Page images
PDF
EPUB

cides to go on and pursue those measures. Such, according to Hr. Mitchell's own statement, is the exact state of the case as to the permission of sin. God knew from eternity, that if he created the present universe, and put forth in it the whole amount of influence in favor of holiness which infinite wisdom allowed him to exert, there would still be found those who would voluntarily rebel against him. In choosing or fore-ordaining the existence of our universe, he did, therefore, choose and fore-ordain the existence of this rebellion : not, however, as a thing which he preferred to holiness, but to the non-existence of the system chosen. God, then, as truly purposed the existence of sin in our world, as of holiness, though on different grounds. He decided to produce the latter as a good, and to permit the former as an evil. The scriptures certainly do not hesitate to speak of the counsel or purpose of God, (and what Calvinist means more than this by the word decree ?) as to the existence of sin. “Him being delivered by the determinate counsel and fore-knowledge of God, ye have taken, and with wicked hands have crucified and slain.” “A stone of stumbling and a rock of offense, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.The words Boúan and idsvo here used, are the very Fords adopted to describe the purpose or decree of election, in Eph. i. 4, 5. and 1 Thess. v. 9.

la the ninth chapter we have an able discussion of the doctrine of the Saint's Perseverance. We cannot follow out the argument, but will simply quote

passage in which the author accounts for the fact, that the children of God are exhorted to perseverance, as those who are liable to fall. This fact Mr. M. admils, and considers it as one of the motives which through divine grace will be made eflectual to their conservation in holiness.

The truth is established, then, that the saints are preserved by the power of God; but in themselves considered, they are liable to wander from the fold and perish. On this ground—including also their accountability and the duty of perseverance—they are warned and exhorted to faithfulness : and these admonitions are a part of the appropriate theans employed to keep them in the faith. So far as injunctions to daty, and effort, and assurance of hope, and the gratitude of obedience are concerned, the inspired writers do not bring into view the personal election of the saints and the promises pledged for their endurance to the end. They take the same practical view of spiritual things that they do of temporal.' pp. 224, 225.

In closing our observations on this valuable work, we cannot but notice one fact respecting it of a striking nature. It has been extensively read throughout our country ; has been the subject of criticism in a number of public journals ; and explicit as it is

in the statement of the author's theological opinions, it has receiver the marked approbation of those who represent the great body o New-England Calvinists, in the Congregational and Presbyteria churches. Those who think themselves to differ very widely from each other, have united in the strongest commendations o the Doctrinal Guide. The Connecticut Evangelical Magazine has vied with the New-York Evangelist in proclaiming its merits while the New-York Observer, which has always stood on neutra ground, has given it a full and cordial recommendation. From this union of all parties in its favor, we think the most cheering inference may be made as to the real unity of our churches, amids all the jealousy and alarm which has of late existed. It was MrMitchell's good fortune not to be considered as a party man; and hence many of his statements, which coming from another quarter would have awakened distrust and obloquy, were received from him with confidence and candor. How long will intelligent men imagine that they can differ in any important respect, when they cordially agree in recommending a work like this, containing a full statement of the whole body of Calvinistic theology?

ART. VIII.-ON THE BIBLICAL USE OF THE WORD Son.

One of the distinguishing characteristics of the oriental diction, as exhibited in the original scriptures, consists in the peculiar use made of certain terms of consanguinity; as father, mother, son, daughter, etc., to express adjectives or attributes ; a trait which often adds beauty, and sometimes elegance to the sacred volume.

This peculiarity will be best understood by taking one of these terms, as for instance the word son, and following it out in all its ramifications. The various meanings, then, of the Hebrew word 32 (bēn) a son, and the Greek word viós, a son, the former in the old testament, and the latter in the new testament, are as follows:

1. A son, i. e. an immediate male offspring of human parents, Gen. ix. 19. The three sons of Noah. Mat. x. 37. He that loveth son or daughter more than me. Mat. xvii. 25, 26. The sons of the kings of the earth. This is the primary meaning from which all the others are evidently derived.

