Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

BIBLICAL CRITICISM,

[ocr errors]

Jan. 16, 1817. drach; as those that were mortal, On the sin unto deathspoken of ly might as properly have been called the Apostle John.

siras unto deaih."
1 John v. 16, 17.

Dr. Benson says,
F
IF

any man see his brother sin "La sin not unto death could

sin, which is not unto death, not be known, any other way, than he shall ask, and he shall give him by a divinc impulse, or immediate life for them that sin not unto death. revelation. For, without that, it was: There is a sin unto death : I do not say impossible to know certainly that that he shall pray for it

. All un- they should be able, by praying, righteousness is sin : and there is a miraculously to cure their Christian sin not unto death."

brother of his malady." Apd, furI shall examine, severally, three ther, interpretations of this passage; and “When any Christian thus knew shall then propose one which I con- that his Christian brother had sinned sider as less fairly liable to objection. a sin not unto death, he was to pray

1. The first of those which are now for his recovery; and immediately, to be canvassed, is stated at large by God would grant him life and perfect Dr. Benson, who paraphrases the health unto that offending, but sinverses in the following manner: cerely penitent, Christian. But, with

“- if a Christian, by an impulse out such a prophetic impulse, they of the spirit, perceives that any Christ. were, by no means, to pray for him, ian brother has sinned such a 'sin as to in order to cure him by miraele." draw down upon bimself a disease, Again, (and here I agree with this which is not to end in death ; but to author): be miraculously cured by him : then The sin unto death was not one let him pray to God; and God, in particular crime; hut any bad habit, answer to his prayer, will grant life or any act of great wickedness.” and perfect health, unto such Christi- My objections to Dr. Benson's exans as have sinned a sin which is not position, are that it receives no coununto death. There is a sin, which tenance from the apostle's subject and draws down a disease upon Christians, context; that it crcates difficulties, that is to end in death. I do not say instead of removing them; that it as that he, who has the power of work sumes a fact the existence of which ing miracles, shall pray for that requires proof; and that far from because, in such a case, God would being sanctioned, it is even opposed. , not hear his prayer ; nor miraculously by Scriptural phraseology. cure his Christian brother, at his re- In the two preceding verses, John quest."

had spoken generally of the readiness In a dissertation on the passage, of God to grant the petitions offered this writer observes that as God had by Christians in conformity with his treated his ancient people, the Israel will

. It should be remembered, too, iles, in a most remarkable and dis- that not a word is said, in any foriner ringuishing manner, under the law, or subsequent part of the treatise, so did he treat the Christians, the respecting bodily diseases. The grand, subjects of the Messiah's kingdom, at topic of the writer is purity of faith the first erecting this spiritual king- both speculative and practical in the dom; punishing some of the more gospel! All expositors adınit that the irregular, and (perhaps) otherwise eighteenth verse has this reference. incorrigible offenders, with some re- Why then should it be imagined that, markable disorders, or even with in the passage before us, ihere is a death itself."

A sin," he sudden transition to another and rery adds, “which brought on a disease, different theme? that ended in death, was called a sin There is a considerablc opposition, unto death. And those crimes among to the apostle's language in Dr. Bene che Jews, which brought on diseases, son's paraphrase and reasoning: "if a that were afterwards cured, might man," says John,“ see (&r) his have been properly called sins not unto brother sin a sio which is not unto

