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will be largely studied, will help many a student and reader of the Scriptures to a better knowledge of the meaning of God's word, would be poor praise indeed. Yet we cannot give it unqualified praise. There are places in which the hand of a master can be seen in a moment, but there are passages which betray-we will not say a want of critical knowledge, for this abounded, but—a clearer apprehension of the whole bearing of the subject, and a more thorough mastery, not only of sound English but of Bible manners and customs, and of Oriental life generally. As we hope to continue this study through two or three articles, it will be well to take up one definite portion for consideration first; and as no part of the work done by the Revisionists has called out so large an amount of criticism as the Paternoster, we will first of all examine it; and add at the same time some notes which are not intended to be of a critical character, but rather to assist those who take pleasure in the study of the teaching of the Master. We take first then
The Lord's Prayer. As I shall take the words in order it will not be necessary to say much by way of introduction. But one thing must be premised. Much of the bitter criticism which we have had to read in connexion with the changes in the Lord's prayer would have been seen by the writers to be beside the mark if they had borne in mind one fact. If they had carefully read the Lord's prayer in the form in which it is given in the Authorized Version (A. V. for brevity, as N. V. will stand for New Version) by both Matthew and Luke, they would instantly have scen that each differ from the form so familiar to us; which is really that of the book of Common Prayer. The Revisers have therefore left untouched our (i.e. the prayer-book) version of the Lord's prayer; and since they have never suggested that we should adopt their reading in the place of the familiar old form from the Common Prayer-book, why should we growl at them for altering in one or two places words which are not more familiar to us than those of other parts of the Bible. We shall not cease to use the old form, but we may be thankful if any new light has been thrown upon the original by means of which we shall enter more heartily into its spirit. But if they must needs change at all, why were their changes not thorough ? Let us examine these changes. As some readers may not have a copy of the N. V. by them in their distant homes or on their Mission tours, I will here add the prayer as it appears :
1. In the Common Prayer-book. "Our Father, which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy Name ; Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, As it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, As we forgive them that trespass against us. not into temptation ; but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, The power, and the glory, For ever and ever. Amen."
And lead us
In this enumeration I have omitted all marginal readings, which will come up for consideration in their respective places. It will be seen that the N. V. omits a number of important words from St. Luke's formula. The question has been asked-Was the Paternoster given once or twice? The reply seems to be-It was given more than once; the fullest form was preserved by St. Matthew; Luke preserved an abridged form, which, however, became interpolated by early copyists, and was made in the later MSS. to correspond as nearly as possible with that form which St. Matthew gives. We must not add further preliminary observations, but proceed at once to the consideration of the first clause :
1. "Our Father which art in heaven."
In St. Luke we have simply the word "Father." Let us first deal with the critical, then with the doctrinal part of the subject. The Lord's prayer has been called the Paternoster, on account of these two words occurring in the opening of the Latin form. So Chinese works are known by the first words of the text; see Legge's Classics I. 1. Even in our own Anglo-Saxon the same order of words was found"Fæder úre." But it has been objected that the Revisers have left unchanged the relative "which," while they have introduced changes much more pedantic. We never apply "which" to a person now in good English. In an article on "English and American English" in the Gentleman's Magazine for August, 1881, Mr. Richard A. Proctor says (p. 157):-"It appears to me a circumstance to be regretted that those who have been at so much pains to revise the Bible, should
not have been bold enough to present their revised version in the English of our own time, instead of the old-fashioned English of the time of Elizabeth and James. This, perhaps, is the first occasion in the history of Bible translation where men have expressed Bible teachings in a language such as they do not themselves speak.” But even allowing the word "which” to do duty for “who,” we yet have to ask another question, viz., why ¿v Tols ovpavols should be translated " in heaven ?” The reply generally given is to the effect that the singular and the plural are used indiscriminately in Greek, and should both be translated by the singular in English. Shall we bow to this reply when facts are against it? Does not every student of Greek at once ask—How is it that so exact a language should be in this particular instance so indefinite and vague ? How, if the plural stands for the singular, shall we know what stands for the plural? If we look a little lower down we read “Thy will be done, as in hearen, 5 év ovpavo, so on earth.” Why the singular here and not the plural ? Why the article above, and no article here? The more I study this prayer, the more thoroughly am I convinced that not only every word, but every letter and form had a meaning. I have made it my constant study during the whole of the present year, and have not only read all I could find on the subject, but delivered a course of a dozen lectures in connexion with it to my congregation ; and the more closely I look at it the more confident do I become that the words are amongst the fullest and weightiest of Christ's utterances. The words are few but their meaning vast. Let us read “Our Father who art in the heavens" by the side of “ Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven," and we shall be led into the consideration (secondly) of the doctrinal. teaching of the words. What do they mean? Just this, that when
, I pray to God I am not to think of Him as the being who is in heaven alone; occupying a place far beyond the reach of human eye, ear or ken; but as one who dwells in the heaven, and the heaven of hearens. He is in the heavens ; “Do not I fill heaven and earth, saith the Lord.” The heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain Him. Whither shall I go from His presence? What wing shall carry me where He is not known ? Then if this be so can I doubt when I pray whether He will hear me or not? The eyes of the Lord are in every place. Such is the teaching of the text as it appears to me. But when we pray “Thy will be done" we ask that it may be done by man on earth, not as it is done in the heavens—that would be a high idea, but then the sun, the moon, the stars, what will have they? They must obey. We ask that God's will may be done as it is in heaven, the one true heaven in which dwell the intelligent beings who voluntarily and
rationally do His will; who do it not from necessity, but by choice, and from loving zeal for the God who rules there.
