Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

quent page),' could not determine in what dialect he should | translation of this Epistle, ascribes it to Silas or Silvanus write to the Hebrews, which they might all understand; for the (by whom he imagines it was directed to the church at An pure Hebrew then existed in the Old Testament, though it was tioch), and the illustrious reformer Luther thought that this not in popular use. Among the Jews there were several dialects Epistle was written by Apollos, who is mentioned in Acts spoken, as the East Aramean or Chaldee, and the West Ara- xviii. 24. 28. as being an eloquent man, mighty in the Scripmæan or Syriac; which suffered various alterations from the ture, fervent in spirit, and one that convinced the Jews out places where the Jews were dispersed; so that the original Hebrew of the Scripture itself; all which characters unquestionably was known comparatively to few, and those who were conver- are found in the Epistle to the Hebrews. But both these sant in Syriac might not be acquainted with the Chaldee. If conjectures are totally unsupported by historical testimony, therefore this Epistle had been written in biblical Hebrew, the no mention whatever being made of any Epistle or other learned few only could have read it; and had it been written in writing as being composed either by Silas or by Apollos. either of the other dialects, a part only of the Jews could have Some weight would certainly have attached to Luther's conperused it.

jecture, if the excellent qualities ascribed to Apollos had 2. By writing in Hebrew, the author of this Epistle could been peculiar to him, or if they had not all been found in have instructed only his own nation ; and his arguments would Paul in a more eminent degree than in Apollos. But Paul have availed only with the pious few, while the unbelieving being endowed with more ample gifts and excellencies than multitude would in all probability have ridiculed his doctrines, conjecture of Luther necessarily falls to the ground.

Apollos, and being also a divinely constituted apostle, the and misrepresented them to the uninformed and to strangers. But by writing the Epistle in Greek, which language, we have internal, for the opinion which has generally prevailed in the

We are now to consider the evidence, both external and seen, was at that time universally known and understood, he Christian church, viz. that the Epistle to the Hebrews is the instructed his own countrymen, and also explained the Christian genuine production of the great apostle to the Gentiles. covenant to the Gentiles.

1. EXTERNAL EVIDENCE OR HISTORICAL TESTIMONY. The preceding is a summary of the arguments adduced on [i.] In the first place, it is acknowledged to be the production this much litigated point: and upon the whole, we are com- of Puul

by the apostle Peter in his second Epistle (iii. 15, 16.); pelled to draw the conclusion, that the original language of from which passage it is evident, the Epistle to the Hebrews must have been Greek. The reader, however, will adopt which opinion he deems best

(1.) That Peter had read all Paul's letters. supported concerning the Hebrew or Greek original of this was then writing, that is, to the believing Jews in general

(2.) That Paul had written to those Christians to whom Peter Epistle. If he prefer the former, it may be satisfactory to (2 Pet. i. 1.), and to those of the dispersion mentioned in 1 Pet

. him to be reminded,

that the circumstance of this Epistle 1. 1. Now, since there is no evidence to prove that this Epistle being first written in Hebrew, and then translated into Greek, by no means affects its genuineness and authenticity.s

was lost, it follows that it must be that which is now inscribed to III. The next object of inquiry respects the AUTHOR of this

the Hebrews. Epistle, some ascribing it to Barnabas, the companion of

(3.) That Paul wrote to them concerning the same topics Paul ; others to Clement of Rome, to the evangelist Luke, to which were the subjects of Peter's Epistle. Thus Peter writes Silas or Silvanus, or to Apollos; and the Christian church that by Christ are given to us all things pertaining to life and generally to the apostle Paul.

godliness (2 Pet. i. 3, 4.), and that Jesus Christ is the Son of Tertullian was the first who ascribed this Epistle to Bar- God, in whom the Father is well pleased with us, of whom the nabas, and his opinion was adopted by Cameron, and subse-prophets spoke. These very topics are copiously discussed in quently, by Dr. Storr; but it rests on mere conjecture, for Heb. i. to x. 19. Again, Peter exhorts them to faith and holiTertullian cites no authority, and does not even say that this ness (2 Pet. i. 5–16. ii. 15.); so also does Paul. (Heb. ii. 1-5. opinion was received by the church. He is also contradicted ii. 1. 6—19.) Peter shows the danger of apostasy (2 Pet. ii. by Clement of Alexandria, who mentions the Epistle to the 20, 21.), and so does the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews. Hebrews as Saint Paul's; to which we may add, that the (Heb. vi

. 4—9.) style of the Epistle ascribed to Barnabas differs so widely (4.) In the Epistle mentioned by Peter, he seems to ascribe to from that of the letter to the Hebrews, as to prove that it Paul an eminency of wisdom. It was, he says, wrinen accordcould not have been written by him. Further, it appears ing to the wisdom given to him. As Paul made use of that wisfrom Heb. xiii. 24. that this Epistle was written from Italy, dom which had been conferred on him in writing all his other where there is no evidence that Barnabas ever went. Phi- Epistles, so there is no doubt that he exerted the same wisdom, lastries6 relates, that at the end of the fourth century, many zeal, and love in writing the Epistle to the Hebrews: but, in the persons attributed this Epistle to Clement of Rome; but this passage now under consideration, Peter eminently distinguishes notion is contradicted by the fact that Clement has himself that apostle's wisdom. He does not refer to Paul's spiritual repeatedly quoted this Epistle.

