Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

)

did not offer up himself as a victim, because offerings for sin had been instituted under the Jewish dispensation. No, they were instituted because he was to become an offering for sin; they typified him; he did not appear and suffer because of them. In other words, the shadow exists because the substance does, not the substance because of the shadow.

What I now would ask for is, that we may carry forward this very simple and obvious consideration, and apply it 10 the new comparison betwen the old and new dispensation, which the apostle introduces in Heb. 9: 15-18.

Christ by his death confirmed and rendered valid the new dadhxn. This commenced, in its full reality, only from the time when the death of Christ took place. It was ratified by no symbolic ritual sacrifice, but by the death of the Author himself of the dispensation. And inasmuch as this was the manner in which the new dispensation was confirmed or made valid, nothing could be more appropriate or descriptive than to name it or speak of it as a testament.

In this respect the ancient dispensation could present only a symbol or type, not an identical similitude. The mediator of the old dispensation, Moses, did not die to confirm it; nor was he, except in a very subordinate sense, the author of this dispensation. It was sanctioned only by the blood of slain beasts. Of course Paul could not name the ancient dispensation a testament, with any propriety. It was valid without the death of either of the parties making the diadhxn or covenant. But when the new diadnxn was made, it received a sanction as much higher than that of the old, as the nature of the new gradnxn was more excellent than that of the old. The blood of its Author and Mediator sanctioned and confirmed it.

The blood of Christ then answered a double purpose, as represented by the aposile. First, it “cleansed from all iniquity;" secondly, it ratified the new and everlasting ôadhun. Different courses of sacrifice were required, under the ancient dispensation, in order to symbolize both these purposes or ends. There were expiatory sacrifices, and there was a ratifying sacrifice. The latter was the symbol of the blood of Christ, so far as this was concerned with the ratification of the new testament. A human victim could not be slain for this purpose. This could not be done even where expiatory sacrifices were required, much less where merely ratification was concerned. Consequently the blood of bul

of con

locks and goats, as described in Heb. 9: 19, seq., was employed as the symbol of Christ's blood, so far as this was shed for the purpose of ratifying the new diadnxn. The same course was taken, as to the symbols of the great and really expiatory sacrifice. Those symbols were not human beings, but goats and bullocks.

We come now to a fair position, in which we may examine the apostle's logic. And what is the syllogism which he makes out, in the sentence that follows, ödev ? v. 18. It is easy to see the whole, if we look at the reference implied in ödev. Plainly this is not merely to the general usage or general principle, as stated in verses 16, 17, but to the whole paragraph including verses 15-17. In fact, there is here, but one main proposition. Vs. 16,17, as the gag in each shows, are but mere causal statements, showing the grounds on which the preceding affirmation rests. And what then is the sum of this whole matter ? Simply this, viz., that because the death of Christ was to confirm a new testament, the ancient type of this was so arranged as to prefigure it. Because Christ was to die and confirm the New Testament, by his own blood, therefore blood was shed in the way firming the old covenant, in order to symbolize the shedding of blood for the confirmation of the new one. But human blood could not be shed under the ancient dispensation, in this case ; for this could no more be done, in the case of sacrifice for ratification, than it could in the case of sacrifice for expiation.

Where now is the lameness or the deficiency of the logic or ratiocination ? We do not call it bad logic, when the apostle argues, that because the offering of the Lamb of God was to take away the sins of the world, therefore offerings of beasts to typify this, were appointed under the ancient dispensation. Why is it bad reasoning, then, or “reasoning that would not be regarded in a court of law,” when the apostle argues thus: “Because Christ's blood was to render valid the new dispensation, (on which ground we may with propriety name it his Testament,) therefore the blood of goats and bullocks was used to ratify the old dispensation, in order that it might symbolize that blood which ratified the new one? This is the very drift and essence of the apostle's representation and of his logic. The different names of the iwo dispensations are mere accidents, not changing in the least the

)

nature of the things with which they are concerned. But it so happened that in Greek, in which the apostle was writing, Olabhxn with equal propriety designated both covenant and will. He applies it to either dispensation in that sense which the nature of the dispensation respectively admits, or rather demands. And this is all the mystery there is about the matter; a mystery which does not seem to demand a second Daniel in order to solve it.

The point of reasoning is not that “because a will is valid only by the death of a testator, therefore a covenant must be confirmed by blood." This does not hit the mark of Paul's logic at all. His point is simply this : “Because the new dispensation, (properly named testament on account of the death of the author which sanctioned it), was ratified by blood, therefore (ödev, whence or therefore, the old dispensation, (which could only be called covenant), which was designed throughout in iis ritual to be symbolic, required blood in order to its ratification."

