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rence in the scriptures. Similar passages to that just quoted are to be explained in a similar manner.
Under this head, are likewise to be placed those passages, which, on account of the omission of the Greek article, have been so translated as to apply to Christ the title of God. These we believe to be correctly rendered in the common version.*
III. Passages relating to God which have been incorrectly applied to Christ. Under this head we place the conclusion of Rom. ix. 5. "Whose are the fathers, and of whom concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed forever."
The last clause, we believe, is improperly referred to Christ. The words may be pointed, and rendered in the following
"And of whom was Christ according to the flesh. May he who is over all, God, be blessed forever."
The objection to this explanation and rendering is, that in other similar expressions in scripture, the word, Blessed, always commences the sentence, as is common in English. The answer to this is, that it is to God as the author and bead of the Jewish dispensation, as over all those things just mentioned, that St. Paul utters this expression of devout acknowledgement; and that the reference to God, considered under this particular character, would be lost by any different arrangement of the words. If the word answering to Blessed were to commence the sentence, the effect in the Greek would be the same as in the following rendering of what would then be the arrangement; blessed be God who is over all, forever and ever; which would be a mere general ascription of praise to God, as presiding over the universe; and not a particular expression of gratitude to him, as the author and head of the Jewish dispensation.‡
* The able tract of the Rev. Calvin Winstanley, containing a satisfactory defence of the common rendering, will shortly be republished, being now in the press of Hilliard and Metcalf, Cambridge.
That is "by natural descent." With regard to this phrase, concerning which a difficulty has been raised, see its use in the third verse of this chapter; my kinsmen according to the flesh," i. e. by natural relationship, and in the 8th verse, "the children according to the flesh," i. e. by natural descent. Observe likewise the very common uses of the phrase elsewhere.
We may observe that the mode of constructing the passage given above, is not that on which Professor Stuart particularly remarks, and which he attributes to a Professor Justi, though it was long ago proposed by Locke.
But there is another mode of understanding the passage, which is not liable to any objection on the ground of an unusual construction. It is well known, that the present pointing of the New Testament is of no authority, a fact indeed which we have just implied. Let any one now turn to the passage in his Greek Testament, and put a dot at the top of the line (equivalent to a colon or semicolon) after ragna, and a comma after a, and he will perceive that the following meaning immediately results.
"He who is (or was) over all is God blessed forever."
In commenting on this passage, Professor Stuart has taken what he says about "Greek usage" from Middleton's note upon the text, in his work concerning the Greek Article; and has, at the same time, fallen into a considerable mistake from not rightly apprehending what he found in that author. In consequence of some slight obscurity in the manner in which Middleton expresses himself, Professor Stuart has been led to believe, that Wetstein proposed a conjectural reading of the words in question, for the sake of avoiding the Trinitarian sense, and he thus writes in consequence:
¿ επι παντων Θεός,
"Wetstein's conjecture, that it should be read is not any more fortunate. Such a mode of expression, as ovo, all relating to the same subject, is repugnant to Greek usage. Besides, this conjecture, like that of Schlichting, not only violates the integrity of the text, but assigns the article to os, and omits it before waytos; which is surely inadmissible."-Stuart's Letters, p. 79.
The case is extremely different from what Professor Stuart supposes. Wetstein offers no conjecture upon the verse. What he says is, that "if St. Paul had meant to express the sense which some [i. e. the orthodox] suppose, he would rather have written i 71 TOVTŒV,' X. T. λ. Wetstein gives certain words, which he thinks St. Paul would have used if he had intended to express himself, as Trinitarians suppose that he does; and Professor Stuart believes these words a conjecture, made for the purpose of avoiding the Trinitarian exposition. We do not comprehend what meaning he imagined that they would bear, when he wrote under this impression.
With Wetstein's New Testament, which Professor Stuart thus quotes at second hand, and quotes incorrectly, a professed theological critic should have been better acquainted. Of this work, Bishop Marsh says, in one of his controversial tracts, 66 Every man, who is at all conversant with philological inquiries, knows that Wetstein's notes to the Greek Testament contain a very copious collection of passages from Greek authors, made in order to illustrate the meaning of words in the Greek Testament; and that when a question arises about the meaning of a word in the Greek Testament, it is as usual to recur to the examples collected by Wetstein, as it is to the examples in Johnson's Dictionary, when the meaning of an English word is disputed." Illustrations of his hypothesis, &c. Appendix, sect. II.
We should not have been tempted to make these and some other of our remarks, if it had not appeared to us, that there was in Professor Stuart's pamphlet a little too much ostentation of learning; and if he had not in
"He who is over all," that is, over all which has just been mentioned. The rapidity of expression in the original, however, is not fully represented by such a rendering, because in our language we are obliged to supply the ellipsis of the substantive verb. It may be imitated, however, by employing the participle instead of the verb; and translating thus :
"Who are Israelites, whose was the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of the temple, and the promises, whose were the fathers, and of whom was Christ according to the flesh; he who was over all, being God blessed forever."*
This conclusion, as every one must perceive, is in the highest degree proper and natural. Among the privileges and distinctions of the Jews, it could not be forgotten by the apostle that God had presided over all their concerns in a particular manner. With regard to the ellipsis of the substantive verb, which we have supposed, nothing is more common. In the five verses, including the verse we are considering (between the 3d and 9th) it occurs at least six times.
