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Self-taught Knowledge of the Greek Testament.
person more competent to the task ferent word is stated, and its dependto undertake it.
ence upon the words, and every partiAlthough the valuable little work cular relating to it, of which a pupil of Hopton Haynes, with the more would be expected to give an account recent and truly excellent works of to his tutor. To this I paid particular Mr. Lindsey, Dr. Carpenter and others, attention, writing down a verse or may enable persons, ignorant of the two at a time, and making myself Greek language, to form tolerably perfectly master of every word ; of correct opinions concerning texts of the declension, the case and number of Scripture which admit of different the substantives, and of every particutranslations, yet, in a study of so much lar respecting the verbs and other importance as that of the Bible, it parts of speech. In travelling through seemed to me highly proper that we the praxis in this way, I gained a kind should depend as litile as possible of general knowledge of the Grammar, upon the knowledge or prejudices of and with it the knowledge of a num, others. One great motive with me ber of Greek words : indeed, I gained for entering upon the study of the a knowledge sufficient to enable me to Greek language, was to qualify myself venture upon the Greek Testament. to examine and compare one part of Whether this may be the best methe sacred volume with another. This, thod of commencing the study of the I think, cannot be satisfactorily done Greek language, I am by no means by the merely English reader, as the competent to decide; but I think I same Greek words or phrases are dif- inay safely pronounce it to be the ferently translated in different parts of most pleasant for an adult without a the New Testament.
tutor. The common plan of spending The reading a translation has been, much time upon the Grammar at first, not unaptly, compared to seeing the appears to be dry and uninteresting. wrong side of the Arras ; and it has It is something like beginning a joureven been said that the being able to ney in the dark, and making a large read the admirable works of Cervantes part of it not only without day-light, in Spanish, is a sufficient recompence but without either moon or star to for the labour of learning that lan- cheer the traveller. In the nethod I guage. If there be any justice in have ventured to propose, and which these remarks, what pleasure may not is by no means a new one, the journey the student look for, whose aim is to is begun at early dawn; the traveller read the sacred records in their original has a glimpse of light at the very language! This acquisition appeared first, and additional light and pleasure to me in so alluring and fascinating a are afforded him at every step. Not point of view, that, in my sixtieth only does he gain the knowledge of a year, I entered upon the formidable number of Greek words, with their study of the Greek language.
grammatical construction and dependInstead of bestowing much time ence upon each her, but this knowupon the grammar, I merely read ledge is acquired in the most agreeable with attention that part of it which manner, and seasoned, if I may so treats of the different parts of speech. express myself, with the most pleasing With this trifling knowledge I entered and useful ideas. At every step the upon the study of the Greek Testa- student will find scripture ideas clothment. My first and only additional ed in a new and delightful dress; and, book for some time, and which strong- at every step, the knowledge of his ly recommended this study, was a native language will be improved, and Greek-English Lexicon, printed in he will become sensible of his obliga166), which I met with by accident. tions to the Greek language, for words To this were added copious vocabu- that are useful to him on the most laries, English and Greek and Greek common occasions. and English; also an abridged Gram- From the remarks I have' offered, mar. In addition to this summary of your readers will perceive that the knowledge, this book contained a praxis I have mentioned is an indispraxis, or explanation of chap. ii. of pensable requisite in the proposed Romans, of 50 pages 12mo. In this plan. I certainly consider it as such; pruxis the part of speech of every dif- and had I not met with it, and the old book I have mentioned, it is probable Latin or Greek with the same facility I should never have entered upon this as in English. From habit I find this delightful study. Nothing, I think, employment rather a pleasure than a would more conduce to facilitate the labour to me. acquisition of the Greek language If the being able to read the sacred without a master, than reprinting this duties and records of our religion in praxis, or one upon the same plan, their original language is not a suffiwith appropriate references to an cient inducement to persons of leisure established Grammar. I hope Dr. to engage in this study, none more Jones will excuse me in here suggest- powerful can be advanced. I should ing to him, that if he would do it with rejoice to see my beloved countrywo suitable references to his Grammar, I men engage in it with the ardour it think he would do an acceptable ser- deserves ; such an event might be vice to those who wish to enter upon regarded as a kind of completion of this study. Should he or any of your those important prophecies concerning learned readers, feel disposed to ren. the latter days, “ when many shali der this service to the unlearned, I run to and fro, and knowledge shall shall have great pleasure in sending be increased," and when "all shall to him the old book I have mentioned, know the Lord.” which is now become unnecessary to It was my intention when I sat me.
