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mended, as likely to prejudice the English interest, it may be concluded that the proposal and the bill fell to the ground together. The second part of the volume above mentioned, contains a very able argument in favour of encouraging the study of the Irish language, as the best means of uniting the Irish and English nation in one common faith. It is dedicated to the two Houses of Convocation. We shall be happy to learn, from some of our correspondents better acquainted than ourselves with Irish history, any further particulars connected with this very interesting subject, the conversion of the Roman Catholic Irish to the Protestant faith.
ON GENESIS, iv. 7.
To the Editor of the Christian Remembrancer. MR. Editor,
SoME time since in reading the learned and excellent Archbishop of Dublin's Volumes on the Atonement, my attention was particularly attracted by what he has brought forward respecting the sacrifice of Cain and Abel. It has before been noticed that the word, sin, in the 7th verse of the 4th chap. of Genesis, ought to have been translated, sin offering, “and if thou doest not well, sin, or, a sin offering, lieth at thy door.” The same word being so rendered in a variety of passages throughout the Holy Scriptures. The Archbishop's words are as follows. “If the word, which is here translated sin, be rendered, as we find it in a great variety of passages in the Old Testament, a sin offering, the reading of the passage then becomes, 'if thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted 2 and if thou doest not well, a sin offering lieth even at the door.” The connexion is thus rendered evident.” §. i. p. 54. In the notes, Vol. ii. p. 235, the learned Primate proceeds to further particulars in confirmation of the propriety of this translation, which he observes, “receives its strongest confirmation from the peculiar force of the word, Yinn, which is connected with noton, and which strictly implies, couching, or, lying down as a beast. For this see Schindler and Castel on the word, and indeed all commentators have been obliged to admit this sense of the phrase, even whilst they adopted a translation of the passage, with which it seems but little consistent; the idea of sin lying couched at the door, being, to say the least of it, a bold image. Yet in this sense they have been compelled to apply the term. See Fagius, &c. &c. But the word sin offering being substituted for sin, the whole difficulty is removed, and the peculiar propriety of the term employed, instantly appears." “There is yet another circumstance of some weight, which is remarked by Parkhurst, and is also noticed by Castalio, Dathe and Rosenmüller, although they have not drawn from it the natural inference, namely, that nNU)n, which is feminine, is here connected with a word of the masculine gender, Yan, which, as Parkhurst judiciously observes, is perfectly consistent, on the supposition that noon denotes a sin offering. For then according to a construction common in Hebrew, which refers the adjective, not to the word, but the thi understood by it, the masculine Yan, is here combined with the animal which was to be the sin offering. In conformity with this reasoning, it will be found that nston, in the other parts of Scripture, where it is used for a sin offering, is though feminine itself connected with a masculine adjunct; see Exod. xxix. 14. Lev. iv. 21. xxiv. 9. and other places where the masculine pronoun NY, is used instead of the feminine NT. But in Gen. xviii. 20. xx. 9. Exod. xxxii. 21. 30. and other places, where the word occurs in its original signification of sin, it has the adjective constantly connected in the feminine.” The clear manner in which the Archbishop establishes this simple alteration of our received version, elucidates a text of considerable consequence, in a manner to me highly satisfactory—but it has occurred to my mind that this alteration of the former part of the verse leads to, and is itself confirmed by, an application of the subsequent sentence— not finding this noticed by any commentator who has fallen under my confined view, as an unlearned layman, I with much diffidence offer the following observations to the attention of your more learned biblical readers. - Upon the principle of Hebrew construction assumed by Dr. Magee, it appears to me, that the latter portion of the verse, “unto thee shall be his desire (or appetite) and thou shalt (mayest or canst) rule over him,” is in as complete accordance with the word sin offering, as the former portion, and will apply to the beast for a sin offering, with more propriety than it does to Abel—if the participle can agree, as is clearly explained by Dr. Magee, though not with the word sin, yet with the thing understood by it, viz. the beast for a sin offering; why