wisdom in general, in the knowledge of the will of God and of The same author also informs us that some ascribed it to the mysteries of the Gospel; but he particularly alludes to the Luke; and this hypothesis has been adopted by Grotius and especial holy prudence which Paul has displayed in the compoby Janssens, on account of a supposed resemblance of style sition of the Epistle to the Hebrews, whom the structure of his between the Epistle to the Hebrews and the writings of arguments was singularly adapted to convince, if unbelievers': Luke, and especially on account of the greater elegance of while his warnings and encouragements were admirably całeustyle and choice of words discoverable in this Epistle. than is lated to animate the believing Hebrews to constancy and fortitude to be found in Paul's other letters. But to this hypothesis in the faith of the Gospel. At the same, time nothing more there are several objections. For, 1. Luke was a Gentile by clearly shows the singular wisdom, which Peter asserts to be birth, and could not have acquired that intimate knowledge manifest in this letter, than Paul's condescension to the capaof the Hebrew literature and religion which Paul possessed, cities, prejudices, and affections of those te whom he wrote and who was instructed by Gamaliel and other celebrated Jewish whom he constantly urged with their own principles and conteachers. 2. If Luke wrote this Epistle, why did he not rather ascribe it to the Greeks, who were his countrymen ? 3. Ecclesiastical antiquity is totally silent concerning this

(5.) That Peter affirms there were some things discussed in Epistle as being written by that evangelist, to whom ål the the Epistle to the Hebrews, which were hard or difficult to be primitive Christian writers unanimously ascribe the Gospel understood (Tiv duocata). Now Paut cxplicitly states (Heb. va which bears his name, and also the Acts of the Apostles. 11.) that some of the topics which he was to discuss in that 4. The author of this Epistle addresses the Hebrews (xiii. Epistle were suo eppenveute, hard to be uttered, or difficult to be 18, 19.) as persons among whom he had preached the Gos- interpreted, and consequently hard to be understood ; particularly pel: and as it nowhere appears that Luke had preached to the topic he immediately had in view, viz. the typical nature of the converted Jews, it follows that he could not be the author the person of Melchisedek. Or if it refer to the priesthood of of this Epistle.

Christ, that would be still more " hard to be uttered,” because it Among the modern writers, C. F. Boehme, in his Latin implies not only his being constituted a priest after this typical

order, but also his paying down the ransom for the sins of the 1 See pp. 352–356. infra. Francisci Junii Parallela Sacra, lib. 3. c. 9. in Ep. ad Hebr. tom. i. p. and thus opening the kingdom of heaven to all believers. Topics

whole world, and his satisfaction of divine justice by this sacrifice, 1595. edit. Genevæ. 1613. 3 See the observations on this topic in Vol. I. p. 49.

like these it would be difficult for the apostle to explain in a • De Pudicitia, c. 30.

• Euseb. Hist. Eccl. lib. iii. c. 34. See the passage also in Lardner, 8vo. Epistola ad Hebræos, Præfat. pp. xl. ---xlviii. (Lipsiæ, 1825. 8vo.) Fol. ii p. 211.; 4to. vol. i. p. 394.

8 It is adopted, however, by Dindorf, in his Excursus ad J. A. Ernesti • Hær. c. 89. Lardner, 8vo. vol. iv. p. 500. ; 4to. vol. i. p. 522

Lectiones Academicas in Epistolam ad Hebræos, p. 1180. 8vo. Lipsiæ, 1815

cessions.

ON THE EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS.

And because restitution, by repairing the injury that has been urged every thing that can be said upon the occasion. Pliny done, restores the person who did the injury to the character is too affected to be affecting; the apostle takes possession which he had lost, the apostle, to enable Onesimus to appear of our heart, and excites our compassion whether we will on in Philemon's family with some degree of reputation, bound not.6 himself in this Epistle by his handwriting, not only to repay On the undesigned coincidences between this Epistle and all that Onesimus owed to Philemon, but to make full repa- the Acts of the Apostles, see Dr. Paley's Horæ Paulinæ ration also to Philemon for whatever injury he had done to Chap. XIV. him by running away.”! To account for the solicitude expressed by Paul in this Epistle in order to obtain Onesimus's pardon, and procure a thorough reconciliation, it is not necessary to suppose, with some critics, that Philemon was

SECTION XVI. keen and obstinate in his resentments, or of that rough and mtractable disposition for which the Phrygians were proverbial. The contrary is insinuated by the apostle, who has in other places commended his benevolence and charity. It I. To whom written.—II. In what language.—III. Its geis most probable, as Dr. Macknight has conjectured, that

nuineness and authenticity.-Proofs that it was written by Philemon had a number of slaves, on whom the pardoning Paul.-IV. Its date.-V. Occasion and scope of this Episof Onesimus too easily might have had a bad effect; and

tle.-VI. Synopsis of its contents. therefore he might judge some punishment necessary as an example to the rest. At least Paul could not have consi

I. After the thirteen Epistles avowedly written by Paul, dered the pardoning of Onesimus as an affair that merited so with his name prefixed to them, succeeds what we call the much earnest entreaty, with a person of Philemon's piety, Epistle to the Hebrews; the nature and authenticity of which benevolente, and gratitude, unless he had suspected him to has been more controverted, perhaps, than any other book of have entertained some such intention.

