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version which was in common use, but it cannot be doubted also, that they regarded this word as fairly conveying the meaning of the Hebrew word 6-7. On no principle can it be supposed, that inspired and honest men would use a word in referring to transactions in the Old Testament which did not fairly convey the idea which the inspired writers of the Old Testament meant to convey. The use being thus regarded as settled, there are some remarkable facts which present themselves to our notice, demanding attention and explanation. These facts are the following.
(1.) The word diabhxn is not the word which properly denotes compact, agreement, or covenant. That word is συνθήκη-Or in other forms σύνθεσις, and συνθεσία; or if the word dabhxn, is used in that signification it is only remotely, and as a secondary meaning. See Passow, Comp. the Septuagint in Isa. xxviii: 15, xxx : 1, Dan. xi : 6, Wisdom i: 16, 1 Mac. x: 26, 2 Mac. xiü : 25; xiv: 26. It is not the word which a Greek would have naturally used to denote a compact, or covenant. He would have employed it to denote a disposition, ordering, or arrangement of things, whether of religious rites, civil customs, or property; or if used in reference to a compact, it would have been with the idea of an arrangement, or ordering of matters, not with the primary notion of an agreement with another.
(2.) The word ouvdixn is never used in the New Testament. In all the allusions to the transactions between God and man, this word is never employed. For some cause, the writers and speakers of the New Testament seem to have supposed that the word would convey an improper idea, or leave an impression which they did not wish to leave. Though it might have been supposed that in speaking of the various transactions between God and man, and especially, if they had the common views which prevail now in theology, they would have selected this word, yet with entire uniformity they have avoided it. No one of them--though the word diadaun has been used by no less than six of the writers of the New Testament-has been betrayed in a single instance into the use of the word cuvanxn or has differed from his brethren in the use of the language employed. This canpot be supposed to have been the result of concert or collusion, but it must have been founded in some reason which operated equally on all their minds.
(3.) In like manner, and with like remarkable uniformity, the word ouvdýxn is never used in the Septuagint, with reference to any arrangement or “covenant" between God and
Once, indeed, in the Apocrypha, and but once, the word ouvbhxn is used in that sense. “With great circumspection didst thou judge thine own sons, unto whose fathers thou hast sworn, and made covenants of good promises," όρκους και συνθήκας έδωκας αγαθών υποσχέσεων. In the three only other instances in which the word ouvosxn is used in the Septuagint, it is with reference to compacts between man and man. Isa. xxvui : 15, “and with death we are at agreement”και εποιήσαμεν μετά του θανάτου συνθήκας-where it is a translation of mid; Dan. xi: 6, “the king's daughter of the south shall come to the king of the north to make an agreement,” TOU Toiñoa ouvonxas, where it is a translation of me, rectitudes, or rights; and Isa. xxx: 1, "that cover with a covering but not of my spirit,” where it is a translation of 17202, covering, and refers to compucts, according to the translation of the Septuagint, made with other nations. This remarkable fact, that the word ouv@hxm is never used by the authors of that ancient version to denote any transaction between God and man, shows also that there was some reason for it which acted on their minds with entire uniformity. No man can believe that that whole version was made by the same individual, or even nearly at the same time, or by men acting in concert, and the reason, therefore, why they avoided the use of this word, must have been one that would occur to many minds, and must have been so strong and decided as to keep them from varying from one another,
(4.) It is not, less remarkable that neither in the Septuagint nor the New Testament, is the word gladhan ever used in the sense of will or testament, unless it be in the case before us, Heb.ix: 16, 17. This is conceded on all hands, and is admiiled expressly by Prof. Stuart, (p. 439,) though he still defends this use of the word in this passage.
I shall have occasion to advert to this indisputable fact, and to show its importance in regard to the proper interpretation of this passage, in another place. Ai present it is necessary to remark on it only as a fact which no one will call in question.
A very important enquiry at once presents itself here, and which, so far as I know, has never received a solution which has been generally regarded as satisfactory. It is, why was
the word diabhxn selected by the writers of the New Testament to express
the nature of the transaction between God and man in the plan of salvation? It might be said, indeed, that they found this word uniformly used in the Septuagint, and that they employed it as expressing the idea which they designed to convey, with sufficient accuracy. But this is only removing the difficulty one step fart!ler back where it remains in all its force. Why did the Lxx. adopt this word? Why did they not rather use the word ouvõsxn, the common and appropriate Greek word to express the notion of a covenant ? And why, if there was no seuiled plan, or no propriety in the nature of things for the use of the word diadýxn did they adhere to it with such remarkable uniformily, a uniformity which has probably not a parallel in the use of an important word in the Scriptures ?
