« ПредишнаНапред »
deeply with the importance of religious truth, to counsel, guide and interest the heart, and equally earnest in its inculcation, but disposed to give it a Dore amiable and engaging form, and to feed the understanding with a wholesomer and purer aliment.
ART. II.- Recensio Synoptica Annotationis Sacre, &c., &c. By the Rev.
S.T. Bloomfield, M. A., &c.
(Continued from p. 61.) We have already laid before our readers a general account of the plan and execution of Mr. Bloomfield's work.
In the present article we propose to review a few of those annotations, which, from their own interest or the importance of the subjects to which they relate, seem to have the strongest claims on our notice; and if amongst these we have most frequently selected comments in which we cannot agree with the learned editor, we hope that this will be attributed to a desire of rendering our remarks more useful, not to any disposition to depreciate a work which we consider as upon the whole truly valuable.
We are happy in being first called upon for the expression of our approbation. The note on Matt, i. 21 (" He shall save his people from their sins") is too important, as illustrating the character of the work, to be passed by in silence. "It is chiefly derived from Wetstein and Dr. Maltby. We translate a part of the passage from Wetstein. * By salvation,” he says, * is here understood a remission of sins, not such as could suggest to the sioner the hope of impunity and license, but such as requires serious repentance and purification of the mind from former vices, from which arises a perfect security and assured hope of eternal felicity; all which things, as they are in their nature closely connected together, are included in the word salration or deliverance, not imperfect and temporary, but complete and worthy of God.” The extract from Dr. Maltby is much to the purpose : “ The verb sácev, to preserve or save, and oatouan, to escape, to be preserved or saved, occur perhaps more than one hundred times in the N. T. The significations may be classed under four general heads.-I. To preserve generally from any evil or danger whatsoever. II. To preserve from sickDess or any bodily disorder; to heal. This sense is the most easy to distinguish, yet it has not been duly attended to in every instance by our translators. III. To preserve from the temporal anger of the Almighty, such as was manifested in the destruction of Jerusalem. This notion appears to liave been originally founded upon expressions in the Jewish Prophets. IV. To give future salvation in heaven."
It might have been added that the two last senses are not always clearly distinguished ; salvation sometimes meaning all the blessings of the gospel, both with respect to this life and that which is to come; both peculiar to the first age and common to all believers. It is worth notice, as explanatory of the IV'th and, theologically speaking, principal sense of the word, that the expression of the angelic messenger is, “ He shall save his people from their sins," not from the wrath or vengeance of God.
On Matt. i. 22, there is also a useful note derived from Knapp and Wetstein, the substance of which should be fixed in the minds of those who would be intelligent readers of the New Testament.
“ The Jews,” says Knapp, were accustomed to prefix prophecies even to statements of facts, and to connect and accommodate to their prophecies unexpected occurrences, and they were very fond of speaking in words and phrases derived from the Old Testament, especially when some kind of resemblance existed between the passage of the Old Testament and the subject of discourse. Hence the expressions, to be fulfilled, to be accomplished, occur in various senses in the Rabbinical books and in the New Testament; and the oracles and declarations of the prophets are said to be fulfilled or accomplished, not only when that very thing which was predicted has occurred, but also when any thing similar has happened which brings those words to our recollection, and in any manner confirms and illustrates them." Knapp apud Kuinoel. · There is, in fact, a great similarity between our own common practice of expressing our thoughts on any subject of discourse in the appropriate words of a favourite poet; and the Jewish applications of their prophecies, and the formula, “ that it might be fulfilled,” &c., frequently meant nothing more than " to use the words of the prophet.” It is not, therefore, without much caution, that we must press applications of passages from the Ancient Scriptures, as expressing the real and original sense of the authors, and we should not improve, as interpreters of the Old Testament, by adopting indiscriminately the explanations of its words which are to be found in the New.
Matt. iii. 11, “He shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire." On the much-disputed question, whether the fire be explanatory of the Holy Spirit, or contrasted with it; whether it refer to the tongues of Aame on the day of Pentecost, or to the punishment of the unbelieving Jews in the destruction of Jerusalem, our author has thrown little light, nor is it easy to discover his own opinion. At first he seems to express approbation of the former interpretation; yet we should suppose him to incline to the latter, when, without any censure or caution, he says, “ This purgation (by fire) Wetstein explains of all those calamities which the Jews soon after experienced in the burning of the temple and the destruction of Jerusalem, and of the state.” We think the question will be set at rest, if, attending to the ambiguity of the word avevati
, spirit or wind, we consider that the following verse is a mere explanation of the words now before us, the image of the threshing-floor having been already in the Baptist's mind when he mentioned the two means of purification, wind and fire; by the former of which, the Holy Spirit, the good should be distinguished from the bad, as the wlicat is from the broken straw and chaff, by the blast from the winnowing fan; by the latter the bad should be consumed, as the straw and chaff are in the fire which is prepared near the floor. " Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly cleanse his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner, but will burn up the chaff with fire unquenchable.” The gifts of the Holy Spirit were bestowed as a distinctive sign on the true believers. Fire is the appropriate representative of dreadful calamities of whatsoever kind, and was surely never more justly applied than to those which befel the unhappy Jews who obstinately rejected the proffered salvation.
