Page images
PDF
EPUB

a Pe treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to wor- Gaza. 1, 4747. gar&ra,

ship,

28 Was returning; and, sitting in his chariot, read Esaias the prophet.

29 Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.

30 And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest?

31 And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him.

32 The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter ; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth": may be admitted to strengthen the Scripture account. He tells us-Τούτων δε ήσαν και οι της βασιλίσσης στρατηγοί της Κανδάκης ή καθ' ημάς ήρξε τών Αιθιόπων ανδρική τις γυνή, lib. 17. Pearson, however, is of opinion that this authority is of little weight (c.)

(a) See Kuinoel in lib. Hist. N. T. vbl. iv. p. 313, and Pfeiffer dubia vexata, p. 939. (b) Plin. lib. vi. c. 29. ap. Benson, Pfeiffer, &c. (c) Pearson, section in Act. Apost. p. 72.

51 This quotation bas usually been classed among those which are taken from the Septuagint, and not from the original Hebrew. The difference between the Hebrew and the Septuagint appears at first sight to be considerable; that between the Šeptuagint and the Acts is very sligbt. It is indeed most probable that the Ethiopian would be reading that version which was in the most frequent or general use among the Hellenistic Jews in Egypt, a country which bordered so nearly upon his own; and where the Septuagint version had been sanctioned by the Alex. andrian Jews, and originally made under royal authority.

Pezronius (a) thinks the present reading is corrupt in the Hebrew, and the Greek version right. Alex. Morus (6) is of opinion that the original reading of the Hebrew was nips nayya TUBWD-in his affliction he was taken from his judgment: to which reading Wolfius would assent, altering only the position of the two last words. The latter critic supposes that was read for 2, and the 1 should be joined to the preceding word. Sic enim reddi, he observes, Ebræa possunt, propter angustiam et a judicio sublatus est, sive sublatum est judicium, quod idem plane est : nam cujus tollitur judicium, ille judicio seu condemnationi eximitur.

Doddridge conjectures that there must have been anotber reading in the copy used by the Septuagint translators. He original now stands, but nps won nxys-this supposition, however, is unsupported by manuscripts.

After a careful examination of these authorities, I cannot but think that the only alteration requisite is in the pointing of the first clause ; and that the Septuagint have properly expressed the meaning of the Hebrew. If a pause is placed after the words öv TATELVÚOEL, and after gyyn, the Greek would read thus, “ He opened not his mouth in his humiliation.” With respect to the Hebrew, it may be observed that the prefix is sometimes used in the sense of “ because of," " by reason of,"

as the מעצר וממשפט לקח considers this reading to have been not

Julian Pe 33 In his humiliation his judgment was taken away : Gaza. riod, 4747, and who shall declare his generation 52 ? for his life is Vulgar Æra,

taken from the earth.

34.

לקח

וממשפט

מעצר

פיו

לא יפתח

not

ούς

ούς

Exod. vi. 9. and the proper interpretation of 785, from the
same root, is “ to restrain," “ confine," &c. &c. The word
therefore implies affliction or humiliation, and may be rendered
“ because of restraint,” or “ because of affliction or humilia-
tion.” With respect to the second clause, “and from judg-
ment,” it is evident that the sense is the same, even as the pas-
sages now stand. “And he was taken from judgment,” is the
Hebrew phrase, signifying, “ he was removed from, or deprived
of, a just judgment." "His judgment was taken away," is the
translation of the New Testament and Septuagint, that is, “His
just judgment was not allowed him.". The same circumstance is
expressed, whether we say that a criminal was deprived of a
fair trial, or a fair trial was not allowed him : nor would the
variation in the language justify the charge of inaccuracy, if the
two phrases were indiscriminately used. If these remarks may
be thought correct, we may avoid all recourse to the unwar.
rantable mode of inventing a various reading to reconcile a sup-
posed diserepancy.
Hebrew.

:
English Translation of the Hebrew.
He was taken and from judgment from prison

his mouth

he opened
Septuagint.
ήρθη η κρίσις αυτού έν τη ταπεινώσει το στόμα ανοίγει

Greek Testament.
ήρθη η κρίσις αυτού εν τη ταπεινώσει αυτού το στόμα αυτού ανοίγει

English Translation of the N. T. & LXX.
was taken away his judgment in bis humiliation bis mouth he opened

Proposed mode of reading the above, so as not to alter either the Hebrew or the Septuagint:-Place the pause after yxyd, and Tanelvúoel, rendering the former phrase by the words “ because of restraint or affliction;" or “humiliation,” giving the full signification in the second clause of the word ovn, in which case it will appear evident, that the meaning of both expressions will be the same.

restraint Hebrew-He opened not his mouth, because of affliction ; and from a just judgment he was taken away.

