« AnteriorContinua »
arrangement of words, should bestoly Jesuit. Missionaries and the religion so many appellations upon the person of the Eastern nations, only proves, by whom the name was to be given, either that, with more knowledge, and only one upon the individual they sinfully accommodated the gosnamed ? It is contrary to common pel to the prejudices of those whom sense. (?) The LXX. have thus trans- they instructed, or that their own Jated the words : “ And his name
convictions were influenced by Heashall be called Messenger of the great thenish conceptions. This is not the Council; for I will bring peace upon only example which the Christian the rulers.” -I think that the LXX., Church presents of the combination terrified by the majesty of the names, of pure Christianity with the reveries durst not say of the child what are of Pagan superstition. evidently names of the Supreme Be- (3) 70 It would be difficult to ing; but for the six names have given prove that the metaphysical idea of what is not in the Hebrew-angel or duration absolutely without end, is messenger of the great council, &c. included in this Hebrew word. In But they have taken Wonderful Coun. the following passage it clearly is not, sellor for Wonderful Council ; the Job. xx. iv. The fact is, that it ex. words 7100 5x, the component parts presses indefinite future duration, and of the name Gabriel, they have under. in this respect is somewhat allied to stood of that illustrious angel, whence the scriptural usage of away. Mr. they have translated angel; the rest Wallace’s translation does not, I they haye expressed as if they had think, come up to the force of the read Bisw 1w by N'IN, and what is original. Awww requires Hellovoa in added, and health to him, or, as Je. order to express futurity, whercas romc reads it, and his healih, is a the above Hebrew word does not. gloss, from another interpretation of (4) One does not see any great some one who for ano5, which be- propriety for the caution here exgins the next verse, read xD7gb. See pressed by our orthodox critic. It is Cappellus and Vitringa.
necessary, indeed, to the system of
interpretation, to which such an anaRemarks.
logical explication would be fatal. (") The force of this reasoning, is There would be greater propriety in not obvious. The two words 71233e the caution if the appellation had been appear to follow each other only found in the narrative of the book of twice in the Bible-Isaiah ix. 6, and Genesis. x. 21. We cannot reason, therefore, (%) This rule will generally hold from the regimen of the words in one good, because the nominative to sop' case, that the same must necessarily is not usually expressed, or it conbe the case in the other also. Dr. sists of one noun only. The common Smith's assertion, that “wherever the usage of the Hebrew language, by two words occur together, they are which the verb precedes its nominainvariably connected as substantive tive, occasions the only ambiguity of and adjective in the same order,". the passage. would naturally imply that there are () That no implicit reliance should many such instances. But, with the be placed on the Masoretic punctuaexception of one passage, in all the tion, has been admitted by critics of instances which he cites, either some profound learning and sound judgother adjective is employed, or some ment. As an argument with Rosenother adjective intervenes.
müller, it may be urged, that we may (?) What can be more absurd than fairly presume that the Chaldee interto attempt to explain passages of the preter would be as well acquainted Jewish Scriptures by the leading dog. with the traditionary explanation of mas of Heathenism; to borrow, in the passage, as the Masorites themshort, from a system which denied selves, whom he preceded by several the unchangeableness and unity of the centuries. Or, if it be admitted that Deity, illustrations of the perfections the Masoretic punctuation reflects the of the God of Israel, who in innume- sense attributed to this passage from. rable passages declares these to be before the time when this paraphrase his essential attributes ? The agree- was made, it must also, one would ment between the doctrines of the suppose, be adınitted that he, as well
as they, must have known of this an- surely none is required in the case cient interpretation. Any argument, before us. therefore, founded on the disagree- (18) Rosenmüller does not, (at least ment of the Chaldee interpreters, who in the 2nd edit.,) as Dr. S. affirms, were themselves Jews of ancient date, translate 70'2x immortal, but eter: with the Masoretic punctuation, must nal; nor does he employ any reasonbe frail and unsatisfactory.
ing to shew that the phrase is incon(7) Rosenmüller should have in- sistent with long, though indefinite, formed his readers that the different duration, which is admitted by Pageditions of the Septuagint vary greatly ninus, Cocceius and Parkhurst. in the rendering of our passage. They are accurately and faithfully described SIR,
Dec. 5, 1824. by Dr. Pye Smith.
