the meaning of which no two scholars agree?
If Goa meant to issue a command to last for all time,--a command which was so imperative that all governments, in all circumstances, were to be obliged to obey it,--would He not have stated it so that its meaning might be plainly understood?
Some say it means “whatsoever.”
, one of the most eminent living philologists in the world, undertook to show in his lectures, only two years ago, that it only forbids cannibalism,--the eating of men; and perhaps, on a question of language, there is no single name in all Christendom that has the weight of Dr. Kraitsir
at the present moment.
“ Whosoever sheds man's blood, his blood shall be shed.”
That is the whole sentence; “by man” is an interpolation.
That is the whole literal interpretation of the words; we have got to make out the rest.
Some say it is a prophecy, “Whosoever taketh the sword, shall perish by the sword;” and so of all the different meanings.
I do not go into them, because it is utterly immaterial to my argument which is the best.
The simple fact that the most eminent Oriental
scholars have never been able to agree upon an interpretation, is enough for me. Is it not singular, I say, that so transcendent an act of legislation as “breaking into the bloody house of life,” as Shakspeare
writes,--the taking of human life,--should be left to hang on a doubtful sentence, in a dead language, more than three thousand years old?
Why, gentlemen, if a doctrine is of importance in the Bible
, it is spread over many pages; it shines out in parable; it is put prominently forward in exhortation ; it is given in one way and then in another; first by one writer and then by another,--but here is this single sentence, nothing else; we have got to hang on this; we cannot find it anywhere else.
Our Saviour says, reiterating the great