with in the contemporaneous and earlier writings of Greece. 
It was the more common opinion, however, among learned 
men during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, that 
there are certain terms and modes of expression frequently 
employed in the New Testament, and derived from the Hebrew, 
which characteristically distinguish it from the writings belong 
ing to Greece proper; but yet that the introduction of these 
to use the language of Pfeiffer, who speaks the general sen 
timent of his age 1 " is to be sought, not in any degeneracy 
of the Greek language into a distinct Hellenistic dialect, but 
in an assimilation of the style of the New Testament to that 
of the Old, through an especial direction of the Holy Spirit. 
Such Hebraisms are not to be reckoned as solecisms, or barba 
risms, but modes of speech, which are peculiar to the Holy 
Spirit. If the style of the New Testament (he adds) may be 
designated by any name, it should rather be called after the 
authors, the sacred Greek style, than either Hellenistic, or 

1 Klausen s Hermeneutik, p. 260. 


half Hebraistic, or Hebrew Greek, or Hebraizing, to say no 
thing of disfigured Greek." 

We have here, no doubt, in substance, the right view of the 
matter though with an error in the formal representation of 
it, the offspring of a not unnatural, though mistaken dread, 
lest, in conceding the strict purity of New Testament Greek, 
a kind of slight should be thrown upon the medium of the 
Spirit s communication. The strongest representative of this 
feeling, perhaps, may be found in Black wall, who, in his Sa 
cred Classics, both denied that many of the alleged peculiari 
ties of New Testament Greek are Hebraistic or Oriental 
idioms, and claimed for such, as he admitted to be of this de 
scription, the character of true and proper ornaments. " He 
did not consider," as justly remarked by Dr. Campbell, in the 
first preliminary dissertation to the gospels, " that when he 
admitted any Hebraisms in the New Testament, he in effect 
gave up the cause. That only can be called a Hebraism in a 
Greek book, which though agreeable to the Hebrew idiom, is 
not so to the Greek. Nobody would ever call that a Scotti 
cism, which is equally in the manner of both Scotch and Eng 
lish. Now, such foreign idioms as Hebraisms in Greek, Gre- 
cisms in Hebrew, or Latinisms in either, come all within the 
definition of barbarism, and sometimes even of solecism 
words which have always something relative in their significa 
tion ; that term of expression being a barbarism or a solecism 
in one language, which is strictly proper in another, and, I 
may add, to one set of hearers, which is not so to another. 
It is in vain, then, for any one to debate about the applica 
tion of the names barbarism and solecism. To do so, is at 
best but to wrangle about words, after admitting all that is 
meant by them." 

So obvious is this view of the matter, and so readily does 
it commend itself to one s practical judgment, that it seems 
strange there should ever have been any unwillingness to ad 
mit it. The unwillingness, as we have mentioned, simply arose 
from a mistaken idea of some necessary connexion subsisting 
between purity of diction and inspiration of sentiment; cer 
tainly a mistaken idea, for the imagined purity is expressly 


disclaimed by the most learned of all the apostles, who repre 
sents himself as naturally appearing to a Greek audience 
"rude in speech;" and of his method of discourse generally, 
including doubtless the language in which it was expressed, 
he declares that it did not aim at excellency of words. A 
strictly classical diction would not have been natural to him 
and the other apostles. And as it was the rule of the Spirit 
in all His supernatural gifts and operations to proceed on the 
basis of what is natural, it would, in the first instance, have 
been contrary to the usual method of the Spirit s working, if 
they had given utterance to their thoughts in language of fine 
polish and unexceptionable purity. It would, in fact, have 
required a kind of second inspiration to secure this, and one 
so little in accordance with the principle usually acted on in 
like cases, that it might well have suggested a doubt as to the 
reality of the first. If the apostles had written with the clas 
sical taste, which is sometimes claimed for them, thoughtful 
minds would have found some difficulty in believing them to 
be the authors of their own productions. And we, in this 
remoter age, should have wanted one of the most important 
evidences of the authenticity and genuineness of New Testa 
ment Scripture its being written in the style natural to the 
persons by whom, and the age in which, it was produced. The 
language is precisely what might have been expected from 
Jews at that particular time expressing themselves in Greek. 
And this, beyond doubt, is the fundamental reason for the 
style being precisely what it is. But the apostle Paul con 
nects with it in his own case connects with its very deficien 
cies in respect to classical refinement and rhetorical finish 
the further and higher reason, that it but served the more 
strikingly to exhibit the direct agency of God s Spirit in the 
success of the gospel. He spake, in delivering the Divine 
message, and of course also wrote, " not with the wisdom of 
words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect;" 
and " his preaching was not with enticing words of man s wis 
dom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that 
your faith (the faith of those who listened to his preaching) 
might not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of 


God," (1 Cor. ii. 4, 5.) His meaning evidently is, that in 
himself and the other heralds of the gospel, in their personal 
attributes and in their whole manner of address, there were ob 
vious defects and imperfections, as judged by the standard of 
worldly taste and refined culture; and that, not as a matter 
of accident, but of Divine choice for the purpose of render 
ing more palpable and conspicuous the operation of God s hand 
in the results that were accomplished through their instrumen 

Even this is not the whole. Another reason still may be 
added for the same thing, and one too commonly overlooked 
by those who contended against the purists. There was a ne 
cessity in the case for securing the proper ends of a divine 
revelation a necessity for a certain departure from the pure 
classical style, and calling in the aid of Jewish idioms and 
forms of speech, in order to exhibit in the most distinct and 
appropriate manner the peculiar truths of the gospel. As 
these truths required the preparation of much time and special 
providences for their proper growth and development, so also 
did the language, in which they were to be finally presented 
to the world, require something of H peculiar conformation. 
The native language of Greece, though in some respects the 
most perfect medium for the communication of thought which 
has ever been employed by the tongue of man, yet from being 
always conversant with worldly things, adapted to express 
every shade of thought and every variety of relationship with 
in the human and earthly sphere but still only these it was 
not fully adequate to the requirements and purposes of Chris 
tian authorship. For this higher end it needed to borrow 
something from the sanctuary of God, and be, as it were, 
baptized in the modes of thought and utterance which were 
familiar to those who had enjoyed the training of the Spirit. 
So that the writings of the Old Testament formed a necessary 
preparation for the language of the New, as did also the his 
tory and institutions of the one for the religious ideas of the 
other. Nor is it too much to say, as indeed has been said, 
" that a pure Greek gospel, a pure Greek apostolic epistle is 



inconceivable. The canonical and the Hebrew are most inti 
mately connected." 1 

It is perfectly consistent with all this, and no less true, that 
the writers of the New Testament often show a correct ac 
quaintance with the idioms of the Greek language, and knew 
how to distinguish between the nicer shades of meaning in 
many of its expressions. There are numberless passages in 
their writings which are scarcely less remarkable for the lofty 
elevation of thought they convey, than for the graceful and 
felicitous form in which it is embodied. And if we must say, 
on the one hand, that their language, as a whole, exhibits 
frequent deviations from the purity of Attic Greek, we must 
say also, on the other, that it often makes near approaches 
to this differing, if not only, yet most distinctly and chiefly, 
when the higher purposes for which they wrote required them 
so to do. Their language may thus be said to be of a some 
what irregular and oscillatory character. " In many cases it 
rises superior to the common dialect of the time, and approaches 
marvellously near to the vigour and precision of Attic Greek, 
while in other usages it seems to sink below the average stand 
ard, and to present to us*the peculiarities of the later Greek, 
distorted and exaggerated by Aramaic forms of expression. 
This mixed character of the language is very interesting and 
suggestive. It shows us how at one time the august nature 
of the narrative, from the vital force of the truths it revealed, 
wove round itself a garb of clear and vigorous diction of Attic 
power, and more than Attic simplicity: and yet how, at other 
times, in the enunciation of more peculiarly scriptural senti 
ments and doctrines, the nationality of the writer comes into 
view, and with it his inaptitude his providential inaptitude 
(we may thankfully say) at presenting definite Christian 
truths in the smooth, fluent, yet possibly unimpressive [and 
spiritually defective] turns of language, which the native 
Greek the Greek of the first century would have instinc 
tively adopted. Where, however, in a merely literary point 
of view, the sacred volume may thus seem weakest, it is, con 
sidered from a higher point of view, incomparably strongest. 

1 Hengsteuberg on the Revelation of St. John, ii., p. 442. 


It is this investiture of its doctrines with the majesty of He 
braistic imagery [and the peculiar richness and force of He 
braistic modes of expression,] rather than with the diffluent 
garb of a corrupted and decaded Hellenism that does truly re 
veal to us the overruling providence and manifold wisdom of 
God/ 1 

Whether, therefore, we look to what was in itself natural 
and proper at the time, to what was in fittest accordance with 
the purposes for which the gospel revelation was given, or, 
finally, to what was required by the demands of the revelation 
itself, on each account there appears ground for concluding, 
that not the earlier and purer Greek of the classics, but the 
later Greek of the apostolic age, intermingled with and modi 
fied by the Hebraisms, which were natural and familiar to 
those whose style of thought and expression had been moulded 
by Old Testament Scripture, was the appropriate diction for 
the writers of the New Testament. Admitting, however, that 
such is and ought to have been its general character, we have 
still to inquire into the special characteristics of this dialect 
to notice the more marked peculiarities that belong to it, 
and which require to be kept in view by those who would suc 
ceed in the work of interpretation. 2 

II. Undoubtedly the basis of the New Testament dialect is 

1 Frazer s Magazine for December, 1855. Substantially, indeed, the cor 
rect view was given by Beza, in the note already referred to on Acts x. 46. 
After noticing "the fine specimens of powerful and affecting writing to be 
found, especially in the epistles of Paul, he adds, < 4 As to the intermixture of 
Hebraisms, it arose, not only from their being Hebrews, but because, in dis 
coursing of those things which had been transmitted through the Hebrew 
tongue, it was necessary to retain much peculiar to it, lest they should seem 
to introduce some new doctrine. And certainly I cannot in the least wonder 
that so many Hebraisms have been retained by them, since most of these are 
of such a description, that by no other idiom could matters have been so hap 
pily expressed, nay, sometimes not expressed at all; so that, had those for 
mulas not been used, new words and novel modes of expression would have 
needed to be sometimes employed, which no one could properly have un 

2 For a short account of the earlier part of the controversy on the style of 
the New Testament, and a notice of some of the leading authors and works it 
called forth, see Planck s Sacred Philology, Bib. Cab. vii., pp. 67 76. 


the xotvi) oedhxTOz, the common, or Hellenic dialect, as it has 
been called, of the later Greek. This is the name given to 
the form of the Greek language, which came into general use 
after the Macedonian conquests. It was called common, and 
sometimes also Macedonian, because it originated in a sort of 
fusion of the particular dialects which had prevailed in earlier 
times; and this again arose, in great measure, from the fusion 
of the several states of Greece into one great empire under 
kings of the Macedonian dynasty. Indeed, what are known 
as the four classical dialects of earlier times the Ionic, .ZEolic, 
Doric, and Attic were not so properly the dialects in common 
use among the people, circulating in their separate localities, 
as the forms appropriated to so many departments of litera 
ture, which severally took their rise among the tribes that bore 
the distinctive names referred to. There may have been, and 
most probably were, other varieties in current use throughout 
Greece, but none, except one or other of the four specified, 
were allowed to appear in written productions. The Attic, 
however, surpassed the others so much, both by its inherent 
grace, and by the number of distinguished men who employed 
it in their writings, that it came to be generally regarded as 
the model form of the Greek language, and was cultivated by 
nearly all who were ambitious of writing in the purest style. 
Certain changes began to pass upon this dialect after the pe 
riod of the Macedonian conquests, arising chiefly from the 
Doric peculiarities which predominated in Macedonia, and 
which now obtained a more general currency; while, along 
with these, occasional peculiarities from the other dialects 
were also introduced, probably, in the first instance, from col 
loquial usage; the whole combining to form the common 
speech of Greece in later times. Salmasius was among the 
first to draw the attention of the learned to this subject, and 
since his day many others have contributed to the same line 
of investigation. Of these Henry Planck may be named as 
one of the most careful and accurate, whose treatise on the 
subject has been translated into English, and forms part of 
Vol. II. of Clark s Biblical Cabinet. The characteristics of 
this common dialect were not quite uniform; but there are 


some general features which distinguish it pretty broadly from 
the Greek of the strictly classical times. They fall into two 
leading classes lexical and grammatical peculiarities the 
one relating to the form and usage of words, the other to their 
flexion and government. We shall notice under each head 
the more marked and important distinctions, and in each shall 
select only such examples as have a place in New Testament 

1. Under lexical peculiarities, or such as relate to the form 
and usage of words, there are, (1.) Words that received a new 
termination: such as fierotxecria, Matt. i. 11, for which //- 
Toixyatz or jusToexta was employed in earlier times; xau^rn^ 
often in St. Paul s writings for the act or object of glorifying, 
as previously in the Septuagint, but in Attic writers XWJ-/TJ 
or xaoyj]fj.a\ yzveGta, which in the earlier Greek writers was 
wont to signify the solemnities offered to the dead, on the pe 
riodical return of their birth-day, was latterly used for the 
birth-day itself, as in Matt. xiv. 6, instead of fzviQha ; z*x7ia- 
lat for xdtar, various words with terminations in //a, as 
afnq/jia for ofir^ai^ dvTarrody/jia for dvr7rooo^c 5 dufdiwjfJia 
for dcrdevsea, (fisucr/jia for ^eDooc, (though it is found also in 
Plato.) We have also ftaGihaaa^ queen, for flo-attzca or /9a- 
cr^/c, d~offTa<7la for aTcoG-caai^, and various other alterations 
of a like nature. (2.) Words, and forms of words, which were 
but rarely used in classical Greek, or found only with the 
poets, passed into common use in the later common dialect: 
such as audevTztv, to govern; dtexrwp, a cock; dAexrpo- 
<po)via, cock-crowing; d^/^roc, that is not, or cannot be 
spoken, etc. (3.) Certain words formerly in use came latterly 
to acquire new meanings; such as Trapaxate cv, in the sense 
of admonishing or beseeching; TzaidBuscv, of chastising; zu%v.- 
ptarsw, of giving thanks, (originally, to be thankful ;) d>ayr^jLto\>^ 
of respectable or noble standing, (originally, graceful, decent, 
or becoming;) d<f.>d()ioi;, diminutive, from o^ oy, (from s<po)J) 
strictly, boiled meat, then any thing eaten with bread to give 
it a relish, seasoning, sauce in particular, at Athens, fish, 
which were there reckoned among the chief dainties whence 
also the diminutive o^dpcov acquired the sense of fish, as in 


John vi. 9, in Plutarch too, and Athenoeus. Under the same 
class may be ranked verbs with an active meaning, which, in 
classical Greek, are used only intransitively; for example, 
fjLadqTS jsw, to disciple, instead of being or taking the place 
of a disciple; dpeaftftevstv, to cause to triumph, instead of 
leading in triumph. Such transitions, however, from the re 
ceived intransitive to a transitive sense, should rather perhaps 
be ascribed to the Hebraistic impress of the New Testament 
diction, than regarded as a peculiarity of the common dialect 
of the later Greek the sacred writers very naturally giving, 
in certain cases, the force of the Hiphil to the simple mean 
ing of the verb. But, undoubtedly, traces of such alterations 
are also to be found in other writers. (4.) Words and phrases 
entirely new entered, especially compound words ; for exam 
ple, dttoTptosTTtffxoTroz, dvOpcoxdpsffxoz, j>jLOv6<pda.l/jioz, etdcolo- 
XaTpda, (T7iAaf%vce<Td(u, with many others some peculiar to 
the Septuagint and the writings of the New Testament, others 
common to these and the productions in later Greek generally. 
Peculiarities of this class are distributed by Planck, not in 
aptly, into three kinds: the first comprehending those which 
were expressly asserted by the ancient grammarians to have 
belonged to the common language of later times; the second, 
such as were not explicitly noted in this way, but are only 
found in the productions which appeared subsequently to the 
Macedonian era; and finally, those which nowhere occur but 
in the Septuagint, the Apocrypha, the writings of the New 
Testament, and the Greek Fathers. It is quite possible that, 
in regard to many of the words comprised in each of these 
divisions, the use made of them in the later Greek writings is 
not absolutely novel; they may have existed before, most 
likely did exist, but only as provincialisms, which had not re 
ceived the sanction of any pure writer, or as expressions so 
seldom employed, that the earlier writings in which they oc 
curred have not been preserved among the remains of anti 
quity. (5.) A fifih class consists of words imported into the 
Greek tongue from the Latin a natural result of the subju 
gation of the Greek-speaking countries by the Romans; of 
these it is enough to notice such expressions as aaadpeov, 


7, Asf so/v, acxdpcoz, etc., 
(consilium capere,) ^pfaaiav douvat, (operam dare,) etc. 1 

2. In regard to the other great class of peculiarities be 
longing to the common dialect those relating to flexion and 
syntax Grammatical peculiarities they also fall into seve 
ral divisions. (1.) We have peculiarities in the flexion of 
verbs, such as d jvfi as 2d pers. sing, of indie, pass, for the re 
gular d jvaaac, xddy for xddyffae ; second aorists with the ter 
minations proper to the first, as e7~a. for eJrrov, tineaa for STTS- 
(Tov, even fjfJutpT^ae. for yfjbaprov\ various endings also in v, 
instead of aac, such as efucoxav for ifvo) xaae^ stpyxav for etpij- 
Verbs occur, too, with double augments, as rj t ueUs, 
dyv, Yjouv/jdrjcrav, as sometimes also with Attic writers ; 
and again occasionally without the augment, according to the 
best readings, for example, in Luke xiii. 13; 2 Tim. i. 16. 
Besides, certain Doric forms came into general use such as 
Trs^ttv for TTS^VT^V, dc^civ for dn/TQV^ ffr/fiavat for ar^yafvcu. 
(2.) Peculiarities also appear in regard to the gender and 
flexion of nouns; thus 7soc, which, with all good Greek au 
thors, is masculine, is neuter in the New Testament and ec 
clesiastical writers but occasionally also masculine; Tr^oDroc 
in like manner is used as a neuter; Xep.6^ which was used by 
the Greeks generally as a masculine, but was feminine in the 
Doric dialect, occurs in this gender also in the New Testa 
ment twice, (Luke xv. 14, h/wz iayjjpd; Acts xi. 28, hfibv 
fj.z?d):rjV,} according to the best copies. On the other hand, 
the sacred writers and the later Greek writers make fldroz, 
a bramble, feminine, as the Greeks generally were wont to do, 
while the Attics treated it as a masculine. The peculiarities 
in flexion are fewer; but %dptra, the later and rarer form, oc 
curs occasionally for %dpiv\ and ids of the accus. plural is 
always dropt for ?c. (3.) As further distinctions, there may 
be added the nearly entire disuse of the dual, and a few pe 
culiarities in respect to syntax. These latter consist chiefly 
(to take the summary of Winer) "in a negligent use of the 
moods and particles. In the New Testament the following 

1 For a more complete list, see Klausen, Hermeneutik, pp. 338 343; also 
Winer s Idioms, 2. 


may be noticed as examples: orav used with the indicative 
preterite, ee with the subjunctive, r iva with the indicative pre 
sent; 1 the dispensing with Tv in forms like $S)M wa, dzcoz 
cva, etc.; the coupling of verbs like yz jeadat with the geni 
tive, and Trpoffxvvstv with the dative ; the use of the genitive 
infinitive, such as TOO xoestv, beyond the original and natural 
limit, and of the subjunctive for the optative in the historical 
style after preterites; and, above all, the rare use of the opta 
tive, which became entirely obselete in the late Greek. Also 
a neglect of the declensions begins to be exhibited, as err 
xafeeC, (after 1v xa0v,) and even *a0e?c; then also ava e2c, 
Trap ?c; so also IJ.ZTGL TOL> ev, and similar instances." 

These constitute the leading peculiarities of the later Greek, 
appearing in the writings of the New Testament. But no 
doubt, as Winer also remarks, this later and more popular 
dialect had in some districts peculiarities which were unknown 
elsewhere. And in this category some have been disposed to 
place the expressions, which Jerome called Cilicisms of the 
apostle Paul. But of such peculiarities we know too little to 
enable us to form any correct judgment; and examples have 
been found in good Greek authors of, at least, some of Jerome s 
alleged Cilicisms. Winer, however, is disposed to reckon of 
the class in question, the occasional use of wo. in expressions 
where the pure Greek writers would have used the infinitive, 
and would explain it as a sort of free and colloquial usage ( 45, 
9.) It is, certainly, difficult to maintain the strictly telic use 
of i va throughout the New Testament, as Meyer, for example, 
endeavours to do; nor can it be done without at times leading 
to strained and somewhat unnatural explanations. That the 
telic force should be retained in the great mass of cases, and, in 
particular, in the formula ci<a TrtyptoOf, we have no doubt; 
for when so employed there always is the indication of design. 
So also is there in various passages, in which it does not at 
first sight appear, but discovers itself on a closer inspection ; 
as in 1 John v. 3, " This is the love of God, wa rc IKTO/MZ 

1 He might have added, what is still more peculiar, the occasional use of 
*/va with the future, as at 1 Cor. xiii. 3, llev. vi. 11, if these are, as they ap 
pear to be, the correct readings. 


aurou rrjp(ii)fJV)* not that we do keep, as a fact but in or 
der that we may keep the commandments of God, as a scope 
or aim; the tendency and striving of Divine love in the heart 
is ever in the direction of God s commandments ; or again, in 
Matt. v. 29, oupifepzi yap 0ot rW, x.T.L, it is for thj advan 
tage, viz., to cut off the right hand, in order that one (one 
merely) of thy members may perish, and not thy whole body 
be cast into hell-fire; this, at least, is a perfectly admissible 
explanation. But there are others such as Rev. vi. 11; 
Matt, xviii. 6; Mark vi. 25, ix. 30 in which it is, no doubt, 
possible, by copious supplementings, to bring out a design, 
yet scarcely to do it in a way that appears consistent with the 
simplicity of the sacred writers. 

But of the peculiarities generally, which have been noted 
as characterizing the dialect of the New Testament, in com 
mon with that of the later Greek writers, there is no room for 
difference of opinion. They distinguish the Greek of the apos 
tolic age from the Greek of classical times. They must, there 
fore, be understood, and have due allowance made for them by 
all, who would exhibit the precise import of Scripture, and 
would even avoid mistakes in interpretation, which have some 
times been committed by persons of high attainments in clas 
sical learning, from their too exclusive regard to simply clas 
sical authorities. 

III. But another, and scarcely less important class of pecu 
liarities, must be taken into account for the correct knowledge 
and appreciation of the original language of the New Testa 
ment those, namely, arising from its Hebraistic impress. The 
common dialect of later times was, in the case of the sacred 
writings, intermingled with the free and frequent use of forms 
derived from the Hebrew, which, as already stated, was to some 
extent unavoidable in the case of the sacred penmen. Very 
commonly the Greek of the apostolic age, with the addition 
of this Hebraistic element, is called Hellenistic Greek, from 
the name Hellenists, which was usually applied to the Greek- 
speaking Jews, and who naturally spoke Greek with an ad 
mixture of Hebrew idioms. 


It is to be borne in mind, however, that while all the writers 
of the New Testament partook to some extent of the Hebraistic 
influence, some did so considerably more than others; and 
they are by no means uniform in the admission of Hebraisms 
into their style. The Hebraistic element was a very variable 
one among them. It differed with the same writers in different 
parts of their writings, as in the Apocalypse of St. John, which 
is considerably more Hebraistic than either his gospel or epis 
tles while these again have more of that element than many 
other parts of the New Testament. The gospel of St. Luke 
is decidedly less marked with Hebraisms than those of St. 
Matthew and St. Mark; and in St. Paul s epistles also there 
are diversities in this respect. The epistle to the Hebrews 
approaches more nearly to the classical diction than any other 
book of the New Testament. Viewing the subject generally, 
however, and without reference to the peculiarities of indivi 
dual writers, there are three several respects in which the He 
braistic influence appears in the style of the New Testament. 

1. The first is of a somewhat general kind, and consists of 
a sensible approximation to the Hebrew in the usual cast and 
complexion of the style, namely, in those things in which the 
Hebrew characteristically differed from the Greek. As (1.) 
in the more frequent use of the prepositions for marking re 
lations, which were wont to be indicated in classical Greek by 
means of cases. This characteristic pervades so much the 
style of the New Testament, that particular examples are al 
most unnecessary. But take one or two: In Ileb. i. 2, ov 
efhjxs xtyf>w)/w -ai/rojy, "whom he appointed heir of all," 
is classical Greek ; but Acts xiii. 22, ty sefisv rov Javio si~ 
fiaffdea, literally " raised up David for king," is Hebraistic. 
Again, TIM fan et-zv ~OTS TWV a*fyi)MV, u for to which of the 
angels said lie at any time," is pure Greek, but the use of 
the preposition in the following expressions is Hebraistic, 777 
IxtexTow $oy, Rom. viii. 33; dfavaxroyyrsT 
JZi Mark xiv. 4; dOwoz (i~b TO~J aitmro^, Matt. 
xxvii. 24, (so Sept. transl. T P *pJ in 2 Sam. iii. 28;) bfJioXoyeiv 
Iv WJTW, Matt. x. 32, etc. (2.) It formed another marked 
difference between the two languages the paucity of con- 


junctions which existed in the Hebrew, and their great abun 
dance, one might almost say, their superfluity, in the Greek. 
But the New Testament writers constantly show an inclina 
tion to adhere to the simplicity of the Hebrew in this respect, 
rather than to avail themselves of the greater wealth of the 
Greek. How often in their productions do we meet with a 
xac, where we would rather have expected an dttd, a xalxep, 
or a xalTott and a ydo or an obv where we would have looked 
for an c/rs/, a ware, or a OTC, if judging from the usage of clas 
sical writers? In the narrative portions, more especially, of 
the New Testament, it is the remarkable nakedness and sim 
plicity of the Hebrew language, as to conjunctions and other 
particles, which presents itself to our notice, rather than the 
copiousness of the Greek. (3.) A further Hebraistic turn 
appears in the frequent use of the genitive pronouns, instead 
of the possessives <ro, ^oJ, aurou, fyjtcov, bfjuuu, a jTtov. This 
naturally arose from the inspired writers being used to the He 
brew suffixes, and was also encouraged by a growing tendency 
in the Greek language itself to substitute the genitives of the 
personal pronouns for the possessives. The practice, how 
ever, is greatly more frequent in the New Testament and 
the Septuagint, than in other productions of the same period. 
Indeed, we often meet with the personal pronouns generally 
in the Greek Scriptures, where simply Greek writers would 
have altogether omitted them; as in Gen. xxx. 1, ope /we 
rsxva, el os /^, rsXsOT^ffa) iycb\ Ex. ii. 14, p:q dv^A^v /ji* cry 
#/cYC> uv Tpbxov dyc?/oC %0s tov Aifbittoi*) (in both cases imi 
tating the Hebrew;) so in John iii. 2, ~wj~a rd ar^zta. TTO^V 
d crb xoes tz , Rev. v. 4, xal iyco HxAacou ;ro/y; 2 John 1, ouz 
*{io dyo-a> s.u dtyOda, etc. (4.) Another pronominal pecu 
liarity, arising from assimilation to the Hebrew, is occasion 
ally found in the New Testament, arid abounds in the Septua 
gint. In Hebrew there is only one relative pronoun, "^^ 
(sometimes abbreviated into #;) and this without any distinc 
tion as to number, gender, or case: on which account the 
suffixes of the personal pronouns, or these pronouns themselves 
with a preposition, required to be added, in order to give the 
necessary point and explicitricss to the reference. Hence 


such expressions as the following: "the land in which ye 
dwell upon it," " the place in which ye sojourn in it," and so 
on. As the Greek language possessed a declinable relative 
o c, and adverhs derived from it, oy, o#cv, fcoy, there was no 
need, when employing it, to resort to this kind of awkward 
circumlocution. But those who had been accustomed to the 
force and emphasis of the Hebrew usage, appear still occa 
sionally to have felt as if they could not give adequate expres 
sion to their mind without availing themselves of the Hebrew 
form. Hence such passages in the Septuagint as the follow 
ing: 37 fy ~9> *]Z ov xaroexsi"^ J/r air^c? Gen. xxviii. 13; TTUZ 
ffO(fbz rrj dtavoia, w idody G0(pia xal ixtarr^a lu auTol^, Ex. 
xxxvi. 1; also Deut. ix. 28; Ex. xxx. 6; Deut. iv. 5, 14, etc. 
In the New Testament the peculiarity occurs more rarely; 
but still it is found, as in Mark vi. 55, " They carried about 
the sick on couches," onou jjxooov on lxs? I<JTW\ vii. 25, yjc 
?/v TO Bufdrptov avrrfi 7rvei)/2a dxdOapTou; Rev. vii. 2, ofc 
eoody ayroTc; xii. 6, oxoo eysf Ixse ro~ov fjTOtfJLO0[ivov\ ver. 
14, oxoo Tpeysrae lxs? xac[>bv. The usage is found also in 
some quotations from the Old Testament, (Acts xv. 17 ; 1 Pet. 
ii. 24,) but it is certainly of rare occurrence in the New Tes 
tament writings themselves. (5.) A further distinctive im 
press arose from a marked difference between the Hebrew arid 
the Greek in respect to the tenses of the verb, giving rise to a 
peculiarity in the general character of the New Testament 
style, and imparting to it something of a Hebraistic air. 
Here again the Hebrew was as remarkable for the fewness, 
as the Greek for the multiplicity of its forms the one having 
its simple past and future tenses, while the other had its pre 
sent, imperfect, perfect, pluperfect, first and second aorists, 
first and second futures, and paulo-post future certainly a 
plentiful variety, if not, in some respects, a needless redun 
dancy; and all these, again, subject to variations of mood 
indicatives, subjunctives, optatives which are unknown in 
Hebrew. There can bo no doubt that the New Testament 
writers were well acquainted with the principal tenses of the 
Greek verb, and some of its more peculiar modes of construc 
tion, such as those with neuter plurals, with wa and av; at 


the same time, there are occasional anomalies, with a mani 
fest preference for the simple past and future of the Hebrew, 
and, as in the latter, a tendency to use the future, as expres 
sive of necessity and continued action, (must and is wont,) 
somewhat more frequently than is usual in ordinary Greek. 
(G.) Once more, there are some peculiar case-usages, though 
rare in the New Testament, as compared with the Septuagint. 
The most noticeable of these is the employment, though in the 
New Testament occurring only in the Apocalypse, of a kind 
of nominative absolute not such as is to be found in Acts 
vii. 40, b yap Mcouarfi oyroc o dvOpcoTro^;, in which, merely for 
the purpose of giving prominence to the leading noun, the 
sentence begins with it in the nominative, and of which exam 
ples are to be met with in ordinary Greek but one in which 
the nominative comes after, and stands in apposition with, 
other nouns in the oblique cases. This arose from a close 
imitation of the Hebrew, prefixing the indication of case, or 
the preposition, to the first noun in a sentence, and dropping 
it in those that followed. Thus at Num. xx. 5, sic rbv TOTZOV 

TOV.TtOVrjpOV TOUTOV TO7TOZ oL 01) ff~ipTf/.t , Deut. IV. 1.1, /.(J.I 

TO opo^ exacero xvpi sco^ TOU ovpawu trxoroc, p^o^oc, $yeMa; 
also ver. 22; Deut. viii. 8, x. 7. Though an anomalous con 
struction, it had the effect, as Tiersch justly remarks, (Pent. 
Versione Alexandrina, p. 133,) of giving force and emphasis 
to the terms placed thus absolutely in the nominative which 
were thereby isolated. This also is very decidedly the effect 
of the employment of the nominative in Rev. i. 4, where grace 
and peace are sent 0.7:0 b wu xal b vjv xal b Ipy^o^svoz , retain 
ing in the nominative the words, which express the Lord s 
eternal Being, and so taking them, as it were, out of the com 
mon category of declinable nouns, and placing them in an in 
dependent position. Other examples occur in Rev. ii. 20, iii. 
12. In the same connexion may be mentioned a kind of He 
braistic extension of the accusative of place, this accusative 
being sometimes coupled with a following genitive, in a way 
not usual with the Greeks; of which we have such examples 
in the Old Testament as Deut. xi. 30, ovx coob TWJTO. rrep.av 
b~i<Tco y bobu dufff^oji fjAioo^ i. 19; Ex. xiii. 17. 


And in the New Testament, the peculiar expression in Matt. 
iv. 14, fy Na<p 6 a^el //, bobv OoJ.dcrcrr^, which has its parallel 
in the passages of the Old Testament referred to, and should 
not have been regarded in so exceptional a light as it is by 
Winer, (Gr. 32, 6.) But such peculiarities exercise compa 
ratively little influence on the Greek of the New Testament. 
2. Secondly, the Hebraistic cast of the New Testament 
style appears in the use of words and phrases, which have 
their correspondence only in the Hebrew, but are not found 
in profane Greek writers, whether of the earlier or of the later 
periods. Among these, certain words might be included, which 
are transferred from the Hebrew and other Oriental languages 
into the text of the New Testament: such as dp fa, dfaoocbv, 
d/r/yy, 7T#/?aocroc, / sevj>, OCLTU.V, etc. Terms of this sort are 
merely Oriental words in Greek letters, or with a Greek ter 
mination ; and it is by a reference to their Oriental usage that 
their meaning is to be determined. It is not these, however, 
so much that we have in view under the present division, as 
words and phrases which are strictly Greek expressions, but 
expressions thrown into a Hebraistic form, and conveying a 
sense somewhat different from what would naturally be put 
upon them by a simply Greek reader. There is a considera 
ble number of this description, among which are sir in the 
sense of rr: or xpcoroz, according to the Septuagint rendering 
of "inx (e?> fpafjifiaT6U, Matt. viii. 19, 
fiiav for npdirqv,) f jyrsev rr/v 
t, Odvarov ros^v, nsptTtOTStV Ivconiov r/voc, Ttoc&v 

v rrvo ffdc; xal 

a!/m, etc. 

To refer more particularly to one or two examples, the 
phrase Trdffa <raoc, for all men, mankind at large, is quite a 
Hebraism, being a literal translation of the Hebrew "^3-72) by 
two terms, which in the one language, as well as the other, 
signify all flesh while still native Greek writers never used 
ados in the sense of men, and such an expression, if employed 
by them, would have meant, not all mankind, but the whole 
fL sh, (of a man or an animal, as it might happen.) Some 
times the Hebraism is further strengthened by the addition of 


a negative, in a manner different from the practice of good 
Greek writers. In Hebrew, "^2-^3 ^ not all flesh, is equi 
valent to no flesh, and in this same meaning oi> Traaa adpq is 
used in New Testament Scripture ; as when our Lord says, 
Matt. xxiv. 22, " If the days should not be shortened, oux av 
iucodf] -flcra craps," no flesh should be saved ; or St. Paul, 1 
Cor. i. 29, OTZCOZ JJ.T] xaoy^v/jTcu r.dcra crdpz, so that no flesh 
might glory. Such phrases are to be explained by coupling 
the negative with the verb, and regarding the two together as 
predicating the negation or want of something the all com 
prehending the entire circle or genus to which such predicate 
extends. Thus, in the sentence last quoted, the not being in 
a condition to glory is the thing predicated, and the rcaaa 
ffdp~, the all flesh, which follows, denotes the sphere of being 
to which the predicate applies the entire compass of huma 
nity. So that, when rightly viewed, the expression presents 
no material difficulty, though it is a form of speech not na 
tive to the Greek, but imported into it from the Hebrew. 

The Vulgate has not been sufficiently observant of this pe 
culiar idiom; hence it renders the passage in Matt, non salva 
ficret omnis caro, and that in 1 Cor. ut non glorietur omnis 
caro. Our translators, however, in the authorized version 
have commonly attended to it, and given the correct render 
ing though still in one case they appear to have missed it. 
The passage we refer to is 1 John ii. 19, where the apostle is 
speaking of those who had once belonged to the true church, 
but had since fallen into Gnostic errors, and assumed an an- 
tichristian position : " They went out from among us, but 
they were not of us ; for if they had been of us, they would 
have continued with us; but that (the sentence here is plainly 
elliptical, and we must again supply they went out that) 
they might be made manifest, ort G JX sew xdwcsz is fyjL&v" 
that they were not all of us, our version has it but the apos 
tle had already said of them, wholly and absolutely, that they 
were not of us; and it would be strange, if now, at the close, 
he should have introduced a limitation, and, when speaking 
of the evidence of their having assumed an antichristian posi 
tion, or being in deadly heresy, should have used terms that 


were applicable only to a portion of them. The terms, how 
ever, become quite plain, if understood in conformity with the 
idiom now under consideration ; i. e., if the negative and the 
verb (o>jx etffe) are taken together, as constituting the predi 
cate, and the jravrsc following as indicating the extent of its 
application embracing the totality of the parties spoken of. 
Their going out from the company of the faithful, the apostle 
then affirms, shows that they are not all of them of us; 
i. e., that none of them are of us; the whole went out, that 
they might be seen one and all not to be of the true church 
of Christ. Such, substantially, is the view adopted, not only 
by several foreign commentators, but also in the English An 
notations of 1645, by Hammond, Guyse, Whitby, Peilc, and 

This, however, is rather a digression, and we return to our 
proper subject simply remarking further, in respect to the 
second class of Hebraisms, that a considerable portion of the 
words and phrases comprised in it, are still to be taken in their 
ordinary sense, but, at the same time, with such reference to 
the Hebrew use and application of them, that in the sense ne 
cessary to be put upon them they must be regarded as He 
braisms. For example, in the common expression at/jta $x%st 9 
to pour out, or shed blood, what is really meant, is not the 
simple shedding of blood, but the pouring out of this unto 
death the words being those used in rendering the Hebrew 
PJ W? the usual sacrificial formula for taking the life of an 
animal victim, when presenting it to God. It hence passed 
into a common phrase for taking the life of any one; and in 
the lips of a Jew, the phrase naturally became more peculiar 
ly and distinctly indicative of death, than it should have done 
when uttered by a Greek. In like mariner, in the use of the 
word oi/o/jia, in a great variety of expressions, such as " call 
ing upon the name," or doing any thing in the name of an 
other, "hallowing God s name," "believing on the name of 
Christ," " trusting in the name of the Lord," and such like 
while the worm precisely corresponds to the Q in Hebrew, 
and name in English to both, it is still only through the He 
brew usage that we can get at the proper import of the ex- 


pressions. The Hebrews were wont to regard the name of an 
individual, as, what it doubtless originally was, the index to 
the nature ; and when the primary name failed properly to 
do this, they very commonly superseded it by another, which 
yielded a more significant or fitting expression of the indivi 
dual properties. Hence, with them, the name was very much 
identified with the person, as, on the other side, the person 
was very often contemplated in the light of the name. Among 
the Greeks the significance of names never assumed the same 
place that it did among the Hebrews ; they were regarded 
more as arbitrary signs, having their chief use in distinguish 
ing one person or one object from another; and consequently 
the same identification did not prevail in the ordinary Greek 
usage, as in the Hebrew, between the name, and the person 
or properties of the individual. In dealing with such expres 
sions, therefore, as those specified above, we must have re 
course to the Hebrew, in order to arrive at the proper import. 
3. There is still a third respect, in which the Hebraistic 
cast of the New Testament dialect appears; viz., in the for 
mation of derivatives from words belonging, in the sense em 
ployed, to the Hebrew, and not to the Greek. For example, 
the word tfxaj/oa/ov, the rendering of the Septuagint for ^PP 
a stumbling-block, or offence, is the root of a verb found only 
in the New Testament, axavdati^to, to stumble, or cause to 
stumble, (corresponding to ^^on bab: ;) ff^^y^i^effOaf from 
{T-Mf%va (as in Hebrew Ern and O prn ) dyadsfjtaTc^ffOac 
from dvddsijia, and so on. In such cases one is thrown en 
tirely upon Hebrew ideas and usages; and from these it is 
necessary to ascertain and determine the precise meaning to 
be attached, if not to the original noun, at least to the verb 
derived from it. 

IV. It is plain, therefore, from the occurrence of such He 
brew or Aramaic peculiarities as we have referred to, that the 
Greek of the New Testament adds to the later Greek the 
common Hellenic dialect elements derived from the verna 
cular language of the sacred writers, on account of which it 
may justly be denominated a peculiar idiom. It exhibits sin- 


gle Greek words, which are nowhere found in Greek writers 
out of Palestine; it exhibits also Hebrew and Chaldaic 
phrases, expressed in Greek terms, but conveying a sense dif 
ferent from what a simply Greek reader would naturally have 
put upon them ; and, finally, it exhibits in the grammatical 
construction various features of a Hebraistic kind; all ne 
cessarily requiring, in order to attain to a correct interpreta 
tion of New Testament Scripture, an acquaintance with the 
Hebrew as well as with the Greek languages, and, in particular, 
with the usages established by the Septuagint Version of Old 
Testament Scripture. But there are two important conside 
rations, which ought to be borne in mind in connexion with 
those Hebraisms the one having respect to their number, 
and the other to the proper mode of dealing with them. 

(1.) In the first place, they are not nearly so numerous as 
they were at one time represented to be ; nor much more nu 
merous than was rendered necessary by the circumstances of 
the writers. By far the greater part of them are so essen 
tially connected with the position of the writers, as not only 
trained under the economy of the Jewish dispensation, but 
called also to unfold truths and principles, which were but the 
proper growth and development of such as belonged to it, that 
they could not justly have been dispensed with. They entered, 
by a kind of moral necessity, into the cast of thought and ex 
pression adopted by the apostles of the New Testament. And 
hence also they occur less frequently in grammatical con 
structions than in other respects, and only so as to impart to 
the style, in that particular respect, an occasional Aramaic 
colouring. The Greek syntax differs in many things from the 
Hebrew; the one has its own marked and peculiar characteris 
tics, as well as the other; yet in most of these we find the 
New Testament writers regularly accommodating themselves 
to the foreign idiom as in the distinctive use of imperfects and 
aorists, in the coupling of neuter plurals with a verb in the 
singular, in the construction of verbs with ay, in the attraction 
of the relative, etc. It may not be improper to point to an 
example or two, in a single line, of this conformity to the 
foreign idiom: in the discriminating use of the aorist and 


perfect tenses the aorist as denoting the historic past, and 
the perfect as denoting the past in its relation to the present, 
the past-continuing with its -effects and consequences to the 
present. Even St. John, who has often been treated as igno 
rant of the commonest Greek idioms, we find, at the very 
beginning of his Gospel, carefully observing this distinction, 
when he says of the work of the Logos, e^evsro ouos ev o 
-fefovsv, nothing whatever that has come to be, and still is in 
being, was made without Him. So also in Col. i. 16, point 
ing to the act of creation by Christ in the indefinite past, iv 
auTw ixTtady ra Trocvra; but when Christ s continued relation 
to, and interest in, what was created, is in view, then the apos 
tle changes from the aorist to the perfect, ra Travrec ol aurou 
xal s;c O:JTOU IxTca-cae. Another striking example of a simi 
lar change may be seen in ch. iii. 3 of the same epistle, in tho 
dxsOdvsTS used of the old life once and for ever put away, and 
the xixpunrat. of the new begun at conversion, but continuing 
still on. In connexion with such discriminating employments 
of the aorist and perfect tenses, it is justly remarked by the 
late Professor Scholefield, that the English translation is often 
obscured by failing to mark the distinction as observed in 
the original, and consequently inserting or omitting at the 
wrong place the auxiliary have. (Hints for Improvements in 
the Authorized Version, Preface X.) 

In respect, however, to the excessive multiplication of He 
braisms, Titmann very justly says, in his Synonyms, ii. p. 
163, 4 J Many expressions in the New Testament have been 
stamped with the name of Hebraisms, for no other reason 
whatever than because it was taken for granted that the wri 
ters of the New Testament have imitated the Hebrew mode 
of speaking; just as if they could not have derived those forms 
from the like usage of the Greek language, which they were 
writing. Many Hebraisms have thus been pointed out by 
Yorstius, Leusden, and others, which might with equal justice 
be called Hellenisms. Because, forsooth, they appear in the 
New Testament, in writers ^Eftpaf^QVTtd they are Hebraisms; 
while the same things, when found in Demosthenes, Thucy- 
dides, Xenophon, or Polybius, are pronounced to be good and 


elegant Greek. Thus, in the New Testament, the use of the 
demonstrative pronoun without apparent necessity after a noun 
or relative pronoun, has been regarded as a Hebraism, inas 
much as the Hebrews do indeed use this construction, as also 
the Arabs, Syrians, Greeks, and Romans, (we might add the 
Germans and English.) Still that cannot surely be reckoned 
as a Hebrew idiom, which is also employed by the best writers 
of other nations." He proceeds to give various examples of 
the usage, among which are, from Cicero, Illud quod supra 
scripsi, id tibi confirmo ; from Sallust, Sed urbana plebes, ea 
vero prseceps ierat; from Thucydides, " the most Attic of all 
Greek writers," TW os c IxTioxpaTzt OVTC Trept TO Jyhov, d>c 
O.UTW jj-ffeMrj; and concludes by saying, "The construction 
in all these usages is evidently the same as in Matt. iv. 16, 
viii. 5; John xv. 2, xviii. 11." 

Michaelis remarked sharply, but not without cause, on this 
tendency to discover Hebraisms in New Testament Scripture, 
" It is extraordinary, that those very persons who are least 
acquainted with the Hebrew are the most inclined to discover 
Hebraisms; and it has been as fashionable, as it is convenient, 
to ascribe the difficulty of every passage to an Oriental idiom." 
(Intro, iv. 6.) Yet he has not himself altogether escaped the 
contagion ; for we find him, in the same chapter, ranking some 
things as Hebraisms, and giving them on that ground a false 
rendering, which ought to be taken in their strictly Greek 
meaning; for example, etz v2*oc, in 1 Cor. xv. 54, which he 
designates "a harsh Hebraism" signifying "for ever," while 
really the proper import is best given by the literal rendering, 
"into victory," i. e., towards this as the end aimed at death 
being viewed as the great enemy, with whose swallowing up 
the final victory comes. Gerard, (Bib. Criticism, p. 54,) as 
usual, follows Michaelis in this; and, along with many others 
then and since, he also gives frf/M, in the sense of thing, as a 
Hebraism, in such passages as Luke i. 37, ii. 15; Acts v. 32. 
But it always b^ars the sense of word or saying, or of things 
only in so far as they have become matters of discourse. 
Thus, at Luke i. 37, the exact rendering undoubtedly is, "No 
word shall be impossible with God;" and hence the verb is 


in the future, ddvvanjffsc, pointing to the futurity of the ac 
complishment, as compared with the period when the word 
was spoken. 

(2.) Then, while we should thus beware of multiplying He 
braisms in the New Testament beyond what really exist, we 
should, in the second place, also beware, in handling what 
really are such, and the peculiarities generally of the New 
Testament dialect, of setting them down as mere extravagan 
cies, or barbarous departures from a proper diction. On the 
contrary, we should endeavour to ascertain the idea in which 
they originated, and get at the precise shade of meaning, or 
aspect of a subject, which they set before us. This is the 
course, as Winer remarks, which has latterly been taken by 
grammarians in their investigations concerning the Greek 
language: " The idea which gave rise to each particular form 
has been accurately apprehended, and its various uses reduced 
to the primary signification. The language thus becomes a 
directly reflected image of the Greekthought, as a living idiom. 
One does not stop at the mere externals, but there is a refe 
rence of each form and inflexion of the language to the think 
ing soul, and an effort to apprehend it in its existence in the 
mind itself. For a long time Biblical philologists took no no 
tice of these elucidations of Greek grammar and lexicography. 
They followed Viger and Storr, and separated themselves en 
tirely from the profane philologists, under the impression that 
the New Testament Greek, being Hebraistic, could not be an 
object of such philological investigations. No one believed 
that the Hebrew, like every other language, admitted and re 
quired a rational mode of treatment. The rational view ia 
now gaining ground. It is believed that the ultimate reasons 
of the phenomena of the Hebrew must be sought out in the 
nation s modes of thought; and, above all, that a plain, sim 
ple people could not contravene the laws of all human lan 
guage. It is no longer, therefore, considered proper to give 
a preposition diverse meanings, according to one s own plea 
sure, in a context superficially examined. Nor must it be 
supposed that a Hebrew, instead of i this is my brother, could 
say pleonastically, i this is of my brother, or l this is in the 


wise man, instead of l this is a wise man; but the origin of 
changes so contrary to rule must be sought for in the speaker s 
mode of thought, as with every rational being each deviation 
has its reason." (Idioms, pp. 19, 20.) 

This, it will be understood, is said simply of the manner in 
which deviations of the kind here referred to should be con 
sidered and explained; and determines nothing as to what 
may be called the comparative pureness and elegance of the 
diction, or the reverse. In some of them, possibly, the thought 
expressed may be cast into a form, which is not justified by 
the usage of the most correct writers, nor accordant with the 
native idioms of the language ; but possibly also there may 
be no real departure from these; and the apparent devia 
tion, or peculiarity, may lie in the thought expressed being 
somewhat different from what a superficial consideration, or a 
common point of view, might be apt to suggest. Such, no 
doubt, will be found sometimes to be the case. But the ques 
tion at present has respect, not simply, nor indeed so much to 
the purity of the diction, as to the proper and rational mode 
of explaining its real or apparent peculiarities. These should, 
in every case, be considered with reference to the specific cir 
cumstances and mental habits of the writer. And had they 
been so had due regard been paid to the considerations which 
have just been advanced not only would many senseless and 
improper laxities have been spared from our grammars, lexi 
cons, and commentaries, but the received text also of the New 
Testament and our authorized version would have been in a 
better state than they at present are. Schleusner s Lexicon 
of the New Testament, and Mackriight s Commentary on the 
Epistles, may be referred to as specimens, out of the more 
learned class, which egregiously err in the respect now men 
tioned, more especially in the laxity with which they render 
the prepositions and the particles of the New Testament Greek. 
For example, in Schleusner, the prepositions ecz and lv have 
ascribed to them, the one 24, the other no fewer than 30, dis 
tinct uses and meanings; and, though Macknight does not 
carry it quite so far, yet, from the diverse and disconnected 
senses he puts upon them in his Preliminary Essays, it seems 


as if, when handled by a Hellenistic Jew, these prepositions 
might express almost any relation whatever. Et^, as it hap 
pens, may be into or in, concerning or with, against, before, 
by, in order to, among, at, towards, or it may stand without 
any definite meaning as a mere expletive and had better 
been wanted. So also with Jv. 1 

Of course, in the writings of the New Testament, as in all 
popular productions, there is a considerable freedom in the 
use of such parts of speech especially in what are called preg 
nant constructions and current phrases yet never without a 
respect to the fundamental meaning of the word never with 
a total abnegation and disregard of this. Thus, in the New 
Testament, as with Greek writers generally, the preposition 
eC is not unfrequently coupled with verbs of rest, and hence 
comes to be rendered as if it were sv: as Matt. ii. 23, xarw- 
% fjazy ecz xohv lefO/uvr}v Na^aped-; Acts viii. 40, 0Utf?r0f 
tbpidy etz "A COTOV, John i. 18, 6 &v etc rov xofocov TOL> Ilar- 
/>6c But in all such cases there is an implied reference to 
the preceding motion towards the place indicated, or some sort 
of terminal relation to it. Thus, in the examples noticed, we 
must explain, in the first, having gone so far as to the city 
called Nazareth, having entered into it, he dwelt there; in 
the second, Philip was found as far as Azotus, carried thither, 
and so at it; in the third* He that is (viz. set, who has His 
proper place of being) into the bosom of the Father, so close, 
so deep into the personal indwelling, and union with, the Fa 
ther. In none of the cases is there properly an interchange 
of one preposition for another; but a complex thought is ut 
tered in an abbreviated and elliptical form. 

In many cases of this description, however, it is only by a 
comment that the full and proper meaning can be brought out, 
and in a simple translation it is scarcely possible to keep up 
the peculiarity of the original. But there are others, in which 
that was perfectly possible, and in which our authorized ver 
sion has suffered from the too prevalent notion of Hebraistic 
laxity nor has even the received text of the original escaped 

1 This looseness has also been countenanced to some extent by Erncsti, and 
still more by his foreign and English annotators. See Bib. Cabinet, vol. iv. 
153, 154. 


occasional corruptions. Under those of the latter description 
we may point to Rev. ii. 14, \vhere the undoubtedly correct 
reading of what is said of Balaam is, oc Ioc3a<rxsi> rco Ba/.ax 
ftaJiecu crxdvoaAov luwr^w rwv uiwv IffpcojA. , but which, from 
the apparent anomaly of the verb diddaxa) being coupled with 
a noun in the dative, for its direct object, (as was supposed,) 
the resort was made by grammarians and commentators to 
Hebrew usage, according to which it was alleged the dative 
was put for the accusative; and certain copyists went a step 
further, and, taking the dative for an error, substituted the 
accusative in its place, which is the reading of the received 
text rbv Da/.ax. It is not a Hebraism, however, to couple 
such a verb with the dative ; the Greek and Hebrew usage 
here entirely correspond ; and that John was perfectly cogni 
sant of the Greek usage is manifest from his coupling the same 
verb with an accusative in ver. 20, as in every other instance, 
in which he has placed a noun in regimen with it, except the 
one before us, (John vii. 35, viii. 2, 28, ix. 34, xiv. 26; 1 
Joh n ii. 27, thrice.) This sufficiently shows, that the dative 
in Rev. ii. 14 is put, not by oversight or from the usage of a 
foreign idiom merely, but on purpose; that it is what gram 
marians call the dativus commodi, indicating that what was 
done, was done, not upon the individual concerned, but in his 
interest not that Balaam taughtBalak, (as in the English 
version,) but that he taught for Balak, on his account and in 
his behalf, to cast a stumbling-block before the children of 
Israel. We are not, in short, told whom he taught, though 
we know from the history it was the people of Balak, but/or 
whose advantage he did so ; he taught in the service of the 
king of Moab, not of the God of Israel. 

We must refer to a few other passages, in which, though 
the received text remains correct, the authorized version has 
missed the precise shade of meaning by giving way to the idea 
of laxity on the part of the original writers. Thus, in the 
prayer of the converted malefactor, Luke xxiii. 42, Remember 
me when Thou comest v rfi ftturdeia 0ou not into Thy king 
dom, which might seem to point to the glory into which the 
Lord was presently going to enter but in Thy kingdom, viz., 


TV hen the time comes for Thee to take to Thyself Thy great 
power and to reign among men ; for this future manifestation 
of glory was undoubtedly what the faith of the penitent man 
anticipated and sought to share in, not the glory which lay 
within the vail, which only the answer of Christ brought within 
the ken of his spiritual vision. The same preposition has also 
been unhappily translated in another important passage Phil, 
ii. 10, r lua iv TOJ oyojj.aTc y Ir^aoit not at, but in the name of 
Jesus, every knee should bow; in it as the ground and prin 
ciple of the act, not at its mere enunciation. Again in Eph. 
iii. 19, "That ye may be filled eiz nu.v TO ittyptopa TOO 0soi>," 
not strictly with, which would imply an infinite recipiency, 
but into all the fulness of God lifted, like empty vessels, 
into the boundless pleroma of Godhead, that ye may take to 
the full satisfaction of your desires, and the measure of your 
capacity. So, again, in 2 Pet. i. 3, where God is said to have 
given to us all things pertaining to life and godliness, through 
the knowledge of Him xaAsffavroz fjplz dta oof^c *o-t d/?snyc> 
who called us not, as in our version, to glory and virtue, 
which puts a most arbitrary and unauthorized sense upon the 
dca, and converts, besides, the means into the end but by or 
through glory and virtue namely, the glory and virtue, the 
divine energy exhibited in the way and manner, in which we 
are called of God, in consequence of which, as is presently 
added, there have also been given to us exceeding great and 
precious promises; the promises are so great and precious, 
because the call conducting to them was so distinguished by 
divine power and glory. The very next verse but one of the 
same epistle, ver. 5, furnishes another example of unfortunate 
laxity in the translation, which in consequence misses the 
precise shade of thought expressed in the original : the words, 
7.0.1 WJTO To r JTo 3s, rendered, " And besides this," altogether 
sinking the adversative particle ok, and mistaking also the 
force of the adverbial accusative aJjTo TO JTO. The object of 
the clause, is partly to suggest a difference, and partly to 
mention an agreement, between what precedes and what fol 
lows: "And on this very account indeed," or "but for this 
same reason, give all diligence," etc. 



These are only a few specimens out of many, that might be 
adduced, of the evil that too long and generally prevailed, of 
supposing that the sacred writers of the New Testament were 
so Hebraistic, or otherwise so peculiar in their use of words 
and phrases, that any sort of license might at times be taken 
with their language. It is but rarely that the evil discovers 
itself in the authorized version, and within narrow limits, com 
pared with what has appeared often in later versions and com 
mentaries. But it is still occasionally found there; and spe 
cial notice has been taken of it, not for the purpose of dispa 
raging that version, which, as a whole, is so admirable, but 
in order to show, how even there, when the proper line has 
been deviated from, and with the best intentions, the effect 
has only been to substitute one shade of meaning for another 
a meaning that could only at first view have seemed the 
natural and proper one, for another more accordant both 
with the idioms of the language and with the truth of things. 

V. To pass now, however, from the real or alleged Hebra 
isms of the New Testament, we may mention as another cha 
racteristic feature of its diction, that which it occasionally de 
rives from the new ideas and relations introduced by the gos 
pel. These of necessity called into existence a class of ex 
pressions, not in themselves absolutely new, but still fraught 
with an import which could not attach to them as used by any 
heathen writer, nor even in the production of any Greek- 
speaking Jew prior to the birth of Christ. With the marvel 
lous events of the gospel age, a fresh spring-time opened for 
the world; old things passed away, all things became new; 
and the change which took place in the affairs of the Divine 
kingdom could not fail to impress itself on those words and 
forms of expression, which bore respect to what had then for 
the first time come properly into being. In so far as the terms 
employed might embody the distinctive facts or principles of 
Christianity, their former and common usage could only in 
part exhibit the sense now acquired by them ; for the full 
depth and compass of meaning belonging to them in their new 
application, we must look to the New Testament itself, com 
paring one passage with another, and viewing the language 


used in the light of the great things which it brings to our 

When handling such terms as those now referred to, it is 
peculiarly necessary to understand and apply aright the fun 
damental principles of language, as to the relation in which 
the spoken word stands to the internal thought, of which it 
serves as the expression. " Language," it has been justly 
said, 1 " is the outward appearance of the intellect of nations: 
their language is their intellect, and their intellect their lan 
guage; we cannot sufficiently identify the two. . . . Un 
derstanding and speaking are only two different effects of the 
same power of speech." In confirmation of this statement, 
we may point to the twofold meaning of the Greek word /o^oc, 
which denotes alike the internal and the external reason 
either reason as exercising itself and forming conceptions in 
the mind itself, (Ao; oc cvora^sroc,) or reason coming forth into 
formal proposition, and embodying itself in the utterance of 
human speech, (^o;-oc TipoyoprAoz) comprising, therefore, in 
one term, what the Latins, with their more objective and re 
alistic tendencies, took two words to express ratio and oratio. 
Now, as the external reason, or reason embodied in the form 
of spoken or written words, ought to be the exact image of 
the internal, a correct representation of the thoughts and con 
ceptions of the mind, so, in proportion as these thoughts and 
conceptions vary, the language employed to express them 
must present a corresponding variation ; and if the same terms 
are retained, which may have been previously in use, there 
must be infused into them a somewhat new and more specific 
import. To some extent this is done, even in comparatively 
common circumstances, and as the result of individual thought 
and feeling; for speech, as has also been well said by the 
writer just referred to, " acquires its last definiteness only 
from the individual. No one assigns precisely the same mean 
ing to a word that another does, and a shade of meaning, be 
it ever so slight, ripples on, like a circle in the water, through 
the entirety of language." That is for the sentiment must 
be understood with such a limitation it will so perpetuate 

1 William Von Hurnboldt, quoted in Donaldson s Cratylus, p. 56. 


and diffuse itself, if circumstances favour it, and the particu 
lar shade of meaning introduced is one not confined to too 
narrow a sphere of thought, not merely local or temporary, 
but requiring, by the exigencies of human thought, to have 
an abiding place in its medium of communication. Whenever 
that is the case, it will certainly "ripple on like a wave, widen 
ing and enlarging its range, till it has embraced the whole 

Such peculiarly has been the case in respect to those terms, 
which the great events of gospel history served to bring into 
general use, and through which expression is given to some 
of the more distinctive ideas and relations of gospel times. 
Among the foremost of these is the phrase, jlaathia TOO 6sou, 
or riov oupav&v a phrase composed of words perfectly fami 
liar to all accustomed to the Greek tongue, but, as applied to 
the state of things introduced by Christ, and growing out of 
the events of His earthly career, expressive of ideas essentially 
novel to heathen minds, and but partially possessed even by 
Jewish. We can have no doubt about its origin, and the rea 
son of its employment in this connexion. It points back to 
those prophecies of the Old Testament, in which promise was 
made of a king and kingdom, that should unite heaven and 
earth, God and man, in another way than could be done by 
a merely human administration; and especially to the prophe 
cies of Daniel, in ch. ii. and vii., where, after a succession of 
kingdoms, all earthly in their origin, and ungodly in their 
spirit and aims, the Divine purpose was announced, of a king 
dom that should be set up by the God of heaven, and that 
should never be destroyed a kingdom imaged by one like a 
Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven, and destined to 
be possessed by the saints of the Most High. Some notion 
might, therefore, be obtained of the import of the expression, 
by those who were acquainted with Old Testament Scripture ; 
yet only a vague and imperfect one, as the precise nature of 
the kingdom, and its distinctive characteristics could only 
be correctly understood, when they were brought clearly to 
light by the facts and revelations of the gospel. The general 
unbelief and apostacy of the Jewish people, after Christ came, 


showed how little previous intimations had served to bring 
them properly acquainted with the nature of the kingdom ; 
and both that, and the palpable errors and mistakes regard 
ing it, which frequently discovered themselves even among 
the followers of Christ, but too clearly proved how difficult it 
was for the minds of men to rise to a just apprehension of 
the subject. The difficulty, no doubt, chiefly arose from the 
imperfect earthly forms under which the prophetic Spirit had 
presented it to their view, and from the not unnatural ten 
dency in their minds to shape their idea of it too much after 
the monarchies and governments of this world, which kept 
them from realizing the change in spirit, aim, and administra 
tion, involved in the divine character of its Head. But as 
soon as the true idea came to be realized, and the kingdom 
in its real properties began to take root in the world, as a na 
tural result, the phrase paaiAeia TOO 0sou, which gave ex 
pression to the idea, became informed, we might say, with a 
new meaning, and bore a sense which it were vain to look for 
any where but in the writings of the New Testament. Even 
there the sense which it bears is not quite uniform; for in a 
subject so complex, and branching out into so many interests 
and relations, the expression could not fail to be used some 
times with more immediate reference to one aspect of the 
matter, and sometimes to another. This is clearly the case 
in the parables, where a manifold variety is found in the images 
employed to represent the kingdom of God, with the view 
of presenting under diverse, though perfectly consistent and 
harmonious representations, a comprehensive exhibition of 
the truth respecting it: some (as in the parable of the mus 
tard-seed) pointing more to its growth from small beginnings; 
others, (as in the parables of the ten virgins and the husband 
man,) to its final issues in evil and good, according to the part 
taken on earth by its members; others, again, to its internal 
principles of administration, (as the parable of the talents, or 
of the labourers in the vineyard;) to its external means and 
agencies, with the diversified results springing from them (as 
the parables of the sower, the tares and wheat, the fishing- 
net;) or to the relation of the members of the kingdom to its 


Divine Head, and to each other, (as the parable of the unfor 
giving servant.) But with all this variety in the use of the 
expression, two ideas are never lost sight of, which in truth 
form the two most prominent things connected with it, viz., 
those of a Divine king on the one hand, and of human sub 
jects on the other the one ordering, providing, directing, 
and controlling all; the other, according to the line of con 
duct they pursue, receiving at His hand blessing or cursing, 
life or death. 

If these remarks are kept in view, there will appear no need 
for dividing (as Dr. Campbell, for example, does, in his preli 
minary Dissertations and Translation of the Gospels) and ren 
dering ftaffdsla iCov o ? jpavtov sometimes the reign of heaven, 
and sometimes the kingdom of heaven. This is not only un 
necessary, but fitted also to mislead; since it gives, whenever 
the word reign is used instead of kingdom, only a partial and 
imperfect representation of the proper idea. It was one of 
the prevailing tendencies of Campbell s mind a mind cer 
tainly of great penetration, of remarkable clearness of per 
ception, of much philosophical acumen, and singular perspi 
cacity in thought and diction partly in consequence of these 
very excellencies, it was a tendency in his mind to make pre 
cision, rather than fulness of meaning his aim ; and for the 
sake of that precision, both in his preliminary Dissertations 
and his Notes, he often seizes only a part of the meaning, 
couched under a particular phrase or expression, and exhibits 
that as the whole. This is, indeed, the most characteristic 
and general defect of his work on the Gospels, which, notwith 
standing that defect, however, and a few others that might be 
named, is well entitled to a perusal. It was the tendency now 
referred to which led Dr. Campbell to substitute so often the 
word reign for that of the kingdom of heaven, on the ground, 
that the expression most commonly relates to that "sort of 
dominion," as he terms it, which is understood by the dispen 
sation of grace, brought in by the Gospel ; while the phrase, 
"kingdom of heaven," he thinks, properly indicates "the state 
of perfect felicity to be enjoyed in the world to come." Now, 
this is to divide what Scripture seeks to preserve entire, and 


fixes the mind too exclusively on a part merely of the idea, 
which it ought to associate with the expression. It was never 
intended that we should think of the Messiah s kingdom as 
having to do merely with the inner man, and, for the present, 
laying claim only to a sway over the thoughts and affections 
of the mind. His kingdom, according to its scriptural idea, 
is no more a divided empire, than He is Himself a divided 
person. It comprehends the external as well as the internal 
although, from having its seat in the latter, it is most fre 
quently depicted with special relation to this; but still it com 
prehends both, and embraces eternity as well as time though 
its condition, now on this side, now on that, may at times be 
brought most prominently into view. But even in those pas 
sages, in which it points to the present mixed state, and im 
perfect administration of the affairs of the kingdom, we should 
take nothing from the full import of the expression, but retain 
it in its completeness; as it serves to keep before the Church 
the idea of a kingdom in the proper sense, and to prompt her 
to long for, and aim at, its realization. 

We have dwelt at the greater length on this particular ex 
ample, as it is one of considerable moment, and it affords an 
intelligible and ready explanation of the peculiarity with which 
it has been here associated. But it is only one of a class be 
longing to the same category : such astf/o>v p.e)JMy, ocxatouada:, 
dcxacoa jvy, euafj eAc^cO) coij and ddvaroc; (understood spiri 
tually,) xtfjffez, pwrrgpiov, VO/MZ, TrapdxtyToz, Tziattz, nMjp&fJMi, 
T.fy 1 ** 7JU { na l w "> WKMWdW&Cj (JJU%MO~. All these, and, perhaps, 
several others that might be named, are used in New Testa 
ment Scripture with the same radical meaning, indeed, as 
elsewhere; but, at the same time, with so much of a specific 
character derived from the great truths and principles of the 
Gospel, that their New Testament import must be designated 
as peculiar. 

VI. Once more, it may be given as a still further note of 
distinction characteristic of the New Testament Greek, that, 
while there are peculiarities of tttfe several kinds already de 
scribed, distinguishing the language as a whole, there are also 


peculiarities distinguishing the Greek of one writer from that 
of another words and phrases used by one and not used by 
the others, or used in a manner peculiar to himself. There is 
an individual, as well as a general, impress on the language. 
And if, as in the class last mentioned, a special regard must 
be had to the revelations and writings of the New Testament 
as a whole, there should, in the class now under consideration, 
be a like regard had to the writings of the particular person 
by whom the expressions are more peculiarly employed. 

The terms belonging to this class are not of so extensive a 
range as some of the preceding ones; and they are to be found 
chiefly in two writers of the New Testament the Apostles 
Paul and John. In the writings of John we meet with vari 
ous expressions, which, as used by him, are almost peculiar 
to himself: such as dJby 0z, in the specific sense of denoting 
what is emphatically the truth the truth of the Gospel ; xoesiv 
TTJV dJ:rflz>a\>, in the sense of giving practical exhibition of that 
truth ; yzwrflvpat dvwdsu, or Ix TOL> 6i.o~j ; b /o;-oc, as a perso 
nal designation of the Saviour in respect to his divine nature 
and relationship ; 6 /o^oc r^r C w ^ //ovofsvijc wfoc, 6 ~ac>d- 
x/^roc, doyrcov TOU xdffjuo j, ep%s06ai ecz TOV xofffjtoy, etc. In 
like manner, there is a set of phrases nearly as peculiar to the 
Apostle Paul: such as fpd/jtfjta put in contrast to 5rvsD//a, d~o- 
QvfjG /.ziv Ttvi, dexaeowrdeUj eo^a trapxoc, xatvrj xrlffiz, irfojpwfjui 
roy 0oD, 1,6 uo~ lv ror: //s/s<7. , a-cavpovadcu mi, ffTor/a (taken 
in a figurative sense of rudimental principles,) r^rror, etc. 

We refrain at present from entering on the examination of 
any of these peculiar forms of expression the greater part of 
which, viewed simply in themselves, properly belong to some 
of the preceding classes, and are now mentioned only as con 
nected with a further peculiarity their exclusive or prevail 
ing use by particular writers. And as they undoubtedly ac 
quired this further peculiarity from some mental idiosyncrasy 
on the part of the person using them, or from some determi 
native influences connected with the circumstance of his posi 
tion, these ought, as far as possible, to be ascertained, that 
the several expressions ma^ be considered from that point of 
view, which was held by the writer, and may be interpreted 
in accordance with the laws of thought under which he wrote. 




OUR attention has hitherto been confined to the original 
language itself of the New Testament, and to the things which 
concern both its general character and its more distinctive 
peculiarities. In considering these, it has been implied, ra 
ther than formally stated, that for the correct and critical 
study of the writings of the New Testament, there must have 
been acquired a competent acquaintance, not only with the 
common dialect of the later Greek, but also with the idioms 
of the Hebrew tongue, and with that combination of Greek 
and Hebrew idioms, which appears in the Septuagint version 
of the Old Testament. In this version all the leading pecu 
liarities, as well of the later Greek as of the Hebraistic style, 
which have been noticed in connexion with the language of 
the New Testament, are to be found; and some of them, those 
especially of the Hebraistic class, in greater abundance, and 
in bolder relief, than in the writings of the New Testament. 
In regard to the earlier portions of the Septuagint, this has 
been exhibited with scholarly acumen and precision in a late 
publication by the younger Thiersch (De Pentateuchi Versione 
Alexandrina, Libri Tres, 1851,) to which reference has already 
been made. Considerable use has long been made of the 
materials supplied by the Hebrew Bibles and the Septuagint 
for illustrating the diction of the New Testament in some of 
the more learned commentaries; particularly those of Grotius, 
Wetstein, Koppe, Kuinoel, and the more recent commentaries 
both of this country and the Continent. Some additional ser 
vice has been rendered in the same line by the Editio Helle- 
nistica of the New Testament of Mr. Grinfield, which is de 
voted to the single purpose of collecting under each verse ex 
amples of the same or of similar words and phrases occurring 
in the Septuagint, and other writings of the period. The 
Lexicons also of Biel arid Schleusner, and, above all, the 


Grammar of Winer, have contributed to establish and eluci 
date the connexion between the Greek of the New Testament 
and of the Septuagint, and the characteristics of the dialect 
in which they are written. All this, however, has respect to 
the elements of the subject under consideration; it bears di 
rectly upon the form and structure of the language itself of 
the New Testament; so that, without a certain knowledge of 
the one, there can be no accurate and discriminating know 
ledge of the other. But there are also certain collateral sources 
of information, from which incidental and supplementary aid 
may be derived, to illustrate both the phraseology and .some 
of the more characteristic notices and allusions of New Testa 
ment Scripture. These we must now briefly describe, with 
the view of indicating the nature and amount of the aid to be 
derived from them, before entering on the examination of spe 
cific rules and principles of interpretation. 1 

I. The sources that may be said to lie nearest to the inspired 
writings, and which should first be named, are the contempo 
rary Jewish writers, who used the Greek language. These 
are simply two Philo and Josephus; the former, there is rea 
son to believe, born about a quarter of a century before Christ, 
though he appears to have outlived the Saviour; and the other 
fully as much later. The birth of Josephus is assigned to A.D. 
37. In a strictly exegetical respect, little help, comparatively, 
is to be obtained from the first of these writers. Philo was 
much more of a philosopher than a religionist; and living in 
Alexandria, and ambitious mainly of ranking with its men of 
higher culture, both his sentiments and his style stood at a 
wide distance from those peculiar to the writers of the New 
Testament. Even in respect to the points, in which his 
writings bear a kind of formal resemblance to those of the 
Apostle John, in the use of a few terms relating to the Being 
and operations of Godhead, no real advance has been made 

1 It should be borne in mind by those who are entering on the prosecution 
of such studies, that the Septuugint is far from being a close translation, and 
that those commentators and grammarians, who have proceeded on the prin 
ciple of always finding in it the key to the exact meaning of particular words 
and phrases, are by no means 10 be trusted. 


by the efforts that have been put forth to interpret the one 
by the other. It has turned out rather the more carefully 
the subject has been examined that as their conceptions of 
divine things were essentially different, so their language, even 
when it seems most nearly coincident, is by no means agreed ; 
and little more has resulted from such comparative investiga 
tions than learned disputations about the meanings of words 
and phrases, which sometimes look as if they yielded what was 
sought, but again deny it. As for the principles of interpre 
tation adopted by Philo, they have, indeed, a close enough 
affinity with what is found in many of the Fathers of the third 
and fourth centuries, but are by no means to be identified with 
those sanctioned by the writers of the New Testament. Such 
deliverances, therefore, as the following of Ernesti, which has 
often in substance been repeated since "Philo is particularly 
useful in illustrating the allegorical and mystical reasonings, 
so much used by St. Paul " l must be rejected as groundless, 
and fitted to lead in a wrong direction. The statement is made 
by -Ernesti with apparent moderation, as it is again in recent 
times by Klausen, 2 with the view simply of pointing attention 
to Philo as a master in that kind of allegorizing, which was 
pursued especially by the Apostle Paul not that Paul was 
actually conversant with the writings of the Alexandrian, and 
followed in his wake. This latter is noted by Ernesti as a 
fanciful extreme, advanced by Wetstein and some others, and 
is declared to be destitute of historical support; unnecessary 
also, since both Paul and Philo but imbibed the spirit of their 
age, and adopted a style of exposition which was already com 
mon. In opposition to this view, we maintain, that the alle- 
gorizings of Philo and those, as well of the Jewish cabalists 
who preceded, as of the Christian theosophists who followed, 
belonged to another class than the so-called allegorical inter 
pretations of the New Testament. The latter are not alle 
gorical, in the distinctive sense of the term; they are not, as 
allegorical meanings properly are, adaptations of matters in 
one sphere of things to those of another essentially different, 
and consequently arbitrary and uncertain. On the contrary, 
1 Institutes, P. III., ch. 8. 2 Hermeneutik, pp. 96, 97. 


they are applications of the truths and principles embodied 
in the institutions or events of preparatory dispensations to 
the corresponding events or institutions of an ultimate dispen 
sation, to which, from the first, they stood intimately related. 
In short, they are typical explanations, as contradistinguished 
from allegorical, and have nothing about them of the caprice 
and extravagance to which the others are liable. But as we 
have investigated this elsewhere, 1 it is needless to do more 
here than mark the confusion of ideas, on which this assimila 
tion of Paul and Philo is grounded, and declaim against the 
dishonour which is thereby done to the character of the apo 
stolic teaching. 

So far, therefore, as Philo is concerned, there is little to be 
reaped from his writings for the exposition of New Testament 
Scripture; his language, his style of thought, and his manner 
of dealing with Old Testament Scripture, all move in different 
channels from those followed by the apostles; and his refer 
ences also to existing manners and circumstances are extremely 
few and unimportant. In this last respect, however, his con 
temporary Josephus may justly be said to compensate for the 
defect of Philo. A man of affairs, and bent on transmitting 
to posterity an account of what he knew and understood of the 
events of his times, as well as of former generations, his writings 
abound with details, which are calculated to throw light on, at 
least, the historical parts of the New Testament. In the 
words of Lardner, who has done more than any other person 
to turn to valuable account the notices of Josephus, "He has 
recorded the history of the Jewish people in Judea and else 
where, arid particularly the state of things in Judea during 
the ministry of our Saviour and His apostles ; whereby he has 
wonderfully confirmed, though without intending it, the ve 
racity and the ability of the evangelical writers, and the truth 
of their history." 2 It was for the richness of materials in 
this respect, contained in the writings of Josephus, that Mi- 
chaelis strongly recommended a diligent study of his works, 
from the beginning of Herod s reign to the end of the Jewish 

1 Typology of Scripture, vol. i., o. I., and App. B., \ 1. 

2 Works, vi. p. 502. 


Antiquities, and spake of him as furnishing the very best com 
mentary on the Gospels and the Acts. 1 Of course, a com 
mentary so furnished could only have been of the external 
and historical kind, which too much accorded with the taste 
of Michaelis ; but, in a revelation pre-eminently historical, the 
incidental light and attestations derived from such a source 
are not to be undervalued; and though, doubtless, the imper 
fections in Josephus accounts, and what probably we may 
call his occasional errors and studied omissions (in respect to 
the subject of Christianity,) have given rise to some perplexi 
ties, yet his writings, on the whole, have contributed greatly 
to elucidate and confirm the narratives of the New Testament. 
His style, however, which he aimed at having as pure as possi 
ble, is of little service in illustrating the more peculiar idioms 
of Scripture; though, in regard to some of those common to 
it and the later Greek dialect, and the meaning also of par 
ticular words and phrases, considerable benefit has accrued 
from the study of his productions. Two works, of about the 
middle of last century (the Observationes of Krebs, and the 
Specilegium of Ottius.) were specially directed to the elucida 
tion of the New Testament from this source; and many of the 
examples adduced by them, with others gathered by subse 
quent inquirers, have found their way into recent grammars 
and commentaries. 

It is proper to add, that there are questions on which even 
the silence of Josephus is instructive, and fairly warrants 
certain conclusions respecting the existing state of things in the 
apostolic age for example, on the subject of Jewish proselyte- 
baptism; since, treating, as he does, of matters bearing upon 
the reception of proselytes, and remaining silent regarding 
any such practice, this, coupled with the like silence of Scrip 
ture, is well nigh conclusive on the subject. (But see Disser 
tation on f$axTta) in Part II.) Again, there are other points, 
chiefly of a formal or legal description, on which the testimony 
of Philo and Josephus runs counter to that delivered in the 
later Jewish writings; and in such cases, we need scarcely 
say, the testimony of those who lived when the Jewish institu- 

1 Introduction, vol. iii. P. 1, c. 9. 



tions were actually in force is entitled to the greater -weight. 
Nothing of this sort, however, has to be noted in connexion 
with New Testament affairs. 

II. The next source of illustrative materials that falls to be 
noticed, is that supplied by the Jewish Rabbinical writings 
writings composed near to the apostolic age, though subsequent 
to it, and composed, not in Greek, but in modern Hebrew. 
These writings consist of two main parts, the Mischna and the 
Gemara, the Mischna being the text, viz., of the traditions 
about the law, and the Gemara the comments of learned men 
upon it. Two sets of comments grew up around it, the one 
earlier, produced by the Palestinian Jews, and called, along 
with the Mischna, the Jerusalem Talmud; the other, origi 
nating with the Chaldean Jews, and forming, with the Mischna, 
the Babylonian Talmud. It is important to bear in mind the 
ascertained or probable dates of these productions, in order to 
determine their relation to the writings of the New Testament. 
The Mischna being a compilation of traditional lore, may, of 
course, in many of its parts, be really more ancient than the 
Gospels; but as it was not committed to writing till the latter 
half of the second century after Christ, and probably even later 
than that, 1 there can be no certainty as to the actual existence of 
particular portions of it before that period; and still more does 
this hold with the Talmudical comments, which were not pro 
duced, the one till 300, and the other till 600 years after Christ. 
"Besides, undoubted traces exist in these writings of references to 
the events of Gospel history, showing the posteriority of some 
of the things contained in them to that period; and if some, 
who can tell how many! They were, it must be remembered, 
the productions of men who wrote in the profoundest secrecy, 
and who, though not formally assuming a hostile attitude to 
wards the Christian cause, could not but be conscious of a 
certain influence from the great events of the Gospel and the 
writings of apostolic men. 

There are few ancient writings extant, perhaps, that con 
tain a larger proportion of what may be called rubbish than 
these Talmudical productions. Lightfoot speaks of the stu- 

1 See Frideaux, Connexion, at B. c. 44G; Lightfoot s Opera, i., p. 3G9. 


penda inanitas et vafrities of the subjects discussed in them, 
and says of them generally, rntgis ubique scatent. There is 
the more reason that we should cherish feelings of gratitude* 
and admiration toward him, and such men (in particular the 
Buxtorfs, Bochart, Vitringa, Surenhusius, Schoettgen,) who, 
with the simple desire of finding fresh illustrations of the 
meaning of sacred Scripture, have encountered the enormous 
labour, and the painful discipline, of mastering such a litera 
ture, and culling from it the comparatively few passages which 
bear on the elucidation of the Word of God. They have un 
doubtedly, by so doing, rendered important service to the 
cause of Biblical learning; although it must also be confessed, 
that a very considerable proportion of the passages adduced 
might as well have been left in their original quarries, and 
that some have been turned to uses which have been preju 
dicial, rather than advantageous, to the right understanding 
of Scripture. The special benefit derived from them has been 
in respect to ancient rites and usages, the meaning of Ara 
maic expressions occasionally occurring in New Testament 
Scripture, the synagogal institution and worship, and the state 
of things generally in the closing period of the Jewish com 
monwealth, to which so many allusions are made. But in 
respect to the points in which the Scriptures of the New Tea-? 
lament may be said to differ from those of the Old the doc 
trines, for example, relating to the person of Messiah, His 
peculiar office and work, the characteristics of the Christian 
community, etc. nothing definite can be learned from the 
Rabbinical sources under consideration. Endless quotations 
have been made from them, apparently favouring the Christian 
views; but it were quite easy to match them with others of an 
opposite description ; so that all belonging to this department 
was evidently but idle talk or free speculation. In regard 
also to the treatment of Scripture especially the method of 
expounding and applying it to things, with which it might 
seem to have no very direct connexion this, which Surenhu 
sius (in his #. ,3/07 KaraVM^r^) and Eisenmenger (in his 
Entwecktes Judentum) have shown to be so much the practice 
with the Rabbinical Jews, and which rationalistic interpreters 


have so often sought to connect also with the writers of the 
New Testament, must be held to be altogether foreign to the 
territory of inspiration. It was quite natural to the Talinud- 
ists and their followers; for they could find separate meanings 
not only in every sentence, but in every word, and even letter 
of Scripture, and in the numerical relations of these to each 
other. With them, therefore, Scripture admitted of manifold 
senses and applications, of which some might be ever so re 
mote from the natural import and bearing. But apostles and 
evangelists belonged to another school ; and when they apply 
Old Testament Scripture to a circumstance or event in Gospel 
times, it must be in the fair and legitimate sense of the terms; 
otherwise, their use of it could not be justified as a handling 
of the Word of God in simplicity and godly sincerity. 

We may add, that on points of natural history the Talmuds 
seem just about as capricious guides as on texts of Scripture. 
The writers would appear to have wantoned sometimes with 
the field of nature around them, much as they did with the 
volume of God s revelation in their hands; and to have found 
in it what no one has been able to find but themselves. A 
fitting specimen of this peculiarity may be seen in the quota 
tions produced by Lightfoot in connexion with the cursing of 
tjie fruitless fig tree. Among other wonderful things about 
fig trees there noticed, mention is made of a kind which bore 
fruit, indeed, every year, though it only came to maturity on 
the third ; so that three crops, in different stages of progress, 
might be seen 0*1 it at once; and on this notable piece of na 
tural history an explanation of the evangelical narrative is 
presented. In such matters it is greatly safer to trust the 
accounts of scientific naturalists and travellers than Jewish 
llabbis; and when they report the existence of such figs in 
Palestine, it will be time enough to consider what aid may be 
derived from the information, to illustrate the narrative referred 
to. Meanwhile, no great loss is sustained; for the narrative 
admits, without it, of a perfectly satisfactory explanation. 

There are points, however, of another kind, in respect to 
which this species of learning is not unfrequently applied, not 
so properly for purposes of elucidation, as with the view of 


showing how the teaching of the Gospel appropriated to itself 
elements and forms of instruction already existing in the Jew 
ish schools. Here the question of priority is of some moment ; 
and though the things themselves remain the same, their re 
lative character is materially affected, according as the priority 
may appear to have belonged to the authors of the Gemara, 
or to the originators of Christianity. The teaching of our 
Lord, for example, by parables, is certainly one of the most 
distinctive features of His public ministry; and, accordingly, 
when He began more formally to employ it, the Evangelist 
Matthew saw in it the realization of a prophetic utterance 
(Matt. xiii. 35;) nor can any one attentively read the Gospels, 
without discerning in the parables the most impressive image 
of the mind of Jesus. But this impression is apt to be con 
siderably weakened by the array of quotations sometimes pro 
duced from those Rabbinical sources, to show how the Jewish 
teachers delighted in the use of parables, and even exhibiting 
some of our Lord s choicest parables as in the main copies of 
what is found in the Talmud. 1 The same thing has also been 
done in regard to the Lord s Prayer ; so that not only its 
commencing address, "Our Father which art in heaven," but 
nearly all that follows, is given as a series of extracts from 
Jewish forms of devotion. Now, this style of exposition pro 
ceeds on a gratuitous assumption ; it takes for granted that 
the existing forms in the Talmud were there before they were 
in the Gospels, and, of course, that the Rabbinical gave the 
tone to the Christian, rather than the Christian to the Rabbi 
nical. The reverse is what the palpable facts of the case tend 
to establish. The prayers of the synagogues before the Chris 
tian era were doubtless moulded after the devotional parts of 
the Old Testament, and to a large extent composed of these. 
But in none of them does the suppliant, even in his most ele 
vated moments, rise to the filial cry of "My Father in hea 
ven;" it was the distinctive glory of the Gospel to bring in 
this spirit of adoption; and the theological as well as the his 
torical probability, is in favour of the supposition, that Rabbis 

1 Lightfoot, Horse Heb. on Matt. vi. xiii. ; and Schoettgen, Horse Heb. on 
Matt. xx. xxL, Luke xv. 


here followed in the wake of Jesus, not Jesus in the wake of 
Rabbis. The same probability holds equally in regard to the 
parables. The parabolical form, possibly, to some extent ap 
peared among the earlier traditional lore of the Jews; for it 
is not unknown in Old Testament Scripture; but the parable, 
such as it is found in the teaching of our Lord, bears on it the 
impress of originality; and the few straggling specimens that 
have been produced from Rabbinical sources, nearly identical 
with those of Christ, may confidently be pronounced to be 
the echoes of the latter the productions of men, who were 
greatly too feeble and puerile to invent, but who had enough 
of sagacity to imitate. The slaves of the letter and of tradi 
tion were not the persons to originate anything new or fresh, 
not even in form. 1 

III. The more ancient versions maybe mentioned as the 
next collateral source, from which aid should be sought in en 
deavouring to ascertain the meaning, and expound the text of 
New Testament Scripture. Those versions have their primary 
use, as among the helps for determining the text itself that 
should be preferred; since they exhibit the one that was pre 
ferred at an early period by some, and possibly should still be 
retained, where there is a variation in the readings. In this 
respect, however, they can never amount to more than sub 
ordinate authorities; since it must ever remain doubtful whe 
ther due pains were taken by the translator to obtain a pure 
text, and doubtful, still further, whether the translation may 
not to some extent have been tampered with in the course of 
its transmission to present times. There is necessarily the 
same kind of relative inferiority adhering to the use of ver 
sions in connexion with the import of the original. While, in 
the simpler class of passages, they could scarcely fail to give 
the natural meaning of the original, it must still be a matter 
more or less problematical, how far they did so in those cases 
where there is some dubiety or difficulty in the passage, and 

1 Owen, in his Theologoumena, Lib. v., c. 15, Dig. 4, discusses the ques 
tion of onr Lord s relation to the Talmudical doctors, but chiefly with respect 
to religious usages and services. lie indignantly rejects, however, the idea 
of a borrowing on the part of Christ. 


consequently some possibility of the precise import having 
been misunderstood. Still, considerable weight must always 
be attached, especially in respect to the meaning of particular 
words and phrases, to those versions, which were made by com 
petent persons at a time when the original language of the 
New Testament continued to exist as a living tongue. And 
of such versions so made, the Vulgate seems entitled to hold 
the first place. The Vulgate, that is, as it came from the 
hands of Jerome, and as it appears with probably substantial 
correctness in the Codex Amiatinus, the oldest MS. of the 
Vulgate extant, not the common Vulgate of the Romish Church, 
which in many parts has undergone alteration for the worse. 
In point of learning and critical tact, Jerome, we have reason 
to believe, was the most competent man in the ancient Church 
for executing a translation of the Scriptures; and the version 
he produced would have been probably as near perfection as 
the translation of a single individual, and in so early an age, 
could well be expected to be, if he had been left altogether 
free to exercise his judgment in the performance of the work. 
His version of the Old Testament, with the exception of the 
Psalms, was the unfettered production of his hand; it was 
made directly from the Hebrew, as he himself testifies once 
and again, although, as it now exists, it contains not a few 
accommodations to the Septuagint, and departs from the He 
brew. 1 But in regard to the New Testament, he professed to 
do nothing more than fulfil the request of Pope Damasus, 
revise the current versions, and select out of them the best; 
so that, as he said, "he restrained his pen, merely correcting 
those things which appeared to aifect the sense, and permit 
ting other things to remain as they had been." What was 
called the Old Italic, or Latin version, therefore, was simply 
the current version, in one or other of the forms in which it. 
existed before it had been the subject of Jerome s collating 
and emendatory labours. It now exists only ia par.t, but mos* 
fully in the Codex Claromontanus, which is of great antiquity. 
In some things the rendering contained in it is even prefer 
able to that adopted by Jerome, and, consequently, where ac- 

1 See Walton s Prolegomena, x. c. 9. 


cess can be had to it, it is worthy of being consulted. But it 
is not so properly a distinct version from that of Jerome, as a 
variation of what became his. And, as a whole, Jerome s 
form of the Latin version must be held to be the best. Re 
strained and limited as his object was, he undoubtedly accom 
plished much good. And with all the defect of polish that 
appears in the version that goes by his name, its occasional 
Hebraisms, the imperfect renderings, and even erroneous re 
presentations of the original, sometimes to be met with in it, 
there can be no doubt that it is in general a faithful transla 
tion, and has rendered essential service toward the elucidation 
of the sacred text. 

Some of the blemishes in the Vulgate, especially in the New 
Testament portion, are obvious, and have often been exposed ; 
such as the poenitentiam agite, in Matt. iii. 2, and other pa 
rallel places; Ave gratia plena, Luke i. 28; mortuus est au- 
tem et dives, et sepultus est in inferno, Luke xvi. 22 ; et (Ja 
cob) adoravit fastigium virgse ejus, Heb. xi. 21 ; panem nos 
trum supersubstantialem da nobis, Matt. vi. 11, etc. And, 
unfortunately, they are mistranslations which too often afford 
a sort of handle to the advocates of corruption in the Church 
of Rome. Yet it is proper also to add, that some of the ex 
amples occasionally referred to in that connexion yield no real 
countenance to those corruptions; ami some again, that are 
more correct than the English translation, which has been ex 
alted to the prejudice of the other. Thus at 1 Pet. iii. 19, 
the rendering, in quo et his, qui in carcere erant, spiritibus 
veniens praedicavit, is substantially correct (though the mean 
ing expressed, of course, may be, and often is, perverted by 
Romanists to a wrong use,) and the in quo, in which, is more 
exact than the by which of the authorized version. In not 
a few cases, indeed, the Vulgate is decidedly more correct 
than our version in the rendering of prepositions and connect 
ing particles: as, to refer to one or two examples partly 
mentioned already in another connexion, ut in nomine Jesu 
omne genu flectatur, Philippians ii. 10; gratia vobis ct pax 
adimpleatur in cognitione Dei, 2 Pet. i. 2; qui vocavit nos 
propria gloria et virtute, ver. 3; ut impleamini in ornnem pie- 


nitudinem Dei, Eph. iii. 19. In these, and many other cases, 
the Vulgate contrasts favourably with our English version in 
respect to grammatical precision; and, if judiciously used, it 
may often be of service in suggesting some of the nicer shades 
of meaning. It is due also to the memory of Jerome to no 
tice (though it does not belong to the criticism of the New 
Testament,) that the well-known mistranslation in the autho 
rized Vulgate of Rome, of Gen. iii. 15, ipsa conteret caput 
tuum, which ascribes to the woman the victory over the tempter, 
and which the Romanists usually apply direct to the Virgin, 
is a later corruption. The correct reading as given by Val- 
larsius, runs, ipse conteret caput tuum, and, in a note, he de 
clares this to be beyond doubt the reading established by the 
authority of MSS. 

The version next in importance to the Vulgate of Jerome, 
and undoubtedly prior to it in origin, is the Old Syriac, or 
Peschito a production, in all likelihood, of the latter part of 
the second century. We know nothing of the author of this 
version (which, however, wants the second Epistle of Peter, 
the last two of John, Jude, and the Apocalypse;) but without 
going into the extravagance of Michaelis, who pronounced it 
"the very best translation of the Greek Testament he had ever 
read," we may safely regard it as, in general, a faithful and 
spirited translation. The. chief use, to which it has hitherto 
been turned, is as a witness in behalf of the genuine text. This 
may have partly arisen from the Syrian language being so 
little understood, even by Biblical scholars. They may, how 
ever, to some extent, avail themselves of its aid by means of 
the translations which have been made of it. It has long 
existed in Latin; and a few years ago the portion containing 
the Gospels was rendered into English by Mr. Etheridge, ac 
companied with preliminary dissertations. 

The remaining versions which, from their age or their fide 
lity to the original, are entitled to consideration, and calcu 
lated to be of occasional service in the work of exposition, are 
the Ethiopic, the Memphitic, and the Gothic of Ulphilas. The 
aid, however, to be derived from any of them is extremely li 
mited. Mr. Ellicott, in the preface to his last volume (his 


Commentary on the Epistles to the Philippians, Colossians, 
and Philemon) speaks in strong terms of the excellence of the 
Ethiopic version, and of the satisfaction he has derived from 
consulting it, since he has been enabled to find his way with 
some certainty to its meaning. But, in truth, we have so 
many more helps for getting at the precise import of the 
Greek New Testament, than for arriving at an intelligent ac 
quaintance with the old Ethiopic version of that Greek, that 
most people will feel gYeatly more assured of coming at the 
object of their search by repairing directly to the original 
source; nor, with the defective literature of Ethiopia in the 
early centuries, can such a version even if it were thoroughly 
understood attain to a place of much authority. Its ren 
derings can, at the most, confirm meanings obtained by other 
and surer lines of investigation. And the same may be said 
of the Memphitic and Gothic versions. So that, whatever in 
cidental benefits or personal satisfaction the study of such ver 
sions may yield, little comparatively can now be expected 
from them as to the correct understanding of New Testament 

IV. Among the collateral sources of information, that may 
be turned to account in the interpretation of New Testament 
Scripture, we must unquestionably reckon the writings of the 
earlier Fathers. It is, certainly, but a mixed service they 
render; since, from the strong tendency among them to al 
legorical and arbitrary modes of interpretation, if they are not 
used discriminatingly, they will often prove false guides. They 
were as a class defective in critical discernment, and that well- 
poised balance of mind, which in such matters is rarely pos 
sessed, excepting as the result of an efficient training in lin 
guistic and critical studies, such as they did not enjoy. Had 
the earlier Fathers but possessed a little more of the critical 
faculty, and employed in connexion with it the advantages of 
their position for the good of the Church in future times, they 
would have directed their minds particularly to the investiga 
tion of the facts and circumstances of the Gospel age, ex 
amined with minute care thejnformation that lay within their 


reach respecting the local and historical allusions in the New 
Testament, searched into the meaning of all words that in any 
way bore upon them the peculiar impress of the time, and by 
philological or antiquarian researches endeavoured to make 
plain the obscurer passages in the Gospels and Epistles. These, 
however, are the provinces which they have most thoroughly 
neglected to cultivate, and in respect to which, apparently, 
they felt least conscious of any need of special application. 
We have scarcely left the inspired territory, till we find our 
selves involved in the strangest misconceptions even as to 
matters of fact, and, instead of careful discriminations be 
tween fable and history, are presented with a confused jum 
bling of both together. In what is probably the earliest of 
sub-apostolic writings extant, one also of the best the epistle 
of Clement to the Corinthians we have the fables about the 
Danaids and the Phoenix classed with the biographical notices 
of sacred history, and treated as equally deserving of credit 
(c. 6, 24.) Justin, in like manner, swallows without a suspi 
cion the-story of Aristeas about the translation of the Septua- 
gint, and even speaks of Herod as having sent to Ptolemy the 
seventy elders who executed the work; as if the two had been 
contemporaries! (Apol. c. 31, Exhor. ad Grsecos, 11.) Even 
in the face of plain statements in the Gospel history to the 
contrary, he once and again, in his Trypho, represents Jesus 
as having been born in a cave or grotto. Irenseus falls into 
mistakes and inanities still more extraordinary; not only ac 
crediting the senseless tradition of Papias respecting the fruit- 
fulness of the millenial age (B. V. c. 33,) but also affirming it 
to have been the teaching of St. John, that our Lord s person 
al ministry lasted from His thirtieth till His fiftieth year (ii. 
c. 4, 5.) Even when we come down to the more regular and 
elaborate expositors of New Testament Scripture, Augustine, 
Jerome, Chrysostom, while they contain much that deserves, 
and will repay a careful perusal, they are marvellously defi 
cient on those points in which their comparative proximity to 
apostolic times, had they known how to avail themselves of 
its opportunities, should have given them an acknowledged 
superiority over more distant generations. In respect to dates 


and places, customs and manners, they knew nothing of the 
accuracy of our age. Their references to Old Testament af 
fairs contain often the most egregious blunders (of which a 
striking example will be found in the Dissertation on the Ge 
nealogies ;) and of the spirit and design of the Old Testament 
economy, both as a whole, and in its several parts, they are 
ever evincing the most defective understanding. Not unfre- 
quently, also, in matters connected with the New, we meet 
with explanations utterly puerile and fantastic; as in the in 
stance produced by Archdeacon Hare from Augustine re 
specting the gift of the Spirit to the disciples on two distinct 
occasions an explanation that turns on the mystical value of 
numbers and of which Hare justly remarks : " The striking 
thing is, not that the explanation is a bad one, but that it 
implies an ignorance of what an explanation is, and of the 
method in which we are to attain it; and the same thing we 
find perpetually, as well in the Fathers, as in the contempo 
rary grammarians and rhetoricians." 1 

Another thing, that may equally be characterized as striking 
in the mode of exposition adopted by the Fathers, is the per 
petual interchange beween the most spiritualistic meanings 
and the grossest literalism; so that one is puzzled to under 
stand how the same minds that took pleasure in the one could 
possibly rest satisfied with the other. For example, we have 
not one merely, but a whole series of the Fathers (Barnabas, 
Tertullian, Clement Alex., Ambrose, Augustine, etc.,) finding 
in the letter T, when occurring as a numeral in the Old Tes 
tament, an indication of the cross, numbers of all kinds spiri 
tualized, the spring in Eden with its four streams made to 
signify Christ and the four cardinal virtues (Ambrose de Pa- 
rad. 3;) and, in short, the principle of Augustine carried out 
in all directions, "that whatever in Scripture cannot be re 
ferred to purity of manners or the realities of faith, is to be 
understood spiritually" (De Doc. Chris, iii. 14.) But, on the 
other hand, there ever and anon meets us the most literal and 
fleshly application of the prophecies: if these speak of New 
Testament things under the images supplied by the Old, of 

1 Mission of the Comforter, p. 312. 


priesthood and sacrifice, they are interpreted to mean things 
equally outward and earthly still. Some of the Fathers (such 
as Irengeus, Tertullian, Ambrose, Lactantius,) even carried 
this species of carnalism into the future world, and held that 
flesh and blood only in the sense of unregenerate nature, shall 
not inherit the kingdom of God; but that the bodies of be 
lievers limb for limb, member for member, precisely the 
same bodies as now shall be raised up from the dead, and 
shall regale themselves with corporeal delights (Tert. de Resur. 
c. 35, Irenseus, v. 9, etc.) This exegetical caprice, which os 
cillated between two extremes, and inclined to the one or the 
other as the fancy or exigence of the moment might prompt, 
unfits the patristic writings for being employed as exegetical 
guides; and, along with the other defects mentioned, obliges 
the student at every step to exercise his discretion. 

