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by suggestion of what is orthodox and evangelical, enter into no composition with us, on our natural where all is orthodox and evangelical ; the spirit principles. It challenges the whole mind as its of the reader becomes lean, being fed with abstract due, and it appeals to the truth of heaven for the truths and formal propositions; his temper unge- high authority of its sanctions : • Whosoever nial, being ever disturbed with controversial sug- addeth to, or taketh from, the words of this book, gestions; his prayers, undevout recitals of his is accursed,' is the absolute language in which it opinions ; his discourse, technical announcements delivers itself. This brings us to its terms. There of his faith. Intellect, cold intellect, hath the is no way of escaping after this. We must bring say over heavenward devotion and holy fer- every thought into captivity to its obedience; and, pours. Man, contentious man, hath the attention as closely as ever lawyer stuck to his document which the unsearchable God should undivided or his extract, must we abide by the rule and the have; and the fine full harmony of Heaven's doctrine which this authentic memorial of God melodious voice, which, heard apart, were sufficient sets before us.”+ to lap the soul in ecstasies unspeakable, is jarred 4. Having thus ascertained the revealed will of and interfered with, and the heavenly spell is God, it must be our purpose and determination to broken with the recurring conceits, sophisms, and fulfil it. “ Not every one," says the Saviour, "that passions of men."
saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the 3. An authoritative message has been sent from kingdom of heaven, but he that doeth the will the throne of God, accredited by the most ample of my Father which is in heaven,” Matt. vii. 21. and convincing evidence. What, therefore, is It were better for us to be placed beyond the our duty ? Assuredly it is not to prejudge the light and influence of the divine revelation, than contents of this revelation, any more than to to enjoy its advantages and yet withhold our decide upon its propriety, or to find fault with its obedience. For while the servant who knoweth requisitions. “Our simple business is to inter- not his Lord's will, and consequently errs in his pret fairly, and without prejudice, its various duty, shall be beaten with few stripes; be that parts, and then submit without any reserve to its knoweth it, but doeth it not, shall be beaten with paramount authority. Having been visited with many, Luke xii. 47, 48. the light of revelation, the formation of our reli- V. Such appears to be the preparation of mind, gious creed is no longer left to the dreams of and disposition of heart, required in those who imagination, or the speculations of philosophy; would derive from the study of the Scriptures those but it is to be deduced fairly and honestly from benefits which it is the intention of their Divine the written record alone. And the same princi- | Author to impart. The Bible is the ordinary ple is to govern equally the learned and the un- channel through which He conveys his blessings learned. It is the office of a translator to give a to man; and it is only by placing ourselves in a faithful representation of the original. And now proper situation, and providing ourselves with this faithful representation has been given, it is suitable means, that we can rationally expect to our part to peruse it with care, and to take a fair become partakers of the waters of life. and faithful impression of it. It is our part to purify our understanding of all its previous con
SECTION IV. ceptions. We must bring a free and unoccupied
THE LITERARY QUALIFICATIONS OF AN INTERPRETER. mind to the exercise. It must not be the pride or the obstinacy of self-formed opinions, or the The Hebrew and Greek Languages-Grammars and Lexicons
- Rhetoric and Logic--Historical Circumstances — Their haughty independence of him who thinks he has Intimate Connexion with Interpretation-Civil and Political Teached the manhood of his understanding. We Geography-Natural History-Literary and Historical Cir. toust bring with us the docility of a child, if we
cumstances pertaining to the Sacred Books. want to gain the kingdom of heaven. It must
The interpretation of the Bible, as we have not be a partial, but an entire and an unexcepted already seen, calls for a large measure of various obedience. There must be no garbling of that knowledge, to which we shall now more particuwhich is entire, no darkening of that which is
larly advert. luminous, no softening down of that which is
I. In the first place, an interpreter ought to be ahoritative or severe. The Bible will allow of well skilled in both the Hebrew and Greek lanto compromise. It professes to be the directory guages, so that he may be able to distinguish beof
our faith, and claims a total ascendancy over the souls and the understandings of men.
