« AnteriorContinuar »
profession of Christianity, as to a kind are not few in number. The course of action in conformity with general benefit of science and liteits doctrines and spirit. So long rature he will perceive to be very as an assent to the Christian faith great, even though in some unis of so vague and general a cha- happy instances they should be as racter, as to cause no decided dif- sociated with vice or infidelity it. ference between the conduct of self; and he will look forward with those who profess to believe it, and anxious expectation to the time of those who discard it, Christi. when they shall occupy their proper anity will not be reproached; but stations, as handmaids to religion. when its power becomes evident But whatever conveniences or by the transformation of the cha- luxuries may be derived from sciracter of those who receive it into ence and literature, it is certainly the likeness of its great Author, not yet shewn, that the interests when every stage of advancement which they more directly promote in spiritual knowledge is followed are emphatically our best interests. by a correspondent conformity in The best interests of a being compractice, the spirit of the world posed of an immaterial as well as a will rise in opposition to it, and material part, must be viewed in the truth of the declaration of our relation to this composition of his Lord will be rendered evident, That nature. As far as spirit excels as the world despised him, so it matter, so far must the interests of would despise bis followers. the soul be considered as of more
To enter fairly into the charac. importance than the interests of the ter of the objection in question, it body; and the interests of the soul, is necessary first to consider an as- from the nature of that principle, sumption contained in it; namely, must ever have relation to moral acthat science and literature are ob- quirements. Now, the great object jects of the first interest to man- of Christianity is to raise the soul kind. That they are of very high to the highest enjoyments of which importance to bis temporal welfare it is susceptible; and, in thus prewill not be denied ; and every paring it for blessedness hereafter, true philanthropist must rejoice in by the purifying influence of its the effects of general literature as doctrines, it elevates it to those connected with the higher degrees sublime heights which, in figuof civilization, the refinements of rative language, are called the taste, and the enlargement of the " very gates of heaven." While it human mind; and must acknow- promises immortal pleasure in the ledge with delight the benefits of world to come, it affords present science in various circumstances pleasure by the enjoyment of that of life. A man who tbus forms a prospect, and by the means it uses large and sober estimate, will not to attain so exalted a state. It disdetract from the just praise of sipates the anxiety which a reflectliterature by dwelling on the more ing spirit must otherwise feel in the bid seusibility which sometimes contemplation of eternity. It yields accompanies an excessive indul- that “peace which the world can gence in works of mere septiment neither give nor take away,” that and imagination; which result is “ peace which passeth understandbut an abuse of literature: nor will ing.” It bestows the purest and he urge the unamiable dispositions most solid happiness in this world, and habits which occasionally ac- and promises,
the surest company an acquaintance with grounds, an accession of joy in science; for such effects are not an immeasurable degree hereafter. by any means a necessary conse- But if we consider Christianity quence of intellectual improve even in its relation to the secular ment, and examples of an opposite interests of mankind, so far from
abridging the rational enjoyments tations from the heathen poets. of life, it regulates and establishes, He did not reject the learning he and therefore improves, them. It had acquired, but used it to the glory directs to the pursuit of whatever of God; though he accounted it conduces to the welfare of man, in nothing in comparison with the connexion with his intellectual im- Divine truths he was commissioned provement, his enjoyment of vire to preach. And if we trace Christuous liberty, and the grateful use tianity from the primitive ages to of providential blessings. In for- the present time, we shall find that bidding all dubious and inordinate many of the greatest promoters of gratification, it promotes essen- science and literature have been tially the temporal as well as the zealous and conscientious Christieternal interests of men. It is in ans. The works of many of the this respect a doctrine advan- fathers of the church, and the tageous to this life, as well as to the philosophical manner in which life to come.
ihey defended their doctrine, prove But is it a fact that Christi- them to have been well acquainted anity has militated, as is alleged, with all the learning of their day. against the advancement of sci- From the time that Rome was ence and literature? That science pillaged by the barbarians, who has flourished, and that the arts with presumptuous hands destroybave risen to a high degree of emi- ed almost every vestige of art and nence in countries where the know- literature within their reach, learnledge of the true God has been ing was preserved among the lost, is indeed certain both from Christians in Constantinople. This historical evidence and from the appears to have been the retreat to existence of works of art which which philosophy was driven, while have outlived their authors; but the unsparing cruelty of unlettered that the promulgation of the Gospel heathens overran the other parts has checked the arts and sciences, of Europe. Here literature found either there or elsewhere, is con- protection in the company of Christrary to the testimony of facts. tianity; and the philosopber and
If we examine the principles of Christian were frequently identified the Christian revelation relatively in the same person. From tbis seat to this objection, we shall perceive of learning, England received many that tbey were established on truly of those rudiments of knowledge, rational grounds.
