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must be regarded merely as the relaxations of an active mind; but they do not appear to us to be of that happy sort which can survive the fleeting interest of the topics to which they relate. Some of the best of his Latin verses are those which celebrate the French Revolution. It was scarcely possible that a mind, formed like that of Dr Geddes, should not have been seduced into admiration of an event which, at least when beheld at a di!tance, appeared to open with the most splendid prospects of national felicity; and while it yet remained poflible to mistake the evils which it engendered, for inconveniences of only secondary importance, it is not much to be wondered at that he should have clung with fondness to his first visionary prepoffe lions. It is more to be regretted that his native benevolence does not seem to have completely protected him from a flight taint of that ferocity of temper which is but too apt to take pofleflion of those whose minds are agitated by events which involve so deeply the future fortunes of mankind.
Although the details given by Mr Good relative to the controversial as well as poetical writings of Dr Geddes, occupy a considerable portion of this bulky volume, yet they are by no means the most important or interesting part of his literary life. We have already expressed our regret ihat these inferior and temporary pursuits should have diverted so much of his attention from an object to which he ought to have been solely devoted. The evil, however, consisted not so much in the mere waste of time or of labour, as in the increase of that diftempered irritability of mind which his controversial warfare produced, and which not only tended to unfit him for the calmer business of of philology, but indirectly created additional obstacles to the success of an undertaking, in its own nature abundantly pe. rilous.
To those who have remarked the progress of critical learning in modern Europe, it must be obvious, that in its application to those writings which are accounted sacred, and which are appealed to as the standards of religious belief, its advances have been comparatively flow. At a period when the learning and ingenuity of scholars were zealously employed in the restoration of the profane writings of Greece and Rome, from that degraded ftate of corruption into which they had fallen in the dark ages, the Christian divine seems to have acted on the supposition that the sacred fcriptures were, by a perpetual miracle, exempted from those contingencies which naturally accompany the fuccel. five transcriptions of the same work; nor did his veneration for the text ever suffer him to approach it, unless, perhaps, when
fome some laudable object was to be gained by the substitution of a more commodious reading. It may be regarded as a discovery of recent date, and which has been occasioned by the perverse labours of modern collators, that the originals of the Jewish and Christian Scriptures, are no longer to be met with in a state of absolute purity; that, in the lapse of ages, they have sustained the same injuries from the ignorance, inattention, or infidelity of transcribers, which it is the object of profane criticism to redress; and that precisely the same rules and methods of correction must be applied to every written composition in the language of men, from whatever source it may have been derived. Yet, while all this is now generally admitted in theory, it seems still to be with trembling reluctance that the greater number of Christians allow their Bibles to be subjected to the tinkering operations of collators and emendatory critics ; and it may probably be long before the labours of the Biblical philologist are suffered to proceed unimpeded by those peculiar and extraneous difficulties which the interests and the pasions of men are so api to create in this department of literature. .
Although several English divines of great eminence had made partial inroads into this province, yet Dr Geddes was the first who, unappalled by the natural or adventitious difficulties of the talk, conceived the design of giving to his countrymen a verfion of the Old and New Testaments, in which he should avail himself of all those additional lights which modern criticism had thrown on the state of the Hebrew and Greek originals.
It was not till the year 1786, that Dr Geddes, at the age of fifty, had advanced so far in his arduous course of preparatory study, as to come forward with a prospectus of his intended work. This prospectus, which is itself a considerable volume, exhibited a very elaborate and learned account of the progress of Biblical philology, and a very formidable display of the defects of his predecessors, which it was his object to supply. After giving an analysis of this publication, for the minuteness of which he offers some apology, Mr Good observes that its favourable reception, and the compliments paid him on a perusal of it by many scholars of the first eminence and erudition, were regarded by the author as an omen of his future success, and served to stimulate him, in a tenfold degree, to perfeverance in his labours. Several other smaller publications also preceded the appearance of the principal work, in which Dr Geddes took occasion either to state the difficulties in the execution of a vernacular version which it was his aim to overcome, or VOL. III. NO. 6. Cc
to solve the doubts and repel the hostile attacks of a host of cor. respondents.
At length, in the year 1792, he gave to the world the first volume of a new translation of the books accounted Sacred by • Jews and Christians, otherwise called the Books of the Old and • New Covenants, from corrected texts of the originals, with 5 various readings, explanatory notes, and critical remarks.' After an interval of five years, he published, in 1';97, a fecond vohume of the translation, and, in 1800, there appeared a volume of Critical Remarks, corresponding to the first of the translation. Had the hopes and defigns of this laborious scholar been accomplished, the whole work would have been extended to, at least, eight large volumes in quarto. But this happy termination of his labours, he was destined never to reach; and he died on the 2d of February 1802, while his version of the Psalms of David was passing through the press.
In estimating the merits of Dr Geddes as a translator and cri." tic, we shall not presume to hazard any opinion of our own, upon a subject which necessarily demands a profound acquaintance with those studies to which his life was devoted. In fo far as a mere English reader can pretend to judge, we should have no hesitation in faying, that in the modernized phraseology of Dr Geddes, the writings of Mofes lose much of that venerable dignity and grace which they exhibit in the more antiquated garb of our established translation ; and that, where the meaning of the original had not been mistaken, we thould infinitely have preferred the idiomatical irregularities of Wickliff and Tyndal, and King James's translators, to the smartnefs and grammatical methodism of Dr Geddes, degraded as they certainly ere in many instances by the opposite vices of scholastic pedantry, and colloquial vulgarism.
