« VorigeDoorgaan »
ascertain where particular prophecies of it is adopted by Rammolun Roy, begin and end, and even at what pre- the celebrated Hindoo Reformer, wlió cise time they were written. This is has lately embraced Christian Unitahappily the case with the prophecy rianism, and written with uncommon now before us. It begins at the 1st ability and learning in its defence ; verse of the 7th chapter, and ends, and Grotius, although he refers it in according to Lowth, at the 7th verse a secondary sense to Jesus Christ, of the 9th, or according to Dr. John admits that its primary application is Taylor, at the 4th verse of the 10th to Hezekiah. To this application it is chapter. At all events, it embraces objected by Allix that Hezekiah was the passage which forms the subject nine years of age when the prophecy of the present paper.
was uttered by Isaiah ; and this obThis prophecy is introduced by a jection is repeated by Lowth, who declaration that it was delivered in the says that Hezekiah “ was certainly reign of Abaz (vii. 1), and by com- born nine or ten years before the paring this declaration with 2 Kings delivery of this prophecy,” although xvi., we find that it must have been he admits, in effect, that, if this diffivery nearly at the commencement of culty could be obviated, the prophecy his reign; probably in the year 742 might be applied to him, for he says, B. C. The child whose birth is pre- “No one of that age answered to dicted is generally supposed to have this character, except Hezekiah ;” been Jesus Christ. “I have no doubt meaning, of course, that Hezekiah myself,” says Mr. Christie, in bis able did answer to it, and that there would Discourses on the Divine Unity, (3rd be no difficulty in applying to him ed. p. 125,) “ that this prophecy re- the prophetical titles contained in it, spects the Messiah,” meaning of if any means could be suggested of course Jesus, whom he regards as obviating the chronological difficulty the Messiah ; " and there is no diffi- already stated. If then we can shew culty,” he adds, “ in explaining it that Hezekiah was not born at the upon Unitarian principles.''
principles." Mr. time when the prophecy was delivered, Lindsey adopts the same interpreta- and that his birth took place exactly tion. (Examination of Robinson's ten years later than the period usually Plea for the Divinity of Christ, pp. assigned for it, this objection will 37, 39.) Dr. Carpenter does the instantly fall to the ground. saine, both in the Appendix to his It is well known that the dates in Unitarianism the Doctrine of the Gos- the books of Kings and Chronicles pel, and in his Sermon delivered at are often very confused and contraBristol on Christmas - Day 1816, in dictory; and it is evident that they which he makes it his object to shew have in many instances undergone very that the titles contained in this pas- material alterations. The present is sage are “strictly applicable to Jesus clearly a case of this nature. We are Christ, and perfectly consistent with told, (2 Kings xvi. 2,) that Ahaz was the absolute Unity and unrivalled Su- twenty years old when he began to premacy of Jehovah." In short, Uni- reign, and that he reigned sixteen tarian writers have taken it for granted, years, from which it is evident that almost without a single exception, he ceased to reign at the age of thirtythat this prophecy relates to Jesus six. We are likewise informed, (2 Christ; and in their attempts to prove Kings xviii. 2,) that his son Hezekiah that, with this view of it, the titles succeeded him at the age of twentyin question contain nothing deroga. five. Consequently, deducting these tory to the Unity and Supremacy of twenty-five years from thirty-six, the God, many of them have been emi- age of Ahaz when he ceased to reign, nently successful. But when they we have ELEVEN remaining, which, bave gone on to shew that these titles according to the received Hebrew text, are particularly descriptive of Jesus must have been the age of Ahaz at Christ, there has always appeared to the birth of his son Hezekiah. The me a lamentable falling off in he attempts made by Bochart, Capellus strength of the argument.
and others, to account for this extraSoine writers, both Jewish and ordinary birth, reflect great credit upon Christian, have applied this prophecy their ingenuity, but fail to produce to King Hezekiah. This application any thing like a rational conviction
that the numbers above-specified are and so on. But when they come to correct. There seems indeed, to be 15, they depart from their usual meonly one effectual method of clearing thod of notation, and substitute o up the difficulty, and that is, by sup- and 1, (9 and 6,) in the place of posing a mistake on the part of some and 17, (10 and 5,) which latter comcarly Jewish transcriber, which has bination they most cautiously avoid, affected all the later copies.
