Imágenes de páginas

perly understood, they will be found to agree ; so that, taking for his model and following the footiteps of the apostles, who produced their prophetical testimonies and evidence both from the Hebrew and from the Septuagint; therefore, says he, I have thought it the best method to make use of both, because they are both as one, and equally divine:

• Morinus, who is on the same side, allows, however, of few exceptions.

Open,” says he, “ the volume of the New Teitament, and after that the Septuagint Bible as well as the Hebrew Bible: and take your chance of the first passage that shall occur, and compare it with the Greek and with the Hebrew text, and you will find exactly the same words in the Septuagint translation which appear in the text of the apostle. Ipliffima verba in Septuaginta tranflatione quæ in apoitolico textu deprehendes. But, says he, if any passage happens to vary from the Greek text, the variation is still greater from the Hebrew, except about three or four passages, which equally differ both from the Greek and Hebrew text; and there is about the same number, which are mentioned as quotations, and yet which are not to be found either in the Greek or Hebrew." But at !aft he concludes with this remarkable observation, 66 That out of the innumerable passages which are quoted in the New 'Teitament from the Old, there is not above one, or at most two: to be found, which agrec with the Hebrew and not with the Greek translation ; and that this was occasioned by a small mistake in the interpreters reading the original Hebrew word as having a single letter more than was in the true reading of the text.'

But St. Jerome, who is the great patron and supporter of the opposite opinion, insists, " that though the writers of the New Testament do most frequently give their quotations from the Old Testament copied from the Septuagint translation ; yet that they now and then give it in words that are more literally translated from the Hebrew, and more particularly in those passages where the Septuagint tranflation has varied in the meaning confiderably from the original Hebrew text."

' For the proof of this position, St. Jerome has selected ten different passages in the New Testament, quoted from the Old Teftament, and which are not taken from the Septuagint. Four of the passages are in the Gospel of St. Matthew, two of them in the Gospel of St. John, two of them from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Romans, and the last two are from the firit Epiftle of St. Paul to the Corinthians.'

These ten passages or texts, together with those on which Capellus has founded his objections, and some others, which are apparently directed againit the authenticity of the Septuagint, are all particularly considered by Dr. Blair; and his conclufions from them, in favour of this Greek translation, are supported with ingenuity and candour.


[ocr errors]

The author's intention was next to give a critical examination of the different books of the New Testament, as they ftand at present in the canon of our church. But he has left behind him only a Fragment on this subject, of about forty pages. In this, after settling the title of the New Testament, which he makes to comprehend the two ideas of a covenant ad a bequeft, and explaining the meaning of the word Gospel, be proceeds to the discullion of what particularly relates to that of St. Matthew, who, he says, is admitted, by the best authorities, to have written it at Jerusalem, for the use of the Jews in Palestine who were converted to Christianity, and that in the thirty-ninth year of the vulgar æra of the birth of Chrilt, though there are some who place it two years later, St. Matthew is hence concluded to have written before the other evangelists, and may be compared, says the author, w the fainter light of the dawn that serves to usher in the greater splendor and increasing brightness of the noon-day. Then follows a discussion of the question-in what language was the Gospel of St. Matthew originally composed ? After some display of learning, Dr. Blair concludes, that the stronger arguments seem to prove the hypothesis of the present Greek copy being the true original of St. Matthew's Gospel.

The Hebraisms, discovered in St. Matthew, and in almost every chapter of the Gospel and Epiftles of the New Testament, are in the next place accounted for, and several exam. ples of them adduced. These lead Dr. Blair to an examination of the opinion of Daniel Heinfius, and other learned men, who distinguished those who wrote and spoke the same fpecies of Greek language that was made use of in the books of the New Testament by the name of Gens Hellenisiarum, a nation of Hellenifts; and afferting that the language itself was the Helleniftic dialect, which was well known both in the Leffer Asia, and all over the East, blending and mixing the Hebrew with the Greek language, and that it differed as much from the common language as the modern Italian language does from the ancient Latin,' But Dr. air closes with the opinion of Salmafius, who refuted the above hypothesis, and will not allow that the Jews of the disperhon, i. e. the people, who in different countries spoke the dialect in question, were to be considered by themselves as a distinct and separate nation, or that the language they used was to be classed as a new dialect of the Greek tongue, under the title of Lingua Hellenistica.