the New Testament. As the initiatory formula, usual in the V. Whether Philemon pardoned or punished Onesimus, is other apostolical letters, is wanting in this Epistle (notwitha circumstance concerning which we have no information. standing the superscription terms it the Epistle to the Hebrews), From the earnestness with which the apostle solicited his it has been questioned whether it was really an Epistle sent pardon, and from the generosity and goodness of Philemon's to a particular community, or only a discourse or dissertation disposition, the eminent critic above cited conjectures that he intended for general readers. Michaelis determines that it actually pardoned Onesimus, and even gave him his freedom, is an Epistle, and remarks that not only the second person in compliance with the apostle's insinuation, as it is inter- plural ye incessantly occurs in it, which alone indeed would preted by some, that he would do more than he had asked. be no proof, but also that the author alludes to special cirFor it was no uncommon thing, in ancient times, to bestow cumstances in this writing, in chapters v. 11, 12. vi. 9. x. freedom on those slaves whose faithful services had procured 32–34., and above all in chapter xiii. 23, 24., which contains for them the esteem and good will of their masters. The the promise of a visit, and various salutations; all which primitive Christians preserving this Epistle, and placing it circumstances taken together show that it really is an aposin the sacred canon (Dr. Benson remarks), are strong argu-tolical Epistle. ments to induce us to believe that Philemon granted the Who the Hebrews were, to whom this letter was adapostle's request, and received Onesimus into his house and dressed, learned men are by no means agreed. Sir Isaac favour again. As Onesimus was particularly recommended Newton was of opinion that by “the Hebrews” in this by Saint Paul to the notice of the Colossians (iv. 9.), it Epistle we are to understand those Jewish believers who cannot be doubted that they cheerfully received him into had left Jerusalem a short time before its destruction, and their church. In the Apostolical Constitutions,2 Onesimus were now dispersed throughout Asia Minor;? but of this we is said to have been bishop of Beræa; but they are a compi- have no authentic record. Others again have imagined that lation of the fourth century, and corisequently, of no authority. it was addressed to the Hebrew Christians in Spain, Galatia, When Ignatius wrote his Epistle to the Ephesians (A.D. 107), Macedonia, or at Corinth or Rome, or to those who resided their bishop's name was Onesimus: and Grotius thought that in Palestine. Clement of Alexandria, Jerome, Euthalius, he was the person for whom Saint Paul interceded. But Chrysostom, Theodoret, Theophylact, and other fathers, were this, as Dr. Lardner: remarks, is not certain, Dr. Mills has of opinion that the Epistle to the Hebrews was sent to the mentioned a copy, at the conclusion of which it is said that converted Jews living in Judæa; who in the apostle's days Onesimus suffered martyrdom at Rome by having his legs were called Hebrews, to distinguish them from the Jews in broken.

the Gentile countries, who were called Hellenists or Grecians. The whole of this Epistle is indeed a most beautiful com- (Acts vi. 1. ix. 29. xi. 20.) The opinion of these learned position. Such deference and respect for Philemon, such fathers is adopted by Beza, Louis Cappel, Carpzov, Drs. affection and concern for Onesimus, such distant but just Lightfoot, Whitby, Mill, Lardner, and Macknight, Bishops insinuation, such a genteel and fine address pervade the Pearson and Tomline, Hallet, Rosenmüller, Hug, Scott, and whole, that this alone might be sufficient to convince us that others. Michaelis considers it as written for the use of the Paul was not unacquainted with the world, and was not that Jewish Christians at Jerusalem and in Palestine ; and Proweak and visionary enthusiast, which the enemies of reve- fessor Stuart, (who is followed by M. La Harpe) that it lation have sometimes represented him to be. It is, indeed, was directed to Hebrews in Palestine, and probably to the impossible to peruse this admirable Epistle without being church of Cæsarea. The very ancient opinion last stated is touched with the delicacy of sentiment, and the masterly corroborated by the contents of the Epistle itself, in which address that appear in every part of it. We see here, in a we meet with many things peculiarly suitable to the believers most striking light, how perfectly consistent true politeness in Judæa. is, not only with all the warmth and sincerity of the friend,

1. It is evident from the whole tenor of this Epistle, that the but even with the dignity of the Christian and the apostle. Every word has its förce and propriety, With what dignity persons to whom it was addressed, were in imminent

danger of and authority does Paul entreat, though a prisoner! With falling back from Christianity to Judaism, induced partly by a what condescension and humility does he command, though severe persecution,

and partly by the false arguments of the raban apostle! And if this letter were to be considered in no bins. This could hardly have happened to several communities other point of view than as a mere human composition, it must at the same time in any other country than Palestine, and therebe allowed to be a master-piece in its kind. As an illus- fore we cannot suppose it of several communities of Asia Minor, tration of this remark, it may not be improper to compare it to which, in the opinion of some commentators, the Epistle was with an Epistle of the younger Pliny, that seems to have been written on a similar occasion; which, though composed 6 Doddridge, Introd. to Philemon. by one who has always been reckoned to excel in the episto

* Observations on the Apocalypse of Saint John, p. 244.

