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In reading verse, the modern Greeks are governed entirely by the accent.

To the above list of particulars in which the modern language has deviated from the ancient, we might add that it has borrowed many terms from the other European languages and from the Turkish. Still, however, it remains much more like the ancient Greek, than either of the languages of Latin orgin is like its original, and the resemblance is daily becoming greater, by the efforts which cultivated men are making to accommodate the modern language to the standard of the ancient. In fact the language in which the grammar Mr Negris is written, differs so little from the ancient Greek, that no man acquainted with the latter will find any difficulty in reading it. This grammar is very short and simple, and is interesting principally as showing how considerable is the resemblance between the ancient and modern dialects.

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ART. V.-I. A Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews. By MOSES STUART, Associate Professor of Sacred Literature in the Theological Seminary at Andover. 2 vols. Andover. 1827, 1828.

Svo.

Continued from p. 225.

In concluding the article in our last number on the authorship of the Epistle to the Hebrews, we observed, that 'if St Paul had actually sent an epistle to the Jewish believers at Jerusalem, just after the termination of the long series of sufferings and ill treatment, which commenced in so remarkable a manner in that city, there seemed to us no doubt, that it would have been an exceedingly different composition from the Epistle to the Hebrews.' If St Paul was the author of this work, it is to be recollected that it must have been written by him after the close of his first confinement at Rome, while he still remained in Italy; and that it was in all probability, sent to the church at Jerusalem.

The Epistle to the Hebrews is addressed to Jewish believers alone. It appears throughout, that the writer had no thought of any Gentile converts among those to whom

it was sent. Now of the churches to which the apostle may be supposed to have written, we may safely affirm, that there was not one except that at Jerusalem, composed exclusively, or almost exclusively, of Jewish believers. That St Paul would have sent an epistle to a church consisting both of Jewish and Gentile Christians, and have addressed the former alone, and studiously overlooked the latter, is a supposition altogether improbable.

The remark then, just repeated from our former article, suggests the considerations to which we shall next advert. It is improbable that St Paul would have particularly addressed such a treatise or epistle to the Jewish Christians at Jerusalem, during any period of his ministry; and it is especially improbable that he would have done so at the time when the Epistle to the Hebrews must have been written.

In the first place, then, it is improbable, that St Paul would at any time have sent to the Hebrew Christians at Jerusalem, such a work as this Epistle. They were the converts of the other apostles, and their particular charge. He would have regarded it as an improper interference on his part, to undertake the instruction of a church of Jewish Christians under these circumstances. His feelings and opinions respecting such an interference, are expressed in his epistles. The following passage is from his second letter to the Corinthians, ch. x. 12-16. It refers, as may be perceived, to those new teachers who had intruded among his converts, and were endeavouring to weaken his authority.

'For we submit not to take rank, or compare ourselves with some of those who are putting themselves forward; and who truly are not wise in measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves with themselves. We will not boast of what is beyond our bounds; but within those limits which God has marked out for us; extending even to you. For we do not overpass our bounds, as if they included not you; for in preaching the gospel of Christ, they extended even to you. We boast not of what lies without our province in other men's labors. But we have hope, that with the increase of your faith, our limits will be abundantly extended through your means; so that we may preach the gospel to those who lie beyond you; not boasting within another's province of what has been prepared for us.'

In his Epistle to the Romans, he discovers the same reluc

tance to interfere with the labors of others; ch. xv. 20. 'I was earnest,' he says, 'to preach the gospel where Christ had not been named, so that I might not build on another's foundation.'

Now, in undertaking to instruct the Hebrew Christians at Jerusalem, St Paul would have been building upon a foundation laid by others. After this community had been for more than thirty years listening to the instructions of other apostles, we cannot believe that St Paul would have thought it useful or proper, to address particularly to them an elaborate treatise on the great characteristics of Christianity considered in its relation to Jewish Christians. We cannot believe that he would have told them that they wanted instruction in the very elements of Christianity, that they were ignorant of what, in one sense at least, were its higher doctrines;* and would, on this account, have assumed the office of their teacher. The supposition becomes more incredible, if we consider to what individuals the epistle was addressed, in order to its being communicated to the other members of the community. It appears that it must have been sent, not to those who presided over the church, but to private Christians; for at the close of it, they to whom it is addressed are directed to 'salute their leaders.' Now the sending of such an epistle, in such a manner, would have constituted an indecorous interference with the office and authority of other apostles, of which, there is no question, St Paul would not have been guilty.

