« PoprzedniaDalej »
yet, in the historical part, they admit it only into the titles of the four Gospels, in the sense last mentioned, and into the first verse of Mark's Gospel, where the sense is the same. Their use of the Greek word in these places is exactly similar to the use which our translators have made of the words of the Septuagint, Genesis and Exodus, which serve for names to the two first Books of the Pentateuch, but which they have never employed in the body of the work, where the words Yevegis and Etodos occur in that version. Thus in every other passage of the Gospels, and Acts, evayy auov is rendered x7730 sabartha, a plain Syriac word of the same signification and similar origin. In this the Syriac interpreters appear to have acted more judiciously than the Latin, as they have been sensible of the impropriety of darkening some of the plainest, but most important declarations, by the unnecessary introduction of an exotic term which had no meaning, or at least not the proper meaning in their language. In Paul's Epistles, I acknowledge, they have several times adopted the Greek word; but let it be observed that, in these, the term evayyehov is frequently employed in a different sense. This has, in part, appeared already, but will be still more evident, from what immediately follows.
$ 19. The fourth sense of evayyaacov in the New Testament is the ministry of the Gospel. In this acceptation I find the word used oftener than once by the Apostle Paul. Thus, God is my witness, whom
I serve, with my spirit, in the Gospel of his son EV-TW evayye2w, that is, in the ministry of the Gospel, or in dispensing the Gospel of his Son. This is one of the passages in which the Syriac interpreter has retained the original word. In another place", What is my reward then? Verily that when I preach the Gospel, I may make the Gospel of Christ, To EUayye lov, without charge ; that is, that the ministry of the Gospel of Christ may not by me be rendered chargeable. This the context plainly shows; for this is the only expence he is here speaking of. I think for perspicuity's sake, the word ministry should have been used in the translation, as the English name Gospel hardly admits this meaning. Nor are these the only places wherein the word has this signification”.
$ 20. I OBSERVE also, in the Epistles of this Apostle, a fifth meaning, or at least a particular application of the first general meaning, good news. It sometimes denotes, not the whole Christian dis. pensation, but some particular doctrine or promise, specially meriting that denomination. In this sense Paul uses the word, writing to the Galatians 3. The particular doctrine to which he gives the pertinent appellation evayyerov, good news, is the free admission of the Gentiles into the church of Christ, without subjecting them to circumcision, and the other ceremonies of the law. This, considering the
1 Cor. ix. 18.
31 Rom. i. 9.
34 ii, 2.
Jewish prejudices at that time, accounts for the reserve which he used at Jerusalem, where, by his own representation, he imparted privately to the disciples of chief distinction, and consequently of most enlarged knowledge and sentiments, that doctrine which he publicly proclaimed, in Gentile countries. I think it is this which the Apostle sometimes, by way of distinction, denominates his Gospel. For, though there was no discordancy in the doctrine taught by the different Apostles, yet to him and Barnabas, the Apostles of the uncircumcision, it was specially committed to announce every where among the heathen, God's gracious purpose of receiving them, uncircumcised as they were, into the church of Christ. Accordingly, as he proceeds in his Argument 35, the Gospel, or good news, evayyehlov, sent to the Gentiles, is expressly contrasted with that sent to the Jews.
This seems also to be the sense of the word in another passage 36, where what he calls to evayye lov με, he describes as μυςηριον αιωνιους σεσιγημένον, kept secret for ages, but now made known to all nations for the obedience of the faith. For, in this manner, he oftener than once speaks of the call of the Gentiles. In all such passages, it is better to retain the general term good news in the version. This appellation is, in some respect, evidently applicable to them all, whereas the term Gospel is never thus understood in our language.
35 Gal. ii. 7.
36 Rom. xvi. 95.
OF THE PHRASE η καινη διαθηκη. .
ANOTHER title, by which the religious institution of Jesus Christ is sometimes denominated, is
xaivn diadnxn, which is almost always, in the writings of the Apostles and Evangelists, rendered by our translators the New Testament. Yet the word diadnxn by itself is, except in a very few places, always there rendered not Testament, but Covenant. It is the Greek word whereby the Seventy have uniformly translated the Hebrew 079berith, whi h our translators in the Old Testament have invariably rendered Covenant. That the Hebrew term corresponds much better to the English word Covenant, though not in every case perfectly equivalent, than to Testament, there can be no question: at the same time it must be owned that the word diasnan, in classical use, is more frequently rendered Testament. The proper Greek word for Covenant is ouvinun, which is not found in the New Testament, and occurs only thrice in the Septuagint. It is never there employed for rendering the Hebrew berith, though, in one place, it is substituted for a term nearly synonymous. That the scriptural sense of the word diaInxn is more fitly expressed by our term Covenant,
will not be doubted by any body who considers the constant application of the Hebrew word so rendered in the Old Testament, and of the Greek word, in most places at least, where it is used in the New. What has led translators, ancient and modern, to render it Testament, is, I imagine, the manner wherein the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews argues "", in allusion to the classcial acceptation of the term. But however much it was necessary to give a different turn to the expression in that passage, in order to make the author's argument as intelligible to the English, as it is in the original to the Greek, reader; this was not a sufficient reason for giving a version to the word, in other places, that neither suits the context, nor is conformable to the established use of the term, in the sacred writings.
02. The term New is added to distinguish it from the Old Covenant, that is, the dispensation of Moses. I cannot help observing by the way, that often the language of theological systems, so far from assisting us to understand the language of holy writ, tends rather to mislead us. The two Covenants are always in Scripture the two dispensations, or religious institutions ; that under Moses is the Old, that under the Messiah is the New. I do not deny that in the latitude wherein the term is used in holy writ, the command under the sanction of death which God gave to Adam in paradise, may, like the
37 ix, 16, 17.