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Observer, Feb. 1, 71.
authority and of promises to an elect twelve-and His appearance at the Father's side, above every angel and principality in the four-fold capacity of Prince, Ransom, Mediator, and Advocate, not forgetting that He is Lord, Lawgiver, High Priest, and Judge.
And we agree, I shall take for granted, that when Jesus entered the Holiest of All, after His ministry among men, the Holy Spirit, as a complete manifestation of Diety, comes from the Almighty Father and the Beloved Son, and endows the College of the Twelve at Jerusalem; and that forth with there is a new message of heavenly life and of love to be unfolded to every man in every nation. This new message we agree is called, in the New Covenant, the Gospel of Christ. We also unite in stating that when Christ's Gospel is first proclaimed in the current dispensation of grace, a multitude of people are converted—turned from the service of Satan to the service of the Saviour.
A query here. Are we of one mind relative to the law of conversion ? If so, I am disposed to allow every question of difference between us to pass over to Noah's flood, or to find rest in a paradise of oblivion. I respectfully claim that it is simply not possible for two positive Scotchmen to labour in heavenly unity if the law of converting a man from Satan to the Saviour is to be understood diversely. From the assembly of first converts, therefore, we may select a single convert, and ask him four questions in one : Where, when, how, and what parts of you were converted ? These questions are answered for him by me thus : 'I was converted in the city of Jerusalem. I was converted on the birthday of the New Covenant, fifty days after my Lord was crucified. I was converted by Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; the Godhead employing the preaching of the inspired proclaimers, so that hearing, receiving, and acting upon the testimonies proclaimed to convince me that Jesus is the Messiah, I was changed from å Jew to a Christian. I was wholly converted, my understanding, will, affections, words, name, and labours-my body, soul, and spirit were humbly and devoutly given to the Lord Jesus Christ. My former teachers and ralers condemned Jesus for blasphemy and disloyalty ; but I was fully persuaded by the Gospel, which embraced the needed evidences to convince me that Jesus is Lord of all and the Saviour of sinners. The Gospel was to me the power of God, and I became actively in love with the Messiah, enjoyed His promise of the pardon of my sins, received my share of the Holy Spirit as a member of the pardoned family, and ever since my heart has been glad in the fellowship of my Lord and His people, and in the hope of a blissful life with the glorified Redeemer.'
To sum up in brief: I understand the law of conversion is, looking God-ward and man-ward, that the Divine Father and the Divine Spirit unite to prove that Jesus is the Saviour; that the Apostles, in suitable words, proclaim Jesus the Saviour; and that a lost man who hears, believes in, and humbly obeys the Saviour, enjoys a new mind, a new heart, a new state, and a new life, embracing Gospel pardon, peace, fellowship, love, joy, and hope, not forgetting the Holy Spirit, which is part of the legacy given to every New Covenant believer.
Thus, without a syllable against any system or denomination, and without referring to a single uninspired author, living or dead, I have furnished from my religious standpoint a bird's-eye view of the law of conversion. Have I been candid ? If not, show my transgression freely and heartily. I have long been satiated and sickened in soul with unconsecrated controversy. I seek heavenly truth, heavenly favour, heavenly love, and heavenly spirit.'”
Observer, Feb. 1, 71,
Thus the question moves on, and thus it should move. Let there be conference, comparison, fair and full understanding of each, and no compromise.
