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patience of delay; all disinclination to encounter toil; and to apply ourselves, with seriousness and with docility, to every suitable means of having our minds enlightened with clear and reasonable views of the meaning and object; the mercy and beauty; the truth and usefulness of Divine Revelation.

In the endeavour then not to gratify a thirst for novelty, but the desire of real information; not to amuse the fancy with graces of style or topics of declamation ; but to pave

the

way for amending the heart, and making the hope of salvation more sure; I invite your attention to a detailed explanation of the words of our text.

This chapter stands in close connexion with the last: it is identified with it, not only in reasoning, but expression.-—“ The principles of the doctrine of Christ” are evidently “the first principles of the Oracles of God,” in the twelfth verse of the preceding chapter: but the connexion between the "perfection” here mentioned, and “those of full age.” in the concluding verse, is not so perceptible to the English reader. Nevertheless the words are of the same import; differing only as adjective and substantive. The term rendered “of full age” is elsewhere translated “perfect," and its precise signification is determined by the word, to which it stands opposed. In the former passage it is opposed to “babe," and is therefore properly considered as denoting " ripeness of age,” or the fulness of knowledge usually appertaining to mature age. This fulness, or maturity, of knowledge is signified by the word “perfection” in the text; and the degree of knowledge is here measured not by the importance, but by the difficulty, of the truths alluded to. For in themselves, and according to our estimation, none can be more important or more deserving the name of perfection in knowledge, than such as are enumerated by the Apostle;

repentance; faith; baptism ; laying on of hands,” and so conferring the gifts of the Holy Spirit; “resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgement.” But these to a Jew; and such we must recollect were addressed in this Epistle; were far more intelligible, than the representation of the Mosaic Law, as "a shadow only of good things to come;" of that solemn and venerated office of High Priest, as designed to last only for a time, and then to be superseded by one, who was to make “one offering once for all for the sins of the whole world;" and of the awful

predictions of a Prince and Prophet, superior to Moses, applied to one, who ; however transcendant by the lustre of personal virtue, by the consummate wisdom of his precepts and the supernatural power which he exereised; yet led the life of a poor wanderer, and died the death of a malefactor. These truths are familiar to us, who have been trained from infancy in the true doctrine of the Gospel, and who have had no abject devotion to another law to surrender, no preconceived opinions to combat. Yet were they inexplicable to most among the countrymen of our Saviour, and extremely difficult even to those, who had purer and more teachable minds; and who still struggled hard to maintain the necessity of adhering to their antient ritual, while they acknowledged the Divine mission of Jesus, and were disposed to acquiesce in the sublime truths and practical precepts of His Gospel. These peculiar views then of the real end and design of the Mosaic law; and the shewing how that end and design were accomplished by the coming of the great High Priest, the spiritual and eternal Sovereign of the kingdoms of the world ; these are the points in question, when the Sacred Writer speaks of “going on unto perfection ;” when he expresses his design of so doing, "if God permit;" and upon which he proceeds to expatiate fully in a subsequent portion of the Epistle,

Upon the phrase, “repentance from dead works," we may remark that it implies works, or deeds, causing or deserving death; that is, sinful works. Upon a former occasion I alluded to the difference in style which has been remarked between this Epistle and those, which undoubtedly proceeded from the pen of St. Paul. The phrase, “dead works” occurs. twice in this Epistle ; here, and in chap. ix. 14. But it is not found in the other Epistles of St. Paul; although it has been conjectured", that the expression in the myth chapter, 1 Cor., “ being baptized from the dead," was originally written otherwise, and should have been translated, “ baptized from dead works.”

When we next come to “ the doctrine of baptisms," and inquire for what reason “ baptisms ” in the plural are mentioned, we must recollect that the Jews were accustomed to administer baptism to such as were converted from Heathenism; that John even derived his name from the regularity with which he baptized his converts; and consequently, that a knowledge of the distinction between these kinds of baptism, and of the superior efficacy of that ceremony, by which Christians were initiated into their religion, necessarily formed a part of those elementary doetrines, to which allusion is made in the text. It

a See Valcken. Scholl. Tom. II. p. 330.

may here be observed, in further illustration of the difference between the Greek of this Epistle and the acknowledged Epistles of St. Paul, that the term in this and one other passage of the Hebrews is βαπτισμός, , never βάπτισμα,-in those Epistles, βάπτισμα, never βαπτισμός. .

When the Sacred Writer goes on to mention the laying on of hands,” I presume that he alludes to the particular offices in the Church, which were conferred in those days by this simple, but imposing, ceremony; but more especially to the gifts of the Holy Spirit, which so frequently accompanied it, and which were not only a direct and irresistible proof of the Divine origin of the religion, but also an effectual support and encouragement to those who professed it.

“And of resurrection of the dead.” Upon the manner, in which this phrase is used in the original language of the New Testament, and upon the fact, that a very slight variation of words may create a wide difference of signification, I must now offer some remarks.

From attentively tracing the various passages, in which the words “ resurrection” and “ dead” are employed, it appears that the sense of either word is general or limited, according as the definite article is, or is not, prefixed. Nexpoi signifies the dead in general : but oi vekpoi, emphatically the dead, signifies “the blessed dead,” those who are to be raised to future glory and immortality. Hence our Lord is said, with the exception of one questionable passage, to be raised ex verpôv, from a state of death, not ek T@V verpôv. And hence it may be shewn, that St. Paul's reasoning, in that celebrated xvth chapter of the First Epistle to the Corinthians, was directed to two objects; in the first place, to prove the doctrine of a resurrection of the dead, of a future state of existence in general; and next, to shew in what manner the just, or glorified saints, should be raised. For although the English version has, from a deficiency in our language, been compelled to render verpoè and oi verpoè indiscriminately “the dead”; yet, in the original, a distinction between them is accurately marked. Up to the thirty-fifth verse verpoi, or“ dead," is used without any article ; and in the thirty-fifth and the rest of the chapter, oi vekpoi, or “the blessed dead," are mentioned.

The same difference in respect to the use of the article, is observed in the word properly translated “resurrection." If the article be not prefixed, it means " resurrection in general," without reference to the moral qualifications or particular destiny of those who are raised; the principle or fact of a resurrection. With the article, it denotes the resurrection of saints in glory. Two passages, taken from

a See a Tract by the late learned and Rev. Dr. Edwards, en-, titled “Criticisms relating to the Dead, mentioned in the New Testament ;” published by Faulder, 1810.

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