Sivut kuvina

ments of Dr. Lanrence, as also those of Dr. Gottlieb Hoffman, of Jena, have proved that it was written (undoubtedly by a Jew) in the earlier part of the reign of Herod the Great, and, consequently, about thirty years before the birth of Christ, and most probably in the country which had been the northern part of the ancient Assyrian Empire. Now, in this extraordinary work which has been restored to our use and enjoyment, we have an undeniable witness to the religious opinions and expectations which were entertained by at least some of the Jewish nation, supplying many additions to our information upon the belief and expectations of the Jews before the Christian era, concerning the Messiah. The Book of Enoch contains undeniable references to a Trinity of persons in the Godhead. Thus, in chap. xlviii., 5. 1. 2. 3., the following language is found, viz: “In that hour was THE SON OF Man called upon with THE LORD OF SPIRITS, AND HIS NAME in the presence of the chief of days. Before the sun and the signs (of the heavens) were created, before the stars of heaven were formed, was his name called upon, in the presence of the Lord of the spirits. He will be a support to the righteous and holy on wbich they may lean without falling; and he will be the light of nations. He will be the hope of those whose hearts are in distress. All who dwell upon earth will fall down and worship before hiin, will laud and glorify him, and will sing songs of praise to the Lord of spirits. On this account was the Chosen One and the Hidden One in his presence, before the world was created, and forever in his presence, and the wisdom of the Lord of spirits hath nnveiled the Holy One and the Righteous One; for he hath preserved the lot of the righteous, since they have hated and rejected this world of unrighteousness, and have abhorred all its works and ways in the name of the Lord of spirits. For in his name shall they be preserved, and his will shall be their life.”

In this book of Enoch, therefore, clear and distinct allusions are made to a Being, highly exalted with the Lord of spirits, under the appellations of the Son of Man, the Elect One, the Messiah, and The Son of God. Disputes have arisen respecting the nature of the Son of Man described in the vision of Daniel; and Unitarians contend, that his existence commenced at the birth of Jesus Christ; affirming without fear of contradiction that no Jew of any age ever held the opinion of his preëxistence, much less ever regarded him as an object of Divine worship. “ But that the Jewish doctrine before Christ upon this point was totally different from that which the Unitarians assert it to have been, I have,” says Archbishop Laurence, "shown in my remarks upon the first book of Ezra. The present publication, however, affords fuller and more decisive testimony upon the same subject.”

After quoting the above and several additional passages, he remarks, that " in these passages the preexistence of the Messiah is asserted in language which admits not the slightest shade of ambiguity. Nor is it such a preëxistence as the philosophical Cabbalists attributed to him, who believed the souls of all men, and, consequently, that of the Messiah, to have been originally created together, when the world itself was formed; but an existence antecedent to all creation, an existence previous to the formation of the luminaries of heaven, an existence prior to all things visible and invisible, before every thing concealed. It should also be remarked that the preëxistence ascribed to him is A DIVINE PRE-EXISTENCE. For before all things, his name was invoked in the presence of the Lord of spirits—the Elect and the Concealed Ode existed in his presence, who has dominion over all things, for “from the beginning the Son of Man existed in secret, wbom the Most High preserved in the presence of his power.” Hence, therefore, is it explicitly affirmed, that all the kings of the earth shall tall down and worship before him, shall bless and glorify bim, as a true object of adoration.

Neither is allusion thus only inade to the Elect One or the Messiah, but also to another divine person or power; both of whom, under the joint denomination of THE LORDS, are stated to have been over the water, that is, as I conceive, over the fluid mass of unformed matter, at the period of creation. “HE, THE ELECT One, it is stated shall call to every power of the heavens, to all the boly above, and to THE POWER OF GOD. The Cherubin, the Seraphim, and the Ophanim, all the angels of power, and all the angels of the Lords, namely, OF THE ELECT ONE, and of THE OTHER POWER, who was upon earth over the water on that day, shall raise their united voice," &c. In this passage an obvious reference, I conceive, occurs to the first verse of Genesis, in which it is said, that THE SPIRIT OF Gon moved on the face of the waters. As, therefore, the more full description of the Son of Man bere given may be considered as the Jewish comment of the day upon the vision of Daniel, so also, I apprehend, must the last quoted allusion to the book of Genesis be considered as a comment of the same nature, upon that account of Moses, which describes the commencemeut of creation. Here, then, we have not merely the declaratiou of a Pluraltiy, but that of a precise and distinct Trinity, of persons, under the supreme appellation of God and LORDS. THE LORDS are denominated THE ELECT ONE, and THE OTHER (DIVINE) Power, wbo is represented as engaged in the formation of the world, on that day, that is, on the day of creation. And it should be added, that upon these a particular class of angels is mentioned as appropriately attendant.

