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or justice. But, fortunately, there is no aristocracy in literature, and, in our blessed country, emphatically, none in religion. Mr. Bellamy must submit to the test of truth, and the criticism of the public. What is meant by the orthodoxy of the translation, it is difficult to conceive, especially when (in a notice of this work, published in the Monthly Magazine, for September, 1817) we are told, that " in this translation, the reader is to be freed from many miraculous accounts, which heretofore have destroyed the faith of many; for instance, The Sun and Moon standing still, in Joshua, and the Shadow going back on the Dial of Ahaz, together with the existence of Angels, &c.” If we are to purchase the faith of unbelievers, by striking from our Bible every thing out of the common course of things, and reducing it to a mere history of worldly events, we shall pay a high price for our proselytes. It would result in this; if infidels will not become believers, we will stike out, or do away every thing supernatural in our Bible, and become infidels ourselves : we shall so modify the Sacred Book, that it will become of very little consequence whether we believe it or not.
The fact is in reality this; the sphere of infidelity is so prevalent, and that too in the very bosom of the Christian Church, that every occurrence or expression, difficult to be comprehended by the natural mind, becomes a stumbling block to the majority, and pains are too often taken to remove the difficulties, by doubting, or denying the translation, and even altering the original, or sug. gesting there is some fault in the copy. Hence we hear of errors of scribes, various readings, and inaccurate versions. Thus the Holy Scriptures lose their authority, and the Ark of God is rudely assailed by unhallowed hands. If this sacrilege were confined to open adversaries it would not be so alarming, for we are to expect the enemies of God and His Word ever will be nu.. merous; but when these things come from the Church and those in high places, when speaking in the name of that Holy Word, we may say with truth, “ Yea mine own familiar friend in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up the heel against me,” it is melancholy indeed. To see that this is the case, we need only turn to the numerous collectors of various readings, and the Christian authors of commentaries on the Sacred Scriptures. But, blessed be the Lord, He hath raised up a peculiar people, upon whom he hath impressed so wonderful and exclu.
sive a veneration for the Letter of the Word, that they are instinctively prompted to preserve it for its own sake, and are incapable of perverting it. I mean the Jewish people.* In the New Jerusalem Church we hold, that the letter of the WORD is perfect. Hence we seek first to ascertain, by a knowledge of their sacred language, the exact literal meaning of the Scriptures. Having ascertained the letter, by the common and ordinary rules of its grammar and vocabulary, we then, without disturbing the letter, investigate the spiritual sense which is within it. In seeking for the literal sense, the Jews are particularly to be consulted for the common principles of the language and its grammar. The same opinion is beautifully and correctly expressed by Guarin, a Catholic priest, and a monk of the order of St. Benedict, in the preface to the 2d vol. of the 4th edition of his Hebrew Grammar, a work of the very highest order. “ The Jewish nation," says Augustin, “is but a kind of mistress of the rolls for Christians, who carries the law and the prophets, in testimony of the assertion of the Church, that we may honour by the Sacrament, that is the spiritual sense, what she sets forth by the letter, that is the grammatical sense. The Jews therefore are well skilled in the
Inasmuch as the Jewish nation were of such a character, that they were capable of being kept in a holy external principle, and thus of possessing holy rituals, whereby were represented the celestial things of the Lord's kingdom, and of having a holy veneration for Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and also for Moses and Aaron, and afterwards for David, by whom the Lord was represented, and especially of having an holy reverence for the WORD, in which all and singular things were representative and significative of things divine, therefore in that nation a representative Church was instituted; but if that nation had known internal things to a degree of acknowledgment, they would in such case have profaned them. Inasmuch as the tribe of Judah was of this character more than the other tribes, and at this day, as formerly, account the Rituals holy, which may be observed out of Jerusalem, and also have an holy veneration for their fathers, and a particular reverence for the Word of the Old Testament, and inasmuch as it was foreseen that Christians would almost totally reject that Worn, and would likewise defile its internal things with things profane, therefore that nation hath been bitherto preserved, according to the Lord's Words, in Matt. xxiv 34. It would have been otherwise if Christians, as they were acquainted with things internal, had also lived internal men; in this case that nation, like other nations, would have been cut off many ages ago. A. C. 3479. The Rabbis say, there is not an apex in the Sacred Scripture on which do not hang mountains of mysteries.
grammatical sense of Scripture, on which, as a foundation, the spiritual sense is supported. Now if this foundation totters, that is, if the Jews are ignorant of that grammatical sense of Scripture, the whole edifice of the spiritual sense, on which the very Christian religion is founded, must of necessity fall with it." With all the pretension of many of our modern learned men, it is astonishing to see how little is known among them of the Hebrew language, and yet how boldly they set up their opinions in matters which ought to be held so sacred. There have been indeed great scholars in this language, even among Christians. But it is to be feared that at present, in England and America, the learning in this department is but small, compared with that of the Buxtorfs, Calasio, Guarin, D'Olonne, Schultens, Michaelis, Eichorn, and many others. In examining the lofty claims of Mr. Bellamy, at least if we take the specimens of his translation, given to the public in the prospectus of his work, we shall be astonished at the immense deductions we are compelled to make from the respect which his pretensions seem to challenge.
