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him in conversation a source of interesting entertain. It is true, that to be perspicuous and intelligible to the ment. These proofs of respect and attachment have laid most illiterate of his audience, ought to be always the his family under perpetual obligation; and gratitude for- chief object of a preacher. But this may be accomplished bids, that any account of him should be given to the with a strict adherence to purity of language; and it world without an acknowledgment of the friendly as must be confessed, that the difficulty is great of frequently siduities which cheered and supported his declining employing familiar expressions, without descending from years.
that propriety which is indispensable to the dignity of the The disease which terminated his life was the Peri- pulpit. It may be added, that his inexhaustible variety pneumonia Notha, occasioned by an incautious exposure of thought and expression in prayer, bespoke a mind to the severity of the weather, about the end of Decem- richly stored with religious ideas, and at once surprised ber, 1799. This distemper, in its progress and issue, re and delighted those who regularly attended his ministry, sisted the ablest and most assiduous efforts of medical When engaged, either in private controversy or in skill. During his illness, his mind was composed, tran- the public debates of the church courts, he was always quil, and resigned; he never complained ; and on the remarkable for speaking strictly to the point at issue. morning of the 13th of January, 1800, he expired with. He was likewise distinguished by coolness, discretion, out a struggle. As in the course of the preceding night and command of temper; he listened with patience to the he slept but little, the time was employed in hearing pas- arguments of his opponents, and in delivering his opinions, sages from the Psalms and Evangelists, which by his own he showed himself uniformly open, candid, and explicit. desire were read to him by one of his family. Thus, hav. At the same time, his talent was rather that of business ing spent his life in illustrating Scripture, and exerted the than of address; he appeared to be better fitted for delast efforts of his attention in listening with delight to its ciding on the merits of a question in debate, than for precious words of peace to the righteous, he may be truly soothing the passions or managing the humours of mansaid to have slept in Jesus.
kind—a qualification rarely possessed but by minds of a
superior order. On every occasion he thought and acted The character of a man whose life was devoted to a with the energy of a self-deciding upright mind. And single object of incessant study, can hardly be expected hence it is that all his writings evince the sentiments of to afford scope for much variety of delineation. Perhaps a masculine independent spirit, uninfluenced by authority, the circumstances which have been related, sufficiently and unfettered by prejudice. indicate its prominent features ; and we might leave the Nor was his praise merely that of professional excelconsideration of it with observing, that it was strongly lence. On various subjects his range of knowledge was inarked by vigour, firmness, good sense, and unbending ample and profound. Thus his taste for classical literaintegrity. Yet we shall find, on a near inspection, that ture was early formed. He perused the writers of antiit is not unworthy of being contemplated more minutely; quity with critical skill; and of his acquaintance with the because it exhibits some traits of professional virtue, on Greek language, especially the original of the New Teswhich the mind may, for a little, dwell with pleasure and tament, his observations on the force of the particles, in advantage. Such examples in real life illustrate the ex- his commentary, are a sufficient proof. In the specucellence of pure religion; and it is with peculiar interest lations, also of metaphysical, moral, and mathematical that we read descriptions which make us familiarly ac science, he was a considerable proficient. The fact is, his quainted with those who have contributed, by their la- powers were such as might have been turned with advanbours, to the instruction or the consolation of mankind. tage to any department of knowledge or learning.
As a clergyman, the sentiments and conduct of Dr. It may further be noticed, that in conducting the MACKNIGHT were equally characterized by consistence ordinary affairs of life he displayed uncommon prudence and propriety. In the discharge of every public and pri- and sagacity. He was one of those who are generally vate duty of religion, with a constant reliance on divine attentive to small concerns, but on proper occasions show aid, he was regular and steady. He knew and felt what themselves liberal to a high degree. Of this different became the sacred office which he held ; and never de- instances occurred in the course of his transactions with parted on any occasion from the dignity or decorum of his friends; and he was enabled to act on such a prinhis professional character. Having given himself wholly ciple of generosity by his usual habits of economy and to the meditation of divine things, he continued in them: prudence. Dr. MACKNIGHT's external appearance was In the work of his Master he was steadfast and fuithful sufficiently expressive of his character. His countenance to the end. His piety
was at once sincere, rational, and was manly and commanding, and his gait remarkably without ostentation. To be useful in the cause of truth erect and firm, and virtue, was his highest ambition: and with all the means of attaining this end, which the resources of a well AGREEABLY to the plan of this sketch, any critical informed and liberal mind could supply, he united a zeal account of Dr. MACKNIGHT's works cannot with propriety for the interests of Christianity, that terminated only with be given here. It may only be observed, in general, that his life.
