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these various complimentary fictions. The substitution of a plain mode of expression, in the place of one so nearly universal, has, indeed, the effect of rendering us singular; and the singularity which is thus occasioned, and which sometimes entails upon us ridicule and contempt, is often in no slight degree mortifying to the natural inclinations, especially to those of the young and tender mind. Nevertheless, we are persuaded that this is one of the particulars of conduct, in which, however trifling the subject may appear to some persons, a duty is laid upon us to deny ourselves, patiently to endure the cross, and faithfully to bear our testimony against the customs prevalent in the world at large. It is plain, according to our view of the subject, that the common mode of speech, from which we have thus been led to abstain, is at variance with certain acknowledged principles in the divine law. Such a phraseology may very fairly be deemed objectionable; first, because it is intended to flatter the pride of man; and secondly, because it is inconsistent with truth.


I. It was one of the charges which our Saviour adduced against the unbelieving Jews, that they received honour "one of another," and sought not "the honour that cometh from God only;" and truly, a similar character is still very generally prevalent among While they neglect to strive after that true "glory" which is the end of a "patient continuance in well doing ;"2 there is nothing on the pursuit of which they are more generally intent than the honour of the world-the honour which is bestowed by man. To be exalted among our fellow-creatures, to receive the tribute of their homage and the incense of their flattery, to be the objects of their eulogy and polite submission -are circumstances perfectly adapted to the pride of our own hearts, and grateful, beyond almost any other worldly advantages, to the natural disposition of the human mind. Here it may be observed, that the eager desire to be thus exalted, admired and commended, is closely and almost inseparably connected (though, perhaps, in a somewhat hidden manner) with a spirit of undue fear and subserviency toward our fellow-men. And this, probably, is the reason why those persons who are themselves the most desirous of receiving adulation, are often the most ready to bestow it. There appears to exist, among the children of this Rom. ii. 7.

1 John v. 44.

evil world, a sort of understood convention, that they shall praise and be praised, shall flatter and be flattered.

Among the various mears which mankind have invented, in order to effect this object, and to gratify their own antichristian disposition to adulation on the one hand, and to pride on the other, is evidently to be numbered the complimentary mode of speech to which we have now been adverting. We read that the worldly-minded Pharisees, who loved the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, loved also the "greetings in the markets' and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi." Since, therefore, the use of the expressions in question proceeds from a corrupt source, and is plainly intended to foster the vain desires of the carnal mind, it may reasonably be concluded that a total abstinence from them is not only commendable and desirable, but necessary to a complete conformity with the divine law.


It is needless, on the present occasion, to cite the numerous passages of Scripture, and more especially of the New Testament, which forbid the exaltation of the creature, and enjoin humility and self-abasement. One passage alone will suffice, in which our Lord insists on this branch of the divine law in immediate connexion, as it appears, with the subject of the present section. When charging the Pharisees with pride, and with their love of being called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi, he adds the following emphatic injunction, addressed to his own followers: But be not ye called Rabbi, for one is your master, even Christ, and all ye are brethren. And call no man your father upon the earth (namely, as a complimentary title ;) for one is your Father, which is in heaven. Neither be ye called masters; for one is your Master, even Christ. But he that is greatest among you, shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself, shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself, shall be exalted." This instructive passage of Scripture may be regarded in two points of view. We may allow, in the first place, that it indirectly inculcates the general doctrine, that, in matters of religion, Christians are not to depend upon the teaching and authority of their fellow-men, but rather upon those of the Father and of Christ. They must, in this respect, be careful to set up neither themselves nor others. They must ever remember that they have all cause for 1 Matt. xxiii. 6, 7. Matt. xxiii. 8-12.

deep humiliation; that they are all brethren; that one is their Father, even God; that one is their Master, even Christ. And, secondly, the use of merely formal and complimentary titles, as one of the means by which men are accustomed to exalt themselves and others—a means which had been so eagerly adopted by the Scribes and Pharisees—is, in this passage, forbidden to the followers of Christ. The complimentary titles here mentioned by our Saviour, viz. Rabbi, Father, and Mas er, were, at that period, of very recent origin. In the better times of Israelitish history, as some of the Jews themselves confess, no such corruption of speech was known; for the patriarchs, the prophets, and even the earliest doctors of the Rabbinical schools, were called and addressed by their simple names. But, as the Jews gradually departed from their ancient simplicity, and shortly before the coming of our Saviour, their leading men of learning and authority claimed the distinction of these appellations; and if, perchance, any of their disciples addressed them according to that simple method which was usual in better times, it was even pretended that such persons offended against the majesty of heaven. In the discourse of which the passage before us forms a part, our Lord sharply reproves the Scribes and Pharisees on account of their attachment to so absurd and ungodly a practice-an attachment which he mentions as one among many fruits of their vanity, pride, and presumption; and then, turning 1ound to his own disciples, he distinctly forbids them to assume for themselves, or to apply to others, the complimentary titles in question: showing that the formal use of such expressions is at variance with the true condition of those persons who are children and disciples of one Lord, and whose duty and privilege it is to humble themselves before God, and

