Scriptural Criticisms

J. N. Darby.

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1.

Dear Sir,

I would renew my purpose to take notice of any passages in which it would appear to me more light might be thrown on the word, as read in English; which I conceive would be a valuable thing to many interested in the study of the scriptures. Often on an isolated expression much chain of argument depends; and again, a single expression often contains a head of argument which clears and satisfies the mind as to its bearings. I do not attach any extraordinary importance to the observations; only I feel that whatever clears scripture to the ordinary reader is of importance — I will add, of importance to God in His loving-kindness to us. I will, trusting to the Lord's guidance, advert to one or two passages in the epistle to the Romans.

First, Romans 1:18: "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness." It appears to me, that the ordinary punctuation here mars the sense. Its force I apprehend is this, "all ungodliness, and unrighteousness of men that hold the truth in unrighteousness"; and this is a most important distinction, for it brings in the whole Gentile world guilty; as the apostle afterwards proves. God having been revealed in Christ, wrath is revealed against all ungodliness without exception, because it is such, and as ungodliness, ἀσέβειαν. Your Greek readers will remember that worshipping Gentiles are called by the opposite word to this, that is, σεβομένους, or "devout." Hence we have two great classes — ungodliness universal; and unrighteousness of men who hold the truth in unrighteousness .

I would add another remarkably beautiful circumstance of the most accurate word of God in this passage: wrath is not revealed in Him. In Him, or therein, the righteousness of God is revealed; but there is no "therein" or "in him," when the wrath is spoken of. It is universally revealed. What we have revealed in Christ is, "that he died for the ungodly" (the same word), and of God, that in and by the gospel He justifies the ungodly.

There is another expression which often puzzles the reader, which seems to me very plain by attention to the use of the words of the original — "revealed from faith to faith"; ἐκ πίστεως εἰς πίστιν. Now I believe that  ἐκ (the word here translated "from") always, when thus used with an abstract word, means the character, or order, or manner, of the thing which is spoken of. Thus salvation is  ἐκ πίστεως here, "from faith," as we should say, "faithwise" (a form retained in many common words). This is its manner, order, the dispensation according to which salvation comes. The literal meaning is its source, "out of," which very readily in an abstract word is used in the sense of its order or dispensation. Even in English the expression is not unusual; for example, "It is out of kindness he does it," as we might in a similar sense add, "not through severity." Now I believe this to be the uniform sense of the preposition  ἐκ used abstractedly, or in its moral sense, and hence also especially when it is used without the definite article in Greek following it. Applying this to this sentence, of which I will give further instances explanatory of passages in this book, "The righteousness of God is revealed from faith"; that is, according to the principle of faith, or a dispensation of faith, in this order or manner — "to faith," therefore, which is the recipient power consequently in man. The statement is a most perfect abstract of the character of the dispensation: a revelation; the subject of that, "the righteousness of God"; the character of the dispensation by which it is revealed,  ἐκ πίστεως, and, consequently, that to which it is so revealed, "faith."

5 The following may be taken as instances:  ἀκροβυστία ἐκ φύσεως, "uncircumcision by nature"; and in Rom. 2:29 we have an instance of the remark as to the leaving out of the article, ἔπαινος ἐξ ἀνθρώπων, that is, "human praise"; that is, the character of their praise: expressions, in this instance, adequately represented by the English of them.

Again, Rom. 3:20, διότι ἐξ ἔργων νόμου, "by the works of the law," that is, in this way. And hence we have the plain sense of another passage in this book, which has perplexed English readers: "justify the circumcision by faith, and the uncircumcision through faith"; ἐκ πίστεως ... διὰ τῆς πίστεως . The circumcision had been seeking justification, but they had been seeking it ἐξ ἔργων νόμου, in that way, the wrong way — by works of law. God would now justify them, not in that way but in another way, that is, ἐκ πίστεως, "by faith," according to that principle or dispensation. But, inasmuch as it was upon this principle, the same God would justify, must justify, him who had the principle; and therefore a Gentile who had this faith (God's gift) would be justified through or by it, διὰ τῆς πίστεως. The former being the principle of the dispensation, which involved justification, when the thing existed, the person who had it was justified necessarily upon this principle; and therefore by the same God the believing Gentile was necessarily admitted. It was therefore εἰς ὑπακοὴν πίστεως, for the obedience of faith to all nations for His (Christ's) name, the object and subject matter of faith, in whom the Lord requiring the obedience was revealed.

6 So, in Rom. 4:2, ἐξ ἔργων ἐδικαιώθη, justified by works, that is, in that way. So οἱ ἐκ περιτομῆς  -  οἱ ἐκ νόμου  - <ἐξ ἐριθείας. I have given instances sufficient, I believe, to explain what I mean; were I to adduce all the proofs, I should quote every place where ἐκ is used without the article. I would only remark, sir, that it is not a hasty observation, though of course liable to correction, for I have held it in the use of scriptures these nine years, but had not the opportunity of your journal to express it thus.

