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sincerely or pretendedly, thus to account for their doing so. “Rabbi,” said Nicodemus, a Pharisee, and a member of the Sanhedrim, " we know that thou art a teacher come from God; for no man can do those miracles that thou dost, except God be with him," John 3: 1, etc. Here he, as it were, assigns the reason why he saluted him rabbi, although he knew that he had not been educated in human literature, and had not received from men any literary honors. The same title was given him also by others of that sect insidiously, when, though they pretended friendship, their aim was to entangle him in his talk, that they might have a pretext for delivering him up to the Roman governor. In any other cases, they show sufficiently how little they were disposed to admit his right to any degree of respect arising from knowledge. They said, "How knoweth this man letters, having never learned ?” a charge the truth of which our Lord very readily admitted, by replying, “ My doctrine is not mine, but his who sent me,” John 7: 15.
8. Now, from the foregoing observations it appears, that the name diddoxalos, as being nearly equivalent in import to the appellation rabbi, for which it has been substituted by the evangelist, may be fitly expressed either by the English term doctor or by the Syriac rabbi, which is now so much naturalized amongst us, that its meaning, as a Jewish title of literary honor, can hardly be mistaken. In the addresses made to our Lord in his lifetime, the Syriac term is surely preserable ; the English word, though very apposite in respect of its origin and ordinary acceptation, has considerably sunk in its value, in consequence of the slight manner wherein we are accustomed to hear it applied. But we all know that rabbi, among the Jews of that age, was a title in the highest degree respectful, and on that account interdicted by their Master even to the apostles themselves. It is also the word by which diddoxalos is commonly rendered in the Syriac version of the New Testament, justly held the most respectable of all the translations extant, as being both the oldest, and written in a language not materially different from that spoken by our Lord and his apostles. The difference appears not to be greater, (if so great), than that which we observe between the Attic and the lonic dialects in Greek. But when diddoxalos is construed with other words, which either limit or appropriate it, we commonly judge it better to render it teacher, according to the simple and primitive signification of the word. In such cases, it is probable that the writer alludes merely to what is usually implied in the Greek term. So much for the import of rabbi or diddorados in the New Testament.
9. Now, when we compare the titles kyrios and didascalos together, in respect of the Jewish use and application of them, we find several remarkable differences between them. From our modes of thinking we should be apt to conclude, that the former of these appellations would be much the more honorable of the two. Yet this is far from holding generally, though in particular cases it no doubt does. In regard to the term kyrios, I observed formerly, that as it originally signified master, as opposed to servant, it retained in that nation, in our Saviour's time, so much of its primitive meaning as to be always understood to imply, in the person who gave the title, an acknowledged inferiority to him to whom it was given. Civility might lead a man to give it to his equal; but to give it to one who, either in the order of nature or by human conventions, was considered as inferior and subordinate, would have looked more like an insult than like a compliment. Hence it must be regarded as a term purely relative, which derived its value solely from the dignity of the person who seriously bestowed it. To be entitled to this compellation from a monarch neither tributary nor dependent, denoted him who received it to be superior to human. But no useful citizen was so low as not to be entitled to this mark of respect from a common beggar. And, as its value in every instance depended solely on the dignity of the giver, it might be either the most honorable title that could be conferred, or the most insignificant. The use of the title rabbi, didascalos, or doctor, was in this respect totally different. As it was understood to express, not relation, but certain permanent qualifications in the person who received it, they did not consider it as a matter of courtesy, but as a matter of right. It was not relative but absolute. The same person did not (as was the case of kyrios) consider himself as obliged to give it to one, and entitled to receive it from another. Whoever had this literary degree conferred on bim, was entitled to receive the honorable compellation equally from all persons, superiors, inferiors, and equals. And we need not doubt, that this vain-glorious race would brand with the ignominious character of rusticity all who withheld it.
10. Hence we may discover the reason why our Lord, when warning his disciples (Matt. 23:7, etc.) against imitating the ostentation and presumption of the Scribes and Pharisees, in affecting to be denominated rabbi, father, guide, or conductor, does not once mention kyrios, though of all titles of respect the most common. It is manisest, that his view was not to prohibit them from giving or receiving the common marks of civility, but to check them from arrogating what inight seem to imply a superiority in wisdom and understanding over others, and a title to dictate to their fellows-a species of arrogance which appeared but too plainly in the Scribes and learned men of those days. As to the title kyrios, he knew well that from their worldly situation and circumstances, (which in this matter were the only rule), they could expect it from none but those in the lowest ranks, who would as readily give it to an artisan or a peasant, and that therefore there could be no danger of vanity from Vol. ).
this quarter. But the case was different with titles expressive not of fleeting relations, but of those important qualifications which denote a fitness for being the lights and conductors of the human race. The title father, in the spiritual or metaphoric sense, the most respectful of all, he prohibits his disciples from either assuming or giving, choosing that it should be appropriated to God; and, at the same time, claims the title of guide and spiritual instructor to himself.
