Immagini della pagina
PDF
ePub
[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

LONDON :

PRINTED BY R. CLAY, BREAD-STREET-HILL.

PROPHECY FULFILLED.

MATTHEW viii. 17.

Οπως πληρωθη το δηθεν δια Ησαιου του προφητου, λεγοντος,

Αυτος τας ασθενειας ημων ελαβε, και τας νοσους ημων εβαστασε.

That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet,

saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses.

6

This passage, as rendered by our translators, presents us with difficulties, which may well be denominated startling.

The prophecy cited is that famous one of Isaiah, in which the prophet does, as it were, sum up in a single sentence the objects of the death and passion of our Saviour Christ :

Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows.' It is impossible to alter the meaning, or even weaken the force, of the original Hebrew; and unless the prophecy do in reality point to the great mystery of the atonement-I could almost add, unless it stand at the very head of all the prophecies of the like import--the witness of prophecy is, in one word, a dream. Yet here we find

A 2

the same Spirit which dictated the original to Isaiah declaring, by the mouth of His evangelist Saint Matthew, that the prophecy was fulfilled, when our Lord dispossessed the demoniacs, and cured all that were sick : nay more—that in fulfilling the prophecy, the Saviour took upon himself the evils which he cured; received into his own body the demons expelled by him from the bodies of others; and became himself the victim of the distempers he relieved.

Whilst the difficulties of the case have been found extraordinary, the attempts which have been made to get rid of them have been no less so. By some the Greek verb impoúv has been translated, or rather perverted, after such a manner as to reduce the citation to the nature of a mere quotation-one of several with which the evangelists have garnished their writings ; and which, being sometimes, 'as here, introduced with singular infelicity, they call adapted,' or accommodated to the event." Others, to whom this method of treating Holy Scripture appears to have been but unpalatable, have with equal zeal endeavoured to tamper with the meanings of the Hebrew words represented by ελαβε and εβαστασε ; and according to these, the prophecy may be read thus : ‘He took away our griefs, and drew off our sorrows.' The prophet, however, seems to rebuke these zealous attempts, by repeating and enforcing the idea : * And the Lord hath laid upon him the iniquities of us all.' The generally judicious Campbell, having given in to the former of the methods of interpretation here reprobated, has also tried his hand at the latter;

[ocr errors]

but after diluting the meaning of craße and its correspondent Hebrew, that of eBaotage and its original seems to have proved too much for him; and he relinquishes his attempts at the elucidation of the passage, by directing the attention of his reader to the extreme looseness of meaning attached by the evangelists to the words with which the prophecy is here introduced : “Ómwg Tampwon'—that it might be fulfilled.'

I shall now endeavour to explain the passage, upon the principle of neither shocking the religious feelings of the reader, nor weakening the force of the expressions made use of by the prophet : and in doing this, I shall have occasion to lay down a rule touching the true force and meaning of the verb Tilmpoüv, as used by the evangelists, which, if admitted, will be found of general application ; and by means of which we shall at once get rid of the pernicious doctrine of adapted or accommodated prophecies. For to what does this notion amount, but to a direct contradiction of the word of God ? God declares that he is working a miracle in our very eyes, and we maintain that one half of it only is miracle, and the rest but sleight of hand :-God says, 'Lo, my prescience! I foretold to you that all this would come to pass, in manner and form ye now perceive ;' and we reply to God, “You take too much upon you : at best, you foretold but a part of these things; and for the rest, your evangelist has accommodated the prediction to the event:'-God directs the evangelist to write against the prophecy, then was fulfilled,' and the evangelist does so, nothing doubting ; whilst man sub

« IndietroContinua »