8 Stuart's Comm. on the Epistle to the Hebrews, vol. i. pp. 67—73. (An. latory style, and though it undoubtedly has many beauties, dover, N. Am. 1827.) In pp. 8-67. he has discussed the various hypo yet it must be acknowledged by every impartial reader to be theses of Dr. Storr, who supposes it to have been written to the Hebrew vastly inferior to this animated composition of the apostle. church at Galatia; of Noesselt, who considered it as addressed to the Pliny seems desirous of saying something; the apostle has Hebrews who were sojourners in Asia Minor; of Michael Weber, who

advanced and endeavoured to support the opinion that it was addressed to 1 Macknight's Preface to Philemon, sect 2.

the church at Corinth; and of the ancienis (whose opinion he adopts),

that this epistle was written to the Hebrew church in Palestine. 8 Works, 8vo. vol. iv. p 381. ; 4to. vol. iii p. 324.

9 La Harpe, Essai Critique sur l'Authenticité de l'Epitre aux Hebreux • Lib. ix. ep. 21. p. 136. (Toulouse, 1832.

Lib. viii. c. 46.

* Nov. T-st. Millii et Kisteri, p. 513.

addressed. Christianity at this time enjoyed, from the tolerating the exhortation in ii, 1–4., are peculiarly suitable to the believers spirit of the Roman laws and the Roman magistrates, through- of Judæa, where Jesus Christ himself first taught, and his disciout the empire in general, so much religious liberty, that out of ples after him, confirming their testimony with very numerous Palestine it would have been difficult to have effected a general and conspicuous miracles. persecution. But, through the influence of the Jewish sanhe- 5. The people to whom this Epistle was sent were well acdrin in Jerusalem, the Christians in that country underwent quainted with our Saviour's sufferings, as those of Judæa must several severe persecutions, especially during the high-priesthood have been. This appears in Heb. i. 3. ; ii. 9. 18.; v. 7. 8.; ix. of the younger Ananus, when Saint James and other Christians 14. 28.; X. 12.; xii. 2, 3.; and xiii. 12. suffered martyrdom.

6. The censure in v. 12. is most properly understood of Chris2. Further, if we examine the Epistles of Saint Paul, espe- tians in Jerusalem and Judæa, to whom the Gospel was first cially those to the Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians, and preached. compare them with the two Epistles of Saint Peter, which were 7. Lastly, the exhortation in Heb. xiii. 12–14. is very difficult addressed to the Christians in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, to be explained, on the supposition that the Epistle was written and Bithynia, we shall find, though mention is made of seducers, to Hebrews who lived out of Palestine; for neither in the Acts not the smallest traces of imminent danger of an apostasy to of the Apostles, nor in the other Epistles, do we meet with an Judaism, and still less of blasphemy against Christ, as we find instance of expulsion from the synagogue merely for a belief in in the sixth and tenth chapters of the Epistle to the Hebrews. The Christ; on the contrary, the apostles themselves were permitted two passages of this Epistle (vi. 6. x. 29.) which relate to blas- to teach openly in the Jewish assemblies. But if we suppose phemy against Christ, as a person justly condemned and crucified, that the Epistle was written to Jewish converts in Jerusalem, are peculiarly adapted to the situation of communities in Pales- this passage becomes perfectly clear, and Dr. Lardner observes, tine; and it is difficult to read these passages without inferring must have been very suitable to their case, especially if it was that several Christians had really apostatized and openly. blas- written only a short time before the commencement of the Jewish phemed Christ; for it appears from Acts xxvi. 11. that violent war, about the year 65 or 66. The Christians, on this suppsition, measures were taken in Palestine for this very purpose, of which are exhorted to endure their fate with patience, if they should be we meet with no traces in any other country at that early age. obliged to retire, or should even be ignominiously expelled from Neither the Epistles of Saint Paul, nor those of Saint Peter, Jerusalem, since Christ himself had been forced out of this very furnish any instance of a public renunciation of Christianity and city, and had suffered without its walls. It was a city devoted to return to Judaism: and yet, if any such instances had happened destruction, and they who fled from it had to expect a better in in the communities to which they wrote, these apostles would heaven. The disciples of Christ had been already warned by hardly have passed them over in silence, or without cautioning their Master to flee from Jerusalem (Matt. xxiv. 15—22.), and the other persons against following such examples. The circum- time assigned for their flight could, when this Epistle was written, stance, likewise, to which the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews be not far distant. That they actually followed his advice, apalludes (x. 25.), that several who still continued Christians for-pears from the relation of Eusebius;4 and, according to Josephus, 5 sook the places of public worship, does not occur in any other the most sensible inhabitants of Jerusalem took similar measures Epistle, and implies a general and continued persecution, which after the retreat of Cestius Gallus, which happened in Novemdeterred the Christians from an open confession of their faith. ber 66, and likewise left the city. If we suppose, therefore, that In this melancholy situation, the Hebrews, almost reduced to the Epistle was written to the Hebrews of Jerusalem, the passage despair, are referred (x. 25, 35—38.) to the promised coming of in question is clear; but on the hypothesis, that it was written to Christ, which they are requested to await with patience, as being Hebrews, who lived in any other place, the words, “Let us ge not far distant. This can be no other than the promised de forth with him out of the camp, bearing his reproach,” lose struction of Jerusalem (Matt. xxiv.), of which Christ himself said their meaning. Further (x. 25.) the exhortation, Not forsaking (Luke xxi. 28.), “ When these things begin to come to pass, the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is, then look up, and lift up your heads, for your redemption draweth but e.chorting one another, and so much the more as ye see the nigh." Now this coming of Christ was to the Christians in day approaching, is an additional confirmation of this opinion, Palestine a deliverance from the yoke with which they were The approaching day can mean only the day appointed for the oppressed; but it had no such inluence on the Christians of destruction of Jerusalem, and the downfall of the Jewish nation: other countries. On the contrary, the first persecution under but this event immediately concerned only the Hebrews of PaNero happened in the year 65, about two years before the com- lestine, and could have no influence in determining the inhabitants mencement of the Jewish war, and the second under Domitian, of other countries, such as Asia Minor, Greece, and Spain, either about five-and-twenty years after the destruction of Jerusalem. to forsake or to frequent the places of public worship.