to

death, he shall ask, &c. Now to see

present

the

prayer was so essentially The commission of ihis sin, is to know., connected with "an impulse of the it personally, and on the evidence of spirit", that the petitioner could not seiisc. . But the learned coinmentator otherwise be satisfied of the propriety atlises a new and inadmissible signifi- or success of his request, both the carion to this word, spe. For le cominand and the promise must have glosses the clause thus :: if a. Christ- been superfluous. iant, dy un impulse of the spirit, pera: It is conceded that “ Almighty ceives ihat any Christian brother has God did sometimes see proper to singed such a sin, &c.". No doubt, punishı" offenders among the first there is a reading which, could it Christians“ in a very remarkablebe established, might give plausibility manner, by sending upon them some to this interpretation : the word how- bodily disorder; and, in the case of ever to wbich I allude, is not even great crimes, even death itself." In noticed by Dr. Benson, and, in 1 Cor. xi. 29, 30, and in other passages truth, is undeserving of regard. It of the New Testament we have ex-' reinains therefore, for those who adopt amples of the fact. To deliver over the opinion of this critic to shew by. unlo Satan an unworthy member of what process the verb employed in the the church (1 Tim. i. 20), was simply text can be made to denote an impulse to excommunicate him ; to cast him of the spirit. The excellent writer, ont of the family of Christ into his own contrary to his practice, has contented place, the world. As to the prayer of himself here with an assumption. It faith spoken of in James v. 14, 15, is an assumption, too, by which we there is not the least evidence that the are far from being aided in discovering malady to be cured by it was the imnie-the import of the terms a sin not uitto diate effect and punishment of sin': for death and a sin unto death. If we lake the words of the apostle concerning the this author as our guide, a fresh per- diseased person are, “If he have conplexity occurs to us, in the inidsi of mitted sins, they shall be forgiven him." our investigation. We are desirous of Dr. Benson takes for granted that exploring the respective senses of the “a sin which brought on a disease phrases which I have just transcribed: ending in death was called a sin unio and yet our attention must be diverted death." But he has not prodaced a to an unusual and arbitrary comment, single authority in behalf of this expos on a verb of very familiar occurrence! sition. I am aware of it's being a Whether a sin not unto death, could be current opinion that the healing of known, or not be known, any other lodily disorders and the forgiveness of way than by a Divine impulse, or sins are frequently represented in the immediate revelation, is an inquiry New Testament as one and the same the issue of which depends on our It is an opinion in which I canpreviously ascertaining the nature of not acquiesce. A supposed illustration ihat sin. However, besides the ex- and proof of it, have been found in treme difficulty, if I may not call it Matt. ix. 5, 6. On curing " the sick the impossibiling, of reconciling Dr. of the palsy,” our Lord said to him, Benson's gloss on the terın see with Take courage, son; thy sins are the principles of sound criticism, his forgiven thee." But why should we hypothesis renders it necessary for us imagine that the language of Jesus to suppose that the prayers of which was, ænigmatical? Had he not litethe apostle speaks were not to be rally a delegated power on earth 10 offered without a prophetic in- forgive sins?" Did not he even compulse.” Dues John, lei me ask, thus muicate this power to his apostles? qualify, and resirici, his assurance? “ Whosesoever sins ye remit, ihey are No: he simply says," If any, man renyitted unto them; and whosesosee his brother sin á sin which is not ever sins ye retain, they are retained," un to death, he shall ask, and shall Joha xx. 23. This text must govern obtain life for him,”.. This passage our interpretation of other passages contains at once a command and a containing the same pbraseology: promise. Here the future tense is. Forbearing to inquire, how far this manifestly equivalent with the im- : power of forgiving sins extended, ir, perative mood. But if the obligation - plainly, was not synonymous with the

power of healing diseases; which pre• E18r. Griesbach, in loc. rogalive had already been conferred on

act.

VOI. XII.

P

our

of an

error

corre

Lord's immediate attendants, If the object of the apostle was Matt. x. 8. The correct paraphrase simply " to recommend prayer for the therefore of the words, “thy sins are sick, &c." it seems reasonable to be. forgiven thee," is, Perceiving that lieve that he would have expressed thou art qualified for becoming a himself in the phraseology of James member of my spiritual kingdom, ! on the saine topic, and on a similar assure thee of the pardon of thy of- occasion. V. 15, &c. Concerning the fences, on repentance: and, in testi- passages to which the Editors, &c. reimony of my being authorized to grant fer their readers, it is obvious to remark it, I'work a miracle of healing on thy that not one of them is pertinent to body.' Jesus, agreeably to his charac- the end for which they are produced ; ter and practice, first asserts a claim, at furthest, they evince no identity of and then makes it good by an act language on the subjects of disease and which no man could have perfornied sin, but inerely indicate the existence had not God been with him.

erroneous opinion respecting It is remarkable that in John xi. 4, thein ainong the Jews; an we have a phrase which, it may fairly · which our Lord discountenanced, inbe conceived, the apostle would have stead of adopting: The irrelevancy of used had he been speaking here of a Matt. ix. 1–3 to the hypothesis on bodily disease: “when Jesus heard which we are animadverting, I have [that Lazarus was sick], he said, This pointed out. Whether John ix. 34, SICKNESS is not unlo death." The mean any thing more than that the beloved disciple, we perceive, employs individual addressed was born of sinvery different language, and treats of a ful parents, and in a degraded rank, is SIN not unto death. Am not I en. at best doubtful : the just explanation titled to conclude that the difference of it, appears to be afforded by Ps. of expression arises from a li. 5, compared with John vii. 49. sponding difference of subject ? Even as to the remaining text, John

II. On these grounds I dissent from ix. 2; though the question of ihe disa Dr. Benson's explanation of the sin ciples be framed on an erroneous tenet not unto death, &c. From that which of “ the Jewish philosophy," "it rather is proposed by the editors of the “Im- proves that they assumed a connection proved Version, &c." I must likewise between sin and certain states of the withhold my humble suffrage. human body than that their current

