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setting — sending.-- watering. Thus this transitive verb, in the opening of the Psalm, extending its government through the successive parts of the same semi-chorus, except the last, unites them all in one long period. As this singular artifice of composition seems to be the
characteristic of a particular species of ode in this Psalm, I have scrupulously conformed to it, in my translation, at the expense of the elegance of my English style.
Such tender consciences as are offended when the 109th Psalm is read in our churches, may find in Dr. Horsley's opinion, if that of Dr. Horne and other learned expositors have failed to satisfy them, an end put to their scruples. Dr. Horne translates all the verbs which import maledictions as they stand in our Bible and Liturgy into the future tense, thus resolving the sense into simple prophecy. And undoubtedly the Hebrew words are capable of being either construed in the future or imperative. Dr. Horsley entitles the Psalm, the Messiah's prophetic Malediction of the Jewish Nation. In substance, there does not appear to be any difference between the future and imperative, when we suppose that, in a spiritual sense, David speaks in the person of Christ; for that which by the Divine decree is ordained to happen, when uttered by the voice of inspiration, must be the same, whether imperatively pronounced, or solemnly foretold. “ The first five verses,” says Dr. Horsley, s describe the treatment which our Lord met with from the Jews. The curses which follow, as clearly describe the judgments which have fallen upon that miserable people; so that the whole is a prediction of his sufferings, and of their punishment, delivered in the form of complaint and imprecation. Nor is there any thing in it, rightly understood, more offensive than in the prophetic curses of the patriarchs.”
This transcendently interesting subject has insensibly engaged us in a protracted discussion, which our limits warn us it is time to bring to a close. We reluctantly withdraw from that holy ground, on which Dr. Horsley has inade us know, with increased certainty, that we have been treading. We have always felt, with joyful persuasion, that
Less than a God there could not dwell
That spoke so sweetly, and so well. But something was wanting, until Dr. Horsley supplied the requisite assistance, of that intellectual, familiar, and interior acquaintance with this Holy of Holies of the inspired volume, which was only to be attained by drawing yet further aside the curtain of the sanctuary, and by displaying the great actors in the immortal scene, and the radiant symbols of stupendous grace. ". The minute investigation of inferior faults in a posthumous work is scarcely consistent with liberal criticism, and we are further restrained from it by a sense of gratitude for what has been performed. Some faults of translation there decidedly are. The old translators seem superior to Dr. Horsley in the rhythm of composition, and the choice and collocation of words. The Bishop of St. Asaph is certainly too much attached to modern expressions. The dress of the sentiments is sometimes in bad taste, and a sort of uncouth decoration sometimes encumbers the simple majesty of the descriptions. In the 139th Psalm, the translators, both in the Bible and in the Liturgy, have rendered the words inoba 18713 “ for I am fearfully and wonderfully made:” Dr. Horsley translates these words, “ For wonderfully am I composed;” in which, we think, he has lost the peculiar beauty of the word nix713, as implying that godly fear which should actuate our minds in the contemplation of our precarious being. The word nibbs may be exactly, but not poetically, expressed by organized or articulated, or, in plainer language, put together ; but, according to the apprehension we have of the force of the single word nirn, it cannot be more exactly and expressively rendered, than by the conjoint force of the two words as fearfully” and “wonderfully.” In further defence also or the received translation, we may add, that thirty-four of Dr. Kennicott's MSS. have the word nie, instead of 'n bd, the literal signification of which word 'n Soi would be," I am wonderfully made.” Nor do we feel the propriety of Parkhurst's suspicion, that this various reading has owed its birth to the next
. The 17th verse of the same Psalm is very feebly rendered by Dr. Horsley: “ How extraordinary to me are thy thoughts, ở God! How multiplied the particulars of them!". Upon the whole, this Psalm, which is one of the noblest in the whole collection, is the least perfect of the translations of the learned Bishop. The Bible version of it is, in general, good'; but, as Dr. Lowth observes in his eighth Prælection, some of the beauty of the metaphorical allusions is necessarily lost in all the versions. A very beautiful Latin translation of it, by that excellent Bishop and Hebrew critic, may be seen in his 29th Prælection; and we do not fear to say, notwithstanding Dr. Horsley's contempt for the New Version, as it is called, by Tate and Brady, and his strange preference of Sternhold and Hopkins, whom he wishes to reinstate in their pristine dignity in our Church galleries, there are few stanzas in the religious poetry of the country more pregnant with simple pathos and sublimity, than the version of this 139th Psalm by those persons so ligbtly esteemed by Dr. Horsley.
“ The mansion of thy sanctity," instead of “thy holy temple;' the “ sum total of my joy;" “ I received a strong push to make me fall;" “ laugh at him;" instead of “ laugh him to scorn;" “ constituting his clouds his chariot ;" " critical times ;" “ peoples” for “ nations;" " rejoice with diffidence;" “ set a polish,” instead of “ flatter;" pomp of holiness," instead of 5 beauty of holiness ;" “ chaunt the holy lay;" “good conduct;" “ powerful arm," instead of " arm of thy strength,” (a true Hebraism, and equally good in our own language) are among the instances of bad taste in verbal expression, of which we with great reluctance, and with great deference, accuse Dr. Horsley. But we are happy to dismiss this part of our duty.
