« PreviousContinue »
purified and cleansed earthly Jerusalem :—" And he showed me a pare river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month : and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no more curse : but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and His servants shall serve Him : and they shall see His face ; and His name shall be in their foreheads. And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever."* Here we have the same clear, crystal-like sea, described in the fourth chapter of that Book, and we are distinctly told that it is to proceed "out of the throne of God and the Lamb.” We cannot at present dwell on Ezekiel xlviii. 1, 12. Moreover, we have in it restored the Tree of Life.
The more we meditate upon the four words which form the petition under consideration,t the more do we perceive in it the sum and sub
* Rev. xxii. 1-5. † We must once more express our unequivocal dissent from the latest version of the latest revised edition of the Hebrew translation of the New Testament, published by the “London Society for Promoting Christianity amongst the Jews." The former version of the divinely dictated prayer under notice,
, ) ' with the genius of classical' Hebrew-which was most probably used by our
—, : yox]. No refined scientific Hebrew scholar would, for a moment, have pro posed the substitution. The last nominal reviser-we cannot think that the « assistant” could have proposed the substitution—was evidently as unacquainted with the genius of the Hebrew tongue, no matter how extensive his knowledge of words in that language may have been, as he was superficial in a knowledge of the Greek language, and of the genius of the method in which he was to work. The Greek version of the brief prayer stands thus :-"Terndru το θέλημά σου, ώς εν ουρανό και επί της γης. Obviously the last nominal reviser did not apprehend the import of the Greek verb yivoual-supposing for a moment that our blessed Lord spoke Greek, which supposition is utterly untenable, as demonstrated by our talented brother, the Rev. J. B. Goldberg, in his masterly essay on the subject. (a)-Any comprehensive dictionary of the Greek language might have informed him that that verb was not fairly represented by the Hebrew verb wy, and that ,717 was the more correct, as well as its more classical rendering. Let the very second verse of the Hebrew and Greek of Genesis testify. 78 7', Moses wrote down. PevnOntw pūs was the rendering unanimously adopted by the seventy translators into Greek. As to the New Testament word under consideration, the Syriac version, the oldest translation extant, has properly the word X977), the equivalent of 17. But what shall we say to the last five words of the last revision of the Hebrew translation of that petition ! where the last revisers have turned two classical Hebrew words into five unclassical ones !!! How Isaiah must stand rebuked for using the words
) The genius of the method of an efficient translator is first to thoroughly understand the original, and then to render the same in the best possible style of the language into which the original is to be translated. If the Committees of the Jews' Missions Societies, and of the British and Foreign Bible Society, were thorough Hebrew scholars-as they certainly ought to be the last revised translation of the Hebrew New Testament would long since have been withdrawn from circulation, and only kept for exhibition as a warning monument of the work of irresponsible secretaries, as well as of irresponsible translators and revisers.
(a) THE LANGUAGE OF CHRIST. Samuel Bagster and Sons.
stance of the final consummation, that is, “ the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all His Prophets sinco the world began," and which were with such marvellous perspicuity set forth in the REVELATION vouchsafed to the beloved Disciple.
We must appeal once more to the writers who espouse the preposterous idea, that our Blessed Lord utilised an existing Jewish prayer for the construction of the Prayer which He taught His Disciples, to point out anything similar in any Jewish liturgy, ancient or modern, to the third petition in that comprehensive supplication. The only passage in the modern Synagogue liturgy, which can at all be construed to mean something of the kind, is the one which is prescribed for the reciting of the congregation, whilst the scroll of the law is being carried to the reading desk. After the repetition of 1 Chronicles, xxix. 11, Psalm xcix. 5, 9, the following composition is recited : “May His name, even of the KING who reigns over Kings of Kings, the Holy One, blessed be He, be magnified, hallowed, lauded, glorified, exalted, and extolled over all of them, in the ages which He created, even in the world that now is, and the world that is to come, in accordance with His will, and the will of those that fear Him, and the will of the whole house of Israel. Rock of Ages, Lord of all creatures, God of all souls, who dwellest in the expanses of heights celestial, and tabernacles in the heavens of old. His holiness surpasses that of the LIVING CREATURES, and His sanctity excels the throne of glory. Let, therefore, Thy name be hallowed by us, Lord our God, before the eyes of everything that has life. And we will recite before Thee the new song, as it is written :- Sing unto God, sing praises to His name : extol Him that rideth upon the heavens by His name YAH, and rejoice before Him.' [Ps. lxviii. 4.] And we shall see Him eye to eye when He returns to His habitation, as it is written, 'for they shall see eye to eye when the Lord returneth to Zion.'
