Page images

enemy. The examples in which it occurs in this sense, with the article, it were tedious to enumerate.

ý 4. There is only one place, beside those above mentioned, where the word is found without the article, and, as it is intended to express a human character, though a very bad one, ought not, I think, to have been rendered devil. The words are, Jesus answered, Have I not chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil ? εξ υμων εις διαβολος εςι ". My reasons for not translating it devil in this place are ; first, the word is strictly and originally an appellative, denoting a certain bad quality, and though commonly applied to one particular being, yet naturally applicable to any kind of being susceptible of mo. ral character; secondly, as the term in its appropriation to the arch-rebel, always denotes one indivi. dual, the term a devil is not agreeable to Scripture style, insomuch that I am inclined to think, that if our Lord's intention had been to use, by an antono. masia, the distinguishing name of the evil spirit, in order to express more strongly the sameness of character in both, he would have said o daßonos, one of

you is the devil, this being the only way whereby that evil spirit is discriminated. The words avtiδικος adversary, πειραζων tempter with the article, are also used by way of eminence, though not so frequently, to express the same malignant being ; yet, when either of these occurs without the article, applied to a man as an adversary or a tempter, we do not suppose any allusion to the devil. The case would be different, if one were denominated 'o πειρafwv, 'o avtidixos, the tempter, the adversary.

8 John vi. 70.

There is not any epithet (for διαβολος is no more than an epithet) by which the same spirit is oftener distinguished, than by that of o rovnpos, the evil one. Now, when a man is called simply rovnpos, without the article, no more is understood to be implied than that he is a bad man. But if the expression were 'o rovnpos, unless used to distinguish

bad from a good man of the same name, we should consider it as equivalent to the devil, or the evil one. Even in metaphorical appellations, if a man were denominated a dragon or a serpent, we should go no farther for the import of the metaphor, than to the nature of the animal so called : but if he were termed the dragon or the old serpent, this would immediately suggest to us, that it was the intention of the speaker to represent the character as the same with that of the seducer of our first parents. The unlearned English reader will object, Where is the impropriety in speaking of a devil? Is any thing more common in the New Testament? How often is there mention of persons possessed with a devil? We hear too of numbers of them. Out of Mary Magdalene went seven ; and out of the furious man who made the sepulchres his residence, a legion. The Greek student needs not be informed that, in none of those places, is the term dia30205, but δαιμων or δαιμονιον. Νor can any thing be clearer from Scripture than that, though the demons are innumerable, there is but one devil in the universe. Besides, if we must suppose that this word, when applied to human creatures, bears, at the same time, an allusion to the evil spirit ; 'there is the same reason for rendering it devils, in the three passages lately quoted from Paul : for, wherever the indefinite use is proper in the singular, there can be no impropriety in the use of the plural. Both equally suppose that there may be many of the sort. Now, it is plain that those passages would lose greatly, by such an alteration. Instead of pointing, according to the manifest scope of the place, to a par. ticular bad quality to be avoided, or, a vice whereby certain dangerous persons would be distinguished, it could only serve as a vague expression of what is bad in general, and so would convey little or no instruction.

5. The only plea I know, in favour of the common translation of the passage is, that, by the help of the trope antonomasia (for devil in our language has much the force of a proper name), the expres. sion has more strength and animation, than a mere appellative could give it. But that the expression is more animated, is so far from being an argument in its favour, that it is, in my judgment, the contrary, It savours more of the human spirit than of the divine, more of the translator than of the author. We are inclinable to put that expression into an author's mouth, which we should, on such an occasion, have chosen ourselves. When affected with anger or resentment, we always desert the proper VOL, I,


terms, for those tropes which will convey our sentiment with most asperity. This is not the manner of our Lord, especially in cases wherein he himself is the direct object of either injury or insult. Apposite thoughts, clothed in the plainest expressions, are much more characteristic of his manner. When there appears severity in what he says, it will be found to arise from the truth and pertinency of the thought, and not from a curious selection of cutting and reproachful words. This would be but ill adapt. ed to the patience, the meekness, and the humility, of his character ; not to mention that it would be little of a piece with the account given of the rest of his sufferings.

I know it may be objected, that the rebuke given to Peter', Get thee behind me, Satan, is conceived in terms as harsh, though the provocation was far from being equal. The answer is much the same in regard to both. Satan, though conceived by us as a proper name, was an appellative in the language spoken by our Lord ; for, from the Hebrew it passed into the Syriac, and signified no more than adversary or opponent. It is naturally just as applicable to human, as to spiritual, agents, and is, in the Old Testament, often so applied.

§ 6. I ACKNOWLEDGE that the word daßoros, in the case under examination, is to be understood as used in the same latitude with the Hebrew Satan, which, though commonly interpreted by the Seventy διαβολος, is sometimes rendered επιβουλος, insidiator, and

9 Matth. xvi. 23.


be here fitly translated into English, either spy or informer. The Scribes and Pharisees, in consequence of their knowledge of the opposition between our Lord's doctrine and theirs, had conceived an envy of him, which settled into malice and hatred, insomuch that they needed no accuser. But though Judas did not properly accuse his master to them as a criminal, the purpose which he engaged to the Scribes, the chief priests, and the elders, to execute, was to observe his motions, and inform them when and where he might be apprehended privately without tumult, and to conduct their servants to the place. The term used was therefore pertinent, but rather soft than severe. He calls him barely spy or informer, whom he might have called traitor and perfidious.

07. It is now proper to inquire, secondly, into the use that has been made of the terms daquwv and daqoviov. First, as to the word dayw, it occurs only five times in the New Testament, once in each of the three Gospels, Matthew, Mark, and Luke, and twice in the Apocalypse. It is remarkable, that in the three Gospels it refers to the same possession, to wit, that of the furious man in the country of the Gadarenes, who haunted the sepulchres. There does not, however seem to be any material difference in this application from that of the diminutive Saluoviov,

« PreviousContinue »