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of men, who for the sake of honor, call a man strong in authority, by the name of many.'
'Against the first, opinion observe this rule: that a noun of a plural termination, having in use the singular from which it is derived, is never taken in a singular acceptation. But Elohim has its singular Eloah,' (for the references see note.)—' Besides, other nouns of a plural termination which want the singular, are not put before a singular verb, but this noun is commonly construed with the singular, Ottvn mi Lastly, that Elohim is not only plural in its form, but also in its signification, will plainly appear to any one who considers the use of the word when translated Judges, Angels,' &c.
'Against the second opinion observe: If on account of many powers or qualities being comprehended in one, a word is to be taken in the plural number with the adjunct of a singular verb, it must follow, that if there be many virtues in one thing and you wish to express them in one word, you should t take the plural number of this word with a verb in the singular. Thus, a physician about to describe the virtues of a
prietates, alii ad hominum consuetudinem referunt, qui honoris causa, multitudinis voce virum autoritate pollentem nuncupent.
Contra primam opinionem observa hanc re'gulam: quodcunque nomen terminatione multitudinis suum singulare habet usitatum, a quo formetur, id pro singulari re nunquam accipitur. Jam vero Elohim habet suum singulare Eloah. Job 4. v. 9 cap. 12. v. 4. cap. 15. v. 8. cap. 36. v. 2. Psal. 18. v. 32. Psal. 114. v. 7. Habac. 3. v. 3.
Praeterea nomina reliqua, terminatione pluralia, significatione singu laria, non pratermittuntur verbo singulari, Dtt^n N-o. Denique quid Elohim non solum voce plurale sit, sed etiam significatu, liquet consideranti usum vocis translate ad Judices et Angelos, &c.
Contra secundam opinionem observa: Si propter multas virtutes in reliqua comprehensas vox quaedam usurpanda esset in plurali numero, cum adjuncto verbo singulari, sequeretur, si in una re multte essent virtutes, et eas velis una voce omnes explicare, sumendum esse itidem ejus vocis pluralem numerum cum verbo singulari. Sic medicus de
rose, ought to say, Roses has the virtue, of cooling, of strengthening the brain,' &c
'Against the third opinion, which is that of Aben Ezra and others, observe: that in all other languages in which the plural number is used for the singular, (for the sake of hon- « or) the noun substantive always remains singular, only the pronouns and the verbs are changed; for example, We, Rodolphus, by the grace of God, command: but in the case before us the plural noun has added to it the singular verb.'
We would add to this important remark of Gerhard, that the whole practise of using the plural for the singular is confined to the first and second personal pronouns, and is never extended to the tthird, nor to the proper names of individuals, In the case of kings, and authors, and public speakers, custom has established the use of the personal pronoun, We, and Us, and in common parlance we say You instead of Thou to private individuals. But the verbs in such cases always agree with their pronominal subject, and in no case is the third person affected by this custom, for the very simple reason that if it were, all historical and narrative accuracy must be destroyed. Therefore although the king and the author say, We^-the first, perhaps, because he is the embodied power of the nation, and the second, possibly, because he represents a class of men—yet no historian ever said, They, or These: when he spoke of one king or of one author. Neither did any historian ever put the plural form to the proper name of a king, in order to express his majesty.
scripturus vires Rosae, dicere debuit: Roses habet virtulem refrigerandi, cerebrum roborandi, &c.
Contra tertiam opinionem, quae est Aben-Ezrae et aliorum, observa: In reliquis Iinguis, quibus pluralis numerus pro singular! in usu est, nomen substantiae manere singulare; pronomina autem et verba mutari v. g. Nos Dei gratid Rudolphus mandamus: hie autem nomen personae habet sibi additum verbum singulare.
