Imatges de pÓgina
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desh,” we must also render ζωοποιηθείς δε πνεύματι, quickened in the Spirit," and vice versa. The rendering "quickened by the Spirit” requires “ put to death by the flesh.” Utterly void of authority, and in violation of the laws of New Test. Greek is the translation which we have: "put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit.Now the objections to the translation of 9 ανατωθείς μεν σαρκί by the words being put to death by the flesh," are, in the first place, the omission in the Greek of the article before capki; and, in the second place, the phrase is unintelligible. For in this case we must understand by oapki, “ flesh,” either Christ's material body, or else, man, mankind, the race. Give to capri the former sense, and the reading will be Christ was put to death by his body. But if this assertion has any meaning, it must assert a falsehood. Nor can capri be taken to mean mankind, the race. For although the assertion then being “ Christ was put to death by men” expresses an important fact, yet the usus loquendi forbids this translation of σαρκί. Except in the Hebraism πάσα cúpē which is a literal translation of the Hebrew na bp by two terms, which in the one language as well as the other, signify "all flesh” and mean "all mankind at large," cápě in the sense of men is not used by the Greek writers. Sometimes the Hebraism is strengthened by the addition of a negative particle. In Hebrew ninabp , not all flesh is equiv. alent to no flesh, and in the same sense trâoa cúp is used in the New Testament, Matt. xxiv. 22; 1 Cor. i. 29. (Winer Gram. N. T., Vol. I. Sect. 26; Fairbairn's Herm. Man. Sect. 2.) The correct translation, then, is as follows: “ For Christ, also, hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death, indeed, in flesh, but quickened in spirit, in which he going preached even to the spirits in prison." In favor of the essential correctness of this translation we have the author. ity of many ancient versions. The Vulgate of Jerome, which among these holds the first place as an authority, reads: “ Mortuus est autem corpore, et vixit spiritu," died in body, and lived in spirit. The Peschito Syriac, the oldest of all

versions, renders the passage, according to Dr. Murdock's translation : “He died in body and lived in spirit.” Wiclif (1380): “Maad deede sotheli in flesch, forsothe maad quike in spirit. Tyndale (1534): “ Was killed as pertaynynge to the flesshe, but was quyckened in the sprete.” Coverdale (1535): “Was slayne after the flesh, but quyckened after the spirit.” The Geneva version (1557) agrees with Tyndale's. Rheim's (1582) reads: “ Mortified certes in flesh, but quickened in spirit.” Luther : “ Und ist getödtet nach dem fleische, aber lebendig gemacht nach dem geiste.”

What now is the interpretation of this language ? In answering this inquiry it may be of service to advert briefly to some of the important explanations which the passage has received, or to some of the important dogmas it has been supposed to support.

1. From this text that ancient and remarkable symbol, the Apostles' creed, has derived the article “ He (Christ] descended into hell.” There is no evidence, however, that this article formed a part of the original Apostles' creed. On the contrary, Bishop Pearson in his celebrated Exposition of the Creed says: “ This article of the descent into hell, hath not been so anciently in the creed or so universally as the rest. The first place we find it used in, was the Church of Aquileia ; and the time we are sure it was used in the creed of that church was less than 400 years after Christ. After that it came into the Roman creed and others, and hath been acknowledged as a part of the Apostles' creed ever since.” That by many, at least, who accept the Apostles' creed as their formulary of doctrine, the article “ he descended into hell” is thought to express the sense of the passage

under consideration is evident from the following statement of Pearson : "The Church of England at the Reformation, as it received the three creeds, in two of which this article is contained, so did it also make this one of the articles of religion, to which all who are admitted to any benefice, or received into holy orders, are obliged to subscribe. And at the first reception it was propounded with a certain explication, and thus delivered in the fourth year of King

Edward the Sixth, with reference to an express place of scripture interpreted of this descent. That the body of Christ lay in the grave until his resurrection; but his spirit, which he gave up, was with the spirits which were detained in prison, or in hell (in carcere sive in inferno), and preached to them, as the place in St. Peter (1 Ep. iii. 19) testifieth." And again : “ This text did our church first deliver as the proof and illustration of the descent, and the ancient Fathers did apply the same in the like manner to the proof of this article." “ This place was also made use of in the exposition of the creed contained in the catechism set forth by the authority of King Edward, in the seventh year of his reign.” Now we are aware the question may be asked with some pertinency: How does this statement of the creed exhibit what was thought to be the sense of this text; for has not this article of the creed received an almost endless diversity of exposition? Thus, is not the comment, as not seldom happens, more unintelligible than the text? The interpretations of the article are, indeed, well-nigh legion. But the most of them explain away, rather than explain it. A careful consideration of the circumstances that led to its introduction, and a critical examination of the language used in reference to it in subsequent times, prove that a vast majority of the adherents of the creed have understood this article, and hence also the scripture upon which the article is founded, to imply the dogma of an “Intermediate State;"> in other words, that the souls of men at death do not enter immediately upon their reward or into their punishment, but descend to the lower regions, to some subterranean caverns, where the righteous experience, for a time, until the resurrection, comparative happiness, and the wicked comparative misery; and that Christ passed the three days between his death and resurrection in this nether world, preaching to the disembodied spirits there.

