Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

is to be found in Gen. ï. 3. “And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it, because that in it he rested from all his work which God created and made.” This text is a great stumbling-block in the way of their opinion, and therefore they endeavour to explain it away. It is true they are obliged to pervert grammar, set common sense at defiance, and warp and twist the obvious meaning of language.

I begin with his Grace's remarks on this text, (page 12.) • It is not said in Genesis, that the Lord hallowed the seventh day at that time, but for that reason ;* and, as Moses was writing for the Israelites, who were charged to keep the sabbath, it was natural that when recording the creation in six days, he should advert to the day which they observed in commemoration of it: this, I say, he would naturally have done, even had there never been any such observance, till the delivery of the law from Sinai: just as any writer now, who should notice in a summary of gospel history the annunciation to the Virgin Mary, would remark that this is the event which Christians annually celebrate under the title of our Lady's day, without at all meaning to imply that the festival was instituted at this or that period.'

Now this argument, at the utmost, would establish a mere possibility of the correctness of his interpretation, but give no proof whatever of it, although he very illogically concludes as certain, what he has scarcely proved to be possible.

I acknowledge that when Moses wrote, both the creation of the world and the delivery of the commandments on Sinai were past events, although about two thousand six hundred years separate; the former having happened at that distant period, and the latter only a few years before,—forty at most. And yet the creation of the world, and the blessing

* These words are copied from Paley.

and sanctification of the sabbath, are all mentioned together in the very same tense,* without a particle of circumstance to lead us even to suspect that they did not take place at the same time. But we can afford to leave him in undisturbed possession of this argument, such as it is, for the present. But what will he and they do with the expression in the fourth commandment itself? They will not find this so pliable: it will not yield to be twisted into such a shape as may fit their foregone conclusions. The Archbishop and the other authors maintain that the words in Gen. ii. 3, “ God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it," refer to the giving out of the commandment on Sinai. But in the commandment itself, we have the very words that were spoken on that occasion. 6 God spake all THESE WORDS, saying.” Exod. xx. l. Now in the commandment, in the very words spoken at the very time these authors say that the sabbath was for the first time blessed and sanctified, we find the following: 6 For in six days the Lord made

* I have, in the progress of my inquiry, found it absolutely necessary, for a complete and clear elucidation of the question of the sabbath, to determine the precise meaning of some passages and words of the Old Testament in the original language. And, as my own knowledge of Hebrew is very slight, I have proposed queries to a Hebrew scholar, and will give the information afforded by his answers, so far as necessary, in notes marked with the initials H. S., omitting the Hebrew words and character, which, to those who do not understand them, would be useless; and to those who do, superfluous; and the very appearance of which might frighten away those for whom these remarks are chiefly intended. In these notes, my readers will have the decision of a competent person, writing without bias, and unwarped by a leaning to a favourite opinion. I will, however, take the liberty of accommodating the form of his remarks to suit the several branches of my subject, and of slightly altering the phraseology to make it intelligible to the English reader.

heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day; wherefore the Lord blessed the seventh day, and hallowed it.” Here, then, at the precise moment of time to which our authors refer, all the verbs 66 made," " rested,blessed," and " hallowed,are in the same tense, and all in the past tense, and must refer to some past time previous to that; and to what time or to what antecedent event can this passage possibly refer, except to the time and event of the creation ?* I think it impossible for his Grace to explain away this proof.

* This seems a proper place for introducing a note from H. S., on a peculiarity of the Hebrew language in its mode of managing its verbs.

"The nature and construction of the Hebrew language is arborous, or partakes of the nature of a tree. Thus all parts of a verb spring from one particular part, (the third person singular of the preterite of Kal.) which is called its root. And thus, also, in a sentence, all the verbs draw their meaning and time from the first or principal one, and grow out of it, assuming from the leading verb their absolute or positive time, each of them bearing in itself a different time or tense relative to the leader.

