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collection by Sabathier, Rheims, 1743, 3 vols. folio. This ancient version is allowed to be of great use in Biblical criticism.
11. The Vulgate, or Latin version, was formed by Saint Jerome, at the command of Pope Damasus, A. D. 384. Previously to this there were a great number of Latin versions made by different hands, some of which Jerome complains of as being extremely corrupt and self-contradictory. These versions, at present, go under the general name of the old Itala or Antehieronymian, already noticed. Jerome appears to have formed his text in general out of these, collating the whole with the Hebrew and Greek, from which he professes to have translated several books entire. The New Testament he is supposed to have taken wholly from the original Greek; yet there are sufficient evidences that he often regulated even this text by the ancient Latin versions.
12. The Anglo-Saxon version of the four Gospels is supposed to have been taken from the ancient Itala some time in the eighth century; and that of the Pentateuch, Joshua, Judges, and Job, from the Vulgate, by a monk called Ælfric, in the ninth century. The former was printed at Dort, in conjunction with the Gothic version, by F. Junius, 1665, 4to. ; the latter, by Edward Thwaites, Oxford, 1698, 8vo. ; but in this version many verses, and even whole chapters, are left out; and the Book of Job is only a sort of abstract, consisting of about five pages.
13. The Arabic is not a very ancient version, but is of great use in ascertaining the signification of several Hebrew words and forms of speech.
14. The Persian includes only the five Books of Moses and the four Gospels. The former was made from the Hebrew text by a Jew named Yacoub Toosee; the latter, by a Christian of the Catholic persuasion, Simon Ibn Yusuf Ibn Ibraheem al Tubreezee, about the year of our Lord 1341.
These are the principal versions which are deemed of authority in settling controversies relative to the text of the original. There are some others, but of less importance; such as the Slavonic, Gothic, Sahidic, and Armenian ; for detailed accounts of which, as also of the preceding, as far as the New Testament is concerned, I beg leave to refer the reader to Michaelis's Lectures, in the translation, with the notes of the Rev. Dr. Herbert Marsh, and to the General Preface to the Gospels and Acts; and for farther information concerning Jewish and Christian commentators, he is requested to consult Bartoloccius's Bibliotheca Rabbinica, and the Bibliotheca Theologica of Father Calmet.
In the preceding list of commentators I find I have omitted to insert in its proper place a work with which I have been long acquainted, and which for its piety and erudition I have invariably admired, viz. : “A plaine discovery of the whole Revelation of Saint John ; set downe in two Treatises: The one searching and proving the true interpretation thereof: The other applying the same paraphrastically and historically to the text. Set foorth by John NAPEIR L. of Marches- . toun, younger. Whereunto are annexed certaine Oracles of SIBYLLA, agreeing with the Revelation and other places of Scripture. Edinburgh, printed by Robert Waldegrave, printer to the King's Majestie, 1593. Cum privilegio Regali, 8vo.
When the reader learns that the author of this little work was the famous Baron of Marchestoun, the inventor of the logarithms, a discovery which has been of incalculable use in the sciences of astronomy, practical geometry, and navigation, he will be prepared to receive with respect what so great a genius has written upon a book that, above all others in the sacred code, seems to require the head and hand of the soundest divine and mathematician. The work is dedicated to the right excellent, high and mighty Prince James VI., King of Scottes," afterwards James I., King of England; and in the Epistle Dedicatorie, the author strongly urges him to complete the reformation begun in his own empire, that he might be a ready instrument in the hand of God in executing judgment on the papal throne, which he then supposed to be near the time of its final overthrow. The first treatise is laid down in thirty-six propositions relating to the seals, trumpets, vials, and thunders.