down, to offer some remarks on the With the above praxis, I should letter of your correspondent Hellethink no other books necessary at the nistes, (pp. 205-207, but I find I coinmencement but a Greek® Testa- must postpone these to some future ment and Grammar, and a smaltopportunity, having already intruded pocket Greek and English Lexicon more than I intended upon the time by J. Bass (sold by Baldwin and Co. of your readers. price 48 ). This would be rendered
Ναύτης. much more useful to the closet student at his outset, by a vocabulary, English
Trowbridge, and Greek, of the verbs used in the SIR, September 12, 1823.
Greek Testament. Without the leaded N Mary Hughes's strictures on my
of such a Vocabulary, my difficulties would have been increased. There is last Tract on the parable of the Pro frequently considerable difficulty for a digal Son, (p. 395,) that my views of beginner to find out which word in a the parable, and in particular of the sentence is the verb: this difficulty character of the elder brother, are ercannot, I apprehend, be estimated by roneous; and thinking some of that a person who has acquired the lan- lady's remarks to be founded in misguage in the usual way.
conception; it seems proper for me With the books I have mentioned, to offer a few words in reply. I have I think any gentleman or lady, or any been prevented doing this sooner by person in business, might, by dedis several circumstances, and in particucating half an hour or an hour a day lar by a dangerous illness, which disto it, soon be able to read the Greek abled me for all exertion for some Testament. It is now three years days. since I began; my plan at first was The high respect I entertain for to take a verse or two daily, (though Mrs. H.'s character, liberality in the with very frequent interruptions,) but Unitarian cause, and benevolent laI find that I can now get on to fifteen bours for the good of others, leads or twenty, and sometimes with very me to value the estimation in which, little aid from my Lexicon. My pro. she says, she holds me and my works; gress would have been inore rapid, and nothing but a sense of the imporbut I have endeavoured to make inya tance of right views of what our Lord self master of the Latin Testament at taught, could induce me to controvert the same time. Should health and the correctness and propriety of her life be spared to me for two or three remarks, and to point out wherein I years longer, I trust that I shall, with- think her mistaken. My doing this out any additional labour or time, be will, I trust, give her no pain, as I enabled to read the New Testament in believe the promotion of truth and the Mr. Wright on his Tract on the Prodigal Son.
567 good of mankind are her only objects own assertion, is it not more natural in writing.
to think he was one of those whom Mrs. H. appears to me completely our Lord addressed in another parable, to mistake our Lord's design in what who trusted in themselves that they he says of the elder brother in the were righteous, and despised others ? parable; and to have been led into His being angry at the conduct of that mistake by inattention to the cir- his father, and the language he used cumstances which occasioned his delic to him, can never be reconciled with vering the three parables contained in filial piety; which is the germ of all chap. xv. of Luke. We are told, vers. Other virtues. Is it possible for “the 1, 2-" Then drew near unto him all most excellent of human beings” to the publicans and sinners for to hear upbraid a good father, and charge him. And the Pharisees and Scribes him with injustice, even to his face? murmured, saying, This man receiveth His assertion, that his father had nesinners, and eateth with them." In ver given him even a kid, was eviconsequence of this, our Lord delivered dently false ; for in ver. 12, we are the parables which follow; evidently told that he had his portion at the with the design of justifying his own same time with his brother. Towards conduct, and of reproving the Phari- his brother he shewed himself unfeelsees and Scribes for objecting to his ing, and destitute of affection; for receiving sinners and eating with them. he ought to have remembered he was This being his design, it seems natural his brother, however he had acted; to think, that, in the person of the and, had he not been dead to the elder brother, he meant to expose best feelings of our nature, the retheir unreasonable prejudices, want of turn of his brother must have given liberal and benevolent feeling, inatten. him pleasure, instead of his anger tion to the ignorant, and those who being excited at his father's receiving most needed reformation, and the con- him with kindness. I see not how tempt they shewed to all whom they all our Lord says of him can be taken called sinners. As the Jews called all into view, without his appearing unmen sinners, who were not of their amiable and selfish ; and selfishness nation, or proselytes to their religion, is the root of every vice. Could Jesus what is there unnatural in the suppo- exhibit the elder brother as an apsition, that Jesus, by the elder and proved character, without seeming to younger sons in the parable, meant to justify the Pharisees in their objecrepresent the Jews and the Gentiles? tions to his own conduct? I per