“There is no regular present tense in the formation of the Hebrew verb: it is supplied by the participle and the verb “ to be," expressed or understood as in English, “ I am loving,is equivalent to I love.” The present, also, is sometimes expressed by the preter, and sometimes by the future, which assume the present signification from the context. Thus, if a present precedes or leads, (and the participles are always present,) the verb or verbs following, if connected by the letter vau, (as will be more particularly explained below,) is or are present also, although in themselves, without reference to the governing or leading verb, they are preter or future. But a leading preterite, or a leading future, in all cases, retains its proper sense, as will appear more plainly from what follows on the vau conversive.

- Vau conversive converts preters into futures, and futures into preters; as, “I will raise up (future) a prophet, and will put (preter) my words,” &c. This is the rule. “When two or more

Will he descend to the special pleading of saying, “ Oh! I made a mistake. Some authors say, that the sabbath was verbs are connected in Hebrew, the governing or leading verb expresses the absolute and general time to be understood throughout the series ; and the subordinate verbs are in this respect elliptical ; that is, have the temporal (tense) power of the verb by ideal communication implied in them; but relative time, or some other additional meaniig,is gnenerally expressed by their own proper intrinsic power. And sometimes the modal or personal power of a governing verb is understood in them.”

According to this rule, when the governing or leading verb in a series is preterite, the subordinate is generally future: future as expressing what is subsequent to that expressed by the governing verb; but preter, in sense, as carrying on the time of the leading verb. And conversely, when the leading verb is future, the subordinate may be preter, as expressing what is to precede the leading verb; but future in sense, as carrying on the time of the leader. So that the governing verb is simple, its own proper time and the absolute time being the same: and the subordinate is complex, as implying the time of the governing verb, and expressing relative time by its own proper power. Thus, in Gen, i. 1, “ createdis preter, and accordingly extends its time through the whole series of verbs con.. nected with it in the chapter,—and this even though an incidental sentence, not so connected, may intervene; as, “Let there be light :” for the connexion of time is resumed after such incidental sentences :-“ And God said,” future (as subsequent in act, to created) converted into preter in sense, the time being derived from “ created,by the connecting link of vau conversive. And so on with, “ And God divided,And God called the light,&c. But it must be remembered, that it is not the vau which converts, but the governing verb, which transmits its power down through the vau, or any other conjunction. The very meaning of vau expresses connexion, as it signifies a hook,or link.”-H. S.

'In Gen. ii.3," he sanctified” and.“he blessed,” are future in tense, and preter in sense, being connected with the leading verb, which is preter. And in Exod. xx. 11,"he blessed” is the leading verb, and preter, both in tense and in sense; and “ he hallowed” is future in tense, and preter in sense, being connected with a leading preter.'-H. S.

instituted a fortnight before, at the wilderness of Sin; that must have been the past time, when it was blessed and hallowed.” But even this miserable plea I cannot leave them. When I come to consider that transaction, I hope to prove that the sabbath was not instituted then. For our present purpose, it is sufficient to say, that during the whole course of that transaction, not one word is said about blessing or sanctifying the sabbath.

But some one may say, (I don't think his Grace would,) that Moses has not given the words of the commandments precisely as they were spoken. But the testimony of Moses himself is decidedly against him. I have before alluded to the words prefixed to the commandments in Exod. xx. “ God spake these words.” And in Deut. v. 22, he asserts that the words which he had given in the commandments in the preceding verses, were the words actually spoken. “ THESE WORDS the Lord spake unto all your assembly in the mount, out of the midst of the fire, of the cloud, and of the thick darkness, with a great voice: and he added no more. And he wrote them in two tables of stone, and delivered them unto me.”

Hence it appears that the words which Moses gives, both in Exodus and in Deuteronomy, are the very words which were delivered, and the very words which were written on the two tables of stone. It is quite immaterial whether Moses, in the above quotation, means the first tables or the second tables; for the second tables were an exact copy of the first. Exod. xxxiv. 1. “ I will write upon these tables the words that were in the first tables, which thou brakest.” And in Deut. ix. 10, in speaking of the first tables, he says, “And the Lord delivered unto me two tables of stone, written with the finger of God; and on them was written according to all the words, which the Lord spake with you out of the midst of the fire in the mount in the day of the assembly.”

« AnteriorContinuar »