« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
adducing two specimens from the version of Sternhold and Hopkins, in both of which our prose translation gives the meaning and spirit of the original figure, but which are perverted almost to inanity in the metrical version.
Take, first, the well-known stanza in the hundred and fourth Psalm:
"With light, as a robe,
Thou hast thyself clad,
Thy greatness may see;
There is no reader of quick taste who has not felt the last two lines fall coldly and jejunely upon his ear, amidst the magnificent and expres sive imagery of this sublime Psalm. Yet no person feels any such poverty of allusion, but, on the contrary, is sensible of an expansive elevation of thought, when he reads either the original passage, or the simple vernacular Prayer-book or Bible translation, Who stretchest [Prayer-book, spreadest] out the heavens like a curtain." The fault in the metrical version is, that it has not given the spirit of the figure; which is not to compare the heavens to a curtain, but to shew that, with the same facility with which a man unfolds the latter, the Almighty stretches out the former. The allusion is to the splendid draperies of a palace, or of the Jewish tabernacle, or rather to the canopy of a tent; which last presents a double allusion, there being a resemblance not only in the action but also in the things compared; as if we should say in modern language, "As the Arab of the desert outspreads the light canopy of his humble tent, so hath Jehovah outspread the canopy of heaven." Here the very meanness of the comparison, which chills the feelings in Sternhold's stanza, adds greatly to the dignity of the allusion; for, while the mind contrasts the lofty canopy of heaven with the frail covering of a tent, it contem
plates with deep awe the power and majesty of Him to whom the most stupendous works of creation were more facile than for the arm of a man to expand the light veil of a summer's awning.
The second illustration which I shall adduce, is from Sternhold and Hopkins's version of the ninth verse of the fifty-eighth Psalm. The Bible prose-translation of the pas sage says, "Before your pots can feel the thorns, he shall take them away as with a whirlwind, both living and in his wrath." The Prayerbook prose-translation, which Hopkins (for the metrical version of this Psalm has his initials) had as his guide, is as follows: "Or ever your pots be made hot with thorns, so let indignation vex him, even as a thing that is raw." Without entering into any criticism respecting the exact meaning of the latter part of the verse, the figurative allusion in the former part is perfectly clear. The Psalmist intended to shew the fierceness and celerity of the Divine vengeance overtaking the ungodly; and the allusion to a quick scorching "fire of thorns" is kept up correctly-I do not say very poetically
in Tate and Brady's version: Ere thorns can make the flesh pots boil
Tempestuous wrath shall come From God, and snatch them hence, alive, To their eternal doom.
But what says the old version?
To bushes big shall grow,
Here, for the mere sake, it would seem, of a rhyme, the obvious intention of the simile is utterly forgotten; nay, diametrically perverted; for, instead of the speedy wrath of the offended majesty of God falling upon the obstinate transgressor with sudden and irresistible ruin, it is made to follow the slow and imperceptible development of a plant advancing from its early feeble growth to full maturity! I am not about to canvass the poetical merits of this delectable metrical
fragment; for the old version has hundreds of lines yet worse, if possible, than the above: but it is of the utmost importance, that if sound is to be consulted, the sense of a passage should not be sacrificed to it; but to have neither sound nor sense is doubly tantalising.
It is not to be imagined, that in this highly poetical age, any future versifier of the Psalms of David will be as bald and trite as some of his predecessors: but there is still danger of not adhering to the precise allusions of scriptural imagery; and in some cases, I fear, the exact shade of a figurative expression has been purposely avoided and another substituted for it, or the original passage amplified, for the sake of poetical effect; much after the manner of Pope embellishing the Iliad of Homer. The impropriety and sinfulness of such liberties with the sacred text need only to be mentioned, to be acknowledged, and, I trust, avoided by all who shall in future undertake to tell us in English verse what the inspired Psalmist wrote, "as he was moved by the Holy Ghost."
Tothe Editorofthe Christian Observer.
YOUR correspondent B. W., in his scriptural and judicious remarks on Mr. Malan's Conventicle of Rolle, speaks of the "hay, straw, stubble," mentioned by St. Paul (1 Cor. iii. 12) as meaning the superstitious and unchristian doctrines which had been introduced by the teachers who had perverted the church of Corinth. This is the current interpretation attached to the passage; but, looking at the context, it seems to me that St. Paul is speaking rather of persons than of doctrines. He had just denominated the Christian church at Corinth "God's building;" he says, that he, by the grace of God, had been the "master builder," having laid the foundation of that church, which founCHRIST. OBSERV. No. 303.
dation was "Jesus Christ;" but he adds, that "another" (namely, certain teachers who had intruded into that church,)" buildeth thereon." By their connivance or laxity false members had been admitted; but when called upon to suffer for the cause of Christ, the fire of persecution would prove them; and, like the transient converts mentioned by our Lord in the parable of the 66 sower, they would fall away." But the genuine convert would stand the test, so that it would be "manifest" (verse 13.) whose plan of building a church, whether that of the Apostle or that of the more accommodating teachers, was of God. All the converts indeed professed in words to be founded on the rock Christ, as the centre of their common hopes; but their characters greatly differed: some would therefore come out of the furnace of persecution, like "gold or silver" purified by the trial; others, like "hay, wood, stubble," would be consumed.
