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sequence is, that they become either so blindly prejudiced as to think nothing right but what they themselves believe and practise, or so indiscriminately latitudinarian as to be indifferent to all, and put the smallest and the weightiest matters of religion on the same level. In either case, all inquiry is precluded. Contempt, before examination, effectually prevents the renunciation of errour, and the acquisition of truth.
To that liberality, then, which is, in fact, an indifference to religious truth, they lay no claim. Where there are so many discordant opinions, they can neither consider all as equally right, nor can they think it a matter of little consequence, what religious sentiments are adopted. In their view the scriptures are to be approached with awful reverence; and examined, and searched into, with all the lights which the Christian church can afford, and with a continual recollection that we shall render an account at the bar of God, for the manner in which we interpret his word.
When the points about which men differ, are confessedly of small importance; or when they are such as depend upon human judgment, then diversity of sentiment is to be borne with mutual toleration, and Christians are bound by the most sacred obligations not to separate from each other. "Men do separate themselves," says Hooker, "either by heresy, schism, or apostacy. If they loose the bond of faith, which then they are justly supposed to do, when they frowardly oppugn any principal point of Christian doctrine, this is to separate themselves by heresy. If they break the bond of unity, whereby the body of the church is coupled and knit in one, as they do which wilfully forsake all external communion with saints in holy exercises, purely and orderly established in the church, this is to separate themselves by schism. If they willingly cast off and utterly forsake both profession of
Christ and communion with Christians, taking their leave of all religion, this is to separate themselves by plain apostacy." (Serm. on St. Jude.) The unity of the Christian church, therefore, in its external communion and order, the conductors of the Gospel Advocate consider as essential to the promotion of godliness; and any principle which tends to perpetuate the divisions. now existing among Christians is, in their view, fraught with incalculable evils. It is not, then, the spirit of party, but a spirit which would blend and harmonize all parties, which leads them to insist upon the necessity of external order. It is a deep conviction, founded on the declarations of God, and the experience of ages, that schism is the parent of confusion, and the greatest impediment to the progress of the Christian faith. Like the builders on the walls of Jerusalem, who held a weapon in one hand, and wrought with the other, half the energy of our lives is lost in the labour of defence. If Christians were united; if priesthood were not erected against priesthood, and altar against altar; how much would the cultivation of religious affections be enlarged, and how much stronger would be our efforts for the extension of the Redeemer's kingdom!
But while the conductors of the Gospel Advocate lament that the unholy passions of men have thrown so many obstacles into the path of Christianity, they are are not so visionary as to suppose that an immediate stop can be put to these disorders. That there will be a time, when not only political animosities will cease, but when the weapons of religious warfare will also be exchanged for the implements of God's husbandry, they firmly believe; but the time is not yet; and while the great principles of Christianity are warmly and obstinately assailed, they consider it as their duty to put on the armour of God, and contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints. For religious controversy, as
such, they have no relish, and if called investigator, of which they will easily understand the value.
to engage in it, will do so with reluctance; but they should consider themselves as betraying their trust, if they did not point out, whenever occasion requires, the dangers which menace their faith; if they did not endeavour to detect the covert approaches of insidious errour; if they did not fortify the points of attack; if they did not utter the cry of the sentinel upon the watch-tower, and rouse their fellow Christians from the slumbers of ignorance and apathy.
Happy shall they think themselves when they can be permitted to imitate the example of the illustrious Roman dictator,* by retiring from the combat to the labours of the field. Happy shall they think themselves when they can be occupied solely in gathering those fruits of the tree of life, which are for the healing of the nations, and which will make men live for ever.
For the Gospel Advocate.
REMARKS ON THE WORD Nous, AS IT
It is not, however, to these alone that its advantages are confined; it was, therefore, equally hailed by the admirers of sound truth and orthodoxy, for that which was announced in the very title as the professed object of its publication-the illustration and criticism of the new testament. That it has thrown light upon passages whose beauty was comparatively hidden ; confirmed dubious expositions; established contested doctrines; and settled these too upon irrefragable arguments, founded in the very nature of language; will, in a majority of cases, by the unbiassed and candid inquirer, be admitted without hesitation. these, therefore, we may remain satisfied with what the luminous writer has effected: there are, however, unfortunately, some exceptions to his general rules, which, though converted, by his peculiar explanation, into new illustrations of his plan, must strike, almost at first sight, as contradictory to what he has, in his first part, so successfully endeavoured to establish. These contradictions, if I mistake not, will be rather found in omissions, than in insertions of the article; and indeed in the former rather than the latter would errours of this nature at all times be likely to consist. Now in some of the instances to which I have alluded, no exposition but that which is forced and unnatural can in any way obviate the difficulty and in others I think none can be admitted, which does not carry its own refutation upon its very face.
