Page images

Present Dangers of Divinity Students.


for the pulpit, if you care only to meet your weekly necessities, with no broad reading and thinking, your ministry will not long retain its freshness and force. Second, in our Halls of Divinity we require to bring before you from session to session the various ways in which Divine truth has been viewed and handled, on the wrong side as well as on the right, by friends and foes; and we tell you in what works these different views are most ably represented, works open to all students in our own Library ; remembering the apostolic injunction, “ Prove all things, hold fast that which is good.” But we know the dangers incident to this, and can never forget how some young men of high promise, both intellectually and spiritually, deeming themselves proof against such dangers, have made shipwreck of faith and of a good conscience. Alas! I suffered too much from them myself to forget such dangers; and, Haud ignarus mali, miseris succurrere disco. But your dangers are even greater than mine were. In my day, coldness, deadness, indifference to everything in study but what would forward their prospects of a parish church was the reigning tendency; and it was only a few earnest students who were troubled with difficulties about the Bible and its teaching-difficulties, however, which threatened to end in their abandoning all thought of the Christian ministry. Now, all that is changed; the very atmosphere is charged with the spirit of doubt; and the effect of this upon able and inquiring students is painful to perceive. For though no vital truth is surrendered, there is a want of felt certainty in those truths, which is the secret of their power in the heart, of their spell in the pulpit, and of preparedness to die for them such as thrills us as we read it in Church History, and happily is not extinct. Further, in the theological literature which some like best, you have that senseless cry against dogma—which just means the truths of the Bible, the very backbone of Revelation. While of this there is very little, the ethical and emotional elements of religion are pressed into the foreground. In the Person of Christ, what is called the human element is so emphasised as to overshadow the divine; though formerly, beyond doubt, the opposite extreme did much harm. As for what they call the divine element, this is often toned down into what is called “the divine” in man; and so you have virtual Unitarianism, which, while using Scripture language, evacuates the meaning of it. As for the sufferings of Christ, what the New Testament makes the turning-point of their saving efficacy-their substitutionary character—this is shaded off and virtually sunk in the heroic way in which He died. In this connection I am unwilling to name that notorious volume of “Scotch Sermons,” which is an exaggerated specimen of that school of theology, and which, I would fondly hope, has received a check. But, certainly, if one would know how to eviscerate, without explicitly denying, the most vital truths of Revelation in the pulpit and through the press, I could point to no volume that so perfectly succeeds in it. But how stands it with ourselves ? Complaints are certainly arising on this score. Those who remember what we were as a Free Church, when the dew of our youth was upon us, think they perceive in not a few quarters a lack of what did more to draw our people around us than many abstract arguments—a lack of that unction and fragrance of spirituality, that power of personal and present conviction, on the part of the preachers, that bearing in upon the conscience, that zeal for souls, which was like life from the dead then. Of talent and learning, it is admitted, there is no lack, but they would not have this as a substitute for the other. Well, dear young friends, I will not say how far there is ground for this or not. But “forewarned is forearmed.” O ! let it not be said of us as a Church, as was said by the Master, of the Church of Ephesus, while commending them for their manifold activities in His service, “Nevertheless, I have this against thee, that thou hast left thy first love." Without this, even the activities themselves will not abide, and we shall cease to have even a name to live. May the Spirit of all grace come down in power upon all our Halls of Divinity, upon those of our sister Presbyterian Churches, and upon every such Hall of Divinity, as a quickening, heartwarming power, before which scepticism, whether open or covert, will never stand. For now, as ever, “this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith."


Note on Luke ii. 49.


ART. VII.-Note on Luke 11. 49.

Και είπε προς αυτούς, Τί ότι έζητείτε με ; ουκ ήδειτε ότι εν τοις του πατρός μου

δει είναι με ;

And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business - Authorised Version.

And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me ? wist ye not that I must be in my Father's house? Revised Version.

THIS is the first recorded utterance of our Lord when on

earth; and it is somewhat remarkable that, short and apparently simple as it is, there should be doubt and dispute as to the meaning of the important part of it. The words used by our Lord, as they fell from his lips, were doubtless free from all ambiguity; and though it is said that they to whom they were addressed “understood not the saying which He spake unto them,” this has reference not to the sense of his words but to the import of what He said. But reported in a language different from that used by our Lord, what, as uttered by Him, was perfectly unambiguous, may, from a difference of idiom, have become of doubtful interpretation, especially to us, to whom the language in which our Lord's words are reported is a dead language, the exact force of whose idioms we can seize only by patient investigation and the application of criteria furnished from the stores of learned research. The words ev tois Toll matpós mou are susceptible of a double interpretation. They may mean "in the house of my Father” (A), or they may mean “in the business of my Father” (B), and between these interpretations translators and exegetes have been divided from the earliest times. Some, indeed, have proposed to combine the two. Thus Capellus, whilst preferring A, adds“ negotiis non exclusis ;” Doddridge, though in a note he decides also for this, in his paraphrase combines the two thus: “ Did ye not know that I ought to be at my Father's ? and that wherever I was I should be so employed in his service as to be secure of his protection ?" Simon Grynäus (Die Heilige Schrift übersetzt, Berl