his reputation for sound criticism, extensive knowledge, In that branch of the pastoral office which is called and clear elucidation of the sacred writings, is rapidly inlecturing, his learning and ability were much admired, creasing amongst Christians of every denomination; and and never failed to please, as well as to instruct and edify, he must be acknowledged to have been one of the most in a degree which has seldom been equalled. As a preach- intelligent, judicious, and candid expositors of the Scriper, also, without pretensions to the graces of elocution, he tures that ever appeared. Even during his own lifetime had a certain earnestness of manner, evidently proceeding his diligence was rewarded by an ample portion of refrom the heart, and from a sincere anxiety to be useful, spectable fame. The “Harmony of the Gospels” has which always commanded the attention, and excited the long been esteemed a work of standard excellence for the interest of the hearers. In doctrine he showed uncorrupt- students of evangelical knowledge. His “ Truth of the 72c88, gravity, sincerity; his sentiments were just, ener- Gospel History" has hitherto attracted the notice of the getic, and impressive; and his constant object was to press public less than any of his other productions : but it on the minds of his people the truths necessary for the well deserves to be more generally read, since, of what it correction of vice, and the advancement of piety, know- proposes to establish, it contains the most satisfying views ledge, and goodness. With this view he may be said to that can be suggested by learning, acuteness, and good have affected a greater than usual plainness of diction. sense, and is admitted by the best of judges to be a per
formance as useful and instructive as any we have on that tifying to Dr. MACKNIGHT. Among his friends of this important subject.
description, there were two for whom he entertained a *The Commentary on the Apostolical Epistles' is now peculiar esteem; and each of them had an opportunity held in peculiar estimation ; and it may be doubted whe- of paying a public tribute of regard to his memory, ther the scope of the sacred authors of these writings was in the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, ever, in any former age of Christianity, so fully, clearly, which ought not to pass unrecorded. Principal Hall, and happily stated, as has been done by Dr. MACKNIGHT with that impressive and dignified eloquence which has in the general Views and Illustrations which he has pre- long been celebrated as having a powerful influence on fixed to the several Chapters of the Epistles.—In this the decisions of the Assembly, characterized him as “a able, judicious, and learned Work, the Author's method venerable Father, who ranked among the most eminent of explaining the Scriptures is everywhere employed with Divines that the Church of Scotland has produced; who the greatest success. His object was to discover the often spoke in this House with great ability, and promeaning of the inspired writers in difficult passages, from found knowledge of the subject on which he delivered a comprehensive view of all the circumstances to which his opinion; who was a master in our Israel, concerning they allude, without regard to interpretations of mere all points of ecclesiastical law; and by whose theological human authority. Hence, although on principle attach- labours, conducted during a long life with unremitting ed to the established standards of the Church of Scotland, assiduity, and directed to the most valuable objects, all he did not conceive it as any advantage to the system of us now daily profit.”—To Dr. Finlayson, of whose which he maintained, to urge in support of its peculiar firmness, sagacity, and accurate knowledge, he early apdoctrines every passage which zeal without knowledge preciated the future value to the Church, Dr. MacKnight may have employed for that purpose. Nothing, in fact, was strongly attached by a certain congeniality of mind; tends more to injure the cause of truth and religion than and he often had great pleasure in discussing various an injudicious appeal to Scripture ; or the attempt to subjects of his attention, with a friend so remarkable for establish opinions by the sanction of scriptural words or acuteness, judgment, and strength of intellect. It acpassages, quoted singly, without regard to what precedes corded with the sentiments of all his brethren, when Dr. or follows them, and thus invested with a meaning, more FINLAYSON, officially reporting to the Assembly the than probably, entirely different from what was intended death of Dr. MacKnight, as joint Collector of the Fund by the sacred writers. Of this mistaken application Dr. already mentioned, said, that" his deep learning, sound MACKNIGHT has shewn various instances ; remarking, judgment, and great respectability of character, had that when a doctrine is sufficiently established by any rendered him one of the brightest ornaments of our passage in which it is expressly or undoubtedly declared, Church." we only weaken it by any appeal to other passages, of which the application to that doctrine may be dubious, Soon after the time of his being ordained, Dr. Macor at best equivocal.
