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much older than the apocryphal Esdras, or the Zohar itself. It is rather amusing here to remark, that our learned critic should prefer the comment to the text, in his endeavour to ascertain the "origin of this” title. This is truly a very scientific proceeding !
In the next place, the title of first-begotten is marked out as having originated in the Tikkune Zohar (a comment on the preceding), or in another work entitled Veelléh Schemoth. The latter of these, however, cites the title from Ps. lxxxix. 27, “I will make him my firstborn,” &c. We are here, however, (p. 33), referred to $ 24, where another origin for this title is promised. But when we come to this section, reference is made to § 23; and, as this section contains a developement of the whole system upon which Mr. Bertholdt's work is constructed, we shall now examine it. This section is intended to account for the title, the word of God: a subject, it must be confessed, of no ordinary difficulty. Mr. Bertholdt chooses the following method: The Jews in the later times, says he, began gradually to acquire more philosophical and exalted notions than formerly. Among the Orientals, a philosophy had long prevailed which considered every thing as an emanation from the Deity. It is not, therefore, to be wondered at, continues he, that this view of things easily recommended itself to the Jews, a people governed solely by sense. Hence they began to distinguish between the intellectual and material world ; and hence many became implicated in a sort of dualism. Having arrived, however, at the emanation system, the various intellectual agents supposed to exist, received the titles of alwes, duvapeis, &c. all of which, however, were again to flow into the ocean of divinity from which they had been derived. In the next place, the great Supreme, having remained in a state of rest and thought for an indefinite period, at last applied himself to external operations. He then received the title of vous, the mind, oopia, wisdom (1977), or ó 2oyos, the word (777, NII, 1997) of God, (because a word naturally follows thought). This, he goes on to say, may be shewn to be the case, from the apocryphal books of the Old Testament and the Targumists (all in use about the times of Jesus), from the writings of Philo and the Apocalypse of John, which is, moreover, deeply tinged with this doctrine,
So the ancient Midrashes, the Zohar, &c. We then have an account of the Cabbalism of the Jews; and the conclusion is, that hence we see how all things, which are done by God are said to be done by (ồia) him (Jesus).
As this view is important to modern Rationalism, I may be excused, if I examine it with some attention. In the first place, then, Mr. Bertholdt's sketch of the philosophy of the ancient Orientals is not quite correct. They did not hold, nor do they now, where this philosophy prevails in the East, that God, when applying himself for the first time to action, was termed vous, mind, &c. They held that, upon this occasion, he really produced an intelligent agent, and to this they gave these titles, and even that of the Son of God. (See Dan. iii. 25.) This Being, according to the Brahmins of India, is Brahma-according to the Buddists, Adi Buddha.* Nor is he more felicitous in his reason ascribed for the title word. In the Scriptures, indeed, this is the sense of the nóyos of St. John, and of the 777, 179, &c. of the Jews ;+ but it is far from certain, that this is the sense taken by the Platonists. They, like the Chaldeans, Persians, Hindus, &c. considered this first emanation as being the first Intelligence or Officer of the invisible all-pervading fountain of Deity ; ó hoyos, therefore, was not with them the Word, but the Intelligence. In the ancient Scriptures, we have the term Word mentioned merely with reference to the revelation made from God by the means of his Angel, Christ. In the ancient philosophy, this first emanation is a metaphysical being, an ideal existence ; taken originally, indeed, from the prior revelation, but prostituted to the purposes of a wretched philosophy. In the Old Testament we have no mention whatever of an emanation, nor of any thing like it. In the Oriental philosophy, we recognise the facts found in the Old Testament, and some of the doctrines; the unity of the Deity, and the history of the creation, for example, all reduced to this metaphysical system. But it is not true, that the word oopia, wisdom, (np??) originated either with
• Mr. Bertholdt adduces a passage from Justin Martyr in illustration of his hypothesis ; but it is notorious that Justin, a most valuable writer in many respects, was one of those who has been termed Platonizing Fathers. See Bruckeri Hist. Phil. vol. iii. p. 370, &c.
† See pp. 106, 7 of this work.
the Orientals or with the modern Jews; the truth is, we have it in Prov. viii. 1-31, used by Solomon, and there said to have accompanied the Almighty, even before the works of his creation. Now, I ask : Does it not become extremely probable, that all these heathen notions about Wisdom, the Word, the Firstborn, &c. must have originally been taken from the Revelation? Is there any thing so ancient to be found in all the remaining lore of Egypt, Chaldea, Persia, Greece, Rome, India, &c. as this one chapter of the book of Proverbs ? I doubt it: besides, these very philosophers themselves allow, as far as we possess their opinions or their writings, that all their facts were borrowed from others. That this philosophy was.cultivated to a considerable extent among the Jews in the times of our Lord, may be readily believed ; and that certain traces of it are to be found in the New Testament is, I think, unquestionable.