In the third, fifth, and sixth propositions, he endeavours to prove that each trumpet or vial contains 245 years ; that the first began A. D. 71. The second A. D. 316. The third A. D. 561. The fourth A. D. 806. The fifth A. D. 1051. The sixth A. D. 1296. The seventh A. D. 1541. See Propos. vi. And in Propos. x. he shows that, as the last trumpet or vial began in 1541, consequently, as it contains 245 years, it should extend to A. D. 1786. “Not that I mean," says the noble writer, “ that that age or yet the world shall continew so long, because it is said, that for the elect's sake the time shall be shortened; but I mean that if the world were to indure, that seventh age should continew untill the yeare of Christ, 1786." Taking up this subject again, in Propos. xiv., he endeavours to prove, by a great variety of calculations formed on the 1335 days mentioned by Daniel, chap. xii. 11, and ihe period of the three thundering angels, Rev. viii. and ix., that by the former it appears the day OF JUDGMENT will take place in A. D. 1700, and by the latter, in 1688, whence it may be confidently expected that this awful day shall take place between these two periods ! We, who have lived to A. D. 1830, see the fallacy of these predictive calculations; and with
such an example before us of the miscarriage of the first mathematician in Europe, in his endeavours to solve the prophetical periods marked in this most obscure book, we should proceed in such researches with humility and caution, nor presume to ascertain the times and the seasons which the Father has reserved in his own power. I may venture to affirm, so very plausible were the reasonings and calculations of Lord Napeir, that there was scarcely a Protestant in Europe, who read his work, that was not of the same opinion. And how deplorably has the event falsified the predictions of this eminent and pious man! And yet, unawed by his miscarriage, calculators and ready-reckoners, in every succeeding age, on less specious prelences, with minor qualifications, and a less vigorous opinion, have endeavoured to soar where Napeir sunk! Their labours, however well intended, only serve to increase the records of the weakness and folly of mankind. Secret things belong to God; those that are revealed, to us and to our children. Writers who have endeavoured to illustrate different prophecies in the Apocalypse by past events, and those that are now occurring, are not included in this cen
Some respectable names in the present day have rendered considerable service to the cause of Divine revelation, by the careful and pious attention they have paid to this part of the subject; but when persons attempt to speak of what is yet to come, they begin to prophesy and are soon lost.
P. S. On Gen. ii. 4, I have hinted that our Saxon ancestors have translated the Dominus of the Vulgate by hlaford, Loverd, or Lord. This is not to be understood of the fragments of the translations of the Old and New Testament which have reached our times, for in them Dominus when connected with Deus is often omitted, and the word Lod substituted for both; at other times they use the Dano-Saxon Druhten, both for 77177' Jehovah, and 1978 Adonai ; and in the New Testament, Drihten is generally used for Kvpios, Lord, at other times, blaford. It seems to have been applied as a title of respect to men: see Matt. xii. 8; xiii. 27; xvii. 25, 26, 27, 31, 32, 34; xxi. 30. Afterwards it was applied to the Supreme Being also; and the title Lord continues to be given to both indifferently to the present day, and sometimes both indifferently even in the same discourse. Thus in the Saxon homily in Dom. 1., Quadr. Bedæ Hist. Eccles., lib. iv., c. 9: Man sceal hine zehiddan to his Druhtne y him anum neopian : hi ana is sop blafond and sop Irod." Man shall pray to his Lord (Drıhtne) and him alone serve: He only is true Lord (hlafond) and true God.” blafond belongs more especially to the Anglo-Saxon Drihtne, to the Dano-Saxon. 14 Danish Drotten is generally used for Lord.
EVERY believer in Divine revelation finds himself amply justified in taking for granted
that the Pentateuch is the work of Moses. For more than 3000 years this has been the invariable opinion of those who were best qualified to form a correct judgment on this subject. The Jewish Church, from its most remote antiquity, has ascribed the work to no other hand; and the Christian Church, from its foundation, has attributed it to the Jewish lawgiver alone. The most respectable heathens have concurred in this testimony, and Jesus Christ and his apostles have completed the evidence, and have put the question beyond the possibility of being doubted by those who profess to believe the Divine authenticity of the New Testament. As to those who, in opposition to all these proofs, obstinately persist in their unbelief, they are worthy of little regard, as argument is lost on their unprincipled prejudices, and demonstration on their minds, because ever wilfully closed against the light. When they have proved that Moses is not the author of this work, the advocates of Divine revelation will reconsider the grounds of their faith.