We are reduced then to admit the existence of some anarthrous words in the new testament, which, from whatever cause they arise, must in some measure, invalidate Middleton's theory of the uses of the article by the sacred writers, except by adopting solutions which are either improbable or impossible.
Yet, if these things be so, are we not at once deprived of all certainty of
calculation, drawn from the article as a ground of argument? This might at first appear to be the case: there is, however, a distinction to be made between the different inodes of its occurrence and omission, which will throw considerable light upon our inquiries. There are times in which the reasons of the changes are so obvious and so precisely marked, that any mind conversant with the subject would, without difficulty, perceive them. Upon these then we may take a decided stand; as the certainty of grammatical rule no general reasoning may shake, and no sweeping cavils can destroy. And if the question still recurs, why the same precision did not uniformly prevail in the new testament writers, which on some occasions they have observed, we are undoubtedly at a loss for an explanation. The possibility of a various reading must often be withheld as a plea, owing to the silence of every manuscript that is extant: and what ever other apology may be advanced, must be taken according to its value. That the article has in some cases been attended to, and in others neglected, still remains a fact.
These observations were suggested by some late inquiries into the much contested subject, with which I have headed this communication. The sig nification of the Nós of St. Paul, in some of its anarthrous cases, will perhaps be found to corroborate in some measure my objections to Middleton's theory, as one of universal application. This writer is, I believe, the only one who has laid down any precise standard of judgment on a point of such constant dispute: for Macknight, though maintaining the article to be for the most part prefixed to vous, when the meaning of the laws of Moses is distinctively attached to it, ventures to go no farther. He has therefore given us no reason for its occasional absence, even where the signification of the word remains unaltered; but probably he was not aware of the licenses which
are allowed to words even where they occur in the most definite sense, and which have been so ably stated and arranged in the first part of Middleton's treatise. The learned bishop affirms the uniform appearance of the article before this word, where the law, or the body of the Jewish scriptures is alluded to by the apostle; his remark being limited by the following terms: "It is obvious, that were this rule without exception, an important step would be gained; for at least we should know, when the Jewish law is meant by the apostle, which is now so often, even among the best commentators, a subject of dispute: but if there be exceptions, and these have no certain character, then plainly they destroy the rule, and it is on account of these exceptions that the rule seems now to be pretty generally abandoned. My observation, however, has led me to conclude, that the rule is liable to no other exceptions than those by which, as has been shown in this work, words the most definite are frequently affected." p. 239. It is my intention to take up successively every passage in the epistle to the Romans in which vous occurs in the anarthrous form, those cases being of course omitted, in which Middleton's rules will account for the omission of the article; and to endeavour to show how far each of these passages may be alleged, either as a support, or a contradiction to his hypothesis.
The places in the epistle in which vos without the article occurs, exclusive of the exceptions to which we have already adverted, are noted by Schmidius as the following: ii. 25; iii. 31; v. 20; vii. 1, 23; and xiii. 8. To each of these in their order.
I. The first of our references, ii. 25, stands in these words: Egitoμn mèr γὰρ ὠφελεῖ, ἐὰν νόμον πράσσῃς· ἐὰν δὲ παραβάτης νόμος ἧς, η περιτομή του άκροn Curria yeyoVEV. Our principal concern here is with vómov; but for the connexion, we give the whole verse.
Before we proceed to examine directly the propriety of Middleton's signification adopted in this place, it may be as well to notice a parenthetical objection which the author advances, upon the supposition of the article being in the present case inserted. " Πράσσειν TON vov," says he," would not be very intelligible." The bishop has not definitely stated wherein the obscurity of the phrase would properly consist: Schleusner however applies to vos here the usual translation of the Mosaick law; and to grow not the first and most common, but a very allowable and frequent rendering, observo. This sense is moreover strengthened, not only by the Quadrons of the Codex Claromontanus, but still more by the opposition of agabars immediately following; and answers precisely to Tolé, as found in Gal. v. 3. oy Toy Top Tonal. Upon this passage Middleton has no remark; I suppose, therefore, he admits you there to be the Mosaick law, xar' igoxnv; as I do not perceive that av occurring before the article in any way affects its signification. The two places then afford ing examples of the same form of expression, it might easily be established, if there were no other confirmations of its propriety; for wow and grow in this sense are equally common in the classick and the sacred writers.
