intimations preclude the idea of any other order than that suggested by some ' principle of association ' or selection.

Mr. Greswell, however, is of an entirely different opinion. So far as ch. ix. 50, the Gospel of St. Luke, he conceives, accompanies the Gospels of St. Matthew and Mark; but from ch. ix. 51 to ch. xviii. 14, it goes along by itself, and the intermediate matter is peculiar to this Evangelist.

'The point of time at which St. Luke ceases to accompany St. Matthew ana St. Mark, is the return to Capernaum, prior to the last Feast of Tabernacles; and the point of time at which he rejoins them, is with the close of the last journey up to Jerusalem, when Our Lord either had already passed, or was just on the eve of passing out of Persea, into Judaea. On the same supposition, therefore, of St. Luke's regularity, as before, it follows, that the whole intermediate matter, peculiar to his Gospel, belongs to the interval of time between that return to Capernaum, and that passage from Peraa to Judaea ;—an interval which, as we have had reason to conclude already, could not comprise less than the last six months of Our Saviour's ministry, and possibly might comprise even more.

'Throughout the whole of these details which we suppose to be thus comprehended, there are numerous historical notices,—some express, others implicit,—which demonstrate that Our Lord, all the time, was travelling and teaching,—aud travelling and teaching upon his way to Jerusalem. There are evidences, therefore, that a journey to Jerusalem, all this time, was still going on, and going on with the utmost publicity; a journey expressly undertaken in order to arrive at Jerusalem ;—and wheresoever it might have begun, and whatsoever course it might take meanwhile, yet known and understood to be tending to that one point, and ultimately to be concluded by arriving there at last. There are, consequently, evidences of a circuit, as such; and, if it is a circuit belonging to one and the same occasion, of a circuit begun and conducted on a very general scale;—the fourth of the kind which the Gospel-history has yet supplied.

'All these indications are of manifest importance, in fixing the period to which the whole of Luke ix. 51—xviii. 14. inclusively is to be referred.' Vol. II. pp. 457—9.

The regularity of Luke's Gospel, up to ch. ix. 51, being, in the Author's opinion, fully established, he feels warranted in assuming its regularity for the remainder; and the twelfth chapter contains, he thinks, numerous decisive indications of belonging to the concluding portion of Our Lord's ministry.

'If the proof of this position can be made out, the error committed by such schemes as place it before even the beginning to teach in parables, which was the middle of Our Saviour's ministry, must be apparent without any further comment. They introduce an anachronism of nearly eighteen months in extent.' Vol. II. p. 534.

In attempting to substantiate this novel view of the regularity of St. Luke's Gospel, Mr. Greswcll displays abundant ingenuity and learning; but we are compelled to say, that his reasonings sometimes involve too large a portion of assumption to be entirely satisfactory. The hold which his theory has upon his imagination, is apparent in his easy reliance upon proofs of a very slender character. But we must waive further criticism, and hasten to a conclusion.

Part the Fourth of the Harmony, which comprises the larger portion of the Gospel narrative, commences with Matt. xv. and Mark vii, and proceeds regularly to Matt. xviii. 35, where it takes up the supplemental relation contained in John vii.—xi. It then proceeds with Luke ix. 51—xix. The four narratives then begin to run parallel, till, at § 87—91, we reach the exquisite and precious supplementary relation of the Conversation in the Supper Chamber, supplied by St. John. The accounts then re-unite, and are brought down to the eve of the Resurrection.

Part the Fifth contains the accounts of the Resurrection and Ascension in the final chapters of the Gospels.

In order to form a harmonized chronology of the four Gospels, the plan which would involve the least violence to the inspired documents, would be, to select simply those portions which record the facts relating to Our Lord's birth, life, suffering, resurrection, and ascension, leaving all the discourses and minor incidents as they stand. So far as regards the credibility of the Gospel history, the agreement of the witnesses as to these facts, is all that it can be necessary to establish. For the purposes of exposition and annotation, we are persuaded that the original form of the. veral documents is every way preferable.

The value of Mr. GreswelFs erudite and multifarious researches, however, depends but little upon the ideal perfection of his hypothesis for harmonizing the evangelical documents. His Harmony forms but a portion of the valuable critical apparatus which he has constructed, for the benefit of the Biblical student; and taken together with the Dissertations, it will enable the reader to make himself master of the whole range of inquiry relating to the chronology of the New Testament, and the structure and composition of the Gospels. We are conscious of having given but an inadequate account of the contents of these volumes; but we have said enough to commend them to the attention of every scholar. Of Mr. Mimpriss's Harmony, we shall take another opportunity of speaking, in noticing his admirable Pictorial Chart.

[ocr errors]

Art. IV. Hints for au Improved Translation of the New Tetlonii'til. By the Rev. James Scholcfield, A.M., Regius Professor of Greek iu the University of Cambridge. 8vo., pp. 98. London, 1832.

'I F we will be sonnes of the Trueth, we must consider what it 'speaketh, and trample upon our owne credit, yea, and uixtn 'other mens too, if either bee any way an hinderance to it.' So say the Translators of the common English Bible in their preface; and in this avowal they have furnished, not only for themselves, but for all other persons who seriously and diligently address themselves to a similar employment, a substantial and ample ground of apology. But the manner in which they speak of their predecessors, is a sufficient proof that the circumstances in which they found the impulse to their own labours, had no tendency to impair the veneration which they felt to be due to those who had 'traveiled in this kinde' before them. 'We 'acknowledge them,' they say, 'to have been raised up of God, 'for the building and furnishing of his church, and that they 'deserve to bee had of us, and of posteritie, in everlasting re'membrance.'—' Therefore blessed be they, and most honoured 'be their name.' The extreme deference with which the Author of these 'Hints' regards the memories and the services of the Translators whose errors he would correct, and whose deficiencies he would supply, is strongly expressed in the following passage of his'Preface.'