may not the pronouns in the concluding sentence also refer to the same 7 which would then literally run thus, “and if thou doest not well, (a beast for) a sin offering lieth couching at thy door, to thee his appetite (he looks to you for food) and thou mayest rule over him (you have full power over him.") For why should this passage refer to Abel? does it not appear rather incongruous that, at the moment when Cain was in the commission of an act of disobedience to the Divine commands, for such appears to have been the case, he should be encouraged with the promise of such an ascendancy over the righteous Abel, who had at the same time been acting in obedience to the Divine commands, and whose offering was in consequence visibly accepted ? besides we are not told that he was wroth with Abel, they were both together, in the presence of the Almighty: Cain was wroth because the Almighty had not had respect unto him or to his offering, and it is immediately inquired of him, “why art thou wroth 7" but it does not appear that he then felt anger at Abel, although the envy which had been excited at the preference given to his brother, afterwards vented itself in his destruction. We are in the next verse told that “Cain talked with, or said to Abel his brother, (let us go into the fields, is added in the Septuagint), and it was when they were in the the fields, Cain rose up against Abel his brother and slew him:”—after this horrid murder, Cain does not appear to be conscious of superiority, or that he then had, or ever had possessed the rule over Abel, if we may judge by his reply, “am I my brother's keeper?” For the foregoing reasons, and from the simple and natural sequence and construction of the sentence, I conclude, that “to thee his desire and thou shalt rule over him,” is spoken of the beast for a sacrifice, which was lying at the door of Cain, which beast looked to him for food, and over whose life (for sacrifice at least) he had full power. It has also occurred to me, that the first part of the verse has reference to the transaction of the offering, rather than to the person of Cain, and I would ask, whether the passage may not be rendered as follows, “if thou offerest, or doest thine offering rightly, will IT not be accepted, and if thou offerest not, or doest not thine offering rightly, at the door a sin offering lieth couching,” &c. The subject is, the making an offering, therefore, “if thou doest well," must mean if thou does; thine offering well, or right; and I am much inclined to venture this paraphrase of the verse: “if thou hadst brought such an offering, as I have ordained, should I not have had respect unto it, as unto Abel'sand if thou hast brought such an offering as I have not ordained", thou hast committed sin, make therefore an atonement for your sin, by offering a sin offering, the beast for which lies couching at your door, he looks to you for his food, and you have full power over him.” If this version be allowed, the information conveyed is important, for it will then add force to the conjectures of many Divines respecting the early institution of sacrifice. Moses must have fully understood the import of the terms here used by him. The brothers are recorded to have brought an offering, a mincha"TWTXb, and Cain is told, that a sin offering, nNton, or, as has been shewn, a beast for a sin offering lies couching at the door; here are two distinct offerings mentioned, in the same terms, called by the same names, as we find applied to them in the levitical law. If it be allowed that Cain is referred to a sin offering as the proper mode of expressing his sorrow for an offence against the ordinances of the Almighty, the implication is then strong, that Abel's offering was not a sin offering, but some other, probably a peace offering—so that in this short verse we have reference to three distinct sorts of offering. Now as Moses applies to these offerings the names generally in use in his day, and which we find used also in after times, so it appears to me, he must be considered as speaking of the same things—to which idea additional strength is added by a consideration of the following circumstances:—the offering brought by Cain, does not at all accord with any sacrifice ordained in after times, in the levitical law; it consisted merely of the fruits of the ground, not even of the first fruits; it was careless, an offering which did not shew faith or obedience, and it was not accepted. Abel brought his offering in accordance with what had probably been ordained to Adam, which also agrees with the
* Lev. iv. 27. “And if any soul of the people of the land, sin through ignorance, while he doeth any of the commandments of the Lord, &c.–then he shadi bring his offering, &c. for his sin which he kath sinned, and he shall lay his band upon the sin offering, &c.