S the “ Creed” to which the
Postadrep Sesithe, in the following A Scotlowing selectures
, which the
observations, that all those to whom Philadelphia Universalist Magazine, they will have any interest, have ac- relate, has been laid before your cess to Dr. Pye Smith's Scripture readers, (Vol. XIX. pp. 14, 339,) Testimony."
I transcribe a copy lately received (8) In opposition to Grotius, Dr. from America for insertion, in the S. remarks, that per signifies a giver hope they may convey useful instrucof counsel, and not a solicitor of it. tion to some of the brethren on this The verb, however, from which this side the Atlantic, who may equally participial form is derived, may be require it, and not be unacceptable taken in either sense. If, at least, to others of your readers. we can depend upon Cocceius, (ed.
F. 1777,) whom Dr. Smith frequently “ A Novel Creed, intended for consults, this verb denotes “partim Quakers, but honourably rejected by concilium dare, partim concilium ca- them. pere,” so as to correspond with both “One would have thought that the the English words to counsel and to Christian world, of all sects and denoconsult. See also Pagninus: “ Con- minations, had become too well insiliarius, consulta.” Ought not the formed, for any few designing men to erudition and accuracy of Grotius to attempt to make and palma Creed have vouched for the possibility of his upon a whole body of Christians, altranslation ?
most without their knowledge or con(9) Dr. Sinith attributes to Rosen- sent: but if our information be cor-, müller the words, “se hic est for- rect, (and we have it from one of the tis, potens, heros, as Job xli. 17; 2 Society who was present at the GeneKings xxiv. 15,” which he proceeds ral Meeting of Friends,) the way in to controvert. Dr. Smith perhaps which the Essay of a Creed (from employed the first edition of the Scho, which we have made the following lia, as the clause is not to be found extracts) was got up, and attempted in the second edition.
to be carried in the General Meeting, (10) Is Dr. Smith correct in affirm- falls but little short of the manner of ing that the Arabic (if of the London making creeds in the third and fourth Polyglott) supports the reading of the centuries. To the credit, however, of Hebrew? It appears to be a combi. the Society, the attempt did not sucnation of the different readings of the ceed. LXX.
“ The Essay of a Creed from which ("') Dr. Smith objects to the inter- the following extracts were taken, was pretation of Le Clerc, that the prefix adopted and printed by " the Meeting
might have been expected before for Sufferings" of the Yearly Meeting b can see no reason that this of Pennsylvania, and copied on their should be, and the probability surely Minutes, which are annually read in is, that Le Clerc would have attended the Yearly Meeting for its approbato this if he believed it to be a rule of tion: but so much disapprobation was the Hebrew grammar. If in the fol- expressed with it, that the painphlet lowing instances,-Gen. i. 2, “spirit was ordered “not to be published.” of God;" Exod. ix. 29, “ voice of Hence the work was suppressed; but God;” Job. i. 16, “fire of God,". this cannot make it any less true or the word for God requires no prefix, any more false ; and as it was evidently drawn up by some of the lead reason. But the Creed says, "We ing members of the Society, it is a have always asserted our willingness proper subject for animadversion. A that all our doctrines be tried by them, few copies were put into circulation, (that is, the Scriptures,) and armit it by some means or other, before the as a positive maxim, that whatever Meeting, and all attempts to buy any do, pretending to the Spirit, them up since, for the purpose of which is contrary to the Scriptures, suppressing them, (although we have be accounted and judged as a delusion understood that the sum of five dol- of the Devil.' lars has been offered for a single copy,) “ But how is a common man to have proved ineffectual. . But we will know when doctrines are agreeable to keep the reader no longer in suspense the Scriptures or not? His reason is in regard to this singular production, no guide to him: he must therefore which contains some truth, but more sit in silence and hear what spiritual error, and most of all, that which men say on the subject, and take it conveys no definite idea whatever ! for granted that what they say is true!