'Nor let it for a moment be supposed, that such an attempt implies a shadow of reproach upon the original Translators. For myself, I would rather blot out from the catalogue of my country's worthies the names of Bacon and Newton, than those of the venerable men, who were raised up by the providence of God, and endowed by his Spirit, to achieve for England her greatest blessing in the Authorized Translation of the Scriptures. If in the following pages, the professed object of which is to express opinions on minor points differing from theirs, 1 have dropped any expressions iu speaking of them, which even an unkind criticism can charge with any thing like flippancy, or the want of the most grateful veneration for them, I would gladly, if it were possible, wash out with my tears the obnoxious passages, and rather leave their glorious work soiled with its few human blemishes, than attempt to beautify it at the expense of their well-earned renown. But I have thought that, in entire consistency with the honest sincerity of this feeling, something might be attempted towards carrying a little nearer to perfection, a work which is already so near it."

Neither in the spirit which pervades these 'Hints,' nor in any of the emendations suggested by the Author, will any thing be found to shew that he has for a moment forgotten this profession of reverential respect. The 'Authorized Translation of the Scrip'tures' is certainly not a faultless work; but many errors have, without foundation or reason, been attributed to it; many blemishes, too, have been incorporated with it in the modern editions, for which the Translators are not answerable. In the strictures which some zealous critics have put forth on the Common Version, there is, to say the least, a very unnecessary severity. We are not acquainted, for instance, with any Protestant translation of the Bible which could furnish occasion to question, 'whether it would not be safer to take the Bible out of 'the hands of the common people, than to expose them to the 'danger of drawing false conclusions from erroneous translations/ Still less arc we able to perceive, how such a doubt should be raised from the most intimate acquaintance with the text accessible to the people of this country, and so abundantly distributed among them. Justice ought to be rendered to King James's Translators; and we would much rather unite with Professor Scholefield in applauding them, than give our suffrages in favour of those emendators who, by ostentatious displays of minute and questionable criticism, would injuriously depreciate the excellence of the work which we possess, as the result of their combined learning and judgement, and the fruit of their industry and perseverance.

But, without disparaging the services or derogating from the honours of the Authors or Editors of the Common Version, we feel that neither should they engross our praises, nor hold in our remembrance an exclusive place. Nor, if we should claim for other names which are indelibly associated with the English translations of the Scriptures, a warmer and more elevated commendation than we bestow upon the memories of the former, should we be violating the demands of equity, or offending against the law of Christian charity. If the Translators of the Common Version be entitled to honour, the names of Tyndal and Coverdale are worthy of more abundant honour. The work which they respectively performed, and the circumstances in which they executed it, have only to be brought before us, that we may see the justice of the decision which, in assigning their respective honours, awards the superiority to Tyndal. The Common Version was produced by the united labours of fifty-four divines, who engaged in this service under the smiles and fostering patronage of James I. They were furnished with the royal mandate as the means of procuring them all necessary assistance and support;—were to be entertained in such colleges as they might make choice of, without any charge unto them, and to be freed from all lectures and exercises; and care was taken for their subsequent preferment. But in Tyndal's case, the wall was built in troublous times. He had to count the cost of his enterprise, and put his life in peril by the undertaking which he projected. Obliged by the necessities to which he was reduced, to leave his country, he sought a foreign asylum, and prosecuted the work of translating and printing the New Testament, not only without cither royal or episcopal countenance, but with the civil and ecclesiastical authorities in hostility to his design, and not less his personal enemies. His good was evil spoken of. His laying the Scriptures before the eyes of the people 'in their mother tongue, that they might 'see the processe, order, and meaning of the text,' was denounced as an iniquity; and the book, when published, was prohibited as pernicious, pestilent, and scandalous. He himself was persecuted as a heretic; endured an imprisonment of eighteen months; and then, ten years after the first publication of his New Testament in English, was strangled, and his body consumed to ashes! Such services and such sufferings are never to be forgotten.

A revision of the Common Version of the Bible has been frequently called for by writers who have animadverted on its defects and errors. Translations of detached portions of the Scriptures, including almost every book, have successively appeared, the authors of which express a decided opinion in favour of an improved version of the whole sacred Volume. Whether ever such a work shall be attempted, and completed, ' by his Majesty's 'special command,' may, we think, be doubted. The present Authorized Version will probably maintain its designation and its form for a long time to come. One means, however, of its improvement is both desirable and practicable: the variations which the different editions of it exhibit, may be corrected,' and the text amended in such manncj as to restore it to its original state. The curators and printers to whom the monopoly of the English Bible has been granted, seem to have had but little of a common understanding and communication with each other in respect to the preservation of its integrity. The Syndics of the Cambridge University press are, we believe, employed in revising the text of their editions; an example which will probably be followed at Oxford and London; and from these collations we may expect the removal of many discrepancies from the Common Version, which now disfigure the several impressions of its text.

Professor Scholeficld's Hints for an Improved Translation of the New Testament are entitled to attention; but they are, on the whole, of less value than, in the present state of Biblical criticism, might have been anticipated, and cannot have assigned to them a very distinguished place among the productions by which we are assisted in our study of the New Testament. But few of the corrections proposed in these pages, are essentially original; and a. very considerable number of them may be seen in the amendments adopted by modern translators. Not a few passages on which we should have been desirous of learning the opinions of the Professor, arc passed by without notice. In every part.

« ForrigeFortsett »