« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
solid and learned on that account; a work which richly deserves to be in the hands of every student of the Bible:
"Perhaps there is no translation of equal magnitude, from a dead to a living language, which exhibits errors so few in number, or so unimportant in their consequences, as our authorized version of the Bible; yet even that great work, admirably executed though it be, is not in every particular perfect. The account given there, for example, of the division of night from day, and the final arrangement of the heavenly bodies as parts of our solar system, is not so accurate as it might be, and has, we believe, in more than one instance, excited uneasy feelings in the mere English reader. Thus, after having been informed, at verses 3, 4, and 5, of the first chapter of Genesis, that the creation of light took place on the first day of the cosmogony, we are told, in verses 14, 15, and 16, that God, on the fourth day, said, ' Let there be lights in the firmament of heaven, &c.; and that God made two great lights, the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night, and that he made the stars also.' There unquestionably seems to be a contradiction here; for if light was formed on the first day, it could not be formed on the fourth day also; while the discoveries of modern science altogether preclude the notion, that either the sun or the moon is, in any sense of the expression, a light.
“The truth, however, is, that the original Hebrew falls into no such mistakes as those incurred by our translators. The words employed by Moses, at verses 3 and 14 of this chapter, are totally different the one from the other; the former only expressing the matter of light, the latter signifying simply an instrument by which light is supported or dispensed; and hence the difficulty of reconciling Scripture with itself, and with the discoveries of modern science, attaches only to the English translation. Light existed from the first day, though divided, as has been shown, and shed in portions, as it were, over each globe in our system; whereas on the fourth a centre for these scattered rays was established, and they were made to roll or collect themselves around it. Thus, the sun became a great light-bearer, or light-dispenser, immediately and directly; whereas the moon, though an opaque body, acted a similar part toward this earth by reflection."
The following reference to what seems rather an ambiguous phraseology as to the creation of fowl, as if fowl was created first out of water, and then, as it is stated in chap. ii, verse 19, out of the ground, clears up the obscurity. Prof. Bush proposes, that, instead of reading, “and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven,' that we vary slightly the translation in the present passage, which the original will well admit, and read, and let the fowl fly above the earth. The object of the writer here seems to be to specify the respective elements assigned as the habitation of the fishes, and the flying things. In the other passage the design is to acquaint us with the source from whence the beasts and birds originated. They are probably here mentioned together from the similarity of the elements in which they live, and of the motions by which they pass through them.”
As to the topography of Eden, the Professor has treated largely. We shall only direct the attention of the reader to this point.
However he may differ in his views with the conclusion arrived at, that "Eden embraced the fairest portion of Asia, besides a part of Africa,” still he will be pleased with tracing the ground in company with so clear and ingenuous a literary traveler.
Prof. B. possesses a peculiarly felicitous talent in illustrating the meaning of Scripture, by comparing one passage with another. This, it is true, seems to be an easy task; yet it requires skill, judgment, and patience, together with a familiarity with the original, to deduce all the good that may be obtained from this source. The following remarks on the passage, “And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day;" which in its English dress sounds so oddly to the ear, will be read with pleasure. “The epithet. walking' is to be joined, not with Lord, but with 'voice,' as it is in the original the same word with that used to signify the sound of the trumpet upon Mount Sinai, Exod. xix, 19,
and when the voice of the trumpet sounded long, (Heb. walked.') A voice may be said to walk or go when it increases in intensity, waxing louder and louder. The same term is applied to any thing which is capable of increasing in degree, as to a constantly brightening light, Prov. iv, 18: The path of the just is as the shining light which shineth more and more (Heb. walketh) to the perfect day: and to the sea excited by a storm, Jonah i, 11: 'For the sea wrought, (Heb. walked,) and was tempestuous;' i. e., became increasingly tempestuous. See note on Gen. xxvi, 13.”'
But while the notes on Genesis are critical, and as such of great value to the Biblical student, they are also practical, and thus adapted to general utility. As a specimen of the latter quality, we make the following somewhat extended extract in relation to the fall of our first parents. The observations are as forcible as they are lucid and consistent. They are founded upon chap. iii, ver. 6: “ And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise; she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat; and gave also unto her husband with her, and he did eat.”
