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3 'All things were made by him; and without him was A.D.97. not any thing made that was made.
Heb. i. 2. of the Jews of that age, as being their public interpretation of the Scripture. R
Rev. iv. 11, Wherefore, what we find common and frequent in it, we cannot but think the vulgar and general opinion of that nation. Now it is certain that this Paraphrast doth use *** Nya, the Word of God, for m7", God himself, and that especially with relation to the creation of the world. As Isaiah xlv. 12.
made the earth, and created man upon it." So also Jer. xxvii. 15. Isa. xlviii. 13. Gen. iii. 8. and many others. The action ascribed to Jehovah in the sacred text is given in the Chaldee Paraphrase to the word.
We should be careful to distinguish between the multiplied and fanciful refinements which the Jews, from the time of the Seleucidæ, had built upon the law of Moses, and the more ancient and traditionary interpretations of the prophetical parts of Scripture, the origin of which may be with probability dated from the Babylonish captivity. By the former, as our Saviour told them, they made the word of God of none effect; but the latter are no where made the object of his censure; on the contrary, both our Lord and his Apostles very frequently refer to them, as sound and legitimate expositions of God's word. St. Paul, who had been brought up at the feet of Gamaliel, scruples not to allude, in some instances covertly, in others openly, to the traditions of the elders; and in his Epistle to the Hebrews he assumes throughout, that the comments of the Rabbins upon the prophetical parts of the Bible were in the main founded upon truth ().
After the return of the Jews from the Babylonish captivity, their native language had undergone a change so considerable, on account of their adoption of numerous words from the vernacular languages of the countries in which they were settled, that when the Scriptures were appointed by Ezra to be read, they were utterly unintelligible to the greater part assembled. On this account, Ezra commanded the Levites to interpret the original to the people, by rendering it into Chaldee. These interpretations, or paraphrases, were originally merely oral. There is no proof that there were any collected written paraphrases, till the Targums, or Paraphrases, or Explanations, of Onkelos and Jonathan were compiled. These Targumists are supposed to have lived about the time of our Saviour : though, in the opinion of Eichhorn, the Targum of Onkelos was not completed till 300 years after that period, in consequence of the interpolations that continued to be made in it. Ten Targums are handed down to us, of which those of Onkelos and of Jonathan ben Uzziel are the most highly esteemed, and considered by the Jews as the authorized and infallible expositions of the sacred text (k).
These Paraphrases then, in innumerable instances, translate the Hebrew word Jehovah by “ the word of the Lord." Some, it is true, have maintained that this implies a personal existence of the Word, in some sense distinct from the personal existence of the Supreme Father-that the Word of the Old Testament
(1) Vide Blomfield's Knowledge of Jewish Tradition essential, &c. &c. p. 9, 10, (k) Smith's Messiah, vol. i. p. 400.
4 m In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
Written at Ephesus. is the same as the Logos of the New Testament, and that this coincidence is a meh. v. 20. 1 John v. 11. proof of the belief among the Jews of the pre-existence, personal operations, and och vi Godhead of the Messiah. Others again argue, that these words are to be re35. 46. garded as a mere idiom, implying the person's self who speaks. The latest
writer () on this point, after examining the different opinions at great length, comes to this general conclusion: that from the mere use of the phrase, “the word of the Lord,” in these paraphrases, no certain information can be deduced on the doctrine of the Jews with respect to the Messiah, during the interval of the Old and New Testament, and this opinion is further corroborated by a celebrated critic. But though such may be our conclusion with regard to the Chaldee Paraphrases, it will not follow that the Jews of the same age, or a little after, did not employ the term “ Word” with a personal reference, and that reference to the Messiah. The use of this term by Philo, and by the Christian Evangelist St. John, appears unaccountable, except on the supposition that it had grown up to the acceptation supposed, at least among the Jews who used the Greek language. Such an extension of meaning and reference, agreeably to the ordinary progress of language, would flow from the primary signification, or medium of rational communication, and thus it would be a rational designation of a Mediator between God and man. We have also another evidence, which is entitled to the greater weight, as it comes from a quarter the most hostile to the Christian religion (m). Celsus, whose words are recited by Origen, reproaches the Christians with absurdity and folly, for imagining that such a mean and contemned person as Jesus could be the pure and holy Word, the Son of God; and, personating a Jew, which is his manner in the construction of his work, he declares their belief that the Word was the Son of God, though they rejected the claims of Jesus to that honour.
