The Preaching to the Spirits in Prison

Rev. S. C. Bartlett


In an article written for the New Englander some years ago (Oct. 1872) the present writer discussed the meaning of 1 Pet. 3:19-20, on strictly grammatical (as well as exegetical) principles. A recent writer in the same periodical (Rev. W. W. Patton, D.D., Sept. 1882) has endeavored to invalidate those conclusions. As further examination has only confirmed the present writer’s convictions, it is proposed still further to vindicate the position then taken, replying, so far as may be indispensable, to the criticisms and counter arguments as, perhaps, the most practical mode of meeting objections. The present discussion, being prepared for the Bibliotheca Sacra at the request of the editor, labors under some disadvantages in appearing in a different periodical, and thereby disconnected from the former presentation and the rejoinder. A very brief recapitulation, with the aid of notes and references, may in part overcome the difficulty.

The first and main position taken was (and is) this: the common translation of the phrase ἀπειθήσασί by the rendering which were some time disobedient, can be shown to be not in accordance with established Greek usage — this translation itself being equivalent to a wrong interpretation.

The second position maintained was (and is) that the proper grammatical and natural translation of this clause (together with the preceding words) is, “he went and preached to the spirits in prison on their being once upon a time disobedient.” (T. S. Green, Gram. New. Test. p. 55; Prof. J. H. Thayer, Smith’s Diet, of the Bible, 4:p. 2786); or, “when once they disobeyed,” (E. S. Green, Handbook New. Test. Gram. p. 215); or “when formerly they showed themselves unbelieving” (Schweizer). “On their once having been disobedient,” is perhaps still more nearly exact.1

I spoke “with more caution” of the first proposition “in view of the difficulty of proving a universal negative,” while claiming that “a clear instance” to the contrary would be “a singularly rare exception.” With a very slight addition to the form of the grammatical propositions then laid down, I shall venture to question still more positively whether even exceptional instances can be found in careful Greek writers.

The chief grammatical points specially taken and sustained by authorities, and by examples, were,

1. That an anarthrous participle placed after a noun which has the article (as in the present instance) is not an attributive, — does not attribute a quality or characteristic to the noun by way of description (“spirits which were disobedient”),— but is of the nature of a predicate; being by some loosely called circumstantial, because adducing the circumstances of the principal action; by some, predicative; and by Donaldson and others, a secondary or tertiary predicate.2 It does not serve to define its subject, but predicates something concerning it (“when once they had been disobedient”). This position was sustained by unequivocal statements from the grammars of Donaldson (3d ed. § 400), T. S. Green (New Test. Gram, p.,50), Hadley (§§531–533), E. S. Green (Handbook to Gram, of New Test., §§ 331–396), Jelf (4th ed. §§ 458, 452, 459, 695). Winer was cited (§ 20) as at times very distinct, though “incomplete and not altogether consistent”; and it was added that Jelf had “some confusion of terms, but with clear meaning.” Other authorities could have been cited, but these were deemed enough.

One slight additional limitation was not given, which, as the instances are infrequent, had not attracted special attention, and in fact was not to be found then formulated, so far as I know, except in one text-book. That addition, as stated by Hadley (§ 532) and Goodwin (§ 142, note 5) in the same words, is this: “When an attributive participle has other words depending on it, either these words or the participle may follow the substantive” — follow it immediately, without the intervention of disconnected words. Kühner gives some twenty or more examples (2d ed. Vol. 2:p. 538), but all conform to this closing qualification. That is to say, the attributive participle (attached to a noun which has the article), if it follow the noun, must have the article repeated with it, unless it stands so connected with dependent words between the article and noun that its relation is thereby expressly defined, and then it stands next after the noun. This additional form of statement cuts off the only two examples adduced by Dr. Patton which seemed to form exceptions to the position taken.

2. The aorist participle denotes transient action which, at least in its beginning (Hadley, § 717; Curtius, Gr. Gram. § 496), precedes that of the principal verb, though sometimes continuing coincident with it. And this is true whether it belongs to the subject or, as much less frequently, to the object of the verb. It (the aorist) is the participle chosen to express barely the antecedent fact or occasion on which (for whatever reason) some other act expressed by the verb took place. This occasion (in the aorist) therefore always includes, however loosely, the notion of relative time—antecedent time. It is always (in Stuart’s words) preliminary action. Hence the aorist participle, if connected with the subject of the verb, may itself be rendered by another verb with the conjunction “and” following, or preceded by a “when” (the more ancient English idiom); or rather more closely, in modern style, by the participle preceded by “on” or “upon.” Thus, “having gathered the chief priests he inquired” (Matt. 2:4) is rendered “when he had gathered”; and “having arisen he took” is “he arose and took” (2:21). When the aorist participle is attached to the direct or indirect complement of the verb, it is usually to be rendered by “when” or “upon.” The second chapter of Matthew furnishes seven instances, in King James’s version, where this participle is rendered by a verb followed by “and,” and eleven by a verb preceded by “when.”3

No accurate Greek scholar, I think, will deny that these positions are in accordance with the general usage of the Greek language. Whether even exceptional instances can be found such as to invalidate the rendering here advocated will appear in the sequel.

But, it may be said in the outset, why spend time on these niceties of the Greek language, when general exegetical considerations, or the general drift of scripture, are enough? The obvious answer is, that such considerations cannot override definite utterances, that they rest upon specific statements; and that, however strong may seem to be the bearing of the context even, it cannot do violence to the language. Moreover, the very question is whether here is or is not a statement which, fairly interpreted, constitutes a special exception to the general drift of the Scripture declarations. The position taken is, that it does not.

And it is noticeable that Dr. Patton argues only for exceptional cases. Thus: “It thus seems perilous to accept President Bartlett’s narrow grammatical rule without considering carefully whether it does not admit of a qualification or exception. Does an anarthrous4 participle agreeing with a noun always and simply mark the occasion?5 May it not sometimes have an attributive power?” (New Englander, p. 464, Sept. 1882). He even cautions us against expecting to find “any cast-iron rule, especially in loose and untrained writers, such as Peter” (New Englander, p. 456, 1882).

The claim certainly is not for much, and when it is put in for “loose” writers, it is still more modest. Without pausing now to notice in detail the confusions that are involved in this mode of putting the case, we will in due time attend to any alleged exceptions. We will also see whether there have really been produced any counter grammatical authorities, or whether the authorities thus cited do not, in their deliberate and specific statements of governing principles, conflict with the counter argument; and whether the alleged support does not come from citing incomplete, inapplicable, and in one or two instances, inconsistent remarks. This in due time.6

The real force of the argument, however, which I readily admit (as formerly) has a weighty aspect, rests on the renderings of translators and commentators. Here is, in truth, the whole strength of the case. For while the interpretation of the passage has been a divided one, the translation given in the English version has been the almost universal one. I will state this argument in all its strength: “How, then, have so many distinguished ancient and modern Greek scholars managed to violate an obvious rule that has no exception, and to translate this ἀπειθήσασι, in an attributive or definitive sense,’ who had disobeyed’? What were such recent scholars as Bengel, Rosenmüller, DeWette, Delitzsch, Stier, Huther, Bloomfield, Alford, Ellicott, Davidson, Mombert, Lange, Had-ley, Craven, and Schaff thinking of, thus to forget their Greek grammar? But worse yet; what was the matter with the Greek fathers, who, without exception, held to Christ’s descent to Hades and his preaching to the spirits after his death, and who thought, talked, and wrote in Greek — that they also were so ignorant of their own idiom as completely to misunderstand the passage in like manner? And the Vulgate fell into the same error, rendering the words in question, ‘qui increduli fuerant.’ And so did Rufinus and Origen and the Latin version of Clemens Alexandras “(New Englander, 1882 pp. 463-64).

To this the writer adds the weight of the revised version, sanctioned by the American revisers (p. 468), This is very well put; and though it contains nothing not already well known and distinctly contemplated, and nothing decisive of the question —- any more than does any other current error which is rectified by a new and careful examination of the facts,— yet, when presented in good rhetorical shape, it is quite impressive. Indeed, but for this aspect of the case, the question would be very quickly decided by a simple appeal to that well settled Greek usage, which usage Dr. Patton virtually admits, when he argues only for “exceptions,” and “especially in loose writers.”

Let us consider the real significance of this appeal. Many considerations break its force.

1. Numbers alone do not count in such matters, that is in critical questions. A few leading minds generally settle them for the multitude. Of what weight in this case are such names as even Rosenmüller (J. G.), Bloomfield, Davidson, to say nothing of others that it might be invidious to mention? Huther is not Meyer, though once doing duty (New Englander, 1882, p. 468) for Meyer’s Commentary. Even Alford seldom breaks away from the combined weight of Meyer and DeWette. Bengel wrote a hundred and forty years ago, and his great strength is in discerning the scope. The modern interpreters who settle nice questions of construction are few. And the value of their judgment will depend on two things: (1) whether they have had their attention distinctly turned to the critical point, and (2) whether their view is consistent with their decision in other cases. It may appear that both these questions must, in regard to some of them, be answered in the negative. Can any man tell how many inconsistencies have been pointed out in the revised version?

2. The critical weight of the early authorities may be very greatly overrated. The Vulgate (or the earlier Itala) is not a high authority on nice questions. Modern scholarship has often had occasion to set aside its renderings, and those of the Greek fathers too. Take one or two obvious cases. In Rom. 3:25, the Vulgate confounds πάρεσις with ἄφεσις, and renders “remissio “instead of pretermissio. Origen makes the same mistake. Again, modern scholarship, as represented by the revisers, has set aside the Vulgate rendering of John 1:9, and, in the same decision, the authority of men “who thought, wrote, and talked in Greek,” such as Origen, Chrysostom, Cyril, Epiphanius, Nonnus, Theophylact, Eu-thymius, as well as of two of the oldest and most important versions, the Syriac and Coptic, and of Meyer too, from whose fourth edition I cite these authorities. Besides, a sweeping claim for the Greek fathers on “the descent to Hades” must not be understood to imply that they have all uttered themselves on the rendering of this verse. Thus Theodoret, the best expositor of them all, has not, so far as I can find in his works, made any reference to this passage. It must also be remembered on what kind of basis such a father as Origen, who is specially referred to, rested his notion of the descent to Hades. He found references to it not only in this passage of Peter, and in Acts 2:31, and its original Ps, 16:5 (where the correct rendering is not “leave my soul in hell,” but “abandon my soul to hell or Sheol”)., and in Eph. 4:9, but in Gen. 46:3, 4; Hos. 13:14; Ps. 3:6; 22:11, 12, 18; 1; Luke 11:22, 28, and other passages equally irrelevant. Clement of Alexandria, the other Greek father particularly named, not only cites Job 28:22 as referring to the preaching in Hades, and Matt, 27:52 in proof that the dead were “translated to a better state “(Strom. 6:6), but he also teaches (Strom. 2:9; 6:6) that “the apostles following the Lord preached the gospel to them in Hades.” Such authorities require sifting.

