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question of Greek usage in a manner satisfactory to me. Respectable men they are, and part of them quite learned in some maiters; but Greek was not the element of their great
Some of them should not even be namned, where a question of nicety in Greek idiom is concerned.
The main objection, then, among all who have embraced the same opinion as Mr. B., (and these are few indeed, none ancient, that I know of, and only here and there a solitary person among the moderns), is, that the apostle's logic is held up as weak and inconclusive, by the rendering of diadhan as meaning testament. Mr. B. has drawn out what he
supposes to be the necessary syllogism, in such a case, on p. 61 seq. The substance of his syllogism thus drawn out, is as follows: "The death of a testator is universally acknowledged to be necessary, in order to render valid his testament; therefore the death of a sacrificial victim was necessary in order to make good a covenant." This mode of reasoning, he suggests, “would be less forcible than what we are accustomed to attribute to the apostle,' nor would it be admitted as sound in any court of law.”
So I am apt to think, as well as my friend. But whether he has fairly understood and stated Paul's logic, (if indeed it be logic and not mere illustration), is another question, and one on which something must be said, in order to defend still further that rendering of diadrun which I have advocated. I remark, then,
First, that Christ is the mediator of a new diadaun, v. 15; and being such, his death, (i. e. the death of him who proposes or is the author of the new diadýxn, and not of a symbolic victim), took place, in order that offences under the first @radhan might be forgiven, and that those who are called of God might receive their everlasting inheritance, v. 15.
Here are two things entirely different from the arrangements of the old covenant. (1) Here is the death of the author himself of the new diadnxn. (2) The death in this case is at the same time the only death that is truly expiatory for the sins of men. It was even necessary for the pardon of offences under the Jewish dispensation, notwithstanding all their ritual sacrifices. The victims sacrificed as token of confirming a covenant, were in no sense expiatory, and could be nothing more than mere symbols of solemn ratification. But here is a ratification by the death of the author
himself of the new diadnxn. Here is a double purpose answered. His death renders valid his testament; and his death makes expiation for the sins of all men who are xexhnuévor, v.15.
Now nothing could be more natural, in this case, than for the Apostle to call the new dalúxn thus made and sanctioned, a testament or will. The old covenant was ratified by the blood of a slain animal; the new by the blood of its author. Here is one of the very things which was the occasion why the latter was called new. And here too is the whole secret of its being called a testament, rather than a covenant. The instrument, if I may so speak, is in itself just the same, whether you name it a covenant or a testament. It is only the manner of establishing or confirming it, which gives rise to the appellation or idea of a testament.
Mr. B. has gravely undertaken to show, that the Lord Jesus made no proper will or testament, which he explains by saying, that " he made no disposition of property after his death; he left no legacies; he did not even direct where his body should be entombed," p. 59. True-all true to the letter! But then, what sort of inheritance did he leave? What kind of possessions had he for distribution ? It will not be questioned that his possessions were spiritual ; that his heirs are spiritual ; that his testament, if indeed he has made one, is therefore entirely of a spiritual nature. And has he not left such a legacy to his followers? If not, why are they so often called his heirs ; so often said to take an inheritance? Is not the blessed Gospel itself—the New Testament sealed, i. e. ratified, by his blood-a testament? A testament too, making a distribution of more, and more inportant blessings, than all the other testaments ever made, have distributed.
I do not say that the nude literal sense of the word can be applied, in its common acceptation as used to denote a post mortem distribution of worldly goods. The very nature of the case forbids such a supposition. But this we may say, viz., that the word testament is quite as appropriately applied here, as the word covenant is to the ten commandments and to the statutes of Moses. After all that has been said about 69 and dadnxn, nothing is plainer than that usage has made the basis of these words when actually employed, to be the idea of covenant, compact, or agreement. There is an implied obli
gation of assent and obedience on the part of those to whom God addresses commands and ordinances, as the condition and counterpart of promised blessings on his part. So that, whether we regard dvadsan as applicable to the old dispensation or to the new, it literally describes neither, and yet it substantially and significanily describes both. It describes the first, in the way of designating a conditional agreement or arrangement, made without the death of either party, and therefore not appropriately named a testament, but called diadúxn in another sense of the word. It describes the gospel dispensation in the way of designating it as a testament, i. e. diadnxn is used here in this sense, because the author of this diadnxn laid down his own life to confirm it, and because its efficacy was not established, or the diadhan was not really valid and operative, until the death of the dradéusvos. Who can refuse to see that Paul, by giving such a sense to the word diabhxn in Heb. 9: 16, 17, has made it far more significant and appropriate, than if he had spoken of a diadhan in the sense of covenant ? His aim, evidently was to throw into high relief the death of Jesus ; and by speaking of diadhwn in the manner in which he has spoken, he has fully executed his purpose.