As it respects the above transaction, Prof. B. says, “ In regard to both it was their own free and unconstrained act; for however Satan may incite, he cannot compel. They could lay the blame of their disobedience upon no one but themselves; and looking to them. selves, they could find no apology for their crime. By one rash act committed against an express command, and under circumstances of the highest enormity, they lifted the flood-gate which has poured in a deluge of miseries upon the world. Besides the loss to themselves of the image and favor of God, remorse of conscience, expulsion from Eden, the curse of toil, sorrow, and sickness, and the sentence of death to body and soul; all the sins, sufferings, crimes, and woes which have afflicted the earth, in its countless millions of inhabitants, from that day to this, are to be traced to that transgression as their fountain-head. The limited grasp of the mind of man is not adequate to take in the length and breadth and fearful extent of the evil which has been thus entailed upon the human family-an evil running parallel with the present life, and reaching forward into an unmeasured eternity!-an event so awfully disastrous in its immediate and its remoter consequences, especially
VOL. X. -July, 1839.
when viewed in connection with the divine attributes, naturally gives rise to many anxious inquiries which we may find it difficult to answer. We are prone to ask, Why in the full foresight of such a result God should have permitted man to be thus tempted, thus overcome, and thus involved in sin, misery, and death, when he could easily have prevented it? But the true question is, Whether he could have prevented it without doing violence to the nature of man as a free agent, and consistently with the great ends which he had proposed to himself in his creation. By his very constitution he was endowed with free will, and therefore liable to temptation and transgression; and infinite wisdom foresaw that it would be productive of more ultimate good that man should be a free moral being, though he might abuse his freedom, than that he should be made otherwise. He therefore created him, as Milton happily expresses it
"Sufficient have stood, but free to fall.'
And having placed him in a state of probation, surrounded by mo. tives, of which some induced to obedience and some to disobedience, but with perfect liberty of choice, an easy duty was enjoined, and the penalty of transgression laid before him. He had abundant power and abilities to enable him to stand the test. He was under no compulsion to disobey. His Maker had set life and death before him, and left it to his own unforced volition which to choose. Had Omnipotence interposed in these circumstances, and exercised a supernatural influence upon his freedom of will to prevent his sin, he had thereby destroyed the foundation of all the merit of obedience, and put it out of his power to make any trial of him at all. It would have been to govern him not as a free, but as a necessary agent; and any reward for his conduct would in that case have been as absurd as to reward the sun for shining, or the rivers for running into the ocean. Man therefore fell, not by any inevitable necessity, but by the abuse of his free agency; and to say that God did not interpose to prevent it, is merely to say that he did not see fit to do violence to the moral nature of the being he formed, but left it to be influenced according to the laws to which he had made it subject. And this he did, because he saw that, in its bearings on the vast scheme of his government, this course would tend finally to produce a far greater degree of glory to himself and of happiness to his creatures than any other."
We shall here conclude our notice of this work. We have said enough at least to direct attention to it. The present volume is to be followed by another, which will complete the exposition of Genesis. We heartily wish the author success in his laudable efforts to promote a critical acquaintance with the sacred volume. W.
For the Methodist Magazine and Quarterly Review.
CARDINAL DE CHEVERUS. Life of the Cardinal de Cheverus, Archbishop of Bordeaux. By the Rev. J. Huen
Doubourg, Ex-Professor of Theology. Translated from the French by Robert M. Walsh, Philadelphia. Hooker & Claxton, 1839; pp. 280, 12mo.
Txis book, while it abounds in all the pomp and circumstance of popery, is written in so artful and pleasing a style, that it is well calculated to proselyte unwary Protestants to the Roman Catholic faith. Here you have no inquisitions-no racks, nor ropes, nor stakes, nor blocks-no selfishness, bigotry, nor persecution. No, no! You never from reading this book would imagine that her ladyship of Rome ever dreamed of such things. Nay, you would not fail to give vent to a flood of gratitude when you discovered the tender mercies of this benevolent little volume. After relating the particulars of the conversion of some Protestants to the Catholic faith, it says, the bishop “was desirous to learn of men so well worthy of confidence, whether, during the many years they had lived in the Protestant faith, they had not had some doubts as to its truth, and would have died tranquilly in its communion ? and received an answer well worthy of note, that, until the day in which he had enlightened and instructed them, their conviction had been so perfect that it had never occurred to them to doubt--and that, through his means alone, truth had beamed upon them for the first time. This instance and many others consoled M. de Cheverus, by giving him reason to believe that numbers of Protestants might be in that state of good faith, or invincible ignorance, which excuses error in the sight of God; and he came to the conclusion, that it was necessary to be very indulgent toward those who are mistaken, and very cautious in condemning them. 'God alone,' he was wont to say, 'sees the recesses of the heart; he alone is the judge of sincerity, and we must leave the secret to him.""
