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both in composition and style. The truth is, in forming courses, has given to his compositions a disjointed aphis discourses, the apostle, for the most part, neglected pearance. Nevertheless, there is a close connexion of the rules of the Grecian eloquence. He seldom begins the several parts of his epistles established by the sense with proposing his subject, or with declaring the method of what he hath written. Now, where there is a real in which he is to handle it. And when he treats of more connexion in the sense, the words and phrases invented subjects than one in the same epistle, he does not inform by rhetoricians for showing it, become, in some measure, us when he passes from one subject to another, nor al- unnecessary. There is also in the apostle's epistles an ways point out the purpose for which his arguments are apparent connexion suggested by the introduction of a introduced. Besides, he makes little use of those rheto- word or thought (see Rom. iv. 24, 25; Eph. i. 19, 20; rical transitions, connexions, and recapitulations, where- 1 Thess. ii. 14), which seemingly leads to what follows; by the learned Greeks beautifully displayed the method yet the real connexion lies more deep, in the relation of and coherence of their discourses.
the things to each other, and to the principal subject. As the apostle did not follow the rules prescribed by These relations, however, would be more obvious, if the the Greek rhetoricians, in disposing the matter of his dis- Greek particles used by the apostle for coupling his sencourses, so he hath not observed their precepts in the tences and periods, instead of having always, or for the choice of his words, the arrangement of his sentences, and most part, the same meanings uniformly given them as the measure of his periods. That kind of speaking and in our English Bibles, were diversified in the translation, writing which is more remarkable for an artificial struc- according to the true force which each particle derives ture of words, and a laboured smoothness of periods, from the place which it holds in the discourse. Farther, than for truth of sentiment and justness of reasoning, through the frequent use of that part of speech called was called by the apostle the wisdom of speech,' 1 Cor. the participle, there is a seeming connexion in the aposi. 17; and the persuasive words of human wisdom,' 1 tle's discourses, which is apt to mislead one who is not Cor. ii. 4 ; and was utterly disclaimed by him, 1 Cor. ii. acquainted with the idiom of the Greek language. For, 1. “And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not as the participle hath often a casual signification, by with excellency of speech, nor of wisdom, declaring the translating it literally, the subsequent clause appears to testimony of God.'
contain a reason for what immediately goes before,-conBut while the apostle, in the composition and style of trary, in many instances, to the apostle's intention, who his discourses, hath commonly avoided the showy em uses the participles, after the example of other Greek bellishments, and even some of the solid ornaments of writers, for any part of the verb. Besides, by translatthe Grecian eloquence, for reasons I shall afterwards ing the apostle's participles literally, his sentences and
ention, he hath made sufficient amends for these de- periods are tacked to one another in such a manner, that fects, by the excellence of his sentiments, the propriety they have neither beginning nor ending. (Col. i. 10, of his method, the real connexion which subsists in his 11, 12.) Wherefore, that the unlearned reader may not discourses, and the accuracy with which he has express- apprehend a connexion in the apostle's discourses diffeed himself on every subject.
rent from what really subsists in them, and that the true The transcendent excellence of the apostle Paul's sen. coherence and dependence of the several parts may aptiments, it is presumed, no reader of true judgment will pear, his participles should be translated so as to repredispute. But the method and connexion of his writings, sent the parts of the verb for which they are put." if some, perhaps, may call in question ; because, as I just this were done, the apostle's sentences and periods would now observed, he hath not adopted the method of com- stand forth in their just dimensions, and their relation to position used by the elegant Greeks. But, to remove the different parts of his discourse, as reasons for what this objection, and to illustrate, in the first place, the immediately precedes, or as illustrations of something apostle's method, I observe, that, in his doctrinal epistles more remote, or as new arguments in support of the especially, he always treats of some important article of principal proposition, would clearly appear; and, by this faith, which, though not formally proposed, is constantly means, the general plan of his discourse would emerge in his view, and is handled according to a preconceived from that obscurity in which it lies hid in the present plan, in which his arguments, illustrations, and conclu- translation. sions, are all properly arranged. This the intelligent But, in praising St. Paul for handling his subjects mereader will casily perceive, if, in studying any particular thodically, and for connecting his discourses on these epistle, he keeps the subject of it in his eye throughout. subjects by the sense of what he hath written rather than For thus he will be sensible, that the things written are by the words, lest I should be thought to ascribe to his all connected with the subject in hand, either as proofs compositions qualities which they do not possess, I menof what immediately goes before, or as illustrations of tion his first epistle to the Thessalonians as an example some proposition more remote; or as inferences from and proof of all that I have said. For, although ihe premises, sometimes expressed and sometimes implied; subject of that letter is not formally proposed, nor the or as answers to objections which, in certain cases, are method declared in which it is handled, nor the scope of not stated, perhaps because the persons addressed had the particular arguments pointed out, nor the objections often heard them proposed. Nay, he will find that, on mentioned to which answers are given, all these particusome occasions, the apostle adapts his reasoning to the lars are so plainly implied in the meaning of the things thoughts which he knew would, at that instant, arise in written, that an attentive reader can be at no loss to disthe mind of his readers, and to the answers which he cern them. In the same epistle, though no formal disforesaw they would make to his questions, though these play of the coherence of the sentiments be made by inanswers are not expressed. In short, on a just view of troducing them with the artificial couplings used by the Paul's epistles, it will be found that all his arguments elegant Greek writers, it does not occasion any confusion, are in point; that whatever incidental matter is intro- because the dependence of the several parts implied in duced, contributes to the illustration of the principal sub- the sense sufficiently supplies that want. ject; that his conclusions are well founded ; and that Yet, after all I have said in vindication of the apostle the whole is properly arranged.
