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regard to the decision of this particular question, as stated in the above extract from his sermon, much as the authority of bishop Horsley deserves to be respected, and much as we are bound to defer to his deliberate opinion upon any point which concerns the interpretation of the Old or New Testament, I cannot hesitate to declare my conviction, that nothing can be more unsatisfactory, than this method of solving the difficulties of scripture, nothing more vague and indefinite, than this mode of explaining its language.
For in the first place, it is not the Princes of Persia, as the representation of the bishop would imply, of whom the Angel speaks at Daniel x. 13 and 20, but the Prince of Persia. He speaks, it is true, of the Kings of Persia, at verse 13; but under a different name from that which he gives to the Prince of Persia, and not in the singular, as there, but in the plural. Nor let any one imagine that this objection is merely verbal, and a captious exception against an unguarded use of words; or that it proceeds on the supposition of a distinction without a difference. The use of words in speaking upon this subject should be regulated by the language of scripture; which gives us authority for speaking of the Prince of Persia, but none for speaking of the Princes of Persia. And as to the supposition of a distinction without a difference—the truth may turn out to be, that between the Kings of Persia and the Prince of Persia, in the language of scripture, there may be the widest difference; and how many soever these Kings of Persia might be, there could be only one such Prince.
In the next place, supposing the Prince of Persia, in this instance, and the Prince of Grecia, in the next, to denote a political party of some kind or other, the one in Persia, the other in Greece; what shall we under
stand by the Prince of Tyrus, apostrophized in Ezekiel xxviii. 2-19? The Prince of Tyrus is a mode of speaking analogous to the Prince of Persia, or the Prince of Grecia ; and if that mode of speaking is scriptural language for a faction or party, in either of these instances, it seems only reasonable to conclude that it must be scriptural language for a faction or party in the other. True it is, that Ezekiel uses a different word, xxviii. 2, to describe this Prince, from that which is employed, Daniel x. 13 and 20, to designate the Prince of Persia, or the Prince of Greece; but a word which denotes Prince as much as that, and is translated apxwv by the Septuagint version, in Ezekiel, as much as the other by Theodotion, in the book of Daniel. Now what faction or party can possibly be intended by Ezekiel's apostrophe to the Prince of Tyrus, ch. xxviii. 2-19? or as he is there also denominated, the anointing and covering cherub? If so, the Prince of Tyrus in this passage of Ezekiel, is not scriptural language for a political party; and by parity of consequence, neither the Prince of Persia nor the Prince of Grecia, in Daniel: for the one is precisely analogous to the other; and in the stated use of terms, the one must mean something analogous to the other. Bishop Horsley, indeed, has not considered this text; because it was not one of those which occurred in the Book of Daniel. But that it might obviously have been suggested by those which do occur there, and that if it presented itself, it was deserving of a few words of explanation to reconcile it with them, no one, perhaps, will deny.
Again, it is a singular violence to the common use of words, and a singular departure from the established modes of speech, to call a party or faction the Prince of Persia, or the Prince of Grecia; especially when we
consider the word which is employed in each of these instances. This word in the original is : which the Septuagint renders by σтparnyòs, Theodotion and others of the Hexapla by apxwv: and it properly denotes a captain, commander, or governor. But what propriety would there be in calling a party or faction the στρατηγὸς or ἄρχων of Persia, or the στρατηγὸς or apxov of Greece, particularly when it appears that this faction or party was not dominant or ruler in either; but that Persia at least, if not Greece, had its king or its ruler, strictly so called, and distinct from this faction or party, all the time?
But again, that we may waive the objection from the use of language altogether, what shall we say to the singular anachronism, involved in the bishop's opinion, that a Prince of Persia, and a Prince of Greece, whether some one person or a party of persons, whom the angel Gabriel so plainly describes as existing, and acting in their proper capacity, at least as early as the third of Cyrus, should neither begin to exist, nor to act, until 48 years later than the third of Cyrus, in one of these instances, and 211 years later in the other? For between the third of Cyrus, B. C. 534, and the death of Darius Hystaspis, B. C. 486, which the bishop assumes as the date of the rise of one of these parties, the interval is 48 years; and between the same date and the death of Alexander, B. C. 323, which he assumes as the date of the rise of the other, the interval is 211.
Again, if the Prince of Persia and the Prince of Grecia are to be understood of a party or faction, the one in Persia and the other in Greece; then these terms, instead of denoting a person or persons in either of these instances, denote an abstraction in both: for that a party or faction, as opposed to a personal agent,
is a mere abstraction, no one, I should think, will deny. What shall we say, then, to the representation of the angel Gabriel, that this Prince of Persia or this Prince of Greece, or both, that is, this mere abstraction-this mere generality—this simple notion of an accident without a subject-was the proper coordinate, but opposing, principle, or as the Greek language would express it, the avriaToxov, of himself and Michael? the proper antagonist with whom they had both been contending for twenty-one years past or more, before this interview with Daniel, and with whom they should have to contend for some time, more or less, to come, even after this interview with the prophet? Will it be maintained that Gabriel is not a person, or that Michael is not a person? And if not, how can it be contended that the proper antagonist principle of both, or of either of them, can be other than a person also? For what can be the coordinate of a person, as such, but a person, as such? or of an abstraction as such, but an abstraction as such? We have an example of this distinction, and an argument in point to the proper use of terms with reference to it, at 2 Cor. vi. 14, 15: where St. Paul is contrasting the most opposite things together, and strictly coordinate or avrioтoixa-yet some of them in the abstract, others in the concrete. μετοχὴ, says he, δικαιοσύνῃ καὶ ἀνομίᾳ ; τίς δὲ κοινωνία φωτὶ πρὸς σκότος ; ἢ τίς μερὶς πιστῷ μετὰ ἀπίστου; Here we have one abstract conception opposed to another, each to its proper correlative, considered as contraries; but all as abstract alike. But when he proceeds to subjoin, τίς δὲ συμφώνησις Χριστῷ πρὸς Βελίαρ; he opposes a real person to a real, and no longer an abstraction to an abstraction: for that Christ is an actual person, there can be no doubt, and that Beliar opposed to him, is the same, will be as little disputed, when it
is considered that in the language of St. Paul, and indeed of the Christians of the time, Beliar is but another name for Satan. The natural inference, then, from the particular language of the Angel in Daniel should be, that the Prince of the kingdom of Persia, or the Prince of Greece, must be as much an individual person and a real agent, as himself or Michael; and that if himself and Michael were not only real, but superhuman beings, the Prince of Persia and the Prince of Greece were real and superhuman beings also: for as reality in general can be properly opposed to nothing but reality in general, on the one hand; so reality of a particular kind can be properly opposed only to a corresponding reality, on the other. Tried by this rule, as a real or personal agent can have only a real or personal antagonist, and an individual personal agent only an individual personal antagonist; so a spiritual or transcendental, but personal agent, can have only a spiritual or transcendental, though personal opponent.
And as to the doctrine of tutelar or guardian angels, without venturing to express a decided opinion of my own upon it, or entering on a discussion which I consider to be foreign to the present question, I cannot help observing, that in calling it an abominable doctrine, the bishop has used too harsh a term; and in charging it with a direct tendency to polytheism, to idolatry, or to angel-worship, he charges it with consequences to which it is not justly liable. For it was never intended by this doctrine, as far as I understand it, to take the government of the universe out of the hands of the one great Lord and Master of all, or to transfer to the creature, however dignified and exalted, the honour which is due to the Creator. It was never intended by it to teach or inculcate the belief of any