SPURGEON ON A REAL CHRIST. * “WHEN the disciples saw Christ walking on the sea in a storm, there was nothing that should have given them greater comfort, yet, not regarding it as a real Christ, but simply as a phantom, they cried out for fear. People may so think of Christ, and so act towards Him that all the joy that His presence should bring may be turned into bitterness and grief. The power of a truth is generally best seen when it is embodied in a person. There are some who can live and die for an idea, but in order to arouse the enthusiasm of the many the idea must be incarnated in some man. Other things are very real to the Christian. His past sins are so. Shall, then, the sin be real, and not the blood that cleanses ? Shall the sin be wept for, and no rejoicing be felt that the blood and righteousness of Christ have removed every spot and wrinkle? Sinfulness, depravity, • the body of this death,' are also very real, and to counteract these, Christ formed in us, the hope of glory,' should be equally real. To the Christian his weakness is most real. He cannot handle one of Christ's tools without wishings that his hand were more fitted to it. When Jacob halted on his thigh, that was very real, and perhaps it helped him to recollect how real that night's work had been. But if the infirmity be real, shall not the Christ, whose power is magnified in it, be as real? The trials of the world are very real. Poverty, and hunger, and cold are no dream; and sickness and bodily weakness need no effort to realize them. Christ, then, the consolation, should be as real as the grief. The errors to be combated are real, though they usually spring from the land of unreality. Those who live in London know that it is a real age. The powers of evil seem to have awakened from a temporary slumber, and only real truths, real doctrines, and above all a real presence of a real Christ, can effectually deal with them. London's drunkenness, London's filthiness and lewdness, London's poverty and crime, are all real. The grave, too, and hell, eternity, and heaven are real. So should it be with regard to Christ. The believers should be able to say of Him Which our eyes have seen, and looked upon and our hands have handled.' It must get to a real eating and drinking, a real participation, and to a consciousness of that reality, or else the battle of life will never be won, and service for God will all be unsuccessful. Christ is real. He is real God, He was really incarnate. Bethlehem was no piece of stage-play. In that manger lay the Infinite, and on that woman's breast there did hang the Word made flesh. And that life on earth was real,—God walking the acres of Palestine, feeding the hungry, raising the dead, calming the billows, doing wonders. *
And the Cross was real. Whatever else becomes & phantasy, a piece of poetry, the reality of the Cross must never be doubted, for there could be no comfort without it. He did die; the death penalty did take effect upon our gracious Substitute; He was dead and buried. And the Resurrection was not the result of imagination, not fond dream of enthusiastic followers. There is no fact in history better attested. The Ascension was also no fiction. Christ is in heaven, at the right of hand of the Father, pleading the blood within the veil, as certainly as men are on this earth. The reality of the presence of the Holy Spirit
* From a Discourse at a Meeting in connection with the Special Services of the "Week of Prayer."
Observer, Feb. 1, 71,
who has been put in charge of this dispensation is two often looked at merely as a matter of creed, but if it was regarded more as a matter of fact, greater joy would be experienced, and more effective work done. The prayers of the Church frequently indicated a want of enlarged apprehension of the reality of the Mercy-seat. It is a very painful thing to read the newspapers nowadays; they are full of horrors, and of records of bloodshed, and everything that is base. The signs of the times are dreadful; both at home and abroad the most dreadful prodigies are about to occur, according to some; but if there is a real Christ, what matters it? Let the death bolts fly and the hurricane of war rage, the real sovereignty of Christ governs all. He rides upon a cherub and doth fly, yea, He rides upon the wings of the wind, and the clouds are the dust of His feet. Is evil to be deprecated ? He is bringing good out of it. Is it supreme here below? Up there He sees it only to be a part of His plan. The ship rolls, but the helm is steady enough in the eternal hands. The winds are out, the child may cry in its little bed for fear; but Father is at home, and all is safe. We are all going to be converted to Popery, some believe; but Christ is not dead, even if the Pope lives; the champion has not left the ring yet, and He will have another blow at His antagonist that will stagger him. Wait until He sees His time, for He will win. It shall never be said that Christ was defeated by any of His adversaries. If Christians thoroughly realized the existence of Christ, nine-tenths of their fears would be given to the winds. They should act towards him in all respects as a real Christ; rest in Him calmly, not be impetuous, not soon up soon down, but with heart fixed because they are under the rule of Christ, clothed with His righteousness, accepted in Him. As a real Christ too they should listen to His call to service. Any Christian who does not serve Him earnestly must be one of those who will not hear. Solomon says *Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might.' He does not say, "Whatsoever thy eyes see to do,' because a man may shut his eyes and put out his hands and find plenty to do for Christ. Let every one bring every scrap and fragment of talent to Christ, and then go forth to feed His famishing ones. Those who do not do so do not know that He is a real Christ. He never looks coldly upon the service of His people if it is done for Him, and the new year will be a happy one to all who go only where He goes, and take a real Christ with them."
THE BIBLE TRANSLATION-REVISERS AND THE DEVIL.
