men, therefore he annexed to it the appellation of Christ : so he must have understood that there was something Divine in that name.

The same writer (Moses), having by the Spirit of prophecy some foreknowledge of the name Jesus, bestowed upon that, also, a mark of preeminent dignity : for this appellation, which had never been in use before the time of Moses, that lawgiver assigned to the man who was to succeed himself in the supreme authority, and to that man only—he being the first that bore it—for he knew that there was a typical and symbolical meaning (both in his appointment and change of name). He had hitherto been called Oshea (or Ause), the name his parents gave him ; but now Moses called him Jesus*; and he gave him this name (more honourable than any royal diadem), because he (Jesus the son of Nun) was to bear a typical resemblance to that Saviour who alone-after Moses, after the symbolical worship of Moses, terminated—was to succeed to that supreme dominion which is founded in truth and in the purest worship of God. Thus did Moses confer, as a very great honour, these two names of our Saviour Jesus Christ on the two most eminent personages for virtue and dignity among his contemporaries—the high priest, and his own immediate successor.

The later Prophets, in their predictions respecting Christ, do expressly call him by that name; including in the same prediction the conspiracy of the Jews agaist him and his calling in the Gentiles (to receive their forfeited privileges) : for thus Jeremiah writes (Lament. iv. 20), “ The Breath of our nostrils, the anointed Lord, was taken in their wicked (snares) : He of whom we said, Under his shadow we shall live among the heathent." And David, foreseeing the same conspiracy, thus expresses the anxiety of his mind (Psa. ii.): “Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? the kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers are gathered together, against the Lord, and against his Christ.” And a little further on he says, personating the Messiah, “ The Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee : ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.”

It was not to the high priesthood only that the title of Christ was applied among the Hebrews, though that office had a mystical oil exclusively appropriated to it: it was applied to their kings also; some of whom the prophets anointed by immediate order from Heaven, and so made them symbolical Christs, and they became in their own persons types or emblematic representations of the supreme imperial power, which belonged to the true Christ alone, the Lord of all, the Divine Word. We are assured, also, that some of the prophets themselves were anointed, and thereby became Christs typically. So all these (prophets, kings, and priests) bore some analogy or resemblance to the true Christ, the Divine and heavenly Word, the only High Priest of the universe, the only King of the whole creation, the only Supreme Head over all the prophets of the fathers.

What sufficiently proves his vast superiority to those who had received a typical unction, is this fact, that none of these anointed priests, kings, or even prophets, did ever possess virtue and power so energetic, so God-like, as appeared with the clearest evidence in Jesus our Lord and Saviour, the only true Christ. Certainly none of them, how illustrious soever among their countrymen for the high offices they had sustained through many generations, did ever assign to their subjects or dependents a denomina

So the Seventy render Jehoshua. + This is spoken of Zedekiah, and can only very remotely refer to Christ. The Seventy translate the Hebrew word by 8.cpsopa, but our Bible renders it “ pits;" which is Gesenius's rendering in his Lexicon.