The miracles which she afterwards cultivaled performed by the great Author of so successfully. The crusaders this doctrine, were directed imme. who frequented Constantinople perdiately to the judgment of men, ceived ihe excellency and utility and called on them for a strict of science and literature, and took investigation and philosophical in- back with them to their own counquiry into the subject." Christi- try, not only works of learning, avity did not, like the delusive but the spirit of research to profit religion of Mohammed, forbid in- by them. quiry, but courted it. Oue of the If we pass through the dark ages, first effects it produced on the we shall occasionally see men who minds of men, was to excite a spirit made great advances in learning ; of investigation on the strictest and we almost invariably perceive, grounds of inductive pbilosophy. that they were persons profession
The history of Christianity bearsally connected with the Christian the same testimony. St. Paul di- church. We are indebted for the rected Timothy to be diligent in history of the times to these men; his attention to study; and has having but little knowledge of those incidentally evinced that he him ages but wbat was furnished by self was a literary man, by his quo- monks and priests. The learned languages, though but little known, rendering which he mentions as were still cultivated by a few, who adopted by Doddridge, and reserwere induced to study them in red to by Scott, namely, “ After order to be enabled to examine the the manner of Christ," originated, holy Scriptures as originally writ. I believe, with the learned Dr. ten. As far as the true spirit of Waterland; but in vain have I Christianity prevailed, so far was sought for any instance noted by learning promoted: and the intel- lexicographers, grammarians, or leclual darkness of these ages was others, (and I have for this purin proportion as the Divine light of pose consulted books of very copiChristianity was shaded.
ous reference), in which the prepoBut if we look at Christianity, sition dro has ever been so used; when itemerged, at the Reformation, and to me at least it appears abunfrom this dark and chilling atmos- dantly plain, that the single pasphere, we shall perceive that learn- sage of the New Testament on ing rose with it: since which peo which the proposition of Dr. Waterriod, science and literature have land is grounded, namely, 2 Tim. ever flourished under its auspices. i. 3, cannot with propriety be conIn theology especially, to which sidered as parallel to that now unamong the ancients was ever assign, der consideration. A form of exed the first place in the ranks of pression may involve that which no knowledge for its depib, its subli. one term in that form was meant mity, and its importance, the friends by itself to express ; or, to come of Christianity hold a situation of to the precise point, a phrase may vorivalled preeminence; and even strongly imply the descent of any in ordinary literature, some of the particular custom, sentiment, or most eminent kings, statesmen, mode of worship, from father to lawyers, patriots, and philosophers, son through successive generations, have been persons of decided Chris- and thus most legitimately convey tian principle.
The idea of example and conformity It is, however, one of the great to example ; and yet we may not excellencies of Christianity, that be at liberty to infer that the term while the most learued can expa- signifyiog succession or descent, tiate on the grandeur and magni. may with propriety be rendered, ficence of its disclosures, and are “ After the manner or example." constrained to acknowledge them. This I take to be precisely the case selves unequal to its sublimities and in the passage quoted by Dr. Wamysteries ; its fundamental and es- terland, (2 Tim. i. 3); nor does sential doctrines are so clear, that the learned Doctor's position apthe most simple may understand pear to me to be tenable. them; and such is its whole cha,
I come now to the rendering prosacter, that the more we under- posed by D. R. N., who supposes stand it, the more fully shall we be ihat the phraseology in the Septuaconvinced, that a strict conformity gint version of Gen. iii. 14, and to its requirements is, in every point ihat of Rom. ix. 3, are strictly of view, conducive to the best in- parallel; that is, that ava@eua Élval terests of man.
is parallel with έπι καταρατος συ απο παντων των KTYVwv; (in English,
- Cursed art
thou above all cattle"); and he Tothe EditoroftheChristian Observer. would translate the words of St. I HAVB read the modest observa. Paul, “ Accursed above Cbrist." tions of your correspondent D.R.N. With the theology of the question, on the right translation of Rom. or, in other words, the improbabiix. 3, and request permission to in-lity of St. Paul's thus instituting a sert a few remarks in reply. The comparison, in point of degree,
between the infinite sufferings of that is, Not only shalt thou be seour blessed Lord, and those of a parated from their society, be lookfinite creature, especially where ed upon with dislike, and avoided those of the latter are to exceed by them all, but thou shalt also be (D. R. N. says, " if possible,") separated, or distinguished from even the intensity and ignominy, them in the measure of that curse and depth of the former, I do not which shall heuceforth attach to at present concern myself; I con- thee. If this be, as I believe it is, fine my reinarks to the mere ver- plainly and literally the sense of bal interpretation of the passage. ihe passage, it will be sufficiently Can then the Greek preposition obvious, on what grounds transdro, as found in Rom. ix. 3, be lators, who did not always adhere rendered by the English word, very closely to the letter of the “ above" ? I have no hesitation original, were induced to use the in expressing a very decided opi- word alluded to. nion, that it cannot be so rendered, There are, however, other passages with propriety, in that passage. in the Septuagint, (Deut. xiv. 2, and What I before observed, in sub- xvii. 20, Judges v. 24; 2 Kings stance, concerning the proposed xxi, 11, and Psalm xviii. 