“After the preamble, which con. It will be readily pereeived, however, tains nothing very objectionable, and that upon this principle the Scriptures an expression of a firm belief in the
are of no use to any except to those Scriptures, which so far is certainly who are spiritual ; and if these receive very good, it adds, But they are not direct communications from God, it and cannot be subjected to the fallen, seems that the Scriptures might be corrupt reason of man.' Now, what dispensed with altogether. is meant by ! fallen, corrupt reason'? “ The Creed continues, "We reIs not the reason of man as good now ceive and believe in the testimony of as it ever was? And did not God the Scriptures simply as it stands in address this reason when he said, the text: “There are three that bear
Come now, let us reason together, record in heaven, the Father, the saith the Lord. Though your sins be Word, and the Holy Ghost, and these as scarlet, they shall be as white as three are one. It is presumed that snow; and though they be red like 'the framers of this Creed were not crimson, they shall be as wool'? Isa. aware that the above text, on which i. 18. Here God calls upon sinners, they have laid so much stress, and the whose sins were of the deepest dye, only one they have quoted correctly, to use their reason; and on what sub- (and the only one, except one, which ject can they exercise it better than they have inserted as a quotation from in gaining a correct understanding of scripture,) is a inost spurious interthe Scriptures? But only make man- polation, which is not to be found in kind believe that their reason is so any Greek MS. of the New Testament fallen, so depraved, that they are in- written earlier than the 15th century. capable of understanding the Scrip. If they had known this circumstance, tures without supernatural aid, -you they would not have attached so much have the hook completely in their nase, importance to this text; but this is a and they can be ted obsequiously at truth acknowledged by the most learnyour will. It is impossible to corrupted, even among the Trinitarians. It reason, or that reason should be cor- is also presumed that the makers of rupted; for although mankind nay this Creed were ignorant of the meanexercise a great degree of foolishness, ing of the text itself, even admitting and call it reason, yet reason, to be its authority; for it no more proves reason, must act rationally; and when that the Father, the Word, and the actions are incorrect, it is not reason Holy Ghost, are one being, than it is that acts, but something else. If, proved that Paul and Apollos are one therefore, this Creed means that the being (1 Cor. iii. 8); and any person Scriptures cannot be understood by who has the least knowledge of Greek, the reason of man' in his present must know this. state, it either means that which is " • We believe in the only wise, false, or else it charges God with omnipotent and everlasting God, the folly, in giving man a guide, and call. Creator of all things in heaven and ing upon him to exercise his reason earth, and the Preserver of all things in understanding it, when he knew that he hath made, who is God over that this guide was not subject to all, blessed for ever-who hath created all things by his eternal Word and deserved? God always did and always Son,' &c. Eternal Word and Son.' will forgive the truly penitent, merely This is what is called believing in because he delighteth in mercy.' the testimony of the Seriptures sim. “But the Creed continues : 'He ply as it stands in the text. But (Christ) is both the word of faith and where do we read in the Scriptures of a quickening spirit in us, whereby he an eternal Son The idea is totally is the immediate cause, author, object absurd. A son must be begotten and and strength of our living faith in his born (or else created as Adam was) name and power, and of the work of before he can be a son, and to call our salvation from sin and the bondsuch a being an eternal being, is an age of corruption.' This, unless they absurdity. But the Creed (after a mean to speak of Christ figuratively, statement to which we do not object) meaning thereby the doctrine of Christ, contioues, 'Hence he (Christ) is the is wholly unintelligible; but if this only Mediator between God and man; be their meaning, why did they not for having been with God from all use language more definite and less eternity, being himself God, &c. -- liable to be misconstrued? One great
Having been with God from all eters object in having a creed is, in having nity.' Here the words of John, 'from something plain, explicit and easy to the beginning,' which may mean from he understood, in and through which the beginning of the gospel dispensa. professing Christians may upite in a tion, but at inost can mean no more kind of spiritual and heavenly union. than the beginning of creation, these But as we have begun to dive into Creed-makers have changed into their the hidden mystery of something we own words, ' from all eternity.' But profess not to understand, so we must any thing that was with God'from proceed. The Son of God cannot all eternity,' must be as eternal as be divided from the least or lowest God; yet, nevertheless, it could not appearance of his divine light or life be that God with whom it (the Word) in us, any more than the sun from was; and therefore, if this be: God as his own light,' &c. All this, to men well as that, it makes out two Gods of common sense, is unintelligible lan. as clearly as two and two make four. guage of which there was more of
“ Passing on in the Creed, we uo- the like nature, which we did not think tice the following: God is willing it expedient to quote. The above to be reconciled to us, and ready to may suffice as a specimen. remit the sins that are past, if we “Is it meant to be understood that repent. Astonishing! How can God, there is any thing of this divine light who changeth not, be willing to be or life of the Son of God' in every otherwise than what he is? And how person? If so, it makes the salvation can vain man suppose that any thing of all as secure as that of the Son of which he can do, may produce a re- God, because he cannot be divided' conciliation in God? If God be wils from it (and of course they cannot be ling to be reconciled, is he not equally divided from him) any more than willing to effect that which will make the sun can be divided from his own bim so? The Scriptures do not tesim light. But if it be meant that the tify of any unreconciliation in the least or lowest appearance of his dis mind of God, but that God was in vine light and life in us,' is something Christ, reconciling the world. unto supernatural, which none but the power himself' (2 Cor. v. 19); not saying of God can produce, and none but the that he is willing to be reconciled to goodness of God can give, and that it is the world, because this would imply given to some while it is withheld from that he is changeable, as well as man. others,-then here is clearly perceived That God forgiveth sins, on repent all the horrid partiality of Calvinism, ance, we readily admit;, but if he for- veiled, indeed, in the mystery of Quagiveth sin on repentance now as he kerism. But the words are so couchalways did, why should it be supposed ed, and it appears not without design, that he doth this for the sake or on that they will admit not only either of account of something else which he the above constructions, but that of has received as a satisfaction, in the Arminianisın! Wonderful Creed ! to room and stead of that punishinent which men of such opposing sentiwhich the sinner is supposed to have ments might, perbaps, subscribe without violating their consciences, because designed to give a proper direction to each could give a construction to suit the minds of all the Society, particuhimself!
