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guages of which I have any competent knowledge, has not failed to affect our conceptions of that great incomprehensible Being, to whom the sincere christian is taught to look up for comfort and support, in every act of adoration and obedience. Whereas, this comfortable aspect would have been presented to our thoughts in a much more obvious and striking manner, if the significant distinction between the Hebrew words, • JEHOVAH,” • ALEIM,' had been, or could have been, retained in our language. Nay matters might still be a little remedied, if this distinction could only be infused into our use, and application of our devotional terms “ LORD GOD." which, I have reason to fear, are looked upon as wholly synonimous, and of the same import.
It is indeed by a promiscuous use and acceptation of these terms, to which the defective nature of the English language does, in some respect, subject us, that we lose so much, if not all the energy of precept, and influence of motive, which characterized the faith and practice of the old believers, and which they evidently beheld and recognized in the appellations, which they were accustomed to bestow on the great and gracious object of their worship. Thus, for instance, in the Mosaic precept', which our Saviour has sanctioned with the title of the first and great commandment,' “ Thou “shalt love-79798 777, Jehovah Aleika the LORD
· Deut. vi. 3i
“ thy God, it would immediately occur to the then faithful, from the distinctive qualities of this twofold name, what reason or motive they had for loving Jehovah, this supreme Being-not because of his Essence, or infinite perfections, which were the same to all nations, and above human contemplation ; but because he was “ Aleim," to his own peculiar people, because he possessed some quality which applied immediately to them, some relation which, of whatever character, or of whatever extent, called for, and could not fail to excite, their love. Thus again, in the
Thus again, in the rapturous exclamation of the Psalmist-" I trusted in thee. Jehovah, “I said, Thou art my Aleim',” and in that other passage of the same author, still more extensive “ Blessed are the people whose Aleim is Jehovah," or “ who have Jehovah for their Aleim", it is visible that the whole emphasis of the Psalmist's language rests on the relative sense of the appellation · Aleim, and excites in the mind a conception of somewhat or other ; some peculiarity, which however is not only obscured, but lost sight of altogether in the English version“ Blessed are the people, whose
God is Jehovah,," or " who have Jehovah for “ their God.” But the matter is so plain, as to require no further proof; in which case, it is left to the meditation of the biblical student; and I shall merely recommend to him this original and important distinction between the terms · Aleim' and • Jehovah,' as an useful key for opening up the LETTER XVI.
I Psalm xssi. 14.
2 Ps. cxliv. 15.
particular import, and illustrating the meaning of many passages in the Old Testament, where these words · Jehovah Aleim,' · LORD GOD,' occur. For without such a key, they may be found in apposition with each other, or in juxtaposition to each other, and yet be carelessly slurred over, as mere words of course, or, at the utmost, be regarded as a flourish of Eastern tautology; instances of which are so numerous, that I need not detain the reader with pointing them out.
Nor is this all ; for, I am firmly persuaded, that the distinction, for which I am now contending, would be of the greatest use in overcoming, if not in preventing the hurtful effects of those intricate subtleties, and metaphysical wrangling, which have so long involved the fundamental doctrine of christianity-a TRINITY IN UNITY; and which, by being so much indulged in, have perplexed the sound and orthodox christian beyond what can well be imagined.
us; it is
HAVING expressed my firm persuasion, that the original and important distinction between the terms · Aleim' and · Jehovah,' would be of great use in preventing the effects of much perplexing subtlety of expression, and metaphysical wrangling, which have taken place, on the subject before
it is proper that I should proceed to adduce something, beyond a mere speculative opinion, on this head. I shall therefore select, as the datum on which my opinion is founded, the following matter from the writings of the much applauded Dr Samuel Clarke. This author tells us, that “ the “word •Godin scripture, is never intended to ex
press philosophically his abstract metaphysical at-, “ tributes, but to raise, in us, a notion of his attri“butes relative to us, his supreme dominion, autho
rity, power, justice, goodness ', &c. And again, he
says, The word, “O:G–God,' has, in Scrip“ ture, and in all books of morality, and religion, " a relative signification, and not, as in metaphysi
See "Script. Doctrine," p. 296.
“ cal books, an absolute one: as is evident from the “ relative terms, which, in moral writings, may be joined with it, as we say, · My God,' &c. But
metaphysically we cannot say, · My infinite sub" stance',” &c.
Had this acute sophist known, (as I have no certainty whether he did know or not), or, if he had known, had he attended (as I am certain he has not attended) to the obvious meaning of the Hebrew titles · ALEIM’ and · JEHOVAH,' there had been both sense and truth in what these quotations from his works contain. But, upon the plan which he has assumed, there is neither sense, nor truth, in them. Constituting however, as they do, the groundwork of all Dr Clarke's theological sophistry, we are furnished, by their means, with a powerful argument for the distinction, which ought to exist, and which ought to have, at all times, existed, between the original designations of Deity. Instead of marking this distinction, Dr Clarke has confounded them together; and substituted in their room, the unrneaning word • God;' and thereby, contrary to every rule of sound logic, has obscured the conceptions, which revelation would otherwise have furnished, of the Supreme Being.
. It has been objected, and, in my opinion, justly objected to Dr Clarke, that, in his elaborate work
! See Reply to Bishop Gastrell, p. 284.