I have alluded to the use of the article or its omission; and it seems to me a most important point in the use of the Greek Testament. My observation has led me (and in these things we are as dependent on the Lord's guidance, and as much debtors to His mercy as in any thing) to this conclusion that, whenever the article is used, it denotes a or the substantive object of the sentence; and where it is not used, the word is always characteristic; and that this rule holds good in all circumstances, though more difficult of discovery, to a mind not accustomed to abstract, in some cases than in others. Granville Sharp and Bishop Middleton have elaborately treated the article, and with great value in many respects; but I believe the above simple rule involves the true decision of every case. Bishop Middleton makes all prepositions an exception; I believe them none. The principle is recognized distinctly in a formal proposition: that is, the subject has, the predicate has not the article; so much so, that if it has, the proposition becomes what is called reciprocal: that is, the terms are so identical in extent, that either could be affirmed of the other. I would note, before I pass on, an instance of this, the mistranslation of which I believe to have been a cause of as much error in the Church as any one thing: ἡ ἁμαρτία ἐστὶν ἡ ἀνομία, "sin is the transgression of the law." The apostle states no such thing. Sin is lawlessness; or lawlessness, that is insubordination, is sin. Disobedience is sin. This may be proved in breaking the law in a given instance: that is, transgression of the law is sin; but sin is not the transgression of the law, for,  ἄχρι γὰρ νόμου ἁμαρτία ἦν ἐν κόσμῳ. Yet I suppose upon this false translation half the formal judgment of the Church upon what sin is has been founded; but it is not my business to reason upon this here. It is exceedingly interesting from its connection with 2 Thessalonians 2:3, 7, 8, where we have the man τῆς ἁμαρτίας of sin; and then the mystery τῆς άνομίας of iniquity (the two terms of the reciprocal proposition above), concluding with ὁ ἄνομος the wicked one; and I believe it to assist much in the solution or understanding of that passage. I believe there is a much higher characteristic of sin than the breach of a commandment — the spirit of disobedience.

7 The rule destroys the folly of many Socinian comments, easily else destroyed, such as Wakefield's and the like. "In the beginning was the word," &c.; καὶ Θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος. Θεός here is the predicate of λόγος, and if it had had the article, it would have proved that there was nought else at all God but the Word — that the extent of Godhead was equivalent to ὁ λόγος. It has nothing whatever to do with any emphatic sense of Θεός, a sense which I believe Θεός never can be proved to have.

Take another illustrative instance; Romans 1:21: διότι γνόντες τὸν Θεόν, οὐχ ὡς Θεὸν ἐδόξασαν — not clearly as a subordinate God: the apostle's argument is directly the other way. But when they knew God, the Person, the one God, the object of reverence, they glorified Him not in that character. Had the other notion been right or in any instance true, this passage would have no force, unless it were ὡς τὸν Θεόν. I believe then, in every instance where the article is omitted, the noun is characteristic, adjectival in its character; where inserted, it presents the substantive object of thought.

The observations of Granville Sharp quite fall in with this, but are only an instance of it. Thus in τὸν μόνον δεσπότην Θεὸν καὶ Κύριον ἡμῶν  Ἰησοῦν Χριστόν, the τόν belongs to Ἰησοῦν Χριστόν — all the rest is characteristic of Jesus Christ, "the only [master] God and our Lord Jesus Christ." The rule has been drawn of old from the reading of the New Testament. If any student of it would take the first seven verses of the epistle to the Romans — a book in which the observation has peculiar value from the character of the reasoning — I think he will find the light it throws on the subject, and be recompensed through the whole of the rest of scripture for his trouble. I am aware it may be found to militate against many reasonings of individuals, with whose results at the same time I may fully agree. I have no doubt myself of its universal applicability and use.

8 The undoubted truth of it in the case of a preposition is a strong argument for the truth of the principle. To take a single example, Romans 1:3, περὶ τοῦ υἱοῦ αὐτοῦ,  this is the substantive object of that sentence. In the next, His identification as Jesus (whom we have known as man) is so. Hence we have τοῦ, that is, Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ τοῦ Κυρίου ἡμῶν —  ὁρισθέντος υἱοῦ Θεοῦ ἐν δυνάμει, that is what He is. Again, ἐξ ἀναστάσεως νεκρῶν. Now this might perhaps, with almost equal (I do not say equal) force, be διὰ τῆς, though it would then be αὐτοῦ ; but it states here the manner of the determination, not the fact by which it is declared, therefore it is simply ἐξ ἀναστάσεως νεκρῶν. So in English we might say "by resurrection," or again, "by the resurrection"; both would be true, their force would be different.

The application of this rule is of most extensive, and consequently immense importance, remembering it is applicable to scripture. I have myself no doubt of its universal truth, but I should feel obliged by any of your correspondents suggesting any passage, if there be any, which falsifies it.

One instance destroys a principle, not a human custom; where there is only one distinct act, the insertion or omission makes no difference in sense, only in force; and hence some apparent difficulty, which for this reason alone I notice.

Thus, in an instance I take casually, πολλάκις παθεῖν ἀπὸ καταβολῆς κόσμου· νῦν δὲ ἅπαξ ἐπὶ συντελείᾳ τῶν αἰώνων. (Heb. 9:26.) The point was His often suffering; the other was a necessary, not the substantive part of the sentence. On the matter it would have been equally true ἀπὸ τῆς καταβολῆς τοῦ κόσμου, but the sentence would not have carried the same quantity of moral truth. It gives the characteristic of the period, not the period itself. As in vulgar English, often more pregnant with force than what is accounted refined grammatical language, we say "in kingdom come," it would be much less expressive to say, which is all I am now concerned in, "the kingdom to come"; it would state the same fact, but would not in the same way apply the character of it to the subject of conversation. So again, ἐπὶ συντελείᾳ. Here again the whole force of it arose from this being one of the characteristics of the suffering (indeed that suffering had an essential characteristic from it); whereas if it had been put merely αἰώνων it would have lost much of its force; for there were specific ages, the closing of which as definite things constituted the object which characterized the appearing of the Lord. Thus we shall find the apparent difficulty highly illustrative of the principle.