The improbability that this epistle was addressed by St Paul to the church at Jerusalem, is still further heightened, when we consider the particular circumstances under which it must have been sent, and compare them with the_character of the work. During those visits of the apostle to Jerusalem, which preceded his last, the prejudices of the great body of Hebrew Christians, do not appear to have been so much excited against him as they afterwards were. But during his last visit, it is evident from what is related in the Acts of the Apostles, that those prejudices had become stronger, and that he was regarded generally by the Jewish Christians as an object of suspicion and dislike. The many thousands of believers all zealous for the Law,' had been taught that he held the Law in no esteem. Jerusalem was the strong-hold of all

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* See Hebrews, v. 12. seqq.

Jewish prejudices. How ill disposed toward him were the generality of Jewish Christians, may appear from the feelings which they transmitted to their successors. After the destruction of their nation, the Jewish Christians, generally, continued to observe the Law, and passed under the name of Ebionites, or Ebionæans.* Of them, Irenæus tells us, that they did not receive the epistles of St Paul, but regarded him as an apostate from the Law.† Origen and Eusebius likewise inform us, that they rejected his epistles; and the former says, that they did not regard the apostle as one favored by God, or a wise man; but reviled him. Eusebius states with Irenæus, that they viewed him as an apostate from the Law.‡

Now it is possible that St Paul, at the close of his confinement at Rome, might have sent an epistle to the Hebrew Christians at Jerusalem, prejudiced as they were against him. But, considering his character, it is not, we apprehend, morally possible that he should have sent them such a work as the Epistle to the Hebrews; a work, in which there is no allusion to their prejudices, no expression of his own feelings concerning them, and no attempt to remove them. He must have felt the necessity of doing away their ill opinion, of changing their feelings, and of justifying and recommending his own principles and conduct, before he could hope that they would listen with any profit to a didactic and hortatory discourse of his composition. To avoid all topics of difference, to blend himself with them as if he sympathized in their national prejudices, to keep out of view his own ministry to the Gentiles, and the interest of the Gentiles in Christianity, and to address his readers as if secure of their deference and good-will, were artifices to which he never would have resorted; artifices obviously as idle and unavailing, as they would have been disingenuous.

The notices of himself, direct or indirect, which the writer affords, are, generally, inconsistent with the supposition that this individual was St Paul. The author exhorts his readers to

*

Origen. cont. Cels. Lib. I. Opp. I. 385, 386. edit. Delaru. Comment. in Matth. Tom. xvi. Opp. III. 732, 733. comp. Just. Martyr. Dial. cum Tryph. pp. 230, 232-edit. Thirlb.

Advers. Hæres. Lib. I. cap. 26, p. 105. edit. Massuet.

Orig. cont. Cels. Lib. V. Opp. I. p. 628. Homil. in Jeremiam. xviii. Opp. III. 254. Euseb. Hist. Eccles. Lib. III. c. 27.

honor and follow their spiritual guides. * St Paul would hardly have taken upon him to strengthen the authority of the apostles who presided over the church at Jerusalem by his recommendation. 'Pray for us,' says the writer, 'for we trust we have a good conscience, being desirous in all things to conduct ourselves well. And I make this request the more earnestly, that I may be the sooner restored to you.' 'Know that our brother Timothy is set at liberty, with whom, if he come shortly, I will visit you.' It was not to Jerusalem that St Paul would have hastened upon his release from Rome, to the neglect of the churches which had been his peculiar care; nor would he thus have announced an intended return to that city, which a few years before he had visited for the last time, amid the tears and expostulations of his friends, at the imminent hazard of his life.

Let us consider some other passages. 'Bring to mind,' says the writer, the former days, when, after having been enlightened, you underwent a great struggle with sufferings; some of you being publicly exposed to reproaches and persecutions, and others sympathizing with those who were thus treated. For you shared in the sufferings of such as were in bonds, and you welcomed with joy the plundering of your property, knowing that you have better and enduring possessions in heaven.' 'Ye have not resisted to blood in your struggle against sin.' 'Remember those who have been your leaders, who taught you the doctrine of God, and beholding how their course terminated, imitate their faith.'§ It is not to be believed that all this was written by St Paul to the Jewish Christians of Jerusalem. Could he, or could those whom he addressed, forget his own persecution of the church at Jerusalem, and his own agency in the death of Stephen? Could he have expressed himself thus, considering how Stephen's course on earth had been terminated? Would he thus have referred to their early sufferings? His own share in inflicting them, was too present to his thoughts, and weighed far too heavily upon his mind. In the bitterness of his feelings, he elsewhere says, 'I am the least of the apostles, and am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.' This is language very different from that which the

*Ch. xiii. 7. 17.

t Ch. x. 32-34.
|| 1 Cor. xv. 9.

Ch. xii. 6.

§ Ch. xiii. 7.

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