There is nothing in the few remaining passages of this fraga ment of sufficient importance to claim our notice.


The Holy Bible. Containing the Books of the Old and Neru

Testament, and the Apocrypha, &c. By Thomas Wilson, D.D.

Bifoop of Sodor and Man. (Concluded from Vol. Ixii. p. 174.) HAving promised, in our former article on this work, an

extract from the biographical part of the learned editor's Preface, and a specimen of bishop Wilson's Notes, we do not think we shall fulfil the first object of our engagement disagreeably to our readers, in giving them Mr. Crattwell's account of William Tyndal, who printed the first edition of his New Testament in the year 1526.

• William Tyndal, or Tindale, or Tindall, otherwise Hitche' ins, was born somewhere in Wales ; and being bred to learn. ing, was placed in Magdalen Hall, in Oxford, where now remains an original picture of him. Here he took his degrees, and read lectures privately in divinity to several of the students of that hall, and fellows of the adjoining college. His manners and conversation, says Fox, were such, that all who knew him reputed and esteemed him to be a man of most virtuous dispofition, and life unspotted. Wood says he was expelled for his Lutheran tenets; and whether he took any degree in that ani. 'versity does not appear.

• From Oxford he removed to Cambridge, whence, after some itay, he went to Little Sodbury, in Gloucestershire, where he was entertained in the family of fir John Welch, as tutor to his children. But being suspected of heresy by the neighbouring clergy, with whom he had sometimes disputes about relie gion, and being by them threatened and persecuted in the ecclefiaftical courts, he, with the consent of fir John, left the family, and went to London, where he for some time preached in the church of St. Dunstan's in the West. Here he obtained the recommendation of fir Henry Guildford, malter of the horse, to Dr. Cuthbert Tonital, bishop of London, to whom he presented an oration of Isocrates, translated by himself out of the Greek, with an epiftle to the bishop, which he wrote by the advice of fir Henry. But the bishop's answer was, that his house was full; that he had more than he could provide for ; and advised him to seek out in London, where he could not fail of employment. Not being able to obtain any, he was supported by Mr. Humphry Monmouth, a draper and alderman of London, a favourer of Luther's opinions; with whom he abode half a year, behaving in the most sober and temperate manner; ftudying night and day, and bending his thoughts towards the translation of the New Testament into Englih. But being sensible of the hazard he would run by printing it in England, he resolved to go into Germany, as a place of greater security and more liberty. And this he was better enabled to do by the alliltanse of his friend Mr. Monmouth, who gave him an an


[ocr errors]

nuity of ten pounds a year, then a sufficient maintenance for a single man, and as much as Tyndal desired. At his first leaving England he went as far as Saxony, where he cor ferred with Luther, and other eminent reformers. From thence he returned, and settled at Antwerp, where was at that time a considerable factory of English merchants, many of which were zealous professors of Luther's doctrine. Here he immediately set himself about his favourite work, the English translation of the New Testament, in which he had the affiftance of John Fry, (or Frith), and a friar named William Roye, who wrote for him, and helped him to compare the texts together; and in the year 1526, it was printed in octavo, without a name, with an epistle at the end, wherein he desired them that were learned to amend if ought were found amiss. This edition is very scarce : for soon after its first appearance, the bithop of London, being at Antwerp, desired Auguflus Packington, an Englith merchant, to buy op all the copies that remained unfold; and on the bishop's return, they, with many other books, were burned at Paul's cross. This, Dr. Jortin, in his Life of Erasmus, thinks was done by the bishop to serve Tindal; however that be, the sale of these copies put a good sum of money into Tyndal's pocket, and enabled him to prepare another edition for the press, more correct than the former, which, however, was not printed till 1534, he being' probably bindered by his avocations as clerk to the English merchants, in which capacity he was received on his first going to Antwerp.