9 I believe many an effort at a various reading has arisen from a want of understanding of the sense, and I confess that learned criticisms have often proved to me children playing with toys. I do not despise their value in their place; but no one unspiritual, no one untaught of God, is fit to be a judge (he may be a servant) in the interpretation of the divine word.

I would instance in this Bishops Horsley and Lowth, because of their eminence; men, masters in criticism confessedly, and to be used as such it may be; but in interpretation founded on it by using it alone by intellect, the well taught reader of a mere English Bible would be more to be trusted in all the sense of the scripture writers than they are.

I am well aware of the opinion which would be formed of such an assertion, but I do not make it lightly; and while I would be thankful for their service, as for a grammar or a dictionary, or for their intellect as God's gift, judgment and deference to it I believe to be so far ruin to the Church. I do not say they were in nothing taught of the Spirit: so far as they were, they will be blessed; so far as not, they will be confusion and bad guides to others, so that both would fall into the ditch. I am quite willing, and desire, any remark I make to be subject to the same rule; I need not say that as mere grammatical critics, though not bound by them, I should be content to learn from them, or those far indeed below them.

I add another passage of which the mistranslation is apparent, and its application mischievous in the study of the divine mind. It is one of the very few passages in the wonderful, though human, translation we have of the New Testament, in which I confess I believe the translators judged of the translation from the sense, which I am perfectly satisfied they, if it be so, mistook. It is Romans 11:31, οὕτω καὶ οὗτοι νῦν ἠπείθησαν τῳ ὑμετέρῳ ἐλέει, ίνα καὶ αὐτοὶ ἐλεηθῶσι, so these have now disbelieved your mercy (that is, the mercy to the Church or the Gentiles), that they might be objects of mercy. That is, Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, and that the Gentiles should glorify God for His mercy; but they, having rejected Christ as mercy to the Gentiles, forbidding to preach to the Gentiles that they might be saved, have now lost this ground, and stand upon mercy themselves; and yet God's faith abounding over their lie shall make His promise good, yet so as it shall be mercy. This marvellous wisdom of order and dealing it was which made the apostle cry out "O the depths of the wisdom," etc. The present English translation destroys all this, and mistakes the purposes of God. His mercy they will have; but it is indeed mercy to them now ἐν ἀπειθείᾳ where the Gentiles otherwise once were, now they, ἵνα καὶ ἐλεηθῶσι. And thus ignorant of this mystery, the Gentiles — the Church — has become wise in its own conceits, subject, in the true judgment of God, to be cut off.

10 I add, in Hebrew, one which is to me of great interest in Psalm 89. The Holy One of Israel, and the Holy One, are both spoken of, but the words in the original are quite different; in verse 18 it is qadesh, in verse 19 it is qadosh a word which I believe will be acknowledged ordinarily to mean goodness or mercy. What makes it interesting here is, that it is the same word as is used in verse 1, "I will sing of the mercies of Jehovah for ever." It is a concentration of the mercies of Jehovah in the person of the man chosen out of the people — David His servant, one able to sustain all the attributes of Jehovah, spoken of before as the medium of, and making them all, mercy towards His people. It is the same word in verses 24, 28, 33. The whole seems to be the presenting Christ as the sustaining person of Chesed, and the consequences towards those with whom He is united. The same word is used in Psalm 16, when the resurrection of our Lord is spoken of.

I have a strong conviction that the words abstractedly might be applied to either; yet that, when they have a definite formal application, Chasidim applies to the Jewish, Kedoshim to the Gentile or Church saints; but the thing cannot be taken as a simple general rule without more understanding of the subject.

I remain, dear Sir,

Yours faithfully,

D.

{[This appeared in "The Christian Witness," vol. 1, page 313-320, Plymouth, July 1834. Ed.]}

2

Dear Sir,

I would renew my attempt to clear the interpretation of the New Testament by some very simple criticisms.

I would here first take notice of the difference of  εἰς and ἐπί, the use of either of which distinctly is intimately connected with the question of God's love to the world, and the absolute salvation of the Church: to which, important as it is, I refer here only in connection with the texts I take notice of.

Romans 3:22: "The righteousness of God by faith of Jesus Christ, unto all, and upon all them that believe"; not unto and upon all them that believe, but the righteousness of God is unto all, and upon all them that believe; δικαιοσύνη Θεοῦ εἰς πάντας, καὶ ἐπὶ πάντας τοὺς πιστεύοντας. The Jews had been convinced of sin; the Gentiles had been convinced of sin; they had no righteousness in which to stand with God. Whether Jew or Gentile, they had no hope in themselves; but the righteousness of God through faith of Jesus Christ was not towards Jew or Gentile, but towards all, εἰς πάντας. Moreover it was upon all (ἐπί τοὺς πιστεύοντας) those that believe; they stood in that righteousness.

We have another most important instance in verse 18 of chapter 5. "Therefore as by one offence towards (εἰς) all men, to (εἰς) condemnation." This was the aspect of the result of the offence (intercepted, as regards them that believe, by the death of Christ); "so by one righteousness towards (εἰς) all men, to (εἰς) justification of life"; if, as in the English translation, it had been "upon," for which the scriptures use ἐπί, all would have been justified. We know it is not so, nor does the scripture say so. The aspect of the act is as wide as the aspect of the act of the first Adam; the effect is quite another and a distinct question. We have, in the former passage, seen it to be pronounced upon them that believe. These remarks make, I believe, quite clear what the English translation renders very difficult to comprehend. The word translated (Romans 5:18) "upon all" is the same as "unto all" in Romans 3:22, not as "upon all" them that believe. It shews that the free gift was unto (that is, towards) all in its aspect; but that its effect, and the acceptance of people under it, is quite a distinct question. The accuracy and perfectness of scripture is additionally illustrated. Εἰς seems to exhibit the natural consequence, the effect of anything looked at in itself: it may or may not involve the coming to the result; taken in itself it has the effect, for the tendency of anything is that which per se, or left to itself, it would produce or arrive at. The word may be seen in many passages of Romans 6 so used.

