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cism, to which all subordinate considerations must bend. This canon may, I suppose, be fairly enunciated thus: "When words have by frequent use de
viated from their primitive meaning, we must, in all o our researches into the real meanings of authors, * especially in disputed matters, endeavour to ascertain
the original sense of such words, and thereby abide. Unless this be a legitimate canon of criticism, the 56 therefore” of the critics just quoted stands for nothing: let us then apply it to a few examples.
1. To discourse means primarily to run up and down : “ therefore” when a person delivers a moral or :religious discourse he runs up and down.
2. Sarah signifies originally a lady or a princess : 6 therefore ” every one named Sarah is a lady or a princess.
3. Pinapyupia, according to its primary acceptation, signifies the love of silver: 6 therefore" it can never denote avarice, or the love of money generally'; and consequently 1 Tim. vi. 10, is erroneously translated in every version extant.
4. Ayyedos originally denotes a mere messenger: 6 therefore” it never means any thing else ;—therefore Acts, xii. 16, should be rendered “ It is his mes6 senger ;" (n)—and Matt. xiii. 39, should be, “the “ harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the “ messengers ;” and we have thence an irresistible ex“ hortation to hospitality in Heb. xiii. 3, for by this 66 some have unknowingly entertained messengers!” · 5. Avaßonos means primarily an accuser, informer, or
(n) Socinian Version, p. 298.
slanderer: “ therefore” it cannot properly denote any thing else ;—therefore John, yiïi. 44, should be rendered “ Ye are of your father the slanderer;"-Acts, x. 38, should be " Jesus went about doing good, and “ healing all that were oppressed of the slanderer ;* --Matthew, xiii. 39, should be “ the enemy that 56 sowed them is the informer ;”—and 1 Pet. v. 8, might be translated very consistently with these notions, “ Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary “the informer, walketh about as a roaring lion, seek6 ing whom he may devour.” .
6. Asąlos in its primary use denoted eternal in a restrained sense, and is, in fact, employed in Jude, ver. 6, to signify without end only, and not without beginning also : “ therefore ” it can never properly indicate absolute eternity, and consequently Rom. i. 20, contains no full and positive declaration of God's eternal power and Divinity.
7. Ilveupa primarily denotes breath or wind; “there“ fore " Rom. viii. 26, should commence with “ The 66 wind helpeth our infirmities ;”—and James, ii. 26, should be translated, “ the body without the wind is “ dead.” Hence also the propriety of the exhortation in Gal. v. 16,-—“ Walk in the wind ;”—and hence again the axiomatic evidence of the proposition in Gal. vi. 8,
_“ He that soweth to the wind shall of the wind reap 66 age-lasting life ;”—as well as of that in John, iv. 24,
God is a wind.” . 8. Osos, from Jew, to place, is a name borrowed from the heathen, being that by which they denoted an imaginary god, or an idol made with hands : in this
sense it is sometimes used in the New Testament, as at Acts, xiv. 11. xxviii. 6. 1 Cor. viii. 5: 6 therefore” we must not be confident that the word can ever designate any other than false gods. .
All these “ therefores,” strange and ridiculous as they may appear to you, are just as “ pleasing and 66 probable,” so far as the genuine meaning of the respective words and passages is determinable by means of this much admired rule of interpretation, as the inference that nonaow auwvlov denotes limited suffering for the good of offenders, to terminate in their eternal holiness and happiness.
Indeed, this curious mode of enucleating difficulties, and rendering Scripture plain and simple, furnishes us with many “pleasing” deductions: and among others it has the happy effect of rendering the “ glorious 6 Gospel of the blessed God” nearly, if not entirely, nugatory. Thus, as we have seen, it would leave us in doubt as to the existence of any beings invisible to us ; for “messengers” and “ accusers” may be very different beings from angels and devils : and farther, instead of having " life and immortality brought to light " through the Gospel,” (c) the Gospel would be stripped of almost every direct declaration relative to immortality (as ceplapola may mean incorruptibility only, and alwuios terminable existence), and we should have to gather this cheering and consoling truth from remote and circuitous inference.
Some patronizers of the hypothesis I am now opposing appear to think this no great objection to their
(0) 2 Tim. i. 10.
system: but are prepared to expel from the New Testament the forcible English words and phrases, eternal, everlasting, for ever, world without end, &c. and to sub stitute in their place words from a dead language which themselves acknowledge they do not well comprehend, and which to a plain unlettered Christian can convey no definite idea whatever. Hence, as has been remarked by an ingenious anonymous author on this subject, when men look “into this sacred volume for " the important information promised, they there read “ of an æonian God, who regards his people with an 6 æonian love, has made with them in Christ an « conian covenant, provided for them an æonian sal« vation, together with an æonian righteousness, through “ which they shall now experience conian consolation, " and finally possess æonian life in an æonian kingo dom; but that if they reject and despise all this, they - will be compelled to suffer æonian punishment. In - this case how great their disappointment and morti6 fication !" (p) · After these observations it can scarcely be necessary for me to affirm that the Greek word so frequently used in Scripture with regard to a future world, expresses correctly a proper eternity ; or, to support that affirmation by examples. I shall, however, refer you to two portions of Scripture which have been often and properly quoted as decisive, namely, Rev. xx. 10, and 2 Cor. iv. ult. In the first mentioned of these, the phrase εις τους αιωνας των αιωνων is s0 energetic, that if it do not fully signify eternity to come, I know nothing
(2) Free Strictures on “An Address to Candid and Serious Men.”
in the Greek language which does. And in the latter specified passage the things which are seen, all things visible for material, the world and every thing in it, are put in complete opposition to the unseen future state ; the things which are seen being said to be for a short time (or temporary) while the things which are not seen are everlasting:
To bring these arguments to a conclusion, let me remark that the awful picture of the duration and terrible nature of future punishment exhibited in the passage from the 9th chapter of Mark's Gospel, introduced in an early part of this letter, is calculated to produce the deepest conviction in the minds of all who receive the Scriptures as the word of God. The expression, “ where their worm dieth not, and the fire is 6 not quenched," is reiterated with solemn and dreadful energy: and the declaration, “ every one shall be 6 salted with fire,” implies, I conceive, if it imply any thing, that as salt preserves from putrefaction flesh to which it is applied, so those unhappy victims of Divine justice shall be salted with fire, and, instead of being consumed by it, shall, in the wretched abodes to which they are consigned, continue immortal in the midst of their flames! This sentiment was decidedly avowed by Tertullian, who, in his Apologetic (cap. 48), says, “ the profane and the hypocrite shall be doomed to a 6 lake of ever flowing fire, and fueled with incor* ruptibility from the Divine indefectible nature of “the flame which torments them! The mountains “ burn with perpetual fire, and are mountains still: