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Late Professor in the Theological Seminary at Princeton, New Jersey.







CCT 15 1000

Prof. Toy.





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DR JOSEPH ADDISON ALEXANDER, the able and learned author of this Commentary, the great work of his life, died at Princeton, New Jersey, on the 20th January 1860, having been born at Philadelphia in April 1809. The unexpected death of one so eminent and useful, produced a profound sensation throughout the American States. "Devout men carried him to his burial, and made great lamentation over him." As the son of an accomplished father, the Rev. Dr Archibald Alexander, Joseph Addison enjoyed the best of intellectual and spiritual training. His scholarship was precociously developed, for, at fourteen years of age, he had read through the Koran in the original Arabic. The other oriental tongues he mastered at a very early period; and he also acquired, in the course of his Academic curriculum, a profound acquaintance with the classical languages, and an intimate familiarity with most of the modern tongues of Europe. On the very day before his death, he enjoyed his usual portion of Scripture in the six languages in which it had been his 'daily habit to read it. He was, in 1835, chosen by the General Assembly Associate Professor of Oriental and Biblical Literature in the Theological Seminary at Princeton, and he had already been, for some years, Assistant Professor of Ancient Languages in the College of New Jersey. In 1851, he was transferred to the chair of Biblical and Ecclesiastical History, and in 1859 his Professorate received the title of the chair of Hellenistic and New Testament literature. We need not say that Dr Alexander nobly and successfully discharged the duties of his office-infecting the students with his own enthusiasm, and setting before them, in his prelections, a model of clear and manly statement, and of industrious and learned research. He was a preacher, too, of no common stamp, and his sermons published since his death give proof of his clearness, eloquence, and power, in applying as well as in expounding evangelical truth. His expositions of the Psalms, Mark, Acts, and a portion of Matthew (this last labour being interrupted by his death), are specimens of lucid, sound, and popular commentary. His colleague Dr Hodge, in an address to the General Assembly in 1860, justly said of him, "I regard Dr Joseph Addison Alexander as incomparably the greatest man I ever knew, -as incomparably the greatest man our church has ever produced." But his crowning labour, his imperishable monument, is his Commentary on

Isaiah. He had made some progress in revisal for a second edition, and some scores of corrections and improvements made by himself on his own copy have been collected by a scholarly friend and transmitted to us. These have been incorporated in this present edition, which may therefore be said to contain its eminent author's latest emendations.

The republication of this Commentary in the present form will, it is hoped, prove an acceptable present to the Biblical students of this country, for it occupies an independent place among the numerous expositions of the evangelical Prophet, which have appeared in earlier or more recent times in Holland, Germany, England, and America. The two ponderous folios of Vitringa bear upon them the evidence of severe study, prodigious industry, vast learning, and unflinching orthodoxy. Yet they are essentially Dutch in their structure-solid, cumbrous, and prolix; stiff in their ar rangement, tedious in their details, and copious to satiety in the miscellaneous references and disquisitions with which they are loaded. The views advanced in them are more bulky than tasteful, the arguments offered more numerous than strong, and while at times there is a spirited appreciation of a splendid symbol or a glowing parallelism, the author was too phlegmatic to be thrilled from sympathy with the prince of Hebrew bards; too much engaged in polemical disquisitions and recondite senses to waste time in expressing his slow and unwieldy emotions. The Commentary of Gesenius occupies a place of no mean dignity. Its faithful adherence to the Masoretic text, its sound grammatical notations, its clear and shrewd analysis of syntactic difficulties, its happy surmises in cases of acknowledged dubiety, and its fulness of archæological lore, have conferred upon it a European celebrity. But these literary virtues are more than counterbalanced by its obtrusive neology, its occasional levity, its low and perverted notions of the theocracy, its melancholy denial of prophetic inspiration and foresight, and its virulent hostility to the leading doctrine of a Messiah. The merits of this masterly Treatise are also lessened by its restless employment of the "higher criticism," for the purpose of impugning the integrity of Isaiah, and of so dismembering the book of his oracles, that the larger portion of them are branded as the anonymous productions of a later age, which sought in vain to disguise its intellectual poverty by a patriotic imitation of the fresher writings of an earlier period. It would be a woful day for Christendom, if the question, as to what are and what are not the genuine remains of the son of Amoz, were to be left for final decision to the morbid subjectivity and capricious mania of German unbelief.

The refined taste and classical acquirements of Bishop Lowth are seen in the many beautiful references and apposite illustrations which adorn to profusion his popular work. But the reckless treatment which he applied to the text in his repeated and superfluous alterations and suggestions without evidence or necessity, mars the utility of the scanty exegesis which is contained in his Commentary. The volume of the late Dr Henderson of Highbury is of great merit and ripe scholarship, and commends itself to us as the result of skilful and sanctified erudition. It often suggests the way

Yet, with all its
On many points,

to discover the truth, if in any case it fail to reveal it. perspicuity, its brevity or curtness is a marked defect. in connection with which acute and sagacious decisions are given, we long for a fuller statement of those philological principles by which the critic has been guided, and a more minute enumeration of those objections to his own views which are often dismissed with a simple allusion to their existence, or are set aside with the bare mention of their age, authorship, and valueless character. Mr Barnes of Philadelphia has compiled three excellent volumes of Notes on Isaiah with no little dexterity and success. But these annotations, from their very nature, do not come into competition with the Commentary of Professor Alexander. We have classed together only the more prominent Works on Isaiah for the sake of a brief comparison, and we deem it unnecessary to place on such a list the productions of Hitzig or Hende werk, Knobel or Ewald, Drechsler or Umbreit, Jenour or Stock, Noyes or Macculloch.

We do not, however, mean to make this republished Exposition the theme of unqualified or indiscriminate eulogy. No one, indeed, saw its defects more readily than did its author himself, and no one could be more prompt to acknowledge or correct them, for with all his gifts and greatness he had the simplicity and candour of a child. Yet we reckon it among the best Commentaries on Isaiah of any age or in any language. It embodies in it the fruits of many years of continuous toil and research, and its size gives it the advantage of a gratifying fulness. Professor Alexander possessed consummate scholarship. He discovers intimate acquaintance with the nicer peculiarities of Hebrew philology, in its tenses, particles, and more delicate combinations; and at the same time possesses no little relish for the aesthetic element-the buds and blossoms of oriental poetry. His unfailing stores of auxiliary erudition are ever at disciplined command, and are applied with eminent judgment. The value of his publication is also enhanced by the excellent synoptical accounts of the labours and opinions of former and contemporary authors, which are to be found under almost every verse. The Work is pervaded also by a sound exegetical spirit; the spirit of one who had been "baptized into Christ." For his daily study of the Bible was never to him a mere professional occupation.

Interesting views of the nature of prophecy in itself, and in its relations as well to the Jewish Commonwealth as to the Church of the Redeemer, abound in the following pages. The reveries of Teutonic criticism are unsparingly held up to scorn, and the "old paths" are proved to be still the safest and best. The Exposition is free from extraneous matter. It has no digressions; no learned lumber obstructs the reader's way with its conceited and multifarious curiosities. The principles which the author has laid down for his own guidance in the extreme literalness of his version, are sometimes followed, however, with such rigidness and system as might afford facetious remarkings to any satirical reviewer. This peculiarity, however, some may consider no blemish, but may rather hail it as an improvement. In one word. this Transatlantic Commentary is cautious

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