The authority, however, most to be depended upon, with regard to our attempts to ascertain the opinions of the Jews concerning the Logos at the time of Christ, is that transmitted to us by the celebrated Philo, who was born at Alexandria, of Jewish parents, and was the contemporary of our Lord and his Apostles. Some years before St. John wrote his Gospel, this celebrated man, being then about sixty years of age, was sent on an embassy from Alexandria to the emperor at Rome, to lay before him a petition, praying for protection to his countrymen against the persecuting spirit of the Alexandrians. He has left on record a very curious detail of this expedition. The manner in which, after much delay and many vexatious difficulties, the embassy, when at last admitted to the long desired audience, was received by Caligula, presents us with a most singular and characteristic picture of the haughty sovereign and his courtiers. Caligula first abruptly addresses them, by inquiring if they were “ the odious race" who refused to acknowledge him as their God; and, after having obliged them to follow him as objects of general ridicule and reproach, while he inspected some rooms in one of his villas, asked them, with a "grave and serious countenance, why they abstained from swine's flesh;" and, after many more sarcasms, dismissed them with this compassionate sentiment, “That those men who would not believe in him as a god, were, in his opinion, rather miserable than wicked."
(1) Archbishop Laurence.
(m) Smith's Testimony, vol. i. p. 409, 410.
5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness A.D.97. comprehended it not.
och. iii. 19. Jerome and Eusebius inform us, that when Philo was at Rome, he was accustomed to converse with St. Peter, and that he cultivated the society of that Apostle. Photius tells us, that he was a Christian, though he soon separated from their communion : and Dr. J. Jones has lately attempted to revive this opinion ; including Josephus also among the number of primitive Christians. Eusebius further assures us, that Philo devoted himself to the study of the Scriptures, and diligently examined the truths received from his ancestors : that he had made the most profound research into the mysteries of the Platonic system, and discovered so much knowledge of the doctrines of the Grecian philosopher, and all his abstruse notions, that it was commonly said, either “ Plato Philonizes, or Philo Platonizes." By mingling the theological opinions of his countrymen with the reveries of the Platonic school, and the undoubted truths of his own Scriptures, he has given to the world, in his multifarious productions, a strange compound of truth and falsehood, from which, however, may be collected, without difficulty, the prevailing opinions of the learned Jews of that age respecting the “ Logos,” the “ Word of God," the manifested Jehovah of the Hebrew Scriptures.
The following is a list of some of the particular terms and doctrines found in Philo, with parallel passages from the New Testament.
1. The Logos is the “ Son of God"-viós Oek. De Agric. vol. i. p. 308. De Profug. ib. p. 562. Compare Mark i. 1. Luke iv. 41. John i. 34. Acts viii. 37.
2. “ The second divinity"-deúrepos Oeds Xóyos. Fragm. vol. ii. p. 625. Comp. John i. 1. 1 Cor. i. 24.
3. “ The first begotten" of God-Abyos apwróyovos. De Somniis, vol. i. p. 653. Comp. Heb. i. 6. Coloss. i. 15.
4. “ The image of God"-elkwy To 08. De Mundi Opific, vol. i. p. 6.414. 419. 656. Comp. Coloss. i. 15. Heb. i. 3. 2 Cor. iv. 4.
5. “Superior to angels” —Únepávw právrwv (ayyéwv) Móyos Otros. De Profug. vol. i. p. 561. Comp. Heb. i. 4. 6.
6. “ Superior to all the world"-'lóyosemepávw navTóc lsh. De Leg. Allegor. vol. i. p. 121. Comp. Heb. ii. 8.
7. “ By whom the world was created”-TÒy Ociov Móyov Tov paura ola. koguhoavta. De Mund. Opif. vol. i. p. 4. Comp. John i. 3. 1 Cor. viii. 6. Heb. i. 2. 10.
8. The great “substitute of God"-Űnapxos TË Ocg. De Agricult. vol. i. p. 308. Comp. John i. 3. and xvii. 4. Eph. iii. 9. Phil. q. 7.
9. “ The light of the world"-Oūs koope: and intellectual sun-hos vontós. De Somniis, vol. i. p. 6. 414. 632, 633. Comp. John i. iv. 9. and viii. 12. 1 Pet. ii. 9.