3. From ch. xii. 7. though no mention is made in express To these clear and decisive evidences, that the Epistle to terms of martyrs who had suffered in the cause of Christianity, the Hebrews was addressed to Jewish Christians resident in we may with great probability infer, that several persons had Palestine, it has been objected, really suffered, and afforded a noble example to their brethren. If

1. That the words in Heb. xii. 4. (ye have not resisted unto this inference be just, the Hebrews, to whom this Epistle was blood, combating against sin) cannot apply to the church of written, must have been inhabitants of Palestine, for in no other Jerusalem, where there had already been two martyrs, viz. Stephen part of the Roman empire, before the year 65, had the enemies and James. But this objection is of no weight; for the apostle of Christianity the power of persecuting its professors in such a was addressing the laity of that church, to whom alone this manner as to deprive them of their lives, because no Roman Epistle was directed, and not to the rulers; and few, if any, of court of justice would have condemned a man to death, merely the common people, had hitherto been put to death, though they for religious opinions; and the pretence of the Jews, that who had been imprisoned, pillaged, and defamed. Compare Acts viii. ever acknowledged Jesus for the Messiah was guilty of treason 1–3. xxvi. 10, 11. and i Thess. ii. 14. against the emperor, was too sophistical to be admitted by a Ro- 2. Thạt the remark in Heb. vi. 10. (God is not unrighteous to man magistrate. But, in Palestine, Stephen and the elder James forget your work and labour of love, in that ye have ministered had already suffered martyrdom (Acts vii

. xiii.); both Saint Peter to the saints, and do minister) is not suitable to the state of the and Saint Paul had been in imminent danger of undergoing the church at Jerusalem, at that time, because, though the members same fate (Acts xii. 3—6. xxii. 11—21. 26. 30.); and according of that church at first were in a state of affluence, when they had to Josephus, several other persons were put to death, during the all things in common, yet afterwards they became so poor that high-priesthood of the younger Ananus, about the year 64 or 65,3 they were relieved by the contributions of the Gentile Christians 4. The declarations in Heb. i. 2. and iv. 12., and particularly in Macedonia, Galatia, Corinth, and Antioch. There is, however,

This is evident from the Acts of the Apostles. See also Lardner's Creui no force in this objection. Ministering to the saints in those bility, chap. vii . (Works, 8vo, vol. i

. pp. 161–201. ; 4to. vol. 1. pp. 90-110.) days did not consist solely in helping them with money. Attend. Ant. Jud. lib. xx. c. 9. $1. The words of Josephus are as follow :-"The ing on them in their imprisonment—rendering them any little younger Ananın, who had obtained the office of high-priest, was a man of offices of which they stood in need-speaking to them in a kind in other places, were in general severe in their punishments. This Ananus and consolatory manner—these and such other services as may embraced the opportunity of acting according to his inclination, after the be performed without money were, and still are, as much ministerdeath of Festus, and before the arrival of his successor Albinus. In this ing to the saints as affording them pecuniary aid. And, doubtinterval he constituted a court of justice, and brought before it James, a brother of Jesus who was called Christ, and several others, where they were accused of having violated the law, and were condemned to be stones 4 Hist. Eccl. lib. iii..c. 25. to death. But the more moderate part of the city, and they who strictly > Bell, Jud. lib. ii. c. 20. $ 1. adhered to the law, disapproved highly of this measure."

6 Michaelis, vol. iv. p. 199. Lardner's Works, 8vo. vol. vi. pp. 383–387.; 3 Michaelis, vol. iv. pp. 193—197.

4to. vol. i. pp. 326, 327,

less, the members of the church at Jerusalem ministered in that purpose could be answered by writing it in Hebrew when it was manner to one another in their afflictions. But, though the gene- only to be used in Greek? Was it sent in Hebrew before the rality of the members of that church were reduced to poverty by supposed translation? In what language was it communicated the sufferings they had sustained, yet in all probability there to others by the Christians who first received it? Clement was were some among them in better circumstances who might have never in the East to translate it. And if all the first copies of it deserved the commendation, that they had administered and did were dispersed in Hebrew, how came they to be so utterly lost, minister to the saints, by giving them a share of their worldly that no authentic report or tradition concerning them, or any one goods.

of them, ever remained : besides, if it were translated by Clement Upon a review, therefore, of all the circumstances, we in the West, and that translation alone were preserved, how shall be justified in adopting the opinion of the ancient

church, came it to pass, that it was so well known and generally received that this Epistle was addressed to Hebrew Christians in Pa- in the East before the Western churches received it into their lestine; but it is (as Michaelis has observed) a question of canon of Scripture? This tradition, therefore, respecting its little or no importance, whether it was sent to Jerusalem translation by Clement, is every way groundless and improbable. alone, or to any other city in Palestine; because an Epistle, intended for the use of Jewish converts at Jerusalem, must that the Epistle to the Hebrews was never extant in the