Still, considerable benefit is to be reaped for Scriptural 
interpretation from the perusal of the more eminent Fathers 
although one that we must be content to seek in fragments. 
To say nothing of the bearing they have on the text of Scrip 
ture, the development of Christian doctrine, and the varied 
evolution of evil and good in the history of the Church, 
which constitute their chief historical interest, they are 
valuable for the manifestation they give of mind in the ancient 
world, when brought into contact with the revelation of God 
in Christ, and of the effect produced by this in turning the 
tide of thought and feeling, and directing it into a channel 
somewhat accordant with the realities of the gospel. Even 
when the explanations given of Scripture are one-sided and 
imperfect, they are far from being uninstructive; for, when 
not absolutely erroneous, they still present one aspect of the 
truth, which the events and relations of the ancient world 
served more particularly to call forth. In this respect they 
contribute an element often a very important element to 
the full understanding of the Divine record. And in writers 
of the higher class writers like Augustine and Chrysostom 
one is continually rewarded with passages, which discover 
the profoundest insight into the truth of Scripture, and pre 
sent it to our view in the sharpest outline. The Greek expo- 



sitors, too, among the fathers, have a value of their own in 
regard to occasional words and phrases, the precise import of 
which they not unfrequently enable us to apprehend, or at 
least to determine, in a way that might otherwise have been 
impracticable. With all the exceptions, therefore, and seri 
ous abatements that require to be made, in regard to the exe- 
getical value of the fathers, there are advantages to be de 
rived from their judicious perusal, which no well-furnished in 
terpreter can dispense with; and however, in certain quarters, 
their employment may have been pushed to excess, the full 
and correct knowledge of New Testament Scripture has cer 
tainly gained by the revived study of their writings. 

V. In the way of collateral sources, nothing further requires 
to be mentioned, excepting the occasional employment of the 
various materials, furnished partly by ancient, partly by 
modern research, which serve to throw light on the historical, 
social, or geographical allusions of the New Testament. If 
the earlier Christian writers have done little to supply us with 
such materials, the deficiency is in a great degree made up by 
contributions from other quarters. From the nearly station 
ary character of society in the lands of the East, the manners 
and usages of the present time, which have been amply illus 
trated by modern travellers, have brought us almost equally 
acquainted with those of the Gospel age. All the scenes, too, 
of Gospel history, not only the places trodden by the footsteps 
of Jesus, but those hallowed by the labours, the journeyings, 
and voyages of the apostles, have been with laborious accu 
racy explored. The chronology of the New Testament has 
been so frequently and so fully investigated, that the probable 
period of every event of any moment has been ascertained. 
And even the local details, and casual occurrences of single 
chapters such as the 27th of the Acts have been verified 
and explained with a minuteness and fidelity, which leaves 
nothing further to be desired, (Smith on the Voyage and Ship 
wreck of St. Paul.) With sources of such a kind the intelli 
gent interpreter of Scripture must make himself familiar; and 
be prepared at fitting times to use the information, which past 


care and industry have accumulated. In its own place this is 
valuable, and, in a sense, indispensable; yet still only as a 
subsidiary aid; and the work of exposition turns into a wrong 
channel, when it finds its chief employment in matters of so 
incidental and circumstantial a kind. 



WE must now make the supposition, that the points adverted 
to in the preceding sections have been duly attended to; that 
an acquaintance has been formed with the peculiar dialect of 
the New Testament, and with the collateral sources of infor 
mation fitted to throw light on its terms and allusions. It by 
no means follows, however, that when we have become thus 
furnished with knowledge in such elementary matters, we have 
all the qualifications necessary to render us safe or skilful in 
terpreters of New Testament Scripture, capable of unfolding 
with clearness and accuracy the meaning of its several parts. 
For this various other things are requisite, the want or neg 
lect of which may as certainly ensure our failure in the work 
of interpretation, at least as regards the more select portions 
of Scripture, as if we had yet to learn the peculiar structure 
and characteristics of the language. We proceed, therefore, 
to lay down some general rules and principles, which it is of 
essential moment that we be in a condition to embrace and act 
upon, in order to exhibit aright the meaning of Scripture. 

1. The first we shall notice is one, that bears on the state 
of mind of the interpreter lie must endeavour to attain to a 
sympathy in thought and feeling with the sacred writers, whose 
meaning he seeks to unfold. Such a sympathy is not required 
for the interpretation alone of the inspired writings; it is 
equally necessary in respect to any ancient author; and the 
possession of it, to some extent, must be held to be altogether 


indispensable. Language is but the utterance of thought and 
feeling on the part of one person to another, and the more we 
can identify ourselves with the state of mind out of which 
that thought and feeling arose, the more manifestly shall we 
be qualified for appreciating the language in which they are 
embodied, and reproducing true and living impressions of it. 
An utter discordance or marked deficiency in the one respect, 
cannot fail to discover itself in the other by corresponding 
blunders and defects. 

It is the virtual abnegation of this principle, and the pal 
pable want of the qualification which it presupposes, that has 
rendered the really available results so inadequate, which have 
been accomplished by the rationalistic school of interpreters. 
Not a few of them have given proof of superior talents, and 
have brought to the task also the acquirements of a profound 
and varied scholarship. The lexicography and grammar, the 
philology and archaeology of Scripture, have been largely in 
debted to their inquiries and researches; but, from the grie 
vous mental discrepancy existing between the commentator and 
his author, and the different points of view from which they 
respectively looked at Divine things, writers of this class ne 
cessarily failed to penetrate the depths of the subjects they 
had to handle, fell often into jejune and superficial represen 
tations on particular parts, and on entire books of Scripture 
never once succeeded in producing a really satisfactory expo 
sition. What proper insight, for example, into the utterances 
of the apostle John utterances that are remarkable for the 
combination they present of simplicity in form, with depth 
and comprehensiveness of meaning could be expected from 
one, who calls, indeed, upon the reader to sympathize with the 
sacred writer, but how to do so? To sympathize " with the 
apostle, as being, at the time of his writing the epistle, a weak 
old man, who had no longer the power of thinking in any 
connected manner." Such is the manner in which even Lange 
speaks, though in many respects greatly in advance ,of the 
proper rationalists. Dr. Paulus of Heidelberg was long one 
of the leading champions of this school a man of no or 
dinary gifts, both natural and acquired, and a man, too, who 


possessed what many learned and useful commentators have 
wanted the power of so far sympathizing with the sacred 
penmen, as to realize, in a vivid and attractive manner, the 
scenes of their history, and the circumstances in which they 
were placed. But all being brought to the test of a so-called 
rational namely, an anti-supernatural standard, the spirit 
evaporates in his hands, and every thing in a sense becomes 
common and unclean. The most miraculous occurrences 
shrink into merely clever transactions or happy coincidences; 
and even when he comes to such a passage as this, " Blessed 
art thou, for flesh and blood have not revealed it to thee, but 
My Father that is in heaven," he can see nothing but a refe 
rence to the force of circumstances in awakening the mind to 
reflection, and giving it a practical direction and impulse to 
ward what is good; or to such another passage as this, "I 
must work the works of Him that sent Me while it is day: 
the night cometh, when no man can work," the whole he can 
extract from it is, " I must heal the diseased eyes before the 
evening twilight comes on, because when it is dark we can no 
longer see to work." 1 

This school of interpretation, however, at least in the ex 
treme shape represented by Dr. Paulus, has become virtually 
extinct. In Germany itself the tide has long since turned, 
and been steadily setting in a better direction; nor would it 
be easy to find any where better specimens of a truly sympa 
thetic and congenial spirit in the work of interpretation, than 
are furnished by some of the later expository productions from 
that country. There still is, no doubt, and probably will 
ever be, both there and here, a class of interpreters, who in 
a eertain modified form exhibit a defect in the respect under 
consideration; but a conviction, as to the real nature of the 

1 The entire note on the first of the two passages is: "All circumstances 
leading to insight and pursuit after the good are, in the New Testament, con 
sidered as grounded in the Godhead, educating men in a spontaneous and 
moral, not juridical manner. When they awaken the mind to reflection, fur 
nish to its activity matters of practical insight, keep these before it, and 
thereby quicken the energetic working toward what is good, then the pater 
nally inclined Godhead reveals to man something which the grovelling and 
earthly disposition in man could not have discovered to him." 


tilings which constituted the great aim and substance of the 
gospel, and to the necessity of a correspondence in belief and 
spirit between the inspired penmen and those who would en 
gage in the work of interpretation, such a conviction being 
now more generally diffused and constantly growing, renders 
it probable, that that specific work will in the future be left 
more in the hands of persons, whose productions shall mani 
fest a becoming unison of sentiment between the original au 
thor and the modern disciple. Hence it is laid down as a 
fundamental point by a distinguished German theologian by 
Hagenbach in his Encyclopedia, that "an inward interest in 
the doctrine of theology is needful for a Biblical interpreter. 
As we say, that a philosophical spirit is demanded for the 
study of Plato, a poetical taste for the reading of Horner or 
Pindar, a sensibility to wit and satire for the perusal of Lu- 
cian, a patriotic sentiment for the enjoyment of Sallust and 
Tacitus, equally certain is it, that the fitness to understand 
the profound truths of Scripture, of the New Testament espe 
cially, presupposes, as an indispensable requisite,.a sentiment 
of piety, an inward religious experience. Thus is it ever true, 
that the Scriptures will not be rightly and spiritually compre 
hended, unless the Spirit of God become himself the true in 
terpreter of His words, the angelus interpres, who will open 
to us the real meaning of the Bible." 

The more we take into consideration the distinctive charac 
ter of Scripture, as a revelation from God, the more shall we 
be convinced of the necessity and the importance of the prin 
ciple now stated. That character constitutes a special reason 
for a harmony of spirit between the interpreter and the ori 
ginal writer, beyond what belongs to Scripture in common 
with other ancient writings. For, as an authoritative revela 
tion of the mind of God, it unfolds things above the reach of 
our natural desire and apprehension, and unfolds them, not 
as things that may be coolly surveyed and thoroughly under 
stood from a position of indifference, but as things affecting 
our highest interests, and demanding our implicit and cordial 
acceptance. In such a case something more is evidently re 
quired than mere intellectual discernment, or competent scho- 


larship. The heart as well as the head must be right; there 
must be the delicacy of a spiritual taste, and the humility of 
a childlike disposition. So true is the sentiment, which Nean- 
der took for his motto, Pectus est quod theologum facit. Our 
Lord, indeed, declared as much at the outset, when He said, 
in His address to the Father, "Thou hast hid these things 
from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto 
babes." It is only with the attainment of such a spiritual 
condition, that the eye opens to a clear perception of the 
truth, or that the mind is able to discern the full import of the 
words which embody it, and catch the nicer shades of mean 
ing they convey. So that what has been said of religion ge 
nerally, may be specially applied to the interpretation of its 
sacred records: "As in all subjects we can understand lan 
guage only as far as we have some experience of the things it 
reports, so in religion (by the very same principle) the spiri 
tual heart alone can understand the language of the Spirit. 
In every book whatever, it is the mind of the reader that puts 
meaning in the words; but the language of the New Covenant 
is a celestial language, and they who would give their fulness 
to its blessed words, must have caught their secret from hea 
ven." 1 

2. Necessary, however, and important as this sympathetic 
spirit, this spiritus interpres, is, on the part of the interpreter 
of Scripture, when possessed in fullest measure, it can never 
entitle any one to use arbitrariness in the explanation of its 
words, or warrant him to put a sense on these different from 
that which properly belongs to them. Its value lies simply in 
guiding to the real import, not in modifying it, or in superin 
ducing something of its own upon it. And we, therefore, lay 
it down as another principle to be sacredly maintained in 
Scriptural interpretations, that nothing should be elicited from 
the text but what is yielded by the fair and grammatical ex 
planation of the language. The import of each word, and 
phrase, and passage, must be investigated in a manner per 
fectly accordant with the laws of language, and with the ac 
tual circumstances of the writers. Not what we may think 
1 Sermons by Mr. A. Butler, First Series, p. 94. 


they should have said, or might possibly wish they had said, 
but simply what, as far as we are able to ascertain, they did 
say this must be the sole object of our pursuit; and the more 
there is of perfect honesty and discriminating tact in our ef 
forts to arrive at this, the more certain is our success. For 
in the words of Bengel: 1 "It is better to run all lengths with 
Scripture truth in a natural and open manner, than to shift, 
and twist, and accommodate. Straightforward conduct may 
draw against us bitterness and rancour for a time, but sweet 
ness will come out of it. Every single truth is a light of it 
self, and every error, however minute, is darkness as far as it 

Nothing is more directly at variance with this principle of 
interpretation, and more surely fatal to success, than a party 
or polemical bias, which brings the mind to the examination 
of Scripture with a particular bent, and disposes it to work 
for an inferior end. No doubt, it may be alleged, the posses 
sion of a spirit in harmony wijth that of the sacred penmen 
implies something of this description as such a spirit cannot 
exist without the recognition of vital truths and principles 
common to us with the inspired writers, and in conformity 
with which our interpretation must proceed. To some extent 
it must be so. But there is a great, and, for the most part, 
easily marked distinction, between holding thus with the writers 
of New Testament Scripture in a natural and appropriate man 
ner, and doing it in a controversial and party spirit between 
holding with them so as to give a fair and consistent interpre 
tation of their language, and doing it, or professing to do it, 
w T hile we are ever and anon putting a constrained or inade 
quate meaning on their words. If the latter be our mode of 
procedure, it will not fail to betray itself in the manifest vio 
lence occasionally done to the words of the original, and the 
various shifts resorted to for the purpose, either of evading their 
proper force, or foisting upon them a sense they cannot fairly 
be made to bear. 

Previous to the Reformation, divines of the Romish Church 
were wont to carry this style of interpretation to the worst 

1 Life by Burck, p. 259. 


extreme. Individual writers, here and there, gave evidence 
of a certain degree of candour and impartiality ; but, for the 
most part, the sacred text was treated in abject deference to 
the authority of Rome, and the most arbitrary expositions 
were fallen upon to establish her doctrinal positions. It was 
only such a vigorous and general movement as the Reforma 
tion, a movement basing itself upon the true sense of Scrip 
ture, and perpetually appealing to that for its justification, 
which would break the trammels that had so long lain upon 
men s minds in this respect, and recall sincere students of 
Scripture to the simple, grammatical sense of its words. To 
a great extent, it actually did this. Luther, Melancthon, 
Calvin, and the other leading Reformers, were of one mind 
here, though they sometimes failed, and differed from each 
other, in the results to which the principle actually led them. 
Their fundamental rule was, that "the sense of Scripture is 
one, certain, and simple, and is everywhere to be ascertained 
in accordance with the principles of grammar and human dis 
course." (Elem. Rhet. II. of Melancthon.) "We must not," 
says Luther, "make God s word mean what we wish; we 
must not bend it, but allow it to bend us; and give it the 
honour of being better than we could make it; so that we 
must let it stand." Of this fair, straightforward, grammati 
cal mode of handling Scripture, as characteristic of the spirit 
of the Reformation, the Commentaries of Calvin are the no 
blest monument of the period, scarcely surpassed in that re 
spect, as in certain others not equalled, to the present day. It 
was more, indeed, by what the Reformers did in their exegeti- 
cal productions, and their comments on Scripture, than by 
any formal announcement or explanation of their hermeneuti- 
cal principles, that both they themselves and their immediate 
followers gave it to be understood what those principles really 
were. A hermeneutical work by Flacius Illyricus did appear 
in 1567 entitled, Clavis Scripturse Sacne somewhat cum 
brous indeed (comprising, along with his explanation of Scrip 
ture figures and expressions, two large volumes,) and in cer 
tain parts not a little prolix ; but strong and earnest in its 
advocacy of the great principle now under consideration, and 


for the period altogether a respectable and useful production. 
It stood alone, however, in the 16th century, and was not 
followed up, as it should have been, by Biblical students of a 
more strictly exegetical and less controversial spirit. The au 
thor himself in this, as in his other works, was too much in 
fluenced by doctrinal prepossession and interest, although 
he justly condems Papists and sophists on this account, who 
(he says) "pick out select passages from the sacred books at 
their own pleasure, and combine them together again in the 
most arbitrary manner; so that they speak, indeed, in the 
plain words of Scripture, but at the same time utter their own 
thoughts, not those of Scripture." 

It is proper to note, however, that on this very point the 
point in respect to which the Reformation wrought so benefi 
cial a change Dr. Campbell pronounces a most severe and 
caustic judgment against Beza, one of the most learned and 
able expositors of the Reformation ; he charges him with al 
lowing his doctrinal tendencies to impart an improper bias to 
his translation and notes. It cannot be questioned, we think, 
that Beza did lay himself open to objection on this ground, 
and his adversary Castalio proved himself quite ready to take 
advantage of it. Some of the examples produced by Castalio, 
and reproduced by Campbell, are certainly instances of wrong 
translation and false exposition, such as but too clearly origi 
nated in undue doctrinal bias. But neither is it quite fair, 
with Campbell, to ascribe them all to this source, nor are they 
such as to merit that bitter acrimony which pervades the cri 
tique, and which looks more like the expression of personal 
antipathy to Beza for the kind of doctrines he espoused, than 
for occasional indiscretion in the way of introducing them. 
That something of this sort did mingle in Campbell s animad 
versions, one can scarcely doubt, not only from the pungency 
of their general tone, but also from the evident desire betrayed 
in some of the examples to aggravate as much as possible the 
charge of bad faith: As when, in regard to Beza s rendering 
^yjlt i n Acts ii- 27, by cadaver in his first edition, he is re 
presented as quite singular and arbitrary, while for that sense 
(though in itself, we believe, a wrong one) Beza produces the 


authority of Jerome; and Suicer, in his Thesaurus, says of it, 
Qace Beza in prima editione sua RECTE interpretatus erat, 
referring, as Beza had done before him, to Virgil ^En. iii., 
Animamque sepulchre condimus. So, again, in regard to the 
word ^s^oorov^avrec, in Acts xiv. 23, which Beza renders per 
suffragia creassent, Dr. Campbell can see nothing in the per 
suffragia but Beza s desire to thrust in his own views respect 
ing the popular election of ministers. Beza, however, only 
professes to give what he held to be the full and proper im 
port of the word, and what was undoubtedly its original mean 
ing; as Suicer also admits, when he says, it designates, ac 
cording to its primary signification, "an election, quse fit per 
suffragia manuum extensione data" eligere per suffragia ad 
Episcopatum a practice, he truly remarks, which long sur 
vived in the Church. It may be questioned, whether the word 
should have this definite meaning ascribed to it in the passage 
under consideration, as the word was often used in the more 
general sense of designating or appointing. Suicer himself 
thinks it does not; but Erasmus had already translated cum 
suffragiis creassent, and the same sense is vindicated by Ra- 
phelius, who supports it by examples from profane writers ; to 
say nothing of Doddridge and others in later times. There 
is, therefore, no just reason for charging Beza with bad faith, 
as if, in ascribing such a sense to the word, he deliberately 
tampered with the integrity of Scripture. These remarks 
have been introduced merely for the purpose of guarding 
against what appears an exaggerated representation of Beza s 
partiality, and of correcting the too depreciatory estimate 
formed by Dr. Campbell of his merits as an interpreter of 

It may be confidently affirmed, that the parties, who, next 
to the Papists, have erred most through doctrinal bias in per 
verting and narrowing the proper import of Sacred Scripture, 
have been the elder Socinians and the modern Rationalists. 
These, if not the only, are at least the chief parties who from 
the ranks of Protestantism, and under a show of learning, 
have systematically tampered with the sense (sometimes even 
with the text) of Scripture ; and have sought to obtain from. 


it something else or something less than that which the words 
by a natural interpretation yield. But the arts plied for this 
purpose have signally failed. The forced interpretations and 
arbitrary methods of the Socinian party have been obliged to 
give way. By the establishment of a more accurate criticism, 
by sounder principles of interpretation, and a more intimate 
acquaintance with the original languages, it has been found 
that Scripture will not surrender up any of its peculiar doc 
trines; so that, as has been remarked by Winer, 1 "the con 
troversies among interpreters have usually led back to the ad 
mission, that the old Protestant views of the meaning of the 
sacred texts, are the correct ones." These views are there, 
the Rationalists of a past generation confessed, though only 
by way of accommodation to the antiquated notions and doc 
trinal beliefs of the Jews, not as being in themselves absolutely 
true or strictly Divine: they are there, the Rationalists of 
the present day still admit, but only as the temporary and im 
perfect forms of the truth, suited to an immature age, now to 
be supplanted by higher and worthier conceptions. We thank 
them both for the admission ; in that we have the confession 
of those whom nothing but the force of truth could have con 
strained to own, that the doctrines of the orthodox faith are 
those which are elicited from Scripture by the grammatical 
rendering and fair interpretation of its words. And by this 
faith it behooves us to abide till, at least, He who gave it may 
be pleased to give us another and better. 

The principle, however, of abiding in interpretations of 
Scripture by the grammatical sense, not only requires a spirit 
of fairness, as opposed to a doctrinal bias or polemical interest, 
but also a spirit of discrimination in regard to the various ele 
ments, the Lexical and Syntactical peculiarities, by the ob 
servance of which the real grammatical sense is to be ascer 
tained. It is obvious, that if no proper discrimination is made 
between the later and the more classical Greek if due respect 
is not had to the Hebraistic element, which appears in some of 
the phrases and constructions of New Testament Scripture if 
either the more distinctive meanings of particular words, or 

1 Litteratur Zeitung, No. 44. 


the characteristic peculiarities of individual writers are over 
looked, failures and mistakes in a corresponding degree will 
inevitably be made in the exhibition of the correct meaning. 
From deficiencies in one or more of these respects it is possi 
ble to give an unfair and erroneous view of a passage, not only 
without any improper bias prompting one to do so, but even 
with the most honest purpose of attaining to correctness, and 
many qualifications to aid in accomplishing it. When the 
Apostle Paul, for example, in Gal. ii. 2, speaks of going up to 
Jerusalem xara dxoxdjitrfev if, from undue regard to classical 
analogy, we should interpret with the learned Hermann, ex- 
plicationis causa for the purpose, that is, of rendering cer 
tain explanations to parties residing there, we should certainly 
not give what is either the grammatical sense of the expres 
sion, or what accords with the Apostle Paul s use of the term 
&~oxdAi)<f>iz , by whom it is always employed in the higher 
sense of a Divine communication. And in such an expression 
it is not so much classical analogy, as scriptural, and we may 
even say Pauline, usage, that must determine the exact im 
port. It is in fact, as formerly stated, very much from the 
more careful and discriminating attention, that has latterly 
been paid to the various peculiarities both of the Greek lan 
guage generally, and of the New Testament style and diction 
in particular, that advances have been made in precision and 
accuracy of interpretation. Nor should it be forgotten, in 
strictly critical expositions, what has been justly remarked by 
Mr. Ellicot in his preface to the Epistle to the Galatians, that 
"in the Holy Scriptures every peculiar expression, even at 
the risk of losing an idiomatic turn, must be retained. Many 
words, especially the prepositions, have a positive dogmatical 
and theological significance, and to qualify them by a popular 
turn, or dilute them by a paraphrase, is dangerous in the ex 

3. Assuming, however, what has been stated assuming 
that our primary object in interpreting Scripture, should be 
to ascertain what sense the words of every passage may, by a 
fair and grammatical interpretation, and in reality do yield: 
assuming, moreover, that we both know and are disposed to 



keep in view the more distinctive peculiarities belonging in 
whole or in part to the language of the New Testament, there 
are still guiding principles of great importance to be remem 
bered and followed, especially in those parts that have some 
degree of difficulty about them. One of these, which we there 
fore specify as the third point to be noticed in this connexion, 
is the regard that should be had to the simplicity which cha 
racterizes the writings of the New Testament. "The excel 
lence of an interpreter," says Ernesti, justly, " consists much in 
simplicity; and the more any interpretation bears the mark of 
facility, and it appears as if it ought to have struck the reader 
before, the more likely is it to be true. ^Paocov TO dtyOst;, 
says Lycurgus; and Schultens, in his Preface to Job, well re 
marks that the seal of truth is simple and eternal." 

It is necessary, however v to explain here. The simplicity 
that should characterize our interpretations of Scripture is 
very different from shallowness, or from what lies entirely on 
the surface and is found without difficulty. On the contrary, 
great skill and study may often be required to come at it. 
The simplicity we speak of is the proper counterpart of the 
simplicity of Scripture itself a simplicity that is compatible 
with the most profound thought and the most copious mean 
ing and which had its ground partly in the circumstances, 
and partly in the design of the sacred penmen. In respect 
to their circumstances, the position they occupied was that of 
tlie comparatively humbler ranks of life; they lived and 
thought in a simple, as contra-distinguished from an artificial 
state of society. Their manners and habits, their modes of 
conception, and forms of speech, are such as usually belong 
to persons similarly circumstanced; that is, they partake, not 
of the polish and refinement, the art and subtlety, which too 
commonly mark the footsteps of high cultivation and luxuri 
ous living, but of the free, the open, the natural as of per 
sons accustomed frankly to express, not to conceal their emo 
tions, or to wrap their sentiments in disguise. On this ac 
count because written by persons of such a type, and de 
picting characters and events connected with such a state of 
society, the narratives of Scripture are pre-eminent above all 


other writings for their simplicity; they are nature itself, in 
its unvarnished plainness and clear transparency; and from 
this they derive a charm, which is more or less felt in every 
bosom. But what so strikingly characterizes the narrative 
portions of Scripture, has also given its impress to the others; 
the whole are pervaded by the direct, the guileless simplicity 
of men, who had to do with the realities of life, and were wont 
to speak as from heart to heart. 

But if the circumstances of the sacred writers tended to 
produce, the design with which they wrote expressly called 
for, this simplicity in writing; and, indeed, secured it. It 
was to inform, to instruct, to save, that they wrote this was 
their one grand aim. They had no personal, no literary ends 
in view; they were simply witnesses, recording the wonderful 
things they had seen and heard, or ambassadors conveying 
messages from another, not on their own behalf, but for the 
interests of their fellow-men. Hence, they naturally lost 
themselves in their subject. Having it as their one object to 
unfold and press this upon the minds of others, they used, as 
the apostle says, great plainness of speech language the most 
natural, the most direct, the most fitted to convey in appro 
priate and impressive terms the thoughts of their heart. The 
simplicity which thus characterizes their writings is that of 
men, who had a single aim in view, and so went straight to 
the mark. 

Such is the kind of simplicity which the writings of the 
New Testament possess; and corresponding to this is the sim 
plicity which should appear in our manner of interpretation. 
How, then, should it appear? Primarily, no doubt, and 
mainly, in putting a natural construction on their words, and 
ascribing to them, precise indeed and accurate, yet not re 
condite and far-fetched meanings. As in writing what they 
were moved to indite by the Holy Ghost, the sacred penmen 
were guided by the simplicity of an earnest purpose and a 
lofty aim, so we should prescribe to ourselves (as Titmann has 
said) this quality of simplicity as a rule, and not recede, ex 
cept for grave reasons, from that sense, wlich seems to be the 
nearest and most direct. It may be quite possible, in certain 


cases, by the help of lexicons and other appliances, to bring 
out interpretations of an ingenious nature, and display a good 
deal of skill in supporting them; but no satisfactory results 
shall thus be obtained, unless the meanings put upon the dif 
ferent words, and the sense extracted from them, are such as 
might seem appropriate to men using the language of ordinary 
life, and using it with the view, not of establishing subtle dis 
tinctions, but of unfolding in the most effective manner the 
great principles of truth and duty. 

This, however, has respect only to our treatment of the 
language; the kind of thoughts and feelings of which that 
language might be expressive is another thing. Here there 
was room for infinite depth and fulness. It is of the nature 
of grace, in all its operations, to give a subjective elevation 
to the soul to increase, not only its appetency, but its power 
of discernment also, for the inward and spiritual; and by the 
help even of common things, through the instrumentality of 
the simplest language, to open veins of thought, and awaken 
chords of feeling, which lie beyond the reach of those who are 
living after the course of nature. In the spiritually enlight 
ened mind there is, what may be called, a divine simplicity, 
which, by drawing it into closer connexion and sympathy with 
the mind of God, discovers to it views and meanings, which 
would otherwise never have suggested themselves. So, we 
see with the inspired writers of the New Testament themselves, 
that not unfrequently they discern an import in the earlier 
dispensations of God, or indicate thoughts in connexion with 
the facts of later times, such as would not have occurred to 
persons, even of superior and cultivated minds, looking from 
a merely natural point of view. Yet not the less in what they 
thus discern and indicate in the inferences they deduce, and 
the conclusions they build, as well as in the more substantive 
part of their announcements, are there to be found the proper 
characteristics of simplicity a style of thought and expres 
sion, direct, plain, natural. 

We simply add further, that in endeavouring to preserve 
and copy this simplicity, we are in no respect precluded from 
the necessity of applying careful thought and the resources 


of solid learning to the work of interpretation. It is only 
through these, indeed, that we can hope to surmount the diffi 
culties which lie across the path of a thoroughly successful 
exegesis of Scripture. In aiming at this we have to throw 
ourselves back upon the times and circumstances of the sacred 
penmen to realize their position make ourselves familiar 
with their modes of thought and forms of expression, so as to 
be able to judge what would have been for them a natural and 
fitting mode of representation what forced and unnatural. 
And this we can only expect to do by close study, and the 
judicious employment of the resources of learning. Not the 
learning merely which is confined to the use of grammars and 
lexicons, but all that can serve to throw light on the language, 
the manners, the opinions and habits of those, among whom 
Christ and His apostles lived and spoke. Whatever is calcu 
lated to aid us in arriving at such intimate knowledge, must 
also be serviceable in enabling us to attain to a proper sim 
plicity in our interpretations of Scripture. 

4. It is only following out the same line of thought, and 
rendering the principle it involves specific in a particular di 
rection, when we mention as another, & fourth rule to be at 
tended to in scriptural interpretations, that in settling the 
meaning of words we must have respect chiefly to the usus 
loquendi, the current sense, or established usage at the time 
to this more than to their etymology. The reason for such a 
rule is no further peculiar to the writings of the New Testa 
ment, than that they are of a popular and practical nature ; 
which rendered it expedient, and, in a sense, necessary, that 
words and phrases should be taken in their prevailing signifi 
cation. But this signification often differs greatly from what 
might be conjectured by looking simply to their etymology. 
For the spoken language of a people is ever passing through 
certain processes of change and fluctuation. Many of its 
terms depart considerably, in the course of time, from their 
original import, acquire new shades of meaning, and some 
times even -become so entirely transformed in their progress, 
that the ultimate use scarcely exhibits a trace of the primal 
signification. A familiar example of this from our own Ian- 


guage is to be found in the word villain the English form of 
the Latin villanus originally, the poor serf attached to the 
villa or farm of a proprietor then, from the usual condition 
and manners of such, the low, selfish, dishonest peasant and, 
finally, when villenage in the original sense became extinct, 
those capable of the most base and dishonourable actions the 
morally vile and mean. Another instance is furnished by a 
word, which by a strange coincidence has had the like fortune 
in its English, that it seems formerly to have had in its Greek 
form. Sycophant in the earlier stages of our literature meant 
simply an accuser by-and-by & false accuser but in process 
of time it lost this sense, and came to signify a fawning flat 
terer, one who speaks, not ill of a person behind his back, 
but good of him before his face, though only for a sinister 
and selfish purpose the only sense now retained by the word. 
In like manner, the Greek aoxotfaur^, according to the 
ancient grammarians, and according also to its apparent com 
position, originally a fig -shower an informer (as is said, 
though there is no certain proof of such a use) against per 
sons exporting figs from Attica then a common informer 
and ultimately a false accuser, or a false adviser, its only 
signification in classical writings while in the New Testament 
it bears the still further, but collateral sense, of extorting 
money under false pretences (Luke iii. 14.) 

Not only do words thus in current use sometimes escape 
altogether from their original meaning, but there are also 
words, which, etymologically considered, ought to be identical 
in their import, and should admit of being interchanged as 
synonymous, which yet come to differ materially as to their 
actual use. To refer only to one example: our two terms 
foresight and provision are each made up of two words pre 
cisely similar in meaning only the one pair of Saxon, the 
other of Latin origin. Undoubtedly fore by itself answers 
to pro, and sight to vision; yet usage has appropriated the 
two words to different ideas the one to indicate what is anti 
cipated in the future, the other to what is laid up or done 
with a view to the future. A foreigner not acquainted with 
the usage, and guided merely by the etymology, might readily 


substitute the one for the other. And it is but lately that I 
noticed in a letter written from abroad the expression used 
respecting some one, that his " provisions were disappointed," 
evidently meaning by provisions what should have been ex 
pressed by foresight the anticipations that had been formed 
in respect to the future. 

A similar sense of incongruity, as in this case, is occasion 
ally produced in one s mind, when a word occurs in some of 
our older writers, which since their day has undergone a con 
siderable change of meaning especially if, as sometimes hap 
pens, it is employed by them, not only in its original accep 
tation, but also in conjunction with an epithet, which seems 
to indicate what is incompatible with the other. Thus in one 
of Caxton s prefaces, his preface to a translation of a Life of 
Charles the Great, printed by him in 1485, beseeching the 
reader s indulgence toward his translation, he says, "Though 
there be no gay terms in it, nor subtle, nor new eloquence, 
yet I hope, that it shall be understood, and to that intent I 
have especially reduced (translated) it after the simple cunning 
that God hath lent me," the simple cunning, two words that 
now bear antagonistic meanings, and seem incongruously 
united together. Certainly, as now understood, a man of 
cunning is any thing but a simple person; simplicity and cun 
ning cannot exist together. But cunning originally implied 
nothing of a sinister kind. It has its root in the German 
kennen, to know, from which our ken comes, and merely de 
noted the kenning, or knowing, which one might have of any 
thing in art or science. Applied to works of art, it became 
nearly synonymous with skill or power approaching to an 
other cognate German word, koennen, canning, having the 
power or ability to accomplish any thing in which sense it 
occurs in our English Bible, "Let my right hand forget her 
cunning," namely, her acquired skill to play upon the harp. 
It is only in comparatively late times, that the word lost this 
meaning, and came to denote that sort of deceit, which is 
united with a low kind of skill or cleverness. 

Such examples show how cautiously etymology should be ap 
plied in determining the sense of words, as these come to be 


used in a living tongue. As our examples have been chiefly 
taken from our own language, it may be added in passing, that 
the person, who did most to turn the attention of English 
scholars in this direction, and who originated inquiries which 
have led to many interesting and profitable results Home 
Tooke has also exhibited in some of his deductions one of the 
most striking examples of the danger of pushing such inquiries 
to excess, and of being guided simply by the etymological ele 
ment in ascertaining the import of words. In the spirit of a 
thorough-going Nominalist, he maintains, in his "Diversions 
of Purley," that as words are merely the signs of ideas, and 
as all our words, not excepting the most abstract, are ulti 
mately traceable to a meaning derived from sensible impres 
sions, so words must be understood not in their acquired or 
metaphorical, but always substantially in their primitive and 
sensational meaning: consequently, as we have no words, 
neither have we any ideas, of a properly absolute description 
both alike cleave inseparably to the dust. So in regard even 
to truth: "Truth is nothing (he says) but what every man 
troweth ; whence there is no such thing as eternal, immutable, 
everlasting truth; unless mankind, such as they are at present, 
be also eternal, immutable, and everlasting; and two persons 
may contradict each other, and yet both speak truth, for the 
truth of one person may be opposite to the truth of another." 
This is carrying the subjective principle in our natures to an 
extravagant height, and making words govern ideas in a 
manner, which few, we should think, will be disposed to ac 
credit. We refer to it merely as a proof of the folly of push 
ing such a line of investigation to the utmost, and making 
what is the primary ground of our words and ideas also their 
ultimate standard and measure. Even with soberer inquirers 
and safer guides we sometimes perceive an excess in the same 
direction. It may be noticed occasionally in a work, which 
as a whole is marked by just thought and fine discrimination, 
and will repay a careful perusal Dr. Trench on "the Study 
of Words." Thus, when treating of kind, he says, u a land 
person is a Icinned person, one of 7 w, one who acknowledges 
and acts upon his kinship with other men. And so 


is m&nkinned. In the word is contained a declaration of the 
relationship which exists between all the members of the human 
family ; and seeing that this relation in a race now scattered so 
widely and divided so far asunder can only be through a com 
mon head, we do in fact, every time that we use the word man 
kind, declare our faith in the common descent of the whole 
human race," (p. 42.) We would, indeed, declare it, if, as 
often as we used the word, we had respect to that derivation, 
and assented to the principle implied in it; but how few in 
reality do so! In the language of every-day life, we employ 
the word simply as current coin we take it as expressive of 
the multitude of beings who possess with ourselves a common 
nature, but at the same time, perhaps, thinking as little of 
their common origin, as, when speaking of truth, we have re 
spect to what every individual troweth. 

But in all this we point only to the excess. There can be 
no doubt, in regard to the thing itself, that it is of great im 
portance to attend to the derivation of words, and that with 
out knowing this we cannot get at those nicer shades of mean 
ing which they often express, or make a thoroughly intelligent 
and proper use of them. In the great majority of cases, the 
etymological is also the actual sense of the word; and even 
when the acquired or metaphorical use comes materially to 
differ from the primary one, the knowledge of the primary is 
still of service, as most commonly a certain tinge or impress 
of it survives even in the ultimate. How often does a refe 
rence to the original import of some leading word in a phrase 
or sentence, enable us to bring out its meaning with a point 
and emphasis that we must otherwise have failed to exhibit! 
How often, again, when terms nearly synonymous are em 
ployed so nearly, perhaps, that in rendering from Greek to 
English we can only employ the same word for both, does a 
glance at the fundamental import disclose the difference 
between them! Thus, in Gal. vi. 2, we have the exhortation, 
"Bear ye one another s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ;" 
and presently afterwards, in ver. 5, we have the announce 
ment, "For every one shall bear his own burden." Even an 
English reader may see, by looking at the connexion, that the 


burden in the one case cannot be the same with what is meant 
by it in the other; that the one, as Augustine long ago re 
marked, is the burden of one s own trials or infirmities, which 
may be shared in by others, while the other is something al 
together proper to the individual the burden of his personal 
responsibility, or rather, perhaps, the burden of his personal 
state and destiny which he must bear himself alone. But 
the difference at once presents itself when we turn to the ori 
ginal, where we find two distinct words employed, each having 
their respective shades of meaning. The burdens we are to 
bear one for another are ra flapy, the weights, the things which 
press like loads upon those who come into contact with them, 
and in a manner call for friendly help; but the burden each 
one has to bear for himself is TO i dtov <pop-iov, that charge of 
what is more properly his own, which is indissolubly linked to 
his personal consciousness and rationality, and of which no one 
can relieve another. 

Again, in Rom. ix. 15, EA&J0Q) ov di> IXsco, xal ofareepfaa) 
ov dv olxTelpa), we have two verbs, which are of such cognate 
meaning, that they are often loosely interchanged, and some 
times the one, sometimes the other, is held to be the stronger 
expression. Even Titmann (Synon. I. p. 122,) and after him 
Robinson, in Lex., designates I7soc and D.escv as stronger than 
otxrtpfJLOZ, and oixrelpew, because the former carry along with 
them the additional notion of beneficence, a desire to relieve 
the miserable. But if the greater strength had been there, we 
should rather have expected the clauses in this passage of the 
Epistle to the Romans to. be in the inverse order the weaker 
to be first, and the stronger last. A more exact analysis 
justifies the existing order; for, as Fritzsche has justly re 
marked on the passage, the words 6 otxTep/j.6~ and otxTsepstv 
signify more than 6 Ihoz and Ihew. The latter stand related 
to 7/tfo;-, ttdofjLOt) tidffxo/iat (the being propitious, kind, or 
gentle;) the other to of (the oh! the cry of distress or sym 
pathy,) and Oixro^ (the tender pity or compassion, of which 
that cry is one of the first and most natural expressions.) 
Hence 6 e/soc denotes that sorrow which a kindly disposition 
feels at the misery of another, and is the proper word to be 


used when the general notion of mercy is to be expressed; 
6 ocxTep/JLoz, however, denotes the sorrow awakened by the 
sense of another s misery, which calls forth tears and lamen 
tations not pity merely, but pity in its keener sensibilities 
and most melting moods. So that the passage referred to has 
in it a real progression : " I will have mercy on whom I will have 
mercy, and will have pity on whom I will have pity." 

An expression in 2 Cor. xii. 9, may be referred to as an 
example of a somewhat different kind. The apostle there says 
that he would most willingly rather glory in infirmities, wa 
iTctaxr/vcocTfl ITT 1/j.s q duvapt$ TOU Xpt0TOV 9 the full import of 
which is but imperfectly conveyed by the common rendering, 
" that the power of Christ may rest upon me." The verb em 
ployed belongs to the later Greek, and is found in Polybius 
in the sense of dwelling in a tent, or inhabiting. This, how 
ever, is not sufficient to explicate the meaning of the word 
here; nor is any aid to be obtained from the Septuagint, since 
it does not occur there. It can only be explained by a refe 
rence to what is said in Old Testament Scripture of the re 
lation of the Lord s tabernacle or tent to His people; by such 
a passage, for example, as Isa. iv. 6, where it is written, "And 
there shall be a tabernacle for a shadow in the day time from 
the heat;" that is, the Lord s gracious presence and protection 
spread over them as a shelter. So in Rev. vii. 15, the Lord 
is represented as "tabernacling upon" the redeemed in glory. 
In like manner, the apostle here states it as the reason why 
he would rejoice in infirmities, that thereby Christ s power 
might tabernacle upon him might serve, so to speak, as the 
abiding refuge and confidence in which he should hide him 

We need not multiply examples further of this description. 
But we may add, that for those who would know generally how 
much may be gained in drawing out the more precise and deli 
cate shades of meaning, by a reference to the radical and 
primary sense of words, one of the best helps will be found to 
be Bengel s Gnomon, which, notwithstanding occasional fail 
ures, is in a short compass the happiest specimen extant of this 
kind of interpretation. This should be taken as an habitual 


companion. But occasionally, also, in writers of a more po 
pular cast, good examples are to be met with of the same tact 
in none, perhaps, more than in Leighton, who, if he sometimes 
strains rather unduly the original meaning, more commonly 
turns it to good account, and that in a natural and happy 
manner. As in the following example: " Grod resisteth the 
proud dvTtTdffcrsTa! singles it out as His grand enemy, and 
sets Himself in battle array against it; so the word is. It 
breaks the ranks of men, in which He hath set them, when 
they are not subject birOTa0ff6fJievo, as the word is before; 
yea, pride not only breaks rank, but rises up in rebellion 
against God, and doth what it can to dethrone Him, and 
usurp His place; therefore He orders his forces against it;" 
and so on. 

On the other hand, in passages presenting some difficulty, 
or aifording scope for the display of fancy on the part of the 
interpreter, it is quite possible, and, indeed, very common, to 
err by pressing unduly the etymological import of words. 
Horsley, for example, gives a marked somewhat ludicrous ex 
hibition of this, when rendering, as he occasionally does, the 
Greek word iot&rat by the English word derived from it, 
idiots, 1 a word, no doubt, bearing much the same significa 
tion with its Greek original denoting, first, the merely private 
man, as contradistinguished from one conversant with affairs 
and offices of state; then a person of rude and unskilled con 
dition in manners and intellect unpolished; and, finally, one 
altogether destitute of the ordinary powers of human intelli 
gence bereft of reason, to which last sense it has long been 
confined in the common intercourse of life. So that, with 
Ilorsley, to turn the expression used of the apostles in Acts 
iv. 13, "unlearned men and idiots," is only, by a misplaced 
literalism, to give a false representation of the meaning. Not 
much better is his rendering and interpretation of Luke i. 4, 
" That thou mightest know the exact truth of those doctrines 
wherein thou hast been catechised" xspe wv xar^yr^r^: 
on which he remarks, " St. Luke s own Gospel, therefore, if 
the writer s own word may be taken about his own work, is an 

1 Tracts against Priestley, p. 4G. 


historical exposition of the Catechism, which Theophilus had 
learned when he was first made a Christian. The first two 
articles in this historical exposition are, the history of the Bap 
tist s birth, and that of Mary s miraculous impregnation. We 
have much more, therefore, than the testimony of St. Luke, 
in addition to that of St. Matthew, to the truth of the fact of 
the miraculous conception ; we have the testimony of St. Luke, 
that this fact was a part of the earliest catechetical instruction ; 
a part of the catechism, no douht, which St. Paul s converts 
learned of the apostle." 1 We see here, too plainly, the po 
lemical interest, endeavouring to make the utmost of an argu 
ment, but overreaching its purpose by putting an undue strain 
on the principal word in the passage. That our word cate 
chise might originally correspond to the Greek word xarr^sco, 
from which it obviously comes, may be certain enough; but it 
does not follow, that what xarqyjco imports, as used by St. 
Luke, is fairly given by catechise, in its current acceptation. 
The Greek word did not originally bear the technical import 
of catechise; it meant, to sound out towards, to resound, or 
sound in one s ears; then more specially to do this by word 
of mouth, to instruct, and ultimately to instruct by way of 
question and answer. As used in the New Testament, and 
Greek writers generally, except the Fathers, it indicates no 
thing as to the specific mode of instruction ; and to represent 
it by the word catechise, would only render our translation in 
most cases unintelligible or ridiculous. Thus, at Gal. vi. 6, 
it would run, "Let him that is catechised in the word commu 
nicate to him that catechiseth in ail good things;" and at 
Acts xxi. 22, " But they have been catechised concerning thee, 
that thou teachest all the Jews to forsake Moses." To sound 
forth, or communicate instruction, in the active voice, and in 
the passive, to hear by way of rumour, or be instructed any 
how, these are the only senses which the word bears in the 
New Testament. In later times the xo-r^ovfjAvoi. were those 
who were under special instruction for admission to the Church, 
and, as we might say, the catechised portion in Christian com 

1 Sermon on the Incarnation. 



In Dr. Campbell s Fourth Preliminary Dissertation will be 
found some good remarks and apposite illustrations on the 
subject before us. Not, however, without some grounds for 
exception. His jealousy in respect to etymological considera 
tions is carried to excess, and in some of the instances he pro 
duces, leads him, more or less, into error. We formerly al 
luded to his remarks on ^ztpoTovsco, as used in Acts xiv. 23, 
and his severe denunciation of Beza for so far giving heed to 
its etymological formation, as to express in his translation a 
reference to the mode of appointment to church offices by 
popular election, signified by holding up the hand. He would 
exclude everything from its import but the simple idea of ap 
pointment, although in the only other passage in the New 
Testament, where it is similarly used of appointment to church 
offices (2 Cor. viii. 19,) it plainly does include the element of 
popular suffrage. We shall rather point, however, under the 
present division, to another example, in which Dr. Campbell 
is still less successful, though he labours hard to make good 
his point. It turns on the word TcpoytvctHTxa), whether this 
should be rendered, as its component elements would lead us 
to expect, by foreknow, or by some more general mode of ex 
pression. Dr. Campbell holds, it should be less strictly taken 
in Rom. xi. 2, where we read in our common version, " God 
hath not cast away His people, whom He foreknew" (ov 
KpQ&p><0\) he would separate the preposition, 7r/>6, from the 
verb, and also impose on the verb itself a somewhat different 
meaning, that, namely, of acknowledging or approving; and 
thus he obtains a, no doubt, very plain and intelligible sense: 
"God hath not cast off his people, whom heretofore lie ac 
knowledged." But is this really the sense intended by the 
apostle? We find him using the same compound verb a little 
before at ch. viii. 29, "Whom He did foreknow (o &c xpod-fvco,) 
them He also did predestinate;" and there it is scarcely 
possible to understand it otherwise than in the sense of fore 
knowing given to it by our translators, being plainly used of 
an act of the Divine mind toward His people, prior to that of 
their predestination to blessing: He foreknew, then He fore- 
appointed. Is there any necessity for departing from the 


same literal sense in the passage before us? None that ap 
pears worthy of notice. Dr. Campbell has, indeed, said, that 
to speak there of God s people as those whorilrHe foreknew, 
"conveyed to his mind no meaning whatever;" and, by a 
strange oversight in so acute a mind, he founds his statement 
on the assertion, that to foreknow "always signifies to know 
some event before it happens" as if it might not equally im 
port, when used in reference to an act of God, to know a per 
son before he exists. Presently, however, he resorts to another 
consideration, which implies a virtual abandonment of the 
other, and objects, that "God knew Israel before, in the ordi 
nary meaning of the word knoiving, could never have been 
suggested as a reason to hinder us from thinking, that He 
would never cast them off; for, from the beginning, all na 
tions and all things are alike known to God." True, indeed, 
in one sense, but not in another. They were not all alike 
known to God as destined to occupy toward Himself the same 
relation, and to receive the same treatment; and that is pre 
cisely the point in the eye of the apostle. God could not 
cast away His own people, whom He foreknew as His own. 
Their friendly relation to Him being descried as among the 
certainties of the coming future, nothing in that future could 
arise to hinder its accomplishment. In another passage (2 
Tim. ii. 19) of quite similar import, the apostle finds [the 
ground of the believer s security from perdition in the simple 
fact, which he calls a seal, that "the Lord knoweth them that 
are His" a thought which had consoled the Psalmist ages 
before, as appears from the words in the first Psalm, "The 
Lord knoweth the way of the righteous." For such know 
ledge necessarily implies a corresponding treatment. "If 
the way of the righteous is known by God as the omniscient, 
it cannot but be blessed by Him as the righteous. Hence, 
there is no necessity to ascribe to know the sense of having 
care and affection for, loving, which it never properly pos 
sesses. It is enough, if only God with His foreknowledge is 
not shut up in the heavens ; the rest flows spontaneously from 
His nature, and does not need to be particularly mentioned." l 
1 Hengstenberg on Ps. i. 


We have referred under this division to so many illustra 
tive examples, on the one side and the other, because it is 
chiefly through these, that the danger of running into an ex 
treme is made apparent; and along therewith the necessity of 
care and skill in avoiding it. It is, no doubt, one thing to 
know, in what direction a tendency to excess in such a matter 
lies, and another thing to keep clear of it. Yet it will be of 
importance to remember, that while one should always seek 
to be acquainted with the etymological import of words, this 
cannot in every case be taken for the actual meaning; this is 
determined by the current usage, which must be ascertained 
and adhered to. 

So far as concerns the language of the New Testament, or 
the precise meaning and interpretation of its words, the general 
rules and principles now given appear to comprise all that is 
necessary. They will serve to mark out the course of inquiry 
that must be pursued, if any measure of success is to be at 
tained. For the actual result, much will necessarily depend 
upon the greater or less degree of exegetical tact possessed 
by the student, and the extent to which it has been cultivated 
by personal application and proper exercise. Hermeneutical 
skill, like skill of other kinds, must not only have something 
in nature to rest upon, but have that also matured by diligent 
and well-directed practice, without which no proficiency can 
be expected. 

For those cases, in which some more peculiar difficulty is 
felt in getting at the precise sense of a passage, there must, 
first of all, be brought into play the requisite qualifications 
connected with the application of the rules and principles 
already laid down. There must be an acquaintance with the 
original language, in its proper idioms, the etymology and 
usage of its words a knowledge of the distinctive peculiari 
ties of the writer, in whose productions the passage occurs 
of the circumstances of the time in which he wrote, its man 
ners and customs, modes of thought and principles of action 
in a word, an insight into the nature of the language em 
ployed, and the various things, of a circumstantial description, 
fitted to tell upon the views of the writer and his more im- 


mediate circle. It is clear, that without knowledge of such 
compass and variety, no one can reasonably expect to succeed 
in dealing with a passage, which involves any difficulty in 
respect to the proper construction of its words, or the real 
meaning which they bear. But it is possible, that where so 
much is possessed and used, the difficulty may still fail to be 
overcome. In that case, the next, and more special thing that 
should be done, is to look very "carefully and closely to the 
connexion in which the passage stands which will often do 
much to remove the darkness or uncertainty that rests upon 
its import. Then, let the peculiar phrase or construction, 
which occasions the difficulty, be examined in connexion with 
others of the same, or nearly the same description, in what 
remains besides of the individual writer; or if none such may 
occur, then in other parts of Scripture; and, still again, in 
other writings of the apostolic age, and periods not remote 
from it. The nearer to the passage itself, then the nearer to 
him who indited it, that any light can be found, the more 
likely to prove satisfactory. So that the examination should 
usually be made in the order of his own writings first, next of 
the other inspired productions, and, finally, of writings as near 
as possible to the age and circumstances in which he wrote. 
In such investigations, we need scarcely say, all available 
helps, whether ancient or modern, should be brought into re 
quisition. Access to these in any considerable degree must 
always be a special advantage to those who enjoy it. But 
even where it is very imperfectly possessed, no inconsiderable 
progress may be made in the exact knowledge and interpreta 
tion of Scripture, if this Scripture itself is but carefully studied, 
with a few good grammars and lexicons; as, when so used, it 
will be found to supply many materials for interpreting itself. 
Let no one, therefore, wait till he has all requisite means 
within his reach; but let each rather endeavour to make the 
most profitable use of what he can command in the persua 
sion, that though he may be far from accomplishing all he 
could wish, he will still find his labour by no means, in vain. 
And, however he may stand as to inferior resources, let him 
never forget to seek the enlightening and directing grace of 


the Holy Spirit, who to the humble and prayerful mind will 
often unlock secrets, which remain hid to the most learned 
and studious. 



THE previous discussions have had respect mainly to the 
language of the New Testament, and the principles or rules 
necessary to be followed, in order to our arriving at the pre 
cise and proper import of its words. There are, however, 
elements of various kinds, not properly of a linguistic nature, 
which must yet, according to the influence allowed them, ex 
ercise an important bearing on the sense actually obtained 
from the words and phrases of Scripture elements, which 
will affect the interpretation of some parts of Scripture more 
than others, or tend to modify the meaning put on certain of 
its passages. The points referred to less properly concern 
the explanation of particular terms, than the nature of the 
ideas contained in them. They respect the question, what is 
there precisely of truth to be received, or of practical instruc 
tion to be obeyed, in the portions which have been analyzed 
and explained? It is quite possible, that one may know with 
perfect correctness every word in a passage, and yet, from 
some false conceptions or misleading bias, may have a very 
imperfect apprehension of its real purport, or, perhaps, give 
a wrong turn to the thoughts it expresses. It is necessary, 
therefore, on the basis of the principles already unfolded, to 
proceed to this higher line of hermeneutical inquiry, and en 
deavour, if possible, to set up some proper landmarks upon it. 

I. Now, the first point that here calls for investigation is, 
the general one, in what relations the sentiments of the sacred 


writers stand to the spirit of their age to its prevailing modes 
of thought and popular beliefs. Were they in any material 
respect modified by these? Or did they pursue an altogether 
independent course never bending in aught under the pre 
vailing current, if this at all deviated from the exact arid na 
tural line of things? Or, if they did to some extent accom 
modate themselves to this, how far might we expect the ac 
commodation to go? At a comparatively early period a 
certain doctrine of accommodation was introduced with refer 
ence to representations in Scripture which Origen, and others 
of the Fathers, were wont to regard as spoken or done *ar 
otxovojulav, by way of dispensation, or through ffopcard^affe^ 
a condescension, or an accommodation to the position and in 
firmities of the persons addressed. Advantage, it was believed, 
was taken of these, in order the more readily to gain the con 
fidence or reach the understanding of those who were in an 
unfit state for receiving the naked truth. It is difficult to 
say precisely, how far the Fathers, who introduced this princi 
ple, meant to carry it, in respect to the teaching of Christ 
and the apostles; for they are neither very explicit nor al 
together consistent in their statements upon the subject. For 
the most part they appear simply to have understood by it an 
adaptation in the form of Divine communications to the modes 
of human thought and speech, while the matter not the less 
remained true and divine; as in conduct the Apostle Paul 
became as a Jew to the Jews (1 Cor. ix. 20,) or externally 
conformed himself to their manners and customs, without in 
the least detracting thereby from the claims and principles of 
the Gospel. In this way, Scripture was explained as accom 
modating itself to men s infirmities or habits, when it speaks 
of God as possessing human parts and passions, or uses para 
bles, proverbs, and familiar images, to set forth to our view 
things spiritual and divine. But occasionally they seem to 
indicate an application of the principle beyond this limit, and 
to include the matter of what was taught or done, as well as 
the/orm: as when Origen (in his Priricipia, L. iv.) speaks of 
mystic dispensations employed by God, which, in their literal 
sense or obvious meaning, were opposed to enlightened faith 


and reason or when Jerome, in his Epistle to Augustine, 
teaches that Paul, as well as Peter, feigned himself to be a 
Jew, and yet reproved Peter at Antioch by what he calls 
honesta dispensatio, which the one administered, and the 
other submitted to feignedly, that they might show the pru 
dence of apostles. It requires no arguments to prove, that 
honest dispensations of this sort but ill accord with that godly 
simplicity, which we are wont to ascribe to the apostles, and 
would, if generally believed in, somewhat shake their credit 
as inspired writers. Fortunately, however, the Fathers erred 
comparatively little in this direction; and it was rather from 
inadvertence, or from perplexity in dealing with particular 
passages, than from any general laxity of principle, that they 
have been occasionally betrayed into rash and unguarded state 
ments upon the subject. 

It was reserved for modern times to apply the principle of 
accommodation to the teachings of Scripture in the full and 
proper sense, and to represent Christ Himself and the apostles 
as pandering to the mistaken views and narrow prejudices of 
their time. Wetstein was among the first to lay down a for 
mal principle of this sort, although Grotius in some of his 
comments had before virtually acted on it. But Wetstein, in 
a little work on the criticism and interpretation of the New 
Testament (A.D. 1724,) gave it out as a canon of interpreta 
tion, in respect to those passages, which seem to be at variance 
with truth, or with each other, that the sacred writers should 
be viewed "as not always expressing their own opinion, nor 
representing matters as to their real state, but occasionally 
also expressing themselves according to the sentiments of others, 
or the sometimes ambiguous, sometimes erroneous, opinions of 
the multitude." And he indicates, that this mode of explana 
tion should be especially adopted in regard to what is often 
said in the New Testament of sacrifices, of Satan, of angels 
and demons. Shortly after, Semler (both in a new edition of 
Wetstein s treatise, and in works of his own, took up the prin 
ciple of interpretation thus announced, and with character 
istic ardour and industry applied it to the explanation of the 
New Testament writings. His fundamental position was, that 


the exposition of the New Testament should be pre-eminently 
historical; that is, that one should have respect to the spirit 
ual conditions of the time the prevailing thoughts and opi 
nions, as well as external circumstances, of those among whom 
Christ and His apostles lived; and these he represented to be 
such, that the truth could not always be spoken as it should 
have been, and required a use to be made of Old Testament 
Scripture in reference to Gospel events, such as cannot be 
justified on principles of grammar or grounds of abstract rea 
son. Our Lord and His apostles, therefore, spoke at times 
ex vulgari opinione, not precisely according to the truth of 
things; yet so as that, by instituting a comparison of the dif 
ferent parts of their writings, and making the more general 
and comprehensive rule the more special and peculiar, we may 
arrive at the ultimate and permanent ideas of the Gospel. 
The door was thus fairly opened for exegetical license, and 
from Semler s day to this, there have never been wanting men 
fulhy disposed to avail themselves of the liberty which it in 
vited them to take. Loose as Semler s views were, and great 
as was the havoc which he carried into the received views of 
Scripture, he lived to see (with grief, it is said) others far out 
stripping him in the same line of accommodations. By degrees 
every thing was reduced to a subjective standard; and if in 
any thing an interpreter found statements recorded, or doc 
trines taught, which did not accord with Ms notions of the 
truth of things, the explanation was at hand, that such things 
had found a place in Scripture merely on a principle of ac 
commodation; the people at the time were capable of appre 
ciating nothing higher, or the writers themselves as yet under 
stood no better. And so, in the hands of many on the Conti 
nent, and of some also in this country, of some here still, the 
proper teaching of the Gospel came to be reduced to the scanty 
form of a Sadducean creed. The doctrines of the Trinity, of 
the Divine Sonship of Messiah, of the atonement, of the per 
sonality of the Spirit, of a corporeal resurrection and a final 
judgment, have all been swept away by the abettors of the 
principle under consideration; and even the idea of Christian 
ity s being in any peculiar sense a revelation from Heaven, 


has been sometimes represented as merely a mode of speech 
suited to the time of its appearance. 

Such has been the practical result of the accommodation 
theory, or the historical principle of interpretation (as it has 
been sometimes called) a result which carries along with it 
the virtual doom of the principle itself. For, obviously enough, 
to deal in such an arbitrary and magisterial manner with sa 
cred Scripture, is not to interpret, but to sit in judgment upon 
it, as we might do upon any human composition, and receive 
or reject what it contains, according to our preconceived no 
tions. The proper revelation the real standard of truth and 
error, is in that case within ; we stand upon essentially infidel 
ground; and seeing that Scripture as much contradicts, as co 
incides with our views of things, it were better to discard it 
as an authority altogether treat it merely as a help. 

Most commonly, however, the accommodation principle is 
confined within a comparatively narrow range, and applied 
to what are called innocuous errors. So Seiler, for example, 
in his Hermeneutics, who says, that in such a matter we must 
be careful to distinguish between innocuous and nocuous er 
rors. Among the innocuous he includes chiefly errors of an 
historical and chronological kind such as he conceives occur 
in the speech of Stephen, Acts vii. and exegetical errors, or 
false interpretations of several passages of the Old Testament, 
which were erroneously supposed to contain what the w T ords 
did not really indicate. So, too, Roserimuller, in his Historia 
Interpretationis, I. p. 27, who thinks, that as the Jews had a 
fondness for something out of the direct and simple style of 
writing, loved to exhibit their sentiments in an allegorical 
dress, and to seek for them strained and fanciful supports in 
Scripture, so the apostles acted wisely in adapting themselves 
in these respects to the genius and habits of their countrymen. 
Whence with him, and many others in this country and Ame 
rica (including such names as Moses Stuart, Home, Adam 
Clarke, Albert Barnes,) the formula, "that it might be ful 
filled," or "then was fulfilled what was spoken," is held to 
have been used often as a kind of Rabbinical flourish, an em 
bellishing of the narrative or discourse with quotations, which, 


though they had properly another sense, yet were so expressed 
as to admit of being happily applied to the circumstances and 
events of Gospel history. 

But would this really have been a wise, or even a justifiable 
procedure, on the part of our Lord and the apostles? Would 
such a fanciful application of Scripture have been an innocu 
ous error? Is it so light a thing for inspired men to mis 
quote the writings of each other? It is precisely to their use 
of Old Testament Scripture to the elucidations they give of 
its meaning, and the specific applications they make of its se 
veral parts, that we are indebted for our more certain know 
ledge of its design, and especially for our insight into the con 
nexion that subsists between the Old and the New in God s 
dispensations. To bring looseness and ambiguity into such a 
region were in reality to destroy all certainty of interpreta 
tion, and open the door on every hand for fanciful conceits or 
groundless conjecture. Surely the same majestic authority 
which said of the Old Testament writings, " And the Scrip 
ture cannot be broken," virtually said, at the same time, It 
must not be arbitrarily dealt with; it is too sacred a thing to 
be coupled with mock fulfilments, or brought into connexion 
with events, to which it bore no proper reference. And the 
rather may we thus conclude, when we think of the slender 
nature of the reasons for which, it is supposed, an accommo 
dation should have been made. To give fancied ornateness to 
a discourse, or show a sort of Rabbinical adroitness in the 
mere handling of texts and thereby to win for the moment 
a readier attention to what they said or wrote were these 
sufficient motives for our Lord and His disciples travestying 
the great laws of sound exegesis, and bringing confusion into 
the sense of ancient Scripture? No we may rest assured, 
they knew their calling better; and as in other things they 
were not afraid to meet the strongest prejudices of their coun 
trymen, and lay the axe to the most rooted corruptions, it were 
folly to think, that in this, and for such trivial considerations, 
they should have entered into compromises about the truth. 
Least of all could they be guilty of such improper trifling with 
the oracles of God, who brought it as one of their heaviest 


charges against the men of that generation, that they erred 
in not knowing the Scriptures, or in making them void with 
their own traditions. 

We hold it, therefore, to be contrary to any right views of 
the mission of Christ and His apostles, to suppose, that they 
in such a sense accommodated themselves to the modes of 
thought and contemplation around them, as to admit error 
into their instructions whether in respect to the interpreta 
tion of Scripture, or in respect to forms of opinion and articles 
of belief. "This," as Heringa has justly said in his notes to 
Seiler, "were consistent neither with wisdom, nor with ho 
nesty; it had not been suited to the case of extraordinary 
ambassadors of God, furnished with such full powers, and 
assisted by such Divine interposition as they were. There is 
a vast difference between leaving errors untouched which 
would in time expire either of themselves, or by deeper views 
of the very doctrine preached, and the confirmation of the 
same errors, by admitting them into their own instructions." 
It is, plainly, one thing to desist from unfolding a doctrine, 
because men are for the time capable of apprehending or 
bearing it, and another and very different thing to counte 
nance them in the mistakes and delusions, in which that inca 
pacity has its ground. The one course, in either respect, was 
compatible with inspired wisdom, the other was not ; and when 
ever explanations are given, which would involve our Lord 
and His apostles in the formal admission or inculcation of 
what is in itself erroneous, out of deference to existing circum 
stances, we must hold it to be a false accommodation: since, 
if knowingly done by them, it must have been in the sphere 
of religious instruction, doing evil that good might come; but 
if without conscience of the evil, on their part, then it must 
have bespoken their participation in the errors of the time, and 
their consequent unfitness for being the infallible guides and 
instructors of the world. 

II. In rejecting, however, this false accommodation, because 
it trenches on the matter of the teaching contained in the New 
Testament, we say nothing against such an accommodation as 


has respect to the form merely of the doctrines or lessons 
taught, which might be perfectly admissible, and, in a sense, 
even necessary. In this direction there was abundant room, 
in New as well as Old Testament times, for a true accommo 
dation, of which the inspired writers wisely availed themselves, 
and which must be duly taken into account by those who 
would fairly interpret their writings. The limits within which 
such accommodation might be practised, cannot always, per 
haps, be very precisely defined; but, in the general, it may 
be stated to consist in the falling in with prevalent modes of 
thought or forms of conception, so as, not to lend countenance 
to error, but to serve for the better apprehension of the truth. 
An accommodation of this sort might be employed under two 
kinds one more general, the other more specific ; the former 
grounded in characteristics of thought common to mankind at 
large, the latter in such as were peculiar to the age and coun 
try in which the sacred penmen lived. 

(1.) To the first or more general class of accommodations 
are to be referred the representations given of Divine and 
spiritual things things which lie beyond the region of sense, 
and are not directly cognisable by any faculties we possess. 
Such things can only be made known to us by an accommo 
dation from the visible to the invisible, from the known to the 
unknown ; and though, in such cases, the form is necessarily 
imperfect, and conveys an inadequate idea of the reality, it 
still is the fittest representation of the idea, the nearest to the 
truth of things, which it is possible for us in present circum 
stances to attain to. What is said, for example, of God s an 
ger towards sinners or of His being revealed (through Christ) 
in flaming fire for the execution of judgment upon the wicked 
or of the possibility of moving Heaven by prayer to depart 
from some purpose already formed, as if there could be passion 
or mutability with God everything of this sort manifestly 
proceeds upon that necessity, which is inherent in our natures, 
of thinking and speaking of God in a human manner. It is 
impossible, otherwise, to gain definite ideas of His perfections 
and government; and the only way of guarding against the 
abuse of such representations, is by the employment of coun- 



ter-representations, which declare God to be in Himself essen 
tially spiritual, unchangeable, and incapable of being carried 
away by the feelings and impulses of finite beings. We must, 
nevertheless, think of Him, and conduct ourselves towards 
Him, as if the human form of conceptions respecting Him 
conveyed the exact truth; He will act toward impenitent 
sinners precisely as if He were moved to anger by their sins 
His appearance for judgment against them will be as if He 
were encompassed with devouring fire He will give effect to 
earnest and believing prayer, as if He could be changed by 
the entreaties of His people. 

Essentially similar, and belonging to the same class, are 
the representations given of Satan and his agents. Being in 
themselves simply spirits, without bodily parts, the language 
used concerning them could not have been intelligible, unless 
it had taken its hue and colour from human forms and earthly 
relationships. So that when Satan is spoken of as falling from 
heaven, as being chained or set loose, as overcoming the saints 
or being bruised under their feet or when the demons gene 
rally are spoken of as going into men, as driven out of them, 
as wandering in dry and desert places, and such like, it is 
open for consideration, how far in such things there is an ac 
commodation in the form of the truth exhibited to what is 
cognizable by the senses. To a certain extent there must be 
an accommodation as several of the things mentioned are, if 
literally understood, incompatible with the nature of incorpo 
real creatures, and some, if closely pressed in the literal sense, 
would be found inconsistent with others. Due allowance, 
therefore, must be made in our interpretations for the sen 
suous and external form of such statements not to the ex 
tent, certainly, of explaining away the existence of those evil 
spirits (which were to tamper with the very substance of the 
representations;) but yet so as to render what is contained 
in them a description of the relative, rather than of the abso 
lute state of things of what Satan and his agents are or do 
in reference to human interests, and as contemplated through 
a human medium. Viewed thus, the whole, probably, that 
can be understood, for example, by Satan being cast down 


from heaven, is losing the place of godlike power and influ 
ence he had reached and by the demons wandering in dry 
and desert places, their being bereft for a season of that ma 
lignant satisfaction, which they find in inflicting evil upon the 
unhappy subjects of their sway being left, like persons in a 
desert, without refreshment and without a home. It is need 
less, at present, to pursue the subject into further details, as 
from what has been said the principle of interpretation may 
be distinctly understood. 

It may be added, however, that the same kind of accom 
modation, which appears in the language used of essentially 
Divine and spiritual things, is also required in many descrip 
tions of the still undeveloped future. For, although that fu 
ture may lie within the region of sensible and earthly things, 
yet, if the world s affairs are then to assume an aspect essentially 
different from what has hitherto belonged to them, they can 
only be distinctly imaged to our view under the form of the 
present or the past. Partial, of course, and imperfect such 
prophetical representations of the higher things to come must 
always be, but they are the only ones adapted to our existing 
condition; and the nearest approach to the truth, the best 
practical conception we can form, of what is hereafter to be 
realized, is by the help of representations so drawn from the 
theatre of actual and known relations. But this opens too 
wide a field of thought for investigation in a general course 
of hermeneutical instruction; it is enough to have indicated 
the fundamental principle, on which the structure of prophecy 
is framed, and on which its interpretation should proceed. 1 

(2.) But there is another and more specific class of accom 
modations, which cannot thus be said to have their explana 
tion in the necessary limitations of the human mind, in its 
relation to the objects and beings of a higher sphere, but which 
arose out of the modes of thought and expression peculiar to 
the age and country in which the sacred writers lived. Every 
age and country has certain peculiarities of this description ; 
and as the inspired penmen were not prevented by the Spirit, 

1 For the particular investigation, see "Prophecy viewed in respect to its 
Distinctive Nature," etc. 


but rather led thereby, to think and write in a manner agreea 
ble to the usage of the times, such peculiarities must be taken 
into account, if we would fully understand the passages where 
they occur, or even sometimes avoid serious misconceptions 
of their meaning. The peculiarities referred to are often no 
further remarkable, than that they are connected with what 
seems a singular turn of expression some peculiarity in the 
mode of conception embodying itself in a corresponding pe 
culiarity in the form of representation. For example, both 
Hebrews and Greeks were in the habit of conceiving certain 
states of mind or body, indicated by some verb or adjective, 
as limited or particularized by a related noun in a way not 
natural to us they simply placed the limiting noun in the 
accusative, without any thing to mark the nature of the con 
nexion, while we invariably attach it to the verb or adjective 
by a preposition. The expressions in Greek, xodaz cox j^, xd/t- 
vzw ro jc d<pdcd/Jtouc 9 ra^ (ppevaz fyacveiv, 6o.o (warb^ TO /j.sf- 
60^, and such like, are familiar to every one acquainted with 
the Greek language; arid precisely similar are many phrases 
in Hebrew such as vS:n-riij nSn, he was diseased the feet of 
him ; B K"! T?^. ne will crush thee the head ; ^?? iron ? ne smites 
him the soul or life; *Opx Sip, my voice I will cry. In* all 
such cases, ive find it necessary to use some preposition before 
the noun with, in respect to, upon, or such like in order to 
bring out the idea we wish to express. This arises from our 
conceiving the state expressed by the verb or adjective as 
something by itself, as having no necessary connexion with 
any particular object; and so, when there is such an object to 
be specified, we must connect the two by terms that will fitly 
indicate the connexion. The Hebrews and Greeks seem to 
have viewed matters more concretely; they conceived of the 
state indicated as inseparably connected with some individual 
person or thing, and thought it enough to name in the loosest 
way the particular part or property affected. They were 
satisfied with the accusative, as it is called, of nearer defini 
tion or that which expresses the relation of the particular 
to the general. 

It arose partly, perhaps, from the same tendency in ancient 


times to a more concrete mode of contemplation than prevails 
now, that the Hebrews, and to some extent also the Greeks, 
express relations in a more inward manner than we do they 
look to the sphere or element in which a thing is, or is done ; 
while we, viewing the matter more ab extra, speak of the 
way or instrument by which it comes to be so. Thus they 
said, to drink in a cup, while we say, to drink from it, or out 
of it , to walk in the counsel of any one; "in murder in my 
bones," Ps. xlii. 10, as if my bones were actually undergoing 
murder; Eccl. vii. 14, in the day of joy be thou in joy (joyful) 
3103 rrn live in it as thy proper element. Quite similar 
in the New Testament are such passages as Apoc. xiii. 10, 
"If any one lv imyaipq. dxoxT^ys i," literally, kills in sword 
identifies himself, in a manner, with the sword, so as to make 
its proper action, killing, his own "he must be killed iv 
fj>a%alpqL:" Rom. ii. 12, "As many as have sinned ev, 
shall be judged $.v vbp.0)" the Iv denoting the status of the 
person spoken of, in respect to law in it, as possessing the 
knowledge of its requirements and its penalties: 1 Cor. iv. 
21, "What will ye? Shall I come to you & pdpowy ivdfdirrf 
in a rod, as if a rod led and impelled me, or love: And 
to mention no more, 2 Pet. i. 5-7, we have a whole series of 
graces coupled with lv, Englished in the authorized version 
by to, " add to your faith virtue," and so on ; but more properly 
the $.v points to the spiritual state of the person addressed, as 
standing in the several graces mentioned; and the exhorta 
tion given them is, that in the spirit and power of these they 
should go on and have themselves established in others of a 
like kind. For us, however, it is more natural to regard faith 
and the other graces as principles or dispositions to be pos 
sessed and exercised; and in such a manner, that the cultiva 
tion of one should lead on to the possession and exercise of 

These may seem somewhat minute distinctions; and it is 
only in a limited sense, that we can regard the expressions 
noticed as accommodations: they are such, only in so far as 
they show a falling in, on the part of the inspired writers, 
with a somewhat peculiar mode of conception, belonging to 


their age and country and one, with which we must acquaint 
ourselves, if we would catch the precise shades of thought they 
meant to express. But we have only to follow out the same 
line of reflection a little further, to find it supplying us with 
some very natural and important explanations. The same 
tendency to the concrete, as contradistinguished from the 
isolating and analytic spirit of modern times, discovers itself 
occasionally in statements and forms of expression, which, if 
considered from a modern point of view, must appear loose 
and incorrect. For example, in the genealogy of Matthew, 
ch. i., Joram is said to have begotten Ozias, or Uzziah, although 
in reality there were three intervening generations between 
the two. And in the Dissertation on the Genealogies of 
Matthew and Luke, there will both be found many other 
instances noticed of the same description in Old Testament 
Scripture, and the mistakes also pointed out, into which many 
have been led by overlooking the practice adverted to. Mr. 
Layard, in his work on Nineveh and Babylon, p. 613, when 
noticing an inscription, which seems to designate a certain 
king as the son of another, though he was only a successor, 
not the offspring of that other, remarks, that "the term, son 
of, appears to have been used throughout the East in those 
days, as it still is, to denote connexion generally, either by 
descent, or by succession." It is well, that an existing prac 
tice in the East can thus be appealed to in confirmation of a 
usage, that seems so manifestly sanctioned in the genealogies; 
but it is strange, that any students of Scripture should have 
been so regardless of the terms employed in other and similar 
portions of its records, as to have required any extraneous or 
modern proof of the usage. 

It was only to advance a step farther in the same line, and 
view another class of related objects in a like concrete manner, 
if successive exemplifications of one great principle, or sub 
stantial repetitions of one line of procedure, instead of being 
precisely discriminated, were treated as in a manner one. The 
prominence givea in the mind to the common principle or 
homogeneous action, appearing in the several cases, had the 
effect of practically obliterating the individual differences 


-which separated one part of the transactions from another, 
and made the differences seem not worth noticing. In this 
way, Abraham and his posterity are often identified, in regard 
to the principle of faith, on account of which he was justified, 
it is alike Abraham s faith, whether appearing in him person 
ally, or in them ; and so in regard to the blessing connected 
with it Abraham s blessing comes upon them, and the in 
heritance of Canaan is indifferently spoken of as given to him 
or to them. Many similar examples occur in those Scriptures, 
which afford scope for the play of lively feeling or a warm ima 
gination those, therefore, more particularly, in which the 
facts and personages of history are worked up into the de 
lineations of prophecy, or are considered as exponents of great 
and vital principles. It is thus we would explain a statement 
in the speech of Stephen before the Jewish council, which has 
often been treated as a demonstrable historical error, but 
which has only to be viewed as an accommodation to the mode 
of contemplation now referred to, in order to its being satis 
factorily explained. The statement is that in which Stephen 
says, U 8o Jacob went down into Egypt, arid died, he, and our 
fathers, and were carried over into Sychem, and laid in the 
sepulchre that Abraham bought for a sum of money of the sons 
of Ernmor, the father of Sychem." (Acts vii. 15, 16.) Now, 
there can be no doubt, that viewing the matter critically and 
historically, there are inaccuracies in this statement; for we 
know from the records of Old Testament history, that Jacob s 
body was not laid in a sepulchre at Sychem, but in the cave 
of Machpelah at Hebron ; we know also that the field, which 
was bought of the sons of Emmor, or the children of Hamor 
(as they are called in Gen. xxxiii. 19,) the father of Sychem, 
was bought, not by Abraham, but by Jacob. It would ap 
pear, therefore, that to a critical eye there are no less than 
two distinct blunders here and blunders so palpable, that a 
mere school-boy, who had read Old Testament Scripture, might 
without difficulty detect them. But this very circumstance, 
that the incongruities are so palpable and easy of detection, 
must surely render it very improbable, that they could have 
been fallen into by a man of Stephen s penetration and dis- 


comment to say nothing of his supernatural endowments by 
the Spirit. There must be some other explanation of the 
matter, than that which would resolve it into mere ignorance 
or forgetfulness of the facts of the case the rather so, as it 
occurs in a speech remarkable for the insight it displays into 
the connexion and bearing of Old Testament history. And 
that explanation is to be found in the principle of accommo 
dation, considered merely as determining the form and man 
ner of the representation. Stephen here, as in his speech 
generally, is not acting the part of a simple narrator of facts ; 
he has in view throughout important principles, substantially 
the very same principles, which were then struggling for victory 
in the cause with which he was identified ; and it is only as 
connected with these, and serving to throw light on them, that 
he notices and groups together the occurrences of the past. 
In this part of his statement, where he is speaking of the godly 
fathers of the nation, he is silently contrasting their faith in 
God with the unbelief and hardness of subsequent generations, 
his own in particular; and the special proof of it, to which he 
points, is the purchase of ground from the Canaanites, at a 
time when it seemed little likely to the eye of sense that the 
land should ever be theirs, and destining their bodies to be 
deposited in the ground so purchased, as a pledge of the ulti 
mate realization of their hopes. As the faith in this respect 
was one, and the way in which it showed itself the same, Ste 
phen (after the manner of his countrymen) throws all together; 
he does not distinguish between what was done by Abraham, 
and what was done by Jacob, as if they were separate and in 
dependent acts; he looks at the matter concretely, and as 
Abraham originated the procedure of buying ground for a 
sepulchre, and Jacob merely trod in his footsteps, so the whole 
is identified with Abraham, the ground at Sychem is also 
contemplated as his purchase, in which, according to Jewish 
tradition, the patriarchal heads of the nation were brought 
from Egypt and buried; and the distinction is in a manner 
lost sight of betwe2n the transactions connected with Mamre, 
and those with Sychem, because one character and one 


bearing belonged to them in the light contemplated by Ste 
phen. 1 

It appears, therefore, that there is a perfectly legitimate 
application of the principle of accommodation ; and one that it 
may be of considerable importance rightly to understand and 
employ, for the proper elucidation and defence of New Testa 
ment Scripture. It is carefully to be borne in mind, however, 
that the accommodation has respect merely to the form and 
manner in which the statements are made, not to the substance 
of the truth therein communicated; its whole object is to 
render the truth more distinctly comprehensible, or to give it 
greater force and prominence to the mind. And as it pro 
ceeds upon forms of thought and conception prevalent, it may 
be, only in the times and places where the inspired writers 
lived, or, at least, more markedly prevalent there than else 
where, it must always be our first concern, to get ourselves 
well acquainted with the peculiarities themselves, and the state 
of mind out of which they originated. For thus alone can we 
come to perceive in what respects there was an accommoda 
tion, and know how to give due allowance to it, without, at the 
same time, impairing the substance of the truth that might bo 
couched under it. 



FROM what concerns the form, we proceed now to what 
rather relates to the substance of the sacred writings; with the 
view of considering whether this may not itself be subject to 

1 It is much in the same way, and on substantially the same principle, 
that two prophecies the utterance of quite different men are sometimes 
thrown together, and treated as one. See the remarks on Matthew xxvii. 
9, 10. 



modifying influences whether it is to be always taken in an 
absolute, and not also sometimes in a merely relative point of 

I. Here our first line of inquiry shall be, into the relation 
of one part of New Testament Scripture to another whether 
any respect, or, if any, what respect, should be had in our in 
terpretations to what is called the analogy or rule of faith. 
The expression, the analogy of faith, is derived from Horn. xii. 
6, where the subject of discourse is the exercise of spiritual 
ministrations or gifts, and where, in regard to the gift of 
prophecy, it is said, that they who possess the gift, should 
employ it xara rrp avaAofiau TT^ K KJTZCO-, according to the 
analogy of the faith, as some would render it; and when so 
rendered, it becomes very nearly synonymous with according 
to the rule of faith. For analogy in such a connexion can 
only be understood as denoting the common agreement, the 
standard xavcov, or rule, which results from a comparison of 
one part of Scripture with another. And there can be no 
doubt, that the word dvafofla is sometimes so used; for it is 
denned, by the old lexicographer Hesychius, measure, canon, 
rule. Yet the sense, which is thus obtained, is not suitable to 
the connexion in the passage before us, and is now generally 
abandoned by commentators, although it is still retained by 
Hodge. When treating of persons, who do not merely pretend 
to possess, but who are actually endowed with, the gift of pro 
phecy, an exhortation to use it in accordance with the great 
principles of the Christian faith seems out of place ; for it were 
really no gift at all, unless it took of itself this divinely pre 
scribed course. The faith here meant is to be understood, not 
objectively as a comprehensive term for the truths and doctrines 
of the Christian religion, but subjectively, for the internal 
principle of spiritual discernment and apprehension, on which 
the soul s recipiency in respect to prophetical gifts, and fitness 
for exercising them, depends. According to the measure or 
proportion such i3 undoubtedly the usual import of dvalofla 
of this faith, says the apostle, let each one prophesy, who is 
spiritually endowed for that work; let him ply his function, or 


give forth the instructions he has to communicate, agreeably 
to the light and strength enjoyed by him not seeking to go 
beyond it, on the one hand, and not falling short of it, on the 
other. Understood thus, the exhortation comes to be much 
of the same import as that of Paul to Timothy, to "stir up the 
gift that was in him" meaning, that he should not allow the 
spiritual endowments conferred on him to slumber, nor divert 
them to a wrong use, but should endeavour to bring them into 
full and proper exercise. 

Some of the early Fathers make mention of a rule of faith 
(regula fidei,) to which all teaching in the Church was to be 
conformed, or, if contrary to it, condemned. By this was ori 
ginally meant, no specific creed or set form of words, but 
merely the general principles of the faith, of which various 
summaries are given by Irenseus, Tertullian, Origen, agreeing 
in the main, but by no means altogether the same. Augustine, 
in his Treatise de Doc. Christiana III. 2, expressly defines it 
to be the sense or doctrine, which is gathered from the plainer 
parts of Scripture. Speaking there of the difficulties which 
the student of Scripture sometimes meets with in his efforts to 
ascertain the meaning, he says, Consulat regulam fidei, quam 
de Scripturarum planioribus locis et Ecclesige auctoritate per- 
cepit; i.e. Let him rule the sense of the more obscure and 
difficult parts of Scripture by such as are of plainer import, 
and- the common faith held by the orthodox Church. And 
should this prove insufficient, then, he adds, let him carefully 
examine the connexion, and endeavour to get light to the par 
ticular text from what goes before or follows. The expression, 
however, of the rule of faith came by-and-by to be understood 
of the creeds publicly authorized and sanctioned by the Church ; 
and in the hands of Vincentius Lirinensis it came to assume 
the form of an all-embracing principle of conformity in the 
famous maxim, Quod ubique, quod semper, quod ab omnibus 
creditum est. By thus establishing universality, antiquity, 
and general consent as the great criterion of truth and duty, 
tradition was virtually exalted above Scripture and the maxim 
has hence passed as a watchword among Roman Catholic 
theologians, and their High Church imitators. In this sense 


the rule is, of course, rejected by all sound Protestant writers. 
Yet there is also a sense in which it has been accepted by them, 
and has commonly had a place assigned it in the Hermeneutics 
of the New Testament. Ernesti, for example, thus writes of 
it in his Institutes: "Analogy of doctrine or of faith, which 
is rarely defined with sufficient accuracy, depends not upon 
the system received by any sect of Christians, as unfair and 
ignorant men falsely assert; for in that case the* rule would 
be variable; nor on the mutual relation of its parts just as 
legal analogy does not consist in the body of laws, nor in the 
mutual connexion and of single laws; nor gram 
matical analogy in the words themselves. But as gram 
matical analogy is the law and form of language established 
by usage, to which is opposed anomaly , that is, departure 
from the established usage and forms of speech; so the analogy 
of doctrine or faith rests upon- the main points of Christian 
doctrine evidently declared in Scripture, and thence denomi 
nated by the Latin doctors, the Regula Fidei. To these 
everything is to be referred, so that no interpretation can be 
received, which is not consistent with them. Nor, as far as 
relates to matters of faith and practice, is the analogy of 
Scripture anything different from the analogy of doctrine." 
This is a very plain and reasonable account of the matter; 
although one may justly say, with Dr. Terrot, the translator 
of Ernesti, that the expression has not been happily chosen, 
and that it were better to say, Scripture, like all other books, 
ought to be interpreted consistently. When the analogy or 
rule of faith is mentioned as a standard or rule of interpreta 
tion, it naturally suggests something apart from Scripture 
some sort of compend or exhibition of its leading principles; 
whereas all that is really meant, is, that one part of Scripture 
should not be isolated and explained without a proper regard 
being had to the relation in which it stands to other parts. 
This is a consideration, which must be taken into account ge 
nerally, without respect to any peculiarity in the nature of 
the writings we have to deal with; but it should have place 
more especially in the interpretation of Scripture; for the 
Word of God must be consistent with itself, while the word of 


man may not. " The books of Scripture were not handed 
down to us by chance or accident; neither are we to regard 
them only as a manual of sayings and examples, or as isolated 
relics of antiquity, from which no perfect whole, no compre 
hensive and finished plan, can be educed; but as a matchless, 
regular account of God s dealings with man through every ago 
of the world, from the commencement to the end of time, even 
to the consummation of all things. They indicate together 
one beautiful, harmonious, and gloriously connected system. 
For, though each scriptural book is in itself something entire, 
and though each of the inspired penmen has his own manner 
and style of writing, one and the self-same spirit breathes 
through all; one grand idea pervades all." 1 

Thus understood, the principle of which we speak is not 
fairly open to the objection urged against it by Dr. Campbell 
in his 4th Prelim. Dissertation. He represents it as imply 
ing, that we have first somehow learned the scheme of truth 
revealed in Scripture, and that, with this previously arranged 
scheme in our heads, we then go to Scripture, not in order to 
learn the truths it contains, but in order to find something 
that may be made to ratify our opinions. This is, no doubt, 
what has too often been done; and, whenever done, ought to 
be strongly repudiated by all who have a proper reverence 
for the authority of Scripture. But in its fair and legitimate 
application the principle has respect only to the more doubt 
ful or abrupt parts of the Word of God, and simply requires, 
that these should be brought into comparison with the other 
and clearer statements contained in it; so that no erroneous 
or partial meaning may be imposed on them, and amid various 
possible interpretations such a one may not be adopted as 
would place them at variance with the fundamental truths and 
pervading spirit of Scripture. The selection of one or two 
examples will serve to exhibit more distinctly its true nature 
and proper application. 

In Matt. iv. 1 it is stated, respecting our Lord, that " He 

was led up" of the Spirit into the wilderness, to be tempted of 

the devil;" while in James i. 13, the general principle is laid 

1 Life and Remains of Bengel, p. 254. 



down, that God tempteth no man; and it is the plain import 
of what is taught in Scripture concerning God, that being 
Himself infinitely wise and good, He cannot take a course 
with His children which has for its object the enticing of them 
to sin. This general doctrine, therefore, so frequently an 
nounced, and so necessarily flowing from the character of God, 
must so far be allowed to qualify the statement respecting the 
design of our Lord s being led into the wilderness, that we 
dissociate from it the idea, which we usually couple with tempt 
ing that of an intention to draw into evil. The leading, on 
the Spirit s part, into the field of temptation, was for the pur 
pose of victory over sin, not of subjection to its power. In 
the course of that temptation, Satan brought into remem 
brance a promise, contained in Ps. xci., expressing in the 
strongest and most comprehensive terms the charge, which 
the Lord gives to the angels over His own people, and the 
certainty with which, in consequence, they shall be kept in 
all their ways. But, in reply to the use made of this promise 
by the tempter, for the purpose of inducing our Lord to cast 
Himself down from the pinnacle of the temple, He placed, 
not as an antagonistic, but as a restrictive consideration, the 
precept, "Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God" show 
ing that here, as in respect generally to the promises of Scrip 
ture, the whole is to be understood as bounded and qualified 
by the plain rules of duty nothing promised is ever meant 
to supersede or disannul what has been commanded. The 
special promise given to the apostle Peter, in Matt. xvi. 18, 
as to his being the Rock on which Christ should build His 
Church, is to be dealt with in a similar manner; instead of 
being isolated, as is done by Romanists, and the meaning of 
its terms pressed to the uttermost, as if the subject of promise 
stood in no sort of connexion with any other passages of 
Scripture, it ought to be viewed in connexion with similar pro 
mises and statements made concerning the other apostles, ac 
cording to which they were all to be, in an instrumental sense, 
foundation-stones and pillars, (Matt. xix. 29; Gal. H. 9; Eph. 
ii. 20; Rev. xxi. 14;) and also with what Peter himself wrote 
in the latter period of his earthly labours, in which, for him- 


self, and for all others, he denounces that spiritual lordship, 
which, on the ground of the original promise, has been attri 
buted to him, (1 Pet. v. 1 4,) and gives to Christ frhe whole 
and undivided glory of procuring and distributing the bless 
ings of salvation, (ch. i. 2, 3, ii. 3 6,- etc.) Take one exam 
ple more: in Prov. xxv. 21, 22, and again in Rom. xii. 20, 
kindness instead of revenge is enjoined toward an enemy 
giving him food when he is hungry, when thirsty giving him 
water to drink by the consideration, " for in so doing thou 
shalt heap coals of fire upon his head." Now this, if taken 
simply by itself, is capable of a two-fold meaning; it may 
mean, either thou shalt by these acts of kindness sorely ag 
gravate the guilt and the doom of thine adversary, or, thou 
wilt altogether destroy in him that which makes him an ad 
versary thy kindness, in recompense for his malice, will con 
sume the spirit of evil that works in him, and win him to the 
position of a friend. If the clause were entirely isolated, 
either of these explanations might be adopted. But, surely, 
when we consider the whole tenor of the gospel of Christ 
when we think even of what goes immediately before, of the 
benignant spirit and the active charities, which it is the ob 
ject of the apostle to enforce, it is scarcely possible to doubt 
which of the two should be preferred. Could the apostle, as 
a sequel to such exhortations, and when, seeking to have the 
disciples penetrated by a full sense of the mercies of God, 
have meant to ply them with the diabolical motive of deepen 
ing the guilt of an adversary, and rendering his doom more 
intolerable? No we instinctively feel this could not possi 
bly be ; what he intended, must have been the practising upon 
him of that noble and generous revenge, which should convert 
him from being an enemy into a friend. 

These illustrations may suffice to show, in what manner, 
and within what limits, the principle of analogy, or, as it had 
better be called, the principle of consistency, in the interpre 
tation of Scripture, may be applied. It undoubtedly requires 
to be used with caution, and in a spirit of fairness and can 
dour if it is to be turned to any valuable account, or even 
not abused to the support of dangerous error. The faith, ac- 


cording to which the sense of particular passages is determined, 
must be that which rests upon the broad import of some of 
the most explicit announcements of Scripture, about the mean 
ing of which there can be, with unbiassed minds, no reasona 
ble doubt. And in so far as we must decide between one pas 
sage and another, those passages should always be allowed 
greatest weight in fixing the general principles of the faith, 
in which the subjects belonging to it are not incidentally no 
ticed merely, but formally treated of and discussed; for, in 
such cases, we can have no doubt that the point on which we 
seek for an authoritative deliverance was distinctly in the eye 
of the writer. 

2. The principle of interpretation now considered has re 
spect to the relation that one part of New Testament Scrip 
ture bears to another the more difficult and obscure to the 
plainer and more explicit. But there is another relation also 
that must be taken into account the relation in which the 
writings of the New Testament stand to those of the Old. It 
is scarcely possible to throw this into a specific principle of 
interpretation; at least not further than that it must be re 
membered, we have in the New Testament a higher, but very 
closely related, exhibition of truth and duty: and consequent 
ly must have respect alike to the agreements and the differ 
ences subsisting between them. This relation, of necessity, 
exercised a very marked and important influence upon the 
writings of the New Testament upon its writings, both in 
respect to ideas, and the forms of expression in which the 
ideas are clothed. It is, of course, necessary, in the first in 
stance, that a correct apprehension be formed of the relation 
as regards the ideas involved in it, the ideas common to both 
dispensations; for the knowledge of the ideas bears on the 
foundation, and touches the ground and nature of every par 
ticular view that may be exhibited. This, however, is too 
wide a field to be entered on particularly here. If considered 
fully, it would require a discussion of the nature and princi 
ples of the typical connexion between the law and the gospel, 
arid lead to investigations fully as much connected with the 
dogmatical as with the exegetical departments of theology. 


So far, however, the relation must be understood, that it has 
to do as well with the agreements as with the differences be 
tween the affairs of the Old and those of the New Covenants. 
Indeed, if any distinction were to be made between the two, 
we should say, that the agreements ought more especially to 
be regarded, because they lie deeper, and concern the more 
essential elements in the two dispensations; while the differ 
ences are of a more circumstantial and formal nature. From 
the position of matters at the commencement of the New dis 
pensation, more particularly from the determination on the 
part of many to exalt to an undue place the temporary and 
shadowy things, in which the Old dispensation differed from 
the New, it became necessary for the inspired writers of the 
New Testament to bring out with peculiar prominence the dif 
ferences; with the view of manifesting the superior and more 
perfect nature of the work and economy of Christ. But they 
scarcely ever do this, without, at the same time, pointing to 
the essential agreements pervading both economies. 

Now, it is in accordance with this twofold nature of the re 
lation which subsists between the Old and the New in God s 
dispensations, that the language of New Testament Scripture, 
in so far as it bears respect to the Old, is constructed, and 
ought to be interpreted. In the great majority of cases, the 
precise nature of the reference is manifest; we can see at a 
glance whether it is the agreements or the differences that 
are in -view. For example, when our Lord is described by 
the Baptist as " the Larnb of God, who takes away the sins 
of the world;" or when the apostle Paul says, "Christ our 
Passover is sacrificed for us," the simplest reader will per 
ceive, that there is an agreement or correspondence indicated 
between the sacrifices of the Old Testament and the one great 
sacrifice of the New that what the lamb of atonement, espe 
cially the paschal lamb, was to the Israelite, as regards his 
interest in the blessings of the Old Covenant, that Christ now 
is to believers, in respect to the greater things of His redemp 
tion. No one can doubt, that like is compared to like; al 
though, from the nature of the objects brought into compari 
son, differences of an important kind were necessarily implied. 


But, in explaining the passages, we would naturally lay stress 
upon the resemblances between Christ and the Old Testament 
things referred to, and would only notice subordinately the 
points which distinguished the one from the other. In like 
manner, when, in Col. ii. 11, the apostle calls baptism " the 
circumcision of Christ," and, in Phil. iii. 3, describes believers 
as " the circumcision which worship God in spirit," the mean 
ing obviously is, that the essential design of circumcision, its 
real spirit and object, are attained in those who, as baptized 
believers, have entered into fellowship with Christ. So that 
it is the correspondences, which must again, in such passages, 
be brought out; it is these which must be rendered prominent; 
however, also, occasion may be taken to indicate the points, 
in which the new surpasses the old circumcision. 