Nay, in the very strongest style of human royalty, the case contended for by the anti-trini'tarian never occurred. 'We, William the fourth, by the grace of Gotif kings of Great Britain,' would be a novelty in any language'upon earth: and much worse would the case appear if the historian should say, Kings fought, and authors wrote, when the reader was to understand but one king and one author. Very strange, therefore, has it seemed to us, that in the grammar and Chrestomathy of that deservedly eminent Hebrew scholar, Prof. Stuart, this plain distinction between the first and third person, and between the pronouns and the nouns, should have been so entirely overlooked. In page 110 of the Chrestomathy, nearly twenty examples are given as being favorable to the broad application of the rule of the plural of excellence, and there is not one which does not resolve itself into the well known modern usage of the first personal pronoun, the verb agreeing with the nominative. But what real application has this to the sacred historian relating what • God did and said in the third person, the noun too being plural and the verb singular 1 This last learned author observes, indeed, that thepluralis excellentiae, in respect to the names of God, ' seems now to be generally conceded.' And much do we fear that his own high influence as a scholar and theologian has been greatly instrumental in producing the supposed appearance of this universal concession. Entertaining the highest esteem for his acquirements and his character, and cheerfully acknowledging that we make no pretensions to a comparison with him in any question o^philology, and least of all in a point of Hebrew criticism, yet we must take leave to dissent from this assertion. And we venture still farther to ask whether concession to the antagonists of Christian verity is an offering which the defenders of the faith can ever be justified in making, unless they can be well assured that the Universal Church,
of which each man is but a member, cannot be injured by the concession? It i» demonstrably certain, that from the second century fa the present hour, the great body of Christian writers have attached considerable importance to the plural form of expression in the Old Testament, of which the present subject is a part. And we would seriously 'ask, whether the public advocate of orthodoxy can ever be justifiable in abandoning to his antagonists the ground occupied by thousands of his predecessors, only because he cannot see the importance of retaining it? We would ask, whether it is not enough, in every such case, to be silent, and leave a particular argument, of which we cannot see the force, to those who think they can? Candor, indeed, requires, that we never urge on another, sentiments which we do not truly entertain: but do not wisdom and modesty seem to demand, quite as imperiously, that we should not volunteer the making concessions, when contending for the truth of God, for which our friends and brethren will not thank us, and which the adversary will take, not as a free gift, but as a spoil, and use as a triumphant weapon against orthodoxy for ever after?
But let us return to the argument of Gerhard, from which we have unconsciously made so long a digression, (d) 'We say therefore,' says he, 'that the mystery of the plurality of persons in the Trinity, lies hidden in the word Elohim; according to the dispensation of that period, and to the mode of revelation usual in the Old Testament. Nor can any other sure and constant reason be assigned for the assumption of the plural number by the Deity, but the plurality of persons. Hence the Rabbi Hunna says
(d) § 31. 'Dicimus ergo latere in voce Elohim mysterium piurali. tatis personarum in.Trinitate, pro dispensatione, ac modo patefactionis in Vet. Testam. usitatae. Neque enim potest alia certa et constans ratio reddi pluralis numo/i de Deo usurpati quam personarum pluralitas. of this form of expression; Unless this word had been thus written, it would not have been lawful for any one to have spoken in such a manner. And observe further, that this word Elohim is found in many places, not only with the singular verb, but also in construction with verbs and adjectives in the plural, which still more manifestly shows the plurality of the persons in the Deity, for it is not usual that a plural verb or adjective should be joined to one person.'
One citation more from the Instit. Theolog. Dop/mat. of the distinguished Buddeus, Ed. Lips. 1723. p. 259, must clpse this chapter, already extended to an unexpected length. Speaking of this word, Elohim, this learned theologian says, (e) 'What is principally, however, to be observed about this word, is that it is usually found in the plural form, more rarely in the singular, in which however, it is by no means deficient. Learned men are accustomed to dispute among themselves sharply about the causes of this peculiarity. There are who think the plurality of persons in the Divine essence is signified not obscurely by this number of multitude; and this the more, because no probable reason can otherwise be asssigned, why this word should be found so constantly in the plural. This opinion neverthe
Hinc Rab. Hunna de hac loquendi forma dixit: Nisi hie dermo sic esset scriptut, nemini ita loqui licuissel. Observa autem vocem Elohim non tantum cum singulari, sed etiam cum verbo et adjectivo pluralibus constructam in quibusdam locis invemri, et tunc manifestius indicantut plures personae Deitatis: non enim consuevit verbum vel adjectivum plurale uni personee tribui."
(e) Praecipuum autem, quod de voce hacce adhuc observandum, hoc est, quod plerumque in plurali numero adhibeatur: rarius in singulari, quo neutiquam destituitur. Id vero quamnam caussam fiat, acri. ter inter se disceptare viri docti solent. Sunt enim qui personarum in essentia divina pluralitatem isto multitudinis numero haud obscure significari existimant; idque eo magis, quod nulla caeteroquin probabiIts adferri ratio queat, cur vox haecce tam constanter in multitudinis nu