It appears the Revisers of King James' Translation have given, in what is commonly called “ The Lord's Prayer," the words, “ Deliver us from the Evil One” in place of “ Deliver us from Evil.” This has called out an attack from an Infidel Lecturer (George Sexton) in the pages of the socalled National Reformer. He puts it thus :
" It is not difficult to see that this new translation is a wretched attempt to bolster up the fast-falling doctrine of a personal devil. As religion has become more liberal than it was in the days of yore, and Christians more tolerant of difference of opinion, the monstrous theory invented to keep fools in subjection—that a great spirit, whose only object was to cause men to sin here, in order that he might have the gratification of tormenting them in brimstone fires hereafter, gradually lost its hold on the popular mind. Hell and its fiery flames are rapidly becoming extinguished by the progress of science ; and the advancing intellectual culture and increasing thoughtfulness of the age are relegating the devil to the region of mythology, to which he properly belongs. But What could the priests do without their devil ? "Banish him, and their occupation, like
Othello's, is gone. He is the bogie with which they terrify the weak-minded simpletons who listen to their twaddle and pay the piper for being allowed the high privilege of being bamboozled.
The evil referred to in the passage in question is evidently general and in the abstract, and has no relation to any personage, human or superhuman.
The word translated evil (ponéros) occurs seventy-four times in the New Testament, in only six of which it is rendered 'wicked one, and in four of these it is translated 'the wicked, or' wickedness,' in the Bishop's Bible, Matthew's, and the Geneva version. Even in the authorized version, in two of the instances (viz., Matt. xiii. 19, 38) the word is printed in italics to show that it had no place in the original ; and Wickliffe and Coverdale both rendered it evil children.' The word ponéros (Vide Schleusner) sig. nifies anything imperfect and defective. It is also used to describe injuries that may be received from others, ‘But I say unto you that ye resist not (to ponéro) evil.' Matt. v. 39; evil thoughts and bad dispositions, ' All these (ta ponéra) evil things come from within and defile the man.' Mark vii. 23; wicked deeds, ' And you that were sometimes alienated and enemies in your mind (tois ponérois) by wicked works. Col. i. 21 ; immoral persons, “The angels shall come forth and sever (tous ponérous) the wicked from among the just.' Matt. xiii. 49.
That ponéros does not refer to the devil is clear from the fact that Paul ordered the. delivery over to Satan of some individual in the church, who had been guilty of conduct neither very moral nor very decent (Vide 1 Cor. v. 5), and sueh person is described under the expression ton ponéron. If, therefore, ponéros means the devil, and Satan means the devil, then the devil was to be handed over to the devil, a course of proce. dure both novel and somewhat difficult to accomplish.
This new translation must be looked upon, not as the result of fresh and superior erudition brought to bear upon the subject, but as a product of priestly arrogance alarmed at its waning power, and endeavouring to re-establish itself by fishing up fresh arguments in support of tbe pernicious doctrine of a devil. It still further illustrates the words of the poet
What damned error, but some sober soul
Will bless it and support it with a text?' The revised Bible will but add one more to the many shams with which this age already abounds."
Such is the miserable contortion of a great scribe and scholar of the Secular Party. The Revisers can, of course, only conclude that a person, real or personified, is indicated by the original because the devil needs support against the attacks of men who prate about science without knowing what science is. But Mr. Sexton tells us that ponéros is six times in the Common Version translated “ wicked one." So to translate it in this text then, is only to do what, in other texts, was done centuries ago. Then this wise Grecian intimates that ponéros cannot refer to the devil, because a certain wicked man in 1 Cor. v. 5; is described as ton ponéron. The man does not seem to know that the phrase, the evil one, might designate himself in one connection and equally well stand for his father in another. Who the person so designated is depends, in each occurrence of the phrase, upon the context. So much for the poor, miserable critics of Infidelity!
Then hell and its fire are put out by science. The man who so writes does not understand what he writes about. Hell and the destruction of sinners by fire, as presented in Scripture, can never be touched by science—the whole thing lies beyond the reach of science, and it is the veriest twaddle to talk in the style of Mr. Sexton. A man who really knows something about it (Professor Loos, of Bethany College) writes :
“ The adjective tonpos (ponéros) is the strongest of the words used in the New Testament, denoting bad or evil. Its signification is wicked ; in it the positive acti. vity of evil is more decidedly expressed' than in the other words of a similar meaning.* Hence it is often applied to Satan, the wicked one,' as Matt. xiii. 19, 38; Eph. vi. 16; 1 John ii. 13, 14 ; ü. 12 ; v. 18; and to the incestuous person, 1 Cor. v. 13, here translated 'that wicked person.' In the Lord's Prayer the article is used with it, evidently here to give it a definite sense-so that it should be rendered, the wicked' or • evil' in principle and action, or the wicked' or evil' one that is, Satan. Deliver
* Trench-Greek Syn, of the N, T. Second Part.