Again, there is another class of passages in which, with 
equal plainness, our attention is drawn to the differences sub 
sisting between the New and the Old: as when, in Heb. viii. 
2, Christ is called "a minister of the true tabernacle, which 
the Lord pitched, and not man;" and, in chap. x. 20, where 
believers are said to enter the holiest of this higher tabernacle 
"by a new and living way" in such passages, while the lan 
guage bears distinct allusion to the things of the Old Cove 
nant expresses the New, indeed, under the form and aspect 
of the Old, yet it is for the purpose of showing the vast supe 
riority of the New. So that, in such cases, it is the diffe 
rences we are naturally led to think of these now become 
the prominent things, and the resemblances fall into the back 

But there are other passages, in which it is less easy to de 
cide passages, in which Old Testament language is employed, 
without any clear indication being given, whether the resem 
blances or the differences are more particularly referred to. 
For example, in Heb. x. 22, the apostle exhorts us to make a 
fiducial approach to the throne of grace, as persons "having 
their hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and their bodies 
washed with pure water." Now, what is here meant by our 
bodies being washed? Corporeal ablutions held an important 
place under the Old economy; and continually, as the priests 


entered the sanctuary, they had to wash their hands and their 
feet at the brazen laver, which stood in the outer court. But 
what corresponds to this in Christian times? We have no 
external sanctuary, like that which existed in the Jewish com 
monwealth, and consequently no corporeal ablution to per 
form, when drawing near to engage in the worship of God. 
When, therefore, the apostle speaks of having the body washed 
with pure water, he must mean, not formally the same thing 
as of old, but something corresponding to it in nature bear 
ing the same relation to a Christian, that the other did to a 
ceremonial worship. And this is not far to seek; it is simply 
a freedom from all manifest stains and blemishes in the con 
duct. It was precisely these stains and blemishes, which were 
imaged by outward defilements on the body of one entering 
into the material sanctuary: his washing of these off was a 
symbol of the separation, which then also had to be main 
tained by sincere and accepted worshippers, from all overt acts 
of iniquity. And now that the symbol has dropped, as no 
longer needed now that the reality alone remains, it is of 
this reality that the language should be understood; we are 
to regard the apostle as intimating, that along with a purged 
conscience, we must also have a blameless and untarnished 
life and then, with the two together, we may draw near with 
confidence to God. 

It is, therefore, to the resemblances that this expression also 
points. In explaining its import, we should endeavour chiefly 
to bring out the correspondence, that subsisted between the 
ritual service of the Old, and the spiritual worship of the New 
economy. This, obviously, cannot be done by exhibiting 
merely the ritual, on the one side, and the spiritual, on the 
other; for that would be to present a contrast rather than a 
resemblance. We must penetrate into the symbolical import 
of the ritual, and show, that in the outward action, in which 
it consisted, there lay concealed a spiritual element, for the 
sake of which it was required and done. So that it is not 
properly a contrast, to be put after this manner: Such an out 
ward thing then, arid such another inward now, or fleshly 
then, and spiritual now; but a similarity with a difference: 


A similarity, since under both covenants alike freedom from 
open impurities is required of God s acceptable worshippers 
there must be clean hands, or a blameless life, as well as a 
pure heart; and yet a difference, since from the clearer reve 
lation now made of all things spiritual and divine, and the 
abolition of the worldly sanctuary, the symbolical action has 
gone into desuetude, and the naked reality is alone brought 
into view. 

Let us still look at another example, and we shall thus more 
readily perceive the justness of the rule, which we are seeking 
to deduce for guiding our interpretations in respect to such 
portions of New Testament Scripture. In Rom. xii. 1, we 
have this exhortation given by the apostle, "I beseech you, 
by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living 
sacrifice more exactly, a sacrifice, living, holy, acceptable 
to God, which is your reasonable service." There is evi 
dently a reference in the language to the ancient sacrificial 
worship; and, in particular, to the service of the whole burnt- 
offering, in which at certain times an entire animal was pre 
sented upon the altar to God. The only question is, what is 
the nature of the reference? Is it by way of resemblance, or 
by way of contrast? If the apostle had stopped at doaiav 
if he had said merely, "present your bodies a sacrifice," the 
matter would have been quite plain; it would have been ma 
nifest, that the resemblance only was indicated. But he adds 
a series of epithets, characterizing the nature of the service, 
which Christians are called to render; and these are usually 
regarded by commentators as expressing the kind of service, 
not positively merely, as to what it is in itself, but negatively 
also, as to what it is not, viewed in reference to the ancient 
ritual of Judaism. The ^0^1x^11 Xarpziav, the reasonable ser 
vice, at the close, is in particular held to indicate this idea, 
as in the following comment of Ilaldane: "This evidently re 
fers to the distinction between the service of the Jews by sa 
crifices and ceremonial worship, and the service of Christians. 
Sacrificial worship, and in general the whole ceremonial ritual 
of the Jews, were not worship according to reason. It is, in 
deed, reasonable to worship God in whatever way He pre- 


scribes; but had not man fallen, he would not have been re 
quired to worship by such ceremonies as the Jewish, law en 
joined. Sacrificial worship is not in itself rational ; and was 
appointed by God, not for its own excellence, but from its 
adaptation to prefigure the good things to come." He adds, 
and certainly not without reason, that many commentators 
hesitated about adopting this explanation of the Aofexijv, un 
der the impression, that it was disrespectful to the Divine ap 
pointments to have them represented as not rational. But 
might we not, on the same ground that is assigned here for 
the non-rational character of the Old Testament worship, also 
deny rationality to the New? For it, too, proceeds on a basis 
different from the natural and proper one; it is offered on the 
foundation of what has been done by another in our stead, 
while the original and strictly proper idea of sacrifice is that 
of a personal surrender and dedication to God. 

We may feel the rather inclined to doubt the correctness 
of this mode of explanation, at least in the strongly antithetic 
form expressed above, when we look to the other epithets ap 
plied by the apostle to the sacrifice of Christians living, holy, 
acceptable. Living, we are told, stands opposed to the dead 
sacrifices presented under the law, slain victims; but what, 
then, shall be put in contradistinction to the holy and accept 
able? Were these epithets not applicable to the burnt-offer 
ings of the Old Testament? On the contrary, they are pre 
cisely the epithets that are most commonly applied to them. 
The flesh of the sacrifices generally, as of everything laid upon 
the altar, was declared to be holy in token of which the vic 
tims were required to be without any external blemish; while 
of every sacrifice offered according to the law the set phrase 
is, that it was an offering of sweet savour in other words, 
acceptable to God. These two expressions, then, beyond a 
doubt, indicate a resemblance; and it would surely be some 
what strange a confusion in the use of language we should 
not have expected in the apostle if the one going immedi 
ately before them, and the othar coming immediately after 
them, should have pointed to & formal contrast. Such a throw- 


ing together of agreements and differences in one continuous 
description, is in the highest degree improbable. 

A good deal of this confusion imputed to the statement of 
the apostle, arises from the inadequate notions that prevail 
respecting the Old Testament sacrificial worship as if the 
outward actions had formed the one and all of this, and there 
were no outgoings of spiritual desire and affection on the part 
of the worshipper accompanying them. According to the true 
idea, the outward service was merely the symbolical expres 
sion of what was thought and felt, done or purposed to be 
done, by the person who performed it. The sacrifice was in 
the closest manner identified with the sacrificer. Thus, in the 
case of the burnt-offering, which is here more particularly re. 
ferred to, the occasion of presenting it usually was, when an 
individual had experienced some great mercy, or felt upon his 
soul a special call to devoted gratitude and love; and his feel 
ings in this respect were embodied in the offering he ex 
pressed thereby his personal surrender to God, and the dedi 
cation of all he had to the Divine service and glory. With 
out this grateful feeling and purpose of devotedncss on the 
part of the offerer, the offering would have been simply a piece 
of hypocrisy a sign without any thing signified thereby. 
The proper connexion between the external and the internal 
was beautifully brought out by David in the fifty-first Psalm, 
when, after having expressed his deep contrition for past sin, 
and renewed the dedication of himself to God, he prays for 
fresh tokens of the Lord s favour, that as the natural result of 
what was to be imparted on the one hand, and felt on the 
other, the Lord might receive and be pleased with sacrifices 
of righteousness, with the whole burnt-offerings that should 
be laid upon His altar. In offerings so drawn forth, and so 
presented, would there be no life? Could the service with 
any propriety be designated as a dead one? Assuredly not; 
the soul of the offerer was itself on .fire with love and grati 
tude to God, and a spirit of life animated its movements, not 
the less that it had to express itself by means of slain victims 
laid and consumed upon the altar. 

We entertain no doubt, therefore, that here also the direct 


and prominent thing in the apostle s description is a resem 
blance, and not a contrast. His object is, to show how those, 
who are partakers of the rich grace and mercy of God under 
the Gospel, may and should exhibit a substantial agreement 
with the service of the burnt-offering, which was wont to be 
rendered by such as had received peculiar tokens of the Lord s 
goodness. They should present to God their bodies i. e. the 
active powers and energies of their nature (for it is through 
the body that these come into operation) present these as a 
sacrifice, living, holy, acceptable a real dedication, instinct 
with life and purity, and on that account well-pleasing to God. 
On the same account also a Xofi^ij larpsla, a reasonable ser 
vice not, however, in the sense of rational, as opposed to a 
former tr-rational service ; but in the sense of spiritual, a 
reasonable or spiritual service, in which the soul and conscience 
are exercised, and hence opposed to what is simply crajfjLaTiXTJ, 
corporeal or outward. In no part of the description is there 
properly a contrast marked between the Christian and the 
Jewish service; for, in the Jewish also, when rightly per 
formed, there were the same spiritual elements, as in the 
Christian; there too the soul and conscience were engaged; 
the service was one of life and holiness, on the part of the 
worshipper, and on the part of God crowned with acceptance. 
Still, no doubt, a difference is implied, though not distinctly 
and formally expressed ; it is implied in the very prominence 
which is given to the spiritual elements of the service re 
quired, presented apart from any external accompaniments or 
outward rites. For there being so much of what was outward 
in the Old Testament service, it naturally tended to take off 
the mind to some extent from the more inward and vital part; 
the mind could, and doubtless too often did, view the sacrifice 
as something apart from itself a thing done for one, rather 
than by him and with him: While now, the temptation to a 
lifeless externality is in great measure removed, the service 
is of a strictly personal and spiritual nature, springing from 
the soul s proper consciousness of grace and blessing, and ap 
pearing in the willing obedience of the members of the body, 
as instruments of righteousness unto God. 


Now, from these examples and illustrations there is plainly 
deducible a twofold rule of interpretation in regard to those 
portions of the New Testament, which represent spiritual 
things in language derived from the relations and ritual of the 
Old. The rule is, that in those passages, which distinctly and 
formally exhibit the difference between New and Old Testa 
ment things, it is this difference, which ought to be rendered 
prominent in our explanation, yet not without also pointing 
attention to the fundamental agreement, which lies under 
neath the superficial diversity; while, on the other hand, in 
those passages, which simply present Christian things under 
the form and aspect of those that belonged to the Old Covenant, 
it is the correspondence or agreement that should be mainlij 
dwelt upon. The Old should, in that case, be exhibited as a 
lively image or palpable representation of the New though 
a representation in an inferior line of things, and with com 
paratively inadequate results. In the former case, our object 
should be to unfold a marked and obvious difference with an 
underlying substantial agreement; in the other, to unfold a 
substantial agreement, though accompanied with formal and 
ostensible differences such as necessarily pervaded the rela 
tions of an inferior and preparatory, to an ultimate and per 
manent state of things. 

3. If now we pass, for a moment, from the true, to the 
many false religions of the ancient world, from Judaism to 
the endless forms of heathenism, we have to mark in Christi 
anity toward them a relation of an essentially different kind 
one simply of an antagonistic nature. The heathen religions 
of antiquity, therefore, had no direct or positive influence in 
moulding the language of the New Testament, and imparting 
peculiar shades of meaning to its expressions. Yet the sub 
ject is not to be passed altogether unnoticed. For, though 
the respect had to heathen modes of thought and forms of 
expression is chiefly of a negative kind, yet even that is in 
structive ; since it shows in what a different region the Chris 
tian religion moved, and what different elements it embraced 
from those, out of which heathenism was constructed. Amid 
the freedom, with which Christianity proceeded to diffuse 


itself in the world, and its adaptation to the modes of thought 
and forms of expression in current use, it still manifested a 
careful reserve in respect to all that savoured of heathenism ; 
it abstained from the use of such terms as had become asso 
ciated with the false worship, or impregnated with the false 
notions, of the pagan world. 

For example, in so far as the language of the New Testa 
ment bears respect to sacrificial usages, it borrows the terms 
it employs from the Old Testament, or makes use only of such 
as are common to the Septuagint and the writings of Hellenic 
authors. It refrains from employing such expressions as, 
though of similar import, had been linked to usages, which 
rendered them suggestive of the pollutions of idolatry. Of 
this description are rtspcxdOapfia and itspi^fw^ which both 
bear, in the old lexicographers, the signification of ransom or 
sacrifice the equivalents given are avriXorpov, dvr^y^ov. 
The Septuagint also, at Prov. xxi. 18, has Trspixddap/jta daccuou 
dvojuoz, the wicked is a ransom for the righteous. But as 
the words acquired this sense from the horrid custom of sacri 
ficing criminals and worthless persons to make expiation for 
the state in times of public calamity, they are never used in the 
New Testament with reference to religious worship. The cus 
tom prevailed especially at Athens, where persons of a worth 
less caste were regularly kept against the occurrence of any 
plague or public calamity, and then thrown into the sea, in 
the belief that they should wipe off the guilt of the nation. 
Such persons were called xaQdpuotTO, 7Tspf(/njfjtara^ and other 
epithets of a like import. The terms are used only once in 
the New Testament: it is by the Apostle Paul, when speaking, 
in 1 Cor. iv. 13, of the indignities he had received; but it is 
in the original sense of sweepings, offscourings, or filth, the 
vilest portions of society. 

The common term for the altars on which the heathens 
offered their victims, might have been thought less objectiona 
ble for Christian uses. This term is PW/JLOZ; yet it occurs 
only once in the whole of the New Testament; and on that 
solitary occasion it is employed, not of a Jewish altar, or any 
thing corresponding to it in Christian times, but of the heathen 



altar, with its inscription to the Unknown God, which Paul 
found at Athens. The term uniformly employed in the New 
Testament, whether in a literal or a figurative sense, is duat- 
affTijftioy: an evidence of the care with which the sacred 
writers sought to keep the true religion at a distance from all 
contact, even in name, with idolatry. 

In the use also of oal/jitoy, and its compounds, we see a 
similar instance of the wisdom and the propriety with which 
the speech of the sacred writers were guided. The word had 
become thoroughly inwoven with the ideas and the worship 
of heathendom ; and as the evil, as well as the good had, and 
malignant, not less than gracious and benign divinities, were 
embraced in the religions of Polytheism, so the word oalfjtcov 
extended equally to both. It was in that respect a word of 
indifferent meaning. The whole religion of the Greeks and 
the llomans might be called, and, indeed, was familiarly called, 
demon-worship, d&ffedatfjtovia. It could not, therefore, be 
counted a reproach, it might rather be esteemed an honour 
for any one to be spoken of as 0<r0?o. / oy0T/voc ; it simply 
marked him out as peculiarly given to the worship of the gods. 
And when Paul, in the Areopagus, applied that epithet, at the 
commencement of his speech, to the men of Athens, inferring 
their title to it from what he had observed of their altars, 
there can be no doubt that he meant to indicate nothing that 
should prove offensive to them. He merely intended to ex 
press the fact, that they were, in their own sense of the mat 
ter, a very religious people. And it is certainly a somewhat 
unhappy turn that is given to this, the opening part of the 
apostle s address, in the authorized version, when he is made 
to say, that he perceived " they were in all things too super 
stitious." Had such been the native import of his language, 
the apostle would have been guilty of the misdemeanor of 
creating a prejudice against himself at the outset a fault, 
we may be sure, he did not commit at any time, and least of 
all in that which is, artistically considered, the most perfect of 
all his recorded discourses. There is another instance of a like 
use of the word though in this case really misapplied in Acts 
xxv. 19, where Festus says of the case of Paul to Agrippa, 


that it touched upon questions xspt rr 
it should have been rendered, " concerning their own religion" 
to give the fair impression of what Festus actually meant; 
since, speaking as Festus did to Agrippa, a professed Jew, 
he never could have intended to stigmatize the worship which 
was paid by the king and his countrymen as a superstition, 
in our sense of the term. It was, however, a wrong term to 
apply to the religion of a Jew, and in making use of it Festus 
spoke from a merely heathen point of view. The Jewish re 
ligion was a 6soff$fizla, a reverential fear and worship of God, 
but not a deeffefiaefjtQvla, a religious homage to the divinities. 
In the Jewish sense, demon-worship was devil-worship abomi 
nable idolatry. And hence ocu/w^ia was the common term. 
employed to designate the malignant powers, that so often 
held possession of the bodies and souls of men at the Gospel 
era. Hence also the term eb&upovia, which so frequently 
occurs in heathen authors to express human happiness and 
prosperity, is never because it indicates prosperity as the 
gift of the divinities similarly employed in the New Testa 
ment. Not even once is it used there to express, in any way, 
the blessedness enjoyed by God s people. 

These examples may suffice, as the subject they are brought 
forward to illustrate is rather negative in its bearing on the 
interpretation of Scripture, than of a positive description. 
They are signs, impressed upon the language of the New 
Testament, that the religion of the Gospel has no proper af 
finity to that of heathenism, and convey a silent .protest 
against all pollutions of idolatry. 



To lay more securely the ground of some of the directions 
given in the preceding section, and to provide, so far as can 


be done within a small compass, a clue to the right path in 
the treatment of those passages, which bear upon the mutual 
relation between Christianity and Judaism, it seems advisable, 
before entering on a fresh topic, to devote a little space to the 
further consideration of these relations. ^Ye do this more 
especially for the purpose of guarding against a twofold error, 
which is constantly reappearing, in the one or the other of 
its aspects, with those who have not attained to accurate views 
of the connexion between the Old and the New in God s dis 
pensations: the error of either ascribing too much of the 
carnal element to Judaism, or of imposing too much of the 
Judaistic on Christianity. These are the two opposite ex 
tremes, into which certain diverse tendencies in Christianity 
are ever apt to run. They both began at an early period to 
develop themselves. The Judaizing tendency naturally ap 
peared first, as it was out of Judaism that Christianity sprung; 
and in making the transition from the one to the other, many 
found it difficult to realize the extent of the change which the 
work of Christ had introduced they clung to what was tem 
porary in the Old, even after it had been supplanted by some 
thing higher and better; like persons, according to the simili 
tude of our Lord, who have been accustomed to old wine, and 
cannot straightway relish new although in this case the new 
was the better. It was providential, that this Judaizing ten 
dency did appear so early at Jerusalem, at Antioch, in the 
churches of Galatia, and elsewhere as it obliged the apostles 
at the very first to meet it. In various parts of the New 
Testament, we have their formal deliverance on the subject, 
arid their condemnation of the error which it involved. The 
Epistles to the Galatians, to the Colossians, and to the He 
brews are, in this point of view, especially important; as they 
show conclusively, that the external forms of the ancient 
worship, its visible temple, Aaronic priesthood, fleshly sacri 
fices, stated festivals, and corporeal ablutions, were no longer 
binding on the conscience, and naturally led, if perpetuated, 
to carnalize the Gospel. It might have been thought, that 
these apostolic efforts and explicit deliverances would have 
been sufficient to check the evil, and prevent its recurrence 


in the Christian Church. But this was far from being the 
case. With some non-essential modifications, the old error 
reappeared, bringing in a train of forms and ceremonies, pur 
gations and sacrifices, feasts and solemnities, which differed 
only in name from those of the Old Economy; and a Chris 
tian priesthood established itself as an essential part of the 
Church s constitution, of which the most characteristic feature 
was, that it should be able to trace up by successive links to 
Christ its hereditary power and authority, precisely as the 
ancient priesthood had to show their genealogical descent 
from the loins of Aaron. And the result has been, that, not 
withstanding the strong and repeated protest lodged in New 
Testament Scripture against such institutions and practices, 
as at variance with the genius of the Gospel, in what once 
formed nearly the whole, and what still forms the largest part 
of Christendom, sacred times and seasons, altars and sacri 
fices, external purifications and an official priesthood, have 
their recognised place now, much as in ancient Israel. To 
such a mournful extent has Christianity been Judaized. 

Exactly the opposite tendency, however, began also in early 
times to discover itself, and still continues to do so, though 
it has not proved nearly so powerful or so general as the 
other. The Gnostic spirit, which was just beginning to make 
its appearance in the Christian Church at the close of the 
apostolic period, was the first representative of this extreme. 
In its self-elated and ethereal flights, Gnosticism sought to 
soar above Christianity to become spiritual above its Spiritu 
ality ; and to raise at least the loftier and more contemplative 
believers of the Gospel into a kind of Divine-like superiority 
to every thing outward and material. In this vain attempt, 
however, it only corrupted Christianity, by disparaging or 
denying the great historical facts on which it is based, and 
entering into profitless speculationsrespecting heavenly things. 
Along with this tendency, and as a kind of natural corollary 
to it, it sought to break the chain between Christianity-end 
Judaism holding the former to be indeed of God, but not so 
the latter, on account of the fleshly ordinances and material 
accompaniments with which it was connected ; it was, therefore, 


assigned to the agency of an evil, or, at least, inferior spirit. 
In this anti-scriptural form, Gnosticism was, of course, re 
pelled bj the Church; its special views and conclusions were 
universally reprobated by believers. But the spirit of Gnos 
ticism crept in through many avenues into the Church; and 
in the case of some of the fathers more especially Clement 
of Alexandria and Origen it led them to draw too broadly 
the distinction between Christianity and Judaism, and to seek 
the instruction couched in the ordinances of the Old Testa 
ment, not in their immediate design or symbolical import, but 
in an allegorical interpretation of an entirely fanciful and 
arbitrary nature. The natural inference from their mode of 
treating the Old Testament ritual and worship was, that, con 
sidered by itself, in its obvious and historical reality, it was 
too carnal to have much in common with Christianity. Now, 
of course, the relations of those times no longer exist; the 
leaven, which then wrought with insidious and corrupting in 
fluence, can scarcely be said to work after the same fashion 
that it did then. And yet there have been, and there still 
are, certain sections of the Christian Church, and particular 
individuals in almost every section, in whom the tendency to 
over-spiritualize (if we may so express it) in Christianity, and, 
as a natural consequence, to carnalize in Judaism, does not 
fail in some way to manifest itself. 

Writers belonging to the Baptist communion are under 
some temptation to give way to this tendency, and not unfre- 
quently do so. Take as an example the following passage, 
in a commentary by a late respectable member of that body: 
" Israel was a stiff-necked and rebellious people; their law 
was written on tables of stone, and enforced by temporal 
sanctions; he that despised Moses law died without mercy. 
But all Christ s disciples are taught of God; they are the cir 
cumcision of Christ; they worship God in the Spirit; His law 
is written on the fleshly tables of the heart." 1 If there is any 
propriety in this contrast, it must be, that Israel, as such, 
were a carnal arid ungodly people, yet were not the less en 
titled to God s ordinances, nay, these ordinances were just for 
i Haldane on the Epistle to the Galatians, pp. 113, 103. 


such a people; whereas the Church of the New Testament, 
as well in respect to its people as its ordinances, is strictly 
spiritual and holy. The conclusion, therefore, in regard to 
the Israelites, as the author distinctly states (p. 193,) is, that 
their privileges were all carnal, that the relation in which they 
stood to God was carnal, and all properly growing out of it 
fleshly and temporal ; and that the covenant, under which they 
were placed, had attained its object, if only it preserved a 
worshipping people visibly separated from the idolatrous Gen 
tiles. In like manner, another writer, belonging to the same 
communion, 1 says of circumcision (and, of course, he might 
equally have said it of any other Jewish ordinance,) that it 
was "quite irrespective of personal character, conduct, or 
faith," that the covenant of which it was the sign "included 
solely temporal blessings;" and that "the rite was instituted 
to distinguish the Jews from the other nations, and to show 
their title to the land of Canaan:" all simply outward and 
carnal. Another writer still and one belonging to an en 
tirely different school, a minister of the Church of England 
in a late work, gives forth substantially the same views re 
specting the people and ordinances of Israel; does so, too, in 
the most assured tone, as if there could be no reasonable doubt 
upon the subject as if, in announcing it, he was entitled to 
demand the assent of the whole Christian world: "The Old 
Covenant (he says) had nothing whatever to do with eternal 
life, except by way of type or suggestion ; it had nothing 
whatever to do with any, except with the nation of Israel; 
and nothing whatever with any mere individual in that nation. 
It was made with the nation collectively (as if the collective 
nation did not consist of an aggregate of individuals!) and was 
entirely temporal. God promised to give the land of Canaan 
to the nation of Israel ; but only so long as the nation col 
lectively acknowledged Jehovah as the one God." 2 And fur 
ther, as regards the nature of the holiness aimed at by the co 
venant, he says, that "it was quite irrespective of individual 
righteousness. Notwithstanding any sins short of the national 
infraction of the covenant, Israel was still the holy nation." 

1 Dr. Cox, as quoted by Dr. Wardlaw on Baptism, pp. 55, 60. 

2 Johnstone s Israel after the Flesh, p. 7. 


And he adds, "This very manifest sense of the Old Covenant 
holiness is constantly lost sight of, and errors of the most de 
structive kind are caused." 1 

Quotations of a similar kind might be furnished in great 
profusion, but those given may suffice. They abundantly 
show what crude and ill-digested notions prevail still among 
persons, otherwise well-informed, and holding evangelical 
views, respecting the nature of the Old Economy, and the 
real position of God s people under it. On the hypothesis of 
such views, there are some queries that naturally suggest them 
selves to one s mind, and to which it seems impossible to pro 
duce a satisfactory answer. Circumcision, and the other 
ordinances of the Old Testament, were (it is alleged) altogether 
carnal, and irrespective of personaf holiness how, then, could 
Israel in the wilderness, when simply standing under a cove 
nant with such ordinances, have been reproved and punished 
for murmuring against God, and want of faith in God s pro 
mises spiritual acts acts committed by the people, while 
they still collectively acknowledged God and both acts and 
punishments so personal, that the two individuals (Joshua and 
Caleb) who stood aloof from the rest in sin, were also excepted 
from them in judgment? How could it be reconciled with the 
notion of a God essentially holy and spiritual, to have imposed 
such merely carnal services upon His people, with promises 
of blessing if performed, and threateriings of evil if neglected 
and despised? How could He have represented it as the end 
He had in view in establishing such a covenant, that lie might 
have a godly seed? (Isa. vi. 12; Mai. ii. 15.) How could 
there come to exist in the midst of Israel such seed at all a 
seed possessing the elements of real holiness? Whence could 
its members have their being? How were they born? Was 
it altogether apart from the ordinances? In that case, must 
not their existence have been an anomaly, a miracle accom 
plished by Divine power without the intervention of appro 
priate means? And the more pious individuals of that seed, 
such as David, and those who acted with him, how could they 
possibly long for, and rejoice in waiting upon, ordinances 

1 Johnstone s Israel after the Flesh, p. 87. 


which were wholly carnal, and without any adaptation to a 
spiritual taste? To such questions no satisfactory answer can 
be returned, on the supposition of the Old Testament ordi 
nances being what those persons would represent. We 
know of no way by which a spiritual seed can be expected, 
in any age, to come into existence, and find life to their 
souls, otherwise than through the ordinances which God is 
pleased to appoint; and how God could either appoint or 
dinances altogether carnal, or how, if appointed, spiritual life 
and nourishment could be derived from them, is a mystery 
that seems inexplicable on any grounds of reason or of Scrip 

Without going very minutely into the subject, there are a 
few leading principles that may be laid down upon it, suffi 
cient, if clearly understood, and kept properly in view, to 
guard us against any material error on either side. 

1. It must be held, in the first place, as a fundamental prin 
ciple, that whatever difference may exist between Judaism and 
Christianity, as to their respective services and forms of ad 
ministration, there still must have been an essential agreement 
between them at bottom an essential oneness in their per 
vading character and spirit. We say, must have been so ; 
there was a Divine necessity in the case, grounded in the 
nature of Him who is the Author of both covenants, and who 
makes Himself known as Jehovah that changes not." Un 
changeable in His own nature, He must be such also in the 
principles of His government among men, not less than in 
the personal attributes of His being. The adversaries of the 
faith in every age have well understood this; and hence, from 
the Manicheans of early times to the infidels and rationalistic 
writers of the present day, they have ever sought to overthrow 
the foundations of Divine truth by playing off one part of 
Scripture against another exposing what they deemed the 
contrarieties between things established in the Old, and things 
taught in the New Testament; or, through alleged defects and 
immoralities in the one, aiming a blow at the authority of the 
other. Had they succeeded in such attempts, their object had 
been gained ; since Scripture could no longer be vindicated as the 


actual product and authoritative revelation of an unchange 
able God. 

It is true, as indeed appears on a moment s inspection, that 
the religion of the Old Testament addressed itself more im 
mediately to the outward man, while that of the New addresses 
itself more to the inward. In ancient times, the business of 
religion if we may so speak was transacted under the form 
and aspect of what pertained to visible and earthly relations: 
its rites and services had respect primarily to a worldly sanc 
tuary, an earthly inheritance and a present life in these ex 
hibiting the shadow or sensible image of what relates to the 
concerns of an unseen world, and an eternal existence. They 
did, however, present such a shadow of higher realities; and 
did it, not as an incidental and subsidiary, but as an essential 
part of their design; and not for some merely, but for all the 
worshippers. Through the external and corporeal, God con 
tinually spake to them of the internal and spiritual. Under 
the outward shell, and along with it, He conveyed to as 
many as would receive it, the kernel of Divine truth and holi 
ness; so that the same description, as to its substance, will 
serve at once for the true Israelite and for the genuine Chris 
tian. As in that given by the Apostle Paul, He is a Jew 
who is one inwardly, and circumcision is that of the heart, in 
the spirit and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men 
(the mere outside observer,) but of God (who looks directly 
upon the heart.") 

We find the truth in this respect distinctly apprehended by 
Augustine, and correctly expressed in the writings he com 
posed against the Manicheans and other errorists of his day. 
Referring, in his work against Faustus (Lib. xii. 3,) to what 
the apostle says, in Rom. iii. and ix., of the advantage pos 
sessed by the Jews in having had God s oracles and covenants, 
he asks, "Why did he say that the covenants belonged to them, 
had it not been that the Old Covenant was given to them, and 
that the New was imaged in the Old? These men, in their 
senseless folly, are in the habit of denouncing the legal in 
stitution, which was given to the Israelites, not understanding 
its dispensation, and because God has thought good now to 


place us, not under law but under grace. Let them, there 
fore, give way to the authority of the apostle, who, in lauding 
the condition of the Israelites, mentions it among their advan 
tages, that to them had belonged the giving of the law, which 
could not have been matter of praise, if it had been in itself 
bad." And again, in another work, written against one who 
had published a treatise containing many things of an of 
fensive nature against the law and the prophets, he shows the 
pervading and essential agreement of these with the Gospel, 
even in those things, in which this adversary had sought to 
represent them as utterly opposed to each other. In regard, 
for example, to the punishment of sin, he both mentions what 
precepts and examples there were under the Old Testament 
of a forgiving spirit, and places alongside the temporal in 
flictions of the one the eternal retributions of the other, thereby 
making it manifest that "in each Testament alike (as he says) 
there was at once a goodness to be loved, and a severity to be 
dreaded," Then, referring to the inferior nature of the Old 
Testament dispensation, on account of its having had so much 
to do with outward and temporal things, he says, " Neverthe 
less, in those times also there were spiritual and righteous 
persons, whom the letter of command did not kill, but the aid- 
giving Spirit quickened. Whence both the faith of a coming 
Saviour dwelt in the prophets, who announced beforehand that 
He should come; and now, there are many carnal persons who 
either give rise to heresies by not understanding the Scrip 
tures, or in the Catholic Church itself are like babes that can 
only be fed with milk, or, still worse, are preparing like chaff 
to be burned in the fire. But as God is the sole and true 
Creator of both temporal and eternal goods, so is He also the 
Author of both Testaments ; because the New is as well figured 
in the Old, as the Old is revealed in the New (quiaetNovum 
in Vetere est figuratum, et Vetus in Novo est revelatum." 1 ) 
2. Very nearly allied to the fundamental principle just 
stated is another, viz., that the ordinances of Judaism were 
all of a symbolical nature, not simply outward or typical. If 
they had been simply outward as regards the service they re- 
1 Contra Adversarium Legis et^roph., i. 35. 


quired, and typical as regards their religious value, they 
would have been nothing more than bodily exercises for those 
who engaged in them exercises that had respect to their 
purification from a merely ceremonial uncleanness, and the 
preservation of a present life; while, in addition to this, a 
few persons of superior discernment might have descried 
through them the higher and better things, which they prefi 
gured for a coming age. This is the whole that many persons 
would find in the ordinances of the Old Covenant; and thence 
arises much of the confusion and misconception in which the 
subject has been enveloped. An important element is omit 
ted the symbolical, lying mid-way between the other two, 
and forming in reality the link that unites them together. By 
calling them symbolical, we mean, that they expressed, by 
means of the outward rite or action, certain religious views 
and principles, which the worshipper was expected in the 
performance of the service to recognise, and heartily concur 
in. It was the conscious recognition of these views and prin 
ciples, and the exercise of the feelings growing out of them, 
for which more immediately the outward service was appointed, 
and in which its acceptability with God properly consisted. 
Without these the whole would have been a false parade an 
empty and meaningless form. Take as an example the cor 
poreal washings, which on so many occasions were required 
under the law these were not appointed for the purpose 
merely of removing bodily defilement. Often, as in the case 
of the restored leper, purification from the touch of a dead 
body, or from sprinkling the Water of cleansing on others, 
there was not even the semblance of any thing of that sort to 
be removed. The washing, in every case, was appointed as a 
natural and appropriate symbol of personal purity on the part 
of the worshippers, and was perfectly understood by all serious 
and thoughtful worshippers to carry such an import. Even 
Pilate, though a heathen, showed his understanding of this 
symbol, by taking water and washing his hands before the 
people, to express more emphatically than he could do by 
words his refusal to participate in the condemnation of Jesus. 
And the Psalmist, when he spake of "washing his hands in 


innocency," and the prophet, when he called on the crimson- 
stained sinners of his day to "wash themselves, and make 
themselves clean," gave plain indication of the symbolical 
import of the transaction. In like manner to refer to the 
initiatory ordinance of the whole series the rite of circum 
cision, when brought into connexion with the Divine covenant 
as its sign and seal, was by no means a merely external badge. 
Its proper aim and object were not the affixing of a corporeal 
mark upon the Jew, and thereby distinguishing him from the 
people of other countries. If that had been all, it would 
have been very imperfectly fitted to serve the end in view; as 
it is certain that at least the Egyptian priesthood, if not also 
some of the higher grades of the people, and not a few of the 
Syro- Arabian races, practised the rite from the very earliest 
times. It is, in fact, one of those customs, the origin of which 
is lost in a remote antiquity. But when adopted by God in 
connexion with His covenant as its appropriate token and 
seal, it thenceforth became a symbol of purification from the 
guilt and pollution of the flesh the symbol of a transition 
from nature s depravity into a spiritual and holy life. This 
transition should have been effected in all who stood within 
the bonds of the covenant; and in those whose state accorded 
with their profession, it must in reality have been effected. It 
was, therefore, the distinctive badge of Israel, not simply as 
a separate people, but as God s covenant~peop\e^ called and 
bound to cast off nature s impurity, and walk in righteousness 
before God. This, too, was perfectly understood by all the 
more serious and thoughtful portion of the Israelites; and 
they did not need the higher revelations of the Gospel to dis 
close its import. Moses himself pointed to it as a thing which 
even then was familiarly known and understood, when he re 
presented the people, in their state of impenitence and guilt, 
as being of uncircumcised hearts (Lev. xxvi. 41 ;) and on this 
very account, because circumcision had a strictly moral im 
port, it was suspended during the thirty-eight years sojourn 
in the wilderness; since the people being then under the 
judgment of heaven for their sins, they were held to be in an 
unfit state for having the ordinance administered to them. 



Such, at least, appears the main reason for the disuse of the 
ordinance during that long period. Circumcision, therefore, 
if viewed according to the design of God, and its own em 
blematic import, was no more a merely outward and corporeal 
thing, than baptism now is; the one had respect to the be 
liever s spiritual position and call to righteousness, not less 
than the other. In both cases alike the opus operatum might 
stand alone; the sign might be without the thing signified; 
since no ordinance of God ever has salvation indissolubly 
linked to it; while yet the two would always in point of fact 
be connected together, if the ordinances were used in a spirit 
of sincerity and truth. 

2. This second princ ple, which ascribes a symbolical or 
spir tual import to all the rites and ordinances of the Old 
Covenant, like the first, has its ultimate ground in the nature 
of God in the essential holiness of His character. Pre 
cisely as God s unchangeableness rendered it necessary, that 
there should be in everything of vital moment a fundamental 
agreement between Judaism and Christianity; so the pure and 
unspotted holiness of God, which comes out in the very first 
revelations of the Bible, and holds in all of them the most 
prominent place, rendered it necessary, that the Covenant, 
with every rite and institution belonging to it, should have 
respect to moral purity. What is essential and pre-eminent 
in God himself must appear also essential and pre-eminent in 
His public administration. And hence in the very centre of 
the Mosaic polity as the standard by which every thing was 
to be judged, and the end to which it pointed lay the two 
tables of the moral law the comprehensive summary of love 
to God and man. Hence also, in some of those parts of the 
laws of Moses, which prescribe the more peculiar ceremonial 
institutions, the reason of their appointment is placed in im 
mediate connexion with the holiness of God; as in Lev. xx. 
25, 20, where the command is re-enforced as to the distinction 
to be put between clean and unclean in food, it is addfid as 
the ground of the requirement, "And ye shall be holy unto 
Me, for I, the Lord, am holy, and I have severed you from 
other people, that ye should be Mine." So again in ch. xxii., 


after a multitude of prescriptions regarding sacrifice, and the 
eating of the flesh of peace-offerings, the whole is wound up 
by pointing to the fundamental reason, "I am Jehovah ; there 
fore shall ye keep My commandments and do them; I am 
Jehovah. Neither shall ye profane My holy name ; but I 
will be hallowed among the children of Israel ; I am Jehovah, 
that hallow you." The entire ritual had its foundation in 
God, in the principles of His character and government, 
whither the people were directed to look for the ultimate 
ground of the laws and institutions they were commanded to 
observe. As the one was pre-eminently moral, so, of neces 
sity was the other; and no enlightened Israelite could regard 
the services of his symbolical worship, any more than the 
statutes and judgments of his theocratic polity, in any other 
light than as a system of means and appliances for securing 
purity of heart and conduct. 

3. It is clear then and we state it, as equally a deduction 
from what has preceded, and a third point to be kept in view, 
in all the representations that may be made in such matters 
that the true Israelites, those who were such in the reckoning 
of God, were a spiritual, not a fleshly seed; and that the 
rearing of such a seed, not any outward and formal separa 
tion from the world, was the direct aim of the laws and insti 
tutions of Moses. That the dwelling of the people alone, in 
a state of isolation from the other nations of the earth, or 
antagonism to them, could never of itself have been designed 
to form the principal reason of the ancient economy, is evi 
dent not only from the considerations already advanced 
but also from the very end of their peculiar calling in Abra 
ham, which was to be first blessed in themselves, and then to 
be a blessing to others a blessing even to all the families of 
the earth. It can never be by an isolating and frowning ex- 
clusiveness, that they could fulfil this ulterior part of their 
destination; it could only be by operating in a kindly and 
beneficent manner upon the nations around them, diffusing 
among them the knowledge of God, and extending the boun 
daries of His kingdom. That this was from the first contem 
plated by God may certainly be inferred from the admission 


of proselyte strangers, even in Abraham s time, into the bosom 
of the covenant, (Gen. xvii. 12,) and from the law afterwards 
prescribed regarding it (Ex. xii. 48.) It is still further evi 
dent from the prayer of Solomon at the dedication of the 
temple, which made express mention of the case of strangers 
coming to intermingle their devotions with those of the house 
of Israel; and from the fact, that whenever the covenant- 
people were in a lively and prosperous state, there was a dis 
position, on the part of others, to share with them in their 
privileges and blessings, as in the times of David and Solomon, 
(I Chron. xxii. 2; 2 Chron. ii. 17.) So far, indeed, were 
David and the prophets from thinking it the glory of Israel 
to be alone, that they anticipated with joy the time when kings 
would bring presents to Jerusalem, and the Lord s house should 
become a house of prayer for all nations. So long, certainly, 
as the people of other countries abode in heathenism, it was 
inevitable that Israel should dwell apart if they remained 
faithful to their calling. But the separation in that case was 
only the necessary result of Israel s holiness, on the one hand, 
and the corruptions of the Gentiles, on the other; nor was it 
for any other end, than as the fittest means, in the existing 
state of the world, for producing and maintaining that holi 
ness in the families of Israel, that the laws and ordinances of 
the Old Covenant were established. So, indeed, the Apostle 
Paul distinctly declared, when in Gal. iii. 19, he said, "Where 
fore, then, serveth the law? It was added because of trans 
gressions," added, that is, to the prior covenant made with 
Abraham, on account of the people s proneness to transgress. 
That covenant was not of itself sufficient to restrain them; 
and the law, with its explicit requirements of duty, and its 
terrible sanctions, was given to supplement the deficiency. 
The law, therefore, when rightly understood and properly 
used, was in perfect harmony with the covenant; it occupied 
an inferior and subsidiary place, but in that place was alike 
designed and fitted for qualifying the people to carry into 
effect the objects of the covenant. And as it was not the aim 
of the covenant to make Israel merely a separate people, 
walled off by certain distinctive peculiarities from others, as 


little could it be the proper aim of the law. The scope and 
tendency of both, indeed, was for righteousness, and their 
common end was accomplished only in so far as there was 
produced a spiritual and holy seed to God. 

4. It follows from what has been said, in the fourth place, 
that the difference, as to privilege and character, between the 
genuine members of the Old and of the New Covenants, must 
be relative only, and not absolute. It should be exhibited, 
not as a contrast between two opposites, but as an ascending 
gradation, a rising from a lower to a higher stage of develop 
ment. A contrast, no doubt, is sometimes presented in the 
New Testament between law and grace, between the darkness 
and servile condition before Christ s coming, and the light 
and liberty that followed. But the darkness was not that of 
total ignorance, nor was the bondage properly that of slaves, 
but of children rather, who from their imperfect discernment 
and feeble powers required to be hemmed in by outward re 
straints, and stimulated by artificial expedients. When the 
Prophet Jeremiah represents (ch. xxxi.) the distinction between 
the Old Covenant then existing, and the New and better one 
some time to be introduced, as consisting in the putting of 
the Divine laws into the hearts of the people, and engraving 
them in their inward parts, the representation can only have 
been meant to indicate a more effectual and general accom 
plishment of this spiritual result, than had hitherto appeared, 
not its absolute commencement. For, beyond all question, 
the internal revelation of the law was to a certain extent pos 
sessed also in former times possessed by every true Israelite, 
of whom it was written, "The law of God is in his heart," 
and "he meditates therein day and night." And in what 
chiefly did the reforming agency of David and many of the 
prophets appear? Was it not in their earnest striving to 
awaken the people to the insufficiency of a dead formalism, 
and have them brought to the cultivation of such holiness as 
the law required? 

There was something more, then, in the relation between 
Judaism and Christianity, than that of type and antitype 
in the sense commonly understood by these terms; there was 


the relation also of germ and development, beginning and 
end. The Christian Church, if in one respect a new thing in 
the earth, is, in another, a continuation and expansion of the 
Jewish. As was long ago well stated by Crucius, "Israel is 
the basis and the body itself of the church, which must con 
tinue to grow and diffuse itself more and more; and this it 
does, not by virtue of its corporeal descent, but on account of 
its faith and obedience towards God s covenant of grace with 
it, in virtue of which it obtains the heritage of the heathen. 
When Paul in Gal. vi. 16, speaks of the true Israel of God, 
he means thereby believing Israelites, whom he opposes to 
the enemies of Christ. And these Israelites did not pass over 
to the heathen, but the heathen to them, (Eph. ii. 19, iii. 6; 
Phil. iii. 3; Col. ii. 11; Acts xiii. 32, xxvi. 6, 7.) In this 
sense true Christians are reckoned to Israel; and as the an 
cient Israel of God could, before Christ s appearance, receive 
proselytes among themselves, who thereafter became part of 
the covenant people; so now, since the appearance of Christ, 
they have by reason of the covenant and the promise, already 
become greatly enlarged through the incorporation of multi 
tudes of the heathen, and shall at length receive the whole 
earth for a possession. And this entire body of the church, 
of which the believing portion of Israel formed the foundation, 
shall one day also receive the remnant of the other portion, 
the apostacy, into its bosom." 1 

5. From all these premises, there arises still another con 
clusion, a fifth point to be kept steadily in view, viz., that the 
ordinances of the two covenants, like the conditions of their 
respective members, can admit only of relative differences. 
Differences certainly exist, corresponding in nature to the 
change in the Divine economy, and the spiritual condition of 
those placed under it; and these must be carefully marked 
and explained in accordance with the truth of things other 
wise, countenance may be given to grievous mistakes. It was 
here that Augustine, in common with so many of the fathers, 
chiefly erred, though holding correct views in the general as 
to the connexion between Judaism and Christianity. The one 
1 In Delitzsch s Biblisch. proph., p. 132. 


was clearly enough seen to be the preparation and shadow of 
the other; but in drawing out the connexion to particular 
points, too little account was made of the rise that had taken 
place from a lower to a higher sphere; a tendency rather was 
shown to regard the antitype as equally outward and formal 
with the type. Hence, in the first instance, the typology of 
the Old Testament was caricatured, by having the most fortu 
itous and superficial resemblances turned into adumbrations 
of Gospel mysteries; and then the theology of the New was 
carnalized, by being cast into the form and pattern of the 
Old; the observance of days and seasons in the one inferring, 
it was thought, a like observance in the other and, as of old, 
so also now, it was held, that there should be an altar, with 
its consecrated priesthood and material oblations a visible 
unity in the church, from which it was heresy, even in matters 
of ceremony, to deviate and, at last, a supreme earthly head, 
on whose will were conceived to hang the issues of life and 
death for entire Christendom. A mournful result in any cir 
cumstances; but rendered greatly more so by the considera 
tion, that among the forces tending to produce it must be 
placed the venerable name of Augustine, who, in his interpre 
tations, often falls into the mistaken carnalism, out of which 
the evil might be said to have originated. 

But while shunning this form of error, care must be taken 
to avoid falling into another. And the principle must be held 
fast, that in the ordinances of the two covenants there can be 
room only for differences of a relative kind. The sacrifices 
and ablutions of the Old Testament were not simply carnal 
institutions, no more than baptism and the Lord s Supper now 
are. They also pertained to the conscience, and, to be accep 
tably engaged in, required faith on the part of the worshipper. 
It is true, that " as pertaining to the conscience, they could 
not make the comers to them perfect;" they could not pre 
sent to the worshippers a full, complete, and permanent ground 
of peace; whence a perpetual renewal of the sacrifices was 
needed to reassure the conscience after fresh acts of trans 
gression. Yet, this by no means proves, that they had to do 
merely with the purification of the flesh. There were certain 


fleshly or ceremonial defilements, such as the touching of a 
dead body, for which purification was obtained by means of 
water, mixed with the ashes of a red heifer; and to that the 
apostle refers in Heb. ix. 13. But it is an utter misappre 
hension of his meaning, to understand him there to assert, 
that all the offerings of the law were of force merely to purify 
the flesh. What could purifications of such a kind have 
availed one, who had been guilty of fraud, or oppression, or 
deceit, or false swearing? Yet for such sins, forgiveness was 
attainable through the appointed offerings, Lev. vi. 1 7. 

We hold it, therefore, as most certain, that there was also 
a spiritual element in all the services of the Old Covenant, 
and that their unsuitableness to Gospel times does not arise 
from their having been exclusively carnal and outward. It 
arises, partly from their being too predominantly symbolical 
for a religion, which contains a full revelation of the truth ; 
and partly also from their having been peculiarly adapted for 
bringing into view the demands of law, and the liabilities of 
debt, while they provided only a temporary expedient as to 
the way of relief no more than a shadow of the real satis 
faction. So that for men to cleave to the Old Testament ser 
vices after Christ had come, as a matter essential to salvation, 
was in effect to say, that they did not regard the death of 
Christ as in itself a perfect satisfaction for the guilt of sin, 
but that it needed the purifications of the law to render it 
complete thereby at once dishonouring Christ, and taking 
the legal ceremonies for something more than they really were. 
But still, these ceremonies, when rightly understood, differed 
from the ordinances of the gospel only in degree, not in kind; 
and it is perfectly competent for us to draw conclusions from 
the nature and administration of the one, to the nature and 
administration of the other. Here, as in so many other things, 
there is a middle path, which is the right one; and it is just 
as easy to err from it by carnalizing too much in Judaism, as 
by Judaizing too much in Christianity. 




AMONG the portions of New Testament Scripture which re 
quire a separate hermeneutical consideration, are those in which 
tropes or figures are employed. Some of the examples given 
under the last two divisions might in part be referred to this head, 
for there is also a figurative element in them. But other 
portions belong more properly to it; and the class is of suffi 
cient compass and moment to entitle it to special inquiry. 
The subject, however, does not hold so large a place in the 
hermeneutics of the New Testament as it does in those of the 
Old ; for the poetical enters more into the composition of the 
Old, and poetry, from its very nature, delights in the use of 
figure. In both the prophetical, and the more distinctively 
poetical books of Old Testament Scripture, the boldest images 
are introduced, and the language has throughout a figurative 
colouring. But of these we are not called to treat at present. 
We have to do merely with that more sparing and restricted 
use of tropical language, which appears in the New Testa 
ment, and was not incompatible with its clearer revelations 
and its more didactic aim. Reference, however, may also be 
occasionally made, by way of illustration, to passages in the 
Old Testament. 

It is, perhaps, scarcely necessary to state, yet, in case of 
any misapprehension, it may as well be stated, that the terms 
figurative and tropical, on the one side, and those of literal 
and grammatical, on the other, may be employed indiscrimi 
nately, as being substantially of the same import. The one 
pair happen to be derived from the Greek, and the other from 
the Latin, but, in each case, from words that precisely cor 
respond. Literal, from the Latin litera, denotes the mean 
ing of a word, which is according to the letter, the meaning 
it bears in its original or primary use ; and nothing else is in- 


dicated by the term grammatical, in this connexion, the word 
of Greek derivation for what is according to the ypd/jt/jta or 
letter. But when a word, originally appropriated to one thing, 
comes to be applied to another, which bears some real or fan 
cied resemblance to it, as there is then a rp6~oz or turning 
of it to a new use, so the meaning is called tropical, or, if we 
prefer the Latin form of expression, figurative there being 
always some sort of figure or image suggested to the mind in 
this new use of the term, founded either on resemblance or 
some other link of connexion, and forming a natural transi 
tion from the original to the derived sense. Very commonly 
also the word proper is used to denote the original import of 
words, and improper the figurative. But as these epithets 
are fitted to suggest wrong ideas, it is better not to employ 
them in such a connexion. 

All languages are more or less figurative; for the mind of 
man is essentially analogical, and delights to trace resem 
blances between one object and another, and embody them in 
forms of speech. In strictly mental operations, and in regard 
to things lying beyond the reach of sense or time, it is obliged 
to resort to figurative terms ; for only through the form and 
aspect of sensible objects can it picture to itself and express 
what lies in those hidden chambers of imagery. And the 
more vivid its own feelings and conceptions are respecting spi 
ritual and Divine things, or the more it seeks to give a present 
and abiding impression of these to the mind of others, the more 
also will it naturally call to its aid the realistic language of 
tropes and metaphors. Hence the predominant use of such 
language in sacred poetry; and hence also its occasional em 
ployment by Christ and His apostles, in order to invest their 
representations of Divine things with the greater force and 

I. In applying our minds to this subject, the first point that 
naturally calls for inquiry, has respect to the proper mode of 
ascertaining when words are employed, not literally, but tro 
pically. How may we assure ourselves, or can we assure our 
selves, against any mistake in the matter? 


This branch of hermeneutical inquiry began to receive some 
consideration in comparatively early times; and in Augustine s 
treatise. De doctrina Christiana, we find certain rules laid 
down for determining what in Scripture should be taken lite 
rally, and what figuratively. These are, certainly, somewhat 
imperfect, as might have been expected, considering the pe 
riod when they were written : yet they are not without their 
value, and if they had been followed up by others, with any 
measure of Augustine s discernment, they might have kept 
the early church from many false interpretations, on which 
the most unscriptural and superstitious views leaned for sup 

1. In the first place, it may be noted, that in a large num 
ber of cases, by much the larger number of cases, where the 
language is tropical, the fact that it is so appears from the 
very nature of the language, or from the connexion in which 
it stands. This holds especially of that kind of tropical lan 
guage, which consists in tfie employment of metaphor i. e., 
when one object is set forth under the image of another; and 
in the employment of parable, which is only an extended me 
taphor. Thus, when Jacob says of Judah, " Judah is a lion s 
whelp, from the prey, my son, thou art gone up;" or when 
our Lord designated two of His disciples by the name of Bo 
anerges, "Sons of thunder;" or, again, when He spake of 
the difficulties connected with an admission into His kingdom, 
under the necessity of "being born again," and of " entering 
a strait gate and treading a narrow way;" in all these and 
many examples of a like nature, the tropical element is pal 
pable; a child, indeed, might perceive it; and the only room 
for consideration is, how the lines of resemblance should be 
drawn between the literal and the figurative sense of the 
terms. The same also may be said, and with still stronger 
emphasis, of formal similitudes and parables, in which the li 
teral interpretation is expressly, or by plain implication, taken 
as the mere cover of something higher and greater. 

2. Another class of passages, in which the figure is also, 
for the most part, quite easy of detection, are those in which 
what is called synechdoehe prevails i. e. in which a part is 


put for the whole; as a cup for its contents, " Take this cup 
and drink it," or, " Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord and 
the cup of devils." It is manifest, that in such cases the cup 
does not stand alone; it is viewed merely as the symbol of 
the draught presented in it. So in other passages, where 
there is a kind of metonymy, such as putting a cause for an 
effect, or an effect for a cause: for example, when our Lord 
says of Himself, " I am not come to send peace upon earth, 
but a sword;" or when, inversely, the apostle Paul, in another 
connexion, says of Him, "He is our peace." In examples 
of this description also there is no difficulty; it is obvious, 
that a particular result is in the eye of the writer, and that, 
for the sake of point and brevity, the object or person is iden 
tified with that result, or with the natural cause and instru 
ment of effecting it, as if they were one and the same. 

But still, when all such examples as those now referred to 
have been taken into account, there remains a considerable 
number, especially of the class cafted metonymies, in regard 
to which it is not so easy to determine whether the language 
should be understood literally or tropically. It may, for in 
stance, be questioned, whether our Lord, in Matt. v. 23, where 
He speaks of bringing a gift to the altar, means an actual al 
tar for the presentation of sacrificial offerings, or something 
in the spiritual sphere that might be held equivalent to it: 
whether, again, when speaking of His followers eating His 
body and drinking His blood, He meant a corporeal or a spi 
ritual participation : or Paul, when he makes mention of a 
fire that is to try every man s work, (1 Cor. iii. 13,) whether 
he has respect to the material element of fire, or to a process 
of judgment, which in spiritual things will have the same ef 
fect as a searching fire in earthly. It is well known, that 
these questions are answered very differently, and that great 
points of doctrine hang on the specific interpretations adopted. 
Nor is it possible, by any sharply defined rules to settle con 
clusively the view that should be taken; for the settling of 
the rules would necessarily involve a discussion of the parti 
cular cases to which we wish to apply them. It is more, 
therefore, to the general principles of interpretation to the 


proper mode and habit of dealing with the Word of God, the 
accurate analysis of its terms, the close and discriminating 
examination of the scope and connexion: it is to this, more 
than to any specific directions, that we are to look for obtain 
ing the skill to determine between the literal and the tropical 
in the less obvious cases. At the same time, there are two 
or three leading principles, which, if fairly and consistently 
applied, might, in the majority of cases, be sufficient to guide 
to a right decision. 

(1.) The first of these is, that when any thing is said, which, 
if taken according to the letter, would be at variance with the 
essential nature of the subject spoken of, the language must 
be regarded as tropical. This principle requires to be little 
more than enunciated ; it carries its own evidence along with 
it. No single act, no particular attribute, can be ascribed by 
an intelligent writer to a person or an object, which is incon 
sistent with their proper nature. So that, on the supposition 
of that nature being known to us, we can be at no loss to un 
derstand in what sense the language should be taken. Thus, 
it is essential to the nature of God, that He is spirit and not 
flesh a Spirit infinite, eternal, and unchangeable ; conse 
quently without bodily parts, which are necessarily bounded 
by space and time; without liability to passionate excitation 
or erring purposes, which arise from creaturely limitations. 
Hence all those passages, which represent God as possessed 
of human powers and organs, as seeing, or hearing, or having 
experience of such affections as are the result of human weak 
ness and infirmity, must be understood in a figurative sense. 
Nor can it be otherwise with those things, which are spoken 
of the soul and its spiritual life in terms borrowed from what 
pertains to the body: As when our Lord calls on His fol 
lowers to cut off their right hand and pluck out their right eye, 
or when St. Paul speaks of crucifying the flesh, and putting 
off the old man of corruption. In such cases the path is clear ; 
we must keep strictly in view the essential nature of the sub 
ject discoursed of; and since that is not such as to admit of 
an application of the language in the literal sense, we can. 
have no hesitation about understanding it tropically. 



(2.) A second principle applicable to such cases, is, that if 
the language taken literally would involve something incon 
gruous or morally improper, the figurative, and not the literal 
sense, must be the right one. If the literal implies nothing 
contrary to sense and reason if the instruction it conveys is 
in accordance with the great moral distinctions impressed 
upon the conscience, and written in the Word of God, then it 
may safely be adhered to as the sense actually intended. 
But if otherwise, we must abandon the literal for the figura 
tive. The passage formerly referred to in another connexion 
Rom. xii. 20 may be taken as an example; it is the ex 
hortation to heap coals of fire on an enemy s head, by show 
ing kindness to him in the time of want and necessity. The 
action itself here specified (whatever may be understood of 
the motive involved in it,) must in any case be understood figu 
ratively ; since the heaping of coals of fire on the head of an 
other must plainly have respect to the moral influence of the 
things done to him upon his state or character. But further, 
in regard to the kind of operation intended, or the nature of 
the effect to be wrought, held out as the motive for exertion 
in the manner specified, it must be, as Augustine long ago 
remarked, of a beneficial, not of an injurious description, since 
it is brought in to enforce a precept of benevolence, and must, 
therefore, have contemplated the good of the parties interested. 1 
There are many similar examples in the Proverbs, where the 
one just noticed originally occurs; as to mention only an 
other when a person sitting at meat with a ruler is exhorted 
to put "a knife to his throat," meaning that he must set 
bounds to his appetite slay, in a manner, his voracity. In 
like manner, our Lord says, " If any man will come after Me, 
let him take up his cross and follow Me," "Whosoever loveth 
his life, shall lose it," "Make to yourselves friends of the 
mammon of unrighteousness;" in each of which passages 

1 Aug. De Doc. Christiana, iii. 10, Ne igitur dubitaveris figurate dictum; 
et cum possit duplicitcr interpretari, uno rnodo ad nocendum, altero ad prse- 
standum; ad bcneficentiam te potius charitas revocat, ut intelligas carbones 
ignis csse urentes pocnitentioe gcmitus, quibus superbia sanatur ejus qui dolet 
se inimicuui fuisso homiais, a quo ejus miseriye subvenitur. 


there must be a certain amount of figure ; since, to bear a 
cross, and to love life, in the natural sense of the expression, 
cannot be regarded as things fitted to carry with them the 
consequences of good and evil with which they are associated, 
nor can it be deemed proper, otherwise than by a figure, to 
make for one s self a friend of what is unrighteous. In such 
cases, we can only get at the true meaning by penetrating 
beneath the surface, and apprehending a moral act or line of 
behaviour as the object presented to our notice. 

(3.) A third direction may be added; viz., that where we 
have still reason to doubt whether the language is literal or 
figurative, we should endeavour to have the doubt resolved, 
by referring to parallel passages (if there be any such) which 
treat of the same subject in more explicit terms, or at greater 
length. The really doubtful cases, in which we can avail our 
selves of this help, may not, perhaps, be very numerous; but 
they are still to be found. Thus, in the first beatitude of 
the Sermon on the Mount, in which the simple designation 
poor occurs, in the Gospel of Luke, " Blessed are ye poor:" 
this has its fuller explanation in St. Matthew s Gospel, where 
we read, "Blessed are the poor in spirit:" plainly indicating 
that, if literal poverty is not excluded, respect is mainly had 
to the spiritual frame. In like manner the passage in the 
same sermon, respecting bringing a gift to the altar, in so far 
as regards its bearing on the Christian Church, has its mean 
ing clearly determined by the Epistle to the Hebrews, and 
other parts of the New Testament, which declare earthly al 
tars, and the offerings proper to them, to have no longer any 
place in the Church of God. And the word of Jesus, "De 
stroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up again," 
though spoken with apparent literality, was afterwards found, 
when the progress of events and the illumination of the Spirit 
laid open its meaning, to have had a figurative import. It 
referred, not to the building usually designated the temple, 
but to the Lord s body, although this also was in reality a 
temple, which is but another name for the dwelling-place of 
Deity ; nay, was such in a sense more strictly appropriate 
than could be affirmed of the other. 


Now, if we apply these simple and just principles of inter 
pretation to the passage in Corinthians (1 Cor. iii. 13,) we can 
have no difficulty in ascertaining the result that ought to be 
arrived at. The declaration there made is, that "the day," 
viz., of coming trial, " shall be revealed by fire, and the fire 
shall try every man s work, of what sort it is." What is the 
nature of the work to be tried? That is naturally our first 
question. Is it of a moral, or simply of an external and 
earthly kind? The only work spoken of in the context is 
that which concerns the foundation and progress of Christ s 
Church, and man s relation to it work, therefore, in a strictly 
moral sense ; and so, by our first principle, the fire that is to 
try it must be moral too. For how incongruous were it to 
couple a corporeal fire with a spiritual service, as the means 
of determining its real character? And if in accordance with 
our last principle, we have recourse to other passages, which 
speak of the day of future trial and final decision, we find 
statements, indeed, to the effect that the Lord will be revealed 
in flaming fire, or, as it again is, in the clouds of heaven; but as 
to what shall really fix the character and the award of each 
man s work in the Lord, we are left in no room to doubt that it 
shall be His own searching judgment : this it is that shall bring 
all clearly to light, and give to every one according to his de 
sert. The result, therefore, is obvious; the fire spoken of, 
and spoken of simply in respect to its property as an instru 
ment of trial, must be understood tropically of what, in spiri 
tual things, has the like property. 

Let us also try, in the same way, what our Lord says about 
eating His flesh and drinking His blood. The Romanists 
contend that the expressions must be taken literally, even as 
recorded in John vi. 53, long before the sacrament of the Sup 
per was instituted. Ernesti, who was a Lutheran, admits it 
must be understood tropically there; but he maintains that 
the words at the institution of the Supper must be taken lite 
rally. When treating of the interpretation of tropical lan 
guage, in his Institutes of Biblical Interpretation, he states 
that, as at Matt, xxviii. 19, in the formula of baptism, the 
word baptize is to be taken literally, so the words at the in- 


stitution of the Supper, about eating and drinking must be 
taken literally. And he refers to what he regards as a kind 
of parallel passage, Heb. ix. 20, where the words of Moses 
are quoted, "This is the blood of the covenant which God 
hath enjoined unto you," and draws the conclusion that, as in 
this case the blood of the covenant must be literally understood, 
so our Lord must have meant His blood to be understood in 
the same manner. Nor could this expression, he adds, con 
vey any other than its proper sense to the minds of the dis 
ciples, who were accustomed to take up our Lord s declara 
tions in their proper or literal sense. No doubt they were ac 
customed to do this; greatly too much accustomed: it was 
their failing and their error to be so. Hence our Lord had 
once and again to complain of their inaptitude to perceive the 
real import of His words; and specially in regard to this very 
form of expression, when, on one occasion, He spoke of having 
Himself bread to eat that others knew not of, and on another, 
cautioned His disciples to beware of the leaven of the Phari 
sees; so far was He from justifying them for understanding 
His words literally (as He discovered they did,) that He re 
proved them on that very account for their dulness of appre 
hension. If Ernesti s reasoning were sound, and the use he 
makes of the words of Moses in Hebrews were valid, the na 
tural conclusion would be, not only that the corporeal pre 
sence of Christ in the Supper should be maintained, but also 
that the whole legal economy should remain in force the altar 
of sacrifice, with the blood of slain victims, the distinction of 
Jew and Gentile, the continued teaching of the scribes in Mo 
ses seat, etc. : for these are all distinctly mentioned by Christ, 
and, in all probability, were at first understood in the most li 
teral sense by the disciples. 

We must plainly have other rules for our direction in such 
a case. It is surely one thing to say, that- Christ literally ra 
tified the covenant with His own blood, and a very different 
thing, that bread and wine became His blood, and as such 
were to be eaten and drunk, at a feast instituted in commemo 
ration of His act in ratifying the covenant. Indeed, it is only 
by a sort of figure that we can speak even of the covenant 


being ratified by His blood a figure derived from the ancient 
sacrifices; for, in reality, it was the simple death of Christ, 
the free surrender of His soul through the pains of dissolution 
to the Father, which, in His case, established the covenant; 
and would equally have done so, though not a drop of blood 
had been outwardly shed. There is a failure, therefore, as to 
formal resemblance at the very outset, in the actions that are 
brought into comparison. And when we come to the partici 
pation spoken of, there is no resemblance whatever. Even 
Augustine, with all his leanings toward ritualism, and his 
mystic notions on the virtue of the Sacraments, saw that the 
literal in its strict sense could not stand. On the passage in 
St. John s Gospel, about eating the flesh and drinking the 
blood of Christ, he says, "It appears to order a wicked and 
abominable action ; it is, therefore, a figure, teaching that we 
must communicate with our Lord s passion, and have it sweetly 
and profitably laid up in our memory, that His flesh was cru 
cified and wounded for us (prgecipiens passioni dominions com- 
rnunicandum, et suaviter atque utiliter recondendum in me- 
moria quod pro nobis caro ejus crucifixa et vulnerata sit. 1 )" 
Whether we look to this passage, or to the words, "This is 
My body broken for you," and "This cup is the New Cove 
nant in My blood, shed for the remission of sins, drink ye of 
it," the literal interpretation violates every one of the three 
leading principles, which we have laid down as applicable to 
such cases. It is against the first principle ; for what our 
Lord was speaking of in the one passage, and the privilege 
He was establishing in the other, was a joint participation with 
Himself as the Redeemer of men. But this is a thing in its 
very nature spiritual; and a carnal amalgamation with His 
bodily parts were such a thing possible could be of no be 
nefit: in that respect, as our Lord Himself testified, "The 
flesh profiteth nothing." Not oneness of outward standing or 
corporeal substance, but unity of soul, identity of spiritual life 
this is what alone avails in such a matter. Then, the lite 
ral interpretation is against our second principle of interpre 
tation, inasmuch as it ascribes an action to Christians, nay 
1 De Doc. Christiana, iii. 10. 


imposes as the highest and most sacred duty an action, which 
is abhorrent to the common instincts of humanity an action 
which has no parallel in real life, except among the lowest 
types of human nature the most untutored savages. These 
alone among mankind are known, and even these only in ex 
treme cases, to eat human flesh and drink human blood; and 
it is utterly inconceivable, that the -most solemn rite of Chris 
tianity should have been designed to be formally the same 
with the most unnatural and savage practice which exists in 
the world. And, finally, the parallel passages may also be 
said to be against it; for though from the singularity of the 
case, as to the Sacrament of the Supper, we cannot appeal to 
any passages absolutely parallel, yet passages substantially 
parallel are not wanting passages in which Christ is repre 
sented as identifying Himself with an external object, much 
as He does with the bread and wine in the Sacrament: Such 
as, "I am the door," "I am the vine," "The Church which 
is His body," "And that Rock was Christ." We have also 
passages, in which the bread of this ordinance, after consecra 
tion, the bread as actually partaken by the communicants, is 
still designated bread, and not flesh; as when the apostle 
says, in 1 Cor. x. 16, 17, "The bread which we break, is it 
not the communion of the body of Christ? For, we being 
many are one bread, and one body; for we are all partakers 
of that one bread " from which one might as well argue, that 
believers are turned into bread, as from the words in Matthew, 
that the bread is turned into flesh. And in Acts, ch. ii. 42, 
xx. 7, 11, we have the expression, "breaking of bread," used 
as a common phrase to denote the celebration of the Supper, 
manifestly implying, that the participation of bread, and not 
what could be termed flesh, constituted the formal act in this 
part of the Communion. 

We say nothing of the doctrinal positions based upon the 
literal sense, but contemplate the matter in a simply exegeti- 
cal point of view. Apart altogether from the doctrinal con 
sequences and results, the close and comparative examination 
of the words leads to the adoption of the tropical, in contra 
distinction to the literal import. 


II. We turn now to what forms naturally the second sub 
ject of consideration in this branch of inquiry, viz., the proper 
mode of treating the tropical or figurative portions of Scrip 
ture. This necessarily varies to a considerable extent, as does 
also the use of figure in Scripture : so that uniform rules, ap 
plicable to all cases of figurative language, cannot possibly be 
given. The field must be surveyed in successive portions. 

1. In the first place, there are in Scripture, as in other 
compositions, words and phrases, which are really used in a 
figurative manner, but in which the figurative has become so 
common, that it has ceased to be regarded as figurative. Ex 
amples of this in ordinary language are not far to seek. Ex 
pression^ for example, which in its original sense means a 
squeezing out, but is now almost invariably appropriated to 
the specific act of pressure outwards, which takes place in 
speech, when the thought conceived in the mind is put forth 
into intelligible words ardour, which is primarily burning 
or heat, but by usage has come to be confined to states of 
mind reflect, ruminate, and many others of which what was 
once the tropical, has now come to be the ordinary usage. 
Examples of the same description are found in Scripture, in 
such words as edify ("edify one another in love,") train-up 
(originally draw-up, but now usually educate, instruct, rear,) 
synagogue, church: in all which the secondary or tropical 
meaning is the current one; and if occasionally a reference 
may with advantage be made to the primary sense, generally 
it is best to treat them as no longer tropical, but to regard the 
common acceptation as the only one that has any particular 
claim for notice. 

2. A second point to be noted is, that there is often a com 
plex tropical meaning in the words and phrases of Scripture 
(as of language generally) one tropical meaning, by some 
addition or subtraction in respect to the principal idea, giving 
rise to another, and that, perhaps, still to another. So that 
there is sometimes trope upon trope; and it is of importance, 
not only to have a general acquaintance with the whole, so as 
to be able the more readily to choose the proper one for the 
occasion, but also to understand something of their successive 


growth to be able to trace, in a manner, their genealogy, so 
as fitly and intelligently to connect one with another. This 
can now, for the most part, be done with comparative ease, 
and usually requires nothing more than the careful use of the 
grammar and the dictionary; for of late years the progress of 
philological study has been such as to determine pretty accu 
rately almost all the primary and derived meanings of the 
words in New Testament Scripture, with their relative order 
and gradation. As an example of the accumulation of tropes 
in the meaning of some words, we may refer to Rev. iii. 12, 
"Him that overcorneth will I make a pillar in the temple of 
my God," in which not the nearer, but a more remote tropical 
meaning is given to pillar. The literal is that of a strong 
support to a material building; whence comes the more imme 
diate tropical meaning, of some kind of like support in the 
sphere of moral and spiritual things; but a further tropical 
meaning also arises, suggested by the thought of pillars being 
usually the strongest and most securely fixed parts of the 
building the meaning of a stable and abiding position. This 
is the idea intended to be conveyed in the passage referred 
to; and hence it is added, as what naturally arises from the 
subject of the promise having the position of a pillar assigned 
him, that "he shall go no more out" his place in the region 
of bliss and glory shall be one of eternal continuance. \Ye 
may point for another example to Mat. xxiii. 14, where our 
Lord says to the Scribes and Pharisees, "Ye devour widows 
houses" rc otxlaz raw ffipajv, evidently meaning the goods 
or substance of those widows. The first transition from the 
natural to the figurative import consists in taking house, by 
metonymy, for family what contains for the principal ob 
jects contained in it and then, by a further limitation, putting 
the means of support, belonging to the house or family, for 
this itself on the implied ground, that the one as to sub 
stantial existence is identified with the other, and that he who 
lays his hand on the means of sustenance to a house virtually 
lays his hand on the house itself. This second trope, there 
fore, growing out of the first, is quite natural; and we can 
easily see, how much, by the throwing together of the several 


things which make up this last idea, the language of our Lord 
gains in strength and vivacity. It leads us to think, not merely 
of the avaricious arid fraudulent appropriation of some earthly 
goods, but of the result also flowing from such conduct the 
actual absorption of a whole house, in order to gratify a base 
and selfish appetite. 

3. As a third direction for the proper explanation and 
management of the tropical language of Scripture and in 
deed, the principal one we mention this, that care should be 
taken to give a fair and natural, as opposed to a far-fetched 
or fanciful turn to the figure employed. We do so, on the 
ground, that figurative language is essentially of a popular 
caste, and is founded on those broader and more obvious re 
semblances, which do not need to be searched for, but are 
easily recognised and generally perceived. When the apostle, 
for example, says, "Let not the sun go down upon your wrath," 
the reference plainly is, to the time that should be set to the 
continued indulgence of angry feelings: if these should arise 
in your bosom, let them not be harboured, let them at least 
expire ere the day closes, on which they have arisen. But 
see how oddly, and we may say fantastically, Thomas Fuller 
draws out the figure, "St. Paul saith, Let not the sun go 
down on your wrath, to carry news to the antipodes in another 
world of thy revengeful nature. Yet" he adds, as if in 
tending to give a more simple view of the matter, "let us take 
the apostle s meaning rather than his words, with all possible 
speed to depose our passion; not understanding him so lite 
rally, that we may take leave to be angry till sunset; then 
might our wrath lengthen with the days, and men in Green 
land, where day lasts above a quarter of a year, have plentiful 
scope of revenge." It is evident on a moment s consideration, 
that such turns given to the image are quite fanciful: they 
could not have been in the apostle s mind, nor would they 
readily suggest themselves to an ordinary reader of the epistle ; 
and they serve rather to amuse, or to divert attention from 
the right point, than guide it into the proper channel. Even 
writers much less fanciful than Fuller, and who have their 
imaginations more under control, often err in this direction. 


Thus Leightcm, in his first sermon on Isa. lx. 1 as a whole 
an admirable discourse when referring to Canticles vi. 10, 
where it is said of the spouse, "She is fair as the moon and 
clear as the sun," thus explains, "The lesser light is that of 
sanctification,/az r as the moon; that of justification the greater, 
by which she is clear as the sun. The sun is perfectly lumi 
nous, but the moon is only half enlightened; so the believer 
is perfectly justified, but sanctified only in part; his one-half, 
his flesh, is dark ; and as the partial illumination is the reason 
of so many changes in the moon, to which changes the sun is 
not subject at all, so the imperfection of a Christian s holi 
ness, is the cause of so many waxings and wanings, and of 
the great inequality of his performances, whereas in the mean 
while his justification remains constantly like itself." Doc- 
trinally, indeed, this is perfectly correct; but it is certainly 
not in the passage, on which it is founded. The reference 
there to the two objects in nature, sun and moon, is merely 
to these as they strike the eye of a spectator therefore, to 
the intense brightness of the one, and to the milder radiance 
of the other. And the Church is compared to the two lumi 
naries of nature, only for the purpose of exhibiting under two 
similar, though slightly diversified aspects, the imposing and 
attractive appearance, which would belong to her, if she were 
in her normal condition of light and purity. 

Take still another example. In Matt. x. 16, our Lord 
exhorts His disciples, since they were to go forth like sheep 
in the midst of wolves, to be "wise as serpents" on which 
Augustine remarks, by way of explanation, "It is known re 
specting the serpent, that it presents to those striking it, in 
stead of the head, the whole body; and this shows, in con 
nexion with our Lord s word, that we should offer to those 
persecuting us our body, rather than our head, which is Christ, 
lest the Christian faith should be, as it were, slain in us, if 
by sparing our body we should disown God." " Or, again " 
taking another view of the matter "since it is known, that 
the serpent, when compressed by the straitness of its den, 
casts off its old skin, and thereby, it is said, receives new 
strength, it admonishes us to imitate that same cunning of the 


serpent, and put off the old man, as the apostle says, that we 
may put on the new, and put it off through straits, entering 
(as the Lord says) through the strait gate." l I need scarcely 
say, that these points in the natural history of the serpent 
(if they were real) would serve little to illustrate our Lord s 
maxim, in the connexion, in which it is introduced; since, 
plainly, the wisdom He recommends, and finds imaged in the 
serpent, is wisdom, not to enter into a Christian state, nor to 
brave persecution and death, when entered, rather than betray 
the cause of Christ, but to guide one s self discreetly and pru 
dently in the midst of danger, so as. if possible, to escape the 
evil threatened by it. Indeed, there is scarcely any thing 
known in the natural history of the serpent-brood, which can 
be of service in illustrating the comparison ; for in their ex 
isting condition serpents are not remarkable for wisdom, in 
the respect now r mentioned, and possess lower instincts and 
sagacity than many other irrational creatures. Yet there can 
be no doubt, that in ancient times the serpent was very com 
monly taken as a symbol of wisdom, w r as even extensively 
worshipped as having something Divine nbout it. But this 
most probably sprung out of the tradition respecting its pri 
meval state, as the wisest among the beasts of the field, and 
the part it was in consequence employed by the arch-deceiver 
to play in the fall of man. Scripturally, and traditionally, 
the serpent was peculiarly associated with the attribute of 
wisdom and it is best to regard our Lord as simply founding 
on this historical belief, and the deeply significant facts con 
nected with it. 

The danger of erring in the manner now referred to is not, 
perhaps, so great in our day, as it was in former times, when 
general literature abounded with laboured ingenuities and 
fanciful conceits. We live in an age, which gives more play 
to the unsophisticated feelings and instincts of nature, and 
which is less disposed to seek for remote and curious analogies. 
But when in public discourses a passage is selected, which 
contains a similitude, there always is some danger of pressing 
this, in some respects, too far, so as to make it the cover of a 
more varied or lengthened instruction than it naturally sug- 
1 De Doc. Christiana, ii. 16. 


gests. The best way to avoid this, is to cultivate simplicity 
of thought and style, and to rest in the conviction, -which ex 
perience will amply justify, that two or three points, well 
chosen and vigorously handled, will make both a happier and 
a more lasting impression, than double the number, if not 
properly grounded in the text, or really germane to the sub 




WE have considered as yet only the commoner and briefer 
forms of figurative language in the New Testament writings 
those which consist of single expressions, or admit of being 
compressed into one sentence. But a very considerable and 
important part of our Lord s discourses exhibits the use of 
figurative representations of a much more extended and di 
versified kind. We refer to the parables, which, both on ac 
count of their intrinsic importance, and the peculiarities con 
nected with such a mode of instruction, demand a separate 

It is marked by the Evangelists as a sort of era in our Lord s 
ministry, when He began to teach in parables. Each of the 
Synoptic Evangelists takes notice of it, and connects it with 
specific reasons. The period itself is not very definitely indi 
cated ; but it must have fallen, if not actually within the last 
year of His ministry, at least not far from its commencement; 
and if not absolutely the whole, certainly by much the greater 
number of His parables must be ascribed to the last year. At 
the same time, the formal employment of parabolic teaching 
was not the introduction of something entirely new. Christ s 
manner of teaching from the outset partook largely of figure ; 
and some even of His earlier recorded utterances were parables 
of a shorter kind; for, while conveying a spiritual lesson, they 
bore a distinct and intelligible meaning also in the natural 



sense. Of this description are some parts of the Sermon on 
the Mount; for example, ch. v. 25, "Agree with thine adver 
sary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him ; lest at any 
time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge 
deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison." Here 
human and earthly relations alone are directly mentioned, 
though it is plain, from the connexion in which they stand, 
and the whole tenor of the discourse, that they are employed 
merely as the cover of a higher instruction. Not materially 
different are other things in the same discourse, and especially 
the concluding verses, in which the two classes of hearers 
the fruitful and fruitless are represented under the similitude 
of two builders, the one of whom erected his house on the sand, 
and the other on the solid rock. And in the interval between 
the delivery of the sermon on the Mount, and the commence 
ment of the more regular system of parabolic instruction, we 
find on record a few instances of similitude, which are always 
ranked with the parables those, namely, of the old garment 
and the new patch, of the new wine and the old bottles (Matt. 
ix. 16, 17,) and of the creditor and the two debtors in the 
house of Simon (Luke vii. 41, 42.) So that the parabolic mode 
of instruction, to a certain extent, pervaded the ministry of 
Jesus; it was not altogether limited to any one period; only, 
at a particular stage, somewhere between the middle and the 
close, He commenced a more regular, frequent, and systematic 
use of the parabolic style. And to this later period it is, that 
the parables distinctively so called, belong. 

I. In regard, first of all, to the reasons which may have 
led our Lord to adopt this mode of instruction, and to resort 
to it more especially in the concluding stages of His ministe 
rial career, a variety of considerations may be named as having 
each had a certain share in the result. 

1. In the first place, a foundation is laid for it in the nature 
of things, "in the harmony that exists, and that is uncon 
sciously felt by all men between the natural and spiritual 
worlds, so that analogies from the first are felt to be some 
thing more than illustrations, happily, but not arbitrarily 


chosen." 1 Something more because they are the signs and 
witnesses of that happy adjustment, which God has established 
between the external and internal worlds, between matter and 
mind, time and eternity; according to which the things that 
are seen are in many respects the image of those which are 
not seen, and nature-processes are at once designed and fitted 
to be emblems of the operations of grace. In saying this, we 
do not need with some, among others with Dr. Trench, to go 
to the extreme of holding, that everything in nature has been 
pre-ordained expressly to shadow forth and represent Divine 
mysteries; to hold, for example, that "all the circumstances 
of our natural birth had been pre-ordained to bear the burden 
of the great mystery of our spiritual birth," or that the title 
of King, as applied to Christ, is not taken from the kings of 
the earth, but "rather that He has lent His title to them." 
We designate this an extreme, because it is an inverting of 
the natural order of things as they present themselves to our 
minds, and is also at variance with the whole current of 
Scriptural representation on the subject. There the natural 
ever precedes the spiritual, and the supernatural bases itself 
on the natural; so that creation does not anticipate redemp 
tion, but redemption pre-supposes creation pre-supposes it as 
in itself good and right; and, in like manner, regeneration pre 
supposes generation, and elevates it to a higher sphere. All we 
have to affirm and hold is, that the author of the spiritual king 
dom (as Tholuck, on John xv., has very correctly and fitly ex 
pressed it) " is also the author of the natural kingdom, and both 
kingdoms develop themselves after the same laws. For this 
reason, the similitudes which the Redeemer drew from the king 
dom of nature, are not mere similitudes, which serve the pur 
pose of illustration, but are internal analogies; and nature is 
a witness for the kingdom of God. Hence was it long since 
announced as a principle, that whatever exists in the earthly, 
is found also in the heavenly kingdom. Were it not so, 
those similitudes would not possess that power of conviction, 
which they carry to every unsophisticated mind." 

On this ground alone, then, we have a valid ground for the 
1 Trench on the Parables, p. 13. 


employment by our Lord of the parabolic method of instruc 
tion. He thereby drew the attention of His followers in every 
age to the profound and intimate connexion that subsists 
between the realms of nature and of grace, and taught them 
to look through the one to the other. It was the more im 
portant that lie should do this, as the kingdom He came to 
introduce stood in so many respects opposed to the world as 
it existed in His time, through the false views, grovelling su 
perstitions, and horrid crimes under which it groaned. It had 
become, so to speak, a worn-out world, corrupt nature had 
spent apparently its last efforts on it in vain; and it seemed 
as if there was little more to be learned from it, or to be done 
for it. But our Lord, while mainly intent upon unfolding 
new views of the mind and purposes of Heaven, at the same 
time directed a new look into the secrets and principles of na 
ture. By means especially of His inimitable parables, He 
showed, that when nature was consulted aright, it spoke one 
language with the Spirit of God ; and that the more thoroughly 
it is understood, the more complete and varied will be found 
the harmony which subsists between the principles of its con 
stitution and those of Christ s spiritual kingdom. 

2. A second reason very naturally suggests itself for this 
method of instruction, in the near assimilation, into which it 
brings a large portion of the teaching of Jesus with the acted 
lessons of His life, and with sacred history in general. That 
so much of the revelation of God to men consists of the facts 
of history, especially of biographical facts connected with the 
lives of God s saints, has ever been regarded by wise and 
thoughtful men as a striking proof of its adaptation to our na 
tures, which so much more readily imbibe clear and lasting 
impressions in this way, than by set and formal instructions. 
And not only so, but by this means they can be taught much 
more in a brief compass than it is possible otherwise to impart 
to them. For, in a life, especially in such lives as are recorded 
in the Word of God, there is a great variety and fulness of 
instruction, admitting of a manifold applicability to the di 
versified fortunes and conditions of men. There is this, pre 
eminently, in the life of Jesus, with its wondrous details of 


doing and suffering, and the unfathomable depths of wisdom 
and love, which it was ever exhibiting alike incomparable in 
itself, and in the artless, engaging manner, in which it is pre 
sented to our view by the Evangelists. The parables of Jesus, 
from the historical element in them, and the attractive form 
in which it appears, possess much of the same excellence. 
They are based, if not on what has actually occurred in the 
world of realities, at least on what may have occurred there, 
and often in effect has done so. Ideal histories they are, yet 
derived as to all their leading features from the actual, and 
these grouped together, and portrayed with the simplicity of 
nature itself. They are hence, in a brief compass, copious 
treasures of Divine wisdom, from which lessons, new and old, 
may be continually drawn. And however much we may strive 
to exhibit the several aspects of the Divine kingdom, we shall 
still find, that we can present nothing under any of them so 
complete, as is contained in some one of the parables, which 
is devoted to its illustration. 

3. A third reason for our Lord s teaching in parables may 
be found in the opportunity it afforded of presenting more 
truth to the minds of His disciples than, from their continued 
dulness and carnality of spirit, could otherwise have been 
communicated to them. Steeped in prejudice, and, even when 
holding the truth in substance, mingling with it such partial, 
or mistaken apprehensions, they could with difficulty be got 
to receive with intelligence some of Christ s plainest revela 
tions; and, at last, He was obliged to stay His hand in respect 
to the more direct and open communications of his mind, as 
He found the disciples were not able to bear, or to profit by 
it. But, by teaching in parables, and presenting the concerns 
of His kingdom under the image of familiar objects and earthly 
relations, He laid the ground-work of a most comprehensive 
and varied instruction. Many aspects of the kingdom were 
thus unfolded to them in a form they could easily grasp and 
distinctly comprehend though, for the time, all remained, 
like the symbols of the Old Testament worship, very much 
as a dark and unintelligible cipher to their view. That ci 
pher, however, became lighted up with meaning when the 


personal work of Christ was finished, and the Spirit descended 
with power to make application of its blessings, and the minds 
of the disciples were enabled to grasp the higher as well as 
the lower scheme of doctrine exhibited in the representation. 
Through the earthly form they could now descry the spiritual 
reality ; and the advantage they derived from the types, when 
rightly understood, they also derived, and in a still higher 
degree, from the parables. 

4. Once more, another reason, and, indeed, the one that 
is most distinctly announced in the Gospels, for our Lord 
teaching so much in the latter part of His ministry in parable, 
was the judicial treatment involved in it the practical rebuke 
it administered to the people generally, on account of their 
failure to receive the truth when presented in its simple and 
more direct form. After the parable of the sower and some 
others had been delivered, the disciples asked Jesus, "Why 
speakest Thou to them in parables?" And the answer pointed 
chiefly to the measure of darkness connected with them : " Unto 
you it is given (said He) to know the mysteries of the kingdom : 
but to them it is not given ; for whosoever hath, to him shall 
be given, and he shall have more abundance; but whosoever 
hath not, from him shall be taken away even that which he 
hath. Therefore" He added, with reference to the people, 
who belonged to the latter class, the persons who had not, as 
the disciples did to the former "Therefore speak I to them 
in parables; because they seeing, see not; hearing, they hear 
not, neither understand." The import of the statement is, 
that the disciples, having to a certain extent used the privilege 
they possessed having improved the talents committed to 
them were to be intrusted with more ; while the body of the 
people, having failed to make a similar use of their opportu 
nities remaining destitute of Divine knowledge, notwith 
standing all that had been taught them were to have their 
means of knowing abridged, were to be placed under a more 
indirect and veiled method of instruction. This mode of dealing 
was in perfect accordance with the whole nature and tenden 
cy of the work of Christ in its relation to the hearts of men, 
which always carried along with it two ends, the one dis- 


playing the severity, and the other the goodness of God. 
From the first He was "set for the fall," as well as "the 
rising again," of many in Israel for the enlightenment and 
salvation first, but, if that failed, then for the growing hard 
ness and aggravated guilt of the people. 

In the parable, viewed as a mode of instruction, there was 
necessarily a veiling of the truth for such as neither sought, 
nor obtained through private explanations, the key to its 
spiritual bearing. And in that veiling there was an act of 
judgment for previous indifference and contrariety to the mani 
festation of the truth. Because the people had not received 
it in love, when more openly presented to them, it now became 
wrapt in an obscurer guise, and was placed at a greater dis 
tance from their view. Even this, had it been rightly viewed, 
would have wrought beneficially upon their minds. For, had 
they not wilfully blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, 
they would have seen in such a darkening of the Divine coun 
sel something fitted to rouse and startle them; it would have 
fallen on their ear as the warning-note of coming retribution; 
and, perceiving that the Lord was showing Himself froward to 
the froward, they would have fled to the arms of mercy before 
severer judgment overtook them. This, undoubtedly, was 
what our Lord designed as the effect that should have been 
produced upon -them by the change He adopted in His man 
ner of teaching. And in certain cases it may have done so; 
but, with the greater part, the evil only proceeded from one 
stage to another, and, before leaving for the last time the 
cities in which most of His mighty works had been done, and 
His discourses delivered, He uttered against them those me 
morable woes which announced their approaching doom. 

Such appear to have been the chief considerations which in 
duced our Lord in the later period of His ministry, to use so 
commonly the parabolic mode of instruction. It is not so 
properly an additional reason, as a particular mode of repre 
senting those that have been specified, when the Evangelist 
Matthew says of Christ s speaking to the people in parables, 
"that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, 
saying, I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter things 


which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world." 
What is here regarded as a prophecy, is a somewhat general 
declaration respecting the form of utterances common to the 
more special messengers of Heaven. With certain character 
istic differences, there still was something proper to them all 
in this respect, more particularly in those communications 
which had a prospective reference to the kingdom of God; 
there was a certain amount of figurative and analogical dis 
course required to their fulfilling aright their prophetic office. 
And it was unavoidable, that the greatest messenger and pro 
phet of all should also exhibit this mark of the prophetic call 
ing. It behooved to appear in some form; but the specific 
form it actually assumed in his hands was determined by the 
several considerations already mentioned. So that the allu 
sion of the Evangelist to the passage in the forty-ninth Psalm, 
does not indicate any thing new or different upon the subject, 
but is comprehensive of all the considerations, which actually 
weighed with our Lord, and induced Him to adopt the para 
bolic style. 

II. We proceed now to the second leading point of inquiry 
respecting the parables of Jesus, viz., the proper mode of in 
terpreting and handling them. We are not left here entirely 
to our own resources; for, on two occasions, very near each 
other, the disciples asked our Lord for an explanation of the 
parables He had delivered, and we have, in consequence, His 
interpretation of two of them. We are, doubtless, entitled to 
regard these examples of Divine exposition as specimens of 
the kind of exposition generally, that should be employed upon 
the parables, and the main features in them should be steadily 
kept in view by all interpreters. 

1. The first thing, however, that requires to be attended to 
is one not noticed in our Lord s explanations, but taken for 
granted there as perfectly understood, viz. the correct read 
ing of the parabolical representation itself, which forms the 
ground and cover of the spiritual instruction. We must ob 
tain a clear understanding, and be able to give an accurate 
exposition of the meaning of the words, and the natural or 


historical allusions which they may contain. And the image 
or delineation, as a whole, in its merely natural aspect and 
relations, should be set forth in its proper fulness and sim 
plicity, preparatory to our drawing from it the instruction it 
is fitted to convey. For the most part, this is not difficult 
if only a moderate amount of scholarship is possessed, and 
such a cast of mind as is capable of taking up a fair impres 
sion, and giving forth a distinct representation of what is nar 
rated: not difficult, because usually the language in these 
portions of Scripture is remarkable for simplicity, and the 
parabolic narratives relate to the more familiar objects in na 
ture and history. In a few cases only is some difficulty ex 
perienced. As an example of one in the language, we may 
point to the parable of the wheat and the tares as it is com 
monly termed. The difficulty lies here in determining exactly 
what is meant by /avra, the seed which the enemy scattered 
among the wheat, and which, it appears, did not attract any 
notice or excite any uneasiness, till the full blade had been 
put forth, and the ear had been formed. The tares, the an 
cient vicia, by which our translators have rendered the word, 
plainly do not altogether accord with the description; both 
because they are so different in form and appearance from 
wheat, that they should be detected the moment they rose 
above ground, and also because they are not of a noxious na 
ture, but are grown for purposes of nourishment. Our Lord, 
there can be little doubt, referred to some weed with which 
His hearers were familiarly acquainted, and which was wont 
to be found in the corn-fields of Syria. The term zizania is, 
therefore, in all probability a Syrian word; and, accordingly, 
it never occurs in any Greek or Latin author, except in the 
writings of the Fathers, where they refer to this parable. 
They explained it differently, and if we except Jerome, none 
of them quite correctly. But there is a plant, which the Rab 
bins call zunim, and the Arabs of the present day zulzan 
(neither of them very far from the zizania of Scripture,) which 
abounds in the corn-fields of Syria a plant, which is at first 
very like wheat in appearance, which belongs to the same 
family, and which, when analyzed, contains nearly the same 


ingredients, yet so different in its effects upon the human frame, 
that when the seeds remain mixed with the wheat, the flour 
thus produced always occasions dizziness and other injurious 
effects. There can be little doubt, that this is really the plant 
referred to. The only question (but one that can scarcely be 
said to affect the exposition of the parable) is, whether it is a 
distinct plant, or a sort of degenerate wheat afterwheat as 
it is sometimes called. The Rabbinical doctors held it to be 
the latter: they said, as quoted by Lightfoot, "Wheat and 
zunim are not seeds of different kinds," but "zunim is a kind 
of wheat, which is changed in the earth, both as to its form 
and as to its nature." The ancient scholiast, too, writes on 
Virgil s infelix lolium, "Triticum et hordeum in lolium mu- 
tantur." This, certainly, maybe reckoned doubtful; for the 
Rabbis and scholiasts were no great naturalists ; and it is more 
common now to regard the zizanion as a separate plant, the 
bearded darnel, lolium temulentum, of naturalists. At all 
events, this plant, and not our tares, is what must be under 
stood by the term in the parable although it would be un 
wise now to substitute the one term for the other in our Bibles. 

In the figurative representation of the parable, apart from 
the language in which it is expressed, there is seldom any 
difficulty. Only, it is necessary to exercise caution, so as not 
to extend the representation too far carry it beyond the 
bounds within which it was intended to move. Thus, in the 
parable of the unjust steward, who is set up as a representa 
tive in the worldly sphere, of a selfish and carnal wisdom, 
choosing skilfully its means for the accomplishment of a de 
sired end, we must take care to confine it to that one point, 
and abstain from giving it a more general direction. There 
is a higher wisdom even in the world than what is there ex 
hibited, a wisdom that extends to the choice of a proper end, 
as well as to the employment of proper means: but this is 
not brought into view in the representation of the parable. 

2. The next thing to be attended to in the interpretation 
of the parables, is the main theme or leading idea, which they 
are severally intended to illustrate. For, there always is what 
may be so characterized some special aspect of the Divine 


kingdom, or some particular line of duty to be followed, or of 
danger to be shunned, which the parable aims at exhibiting, 
and to which all its imagery is subservient. This, as Lisco 
has justly observed, "is the centre and kernel of the parable, 
and till it has been discovered and accurately determined, we 
need not occupy ourselves with the individual parts ; since these 
can only be seen in their true light, when contemplated from 
the proper centre. We may compare," he adds, "the whole 
parabolical representation to a circle, the centre of which is 
the Divine truth or doctrine, and the radii are the several 
figurative traits in the narrative. So long as we do not stand 
in the centre, neither does the circle appear in an entirely 
round form, nor do the radii seem in their proper order, as 
all tending to the centre, and in beautiful uniformity: this 
is done, when the eye surveys every thing from the centre. 
So is it precisely in the parable. If we have brought clearly 
and distinctly out its central point, its principal idea, then 
also the relative position and right meaning of its several parts 
become manifest, and we shall only dwell upon these in so far 
as the main theme can thereby be rendered more distinct." 

In order to arrive correctly at this main theme, beside an 
exact and careful examination of the parable itself, the chief 
help is to be sought in the connexion ; and if this is closely 
considered, and the light it furnishes applied to the illustration 
of the subject, we shall rarely, if ever, be left in doubt as to 
the principal idea or doctrine which it was designed to unfold. 
A few of the earlier parables, all those recorded in the 13th 
ch. of Matthew, and which were delivered about the same 
time, having been uttered one after another, without any 
thing intervening between them in speech or action, can con 
sequently derive no benefit from the immediate context. But 
with that exception, all the parables in the Synoptic evange 
lists are connected with occasions of an historical kind, very 
often also are preceded by a direct address; and then the 
principle couched in the address, or which the historical occa 
sion served to bring out, is resumed, and for all times thrown 
into the form of an attractive and striking parable. Possibly, 
the parable may carry the instruction somewhat farther than 


was done by what immediately preceded, but it will be found 
to be only in the same line. Thus the beautiful and impress 
ive parable of the rich fool, recorded in the 12th ch. of Luke, 
was occasioned by a person rudely interrupting Jesus, and re 
questing his interference with that person s brother, in order 
to obtain a division of the inheritance. Our Lord first re 
pelled the intrusion by asking, "Man, who made Me a judge 
or a divider over you?" and then delivered to His followers 
the appropriate counsel, "Take heed, and beware of covetous- 
ness: for a man s life consisteth not in the abundance of the 
things which he possesseth." Now, the parable that follows 
is simply an embodiment of this great lesson, which is thrown 
into the parabolic form, to clothe it with life-like freshness, 
and give it a more impressive and touching influence on the 
heart. In like manner, the three parables in the 15th ch. of 
Luke those of the lost sheep, the lost piece of money, and 
the prodigal son all took their rise in the taunt thrown out 
by the Pharisees against Christ, that He received sinners and 
ate with them ; and they each unfold, under so many different, 
yet closely related aspects, the grounds of the procedure, out 
of which the taunt originated; they explain and justify, on 
the common principles and feelings of humanity, the merciful 
and considerate treatment, which the adversaries vilified. 

These examples are comparatively simple; but there are 
others, in which the proper result is not so easily arrived at. 
It is, however, to be sought in the same way; the connexion, 
when closely surveyed, will generally be found the best help 
to ascertain the principal idea in the parable. In the case 
which, probably, presents the greatest difficulty in this respect 
that of the parable of the labourers in the vineyard, Matt. 
xxi. we shall not search in vain if we look in the direction 
now indicated. By referring to the close of ch. xx., we find 
the parable was delivered for the purpose of embodying and 
illustrating a great principle, which Peter s self-complacent 
exhibition of the sacrifices he and the other apostles had made 
for Christ s sake, had elicited from the Saviour, " that many 
who were first should be last, and the last first." The main 
theme of the parable, which is summed up with the reiteration, 


in a somewhat stronger form, of this practical saying, is com 
prised in the twofold truth therein contained. It teaches that 
the one class, the outwardly first, represented by the early 
called labourers, were unfit for the kingdom, because of the 
sense of merit, grounded on their early and long-continued 
services, rendering them indisposed to the simple reception of 
the gifts of grace, on which the Divine kingdom is founded. 
The other class, the outwardly last, represented by those who 
went into the vineyard at the eleventh hour, and who had no 
thing almost of their own on which to ground any claim to 
blessing these, the parable teaches, are the proper subjects 
of the kingdom, having that deep spirit of humility, which 
disposes them to receive without a murmur whatever the Di 
vine householder might give. 