3. Early erroneous opinions exerted a wide-spread influence, and even bias. Probably the Vulgate (or rather Itala) is largely responsible for the wide acceptance of the common rendering; and it was facilitated by the doctrine of the descent into Hades, which at a later period found its way into the “Apostles’ Creed,” and thus into the Articles of the Church of England, the Lutheran Formula of Confession, and even into Calvin’s Institutes (ii. 16, 8 seq.). This transaction may be found drawn out with all its antecedents, concomitants, and consequences, in chapter xiii.-xx. of the Gospel of Nicodemus. The theological bias of Christendom has favored the erroneous rendering.

4. The points on which the discussion turns are easily overlooked, and their exact determination and statement have been somewhat recent. Donaldson in his grammar (p 529), makes this noteworthy observation in regard to what he calls the “secondary” and “tertiary predicate,” that “professed scholars, especially on the continent, are sometimes found to neglect or wholly overlook the full force of this construction,” and (p. 457) that “the student is apt to lose the predicative force of the participle, when it agrees in case with the object of the verb,” as in the present instance. There is nothing to show that the attention of DeWette or of Alford was ever drawn to the exact issue. Huther is quoted from the last edition of Meyer as repudiating the rendering proposed, but with a reason that does not specifically touch the case.7 Professor Hadley (who is quoted) in the private letter written in 1868, in which he briefly remarks on the passage in Peter, does not say a word on the construction, but speaks only of the “intrepretation,” of “what the words taken in their connection naturally imply,” while the positions stated in his own grammar (§§ 531, 532) forbid rendering the participle in such a case as an attributive. Ellicott (one of the writers referred to) who is in some respects the most subtile scholar of them all, while first translating in accordance with our version, not only calls attention to the unusual absence of the article, but really abandons the rendering for an independent construction. For he proceeds to say: “The absence of the definite article (contrary to St. Peter’s usage in participle sentences, e.g. chap. i 5, 7, 10, 17), makes it possible to think that the spirits mentioned in this verse are not co-extensive with those in prison. It is literally ‘to men’ [not the ‘spirits,’ but ‘men’] who once upon a time were disobedient.” That is, the participle does not belong to πνεύμασιν at all! This gives up the case. (See Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers, Vol. 3:p. 421).

These considerations — and they are not all that might be urged — show that the alleged weight of authority as to the rendering may be more seeming than real; and they certainly show that the way is open, as always elsewhere, for a new investigation.

When we come to the grammarians, nothing seems to me to have been adduced which, when carefully analyzed and weighed, sustains the common rendering. The grammatical investigation (in the New Englander of September, 1882) labors under the difficulty of failing to meet the issue throughout—-alike in regard to the exact positions taken by me, the bearing of the grammatical citations adduced against them, the true nature of the examples brought forward in illustration and refutation; a lack of precision so marked, as to be almost unaccountable in a writer ordinarily so clear, except that he is travelling an unaccustomed track, and so extensive as to render a complete reply to all the details quite impracticable. I must confine myself to the main points, and these in the fewest words, I would not reply at all, but that they have been regarded as of weight by some.

Thus, it is simply confusing to quote (p. 469) what Hadley, Crosby, and Goodwin have said about the diverse uses of the circumstantial participle in every tense — aorist, perfect, present, and future — when the question is here as to the meaning of the aorist, which is comparatively limited in its range.

It is also a mistaken issue to ascribe to me by somewhat steady implication the position that the aorist participle is used only to mark the date of the principal occurrence;8 whereas my position was that the circumstantial aorist participle “is used to suggest the circumstances antecedent to (though sometimes continuing simultaneously with) the principal action, and out of which the latter has sprung, or upon which it follows.” “By the laws of rational thinking the participle not merely annexes, but connects the subordinate with the main action, and, when an aorist, as antecedently related to that fact; “—and more to the same effect.9 This statement fixes upon the antecedent or preliminary fact, always involving the element of time, but not necessarily making that the only, or necessarily always, the chief element of the predication.10

It is also quite confusing when a writer attempts, for the sake of the argument, to do away the well settled, universally received, and fundamental distinction between the attributive and the predicative use of a word, “because it is so obvious that the attendant circumstance may be so described as to amount to the attributive idea” (p. 466); may be, but is not. The case is more unfortunate when the position is sustained by erroneous renderings11 of Greek passages, and by a reference, for help, to Kühner’s anomalous double use of the word “attributive.”12 For this seems to be simply playing fast and loose with unquestioned and unquestionable distinctions. Such elements of confusion in regard to the question and principles at issue naturally involve and prepare for a discussion wide of the mark.

When, now, we examine the grammatical, support adduced in behalf of the common rendering, the case is even more striking. For in the first place, nearly every grammarian referred to by Dr. Patton, deliberately and explicitly enunciates principles (not mentioned by him) at variance with the rendering he advocates; and in the second place, of his citations of principles from the grammars not one really touches the case. They are vague or irrelevant, and partly confessions of inability to lay down rules. Of two illustrations cited from them, one is in contradiction of the writer himself (Jelf) in another place; and the remaining one (of Buttmann) in conflict with the decision of more modern grammarians.

Stuart is one of his authorities. But Stuart, forty years ago, laid down the same principles on this kind of construction as do the grammarians I have cited for the predicate rendering.13 And the remark quoted from him to help the wrong rendering of ἀπειθήσασι, merely states that he cannot fully define the rules that relate to “participles retaining the meaning of verbs” (i.e. predicative participles).14 It “depends on the intention of the writer,” but how that intention will be indicated he cannot tell. He, however, pronounces the great mass of cases that have the article to be of such a nature that the article must be rendered by “he who, who, whoever, that which,” etc. (§ 91); in other words they are attributives. It should be added that in both his editions (1884 and 1841) he confesses his partial perplexity; in his first, declaring the need of “more discussion,” on the use or omission of the article, and in his second, though making some changes, closing his discussion on the use or omission of the article with participles, with the inquiry whether there is not “something yet undeveloped “on this subject. In other words, in his general principles he is fully in accord with the later grammarians, but cannot fully explain and define everything connected with the usage; that is all.

Crosby’s relation to the matter is quite similar. He lays down the same principles as other grammarians in regard to the “definitive (or attributive) participle “(§ 678), that “it occurs (a) chiefly with the article, but (b) sometimes without it, if the class only is defined,” that is, of course, simply when the noun is anarthrous or indefinite. But in his elaborate discussion of the many uses of the article he merely confesses (in the two sentences appealed to by Dr. Patton) his inability to define them all; saying that “the insertion or omission of it often depends.....upon those nice distinctions.....which are often transferred with difficulty”; and that, in general, “its insertion promotes the perspicuity and Its omission the vivacity of the discourse.” How these “nice distinctions” are indicated and this “perspicuity and vivacity” promoted he saith not. This is all the help from Crosby.

Buttmann (Philip) who is cited as though setting aside the rule, really asserted it strongly — though the citations are all fifty years old. After stating (§ 125) that the adjuncts of the noun (including the participle) often separate the article and its noun, he proceeds to say, “the adjuncts of the substantive can also, for the sake of emphasis or perspicuity, be placed after it, and then the article must be repeated.. ... The repetition of the article is particularly necessary with the participle.” He gives the. illustration, ὁ χίλιαρχος ὁ τὰς ἀγγελίας εἰσκομίζων, “the chiliarch. who has to bring in the reports.” Now the remark of Buttmann, adduced as though in conflict with this deliberate and positive enunciation, and which occurs in the next sentence but one, is certainly not very clearly expressed, but is entirely misinterpreted when so adduced, as his own illustrations incontrovertibly prove.15 One inconsistent translation from Buttmann will be alluded to presently.

Nor does Winer bring substantial aid to the translation “which were disobedient,” though referred to for the purpose. For “though (as I said in my former article) incomplete and not altogether consistent in his statement, he still brings out the principle at times, very distinctly.” He lays down (§ 20. 1, a, b) the established rules in regard to attributives, but adds (c) the statement cited by Dr. Patton that “Participles as attributives, in so far as they have not entirely dropped the notion of time, are not treated in this case altogether like adjectives. They take the article only when some relation already known, or especially noteworthy (is qui, quippe qui) is indicated, and consequently the idea expressed by the participle is to be made more prominent.” He might have stated the matter more clearly; but his explanation by the relative is qui, quippe qui, is a distinct assertion of the attributive nature of the case. And his first example (with his own translation) which he describes as “particularly instructive respecting the use and omission of the article with the participle,” is equally decisive, containing, as it does, both in contrast: ὁ Θεὸς.....ὁ καλέσας ἡμᾶς ….. ὀλίγον παθόντας, “God who hath called us.....after that we have suffered.” Here the two aorists, the one with the article translated as an attributive, the one without it as a predicative, present his actual views in a nutshell. And, though giving one or two ambiguous renderings, whenever he speaks carefully and definitively Winer is firm and clear in maintaining the established distinction. Thus on the twofold reading in Eph. 6:16 πάντα τᾶ βέλη τοῦ πονηροῦ [τὰ] πεπυρωμένα, translated with the article “the fiery darts of the wicked,” Winer remarks, “if the article is not genuine the meaning of the passage is, “the darts when they burn, or though they burn’”(perf. part.). He marks the differences between ἀναστήσας ὁ Θεὸς τὸν παῖδα, “God having raised up his son,” Acts 3:26 and ὁ δὲ Θεός τῆς εἰρήνης ὁ ἀναγαγών, “the God of peace who brought” etc. He gives other illustrations equally unmistakable.16

Every attempt to find a distinct dictum of the leading grammarians in support of the rendering “which were disobedient,” is, when examined, a failure. The passages cited as favoring it either do not touch the case — in some instances really expressing no definite opinion at all — or they decide against it. I think I have referred to them all.