for having neglected in his epistles the so much admired Next with respect to the connexion of the reasoning formality of the Grecian eloquence, I should not think I in the apostle's epistles, I acknowledge, that the want of had done him justice on this head, if I did not call the those forms of expression by which the learned Greeks reader's particular attention to the nature of his writings. displayed the coherence and dependence of their dis- None of them are treatises ; they are all letters to particu
lar churches or persons; some of them written in answer condemned by the lesser critics, are real beauties, as they to letters which he had received. Now, how essential render discourse more lively; on which account these irsoever a declared method and order in the disposition of regularities have been admitted, even by the best authors. the arguments, and a visible connexion of the parts of And, with respect to the few uncommon words and the discourse, may be in a regular treatise, these, in the phrases, to which the appellations of barbarisms and soleopinion of the best judges, are by no means necessary in cisms have been given, the reader ought to know, that the epistolary compositions. Rather, in that kind of wriling, best Greek authors have used the very same words and if there is order and connexion, to conceal it is esteemed phrases, which, if they are not commended as diversificaa perfection. Besides, letters differ from every other tions of the style, must, at least, be excused as inaccuraspecies of writing in this respect, that the persons to cies, flowing from the vivacity of these justly admired whom they are addressed being well acquainted with the writers, or from their attention to matters of greater moparticulars alluded to in them, the writer never thinks of ment. However, as Longinus hath long ago acknowentering into a minute detail of the characters, the cir- ledged, (c. 30.) one of the beautiful passages and sublime cumstances, and the opinions of the persons concerning thoughts found in the works of these great masters, is sufwhom, or to whom, he writes. Yet the knowledge of ficient to atone for all their faults. these things is absolutely necessary to render letters in But if the ablest critics judge in this favourable mantelligible to strangers. Hence, as Lord Shaftesbury, ner of the celebrated writers of antiquity, on account of speaking of letter-writing, justly observes, Miscell. i. c. 3. their many excellencies, surely the same indulgence can.
They who read an epistle or satire of Horace, in some not be denied to the apostle Paul, whose merit as a wriwhat better than a mere scholastic relish, will compre- ter, in many respects, is not inferior to theirs. For I will hend, that the concealment of order and method in this venture to affirm, that in elegance, variety, and strength manner of writing makes the chief beauty of the work. of expression, and even in sublimity of thought, many They will own, that unless a reader be in some measure of his passages will bear to be set in competition with the apprized of the characters of an Augustus, a Mecænas, most almired of theirs, and will suffer nothing by the a Florus, and a Trebatius, there will be little relish in comparison. The truth is, where the apostle's subject those satires, addressed, in particular, to the courtiers, leads him to it, he not only expresses himself with deliministers, and great men of the times.” If these obser- cacy and energy, but often rises to the true sublime, vations are just, it is no blemish, but rather a beauty, through the grandeur of his sentiments, the strength of in the apostle's letters, that his method is concealed. his language, and the harmoniousness of his periods, not Neither ought they to be found fault with for their ob- industriously sought after, but naturally flowing from the scurity ; seeing, in many instances, it is owing to our fervour and wisdom of that divine spirit by which he was ignorance of the characters of the persons he mentions, inspired. and of the facts and circumstances to which he alludes. In support of what I have advanced in praise of St. At the same time, his epistles are not more irregular, or Paul as an author, I mention the following passages, as more ohscure, at least in their matter, than many of the unquestionable examples of beautiful and sublime writepistles and satires of Horace. So that the assistance of ing.—The greatest part of his epistle to the Ephesians, commentators is not more needed for interpreting the concerning which Grotius has said, that "it expresses the writings of the inspired apostle, than for understanding grand matters of which it treats in words more sublime the compositions of the elegant Latin poet.