It is needless to multiply examples further. But it will be 
perceived, from what has been already stated, that the para 
ble should be viewed in each case as one whole. If it is per 
vaded by some great idea, or specific lesson, it should be 
viewed and treated with a reference to this; and it cannot but 
suffer if it is broken up into a variety of separate parts, and 
each handled independently of the others. At the same time, 
individual traits may, on certain occasions, be selected as the 
basis of a discourse, if only care is taken to exhibit the con 
nexion in which it stands with the unity of the entire repre 
sentation, and a view is given of it properly consistent with 
the place belonging to it in that connexion. 

3. There is still another point, which requires consideration 
in the treatment of parables, but on which it is scarcely pos 
sible to lay down a very explicit direction. We refer to the 
regard that should be paid to the individual traits how far 
they should, or should not, be looked upon as having a sepa 
rate significance. It is here more especially that our Lord s 
interpretation of the two parables formerly noticed is fitted to 
yield an important service. From this we see, that every 
specific feature in the earthly type has its correspondence in 
the higher line of things it represents. Nothing, on the one 
hand, appears merely for ornament; while, on the other, no 
thing is wiredrawn, or made to bear a meaning that seems too 



much for it. It may, doubtless, be regarded as one of the 
indications of comparative perfection belonging to the para 
bles of our Lord, that they admit of such a close and particu 
lar application ; for the more numerous the points of agree 
ment in such a case, the more perfect must be deemed the 
form of the discourse. 

In connexion with this, however, the distinctive nature of 
the parable should be borne in mind, which is not fitted for 
unfolding the particular facts or the more specific doctrines of 
the kingdom of Christ, as its more fundamental laws and 
broader features. In their nature, parables are a species of 
allegory, or symbol; and whatever variety or depth of mean 
ing this is capable of embodying, it still must relate more to 
the great lines of truth and duty, than to the minuter details 
of either. If we should, therefore, go to the interpretation of 
them in a spirit of partisanship, eager to find support for some 
particular dogma we may be anxious to uphold, the result is 
sure to be an unnatural wresting of certain portions of the 
parable. And in all ages such has too frequently been the 
case in the treatment that has been given to this species of 

In early times we find many indications of it. For ex 
ample, the Manicheans sought support for their independent 
principle of evil, the essentially divine and creative power of 
the wicked one, in the representation given in the parable of 
the tares, respecting the sowing of the bad seed in the field 
as if the existence of the bad were something altogether new, 
and not rather the depravation of what existed before. It is 
not, as Augustine contended, and many others of later times, 
that something is brought into being apart from the creation 
of God, or accomplishing what God alone could effect. The 
zizania were of God, as well as the wheat, only in the wrong 
place, and in that place a depravation a travestying of the 
proper order and harmony of God s productions an evil, as 
every work of Satan is. Nor can we regard it as any thing 
but another, and, in principle, similar misinterpretation of the 
same parable, when many in modern times find in the sowing 
of the* zizania, and the refusal of the householder to have 


them plucked up, an argument for the utter relaxation of dis 
cipline in the Christian Church. They thus place it in an 
tagonism to the instruction contained in other portions of the 
New Testament; for example, the Epistles to the Seven 
Churches of Asia, and the First Epistle to the Corinthians, 
in which the strictest charges are given to maintain a watch 
ful discipline, and the severest rebukes and threatenings are 
uttered on account of its neglect. The proper application of 
that part of the parable has respect only to such admixtures 
as spring up unperceived those which the most vigilant over 
sight cannot prevent, or which, when they appear, are not so 
flagrantly offensive to Christian sense and purity, that they 
may at once be proceeded against as utterly opposed to the 
character of a Christian Church. It is only of such things 
that the representation can justly be understood, as of them 
only could it be said, that the judicial treatment of them by 
human instrumentality might involve the exclusion also of 
some of the true children from the state and privileges of 
grace. Comparing this parable with that of the sower, what 
is said in the one of the tares, nearly corresponds to what is 
said in the other of the third class of hearers those in whom 
the cares of this life, and the deceitfulness of riches, spring 
up and choke the word. Both alike seem to include such as 
might be within the pale of the Christian Church, though be 
coming by degrees alien to it in spirit and character, yet still 
preserving so much of the form of godliness, that no merely 
human eye has sufficient discernment to draw the line of de- 
markation between them and others, nor could any human 
hand administer the proper discipline, without sometimes, at 
least, confounding together the children of God and the chil 
dren of Satan. 

A misuse, similar to those already noticed, has also frequent 
ly been made of the representation given in the parable of 
the prodigal son, of the reception which that son met with on 
his return to the father. No mention is there made of any 
thing being necessary to secure the father s reconciliation, or 
provide for the son access to^the bosom of his love, excepting 
the son s own penitent frame of mind, and actual return; and 


hence, it is argued, in the higher sphere of things represented 
by these, there can also be no need for more an atonement 
in the ordinary sense cannot be required. But here the cases 
are not parallel the representation, by this use of it, is 
stretched beyond the proper line; since it is not as a father, 
but as a righteous governor, that God requires an atonement 
for the guilty; and to press a feature of this kind in an ex 
clusive sense, is simply to place it in antagonism to other parts 
of Scripture. This parable, like all the others, was intended 
to represent Divine things under the image of the human, only 
in so far as the one could present a parallel to the other. In 
the case of the earthly parent and child, there was no room 
for the introduction of an atonement as the basis of reconcili 
ation; the whole that could, with any propriety, be exhibited, 
was the play of feeling from the one side to the other, with 
the results to which it led every thing of a more fundamen 
tal kind, or connected with other aspects and relations of the 
subject, being left, for the present, out of view. 

Reference may still further be made in this connexion to 
the treatment often given to the parables in a prophetical re 
spect. Undoubtedly, they do generally contain a prophetical 
element, referring as well to the future progress and results 
of Messiah s kingdom, as to its existing character and condi 
tion. But they commonly do so under some particular aspect, 
one parabolical representation being chosen to give prominence 
to one feature, that was going to be developed, and another 
to another. Care, therefore, should be taken to keep in view 
the partial nature of each representation ; otherwise particular 
traits will have undue significance attached to them, and the 
instruction conveyed by one parable will be brought into con 
flict with that of another. Thus, the parable of the tares and 
wheat presents the future aspect of the kingdom as to the in 
termingling of the evil with the good presents this as a state 
of things that should, more or less, continue to the end of 
time; while the parable of the leaven hid in meal represents 
the Divine element in the kingdom working on till the whole 
was pervaded by it. They are two different aspects, but per 
fectly consistent, if the parts in which they differ are not un- 


duly pressed; but if otherwise, then the apparent continuance 
of evil in the one case, and its gradual extinction in the other, 
must become, not the complements, but the antitheses of each 
other. The Divine leaven cannot spread onwards till all is 
leavened, without, at the same time, causing the tares of error 
and corruption to disappear. But that there shall still, till 
the time of the end, be a certain admixture of the evil with 
the good, can readily be supposed; while, on the whole, the 
good continues to grow and spread, and becomes ultimately 

These hints, perhaps, may suffice. It is impossible, on such 
a subject, to lay down precise and definite rules; and the ex 
act line in each case can only be ascertained by careful con 
sideration, a well-exercised judgment, and a spiritual sense, 
derived from a living acquaintance with the truths of the gos 
pel, and close attention to the manner in which they are re 
vealed in Scripture. 



IT seems to be the invariable tendency of the human mind 
the consequence of its partial and imperfect working that 
when it gets hold of a right principle, it cannot rest till this 
has been pushed in some direction to excess; and the subject 
of Scripture parallelism forms no exception to the rule. It 
was to the fine discernment and poetical taste of Bishop Lowth 
that we owe the first correct appreciation of the distinctive 
characteristics of Hebrew poetry, and the establishment of 
what he denominated parallelism, as the peculiar feature of 
its rhythmical structure. He showed, first in his Prelections 
on Hebrew Poetry, and afterwards in his Preliminary Disser 
tation to his work on Isaiah, that while the poetry of the He 
brews did not admit of rhyme, nor of the regular metrical 
measures we meet with in the classical poets in Greece and 


Rome, yet it possessed a clearly marked rhythmical structure, 
consisting in a certain correspondence of the lines not, how 
ever, in respect to the sound, but in respect to the sense; " a 
certain equality, (as he defined it,) resemblance, or relation 
ship between the members of each period, so that in one or 
more lines or members of the same period things shall answer 
to things, and words to words, as if fitted to each other by a 
kind of rule or measure," (Prelec. xix.) Lowth. gave to this 
rhythmical structure, as we have said, the name of parallel 
ism, or the parallelism of members a name which is sufficient 
ly indicative of the reality, and is not likely, in this country 
at least, to be displaced by the " verse-rhythm," or " thought- 
rhythm" of Ewald. It is, however, in the thought or the 
sense that the rhythm properly lies. It is not simply, as 
Ewald justly states, a harmony of the members of the verse, 
but along with this, and as the foundation of this, " the rhyth 
mical outpouring of the subject and life of the thoughts which 
fill the verse ; and the beauty of the verse, as a whole, rises 
in proportion to the equilibrium and symmetry with which the 
sense is poured forth." 

We are not called here to enter into any formal investiga 
tion of the subject of parallelism, as connected with the poeti 
cal portions of Old Testament Scripture. But it may be pro 
per to state, that under the general principle of parallelism 
Bishop Lowth comprehended the different forms, which he 
called severally synonymous, antithetic, and synthetic or con 
structive parallels. The synonymous parallel lines are those 
which correspond one to another, by expressing the same sense 
in different but equivalent terms when a proposition is de 
livered, and is immediately repeated in whole or in part, the 
expression being varied, but the sense entirely or nearly the 
same. As when it is said 

"0-Jehovah, in-Thy-strength the-king shall-rejoice, 
And-in-Thy-salvation how greatly shall-he-exult! 
The-desire of-his-heart Thou-hast-grantcd unto-him, 
And-the-request of-his-lips Thou-hast-not-denied." 

The correspondence here is confined to two lines, the second 
of the two having a formal resemblance both in thought and 


in membership to the first. But the correspondence may also 
extend to three, to four, or even to five lines. The antithetic 
parallels are those "in which two lines correspond with one 
another by an opposition of terms and sentiments; in which 
the second is contrasted with the first, sometimes in expres 
sions, sometimes in sense only." One of the simplest examples 
is Prov. x. 7, "The memory of the just is blessed, But the 
name of the wicked shall rot." Or this, Prov. xxvii. 6, " Faith 
ful are the wounds of a friend, But deceitful are the kisses of 
an enemy." The antithesis expressed may differ both in kind 
and degree; and is found, indeed, to exist in very consider 
able variety, both in the Proverbs, where this species of pa 
rallelism particularly abounds, and in other parts of Scripture. 
The synthetic or constructive parallel lines are those, " in which 
the parallelism consists only in the similar form of construc 
tion; in which word does not answer to word, and sentence to 
sentence, as equivalent or opposite ; but there is a correspond 
ence and equality between the different propositions in respect 
of the shape or turn of the whole sentence, and of the con 
structive parts: such as noun answering to noun, verb to verb, 
number to number, negative to negative, interrogative to in 
terrogative." From its very nature, this species of parallel 
ism is of a somewhat looser, and more discursive sort than 
the others ; but, as one of the best, and most familiar exam 
ples of it, we may point to Psal. xix., "The law of the Lord 
is perfect converting the soul; The testimony of the Lord is 
sure making wise the simple," etc. 

Now, looking to this parallelism, as first explained by Bi 
shop Lowth, and applied by him to the more strictly poetical 
portions of Scripture, one can easily see the propriety and fit 
ness of having the rhythmical structure of those portions con 
fined to such a characteristic. It is the simplest of all rhyth 
mical forms, and the freest, and, as such, peculiarly adapted 
to inspired strains, in which, whatever scope may be allowed 
to the fancy, the form must still be subordinated to the sense. 
The artificial and complicated measures of classical poetry 
would have been unsuited to such a purpose; for it would 
have been difficult, next to impossible, for us to regard what 


was written, if thrown into such forms, as the unconstrained 
and fresh utterances of men, who spake as they were moved 
by the Holy Ghost. It is the chaste and natural simplicity 
of parallelism which peculiarly adapts it for sacred purposes, 
and renders the discourse so true, hearty, and confidential. 1 
For, when the heart pours itself forth, there naturally flows 
stream upon stream which is parallelism; or it turns over 
the image, and shows the reverse side in order to impress the 
matter more deeply upon the heart and this again is paral 
lelism. Only a measure which possessed such freedom and 
simplicity could have been worthy of being employed as the 
poetry of revelation. And this alone, too, properly consisted 
with the design of the Bible, as destined for the use of men, 
in every nation and every language. It is the excellence of 
the simple rhythmical structure of Hebrew poetry, that it is 
"transfusible (to use the words of Bishop Jebb) into all lan 
guages an excellence, not only unattainable in classical 
poetry, but prevented by classical metre. Classical poetry is 
the poetry of one language, and of one people. The words 
are, I shall not say chosen (though this be sometimes the case,) 
but arranged, with a view, not primarily to the sense, but to 
the sound. In literal translation, therefore, especially if the 
order of the original words be preserved, not only the melody 
is lost, but the sense is irreparably injured. Hebrew poetry, 
on the contrary, is universal poetry, the poetry of all lan 
guages and of all peoples: the collocation of the words is pri 
marily directed to secure the best possible announcement and 
discrimination of the sense ; and so, if a translator be only lite 
ral if he only preserve, so far as the genius of his language 
will admit, the original order of the words, he will infallibly 
put the reader in possession of all, or nearly all, that the He 
brew text can give to the best Hebrew scholar of the present 
day." 2 

Bishop Lowth has himself in the Introduction to his work 
on Isaiah given examples of this: he has shown how, by ad 
hering closely to the order of the original, not only may the 
parallelism be preserved, but a more lively and spirited exhi- 

1 Herder, Hebr. Poesie, i. 21. 2 Sacred Literature, p. 20. 


bition also of the sense be given, than is done by neglecting 
it. And he has further shown, that by means of the paral 
lelism the interpretation is sometimes aided, in those cases 
especially, in which rare words are employed, or words of 
doubtful import; the plainer meaning of one member throw 
ing light upon the corresponding one. At the same time, the 
help to be derived from this source is of a somewhat ambiguous 
character, and is very apt to lead astray. In the hands of 
Lowth himself, and of some of his followers, it led to not a 
few arbitrary interpretations, and unwarranted tamperings 
with the sacred text; as a change in the received import of a 
word, or in the existing text, when it seemed favoured by the 
parallelism, presented itself as an easy mode of getting over 
a difficulty, while, perhaps, it only led to a departure from the 
true meaning of the original. As a help to interpretation, 
therefore, the parallelism of Hebrew poetry always requires 
to be used with much caution. It does so more especially on 
this account, that there is both a considerable diversity, and a 
great freedom manifested in the use of the parallel arrange 
ment. So that what is called the synonymous parallel is not 
always, and indeed very rarely, altogether synonymous; with 
a general similarity, it usually exhibits some distinct shade of 
meaning; and, again, when there is something of antithesis, 
the sentiment expressed is often but partially antithetic. 

Bishop Lowth was not insensible of such freedoms and 
shades of diversity; for, when speaking of the second member 
of synonymous parallels, he represents it as containing either 
entirety, or nearly, the same sense as the first. And in his 
4th Prelection, when treating generally of the subject of pa 
rallelism, he says not merely that they repeat, but also that 
they vary and strengthen the sense (idem iterant, variant, au- 
gent.) Practically, however, this was too much overlooked 
both by hirn, and by his followers; and the custom sprung up 
and grew, among lexicographers and commentators, of ascribing 
many unwarranted meanings to words, on the simple ground, 
that the sense as determined by the parallelism seemed to re 
quire them. On this practice, which extended to the Greek 
Scriptures also, Bishop Jebb very properly cautioned Biblical 


students: he said, "The assumed synonyme of periods, mera- 
hers, or lines, has, in many instances, occasioned the conse 
quent assumption, that in the Alexandrine translators of the 
Old Testament words are synonymous, which in all other 
writers have totally diverse meanings; and the same principle 
has been applied to several words and passages in the New 
Testament." He adds, "Let the cited passages be carefully 
examined, and I venture to affirm, that instead of a syno 
nyme, there will almost universally be found an important va 
riation of meaning, between the related members; commonly 
a progress in the sense; but always such a variation as will 
quite supersede the necessity of resorting to an unusual, much 
less an unprecedented, acceptation of the terms employed." 
(p. 51.) 

Jebb, however, fell into something like an opposite extreme ; 
and, instead of being satisfied with showing a general varia 
tion in the meaning of one parallel line as compared with ano 
ther, he sought to establish a uniform and regular progression 
of thought in the sentences. Hence, the parallels of the first 
class instead of being called synonymous, have come to be 
usually designated gradational though Jebb himself pre 
ferred the term cognate. We call this an extreme in the op 
posite direction ; for though there can be no doubt, that in a 
very large proportion of the parallelisms of Scripture, there is 
a gradational advance, an intensifying of the sense in the se 
cond parallelistic line as compared with that given in the first, 
yet in a considerable number of cases there is a substantial 
agreement, or a diversity without anything that can fitly be 
called a progression of thought. And the attempt to make 
out a uniform gradational sense in the parallelism has led, 
not unfrequently, to forced interpretations. Take, for ex 
ample, one of Jebb s illustrative passages: 

"Who shall ascend the mountain of Jehovah? 
And who shall stand within His holy Place? 
The clean o^hands, and the pure in heart." Ps. xxiv. 3, 4. 

"To ascend," says Jebb, "marks progress; to stand, sta 
bility and confirmation; the mountain of Jehovah , the site of 


the Divine sanctuary; His lioly place, the sanctuary itself; 
arid in correspondence with the advance of the two lines which 
form the first couplet, there is an advance in the members of 
the third line: the clean of hands, and the pure in heart: 
the clean of hands shall ascend the mountain of Jehovah, the 
pure in heart shall stand within His holy place" (p. 40.) Au 
gustine, as Jebb acknowledges, had in substance made the 
same distinction; but whenever, or by whomsoever made, I 
hold it to be quite fanciful at least in the form in which it 
has now been presented. The Psalmist is plainly describing, 
in this part of the Psalm, the sincere worshipper of God, and 
doing so in respect to his going to appear before God at the 
appointed place of worship under the Old economy. But no 
thing seems farther from his mind, than the thought of deli 
neating different degrees of purity, and of privilege connected 
with it one to occupy a certain position of nearness, and ano 
ther to occupy a higher and a holier. To ascend God s moun 
tain, in the sense here contemplated, was all one, in substance, 
with standing in His holy place; for, it was for the purpose 
and with the view of standing in such a place, that the wor 
shipper comes into consideration as ascending the mountain ; 
and the law of Moses recognised no distinction of the kind 
here indicated between cleanness of hands fitting for one act 
of worship, or one stage of approach, and purity of heart fit 
ting for another. Cleanness of hands .has no other significance 
than as a symbol of moral purity ; if it differs at all from the 
other expression purity of heart it can only be in pointing 
more to the life as embodying the purity, which has its seat 
in the heart; but the two expressions at most denote, not 
different degrees of goodness, but different aspects of the same 
goodness. Besides, in a continuous description of this sort, 
how can you stop simply at the second term of the descrip 
tion ? If there is a progression in the first two, why should it 
not extend also to what follows? It is added, "Who hath 
not lifted up his soul to vanity, nor sworn deceitfully." Do 
these denote a gradation of excellence beyond purity of heart? 
Or is the one clause here also to be connected with ascending 
the mountain, and the other with standing in the holy place? 


Neither of these assertions can with any propriety be made. 
And on tnis ground also we hold, that the distinction is an 
entirely fanciful one; and that the description ought to be 
viewed in its entireness, as the description, under a variety of 
aspects, of one who might appear with acceptance among God s 
sincere worshippers. The several epithets are not absolutely 
synonymous, but neither are they gradational ; they are merely 
diverse representations of the righteous man s state and cha 

It is, therefore, my conviction that the principle of paral 
lelism has been carried to excess by Dr. Jebb, and his fol 
lowers, in the way of discovering correspondences or relations 
of a somewhat more complicated and artificial kind, than really 
exist. But the chief excess has been in connexion with what 
is called the introverted parallelism & fourth form introduced 
by Jebb and its application to portions of the New Testa 
ment writings. On this sort of parallel, Jebb says, "There 
are stanzas so constructed, that whatever be the number of 
lines, the first lines shall be parallel with the last; the second 
with the penultimate; and so throughout, in an order that 
looks inward, or, to borrow a military phrase, from flanks to 
centre." One of the longest examples given of this by Jebb 
is also, perhaps, the best for his purpose that could have been 
selected: it is in Psalm cxxxv. 15 18, and consists of eight 
lines, of which the first and eighth are held to be parallel 
then the second and seventh the third and sixth and finally, 
the two beside each other, the fourth and fifth, in the centre. 
The passage is the following: 

f; The idols of the heathen are silver and gold, "They have ears, but they hear not; 

The work of men s hands: Neither is there any breath in their months. 

They have mouths, but they speak not; They who make them are like unto them; 

They have eyes, but they see not ; So are all they who put their trust in them." 

"In the first line," says Dr. Jebb-, "we have the idolatrous 
heathen; in the eighth, those who put their trust in idols; in 
the second line the fabrication, in the seventh the fabrica 
tors; in the third line mouths without articulation, in the sixth 
mouths without breath; in the fourth line eyes without vision, 
and in the fifth ears without the sense of hearing." No doubt, 


a sort of correspondence throughout, but, at the same time, 
no organic connexion, or peculiar relationship between the 
lines thus artificially brought together nothing that mate 
rially contributes to help the meaning. Thus, in the first and 
last, "the idols of the heathen are silver and gold so are all 
they who put their trust in them." What is gained, we ask, 
by bringing these far-distant lines into juxtaposition ? So far 
from the sense thereby gaining in force and clearness, it is 
not even preserved; and though, it is true, idolatrous persons 
are the subjects in both of them, yet this is no more than what 
may be said of the seventh line "they who make them are 
like to them," and one might as well join together the first 
and seventh as the first and eighth. Indeed, rather do so, as 
this collocation would make sense, while the other does not. 
The parallelism, therefore, viewed in respect to the sense, 
which is the main point, fails in the manner it is here at 
tempted to be carried out; and we gain nothing by throwing 
ourselves back from the later to the earlier line, with which 
it is supposed to have some special affinity. On the contrary, 
we are in danger of losing the real progression of thought, 
which appears in the passage, when viewed consecutively, for 
a somewhat fanciful arrangement of its several parts. So 
also in multitudes of passages, that might be produced from 
human compositions, it might be perfectly possible to throw 
the successive lines of thought into similar combinations, 
although these were quite remote from the mind of their re 
spective authors ; but by doing so we would gain nothing, we 
should rather lose by making the attempt. 

It may be well to give proof of this by pointing to some ex 
amples; but let me first present some idea of the extent to 
which the parallelistic principle has been carried. A great 
portion of Bishop Jebb s work on Sacred Literature was de 
voted to the purpose of applying that principle, and more 
especially this latter form of it, to New Testament Scripture. 
Of course, there are parallelisms there. The language of the 
New Testament, as well as its doctrines, spring out of the Old ; 
and where the poetical element enters, it naturally assumes 
much of the ancient form ; the parallelistic structure is more 



or less preserved. It is not, therefore, the fact of the exist 
ence of parallelisms in New Testament Scripture, but the limits 
within which they should be confined, or the form they may 
be made to assume, that can be regarded as just matter of 
controversy. It is not the presence, but the excess of the 
principle, as exhibited by the class of writers referred to, to 
which we object. But this principle, first of all, is often sought 
for in cases where there is nothing peculiar where there is 
merely such a structure of the sentences as the mind naturally 
adopts when tersely expressing its thoughts, without thinking 
of any regular measures or parallel lines. Thus, in Luke xii. 
48, "Unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall much be 
required; and to whom they have committed much, of him 
shall they demand the more ; " or Gal. vi. 8, " He who soweth 
to the flesh, shall of the flesh reap corruption; and he who 
soweth to the Spirit, shall of the Spirit reap life eternal." In 
Matt. viii. 20, we have an example of what is called the triplet, 
there being three lines in parallelism, "The foxes have dens, 
And the birds of the air have nests, But the Son of Man hath 
not where to lay His head;" and again, in Rev. xiv. 18, 
"Put forth thy sharp sickle, And gather in the clusters of the 
vine of the earth, For its grapes have become fully ripe." 
Then, there is the quatrain, consisting of two parallel couplets, 
the pairs of which are termed sometimes directly, sometimes 
inversely parallel of which the passages just cited from Luke 
and Galatians may be taken as specimens; or this in John 
xv. 10, "If ye keep My commandments. Ye shall abide in my 
love, Even as I have kept My Father s commandments, And 
abide in His love:" And even this in Mark xii. 12, "And 
they sought to seize Him, And they feared the people; For 
they knew that against them he spake the parable ; And having 
left Him, they departed." But examples of longer stanzas, 
having five, six, and even more lines, are produced such as 
John xi. 9, 10, "Are there not twelve hours in the day? If 
a man walk in the day he stumbleth not; Because he seeth 
the light of this world: But if a man walk in the night he 
Rtumbleth; Because the light is not in him" (five;) also 
Matt. xxiv. 7, 8; 1 Thess. v. 7, 8; Rom. ii. 28, 29. For those 


of six, see Matt. xvi. 2, 3 ("When it is evening, ye say, a, 
calm! For the sky is red: And in the morning, * to-day a 
tempest; For the sky is red and lowering: Hypocrites! the 
face of the sky ye know how to discern, But ye cannot [dis 
cern] the signs of the times.") Also Luke xii. 4, 5, 47, 48; 
1 Cor. xv. 47 49; and many parts of the Sermon on the 

Now, that there is nothing of the proper parallel arrange 
ment in such passages as these, is evident from the difficulty 
often of knowing where precisely the division of the lines 
should be made, or which part is to be held as corresponding 
with another. One has to cast about for a time, to see how 
the sentences can be brought into shape; and were it not for 
the stanza-form, into which they are thrown by the advocates 
of parallelism, very few persons would ever have imagined 
that they really admitted of such an arrangement. They 
belong to that species of composition which consists of apoph 
thegm, or short sententious utterance, usually embodying some 
sort of comparison or contrast, and in which the mind natu 
rally in modern as well as ancient times, in its ordinary as 
well as in its loftier moods throws its words into set forms 
and relative proportions but without ever thinking of any 
thing like remote and complicated parallels. Open, for 
example, Lord Bacon s Collection of Apophthegms, and take 
one of the very first that occurs. As presented by him, it 
forms two short sentences; but in the hands of the Parallel- 
ists it would make a choice specimen of the introverted qua 
train thus: 

Good fame is like fire: 

When you have kindled it, you may easily preserve it; 
Cut if once you have extinguished it, you will not easily kindle it again, 

At least not make it burn as bright as it did. 

Here, it might be stated, the first and the last lines corre 
spond; they both speak of fire in its capacity of burning, or 
shining brightly. Then, the two intermediate clauses refer 
to two different conditions, with their respective effects the 
fire, when once kindled, easily preserved; when extinguished 


after having been kindled, not easily lit up anew. But \vhat 
is gained by this sort of introversion? Does it throw addi 
tional light on the thoughts expressed, or present them in a 
more striking aspect? Not in the least; it only suggests an 
artificial arrangement, where none whatever was intended, 
and the mind of the writer was merely following the natural 
course of its thoughts and feelings. We might say substan 
tially the same of another example in Bacon: "In great 
place, ask counsel of both times Of the ancient time, what 
is best; and of the latter time, what is fittest:" quite natu 
ral and orderly as it stands, but incapable of being improved 
by being drawn out into parallels. Or, look at this longer 
specimen from the same quarter: 

"The empirical philosophers are like pismires, 

They only lay up and use their store; 
The rationalists are like the spiders, 

They spin all out of their own bowels. 
But give me a philosopher who is like the bee, 
Who hath a middle faculty, 

Gathering from abroad, 
But digesting that which is gathered, 
By his own virtue." 

Thrown into so many lines, this passage doubtless presents 
a great variety of parallels parallels, too, much more dis 
tinctly marked, and more easily detected, than many of those 
found in Xew Testament Scripture. But what advantage is 
gained by presenting the passage in such a form? Was this 
form present to the mind of the writer? Or, when exhibited, 
does it serve to bring out the thoughts in a more lucid and 
impressive manner? The writer himself has simply put them 
down as so many consecutive sentences each growing natu 
rally out of what preceded; and, so far from making any 
improvement upon the manner of exhibiting the truths stated, 
the introduction of parallelisms would tend rather to lead our 
minds in the wrong direction make us conceive of him as 
busying himself about artificial forms of expression, while in 
reality he was intent only upon giving distinct utterance, or 
logical sequence, to the ideas which had formed themselves in 


his mind. The proper parallelism that which by way of 
distinction should be so called is a particular form of that 
measured diction, which the mind in an elevated state of feel 
ing instinctively adopts, as necessary to give adequate ex 
pression to the fiery glow, or swelling fulness of sentiment, of 
which it is conscious : it cannot be satisfied with itself, till it 
has thrown its conceptions and feelings into such a compressed 
and regulated form. But in the examples that have been 
adduced both from Bacon and the New Testament, it is the 
reflective or logical faculties that are at work. The mind is 
in its ordinary mood, and merely seeks in a pointed and con 
secutive manner to present its thoughts on some particular 
topic. So that introverted parallelisms, or complicated struc 
tures of any kind, are out of place ; nor can they serve any 
purpose but that of suggesting the idea of constraint or art, 
where in reality nothing of the kind existed. 

Not only, however, does this extreme fondness for parallel 
isms, and the attempt to discover them in the simply didactic 
or historical portions of New Testament Scripture, tend to 
give too artistic and constrained an appearance to such por 
tions, but it leads occasionally to fanciful conceits and false 
interpretations. Ihe most part, as we have said, of the Ser 
mon on the Mount has been turned into examples of parallel 
isms some of them of the most involved and intricate de 
scription, but never with the effect of throwing any fresh light 
upon its different parts sometimes, however, with the effect 
of arbitrarily changing the connexion, and obscuring the na 
tural import. In proof of this we may take one of Jebb s 
examples, which is re-produced by Dr. Forbes, in his work on 
Scripture Parallelism viz., Matt. vii. 6: "Give not that 
which is holy to the dogs, Neither cast your pearls before 
swine; Lest they trample them under their feet, And turn 
about and rend you." This is considered as a specimen of 
the introverted parallelism ; so that the first and the fourth 
go together, then the second and the third. It is, therefore, 
according to Dr. Jebb, to be read thus : " Give not that which 
is holy to the dogs, Lest they turn about and rend you; Nei 
ther cast your pearls before swine, Lest they trample them 


under their feet." And this interpretation is justified on the 
ground that our Lord wished to place the more dangerous act 
of imprudence first and last, so as to make it, and its fatal 
result, produce the deepest impression on the mind; while the 
other and less senseless form that represented by the image 
of casting pearls before swine is placed in the middle. 
But, in that case, by the ordinary laws of construction, some 
thing would have been required to carry back our thoughts 
from the last to the first member: and Dr. Jebb, sensible of 
this, shoves in a those before the verbs in the last line 
"Lest those turn about and rend you." And, indeed, to 
make the matter quite right, the they in the preceding clause 
should have been these: it should have stood thus: "Give 
not that which is holy to the dogs, Neither cast your pearls 
before swine: Lest these (the swine) trample them under 
their feet, And those (the dogs) turn about and rend you." 
In this way, no doubt, the references become tolerably plain; 
but it is a plainness for which we are indebted to the inven 
tion or arbitrariness of an interpreter who has a theory to 
support, and adjusts the words to the theory, rather than the 
theory to the words. Plainness of this kind is too easily 
found to be of much value, and in the present case it is not 
needed. For, while both dogs and swine might be included 
in the latter part of our Lord s statement, it is the swine 
more especially, not the dogs, that must be meant. The one, 
as well as the other, might turn about and rend those who 
threw something in their way; but from the very nature of 
the case, it is the swine we are here naturally led to think of 
as acting such a part: both, because they are the more vo 
racious and savage in disposition, and because the thing cast 
to them pearls being fitted to mock rather than to satiate 
their appetite, it was quite natural for them to turn about and 
rend the person who had thus provoked, without satisfying, 
their greed. The dogs, on the other hand, had no temptation 
to act so ferocious a part; for in having what was holy given 
to them, they doubtless had what they wished they got flesh 
to eat; only, being holy flesh, they were incapable of appre 
ciating its distinctive character, and treated it as a common 


thing. Understood spiritually, the dogs represent those who 
are in such a grovelling and debased condition, that they have 
no aptitude for the things of God no relish or capacity for 
spiritual exercises and enjoyments; so that to admit them to 
sacred privileges, or to spread before them the joys of the 
Divine life, were only to give them an opportunity of treating 
as common profaning what should be handled with holy 
reverence and spiritual relish. The characters represented 
by the swine, however, are such as have reached a more ad 
vanced stage in the course of depravity not grovelling, 
merely, and sensual, but also devilish ready to resent as 
evil what has been meant for good, but does not suit their 
unhallowed appetite; hence disposed, not only to treat with 
despite or scorn the pearls of Gospel truth and promise, but 
also to vilify, abuse, or persecute those who would press these 
on their regard. It is such, therefore the characters repre 
sented by the swine the sour, ungenial, repulsive, or furious, 
as well as worldly spirits, who are chiefly referred to, and 
w r arned against, as likely to turn again and rend those who 
might offer the precious things of the Gospel to them. Thus 
it appears, that the natural order and connexion is also the 
best; and the search after a more artificial arrangement only 
leads to a mistaken application of the images employed. 

The same line of remark in substance might be extended 
to many other passages in New Testament fecripture, to which 
the principle of parallelism has been applied. And the ob 
jections already urged are a fortiori valid in regard to a still 
farther extension of the principle, which has occasionally been 
made in particular by Mr. Boys, in what he designates a 
Key to the Book of Psalms, and more recently adopted by 
Dr. Forbes. By this more extended application of the prin 
ciple, whole chapters, and passages long enough to form a 
chapter, are treated as specimens of the introverted parallel- 
elism. The entire Epistle of Philemon is held to be con 
structed on this principle the two verses at the centre (ver. 
15, 16) having something in common, viz., one and the same 
subject, Onesimus; and then the respective verses on each 
side, as they recede from this centre, possessing what is 


thought to render them parallel one to another. The merest 
glance over the arrangement is sufficient to convince any un 
biassed mind that it is altogether fanciful; since what are 
called parallel verses have often so little in common, that no 
one, who was not in search of resemblances, would ever have 
thought of them. But even if there had been more to coun 
tenance the idea in appearance, we should still have rejected 
it. The very conception of such complicated and artificial 
structures has something palpably and painfully unnatural 
about it, and is utterly opposed to the simplicity, which we 
cannot but associate with the epistolary and didactic parts of 
Scripture. It is as if one should compress the free and spon 
taneous movements of Spirit-stirred minds within bones of 
steel, and make art, rather than nature, the ground-form of 
the utterances of God s Spirit. Such applications of paral 
lelism, therefore, must be ranked as a vicious excess unsound 
in principle, and sure, in practice, to lead to frivolous conceits. 
Parallelism, as already remarked, properly belongs to the 
poetical province, being the simplest of the measured and re 
gular forms into which a poetical elevation throws the concep 
tions and feelings which it strives to give forth. If judiciously 
applied to those portions of Scripture which partake of this 
elevation, the beauty of the composition, and the fulness and 
force of the thoughts expressed in it, will be more distinctly 
perceived, and may be more impressively set forth. But 
when brought into the province of history, of epistolary 
writing or familiar discourse, if admitted to a place at all, 
it must be within very narrow bounds, and in connexion only 
with the simpler modes of construction. 






THERE are several marked and characteristic differences 
between the two genealogical tables presented by the Evange 
lists of the human ancestry of our Lord differences that from 
a very early period have occasioned embarrassment to inter 
preters, and have often been pronounced inexplicable dis 
crepancies. Nor is it only in the things in which they differ 
that they have given rise to trouble and dispute; but a still 
more perplexing circumstance, if possible, has been found, in 
a matter on which they are, at least, apparently agreed; 
namely, that it is with Joseph, not with Mary, that the ge 
nealogical descent of Jesus is formally connected. What 
renders this the more remarkable is, that the two Evangelists, 
who thus agree in dropping the name of Mary from any os 
tensible or direct connexion with the descent from David and 
Abraham, are precisely those, who expressly record the mi 
raculous conception of Jesus, and so provide an explicit testi 
mony to the fact, that He was strictly the Son only of Mary, and 
not of Joseph. There can be no doubt that this is, in some re 
spects, the greater difficulty adhering to these tables, since it 
touches the point of our Lord s title to the name and office of 
Messiah. It is, therefore, the point to which our attention 
shall be primarily directed, yet so as not to neglect the others, 
which are also of considerable interest and importance. 


I. Here we observe at the outset, that there are certain 
preliminary considerations, which ought, in all fairness, to be 
borne in mind, and which, apart from all minutiae belonging 
to the construction of the genealogies, go far to determine 
the chief historical question. It is certain, for example, that 
up till the period of our Lord s birth, and even after His death, 
genealogical registers were kept in Judea, both publicly and 
privately; so that ample materials must have existed for in 
vestigating all that concerned the lineage of Jesus. This 
fact, like most others in Gospel history, has been questioned, 
chiefly on the ground of a statement of Julius Africanus, who 
wrote, in the earlier part of the third century, a chronicon, of 
which a fragment on this subject has been preserved by Eu- 
sebius (Hist. Eccl. i. 7.) Africanus there reports, that Herod, 
conscious of the infelicity of his birth, and anxious to prevent 
the possibility of detecting it, burned the public family regis 
ters, "imagining that he should then appear noble, when no 
one could derive from the public monuments the evidence of 
a descent from the patriarchs, or the proselytes, and the 
mixed multitude that was called georse." On what grounds 
this statement was made, nothing is known ; nor does it appear, 
that Africanus himself had any great confidence in its histo 
rical correctness; for he introduces the narrative as delivered 
by the descendants of those who were the kinsmen of Jesus, 
u either for the purpose of display [in respect to their own 
pedigree,] or for simply declaring the truth;" and at the close 
introduces the qualifying clause, "Whether the matter actually 
stood thus or not" (err* ouv oZhroC ^ tfMc /^) -The 
story must be held to be, if not entirely fabulous, at least a 
great exaggeration of some lawless proceedings on the part of 
Herod or his abettors. Josephus is altogether silent respect 
ing any such destructive measures, which, if they had actually 
occurred to the extent described, could scarcely have been 
practicable: more than that, he expressly testifies, that he 
took the materials of the abstract he gave of his own family 
descent from those same public registers (os/ro^r dyfjtoffiocc 
dvaftrpafjtfjdvyv evpov, Vit. i. 1,) and at a period considerably 
later than that of the birth of Christ. The reference, too, of 


the Apostle Paul once and again to genealogies, as matters 
with which certain Jewish teachers were wont needlessly to 
entangle themselves and others (1 Tim. i. 4; Titus iii. 14,) is 
a sufficient proof of the plentiful existence of such documents. 
And so also is the reference made to them in the Protevange- 
lium of James, which, though a spurious production, is yet of 
very great antiquity. There can, therefore, be no reasonable 
doubt of the late existence of registers, or genealogical tables, 
public as well as private ; and the means must have been ac 
cessible to all, who had a mind to examine the point, for de 
termining whether Jesus was really of the house and lineage 
of David. Nor can we doubt, from the nature and intensity 
of the opposition made to Him, that, if the evidence on this 
point had not been known to be of the most conclusive kind, 
the defect would certainly have been discovered, and pressed 
to the prejudice of His claims. If His title to a Davidic origin 
was not impugned, the reason could only be, that it was in 
capable of being gainsayed. 

It is further to be borne in mind, that both Christ s title 
to be regarded as the Son of David, and the evangelical testi 
mony in favour of that title, by no means rests exclusively, 
or even principally, upon the preservation in the Gospels of 
the two Genealogies. There is much evidence besides upon, 
the subject, and evidence of a more patent and obtrusive kind. 
In the annunciation of His birth to the Virgin, it was declared, 
that the throne of His father David should be given to Him 
implying, that simply as born of her, He stood connected 
with the throne and family of David. During the course of 
His public ministry, He allowed Himself to be openly ad 
dressed as the Son of David (Matt. ix. 27, xv. 22) again 
implying both what He Himself claimed, and what was com 
monly believed respecting Him. On the day of Pentecost, 
St. Peter proclaimed to the assembled thousands, that God 
had raised Him up of the fruit of David s loins, to sit upon 
his throne (Acts ii. 30;) and in several passages St. Paul 
represents Him as having been the seed of David, according 
to the flesh (Rom. i. 3; 2 Tim. ii. 8; Acts xiii. 23.) Finally, 
in the Apocalypse He is designated "the root and offspring 


of David" (ch. xxii. 16.) Most plain, therefore, it is, that 
neither our Lord Himself, nor His immediate followers, made 
any secret of His strict and proper relationship to the house 
of David itself a conclusive proof, that it had a solid ground 
to rest upon, and could challenge the fullest scrutiny. The 
very objections urged against Him may be cited as evidence; 
for, while they occasionally grazed the border of this important 
point, they never actually struck upon it, and so yielded a 
virtual testimony in its support. It was perfectly understood, 
that if He was the Son of David, and the heir to his throne, 
He behooved to be born at Bethlehem (Matt. ii. 5 ; John vii. 
42;) and on this account the objection was raised against 
Jesus, that He was a Galilean, and came forth from Nazareth, 
whence nothing good in the spiritual sphere might be looked 
for (John i. 46, vii. 52 ;) but it never took the form of an al 
legation laid, or even a suspicion uttered, against His con* 
nexion by birth with the house of David. This is the more 
remarkable, as His residence from childhood in Galilee gave 
His adversaries a prinia facie ground to question it; doubts 
could scarcely fail to be stirred in many minds on the subject; 
and that these doubts did not find any audible utterance or 
assume a tangible form, can only be accounted for by the con 
clusive evidence which existed of His royal parentage. 

Still further, the report of Hegesippus concerning the 
relatives of Jesus in a subsequent generation, furnishes a 
collateral proof, as it clearly indicates the general and settled 
belief of the time. He states, as quoted by Eusebius (Hist. 
Eccl. iii. 20,) that the grandchildren of Judas, the brother of 
Jesus, were accused to the Emperor Domitian, and brought 
before him for examination, because of their reputed con 
nexion with the royal line of David; but that when Domitian 
ascertained their humble circumstances, and the spiritual na 
ture of the kingdom they ascribed to Jesus Christ, he despised 
them and sent them away. It thus appears, that amid all 
the circumstances that had become known concerning Christ 
down to the close of the first century the claims put forth 
on the part of His followers, and the objections or surmises 
raised on the part of His adversaries the belief of His per 
sonal relationship to the house of David remained unshaken. 


The fact, therefore, of our Lord s real descent from David 
must be held as certain, whatever difficulties concerning it 
may hang around the two genealogical tables. The subject of 
inquiry in respect to them narrows itself to the point, how they 
can be made to appear consistent with the truth of things, 
and not in antagonism with each other. There are certain 
palpable differences between them, which are fitted to suggest 
the idea of their having been drawn up on somewhat different 
principles ; and the thought very naturally suggests itself, that 
if these could only be ascertained, a satisfactory explanation 
would be found of the diversities subsisting between them. 

II. Is this diversity of principle in the construction of the 
two genealogies to be sought as regards the main point at 
issue in the one evangelist presenting the genealogy of Jesus 
through Joseph the reputed and legal father, and the other 
through Mary the only real parent, according to the flesh? 
If this were a practicable mode exegetically considered 
of understanding what is written, it would, no doubt, present 
a comparatively natural and easy solution of the greater dif 
ferences. But so far is it from appearing on the face of the 
language, that it seems never so much as to have occurred to 
the earlier writers, who had their minds specially directed to 
the subject. With one consent they referred both genealogies 
to Joseph, and appear to have been little troubled by the ab 
sence of any specific mention of the lineage of Mary. Afri- 
carms, who made the subject a matter of very careful investi 
gation, makes no allusion to this point, as tending to create 
in his mind any embarrassment. Jerome, indeed, refers to 
it; but thinks it enough to say, that Joseph s relation to the 
tribe of Judah and the house of David determined also Mary s, 
since by the law people were obliged to marry from among 
their own tribe: 1 although he could scarcely be ignorant, 

1 Qurerat diligens lector et dicat: Quum Joseph non sit pater Domini 
Salvatoris, quid pertinet ad Dominum generationis ordo deductus usque ad 
Joseph ? Cui respondebimus primum, non esse consuetudinem Scripturarum, 
ut mulierum in generationibus ordo texatur. Deinde, ex una tribu fuisse 
Joseph et Mariana; unde ex Lege earn accipere cogebatur ut propinquam 
In Matt. i. 18. 



that however customary this might be, there is no express 
enactment upon the subject; and, indeed, in the case of the 
daughters of Zelophehad, the legislation actually made pro 
ceeded upon the usual liberty of the females to marry into 
any tribe, and prescribed a limit in their case, and cases of a 
similar kind, only for the sake of perpetuating the inheritance. 
When there was nothing peculiar in this respect, it was per 
fectly allowable, and not uncommon, for the husband to belong 
to one tribe and the wife to another. In the Gospel age, also, 
when remnants of all the tribes were thrown together, such 
intermarriages would naturally be more frequent. Augustine, 
the contemporary of Jerome, goes, somewhat singularly, into 
the opposite extreme ; and while of opinion that Mary must 
have had some connexion (he does not state what) with the 
house of David, he is rather disposed to lay stress upon her 
relationship to Elizabeth, and connexion with the house 
of Aaron ; for, he says, "it must be held most firmly, that the 
flesh of Christ was propagated from both stems, that alike of 
the kings and of the priests, the personages in whom among 
the Hebrews was figured that mystic unction (namely, chrism,) 
whence the name of Christ beams forth, so long before also 
pre-intimated by that most evident sign. 1 Chrysostom, in 
his second homily on St. Matthew, reverts to Jerome s mode 
of explanation, and puts it in a still stronger form. He says, 
"not only was it not lawful to marry from another tribe, but 
not even from another family (obos dxb ~aTf)c<1<; lr^oc;) that 
is," he adds, "kindred (<jv-ffevsia$") This is the chief ex 
planation he gives, although he also points to the words used 
by the angel Gabriel, of whom it is said, that he was sent to 
u a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the 
house of David" understanding the latter expression, "of 
the house of David," to refer, not to Joseph the immediate, 
but to Mary the remote, antecedent; in which he is not fol- 

1 Firmissime tenendum est camera Christ! ex utroque genere propagntam, 
et regum scilicet et sacerdotum, in quibus personis apud ilium populum 
Hebracorum etiam mystica unctio figurabatur, id est, chrisma, unde Cbristi 
nomen elucet, tanto ante etiam ilia evidentissima significatione pnenuntiatum. 
De Consensu Evang. ii. 2. 


lowed by the better class of interpreters. He indicates no 
doubt, however, any more than the other writers of early times, 
that both genealogies bore respect to the ancestry of Joseph. 
This general agreement, for so long a time, as to the fact 
of Joseph s lineage being exhibited in both tables the absence 
of any idea, that either of them did, or by possibility might 
be understood, to trace the descent of Mary, undoubtedly af 
fords a strong presumption against the idea itself, as proceed 
ing on a too subtle or somewhat forced interpretation of the 
text. It was only about the period of the Reformation that 
the opinion seems to have been distinctly brought out and 
advocated, of Mary s genealogy being given in Luke, and 
Joseph s in Matthew the one for the satisfaction of the Jews, 
who, in matters of this description, made account only of 
males; and the other for the satisfaction of mankind in gene 
ral, who might seek to know the lineage of Jesus, not through 
his reputed or legal father, but through his one real earthly 
parent. Calvin refers to it as a view which had its known 
advocates in his day, but rejects it as untenable ; and, though 
it has since numbered many learned names on its side those, 
among others, of Osiander, Calov, Spanheim, Lightfoot, Ro- 
senmuller, Paulus, Kuinoel yet it must be held to be without 
any just foundation in the text, and even to do violence to its 
plain import. The view is based on the words of the Evange 
list Luke, when introducing the subject of the genealogy, 
"And Jesus Himself was about thirty years of age when be 
ginning (viz. His ministry,) being, as was supposed, the Son 
of Joseph, who was the son of Eli," etc. (o>v, &z Jvo^/J sro, 
vlb~ Icoffir^j roil ///*.) But the words, taken in their natural 
and obvious sense, connect Jesus with Joseph as his reputed 
father, and then this Joseph with H eli, as his father. The 
native import and bearing of the d>c evo/^sro, was precisely 
given by Euthymius, dc soozzt ro?c loodaio^- a>z jap 37 dAy- 
Osca er/sv* o jx yjv u*bz a ? jTO r j in the common reckoning of 
the Jews He was Joseph s Son, but He was not so in reality. 
The latter idea, however, was only implied, not distinctly 
stated, in the Evangelist s expression. If the meaning had 
been : the Son, as was supposed, of Joseph, but in reality of 


Eli, that is Eli s grandson (through Mary the daughter of 
Eli,) the passage would have required to run (as justly stated 
by Meyer,) ov, cb~ t usv ivopi^ero olb^ /atfftyp, ourco^ dk Ma- 
[Hf/.z, ro r j ///;, or something similar. It is possible enough, 
and may even be deemed probable, that the genealogies of 
Mary and Joseph coincided at a comparatively near point, 
but this can only be matter of probable conjecture, or, at 
most, natural inference; for, as regards the genealogy itself 
of St. Luke, we have no direct notice of Mary s pedigree, but 
only of Joseph s. 

To our view, the silence regarding Mary in the genealogi 
cal tables, and the stress that is laid in the Gospels upon Jo 
seph s connexion with the house of David, certainly seems 
strange. It appears to imply, that the Davidic descent of Jo 
seph somehow carried that of Christ along with it ; for the 
genealogies are produced as evidence of that very point. In 
much the same way, Joseph, when meditating the repudiation 
of the Virgin, is addressed by the angel in terms that make 
special reference to his royal descent, "Joseph, thou son of 
David" (Matt. i. 20;) and, again, when the reason is assigned 
for the journey to Bethlehem, which led to the birth of Jesus 
there, it was because, not Mary, but Joseph, was of the house 
and lineage of David (Luke ii. 4.) How is this to be ex 
plained? Does the termination of Joseph s genealogy really 
involve and carry along with it that of Mary s and Christ s? 
So Augustine perceived, and in a profound remark expressed, 
when commenting on the designation of Joseph and Mary by 
St. Luke as the parents of Jesus. "Since, therefore, . says 
he, "the Evangelist himself relates that Christ was born, not 
from intercourse with Joseph, but of Mary, as a virgin, whence 
should he call him (Joseph) His father unless we rightly un 
derstand, both that he was the husband of Mary, without car 
nal intercourse, by the bond simply of the marriage-tie; and 
that he was on this account also Christ s father, Christ being 
born of his wife, in a manner far more intimate than if He 
had been adopted from another family ? And on this ground," 
he adds, "even if any one should be able to prove that Mary 
had no blood-relationship to David, it was competent to hold 


Christ to be the Son of David, for the very same reason that Jo 
seph was entitled to be called His father." l This view, though 
not formally referred to Augustine, has been taken up and 
ably expounded by Delitzsch, in an article on the genealogies 
in Rudelbach s Zeitschrift for 1850, p. 581, sq. He holds 
that, in consequence of the Divine revelation made to Joseph, 
and his entire acquiescence in the arrangements announced to 
him, Jesus was really the fruit of his marriage, and, as such, 
his Son. Joseph acknowledged and owned the child, not, in 
deed, as begotten of his body, but as a sacred gift, which God 
had most wonderfully granted to him through his wife. In 
all cases children are God s gifts ; but this child was so in the 
most peculiar sense, there being an exclusion of human agency, 
and the direct intervention of the Divine. Now, if Jesus was 
the Son of Joseph, in his married relation, for the same rea 
son also lie was the Son of David; for He was born to a de 
scendant of the house of David was conceived and born of a 
virgin, who, simply from her espousals to Joseph, was already 
introduced into the house of David, and, within that house, as 
Joseph s spouse, brought forth her child. So the Evangelist 
Matthew contemplated the matter; for, according to the law 
and the established convictions of Israel, all depended upon 
Joseph s descent from David, not upon Mary s; and, by vir 
tue simply of his relation to Joseph, Jesus was born in the 
house of David, was therefore the child of a Davidic person, 
and so was justly held to have sprung out of the house of 

Such is the view of Delitzsch, which is undoubtedly in ac 
cordance with Jewish notions on the subject, and rests upon a 
solid basis of truth; fcince Mary, before the birth of the child, 
had actually, and by Divine ordination, become the spouse of 

1 Cum igitur ipse narret, non ex concubitu Joseph, sed ex Maria virgine 
natum Christum; uncle eum patrem ejus appellat, nisi quia et virum Marioe 
recte intelligimus sine commixtione carnis, ipsa copulatione conjugii; et ob 
hoc etiam Christi patrem multo conjunctius, qui ex ejus conjuge natus sit, 
quam si e^set aliunde adoptatus? Ac per hoc, etiam si demonstrare. aliquis 
posset, Mariam ex David nullam consanguinitatis originem ducere, sat erat 
secundum istam rationem accipere Christum filium David, qua ratione etiam 
Joseph pater ejus recte appellatus est. De Consensu Evartg. ii. 1. 


Joseph, so that what was hers, through her became also her 
husband s. Yet, as God s work is ever perfect not in de 
sign and nature merely, but in the way and manner also of 
its accomplishment so doubtless it was here. We have the 
best reasons for supposing that the relationship of Mary, im 
mediately to Joseph, and remotely to the house of David, was 
such, and so well known, that the genealogy of the one, at a 
point comparatively near, was understood to be the genealogy 
also of the other. This relationship on Mary s part seems 
plainly taken for granted by the angel, who announced the 
conception and birth of the child, when he said, "And the 
Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father Da 
vid," an announcement that was made to her before her 
marriage to Joseph, before she could be sure of such a mar 
riage ever being consummated, and so implying that, simply 
as born of her, through the power of the Holy Ghost, the child 
should stand in a filial relation to David. The statements in 
other parts of Scripture, designating Christ as, beyond dispute, 
of the seed of David, are also to be taken into account; so 
that, if the genealogies do not of themselves establish the per 
sonal relation of Mary to the house of David, they may be 
said to involve it; since, when viewed in connexion with the 
entire representation of the sacred writers, they seem to pro 
ceed on the ground of a common interest in this respect be 
longing to Joseph and Mary, and to Jesus through them. 
Certain other probabilities will also present themselves as we 

III. But, meanwhile, difficulties start up from the ground 
we have already won. For, if the two genealogical tables are 
both those of Joseph s proper pedigree, how should they diifer 
at so many points from each other differ, even in respect to 
the immediate father of Joseph and differ so regularly in the 
latter divisions, that between David and Christ they present 
only two names in common? This is a difficulty, which has 
long exercised the ingenuity of interpreters, and has given 
rise to a variety of schemes. It would occupy a considerable 
time to recount all these, and could serve no valuable purpose. 


We shall simply state what we deem to be the correct expla 
nation of the matter prefacing it however by a few conside 
rations, which ought to be kept in view by those who would 
arrive at right conclusions on the subject. The first is, that 
in these, as in genealogical tables generally, there may be se 
veral diversities without any actual incorrectness. This holds 
of such tables generally, and arises from the diversity of names 
sometimes borne by individuals mentioned in them, and from 
various circumstances and relations occurring to alter in some 
respect the natural course of descent, and thereby leaving 
room for one genealogist departing from the exact route or 
nomenclature of another. It is perfectly well known, by those 
who are at all acquainted with Jewish genealogies, how much 
this is the case; and the reference of the apostle to disputes 
in his day about endless genealogies (1 Tim. i. 4; Tit. iii. 9,) 
clearly implies, that the circumstances just noticed were wont 
to involve considerable diversity in details, not readily settled 
or explained. It may well be expected, therefore, especially 
at this distance of time, that there should be points of diver 
gence in the two tables before us, either altogether inexplica 
ble now, or admitting of explanation only by the help of sup 
positions which can at most be considered only as probable. 
A more full and intimate knowledge of the particulars might 
have made all perfectly plain. 

Another consideration to be kept in mind is, that whatever 
precise form the genealogical tables might assume whether 
they traced the lineage in an ascending or a descending order 
whether each successive generation is presented to our view 
as begotten by the preceding, or as standing to this in the re 
lation of a son to a father in either case alike the table is to 
be regarded as possessing the same character; and the same 
allowances or qualifications that may have to be made in the 
one case, are also quite allowable in the other. Mistakes 
and false theories have arisen from the neglect of this con 
sideration. It was thus, indeed, that Julius Africanus was 
misled, and became the instrument of misleading many others 
regarding the principles on which the two tables were con 
structed, by supposing that the phrase in Matthew, such a 


one begat such another, is of a stricter kind than the phrase 
in Luke, such a one was the son of another; he was of 
opinion that the former always denoted a natural connexion 
as of parent and child, while the latter might include other 
connexions sons by adoption, or by marriage, or by legal 
standing, as the case might be. In relftty, however, the He 
brews observed no distinction of the krod; they were accus 
tomed to use both forms of expression in the same way; and 
the one as well as the other was sometimes applied to denote, 
not descendants by actual procreation, but the next of kin, or 
descendants in the wider sense. The table itself in Matthew s 
Gospel affords conclusive evidence of this; for it has " Joram 
begat Ozias," or Uzziah, although we know for certain that 
three links of the chain are there dropt out, and that Joram 
begat Ahaziah, then Ahaziah Jehoash, and Jehoash Uzziah. 
As a proof of the freedom sometimes used in such cases, we 
may point to the statements in Gen. xlvi. 26 ; Ex. i. 5, where 
Jacob is himself included among those that came out of his 
loins; 1 and to Gen. x. 13, 14, " Canaan begat Sidon, his first 
born, and Heth, and the Jebusite, and the Amorite," etc., 
where evidently whole races are said to have been begotten by 
the person who was no further related to them than that he 

1 See, for example, the Jewish Commentate)! Raphall, on Gen. xlvi. 26, 
who, after referring to the opinions of other Jewish authorities, and showing 
how the 66 persons said to have ccme out of Jacob s loins were made up (32 
by Leah, 16 by Zilpah, 11 by Rachel, 7 by Bilhah,) thus sums up: "Now, 
as the family of Leah is said to consist of 33, though only 32 are enumerated, 
and as the former number would give us 67 persons (which the Septuagint 
actually has,) whereas the text expressly declares, that the number of those 
who proceeded from Jacob s loins were 06, and no more: And as, moreover, 
the only members of Jacob s family whom the text mentions as being in 
Egypt were three, namely, Joseph, and his two sons; and as these three, with 
the 66 above named, are only 69, whereas the text declares, that all the 
persons of the house of Jacob who came into Egypt were 70; and as Jacob 
must, of course, be considered as a member of his own house, it follows, that 
the 70th person who came, can have been no other than Jacob himself. 
And if this be so, then the 33d person numbered with, but not among, the 
descendants of Leah, can also have been no other than Jacob ; for if it had 
been any other person, the total number of Jacob s house would have been 71 
contrary to the text, since Jacob can in no wise be excluded from his own 


was their common progenitor. We even occasionally find 
cities or districts associated in the same way with an indivi 
dual as their parent; thus in 1 Chron. ii. 50, "Shobal the 
father of Kirjath-jearim, Salma the father of Bethlehem, Ha- 
reph the father of Beth-Gader." And not only did the Le- 
virate law afford occasions of pretty frequent occurrence, when 
a person must have had children reckoned to him that were 
not strictly his own, but women also for example, Sarah and 
Ilachel are represented as speaking of the possibility of ob 
taining children born to them through their handmaids (Gen. 
xvi. 2, xxx. 3.) 

Such being the case, there is plainly nothing in the way of 
our holding, that the table of Matthew may, equally with that 
of Luke, admit of relationships being introduced not of the 
nearest degree ; nor, further, any thing, so far as form is con 
cerned, to render the position untenable, that in the one we 
may have the succession in the strictly royal line, the legal 
heirs to the throne of David (Matthew s,) and in the other 
(Luke s) the succession of our Lord s real parentage up to 
David. So that, were this view to be accepted, we should 
have Christ s legal right to the kingdom established, by the 
list in the one table ; and by that of the other, the direct chain 
which connected Him with the person of David. This is sub 
stantially the view that was adopted by Calvin, though not 
originated; for he refers to some as preceding him in the same 
view. It was first, however, fully brought out, and vindicated 
against the errors involved in the current belief, by Grotius. 
In opposition to that belief, which owed its general prevalence 
to the authority of Africanus the belief that in St. Matthew 
we have the natural, and in Luke the legal, descent Grotius 
remarks, "For myself, guided, if I mistake not, by very clear, 
and not fanciful grounds, I am fully convinced, that Matthew 
has respect to the legal succession. For he recounts those who 
obtained the kingdom without the intermixture of a private 
name. Then Jechonias, he says, begot Salathiel. But it was 
not doubtfully intimated by Jeremiah, under the command of 
God, that Jechoniah, on account of his sins, should die with 
out children (ch. xxii. 30.) Wherefore, since Luke assigns 


Neri as the father of the same Salathiel, a private man, -while 
Matthew gives Jechoniah, the most obvious inference is, that 
Luke has respect to the right of consanguinity, Matthew to 
the right of succession, and especially the right to the throne 
which right, since Jechoniah died without issue, devolved, by 
legitimate order, upon Salathiel, the head of the family of 
Nathan. For among the sons of David Nathan came next 
to Solomon." 

This view has lately been taken up, and at great length, as 
well as in a most judicious and scholarly manner, wrought out 
by Lord Arthur Hervey, in a separate volume. The work as 
a whole is deserving of careful perusal. On this particular 
part of the subject he reasons somewhat as follows: First of 
all, since St. Matthew s table gives the royal successions, as 
far as they go, one can scarcely conceive why another table 
should have been given, unless it were that the actual parent 
age of Joseph did not properly coincide with that. If Joseph s 
direct ancestors, and Solomon s direct successors, had run in 
one line, there had been no need for another line; since, 
having already the most honourable line of descent, there 
could have been no inducement to make out an inferior one. 
But, on the supposition that a failure took place in Solomon s 
line, and that the offspring of Nathan (the next son of David) 
then came to be the legal heirs to the throne, another table 
was required to show, along with the succession to the inhe 
ritance, the real parentage throughout. A second considera 
tion is derived from the prophecy of Jeremiah already noticed, 
in which it was declared concerning Jehoiakim, "He shall 
have none to sit upon the throne of David," (ch. xxxvi. 30;) 
and again, of Jehoiachin or Jechoniah, the son, who was de 
throned after being for a few months acknowledged king, 
" Write ye this man childless, for no man of his seed shall 
prosper, sitting upon the throne of David, and ruling any 
more in Judah." After such explicit declarations, it is not 
conceivable that these men should yet have been the parents 
of a seed, out of which was at last to spring the ultimate 
possessor of David s throne. A third consideration is sup 
plied by the names found in both tables immediately after 


Jehoiacliin. It was precisely there that the lineal descent 
from Solomon was broken; and there, accordingly, the two 
tables again coincide; for the next two generations the names 
Salathiel and Zerubabel occur alike in both tables brought 
in, we may reasonably suppose, from Nathan s line, to supply 
the place of Solomon s, when it became defunct, and so are 
connected with Solomon s line by Matthew, but with Nathan s 
by Luke. So that, the line being traced by one Evangelist 
through Solomon, by the other through Nathan, the double 
object is served, of showing Christ to be at once David s son 
and Solomon s heir, the latter being the type of Christ as 
David s immediate son and heir. And thus also the genea 
logy of the one Evangelist supplements that of the other, by 
showing the validity of the right of succession as traced by 
Matthew, since Joseph was Solomon s heir only by being Na 
than s descendant. 

A collateral confirmation is obtained for this view in cer 
tain double genealogies which occur in the Old Testament 
Scriptures ; the one having respect to the parentage, the other 
to the inheritance. One of the most remarkable of these is 
that of Jair, who, in 1 Chron. ii., has his genealogy ranked 
with the house of Judah, being the son of Segub, the son of 
Hezron, the son of Pharez, the son of Judah. By Moses, 
however, he is always called the son of Manasseh (Num. 
xxxii. 41; Deut. iii. 14, 15;) and is represented as having 
come to the possession of a number of small towns in Gilead, 
which he called Havoth- Jair, i. e., the towns of Jair. A no 
tice in the genealogy of 1 Chron. ii. 22, 23, explains the 
discrepancy. We there learn that Hezron, his grandfather, 
in his old age married the daughter of Machir, the son of 
Manasseh, who bare him Segub, and that Segub begat Jair ; 
while Ashur, another son by the same marriage, had his inhe 
ritance in Judah. So that Jair, by his real parentage, was a 
descendant of Judah ; though, in respect to his inheritance, 
and no doubt in the reckoning of the public registers, he was 
of the tribe of Manasseh. Another example is found in the 
case of Caleb, who, in the earlier records, is always called 
the son of Jephunneh, (Num. xiii. 6, xiv. 6, etc.,) and is reck- 


oned of the tribe of Judah; while yet, it would seem, he did 
not originally and properly belong to that tribe: for, in Josh, 
xiv. 14, he is called " Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kene- 
zite" and in ch. xv. 13, it is said that Joshua "gave him a 
part among the children of Judah, according to the command 
ment of the Lord to Joshua." If he had by birth belonged 
to that tribe, there should have been no need for a special 
commandment appointing his inheritance to be given out of 
what felHo that tribe; this would have happened to him as a 
matter of course; and both, therefore, on this account, and 
from his being called a Kenezite, we are led to infer, that, 
not by birth, but by adoption, he had his place and portion 
fixed in the tribe of Judah. But, in order to this, he must be 
reckoned to some particular family of that tribe ; and accord 
ingly, in the public genealogy given in 1 Chron. ii. 18-20, 
the paternity of Jephunneh is dropt, and that of Hezron, the 
son of Pharez, the son of Judah, put in its stead: "And 
Caleb, the son of Hezron, begat children of Azubah, his wife, 
and of Jerioth," etc. It is probable that one or other of 
these wives belonged to the family of Hezron, and that Caleb 
became, by marriage, connected with it; while afterwards, on 
account of his steady faith and resolute behaviour, he had 
the honour conferred on him of a special allotment in the 
tribe of Judah. We have thus the interesting fact brought 
out, through these comparatively dry details, that Caleb was 
originally a stranger, probably a native of Egypt, or an Arab 
of the Desert, but that he joined himself to the Lord s people, 
and was not only counted of the seed of Jacob, but became 
one of the most distinguished heads of its chief tribe. 

A still further proof in support of the principles supposed 
to be involved in the construction of the two tables, as to the 
points now under consideration, is found in the recurrence of 
certain names in both of them during the period subsequent 
to the captivity. In St. Luke s list the name of Nathan s son 
is Matthata, (ver. 31 ;) another son, in the eleventh genera 
tion, was called Matthat, (ver. 29;) and, between Salathiel 
and Joseph, the name of Matthias occurs twice, (ver. 25, 26,) 
and that of Matthat once, (ver. 24;) all but different modifi- 


cations of the original name Nathan, (from \ty , he gave,) and 
so affording internal evidence of the genealogy being really 
that of Nathan s line. In the other table, we find Matthan, 
(the same person, in all probability, as Luke s Matthat,) in 
the third generation before Joseph ; and, at the same time, 
several names taken with little alteration from the royal 
household of former times Eliakim, Zadok (Zedekiah,) 
Achim, (an abbreviation of Jehoiachim;) as if, while the line 
age in this part was really that of Nathan, there was an effort 
to keep up the connexion with the latter days of the elder 
branch, the line of royal succession down to the period of the 
exile. The descendants of Nathan, who afterwards stepped 
into their place in the genealogy, though not in the kingdom, 
seemed, by the very names they assumed, to be conscious of 
their peculiar relationship to Solomon s house, and desirous of 
indicating their claim to the throne. 

This is all quite natural; and it affords a very probable 
explanation at once of the agreements and the differences be 
tween the two genealogical tables. Now it only requires one 
or two very natural suppositions to bring the closing parts of 
the tables into correspondence; for, on the supposition that 
the Matthan of St. Matthew is the same with the Matthat of 
St. Luke, (of which there can be little doubt,) then Jacob the 
son of Matthan, in Matthew, and Heli, the son of Matthat, 
in Luke, must, in fact, have been brothers sons of the same 
father. And if Jacob had no sons, but only daughters, and 
Joseph, Heli s son, married one of these perfectly natural 
suppositions then he became (on the principle of Matthew s 
table) also Jacob s son, and the lineal heir of the throne, as 
Jacob had been. It only requires that we make the further 
supposition no ways extraordinary or unreasonable of that 
daughter being the Virgin Mary, in order to meet all the de 
mands of the case; for thereby the principle of each table 
would be preserved: and Mary and Joseph being, in that 
case, first cousins, and cousins in that line which had the right 
of succession to the throne, the birth of our Lord was in every 
respect complete, whether viewed in respect to consanguinity 
or to relationship to the throne. The whole ordering of the 



matter exhibits a conjunction of circumstances which it was 
worthy of the Divine oversight to accomplish, and which yet 
might, in the common course of events, have readily come 

It may be added, that the last circumstance in the series 
of suppositions now mentioned the marriage of Joseph and 
Mary, as of two cousins, the one the son of Heli, the other 
the daughter of Jacob, dying without sons perfectly accords 
with Jewish practice ; as appears alone from the case of Jair 
marrying into the tribe of Manasseh, and thenceforth taking 
rank in that tribe; and still more, from the case of Zelophe- 
had s five daughters, who married their five cousins, and re 
tained their inheritance. It was the constant aim of the Jews 
to make inheritance and blood-relationship, as far as possible, 
go together. And it could not seem otherwise than natural 
and proper, that the daughter of the nearest heir to the throne 
of David, should be espoused to the next heir. Nor is it un 
deserving of notice as, at least, negatively favouring the sup 
position respecting Mary that, while we read of a sister, we 
never hear of a brother belonging to her; excepting Joseph, 
female relatives alone are mentioned. So that, in the sup 
posed circumstances of the case, there is nothing that even 
appears to conflict with the facts of gospel history ; every thing 
seems rather to be in natural and fitting agreement with 

IV. The few remaining peculiarities in the two tables are 
of comparatively little importance, and need not detain us 

(I.) The existence of a second Cainan in only one of the 
tables in that of Luke (v. 36) between Sala and Arphaxad 
is one of these minor difficulties. In the corresponding ge 
nealogy of our Hebrew Bibles, the name is not found. The 
only Cainan that appears in the early Hebrew records belongs 
to the ante-diluvian period; and it is still a matter of dispute 
how the second Cainan has originated whether it had some 
how been dropo from the Hebrew text, or had been unwar 
rantably inserted into the Greek. It is found in all the copies 


extant of the Septuagint, except the Vatican ; but the Septu- 
agint itself omits it in the genealogies of 1 Chron. i. ; and it 
is wanting in the Samaritan, Pentateuch, and seems not to 
have been known to Josephus, Berosus,Eupolemus, Polyhistor ; 
,nor does it even appear to have been in the copies of the Sep 
tuagint used by Theophilus of Antioch in the second century, 
by Africanus in the third, or by Eusebius in the fourth. Je 
rome, too, in his comments on that part of Genesis, omits all 
mention of Cainan, though he has annotations on the precise 
verse, where the name of Cainan is now found. Augustine, 
however, had the name in his copy both of the Septuagint and 
of St. Luke. The probability seems to lie decidedly against 
the original existence of the name of Cainan in the genealogy, 
either in the Old or the New Testament tables. But the pre 
cise time or occasion of its introduction can be matter only of 
conjecture. Possibly, it may have originated in some mysti 
cal notions about numbers, which often had a considerable in 
fluence in the form given to genealogies. Bochart was of 
opinion, it probably arose from some clerical oversight in the 
transcription of the table in Luke, and was thence transferred 
to the Septuagint; but the common opinion rather leans to the 
view of its having first appeared in the Septuagint; certainty, 
however, is unattainable. Bochart s statements on the sub 
ject are worth consulting Phaleg, L. ii. c. 13. 

(2.) A peculiarity of a minor kind also belongs to the other 
table, and one, in respect to which we can have no difficulty 
in perceiving the influence of numbers. It is the division into 
three tesseradecades. For the purpose of securing the three 
fourteens certain names are omitted in the second division 
Ahaziah, Joash, Amaziah which would have unduly swelled 
the number, if they had been inserted. And closely connect 
ed with the same point is a peculiarity in respect to Josiah, 
who is said to have " begot Jeconias and his brethren, about 
the time they were carried away to Babylon," (v. 11.) It is 
scarcely possible to doubt, that some corruption must have 
crept into the text here; for, in reality, Josiah begot Jehoia- 
kim, not Jeconias; and the birth of Jehoiakim took place a 
considerable time before the exile. But Jehoiakim begat Jeco- 


nias much about that period; and the natural supposition is, 
that the original text here must have had Jehoiakim as the 
son of Josiah, and then Jeconias as the son of Jehoiakim. 
The two might very readily have been run together by a co 
pyist, as, in one form of them, the names differed only in a 
single letter: Jehoiakim being written /BM&etjU, and Jeconias 
Ia>a%etfjL, A scribe might quite naturally take these for but 
one name, and so leave out Jehoiakim. This view is strength 
ened by the consideration, that unless we take in Jehoiakim, 
as well as Jeconias, we want one to complete the fourteen of 
this middle division; at least, it can only be made out by the 
somewhat awkward expedient of including the name of David 
at the beginning of this division, as well as at the close of the 
preceding one. If this really had required to be done, one 
does not see why the evangelist should have omitted three 
names together in order to shorten the list; it had been a 
much simpler expedient to leave out only two. And on each 
account the probability is very great, that Jehoiakim has been 
dropt from the text in the manner just stated. 

In regard, however, to the general characteristic of the di 
vision of the entire table into so many fourteens; and the 
adoption of certain abbreviations to effect this, it has the sup 
port of a very common practice among the Jews. Schottgen 
has produced from the Synopsis of Sohar a genealogy con 
structed in a quite similar manner to the one before us : " From 
Abraham to Solomon there are 15 generations, and at that 
time the moon was full ; from Solomon to Zedekiah there are 
again 15 generations, and at that time the moon was down, 
and Zedekiah s eyes were put out." Lightfoot also produces 
on Matt. i. several artificially framed genealogies. The num 
ber 14 was here, doubtless, fixed on as the basis of the ar 
rangement, and made to rule each period: because, in the first 
period, that from Abraham to David, it comprehends the en 
tire number of links, when both Abraham and David are in 
cluded. No higher number, therefore, could have been as 
sumed; and in this fact we discover the most natural reason 
for the ground of the arrangement. 

In the preceding remarks we have touched on every thing 


that is likely to create difficulty in connexion with the two 
genealogies. For various other points of a collateral kind, or 
of antiquarian interest, and occasionally bearing on peculia 
rities in the Old Testament chronology, we refer again to the 
volume of Lord A. Hervey, which will be found well deserving 
of a careful perusal from those, who are desirous of prosecuting 
the subject into its minuter details. 



ANGELIC agency meets us at the very threshold of the gos 
pel. The first communications made respecting the new or 
der of things, then on the eve of emerging, came through the 
mediation of angels: it was they who at length broke the si 
lence of ages. Nor may this be matter of surprise, if, together 
with the long cessation of prophetical gifts among men, respect 
be had to the part, that in earlier times was wont to be taken 
by angels in supernatural revelations. The only thing that 
may seem somewhat strange is the assumption of a name (Ga 
briel) by one of those angelic messengers, for the purpose 
more immediately of confirming the certainty of those things 
which he came to announce, and magnifying the guilt incurred 
by Zecharias in entertaining doubt concerning the possibility 
of their accomplishment, (Luke i. 19.) This, however, admits 
of a satisfactory explanation; but as there are various other 
points and passages of Scripture connected with angelic agency, 
which also call for explanation, we shall take the whole sub 
ject into consideration, and discuss the several topics relating 
to it, in the order that seems most natural and appropriate. 

I. And, first, in regard to the general designation and its 
use in Scripture- The Greek affeloi, like the Hebrew D ? ?? , 


has a general as well as a more specific sense: it may denote 
any individuals sent forth with a message to carry, or a com 
mission to execute messengers, as well in the natural as in 
the supernatural sphere of things. When the reference is 
plainly to the former, then the rendering ought commonly to 
be messenger, as it usually is in the English version for ex 
ample, Job i. 14; 1 Sam. xi. 3; Luke ix. 52; James ii. 25. 
There are passages, however, in which, while the reference 
still is to persons or things belonging to the earthly sphere, 
the name is applied to them in a sense quite peculiar, and so 
as sometimes to leave it doubtful whether angel or messenger 
might be the more fitting translation. In this I do not in 
clude such passages as Acts xii. 7, or 1 Cor. xi. 10, where, by 
"the angel of the Lord," in the one case, and by "the an 
gels," in the other, some would understand merely human de 
legates; entirely, as I conceive, against the proper import 
and interpretation of the passages. Of this, however, after 
wards. But, in Ps. civ. 4, we have the words, which are 
quoted in Heb. i. 7, " who maketh His angels spirits, His mi 
nisters a flaming fire ;" and as the discourse there is of natu 
ral things, in their relation to the beneficent disposal and ever 
present agency of God, it seems fittest to understand by the 
spirits winds, and by the flaming fire lightning; so that the 
sense comes to be, that God makes the winds of heaven, as 
angels or messengers, do His bidding, and the lightning of 
the clouds minister to His will: not certainly (as Kingsley 
interprets it, Village Sermons, p. 7,) "showing us that in 
those breezes there are living spirits, and that God s angels 
guide those thunder clouds:" no, but showing that these very 
breezes and thunder-clouds are His angelic or ministering 
agents. Of course, they are poetically so designated ; and 
the language is of the same kind, as when it is said of God, 
that " He makes the clouds His chariot, and flies upon the 
wings of the wind." In like manner, but with closer approxi 
mation to the ordinary meaning of the word, prophets are 
sometimes called God s melakim, or angels, though the ren 
dering of messengers is adopted in the authorized version (Hag. 
i. 13; Mai. hi. 1;) and the epithet is even applied to Israel 


generally, with special reference to the prophetical nature of 
his calling, appointed by God to be the light and instructor 
of the world, (Isa. xlii. 19.) 

It formed but a comparatively slight transition from this 
use of the word, and indeed, was but connecting it with ano 
ther aspect of the delegated trust committed to^the covenant- 
people, when the priesthood were styled God s angels ; as in 
Mai. ii. 7, "The priest s lips should keep knowledge, and they 
should seek the law at his mouth; for he is the angel (Eogl. 
version, messenger) of the Lord of Hosts." This obviously is 
said, not so much of any individual member of the priestly 
class, as of the class itself collectively; the priesthood was 
God s delegated ministry for making known the things per 
taining to His will and worship in that respect, His angel- 
interpreter. And thus we obtain a ready explanation of ano 
ther passage, which has often been much misunderstood: 
"When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for 
He hath no pleasure in fools ; pay that which thou hast vowed. 
Better is it that thou shouldst not vow than that thou shouldst 
vow and not pay. Suffer not thy mouth to cause thy flesh to 
sin; neither say thou before the angel, that it was an error" 
(Eccl. v. 4 6 ;) that is, neither rashly utter with thy lips what 
thou hast not moral strength and fixedness of purpose to per 
form; nor, if thou shouldst have uttered it, go before the 
priesthood, the Lord s deputed agents to wait on such things, 
and say it was an error, as if by making an easy confession of 
having done wrong in uttering the vow, the evil could be re 
medied. On the ground especially of this last application of 
the word angel in Old Testament Scripture, we find the most 
natural explanation of the address under which, in the Apoca 
lypse, the epistles were sent to the seven churches of Asia : 
"to the angels of the churches." The term is adopted, like 
so many others in the Apocalypse, from the prophetical usage, 
and from that usage more especially as employed in later 
times with respect to the priesthood. It can determine no 
thing, therefore, as to the question, whether the party desig 
nated angel, might at the time consist of one individual, or of 
a collection of individuals ; without in any way defining this, 


it indicates the high position of the party, whether single or 
collective, as having had committed to it the authoritative 
instruction and oversight of the Christian community in the 
several churches. That party stood, as it were, between hea 
ven and earth, and was charged with God s interest in that 
particular locality. 1 

Usually, however, when angels are mentioned in Scripture, 
it is with reference to another kind of existences than such as 
properly belong to this present world to spirits, as contra 
distinguished from men in flesh and blood, and the occupants 
of regions suited to their ethereal natures. Yet even when 
thus limited, there is considerable latitude in the expression, 
and the name may be said to comprise several orders of being. 
(1.) First, there are those more commonly understood by the 
expression the angels of God, as they are sometimes called, 
or of heaven (Matt. xxiv. 36; Mark xiii. 32; John i. 51; 
Matt. xxii. 30.) They are named in connexion with heaven, 
because they have their more peculiar abode there, in the re 
gion of God s manifested presence and glory. God s angels 
also they are emphatically called, not merely because they 
derived their being from His hand, and are constantly sus 
tained by His power for this belongs to them in common 
with all creation but more especially because they are in a 
state of peculiar nearness to God, and are His immediate 
agents in executing the purposes of His will. It is as possess 
ing the ministry of such glorious agents, and possessing them 
in vast numbers, as well as invincible strength, that He takes 
to Himself the name of "The Lord of Hosts." (2.) Then 
there are the angels of darkness, who are never, however, 
like the others, designated simply the angels, but always with 
some qualifying epithet indicative of their real character and 

1 This very charge and the responsibility implied in it, is itself quite fatal 
to the notion of Dean Stanley, "that the churches are there described as per 
sonified in their guardian or representative angels" (Apostolic Age, p. 71.) 
Angels are nowhere else spoken of as having to do in such a manner with 
the life and purity of the churches; and the notion is altogether opposed to 
the general doctrine of angels. 


position; such as "the Devil s angels," as contrasted with the 
angels of God, or "the angels that sinned," "that kept not 
their first estate," in contradistinction as well to what they 
themselves once were, as to the party that remained steadfast 
(Matt. xxv. 41; 2 Pet. ii. 4; Jude verse 6.) (3.) Finally, 
there is one who is called the angel, by way of eminence, or 
"the Angel of the Covenant," and who, as regards angelic 
ministrations, occupies a place altogether peculiar to himself. 
As we shall have occasion to refer at some length to this angel- 
prince under the next division, it is needless to be more par 
ticular here. 

II. We turn now to the individual or proper names some 
times applied to angels in Scripture, one of which occurs so 
near the commencement of the Gospel history. It is at a 
comparatively late period of the elder dispensation, and only 
in the book of Daniel, that we find any specific names given 
to particular angels, or beings acting in the capacity of an 
gels. There, for the first time, occur the names of Gabriel 
and Michael; nor do any other names beside these occur. 
The late appearance of such designations, together with the 
local position of him who employed them, was sufficient ground 
for the Rationalists to rush to the conclusion, that such names 
were of heathen origin, and that Daniel and his captive bre 
thren learned them from the Chaldeans. .It were impossible 
to admit such a view, without bringing into doubt the pro 
phetical gifts of Daniel, and involving in just suspicion the 
supernatural character of his communications. For the an 
gelic names he uses were not applied by himself, but were 
heard by him in vision, as applied one to another, by the hea 
venly messengers themselves. So that whatever may have 
been the reason for their introduction, it can with no fitness 
be ascribed if Daniel s own representations are to be accept 
ed to an adoption of the heathen notions prevalent around 
him. Nor was such a tendency in the direction of heathenism 
to have been expected here. Nowhere more strongly than in 
the book of Daniel does the theocratic spirit keep the ascend 
ant the resolute determination to abide at all hazards by the 
old foundations, and, in things spiritual and divine, to make 


the heathen the learner merely, not the instructor or the guide. 
The aim and design of the whole book is to show the real supe 
riority and ultimate triumph of Judaism over heathenism. 
And it was not, to say the least, by any means likely that in 
this one point Daniel should have been disposed to renounce 
his claims as a messenger and prophet of the true God, and 
become a disciple of the magicians over whom his better wis 
dom carried him so far aloft. 

It is true, no doubt, that the Jews, after the Babylonish 
captivity, the interval that elapsed between that period and 
the Christian era, showed a disposition to deal somewhat la 
vishly with angelic names and orders. The book of Tobit, 
which was composed during this interval, not only finds one 
of the principal characters of the story in an angel called Ra 
phael, but makes this personage say of himself, "I am Ra 
phael, one of the seven holy angels, which present the prayers 
of the saints, and which go in and out before the glory of the 
Holy One:" evidently showing that something like a sys 
tem of angelology, branching out into offices as well as names, 
had sprung up among the Jews of the dispersion. As com 
monly happens, when the elements of superstition begin to 
work, the false tendency developed itself more fully as time 
proceeded. In the book of Enoch, a spurious production that 
appeared some time about the Christian era, and undoubtedly 
embodying the notions of many of the more speculative Jews 
of that period, we are told of the "four great archangels, Mi 
chael, Raphael, Gabriel, and Uriel," who perpetually bring 
reports to the Creator, of the corrupt state of the world, and 
receive from Him their respective commissions. Rabbinical 
writers descend into still further details, specify the exact po 
sitions of those superior angels in the presence of God (setting 
Michael on the right, Gabriel on the left, Raphael behind, 
Uriel in front,) tell us how Gabriel attended at the nuptials 
of Adam and Eve, how he taught Joseph the 70 languages of 
the world, and many similar things both of him and of the 
other archangels (Eisenmenger Ent. Judenthum, vol. i., p. 
374, sq.) Such were the fanciful and ridiculous vagaries into 
which the Jewish angelology ran ; but it by no means follows, 


from such a system having developed itself among the later 
Jews, that it had its origin in the Chaldean influence, to which 
they were exposed in Bahylon least of all, that Daniel and 
his godly companions led the way in surrendering themselves 
to the direction of such an influence. Considering the jea 
lousy with which not only they, but the stricter Jews gene 
rally, felt toward the corruptions of heathenism, after the Ba 
bylonish exile, the more natural supposition is, that they spun, 
their theories of angelical existences out of the few actual no 
tices that occur of the world of spirits in their own Scrip 
tures in this, as in other things, pushing some scattered ele 
ments of truth into many groundless and frivolous extremes. 
It is in perfect accordance with what is known of Jewish or 
Rabbinical speculations in general, to affirm, that the real 
basis of what they imagined respecting the names and offices 
of angels, was to be found in the writings of the Old Testa 
ment, though the opinions of those among whom they lived 
might come in at one quarter or another, to give a particular 
turn to the current of their speculations. 

Now, it is to be remembered that, while we meet with spe 
cific names of those heavenly messengers only in Daniel, yet 
in earlier revelations there is a certain approximation to the 
same thing; and the change cannot be characterized as very 
abrupt, or the feature in Daniel marked as absolutely singular. 
Even in one of the earliest notices of angelic visitation, that 
which occurred to Abraham on the plains of Mature (Gen. 
xviii.,) it is evident from the sacred narrative that, of the three 
personages who then appeared, one was manifestly superior in 
dignity, if not also in nature, to the other two. He remains 
behind, and, in the name of the Lord, speaks to Abraham re 
specting the destruction of Sodom, while they go in the 
humbler character of messengers to take personal cognizance 
of its state. Then, in later times, we have the designations 
of "the Angel of the Covenant," "the angel of the Lord s 
presence," "the angel in whom the Lord s name is" (Mai. 
iii. 1; Isa. Ixiii. *9 ; Ex. xxiii. 21;) constantly represented as 
different from, and superior to, a mere angel for, in the first 
of the passages just referred to, he is identified with the Lord 


Himself, whom the people professed to be seeking after; in 
the second he is described as the Saviour of the covenant-peo 
ple ; and, in the third the earliest of the three, and the foun 
dation of the others He is in a pointed manner distinguished 
from an angel in the ordinary sense (comp. the passage with 
ch. xxxiii. 2, 12, 14,) and is characterized as the same that 
afterwards appeared to Joshua, at once as the Lord and as 
the Captain of the Lord s host (Josh. v. 14, 15, vi. 2.) Still 
further, we find this highest angel, the Angel or messenger 
of the covenant, identified with the Messiah, and designated 
by a variety of names, such as Immanuel, Jehovah Zidekinu, 
the prince, or the prince of the host, etc. And not only is 
this leader of the Lord s hosts thus individualized and indicated 
by name, but a specific designation is also frequently applied 
to the great adversary of God and man Satan. So that it 
was not to strike into a path altogether new, but merely to 
take an additional step in a direction already formed, when 
Daniel introduced the names of Michael and Gabriel into our 
heavenly vocabulary. 

But why should even such a step have been taken? Was 
this done in a way which admits of being intelligently explained 
and justified? Or does there appear in it something arbitrary 
and fanciful? In answer to such questions, it may be replied 
generally, that, if such designations were proper to be intro 
duced any where, it is precisely in the book of Daniel that 
they might be most fitly looked for. His writings possess 
considerably more of a dramatic character than those of the 
other prophets, and in his own book those are the most dra 
matic visions in which the names occur. It was, therefore, 
in them that the actors in the spiritual drama might be ex 
pected to be most distinctly portrayed. And then the indi 
vidual names, which are used for this end, are found on exami 
nation to be, not proper names in the ordinary sense, but ap 
pellatives designating the nature and office of those who bore 
them, and most naturally growing out of the special commu 
nications which they were engaged in making. To see this, 
we have oi,ly to glance at the names themselves. 

1. Beyond doubt the highest in rank and importance is 


MICHAEL. This name occurs twice in Daniel, and is also 
found in the Epistle of Jude and the Revelation. It is com 
pounded of three words, which together express the meaning, 
Who is like God? (^P P.) The M 9 which denotes God, has re 
spect to God as the God of might; so that the idea indicated by 
the appellation is, the possession, either of absolutely Divine, or 
of Divine-like majesty and power the former, if the name is 
applied to one in whom the nature of God resides; the latter, 
if applied to a created intelligence. Here, however, there is 
considerable diversity of opinion. The Jewish and Rabbini 
cal authorities, as already noticed, understand by Michael one 
of the four highest angels, or archangels, as they are some 
times termed though with a certain superiority possessed by 
him above the rest; for they call Michael the Princeps Maxi- 
mus, the tutelary angel of Judea, God s peculiar angel, the 
Prince of the World. He was, therefore, in their account, 
decidedly the highest of created intelligences, but still himself 
a part of the creation. We find the same view exhibited in 
one of the earliest Patristic productions, the Shepherd of 
Hermas; and it became the prevailing opinion among the 
fathers. But the divines of the Reformation very commonly 
adopted another view, and understood Michael to be a name 
of Christ. So, for example, Luther (on Dan. x. 21 and xii. 1,) 
and Calvin, who, at least, expresses his preference for the 
same opinion, though without absolutely rejecting the other; 
in the next age, also Cocceius, Witsius, Turretine, Lampe, 
Calov, the last of whom even affirms the opinion which repre 
sents the Michael in Dan. xii. 1 as a created angel, to be im 
pious. This certainly appears to be the correct view, and we 
shall present in as brief a compass as possible the grounds on 
which it is based. 

(1.) The name itself who is like G-od? This seems to point 
to the Supreme Lord, and in a way very common with the 
earlier writers of the Old Testament; as in Ex. xv. 11, "Who 
is like Thee among the gods, Lord?" or, in Ps. Ixxxix. 8, 
" Who is like the Lord among the sons of the mighty?" Such 
an ascription of peerless might and glory, when turned into a 
personal appellation, seems most naturally to imply, that the 



qualities expressed in it belonged to the individual; it fixes 
our regard upon Him as the representative and bearer of what 
the appellation imports ; and the turn given to it by Bengel 
(on Rev. xii. 7,) as if it were a mark of humility rather than 
of weakness as if the possessor of the title pointed away 
from himself to God is quite unnatural, and contrary to the 
Scriptural usage in such appellations. Nor, in that case, would 
it have formed a suitable designation for the highest of the 
angels, since it could have indicated nothing as to any peculiar 
honour or dignity belonging to him. As a distinguished epi 
thet, it is appropriate only to Christ, who actually possesses 
the unrivalled properties of God; and who, expressly on the 
ground of his possessing these, and being able to say, "All 
that the Father hath is Mine," has charged Himself with the 
interests of the covenant-people, and is found adequate to the 
establishment of its provisions (John v. 18, xvi. 15; Isa. ix. 
6, 7; Phil. ii. 6-11.) (2.) Another argument is found in the 
coll-iteral, and, to some extent, epexegetical, or explanatory 
designations, which are applied to the same personage. Thus 
in Dan. xii. 1, He is called emphatically the Great Prince 
pb H SiiJn) apparently referring to, and closely agreeing with, 
the name assumed by the angel of the Lord in Josh. v. 14, 
captain, or rather, prince of Jehovah s host ( n ] n :~ X P> - n ^,) 
that is, the leader of the heavenly forces of the Great King. 
So again, in ch. x. 21, Michael is styled the prince of the 
covenant-people, " Your prince," the one who presides over 
their state and destinies ; or, as it is at ch. xii. 1, "Who standeth 
up for the children of thy people," namely, to protect and 
deliver them. These descriptions seem plainly to identify 
Michael with the Angel of the Covenant, who sometimes ap 
pears as God, and sometimes as his peculiar representative. 
Even the Rabbinical Jews could not altogether escape the con 
viction of the identity of Michael and this personage; for the 
saying occurs more than once in their writings, that "wher 
ever Michael appeared, there was seen the glory of the She- 
kinah itself." The passage, which tended chiefly to lead them 
in the wrong direction, was Dan. x. 13, where he is called 
"one (IHN ) of the chief princes," or, as it might equally be 


rendered, "first of the chief princes," head of the angel-chiefs. 
The Jewish writers understood it to indicate merely precedence 
or superiority in respect to others essentially of the same class. 
But, taken in connexion with the other passages and expressions 
in Daniel, it seems intended simply to exhibit the relation of 
Michael to the angels, to present him to our view as their di 
recting and governing head. It is substantially, indeed, of 
the same import as archangel, which is never used in the 
plural, and never receives a personal application but to Mi 
chael (Jude ver. 9; 1 Thess. iv. 16;) so that there is no Scrip 
tural warrant for understanding it as an indication of an an 
gelic hierarchy, or otherwise than as a designation of the head 
of angelic hosts. (3.) Lastly, the descriptions given of Mi 
chael, both of his person and his acts, seem to confirm the 
same view: they are such as properly belong to the Messiah, 
the essentially Divine Head and King of His Church, but 
are scarcely compatible with the position of a created intelli 
gence. Take, for example, the delineation of his person as 
given in Dan. x. 5, 6, "And I looked, and behold a certain 
man in linen, whose loins were girded with fine gold of Uphaz: 
his body also was like the beryl, and his face as the appear 
ance of lightning, and his eyes as lamps of fire, and his arms 
and his feet like in colour to polished brass, and the voice of 
his words like the voice of a multitude" the description has 
been almost literally transferred to the vision of the glorified 
Redeemer by St. John in the Apocalypse (ch. i. 13-17, ii. 18.) 
With representations so nearly identical, we naturally con 
ceive the same personages to have been intended by them. 
Some, indeed, have taken the description in Daniel as refer 
ring to Gabriel, and not to Michael; but this is plainly against 
the natural import of the narrative; which represents Gabriel 
as coming and talking familiarly with the prophet, while the 
vision of the glorious One was so overpowering, that he was 
unable to bear the sight. It is necessary, therefore, to under 
stand it of Michael, who appeared in glory at some distance, 
and on the opposite bank of the river. What is afterwards 
said of Michael, at ch. xii. 1. as standing up to deliver the 
Lord s people in a time of unparalleled tribulation, and the 


co-relative action ascribed to him in the Apocalypse (ch. xii. 
79,) of overcoming and casting down from the heaven of his 
power and glory the great adversary of God and man, serve 
also to confirm the identification of Michael with Christ. For, 
the actions referred to are manifestly proper to Christ, as the 
Head of His Church, not to any inferior agent. Scripture 
constantly represents it as the sole and peculiar glory of Christ 
to put down all power and authority that exalts itself against 
God, or to execute the judgment written upon the adversary. 
On these grounds we conclude, that Michael is but another 
name for the Angel of the Covenant, or for Christ. It is the 
name alone that is peculiar to Daniel ; and the reason, ap 
parently, why such a name was chosen in the revelations given 
through Him, was to render prominent the Divine power and 
majesty in the angel-mediator, which assured the covenant- 
people of a triumphant issue out of those gigantic conflicts 
and troubles that were before them, if only they proved stead 
fast to the truth. (Compare Ode de Angelis, pp. 1054-58, 
Hengstenberg on Daniel and on Rev. xii. 7-9.) 

(2.) In regard to the other specific name, GABRIEL, it is 
clear, both from the name itself, and from the historical no 
tices given of the bearer of it, that a created angel is to be 
understood. The word may have a slightly different explana 
tion put upon it, according as the iod is held to be paragogic 
merely, or the pronominal affix : in the former case, it means 
hero, or mighty one of God ; in the other, my hero, or mighty 
one, is God God is my strength. Either way the leading 
thought conveyed by it is much the same; it embodies a two 
fold idea that the bearer of the name is distinguished by he 
roic might, and that he has this might, not of himself, but of 
God. Such an appellation could only be given to a created 
intelligence, to one whose part it was to recognise his depend 
ence upon God, and in the exercise of his might to show forth 
something of the almightiness of the Creator. Appearing 
under this designation, it indicated that the business, which 
led to his appearance, was one that would call for the mani 
festation of hcrois energy, such as could be found only in close 
connexion with the all-sufficient Jehovah. The times and cir- 


cumstances referred to in the vision of Daniel, in which Ga 
briel acted a prominent part (ch. viii., ix. 21,) were precisely 
of such a description; they bore respect to the great strug 
gles and conflicts, through which ultimate security and bless 
ing were to be attained for the covenant-people; and the re 
velation of the progress and issue of the contest by one, whose 
very name carried up the soul to the omnipotence of Jehovah, 
was itself a pledge and assurance of a prosperous result. Nor 
was it materially different at the commencement of the Gos 
pel, where the name of Gabriel again meets us in Divine com 
munications. These communications bore upon matters en 
compassed with peculiar difficulty, and capable of being brought 
about only by the supernatural agency of Godhead. The very 
first stage in the process lay across a natural impossibility, 
since to furnish the herald of the new dispensation an aged 
and barren woman (Elizabeth) must become the mother of a 
child. The next, which was presently afterwards announced 
to Mary, involved not only a natural impossibility, but the 
most astounding and wonderful of all mysteries the incarna 
tion of Godhead. In such circumstances, what could be more 
fitting and appropriate, than that the Divine messenger, sent 
from the Upper Sanctuary to disclose the immediate approach 
of such events, should come as the personal representative of 
the heroic might and of Heaven? should even make 
himself known as the Gabriel, the God-empowered hero, who 
in former times had disclosed to Daniel the purpose of God to 
hold in check the powers of evil, and in spite of them to con 
firm for ever the eternal covenant? The remembrance of the 
past, in which the purpose of God had been so fearlessly pro 
claimed and so successfully vindicated, now came in aid of 
the testimony, which the same Divine messenger was sent to 
deliver; so that the tidings, all strange and startling as they 
might appear, should have met from the children of the cove 
nant with a ready and believing response. 

