Sidor som bilder

the Septuagint alone was familiar to the readers of the epistles, and no harm would arise from the deviation, the sacred writer might not see good to take the passage as he found it. Thus the evangelists, Matthew and Luke, are generally supposed to have extracted the genealogies of the Messiah from the public records, though, in some respects, defective.

This, if admitted, will reduce the deviations of quotations from the Hebrew text in the New Testament to a very small number: and there will be seldom need to have recourse to the strong measure of charging a material corruption on the Hebrew text: I say seldom, for they who would maintain that no such corruptions exist seem to take an untenable ground. If, however, the quotations in the New Testament are to be regarded as the criteria; a candid and careful examination of them must induce the conviction, that no ancient book extant has come down to us in such complete preservation as the Hebrew text of the Old Testament: and from long and patient investigation of other documents, I am persuaded that this is really the case.

8. One thing more has powerfully impressed my mind on the subject, which I do not recollect to have met with in any writer, and which appears to give a higher and stronger sanction to the Septuagint, in one material point, than almost any other consideration. The original names of the one-glorious, self-existent, and eternal God have been generally considered as replete with meaning and instruction: nay, some have formed

2 A 2


theories, which seem to imply that they are essential to correct views of Christianity; at least they build very much upon them. I am far from denying that the able student of the sacred language may derive much instruction himself from this source, and communicate it also to others indeed, I am fully convinced that this is the case. The undeniable fact, however, is this,— that the Septuagint scarcely ever uses any of these Hebrew names. JEHOVAH, JAH, ELOHIM, or ALEIM, SHADDAI, &c. are not found in that version, but simply Kúpios, eòs, with epithets of Greek derivation-except Tsabaoth in a few instances. Now, in this respect, the sacred writers of the New Testament have uniformly followed that version. In no quotation do they substitute the Hebrew name; not even where the other parts of the quotation vary from the Septuagint! Nay more the whole New Testament is written on the same plan; and the Hebrew names and titles of JEHOVAH are seldom even referred to, except "I AM THAT I AM," in a few instances. This, at least, shews that the Greek translators did not act materially wrong in that part of their plan, and that the Hebrew names are not essential to a right understanding of of the Christian


Thus I close my remarks, which I have endeavoured to make with impartiality. I confess myself to be comparatively in my novitiate as to these studies, and shall be thankful for correction or information on the subject from my more learned brethren; and especially to be informed, whether

any other translation of the Old Testament, or any part of it, beside the Septuagint, is supposed to have been extant when the New Testament was written.


MARCH, 1811.

T S.


I am no lexicographer, or dictionary-maker; nor even concordist: yet I could not but feel rather displeased at seeing my old acquaintance and benefactors incautiously placed among that motley group, which is held up to derision in your number for December, 1810, p. 735.

There are, perhaps, few descriptions of men to whom the church and the world, the learned and the unlearned, they who know it and they who know it not, are more deeply indebted, than the body of men in question: and merely to acknowledge that their labours are useful, while they themselves are spoken of with contempt, is not the most proper return for the benefits which we have received; nor the way to encourage others to tread in their steps: and as Europe especially is under immense obligations to the lexicographers of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, for the excellent translations of the sacred scriptures which she now possesses; so the exertions of the Bible Society, and of other societies for circulat

[ocr errors]

ing the scriptures, will need a great number of laborious dictionary-makers, in various languages, to give their pious and benevolent designs full effect; and every attempt of this kind, in a language little known, is an important opening to the translation of the scriptures into that language.

You have performed a long journey. It is inquired of you, at what rate you travelled: you answer, five, six, seven, or eight miles, in an hour. I go no further, because, except on great emergencies, no man ought, and one would hope no merciful man can desire, to travel more rapidly. Various other questions are proposed about the journey: and you give due commendation to the horses, drivers, grooms, &c. But at length this uncommon inquiry is started, Who made the road and built the bridges? Yet, if the road had not been previously prepared, you could not have travelled, either with such speed, safety, or comfort. The drudges who do the common labour, and the surveyors of the highways, might perhaps here occur to your mind, without exciting either much respect or sense of obligation. But, probably the whole was planned by men of far more enlarged minds: as we know that the enlightened Romans made roads in all the countries which they possessed; knowing that this would facilitate social intercourse, and promote civilization: and thus, unconsciously, they opened a way for the more rapid propagation of the gospel.

[ocr errors]

In like manner, a man has made considerable proficiency in the learned languages, perhaps

without the advantages of a liberal education: he ascribes his progress to the assistance of this or the other friend; but perhaps, above all, to his own indefatigable perseverance. But, what dictionary did you use? If you had not had that dictionary, what would you have done? The answer to such questions will remind him that, if others before him had not bestowed still more indefatigable diligence in the business, his own labours must have been to little or no purpose. A great part of his learning therefore, yea, and of the good which it enables him to do, is owing to the lexicographers. The case is the same with all learned men, whether they recollect it or not; and with the unlearned, who in any way profit by their labours.

This, however, your correspondent considers as springing from their love of fame.' Perhaps it may be more justly imputed to a high, probably excessive, valuation of that kind of learning in which they are proficients, and an ardour of mind in exciting others to the same studies, united with a desire of acquiring a hard-earned maintenance by their labours. But, when we

consider what kind of men laboured in making lexicons and dictionaries, in the dawning of the reformation; it would be unjust not to ascribe the assiduity and perseverance of many to strong religious principles, and an ardent hope of thus rendering a most important service to the souls of men.

Suppose, again, a man to have made a great proficiency as a textuary in the holy scriptures: will this person refuse the tribute of respect due

« FöregåendeFortsätt »