12 I would add a few words on Romans 7.

The expression γένηται ἀνδρὶ ἑτέρῳ is translated "married to," which seems to be more than its force; as in verse 3, "if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man." It seems a more general phrase, though in an honest sense it may of course have this force. But while it may be said in a certain way that the soul is married to the risen Christ, the Church, I believe, as such, is never said to be married to Christ. It is said, as to a particular body, that "I have espoused you as a chaste virgin unto Christ."

In Revelation 19 we have the joyful celebration, "Hallelujah, for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth; let us be glad and rejoice, for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready." This is after the judgment of Babylon. And again, in Revelation 21:9, "I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb's wife." Here we have then the Church confessedly not married to the Lamb; and I believe this to be a most important difference: error as to which has produced as much mistake as any other at all concerning scripture. It may be said to be espoused or destined for him, but the marriage is not yet come. This takes place on being united to Him in that day when He shall appear in His glory, when He calls them up into the air; then shall He "present it to himself a glorious church, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing."

The Jewish body was so married, "for I am married unto you, saith Jehovah." (Jer. 3:14; Isa. 54:4-6.) "Fear not, for thou shalt not be ashamed; neither be thou confounded, for thou shalt not be put to shame; for thou shalt forget the shame of thy youth, and shalt not remember the reproach of thy widowhood any more: for thy Maker is thy husband; for Jehovah hath called thee as a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, and a wife of youth when thou wast refused, saith thy God." And we shall find this remarkably maintained throughout. Thus the Jewish body is ever called an adulteress, as in Hosea 3; the Church as corrupt, but not breaking covenant. "Thou hast judged the great whore," and fornication is the sin of the Church.

13 Now this difference affects the whole position we are set in. The Church has never yet been brought into the position with God, in which the whole argument of the great body of comments on scripture supposes it to be placed (and this is another instance of the evil of applying Old Testament statements to New Testament subjects as if they belonged to them), though faith, by the Spirit, sees that place to belong to it, and therefore keeps itself for it. It is the part of Babylon to corrupt itself with all the kings of the earth; but we, though with long protracted affections, know the faithfulness of the Redeemer's love, and remain in solitude till He who has loved us shall appear. For we are "espoused to one husband," and this shall be in the resurrection, for the second Adam is known to us in the resurrection. We were taken out of Him in death: He is dead to all but faith now, and the Church is therefore still taken out of Him; and in resurrection we shall be one with Him, married unto Him. We are indeed one spirit with Him now, and therefore know the blessing; but the whole body of the Church shall be finally united to Him in the joy of its Lord.

I think it will be found that all the scriptures will bear out this difference; and, clearly, it strongly affects our position, while we learn distinctly the aspect of faithfulness which the Church should present; its utter separation from the world and all secular help; in its character, a chaste virgin unto Christ: γενομένη ἀνδρὶ ἑτέρῳ, it has lost all its character as well as relationship. When the spirit of the risen Saviour is in me, I am so far united unto Him, and so ought I to keep myself: I am vitally and everlastingly one with Him; but the Church corporate is not so married unto Him, for indeed it is not yet formed. To assume the privileges of a wife does not become her position; not to have more than the modesty of one in her deportment as ill suits her state. She shall reign queen over all her Lord's goods, and rule in His house with Him: fidelity of hope to one long absent from His pledged love — as a stranger therefore in the midst of all that knows Him not — her present portion. Whether receiving the tokens of His love to her from on high or not, faithfulness to Him is her clear part. The world may count her case foolish and hopeless; but she knows in whom she has believed, and she may be content to abide the jest of those who know it not, because she has the secret of His love by His Spirit dwelling in her, and will rejoice in that day when He makes good His faithfulness, and celebrates hers, before those that have despised her. (Compare Rev. 3:8, 9.)

I am daily more and more convinced that this is the real, the only, position of the Church. It may have the desolateness of widowhood, but the keenness and poignancy of affection of one a widow before she was a wife. Babylon has no need to be sorrowfully and separatedly waiting; she has wasted her affections upon ten thousand lovers, who shall hate her in the end. But the true-hearted believer, as partaker of the spirit of the Church, will, as separated from the world, wait for Him in whom his hope is, in the spirit of holy separation.

I would also add, that we find I think a remarkably beautiful association of the act of God and of man in the person of the Lord, in the connection of Genesis 2:22 and Ephesians 5:27.

Let me add another suggestion here: the force of  δώσει τοῖς  or ταῖς  in the Revelation appears to me to have the force of making effectual the thing spoken of, making them to be what they are as, but could not be effectually without this interference. We have instances of this in Revelation 8:3 and Revelation 11:3.

I would desire to make some use of the remarks I made on the Greek article in your last number, as they intimately open out the proper deity of our Lord, connected both with His relationship as the incarnate Son with the Father, and with us therein: points which, with that presence of the Spirit by which they are known, form the great scope of Christianity; and it is of great importance in the present day to give the full scope of Christianity. For occupation in the fulness of this is that which preserves the mind under grace, and meets that wandering into things not taught of God — questions of no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers, to which the mere reasoning of the mind is the complete slave, the creatures of intellectual reasonings or imaginings — things which, if not our hands, our intellects have made. No one not acquainted with the extent to which the Gnostic heretics went, could imagine how far subtle creations of the human intellect misled could go, and from which it can find no retreat but utter humbling. May we be led of the Spirit, and kept fast by the word! There is intellectual idolatry as well as physical, quite as subtle, quite as dangerous, and (if the imagination be less vivid in our days or regions in external or mental objects) there is not the less departure in its duller movements from God, wherever anything but Himself, as taught by the Spirit, is the object of our minds, instead of our being subject to Him thus known in Christ.

