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" It is readily granted that the Masoretic points are no part of the sacred text; that they are the invention of critics of very slender talents, in a very late
and that they are of no authority at all, as affecting the words of any particular text. Nevertheless, when a word so remarkable as one of the names of the Deity is always pointed by the Masorites in a very particular way, whenever they think it is so used, and only when it is so used, it seems but a fair conclusion that they had some very sound and weighty reason, though it may not be discoverable at this day; and that what is intimated to us, under the cypher of their points, concerning the etymology of the word, is what had come down to them by tradition, from more informed critics, in the earlier ages of their language.”
Thus we have the authority of the learned Horsley that there is great meaning in the sacred names of the GODHEAD, and great difficulty in ascertaining their etymology; but this in nowise invalidates the propriety of carefully retaining them.
The words AL, JEHOVAH, ADONI, RUACH, and EloHIM, are the words used in speaking of the Deity in the original. Hebrew scholars agree that each of the above terms is derived from its own appropriate root. I particularly wish to enforce that this, its appropriate root, should always be kept in view whenever the name is pronounced, and then any difference of opinion as to which is the right derivative, will in no respect invalidate what I wish to prove, viz., That the different
offices indicated by the various import of the names, undeniably proves that the inspired writers carefully preserved a distinction or plurality of persons in the GODHEAD. There are two other names used, but they occur so very seldom, that they cannot require to be enlarged upon,-SHADDI, englished ALMIGHTY in the Old Testament, and JAH, which is always used in its original pronunciation.
I shall not even attempt a minute grammatical disquisition on the names, because, to Hebrew scholars, I might appear presumptuous, and to a reader who knows not the language, I should probably perplex rather than define ; but I will venture to give the explanations which I deduced from Jones, &c., and which appeared to me satisfactory, while I was engaged in translating the original for my own private edification, and from which those opinions were formed which induce me to publish the following pages.
Al.—This word means strength, power, protection, father, preserver.
All these attributes belong to God, and there
fore I translate that term God. It will be found that, in all passages where this name is used, that his omnipresence and perpetual closeness to the individual is notified. Thus we often read that Al is the God of Abraham, Isaac, &c.; in other words, the father and protector of Abraham, &c.; but we never
find it said that JEHOVAH is the JEHOVAH of any particular person. Does not this peculiarity prove that there is a striking distinction of office or person in the GODHEAD?
JEHOVAH.-This word is derived from the verb to be,
and means SELF-EXISTENT, ETERNAL.
As we are accustomed to the term Jehovah, I
will retain that name untranslated, and merely notice that Lord is its usual interpretation in our received version.
ADONI.—This word is derived from the verb to judge,
and therefore implies LORDSHIP, AUTHORITY, and JUDGE.
I unhesitatingly adopt that derivation, because
our translation has frequently so englished it; and also we very often read that ADONI is the Judge of the whole world; and when the following extracts have been attentively read, it will, I hope, clearly appear that ADONI is frequently identified with JEHOVAH, and CHRIST the MESSIAH, who is also unanimously acknowledged by all Christians as the Judge of the quick and the dead.
Ruach.—This means Spirit.
I therefore so translate this word, because, if
the original term were retained, it would offend the ear, and not contribute to clear away any difficulty.
ELOHIM.—It is very difficult to find words to explain
the full import of this word. It does not mean Gods, although it is a plural word, for that in strictness would be thought to countenance the notion of tritheism or plurality of Gods, which is abhorrent from the
express doctrine of Scripture, and against which Elohim is purposely guarded, by its being connected so very often with verbs and pronouns in the singular.
I imagine the words GODHEAD, TRINITY, and LORD GOD ALMIGHTY to be the synonymes of ELOHIM. Perhaps the four first sentences in the Litany may help us to comprehend this important point.
In the first sentence we pray to God the Father-AL.
In the second to
God the Son--JEHOVAH, ADONI, MESSIAH.
In the third to
GOD the HOLY GHOST_RUACH.
Having prayed to each Person separately, we finally implore the help of The Holy, BLESSED, and GLORIOUS TRINITY, three Persons and one God. I presume that, if the fourth sentence were written in Hebrew, ELOHIM is the Divine Being who would be addressed.
Again,- In the Blessing pronounced by the Clergy after the sermon, if the Hebrew names were preserved, I think it would be thus,
The Blessing of Elohim, viz., of the AL, JEHOVAH, and Ruach, be with you.
That is—The Blessing of the Holy TRINITY, viz., of the FATHER, Son, and Holy Ghost, be with you.
Thus the Old Testament speaks of the different Persons of the GODHEAD asAL, JEHOVAH, ADONI, and RUACH, and occasionally
comprises them all in the significant word Elo
The New Testament speaks of God—the Son JESUS CHRIST--and the Holy GHOST;
and when it designs to convey the most exalted idea of the Divinity, it uses the compound word LORDGOD-ALMIGHTY.
To assist the reader, I will concisely repeat that, according to my view :ELOHIM means
The term ELOHIM is affixed to each of these names occasionally, as if it were intended to prove that they