48,) where version of ato in 2 Tim. i. 3, that the word dto occurs in the same as part of a phrase, and by impli- signitication ; but to every one of cation, it may convey the idea of them, if I mistake not, similar obe That which it can never literally, servations to those just made will and by itself, signify; I would re- be found applicable. The same peat of the same preposition, in idea of separation, either in a good reference to ibe interpretation now or a bad sense, pervades them all: proposed. In respect to the idea this I take to be the only ground meant to be conveyed by any par- upon which dro is ever rendered ticular passage in which it is found, “ above ;” and such an idea, I it may answer, in some sense or think, D. R. N. will readily allow measure, to our word “. above;" would by no means suit Rom. ix. 3, but never, as I conceive, was the the passage under review. In conEnglish term “ above” a literal sulling the passages in the Septutranslation of it. The meaning of agint just referred to, I have rethe original Hebrew in Gen. iii. 14. marked, (and perhaps it is worth when literally translated is, if I no!icing,) that dro in all these cases mistake not,“ Cursed art thou is joined with nouns in the plural among all catile." So Poole in his number. There is not one instance, Synopsis renders it, “inter;" and so far as I can discover, where such só Le Clerc translates it in his Latin a signification as that suggested by version of the Book of Genesis. D. R. N., is attached to it, when And the idea intended to be con- joined to the singular number of veyed, I presume, is ibis ; that a noun; and perhaps this form of among all creatures, who were now expression is better calculated to to be subjected to a curse by Adam's express the clear preeninence, sin, none should be so cursed as wliether in a good or a bad point of the serpent, in whose form the view, of some one above all others, tempter had prevailed. Upon what (as in the case of the serpent, Gen. grounds, then, did the Seventy use iii. 14; and of Jael, Judges v. 24), dro when translating Gen. iii. 14? than that which can be ascertained They strictly preserved the sense only by a nicer comparisou of two of the passage, but conveyed the individual things or persons with meaning of it under a somewhat each other. I need not point out different form. “ Cursed art thou the bearing which this observation apart from all cattle," is the literal has on the present question. interpretation of the Greek words; I will only add, ihat the prepo•
sitions most commonly found in the Septuagint, in the same senses as
To the Editor of the Christian Observer. we use the word “ above,” are In these days of missionary exerπαρα, υπερ, υπερανω, επι and some- tion, and particularly at the present times ÉKTOS. I have not searched season, when the Christian public the Greek Testament for such a have just been celebrating in this meaning of dmo as that spoken of vast metropolis the triumphs of the by your correspondent; but neither Cross of Christ over heathen ignoSchleusner, Parkhurst, nor others rance, superstition, and immorality, whom I have consulted, give any as displayed in the proceedings of thing that even approximates to so many of our charitable institusuch a rendering.
tions, it may not be uninteresting As to the real meaning of dro to your readers to learn the sentiTOV XPlotov in Rom. ix. 3, the most ments entertained in the sixteenth plausible opinion on the subject century, respecting the duty and ihat I have ever met with, is ihat necessity of Missions, by that eleof the learned Dr. Zachary Pearce, gant and illustrious scholar, Eras(formerly Bishop of Rochester), in mus; who, whatever were his a note found in his Commentary on feelings, exhibited a zeal for the 1 Cor. xii. 3:~" In the Greek ver- extension of Christianity which sion of the Seventy,” says the Bi- does honour to his name, and shop, “ dvaeua is often used to tacitly rebukes the supine unconsignify that which had been offered cern with which too many among to God, and devoted to his service; us regard our Saviour's precept, for so, in Levit. xxvii. 29, we read “ Go ye, and teach all nations." παν ο εαν ανατεθη απο των ανθρωπων, I therefore request your insertion ου λυτρωσεται, αλλα θανατω θανατω- of the following translation of an Ongeral, and the thing thus devot. important passage in the “ Eccleed is called dvadeua, in ver. 28. siastes sive Concionator EvangeliFrom hence it appears that, when cus," of that eminent writer, with St. Paul, in Rom. ix. 3, wishes he a fervent prayer that his earnest was αναθεμα απο τον χριστου for appeal may be instrumental in exhis brethren, he wishes not that he citing a greater feeling of compas: was dvaðɛua from Christ, but de. sion for a perishing world among voted by Christ to death for them, every class of your readers, and and means that he was ready to lay more particularly among the pious down his life for their service." undergraduates of our universities, The same idea seems, (as I find from whose ranks the church way from Poole's Synopsis, Rom. ix. 3.) expect her ablest and most devoted to have occurred to two divines of missionaries. If the length of the no less reputation than Gomarus passage seem to need an apology, and Estius; and Mr. Parkhurst in it will, I think, be found uot only his Lexicon, on the word dva eua, in its intrinsic value, but also in its adopts the rendering just spoken literary merit, and the force and of, ihough without any reference to spirit of its composition. the opinions of others; and under
S. E. H. the word dro he supports it by many citations from the New Testament, We are daily hearing the com. and some from classical authors. plaints of those who lament the To these last very many might be depressed state of Christianity, and added ; and Schleusver's Lexicon, the circumscribed limits of a power on the word dito, may be profitably which once embraced the world. consulted on the point.
If then their sorrow is genuine,
with their Lord in fervent and con-