If this syllogism is lame, I have not eyes to see it. It seems to me to walk quite as erect and alert as the other, viz., that because Christ's death was necessary to atone for sin, therefore symbols of it, i. e. expiatory sacrifices of beasts, were ordained as a part of the ancient dispensation.

I know well that Paul, or whoever may be the author of the epistle to the Hebrews, has often been charged here with poor logic. Even Bleek, in his recent Commentary on this epistle, does not exempt the author from the charge; and Rückert exults in such charges against Paul, as well as Fritsche and Meyer. But it needs sharper optics than I have, to see either imperfect or childish ratiocination here. The simple truth is, that the apostle's main point has often been mistaken; and then he has been charged with all the consequences of oversight, or want of sight, in his interpreters. I must solicit permission, however, to be indulged in entering my gravest protest, against injustice of such a nature. The fault is not in Paul, although some of his epistles have in them things, which Peter himself seems to intimate were hard to be understood. Paul goes deep indeed in to sacred mysteries ; for how could he, who had been caught up into the third heaven and taught there, avoid so doing? Yet I do not think, that Peter would have reckoned the passage that I have now re-es -examined, among

the passages

which he seems

to regard as difficult. I say seems to regard, for it may well be doubted, whether Peter bears testimony respecting what Paul writes, or in regard to the subjects which he canvasses; see negi soutwv, šv ois (not (šv als) in 2 Pet. 3: 16.

At all events, it is time, as it seems to me, that discussion were at an end respecting Heb. 9: 16–18. The case is, on the whole, so plain that when the words as well as the object in view, are soberly weighed, I cannot well see how any philologist can bring himself to doubt. When I first published my Commentary on the epistle to the Hebrews, I received several letters from highly respected friends, calling in question my interpretations, and defending, in a variety of ways, thai now advocated by Mr. Barnes. I have adverted to these in my second edition. Mr. B. has now called

up the subject anew, and I have to thank him for being the occasion of my now becoming more satisfied than ever, that the ground which I then took was firm and tenable. I would hope that his own mind may now be satisfied, and also the minds of others, who have hitherto been hesitating about the exegesis which I had given. If not, the way is entirely open for him or them, to show either the erroneous philology or the bad logic, that I have employed, if indeed I am fairly exposed to either allegation. The simple lover of truth will never hesitate in desiring his own errors to be exposed; and readily will he receive the truth, from whatever quarter it may come. It could scarcely come to me, if I am in an error in regard to the subject discussed, from a more acceptable quarter, than from the highly respected friend and brother, who has given occasion to this renewed investigation.

SECOND SERIES, VOL. VII., NO. II.

ARTICLE IV.

THE RELIGIOUS SENTIMENTS OF THOMAS CARLYLE.

By Rev. Merrill Richardson, Terrysville, Ct.

It is not often that we would attempt to ascertain a writer's religious sentiments from his popular literary productions. Surely this would be an unfair, as well as a useless course to pursue in the case of most Reviewers. But while Carlyle is pre-eminently distinguished as a man of letters, he so blends the two, religion and literature-rather, we would say, making them one and the same thing—that in reading his literary productions we are compelled to dwell upon his singular articles of faith. His religion shows itself upon almost every page.

In his estimation of men ; in his criticisms upon their literature and philosophy; and in his remarks upon their views of political and ethical science, it is their religion which he first shows us; and with him this is the test by which he will try men and all their works; this is his clue to all which is worth the knowing of man and of his doings. It is a maxim with him, and he every where proceeds upon it, that given the religion of a man, or of a nation, what the individual or nation is, will readily appear.

' A man's religion,' he says, 'is, in every sense, the chief fact with regard to him. Not his creed, not his profession and assertion ; but the thing a man does practically believe, and lay to heart, and for certain knows concerning his vital relations to this mysterious universe ; his duty and his destiny there ; that is in all cases the primary thing for him, and creatively determines all the rest. This may be a religion, or a no-religion ; an affirmation or a denial; a heathenism or a christianism ; a system embracing one God or many. Knowing what was believed, or what was disbelieved upon this subject, and we have the soul of the history of the man or the nation. For the thoughts they had were the parents of the actions they did ; their feelings were parents of their thoughts; it was the unseen spiritual in them that determined the outward and actual ; hence their religion is the primary fact to be ascertained about a man or a nation.'

« PoprzedniaDalej »