That there are a few things in the Pentateuch which seem to have been added by a later hand there can be little doubt ; among these some have reckoned, perhaps without reason, the following passage, Gen. xii. 6 : “And the Canaanite was then in the land ;” but see the note on this place. Num. xxi. 14, “ In the book of the wars of the Lord,” was probably a marginal note, which in process of time got into the text; see the note on this passage also. To these may be added the five first verses of Deuteronomy, chap. i ; the twelfth of chap. ii; and the eight concluding verses of the last chapter, in which we have an account of the death of Moses. These last words could not have been added by Moses himself, but are very probably the work of Ezra, by whom, according to uninterrupted tradition among the Jews, the various books which constitute the canon of the Old Testament were collected and arranged, and such expository notes added as were essential to connect the different parts; but as he acted under Divine inspiration, the additions may be considered of equal authority with the text. A few other places might be added, but they are of little importance, and are mentioned in the notes.
The book of GENESIS, Teveois, has its name from the title it bears in the Septuagint, BuB2oç Tevedews, (chap. ii. ver. 4,) which signifies the book of the Generation; but it is called in Hebrew nvx Bereshith, “ In the beginning," from its initial word. It is the most ancient history in the world ; and, from the great variety of its singular details and most interesting accounts, is as far superior in its value and importance to all others, as it is in its antiquity. This book contains an account of the creation of the world, and its first inhabitants; the original innocence and fall of man; the rise of religion ; the invention of arts; the general corruption and degeneracy of mankind ; the universal deluge; the repeopling and
PREFACE TO GENESIS.
division of the earth; the origin of nations and kingdoms; and a particular history of the patriarchs from Adam down to the death of Joseph ; including a space, at the lowest computation, of 2369 years.
It may be asked how a detail so circumstantial and minute could have been preserved when there was no writing of any kind, and when the earth, whose history is here given, had already existed more than 2000 years. To this inquiry a very satisfactory answer may be given. There are only three ways in which these important records could have been preserved and brought down to the time of Moses : viz., writing, tradition, and Divine revelation. In the antediluvian world, when the life of man was so protracted, there was comparatively little need for writing of any kind, and perhaps no alphabetical writing then existed. Tradition answered every purpose to which writing in any kind of characters could be subservient; and the necessity of erecting monuments to perpetuate public events could scarcely have suggested itself, as during those times there could be little danger apprehended of any important fact becoming obsolete, as its history had to pass through very few hands, and all these friends and relatives in the most proper sense of the terms; for they lived in an insu lated state under a patriarchal government.
Thus it was easy for Moses to be satisfied of the truth of all he relates in the book of Genesis, as the accounts came to him through the medium of very
From Adam to Noah there was but one man necessary to the correct transmission of the history of this period of 1656 years. Now this history was, without doubt, perfectly known to Methuselah, who lived to see them both. In like manner Shem connected Noah and Abraham, having lived to converse with both; as Isaac did with Abraham and Joseph, from whom these things might be easily conveyed to Moses by Amram, who was contemporary with Joseph. See the plate, chap. xi. Supposing, then, all the curious facts recorded in the book of Genesis had no other authority than the tradition already referred to, they would stand upon a foundation of credibility superior to any that the most reputable of the ancient Greek and Latin historians can boast. Yet to preclude all possibility of mistake, the unerring Spirit of God directed Moses in the selection of his facts and the ascertaining of his dates. Indeed, the narrative is so simple, so much like truth, so consistent everywhere with itself, so correct in its dates, so impartial in its biography, so accurate in its philosophical details, so pure in its morality, and so benevolent in its design, as amply to demonstrate that it never could have had an earthly origin. In this case, also, Moses constructed every thing according to the pattern which God showed him in the mount.