On the other hand, not only these grammarians, but all recent standard grammarians who express themselves at all definitely on the subject of such constructions, agree in affirming that the absence of the article before the participle in such circumstances determines it to be a predicative and not an attributive. I will not here repeat the statements given in my former article, but only refer to them as mentioned on p. 885 of this article. I will, however, cite one or two of the latest authorities. Alexander Buttmann (Gram, of the New Test. Am. ed. p. 90, Andover, 1878), says: “The language of the New Testament remained faithful throughout to the general rules of grammar in reference to the position of the article with a substantive having an attributive adjective [and his examples include the participles]: that is to say, it either places the adjective between the substantive and article, or after the substantive, repeating the article.” He adds, “it would hardly be possible to adduce examples on the other side, inasmuch as all the instances in which the adjective stands without the article after a substantive with the article, either are not genuine or find their grammatical explanation in other ways.” And he examines certain exceptions apparently admitted by Winer, rejecting them. He also remarks (p. 294) that “participles take the place, in particular, of relative clauses, in which case the participle, as a rule, has the article before it. This is, to be sure, a general principle of the Greek language. But the New Testament in employing it manifestly goes farther than the ordinary usage.”

Kühner lays down the same principles in regard to “attributive words, viz. the adjective, participle,” etc., both in his earlier edition, (trans. Andover, 1844, in § 245, 3, a, b, Rem. 7; § 244, 9), and in his greatly enlarged edition (2 Vols, 8vo., Hannover, 1870, § 463, 3 A, B; §464, 8).17 In this last passage he announces the principle which Hadley and Goodwin have adopted concerning the attributive participle with dependent words.

Goodwin (in the revised edition of 1880) states the case almost in the same words with Hadley, and is the only remaining authority necessary to cite. In speaking of attributive adjectives he adds that his remark applies to “all expressions which have the force of attributive adjectives” (p. 202), and makes his meaning definite by saying that “the participle like any other adjective may qualify a noun” (p. 300), and by giving examples of such participles with articles, as in the cases already referred to in this discussion. Hadley (§ 531) specifically mentions participles as included in his rules about attributives. The principles concerning attributives are thus stated by Goodwin: “An attributive adjective which qualifies a noun with the article commonly stands between, the article and the noun......The article with any of these qualifying expressions may follow the noun, in which case the noun itself may have another article before it.” He adds, after Kühner and Hadley, this remark, concerning only the attributive participle with dependent words: “When an attributive participle with dependent words qualifies a noun with the article, either the participle or the dependent words may follow the noun” (p. 203). The reader is requested to, notice the double limitation; one expressed — words dependent on the participle; and one not here expressed, but found in all the twenty-three instances given by Kühner—that the participle immediately follows the noun, being in no instance separated from it unless by words closely dependent upon it.18 That is, the only instances in which the attributive participle without the repeated article does not stand between the article and noun are when by means of dependent words it is inseparably held to the position between the two. Attention to this fact disposes at once of the only two cases cited by Dr. Patton that looked like real exceptions to the general principle of the repeated article.

If these references and quotations should seem to any superfluous and wearisome, they will please bear in mind the necessity growing out of alleged counter statements of grammarians. So far as I am aware, none such are to be had.

But how about actual exceptions found in good Greek usage? Have any such been produced? Certainly it would seem very remarkable if, after a laborious search and long waiting, some cases of actual exceptional usage could not be found. Half a dozen of these would be a small basis of support against the steady, settled usage of the Greek language; but even these do not appear to have been produced. And this is the critical point of the discussion. For the question is, in the last resort, not even what the best grammarians say, but how in fact the Greeks wrote. We will look briefly at all the supposed exceptional cases which Dr. Patton is able to present as the result of his researches. They need not take much time or space; for they do not; exceed half a dozen. And two or three of the cases produced are clearly erroneous translations.

The statement of Thucydides, L 59 is cited, — ἐπολέμουν μετὰ Φιλίππου καὶ τῶν Δέρδου ἀδελφῶν, ἄνωθεν στρατῖᾳ ἐσ βεβληκότων. — which is translated thus: “made war with Philip and the brethren of Derdos who had made an incursion “; and we are told “the sense is virtually attributive, though it might be rendered” because they had made an incursion”; better, ‘they having made,’ or - inasmuch as they had made.’ ” Now this last translation is substantially right, and the first is not, as any precise Greek scholar will testify. When it is added, “No translator thinks of rendering the phrase, ‘when they had made an incursion,’ “the writer forgets that it is a perfect, and not an aorist, participle,— which makes a difference.19

Similar is the citation of Thucydicles 1.66, where the Corinthians complained of the Athenians because they besiegedτὴν Ποτίδαιαν, ἐαυτῶν οὖσαν ἀποικίαν, translated by the writer wrongly, “which was a colony of theirs,” instead of “though it was a colony of theirs,” giving a predication of the ground of complaint. Here, again, when the writer tells us “it could not be rendered ‘when it was their colony,’” he overlooks the tense of the participle — present, not aorist (see note, p. 342).

To find another instance the writer seems actually to appeal from the corrected version of 2 Pet. 1:18 to the incorrect rendering of the common version: ταύτην τὴν φωνὴν ἡμεῖς ἡκούσαμεν ἐξ οὐρανοῦ ἐνεχθεῖσαν, rendered (“ungrammatically,” Alford) in”the A.V. “this voice which came,” but changed by the revisers to “this voice we heard come” (margin, “Gr. ‘brought’ “; better, “borne,” with Alford and the Am. revisers). The anarthrous participle does not describe the voice by an epithet, but predicates the fact of its having come from heaven. The disciples, as Alford remarks, “heard it borne, witnessed its coming,” or, still more exactly, “on its being borne.”20 For Peter had just spoken (vs. 17) of the honor conferred on Christ “when there was borne such a voice from heaven,” and now adds, “We heard it when it was borne.”

A fourth alleged exception (taken from Goodwin, § 142) is the phrase from Thucydides, ἡ ἐν τῷ Λσθμῷ ἐπιμονή γενομένη, “the delay which occurred in the Isthmus.” But this is covered by the principle under which it is given by Goodwin (also Hadley and Kühner, see p. 849 of this article), which admits the placing of the attributive participle immediately after the noun when it has dependent words between the article and the noun, which hold it unmistakably and indissolubly to that attributive connection. The instance in Peter is separated from this and all similar instances by having no such dependent words in that position; and also by not immediately following the noun, but being separated from it by disconnected words having a separate construction.

Two phrases more are cited. One is from Jelf, who says (§ 680) the participle may be used “as a remote attributive; the article standing before the substantive, as ὁ ἀνὴρ παρών, ‘the man who is present’; or in apposition, as ὁ ἀνήρ ὁ παρών.” But in this translation Jelf contradicts his own deliberate principle (§ 458), and his translation of the very phrase (§ 451), thus: “When a participle with the article follows a substantive it is in apposition, as οὕτος ὁ παρών, ‘he the man who is present’; without the article it is gerundial, οὕτος παρών, ‘by his presence,’ or ‘when he was present.’ “It is a complete inconsistency, where-the circumstances would indicate the latter to be his actual view, and the former either an accidental oversight or a misprint. He cannot hold both.

Finally, or rather primarily, Buttmann (Philip) is brought forward as saying that the context must determine the exact idea conveyed by the anarthrous participle; for, “when citing an example (§ 144), and actually putting the attributive meaning first, he says: ‘ἐπεσκεψάμην τὸν ἑταῖρον νοσοῦντα can mean, according as the context may determine, not only “I visited my friend who was ill,” but also “when he” or “because he was ill” (New Englander, 1882, p. 464). Now Philip Buttmann died more than half a century ago. There are other statements21 in his once excellent grammar which seem clearly to indicate that he would not, except by oversight, disregard the palpable difference between the two expressions with and without the article; the one meaning, “I visited my (or the) sick friend,” or, “the friend who was sick”); the other, “I visited my friend in his sickness,” — “while sick” (present participle). The two statements are distinct in thought, and the Greek has a form of expression for each. And the double rendering of Buttmann, if more than a casual oversight, may safely be pronounced one which modern grammarians would not suffer to pass unchallenged.22

How far one is justified by such alleged supports as these six in the attempt to reverse the settled renderings of the Greek language for the sake of finding thereby a declaration that confessedly is found nowhere else in the word of God the intelligent and candid reader may judge. If the examination should to any seem too protracted, I trust that the present importance of the discussion, and the desire fairly and fully to meet every argument, however confused or inapposite, may be my apology. The fulness of the negative discussion will conduce to the brevity of the positive presentation.

We will now go back of the grammars to the facts. Nothing can be so convincing as a glance at the actual usage, in its steady, unbroken uniformity of method. And it will be well for the reader to see in the first place how regularly, invariably, the really attributive meaning (quite commonly expressed by the use of a relative in English) stands connected with the article before the participle. His own observation will convince him more thoroughly than any dictum of grammarians how settled and peremptory is the law of the Greek language in the expression of an attributive in connection with a definite noun. I quote the examples (though in the briefest form) rather than simply refer to them, to spare the reader the inconvenience of looking them up. They are taken just as they occur in running the eye over the pages of the New Testament.23

Ὁ λαὸς ὁ καθήμενος ἐν σκότει, “the people which sat in darkness,” Matt. 4:16; ὁ πατήρ σου ὁ βλέπων, “thy father which seeth,” 6:6; ἡ ὁδὸς ἡ απάγουσα,” the way that leadeth,” 7:13; τὸ Πνεῦμα τὸ λαλοῦν, “the spirit that speaketh,” 10:20; αἱ δυνάμεις αἱ γενόμεναι, “the mighty works that were done,” 11:21; τὰ πρόβατα τά απολωλότα, “the lost sheep,” or, “the sheep that were lost,” 15:24; τῶν ψιχίων τῶν πιπτόντων, “the crumbs that fall,” 15:27; τῶν μικρῶν τούτων τῶν πιστευόντων, 18, 6; οἱ ὄχλοι οἱ προάγοντες, 21, 9; τὸ πῦρ τὸ αἰώνιον τὸ ἡτοιμασμένον, 25:41; ὁ δοῦλος ὁ γνούς, Luke 12:47; πᾶσιν τοῖς ἐνδόξοις τοῖς γινομένοις, 13:17; ὁ υἱός σου οὗτος ὁ καταφαγών, 15:30; τῶν ἐκλεκτῶν τῶν βοώντων, xviii. 7; ὁ μονογενὴς υἱός, ὁ ὤν εἰς τὸν κόλπον, John 1:18; ὁ ἀμνὸς ο ̔αἴρων, 1:29; τῶν δύο τῶν ἀκουσάντων, 1:41; οἱ δίακονοι οἱ ἠντληκότες, 2:9; ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ Θεοῦ, ὁ ερχόμενος, 11:27; οἱ ᾿Λουδαῖοι οἱ ὄντες, 11:31; τὴν θύραν τὴν λεγομένην, Acts 3:2; οἱ δὲ ἄνδρες οἱ συνοδεύοντες, 9:7; πάντες οἱ ἀκούοντες, 9:21; πάντες οἱ κατοικοῦντες, 9:35; ὁ ἄγγελος ὁ λαλῶν, 10:7; πάντας τοὺς καταδυναστευομένους, 10:38; πάντας τοὺς ἀκούοντας, 10:44; ὁ Θέο͂ ὁ ποιήσας, 17:24; οὗτος ὁ ᾿Λησοῦς ὁ ἀναληφθείς, 1:13; τὸν ἄνθρωπον τὸν τεθεραπευμένον, 4:14; οἱ ἄνδρες οἱ ἀπεσταλμένοι, 10:17; τὰς φωνάς τὰς ἀναγινωσκομένας, 13:27; τὰ δόγματα τὰ κεκρυμένα, 16:4; οἱ ἀδελφοὶ οἱ ὄντες κατὰ τὴν ᾿Λουδαίαν, 11:1; τῷ κυρίῳ τῷ μαρτυροῦντι, 14:3; τοῦ υἱοῦ ἀυτοῦ τοῦ γενομένου, Rom. 1:3; ὁ Θεὸς ὁ ἐπιφέρων τὴν ὀργήν, 3:5; τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ τῇ οὔση ἐν κορίνθῳ, 2 Cor. 1:2; τῇ χάριτι τῇ δοθείσῃ, 1:4; τοῖς ἁγίοις τοῖς οὖσιν ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ ᾿ Αχαίᾳ, 2 Cor. 1:1; ὁ Θεὸς ὁ εἰπών, 4:6; τῆν χάριν τὴν δεδομένην, 8:1; τῷ Θεῷ τῷ διδόντι, 8:16; ὁ Θεὸς ὁ ἀφορίσας, Gal. 1:15; τὸ εὐαγγέλιον τὸ εὐαγγελισθέν, 1:11; τῆς χάριτος τῆς δοθείσης, Eph. 3:2; ὁ Θεὸς ὁ καλέσας, 1 Pet. 5:10.