2. A child, i. e. an immediate offspring of human parents, without respect to sex.

Gen. xxxi. 17. And Jacob rose up, set his sons, i. e. children, and his wives upon camels. Gen. xxxi. 43. Unto their sons, i. e. children, which they have borne. Gen. iii. 16. In sorrow thou shalt bring forth sons, i. e. children. Gen. xxi. 7. That Sarah should have nursed sons, i. e. children. Gen. xxx. 1. Give to me sons, i. e. children. Deut. iv. 9. But teach them thy sons, i. e. children. Add Gen. xxxii. 11.

and

This usage is confined to the plural number. It is not, properly speaking, a distinct meaning from the primary one given above. It does not denote daughters simply, but is used in certain cases, for the sake of conciseness, in a generic sense to include sons and daughters, much in the same way that the term man, or the masculine pronoun he is employed in English, when the writer bas reference to any one whether male or female. The more full and wurate expression is sons and daughters, as is found Gen. v. 4. £ xi. 11. ff.

In two passages there is a vestige of this usage in the singular cumber. Jer. xx. 15. and Rev. xii. 5. A male son, i. e. a male child.

In these cases our translators have generally used the term child, and they would have been more consistent if they had done so throughout; as this usage does not conform to strict English idiom.

3. In some cases nearly pleonastic or redundant. Joel iii. 6. The sons of the Grecians, for the Grecians. Amos ix. 7. Sms of Ethiopians for Ethiopians. Ps. lxxii. 4. The sons of the needy for the needy. The phrase every where implies that the sons are in the same condition with the parents.

3. A descendant, i. e. a mediate male offspring of human paFents ; (1.) A grandson, Gen. xxix. 5. Laban the son, i. e. grandson, of Nahor, (comp. Gen. xxiv. 24, 29.) Ezra v. 1. Zechariah the son, i. e. grandson, of Iddo. (comp Zech. i. 1.) 2 Sam. xix. 24 Mephibosheth the son, i. e. grandson, of Saul, (comp. 2 Sam. ix. 6.) (2.) A great grandson. Josh. vii. 24. Achan the son, i.e. great grandson, of Zerah. (comp.Josh. vii. 1.) (3.) A more remote descendant. Is. xix. 11. As

son,

descendant, of ancient kings. Mat. i. 20. Joseph, thou son, i. e. descendant, of David.

In the plural it is often generic, including male and female descendants, (comp. signif. no. 2.) Josh. xx. 2. The sons, i. e. descendants, of Israel. Add Mat. xxvii. 9.

This usage differs from the first or primary, in making the relation mediate instead of immediate. In the singular our translators have correctly retained the word son, and in the plural employed the more generic term, children.

4. A youth, a young man. Cant. ii. 3. As the apple-tree trong the trees of the wood, so is my beloved among the sons, 1. e. young men. Prov. vii. 7. I discerned young men.

This meaning arises from generalizing the relations expressed by the word son, to the whole community, or rather by losing sight of the relation to specific parents altogether, and retaining simply the idea of youth. This usage is not familiar to our language, and ought to be rejected. Our translators have been in

i. e.

among the

sons,

i. e.

a son.

consistent in their renderings, as will be seen by comparing passages given above.

5. A son, in the metaphorical sense, i. e. quasi son, one w resembles a son in any respect. As the ideas involved in arising from the relation of son are quite various, so the metap rical uses of the term are very numerous. Hence, (1.) A servant, subject, vassal, i. e. one that owes obedience 1

2 Kings xvi. 7. So Ahaz sent messengers to Tiglathleser, king of Assyria, saying, I am thy servant and thy son, i. subject, come up and save me.

(2.) A foster-son, i, e. one nourished like a son. Ex. ii, 1 And he became her son, i. e. foster-son. Acts vii. 21. She nos ished him for her own son, i. e. foster-son. Heb. xi. 24. Mos refused to be called the son, i.e. the foster-son, of Pharaol daughter.

(3.) A pupil, disciple, i. e. one instructed like a son. 1 Kin xx. 35. The sons, i. e. disciples, of the prophets. Mat. xi. 2 By whom do your sons, i. e. disciples, cast them out ? So in Pe sian, sons of the magi for disciples of the magi.

Also one admonished like a son. Prov. i. 8. My son, hear t1 instruction of thy father. Josh. vii. 19. My son, give glory the Lord.

(4.) One like to another in moral character. Luke xix. 9. L is a son of Abraham, i. e. one like to Abraham in moral charac ter. Mat. xiii. 38. The sons of the wicked one, i. e. those wh resemble the wicked one.

