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mind, than any of his heirs can be supposed to have experienced. He, it is also said, obtained the promise. And have any of the hers, if they only received the promise as confirmed by an oath in the presence of Abraham, obtained any thing more than this? What then can this something more have been, if it was not, that God was willing to shew still more, that is, to give a stronger proof of the immutability of his counsel to the heirs of promise, than he had at first given to Abraham ? And what then has he done “ more abundantly” for the heirs of promise by way of assurance, than he had before done for Abraham ? scire licet-spEDITEUCEV Opxwo-that is, says our translation, “ confirmed it by an oath.” Confirmed it! Why, confirmed ?-and-Why, il? Confirmed what by an oath ? His promise, say our commentators, one and all; making the oath consequent to the promise, and as peremptory as if it was so beyond all doubt. Do we not, say they, read immediately after of “ two immutable things in which [it was] impossible for God to lie ?” And what can these two immutable things have been but his promise and his oath? But did not the angel introduce the promise on the mount by previously attesting the oath ?-that is, Did not the attestation of the oath, not only according to what we read in the Hebrews, but even according to the report of Moses, then precede the annunciation of the promise; or, if not, at least accompany it in such a manner as to leave scarce the shadow of a reason for a distinction between then ? Philo, surely, as an expositor of the law, deserves as much credit as any of our modern commentators, and he says, Τα πιςευθηναι χαριν, απισεμενοι καταφευγεσιν εφ ορκον οι ανθρωποι οξε Θεος και λεγων πιςος εσι ωσε και της λογές αυτε, βεβαιοτητος ενεκα μηδεν Ορκων διαφερειν, , συμβεβηκε, την μεν ημετεραν γνωμην ορκων, τον δε Πκον αυτον Θεώ πεπιςωασθαι
ορκον πιςος ο Θεος, αλλα δίαυτον και ο ορκος βεβαιος. Τι εν εδοξε τω ιεροφαντι σαρεισαγαγειν αυτον ομνύοντα,
&c. But, whether this distinction be valid or not, God, by confirming his promise by an oath, instead of giving a stronger proof of the immutability of his counsel to the heirs of promise than to Abraham, on the contrary arpears to have given Abraham a much more sensible proof than the heirs, as it was a proof oculis subjectum fidelibus, that is, a proof communicated to him by a visible agent of a very unusual aspect--a sort of proof with which none of the heirs have been personally favoured. Besides, is confirmed any thing like the proper word to
express the meaning of LECITEUTEV at any time? In what other work does it occur in this sense ? Does it not much inore clearly mean the voluntary action of one person or party who places himself between two other persons or part es ? as, for instance, a surety between a creditor and his debtor, or between a judge, as the protector of any plaintiff or appellant, and a defendant? And do not our commentators, one and all, admit*, that it means something like “ to interpose one's self,” to intervene ? though not one of them cares to allow that self-interposition or intervention was really the thing meant in this instance, by totally disregarding this mode of interpretation in all their decisions on this point, and uniformly presenting to our notice the interposition of an action instead of an agent. It cannot surely be denied, that they do admit, to a man, that its proper signification is primarily, at least, no other than what may be expressed by either of the terms above-mentioned, and, almost to a man, that one of those terins ought to be its representative here, and yet, strange to say, they cannot agree whether either of those terms is sufficiently significant of itself to express the sacred writer's meaning, nor whether it ought to have some little assistant attached to it, not expressed in the original. One assures us, that it ought to have some such assistant, and that it should be either cum or per; and another, on the contrary, that it should not have any, but that the representative of MEDITEVCEV should not be allowed to mean self-interposition, and that of ogxw should be suffered to take the liberty of not appearing in the same case as its original, in order to accommodate this unauthorised interposition of the verb. And no less strange to say, they all seem to agree in conceive ing that the principal extreme of the two, between which the intervention or interposition was to take place, was not a person, but the bare expression of his will. Strange, however, as these dissentions and conceits seem to be, it must seem still more strange, that the very writer above alluded to as admitting that interpono me is the primary meaning of Mesiteuw, and its meaning here, and would call in the assistance of either cum or per to express the
* Leigh, in his Critica Sacra, after having informed us that this verb may be expressed either by interpono me, mediator sum, or mediatorem ago, immediately subjoins,“ Sed in ep, ad. Heb. cap. vi. v. 17, aliter accipitur, videlicet ( that is, take my word for it) pro " intervenit per jusjurandum,” vel interposuit se cum jurejurando; (nam interposuit jusjuran, dum, quod habet Erasmus cum veteri interprete, nullo modo probare queo: exponitur etiam fide jussit jurejurando.”—Steph. in Thes. Græc.