“ Sin and disease," they observe in phraseology was founded on an imatheir note, “ were considered as so gined inseparable relation between diinseparably connected, according to the sease and sin : they speak of the man Jewish philosophy, that, perhaps, the before them as being destitute of one apostle might mean nothing more by of the senses, not as afflicted with the advice which be here gives, than sickness. I think, with deference, to recommend prayer for the sick that the Editors, Sc. have laid down when the disease was curable, and to too general a proposition. That the dissuade from unbecoming importu. Jews admitted an universally insepanity where the malady was evidently rable connection between sin and diincurable, and fatal. "See John ix. 2. sease, and that their usual language to 34. Matt. ix. 148. See Dr. Priestley denote the want of sight or of health in loc."

was in conformity with this opinionThis interpretation is so far distinct these points are not yet established. from Dr. Benson's that it does not Both positions must be supported by proceed on the hypothesis of a super- satisfactory evidence before the inter. natural infliction of disease being the pretation here offered by the Editors, case treated of by John: in other re- &c. is acknowledged as correct. spects the two expositions are nearly III. J. G. Rosenmüller would deidentical, and lie open to the same ob- tach this passage from the rest of the jections. Justice indeed to the Editors, chapter: and he takes the sin unto &*c. requires me to observe that they death to be “a capital offence against propose their explanation as conjec- the laws of society:" Mihi auaptia tural, and do little more than repeat tocos baratov vidctur esse crimen capithe sentiment of Dr, Priestley ; which tale quodvis. he has not supported, however, by any commiserit, non vult apostolus interces

Pro eo, qui tale crimen reasoning or-quotation..

şiones fieri apud magistratus, quilus jus

I pray for

ex

vilæ el necis compeiebat ; ne paguni in the verbs Cite:v and sowiaw, let him suspicionem adducerentut, talia crimina cousider that ia John svii. 9, the latapud Christianos parvi fieri. According ter is used, as in numerous other pasto this commentator, John dissuades sages, for prayer to God: 7" To EPA his Christian brethren from inter- avlov sowiw, %. T. À. ceding with the magistrate in behalf of thein, &c.” Now in the fourteenth any individual of their number who and fifteenth verses of the fifth chapter has committed a crime of so high a of the first of John's Epistles, prayer to degree: and the apostle's motive in God is confessedly spoken of: how suggesting the caution is to prevent perfectly incongruous therefore is the the heathens from supposing that the interpretation which, in ver. 16, asdisciples of Jesus deemed lightly of signs to the words aloe and epwsuch' offences. On the same prin

Ty,on the sense of intercession with the ciple, Rosenmüller, of course,

civil magistrate. This single objection plains the sin not unto deathvidetur

“Si quis

would seem decisive against Rosenesse levior culpa transgressione legis alicu

müller's exposition. jus civilis contractu, quan, a Christiano admissam facile ita exaggerare poterant be successful where so accurate a critic

IV. Though I can scarcely hope to magistratus pagani, ut supplicii reum

has failed, I am not discouraged howpronuntiarent cum, qui mitiori pana

ever from making the attempt: in his affectus dimitti potuisset. Pro cjusmodi own language, and with the diffidence peccatore deprecari poterat frater Christ

which becomes me, I say, ianus, ut vita ei donaretur. If a pro- rectius quid docuerit

, ego ei libenter fessor of the gospel were convicted of a crime far less heinous than any of truth, by inducing more diligent and

adstipulabor :" my object is to elicit the class just adverted to, for him his skilful labourers ihan myself in the fellow-believers might petition the field of sacred criticism ió favour me judge, and implore that life the for- with their assistance. feiture of which might too easily be

The sin unto death I take to be decreed by the prejudices, suspicions apostacy from the Christian doctrine, such and jealousies of a heathen magis- apostacy as the writer to the Hebrews trate.

describes in vi. 4, &c.; consequently, This is very ingenious, but, like the the sin not unto death is guilt of an preceding interpretations, has no countenance from the apostle's context. understand, in both cases, the second.

inferior degree and kind. By deach I Rosenmüller acknowledges indeed that death, or the future punishment which the basis of the exposition is hypothe- awaits impenitence. tical : hæc mea est CONJECTURA. In

In the former part of this interpreproof of it's having no solidity, let us

tation I have the pleasure of finding compare together the fourteenth, the myself confirmed by the opinion of fifteenth and the sixteentjı verses.

Archbishop Newcome (note in loc.), 14.

