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understand more perfectly this passage ; let us consider the context, where we shall find that it states, *[that there was to be a war in Judea, and a siege of Jerusalem, and then a deliverance of the Jews, by a destruction of all the nations that should come up at that time against Jerusalem. Immediately after which matters, follows the prophecy under consideration: ‘I will pour upon the house of David, &c. Now from these things thus laid together; I crave -leave to argue in the words of Dr. Sykes, Essay, &c. p. 268. Did any one circumstance of all this happen to the Jews, about the time of the death of Jesus ;; or rather was not every thing the reverse of what Zechariah says ? and instead of all nations being destroyed that came about Jerusalem, Jerusalem itself was destroyed. Instead of a spirit of grace and supplication, the Jews have had their hearts hardened against Christ; instead of mourning for him whom they have pierced, they curse him and his followers to this day.”+1 This is a long extract, but I hope the reader has attentively gone over it, as it furnishes, I fear, too fair a specimen of the want of candour, with which Mr. English has pursued this inquiry, and the want of care with which he has written this book. He says, that" a part of this prophecy” is adduced by John; and why a part? Certainly because a part only was fulfilled. The Roman officers,
• This bracket will be presently explained.
at the instigation of the Jews, had crucified and pierced the Lord, but the time was yet far distant, when they should “ look upon him whom they had pierced, and mourn for him.” But it is 66 misquoted,"
Mr. English, and before St. John could make it fit his purpose, he had to substitute him for me." But
why, if truth is the object desired, why this : perpetual suppressio veri? Why does not Mr.
English state, 1. That fifty manuscripts of the Hebrew scriptures, and the first printed edition, (collated by Kennicott and De Rossi,) read him and not me.* 2. That the valuable Pachomian manuscript of the LXX, reads, him whom.t 3. That the Syriack version reads, “they shall look to me through him whom they pierced," making him the person pierced. I 4. That archbishop Newcome, an impartial and learned critick, felt himself authorized to render him in his version. 5. That Ignatius, Justin, Irenæus, Tertullian, Cyprian, and Lactantius, who cannot here be accused of following the LXX against the Hebrew, read him. · 6. That the learned Jews, Saadias Gaon, Jarchi, Aben Ezra, and Kimchi, read him, and have been charged by Christian polemicks with as much zeal with changing 6 me” into 6 him," as Mr. English charges the evangelists with doing the same. 7. That the Talmud, in a citation of this passage,
* De Rossi Var. Let. V. T. iv. p. 217.
According to the text of the Polyglott.
reads him, and not me. 8. And above all, that by changing the present masoretick points, (which, it cannot too often be repeated, are of no manner of authority, except as the representatives of a single manuscript,) the rendering of the evangelists coincides exactly with the Hebrew text.* One might think that authorities like these, especially four distinguished rabbies, and the whole host of Talmudical doctors, might, in the mind of a professed champion of the Jews, have secured the evangelist from the charge of misquoting. But the
word rendered pierced,” says Mr. English, “ should be rendered blasphemed, as it is by Grotius, who refers to Leviticus xxiv. 11. in which it is so rendered, and where the word is from the same root, as the text in Zechariah.” This I fear would authorize a charge of misquotation against another, besides the evangelist. Grotius does refer to Leviticus, but not to say that the Hebrew word in the two texts is the same. They are totally different, they have but one letter in common.t
Woengys is the present pronunciation is,“to me whom." yote aux nx is the reading of the authorities adduced above. But TOKOH 38, with a change of one point from the present reading would signify simply, “to whom ;” and Dathe, a learned and liberal critick, supports this reading, if I rightly understand de Rossi. The same reading is also proposed in Newcome ad loc. The whole evidence upon the text is admirably reduced into a narrow compass in De Rossi ad loc.
The root in Zechariah is 77, which Grotius says, is best rendered confixere nam configere Deum dicuntur, qui eum probris lacessunt ; nam sic et 3ps, quod proprie est perforare, ponitur pro Braconueryblasphemare. Lev. xxiv. 11." Grot. in loc.
But if Mr. English would compare the use of the word in Zechariah, with its use in other passages, he can look at Isaiah xiii. 15. “Eyery one that is found shall be thrust through, and every one that is joined to them, shall perish by the sword.” And Zechariah himself,within seven verses* of the one in question, repeats the word, in the following connexion : “And it shall come to pass, that when any shall yet prophesy, then his father and mother shall say unto him, thou shalt not live, for thou speakest lies in the name of the Lord of hosts, and his father and mother shall thrust him through." Shall blaspheme him? But, says Mr. English, let us consider the context, yet so far from proceeding to do this, he does not trust the reader with the whole of the text. “ They shall look on him whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, and the bitterness for him shall be as the bitter. ness for a first born.” Was what is here given in italicks suppressed, in his survey of the context, because the repetition of him was, an. other reason for thinking, with fifty manu. scripts and the Talmud, that him also should be read in the first clause ? One might almost call this misquoting a part of a prophecy. But adds Mr. English, after looking at the context, “now from these things thus laid together, I crave leave to argue in the words of Dr. Sykes, “Did any one circumstance of all this happen,'” &c. as above. And the reader is left to conclude that Mr. English's argu
Zech, xiii. 3.
ment is really that of Dr. Sykes. But this learned and ingenious advocate of Christianity had previously declared, that the prophecy of Zechariah was a real prophecy of our Lord.* He then states the authorities concerning the text, gives an analysis of the context, and adds, “ Did any one circumstance of all this happen to the Jews about the time of the death of Jesus, or rather was not every thing the reverse of what Zechariah says, and instead of all nations being destroyed that come about Jerusalem, Jerusalem itself was destroyed; instead of a spirit of grace and supplication, the Jews have had their hearts hardened against the Christ. Instead of mourning for him whom they pierced, they curse him and his followers to this day. It is certain that this whole prophecy plainly relates to a time, yet future, when the times of the Gentiles shall be fulfilled, and the Jews shall be received again. And as THIS IS PERFECTLY CONSISTENT WITH THE WHOLE TENOR OF SCRIPTURE, we must wait the event with patience, and pray for those happy times when Christ shall come with clouds, and every eye. shall see him, and they also that pierced him, even so, Amen, Rev. i.7.” The sentence in in italicks is suppressed by Mr. English, while “he craves leave to argue in the words of Dr. Sykes ;” and yet he adds, with all im. aginable composure, “It is tirésome thus to waste time in proving that orts and ends of
* Sykes' Essay upon the truth of the Christian religion, p. 173