Independently of the preceding considerations, which show equally have concerned the other Jewish converts in that Hebrew or Syro-Chaldaic dialect, the Epistle itself furnishes country.2 II. The next question concerning this Epistle relates to written in the language in which it is now extant.

us with decisive and positive evidence that it was originally the LANGUAGE in which it was written. On this subject there have been two principal opinions ; one, that it was originally

1. Ir the first place, the style of this Epistle, throughout, written in Hebrew, and translated into Greek by Lúke or manifests that it is no translation. It has altogether the air of Barnabas; and the other, that it was written in Greek. The an original. There is nothing of the constraint of a translator, former opinion is entertained by the fathers, Clement of Alex- nor do we meet with those Hebraisms which occur so constantly andria, Euthalius, Theodoret, Theophylact, Jerome, and (as in the Septuagint version. some have supposed) Origen, and also by Bahrdt, Michaelis,

2. Hebrew names are interpreted : as Melchizedek by King and others among the moderns. The latter opinion—that it of Righteousness (vii. 2.), and Salem by Peace, which was originally composed in Greek-is held by Fabricius, interpretation would have been superfluous if the Epistle had Beausobre, Cappel, 'Owen, Basnage, Mill, Leusden, Pictet, been written in Hebrew. If this Epistle be a translation, and not Wetstein, Braunius, Heidegger, Van Til, Calmet, Carpzov, an original, because the interpretation of a few words is added, Pritius, Moldenhawer, Lardner, Doddridge, Macknight, Ro- we may with equal propriety affirm that Saint Paul wrote his senm'iller, Rumpæus, Viser, Alber, Bishop Tomline, Dr. Epistles to the Galatians and Romans in Hebrew, because he has Hales, Professor Stuart, and we believe, by almost every added the interpretation of the Syriac word Abba,- father (Rom. modern commentator and critic who has treated on this book. viii. 15. Gal. iv. 6.), or that John wrote his Gospel in Hebrew,

The arguments for the Hebrew or Syro-Chaldaic original because (i. 47. xx. 16.) he has explained the meaning of the of this Epistle may be reduced to the two following:- Hebrew word Rabboni. The same remark may be extended to

1. As this Epistle was written for the use of Hebrew Chris- the other three evangelists, all of whom, we have seen, wrote tians, it was proper that it should be written in their own lan- in Greek, as the whole current of Christian antiquity also attests. guage. To this argument, it has been replied, first, That if it. A further proof that the Epistle to the Hebrews was originally was proper that the apostle should write to them in the Hebrew written in Greek, and consequently was not a translation, is, that tongue, it must have been equally proper for him to write his the argument of the author is founded on the interpretation which letter to the Romans in their own language; yet we know that he has given us of the words above cited. Saint Paul's Epistle to the Romans was not written in Latin,

3. The passages, cited from the Old Testament in this Epistle, the language of Rome, but in Greek: nay, that all his Epistles, are not quoted from the Hebrew, but from the Septuagint, where and those of the other apostles, were written in Greek, and not that faithfully represented the Hebrew text. Frequently the in the languages of the churches and persons to whom they stress of the argument taken from such quotations relies on were addressed. Secondly, The Apostolical Epistles being in- something peculiar in that version, which could not possibly tended for the use of the whole Christian world in every age, as have taken place if the Epistle had been written in Hebrew. well as for the persons to whom they were sent, it was more And in a few instances, where the Septuagint did not fully proper that they should be written in Greek than in any provincial render the Hebrew text of the Old Testament, the author of the dialect; because the Greek language was then universally un- Epistle has substituted translations of his own, from which he derstood. The arguments already adduced, to show that Greek argues in the same manner, whence it is manifest that this Epis was the original language of the New Testament generally, are tle never was extant in Hebrew. 6 equally applicable to prove that the Epistle to the Hebrews was Independently of these (we think indisputable and posi. never written in Hebrew.3

tive) arguments for the Greek original of the Epistle to the 2. It is objected, that this Epistle has been originally written Hebrew's, which Michaelis has attempted to answer, but in Hebrew, because its Greek style is superior to that of Saint without success, the hypothesis that it was written in Hea Paul's other Epistles. To which Rosenmüller, after Carpzov, brew is attended with several difficulties, and particularly the has replied by observing, that the difference in style may be two following :readily accounted for, by considering, that this was one of the 1. That at the time the author (Paul, as is shown in a subseapostle's last Epistles, and that from his extensive intercourse with men of various ranks and conditions, during his numerous • The numerous paronornasias, or occurrences of words of like sound, journeys, "Paul the aged” would naturally write in a different but which cannot be rendered in English with due effect, that are to be style from Paul when a young man. To this remark we may found in this Epistle

, hare been urged as a clear proof that it is not a transadd, that there are such coincidences of expression between this 22. ix. 10. x. 34. xi. 37. and xiii. 14. (Gr.) But of these paronomasias, Prof. Epistle and Saint Paul's other letters, which were in Greek, as Stuart observes that the instance from Heb. x. 34. is ihe only one which plainly show that he was its author, and consequently did not appears to betray any marks of design ; and even here the marks are by write it in Hebrew; but as this topic is discussed more at length may have occurred in the Epistle to the Hebrews, even if its present lanin a subsequent page, 4 we proceed to remark, that, as the Syriac guage is merely that of a translation. In fact, even designed paronounaversion of this Epistle was made from the Greek at the end of favour of the Greek being the original language of the Epistle to the Hethe first or at the beginning of the second century, it is evident brews built on such instances of paronomasia

as those above cited (where, that no Hebrew original was then extant; and consequently that in most” examples." it is a mere homophony of like

tenses or cases), is Michaelis's hypothesis , respecting t'ne blunders committed by the too uncertain and too slender to be rested on as a proper support of the