because it forms part of the sacred Ahaz began to reign when he was and ineffable name 71,7', JEHOVAH. tirenty years of age, or, (according to At what precise period this the Chronological Table of the Kings tion for the letters composing the of Judah and Israel, published by Dr. name of Jehovai began to affect the John Taylor in his Scheme of. Scrip- notation of the Jews, I have no means ture Divinity,) B.C. 742, which was of decidedly ascertaining; but it apabout the time that Isaiah's prophecy pears to me highly probable that it was delivered. From the same table commenced about the time of the it appears that the captivity of Israel Babylonish Captivity. Michaelis, inby Tiglath Pileser took place in the deed, says, that
iš the Jews never second year of Ahaz, B. C. 740. But noted the number 15 by 17, though in Isaiah vii. 16, we are told that Jod is 10 and He is 5.” (Introducduring the infancy of the child whose tion to the New Testament translated birth was predicted, or before he by Marsh, Vol. III. Pt. I. p. 173.) would know to refuse the evil and A transcriber, then, might easily mischoose the good, Retzin and Pekah take the letters 10, which correspond would cease to be kings over Syria with our 15, for 777, the letters used and Israel. This, then, must have to denote 25; and thus the error may been in the year 740 B. C., at which have been extended and perpetuated, time the child was probably about a
so as to affect all the manuscripts year old, so that he must have been and versions now in existence. That born B. c. 741, which corresponds with the second year of the reign of
* When this superstitious fear of wriAbaz. But this will make Ahaztuen. ting or pronouncing the word Jehovah iy-one instead of eleven at the time of began is uncertain. It appears, however, Hezekiah's birth; and here we dise from the following passage in Josephus's cover the key to the whole difficulty. Sect. 4,) to have been at least as early
Jercish Antiquilies, (Bk. II. chap. xii. If, then, we say that Hezekiah began as his time. “God declared to Moses to reign when he was fifteen instead his holy naine, which had never been of twenty-five, by adding this fifieen discorered to nien before, and concerning to twenty-one, the supposed age of which it is not lawful for me to say any Abaz at the time of Hezekiah's birth, thing further.” Whiston thinks that this we shall obtain thirty-six, the exact concealment of the name Jenovan was age of Ahaz when the throne became practised by the Pharisees in the time of vacant by his death. The whole diffi. Josephus, and that he learnt it from culty, therefore, will be resolved by them. "Certuin est,” says Walton, (Prosupposing that, owing to a mistake leg., P: 16,) “ apud Judæos Jonge ante of some transcriber in 2 Kings xviii. Christi tempora (ante tempora 70 Inter
pretum) nominis hujus pronunciationem 2, trrenty-five has been substituted sub magna pæna interdictam fuisse omfor fifteen. That this mistake is likely nibus, nisi solis Sacerdotibus, cum in to have happened, will appear evident teinplo populum solenniter benedicerent; from the following considerations. unde post templi eversionem nemini om.
The Jews from a very early period nino licitum fuit illud effari, et sic brevi have been accustomed to express num- vera pronunciatio penitus periit." bers by the letters of the Alphabet,
of The mistake may be still more easily as we now do by figures. For ina accounted for, if we suppose it to have stance : x signifies 1, 22, 23, 74, taken place at a time when 15 was ex775, 76, 77, 78, 79, and · 10. Tó pressed by '. In this case we have express the numbers between 10 and only to change a single letter and substi.