In regard to this enquiry, it was suggested by the late Rev. James P. Wilson, D.D., of Philadelphia, that the reason might have been that the translators of the Septuagint, who were surrounded by the heathen, and who supposed that their work would be read by them, were unwilling to convey
the idea that the Great God had entered into a compact, or an agreement with his creature man. That idea, he supposed, would have been revolting to them, and to avoid this, they used the word diadrun—as conveying the thought that God meant merely to express his will, or to make a testament in regard to what he required them to do, similar to that which a man makes of his property when he dies. How far considerations like this may have influenced their minds, it is impossible now to determine. It is scarcely, however, to be supposed that a resolution of this kind could have been formed by the translators of the Septuagint, without an express agreement or compact among themselves; and it may fairly be doubted whether there is not more refinement and artifice in the supposition than would have been likely to have occurred in making that translation.
A reason may, however, be suggested for this remarkable fact, which seems to be liable to no objection. It is, that in the apprehension of all the authors of ihe Septuagint, and of the writers of the New Testament, the word diaðsxn in its original and proper signification fairly conveyed the sense of of the Hebrew word on, that the word ouvohxn, or compact, agreement, would not express that idea ; and that they never
meant to be understood as conveying the idea either that God entered into a COMPACT or covenant with man, or that he made a WILL They meant to represent him as making an arrangement, a disposition, an ordering of things, by which his service might be kept up, and by which men might be saved; but they were equally remote from representing him as making a compact, or a will. In support of this supposition, we may allege (1.) the remarkable uniformity in the manner in which the word dadhun is used, showing that there was some settled principle from which they never departed; but (2.) and mainly, the meaning of the word itself. In its original and appropriate signification, it is just the word that was needed, and will accord with all the usages of the word on. Prof. Stuart has, undoubted. ly, given the accurate original sense of the word. real, genuine, and original meaning of dradhxn is, arrangement, disposition, or disposal of any thing,” p. 440. The word from which it is derived- diarionus means, to place apart, or asunder; and then to set, arrange, dispose in a certain order. Passow. From this original signification is derived the use which the word has with singular uniformity in the Scriptures. For although in classic Greek, the word remotely has the signification of will or testament (Passow), yet it never has that sense in the Bible, unless the passage before us be an instance (Stuart, p. 439); and though in the classic Greek also the word may have the notion of a cove nant or compact remotely (Passow), yet it cannot be shown to have that meaning in a single instance in the Scriptures. It denotes the arrangement, disposing, or ordering of things which God made in relation to mankind, by which he designed to keep up his worship on the earth, and to save the soul. It means neither covenant nor will; not compact or legacy; not agreement, or testament. It is an arrangement of an entirely different order from either of them ; where the sacred writers with singular care, and with an uniformity which could have been secured only by the presiding influence of the One Eternal Spirit that inspired them, have avoided the suggestion that God had made with man either a compact or a will. Unhappily, we have no one word which precisely expresses this idea, and hence our conceptions are constantly floating between the conception of an agreement, or a testament ; and the views which we have
are as unsettled as they are unscriptural. The simple idea is, that God has made an arrangement, or disposition of things by which his worship may be regulated ; by which man may approach him, and by which they may be saved -an arrangement having all the force of law, and which men are not at liberty to neglect or disregard. Under the Jewish economy this arrangement assumed one form ; under the Christian another. In neither was it a compact or covenant between two parties, and where one party would be at liberty to reject the terms proposed ; in neither was it a testament or will, as if God had died and left a legacy to man.
If these remarks are well founded, they should materially shape the views in the interpretation of ihe Bible. Whole treatises of divinity have been written on a mistaken view of the words on, and diad hwn-understood as meaning covenant. Volumes of angry controversy have been published on the nature of the “ covenant” with Adam, and on its influence on his posterity; and in no subject, perhaps, are the views of men more indefinite than in regard to this nant” which they are supposed to make with God in the purposes of salvation. The only literal “covenant" which can be supposed to exist in the plan of salvation is that subsisting between the Father and the Son-though even the existence of any such covenant is rather the result of pious and learned imagining than of any distinct statement in the volume of revelation. The simple statement there is, that God has made an arrangement, the execution of which he has entrusted to his incarnate Son, and has proposed it to man; an arrangement which they are not at liberty to disregard, and which being embraced will secure their salvation.
Bearing with us now the remarks which have been made in regard to the meaning of this word dadixn, we are prepared to examine the meaning of the passage before us,
, Heb.ix: 16—18. Two interpretations of the passage have been proposed, in one of which the word diadýxr
, is regarded as meaning covenant, and in the other, as meaning will, or testament. The latter is the interpretation adopted by Professor Stuart. It is the object of this paper to examine the reasons which he suggests for this interpretation, and to state considerations why the former is to be preferred; or rather, why the word diadáxn should be regarded here as employed in accordance with its uniform usage elsewhere, to denote not