+ Dr. Chalmers on the Evidence and Authority of the Chris
tian Revelation, p. 269. The whole of the chapter will amply * Irving's Orations for the Oracles of God, p. 14. repay the labour of a careful perusal.
tween the idioms of each language, and rightly to render this, And the Word was God, rather than, God interpret both. The object of interpretation is was the Word ? Because it is a rule of Greek syntax, the examination and explanation of words by that when a subject and predicate are joined together grammatical principles ; and as the sense thus dis- | by the substantive verb, the subject has the article,
The reader who is covered is the true and only proper sense, it fol- and the predicate has it not.
conversant with critical writings need only be relows that a grammatical knowledge of the lan-minded of the important light that has been thrown guages of the text is indispensable to the task.
upon several passages of the New Testament, by the 1. Ernesti and his commentator have well labours of Middleton, Sharpe, and others, in eluciillustrated the value of grammatical knowledge, dating the doctrine of the Greek article.* especially of etymology and syntax, to an interpreter of the sacred writings, in the following
2. But important as a knowledge of technical
grammar is to an interpreter, his acquaintance remarks:
with the original languages of Scripture inust not 1. An interpreter ought, in the first place, to be terminate here. In studying the philology of the acquainted with the differences and powers of words, Hebrew language, for instance, he must discover, in so far as they depend upon their grammatical form. by means of the helps that can be employed, its The differences here to be considered are those which spirit
, its character, its peculiarities, the signifiarise from derivation, composition, inflexion, and accents. Nor ought we less carefully to study the cations of its words, and the very characteristics
of its figures.
Thus he must draw out its characforce and difference of forms in those words which grammarians have styled emphatically verba, verbs ; ter from the analogy of the other Oriental lantogether with the exceptions to each rule, either as guages, which have sprung from it, or are conto tenses or moods, which have been introduced by nected with it, and the meanings of its words and usage. Interpreters who have not acquired an accu- phrases, from a comparison of the various Versions rate knowledge of these rules, and have not rendered which we have of the Hebrew Scriptures; since their knowledge available by the habit of applying it, these are the only sources which can supply such are liable to fall into great and serious blunders; and knowledge respecting them as may be confidently
is are to be met with ; whereas a little attention to grammar often clears away the difficulty, and enables
3. The case is the same with the particular us to interpret rightly, and to refute the errors of philology of the Greek text, which largely parothers. As an example in point, Mr. Terrot refers takes of the Hebrew structure, and abounds with to Rom. viii. 30, which in our Version is rendered those expressions in which the national and relithus : "Moreover, whom he did predestinate, them gious ideas of the Jews were ordinarily expressed." he also called ; and whom he called, them he also Hence the interpreter should be acquainted, not justified; and whom he justified, them he also glori- only with pure Greek, but with its various diafied.” Now, he remarks, all these verbs being in lects, especially the Alexandrine. the first aorist, are not necessarily expressive of past
4. In prosecuting this branch of his studies the time, but are completely indefinite, and mark habitual, systematic action. The text, therefore, would have
student will find the following works amongst the been better rendered, “Whom he predestinates, them best he can avail himself of:he also calls," &c.
FOR THE OLD TESTAMENT--GRAMMARS AND LEXICONS. 2. But the knowledge of syntax is still more necessary, not only that we may ascertain the order in
1. A Hebrew Grammar, with a copious Syntax which the words are to be taken, which is often of and Praxis. By Moses Stuart, Professor of Sacred great importance to the right understanding of the Literature in the Theological Seminary at Andover, passage ; but also, that we may know the proper
8vo., fourth edition, 1831. This work is founded construction of every word and particle separately, chiefly on the Hebrew grammar of Gesenius. The so as to be able to judge, in the New Testament,
student should also procure by the same author, whether the expression be pure Greek or not; and
· Dissertations on the Importance and Best Method finally, that we may know the force and sense of of studying the Original Languages of the Bible, by each particular construction from the true spirit of Jalın, Gesenius, and Wyttenbach; translated from the language. For he who, being ignorant of these
the original Latin. matters, proceeds to translate word for word, from
2. A Grammar of the Hebrew Language, comprised one language into another, must necessarily fall into in a Series of Lectures. By the Rev. Samuel Lee, great and frequent errors, from the dissimilarity of D.D., Professor of Arabic (and now Regius Professor the idioms. The writings of the commentators are
of Hebrew) in the University of Cambridge. Second full of errors of this class ; nor can any one, without edition, 1832. the knowledge here required, detect and confute the mistakes of interpreters and critics. As an illustration of Ernesti's reasoning, his translator, Terrot, selects
* Ernesti's Institutes, Part III , ch. 10, $ 8,9. John i. 1, Kai geòs nv ó dhyes. Why, he asks, do we + Planck's Introduction to Sacred Philology, Part I. clap. si.
