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it difficult to prove, that the most exalted titles he gave him, are perfectly consistent with this view of his person. A being of a different order to mankind could not be a child and a son among the human race, nor as to his proper person, a man. By all the prophets, Christ, when foretold, is described as one who should be raised up, to whom all the attributes of humanity should belong; not as a being then raised up, then in existence. Those who feared God in all ages, were directed to look forward to the day of Christ; but why look forward, if he then existed at the head of the divine administration as well as now? Not a promise or prophecy can be found in the Old Testament, in which Christ is described as then existing in an angelic or divine state: the people had to look forward to his being raised up as a human body, in order to all the divine promises being accomplished.*
There are, however, two or three solitary passages in the Jewish writings, which have been adduced to prove the divinity of Christ. God the Father in creating man is supposed to have addressed God the Son when he said, "Let us make man in our image," Gen. i. 26. In this chapter Moses represents Jehovah not only as the creator, but as the sovereign of the world, planning and determining all things, before he brought them into being. Accordingly he holds forth the Almighty communing with his own
* These remarks I have transcribed from an excellent paper in the Universal Theological Magazine for June, 1805.
attributes, or with himself, as a king with his ministers; he for this reason speaks of him in the plural number, the style usually adopted by a sovereign; and he represents man as bearing the image of God, because he is the representative of God here below; because he is under God, the Lord of the whole creation. That this was the idea which Moses meant to express is obvious, from the words following: “And God said, let us make man in our image, after our likeness, and let him have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth.'
Few passages have so much excited the attention of learned men, and yet few have been more mistaken than the celebrated prediction of Isaiah concerning the birth of Christ. common version is an egregious misrepresentation of the original, and runs thus: "His name shall be called wonderful, counsellor, the mighty God, the everlasting father, the prince of peace,
* Ovid, whether in the Septuagint version or through the medium of the Heathen oracles, copied from the Jewish prophets, had undoubtedly read the account of the Creation given by Moses; and the reader will be surprized to see, how exactly he understood him to intimate that man is made after the image of God, because he is under God the governor of the world.
Ille opifex rerum, mundi melioris origo,
chap. ix. 6. The true meaning, as it appears to me, is the following :
"He shall be called by a wonderful name,
Counsellor of the mighty God,
Father of the future age,
Prince of Peace."
The hexapla of Origen has perpetuated to us the versions of Aquila, Symmachus, the Seventy, and of Theodotion; and I here subjoin them from Montfaucon.
Ὅτι παιδίον εγενήθη ἡμῖν, υιος εδόθη ήμιν, και εγένετο το μετρον επ ωμου αυτού, και εκλήθη το θαύματος, συμβουλος, ισχυρος, δυνατος, πατης ετι, Αρχων ειρηνης.--- Aquila.
Νεανιάς γαρ εγενήθη ἡμῖν, υιος εδόθη ἡμῖν, και εσαι ἡ παιδεία, επι του ωμου αυτου, και κληθήσεται, παραδοξασ μος βουλευτικος, ισχυρος, δυνατος, πατης αιωνος.--Symmachus.
Ότι παιδίον εγενήθη ήμιν, υιος και εδόθη ήμιν, όν ἡ αρχη εγενήθη επί του ώμου αυτου, και καλείται το ονομα αυτό, μεγαλης βουλης αγγελος.---Septuagint.
Και εσαι ἡ παιδεια αυτου επι του ώμου αυτού, και έκαλέσε το ονομα αυτου, θαυμαςως βουλευων, ισχυρος δύνασης, πατηρ αιώνος, αρχων ειρηνης.---Theodotion.
I cannot help adding that neither the Greek nor the Latin fathers have ever cited this doubtful passage in proof of the Divinity of Christ. This is a clear proof that they never annexed to it the ideas given in our common translation. Aquila, Symmachus, the Septuagint and Theodotion, understood the verse quite in a different light; and I venture to say that, if our translators had not been prepossessed in favour of the Divinity of Jesus, they never would have given so absurd and false a version. The biass, which influenced the authors of the common translation has extended its baleful effects to Lowth and other critics. Michael Dobson, indeed, was free from the shackles of prescription; but possessing more learning than taste and judgment, he has deviated into the wilds of conjecture, and rejected that reading which, if properly understood, would have warranted the very translation which himself has given.
Now, this is a literal version of the Hebrew text. No emendation is necessary; no hidden and refined meaning is to be annexed to the terms, and no rule of Hebrew grammar is violated in thus rendering the passage. Nothing therefore needs to be alleged in justification of it farther than that such an interpretation should suit the context, and accord with the character of the Messiah. For the satisfaction, however, of those who are not versed in Hebrew, it is proper to observe that prepositions in that tongue are, for the most part, supplied by the juxtaposition of the connected terms. Thus a Hebrew would say, "filled wine," instead of "filled with wine; prince peace," and not prince of peace;" the subjoining of the term wine to filled, and peace to prince, being sufficient to express the relations which they respectively bear to those words. On this principle the clause which, as it stands in Hebrew is "counsellor mighty God," may, and ought, to be rendered, "counsellor of the mighty God." By this construction the three members, "counsellor of the mighty God, father of the future age, prince of peace," are rendered all alike as exactly corresponding to each other, according to the established rules of Hebrew poetry. But the justification of the above version consists in the propriety of the description in reference to Christ and here it is to be observed that the names, Counsellor, Father, Prince, were titles usually applied to earthly kings. The Jews applied them to their expected Messiah, as supposed to be of that description. The Prophet conformably to the expectation of his countrymen, uses them in regard to the Saviour; yet
limits their signification so as to render their application new, beautiful, and appropriate. By their use, thus restricted, the inspired penman has at once levelled his language against the mistaken notion of his countrymen, drawn an exact delineation of the great personage he was predicting, and at the same time, by the unexpected turn which he gives to his words, he throws over them an air of mystery or paradox, which nothing could explain, but the actual advent and peculiarity of the predicted character. Thus it sounded like an impossibility or contradiction in the ear of a Jew to say, that God had any counsellor, see Rom. xi. 34. Isa. xl. 13; yet he is here styled, "Counsellor of the Mighty God;" meaning nevertheless that he was the person admitted to the knowledge of the divine will, and employed to reveal it to mankind. The seventy translators, understanding the words of the prophets in this light, in order to avoid their ambiguity and apparent paradox, have transfused into their version the spirit rather than the letter of the original Hebrew, and written, the Messenger of the Great Design; and this description accords with with the character elsewhere given of Christ; for he is styled the Messenger of the Covenant, Mal. iii. 1; the Apostle of our Profession, Heb. iii. 1; a Messenger of God, Gal. iv. 16.
The second clause contains another description of the Messiah, apparently parodoxical and unexpected, a Child just born is called a Father. Before a person can sustain this relation, his offspring must be already in being; but a child is here styled a Father, and a father too of what