Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

apostle says, Save yourselves from this generation, Larte ano ans, &C. and the Lord added (v. 47, those who thus saved themselves, &c. In the book of Revelation, ch. xxi. ver. 24. the very same expression occurs, properly translated; and the nations of them who are saved, Eom Twy IwSouEwy.

On the meaning of the word Aranh, in several passagies of the

New Testament,

IT seems to be a rule, which all translators should pursue, that the same original word, in all possible places, should be rendered by the same in the translation. Now szawn, which is love, is some times rendered love, sometimes charity, in our Bible; especially in St. Paul's fine description of this grace, 1 Cor. xiii. it is rendered charity; though, without doubt, it should be love, as divine love is the grace he there recommends and enforces. But a passage in St. Peter, 1 Epist. iv. 8. is most unhappily rendered Above all things have fervent CHARITY among yourselves; for CHARITY shall cover the multitude of sins. I am afraid it is not to be doubted or denied, that many have been greatly misled and deceived, by this mistranslation; and, perhaps, fatally induced by it to believe, that alms-giving would prove an atonement for their many heinous offences: than which nothing can be more contrary to the true doctrine of Christianity, or the mind of the Apostle. The text runs, rogo marco de Tuy es Esculxs ALATIHN 6x7&vEXOVTES. le * ATATH xanenfus mando apeagimov, which, literally rendered, is, But above all things, having fervent LOVE one towards another; for LOVE will cover a multitude of sins: i. e, “ will draw a veil over, and kindly conceal, many of the defects and infirmities of our brethren, and not suffer us to spread them in a malevolent and censorious manner.” And there can be no doubt, but St. Peter alludes to that passage in the Proverbs, where the wise man remarks, Hatred stirreth up strife; but love covereth all sins; Prov. X. 12. compare xvii. 9. which brings to my mind, while it fully explains St. Peter's meaning, a saying of the great emperour Constantine; “ Were I, said he, ever to see so afflicting a sight as a bishop disguised in liquor, I would cover and conceal him with my regal robe." So love covereth all things: which St. Paul, in that chapter to the Corinthians quoted above, gives as one character of divine love; though here again we much err in our translation-ver. 7. Beareth all things, maila ETETÉ-which should be rendered, according to the exact import of the word ETETEI, covereth all things. And now that I am upon that chapter, I cannot but remark the improper division of it from the former: St. Paul, by this means, is made to break off in the midst of his argument-Covet earnestly the best giftsand yet I show unto you a more excellent way-namely, what follows. Though I speak ' with the tongues, &c. Thus Agamn, according to its exact import,

Vol. 1,~No, II.

should be uniformly rendered love; and so we find it rendered in Tindal's, queen Elisabeth's, and other translations. And thus all possibility of self-deceit from the imaginary merit of charitable bene factions, and their supposed prevalence to atone for a multitude of sins, had been utterly precluded.

It may be remarked also, from the text of St. Peter here produced, that shall and will, are frequently used with much impropriety: for though the tense admits not of that distinction in the Greek, yet there is a very evident one between shall and will in the English; which is much to be noted, as it gives a very different sense to many passages. For proof of which consult Matt. xiii. 14. 2 Tim. ii. 1, 2. 2 Pet. ii. 1, 2, &C.-What we have observed in respect to ajaan, may be observed also with respect to AIKAIOZINH, which is generally rendered righteousness, as is the Hebrew Tzedak.

On the text, “ Thou art Peter, and upon this rock will I build

my Church.

THE name of Granville Sharp ought always to command attention. Our attention it cannnot fail to obtain, since it excites at once in our minds the idea of every thing that is excellent in character, acute in research, sound and pious in doctrine. Even the smallest publications of this author are never unimportant.