A glance over this series will enable any reader to judge how steadily the attributive expression assumes this characteristic form,— the repetition of the article with the attributive participle, unless the latter stands (less prominently) between the article and the noun. One might apologize for the fulness of exhibition, but for the confusion that it has been attempted to cast upon the subject, and the results dependent on it.

We will now look at instances of the aorist participle, anarthrous, with the special purpose of observing two points: (1) how it expresses some act commencing always antecedently to that of the principal verb, and (2) how invariably this element of antecedent time enters into the statement. And, first, instances of the exceedingly common usage in which the aorist participle precedes its subject. The narrative portion of the New Testament is filled with instances. The following twelve occur in the second chapter of Matthew: ἀκούσας (vs. 3), καλέσας (vs. 7), ἀκούσαντες (vs. 9), ἰδόντες (vs. 10), ἐλθόντες, πεσόντες, ἀνοιξάντες, (vs. 11),χρηματισθέντες (vs. 12), ἐγερθείς (vs. 14), ἰδών (vs. 18), ἀκούσας, χρηματισθείς (vs. 22), most of which are, and all might be, rendered in the common version by a “when”; thus “when he heard, had called, had heard, saw, had come, had opened, had been warned, arose, saw, had been warned”; or, in many cases, still more closely in signification by the modern usage, “on hearing, seeing, coming, being warned,” etc. It is a statement simply of a preliminary, fact, which may be an occasion or even a reason or motive, although the language does not express it as such. The old English idiom often renders the participle by a preliminary verb and conjunction, “go and search” (vs. 8). Illustrations are too constant and numerous to cite in detail. I have counted a hundred or more in the first sixteen chapters of Matthew, all denoting preliminary action, and nearly all closely preliminary.

Let us now, in nearer approach to the form of the construction before us, look at the construction of the anarthrous participle when it follows a noun that has the article. We will first take instances in the nominative case, connected with the subject of the principal verb. Ὁ δὲ ᾿Λησοῦς γνούς, “Jesus when he knew,” Matt. 12:15; οἱ δε ὄχλοι γνόντες, “the multitudes when they knew,” Luke 9:11 (contrast these two with ὁδοῦλος ὁ γνούς, “the servant that knew,” Luke 12:47); οἱ δὲ γεωργοὶ ἰδόντες τὸν υἱὸν εἶπον, “the husbandmen when they saw,” or, “on seeing,” Matt. 21:38; καὶ ἡ παιδίσκη ἰδοῦσα, “when she saw” (“saw and,” A.V.), Mark 14:69; ἐχάρησαν οὖν οἱ μαθηταὶ ἰδόντες, “when they saw,” John 20:20; οἱ δοκοῦντες…….ἰδόντες, “when they saw,” Gal. ii. 6-7; ὁ γὰρ ῾Ηρώδης…..ἀκούσας, “when he heard,” Mark 6:20; οἱ Φαρισαῖοι ἀκούσαντες, “when they heard” (“after they heard,” A.V.), Matt. 15:12; 12:24; 15:12; 22:34; οἱ μαθηταὶ ἀκούσαντες, “when they heard,” or, “having heard “(A. V. “had heard,” Revision, wrongly in tense, “hearing”), Acts 9:38; κἀγὼ ακούσας, “when I heard, on hearing,” (“after,” A. V., “having heard,” Revision), Eph. 1:15; καὶ πᾶς ὁ λαὸς ἀκούσας “when they heard” (corrected by the Revision from “that heard “of A.V.), Luke 7:29. Let the reader contrast these with the following, where the same participle occurs with the article:πάντες οἱ ἀκούοντες, “all that heard” (were hearing), Acts 9:21; πάντας τοὺς ἀκούοντας,24 “all that heard “(were hearing), Acts 10:44.

In this connection belongs the following important remark of Winer (New Test. Gram., p. 111): “πὰς ὀργιζόμενος means every one angry (when, if, while he is angry), cf. 1 Cor. 11:4; but πᾶς ὁ ὀργιζόμενος, Matt. 5:22, every angry person, 1:q. πᾶς ὅστις ὀργίζεται, cf. Luke 6:47; 11:10; John 3:20; 15:2; 1 Cor 9:25; 1 Thess. 1:7, etc. (Krüg. 89.) This distinction must guide our judgment respecting the double reading, Luke 11:4, παντὶ ὀφείλοντι and παντὶ τῷ ὀφείλοντι. (See Meyer.)” And of this phrase, παντὶ ὀφείλοντι, the rendering of Meyer (not Huther) is “jedem, wenn er uns schuldig ist.”

To pursue this portion of the discussion a little farther, ὁ πατὴρ αὐτοῦ ἐξελθών παρεκάλει αὐτούν, Luke 15:28, is rendered “came out and entreated “(literally,” having come out,” or “on coming out”), as a predicate. So the phrases (John i.)τὸν ᾿Λησοῦν ἐρχόμενον, τῷ ᾿Λησοῦ περιπατοῦντι, τὸν Ναθαναὴλ ἐρχόμενον, τὸν οὐρανὸν ἀνεῳγότα, τοῦς ἀγγέλους ἀναβαίνοντας, are not rendered that was coming, walking, etc., but they mean, while or as he was coming, walking, etc. They are predicative. Observe, again, the difference in the use of the same participles with and without the repeated article: ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἐλθὼν ἆρα εὑρήσει τὴν πίστιν. “when the Son of man cometh,” Luke 18:8; and on the other hand, ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ Θεοῦ ὁ εἰς τὸν κόσμον ἐρχόμενος, “the Son of God that cometh.” The mode of rendering cannot be interchanged.25 Notice the difference of rendering between διεκρίνοντο πρὸς αὐτὸν οἱ ἐκ πέριτομῆς λεγοντες, saying, Acts 11:2, and τίνες τῶν Σαδδουκαίων οἱ ἀντιλέγοντες, which say (deny), Luke 20:27; between πάντες γὰρ οἱ λαβόντες τὴν μάχαιραν, “all they that take the sword,” Matt. 26:52, and οἱ δὲ ἀρχιερεῖς λαβόντες τὰ ἀργύρια εἶπον, “when the chief priests had taken the money,” 27:6; between οἱ ἀδελφοὶ οἱ ὄντες κατὰ τὴν ᾿Λουδαίαν, “that were in Judea,” Acts 11:1, and ὤφθη τῷ πατρὶ ὄντι ἐν τῇ Μεσοποταμίᾳ, “appeared to our father when he was in Mesopotamia,” 7:2; between ᾿Λησοῦ Χριστοῦ τοῦ δόντος ἑαυτόν, “Jesus Christ who gave himself,” Gal. 1:4, andὁ Θεὸς ἐμαρτύρησεν αὐτοῖς δοὺς αὐτοῖς τὸ Πνεῦμα τὸ ̔́Αγιον, “God bare them witness, giving them” (strictly, “having given,” i.e. when he gave26 ), Acts 15:8; between ἀναβάς, “when he ascended, Eph. 4:8, and ὁ ἀναβάς, he that ascended,” 4:10; and a multitude of similar contrasts.

It will make the difference of constructions still clearer, if that be possible, to give a few instances of the two, side by side in the same sentence. Take the instance from 1 Pet. 5:10, “which Winer pronounces “peculiarly instructive in respect to the use and omission of the article with participles,” ὁ Θεος ὁ κάλεσας ἡμᾶς.....ὁλίγον παθόντας, “God who hath called us, . . . . after that we have suffered”;οἱ ἄνδρες οἱ άπεσταλμένοι διερωτήσαντες τὴν οἰκίαν ἐπέστηραν, “the men that had been sent, when they had inquired [Revision, “having made inquiry “] for the house, stood,” Acts 10:17; ὄχλος πολύς, ὁ ἐλθὼν εἰς τὴν ἑορτήν, ἀκούσαντες, “a great multitude that had come [Revision] to the feast, when they heard,” John 12:12; οἱ ᾿Λυδαῖοι οἱ ὄντες μετ᾿ αὐτῆς . .. . . ἰδόντες τὴν Μαρίαν, “the Jews that were with her,..... when they saw,” John 11:31; τότε ἰδών ᾿Λούδας ὁ παραδοὺς ἀυτόν,” then Judas which betrayed him, when he saw,” Matt. 27:3. These are all aorists.

