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ON THE PHRASES “EVER” AND “ FOR EVER.”
לעולם (Giesenius in his Lexicon חי אנוכי
,18 ,Exod. xv לעולם ועד with
יהוה ימלך לעולם ועד -The words Eter
To the Editor of the Investigator. I believe the expressions in the
original Hebrew translated for ever, Sir,
everlasting, &c. are generally forms In investigating the language of of the words by and 7y. It Prophecy, some difficulties have does not appear to me that the meanbeen raised about the meaning of ing of these words can be precisely the words "ever” and “ for ever.” fixed from their derivation or from It has been urged, that they must any philological considerations. We not be understood strictly ;—that in must look to the use that is made of some cases they have a limited sense them, and the places in which they and mean not to all eternity," occur.
occur. Now yn is clearly to but
as long as the circumstances be understood in some passages as ' or state of things, referred to in meaning “ to all eternity,” as when
the passage where they occur, shall it is applied to the Divine existence. · last;" —nay more, that they are So in Deut. xxxii, 40 (quoted by sometimes used loosely for “a very
) long period.” Let me quote the
I live for ever,” and in explanation of these words given many other passages.
The same in Cruden's Concordance under the with 799
. , , head “Eternal.”
The 'nal, Everlasting, for ever, Lord shall reign for ever and ever.” * sometimes taken for a long time, These phrases therefore having and are not always to be under- in some places strictly the sense of stood strictly : for example, it is eternity, let us see what other senses said, Gen. xvii, 8, “I will give they appear to bear.
they appear to bear. I do not pro'to thee and to thy seed the land of fess to have examined into the mat. Canaan, for an everlasting posses
ter hitherto with that minute dilision.' And in chap. xiii, 15, 'I gence, which the subject perhaps will give it to thee and to thy seed requires; but so far as my researches
for ever; that is, for a long space have gone, I have found but few in• of time”-and so he goes on with stances wherein any limited sense more to the same purport. Gesenius appears even at first sight unavoidtoo, in his Hebrew Lexicon, under able. The individual passages may the word by whence by seem numerous; but they resolve for ever, says, that it is sometimes themselves distinctly into three to be understood in a loose sense classes. * for a long period.” (Gibbs's Trans- The first class contains those paslation of Gesenius.)
for ever” is apNow it is clearly desirable to fix plied to the existence of man, and the meaning of these words with signifies the duration of his life upon some degree of accuracy, and not earth. Exod. xxi, 6, Then his to leave so many important passages ' master shall bring him unto the involved in the vagueness and un- ' judges, he shall also bring him certainty, which so lax an interpre- "unto the door or unto the doortation throws around them.
post; and his master shall bore
sages in which
' his ear through with an awl, and definite meaning of the term “ for
as long as the
parties concerned in the matter
then, that the passages under this
the force of its terms. I maintain
that Gesenius's interpretation of
As to the second class I am not
There are two places which I whatever in the sense of the phrases hare observed where the expression used in it; or at least no other
or 7yo970 is used, restriction, than that the words which we translate “ the everlasting for ever” may mean
so while the mountains." Gen. xlix, 26; Habb. world standeth, so long as the iii, 6. It might be urged, that both moon endureth.” For though the these passages are so manifestly in temple at Jerusalem be now dethe language of poetry, that they stroyed, and the name of the Lord cannot with any fairness be brought no longer put there to outward forward to determine the strict appearance; yet I believe that He, signification of the word my under in whose sight a thousand years are other circumstances. Yet even set- as one day, looks upon this but as ting this aside, at all events they the absence of a moment, not worthy cannot refer to any thing less than to be taken into His account. As the whole period of duration of the he says to Zion, (Is. liv, 7, 8,) earth, which we inhabit.