The other passage here quoted, from the Second Psalm, is fairly applied,

The power

tion derived from their own typical unction, and call them, as he did, Christians. Neither was the same adoration ever paid to any of them by their subjects ; nor after their deaths were men disposed so highly to value any one of them, as to be willing to die for him ; nor can an instance be found, among all the nations of the world, of any other but Himself who did ever excite so powerful a movement in the minds of men. of the type was not able to effect so much in them as the prototype, the Truth itself, could, when exhibited by our Lord; who, having received from no one a symbolical high-priesthood—not even deducing his lineage from those who had been consecrated—not being advanced to the kingdom by guards and satellites--nor made a prophet in the same manner as preceding prophets nor being possessed of any official rank whatever, or any right to precedence in his own nation, was nevertheless invested by his Father with—not any shadowy representation of grace and dignity, but—the very substance itself. Wherefore, though destitute of any thing like those abovementioned prerogatives, he was acknowledged as Messiah far more than any who had ever been anointed; and, as being himself the only true Christ of God, filled the whole world with the venerable and sacred name of Christians; delivering to those that were initiated, not the emblem of virtue, but virtue itself—not the typical image of heaven, but a heavenly life more clearly exhibited, by doctrine and example; a truer resemblance of the Divine original. And as to his anointing, it was not the application of any material compound; it was something Divine, imparted) by the Holy Spirit: he received it by a participation of the self-existent Godhead of the Father. Isaiah teaches the same doctrine, when he says, speaking in the person of Messiah, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because the Lord hath anointed me to preach the Gospel to the poor : he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and recovery of sight* to the blind” (Is. Ixi. 1). Not only Isaiah, but also David, speaks to the same effect, addressing Messiah personally: “ Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever; a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity : therefore God hath anointed thee, thy God, with the oil of gladness above thy fellows:" in which passage the sacred writer gives him the name of God in the first line, but in the next adorns him with a royal sceptre; and then, after this Divine and royal dignity, descending by a regular gradation, in the third place declares him to be the Christmanointed with oil ; not material, but divine, the oil of gladness—whereby is signified his great superiority to those who had received a corporeal and typical unction. And elsewhere (Ps. cx. 1) the same prophet thus describes his dignity : “ The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool ;” and (ver. 3, latter part) “ from the womb, before the morning star, I begat thee.” (Ver. 4) “The Lord hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever, after the order of Melchizedec.” Now this Melchizedec is introduced in the sacred writings as “priest of the most high God;” but not as one consecrated with oil prepared for the purpose, nor as belonging to the priesthood of the Hebrews by lineal descent; and it is for this reason that our Saviour is made a Priest according to this man's order, and not after the order of those who adopted symbols and types; having an oath also superadded to his consecration, and his only (conformably to these prophecies). We find no account in his history of his ever having been anointed by the Jews, or of his being descended from the sacerdotal family; but that he derived his Essence from God himself, before the morning start

• So the Seventy, but our Translation is different. + This application of Ps. cx. 3, to the eternal generation of the Son of God, depends

that is, before the creation of the world—and retains an imperishable priesthood for ages to which no bound can be assigned.

Now one great and clear proof of his possessing this incorporeal and Divine power, is this, that he alone, of all that ever existed hitherto, has been called Christ by all men, in every part of the world; and has been acknowledged and borne witness to among all * under that name ; and has had mention made of him as such both by Greeks and Barbarians : and at this present time he is still honoured as a King by the initiated members of his congregations in every part of the world, and admired as superior to all other Prophets, and glorified as the true and only High Priest of God; and, what is much more, as God's Word, pre-existing, and possessed of a distinct essence, before all ages; invested by the Father with reverential dignity, and worshipped as God : and, what is most wonderful of all, that not with the voice only, and empty sound of words, do we, his devoted servants, honour him ; but with the undivided affections of the heart, as men who had rather die than deny him. Chap. IV.That it was not a novel or strange religion which this Divine

Person disseminated among all nations. What I have stated above was necessary as an introduction to my History, because our Saviour and Lord, Jesus the Christ, might otherwise have been considered as being himself of very recent origin, his incarnation having been confessedly so. Now, lest any one should suspect that his doctrine, at least, was novel and strange, as much so as if it had proceeded from some modern sophist, not at all different from other men, I will briefly discuss this point also.

Mankind, as we have already acknowledged, having been but recently illuminated by the advent of our Saviour Jesus Christ, there suddenly sprung up, at a time appointed by inscrutable Foresight, a new, confessedly, and peculiar race, distinguished from all others by bearing his venerable name;-a race neither few in number nor hidden in obscure corners of the earth, but more numerous, and more religious, than any other; and one that has proved inextinguishable and invincible, for no other reason but because it has received continual succour from God.