Accordingly it must be allowed, KNIGHt married ELIZABETH M CORMICK, eldest daughter that in this method of eliciting the true meaning of Scrip- of the worthy and respectable SAMUEL M CORMICK, Esq. ture, by a due respect to parallel passages, and the de- General Examiner of the Excise in Scotland—a lady sign of the whole context, the exposition and views whose humane and charitable character endeared her to which, with much sagacity of critical investigation, our the people in every parish where her husband has officiAuthor has given of Paul's Epistles, are extremely natu- ated as pastor ; and whose tender feelings of sympathy ral, acute, and sensible.
for distress, unwearied activity of benevolence, and conThe Life of the Apostle Paul, which concludes this stant anxiety to promote the happiness of all whom her Work, is an excellent compendium of the apostolical His- kind offices can reach, are still known, and will long be tory ; and may be considered as the Author's view and remembered with approbation in the circle where Provi. illustration of the Acts of the Apostles—the only part of dence has blessed her with opportunities of doing good. the New Testament writings (except the Revelation of St. By her Dr. MacKnight had four sons: The eldest, a John) to which the labours of Dr. MacKnight, as a Com- very promising child, died at the age of seven. Another mentator, were not directed.-In all his writings, his reached the age of thirty-three, after having suffered style, though unambitious of elegance or ornament, is much from a lingering distemper, which at last proved perspicuous, and appropriate to the subject.
fatal to him. The loss of this very amiable young man
was the chief distress which Dr. MACKNIGHT experienced Dr. MACKNIGHT enjoyed the friendship and esteem of in the course of his long and useful life. Of his family many eminent characters among his contemporaries of now remaining, one is engaged in a department of the the same profession. In the number of these were Dr. Profession of the Law, and the other is a Clergyman of Blair and Dr. Ro BEITSON, to whose attachment he the Church of Scotland. owed much on difierent occasions. If the portrait which has been given in this account is a faithful resemblance, Tais plain and cursory narrative, which must now be the name of him whom it represents may now be consi- brought to a close, is another proof of what has frequentdered as not unworthy to be associated, in future times, ly been remarked, that the history of men whose lives with those of the men in whose society, during his life- have been spent in the acquisitions of learning, are genetime, he had often the happiness of passing his hours, rally barren of those incidents which excite an interest in and whose works will live as the glory of Scottish lite- the details of biography.—Continually occupied with the rature, while civilization and refinement exist.
duties of his office, with his studies, and his writings, Dr. Dr. ERSKINE and Dr. Findlay had been the com MACKNIGHT seldom mingled in what may be called the paions of his early youth ; and although in bis opinions bustle of the world, and had no share in the political on some points of Church policy he differed from these transactions of the day. For engaging in these, indeed, venerable persons, so universally esteemed for piety and as already hinted, he was little qualified, either by the profound theological learning, their mutual regard con natural bent of his mind, or by his usual habits of life. tinued unaltered through life.
But he has left behind him a reputation superior to that From Lord Hailes he received many valuable hints which is conferred by the pursuits of ambition, or the relative to the early state of Christianity, of which he lustre of events creating only a temporary interest in the availed himself in his last Work.
passions of men ; and his name will probably be remem. The proofs of respect which he experienced from many bered with veneration, as long as the study of divine of his younger brethren in the Church, were highly gra- truth continues to be cultivated in the Christian world.