3. A Hebrew Chrestomathy. By Professor Stuart. ment. By John Aug. Henry Tittman, D. D., first This work, the first volume of which was published Theological Professor in the University of Leipsic. in 1829, and a second in 1830, is designed to furnish Translated by the Rev. Edward Craig, M. A. Vol. 1, a course of Hebrew study.
forming Vol. 3 of the Biblical Cabinet. This is a * A Manual of the Chaldee Language, containing most important work : it is much to be regretted that a Chaldee Grammar, chiefly from the German of Pro- the death of the learned author prevented the comfessor G. B. Winer; a Chrestomathy, consisting of pletion of his design, which was to investigate the Selections from the Targums, and including the whole comparative force of all those words in the New of the Biblical Chaldee, with Notes, and a Vocabulary Testament which appear to be synonymous ; i. e., adapted to the Chrestomathy, with an Appendix on which range under a common genus, as having one the Rabbinical Character and Style. By Elias Riggs, generic idea in common; but which have each of A. M., Boston, 8vo., 1832.
them, additional to this, a specific difference of 5. Johannis Buxtorfii Lexicon Chaldaicum, Tal- meaning. The student who uses Schleusner's Lexicon mudicum et Rabbinicum, folio, Basil, 1640.
would do well to make himself acquainted with Dr. 6. A compendious Lexicon of the Hebrew Lan- Tittman's work. guage. By Clement C. Moore, 2 vols. 12mo.; New
II. Rhetoric and Logic furnish valuable assistYork, 1809. The first volume of this work contains
ance to the interpreter of the sacred writings, and an explanation of every word which occurs in the should therefore secure a measure of his attention. Psalms, with notes; the second volume being a Lexicon and Grammar of the whole language. It is Of Rhetoric, that portion of it which is most a most useful work for a beginner in the Hebrew valuable to an interpreter, is that which treats language.
of the meaning and nature of tropes. The rules 7. A Hebrew and English Lexicon of the old laid down in rhetorical treatises, respecting the Testament, including the Biblical Chaldee, from the different modes and beauties of style, and espeGerman of Gesenius, with Additions. By the Rev. cially respecting sublimity or beauty of sentiment, Josiah W. Gibbs, A. M., of the Theological Seminary, will also be found of great assistance in the interAndover, 8vo., London, 1827.
pretation of those instances that so frequently FOR THE NEW TESTAMENT.
occur. Logic will be found useful to the inter1. A Grammar of the New Testament. By Pro- preter, in helping him to distinguish between the fessor Stuart, Andover, 1834. This is a singularly ideas of things and the sounds of words; to form Faluable elementary book for critical purposes. accurate notions of words, by collecting their
2. A Greek and English Lexicon to the New Tes- scattered portions into an aggregate whole, or by tament, in which the Words and Phrases occurring in deducing them from examples in which they may those Sacred Books are distinctly explained ; and the Meanings assigned to each, authorised by References
be found; as also in expressing those notions to Passages of Scripture ; and frequently illustrated clearly and briefly; to distinguish between similar and confirmed by Citations from the Old Testament ideas, lest, being deceived by ambiguity, he should and from the Greek Writers. By John Parkhurst, confound things that are essentially distinct; to A. M. 4to. and 8vo. Prefixed to this Lexicon is a analyse the arguments and reasoning of the sacred most admirable summary of Greek Grammar, adapted writers; and to detect and reconcile apparent for the use of those who understand only the English discrepancies.* In all these respects, the intertongue.
preter will find great assistance in a knowledge of 3. Novum Lexicon Græco-Latinum in Novum the science of logic. Testamentum, congessit et variis Observationibus
III. It will be evident to those who have Pl.ilologicis illustravit Johannes Friedericus SchleusDer, 2 vols., 8vo., Lipsiæ, 1819: Edinburgh, 1814: attended to the remarks that were made on the Glasgow, 1817.
objects and difficulties of biblical interpretation, 4. A Greek and English Manual Lexicon to the in a preceding section, that, in order fully to avail New Testament, with Examples of all the irregular ourselves of the aids to be derived from the and more difficult Inflexions. By J. H. Bass. 12mo. sources that are open to us for ascertaining the London.
sense of the text, some previous acquaintance 5. Claris Novi Testamenti Philologica, Usibus with HISTORICAL CIRCUMSTANCES is indispensably Scholarum, et juvenum Theologiæ Studiosorum, ac necessary. How can any one be competent to commodata, auctore M. Christ. Abrahamo Wahl. form a judgment on the nature of those examples Lipsiæ, 1822. This is a more accurate work than which a writer may furnish of the signification of stikusper's, especially in the account of prepositions his terms, if he has no antecedent knowledge of and particles. It has been translated into English by Edward Robinson, A. M. (now D. D.), Assistant the subjects to which such writer alludes? How lastructor in the department of Sacred Literature, can any one discover the scope of an author's Theol. Sem., Andover. It is in a single volume, royal &vo., and will be found an invaluable work.
