Page images
PDF
EPUB

of the tree of life. This appears, Gen. iii. 22. The expression, lest the man, &c. shewed plainly that man was not created naturally immortal, but that by, the use of the tree of life, whatever is implied under that expression, he was to have been preserved from dying. By sin our first parent forfeited this high privilege, being from thenceforth justly excluded out of the paradise of God, and put out of the reach of the tree of life. That is, he was, by the righteous sentence of God, left subject to that mortality which, in the course of nature, must necessarily, and unavoidably come - upon him and his posterity, when they were no longer suffered to have recourse to this miraculous means of being preserved from death. And this is the meaning of that figurative expression,. Gen. iii. 24, the Lord God placed cherubims, &c. Man, being excluded out of paradise, had no longer any possibility of escaping that death, to which the natural mortality, in which he was created, made him subject; but this possibility of obtaining immortality after death is restored to us by the redemption purchased for us by Christ, which our first parent had it in his power to have obtained without dying. Clarke's Sermon on Revel. xxii, 14.

The tree of knowledge of good and evil was so called, because God intended by this to prove Adam and Eve, whether they would be good or bad. Patrick's Comment, :

Arbor seientiæ, &c. Șic dicta, vel ironice, 4. d. arbor illa egregia, scilicet, quam mendax dæmon promiserat daturam scientiam quasi divinam omnis, boni et mali, yel a miserabili eventi, quod ex eo .cognovit bonum, cujus jacturam fecerat, et malum, in quod incurrerat. Bonum obedientiæ, malum inobedientiæ. Vel quod lex dei, quæ interdixit arboris hujus esum, doceret quid bonum et malum, et homini, ostenderet et justitiam et peccatum sunm. Vide Poli Synopsin. . !

Paradise, the tree of life, and of the knowledge of good and evil, the expulsion of Adam from paradise, the speech of the serpent, &c. are an Eastern fable. Middle, ton. Then what becomes of Clwistianity? Is not that a fable? ...

Etsi negamus Septuaginta, et duo viros singulos in cellulis seorsim versionem suam amatu 'Sp. S. confecisse, omnesque in omnibus consensisse; maxime probabile est, cum ad hoc munus delecti essent, antequam e patria discederent, inter se convenisse, et de modo, quo tantum opus confici posset, inter se deliberasse; unumquemque etiam se diligenter præparasse, tum codices conferendo, tum partem quandum Scripturæ transferendo,' et loca difficilia annotando; deinde cum Alexandriæ convenissent, haud probabile est omnes simul in unaquaque sectione vel libro vertendo laborasse, sed totum opus inter se partitos fuisse, aliis hanc partem, aliis illam assignando; cumque singuli pensum suum, vel ejus partem aliquam confecissent, statis horis, vel diebus inter se convenisse, ubị singulorum elucubrationes reliquorum judicio, submissæ; et si dubium aliquod occurrebat, communi .consilio explicatum, omnibusque mature perpensis et discussis, quod ab uno vel pluribus primo confectum erat, communi omnium suffragio approbatum, pro totius conventus versione receptum, et vulgatum fuit. - In

celebri

LI

celebri nostra versione Anglicana auspiciis serenissimi regis Jacobi facta, in qua plurimi per totum regnum delecti viri doctissimi sudarunt, tale quid observatum fuit. Primo inter se regulas quasdam observandas in versione sua formarunt. Dein toia Biblia in partes diviserunt, tot pro unaquaque parte designatis, qui etiam inter se pensum suum subdiviserunt, certisque temporibus, quod a singulis paratum erat, reliquorum judicio submiserunt, donec tandem totum opus omnium calculis approbatum, omnium nomine in lucem prodiit.' Waltoni Prolegom. 9; sect. 9, 10.

And why might not the same method be taken now, or at some future period, to produce a more exact version of the Old Testament, adhering to the present translation as closely as might be consistent?

Whatever wonders and fables the Jews have invented, and the Christians have swallowed, concerning the Septuagint version, yet it was not without the conduct of the divine Providence that these sacred books were translated into a tongue so universally known and spoken so many centuries before the completion of those prophecies which they contained, and which were in due time to be fulfilled by and under the promised Messiah. For, had those divine oracles been still kept in the hands of the Jews, and in their original Hebrew, till the preaching of the Gospel, they must have lost a considerable part of their evidence; and it would have been extremely difficult, notwithstanding the manifest impossibility of any combination between the Jews and Christians, to have persuaded an unbelieving world that those prophecies had not been stamped after their completion, as Porphyry and others have affirmed. Univ. Hist. vol. i. p. 245. .

