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proceding copies. If the writers committed no mistake-if' they never transposed a sentence, nor omitted, nor added, nor changed a word, in all the thousands of copies which were written out during fifteen centuries, they must all have been guided by a miraculous agency. This supposition, however, is too improbable to be admitted; and if any person's credence is so peculiar as to lead him to adopt it, facts will prove its falsehood.

Several hundred copies of the New Testament, of different degrees of antiquity, and all of them written before the invention of printing, and preserved in public and private libraries have been examined and compared, and no one manuscript is, in all respects, like another. The possessors of these manuscripts must therefore have occasionally read differently from each other, and that which was Scripture to one, could not be Scripture to another. For example: the possessor of one M.S. would read, Mark ii. 32.-" Thy

mother and thy brethren, without, seek thee;" and the possessor of another M.S. would read “ Thy mother, and thy “ brethren, and thy sisters, without, seek thee ” If we ask which of the two manuscripts,-the one containing the former reading, and the other, the latter,-contains the passage as it was originally written, it will be beyond the ability of a man unacquainted with Biblical Criticism, to give a satisfactory answer. Should such a person say, the difference is of no importance; it is easy to reply, how can you tell that there are not very important differences in the varying manuscripts of the New Testament? Besides, you must first ascertain whether a passage be genuine, before its importance, or nonimportance, can be a subject of consideration. If the words, and thy sisters,were written by the pen of the Evangelist Mark, it cannot be any objection to their being regarded as a part of the sacred writings, that they were not inserted in the printed copies of the New Testament, because the first editors may have printed from the MSS. in which they are omitted. This was unquestionably the case in various instances; for of the many MSS. still preserved, they employed but a very small number, in preparing, and in printing, the early editions of the New Testament.

In the first stereotype 12mo. Cambridge Testaments, Galatians iv. 29. is thus printed : “ But as then, he that was born “ after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the “ spirit, to remain, even so it is now?” The words “ to remain' are no part of the English translation; but how is this known? Present a copy of this impression to an Englishmań, in a distant country, where he could have no access to other copies, and on the supposition that he was unac-. Vol. III. N. S.


quainted with the New Testament, would he not consider the words as part of the genuine text; and feeling himself embarrassed in attempting their explanation, would he not be apt to pronounce the passage unintelligible? But put a copy of this edition into the hands of an editor of the English version at Cambridge, or Oxford, and it would be immediately detected as a spurious addition ; nor would the circumstance of its having occupied a place in the text, prevent its excision. What answer would a person ignorant of Biblical Criticism, return to the following question-On what ground do you not receive these words as part of the sixth chapter of the Gospel according to St. Luke? Τη αυτη ημέρα θεασάμενός τινα εργαζόμενον το σαββάτω, είπεν αυτω· άνθρωπε, εί μέν διδας τί ποιάς, μακάριος ει. ει δε μη διδας, επικατάρατος και παραβάτης e to vóuov. On the same day, seeing a certain person working on the Sabbath, he said to him, friend, if thou knowest what thou art doing, thou art happy; but if thou knovest not, thou art accursed, and transgressor of the law.” An expositor of the New Testament ought surely to be prepared to satisfy the inquiry. The passage was once accounted genuine, since it exists in the Codex Bezæ.

The purpose of Criticism is to collect, compare, and examine, the varieties found in existing MSS. of the Scriptures, and from the best rules of decision, to apportion to every reading its value, and to make as near an approximation as possible to the original words. Every man possessed of common intelligence, will allow that a collection of four hundred MS$. is a better apparatus for this purpose than a collection of four or sixteen, and of course, that the first printed copies of the New Testament miglit not be furnished with an unimpeachable and unalterable text. To add to the Divine word--to regard that as a part of the inspired volume, which its Author never inserted in it, is not less culpable than is the rejection of any sentence which is essentially a part of it.

Biblical criticism conducted independently on all party bias, guards the Divine volume against additions and subtractions ; against the mistakes of the careless, and the corruptions of the wilful. One important advantage resulting from an acquaintance with it, is, the removal of our doubts in relation to the uncertainty of the sacred text. We know the extent to which those doubts can go; we know that neither the authority, nor the excellence of the New Testament is impaired by various readings; and we feel ourselves repaid for the time and labour devoted to this study, by the confidence in the Divine records with which it inspires us.

It is always with regret that we hear that the mention of a various reading excites alarm in any man ; and we are especially grieved, when we perceive the ministers of religion disquieted

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and dismayed, as if the foundations of the building were shaken, and the Church of Christ nodded to her fall*! commend them to see with their own eyes the state of every critical question, and to furnish themselves with competent skill in Biblical Criticism, that, instead of betraying their fears, and manifesting their ignorance, they may quit themselves as men, and be strong in resisting opponents, and in defending friends. In apology for these remarks we must plead their necessity, as taught us by our own observations; and we must further insert Dr. Marsh's thoughts on the importance of the subject.

• The process of thcological study is undoubtedly much shortened, by taking for granted what can be known only by long and laborious investigation. But in a subject so important as that of religion, which concerns our future as well as present welfare, no labour is too great, no investigation too severe, which may enable us to discern the truth unmixed with falsehood -every man, who is set apart for the ministry should consider it as his bounden duty to study with especial care that primary branch of Theology the criticism of the Bible.