Who that reads our present authorized translations, especially that which is used in our Church service, can be insensible to the advantages of Dr. Horsley's translation. We are very ready to admit the fidelity, the beauty, and the vigour of many parts of our common versions; but we are persuaded that their mistakes are so numerous, their idiom so antiquated, and their transitions so abrupt, that, added to the unavoidable obscurity arising from the interspersion of national usages and ceremonies, and other peculiarities of time and place, a very slender proportion of the usual frequenters of the Church accompany this part of the service with the intelligence necessary to its due impression on their minds.
When, during the recitation of the Psalms, we have cast our eyes around, and observed, while the lips of the assembly have been moving in decent conformity with the rubric, the apathy of heart, and vagrancy of thought, displayed in the listless look and the roving eye, the spirits disengaged from the subject, and dispersing themselves abroad in vacant gaze, or fluttering among the crowd, not knowing where to rest, we have ardently wished for one, who, with a profound knowledge of the Hebrew language and antiquities, and familiarly conversant with the style and genius of Hebrew poetry, might in our day be disposed by Providence to the great work of displaying the true sense and spirit of the Psalter in an English version, so that in future the points of contact between the matter of these most holy compositions, and the minds of the persons engaged in the recitation of them, might be so increased as to melt them into communion with the understanding and the heart, and render them the sincere language of interior devotion. Such an one is Dr. Horsley; we say is, because, though dead, he yet speaketh, and speaketh in vital oracles; his dust still transmits his honours, and retains his fires, and the germs of his genius still bloom upon his sepulchre.
ART. II.--The Character of Moses established for Veracity as an
Historian, recording Events from the Creation to the Deluge. By the Rev. Joseph Townsend, M. A. Rector of Pewsey,
Wilts. London. Longman and Co. 1813. On opening this volume, we might naturally exclaim, is it necessary again to take up arms in defence of Moses? is not the phalanx of wise and good men who have already stood forth in his behalf sufficient to secure him from any new attack? It is true indeed that the ægis of celestial wisdom has often darted its benumbing rays on the impious cavillers, but they rise ever with new courage from the ruin which had overwhelmed them, and rush with blind rage on the bulwarks whence they have been so often repelled. They have begun, of late, to try the effect of new methods of assault, and to exult in the advantageous display of their resources. It was no small triumph over Revelation to have proved that the earth was never created, but was originally a splinter struck off from the sun by a heavy body which happened to impinge upon it. But a great Epicurean philosopher recently defunct, has proceeded much further, and has finally developed the theory of the animal creation. It seems that the primitive world was one vast pool, in which all creatures sported in the shape of tadpoles, until some of them longing to walk on dry land, legs fitted for that purpose spontaneously sprang forth from the hinder quarters. Some affected hoofs, and gradually became horses, while others, of a more ambitious character, forced their humbler brethren to carry them on their backs. A great metaphysician, the pride of Scotland, proved in defiance of Moses, that the primitive men wore tails, and that it was owing to the friction of tight clothing that their posterity have lost so ornamental an appendage. We have not heard indeed that the Sansculotte philosophers have recovered this badge, though they are well rid of all other symptoms of humanity; but it is impossible to say how far their perfectibility may reach, and to what new heights of dignity and honour they may be destined to ascend.
It is surprising that the old-fashioned tradition has not been rooted out by so many improvements in science; but as Moses has stood his ground so long, there seems a fair chance of his holding out to the last. Still it is impossible to say what new stratagems may be played off; and as the enemy seems to be Aushed with victory, we are not displeased to hail a new auxiliary. We shall therefore enter upon the Work which now lies before us, with every disposition to estimate its merits with candour and deliberation.
The design of the author is to compare the present state of our knowledge of the history of man and of the earth, with the relations contained in the early part of Genesis, and by this comparison to establish the character of the historian as a faithful recorder of events. The first part of his work contains a disquisition on the similar traditions which were handed down among many nations from the most ancient times; but the larger portion of the volume consists of a geological essay on the proofs that our globe has undergone an universal deluge. We shall examine each of these departments separately.
When Christianity began to awaken the attention of the learned among the Greeks and Romans, many of them were struck with certain analogies between the fables of the old superstition and the doctrines and historical relations contained in the Hebrew Scriptures. The fathers of the church availed themselves of these features of resemblance. They were fond of tracing in the pure and sublime tenets of the new code, the origin and germ of the most absurd legends of the pagan world. Arguments of this kind were particularly fitted to produce an effect on minds of a philosophic turn and fond of metaphysical inquiries, and they appear to have contributed somewhat to the reception of Christianity among the most intelligent part of mankind.
It was soon discovered that the coincidences, between these very different systems afforded an irresistible proof of some ancient communication; and that the founders of the Pagan ritual had certainly drawn through some unknown channel from the fountains of sacred truth. Many conjectures were proposed to account for a fact so undoubted and yet so contrary to expectation. It was soon remembered that Thales and Pythagoras tra, velled in the East, and visited several countries in the neighbourhood of Judea; that the more ancient mystics came either from Egypt or Phænice. It seemed not very difficult to conceive, that these sages might have passed through Jerusalem, and acquired some of their fundamental tenets from the Rabbis and Doctors of the law. It was not considered how great a jealousy the Jews entertained of foreigners of every description, and how impossible all access to their sacred books must have been to strangers unacquainted with their language. The very different aspect which the plain and positive institutions of Moses and the romantic flights of Orpheus and Pythagoras present, was overlooked: though this might have sufficed to show that the analogies between the two religions must not be sought for in this quarter.
When the learned of modern Europe became acquainted with the mythology of the Asiatic nations, they proceeded on the same false principles. We can hardly imagine an hypothesis