Gospel Herald, 1861-04-27, page 01
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GOSPEL HERALD. Devoted, to Ohristianity, Morality, tlie Interests of Sabbath Soliools, Social Improvemeixt, Temperajice, Bdiication, and, Greneral Ne-ws.J?(L, "BEHOLD, I BEItra TOTT GOOD TIDINOS OT GEKAT JOT . . . . ON EAETH PEACE, GOOD WILL TOWAED MEN." VOL. 17. DA.YTON, 0., SATURDAY, APRIL 27,1861. NO. 50. Selfct Poetri). "Our Saints." BT MKS. HAERIBT BEKCBBE gTOWB. Thi "prayers of saints'—ah yea, indead, I well belieTe they pray, Whoje ministry is erer sweet About our earthly way. The saints—haTe we not known them hero In days of earthly care, When they were one with us in hope, In labor, lore, and prayer ? Have we not seen their dying eyes. Like morning stars at dawn. Look tliro' the golden gates of day, To hiiilthe eternal morn? Hath not each common household thing. That onee of old was theirs. Been gifted with a holy charm To aid ns in our prayers ? Sweet fragrance from the hearenly land Falls softly from the skies. And fills the common household room Onoe hallowed by their eyes, The book, the chair, the pen, the gloTe, To us are more divine Than oruoifii or, rosary Brought from the holiest shrine. The curl of hair, the faded leaves, ¦ The ring, the flower, the gem; Speak with a tender, warning voioe, And bid us follow them. High thoughts, brave deeds, and firm re- Bolves, And leal that never faints. Come to us by these simplest things— These reUos of our saints. Independent. ODitginaltties. Writltn/or Iht Ontpa Etraldt Building Doctrine on a Greek Prepo¬ sition. In a late number of the Gospel Her¬ ald we read that "It will not do to build a doctrine upon a Greek preposition." The respected brother who penned, that statement, will pardon somecriti-i cisms upon it. Christian doctrine, is to be built up¬ on the inspired iworda of the Christian Scriptures. Those words are "Greek" words. And, in so far as knowledge of the doctrine is gained by study, (for I speak not now of the wisdom that is obtained by prayer,) it is gained by weighing the words of the Christian oracles. In this, according to that fa¬ vorite saying of Luther, "the best Gram¬ marian is the best Theologian." The first business of him who studies, to fathom the meaning.—say of an argu¬ mentative and doctrinal passage in Paul, is to determine a certain num¬ ber of grammatical questions relative to the government, agreement, connec¬ tion, of the nouns, verbs, prepositions, conjunctions, contained in the passage. In auch a study, the greatest attention must be given to the little words—to the articles, the conjunctions, the prep¬ ositions. For these little words are, "thejoints and bands of discourse." Up¬ on these, the defitiiteness and logical connection of a passage, mainly de¬ pend. Therefore, let not the carefal study of these Httle words, be accoun¬ ted a bondage of the letter: for surely, the Apostles by their carefal use of these little words to convey their meaning the more precisely to us, have made it necessary for us to study the same little words with' great care. To this very study, some of the best bib¬ lical'critics have devoted themselves. jBenyei says that "the Apostles/rejuen^ ly deduce conclusions more weighty than the world itself, from an epithet, from a grammatical agreement, or even an adverb." (a) littmann declares that "A principal reason why the science of in¬ terpreting the New Testament, is not yet firmly settled upon its proper foundations, seems to lie in the fact that many regard the interpreter of the New Testament as having nothing to do with the niceties of grammar."Qa) A similar view of the importance of closely studying the little words, must have been taken by Dean Trench, when he was writing that Chapter con¬ cerning''some errors of Greek Gram- merin our version." For he alleges as oneofits "blemishes" tlrnt it has "a certain laxity in the rendering of prepo¬ sitions." (c) It is of the utmost impor- itance to get the exact meaning of the 'Greek prepositions, in the doctrinal parts of the New Testament,—particularly in :th^ argumentative epistles of St, Paul. Look at,that glorious overflow of Chris- jtian truth, in the dozen verses -W-hich begin with the third in the first chap¬ ter of "Bphesians." It is an ocean of doctiine poured forth through fifty , Greek prepositions. Imagine what work might be made with such a passage, by an inierpreter who has -'a certain laadty in the rendering of prepositions"! Indeed what work has been made. For, passages are not few in the English New Testament, wherein the reader cannot safely draw conclusions of doctrii.e, because of the inaccurate rendering of "aGreek preposition." Had ourrespec- ted brother told us that, "It will not do to build a doctrine upon a preposi¬ tion, in th.Q English New Testament," the statement might not be success¬ fully controverted. But, such a state¬ ment cannot be sustained in respect to :tho Greek New Testament. 8®-It will do, to build a doctrine upon a "GfreeA.preposition.""*®! For, if ever, the prepositions were used accurately in any language known to Christian, history, they were so used in the 'Greek." How this came to pass, a few words will suffice to show. God, forseeing the time when He could make to all mankind a revela¬ tion of that glorious mystery of His will which had been hid from ages and from generations, selected and provi¬ dentially trainedjup a peculiar nation, through which—as concerning the flesh—the Messiah should come. In furtherance of His divine plan. He trained up, also, a choice language; caused it, Oj a series of wonderful providences, to become the channel of communication among civilized men, in all the cities of the world, and had it in readiness against that "fullness of the time" when the doctrine of His Son was to go forth to all nations. Since this language was ordained to be the vehicle for conveying the deep things of God to men, it was fitly brought to pass that the language should become also the most accurate and expressive ever used by man. His choice and providential language was the Greek. Originally "the most copi¬ ous" of languages, it was subsequently developed into one "confessedly the most syntactical,—one in which the discovery of logic, or of the principles of syntax, was first made." (d) "Its syntax was subtle aad