Mrs. H. takes for granted that what fectly agree with Mrs. H. as to the the elder brother said of himself was bad moral tendency of representing perfectly correct, that he had ne- those who have been abandoned to ver departed from the path of recti- every vice, when brought to repenttude, never transgressed his father's ance, as more precious in the sight commandment;" and asks, : “ If, as of the benevolent Father of all, than is most apparent, our great Teacher those who have always been virtuous; intends to represent the Almighty but this appears to me irrelevant to under the character of the father in the design of our Lord's parable. The the parable, can the son, who 'nes question is, whether the truly peniver at any time transgressed his com- tent sinner be not more acceptable in mandment, be other than the most the sight of God, than the self-righexcellent of human beings?”. But, I teous Pharisee, who, probably, apask, Is the elder brother, as described pears outwardly righteous only beby our Lord, the most excellent of cause he has not been exposed to human beings? Does not his con- powerful temptations, and who, with duct towards his poor lost brother, all his boasted righteousness, is censtand in opposition to that of our sorious, uncharitable, selfish, and inLord, (who was in reality the niost wardly corrupt: and I leave it to Mrs. excellent of human beings,) towards H. and the readers, to consider whelost sinners; and strikingly resemble ther such were not the characters that of the Pharisees which Jesus cen. which our Lord meant to expose and sured? Instead of giving him credit reprove in the parable, while he vinfor perfect rectitude and uniform obe« dicated his own conduct in receiving dience, on the mere ground of his sinners and eating with them.
Though Mrs. H. “ cannot perceive writers of eminence amongst the Quathe least affinity" between the two kers. brothers and the Jews and Gentiles, He also appears to consider those or that the latter can be “figured” Epistles as unquestionably giving the by the former ; I still think with the general sense of the large assembly, late excellent Mr. Kenrick, in his in whose name they are given forth, exposition, and many other good wri- as if it was the practice at those ters, that Jesus had this in view in Meetings to ascertain what that sense the parable, as well as to repel the is, in a manner equally decisive of the objections of the Pharisees to his im- fact as a show of hands, a ballot, or mediate conduct. To the extension some other personal declaration of the of the gospel to the Gentiles he seems sense of the majority of persons preto have frequently alluded, though sent on any question that may come obscurely, because even his own dis- before them. Perhaps your corresciples were not then prepared to hear pondent may himself be one of that the subject stated plainly. In what respectable Society, and of that inMrs. H. says of the Jews and Gen- creasing class amongst them, (if I tiles, she seems not to recollect that ain not misinformed,) who both purthe language of a parable is not to be chase and read your Journal. "Be construed strictly, as if every part of this as it may, he does not seem to it was designed to allegorize some- know that your readers have had withthing in the subject designed to be in about ten years past ample inforbrought into view, or to be only ob- ination on, I believe, every part of his scurely intimated. Whatever the mo- inquiry. ral character of the Jews might be, That there was considerable variathey certainly all along continued pro- tion in sentiment on several points of fessedly the people and church of God; doctrine of more or less importance they continued to enjoy the privileges amongst its authors in high and geof the former dispensation; and to neral esteem with the Society, from them the promises respecting Christ the age of Fox, Penn, Barclay, and and the gospel were made; and this their contemporaries, will be evident I think sufficient to justify the lan- on an examination of their writings, guage used to them, as the elder bro- comparing one part with another. It ther in the parable. The Gentiles is equally clear from the history, or before they were lost in superstition rather biography, of its founders, and and idolatry, had the knowledge of other leading members of the Societhe true God, and voluntarily de- ty, that they then rather encouraged parted from him, his worship, and than repressed the free exercise of the enjoyment of his favour, (see private judgment in its meinbers, Rom. ch. i.,) which seems to me, to on the momentous coucerns of faith render applicable the description given and worship. Yet were they, if any of the younger brother. I do not thing in their history can be depended deem it necessary to say more on the upon, as highly distinguished for zeal present occasion, but cannot conclude in the cause of truth, or of what they without expressing my high esteem believed to be such, as they were, for the amiable writer, whose stric- for bearing the peculiar badge of distures have called forth these remarks. çipleship, by which all men were to
R. WRIGHT. know the followers of Christ, their
love one towards another. They Sir, Sept. 10, 1823.