15 But to turn to my criticisms.

Substantially they made the article the person of the sentence, and the words without it the character of that person, or what he was when it is used. This often gives much blessed instruction; thus we have in

Galatians 1:4, τοῦ Θεοῦ καὶ πατρὸς ἡμῶν, He who is God and our Father.

Philippians 4:20, τῳ δὲ Θεῳ καὶ πατρὶ ἡμῶν, to Him who is God and our Father.

Colossians 3:17, τῳ Θεῳ καὶ πατρὶ, who is God and Father: shewing here Father to be a distinct characteristic, just as Son might be.

1 Thessalonians 1:3, τοῦ Θεοῦ καὶ πατρὸς ἡμῶν, both again denominations of τοῦ. 1  Thessalonians 3:11, αὐτὸς δὲ ὁ Θεὸς καὶ πατὴρ ἡμῶν , that very one who is God and Father.*

{*In 2 Thessalonians 2:16 it is more correctly translated, "to God even our Father."}

James 1:27, τῳ Θεῳ καὶ πατρί, Him who is God and Father.

We have a remarkable instance of this construction, in which it was not possible to give this in English from an ordinary participle intervening,

Jude 24, τῳ δὲ δυναμένῳ . . . μόνῳ σοφῳ Θεῳ , &c. The structure is just the same as the former; if translated as the others it ought, in sense, to read if the English could bear it; "To him who is able . . . the only wise God"; the particle to, in verse 25, alone mars the English.

We have another remarkable instance in which it is not rightly given in English,

1 Timothy 1:17, τῳ δὲ βασιλεῖ τῶν αἰώνων, ἀφθάρτῳ, ἀοράτῳ, μόνῳ σοφῳ Θεῶ, "to him who is the king eternal, incorruptible, invisible, only wise God, honour and glory," etc.

I would now mention some others which have been noticed before, but I bring them in juxta-position with those previously mentioned, as shewing the usage of the language; passages in which our Lord is spoken of as God, in the same way, adding some other characteristic than Father.

Titus 2:13, τοῦ μεγάλου Θεοῦ καὶ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν  Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ , "Him who is the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ"; compare τοῦ Θεοῦ καὶ πατρὸς ἡμῶν. Gal. 1:  4.

16 Jude 4, τὸν μόνον δεσπότην [Θεὸν] καὶ Κύριον ἡμῶν  Ἰησοῦν Χριστόν. The structure here is the same, "Him who is the only Lord [God] and our Lord Jesus Christ." I will not adduce other passages to this point; as I stated, it has already been done. These shew the identity of construction of both, while God is the common or one name of both, and the other titles distinctive to each, or common as Saviour. We have another instance in 1 Timothy 5:21 of distinctive title annexed.

I now advert to some other passages, which further illustrate the principle and shew this unity with us, so as to magnify our blessing, by the same uniform construction. There is an intermediate form in Revelation 1:6; kings and priests τῳ Θεῳ καὶ πατρὶ αὐτοῦ  - "to him who is God and his Father." This is the Person to whom He has made us priests.

In Ephesians 1:2 God is called our Father. Then, because all fulness dwelt in Him, fulness of relationship as the incarnate object of love, in verse 3 we have this blessed association: ὁ Θεὸς καὶ πατὴρ τοῦ Κυρίου ἡμῶν  Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, "He who is God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." The great object of this epistle specially here is to shew the identity in sonship given us in Jesus. So, precisely, in Colossians 1:2, 3, we have first, our Father, verse 2, then, τῳ Θεῳ καὶ πατρὶ τοῦ Κυρίου.

In 1 Peter 1:3, we have the same title given to the holy One, ὁ Θεὸς καὶ πατρὶ τοῦ  Κυρίου. Thus we have on one hand the use of it as to the Father, identifying that name with God; then with the Lord, identifying His name with God; and then identifying Him with us, so as to give us all the blessing which He held with God as man, His God and our God, His Father and our Father. ὁ Θεὸς καὶ πατήρ.  Θεὸς καὶ σωτὴρ  Ἰησοῦς Χριστός. Θεὸς καὶ πατὴρ τοῦ Κυρίου ἡμῶν  Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ. ὁ Θεὸς καὶ πατὴρ ἡμῶν. Kings and priests τῳ Θεῳ καὶ πατρὶ αὐτοῦ. What a blessed chain! It is extremely sweet to see the blessed truths, in which our whole hope stands, shining out in all their gracious beauty, combined into their places by the same hand which has given the same link of assurance (wonderful mystery!) to one and the other, and the closest criticism, as it appears to me, alike establishing both on the same ground, instead of invalidating them, which superficial assertion would sometimes say that it did.

There are two other passages the force of which is opened out by these remarks. "This is the true God and eternal life."  οὗτος  He (that is, υἱὸς αὐτοῦ  Ἰησοῦς Χριστός) is the true God, ὁ ἀληθινὸς Θεός, καὶ [ἡ] ζωὴ αἰώνιος. Now this, placed as an affirmation concerning οὗτος, is affirming the identity of predicate and subject in extent.