One or two thoughts may be added for meditation, ere we pass on to the next sentence. The words before us- "Our Father who art in the heavens"-set forth the ruler of the universe in a threefold aspect. He is 1. The Father, 2. The All-Father, and 3. The HeavenFather. Christ might have told his disciples to address God as King, Elohim, Shaddai or some such title; but he said rather, regard God as 1. Father. It is well known that the English name is from the same root as the Greek Tarp, viz., Pâ, TT. This gives the idea, not of generation, but of protection, succour, nourishment. Strange to say we have in China an exactly analogous, only somewhat more expressive, idea connected with the word. For who was the father in early Chinese history? The old form of the word teaches us that it was he who held the rod in his right hand. Thus we learn that the Father was first the protector. People did not then live in well-defended houses and cities: beasts and human foes were greatly to be feared, and the father therefore carried the rod of defence, of protection. So God protects His people. Again the rod signified the power of the father to gain the sustenance needed by the family. The father became shepherd, and so the shepherd still carries the staff, and is called the pastor (from the same root), and leads his flock out to pasturage. "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want." The shepherd handed on his staff and office to the spiritual pastor, and the Church dignitaries still carry the staff. The Father became ruler of the family, the clan, the tribe. He still retained his staff, and when he reached the throne his sceptre represented to his larger family what the father's rod had done to the smaller. The rod was sometimes required for correction; so "Whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth." Each one will be able for himself to follow out the line of thought here suggested. 2. God is the All-Father. Christ does not say "my father" or "your father" in this prayer, but "Our father," for it is intended to be universally used. It is to be coextensive with the word man. No other religious title than that of Christian possesses universality. God is the father of all by creation, by preservation and by redemption. He will now be the father of all through faith in Jesus Christ. The title All-father has been borrowed from the old northern mythology of Scandinavia. It is used by Kingsley in Alton Locke, and the passage has often been referred to or quoted by later writers, as, e.g. Clodd, Childhood of Religion, 129; Müller, Hibbert Lectures, 216. "Those simple-hearted forefathers of ours looked round upon the earth, and said within themselves, 'Where
is the All-Father, if All-Father there be ?' Not in this earth; for it will perish. Nor in the sun, moon, or stars; for they will perish too. Where is He who abideth for ever?" "Then they lifted up their eyes, and saw, as they thought, beyond sun, and moon, and stars, and all which changes and will change, the clear blue sky, the boundless firmament of heaven. That never changed; that was always the same. The clouds and storms rolled far below it, and all the bustle of this noisy world; but there the sky was still, as bright and calm as ever. The All-Father must be there, unchangeable in the unchanging heaven; bright and pure, and boundless like the heavens; and like the heavens too, silent and far off.” But this idea of an All-Father is secondary to that of 3. Heaven-Father. “And how did they call that All-Father?" asks Professor Max Müller. He gives his own answer:-“Five thousand years ago, or, it may be earlier, the Aryans who had travelled southward to the rivers of the Penjâb, called him Dyansh-pitâ, Heavenfather. Three thousand years ago, or, it may be earlier, the Aryans on the shores of the Hellespont called him Zeùs tatúp, Heaven-father. Two thousand years ago, the Aryans of Italy looked up to that bright heaven above hoc sublime candens, and called it Ju-piter, Heaven-father. And a thousand years ago the same Heaven-father and All-father was invoked in the dark forests of Germany by our own peculiar ancestors, the Teutonic Aryans and his old name of Tiu (whence our Tuesday) or Zio was then heard perhaps for the last time.” Some people find fault with this teaching; I think generally for two reasons, (1) because they are too ignorant to grasp its meaning, (2) because they cannot bear the idea of a man finding anything good in the non-Christian religions of the world. We would suggest to their consideration the following words: “We must hope that Christians will cease to feel jealous when Hindus become Mohammadans, that Mohammadans will cease their bitter hate against Christians, and that each will take pains to understand what the religion of the other is. They will then find how much there is upon which they can agree, and so leave each other free to work for the good of mankind.” Clodd, p. 157. It is well known to students in China that Mr. Herbert Spencer has a theory that all religions originated in ancestor-worship. This question has been criticized by Prof. Fairbairn recently in the Contemporary Review; but it has occurred to me to ask if after all there is not a grain-a large grain-of truth in what Mr. Spencer says. How is it we find ancestorworship so general? I would reply that it is probably a corruption of the ancient religion in which the Heaven-father and the All-father was the true object of worship. This would be an easier and more rational solution than that which has recently been suggested by some materialistic writers.