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earth is full of his glory, are introduced as the ground of ascribing to him thrice, in the most solemn manner, the epithet holy.
There is a passage pretty similar to this in the Apocalypse 175 The four beasts (or, as the word ought to be rendered, living creatures), had each of them six wings about him, and they were full of eyes within ; and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.
And when those creatures give glory, and honour, and thanks, to him that sitteth on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever ; the four and twenty elders fall down before him that sitteth on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, say. ing, Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory, and honour, and power ; for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are, and they were created. Here every circumstance points to the majesty, power, and dominion, not to the moral perfections of God; the action and doxology of the elders make the best comment on the exclamation of the four living creatures, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, &c.
It is universally admitted, that to hallow or sanctify the name of God, is to venerate, to honour it. According to analogy, therefore, to affirm that the name of God is holy, is to affirm that it is honour. able, that it is venerable. Nay, in the same sense,
175 Rev. iv. 8, &c.
we are said to sanctify God himself; that is, to make him the object of our veneration and awe. In this way, to sanctify God, is nearly the same as to fear him, differing chiefly in degree, and may be opposed to an undue fear of man.
Thus it is employed by the Prophet 176, Say not, A confederacy to all them to whom this people shall say, a confederacy, neither fear ye their fear, nor be afraid. Sanctify the Lord of hosts himself, and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread. thing can give a more apposite example of this use than the words of Moses to Aaron 177, on occasion of the terrible fate of Aaron's two sons, dab and Abihu. This is that the Lord spake, I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me; and before all the people I will be glorified. Their transgression was, that they offered before the Lord strange fire, or what was, not the peculiar fire of the altar, lighted originally from heaven, but ordinary fire kindled from their own hearths, an action which, in the eye of that dispensation, must be deemed the grossest indignity. Spencer 178 has well expressed the sense of the passage in these words : “ Deum “ sanctum esse, id est, a quavis persona vel emi. “ nentia, incomparabili naturæ suæ excellentia, se
paratum, ideoque postulare, ut sanctificetur, id est, auguste, decore, et ritu naturæ suæ separatæ, imaginem quandam ferente, colatur.”
177 Lev, s.
176 Isaiah, viii. 12, 13. 178 Lib. I. cap. vii.
$ 15. The sixth and last sense mentioned, was moral purity and innocence, a sense which, by a very natural turn of thinking, arises out of the two first meanings assigned, namely, clean in the common import of the word, and clean in the eye of the ceremonial law. This meaning might, in respect of its connection with these, have been ranked in the third place. But, because I consider this as originally a metaphorical use of the word, and requir. ing a greater degree of refinement than the other meanings, I have reserved it for the last. This acceptation is accordingly much more frequent in the New Testament than in the Old. In the latter, it oftner occurs in the prophetical and devotional writings, than in the Pentateuch, and the other historical books, where we never find holy mentioned in the description of a good character. This, in my judgment, merits a more particular attention than seems to have been given it. In what is affirmed expressly in commendation of Noah, Abraham, or any of the Patriarchs, of Moses, Joshua, Job, David, Hezekiah, or any of the good kings of Israel or Judah, or any of the Prophets or ancient worthies, except where there is an allusion to a sacred office, the term kadosh, holy, is not once employ. ed. Now there is hardly another general term, as just, good, perfect, upright, whereof, in such cases, we do not find examples. Yet there is no epithet which occurs oftner, on other occasions, than that whereof I am speaking. But, in the time of the Evan. gelists, this moral application of the corresponding
word hagios was become more familiar ; though the other meanings were not obsolete, as they are almost all at present.
Herod is said to have known that John the Baptist was a just man and a holy There is nothing like this in all the Old Testament. When David pleads that he is holy 's), it is not the word kadosh that he uses. The many injunctions to holiness given in the law, as has been already hinted, have at least a much greater reference to ceremonial purity, than to moral. The only immorality, against which they sometimes seem immediately pointed, is idolatry, it being always considered, in the law, as the greatest degree of defilement in both senses, ceremonial and moral.
But, as every vicious action is a transgression of the law, holiness came gradually to be opposed to vice of every kind. The consideration of this, as a stain on the character, as what sullies the mind, and renders it similarly disagreeable to a virtuous man, as dirt renders the body to a cleanly man, has been common in most nations. Metaphors, drawn hence, are to be found, perhaps, in every language. As the ideas of a people become more spiritual and refined, and, which is a natural consequence, as ceremonies sink in their estimation, and virtue rises, the secondary and metaphorical use of such terms grows more habitual, and often, in the end, supplants the primitive and proper. This has happened to the term holiness, as now commonly understood
179 Mark, vi. 20.
190 Psal. lxxxvi. 2.
by Christians, or rather to the original terms so rendered. It had, in a good measure, happened, but not entirely, in the language of the Jews, in the days of our Lord and his Apostles. The exhortations to holiness, in the New Testament, are evi. dently to be understood of moral purity, and of that only.
On other occasions, the words holy, and saints, ayrol, even in the New Testament, ought to be explained in conformity to the fourth meaning above assigned, devoted or consecrated to the service of God.
8 16. Having illustrated these different senses, I shall consider an objection that may be offered against the interpretation here given of the word holy, when applied to God, as denoting awful, venerable. Is not, it may be said, the imitation of God, in holiness, enjoined as a duty ? And does not this imply, that the thing itself must be the same in nature, how different soever in degree, when ascribed to God, and when enjoined on us? As I did not entirely exclude this sense, to wit, moral purity, from the term, when applied to the Deity, I readily admit that, in this injunction in the New Testament, there may be a particular reference to it. But it is not necessary, that, in such sentences, there be so perfect a coincidence of signification, as seems, in the objection, to be contended for. The words are, Be ye holy, for (not as) I am ho. ly. In the
where this precept first occurs, it is manifest, from the context, that the scope of the