The word do Séctos, umquenchable, is explained by dkatamaútos, not to be restrained or appeased, and manifestly refers to the rapid burning of the broken straw and chaff, so that when once lighted it could not be extinguished; so when once God's judgments should overtake the opposers of the Messiah's kingdom, no means of escape would be afforded them, the destruction would be neither to be restrained nor resisted. Since then this word here refers only to temporal judgments, and our author himself so explains
it in the above quotation from Wetstein, he need not have told us, that the remark of Theophylact deserves notice: ώστε φλυαρεί και Ωριγένης λέγων ότι έσται τέλος της κολασίώς.
Ch. iv. On the temptation, Mr. Bloomfield seems to adopt the hypothesis of Farmer, referring to Maltby's Sermons for a particular explanation. He takes no notice of the common notion of the personal presence of the Devil, whether in his own form or disguised as a good angel. We are glad to see that a learned and orthodox divine of the Church of England, does not consader this notion as any longer deserving notice : of course, nothing is said of the opinion that the narrative is a figurative mode of expressing what passed in our Lord's mind, since that may be thought to imply his simple humanity; bu a curious speculation is slightly mentioned respecting which many readers would have thanked him for more particulars: “ Among the diversity of opinions entertained on this passage, I must notice one recently devised by some German theologians, who maintain, that the oboros here mentioned was either the Pontifex Maximus, or one who had passed the office of HighPriest, and had considerable influence with the people, and who, at intervals, as occasion offered, had a mind to try Jesus - whether he was really the Messiah and would deliver the Jews from the Roman subjection.”
On iv. 24, the first mention of demoniacs, Mr. B. gives a very useful epitorne of Wetstein's note, shewing that demoniacs were persons afflicted with madness and various other diseases, and that these diseases were not really produced by the Devil or any spiritual beings, but that the name demoniac, like lunatic, merely expressed the vulgar opinion. A farther examination of the subject, with due notice of what has been written by Mede, Farmer, &c., is promised in a future note, but if any such is to be found, it has escaped our careful search. We were a little surprised to find Mr. B. (on Mark xvi.
"Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven demons”) speaking a if he believed in the reality of possession: “ Markland observes," he says,
“ that this seems to be one of those places of the New Testament of which no satisfactory account has yet been given, Tiz. what is meant by itd Ozomóvoce (seven demons). For my part I see not in what the difficulty consists, at least according to the common opinion on the subject of demoniacs. The difficulty can only be found by those who adopt the new hypothesis. They are fain to interpret the expression of curing a dangerous epilepsy or melancholy. Or they take it of a person in whose mind w opinion had been fixed, that seven demons had occupied her body, which is yet more harsh. Neither can I bring myself to admit with Kuinoel, that seren may be taken, by a certain figure of speech, as a certain for an uncertain
We cannot profess for ourselves to feel much of Markland's difficulty. The Jews, it seems, spoke of those who were afflicted with violent madness
, or epilepsy, as being possessed by a number of demons: thus the madman, cured by our Lord in the country of the Gadarenes, conceived himself to be paressed by a whole legion of evil spirits; and Mary Magdalene was spoken of on the same principle, as having had, not only one, but many demons. We agree with Kuinoel as to the use of the number seven to express an inde finite number. Examples of it are cited from the Old Testament, but we refer to Schleusner's article, which seems to us satisfactory. The Hebrews, from the earliest times, regarded the number seven as a perfect number, and used it in various ceremonies to express the completeness of the action, as, bowing seven times to mark entire respect, sacrificing seven
animals, mourn days, and other similar instances; what then could be more natu
ral, according to their ideas, than expressing complete or violent madness by the possession of seven demons?
The learned no:e on Luke xiii. 11, (a woman having a spirit of infirmity,) also relating to the same subject, is of a very different character from that on which we have now remarked, certainly implying disbelief of the reality of possession, and thus leaving us in doubt as to our author's real opinion. It shews that the Jews attributed presiding spirits to almost every thing, especially, that they believed diseases to be inflicted by demons; and it concludes with the remark, (from Hardt and Moldenhauer,) that the Evangelist speaks according to the opinions of his countrymen.
