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greater veneration to names, that is, tò mere sounds, than to the things signified by them. And surely, a translator is justly chargeable with this fault, who, in any degree, sacrifices propriety, and that perspicuity which, in a great measure, flows from it, to a scrupulous (not to say superstitious) attachment to terms which, as the phrase is, have been consecrated by long use. But of this I shall have occasion to speak more afterwards.
The most common appellation given to this institution, or religious dispensation, in the New Testament, is, η Βασιλεια το θες Or των ερανων; and the title given to the manifestation of this new state, is most frequently το Ευαγγέλιον της Βασιλειας &c. and sometimes, when considered under an aspect somewhat different, Kairn Awadnxn. The great Personage himself, to whose administration the whole is intrusted, is, in contra-distinction to all others, denominated ó Xpisos. I shall in this discourse make a few observations on each of the terms above mentioned.
OF THE PHRASE
Η Βασιλεια το θε8, OR των ερανων. IN the phrase η Βασιλεια το θες, Or των θρανων, there is a manifest allusion to the predictions in which this economy was revealed by the Prophets in the Old
Testament, particularly by the Prophet Daniel, who mentions it, in one place ', as a Kingdom, Bacinela, which the God of heaven would set up, and which should never be destroyed: in another’, as a kingdom to be given, with glory and dominion over all people, nations, and languages, to one like a son of
And the Prophet Micah ’, speaking of the same era, represents it as a time when Jehovah, haying removed all the affictions of his people, would reign over them in mount Zion thenceforth even for ever.
To the same purpose, though not so explicit, are the declarations of other Prophets. To these predictions there is a manifest reference in the title η Βασιλεια το Θεό, Or των ερανων, or simply in Baoiheid, given in the New Testament, to the religious constitution which would obtain under the Messiah. It occurs very often, and is, if I mistake not, uniformly, in the common translation, rendered kingdom.
§ 2. That the import of the term is always either kingdom, or something nearly related to kingdom, is beyond all question; but it is no less so, that, if, regard be had to the propriety of our own idiom, and consequently to the perspicuity of the version, the English word will not answer on every occasion. In' most cases Baciaela answers to the Latin regnum. But this word is of more extensive meaning than the English, being equally adapted to
2 vii, 13, 14.
3 iv, 6, 7.
express both our terms reign and kingdom. The first relates to the time or duration of the sovereignty; the second, to the place or country over which it extends. Now, though it is manifest in the Gospels, that it is much oftener the time, than the place, that is alluded to; it is never, in the common version, translated reign, but always kingdom. Yet the expression is often thereby rendered exceedingly awkward, not to say absurd. Use indeed softens every thing. Hence it is that, in reading our Bible, we are insensible of those improprieties which, in any other book, would strike us at first hearing. Such are those expressions which apply motion to a kingdom, as when mention is made of its coming, approaching, and the like; but I should not think it worth while to contend for the observance of a scrupulous propriety, if the violation of it did not affect the sense, and lead the reader into mistakes. Now this is, in several instances, the certain consequence of improperly rendering Baccaela kingdom.
§ 3. When Bagidela means reign, and is followed by TWV 8pavwv, the translation kingdom of heaven evidently tends to mislead the reader. Heaven, thus construed with kingdom, ought, in our language, by the rules of grammatical propriety, to denote the region under the kingly government spoken of. But finding, as we advance, that this called the kingdom of heaven is actually upon the earth, or, as it were, travelling to the earth and almost arrived, there necessarily arises such a confu
sion of ideas as clouds the text, and, by conse. quence, weakens the impression it would otherwise make upon our minds. It may be said indeed, that the import of such expressions in Scripture is now so well known, that they can hardly be mistaken. But I am far from thinking that this is the case. Were it said only that they are become so familiar to us that, without ever reflecting on the matter, we take it for granted that we understand them ; there is no sentiment to the justness of which I can more readily subscribe. But then, the familiarity, instead of answering a good, answers a bad, purpose, as it serves to conceal our ignorance, even from ourselves. It is not, therefore, the being accustomed to hear such phrases, that will make them be uni. versally, or even generally, apprehended by the people. And to those who may have heard of the exposition commonly given of them, the conception of the kingdom of heaven, as denoting a sort of dominion
upon the earth, a conception which the mind attains indirectly, by the help of a comment, is always feebler than that which is conveyed directly by the native energy of the expression. Not but that the words βασιλεια των ερανων are sometimes rightly translated kingdom of heaven, being manifestly applied to the state of perfect felicity to be enjoyed in the world to come. But it is equally evident that this is not always the meaning of the phrase.
§ 4. THERE are two senses wherein the word heaven in this expression may be understood. Either
it signifies the place so called, or it is a metonymy for God, who is in Scripture, sometimes by periphrasis, denominated he that dwelleth in heaven. When the former is the sense of the term spavot, the phrase is properly rendered the kingdom of heaven; when the latter, the reign of heaven. Let it be remarked in passing, in regard to the sense last given of the word spavou as signifying God, that we are fully authorized to affirm it to be scriptural. I should have hardly thought it necessary to make this re. mark, if I had not occasionally observed such phrases as the assistance of heaven, and addresses to heaven, criticised and censured, in some late performances, as savouring more of the Pagan, or the Chinese, phraseology, than of the Christian. That they are perfectly conformable to the latter, must be clear to every one who reads his Bible with attention. Daniel, in the interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar's dream, says", Thy kingdom shall be sure unto thee, after that thou shalt have known that the Heavens do rúle. The Prophet had said in the preceding verse, Seven times shall pass over thee, till thou know that the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men. Thus he who is denominated the Most High in one verse, is termed the Heavens in the following: The Psalmist Asaph says of profligates', They set their mouth against the Heavens ; that is, they vent blasphemies against God. The phrase in the New Testament η βασιλεια των ερανων,
4 iv. 26.
5 Psal. lxxiii. 9.