than are to be found in any human tongue:"-His Having made these remarks on the method and con- speech to the inhabitants of Lystra, Acts xiv., in which nexion of the apostle Paul's epistles, it remains, in the the justest sentiments concerning the Deity are expressed second place, that I speak concerning his style. And in such a beautiful simplicity of language, as must strike here I observe, in general, that it is concise and unadorn- every reader of taste :-His oration to the Athenian maed; yet, if I judge rightly, its conciseness adds to its en- gistrates and philosophers assembled in the Areopagus, ergy, and even to its beauty. For, instead of multiply- wherein he describes the character and state of the true ing synonymous terms, unmeaning epithets, and jarring God, and the worship that is due to him, in the most elemetaphors, whereby style becomes turgid and empty, the gant language, and with the most exquisite address, Acts apostle scarcely evor admits any thing superfluous. His xvii. :-His charge to the elders of Ephesus, (Acts xx.), words, for the most part, are well chosen; many of them which is tender and pathetic in the highest degree :-His are emphatical, and properly placed in the sentence, as different defences before the Roman governors, Felix and by a master's hand ; some of them are new, and others Festus, king Agrippa and Bernice, the tribunes and of them are admirably compounded ; so that they add great ladies of Cesarea, who were all struck with admira
oth to the sound and to the sense of the sentence. His tion at the apostle's eloquence :- His description of the epithets commonly mark the principal quality or circum- engagement between the flesh and the spirit, with the stance of the idea to which they are adjected; and his ex issue of that conflict, Rom. vii.:-The whole of the pressions, in some instances, are so delicately turned, as eighth chapter of his epistle to the Romans, in which both to suggest sentiments which are not directly marked by the sentiments and the language, especially towards the the words; whereby an opportunity is afforded to the close, are transcendently sublime :-The fifteenth chapreader to exercise his own ingenuity, in discovering that ter of his first epistle to the Corinthians, where he treats more is mcant than meets his ear. In short, there are, of the resurrection of the dead, in a discourse of considerin the apostle's concise language, virtues which make able length, adorned with the greatest variety of rhetor amends for the want of the vivid colouring, the flowing rical figures, expressed in words aptly chosen, and beauticopiousness, and the varied cadences of the Grecian elo- fully placed ; so that in no language is there to be found quence. Even those oriental forms of speech used by the a passage of equal length, more lively, more harmonious, apostle, which have been blamed by one or two of the or more sublime :--The last four chapters of his second fathers who were not skilled in the Hebrew, though ac- epistle to the Corinthians, which are full of the most decompanied with some obscurity at tirst view, when under- licate ironies on the false teacher who had set himself up stood, add to the pleasure of the reader by their energy, at Corinth as the apostle's rival, and on the faction who and by the variety which they occasion in the style. The doated on that impostor :- 1 Tim. vi. 6–12. ; a passage change, too, of the person, and the sudden transition from admirable, both for the grandeur of the sentiment and for the one number to the other, often found in Paul's writ- the elegance of the language :—The whole eleventh chapings, though violations of the rules of grammar loudly ter of his epistle to the Hebrews, and the first six verses
of the twelfth chapter of the same epistle ; with many are commonly expressed, either in the clause which gocs other passages which might be mentioned, in which we before, or in that which follows, and the scope of his find an eloquence superior to any thing exhibited in pro- reasonings leads to the propositions omitted ; yet these, fane authors.