perfect, yet with¬ out obscurity." (e) The expressiveness of the Greek language was matchless. Its verb was rich in "moods," and its "tense-system" was "wonderfully com¬ prehensive." (f) The language was peculiarly adapted for the expression of complex ideas, by its facility in the formation of composite words. It had "compound epithets suited to almost every possible occasion, and expres¬ sive of almost every possible combina¬ tion of circumstances." (g) "In this way thopower and significance of expression was exceedingly increased, diversified, and variously modified, in a manner that cannot well be imitated by any translations into another language. Even two or three prepositions could be thrown into a'single word to modify and vary the sense of the original root." (h) And yet, so great was the accuracy of the Greek tongue, these two or three prepositions retained each its proper signification in the word thus compounded, (i) It were easy by the multiplication of such de¬ tails, to show the superiority of the Greek. , But it is sufficient here to say, that, of all languages, the Greek is "the most beautiful, rich, and harmb- nious, ever spoken or written." (j) "Of all languages, it is the most copi¬ ous and expressive." (k) "It is copious and ductile to an amazing degree." (1) No wonder then, that (as Hitmboldt says,) this language "has exercised a magic power over all the foreign nations with which the [Greek] races came in contact." (m) Bsohenburg ventures to say that "the perfection of this lan¬ guage remains an unexplained pAenome- non in the history of letters." (n) But, of this phenomenon,—as of so many others in human history, the explana¬ tion is found in Him. of whom inspira¬ tion says, "all things were created— for him." The perfection of the Greek language, is a prouidenftaJ phenomenon. For, surely "it was not an accident that the New Testament was written in Greek,—the language which can best express the highest thoughts and worthiest fellings of the intellect and heart." (o) . "What gratitude we owe to God for the Greek language I How much its precision has kept the Church from strifes about words I Had St. Paul written his epistles, not in Greek, but in that other great gentile tongue ot his age—^the Latin, what ambiguities and uncertainties might now vex the interpreters! What endless disputes about the meaning of doctrinal passa¬ ges, might now afflict the church Bui;, "He hath done all things well.' When His divine "wisdom" was ready to shine forth and illuminate the world. His divine "prudence" in which He "abounded toward us," had made ready for its transmission a medium 80 clear,—a language of such marvel Ous perfection, that even upon its grammaticalniceties,—upon its articles^ its Adverbs, its tense-forms, and its prepositions, doctrine may be firmly built. It may seem to be an argument against these conclusions, that in our common translation we find the same Greek word oflen rendered by English words of widely different signification. The brother who wrote that "it will not do to build a doctrine upon a Greek preposition," added, "Especially one translated in the same book,—'for,' 'ttnto,' 'into,' 'on,' 'upon,' 'because of,' &c., &c." He might have added to his list, 'AMONG,' 'CONCEfiNING,' 'AT,' 'BE¬ FORE,' 'TOWARD,' 'throughout,' 'EOr' and 'AGAINST,' until he had thus set down all the thirty or forty different words and phrases with which pur translators have rendered the Greek preposition "Eis." But, would all this prove that doctrine cannot be built upon this preposition ? Nay; for it is only one of the many illustrations of that remark of Tittman, that "Some interpreters have not thought it worth their while even to look at the force of the particles, and more particu¬ larly of THE PREPoainoNs." (p) He adds, that "this is certainly a grievous fault in the interpretation of any book; but ought to be more particularly avoided by an interpreter of the New Testament; inasmuch as the greatest care is here necessary, lest, by neglect¬ ing the real force and signiificancy of the prepositions, either the sense should be deprived of its full weight, or at least the same idea should not be apprehended in the same manner as it was by the writer himself." Examples confirmatory of this state¬ ment, may be found on almost every doctrinal page in the Greek New Tes¬ tament. Leaving the studious reader to find them at his leisure, let us now pass to remark upon the native force of the Greek preposition "eis." For the sake of beginners in Greek, who are often discouraged by finding in their lexicons, five, ten, twenty dif¬ ferent definitions of a single Greek word, it were greatly to be desired that the general idea of each word should be given in ,a single definition. With such a lexicon in hand, the beginner in the Greek New Testament need not imbibe the notion that a Greek prep' osition means almost anything and everything. The beginner's perplex¬ ity is of course, greatest with the Greek partiWes. Through inattention to tkem, (as Titxmann said, a genera¬ tion ago,) "It has arisen that in most of the lexicons of the New Testament, the prepositions are treated of so ineptly and unsMllfuUy." Recent lexicograph¬ ers and grammarians do better. They are giving prominence to the idea that each Greek word has its own definite signification. Take what is said of the prepositions, for example:—^ KuHNSR says that, "each preposition "has a fundamental meaning, which it "everywhere retains." (q) Prof Stuart says; ''It is plain enough that the same preposition, when employed before different caseSf retains substantially the same meaning in itself, but as it is joined with different cases, these modify the meaning, so that we are in translating, obliged to express the various relations by vari¬ ous phraseology." (r.) The meaning of the preposition "ds," however, is subject to no such modification: since this preposition is joined with but one "ease." What then, is the "fundamental meaning" of the Greek preposition "eis?" "BIS," is "a preposition of motion."
|Title||Gospel Herald, 1861-04-27|
|Subject||General Convention of the Christian Church -- Periodicals|
|Place||New Carlisle (Ohio)|
|Source||V 286.605 G694|
|Submitting Institution||Ohio Historical Society|
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