11. Nor let it be imagined that the title diddoxalou, bestowed on the first ministers of the religion of Christ, stands in opposition to the admonitions here given. The word, it must be owned, is equivocal, but is every where easily distinguished by the connexion ; for when it is applied to such as are literally employed in teaching, it must not be understood as a complimental title answering to the Chaldaic word rabbi, but as a name of office corresponding to the Hebrew word masina melammed, teacher, preceptor. Besides, when applied even to the apostles, it is to be understood in a subordinate sense. They are in like manner called shepherds, but still in subordination to him who is the chief shepherd, as well as the chief teacher in his church. Christ is called the only foundation ; " for other foundation,” says Paul, “can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ, 1 Cor. 3: 11. Yet the same apostle does not hesitate to represent the church as " built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets," Eph. 2: 20; nor does he consider his styling himself the father of those in whose conversion he had been instrumental, as either incompatible witl, or derogatory from, the honor of him who alone is our Father, and who is in heaven. When bis meaning is so evident, no mistake can arise from the word. “It is the spirit that quickeneth,” said our Lord, “ the flesh profiteth nothing; the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life," John 6: 63. Now the spirit of the precept is transgressed, when his ministers claim an undue superiority over their Lord's heritage, arrogating to themselves a dominion over the faith of his disciples; and when, in consequence of an undue attachment to worldly honors, or to the power that is understood to accompany these, men become solicitous of being distinguished from their equals either by external marks of homage, or by an implicit deference and submission in point of judgment. With this character Diotrephes seems to have been charged, whom the apostle John (3 Ep. 9), denominates qilon potevov, one who loves preeminence; à character which, not many ages after, became too general in the church.
12. It was not, therefore, so much the titles; as that sort of authority which was understood among the Jews to be conveyed under them, that was our Saviour's object in those admonitions. Indeed a fondness for title, a solicitude about precedency, or an
affectation of being distinguished by such outward marks of reverence, are evidently condemned by biin as a kind of earthly ambition unbecoming the meekness and humility of bis disciples, and that uninerited deference to the divine authority which they ought ever to maintain. The practice of the apostles, and indeed the whole tenor of the New Testament, supply us with this commentary on the words. Whereas the customary marks of mere civil respect, so far from being condemned in Scripture, are always used by the inspired penmen themselves, when there is a proper occasion of giving them.
13. So much for the import of the principal titles of honor which occur in the New Testament, and the difference in respect of application, between them and those commonly supposed to correspond to them amongst us.
OBSERVATIONS ON THE MANNER OF RENDERING SOME WORDS,
TO WHICH THERE ARE NOT ANY THAT PERFECTLY CORRESPOND IN MODERN LANGUAGES.
It was observed in a former Dissertation,* that there are words in the language of every people, which are not capable of being translated into that of any other people, who have not a perfect conformity with them in those customs or sentiments which have given rise to those words. The terms comprehended under this remark may be distributed into three classes. The first is, of weights, measures, and coins; the second, of rites, sects, and festivals; the third, of dress, judicatories, and offices.
WEIGHTS, MEASURES, AND COINS.
As to the first class, it is evident that there is nothing wherein nations, especially such as are distant from one another in time and place, more frequently differ, than in the measures and coins which law or custom bas established among them. Under coins I shall here include weights; because it was chiefly by weight that money was anciently distinguished. As commonly, in every country, the people have names only for their own, it is often necessary, in the translation of ancient and foreign books, to adopt their peculiar names, and, by mentioning in the margin the equivalent in our own money, measures, and weights, 10 supply the reader with the proper information. This method bas accordingly been often, though not always, taken by the translators of holy writ. Into the common version of the Old Testament, several oriental and other foreign names have been admitted, which are explained in the margin. Hence we have shekel, ephah, bath, homer, cor, and some others. This, however, (for what reason I know not), bas not been attempt
+ Diss. II. Part i, sect. 5.