The case becomes still stronger when we consider certain necessary changes and corrections of rendering made by late expositors (including the revisers) in recognition of this distinction where it had been overlooked — none the less decisive, though in some other instances the revisers have failed to be consistent with themselves. They concede and establish the principle. ῾ Ως δὲ ἐγεύσατο ὁ ἀρχιτρίκλινος τὸ ὕδωρ ὀ͂νον γεγενημένον, rendered in the A.V., “tasted the water that was made wine” (attributive), but corrected by the revisers to “tasted the water now become wine,” — in the margin still more strongly predicative, “that it had become,” John 2:9; 27 καὶ [οἱ ἀντιδιατιθέμενοι] ἀνανήψωσιν ἐκ τῆς τοῦ διαβόλου παγίδος ἐζωγρημένοι, rendered in the A.V. “that they may recover themselves who are taken captive “and corrected by the revisers to “having been taken” (perf. part.), as Alford, Ellicott. and others had already shown, 2 Tim. 2:26; ὁ δε Θεὸς πλούσιος ὤν, in A. V. “God who is rich,” corrected, “God being rich “(pres. part.), i.e. inasmuch as he is rich, Eph. 2:4. In Eph. 6:16 it has been a question whether the reading is τὰ βέλη τὰ πεπυρωμένα, or πεπυρωμένα without the article. Here, as Winer, Alford, Ellicott, Riddell have shown, the omission would change the translation from “fiery darts,” or, more literally, “darts that are burning” (perf. part.), to “the darts when they burn,” or “though they burn” (Winer),” when inflamed” (Alford). In Acts 21:8 there are two readings, Φιλίππου τοῦ εὐαγγελιστοῦ τοῦ ὄντος, and without the article before the participle. On this Hackett (with Alford, DeWette, Winer) remarks that, while with the article it is to be rendered (as in our version) “which [or who] was one of the seven,” without it we translate, “since he was one of the seven,” or “as being one of the seven” (Winer). In John 1:9 it was seen long before the Revision changed to “coming,” that ἐρχόμενον without the article could not be rendered “that cometh.” If it belonged to ἄνθρωπον,— as probably not,— it must be rendered, “as he comes,” or “when he comes.” A very instructive instance is Mark 5:36, ὁ δὲ ᾿Λησοῦς ἀκούσας [so Text. Rec, but T. Tr. παρακούσας]τὸν λόγον λαλούμενον, translated in A. V. “beard the word that was spoken,” necessarily changed by the revisers (not quite intelligibly) to “heard the word spoken.” Alexander Buttmann so strongly felt the superfluousness (as he regarded it) of the λαλούμενον without the article (New Test. Gram. p. 802) that he was inclined to insist that the text was corrupted; averring rightly that “the spoken word “(or the word that was spoken) would require either the form τὸν λαλούμενον λόγον, or τὸν λόγον τὸν λαλούμενον. But Alford solves the whole difficulty, and brings out the full meaning by a right rendering, “‘but Jesus having overheard the word being spoken,’ — a mark of accuracy which is lost in the received text.” Alexander says, better still, “overheard what was privately spoken to Jairus, ..... not only what was said, but as or when they said it,” — heard it while it was spoken (pres. part.). This is one of the instances where it would be easy to talk of the predicative “slipping into the attributive.” But such slips do not occur except in inexact renderings.28

Many of the previous illustrations are in connection with the nominative case; and such instances are more abundant than others, both in classic and in Hellenistic Greek. But the following instances of the oblique cases (in addition to those already given) bring us in that respect quite close to the construction in Peter: εἰσελθόντι δὲ τῷ ᾿Λησοῦ εἰς Καπερναούμ, προσῆλθεν, “came to Jesus when he had entered,” on his entering, Matt. 8:5; καταβάντι δὲ ἀυτῷ.....ἠκολούθησαν, “followed him when he had descended,” or, on his descending, Matt. 8:1; ἐξελθόντι δὲ αὐτῶ ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν ὑπήντησεν, “met him when he had come forth,” Luke 8:27. These are aorist participles in the dative, like that in the passage under discussion. The next instance is a dative present (continuous action): καὶ παράγοντι ἐκεῖθεν τῷ ᾿Λησοῦ ἠκολούθησαν ἀυτῷ δύο τυφλοί, “followed Jesus as (while) he passed thence,” Matt. 9:27. Here is an aorist accusative : ἐξελθόντα δὲ αὐτόν.....εἶδεν ἄλλη, “saw him when he had gone out,” or, on his going out, Matt. 26:71.

These passages, it will be perceived, cannot be rendered otherwise than virtually as it is proposed to render 1 Pet. 3:19; and that, too, though destitute of the adverb of time, which in the latter passage gives special prominence to the time element invariably involved in the aorist participle. Indeed, here are two connected adverbs of time, doubly calling attention to the date —ποτέ appended to the participle, and ὅτε immediately following it, and connecting it with the subsequent statement. We seldom find so clear an instance. There occurs, however, in the New Testament one instance exactly similar in regard to the position, the tense, the absence of the article, and the combination with ποτέ — differing only in case, — and on this there is and can be no question about the proper rendering: καὶ σύ ποτε ἐπιστρέψας στήριξον τοὺς ἀδελφούς σου, “and when thou art converted” (A. V.), “and when once thou hast turned again” (Revision). It is not easy to see why this one instance does not establish the rendering claimed in Peter.

But the usage, including the adverb ποτέ, is found not infrequently in classic writers; more commonly, perhaps, in the nominative. Take the following from Xenophon’s Memorabilia, where the rendering is indisputable: βουλεύσας γάρ ποτε καὶ τοὺν βουλευτικὸν ὅρκον ὁμόσας. . . . . οὐκ ἠθέλησεν, “when once he had been [or, on having been] made councillor and taken the oath,” 1:1, 18; εἰ δέ ποτε κληθεὶς ἐθέλησεν, “if, whenever invited [or, on being invited] he wished,” 1:3, 6; αἰσθόμενος δέ ποτε Λαμπροκλέα…..χαλεπαίνοντα, “when once he saw Lamprocles angry,” 2:2, 1; Χαιρεφῶντα δέ ποτε καὶ Χαιρεκράτην δια φερόμενω, αἰσθόμενος, ἰδὼν τὸν Χαιρεκράτην, “on learning once that Chaerephon and Chaerecrates were at variance, when he saw,” etc., 2:3, 1; ἰδὼν δέ ποτε Νικμαχίδην ἀπιόντα, “on seeing” [or, when he saw once], 3:4, 1; ἄλλον δέ ποτε ἀρχαῖον ἑταῖρον διὰ χρόνου ἰδών ἔφη, “on seeing once an old friend,” 2:8, 1; καί ποτε ἐν ταῖς ἐκκλησίαις ἐπιστάτης γενόμενος οὐκ ἐπέτρεψε, “when once he had become,” 4:4, 2. These are all aorists, and other instances are at hand, as 3:14, 5; 2:7, 1, etc. An example from Diogenes Laertius, 2:80, gives the same combination in the dative case, although the participle (being a present) requires a “while” instead of a “when” to render it:εἰς Κόρινθον αὐτῷ πλέοντι ποτε καί χειμαζομένῳ συνέβη ταραχθῆναι, “it happened to him while once he was sailing.” A similar rendering of the dative perfect with εὐθύς is found Thucyd. Iv. 48: τῷ δεξιᾷ κέρᾳ κέρᾳ εὐθὺς ἀποβεβηκότι οἱ Κορίνθιοι ἐπέκειντο, “the Corinthians pressed upon the right wing immediately after its landing” (Hadley). Let now the passage, Luke 22:32, καί σύ ποτε ἐπιστρέψας στήριξον τοὺς αδελφούς σου, be slightly modified to correspond in form to the last cited passage and to those now cited from classic Greek and those previously given from the New Testament, thus: καί σοι πορευθεὶς λαλήσω ἐπιστρεψαντί ποτε, and no Greek scholar would for an instant hesitate to render “and I will come and speak to thee when once thou hast turned again,” or, “on thy once having turned again.”

If all these examples do not, to a superfluous extent, vindicate the rendering now claimed for 1 Pet. 3:19, then it would seem that no point of construction can be settled by an appeal to usage. All that can be claimed by those who refuse to accept this rendering is some exceptional usage; and that is all that Dr. Patton claims, and more than he has shown. And if some case or cases could be hunted up “especially in.....loose, untrained writers,” what would be their proper weight?

May it not, then, be truly said that the mode of rendering now advocated is not only admissible, but is the only correct one? The only escape would be to admit the predicative construction, and to claim that the participle marks “the reason for the action of the prinicipal verb and not the date of the occurrence.”29 But it does mark the date. The one thing certainly stated is the antecedent fact, and that only. And while this fact might also involve the reason, it certainly is not so stated as a reason. To do so unambiguously would require either a construction with ὅτι, because, or an infinitive construction preceded by δία, on account of. On the other hand the time element not only cannot be eliminated from the aorist, but is here made the prominent element by the ποτέ an adverb of time and the subsequent ore. He preached to them “on their once proving disobedient, when the long-suffering of God waited,” — and “in the days of Noah.”

But it is said the text should then read, “spirits now in prison”; and we are asked “what would those who uphold that interpretation have given to secure the little word νῦν afterτοῖς?” Nothing; the other statements render it needless; as needless as when we read, Luke 7:15 that “the dead man, ὁ νέκρος, sat up and began to speak,” and Rev. 20:12, “I saw the dead stand before God,” it would have been to say the once dead; or when, in a eulogy now lying before me, on Rev. Eleazar Wheelock, the writer speaks of “the incessant labors” of Dr. Wheelock “in the great revival” he should have taken careful pains to say the labors of him who afterwards became Rev. Dr. Wheelock— and a multitude of similar instances. It has been urged that “the wordsἔπαθεν, θανατωθείς, ζοωποιηθείς, and πορευθεὶς ἐκήρυξεν, set forth events in chronological order.” The assertion is groundless — overlooking the indefiniteness of the aorist as to order of time (except a general antecedence), and the fact that here also the continuity is broken and changed by the relative clause beginningἐν ὡ; just as e.g. Heb. 1:1-2, four aorists follow each other, the first referring to the lives of the prophets, the second to the time of Christ, the third to his appointment to a universal inheritance, the fourth to the creation of the world. There is no real weight in such reasoning.

But it is said “he went and preached,” and that must be from this world to Hades. Just as well went from heaven (“let us go down,” Gen. 11:4), whither, we are told in the next verse but one, he went (πορευθείς, 1 Pet. 3:22) after his resurrection. The interpretation here maintained, in connection with the rendering now established, seems fully vindicated by the scope of the context, while the other interpretation seems to be effectually precluded by the teachings of the same apostle.

