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That Presbytery may be left without a shadow of support, these two unhappy prepositions, (Öuo, & usto.) (dia and meta) by and with, are doomed to the same rack on which Cyprian had formerly tortured a noun, and the Layman himself both a noun and a verb, into witnesses for the hierarchy.” It being presumed that the imposition of hands relates to Timothy's ordination, the “presbytery,” whose act it was, whether composed of mere Presbyters, or of Prelates, or of Apostles, had nothing to do in the affair, but barely to express their consent ; and if this appear dubious, it shall be substantiated by the deposition of dia and meta.
“It is known,” says the Layman, “to every Greek scho
lar, that dia” (by) “signifies, emphatically, the cause of a thing ; while meta” (with) “denotes, emphatically, nearness of situation, relation, connexion, agreement.” We do not wish to be uncharitable, but, if we must judge from the instances of words, which, in this collection have been unfortunate enough to undergo his critical process, it is very hard for the Layman to tell what a Greek scholar knows. Scholars, like other classes of men, have their appropriate habits of speaking and acting: And when one who has had only a dining-room acquaintance with them, affects to be of their number, his awkward imitation betrays him in the same manner as the dialect of a foreigner distinguishes him from a native, as a prime minister would loose the reputa
tion of a statesman by relying on annual registers, on reviews, or the gazettes, for his great political facts. No scholar would have made the Layman's indefinite appeal to “the best lexicons in the language,” for settling the meaning of a disputed word. He would have produced examples from the only legitimate authorities, the original writers. How the Layman would fare in such hands, we shall not conjecture: but we are sure that a very little acquaintance with Greek is sufficient to pluck away the feathers with which poor dia and meta have been made to adorn his plume. “Dia signifies, emphatically, the cause of a thing.” For example: It is easier for a camel to go through (dia) the eye of a needle, than, &c. Math. xix. 24. * Jesus went—THROUGH (dia) the cornfields. Mark ii. 23. .And again he entered into Capernaum, AFTER (dia) some days. Mark ii. 1. Now what “cause” does the preposition dia express here. Does it “emphatically,” as the Layman speaks, “signify the cause” of the needle's eye? of the cornfields P or of the days 2 or the “cause” of the camel's going through the first? of our Lord's going through the second? or of his spending the third before he went into Capernaum 2 When the Layman shall have found his emphatical signification of dia in these instances, he may call upon us for a hundred more
The fact is, that this preposition never signifies the cause of a thing: whatever the “Lexicons” say. It expresses the idea of transition or transmission, and has no English word to correspond with it so well as the preposition “through.” Whether it is accompanied with the notion of a cause or not, must be determined by the phrase where it occurs.
But in spoiling the Layman's criticism, we acknowledge that we have not overthrown his argument. For if the imposition of Paul's hands was the medium through which, to the exclusion of the Presbytery, he alone conveyed the ministerial commission to Timothy; and if this act of his formed a precedent for all subsequent ordinations, the Layman has won, and we own Timothy to have been episcopally ordained : Whether a bishop or not, would still remain a question. These ifs, however, seem to be rather anti-episcopal.
From the words of Paul, we should conclude, that whoever or whatever else might have been concerned in this august transaction, a material part of it belonged to the Presbytery. Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, WITH THE LAYING ON OF THE HANDS OF THE PRESBYTERy. A plain reader would certainly say, that Timothy was Presbyterially ordained: as he could not well imagine that a Presbyterian himself would have chosen to word the account differently. But this would be the errour of one who had never heard what marvels can be effected by a little criticallegerdemain operating upon Greek prepositions. O no This is the very text which proves that his ordination was not presbyterial Astonishing ! I see Timothy bowing before the Presbytery. I see them imposing hands upon his head: I am told by the Apostle Paul, that the gift which was in him was given him with the laying on of their hands: and yet they did not ordain him “ No 1" Had no share in his ordination! “No!” Gave him no gift at all! “No” Verily this Layman is unceremonious in his behaviour to words ; for he will either allow them no meaning at all; or else, as it may suit him, they shall mean in the mouth of an apostle, the contrary to what they ever have meant or ever shall mean, in the mouth of any other man JNo ordination 1 JVo communication by the Presbytery! Why, that old Jesuit, who has foisted the Virgin Mary into every chapter of the book of Proverbs,” could not himself be more fantastical How, in the name of common sense, is the Presbytery disposed of? Softly, zealous friend, softly. Thou shalt see. Here comes the magician: his wand shall touch the little four-lettered vocabule, “witH,” and lo, the whole Presbytery will evanish, and leave only a single ordaining hand!
“The circumstance of the apostle using a word in relation to himself, which denotes the instrumental cause,” viz. dia;
* Vid. F. Q. DE SALAzAR, erpositio in Proverbia.
Wol. III. 21
“and with respect to the Presbytery, a word which, particularly as distinguished from dia, expresses agreement,” viz. meta; “shows, clearly, that the authoritative power was vested in him ; and that the act, on the part of the Presbytery, was an act of mere concurrence.”
So they wrap it up! Let us try to unwrap it a little, and see whether the bundle will bear examination. So far as we can perceive, there is nothing here but a play upon words; and the argument consists in the jingle. The interpretation of the word used by the apostle, is bent and twisted in such a manner as to induce the unlettered reader to suppose that it expresses the assent of one person to the act of another. We do not object to the Layman's translating meta by “concurrence;” for according to our great English Lexicographer, “ concurrence” signifies “union, association, conjunction:” “Agreement; act of joining in any design or measure”—“ combination of many agents or circumstances,” &c.; but popular and colloquial usage often employs it when nothing more is intended than an approbation of an opinion or a measure. It is in this sense that the Layman uses it; and it is here that his criticism puts a fraud upon his reader. We do not say that the fraud is intentional; before we can prove this, we must prove that he understands Greek; which we humbly beg leave to decline. But we shall freely give him the “eight or ten years” which his friend has craved," in order to
* Ho BART's Apology, p. 250.