Tax New Translation of the Apostolical Epistles being cause it is in a language not materially different from that the principal part of the Work now offered to the Public, which our Lord and his apostles used, was held in great it will no doubt be expected, that the Author should give esteem, in the early ages, by all the eastern churches. the reasons which induced him to undertake a perform. But it was not known among us till the sixteenth cenance of this sort, after the many versions of the Scrip- tury, at which time it was brought into Europe from Igtures already published. The principles also on which natius, the patriarch of Antioch, by an eastern priest ; and this translation is formed must be explained, that the falling into the hands of Albert Widmanstad, he printed reader may understand in what respects it will differ from it at Vienna in the year 1555; since which it hath been other versions.—And as the commentary and notes, with well known to the learned in Europe, and well received the prefaces and essays, have greatly increased the size of by them all.* the Work, some account must be given of what is done The reasons which occasioned a Syriac Translation of in them towards explaining the meaning of the sacred the Scriptures to be made in the east, operated likewise oracles.
in producing a Latin translation of the same writings,
for the use of the Christians in the west. This is what Sect. I.- Of the Ancient Translations of the Scriptures ; has been called The old Italic Version, which as Mill and of their influence on the Modern Versions.
conjectures, (No. 308.), was made in the time of Pope
Pius I., that is, in the middle of the second century, With respect to the reasons which induced the author not long after the first Syriac version was made. In the to attempt a new translation of the apostolical epistles, he Italic version the New Testament was translated from acknowledges that the versions of the Scriptures used at the Greek, and the Old, not from the Hebrew, but from present by the different nations of Europe have been the Septuagint, which at that time was generally believed faithfully made, according to the skill of the persons who to have been made by inspiration, and was esteemed of made them; and that the common people who read any equal authority with the Hebrew itself. But the edition of these versions can be at no loss to know the funda- of the Septuagint from which it was made being very inmental articles the Christian faith. Nevertheless, a correct, Jerome, about the year 382, at the desire of Pope new translation of these divinely inspired writings can Damasus, translated the Old Testament into Latin from not be thought superfluous, unless it could be said with the LXX. as set forth in Origen's Ilexapla ; and, at the truth of some one of the versions extant, that it is every same time, corrected the Italic translation of the New where accurate, intelligible, and unambiguous. But this, Testament by the Greek. (See Mill, No. 852, 853.) it is supposed, no good judge will take upon him to affirm. In his preface, however, Jerome informs us, (No. 1356.)
The learned, in reading the ancient and modern ver that he corrected it only in those passages where he sions of the Scriptures, must be sensible that there is a thought the meaning of the Greek text was misrepreremarkable agreement among them, especially in their sented. The other passages, in which the deviations from translations of the difficult passages. Now, though at the original were of less importance, he suffered to refirst sight this may be thought a proof of their accuracy, main as he found them, that his might not appear to be the inference is by no means safe. That agreement may very different from the former edition of the Italic verhave proceeded, not from the justness of the translation, sion, which at that time was universally used. Afterbut from the subsequent translators treading in the steps wards, between the years 392 and 405, Jerome translated of those who went before them. And that they actually all the books of the Old Testament from the Hebrew.did so, will appear from what follows.
This second version, as well as his corrections of the During the first and following age, the disciples of Italic translation of the New Testament, being disapChrist being numerous in the countries where the Syriac proved by many of the bishops and learned men of that was the vulgar language, a translation of the writings of age, as lessening the credit of the old translation, a new the apostles and evangelists into that language became edition of the Italic version was compiled, in which its absolutely necessary, after the gift of tongues, and of translations of the Psalms, and of some other books of the interpretation of tongues, had ceased in the church. the Old Testament, were retained, (Simon, Hist. Crit. 1. Wherefore, a Syriac translation of the books of the New ii. c. 7.), and Jerome's second version of the rest was Testament was very early made, for the use of the Chris- adopted, together with his corrected translation of the tians in the east who did not understand the Greek New Testament. The Italic version of the Bible, thus This, with the Syriac translation of the Hebrew Scrip- modelled and amended, is what hath long been known tures, is what the Maronites, who use that translation, in the church by the name of The Vulgate. And though call The pure and ancient Syriac Version, (simplicem et at the first that edition was rejected by inany who adantiquam. Mill's Prolegomena, No. 1237. Kuster's hered to the Italic translation in its primitive form, yet edition.) But the Maronites speak without proof, when the prejudices of the public subsiding by degrees, it came they say a part of that version was made in the time of at length into such general esteem, that it was substituted Solomon, and the rest by Thaddeus, or some other of the in place of the Italic, which had been long publicly read apostles, in the time of Agbarus. It is certain, however, in the western churches, and in all the churches of Afthat the Syriac version of the New Testament is very ancient. For, from its wanting the second epistle of Peter, • Mill, by testimonies perfectly convincing, (No. 1237.), hath es. the second and third of John, the epistle of Jude, and the
tablished the antiquity and authenticity of the first Syriac version.