Even the miraculous, temporary suspension of the power of 
speech, with which the appearance of Gabriel to Zacharias 
came to be attended, was full of meaning and in perfect keep 
ing with the whole circumstances of the time. Viewed in con- 


nexion with these, the aspect of harshness, which at first sight 
it may seem to carry, will be found to disappear. That the 
measure of unbelief, which arose in his mind on seeing the 
angelic vision, and on first hearing the announcement made 
to him, was deserving of rebuke, must be regarded as certain 
from the rebuke actually administered; no such, even slight 
and temporary, punishment would have been inflicted, had it 
not been amply justified by the existing state of mind in Za- 
charias. But Zacharias is chiefly to be contemplated here as 
a representative of the people, whose prayers he was at the 
time symbolically offering; and in him, as such, were embo 
died, along with the better elements that continued to work 
among them, a portion also of the worse. The unbelief, there 
fore, that discovered itself in connexion with the angelical an 
nouncement, was but too sure an indication of the evil that 
slumbered even among the better part of the covenant-people. 
And the instant, and visible, though still comparatively gentle 
rebuke it met with in the case of Zacharias, was meant to be 
a salutary and timely warning to the people at large ; and, 
taken in connexion with the name, Gabriel, made known 
along with it, it was also a palpable proof that this name was 
no empty title, but gave assurance of the immediate operation 
of the infinite power of Godhead. Thus the miracle of dumb 
ness wrought upon Zacharias became a sign to all around a 
sign of the certainty with which the things should be accom 
plished that were announced by Gabriel (whatever might be 
required of miraculous power for their performance,) and a 
sign also of the withering and disastrous result, which should 
infallibly emerge, if the manifestations of Divine power and 
goodness that were at hand should be met by a spirit of dis 
trust and unbelief. 

It thus appears, when the history and relations of the sub 
ject are duly considered, that there is nothing greatly peculiar 
in the use of the names Michael and Gabriel, whether in the 
Book of Daniel, or in New Testament Scripture. The names 
here also, as in those of Irnmanuel. Branch of the Lord, An 
gel of the covenant, Satan, were really descriptive of nature 
and position. And their appearance only in the later revela- 


tions of the Old covenant finds a ready explanation in the 
circumstance, that the progressive nature of the Divine com 
munications necessarily led to a progressive individualizing, 
both in regard to the Messiah Himself, and to the various 
persons and objects connected with His undertaking. Hence, 
it naturally happens, that in the later books of the Old Tes-. 
tament, and in those of the New, the individual features and 
characteristics of all kinds are brought most distinctly out. 
In this respect, therefore, the appearance is precisely as the 
reality might have led us to expect. 

III. Having so far cleared our way to a right understand 
ing of the subject of angels, by examining the language em 
ployed, both in its more general and its more specific forms, 
we naturally turn to inquire next, what, according to the re 
velations of Scripture, is their personal state? the state, 
namely, of those, who are always understood, when angels 
generally are spoken of the angels in heaven. In Scripture 
they are uniformly represented as in the most elevated condi 
tion of intelligence, purity, and bliss. Endowed with facul 
ties which fit them for the highest sphere of existence, they 
excel in strength, and can endure, unharmed, the intuition of 
God (Ps. ciii. 20 ; Matt, xviii. 10.) Nor in moral excellence 
are they less exalted; for they are called emphatically "the 
holy angels," "elect angels," "angels of light" (Mark viii. 
38; 2 Tim. v. 21; 2 Cor. xi. 14;) and are represented as ever 
doing the will of God, doing it so uniformly and perfectly, 
that men. on earth can aim at nothing higher or better than 
doing it like the angels in heaven. In the sphere, too, of 
their being and enjoyment, all is in fitting harmony with their 
natural and moral perfections; not only no elements of pain 
or disorder, but every essential provision for the wants and 
capacities of their immortal natures; so that to have our des 
tiny associated with theirs, to have our condition made equal 
to theirs, is presented to our view as the very glory of that 
resurrection-state to which Christ has called His people (Luke 
xx. 36; Heb. xii. 22.) The two, indeed, may not be in all re 
spects identical, can hardly, indeed, be so; but that which is 


made to stand as the pattern cannot in anything of moment 
be inferior to what is represented as bearing its likeness. 

That the angelic state was from the first substantially what 
it still is, can scarcely be doubted from the general tenor of 
the Scriptural representations. Yet in these a certain change 
also is indicated not, indeed, from evil to good, or from fee 
bleness to strength, but from a state, in which there was, at 
least, the possibility of falling, to another in which this has 
ceased to be possible a state of ever-abiding holiness and 
endless felicity. The actual fall and perdition of a portion of 
their number, implies that somehow the possibility now men 
tioned did at one period exist; and the angels, that kept their 
first estate, and have received the designation of elect angels, 
nay, are assigned an everlasting place among the ministers 
and members of Christ s kingdom, must have made some ad 
vance in the security of their condition. And this, we inevi 
tably conclude, must infer some advance also in relative per 
fection ; for absolute security to rational beings in the enjoy 
ment of life .and blessing, we can only conceive of as the re 
sult of absolute holiness; they have it they alone can have 
it we imagine, in whom holiness has become so deeply rooted, 
so thoroughly pervasive of all the powers and susceptibilities 
of their being, that these can no longer feel and act but in 
subservience to holy aims and obedience to principles of right 
eousness. So far, therefore, the angels appear to have be 
come what they now are, that a measure of security, and, by 
consequence, a degree of perfection (whether as regards spiri 
tual knowledge, or moral energy) is now theirs, which some 
time was not. 

From the representations of Scripture, there is room also 
for another distinction in regard to the state of angels, though, 
like the one just noticed, it cannot be more than generally in 
dicated or vaguely apprehended. The distinction referred to 
is a certain diversity in rank and power, which there seems 
ground for believing to exist among the heavenly hosts. 
There are indications in Scripture of something like angelic 
orders. For, though the term archangel cannot be applied 
in this connexion, being used (as we have seen) only as the 


designation of a single personage, and that, apparently, the 
Messiah, yet the name Gabriel, when assumed as a distinctive 
epithet, appears to imply that he stood in a nearer relation 
ship to God than certain others, or partook to a larger extent 
than they of the might of Godhead. So also in Rev. xviii. 
21, we read of "a mighty angel," as if not every angel could 
be called such. And in various places there is an accumula 
tion of epithets, as of different orders, when referring to the 
heavenly intelligences; as in Eph. i. 20, 21, where Christ is 
said to be exalted " above all principality and power, and 
might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only 
in this world, but also in that which is to come;" and in 1 
Pet. iii. 22, where He is again said, in His heavenly exalta 
tion, to have "angels, principalities, and powers made subject 
to Him." But if such expressions appear to render probable 
or certain the existence of some kind of personal distinctions 
among the angels of glory, it leaves all minuter details re 
specting it under a veil of impenetrable secrecy. An d to 
presume like the ancient Jews, to single out four or seven pri 
mary angels; or, like the Rabbins, to distribute the angelic 
hosts into ten separate classes; or, still again, with many of 
the Scholastics, to range them in nine orders, each consisting 
of three classes, regularly graduated in knowledge and autho 
rity, the class below ever standing in dependence upon the 
one above: to deal with the matter thus, is to do precisely 
what the apostle has discharged any one from attempting on 
such a subject, "intrude into those things which he has not 
seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind" (Col. ii. 18.) Of 
persons who discourse familiarly upon such points, and discuss 
the most subtle questions regarding angelic being and agency, 
Gerhard very justly, as well as wittily said, "They naturally 
dispose one to ask, how recently must they have fallen from 
heaven!" (quam nuper sint de coelo delapsi.) And Calvin 
with his accustomed sense and gravity remarks, "If we would 
be truly wise, we shall give no heed to those foolish notions, 
which have been delivered by idle men concerning angelic 
orders without warrant from the Word of God" (Inst. i. c. 
14, 4.) 



We are assuredly entitled to affirm, that in whatever the 
distinction among angels may consist, or to whatever extent 
it may reach, it cannot in the least interfere with the happi 
ness they individually enjoy. For this happiness arises, in 
the first instance, from each standing in a proper relation to 
the great centre of life and blessing; and then from their 
being appointed to occupy such a sphere, and take part in such 
services and employments, as are altogether adapted to their 
state and faculties. These fundamental conditions being pre 
served, it is easy to conceive, how certain diversities, both in 
natural capacity, and in relative position, may be perfectly 
compatible with their mutual satisfaction and general well- 
being, and may even contribute to secure it. 

IV. The proper function and employment of angels rela 
tively to us, is what next calls for consideration ; and on this 
point we are furnished in Scripture with information of a more 
varied and specific nature, as it is that which more nearly 
concerns ourselves. In not a few passages we find their know 
ledge of what pertains to affairs on earth distinctly intimated, 
and also their interest in it, as proving to them an occasion 
of joy, or yielding a deeper insight into the purposes of God. 
Thus, they appear taking part in communications made from 
heaven to earth, desiring to look into the things which con 
cern the scheme of salvation, learning from the successive 
evolution of the Divine plan more than they otherwise knew 
of God s manifold wisdom, rejoicing together at the birth of 
Jesus, and even over the return of individual wanderers to 
His fold (1 Pet. i. 12 ; Eph. iii. 10 ; Luke ii. 13, xv. 10.) But 
there are other passages, in which a still closer connexion is 
indicated passages which represent them as engaged in di 
rectly and actively ministering to the good of believers, and 
shielding or delivering them from the evils incident to their 
lot. The office of angels in this respect was distinctly under 
stood even in Old Testament times; as appears alone from 
the designation, "Lord of Hosts," so commonly applied to 
God in respect to the forces He has at command for the ex 
ecution of His purposes; and still more from the frequent in- 


terposition of angels to disclose tidings or accomplish deliver 
ances for the covenant-people, as well as from express as 
surances, such as these: "The angel of the Lord encampeth 
round about them that fear Him, and delivereth them" (Ps. 
xxxiv. 7.) "He shall give His angels charge concerning 
thee, to keep thee in all thy ways ; they shall bear thee up 
in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone" (Ps. 
xci. 11, 12.) Similar representations of angelic agency are 
found in New Testament Scripture, and come out, indeed, 
with greater prominence there, conformably to the general 
character and design of the Gospel, in rendering more patent 
the connexion between this lower region and the world of 
spirits. So that it is only what we might have expected 
beforehand, to learn that our Lord in the days of His flesh 
was from time to time ministered to by angels ; that on as 
cending to the regions of glory, He had the angels made sub 
ject to Him for carrying forward the operations of His king 
dom ; that commissions of importance were executed through 
their instrumentality during the life-time of the apostles; and 
that, generally, they are declared to be "all ministering spirits, 
sent forth to minister to those who are heirs of salvation" 
(Mark i. 13; Luke xxii. 43; Phil. ii. 10 ; 1 Pet. iii. 22; Acts 
xii.; Heb. i. 14.) 

In regard, however, to the kind of services which are actu 
ally rendered to believers by the ministry of angels, or the 
benefits which may justly be expected from it, we know too 
little of the nexus, which binds together in any particular case 
the world of sense with the world of spirits, to be able with 
much accuracy to determine. Negatively, there are definite 
boundaries that may be set down; we must hold as excluded 
from their agency the actual communication of life and grace 
to the souls of men. Nowhere is this ascribed to them ia 
Scripture; on the contrary, it is uniformly represented as an 
essentially Divine work, and, as such, lying beyond the agency 
of created beings. Father, Son, and Spirit are here the only 
effective agents, working, in so far as subordinate means are 
employed, through a human, not through an angelic instru 
mentality. The things which come within the sphere of an- 


gelic ministrations, bear incidentally upon the work of salva 
tion, rather than directly touch it; and as regards the ordi 
nary history of the Church and the common experience of be 
lievers, they have to do with the averting of evils, which might 
too seriously affect the interests of righteousness, or the bring 
ing about of results and operations in the world, which are 
fitted to promote them. When it is reflected how much even 
the children of God are dependent upon the circumstances in 
which they are placed, and how much for the cause of God, 
whether in the world at large or in the case of single individu 
als, often turns upon a particular event in Providence, one 
can easily see what ample room there may be in the world for 
such timely and subtle influences as the quick messengers of 
light are capable of imparting. It might be too much to say, 
as has occasionally been said by divines, and seems to be held 
by Mr. Kingsley, that all the active powers of nature are 
under angelic direction, and every event at least every aus 
picious event is owing to their interference; there are cer 
tainly no testimonies in Scripture sufficient to warrant so 
sweeping an inference. But, on the other hand, it is equally 
possible to err in the opposite direction; and as we have ex 
plicit information in Scripture of the fact, that there are my 
riads of angelic beings in heavenly places, who are continually 
ascending and descending on errands of mercy for men on 
earth, it may not be doubted, that in many a change which 
takes place around us, there are important operations per 
formed by them, as well as by the ostensible actors, and by 
the material agencies of nature. 

But whatever individuals, or the collective body of believers, 
may owe to this source, there are certain laws and limitations, 
under which it must always be understood to be conveyed. 
The fundamental ground of these is, that the efficiency of 
angels is essentially different from that of the several persons 
of the Godhead; it is such merely as one finite being is capa 
ble of exercising toward another. Consequently, it never 
can involve any violent interference with the natural powers 
of reason in those who are the subjects of it: it must adapt 
itself to the laws of reciprocal action established between finite 


beings, and so, can only work to the hand, or set bounds to 
the actings of nature, but cannot bring into operation elements 
absolutely new. Hence, as a further necessary deduction, all 
that is done by angels must be done in connexion with, and 
by means of natural causes; and only by intensifying, or in 
some particular way directing these, can they exert any de 
cisive influence on the events in progress. Thus, at the pool 
of Bethesda, the angel s power wrought through the waters, 
not independently of them ; at Herod Agrippa s death, through 
the worms that consumed him ; at the jail of Philippi, through 
the earthquake that shook the foundations of the building: 
arid if thus in these more peculiar, certainly not less in the 
more regular and ordinary interpositions of their power. But 
this takes nothing from the comfort or efficacy of their minis 
trations; it only implies, that these ministrations are capable 
of being viewed apart from the channels through which they 
come, and that the beings who render them are not to be taken 
as the objects of personal regard or adoring reverence. Hence, 
while the hearts of believers are cheered by the thought of 
the ministry of angels, the worshipping of angels has from the 
first been expressly interdicted (Col. ii. 18; Rev. xxii. 9.) 

Various fanciful and groundless notions have been enter 
tained on the subject of angelic ministrations, and have sought 
for countenance in isolated statements of Scripture. It has 
been held, for example, that a part of their number are sepa 
rated for the special work of praise in the heavenly places, 
and observe hours of devotion; that angels act at times as 
subordinate intercessors, mediating between believers and 
Christ; that individual angels are appointed to the guardian 
ship of particular kingdoms, and even of single persons; and 
that they have also, whether individually or collectively, a sort 
of charge to be present in the assemblies of the saints. As 
this latter class of notions still extensively prevails, and has 
an apparent foundation in certain passages of Scripture, it 
will be necessary to subject it to a particular examination. 

(1.) In regard to the guardianship or protection of parti 
cular kingdoms by individual angels, the notion can scarcely, 
perhaps, be said to exist, as a substantive belief in the present 



day, in Protestant Christendom; but it is held by not a few 
interpreters of Scripture as a doctrine of the book of Daniel, 
though not a doctrine they are themselves disposed to accredit. 
Rabbinical writers have certainly from an early period found 
it there. On the supposition, that Michael was a created an 
gel, and the guardian angel of the Jews, (designated as such, 
44 their prince,") coupled with the further supposition, that 
what is said in the same book of the prince of the kingdom of 
Persia, who is represented as withstanding Gabriel for twenty- 
on"e days, (x. 13,) has respect to another angel, exercising a 
like guardianship over the Persian empire: on these suppo 
sitions, the notion became prevalent, not only among the doc 
tors of the synagogue, but also among the Christian fathers, 
from whom it went down, like other crudities, as a heritage 
to the Catholic theologians, that the several states or king 
doms of the earth have each their protecting genius, or tute 
lary angel a created, but high and powerful intelligence. 
The idea as the divines of the Reformation justly contended 
is at variance with all right views of the general teaching 
of Scripture respecting those kingdoms, which are represented 
as in a condition that must have placed them beyond the pale 
of any such guardianship, even if it had existed; nor do the 
particular passages leaned upon, when fairly interpreted, coun 
tenance the idea of its existence. AVe have already seen, 
how the proof fails in respect to Michael, he not being an an 
gel, in the ordinary sense, but the Lord Himself as the Angel 
of the Covenant. He, the Jehovah-Mediator, the King and 
Head of the Old, as well as of the New Dispensation, was 
fitly denominated the "^, or Prince of the covenant-people. 
But the prince of the kingdom of Persia, who stands, by way 
of contrast, over against this Divine Head of the Theocracy, 
is the mere earthly potentate, the only real head of that king 
dom. Such also is the prince of Grecia. afterwards mentioned. 
The Lord in the heavens, by Ilis angelic agencies, and pro 
vidential arrangements, contends with these earthly powers 
and dominions: in the exercise of the freedom granted them, 
and the resolute application of the resources they possessed, 
they might succeed in gaining certain advantages, or creating 


a certain delay, but in such an unequal contest the result could 
not be long doubtful; and the victory is soon announced to 
be on the Lord s side. This is the substance of the represen 
tation in Daniel, which contains nothing at variance with the 
other representations in Scripture, nor any thing, indeed, pe 
culiar unless it be the designation of the heads alike of the 
Divine and of the human kingdoms by the name of prince, 
instead of using the more common appellation, king. A pe 
culiarity scarcely deserving of notice. 1 

(2.) The idea of guardian-angels for each particular belie 
ver, or, as it is often put, for each individual child the na 
tural child in the first instance, then the spiritual has met 
with much more general acceptance than the one already no 
ticed, and still has the support of distinguished commentators. 
It is chiefly based on our Lord s statement in Matt, xviii. 10, 
" Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for 
I say unto you, that in heaven their angels do always behold 
the face of my Father, which is in heaven." Alford, as well 
as Meyer, holds the plain teaching of the passage to be, that 
individuals have certain angels appointed to them as their spe 
cial guardians; and on Acts xii. 15, where he again refers to 
the passage, he affirms, not only that the doctrine of guardian- 
angels had been distinctly asserted by our Lord, but that the 
disciples, on the ground of His teaching, naturally spoke of 
Peter s angel, and believed that the guardian-angel sometimes 
appeared in the likeness of the person himself. So also Stier, 
(on Matt, xviii. 10,) while he admits, that the language points 
only by way of allusion to special guardian-angels of persons, 
holds the doctrine on this ground, and the unanimous sense 
of the Fathers, to be beyond any reasonable doubt. " Every 
child," he affirms, "has his angel until sin drives him away, 
as we may still be able to trace in the reflection of the an 
gelic appearance in the countenance and aspect of children. 
Every believer, again, who may have come into a saved con 
dition through the grace of redemption, gets, as a new spiri- 

1 For a similar contrast between the Divine Head of the Jewish state, and 
the merely earthly heads of the surrounding states, see the explanation given 
in Tart Third of Isa. vii. 14, as quoted in Matt. i. 23. 


tual child, his angel again, whom now he especially needs in 
the weakness of his spiritual commencement, for deeper-reach 
ing experiences of guardianship and admonition, than weak 
and foolish children in times of bodily danger." I am no way 
moved by these high authorities and confident assertions; for 
they seem to me to impose a sense upon the words of our Lord, 
which they neither necessarily bear, nor naturally convey. 
The readiness and unanimity with which the Fathers found 
in them the doctrine of guardian-angels, is easily understood 
from the universal belief in the heathen world a belief ac 
credited and often largely expatiated upon in its highest phi 
losophyof attending genii or demons attached to single per 
sons; and which naturally begat in the Father?, whose early 
training was to a greater or less degree received in the school 
of heathenism, a predisposition to discover the same doctrine 
in a Christian form. On such a point they were peculiarly 
disqualified for being careful and discriminating guides; of 
which the following comment of Jerome on the passage may 
serve as a sufficient proof: "Because their angels in heaven 
always see the face of the Father: the great dignity of souls, 
that each should have from his natural birth (ab ortu nativi- 
tatis) an angel appointed for his guardianship. Whence we 
read in the Apocalypse of John, Write these things to the an 
gel of Ephesus, Thyattra, and to the angels of the other 
churches. The apostle also commands the heads of women to 
be veiled in the churches, on account of the angels." How 
much sounder and more discriminating, not only than this 
confused and puerile annotation, but also than the interpre 
tations of the modern expositors referred to above, is the note 
of Calvin? " The view taken by some of this passage, as if 
it described to each believer his own peculiar angel, is with 
out support. For the words of Christ do not import, that one 
angel is in perpetuity attached to this person or that, and the 
notion is at variance with the whole teaching of Scripture, 
which testifies, that angels encamp round about the righteous, 
and not to one angel alone, but to many has it been com 
manded, to protect every one of the faithful. Let us have 
done, therefore," he justly adds, "with that comment con- 


cerning a good and evil genius, and be content with holding, 
that to angels are committed the care of the whole Church, 
so that they can bring succour to individual members as ne 
cessity or profit may require." This plainly appears to be 
the correct view of the passage. It does not speak of little 
children simply as such, but of believers under this character 
(to which in humility and lowliness of spirit they had imme 
diately before been assimilated ;) nor does it speak of individu 
al relationships subsisting between these and the angels, but 
of the common interest they have in angelic ministrations, 
which extend to the apparently least and lowest of their num 
ber. But of a separate guardianship for each individual there 
is not a word dropt here, nor in any other part of Scripture. 
Even in Acts xii. 7, where a very special work had to be ac 
complished for Peter by the ministry of an angel, there is no 
thing of the historian s own that implies any individual or 
personal relationship of the one to the other: the angel is not 
called Peter s angel, nor is the angel represented as waiting 
upon him like a tutelary guardian ; on the contrary, he is de 
signated "the angel of the Lord," and is spoken of as coming 
to Peter, to do the particular office required, and again de 
parting from him when it was done. It is true, the inmates 
of Mary s house, when they could not credit the report of the 
damsel, that Peter himself was at the door, said, as if finding 
in the thought the only conceivable explanation of the matter, 
"It is his angel." But as Ode has justly stated (De Angelis, 
Sec. viii. c. 4,) "It is not every thing recorded by the Evan 
gelists as spoken by the Jews, or even by the disciples of 
Christ, which is sound and worthy of credit. Nor can what 
in this particular case was true of Peter be affirmed of all be 
lievers, or ought it to be so. And, indeed, that Peter himself 
did not believe, that a particular angel was assigned to him 
for guardianship, clearly enough appears from this, that when 
Peter got out of the prison, and followed the angel as hia 
guide, he did not as yet know it to be true, that an angel was 
the actor, but thought he saw a vision; and at length, after 
the departure of the angel, having come to himself, he said, 
Now I know of a surety, that the Lord hath sent His angel, 
and delivered me from the hand of Herod. " 


(3.) The last notion we were to consider respecting the 
ministry of angels, is the special charge they are supposed to 
take of Christian assemblies. This notion rests entirely upon 
two passages: the one, Eccl. v. 4-6, which has already been 
examined, and shown to have no proper bearing on this, or 
any other point connected with angel agency; the other, 
1 Cor. xi. 10, in which the apostle says, "For this cause 
ought the woman to have power on her head, because of the 
angels." It is said in the course of the discussion, which the 
apostle introduces on the subject of female attire in the pub 
lic assemblies. At the same time, it is proper to bear in 
mind, what expositors too commonly overlook, that the imme 
diate object of the statement is of a general kind, and has 
respect to the relation of the woman to the man, as determined 
by the order of their creation: "For the man is not of the 
woman, but the woman of the man; neither was the man cre 
ated for the woman, but the woman for the man : for this 
cause (namely, on account of that relative position and des 
tiny,) ought the woman to have power on her head, because 
of the angels." It is plainly the attire and aspect of the 
woman, as indicative of her proper place, that the apostle has 
here more immediately in view, and not merely nor directly 
her appearance and bearing in the church; this last and more 
specific point he would derive simply as a practical conclusion 
from the other. Now, as to the import of what he says on 
that other and more general subject, there can be little doubt, 
that what is meant by having power or authority (Kweia) on 
the head, is having what visibly exhibited that; viz. a veiled, 
or covered appearance, which is the natural symbol of a de 
pendent or subordinate position. There is no force in the 
objection to this, that it is rather the want of authority, than 
the possession of it, which is ascribed to the woman; for it 
proceeds on a mistaken view of the expression, as if the apostle 
meant she had the power to use it as her own. The reverse, 
rather, is what is indicated. The expression is entirely similar 
to that used by the centurion in Matt. viii. 9, when he said of 

himself, "For I also am a man under authority" (onb &o- 
) he stood, as it were, under its law and ordination 


having a right and a call to do whatever it authorized him to 
do that, but no more. So the woman here, as standing 
under the man in a relation of subservience, ought (fape&et) to 
have authority or power upon her head; in other words, some 
thing in the very attire and aspect of her head to denote, that 
authority lay upon her. Her veiled appearance naturally, 
by her long hair, and artificially, by an appropriate head 
dress is such a thing ; it is a token of respect and submission 
toward the higher authority lodged in the man, and betokens 
that it is hers to do with ministrations of service, rather than 
with the right of government and control. 

Plence the feminine aspect which, in the ancient ordinance 
of the Nazarite vow, the person bound by it had to assume, in 
regard to his head. The Nazarite was one who. by a special 
vow, placed himself in strict subservience to God; the au 
thority of God rested upon him in a manner quite peculiar; 
and, to mark this, he had to let his hair grow like a woman s; 
so that, as the woman in relation to man, so he in relation to 
God, might be said to have power or authority on his head; 
and the parting with the symbol of his position (as in the case 
of Samson) was in effect abandoning the covenant-engagement 
under which he stood breaking loose from God. 

We see, then, the fitness and propriety of the veiled ap 
pearance of the woman s head it is the becoming sign of her 
place and calling, as made of man, and, in a sense also, for 
man. But why should this be said to be because, or for the 
sake of the angels? Whatever may be meant by the ex 
pression, one thing should be distinctly understood regarding 
it that, from the brief and abrupt manner in which the al 
lusion is made not a word of explanation going before or 
coming after it can have reference to no recondite or myste 
rious point nothing in itself of doubtful speculation, or 
capable of being ascertained only by minute and laborious 
search. Points of such a nature, together with the Rabbinical 
or heathen lore, on which they are grounded, must be out of 
place here, as the allusion (had it referred to such) could only 
have tended to perplex or mislead. Proceeding, therefore, 
on the ground now laid down, we have to dismiss from our 


minds all the peculiar and unusual applications of the term 
angels sometimes adduced by commentators; and also all 
fanciful notions regarding the acts of real angels such as 
their supposed habit of veiling their faces before God (which 
is never mentioned of angels, strictly so called), or having a 
sort of superintendence and oversight of Christian assemblies 
(a matter also nowhere else intimated in any earlier Scrip 
ture:) and we have simply to consider, whether there be any 
broad and palpable facts respecting the angelic world, which, 
without violence or constraint, may be fitly brought into 
juxtaposition with the proper place and bearing of women. 
Vv r e know nothing of this description, unless it be what their 
very name imports their position and calling as ministering 
spirits before God, from which one section of them, indeed, 
fell, but which the rest kept, to their honour and blessing. 
This, however, is enough; it furnishes precisely the link of 
connexion between them and woman. Her place, in relation 
to man, is like that of the angels of God ; it is to do the part 
of a ministering agent and loving help not independently to 
rule and scheme for herself. It is by abiding under law to 
man, that she becomes either a subject or an instrument of 
blessing. Hence, when she fell, it was by departing from 
this order, by attempting to act an independent part, as if no 
yoke of authority lay upon her, and she might be an authority 
and a law to herself quitting her appointed place of minis 
tering, for the coveted place of independent action. So, too, 
was it, in the higher regions of existence, with the angels that 
lost their first estate; they strove, in like manner, against the 
prime law of their being, which was to minister and serve, 
and aspired to be and act as from themselves. By this vain 
and wicked attempt they fell; and the fall of Eve, through 
their instrumentality, was but the image and echo of their 
own. Now, is it unnatural to suppose that the apostle, while 
tracing up the matter concerning woman s place and bearing 
in society to the origin and fountain of things, should also 
have reminded them of these instructive facts? should have 
pointed their thoughts to the higher region of spirits? The 
order here he virtually said to them the order of things in 


this lower world, serves as an image of the heavenly. Rela 
tions of superiority and subservience exist there as well as 
here ; and the harmony and blessedness of both worlds alike 
depend upon these relations being duly kept; to disregard 
them, is the sure road to confusion and every evil work. Let 
the woman, therefore, recognising this, and remembering how 
the evil that originated in ambitious striving in the heavenly 
places, renewed itself on earth by the like spirit taking pos 
session of her bosom feel that it is good for her to wear per 
petually the badge of subjection to authority. It is at once 
safe and proper for her to retain it; and so, instead of con 
stantly repeating the catastrophe of the fallen angels, she will 
show her readiness to fulfil that angel-relationship, with its 
ministrations of service, for which she was brought into being, 
and exhibit before the blessed ministers of light a reflection of 
their own happy order and loving obedience. 

It may be added, in respect to the false views of angelic 
ministration which we have combated, and as an additional 
proof of their contrariety to the truth of Scripture, that the 
countenance they too commonly received from the Fathers 
produced its natural fruit throughout the early Church in a 
prevailing tendency to angel-worship. The Fathers, however, 
opposed this tendency, and sometimes by formal synodal acts 
denounced the practice, in which it showed itself, of dedi 
cating particular churches to certain angels, and calling them 
by their names. In the Tightness of this opposition, the in 
consistency with which it was connected may be overlooked; 
but it were hard to see how, if the guardianship of distinct 
regions, of particular persons, and of Christian assemblies, 
were assigned to individual angels, these should not have re 
ceived a share in the semi-divine honour that was paid to the 
saints. Angelic adoration and saint-worship are but different 
forms of the same idolatrous tendency. 

V. The doctrine of the fallen angels, and their agency 
among men, though it should not be totally omitted here, yet 
does not call for lengthened consideration; since, while it 
gives rise to many metaphysical questions and baffling diffi 
culties, these have comparatively little to do with the inter- 


pretation of Scripture. For the most part, the passages in 
which the fallen angels are referred to, are plain enough in 
their meaning; and it is the subjects themselves discoursed of, 
not the language used in discoursing of them, which more 
peculiarly exercise the powers of the mind. At present, it 
will be enough to indicate a few points nearly connected with, 
or naturally growing out of, the principles that have been un 
folded regarding the angels of God. (1.) It is, first of all, to 
be held fast respecting them, that, in common with those who 
still retain their place in light and glory, they were originally 
created good. The teaching of Scripture throughout is alto 
gether opposed to the idea, which, from the earliest times, 
was so extensively prevalent in the East, of an independent, 
uncreated principle of evil, whether as embodied in one, or 
in a multiplicity of concrete existences. Every being in the 
universe, that is not God, is a part of the creation of God ; 
and, as His works were all, like Himself, very good, the evil 
that now appears in any of them must have been a perversion 
of the good, not an original and inherent malignity. And, in 
the case of the evil angels, the fact of a fall from a preceding 
good state is distinctly asserted (John viii. 44; Jude 6; 2 Pet. 
ii. 4.) But nothing is said as to the period of this fall, whether 
it came immediately after their creation, or after the lapse of 
a g es n or as to the circumstances that gave rise to it, and the 
precise assumed. The expression of our Lord in John s 
Gospel, that Satan was a liar from the beginning (a^ 1 <Y >$ o) 
does not necessarily refer to the commencement of his own ex 
istence, but seems rather, from the connexion, to point to the 
beginning of this world s history. It is more natural for us 
to suppose, that the fall of the angels, like that of our first 
parents, was nearly coeval with their existence, as it is next 
to impossible for us to conceive how they should, for any 
length of time, have enjoyed the intuition and the blessedness 
of God, without having all the principles of goodness in their 
natures strengthened and rendered continually less capable of 
turning aside to evil; but this is a region into which Scrip 
ture does not conduct us, and it is best to avoid it as one that 
can only involve matters of uncertain speculation. (2.) The 


total depravity, and consequent misery of the evil angels, is 
also constantly asserted in Scripture. In both respects they 
are represented as the antithesis of the good and blessed 
angels. Inveterately hostile to God Himself, whatever is of 
God excites their enmity and opposition : falsehood instead of 
truth, instead of love, selfishness, hatred and malice, have be 
come the elements of their active being ; and, themselves utterly 
estranged from all good, they appear incapable even of ap 
prehending the feelings of those who love it, and actuated only 
by the insatiate desire of, in every possible way, resisting and 
overthrowing it. Hence their policy is characterized by min 
gled intelligence and blindness, cunning and folly, according 
as it is directed to those who, like themselves, are inclined to 
the evil, or to such as are wedded to the good: with the one 
it is skilfully laid and reaches its aim, with the other it per 
petually miscalculates and defeats itself. Of all this the re 
corded actings of Satan and his angels, in the history of our 
Lord and His apostles, supply ample proof (comp. besides 
Matt. xiii. 39; 1 Pet. v. 8; Eph. vi. 12; Heb. ii. 14.) So 
that sinning and doing evil may be said to have become a 
moral necessity in their natures, as love and holiness with the 
elect angels. "Hence they are necessarily miserable. Torn 
loose from the universal centre of life, without being able to 
find it in themselves; by the feeling of inward void, ever driven 
to the outward world, and yet in irreconcilable hostility to it 
and themselves; eternally shunning, and never escaping, the 
presence of God; always endeavouring to destroy, and always 
compelled to promote His purposes; instead of joy in the 
beatific vision of the Divine glory, having a never-satisfied 
longing for an end they never reach; instead of hope, the un 
ending oscillation between fear and despair; instead of love, 
an impotent hatred of God, their fellows, and themselves: 
can the fearful condemnation of the last judgment, the thrust 
ing down into the bottomless pit of destruction (Rev. xx. 10,) 
add any thing to the anguish of such a condition, excepting 
that they shall there see the kingdom of God for ever delivered 
from their assaults, their vain presumption that they can de 
stroy or impede it scattered to the winds, leaving to them only 


the ever-gnawing despair of an inward rage, which cannot 
spend itself upon anything without, and is, therefore, for ever 
undeceived as to its own impotence!" (Twesten s Lectures, 
see Bib. Sacra, i. 793.) (3.) Lastly, in regard to the agency 
of the evil angels, and the mode in which it is exercised in the 
world, the general limitations already deduced from Scripture 
in respect to the good, undoubtedly hold also here. Nega 
tively, it cannot assume a substantive existence or separate 
action of its own, nor come into direct contact with the minds 
of men. It has no other way of operating, either upon men s 
souls or bodies, but by entering into the series of second 
causes, and giving such additional potence to these as it may 
consist with the Divine purpose to admit of being employed. 
So that the temptations of the powers of evil, and the effects 
of every kind wrought by them, are not (in ordinary cases) 
to be distinguished from the operation of the moral and physi 
cal laws which prevail in the world. No record is contained 
of external injuries inflicted by them, except by means of ex 
ternal causes, which they were allowed, in some unknown 
manner, to intensify-as in the case of Job s calamities, or 
Paul s thorn in the flesh. And the moral hardening, or in 
tense addictedness to evil, which is sometimes ascribed to the 
working of Satan, or his fellows, always appears as the result 
of a previous course of wickedness, and as consisting simply 
in a more thorough abandonment to the carnal lusts and af 
fections, which have gained dominion of the heart. The case 
of Saul in the Old Testament, of Judas, Ananias, and Sapphira, 
the followers of Antichrist, etc., in the New, fully confirm 
this (1 Sam. xvi. 14, xviii. 10; Luke xxii. 3; Acts v. 1- 
2 Thess ii. 11, etc.) The nearest contact with the mdivulua 
that any of the notices of Scripture give reason for supposing 
to have ever taken place, or to be compatible with the natu 
of things, lies in some such operation on the bodily organism, 
as is fitted to inflame the existing tendencies to evil, and shut 
their unhappy victim more entirely up to their dominion. _ And 
hence the utter fallacy of the whole theory and practice of 
witchcraft, which proceeded on the assumption of direct per- 
Bonal intercourse with the Wicked One. That the possibility 


of such a traffic should have been believed in Christian times, 
and especially that it should have led to the sacrifice of 
thousands of lives in every state of European Christendom, 
is one of the greatest scandals in the history of modern civili 



O ^ AND Ylo- TO r J 

ALL the names of the Redeemer were originally appella 
tives. They expressed some leading property, or exhibited 
some specific aspect of His person, His mission, or His king 
dom. The term Christ is no exception, nor even Jesus, which 
simply denotes Him as emphatically the Saviour although 
being the individual name borne by Him from His infancy, 
it was familiarly used, and might from the first be regarded 
as a proper name. The Old Testament designations not only 
were originally, but for the most part continued still to retain 
an appellative character; such v for example, as The Angel 
of the Lord, The Angel of the Covenant, Immanuel, The 
Prince, The Son of Gf-od. But in others the appellative passed, 
even in Old Testament times, into a kind of proper name; 
and, as a consequence, the article, which was originally pre 
fixed to them, ultimately fell away. In one of them, indeed, 
Michael which has already been investigated in connexion 
with the subject of angels the article was not prefixed; for 
in the only book where it occurs (Daniel) it was employed 
substantially as a proper name; yet it was really an appella 
tive, and, for the purpose of indicating more distinctly the 
Divine nature and exalted position of Messiah, was preferred 
to some of the earlier and more common designations used by 
the prophets. As a proper example, however, of the change 
from the appellative to the individual form, let us trace the 
manner in which the term Zemach, or Branch, came to be ap- 



plied definitely and personally to Christ. Isaiah first speaks 
in ch. iv. 2, with reference probably to Messianic times, but 
in a somewhat general way, of the Lord s branch (njrp rv?^) 
which he said was yet to be beautiful and glorious; and at 
ch. xi. 1, a little more specifically, at least with a more special 
reference to the house of David, and an individual member 
of that house, he gives promise of a stem of Jesse, and a 
branch, or sucker, from his roots. Here, however, the word 
ZemacTi is not used, but non and "ttJ , showing that such terms 
were employed simply in an appellative sense, arid merely 
because indicating a certain characteristic of the future scion 
of the royal house. With a still nearer approach to the per 
sonal, Jeremiah, in ch. xxiii. 5, prophesies of a time, when the 
Lord would raise up to David a righteous branch (Zemach,) 
and a king (viz. the branch already mentioned) should reign 
and prosper. And, finally, when through these earlier pro 
phecies the appellative had come, in the general apprehension, 
to be associated with the one object of hope and expectation, 
to whom it pre-eminently pointed, it is used as a sort of proper 
name by the prophet Zechariah though still with an obvious 
reference to its appellative import: ch. iii. 8, "Behold, I 
bring my servant, Branch;" and again, ch. vi. 12, "Thus 
saith the Lord, Behold a man, whose name is Branch." Much 
in the same manner Melek, king, is occasionally used ; for 
example in Ps. xlv. 1, Ps. Ixxii. 1, where the theme is that 
King by way of eminence, to whom even then the eye of faith 
looked forward as the crowning-point of Israel s glory ; it is 
applied to Him individually, and without the article, as a 
strictly personal designation. 

This progression, however, from the appellative to the pro 
per use of names, appears still more distinctly in the epithet, 
by which in ancient times the coming Redeemer was most 
commonly known the Messiah, or, adopting the Greek form, 
the Christ. In its primary import and application there was 
nothing strictly personal, or even very specific, in the term. 
A participle or verbal adjective from rw? to anoint, it was 
applied to any one so anointed; for example, to the high- 
priest, who is called in Lev. iv. 3, " the priest the anointed," 


(hamaschiach^ rendered in the Septuagint 6 
At a later period it is similarly used of Saul by David not 
of Saul as an individual, but of him as the possessor of a dig 
nity, to which he had been set apart by a solemn act of con 
secration ; as such, he is designated 6 jf/wrrdc TOL> Kopioo^ the 
christ or anointed of the Lord, (1 Sam. xii. 8, 5, etc.) It 
was Hannah who first gave the term this kingly direction, 
when, at the conclusion of her song of praise, she proclaimed 
the Lord s intention to give "strength to His king, and exalt 
the horn of His anointed (meschiho)" evidently using His 
Messiah, or anointed, as synonymous with His king in the 
preceding clause; and singularly enough, doing so, before 
there was an actual king in Israel, and when as yet the act 
of anointing had not been applied to any one filling the 
kingly function. The prophetic spirit, in which her song was 
conceived, and the elevation especially of its closing sentences, 
seem to point above and beyond the immediate future, and to 
bear respect to that universal King, of whom Jacob had al 
ready spoken as the Shiloh, and to whom the gathering of 
the peoples was to be whom Balaam also described as "the 
Star that should come out of Jacob, and the Sceptre that 
should rise out of Israel, who was to smite the corners of 
Moab, and destroy all the children of tumult." This was the 
child of hope more especially in the eye of Hannah ; for the 
anointed King, of whom she speaks, was to stand pre-eminent 
above the states and powers of the world, and through Him 
the adversaries of the Lord were to be broken, and the ends 
of the earth to be judged. Not long after we find the term 
Messiah applied in the same manner by David not to a merely 
human and earthly monarch, but to the Son of the Highest, to 
whom as such the heritage of the world, to its utmost bounds, 
by Divine right belongs. And at length it became so appro 
priated to this higher use, in the diction of the Spirit and the 
expectations of the people, that its other possible applications 
were lost sight of; it came to be regarded as the distinctive 
name of the promised Saviour as in Dan. ix. 25, "Know, 
therefore, and understand, that from the going forth of the 
commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem, unto Mes- 


siali. Prince " (no article ;") and again in the next verse, " And 
after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off." 

These remarks will explain some apparent grammatical ano 
malies in the New Testament use of the term Xpto-cbz. But 
before quitting the Old Testament usage, it is not unimportant 
to notice, that there are two or three passages, in which the 
term is applied to persons not precisely included in the cases 
already noticed ; applications which have given rise to the 
idea, that the term was loosely extended to include any per 
son of note, and in particular the collective people of Israel. 
This is a mistaken view, and loses its apparent plausibility, 
when respect is had to the symbolical import of anointing with 
oil, out of which the word Messiah arose. Such anointing, 
as a religious ceremony, was always symbolical of the commu 
nication of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Thus the anointing 
of the tabernacle and all its furniture bespoke the indwelling 
of the Spirit for purposes of life and blessing among the mem 
bers of the Theocracy. Hence, when David was anointed to 
be king in the room of Saul, it is immediately said, that "the 
Spirit of the Lord came upon him from that day forward, and 
that the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul," (1 6am. xvi. 
13, 14;) and David himself, when by his iniquity he had for 
feited his title to the place he held in the kingdom, prays that 
God would not take His Holy Spirit from him, (Ps. li.) 
would not deal with him as He had dealt with Saul, and leave 
his anointing a shell without a kernel. Still more explicitly 
Isaiah, pointing to gospel times, and personating the Messiah 
himself, says, " The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because 
He hath anointed me to preach glad tidings to the meek," 
(ch. Ixi. 1) the possession of the Spirit because of the anoint 
ing; as if the one necessarily inferred the other; and, indeed, 
in this case the reality alone was made account of; the sym 
bol was dropt as no longer needed. And, to mention no more, 
in the vision presented to Zechariah, ch. iv., there is first the 
symbol of two olive-trees, pouring a perpetual stream of oil 
into the candle-stick, with its seven branches emblems of 
the church; and then the explanation of the symbol in what 
is said to Zerubbabcl, " Not by might, nor by power, but by 


My Spirit, saith the Lord of Hosts:" So that the presence 
of the Spirit, pervading the affairs of the covenant, and carry 
ing these triumphantly over the difficulties and dangers around 
them, is the reality indicated by the oil that flowed from the 
olive-trees into the candlestick. 

Now, it is by a reference to this symbolical import of the 
practice of anointing that the passages in question are to be 
understood and explained. One of them is Isa. xlv. 1, where 
Cyrus is designated by the name of Messiah ("Thus saith the 
Lord to His anointed, to Cyrus;") so designated, however, 
not from his being simply a prince or a ruler, but from the 
peculiar relation in which he stood to the covenant-people, 
and the important service he rendered to their interests. On 
these accounts he was justly regarded as one possessed of a 
certain measure of the Spirit, having the reality, though not 
the outward symbol of an anointing, which qualified him for 
discerning in some degree the truth of God, and for acting as 
God s chosen instrument at an important crisis in the affairs 
of His Church. In the judicious language of Yitringa, "The 
anointed person here is one who was separated by the Divine 
counsel, and ordained to accomplish a matter that pertained 
to the glory of God, and was furnished for it from above with 
the necessary gifts ; among which were his justice, his regard 
for the -Divine Being, his prudence, fortitude, mildness, and 
humanity; so that he could not seem to be unworthy of being 
made an illustrious means of executing the counsels of God." 
Again, in Hab. iii. 13, it is said, "Thou wentest forth for the 
salvation (help) of Thy people, and for the salvation of Thine 
anointed" (Sept. royc Xptffwjz aou;) where the anointed, in 
the last clause, is often viewed as synonymous with people in 
the first. But this is erroneous; the former expression points 
to the God-anointed king of the people, in whose behalf the 
Lord is often also in the Psalms represented as coming, or 
entreated to come, for the purpose of bringing deliverance 
(Ps. xxviii. 8, xx. 6.) Finally, in Psal. cv. 15, it is said re 
specting the patriarchs, "Touch not Mine anointed, and do 
My prophets no harm;" and the reference is still of the same 
kind it points to those heads of the Jewish nation as vessels 


and instruments of God s Spirit, to whom were communicated 
revelations of the Divine will, and by whom were accomplished 
the more peculiar purposes of Heaven: on which account also 
Abraham is expressly called a prophet (Gen. xx. 7.) To style 
thus the patriarchal heads of the covenant-people, and even 
Cyrus the heathen prince, by the name of God s anointed, is 
itself convincing evidence of the respect that was had, in Old 
Testament times, to the reality in the symbol, and shows how, 
where the external form of anointing had failed, this might 
still be regarded as virtually present, if the things signified 
by it had actually taken effect. 

To return, however, to our more immediate object, we have 
seen that while the term Messiah was properly appellative, 
yet, toward the close of the Old Testament writings, it came 
to be used of the expected Redeemer much as a proper name, 
and hence, naturally, without the article; still, not as if it 
thereby lost its appellative import, but only because this im 
port was seen concentrating all its fulness in Him, so that He 
alone seemed worthy to bear the appellation. It should not, 
therefore, excite any surprise; it is rather in accordance with 
what might have been expected, if, sometimes at least, and 
especially when persons spoke, who were peculiarly under the 
influence of the Spirit, or who had no doubt as to the indivi 
dual to whom the name properly belonged, it is found to be 
similarly used in New Testament Scripture. It is in reality 
so used on the very first occasion on which Xptarbz occurs in 
the Gospels, viz., when the angels announced to the shepherds 
on the plains of Bethlehem that there had been born a Sa 
viour, oc iff rev XpeffToz A iy)foc, "who is Christ, Lord" (Luke 
ii. 11.) In like manner, the woman of Samaria, when speak 
ing, not of any definite individual, but of the ideal Messiah, 
or the specific, though still unknown individual, in whom the 
idea was to be realized, uses the term absolutely, or as a pro 
per name, "I know (she said, John iv. 25) that Messias comes, 
who is called Christ (6 /c^o//svoc XpeffT^:) when he shall have 
come, He will tell us all things." So, yet again, Jesus Him 
self in the only passage in which He is recorded to have ap 
plied the term directly to Himself, John xvii. 8, "And Jesus 


Christ/whom Thou hast sent." Here especially commentators 
have often found a difficulty, from not seeing the matter in 
its proper light; and Dr. Campbell even suspects, in the face 
of all the MSS., that the article has somehow been lost before 
XptGTfo. He might, however, as well have suspected a like 
omission in the address of the angels to the shepherds, or in 
Dan. ix. 24, 25, before Messiah. The same principle accounts 
for the omission in all the cases, and satisfactorily explains it; 
viz., the distinctive application of the term Messiah, even be 
fore the close of Old Testament Scripture, to the promised 
Redeemer, which rendered it substantially a proper name, 
when used by those who looked with some degree of confidence 
to the individual that was entitled to bear it. 

But from the circumstances connected with our Lord s ap 
pearance in the world, which were such as to occasion doubts 
in many minds respecting His Messiahship, it was quite na 
tural that when the term was used during the period of His 
earthly sojourn, it should not commonly have been employed 
as a proper name, but should rather have been taken in its 
appellative sense, and as only with a greater or less degree of 
probability applicable to the Saviour. The question, whicq 
at the time either consciously agitated, or silently occurred 
to men s minds, was, whether this Jesus of Nazareth was en 
titled to be owned as the Messiah; whether He was in- reality 
the person, in whom the characteristics and properties implied 
in that designation were to be found. Hence, being com 
monly used with reference to the solution of such a question, 
the name Messiah, or Christ, usually has the article prefixed, 
till after the period of the resurrection, when all doubt or un 
certainty vanished from the minds of His followers, and the 
name began, equally with Jesus, to be appropriated to our 
Lord as a strictly personal designation. We can thus mark 
a general progress in the usage of the sacred writers, and a 
diversity in respect to A ^^ror, quite similar to that, which 
was noticed in the Old Testament respecting Messiah: an ear 
lier use, in which respect is had more to the appellative im 
port, and a later, in which the word comes chiefly to be ap 
plied as a proper name. And accordingly in the Gospels it 


is but rarely found without the article, while it is almost as 
rarely found with the article in the Epistles. 

This more advanced stage of matters, when Christ as well 
as Jesus had come to be used as a proper name, had already 
entered when the Gospels were written. Hence we find the 
Evangelists, at the beginning of their narratives, and when 
speaking from the point of view which had then been reached, 
employing the term Christ in as personal a manner as Jesus. 
Thus Matthew, at the beginning of his genealogy, "The book 
of the generation lycrou Kpta-cov" of Jesus Christ; and again 
at the close of it, "Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, 
of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ" (6 As-yofjisvoz 
X()CGTOZ.} In like manner Mark heads his Gospel, "The be 
ginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, Son of God." So also 
John in ch. i. 17, " The law was given by Moses ; grace and 
truth came by" Jesus Christ." But immediately after such 
introductory statements, when they begin to report what per 
sons thought and spake, while the events of Gospel history 
were in progress, we mark in the use of the article the regard 
men had to the appellative import of the word. Thus in John 
i. 20, the Baptist is reported as confessing, that he was "not 
the Christ;" and at ver. 42, Andrew says to Peter, "We have 
found the Messias." In Matt. ii. 3, Herod demands of the 
chief priests and scribes, "Where the Christ is born;" i.e. the 
person to whom that appellation should really belong. And 
Peter in his memorable confession says, "We believe that 
Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God." 

It would undoubtedly have been better, and would have 
contributed to the more easy and distinct understanding of 
some passages in New Testament Scripture, if our translators 
had been more generally observant of the difference in style 
now under consideration, and had more commonly rendered 
the article when it exists in the original. We miss it particu 
larly in some passages of the Acts as at ch. iv. 42, "They 
ceased not teaching and preaching Jesus Christ," properly, 
Jesus the Christ, meaning, that Jesus is the Christ; ch. xvii. 3, 
"This Jesus whom I preach to you is Christ;" ch. xviii. 28, 
"Showing by the Scriptures that Jesus was Christ;" where, 
in both passages, the meaning would evidently gain in distinct- 


ness by inserting the article, as in the original, "That Jesus 
is the Christ." At the same time, as the name, even when 
it became a kind of personal designation, always bore a refe 
rence to its original import, so it never wholly loses this in the 
minds of thoughtful readers of the Bible; and there are pro 
bably not very many, at least of serious and thoughtful 
readers, who are in the position described by Dr. Campbell, 
when he says, that they consider Jesus Christ as no other 
than the name and surname of the same person, and that it 
would sound all one to them to say, that Paul testified that 
Christ was Jesus, as that Jesus was Christ. 1 No one could 
possibly be insensible to the difference in these statements, 
who reads with ordinary attention the authorized version 
excepting in the sense, which would not suit Dr. Campbell s 
purpose, of ascribing an appellative import to Jesus as well 
as Christ. In that case it would be much the same to say, 
that Jesus or Saviour is Christ, and that Christ or Messias is 
Jesus. All, however, that can with propriety be affirmed, is, 
that the omission of the article in such cases renders the 
meaning less palpable and obvious than it would otherwise 
have been. 

Even when the word Christ was passing, or had already 
passed into a sort of personal designation, pains were taken 
by the apostles to keep up in the minds of the disciples an 
acquaintance with its proper import. Thus Peter on the day 
of Pentecost speaks of God having made the Jesus who had 
been so recently crucified both Lord and Christ xal Kuptov Xptarbv; and, somewhat later, the assembled company of 
apostles, after the liberation of Peter and John, say in their 
joint address to God, "Thy holy child Jesus, whom Thou 
didst christen," or anoint, (ou Zyjiao.z, Acts iv. 27.) Still 
more explicitly was this done in the address, of Peter to the 
household of Cornelius, when, after briefly adverting to the ge 
neral outlines of our Lord s history, and styling Him simply, 
Jesus of Nazareth, he adds, "how God anointed him with the 
Holy Spirit and power," (d>c H%ptasv abrw b 6eb^ UvebfjiaTt 
^l-fiuj xac duvdfjizf, Acts x. 38.) Indeed, the verb %pl<0 9 on this 

1 Preliminary Dissertations. 



very account that is, because of its symbolical connexion with 
the gift of the Spirit, and in particular with the name and 
consecration of Jesus itself acquired a kind of sacred value, 
and in New Testament Scripture is only used of this higher, 
spiritual anointing. With one exception, it is never used but 
of Christ Himself, as the Spirit-replenished servant of Jeho 
vah ; and even that exception is not without a close respect 
to the same. It is in 2 Cor. i. 21, where the apostle says, 
"He that establisheth us together with you into Christ, and 
hath anointed us, is God," (b os fteftaccov fyjiaz crw b^v eiz 
Xpta-bv, xal %plffaz fyiu.z, $0s,) that is, He has so knit and 
consolidated us into Christ, that we have ourselves become 
Christ-like, replenished with a portion of His enlightening 
and sanctifying Spirit. The verb 0Ue/^>a) is the word employed 
in reference to anointings of an inferior sort, done for the sake 
of refreshment merely, and without any sacred design. 

In some of the later passages of the New Testament this 
reference to the original meaning of the term is undoubtedly 
lost sight of; and Jesus is designated Christ, when, as far as 
we can see, Lord, or Redeemer, might have been equally ap 
propriate. Thus in Eph. v. 21, according to the correct 
reading, we have " being subject to one another in fear of 
Christ," (Iv <f>6f)(f) XptffTOu;) Christ being simply an appella 
tion of the Divine and glorified Redeemer, as the object of 
humble reverence and submissive regard. Passages of this 
sort, however, are not very frequent; and where there is no 
distinct, there often is a concealed or implied reference to the 
appellative import of the term. It is to this, that we would 
ascribe the occasional employment of Christ, rather than any 
other name of the Redeemer, to denote the organic union 
between Him and His people. Thus in Gal. iv. 19, the 
apostle says, "My little children, of whom I travail in birth 
again, until Christ be formed in you;" and in Eph. iv. 20, 
"Ye have not so learned Christ." In these passages we are 
not to dilute the term Christ, so as to take it for a kind of 
concrete designation of Christian doctrine; we are rather to 
regard it as pointing to that intimate spiritual fellowship be 
tween the soul and Christ, which renders genuine believers so 


many images of Himself smaller vessels and partial embodi 
ments of that grace, which in infinite fulness and perfection 
is treasured up in Him. So again in 1 Cor. xii. 12, \ve read, 
"For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the 
members of that one body, being many, are one body; so 
also is Christ;" i. e., Christ and those who are His the 
whole corporate society of the faithful; they are together 
designated by the name of Christ, as having their spiritual 
being in Him, and in Him receiving the unction of the same 
Spirit. It is quite possible also, and even probable, that out 
of this import and use of the word Xptarb^ may have grown 
that common name Xpeffreayoi^ Christians, by which the fol 
lowers of Jesus became so early, and have so uniformly been 
distinguished. We are told in Acts xi. 26, that they were so 
called first in Antioch; and Dr. Trench, (in bis Study of 
Words, p. 98,) as well as many in former times, have thought 
that the name was imposed upon them by their heathen ad 
versaries, and consequently at first had somewhat of the 
aspect of a nickname. We cannot positively affirm it was 
otherwise ; but the phraseology of St. Paul approaches so very 
near to the use of the word as a common designation, that if 
it did not actually originate in the Church itself, we might 
almost say, it should have done so; nor, assuredly, would it 
have become so readily owned, and so extensively employed 
among the Christian communities, unless it had either spon 
taneously arisen from within, or as soon as heard awakened a 
response among the members of the Church. Hence, as con 
scious of no reproach in the appellation, yea, rather as owning 
arid accrediting its propriety, the Apostle Peter says, "But 
if any of you suffer as a Christian oc Xpi0Tco.vbz let him 
not be ashamed," (1 Pet. iv. 16.) And as regards the spiritual 
use to be made of the appellation, the most natural and ap 
propriate turn, in our judgment, to be given to the matter, is, 
to direct attention not to the supposed accident of the origin 
of the term but to the real meaning involved in it, when 
rightly understood ; in other words, to the fulness of grace 
and blessing which ought to distinguish those who have their 
calling and designation from Him, who is THE CHRIST the 
Spirit-anointed Saviour. 


Another thing to be noted, in connexion with this name and 
its cognate terms, is the rise that took place from the outward 
and symbolical, to the inward and spiritual. This had begun, 
as we have noticed, even in Old Testament times; persons 
were even then designated as Christ s or anointed ones, who 
had received no outward consecration with holy oil. The ap 
plication of the term to the patriarchs in Psalm cv., and to 
Cyrus by Isaiah, was manifestly of this description; and in 
the New Testament the external symbol, so far as regards 
the use of %pUo in all its forms, falls entirely away; it is ap 
plied only to the inward communication and endowment with 
the Spirit s grace, which was symbolized by the external 
anointings with holy oil. The spiritual reality was so well un 
derstood, that while the old language was retained, the ancient 
symbol was felt to be no longer needed; so that the anointed 
one now is simply the vessel of grace Jesus pre-eminently 
and completely, because in Him resides the plenitude of the 
Spirit s grace; then, subordinately to Him, the members of 
His spiritual body, because out of His fulness they receive 
grace for grace. 

It is proper, still further, to note the relative order and 
gradation, that appears in the names usually applied to our 
Lord as regards their individual import and common use. The 
first name by which lie was known and addressed was Jesus, 
which, though of deep and comprehensive import, and requiring 
the exercise of lively faith and spiritual discernment, if used 
with a proper knowledge and apprehension of its meaning, 
was yet for the most part regarded as simply a proper name. 
When called Jesus of Nazareth by the men of His generation, 
our Lord was merely distinguished from the other persons of 
the place and neighbourhood. The first question that came 
to be stirred in men s bosoms, was, whether He was entitled 
to have the further name of the Christ, or simply to be called 
Jesus Christ. As soon as inquirers attained to satisfaction on 
that point, they took their place among His disciples; they 
recognised Him as the promised Messiah, and confessed Him 
as such. It was a further question, however, and one not so 
readily decided, what personally this Christ was ? Was He 


simply a man, distinguished from other men by superior gifts 
of nature and of grace? Or was He, in a sense altogether 
peculiar, the Son of God? A considerable time elapsed be 
fore even the immediate followers of Christ reached the pro 
per position of knowledge and conviction upon this point; and 
the first distinct, or, at least, thoroughly intelligent and as 
sured utterance of the truth, was that which came from the 
lips of Peter, when he said, " We believe, that Thou art the 
Christ, the Son of the living God." If he had stopt at " the 
Christ," there had been nothing very remarkable in the con 
fession ; Philip virtually confessed as much at the outset, when 
he said to Nathanael, " We have found Him, of whom Moses 
in the law and the prophets wrote, Jesus the Son of Joseph;" 
and by Andrew, when he informed Simon, "We have found 
the Messiah." But it was greatly more to be able to add? 
with a full understanding and conviction of what was said, 
"the Son of the living God." Peter appears to have had 
precedence of the other disciples in the clearness and strength 
of his convictions on the subject. Nearly the same confession 
in words had been uttered at an early period by Nathanael, 
when he exclaimed, " Rabbi, Thou art the Son of God, Thou 
art the King of Israel;" but we can scarcely doubt that his 
mind was still imperfectly enlightened regarding the person 
of Jesus, and that he really confessed to nothing more than 
some kind of indefinite superiority in Jesus over ordinary men. 
But the truth had been communicated to Peter by special re 
velation, and had taken firm possession of his soul; and the 
Sonship of Jesus to which he confessed was that essentially 
Divine one, of which Christ spake when He said, "All things 
are delivered to Me of My Father; and no man knoweth the 
Son but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father 
save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him," 
(Matt. xi. 27.) And it was, beyond doubt, in this higher 
sense, which had been indicated in various discourses of Christ, 
that the Jewish high priest used it, when he solemnly put the 
question to Jesus, whether He were the Christ, the Son of 
God; and on receiving an affirmative answer, condemned Him 
for blasphemy. So that to confess Jesus, as at once the 



Christ, and the Son of God, was to own Him to be all that 
the prophets foretold He should be all that His Divine mis 
sion required Him actually to be; it declared Him to be pos 
sessed of a nature essentially Divine, as well as human, and 
thereby rendered capable of receiving the entire fulness of 
the Spirit, to qualify Him for executing in every part the 
Work of man s redemption. 

It is somewhat singular, that our Lord Himself never, ex 
cept on one occasion the one already referred to in John 
xvii. 3 appropriated the names, Jesus and Christ; and only 
on a very few occasions, and even then somewhat obliquely, 
did He take to Himself the title of the Son of God, (Matt. 
xi. 27; John v. 25, ix. 35, xi. 4.) The epithet, under which 
He usually spoke of Himself, was that of the " Son of Man." 
There are on record upwards of forty distinct occasions on 
which He is represented to have employed it in His discourses. 
Yet it was never applied to Him by the evangelists, when re 
lating the events of His earthly ministry ; nor is He ever men 
tioned as having been addressed under this title either by 
friends or foes. Stephen, however, after the resurrection of 
Jesus, made use of it, when in ecstasy he exclaimed, "Behold, 
I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing on 
the right hand of God," (Acts vii. 56.) On no other occasion 
do we find it used, either of Christ or to Him, in New Testa 
ment Scripture unless we may so regard what is written in 
Rev. i. 13, where the Apocalyptist speaks of seeing in vision 
one O/JLOCOV otw avdptb-ov, "like to," not, as in the autho 
rized version, the, but "a son of man." It is in itself a 
quite general expression, although it doubtless points to the 
glorified Redeemer. This, however, we only learn from what 
follows: from the connexion it appears, that the individual, 
who in the vision bore such resemblance to a son of man, was 
none other than the once crucified but now exalted Saviour; 
but the description, " like a son of man," is not in itself more 
specific and personal than the corresponding phrase in Daniel, 
ch. vii. 13 where, after the vision of the four wild beasts 
rising from the sea, and representing the four successive 
worldly monarchies, one appeared in the night visions "like 


a son of man, (no article in the original,) coming with the 
clouds of heaven, and receiving dominion, and glory, and a 
kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages should serve 

There can be no doubt that this passage in Daniel is the 
fundamental one, on which not only that in Revelation, but 
also our Lord s favourite and familiar use of the phrase in 
question, is based; and without knowing the precise import 
and bearing of the representation in the prophet, it is impos 
sible rightly to apprehend the reason and object of the lan 
guage derived from it in New Testament times. There are 
two .points of contrast brought out in the prophet between the 
representative of the fifth, the really universal and everlasting 
kingdom, and the representatives of the earthly kingdoms 
that preceded. These latter are all exhibited as deriving 
their origin from beneath ; they appeared coming out of the 
sea, that is from the world, in its heaving, troubled, and agi 
tated state ; and not only so, but they, one and all, bore the 
aspect and possessed the nature of wild beasts, having only 
earthly properties about them, and these of the more savage 
and selfish description. In marked contrast to both of these 
broad characteristics, the representative of the fifth and ulti 
mate kingdom was seen descending from above, borne on the 
clouds of heaven, the distinctive chariot of Deity, and bearing 
the aspect, not of a nameless monster, or savage tenant of 
the forest, but of "the human face Divine" ideal humanity. 
Introduced in such a connexion, and with the obvious design 
of exhibiting such a contrast, it is surely a meagre representa 
tion of its import, which is given by many commentators for 
example, by Dr. Campbell, when it is said, "Nothing appears 
to be pointed out by the circumstance, one like a son of man, 
but that he would be a human, not an angelical, or any other 
kind of being ; for, in the Oriental idiom, son of man and man 
are terms equivalent." 1 Be it so; the question still remains, 
Why only in respect to this last the sole world-embracing 
and perpetual monarchy was there seen the attractive form 

1 Dissertations, v. 13. 


of a human likeness, while the others, which were certainlj 
to be constituted and governed by men, had their representa 
tion in so many irrational and ferocious wild beasts? And 
why, possessing the likeness of a man, should the former have 
appeared, not coming from beneath, like the others, cast up 
by the heaving convulsions of a tumultuous and troubled world, 
but descending from the lofty elevation of a higher region, 
and a serener atmosphere? These things assuredly were de 
signed to have their correspondences in the realities to which 
they pointed; and the difference indicated is but poorly made 
out in the further statement of Dr. Campbell, when he says, 
"This kingdom, which God Himself was .to erect, is contra 
distinguished from all the rest by the figure of a man, in order 
to denote, that whereas violence, in some shape or other, would 
bo the principal means by which those merely secular king 
doms should be established, and. terror the principal motive 
by which submission should be enforced, it would be quite 
otherwise in that spiritual kingdom to be erected by the An 
cient of Days, wherein every thing should be suited to man s 
rational and moral nature; affection should be the prevailing 
motive to obedience, and persuasion the means of producing 
it." True, so far as it goes; but the question is, How was 
such a spiritual and Divine kingdom to be set up and admi 
nistered among men? And when a prophetic representation 
was given of the fundamental difference betwixt it and the 
merely worldly kingdoms that were to precede, was the human 
element alone thought of? Did the Spirit of prophecy mean 
to exhibit a simple man as destined to realize, on the wide field 
of the world, the proper ideal of humanity? That certainly 
is by no means likely; and if the whole vision of the prophet 
is taken into account, is plainly not the case. The simply 
terrene or human kingdoms are there represented by the wild 
beasts; and if one like a son of man is brought in to represent 
another and better kingdom, and one both receiving His king 
dom from above, and descending thence, as on the chariot of 
Deity, to take possession of His dominion, the obvious infer 
ence and conclusion is, that here at last Divine and human 
were to be intermingled in blessed harmony, and that till such 


intermingling took place, and the kingdom based on it was 
properly erected, the ideal of humanity should remain an ideal 
still, bestial properties should really have the ascendant, and 
should retain their sway, till they were dislodged by the mani 
festation and working of Him who, with Divine aid, should 
restore humanity to its proper place and function in the world. 
Such is the fair and natural interpretation of that part of 
Daniel s vision which relates to the fifth monarchy, and its 
representation under one bearing the likeness of a son of man. 
And it sufficiently explains our Lord s partiality for this epi 
thet, when speaking of Himself, and some of the more peculiar 
connexions in which he employed it. He was announced to 
Israel by His forerunner as coming to set up "the kingdom of 
God," or "of heaven." It was this kingdom which John de 
clared was at hand in other words, the fifth monarchy of 
Daniel, which was to come from abqve, and which was destined 
to supplant every other. How natural, then, for our Lord, 
in order to keep prominently before men this idea, and im 
press upon their minds correct views of the nature of His mis 
sion, to appropriate to Himself that peculiar epithet, "Son of 
Man," under which this kingdom has been prophetically ex 
hibited, as contradistinguished from the kingdoms of the world? 
In so appropriating this epithet, He by no means claimed 
simple humanity to Himself; on the contrary, He emphatically 
pointed to that union of the Divine with the human, which 
was to form the peculiar characteristic of this kingdom, as 
that through which its higher ideal was to be realized. He 
was the Son of Man personified, to whom prophetically, and 
in vision, were committed the powers and destinies of the 
kingdom, which was of God the kingdom, in which hu 
manity was to be made to re-assume its proper type. Hence 
we can readily explain, and see also the full propriety of such 
representations as that in John i. 51 the first occasion on 
which the phrase in question is recorded to have been used 
"Verily, verily, I say unto you, ye shall see heaven opened, 
and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son 
of Man" on Him, as uniting, according to Daniel s vision, 
heaven and earth, the Divine and the human. Or that in 


John iii. 13, "And no man hath ascended up to heaven but 
He that came down from heaven, who is in heaven" a seem 
ing contradiction, if taken hy itself, hut, when placed in con 
nexion with the passage in Daniel, embodying a most import 
ant truth. For it tells us that no one, who is simply a man, 
fallen and degenerate, ever has ascended to heaven, or can 
do so the tendency is all in the opposite direction not up 
wards to heaven, but downwards to hell. The Son of Man, 
however, in whom the idea of humanity was to be realized, is 
of a higher mould; He belongs to the heavenly that is His 
proper region ; and w r hen he appears (as in the person of Christ 
He did appear) on earth, it is to exhibit in Himself what He 
had received from the Father, and raise others to the posses 
sion of the same. By the very title He assumed, He claimed 
to be the New Man, the Lord from heaven, come for the pur 
pose of making all things new, and conforming men to the 
image of Himself. Hence, too, the peculiar expression, em 
bodying another seeming incongruity, in John v. 27, where 
our Lord says of Himself, that the Father "has given Him 
authority also to execute judgment, because He is Son of Man." 
To execute judgment is, undoubtedly, a Divine work; and yet 
it is committed to Christ precisely because He is the Son of 
Man. How? Not, assuredly, because in Him there were 
simply human properties; but because there was the realiza 
tion of that form in Daniel s vision, which represented the 
nature and aspect of the Divine kingdom among men the 
Son of Man, in whom humanity was to attain to its proper 
completeness, and in whom, that it might do so, the human 
should be interpenetrated by the Divine, and hold its powers 
and commission direct from a higher sphere. He, therefore, 
could execute judgment; nay, as concentrating in Himself the 
properties of the kingdom, it was His peculiar province to do 
it; since to man, as thus allied to heaven, God has put in sub 
jection the powers of tho world to come. And there is still 
another peculiar passage, which derives a clear and instructive 
light from the same reference to the original passage in Daniel ; 
it is Matt. xxvi. 64. The high priest had adjured our Lord 
to confess whether He were indeed "the Christ, the Son of 


God;" and His reply was, "Thou hast said [rightly;] never 
theless [rather, moreover, in addition to what I have declared] 
I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see the Son of Man sitting 
on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of 
heaven." It is very striking, how our Lord here drops the 
title, "Son of God," to which He had confessed when put by 
another, and immediately reverts to His wonted appellation, 
"Son of Man;" while, at the same time, He affirms of this 
Son of Man what might have seemed to be more fitly asso 
ciated with the Son of God. The explanation is found in the 
passage of Daniel, the very language and imagery of which 
it adopts; and our Lord simply asserts Himself to be the Head 
and Founder of that Divine kingdom, which was presented to 
the eye of Daniel in vision, under the appearance of one like 
a Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven; but which a 
moment s reflection might have convinced any one He could 
be, only by, at the same time, being in the strict and proper 
sense the Son of God. 


THORITY, <f>Udodidd<TX<ZJ((K 9 fisud 

IT is more especially the last two of the terms just men 
tioned which call for particular investigation; but as the other 
two are nearly related to them, and belong substantially to 
the same line, we shall in the first instance direct some atten 
tion to them. 

1. The two may be taken together, as they appear to be 
used in senses not materially different. So early as in the 
Sermon on the Mount, we find our Lord warning His disciples 
against false prophets: ~poaiy^=~s. dnb TCOU (pz jdoxpcHpYjTcov 
(Matt. vii. 15;) and the test He suggests to be applied to 


them is one chiefly of character; "They come," says He, "in 
sheep s clothing, but within they are ravening wolves. The 
warning is again given in our Lord s discourse respecting the 
last times, "And many false prophets shall arise and deceive 
many" (Matt. xxiv. 11;) and further on at verse 24, He re 
turns to the subject, coupling false prophets with false Christs, 
who, He said, "should arise, and give great signs and won 
ders, so as to deceive, if it were possible, even the elect." 
From these intimations, we are led to understand, that the 
appearance of such characters in considerable numbers was. to 
form one of the precursors of the dissolution of the Jewish 
state, and was also to be a characteristic generally of the time 
of the end. As to the precise import, however, to be attached 
to the terms, we must bring under review one or two of the 
passages, in which they are mentioned as actually appearing. 
Thus In Acts xiii. 6, the Jew, Barjesus, who was with Sergius 
Paulus, the proconsul of Cyprus, and who there withstood 
Paul s preaching, is called ^zodonpotfrr^; and partly in ex 
planation of this designation he is styled Elymas the magos 
/;/y//C 6 /m-j-oz two words of different languages expressing 
substantially tne same meaning; Elymas (from alim) in the 
Arabic or Aramaic, and /m r o- in the Persian, wise wise, 
however, in the Eastern sense, that is, given to learned pur 
suits and the skill of hidden and sacred lore. It did not ne 
cessarily denote what is now commonly understood by the 
term, magician or sorcerer; but comprehended also the better 
wisdom of that higher learning, which was cultivated in the 
East, with its attendant fancies and superstitions. In the Gos 
pel age, however, this learning had become so much connected 
with astrology, and kindred arts, that too often and in the 
case particularly of the Barjesus mentioned above it did not 
materially differ from what is denominated magic or sorcery. 
The persons who bore the name of Magi, in the districts oi 
Syria, were for the most part mere fortune-tellers. It was 
such, who swarmed about Rome, and are celebrated in the 
Latin classics, as "Chaldean astrologers," "Phrygian fortune 
tellers," "dealers in Babylonian numbers," etc.; 1 rushing in, 
k i Hor. Sat. I. 2, 1 ; Od. I. 11, 2. Juv. Sat. III. C. 


amid the decay of the old faith, with their delusive arts of di 
vination, to play upon the credulity of an age alike skeptical 
and superstitious. It is clear from the allusions of the an 
cient satirists and historians, that those pretenders to the se 
crets of the gods and the knowledge of futurity drove a very 
lucrative trade, and had the ear of men, as well as women, 
high in rank, and by no means deficient in intellect. Marius 
is reported by Plutarch to have kept a Syrian witch or pro 
phetess in his camp, and to have been much guided by her 
divinations in regulating his military and political movements. 
Tiberius is described by Juvenal (x. 93, sq.,) sitting on the 
rock in Caprese, " surrounded by a flock of Chaldeans." Even 
such men as Pompey, Crassus, Cicsar, appear to have had 
frequent dealings with them; for Cicero speaks of having 
heard from each of them many things, that had been said to 
them by the Chaldeans, and, in particular, of the assurances 
they had received, that they should not die, excepting in a 
ripe age, at home, and in honour (De div. ii. 47.) Certainly, 
most fallacious predictions! and calculated, as Cicero justly 
remarks, to destroy all confidence in such prognostications! 
Yet it failed to do so ; for men must have something to repair 
to for support and comfort in the hour of need; if destitute 
of the true, they inevitably betake to the false ; and infested 
as Rome was with the elements of religious darkness and moral 
evil, the soothsayers were a class that, according to the pro 
found remark of Tacitus, were sure to be always shunned, yet 
always retained (genus hominum, quod in civitate nostra et 
vitabitur semper et retinebitur.) 

It was, then, to this fraudulent and essentially profligate 
class of persons, that Barjesus belonged; he was a false pro 
phet of that low and reprobate caste. But he had evidently 
acquired a certain sway over the mind of Sergius Paulus, much 
as the other leading men of the age yielded themselves to the 
spell of a like delusive influence. It may well seem strange, 
that there should have been found Jews addicting themselves 
to such magical arts and false divinations, considering the ex 
press and solemn condemnation of such things in the law of 
Moses. But there can be no doubt of the fact: not this man 


alone, but vast numbers of the Jews in apostolic times, plied 
.sorcery and divination as a regular trade. It was one of the 
clear proofs of their sunk condition, and a presage of approach 
ing doom. Jewish females are represented by Juvenal (Sat. 
vi. 542,) as emerging from their lurking places in the woods, 
:md for the smallest pittance whispering into the ear of Ro 
man matrons some revelation of Heaven s secrets. But such 
were only the lower practisers of the art. There were others, 
like Barjesus, who made loftier pretensions, who insinuated 
themselves by their apparent learning and divine insight into 
the counsels of the powerful; and their number, we can easily 
conceive, as well as the disposition to give heed to their falla 
cious arts, would acquire considerable accession from the fame 
of the wonderful deeds performed by Christ and His imme 
diate followers in Judea. The manifestation of the true, in 
the knowledge of Divine mysteries and the exercise of super 
natural power, with the mighty fermentation it produced, 
created, as it were, a new field for the display of the false ; 
whence, as our Lord foretold, many false prophets arose, de 
luding the ignorant, and even seeking to press into the Chris 
tian fold. 1 

The apostle John, who lived to the close of the first cen 
tury, testifies that many such prophets had already appeared. 
In ch. iv. 1 of his first Epistle, he says, "Beloved, believe not 
every spirit, but try the spirits, whether they are of God ; be 
cause many false prophets are gone out into the world" (ore 
7:o)>Xol (/) jdo7i t oo(f7jTae ietyti>da0iv s.ic rbv xoff/wv.) He does 
not say, that they had found their way into the Church, but 
merely that they had made their appearance in the world, 
and were there making such pretensions to supernatural in- 
hight, that believers in Christ, as well as others, had need to 
Btand on their guard against them. They might partly be the 
subtle and audacious diviners, oC whom we have just spoken, 
who went about deceiving the simple and the crafty by their 
vaunted ability to explore the depths of futurity. That class 

1 It is well known, also, that the last struggles and convulsions in Judea 
were accompanied with prophetical delusions. Josephus speaks of "a great 
i.umber of false prophets" playing their part, and notices one in particular. 
(Wars, VI. 5, 2, 3.) 


may certainly be included in the description of the apostle ; 
but from what follows in the Epistle, it is clear, that he more 
especially points to the false teaching, the antichristian forms 
of error, which were springing up, if not actually within, yet 
on the borders of the Christian Church. For, he presently 
states, that the spirits are not of God, which do not confess 
Christ to have come in the flesh; and "this," he adds, namely, 
the denial of Jesus as the incarnate Son of God, "is that of 
the antichrist, of which ye have heard that it comes, and even 
now is it in the world." This apostle, therefore, virtually 
identifies the false prophets with false teachers, and both with 
the spirit of antichrist. 

It may, indeed, be affirmed generally, so far as regards the 
manifestation of error in reference to the early Christian 
Church, that the (fisudodtodcrxaXot were scarcely to be distin 
guished from the (fsudo^^o^ra^ or that false prophesying 
chiefly assumed the form of false teaching. The more arrant 
impostors the astrologers and fortune-tellers the false pro 
phets in that sense, were rather to be looked for beyond the 
pale of the Church; as they could only be found in persons, 
who either ignored the authority of Jesus, or set up their own 
in rivalry to His. But within the Church, the spirit of false 
hood would more naturally show itself in assuming the name 
^of Christ to teach what was inconsistent with the character 
and tendency of His Gospel. It is evidently of such rather 
^evoodtddaxa/M than (pBUoor^o^ro.c. in the ordinary sense of 
the term that the Apostle Paul speaks, in Acts xx. 29, 30, 
as sure to arise, after his departure, among the converts at 
Ephesus "grievous wolves," as he calls them, "not sparing 
the flock;" some of them also from their own number, "speak 
ing perverse things, and drawing away disciples after them." 
In his epistles, also, it is false teaching, chiefly, with which 
he had to struggle, and in regard to which his warnings were 
more particularly uttered. And Peter, in his second Epistle, 
at the commencement of the second chapter, draws thus the 
parallel between Old and New Testament times: "But there 
were false prophets also among the people (i.e. ancient Israel,) 
even as there shall be false teachers among you;" the latter 
now, as the former then. And in the description that follows 


of the kind of false teachers to be expected, he gives as their 
leading characteristics the introduction of heretical doctrines, 
tending to subvert the great truths of the Gospel, and the 
encouragement by pernicious example as well as by corrupt 
teaching, of licentious and ungodly behaviour. To do this 
was, no doubt, to act the part of false prophets, since it was 
to give an untrue representation of the mind of God, and to 
beget fallacious hopes of the issue of His dealings with men 
on earth; but, as it did not necessarily involve any formal 
predictions of the future, it was more fitly characterized as 
false teaching than false prophesying, while the place its apos 
tles were to occupy in New Testament times should virtually 
correspond to that of the false prophets in the. Old. 

In general, therefore, we may say in respect to these two 
terms, that while the false prophets were also false teachers, 
and the two were sometimes viewed as nearly or altogether 
identical, the first term usually had more respect to the pre 
tenders to prophetical insight outside the church, the other to 
the propagators of false and pernicious doctrinal views within 
the church. The same persons might, and, doubtless, occa 
sionally did sustain both of these characters at once ; yet by 
no means always, and never necessarily so ; since there might 
be the most heterodox doctrine and corrupt behaviour without 
any attempt at divination; and in certain cases the art of di-^ 
vination might be carried on as a traffic by itself. 

2. We proceed now to the two other, and more peculiar 
terms of this class, which must also, in great measure, be 
taken conjointly. In regard to ipeudfypearot there can be little 
doubt; it can only indicate false pretenders to the name and 
character of Messiah. Precisely as false prophets are such 
as laid claim to gifts that did not belong to them, by false 
Christs must be meant those who assumed to be what Jesus 
of Nazareth alone is. In the strict sense, therefore, false 
Christs could only arise outside the Christian Church, and 
among those who had rejected the true. In so far as they 
did arise, there was in their appearance the fulfilment of an 
other word of Jesus, U I am come in My Father s name, and 
ye receive Me not; if another shall come in his own name, 
him ye will receive," (John v. 48.) The most noted example 


of the kind, as well as the earliest, was that furnished by 
Barchochbas Son of a st^r, as he chose to call himself, with 
reference to the prophecy of Balaam, which he would have 
his followers to believe was going to find its fulfilment in his 
victorious struggles, and his establishment of a Jewish domi 
nion. False expectations of a similar kind have often been 
raised among the Jewish people, and reports of persons an 
swering to them, circulated; but they have never reached such 
a height as they did in the pretensions and the exploits of 

It would scarcely be right, however, to limit the declaration 
of our Lord respecting false Christs to such Jewish pretenders ; 
the more especially as the place where He made it was in a 
discourse addressed to His own disciples; and for them the 
danger was comparatively little of being misled by such ma 
nifestly wandering stars. There was a danger in that direc 
tion,. near the beginning of the New Testament Church, for 
persons, whose leanings might be on the side of Christianity, 
but who were very imperfectly enlightened in their views, and 
strong in their national predilections. Such persons might, 
amid the tumults and disorders, the false hopes and ferment 
ing excitement, which preceded the downfall of the Jewish 
State, have for a time caught the infection of the evil that 
was at work, and even, in some instances, have precipitated 
themselves into the general delusions. But such cases would 
certainly be rare ; and we cannot suppose that our Lord looked 
no farther than that; we are rather to conceive, in accordance 
with the whole structure of His discourse, that He wished 
them to regard what was then to take place but as the begin 
ning of the end a beginning that should be often in substance, 
though under different forms, repeating itself in the future. 
It matters little whether persons call themselves by the name 
of Christ, or avowedly set up a rival claim to men s homage 
and regard, if they assume to do what, as Christ, He alone 
has the right or the power to perform ; for in that case they 
become in reality, if not in name, false Christs. Should any 
one undertake to give a revelation of Divine things, higher 
than and contrary to Christ s; to lay open another way to the 



favour and blessing of Heaven, than that which has been con 
secrated by His blood ; or to conduct the world to its destined 
state of perfection and glory, otherwise than through the ac 
knowledgment of His name and the obedience of His gospel; 
such a one would be as really acting the part of a false Christ, 
as if he openly challenged the Messiahship of Jesus, or expli 
citly claimed the title to himself. There is, therefore, a foun 
dation of truth in the statement of Hegesippug, in which, after 
mentioning the Menandrians, Marcionites, Carpocratians, and 
other Gnostic sects, he says, that " from these spring false 
Christs, false prophets, false apostles, the persons who, by 
their corrupt doctrines against God and against His church, 
broke up the unity of the church," (Euseb. Hist. Eccl., iv. 22;) 
although they could hardly be said to bring division into a 
body, to which they did not themselves strictly belong. The 
tendency of the doctrines, however, propounded by those ad 
vocates of heresy and corruption, undoubtedly was to supplant 
or supersede Christ, and the spiritual doctrines of the gospel. 
While paying a certain deference and respect to the name of 
Jesus, their teaching in reality breathed another spirit, and 
drew in another direction than that of Christ. And the same, 
of course, may be said of many authors and systems of later 
times, of all, indeed, in every age, that have maintained, or 
rested in the sufficiency of nature to win for itself a position 
of safety before God, or to acquire a place of honour in His 
kingdom. These, in reality, disown the name of Jesus, and 
set themselves up in His room as the guides and saviours of 
the world. And we cannot fail to perceive an indication of 
the varied forms such characters were to assume, and the 
many different quarters whence they might be expected to ap 
pear, in the warning of our Lord respecting them: " If they 
shall say unto you, Behold he is in the desert, go not forth; 
behold ho is in the secret chambers, believe it not." 

But in what relation, it is proper to ask, does fieud6% l oeffroc 
stand to the dvri%pt0TQ<?1 Is this last but another name for 
the same idea of assumption, in some form or another, of 
Christ s peculiar office and work? Or, does it denote contra 
riety and opposition of a different kind? The word dvTt%pt<t+ 
roc was not used by our Lord Himself; nor does it occur in 


any of the writings of the New Testament, except those of the 
apostle John. There are descriptions which virtually indicate 
what the word, as used by him, imports; but the word itself 
is found only in his writings; and there it occurs altogether 
four times thrice in the singular, and once in the plural. Be 
fore looking at these, let us first endeavour to determine the 
force of the preposition fort in the word. There are ^some 
who hold that it necessarily denotes contrariety or opposition 
to, and others who with equal tenacity contend for the sense 
of substitution, in the room of: If the former were the proper 
view, the antichrist would necessarily be the enemy of Christ; 
but if the latter, it would be His false representative or sup- 
planter. The original meaning of the preposition is over 
against, and all its uses, whether alone or in composition, may 
be traced without difficulty to this primary idea, and express 
but different shades of the relation it involves. What is over 
against may be so in one of three different respects: in the 
way (1.) of direct antithesis and opposition ; or (2.) of substitu 
tion, as when one takes the place which belongs to another; 
or (3.) of correspondence, when one thing or person answers 
to another an image or counterpart. This last aspect of the 
relation, involved in the dvr/, cannot, of course, come into 
consideration here. But it is not unknown in New Testament 
Scripture, either as regards the simple or the compound use 
of the preposition. Thus, at John i. 16, " Of His fulness we 
all have received, and grace for grace" %&[ & u-^ y&pt~ Q Z 
i. e., grace corresponding to grace grace in the believer be 
coming the counterpart of Christ s line for line, feature for 
feature. So also in composition, when occurring in such words 
as dvTax68offec t a giving back in return, a recompense ; or av- 
Ttrj-oz, the correspondence to the TU~QZ. 

This, however, is the less common form of the relation de 
noted by the avr/; and of the other two, we find instances of 
both in Scripture. In such words as dyrc/of/a, d^Tcdsffe^ 
eUCTxec/tevoc, the relation of formal opposition is denoted; as 
it is also in dvzYVO/zro, contrariety to law, dvr/otffOT, an adver 
sary in. a suit, dvrfyeep, what is over against the hand, the 
thumb. But there is another class of words, in which the idea 


of substitution, or contradistinction, in the form of taking the 
place of another, whether by deputy or as a rival, is also in 
dicated; for example, ctvtfyrraror, the substitute of the consul, 
pro-consul ; dvrr/3<T^sr>c, pro-rex, or viceroy ; avrttuTpov, sub 
stitute or equivalent for a forfeit, ransom. It is plain, there 
fore, that the single term dvTfyptffroz cannot of itself deter 
mine the precise meaning. So far as the current use of the 
preposition is concerned, it may point either to contrariety or 
to substitution ; the antichrist may be, indiiferently, what sets 
itself in opposition to Christ, or what thrusts itself into His 
room a faud6%ptffTOC and it is only by the connexion in 
which the word is used, and the comparison of the paraUel 
passages, that we can determine which may be the predominant 
or exclusive idea. 

In the first passage where the word occurs, 1 John ii. 18, 
the literal rendering of which is, "Little children, it is the last 
hour (or season;) and as ye heard, that the antichrist cometh, 
even now many have become antichrists (d.VTi%pt0TOt KO//OI 
"fzfbvaaw^ whence we know it is the last hour." Here, there 
is no precise definition of what forms of evil are included in 
the antichrist; there is merely the assumption of a fact, that 
the idea expressed by the term had already passed into a 
reality, and that in a variety of persons. This, however, is 
itself of considerable moment, especially as it conveys the in 
formation, that while the name is used in the singular, as of 
an individual, it was not intended to denote the same kind of 
strict and exclusive personality as the Christ. Even in the 
apostolic age, John finds the name of antichrist applicable to 
many individuals. And this, also, may so far help us to a 
knowledge of the idea, since, while there were numbers in that 
age who sought within the Church to corrupt the doctrine of 
Christ, and without it to disown and resist His authority, we 
have yet no reason to suppose, that there were more than a 
very few, who distinctly claimed the title of Christ, and pre 
sumed to place themselves in Messiah s room. The next pas 
sage occurs very shortly after the one just noticed, and may 
be regarded as supplementary to it; it is in the 22d verse. 
The apostle had stated, that no lie is of the truth; and he 


then continues, "AVho is the liar (o </>stW^c, the liar by pre 
eminence,) but he who denieth that Jesus is the Christ? This 
is the antichrist, who denieth (or, denying) the Father and 
the Son." Here it is the denial of the truth concerning Christ, 
not the formal supplanting of Christ by an impious usurpation 
of His office, to which the name of antichrist is applied. Yet 
it could not be intended to denote every sort of denial of the 
truth ; for this would have been to identify antichristianism 
with Jewish infidelity or with heathenism, which certainly was 
not the object of the apostle. The denial of the truth by the 
antichriat was denial after a peculiar manner, not as from a 
directly hostile and antagonistic position, but under the cover 
of a Christian name, and with more or less of a friendly as 
pect. While it was denied that Jesus was the Christ, in the 
proper sense of the term, Jesus was by no means reckoned an 
impostor; His name was still assumed, and his place held to 
be one of distinguished honour. That this was the case is evi 
dent, not only from the distinctive name applied to the form 
of evil in question, but also from what is said in ver. 18, 19, 
of the origination of the antichrists. "Many," says the apos 
tle, "have become antichrists;" they were not so originally, 
but by a downward progress had ended in becoming such. 
And again, "They went out from us, but were not of us;" 
that is, they had belonged to the Christian community, but 
showed, by the course of defection they now pursued, that 
they had not formed a part of its living membership, nor had 
really imbibed the spirit of the Gospel. When, therefore, 
the apostle says, in the verse already quoted, that those whom 
he designated antichrists denied Jesus to be the Christ; and 
when, in another verse, he says, "Every spirit that confesseth 
not Jesus Christ as having come (itytodbc<) in the flesh, is 
not of God; and this is that spirit of antichrist whereof ye 
have heard, that it cometh, and is even now in the world" 
(ch. iv. 3;) and, still again, when he says, "For many de 
ceivers have entered into the world, who confess not Jesus 
Christ having come in flesh (Ipftopevov ev aapxi\) this is the 
deceiver and the antichrist" ("2 John v. 7.) In all these pas 
sages, it can only be of a virtual denial of the truth, that the 


apostle speaks. He plainly means such a depravation of the 
true doctrine, or abstraction of its essential elements, as turned 
it into a lie. And when, further, he represents the falsehood 
as circling around the person of Jesus, and disowning Him as 
having come in the flesj), we can scarcely entertain a doubt, 
that he refers to certain forms of the great Gnostic heresy 
to such, as held, indeed, by the name of Jesus, but conceived 
of Him as only some kind of shadowy emanation of the Divine 
virtue, not a personal incarnation of the Eternal Word. Only 
by taking up a position, and announcing a doctrine of this 
sort, could the persons referred to have proved peculiarly 
dangerous to the Church so dangerous, as to deserve being 
called, collectively and emphatically, the Deceiver, the em 
bodiment, in a manner, of the old serpent. In an avowed re 
sistance to the claims of Jesus, or a total apostacy from the 
faith of His Gospel, there should necessarily have been little 
room for the arts of deception, and no very pressing danger 
to the true members of the Church. 

We arrive, then, at the conclusion, that in St. John s use 
of the term antichrist, there is an unmistakable reference to 
the early heretics, as forming at least one exemplification of 
its idea. Such, also, was the impression derived from the 
apostle s statements by many of the Fathers ; they understood 
him to speak of the heretics of the time, under the antichrists 
who had already appeared. For example, Cyprian, when 
writing of heretics, Ep. Ixxiii. 13, and referring to 1 John 
iv. 3, asks, "How can they do spiritual and divine things who 
are enemies to God, and whose breast the spirit of antichrist 
has possessed?" On the same passage (Ecumenius says, 
"He declares antichrist to be already in the world, not cor 
poreally, but by means of those who prepare the way for his 
coming; of which sort are false apostles, false prophets, and 
heretics." So, too, Damascenus, L. iv. orth. fid. 27, "Every 
one who does not confess the Son of God, and that God has 
come in the flesh, and is perfect God, and was made perfect 
man, still remaining God, is antichrist." And Augustine, in 
the third Tractatus on 1 John, speaking to the question, 
"Whom did the apostle call antichrist? extends the term, in- 


deed, so as to make it comprehend every one who is contrary 
to Christ, and is not a true member of His body, but places 
in the first rank, as being the characters most directly meant, 
"all heretics and schismatics." It is manifest, indeed, that 
the existing antichrists of John, the abettors and exponents 
of the lie, or deniers, under a Christian name, of what was 
emphatically the truth, belonged to the very same class with 
the grievous wolves and false brethren of St. Paul, of whom 
he so solemnly forewarned the Ephesian elders, and of whom 
he also wrote in his epistles to Timothy (1 Tim. iv. 1 ; 2 Tim. 
iii. 1,) as persons who should depart from the faith, teach 
many heretical doctrines, and bring in perilous times upon 
the Church. St. John, writing at a later period, and referring 
to what then existed, calls attention to the development of 
that spirit, of which Paul perceived the germ, and described 
beforehand the future growth. The one announced the evil 
as coming, x the other declared it had already come; and with 
reference, no doubt, to the prophetic utterances of Paul, re 
minded believers of their having previously heard that it was 
to come. So that the antic?irists of John are found to coin 
cide with one aspect of our Lord s false Christs; they were 
those who, without renouncing the name of Christians, or 
without any open disparagement of Jesus, forsook the simpli 
city of the faith in Him, and turned His truth into a lie. 
They might, so far also be said to supplant Him, as to follow 
tJiem was to desert Christ; yet, from the circumstances of the 
case, there could be no direct antagonism to Jesus, or distinct 
unfurling of the banner of revolt. 

We cannot, therefore, concur in the statement of Dean 
Trench (New Testament Synonyms, p. 120,) that t( resistance 
to, arid defiance of, Christ, is the essential mark of anti 
christ." Defiance of Christ betokens avowed and uncom 
promising opposition, which was the part, not of deceivers, 
who had corrupted, the truth by some specious lie of their 
own, but of undisguised enemies. We concur, however, in 
the other part of his statement, that, according to St. John s 
representation of the antichrist, there was not the false as 
sumption of Christ s character and offices no further, at 


least, than in the modified sense already explained, of com 
mitting one s self to a kind of teaching, which was virtually 
subversive of the truth and authority of Christ. 

It is still, however, a question, whether we are to regard 
the Scriptural idea of the antichrist as exhausted in those 
heretical corrupters of the Gospel in the apostolic age, and 
their successors in apostolic times; or should rather view 
them as the types and forerunners of some huge system of 
God-opposing error, or of some grand personification of im 
piety arid wickedness, to be exhibited before the appearing of 
Christ? It was thought, from comparatively early times, 
that the mention so emphatically of the antichrist bespoke 
something of a more concentrated and personally antagonistic 
character than the many antichrists which were spoken of as 
being already in the world. These, it was conceived, were but 
preliminary exemplifications of some far greater embodiment 
of the antichristian spirit, some monarch, probably (like An- 
tiochus of old) of heaven-daring impiety, and unscrupulous 
disregard of every thing sacred and divine, who, after pur 
suing a course of appalling wickedness and violence, should 
be destroyed by the personal manifestation of Christ in glory. 
This view, however, was founded, not simply, nor even chiefly, 
upon the passages above referred to in the Epistles of John, 
but on the representation of St. Paul, in 2 Thess. ii. 3-10, 
(taken in connexion with certain portions of the Apocalypse.) 
Amid many crude speculations and conflicting views on this 
passage, none of the Fathers appear to have doubted, as 
Augustine expressly states, (De Civ. Dei, xx. 19,) that it re 
ferred to antichrist, under the names, "Man of Sin," and 
44 Son of Perdition." And, beyond all question, the evil 
portrayed here is essentially of the same character as that 
spoken of in the passages already considered, only with the 
characteristic traits more darkly drawn, and the whole mystery 
of iniquity more fully exhibited. As in the other passages, 
the antichristian spirit was identified with a departing from 
the faith, and a corrupting of the truth of the Gospel; so 
here the coming evil is designated emphatically the apostacy 
jj d.7ioGTaaia by which we can think only of a notable falling 


away from the faith and purity of the Gospel ; so that the 
evil was to have both its root and its development in connex 
ion with the Church s degeneracy. Nor was the commence 
ment of the evil in this case, any more than the other, to be 
far distant. Even at the comparatively early period when 
the apostle wrote, it had begun to work; and in his ordinary 
ministrations he had, as he reminds his disciples, (v. 5, 7,) 
forewarned them concerning it; plainly implying, that it was 
to have its rise in a spiritual and growing defection within the 
Christian Church. Then, as the term antichrist evidently 
denoted, some kind of antithesis in doctrine and practice 
to Christ a certain use of Christ s name, with a spirit and 
design utterly opposed to Christ s cause so, in the passage 
under consideration, the power personified and described is 
designated the opposer, b dv-exslfjtsvoz one who sets himself 
against God, and arrogates the highest prerogatives and ho 
nours. Yet, with such impious self-deification in fact, there 
was to be nothing like an open defiance and contempt of all 
religious propriety in form; for this same power is repre 
sented as developing itself by a "mystery of iniquity;" i. e., 
by such a complex and subtle operation of the worst princi 
ples and designs, as might be carried on under the fairest and 
most hypocritical pretences; and by "signs and lying won 
ders, and all deceivableness of unrighteousness," beguiling 
those who should fall under its influence, to become the vie- 
tims of "a strong delusion," and to "believe a lie," viz., to 
believe that which should, to their view, have the semblance 
of the truth, but in reality should be at complete variance 
with it. Not only so, but the Temple of God is represented 
as the chosen theatre of this impious, artful and wicked 
ascendency, (ver. 4;) and in respect to Christian times, the 
Apostle Paul knows of no temple but the Church itself. Nor 
can any other be understood here. It is the only kind of 
temple-usurpation which can now be conceived of as affecting 
the expectations and interests of the Church generally; and 
that alone, also, which might justly be represented as a grand 
consummation of the workings of iniquity within the Chris 
tian community. So that, as a whole, the description of the 


apostle presents to our view some sort of mysterious and 
astounding combination of good and evil, formally differing 
from either heathenism or infidelity a gathering up and as 
sorting together of certain elements in Christianity, for the 
purpose of accomplishing, by the most subtle devices and 
cunning stratagems, the overthrow and subversion of Chris 
tian truth and life. It is, therefore, but the full growth and 
final development of St. John s idea of the antichrist. 

