Imatges de pÓgina

below the character of a prophet, not only because he foretold the destruction of Jerusalem and the advent of the Messiah, but fixed the very time in which the Messiah was to appear. Josephus, as a believer in Jesus, was led to an opposite conclusion, and he extols Daniel as surpassing all the other prophets, because he not only predicted the Christ, but even the exact time of his appearance.-- See A. J. lib. x. ch. 17, 11.

11. The Jews of Josephus's days, and afterwards, hated him as an apostate from their religion; while the Greek and Latin fathers considered him as one of those whom they branded under the name of Ebionites.

which excluded the possibility of conjecture or coincidence. Jesus caused this prediction to be inserted in his gospel, though little consistent with its genius as good news to mankind. His object by this was, that this prophecy should be known to the whole world years before the object of it was accomplished. The fulfilment of it was intended to be the last seal which God put, in a supernatural manner, to the divine mission of Jesus, and Josephus was the honoured agent whom Providence had employed in fixing it. A belief in supernatural beings was very general among Jews and Gentiles: many things, therefore, might be deemed supernatural without the necessity of concluding that the immediate author came from the only true God. It was allowed that no man could foretell events yet in futurity without the universal acknowledgment that God was with him. Magicians might, it was thought, be aided by demons; but the true prophet was, beyond contradiction, inspired by the wisdom of God. Jose phus could not but be aware of this, and he knew that, in writing his Jew. ish War, he was publishing to the world, and transmitting to posterity, the last decisive proof to the truth of the gospel. In doing this, he was actuated by the same consummate wisdom which dictated all his works. In order to shew that he had no sinis ter end in writing, that he had no design beyond the recording of facts which had taken place within his own observation, he confines himself solely and exclusively to his province as an historian; and though his narrative supplies complete evidence to the inspiration of Jesus, he has left the application to the reader. Through out the whole, he keeps the prophecy and even the name of Jesus out of sight, and by that means he sinks in the historian the advocate of the gospel, and secures from his readers that confidence which is due to his veracity as a witness and recorder of facts. Yet, though he has done this, he is thought by modern critics not to have been a believer in Christ, and I am ridiculed for maintaining that he was.

10. Daniel had been held in high estimation by the ancient Jews; but, since the days of our Saviour, his countrymen attempted to degrade him

Passages might be adduced to prove the above statements: and I shall have occasion to produce some hereafter. But I cannot conclude, without observing, that those Jews who rejected the claims of Jesus, expected a temporal king, and disbelieved, or affected to disbelieve, the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple; while those who believed in him, looked forward with absolute certainty to that event. This was a broad line of distinction which divided the friends and enemies of Christ: and there is abundant evidence in his writings, that Josephus was not one of those Jews who expected a temporal deliverer, but on the contrary, was one of those who looked forward to the destruction of the Jewish state. To this effect is the following (J. W. lib. vi. c. 5, 6,): "What chiefly instigated them (the Jews) to engage in this war, was an ambiguous prophecy found in their sacred writings, that some one of that country would govern the world. The Jews applied this prediction to themselves; and many of their wise men were hence deceived in their judgment. But the oracle respected the government of Vespasian, who was appointed chief commander in Judea. But it is impossible for men to escape the punishment that is fore-ordained, though placed before hand before their eyes. For the Jews wantonly perverted some and derided others of the warnings given them, until the capture of the city and their own ruin evinced their madness." Observe what Josephus here says, "Many of their wise men expected some one of that country to govern the world, and were mistaken

in their judgment." There were others then among the wise, who did not thus expect a temporal deliverance; and who therefore were mistaken in their judgment. These were the followers of the Prince of Peace, who interpreting the prophecies in a spiritual sense, considered them as fulfilled in Jesus; who is already come to deliver them from sin, to conquer death, and will hereafter come to establish on the earth the kingdom of God. These listened to the warning voice of their Divine Master; and it is evident that Josephus here ranks himself with that number; and as he avoided the impiety and madness of the refractory, he in common with the followers of Christ, escaped in a great degree the calamities and ruin which overtook the rest of his countrymen. J. JONES.