* See Ernesti, Part III., chap. ix., sects. 28-35, for some 6. Remarks on the Synonyms of the New Testa- further remarks upon this topic.
reasoning, if he is uninformed on the nature of into a bed of sand ;-all these are to be known the author's subject? or how can he judge of this, and felt, ere we can understand, in their full without adequate and antecedent information ? force, the frequent references, like those to “a The thing is impossible, as any one may see by dry and thirsty land, where no water is ;" to “ the referring to Judg. xix. 29; Ps. Ixxxiv. 6, cxxix. 6, shadow of a great rock in a weary land;" or like cxxxiii.; Ezek. ix. 2; Zech. v. 1, 2; Mark ii. 4; those in our Saviour's parable of the sower, or in Luke vii. 38; 1 Cor. ix. 24—27; Heb. xii. 1–3, his conversation with the woman of Samaria. &c. Hence we may at once perceive the value 2. The civil and political geography of that and necessity of a knowledge, on the part of the age, though not less important, is more difficult to student, of those historical facts and circumstances be ascertained. The grand natural traits of scenery to which we have already adverted; of the re- and climate are permanent and unchangeable, and ligion, manners, customs, civil and physical geo- present at this day almost the very aspect which graphy, chronology, and general archæology, of they bore two thousand years ago ; but all those the people to whom the Bible immediately and features which depended on the will of monarchs, directly relates; as well as of the particular cir- or the power of nations, have, like those monarchs cumstances under which the several books com- and nations, crumbled into dust. The mutations posing it were respectively written. The religion, of Palestine, in this respect, have been great; and manners, customs, and social and political con- they appear particularly so, when we trace the dition of a people, necessarily exert a powerful local division of the territory, from that first parinfluence on their literature; and this was pre- tition under Joshua, which is now, perhaps, inexeminently the case with the Hebrews. If we plicable, down through the changes which took have but an imperfect and confused knowledge of place under the two kingdoms of Judah and these things, therefore, we shall be impeded in Israel, and then through those which occurred our progress at every step we take, and strive in after the exile, in respect to the Jews and Samavain to unravel the sense of the inspired penmen. ritans, until, at length, the whole became subject
1. How much of the point, force, and felicity to the Roman power. At that time, Herod the of the Bible will be lost, for instance, if the reader Great was king over all the territory of the twelve of it is ignorant of geography and natural history! tribes; but at his death, Judea and Samaria were In the study of writings where there are so many given to Archelaus ; Galilee and Perea to Herod allusions to natural scenery, and the reader is so Antipas; and the country north-east of the Jordan often transported from one part of the country to to Philip. When Archelaus was banished, on another, he needs to become, as it were, an inha- account of his cruelties, to Vienna, in Gaul, Judea bitant of the land. He needs to be able to body became a Roman province, and was governed by forth in his own mind that scenery in all its a succession of procurators, under the control of beauty and prominence; to behold, as with his the pro-consul of Syria. It was then assigned, as own eyes, “the glory of Lebanon," clothed with part of his kingdom, to Herod Agrippa the First, fir-trees and cedars, and stretching its lofty ridges whose miserable fate is narrated in the twelfth along the sky; to dwell with delight on the “ ex- chapter of the Acts.
After his death, it was cellency of Carmel,” crowned with verdure, and again governed by procurators, among whom were “ dipping its feet in the Western sea;” to gaze on Felix and Festus. During all this time, the the lake, and the hills, and the valleys of Galilee; boundaries of the province were often varied, by and to rove in imagination over the mountains, the addition or abstraction of different towns and and among the dells, which surround the sacred cities. If we add to this, the state of Asia Minor, city, the queen of nations, and “the joy of the where it is, perhaps, impossible to trace with whole earth.” Without some such power, it is accuracy the limits of the different provinces; and impossible to enter into the spirit, and feel the also the changes made by the Romans in the full force, of the narrative and its allusions. The general divisions of Greece proper, and Macenames, indeed, meet the eye, and fall upon the donia, where they affixed the ancient names to ear; but they are the names of “ things unknown,' provinces and regions of far different limits; we and destitute of " local habitation.” Here, too, may well suppose, that it is not the uninformed the climate is to be taken into the account ;--the reader who can accompany the sacred writers in early and the latter rain ; the seed-time and har- their geographical details, or follow the great vest; the dry and scorching days of summer, apostle of the Gentiles in his various journies.* contrasted with the coolness and deep serenity of 3. It may be, that the necessity of an acquaintthe nights, in which the heavens seem lighted up ance with the circumstances just enumerated, is with living fires ; the parched earth, which drinks up the streams, and converts the mountain-torrent * North American Review, vol. xxiii., N. S.
