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On the whole, then, it seems that we can go just as far as the apostle does in his exception to the statement of our Lord, and no further. Because there is the line which separates between obedience and infraction of that law. The law is that marriage is a physical connection based on the physical relation of the sexes, and can be dissolved properly only physically and really, not formally. And hence to contract another marriage when there had been no such real dissolution, is, as our Lord says, to commit adultery, which is certainly applicable to this case. But what the apostle actually permits involves no infraction of the law on the part of the believer to whom he is speaking. For when he advises the Christian to allow the unbeliever to depart in order to avoid strife, it simply means that he is to accept the situation forced on him, he himself being passive in the matter. And it is important to notice that the apostle says not a word against the obligation of the unbelieving husband or wife to keep up the connection, but simply permits him to have his way, as something beyond the apostle's control. But if we may judge from what he commands in the case over which he as a Christian apostle does have control, we should say that he does not consider the action permitted to be morally right.
On Romans ix. 5.
BY PROF. TIMOTHY DWIGHT, D. D.
The English Version of 1611, as is well known, rendered this verse, “Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came,
who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen.” As thus rendered, the verse has been regarded as asserting in the plainest terms the Divinity of our Lord, and has been used by theologians with much confidence and much emphasis in controversies with opponents. The Revised Version of 1881 gives a similar translation in its text : “ Whose are the fathers, and of whom is Christ as concerning the flesh, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen." This Version, however, adds a marginal note in the following words: “Some modern interpreters place a full stop after flesh, and translate, He who is God over all be (is) blessed forever; or He who is over all is God, blessed forever. Others punctuate, flesh, who is over all. God be (is) blessed forever.” For this note, which is the suggestion of the Revision Company in England, the American Revisers propose to substitute, in accordance with the common form of expression adopted in such cases, the word Or, and to read, “Or, flesh: he who is over all, God, be blessed for ever.” The New Version, thus, recognises the possibility of a different rendering from that which it still retains from the old one, or, at least, acknowledges that a portion of the scholars of recent times have believed such a rendering to be correct. The ordinary reader of the English New Testament is now, accordingly, put in possession of what his fathers did not, in general, know—the fact that to some scholarly minds the words do not appear to declare the Divinity of Christ, or to assert that he is God over all blessed for ever.
The renewed examination of a passage of so much importance could scarcely be regarded as unsuitable at any time. Certainly it cannot be so at present, when the attention of all readers is called to the words by the added notes of the Revisers in both nations. The questions may well be asked, Whether the rendering of the Old Version ought to be retained in the new work; whether, if retained, it ought to be accompanied by a marginal note giving another explanation ; and in what form this note, if added, ought to be expressed. The most important, as well as the most interesting of these questions, however, is the one first mentioned. Is the true translation of the words of the Apostle that which we find in the text of the Revised Version, or does some construction of the clause presented in the margin deserve to be considered as the one originally intended ?
We should approach the consideration of this question, as it seems to us, first as verbal and grammatical interpreters alone, -asking, apart from all regard to St. Paul's doctrinal teaching, what the words before us most naturally mean, in the connection in which they stand ; and only afterwards should we take our view of them as looking from the general doctrine of the Apostle. This is the natural order of examination in all cases. The words of a particular passage have a right to be interpreted by the common rules of language, and to have their meaning determined in independence of anything beyond the limits of their own context. A writer may not have intended to bring out, in a particular place, what he states as the substance of his teaching elsewhere. He may even have a different view of truth at one time from that which he has at another. We owe it to him to take and explain the sentence which he gives us to read, precisely as he gives it. This order, also, is the safest one. By following it, we are least exposed to those doctrinal pre-judgments which are so apt to make us all partial and one-sided in our dealing with the words of Scripture. But, while we look at the passage offered for examination at first in this way, we fail in duty, when we undertake to interpret a writer like St. Paul, unless, before our final decision, we inquire whether the meaning assigned by us to what he says is out of harmony with the Christian doctrine which he teaches.
Proceeding after this manner, let us consider the verse under discussion in view of its words or phrases, and their natural connection and construction. To which of the renderings are we led as the more probable one, or the only allowable one, when we pursue our inquiries in this way? For convenience in our comparison, we select the American marginal translation as the one to put in contrast with that of the text, reserving what may be said upon the other suggestions, in the English note, to a later point. We propose, also, to place the considerations favoring the translation in the text of the Revised Version first in order, and to follow them with some suggestions respecting those upon the opposite side of the question.