These metaphorical uses are all founded on resemblance, whic is the foundation of the metaphor.

(5.) When followed by a noun denoting place, a native, inhatri tant, i. e. one born, (comp. signif. no. 1.) or brought up, (comp signif. no. 4.) in any place. Ps. cxlix. 2. The sons, i. e. inhabi tants, of Zion. Ezek. xxiii. 15. The sons of Babylon, i. e Babylonians. Job. i. 3. Sons of the east, i. e. Arabians. Ezra ii. 1. Sons of the province, i. e. inhabitants of the province.

The place here, by a common figure, is said to do whatever is done in it, i. e. to produce and bring up inhabitants. So, sobole. Romae for Romans.

(6.) When followed by a noun denoting time, one born at such time, (comp. no. 1.) or nourished during such period, (comp. no 4.) Gen. xxxvii. 3. A son of old age, i.e. one born to his father when old. Ps. cxxvii. 4. Sons of youth, i. e. those born to their fathers when young. Gen. v. 32. A son of 500 years, i. who has lived 500 years.

The time here, by a common figure, is represented as doing what is done in it, i. e. to have and bring up children.

(7.) When followed by a noun denoting an attribute or state.

e. one

of an ass.

(1.) One formed or trained up in that attribute or state. 1 Sam. xiv. 52. A son of strength, i. e. a valiant man. 1 Sam. IX. 17. A son of wickedness, i. e. a wicked man. Prov. xxxi. & Son of affliction, i. e. the afflicted. Eph. ii. 2. The children of disobedience, i. e. persons trained up to disobedience, or the disobedient. (2.) One subjected to such attribute or state. Zech. iv. 14. These are the two sons of oil or anointing, i. e. the servants of gointing, or the two anointed ones. 2 Kings xiv. 14. Sons, i. e. ersants

, of suretiship, scil. hostages. So, a son of death, i. e. we delivered over, as it were, to death, 1 Sam. xx. 31. 2 Sam. sã. 5. Ps. lxxix. 11. cii. 20. A son of beating, i. e. one delivcred over to be beaten, Deut. xxv. 2. A son of hell, i. e. one signed over to hell, Mat. xxiii. 15. A son of perdition, i. e. se consigned over to perdition, John xvii. 12. 2 Thess. ii. 3.

The attribute or condition is here personified and represented as being at the head of a family.

(5.) Applied to beasts or birds, in several senses; (1.) an imnediate male offspring. Mat. xxi. 5. A colt, the son, i. e. foal,

Add Zech. ix. 9. Ps. cxiv. 4. cxlvii. 9. Lev. xii. 6. 2.) metaph. comp. signif. no. 5. (4.) Job. v. 7. Yet man is lern unto trouble as the sons of lightning fly upward, i. e. as the nvals of the lightning fly upward, scil. the birds. (3.) Followed

a noun denoting place, comp. signif. no. 5. Deut. xxxii. 14. Rans, sons of Bashan, i. e. the breed of Bashan. (4.) Followed of a noun denoting time, comp. signif. no. 6. Ex. xii. 5. A lamb, the son of a year, i. e. a year old. (5.) Followed by a noun dezoting quality. Job xli. 34. Sons of pride, i. e. rapacious beasts. (9.

) Applied to inanimate substances. Is. v. 1. My beloved kath a vineyard on a hill a son of fatness, i. e. on a hill a servant of fatness, or on a fruitful hill, comp. signif. no. 5 (1.) Job. xli. 2. The son of the bow, i. e. what issues from the bow, cannot make him flee, comp. signif

. no. 1. Is. xxi. 10. Son of my threshing-floor, i. e. produce of my threshing-floor, scil. grain. Lam. . 13. The sons of his quiver, i. e. his arrows. Jonah iv. 10. Fhich sprung up the son of a night, and perished the son of a aight, i. e. which sprung up in a night and perished in a night, cump. signif. no. 7.) scil. The palma christi. Is. xiv. 12. Son of the dawn, i. e. the morning star, comp. signif. no. 1.

In this examination the terms son of God, and son of man have been omitted, as leading to investigations too extensive for our present object.

« PreviousContinue »