That the Romish hierarchy has founded its pretensions to dominion chiefly on the text mentioned in the title, is well known; and not less so, in this country, that those pretensions, in all their forms, have been solidly refuted by Protestant writers of various kinds. Mr. Sharp, however, calls the attention of his readers to a point which has certainly been too much overlooked, namely, that Telpos, Peter, does not mean a rock, as it has been incautiously translated, but a stone*. Christ is the Rock (helpos,) Peter (Tepec) is only a little piece of a rock, or a stone, that has been dug out of the rock. Thus is the dignity of Christ preserved, and Peter properly kept at a due distance from him. The passage therefore truly means, “ Thou art Peter, (or Cephas, both meaning a stone,) . a fragment from that sacred rock on which I will build my Church.” The distinction is clearly made in the original text, “ Thou art Petros, and upon this Petra, (namely, this ROCK, which thou hast confessed,) will I build my Church."

Mr. Sharp produces the biblical expressions in which our Sa. viour is mentioned as A ROCK or a CHIEF STONE, and comments upon them with sagacity and judgment. He remarks also, more clearly than we can do in this contracted space, the connexion between the words of Peter's confession and our Saviour's immediate reply to it; and in what manner it actually excludes the sense which has been forced upon it by the Church of Rome.

• Képe is a rock, Ilépes a stone.

MISCELLANEOUS.

FROM THE CHRISTIAN OBSERVER.

THOUGHTS ON THE LOVE OF PRAISE, AND THE FEAR OF

SHAME.

THE love of worldly praise," many contend, « is a good and useful principle: It prompts to generous actions: It is the main spring of virtue; at least it is the handmaid to it.” The love of praise, it is perhaps added, is also a natural principle: from whence some will proceed to argue that what is natural must be allowable, and even to question whether it would not be sinful to resist and deny it. Such as are disposed to maintain this argument would do well to consider the concluding verses of the 16th chapter of St. Matthew's Gospel. We find from this passage that Peter, who no doubt loved his master, was ashamed of the disgrace which Jesus declared himself about to suffer. This was a very natural way of expressing his love; though probably he also felt that his own reputation was in some degree implicated with that of his Lord. Christ, however, does not applaud Peter for his friendly wish to spare him all disgrace and suffering; but on the contrary, perceiving that the love of ease and of worldly reputation had been the foundation of Peter's speech, he rebukes him for it in the severest manner; “ Get thee behind me, Satan, for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men.” And then he adds the following general observation: “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” The phrase, “ let him take up his cross,” is very expressive. The world did not furnish at that day an object of greater degradation and contempt, than a male. factor carrying his cross, fas was the custom,) to the place of execution; and yet this is the image which Christ employs to describe that deadness to worldly praise by which all his followers were to be characterized, and to reprove that principle of selfexaltation, which is the principle of the world indeed, and of all men naturally, but which is also the very principle of the devil.

« The love of praise,” say those reasoners to whose opinions I have already alluded, “ is the handmaid to virtue. Formerly perhaps some evil might have arisen from it, for then the world was in a Heathen state-it was then against Christ; but times are changed.” Is it then to be supposed that Peter and James and John might not be influenced by worldly praise, but that we may? that the same principles can be proper in Christians now, which formerly would have been a renunciation of Christianity? Now, indeed, the Christian name is more common; but the world it is to be feared is little less corrupt than in the days of Christ; and a

corrupt world it may be presumed, will always have a corrupt standard of goodness. If it be affirmed that the world is now Christian and no longer corrupt, I would only say that such an objection is so directly opposed to common experience, that it would be wasting time to attempt to remove it.

If, however, it be said, as it more probably will, " True, the world is very wicked; but nevertheless wicked men respect and praise virtue, and it is only therefore by a virtuous course of conduct that the world's praise is to be obtained:” then why, it may be answered, did not a corrupt world respect and praise virtue in the time of Christ? « Vicious men,” it is said, “ respect and praise virtue.” Did the vicious men in Christ's days praise the virtue of Christ? No, they crucified him. But perhaps you think that this was the act of only a few peculiarly wicked men in a very wicked age-a sentiment, which, though it be prevalent among those who have but an imperfect sense of human corruption, is yet directly contrary to fact. --No! It was both Jews and Gentiles, both the Priests and the Laity: It was verily both Herod and Pontius Pilate, and all the people who were gathered together against the holy child Jesus. How did all ranks and orders of worldly men unite against Christ? The Scribes opposed him: The Sadducees came forward to resist him also: The Herodians en. deavoured to entangle him in his talk: The chief Priests accused him before the magistrate: The Pharisees, (the men famed for worldly virtue,) took counsel how they might put him to death; The soldiers spit on him: The whole multitude joined in crying, Crucify him, crucify him! Those who passed by wagged their heads and reviled him: and the thieves, who were crucified with. him, cast the same in his teeth.

