Obrazy na stronie

occur in the same order in which the various points are presented by the Apostle.

(1.) The first is, that “it is yet to be made out that no covenants were valid except those made by the intervention of sacrifices." The force of this objection rests

on the remark of the Apostle, (ver. 16,)“ For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator;" which, according to the view of those who hold the word diadhxn to mean covenant here, and not testament, Prof. S. evidently regards as meaning, that every covenant or compact must be ratified by the death of a sacrificial victim. The universality of any such principle or fact, Prof. S. says is yet " to be made out.”

În reference to this objection, I would submit the following remarks.

First, That the point which the Apostle proposes to “make out,” or which his argument requires should be "made out,” was not that such a custom prevailed universally in contracts between man and man, but that it was a universal principle in covenants between God and man. The argument relates not at all to compacts between one man and another, but to what was the custom, or what was understood to be settled and proper in transactions between God and

Here, the Apostle says, that this was a settled principle, or a universal fact that ihere must be a sacrificial victim --so universal as to make it to be expected that the same thing would occur under the new arrangement by the Redeemer, or in any arrangement between God and man. There is no evidence, as it seems to me, that he alludes to a compact between God and man. The mistake here has aris en partly from the use of the word “testamentby our translators, in the sense of will, as if it must relate to some transaction pertaining to men only; and partly from the insertion of the word “men” in verse 17, in the translation of the phrase ští vexçõis “ upon the dead,” or “over the dead.” But it is scarcely necessary to attempt to show that there is no necessary reference to any transaction between man and man at all, and that the whole force of the illustration will be retained, if we suppose the Apostle to be speaking only of a transaction between man and his Maker. If the principle was sufficiently settled, or if the custom was so far universal that it might be laid down as a general truth, that in a cove


[ocr errors]

nant between God and man such a sacrifice was necessary, then this is all that the argument of the Apostle seems to demand. The argument would not be essentially strengthened, if it could be proved also that this was a universal custom in all compacts between man and man; it is not weakened at all if it is shown, as it easily may be, that no such necessity exists, and that such a mode of ratifying a compact in fact seldom occurs. This remark, if well founded, will meet the force of the objection made by Prof. S. in the manner in which he intended it to be understood, that “it is yet to be made out that no covenants were valid except those made by the intervention of sacrifice.” It will not be necessary, to prove that the custom of ratifying compacts between man and man by sacrifice prevailed. Whether that is true or not, or can be made out” or not, the assertion of the Apostle may be true, that in a covenant with God, it was a settled principle that sacrifice was necessary in order to confirm it. The true point of enquiry then is, whether such a settled principle prevailed. I remark, then,

Secondly, That this was regarded as a well understood and established principle among the Hebrews, and is not unfrequently referred to in the Old Testament. We find the principle either implied or distinctly expressed in all the transactions between God and man, that had the nature of a ona or dadræn. To say nothing of the case of Abel, (Gen. iv: 4,) or of Noah, (Gen. viii : 20, 21,) we find it expressly recognized, and described at length in the important transaction with Abraham. Gen. xv: 9—18. Abraham, on occasion of the “covenant” which God made with him, was directed to take an heifer, and a she-goat, and a ram, and to divide ihem in the midst, and lay each piece one against another. When this was done, God made a "covenant” (or “cut a covenant" 677 677) with Abraham, and promised to give him the land, ver. 18.

In this transaction, the principle is distinctly recognized, and acted on of making a "covenant" over the victims offered in sacrifice. It was over the dead bodies of the victims; it was of force, or was ratified, only when they were dead. In like manner, ihe covenant which God made with his people in the wilderness, was ratified by the death of victims. See Ex. xxiv : 6, seq. The same principle is distinctly recognized by Jeremiah, and by Zechariah. Jer. xxxiv : 18, “And I will give the men that have transgressed

my covenant, which have not performed the words of the covenant which they had made before me, when they cut the calf in twain, and passed between the parts thereof," &c. Zech. ix: 11, “As for thee, also, by the blood of ihy covenant (or as it is in the margin, 'whose covenant is by blood,') I have sent forth thy prisoners.” Indeed, the whole of the Jewish sacrifices might be referred to as an illustration of this principle. They were all to ratify the covenant; and the Jew had no idea of a 677 or diad hun with God, which was not connected with the slaying of a victim.

Thirdly, the same thing is expressed in the usual and established terms when a on between God and man is referred to. Those terms became settled and technical, and they show what was understood by such a transaction. The term or phrase, used with great uniformity in the Old Testament is oma ?, “ to cut a covenant, in allusion to the victims cut in pieces on the occasion of entering into such a coyenant." See Gen. xv: 18; xxxi : 54; Jer. xxxiv: 18; Professor Stuart, p. 448.