17 Now if we compare John 17:3, we shall see the amazing force of that expression, and the meaning of this: "This is life eternal, that they should know thee, the only true God [that is the Father], and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent." That they may know thee, τόν — that one, or Him, who is the only true God, contrasted with gods many and false gods, and Him whom thou hast sent, Jesus Christ. How does He give them this eternal life, this knowledge? I answer, By their being planted in Himself: "he that hath the Son hath life": but they are thus in Him that is true, and consequently, being in Him that is true — that is, in His Son — they dwell in God and God in them. They know the Father, who Himself is the only true God; and they know Jesus Christ whom the Father hath sent, and none else can know Him. Being in Christ and knowing His love, we are in the true God, and so know the Father as being in the Son, and we know Jesus Christ.

I would remark that this passage (John 17:3) seems to me to embrace true religion as referable to Jews and Gentiles. Unless known as the Father, there was no knowing Him at all; and this by knowing Him in the Son; if they knew not Jesus Christ whom He had sent, they knew nothing of that ministration in which, as Messiah, He had fulfilled the purposes of God, and manifested eternal life in sonship. This was eternal life, for He was the living God. Therefore He says "power over all flesh." The Epistle was written, as the Gospel, to shew them what eternal life was, to prove to them that they had it already. He sums up all from first to last (against all the ramifications of intellectual imaginations, in which men, creating trouble for their own minds, were apt to wander) in the person of Jesus Christ, putting everything in its place in and round that centre. Whoever studies the three closing οἴδαμεν of John's Epistle will at once see the amazing and stern comprehensiveness of the passages, and in the last especially; the closing of all cavil in the person of Jesus Christ — "Him that is true" — "the true God and eternal life." If the object of the two books, as stated, John 20:31, and 1 John 5:13, be observed, the meaning and combined power of these passages will be most apparent. Simplicity of faith is the real secret — the kernel of all knowledge.

18 I would make further a few remarks on 1 Corinthians 15:24, et seq. I do not think it is sufficiently observed that there are two very distinct though closely connected passages referred to there; and I think a little attention will make it plain. The two distinct things are, His "putting his enemies," and putting "all things under his feet." There is also a direct distinction between putting them under Him, and His subjecting them.

I would first remark that the supremacy of man is the point in question — man in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ; as a little farther on, verse 47, "the second man, out of heaven." The whole chapter is the power of the resurrection: the progressive steps of this resurrection occupy the apostle's attention. The putting all things under man's feet is the express subject on which the apostle dwells from Psalm 8. The union of the other with it, being Lord as well as Son of David, is that which must always puzzle the unbeliever, as the Lord did the Jews with it; it is the strength and comfort of faith. It is the same Jesus who was made Lord and Christ, whose coming to take His kingdom is here celebrated.

The whole subject then is the kingdom of man (in resurrection) as a given kingdom, contrasted with God. Hence, the Father never becoming incarnate and remaining in office (I speak after the manner of men) Supreme Deity, the kingdom is delivered up to Him, to God, even the Father, τῳ Θεῳ καὶ πατρί — that God (as contrasted with man) may be all and in all, instead of Christ the Man being all in all. This is clearly the subject: the contrast of God and the given kingdom of the risen Man, the Head of the new world.

With this personal supremacy of Christ, the Lord from heaven, there are two things connected; "the putting his enemies" and putting all things under His feet being quotations from Psalm 110 and Psalm 8.

Now under the risen Man, as entitled in every sense thereto by glorifying God, by purchase at His life's cost back again, by overcoming all His enemies personally, God on His resurrection and glorifying put all things under Him, not in actual subjugation, but title of subjection; they were His by victory, by purchase, by worth, in the purpose of the divine glory: so Psalm 8.

It is quite otherwise as to the other. There Jehovah says, "Sit thou at my right hand till I make thy foes thy footstool." He is to sit there till it is done. Ruling "in his enemies" and "over all," are quite distinct things; as to both, the gift of dominion by the Father is distinct from subjugation by the Son. In this latter (that is, subjugation by the Son) the two become coincident. The reign of verse 25 I take to be the direct assertion of what is consequent upon His receiving the power of ruling among His enemies till the time when He delivers it up (the last enemy being destroyed, which is death). Further, "sit thou at my right hand till I make" — here is the Father making Christ's enemies His footstool, consequent on which He rules in the midst of His enemies.

19 Now this act of the Father's the apostle does not speak of; because, after speaking of the resurrection of Christ's people at His coming, the time of this kingdom, he goes on to the end when He delivers up the kingdom; "for," says the apostle, "he must reign till he hath put all enemies under his feet." This is the Son's by His actings in power, as the risen Man. The Father having put His enemies under His feet, or made them His footstool when He comes, having till then sat at God's right hand; "for he hath put all things under his feet." This is another great truth; and here the general act of the Father is spoken of (namely, putting all things under Christ's feet); but as a thing already done — God hath put all things under His feet. This is His enjoyed power — a power the results of which we by no means see accomplished. When they are, when all things are subjected, then He, the Man, will deliver up the kingdom, that God may be all in all.

The same truth as to all things being not subjected by Christ, when all things are put under His feet by the Father, is stated in Hebrews 2, where, quoting the same Psalm 8, the Spirit of God adds for us, "Howbeit we see not yet all things put under him, but we see Jesus," exalted.

