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Such are the arguments adduced by this commentator against the objection already stated.
The examples in which swpeà is followed by a genitive of that in which the gift consists, are scarcely sufficient to prove that dwped, by itself, signifies the Holy Ghost. For, not only do we find in Acts ii. 38, x. 45, dwpeà toù ayiov Ilyeúpatos, but in Romans v. 17, dwpeà This dikalovúrs; and in Ephesians üii. 7, 8wpeà mộs zápitos Toll Ocoll. It night, therefore, be affirmed, that dwpeà, in the present passage, signifies righteousness, or the grace of God, except, in so far as the frequency with which του Πνεύματος του αγίου is associated with it would seem to give the latter a preponderance over the former. The examples most applicable to our present purpose are those in which dwpeà occurs without an adjunct. These are John iv. 10; Acts viii. 20, xi. 17 ; Romans v. 15; 2 Cor. ix. 15. Of John iv. 10, and 2 Cor. ix. 15, I shall speak afterwards. In Acts viï. 20, Tiiu dwpeày roll coll certainly means the Holy Ghost; but this is plain, from the words of the verse immediately preceding, so that it was superfluous to add Ilveữua åylov as explanatory of Ecoû. The same may be affirmed of swped, in Acts xi. 17. In Romans v. 15, 8wped means reconciliation or righteousness. “Donum autem," says Calvin, “est fructus misericordiæ qui ad nos pervenit : nempe reconciliatis quâ vitam sumus adepti et salutem : justitia, vitæ novitas, et quicquid simile est.”
From this examination of all the places in which dopeà occurs, it follows, that the usus loquendi of the New Testament does not appropriate it to the designation of the Holy Ghost. It has this meaning, only when found with the specific adjunct του αγίου Πνεύματος, or when the preceding words obviously limit it to such a person.
There is no passage in the entire Bible where the word yeúouai is applied metaphorically to the Holy Ghost. It is never used in connexion with Him. Nor are the cognate terms éoliw, épayov, mivw, &c., employed of Him. But all these occur in reference to Christ. The general idea of tasting, eating the flesh and drinking the blood of the Son of man, eating the true bread and never hungering, is familiar to the language of the New Testament. I am thus led to the view of those who interpret swpea of Christ. The arguments in favour of this opinion, I shall preface by a reference to John iv. 10, “ Jesus answered and said unto her, if thou knewest the gift of God, (inv dwpedy TOW DEO) and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink ; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water." Amped is here explained by some of Christ. But it is not certain whether it ought to be so understood. I am rather inclined to subscribe to Schleusner's explanation, according to which it designates the bounty of God, or the kindness which he showed the Samaritan woman, in favouring her with an opportunity of conversing with himself. The N. S. VOL. v.
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by First. He is John iii. 16, whosoever belie: 132, “My
meaning of dwpeà is at least liable to some ambiguity, and, therefore, no stress can be laid upon it. .
The application of dwped to Christ, in the present passage, is favoured by the subsequent considerations :
First. He is frequently represented in the Scriptures as given or bestowed. So John iii. 16, “For God so loved the world, that he gare his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life;" John vi. 32, “My Father," says Jesus himself, “ giveth you the true bread from heaven;" Romans viii. 32, “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up (Trapédwxev) for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things ?” In other places, the Son is spoken of as giving himself for men; so Galatians i. 4, “Who gave himself for our sins ;” Titus ü. 14, “Who gave himself for us." These, and other passages show, that the inspired writers were wont to speak of Christ as given to men—aS great and precious gift bestowed by the Father. Besides, the word doped itself is applied to Christ in 2 Cor. ix. 15, “ Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.” (ůvekdinyńto swpea.) I am aware that many refer dwped in this place to the liberality or benevolence of the Corinthians in contributing to the support of the poor saints in Judea, of which the apostle had just been speaking. So Drs. Owen, A. Clarke, and many others. But this is one of the instances, in which the context affords no assistance towards ascertaining the sense of a clause. It is an exclamation, prompted by the warmth of the apostle's heart. His bosom cannot contain within its secrecy the expression of a holy and rapturous joy, but, with characteristic ardour, gives vent to the overflowing of its feelings in the brief ejaculation, “Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.” There is a similar exclamation of wonder and gratitude uttered by Paul, in his Epistle to the Romans, xi. 33,"Othe depth of the riches, both of the wisdom and knowledge of God."