I. It can hardly be denied, we think, that ú ớy is more naturally connected with ú Xp!6.65 %. 7. 2. as a descriptive clause, than with the following words as the beginning of a new and independent sentence. This construction of ý úv, in cases similar to that which is here presented, is the almost universal one both in the New Testament and in other Greek. In 2 Cor. xi. 31, for example, where the words ú ùy cùdormius eis toùs alwvas occur, as they do here, no one would hesitate to refer them to ó Osóş which precedes, even if they stood at the end of the verse, or if the construction of the verse were so changed as to read ο πατήρ του κυρίου Ιησού οίδεν ότι ου ψεύδομαι, ο ών επί πάντων θεός ευλογητός εις τους αιωνας. They would be thus referred, because the mind naturally carries back the participial clause to razvp as if a descriptive relative sentence. That ó Őy followed by other words must always have this relative character, and cannot begin an independent sentence as its subject, it is, of course, idle to assert. Too many insťances in which the phrase is used in the latter way may be cited at once, to allow any such position to be taken. Cf. e. g. Matt. xii. 30, Jno. iii. 31, viii. 47. But the peculiarity of Rom. ix. 5, as compared with such passages, lies in the fact, that in the clause immediately preceding there is a prominent noun to which the phrase is most easily joined, and a noun, also, designating a person of whom a description in the way of praise might be readily expected. Under such circumstances the reader, as we cannot doubt, would find himself impelled to refer ó Őy to this noun and this person. The writer would be aware, when he wrote, that this would be the impulse of every one whose eye should chance to fall upon his words. If, therefore, he did not design this reference to be made, he would, we must believe, have been careful to avoid the danger-we may almost say, the certainty-of it, by adopting another construction for his sentence, which would be exposed to no such misapprehension. Especially would this have been the case, where a misunderstanding would be attended with a wrong conception of a most important truth. While we admit, then, the possibility that ú ớy opens an entirely new sentence, we think it cannot be denied that the presumption lies in favor of the view which connects this phrase with zposós, and that the burden of proof is on the side of those who would reject this view.
This presumption and the consequent burden of proof are those which we find, at this point, upon the grammatical side of the question, and apart from the Apostle's doctrinal teaching. The fact of their existence is worthy of serious consideration, as we attempt to decide upon the meaning of the verse. Undoubtedly, however, too much stress may be laid upon this fact. Not only so, but it must be admitted that more weight has been given to it by some writers than a due estimate of its importance would justify. There is, at the most, only a presumption in favor of this construction of the clause as against the other; and a presumption may be overbalanced by probabilities not yet considered. The grammatical argument may, perhaps, be compelled to give way before the force of what we discover on the doctrinal side. If, for example, it can be shown that St. Paul has distinctly, and perhaps frequently, declared that Christ is not God, we must cease to press this presumption. Dr. Liddon, in his "Bampton Lectures on the Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ,” page 314, note, says, “We may be very certain that if éve máy twy 0sócould prove to be an unwarranted reading, no scholar, however Socinianizing his bias, would hesitate to say that ο ών ευλογητός κ. τ. λ. should be referred to the proper name which precedes it.' But Dr. Liddon and all other competent scholars must be aware that the words which he supposes to be omitted, and on the omission of which the statement made by him is founded, are very vital words in the sentence. They are, it may be, the words which determine the true construction ; so that, while no scholar would hesitate to connect ó or with 7p:6:óş in case they were not present, every scholar ought not only to hesitate, but also to refuse to make this connection when they are present. The Apostle's doctrine as to the relation between 2.9.6:óş and 0:6-, as we determine it from other passages of his writings, mar prove to be such that ú o Trì Tiny Osóş cannot, by any probability whatever, be regarded as descriptive of 7:6:05. We say, may be—for we are assuming that, as yet, we have not ascertained what the Apostle's doctrine on the subject is. The grammatical presumption, to which we have referred, is not so strong as to be practically decisive of the question. This we frankly admit, and, in our judgment, it must be admitted. But such a presumption nevertheless exists, and it deserves notice as showing the probability as to the true construction of the words. We must, therefore, take our position at this point, at the outset of the discussion, and must allow, as we pursue this first part of the argument, that ó öy, grammatically considered, is more easily and naturally construed in connection with Zrós, than as the subject of a new and doxological clause.
II. We turn now to consider, next in order, the phrase :) 2950 51924. This phrase, by reason of the very limitation which it contains, suggests something of the nature of a contrast. If Christ did not have some other relation, or stand in some other position besides this one connected with the Jews, and different from it, there would be no