for the most part, escape ordinary readers, so that his style, There are other passages, likewise, in Paul's epistles, upon the whole, is difficult and obscure. of a narrower compass, concerning which I hazard it as There are other peculiarities also, which render the my opinion, that in none of the celebrated writers of apostle's style dark; such as, that on some occasions he Grecce or of Rome, are there periods in wlrich we find hath inverted the order of his sentences, and used the greater sublimity of thought, or more propriety, beauty, same words in the same sentence, in different senses. and even melody of language. This every reader of taste Nay, he has affixed to many of his terms, significations will acknowledge, who takes the pains to consult the fol- quite different from what they have in profane authors ; lowing passages in the original.-Romans xi. 33. O the because, as Locke justly observes, the subjects of which depth both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!' &c. he treats were absolutely new, and the doctrines which he which doxology to the true God is superior, both in sen teaches were perfectly remote from all the notions which timent and language, to the most celebrated hymns of the mankind then entertained. In short, these peculiarities greatest of the heathen poets in praise of their divinities. of style have thrown such an obscurity upon many pas-2 Cor. iv. 17, 18. •For the present light thing of our sages of Paul's writings, that persons tolerably skilled in affliction, which is but for a moment,' &c.--Ch. v. 14. the Greek language will understand the compositions of * For the love of Christ constraineth us,' &c.—vi. 4-11. Demosthenes, Isocrates, or any other standard prose writer • In all things approving ourselves as the ministers of among the Greeks, more readily than the epistles of the God,' &c.-Philip. iii. 18. * For many walk,' &c.— apostle Paul. Ephes. i. 19. What is the exceeding greatness of his Let it be acknowledged then, that, in general, Paul's power,' &c. In which last period there is such an accu- ordinary style is not polished and perspicuous, but rather mulation of strong expression as is scarcely to be found harsh and obscure ; nevertheless, in avoiding the studied in any profane author.—1 Tim. vi. 15. where there is a perspicuity and prolixity of the Grecian eloquence, and description of God, which, in sublimity of sentiment and in adopting a concise and unadorned style in his epistles, beauty of language, exceeds all the descriptions given of he is, I think, fully justified by the following considerathe Supreme Being by the most famed of the heathen tions. philosophers or poets. Other periods also might be pro In the first place, a concise unadorned style in preachduced, in which, as in those just now mentioned, there ing and writing, though accompanied with some obscuare no unnatural rants, nor great swelling words of va- rity, was, in the apostle's situation, preferable to the clear nity ; but a real grandeur of sentiment, and an energy and elegant manner of writing practised by the Grecian of diction, which directly strike the heart.
orators. For, as he himself tells us, it was intended by Upon the whole, I heartily agrce with Beza in the ac Christ to make the world sensible that the conversion of count which he hath given of the apostle Paul as a wri- mankind was accomplished, neither by the charms of ter, 2 Cor. x. 6. note, where he says, " When I more speech, nor by the power of sounds, nor by such argunarrowly consider the whole genius and character of ments as a vain philosophy was able to furnish, but by Paul's style, I must confess that I have found no such those great and evident miracles which accompanied the sublimity of speaking in Plato himself, as often as the first preaching of the gospel, and by the suitableness of apostle is pleased to thunder out the mysteries of God; its doctrines to the necessities of mankind ;-facts, which no exquisiteness of vehemence in Demosthenes equal to it is of the greatest importance for us, in these latter ages, his, as often as he had a mind either to terrify men with to be well assured of. 1 Cor. i. 17. • Christ sent me a dread of the divine judgments, or to admonish them to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of speech, that the concerning their conduct, or to allure them to the con cross of Christ might not be made ineffectual.'-1 Cor. templation of the divine benignity, or to excite them to the ii. 4. My discourse and my preaching was not with duties of piety and morality. In a word, not even in the persuasive words of human wisdom, but with the deAristolle himself, nor in Galen, though most excellent monstration of the Spirit, and of power. 5. That your artists, do I find a more exact method of teaching." faith might not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the