In whatever regards the more fubftantial qualities of the work, it seems imposible to doubt that Dr Geddes is juftly entitled to a large share of praise. On this head, Mr Good appears to speak with great liberality and candour. After giving ample specimens of the translation, and questioning the critical opi. nions of his learned friend in various instances, he observes, that,
lo his translation, our author has uniformly confined himfelf to the duties of a faithful interpreter. In a few doubtful passages he may per. haps have overitepped the modesty of his office : bui, in general, his cor. rections are well supported by original arguments, by criticisms of prior commentators, or the common content of approved readings. His style is for the most part plain and perspicuous, conveying the sense of the original in its native fimplicity But his language is occasionally unequal, and Atrongly partakes of the alternations of his own physical
Life of Dr A: Geddus. conftitution ; in consequence of which, in the midst of a passage, moft exquisitely rendered in the main, we are at times surprised whith scholaltic and extraneous expressions, or disgusted with intolerable vulgarisins. It should never be forgotten, however, that the whole is the work of an individual unaslisted by fellow-labourers, and that it constitutes his first attempt. Had he lived to have realized his owo wishes, and to have revised it by a second edition, published in twelves without his Critical Remarks, there would have been little room for many of the observations which the cause of truth has thus compelled me to hazard. As it is, it offers, so far as it proceeds, the most intelligible version of the sacred records in the English, or perhaps in any language whatever ; and there are few obscure passages in our established translation which this version will not illuminate.
• But though in his interpretation he faithfully retricted himself to the duties of a translator, in his volume of Critical Remarks our au. thor conceived himself at liberty to throw off every restriction whatever : and this part of his labours has, in consequence, been open to much severity of attack, and the source of no small degree of undeserved opo probrium,' p. 358. 359.
Most of our readers are probably acquainted with the general nature and tendency of those peculiar opinions to which Mr Good here alludes. When we consider the formidable obstacles which naturally presented themselves to the prosperous ifTue of his undertaking as a mere translator of the Sacred Writings, and to surmount which might have been sufficient triumph for any unallisted individual, it must be matter of regret that Dr Geddes should have embarrassed his own progress, and in a great measure defeated his own laudable exertions, by rushing impetuously into those general controversies which are beyond the province of the mere philologist, and which regard not the sense, but the authority and divine original of these ancient compositions. But on those momentous topics Dr Geddes had formed very decided opinions, derived from what he conceived to be a deliberate and extensive consideration of contending arguments; and being of a disposition 100 open and intrepid to disguise or suppress his sentiments, even at the peril of niartyrdom, he was prompted, in an evil hour for his own repose, to Itand forth as the avowed antagonist of the fupernatural mission of the Jewith Lawgiver, and of the divine inspiration of those books which have descenaed to us as his compositions. On these subjects, Mr Good has des clared his own opinions to be in decided opposition to those of Dr Geddes ; at the same time, with becoming regard to the memory of his excellent friend, he firmly upholds his claim to. rectitude of intention, and repels, with honest indignation, ihe ca. lumnies of those who would refuse to him the name of Christian, and who seemed piously to deplore their own inability to refute bis herebes in the flames of an auto da fé..
We We must refer our readers to the narrative of Mr Good for a detail of those irritating controversies and hostilities which but too much embitterred the remaining days, and probably abridged the life of this bold and indefatigable scholar. It was from the divines of his own Church that he experienced the hardest and most intolerant treatment; and as he had originały taken his ground with almost unexampled hardihood in a Christian divine, even his enemies must admit that he continued to maintain it without flinching,' and without suffering the flightest encroach. ment on the dignity of an independent and upright mind. In open and manly warfare, the contest would have served only to invigorate his fpirits and his powers; but the insidious arts, and undermining, persecuting policy of cowardly and bigotted adversaries, were more than a temper of fo much natural irritability could long sustain. Neither the unbending firmnefs of his character, nor the consolations of tried friendship, nor the re-, laxations of a mind playful and innocent to an uncommon de. gree,' could save his fpirits and his health from sinking un. der his unfinished talk. 'Even the grave scarcely afforded him an asylum from the attacks of his calumniators: the paltry. hackneyed lie of a' deathbed recantation, sudionly concealed, ' was impudently resorted to as the last effort of polemical cowardice: and our readers will perhaps smile to hear, that, as the lait ebul. lition of polemical rage, the ceremony of saying public mass for the deceafed was prohibited by an express interdict of the vicar apostolic.
Mr Good concludes his narrative with a general sketch of the character of his deceased friend. A part of it may here be subjoined, as affording a specimen of the execution of the work before us ; from which, without further commentary, we shall leave it to our readers to judge how far the general remarks we have already hazarded be well or ill founded. .• Such, as far as I have been able to collect it, is the bistory of the late Dr Geddes; a man of no common character, and whose energy of mind, and activity of body, secmed engaged in a perpetual contest for the mattery. In his corporeal make he was fiender, and in the bold and formidable outlines of his countenance not highly prepossessing on a first interview: but never was there a face or a form through which the foul developed itself more completely than through his own. Every feature, and indeed every limb, was in harmony with the entire system, and displayed the restless and indefatigable operations of the interior of the machine. A play of cheerfulness beamed uniformly from his cheeks, and his animated eyes rather darted than looked benevolence. Yet such was the irritability of his nerves, that a light degree of opposition to his opinions, and especially when advanced by persons whose mental powers did not warrant such oppofition, put to flight in a moment the natural character of his countenance, and cheerfulness and benevolence