Imatges de pàgina

mately prevails between the idioms of the Hebrew and English languages.

• For this, and many other reasons, a critical revision and improved edition of the old, is more desirable than a new, translation: for, not only the Hebrew idiom, but as many of the words as pollible of the old trandation should be retained, on account of their fimplicity and dignity, and also, to indulge the honest prejudice of the people : for the remark, from whatever quarter it may have come, is very justly made, “ that common minds can with difficulty discriminate between the language and the substance; and in losing the one they will be in no little anxiety about the other : besides that the long use of writings avowedly sacred gives a venerable air to the language, and seems almost to consecrate it to the service of religion.”

. But, to crown this general reasoning in support of the preservacion of the ancient idiom, we have two precedents whose authority will be allowed to be unquestionable. The Septuagint is a translation of the Old Testament, of very high, if not of divine authority ; in which, though the language bę Greek, the idiom is uniformly Hebrew : and in the New Teitament itself, though the words are Greek, the ideas are Jewish, and the idiom Hebrew; which afford a convincing proof that the original idiom is, at any sate, to be preserved.'

Dr. Tatham adds, that a translation should be as verbal and idiomatical as possible; that where the original expreslion is obfcure, the version should be so likewise, since the Holy Spirit often intends a mystery, and that it is the office of a translator to give a representation, not an interpretation of his original. • All that he should attempt or hope is to render the Bible fo, as to be now literally understood as it was when originally written.' A remarkable error is here noted in our translation of the New Testament. Aixeunoel is interpreted, ' will grind him to powder,' and by Dr. Campbell, Thall crush him to pieces, in accordance with the conteret and comminuet of the old version, Erasmus, Caftalio, and Beza: whereas the meaning is clearly dissipabit, or ventilabit; viz. will blow him away like chaff. This, as well as the similar remark on suvarao noelai, is a just and new criticism

Chapter third treats of Theological Truth. This consists of a general deduction from the former reasonings on the evidences, the authority, the authenticity, the interpretation, and translation of the Scriptures, magnifying the excellence of faith, and demonstrating the different species of affent required

Sec Mạcthew xxi, and Luke xo

towards them

towards religious truths, from those which are merely hu- . man.

The author's recapitulation of his labours we shall give in his own words:

In this general Chart or Geography of Truth, I have attempte ed to give a parallel and comparative view of the different kinds of learning human and divine, clalling and arranging them under separate provinces, and analysing them according to their respective nature and constitution : fo that, whilst all may be seen at one view in their relative situation, each, in its proper cultivation, may be kept distinct ; its own principles asserted; its own proofs employed; and the conviction of its truths measured and ascera tained by a mutual scale. This appeared, in my mind, to be the just and philosophical method to keep the understanding clear and fteady in its researches, to render it successful in its investigations, sensible of its own weakness, and thankfully acquiescent in every kind of truth, particularly in that which is the subject of the Chriftian faith, to ground and establish which, upon a broad and solid basis, is the principal object of these lectures.'

A considerable portion of Dr. Tatham's extensive plan is yet in contemplation.

• The future purposes to which this general Chart will be preparatory, after putting theology upon its distinct and proper bottom, will be more fully to confirm the Christian faith; and also to develope the causes of heretical and schifmatic errors, by which it is opposed.

* To these purposes nothing can so effe&tually contribute as extensive views, which break all narrow habits of thinking, and set the mind at liberty, which enable it to embrace the most distant and diffimilar parts of learning, and which give it a command over the general expanse of knowledge, as the eye elevated upon a rock has over the whole country below, which can see the bearings and connections of every part, can allow to each its proper latitude and extent, and contemplate the whole scene without mixture or confusion.'

Of this plan he has already delineated the divisions, and de scribed the principles. These it will be time enough to notice when the superstructure is raised. It is impossible to avoid wishing so ingenious, so zealous, and so learned a writer, success adequate to his merit.

His object in this eílay, which he presumes to call a New Logic, was 'to lead men to think and judge for themselves.' But how this can be the final intention, when the first and great part of the second volume consists of institutes to teach

them how to think, is not yery apparent. The author presents a Chart and Scale of Truth: according to these he directs his readers to examine and estimate propositions submitted to them. Persons, then, observing these directions do not think for themselves. We wish not, however, to detract from the excellence of Dr. Tatham's design, nor of its execution. The first volume, indeed, is so extremely dry, that we cannot recommend it to any readers who are not competent to the process of mathematical induction; especially as the fequel is per. feetly intelligible without it. But the second makes ample amends; being rich in theologic instruction, not only for the young student in divinity, but for those who meditate or are engaged in, a translation of any part of the scriptures.

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Sermons preached before the University of Oxford at St. Mary's

in the Year 1790. At the Lečiure founded by the late Rev. John Bampton, M. A. By Henry Kett, M. A. 8vo. 5s.

Boards. Egertons. 1791. M R. Kett has denominated these Lectures ( A Represen

W tation of the Conduct and Opinions of the Primitive Christians; with Remarks on certain Affertions of Mr. Gib

bon and Dr. Priestley.' It has for forne years become fashion- able to ridicule the writings of the fathers, chiefly on account

of their supposed credulity, their ignorance, or prejudices. Mr. Kett has, with a masterly hand, undertaken their defence; and proceeded to display their excellencies. His first sermon contains ' A Vindication of the Writings of the Fathers of the Church in general, and a Recommendation of the Works of the earliest Fathers in particular. Mr. Kett observes,

that they have been represented as unfavourable to the cul. tivation of rational and manly piety; because we are told, that in their writings occur the reveries of fanaticism, and the conjectures of visionary refinement.'