But though with Beza I acknowledge that Paul was power of God.' capable of all the different kinds of fine writing ; of the In the second place, the obscure manner of writing simple, the pathetic, the ironical, the vehement, and the used by the apostle Paul, though the natural effect of his sublime ; and that he hath given admirable specimens of own comprehensive genius, may have been designed for these several kinds of eloquence in his sermons and epis- the very purpose of rendering some of his passages diffitles, I would not be understood to mean that he ought, cult, that, by the pains necessary to the right understandupon the whole, to be considered either as an elegant oring of them, their meaning, when found, might enter the as an eloquent writer. The method and connexion of deeper into his reader's mind. This use of obscurity his writings are too much concealed to entitle him to these was thought of such importance anciently, that the most appellations; and his style in general is neither copious celebrated teachers of religion concealed their doctrines nor smooth. It is rather harsh and difficult, through the under fables, and allegories, and enigmas, in order to vehemence of his genius, which led him frequently to render them the more venerable, and to excite more use that dark form of expression called, by rhetoricians, strongly the curiosity of their disciples. Of this the elliptical; to leave some of his sentences, and even of his Egyptian priests were famous examples. So also was arguments, incomplete ; and to mention the first words Plato; for his theological, and even some of his moral only of the passages which he hath quoted from the Old writings, are often more obscure than Paul's, or than the Testament, though his argument requires that the whole writings of any of the sacred authors whatever. The be taken into view. These peculiarities, it is true, are obscurity of the Scriptures may likewise have been infound in the most finished compositions of the Greeks; tended to make the exercise of honesty, impartiality, and and though they appear harsh, are real excellencies; as care, necessary in studying the revelations of God. For they diversify the style, render it vigorous, and draw the though it hath been alleged, that the professed design reader's attention. But they occur much more seldom of a revelation from God being to instruct all mankind in their writings than in Paul's. And although the in matters of religion, the terms in which it is conveyed words that are wanting to complete the apostle's sentences ought to be perspicuous and level to the capacity of all;
yet if the improvement of their understanding be as es chief passages of the evangelical histories and apostolical sential to the happiness of rational creatures, destined to cpistles, in which the doctrines, precepts, and promises of live eternally, as the improvement of their affections, the the gospel are recorded. These were the charter on obs. urity of revelation may be necessary to a certain de- which all their hopes were founded, the lights by which
In the present life, indeed, men's happiness arises they guided themselves in every situation, and the only more from the exercise of their affections than from the source of their consolation under the sufferings brought operations of their understanding. But it may not be on them by the profession of the gospel. We cannot be so in the life to come.
There the never-ending employ. much mistaken, therefore, in supposing, that persons were ment of the blessed may be to search after truth, and to chosen to be the penmen of the Scriptures, who, followunfold the ways and works of God, not in this system ing the bent of their own genius, should write, in the alone, but in other systems which shall be laid open to concise and apparently unconnected manner above detheir view, If so, it must be an important part of our scribed, on purpose that the most useful passages of these education for eternity to gain a permanent and strong divinely inspired compositions might be coinmitted to relish of truth, and to acquire the talents necessary for memory with the greater ease. For thus the more ininvestigating it; particularly the habit of attending to telligent brethren could not only make these passages the and comparing things; of observing accurately their subjects of their own daily meditation, but also repeat minutest agreements and differences; and of drawing the them to others, whose memories were not so retentive, or proper conclusions from such matters as fall under our who were not able to purchase copies of the Scriptures, observation. Hence, to afford scope for acquiring these or who perhaps could not have read them although postalents, so necessary to the dignity and happiness of sesscd of them; but who, by hearing them often repeated, reasonable beings, the nice mechanism and admirable con could commit them to memory, and derive great profit trivance of the material fabric of the universe is veiled from them. from the eyes of men ; and they are not allowed to behold Even at this day the common people reap the same it, but in consequence of accurate and laborious researches advantage from the concise and seemingly unconnected For the same reason, the system of grace is set before us form in which the sacred oracles are written. For whether in the books of revelation, covered with a veil; that, in they read thein, or hear them read, the nervous sentences the removing of that veil, and in penetrating into the and striking passages with which these divinely inspired meaning of the Scriptures, we may have an opportunity writings abound, engrave themselves so deeply in the of exercising and strengthening the faculties of our minds, people's minds, that they often occur to their thoughts, and of acquiring those habits of attention, recollection, both as matter of consolation under the troubles of life, and reasoning, which are absolutely necessary to the em and as motives and rules of conduct in the various situaplayinents and enjoyments of the other world. Thus the tions wherein they are placed. obscurily of the Scriptures, instead of counteracting, evi. The foregoing remarks on the apostle Paul's manner dently co-operates with the general design of revelation, of writing, and the reasonings by which I have en. and demonstrates, that the books of nature and of grace deavoured to vindicate him for using the concise obscure have come from one and the same author, the Eternal God, style in his epistles, I have ventured to lay before the the Father of the universe.