This being premised, let us look into the ground our author takes, in opposition to the more common mode of interpreting the passage before us. Νόμον πράσσης. Here it is plain, that by pov without the article we are to understand, not the law itself, but moral obedience or virtue, such as it was the object of the law to inculcate, and of which circumcision was the outward and visible sign." To say nothing of the application of the references given by bishop Middleton, in support of this signification of the word, I rather think that meaning is extremely rare. The place before us, however, is that alone with which we are
concerned; which, taken in connexion with its context, defines the extent of vos beyond all power of evasion. Referring to ver. 25, as above given in its precise words, we find that after vópov ngácoys, immediately occurs in opposition παράβατης νόμου. Now that the same voos is the subject of each of these expressions, whatever meaning it be proved to contain, is evident at the slightest notice, and indeed has never been disputed. But let it be particularly remarked, that in ver. 27, almost immediately following, we meet again with παραβάτην νόμου, in which there is a plain reference to the magabátrs vóμov of ver. 25; both these, therefore, are to be considered as one and the same. But these very words in ver. 27 contain a direct and pointed opposition to Tev vóμov Tεhouσα in the same verse; i. e. there is a comparison which no explanation can do away, between the observer and the transgressor & viμs, of the Mosaick law. Applying then the same signification to the vous and by consequence to the νόμον of ver. 25, νόμον πράσσης is limited to a meaning directly opposed to the hypothesis of the bishop: and the whole sentence will thus stand, in the correct language of our version: For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law; but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision.
11. Our next passage in the series, as found in iii. 31, is thus expressed. Νόμον οὖν καταργοῦμεν διὰ τῆς πίστεως ; μὴ γένοιτο. ἀλλὰ νόμον ἱστῶμεν. The many and totally distinct interpretations assigned by the different criticks to this place, are of themselves a sufficient proof of the danger of all attempts to draw it from its proper reference to some part, whatever that may be, of the old testament scriptures. If we suppose vóμos to contain here, as in other places, the signification of the Mosaick law, it will perfectly barmonize with the whole design and argument of the discussion immediately
preceding. The chapter is addressed principally to Jews; and its object is to show them to be, equally with the gentiles, incapable of justification by the deeds of the law, through the nonperformance of a perfect obedience. The present verse anticipates and answers the question of an objecting countryman; the law is not rendered nugatory, but established.
I should rather myself, however, in the present instance, assign to voov, with a German critick, a signification more broad, but equally well defined; and then connect this concluding verse with the illustrations immediately following. "Teneo significationem rov vóμov eam, quam adhuc constanter frequentatam vidimus, oracula v. T. quælibet. Jam vero natagyen doctrinam aliquam dicitur etiam is, qui falsam eam esse declarat, contra eam disputat, eam refellit; vicissim eandem irraven dicitur, qui eam tuetur, defendit, novis argumentis confirmat. Unde sententia loci hæc prodit: num vero pugnat hæc mea doctrina cum iis, quæ libris vestris ss. hactenus tradita accepistis? Imo vero amice cum iis consentit, variisque horum ipsorum librorum locis egregie illustratur et confirmatur. vid. ad init. cap. iv." Koppii Nov. Testament. vol. iv. Gott. 1806, in loco.-The meaning, according to either of the above interpretations, would require the presence of the article by Middleton's hypothesis. Yet upon this passage, I should not choose to insist much. There is certainly no exact criterion of judgment to form an opinion upon so nice a point; though probability goes very far for either of the versions I have noticed. III. In v. 20, the anarthrous vous is easily reduced to its most definite sense, and will admit no other in its place. Νόμος δὲ παρεισῆλθεν, ἵνα πλεονάσῃ τὸ παράπτωμα. The apostle's object through the whole of his discussion, and peculiarly in the present context, is to establish the necessity of a justification by faith, as opposed to the works of any law: but in subserv
ing this end, he adopts the means most likely to promote it, in commending himself alternately to the Jew and to the gentile; the first tenacious, and the second envious, of the prerogatives of the Mosaick dispensation. It is very easy to perceive, that at the commence. ment of these words St. Paul is qualifying the observations which had preceded, by a well-timed indulgence to the feelings of an Israelite, and an acknowledgment of some of the benefits accruing from that law, which was the theme of his exultation and his love. They are addressed then principally to the Jew; and nothing but anxious zeal for an hypothesis could ever have distorted them from their application.
But it will be necessary to be rather minute on this point, as the opposite conjecture has, it must be allowed, some weight of plausibility to defend it. The objections to my adopted interpretation may be ranked under two heads, which I shall examine and endeavour to meet.
The first is of a nature purely philological. Macknight, and with him Middleton, contends, "that wageñale cannot be said of the law of Moses, since it signifies entered privily,' as in Gal. ii. 4, the only instance besides the present, in which the word occurs in the whole new testament. So also the similarly compounded words <grayw, 2 Peter ii. 1. παρεισακτές, Gal. ii. 4. wagerdú, Jude, ver. 4. But the Mosaick law was ushered into the world with all possible pomp and notoriety." (Middleton, in loco.) All the difficulty here supposed to exist in the limited sense of the voμos, is founded, it would seem, upon the assumption, that agere refers simply to the act of conferring this law; than which, I must confess, nothing appears to me farther from the intention of the apostle. St. Paul is evidently describing its operation; and not any way adverting to the exact mode of its entrance upon the earth, and becoming manifest to men. If so, then, wagudev is used in