February 16, 1825. I a HAVE read with considerable pleaof the Repository [pp. 20-23], on the subject of Anti-supernaturalism. I cannot, however, help thinking that the candid spirit of your correspondent has in some measure misled him. The passage referred to is the following: "I would be far from asserting, with Mr. Belsham, that anti-supernaturalists, when they assume the name of Christians, are guilty of 'base hypocrisy,' or 'downright false hood."" An excess of candour is so amiable a fault, that one scarcely knows how to condemn it, yet I will venture to dissent from your correspondent on this point, and to vindicate the language which he hesitates to adopt.

Mr. B. has long been in the habit of using "great plainness of speech." His language here is certainly strong; but let us examine a little into the circumstances of the case, and it may not perhaps be found too severe. What is this anti-supernaturalism of which we talk? Is it something entirely new, that needed a new name to characterize it? Is it not rather the adoption of a name to gloss over what before existed under a more odious designation? The name is indeed recent, but we have long been acquainted with the thing, as infidelity or unbelief. We have long heard, and read, and spoken

of unbelievers, always understanding by the word, persons who do not believe in the supernatural in religionin the miraculous origin of Christianity-in one word, in Revelation. The anti-supernaturalist is characterized by precisely the same kind of unbelief. To speak therefore of an anti-supernaturalist Christian, is quite as absurd as to speak of an unbelieving Christian. To be a Christian is not to believe that the gospel is good; but, that it is divine. And however highly any person may admire certain of the doctrines and precepts of Jesus; however loudly he may profess to reverence the gospel morality as a rule of life; unless he admits Christ to have been a divinely-inspired teacher, sanctioned as such by evident miracles, he is not a Christian. He may call himself by what names he pleases, but he is all that is usually meant by an unbeliever.

Now, when anti-supernaturalists adopt the Christian name, are they acquainted with the ideas, generally

that community of Christian believers with which they associate, mean by it? If they do, and publicly adopt it, without publicly explaining their own peculiar meaning, Mr. Belsham's fanguage is not greatly to be complained of. Let the man who has rejected all that is supernatural in Christianity, inform the members of that Unitarian Church with which he has connected himself, that he thinks the divine mission of Jesus to have been nothing more than a pretence, either on his part, or that of his disciples; that he considers the miracles to be idle tales, and the resurrection to be altogether destitute of proof; let him do this plainly, and they will inform him that they do not consider him to be a Christian. They will tell him that, in their view, an anti-supernaturalist Christian, is a contradiction in terms.

And, again, if those anti-supernaturalists who, calling themselves Christians, now exist in our societies, were to avow their sentiments, in their naked reality, and call themselves by their old designation, could they expect the same cordiality which they now meet with from the members of the Unitarian congregations? Could they then form a part of our Christian churches, or appear to the world as fellow-unitarians? If they could

not, and knowing that they could not, they do yet, from a wish to remain "nominally within the pale of some religious community," call themselves Christians, candour itself must confess that there is something in their conduct, not very unlike hypocricy and falsehood.

In thus speaking concerning the adoption of the Christian name by persons amongst us, who have rejected all the ideas which we reckon essential to the proper use of the name, we do not, as your correspondent M. A. R. seems to insinuate, "condemn, in a moral point of view, the mere profession of any opinions whatever." It is the profession of Christianity, in order to escape the odium of an open avowal of unbelief, which is condemned as false and bypocritical.

R. A. M.

Professor Lee, Dr. Henderson and
Mr. Bellamy.

[This paper has been lying by us for some time, and was indeed in our hands before we inserted the article of Review on the same subject, XIX. 687 -692.]

readers to an examination of graver matter, and enable them to profit ac cordingly.

