Page images
PDF
EPUB

§ 3. Now if it be asked, whether this suits the import of the English word, to preach, by which it is almost always rendered in the common version of this part of the canon, I answer that, in my judgment, it does not entirely suit it. To preach, is defined, by Johnson, in his Dictionary, “ to pro“nounce a public discourse upon sacred subjects.” This expresses, with sufficient exactness, the idea we commonly affix to the term. For, we may admit, that the attendant circumstances of church, pulpit, text, worship, are but appendages. But the definition, given by the English lexicographer, cannot be called an interpretation of the term κηρυσσω, , as used in Scripture. For, so far is it from being necessary that the xnpuyua should be a discourse, that it may be only a single sentence, and a very short sentence too. Nay, to such brief notifications we shall find the term most frequently applied. Besides the word κηρυσσω, and πηρυγμα, were adopted, with equal propriety, whether the subject were sacred or civil. Again, though the verb xnpuoow always implied public notice of some event, either accomplished, or about to be accomplished, often accompanied with a warning, to do or forbear some. thing; it never denoted either a comment on, or explanation of, any doctrine, critical observations on, or illustrations of, any subject, or a chain of reasoning, in proof of a particular sentiment. And, if so, to pronounce publicly such a discourse as, with us, is denominated sermon, homily, lecture, or preaching, would, by no means, come within the VOL. I.

55

meaning of the word xnpvoow, in its first and common acceptation. It is, therefore, not so nearly synonymous with Sidaoxw, I teach, as is now common ly imagined

4. But, that we may be more fully satisfied of this, it will be necessary to examine more closely the application of the word in the Gospels, and in the Acts. The first time it occurs, is in the account that is given of our Lord's harbinger 192. In those days came John the Baptist, κηρυσσων εν τη ερημω της Iουdanas, xai asywv, making proclamation in the wilder. ness of Tudea, and saying. Now, what was it that he cried, or proclaimed in the wilderness? It immediately follows, Μετανοειτε ηγγικε γαρ η βασιλεια TWV spavwv. Reform ; for the reign of heaven approacheth. This is, literally, his xnpuyua, proclamation, or preaching, stript of the allegorical language in which it is clothed by the Prophet 193, as quoted in the next verse, to this effect: For this is he to whom Isaiah alludeth in these words, The cry of a crier in the desert, Prepare a way for the Lord, make his " road straight.Hence we may learn, what the Evangelists call βαπτισμα μετανοιας, which John preached for the remission of sins. He proclaimed to all within hearing, that if they would obtain the pardon of former offences, they must now enter on a new life; for that the reign of the Messiah was just about to commence ; and, as a pledge of their

192 Matth. iii. 1,

2.

193 Isa. xi. 3.

.

intended reformation, and an engagement to it, he called on all to come and be baptized by him, confessing their sins.

Another public intimation, which John made to the people, and to which the word xnpuoow is also applied, we have in Mark 194: He proclaimed, saying, After me cometh one mightier than I, whose shoe latchet I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I indeed baptize you in water, but he will baptize you in the Holy Spirit.Such short calls, warnings, notices, or advertisements, given with a loud voice to the multitude, from whomsoever, and on what subject soever, come under the notion of xnpuyuata, as used in Scripture. To the particular moral instructions which John gave the people severally, according to their different professions, the word κηρυσσειν is not applied, but παρακαλειν, to admonish, to exhort 195. Πολλα μεν εν και έτερα παρακαλων ευαγγελιζετο τον λαον. Which is very im. properly translated, And many other things in his exhortation preached he unto the people. Tlokaa is manifestly construed with παρακαλων, not with ευηγγελιζετο, whose only regimen is τον λαον. The mean. ing is therefore: Accompanied with many other exhortațions, he published the good news to the people.

[ocr errors]

5. Let us next sonsider in what manner the term xnpuoow is applied to our Saviour. The first time we find it used of him 190, the very same pro

191 ;. 7, 8.

195 Luke, iij. 18.

196 Mattb. ir. 17, ,

clamation or preaching is ascribed to him, which had been ascribed to John the Baptist. Reform, for the reign of heaven approacheth. With giving this public notice he also began his ministry. Again, we are told 197, that he went over all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and κηρυσσων το ευαγγελιον ons Badi kelas, proclaiming the good news of the reign. There can be no doubt that the same proclamation is here meant, which is quoted above from the same chapter. Nor is this the only place wherein this expression is used of our Lord 198. Again, it is applied to Jesus Christ by the Prophet Isaiah 19, as quoted in the Gospel 200, as to which I shall only observe at present (having made some remarks on the passage in the preceding Dissertation 201), that the word xnpvoow, which twice occurs in it, is used solely in relation to those things which were wont to be notified by proclamation. In the last clause, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, there is a manifest allusion to the jubilee, which was always proclaimed by sound of trumpet, and accompanied with a proclamation of liberty to all the bondmen and bondwomen among them. It was by proclama. tion, also, that Cyrus gave freedom to the captives of Judah, to return to their native land. I need only add, that the word unpvoow is sometimes applied to our Lord indefinitely, where we are not told what he proclaimed or preached. In such cases, the

397 Matth. iv. 23. 199 Ixi. 1, &c.

198 Matth. ix. 35. Mark, i. 14. 200 Luke, iv. 18, 19.

201 P. II. 62.

rules of interpretation invariably require, that the expressions which are indefinite and defective, be explained by those which are definite and full ; and that, by consequence, they be understood to signify, that he gave public warning of the Messiah's approaching reign.

ye go, says he 202

§ 6. LASTLY, as to the application of the term to the Apostles : its first appearance is in the instructions which their Lord gave them, along with their first mission to the cities and villages of Israel. As

, xmpvoqete LEYOVTEs, proclaim, saying, γγικε η βασιλεια των ερανων, the reign of heaven approacheth. Here we have the very words of their preaching, or proclamation, expressly given them. To the same purpose, another Evangelist tells us 200, Απεςειλεν αυτως κηρυσσειν την βασιλειαν To es, which is literally, He commissioned them to proclaim the reign of God. The same is doubtless to be understood by Mark, who acquaints us 204, Εξελθοντες εκηρυσσαν ένα μετανοήσωσι; which is saying, in effect, that wherever they went they made the same proclamation, which had been made by their Master, and his precursor, before them. Reform, for the reign of heaven approacheth. Now, it deserves our notice, that we nowhere find such an order as SidaOXETE ZEYOVTES, teach saying, where the express words of their teaching are prescribed. It was necessary that this should differ in manner, ac.

202 Matth. x. 7.

203 Luke, ix. 2.

204 vi, 12.

« PreviousContinue »