Page images
PDF
EPUB

that death can claim or hold is that which is earthly and decaying in its very nature. Over the indestructible principle which the body of clay for a time encases, death has, and can have, no power. Christian faith thus makes man the victor over the “last great enemy,” and enables him to look upward and forward, - lifting him high above all the shifting and fleeting scenes of earth, and bringing him into the very presence of the Infinite.

Rev. S. P. Smith.

Article VIII.

Rejoinder to Dr. Miller.

are

να κομισηται έκαστος τα διά του σώματος προς τα έπραξεν, κ. τ. λ. 2 Cor. v. 10.

The question at issue between Dr. Miller and myself in the interpretation of the passage in 2 Cor. v. 10 is exegetical pure and simple, and I have been from the beginning unable to see that it included any important doctrinal matter. That men

rewarded and punished in this lise, no one denies. Whether or not they are also rewarded and punished in the life to come, is a question with which speculation or revelation may be concerned, and in regard to which an utterance of the apostle Paul may be more or less important from one or another point of view. If, as Dr. Miller maintains, Paul is occupied in the passage under discussion with the former, then certainly it would be most unwarrantable to assert that he therefore denied the latter. If, on the other hand, he was occupied with the latter, then it must be said to his credit that he stood upon the only ground which is pluilosophically defensible, while it would be absurd to argue that asserting the latter he therefore denied the former. In either case rewards and punishments are inseparably connected in the apostle's thought, as is evident from the words, “ according to what he hath done, whether good or evil.

Now if Dr. Miller attaches any doctrinal importance to this text as he interprets it, it is evidently this, that the penalty for sin is limited to this life, and that there is accordingly no future judgment nor punishment. But the thought of Paul cannot fairly be mutilated and divided so as to exclude punishment from the realm in which reward are dispensed. Wherever this judgment is, its dread decree carries both pain and bliss. And the great apostle may fairly be presumed to have been acute enough to see that a (temporal) dispensation which does not completely reward righteousness can hardly be assumed completely to punish sin. It is a bad philosophy anda worse ethics which denies to the economy of eternity the solemn fact of judgment.

Dr. Miller's rendering of the clause in question (iva xopion TO EXQOrO5 dià toù ouatos) is, “ in order that each one may receive the things, through (in) the body, (according to that he hath done, etc.)” And he remarks," as will be seen, I had taken tà, “things,' the object of xopíortai, may receive,' as denoting the things' received as reward, received also through the body, as source or instrument of the reward and consequently during the life of the body.” Accordingly, the apostle means just this: “ We must all in this life appear before the judgment seat of Christ in order that each one may receive through his body the things, according to what he hath done, etc."'! And when was this inexplicable judgment to take place ? Or had it already fallen ? Or was it then in process of execution ? If it was past or present, or past and present, why this phraseology ? One would rather say of a present and perpetual judgment, not,“ we must appear in order that we may receive,” but rather, “ we stand perpetually in the body (év to ouatı) before the judgment seat and are receiving the reward.” But aside from this, what interpreter who respects the memory of his author could cast upon him the burden of such an expression as “may receive through his body as source or instrument of the reward, the thing8" ? In the name of all that is concise and intelligible in speech, what is meant by “the things"! What things? The things that

as savor

he has done ? Dr. Miller has a liorror of “ done' ing of Orthodoxy. The things that he has not done, then ? If it be the things that he has done, then it must be the things that he has done " in the body”; if the things that he has not done, then alas for the wretched subject of this unintelligible judgment! Then the darkness and inystery which cover this awful judgment-seat are deepened by the gloss of our interpreter when he speaks of the body as the

source or instrument of the reward." These indefinite and mysterious “things," it seems, are to be received ” in the body, and yet they may proceed from it, or be suffered through its instrumentality! Let us pity the defenseless author to whose words such a gloss as this is applied.