larly to the young. But will any one Speaking of believing unto justi- believe that the above Creed was ever fication, the Creed says, "By the pro- dictated by the Spirit of God? If so, pitiatory sacrifice of Christ without the medium of communication was us, we, truly repenting and believing, certainly an unfortunate one, for are, through the mercy of God, justi- much of it either has no meaning at fied from the imputation of sins and all, or else its meaning cannot be transgressions that are past, as though understood from the words used to they had never been committed. And express it. Let Friends (a dozen of by the mighty power of Christ within them or so, to try the experiment) us, the power, nature and habits of undertake to answer the questions we sin are destroyed; that as sin once have proposed, and let them all agree reigned unto death, even so now grace to answer them according to their unreigneth, through righteousness, unto derstanding of the Creed, and see how eternal life, through Jesus Christ our many or how few will answer them Lord.' The meaning, if it have any, alike. And if they cannot agree among is above our comprehension. To our themselves what it means, how could understanding, faith is produced by it have been any guide to others? It evidence, not by obedience, and obe- is doubted whether the framers of this dience may be the fruit of faith. Creed themselves (for it is supposed What is meant by the common sa- there must have been more than one) crifice'? And what was effected by would agree in all points relative to it? What is meant by the propitiae the questions we have proposed. tory sacrifice of Christ without us'? “We congratulate the young Friends And what connexion hath that with on their success in checking in the the mighty work of Christ within us? bud an attempt (as we consider it to What is this mighty work? What be) to lord it over their faith, so as sins have been imputed to us, more not to let them judge for themselves than what we have personally com- in matters of religion, or at least not mitted ? What proportion of the to be permitted to express their judgmighty work here spoken of belongs ment, unless their opinion should to our • truly repenting and believ- coincide with that of their spiritual ing'? What to the sacrifice of Christ guides. It is manifest to all who are without us? And what to the mercy acquainted with the circumstances and of God? For it seems that, according facts, that this Creed was designed to to the above Creed, all have some have a particular bearing on an indithing to do in the case; and how is vidual (Elias Hicks] whose boldness any one to know or understand what and independence of mind bas occais to be performed by himself, whatsioned of late some considerable exhas been done for him by Christ, or citement among the Friends. But the for what must he depend wholly on veil was too thin, and the more liberalthe mercy of God?
minded discovered the fetters which “ Is it at all to be wondered at that were to bind down the mind and prethe younger part of the Society, whose vent free inquiry, before the rivets minds are yet open and free to judge were wholly fastened upon them. We for themselves what is rational, were sincerely hope that this will be a good almost to an individual disposed to lesson to all Creed-makers in future. reject this creed? But it has taught “We can assure the Friends that we them a good lesson, and we hope that mean them no harm, nor even disreold and young will profit by it. It spect, but verily a kindness, by the will teach those whose minds are not liberty we have taken. We shall not fully established, not to place such name the person who lent us the implicit confidence in the supposed copy, but presume that he was not guidance of the Spirit in their spi- aware that we should make extracts ritual leaders, as they have hitherto from it, much less publish them. If, done: for if they have the Spirit of therefore, we have committed an error God to direct them, they certainly in this respect, it is all our own, and stood in the most need of it when no fault of his." they were framing a Creed which was