« AnteriorContinuar »
A little below, the same Maximin; " Iste Filius etiam, quod vos carni ascribitis, in sancto ait Evangelio, Si ditigeretis me, gauderetis utique, quoniam vado ad Patrem; quoniam Pater major est me. (Joan. xiv. 28.) Ista enim legentes credimus et profitemur, secundum Apostolum, quòd ei omnia subjecta sint, ut magno Deo. Iste eniin magnus Deus, quem talem genuit Pater, ut ipse prosecutus es, utique majorem Patrem confessus est."
59. Again: The Opus imperféctum in Matthæum, tho' printed among the writings of Chrysostom, is generally acknowledged to be the work of a Latin author, and an Arian. Notwithstanding, we find there the following passage (See No. 41 of the Latin authorities).
Ergo Filius Dei magnus est, sicut Pater. Quicquid enim Pater potest, et Filius potest. Pater eniin diligit Filium, et omnia dedit in manum ejus. Sed quia omnia Filius, dante Patre, potest sicut Pater, ideo Pater magnus Deus et primus: Filius autem magnus Deus quidem, non tamen primus: Sicut ait Apostolus, Exspectantes adventum magni Dei et Salvatoris nostri Jesu Christi. Ut autem simpliciter intelligamus proximum nostrum, omnem hominem esse fidelem, &c. *"
* It is curious, that this interpretation has been acknowledged also in modern times. See “ A Full Answer to the Catholic Doctrine of a Tris nity. London, 1772, Johnson." Where not only the Tou Meyadov beov in thistext, but also the tou beovýmw xas 5wT*fos in 2 Pet. i. 1. is admitted to be spoken of Jesus Christ.
60. Besides these, we may gather some other particulars from the above references, not unimportant towards illustrating and ascertaining the exegetic history of this text.
It should seem, that by the times of Alcuin, some persons in the Western church, had, wisely enough, begun to ask, whether magni Dei might not rather mean the Father? I say, wisely enough, because, as far as their Latin text went, it might, at the least, as properly be explained of the Father, as the Son.
Hence it is that Alcuin says, (No. 27 above) quâ audacià, eundem Dominum et Deum nostrum, quis præsumit nominare nuncupativum Deum, quem idem Apostolus benedictum super omnia Deum, vel etiam magnum Deum non dubitavit clarâ voce confiteri et nominare? 'Ait itaque ad Titum, E.xspectantes beatam spen, et adventum gloriæ magni Dei et Servatoris nostri Jesu Christi, qui dedit semetipsum pro nobis, ut nos redimeret ab omni iniquitate. Si quis dubitet de quo dixisset Apostolus, legat Tractatum Beati Hieronymi quem in hanc fecit epistolam.”
That Alcuin should refer to the authority of Jerome, and not the Greek original, and the rationale of the article, may be accounted for two ways; either because he is writing to those who would have been very slow to apprehend reasonings of that nature; or, rather, because
it is probable that Alcuin himself had never seen the Greek original *.
But, to continue our progress. If we come lower down, we shall find, that these Latin notions began gradually still more to prevail, and therefore some writers, to secure the old interpretation, leave out the et after “ magni Dei,” and write the passage thus—“ magni Dei, Salvatoris nostri, &c." others are reduced to mentioning the order in which the words are to be taken.
Of the former kind examples may be found in the passages in Nos. 8, 23, and 34, above.
And, for the latter, Lanfranc says,
“ Et est ordo, gloriæ Jesu Christi, magni Dei, &c.” and Anselmus Laudunensis, “ Et est ordo sensuum. Exspectantes adventum gloriæ Jesu Christi, magni Dei et Salvatoris, &c.”
Now, in early times, we do not find that these cira, cumstances ever took place : nay we have seen, not mere-, ly by a continued chain of indirect, but even by open and express testimony, that, in the busy and learned ages of: the Church, the interpretation of this passage was allowed, without demur, by the heretics. How, we may ask, can this be accounted for, but because the true Greek interpretation was then universally prevalent; and Irad as yet lost none of its efficacy?
* Professor Porson's Letters to Archdeacon Travis, p. 145.
.-'61. But now that we have waded through so much concerning the history of this text, from the earliest times even to Peter Lombard and St. Thomas Aquinas, a person may be ready to ask, “ But is there really nothing behind the scene? No strong opposing testimony? Or why, and when did the tide begin to turn?” Yes, Sir! there is some contrary testimony; and, as I would giadly introduce it with all fair advantage, we cannot take it better than from the hand of so great a critic as Wetstein.
After giving his reasons for abiding by the interpretation which attributes the tou jenyahou beou to the Father -reasons in malter much the same with those which we have already seen, of Dr. Clarke and Dr. Benson, tho' more imperfect still than theirs, and which I regret that they were ever written down, both on his own account, a nd more for the sake of those to whom they may have been the instrument of evil,-he concludes his note thus: “ Ita intelligit Hilarius, Erasmus et H. Grotius.”
Now, if we are to infer, from his resorting at last to authority, that Wetstein had indeed enquired into the authorities for the two opposing interpretations (and more he must have known, than here is told), what can be more melancholy than thus to see, that they who most profess to be in search of truth, can not only not tell us what they find, but even studiously and imposingly block up, and cover over the avenues by which alone knowledge might be obtained?
But, there is then one ancient testimony, that of. Hilarius?-Yet, how little is its value! We find no express scientific discussion of the question; no intimation of a knowledge of two interpretations, with an expression of disapprobation of one of them.-But let the passage speak for itself. (See No. 4.)
“ Erspectantes beatam spem, et adrentum glorie beati* Dei et salvatoris nostri Jesu Christi, qui dedit semetipsum pro nobis, ut redimeret nos ab omni iniquitate, et emundaret sibi populum abundantem, amulatorem bonorum operum. Hanc esse dicit beatam spem credentium quia exspectant adventum gloriæ magni Dei, quòd revelari habet, judice Christo, in quo Dei Patris videbitur potestas, et gloria, ut fidei suæ præmium consequantur. Ad hoc enim redemit nos Deus, ut puram vitam sectantes, repleti ope: ribus bonis, regni Dei hæredes esse possimus. Hæc loquere, et exhortare, et argue, &c.” In fact, it would be a waste of words, topet down the reasons which should depreciate this testimony,
62. Let us rather conclude ourhistorical collections with Wetstein's remaining authorities, Erasmus and Grotius; as it is probable that these great names, and particularly the former, have been chiefly instrumental in propagating the modern interpretation.
του μεγαλου θεου και σωτηρος. Ιd ita legi potest ut utrumque pertineat ad Christum, Dei, et Servatoris: aut prius pertineat ad Patrem, posterius ad Chris* Compare i Tim. i. 11. Mill.