"My breach of promise," says Dr. Waterland, "is a harsh translation, merely conjectural, and not warranted by the Hebrew." Dr. Geddes reads, " and shall experience my aversion." Houbigant renders it," and ye shall know that I have broken covenant with you.”



The old English Translation of 1537 follows the vulgate in this passage, ye shall feel my vengeance' which is nearly copied in the great Bible of 1539' ye shall know my displeasure.' We question however whether the Hebrew will admit of this sense. The marginal reading in the common version is, 'altering of my purpose.' Parkhurst under suggests a similar renderingThey had in effect charged God, ver. 3. with failing in his < promise; and God here says, they shall experience my 'failure.'

The common version of the Bible, it is well known, was made in the 9th year of James I. and it is but too certain that the Translators in some cases were influenced by the authority or prejudices of the Sovereign. The British Parliament had already, in the first year of his reign, enacted, in accordance with the published opinions of the Royal Theologian, that If any person shall use any invocation or conjuration of any evil or wicked spirit; 2. Or shall consult, covenant with, entertain, employ, fee, or reward, any evil or cursed spirit, to or for any intent or purpose; 3. Or, &c.' Hence the words' witch,'' wizard,' 'familiar spirit,' &c. were ensured a place in the version which soon after followed this statute, and thus were errors and superstitions encouraged and protected by the very means which should have been used to expose them. Deut. xviii. contain some curious information on this subject. Mr. Hewlett's notes on

On Deut. xxxii. 29. we find some very pious observations quoted from Archbishop Secker, which the Editor remarks have no direct relation to the subject; and as it would seem that the Prelate is not the only writer of sermons who has viewed the passage in an improper light, we repeat Mr. Hewlett's correction, that the words latter end,' do not refer to death. They relate to the wretched condition which was to happen to the Israelites in this life, or to those awful judgements which the inspired writer had just denounced against them.

In the Introduction to Matthew's Gospel, Mr. Hewlett remarks, that the work of this Evangelist was the first published Gospel, and the year 64 is assigned as its most probable date; which is evidently inconsistent with his statement (Vol. IV. p. 182) that Luke's Gospel was published about 15, or, according to other accounts, 22 years after Christ's ascension, a date which would give the priority to the work of the latter Evangelist. Some notice is taken of the question relating to the language in which the Gospel of Matthew was originally written. Mr. Hewlett is an advocate for a Greek original, neither Michaelis,


nor Dr. Campbell, nor any other writer on the opposite side, having, in his judgement, answered the arguments that have been adduced in support of that opinion, or impressed the mind of an impartial reader with any well founded conviction of the truth of the hypothesis which those writers maintain. The objections to the authenticity of the first two chapters of St. Matthew's Gospel, are not at all noticed in a work of this kind they should have received some attention from the Editor. A note of some length, on Chap. iv. 1. is employed in discussing the subject of Christ's temptation; and in a much longer one on verse 24. of the same chapter, Mr. Hewlett has collected a body of curious and interesting materials on the question of demoniacal possession: his object in both instances is to furnish the inquirer with the means of forming his own judgement on the cases, rather than to decide the question, though he evidently appears to favour the less common mode of interpretation.

We were much pleased to meet with a quotation from Bishop Sherlock, in the form of a note to Matth. xxvii. 54, which we are well aware must be quite familiar to many of our readers; to some of them, however, the passage may be new, and we shall therefore gratify our own inclination by extracting one of the finest passages which could be transcribed from a theological work, and for which we are confident several of our readers will give us thanks.