• By cultivating the criticism of the Bible, we acquire a habit of calm and impartial investigation, which will enable us to enter with greater advantage on the other departments of Theology; we learn to discriminate between objects apparently alike, but really distinct ; we learn to sharpen our judgments, and correct our imaginations ; we learn to think for ourselves, without blindly trusting to bare assertion, which may deceive, but can never convince.' pp. 2, 3.

The Author proceeds to state the difficulties which attend the criticism and interpretation of an ancient work; and applies his observations on these subjects to the Bible; examines the principle of interpretation as maintained by the Church of Rome, and as asserted by Protestants; and corrects the notions which he regards as erroneous. We trust that we are as little superstitious as the Margaret Professor, and at the same time equally rational; but we cannot subscribe to all his sentiments on the Regula fidei, nor do we think that he has given us the full meaning of the expression, The Bible is its own interpreter.'

In the 1{th lecture, Professor Marsh commences his remarks on the interpretation of the Bible. The first office of an interpreter, he observes, is the investigation of single words ; for he must understand the elements of which a sentence is composed, before he can judge of their combinations. The object of inquiry in this connexion, is, the notion affixed to a word in any particular passage by the author of a Book : the difficulties which attend our inquiries into the meaning of words, arising from the nature of the subject, and the language of dif-,

* Purson's Letters to Travis.

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ferent authors, are noticed by the Professor. In the application of his remarks to the Bible, the sources from which our knowledge of the Hebrew language is derived, are described :- 1. e. the Chaldee and Syriac Translations of the Old Testament, the Arabic and Greek versions, and the Latin Vulgate. In this lecture, the Margaret Professor appears as an advocate for a revision of the common version, and gives a very decided opinion on its necessity, founded on reasons which he details.

We cannot possibly pretend,' he declares, that our autho'rized version does not require amendment. Our own sentiments on this subject are in unison with the Professor's, but, who shall revise? The lecture concludes with exhortations to the study of the original Scriptures. We cannot be qualified

for the interpretation of the Bible, till we understand the languages of the Bible.'

In the next lecture, we have rules given us for the interpretation of words. As every author must be supposed to employ such words, for the conveyance of his thoughts, as he believes will excite in his readers the same thoughts, the first rule obviously is, to ascertain the notion affixed to each particular word by the persons in general who speak (or spoke) the language in which it exists. Another rule is, that the meaning of a word, used by any writer, is the meaning which was affixed to it by those for whom he immediately wrote. And a third, that the words of an author must be so explained, as not to make them inconsistent with his known character, his known sentiments, his known situation, and the known circumstances of the subject on which he wrote. These rules are exemplified in the chief controversy which engaged the attention of St. • Paul!' We cannot perceive that the passages in the writings of the Apostle, to which the Professor refers, 'relate solely to

the question, whether a man could become a good Christian * without remaining or becoming a Jew.' Sed non his locus.

We entirely agree with Dr. Marsh, that we must understand an inspired writer, or we shall not know what his propositions are; and that the propositions of such a writer are to be investigated by the application of the same rules which we employ to understand other writers; but we cannot think that the interpreter who explains the Bible by the aid of reason and learning, will always be liberal, or, that intolerance is excluded from a Church by the admission, on the part of its members, that it may possibly be wrong. We could inform the Professorwho have thought it an imperious duty to prevent the growth of all other opinions on a subject so important as religion.' He uses these words in describing the principle of interpretation adopted by the Church of Rome, and by enthusiasts; but they

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have certainly been exemplified in the practice of the Church of England, whose Act of Uniformity has slain its thousands; and the various attempts to enforce it, have proved as fatal to the peace and lives of mankind, as the assumed infallibility of the Church of Rome. From what principle did the cruel persecutions in the reigns of Elizabeth, James I, Charles I. and Charles II. proceed? The ruling powers of the Church thought it. an imperious duty to prevent the growth of all other opinions' than their own, on the subject of religion.' We entertain very great respect for the Margaret Professor, and give him credit for integrity in the assertion of his own opinions; but we cannot allow him to make that essential difference between the Church of England, and the Church of Rome, which would allot bigotry and persecuting principles to the latter, and true liberality to the former. In their practice they have but too much resembled each other. The Professor maintains, that between cannot • err,' as claimed by the Romish Church, and does not err,' as affirmed of the Church of England, there is an important difference. Now we should be glad to decide this question between the two Churches, by the answer which the Professor might give to our question in relation to his own Church - She does

pot err :'--but has she ever erred? The sense of our liability to error, if felt and practically regarded, would induce 'mutual forbearance in all our differences; but the instructions received from the faithful records of History prove, that the most grievous offences against charity have been committed by men who were neither enthusiasts, nor members of the Church of Rome; and lead us to express our devout wish that the means of ploying inquisitorial power' may never be at the command of religionists of any description. See p. 56.

The next division of the lectures, is of a philological complexion; in which the Professor adverts to the formation of language, and treats of the literal and figurative use of words. Hieroglyphic writing, by which, not words, but objects, are represented, could not, he thinks, have led to the invention of letters, wbich represent, not the objects, but the sound or utterance of the voice, which denotes the objects letters are simply expressive of sound, and were probably suggested by the different forms assumed by the mouth in the utterance of each single sound. Words which expressed objects of sensation, were suggested by the objects themselves; and in providing words for notions acquired by reflection, some similitude must bave been sought between the abstract notion, for which a word was wanted, and some other notion, already provided with a word. The proper or improper, the literal or grammatical, and the figurative or tropical, senses of words are explained,


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