Here then we find the title of all in inheritance (in Christ determined the Son of God with power) in the resurrection. He waits for the time when the subjugation of His enemies shall make all things His, His enemies not yet being made His footstool. The saints are gathered out, meanwhile, to reign with Him; He acting by His Spirit and controlling also thereby through the world, they are raised at His coming. For His enemies are now put under His feet, and He takes the inheritance, subjecting His enemies; and they having been destroying the inheritance, as well as injuring the heirs in it, He vindicates the inheritance, and we see all things put under Him. For the putting His enemies, and all things under His feet, are two distinct acts; yet the subjugation of the one is the vindication of the other. But we by faith must own that all things are put under Him — glory and honour, power and title His, though we do not see it here; for He sits at God's right hand till His enemies are made His footstool — we being tried therefore meanwhile. We believe therefore that His enemies are not made His footstool, for He yet sits; we waiting longingly, delighting in His glory at the right hand of Jehovah. When He comes, His enemies being made His footstool, we, coming with Him or meeting Him, shall know this also and see all things put under His feet. All things are put under Him because of His title there. His enemies are made His footstool when He leaves it and comes here into these lower regions of earth and heaven, where His enemies are. There He has none: all adore Him. Oh, for the time when it shall be so, and the Father's will be done on earth as it is in heaven, all men honouring Him as they honour the Father! We see the same thing taught us in Revelation 11:17, 18; but I here dwell upon the passage rather than teach or interpret the doctrine. The distinction between the Father's act in putting under, and the fact of their subjection by, the Lord Christ, is manifest in verses 27, 28, as it is also in Hebrews 2.

The end of Christ's given kingdom is stated in verse 24: the way in which the subjection of His enemies by Him is connected with His power in verse 25: in verse 27 the extent and character of the dominion is given, but not the state of things under it, because resurrection is the subject, and they, though under it in blessing, are not in it; so neither the intermediate state of Psalm 110:1; for the apostle is speaking of the exhibited resurrection state in Christ and in us, and this in full, consequent upon His leaving the right hand of the majesty on high, His enemies now made His footstool.

3.

I send you some additional verbal criticisms, of importance connected with truth, though comparatively insignificant in point of learning. Those who love the truth will not despise them.

21 It appears to me that while in general the authorized English translation is one of incomparable value, on the subject of the dispensation of the glory to come there are several passages which the translators have forced from their plain sense, in consequence of their not seeing or not believing in it, and therefore not seeing how it could be possible to take it in the sense the passages plainly represented — otherwise their pains are very remarkable.

Some of these passages I will notice. There is one very important passage, of some length, exceedingly obscured by a fear (I suppose) of popular mistake. The word translated "condemnation" in John 5:24, and in verse 29 "damnation," is the identical word rendered "judgment" in verses 22 and 27, and correctly so rendered. The word properly used for "condemnation" is different, as in Romans 8:1: κρίσις is the word in John, κατάκριμα in Romans. A plain and beautiful passage is obscured by this effort to meet common thoughts, or by a fear of strange ones.

The statement of the passage is, that there are two things in which respectively the Son's glory is shewn — quickening and judging. In the former, as a blessing, He exercises His power conjointly with the Father; in the latter, as the vindication of His honour against those that have despised it, He is alone, and executes it in the way in which He was despised. He judges as Son of man: but as to those who are quickened, there is no need of bringing them into crisis, for they through grace have honoured the Son when the rest dishonoured Him unrighteously; and it is just out of such crisis they are saved, as the subjects of the exercise of the Son's quickening power; but that all men should honour Him, judgment is committed entirely to Him whom they dishonoured, securing His honour as the Father's.

These then are the two great instruments by which honour is brought and secured to the Son — quickening power, and crisis. They therefore that are quickened do not come into crisis; they have passed from death into life. How are they known? They hear Christ's word, and believe God the Father who sent Him: thus we know that they have eternal life, and shall not come into crisis at all. Before the βῆμα of Christ they may stand to have righteous appointment before Him; but into crisis they do not come. This is the statement of 2 Corinthians 5:10: "We must all appear before the βῆμα of Christ, to receive the things done in the body, good or evil." This then is the positive assertion of the Lord, that the quickened shall not come into crisis, but have everlasting life. The same is the result of resurrection, when this truth is disclosed. They that are in their graves shall come forth at the power of the same voice: they that have done good to the resurrection of life, of which they have been made partakers; not to crisis; and they that have done evil to the resurrection of judgment, a distinct thing, which is the result of the exercise of Christ's voice on an unquickened soul, and in which none at all can stand, as in Psalm 142 (LXX) μὴ εἰσέλθης εἰς κρίσιν, Enter not into judgment with thy servant. (Heb. and Eng. Ps. 143.) Thus the resurrection of life is the filling up the quickening power of Christ as to this mortal body, mortality being swallowed up of life: the resurrection of judgment is to crisis, that is, for the wicked only, for none can stand in it.

22 The connection of this with present blessing is manifest; the beautiful connection with the exhibition of the power of Christ is made most plain. The change of the word destroys the consequence and connection of the passage. We cease to have the double exhibition of the power of Christ in its pursued effects, and we lose the present peace which results from knowing (conformed to our complete justification in Him who is Himself the judge) that we shall not come into crisis — into question of judgment as to our reception at all. How indeed should Christ do it, save as despising His own sacrifice and righteousness, when it is before Him we stand? Our resurrection is a resurrection of life, whatever our responsibility, which 2 Corinthians 5 maintains complete in its place.

