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Hebrews, we are informed in the verse immediately preceding, that in all those places, Phenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, through which they went, they preached the word to none but Jews.

7. The learned Basnage makes a principal handle of this passage for supporting an opinion, which had been advanced before by Beza, that by the Hellenists is meant the proselytes to Judaism, they being contrasted here not with the Hebrews, but with the Jews. But let it be observed, that the word Jew was not always in those days, used in the same sense. Most commonly indeed it referred to the nation, in which sense it was synonymous with Israelite. A man of Jewish extraction was not the less a Jew because he was neither a native nor an inhabitant of Judea, and understood not a syllable of its language. Sometimes, however, it referred to the country; in which acceptation it belonged particularly to the inhabitants of Judea or Palestine, including those neighbouring regions wherein the same tongue was spoken. That the Samaritans (though mortally hated as schismatics) were comprehended in this application of the term Jew, is evident from what we learn from the Acts (chap. viii. 5, &c.), where we are informed of their being converted by Philip, and receiving the gifts of the Holy Spirit by the hands of Peter, some time before the conversion of Cornelius, the first fruits of the Gentiles. Nay, sometimes, in a still more limited signification, it regarded only the inhabitants of the district belonging to the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, which had anciently constituted the kingdom of Judah. In this sense we understand the word as used by the evangelist John, chap. vii. 1: " After these things Jesus walked in Galilee; for he would not walk in Jewry (Lovdata, Judea) because the Jews sought to kill him." Yet Galilee was a part of Judea in the larger and even more common acceptation of the word, and the Galileans, of whom were the apostles, were, in every sense except this confined one, Jews as well as the others. The same distinction is made between Judea and Galilee, by Matthew, chap. ii. 22. It cannot be doubted, therefore, that the term Jews, in the passage under examination, ought to be understood in the second sense above-mentioned, as equivalent to Hebrews.

A little attention to the case puts this conclusion beyond a doubt. Why should they in preaching the gospel make a distinction between Jews and proselytes, persons who had received the seal of circumcision, and subjected themselves without reserve to the Mosaic yoke? The law itself made no distinction; nay, it expressly prohibited the people from making any: "When a stranger shall sojourn with thee, and will keep the passover to the Lord, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep it, and he shall be as one that is born in the land; for no uncircumcised person shall eat thereof. One law shall be to him that is home-born, and to the stranger that sojourneth

with you;" Exod. xii. 48, 49; see also Numb. xv. 14–16. 29. This last phrase (though sometimes used with greater latitude) became a common periphrasis for a proselyte. We find accordingly, that though a question arose early in the church, and was for a time hotly agitated, concerning the lawfulness of admitting the uncircumcised to baptism, (for such was Cornelius, though no idolater), there is no hint given that the smallest doubt was entertained concerning the admission of proselytes who had already embraced the Jewish ritual, and were circumcised. So far from it, that the keenest advocates for uniting Judaism with Christianity insisted only that the Gentile converts might be circumcised, and compelled to join the observance of the law of Moses to their faith in Christ: Where then could be the difficulty of receiving those who were already disciples of Moses, and had been circumcised?-It will perhaps be retorted, "If the Christians could have no scruple to preach to proselytes, still less could they have to preach to those native Jews who differed in nothing from their brethren in Palestine but in language." True, indeed, they could have no scruple; but those who came at that time to Antioch were not all qualified for preaching in Greek, for all had not the gift of tongues. And the historian has rendered it evident that the want of the language was the reason they did it not, having observed, that those who came thither and preached to the Hellenists were men of Cyprus and Cyrene, places where Greek was the prevailing tongue.