Afterwards, in the finth century, as is supposed, a second Syriac Revelation, and from some other marks of antiquity, translation of the Old Testament was made
from the Septuagint, as Walton and Mill with great probability infer, that it was
set forth in Origen's Hexapla, and of the New, according to Mill, made before the whole of the sacred writings were gene
from a Greek copy precisely the same with that from which the
Italic or Vulgate version was taken. But, for the reasons afterwards rally known; consequently, that it was made in the be to be mentioned, (page 2.), it is more probable that it was taken ginning of the second century. (See 2 Pet. Pref. Sect. I.)
from the Vulgate itself. In this second Syriac version, the epistles This Syriac version, on account of its antiquity, and be
wanting in the first, together with the history of the adulterese,
John viii. are translated.
rica ; (No. 546.) And thus the Vulgate became the only in the original languages. Nay, in times more enlightenversion of the Scriptures used in the Latin church, down ed, I mean about the beginning of the Reformation, to the times of the Reformation.
when Luther translated the New Testament into the Ger. The Italic translation of the New Testament having man language, and Tyndal into the English, and Olivebeen made from copies of the original, nearly as ancient tan into the French, though these excellent men are said as the apostolical age, the readings of these copies ex to have made their translations from the Hebrew and hibited in the Vulgate were considered as so authentic, Greek, it is more probable that they made them from the that in the fifth and following centuries, some of the Latin, and corrected them by the Greek. This was the transcripts of the Greek Testament were corrected by the case with Tyndal, as shall be shown afterwards. These Vulgate. In this manner the famous Alexandrian Ms. fathers of the Reformation, before their eyes were a little was corrected, if we may believe Wetstein, (See Pref. to opened, baving known no other word of God but the his Greek Testament), as likewise, according to Mill, Latin Bible, it was natural for them to follow it in their (No. 1457. 1479.), were the Vatican and the St. Ger translations, where the doctrine in dispute between them main copies ; and according to Kuster, some others. (See and the Papists did not interfere. The bigh esteem in his Preface.) Nay, Mill himself thought the readings of which the Vulgate version was held at that time, was the Vulgate so authentic, that he imagined certain pas strongly displayed by the fathers of the council of Trent, sages of our present Greek Testament might, by these many of them men eminent for their learning, when, in readings, be restored to what he calls their primitive in the fourth session, after enumerating the books of Scriptegrity ; (No. 1309. 133.) Be this as it may, if the ture, they decreed as follows: “If any person does not Vulgate edition of the Italic version was in such esteem esteem these books, with all their parts, as contained in as to be used anciently in correcting the Greek copies, we the Vulgate edition, to be Scriptures and canonical, let may well believe that the persons who translated the New him be anathema."# Then, to strengthen their decree, Testament into the Syriac the second time, and into the they added, “ That in all public readings, disputations, other eastern languages, would be much guided by the preachings, and expositions, the Vulgate edition of the Vulgate, or by the versions which followed it. Hence, Scriptures is to be held as authentic.” (Fra. Paolo's in the second Syriac, and other eastern versions, there is History of the Council of Trent.) It is true, the first such a surprising agreement with the Vulgate, that Mill reformers neither acknowledged the authority of the once thought them translations actually made from it; council, nor carried their respect for the Vulgate transla(No. 1249.) Afterwards, indeed, to give the greater au tion so far as to place it on an equality with the orithority to the readings of the Vulgate, he supposed the ginals; yet it was natural for them to follow that highly Greek copies, from which these oriental versions were esteemed ancient version, especially when they were at made, were the same with the copy from which the Italic any loss for the meaning of the Greek text. was taken ; (No. 1250.) But it can hardly be thought Beza, perhaps, may be thought an exception from this that these translators met with copies of the original ex. charge. He translated the New Testament into Latin, actly similar to that from which the Italic