My fondness for literary disputations led ine the other day to dip into a brochure lately published by Professor Lee, of Cambridge, entitled Remarks on Dr. Henderson's Appeal to the Bible Society, on the Subject of the Turkish Version of the New Testament, by Ali Bey, printed at Paris, in 1819. Without pretending to decide on the respective merits of the Doctor's Appeal, or the Professor's Remarks, for which an intimate knowledge of Turkish is absolutely necessary, (and, unlike some of my neighbours, I must confess myself wholly ignorant of the language of the Grand Seignior,) I cannot refrain from avowing the merriment which an observation of the professor afforded me, although made by him on a subject altogether serious. In alluding to the want of uniformity which Dr. Henderson asserts is discernible in the Version of Ali Bey, he took occasion to make the following remark: "While it is granted that there are words which are used in different senses, and where words of equal latitude cannot be found, &c., it is a fixed maxim in biblical interpretation, that where such diversity exists, and where the same sense obtains, the words af the sacred original are to be rendered uniform throughout the transThis the pugnacious prolation." fessor denies in toto, insisting upon it that the evangelists and apostles, Luke, Paul, and others, in making citations from the Old Testament, never observed any such uniformity; that the best translators, since the first Targumist, down to the present day, have not been found to adhere to any such rule as that broached by Dr. Henderson; nay, that had it actually been "violence would have been the case, done both to the sacred volumes and to the idioms of the language into which they have been translated." He then continues, "Let any one read the remarks of St. Jerome, on the verbal. and etymological renderings of Aquila, in his epistle de optimo genere interpretandi, and then ask himself the question, whether Jerome was justified or not in styling him contentiosus interpres, or in denominating the principle by which he was guided Kano

a? If he doubt at all after this,



WITHOUT being (in my own estimation at least) a more pugnacious animal than the generality of my neighbours, I must candidly confess that literary controversies of every description are my delight, although if there any that more particularly give me pleasure, it is when "Greek meets Greek and we've the tug of war."-Oh, Sir, to retrace the battles of our pugilistic heroes in the attacks, appeals, replies, or rejoinders of grave professors to witness all the evolutions of "the ring" in a literary scuffle, from throwing up hats and peeling, to drawing claret, or getting into chancery, and eventually cutting a somerset, or dying game, and to notice, en passant, the sly hits which both combatants give to their brethren for the purpose of ridiculing their systems, or abusing their practice truly 'tis highly entertaining! I have been induced to make this avowal in the hope of its being accepted as an apology for my troubling you with a paper, which though indebted for its origin to a controversial hit, will, I trust, lead one or another of your



he may next turn over a few of the now neglected pages of Mr. John Bellamy, and he will be perfectly satisfied that no such principle as that laid down by Dr. Henderson can for a moment be admitted."

I have been particular in calling your attention to the last sentence quoted from the Professor's work, which he doubtless intended as a kind of triumphant climax to his broad assertions in opposition to Dr. Henderson, because thereby hangs a tale." To a person not altogether conversant with recent literary set-tos, the dictum of the Cambridge Professor might appear as a settler, a perfect quietus for poor Bellamy. But how must the laugh be turued against the soi-disant champion, when on referring to the latest battle fought between him and Bellamy, not in Pierce Egan's Boxiana, but Lee's Remarks, and Bellamy's Reply, the reader will find that the Professor was repeatedly floored, and so terribly mauled in the last rounds, that he was at length unable to come to the scratch again, whilst Bellamy, for whom the phrase "neglected pages" is intended as a sort of revengeful after-slap, stalked away, little the worse for the affray, and contenting himself with sarcastically calling out to his antagonist to bear in mind for the future that "whatever asses may do now, they certainly never spoke in the days of Balaam!"

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

sin and a shin, nor are you at all mistaken. In the absence of scholastic learning, I feel perhaps the more inclined to cling to established maxims and canons, and hence the shock 1 experience on finding a particular rule disputed, which has been gravely and uniformly set forth by translators and commentators of every description under the general and hacknied maxim that "the Bible must be suffered to interpret itself." Without attempting to prove that what is here said of the sacred volume, applies equally to any other literary work, and without pretending to shew how far the maxim here quoted extends, it surely will not be denied by any one, that it includes among the rest the substance of Dr. Henderson's remark, which in plain English amounts to nothing more than this, "that any particular word occurring frequently in the same meaning in an original work, ought as frequently to be rendered by the uniform adoption of a corresponding word in the translation." In a Greek treatise on the mange of dogs, for instance, Professor Lee would certainly never think of rendering xvwv by cat, but as often as the Greek term occurred, would use the corresponding English term dog, whereas by the rejection of what he terms Dr. Henderson's new canon, I apprehend he would be at liberty to translate it by cat or even monkey, as the whim might seize him. To confess the truth, I greatly suspect that Professor Lee had some other object in view than merely to defend Ali Bey's Turkish Version of the New Testament, when he undertook to controvert and exhibit, as novel, a canon which has long been in the mouth of every commentator on the Bible, and which he must have heard rung in his own ears, at one period of his life at least, pretty often. I fear his arguments were intended to be applied in defence of the Authorized Versions of the Bible generally, and I am the more convinced of this, when I refer to the expressions used by him in regard to Mr. Bellamy's translation, and bear in mind the futile attempts made by him for the same purpose in his attack on that gentleman already noticed. Be that, however, as it may, it is my firm opinion, that by neglecting Dr. Henderson's Canon (if his it may still be called), the translators of our