10. “Who only can see God”-povo Tėv Ocòv iesi kafopāv. De Confus. Ling. vol. i. p. 418. Comp. John i. 18. and vi. 46.
11. “ Who resides in God"- įv avtų uovu karoņoel. De Profug. vol. i. p. 561. Comp. John i. 18. and xiv. 11.
12. “ The most ancient of God's works, and before all things"- Peobúraros Tūv ösa yeyove. De Confus. Ling. vol. i. p. 427. De Leg. Allegor. ib. p. 121. Comp. John i. 2. and xvii. 5. 24. 2 Tim. i. 9. Heb. i. 2.
7 The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the A.D.97. Light, that all men through him might believe.
-Thy spávcov tpoony próxns. Quis. Rer. Divin. Hær. vol. i. p. 499. Comp. Matt. v. 6. vii, 7. xiii. 10. xxiv. 14. xxxvii. 19. Rom. x. 12. 18.
30. “ Of men's forsaking their sins, and obtaining spiritual freedom by the Logos"-levdepia rñs vuxns. De Cong. Quær. Erud. Grat. vol. i. p. 534. De Profug. ib. p. 561. 563. Comp. John viii. 36. 1 Cor. vii. 22. 2 Cor. iii. 17. Gal. v. 1. 13.
31. “ of men's being freed by the Logos from all corruption, and entitled to immortality'-• iepòs lóyos ériunge yépas itaipetov ošs, klñpov ảOdvarov, Thy év apdápty yevki rátiv. De Cong. Quær. Erud. Grat. vol. i. p. 535. Comp. Rom. viii. 21. 1 Cor. xv. 52, 53. Pet. i. 3, 4.
32. The Logos mentioned by Philo, not only as vios Des, "the son of God;": but also á yannTÒV Tékvov, “his beloved son." De Leg. Allegor. vol. i. p. 129. Comp. Matt. ii. 17. Luke ix. 35. Col. i. 13. 2 Pet. i. 17.
33. “ The just man advanced by the Logos to the presence of his Creator"To aúto Lóyemiðpúoas angiov auto. De Sacrificiis, vol. i. p. 165. Comp. John vi. 37. 44. xii. 26. xiv. 6.
34. “ The Logos the true high-priest"-ápxupeus, ó mpwtóyovos aúti Ocios dóyog. De Somniis, vol. i. p. 658. De Profug. ib. 562. Comp. John i. 41. viii. 46. Acts iv. 27. Heb. iv. 14. vii. 26.
35. “ The Logos in his mediatorial capacity"-dóyos apxuepeùs pedopuós : of whom he says, Davudsw Tòv perd onodñs diversi Opapóvra ouvróvws iepov Móyov, iva sỹ uéoov Tūv redynkórwy w Tūv Súrtwy. “I am astonished to see the holy Logos running with so much speed and earnestness, that he may stand between the living and the dead.” Quis. Rer. Divin. Hæres, vol. i. p. 501. Comp. 1 Tim. ii. 5. Heb. viii. 1. 6. ix. 11, 12. 24.
These extracts (n) contain the sum and substance of the doctrines of Philo concerning the Word. Whatever the Old Testament applies to the Angel Jehovah, or Jehovah, this distinguished author applies to his Logos; and he is supposed to have expressed only the prevailing opinions of his time. Yet, if his opinions be attentively considered, many striking inconsistencies will be found in them respecting the Logos, as he frequently confounds all the personal qualities and attributes assigned to the Logos of the Old Testament, with a Logos so purely spiritual, or, as Dr. Smith calls it, so merely conceptual, that it could be capable only of being manifested to the spiritual or the intellectual part of man. We accordingly find Philo asserting that the Divine Word would not assume a visible form, or representation (idia), and that it was “not to be reckoned among the objects known by sense.” An assertion which will furnish us with a solution to some of his discordant expressions, and which very satisfactorily explains the train of associations wbich leads him to such contradictory opinions on this subject; opinions, indeed, so strangely at variance, that the Unitarian writers have claimed Philo as a Platonist, who has transmitted no kind of evidence in favour of the generally received opinion that the Logos treated of in his works
(n) They are selected from the Abridgment of Bryant's Work on the Logos, by Dr. Adam Clarke, in his note on 1 John i. 15. Both Lightfoot und Dr. Pye Smith have given copious extracts from Philo; each has added also a summary of Philo's peculiar opinions.