This dogma appears at different times and places variously modified, but in its fundamental idea essentially the same. Some maintain that Christ's mission to souls in the intermediate state was undertaken for the benefit of

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the spirits of the righteous only; others, that it had exclu-
sive reference to the spirits of the wicked; and others still,
that it embraced both the righteous and the wicked. That
we have given the prominent and prevailing interpretation
of the article, “ He descended into hell," appears evident, in
the first place, from the fact that this exposition accords with
the general belief of the times in which the article originated.
By the word “hell," as used in the creed, we are not to un-
derstand the place of the future torments of the wicked,
described in the New Testament, as is clear from the ancient
manuscripts, which read Descendit in inferna, or ad inferna,
or ad inferas, which Dr. Pearson explains as follows. “As
manes is not only put for the souls below, but also for the
place, as in the poet: “Manesque profundi,” and “Haec manes
veniat mihi fama sub imas;" so inferi is most frequently
used for the place under ground where the souls departed
are, and the inferna must then be those regions in which
they take up their habitations. The Greek equivalent for
the Latin “inferi” and “inferna” is “ hades,” and, like them,
it denoted originally the common receptacle of the departed,
which was divided into two distinct spheres or compart-
ments, one for the good, termed elysium, the other for the
wicked, called tartarus. " Now the word "infernus,' in
Latin, comprehends the receptacle of all the dead, and con-
tains both elysium, the place of the blessed, and tartarus, the
abode of the miserable. The term inferi, comprehends all
the inhabitants, good and bad, happy and wretched. The
Latin words “infernus' and `inferi' bear evident traces of
the notion that the repository of the souls of the departed is
under ground. This appears also to have been the opinion
of both Greeks and Hebrews, and indeed of all antiquity
(Campbell Prelim. Diss. on the Gospels). That the He-
brew theory in respect to the destination of disembodied
spirits was fundamentally the same with that contained in
the poetry and mythology of Greece and Rome, can be con-
clusively shown by an examination of the Old Testament.
" In regard to the situation of hades," says Dr. Campbell,
"it seems always to have been conceived, by both Jews and

pagans, as in the lower parts of the earth, near its centre, as we should term it, or its foundation (according to the notions of the Hebrews, who knew nothing of its spherical figure), and answering in depth to the visible heavens in height; both which are, on this account, oftener than once, contrasted in sacred writ.” And again : “ Of the coincidence of the Hebrew notions and the pagan, in regard to the situation of the place of departed spirits, if it were necessary to add anything to what has been observed above, those beautiful lines of Virgil might suffice" (Aen. 8 B). Dr. Fairbairn, the learned professor of Divinity in the College of Glasgow, remarks: “ The sheol of the Hebrews bore so much of a common resemblance to the hades of the Greeks, that, in the Septuagint, hades is the word commonly employed as an equivalent, and in the latter periods of the Jewish commonwealth the two words were viewed as of substantially like import. According also to the Hebrew mode of contemplation, there was a common receptacle for the spirits of the departed; and a receptacle which was conceived of as occupying, in relations to this world, a lower sphere under ground. Hence they spoke of going down to sheol, or of being brought up again from it. Josephus, when describing in this respect the belief of the Pharisees, which was undoubtedly the common belief of his countrymen, says: · They believe that souls have an immortal vigor in them, and that under the earth there will be rewards or punishments, according as they have lived virtuously or viciously in this life; that the latter are to be detained in an everlasting prison, but that the former shall have power to revive and live again' (Ant. 18, 1. 3). The language of earlier times perfectly accords with these views, so far as it refers to points embraced in them. For example, Gen. xlii. 38; Ps. cxxxix. 8; Ps. xxx. Isa. xiv. Beyond doubt, therefore, sheol, like hades, was regarded as the abode, after death, alike of the good and the bad. And the conception of its low, deep, subterranean position is not only implied in the general style of thought and expression on the subject, but is sometimes very forcibly exhibited. For example, Deut. xxxii. 22; Job.

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