To this Catholic passage there is appended, at the foot of the page, the following note "This good faith may be understood with especial ease in a country thoroughly imbued with prejudice against the Catholic Church. The idea of M. de Cheverus on the subject is entirely conformable to the general teachings of Catholic theologians. St. Augustin inculcates it, (Lib. iv, De Baptism. Contr. Donat., cap. xvi;) and the faculty of theology of Paris says, in the same sense, (Censure d'Emile, proposition 32,) that many, of whom God alone knows the number, although reared in communions separated from the Catholic Church, are excused in consequence of invincible ignorance of their schism or heresy. We do not look upon them as strangers to the church out of which there is no salvation. They may firmly believe many articles of faith contained in their religions which are absolutely sufficient for salvation.' Finally; the celebrated Nicole, whose proneness to severity of doctrine is well known, says himself, (De l'Eglité de l'Eglise, lib. i, c. iii,) ' According to all Catholic theologians, there is a large number of living members and true children of the church in the communions separated from her, since there are so many children who always form a considerable part of them, and they may exist also among adults.'” pp. 96, 97.
Is not this intended to assert that their severest theologians extend mercy to Protestants ? Surely these calculations must have been made for the meridian of Philadelphia or Boston, cities “thoroughly imbued with prejudice against the Catholic Church,” and not for Paris or Bordeaux, which are graciously freed from such unhappy prejudice.
Such a passage as the following, being the twenty-fourth article of the creed of Pope Pius IV., one of the standards of the Catholic Church, I should suppose would better suit these latter places :“ I also profess, and undoubtedly receive, all other things delivered, defined, and declared by the sacred canons and general councils, and particularly by the holy council of Trent; and likewise, I also condemn, reject, and anathematize all things contrary thereto; and all heresies whatsoever, condemned and anathematized by the church. This true Catholic FAITH, out of which none can be saved, which I now freely profess, and truly hold, I, N., promise, vow, and swear most constantly to hold and profess the same, whole and entire, with God's assistance, to the end of my life. Amen."
The cardinal is represented as a perfect pattern of learning, devotion, generosity, and zeal; and as such is held up to the imitation of all, as well the unbelievers as the faithful. And, indeed, as he is here depicted, there are very many traits of his character which may well be imitated by both Catholics and Protestants—particularly his spirit of self-sacrifice which induced him to make so painful and persevering efforts to convert the Penobscot and Passamaquoddy Indians, when he was a priest with M. Matignon, at Boston. He made a missionary tour once a year among these tribes," and the labor he underwent was painful and incessant.” pp. 60–68.
The volume is divided into five books. The first contains the life of the cardinal from his birth, at Mayenne, on Jan. 28, 1768, to his departure from France, in 1792; for he was expatriated during the French revolution. The second book contains that portion of his life which he spent in England and the United States, during which time he was exalted to the see of Boston. The third book exhibits his life from his return to France, in 1823, to the revolution of 1830; during this period he was called first to the bishopric of Montauban, and afterward to the archbishopric of Bordeaux. The fourth book contains his history from the revolution of July, 1830, to his last illness, which took place in 1836; during this period he had conferred upon him the Roman purple. He was raised to the cardinalate by the sovereign pontiff, at the instance of Louis Philippe, the present king of the French, and from him M. de Cheverus received the cardinal's hat, on March 9, 1836. The fifth book records the character and death of the cardinal: he died, rather suddenly, at Bordeaux, July, 1836.
This work has very much the air of romance. Indeed, we have no doubt that it was designed to be a perfect panegyric on the cardinal; and as such may be read with interest by all, with profit by a few, and with danger by many, especially the young, and others whose imagination is not properly balanced by judgment, and who are consequently more liable to be decoyed from the faith of God's elect.
OSMOND. West River, A. A. co., Md., April 10, 1839.