Sept. and N. T.-He opened not his mouth in his bumiliation; and his just judgment was taken away.

(a) Antig. Tempor. restit. p. 167. ap. Wolfii. cur. Philolog. vol. ii. p. 1134. (b) Ap. Wolfium ut supra.

52 Bishop Lowth remarks on the parallel passage of Isaiah liii. 8.--My learned friend Dr. Kennicolt has communicated to me the following passages from the Mishna, and the Gemara of Babylon, as leading to a satisfactory explication of this difficult place. It is said in the former, before any one was punished for a capital crime, proclamation was made before the prisoner by

these * quicunque noverit aliquid de ejus innocentia, veniat et doceat de eo."-Tract. Sanhedrim. Šurenhus. par. iv. p. 233. On which passage the Gemara of Babylon adds, that “ before the death of Jesus, this proclamation was made for forty days; but no defence could bo sound.” On which words Lardner ob

not

ian Pe 34 And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I
1, 4747. thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this ? of himself, or
igar Era,

of some other man 53 ?

pray Gaza.

serves, “ It is truly surprizing to see such falsities, contrary to
well known facts."-Testimonies, vol. i. p. 198. The report is
certainly false : but this false report is founded on the supposi.
tion, that there was such a custom, and so far confirms the ac-
count above given from the Mishna. The Misbna was compos-
ed in the middle of the second century, according to Prideaux;
Lardner ascribes it to the year of Christ 180.

Casaubon has a quotation from Maimonides, which further
confirms this account: Exercit. in Baronii Annales, Art. 86.
Ann. 34. Num. 119. “ Auctor est Maimonides in Pirck 13. ejus
Libri ex opere Jad, solitum fieri, ut cum Reus, sententiam
mortis passus, a loco judicii exibat ducendus ad supplicium,
præcederet ipsum 77727, kqpvě, præc ; et bæc verba diceret.
Ille exit occidendus morte illa, quid transgressus est transgres-
sione illa, in loco illo, tempore illo, et sunt ejus rei testes ille et
ille. Qui noverit aliquid ad ejus innocentiam probandam, ve-
piat, et loquatur pro eo."

Now it is plain from the history of the four Evangelists, that in the trial and condemnation of Jesus no such rule was observed, (though, according to the account of the Mishna, it must have been in practice at that time ;) no proclamation was made for any person to bear witness to the innocence and character of Jesus ; nor did any one voluntarily step forth to give his attestation to it. And our Saviour seems to refer to such a custom, and to claim the benefit of it, by his answer to the High Priest, when he asked him of his disciples, and of his doctrine “I spake openly to the world ; I ever taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort; and iu secret have I said nothing. Why askest thou me ask them which heard me, what I bave said unto them : behold, they know what I said.” John xviii. 20, 21. This, therefore, was one remarkable instance of hardship and injustice, among others, predicted by the prophet, which our Saviour underwent in his trial and sufferings.

St. Paul likewise, in similar circumstances, standing before the judgment seat of Festus, seems to complain of the same unjust treatment; that no one was called, or would appear to vindicate his character. “My manner of life (Tiv Bivou poū, 0977,) from my youth, which was at first among my own nation at Jerusalem, know all the Jews: which knew me from the beginning, if they would testify; that after the straitest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee.” Acts xxvi. 4,5. 777 signifies age, duration, the time, which one man, or many together pass in this world, in this place, the course, tenor, or manner of life. The verb 777'signifies according to Castell, '" ordinatam vitam sive ætatem egit, ordinavit, ordine constituit.” In Arabic, "curavit, administravit.”-Lowth's Isaiah, notes, p. 240.

sa We have been so accustomed, and that rightly, both on the internal evidence and on the testimony of the Jewish Church, and the Church as well as on that of the contents of this section, to apply the words of Isaiah to our Lord, that many readers will be much surprized to hear that various other interpretations have been given, even by Christian theologians. There is a long list of names of authors mentioned by Kuinoel, with the opinions they have espoused. Doederlein, by the servant of Jehovah, (Isai. lii. 13.) of whom the prophet continues to speak in the ensuing chapter, understands the Jewish people. Others

Julian Pe 85 Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the Gaza. riod, 4747. VulgarÆra,

same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. 34.

36 And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water : and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized s?

37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

38 And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.

39 And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philips, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.

40 But Philip was found at Azotus: and passing through, he preached in all the cities, till he came to Cesarea.

SECTION XXX.
Many of the Converts who had fled from Jerusalem, in

consequence of the Persecution there, preach the Gospel
to the Jews in the Provinces.