For a small moment have I forLet us then now look at the three * saken thee ; but with great mercies classes of passages above enumerated. ' will I gather thee. In a little In the first class we must, I think, ' wrath I hid my face from thee for admit, that the words for ever" a moment; but with everlasting cannot be understood in their full kindness will I have mercy on meaning. But the character of this thee, saith the Lord, thy Reclass is clear and well defined; and deemer.” So will he soon return the restriction only such, that any and dwell in Jerusalem for ever; it man of common sense, who reads or shall be the place of his throne, and hears the passages which have been the place of the soles of his feet, referred to, must at once see the where he will dwell in the midst of
the children of Israel FOK
not by any means see, that we are (Ezek. xliii, 7.)
driven to put a restricted sense on The passages in the third class these expressions.
these expressions. If it should be have been interpreted as
thought however, that the third ing ordinances, which should last class also requires some restriction, so long as the Jewish priesthood, yet it too is well defined and easily the temple, and the Levitical Law to be distinguished. And if it be itself. Now even if we adopt this urged, that in other instances some sense, the class is sufficiently well limitation must still be admitted, defined to prevent any uncertainty (as in the cases quoted by Cruden, arising from it, as to the sense of and in the prediction that the the term “ for ever” in its general Israelites, when restored to their
But I confess, that when I own land, shall dwell therein for look at the predictions of Ezekiel in ever,) the only limitation, I think, the closing chapters of his prophecy, that can be required is that implied in which the re-establishment of so in the Scriptural expressions already many of the Jewish ceremonies is quoted above" while the world distinctly foretold, I cannot but en- standeth” and so long as the tertain a strong impression, that moon endureth.” And when we these “statutes for ever” may be look at that passage in Isaiah lx, found to be literally everlasting. 22~" For as the new heavens and Compare Numbers xviii, 23, with the new earth, which I will make Ezekiel xliv, 28-Leviticus X, 9, shall remain before me, saith the with Ezek. xliv, 21—Exodus xxviii, Lord, so shall your seed and your 43, with Ezek. xliv, 18—Exodus name remain,
and the verses xxix, 28, and Numbers xvii, ll, 19, connected with it, it may well be with Ezek. xliv, 29.
limitation On the whole, I see nothing that whatever is necessary, and whether should render the sense of the words any thing short of a literal eternity ever,"
for ever,” &c. vague and is intended in the passages reuncertain. Except in the first class ferred to. of passages above described, I can
Elhanan Winchester, in a short Treatise on this subject, published in 1790, takes nearly a similar view with Trinitarius ; dividing the terms treated of also into three classes : but as there is some little difference in the mode of classification for the sake of information we add a summary of his view. I. The first class refers to things having neither beginning nor ending ; such as the nature of Jehovah, who is called The Everlasting God. Gen. xxi, 33 ; Ps. xc, 2, &c. II. The second class comprehends things which have a beginning but no ending, and is used concerning things which regard the rational creatures of God; as when eternal life or salvation are promised them, &c. See Is. xlv, 17; John iii, 15, 16, 36, &c. III. The third class he calls periodical eternities; which he again distinguishes into five sorts : First, those restricted to the life of man enumerated in the first class of Trinitarius, to which he adds Philemon v, 15. Secondly, those which refer to the Levitical priesthood, of which numerous instances are given : see the third class of Trinitarius. Thirdly, the period before Christ's incarnation, supported by the Greek text of Rom. xvi, 25, and Heb. ix, 26. Fourthly, that consummation of ages into which all periodical eternities will hereafter be resolved. Heb. xi, 3, compared with Ephes. i, 21; ii, 7 ; I Cor.
28 ; Rev. xi, 15. Fifthly, this present world or age, which is to terminate Christ's second advent; supported by Matt. xii, 32 ; xiii, 22, 39, 40, 49 ; and many others. Winchester's Prophetical Works. Ed.
CHRISTIANS THE SALT OF THE EARTH,
CONSIDERED WITH SPECIAL REGARD TO MISSIONS
AND THE SIGNS OF THE TIMES.
A Discourse on Matthew V, 13, recently preached at St. James's, Brighton,
by the Rev. C. D. Maitland, B. A.
NATT. V, 13. Ye are the salt of the are the salt of the earth.” And
earth : but if the salt have lost his if it be again inquired, Whence savour, wherewith shall it be salt- came these ? it must be answered, ed? It is thenceforth good for These are they which were born, nothing but to be cast out, and to not of blood, nor of the will of be trodden under foot of men.
the flesh, nor of the will of man,
but of God.” It was in the very early stage of I observe then that this honourour Lord's ministry, before he num- able appellation is not to be restrictbered to himself more converts than ed to the apostles, because at this could be easily told over, that our time it should seem only a small Saviour spoke these words.