Second, The verb yevojat is employed in connexion with Christ, but not with the Spirit. Thus 1 Peter ii. 3, “ If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.” That it is Christ who is here styled Lord, the subsequent verse demonstrates. “To whom coming (as unto] a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious."
Third, Christ is styled the “ bread of God,” “the bread of life," &c., to whom words of kindred meaning with yeúowar are applied, such as do biw, épayov, čsopar. Thus John vi. 33, “For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world;" 35th verse, “I am that bread of life.”
Fourth, The adjective érovpávios exactly suits this interpretation assigned to dwpeà. Christ repeatedly affirmed, in the hearing of the Jews, that he came down from heaven. Thus John iii. 13, “ No man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man who is in heaven;" and in the sixth chapter of the same Gospel, coming down from heaven is predicated no less than six times of of the spiritual bread, which is Christ.
Fifth, In the parallel passage, Hebrews x. 26—29, Christ is mentioned, equally with the Spirit, as contemned and rejected : “Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant wherewith he was sanctified an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace ?”
Thus I have been brought to the conclusion, that ń swpeà ý étoupávios is none other than Christ himself, so called with emphasis, and by way of eminence to distinguish Him from all other gifts of the Almighty's providence and grace. By thus interpreting the phrase, the ascription of tautology to the sacred writer is avoided ; from which Owen does not felicitously extricate himself. There is nothing synonymous in the two phrases “tasting of the heavenly gift,” “partaking of the Holy Ghost,” if the former be understood in the manner just pointed out. They are not words without knowledge, associated as is the practice of many uninspired writers from the paucity of their ideas, or the sameness of their phraseology; but they possess a discriminating precision unlike the expressions of ordinary men.
Having thus ascertained the import of της δωρεάς της επουρανίου, I proceed to yeu auévous which is employed in reference to it. Many understand it in the sense of mere taste or perception, as distinguished from full enjoyment. Dr. Owen contends for this view. “ The expression of tasting is metaphorical, and signifies no more but to make a trial or experiment, for so we do by tasting, naturally and properly, of that which is tendered to us to eat. We taste such things by the sense given is naturally to discern our food, and then either receive or refuse them as we find occasion. It doth not, therefore, include eating, much less digestion, and turning into nourishment of what is so tasted. For its nature being only thereby discerned, it may be refused, yea, though we like its relish and savour on some other consideration.” So also Piscator, “ Levis tantum tenuisque perceptio quæ citò perit.” Capellus advocates the same view, regarding the present use of yevopai as opposed to that which is found in Matthew xxvii. 34; and to 2 Kings iv. 40, in the Septuagint. Professor Stuart, however, is of an opposite opinion. He thinks that it denotes full experience, and regards as puerile the notion affixed to it by English commentators. According to him, the use of the word in the New Testament, and in classical authors, is opposed to a refinement so childish. When it signifies the slight taste of anything, it has, in his opinion, a certain appendage that so limits and defines it, viz. yelheon äkpots. But when full experience is meant, yeúopai is used simply. In proof of this position, he quotes Matthew xvi. 28; Mark ix. 1; Luke ix. 27; John viii. 52; Heb. ii. 9; in all of which, yevopai Oavárou occurs. He also gives the classical examples
found in Schleusner; as, Herodotus vi. 5, yeúeoba fevdepins ; Pindar, Nem. Od. v. 596, móvwv yeverbal ; Sophol. Trach. v. 1108, arwy te Móxow pupiwy éyevoáunu.
