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ye think ye have eternal life.” He also proves to the Sadducees the doctrine of a future life, from the writings of Moses. We are told, in the Epistle to the Hebrews, that Abraham " looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God ;” and that Moses “ had respect unto the recompense of reward ;” and that the patriarchs whom he led towards Canaan, “desired a better country, even an heavenly;" and that the ancient martyrs “ were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection.”† And yet it is said by professed Christian teachers, that “the Hebrew faith never taught the immortality of the soul ;" and consequently, that God's ancient people had no means of knowing, from any revelation which he had given them, whether there was a future state of rewards and punishments a world of spirits, a judgement-seat, a heaven, or a hell!
The Tract here examined is more argumentative than almost any in the series with which it is connected ; but we are sorry to be obliged to say, that the argument throughout is based upon mistaken principles, and consequently leads to wrong results. "A strong presumption” against the doctrine of the Trinity is inculcated as a matter of duty, and as indispensably necessary in order to a proper consideration of the testimony of Scripture in relation to the subject. We know of no other subject, in regard to which prejudice has been inculcated, as necessary, in the search after truth-as calculated to aid the inquiries of the student, and render them successful !!
For the Spirit of the Pilgrims. Matt. iii. 11.-“HE SHALL BAPTIZE YOU WITH THE HOLY Ghost AND WITH FIRE.
Most of our excellent commentators endeavor to explain this passage, by referring to the wonderful effusion of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. They imagine that the marvellous appearance of cloven tongues like as of fire, which rested upon
• John v. 39. Luke xx. 37. 1 Heb. xi, 10, 16, 26, 35.
the disciples, was a fulfilment of the promise ; “ He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire."
The same notion prevails extensively among Christians in common life, and in those that minister at the altar. Who has not heard from the pulpit, and from the conference room, the following prayer : " Baptize thy people with the Holy Ghost and with fire."
But it seems to the writer that there is a very great mistake in that exegesis which authorizes the use of this text for such purposes. Neither the scope of Matthew in the connexion of the passage, nor the usus loquendi of the sacred writers, will justify such principles of interpretation.
The word " fire,” in its figurative application by the inspired writers, generally, (if not always) denotes something severe, fearful and calamitous. Thus Christ says, Luke 12. 49. “ llug ohn θον βαλειν εις την γην;” I have come to send fire on the earth.” As if he had said, “ My doctrines will give rise to most fearful dissensions—so that parents will deliver up their children to death, and children their parents; and a calamitous state of society will result from my coming." Vid. Luke 12.51–53. Where a lively description is given of the effect produced by the peaceful words of the Saviour.
Look next at Isaiah 47. 14, in the LXX, Eni A V Qı xataravörcortar-" They shall be burned in the fire." The meaning is, as will be seen by the connexion, “They shall experience overwhelming calamities from which they cannot escape.”
So also God's judgments upon Nineveh (Nahum 1:5, 6.) are compared to a volcanic eruption, when his fury is poured out like fire. The like signification is given to fire, in its figurative use, in various passages in both testaments. Probably I might safely say, that it always denotes severity.
But, further, the scope of the context forces us to believe, that the speaker was setting forth a fearful separation which was about to be made among the Jews; when the pious were to be blessed, and the contemners of religion to be grievously punished. In the 7th verse, &c. he alludes to "the coming wrath," and exhorts his hearers to bring forth fruits worthy of repentance ;not to presume upon safety, because of their connexion with Abraham, because that "the axe was already laid at the root of the tree.” This is the same as saying ; “ Divine judgments are already impending ;" as all may know, by attending to the proverbial use of this phraseology among the Jews. tree, that bringeth not forth good fruit, is cut down and cast into the fire,” that is, “ Every despiser of piety will be grievously punished. “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance; but he, whose way I am come to prepare, will show himself more mighty than 1; for he will baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire;"—he will give efficacy to his doctrines in them that be
lieve ; and he will punish with severity the despisers of his religion ! " For his fan is in his hand, and he will make a thorough separation between the wheat and the chaff; gathering the wheat into his store-house, and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire." And here the whole scope and design of the argument is fully
It comes out with a force not to be resisted, that it is his object to show that a fearful separation is to be inade between the sincere worshippers of God, and the impious contemners of his authority.
But should any imagine that there is no propriety in giving such a meaning to buntico, in its metaphorical use, they may consult Matt. 20: 22, 23 ; Mark 10:38, 39 : Luke 12:50; and various other places. None need question it, that the Saviour was expecting to be overwhelmed with calamities when he should be baptized with that baptism which awaited him.
Besides Schleusner (in bunuosi vuas ε v at vg) says; “graviter puniet vos contemptores religionis suae;" he will grievously punish you, the despisers of his religion.
And let such, as would see an awful fulfilment of this baptizing with fire, read the account of Josephus of those calamities which came upon his nation, when Titus Vespasian took their citadel, and when distress came upon them,“ such as was not since men were upon the earth."
For the Spirit of the Pilgrims.
Heb. 1:8. “THY THRONE, O GOD, IS FOREVER AND EVER.”
