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“ case) that Abraham received him from the dead." Well; and have not I given a reason? And what then? For what did I coininence Examiner, if I may’nt have reasons of my own?--They follow thus, “ If Isaac did “ not die (as it is certain he did not) Abraham could not * receive him from the dead. And yet the Apostle says, " he received him from the dead. The clearing up " this difficulty, will shew the true sense of the passage. pp. 147, 148. What, will the clearing up a difficulty of his own making, discover the true sense of another man's writing? This is one of his new improvements in logic; in which, as in arithmetic, he has introduced a rule of false, whereby an unknown truth is to be ferretted out by a known untruth. For there is none of this difficulty in the sacred text; it is not there, as in our Examiner's expression, said by the apostle, simply, that Abraham received Isaac from the dead, but that he received luim, from thence, IN A FIGURE, or under the assumed personage of Christ. Now if Christ died, then he, who assumed his personage, in order to represent his passion and resurrection, might, surely, well be said to be received from the dead in a figure. A wonderful difficulty, truly! and as wonderfully solved, by a conundrum! But with propriety sufficient: for as a real difficulty requires sense and criticism, an imaginary one may well enough be managed by a quibble. Because the translators of St. Mark's gospel have rendered ło wolą w opa
born, by-with what comparison shall we compare it, therefore i wzpaborn, in the text in question, he says, signifies COMPARATIVELY
But no words can shew him equal to his own—" The Apostle does not say simply and absolutely, “ that Abraham received Isaac from the dead; but that “ he received him from the dead, šv Wapaboan, in a parable.” See here now!
See here now! Did not I tell you so? There was no difficulty all this while: the sentence only opened to the right and left to make room for his objection: and now closes again." It was not siinply said” No. But that he received him- v Japz Gorn, in a
parable, i. e. in a comparison, or by comparison. Thus “ the word is used Mark iv. 30. Whereunto shall we
liken the kingdom of God, or with what COMPARISON [iv woną w apa bonñ shall we compare it. The meaning
" then may be, that Abraham's receiving Isaac alive
(after his death was denounced) by the revocation of " the command, was AS IF HE HAD received him from " the dead. Thus several interpreters understand the “ place. Or it inay be, az others will have it, that the
Apostle here refers to the birth of Isaac; which was
[iv wapo boan] COMPARATIVELY SPEAKING, a receiving " hin from the dead; his father being old, and his "" mother past the age of child-bearing, on which account " the Apostle styles them both dead. Which interpreta6 tion, I the rather approve, because it suggests the
proper grounds of Abraham's faith.” pp. 148, 149. · He says, žy capaborñ signifies in or by comparison ; and that the word is so used in St. Mark; to prove which, he quotes the English translation. Now I must take the liberty to tell him, that the translators were mistaken; and he with them. lapa borñ, in St. Mark, is not used in the sense of a similitude or comparison, but of a parable. The Ancients had two ways of illustrating the things they inforced; the one was by a parable, the other by a simple comparison or simile. How the latter of these arose out of the former, I have shewn in The Divine Legation*. Now, I say, that both these modes of illustration are referred to in the text of St. Mark; which should have been translated thus, To what shall rre COMPARE the kingdom of God, or with rehat PARAPLE shall we illustrate or parabolise it-ómovúo wpisy wapo bawjeev.--So that the latter part of the verse is not a repetition, as the translators seem to have thought, of the former; so frequent in the Scripture style; but, both together, express two different and well-known modes of illustration.
But now suppose, iv doig waça boas had signified with what comparison : How comes it to pass the ev waxpa bon should signify by comparison, or as it were, or COMPARATIVELY SPEAKING? In plain truth, his critical analogy has terminated in a pleasant blunder. How so? says he.-Nay 'tis true there's no denying, but that speaking by comparison is comparatively speakiny' : and, if men will needs put another sense upon it, who can help, that? Was it a time for our Author, when he was * Vol. iv. p. 138.