- I pray
us from evil” simply, does not repeat in English the fullness of the original, as any one familiar with the Greek cannot but feel ; * from evil' is too indefinite.
The controversy, we think, must turn in favour of the correctness of the rendering adopted by the London revisers. The reasons in support of it are ready at hand, and are strong. We may give them thus :
1. The expression • rovnpos, the wicked one,' is repeatedly applied in the New Testament definitely to Satan, as in the passages above cited.
2. The first part of the petition is, ' Lead us not into temptation'; then follows, but deliver us from the evil one.' Now Satan is, by way of eminence, called the tempter ' (o meipatwp), and so represented in the Old and New Testaments. The whole petition, therefore, is one in import-a petition not to be delivered unto, but to be rescued from the tempter,' the wicked one.' This brings together and harmonizes both members of the petition.
3. There is a peculiar force in the word 'pvoal ýuas—' deliver us.' This word signifies to rescue,' to tear away from,' 'to free from,' as from the tyranny of Satan, and the chains with which he binds men.
4. It was in the prayers of the Jews, to pray to be delivered from Satan, the destroyer,' (the term destroyer is given to him from the Hebrew in the New Testament, Rev. ix. 11—Hebrew Abaddon, Greek Apollyon, that is, destroyer.)
5. Christ, in his prayer for his disciples (John xvii. 15) uses the same word not that thou shouldst take them out of the world, but that thou shouldst preserve them from the evil one '-EK TOV Tovepov. Here it is evidently to be understood as referring to Satan. The devil had entered ’into Judas Iscariot; this one Jesus had thus lost; he prayed that the others might be saved-preserved from his power. This prayer of. Christ becomes very clear and receives great force when studied in the light of the apostle John's words (1 John v. 19)— We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies under the dominion of the evil one'-properly so translated, rather than, 'in wickedness. The expression is ek tw movpo; hence he is called the prince of this world' (John xii. 31; xiv. 30; xvi. 11). That Šatan now is the ruler of this world-has it under his dominion-seems to be a prominent and often recurring thought with this apostle. Comparing now the passages just cited, and similar ones that abound in the New Testament, with Christ's prayer for his disciples, we are led to understand this prayer thus : that he prays, 'not that God should take his disciples out of the world, but that he would preserve them from the evil one' that holds dominion over it.—Comp. Eph. ii. 2. Then, studying the words of the Lord's prayer in the light of the results thus obtained, it becomes very clear to us that these words-apo tou ponerou-refer to Satan himself
, as the personal embodiment and source of evil. This translation may appear to be an innovation, but it is so only on the usage of the common version and some other translations. The preponderance of general testi. mony is, we think, in favour of this innovation. The ancients understood the word as signifying Satan ; to this the exceptions are very few, and in the modern ages, to our own day, the weight of the testimony has been in the same direction. Many of the chief commentators and expounders-among these Bengel, Clarke, de Wette, Olshausen,
,-so give it. Among translations, a good number are on the same side. Among the older Protestant translators that did not follow the Vulgate, as so many did, but who drew from the fountain direct, the passage under question was generally applied to Satan. Beza, in his very fine Latin translation, gives it,' ab illo malo,' and in John xvii. 15. a malo illo'—from that evil one. Another Old Protestant Latin version gives the first
, ' ab illo improbo ;' the second, a maligno illo-both these Latin expressions sig. nifying · from that wicked one.' An old French Protestant version, and one in common use, renders the words in the Lord's prayer,' – du malin,' from the wicked one; in the modern Greek New Testament it is año TOV Tovepov—the masculine, referring to Satan. Wakefield has it from the evil one ;' so also Anderson ; George Campbell and the Bible Union conform to the common version. We have but little doubt that what we regard the true translation of this passage, as now given by the revisers, will finally prevail.
In interpretation, doubtless both the translations will substantially harmonize and meet in one. Yet, let us ever aim to reach, if possible,
the exact truth, as the
Word of God, as well as ourselves, will always gain by it ; and above all things, let us ever be ready to yield even the most cherished prepossessions to truth, when this is clear to us. After all we have said, however, we would show all deference and respect to those whose intelligent convictions' lead them to a different conclusion."
The reader will at once perceive the difference between the two critics.