The burden of this Epistle as a whole, and of the immediate context, is a strain of consolation and support to the “strangers scattered abroad,” under heavy trials, afflictions, and persecutions. This thought comes out prominently in every chapter from 1:6-7, to 5:10. Its theme is this: patient endurance of conflict and suffering for Christ is a sharing of Christ’s own experience, and a sure pledge of the heavenly inheritance with Christ. The two Epistles contain about forty palpable references to prominent acts and sayings of the Saviour, and among them his solemn declaration concerning the judgment of the Flood and that of Sodom (Luke 17:24–32).30 The former easily connected itself with the train of thought here, by associations growing partly out of certain resemblances of fact, and partly out of Peter’s characteristic method of transition by verbal suggestion rather than by logical sequence.31 Bearing in mind now, that Christ’s own description of the terrors of the Flood follows immediately (in the next verse) upon a declaration of his sufferings (Luke 17:25); that Peter himself identifies the spirit of God with the “spirit of Christ in the prophets,” (eh. 1:11); that he also describes Noah as “a preacher of righteousness,” and a man “saved” when the flood came upon the “world of the ungodly; “that there is a certain resemblance (recognized by the apostle) in the mode of that rescue “by water” to the salvation by “baptism;” and especially that the whole event is characterized by him (vs. 19), as a waiting (a protracted waiting, ἀπεξεδέχετο, Lachmann, Teschendorf, Tregelles) of God’s “long-suffering,” in accordance with the original narrative (Gen. vi.); and we have all the elements necessary for an easy and natural explanation of this passage and of the semi-parenthetical introduction of this particular illustration, Christ’s preaching by Noah.

Endure, he says, patiently, confidently, fearlessly (vs. 13-14, all the more so that ye suffer (vs. 17), for well-doing. It is the blessed way of life. “For “(vs. 18) so the Saviour “suffered,” and we ourselves are the object and purchase of that suffering—“‘that he might bring us to God;” his physical death (“put to death in the flesh “) was but the assumption of a mighty spiritual power (“quickened in the spirit”)— that same spiritual power wherein, as the “spirit of Christ” (ch. 1:11), the striving spirit of God (Gen. 6:3), he even went from heaven (whither “he has gone “again, πορευθείς, vs. 22) and preached to the “ungodly “spirits,32 when once they disobeyed, in Noah’s time, when, however, eight souls were saved by this same suffering but (vs. 22), now glorified Redeemer. “Forasmuch then,” he proceeds, resuming directly his main theme (ch. iii.), “as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves with this same mind”— as having “suffered in the flesh” (4:1), “live to God” (vs. 2). refrain from companionship with sin (vs. 3-4, though your course bring evil-speaking (vs. 4), and “fiery trial” (vs. 12), in the sure confidence that being “partakers of Christ’s suffering” (vs. 13), ye shall partake of his glory and joy (vs. 13-14; “for the spirit33 of glory and of God resteth upon you.” 34

Such is the ready clew to and explanation of the allusion. Several vivid associations of fact and word lead to this collateral illustration of his theme, — which is, the duty, glory, and victory of following in the footsteps of Him who endured contradiction of sinners not only while here in the flesh, but in ancient times of unparalleled wickedness, by his Spirit. “This interpretation,” in the words of Dr. J. P. Gulliver, “is the natural and obvious one, because it gives unity and continuity to the apostle’s words. Nothing, it seems to me, can be more unlikely than that Peter would abandon the pressing need of comforting the trembling, suffering, persecuted men and women to whom he is writing, to interpose in the middle of his exhortation a curious piece of information about proceedings among the antediluvians in Hades.” And not only curious, but hazy, unsatisfactory, pointless, objectless. It does not even tell us definitely that it was a preaching of the gospel; for the word is ἐκήρυξε, not εὐηγγελίσατο.35 It tells us not a word of the results. It offers no valid reason for the reference; for, if it be said that this preaching in Hades was a proof of the new power that attended his being quickened in spirit, no such proof is given, inasmuch as it does not appear to have accomplished anything whatever. Could a more inapposite, aimless remark be conceived of in the midst of this intensely hortatory epistle?

But this is not all. If we accept 2 Peter as written by the same author, we have not only his exposition of the transaction as given in this discussion, but we have certain declarations of his that are incompatible with the other exposition; for he gives us positive light on the condition of the spirits in prison, both angelic and human — the latter particularly inclusive of these very antediluvian spirits. For he informs us (2 Pet. 2:4–10) that God “spared not angels when they sinned [Revision], but cast them down to hell, and committed them to pits of darkness to be reserved unto judgment; and spared not the ancient world, but preserved Noah with seven others when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly.” And as the outcome of these (and other) fearful dealings of God, he declares that “the Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment to the day of judgmerit.” Now these are the spirits in prison, both fallen angelic spirits and ungodly human spirits, including by specification the very antediluvian spirits of whom Peter speaks in the subject under discussion; and of the latter, as well as the former, we read that the Lord knows how to keep them under punishment to the day of judgment, “What sense is there in such reasoning as this: God spared not the ancient world while its inhabitants were on earth, but sent Christ to preach to the spirits of the inhabitants of the ancient world after they had gone into the intermediate state, and there caused them to be converted; therefore the Lord knoweth how to keep the unrighteous under punishment unto the day of judgment?”36

Is it not time that this ancient superstition, resuscitated in our day, should now disappear in the light of grammar and exegesis alike, and that we should appeal from the “gospel of Nicodemus “to the gospel of the Son of God? For it would seem certain that the rendering and meaning here advocated are sustained by the steady current of Greek usage; that a claim for the other rests on alleged exceptional instances which, if sustained— as I do not thus far find — would only make the rendering possible, and would furnish a case as ambiguous as it is solitary’, on which to erect a theological speculation; while the scope and connection amply justify the former, and leave the latter quite unaccountable.

Before closing this article I will, in compliance with a request, say a few words concerning the passage 1 Pet. 4:6, which is frequently urged as another allusion to the preaching in Hades. It is admitted on all hands to be a difficult passage, both from its great brevity and its lack of defining expressions. In such a case the scope must have its full weight. The apostle, who all the while keeps hold of the antithesis of flesh and spirit (iv. 1, 6), continues in this chapter, by his appeal to the example and leadership of Christ, to urge his fellow-Christians to stand fast, slandered though they will be (vs. 4); and the motive that is to hold them firm is the coming judgment, in which their enemies shall give account to the universal Judge (of “quick and dead”), and in which they, the quickened saints, shall, though condemned by men on earth (“judged according to men in the flesh”), yet rise to joyful life (“live according to God in the spirit”), and having shared Christ’s sufferings here (vs. 13), share also his glory there.

This is clearly the scope. Now for the two verses 5 and 6. On the one hand it is apparently indisputable that in verse 5 “quick and dead” mean the whole human race,37 and the “dead” are the physically dead. On the other hand it seems equally indisputable that in verse 6 the persons “judged [condemned] of men in the flesh,” but “living according to God in the spirit,” can only be Christians persecuted, but saved and blessed. But these two indisputable facts apparently necessitate a third fact: that the “dead” of verse 6 must be spiritually dead, roused by the preaching of the gospel (εὐηγγελίσθη, notἐκηρύχθη here) to spiritual life (“live according to God”), and we must unavoidably recognize a change from the use of the word “dead” in the former verse to fit this new connection. The transition is confessedly abrupt, as so often in this Epistle and elsewhere; it is made at a bound and by the deeper use of the word, a process common enough in the New Testament; (e.g. the Saviour’s turns upon water, bread, leaven, and the abrupt transition in Hebrews 9: from διαθήκη, “covenant” in verse 15 to the same word meaning apparently “testament” in verse 16.) It is vain for Alford (and others) to rule out this variation “in the outset.” and to declare all interpretations “false” which do not give the same meaning to the “dead “in both verses. For the sudden change is but a reminiscence of a still more abrupt transition in the” Saviour’s own words, when he said, “Let the dead bury their dead” (Luke 9:60). And when Alford insists that it cannot be so because γάρ “binds verses 5 and 6 logically together,” we reply (1), no more closely than the logic of thought in the Saviour’s sentence, and (2) that the two verses 15 and 16 of Hebrews 9: are hound together by the same γάρ, and Alford there declares it “vain to attempt to deny” the change to “testament” from “covenant.” Besides, the logical binding of the “for” here is not in two words, but the deeper and governing thoughts, thus: stand fast, abstaining from all the corruptions of the ungodly, and enduring their slanders, assured that God will judge them for all this when he judges the quick and the dead, and that you who are now judged by them, though once spiritually dead38 in company with them, yet redeemed by the gospel, are raised to life with God in the spirit, which shall issue (vs. 13) in your final glorification with Christ. They, though constituting themselves your persecutors and judges now, shall themselves appear before the Judge of all (quick and dead); and you, now persecuted and “judged” by these men, shall rise from this human judgment, by the power of that life which has already quickened you from the dead, to live in “exceeding joy” when Christ’s “glory shall be revealed.” Here we have reached a clear, coherent train of thought, in accordance with the entire strain of the Epistle, although its exceeding terseness renders it difficult alike to seize and to exhibit its precise import. I have met with no other explanation that does not seem to find and to leave confusion.

The results of this discussion may be briefly stated as follows:

1. The correct rendering of the passage in question,! Pet, 3:19, is: “in which [spirit] he went and preached to the spirits in prison on their once having been disobedient, when the long-suffering of God waited in the days of Noah, when the ark was preparing.” And the correct rendering clearly conveys the true meaning.

2. The correct rendering, and the meaning which thus emerges, are sustained by the entire logic of the context; while a supposed introduction of a transaction in Hades is strangely irrelevant and forced.

3. This rendering and interpretation are supported by 2 Peter, which, even if its authenticity be questioned, represents a very ancient opinion in the church.

4. Any theological speculation that rests on this one passage of Scripture as supposed to refer to a transaction in Hades, is a baseless fabric. To build a theory on a single supposed but questioned allusion, as against the main current of Bible teaching, is singularly illogical. It is to set a pyramid upon its apex. But when the supposed allusion gives way under the laws of grammar and of thought, the apex itself rests on the sand. And — it is an inquiry of some interest and moment — if a theological reasoner may on such a basis claim scriptural support for a belief in probation after death, with what mode of argument will he address those who, with far greater show of Scripture, maintain universal salvation, the final extinction of the wicked, or justification by human merit?

Supplementary Note

To meet a suggestion, we subjoin, in reference to the aorist participle, the clear statement of Curtius, than whom perhaps there is no better authority: “The aorist participle regularly expresses something that took place earlier or before the act of the principal verb; Κροῖσος ̔́Αλυν διαβὰς μεγάλην ἀρχὴν καταλύσει. Croesus after crossing the Halys will overthrow a great empire.” [So, almost exactly, Goodwin, Moods and Tenses, § 24, and Hadley, Gram. § 717]. Curtius proceeds: “The aorist participle only expresses that the beging of an action took place before another action, while its progress may continue simultaneously with that other. [So, almost exactly, Hadley, § 717a] γελάσας εἶπε, ‘he began to laugh, and said’ (laughing): χάρισαί μοι ἀποκρινάμενος, ‘answer and oblige me,’ inasmuch as the χαρίσασθαι follows immediately after the beginning of the answer,” Gram. §496. The reader will please note these last examples, and the following remark also: “Many verbs whose present-stem expresses a state, denote in all the aorist forms the entrance into this state: βασιλεύειν, to be king, βασιλεῦσαι, to become king,” and other instances, § 498. Goodwin, Gram. p. 247 b, and Hadley, p. 265, repeat the statement.