Simon Magus, for instance, is termed by the Samaritans, Ý dúvahis TOŨ JEOữ À Meyhan, by which they must have meant, that he was the first created Intelligence. But I deny, that any such doctrine is there to be found as taught either by our Lord or his Apostles, and, that Mr. Bertholdt can produce any such passage from the Apocalypse of St. John. It seems, however, that both our Lord and his followers opposed the false philosophy of the Jews of their days, in the strongest and most direct terms. Our Lord accuses them of following the traditions of men, and of being ignorant of the true sense of their Scriptures St. Paul expressly warns the new converts against science falsely so called, (oñs YevdWVÓLOU yvusews, where some have reasonably enough supposed, that the word yvãois used, alluded to gnosticism) and lest any man spoil them through philosophy, traditions, the rudiments of the world, &c. (1 Tim. vi. 20; Col. ii. 8.). Nothing, therefore, can be more adverse to the views of Mr. Bertholdt and his brethren, than the facts of the case are, when truly stated ; and the truth is, that if Christianity is any where found to agree with the theories of heathenism, gnosticism, cabbalism, &c. it is only in the school of Mr. Bertholdt and his colleagues.
Come we now to § 24. Here we are told, that every doubt, which can be entertained on the subject, viz. whether the Jews of our Lord's times held these notions or not, will
vanish upon citing St. Paul (1 Cor. x. 4,9, &c.), and who calls the Messiah the wisdom (copiar) and word of God (rózov Otoū). To this may be added the fact, continues he, that the Apostles generally, when speaking of the divinity of our Lord, use expressions which strongly savour of the Loyonoyla of the Jews; such, for example, as Jesus being sent down from heaven and made flesh cougawTerra); his having the fulness of the Godhead bodily (50 mingwa ons DEWINTOS);--the image of God (inv Eirova Tou sou), &c. Col. i. 15. Apoc. i. 18; ii. 8; xxii. 13; ii. 7, 14; xix. 11. John, i. 1, 14, 18. Phil. ii. 6. Apoc. v. 12, 14, &c. We are likewise told, that the Targumists speaking of the Messiah often use the terms ???, the word of God. My reply is: No objection can be made to this statement of facts : a very strong one, however, may to the use here made of them. It has already been stated and shewn, that the ancient Hebrews, when speaking of the Messiah, used terms equivalent to these, without at all entertaining the philosophical notions of the cabbalistic Jews, the Platonists, the Gnostics, &c. affirm that, for the same reasons, it is not at all necessary to suppose, that, when the Apostles made use of these expressions, they intended to inculcate this philosophy; particularly when we know, that St. Paul actually warned the Churches against it. It is not meant to be argued, that this theory may not be applied here, or that all the passages may not be attempted to be accounted for on the emanation system ; but it is, that this system is to be found taught any where in the Bible, or that the orthodox Jews ever held it. That the first schismatics attempted to solve every difficulty in religion by means of this system, I consider as quite certain ;* and, hence it is that we are to account for similar expressions found among the philosophers, and even among the heathen of the present day. But, we are not to look to philosophy, which is modern in comparison of the Revelation, for the origin of what we there find traced out by the hand of authority alone. It is the practice of the sacred writers, as already remarked, to state their facts and doctrines without assigning any reason, solution, or cause
See my Observations on the Origin of Heathenism, &c. printed in the Transactions of the Royal Society of Literature.
whatsoever; and, in this way are they recommended to the faith of believers. Were it otherwise, our system would be merely philosophical, and as such might be matter for curious inquiry, but not for the exercise of faith. If, however, we attempt to account for these things, I believe the emanation system is the only one to which we can have recourse. This seems to have struck Mr. Bertholdt very forcibly. I am of opinion, that it occurred to the ancient philosophers long before it did either to the cabbalistic Jews, the Gnostics, or to our Author; and, it is curious enough to remark, that several of the ancient fathers, as well as some modern writers, have had recourse to it, for the purpose of explaining the doctrine of the Holy Trinity. Whether this system be true or false, I know not: I deem it impious to offer any speculations on the subject. One thing I may perhaps affirm, viz. that if it be true, no possible doubt can for a moment be entertained, that the passages above cited will admit of no interpretation, except that which teaches a true and particular divinity in the person of our Lord. Whatever view, therefore, we take of this subject, his divinity is unquestionable: i. e. supposing the Revelation to have been specially given by God, whether we take the emanation system to explain it, or receive its declarations as purely authoritative.
The next particular noticed is, our Lord's being said to have the key of the house of David : and Luke, xviii. 38, 39. Apoc. iii. 7, are cited to shew where this subject occurs. It occurs, however, for the first time in Isaiah, xxii. 22, where the context speaks of Eliakim ; and, as he seems there to be the representative of the house of David, the passage may well have been applied to our Lord in the Revelations; because He is the true representative of that house, and the person to whom the office of opening and shutting could be exclusively ascribed.
For the term Saviour (owing, you? or yumina), we are next referred to the Apocryphal 4 Esdras, ii. 36, and Luke xxiv. 21. The term, however, occurs again and again in the Old Testament, and is applied either to temporal deliverers, or to God himself, as in Judg. iii. 9. 2 Sam. xxii. 3. 2 Kings, xiii. 5. Isaiah, xix. 20; xliii. 3. Ps. cvi. 21, &c. It is true the word your does not occur; nor is it necessary it