« PreviousContinue »
of the preparation of a body, and its being offered as a sacrifice. The sense is; Thou hast created for me a body, to be employed in obediently fulfilling thy will, and yielding it to death. The scope of the apostle is; Since the sacrifices commanded by the law of Moses could not take away sin, Christ condescended to offer himself, and by this sacrifice to atone for our guilt, and give peace to our consciences.”_Schol, in Heb. x. 5
GOD, TRIUMPHING AND REIGNING FOR EVER.
Psalm xlv. 2-8.
1. Beauteous art thou, above the sons of men !
Loveliness is diffused upon thy lips :
Gird thy sword upon thy thigh,
And in thy majesty proceed,
Thine arrows are sharpened: the peoples are beneath thee : 10. They shall faint in heart who are the enemies of the King.
Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever!
joy above thy companions.*
The Chaldee paraphrase is a sufficient proof that the ancient Jews, even under the ignorance and enmity which distinguished them in the early ages of Christianity, considered this splendid ode as an address to the Messiah : and no Christian, none at least who admits the divine authority of
* See Note [A] at the end of this Section.
the Epistle to the Hebrews, can doubt of the validity of such application. But the editors of the Improved Version have given this translation of the citation in the Epistle : “ But to the Son [he saith,] God is thy throne for ever and ever:”-and the author of the Calm Inquiry does not scruple to affirm : “ it is well known that the words of the original will equally well bear to be translated, * God is thy throne;' that is, the support of thy throne.”+ On this we remark:
1. It is not quite consistent with fairness in
argument, for the learned writer roundly to assert as well known, what he could not but know to be extremely disputable, and to have been, in fact, generally objected to. I
2. Because, in the passages mentioned by Mr. LINDSEY, the Most High promised that He will establish, or build up, a throne for ever, it by no means follows that the expression, “God is thy throne,” is analogous or proper. The use of a metaphor so harsh, and apparently repugnant to
* Some, indeed, both in ancient and modern times, have doubted the canonical authority of this Epistie. But Dr. John Owen, in his Preliminary Exercitations to his Exposition, Mr. Peirce in the Introduction to his Paraphrase and Notes, and Dr. Lardner, in his Supplement to the Credibility, appear to me to have very satisfactorily settled this question in the affirmative, and to have advanced arguments which make it amount to a moral certainty that the apostle Paul was the author.
+ See Note [B] at the end of this Section. I See Note [C] at the end of this Section.
good taste and to piety, should have been justified by ample proofs of the same or a similar usage. No such proofs are produced. God is often denominated a rock, a tower, a fortress, a shield, a refuge, to his faithful servants : but, in all these and similar metaphors, there is an obvious superiority in strength and dignity preserved to the Divine Being. The reader immediately associates with these expressions the ideas of power and grandeur in a PROTECTING being, and of his preeminence above the objects protected. But it is the reverse in the case brought before us. A throne derives its dignity from the character and dominion of the sovereign who sits upon it. To call the Eternal Majesty the throne of a creature, seems little suitable to the reverence which is ever to be maintained towards Him, and which is one of the most distinguishing characters of the scripture style: and, in point of taste, the use of such a catachresis could never be adopted by any author who had a particle of correct feeling. *
3. This gloss nearly, if not quite, destroys the antithesis intended in the Epistle, and brings to nothing the argument conveyed by it. It will be recollected, that the design of the passage is to shew the superiority of the Messiah to all the other servants and messengers of God, that have ever been employed in the scheme of his government and revealed mercy; whether they have been humán messengers, or intelligences of a
* See Note [D] at the end of this Section.
superior order. Let us, then, endeavour to represent this reasoning, according to the mind of the gentlemen who propose the new interpretation.
Heb. i. 7, 8. Impr, Vers.
Paraphrase. Of these messengers (the The inferiority of all other messcripture] saith, “ Who sengers of the divine will is manimaketh the winds his mes- fest, because God frequently makes sengers, and flames of light the inanimate powers of nature the ning his ministers.” But to instruments of accomplishing his the Son (he saith,] in God various purposes.
On the conis thy throne for ever and trary, the superiority of Christ ever.”
over those messengers appears from this, that his authority and power are maintained and supported by God himself.
I have sincerely endeavoured to represent the spirit of the passage, thus interpreted, in as faithful and advantageous a manner as I could: but I confess myself destitute of penetration enough to discover any coherence between the parts, or any semblance of argument in the conclusion.
It is proper to bring the commonly received interpretation to the same test : and this I shall attempt with the utmost impartiality.
Concerning the angels With respect to all the other indeed he saith, "He who messengers of the divine will to maketh his angels winds, men, even if they be of the highest and his attendants a flame order of created intelligences, the
But concerning scripture describes them as being,
See Note [E] at the end of this Section.