was made. The professedly to amend the Vulgate version. Yet any one general esteem in which that version first, and afterwards who compares' his translation with the Vulgate, will find the Vulgate, was held in the early ages, makes it more that, notwithstanding he hath corrected a number of its probable that the oriental versions copied the Italic, or faults, he hath often followed it in passages where it is Vulgate,* as the Italic itself seems to have been copied erroneous. Many of the Greek particles he hath transfrom, or correctedt by the first Syriac translation. What lated with more latitude than is done in the Vulgate. confirms this conjecture is, that the Saxon version of the Yet, having followed its uniform translations of the parfour gospels was made from the Italic, before it was ticles in other passages, he hath perpetuated, in his vercorrected by Jerome; (No. 1401.) This version was sion, a number of its errors. Besides, being deeply printed at London in the year 1571, by John Fox, the tinctured with the scholastic theology, by adopting the martyrologist, from a copy now in the Bodleian library. readings of the Vulgate which favoured that theology,
As most of the ancient translations of the New Testa (No. 1258.), and by strained criticisms, he hath made ment copied the Vulgate, it may be presumed that the texts express doctrines, which, though they may be true, persons who, in later limes, translated the inspired wri were not intended by the inspired writers to be set forth tings into the different European languages, made their in them: And thus, by presenting his favourite doctranslations from the Vulgate likewise. Accordingly, trines to the view of the reader, more frequently than is when Peter Waldus, in the year 1160, got the Gospels done in the Scriptures, he hath led the unlearned to lay and some other books of Scripture translated into the a greater stress on these doctrines than is done by the French language, and John Wickliff, in the year 1367, Spirit of God. Nor is this all; he hath mistranslated a translated the New Testament into English, these trans number of texts, for the purpose, as it would seem, of lations were not made from the originals, but from the establishing his peculiar doctrines, and of confuting his Vulgate. About that time, likewise, there were other opponents ;-—of all which examples shall be given aftervernacular translations of the Scriptures used in different wards. Farther, by omitting some of the original words, countries, which were all made from the Vulgate. (See and by adding others without any necessity, he hath in Simon, Hist. Crit. V. T. I. ii. c. 22.) Nor could they be otherwise made, very few in that age having any skill | The above decree may seem strange to those who know, that
before it was made, the edition of the Vulgate mentioned in it was
acknowledged by the fathers of the council to be exceedingly faulty, *If what is alleged above be true, namely, that the most ancient and to need much correction. Accordingly, after the council, Popo copies of the Greek Testament were corrected by the Vulgate, and Sixtus V. employed a number of learned men to compare the coin. that the Ethiopic, the second Syriac, the Arabic, and other orien. mon edition of the Vulgate with the best copies thereof. And they tal versions of the New Testament, were translations from the Vul. having finished their task, Sixtus published his corrected edition in gate, it will follow, that the readings of these ancient Mss, and ver.
the year 1999, and, by his bull prefixed to it, declared it to be that sions are to be cousidered in no other light than as the readings of which the council of Trent held as anthentic. Nevertheless, the the Vulgate. The same judgment must be passed on the readings succeeding Popes endeavoured to suppress this edition, as inaccuof the Saxon version, for it was made from the Vulgate. Where. rate and imperfect. And, in the year 1592, Pope Clement vin. fore, though at first sight the agreement of so many MSS. and ver. published a new edition, which not only differs from that of Sixtus, sions, in any reading, may seem to and weight to that reading, yet, but in many places is directly contrary to it; as Dr. Thomas Jaunes, in so far as these MSS. were corrected by the Vulgate, and the ver keeper of the Bodleian library, who compared the two editions, sions mentioned were made from it, their agreement in that read hath shown in a book which he entitled, "The Papal War. See ing is of less consequence, as the authority of the whole resolves Lewis's Complete listory, 24 Edit. p. 288. itself ultimately into that of the Vulgate.