When Winer (p. 342) speaks of the aorist participle as sometimes expressing a “simultaneous action,” and Goodwin (Moods and Tenses, §24, note 1, and Gram. pp. 352, 354, 355) as “coinciding in time with the principal verb,” without denoting past time in reference to it, an examination of the examples quoted by them seems to show that the position of Curtius is the result of a more careful analysis, as in his example γελάσας εἶπε. Take an instance of each kind, three, from these writers — perhaps as ambiguous instances as can be adduced. In. Herod, 1:89, ἢν ὦν σὺ τούτους περιίδῃς διαρπάσαντας, is not “lettest them pillage” (Rawlinson), but “overlookest their having pillaged,” — a fact accomplished, as § 88 proves; σύ τε καλῶς ἐποίησας παραγενόμενος, is not “thou didst well in coming,” in the process of coming, but in having come,” that thou art come,” A.V. Acts x, 33; ἔλαθον ἀπελθόντε͂, idiomatically translated, “they went away secretly,” is literally, “they escaped notice [not “by departing,” but] having departed;” προσευξάμενοι εἶπον is not, “they spoke in prayer “(i.e. while praying, προσευχόμενοι, present tense, as Mark 11:25; Luke 1:10; Acts 3:18; 11:1; 12:12, etc.), but (A.V.), “they prayed and said,” or, with Curtius’s explanation, “beginning to pray, they said.” These, and similar extreme cases, however close to the line, still exhibit the circumstantial aorist participle as steadily expressing “the antecedent fact or occasion on which some other act expressed by the verb took place.” If these are nice distinctions, they are what belong to the Greek language.

It has been suggested that Curtius, in his “Erlaüterungen zu meiner Schul-grammatik,” contradicts the principle here quoted from his grammar. But a careful examination of the original, pp. 190-92, will show that he simply and expressly explains, not contradicts, this very passage of his grammar, showing how it comes to pass that while the unaugmented forms of the aorist do not, strictly speaking, designate [his italics] past or prior time (but only transient act) the aorist participle is yet “customarily employed “to convey that very notion, as his Grammar asserts. And if it should be said that this makes the notion itself a matter of suggestion or interpretation, the answer would be that the interpretation is itself settled by the .steady usage.

In chap. 4:6 if the νεκροῖς were the same as in vs. 5, the previous mention would require the article now. It will be observed, too, that neither this nor any other word in the clause, connects it by allusion with chap. 3:19. The aorist of the verb (εὐηγγελίσθη) refers to the time when God quickened the dead (ὄντᾶ ἡμᾶς νεκροὺς τοῖς παραπτώμασι συνεζωοπόίησε, Eph. 2:5). The καί, even (Rev. Ver.), has special use and significance in this interpretation. “The gospel was preached even to (not ‘the dead,’ but) dead men,” and εἰς τοῦτο. “unto this end (Rev. Ver.), that.....they might live according to God in the spirit.” The ha is telic; it was God’s purpose that they pass through suffering to life and glory.

If, in this discussion, I have made the argument from the structure and context of the Epistle a collateral rather than a principal one, it will be remembered that it is owing to the professed aim of the article. A distinguished gentleman who has read it while in the printer’s hands, well suggests that the argument referred to deserves much greater emphasis. “It seems to me,” he says, “that the whole structure of 1 Peter makes it almost necessary to believe that the apostle is speaking of Christ preaching to the antediluvians while yet alive. If, therefore, the Greek allows this course of thought, it requires it.” I agree with him, believing that both language and scope require it.


1) A singular mistake in regard to my rendering, is to be found in Prof. G. F. Wright’s “Relation of Death to Probation” (p. 25, note). After saying in the text, “it would properly be translated here ‘having sinned once,’ or, ‘when they had sinned,’ ” and conceding that the preaching might have been “in connection with the mission of Noah, while the antediluvians were still alive,” he remarks in the note, “We cannot agree with President Bartlett (see New Englander) in translating the participial clause ‘once when they sinned,’ ” Here the important transfer of the “once” is his mistake, not mine. He adopts substantially my rendering and ascribes to me a different one, from which he then dissents as though it were mine. He also adds, “in the parallel cases adduced by President Bartlett, he has not properly distinguished between the aorist (past) participle and the present.” The reader who will take the trouble to look at the many parallel cases of aorist participles referred to pp. 606, 607 alone, and the repeated calling of attention to the difference between the present and aorist, pp. 604-608, can judge whether I am open to such a criticism. While citing instances of present participles to show the attributive or predicative construction, yet when it came to the tense meaning, in that article, as in this, I almost overdid the matter of calling attention to the tense, with the special purpose of forestalling mistaken criticism.

2) According as it is attached to the nominative (secondary), or some oblique case of the noun (tertiary).

3) 1 The revisers have changed several of these and sacrificed the proper English idiom to the Greek. Other distinctions and explanations made to avoid misapprehensions and give completeness, cannot well be here repeated; such as that the present participle, denoting continuous action, and therefore often (virtually) to be preceded by “which,” has a much wider range of suggestion than the aorist, extending to motive, means, concession, limitation, though often expressing mere contemporaneousness of fact; the future expresses prospectiveness, and therefore quite commonly intention; the perfect, some characteristic related and completed circumstance, frequently motive, reason. The aorist has a more limited range, and can seldom be treated as expressing more than antecedent fact, or preliminary action. The antecedency is always involved, and is the one certain thing. That antecedent fact may sometimes involve also a ground, motive, cause, though comparatively seldom distinct. In none of the eighteen instances in Matt, 2., is it necessary to find more than the antecedent fact, although two or three may be said to imply a reason. On the subject of predicates, I can only refer to the elaborate discussion of Donaldson, pp. 360 and 396 sq.

4) He omits here, and too frequently elsewhere, the important word “aorist.” It is one of the prevailing oversights of his argument.

5) The only proper question is this: is it in fact attributive, or is it predicative? Not whether it “may have an attributive power.” For much of the counter-arguing amounts to this: that when some fact is -predicated of any object, we may then also ascribe that fact to it attributively — of course by changing the sentence. This will appear more fully in the subsequent discussion.

6) It was hardly worth the while for that writer to take the trouble of printing the phrase “spirits in prison” twenty times or more in this mode, — “spirits-in-prison.” English hyphens settle no questions of Greek construction or interpretation. And a translation, whether of the New Testament or any other Greek hook, in which all such phrases as τοὺς κύκλῳ ἀγρούς should he printed, the country-round about (Mark 6:36, authorized version) would be novel, at least.

7) He says: “Because the participle annexed to the substantive in an adjective mode is quite often joined to it without an article.” Yes, to a substantive without the article, but that is not the case here.

8) “President Bartlett limits the occasion too much to a time or date” (p. 469). “Does an anarthrous [aorist omitted] participle always and simply mark the occasion implying the time “(p. 464)? “May it not mark the kind of occasion, and not mark the date” (ibid.)? “Another instance of a reason and not a date,” etc. (p. 470). “Another clear case .. .. „ of an anarthrous participle marking not at all the time, hut allowing,” etc. (p. 471). And to increase the confusion, the participle cited in the last case is not an aorist, but a present ἔχοντα, and the previous one likewise, ζῶν, and still another on the same page, ἀνασταυροῦντας (p. 470). It is difficult to argue on such a basis.

9) See New Englander, Oct. 1872, p. 605; also p. 604.

10) The time element is always there; other relations may or may not be implied. In the New Testament the implication of a reason, cause, method, is certainly not common in the aorist, and then is suggested loosely rather than stated; so that when the revisers changed the rendering of two aorists, James 2:21, 25, from a “when “to “in that,” it was a rendering less close to the Greek, and an introduction of the interpretative element into the translation; for the antecedency of fact is all that is really stated in the Greek.

11) “How easily the circumstantial participle slips into the attributive meaning will appear in this case from a simple transposition, and the use of attributive forms.” And the “simple transposition “is the actual reconstruction of “Wherefore he is able to save to the uttermost .... seeing he ever liveth,” into “Wherefore he who ever liveth .... is able to save,” etc. (New Englander, 1882, p. 479). Again, we read, “the sense is manifestly attributive,” in Thucyd. 1:66, where “we read that complaint was made by the Corinthians of the Athenians ‘because they had besieged Potidea, which was a colony of theirs,’ — τὴν Ποτίδαιαν, ἑαυτῶν οὖσαν ἀποικίαν.” Here the confusion is sustained by an erroneous translation; for instead of “which was a colony,” a careful Greek scholar would say unhesitatingly, it is a predicative utterance and means “inasmuch as it was their colony,” — a statement of the ground of complaint, not a description as such of Potidea; it might be even rendered — as we are told it could not — “when it was” or “while it was,” though less definitely. The same error occurs in the rendering of a passage from Thucyd. 1:59. Again, appeal is made to 2 Pet. 1:18, τήν φωνὴν .... ἐνεχθεῖσαν, where the later commentators and the revisers had corrected the rendering into the predicative form; but we are told that the authorized version “squarely renders it in the attributive form, ‘which came from heaven,’ ”— and “squarely” gives a wrong rendering. This is cited to show how “easily the circumstantial runs into the attributive.”

12) “Even in describing the adverbial idea of the anarthrous circumstantial participle he [Kühner] employs the word ‘attributive.’ ” But Kühner, both in the old edition cited and in the newer edition, anomalously uses the word attributive to cover both the proper attributive of all the other grammars, his “actual attributive” (2d ed. p. 530) and also what he himself designates as “the predicate of an abridged subordinate clause” (§ 245,3 a. b. 1st ed.; 2d ed. 2:529).

13) In reference to adjectives, and participles employed as adjectives, he says (2d ed. § 90), “An adjective qualifying any noun, may be placed either between the article and its noun or after the noun. In the last case, the general rule is that if the noun has the article, the adjective must adopt it. In nearly, if not quite all cases, in which the noun has the article and the adjective has not the positive or adjunct article, it must be regarded as a predicate” Again (§ 91) “When participles are employed as mere adjectives in respect to meaning, the construction of them is substantially the same with that of adjectives, .... placed between the article and its noun.....or more usually after the noun, and taking the article when the noun has it.” He indeed instances some apparent exceptions in the case of adjectives; but these have proved partly to be erroneous readings as τὸ πνεῦνα ἅγιον, Luke 12:12, or erroneous renderings, as Oedip. Tyr. 526, where the later grammarians and editors have translated more correctly.