The Syriac version of the Old Testament, inserted in the Polyglott, was translated from the Hebrew as early as the age of the apostles, and may be of great service to discover antient various readings. The version of Symmachus is the best that antiquity ever produced, and the value set on it, by the most judicious among the fathers, gives room to think that prejudice alone prevented its being substituted to the LXX.

-- The most antient version of Scripture ever made is that of the Septuagint; but it must be observed that the first interpreters, whoever and in what number soever they were, translated nothing besides the five book's of Moses. The other books of the Old Testament were translated, at different times, by several hands. It is not to be presumed that any of the antient versions of Scripture escaped the common fate of all other antient books. They went through the hands of copyists, and that is saying enough. This is a new reason for us to be cautious how we allow a diversity of interpretation to be evidence of a various reading in the original. The original and the versions may afford mutual light to each other. If the versions are of use to judge of the state the Hebrew text was in at the time they were made, that text may likewise serve to restore the versions to their original purity. Desvæux upon Ecclesias. p. 224, &c.

As

As no-language can be pronounced without voWELS, so the Hebrews must have had theirs; and it is probable the letters' IR, called by the Hebrews matres lectionis, were employed to that purpose in several places where their defect is now supplied by vowel-points. Desvæux upon Eccles.

Instances of absurd worship paid to the VIRGIN MARY, quoted from Vossius. Quicquid in Psalmis vel Deo assignatur, vel Christo, id in psalterio Virginis Maria In Scotóxw Virgini tribuere reveritus non est Bonaventura. Illud quoque æqualitatem indicat, quod, (quemadmodum etiam ex picturâ in Sylvæ-ducensi templo ab Episcopo Masio constituta apparet) dubitare se profiteantur, utrum ad ubera Virginis Mariæ, an ad sanguinem Christi sit recurrendum. Quid quod etiam sancti Christo ac Deo patri præferant interdum, ut cum in cantico Romanæ ecclesiæ dicitur: O felis puerpera! nostra pians scelera, jure matris impera redemtori. Voss. de Invoc. Sanct. Disp. 9, p. 21. 91.

.

Virgilii Eclogam quartam cum prophetis sacris aliquam cognationem habere (sive sacri codicis versionem Græcam jamdiu tum vulgatam in subsidium vocemus, sive etiam cxinde deprompta oracula, a Judæis Hellenistis, ut videtur, Græco carmine condita, quæ sub nomine Sybillarum ferebantur) tot extant tamque manifesta in ipso poemate indicia, ut omnia, quæ ei sententiæ obstant, facile amoveat et diluat ipsa carminis lectio. Sensus, imagines, dictio etiam cum sacris vatibus mirum in modum congruens, res ipsa vel in se tam elata et magnifica, vel potius a poeta, omnium licet verecundissimo ac severissimo, in eam altitudinem exaggerata, ut mihi nullo persuadere possim, quin subsit aliquid mysticum, quod primæ hypothesi, ipso vate inscio nec opinante, furtim quodammodo accrevit, totique operi alienos quosdam colores induxit, et magnificentiam modum et mensuram argumenti longe exsuperantem. Quid fuerit poetæ consilium, quæ mens, quanquam hîc multum sese exercuerint doctissimorum viroruin ingenia, tamen nec adhuc sciri arbitror, neque spem habeo ut unquam clare investigetur. Nullam neque rem neque personam ostendit historia, aut rei Romanæ status ac temporum conditio, quæ cum argumenti ratione atque adjunctis satis apte congruere videatur, aut tam magnificis prædictionibus locum dare ullo modo potuisse. Mihi quidem illud usu venire plane profiteor, ut cum carmen hoc ea ex parte contemplor, quanto id sæpius relego, tanto intelligo minus. Et in hoc poemate tut mihi occurrunt ab usu Romano abhorrentia, ut vix mihi persuadeam etiam tum cum primum ederetur, satis perfecte intelligi potuisse. Cum vero hæc ipsa ideo luculenter explicet peregrina quædam interpretatio ex Hebræorum rebus ac monumentis superinducta, cujus vim omnem et magnitudinem nullo modo complecti potuerit, aut etiam attingere ipsius poetæ animus. Lowth de Sacra Poesi.

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

If vaccine inócULATION should be attended with the same success in future as it has hitherto, it will be one of the greatest blessings that mankind has ever experienced; and Dr Jenner, through whose skill and indefatigable investigation it has arrived to its present perfection, must be considered as one of the best benefactors to the human species.