" This argument, adds Archbishop Laurence, in proof that the Jews, before the birth of Christ, believed the doctrine of the Trinity, appears to me much more important and conclusive than that which has been, indeed, frequently, deduced from the philosophical principles of the ancient Cabbala, which is full with allegorical subtleties. The passage under consideration is, indeed, liable to no objection wbatever. Here there is nothing Cabbalistical, here there is no allegory; but a plain and clear, although slight, allusion to a doctrine which, had it not formed a part of the popular creed of the time, would scarcely have been intelligible. Three Lords have been ennmerated; THE LORD OF SPIRITS, or THE LORD, THE ELECT ONE; and THE LORD, THE OTHER POWER; an enumeration which evidently implies the acknowledgment of three distinct persons, participating in the name, and in the power of the Godhead. Such, therefore, from the evidence before us, appears to have been the doctrine of the Jews, respecting the Divine nature, antecedently to the rise and promulgation of Christianity.

Another source from which we may derive a knowledge of the opinions of the most ancient Jews is the writings of Philo. Philo was a Jew of Alexandria, of a sacerdotal family, eminent above his contemporaries for talents, eloquence and wisdom; and whose learning it is not probable that any of his nation, in any subsequent period, if we except Josephus, have exceeded, or even approached. From the most probable estiination, says Dr. Pye Smith, he was about sixty years old at the time of the death of Jesus Christ; and he lived for some years afterwards. The coincidences of sentiment, and more frequently of language of Paul and John in the New Testament, are very remarkable. Yet it would be contrary to all the philosophy of human nature not to ascribe these different, but similar, streams to one primary source. That source, I venture to propose, is not so much to be sought in the writings of Plato, or in the ethical lectures of the learned Jews of Alexandria, or in the sole speculations and invented diction of Philo himself;—as in the sacred writings of the Old Testament, transfused into the Alexandrian idiom, paraphrased and amplified in the terms and phrases which were vernacular to the Grecian Jews, and mixed in a very arbitrary manner with the speculations of both the Persian and Greek philosophers. Since the New Testament was written in this idiom, and since the component parts of the Christian dispensation were not so much new ideas as the foller explication and the more interesting impression of truths and promises previously revealed, the conformity of which we are treating appears less an object of just surprise than its absence would bave been. But no part of the writings of Philo bas excited so much attention and adıniration as his frequent expressions on the subject of the Logos or word. He has been thought to ascribe to this mysterious object, personality, divine perfections, and gracious communion from heaven, the be

See Archbishop Laurence's Preliminary Dissertations, pp. xlviii—Ivi: 3. Oxford Ed., 1838.

stowment of the highest blessings on mankind. Hence Philo being only a Jew, furnishes the most authentic statement of the belief and the expectations entertained by the most pious and the best informed of his nation with regard to the hope and redemption of Israel.

