Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

disciples considered the prayer in the sermon upon the mount as rather intended for the people, and now in Luke requested a form of prayer particularly for themselves. According to Noesselt and Raw the disciples presented this request to Jesus a short time previous to the sermon upon the mount, and the answer which Jesus then gave them, has been introduced by Matthew into the discourse itself. According to Paulus, in his Comment. I. p. 712., their request, which had been presented before the sermon, is answered for the first time by Jesus in the prayer as it occurs. All these explanations are held by the latest critics to be unsatisfactory. But why? Is there any thing forced or unnatural in the supposition, that the prayer which Jesus had presented to the people, as an example how men ought to pray without “ vain repetitions," and which in fact, in its present connections, has not at all the character of a form, should not have been regarded by the disciples as such, and as particularly designed for themselves, and that therefore, without once calling to mind this type of a true prayer, they should at a later period have requested a form for their own use? Were there not other occasions also, in which they were uncertain, wbether what our Lord said before the people had any special reference to themselves? See Luke 12:41. And if it should seem quite improbable that all of them should lie under such a mistake, might it not have been the case with one or two? But Luke speaks only of one disciple. Is it raised as an objection, that, in this case, our Lord would have hinted, at least with a single word, that they had only to recollect the prayer which had already been given them; I would ask then whether this is the only instance, in which nothing but what is most essential has reached us from the discourses of Christ? If in addition to what has now been said we consider how perfectly the prayer is adjusted to its place in Matthew, so that if we should detach it from its present connection, we might also take away the 7th and 8th verses, as the warning against hypocritical prayer concludes with the sixth, it will be difficult for us to avoid the conclusion, that our Saviour did, in fact, repeat the same form of prayer on another occasion. This being the case, we may suppose also with the older commentators, that on this second occasion our Saviour gave the prayer in the abbreviated form, in which we have it in Luke. But what could have been the motive of our Saviour in abridging the prayer a second time? If he had presented it before as a model of concise prayer in opposition to vain repetitions (Bartología) it is hardly to be supposed that the three clauses, which are wanting in Luke : ο εν τοις ουρανοίς, γενηθήτω το θελημά σου κ. τ. λ, αλλα

1 Calvin too is wholly undecided : incertum est, semel an bis hanc orandi formam Christus discipulis tradiderit. Quibusdam hoc secutidum videtur magis probabile ... Quia tamen diximnus, Matthaeum praecipua quaeque doctrinae capita colligere, ut melius ex continua seria totam summam perspiciant lectores, fieri potest ut Matthaeus occasionem, quam refert Lucas, omiserit, quanquam hac de re cum nemine pugnare velimus.Socinus also finds all the solutions quite unsatisfactory : neque ego sane, says he, quidquam invenire vel excogitare possuni, quod mihi ullo modo satisfaciat ad absurditatem istam tollendam, quae nimis evidens plane est. He suggests the inquiry, though with the utmost caution, to avoid encroaching too nearly upon the dignity of God's word, whether Luke may not in this case have neglected the order of time. It is interesting to observe how those men, who under the atmosphere of the nineteenth century would infallibly have been rationalists, derived a sort of spiritual vigour from their connection with the believing sixteenth, much as they sought to tear themselves away from it. How many genuine elements of christianity, which are wanting to our modern theology, are still found in the Socinian writings, whose fundamental tendency is yet in other respects altogether that of our " rational supranaturalists," as they are called.

gūsai nuās x. 1. d, would have been superfluously introduced by I him, so as to make any future correction necessary.

In this case it would only remain for us, with Michaelis, to seek for the reason of the abridgement in the disciples. The earlier form seemed to them too concise for their own use, and their dissatisfaction with it—arising from an inclination to the fault which our Saviour had already reproved-led them to ask for another, which they now to their shame received in terins still more concise than before. It is better, therefore, to suppose-as Noesselt and Olshausen have done that Luke's informant gave a less complete report of the words of Christ than that with which Matthew has furnished us, as is the case in regard to the report of the whole sermon upon the mount, and also in other instances; Luke 6:3——5. comp. Matt. 12: 3—8. Luke 8: 19–21. comp. Matt. 12:47–50. Luke 9: 19–22 comp. Matt. 16:14 -21.

As to the object which Christ had in view in communicating this prayer, the question of chief importance is, whether it was his intention that it should be used by his followers as a precise form, or whether it was designed simply to indicate what ought to constitute the substance, of christian prayer. The one extreme here

may be found in the view which is ascribed by Harmenopulus' to the Bogomiles, viz., that they rejected every other prayer but that of our Lord, a fact, however, which must certainly be understood as relating only to the liturgical forms of the church. The other extreme is described by Grotius, when he says: non praecipit Christus, verba recitari, sed materiam precum hinc promere. According to Grotius occus should be interpreted "in bunc sensum ;" undoubtedly our lexicons give to our ws the meaning: simili vel eodem modo; but when the subject of discourse is a declaration, a proposition, so that after ouras the words are expressly quoted, every thing of an indefinite nature is thereby excluded, and we are not at liberty to suppose otherwise than that the precise words are meant to be repeated. Matt. 2: 5. Luke 19: 31. Acts 7:6, 13, 34, 47. Rom. 10:6. Where this is not so strictly intended, there we shall always find some modification of the expression, as oüros nws. But that in the present case the precise words were intended to be given, is evident both from Luke 11:2. öruv 100DEUX NOE, Eye T e, and from the antithesis. If it were the design of Christ to give only the substance of christian prayer, the antithesis in that case to the πολυλογία and βαττηλογία would be but very indirect ; a direct antithesis arises only upon the supposition that he is showing how men might pray in a manner at once concise and comprehensive, and in order to do this it was necessary for him to present the words. Wolzogen, who could not reconcile bimself to the thought, that Christ gave here a form of prayer, consequently required that oüros oův should not be considered as an antithesis to the preceding context. Although, however, our Saviour has here given a form, the conclusion by no means follows, which was mentioned above as having been adopted by the Bogomiles. It is a just remark of Tertullian : quoniam tamen dominus prospector humanarum necessitatum seorsim post traditam orandi disciplinam : petite, in

i Iu the 14111 century, de sectis baereticis.