far from being apparent to the minds of many we scarcely know how to speak, for the inforotherwise intelligent persons; but it is certain, mation of unlearned readers. The “ Physica that how much soever such persons may love and Sacra” of Scheuchzer is too voluminous and exvenerate the Bible, they must rest satisfied with a pensive for ordinary purposes; to say nothing of very limited and imperfect knowledge of its con- the language in which it is written ; the “ Hierotents. It not unfrequently happens, as every botanicon” of Celsius is extremely valuable, but diligent student knows, that the whole force and in its original form not of general use; the beanty, and, very often, the most important mean- “ Illustrations” of Professor Paxton are very judiing. of certain passages, can only be perceived by cious and satisfactory, as far as they extend, but a perfect knowledge of the things to which the are incomplete as a Natural History of the Bible ; writers allude; and the circumstances and peculiar the “ Fragments" to Calmet comprise much valucharacter of the different objects mentioned in able information, but it requires to be digested Scripture, are most frequently those not likely to and arranged by a skilful hand; and, moreover, strike a careless or unskilful observer. It should to be purged from much fanciful hypothesis. The also be remembered, that the language itself in only work at all complete, and accessible to the which these ancient books are written, is of such generality of readers, was Dr. Ilarris' “ Natural a nature, as almost utterly to forbid its being well History of the Bible," originally published in understood without the knowledge of which we America, and reprinted in this country; one are speaking. Simple, and confined in its vocabu- edition with notes and corrections by the author lary, its very idiom is metaphorical ; and there is of the “ Modern Traveller.” This volume furscarcely a sentence composed in it, without some nishes valuable materials, to assist the student in allusion being made to the objects of external his investigations; but to the unlearned it presents mature, and their peculiar habits or qualities. no attractions ; its disquisitions are extremely dry
4. On the several topics which have here been and critical, and its natural history somewhat referred to, we should seek for information, pri- scanty; while its conjectural criticism, and destimarily, in the Scriptures themselves; and, second- tution of evangelical sentiment and devotional arily, in those authors who have most judiciously feeling, render it very objectionable as a medium written upon them. On the sacred and civil an- of religious instruction. To supply the deficiency tiquities of the Hebrews, the works of Josephus, in this department of Scripture illustration, the Godwin, Jennings, Lewis, Lowman, Shaw, Mi- writer of this published a “Scripture Natural chaëlis, Jahn, Fleury, and Dr. Browne, will furnish History;" and the favour with which it has been abundant materials for the use of the student; nor received (the fifth edition having been called for), should we omit to notice Dr. James Townley's gives him reason to hope that his labour has not translation of Maimonides on the Reasons of the been altogether without its use. Laws of Moses, which contains several learned and IV. Let us also advert a little more particularlyjudicious dissertations on Jewish subjects, by the for the purpose of demonstrating its value to that translator, as well as copious illustrative notes. historical knowledge respecting the sacred books On the customs and circumstances of the various themselves, that we have spoken of as a desideratum nations whose history is connected with that of with the biblical student. The circumstances of the Jews, the writings of Rollin, Shuckford, Pri- which this is made up, have been thus enumerated deaux, Gray, and Russell, will contribute ample by an old writer :-(1) The order of the several information. The physical geography of Palestine books, and the relation of their parts. (2) The is best learned from the observations of modern title or denomination of the several books.-(3) travellers. That country is becoming every year The authors of the respective books.-(4) The more and more accessible ; and the light which persons to whom the several books were immedihas been thrown upon its natural features by the ately or especially addressed.-(5) The scope or reports of Seetzen, Burckhardt, Legh, Bucking- principal design of each book.~(6) The chronoham, the American Missionaries, Richardson, logy of the respective books.--(7) The principal Jowett, and Carne, in the delightful “ Letters parts or divisions of each book. An acquaintance from the East," has contributed much to impart with these circumstances, as he justly remarks, spirit and interest to our conceptions of the scenery “will promote the solid and judicious understanding
often alluded to in the Bible. In a subsequent of the whole Bible in a short space of time. For, part of this work, we have attempted such a (1) Hereby you shall have the very idea or chasketch of Bible geography, as may perhaps answer racter of every book, lively describing the nature all the purposes aimed at by the generality of and contents of it before your eyes, as in a map, readers.
before you begin to peruse them.—(2) Hereby 5. With reference to Scripture Natural History, you shall have a clue to conduct you, a compass to