Hume, in order to depreciate the character of WICKLIFFE, speaks thus of him: " That reformer, notwithstanding his enthusiasm, seems not to have been actuated by the spirit of martyrdom; and, in all subsequent trials before the prelates, he so explained away his doctrine, by tortured meanings, as to render it quite innocent and inoffensive. Most of his followers imitated his cautious disposition, and saved themselves either by recantations or explanations. Hume's Hist. vol. iii. p. 55.

We say our salvation is by Christ alone; but we do not teach Christ alone, excluding our own faith unto justification; Christ alone, excluding our own works unto sanctification; Christ alone, excluding the one or the other unnecessary to salvation. It is a childish cavil, wherewith, in the matter of justification, our adversaries do so greatly please themselves, exclaiming that we tread all Christian virtues under our feet, and require nothing in Christians but faith, because we teach that faith alone justifieth: whereas, by this speech, we never meant to exclude either hope or charity from being always joined as inseparable mates with faith in the man that is justified; or.works from being added as necessary duties, required at the hands of every justified man; but to shew that faith is the only hand which putteth on Christ unto justification, and Christ the only garment, which, being so put on, covereth the shame of our defiled natures, hideth the imperfection of our works, preservcth us blameless in the sight of God, before whóm otherwise the weakness of our faith were cause sufficient to make us culpable, yea to shut us from the kingdom of heaven, where nothing that is not absolute can enter.' Hooker on Justification, sect. 31. ;. ! . . .

St Puul speaks of justification only as an absolution from condemnation, by reason of our past sins committed before faith in Christ, and our reconciliation to God by the pardon of them, or the not imputing them to those who believe in him. Whereas, St James speaks plainly of those works, which follow faith, are wrought by it, and are the effects of it, and of their necessity in order to‘our continuance in a state of justi-, fication and freedom from final condemnation. St James speaks of a mere profession of faith with the mouth, St Paul of believing from the heart; St James of a dead fruitless faith, St Paul of a faith working by love, when we have it: St Paul excludes from justification only those-works which are posed to justification by an act of grace, and make it to be of debt; St James requires only those works to our salyation and justification which proceed from and are accepted through grace ; St Paul argues to the Jeas who sought for justification by the law of Moses, St James speaks of justification

by

by works performed under the covenant of grace; St Paul speaks of Christians only concerning justification from past offences by faith in the blood of Jesus, but St James as well to unbelieving as believing Jews touching faith in God. Whitby on Galat. and St James. .

A remarkable instance of the superstitious worship of images in the Romish church, taken from Moore's Manners of the French, vol. ii. p. 406. .

Vienna. “ A Frenchman, in a creditable way of life, had a small figure of our Saviour on the cross, of very curious workmanship: he offered it for sale to an Englishman of my acquaintaince, After expatiating on the excellency of the workmanship, he told him that he had long kept this crucifix with the most pious care, that he had always addressed it in his private devotion, and that in return he had expected some degree of protection and favour; instead of which he had of late been remarkably unfortunate; that all the tickets he had in the lottery had proved blanks; and, having had a great share in the cargo of a ship coming from the West Indies, he had recommended it in the most fervent manner, in his prayers, to the crùcifix; and, that he might give no offence by any appearance of want of faith, he had not insured the goods; notwithstanding all which the vessel had been shipwrecked, and the cargo totally lost, though the sailors, in whose preservation he had no concérn, bad been all saved. -" Enfin, monsieur,” cried he, with an accent of indignation mingled with regret, and raising his shoulders above his ears, “ enfin, monsieur, il m'a manqué, et je vends mon Christ.”

Some maintain that there was WRITING before the deluge, and that Adam was the inventor of letters. And, though it is agreed by all that there is nothing extant more antient than the books of Moses, it does not follow that there was no writing before him. , It appears, on the contrary, that writing was common enough at that time both among the Egyptians and Hebrews; and it is to be supposed that the chief of the nation read the tables of the law. Moses had been instructed in all the knowledge of the Egyptians, and doubtless had learned their manner of writing. Cruden's Concord.

The sterility and unfruitfulness of the WIVES of Abraham, Isaac, &c. seem to point out to us, that the multiplication of the promised seed was not effected by any natural succession, but by the Divine power and benediction. Stackh.

Duo erant magna mysteria in nativitati Christi: 1, Deus factus homo. 2, Virgo mater. Horum typi duo erant, quibus fides illis conciliari possit; nimirum apparitiones angelorum humana specie, et conceptiones vetularum et sterilium sub vet. fæd. Lightfoot.

The

« PreviousContinue »