own Authorized Version have fallen into many and gross mistakes. What can, for instance, be more absurd than to render a word, which has uniformly one and the same meaning in the original, sometimes by a man, and at other times by a perfect non-descript? Or can any thing be more ridiculous than to apply a particular meaning to a word in one single passage, which it does not bear in any other throughout the Bible; and by the adoption of which that very individual passage is rendered unintelligible, or becomes downright nonsense? In proof of what is here alleged against the current Authorized Versions, including our own, I shall content myself with only three quotations from Mr. Bellamy's translation of the Pentateuch, and those too, taken indiscriminately from the book of Genesis, leaving your readers to decide whether by adhering to the rule condemned by Professor Lee, of suffering the Bible (of course in the original) to be its own interpreter, Mr. Bellamy has done more for the cause of truth, or those who have abandoned and now impugn it. Much has been said on the subject of angels. In the original, as well as in all modern Versions, they are represented as men; that is, they are seen in the shape and form of men; they touch and are touched; they hear and talk, eat and drink, and perform the various functions incident to humanity; and yet the idea of their being something more than men will be found to prevail amongst the generality of English readers of our Bible; so that, whilst your good angel is supposed to bear the form of a youth with wings attached to his shoulders, (a sort of non-descript, forming in the poet's eye a link between man and birds,) an evil one figures away as a grinning monster, with cloven foot, and, in the Linnæan phrase, cauda tenui elongata (exhibiting a similar poetical link between man and quadrupeds). The Hebrew uniformly adopts the word which, in defiance of Henderson's rule, has been arbitrarily rendered by our translators in some places by angel, and in others by messenger. Mr. Bellamy's Version rejects the unintelligible word angel throughout; and in luminous notes on chap. xii. 8, and xviii. 2,

he satisfactorily shews, that the He brew terin never has any other meaning than that of a human messenger, but that, according to circumstances easily gathered from the context, it is frequently used for a messenger of God, i. e. a human messenger (the officiating priest) dispatched from the place where the divine communication was given by God, to issue or execute his commands. Accordingly, "the angel of the Lord" who, in our Authorized Version, found Hagar in the wilderness, and informed her of the Almighty's intentions respecting her posterity, is called by Bellamy, "the messenger of Jehovah;" and the " two angels" who, according to the same translation, (chap. xix.,) arrived towards evening, per pedes apostolorum, at Sodom, and joined in feast," are simply styled "two messengers" by Bellamy, whose important errand, however, is sufficiently explained in the succeeding verses.


Again, who that has read only the English Bible, and has chanced to meet with the productions of Voltaire and others of the same stamp, but must have sighed at the authorized version of Gen. ii. 21, 22? Let such a person take up Mr. Bellamy's Translation of the Pentateuch, and he will at least find a meaning attached to this passage in the original, which, as it does not reflect on the Creator, has undoubtedly probability to favour it. Let him further be informed that the Hebrew word by is no where else, even in our Authorized Version, translated by rib than in this single passage, but means side: let him, at the same time, bear in mind that the same Hebrew verb and preposition which are here rendered took of, or from, are in our said Authorized Version translated, in other places, by brought to; and, lastly, that mannn, in the Authorized Version rendered by instead thereof, is in the same Version (Zach. xii. 6) given by in her own place; and surely he will gladly allow that the old Canon of suffering the Bible to interpret itself, is, after all, the best. In strict conformity with it, and supported even by our Authorized Version, as already shewn, Bellamy renders the 21st verse thus: "Now Jehovah God caused an inactive state to fall upon the man, and

« AnteriorContinua »