walked, as Isaac Penington said of OUR Correspondent who de- them, harmoniously together, with the Quakers," I doubt not very sin- truth, and in the inidst of different cerely, unknown as he is to me, in- practices. quires in your last Number, (p. 467,) Your Correspondent should consihow it is to be accounted for that the der, that in the lapse of time, bodies language of the last Yearly Meeting of men, even professing Christians, Epistle should be so different from the under the same appellation, gradually representations of some of your cor- and almost insensibly adopt nevy terespondents in former Numbers, and nets, and silently suffer others which the extracts they have adduced from they formerly held, to fall into ob
History of the last Quakers' “ Yearly Epistle."
569 livion. With regard to the Arian or man Christ Jesus,” or of that power Sabellian doctrines professed in the by which he was cnabled to do such last Yearly Meeting Epistle, the pro- mighty works as no man could do, per question is, not whether such unless God were with him; or, in doctrines are advocated in some or other words, of that spirit which was other of their early writers ; but poured out upon him without meawhether they are scriptural, and have sure by his God and Father. Or been before so recognized as the faith those terms may have been used to of the Society in its Yearly Epistles; express only a belief in his divine which have now been annually issued mission, or the divinity of the docabout 150 years, and so far as I know, trine which lie taught and “had heard without any such exposition of their of God.” faith.
So vague and ambiguous are the I grant the doctrine of the pre-ex- terms in which this Epistle publicly istence of Christ is to be found in a announces this tenet as the present few passages of their early writers. belief of the Society of Friends, and But I think it is usually plain from as no new doctrine" from them. the context of such passages, that it It is true that the doctrine of the was not the pre-existence of the man personal pre-existence of Christ was Christ Jesus, but of that divine pow- many centuries ago held much more er which dwelt in, and acted by him, plainly by Arius, and that of the diof which they meant to speak. Had vinity of Christ, in far stronger and the two sides of this question been more sounding terms by Sabellius and fairly stated, and put to the vote, his followers. Yet were they both even at this Yearly Meeting, I am condemned as heretics by ilie repersuaded the decision of a great ma- putedly orthodox churches of the jority would have been in favour of day, then, as now, in strict alliance the latter opinion.
with the princes of this world. But But, suppose it to have been in their decisions are of little or no value favour of the pre-existence of the man with consistent, well-informed ProtesCbrist Jesus, wlto could, he assures tants, or indeed with any scriptural us, of himself do nothing, how could Christians, nor were they with the such a decision affect in the slightest founders of Quakerism. Neither can degree, the genuine sense of the sa- I esteem this Epistle as correctly reprecred writers on the subject ?
senting the general sense of the SoThe authors of the pistle say that ciety, from what I happen to know Jesus Christ “condescended to come of the sentiments of its members; down from heaven to effect our salva- and I have heard many of them extion.” I ask, where does the New press their disapprobation of those Testament say any thing of this kind? parts of this Epistle to which your In the early part of Dr. Watts's life, correspondent has called my attention. he in like manner represented Jesus, Your readers may, however, judge for the humble prophet of Nazareth, as theinselves, how far this Epistle can condescending to sit upon the throne be justly considered as expressing the of his God and Father. But in the general sense of the body, by a brief Doctor's more mature age he deeply detail of the manner of its introclucregretted having ever used such lan. tion into the Yearly Meeting, and of guage, and that he had put it out of the substance of what passed there, his own power to correct it in subse- on these parts of the Epistle. quent editions of his Hyions, having On the clerk announcing that the sold the copy-right to a bookseller. General Epistle was brought in by Yet those Hymns, containing many the “ large Committee,” he thought sentiments which be afterwards much fit, it seems, to express a hope that disapproved, are still weekly or often- Friends would not on its being read er sung publicly by thousands, as remark upon it. It was drawn up by having his sanction.
a very large Committee, in which he Nor have the compilers of this thought the Meeting might safely Epistle given us any explanation of place confidence. And if any friend the sense in which they use the should disapprove any part of it, he phrase " divinity of Christ ;" whe- might have an opportunity of stating ther they mean the divinity of “the his objections to the Committee to be