? Moeller (neue Ansichten schw. Stellen, p. 43.) is greatly out of the way, when he undertakes to show here that the adverbı stands for the adjective tavic, which is also the opinion of Schleusner. Respecting this alleged substitution of the adverb for the adjective, see Winer, p. 389.

quit, et accipietis, et sunt quae petantur pro circumstantia cujusque, etc. “Our Lord, who foresaw the variety of human wants, after having given the form or prayer, says distinctly, ask and ye shall receive, and the things asked for are according to the circumstances of each individual.” Christ himself, and his apostles, moreover, made use of other prayers, John 17. Matt: 26; 39. Acts 1: 24. 4: 24. Nay, to come to the point which now lies immediately before us, it cannot be shown, that a christian community may not or should not exist without the use of the Lord's prayer. For we find neither in the Acts nor in any writer prior to the third century, that the Lord's prayer was used as a form in public worship. Justin Martyr says, that the Apoeg ta's prays “according to the ability which he possesses.” 2 It is not till the time of Tertullian and Cyprian that the prayer appears as the oratio legitima et ordinaria. Cyprian remarks on this subject : quae potest magis spiritualis esse oratio, quam quae a Christo nobis data est, quo nobis et spiritus sanctus missus est; quae vera apud patrem precatio, quam quae a filio, qui est veritas, de ejus ore prolatus est, ut aliter orare, quam docuit, non ignorantia sola sit, sed et culpa, quando ipse posuerit et dixerit : rejicitis mandatum Dei, ut traditionem vestram statuatis.

“What prayer can be more spiritual, than that which was given us by Christ, by whom also the Holy Spirit is sent to us; what more truly prayer to the Father than that which has been presented to us from his mouth by the Son, who is the truth, so that to pray otherwise than he taught is not ignorance alone but sin, since he himself has said, ye reject the commands of God that ye may establish your own traditions.” The belief in the peculiar sanctity of the prayer grew stronger, after it became included with the disciplina arcana, and was not allowed to the catechumens but only to the members of the church, a change which was probably owing to the circumstance that the fourth petition, spiritually interpreted, was considered by

1 Christ, however, gave this prayer only for his church. He could not pray “ forgive us our debts,” bence “after this manner therefore pray ye." And if there were one of Adam's race without sin, he could no longer unite with the christian church in the use of this prayer, and would thereby be excluded from the christian church as it is constituted upon earth.

2 See Augusti Denkwürdigk. Th. V. Joh. Georg. Walch de usu orat. domin. ap. vet. christ. in the miscellanea sacra, Amst. 1744.

1

many to refer to the eucharist. If the composition of the first seven books of the apostolic constitutions must be placed, according to the more recent inquiries, towards the end of the 3d century, it would appear from 1. VII. c. 24. that at that time the Lord's prayer was repeated by Christians thrice every day. As early as the time of Charlemagne, children began to commit it to memory. The protestant churches also adopted the Lord's prayer as a standing form in public worship, and met with no opposition except from the anabaptists, a class of eccentric puritans, and the Quakers, sects which in general resolve the whole of public worship into the momentary subjective feelings of the congregation, and will, therefore, tolerate no standing objective form.? We have already said, that the shorter the prayer was which our Saviour presented in contrast with the vain repetitions he reproved, the more full and comprehensive it must be in its contents. We may therefore concede, what has been the received opinion of the church, that all christian desires admit of being reduced to this prayer. As Chrysostom says it is the uétpov of the prayer of Christians, and as Euthym. beautifully expresses it : παραδίδωσι τύπον ευχής, ουχ ίνα ταύτην μόνην τ. ευχήν ευχώμεθα, αλλ' ίνα, ταύτην έχοντες πηγήν ευχής, εκ ταύτης αρυώμεθα τας εννοίας τ. ευχών. « He gives us a form of prayer, not that we may confine ourselves to this alone, but that as from a fountain we may draw from it the thoughts of which our prayers should be composed.” Finally, Cyprian: qualia sunt orationis dominicae sacramenta, quam multa, quam magna, breviter in sermone collecta, sed in virtute specialiter copiosa, ut nihil omnino praetermissum sit, quod non in precibus atque orationibus nostris coelestis doctrinae compendio comprehendatur. The Socinians were not satisfied with this assertion, but it was probably only because they understood it in too literal a sense. "Volckel, however, de vera religione 1. IV. c. 9. constitutes an exception.

We mention only in passing two other hypotheses respecting the object of this prayer, which may be considered as antiquated. One is the opinion of Pfannkuche in Eichhorn's allgem. Bibl. der bibl. Litt. Bd. X. p. 846, that it was the intention of

See Bergpredigt, p. 372. ? Respecting the controversy of the Puritans with the Episcopalians of England on this point, see Benthem Engländ. Kirch-und Sehulenstaat. c. 26. s. 591 ff.

« ZurückWeiter »