$ In the following texts Beza has adopted the erroneous transla1 The agreement of the Italic with the first Syriac is shewn by lion of the Vulgate: Rom. i. 17. 2 Cor. ix. 4. Eph. ii. 10. Heb. x. Beza in many passages of his notes.
15-18. 1 Pet. ii. 8. iv. 6.
his translation perverted, or at least darkened some pas ing to explain it. This method is followed, not only in sages; so that, to speak impartially, his translation is the Vulgate, but in the Coptic or Egyptian version, which neither literal, nor faithful, nor perspicuous. Neverthe- is supposed to have been made in the fifth century (No. less, Beza having acquired great fame, both as a linguist 1509).-Some words of the text the ancient translators and a divine, the learned men who afterwards translated have omitted, either because they were wanting in their the New Testament, for the use of the reformed churches, copies, or because they did not know how to translate were too much swayed by his opinions.
them. Other words § they translated erroneously. BeSince then, the first translators of the Scriptures were cause, although there are many elliptical expressions, esconsidered as patterns, and copied by those who succeeded pecially in the epistles, the ancient translators have selthem, to judge whether the versions of the New Testa dom supplied the words necessary to complete the sense ; ment, hitherto published, stand in need of amendment, it by which neglect their versions are often dark, and somewill be proper to inquire a little into the character and times erroneous.I In other passages, they have added qualifications of the first translators of these inspired writ words and clauses without any necessity. Nay, some ings. It is true, neither their names, nor any particulars passages they have translated in such a manner as to conby which we might have judged of their learning and vey no meaning at all, or meanings extremely absurd.* ability, are preserved in the history of the church. Yet Above all, the unskilfulness of the ancient translators apboth may be estimated by the well-known characters of pears in their assigning the same meaning to the same their contemporaries, whose writings still remain; parti- particle,tt almost everywhere, notwithstanding the Greek cularly Tatian, Irenæus, and Tertullian; and by the charac particles have very different significations, especially as ters and talents of the Christian writers of the ages im they are used by the sacred writers. mediately following ; such as Origen, Chrysostom, Jerome, The qualifications of the ancient translators of the and others. These ancient writers, however learned in Scriptures, and the character of their versions, being other respects, were not well acquainted with the inean such as the author hath described, it is easy to see that ing of the Scriptures, nor free from the prejudices of the there must be many faults in them. Yet they are not age in which they lived. This appears from the writings such as to authorize Moshein's harsh censure of the of the three first mentioned fathers, in which we find them Vulgate in particular; naniely, that "it abounds with misinterpreting particular passages, for the purpose of es. innumerable gross errors, and in many places exhibits a tablishing their own erroneous tenets. In like manner the striking barbarity of style, and the most impenetrable ole three last mentioned ancients, in their writings, have per- scurity with respect to the meaning of the sacred writers.". verted a number of texts, to support the doctrines of pur. The barbarisms and obscurities of its style proceeded from gatory and celibacy, and to bring monkery, and rigid its being a strict literal translation : and with respect to its fasting, and other bodily mortifications into vogue; and to errors, though some of them may have been occasioned, confirm the people in their superstitious practice of wor- partly by the carelessness of transcribers, and partly by shipping angels and departed saints ;* all which cor wrong readings in the copy from which it was made, the ruptions had then taken place in the church. We find far greatest part of them have originated in the unskilfulthese fathers, likewise, misinterpreting passages without ness of the authors of the Italic translation, of which the any particular design. Of this number was Origen, as Vulgate is a transcript. I say authors, because, accordmay be seen in his exposition of the epistle to the Ro ing to Mill, it was made by different hunds, and at difmans. Even Jerome hiinself was not faultless in the ferent times. Yet, with all its faults, the Vulgate is a respects above mentioned, as shall be shown in the valuable work ; as it hath preserved much of the beautiful author's notes on Gal. ii. 11. iii. 16.; not to mention, that simplicity of the original, and in many passages its transin his criticisms on St. Paul's style he hath discovered lations are more just than those in some of the modern that he was not well acquainted with the use and pro versions. priety of the Greek language.t Wherefore, though we Upon the whole, since most of the ancient translators do not know who were the first translators of the New of the Scriptures, on account of the antiquity and reputaTestament, we may believe that they were not more in- tion of the Italic, or Vulgate version, have followed it, telligent, nor more skilful in the Scriptures, than their not indeed in its manifest absurdities, but in many of its contemporaries, whose writings still remain; consequently, less apparent mistranslations, and since the subsequent that they were not perfectly qualified for making an ac translators have generally copied the Vulgate, or have curate translation of writings divinely inspired, wherein
| Greek words in Latin characters are found in the following many ideas respecting religion are introduced which they passages of the Vilgate : - Matt. v. 23. Si vculus tuus derler (5u2111 did not fully comprehend.