Still further to confirm these views, let it be noted, that down to the moment when Jesus exclaimed on the cross : It is finished, the Mosaic dispensation was in full force and entirely unrepealed. From that moment it was abrogated, so far as it was purely Mosaic, or rather so far as it was ritual and symbolic. The whole tenor of the Epistle to the Hebrews, as well as other parts of the New Testament, establishes this beyond a doubt. “When that which is perfect is come, then that which was in part is done away." that he saith, A New Covenant, he hath made the first old.” Down to his dying day, the Saviour obeyed the Levitical law, and enjoined it upon all his disciples, down to the same period. But his death brought every thing in the spiritual world into a new relation or state. The Holy Spirit could not be poured ont in extraordinary effusions, until Jesus had suffered ; see John 7: 39; 16: 7; Acts 1 : 16, seq. The gospel could not be preached to the Gentiles, until after the death and ascension of Jesus. During his life, therefore, the kingdom of God is spoken of as nigh, rather than as having come, and if the latter phraseology is ever applied, it is only in the way of anticipation. All this, and much more
of a similar nature, which might readily be adduced, serves to show how easily the apostle may be vindicated for calling the new dispensation a testament, rather than a covenant. The death of Jesus, and that only, put the seal on all which is peculiar to the new dispensation ; and all that is peculiar, and therefore new, (as the Apostle names it), conies to the heirs of salvation in the
of a testament. The propriety, then, of calling the gospel dispensation a testament, under circumstances like these, no considerate person, we may well suppose, will call in question, when he has once examined the whole ground. There is even less of the tropical in the name dathun thus given, than there is in the same word when it is applied to the ten commandments, and to the laws and ordinances in general of Moses.
But conceding all this, it will still be said, that the difficulty in respect to the logic yet remains.
How can the Apostle draw the conclusion, that because a testament is confirmed only by the death of the testator, therefore the ancient covenant must be confirmed by the death of a victim, slain in sacrifice ? Mr. B. thinks Paul was a somewhat more expert logician than this would show him to be.
So too, I must also believe. But then I am far from regarding this as a fair statement of the Apostle's logic. Let us see whether the case, on more thorough exainination, does not present a different aspect.
The author of the epistle to the Hebrews has argued at length to show, that all the ritual sacrifices of the Mosaic dispensation were utterly insufficient in themselves to procure the pardon of sin with God. “It is impossible,” says he, " that the blood of bulls and goats should take away sin," Heb. 10: 4. He says also, that “the law was only a cria, sketch or shadow, of good things to come, and not the sixúv, the filled-out or complete picture, of those things," Heb. 10: 1. An important politico-ecclesiastical purpose was doubtless accomplished, by the sacrificial rites of the Mosaic law; but the conscience of the worshipper was not at all freed from the pressure of guilt in the sight of God, by any offering of such a nature. The Lamb of God was the only victim which could take away the sins of the world.
Hence we are taught, by the epistle to the Hebrews, to regard all the ancient ritual sacrifices as types, shadows or symbols, of the great and really expiatory sacrifice that was
yet to be offered. The paschal lamb, for example, was a type of Christ, “our passover, who was sacrificed for us,” 1 Cor. 5: 7. All the sacrifices, which had respect to sin, under the ancient dispensation, were, and could be, nothing more, in their highest design, than symbols or types of the atoning sacrifice of Jesus, which made an end of sin and brought in everlasting redemption. The apostle urges this point in the context, which
precedes the verses that I am laboring to explain. “Without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin.” But that blood must be, not the blood of bullocks or goats, but of him “ who did avsúpatos åylou offered himself a spotless victim to God,” Heb. 9: 14. Mark now the difference between the
The symbol or type consists of the blood of bullocks and goats, i. e. of some animal merely ; while the antitype, the really expiatory sacrifice, is a rational being, one who makes an offering did avsúmatos aiwviou. Under the ancient law, human beings could not be sacrificed. This was so arranged for the best of reasons.
A horror of shedding human blood was increased by such an ordinance; but, what was still more, the blood of any common man, or of
any mere man, would have been altogether insufficient to atone for sin. It must be a man in some way exalted to such a dignity, that his death would be an equivalent or satisfaction for the sins of those who should receive pardon. On the person of Jesus this dignity was conferred. In him were united all the qualifications necessary to constitute a victim that might take away the sins of a world.
Such is the light in which the apostle places the subject of atoning sacrifice, in the context that precedes the passage be.
But with chap. 9: 15, however, begins a theme which is partly new. Having already shown, that all the sinofferings of the ancient dispensation were merely types
and shadows of the really efficient and expiatory sacrifice, and that they were instituted for the very purpose of being so, he now proceeds to a new point of comparison between the old dispensation and the new. In this comparison the new dispensation is presented as the substance or essence, and the old as the shadow or type. One very simple question here arises : Must the type conform to the reality, or the reality to the type ?
We can be at no loss for an answer to this question. Christ