_" this is the confidence that who thus paraphrases the words a sin we have in him [in God. See Ben. unto death aggravated apostacy, blasson in loc. and 1 John iii. 21.), that phemy against the holy spirit.

For if we ask [altWuE9c] any thing ac what remains of my exposition I have cording to his will he heareth us.

not, it is true, the advantage of the 15. And if we know that he hear us whatsoever we ask ay aitwaha), considers that, in Scriptural phrase

same great authority. Yet whoever we know that we have the petitions ology, death often signifies condemna [ra Oito Mata] that we desired (or tion to severe and final punishment, as in asked, a 77mxQpey] of him. 16. If John v. 24, 1 John iii. 14, may withany man see his brother sin a sin out difficulty receive it under this sense which is not unto death, he shall ask in the verses before us. The whole (a.1rcai]; and he [God] shall give passage will then appear to be' conhim life for them that sin not unto sistent with itself, with the apostle's death. There is a sin unto death : subject and style, and with the spirit I do not say that he shall pray and the truths of the Christian revela[Eputyon) for it."

tion.

N. If any person be inclined to place a stress on a supposed difference between

It was

SIR,

Feb. Oth, 1817. 7. He shall not dwell in ing house A

WISH having been expressed in Who practiseth deceit.

the last Number of the Repnsi He who speaketh falschood, tory (p. 43), by the Reviewer of Dr. Shall not continue in my presence. Horsley's posthumous work, that some 8. Every morning will I destroy of your readers would communicate a All the wicked of the land; translation of the 101st Psalm, I beg That I may cut off from the city of leare to trouble you with the following, Jehovah which lays claim to your attention only All the workers of iniquity. in case no oiher should be offered. PAMPHILUS.

Ver. 1. “Of piety and justice, &c.". PSALM CI.

i.e. “ I will declare my resolution of This Psalm is generally ascribed to conducting myself in my kingdom David, and there is no reason to doubt with a constant regard to the will of his being the writer of it.

God and the virtue of my subjects, most probably composed soon after the especially of those about my court;" tribes of Israel had submitted to him, or, “I will now solennly declare how and he was universally acknowledged I mean to act as king towards the virking. He speaks in the concluding tuous and the wicked, shewing [on] verse of the city of Jehovah, or Jeru- favour to the one, and awarding punishsalem ; but it appears from 2 Sam. v. ment [opon] to the other. that he did not gain possession of that

2. to this verse the Reviewer parcity till all the tribes had joined in al- ticularly directs the attention of the legiance to him. In this Psalm he translator; and it is indeed the only solemnly professes his determination passage in the Psalm that presents any to govern his family with strictness and serious difficulty. In the authorized integrity; to suffer no evil-minded per- English version it is rendered thus : sons in his court; to employ and

pro

I will behave myself wisely in a perfect tect the pious and the good; and to way.

O when wilt thou come unto me! use his high authority in extirpating I will walk within my house with a perall the impious and the wicked. fect heart." And so, with only some

slight variations, it is rendered in all A Psalm of David.

the ancient and most of the modern 1. Of piety and of justice will I sing; versions. The variations chiefly reTo thee, O Jehovah, I will address spect the sense of suyun in the first my psalm.

clause, and the connexion and form of 2. I will instruct in the path of integrity the second: some considering Timex The men whom thou shalt bring to as transitive, others intransitive; some

connecting the second clause with the I will walk with a perfect heart first, while others counect it with the In the midst of my house.

third; some rendering it interrogatively, 3. I will not place before mine eyes a others without the interrogation. Thus lawless deed;

the Targumist, followed by some ComTransgressors I will hate,

mentators (vide Pol. Synops.), renders They shall not adhere to me. the first and second clauses" I will 4. The perverse of heart shall depart cause thee to understand a perfect way,

when thou shalt come to me :" considering A wicked person I will not acknow- it as addressed by Jehovah to the king. ledge.

Mudge takes the verb transitively, but 5. Him that secretly slandereth his refers it to David, thus : I will give

neighbour I will destroy; instruction on the way of integrity; when Him that hath a proud look and an will it come unto me?" that is, as he ambitious heart I will not en. observes in a note,

“ I will compose a dure.

maschil to teach the true conduct of 6. Mine

eyes
shall be

upon

the faithful life: oh, how long will it be ere I of the land,

have the pleasure of enjoying it?" The That they may dwell with me. He who walketh in the path of in- by Thon, “ I will walk." Rosentegrity,

müller connects the middle with the He shall minister to me.

last clause, thus, “ Quando ad me ve

me.

from me;

אשכילה Syriac is singular in rendering

« ZurückWeiter »