14) “No certain rule can here be given, inasmuch as it generally depends on the intention of the writer as to the prominence which he designs to give to the participial word, whether the article is inserted or omitted.”

15) The alleged conflicting principle is stated thus by Buttmann: “When an adjective without the article stands in connection with a substantive that has the article, but not between the two, the object designated is thereby distinguished not from other objects, but from itself in other circumstances. E.g. ἥδετο ἐπὶ πλουσίοις τοῖς πολίταις does not mean he rejoiced on account of the wealthy citizens,’ but ‘he rejoiced on account of the citizens because they were wealthy’; ἐπ᾿ ἄκροις τοῖς ὄρεσιν, on the mountains where they are highest; ὅλην τὴν νυκτά, the whole night [the night as a whole];ἔχει τὸν τέλεκυν ὀξύτατον, where we can indeed only translate ‘he has a very sharp axe,’ but where the more exact shape of the thought is, ‘the axe which he has is very sharp.’ ” “Nothing could more expressly declare the predicate force of the anarthrous adjective. In fact, the statement of the principle itself, however obscure, really conveys this meaning. “The object designated,” to wit, the citizens or the axe, is “not distinguished from other objects,” as the wealthy citizens from others, the poor citizens, the sharp axe from another, the dull axe; but “from, itself,” the same object “in other circumstances,” it being predicated that these citizens are wealthy, not poor, and this axe sharp.

16) A quotation is made of this remark of Winer: “Whether the article is to be used or omitted before the participle, depends sometimes on the subjective view of the writer” (New Englander, 1882, p. 469) Of course it does. And Winer in the next sentence gives an example which shows that when “the subjective view “of the writer is to predicate something by the participle, he omits the article. — See Winer on Rom. 8:1, p. 135.

17) In both editions there is a slight superficial confusion, growing out of Kühner’s twofold use of the word “attributive,” in a general and a special signification. He calls both uses of the participles by the general name “attributive”; but distinguishes his divisions A and B, the first as “actually (wirklich) attributive” (Vol. 2:p. 529, 2d ed.), and the second as having a “predicate signification,” and “to be considered the predicate of an abridged subordinate clause” (p. 530).

18) Kühner inclines even in these instances to regard and explain the participle as having a predicative force (Vol. 2:p. 538). Hadley and Goodwin do not.

19) There is another inaccuracy in Dr. Patton’s rendering of Thucyd. 1:59. “Made war with Philip” should be “in concert with Philip,” etc. The very literal translation of ἐσβεβληκότων is, of course, “they having made an incursion,” i.e. already; it predicates the fact of the invasion already made by Philip and the brethren of Derdos, to explain the concerted action with the Athenian ships. A translator looking to the neatness of his sentences, and deeming absolute exactness not sufficiently important to mar his style, may render, as even Jowett does, more loosely here. In the second instance, however, 1:66, he condenses the reason given thus: “Complained that the Athenians were blockading their colony of Potidea.” The most literal rendering would be, “it being their colony,” — a somewhat inelegant style.

20) Dr. Patton, while saying that the revisers’ rendering is a little obscure, adds, that the idea is not “heard to come,” but heard “as having come”; and yet this predicated fact of its coming he strangely pronounces “an attribute of the voice.” Here is perhaps a good opportunity to call attention to the difference of the participle in different tenses; the present denoting continued action, the perfect completed action, the aorist antecedent or preliminary fact. Thus, φερομένην would mean, we heard it while coming (or borne); ἐνηνεγμένην, we heard it as having come; ἐνεχθεῖσαν, we heard it on its coming, when it came.

21) See the quotations from Buttmann (§ 125), made on p. 346 of this article. See also his rendering (in the section quoted by Dr. Patton, § 144) of the Mem. 1:4, 8, also of the phrase from Demosthenes πλευστέον ἡμῖν εἰς τὰς ναῦς αὐτοῖς, “ ‘we must ourselves embark and set sail.’ In English the participle could indeed be retained, but not so well; we ourselves having embarked, must set sail.’ ” The italics are his. It need not be repeated that a personal pronoun is as definite as a noun with the article.

22) Thus, to add one or two more statements, Kühner even in his first edition (p. 313), says: “A participle with the article is very often appended to a preceding substantive in the way of apposition, to give prominence to attributive meaning in the sense of eum, eam, id dico, qui, quae, quod, or, et is quidem, qui.” In his second edition he declares (Vol. 2:p. 638) that the participle as predicate “is distinguished from the really attributive participle by the fact that it never stands between the article and substantive, nor with an article follows or precedes the substantive, but, instead, without the article follows or precedes the substantive; e.g. ὁ παῖς γράφων or γράφων ὁ παῖς, the boy when, because, since, while, he writes; on the contrary, ὁ γρφῶν παῖς, orὁ παῖς ὁ γράφων, or παῖς ὁ γράφων,the writing boy.”

23) I omit here, as unnecessary, all instances where the participle stands between the noun and article, such as ὁ τεχθεὶς βασιλεύς, Matt. 2:2, τοῦ φαινομένου ἀστέρος, 2:7, τῆς μελλούσης ὀργῆς, 3:7. This method is the less common, and, it will be noticed, less pointed; the other mode makes (in Winer’s words) “the idea expressed by the participle more prominent.”

24) These are present participles, therefore denoting continuous hearing, but taking their date of course from the verb. They illustrate only the construction. The preceding participles are aorists and have a further bearing on the discussion.

25) It will be observed that in this paragraph the construction being the point under consideration, I have cited participles in other tenses than the aorist. This to avoid misapprehension.

26) Here we might explain that the writer also conveys the idea of means, “by giving”; hut, if suggested, it is not expressed; whereas the antecedency of fact, the time element, is expressed.

27) Westcott (Commentary, 1880), says, “literally, when it had become, after it had become. This clause is predicative and not simply descriptive.”

28) The revisers, while making some of the requisite changes, have not always been consistent. Thus they properly change Heb. 1:1 (though with some sacrifice of style) from “God who spake,” to “God having spoken,” ὁ Θεὸς λαλήσας. But in Acts 23:18 undoubtedly the exact meaning is not “who hath something to say to you,” but “since or because he has something” (ἔχοντα, present, not aorist, — so that Dr. Pattern’s allusion to any supposed translation with “when,” is not to the point). Again, Horn, 16:1 means not “who is a servant” or deaconess, but (οὖσαν, present), “being,” because she is a deaconess. It may be safely said that in every instance in which this distinction is overlooked, there is some loss of exact meaning, not always important enough perhaps to justify awkward resorts of style. The rendering of Matt. 6:30 (τὸν χόρτον σήμερον ὀ͂ντα), “which to-day is,” may perhaps be justified on this ground, but the precise meaning is, “though to-day it is, and to-morrow burned “—though so transient. Dr. Patton calls attention to the fact that the revisers have in James 2:21, 25 changed the rendering of the aorist participles ἀνενέγκας and ὑποδεξαμένη from “when he offered and “when she received” into “in that he offered,” “in that she received.” But they have not ventured to change the predicative to the attributive rendering; nor have they eliminated the antecedent-time element from the aorist by inserting the method. But they have added to translation an element of interpretation; for the literal rendering is “having offered, “having received.” It simply states “the antecedent factor occasion,” the connection of which may sometimes, as here, be recognized and even expressed. Curtius’s remark is to the point, “it must not be overlooked that such a participle does not clearly express any of these meanings [means, cause, end, etc.], but that we may make use of the one or the other turn in translating- only in order to express in a more precise way what is simply suggested by the participle “(Grammar, § 583). So also Hadley, § 789 g.

29) New Englander (1882), p. 464.

30) The number of these allusions to Christ’s declarations is very remarkable, and has its obvious bearing on this reference to Noah’s times.

31) See Alford, Vol. 4:p. 134.

32) He holds the same word “spirit” which he had just used.

33) Notice how he still clings to the use of this word, “spirit.”

34) I subjoin in a note a brief epitome of the scope, as given in my former article in the New Englander, Oct. 1872: “This view fully harmonizes with the logical exigency of the argument, with the adjacent indications of time., and with other Biblical allusions. (1) The connection. In the verse preceding, and indeed from chap. 2:11 onward, is enjoined the duty of willingness to suffer for well-doing. Now follows a motive (“for” vs. 18) drawn from Christ’s own example. He suffered to bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh. It was only in the flesh that he died, for he was quickened in the spirit or higher nature. (Compare Rom. 1:3-4. This allusion to “the spirit” makes the transition to the other part of his example (connected by an “also”), — an example of the very same conduct, when the Spirit strove with men and patiently endured the ungodliness that “grieved him at his heart.” And the parallelism of the second instance is even made complete by a reference to eight souls “saved” on that occasion, and that, too, “by water,” This interpretation finds significance, pertinence, and consistency in the reference, and a reason why that class of sinners only are mentioned. They are specified in allusion to a historic fact that included them only. (2) This view is confirmed by the adjacent indications of time, which, with a threefold or fourfold reiteration, direct our thoughts back to the time of the disobedience rather than of Christ’s burial. It was when the long-suffering of God waited — in the days of Noah — while the ark was prepared — wherein few were saved. What was then? By the laws of coherent thought, the main fact of the sentence, “went and preached.” If the writer meant to intimate that the preaching took place at Christ’s death, it is a singularly misleading method thus to turn our thoughts wholly and steadily away to another period. (3) This view is in harmony with other Scripture allusions; with the statement that God’s spirit strove with the Antediluvians in Noah’s time (Gen. 6:3); that the spirit of Christ was in the old prophets in their utterances, chap. 1:10-11; that Noah was a ‘preacher’ (κήρυκα, from the same verbal root as in our text) 2 Pet. 2:5; and that this preaching of Christ was ‘in spirit’ The whole train of association lies before us, and mostly in the Epistles of Peter.”

35) But on the other interpretation the case is made clear, for Noah was a “preacher (κήρυκα) of righteousness,” 2 Pet. 2:5 — connecting it with our passage by the word employed.

36) Joseph Cook, Monday lecture, after Rev, W. H. Cobb, Bib. Sac, Oct. 1882.

37) See Acts 10:42; 1 Tim. 4:1; Acts 17:31.

38) Dr. Elias Biggs (in his Suggested Modifications of the Revised Version of the N. T.) prefers to retain the meaning of literal death, as in the preceding verse, but maintains that the preaching was to them while alive, “There will be no difference in the judgment” of quick and dead.