Mr. B. has two annotations relating to the important phrase é pios. Tā år@paétou “ the Son of Man,” Matt. viii. 20, xii. 8. It is disputed whether this is to be accounted a title of dignity or of humility, and what is the precise idea on which it is founded. Our author takes it as a title of dignity, equivalent with Messiah, and seems to adopt the opinion of Heinsius, Scholten, and Rosenmüller, that it denotes “him who is said to be the second after Adam; for in the Jewish writings there is frequent mention of the first and second Adam ; and Jesus was accustomed to signify his dignity thus obscurely.” But Son of Man, with the Hebrews, was an expression of depreciation, applied to the human race as contrasted with the eternity and perfect holiness of the Deity, and to those in a low and wretched condition as opposed to the great and powerful. No reason can be given for connecting the phrase with any thing which is said in Rabbinical writings of the second Adam. It is observed that the title is applied to our Lord in a prophetic vision of his glory, (Dan. vii. 13,) “I saw in the night visions, and behold one like unto a son of man came with the clouds of heaven and came unto the Ancient of days.” But surely the meaning here is to mark, that, notwithstanding the great power and dignity which was to be conferred upon him, and the glorious manner of his appearance, the object of the vision was in his personal appearance like to other, and even to very humble, mortals, and made no outward show of the superiority which belonged to him, a circumstance peculiarly applicable to the voluntary humiliation of our blessed Lord; so ihat, even if it be allowed that the title was in part, at least, founded on this passage and conveyed an obscure intimation of Messiahship, it would still express humiliation, not exaltation. Two passages (Matt. xvi. 13-16, and xii. 32) are often referred to as proving “the Son of Man" to be of the same meaning with “the Christ;” but the same passages are also generally produced on the opposite side to illustrate the difference between the two phrases, and we think with much more reason. We would seek then the rationale of the title in the meanness of condition, want and sufferings, voluntarily submitted to by our Lord for the accomplishment of the ends of his mission, which rendered him pre-eminently the humbled and afflicted one. We are satisfied that Jesus employed it as a modest and unpretending way of speaking of himself, and we think its having, with a single exception, been used by none but himself, strongly confirms this view of the subject. If any reference was intended to the passage in Daniel, it was as the most humble, and, at the same time, as an obscure method of implying his claim to the high dignity which belonged to him. Considering the nature and use of the corresponding Hebrew phrase, we cannot conceive with what propriety this title could have been applied to any but a human being, and the contrivances resorted to for evading this conclusion, though various and perhaps ingenious, have always appeared to us far-fetched and unsatisfactory
But we must recall our attention to Mr. Bloomfield, and quote ä remark to which he appears to attach importance :
“I must deny,” he says, (on Matt. xii. 8,) " that the formula o vids to vesov, erer signifies merely man or a man. I think I may venture to maintain that it always signifies the Son of Man, the Messiah ; and I defy the l'nitarians, who have always strenuously battled for this sense as lowering the dignity of Christ, to prove that it ever does.”
We cannot help thinking that Mr. B. is right in enforcing the distinction between ο υιός τα ανθρώπου and υιός ανθρώπου. The article marks the appropriation of the phrase as the title of an individual to whom it was peculiarly applicable, and is therefore always employed when Jesus is intended; but this does not alter the sense of the formula: and let it be remembered, that the interpretation, which we join our author in disapproving, of the Son of Man being lord of the Sabbath, though adopted by some Unitarians, belongs not exclusively, or even generally, to them, and has the high authority of Grotius and Kuinoel in its favour. Mr. B. has here strangely forgotten himself. He makes profession of candour and liberality; yet here, because some Unitarians, in common with some learned and distinguished men of orthodor sentiments, prefer an interpretation which he and many Unitarians also disapprove, he can accuse the Unitarians as a body of being guided in their explanations of Scripture by a desire of lowering the dignity of Christ; and all this in reference to a phrase of which the Unitarian interpretation is so decidedly the most obvious and natural, that they might well reserve their arts, if capable of using any, for some occasion on which they might be more needed
We do not observe any similar accusation of Mr. B. against the evil spirit of Unitarianism, where it would be quite as judicious and well-timed, in his comment on Mark xiii. 32, (“Of that hour knoweth no man, no not the angels, nor the Son, but the Father only,”) where, indeed, he seems at a loss which of three attempts at an orthodox explanation of the passage to prefer, and modestly says, “On this most difficult question I dare not venture to offer an opinion,” We wish, though his note is already somewhat long, owing to the “extreme difficulty” of the passage, that he had favoured us with the SATISFACTORY PROOF which, he assures us, is afforded by Muller, Kidder, and Masch, that our Lord's ignorance in this instance does not detract from his divinity. Truly, the Unitarians must be possessed by a very determined purpose of lowering the Master whom they profess to honour and serve, or they could never understand-such passages as these as interfering with his divine nature or omniscience.
Matt. xxi. 2. The account of our Lord's triumphant entry into Jerusalem is given by all the evangelists. Matthew is peculiar in his mention of two animals, as well as in quoting the words of Zechariah. We have no hesitation in understanding the passage in Zechariah of one animal, “ sitting upon an ass, even a young ass ;” and the exact fulfilment of the prophecy is marked by two evangelists, who mention that it was one “ on which never man sat.” It is possible the young ass may, as described in Matthew, have been taken from its mother, and that the mother may have followed, whilst the expression “ upon them,” twice in ver. 7, may be used vaguely, the writer not undertaking to say upon which-Jesus rode; but a suspicion arises in the mind of the narrative used by Matthew having been soinewhat conformed to a mistaken view of the prophecy of Zechariah. The various readings respecting the twice-repeated word aŭrwv in ver, 7, and even, probably,