. 1782) has “Wusstet ihr nicht dasz ich in meines Vaters Geschäften in seinem Hause seyn muss ?”. De Wette, whilst admitting that the rendering “in the house

[ocr errors]

of my Tather" is the more natural, thinks that this does not exclude the other meaning, which "gives to the utterance a deeper significance, and one more in keeping with the nonunderstanding of the parents and the importance attached to it by the Evangelist” (Exeget. Handbuch, in loc.). Alford says much the same. But surely this is an expedient which should not be resorted to. Our Lord must have intended to convey one or other of the meanings which his words may bear, and the business of the interpreter is not to combine the two as he best can, but to determine, if possible, which is to be preferred.

Of the ancient Versions, the majority simply translate the words of the passage without giving the force of the idiom. Thus the Philoxenian Syriac has ws: 1910ro? in his patris mei; the Vulgate, in his quae Patris mei sunt; the Gothic, niu visseduth thatei in thaim attins meinis skulda visan? So also the Arabic and Ethiopic of the Polyglott and the Coptic. These Versions therefore decide for neither of the interpretations, thongh perhaps they may be held as inclining to B. The Peshito, however, decidedly commends A; it has Toorl? w Do wolno? quod in domo Patris mei oportet me esse, and with this the Curetonian Syriac agrees. So also the Persic of the Polyglott and the Armenian, the former of which is made from the Peshito, the latter much influenced by it. The Anglo-Saxon rather favours the other interpretation : 19/ste gut lact me gelgrath to beori o tham thingum dhe mines Faeder synt? This rendering probably determined that of Wiclif: “Wisten ye not for in tho thingis that ben of my fadir it bihoueth me to be?" Tyndale has, “Wist ye not that I muste goo aboute my father's business?" and this Coverdale and all the later English Versions have followed. Luther follows the Vulgate : Wisset ihr nicht dass ich seyn muss in dem des meines Vaters ist? But the Zürich Bible of 1597 has Wustend ir dann nit dass ich in meines Vaters geschäfften sein musst? And the Dutch Authorised Version has En wistet gy niet dat ick moet zijn in de dingen mijns Vaders ? The French, Italian, and Spanish Versions (Ostervald, Martin, De Sacy, Diodati, Martini, etc.) all adopt B (Fr. aux affaires or à ce qui regarde ; It. nelle cose ; Sp. los negocios or las cosas).

Passing from Versions to Interpreters, it appears that the Greek Fathers took the passage in the sense of A. Thus Various interpretations.



Origen : “When the Virgin spoke of Joseph, who was called his father, as his father, He said, My father is not Joseph, but God, He who is master of the temple; for, being in the temple of God, He said (eis tòv vaòv yap toll coll öv čon), Did ye not know,” etc. To the same effect Epiphanius (Panar. i. 30): “indicating that the temple was built for the name of God, that is, of his Father (σημαίνων ότι ο ναός είς όνομα θεού, τουτέστι Toù avtoü tatpós úrodounon). More explicitly, Theophylact : "The Virgin having called Joseph his father, He said, This is not my true father, for then should I have been in his house ; but God is my Father, and therefore I am in his house (to wit the temple, ňyour vao).” So also Euthymius Zigabenus : "In the house of my Father. He spoke of the temple which Solomon built to God and his father. His mother indeed had spoken of his adoptive father (περί του θέσει πατρός αυτού), but He by this made known Him who is his Father by nature (Tov fúver πάτερα αυτού εγνώρισε.)

Among later interpreters, A is adopted by Grotius, Hammond, Whitby, Krebs, Keuchen, Palairet, Nic. Fuller (Miscell. Theol. P. iv.), Reland (Antiq. Hebr. p. 54), Kuinoel, Meyer, etc. For B are Maldonat, Cartwright, Buxtorf, Loesner, Valckenaer, Rosenmüller, Ewald, Van Oosterzee.

On the whole, the preponderance, in respect of authority, though not great, is in favour of A. The fact, however, that the balance is so nearly even, makes it all the more imperative that we should endeavour, by a careful consideration of the words of the passage, to determine each for himself how they are to be interpreted.

We may begin by showing that both interpretations are philologically legitimate. 1. The phrase tà Tivos, as is well known, is used in classical Greek in the sense of “the house of one.” Instances of this usage are furnished in abundance by Wetstein (Nov. Test. t. i. p. 668), and by Bos (Ellips. Gr. p. 209, ed. Lond. 1825). One or two may suffice here: kai épwtwow ÓTIN

Chrysostom has left no commentary on Luke, nor does he refer to Luke ii. 49 in any of his extant writings. But as Theophylact and Enthymius are almost invariably in accordance with him, we may infer his opinion from theirs. To these authorities of the Eastern Church may be added the Latin poet Juvencus, who in his Historic Evangel. thus paraphrases our Lord's words:-" An nondum sentis genetrix quod jure paternis Sedibus atque Domo natum inhabitare necesse est ?”—Lib. i. 1. 300.


« PreviousContinue »