I shall first examine yeúouai as taken properly, then metaphorically. In Matthew xxvii. 34, it is related, that when vinegar mingled with gall was offered to our Lord to drink, yevo áuevos, óuk hede muelv, “when he had tasted thereof, ne would not drink.” Here it signifies to sip, or rather, to apply once to the palate, which appears to be its primary signification. In Coloss. Ü. 21, there is another instance of the same use of the verb, and probably also in John ii. 9. So in the Septuagint, 1 Samuel xiv. 43, where the severity of the punishment is contrasted with the littleness of the offence. There are other places, however, where by synecdoche, yeúowal signifies to eat, not only as used absolutely, but as followed by a genitive. So Acts x. 10; xx. 11 ; xxiii. 14. Here it would be a refinement too subtle to imagine, that the primary signification is preserved. Thus the distinction between mere tasting as distinguished from eating, is not maintained in the actual usage of yeúqual as literally applied. In the New Testament, the verb occurs in both senses. But the metaphorical application is of more importance to the present investigation. Teúouai is here employed in a figurative sense, as distinguished from the literal. If ń dwpeà ý étrovpários be rightly taken to mean Christ, we cannot taste of him in a literal and carnal manner. We may, indeed, be said to taste of him spiritually, and to eat of him spiritually, and to live upon him by faith ; but to affirm that yetopai, or a cognate verb, may be applied to the Redeemer in a literal and consequently a gross manner, is an outrage to common sense, and a blasphemy against the Almighty. Tevoquévous rîs dwpeâs rñs étoupaviov is, therefore, a metaphorical expression ; and the point of inquiry now is, whether yevojai, in such a connexion, means the full enjoyment or experience of the gift, or whether it implies no more than a slight superficial taste, as distinguished from complete fruition. The New Testament does not furnish any example of a metaphorical use of the verb precisely analogous to the present. If yeúouai had occurred in connexion with δωρεάς or Χριστού, we should have had an instance directly to the purpose. This is not the case. The verb occurs with pñua Deoù in a subsequent clause, and with dwpeas in the place under consideration. These are the only instances of its metaphorical usage in the New Testament, except yeúouai Davátov in five passages quoted above, which are not strietly applicable. The reason of yeúouar Davátou not being appropriate is, that it is essentially a Hebrew idiom. It is just the part of the Rabbins. (see Buxtorf. Lex. Talmud. p. 895.) It is moreover a compound phrase, the parts of which cannot be disjoined. l'evojat must not be separated from Davátov in such a connexion. The entire idiomatic clause is the circumlocutory expression of one simple idea. ’Eyeúoato Davátou is a Hebrew mode of saying Dave, “he died." To
other caseihe purpose that there go to th
found, therefore, the proof a certain signification belonging to yeúquai on its position in such a phrase, is averse to its true nature. The clause is to be regarded as one word, because it is the circumlocution of the one verb Ornokw; and therefore yeúouai cannot be taken as denoting full experience in any other position, on the ground of its being so employed in yeúowal Davátov. From its usage and collocation in this phrase, it cannot be legitimately inferred, that it may express the full enjoyment of a thing or person with whose appellation it is united in other cases. There is some peculiarity in the idiom, which renders it unfit for the purpose to which Mr. Stuart applies it.
Having thus seen that there is no analogous metaphorical use of yeuoua in the New Testament, I go to the Septuagint. In this version it occurs figuratively in Psalm xxxiv. 9; Prov. xxxi. 18; but being followed by ori, as in 1 Peter ii. 3, no light can be thrown on the point before us. I go next to writers whose diction resembles that of the Greek Testament and Septuagint. Philo has óc yevoápevol tñs åperns, a8 also της σοφίας; Josephus joins it with των αγαθών ; Clement of Rome with Toù đDavárou quárews. Again, Philo has xelaeolv åkpols yevoápevol tñs Duocopias, and Chrysostom akpois rois xelmeow yeuoaodai. The appendage in the last two examples leaves no doubt as to the idea intended.
The question then is, are we warranted to suppose, that where there is no adjunct, yeúoua signifies the full enjoyment or perception ? Professor Stuart affirms that this is the idea which it conveys of itself. I differ somewhat from this very learned commentator. It appears to me, that yeúouae in a metaphorical sense does not express the degree or extent of the experience. It merely points out the perception or experience of a thing ; but as to its fulness, it states nothing. As far as yetopa is concerned, the enjoyment may be slight or complete-partial or total. When it is necessary to express the degree of experience, something is added ; ex. gr. xecheolv åkpols in the case of a mere sip or slight perception, as the examples adduced from Philo and Chrysostom show. But when the full enjoyment is meant, I do not think that yeropa, itself would be employed, but most probably a different word, as cotiáopai, to feast. This latter, indeed, is the very term contrasted by Philo with yelheolv åkpois yeúouai.
If this view be correct, the futility of many arguments derived from yevoma, in favour of a certain view, will be evident. Dr. Owen and others, zealous for the truth of the doctrine termed “the saints' perseverance,” and anxious lest this word should militate against it, attribute to it such a slight perception as cannot accompany salvation. But the attachment to a system, which becomes so excessive as to give a strong colouring to interpretations of words where they do not naturally receive it, is not to be imitated, however frequently it may be exhibited. Professor Stuart, again, goes too far in his opposition to the narrow view, by attaching to yeúojai the idea of full experience or enjoyment.