[Opinions of Commentators concerning Accommodation.]
CORNELIUS à Lapide, on this place, writes as follows: -- "Licet Cajetanus, Adamus, Pererius, Toletus, putent Mosem ad litteram loqui de Christo et Christi justitiâ, referent enim hæc ejus verba ad poenitentiam, de qua eodem capite egerat Moses, ver.1; (Poenitentia enim et dilectio Dei, ac consequenter peccatorum venia, ipsaque justitia sine fide Christi haberi non potest;) tamen longe planius est, ut non litteraliter, sed allegorice tantum alludat Apostolus ad Mosem. Moses enim ad litteram, sive in sensu litterati loquitur, non de Christo ejusque Evangelio, sed de lege data Judæis, ut patet eum intuenti. Ita Chrysostomus, Theodoretus, Theophylactus, OEcumenius, Abulensis, Soto . . . . . . Hæc, inquam verba, Mosem ad suos Judæos literaliter loqui planè certum, evidens, et manifestum est; ita tamen at eadem hæc ejus verba allegorice Evangelia ejusque catechumenis et fidelibus optime conveniant. Æque enim, imo magis, ad manum est omnibus jam. Evangelium et fides Christi, quam olim fuerit lex Mosis: ita ut fidem hanc omnes facillime corde, id est mente, complecti: et ore proloqui, itaque justificari et salvari possint."
Our own learned Hammond writes as follows: -- "The two phrases of going up into Heaven,' or descending into the deep,' are proverbial phrases to signify the doing or attempting to do some hard, impossible thing . . . . These phrases had been of old used by Moses in this sense, Deut. xxx.12." [And then, the place follows.] "Which words being used by Moses to express the easiness and readiness of the way which the Jews had to know their duty and to perform it, are here by the Apostle accommodated to express the easiness of the Gospel condition, above that of the Mosaical Law." -- So far Dr. Hammond; whose notion that there was any accommodation here, I altogether deny. As for his belief that the paraphrase in the Targum of Jerusalem, ["Utinam esset nobis aliquis Propheta, Jonæ similis, qui in profundum maris magni descenderet,"] is the "ground of St. Paul's application" of the place to the Death and Resurrection of Christ, I can but feel surprised to find such a view advocated by so learned a man, and so excellent a Divine. But it is not Hammond's way to write thus. In his "Practical Catechism," he often expounds similar Scripture, (e.g. St. Luke i.72-5,) after a very lofty fashion.
Again: -- "Hunc locum accommodavit ad causam suam B. Paulus, Rom. x. Nam cum proprie hic locus pertinent ad Decalogum, transfertur eleganter et erudite a Paulo ad fidem quæ os requirit ut promulgetur, et cor ut corde ore- damus." -- Fagius ad Deut. xxx.11, apud Criticos Sacros.
Occasionally, however, we meet with a directly different gloss: --
"Locum hunc divinus Paulus divine de Evangelica prædicatione ac sermone fidei est interpretatus, tametsi sensum magis, ut æquum est, quam textum ad verbum expresserit; ut illius etiam alibi est mos. Satis enim fuit, atque adeo magis consentaneum viris Spiritu Dei plenis significare quid idem Spiritus in Scriptura intelligi vellet." -- Clavius, ad Deut. xxx.14, apud Criticos Sacros.
Concerning the general principle of Accommodation, (as explained above, p.188,) the following passages present themselves as valuable.
"Men have suggested that these things were accommodations of the Sacred Writers; and that the New Testament Writers, in the interpretations they gave of passages in the Old, meant to say, that the texts might be applied in such way as they applied them. But the suggestors of this view can hardly have considered carefully those conversations of our Blessed Saviour with His disciples going to Emmaus; and afterward in the evening of the same day, in which He distinctly reprehends them for their dulness of heart in not seeing in the pages of the Old Testament the predictions of His Death and of His Resurrection; though, of His Resurrection the intimations are, in those ancient Scriptures, to our view so scanty and obscure. he unfolds to them as they walk the reference of the Old Testament Scriptures to Himself. Then in a later interview He resumes the instruction and opens their understanding,' (it is said,) to discover the same; the relation of the Old Testament Scriptures (namely) to Himself. -- He is a bold Commentator who having seen the Disciples thus instructed, -- having witnessed this scene, -- then, when he meets with these same Disciples' interpretations of the ancient Scriptures in relation to Christ, calls them Accommodations,' and gives them to a human original. But I ask leave to turn from this theory." -- Sermons by the Rev. C. P. Eden, pp.189-190.
"If we believe that the Apostles were inspired, then all idea of accommodation must be renounced . . . The theory of Accommodation, i.e. of erroneous interpretation of the Scripture, cannot be thought of without imputing error to the Spirit of Truth and Holiness; or to Him who sent the Spirit to recal to the minds of the Apostles all things which He had said to them, and to guide them into all Truth." -- From a Sermon by Dr. MCaul, The Hope of the Gospel the Hope of the Old Testament Saints, (1854,) -- p.8.
DIA TON LOGON TOU ThEOU.