Of the descriptions generally of the comin^evil in New 
Testament Scripture, and especially of this fuller description 
in the Epistle to the Thessalonians, nothing (it appears to me) 
can be more certain on exegetical grounds, than that they 
cannot be made to harmonize with the Romish opinion which 
Hengstenberg and a few others in the Protestant Church have 
been attempting to revive the opinion that would find the 
evil spoken of realized in the power and influence exerted in 
early times by Rome, in its heathen state, against the cause 
and Church of Christ. In such an application of what is 
written, we have only some general coincidences, while we 
miss all the more distinctive features of the delineation. If 
it might be said of the heathen power in those times, that it 
did attempt to press into the temple or Church of God, and 
usurp religious homage there, the attempt, as is well known, 
was successfully repelled ; and it never properly assumed the 
appearance of an actual sitting, or enthroning one s self there 
(as the words import,) for the purpose of displacing the true 
God and Saviour from their rightful supremacy. Nor, in the 
operations of that power, do we perceive any thing that could 
fitly be designated "a mystery of iniquity" the iniquity 
practised being that rather of palpable opposition and over 
bearing violence in its aim transparent to every one, who 
knew the Gospel of the grace of God, and involving, if yielded 
to, the conscious renunciation of Christ. As to the signs and 
lying wonders, and deceivableness of unrighteousness, and 
strong delusions, which the apostle mentions among the means 
and characteristic indications of the dreaded power, there is 
scarcely even the shadow of them to be found in the contro 
versy which ancient heathenism waged with Christianity. On 


every account, therefore, this view is to be rejected as want 
ing in the more essential points of correspondence between 
the apostolic description and the supposed realization in Pro 

Another view, however, has of late been rising into notice, 
which, if well founded, would equally save the Romish apos- 
tacy from any proper share in the predicted evil ; and which, 
we cannot but fear, if not originated, has a* least been some 
what encouraged and fostered by that softened apologetic hue, 
which the mediaeval and antiquarian tendencies of the present 
age have served to throw around Romanism. The view we 
refer to would make the full and proper development of the 
antichrist an essentially different thing from any such depra 
vation of the truth, as is to be found in the Papacy a greatly 
more blasphemous usurpation, and one that can only be reached 
by a Pantheistic deification of human nature. So Olshausen, 
who, on the passage in Thessalonians, thus writes, "The self- 
deification of the Roman emperors appears as modesty by 
the side of that of antichrist; for the Caesars did not ele 
vate themselves above the other gods, they only wanted to 
have a place beside them, as representatives of the genius of 
the Roman people. Antichrist, on the contrary, wants to be 
the only true God, who suffers none beside him ; what Christ 
demands for Himself in .truth, he, in the excess of his pre 
sumption, claims for himself in falsehood." Then, as to the 
way in which he should do this, it is said, "Antichrist will 
not, as Chrysostom correctly remarks, promote idolatry, but 
seduce men from the true God, as also from idols, and set him 
self up as the only object of adoration. This remarkable idea, 
that sin in antichrist issues in a downright self-deification, dis 
closes to us the inmost nature of evil, which consists in sel 
fishness. In antichrist all love, all capability of sacrifice and 
self-denial, shows itself entirely submerged in the making of 
the I all and all, which then also insists on being acknow 
ledged by all men, as the centre of all power, wisdom, and 
glory." The proper antichrist, therefore, according to Ol 
shausen, must be a person, and one who shall be himself the 
mystery of iniquity, as Christ is the mystery of godliness a 


kind of embodiment or incarnation of Satan. He can regard 
all the past manifestations and workings of evil, only as serving 
to indicate what it may possibly be, but by no means as rea 
lizing the idea; and he conceives, it may one day start forth 
in the person of one, who shall combine in his character the 
elements of infidelity and superstition, which are so visibly 
striving for the mastery over mankind. Some individual may 
be cast up by the fermentation that is going forward, who 
shall concentrate around himself all the Satanic tendencies in 
their greatest power and energy, and come forth at last in 
impious rivalry of Christ, as the incarnate son of the devil. 
Dean Trench seems substantially to adopt this view, though 
he expresses himself more briefly, and also less explicitly, upon 
the subject. With him, the antichrist is "one who shall not 
pay so much homage to God s word as to assert the fulfilment 
in himself, for he shall deny that word altogether; hating even 
erroneous worship, because it is worship at all; hating much 
more the Church s worship in spirit and in truth; who, on the 
destruction of every religion, every acknowledgment that man 
is submitted to higher powers than his own, shall seek to 
establish his throne; and for God s great truth, God is man, 
to substitute his own lie, man is God. " (Synonyms, p. 120.) 
It may be admitted, with reference to this view, that there 
are tendencies in operation at the present time, fitted, in some 
degree to suggest the thought of such a possible incarnation 
of the ungodly and atheistic principle; but nothing has yet 
occurred, which can justly be said to have brought it within 
the bounds of the probable. At all events it is an aspect of 
the matter derived greatly more from the apprehended results 
of those tendencies themselves, than from a simple and un 
biassed interpretation of the passages of Scripture, in which 
the antichrist is described or named. Such an antichrist as 
those authors delineate, the impersonation of unblushing wicked 
ness and atheism, has everything against it, which has been 
already urged against the view, that would identify the de 
scription with the enmity and persecutions of heathen Rome. 
Instead of seating itself in the temple of the Christian Church 
as its own, and arrogating there the supreme place, an anti- 


Christian power of that sort could only rise on the ruins of the 
temple. And whatever audacity or foolhardiness there might 
be in the assumptions and proceedings of such a power, one 
cannot, by any stretch of imagination, conceive how, with such 
flagrant impiety in its front, it could present to God s people 
the appearance of a mystery of iniquity, and be accompanied 
with signs and wonders and deceitful workings, destined to 
prevail over all who had not received the truth in the love of 
it. Conscience and the Bible must cease to be what they now 
are, cease at least to possess the mutual force and respond- 
ency they have been wont to exercise, ere so godless a power 
could rise to the ascendant in Christendom. It may even be 
said, the religious susceptibilities of men, in the false direc 
tion as well as the true, would need to have sustained a para 
lysis alike unprecedented and incredible. And, besides, the 
historical connexion would be broken which the passages, bear 
ing on the antichristian apostacy, plainly establish between 
the present and the future. In what already existed the 
apostles descried the germ, the incipient workings of what 
was hereafter more fully to develop itself; while the anti 
christ now suggested to our apprehension, if it should ever at 
tain to a substantive existence, would stand in no proper affi 
nity to the false doctrine and corruptions of the apostolic age. 
It would be a strictly novel phenomenon. 

It were out of place, however, to prosecute the subject fur 
ther here, where exegetical investigations are what chiefly de 
mand attention. For those who wish to see the subject viewed 
more in its doctrinal and historical aspects, I must refer them 
to Prophecy, Viewed in Respect to its Distinctive Features, 
etc., p. 359, sq., from which some of the last preceding pages 
have been mainly taken. It will be enough here to state my 
conviction which may be readily inferred from the preceding 
remarks, that the conditions of the Scriptural problem respect 
ing the antichrist, have met their fullest, and incomparably 
most systematic and general fulfilment in the corruptions of 
Popery. And, in as far as any other forms of evil, either 
now existing, or yet to arise, may be comprehended under the 
same designation, it can only be because they shall contain a 


294 " THE USE OF 

substantially similar disfiguration of the truth, and undue ex 
altation of the creature into the place and prerogatives of 



IT is a somewhat striking circumstance, that when our Lord s 
forerunner came forth to prepare the way for His Master, he 
is represented as not only preaching the doctrine, but also as 
administering the baptism of repentance; while still a pro 
found silence is observed as to the manner in which he admi 
nistered the ordinance to his disciples. St. Luke in his first 
notice of the subject, couples the two together the doctrine 
and the ordinance and says, "John came into all the coun 
try about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance." And 
St. Matthew, after briefly mentioning his call to repent, and 
referring to the prophecy in Isa. xl. 8, with like simplicity 
relates, that "all Jerusalem went out to him, and all Judea, 
and all the region round about Jordan, and were baptized of 
him in Jordan, confessing their sins." Whence may we sup 
pose such reserve upon the matter to have arisen? Was it 
from the practice of religious baptism being already in fami 
liar use among the Jews, so that no specific information was 
needed respecting the mode of its administration? Or did 
the word itself, fiartTt^ct), so distinctly indicate the kind of ac 
tion employed, that all acquainted with the meaning of the 
word would understand what was done? Or, finally, did it 
arise from no dependence being placed on the precise mode, 
and from the virtue of the ordinance being necessarily tied to 
no particular form? Any of these suppositions might possi 
bly account for the peculiarity; but as they cannot be all ad 
mitted, it is of some importance, that we know which has the 
preferable claim on our belief. 


I. To look first to the term employed ^a^ri^co has the 
form of a frequentative verb from ftd-rco, which is rarely used 
in the New Testament, and never in this connexion. Bdarra) 
means simply to dip; the Latin synonyms are mergo, tingo; 
and f9a;rroc has the sense of tinctus. The word was used of 
dipping in any way, and very commonly of the operation of 
dyeing cloth by dipping; whence it has the figurative import 
of dyeing, with a collateral reference to the manner in which 
the process was accomplished. Taking fkxjrtta> for a fre 
quentative of fidx-cO) the earlier glossaries ascribed to it the 
meaning of mergito, as is stated by Vossius in his Etymolo- 
gicon: Cum autem t 3d~~co sit mergo, ^a^ri^aj commode verta- 
mus mergito; and he adds, respecting the Christian ordinance, 
prnesertim, si sermo de Christianorum baptismo, qui trina fit 
immersione. If this view were correct, it would be necessary, 
to a right administration of baptism, that the subject of it 
should not only be immersed in water, but should be immersed 
several times ; so that not immersion only, but . repeated im 
mersion, would be the constitutional form. In mentioning 
definitely three times, as Vossius does, reference is made to a 
custom that came early into use, and in certain portions of 
Christendom is not altogether discontinued, according to which 
a threefold action was employed in order more distinctly to 
express belief in a triune God. Thus Tertullian writes, Adv. 
Praxeam, c. 26:.Novissime mandavit (viz. Christus) ut tingue- 
rent in Patrem, et Filium, et Spiritum Sanctum, non in unum. 
Nam nee semel, sed ter, ad singula nomina in personas singu- 
las tinguimur. (Jhrysostom, in like manner, affirms, that the 
Lord delivered one baptism to His disciples in three immer 
sions of the body, when He gave the command to baptize in 
the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost (Horn, de fide, 
17.) Jerome and others mention the head as the part on 
which the threefold immersion was performed. Thus Jerome, 
adv. Luciferanos: Nam et multa alia, quae per traditionem in 
ecclesiis observantur, auctoritatem sibi scriptce legis usurpa- 
verunt, velut in lavacro ter caput mergitare, deinde aggressos, 
lactis et mellis prsegustari concordiam ad infantile significa- 
tionem, etc. We have no definite information as to the time 


and manner in which this threefold immersing of the head in 
baptism began to be practised. Jerome admits, that there is 
no authority for it in Scripture, and that it was observed in 
his day, and was to be vindicated merely as an ancient and 
becoming usage. It very probably took its rise about the 
period when the doctrine of the Trinity came to be impugned 
by the theories of ancient heretics, toward the middle or latter 
part of the second century, with the view of obtaining from 
each subject of baptism a distinct and formal acknowledgment 
of the doctrine. But the head being so specially mentioned 
as the part immersed, seems to imply that the entire person 
did not participate in the action. 

This, however, only by the way. The point we have at 
present more immediately to consider, is the precise import 
of panTi^co, and whether, as commonly used, it was taken for 
the frequentative of fidxrco. We have said, that if it really 
were a frequentative, it must indicate, not immersion simply, 
but repeated immersion, as the proper form of administering 
baptism. This, however, is not borne out by the usage. The 
word is applied to denote the enveloping of objects in water, 
in a considerable variety of ways, and without any distinct or 
special reference to the act of dipping or plunging. Thus it 
is used by Polybius of ships, i. 51, 6, xai ~o)J.a TMV axaupwv 
; and in like manner by Josephus, xoftepviJTyC) oarez 
oMcoz xpb ~7jZ Ou)Jjjz IftdftTcffev Ixtbv TO axdcoz 
(Bel. J. iii. 8, 5:) in both cases, the general meaning, sink, is 
evidently the sense to be adopted; in the first, "many of the 
skiffs sunk ;" in the second, "of his own accord the pilot sunk 
the skiff." Speaking of Jonah s vessel, Josephus uses the ex 
pression, "the vessel being all but ready to be overwhelmed," 
or sunk (otrov ouxco /jtettovTOZ fta.~Tirs.a6ac, Ant. ix. 10, 2;) 
and again, in his own life, 2, of the ship that he sailed in to 
Home being swamped in the Adriatic (/Sdorr/fwroc fyp&v TOL> 
7r/o/oy,) so that they had to swim through the whole night. 
The same word is used by Diod. Sic. i. 36, of animals drowned 
by the overflowing of the Nile, fab TO T J TTOTatwi) xspdrtfOsvTa 
deoupOsipertu /fajtr/ffyieva, and by Polybius, both of horses sink 
ing in a marsh, v. 47, 2, and of infantry being plunged, or 


covered up to the waist, eVuc TMV ftcwccov fkamfyt&Mx; so that, 
whether the objects were covered by the water flowing over 
them, or by themselves sinking down in it, the word ^ar.ri^co 
was equally applied. lu consideration of such passages, and 
others of a like kind, Dr. Gale, in his Reflections on Wall s 
History of Infant Baptism, feels constrained to say, that "the 
word, perhaps, does not so necessarily express the action of 
putting under water, as in general a thing being in that con 
dition, no matter how it comes to be so, whether it is put into 
the water, or the water comes over it; though, indeed, to put 
it into the water is the most natural way, and the most com 
mon, and is therefore usually and pretty constantly, but it 
may not be necessarily implied." 1 In plain terms, PaTiri^a) 
does not always mean dip, but sometimes bears the more ge 
neral import of being under water. And even this requires 
to be qualified; for when dipping appears to be meant, not 
the whole, but only a part of the object seems sometimes to 
have gone under water. Pressed by such uses and applica 
tions of the term, Dr. Gale says, "We readily grant that 
there may be such circumstances in some cases, which neces 
sarily and manifestly show, that the thing spoken of is not 
said to be dipt all over; but it does not therefore follow, that 
the word in that place does not signify to dip. Mr. Wall will 
allow his pen is dipt in the ink, though it is not daubed all 
over, or totally immersed." 2 This, as justly remarked by 
Wall, is, indeed, to contend for the word, but at the same time, 
"to grant away the thing;" since, "if that which he allows 
be dipping, the controversy is at an end." It resolves itself 
into a petty question, not worth contending about, how much 
or how little water should be used in baptism whether this or 
that part of the body should be in the element. Liddell and 
Scott, in their Lexicon, beyond all reasonable doubt, give the 
fair import of the word, as used by profane writers and Jose- 
phus, when they represent it as signifying to dip underwater, 
to sink, to lathe or soak. It denotes somehow, and to some 
extent, a going into, or being placed under water; but is by 

1 Wall s History of Infant Baptism, iii., p. 122. 

2 D. p. 145. 

298 THE USE OF ftax 

no means definite as to the precise mode of this being done, 
or the length to which it might be carried. 

When, however, we turn to the use of the word in the Apo 
crypha and the New Testament, we find a still greater latitude 
in the sense put upon it. In the apocryphal book Judith, ch. 
xii. 7, it is said of the heroine of the story, that "she went out 
every night to the valley of Bethulia, and baptized herself in 
the camp at the fountain of water" xal $pourclTO iv rrj 
irapefiftoAfl ITU r^c TT^C roD udaroc: which can scarcely be 
understood of any thing but some sort of ablution or washing, 
since the action is reported to have been done in camp, and 
not in, but at the fountain of water. Immersion seems to be 
excluded, both by the publicity of the scene, and by the re 
lation indicated to the fountain. Another, and, if possible, 
still more unequivocal example, occurs in the Wisdom of 
Sirach, xxxiv. 25, "When one is baptized from a dead body 
ftaTiTt^ofjisuoz 0.7:0 uszpoLt and touches it again, of what avail 
is his washing" (TW Xourpw?) The passage evidently refers 
to what the law prescribed in the way of purification for those 
who had come into contact with a corpse. And this we learn 
from Numb. xix. 13, 19, included a threefold action sprink 
ling the person with water, mixed with the ashes of a red 
heifer, bathing it, and washing the clothes. Plainly, there 
fore, the {3a~Tt^o/jt.yoz of the son of Sirach is a general term 
expressive of the whole of these; it includes all that the law 
required as to the application of water for the purposes of 
purification in the case supposed. Nothing but a controversial 
aim could lead any one to think of ascribing another meaning 
to the word in this passage. Dr. Gale informs us, that "he 
remembered the time, when he thought it a very formidable 
instance;" but bracing himself for the occasion, he again re 
covered his composure, and corrected, as he says, his mistake; 
nay, he even came to "think it exceeding clear to any who 
are willing to see it, that a further washing is necessary be 
sides the sprinklings spoken of, and that this washing was 
the finishing of the ceremony. The defiled person was to be 
sprinkled with the holy water on the third and on the seventh 
day, only as a preparatory to the great purification, which was 
to be by washing the body and clothes on the seventh day, 


with which the uncleanliness ended." 1 Such is the shift to 
which a controversialist can resort, in order to recover his 
equanimity from a formidable instance ! So far from any sort 
of bathing at the close being the chief thing in the ordinance, 
and that from which the whole might be designated, the bathing 
was evidently one of the least; for it is not so much as 
mentioned in the Epistle to the Hebrews, where the service 
is referred to (ch. ix. 13.) The whole stress there is laid on 
the sprinkling the unclean with water, mixed with the ashes 
of the red heifer; nor can any one take up a different impres 
sion, who reads the passage in Numbers with an unbiassed 
spirit. For there, when the state of abiding uncleanness is 
denoted, nothing is said of the absence of bathing, but ac 
count alone is made of the ivater of separation not being 
sprinkled on him, which is thrice emphatically repeated, ver. 
9, 13, 20. He that was to be cut off from his people, on ac 
count of this species of uncleanness, was to suffer excision 
simply "because the water of separation was not sprinkled 
upon him." So that the ^carce^ofjiivot of the son of Sirach, 
if it should be connected with one part of the transaction 
rather than another, ought plainly to be viewed as having 
respect chiefly to the sprinkling of the unclean with the water, 
which had the ashes of the heifer mingled with it; but the 
fairer interpretation is to view it as inclusive of all the ablu 
tions practised on the occasion. 2 

1 Wall iii., 154. 

2 An explanation has been given of the passage in Numbers, \vhich goes to 
an extreme on the opposite side, and would deny that the person who under 
went the process of purification from the touch of a dead body, required to be 
bathed at all. Thus Dr. Armstrong, in a late work on the Doctrine of Bap 
tisms, holds respecting Numb. xix. 19, "And the clean person shall sprinkle 
upon the unclean on the third day, and on the seventh day; and on the se 
venth day he shall purify himself, and wash his clothes, and bathe himself in 
water, and shall be clean at even," that this is meant of the person sprink 
ling, not of the person sprinkled upon. And he thinks this is made quite 
certain by ver. 21, which ordains it as a perpetual statute, that he who sprinkles 
the unclean shall wash his clothes, and be unclean till the evening (p. 72.) 
But such an explanation will not stand. For the latter person was not re 
quired to bathe his body at all; he had simply to wash his clothes. And if 
he had been meant in ver. 19, there could have been no propriety in laying 
stress on the seventh day, any more than the third. This points manifestly to 
the person defiled by the touch of the dead. 

300 THE USE OF ftarr 

In New Testament Scripture we find the same general use 
of the word, embracing, in like manner, various ceremonial 
ablutions. Thus in Heb. ix, 10, the ancient ritual is described 
as " standing in meats and drinks and divers washings 
dcaybpozz fjartrta/j.o iz and carnal ordinances." The diverse 
evidently points to several uses of water, such as we know to 
have actually existed under the law, sprinklings, washings, 
bathings. If it had been but one mode or action that was re 
ferred to, the diverse would have been entirely out of place. 
In Mark vii. 3, 4, 8, it is said, u The Pharisees, and all the 
Jews, except they wash their hands oft (iav p.r^ Trvf/jfrJ vlfiwv- 
TO.C rc #^ oa C,) eat not, holding the tradition of the elders ; 
and when they come from the market, except they are bap 
tized (lav fj.7] paxrlffcovTa:,) they eat not." This latter ex 
pression is undoubtedly of stronger import than the former 
one, and marks a difference between what was done when 
they came from the market, and what was done on other 
and commoner occasions. Dr. Campbell, who, on this sub 
ject, lends his support to the views of the Baptists, concurs 
with them in making the distinction to be in the one case 
a simple washing of the hands, or pouring water on them, 
and an immersion of them in the other. Dr. Campbell even 
throws this view into his translation; he renders the one 
clause, "until they wash their hands, by pouring a little water 
on them;" and the other, " until they dip them." This mode 
of explanation, however, is grammatically untenable; it would 
have required the repetition of the rdc &2/>c, in the second 
clause, after the paxTiacovrat) if the verb had referred to the 
dipping of them alone. But on another ground this suppo 
sition must be abandoned; for /Sflorr/fai is never applied to a 
part of the body, nor is even Mco ; these always have respect 
to the body or person as a whole ; while vlxTco is invariably 
the word used when some particular member or select portion 
is meant. 1 Having respect to this usage, and marking also 

1 Titmann s Synonyms: "kouw viVtt w; they differ as our bathe and wash. 
Therefore vijttinOa*, is used of any particular part of the body, not only of 
the hands or feet; but kovacwOcu of the whole body. Acts ix. 37; Horn. II. 
w. v. 582." See also Trench s Synonyms under the words. 


that the verb is here in the middle voice, having a reflective 
sense, we must render the clause, which speaks of what the 
Pharisees did on coining from market, "except they baptize 
(or wash) themselves, they eat not;" i.e. they first perform a 
general ablution ; for, having mingled with the crowd in the 
market-place, and possibly come into contact with some un 
clean person, not the hands alone, as in ordinary circumstances, 
but the whole body, was supposed to need a purification. Yet 
not such a one as involved a total immersion; for the law 
only required this in extreme cases of actual and ascertained 
pollution ; in cases of a less marked or palpable description, 
it was done by sprinkling or washing. And we are the rather 
led to think of this mode of purification here, as the Evange 
list, in v. 4, speaks of the Pharisees having "many other 
things which they received to hold, baptism of pots and cups, 
and brazen things, and couches;" obviously meaning, not im 
mersions, in the ordinary sense, but washings and sprinklings, 
which are the forms of purification proper to such things as 
brazen utensils, pots, and couches. 

A still further, and very decisive use of the verb is given in 
Luke xi. 38, where we read of the Pharisee marvelling, that 
our Lord ou ifiaatriady xpb TOL> dplffrov, had not washed be 
fore dinner. Even Dr. Campbell finds himself obliged to ren 
der here, a had used no washing;" judging from his views on 
other passages it should rather have been, "had not immersed, 
or bathed himself." If the Pharisees had been wont to prac 
tise immersion before dinner, we might then have supposed, 
that it was the disuse of such a practice, on the part of our 
Lord, which gave occasion to the wonder. But there is con 
clusive evidence to the contrary of this. The passage already 
cited from the Gospel of Mark alone proves it; for the wash 
ing of the hands merely is there mentioned as the ordinary 
kind of ablution practised by the Pharisees before dinner. 
And Josephus notices it among the peculiarities of the Es- 
senes, that they bathed themselves before dinner in cold water; 
plainly implying, that in this they differed from others. There 
is no evidence to show, and it is against probability to believe, 
that private baths were common in Judea ; and, indeed, the 

802 THE USE OF fto~rict) 

scarcity of water for a great part of the year rendered it next 
to impossible to have them in common use. 

Nor was Judea singular in this respecj in more ancient times, 
and in states of society similar to what existed there in the 
apostolic age. In countries also, where water was greatly 
more abundant than in Judea, bathing by immersion was com 
paratively little practised till effeminate and luxurious habits 
had become general, and even then it was not always so fre 
quent as is commonly represented. It is doubtful if the Greeks 
in earlier times practised it. Ulysses, indeed, is represented 
by Homer as going into the bath in the palace of Circe, but 
the bath (d<ra/^ v^oc) was only a vessel for sitting in ; and the 
water, after being heated, was poured over the head and shoul 
ders. In the Dictionary of Greek and Koman Antiquities, 
edited by Dr. Smith, it is stated (Art. Balneal) that, "on an 
cient vases, on which persons are represented bathing, we 
never find any thing corresponding to a modern bath, in which 
persons can stand or sit; but there is always a round or oval 
basin (Aoonjp or JLounjpeov) resting on a stand, by the side of 
which those who are bathing are represented standing un 
dressed, and bathing themselves." "The daily bath," says 
Bekker (Charicles, p. 149,) " was by no means so indispensable 
with the Greeks as it was with the Romans; nay, in some in 
stances the former nation looked on it as a mark of degeneracy 
and increasing effeminacy, when the baths were much fre 
quented." Various proofs are given of this; and it is fur 
ther stated, that in the Grecian baths there appear usually to 
have been, beside the XOOTT^^ already mentioned, some sort 
of tubs, in which the persons sat or stood. Some of the paint 
ings represent women standing, and a kind of shower-bath de 
scending on them. 

To return, however, to the subject more immediately before 
us it seems unquestionable, that according to Hellenistic, 
and more especially to Apocryphal and New Testament usage, 
the verb /Ja7rr/<M did not always signify immersion, or even 
the being totally under water, but included the more general 
notion of ablution or washing. Nor is there any reason for 
supposing it to have borne a narrower meaning when applied 


to the baptism of John or of Christ. We thus quite naturally 
account for the different construction used in coupling the act 
of baptizing with the instrument employed. Very commonly 
the baptism is said to have been done, ev UOO.T!, "in water;" but 
Luke has simply the dative after the verb, If at p.V uoart fiax- 
ri^co (ch. iii. 16,) "I indeed baptize you with water" with 
that as the instrument, but leaving altogether indeterminate 
the mode of its application. 1 We can readily conceive the 
practice to have varied. When administered at the Jordan, 
or where there was plenty of water, there might be an actual 
immersion, or, at least a plentiful affusion. But how could 
there well be such a thing at Jerusalem about the time of 
Pentecost in the height of summer, when the rite had to be 
administered to several thousands at once? We are informed 
by a most credible witness, that in summer there is no running 
stream in the vicinity of Jerusalem, except the rill of Siloam, 
a few rods in length, and that the city is, and was supplied 
with water from its cisterns, and public reservoirs chiefly sup 
plied by rain early in the season. 2 It is not unworthy of no 
tice also, that we learn from the same competent authority, 
that the baptismal fonts still found among the ruins of the 
most ancient Greek churches in Palestine, and dating, it is 
understood, from very remote times, are not large enough to 
admit of the baptism of adult persons by immersion, and from 
their structure were obviously never intended to be so used. 3 
And it may be still further noted as an additional confirma 
tion of the view taken, that in the old Latin version the verb 
ftaxTt<t) was not rendered by immergo or mergito as if those 
words were somehow too definite or partial in their import to 

1 Dr. Campbell most unwarrantably translates this passage in Luke s 
Gospel, "baptize in water," as if it were ev vSaft; and so, has rendered 
himself justly liable to the rebuke which, in his note on Matt. iii. 11, he has 
administered to those who translate Iv vdatt, with water: "It is to be re 
gretted that we have so much evidence, that even good and learned men 
allow their judgments to be warped by the sentiments and customs of the 
sect which they prefer. The true partisan always inclines to correct the 
diction of the Spirit by that of the party." So, sometimes, does the man 
who unduly presses a particular opinion. 

2 Dr. Robinson s Researches, vol. i., sec. 7, $ 9. 

3 Ibid., vol. ii., sec. x. 


be presented as equivalents. It preferred adhering to the 
Greek, and simply gave baptizo. 

II. A second point demanding examination, is that which 
respects proselyte-baptism among the Jews. Did this exist 
prior to John s baptism ? In other words, did he simply adopt 
an existing institution? or did he introduce what might be de 
signated a new ordinance? Both sides of this question have 
been zealously maintained, and the discussion of it has given 
rise to long and learned investigations, both in this country 
and on the continent, into that department of Jewish antiqui 
ties. In favour of the prior existence of Jewish proselyte- 
baptism we find, among others, the names of Lightfoot, Schott- 
gen, Selden, Buxtorf, Wetstein, Michaelis, Hammond, Wall, 
etc. ; and against it Owen, Carpzov, Lardner, Paulus, De 
Wette, Schneckenburger, (in an elaborate, separate treatise,) 
Ernesti, Moses Stuart, etc. The existence of Jewish baptism, 
as an ancient initiatory rite for proselytes, was more common 
ly believed in former generations, than it is now. Not a few 
of the writers mentioned in the first of the above lists, spoke 
of it as a matter about which it was scarcely possible to en 
tertain a shadow of doubt. Thus Wall gives expression to 
their views, "It is evident that the custom of the Jews before 
our Saviour s time, (and as they themselves affirm, from the 
beginning of their law,) was to baptize, as well as circumcise 
any proselyte, that came over to them from the nations. This 
does fully appear from the books of the Jews themselves, and 
also of others, that understood the Jewish customs, and have 
written of them. They reckoned all mankind beside them 
selves to be in an unclean state, and not capable of being en 
tered into the covenant of Israelites without a washing or 
baptism, to denote their purification from their uncleanness. 
And this was called the baptizing of them into Moses." 1 

Now, there can be no doubt, that ample quotations can be 
produced (Dr. Wall has great store of them) in support of 
these positions. But then what sort of quotations? Are they 
of a kind to bear with decisive evidence on the state of mat- 

1 History of Infant Baptism, vol. i., p. 4. 


ters in the gospel age? It is here, that when the authorities 
are looked into, they prove insufficient for the end they are 
intended to serve; for, so far from finding any attestations 
among them respecting the existence of proselyte-baptism in 
the apostolic age, we are rather apt to he struck with the to 
tal want of evidence on the point; and the want of it in 
writings which, if it could have been had, might have been 
confidently expected to furnish it. In the inspired writings 
of the Old Testament no notice is taken of any ordinance con 
nected with the admission, either of native Jews or converted 
Gentiles, into the Covenant, except that of circumcision. Nor 
is mention once made of any other in the Apocrypha, or in 
the Targums of Onkelos and Jonathan, or in Philo and Jose- 
phus, notwithstanding the references which abound in their 
writings, to Jewish rites and customs. There is a like silence 
upon the subject in the Patristic productions of the first three 
or four centuries, and in those of the Jewish Rabbis for the 
same period. So far as the direct evidence goes, the very 
utmost that can be said is, that indications appear of Jewish 
proselyte-baptism as an existing practice during the fourth 
century of the Christian era. And as there is no historical 
ground for supposing it to have been then originated, it may, 
with some probability, be held to have been commonly in ope 
ration for a certain time previously. But if we inquire when, 
or how, we can find no satisfactory answer; all is involved in 
uncertainty. 1 

1 Schneckenburger, in the treatise above referred to, besides giving a clear 
historical survey of the opinions and literature upon the subject, has satis 
factorily established the following positions. (1.) The regular admission of 
strangers into the Jewish religion, while the temple stood, was done through 
circumcision and sacrifice a lustration, however, preceding the sacrifice, 
which, like all other lustrations, obtained merely as a Levitical purification, 
not as an initiatory rite. This appears from a variety of soui ces, and espe 
cially from several passages in Josephus, (such as Ant. xiii. 9, xx. 2, xviii. 
8, 4,) in which the reception of individuals from other lands is expressly 
treated of, and no mention is made of baptism. (2.) The lustration performed 
on the occasion did not differ in outward form from the ordinary lustrations ? 
but, like these, was practised by the proselytes merely upon themselves. 
(3.) This lustration by and by took the place of the discontinued sacrifice, 
yet not probably till the end of the third century ; and was then, for the most 


306 THE USE OF y97ZT/a 

From the state of the evidence, therefore, respecting prose 
lyte-baptism among the Jews, we are not entitled to found 
any thing on it in respect to the subject under consideration, 
since it is not such as to enable us to draw any definite con 
clusions regarding its existence or form in the gospel age. We 
are not on that account, however, to hold that there was no 
thing in the usages of the time tending in the direction of a 
baptismal service, and that the institution of such a service 
in connexion with a new state of things in the kingdom of 
God, must have had an altogether strange and novel appear 
ance. For, in the ancient religions generally, and in the Mo 
saic religion in particular, there was such a frequent use of 
water, by means of washings, sprinklings, and immersions, to 
indicate the removal of defilement, that the coupling of a great 
attempt towards reformation with an administration of baptism, 
could scarcely have appeared otherwise than natural and pro 
per. In the Greek and Roman classics we find constant re 
ferences to this symbolical use of water. Thus, in Virgil, 
.ZEn. ii. 17, Tu, genitor, cape sacra manu, patriosque Penates; 
Me bello e tan to digressum et caede recenti, Attrectare nefas ; 
donee flumine vivo abluero. Macrobius, Sat. iii., Constat 
Diis superis sacra facturum corporis ablutione purgari. Por 
phyry, de Abstin. iv. 7, says of the priests of Egypt, roiz ~"^C 
fj[jLpa.Z d.7izXou(javTO (f>u^ow. Ovid speaks of the belief in the 
efficacy of ablutions as not only prevailing, but prevailing too 
extensively among the Greeks and Romans: Omne nefas, 
omnemque mali purgamina causam Credebant nostri tollere 
posse senes. Graecia principium moris fuit; ilia nocentes 
Impia lustratos ponere facta putat. Ah! nimium faciles, qui 
tristia crimina caedis, Flumina tolli posse putetis aqua (Fasti, 
ii. 35.) Many other passages might be cited to the same ef- 

part, still performed as a self-lustration in connexion with the circumcision 
that followed it: but in the case of women was done apart from the latter, 
and in process of time came to be applied, as a proper initiatory rite, as in 
the case of slaves and foundlings. (4.) Hence, a derivation of the baptism 
of John or Christ from this Jewish custom, is not to be thought of; but it is 
to be accounted for from the general use and significance of lustrations among 
the Jews, taken in connexion with the expectations entertained respecting 
the new state of things to be introduced by the Messiah. 


feet, but these are enough. The state of feeling and practice 
among the Jews was only so far different, that they had a bet 
ter foundation to rest upon, and ordinances of service directly 
appointed by Heaven to observe. Among these, as already 
noticed, divers baptisms baptisms by washing, sprinkling, 
and immersion were imposed on them ; and both the priests 
daily, when they entered the Temple, and the ordinary wor 
shippers on ever-recurring occasions, had ablutions of various 
kinds to perform. Not only so, but it was matter of public 
notoriety, that the Essenes, who carried their notions and 
practices somewhat farther than others in ceremonial obser 
vance, admitted converts into their number by a solemn act 
of lustration, making it strictly an initiatory rite ; for only 
after this purifying service had been undergone, and two years 
of probation had been passed, could the applicant be admitted 
into full connexion with the society, (Josephus Wars, ii. 8, 6.) 
Taking all these things into account, and remembering, be 
sides, how frequently in the Old Testament the purification 
to be effected upon the soul of true penitents, and of those 
especially who were to live when the great period of reforma 
tion came, is represented under the symbol of a water-purifi 
cation, (Ps. xxvi. 6; Isa. i. 16, lii. 15; Ezek. xxxvi. 25; Zech. 
xiii. 1,) we can scarcely conceive how it should have appeared 
in any way startling or peculiar that John, who so expressly 
called men to repentance and amendment of life, as prepara 
tory to a new phase of the Divine administration, should have 
accompanied his preaching with an ordinance of baptism. The 
ideas, the practices, the associations, the hopes of the time, 
were such as to render an act of this kind both a natural ex 
pression and a fitting embodiment of his doctrine. Hence, 
when John gave a succession of denials to the interrogatories 
of the Pharisees, such as they understood to be a renuncia 
tion of any claim on his part to the character, either of Mes 
siah or of Messiah s forerunner, they asked him, " Why bap- 
tizest thou, then, if thou be not that Christ, nor Elias, neither 
that prophet?" (John i. 25;) they would have been nowise 
surprised had any one of these come with an ordinance of 
baptism; they only wondered that John, disclaiming, as they 

308 THE USE OF paTCrl^G) 

thought, being identified with one or other of them, should 
still have made himself known as the dispenser of such an or 

After what has been stated, it is scarcely necessary to add, 
that it is a matter of no moment in what manner Jewish pro 
selyte-baptism was administered, when it came to be regularly 
established. For, as we have no certain, or even very proba 
ble evidence of its existence till some centuries after the 
Christian era, the mode of its administration can have no 
bearing on the question of baptism by John or the apostles. 
According to the descriptions given of it by Maimonides and 
other Jewish writers (as may be seen in Wall,) it appears to 
have been done by immersion; but these descriptions belong 
to a period long subsequent to the apostolic age. In de 
scribing the practice of the Essenes, which, perhaps, comes 
the nearest to the new rite of any known existing custom, 
Josephus uses the words d-oMa) (wash off,) and frr-vela, 
cleansing; pointing rather to the operations of the lavacrum 
or Xowcrjpiov, than to the act of immersion in a pool or bathing- 
tub. And it is always by words of a like nature words in- 
dicative of washing, cleansing, and such like, that the ablu 
tions of the Old Testament ritual are described; as in Lev. 
xvi. 28, where it is in the Septuagint, xlovs c ra Iftdrea xo.l 
Ao jffsrae TO ffco/ia WJTQ~J 5orr, he shall wash his clothes, and 
bathe (in any of the forms) his body with water. It was not, 
in short, by any precise mode of applying the water, but to 
the cleansing property or effect of the water, when applied, 
that respect appears to have been had in the descriptions re 
ferred to. 

III. A third line of reflection will be found to conduct us 
substantially to the result we have already arrived at. It is 
derived from the incidental allusions and explanatory expres 
sions occurring in Scripture, both in respect to the symboli 
cal use of water generally, and to the ordinance of baptism 
in particular. In nearly all of these it is simply the cleansing 
property of the water, its washing virtue, which is rendered 
prominent. For example, in Acts xxii. 1G, "Arise, and be 


baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the 
Lord;" or in Eph. v. 25, 26, "Christ loved the Church, and 
gave Himself for it, that He might sanctify and cleanse it, 
by the washing of water by (lit. in) the Word." Here the 
reference is not exclusively to the ordinance of baptism ; for 
the cleansing spoken of is represented as finding its accom 
plishment "in the Word" being wrought mainly in the soul 
through the belief of the truth. Yet, along with the more 
direct and inward instrumentality, the apostle couples that of 
baptism, and points, while he does so, to the cleansing pro 
perty of the symbolical element employed in its administra 
tion. The same also is done in such expressions as "But ye 
are washed," "lie hath washed us from our sins," "He hath 
saved us by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the 
Holy Ghost;" in each of them the language employed is 
founded on the baptismal use of water, and bears respect 
simply to its natural adaptation to purposes of cleansing. On 
this alone the attention is fixed. 

It adds force to the argument derived from these considera 
tions, to observe, that the word baptism is sometimes used of 
circumstances and events, in regard to which the mode was 
entirely different, and only the main, fundamental idea alike. 
Thus in 1 Cor. x. 2, the apostle represents the Israelites as 
having been all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the 
sea; where nothing but the most fanciful imagination, or the 
most determined partisanship can think of an immersion being 
indicated. 1 The two actions classed together were quite dif 
ferent in form; and neither the one nor the other neither 
the passing under the cloud, nor the going dry-shod through 
the Red Sea, possessed the reality, or even bore the semblance 
of a dipping. In 1 Peter iii. 20, 21, the preservation of Noah 
by the waters of the deluge, which destroyed the ungodly, is 
represented as a species of baptism baptism in the type. 
And there also it was plainly of no moment what corporeal 

1 One would almost think it was in &jeux d* esprit some one had said of Mo 
ses -walking through the sea on dry ground, " He got a dry dip. And could 
not a person, literally covered -with oil-cloth, get a dry immersion in water?" 
But it is Dr. Carson who has put his name to such solemn trifling. 


position Noah occupied relatively to the waters whether 
above or below them. This is not brought at all into notice. 
The simple point of comparison between the Old and the New 
is, that with Noah, as with us, there was an element accom 
plishing a twofold process the destruction of the evil, and 
the preservation of the good. He was saved in the ark through 
that which destroyed others; precisely as we, when our bap 
tism becomes truly operative in our experience, are saved by 
that regenerative and sanctifying grace, which at once destroys 
the inherent evil in our natures, and brings to them a partici 
pation of a Divine life. In each of these illustrative cases 
no stress whatever is laid upon the particular form or mode, 
in which they respectively differed ; in regard to none of them 
is it so much as distinctly referred to, and the whole point of 
the comparison is made to turn on the separation, the cleansing 
process effected between the evil and the good the corruption 
of nature, on the one side, and the saving grace of God, on 
the other. 

Even the passages in Rom. vi. 3, 4, and Col. ii. 12, 13, in 
which tne apostle speaks of baptism as a burial, and which 
Baptists usually contend is founded on the specific mode of 
immersion even these, when viewed in connexion with the 
representations already noticed, instead of invalidating, rather 
confirm the deduction we are seeking to establish. For, on 
the supposition of a reference being made merely to the mode 
of administration, it would surely be to present us with a most 
incongruous association, if one and the same act were held to 
be significant, in its simply external aspect, at once of an in 
terment and a cleansing. What natural relation have these 
to each other ? What proper affinity ? Manifestly none what 
ever; and if the same ordinance is somehow expressive of both 
ideas, it cannot possibly be through its form of administration ; 
it must be got by looking above this (whatever precisely that 
may be,) and taking into account the spiritual things symbol 
ized and exhibited in the ordinance. Indeed, as burial was 
commonly practised in the East, it did not present even a 
formal resemblance to an immersion in water ; for, usually the 
body, and in particular our Lord s body, was not let down, 


as with us, into an open sepulchre, but placed horizontally in 
the side of a cave, and there not unfrequently lifted up as on 
a ledge. Such an act could not be said to look like a dip into 
water; and if, on the ground of an external resemblance, they 
had been so associated by the apostle, it would have been im 
possible to vindicate the connexion from the charge of an un 
regulated play of fancy. But there is here nothing of the 
kind. The apostle is viewing baptism as the initiatory ordi 
nance that exhibits and confirms the believer s union to 
Christ the crucified and risen Redeemer; and to give the 
greater distinctness to the representation, he places the be 
liever s fellowship with Christ successively in connexion with 
the several stages of Christ s redemptive work His death, 
burial, and resurrection, reckoning these as so many stages 
in the believer s personal history. And as thus, the very 
substance of the statement shows, how Paul was looking to the 
realities, not to the mere forms of things, so, as if the more 
to take our thoughts off from the forms, he varies the figure, 
passes from the idea of being buried with Christ, to that of 
being, like saplings, planted in the likeness of His death and 
resurrection. But if immersion in water has little resemblance 
to an Eastern burial, it has still less to the process of planting 
a shoot in the ground, that it may spring up into life and 
fruitfulness. Thus, the figures, with the truth couched under 
them, only become intelligible and plain, when they are viewed 
in relation to tlje spiritual design of the ordinance. 

There is still another passage, to which, in this connexion, 
reference should be made ; for although it does not directly 
discourse of baptism, it proceeds on the ideas commonly asso 
ciated in our Lord s time with the religious use of water, and 
on which the ordinance of baptism is certainly founded. The 
passage is John xiii. 117, which narrates the action of wash 
ing the disciples feet by our Lord. The action had a twofold 
significance. It was intended, in the first instance, to exhibit 
an affecting and memorable proof of our Lord s lowly and 
loving condescension toward His disciples one, He gave them 
to understand, which in spirit must be often repeated among 
themselves. But, besides this, it pointed to the necessity of 

312 THE USE OF J3a~~ia) 

spiritual cleansing to its necessity, even in the case of those 
who have already become the disciples of Christ. They must 
be perpetually repairing to Him for fresh purifications. Of 
this symbolic import of the action Peter soon betrayed his 
ignorance though really not more ignorant, but only more 
prompt and outspoken than the others when he declared that 
Jesus should never wash his feet. The reply this drew forth 
was, "If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with Me," indi 
cating that a deep symbolic import attached to the service, 
on account of which all the disciples behooved to submit to it. 
And now Peter, catching a glimpse of his Master s meaning, 
exclaimed, "Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and 
head." To this Jesus again replied, hXoofjLevo^ ou %psiav 

)C Ion xa.0a.fjbz o/o^; where 

we are to mark the change of verb in the first member the 

i vo^, referring to a general washing, the cleansing of 
the whole body, and the vtyaaOae, the cleansing merely of 
the feet in accordance with the usage previously noticed 
(p. 300.) By reason of their relation to Christ, the disciples 
(all except Judas, who is expressly distinguished from the 
rest in what immediately follows) had been, in a manner, 
washed; that is, they were in an accepted or justified con 
dition, which, with reference to the action of washing, our 
Lord designated clean. But they could only abide in this 
condition (our Lord would have them to understand) by per 
petually repairing to Him for deliverance from the partial 
defilements which they contracted in the world; so that the 
one great baptism into a forgiven and purified condition must 
be followed up by ever recurring lesser baptisms. But in 
both cases alike, it is the cleansing virtue alone of the outward 
service that is made account of; it is the washing away alone 
of contracted defilement ; and if that idea is made prominent in 
the use of the water, we naturally and reasonably infer, the 
design of the symbol will in any case be accomplished. 

On the whole, two things seem perfectly clear, from all that 
is written in Scripture respecting what is external in the ordi 
nance of baptism. The first is, that there is nothing, either 
in the expressions employed concerning it, or in the circum- 


stances of its institution, to fix the Church down to a specific 
form of administration, as essential to its proper being and 
character. This sufficiently appears from the considerations 
already adduced; but the view might be greatly strengthened, 
by comparing the indeterminateness which characterizes the 
language respecting baptism, with the remarkable precision 
and definitiveness with which the appointments were made in 
Old Testament ordinances. In these the form was essential, 
and hence its minutest details were prescribed the day, the 
place, the materials to be employed, and the manner of em 
ploying them: all were matter of explicit legislation. But in 
the New Testament ordinance it is otherwise, because, while 
the rite itself is imperative, nothing of moment depends upon 
the precise form of administration. The second conclusion is, 
that the use of water in baptism is chiefly, if not exclusively, 
for the purpose of symbolizing the cleansing and regenerative 
nature of the change, which those, who are the proper subjects, 
must undergo on entering the Messiah s kingdom. So that 
the prominent idea the one point on which the general tenor 
of Scripture would lead us to lay stress is the cleansing pro 
perty of the element applied to the body, not the precise 
manner of its administration. And we may fairly regard it 
as an additional confirmation of the soundness of our views 
in both these respects, that when we look from the external 
symbol to the internal reality, we find the same disregard as 
to form, coupled with the same uniformity as to substantial 
import. It is said, we are baptized in the Spirit (sv Trusti/mre 
d:( uo, Matt. iii. 11 ; John i. 33 ; Acts i. 5 ;) but this is described 
as taking effect by the Spirit descending into us, not by our 
being immersed into the Spirit by His being poured out 
upon us, or coming to abide in us. The cloven tongues as 
of fire, which at the first imaged the fact of his descent on 
the apostles, appeared sitting on them ; it was not an element, 
into which they themselves were plunged, but a form of power 
resting upon them. In a word, it is the internal, vivifying, 
regenerative agency, which alone is important; the mode in 
which it is represented as coming into operation is varied, 


because pointing to -what in the ordinance is not absolutely 
fixed or strictly essential. 

We have confined our attention, in the preceding line of 
inquiry, to what properly belongs to the exegetical province. 
Our immediate object has been to ascertain, by every fair and 
legitimate consideration, the Scriptural import of fia-ri^co and 
ftdftreffpa, as applied to the baptism of John and our Lord. 
The doctrine of baptism the truths it involves, the obliga 
tions it imposes, its proper subjects, and the parties by whom 
it should be administered these are topics that belong to 
another department of theological inquiry. We shall merely 
advert, in conclusion, to one or two expressions, in which the 
word to baptize is coupled with certain adjuncts, used to indi 
cate more definitely its nature and object. In respect to 
John s baptism, the common adjuncts are, ere perdvoeav, e;c 
d<fffw tipapTccov, into repentance, into remission of sins that 
is, into these as the aim and result of the ordinance. The 
same general relation is sometimes expressed in regard to 
Christ s baptism, only the object is different; as when it is 
said to be ere & ffcofta (1 Cor. xii. 13,) et Xptffrbv > /TjffOW J 
or s/c TOV dduarov a\jro r j (Rom. vi. 3) into these, as the end 
or object aimed at in the ordinance. To be baptized into a 
person into Christ, for example, or into His body means, 
to be through baptism formally admitted into personal fellow 
ship with Him, and participation in the cause or work asso 
ciated with His name. And not materially different is the 
expression of being baptized, Iv rw dvoparc rou Kupeoo (Acts 
x. 48,) also ITTI TOJ ovo/tare Y^tfoy (Acts ii. 38 ;) the import of 
which is not that the original formula given by the Lord 
was dispensed with that instead of it Christ s name simply 
was pronounced over the baptized; but that they were bap 
tized into the faith of His person and salvation, or into the 
profession and hope of all that His name indicates for those 
who own His authority, and trust in His merits. 




THIS is one of the few words employed by the sacred writers 
which played a prominent part in the mythologies of Greece 
and Rome; and it is of importance, for the correct interpre 
tation of certain portions of New Testament Scripture, to as 
certain, whether the sense which it bears in the sacred, is the 
same with that which it bore in the profane territory; or what, 
if any, may have been the modifications it underwent in being 
brought into contact with the spiritual revelations of the Bi 

1. To look first to the heathen use of the term, the deri 
vation and primary meaning cannot be pronounced absolutely 
certain; yet what has been the most general, continues still 
to be the most approved opinion that it is a compound of 
privative a and tasty, so that, if applied to a person or power, 
it would designate what makes invisible, if to a place, the in 
visible region. We may the rather hold this to be the correct 
etymology, as in the more ancient writers the iota is very com 
monly written and pronounced as a constituent part of the 
word; and aor^ may consequently be regarded as an abbre 
viation of alur^. One does not see how this could have hap 
pened, if the derivation had been from cioco or y/ioco^ to re 
ceive. In the elder Greek writers, the word is generally used 
to designate a person or power; it is but another name for 
Pluto, Dis, or Orcus. In Homer it is always so used ; but in 
later writers it is applied sometimes to the power, and some 
times to the abode or region, over which he was supposed to 
preside. And as people felt unwilling (according to Plato) 
to designate the Deity by the dreaded name of Hades, pre 
ferring that rather of Pluto, so the term Hades came in pro 
cess of time to be generally appropriated to the region. Nor 
can there be any doubt that this region, in respect to locality, 
was understood to occupy a relatively lower position than the 
earth hence the Latin designations, inferi and inferna, the 


people or places beneath ground ; and that, in respect to its 
nature and design, it was the common receptacle of the de 
parted, ndvraz bftcoz dvyToyz Aior^ oiyncu. This common 
receptacle, however, they held to be divided into two distinct 
spheres one for the good and another for the bad Elysium 
and Tartarus. Delineating the two paths, which at a certain 
point led off to the different habitations, Yirgil says, JEn. vi. 

" Hac iter Elysium nobis: et laeva malorum 
Exercet poenas, et ad impia Tartara naittit." 

But notwithstanding this division, and the possibility, ac 
cording to it, of a state of happiness being enjoyed in the 
nether world, the notion of Hades was still a predominantly 
gloomy and forbidding one to the heathen mind. Pluto and 
his subordinates were always imaged under a grim and stern 
aspect; and the whole region over which their sway extended 
looked dull and mournful. The passage of souls thither was 
commonly represented as a transition from the region of light 
and life to the mansions of darkness, and the possession, at 
the most, of a kind of shadowy, semi-real existence, a sort of 
mid-way condition between proper life and death. The poets, 
who partly expressed and partly also formed the popular be 
lief upon the subject, inclined so much in their representations 
to the shady side, that Plato would only admit them into his 
Republic, if the passages bearing on this point were erased 
from them ; because, filling the minds of men with such un 
inviting representations of the state after death, they inevita 
bly tended, he conceived, to unnerve the spirits of men, and 
dispose them to prefer slavery to defeat and death (Rep. iii. 
1-4.) This dark and gloomy portraiture of the state of the 
departed in heathen mythology arose, doubtless, in part from 
the want of any definite revelation to guide and elevate men s 
views regarding the future; but still more, from a want of 
another kind the want of any proper satisfaction for the 
guilt of sin, such as should, on solid grounds, have restored 
peace to the conscience. Their imperfect ablutions and sacri 
fices were felt to be insufficient for so great an end, especially 
when the thought of future retribution hove distinctly in 


view. Yet, uninviting as the prospect of an entrance into 
Ilades was, even for the better portion of mankind, it was 
greatly preferred to exclusion ; and the classes that were de 
nied admission for a time, were deemed peculiarly unhappy. 
These were the unburied, the unripe (such as had been carried 
off at an immature age, hence supposed to be not ready,) and 
those who had met a violent death. The first class till their 
funeral rites were performed, the other two till the natural 
period of death had arrived, were doomed to flit about the 
outskirts of Hades. 1 Itself a proof of the superficialism of 
heathen mythology, and of the undue regard that was had in 
it to merely natural considerations! since all the circum 
stances which were supposed to exclude from the proper 
receptacles of the dead, belonged to the outward and fortui 
tous, rather than to the moral. But whatever may be thought 
of such imaginations, there can be no doubt of the two lead 
ing points already noted namely, that the Ilades of ancient 
heathenism was believed to be the common receptacle of de 
parted souls, and that it was understood to possess a compart 
ment of bliss for the good, and a compartment of retributive 
punishment and misery for the bad. 

2. Turning now to the territory of Scripture, we look in 
the first instance to the light that is furnished on the subject 
in the writings of the Old Testament. There the place of 
departed spirits is designated by the Hebrew name of Sheol; 
which is most commonly, and I believe rightly, derived from 
>>*$?, to demand or ask: So called, to use the words of Mi- 
chaelis, a poscendo, quod non desinat postulare, et homines 
alios post alios ad se trahere. With reference to this primary 
import of the term, as well as to the reality indicated by it, 
it is said in Prov. xxvii. 20, " Sheol and the abyss are never 
satisfied," and in Hab. ii. 5, the Chaldean monarch is likened 
to Sheol, "because he gathereth unto him all nations, and 
heapeth unto him all people." Gesenius s later derivation, as 
if it were for 7ij,$ ? a hollow, then a hollow arid subterranean 
place, seems to rest on no solid foundation. But nothing of 

1 See Tertullian cle Anima, c. 56 ; also the long note of Pearson on the 
subject under Art. V. of the Creed, note L 



importance depends on the etymology; other and more cer 
tain sources of information exist as to the notions involved in 
it. The Sheol of the Hebrews bore so much of a common 
resemblance to the Hades of the Greeks, that in the Septua- 
gint fuir^ is the word commonly employed as an equivalent; 
and in the latter periods of the Jewish commonwealth the two 
words were viewed as of substantially like import. According 
also to the Hebrew mode of contemplation, there was a com 
mon receptacle for the spirits of the departed; and a recep 
tacle which was conceived of as occupying, in relation to this 
world, a lower sphere under ground. Hence they spoke of 
going down to Sheol, or of being brought up again from it. 
Josephus, when describing in this respect the belief of the 
Pharisees, which was, undoubtedly, the common belief of his 
countrymen, says, "They believe that souls have an immortal 
vigour in them, and that under the earth (UTTO 0ovoc,) there 
will be rewards or punishments, according as they have lived 
virtuously or viciously in this life; that the latter are to be 
detained in an everlasting prison, but that the former shall 
have power to revive and live again," (Ant. xviii, 1, 8.) The 
language of earlier times perfectly accords with these views, 
so far as it refers to the points embraced in them. Jacob, for 
example, speaks of being brought down to Sheol with sorrow, 
(Gen. xlii. 38;) and David, in one place, (Ps. cxxxix. 8,) con 
templates the possibility of making his bed in Sheol, and in 
another, (Ps. xxx.,) after deliverance from the sore calamity 
which had enveloped him for a time as in an atmosphere of 
death, gives thanks to God, like one actually restored to life, 
for having brought his soul up again from Sheol. At the 
same time, that the wicked were regarded as going to Sheol, 
is so often expressed in Old Testament Scripture, that it is 
almost needless to produce any particular examples of it. 
The passage alone of Isa. xiv., which, though highly figurative, 
is certainly based on the existing beliefs of the Israelitish 
people, is conclusive proof. The king of Babylon is there 
represented as thrown from his lofty elevation by the judgment 
of Heaven, and sent as an humbled captive into the chambers 
of Sheol, the inmates of which appear moved with wonder at 


the thought of his downfall, and raise over him the shout of 
exultation. Beyond doubt, therefore, Sheol, like Hades, was 
regarded as the abode after death alike of the good and the 
bad. And the conception of its low, deep, subterranean 
position is not only implied in the general style of thought 
and expression upon the subject, but is sometimes also very 
forcibly exhibited; As when in Deuteronomy, ch. xxxii. 22, 
the Lord declares that a fire was "kindled in his anger, which 
should burn to the lowest Sheol;" and in Job xi. 7 9, 
"Canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou find out 
the Almighty unto perfection? It is high as heaven, what 
canst thou do? Deeper than Sheol, what canst thou know?" 
And still again in Amos ix. 2, "Though they dig into Sheol, 
thence shall My hand take them ; though they climb up into 
heaven, thence will I bring them down." In these passages 
Sheol, like Hades, is manifestly put in opposition to what is 
elevated in height; it is the antithesis of heaven, and stands 
as a concrete designation of the lowest depths. 

From what has been stated, it is clear, that the Sheol of 
the Hebrews much more nearly coincides with the Hades of 
the Greeks, than with either our hell (in its now universally 
received acceptation 1 ) or the grave. In some of the passages 
referred to, indeed, the meaning would not materially suffer 
by one or other of these terms being employed as an equiva 
lent. Substantially, we should give the sense of Jacob s de 
claration, if we rendered, "Ye shall bring down my gray hairs 
with sorrow to the grave;" nor should any violence be done 
to the general import of the passage in Deuteronomy, if. as in 
the authorized version, the wrath of God was said to burn to 
the lowest hell; because here it is the wicked only that are 
contemplated, and these as pursued by Divine vengeance to 
the farthest bounds of their possible existence. Yet, the 
terms in either case are not precisely equivalent, and hence 
are not convertible ; we could not substitute hell for grave in 
Jacob s declaration, or grave for hell in the passage from Deu- 

1 Originally, it had much the same meaning as Hades, being derived from 
ihe Saxon helan, to cover, and denoting simply the covered or hidden space 
the invisible regions. 


teronomy. With this general agreement, however, between 
Hades and Sheol, there may still be shades of difference be 
tween them, and such as involve important principles. The 
term Hades certainly came nearer to Sheol than either hell 
or the grave, especially in these two respects, that both alike 
were viewed as the common receptacle of departed souls, and 
as lying far under ground: In two other points also there 
might be said to be a substantial agreement. First, in regard 
to the diverse conditions of the departed; for, though in what 
is said of Sheol we do not find by any means such a distinct 
separation into the two regions for their respective classes of 
occupants, as in the case of Hades with its Elysium and Tar 
tarus, yet the existence of such a separation is not doubtfully 
indicated. It is implied in the representations given of the 
doctrine of Divine retribution, as reaching beyond the boun 
daries of sense and time into the realms of the dead. It is 
again implied in the hope, which was possessed by the right 
eous in his death the rooted conviction, that he was safe in 
the keeping of the all-present and omnipotent Jehovah, even 
when appointed to find his bed in the viewless chambers of 
Sheol; a very different condition from that of those, who, 
like the godless monarch of Babylon, were represented as cast 
down thither with the marks upon them of shame and dis 
honour. Such things leave no room to doubt, that while Sheol 
might be regarded but as one region, it was known to possess 
quite different receptacles for those received within its gates, 
and that there still, there, indeed, pre-eminently, it should be 
well with the righteous and ill with the wicked. With all 
this and here lies the other point of substantial agreement 
with the Hades of heathendom a certain degree of gloom 
and repulsiveness hung around the region even to the eye of 
the believing Israelite. He felt alarmed and saddened at the 
thought of his entrance into it as if his nature must there 
suffer a kind of collapse; and not only the commoner sympa 
thies of flesh and blood, but the holiest affections also of grace, 
must be denied the exercise they delighted in on earth. In 
the Book of Psalms Sheol is spoken of as the land of forget- 
fulness, and of silence, where no celebration is made of God s 


praise, or active service is done for Him, like what is ever 
proceeding on earth. David asks respecting those who have 
entered that nether world, "Who shall give Thee thanks?" 
(Ps. vi. 5.) And Hezekiah, in like manner, declares "Sheol 
cannot praise Thee, nor death extol Thee. The living, the 
living, he shall praise Thee, as I do this day." (Isa. xxxviii. 

Were expressions of this nature to be taken absolutely, they 
would bespeak even a darker and gloomier view of Sheol, on 
the part of Old Testament believers, than was held by the 
better sort of heathens respecting the Elysium of Hades. But 
it is evident, from what has been stated, that they cannot be 
so taken. ^If the retributive justice of God followed men into 
Sheol, distinguishing there also between the righteous and 
the wicked, there could not possibly, with either class, be total 
silence and forgetfulness ; the soul must have been conceived 
capable of happiness or misery, and consequently to have had 
continued recollection and consciousness, as discerning in the 
elements of its new state the issues of that which it had left. 
The ideal scene, too, in Isaiah, of the Chaldean monarch s re 
ception among the departed, and the historical representation 
of Samuel s reappearance at Endor to rebuke Saul and pro 
claim his approaching doom, should have wanted their proper 
basis, if the tenants of Sheol had been supposed to be bereft 
of consciousness and power. The language, which seems to 
betoken such a complete cessation of thought and energy, 
could be nothing more than relative. It meant, that, as com 
pared with the present life, so replete with busy, and in many 
respects pleasurable activities, existence in Sheol presented it 
self to the apprehension of the Hebrews, as an obscure, inac 
tive, torpid repose. In truth, they had no revelation on the 
subject; and, wiser than the heathen, they stopped where 
their light forsook them ; they did not attempt to supply the 
lack of supernal illumination by silly fables, which were fitted 
only to deceive. It was the further development of God s 
scheme which alone could relieve the gloom ; and waiting for 
that, they rested meanwhile in the conviction though not 
without many recoils of feeling and faintings of heart that 


He who had kept and blessed them through the troubles of 
life, would not leave them a prey to evil in the undiscovered 
regions that lay beyond. 

Along, however, with those points of obvious or substantial 
agreement, between the Sheol of the Hebrews and the Hades 
of the Greeks, there were points two in particular of actual 
diversity. One was, that Sheol was not, in the estimation of 
the Hebrews, a final, but only an intermediate state. It was 
the soul s place of rest, and, it might be, for aught they knew, 
of absolute quiescence, during its state of separation from the 
body, but from which it was again to emerge, when the time 
should come for the resurrection of the dead. The prospect 
of such a resurrection was cherished from the very first by the 
believing people of God, to whom the promise was given of a 
reversion of the evil brought in by sin, and, by consequence, 
of the destruction of death, in which that evil found its proper 
consummation. So that every true believer was a man of 
hope of a hope that penetrated beyond the mansions of 
Sheol; his final resting-place, he knew, was not to be there. 
And when the Psalmist spake concerning himself, " God will 
redeem my soul from the hand (or power) of Sheol, for He 
shall receive me," (Ps. xlix. 15;) or the prophet Isaiah, of 
the righteous generally, " Thy dead men shall live, my dead 
body shall arise; awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust," 
(xxvi. 19;) or Hosea, "I will ransom them from the power 
of Sheol, I will redeem them from death : death, I will be 
thy plagues; Sheol, I will be thy destruction," (xiii. 14;) 
or Daniel, " Many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth 
shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and 
everlasting contempt," (xii. 2:) they but gave varied expres 
sion to that hope, which lay in the breast of every pious Is 
raelite namely, that there should be a resurrection of the 
just and of the unjust that for the just, at least, there should 
be a release from Sheol, with its unnatural abridgments of life 
and being, that they might enter on their proper heritage of 

In this consisted one important element of difference be 
tween Sheol and Hades; for the heathen idolater could see 


nothing beyond Hades ; its bars to him were eternal ; the 
thought of a resurrection was alien to all his conceptions of 
the possible future. And closely connected with that was this 
other, that Sheol was not viewed as a separate realm, like 
Hades, withdrawn from the primal fountain of life, and sub 
ject to another dominion than the world of sense and time. 
With the heathen, the lord of the lower regions was the rival 
of the King of earth and heaven; the two domains were es 
sentially antagonistic. But with the more enlightened He 
brew there was no. real separation between the two ; the cham 
bers of Sheol were as much God s as the habitations of men 
on earth, or the mansions of the blest in glory ; there, as well 
as here, the one living Jehovah was believed to be in all, 
through all, and over all. 

Now, it is impossible but that these two leading principles, 
associated with the Hebrew Sheol, but not with the Grecian 
Hades, must have materially affected the views currently en 
tertained upon the subject; and though the Hellenistic Jews 
employed Hades as the nearest equivalent in the Greek lan 
guage to Sheol, it must yet have called up ideas in the mind 
of an enlightened Israelite, which found no place in the bosom 
of a heathen. The word was a different thing in the mouth 
of the one from what it was in the mouth of the other. 

8. So much, then, for the Old Testament usage and ideas; 
we come now to those of the New Testament. Here the word 
Hades is of comparatively rare occurrence ; it is not found in 
more than eight passages altogether. The first time it meets 
us is in our Lord s denunciation upon Capernaum, the place 
where He had usually resided during the time of His active 
ministry in Galilee; and it is employed, as in some of the 
passages cited from the Old Testament, merely as one of the 
terms of a contrast: " And thou, Capernaum, which art ex 
alted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to Hades" (Matt. 
xi. 23) i.e., from the most towering elevation to the deepest 
debasement. From a proverbial use of this description no 
thing very definite can be inferred as to the nature of the 
place; the reference proceeds simply on the popular appre 
hension respecting its position in the lowest depths. The next 


use of the term by our Lord is also of a somewhat rhetorical 
character; it is in the memorable words addressed to Simon 
Peter, which contained the declaration, "And on this rock I 
will build My Church, and the gates of Hades shall not pre 
vail against it" (Matt. xvi. 18.) This no further determines 
the nature of Hades, than that somehow it is conceived of as 
standing in opposition to the continued existence or prosperity 
of the church; so that the ascendency of the one would be 
the defeat or overthrow of the other. Hades is referred to as 
a realm or kingdom, having, like earthly kingdoms in the 
East, seats of council and authority at its gates, where deli 
berations were held, and measures taken, in regard to all that 
concerned its interests; and these, the Lord affirms, should 
never prevail against His cause on earth; this cause should 
ever maintain its ground. But on another occasion still 
the only occasion besides on which the term occurs in the re 
corded sayings of our Lord in the parable of the rich man 
and Lazarus, it is there said of the former, that " in Hades 
he lifted up his eyes, in torments." And it cannot but be re 
garded as a noticeable circumstance, that in the solitary ex 
ample, wherein Hades is mentioned by our Lord explicitly as 
a receptacle for the departed, it is in connexion with the 
wicked, and as a place of torment. True, no doubt, Lazarus 
also, the child of faith and the heir of glory, was so far asso 
ciated with the lost worldling, that he appears, as it were, 
within sight and hail of the other; but still, it is only to the 
compartment, where the lost had their portion, that the name 
Hades is applied; and betwixt that locality and the abodes 
of the blest an impassable gulf is represented as being fixed. 
Coupling with this the circumstance, that in the other two 
cases also, in which the term Hades was employed by our 
Lord, it appears in a kind of antithesis to His cause and king 
dom, one can scarcely avoid feeling as if there had been taken 
from Hades somewhat of that common aspect and relation to 
the whole of mankind, which in more ancient times was ascribed 
to Sheol. The rather may we thus conclude, when we call to 
remembrance the words of Christ on another occasion ; words 
which exhibit a marked contrast to those spoken of the rich 


man in the parable, and which, from the emphatic moment 
when they were uttered, might be said to designate for future 
time the receptacle of departed saints. It was on the cross, 
when Jesus said to the penitent malefactor, "-To-day shalt 
thou be with Me in paradise," (Luke xxiii. 43.) Paradise! 
the region, not of gloom and forgetfulness, but of beautiful 
and blessed life the primeval home and heritage of man; 
and so, proclaiming Jesus to be that Second Man, the Lord 
from heaven, who had prevailed to recover what was lost by 
the first. 1 

Notwithstanding, however, this studied avoidance, on the 
part of our Lord, of the term Hades to denote the place of 
His temporary sojourn, and that of His people, between death 
and the resurrection, the next passage in which we meet with 
the word, seems to make Hades, such a place of sojourn for 
the Redeemer Himself. It is in Acts ii. 27-31, where, after 
quoting a portion of the 16th Psalm, and applying it to Christ, 
the Apostle Peter says, that David spake there as a prophet 
"spake of the resurrection of Christ, that His soul was not 
left in Hades, neither did His flesh see corruption." By 
the great body of Christian writers this passage is held con 
clusive as to the fact of Christ s soul having actually been in 
Hades; since it could not have been represented as not left 
there, had it not actually been there ; and by many of them it 
is deemed the only very clear and decisive text on the point. 2 
Yet it is rather pressing the language too far, when it is al 
leged in proof of Hades being the proper designation of the 
place, whither our Lord s soul went at the moment of death. 
For it is an Old Testament passage, and like other passages 

1 The full significance of our Lord s language on this occasion has been 
sadly marred by our rabbinical commentators (Lightfoot, Wetstein, etc.,) who 
have thought they sufficiently explained it by adducing passages from Jewish 
writings, in which the Garden of Eden is used as a name for the place of de 
parted believers. As if such writings were entitled to rank even in antiquity 
with the gospels! Or, as if the kind of hap-hazard employment of terms by 
blind Rabbis, as often wrong as right, when referring to the mysteries of the 
kingdom, gave the key to Christ s pregnant and select diction ! But see at 
Part L, sec. 3, p. 51, sq. 

2 See Pearson on the Creed, Burnet or Browne on the 39 Articles. 


of a prophetic nature, which pointed to New Testament times, 
it naturally spoke of the future under the form and image of 
the things then present or past. It should, therefore, be un 
derstood of the actual event in Gospel times with such a mea 
sure of qualification, as the altered circumstances of the new 
dispensation might require. And if, as we have seen reason 
to believe, the language of our Lord Himself gave indication 
of a change in respect to Hades, as regards the souls of be 
lievers if in His discourses he carefully distinguished between 
Hades and the receptacle of His own and His people s disem 
bodied spirits, we can scarcely be warranted in pressing the 
Old Testament passage quoted by St. Peter, so as to impose 
on it still an Old Testament sense. But, in reality, neither 
the original Hebrew, nor the Septuagint Greek, which is 
adopted by the apostle, gives any precise indication of the 
place where our Lord s spirit sojourned; they do not define 
so closely, as is supposed, his relation to Hades. The words 
in the Greek, which represent quite exactly the sense of the 
Hebrew, are, o*j% IfxaTatetyeez xty <j)uy$v p-oo e/c 7<%y Thou 
wilt not relinquish, or abandon, my soul to Hades wilt not 
surrender it as a helpless prey to that hostile power, or un 
welcome abode. It might, indeed, mean, that the soul was 
to be allowed to enter there, though not to be shut up for a 
continuance; but it might also, and even more naturally, inti 
mate that the soul should not properly fall under the dominion 
of Hades. The expression is general as regards the matter 
of relationship; Hades is simply eyed as the antagonistic 
power, the hostile quarter, against which security was to be 
provided, or from which deliverance was to be granted. 

Another passage commonly referred to in the same connex 
ion, were it justly so employed, might also be treated as de 
riving its impress from Old Testament times. Having quoted 
Isa. xxv. 8, "He will swallow up death in victory," St. Paul 
breaks out into the fervid exclamation, "0 death, where is 
thy sting? Hades, where is thy victory?" (1 Cor. xv. 55.) 
Such is the reading of the received text; but there can be no 
doubt that Qa^ars, death, should be in this clause, as well 
as the preceding one. So that the passage does not come into 


consideration here; and the English version, which merely 
substitutes grave in the second clause for death in the first, is 
really more correct than the original it professed to follow. 
Grave answers more nearly to OduaTS than it should have done 

C/ (^ 

to (w~r}. 

Passing this, then, as not applicable, the only remaining 
passages, in which Hades occurs, are in the Book of Revela 
tion. There it is found four times. In ch. i. 18, the Lord 
re-assures John, who had fallen at His feet as dead, by saying, 
"Fear not: I am the first and the last; He that liveth and 
was dead ; and, behold, I am alive for evermore ; Amen, and 
have the keys of death and of Hades." The second is in the 
description of the rider on the pale horse, in ch. vi. 8, whose 
name was Death, and who was followed by Hades, slaying on 
every hand with sword and pestilence. The two others occur 
in successive verses, at ch. xx. 13, 14, where, amid the changes 
that usher in the final condition of things, it is said, "And 
the sea gave up the dead that are in it, and death and Hades 
gave up the dead that are in them, and each were judged 
according to their works. And Death and Hades were cast 
into the lake of fire, which is the second death." In these 
representations it were too much, perhaps, to affirm with some, 
that Hades is necessarily restricted to the place of torment, 
the temporary prison-house of the lost. For, when Christ 
speaks of having the keys of death and of Hades, He might 
refer to the invisible world generally; He might intend to 
comfort the Apocalyptist with the assurance, that He, who 
then appeared to him in glory, had supreme control over the 
mansions of life and death, and that excepting under His di 
rection no one could be sent into the nether world from the 
scenes and habitations of the living. At the same time, when 
the connexion of the words is taken into account when it is 
remembered that John, together with the church he repre 
sented, was then threatened with destruction by a powerful 
adversary, and that he felt at the moment on the point of 
dissolution, the conviction forces itself on our minds, that there 
also death and Hades are chiefly contemplated as evils ob 
jects shrunk from and dreaded, on account of their connexion 


with sin, and from which exemption was to be sought and 
obtained in Christ. That such is the aspect in which death 
and Hades are presented in ch. vi. 8, where the one follows 
the other in the work of carnage and desolation, admits of 
no doubt; for the work given them to do was one emphatically 
of judgment, to take effect on the adversaries of God. The 
same reference to the wicked, and to the consequences re 
sulting from their misdeeds, if less obvious in the remaining 
passage of Revelation, is scarcely less certain. For, while 
the sea is. spoken of, along with death and Hades, as giving 
up the dead tbat were in it, and of all the dead, so given up, 
being judged out of the books that were written in them ac 
cording to their works, it is not to be forgotten, that in the 
Apocalypse sea is the usual symbol of the world, in its sin- 
heaving, agitated, and troubled state the world as opposed 
to the peaceful and blessed kingdom of Christ; and in such a 
case the books are most naturally regarded as the ideal re 
cords of human guilt and depravity. I am inclined, there 
fore, to the opinion, that the souls here represented as coming 
out of the sea, death, and Hades, and being judged according 
to the things written in the books, are the non-elect portion 
of mankind all, whose names were not found in the book of 
life. And this is confirmed by what is said immediately after, 
that death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire ; for what 
reason could there have been for such an utter perdition, if 
Hades included in its domain the paradise to which Christ 
went with the penitent malefactor? Could the realms of bliss 
and wo, life and destruction, be so indiscriminately con 
founded together? Manifestly a Hades, which was to find 
its outgoing in the devouring fire of Heaven s wrath, was a 
very different region from that, in which our Lord tasted the 
sweets of paradise, or even the lap of Abraham s bosom, 
wherein a pious Lazarus is said to have reaped his reversion 
of comfort from the sorrows of an afllicted life. 

On the whole, there seems ample ground for maintaining 
that a marked difference lies between the use of Hades in the 
New Testament and of Sheol in the Old. Sheol is plainly 
and uniformly represented as the common receptacle of the 


good and the bad; for the one class, indeed, containing the 
elements of a very different portion from what awaited the 
other; yet even for the good wearing an aspect somewhat 
cheerless and uninviting. Hades, in New Testament Scrip 
ture, is not once explicitly employed as a designation for the 
common region of departed spirits ; when speaking of the inter 
mediate state for the good, our Lord carefully abstained from 
associating it with the mention of Hades ; and both as referred 
to by Him, and as personified in the Book of Revelation, 
Hades is placed in a kind of antagonistic relation to the in 
terests of His kingdom is even viewed as standing in 
close affinity with death, and destined to share in its final ex 
tinction. Not, however, that we are therefore warranted to 
deny the existence of an intermediate state for the souls of 
believers, differing in place or character from their ultimate 
destination ; or that it must on no account be identified with 
Hades. No; but simply that this is no longer the fitting epi 
thet to apply to the temporary receptacle of departed saints ; 
and we cannot but regard it as unhappy, and tending to con 
vey a partially wrong impression respecting Christ, that the 
article in the Apostles Creed should have taken the form of 
representing His disembodied soul as descending into Hades. 
He Himself introduced a change in the phraseology respect 
ing the state of the departed, such as appears to have be 
tokened a corresponding change in the reality. Assuredly, 
by the incarnation and work of Christ, the position of the 
Church on earth was mightily elevated; and it is but natural 
to infer, that a corresponding elevation extended to those 
members of the Church who had already passed, or might 
henceforth pass, within the veil ; that a fresh lustre was shed 
over their state and enjoyments by the entrance of Christ, as 
the triumphant Redeemer, into the world of spirits; and that 
for them now the old Hades, with its grim and cheerless 
aspect, was to be accounted gone, supplanted by the happy 
mansions in the Father s house, which Christ opened to their 
view. Hence also, instead of shrinking from the immediate 
future, as from the grasp of an enemy, the children of faith 
and hope should rather look to it as a provisional paradise, 



and confidently anticipate in its realms of light and glory a 
higher satisfaction than they can ever experience in the flesh. 
In this statement, however, nothing is to be understood as 
affirmed in respect to the locality assigned for the spirits of 
the departed as if it had been removed to another sphere by 
the agency of Christ, and a new and higher region had taken 
the place of the one originally appointed. This was a very 
common view among the later Fathers those who lived subse 
quently to the fifth century and became at length the received 
opinion of the Church. It was supposed that, up to the 
death of Christ, and His descent into Hades, the souls of the 
righteous were kept in what was called Limbus Patrum not 
absolutely hell, but a sort of porch or antechamber in its out 
skirts; and that Christ, after having finished the work of re 
conciliation, went thither to deliver them from it, and set 
them in the heavenly places. Bede expresses this to be the 
general faith of the Church in his day j 1 although many of the 
greatest authorities before him had opposed it, both because 
it seemed to bespeak the existence of too much evil in the con 
dition of ancient believers after death, and also to ascribe too 
great a change to the personal descent of Christ. The notion 
undoubtedly rested on fanciful grounds, and had various errors, 
of a collateral kind, associated with it. Its propounders and 
advocates too much forgot that the language used of this pro 
vince of the invisible world, as well as others, is to a large 
extent relative, and, as regards circumstantial matters, was 
never meant to impart precise and definite information. When 
represented as a lower region, as stretching away even into 
the profoundest depths, it was, doubtless, the world of sense 
that supplied the form of the representation. The body, at 
death, goes down into the earth; and it became natural to 
think and speak of the soul as following it in this downward 
direction, and finding its proper abode in the shades below. 

1 Catliolica fides habet, quia dcsccndens ad Inferna Dominus non incredu- 
los inde, scd fideles lantummodo suos cducens, ad celestia sccum regna per- 
duxerit. So also Isidore llispalensis, Sentent. L. I. c. JO, Idco Dominus in 
Inferno descendit, ut his, qui ab eo non poenalitcr detinebantur, viam aperiret 
revertendi ad coclos. See other authorities in Pearson on the Creed, Art. V. 


But this no more determined the locality, than our concep 
tion of heaven as a higher region necessitates its position over 
our heads; which, indeed, -would require it to shift perpetually 
with the seasons of the year, and with the revolutions of day 
and night. Hence it is ridiculous to say with Horsley, as if 
such language aimed at philosophical precision, "The sacred 
writers of the Old Testament speak of a common mansion in 
the inner parts of the earth; and we find the same opinion so 
general among the heathen writers of antiquity, that it is more 
probable that it had its rise in the earliest patriarchal revela 
tions, than in the imaginations of man, or in poetical fiction." 1 
Did not the sacred writers as well, though less frequently, also 
speak of the spirit of a man going upwards, while that of a 
beast went downwards of God taking the most eminent saints 
to Himself, of their being made to see the path of life, and 
dwelling in the house of the Lord for ever? 2 In speaking of 
what pertains to the soul after death, we necessarily speak 
under a veil; the discourse we make must fashion itself after 
the appearances, rather than the realities of things; and we 
wander into a wrong path whenever we attempt to turn the 
language so employed into a delineation of exact bounds and 
definite landmarks. "What is written of departed believers is 
intended only to give us some idea of their state, but not of 
their local habitation ; and the comparison of the later, with 
the earlier revelations, as already stated, warrants the belief, 
that with the progress of the scheme of God, and especially 
with its grand development in the person of Christ, that state 
did also partake of some kind of progression, or experience 
some rise, though we want the means for describing wherein 
precisely it consisted. 

It is scarcely necessary to add, that the same qualifications 
attach to what is sometimes indicated as to the relative near 
ness of the two regions appropriated respectively to the saved 
and the lost in the separate state. An actual nearness is 
inconceivable, if the better portion are really to exist in a 
state of blissful consciousness ; for what room could there be 

1 Sermon on 1 Fet. iii. 18-20. 

2 Gen. v. 2-1; Eccl. iii. 21, xii. 7; Fs. xyi. 11, xxiii. 6. 


for an Elysium of joy, with the existence of such a mass of 
wretchedness perpetually pressing on their view? The scene 
of the rich man s cognizance of and interview with Lazarus 
can be nothing more than a cover to hring out the elements 
of remorse and agony, that torment the bosom of the lost. 
So far, disembodied spirits might be viewed as occupying a 
common territory, that they are alike tenants of a region 
physically suited to such spirits, and a region not yet parted 
into the final destinations of heaven and hell. But nearer 
determinations are impracticable, and the attempt to make 
them is to enter into profitless and haply misleading specula 

i 4. The preceding remarks have touched upon every thing 
that calls for consideration as regards the import and applica 
tion of the term Hades in Scripture. The doctrine of our 
Lord s temporary withdrawal into the world of spirits, its his 
torical reality, the relation it bears to the experience of His 
people, and the results to which it may be applied in respect 
to the constitution of His person and the completeness of His 
work, all this properly belongs to another department of 
theological inquiry. Or, if treated exegetically, it would be 
more fitly discussed in connexion with a few texts, in which 
the term Hades does not occur. One of these is the appli 
cation made in Eph. iv. 9, of an Old Testament passage, in 
which the Lord is.represented as ascending up on high, lead 
ing captivity captive; and on which the apostle remarks, 
"Now that He ascended, what is it but that He also descended 
first into the lower parts (ra xardtrepa) of the earth?" The 
Fathers, undoubtedly, made frequent use of this passage in 
establishing the descent of Christ into Hades, and they have 
also been followed by many in modern times. But this, as 
Bishop Pearson long ago remarked, and for stronger reasons 
than he alleged, is a very questionable interpretation; for the 
contrast marked in the apostle s statement is not, betwixt one 
part of the earth and another, but rather betwixt earth as the 
lower region, and heaven as the higher. The one is brought 
into view simply as expressive of His humiliation, preceding 
and preparing for the exaltation, announced in the other; 


and to understand the words of a farther descent into the 
bowels of the earth, would not only be to press them to a 
sense which cannot fairly be regarded as before the mind of 
the writer at the time, but also to make them include a por 
tion of our Lord s history, yea, specially to single out that, 
as the distinctive mark of his humiliation, which does not 
strictly belong to it. This will appear from what follows in 
connexion with another text the one that chiefly bears on 
the point under consideration 1 Pet. iii. 1820, in which the 
apostle points to the sequence and result of Christ s sufferings 
in the flesh. He suffered once, says Peter, for sins, "the just 
for the unjust, that He might bring us unto God, being put to 
death, indeed, in flesh, but quickened in spirit, in which also 
he went and preached, (or made proclamation,) to the spirits 
in prison, that sometime were disobedient in the days of 
Noah," etc. (d-avarcodsl^ t&v aapxl, M07ror/]Osc<; ds xvsvfjiaTe, 
ev oj TO?Z sv <pi>Aaxfj Truzu/jtawy xopzudsit; Ixypussv, drrscOij- 
GU.G W Trore, ore dne^edl^STO 57 ro r j 6sou [j.axpodu<j.ia, x. r. ^.) 

This is, certainly, one of the most remarkable, and, if iso 
lated from the context, one of the most obscure passages of 
New Testament Scripture bringing in so abruptly, and with 
such rapidity passing over, some of the more remote and pe 
culiar points in the Divine economy. The greatest theologians 
have not only differed from each other in their views respect 
ing it, but also differed from themselves at one period as 
compared with another; of which instances may be found in 
Augustin, Luther, and Calvin. It would be out of place here, 
however, to give a history of opinions on the subject; they 
may be seen, for example, in Steiger s Commentary, (Biblical 
Cabinet,) and in part, also, in Pearson s Notes under Art.V. 
It will here be enough to indicate a few guiding principles and 
textual explanations, which it is hoped may serve to show, 
that when contemplated in the proper light, the passage is 
neither inexplicable in meaning, nor in the least at variance 
with the general teaching of Scripture. 

First, then, it must be held as fixed and certain, that our 
Lord s visit to the world of departed spirits, between His 
death and His resurrection, was an historical reality, whatever 


He might have felt or done when there. His departed soul 
did not ascend to the proper heaven of glory, as He expressly 
declared, till after the resurrection ; while yet it went, accord 
ing to another declaration, to a region so blissful, that it could 
be called by the name of paradise. One alternative alone 
remains, that His spirit went to the company of those who 
are waiting in hope of a better resurrection. 

Secondly, Christ s presence and operations in that world of 
spirits must be held to have taken place in free and blessed 
agency; they are to be associated, not with the passive, but 
with the active part of His career. His sufferings were at 
an end when He expired upon the cross; for then the curse 
was exhausted, and, with that, the ground of His appointment 
to evil finally removed whence the change explains itself of 
the difference that forthwith appeared in the Divine procedure 
toward Him. Shame and contumely now gave place to ho 
nour: not a bone of Him was allowed to be broken; He was 
numbered no longer with the vile and worthless, but with the 
rich and honourable, and by these, after being wrapped in 
spices, He was committed to a tomb, where no man had lain: 
all, so many streaks of that dawn which was to issue in the 
glory of the resurrection-morn. Whatever, therefore, was 
done by the soul of Christ subsequent to His death, must 
have been in free and blessed agency; and it were abhorrent 
to all right notions of the truth respecting Him, to suppose, 
as some have done, that His sufferings were prolonged in the 
world of spirits, and that He there for a time had experience 
of the agonies of the lost. This were in effect to say, that 
His work of reconciliation on the cross was not complete, 
that the sacrifice then paid to Divine justice was not accepted 
of the Father. Even the modified view of Bishop Pearson 
must be rejected, that "as Christ died in the similitude of a 
sinner, His soul went to the place where the souls of men are 
kept who die for their sins, and so did wholly undergo the law 
of death;" for, in that case, a certain measure of penalty and 
satisfaction should still have been implied in the transaction. 
The language of St. Peter in the passage more immediately 
before us gives no countenance to such an idea, nor admits it 


under any modification ; for he represents Christ s spirit as 
being vivified, or quickened starting into fresh life and 
energy of action, from the moment that in flesh He underwent 
the stroke of death, and, as so invigorated, going" forth to 
preach. 1 In short, the culminating point of His humiliation 
and suffering was His death upon the cross, (as already pre 
figured in the Old Testament sacrifices,) 2 and from that point, 
both in respect to soul and body, the process of exaltation, 
strictly speaking, began. 

Thirdly, In regard to the more specific points why the 
Apostle Peter should have made such particular mention of 
this agency of Christ s disembodied spirit, why he should have 
coupled it only with the spirits of those who had perished in 
the flood, and what may have been the nature and intent of 
his preaching to them: for all this we must look to the con 
nexion. Now, it must be carefully remembered (for chiefly 
by overlooking this have commentators gone so much into the 

1 In this explanation, it will be observed, the ZuortoiqOsis rtvEvpcrtt is 
taken to refer to the spiritual part of Christ s human nature, precisely as 
the Oavortufais aapxt, to His corporeal part; for it is impossible to deny that 
this is the natural, and, indeed, the only grammatical mode of interpreting 
them. As Flacius long ago remarked, "The antithesis clearly shows, that 
He is said to have been put to death in one part of Him, or in one manner 
of life, but vivified in another." In like manner Horsley, If the word 
flesh denote, as it most evidently does, the part in which death took effect 
upon Him, spirit must denote the part in which life was preserved in Him, 
i. e., His own soul." Perfectly right thus far, though scarcely right when 
he adds, that "the word quickened is often applied to signify, not the re 
suscitation of life extinguished, but the preservation and continuance of 
life subsisting;" no, not preservation and continuance simply, but rather 
freshened energy and revived action. The interpretations, which under 
stand by spirit the Holy Ghost, and regard the preaching spoken of as 
either the preaching of Noah through the Spirit, to the antediluvians, or 
that of the apostles to the wicked around them, hence fall of themselves; 
they are but ingenious shifts resorted to for the sake of getting over a dif 
ficulty, but twisting the passage into an unnatural sense. Giving to the 
words TtopsvOei? txr t pv%ev their legitimate import, they must mean, that 
Christ went away and preached as a spirit to spirits. And the spirits 
being described as having been sometime, or formerly disobedient, also 
plainly implies, that the period of disobedience was a prior one to that to 
which the preaching belonged. 

2 See Typology of Scripture, vol. ii. p. 347. 


wrong track,) that the apostle is not discoursing of these topics 
doetrinally ; they are referred to merely as matters of fact, 
which had a practical bearing on the great moral truths that 
were the more immediate subject of discourse. What were 
these? They were, that Christians should seek to avoid suf 
fering by maintaining a good conscience; but that if they 
should still, and perhaps on this very account, be called to 
suffer, it was greatly better to do so for well-doing, than for 
ill-doing. Then, in confirmation of this complex truth, he 
points to a twofold illustration. In the first instance, he fixes 
attention on Christ as having suffered, indeed, the just for the 
unjust suffered as the Righteous One, but only once suffered; 
and on that (the z-adsv) the special stress is here to be 
laid; it was, so to speak, but a momentary infliction of evil, 
however awful in its nature while it lasted; still, but once 
borne, and never to be repeated, because borne in the cause 
of righteousness. Not only so, but it carried along with it 
infinite recompenses of good for sinful men, bringing them 
to God; and for "Christ Himself, limiting the reign of death 
to a short-lived dominion over the body, while the soul, light 
ened and relieved, inspired with the energy of immortal life, 
went into the invisible regions, and, with buoyant freedom, 
moved among the spirits of the departed. How widely diffe 
rent from that mighty class of sufferers! the most striking 
examples in the world s history of the reverse of what appeared 
in Christ the last race of antediluvians, who suffered, not for 
well-doing, but for ill-doing , and suffered, not once merely in 
the flood, that swept them away from their earthly habitations, 
but even now, after so long a time, when the work on the 
cross was finished still pent up as in a prison-house of doom, 
where they could be only haunted by memories of past crime, 
and with forebodings of eternal retribution ! What a contrast ! 
How should the thought of it persuade us to suffering for well 
doing, rather than for evil-doing! And for those lost ones 
themselves, Christ s spirit, now released from suffering, fresh 
with the dew of its dawning immortality, preached; preached 
by its very entrance into the paradise of glory. For even 
this, seen from afar, must have been to them like the appear- 


ance of a second Noah, "the preacher of righteousness;" since 
it proclaimed proclaimed more emphatically than Noah ever 
did the final establishment of God s righteousness, and a sure 
heritage of life and blessing for those, but for those only, who 
were ready to hazard all for its sake. Such, doubtless, was 
the kind of preaching meant ; it is that alone which the case 
admits of whether, as to its formal character, it may have 
consisted in the simple presentation of the Spirit of. Christ 
among the spirits of the blessed, or may have included some 
more special and direct intercourse with the imprisoned hosts 
of antediluvian time. In either case it was to them like the 
renewal, in a higher form, of the old preaching of righteous 
ness; for what the one had provisionally announced, the other 
finally confirmed and sealed; yea, was itself the radiant proof 
of an eternal distinction between those, in whom suffering 
triumphs because of sin, and those who through righteousness 
triumph over suffering. 1 

Viewed thus, the whole passage hangs consistently together ; 
one part throws light upon another; and the agency ascribed 
to Christ is in perfect keeping with all that is elsewhere writ 
ten, both of His own mediatorial work, and of the condition 
of departed spirits. On the one hand, it rescues the words 
from the arbitrary meanings which doctrinal considerations 
have so often led pious minds to put on them; and, on the 
other, it removes the ground, which has too often been sought 
in the passage, not only by Romish, but even by some Pro 
testant writers, who find a door of hope for certain classes of 
those who have lived and died in sin. The reference to the 
antediluvians in the age of Noah is not to some individuals 
among them, for whom possibly some better fate might have 
been reserved, but to the collective race as a well-known class 
in sacred history; and to them as still detained in the prison 

1 It is no objection to the view now given, that xqpvaac* is commonly used 
in the sense of a gospel proclamation ; for it is neither necessarily nor al 
ways so used. In Rom. ii. 21, it is coupled with abstinence from steal 
ing as its object a preaching of moral duty. Here the reference mani 
festly is to the ancient preaching of Noah; and to connect this action of 
Christ with his the term might justly seem the fittest. 


of judgment, not as having any prospect of deliverance from 
it. Nay, on this very circumstance the great moral of the 
reference properly turns , for it is their protracted, everlasting 
destination to a doom of suffering, as contrasted with Christ s 
suffering but once, and, that over, entering on a fresh career 
of Ufa and glory, which lent all its weight to the exhortation 
given, to prefer suffering for righteousness-sake to suffering 
for sin. In what follows also the same account substantially 
is made of their case; they are thought of simply as repro 
bate and lost. It is in Noah alone, and the little remnant in 
the ark, whom the waters, that destroyed the corrupt and pes 
tilential mass around them, saved, to be the seed of a new 
world, that the prototypes are found of the genuine subjects 
and fruits of Christian baptism. And what does this imply 
of the mass whom the waters engulfed? Plainly, that their 
counterpart in Christian times is to be sought in the corrup 
tions of the flesh and the world, from which it is the design 
of baptism through the power of Christ s resurrection, to save 
His people corruptions which, like their antediluvian exem 
plars, are irreconcilably opposed to the life of God, and can 
have no end but destruction. 



THE word now to be considered is of frequent occurrence, 
both in Scripture, and in the classics, but usually in a some 
what different sense. In the classics it commonly signifies 
disposition, arrangement, or, more specifically, that parti 
cular disposition which is denominated a mans ivill and tes 
tament the deed by which he finally disposes of his effects. 
The latter is the more common usage; whence the old glos 
saries gave testamentum as the Latin synonym. The cases 
are so rare in which with classical authors it is found in any 
other sense, that little account needs to be made of them. 


They do occur, however, and in one passage at least, the Aves 
of Aristophanes, 1. 480, the phrase, dtadscdac ocaOr^v^ is used 
to express the making of a compact or covenant, to be carried 
out between two parties. But the common noun for such cases 
was undoubtedly ffubdyxq. Yet for what was emphatically 
the covenant in ancient times, the Septuagint has preferred 
diaOvjxir], which, accordingly, among Greek-speaking Jews, be 
came the appropriate term for the covenant of God with Is 
rael. The first occasions on which the word was used had re 
spect to transactions which strikingly displayed the goodness 
of God in making sure provision for the present safety and 
highest well-being of man (Gen. ix. 9, xvii. 7.) It is possible, 
we may even say probable, that on this account mainly the 
term diadyic/] was employed rather than auvd q^ for the latter 
might justly seem an inadequate expression to characterize 
arrangements, in which it appeared so prominent an object to 
make men recipients of the Divine goodness, personally par 
takers, or instrumentally channels of blessing. It seemed 
more fitting to employ a term which, without altogether losing 
sight of the mutual relationship, as between two parties some 
how standing in contract, should still give chief prominence 
to the beneficence of God in disposing of His affairs, so as to 
provide a suitable heritage of good for His people. In this 
light it appears to have been understood by some of the Fa 
thers. Thus Clemens Alex, describes dcadrjxq as that "which 
God, the Author of the universe, makes;" namely, His ar 
rangement or disposition of the riches of His bounty. Suidas 
defines it as q Ozo 7 ) ~ ( ooc Aftpaa/ji, xac robs XotTiovz irpoitdropac 
YsyoiJLsvq Ixaft-sMa, the promise which God made to Abraham 
and the other patriarchs. Isidore of Pel us i am gives it a some 
what different turn, and points to a more special character 
istic, but one also that is derived from its more peculiar refe 
rence to God. He says, u -0uy(fajxq is called in Scripture a tes 
tament because the promise it contains is firm and permanent; 
pactions, indeed, are often broken up, but legal testaments 
never." (See Suicer.) 

But, however we may thus be able to account for the use 
of dcajtyxn rather than of 0uv6qxy t as a translation.of the Heb. 


bcrith, we must not allow it to assume, in its ordinary use, the 
classical sense of testament, rather than of covenant. There 
can be no doubt, that covenant is the proper rendering of be- 
rith; and as dtaOyw) was employed as its synonym by the Sep- 
tuagint, it must be taken in the sense of the original unless 
the connexion should determine otherwise. Indeed, for any 
thing that appears in the Hebrew Scriptures, the Israelites 
knew nothing of testaments in the ordinary sense of the term ; 
their rights of property were so regulated as to render these 
for the most part unnecessary ; if only the means were at hand 
for ascertaining the family descent and relationship of the 
parties concerned. They consequently made much account 
of genealogies, but none, so far as we know, of testaments. 
When God, however, designated the transactions into which 
He entered with their fathers by the name of covenant, even 
though the pledged and promised goodness of God might be 
the most prominent feature in them, the idea of a mutual pac- 
tion or agreement was still meant to be kept steadily in view; 
the Lord sustained one part, and the people another. And 
this was done, primarily, that they might have a clear and af 
fecting proof of His desire to assure them of the certainty of 
the things guarantied in the covenant. Not for this only, 
however, but for the farther purpose of impressing upon their 
minds the feeling, that they had a part to perform to God, as 
well as God to them, and that faithfulness in duty, on the one 
side, must keep pace with bountifulness in giving on the other. 
Such was the case even in the Abrahamic covenant, which is 
called, by way of eminence, the covenant of promise; for the 
assurance it contained of a numerous and blessed offspring 
carried along with it the condition, that parent and offspring 
alike should abide in the faith of God and keep His charge. 
In the English Bible the word covenant is the uniform ren 
dering adopted for the Heb. berith; and so is it also in New 
Testament Scripture for oeaOyzy, whenever the word points 
to the covenants made with the patriarchs or at Sinai. Yet 
in the designation of the Scriptures, which belong to the pe 
riods embraced by those covenants, the sense of testament has 
been generally introduced. By a natural metonymy, the 

* dtaO-fcy IN THE NEW TESTAMENT. 341 

writings that pertain to a period during which a deaOyxq was 
in force had this applied to them as an appropriate name. 
Thus, in 2 Cor. iii. 14, St. Paul speaks of the veil remaining 
on the minds of the Jews, Ine TTJ ava*(vtb(jzc rrfi nodae&c deadij- 
xr^, at the reading of the Old Testament, as our translators 
have rendered it, not. of the Old Covenant. We have become 
so much accustomed to the use of Testament in this applica 
tion, that we rarely think whether it is altogether appropriate 
or not. Yet had it been proposed for the first time to our 
consideration, it could hardly have failed to strike us as a sort 
of anomaly in language, that the term Testament should be 
employed as the distinctive epithet for writings in which the 
term itself never occurs, while the term covenant is of frequent 
use, and in the later Scriptures, old covenant is employed to 
designate a period altogether or nearly past, in contradistinc 
tion to a new and better era approaching, (Jer. xxxi. 31.) 
The Old covenant, therefore, was clearly the fitting designa 
tion for the earlier half of the Bible, rather than the Old Tes 
tament. 1 The Vulgate, however, by its adoption of testamen- 
tum, instead of fcedus, has in this respect given the law to 
modeTn times. Some of the earlier versions presented both 
terms, at least in respect to New Testament Scripture, as Be- 
za s Testamentum Novum, Sive Foedus Novum, and the Ge 
nevan French, Le Nouveau Testament, c est a dire la Nouvelle 
Alliance. But the alternative phrase never came into gene 
ral use; and the only prevailing designation has been, and 
still is, The Scriptures of the Old arid the New Testaments. 

