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Julian Pe Humanity, Divinity, Atonement, and Intercession of Italy. riod, 4775.
Christ, the Superiority of the Gospel to the Law,
sume any public character when writing to their department,
Clement of Alexandria, Jerome, Euthalius, Chrysostom, The-
1st. In this Epistle the apostle does not, according to his usual practice, make frequent exhortations to brotherly love and unity, because it was sent to Christian communities in Pa. lestine, which consisted wholly of Jewish converts. It is true that the author speaks of brotherly love (xiii. 1.) where he says, “Let brotherly love continue;" but he speaks only in general terms, and says nothing of unity between Jewish and Heathen converts. Moreover, he uses the word “continue,” which implies that no disunion had actually taken place among its members.
2ndly. The persons to whom it was addressed, were evidently in imminent danger of falling back from Christianity to Judaism, induced partly by a severe persecution, and partly by the faise arguments of the rabbins. This could hardly have happened to several communities at the same time, in any other country than Palestine, and therefore we cannot suppose it of several communities of Asia Minor, to which, in the opinion of some commentators, the Epistle was addressed. Christianity enjoyed from the tolerating spirit of the Roman laws and the Roman magistrates, throughout the empire in general, so much religious liberty, that out of Palestine it would have been diflicult to have effected a general persecution. But, through the influence of the Jewish sanhedrim in Jerusalem, the Christians in that country underwent several severe persecutions, especially during the high-priesthood of the younger Ananus, when St. James and other Christians suffered martyrdom.
3rdly. In the other Epistles of St. Paul, more particularly those to the Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians, we shall
Julian Pe and the real Object and Design of the Mosaic Insti- Italy. riod, 4775. * Vulgar Æra,
find there is no apprehension of any apostasy to Judaism, and
4thly. According to Josephus several persons were put to
5thly. The declarations in Heb. i. 2. and iv. 12. and particu. larly the exhortation in ii. 1-4. are peculiarly suitable to the believers of Judea, where Jesus Christ himself first taught, and his disciples after him, confirming their testimony with very numerous and conspicuous miracles.
6thly. The people to whom this Epistle was sent were well acquainted with our Saviour's sufferings, as those of Judea must have been. This appears in Heh. i. 3; ii. 9. 18; v. 7, 8; ix. 14. 28; x. 11; xii. 2, 3; and xiii. 12.
7thly. The censure in v. 12. is most properly understood of Christians in Jerusalem and Judea, to whom the Gospel was first preached.
8thly. Lastly, the exhortation in Heb. xiii. 12–14. is very difficult to be explained, on the supposition that the Epistle was exclusively written to Hebrews who lived out of Palestine ; for neither in the Acts of the Apostles, nor in the other Epistles, do wo meet with an instance of expulsion from the synagogue merely for belief in Christ; on the contrary, the apostles themselves were permitted to teach openly in the Jewisha assemblies. But if we suppose that the Epistle was written to Jewish converts in Jerusalem, this passage becomes perfectly clear, and, Dr. Lardoer
Italy. riod, 4775. Vulgar Æra, The Apostle begins by asserting, that the Jewish and 62.
Christian Revelations were given by the same God, and observes, must have been very suitable to their case, especially if it was written only a short time before the commencement of the Jewish war, about the year 65 or 66. The Christians, on this supposition, are exhorted to endure their fate with patience, if they should be obliged to retire, or even be ignominiously expelled from Jerusalem, since Christ himself had been forced out of this very city, and had suffered without its walls. If we suppose, therefore, that the Epistle was written to the Hebrews of Jerusalem, the passage in question is clear: but on the hypothesis, that it was written to Hebrews, who lived in any other place, the words, “Let us go forth with him out of the camp, bearing his reproach," lose their meaning. The approaching day,” v. 25. can signify only the day appointed for the destruction of Jerusalem, and the downfall of the Jewish nation : but this event immediately concerned only the Hebrews of Pales. tine, and could have no influence in delerinining the conduct of the inhabitants of any other country.
Michaelis, in an elaborate dissertation (vol. iv. p. 186—268.) has endeavoured to set aside the authenticity of this Epistle, by the following positions :
1. That the style is so very different from that of St. Paul in his genuine Epistles, that he could not possibly have been the author of this Greek epistle, p. 252.
