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ference to the former. First, our Lord's own ministry was only amongst his countrymen the Jews, to whom the title of Messiah was familiar. With them, wheresoever dispersed, it is considered as the title of that dignity to this day, and is accordingly naturalized in every language that they speak. We never hear of the Jewish Christ, it is always the Jewish Messiah. When the English translators found it convenient, in translating Daniel, to adopt a term more appropriated than the general word anointed, they chose the Hebrew term Messiah, in preference to the Greek; and it is surely proper, when the meaning of a word in the New Testament is manifestly the same, to conform, as much as possible, to the language of the Old. That the word Messiah was constantly used in Palestine, in our Lord's time, is evident from the two passages in the Gospel of John“, where, after mentioning it as the title in current use, both with Jews, and with Samaritans, he adds the explanation in Greek. Secondly, Messiah is, even in English use, much more familiar, as the name of the office, than the term Christ, which is now universally understood as a proper name of our Saviour. The word Messiah, on the contrary, is never employed, and consequently
, never understood, as a proper name. It is invariably a name of office: and even this circumstance, however slight it may appear, has a considerable influence on perspicuity.
66 i. 42. iv. 25.
$ 12. I SHALL only add here, before I conclude this subject, that the word xpisos is frequently used by Paul as a trope, denoting sometimes the Christian spirit and temper, as when he says, My little children, of whom I travail in birth again, until Christ be formed in you67. Sometimes the Christian doctrine, But ye have not so learned Christ 6. And in one place at least, the Christian church, For as the body is one, and hath many members ; and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. In these cases it is better to retain the name Christ, as used hitherto in the version.
Ø 13. Some have thought that the expression o 'ulos Tr avspwas, the son of man, which our Lord always uses when he speaks of himself in the third person, is also a title which was then understood to denote the Messiah. But of this there does not appear sufficient evidence. The only passage of moment that is pleaded in support of it, is from the Prophet Daniel, who says, that he saw in the night visions, one like the son of man come, with the clouds of heaven, to the ancient of days, and that there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom". There can be no reasonable doubt, from the description given, that the Messiah is meant. But this is not notified by any of the terms or phra
67 Gal. iv. 19.
1. Cor. xii. 12.
68 Eph. iv. 20.
ses taken separately ; it is the result of the whole. Nothing appears to be pointed out by this single circumstance, one like the son of man, or like a son of man (as it ought to have been rendered, neither term being in statu emphatico, which in Chaldee supplies the article), but that he would be a human, not an angelical, or any other kind of being : for, in the oriental idiom, son of man and man, are terms equivalent.
The four monarchies which were to precede that of the Messiah, the Prophet had, in the foregoing part of the chapter, described under the figure of certain beasts, as emblems severally of the predominant character of each ; the first under the figure of a lion, the second under that of a bear, the third of a leopard, and the fourth of a monster more terrible than any of these. This kingdom, which God himself was to erect, is contradistinguished to all the rest, by the figure of a man, in order to denote, that whereas violence, in some shape or other, would be the principal means by which those merely secular kingdoms would be established, and terror the principal motive by which submission would be enforced, it would be quite otherwise in that spiritual kingdom to be erected by the ancient of days, wherein every thing would be suited to man's rational and moral nature ; affection would be the prevailing motive to obedience, and persuasion the means of producing it; or, to use the Scripture expression, we should be drawn rith cords of a man, with bands
Had the Prophet used man instead of son of man, could one have concluded, that the word man was intended as a distinguishing title of the Messiah ? It will hardly be pretended. Yet the argument would have been the same; for the terms are synony
איש ben adam , and בו אדם ,pressed in the Hebrew
There are two phrases by which this may be ex
, , ben ish. When these two are contrasted to each other, the former denotes one of low degree, the latter one of superior rank. Thus bene adam ubene ish are in the Psalms ʼl rightly rendered in the common version low and high. The first bene adam is, in the Septaugint, translated ynYeveis, in the Vulgate, terrigena, earth-born, or sons of earth, in allusion to the derivation of the word adam, man, from a word signifying ground or earth. The same ben adam, is the common appellation by which God addresses the Prophet Ezekiel, which is rendered by the Seventy ‘vie av Sports, and frequently occurs in that Book. The son of man, therefore, was an humble title, in which nothing was claimed, but what was enjoyed in common with all mankind. In the Syriac version of the New Testament, it often occurs, where the term in the Greek is simply ανθρωπος, man.
That it was never understood by the people in our Lord's time, as a title of the Messiah, or even a title of particular dignity, is manifest from several considera
71 Psal. xlix. 2.
tions. In the first place, though Jesus commonly takes it to himself, it is never given him by the Evangelists, in speaking of him. He is never addressed with this title by others, whether disciples or strangers.
Several honourable compellations were given him, by those who applied for relief, as, xvple, dedaoxade, rabbi; sometimes he is addressed son of David, sometimes son of God, and on one occasion he is called he who cometh in the name of the Lord. The two last titles may reasonably be supposed to imply an acknowledgment of him as Messiah. Now, if the title son of man had been thought, even in any degree, respectful from others, we should certainly have had some examples of it, in his lifetime. Further, our Lord was in the practice of denominating himself in this manner, at the very time that he prohibited his disciples from acquainting any man that he was the Messiah. What
pur: pose could this prohibition have answered, if the title he commonly assumed, in the hearing of every body, was understood to be of the same import? It is urged further, that this phrase is used in the Apocalypse ", in describing the vision which the Apostle John had of his Master. The answer is the same with that given to the argument founded on Daniel's vision. First, the phrase is not entirely the same with that by which Jesus distinguishes himself in the Gospel.
Our Lord calls himself 'o 'vios TV avspwas, the son of man; John says, 'quolov 'viw