[Isaiah lii. 8.]* Moreover, it is said, 'And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.' [Ibid. xl. 5.]” The date of the above composition is palpably too modern to have furnished our Lord with the theme of the third supplication in the Prayer which He dictated for the use of His Disciples. All we have to say for the Jewish recitation just quoted is, that it is an indifferent expansion of our Blessed Lord's concise but comprehensive petition,
" THY WILL
DONE IN EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN.'
One thought more is suggested by the prayer under consideration. Whenever the Spirit of God opens the door of Heaven for a momentary gaze, which is but seldom done, it is intended as a Divine intimation that the children of God should study well the celestial scenes disclosed to us, for our guidance and conduct even now. The brief sentence " THY WILL BE DONE IN EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN," should. direct our most serious thoughts to that Heaven, and to all that has been written about that Heaven. So that our allegiance and devotion may be in some measure—though ever so faint in lustre and feeble in power-assimilated to the allegiance and devotion rendered by the
* See THE SPIRIT OF PROPHECY, by the Rev. Dr. Margoliouth, p. 28.
angelic hosts in Heaven now, and to be rendered in a renovated Earth hereafter, so that we may experience that, in a limited sense at least, even in our life that now is, HIS WILL IS DONE IN EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN.
PREACHING THE GOSPEL.
( Continued from page 599.) EANWHILE are we entirely ignorant wherein the miraculousness
of any true miracle consisted ? In two instances of cure, we notice a gradual process, in the same order in which such a cure would be effected in a natural way: (1) in healing a man who was deaf, and had an impediment in his speech, if he was not actually dumb, the hearing is cured before speech is restored (Mark vii. 33, 35); (2) in giving a blind man sight, the full use of the man's eyes is restored, not all at once, but by degrees (Mark viii. 24, 25). Similar remarks are found in the ancient fathers on the miracle of changing water into wine,-a natural process, but wonderfully accelerated. And the same may have been the case in many other miracles, in the account of which the fact is not indicated. A miracle is not therefore the less a miracle because a law of nature is called in to effect it, but then the miracle only consists in accelerating the action of a natural law, which, if we could see the process, might itself fall under the designation of natural. Sometimes, some additional process, besides an accelerating force, may also have been in operation : and so, if we knew all, we could, perhaps, say that, in no "miracle" could it be said that any law of nature was set aside or superseded.
On the other hand, it is only from a superficial view, that any body could contend that the Bible sanctions the idea that real miracles might be performed by satanic agency. We read, indeed, of such an agency seemingly causing "fire to come down from heaven," and doing other “great wonders ” (Rev. xiii. 13); but these are the same that are elsewhere called “ lying wonders,” delusions which God would send upon some, “ that they should believe a lie” (2 Thess. ii. 9, 11), need therefore be no real miracles. So in Deut. xiii. 1, 2 (2, 3), we read of a deceiver, in effect, performing a miracle, by foretelling a future event. But even upon the facile assumption of a multiplicity of writers in the same book, this passage could assuredly not have been understood in flat contradiction with Deut. xviii. 21, 22, where the fulfilment of a prediction is made the infallible test of a true prophet. This last passage must inevitably be the dominant rule. But Holy Scripture speaks of things as they present themselves to the eye of the casual observer, and does not throw every man upon his own resources, to find out for himself what is genuine, and what is pretence; and so, instead of requiring every man in such a case as is assumed in the former passage, to examine whether there be not some fraud or trickery, the matter is cut short; so that when the object of the “ sign or wonder" is, to get
men to worship "other gods," this is enough ; let the seducer pretend never so much that a miracle had been wrought, -he shall die. But it does not assume any thing contrary to the general rule of Deut. xviii. 21, 22.
That there ever really existed such an art as witchcraft, or that a so-called “witch” could really effect anything, could be inferred from only one passage in the whole Bible (1 Sam. xxviii); and the woman here spoken of, with her professional title of ventriloquist,* was certainly nothing less than an impostor,—and such were to be put to death, not persons suspected of witchcraft.
Two vastly important subjects of discussion remain, which St. Paul treats as intimately connected with one another,—a great“ falling away in the Gentile Church, f and the “ grafting in again" of Israel. To the Gentile Church he says, “Be not high-minded, but fear. . . . Lest He also spare not thee. Otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.”This “ falling away our Lord must have had in view in His question, " Nevertheless, when the Son of Man cometh, shall He find the faith (rhy hlotiv) on the earth ?”S Of Israel the apostle says, “ God is able to graff them in again. . What shall the receiving of them be but life from the dead? And so all Israel shall be saved;" the proposition here involved being distinct from, and in addition to that of the continuous “ remnant according to the election of grace.”