2. That it was originally written in Hebrew, but whether by St. Paul or not is doubtful, p. 257.
3. That it was early trapslated into Greek, but by whom is unknown, p. 247.
An hypothesis, says Dr. Hales, at once so dogmatical and sceptical, calculated to pull down, not to build up or edify; to uusettle tbe faith of wavering Christians, and to rob this most learned and most highly illuminated apostle, of his right and title to the most noble and most finished of all his compositions, and this tvo upon the paradoxical plea of its acknowledged excellence, both of style and subject (which none assents to more cheerfully tban Michaelis, p. 242, 243. 247.) imperiously demands our consideration; fortunately, this copious writer has furnished materials in abundance for his own refutation, from which we shall select a few.
I. Objections drawn from dissimilarity of style are often fan. ciful and fallacious. On the contrary, a striking analogy may be traced between this and the rest of St. Paul's Epistles, in the use of singular and remarkable words and compound terms ; in the mode of constructing the sentences by long and involved parentheses, &c. with this difference, however, that this being more leisurely written, and better digested in his confinement, is more compressed in its argument, and more polished in its style, than the rest, which were written with all the ease and freedom of epistolary correspondence, often in haste, during bis travels.
The following remarkable instances of analogy we owe to Micbaelis.
Ch. x. 33. Ocarpilóuevot, is an expression perfectly agreeable to St. Paul's mode of writing, as appears from 1 Cor. iv. 9. But since other writers may likewise have used the same metaphor, the application of it in tbe present instance shews only ibat St. Paul might have written the Epistle to the Hebrews ;
Julian Pe infers, therefore, that they must agree together, and ex- Italy. riod, 4775. Vulgar Æra,
plain each other-The Superiority of the Gospel is as62.
not that he really did write it, p. 256.-But, it is answered,
Ch. x. 30. 'Εμοί εκδίκησις, εγώ ανταποδώσω, is a quotation
A more decided instance of scepticism is rarely to be found. To any other the “presumptive argument” would appear irresistible, not to be overturned by a bare possibility, but a very high improbability ; since this remarkable renderiug is to be found in “ no other place,” but in these two passages, as he himself acknowledges. The present Septuagint reading is found in both the Vatican and Alexandrine, and was pro. bably therefore the original reading of the first century. The apostle's rendering, in both places, is more correct and critical than the Septuagint, in the first clause év vulpa évouchDEWS, which is only a paraphrase, not a translation, like his époi Škoixnous, of the Hebrew Op 5, and in the second the joint rendering ávratodúow is founded on a various reading, obwx, supported by a parallel verse, Deut. xxxii. 41. and followed not only by the Septuagint, but by the Syriac, Vulgate, and Chaldee. It is therefore greatly superior to the present Mazorete, oben, "and recompense,” supported only by the Arabic version, and followed by the English Bible, evidently for the worse. And the apostle has further improved upon the Septuagint, in the common term ávratodúow by the emphatic prefix 'Eyó, which makes it stronger, as appropriated to the Almighty, than even the original Hebrew, which wants the personal pronoun.
II. Michaelis asks, "Why did the author of the Syriac version translate this Epistle from the Greek, if the original was in Hebrew ?" p. 231.
serted, being given by the promised Son of God, the ap- Italy. riod, 4775. pointed Heir of all Things-Who, being the manifested Vulgar Æra, 62.
The Syriac version was the earliest of all, written in the apostolic age, and in the day of the apostle Adæus, Thaddæus, or Jude, according to the judicious Abulfaragi, and near the end of the first century, according to Michaelis, vol. ii. p. 30. If, then, this most ancient version was translated immediately from the Greek, surely the presumption is infinitely strong, that there was then no Hebrew original. This argument, indeed, furnished by himself, seems decisive also to prove the canonical authority of the Greek Epistle in the judgment of the Syriac translator; for why should he adopt the Epistle, unless written by the apostle to whom the voice of the Church had assigned it? Surely John or Jude the apostle would not have suffered it otberwise to have been admitted into the sacred canon, either of the Greek or Syriac Testament.
Assuming it, however, to have been written in Hebrew, Mi-
St. Paul, which most completely recoils upon himself, and
22. 'Αλλά προσεληλύθατε Σιών όρει.
But this mountain of Moses' is a creation of his own brain.
Michaelis was rather too fond of displaying his Oriental learding, and never surely was there a more unfortunate specimen than this.