1 Kohlbrugge, in a treatise Wozu das alte Testament, objects also to this de 
signation, and deems it not warranted by the language of the apostle in 2 
Cor. iii. 14. He conceives the apostle to be there speaking of the Hebrew 
Scriptures, not absolutely, but as they are to the unbelieving and blinded 
Jews; to these they are merely the old covenant, while to the enlightened 
believer, who can read them with open eye, they display the new covenant. 
Undoubtedly the books are very different things to the two classes mentioned ; 
but the plain and natural import of the apostle s language points to the books 
themselves, as containing what pertains to the Old Covenant. Their further 
and prospective reference is not here taken into account. And if persons now 
think themselves entitled to disregard those books, because they are specially 
connected with the Old Covenant, this is an abuse chargeable on their own 
ignorance and sin. 



Of course, as a convenient term for simply designating the 
two component parts of the Bible, it is of little moment whe 
ther we use the one or the other. The current epithets serve 
well enough to distribute the inspired writings into two sec 
tions or parts, standing related to each other, the one as the 
earlier, the other as the later revelation of Divine truth; the 
one springing up in connexion with that state of things which 
preceded the birth of Christ, and has vanished away ; the 
other with that which was introduced by Christ, and abides 
for ever. But as there can be no doubt that the substitution 
of Testament for covenant, in the designation of Scripture, 
arose from a disposition to regard the economy of Christ s sal 
vation in the light of a testament rather than of a covenant 
as on this account the writings of evangelists and apostles 
came to be denominated The New Testament, and in confor 
mity with this appellation that of Old Testament was assigned 
to the Law and the Prophets the question very naturally 
presents itself, whether such be the Scriptural view of the 
matter? Whether the gift of Christ, and the benefits of His 
redemption, are exhibited in the light of a testamentary be 
quest? For if they are not, then the testamentary aspect of 
redemption must be pronounced formally incorrect, however 
in substance accordant with the truth of things ; but if they 
are, the form also is capable of vindication. In neither case 
is any doctrine of Scripture involved in the inquiry; it touches 
merely the mode of representation. 

Now, as otaOr^ constantly bears in the Old Testament the 
sense of covenant, it may justly be inferred to carry the same 
meaning in the New, unless the connexion should, in certain 
cases, plainly decide in favour of the other rendering. So 
far as regards our Lord s personal teaching, there is no room 
for any difference of view on the subject. Though lie fre 
quently referred to both the affairs and the writings of the 
old economy, He was very sparing in the use of the term ota.- 
drjxy. Ho docs not employ it to designate the revelation of 
law from Sinai; nor are the transactions entered into with, 
the patriarchs, as the heads of the Jewish people ; or with Da 
vid, as the founder of the royal house, called by this name. 


The first, and the only time that the word appears in our 
Lord s discourses, is at th-e institution of the Supper. The 
words of institution slightly vary in the accounts of the three 
evangelists, and of the apostle Paul, (1 Cor. xi. ;) but in each 
of them He is represented as using the expression 57 xac^ oca- 
(hjxy. And using it, as He does, without a word of explana 
tion, we cannot doubt that He intended it to be taken by the 
disciples in its current acceptation; namely, in the sense of 
covenant; for in that sense alone had it hitherto been em 
ployed. Nor can we but regard it as unfortunate, that at that 
special moment in our Lord s ministry, and in connexion with 
the most sacred and distinctive institution of His kingdom, 
the later rendering of testament should have been substituted 
for the earlier one of covenant. For it confuses the expres 
sion in words which are of perpetual recurrence, as well as so 
lemn import, and in respect to which it was desirable that the 
greatest clearness and certainty should exist; and in so far 
as the language may be distinctly understood, it presents the 
great redemption in an aspect which had not at least been 
previously exhibited, and could not therefore have been in 
tended at the time. 

How, then, it may naturally be asked, should such a sense 
have been so generally put upon it? Are there other pas 
sages in subsequent portions of New Testament Scripture, in 
which the word, in its connexion with the work of Christ, con 
clusively bears the meaning of testament? There is a remarka 
ble one in the Epistle to the Hebrews, in which it certainly 
appears to have that meaning, and which will call for special 
investigation. Leaving that passage, however, for a moment 
(which is in ch. ix.,) there are various other places where the 
word deadly. /] is used; and always, it is proper to note, in 
reference to what was strictly a covenant. In the Epistle to 
the Hebrews itself, we read once and again of two covenants 
an old and a new; the former imperfect in its nature and pro 
visions, and destined to last only till the time of reformation; 
the latter, founded on better promises, complete in all its ar 
rangements, consequently declared to be everlasting. In like 
manner, in Gal. iv. 24 31, we have a discourse upon the 


two covenants, the covenants of law and of promise, as alle 
gorized or typified by the facts and relations of Abraham s 
family; the term deadyxae being used as the common designa 
tion of both. Again, in the third chapter of the Second 
Epistle to the Corinthians, a contrast is drawn between the 
two covenants the old and the new -in respect to the points, 
in which the one differed from, by rising superior to, the other. 
In this comparison, however, the word dcaQyxq is only once 
used ; and our translators, following the Vulgate and the earlier 
English versions, have rendered it testament ("who hath made 
us able ministers of the New Testament," ver. 6.) Such was 
their regard to those guides, that on one occasion they have 
even adopted this rendering in connexion with a phrase which, 
in all the other passages where it occurs, has been otherwise 
translated. The passage is Rev. xi. 19, where the temple 
presented itself in vision to the prophet, and he saw " the ark 
of the testament," as we find it rendered, but, as it should 
rather have been, "the ark of the covenant." In all these 
cases, there can be no reasonable doubt that, whether referring 
to the old or to the new things in God s dispensations, the 
"word dtadyxT] is to be understood in the ordinary sense of 
covenant. So that if, in the one remaining passage where it 
occurs, we should see reason for adopting the sense of testa 
ment, this would furnish no ground for altering the transla 
tion in the other passages that have been referred to. The 
less so, indeed, as the passage in the ninth chapter of Hebrews, 
as far as regards what is denoted by dtadijxy, is of a somewhat 
general nature ; it does not point exclusively, or even specially, 
to the transactions bearing that name in Scripture, but rather 
to the nature of deadqxai generally what those of Scripture 
have in common with others. 

But let us turn to the passage itself. Commencing with 
verse 15, for the sake of the connexion, it reads thus in the 
authorized version: "For this cause He (viz. Christ) is the 
Mediator of the New Testament, that by means of death, for 
the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first 
testament (oeaO^xvj both times,) they that are called might 
receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. For where 


a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death 
of the testator (oxov jap dcaOrf/y, OdvaTou dydfxq tpepsaOcu 
TO~J dcaftefJLevov.} For a testament is of force after men are 
dead (Ixl v*/>o?c;) otherwise, it is of no strength at all, while 
the testator liveth (ore C/j b deaOsfi^o^.) Whereupon neither 
the first (viz. testament) was dedicated without blood." The 
meaning obtained by this rendering may be briefly stated 
thus: A will does not become valid so long as the person 
making it is alive; it is a disposition of his affairs proceeding 
on the contemplation of his death, and can only take effect 
when he has himself ceased to live; whence also Christ, as 
the testator of an inheritance of blessing for His people, 
must die before the benefit provided by Him can be reaped. 
So understood, and viewed with reference to the practice 
known to exist among Greeks and Romans respecting wills, 
the sense of the passage is plain enough. The only question 
is, will the sense obtained suit the connexion, and meet 
the real circumstances of the case? There are, obviously, 
some apparent incongruities in the way; both at the com 
mencement and at the close. The statement is brought in to 
illustrate a certain correspondence between the preparatory 
and the final in God s dispensations: Christ is the Mediator of 
a new deaOyxq, that by His death He might purchase redemp 
tion for those who could not obtain it by the old; for where a 
is there must of necessity be the death of the oeads- 
But the notion of testament here involves some diffi 
culty ; since a mediator, in ordinary circumstances, has no 
thing to do with a testament; nor is there any essential link 
of connexion between a mediator and a testator. Then, again, 
at the close, where it is said, "Whence the first also the 
first deadyxq was not consecrated without blood," it is not 
death, as of a testator, but consecration from defilement, that 
is represented as constituting the establishment of the earlier 
dtaOyxy. So that the connexion at both ends seems to hang 
somewhat loosely with the notion of a testament; and if that 
notion is here the correct one, its justification must be sought 
in some peculiarity connected, either with the transactions 
referred to, or with the point of view from which they are 


contemplated. It is possible, that such may be found, when 
the subject is properly considered. 

Meanwhile, it is right to state, that the difficulties are by 
no means lessened by resorting to the other translation, and 
rendering by covenant. The late Professor Scholefield, who 
preferred this rendering, still found himself so beset with dif 
ficulty, that the passage appeared to him the "most perplexing 
in the whole of the New Testament." l He would render ver. 
16, 17, "For where a covenant is, there must of necessity be 
brought in the death of the mediating [sacrifice.] For, a 
covenant is valid over dead [viz. sacrifices;] since it is never 
of any force while the mediating [sacrifice] continues alive." 
Here, we are first of all struck with the number of ellipses 
in so short a passage ; sacrifice or sacrifices requiring to be 
supplied no less than three times to ota.dzp.evou, in ver. 16, 
then to inl vexpotz, in the first part of ver. 17, and again to 
ocaOsfJisuot; in the second. It is plainly too much ; especially 
as a transition is made from the singular to the plural, and 
back again from the plural to the singular. Sacrifice and 
sacrifices were not wont thus to be interchanged in the reality. 
Then, to speak of sacrifices as dead, is altogether unusual, 
still more to put dead simply for sacrificial victims; no proper 
parallel can be produced to justify such a license. And, 
finally, the rendering of dcads/ievoz by mediating sacrifice is 
equally unwarranted: when used in regard to covenant trans 
actions, it is so naturally understood of him who makes the 
covenant, that, as Professor Scholefield remarks, a strong 
nerve should be required for any one, that would be conscious 
of no difficulty in giving it a different sense here. In short, 
it is an entirely arbitrary translation, and no support can be 
found for it in the whole range of Greek literature. This 
alone is fatal to the view under consideration ; and when taken 
along with the objections previously urged, leaves the matter 
under this aspect utterly hopeless. 

It could serve no end to examine in detail the other modi 
fications of the view, which proceeds to the adoption of cove- 

1 Hints for Some Improvements in the Authorized Version of the New 
Testament, p. 142. 


nant for the sense of dtafhjxq, and "over dead sacrifices" for 
l~c vsxpdtz. The same objections substantially, or others 
equally valid, apply to each of them. We revert, therefore, 
to the apparently natural sense of testament, and inquire 
whether there be not some point of view, from which, if the 
subject be contemplated, a natural and satisfactory vindica 
tion may be gained for it. This, we are persuaded, is to be 
found. The statement, it will be perceived in this aspect of 
the matter, proceeds upon the apprehension of a certain 
agreement between a covenant made by God for the good of 
men, and a will or testament made by a man in behoof of his 
heirs. There are, no doubt, obvious points of difference 
between the two; in this respect especially, that in a cove 
nant strictly so called, there is something of the nature of a 
mutual engagement or contract between the covenanting par 
ties. This, however, is not the aspect in which the Divine 
covenants are contemplated in this portion of the Epistle to 
the Hebrews. From ch. viii. 6, where a formal comparison 
begins to be instituted between the New and the Old, they are 
viewed in the light of a disposition or arrangement, on the 
part of God, for the purpose of securing certain blessings to 
His people imperfectly and provisionally in the Old Cove 
nant, adequately and finally in the New. On this account, 
the contracting element in them naturally falls into the back 
ground, and the beneficiary or promissory alone comes into 
view; the discussion turns upon what God has done and laid 
up for them that fear Him, scarcely, if at all, upon what they 
are taken bound to do for God. Now, it is precisely here, 
that a point of contact is to be found between a covenant 
of God and a testament of man; the very point which led 
to the adoption of dcaO foir] as the fittest term for expressing 
the Heb. berith; because a covenant of God, in this aspect of 
it, is not, in the ordinary sense, a GuvOr/x"/] or compact, but 
rather a dtaOyxr) or disposition, an unfolding of the way and 
manner in which men may attain to a participation or inheri 
tance in the riches of Divine grace and goodness. It is to 
this common element, that the apostle points, and on it that he 
founds this part of his argument for the superiority of the 


New over the Old. The first, he in effect tells us, did con 
tain a disposition from the Lord s hand as to the participa 
tion of His riches; but one only provisional and temporary, 
because of its presenting no proper satisfaction for the sins 
of the people.. It left the guilt of these sins still standing 
Tin-atoned, in the eye of Divine Justice, and so, if taken simply 
by itself, it could not provide for men the eternal inheritance 
which God destines for His people. Christ, who comes ac 
tually to provide, and confer on men, a title to this inheri 
tance, must therefore come as the executor of a new dtadiqx. q, 
to make good the deficiencies of the Old, and by a valid atone 
ment remove the sins, which continued to lie as a bar across 
the path to the inheritance. He must (as stated in ver. 15) 
through JHis death provide redemption for the transgressions 
pertaining to the first covenant, that they who had been called 
under it, as well as those called now, might have the promise 
of the inheritance made good in their behalf. Thus it comes 
to pass, that to do here the part of an effective mediator, in 
establishing a complete and valid covenant, Christ has, at the 
same time, to do the part of a testator; He must lose the 
personal possession of His goods, before He can secure for 
His people a right to participate in them ; to enrich them He 
must, for a time, impoverish Himself die the death that they 
(along with Him) may ultimately inherit eternal life. And 
so, in this fundamental respect, the two ideas of covenant 
and testament coalesce in the work of Christ; He is at once 
Mediator and Testator; at one and the same moment He 
establishes for ever what God pledges Himself in covenant to 
bestow, and by His voluntary death transmits to others the 
inheritance of life and blessing wherein it consists. It is, there 
fore, as true of this Divine deadyzy, as of any human testa 
ment, that it could not be of force till the deaOs/Jtsuoc; had 
died. Till then the inheritance was bound up indissolubly 
with His own person ; and through His death alone was it 
set free for others; as was plainly intimated under a natural 
image, by our Lord Himself, when He said, "Verity, verily, 
I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground 
and die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much 
fruit/ (John xii. 24.) 


When viewed in the light now presented, the allusion of 
the inspired writer is very different from what is commonly 
represented a mere play upon words. On the. contrary, 
each word is retained in its natural and appropriate meaning, 
while, at the same time, there appears a strictly logical con 
nexion in the argument. The train of thought proceeds, not 
upon a fanciful or fictitious, but upon a real point of coinci 
dence and agreement between a Divine covenant and a human 
testament; hence also, between Christ the mediator of the 
covenant, and Christ the testator of the eternal inheritance; 
since it is the great object of the covenant, whether in its old 
or its new form, to instate men in the possession of that in 
heritance, and the great end of Christ s work as mediator, to 
open the way to the possession by His sacrificial death. With 
perfect propriety, therefore, might the apostle, in confirma 
tion of his principle respecting the necessity of an interve- 
nient death, point back to the offerings of blood at the ratifi 
cation of the old covenant, and identify death (as of a testa 
tor) with consecration by blood (as through sacrifice.) For 
as the old covenant did make a provisional or temporary 
arrangement for men attaining to the inheritance of life 
and blessing, it had in consequence to be ratified by a pro 
visional or typical death. The death inflicted there was 
Christ s death in symbol, as the blessing inherited was Christ s 
blessing by anticipation. But in the passage before us, the 
typical blood is presented in the more common aspect of a 
consecration (ver. 18;) and, under that aspect, its necessity 
and value are set forth, in the verses that follow, as the one 
grand medium of access for sinners to the region of eternal 
glory. This simply arose from the two aspects of death 
death as necessary to the participation of the inheritance, 
and death as necessary to purification from sin happening 
to coalesce in Christ; so that the same act, which was needed 
to secure, and did secure a title to the inheritance, was also 
needed to consecrate, and did consecrate, a way to the eternal 
inheritance; and but for the one necessity, the other should 
never have existed. The two ideas, therefore, so far as Christ 
is concerned, run into each other; and as that of consecration 


was both the more usual, and the most immediately connected 
with the great theme of the epistle, the sacred penman quite 
naturally resumes and prosecutes it quitting the other, which 
had been but casually introduced for the sake of confirming a 
truth, and marking a point of connexion between things sacred 
and common. 

Such appears to us the correct interpretation of the pas 
sage, and the proper mode of explicating its meaning. The 
difficulty felt in arriving at this has arisen mainly from over 
looking the special ground of the apostle s statement; that is, 
the common element or point of coincidence between a human 
testament and a Divine covenant in the particular aspect re 
ferred to. Both alike contain a disposition in regard to the 
joint participation by others of the goods of him who makes 
it; and a participation that requires, as its indispensable con 
dition, his own subjection to the power of death. We thus 
obtain a clear and natural sense from the passage, without 
interfering with the received, which is certainly also the ap 
parent, import of the words. 1 At the same time, while we 
here vindicate the received translation, we cannot but regard 
it as somewhat unfortunate, that on the ground of a thought 
so casually introduced, and a meaning of ocadr^ nowhere else 
distinctly exhibited in Scripture, many, both of the ancient, 
and of the more modern theological writers, should have given 
such prominence to the testamentary aspect of the scheme of re 
demption. The Cocceian school, to which several of our own 
older divines belonged, had a sort of predilection for this 
mode of exhibiting Christ s relation to his people, and thereby 
gave a somewhat artificial air to their explanations of things 
connected with the covenant of grace. They were wont to 
treat formally of the testament, the testator, the executor, 
the legatees, and the legacies. Such a style of representation, 
though not altogether unwarranted by Scripture, has yet no 
broad and comprehensive ground to rest upon there. When 

1 The considerations, on which the above explanation is made to turn 
had not suggested themselves to me when I wrote the article on the Epis 
tle to the Hebrews in the British and Foreign Evangelical Review for Sept. 
1854. I there adopted substantially Ebrard s view. 

deadrjxy IN THE NEW TESTAMENT. 351 

salvation is exhibited in connexion with a covenant, it is 
always (with the exception just noticed in Heb. ix. 15-17) 
covenant in the ordinary sense that is to be understood a 
sense, that involves the idea of mutual engagements indi 
vidual parts to be fulfilled, and corresponding relations to be 
maintained though the place occupied by God is pre-emi 
nently that of a bountiful and gracious benefactor. And to 
keep attention alive to the strictly covenant aspect of re 
demption, it had, doubtless, been better to have retained in 
the authorized version the rendering of covenant for dtadrjxin 
in all but the one passage of Hebrews, and to have designated 
the Bible the Scriptures of the Old and New Covenants, rather 
than of the Old and New Testaments, In particular, it had 
been better, in the words connected with the celebration of 
the Lord s Supper, to have retained the common rendering, 
and read, "This is the new covenant in My blood;" since all 
should thus have readily perceived, that the Lord pointed to 
the Divine covenant, in its new and better form, as contra 
distinguished from that which had been brought in by Moses, 
and which had now reached the end of its appointment. Due 
pains should be taken to instruct the unlearned, that such is 
the import of the expression, and also to inform them, that 
while the covenant, as established in His blood, bears the 
epithet new, it is so designated merely from respect to the 
order of exhibition, while, if viewed with respect to the mind 
and purpose of God, this is the first as well as the last 
the covenant, which was planned in the counsels of eternity 
to retrieve the ruin of the fall, and out of the depths of per 
dition to raise up a spiritual and blessed offspring for God. 




PEL ; fj-STdvota, naJii ffevsfflay dvaxcuvoMTic, aTioxardaraff^. 

THE mission of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the institution 
consequent on it of His spiritual kingdom, have for their ob 
ject the accomplishment of a great arid comprehensive reno 
vation. And in addition to such expressions as flaffdsla TOL> 
$oD, iq xawq dtaJdyxr}, which, in different respects, indicate 
the design and character of the change to be introduced, and 
which have already been considered, there is a class of ex 
pressions pointing also to the change in question, but with a 
more special respect to its renovating character. There are 
altogether four of these terms, which, while they form a sort 
of whole, must yet be considered separately, in order to obtain 
a correct idea, both of their distinctive meanings, and of the 
relation in which they stand to each other. 

I. The first in order of the terms referred to is /jter 
which need not detain us long. The verb meets us at the 
very threshold of the Gospel, in the Baptist s call of prepara 
tion for the kingdom /^srocvos^rs which was afterwards also 
taken up by our Lord. The first and most immediate change, 
which was required of men in expectation of the Lord s ap 
pearance and kingdom, was an altered state of thought and 
purpose in regard to things spiritual and divine; and to im 
press the necessity of this more deeply upon the minds of all, 
the call to enter into it was coupled with an administration of 
baptism a baptism e/c fJ-ZTdvotav. Even after the personal 
ministry of Christ was finished, and He had left the work to 
be prosecuted among men by his apostles, the call was still 
the same; /j.sravo jcraTe zai flaTmffdiJTco was theclosing and 
practical point of St. Peter s address to the multitudes on the 
day of Pentecost; and in St. Paul s brief summary of the 


Gospel he everywhere preached the first article named is -rp 
ere Osbv p.%rdyotav (Acts xx. 21.) In all these passages, it is 
fjtsTdvoea or the cognate verb, which is employed, not fierafil* 
/. and ftera/ji&o/JLat; and this, no doubt, because the former 
more significantly and correctly indicated the change intend 
ed than the latter. Both, indeed, by etymology and usage 
fjLsrdvoea points more to the change itself in thought and pur 
pose, while pjerapLiXetOL fixes attention chiefly on the concern 
or regret, which the consideration of the past has awakened. 
Of itself, /jLSTdvoea expresses nothing as to the nature of the 
change, in what particular direction taken, or how far in that 
direction carried: this is left to be determined by the con 
nexion, or from the nature of the case. In the New Testa 
ment it is always used in a good sense, and in reference to a 
sincere practical reformation of mind and conduct. Not this, 
however, in the aspect of a change wrought by the power of 
God, but rather in its relation to human responsibilities, as 
an amendment that men are bound to aim at and strive after; 
hence the verb is used in the imperative; the thing to be done 
is bound as an obligation upon men s consciences. The other 
verb, pt$Tafjt%Ofjtae 9 is never so used the thought it expresses 
being a matter of suffering rather than of action, the recoil of 
feeling or inward sorrow and dissatisfaction which rushes upon 
the soul s consciousness, when a past course of transgression 
is seen in its true light. Whenever the fjterdifoea is of the 
right description, there will always, of necessity, be something 
of this sort; since it is impossible for the mind to turn from 
the love and practice of sin, to even the heartfelt desire after 
righteousness, without a certain degree of sorrow and remorse. 
But, from the varieties that exist in human temperaments, and 
the diversified effects apt to be produced by the circumstances 
of life, no definite measure or uniform rule can be laid down 
in this respect; there may be considerably less of such con 
scious and painful regret in some cases than in others, where 
the change is alike genuine ; and there may also be a good 
deal of it where there is no actual jnerduota the recoil of feel 
ing passing away without leading to any permanent result. 
Accordingly it is not the fjie-a/jtslsca, but the p*rdi>ot& ) which 


is indispensably required of those who would find a place in 
the Messiah s kingdom a /isTdisota, as is expressed in 2 Cor. 
vii. 10, e/c ffatTqpi.av dfjiTa/jistyToz 9 a repentance unto salva 
tion not to be repented of. 

The word repentance, however, as is evident from the pre 
ceding remarks, is but an imperfect synonym for /j-sravota:, it 
does not sufficiently distinguish between this and fierafjisXeia 
in the respects wherein they differ, but gives a partial indica 
tion of the import of both. As commonly understood, it points 
fully as much to the sorrow or regret which ensues upon a 
proper change of mind, as to the change itself. Yet we have 
no other word that can fitly take its place; for, though refor 
mation or amendment may seem more closely to correspond 
with the original, and have been formally proposed as a better 
rendering, they carry the thoughts too much outward to meet 
with general approval as a substitute for repentance. It is 
the excellence of this last, as a translation of /jterdyoea, that 
however otherwise defective, it points inward, and marks the 
state of the soul not merely of the outward behaviour as 
different from what it formerly was: it is expressive of a 
changed action of the heart in respect to sin and holiness; 
only it leaves the action in a state of incompleteness, as if it 
had respect merely to the evil perceived to have existed in the 
past. It is right, however, as far as it goes. lie who repents 
has come to see that to be evil which he previously loved and 
followed as good ; and it is only necessary to think of this al 
tered bent of mind, as taking a direction toward the future 
equally with the past, in order to find in the term repentance, 
which is used to express it, a fair representation of the New 
Testament /y.sravor. 

The call to this /^ravo^a, as necessary for admission into 
the Messiah s kingdom, proceeds on the existence of a state of 
alienation and disorder in respect to the things of God; it 
implies, that the vo^ //r, the thoughts and intents of the mind, 
have gone in the wrong direction, and must be turned back 
upon the right objects. As a people the Jews were in such a 
state when the call was originally addressed to them ; arid, 
notwithstanding the call, they, for the most part, continued to 


abide in it. In respect to the state itself, however, there was 
nothing singular in their case; the same alienation of heart 
belongs naturally to every individual, and the spiritual change, 
or conversion, which consists in its abandonment, is the one 
door-way for all into the kingdom. The great question when 
once the heart has begun to grapple in earnest with the Di 
vine call is how the change is to be effected? It is man s 
duty and interest to have it done; for till it is done, he is an 
enemy of God, a child of perdition; and to bestir himself to 
the task of reformation is his immediate and paramount con 
cern. Eut if in reality he does so, he will presently find that 
other powers than his own are needed for the end in view; he 
can himself see the necessity for the change, can think with 
sorrow and remorse of the errors of the past, can anticipate 
with dread the dangers of the future, can wish and pray that 
it were otherwise with him but nothing comes to perfection, 
unless the effort to convert bring the soul into contact with 
the regenerating grace of God, and make it conscious of a 

vital influence from above. 

II. It is this second, but most important stage in the pro 
cess, that is marked in the next term xcdejjeveffja, or rege 
neration. Considered doctrinally, either of these terms might 
be made to include the other, and the one or the other might 
indifferently be put first. Regeneration might be represented 
as necessary to conversion, and determining what belongs to 
it; since it is only when the Divine element implied in rege 
neration works upon the soul, that the conversion it undergoes 
is sufficiently deep and earnest to be lasting. On the other 
hand, conversion, if viewed in its entire compass and perfect 
ed results, must be made to comprehend, as well the regene 
rating grace that effects the change, as the desires and strug 
gles of the soul, while travailing in birth for its accomplish 
ment. But, viewed in the order of nature, and also as com 
monly represented in Scripture, the ij.=rdvoca, or conversion, 
must be placed first; for it is with this that man s responsi 
bilities have immediately to do: and it is in addressing him 
self to the things connected with it, that he is driven out of 


himself, and brought to surrender himself to the working of 
that Divine power on which he depends for the necessary re 
sult. Scripture never puts regeneration, or what is implied 
in regeneration, before conversion ; but it does press the work 
of conversion, as in some sense prior to the possession of a re 
generated state: as in the original call of the Baptist to re 
pent, or be converted, that men might be prepared for the 
baptism of the Spirit; or in St. Peter s address to the inhabi 
tants of Jerusalem, exhorting them to convert and be baptized, 
that they might receive the gift of the Spirit. Of course, when 
so represented, conversion is to be understood as spoken of 
only in respect to its initial stages, and as a work demanding 
men s earnest application; in which respect it may be said 
to "precede regeneration, and to be the condition and qualifi 
cation for it;" 1 if by condition and qualification we under 
stand simply that without which, on the sinner s part, he has 
no valid reason to expect the further and higher good implied 
in regeneration. And there is undoubtedly this further dif 
ference implied in the terms themselves, that, while conversion 
is a change of mind which, so far as the mind that experiences 
it is concerned may possibly change again, regeneration is a 
change of state, a new being and so, we may say, carries the 
idea of fixedness and perpetuity in its bosom. 

The term itself -ahffsvsffla, which exactly answers to our 
regeneration, is found only twice in the New Testament (Matt. 
xix. 28 ; Titus iii. 5,) and in the second alone of the two cases, 
has it respect to spiritual renovation. There are, however, 
various other expressions which are employed to indicate the 
same thing. In point of time, the first was that used by our 
Lord in His conversation with Nicodemus one also of the 
most explicit in which he declared the necessity for every 
one who would enter His kingdom, of being born again. 
*AvcoOsy fzwrfl7 t vat is the expression used, and is most exactly 
rendered, perhaps, born afresh but obviously all one as to 
meaning with r.dhv ^^.vvrfl^at or flvzcrdat , for both alike in 
dicate a kind of starting anew into being, or re-entering upon 
life, in some new and higher sense. In the explanations given 

1 Mozley on Baptismal Regeneration, p. 58. 


immediately after by our Lord, it is connected with water 
and the Spirit with the Spirit alone, however, as the effective 
agent; for He calls it "a birth of the Spirit," as contradis 
tinguished from a birth of the flesh (ver. 6 ;) and, after re 
ferring for illustration to the somewhat similar operation of 
the wind in nature, He sums up by saying, " So is every one 
that is born of the Spirit" (ver. 8.) The Evangelist John 
himself, ch. i. 13, says of all genuine believers, Ix 6zoi> lyevvq- 
drjGav, they were born of God, and that in a manner different 
from every form of natural generation. So again in his first 
Epistle, ch. v. 4, the believer, on account of his faith, is "born 
of God." In 1 Pet. i. 23, and Jas. i. 18, the new birth is 
asserted equally of all Christians, and ascribed directly to 
God, but connected instrumentally with the operation of the 
word (Sea ),6foo, or Xoyto dAydslaz.) So, still further, St. Paul, 
who not only designates believers once and again "new 
creatures" (2 Cor. v. 17; Gal. vi. 15;) but in the passage 
already referred to, Titus iii. 5, characterizes the change that 
passes on them, when they become true Christians, as a rege 
neration. The whole passage runs thus : " After that the kind 
ness and love toward man (ydavdpantca) of our Saviour God 
(TO~J ff(i)T9j t oozitjfjLaJv Ozo~j) appeared; not by works of righteous 
ness which we did (lirotytrafjiev,) but according to His mercy 
He saved us dea Jtourpou nafcffeveffioLZ xai duaxatvaxreax; 
7tV jfj.o.Toz 6.floD through washing (or laver) of regeneration 
and renewing of the Holy Ghost." 

The whole of these passages describe in terms substantially 
alike, the spiritual change which passes over those who become 
Christ s true people; differing only in connecting it, some 
more immediately with the word, understood and received in 
faith, others with the baptismal font or water. As this con 
nexion can only be of a subordinate and instrumental kind, 
it does not affect the nature of the thing itself, which must be 
determined by the plain import of the language employed 
concerning it. But the language, in its plain import, un 
doubtedly expresses an actual change a new birth ; not the 
mere capacity for such, but its realized possession. Were 
this xajsffsvsffia any thing short of a work of God, brought 


into actual existence in the case of the person who is the sub 
ject of it, the term would be an entire misnomer, such as we 
cannot conceive to have a place in the volume of inspiration. 
But this becomes still more certain, and is established beyond 
all reasonable doubt, when along with the natural import of 
the language we couple what is said of those, who have under 
gone the regenerating change. "He that is born of God, 5 
says the Apostle John, "doth not commit sin, for his seed 
remaineth in him, and he cannot sin because he is born of 
God." And, he adds, "in this the children of God are mani 
fest, and the children of the devil; whosoever doeth not right 
eousness is not of God." (1 John iii. 9, 10.) In like man 
ner St. Paul describes the sons of God as those, who are led 
by the Spirit of God, and declares that if any have not this 
Spirit they are none of His (Rom. viii. 9, 14.) Not only so, 
but he characterizes them, on the ground of their regeneration, 
as dead to sin, risen again with Christ to walk in newness of 
life, and already sitting together with Him in heavenly places 
(Rom. vi. 4; Eph. ii. 6; Col. ii. 12.) The apostles of our 
Lord can no longer be regarded as persons, who used great 
plainness of speech, or even gave intelligible utterance to their 
thoughts, if such expressions were employed by them to denote 
any thing else than an actual change from death to life, from 
sin to holiness; if nothing more was meant, for example, 
than the bestowal of some mysterious gift or capacity, which 
might be held by the worst in common with the best of men 
by one who continues practically a child of the devil, as well 
as by him who breathes the spirit and does the works of a child 
of God. "Such a monstrous perversion of language," it has 
been justly said, "would never approve itself to any one, who 
did not come to this subject with his mind pre-occupied with 
a particular" view. But it is in vain, that Scripture is plain 
and express to the effect, that the Divine gift of regeneration 
is actual holiness, so long as men are pre-occupied with an 
idea, that actual holiness cannot be a Divine gift. They will 
go on to the last, not seeing the plainest assertions of Scrip 
ture as to the nature of regeneration." 1 

1 Mozley on Baptismal Regeneration, pp. 29, 30. 


It can serve no good purpose, therefore, to dwell longer on 
this aspect of the matter; since exegetical efforts must be 
altogether misspent in endeavouring to impart light to those 
who cannot afford to see. But in regard to the point of the 
instrumental relationship of regeneration to the Divine ordi 
nances, we may remark, that while it is specially and fre 
quently connected with baptism, it is not connected with that 
ordinance alone; the Word of God equally shares in the 
honour. It is not to be denied, that when our Lord speaks 
of being born of water and spirit, and when St. Paul couples 
the laver with regeneration, and represents believers as being 
buried and rising again with Christ, a close relationship is 
established between Christian baptism and. spiritual regenera 
tion. But there are other passages referred to above, which 
equally connect it with the word of the Gospel, of which also 
it is said generally, that it is "the power of God to salvation 
to every one that believeth," that it is "quick, powerful, and 
sharper than a two-edged sword," that it is even "spirit and 
life." Nothing stronger than this is said of baptism in respect 
to regeneration ; so that the relationship of baptism to the 
spiritual change is by no means exclusive; and as the change 
itself is inward and vital, neither baptism nor the word can 
have more than a subordinate and instrumental relation to it. 
As to efficacious power, it is "the spirit that quickeneth," 
not, however, apart from the ordinances, but in connexion 
with their instrumentality; nor yet by indissoluble union and 
invariable efficiency through these, but in such manner and 
ways as seem good to Him who quickeneth whom He will. It 
is enough for us to know, that in this spiritual birth, as in the 
natural, the internal links itself with the external, the Divine 
with the human; so that if the word is honestly handled, and 
the sacrament of baptism believingly received and used, the 
spiritual effect will infallibly result. When so received and 
used, baptism saves, and the baptized are regenerated, because 
the manifested grace of God meets with a suitable recipiency, 
on the part of man ; as also the word of truth brings salva 
tion, quickens and renews, when its promises of grace and 
blessing are rested on in humble faith. But abstract the 


supposition, -which is commonly made in Scripture, of this 
faithful and honest dealing with these ordinances of God, and 
there is nothing of regenerative power or saving effect in 
either; the hearer of the word only treasures up for himself 
a heavier condemnation, and the baptized, so far from rising 
to newness of life, remains, even when baptized by an apostle, 
in "the gall of bitterness and the bond of iniquity." 

There is, doubtless, so far a difference in the scriptural 
statements referred to, as to the relation in which baptism 
and the word respectively stand to regeneration, that the for 
mer, being a symbolical and sealing ordinance, it more dis 
tinctly and personally exhibits the things connected with the 
soul s regeneration. It has somewhat of the nature of a 
covenant transaction, in which the individual presents himself, 
or is presented by others, for a personal participation in the 
regenerating grace exhibited in the ordinance; and personally, 
or through others for him, professes to accept what is there 
offered to his hand, and engages to act accordingly. Con 
templating the matter, therefore, as an honest transaction a 
transaction in which the human subject seems truthfully to 
respond to the Divine condescension and favour shown him 
our Lord and His apostles represent baptism as, according to 
its true idea, an instrument or channel of regeneration, and 
speak of those as regenerate persons who have in sincerity 
complied with it. But that is a very different thing from 
saying, that baptism, simply as an ordinance, carries regene 
ration in its bosom, or that all who have passed through the 
outward rite are regenerate. Such language is in Scripture 
applied only to those who have actually been born of the 
Spirit, or who, in the judgment of faith and charity, may be 
considered to have been so born again. And precisely on 
account of regeneration being thus essentially a Divine work, 
in which man, as a spiritual being, has to be the recipient, 
through the grace of the Spirit operating vitally within, it is 
not directly laid as an obligation upon his conscience. He 
is entreated and bound to do the things, which, in their full 
compass, involve it, and which also bring him into immediate 
contact with the living agency that works it; but for the 


change itself the actual regeneration of his soul to God he 
must be a partaker and not a doer, become a subject of the 
Spirit s renewing grace. 

III. This interconnexion, however, between the human and 
the Divine, as directly related to men s responsibilities, comes 
out in the next term of the series, dvaxacvcoffez, which is occa 
sionally, though not very frequently, used in New Testament 
Scripture. In the passage cited from the Epistle to Titus, it 
is coupled with ncdeffeveffla, and placed after it, as denoting 
something consecutive a carrying forward of the regeneration 
to its proper completion; which again brings us into the re 
gion of human responsibility and active working. For, while 
it belongs to God, through the internal agency of His Spirit, 
to implant the principle of divine life in the soul, it belongs 
to man not independently, indeed, and as at his own hand, 
feut in connexion with the promised grace of God to guard, 
and nourish to perfection the gift conferred upon him. Hence 
this &v a) an; is matter of express command; for example, 
in Eph. iv. 23, where the apostle charges believers who had 
already "been taught as the truth is in Jesus" to "renew 
themselves (avavzo~jG6a.c) in the spirit of their mind;" and in 
Rom. xii. 2, they are called to be transformed, or to trans 
form themselves, in the renewing of their mind (TYJ dva /awcoGst 
Toi) vooc-) This growing renewal of mind and spirit, which 
is only rendered possible by a preceding regeneration, it is 
the imperative duty of every believer to press forward ; it 
should be the object of his daily watchings, strivings, and 
prayers, which, if rightly directed, shall have for their great 
end his progressive advancement in the divine life, and assi 
milation to the image of his Father in heaven. 

We have here to note the manner in which the new life of 
Christianity has formed for itself a language, to give adequate 
expression to the thoughts and aspirations it has awakened. 
Of the two words just mentioned, one of them dvaxa>v coats, 
is found only in the New Testament, as is also the verb dva- 
xa&bto. The classical word for expressing a somewhat similar 
action of mind, was dvaxacvi^co^ which occurs in Heb. vi. 6, 
but is found nowhere else in the New Testament. It was, we 


may conceive, felt to be too feeble, or, from its ordinary ap 
plication, indicative of too partial and defective an improve 
ment, to bring out the Christian sense that was meant to be 
conveyed; and so a distinct word, of the same root, but with 
a different termination, was brought into requisition. The other 
word, Trodrffsveffla, was, indeed, employed by heathen writers, 
but in a sense so inferior, that it may be said to have become 
instinct with new meaning, when turned in a Christian di 
rection. As employed elsewhere, it expresses such renova 
tions as take place, from time to time, within the natural 
sphere, and on the same line of things with itself. Thus 
Cicero, on the close of his exile, and referring to his resto 
ration to honour and dignity, speaks of hanc nafcffevealau 
nostram (Ad Attic, vi. 6.) In like manner, Josephus applies 
the word to that political resuscitation, which was granted to 
his people and country, on the return from the Babylonish 
captivity (Ant. xi. 3, 9.) Marcus Antoninus and the Stoics ge 
nerally designated the revivals, which, at shorter or longer 
intervals, occur in the constitution and order of earthly things, 
and which they believed would ultimately become fixed, rr^ 
7rsf)fOO!xr^ 7zahfys.vs.a t.a.v rcov O)MV, the periodical regeneration 
of the world. And approaching a step nearer, though basing 
itself on a fanciful foundation, it was the doctrine of the Py 
thagoreans, as we learn from Plutarch (De Em. Cat. i. 7) 
part of their general doctrine of the transmigration of souls 
that there was a -a^rff^zoia to each particular person when 
his soul returned to the body, and again made its appearance 
on the theatre of an earthly existence. From such applica 
tions of the word, one sees at a glance what an elevation was 
given to it when it entered into the sphere of Christian ideas, 
and came to denote that high moral renovation, which Christ 
ever seeks to accomplish in His people the formation in them 
of a life fashioned after the life of God. Here we find our 
selves in another region than that of nature s feebleness and 
corruption; the supernatural mingles with the natural; and 
the earthly in man s being is transformed, so as to receive the 
tone and impress of the heavenly. 

But the nadcffwsffla of the gospel, and its attendant dva- 


tz-, do not stop here ; while commencing with the soul 
of the individual believer, they thenceforth proceed to other 
operations and results. The internal renovation is but the 
beginning of a process, which is to extend far and wide to 
spread with regenerating power through all the relations and 
departments of social life to defecate and transfigure the 
corporeal frame itself into the fit habitation of an immortal 
spirit yea, and embrace the whole domain of external nature, 
which it will invest with the imperishable glory of a new cre 
ation. It was this more extended and comprehensive appli 
cation of the word Tzalrff^zaia, which was made by our Lord 
in Matt. xix. 28, when He gave assurance to the disciples of 
the immortal honour and dignity that was to be their position 
in the closing issues of His kingdom, " Verily, I say unto you, 
that ye who have followed Me, in the regeneration (Trahrfeve- 
aia) when the Son of Man shall sit on the throne of His 
glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve 
tribes of Israel." It was a prevalent opinion among the Fa 
thers, that by regeneration here, our Lord pointed explicitly 
to the resurrection of the body. Thus Augustine, De Civ. 
Dei. xx. 5, " When he says, in the regeneration, beyond doubt 
He wishes to be understood thereby the resurrection from the 
dead; for thus shall our flesh be regenerated through incor- 
ruption, even as our soul has been regenerated by faith." 
To the like effect Jerome, who says on the passage, "In the 
regeneration, that is, when the dead shall rise incorruptible 
from corruption." Gregory, Theophylact, Euthymius, and 
others, follow in the same line. It is, however, too narrow a 
reference to give to our Lord s words. The resurrection of 
the body is, doubtless, implied in what He says ; for when the 
Son of Man sits upon the throne of His glory, or is manifested 
in His kingly state, the saints shall certainly have been raised 
up to sit with Him ; according to the testimony of the apostle, 
" When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall we 
also appear with Him in glory." Undoubtedly, too, the re 
surrection may be fitly designated a regeneration ; as it shall 
be in the most emphatic sense a renovating of the old, casting 
it entirely into a fresh mould, and giving it a kind of second 


birth, unspeakably better than the first. So, the apostle Paul 
in effect, though not in express terms, calls it, when in Rom. 
viii. 23, he speaks of the general body of believers groaning 
in themselves, and " waiting for the adoption, the redemption 
of the body;" as if their proper filiation only began then, and 
not till it took place did they fairly enter. into the state and 
heritage of the sons of God. Then only indeed shall they 
reach it in its completeness, or in respect to their entire per 
sonality. The regeneration is already theirs; it is theirs from 
the first moment of their spiritual life, in so far as their souls 
are concerned, but still only as in a mystery; since the cor 
poreal and visible part of their natures continues as before, 
in the frailty and corruption of the fall. At the resurrection, 
however, this anomalous state of things shall be terminated ; 
the old man shall in this respect also be exchanged for the 
new ; and the children of the regeneration shall at last look 
like their state and destiny they shall possess the visible seal 
of their adoption, in the redemption of their bodies from the 
law of mortality and corruption. 

On these accounts, the resurrection of the body may fitly 
be called a Tcafoffeveffla; it is certainly to be included in the 
general renovation, which the Lord will introduce at the pro 
per time; but it is this general renovation itself, not simply 
the resurrection of the body, which is to be understood as 
pointed to in the declaration of our Lord. The ncdrffeveffla 
there mentioned is the bringing in of what is elsewhere called 
the new heavens and the new earth, the constitution of every 
thing after a new and higher pattern ; in consequence of which, 
that which is in part shall be done away, evil in every form 
shall be abolished, and universal peace, harmony, arid per 
fection established. For, such is the proper issue and con 
summation of Christ s work, who, as the Lord s anointed, has 
received from the Father the heritage of all things, and re 
ceived it, not to retain them in their state of corruption and 
disorder, but to rectify and bless them ; so that, throughout 
the entire domain, there shall be nothing to hurt and offend, 
and all shall reflect the spotless glory of their Divine Head. 


IV. The regeneration in this large and general sense is 
much of the same import as another word the last we have 
to notice in this connexion dTroxardcrTafftz* The noun oc 
curs, indeed, only once with reference to the work of Christ 
(Acts iii. 21;) but the verb is found, on two occasions, with a 
somewhat similar reference. In Matt. xvii. 11, our Lord 
replied to a question respecting Elias, "Elias indeed cometh 
and restoreth (or shall restore axoxaOtaTavst, Mark ; aTtoxa- 
ra(TT7](Tst, Matt.) all things. It was the purpose or destina 
tion for which John came that Christ here speaks of; His 
mission was of a restorative nature, being appointed in respect 
to a people, who had gone away backward, and were practi 
cally in a state of alienation, first from the God of their fa 
thers, and then from these fathers themselves. To turn again 
this tide of degeneracy, and bring the hearts of the people 
into a friendly relationship as well to God, as to their pious 
ancestors, was the special calling of this new Elias ; he came 
to the intent, that He might restore all things to their normal 
state of allegiance to God, and mutual respondency between 
parent and child (Luke i. 16, 17.) But in respect to the 
event, all was marred by the perverseness and carnality of 
the people; they frustrated the grace of God, and did to the 
Elias "whatever they listed." In this case, it was plainly 
but a provisional moral restoration that was meant to be ac 
complished; but even this was arrested in its course, and only 
in a very partial manner reached its end. 

Still more immediately, however, in connexion with Mes 
siah s work, we find the expression used by the apostles after 
the resurrection, when they asked Christ, "Lord, dost Thon 
at this time restore the kingdom to Israel ($c lu rw ypbvu) 
TOUTOJ o~ 0X0.6 c&Tdvzct; rrp ftaadeiav TW fopcajfyV The answer 
returned simply conveyed a rebuke for their too prying curi 
osity regarding the future, and an instruction as to present 
duty: "It is not for you to know the times and seasons, which 
the Father has put in His own power ; but ye shall receive 
power, when the Holy Ghost comes upon you," etc In short, 
there was to be no^ such as they were looking 
for, of a present resuscitation of the temporal kingdom ; and 



for themselves, they had other and higher things to mind, 
for which the needed power was shortly to be conferred on 
them from above. They were not on this account, however, 
discharged from expecting an aTioxardaracfc^^ only it was to 
be one (as they themselves soon understood,) which carried in 
its bosom the elements of a nobler renovation fresh suc 
cessions of spiritual revival in the first instance, and these 
culminating at last, in a complete, final restitution. So, in a 
comparatively brief period, the Apostle Peter gave expression 
to his views, and showed the vast moral elevation that had 
been imparted to him by the descent of the Spirit: " Repent, 
therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted 
out, so that times of refreshing may come (oxtoz av eWcovw 
xaepoc cLyaip j^toz) from the presence of the Lord; and He 
may send Jesus Christ that before was preached unto you; 
whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution 
of all things (a~oxaTd<JTO.(Jzcoz Travrwv,) of which (of which 
times) God spake by the mouth of His holy prophets, since 
the world began (or, from the earliest times.") 

The slightest inspection may convince any one, that this 
was spoken under the direction of a far more enlightened and 
elevating impulse, than that which dictated the question , u Wilt 
Thou at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?" In the 
one case there is a manifest savouring of the things of the 
flesh, in the other, of those of the Spirit; the first thoughts 
were characterized by a narrow exclusiveness, and a desire 
for some sort of temporal ascendency, while in the latter there 
is a noble breathing after things heavenly and divine, a just 
appreciation of the spiritual in comparison of the earthly, and 
a lively expectation of the complete triumph over all evil yet 
to be effected by the presence and power of the glorified Re 
deemer. The cbroxara0ra0Y:r now looked and longed for by 
the apostles was nothing short of a general and thorough 
renovation the same, that prophets had from the first been 
heralding, when they pointed to the glory which was to fol 
low the obedience and sufferings of the Redeemer a re-es 
tablishment of the original order and blessedness of the world, 
or its final deliverance frem all the troubles and disorders that 


afflict it, and along therewith its elevation to a higher even 
than its primeval condition. But the general carries no anta 
gonism to the particular; the restitution of all things now 
hoped for should also be, in the truest sense, the restitution 
of the kingdom to Israel. For, in Christ all that is really 
Israel s, finds its proper centre and its ultimate destination; 
where He, the King of Zion is, there is Israel s ascendency, 
Israel s seed of blessing, Israel s distinctive glory; and the 
best and highest thing for Jew and Gentile alike is to share 
in the dominion of Christ, and with him to possess the king 

To sum up, then, in regard to this series of words so pecu 
liarly indicative, as a whole, of the nature and tendency of the 
Gospel of Christ: The generic idea of renovation, or radical 
change from a worse to a better state, is here presented to our 
view under successive stages and developments. We see it 
beginning in the region of the inner man in the awakening 
of a sense of guilt and danger, with earnest strivings after 
amendment (/jLsrdvoia?) then, through the operation of the 
grace of God, it discovers itself in a regenerated frame of spi 
rit, the possession of an essentially new spiritual condition 
(i:cdrffVCFia ;) this, once found, proceeds by continual advances 
and fresh efforts to higher and higher degrees of spiritual reno 
vation (dvaxaluoMTiz ;) while, according to the gracious plan 
and wise disposal of God, the internal links itself to the ex 
ternal, the renovation of soul paves the way for the purifica 
tion of nature, until, the work of grace being finished, and the 
number of the elect completed, the bodies also of the saints 
shall be transformed, and the whole material creation shall 
become a fit habitation for redeemed and glorified saints (6.7:0- 
xaT(i<7-a<Ttz.) Vv^hat a large and divine-like grasp in this re 
generative scheme ! How unlike the littleness and superfici 
ality of man! How clearly bespeaking the profound insight 
and far-reaching wisdom of God ! And this not merely in its 
ultimate results, but in the method also and order of its pro 
cedure! In beginning with the inner man, and laying the 
chief stress on a regenerated heart, it takes possession of the 
fountainhead of evil, and rectifies that which most of all requires 


the operation of a renewing agency. As in the moral sphere, 
the evil had its commencement, so in the same sphere are the 
roots planted of all the renovation, that is to develop itself in 
the history of the kingdom. And the spiritual work once pro 
perly accomplished, all that remains to be done shall follow 
in due time; Satan shall be finally cast out; and on the ruins 
of his usurped dominion, the glories of the new creation shall 
shine forth in their eternal lustre. 


ON THE USE or Paras7ceue AND Pasclia IN ST. JOHN S ACCOUNT OP 

IT is simply in connexion with this question respecting the 
time of keeping the last Passover, that the use of the words 
yrapctffxeurj and t:dff%a, by St. John, in ch. xviii. and xix., is 
involved in doubt, or assumes an aspect of importance. And, 
as we are firmly persuaded that the question itself has mainly 
arisen from some of the historical circumstances being too 
little regarded, we shall commence our inquiry by taking these 
in their order, and endeavouring to present them in their pro 
per light. 

1. The first thing requiring to be noted is the determined 
purpose formed by the leading men in Jerusalem to make away 
with Jesus. The clear revelations He had given, especially 
on the occasion of this last visit to Jerusalem, of His own cha 
racter and kingdom, and the unsparing exposure He had 
made of their ignorance, carnality, and deserved condemna 
tion, had brought matters, as between them and Him, to a 
crisis. It was now seen that, if their authority was to stand, 
His career must be extinguished. But, in their project for 
accomplishing this, two points of special moment are to be 
noted. In the first place, it was to be by stratagem (ly ootyj, 
Matt. xxvi. 4; Mark xiv. 1) this being, as they naturally 


conceived, the only safe course for them to adopt. They durst 
not venture on an open assault, as Jesus had evidently ac 
quired great fame, had come up to the feast with a large re 
tinue of followers, and by His miracles, His discourses, and 
His disinterested life, had made profound impressions upon 
many hearts. Against such a person it would have been a 
hazardous thing for them to bring a formal charge of impiety 
or crime; it were on every account wiser to compass their 
design by the hand of an assassin, or some secret plot, which 
might admit of their remaining in the background. Then, 
this stratagem was not to be quite immediately put in force; 
not till after the feast. This is expressly noticed in two of 
the Evangelists (Matt. xxvi. 5; Mark xiv. 2;) and they both 
assign the same reason for the delay "lest there should be 
an uproar among the people." These seemed now to an alarm 
ing degree won to Plis side; they had attended Him in 
crowds from Galilee; they had even borne Him in triumph, 
and with every demonstration of enthusiastic joy, as King 
Messiah, from Mount Olivet into the heart of the city; and 
it was not to be supposed that multitudes, apparently so full 
of confidence in their leader, and so ardently devoted to His 
cause, would suffer Him to be openly wronged, without exert 
ing themselves to the utmost in his defence. It was, there 
fore, the obvious dictate of prudence to let the crowds again 
disperse, before the hand of violence was lifted against Jesus. 
2. But all of a sudden a new element came into their de 
liberations, and their policy took another form, when the 
treachery of Judas discovered itself, offering for a sum of mo 
ney to deliver up Jesus into their hands. The precise moment 
when Judas made this offer to them is not stated. It must, 
however, have been some time between the conclusion of those 
discourses, in which the Lord had so plainly exposed and de 
nounced the leading Jews, and the actual execution of the 
treachery; for it is manifest that the traitor had come to terms 
with them before the paschal feast had actually begun, and 
yet not less manifest that it must have been after they had 
formed their plan not to proceed against Jesus till the feast 
was over. Subsequently to this resolution on their part, but 


prior even to the assignation of any particular time or place 
for the accomplishment of the purpose, "he sought how he 
might conveniently betray Him" (Mark xiv. 11.) The pur 
pose itself doubtless took shape in the mind of Judas, and 
reached the point of action, much in the same way that the 
Jewish rulers were led to their resolution to kill Him. From 
the position matters had now assumed, it had become for both 
alike a necessity to get rid of Jesus: His presence was felt to 
be intolerable. Indeed, Judas, in his state of mind and his 
procedure toward Jesus, might be taken for a representative 
among the twelve of those Jewish rulers ; he did within the 
narrower sphere what they did in the larger one delivered 
up the Holy One of God to His adversaries; on which ac 
count, in the psalms that spake before concerning the treachery, 
the individual traitor is identified with the whole company of 
faithless men who were to take the part of violence and deceit 
(Ps. Ixix., cix. ; Acts i. 16 20.) Judas had undoubtedly, at 
the time of his first connexion with Christ, been known as a 
person of shrewd intellect, as well as respectable demeanour, 
most probably also as a person of active business habits: 
whence the charge naturally fell to him of managing the pe 
cuniary concerns of the company, of bearing the purse. With 
such natural gifts and acquired habits, he had thought he dis 
cerned enough in Jesus of Nazareth to convince him that this 
could be no other than the expected Messiah; but, beyond 
doubt, the Messiah of an earthly cause and a worldly kingdom. 
And as the hopes of advancement in this direction began to 
give way ; as the plan of Jesus more fully developed itself, 
and successive revelations of coming events forced on the mind 
of Judas the conviction, that not earthly grandeur or political 
ascendency, but sacrifice, self-denial, peril, and shame, were 
to be the immediate portion of those who espoused the cause 
of Jesus, then the spell was broken to his calculating and 
worldly spirit. He not only became depressed and sorrowful, 
like the others, but totally unhinged: his only distinct motives 
for embarking In the enterprise were withdrawn from him ; he 
must be done with the concern. Symptoms of this recoil had 
been perceived by the penetrating eye of Jesus about a twelve- 


month before the last Passover, which led Him to utter the 
strong expression, that of those He had chosen, one was a 
devil (John vi. 70.) It was only now, however, that the full 
effect was produced. The repeated intimations which Jesus 
had recently made of His coming death, the specific assurance 
that He was to be rejected by the chief priests and scribes, 
crucified and slain; the palpable breach that took place be 
tween Him and these rulers of the people on the occasion of 
His public entrance into Jerusalem, with the discourses subse 
quently delivered; still more recently the reproof individually 
and pointedly addressed to Judas, in connexion with the per 
sonal anointing at Bethany, and the fresh allusion then also 
made to His impending death and burial: all these follow 
ing in rapid succession, and leaving, at length, no room to 
doubt that a catastrophe was at hand, consummated the process 
which had been going on in the mind of Judas, and impelled 
him to adopt a course of decisive action to resolve on being 
done with a service which no longer possessed his sympathy 
or his confidence, and make sure of his interest with those 
that had. Thus prompted and drawn, he secretly threw him 
self into the camp of the adversaries, and entered into terms 
with them for the betrayal of Jesus. 1 

3. But this unexpected occurrence, we may well conceive, 
cast a new light upon the prospects of Christ s adversaries in 
Jerusalem, and naturally led to a remodelling of their plans. 
The discovery that one of His bosom friends was deserting 
Him, as if he had seen through the imposture, and was even 
proffering his aid to the accomplishment of their aims, could 
not fail to beget the conviction, that the cause of Jesus was 
by no means so powerful, nor His place in the popular esteem 
so firmly seated, as they had imagined. They now began to 
think that there was not so much need for stratagem and de 
lay, as they at first imagined; nay, that their best chance for 
accomplishing the desired result, was by a bold and summary 

1 It is most likely, on account of the influence exercised on the mind of 
Judas by what took place at Bethany, that the Evangelists Matthew and. 
Mark mention it in immediate connexion with the purpose of Judas to be 
tray. In reality, however, it occurred before several of the last discourses 
were delivered, and six days previous to the last Passover, John xii. 1. j 


procedure. Most heartily, therefore, did they close with the 
proposal of Judas, and for the stipulated sum of thirty pieces 
of silver, agree to act in concert with him. This circumstance, 
if allowed its due consideration, and followed to its legitimate 
results, will be found sufficient to account for all the peculiari 
ties and apparent inconsistencies in the evangelical narratives. 
It first of all led the Jewish rulers to resolve on taking action 
immediately, the moment Judas might find a favourable op 
portunity for effecting the betrayal. And it led our Lord, 
who was perfectly cognizant of what was proceeding in the 
camp of the enemies, to pursue a course at the very com 
mencement of the Passover, which left Judas no alternative: 
he must either act promptly that very night, or lose the op 
portunity of acting at all. 

4. This procedure, then, on the part of Christ, is the point 
that next calls for notice. In compliance with His own in 
structions, the necessary preparations had been made for 
holding the feast an upper chamber was engaged, and the 
materials requisite for the feast provided. There Jesus met 
with the disciples at the appointed time we can readily sup 
pose at a somewhat earlier hour than customary, as He well 
foreknew what a series of events had to be crowded into the 
remaining hours of that night. The period, it should be re 
membered, for eating the paschal lamb, was left somewhat 
indefinite. The lamb itself was to be killed any time between 
the two evenings, (Ex. xii. G; Lev. xxiii. 5;) that is, between 
the ninth and eleventh hour by the Jewish reckoning, or the 
third and fifth in the afternoon by ours, (Joseph. Wars, vii. 9, 3.) 
So that, as our Lord had special reasons for making the hour 
as early as possible, we may warrantably suppose that the lamb 
was killed about three o clock, and the feast entered upon 
about five, or shortly after it. But scarcely had Jesus and 
His disciples begun the feast it was, at least, only in pro 
gress, after the solemn service of the washing of the disciples 
feet had been performed, (John xiii. 1-22,) when Jesus, with 
evident emotion, announced that one of them should betray 
Him. l The disciples, as might be supposed, were greatly 

1 Notwithstanding the positive assertions of Meyer to the contrary, there 
can be no reasonable doubt, that the feast mentioned in this 13th ch. of 


stunned by the announcement for a moment looked at one 
another then anxiously, in succession, put the question, 
"Lord, is it I?" Judas could not afford to appear singular 
at such a time, perhaps also wished to learn how far Jesus 
might be acquainted with the secret, and so, followed the 
rest in putting the question. The reply informed him that 
his treachery was known ; but it would seem, the information 
was so conveyed, as to be intelligible only to the traitor him 
self. Hence, still revolving the matter, and anxious to attain, 
to certainty regarding it, Peter beckoned to John, who lay 
next to Jesus, to the intent that he might endeavour to ob 
tain more definite information. The inquiry was evidently 

John, at which our Lord washed the disciples feet, was the same as that 
described by the other Evangelists under the name of the Passover. The 
great majority of commentators are agreed on this however they differ oil 
other points. Stier justly states, that the supper or feast here mentioned^ 
from the manner in which it is introduced, was manifestly no ordinary sup 
per; and the reference to it again, at ch. xxi. 20, as the supper, by way of 
eminence, at which John leaned on his Master s bosom, confirms the view. 
A still further confirmation is derived from the evident allusion, in Luke 
xxii. 27, to the action of washing the disciples ? feet, which took place at it, 
and is recorded only by St. John; there, however, and with reference to it, 
our Lord says Himself, "I am among you as one that serveth." The ex 
pression of St. John, at the beginning of the chapter, rtpo ir^ Eop-r jjs *ou 
rtas^a, which Meyer so strongly presses as conclusively showing that the 
circumstances of this supper were prior to the Passover, and that our Lord 
did not keep the Passover at all, have no such necessary import. It is 
utterly arbitrary to make them point to all the transactions that followed, 
and, indeed, against the most natural and proper sense. The Evangelist 
simply tells us, that before the Paschal Feast, at which the things concern 
ing His earthly career were to proceed to their consummation, had actually 
arrived before that, but without any indication of how long before, Jesus, 
being cognizant of all that was at hand, and of His speedy return to the 
Father, having loved His own, and still loving them, was resolved to give 
them a palpable and personal proof of it, by washing their feet before the 
feast properly commenced. So substantially, after multitudes of earlier 
commentators, Alford, Stier, Luthardt. The precise period of washing, 
however, is wrongly put in our version, by the words in ver. 2, "and supper 
being ended;" it should be, "supper having come " for it is quite clear 
from what follows, that it had not ended, nor even in any proper sense be 
gun. There was, at most, before the washing, the jtpoeo^iov or ante-sup 
per, as it was called, from which, (ver. 4,) Jesus rose and went about the 
washing; after which came the supper itself, the Paschal Feast. 



made by John in a whisper, as simply between himself and 
Christ. But the mode adopted by our Lord in giving the 
reply, of presenting a sop to Judas, while it served the pur 
pose of a sign in regard to the treachery in question, served, 
at the same time, to connect the act of Judas with the delinea 
tions of prophecy, (John xiii. 18; Ps. xli. 9.) Then, turning 
to Judas, He said emphatically, " That thou doest, do quickly." 
This brought the matter to an issue. Judas s time was clearly 
up; he had forfeited his place among the disciples of Jesus; 
and if the bargain with his new masters was to be imple 
mented, it must be instantly gone about. Hence, without a 
moment s delay, he hurried off to the Jewish rulers to get 
them to strike at once, as now only was it likely he could do 
aught in their behalf. 

5. Now, let it be imagined, in what mood he must have 
found his accomplices at such a time, and what was likely to 
have been the effect produced on them by his appearance. 
His purpose had been precipitated by what took place in the 
Passover-room; and this necessarily led them to precipitate 
theirs. It was a great crisis with them now or never. Even 
scrupulous men could not be expected to be very nice in such a 
moment ; and since they now had what they could never look for 
again, the opportune help of one of the companions of Jesus, 
they must venture somewhat, though it should oblige them to 
depart a little from use and wont the rather so, as it was 
probable that the matter might be brought to quite a speedy 
termination. Let it be remembered, that it was but a com 
paratively limited number of persons, who were actively en 
gaged in the business only a few of the more resolute and 
daring members of the Sanhedrim. When Judas presented 
himself before these, it was in all probability still the earlier 
part of the evening, considerably before persons in their rank 
of life would be accustomed to sit down to the Passover-feast. 
And as there was no time to lose, as every thing, in a manner, 
depended upon their seizing the favourable moment, and as 
they could eat their Passover any time between night and 
morning, what was more likely than that they should agree 
to postpone their participation of the feast till they had got 


through with this urgent business? It was possible enough 
they might have it despatched before midnight, when still it 
would not be too late for them to eat the Passover. Such, it 
might seem, would be the natural, and, on every account, the 
most advisable course, for them to pursue in the circumstances. 
Judas in the first instance, and then the party with whom he 
was in concert, had both, sooner than they anticipated, been 
thrown into the vortex of active and violent operations, through 
the overruling providence of Him, who bounds and restrains 
even the wrath of the wicked, so as to render it subservient to His 
purposes. And as they could postpone their paschal solemnity 
for a certain period, but could not postpone concurrence with the 
proposal of Judas to proceed immediately against Jesus, they 
hastily concerted their measures, and commenced their course 
of action, by sending along with Judas an armed band to the 
garden of Gethsemane, for the purpose of arresting the Son 
of Man, and dragging him to the tribunal of judgment. 

6. So far the traitor had calculated aright. Jesus was 
found in the well-known garden. He had there already passed 
through that solemn and affecting scene of agony, in which, 
with thrice-repeated and ever-increasing earnestness, He had 
prayed to the Father that the cup might be removed from 
Him. The season of watching and prayer was no sooner 
ended than Judas and his company presented themselves. It 
could not, therefore, be late; as it was still near the beginning 
of April, when the nights are too cold in Palestine to admit 
of persons remaining at an advanced hour in the open air, 
without harm; and hence, when it did become late, Peter is 
spoken of as shivering with cold, and going near to warm him 
self at the fire that had been kindled (John xviii. 18.) We 
cannot reasonably suppose the time of the meeting in Geth- 
semane to have been beyond eight, or, at the furthest, nine 
in the evening, according to our mode of reckoning. What 
ensued upon the meeting need not at present detain us. Jesus 
proved Himself to be fully equal to the occasion with mingled 
majesty and meekness met the assault of His adversaries, 
kept them for a time awe-struck and powerless, by word and 
deed showed how easily, had He willed, He could have smit- 


ten them to the ground; but, that the Father s counsel might 
be fulfilled, freely yielded Himself into their hands. There 
after Ife was conducted by them to the house of the high 
priest; first, indeed, to Annas, the father-in-law of Caiaphas, 
then to Caiaphas himself, where the chief priests and elders 
such of them as could be got together on such hasty notice 
had meanwhile assembled to give formal judgment against 
Him. Here, however, they met with an unexpected difficulty ; 
for, while Judas had put them in possession of the obnoxious 
party, he had but poorly provided them with grounds of guilt, 
or evidence to establish it. " They sought for witness against 
Jesus to put Him to death and found none" (Mark xiv. 55.) 
So that, after fruitless efforts to make good a charge of felony, 
and considerable time spent in the endeavour, they were obliged 
to fall back on the claims of Jesus regarding His person, and 
extorted from Him a confession of His assuming to be, in a 
sense altogether peculiar, the Son of the living God. This 
they held to be blasphemy, and thereby obtained, indeed, the 
materials of a capital offence; since, by the law of Moses, 
blasphemy was punishable with death. But a new difficulty 
sprung up on this very ground, for, as it was necessary to ob 
tain the sanction of the Roman governor to the doom before 
it could be put in execution the charge being a strictly re 
ligious, not a civil one how should they manage to get Pilate 
to accredit it? They must, however, make the trial; Pilate s 
consent was indispensable ; and they must present themselves 
with the prisoner at the judgment-hall, in order to press the 
sentence of judicial condemnation. Thither, accordingly, they 

7. By this time it was past midnight; it is even said in 
John xviii. 28, that, when they got to the judgment-hall or 
pnetorium of Pilate, it was T: ft col , not merely past midnight, 
but early morn. This is implied also, in the circumstance 
that, before leaving the palace of the high priest, the crowing 
of the cock, indicating the approach of dawn, had been heard, 
awakening the cry of guilt in Peter s bosom. It might still 
further be inferred, from the accounts given by the several 
Evangelists of the processes of trial and examination gone 


through, followed by the scenes of mockery and dishonour, 
during which, it is evident, many hours must have been con 
sumed. And, indeed, the very purpose for which they went 
to the praetorium is a proof that it must have been about the 
break of day; since they could not sooner have expected an 
audience of the governor on a matter of judicial administra 
tion. Early in the morning, then it might be a little before, 
or a little after sunrise they led Jesus to the prsetorium ; and 
when there, they presented Him before Pilate for summary 
condemnation, as a person whom they had ascertained to be a 
rebel against the government of Caesar, forbidding men to 
give tribute, and perverting the nation (Luke xxiii. 1.) This 
took place, apparently, at the door of the pnstorium, and they 
doubtless hoped that Pilate would instantly accede to their 
proposal, and allow them to take their own way with the pri 
soner. Such, however, was not the result; the same over 
ruling Providence, which controlled their proceedings before, 
controlled them again; instead of summarily pronouncing 
judgment, Pilate took Jesus into the hall for the purpose of 
examining more closely into the matter. But thither, it is 
said, (John xviii. 28,) His accusers refused to follow, "they 
did not go in to the judgment-hall, lest they should be defiled, 
but that they might eat the Passover." 

8. Now, it is here that the first, and indeed the main diffi 
culty presents itself, in reconciling St. John s account of the 
transactions with the accounts of the other Evangelists, and 
with what may seem to have been the facts of the case: a 
difficulty which has given rise to a- variety of conjectural ex 
planations; in particular, to the supposition, on the part of 
some, that Jesus kept the Passover with His disciples a day 
earlier than the Jews generally; and, on the part of others, 
to the supposition that the eating of the Passover mentioned 
in the passage just quoted, referred, not to the eating of the 
Paschal lamb itself, but to the subsequent and supplemental 
provisions of the feast. Both views carry a somewhat unna 
tural and arbitrary appearance; and can neither of them stand 
a rigid examination. 

9. The latter view, which would take the expression "eating 



the Passover" in an inferior sense, of tlie tilings to be eaten 
only on the second and other days of the feast, has the usage 
of the Evangelists wholly against it. The expression occurs 
in five other places Matt. xxvi. 17; Mark xiv. 12, 14; Luke 
xxii. 11, 15 and always in the sense of eating -the Passover 
strictly so called. It is true, as is still urged hy Luthardt, 
that in Deut. xvi. 2, offerings of the herd and flock to be pre 
sented during the feast are called the paschal sacrifices, and 
that the word Passover itself is used by John frequently of 
the feast generally (ii. 28, xiii. 1, xviii. 89.) But these things 
will never prove, or even render probable the idea, that the 
phrase of "eating the Passover" might be used of any other 
part of the feast, exclusive of the very thing from which all 
the rest took its character and name; and the plain meaning 
of the expression, in all the other passages where it occurs, 
must be held conclusive against it. Then, as regards the other 
opinion, that our Lord kept the Passover on a day earlier than 
the Jews generally, it places the account of John in direct 
opposition to that of the other Evangelists. They clearly 
represent the day observed by our Lord as the one looked 
forward to with common expectation for the keeping of the 
Passover. In Matt. xxvi. 2, Jesus is represented as saying 
at the close of His discourses, " Ye know (as if there could be 
no doubt upon the matter) that after two days is the Passover, 
and the Son of Man is betrayed to be crucified;" again at 
ver. 17, "And on the first day of unleavened bread the disci 
ples came to Jesus, saying unto him, Where wilt Thou that we 
prepare for Thee to eat the Passover?" So also in Mark xiv. 
1, it is intimated, as a matter of public notoriety, "After two 
days was the feast of the Passover, and of unleavened bread;" 
and still again in Luke xxii. 7, "Then came the day of un 
leavened bread, when the Passover must be killed." With 
such clear and explicit statements on the subject, it is not too 
much to say with Lucke, that "it is impossible to extract 
from the text of the Synoptical Gospels even the semblance 
of an anticipation of the Passover." And if we hold by the 
historical fidelity of their accounts, no ingenious theorizings 
as to the probability, or moral fitness of the day preceding 


that of the ordinary Passover, being observed, can have any 
effect in countervailing the force of the testimony delivered 
in the above passages. Of such theorizings none has been 
pressed with more frequency or confidence than the require 
ments of type and antitype not merely as understood by the 
Jews, and urged by commentators like De Wette, Liicke, 
Meyer, Ewald, Bleek; but also as demanded by the nature of 
things. So Mr. Gresswell, for example, presses the considera 
tion: circumstances of time and place were indispensable to 
the constitution of the paschal offering as a type; it must be 
slain on the 14th of Nisan, and only in the place where God 
had put His name, latterly in the city of Jerusalem ; other 
wise, the ordinance was not kept in its integrity. And "who 
then," asks Mr. Gresswell, " shall say, that they were not 
equally indispensable to the antitype? Had Christ suffered, 
though He had suffered as a victim, on any day but the 14th 
of Nisan could He have suffered as the Jewish Passover ? Had 
Jesus suffered, though He had suffered any where but at Je 
rusalem, could He have suffered as the Jewish Passover?" 1 
But why stop simply there? Why not insist upon other cor 
respondences of a like kind? The Jewish Passover was ex 
pressly required to be a lamb of a year old; and could Christ 
have suffered as the Jewish Passover, if more than a year had 
elapsed since He entered on His high vocation ? The Jewish 
Passover, wherever and however killed, must have its blood 
poured around the altar; and could Christ have suffered as the 
Jewish Passover, if a like service was not performed with His 
life-blood? If such merely outward correspondences are 
pressed, we shall not find the reality, after all; and that not 
here alone, but in the ordinances generally which had their 
antitypical fulfilment in the history and work of Chris t. The 
demand for these proceeds on mistaken views of the relation 
between type and antitype , as if the one stood upon the same 
level with the other, and were equally dependent upon con 
ditions of place and time. 2 And, besides, what, in the cir 
cumstances supposed, should become of our Lord s own Pass 
over? The precise day did enter as an important element 
1 Harmony, vol. iii., p. 163. 2 See Typology of Scripture, vol. i., p. 57. 


into the Old Testament ordinance ; and was He, who came to 
fulfil the law, to change at will the Divine appointment? Was 
it by infringing upon one part of a typical institution, that 
He was to make good another? To say with some, among 
others Stier, that it was probably the right day for the Pass 
over our Lord and His disciples kept, and that the Jews erred 
a day in their calculations, is a mere assertion, and against 
the manifest bearing of the evangelical statements already 
adduced. Such lame and halting respect to the ordinances 
of heaven, could neither be pleasing to God, nor satisfactory 
to men; and Christ s accomplishment of the things written 
beforehand concerning Him in type and prophecy, must be 
placed on another footing, if it is to approve itself to our re 
ligious feelings and intelligent convictions. We dismiss, 
therefore, all pleadings of the kind now referred to ; and hold 
to the plain import of the historical statements in the Evange 
lists, that our Lord and His disciples knew of no day for 
observing the Passover, but the one which the law required^ 
and which was common to them with their countrymen. 1 

1 The reasoning in the text is directed only against those who hold the idea 
of an anticipated Passover being kept by our Lord, witho.ut impugning the 
historical accuracy of the Synoptical Evangelists. But most of the German 
writers, who think that our Lord either did not keep the Passover at all, or, 
at least, that He did not keep it on the common day, give up the historical 
accuracy of the Synoptists. So, for example, Meyer and Ewald (the latter 
in his Gcschichte des Volkes Israel, v. p. 409, s<?.,) who both, though Meyer 
most sharply and offensively, hold John s narrative to be irreconcilable with 
the other accounts; that he, however, gave the correct one, while the others 
erroneously identify the feast kept by our Lord with the proper Jewish Pass 
over. They followed a mere tradition; and Meyer supposes the tradition to 
have originated in the Lord s Supper coming to be identified with the Paschal 
Feast; whence the day of its institution was first viewed as an ideal 14 Nisan, 
and by-and-by was taken for a real 14 Nisan. Precious writers of sacred 
history to say nothing of their inspiration who could thus, all three, con 
found the ideal with the real, which is here, in plain terms, the false with the 
true! Considering the importance which attached to the last festal solem 
nity of Jesus, we ask, with Luthardt, how could such an error in the tradi 
tion have sprung up, especially under the eyes of the apostles, and gained an 
established footing? Or, if such a thing hud been possible, what must one 
think of the intelligence and the memory of the Synoptists? The very pro 
posing of such a solution seems like an affront to one s understanding, as well 
as an assault on one s faith. 


10. In truth, the supposition, that our Lord and his disci 
ples anticipated by a day the proper time for observing the 
Passover, when closely examined, fails to explain the state 
ment, for the solution of "which it was more peculiarly adopted: 
it does not, if it were true, account for the refusal of our Lord s 
accusers to enter the prgetorium. This has been well pointed 
out by Friedlieb, in a passage quoted by Alford, " The Jews 
would not enter the prcetorium, that they might not be defiled, 
but that they might eat the Passover. For, the entrance of 
a Jew into the house of a Gentile made him unclean till the 
evening. It is surprising, that, according to this declaration 
of the holy Evangelist, the Jews had still to eat the Passover; 
whereas Jesus and His disciples had already eaten it on the 
previous night. And it is no less surprising, that the Jews 
in the early morning should have been afraid of rendering 
themselves unclean for the Passover; since the Passover could 
not be kept till the evening; i. e. 9 till the next day, (for the 
day was reckoned from evening to evening;) and the unclean- 
ness which they dreaded, did not, by the law, last till the next 
day." Had these Jews, therefore, been simply concerned 
about fitness for eating the Passover on the day following 
that observed by Christ and His disciples, they did not need 
to have been so sticklish about entering the prsetorium; the 
uncleanness they were anxious to avoid contracting would of 
itself have expired by the time they behooved to be free from 
it ; at sunset they should again have been pure. So that the 
supposition, which is historically groundless, is also inadequate 
for the purpose of a proper explanation. 

11. Friedlieb himself, along with not a few critical autho 
rities, in former as well as present times, is disposed to fall 
in with the other supposition, and to regard the eating of the 
Passover, in John xviii. 28, as referring to subordinate parts 
of the feast. After stating that the passage labours under no 
small exegetical difficulties, which, perhaps, cannot be solved 
for want of accurate knowledge of the customs of the time, 
he adds, " Possibly the law concerning Levitical defilements 
and purifications had in that age been made more stringent, 
or otherwise modified; possibly they called some other meal. 


beside the actual Passover, by its name. This last we cer 
tainly, with our present knowledge of Hebrew antiquities, must 
assume." We might, indeed, have to do so, and take what 
satisfaction we could from the possible solution thereby pre 
sented, if the circumstances of the case absolutely required it. 
But it is here we demur: we see no necessity for having re 
course to the merely possible and conjectural, when the actual 
(if duly considered) may suffice. It is to be borne in mind, 
we again repeat though constantly overlooked by the authors 
of those hypothetical explanations that the persons mentioned 
by the evangelist as afraid to contract uncleanness by enter 
ing, the pragtoriura, and thereby losing their right to eat of 
the Passover, formed no fair representation, in this matter, of 
the Jews at large. The Evangelist, in the whole of this part 
of his narrative, is speaking merely of the faction of the chief 
priest and elders, the comparative handful of men who con 
ducted the business of our Lord s persecution, and never once 
refers to the general population of the Jews. Once, indeed, 
and again, he calls them by the name of Jews (ch. xviii. 31, 
xix. 7, etc.) partly to distinguish them from Pilate, the hea 
then, and partly also from his custom of using the general 
name of Jews, where the other Evangelists employ the more 
specific names of Scribes and Pharisees, (v. 16, 18, ch. vi. x., 
etc.) He still, however, leaves us in no doubt, that the per 
sons really Concerned were the mere party of the high priest, 
the accomplices of Judas. This base faction had, as already 
stated, been driven by circumstances, over which they had no 
control, to a course of proceeding different from what they 
had contemplated. When preparing to partake of the Pass 
over, they suddenly found themselves in a position which 
obliged them to act with promptitude, while it did not appear 
to exclude the possibility of their being able, at a more ad 
vanced period of the night, to eat the Passover. In the ur 
gency of the moment they allowed the feast to stand over till 
the business in hand was despatched. But unexpected diffi 
culties met them in the way; in the midst of which the night 
wore on, and at last the morning dawned, without the desired 
result being reached. They did not, however, on that ac- 


count, abandon the purpose of eating the Passover no doubt 
conceiving that the greatness of the emergency justified the 
slight deviation they had to make from the accustomed order. 
Hypocrites and formalists, in all ages, when bent on the exe 
cution of some cherished project, have been notorious for their 
readiness in accommodating their notions of duty to the exi 
gencies of the moment; they can swallow a camel when it 
suits their purpose, while at other times they can strain at a 
gnat. Nor were the chief actors on the occasion before us 
ordinary hypocrites and formalists; the more forward of them 
at least belonged to the Sadducean party, the members of 
which, it is well known, never scrupled to make religious prac 
tice bend to self-interest or political expediency. It is vain, 
therefore, in a case like the present, to summon a host of wit 
nesses (as Mr. Gresswell does, Harmony, iii. p. 156) to the 
great regard which the Jews as a people paid to the Sabbath, 
and to the consequent improbability of their pressing forward 
such judicial proceedings against Christ, on the supposition 
of the time being the first day of the Paschal Feast, which by 
the law was to be observed as a Sabbath. A single fact or 
two, coupled with the known characters of the actors, is per 
fectly sufficient to put all such general testimonies to flight. 
Looking into Jewish history, we find it related of a period 
very shortly after that now under consideration, during the 
commotions, which took place under Cestius, that while the 
Jews were celebrating the Feast of Tabernacles, they heard 
of the governor s approach with an army towards Jerusalem ; 
and immediately, (to use the words of Josephus, Wars, ii. 19, 
2,) " they left the feast, and betook themselves to their arms; 
and, taking courage greatly from their multitude, they went 
in a sudden and disorderly manner to the fight, with a great 
noise, and without any consideration had of the rest of the 
seventh day, although the Sabbath was the day to which they 
had the greatest regard; but that rage, which made them 
forget the religious observance, made them too hard for their 
enemies in the fight." Here, both the solemnities of the feast 
and the hallowed rest of the Sabbath were unhesitatingly sa 
crificed to the demands of a civil emergency. And at a some- 


what later stage of affairs, instances are recorded by Josephus, 
which show, that the men who then chiefly ruled in Jerusalem 
came even to count nothing whatever sacred, in comparison 
of their own mad policy; that the most hallowed things were 
turned, without scruple, to a profane use whenever the interests 
of the moment seemed to require it ; so that, from what passed 
under his observation, the historian is led to express his con 
viction that, if the Romans had not come and put an end to 
such impieties, some earthquake, or supernatural visitation 
from heaven, must have been sent to revenge the enormities, 
(Wars, v. 13, 6.) 

12. Now, it is only ascribing a measure of the same spirit, 
and in a far inferior degree, to the few leaders of this conspi 
racy against Jesus, when we suppose them to have been hur 
ried on by the progress of events beyond the proper time for 
eating the Passover; yet, without abandoning the intention, 
and the hope of still partaking of it, after the business in hand 
was brought to a close. They were consequently anxious to 
avoid contracting a defilement, which would have prevented 
them from eating the Passover during the currency of the first 
day of the feast. Were it not better that they should strive 
so to keep the feast, than omit its observance altogether? 
Undoubtedly, they would reckon it to be so. For the delay 
that had occurred beyond the appointed time, they would 
plead (as with their views there was a fair pretext for doing) 
the constraint of circumstances ; they would rest in the con 
viction, that they had come as near to t4ie legal observance of 
the institution as it was practicable for them to do. And as 
to the special objection of the first day of the feast being a 
Sabbath, and, as such, unfit for the prosecution of such a mat 
ter as now engaged their attention, the same considerations, 
which could reconcile them to the postponment of the feast, 
would also appear to warrant the active operations they pur 
sued. It was not as if matters were moving in a regular and 
even current, and they could shape their proceedings in ac 
cordance with their own deliberate judgments; the rush of 
unexpected circumstances had shut them up to a particular 
course. Nor arc there wanting instances in what is presently 


after recorded of them in Gospel history, in perfect keeping 
with the view now taken of their procedure. On the day fol 
lowing the crucifixion, which by the testimony of all the Evan 
gelists, was not only a Sabbath, but a Sabbath of peculia r so 
lemnity, they waited upon Pilate, for the purpose of getting 
him, on that very day, to set a watch around the sepulchre 
of Jesus, lest the body should be stolen (Matt, xxvii. 62, 63.) 
And at an earlier period, we learn from John vii. 32, 37, 45, 
the Pharisees sent out officers to apprehend Jesus on the last 
day of the Feast .of Tabernacles, which by the law was also to 
be observed as a Sabbath. So that either they did not look 
upon such judicial proceedings as work unsuited to a Sabbath, 
or they thought the urgency of the occasion justified its being 
done. How much more, then, in the matter now under con 
sideration, when every thing, in a manner, was at stake? It 
is proper also to add, that while the first day of the Paschal 
Feast was appointed to be kept as a Sabbath, it was not pos 
sible, from the amount of work that had to be done in con 
nexion with the feast, that it could have so much the charac 
ter of a day of rest as an ordinary Sabbath. And, indeed, 
the law regarding it expressly provides, that such work as 
was necessary to the preparation of victuals and travelling to 
their respective abodes, was allowable (Ex. xii. 16; Deut. xvi. 
6, 7;) ordinary avocations merely were prohibited, in order 
that the observances proper to the feast might proceed. 

The conclusion, therefore, to which on every account we are 
led is precisely that which the Statement in John xviii. 28 it 
self requires us to adopt. The expression of " eating the Pass 
over" there employed, by invariable usage points to an actual 
participation on that very day of the proper feast; and the 
more closely the circumstances of the time, and the character 
of the actors are considered, the more reason do we find for 
the belief, that it was the same Passover of the 14th of Nisan 
which our Lord had kept, and which they were still intent on 
celebrating, though from urgent circumstances, it had to be 
postponed a little beyond the due season. 1 

1 It is not necessary to do more than refer to an objection that might be 
raised against this conclusion, drawn from the procedure of our Lord Him- 



13. So much for the more peculiar passage in St. John s 
Gospel on this subject; but there are one or two others that 
also require explanation. These have respect to the Sabbath, 
and in particular what is called the paraskeue. Speaking of 
the time when Pilate was going to pronounce judgment against 
Jesus, it is said in John xix. 14, ty os Trapaffxzoy TOL> rcdff%a 9 
it was the paraskeue or preparation day of the Passover. This, 
it has been alleged, points to the proper passover-day as still 
to come, and fixes it to be the day following the one of which 
the transactions are recorded. It would certainly do so, if 
the expression, as used by the Evangelist, meant a prepara 
tion-day before the keeping of the Passover. But this does 
not appear to be the case. He uses the word paraskeue twice 
again in the same chapter, and each time in reference to the 
Sabbath: ver. 81, "The Jews, therefore, because it was the 
paraskeue, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross 
on the Sabbath-day (for that Sabbath was a high day) be 
sought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they 
might be taken away;" and ver. 42, "There laid they Jesus 
therefore because of the Jews paraskeue ; for the sepulchre 
was nigh at hand." Here, plainly, it is with the Sabbath, 
that the term is specially connected; and the natural inference 
is, that in the earlier passage, although it is called the para 
skeue of the Passover, yet what is meant is not a paraskeue 
of the feast itself, but a Sabbath paraskeue during the feast. 
This is confirmed by what is written in the other gospels. 
Thus, at Matt, xxvii. 62, with reference to the application 
made to Pilate for a guard on the day after the crucifixion it 
is said, "Now, on the following day, which is the one after 
the paraskeue" (jyivc IGTW /Jtsra rr^ ^aoacrxzo^v ;) the follow- 

self, going out with His disciples after eating the Passover. This Mr. Alford 
mentions as a reason for thinking of another than the exact day and feast 
prescribed by the law being kept; since in Exod. xii. 22, it was ordered that 
none should leave his house till the morning. But it was equally ordered, 
that all should cat the Passover, attired as travellers, and ready for a journey, 
though we know, the prescription was not kept in later times, and was un 
derstood to be temporary. So and much more must the other have been; 
for, keeping the Passover, as multitudes necessarily did, in other people s 
houses, it must often, have happened that they were obliged to go out after 


ing day, beyond doubt, was the ordinary Sabbath; and the 
name paraskeue had become so common as a designation of 
the preceding day, that the Sabbath itself, it would seem, was 
sometimes denominated from it. Not merely, the evening 
after sunset of the sixth day, as Michselis, Kuinoel, Paulus, and 
Alford suppose (though even so, the words would apply to what 
was strictly the Jewish Sabbath ;) but the following morn, as 
the T 7j l~a jf)tov of the Evangelist properly means. This we 
may the rather believe to be the meaning, as it is against all 
probability that the thought of placing a guard around the se 
pulchre during the night between the second and the third day, 
should have occurred so early as the very night of the cruci 
fixion ; it has all the appearance of an after-thought, spring 
ing up when reflection had got time to work. In Mark xv. 
42, we have not only the same word applied to designate the 
time preceding the Sabbath, but an explanation added, "And 
evening having now come, since it was paraskeue, which is 
TrpocrdfifiaTou, fore Sabbath." Luke says, ch. xxiii. 54, "and 
it was paraskeue day" (xal fyuspa fjy xaoaff.) The day which 
preceded the Sabbath, was called by way of emphasis, the 
preparation, on account of the arrangements that had to be 
made on it in anticipation of the approaching Sabbath, with 
the view of spending this in perfect freedom from all ordinary 
labour. So much account was made of such preparatory ar 
rangements, in the later periods of Jewish history, that the 
name paraskeue came to be a familiar designation for the sixth 
day of the week, and even to have a certain degree of Sabbati 
cal sacredness attached to it. Josephus gives a decree of Au 
gustus securing, among other liberties to the Jews, exemption 
from judicial proceedings on the Sabbath, and on paraskeue, 
after the ninth hour (Ant. xvi. 6, 2.) Irenreus, in his account 
of the Yalentinian Sj^stem, represents them as connecting the 
creation of man with the sixth day, because it was the para 
skeue (I. 14, 6.) And in a passage quoted by Wetstein, at 
Matt, xxvii. 62, from a Rabbinical authority, the days of the 
week are given thus: the first, second, third, fourth, fifth, pa 
raskeue, Sabbath. Clearly therefore the word in question 
had come to be familiarly applied to denote the day corre- 


spending to our Friday, to denote that day as a whole, not 
merely some concluding fragment of it; but we have no evi 
dence of any such appellation being customary in regard to 
the Passover Feast. Nor, indeed, can we conceive how it 
should have been thought of. For, as already stated, even on 
the first day itself of the feast, a certain freedom was allowed 
for travelling and preparing victuals ; and the day preceding 
it must usually have been one of considerable bustle and acti 
vity. We hold it, therefore, as established beyond all reason 
able doubt, that the paraskeue is the day preceding the regu 
lar Jewish Sabbath; and that when the Evangelist John speaks 
of the paschal paraskeue, he is to be understood as meaning 
simply the Jewish Saturday, the fore-Sabbath of the Passover- 
solemnity ; in other words, not an ordinary preparation-day, 
but that heightened by the additional solemnities connected 
with the Passover such a paraskeue as was itself a sort of 
Sabbath. Hence he makes the further explanatory state 
ment, that the Sabbath following was a high day, or, lite 
rally, " Great was the day of that Sabbath." Why should it 
have been called great ? Not surely though this is very often 
alleged because the first day of the Jewish Passover coin 
cided with the ordinary Sabbath; for a great deal had to be 
done on the first day of the feast, which tended rather to dis 
turb Jewish notions of Sabbatical repose: the killing of many 
thousand victims (Josephus even speaks of so many as 200,000,) 
the pouring of the blood around the altar, the hurrying to and 
fro of persons performing these services, and all the labour 
and bustle connected with the cooking of so many suppers. 
A day, on which all this went on, could scarcely be regarded 
among the Jews as emphatically a great Sabbath. They 
were much more likely to apply such an expression to the 
Sabbath immediately following the Paschal Supper, when, the 
activities of the feast being over, the assembled people were 
ready, in vast numbers, and with excited feelings, to engage 
in the public services of the sanctuary. 

Thus, every expression receives its most natural explana 
tion; no constraint is put upon any of the words employed 
either by St. John or by the other Evangelists ; while, by giving 


full play to the historical elements mentioned in the narra 
tive, we have the best grounds for concluding, both that our 
Lord kept the Passover with His disciples on the- 14th of 
Nisan, on the day prescribed by the law, and observed by the 
great body of the Jews, and that a faction, but in point of 
number, only a small faction of these, lost the opportunity of 
observing it till a later period of the same day. If these po 
sitions have been successfully made out, then, in this case, as 
in so many others connected with the sacred writings, the ap 
parent discrepance in the different statements, as seen from a 
modern point of view, coupled with the satisfactory explana 
tion, which arises from a careful examination of the circum 
stances, affords a strong confirmation of the thorough truth 
fulness and integrity of the writers greatly more than if their 
narratives had presented a superficial and obvious agreement. 





THE use here referred to has respect simply to the formal 
quotations made in the New Testament from the Old, and 
the purposes to which they are applied. There is a more 
general use pervading the whole of the New Testament writings, 
and appearing in the constant appropriation of the truths and 
principles unfolded in Moses and the prophets, of the hopes 
and expectations that had been thereby awakened, and the 
very forms of thought and expression to which, as subjects of 
former revelations, the minds of God s people had become 
habituated. In all these respects the New is the continuation 
and the proper complement of the Old. But beside this 
general use, which touches more or less on every department 
of theological inquiry, there is the more formal and specific 
use, which consists in the citations made by our Lord and 
His apostles from the inspired writings of the Old Covenant. 
These are of great number and variety; and are marked by 
such peculiarities, that it may justly be regarded as one of 
the chief problems, which modern exegesis has to solve, to give 
a satisfactory explanation and defence of the mode of quoting 
and applying Old Testament Scripture in the New. If this 
cannot be made to appear consistent with the correct inter 
pretation of the Old Testament, and with the principles of 
plenary inspiration, there is necessarily a most important 
failure in the great end and object of exegetical studies. 

It is proper, however, to state at the outset, that a very con 
siderable number of the passages, which may, in a sense, be 
reckoned quotations from Old Testament Scripture, are better 
omitted in investigations like the present. They consist of 
silent, unacknowledged appropriations of Old Testament words 


or sentences, quite natural for those, who from their childhood 
had been instructed in the oracles of God, but so employed as 
to involve no question of propriety, or difficulty of interpreta 
tion. The speakers or writers, -in such cases, do not profess 
to give forth the precise words and meaning of former reve 
lations ; their thoughts and language merely derived from these 
the form and direction, which by a kind of sacred instinct 
they took; and it does not matter for any purpose, for which 
the inspired oracles were given, whether the portions thus ap 
propriated might or might not be very closely followed, and 
used in connexions somewhat different from those in which 
they originally stood. For example, when the Virgin Mary, 
in her song of praise, says, "He hath filled the hungry with 
good things," she uses words exactly agreeing in our version 
with those in Ps. cvi. 9, and in the original differing only in 
its having the singular for hungry and good, where the other 
has the plural: but nothing scarcely can be said to be either 
gained or lost by bringing the two passages into comparison, 
nor can we even be certain, that the later passage was actu 
ally derived from the other. Or, when the Apostle Peter, in 
ch. iii. 14, 15, of his first epistle, gives the exhortation, "Be 
not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled, but sanctify the 
Lord God in your hearts," there can be no doubt, that he 
substantially adopts the language of Isaiah, in ch. viii. 12, 13 ; 
but as he does not profess to quote what had been written by 
the prophet, so he reproduces the passage with such freedom, 
as to manifest, that it was the substance of the exhortation, 
rather than the ipsissima verba containing it, which he meant 
to appropriate. There are multitudes of similar examples, 
which in an exegetical respect involve no difficulty, and call 
for no special remark; and if noticed at all, it should only be 
as proofs of the extent to which the ideas and language of the 
Old Testament have given their impress to the New. Taking 
in all the instances in which the expressions of the Old Testa 
ment are thus used by the authors of the New, as well as the 
more direct and formal quotations, a number exceeding 600 
has been made out. 1 No proper end, however, could be served 
1 See the volume of Mr. Gough, "The New Testament Quotations collated 


hereby exhibiting such a lengthened array as this; it would 
tend rather to embarrass than promote the object we have in 
view. Our business must be chiefly with citations of a more 
formal and explicit kind, fitted, from the manner in which 
they are employed, to raise the inquiry, whether they are 
fairly given and legitimately applied. 

There are properly, however, two points of inquiry one 
bearing respect to the form in which the citations appear; the 
other, to the application made of them. These are two dis 
tinct questions. Are the passages quoted from the Old Testa 
ment in the New fairly dealt with, simply as quotations ? And 
are the purposes for which they are adduced, and the sense 
put upon them, in accordance with their original meaning and 
design? In answer to the first question, it is found, that the 
quotations fall into four different classes; the first, a very 
large one, in which they exactly agree with the Hebrew, (of 
ten also with the Septuagint;) the second, likewise a consi 
derable one, in which they substantially agree with the 
Hebrew, the differences being merely formal or circumstan 
tial, and indicating no diversity of sense; the third, those in 
which the Septuagint is followed, though it diverges to some 
extent from the Hebrew; and the fourth, a class of passages 
in which neither the Hebrew nor the Septuagint is quite 
exactly adhered to. The whole of the passages might be 
ranged under these different classes; but for purposes of 
reference and consultation this would give rise to inconve 
nience; and we shall, therefore, follow the order of the cita 
tions themselves, as they occur in the New Testament. In 
adopting this course, however, we shall not lose sight of the 
several classes, which shall be marked respectively, I., II., 
III., IV., and one or other of them appended to each quota 
tion, indicating the class to which it belongs, with a figure 
besides, denoting its number in that class. A summation will 
be given, at the close, of the results obtained, and such ex 
planatory remarks added as may seem to be called for. This 
will occupy the first section. 

with the Scriptures of the Old Testament," Walton nnd Maberly, 1855; a 
volume which shows pnins find industry, but is not distinguished for critical 
ability; and is, besides, too cumbrous and expensive to be cf general use. 


Another section will be devoted to the second point no 
ticed the sense put upon the passages quoted, and the pur 
poses to which they are applied ; in other words, the principles 
involved in the application made of them. In the great 
majority of cases, however, the application is so manifestly 
in accordance with their original meaning and design, that it 
requires no vindication. All of this description, therefore, 
will be passed over, and attention directed only to such as 
involve some apparent license in interpretation. 



THE capital figures employed after each quotation, it will 
be borne in mind, refer to the several classes indicated above. 
I. Those in which the Greek exactly corresponds with the 
Hebrew. II. Those in which it substantially agrees with the 
Hebrew, the differences being merely circumstantial, and in 
dicating no diversity of sense. III. Those in which the 
Septuagint is followed, though it diverges to some extent 
from the Hebrew. IV. Those in which neither the Hebrew 
nor the Septuagint is exactly adhered to. The numerals 
subjoined to these figures give the number of that class, 
reckoning from the commencement of the Gospels. In all 
cases the exact translation will be given, whether precisely 
agreeing with the authorized version or not. 


Ch. i. 22, 23. In order that it might be fulfilled, which 
was spoken by the prophet, saying, Vooi> 57 xapOsvos li> 
faarpl ezet xac re^srae ulbv, zal xaXffOuatv TO ovofia 
WJTO~J E/ifjiavo jft: Isa. vii. 14. Behold the virgin 
shall be with child and shall bring forth a Son, and 
they shall call His name Emmanuel. II. 1. 