• From the first edition five thousand copies were re-printed by the Dutch printers in 1527, 1528, and in 1530 ; but all these editions are represented to be exceedingly incorrect. In 1534, the Dutch printed the fifth edition, corrected by George Joye, who not only corrected the typographical errors, but ventured to alter and amend, as he thought, the translation ; and foon after the fecond edition, by Tyndal him felf, appeared, in which he complains of Joye's forestalling him, and altering his translation.

• Besides purchasing the copies at Antwerp, other means were tried : orders and monitions were issued by the archbishop of Canterbury, and the bishop of London, to bring in all the New Testaments translated into the vulgar tongue, that they might be burned, and to prohibit the reading of them.

His brother John Tyndal was profecuted, and sentenced to do penance : his patron, alderman Monmouth, was imprifoned, and almost ruined.

• In 1531, king Henry VIII. ordered all the books containing several errors, &c. with the translation of the Scriptures corrupted by William Tyndal, as well in the Old Testament as in the New, to be utterly expelled, rejeded, and put away out of the hands of his people, and not to go abroad among his subjects: a proclamation was issued to the fame.purpose.

• TynTyndal's transation of the Pentateuch was printed at Marlborough, in Hesse, the year before, and that of Jonah, this year. Some are of opinion these were all he translated, and Fox mentions no more; but Hall and Bale, his contemporaries, fay, that he likewise translated Joshua, &c. to Nehemiah; which, unless Matthew's be so far a new translation, is moit probable. Fuller presumes, that he translated the Old Teitament out of the Latin, as his friends allowed him not to have any skill in Hebrew : but in this he might be mistaken. He finished his translation of the Pentateuch in the year 1528 ; but going by sea to Hamburgh, he suffered shipwreck, with the loss of all his books, papers, &c. so that he was obliged to begin the whole again.

• It is neither the editor's wish, nor his duty, to give characters of persons, or reasons of things, knowing how very precarious every thing must be, and how little probability of obtaining proof of truth; but we may be altonished that the priests and bishops of the Romish church should so violently oppose a translation of the Scriptures into the language of the country, and which alone could be understood by the community at large: for as to the learning of the clergy, secular and regular, there certainly is not sufficient evidence to prove it was despicable, as some would make us believe ; and the number of learned men at the very time, whose names have descended to pofterity, is a contradiction to the assertion.

- The pride, the ignorance, and the rapacity of the church is now, and ever has been, the opprobrium of ill-disposed minds; and in the violence of controversy, it has been more usual to blacken the character of the adversary than to preserve one's own.

Whatever the purity of the church, or the morals of the clergy may be, let us have facrilegious tyrants for our kings, and we shall have greedy and facrilegious courtiers ready enough to rend the pittance that remains; and who, in spite of religion, true or false, will be glad to enrich themselves though they impoverish a state ; being like those men of corrupt minds, who, in the language of St. Paul, suppose, that " gain is godlinefs."

That the clergy were against the translation of Tyndal is evident, perhaps prompted thereto by the prologues rather than by the text, which they declared were full of heresy, as the translation was full of faults. Sir Thomas More objects not to the Scriptures being tranllated, and produces instances that they had been translated before : he proclaims Tyndal's translation as erroneous, though the principal evidence he brings is a play upon words of small consequence, and, except in matters relating to church government, perhaps of no consequence at all. Tyndal himself, in a letter to John Frith, written January 1583, says, “I call God to record against the day we ihall appear before our Lord Jesus, to give a reckoning of our doings, that I never altered one fyllable of God's word against my con

fcience ;

« AnteriorContinuar »