One who looked into futurity with the prophetic eye of inspiration, foreseeing the rise of this peculiar people, was struck with so great admiration that he exclaimed, “Who ever heard such things ? and who ever spoke the like? Has the earth brought forth in one day is a nation born at one single birth ?” (Is. lxvi. 8). He did also indirectly signify the appellation they should hereafter receive, when he said, “ My servants shall be called by a new name (Is. lxii. 2), which shall be blessed upon earth 1." But though we are clearly a modern sect, and this new name of Christians has but lately been known among all nations, nevertheless, our way of life and discipline, regulated as they are by doctrines according to godlion the version of the Septuagint, which is contrary to the Hebrew, and entirely omits two Hebrew words; one signifying “ to thee," and the other “the dew.” As a very little knowledge of Hebrew would have prevented this misapplication of Ps. cx. 3, we are obliged to conclude that Eusebius was ignorant of it. Some render this difficult verse (3) very literally thus: “ Thy people!-free-will offerings in the day of thy power-in the beauties of holiness-beyond the womb of the morning to thee the dew of thy progeny: i. e. more numerous than the drops of dew which the morning engenders.” (See Lowth, Prælection 10.)

These over-statements (as they may appear to some), and the numerous epithets, circumlocutions, and repetitions in this Preface to Eusebius's History (which others may think tautology), are translated with scrupulous fidelity, without omission or abatement. If here and there a sentence is shortened, by relieving it of a load of synonymes, still the sentiment is every where that of Eusebius; nothing is taken from it or added to it, under the presumptuous notion of improving the author.

This last member of the sentence I cannot find.

ness, are no recent invention of ours, they are established on the common principles of godly men of all ages, even as far back as the Creation. And this we can prove: for the Hebrew nation is well known to all men, and generally honoured for its antiquity; and writings in their possession give an account of men at a very remote period, who were eminent for piety, justice, and every other virtue, though few in number; some of them before the Flood; others after it, being descendants of the sons and grandsons of Noah : among whom was Abraham, that patriarch so greatly revered by the Hebrews as the founder of their nation. And if any one should say, concerning this venerable succession of saints from Abraham to Adam, that they were Christians in effect, though not in name, he would not much err from the truth; for the name of “ Christian" signifies a man who through the knowledge of the doctrine of Christ has become eminent for temperance, justice, patience, and fortitude; and publicly professes the worship of one, only, supreme God. Now these (holy patriarchs) diligently observed all these things no less than ourselves, yet did not practise circumcision, nor keep the [Jewish] Sabbaths, any more than ourselves; nor abstain from several kinds of food ; nor make distinction in other indifferent things (which peculiar discipline Moses first introduced at a later period, for with him originated * that mysterious form of worship which had a typical meaning). These ceremonies, as they are now disregarded by us Christians, so were they (most of them) unknown to those who lived under the Patriarchal dispensation. And yet these patriarchs well knew the Christ of God; for we have before shewn that it was He who appeared to Abraham, and conversed with Isaac and Jacob, and held communication with Moses t, and the Prophets after him : and we also find these devout men distinguished by the same appellation as himself, in this passage (of the Psalms), “Touch not my anointed (my Christs), and do my prophets no harm.” So we must conclude that this first and most ancient form of religion—that of Abraham and the pious patriarchs his predecessors and contemporaries--is (for substance] the same as is now disseminated among all nations by the Christian doctrine. If it be alleged, that Abraham, after the lapse of many years, did himself receive the rite of circumcision, (we should remember) that he had been declared a righteous man before that I, one previously justified by faith, as the Scripture testifies : “ Abraham believed God, and it was imputed to him for righteousness." Moreover, when he had been thus justified before circumcision, the Oracle—the God who appeared to him, which was Christ himself, the Divine Logos—made him a promise respecting those who should in a future age be justified in the same manner; a promise couched in these express terms : In thee shall all families of the earth be blessed;" and again : “He shall become a great and mighty nation; and all nations of the earth shall be blessed in him.” And that this is applicable to us Christians, and has received a full accomplishment, is obvious ; for the faith whereby he had been justified was faith in that Word of God which appeared to him, which was Christ : moreover, he had forsaken the idolatry of his forefathers, and the errors of the former part of his life; had acknowledged the only supreme God, and served him by works of piety and virtue, not by the religious ceremonies which Moses afterwards

• Yet sacrifice and circumcision are an exception, being both symbolical, and anterior to Moses.