Philo is as express as words can enable him to be, on the limitation of the number of the persons spoken of as divine to THREE, as is evident from the passages, well known and frequently referred to, for the illustration of this subject. I have not room to insert them at length, though the purpose of them all, is much elucidated by the sentences which immediately precede and follow, but shall faithfully give the substance. In the first of the remarkable passages alluded to, which occurs in the tract on the Chernbim, speaking of the Eternal Ens, he asserts, that in the ONE TRUE GOD there are two SUPREME and PRIMARY Avvapeis or POWERS, whom he denominates Ayadornsa xa. Egovolan—that is, GoodNESS and AUTHORITY, and that there is a THIRD AND MEDIATORIAL POWER between the two former; who is the Aoyos. *In the second, which is that in his dissertation concerning the sacrifices of Abel and Cain,t. Philo is still more explanatory, for, speaking of the same ó , he says, (“ He came attended by his two Most High,") appearing to Abraham, he acquaints us that He came attended by his two Most High and puissant powers, PRINCIPALITY and GoodNESS; HIMSELF in the middle of those POWERS, and through ONE, exbibiting to the discerning soul the appearance of THREE. In a third passage Philo is still more decisive; for he says, The FATHER OF ALL is in the middle; and as if to prevent any possibility of those POWERS being mistaken for mere attributes, he assigns to each of them active, personal properties, and denominates one the Power CREATOR and the other the POWER REGAL. He then adds, "the POWER CREATOR is LORD."

One other source from which we may deduce the opinions prevalent among the Jews of a still early, though later period, is ibe Talmudical writings.

In the Talmudical writings frequent and honourable mention is made of Rabbi Simeon, the son of Jochai, who is said to have been before the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus. A collection of Cabbalistical doctrines called The Book Zohar, or The Book of Light, is extant, which is affirmed to have been gathered up after Simeon's death, from his oral instructions, by his pupils and companions; in the same manner as the sayings of Socrates were collected by Xenophon. This book is written in the Chaldee dialect, similar to that of the Targums, a dialect which became totally

[ocr errors]

Vide Philonis fudaci Dissert. de Cherubim, p. 86., F. G. + Dissert. de Sacrificius Abelis et Caini, p. 108., B.

Dissert. de Abraham, p. 287., F.

extinct by the fourth or fifth century of the Christian era, and was succeeded, in Jewish literature, by the Talmudical Hebrew. The circumstance of its language and style is held by those who are sufficiently skilled in the Hebraic dialects, to be decisive of its having been written at, or very near, the time to which it is attributed.

The eminent scholar, Schættgenius, has devoted a large portion of his life to the study of the Zobar, and has made much use of it for the illustration of the New Testament in his Horæ Hebraicæ et Talmudicæ. The following are extracts from Schcettgenius' numerous citations. “The angel of the Lord, which is the Shechina,” referring to Exod. iii., 2.* “God, the holy and blessed, is perfectly united with the Schechina,” literally "united in one unity.”+ "There was the Schechina, God the holy and blessed, who is one.” “It is he who liveth for ever and ever, who is arrayed with the name (Metraton) Mediator.” “The Mediator is the servant of the Lord, the elder of his house, who is the Head of the creation of the Lord, exercising dominion over all things that are his, for the Holy and Blessed God bath given him dominion over all."|

There are other passages, the sense and purport of which are, that the Shechinah is both of a heavenly and an earthly nature; that the Messiah is the Shechina, the Angel of the Covenant, the Mediator, the Redeemer, the Just One; that the Shechina is the Heavenly High Priest, and the Fountain of Life; that all perfections belong to the Messiah. In several places the divine name "Jeyah”—the Chaldee abridgment of “Jehovah”-is in a circuitous manner given to the Shechina. The following passages, also, are quoted by Eiseninenger. *** All those who do not study the Law of God very earnestly, the Holy Ghost, which is the Shechina, does not rest upon him;"! and, “God forbid, to suppose that the Shechina is a created Being. HE IS THE GLORIOUS AND BLESSED GOD. For, in the writings of our Rabbis, there are many things, which very plainly indicate that the Shechina is THE GOD BLESSED FOR EVER. Amen.”+

I now subjoin a part of the summary drawn up by Schættgenius himself. “ With respect to the names of the Messiah," says this learned writer, “he is expressly called in the Zohar by


* Schættgenius Hor. Heb, et Talm. tom 2., P, 451. + Do. do. do. do. do.

do. do. do. do. Do. do. do. do. do.

Do. do, do. do. do. * See Eisenmenger Entdectes Indentum, Part I., p. 268. + Tickoni Azohar, vol. 6., col. 2. # Avodath Ackodesh, 5th chap. of Cheleck Ayichod, fol. 11., col. 1.

p. 353. p. 335. p. 334. P. 427.


« EdellinenJatka »