reader ; because, if they are well founded, every person In the third place, the concise manner in which the of taste and judgment will acknowledge that these epistles apostle hath written his epistles may have been designed in their present form, are much better calculated for the to render them short, that they might be transcribed and instruction of the world, than if they had been attired in purchased at a small expense, and by that means become all the splendour of the Grecian eloquence, whose brightof more general use. What advantage this must have ness might have dazzled the imagination of the vulgar for been to the disciples in the early ages may easily be con a liule, but could neither have enlightened their underceived, when it is recollected, that anciently there were standing, nor have made any lasting impression on their no books but such as were written with the pen. For, heart. This I say, because it is well known to the critics, if books so written were of any bulk, being necessarily that the style in writing which is esteemed most elegant of great price, they could not be procured by the lower derives its chief excellence from the frequent use of meclasses of mankind, for whose use St. Paul's epistles were taphors and allusions, which, though they may charm principally designed.
the learned, are of no value in the eye of the illiterate, In the fourth place, although the want of those nicely who cannot apply them to their proper counterparts. formed transitions, connexions, and recapitulations, by Whatever delight, therefore, such latent beauties may which the different parts of the elegant writings of the give to those who can unfold them, to the vulgar they are Greeks are united and formed into one whole or perfect little better than a picture to a blind man ; for which reabody of discourse, hath given to the apostle's epistles such son the apostle, with great propriety, hath, for the most a miscellaneous appearance, that the reader is apt to con- part, neglected them. sider them as desultory compositions, like those of Epic I shall now conclude the present essay with the followtetus and Marcus Antoninus ; and although, by this ing observation concerning the Scriptures in general ; means, the most important passages of his writings have namely, that as these writings were designed for all manthe form of aphorisms, it is, perhaps, no real disadvantage, kind, and were to be translated into every language, it because, on that very account, these passages may be the may justly be doubted, whether, in such compositions, more easily commitied to memory, even by persons who any great benefit could have been derived to the world have not learned to read.
from beauties which depend on a nice arrangement of This leads me to remark, that the case with which the words, on the rhythms and cadences of periods, and on the most striking passages of the apostolical epistles may be just application of the various figures of speech frequently committed to memory, through their apparent want of con- introduced. Elegancies of that kind are generally lost nexion, hath rendered them in all ages highly profitable in translations, being like those subtle essences which fly to the common people, for whose use principally they off when poured out of one vessel into another. And were intended, and more especially to the primitive Chris even though some of these delicate beauties might have tians. For in that age, when men were so captivated been retained in what is called a free translation, ye with the gospel, that, on account of it, they parted with that advantage must have been purchased often at the ex. every thing most dear to them, we may believe they would pense of the inspired writer's meaning, such a translation spend much of their time in committing to memory the of the word of God never could have been appealed to
as an infallible standard for determining controversies in method the author has adopted, to prevent the necessity religion, or for regulating men's practice; because it of repeating the same proof on every new occasion where would have exhibited the translator's private opinion, it might be wanted, rather than the mind of the Spirit of God. (See Gen. In examining the following remarks, the reader is dePref. page 11.) Whereas, to have the very words, as sired to recollect, that the native language of the writers nearly as possible, in which the revelations of God were of the New Testament was the Hebrew, or Syro-Chaldaic. originally delivered, set forth in literal translations, was For these authors, following the idiom of their mother the only method of extending the benefit of revelation, as tongue, naturally affixed to some of the Greek words and an infallible rule of faith and practice, to men of all na- phrases which they have used, the senses of the correstions. The Spirit of God, therefore, wisely ordered, that ponding Hebrew words and phrases. Hence the Hethe excellence of the Scriptures should consist, neither in braism8 found in the New Testament, which the lesser their being written in the Attic purity of the Greek tongue, critics have so loudly condemned, as was observed in the nor in their being highly ornamented with those flowers essay on St. Paul's style. Allowing, therefore, that the and graces of speech, whose principal virtue consists in evangelists and apostles have introduced Hebrew forms pleasing the imagination and in tickling the ear, but in of expression into their Greek writings, the following rethe truth and importance of the things written, and in a marks ought not to be considered as ill-founded, on presimplicity of style suited to the gravity of the subjects; tence that they are not applicable to the Greek language or in such an energy of language as the grandeur of the in its classical purity. Some critics, indeed, anxious to thoughts naturally suggested. Excellencies of this sort defend the reputation of the apostles as writers, have eneasily pass from one language into another, while the deavoured to produce, from the best Greek authors, meretricious ornaments of studied elegance, if in the least phrases similar to those in the inspired writings which displaced, as they must be when translated, wholly disap- have been most blamed. But the attempt, I think, might pear.