From this objection Mr. Kett labours strenuously to rescue them.

• The failings of a few, in a few instances, ought not to involve the works of all in indiscriminate and uncandid condemnation. To abandon them because some proofs of visionary refinement are to be found, is equally unreasonable and unjust, as to censure the ftudy of the Hebrew language, on account of the forced constructions of Hutchinson ; or to relinquish the researches of natural philosophy, on perusing the fanciful theories of Cartesius *.'

Quere. Why is this name Latinized? The author might, with equal propriety, have written Hutchinsonius.

Mr. • Mr. Kett acknowledges that even · Origen gave way to the most chimerical expositions of scripture, and that Tertulliani embraced the preposterous reveries of Montanus. But he judiciously adds, that comprehensive knowledge and splené did talents afford no constant security against the delusions of fancy, and the wiles of imposture; and that from the imperfection of other writers, who are conspicuous for vivacity of fancy, extent of learning, and acuteness of penetration, may be drawn considerations which encourage humility of mind, and are favourable to genuine liberality of sentiment.' . The two leading objections against the fathers Mr. Kett states to be, that they have admitted many facts and opinions to a place in their writings, which were adopted upon insufficient grounds, and that they are deficient with respect to topics of morality: • They have been charged with deviating from the standard of scripture, and with encouraging the subtleties and evasions of disingenuous cafuiftry. Both of these charges Mr. Kett difcusses with great candour; and on the first concludes that, • because they admitted some disputable facts with too much precipitation,' it follows not that 'they therefore embraced Christianity itself upon insufficient grounds ;' and, on the second, that it carries not with it even the flightest plausibility, except when brought against one father in particular, whose general sentiments are far from justifying such a charge.' Mr. Kett adds, as a decisive argument in favour of their ethics, that the most judicious modern writers upon the subó ject of jurisprudence have derived information from them, and have gratefully acknowledged the favour. The general principles and particular sentiments of Chrysostom and of Bafil have given folidity of argument and copiousness of illustration to the celebrated treatises of Grotius and of Puffendorf.' The author's elaborate encomiums on these early writers, whose names and particular excellencies are distinctly enumerated, one sentence may communicate. " In their works may be found specimens of elegant composition to gratify the taste; interesting facts to enlarge the circle of knowledge, and examples of piety to amend the heart.' Our lecturer, however, affects not to offer these writers a blind and proftrate homage: he ingenuously allows that they must of necessity be inferior to more modern theologists, who poffefsed more extensive learning and founder philosophy. Origen and Jerom were almost the only fathers who understood the eastern languages. But this disadvantage is more than counterbalanced by their proximity in point of time to the writers and characters of the gospel.

• Their antiquity places them in an exalted situation, from which they address us in a tone of such solemnity as excites our earneft


atten:ion. In the foremost rank of Christians ftand the Apostles, to whom we pay that reverential deference which is due to the inspired ambassadors of heaven. The next in order are those, who enjoyed the unspeakable fa:isfaction and peculiar privilege of conversing familiarly with them, and hearing from their sacied lips the words of eternal life.'

Besides, as their writings immediately succeeded the publication of the New Testament, as the authors enjoyed the highest rank in the church, as they describe the prevailing sentiments of the primitive Christians, the first heresies, and what measures were taken to confute them ; the discipline eltablished in the infant church, the form of its government, with the various and cruel machinations of its enemies, an accurate inquiry into such topics is contended to be particularly seasonable.--Here begins the attack on the two celebrated opponents of the church, whose names have been specified. Mr. Gibbon is stated to have stripped the first Christians of their most distinguished virtues;' and Dr. Priestley to have elevated the earliest heretics to the rank of orthodox believers, and to have drawn arguments from the supposed tenets of the primitive ages, in order to deprive Christianity of its essential doctrine, by reducing the eternal Son of God to the common level of human nature.'

To both these writers Mr. Kett denies the merit of originality, however they claim the appearance of novelty.

The fundamental error of the Unitarians is a modification of the opinion of Socinus, which was derived from the heretics of the early ages. Their interpretations of Scripture and their so. phiftical arguments are either drawn from the works of 2uicker and of Episcopius, or from the ample compilations of the brethren of Poland. The degrading description which the historian of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire has given of the Jewish naa tion may be traced through the popular narratives of Voltaire, and the obsolete works of Collins and Tindal.'

To trace the progress of these sentiments, and ascertain their original authors, he examines the fix immediate causes which, during the first and second century, co-operated in the propagation of the gospel. These are described to be, . The miracles wrought in the primitive church: 2. The apologies addreffed to emperors in vindication of the Christian cause : 3. The zeal of the first preachers in disseminating the knowledge of Christianity: 4. The fortitude of the early martyrs : 5. The discipline of the primitive church : and 6. The confor. mity of the manners of the first Christians with the precepts of the gospel. Such are the subjects of the lectures: in which the author likewise conliders the sentiments of the first


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