The most troublesome objections, certainly, which the missionary in the present day has to encounter even amongst heathen, as in India, and still more among Jews, are those which arise out of the terrible condition of Christendom. You cannot at all now point to the Church as a witness.** The Church of Rome indeed boasts unity; but neither Jew nor Pagan can be expected to enter upon such a question as the primacy of St. Peter, or supremacy ; they will regard the Papal Church as but part of the Christian Church, and not by any means the better part of it. Outside the Church of Rome there are sects and parties innumerable, one fatal effect of which is that, since among so many none could be so preposterous as to pretend that its own nostrum is the only safe one, a universal latitudinarianism becomes almost inevitable; and latitudinarianism is not faith,tt and must sooner or later end in open infidelity in the masses.
If this terrible condition of the Christian Church, so full of corruptions, divisions, worldly-mindedness, and all kinds of ungodliness, and
* The LXX., éyyaorpijiv ov; in Hebrew, mistress of the leathern bag. + 2 Thess, ii. 3.
I Rom, xi.
& Luke xviii. 8. i The authorised version, in Rom. xi. 31, “That through your mercy they also may obtain mercy," is a sad mistranslation, contradictory to the rest of the chapter. The Syriac, in common with many other versions (Vulg., Luther, &c.), renders the verse, “So these also have not now believed in the mercy which is upon you, that upon them also the mercy may come.” (Vide infra.)
Rom. xi, 5. ** Because our Lord prayed for the unity of Ilis Church (John xvii. 11, 21), some think themselves bound to maintain that that unity actually exists, though the unity prayed for is one that“ the world” could recognise. But the prayer is an exact parallel with the Divine utterance in Deut. v. 29, “O that there were such an heart in them," &c., clearly implying that there would be no such heart in them. And so in our Lord's prayer : there is agony in the words, implying that the unity, so necessary, would not exist.
# Rom. xiv. 5.
powerless against the infidelity around her, had not been clearly foretold in Scripture, as necessarily preceding the great “falling away” (i ánooravia), then a man could hardly maintain his faith ; but it is foretold, and so those who believe this are forewarned. What contributed most to make some think that the apostles taught an immediate return of the Lord are their constant warnings against the dangers of the “ last days ;” but the fact is that the “mystery of iniquity ” being of old standing, and the “falling away”a gradual development, the tendency to it was a constant one, and had, by every community, and every individual, to be guarded against as much in the days of the apostles themselves as in our days. With this " falling away” the missionary must know how to deal. He not only need not, but should not, ignore it, but by it account for the real condition of things, as the apostles themselves did.
The second subject, that of Israel, has been usually connected with " Chiliasm,” which is, in the present day, quite exploded. One Papias, a bishop of the second century, held it; not he alone indeed, but Eusebius singles him out, in order to say of him that he was “ a weak-minded man.” The same Eusebius, however, backs up one Hegesippus, who was certainly no strong-minded man, and most certainly an Ebionite heretic, who stands self-convicted by the impossible account which he gives of " James the Just.” So does Eusebius also adopt as a piece of genuine Christian Church history, an account which Philo gives of a sect of Jewish ascetics; and has, lastly, left us a Life of Constantine the Great, which does not confer very much credit upon the author. We can, therefore, not feel quite overwhelmed by the authority of Eusebius, and may well mistrust his certainly prejudiced report that Papias, or the Church in his day generally, connected any thing carnal * with the doctrine, the resurrection of the body not falling under such a designation, It is a simple fact that the doctrine of a millennium was from the beginning universal in the Church; but as the Church grew more and more worldly, and heathen philosophy became more influential, she became more and more content with her position in this world, and desired no other change but to increase her wealth and power; and then the doctrine was branded as heresy, f and yet has it never died out.
The term “ Millennium " is, of course, found in the Apocalypse only, I a book to which greater violence has been done than to any other,-men, both in ancient and in modern times, upon principles diametrically opposite to one another, having contented themselves with fulfilments so airy and impalpable that no body but themselves could see any fulfilment at all.
The marvellous character of the book, considering that it is not a work of art, consists in this, that it works up, so to say, all the prophetic predictions in the Old Testament Scriptures not fulfilled in and at our Lord's first advent, which the New Testament generally also assumes to be still
* See a note on this in Library of the Fathers," Tertullian, pp. 120-130.
+ This view does not differ very widely from the “ History of the Doctrine of Millennium,” given by Gibbon, in his “ Decline and Fall," &c., which is, un. happily, only too true, except as to the spirit, and the turn he gives to it, in the usual Gibbonish style.
# Rev. XX, 3-7 ; cf. Isa, xxiv. 21-23.