The practical result, however, of both interpretations is the same; for, unsound doctrines would necessarily form unsound converts; but as the whole chapter treats of teachers and the disputes concerning them, rather than immediately of doctrines, the interpretation which I have suggested falls in more regularly with the Apostle's argument than the other; besides which, it should be remembered that lawlessness of life and a factious spirit of party were the evils which St. Paul was particularly reprehending; and this moral unsoundness was no less inimical to the purity of a Christian church than doctrinal error, though this also was included in the Apostle's denunciation.
Tothe Editorofthe Christian Observer.
I TAKE the liberty of forwarding a few observations on the letters of D. M. P. which appeared in your T
Numbers for November and January last. In his first letter, your correspondent, after giving our received version of Gal. i. 6, 7, objects to it as "incorrect," and "repugnant to the context," because allo is used in the latter clause instead of a repetition of εrepov. Whitby, in his note on this passage, observes, "Nor is it any objection against our translation, that the Apostle doth not say, "UK Es εTερov, as before, but aλλo; it being noted by Budæus, and others, that the Greeks use αλλο και ετερον εκ Tapaλλŋλ; these two words as equivalent:" see 2 Cor. xi. 4.
D. M. P., in his second letter and third remark on the two interpretations cited in your note subjoined to his first letter, says, "the Greek particles & μn are exclusively exceptive;" and in his fifth remark asserts, that but in an adversative sense is no translation of a μn. What grounds he has for these as sertions, I am at a loss to conjecture. They are directly opposed to the opinions of many of the most eminent philologists, commentators, and lexicographers. I would submit the following extracts to his consideration.
Hoogeveen, in his Doctrina Particularum Græcæ Linguæ, after giving some examples, in which & μN may be rendered by alla, says, "Servari etiam re aλλa potest significatio, quando cum verbo, et quidem cum imperativo construitur, sive in sensu exceptivo, sive secus. Tale sit illud Apostoli ad Gal. cap. i.7. Non est aliud, inquit, evangelium, ει μη τινες εισιν οι ταρασσοντες υμάς, και θελοντες μετατρεψαι το ευαγγελιον τε χρισε. Sed sunt, sive exceptive, tantummodo sunt qui vos conturbant, et invertere volunt evangelium Christi." He then quotes I Cor. vii. 17, which he thus renders: "Qui enim scis, uxor, num virum servatura sis? Aut, qui scis, vir, num uxorem servaturus sis? sed (ε pn) ut cuique sortem suam distribuit Deus, et ut quemque vocavit Dominus, sic ambulato. Pa
ræus, in Poole's Synopsis, gives ε μn pro alla ut Matt. xii. 4; 1 Cor. vii. 17; Apoc. ix. 4. et xxi. 27; et Gal. ii. 16. Whitby says, that ε μn here is used as chap. ii. 16; 1 Cor. vii. 17; Rev. ix. 4. and xxi. 27. In Leigh's Critica Sacra, it is stated that ε un " is either an exclusive particle, and so it is taken for only; or else adversative, so it is taken for but: and thus it is used in many Scriptures." The text under consideration, Luke iv. 27, and John v. 9, are then adduced in addition to those quoted by Paræus and Whitby. In all which texts Parkhurst also says, "But (ε μn) is taken in an adversative sense."
From all these authorities I am disposed to think, that our received translation is a correct one, notwithstanding D. M. P. considers that proposed by him as "the most close and correct rendering of the Greek." If so, where is his authority for rendering & un," but that?" It is true, that these particles in the disputed passage have been rendered by nisi quod in two or three Latin translations, as may be seen in Poole ; but he adds, from Beza, "Non placet, quia sic infarciunt, ori, quod." I. O. Z.
FAMILY SERMONS.-No. CCXIX. Acts viii. 8.-And there was great joy in that city.
THE city here spoken of, called the city of Samaria, was possibly Sychem, or Sychar, where our Lord had himself preached in the beginning of his ministry. And what was the cause of the great joy mentioned in the text? When we see the population of a city festively thronging together, we naturally inquire into the reason of such a spectacle. Is it to celebrate the birth or marriage of some prince or ruler; or the success of a battle; or the return of some popular leader from the field of victory; or
some rite or ceremony connected with the history and supposed honour and prosperity of the city? None of these were the causes of the joy that was exhibited in the city of Samaria; nor was it a joy which displayed itself in riot and intemperance; in the sinful indulgence of the appetites and passions; or in the pomp and pride of worldly splendour. It was a joy of a higher and purer kind. The privileges which it celebrated, were infinitely more valuable than any merely earthly blessings. It was a joy caused by the intelligence of those glad tidings which the Son of God himself came into our fallen world to proclaim to mankind. It was the introduction of true religion, with all its attendant blessings, temporal, spiritual, and eternal, into that city. "Then Philip," says the sacred historian, "went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them. And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. For unclean spirits, crying with a loud voice, came out of many that were possessed with them, and many taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed. And there was great joy in that city."