To turn to another passage (1 Cor. 11:29, et seq.), where this word is misused: "He that eateth and drinketh unworthily eateth and drinketh damnation to himself." The apostle is speaking of Christians fallen under chastenings of sickness, or even temporal death — sleeping (the common christian word for a believer's death), because of evils into which they had fallen; and tells them they are but eating and drinking judgment to themselves; but that, when they were judged, they were chastened of the Lord, that they should not be condemned with the world. They were Christians, and therefore chastening judgment came upon them here, that they should not be condemned along with the world. But if, says the apostle, we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged of the Lord. The first word "judge" is here again a different one, διακρίνει, discern oneself. If by the cherished use of the presence of the Lord with our souls, by the Holy Ghost, we discerned the springs of evil or circumstances of evil therein, which were the occasions of what called forth the chastening, we should not come under it. Examine yourselves — and how? By the light of the presence of the Spirit of God; and hence the importance of keeping it undimmed, ungrieved in the soul, and exercising oneself by examining watchfulness so as not to lose it: otherwise the very power of discernment is gone comparatively, by which the evil is discerned; we become blind, and cannot see afar off. The good Shepherd may restore us, and does, for His name's sake; but it is by chastening, and possibly sorrowful evil. Our wisdom is the spirituality by which evil is seen in its springs, not in its effects; and the watching ourselves in this, so as that unconsciously the power of discernment be not weakened by losing the sense of the very evil which calls for it, and the remedy be the sorrowful but still loving stroke of the Lord's hand. "Make the heart of this people fat" is the worst sorrow of judgment; but any measure of it in us is a grievous evil. May we, by thus discerning ourselves, be kept or made very bright and joyful in spirit, of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord; our estimate of holiness high; because our communion, and consequently understanding, is bright, even with Him who makes us partakers of His holiness!

23 Another passage I will now refer to (Acts 3:19): "Repent, and be converted, so that your sins may be blotted out when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord." Read, "so that [ὅπως ἂν] the times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord." The mission of Jesus, whom they had lost as a nation, would be on their repentance. It is not here, "Repent and be baptized every one of you," and individual matter of salvation, as in the former sermon; but an address to the assembly of the Jews, explaining the position in which they stood by the rejection of Jesus; but that even so, upon their repentance, Jesus would be sent to them again; and on their repentance and conversion the times of refreshing would come from the presence of the Lord: ὅπως ἂν ἔλθωσι, the only sense of which is "so that they may come." The sermon is a Jewish sermon to them as Jews. It states, verse 18, the sufferings; verse 21, restitution of all things; Jesus in heaven till then; and on their repentance the seasons of refreshing to come. I would also remark that "raise up," verse 26, refers, I apprehend, not to resurrection, but to the same words "raise up," verse 22, stating that what the prophet promised was indeed raised up in the person of God's Son Jesus; the "sent him to bless you," was on His mission from the Father, but it was not done on repentance now, for He would send Him, now fore-preached, in the times of refreshing which would be on their repentance. The προκεκηρυγμένον answers to the προηλπικότας of Ephesians 1:12. The alteration προκεχειρισμένον, as to the matter, comes to the same sense, though it is of stronger reproach to the Jews as actually manifested and produced to them. But the whole passage is completely a Jewish sermon. "To you first" — "ye are the children of the prophets." The translators (I suppose) could not see the national repentance, or the dealing of the Lord with the Jews still, as a nation; and the passage is quite changed into rather unintelligible Gentile theology.

24 We have a similar instance in Romans 11:31: "Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also might obtain mercy." This is asserting that the Jews as a nation are to obtain mercy by the Gentiles' mercy. So, doubtless, the translators thought; but it is a mistranslation, οὕτω καὶ οὗτοι νῦν ἠπείθησαν τῳ ὑμετέρῳ ἐλέει ἵνα καὶ αὐτοὶ ἐλεηθῶσι: "These have now disbelieved in the mercy to you Gentiles, that they also might be brought upon terms of mercy." Promises had belonged to the Jews; but they forbad to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins always, so that wrath is come upon them to the uttermost. Thus, like mere sinners of the Gentiles, it was a matter, though true to Himself, of sovereign mercy to bring in the Jews: fulfilment of promises they had rejected in Him, who was a minister of circumcision to confirm them. God concluded all in unbelief: the Gentiles naturally, the Jews now in the wisdom of dispensation, that both might come in on like terms of mercy, as the Jews surely shall in the latter day.

There is another passage which sometimes perplexes people with deep enquiries, which (I believe) take their rise merely from obscurity of expression.

In Revelation 22:9 we have, "For I am thy fellow-servant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book; worship God." And again, Revelation 19:10, "I am thy fellow-servant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus." Now this is commonly taken as if the angel had the testimony of Jesus, and was himself as one of the prophets. But it appears to me the rendering is simply this: σύνδουλός σού εἰμι καὶ τῶν ἀδελφῶν σου τῶν ἐχόντων, "I am but a fellow-servant of thee, and of thy brethren the prophets"; thee and the prophets being in apposition, not the angel and the prophets: in the other, "of thy brethren which have the testimony of Jesus," which makes the passage very simple.

I would repeat here what has been noticed elsewhere, which makes an obscure passage very easy: "The glory of this latter house shall be greater than the glory of the former." (Hag. 2:9.) This should be, I apprehend, "The latter glory of this house shall be greater than the former"; and this is not yet properly fulfilled. If we refer to verse 3, we shall see at once how "this house" is used as to both its states. The house is looked at as one thing — it is Jehovah's house, the temple, in different states; of which her first glory is one; and then "how do ye see it now?" The unity of the house in all its states makes the sentence very plain. Many of these passages may seem very simple; but it must be remarked that one passage, where the mind is subject to scripture, will arrest it in all its course; and thus all its principles will be more or less affected: and thus it becomes of great importance to free the mind from its difficulty.

There is a slight correction in 1 Peter 1:11, which makes it more strong and clear: the sufferings; the glories after these, μετὰ ταῦτα δόξας . It enlarges the scope of the abounding glories of Christ to come, not His present glory merely at the right hand of the Father.