This is the language of God the Father to the Son. And it would be strange if it did not convey an unpleasant sound to the ears of Unitarians. Hence, as might be expected, they have tried their Biblical skill, to give it a different translation,
With a great parade of learning, and many quotations from the classics, they have endeavored to show, that o is in the nominative, instead of the vocative ; and that the true rendering is the following ;“ God is thy throne forever and ever.”
But what is the idea conveyed by this phraseology? Which is is the
greater, the throne or the one that sits upon it ? The language really conveys no definite sentiment. And in order to make it mean anything, they are obliged to substitute something else, as God is the supporter of Christ's throne.” And after all that Unitarian criticism can do for it, the passage gives no definite idea.
But supposing that this objection were out of the way; and that the passage means “God is the supporter of all Christ's au
thority, and the author of all his instructions ;" how does this agree with the scope of Paul's argument ? It has evidently no connexion with it. None can read the context, without perceiving that the writer was showing the pre-eminence of Christ above angels! And what has this to do with the idea, that “God is the supporter of Christ's throne ?" Any other sentiment would have been as consentaneous and appropriate.
Besides, Unitarians themselves, much as they have tried to fix this gloss upon the text, have been obliged to admit, that there is no expression in the Bible that is analogous to this. Still they have persisted in maintaining their exegesis, in the face of all argument to the contrary.
But why are all the ancient versions to be rejected? Why are orthodox critics all wrong upon this passage ? None can rational. ly deny that ó beos is used in the vocative. Did not the Saviour, upon the cross, cry o Deos pov, o deos uov, ( Mark 15: 34)? Did not Thomas cry, 8 0eos jov ? It is indeed the more common form of address to God in the new Testrment, and in the Greek of the LXX. The passages are abundant, as any one may see, who will consult his concordance.
Besides, the very passage in question was taken verbatim from the LΧΧ. (Vid. Ps. 45 : 6.) «ο θρονος σου, ο θεος, εις αιωνα αιωvos.”
And it will not be denied, that it was the address of the Psalmist to the Most High God, as it stood in the Old Testament. For a single instance cannot be found, in which an individual specified is called by the name Elohim, ( the word for which d 0ɛos is substituted in the LXX,) in any other than the proper sense of the word,-the eternal Jehovah. (Vid. Storr and Flatt.)
How is it possible, then, to avoid the conclusion, that Heb. 1: 8. is applied to Christ, calling him God in the proper sense of that term? And why should Professor Stuart give up, in his excellent work on this Epistle, the argument, which he so ably defended in his Letters to Dr. Channing? I see no necessity nor propriety in doing it.
Besides, the exegesis which admits that Christ is here called God in the proper sense is best conformed to the scope of the apostle, who represents Christ as the “ Creator of the worlds" and "the supporter of ( ta narta) the Universe.”
In spite of Unitarian criticisms, and the incautious admissions of the orthodox, will not the humble disciple of Jesus maintain, that his Saviour is addressed as God in the proper sense, in the words, “Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever."
1. A Manual for Young Church-members. By LEONARD Bacon, Pastor of the First Church in Nero Haden. New Haven : Stephen Cooke. 1833. 12mo. pp. 218.
This and several other works sent us by their authors or publishers, we should have noticed earlier, but for the pressure of responsible duties which have left us only scraps of time in which to read and examine them.
In calling the attention of our readers to it now, we recommend the Manual to their perusal, and deliberate consideration, as a book well adapted to be useful, not only to young church-members, for whom it was more particu. larly designed, but for not a few who are older and have been many years in the school of Christ. The bjects on which it treats are important, and the discussion of them is such as can hardly fail to enlighten and instruct.
It is perhaps called for more in Connecticut than in any other of the New England States, still, not only in Connecticut but in the other New England States, and more especially in the Middle, Southern, and Western sections of our country, such a book, if read, cannot fail to be extensively useful.
James' Church Members' Guide, is an excellent book and of a higher character in some respects than the Manual of Mr. Bacon; but in relation to several important points, the Manual is no less deserving attention, and especially the attention of Congregational Christians. Many of this class, though well informed in general, and perhaps highly intelligent in most things pertaining to doctrine and sentiment in religion, are lamentably ignorant as to form and order, and the difference between Congregationalism and other modes of religious organization. In this Manual they may find instruction respecting these things. We do not say that they might not find it elsewhere, and the Tribute Dr. Hawes as well as other works of older and later date, ought not to forgotten, but we have seen nothing, which for Congregational Christians especially, we, on the whole, think better adapted to be useful than this little book of Mr. Bacon's. We hope it may have a general circulation.
The subjects discussed are entitled, “Constitution and rights of the Apostolic Churches—The Officers of a church-Ordinances and CeremoniesDuties of Church Members—Discipline in a church-Responsibilities of Church Members as professors of Religion-Relation of Churches to each other, and Responsibility of the New England Churches.' An appendix is added containing some notes referred to in the different chapters.
2. The Glory of the Age, or the Spirit of Missions. By John FOSTER. Boston: James Loring. 1833. 12mo. pp. 191.
In one respect we have been wholly disappointed in reading this book; nor are we, as we suspect, though we know not how the case may be with