In reflecting upon the cause and the character of this joy, the passage which has been cited will lead us to consider, first, the message which Philip proclaimed; and, secondly, the reception it met with, and the effects which followed upon its proclamation and reception. On both these points, the narrative furnishes brief but explicit infor
First, then, we are to inquire what was the message which Philip had proclaimed.
The Philip here mentioned was Philip the deacon, who, after the death of St. Stephen and the general dispersion of the infant church of Christ, came to the city of Samaria, and, knowing that the wall
of partition between the Jew and the Samaritan was now broken down, proclaimed to the inhabitants the coming of that promised Messiah, through whom both Jew and Gentile could alone be saved. It is said, in the fifth verse, that " Philip preached Christ unto them;" and again, at the twelfth, that "he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ."
To preach Christ to them was to shew them their need of him; to proclaim to them their iniquities and the anger of God against them; to teach them their inability to help themselves by their own supposed strength or virtue; and then to point them to the atoning sacri. fice of the Saviour, who, though rich, for their sakes became poor, that they through his poverty might be made rich. To preach Christ, was to exhibit him in all the relations which he is pleased to bear to guilty perishing sinners, redeeming them by his blood, justifying them freely by faith in virtue of his infinite. merits, renewing them by his Holy Spirit, and ruling over them as willing subjects, causing them to triumph over death and hell, and translating them to his eternal glory in the kingdom of heaven. It was not only as a Redeemer and a Mediator that Philip preached Christ, but also as a King, having authority to lay down laws for our conduct, and entitled to the fullest obedience of our hearts and lives. For it is said he preached to them "the kingdom of God;" that is, the Gospel dispensation; its constitution, its laws, its duties, its privileges. He exhorted them, as rebellious outcasts, to return to their allegiance to their Maker; to bow before the sceptre of his mercy and his power; to flee for refuge to the hope set before them in the Gospel, as the only way of pardon for the past, and to seek his grace for the future, to live to his glory in a course of willing obedience to his commands.
is the express constitution of this heavenly kingdom, that while it offers free and unmerited mercy, it insists upon a cordial and faithful allegiance. It is a kingdom of righteousness and true holiness; it provides a city of refuge not only from the punishment, but from the dominion of sin; it is the spiritual empire of Him who has said, "Be ye holy, for I am holy;" of him "who gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify to himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works;" of him who dwells in the renewed heart as "the spirit of holiness," "the very God of peace" to whom we pray to 66 sanctify us wholly;" and who "sitteth as a refiner and purifier of silver, to purify the sons of Levi, and to purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness." The kingdom of God preached by Philip was that everlasting dominion spoken of by Daniel, which should never be destroyed but stand for ever; that kingdom the advancement of which in our own hearts, and in the world at large, we constantly pray for in the words which our Lord himself has taught us; that kingdom the charter of which is " glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth, and good will to man."
Secondly. Having considered the message of mercy which Philip was commissioned to preach, we shall now inquire into the reception it met with, and the effects which followed upon its proclamation and reception. On these points, the chapter before us gives us particular information. We are told that the people" gave heed to the things which were spoken;" that they "believed" them; that they were in consequence "baptised;' that they "received the Holy Ghost; " that they forsook their evil ways, "the sorceries which had bewitched them," and were delivered from the dominion of "un
clean spirits;" and lastly, in the language of our text, that "they rejoiced with great joy." We shall briefly examine these several particulars.
1. They gave heed to the things which were spoken." "Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God;" but we cannot arrive at a knowledge of that word, plain and simple as it is to every sincere inquirer, without due attention and consideration. The people of the city of Samaria, witnessing the miracles which Philip wrought, were incited to listen to the doctrine which he preached. This careful spirit of inquiry was the first step towards all the beneficial results which followed. They were anxious to hear, and to understand "the things that belonged to their peace."
Unlike too many
persons in the present day, who from their childhood to the close of life have the fullest opportunities of coming to a knowledge of what God has revealed in his word, of the way of salvation through a crucified Saviour of the duties they owe to their Creator, the fearful punishments which await those who neglect his laws and slight his mercy, and the unspeakable rewards reserved for those who worship him in the Gospel of his Son; yet remain from year to year careless and inattentive to these most important of all subjects-unlike such persons, the people of Samaria "gave heed to the things which were spoken: they were interested in what they heard, and reflected upon it as of infinite moment to their best welfare.
2. Such being the disposition of mind with which they listened to the preaching of the Gospel, we need not wonder to find it added "that "they believed." The word of God carries with it the most powerful evidence of its truth to all who honestly listen to it. We have not indeed in the present day a continuance of those direct mira