The deviation here from the exact rendering of the original 
is very slight and unimportant; it relates only to two expres 
sions, putting "shall be with child" for "shall conceive," n ??, 
and "they shall call" for "thou shalt call," ^-JD. J n both 
cases the Septuagint is closer to the original; it has lv yaarpl 

and xaleffsez. 
Ch. ii. 5, 6. For thus it is written by the prophet, Kal 0b 

. / ^ louda, ouda/juo:; 
. Ix croi) yap Isste jffST 
TOV Xaov fio j TOV lapoyX: Micah v. 2. And thou Beth 
lehem, Judah-land, art by no means least among the 
rulers of Judah; for out of thee shall come forth a 
Governor, who shall rule My people Israel. IV. 1. 
Here the differences are very considerable, both from the 
Hebrew and from the Septuagint. (1.) Instead of Ephratah, 
after Bethlehem, the Evangelist puts pj loitda an elliptical 
expression for situated in the land of Judah, and, coupled 
with Bethlehem, making substantially the same meaning as is 
sometimes expressed in the Old Testament by the compound 
term, Bethlehem-Judah, (Judg. xvii. 7; Ruth i. 1.) It merely 
distinguishes that Bethlehem from another in a different loca 
lity. So far, the addition of the Evangelist serves much the 
same purpose as the Ephratah of the prophet, which defined 
Bethlehem as the place that originally bore the name of 
Ephratah, (Gen. xxxv. 19.) The Septuagint has oTxov EypaOd, 
which gives no proper sense. (2.) Instead of "thou art by 
no means least among the rulers of Judah," the Hebrew has 
"thou art little to be (too small to be reckoned) among the 
thousands of Judah," nn-irr ^Sxa nrnS Y;*. The Septua 
gint gives this part of the passage with substantial correct 
ness, dkyoffTOZ EC roi) ewat Iv %tkdaiv /o joa. The words of 
the Evangelist express a meaning formally different, yet 
materially the same. Looking at the substance of the origi 
nal, it intimates, that Bethlehem, little in one respect, scarcely 
or not at all able to take its place among the ruling divisions 
of the land, was yet destined to be great in another as the 
appointed birth-place of the future Governor of Israel. This 
two-fold idea is precisely that also which the words of the 


Evangelist convey only they contemplate the preceding lit 
tleness as in a manner gone, on account of the now realized 
ultimate greatness: q. d. Thou wast, indeed, among the least, 
but thou art no longer so, for thou hast already attained to 
what in the Divine purpose was to make thee great. So that 
this change, as well as the preceding one, proceeds on the 
principle of explaining while it quotes modifying the lan 
guage, so as, without changing the import, to adapt it to the 
Evangelist s times. (3.) The remaining clause is a quite cor 
rect, though somewhat free, translation of the original, which 
hardly admits of a very close rendering lit. "Out of thee 
there shall come forth for Me to be Governor in Israel," 
V}?;:p Stfia nrn 1 ? *v:. ^ *\m 9 that is, One shall be raised up 
there by My special providence, who shall possess the govern 
ment in Israel; all one in substance with the Evangelist s 
" out of thee shall come forth a <jovernor, who shall rule My 
people Israel." 1 

Ch. ii. 15. In order that it might be fulfilled which Was 
spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, . Alfu-n:- 
TO J IxdXsffa rov uiov /JLO>J: Hos. xi. 1. Out of Egypt 
have I called My Son. I. 1. 

The passage of Hosea is here given with the greatest exact 
ness. The Septuagint is more loose, // ? Ar(. {jtsrexdAsaa ra 
rsxva :)roD, apparently taking the word for My Son, ^ 9 as 
a plural, sons, or children. 

Ch. ii. 18. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken through, 
Jeremiah the prophet, saying, 0co^ lu ^Papa. tyobada, 
*xAaudfJibc xal doopfib^ xoAvz, "Payj^ xAaiooaa ra rexi/a 
auTYfi, xal oux ijd&tymv Trapaxtyflrjvat, o~c OL>X eiaivi Jer. 
xxxi. 15. In Kama was there heard a voice, lamenta 
tion and great mourning, Kachel bewailing her child 
ren, and refused to be comforted, because they are not. 
II. 2. 
The departures from the Hebrew original are here quite 

1 For some explanation of the circumstances connected with the fulfilment 
of tha prophecy, and especially its relation to the governorship of Syria by 
Cyrenius, as stated in Luke ii. 2, see Appendix. 

a The received text has 0p?Jvo$ before xTwwfyws, but it wants authority. 


trifling ; they" consist merely in substituting " great mourning 
for "bitter weeping," or weeping of bitternesses, nnnion O3 ? 
a correct, though not the most literal translation ; and omit 
ting the second mention of her children^ which is found in the 
prophet "refused to be comforted for her children," while 
the Evangelist simply has, " refused to be comforted," namely, 
for the loss of her children. What is not expressed is clearly 

Ch. ii. 23. And he came and dwelt in a city called Naza 
reth, so that it might be fulfilled which was spoken 
through the prophets, ore Na^wpaco^ xtydfaerae, He 
shall be called a Nazarene. IV. 2. 

The words here given as a quotation from the prophets are 
not found in express terms in any one of them; and the mode 
of quotation, as from the prophets generally, seems to import, 
that the Evangelist had in view, not a single prediction, but 
a series of predictions, respecting Messiah, the substance of 
which might be compressed into the sentence, He shall be 
called a Nazarene; that is, He shall be a person of low and 
contemptible appearance, as the inhabitants of Nazareth were 
in a somewhat peculiar sense esteemed (John i. 46.) The re 
ference appears to be to such passages as Isa. iv. 2, xi. 1; 
Jer. xxiii. 1; Zech. iii. 8, vi. 12, in which the Messiah was 
spoken of as the offspring of David, that was to grow up as a 
nezer, or tender shoot; in plain terms, rise from a low condi 
tion, encompassed for a time with the emblems of poverty and 
meanness. Nazareth itself was probably derived from nczer; 
so that sound and sense here coincided. 

Ch. iii. 3. This is he that was spoken of by Isaiah the pro 
phet, saying, (Pajvi/j floa>vro{ zv T~/J Ipy/iyj, c A ro^atfarc 
TYjV bduv Kufjlo j, sutlzlaz ~ots t~ rc roiftoo^ oJjTul) ; Isa. 
xl. 3. The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Pre 
pare ye the way of the Lord, make His paths straight. 
II. 3. 

The same passage is also quoted in Mark i. 3 ; Luke iii. 4, 
and in precisely the same words. They are directly taken 
from the Septuagint, except the last expression, rpifiouz aitTou, 
for which the Septuagint has r/iifio jz roD 6eo r j fyww. Both 


renderings, however, differ slightly from the expression of the 
prophet, which is " highway for our God," - rrjbNS nbqa. The 
sense is entirely the same, only less fully and boldly exhibited 
by the Evangelists. 

Ch. iv. 4. It is written, O jx ITT dorat ILOVIO ^azrai 6 dv- 
#/>o>7roc, cU/ v Havre py/jari x7roptjo/jtsi>a> did 0roymroc 
6soi>: Deut. viii. 3. Not on bread alone shall man 
live, but by every word that cometh forth through 
God s mouth. I. 2. 

The passage is most fitly assigned to the first class of quo 
tations; for it is a close translation of the original, down to 
the last word, the name of God. This is Jehovah in the ori 
ginal, which is usually given in the Greek by A^/?;oc; but 
here the Septuagint has OSGIJ, and it is followed by the Evan 
gelist, as it is also throughout, except in the substitution of 
iv xavri instead of e~i xavrt. The insertion of p /j/j.a~t in the 
Septuagint and the Evangelist, without any thing correspond 
ing in the original, is only done to render the sense plain, and 
cannot justly be regarded as a deviation from the original. 
Ch. iv. 6. For it is written, * On ro?c dyfeAott; o.i>ro r j IUTS- 
nepe <roD, xal ixt %ecp&v dpouacv <TS, p.rj TTOTS Ttpo- 
tpoz tiOou TOV Koda voi): Ps. xci. 11, 12. He 
shall give His angels charge concerning thee, and upon 
their hands they shall bear thee up, lest thou dash thy 
foot against a stone. I. 3. 

The meaning of the original is quite exactly given, and 
given in the words of the. Septuagint only a clause is omitted 
in ver. 11 of the Psalm, "to keep thee in all thy ways." No 
change is thereby introduced into the passage, which, as far 
as it goes, is a faithful reproduction of that in the Psalm. 
Ch. iv. 7. It is again written, O jx Iz-eipdffstz Kupcov rbv 
6zbv GOL>: Deut. vi. 16. Thou shalt not tempt the 
Lord thy God. I. 4. 

This must also be regarded as an exact translation ; for it 

merely adopts the singular for the plural thou for ye; an 

interchange that is constantly made in the Pentateuch itself, 

according as Israel was contemplated as a plurality or a unity. 



The Septuagint here adopts the singular; so the words of the 
Evangelist exactly correspond with it. 

Ch. iv. 10. For it is written, Kb p toy rby Ozbv oo r j xpoaxu- 
vrjaziz,, %ai abrw /JLOUOJ Xarp^bas.^ . Deut. vi. 13. Thou 
shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shult 
thou serve. III. 1. 

The same words are given in Luke iv. 8 ; they are those of 
the Septuagint; but they differ so slightly from the Hebrew, 
that th e passage might almost with equal propriety be ranked 
under class I. The only divergence is in putting "thou shalt 
worship," for "thou shalt fear," NVJ> The fear undoubtedly 
includes worship, as its chief outward expression. 

Ch. iv. 14 16. In order that it might be fulfilled, which was 
spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, /^ Zapo Mv 
7.o.\ -fii Netpdakslfr bow Qa/Aaar^ Tzipav ro r j lopddvoo, 
FaAiAala TCOV lOvtov, b tabs b xaOij/Jtvoz Iv axoria yco^ 
eJosv pi-fa, xae rol^ xady/jievoiz iy y^opa xal ffxif Oayd- 
TOU, <pto~ dyTEtAy cwro t^: Isa. ix. 1, 2. Land of Zabu- 
lor., and land of Nephthalim, way of the sea beyond 
the Jordan, the people that sat in darkness saw a great 
light, and for them that sat in the region and shadow 
of death, light sprung up to them. IV. 3. 
It is but a part of Isaiah s prophecy that is here cited ; the 
Evangelist begins in the middle of a sentence, and does not 
give even the whole of what follows. The entire passage 
may be thus literally rendered: "As the former time degraded 
the land of Zabulon and the land of Nephthalim, so the latter 
makes glorious the way of the sea, the farther side ("O#) of 
Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles. The people (viz. of this 
Galilee,) those walking in the dark, see a great light, the 
dwellers in the land of the shadow of death, light rises upon 
them." It thus appears, that there are considerable differ 
ences between the Evangelist and the prophet, but chiefly in 
the way of abridgment, His purpose did not require him 
to produce the whole, and he gives only a part very naturally, 
on this account, beginning with a nominative, rf Zap., while 
a fuller quotation would have required the accusative. For 
the boby in the next clause, see at p. 42. It has very much 


the force of a preposition, and means alongside, or by the 
tract of, viz. the sea; the sea-board portions of the tribes of 
Zabulon and Naphthali. The only deviation worth naming, 
in the portion that is fully quoted, from the precise meaning 
of the original, is in substituting "the people that sat," for 
"the people, those walking" D\?Vnn o;;n; and "in the land 
and shadow of death," for "in the land of the shadow of 
death" .?^ H^f The difference in both respects is quite 
immaterial, and seems to have been adopted for the sake of 
greater distinctness. The Septuagint differs so much, both 
from the original and from the Evangelist, that it has mani 
festly exercised no influence here. 

Ch. viii. 17. So that it might be fulfilled which was spoken 
by Esaias the prophet, saying, AUTO- ra- aadzvdaz 
fyjiujv i)Afov xal rd^ vbcrooz IfldffTCurevi Isa. liii. 4. 
Himself took our sicknesses and bore our pains. I. 5. 

The Septuagint has here oDroc TO.- d/MUprla^ ^IJLOJV <pep*i, 
xal xs t oi f/fjLwv douudra ^ This one bears our sins, and on our 
account is put to grief. So that the rendering of the Evange 
list strikingly departs from it, and does so by adhering more 
closely to the original. There can be no doubt that this is 
the case respecting the first clause, "Himself took (i. e., took 
upon Him x ; ^) our sicknesses," or diseases. But it holds equally 
of the second clause, which is D^ag -irDto^ "and our pains 
He bore them." The only peculiarity in the Evangelist is, 
that he employs vbao j^ in the sense of pains ; which, however, 
is a very common meaning of the word, though not elsewhere 
found in the New Testament. 

Ch. ix. 13 (xii. 7.) But go and learn what is y JAeoc Oeho o j O joiav : IIos. vi. 6. I desire mercy and not sa 
crifice. I. 6. 

The passage is again quoted on another occasion by our 
Lord, at ch. xii. 7, and in precisely the same words. They 
give the literal meaning of the original, and adhere more 
strictly to the form than the Septuagint, which has v Ehoz 
Oiho yj Oufflau. This gives undoubtedly the substantial mean 
ing I desire, or delight, in mercy rather than sacrifice but 
it is obtained by a sort of paraphrase. 


Ch. xi. 10. For this is he of whom it is written, Jdol> If a) 


TaaxsudffZ! rr^ bow oou s/ji7if)0(76sv aoo\ Mai. iii. 1. 

Behold I send My messenger before Thy face, and he 

shall prepare Thy way before Thee. II. 4. 
In the original it is simply, "Behold I send My messenger 
(or angel,) and he shall prepare the way before Me." As 
given by our Lord, there is a change of person not found in 
the Hebrew / send . . . before Thy face, prepare the way 
before Thee; and it is also a little more explicit not simply 
send, but send before Thy face, and prepare, not the way 
merely, but expressly Thy way. The alterations are, like 
others of a like kind already noticed, plainly for the sake of 
explanation. It was in reality the same Divine Being who 
sent the messenger, and before whom the messenger was to go, 
preparing the way. But when that Divine Being had become 
man, and was Himself in the condition of one sent, it was fit 
that He should somehow indicate the diversity that thus ap 
peared in connexion with the unity. And it was quite natu 
rally done by the change of person introduced, by which the 
sender appeared in some sense-different from the person before 
whom the messenger went; yet, as the messenger had just 
been declared to be greater than all the prophets (ver. 9,) who 
could He be, whose way the messenger went before to prepare, 
but the Lord Himself, that sent him? This was evident to 
any thoughtful mind; and to show it was the same, and yet 
in one sense another, of whom in both parts the prophet spake, 
was our Lord s object in slightly altering the original words. 
The real meaning was not thereby altered; it was only adapt 
ed to existing circumstances* and to a certain extent expli 
cated. The Septuagint mistook the meaning of the second 
clause of the verse, apparently from not knowing that the verb 
p in the Piel signifies to clear or prepare; so, they rendered 
ijyi H23 by IxtplefieTac bdbv, he shall survey the way. 

Ch. xii. 17 21. In order that it might be fulfilled which 

was spoken through Esaias the prophet, saying, /ooy, 

6 7TCUC [J.OO, OV 7jf)Tt0a, 6 dfO.TlTjTO^ ftOU, OV SyoOX^tfSV jj 

TO xvev/Jid /JLOU ITT cwrov, me xpiatv roTc 


v dxajfelet. oux lolcrsc ouos xf)a>jfd(j*c, ouos dxou- 
ev rat^ irfareiaiC try (pwvYjV a>jToi>- xd.Aafj.ov 
pifJLfjLsvoy ou xarsdzzc, xal Mvov T>J<p6fj.yov ou 
ff^lffet, ewz dv IxfidJUQ e/c vTxoc ^v xpiaw. xal ~w ovo- 
/mrr a j^o 7 } I0y^ ihtiouffw. Isa. xlii. 1 4. Behold my 
servant, whom I have chosen, My beloved, in whom 
My soul is well-pleased ; I will put My Spirit upon 
Him, and He shall announce judgment to the Gen 
tiles. He shall not strive, nor cry, nor shall any one 
hear His voice in the streets. A bruised reed shall 
lie not break, and smoking flax shall He not quench, 
till He have brought forth judgment into victory. 
And in His name shall the Gentiles trust. IV. 4. 
By much the greater part of this passage might be assigned 
to the first class ; for it gives a faithful representation of the 
original in this differing favourably from the Scptuagint, 
which presents a very loose and incorrect translation. It 
merely has, "whom I have chosen," instead of "whom I up 
hold" 1 -~ =I??^; also, "He shall not strive, nor cry," instead 
of "He shall not cry nor lift up," *&: N*7] p*! K 1 ?; the former 
being only "more explicit, and affixing to the lifting up of the 
prophet the more definite sense of boisterous and wrangling 
procedure. But at the close of ver. 20, we have "till He 
have brought forth judgment into victory," while in the ori 
ginal it is, "He shall bring forth judgment into truth" 
33^? N-sv raxS or rather, "for truth (in the interest of truth) 
He shall bring forth judgment;" that is to say, His administra 
tion shall be in accordance with the principles of truth ; and 
that is not materially different from the sense of the Evange 
list, who represents the Lord s servant going on in His quiet, 
peaceful exercise of goodness, shunning everything that might 
lead to violent measures, or insurrectionary movements, till 
judgment i. e., righteousness in act and power shall have 
been rendered triumphant over all that was opposed to it. It 
is a free rendering of the words of the original, but one that 
gives with perfect fidelity their scope and import. And the 
same also may be said of the last clause, "in His name shall 
the Gentiles trust," which is the Septuagint rendering for 



what is literally, "the isles shall wait for His law." In pro 
phecy "the isles" is often put for the Gentiles; and these 
being said to wait for His law, is as much as, they look to 
Him as their Lord, they trust in His name. 

Ch. xiii. 14, 15. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of 
Esaias, which saith, y-Jxojy axouffsrs y.ol ou /JITJ GUSTS 
xac /9/s/Tovrec pWjMw zo.1 ou py loirs l7ta% jvOiy yap ~q 
xapota TOL> Xo.o r j TOUTOU, xat roTc watv ftaoiw 
xat TOU^ d(fdo.AtjLob^ WJTCUV Ixdfjtfjtuffav, JAY/ /rors 

tZj xat TOIZ OMTW axoLxjaxnv, xat TTJ xapoca 
xat IxtffTptyaHTiv, xal Idffopon oJjTO j^: Isa. \i. 
9, 10. Ye shall verily hear, and shall not understand, 
and shall verily see, and shall not perceive; for this 
people s heart has waxed gross, and in their ears they 
are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, 
lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and 
should hear with their ears, and should understand 
with their heart, and should convert, and I shall heal 
them. III. 2. 

The quotation accords throughout with the Septuagint, dif 
fering only in the transposition of a single word, putting obt&v 
after o^OaA/wj^ instead of after toaiv. Nor does it any other 
wise differ from the Hebrew, than by using throughout the 
future instead of the imperative ; what shall be done, accord 
ing to the Septuagint and the Evangelist, the prophet repre 
sents himself as commanded to do. But this was only a 
stronger form of the future; it ordered the melancholy results 
spoken of to be accomplished, because these were so clearly 
foreseen as going to take place, that the Lord might as well 
instruct His servants to bring them about. Winer, Gr. 
44, 3. So that the Greek version is but the plainer and 
milder form of the prophetic declaration. In Acts xxvii. 20, 
27, it occurs again in the same form ; and in John xii. 40, 
it is given historically as a state of things actually brought 
about by the Lord, " He hath blinded their eyes," etc. ; because 
what, in such circumstances, was commanded to be done, might 
equally be represented as in the eye of God already in being. 
In all the places of New Testament Scripture, in which the 


original passage is cited, it is applied to the mass of the Jewish 
people of the apostolic age, as if directly spoken of them. 
But it is clear from the passage itself, that it was uttered re 
specting that people generally, and that the prophet spoke for 
a long time to come. 

Ch. xiii. 35. So that it might be fulfilled which was spoken 
by the prophet, saying, "Avoi^w Iv Trapaftolacz TO arojia 
/wo, Ips jzofjiac xexpv/jtfjieya ebro xarafioZfc: Ps. Ixxviii. 
2. I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter 
things that have been hidden from the foundation [of 
the world.] II. 5. 

In the first member the citation literally agrees with the 
Septuagint, and only so far differs from the Hebrew, that it 
puts parables in the plural, instead of in the singular. In the 
second member, however, the Evangelist very markedly dif 
fers from the Septuagint, which has (fOsfzo/mi npoftXrj para art 
a f r /J^i I w ^ utter problems dark sentences, enigmas from 
the beginning. This is a pretty close rendering of the origi 
nal Hebrew, tng- M niTn njT2x ; excepting that "from of old," 
"from ancient time," would have been a little closer than 
"from the beginning;" but the meaning is the same. The 
version of the Evangelist, which expresses the same general 
sense, was obviously intended to present a simpler meaning, 
and to give a sort of explanation of the dark sentences spoken 
of, and of the ancient time. They were defined to be things 
that had been hid, not properly understood, and that from the 
beginning of the world. The Ipzuzo/mt of the Evangelist ex 
actly corresponds to the Hebrew, both signifying properly to 
sputter, or belch out, then to give forth, or utter. 

Ch. xv. 4. For God said, Ti/jta TW r:arepa xal Try fir/rspa 
xae, c xaxolofcov rears pa y /j-yrepa davdrcf) TeXeurdro : 
Ex. xx. 12, and xxi. 16. Honour father and mother; 
and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the 
death. I. 7. 

This may justly be assigned to the first class; for it gives 
the exact meaning of the original, only omitting the personal 
pronouns, thy and his, after father and mother, merely on 
account of the citations being turned from the form of a direct 


address into that of a general charge. The Septuagint no 
further differs, than in having the pronouns, ao>j in the first 
verse after father and mother, a>jroi> in the second ; and in 
having TzAzur/jasi instead of rs/eyraro. In Mark vii. 10, the 
ffo j is retained in the first part of the citation, but not in the 
second. Otherwise, it agrees with Matthew. 

Ch. xv. 8, 9. Esaias prophesied concerning you, saying, ^0 

/aoc oDroc ro?c Je&e< v //s r^, /j os xapdta 

Tib <> pun dx%c d/r* l/wu fjtd,Tiyv de 

rec oioaffxaAiaz, ivrdtyara dvdpanr&vi Isa. xxix. 33. 

This people honoureth Me with the lips, but their 

heart keeps far from Me ; but in vain do they worship 

Me, teaching doctrines, commandments of men. III. 3. 
The Evangelist here so nearly gives the words of the Sep 
tuagint, that the passage may be substantially regarded as an 
adoption of its words. The only difference is, that the Evange 
list abbreviates the commencement a little, puts the verb after 
Aooc in the singular, Tt/jta. instead of rtftcoffi, and, at the close, 
while using the same words, places them in another order; 
the Septuagint has, diddaxovrs^ivrd}.fJLa.ra avdpcoTTwv xal dtoo.ff- 
xaAca^. It is in the last part chiefly, that this version differs 
from an exact impression of the original. For the sentence, 
"But in vain do they worship Me, teaching doctrines, command 
ments of men," the Heb. is rm 1 ?? D BUX rnyp YIN DPNT <nni ? 
literally, "and their fear toward Me has become a precept of 
men, taught" (viz. by men, as contradistinguished from God.) 
An abrupt and somewhat obscure sentence, of which the Sep 
tuagint version is a kind of paraphrase, giving what is sub 
stantially the same meaning in a fuller and plainer form. 
They seem to have taken nru for irini and D^T fr the 
second person plural Kal of the verb, thus obtaining the sense, 
"in vain do they worship Me." This is not distinctly stated 
in the original, but it is implied; for their fear toward God 
being characterized as a fruit of man s teaching, necessarily 
bespoke its vanity. 

Ch. xix. 4, 5. Have ye not read, that He who made them 

at the beginning, made them male and female, and 

said, *Eexa TO JTOU xa-ra 


xal TYJV fiyrspa, xal xoM /jd /jfrerac rf) fuvatxl ayroy, xal 
(?oi<Tai ol duo ere adpxa [j. .av ; Gen. ii. 24. Therefore 
shall a man leave father and mother, and shall be joined 
to his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. II. 6. 
The Septuagint is here all but adopted, and, for any prac 
tical purpose, it is of no moment whether we should say, the 
Hebrew is rendered with substantial correctness, or the Sep 
tuagint is in the main followed. The Septuagint differs only 
in having a jroi* after Trar^a, which the Evangelist omits, and 
in putting TrpoffxoU^dijffeTac ~pb^ Try fuvac/.a instead of xoX- 
Ir^at-cai TTJ fwaal variations of no moment. Nor is the 
difference much greater from the Hebrew: this has his father, 
and his mother; and instead of they two shall be one flesh, it 
has simply they shall be one flesh ; by the tliey, however, 
plainly meaning the two in the preceding context. The sense, 
therefore, is the same. 

Ch. xix. 18, 19. Ob ^OVSLXTS^, ou fOfeua&<;, etc. Thou 
shalt not kill, thou shalt not commit adultery, etc., 
precisely as in Ex. xx. 12, sq., and Lev. xix. 18. I. 8. 
Ch. xxi. 4, 5. In order that it might be fulfilled which 
was spoken through the prophet, saying, EixaTs TTJ 
dufarpi Zicbv, loob, b ftaadz jz &o>j spheral 0w, xpauz 
7.0.1 iirtft.e.fhpc&<; Ixc ovou xai ITTI nattov vlbv uTzo^o-fioo \ 
Zech. ix. 9. Say ye to the daughter of Zion, Behold, 
thy King cometh to thee, meek and mounted on an ass, 
and on a colt the foal of a beast of burden. II. 7. 
There is a peculiarity in the commencement of this citation, 
the "Say ye to the daughter of Zion" being found, not in 
Zech. ix. 9, from which what follows is taken, but in Isa. Ixii. 
11; so that there is properly the joining together of two Old 
Testament passages. They both relate to the same thing 
the one more generally, the other more particularly. Isaiah 
says, " Behold thy Salvation cometh; behold His reward is with 
Him, and His work before Him." Zechariah proclaims, not 
the salvation merely, but the Saviour Himself, and His ap 
pearance and character. It is, no doubt, on this account that 
the two passages are thrown together, and considered as one; 
although, as it is merely the preamble of Isaiah s that is taken, 


the prophecy quoted as now fulfilled is strictly that of Zecha- 
riah. As given by the Evangelist, it does not differ much 
from the Septuagint, but it comes somewhat nearer to the 
original omitting, however, one clause, " He is just and 
having salvation." The last expression in the original, rrijnK-fa, 
more exactly means son, or foal of she-asses; according to a 
common Hebraism, by which the young of a creature is de 
nominated the offspring of that kind of creatures generally; 
for example, ^p T ?-jp, son of the herd, offspring of cattle. The 
Evangelist gives the import more generally, foal of a beast 
of burden including asses of course, but not specifically 
designating them. The Septuagint had also given the meaning 
in a general way Ixefiefyxcbz l~i u-o^jftov xal xtiAov viov\ 
and this, no doubt, was partly the reason of the rendering 
adopted by the Evangelist. 

Ch. xxi. 13. And He said unto them, It is written, 
oJxo:; xoffeuz xAfaffsrai bJtstz ok aurbv 

Isa. Ivi. 7; Jer. vii. 11. My house 
shall be called a house of prayer, but ye make it a den 
of thieves (or robbers.) I. 9. 

It is only the first part of this passage that is properly a 
citation ; and it is a literal version of a part of Isa. Ivi. 7. It 
stands there, "My house shall be called a house of prayer for 
all nations." Matthew omits the "for all nations," as Luke 
also does, but it is given in Mark xi. 17. The other part of 
the passage is the word of Christ Himself, charging the per 
sons before Him with an entire depravation of the character 
of the temple and a frustration of its design ; but He does 
so in language borrowed from Jer. vii. 11, where the prophet 
indignantly asks of the priests and elders of his day, "Is this 
house, which is called by My name, become a den of robbers 
in your eyes?" Our Lord purposely threw His accusation 
into this form, to impress on the men of His generation, that 
the iniquities of Jeremiah s age had again returned, and that 
consequently like judgments also might be expected. It is 
an allusion, however, to the prophet s words, rather than a 
formal citation of them. 

Ch. xxi. 16. Have ye never read, On Ix 


xal drjka^bvTajv xarr/pTiGuj a.woy: Ps. viii. 2. Out of 
the mouth of babes and sucklings Thou hast perfected 
praise. III. 4. 

A transcript from the Septuagint. The Hebrew has yj; rncr, 
Thou hast founded, or, more generally, prepared strength. 
Earlier commentators gave the sense of praise here, and in 
some other places, to the noun ; and it is still one of the mean 
ings ascribed to it by Gesenius. Such also must have been 
the view of the Septuagint translators. In the passages, how 
ever, where it is conceived to bear this meaning, it rather in 
dicates the strength, by which God gets praise to Himself over 
His enemies, than the praise itself. In the eighth Psalm par 
ticularly, the idea of such strength is appropriate ; for chil 
dren are plainly brought in there to show how God, even by 
such weak and foolish instruments, can put to shame His 
powerful adversaries; the strength of babes is sufficient for 
His purpose. So that we must regard our Lord here as adopt 
ing the current version of the Septuagint, giving the general 
sense, though not the precise shade of meaning in the origi 
nal. It merely differs in directing attention, more to the re 
sult aimed at, less to the means of accomplishing it. 

Ch. xxi. 42. Have ye never read, AiOov w dxedoxc/jtaffav o 
(HxodofJU&VTes, O JTOC; if^TJO fj V xsyafyu fcoviaz xapa 
K jolo j ifsvero aitT /j, xal lo~iv 8a>jju>acrT7] sv dtpOaAfJLOiz 
<qjy.(ov: Ps. cxviii. 22, 23. The stone which the builders 
rejected, the same has become the head of the corner; 
it was the Lord s doing, and it is marvellous in our 
eyes. I. 10. 

The Septuagint is followed verbatim, as it is also in Mark 
xii. 10, 11; Luke xx. 17; and as far as the quotation goes, in 
Acts iv. 11; 1 Pet. ii. 7. But the Septuagint here gives a 
close translation of the original. 

Ch. xxii. 24. Moses said, If any one die, etc. The refe 
rence is to Deut. xxv. 5; but the passage cannot 
justly be regarded as a quotation; it merely professes 
to give the substance of a provision in the Mosaic law. 
Ch. xxii. 31, 32. Have ye not read that which was spoken 
unto you by God, saying, Efa) et/ju o 6eb 


7.0.1 b $c6c y I0aax, xat b $t>c Idxcofi: Ex. iii. 6. I am 
the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the 
God of Jacob. I. 11. 

At once coincides with the Septuagint, and closely adheres 
to the Hebrew, but omits what is in both, after I am, " of thy 
father," as not bearing on the point in hand. 

Ch. xxii. 37. Jesus said to him, Afa-fazez Kbptov rbu Ozbv 
000 iu oty T 7j xaoola GOO, xal Iv o)y TYJ </>o%fi GOO, xat 
Iv oAfi diavoia GOO: Deut. vi. 5. Thou shalt love the 
Lord thy God with (or in) all thy heart, and with all 
thy soul, and with all thy mind. I. 12. 
The passage keeps closer to the Hebrew than to the Sep 
tuagint, which uses the preposition Is instead of Iv. The only 
apparent deviation from the exact import of the original, is at 
the close, in rendering ^HD-7^3 with all thy mind, as strength 
is the more proper meaning of the noun; but it is mental 
strength that is meant; and consequently mind is really the 
same, denoting the full bent and purpose of soul. 

Ch. xxii. 39. Afounjffsec ?ov nhjffiov GOO oc Gsaorov : Lev. 
xix. 18. Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 
I. 13. 

An exact translation, found previously in the Septuagint. 
Ch. xxii. 43, 44. How then doth David in Spirit call Him 
Lord, saying, Ecxsv Kbpiot; rw xopiuj /wo- KdOoo Ix 
poo, eto$ dv da) rolc l%dpo& GOO urzoxdrw TOJV 
aoo: Ps. ex. 1. The Lord said to my Lord, Sit 
Thou at My right hand, until I make Thine enemies 
Thy footstool. I. 14. 

Also an exact translation, and differing from the Septua 
gint only in having u-oxdrco instead of U7io~bdcov. The sense 
is the same in both. The passage is cited in the same terms 
in Mark xii. 36; Luke xx. 42; Acts ii. 35; Heb. i. 13; but 
in the last three with unoxbocov. 

Ch. xxvi. 31. For it is written, Hard^o rov Tro. /^eva, xal 

dto.Gxoo-tGOrjGovTat ra Kptifiara ri^c xoifjo/qc: Zech. xiii. 

7. I will smite the Shepherd, and the sheep of the 

flock shall be scattered abroad. II. 8. 

The rendering hero is nearer to the Hebrew than the Sep- 


tuagint, but it differs in putting the first verb in the first per 
son future instead of in the imperative, as in the Hebrew, and 
also in adding r^c jro/jttwyCj for which there is nothing to cor 
respond, either in the Hebrew or in the Septuagirit. This 
addition is omitted in Mark xiv. 27. The passage, as given 
in Matthew, is merely the simpler and more explicit form of 
that in Zechariah; by using the first person future of the verb 
7rara<7<7o>, the action is more distinctly referred to God, and 
by calling the sheep the sheep of the flock, they are more 
pointedly described as the Lord s select people. Both, how 
ever, were implied in the original passage. 

Ch. xxvii. 9, 10. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken 
by Jeremy the prophet, saying, Kal !7#/9ov ra rpiaxovra 
rrp Tiprp toy ren^/^voy, ov irtpyjaavTo anb 
IffpamJi, xal edcoxau oJjia et TOV dypbu roi) xspa- 
z, xada covera^ey /we K jptot;: Zech. xi. 13. And 
they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of Him 
that was valued, whom they valued from (i. e., on the 
part of) the children of Israel, and gave them for the 
potter s field, according as the Lord appointed me. 
IV. 5. 

The most striking peculiarity in connexion with this cita 
tion, is the circumstance of its being ascribed to Jeremiah, 
while in reality it is found in the writings of Zechariah. This 
point will be considered in Section Second, as it bears upon 
the mode of application. Viewing the words as those of the 
prophet Zechariah, there certainly are considerable differences 
between the original Hebrew and the Evangelist s version, 
though they affect the form only, and not the substance. The 
Septuagint differs again so materially from both, that it can 
have exercised no influence. The passage in Zechariah runs 
literally thus, "And the Lord said to me, Cast it (viz., the 
price, mentioned immediately before) to the potter, a glorious 
price which I was prized at of them (0"7v?, from off them, 
on their part;) and I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast 
them into the house of the Lord for the potter (i. e. that they 
might be given to the potter.") Here, the whole assumes the 
form of a transaction between the Lord and the prophet, who 


personates the Divine Shepherd, thus meanly rated by the 
people; in the Evangelist, the people themselves are repre 
sented as doing all as might, indeed, have been understood, 
would be the case, when the prophecy passed into the reality. 
The change in this respect, therefore, is entirely of the same 
kind with that which was made at ch. xi. 10 and xiii. 14; a 
change from the first person to the third, to adapt the words 
more palpably to the historical fulfilment, and render them 
more transparent in meaning. The same object led to the 
other alterations. In the original, the passage is very strong 
ly enigmatical; and so, instead of Jiterally quoting it, the 
Evangelist presents a sort of paraphrase of the words. But 
there are in both the same leading ideas, viz. that the Lord s 
representative, the Shepherd of Israel, had a price set upon 
Him that this price w r as the miserable sum of thirty pieces 
of silver that the transaction was gone into on the part of 
the people, and consequently by those who had to do with the 
house of the Lord that, in token of the baseness of the trans 
action, the money was to be somehow consigned to the potter 
and that the hand of the Lord was to be remarkably seen 
in the ordering of what took place. The words at the close, 
"according as the Lord commanded me," answer to the pre 
amble in the prophet, "And the Lord said to me," coupled 
with the imperative form of what follows. The disposal of 
the price of blood was described as of the Lord s appointment; 
and, in like manner, in the history, while Jewish rulers alone 
are mentioned as doing all, it is plainly implied, that the hand 
of God directed the course of events into the particular channel 
they took. 

Ch. xxvii. 46. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with 
a loud voice, saying, IDCt, //>^, Xap.a aaftaxdavi\ TOUT&- 

<TT(l>, 0eS [WO, [JLOO, ?Va Ti /J.S IfXaTskTZSZ J Ps. XXU. 

1. My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me? 

I. 15. 

The Hebrew is exactly given, but given in the words of the 
Septuagint. Mark only so far differs, that instead of 6h he 
has 6 #oc, and instead of Iva. ri he has sic . The sense ia 
quite the same. 



Ch. i. 2, 3. As it is written in Esaias the prophet, Idou 
rov d-ffstov [toy xpb itpoadmou ffou, o^ xara- 

T t V OOW ffOV 0COV7] fiQWUTOZ; V T7j IpljfJtqj, 

S rr^ bobu Koplou, sudetaz xots iTe rc Tpiftouc 
a\jro r j\ Mai. iii. 1 ; Isa. xl. 3. Behold I send my Mes 
senger before Thy face, who shall prepare thy way. 
The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye 
the way of the Lord, make His paths straight. II. 9. 
The Old Testament passages have been already noticed 
the latter at Matt. iii. 3, where it appears in precisely the 
same form; the former at Matt. xi. 10, from which the words 
here no further differ, than in substituting oc for xal before 
xaTaffxs jdcrse, merely turning the second member of the verse 
from an independent into a relative clause; and by leaving 
out at the close IpnpoaOiv GOD. This abbreviates the passage, 
and so far departs from the original, but the meaning is not 
altered. Eor the principle of coupling two prophets together, 
and under the name only of one introducing*quotations from 
both, see the remarks in Section Second, No. VIII., near the 

Ch. iv. 12. In order that /3/s/rovrcC ftXiit&ffev xal ^ I dcoaiv, 

xal ctxouovrsc dxo jcocrtu xal /rjy 0uv towns, /j:/j nors. l~t- 

ffTptyaHrcv xal d<fzd 7j ai>ro1^: Isa. vi. 9, 10. Seeing 

they might see, yet perceive not, and hearing might 

hear, yet understand not, lest at any time they should 

convert, and it be forgiven to them. IV. 6. 

The Evangelist does not expressly cite these words; and we 

only know, from their substantial agreement with the passage 

referred to in Isaiah, that they are a virtual quotation from 

the prophet. From the manner in which the passage is given, 

however, it is evident that the Evangelist only meant to give 

the substance of what was written. And accordingly, the 

words actually produced are a sort of compound of the first 

and second part of the original passage; and, intent on the 

spiritual import of the prophecy, the closing member, " and 

it be healed to them," is here turned into "and it be forgiven 


to them." This, doubtless, was what was really meant; but 
in so changing the passage here, and in the other parts, it is 
plain that the Evangelist thought it enough to give the sub 

Ch. vii. 6, 7. Matt. xv. 8, 9. 
Ch. vii. 10. See at Matt. xv. 4. 
Ch. x. 7. See at Matt. xix. 5. 
Ch. xi. 17. See at Matt. xxi. 13. 
Ch. xii. 11. See at Matt. xxi. 42. 
Ch. xii. 26. See at Matt. xxii. 32. 

Ch. xii. 29, 30. The first commandment of all is, y //*ous, 
Kupioc 6 6e oc fj/jtcou Kuptoz eFc iffTtv xal dya- 
stz Kupiov TOU 6s6v ffo j | otys T^C xapdta^ aoo, 
xal % 5A^C T " /Z ^/tyC 000, xal | otyz r^c oca^ola^ 000, 
xal s| oAyz T ^C t&%bo (TOO: Deut. vi. 4, 5. Hear, 
Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord ; and thou shalt 
love the Lord thy God out of all thy heart, and out of 
all thy soul, and out of all thy mind, and out of all thy 
strength. IV. 7. 

It is necessary to assign this quotation to the last class ; 
since, while very nearly coinciding with the Septuagint, it 
still slightly differs, without following the Hebrew. The dif 
ference is increased by the clause, o^c rfz dcavoiaz 000, 
for which there is nothing corresponding either in the Septua 
gint or in the Hebrew; but it seems doubtful, if the clause 
should form part of the text. Tischendorf omits it. Besides 
this, however, there is the substitution of iayjoz, for the 
o jva/^s^c of the Septuagint. The change renders it fully 
more close to the Hebrew; and, (supposing the clause above 
noticed being unauthorized,) the only departure from the 
exact translation of the Hebrew is in the preposition ^c, in 
stead of Iv pointing more distinctly to the action of Divine 
love, as being from within outwards, and not simply to its 
having its seat within. 

Ch. xii. 31. See at Matt. xxii. 39. 
Ch. xii. 36. See at Matt. xxii. 43, 44. 
Ch. xiv. 27. See at Matt. xxvi. 31. 

Ch. xv. 28. And the Scripture was fulfilled, which said; 
Kal fjLsra avb[j.a)v i/.ofiadr^ and lie was numbered with 


the transgressors. The passage is a literal translation 
of Isa. liii. 12; but the whole verse is wanting in the 
best MSS., A B C D X, and it is consequently omit 
ted in the later editions of the text. 
Ch. xv. 31. See at Matt, xxvii. 46. 


Ch. i. 17, comp. with Mai. iv. 5, 6; ver. 37, comp. Gen. 
xviii. 14; ver. 46, comp. with 1 Sam. ii. 2, sq. : ver. 
76, comp. with Mai. iii. 1; ver. 78, comp. with Mai. 
iv. 2; in these and various other parts of the first 
chapter of this Gospel, there are references to pas 
sages in Old Testament Scripture; but they are con 
cealed references, the meaning of the original Scrip 
tures being adopted, and their language, with more or 
less exactness, also employed, but without any formal 
citation of them. The object of the references, indeed, 
is as much for the purpose of elucidating the Old, as 
confirming the New; and hence therjD is a considera 
ble freedom in the mode of using the original. 
Ch. ii. L4. According to that which is said in the law of 
the Lord, c5^oc Tp&fov&v y duo Vc0<7<7ol>c TrepeffTspwv : 
Lev. xii. 8. A pair of turtle-doves, or two young 
pigeons. I. 16. 

The translation is as literal as it could well be ; for the ex 
pression in the original, "two sons of a pigeon," is but a 
Hebraism for "two young pigeons." The rendering of the 
Evangelist very nearly accords also with the Septuagint. 
Ch. iii. 4 6. As it is written in the book of the words of 
Esaias the prophet, (Pcovyj /3octvroc V T~/J Ipijuqj kror 
fj.dffa.TS Try bobv Kvpiov^ euOslaz TZOISITS rc Tpej3ou 
auTOi) Tidaa (fdpa*(s TrtyncodrjCrzTS, y.a.1 xau opo$ xal 
/9owvoc Ta7t$tuw6 /j(TTat, xai larat ra axoAta eiz eudslaz, 
%at a! T l oa%z tat eiz boob^ teias, xat Offierat TtiLaa craps 
TO GcoTTjpcov Tou 6zou: Isa. xl. 3 5. The voice of 
one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of 
the Lord, make His paths straight. Every valley shall 
be filled up, and every mountain and hill shall be made 


low; and things crooked shall be [made] into straight 
[paths,] and rough ways into those of smoothness; and 
all flesh shall see the salvation of God. III. 5. 

The citation so nearly agrees with the Septuagint, that the 
Evangelist may justly be held to have followed it. The first 
part of the passage occurred also in Matthew and Mark; and 
here too, as with them, the departure from the Septuagint 
and the Hebrew merely consists in substituting WJTOU for TOO 
6eoi> TJfjtwv. This Evangelist alone gives the latter and longer 
part of the passage; and the language, throughout, with only 
very slight and superficial differences, is that of the Septua 
gint. The Septuagint has xduTa before ra axoAca; it has 
rpayMo. instead of Tpa%tcu, and Tiedia instead of boobt; hla^ , 
no difference in meaning, grammatical diversities chiefly. 
The last clause, which, according to the Hebrew, is, "And 
all flesh shall see it together," is in the Septuagint and Evan 
gelist, "And all flesh shall see the salvation of God." The 
object to be seen the salvation of God appears to have 
been introduced for the sake of explanation. The manifesta 
tion of God spoken of was plainly that of God as the Saviour 
of His people ; and the Septuagint translator merely expressed 
what was implied in the preceding context. 

Oh. iv. 4. See at Matt. iv. 4. 

Ch. iv. 8. See at Matt. iv. 8. 

Ch. iv. 10, 11. Sec at Matt, iv. 6. 

Ch. iv. 12. See at Matt. iv. 7. 

Ch. iv. 17-19. Opening the book, He found the place where 
it was written, Iluey/m Kopioo ITT l/jis- oh ewsxev e//?:- 

TOL>Z 0uuTTpi/jL/j.vouz TT^v xapdlav of somewhat doubt 
ful authority,] xypvou aiyjjLaXcoTOtz dyzacv, xai 

Kopioo oexrbu: Isa. Ixi. 1, 2. The Spirit of 
the Lord is upon Me ; because that He anointed Me 
to preach good tidings to the poor, sent Me to heal 
the broken-hearted, to proclaim deliverance to the 
captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set 
at liberty them that are bruised, to proclaim the ac 
ceptable year of the Lord. IV. 8. 


Supposing the clause within brackets to be a part of the 
text, the Evangelist has followed the Septuagint precisely as 
far as dvct^s^w; but after that he inserts the clause, axoa- Ts.0. V a(fi(7c, not found in the Septuagint, and in the 
last clause, which is in the Septuagint, substitutes xypusae for 
xaUccu. It is obvious, that the Septuagint has been mainly 
followed, even though its rendering is not very literal. Thus, 
instead of poor, as the persons preached to, the Hebrew ex 
presses rather humble or meek D "!?>? ; and for healing the broken 
hearted, it has bind up. But in such a connexion binding up 
and healing convey much the same meaning, and the poor must 
plainly be understood, partly at least, in a moral sense. The 
clause, "recovering of sight to the blind," corresponds to what 
in the authorized version of that part of Isaiah, runs u the 
opening of the prison to them that are bound." But the 
original, nip-npa Dn>D^ literally is, "and to the bound open- 
opening," or complete release from the evil under which they 
laboured. The evil itself is not distinctly expressed; and it 
is only by a sort of conjecture that prison has been inserted. 
The verb is almost always used of opening blind eyes (for ex 
ample, in Isa. xlii. 7, 1. 10,) which accounts for the rendering 
of the Septuagint. The translator merely sought to bring out 
the meaning more definitely; and even now after all the 
helps of modern learning have been called into requisition 
this substantially is the sense that approves itself to some as 
the best. Dr. Alexander holds, that "the only natural sense 
which can be put upon the words, is that of spiritual blindness 
and illumination." The clause, dTtoffzsdae rzd. $.v aysazc, 
appears to have been imported from another part of Isaiah, 
ch. Iviii. 6. But how it should have come to be introduced 
here, is incapable of any proper explanation. 

Ch. vii. 27. See at Matt. xi. 10. 

Ch. x. 27. See at Matt. xxii. 37, and Mark xii. 29. 

Ch. xix. 46, xx. 17, xx. 42, 43. See at Matt. xxi. 13, xxi. 
42, xxii. 43, 44. 

Ch. xxii. 37. For I say unto you, that this that is written 
must yet be accomplished in Me, on */al /JLSTO. dvo/zaiv 
lloflffO-q: Isa. liii. 12. And He was numbered with 
the transgressors. I. 17. 


An exact rendering of the Hebrew, and but slightly dif 
fering from the Septuagint, which has Jv rot- dvo/jioiz. 

Ch. xxiii. 46. El$ y^tpaz, <TOL> naparlde/jtai TO xvsu/jid /J.OL> : 
Ps. xxxi. 6. Into Thy hands I commit My spirit. I. 

The words exactly accord with the original, and only so 
far differ from the Septuagint, that the latter has TtapadrjaofjLat, 
the future, instead of the present. The received text has also 
the future; but there can be no doubt that the other is the 
correct form, which is that exhibited in the older MSS. 


Ch. i. 23. See at Matt. iii. 3. There is here the substitu 
tion of bd jio.T for kroefjuLffOLTe. 

Ch. ii. 17. His disjiples remembered, that it was written, 
c # C/jAoz Toy oi xo j GOO Kara<pdfsrai /j>z: Ps. Ixix. 9. 
The zeal of thine house consumes me. I. 19. 
It only differs from the Septuagint by using the present in 
stead of the past tense of the verb. The Septuagint has xa- 
T<faf. The original is closely adhered to. 

Ch. vi. 31. According as it is written, v ///>rov ex rou obpa- 
vo r j eowxsv aroTc yafziv. Ps. Ixxviii. 24. He gave 
them bread out of heaven to eat. II. 10. 
The more precise rendering of the Hebrew is, " Corn of 
heaven "(DVDtP-]ri) He gave them." The Septuagint corre 
sponds with the Evangelist, excepting that it was simply ovpa- 
uo r j, without the preposition and the article. 

Ch. vi. 45. It is written in the prophets, Kal effovrat xdvrzz 
dcoaxToi Ozo r j: Isa. liv. 13. And they shall be all 
taught of God. II. 11. 

The form of citation is very general: "in the prophets," as 
if our Lord had various passages in view, the substance of 
which alone He meant to give. The words, however, so nearly 
coincide with the passage in Isaiah referred to, that this is 
justly regarded as the original. The sense only is given ; the 
more exact rendering is, "All thy children shall be taught of 
the Lord;" with which also the Septuagint agrees. 


Ch. x. 34 Is it not written in your law, on iyco ecTtov, 6sol 

iars\ Ps. Ixxxii. 6. I said, Ye are gods. I. 20. 
In accordance both with the Hebrew and the Septuagint. 
Ch. xii. 14, 15. According as it is written, My (popou, &i>?a- 
rqp Zttoy cdob 6 (3a<T(h j<; wj ep%srae xadypevoc l~i 
irattov ovou : Zech. ix. 9. Fear not, daughter of Zion ; 
behold thy King corneth to thee upon an ass s colt. 
IV. 9. 

Corap. at Matt. xxi. 5. The passage is here given in a 
somewhat abbreviated form, and so as merely to convey the 
general sense. It hence does not literally accord with the 
Hebrew, yet differs but slightly from it, as far as the quota 
tion goes: there is "fear not" instead of "rejoice," and "sit 
ting" instead of "riding" differences of no moment. 

Ch. xii. 38. That the saying of the prophet Esaias might 

be fulfilled, which he spake, Kupte, r/c iitiareoaev rfj 

dxofj fjfJLcijv ; xal 6 fipayjtov Kopioo rive dnexoAuyOy ; Isa. 

liii. 1. Lord, who hath believed our report? and to 

whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? I. 21. 

The Septuagint is here followed in the closest manner; but 

the Hebrew, at the same time, is literally rendered. Only the 

passage begins with a K&pee, which is in the Septuagint, but 

has nothing corresponding in the Hebrew. 

Ch. xii. 43. See at Matt. xiii. 15. 

Ch. xiii. 18. In order that the Scripture might be fulfilled, 
Tpdrfaw fjier iijLOi> rbu aprov, iTTflpsv in ip.s xty 
xrepvav aitrou: Ps. xii.. 9. He that eateth bread with 
Me, lifted up his heel against Me. II. 12. 
The words are fully nearer to the Hebrew than the Septua 
gint, and differ from it so little, that the sense is no way in 
terfered with. The precise import of the Hebrew is, " He that 
ate My bread, magnified against Me the heel." To magnify 
the heel is a peculiar expression, and undoubtedly means the 
same as the simpler phrase, "Lift up the heel;" namely, for 
the purpose of kicking, or overthrowing his benefactor. 

Ch. xv. 25. In order that the word might be fulfilled, which 
is written in their law, ore Ipiarjadv //* owpscfo: Psal. 
cix. 3. They hated me without a cause. II. 13. 


The original is wn ^DpV, they fought against Me gratui 
tously, or without a cause; \vhich the Septuagint also ex 
presses by l-ottmcrav. The fighting, of course, implied the 
hatred, and was but the expression of it; so that the sense is 
substantially the same. And possibly this mode of rendering 
was adopted to indicate more distinctly the moral nature of 
the conflict, arid divert the minds of the disciples from exter 
nal weapons of violence. 

Ch. xix. 24. In order that the Scripture might be fulfilled, 
JesfjieplffavTO TV. Ipdred fj.o>j la^rc^c? xal I/T? rbv lp.aTc- 
ff/wu fj.00 lfio.\ov jdypov: Psal. xxii. 18. They parted 
My garments among themselves, and upon My vesture 
they cast lot. I. 22. 

The words are taken verbatim from the Septuagint, which 
here exactly render the Hebrew. 

Ch. xix. 36. In order that the Scripture might be fulfilled, 
Offrow o j ffuyTpiffiffSTat auTou: Ex. xii. 46. A bone 
of Him shall not be broken. I. 23. 

The words again correspond with the Septuagint, and give 
a literal rendering of the Hebrew, with the trifling exception 
of a change of person and voice in the verb, to agree better 
with the application made of the prescription: instead of " Ye 
shall not break a bone," "A bone shall not be broken." 
Ch. xix. 37. Another Scripture saith/^ovra. ere oi> Izs- 
xevrrjaav: Zech. xii. 10. They shall look unto Him 
whom they pierced. I. 24. 

An exact rendering of the .original, with simply a change 
of person, to adapt to the occasion, as a word spoken of the 
Messiah, not by Him, as in the prophet: hence, look unto 
Him, not, unto Me. The Septuagint expresses it quite dif 
ferently, iTicfiAs&ovTai Tipbz /jLSj a^d wv xar& 


Ch. i. 20. For it is written in the book of Psalms, Feviq- 
Or/rto /J Ixavhz octroi) Sf>yf20<;, xac fj.r) Iffrco o zarotxcov iv 
ai)T7j\ Ps. Ixix. 25. Let his habitation be desolate, 
and let there be none dwelling in it. II. 14. 


The sense is entirely that of the original ; only what is there 
in the plural is here applied to an individual, and in the last 
clause, "in their tents" is omitted, and a reference made by 
the pronoun to the habitation in the preceding clause. The 
Septuagint does not differ materially. 

Ch. i. 20. And rr t v i-iaxo-ty wjro r j hdftero ers/joc: Ps. cix. 

8. Let another take his office. I. 25. 
An exact version of the original, and a transcript of the 
Septuagint, except in having Idfa-co for )A$ot. 

Ch. ii. 16 21. But this is that which was spoken by the 
prophet [Joel,] Kal IOTCLL lv rat- sa^dracc;, 
etc. The whole of this long passage is, with a few ex 
ceptions, a transcript of the Septuagint, and, as the 
Septuagint is here very faithful to the Hebrew, it is 
at the same time a close version. The lv ral~ l(j%.; of the Evangelist is substituted for fj.sra TWJTO. 
of the Septuagint, and p-OD^ of the Hebrew ; and there 
is a change of order in the two clauses of the second 
division of ver. 17; at the close of ver. 18 the Evange 
list adds, xat 7ipo(prjT$.uGooaiV) apparently for the pur 
pose of rendering more explicit the intended result of 
the Spirit s effusion, resuming what had been in that 
respect indicated before; and, lastly, in ver. 19, there 
is for iv obpavqj of the Septuagint, iv TOJ obp. dvco ; also 
for xal 7Tf r-^c J^C, there is xae cry/ista ITTC r^c rfz xdra). 
The slight additions are all of an explanatory kind; 
they seem to have been designed to render the mean 
ing at certain places somewhat more pointed and ex 
plicit. Though the passage approaches very nearly 
to the first class, it should perhaps strictly be ranked 
with the second. II. 15. 

Ch. ii. 25 28. For David saith respecting Him, Ffpoopa)- 
fjLTjV TOV Kupeov iva)~tov PLOD dca.~ai;T:6z, etc.: Ps. xvi. 
8, sq. The passage throughout is taken verbatim 
from the Septuagint. But the translation gives the 
original very faithfully the only, and that a very 
slight deviation, being in ver. 8, second member, where 
the original expresses, "Because He is at my right 


hand, I shall not he moved;" while the other has, 
" Because He is at my right hand, in order that I 
may not be moved." In rendering, however, so as to 
give the meaning at once of the Hebrew and of the 
Greek, the first clause should run, not as in the Eng 
lish version, "I foresaw the Lord," but "I proposed," 
or set, " the Lord;" and again, at ver. 27, instead of, 
"Thou wilt not leave My soul in hell," the exact im 
port is, "Thou wilt not leave (give up, abandon) My 
soul to Hades," obx IfxaTcdety&c rrp <!>uyj}v 
adev. I. 26. 

Ch. ii. 84, 35. See at Matt. xxii. 44. 
Ch. iii. 22, 23. Moses said, "On TzpoiprjrrjV UIJLIV 
Kbptot; 6 6eb^ fyjuou ex TWV ddeAip&u U/JLOJU, 
abToo dxouffeffds XO.TO. TidvTa oaa dv /(atyff 
EGTO.I os, xdcra (poxy fas &v /*y dx6bar) TOO 
Ixswou, lo).e6pevdyffeTat ex TOO Aaoo: Deut. xviii. 15, 
18, 19. The Lord your God shall raise up to you of 
your brethren a Prophet, like me; Him shall ye hear, 
in all things whatsoever He may speak to you. And 
it shall come to pass, that every soul which will not 
hear that Prophet, shall be destroyed from among the 
people. IV. 10. 

This citation differs as remarkably from the Septuagint as 
that of ver. 25 28 coincides with it; there is some resem 
blance between them in the first part of the passage, but in 
the latter part, not an expression is the same. Ver. 22 is an 
exact rendering of the Hebrew, as far as "Him shall ye hear," 
with which Deut. xviii. 15 terminates. But instead of pro 
ceeding right onwards, or passing over to ver. 19, in what 
follows the substance is given of the latter part of ver. 18, 
together with ver. 19. "He shall speak unto them," it was 
said, in ver. 18, "all that I shall command Him." This sub 
stantially is added after the quotation from ver. 15, "Him shall 
ye hear, in all things whatsoever He may speak to you" the 
things, namely, that the Lord should command Him to speak. 
And then the general import of ver. 19 is given. According 
to the original it is, "And it shall come to pass, that whoso- 


ever will not hearken to My words, which He shall speak in 
My name, I will require it of him." St. Peter makes it some 
what more specific, putting "every soul," instead of "whoso 
ever," and "he shall be destroyed from among the people," 
instead of "I will require it of him." Not different in reality. 
Ch. iii. 25. Saying to Abraham, Kal Hv TOJ (TTrsp/jtaTi ffo j 
iveuXoffjOirjaovTCU xaaac o.l HOLT peat r^c rfc Gen. xxii. 
18. And in thy seed shall all the families of the earth 
be blessed. II. 16. 

It follows the Septuagint, with the exception of ;rar/>rttt, which 
it substitutes for Idvy. The Hebrew has V^, and consequently 
agrees with the Septuagint. In the original call, however, as 
given at Gen. xii. 3, the term for families is used, although 
the Septuagint there uses <puXal. 
Ch. iv. 11. See at Matt. xxi. 42. 

Ch. iv. 25, 26. Who didst speak through the mouth of thy 
servant David, f/ /va rl l<ppuaav Hdyrj, xae Aaoc lfs%- 
xsi,d , nap&ffT qffav o! flacrch cz ~"fi rfz, xal o! dp- 
c ffui/y%dyffav ITZC TO auro xara TO~J Kuplou xal xara 
TO~J Xptaroit a JTOv: Psal. ii. 1, 2. Why did heathen 
rage, and peoples imagine vain things? The kings of 
the earth stood forth, (or up,) and the rulers were ga 
thered together, against the Lord and against His 
Christ. I. 27. 

A literal transcript of the Septuagint, and also a fair ver 
sion of the Hebrew. 

Ch. vii. 3, 6, 7, 26, 27, 28, 32, 33, 34, 35, 37, 40, 42, 43, 49, 
50: In all these verses the words of Old Testament 
Scripture are referred to, and cited in the course of 
Stephen s speech. With only one or two slight verbal 
exceptions, the Septuagint is followed, in which the 
plain sense of the Hebrew for the most part is given. 
But as the passages are recited in a merely historical 
way, and no specific application made of them, further 
than what is implied in their having a place in such a 
speech, it is unnecessary to exhibit them here in detail. 
No principle of interpretation is involved in the use 
made of them by Stephen. 


Ch. viii. 32, 33. Here again there is a simple production of 
an Old Testament passage, as found in the extant Greek 
translation, and. perused by the eunuch in his carriage. 
The version accords generally, though not exactly, with 
the Hebrew. 

Ch. xiii. 32, 33. And we declare unto you glad tidings, how 
that the promise which was made unto the fathers, God 
hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, having 
raised up Jesus, as also in the second Psalm it is writ 
ten, Y[6$ JJLOU el <TL>, Ifw ffypepov ^zfs^xd as: Ps. ii. 
7. Thou art My Son, to day have I begotten Thee. 
I. 28. 

The words are precisely those of the Septuagint, which closely 
render the Hebrew. As to the form of quotation, some MSS. 
have Iv TOJ xpcorqj <>atyw, which is preferred by Lachmann 
and Tischendorf. If this be the correct reading, the apparent 
incorrectness is easily accounted for by the known practice of 
the Jews, to regard the first psalm as a sort of general intro 
duction to the whole collection. In that case, what is now 
reckoned the second psalm would naturally be viewed as the 

Ch. xiii. 34. But that He raised Him from the dead, no longer 
going to return to corruption, He spake after this man 
ner, on dcoaco u/juv ra oata Ja jelo ra ~{ffrd: Isa. Iv. 3. 
I will give you the sure mercies of David. I. 29. 
The words again are those of the Septuagint, which corre 
spond with the Hebrew; only otooto is introduced at the be 
ginning, as necessary to give a complete sense. 
Ch. xiii. 35. See at ch. ii. 27. 

Ch. xiii. 40, 41. Beware, therefore, lest that come upon you, 
which is spoken of in the prophets, v /(?rc, olxaT 
rai, xal OwjrmvaTS xac d.(pa^ia0^rz on l<>*(ov i 
lyuj iv r?c fjusfiatz u/jt(oi<>, sfrfoi/ o ou /J.TJ ~t0TUffaTe lav 
TiZ ixdiypfiW. ufj.1v . Hab. i. 5. Behold, ye despisers, 
and wonder and vanish; for I will work a work in your 
days, a wjrk which ye will in no wise believe, if one 
should declare it to you. III. 6. 
The Septuagint is followed with such slight variations as 


are scarcely worth noticing. It omits the xal i-ej&eif a-cs of 
the Septuagint, which form its second clause, and also dav/id- 
0>a, which it has after dau/jidcraTe. It also inserts a second 
l^fo\> l()fov o OL> frrj which is wanting in the Septuagint. 
The Hebrew expresses substantially the same meaning, but 
instead of " ye despisers," has "ye among the heathen," 
which undoubtedly points to the moral condition of the per 
sons addressed, their heathenish, ungodly state of mind, rather 
than to their local position ; and it also has nothing precisely 
corresponding to the dyadic 6 Y^TZ of the Greek. ^The idea con 
veyed by this is implied rather than expressed in the original. 
That the passage is quoted so generally as "from the pro 
phets," is to be explained, partly, from the circumstance to 
be noticed in the elucidation of Matt. xxi. 5, that the minor 
prophets are scarcely ever individually mentioned; and partly 
because there is probably a reference to the very similar pro 
phecy of Isa. xxviii. 14, which may be regarded as the foun 
dation of that in Habakkuk. 

Ch. xiii. 47. For so hath the Lord commanded us, Tedeixd 
tfc (fco^ IdvoJV) Toy eJuac ffs c^ 0a)TTjpio.v sco^ iayd- 
ro j TY^ frfi: Isa. xlix. 6. I have appointed Thee for 
a light of the Gentiles, that Thou shouldst be for sal 
vation to the ends of the earth. I. 30. 
The Septuagint is again followed, excepting that the He 
brew is more closely rendered at the beginning, by the 
xd <7, for which the Septuagint has dsocoxd as ec 
fsvouZ The passage before us differs from the Hebrew only 
in the latter expressing My salvation, instead of simply, sal 

C.h. xv. 16, 17. As it is written, Merer. raOrcc dva<7Tpi(pto xac 
dvoexodofjojffw rr t v axr^v dausid rrp TieTtTcoxu co.v xai rd 
zo.Ts.amp.p.ei a avrrfi dvoexodofflffa), xai dvopdcbaco wjrrjV 
onto^ dv i.x^7jT~fj(tco(Jti> of xardAotTrot TWU d&ftp&ftQtV TOV 
oVj xal Travra ra edvy i<p* oEc SmxextyTat TO ovoud 
ITC adro JCj ^sj"se Kupto^ Tioccou TCVJTO.: Amos ix. 
11, 12. After these things I will return, and will 
build up the tabernacle of David, which has fallen 
down ; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I 


will set it up; so that the residue of men may seek 
the Lord, and all the Gentiles upon whom My name 
is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things. 
III. 7. 

The citation is made almost verbatim from the Septuagint; 
but instead of fisra TOUTO. avaorps^w, the commencement, the 
Septuagint has iv TTJ f][J-pa xz!vfl. The latter is what the 
original expresses; and the explanation of the diversity here 
in the address of James is, no doubt, to be found in the desire 
to indicate byefly the period to which the prophecy referred, 
as implied in the context: it was to be after the times of judg 
ment and humiliation there threatened had run their course. 
The Septuagint also, at least in most MSS., wants the rov 
Kupiov in the second verse, though this seems requisite to 
complete the meaning; and it has after the avopdtooco abr/jv, 
what is omitted here, %add>z at fapat ro r j aiioioz, as in the 
days of eternity, or of old. Down to this point, or through 
out the first of the two verses quoted, the Septuagint renders 
the original closely; but after that it deviates very consider 
ably from the Hebrew, though it still expresses the general 
sense. The meaning of the original, however, is so plain, 
that it is difficult to understand how it should have been so 
rendered. "So that they may possess (or inherit, the rem 
nant of Edom, and of all the heathen" this is what in the 
Septungint is turned into, "So that the residue of men may 
seek [the Lord], and all the Gentiles." It has been supposed 
they might have had a text, of which that was the literal 
rendering; but this is doubtful, as all the MSS. give the 
reading of the received text. The reasons for the deviation 
can be only conjectural. But as it is clear, that Edom was 
particularized by the prophet, only on "account of the enmity 
which animated the heathen toward Israel having assumed 
in them its keenest form, so that u Edom and all the 
heathen" was as much as "all the heathen, not excepting 
even Edom," consequently, the rendering of the Septuagint, 
adopted by Luke, "the residue of men and all the heathen," 
comes, though in a general way, to much the same thing; it 
denotes all sorts of heathen, wherever a residue of the old 

ROMANS. 425 

tribes might be found. And tbat instead of Israel possessing 
them, they should be represented as themselves making in 
quiry after God, the "great fact is still indicated, that there 
was to be an entire change of relationship between the 
covenant people and the heathen ; instead of hating and 
fighting against them, the heathen were to make suit to them, 
arid press forward to obtain a share in their peculiar privi 
leges. But this, in substance, is all one with Israel possessing 
them, in the sense meant by the prophet; he meant, that 
Israel was to become, in what was really important, the head 
of all the nations, and all were to come to them for blessing. 
So that, while the import is very much generalized in the ren 
dering adopted, the leading ideas of the prophet are still con 
veyed. And they are quite apposite to the point at issue; 
for they imply, that there were to be tribes of men seeking 
after God, yea, over whom His name was called as peculiarly 
His own, who yet were formally different from the family of 

Ch. xxviii. 26, 27. See at Matt. xjii. 14. 


Ch. i. 17. As it is written, "0 as dixwoc Ix irto^fac ffitrsrae i 
Hab. ii. 4. But (or, now) the just shall live of faith. 
II. 17. 

According to the original it is, And the just shall live by 
his faith ; or, as it may be rendered, Arid the righteous through 
his faith shall he live. The apostle, undoubtedly, gives the 
virtual import; for, as the suffix in the original, iro^K, un 
doubtedly refers to the righteous person, the apostle could, 
without the least injury to the sense, leave out the his. The 
saying is again quoted in Gal. iii. 11, and Heb. x. 38. The 
Septuagint only differs from the apostle s citation by inserting 

after xufrstbz. 

Ch. ii. 24 and iii. 4 adopt the words of Isa. Iii. 5, and Ps. 
li. 4, as given by the Septuagint, and correctly ex 
pressing the original; but the words are simply appro 
priated as suitable to the subject of the apostle s re- 


marks, and are not introduced as having any special 
or prophetical reference to it. 

Ch. iii. 10 18 is a series of quotations, in like manner, 
from Ps. xiv. v. 9, cxl. 3, x. 7 ; Isa. lix. 7, 8; Ps. 
xxxvi. 1, cited merely as proof texts on the subject 
of human depravity and corruption, and without any 
peculiar Christian application. They are all taken 
from the Septuagint, with occasional slight alterations, 
which indicate no material difference of meaning, and 
call for no explanatory remark. 

Ch. iv. 3. For what saith the Scripture, ExlffTevffsv as 
^Afipadp. rqj 0(jj, xal IXoyiffQy aurw ec^ dr/.aiOG>jvr t y. 
Gen. xv. 6. And Abraham believed God, and it was 
counted to him for righteousness. I. 31. 
The rendering is that of the Septuagint, and it gives the 
original with sufficient exactness. What in the one is " He 
counted it," is merely put passively in the other, "it was 
counted to him." 

Ch. iv. 6, 7. According as also David saith, Ala /dpcot a>v 
d(f>6ycriv a! dvo/j.!a.!, 7.o.\ coy inexaXuyd qffa.v al cLfmp- 
riac uaxdpioz dvr^o w oi> pr) AofcG^Tat Kupto$ &pa.pTiav\ 
Ps. xxxii. 1, 2. Blessed are they whose transgres 
sions are forgiven, and whose sins are pardoned: 
blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute 
sin. I. 32. 

The plural is here adopted in the first of the two verses, 
" blessed they sins transgressions ; " while the original has 
the singular. But the words are there evidently used in a 
collective sense ; so that there is no real difference. The 
apostle follows the Septuagint exactly. 

Ch. iv. 17. As it is written, ore r.aripa. xoMcou Idvcov reOzt- 
xd ffs: Gen. xvii. 5. A father of many nations have 
I made thee. I. 33. 

From the Septuagint, and a literal rendering of the He 

Ch. iv. 18. As it is written, O JTCO^ 1 ara.i TO a^ip^o. aoo: 

Gen. xv. 5. So shall thy seed be. I. 34. 
The same as the preceding example. 

ROMANS. 427 

Ch. viii. 36. As it is written, f/ On evsxev aou Oayarou/ieOa 
o):r t v ryv falpav, iXofiffdrjfiev w- xpopara atfaf/fi: Ps. 
xliv. 23. For Thy sake we are killed all the day long, 
we are counted as sheep for slaughter. I. 35. 
Again quite literal. 

Ch. ix. 7, 9, 12, 13, 15, contain passages from Gen. xxi. 
12, xviii. 10, xxv. 23; Mai. i. 2, 3; Ex. xxxiii. 19, 
which are merely historically referred to, and are cited 
almost uniformly in the words of the Septuagint. 
Ch. ix. 17. For the Scripture saith to Pharaoh, Ore eez 
aura Toi)ro lEifretpd <rs, OTTWC ^del^atftau Iv <roc rty ou- 
vafj.iv /JIOL>, xal OTZCO^ deaffsXfl TO ovo/md /JLOU iv TiCicr} rfj 
"j"7j : Ex. ix. 16. For this same thing did I raise thee 
up, that I might show forth in thee My power, and 
that My name might be declared throughout all the 
earth. I. 36. 

Here the Septuagint is not precisely followed in the first 
part, and the rendering is more close to the Hebrew. The 
Septuagint has euexsu TO JTOO deerypijSqc, ?va. 

Ch. ix. 25. As He saith also in Osee, Kate&w rbv ou la.6y 
fwj, Aaov fj.o j, %al rrp oux iff(arr}p.ivqV) f^aTir^eur^: 
Hos. ii. 23. I will call the not-My-people, My peo 
ple; and the not-beloved, beloved. IV. 11. 
Here again the Septuagint is departed from, notwithstanding 
that it gives a pretty literal version. The exact rendering 
of the Hebrew is, "I will have pity on the not-pitied (lo-ruha- 
mah,) and will say to the not-My-people (lo-ammi,) My peo 
ple art thou." The Septuagint in the first, expresses, I will 
love the not loved, d^a^aa) rrp oux fjToary/jtvqv ; otherwise, 
it is quite exact. The apostle gives substantially the same 
meaning, but he expresses the sense somewhat paraphrasti- 

Ch. ix. 26. Kal e ffrai ev ~w TOTTOJ ob lf>f>0y aL~o^? Ol> )uo^ 
[toy UIJLZIZ, zx xhjdyffourcu ulot OeoiJ ^WVTOZ: Hos. i. 
10. And it shall come to pass, that in the place where 
it was said to them, Ye are not My people, there shall 
they be called sons of the living God. I. 37. 
The Septuagint is here followed, excepting that instead of 


Ixst xtyO.) it has xty. xal afoot. But the Hebrew is faithfully 

Ch. ix. 27, 28. But Esaias crieth for Israel, /?y o d.ptQpb$ 
rcijy olcov IcroaYjA dc $ dfJLtJtoz TY^ daAaaar^, f o bnofafjifjia 

ffOjOfosTOl AOfOV J(L() (T JVTZAwy XO.l ai)VT[JLVWV cV 0^- 

xawff jyfi on Aoyov ff jvTeT/j.r / /jiyoy Kotijast Kupios Ixe 
T 7jZ T^ : -"- sa " x< 22, 23. If the number of the children 
of Israel be as the sand of the sea, the remnant shall 
return; for He is finishing His word and cutting it 
short in righteousness; because a word cut short will 
the Lord accomplish in the earth. IV. 12. 
The citation approaches pretty nearly to the Septuagint, 
yet does not exactly accord with it; nor does it, in the latter 
part, give more than the general sense of the Hebrew. The 
first part is a close rendering: If the number of the children 
of Israel be as the sand of the sea, (referring to the promise 
to Abraham,) the remnant (viz. that mentioned in the verse 
immediately preceding, u the remnant shall return unto the 
mighty God," this, but only this, not the countless, sand- 
like multitude) shall return. Then the reason follows; which 
in the original runs, For the Lord God of hosts is making a 
consumption, and (or, even) determined, in the midst of all 
the earth. The sentence is obscure ; and a paraphrastic ren 
dering is given of it by the apostle. It evidently points to a 
work of judgment, which the Lord was going to execute ge 
nerally in the earth, and from which the covenant-people were 
by no means to escape: Even in respect to them, He was not 
going always to forbear; and, while He saved a remnant, He 
would, at the same time, accomplish a work of judgment upon 
the many. This also is what is expressed by the apostle, and 
more distinctly. The Lord was going, according to it, to bring 
His word to an issue an abrupt and determinate issue that 
would signally display His righteousness; implying, of course, 
from the connexion, that Israel was to share in the severity 
of its inflictions. So that this does not differ, in sense, from 
the consumption determined, which the literal rendering yields. 
Ch. ix. 29. And as Esaias said before, El /Jtrj Kuptoz aa- 

ROMANS. 429 

Oy/jtsv, xal we Po/ioppa dv w^occodr^i^: Isa. i. 9. If 
the Lord of hosts had not left us a seed, we should 
have become like Sodom, and should have been made 
like to Gomorrha. III. 8. 

The Septuagint is here followed verbatim: it differs from 
the Hebrew only in one word, in rendering a seed, a-zippo., 
what in the original is remnant, "P&. It means, of course, 
barely a seed a remnant so small, that it should merely 
suffice for preserving a seed. So that the difference is only 
in form. 

Ch. ix. 33. As it is written, Idob rid rj tie iv 2ta>v tidov 

Ttpbffxo/jtfjiaTOZ xal xirpav GxavodXoo, xal 6 TrtffTS Jcyv CTT 

aurw o j jcaTCuaOuvO qffeTfu: Isa. xxviii. 16, combined 

with ch. viii. 14. Behold I lay in Sion a stone of 

stumbling and rock of offence, and he that believeth 

on Him shall not be put to shame. IV. 13. 

There are here brought together two related passages of the 

prophet Isaiah ; the principal one referred to is ch. xxviii. 16, 

but certain epithets, descriptive of the stone in respect to those 

who refused to use it aright, are borrowed from an earlier pas 

sage, in ch. viii. 14. There alone is the stone designated "a 

stone of stumbling and rock of offence." The apostle, com 

bining thus two passages together, uses some freedom, as might 

be expected, in the manner of quotation. He does not adhere 

closely either to the Septuagint or to the Hebrew. The He 

brew, indeed, is so nearly followed, that it may be said to be 

all but literally rendered. The only deviation worth noticing 

is in the last expression: the Hebrew is trn; N S, not shall 

make haste ; while the apostle, after the Septuagint, gives it, 

"shall not be put to shame." Not different in meaning, how 

ever; for the making haste of the prophet undoubtedly points 

to that hasty flight which they should betake to who made, 

not this foundation-stone, but lies, their refuge: these should 


very soon be found in a state of trepidation and flight; while 
the others, resting calmly on God s foundation, should stand 
fast, as having no occasion for rash and precipitate measures. 
The last clause is again cited at ch. x. 11. 

Ch. x. 5. For Moses saith, OTL o xor/jaaz OJJTCF. dudpwnoz 


yffZT0.( Iv afco cz : Lev. xviii. 5. The man that doeth 
these things shall live therein. I. 38. 
The precise words of the Septuagint, but also correspond 
ing with the Hebrew. 

Ch. x. 6 8. But the righteousness of faith speaketh on 
this wise, My efar^ &v ?fi xapoia GOD, r/c ava^ tfsrar sc^ 
rov GU(>avbv ; robr IGTIV XpiG~bv xr^/ ?v 77, r/c 
. Efpjz GOO TO p7jp.d IGTIV, lv TW 
c GOO xal eu TTJ xapdla GOD: Deut. xxx. 12, sg. 
Do not say in thy heart, who shall ascend into heaven ? 
That is,, to bring Christ down again. Or, who shall 
descend into the abyss? That is, to bring Christ 
again from the dead. (But what saith it?) The word 
is nigh thee, in thy mouth and in thy heart. 
This is not a quotation in the strict sense, but merely the 
free use of certain words in Deuteronomy, which conveyed a 
meaning adapted to the apostle s purpose, and is intermingled 
with comments or explanatory remarks of his own. The 
parts employed are given pretty nearly in the version of the 

Ch. x. 11. See at ch. ix. 33. 

Ch. x. 15. As it is written, .(?c ojpaccx of TTOOSC ro>v euaf- 
YkofJiiva)V dyaOd: Isa. lii. 7. How beautiful are the 
feet of those that publish good things. I. 39. 
The original is here exactly rendered, only the apostle 
omits " upon the mountains," as not required for his purpose. 
The Septuagint differs considerably, and mistakes the mean 
ing of the first part, rendering w^ wjta Ixi TOW opscov. 

Ch. x. 16. For Esaias saith, Kupts, r/c Ixlffrsuffev T /J axofj 
fjfjLcov; Isa. liii. 1. Lord, who hath believed our re 
port? I. 40. 

A transcript of the Septuagint, and a close rendering of 
the Hebrew. 

Ch. x. 18. Eiz KU.GO.V TYJV ?7jV, x.T.L An exact citation of 
the words in Ps. xix. 5, as found in the Septuagint, 
and also correctly representing the Hebrew; but the 
words are only appropriated, not formally quoted. 

ROMANS. 431 

Ch. x. 19. First Moses saith, Efco 

obx e#ve. , Ini ZOust da J^STuj napopfe<f> b/jtz: Deut. 

xxxii. 21. I will move you to jealousy by [what is] 

no-people; by a foolish people I will provoke you to 

anger. I. 41. 

A close translation, but taken from the Septuagint. 
Ch. x. 20, 21. But Esaias is very bold, and saith, EbpiOyv 

[sv] ro?c I/JLS /jq tyrouaev, IfupawjC tyevtifajv ro^ I jus 
But to Israel he saith, * Otyv rr^ 

xal dwtMfOVTa: Isa. Ixv. 1, 2. I was found of them 
that sought Me not, I became manifest to them that 
asked not after Me. All day long I stretched forth 
My hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people. 
* III. 9. 

The Septuagint is followed in both verses, only the order 

is somewhat varied; what forms the first clause here being 

the second in the Septuagint, and the otyv rr { v fjfjLSfKW in the 

second verse being thrown farther back. But the import of 

the Hebrew is not exactly given. According to it the first 

verse is, " 1 was sought of those that asked not, I was found 

of those that sought Me not." And, in the closing part of 

the second verse, there is but one epithet applied to the peo 

ple not "disobedient and gainsaying," but simply "rebel 

lious." There is no real difference of meaning; but the sense 

is somewhat more paraphrastically expressed in the Greek. 

Ch. xi. 3, 4. Two passages from Elijah s history are here 

quoted, but merely in a historical respect, as indica 

tive of the state of things existing at the time. In 

both the Hebrew is pretty closely adhered to, more so 

than in the Septuagint. 

Ch. xi. 8. As it is written, *Edutxeu a jro^c 6 6sbz m<L>/jta 
za~wjzzu)z d<pda%fjtoi)G roit p.rj /5/s/Trv, zal wra TLUJJ.T} 
dxo jsw. Isa. xxix. 10, combined with Deut. xxix. 4. 
God gave to them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they 
should not see, and ears that they should not hear. 
IV. 14. 
The apostle seems here to have combined two passages, as 


at ch. ix. 33. The spirit of slumber is spoken of in Isa. xxix. 
10, as judicially inflicted on the people; and an explanation 
is given of what is meant by this in words derived from Deut. 
xxix. 4. What might be expected in such a case, was that 
the general sense should be expressed, rather than a very 
exact translation; and so in reality it is. 

Ch. xi. 9, 10. David saith, FevzdiJT(o /} r/>a/Ta WJTCOV set; 
, xal i$ d /jpav, xo.c et axdvoaAov, xal eiz di^Tano- 
brdt^ crxoTCGO /jTwcray ol 6<pdaXfJLol aurcov TOU prj 

|9A&re*v, xal TOU VMTOU aijTajv did Travroc aufxafJL(jfOV. Ps. 

Ixix. 22, 23. Let their table become a snare, and a 

net, and a stumbling-block, and a recompense to them ; 

let their eyes be darkened that they may not see, and 

bow down their back alway. III. 10. 
The Septuagint is here followed by some very slight varia 
tions; chiefly the leaving out of lv(b~tov abra)y before erV 
xa fioa, and inserting e/c 0^/wxv, which does not exist in the 
Septuagint. Substantially, however, the apostle follows the 
Septuagint, though this departs considerably from the Hebrew. 
The precise meaning of the latter is. "Let their table before 
them become a snare, and for peace (lit. peaces, salams, salu 
tations of peace) for a gin (i.e. what seemed to be for peace, 
let it become for a gin.) Let their eyes become dark, so that 
they shall not see, and their bones continually shake." The 
rendering of the Septuagint, adopted by the apostle, however 
it may have been brought about, gives the general sense, 
though somewhat paraphrastically : the snare of the one, and 
its substitution of a gin for indications of peace, is amplified 
into "a snare, and a net, and a stumbling-block, and a re 
compense," that is, into things entirely the reverse, but such 
as they had deserved by their own treachery. The other 
verse varies less from the original; it merely substitutes, "bow 
down their back alway," for "let their bones continually 
shake:" only a different mode of expressing a state of op 
pressive and enfeebling bondage. 

Ch. xi. 26, 27. As it is written, Hszt Ix 2uov 6 frjbfjLzvoz, 

dxoffr (.>(/ si dasfletac dnb laxtbfl- xal o?jrr) wjrolz yxap 

l/wu diaOujxij) orav d< rd^ d/JtapTca^ auTatv : Isa. 

ROMANS. 433 

lix. 20, 21. The Redeemer shall come out of Zion, 
He shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob ; and this 
is the covenant from Me to them, when I have taken 
away their sins. IV. 15. 

This citation diifers less from the Septuagint than from the 
Hebrew, but it does not exactly accord with either. " The 
Redeemer shall come to Zion," is the first clause in the origi 
nal, or "for Zion," \ftfl ; the Septuagint has evexsv 2ttov\ 
but the apostle says "out of Zion." And in the following 
clause, what is in the original, " unto them that turn from 
transgression in Jacob," becomes with the apostle, who here 
follows the Septuagint, " He shall turn ungodliness from Ja 
cob." Peculiar as these changes are, they proceed upon the 
same principle as that which we have so often had occasion 
to notice in previous examples; without in reality altering the 
meaning, the apostle throws the passage into a form, which 
virtually explains while it quotes; as our Lord, for instance, 
slightly altered the words of Malachi, to render them of easier 
understanding to those who lived when they were passing into 
fulfilment, (See at Matt. xi. 10.) In like manner here, we 
have such an alteration put upon the original passage, as might 
render the only fulfilment it could henceforth receive more 
easy of apprehension. Christ, it intimates, will again come 
to Zion, as He has already done, and come to such as turn 
from transgression in Jacob namely, for the purpose of bless 
ing them and doing them good. But having already come 
and finished transgression, Christ has put an end to the old 
state and constitution of things, so that the Zion that then 
was is now abolished: Zion, in the proper sense, is above, the 
residence of the Divine King; and when He comes to visit 
His people for the full execution of His covenant, He must 
come out of Zion, even while, in a sense, He may be said to 
come to it. And, as regards the Jewish people, now rooted 
in apostacy, He must also, in connexion with that coming, 
turn them from ungodliness; for only thus could the ends of 
the covenant in their behalf be accomplished, and the Lord s 
coming be attended by the benefits pointed at by the pro 
phets. It is, therefore, the same prophecy still only, by the 


verbal alterations he puts on it, the apostle adapts it to the 
time when he wrote, and renders it more distinctly indicative 
of the manner in which it was to find what still remained of 
its accomplishment. 

The last clause, " when I have taken away their sins," is 
a brief and compendious expression for the state of blessing 
and acceptance, in which the people are contemplated by the 
prophet, and which with him is more especially connected with 
the indwelling agency of the Spirit. The Lord s coming 
finally to redeem and bless, will take place, only when the 
barrier raised by their guilt and alienation shall have been 
removed, and their personal state shall correspond with their 
privileges and prospects. 

Ch. xii. 19. For it is written, Ep.ol xdtxycric, ifto avTava- 

TcodcoGu), AsfS! K jfxoz: Deut. xxxii. 35. Vengeance 

is Mine, I will repay, saith the Lord. II. 18. 
The passage is not far from a literal rendering of the He 
brew, which is, " Vengeance is Mine, and recompense." The 
tefst Kupioz is introduced for the purpose of indicating more 
expressly, that it is the Lord Himself who there speaks. 
Ch. xii. 20. Contains a reiteration, and in the words of the 

Septuagint, of the exhortations originally given in Prov. 

xxv. 21, 22. But they are not formally cited. 
Ch. xiii. 9. Contains citations of the commandments of the 

second table of the law, where there was no room for 

Ch. xiv. 11. For it is written, Za> fto, ll^i Kuptoz, ort 

ipol xdftfiee TZU.V fbvu, xat IzofwAofyjasTai rracra ^Coaoo. 

TUJ 0sa>: Isa. xlv. 23. As I live, saith the Lord, to 

Me shall every knee bow, and every tongue confess to 

God. II. 19. 

The original passage is abbreviated; but it is so near to 
the Hebrew, that the deviations make no difference in the 
sense. Instead of "I live, saith the Lord," the prophet has, 
"I have sworn by Myself, the word is gone out of My mouth 
in righteousness, and shall not return" a fuller declaration, 
but not different in sense. * Every tongue shall confess" is 
also substantially the same with " every tongue shall swear," 

ROMANS. 435 

which is the expression in the prophet. For in the Old Testa 
ment usage swearing to, or in the name of the Lord, is simply 
to own and confess Him as the one living God. 

Ch. xv. 3. As it is written, 01 dvsidtfffjioi T&V 6vs.tdt^6vTcov 
<TS t/Te/TStfov IT? 1/j.s: Ps. Ixix. 9. The reproaches of 
them that reproached thee fell upon Me. I. 42. 
From the Septuagint, but exactly rendering the Hebrew. 
Ch. xv. 9- As it is written, Jed TOUTO IsoftoAoyTJao/ucu aoi Iv 
#v0w, xat rw depart ffoi> (f aAat: Ps. xviii. 49. For 
this cause will I confess (or, give thanks) to Thee among 
the Gentiles, and sing praise to Thy name, I. 43. 
Again from the Septuagint, and a literal translation of the 

Ch. xv. 10. Again he saith, EwppdvdyrG) edvy, fj.srd TOU Aaou 
al>Toi>: Deut. xxxii. 43. Exult, ye Gentiles, with His 
people. 1.44. 

Here the Septuagint is quite different; it has su(p. oupavot 
dim al>Tw. The apostle follows the Hebrew, only inserting 
the preposition between Gentiles and people, for the sake of 
distinctness. "Exult ye Gentiles, His people," is the precise 
rendering of the original; addressing the Gentiles as now 
among God s people, having one place and character with 

Ch. xv. 11. And again he saith, Aws ire xdvra rd Idvy rov 
Kupiov, xac ixawzGdrwaav aurbv Trai/rec ol Aaol: Psal. 
cxvii. 1. Praise the Lord all ye nations, and laud 
Him all ye peoples. I. 45. 

From the Septuagint, which literally renders the Hebrew. 
Ch. xv. 12. And again Esaias saith, " Eorat q pi^a roO Y<T- 
aol, xal b dw<7Td/j.zvoz dp^zw s^vwv, ITT abrw HOvf] i)- 
KIO~JGW\ Isa. xi. 10. There shall be a root of Jesse, 
and He that ariseth to govern the Gentiles, in Him 
shall the Gentiles trust. III. 11. 

Follows the Septuagint. The Hebrew is, "In that day 
there shall be a root of Jesse, that shall stand as a banner of 
the Gentiles; to it (or him) shall the Gentiles seek." The 
Greek is a free translation, but gives the sense in a simpler 
form. To be a banner to the Gentiles, is, in plain language, 
to take the leadership or government of them; and to seek to 


Him, in such a connexion, must be all one with repairing to 
Him in confidence and hope. 

Ch. xv. 21. As it is written, 01$ obx dwpfl ty rczpt ay-rov, 

Q(povT(u, xat ol oux dzr^xbaaw, awrjaouaw. Isa. lii. 10. 

To whom He was not announced, they shall see, and 

they that had not heard, shall understand. III. 12. 

Again following the Septuagint, which differs from the 

original only in some points that merely affect the form. It 

has "what was not announced or told them," and, at the close, 

"they shall consider," implying, doubtless, that they should 

so do it, as to understand. 


Ch. i. 19. For it is written, *A~oho rr^ ao<piav TCOU ffcxpcov, 
xat Trp a jvsfftv raw (TUVSTCOV ddzr^aco: Isa. xxix. 14. 
I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the under 
standing of the prudent I will set aside. II. 20. 
The citation agrees with the Septuagint, except in the last 
word, which is xpv<pw in the Septuagint, I will hide. The 
translation, however, though not the most literal that could 
be made, undoubtedly gives the plain meaning of the original. 
The chief difference is, that the thing is spoken of in the 
original merely as done, while here God is directly represented 
as doing it; this was certainly what the prophet also meant. 
To make men s understanding to become hidden, and to set 
it aside, are obviously but different modes of expressing the 
same thing. 

Ch. i. 31. An abbreviated form of the sentiment contained 

in Jer. ix. 24, and not strictly a quotation. 
Ch. ii. 9. As it is written, c // oipdaX^b^ o jx e?osv, xat ou$ 
oux yjxo jffsv, xat Ixe xapolav dvdfH&nou obx duefy, oaa 
/jTOtfjiaaev 6 6eb^ TO C^ ayajcwoiv aurov: Isa. Ixiv. 4. 
Things which eye saw not, and ear heard not, and upon 
the heart of man came not up, the things which God 
has prepared for them that love Him. IV. 16. 
This citation agrees neither with the Hebrew nor with the 
Greek of any particular passage of the Old Testament. It 
comes nearest, however, to Isa. Ixiv. 4, where the exact ren 
dering of the original is, "And from the beginning of the 


world they heard not, they perceived not by the ear, the eye 
saw not, God, beside Thee (or, a God beside Thee,) who 
will do for him that trusteth on Him." It is an obscure pas 
sage, and is rather paraphrased than translated by the apostle- 
The "neither hearing nor perceiving by the ear," is a kind 
of reiteration for the purpose of strongly asserting, that the 
matters referred to lay entirely remote from any cognizance 
of men s faculties; but the apostle, instead of giving this du 
plicate reference to ear knowledge, carries it into the region 
of the heart, and uses words substantially taken from the 
cognate passage of ch. Ixv. 17, "it came not up upon the 
heart." The Septuagint has in the latter place, ob /JLTJ IxeWT] 
ab-rwv Ini rrp xapdiav, so similar to the phrase here employed 
by the apostle, that one can scarcely doubt he had it in view. 
The citation, therefore, proceeds on the principle of bringing 
distinctly out, by a sort of paraphrastic interpretation, the 
import of the passage, and, while doing so, availing himself 
in part of language furnished by another passage in Isaiah s 

Ch. iii. 19. For it is written, ^0 dpaffff6fiew> rob? ffoipobc 
iu T7J Tiavoupfla GL>JTWV: Job v. 13. He taketh the 
wise in their own craftiness. I. 46. 

The original is closely rendered, but not in the words of 
the Septuagint. 

Ch. iii. 20. And again, K6 t otoz ytvcbaxsi rolc dealofeff/JLob^ 
TOJV ffo<f(jjy, ore etffiv /mrafoc: Ps. xciv. 11. The Lord 
knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain. 
II. 22. 

It differs from the Septuagint, and also from the Hebrew, 
only by putting "the wise," instead of "man." But as man 
is used emphatically by the Psalmist, as much as the most 
skilful, the most aspiring of men, it comes to the same thing 
as the apostle s wise. 

Ch. ix. 9. For in the law of Moses it is written, Ob (ftjutcb- 
tfs. C pouv aAocovTa: Deut. xxv. 4. Thou shalt not 
muzzle the ox that treadeth. I. 47. 

A literal translation, and in the words of the Septuagint. 
Ch. x. 7. As it is written, ExdOursv b Xab^<pa t ^ zai 



xal dvlffryvau Tiol^ziv. Ex. xxxii. 6. The people sat 
down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. I. 48. 
Another literal translation, and in the words of the Sep 

Ch. xiv. 21. In the law it is written, "On li> hepo^cocrffo^ 
xal iv ystksatv fa&p&v JtaAfow rw haw TO JTOJ, xal obS 1 
o jTcoz etGaxo jaovrai fj.00) XsfZi Kuptot;: Isa. xxviii. 11, 
12. For in other tongues, and in lips of other per 
sons (strangers,) will I speak to this people; and not 
thus [even] will they listen to Me, saith the Lord. II. 

Here the Septuagint is quite forsaken, being palpably in 
correct. The meaning of the Hebrew is given, though not by 
a close translation: what is there "stammering lips and ano 
ther tongue," is here put in an explicated form by "other 
tongues and lips of strangers;" i.e. unaccustomed modes of 
speech and address. The same thing seems to be meant by 
both forms of expression. 

Ch. xv. 25, 27, 32, 45. The language is adopted of the fol 
lowing passages: Ps. ex. 1, viii. 7; Isa. xxii. 13; Gen. 
ii. 7. 

Ch. xv. 54. Then shall be fulfilled the word that is written, 
KaT~6d7} b OdvaTO^ ^c v?xo<;: Isa. xxv. 8. Death is 
swallowed up into victory. I. 49. 

A literal translation ; for n> J~> means to perfection, or to 
glory, as well as to perpetuity; but quite different from the 
{Septuagint, which has xareTtczv b OdvaTo;; layjjaa^. 


Ch. vi. 2. For He saith, Kotow ozxrw Inyxooad aou, xal iv 
ijp&pq. ocorypiaz i^d^ffd aoi : Isa. xlix. 8. In an ac 
ceptable time I heard thee, and in a day of salvation I 
succoured thee. I. 50. 

A close translation, taken verbatim from the Septuagint. 

Ch. vi. 16. A3 God said, ore ivor/yau) v avro^c xal ifmspt- 
noLtinffW) xal iffOfjuu a jTcou, xal abrol siaouTat. /JLOO 
/aoc: Lev. xxvi. 11, 12. I will dwell among them, 


and I will walk among them, and I will be their God, 
and they shall be My people. II. 23. 
The meaning entirely accords with the Hebrew; only, in 
stead of "I will set My tabernacle," it has "I will dwell;" 
and it uses throughout the oblique instead of the direct form 
of address, as in the original and the Septuagint. 

Ch. vi. 17, 18. dib IseAdsTs Ix /ISCFOV aurajv xal dtpopitrOyTS 
(saith the Lord,) xal dxaOdorov fiy aTiTeffde xdycb etcr- 
oszo/jiat utJiu.Z) xal laotmt utftv el^ Tcarepa, xal ufjistz 
i&zffOe /Jtof etz utobz xal do^arspa^ saith the Lord Al 
mighty: Isa. lii. 11, 12; Jer. xxxi. 9, 33. Wherefore 
come out from among them, and be ye separate saith 
the Lord and touch not the unclean thing; and I will 
receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and you 
shall be to Me sons and daughters saith the Lord Al 
mighty. IV. 17. 

The first of these two verses is a free translation of Isa. lii. 
11, and a portion of verse 12, which contains an address to the 
Lord s people, as redeemed, to go forth from their state of 
bondage and depression, and to separate themselves from all 
the defilements amid which they were placed; with the assu 
rance, that if they did so, the Lord Himself would go with 
them and defend them. Undoubtedly, the substance of the 
prophet s declaration is given by the apostle. The remaining 
part of the passage seems to be a compressed exhibition of the 
purport of several verses in particular, the two referred to 
in Jeremiah. Jer. iii. 19 might also be included, and 2 Sam. 
vii. 14 has sometimes been thought to be referred to. In all 
these passages the same sentiment is undoubtedly expressed, 
viz., the acknowledgment of a filial relationship on the part 
of God toward those who should forsake their sins, and give 
themselves to His service. But as to the formal character of 
both these verses, it may be questioned whether they should 
be regarded strictly as a quotation or, rather, as an utter 
ance of the Lord s mind by the apostle himself; though couched 
in the style of ancient prophecy, and with reference to certain 
passages contained in it. So that we might say, substantially, 
the Lord spake thus in former times ; formally, and explicitly , 
He speaks thus now. . 


Ch. viii. 15. As it is written, TO xoftj obx ZTTAzovavzv, xat 
b TO oMyov obx fjAaTToyrjffsy : Exod. xvi. 18. He that 
[got] the much had no surplus, and he that [got] the 
little had no lack. I. 51. 

A close translation, and very nearly the same as the Sep 

Ch. ix. 9. As it is written, ^EaxopxiGsv, eocoxsv ro?c izewjatv, 
/} oixacoff jyq abTob p.ivs.1 et^ TOV atcova: Ps. cxii. 9. He 
dispersed, He gave to the poor, His righteousness en- 
dureth for ever. I. 52. 

The same precisely as in the last example. 


Ch. iii. 8. The Scripture preached before the Gospel to Abra 
ham : c/ OTC ivs.oXoyr]67jGovTac iv Gol TidvTa TO. HOvy : Gen. 
xii. 3. In thee shall all nations be blessed. I. 53. 
The original, in Gen. xii. 3, h&s families instead of nations; 
the Septuagint <pulal; but this is all one with nations; and 
the word for the latter is frequently used in the repetition of 
the promise: Gen. xviii. 18, xxii. 18. 

Ch. iii. 10. For it is written, ore ImxaTdparoz xaz oc obx 

ubfJLOi), Tob TIO^GU.I ai)rd: Deut. xxvii. 20. Cursed is 
every one that continueth not in all things that are 
written in the book of the law, to do them. II. 24. 
The citation differs only in a few unimportant particulars 
from the Septuagint, and from the Heb