Again, let it be asked, what is meant by “receiving the things”? Dr. Miller insists with the utmost pertinacity that the notion of receiving reward is not contained in the verb. “ Out of the ten or eleven passages in which it is used in the New Testament,” he says, “ there are but three, including this, where there is the least pretense that it includes the notion of reward.” Grant this, and these three passages are enough to establish this meaning, especially since they are all fron the Apostle Paul, and hence show this to be a Pauline use of the word. Here are the passages : Col. iii. 25:

" But he that do:th wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done ” (xoueitai o idixnger ) ; Eph. vi. 8: “ Whatsoever good thing any man hath done, the same shall he receive from the Lord” (toūro xouíGetai napà xvpiov); 2 Cor. v. 10: iva xouiontou έκαστος τα διά του σώματος, “ in order that each one may receive the things done in the body.” Take out the idea of reward from its verb in each of these passages, and what intelligible notion do they convey? These are the very passages quoted in Grimm's Clavis Novi Testamenti, (sub voce xouico), where after giving the ordinary significations of the verb, such as “ receive” in the usual sense, the learned author says: xouíteobu id quod fecit = facti vel præmium vel pænam, 2 Cor. v. 10; Col. iii, 25; Eph. vi. 8, to receive that which he has done = to receive the reward or penalty, etc.

Our critic quotes Athenagoras in this connection to his own discomfiture. This “native Greek philosopher,” who is fairly presumed to have understood his own language, paraphrases the text thus : iva

έκαστος κομίσηται δικαίως α δια του σώματος έπραξεν « in order that eacli one may justly receive what he hath done through the body." But what does Athenagoras mean by “justly receive," if not receive just reward and penalty? And this Greek, “who was well qualified to construe our text written in his nativ:? tongue,” fortunately for his fame knew better than to render it“ may receive through his body,” but was “ orthodox” enough to interpret Paul correctly by even inserting “ done,” and reading “the things which he hath done through (in) the body.” Here is our critic's much reprobated “ done" done into Greek by a "native Greek philosopher.” It were better not to have quoted Athenagoras.

In regard to the Syriac New Testament's rendering“ may receive retribution in the body for what he hath done in it,' which Dr. Miller complains that I have not noticed, I have only to say that it is an incorrect translation of the apostles Greek ; and that this “ Queen of the ancient versions " has here at least not proved herself infallible.

The Vulgate's rendering is based on a gloss, (not a “ various reading,” as Dr. Miller, says), idia for tờe dià, and is wholly destitute of authority, as it is also unworthy of notice.

But iny interpretation is entirely overthrown, it seems, according to Dr. Miller, by the authority of Winer, that prince of grammatical cxegetes. Here again it is a question of interpretation, and the interpretation of Winer. In commenting on Col. iii. 25, which I have maintained to be perfectly parallel with our text, Winer says in reference to the phrase, " he shall receive the wrong which he hath done”: “It denotes (according to the signification of xouiceoba) very nearly : he will reap the wrong ; not that he will suffer the same wrong which he has comunitted, but its fruits, the reward of it, the wrong in the form of penalty.The passage, says Winer, is, “ in accordance with the genius of the Greek language to

be regarded as brachylogical,” that is there is no break or ellipsis which is covered by the structure, but “ according to the signification of mouiceouit means he will suffer the reward ” of the wrong “ in the form of penalty.” I could ask for no better statement of the interpretation which I have defended throughout. And what but the utmost depth of obscurity is the remark of our critic, that according to Winer the verb " receive” does not include the sense of reward, but it is expressed by the verlı’s object, so that tà, 'things,' are things received, not done? How can " the things

convey the notion that they are received without the verb ? And what in the name of all that is lucid are the “ things received," if they are not the very things that were done.” And what is it to " receive" them if it is not to receive a reward for them ?

In my interpretation of the phrase dià tou gouaros, as“ during the bodily life” or what is equivalent, "in the body," I am pronounced wrong, because dià it seems does not possess a “temporal force." Not to mention the lexicons which my critic would have done well to consult, it is enough to quote Winer on this point, who says : Applied to time, dià denotes during, (i. e., within a space of time) Heb. ii. 15, narros

- " all their lifetime.” But this is not a matter which is essential in the discussion, and I have no serious objection to Meyer's rendering, “the things which are through the body," though “ in the body," or " during tl:e life of the body," has the weight of authority in its favor. Indeed, Meyer is the only commentator whom I remember as holding that opinion. There is no doubt that did is usually instrumental with the genitive.

But what surprises me most of all is the fact that towards the end of his article Dr. Miller yields the entire point at issue in admitting that tà dià tou owpatos is, as I have claimed in the whole discussion, an inseparable prepositional adverbial clause of time with an ellipsis of a participle! The whole discussion turns on the question, does dià tov oquatos qualify xouiorra, or the participle which is supplied ? In other words, shall we translate “receive the things through, or in, the

του ζην

« PreviousContinue »