In regard to the murmuring mentioned in the sixth chapter, which gave rise to the appointment of deacons, nothing can be more improbable than Beza's hypothesis. The number of the proselytes of righteousness, as they are sometimes called, could not be great; for though several, like Cornelius, had been gained over from paganism to the worship of the true God, few comparatively were induced to adopt the Mosaic ceremonies. Now, converts of the first sort were still by the Jews accounted heathens, and had access to no part of the temple inaccessible to Gentiles. Of the Jewish proselytes, it was a part only that was converted to Christianity; and of that part, those who were both widows and indigent could not surely be a great proportion. Further, if by Hellenists be meant proselytes, where was the occasion for classing them separately from the Jews, or for so much as inquiring who was a Jew by birth and who a proselyte? It was not agreeable, as we have seen, either to the spirit or to the letter of the law, to make so invidious, not to say odious a distinction; and if not to the law, still less, if possible, to the gospel. Whereas the distinction, on the other hypothesis, being founded on their using different languages, was not barely convenient, but necessary. They were classes of people who could not be addressed in the same tongue; and, for this reason, it was probably found expedient to employ different agents in supplying them. Certain

it is, they were in the constant practice of assembling in different synagogues; for in Jerusalem there were Greek synagogues for the accommodation of Hellenists of different nations, who came thither either occasionally or to attend the great festivals, as well as Hebrew synagogues for the use of the natives. Such were most of those mentioned in the Acts, chap. vi. 9., the Cyrenian synagogue and the Alexandrian, the Cilician and the Asian.

That Nicholas, one of the deacons elected on that occasion, was a proselyte, is a circumstance of no moment in this question. If four, or even three of the seven had been of that denomination, it might have been pleaded with some plausibility, that there must have been in this a design of destroying in the proselytes all suspicion of partiality. As it was, had it been they who murmured, it would have rather increased than diminished their jealousy to find, that they had gotten only one of their own class chosen for six of the other. This therefore must be considered as a circumstance merely accidental. As to that singular conceit of Vossius, that the Hellenists were those who favoured the doctrine of submission to a foreign yoke, as it is destitute alike of internal credibility and external evidence, it requires no refutation.

8. So much for the distinction that obtained in those days between Hebrew Jews and Grecian Jews or Hellenists; among the latter of whom, the version of the LXX was in constant use. The Greek had been for ages a sort of universal language in the civilized world, at least among people of rank and men of letters. Cicero (Pro Archia Poeta) had with truth said of it, at the time when Rome was in her glory, and Greece declining," Græca leguntur in omnibus fere gentibus: Latina suis finibus, exiguis sane, continentur." This continued to be the case till the time of the publication of the gospel, and for some centuries afterward. As the Greek was then of all languages the best understood, and the most generally spoken throughout the empire, the far greater part of the New Testament, which contained a revelation for all mankind, was originally written in that tongue. I say the far greater part, because many critics are of opinion that the Gospel of Matthew (see the Preface to that Gospel) and the Epistle to the Hebrews, were originally written in that dialect of the Chaldee which was then the language of Jerusalem, and by Jewish writers called Hebrew. It must be remembered that all the penmen of the New Testament were Jews, the greater part Hebrews not Hellenists; but whether they be Hebrews or Hellenists, as they wrote in Greek, the version of the LXX would serve as a model in what concerned propriety of expression on religious subjects. It was, besides, the idiom which would be best understood by all the converts to Christianity from among their brethren the Jews, wheresoever scattered, and that whereby their writings would more perfectly harmonize with their own Scriptures, which the whole of that people had in so great and de

served veneration; for let it be observed, that though the Jews afterward came to lose entirely their respect for the Septuagint, and even to depreciate it as an unfaithful as well as inaccurate translation, this change of their sentiments was the mere effect of their disputes with the Christians, who, in arguing from it, went to the opposite extreme, considered it as the immediate work of inspiration, and in every instance wherein it differed from the original Hebrew, with which they were unacquainted, gave it the preference, treating the latter as a compilation which had been corrupted by the Jews in spite to Christianity. But of the high esteem which this people once entertained for that version, particularly about the time of the publication of the gospel, their own writers, Philo and Josephus, are the more unexceptionable witnesses.

