Imatges de pàgina
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294.-1. Пpos, With, denoting presence. 2 Thess. ii. 5. Remember ye Not (¿TI ETI WY πgos iμas) that when I was yet with you.* 306.-2. Tis, Who, interrogative. Acts xix. 15. But Ye (TIES 15) who, (what sort of persons) are ye.*-Heb. i. 5. Tv yap, To whom of the angels said he at any time ?-Rev. vii. 13. Tives Eloi, Who are these that are clothed with white robes ?

3. T, Any one. Heb. x. 28. Tis, any one who (whosoever) · disregarded the law of Moses, died without mercy.—2 Pet. iii. 9. Not willing (Tas) that any should perish.*

306.—1. Υπερ, Concerning. Phavorinus, ὑπες, όμοιως του περι. 308.-1. 'Yep, Instead of. 2 Cor. v. 20. We pray you (vπρ Xpisov) in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.*

309.-1. 'Yπερ, On account of. 2 Cor. xii. 10. Distresses (vep Xgisov) on account of Christ.

310.—1. Υπερ, With respect to. Philip. i. 29. Το ύπερ Χρισού, This, with respect to Christ, hath been graciously given you, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake.

318.-2. Ev. Therefore. Heb. vi. 17. Ev . Therefore God willing more abundantly to shew to the heirs of promise the immutability. See note 1. on the verse.

319-1., Certainly. 2 Pet. i. 3. 2, Certainly his divine power hath gifted to us,

321.-1. 25, Namely. 2 Thess. ii. 2. 'ns óri, Namely that; or, intimating that the day of Christ is at hand.

325., That. Rom. i. 9. God is my witness, whom I serve in the gospel of his Son, (ws) that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers.*-In this sense is used by Xenophon, Memorab. lib. i. Πρωτον μεν εν, ὡς εκ ενόμιζεν, ὃς ή που λις νομίζει θεούς, ποιῳ ποτε εχρήσαντο τεκμηριῳ; First then, that he did not reckon them gods, whom the city reckoned gods, what kind of argument did they use?

ESSAY VIII.

Concerning the right Interpretation of the Writings in which the Revelations of God are contained.

THE revelations of God being designed to give mankind the knowledge of his counsels respecting their salvation, the right understanding of these revelations, must appear to every religious person a matter of great importance. This Essay therefore, having for its object to explain the phraseology of the writings in which the revelations of God are recorded, it will meet with attention from the reader, in proportion to the value which he puts on religious knowledge.

SECTION I

Of the original Language of Mankind, and of the Method in which Language was at first formed.

The books which contain the revelations of God, being more ancient than any books now extant, are written in the language which mankind used in the first ages, or in a language nearly allied to it. Wherefore, the stile of these writings being very different from that of modern compositions, to interpret them as modern compositions are interpreted, is without doubt to misinterpret them. Accordingly, persons ignorant of the character of the primitive languages, have, by that method of interpretation, been led to fancy that the scriptures contain sentiments unworthy of God, whereby they have not only exposed these venerable writings to the scorn of infidels, but have forined to themselves false notions in religion, which have had a pernicious influence on their morals.

For avoiding these evils, the nature and character of the language first spoken by mankind must be well understood: and for that purpose the best method seems to be, to consider in what manner language was originally formed.

Ess. vIII. Of the right interpretation of, &c. Sect. 1. 225

The first ideas which come into the human mind, being those which enter by the senses, it is reasonable to believe that names for expressing sensible objects would be invented before any others; and after them, terms for expressing those operations of the senses, by which the ideas of sensible objects are acquired.— And because the operation of the senses has some resemblance to the operations of intellect, to express the operations of intellect, mankind would naturally have recourse to the words by which they expressed the operation of the senses.-Thus, many words of the primitive language of mankind, must have had a two-fold signification. According to the one signification, they denoted ideas of sense, and according to the other they denoted ideas of intellect. So that although these words were the same in respect of their sound, ey were really different words in respect of their signification: And to mark that difference, after the nature of language came to be accurately investigated, the words which denoted the ideas of sense, when used to express the ideas of intellect, were called by critics, metaphors, from a Greek verb which signifies to transfer; because these words so used, were carried away from their original meaning to a different one, which however had some resemblance to it.

Metaphorical meanings being affixed to words in the ancient languages to remedy the poverty of these languages, it is plain that the more ancient any language is, it will consist of the fewer words, consequently the more numerous and bold its metaphors will be. Accordingly, we find that the primitive languages, and even the languages of savage tribes, which may be ranked with the primitive languages, are all of them highly figurative. On this subject it is proper to observe, that even after a language has become sufficiently copious, if the people who use it possess a vigorous and warm imagination, and are favourably situated for enjoying sensual gratifications, as is the case with most of the eastern nations, being by these circumstances peculiarly disposed to relish the sensible pictures exhibited in metaphorical and other figurative expressions, such a people, instead of retrenching, will rather multiply these expressions. Hence the language of that people will be more figurative than the languages of pations whose imagination is languid, and whose situation does not permit them to be occupied in sensual gratifications. This is the reason that the language of the Hebrews, and of the other eastern nations, by the multitude, the variety, the boldness, and even the extravagance of its metaphorical expressions, is

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distinguished from the more temperate speech of the nations in the western parts of the world, whose imagination is not so warm, and whose climate and soil are not so favourable to luxury, as theirs.