tute Yod for Kaph; an alteration which 20, they put ', (10,) and add to it is very allowable when it is considered the letter necessary to make up the that the letters of the Hebrew Alphabet number required. Thus, reading the were formerly so rude, that many, which letters backwards according to the are now totally dissimilar, bore the closJewish fashion, x' signifies 11, 2° 12, est resemblance to each other,
a mistako like this has occurred in least of it, requires some pause. But the Hebrew Text before the Greek by changing a figure, and substituting Version was made, will appear highly 15 for 25, the difficulty vanishes in probable to any one who will take the a moment, and all the dates correstrouble of comparing the numbers pond with the greatest degree of exand dates in parallel passages of the actness. Books of Kings and Chronicles. Many It was my first intention to have similar mistakes are known to exist. followed up these remarks by a criThe following are selected froin a tical examination of the passage ; but great variety of instances now before want of room compels me to defer. me, only because they appeared best the execution of this design till soine, adapted for the purpose of illustra- future opportunity. tion.
R. WALLACE. In 2 Kings viii. 26, Ahaziah is said to have been twenty-two years of Mall. xxviii. 19, inconsistent with, age when he began to reign; but in
Unitarianism. 2 Chron. xxii. 2, he is said to have
Dicere verum, been forty-two, making no less a dif- Quid vetat?
Hor. ference than twenty years. Walton, Sir, (Prolegom. p. 36) puts this contra- MAY be voted a bore : but unless diction among the quædam atropa:
interdicted by yourself, I shall not and De Dieu says-Malim rotunde cease to press, from time to tiine, fateri, inexplicabilem hanc nobis esse upon the reluctant attention of your, difficultatem. Twenty-two is no doubt readers, a cardinal point, (as it als the genuine reading, for Joram the ways appears to my mind,) in our, father of Ahaziah died at the age of controversy with Trinitarians, viz. the forty, (2 Kings viii. 17,) and was im- authenticity or non-authenticity of mediately succeeded by his son. (Ver. the baptismal text. That upon the 24.) If we take forty-two as the age Unitarian bypothesis, the ceremony of Ahaziah when he began to reign, of the initiation into the religion of we shall be reduced to the necessity Christ, modo et formâ of the xxviiith of admitting that the son was born Matt. was a very probable anticipa. before the father ; and if we receive tion, the veriest" bigot to his creed both readings as true, we shall be will scarcely affirm. Or, might I not, compelled to have recourse to one or rather say, let any advocate for the other of those ingenious hypotheses strict Unity of God in the person of which have been framed to prove the Father only, place himself in ima, that a person might be forty-two and gination at the side of " the Author twenty-two years of age at the same and Finisher of our faith," when he time.
was about to give his final commission Again, in 2 Kings xxiv. 8, Jehoia- to his disciples to preach his religion chin is said to have been eighteen to the world, and is there that ina years old when he began to reign; struction that would at the moment but in 2 Chron. xxxvi. 9, he is said have surprised him more, than the to have been eight 'only, which makes one which is reported to have fallen a difference of exactly ten years. Now just then from his lips, to go and it is impossible that both these num- baptize the nations in the name of bers can be correct. Either the ten the Father, and of the Son, and of years must have been added in the the Holy Spirit? In consistency, inone case, or subtracted in the other, deed, with the doctrine which he beThe probability is that the original lieves the Son of God to have uniforin. reading was eighteen, and accordingly ly taught, he well explains the con, in the Codex Alexandrinus this read- ception to mean no more than what ing is found under both places. he finds previously revealed. But that
Now the difficulty is precisely the he should be obliged to have recourse same in the case before us. Ten years (forgive me, my brethren!) to so far, make all the difference; and if we fetched an explanation ! Standing as adopt the reading of 2 Kings xviii. 