gosto) scandalizat te.-- John vii. 2 Exmoangit, Scenopesia-John
xvi. 7. Si ego non abiero (i trezrayTO») Paracletus rion reniet ad More particularly, the ancient translators, that their
r03.-1 Cor. iv. 13. Omniunr (5t864244) peripsema usque adhuc. versions might be strictly literal, not only rendered the -I Cor. v. 7. Sicut estis (CURSO) azymi.--Heb. xi. 37. Circuierunt Greek text verbatim, but introduced the Greek idioms (iv Mr Works) in melotis.--1 Pet. ii. 18. Ex91.665 is interpreted by
Dyscolis, which is a Greek word of equally difficult interpretation. and syntax into their versions, by which they rendered
of erroneous translations in the Vulgate, nunerous examples them not a little obscure. Nevertheless, by closely fol might be given; but the following may suffice-Matt. vi. 11. Panem lowing the original, they were restrained from indulging nostrum antenotor) super substantialem. --James v. 16. Errez cu.
plava, assidu.-In nine passages the Vulgate hath translated the their own fancy in the translation, and have shown us
vor HUTTNETS by sucramentum. See also the following notes. what were the readings of the Greek copies which they
The words wanting to complete the sense in the two following made use of—which certainly are no small advantages. tione mortuorum Jesu Christi.-Heb. xi. 21. Et adorarit festigium
passages are not supplied in the Vulgate :-Rom. i. 4. Ex resurrec: Farther, so great was their anxiety to give an exact re virga sue. presentation of the original, that when they did not know
1 The following are examples of words added in the Vulgate
without necessity :-Rom. ii. 22. In eum.-Rom. iv. 5. Secundum the meaning of any Greek word in the text, they inserted
propositum Dei:-Rom. v. 2. Instead of gloria Dei, the Vulgate it in their version in Latin characters, without attempt. hatli gloria filiorum Dei.-Rom. xii. 17. Non tantum coram Deo.
The following are examples of absurd unintelligible transla
tions in the Vulgate:- Rom. iv. 18. Qui contra spem, in spem cre· or the texts perverted by the fathers for supporting the doc. didit, ut fieret pater multarum gentium.--2 Cor. i 11. Vi er mul. trine of purgatory, Beza hath produced examples in his notes on tarım personis facierum, ejus quæ in nobis est donationis, per Rom. ii. 5. Col. ii. 18.; and for recoininending virginity and celi. multos gratia agantur pro nobis. bacy, in his notes on Rom. xii. 3. 1 Tim. iii. 4. Titus i. 8. 1 Pet. iii. 11 The following are examples of a Greek particle translated 7.; and to establish the worship ofangels, Col. ij. 18.
uniformly in the Vulgate :- Matt. vii. 33. Et tunc confitebor illis 1 or Jerome's improper criticisins on St. Paul's style, the reader (To) quod nunquam nori vos.-Matt. xxii. 16. Magister scimus will find exainples in Beza's notes on Rom. vi. 19. 2 Cor. xi. 18. Col. (oro) guia rerar es.--Rom. xv. 11. Viro ego dicit Dominus (1) 1. 18, 19. ii. 19. Gal vi. 1. See also the Author's notes on 2 Cor. xi. 9. quoniam mihi flectet.