xcii. κόσμιος, σεμνός, ἱεροπρεπής.
Κόσμιος and σεμνός are both epithets applied occasionally to things, but more frequently to persons. They are so nearly allied in meaning as to be. often found together; but at the same time are very clearly distinguishable the one from the other.
Κόσμιος, related to κόσμος in its earlier sense as ‘ornament,’ while κοσμικός (
οὐκ ἂν λαλῇ τις μικρόν, ἐστὶ κόσμιος·
οὖδ᾽ ἂν πορεύηται τις εἰς τὴν γῆν βλέπων·
ὁ δ᾽ ἡλικον μὲν ἡ φύσις φέρει λαλῶν,
μηδὲν ποιῶν δ᾽ ἄσχημον οὗτος κόσμιος.
But whatever may be implied in κόσμιος, and there is much, something more is involved in σεμνός. If the κόσμιος orders himself well in that earthly πολιτεία, of which he is a support and an ornament, the σεμνός has a grace and dignity not lent him from earth; but which he owes to that higher citizenship which is also his; being ono who inspires not respect only, but reverence and worship. In profane Greek σεμνός is a constant epithet of the gods—of the Eumenides, the σεμναὶ θεαί, above all. It is used also constantly to qualify such things as pertain to, or otherwise stand in any very near relation with, the heavenly world. All this will appear the more clearly, when we enumerate some of the epithets wherewith it habitually is linked; which are these: ἅγιος (Plato, Sophist. 249 a; Rep. 290 d; cf. Clement of Rome, 1 Ep. § 1, where it is joined to ἁγνός and ἄμωμος); ὀρθός (Apol. 412 e); μέγας (Theoetet. 203 e); τίμιος (Crit. 51 a); μέτριος (Clement of Rome, 1 Ep. § 1); βασιλικός (Plutarch, Quota. Aud. Poët. 8): ἔντιμος (Proec. Ger. Reip. 31): μεγαλοπρεπής (De Def. Orac. 30); θεῖος and φοβερός. From all this it is plain that there lies something of majestic and awe-inspiring in σεμνός, which does not at all lie in κόσμιος, although this has nothing about it to repel, but all rather to invite and to attract, μαλακὴ καὶ εὐσχήμων βαρύτης being Aristotle’s happy definition of σεμνότης (Rhet. ii. 19), making it as he does the golden mean between ἀρεσκεία, or unmanly assentation, at one extreme, and αὐθαδία, or churlish bearishness, pleasing itself, and careless how much it displeases others, at the other; even as in Plutarch σεμνός is associated with φιλικός (Quom. Am. ab Adul. 26); with ἡδύς (Conyiv. 4, Proëm.); with φιλάνθρωπος, with ἐπιεικής, and other like words; so too with προσηνής in Josephus (Antt. xi. 6. 9). But all this does not exclude the fact that the σεμνός is one who, without in as many words demanding, does yet challenge and inspire reverence and, in our earlier use of the word, worship, the word remaining true to the σέβω with which it is related. How to render it in English is not very easy to determine. On the one occasion that it qualifies things rather than persons (
Ἱεροπρεπής belongs to the best age of the Greek language, being used by Plato (Theag. 122 d) and by Xenophon (Conv. viii. 40), in this unlike ὁσιοπρεπής and ἁγιοπρεπής, which are of later ecclesiastical formation. Like κόσμιος it belongs to that large group of noticeable words, which, being found nowhere else in St. Paul’s Epistles, and indeed nowhere else in the N. T., are yet found in the Pastoral Epistles, some of them occurring several times over in these. The number and character of these words, the new vein of Greek which St. Paul in these later Epistles opens,1 constitutes a. very remarkable phenomenon, one for which no perfectly satisfactory explanation has hitherto been offered. Alford indeed in his Prolegomena to these Epistles has made a valuable contribution to such an explanation; but after all has been said, it remains perplexing still.
It will follow from what has been already claimed for σεμνός that ἱεροπρεπής is more nearly allied in meaning to it than to κόσμιος. It expresses that which beseems a sacred person, thing, or act. On the one occasion of its use in the N. T. (
1 For instance, take the adjectives alone which are an addition to, or a variation from, his ethical terminology in all his other Epistles; occurring as they do nowhere else but in these Epistles: αἱρετικός, ἀκρατής, ἄμαχος, ἀνεπαίσχυντος, ἀνεπίληπτος, ἀνήμερος, ἀνεξίκακος, ἀνόσιος, ἀπαίδευτος, ἄρτιος, ἀφιλάγαθος, ἀψευδής, διδακτικός, διάβολος, δίλογος, ἐγκρατής, εὐμετάδοτος, ἐπίορκος, ἤπιος, καλοδιδάσκαλος, κοινωνικός, ματαιολόγος, νηφάλιος, οἰκουρός, ὀργίλος, πάροινος, σώφρων, φιλάγαθος, φίλανδρος, φίλαυτος, φιλήδονος, φιλόθεος, φιλόξενος, φιλότεκνος, φλύαρος.