ACTS viïi. 4.
4 Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every The Pro-
where preaching the word 56.

vince of Jo

dea, &c. the pious Jews; others the converted Gentiles, and others the prophets after the captivity. Some suppose it to mean Cyrus ; Grotius imagines Jeremiah to have been designed. Many approve the decision the treasurer of Candace was about to arrive at, and conclude the prophet himself to bave been meant. Some refer the words to Hezekiah, others to Uzziah. See Kuinoel in lib. Hist. N. T. p. 317. and Doddridge's note in loc. Dr. Ham. mond too has intimated, that this prophecy might have been fulfilled in some one who lived shortly after Isaiah. The Jews interpret it“ of the aflictions of Israel ;" but see Schoetgen, vol ii.

54 This verse is wanting in a great number of manuscripts. Griesbach, Matthai, Michaelis, &c. &c. would expunge it from the canon. In the manuscripts where it is fouud it is read variously. Whitby would retain it, observing, that the verse was probably omitted, in later times, because it opposed the delay of baptism, which the catechumens experienced before they were admitted into the early Church.

55 The reading in the Alexandrian and some other manuscripts, is, “ the Holy Spirit fell upon the eunuch, but an angel of the Lord took away Philip,” which is probably the true reading.

56 This section gives an account of the state of the infant Church at this time, and may be considered as an introduction to the bis. tory of St. Paul. By bim the new converts bad been compelled to fly from Jerusalem, and he was now persocuting them even to strange cities; not only to Damascus, but to other adjacent towns.

I would refer to this period the publication of St. Matthew's

34.

Julian Pe- Gospel. Both the fathers and beretics of the early Church The Proried, 4747. have

unitedly acknowledged that the first Gospel was written by vince of JuVulgar Era, this Evangelist, and at an early date. It was very improbable that dea, &c.

a long space of time should be allowed to elapse, without any
attempt on the part of the apostles to supply the converts with
a published account of the life and sufferings of the blessed
Jesus ; particularly as those converts who had not seen the
miracles of our Lord, or of his apostles, were prevented by the
furious persecution which was now going on, from regularly
attending the Christian assemblies. The Church consisted,
at this time, solely of Jewish believers, and the first Gospel was
primarily intended for the iostruction of the Jews in Jerusalem
and in Judea. This purport was as uniformly asserted and
believed, as its early composition. His Gospel, doubtless, says
Dr. Towoson, was designed for the benefit of the Universal
Church, as well immediately by the history and doctrine of
Christ, as mediately by a right institution of the Jewish be-
lievers, who were to be the first teachers of the Gentiles. But
the Holy Spirit, under wbose influence it was written, seems
to have guided, or left St. Matthew to recite many particulars
more directly relative and interesting to the Jews. This is meant
by saying, that he wrote for their instruction. And this was
the sense of antiquity.

We read in Justin Martyr's Apology, that the Jews circu.
lated among their brethren, their own invented account of the
resurrection, (Matt. xxviii. 13.) imputing the removal of the
body to the spoliation of the tomb by the apostles. This cir-
cumstance affords an additional proof of the great probability that
St. Matthew would publish his Gospel at an early period, and
address it to the Jews, to counteract the erroneous statement of
the authorities at Jerusalem. As St. Matthew had held a public
office under the gorernment, it was most probable that he was
selected to write the history of his blessed Lord's life, as being
more known than the other disciples, and therefore the most
likely to excite attention.

Bishop Tomline remarks, that the apostles, immediately after the descent of the Holy Ghost, which took place only ten days after the ascension of our Saviour into heaven, preached the Gospel to the Jews with great success : and surely it is reasonable to suppose that an authentic account of our Saviour's doctrines and miracles would very soon be committed to writing for the confirmation of those who believed in his divine mission, and for the conversion of others; and more particularly to enable the Jews to compare the circumstances of the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus, with their ancient prophecies relative to the Messiah : and we may conceive that the apostles would be desirous of losing no time in writing au account of tbe miracles which Jesus performed, and of the discourses which he delivered, because, the sooner such an account was published, the easier it would be to inquire into its truth and accuracy; and consequently when these points were satisfactorily ascertained, the greater would be its weight and authority (a). On these accounts the learned prelate assigns the date of St. Matthew's Gospel to the year 38.

The sacred writers, says Mr. Horoe, from whom I extract the principal part of the remainder of this note, had a regard to the circumstances of the persons for whose use they wrote, and we hare therefore an additional evidence for the early date of this Gospel, in the state of persecution in which the Church was at the time when it was written: for it contains many obvious references to such a state, and many very apposite addresses both to the injuring and to the injured party 7b). During this VOL. II,

G

« PreviousContinue »