“ The meaning," says Professor Stuart, “ of such a transaction seems evidently to be, that the persons who make the engagements by passing through the dissevered parts of the slain animal, virtually say, “if we preserve not our engagements faithfully and without violation, then let us be cut in pieces like the animal between whose dissevered parts we now pass.” But in the Scriptures this phrase refers most commonly to transactions between God and men, rarely comparatively between men and each other. See above, Gen. xv. 18; Jer. xxxiv : 18; also, 2 Chron. xxi:7; Isa. lv: 3; Jer. xxxii: 40. Similar terms are also used in other languages to express the idea of making a covenant, showing that it was based on the custom of slaying a victim. Compare the common terms in Greek, ögxia séuveiv, séuveiv otrovdás, and in Latin, icere fædus.

Fourthly, a similar custom was common among heathen nations. Thus Professor Stuart, (p. 448) says, "Ephrem Syrus testifies that the Chaldeans had the same usage; Opp. 1. p. 161; as also Hacourt does, in respect to the Arabians, Histoire de Madagascar, p. 98, 360." 'Virgil alludes to the same custom, Aen. viii. 641.

et cæså jungebant fædera porca. So also Suetonius (in Claudio, chap. 25), says, Cum regi SECOND SERIES, VOL. VIII. NO. l.


bus fædus in foro icit porcâ cæsâ, ac veteri fecialium præfatione adhibita. So Festus, Porci effigies inter militaria signa quintum locum obtinebat ; quia, confecto bello, inter quos pax fierat, cæsâ porcâ fædus firmari solebat. See Bochart, Hieroz. p. 1. Lib. ii. c. xxxiii.

These facts with numerous others which might be adduced, go to establish the position that it was a settled principle, that in a 677 or diabræn between God and man, there must be the death of the sacrificial victim. It was an indisputable principle. It entered into all the Jewish conceptions of such ama; it pervaded their language ; it was even the common sentiment of the heathen world. If, therefore, the Apostle Paul referred to such a transaction-which is all that his argument requires, the fact that “no (such] covenants were valid except those made by the intervention of sacrifices, is sufficiently made out," and the objection of Professor Stuart, to the interpretation proposed is removed.

2. The second objection is, that " diariamus and diadéuevos cannot properly be rendered mediate and mediating sacrifice.They have no such meaning any where else. Avadéuevos must mean either a testator, or else a contractor, i. e. one of two covenanting parties." This objection occurs in reference to the phrase, θάνατον ανάγκη φέρεσθαι του διαθεμένου, Tendered in the common version, " there must of necessity be the death of the testator," and by Professor Stuart, “it is necessary that the death of the testator should take place." The objection urged by Professor Stuart is, that it would be improper to render this as meaning, “ it is necessary that the death of the covenanter or the victim set apart to be slain, should take place.” In regard to this objection, I would observe,

First, that the word is never used in the sense of “testator," either in the New Testament or the Old, unless it be here. This is impliedly admitted by Professor Stuart himself, when he says that the word dadhan is never employed in the sense of will or testament except in this place. "See above. If this remark is true of drabhxn, it is equally true of diadéusvos, and it may be assumed, therefore, that it is no where else used in the sense of one who makes a will. If, therefore, it should be necessary, as it is undoubtedly, to assign a meaning to the word here quite unusual in the Scriptures, why should it be assumed that the meaning must be, one who makes a will,” or a testator? Why may it not be equally proper to suppose

that the unusual meaning may be, one who confirms, or ratifies a covenant; that is, the victim that was slain to ratify it?

Secondly, if the Apostle used the word dad hun in the sense of a covenant in this passage, in accordance with the uniform ysage of that word, and the word on every where else, as I have endeavored to prove, then nothing is more natural than lo suppose that he used the corresponding word diabéuevos in a similar sense. Since an unusual signification was to be attached to the word, it is to be presumed that he would give to the word this signification. He wished to express the idea that the covenant between God and man was always ratified by the death of a victim sacrificed on such an occasion, and for such a purpose. Yet there was no single word which would convey that idea. Neither the Greek nor the Hebrew furnished such a word in common use, and there was a necessity for expressing the thought by circumvention, or by using a word in a sense that differed slightly from the usual signification. Professor Smart is not to learn how the Apostle would meet such an exigency, nor how common in his writings ärag as youéva occur, nor how often words are used by him in a sense which occurs nowhere else. The instance before us, is at all events, such an instance, for even on the interpretation proposed by Professor Stuart, it is necessary to suppose just such an usage.

Thirdly, the usage by the Apostle, in this sense, is not a departure from the fair and proper meaning of the word. The word dariðnus properly means to place apart, to set in order, to arrange. It is rendered appoint in Luke xxii: 29; made, and make, with reference to a covenant. Acts iii : 25; Heb. viii: 10: x: 16. It does not occur elsewhere in the New Testament except in the case before us. The idea of placing, disposing, arranging, enters always into the word, as to place wares, merchandize, &c., for sale ; to arrange a contract, &c. Passow. The fair meaning of the word here may be, whatever goes to arrange, dispose, or seitle the covenant, or to make it secure and firm. If the word relate to a compact, the word cannot refer to one of the contracting parties, because the death of neither is necessary to confirm it. But if it was a well understood fact that a sacrifice was needful to confirm such an arrangement with God, then the word would naturally refer to such a victim as that by which it was confirmed. And though it be admitted that the word

« PoprzedniaDalej »