We are told, in the prospectus, “ that no translation has been made from the original Hebrew since the 128th year of Christ. In the fourth century, Jerome made his Latin version from this Greek translation, from which came the Latin vulgate; and from the Latin vulgate all the European translations are made, thereby perpetuating all the errors of the first translators." This is as extraordinary an assertion as ever was made before the public. It is well known to those who have turned their attention to these matters, that Europe has many translations from the original Hebrew, since the Greek and the Vulgate. 1st. There is the Latin translation of Pagninus, an Italian Dominican monk, accu-' rately skilled in Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Chaldaic, and Arabic, but particularly celebrated for his knowledge of the Hebrew. He began the work under the patronage of Leo X, in 1493, and having employed himself in it with the greatest assiduity twenty-five years, finished it in 1518. He then applied to the translation of the Apocryphal books and the New Testament, both of which he rendered from the Greek, before the year 1521. The whole was published at Lyons, in 1528, with the approbation of Cle. ment VII. He was led to make this translation, from a conviction that the Vulgate, as it had descended to his time, was greatly corrupted from the state in which it was left by St. Jerome.
His object was, to produce a new translation in which the Vulgate should be followed, whenever fidelity to the original permitted. It is to be observed, that the Vulgate, having been in use from very early times, had received the sanction of the Church of Rome; and, on that account, Pagninus did not think proper unnecessarily to depart from it. Yet wherever, in his opinion, it differed from the original, he gave the accurate rendering, as he conceived it should be. The Spanish version of the Bible, by Cassidorus de Reyno, published in 1569, follows this translation of Pagninus : so also does the Italian version of 1562. Of the version of Pagninus, Leusden, a very competent judge, says, “ We prefer this version of Pagninus, as well be. cause it is the best and most excellent, expressing the Hebrew text accurately and simply, as because it has been received by almost all Christians." He further states particularly the approbation of this version by Catholics and Protestants, and he selects it for the purpose of making it the foundation of an accurate and close Latin translation of his own. He prefers the first edition of this version of Pagninus, showing, in numerous instances, particularly set forth, that the subsequent editions were more inaccurate, and had departed further from the original. This version of Pagninus has been published, by Catholics and Protestants, over and over again. If any one desires to see the subject discussed at large, let him turn to Leusden, where he will find hundreds of examples, in which this version, in its various editions, is closely compared with the original Hebrew, which is at the same time given. Phil. Heb. Dis. 35 & 36, and Phil. Heb. Græc. Dis. 8. This version of Pagninus was, with some alterations, accommodated word for word to the Hebrew, and published as an interlineary version by the celebrated Arias Montanus. It was also published, as an interlineary one, by Walton, in his inestimable London Polyglot. Besides this, there are various other translations of the Bible from the original. That of Munster, Zurich, Junius and Tremellius, Castalio, and others. There is also one in Latin, by Sebastian Schmidt, of great repute, and which Mr. Bellamy appears to have consulted, in Gen. vi. 4. There is also a version, called the New Belgic version, of which Leusden speaks in the highest terms, and compares it to others with advantage. He shows, in many examples, that it is much more accurate and close to the original than any other, and even
that of Pagninus. Of this version, Leusden gives us the following account. “ Before the year 1637, the Belgic Churches used the ancient version, which was translated from the German of Luther, which, being made in a time of contention, was not sufficiently accurate.* The Synod of Dordrecht, in 1618, resolved to make a new version. Three interpreters of the Old, and three of the New Testament, were appointed, and, having completed their version in 1632, eight revisers of the Old, and the same number for the New, were convened, and they having completed their revision, the whole was finally printed, at Leyden, in the year 1637. This new version, being translated, as far as respects the Old Testament, from the Hebrew, and as to the New from the Greek, is extremely accurate, and most completely agrees with the originals; and the memory of the interpreters should ever be held by the reformed in the highest veneration. This version, on account of its accuracy, has been highly esteemed by many learned men, not of the reformed Church, who have often cited it, for the purpose of proving or confirming their own opinions. In making this translation, the interpreters were expressly directed by the Synod, “That they should always religiously adhere to the original text, and solicitously retain the very phraseology of the original language, as far as perspicuity of speech and the idiom of the Belgic tongue permitted. But if a more difficult Hebraism or Hellenism should occur, which could not be put in the text, it should, from time to time, be carefully noted in the margin. It was also directed, that this version should not be prepared from any other version, but from the very fountains, or original languages of the Sacred Scriptures.'” Leusd. Phil. Heb. Mixt. D. 11. $ 13. Yet Mr. Bellamy says, Europe has no translation of the Bible from the original! There is also a German translation, by John David Michaelis, which I have seen. The common English translation also was made from the original, and with great care. The history of this translation is well known, and need not here be stated. How Mr. Bellamy
• Of Luther's version, it has been said, “No version, admitted by our Church, differs so widely from the authentic text.” On account of these errors, Luther himself, in every edition published in his life time, corrected something; and would, if his life had been prolonged, without doubt, have corrected more.