"54. Truly this was the Son of God.)-Go to Natural Religion; lay before her Mahomet and his disciples, arrayed in armour and in blood, riding in triumph over the spoils of thousands and ten thousands, who fell by his victorious sword; shew her the cities which he set in flames, the countries which he ravaged and destroyed, and the miserable distress of all the inhabitants of the earth. When she has viewed him in this scene, carry her into his retirements; shew her the Prophet's chamber, his concubines and wives; let her see his adultery, and hear him allege revelation and his divine commission, to justify his lust and his oppression. When she is tired with this prospect, then shew her the Blessed Jesus, humble and meek, doing good to all the sons of men, patiently instructing both the ignorant and the perverse. Let her see him in his most retired privacies; let her follow him in the mount, and hear his devotions and supplications to God. Carry her to his table, to view his poor fare, and hear his heavenly discourse. Let her see him injured, but not provoked; let her attend him to the tribunal, and consider the patience with which he endured the scoffs and reproaches of his enemies. Lead her to his cross, and let her view him in the agonies of death, and hear his last prayer for his enemies: "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." When natural religion has viewed both, ask, Which is the prophet of God? But her answer we have already had; when she saw part of this scene, through the eyes of the centurion, who attended at the cross, by him she spoke and said, Truly this man was the Son of God!"'

[ocr errors]

How unlike the extravagant diction which so currently passes as eloquence in the present day, is this descriptive paragraph! What a contrast does it furnish to the ridiculous verbiage and bombast of many a modern divine!

'Look here, upon this picture, and on this!

Nothing is so disgusting as the exhibition of religious topics tricked off with gaudy and ill-assorted ornaments.

[ocr errors]

Some very sensible remarks occur on the Parable of the Steward, Luke, ch. xvi. the merit of which seems to belong to the Editor. The Debtors,' he imagines, were yearly tenants, and indebted to their Lord for rent; which, it is well known, was anciently paid in the produce of the land. It is not easy, he thinks, to conceive how these men could be indebted to their Lord, or rather Landlord, for such commodities as wheat and oil, on any other supposition; and consistency, Mr. Hewlett remarks, is to be expected in a parable, as well as in the relation of matters of fact.

6. Write fifty.-As the steward did not mean to defraud his master, and is only accused of being extravagant and profuse, it is probable, that this abatement in the annual rent was made in consideration of the crops having failed. Viewed in this light, it becomes an act of kindness and generosity, well deserving the commendation which it received, ver. 8. It is remarkable, also, that in the case of the person who was indebted for wheat, (owed wheat) the abatement (ver. 7) is only one-fifth; but he who was to have furnished oil is excused on paying only one-half. This is a further presumptive proof that they were tenants, and that the wheat and oil were due for one year's rent; because the steward, after his accusation and disgrace, was not likely to be guilty of a further and more glaring act of injustice; and therefore the measure of abatement, we may suppose, was regulated by the degree of failure in those respective products of the land. Now it is known that wheat is a hardy plant, and may be depended on with more security, as yielding an average crop oftener than most others; but the olive tree, and indeed all other fruit-trees, are, with respect to their produce, much more precarious and uncertain. This may afford a just ground for the difference of abatement in the two debtors, or tenants.'

Mr. Hewlett remarks on John ch. ii. 1. that Lamy's interpretation on the third day of a marriage which took place in Cana ' of Galilee,' cannot be admitted without taking an unwarrantable liberty with the Greek text. Toup, however, is of a different opinion from Mr. H.-" Et tertio post nuptias die, sive “'AvaxahuπTMngios, erat convivium nuptiale in Cana Galileæ. Qui locum aliter accipiunt, falluntur." Notæ in Longinum Sect. IV. Deut. xxix. 11-12, seems to oppose the remark Vol. iv. p. 519, that males only were capable of entering into a covenant with God. In the Introduction to the epistle to the Philippians, Mr. Hewlett has correctly stated, that in the time of the Apostles each distinct

society of Christians had its inspector or bishop, who presided in their assemblies for worship; a statement which can never be reconciled with the constitution of the National Episcopal Church, to which nothing certainly in the primitive times bore the least resemblance.

To the learning and candour of the Editor we willingly bear our testimony, and if we cannot approve of the theological tenets which the work occasionally exhibits, we are bound to state that they are never dogmatically affirmed. The Maps which accompany the volumes, are executed in a superior manner, and the entire collection cannot fail of proving useful to its possessor.