1 The Greek words ῥαββί or διδάσκαλος, πατὴρ, and καθηγήτης, as Lightfoot has observed, represent respectively the Hebrew terms, 2 (honourable person,) (father,) and (master ;) expressions which appear to have been used, at the Christian era, in the same formal and complimentary manner, as are the terms, Sir, my Lord, your Grace, &c. in the present day. In order to recommend those titles, one of the Talmudic authors pretends that king Jehosaphat made much point of employing them in addressing any scribe. "Whenever Jehosaphat," says this author, saw a disciple of the wise men, he rose from his throne, embraced him, kissed him, and thus addressed him, Father, Father; Rabbi, Rabbi; Master, Master :" Babyl. Maccoth. fol. xxiv. 1; Lightfoot.


to serve one another for his sake.' It may, indeed, be observed, that the Scribes and Pharisees probably claimed these verbal distinctions, as marks of their religious superiority; and that the expressions of the same nature, which are now so common, have a more general application. But whether such expressions are addressed to clergy or to laity, whether they are intended as compli ments to the ministers of the church, or to the members of society at large, they are still equally objectionable, on our Lord's principle of Christian simplicity and humility. They are still derived from the pride of man; and still do they foster the passion from which they spring.

Our Lord's precept, on this subject, was remarkably exemplified, both in his own conversation, and in the verbal or written communications of his inspired disciples. The mode of address which he employed, and which the evangelists and apostles also adopted, though, in many instances, distinguished for its kindness and true courtesy, was not less remarkable for its plainness, and for the absence of all complimentary phraseology. I know of nothing in the New Testament which has a contrary appearance, unless it be the epithets Most excellent and Most noble; the former applied by Luke to Theophilus; the latter by Paul to Festus ; and also the title Sirs, by which that apostle is represented as addressing the inhabitants of Lystra, and the companions of his voyage to Rome. But, in all these instances, our common English verson is in fault; and there is no reason to suppose that the expressions, as used in the original Greek, were, in any degree, misapplied. The Greek adjective," which, in Luke i. 3, is rendered most excellent, and in Acts xxvi. 25, most nob e, properly denotes neither excellence nor nobility, but an eminent degree of power. The epithet was, probably, not inapplicable to Theophilus, of whom we know almost nothing, but who, from the use of this very word, is supposed by commentators to have been the governor of some province; and, certainly, it was properly descriptive of Fest us, who, as proconsul of Judæa, was, in that country, possessed of the supreme authoriy." With respect to the appellation rendered Sirs, in Acts xiv. 15;

1 See Ligh'foot, Hor. Heb. in loc. Poli Syn.

3 Acts xxvi. 25.

5 κράτιστος.

2 Luke i. 3.

4 Acts xiv. 15; xxvii. 10, 21, 25; comp. vii. 26. 6 See Schleusneri Lex. in voc.

xxvii. 10, 21, 25, it signifies, not lords or masters, but simply men.' The term used in the passages is not, indeed, the generic name of man. It is applicable only to the male sex; and, inasmuch as it represented the strengthand manliness of that sex; it was probably considered as a terni of respect. Nevertheless, it described literal truth, and was, therefore, no complimentary expression.

I have often thought that the speeches of Paul to Felix and Agrippa afford an excellent specimen of the true Christian method of addressing our superiors; for they are distinguished by respectful courtesy, united to entire plainness. "Forasmuch as I know," said he to Felix, "that thou hast of many years been a judge unto this nation, I do the more cheerfully answer for myself:" again, "I think myself happy, King Agrippa, because I shall answer for myself this day before thee, touching all the things whereof I am accused of the Jews; especially because I know thee to be expert in all customs and questions which are among the Jews: wherefore I be seech thee to hear me patiently:" again, "King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets? I know that thou believest," &c. To these speeches we may find an excellent parallel, in point both of propriety and of plainness, in the public addresses which have, at various times, been made by Friends to high and royal personages; and more particularly in Robert Barclay's celebrated dedication of his "Apology," to King Charles II.

II. It has been already remarked, that, in this country, as in most other civilized states, there are various titles legally attached to persons who occupy particular offices or stations in the body politic. To the use of these titles there does not appear to be any moral objection. There is no good reason, as is generally allowed by Friends, why kings, earls, barons, baronets, esquires, &c. should not, in the conversation, or letters of Christians, be so denominated, since these are not names of mere courtesy, but are given in conformity with the constitution of the country, and properly represent the office or condition of the persons who bear them. Nor ought the servant to feel the least reserve or hesitation, in calling his master, Master, and his mistress, Mistress So far, indeed, is it from being inconsistent with Christian principles, to describe our fellow-creatures by the titles which properly belong to them, and 1 άνδρες.

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