Of the bold metaphors used by the ancient Hebrews, the following examples are all taken from their sacred books.Gen. iv. 10. "The voice of thy brother's blood, crieth to me "from the ground."-Gen. xix. 26. "His wife looked back "from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.”—Gen. xlix. 11. "He washed-his clothes in the blood of grapes," to signify that Judah was to inhabit a country fruitful in vines.— Psal. v. 9. "Their throat is an open sepulchre.”—Psal. Ix. 3. "Thou hast made us to drink the wine of astonishment.”—Psal. lxxviii. 25. "Man did eat angel's food: he sent them meat to the "full."-Psal. cxxix. 3. "The plowers flowed upon my back, "they made long their furrows."-Isa. xxxiv. 3. << The "mountains shall be melted with their blood."-ver. 4. "And "all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall "be rolled together as a scroll."—ver. 6. "The sword of the "Lord is filled with blood, it is made fat with fatness."-Isa. xiv, 23. "I will sweep it with the besom of destruction, saith "the Lord of hosts."-Jerem. xx. 7. "O Lord thou hast "deceived me, and I was deceived."-Isa. v. 1. "My well " beloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill." In the original it is on a horn, the son of oil: The horn being the highest part of horned animals, it is used to denote the highest part of a country; an hill. This horn or hill is called, the son of oil, because the olive which produces oil is one of the valuable fruits of the earth. See Lowth on the passage.-Isa. xi. 15. "The Lord shall utterly destroy the tongue of the Egyptian sea."

Having in the scriptures, these and many other examples of bold metaphors, the natural effect of the poverty of the ancient language of the Hebrews, why should we be either surprised or offended with the bold figurative language, in which the Hebrews expressed their conceptions of the divine nature and government. Theirs was not a philosophical language, but the primitive speech of an uncultivated race of men, who, by words and phrases taken from objects of sense, endeavoured to express their notions of matters which cannot be distinctly conceived by the human mind, and far less expressed in human language.Wherefore, they injure the Hebrews who affirm, that they believed the Deity to have a body, consisting of members of the Jike form and use with the members of the human body, because

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in their sacred writings, the eyes, the ears, the hands, and the feet of God, are spoken of; and because he is represented as acting with these members after the manner of man.-Gen. iii. 8. "They heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day."-Gen. ix. 16. "And the "bow shall be in the cloud, and I will look upon it."-Exod. "The Lord is a man of war."-ver. 6. "Thy right "hand O Lord hath dashed in pieces the enemy."-ver. 8. "With the blast of thy nostrils the waters were gathered to"gether."-Psal. xviii. 8. "There went up a smoke out of his nostrils, and fire out of his mouth devoured coals were "kindled by it."—ver. 9. "He bowed his heavens also and "came down, and darkness was under his feet."-ver. 10. "And he rode upon a cherub, and did fly upon the wings of the "wind."-Psal. ii. 7. "Thou art my Son, this day I have "begotten thee."

In like manner they injure the Hebrews who affirm, that they thought God was moved by anger, jealousy, hatred, revenge, grief, and other human passions, because in their scriptures it is said, Gen. vi. 6. "It repented the Lord that he had made man on the "earth, and it grieved him at his heart."-Exod. xv. 7. "Thou "sentest forth thy wrath which consumed them as stubble."Exod. xx. 5. "I the Lord thy God am a jealous God."Numb. xi. 33. "The wrath of the Lord was kindled against "the people."-Prov. viii. 13. "The evil way and froward mouth do I hate."-Isa. xxxiv. 2. "The indignation of the "Lord is upon all nations, and his fury upon all their armies."—— Nah. i. 2. "God is jealous, and the Lord revengeth, and is "furious. The Lord will take vengeance on his adversaries, and "he reserveth wrath for his enemies."

They also injure the Hebrews who affirm, that they believed the Deity subject to human infirmity, because it is said, Gen. ii. 2. "God rested on the seventh day from all his work which he "had made."--Gen. viii. 21. "The Lord smelled a sweet "savour."-Gen. xviii. 20. "Because the cry of Sodom and "Gomorrha is great, and because their sin is very grievous, 20. "I will go down now and see whether they have done altogether "according to the cry of it which is come up to me: And if not, "I will know."-Psal. ii. 4. "He that sitteth in the heavens "shall laugh; the Lord shall have them in derision."-Psal. Ixxviii. 65. "Then the Lord awaked as one out of sleep, and "like a mighty man that shouteth by reason of wine."

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