Vol. XI. Churchm. Mag. for Dec. 1806. 3 I meanir
meaning of the phrase under consideration accurately, has also told us, that the primary signification of this verb may be expressed by two other phrases, viz. mediator sum, and mediatorem ago, and has not noticed any other, As, then, the primary signification of this word may be expressed by either of these two phrases, if we can fix on å living inediatorial agent, who either interposed bim, self, or was interposed by the invisible Jehovah, between two personal extremes, undor the circumstance here stated, namely, by an oath, what necessity is there to look for any other mediatorial agent in this case ? And do we not several times read of a mediator in this same sacred volume, and even in this same epistle, and as being a mediator for some extraordinary purpose? And are we not therein expressly assured, that there is no other but this one mediator? Why then should any one pot care to allow that his intervention is not here spoken of? But between what two parties did this extraordinary mediator, so particularly and so often recommended to our notice in the New Testament, place himself? Was God's promise the creditor that demanded restitution, or the judge or plaintiff that required satisfaction? No-we are ex pressly told that it was God himself. God, we are moreorer told, by the same authority, is but one. And a mediator is not a mediator of one. And who, then, was the other party? If we may believe the same writer, it was men ; for we find he bas positively asserted, that there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, namely, the Man Christ Jesus. Since, then, we have every circumstance of that extraordinary mediator, mentioned in this epistle, so particularly pointed out to us; and both the principal extreme and the mediatoria! agent so clearly ascertained, why should we think it at all likely that MEDITEVOLI Oguw ought rather to be understood of God interposing himself with or by an oath, that is, zeith an oath as a sort of coefficient, or by an oath as his substitute, either between himself and his promise, or between his promise and mankind, than of his having interposed bimself as a mediator, conformably to his oath, between himself, instead of his promise, and mankind? especially as we perceive that the former interpretation cannot be made without the assistance of either cum or per, and the latter offers itself to the understanding without the assistance of either ? Surely, when we consider further that a mediator is spoken of in this one
epistle as often as in all the other books of the New Testament; and that he is therein said to be “a mediator of the New Testament*, ” “ of a new covenantt," and even “ of a better covenant, founded upon better promises I;" " that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the First Testament, theġ which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance;" and, when we consider still farther again, that God had promised even with an oath, that he would bless mankind in the seed of Abraham, in what other sense can the words sutritivory ogxw be, with propriety, understood (and in this epistle especially), but as declaratory of that mediatorship which the only-begotten, the wellbeloved Son of God so gloriously fulfilled|l? What can be more likely than that this same sacred writer, who is thought to be the only writer of the New Testament that hath used the word meritns, and who, if he be, has used it six times in three epistless, and thrice out of that nuinber in this one epistle, intended to say here that God became a mediator agreeably to his oath, in the person of a descendant of Abraham? Would the two immutable things be less clearly distinguished in that case than they are at present? Or rather, would they not be so accurately defined that no lwo things in the world can be more distinct? And would not the heirs of promise have one more assurance ofthe immutability of the counsel of God than Abraham had, and an incomparably more abun. dant assurance? We find it is asserted of these two im. mutable things, that in them (it was] impossible for God to lie; but was it more certain that God would fulfill his promise before he had done it completely, than it was afterwards? And consequently had not the heirs of pro mise after Christ had attested the oath of the everlasting Father at the expense of his life, a proportionably greater reason to look forward a long way with the most cheerful patience in expectation of a better life? Abraham, we find, had only the promise confirmed by an oath, and by the encouragement which he derived from this assurance' only, he rejoiced to see our glorious Mediator's
. ix. 15. + xii. 24. viii. 6. || Beza says, “ Græcus scholiastes putat verbo μεσιτευω designari promissionem istam jam tum interventore Christo conceptam," and then im. mediately adds, "quod sane verum est." Viz, Gal, iü 30. 1 Tim, ii. 5, Heb.
day, and he looking far forward into futurity, saw it and was glad, and thus in contemplation enjoyed the promise, But God, we also find, hath given to the heirs an incomparably more abundant proof of the immutability of his counsel, than he did to Abraham, by fulfilling his promise. But to what end? To the end that they also, being assured, not by one immutable thing as Abraham was, but by two, (and by the latter of which it was clearly put out of all doubt, that God had not forgotten his former covenant with Abraham)“ might have a consolation so strong," anchor of the soul" sure and stedfast," as would, if constantly adhered to, finally secure their admission through that veil, within which Jesus as a forerunner is for us entered, being made an high-priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.
ON STONE'S VISITATION SERMON.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE ORTHODOX CHURCHMAN'S
N your strictures on Stone's visitation sermon, in your
Magazinefor October,(wbich upon the whole are highly just and proper) you seem to lament the great want of discipline in our Church, and have adduced the pamphlet in question as a striking instance of the same. In reply to this, I must beg leave to observe, that in the present case I trust it will appear that there are no grounds for this charge. If any thing has been wrong indeed, it must be imputed to the Archdeacon, who has certainly been very remiss, if not highly culpable, in neglecting to make a proper report of the sermon to the Bishop of the diocese. The discourse is, indeed, throughout fraught with such impiety and blasphemy, and has such a mischievous tendency, that no time should have been lost in making the matter known to the diocesan. And I cannot but think that the Archdeacon has by no means done justice to his office, nor to the clergy who were present, being silent on such In occasion. But the worthy Bishop of the diocese, ever attentive as he is to the