part of them were as yet called; make our calculation from the nar- and because moreover the apostles, rative as given by St. Matthew, we till their ordination, when Christ shall find that only four converts set them apart in order to send are specifically mentioned at this them forth, were no more than any time-Peter, Andrew, James, and other disciples : but it is to be exJohn. I infer from hence, that our tended to all to whom this character Lord did not confine his address to belongs; for these have that grace the few individuals whom he had of God in the heart which is already called ; but rather spoke at comparable to salt.
comparable to salt. Hence it will large to all who bore or who should appear, that the same reason which hereafter bear the characteristics, forbids the restriction of the appelwhich he had just described and lation to the apostles, forbids also pronounced blessed. Persons pos- the extension of it to any but the sessing these characteristics were his genuine disciples of our Lord. Prodisciples ;—these were the salt of the fession makes not a man salt; any earth.
more than the calling that salt, If you inquire then, Who are which is destitute of its properties, those whom the Lord honours with makes it so: it is the possession of this appellation ? the context imme- the grace of life, (which grace disdiately furnishes a reply:
Blessed covers itself by the characteristics poor in spirit; blessed are which Christ specifies) that brings they that mourn; blessed are the a man under this honourable demeek; blessed are they which do scription. Ye that are poor in · hunger and thirst after righteous spirit,-ye that mourn over the deness; blessed are the merciful; filement of your nature,—ye that blessed are the
in heart; are meek, striving after your Mas« blessed are
the peace-makers; ter's gentleness,-ye that are hun· blessed are they which are perse- gering and thirsting after righteouscuted for righteousness' sake-Ye ness, ---ye that are merciful, after
the Spirit of your heavenly Father-- it will readily be perceived, why ye that are pure in heart, purifying our Lord selected it as emblemyour souls through the truth-ye atical of his disciples: what salt that are peace-makers—aiming to was in an inferior sense, that were make brethren of one mind in a they in a hig
they in a higher sense to the earth. house-healers of divisions in the Did salt purge the earth of that which fear and name of the Lord--YE tended to destroy it? did it make that are the salt of the earth.
which was unhealthy healthful? did We come now, in the second it give consistence to bodies tending place, to inquire, Why the Lord to dissolution, and stay the progress compares his disciples to salt? of decomposition and corruption ?
It was obviously on account of after this manner, the disciples of the properties with which salt is Christ—they who had the grace of endowed. Salt is a mineral sub- God in their hearts, and who therestance, sharp and pungent, and fore possessed the dispositions deis found capable in certain instances scribed by the beatitudes-after this of restoring the vital powers in manner did these oppose a barrier creatures nearly dead; but it is more to the encroachments of hell, stop especially remarkable for preserv
the downward course of the world, ing bodies after death from decom- present an obstacle to the entire position,-staying the propensity ascendancy of the flesh and its corthat exists in them to corrupt and ruptions over mankind, and thereby putrify. Perhaps it is not too much did prevent the whole world from to say of this substance, that the becoming one mouldering mass of whole animal creation in all its ex
corruption—one sink of pollutiontent, from the highest to the lowest one den of unclean beings in the creature that hath breath, is indebted sight of the holy God! For the to it for health, yea for the con- world, by reason of the fall, has tinuance of life. Hence, on account become bereft of spiritual life; so of its healthful and preserving qual that it presents to the eye of God ities, it was ordained under the the frightful spectacle of one vast Law to be used to season all their dead carcase, on which prey those sacrifices; as we read in Leviticus :a fowls of the air the devils. " All
Every oblation of thy meat-offer- flesh has corrupted its way before ing shalt thou season with salt; God.”c The moral world requires neither shalt thou suffer the salt salting; hence the Lord in mercy of the covenant of thy God to be has provided salt. lacking from thy meat-offering : Now there is a law in operation · with all thine offerings thou shalt in the moral as well as the natural 'offer salt.” And to this our Lord world, viz. that that which is morally refers, when he says: Every one dead tends to corruption and putreshall be salted with fire, and every faction—"the heart of the wicked sacrifice shall be salted with salt. deviseth onlyeyil.”d Mark the downSalt is good : but if the salt have ward progress of the human heart, lost its saltness, wherewith will after it has become dead in sin: you season it ? Have salt in your- “ And even as they did not like to selves, and have peace one with · retain God in their knowledge, another."
God gave them over to a reproFrom these observations on salt bate mind, to do those things
a Lev. ii, 13.
b Mark xlix, 50.
c Gen vi, 12.
d Prov. vi, 14.