2, an isolated behest, what other sense we shall be compelled to admit that could it upon a first impression conAbaz begot Hezekiala at the age of vey, than that of an hierarchy of some ten, an admission which, to say the sort or other in heaven? And can we wonder at any interpretation being The next thing you will say, is, that put upon it, short of Athanasianism you were baptized to me, (or in my itself, which in assuming the equality iramė,) and set me up as the leader of the enumerated Three, boldly and of your particular religious denomiroundly gives the lie to the whole nation. Verily, under the unexpected doctrine of Christ and of his apostles ? and so-much-to-be-deprecated circumFor one, I am forward to confess, stance of your late preferences, I that if I believed in the authenticity thank my God that I scarcely so much of the text, I should blush to find as committed myself by the mere act myself in spite of it an Unitarian. An of baptism ; lest you mistake the mere Athanasian, indeed, I could not be, instrument of that rite for its object. without forfeiting, in my own opinion, Again : “ Know ye not, that as many every pretension to the title of Chris- of you as were baptized into Jesus tian. But, baptized at the immediate Christ, were baptized into his death ?" fiat of my Saviour, not simply and Your immersion in water is an apt solely in that Saviour's name, but in emblem of your plunging into the the name of the Father, and in the grave, of being buried with him. The name of the Son, and in the name same metaphor occurs again and again of the Holy Spirit, admitted into the on the mention of the ceremony. Christian church by a ceremony in hæc That mention is never but associated verba instituted, at parting, by the in the apostle's mind with the name second of these three names, -80 de- of the single party. “As many of you nominated, so placed, could'I believe as have been baptized into Christ, myself a member of that church, have put on Christ.”. Your baptism without becoming, under some modi- is the seal of your faith in him, of fication of the strange term, a Trini. your future devotion to him, of your tarian? I confess honestly I could identity as it were with him. There not. Anomaly, be thou 'my polaris but one baptism, as there is but star, I should exclaim, and put to sea one faith, one Lord. * Instances upon the trackless ocean of conjec- might be multiplied, but they would ture, almost careless upon what theo be supernumerary. But what now logical Scylla or Charybdis I might becomes of all this peculiarity and be wrecked. For, to be baptized in exclusiveness of baptisin, if the form the name of any one, what is it but, of it embrace not one only, but three in other words, to be baptized unto several names ? Could any honest him? By a formal act, I recognize man of any creed lay his hand to his and avow my relation to him for the heart, and affirm that such a form first time in some way or other. That (and a form it is upon the face of it) such, at least, was the import of the as that prescribed in the disputed text, phrase, as used by the historian, such would or could suggest upon every the purpose and effect of the rite as review no other recollections than administered by the disciples imme- those of the solitary name of Christ, diately after its institution, is evident of our single relation to him, of the from the Epistles of St. Paul com. circumstance of his death, and all its pared with the Acts of the Apostles. associated ideas? I venture to say Were ye baptized in the name of roundly and at once, absolutely imPaul ? remonstrates with pious won- possible. der and indignation the apostle to his A very ingenious discourse preached would-be-sectarian converts. What before the University of Oxford, May original allegiance do you owe to me? 31, 1818, has this remarkable paso Was I crucified for you? Is it I that died for your sins ? "Am I he who is that no precise form of words was enable to save to the uttermost those joined by Christ, but that the injunction who come unto God through him ?
was only generally to him or in his name, Can I save from the wrath-to come? (i. e.) his religion. No, there is no other name given * I do not adduce the phrase of being under heaven whereby we may be baptized ÚT EP vekpwv, though I entertain saved but his, whose ye are by bap- myself little doubt of the reasoning here tism, even Jesus Christ the Lord. being parallel with the reasoning in ver.
16 ; referring in both to Christ as being • It seems probable from this remark, one of the quondam dead. VOL. XIX.
sage in it: “ The mystery of the name of the Lord, which they surely
Clapton, what they would and must have done
January 4, 1824.
OU of our own reformers to “ The peace, bled with the letter mentioned of God which passeth all understand- in the last page of Vol. XVIII., and ing," &c.
which you have communicated to me As it is my design in the present as the Editor of Dr. Priestley's Works. essay rather to invite than attempt "An Original Subscriber," if really a discussion, I shall conclude it with a subscriber, would more readily have collateral remark or two. The whole gained the information he requires, and strength of the argument opposed to might have been relieved from the burthat opinion which many Unitarians then of his subscription, had he written in common with myself, I apprehend, immediately to me. It is, indeed, diffientertain, (I argue from their sup- cult not to suppose that he preferred, posing it optional to baptize in the under the safeguard of an anonymous