+ This seems irrelevant: for he is proving that the Christian religion is the same as that which subsisted from Adam to the institution of circumcision, in the one hundredth year of Abraham's life.

Fourteen years before, at least, as the age of Ishmael proves.
Christ. OBSERV. No. 381. 3 Z

established. Of such a man as this was it said, In him* shall all families of the earth, and all nations, be blessed.” And by deeds, which are far more convincing than words, is it now made apparent that the Christians are the only persons in the world among whom the practice of such piety as Abraham's has been preserved, so that there is no just reason why we should not maintain that the Christian life and worship are substantially the same as those of the saints in the Patriarchal age. We have therefore demonstrated that our religion is not new nor strange ; but, to speak the truth, is the aboriginal and only genuine worship.

End of Chap. iv. which finishes Eusebius's Preface.

It may be inquired, To whom does Eusebius, in the above preface, address his arguments !--Not to the Pagans; for he grounds them on the authority of Moses, which they reject;—not to the Jews; for he throughout depends on what they also reject, the great miraculous facts of the four Gospels : he quotes as authority John i. 1, 3, and Matt. xi. 27, which to a Jew is no authority ;-nor yet does he very distinctly address the Christians; for he makes greater use of the Old than the New Testament, from which he produces but one single passage as inspired Scripture ; namely, John i. 1, 3. Eusebius, therefore, appears defective as a logical defender of his religion, if one property of such a defender it be to have a clear view and constant recollection of an opponent's system. The three classes seem always present to his imagination, but confusedly, so that he passes from one to the other without any distinct limitation of his arguments. And yet, on the whole, this Preface is the work of an erudite and eloquent writer; and an argumentative one too, to those who believe both the Old and New Testaments; with this exception, that in proving the Divinity of the Logos he prefers the less clear arguments of the Old before those of the New Testament; and seems to forget, that, without the aid of the reflex light of the Gospel, these arguments of the Old Testament would be scarcely admissible.

R. +

* This, though spoken of Christ, the son of Abraham, seems to imply fairly (as Eusebius argues) that the Evangelic faith and piety dwelt in Abraham at that timeviz. before his circumcision.

+ As our correspondent in the above original translation makes no reference to former English versions of Eusebius's Ecclesiastical History, it may be as well that we should enumerate them, for the sake of any of our readers who may wish to look further into the writings of that historian, but who have not the means of access to them in the original text. There was a translation by Meredith Hanmer, of the Ecclesiastical Histories of Eusebius, Socrates, and Evagrius, printed in London in 1517, 1607, and 1636. A fifth (what date was the fourth?) edition was published, with the addition of Eusebius's Life of Constantine, in 1650. This was republished, with Valesius's Annotations, at Cambridge, in 1638 and 1692. Samuel Parker published, in 1703, the Ecclesiastical History “faithfully translated and abridged from the original," with an Account of the Life and Writings of the Author. This was reprinted in 1749; but Mr. J. B. Clarke, the learned continuator of his lamented father (Dr. A. Clarke)'s Concise View of Sacred Literature, to whom we are indebted for the above dates, says, that no person, who has access either to the original, or to a translation published in 1709, in the “ Chronological Index of the Popes and Emperors taken from Cabassutius,” can be satisfied with the work of Mr. Parker. À new translation of the Ecclesiastical History, with the Notes of Valesius, Lardner, Jortin, and others, Mr. Clarke considers would be a valuable present both to religious and literary students. We are happy in thus incidentally alluding to the elaborate and highly useful work of Dr. Clarke and his son, for the sake of recommending it in the very strongest terms to all readers of Ecclesiastical History. It is a most valuable dictionary of Sacred Literature, from the invention of alphabetical characters to the year of our Lord 1445, and must have cost incredible labour in compiling.

« VorigeDoorgaan »