sacrifice re-ordained in the levitical law ; he “brought of the firstlings of the flock", and of the fat thereof.” That “the fat is the Lord's" we find several times repeated ; it was not to be eaten; and Abel's offering was probably otherwise accurately divided t, according to Divine appointment; it was offered in obedience and faith, and was therefore accepted. Sacrifices and offerings were then ordained “in the days of old, in the ancient years." (Mal. iii. 4.) Or to use the Archbishop's words, “The institution of animal sacrifices, then, was coeval with the fall,” and, as he proceeds, “had a reference to the sacrifice of our redemption,"—“ and upon the whole, sacrifice appears to have been ordained, as a standing memorial of the death introduced by sin, and of the death which was to be suffered by the Redeemer.” From the foregoing considerations, it must result that, upon the expulsion from Paradise, our first parents, used sacrifice by Divine appointment: a sacrifice implies that there must be a person to offer the sacrifice, and as the ordinance of sacrifices must have been delivered of necessity to Adam, so he must have been the person ordained to offer the sacrifices, and as in aftertimes, a Priest is defined to be, a person ordained to minister in sacred things, so Adam was the first Priest, and there does not appear to be any reason, why we should not fairly conclude that in the present instance Adam officiated as Priest. The brothers Brought their offerings to one place, the probability is to the appointed place where Adam was, ready, to perform his sacred and ordained office. The brothers must have met together in one place, otherwise the different receptions of their offerings would not have been so immediately known to each other. We are informed that the offerings being made, and that of Cain being rejected, the Almighty immediately holds a conversation with Cain, therefore the sacrifice must have been in a place where the Almighty did vouchsafe to be more especially present, and we have good authority for saying, that the place where the Lord is, is holy ground, and can be none other than the house of God, a Bethel"; thus furnishing the first practical commentary on the after declaration of our Saviour, that “where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” Cain's complaint of being hid from the face of the Lord, and his going out from the presence of the Lord, also shew that there was a place so hallowed. As the brothers met at one place, they must also have met at one time, the probability is at an appointed time—on the Sabbath— for they were doing the work of a holy day—we are told “it was at the end of days;" the literal meaning of these wordst, seems to convey an idea of some portion of time, cut off, or separated from other days: would it be too much to say, that the seventh day, was the end of days— that hallowed day, which ended the week, and from which began a new series of days? This phrase follows close on the account of the Creation, wherein the last day mentioned; the end of the days of that mighty operation, is the seventh, which is declared to be sanctified, and in many passages, is fully appointed, as a Sabbath of rest, an holy convocation, and being so sanctified, there can be no doubt, it had been religiously observed by Adam and his descendants, as the day of rest, the end of the days allotted for labour and tilling the ground. We know that Cain and Abel met together, there is reason for supposing that Adam was present also, and is there not much likelihood that Eve and the remainder of the family were also present, to attend the holy convocation on the Sabbath day. May we not say then, that by attentive consideration of this short narrative, we have grounds to assert, that in the earliest days, an appointed time, the Sabbath, was used for an holy convocation, in an appointed place, a Church, where the Almighty was more especially present, where ordained sacrifices were offered by an ordained Priest, and that those sacrifices were the same, as we find reordained by Divine command and offered in after times—in short have wenot the authority of Moses for saying that in the earliest ages, immediately after the fall, a time, a place, a sacrifice, and a Priest, were in use by Divine ordination, when man offered his public devotion to the Almighty 7–How closely and necessarily these offerings are connected with the doctrine of Atonement, without which connexion indeed they must appear delusive and inefficient, a candid perusal and consideration of the work which has excited this little investigation, will, I think, fully shew. I am, Sir, &c. &c. &c. Kent, Feb. 4, 1825. P.
* In p. 207, the Archbishop this notices the phrase, “and of the fat thereof"— “with respect to the word innon, it may be right to remark, that instead of, the fat thereof, (which is ambiguous), it may with more propriety be rendered, the fat of them, meaning thereby, the fattest or best, among the firstlings. It is well known, that the word on ; is often used for the best of its kind,” of which examples are given: he goes on—“It is the more necessary to make this distinction, lest the particular mention of the fat might lead to the supposition, that the sacrifice was a peace offering, the fat of which was consumed on the Altar, and the flesh eaten by the Priests and the person at whose charge the offering was made: this was clearly of later date, the use of animal food was not as yet permitted, &c." I trust I shall not appear presumptuous in saying that these observations of the Archbishop do not satisfy my mind—if his Grace had referred to the 4th and 7th chapters of Leviticus, I think he would not have considered, as sufficiently founded, the distinction which he makes between the mode of sacrifice requisite to a peace offering, and that required for a sin offering. We are there told, that there is one law for them. In the 4th chapter it is said: “and if he bring a lamb for a sin offering, he shall take away all the fat thereof, as the fat of the lamb is taken away from the sacrifice of the peace offering, and the Priest shall burn them on the Altar,” and in chap. 7, speaking of the law of the trespass offering, “and he shall offer of it, all the fat thereof, &c. and the Priest shall burn them on the Altar—as the sin offering, so the trespass offering, one law for them.” In the levitical law, it appears then, that the fat, was to be separated and consumed on the Altar in each kind of sacrifice, and I cannot but conclude that Moses would not have used this sacrificial term, except in the sense in which he must have been in the habit of using it.
+ May not the Septuagint version of the 7th verse have a reference to this right division.
* The patriarchs call the place where the Lord is present Beth-el, i. e. the. House of God. .
We Christians call the place where we believe the Lord to be present, the House of God kvptov ouroc, the Church v. Bailey, Johnson, Junius, Skinner, &c. Hooker says, the Church doth signifie, no other thing than the Lords House P. 202. tysp, amputavit trancavit.—Buxtorf.