Wicked men, it is said, respect and praise virtue, Behold, virtue itself appears on earth embodied as it were in the person of Christ. Oh! but this was a sort of virtue too pure for their taste. True, but so also is all Christian virtue. It is not held in earthly estimation, neither is it of earthly growth: Christian virtue is Grace: It is an emanation of the Spirit of Christ; the same in principle, the same in nature, the same in its general effects, There is a virtue indeed of worldly growth, a spurious and false virtue, in many respects the very opposite to that of Christ. It is a meteor by which men are dazzled and led astray from the path of holiness; a poor temporizing virtue, suited to the taste of

a corrupt world, and founded chiefly in that pride and love of | praise which are so emphatically condemned by Christ, and which carry men to the utmost distance from him.

“ But the love of praise,” it is argued, “ is natural to us, and for that reason must be allowable.” Was it not then natural to Peter as well as to us? Besides, the argument proves too much; for if every thing be right which is natural to us, then there will be no room left for self-denial at all. , And this is in fact the very argument which is conimonly pleaded for all sorts of sin; not for pride only, but for concupiscence also not for the lusts of the

spirit only, but for the lusts of the flesh. What wilful sinner does not plead in favour of the indulgence of his passions, « My nature prompts me to it-I will not believe God will punish me for doing that which he has given me a natural inclination to do.” Thus, instead of admitting that their nature is evil and ought to be de. nied, they falsely assume that their nature must be good and ought to be obeyed: and then they cast off the principle of self-denial, follow wheresoever a corrupt nature and a corrupt world lead

them, contradict the precepts, and trample in short on the whole i religion of Christ. That men who openly reject Christ should do

this, is no wonder; but how long, alas! will men calling themselves Christians, oppose their own sayings to those of their Lord and

Master? How long will they make the corruptions of their nature, : the plea for indulging these corruptions? How long will they pre. i fer the gratification of their own selfish and sensual inclinations to the favour of God and Christ?

Taking it for granted that I have proved the love of worldly praise to be a corrupt principle, and one which as Christians we

are bound to divest ourselves of, I would proceed to make a few - remarks on the subject, and I beg of the reader, whoever he may · be, to apply them to himself.

Do you never find your imagination presenting you with ideas of your own respectability with the lively picture, for instance, of some friend or group of friends who praise either your talents, your person, your accomplishments, or your wit? When employed in some particular business, are you not apt to be anticipating the praise which you trust will follow, and the credit which will attach to you in consequence?

While worldly men are thus anticipating praise, the true Chris.' tian has settled it with himself, that to indulge a love of praise is sinful, and therefore he denies it. Day after day he is employed in suppressing these imaginations as they arise: and in this much of the Christian's daily conflict consists; for though his fancy teems with such evil thoughts, yet he denies them indulgence. In this respect he follows Christ, who did nothing to be seen of men. He feels the love of praise to be a corruption of his nature, and he therefore mourns over it until it becomes a source of his more deep humiliation before God.

What am I?” he will say to himself: “ a poor sinful creature, redeemed from death by that Saviour in whom alone I trust, without merit in myself, a mere supplicant to God for mercy. Is it praise then that I ought to seek? No; I must be content with pardon. How can I claim praise as my due for those works of which I allow the demerit before God? In such a case how worthless and merely nominal is my faith in Christ? How hypocritical and offensive to God my prayers for mercy?”

What love of praise discovers itself also in the conyersation of most worldly people? There is a flimsy veil by which they attempt to conceal it; but any man who has the least discernment may see through it, and discoyer the passion that is in the heart. In order

« AnteriorContinuar »