9. From the conformity and peculiarity in language above taken notice of, some critics, in order to distinguish the idiom of the Septuagint and New Testament from that of common Greek, have termed it Hellenistic; not with exact propriety, I acknowledge, if we regard the etymology of the word, but with justness sufficient for the purpose of characterizing the peculiar phraseology of those writings. The disputes raised on this subject by Salmasius and some others are scarcely worth naming, as they will, upon examination, all be found to terminate in mere disputes about words. I readily admit that this speciality of diction is properly not a peculiar language, nor even a peculiar dialect, in the same sense as the Attic, the Ionic, the Eolic, and the Doric, are called different dialects; for there are in it no peculiarities in the inflections of either nouns or verbs. In strictness of speech, the peculiarity does more properly constitute a difference of idiom than either of language or of dialect. The phraseology is Hebrew, and the words are Greek. This singular manner in the ancient translators is to be considered as partly intentional and partly accidental: partly intentional, because from the scrupulous, I may even say superstitious attachment of the Jews, not only to the words, but to the letters and syllables, to every jot and tittle of the original, they would be led to attempt a manner of translating so servilely literal, as is always incompatible with purity in the language into which the translation is made;-partly accidental, because even without design, a person speaking or writing a foreign language, frequently mingles in his speech the idioms of his native tongue. One source of the peculiarities in idiom may have arisen from this circumstance, that the translators, though Jews, were Alexandrians. In a language spoken, as Greek was then, in many distant countries, all independent of one another, there inevitably arise peculiarities in the acceptations of words in different regions. Perhaps we ought to impute to this, that sometimes terms have been adopted by the Seventy which appear to us not the most

apposite for rendering the import of the original, such as diann for berith, and boos for Ton chasid. But whatever be in this, the habit which the apostles and evangelists had of reading the Scriptures, and hearing them read, whether in the original or in the ancient version, would, by infecting their style, cooperate with the tendency which, as natives of Palestine, they would derive from conversation, to intermix Hebraisms and Chaldaisms in their writings.

10. It is not to be dissembled, that the sacred penman of the New Testament have, especially in modern times, had some strenuous advocates, both among foreigners and amongst our own countrymen, who have, in my opinion, with more zeal than judgment, defended their diction, as being, when judged by the rules of grammar and rhetoric, and the practice of the most celebrated writers in Greece, altogether pure and elegant. They seem to suspect, that to yield, even on the clearest evidence, a point of this nature, though regarding ornaments merely human and exterior, might bring dishonour on inspiration, or render it questionable. I cannot help thinking that these people must have very indistinct ideas on this subject, and may be justly said to incur the reproof which Peter, on a memorable occasion, received from his Master, "that they savour more the things of men than the things of God," Matt. xvi. 23. Are words of any kind more than arbitrary signs? And may not the same be said with justice of phrases and idioms? Is there a natural fitness in one word or phrase more than in another, for denoting the things signified? Is not the connexion between sounds and ideas merely artificial-the result of human, though tacit conventions? With regard to those rules which constitute purity in the language of any country, what are they, in effect, but the conventions which have happened to obtain among the natives, particularly those of the higher ranks? Vulgarisms and foreign idioms, which may obtain among strangers and those of the lower ranks, have no more natural unfitness to convey the sense which they that use them intend to convey by them, than the terms and phrases, which, in consequence of the preference given by their superiors, may be regarded as elegancies. It may be as reasonably objected against our religion, that the persons by whom it was propagated were chosen from what men in high life account the dregs of the people, as that the Holy Spirit should accommodate himself to the language of those who were actually chosen. Nay, language as well as dress being in fact no more than a species of mode, it may with as good reason be maintained, that the ambassadors whom Christ sent for promulgating his doctrine should have been habited like gentlemen, and men of fashion, as that they should have spoken the dialect of such. Splendid style had no more connexion with the purpose of their mission than splendid apparel. The cloth which they wore,

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