Many Trinitarian writers have been disposed to imply at least, very strongly, that the words, according to the common idiom of the Greek language, necessarily demand a Trinitarian rendering and exposition. We think we have shown this pretence to be wholly unfounded. But we happen to have it in our power to give what appears to us a perfectly decisive answer to it of a different kind. The opinions of the early orthodox fathers, were such (as we have before stated) that they could not, and never did, even when most desirous of elevating his character, apply to Christ the title of "God over
fact appealed to the extent of his studies, as a presumption in favour of the correctness of his opinions, intimating at the same time, that those of Mr. Channing had been much more limited. See pp. 120, 121. “My sole business these ten years past has been the study of the Bible.”—“I have limited my study to no one class of writers."-"From writers of the Unitarian class, I have received with gratitude much instruction relative to the philology, the exegesis, and the literary history of the scriptures.""The reasoning of Athanasius and Angustine I can peruse with great pleasure," &c.
* We believe that the verbs in this passage should be in the past time, and have accordingly so given them in the translation above, though before, in conformity to the common rendering, we have employed the present; but this is a point which does not effect the question at issue.
Thus Professor Stuart says of the only Unitarian exposition on which he remarks at length, "that Greek usage by no possibility admits of it;” leaving his reader to infer, that Greek usage by no possibility admits of any Unitarian exposition.
all." On the contrary, some of their number have expressly denied that this title belongs to him. It was applied to him by the Sabellians, and was considered as a distinguishing mark of their heresy. There is no one of the fathers more eminent than Origen. "Supposing," says Origen in his work against Celsus, "that some among the multitude of believers, likely as" they are to have differences of opinion, rashly suppose that the Saviour is God over all; yet we do not, for we believe bim when he said, 'The Father who sent me is greater than I.'"* After the Nicene council, this title began to be applied. Yet, subsequent to this time, Eusebius, in writing against Marcellus, says: "As Marcellus thinks, He who was born of the holy virgin, and clothed in flesh, who dwelt among men, and suffered what had been foretold, and died for our sins, was the very God over all; for daring to say which, the church of God numbered Sabellius among atheists and blasphemers." Now it is incredible that the text in question should have been overlooked. But the early fathers in making these, and a multitude of other similar declarations, concerning the inferiority of the Son to the Father, never advert to it. The conclusion is irresistible, either that the text did not exist in their copies in its present form, a conclusion which we are very far from being disposed to maintain; or, that they found no difficulty in explaining it in a similar manner to that in which we understand it. It would be a rather bold step for the sake of saving the Trinitarian exposition, to charge the Greek fathers with ignorance of the idiom of their own language.
We pass to Hebrews i. 10-12. It is unnecessary to give the words at length. This passage, we believe, belongs to the present class. The words, as we think, were originally addressed by the Psalmist (Ps. cii. 25.) not to Christ, but to God, and are so addressed by the author of the Epistle.
Origen. cont. Cels. VIII. p. 387. See Wetstein.
Euseb. Eccles. Theol. ii. 4. This and the passage from Origen are given by Wetstein in his critical remarks on the text, with other authorities to the same purpose. See also Whitby Disquisitiones Modestæ, passim, but particularly pp. 26, 27. p. 122. and p. 197. Ed. Secund.--For placing a period after agua, Griesbach quotes the authority of many fathers who denied that Christ could be called God over all.'”
The following are the remarks of Emlyn. "Here we may observe, that the tenth verse, And thou Lord, &c. (though it is a new citation) is not prefaced with, And, to the Son he saith, as ver. 8., or with an again, as ver. 5, 6. and so chap. ii. 13. but barely, And thou Lord. Now the God last mentioned was Christ's God, who had anointed him; and the author thereupon breaks out into the celebration of this God's power, and especially his unchange
IV. In the next place, we shall mention one passage, (there is no other of a precisely similar kind,) which, as we believe, has been misunderstood from ignorance or inattention to the opinions and modes of conception, which the writer, St. John, had in mind. This is the commencement of his gospel.
"In the beginning was the Logos, and the Logos was with God, and the Logos was God."
There is, we conceive, no word in English answering to the Greek word, Logos, as here used. It was employed to denote a mode of conception concerning the Deity, familiar at the time when St. John wrote, but which has long since passed away, and to which, with our common apprehensions, we may not be able readily to accommodate our minds. It denoted his power considered as in action, his power as exercised in creation, and in his extraordinary manifestations of himself to his creatures. This power, the Logos of God, was personified by some in the use of a rhetorical figure; but by others, it was conceived of as residing in, and exercised by and through another being distinct from God, and intermediate between him and his creatures. We have an example of rhetorical personification, or of the attributing of proper personality to the Logos, in the apocryphal book of the Wisdom of Solomon (xviii. 15.) where the writer, speaking of the destruction of the first born of the Egyptians, says:
able duration; which he dwells upon, as what he principally cites the text for; in order, I conceive, to prove the stability of the Son's kingdom, before spoken of: Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever; God, thy God, has anointed thee; and thou, Lord, i. e. thou who hast promised him such a throne, art he who laid the foundation of the earth, and made the heavens, which, though of long and permanent duration, yet will perish; but thou remainest, thou art the same, thy years shall not fail. So that it seems to be a declaration of God's immutability made here, to ascertain the durableness of Christ's kingdom, before mentioned; and the rather so, because this passage had been used originally for the same purpose in the 102d Psalm, viz. to infer thence this conclusion, ver. ult. The children of thy servants shall continue, and their seed be established before thee. In like manner it here proves the Son's throne should be established for ever and ever, by the same argument, viz. by God's immutability; and so was very pertinently alleged of God, without being applied to the Son; to show how able his God, who had anointed him, was to make good and maintain what he had granted him, víz. a durable kingdom for ever."—Emlyn's Examination of Dr. Bennet's New Theory of the Trinity. TRACTS, vol. II pp. 203, 204. London, 1731.
Beside the purpose pointed out by Emlyn, the author of the Fpistle may have had another in view, which was to declare, that while the throne of Christ being upheld by God should endure forever; the heavens, the local habitation, as they were considered, of angels, should, on the contrary, perish; be rolled up as a garment and changed.