writing e.vaminations, to spoil a good argument by nicely. enquiring into the sense of an expression? He left it to those whom it more concerned, to tell the reader, that comparatively speaking does not at present (whatever it might heretofore) signify, speaking by a comparison; but speaking loosely and incorrectly; which sense of the phrase, I suppose, arose froin the comparisons of such kind of Writers as our Examiner; that were generally observed to be lame and inaccurate. However, though I am no great friend to the innocence of error, I should have been ready enough to think it a simple blunder, had I not observed him to go into it with much artful preparation; a circumstance by no means characteristic of that gemine turn of mind, which is quick and sudderi, and over head and cars in an instant: but he begins with explaining, in a comparison, by—by comparison : in which, you just get the first glimpse, as it were, of an enascent equivocation; and this [by comparison] is presently, aferwards, turned into, as it were, or, as if he had; and then, comparatively speaking brings up the rear, and closes the criticism three deep. But he “approves of the interpretation" which makes the author of the epistle to the Hebreros 5 refer to the birth of Isaac, because it
suggests (he says) the PROPER grounds of Abrahan's “ faith.” Till now I thought the proper grounds of Abraham's faith (as of every other man's) had been his knowledge of the nature of the Godhead, one of whose attributes is veracity. No, says this great philosopher and divine; his proper grounds were these, that God had told him truth once already.--And now lrad he not reason, after all this, to turn to me, and with an air of triumph and gaiety to accost me in the following manner? " It is not to be supposed, Sir, that you are a stranger
to these interpretations, which are in ercry body's “ hands; but as if nothing of this sort had ever been
thought of, you pass it over with absolute neglect; and " srill ricoils have it, that the Apostle was full of YOUR ct ideas; for no other reason that I can see, than because
you are full of them yourself.” pp. 148, 9. Indeed, Sir, comparatively speaking, I was much a stranger to them. For what were they, till seen in the pleasant light in which you have placed them? I will only say Vol. XI.
one tiing to your argument (as I now hasten to your wit); which is, that, had you known the force of the word izou sale, in the text, you had known that the deadness of Sarab's ūomb could not be meant. But, since you love the authority of interpreters*, I will give you what the great Scaliger says on the words év Exp280)“ In imagine
quadam resurrectionis: quia qui immolationi addictus erat, & postea liberatus, videtur tanquam resurrexisse. llac est Calvini expositio, longe omnium optima."
But, says our Examiner, you will needs have it that “ the Apostle was full of your ideas." Jy ideas, iutimates ideas discovered by me; and to suppose the Apostle Jull of these, would have been, I contess, a little extraordinary. The truth is, I said nothing so silly. I said, THESE ideas. But what then. It was necessary, perhaps, to the wit that follows—“ for no other reason, that “ I can see, than because you are full of them yourself.“. And shall I be angry with hiin for this? Surely, no. I can easily forgive the false quotation, for the sake of so much wit. l'or, as Slephario says to his viceroy on the like occasion, “ I thank thee for that jest; 'tis an excellent
pate: and wit shall not go wrewarded “ while I am king of this island.”
XIII. Our Exaininer goes on :“The last step (says
he) you take in this argument, is to raise objections. “ against the common account of this history; in order
to draw an inference from thence, that your account must be the true one; and this is what I shall next
consider.” p. 149. He had said before, that having struck my corner-stone, and unsettled my foundation, he had stopt me short, and put a period to my argument. But it sccins, somehow or other, I had recovered myself, and pushed it forward. For now he talks of anothur tep I had taken in this argument. Happily indeed, both for himself and me, it is the last. “ You tell us then “ (sys he) that the command, as it huth been hitherto o understood--occupies a place in Abraham's history, "thut, according to our ideas of things, it cannot properly
The command is supposed to be given us artrial The learned Letter Writer above-mentioned gives another good reason, and produces another good authority; against this fancy Sve p. 48.
bio only. Now when the great Searcher of Hearts is * pleased to try any of his servants, either for example* sake, or for some other end—as in this he condescends
to the manner of men-so, we may be assured, he "would accommodate himself to their manner likewise, sa in tlie' most material circumstance of the trial. But
amongst men, the agent is always tried before he is set con work, or rewarded, and not after---on the contraryto this trial was made after all Abraham's work was done ; « and all God's mercies received--nay, what is still more
strange, after he had been once tried already.-We
must needs conclude therefore, that the command was "not (according to the common notion) a trial only; s because it comes after all God's dispensations. Yet, " as the sacred text assures us, it was a trial, and as a (4 trial necessarily preċedes the employment or reward of " the person tried; we must needs conclude, that as no “ einployment, so some benefit followed this trial. Now
on our interpretation, a benefit, as we shall see, did followe. We have reason therefore to conclude this
interpretation to be the true.” pp. 149, 150. To this he answers,
You lay it down here as the common interpretation, that the command to Abraham to offer
up his son was given as a trial ONLY; WHICH IS NOT W. TRUE.
Why? Because “the common opinion is, " that God's intention in this command was not only to " try Abraham, but also to PREFIGURE the sacrifice of "Christ.” p. 150*." Excellent ! I spcak here of the command's being given. But given to whom? To ali the faithfut, for whose sake it was recorded? or to Abraham only, for whose sake it was revealed? Does not the very subject confine my meaning to this latter sense? Now, to Abraham, I say (according to the common opinion) it was given as a trial only. To the faithful, if you will, as a prefiguration. If, to extricate
himself from his confused or sophistical reasoning, be will say it prefigured to Abraham likewise; he then gives up all he has been contending for, against my interpretation, vis. that Abraham knew this to be a representation of the great sacrifice of Christ: I call his
Here again the learned Writer in his Letter to our Examiner, p. 14, very clearly exposes this sophism.
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