have been spared. For although the Hebraisnis in the This being the case, I appeal to every reader of sound New Testament are fewer than some fastidious critics judgment, whether Lord Shaftesbury and the deists speak have supposed, the best judges have allowed that there sense when they insinuate, that, because the Scriptures are, in these books, words and phrases which can be callwere dictated by the Spirit of God, they ought through- ed by no other name than Hebraisms, as the following reout to surpass all human writings in beauty of composi- marks will clearly evince. tion, elegance of style, and harmoniousness of periods. N. B.—The examples from Scripture which are markThe sacred oracles were not designed, as works of genius, ed with an asterisk (*), are taken from the common to attract the admiration of the learned, nor to set before English version. them a finished model of fine writing for their imitation;
VERBS. but to turn mankind from sin to God. For which purpose, the graces of a florid, or even of a melodious style, 1. Active VERBS.—The Hebrews used active vernis to were certainly of little value, in comparison of those more express the agent's design and attempt to do a thing, solid excellencies of sentiment and language, whereby though the thing designed or attempted did not take place. the Scriptures have become the power of God unto sal. Exod. viii. 18. “ And the magicians did so (attempted to vation to all who believe them, and will continue to be so do so) with their enchantments, to bring forth lice, but till the end of time. We may therefore in this, as in they could not.” Deut. xxviii. 68. Ye shall be sold every other instance, affirm with our apostle, that "the (set to sale) and no man shall buy you.” Ezek. xxiv. foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness 13. “ Because I have purged (attempted to purge) thee,” of God is stronger than men,” i Cor. i. 25.; and may namely, by instructions, reproofs, &c. “and thou wast with understanding ascribe to God, only wise, the glory not purged.” Matt. xvii. ii. “ Elias truly cometh first, that is due to him, on account of the admirable contrive and restoreth all things;"* that is, attempteth to restore ance of his Word.
all things. Gal. v. 4. « Whosoever of you are justified
(that is, seek to be justified) by the law, ye are fallen from ESSAY IV.
grace."* Phil. j. 15. ("Oru reusi). * As many as are On Translating the Greek Language used by the Wri- make him (we endeavour to make him) a liar.”. 1 John
« We (that is, as would be) perfect.”* 1 John i. 10. ters of the New Testament.
ii. 26. “These things I have written concerning them In the translation of the apostolical epistles now offers that deceive you;"* that is, who endeavour to deceive ed to the public, important alterations are made in the you. See also chap. v. 10. meaning of many passages of Scripture, which are not sup 2. The Hebrews used active verbs to denote simply ported in the notes. The author, therefore, has judged it the effect of the action expressed. Isa. Ixi. 1. Quaesitus necessary to submit to his readers a number of observa sum ab iis qui me non petebant. In this passage que.. tions on the Greek language, and on some of its particles, rere and petere, according to the ordinary signification of as used in the inspired writings, whereby the alterations these words, are evidently the same. And yet St. Paul, which he hath made in the translation of these writings, quoting the passage, rightly expresses it, Rom. x. 20. he bopes, will appear to be well-founded.
"I was found of them that sought me not." John xvi. His remarks the author hath made in the following 5. “None of you asketh me, whither goest thou;” none order :-). On the Verbs. II. On the Voices, Modes, of you knoweth whither I am going; for Peter bad exand Tenses of the Verb. III. On the Participles, Nouns, pressly asked that question, chap. xiii. 36. I Cor. viii. Pronouns, and Articles. IV. On the Particles, ranged 12. “But thus sinning against the brethren (x24 TUTTONin the order of the alphabet. The senses which he hath Tes, and beating, that is), and hurting their weak conaffixed to each particle he hath supported by passages sciences (for hurting is the effect of beating), ye sin both from the Scriptures and from the Greek classics, against Christ." where they are used in these senses. And as often as in 3. Active Verbs, in some cases, were used by the Hethe new translation any uncommon sense is given to a brews to express, not the doing of the thing said to be Greek word, that word is inserted in the translation, that, done, but simply the declaring that it is done, or that it by turning to the part of this essay where it is handled, shall be done. Thus, both in the Hebrew and in the the reader may judge whether the sense affixed to it is Septuagint translation of Levit. xiii. 6. 8. 11. 13. 17. sufficiently warranted by its use in other passages. This 20. &c., the priest is said to cleanse and to pollute ; but