Art. IV. Letters on the Importance, Duty, and Advantages of Early Rising. Addressed to Heads of Families, The Man of Business, the Lover of Nature, the Student, and the Christian. 12mo. pp. 200. Price 6s. boards. 1818.

AN enlightened understanding is seldom, perhaps, more clearly manifested, than by its estimate of the importance which many things, in themselves indifferent, may derive from their relation to objects essentially interesting and valuable; and an author can give no surer proof of real philanthropy, than by applying to a simple, common-place subject, talents which might, in another direction, have been successfully devoted to the attainment of literary reputation. It is not the proper office of Criticism, to animadvert upon an author's motives, except as they may be traced in their effects upon the character and tendency of his productions; but when this connexion is perceived, it ought not to be passed by without comment. The motive cannot be immaterial which thus discovers itself; nor, without duly attending to it, can the merits of his work be justly appreciated. Under what disguise soever malevolence, vanity, or unprincipled selfishness, is detected, reprobation and contempt should be its portion; and, on the other hand, disinterested benevolence ought not to be defrauded of its due meed of praise, however it may be accompanied with defects or blemishes. It can scarely fail, indeed, of imparting a moral charm and expression, which, in the eyes of true taste, will greatly compensate for the want of exact regularity in outward form or feature. Should elevation of sentiment, soundness of reasoning, and propriety of style, be combined with this pure and generous principle, the Christian Critic, (and we hope the terms are not absolutely incongruous) will then delight to find duty and inclination concur, in awarding his unqualified approbation. These remarks have been suggested by a perusal of the unpretending, but excellent little work before us, On Early Rising; a subject, which, simple and familiar as it may sound, has not, we think, been over-rated by our Author, as

to the extent of its influence on the health, comfort, and usefulness of multitudes whose station in society, while it exempts them from the necessity of submitting to constant manual labour, lays them peculiarly open to temptations, to habitual indolence, and to all the numberless mischiefs which follow in its train, insinuate themselves into the mind, as well as body of its .victim.

The Author conveys his advice in the form of Letters addressed to the several members of the family of a friend, whose guest he had lately been; all of whom, the father originally, and the rest after his example, appear to have contracted the opposite habit to that which it is the writer's object to recommend.

The motives presented to the Father's attention, are, chiefly the increased capacity both for labour and enjoyment, the leisure for literary pursuits, the promotion of order and comfort in his family arrangements, and the additional vigour and energy of mind, which the Author considers to be some of the beneficial consequences of the practice be inculcates.

In addressing the Mother, after mentioning several of the preceding topics, great stress is laid on the influence of her example and control over her children; and some useful advice is given as to the best method of conquering that slothful propensity to which the prime hours of the day are so often and so inexcusably sacrificed.

In writing to the Daughter, a lass in her teens, the Author draws some very animated and attractive pictures of morning scenery, illustrated by apt quotations from several of our best poets; and he uses the subject, with much felicity of manner, as a vehicle for conveying religious advice and encouragement to his youthful correspondent.

To the Son, a young man ardently engaged in preparing himself for the Bar, and having a mind imbued with the principles of true religion, the Author writes with peculiar fervency and persuasiveness, as to a Student and a Christian. Addressing him in the former character, he deprecates night studies, with a degree of earnestness which seems to indicate some past experience of their baneful effects; and mentions several eminent examples in proof of the adaptation of early hours to literary employment. But it is in appealing to the conscience of his friend, as a Christian, that the Author exerts his strongest powers of persuasion, and appears most solicitous of success. He evidently writes under the impression that the subject, viewed in this light, is of deeply serious importance to the character, progress, and happiness of his correspondent; and we should really find it difficult to suppose that any person possessed of an impartial mind, and of Christian feelings, could

« VorigeDoorgaan »