. . supposed translator, has no foundation whatever. Again, the 6 Dr. Owen has ably treated this topic in his fifth exercitation on the Epistle is said to have been translated by Clement of Rome, but Hebrews, yol. i. pp. 46–53. folio edition. Calmet, Comment. Literal. tom. where or when, we are not informed. Was this translation several other divines have laid much stress upon the rendering of the He. executed in Italy before it was sent to the Hebrews? If so, what brew word berith by Soxinxn, which denotes either testament or covenant:

and Michaelis has acknowledged that this is the most specious of all the 1 Macknight's Preface to the Epistle to the Hebrews, sect. 2. $1. arguments adduced to prove that the Epistle to the Hebrews was originally 2 Michaelis, Introd. vol. iv. p. 193

But Braunius affirns that it proves nothing either way. a See Vol. I. Part 1, Chap. I. Sect 111. $ II. pp. 193, 194. To the above argu. Proleg. in Ep. ad Hebr. p. 25. The objections to this Epistle of Drs. Schulz ment we may add, that the apostolic father Barnabas wrote his Epistle to and Seyffarth, grounded on the mode in which its author quotes and appeals the Hebrews in the Greek language.

to the Old Testament (and also on particular phrases and

expressions), are • See pp. 352—356. infra, where the questiou respecting the author of examined in detail, and most satisfactorily refuted by Professor Stuart this epistle is considered.

(Commentary, vol. i. pp. 205–252, or pp. 236-220. in the London edition.

written in Greek.

quent page), could not determine in what dialect he should translation of this Epistle, ascribes it to Silas or Silvanus write to the Hebrews, which they might all understand; for the (by whom he imagines it was directed to the church at An pure Hebrew then existed in the Old Testament, though it was tioch), and the illustrious reformer Luther thought that this not in popular use. Among the Jews there were several dialects Epistle was written by Apollos, who is mentioned in Acts spoken, as the East Aramæan or Chaldee, and the West Ara- xviii. 24. 28. as being an eloquent man, mighty in the Scripmæan or Syriac; which suffered various alterations from the ture, fervent in spirit, and one that convinced the Jews out places where the Jews were dispersed; so that the original Hebrew of the Scripture itself; all which characters unquestionably was known comparatively to few, and those who were conver- are found in the Epistle to the Hebrews. But both these sant in Syriac might not be acquainted with the Chaldee. If conjectures are totally unsupported by historical testimony, therefore this Epistle had been written in biblical Hebrew, the no mention whatever being made of any Epistle or other learned few only could have read it ; and had it been written in writing as being composed either by Silas or by Apollos. either of the other dialects, a part only of the Jews could have some weight would certainly have attached to Luther's conperused it.

jecture, if the excellent qualities ascribed to Apollos had 2. By writing in Hebrew, the author of this Epistle could been peculiar to him, or if they had not all been found in have instructed only his own nation ; and his arguments would Paul in a more eminent degree than in Apollos. But Paul have availed only with the pious few, while the unbelieving Apollos, and being also a divinely constituted apostle, the

being endowed with more ample gifts and excellencies than multitude would in all probability have ridiculed his doctrines, conjecture of Luther necessarily falls to the ground. and misrepresented them to the uninformed and to strangers. But by writing the Epistle in Greek, which language, we have internal, for the opinion which has generally prevailed in the

We are now to consider the evidence, both external and seen, was at that time universally known and understood, he Christian church, viz. that the Epistle to the Hebrews is the instructed his own countrymen, and also explained the Christian genuine production of the great apostle to the Gentiles. covenant to the Gentiles. 2

1. EXTERNAL EVIDENCE OR HISTORICAL TESTIMONY. The preceding is a summary of the arguments adduced on [i.] In the first place, it is acknowledged to be the production this much litigated point: and upon the whole, we are com- of Paul by the apostle Peter in his second Epistle (iii. 15, 16.); pelled to draw the conclusion, that the original language of from which passage it is evident, the Epistle to the Hebrews must have been GREEK. The

(1.) That Peter had read all Paul's letters. reader, however, will adopt which opinion he deems best supported concerning the Hebrew or Greek original of this was then writing, that is, to the believing Jews in general

(2.) That Paul had written to those Christians to whom Peter Epistle. If he prefer the former, it may be satisfactory to (2 Pet. i. 1.), and to those of the dispersion mentioned in 1 Pet

. him to be reminded,

that the circumstance of this Epistle 1. 1. Now, since there is no evidence to prove that this Epistle being first written in Hebrew, and then translated into Greek, by no means affects its genuineness and authenticity.s

was lost, it follows that it must be that which is now inscribed to

the Hebrews. III. The next object of inquiry respects the Author of this Epistle, some ascribing it to Barnabas, the companion of

(3.) That Paul wrote to them concerning the same topics Paul ; others to Clement of Rome, to the evangelist Luke, to which were the subjects of Peter's Epistle. Thus Peter writes Silas or Silvanus, or to Apollos; and the Christian church that by Christ are given to us all things pertaining to life and generally to the apostle Paul.

godliness (2 Pet. i. 3, 4.), and that Jesus Christ is the Son of Tertullian) was the first who ascribed this Epistle to Bar- God, in whom the Father is well pleased with us, of whom the nabas, and his opinion was adopted by Cameron, and subse- prophets spoke. These very topics are copiously discussed in quently by Dr. Storr; but it rests on mere conjecture, for Heb. i. to s. 19. Again, Peter exhorts them to faith and holi

Tertullian cites no authority, and does not even say that this ness (2 Pet. i. 5–16. ii. 15.); so also does Paul. (Heb. ii. 1–5. opinion was received by the church. He is also contradicted iii. 1. 6—19.) Peter shows the danger of apostasy (2 Pet. ii. by Clement of Alexandria,' who mentions the Epistle to the 20, 21.), and so does the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews. Hebrews as Saint Paul's; to which we may add, that the (Heb. vi. 4—9.) style of the Epistle ascribed to Barnabas differs so widely (4.) In the Epistle mentioned by Peter, he seems to ascribe to from that of the letter to the Hebrews, as to prove that it Paul an eminency of wisdom. It was, he says, wriven accordcould not have been written by him. Further, it appears ing to the wisdom given to him. As Paul made use of that wisfrom Heb. xiii. 24. that this Epistle was written from Italy, dom which had been conferred on him in writing all his other where there is no evidence that Barnabas ever went. Phi- Epistles, so there is no doubt that he exerted the same wisdom, lastries relates, that at the end of the fourth century, many zeal, and love in writing the Epistle to the Hebrews : but, in the persons attributed this Epistle to Clement of Rome; but this passage now under consideration, Peter eminently distinguishes notion is contradicted by the fact that Clement has himself that apostle's wisdom. He does not refer to Paul's spiritual repeatedly quoted this Epistle.

wisdom in general, in the knowledge of the will of God and of The same author also informs us that some ascribed it to the mysteries of the Gospel; but he particularly alludes to the Luke; and this hypothesis has been adopted by Grotius and especial holy prudence which Paul has displayed in the compoby Janssens, on account of a supposed resemblance of style sition of the Epistle to the Hebrews, whom the structure of his between the Epistle to the Hebrews and the writings of arguments was singularly adapted to convince, if unbelievers : Luke, and especially on account of the greater elegance of while his warnings and encouragements were admirably całeustyle and choice of words discoverable in this Epistle. than is lated to animate the believing Hebrews to constancy and fortitude to be found in Paul's other letters. But to this hypothesis in the faith of the Gospel. At the same, time nothing more there are several objections. For, 1. Luke was a Gentile by clearly shows the singular wisdom, which Peter asserts to be birth, and could not have acquired that intimate knowledge manifest in this letter, than Paul's condescension to the capa. of the Hebrew literature and religion which Paul possessed, cities, prejudices, and affections of those te whom he wrote and who was instructed by Gamaliel and other celebrated Jewish whom he constantly urged with their own principles and conteachers. 2. If Luke wrote this Epistle, why did he not rather ascribe it to the Greeks, who were his countrymen ? 3. Ecclesiastical antiquity is totally silent concerning this

(5.) That Peter affirms there were some things discussed in Epistle as being written by that evangelist, to whom ål the the Epistle to the Hebrews, which were hard or difficult to be primitive Christian writers unanimously ascribe the Gospel understood (Two duovuta). Now Paul explicitly states (Heb. v. which bears his name, and also the Acts of the Apostles. (11.) that some of the topics which he was to discuss in that 4. The author of this Epistle addresses the Hebrews (xiii. Epistle were suoreppenverta, hard to be uttered, or difficult to be 18, 19.) as persons among whom he had preached the Gos-interpreted, and consequently hard to be understood ; particularly pel: and as it nowhere appears that Luke had preached to the topic he immediately had in view, viz. the typical nature of the converted Jews, it follows that he could not be the author the person of Melchisedek. Or if it refer to the priesthood of of this Epistle.

Christ, that would be still more " hard to be uttered,” because it Among the modern writers, C. F. Boehme, in his Latin implies not only his being constituted a priest after this typical

order, but also his paying down the ransum for the sins of the 1 See pp. 352–356, infra. · Franelaci Junii Parallela Sacra, lib. 3. c. 9. in Ep. ad Hebr. tom. i. p. and thus opening the kingdom of heaven to all believers. Topics

whole world, and his satisfaction of divine justice by this sacrifice, 1595. edit. Genevæ. 1613. • See the observations on this topic in Vol. I. p. 49.

like these it would be difficult for the apostle to explain in a • De Pudicitia, c. 20. : Euseb. Hist. Eccl. lib. iii. c. 34. See the passage also in Lardner, 8vo. Epistola ad Hebræos, Præfat. pp. xl. ---xlviii. (Lipsiæ, 1825. 8vo.) vol, ii p. 211. ; 4to. vol. I. p. 394.

8 It is adopted, however, by Dindorf, in his Excursus ad J. A. Ernesti • Heer. c. 89. Lardner, 8vo. vol. iv. p. 500.; 4to. vol. i. p. 522

Lectiones

Academicas in Epistolam ad Hebræos, p. 1180. 8vo. Lipsiæ, 1815

cessions.

« ElőzőTovább »