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the thoughts. Thus a man may be a good grammarian and at the same time a wretched translator.
2. Nothing is more common than for the same words, in the mouths of different nations, to have different significations. In this case to consult your dictionary would be a certain means to put you wrong as to the literal sense of an author. For instance, were we to render the Greek word scandalizien by the English word to scandalize, we should be far from expressing the meaning of the sacred penmen. For scandalizien in Greek signifies to lay a snare, to put an obstacle in the way, to dishearten, to cause to waver and fall, &c. Whereas in English, to scandalize, is properly to speak ill of a person, to defame, and the like.
3. It often happens that one author uses a word in a different sense from that of another. Of this, to justify and justification are instances. In English to justify a person, is, to speak in his defence, to clear him from what he is accused of; whereas in the scripture language, to justify, is an act of God's mercy, whereby pardoning our sins, in consideration of our faith and repentance, he declares us just or righteous, and treats us as such, for the sake of Jesus Christ. There are abundance of words of the like nature; the sacred writers of the New Testament forming their style upon the Hebrew and Septuagint version, often give a particular meaning to the Greek words. If therefore we were to render such words by their most usual signification, we should indeed render them according to
the letter, but at the same time should be far from
expressing the ideas annexed to them by the author. The same writer also very often uses the same word in different senses, not only in different places, but sometimes in the same sentence. If we were to render them always by the same word, on pretence of being faithful and exact, we should, on the contrary, express ourselves in a very improper and frequently in an unintelligible manner. The Greek word, for example, that signifies faith, is made use of by St. Paul in very different senses; sometimes he means by it the being persuaded of a thing †, sometimes trust or reliance ‡, and sometimes the object of faith §, that is the gospel. As these are very distinct ideas the rules of a good translation require, that in each place we give the word faith the meaning which is agreeable to the context.
4. It is well known, that in Hebrew, upon which the Greek of the New Testament is formed, there are certain expletives, or superfluous particles, which in that tongue may possibly have their graces, or at least may not be so disagreeable as in ours. Such is the conjunctive copulative, hai, and which commonly in the New Testament instead of connecting begins. the discourse Hence it is that we meet with such multitudes of ands, without any meaning at all, and which in the living languages sound very odd. Of the same nature is the adverb, behold or lo. It often has its meaning and
Πιστίς. + Rom. xiv. 13.
Heb. xviii. &c. § Rom. iv. 14.
emphasis, but for the most part it is a mere Hebraism without any particular signification.
5. As for the other particles, for, but, as, now, then, &c. the critics have very well observed, that they have not determinate significations, and therefore it would be very wrong to render them always in the same manner. In fixing their sense the context and connection of the discourse must be our guide. These several meanings of the same particle are owing to the Hebrew, where the particles vary extremely in their signification *; but the same thing is to be met with in both Greek and Latin authors.
6. As several may think it strange that in this version thou and thee are changed into You, it will be proper to remove their scruples, which can proceed only from their being used and accustomed to the contrary. But such should consider, That no prescription ought to be pleaded against reason, and that to speak in a barbarous style in a polite age and language, is highly unreasonable. Those, who object against this, either forget or do not know that the Hebrew, Greek, and Latin tongues having no you in the singular number, it was impossible for the sacred penmen to speak otherwise. The pretended dignity of THEE and THOU in the gospels, is to be met with in all the discourses and books of those times, because they could not talk to one another in any other manner. But now a days that you is made use
* See Boyle on the style of the Holy Scriptures. Obj. 3. c. 2.
of in the singular number, when we would speak handsomely, and that to say THOU is extremely rude and uncivil, or a sign of great familiarity, or of the meanest dependance, there can be reason of admitting this indecent manner of expression in the version of the New Testament. What can be more grating than to hear the disciples calling their Lord, thou and thee, and our Saviour talking to the Apostles as to the meanest of
It is not the same thing when we address ourselves to God, as when men are talking one to onother. God is infinitely above the little rules of our breeding and civility, and as the addresses of the faithful to this Supreme Being are of a supernatural order, it is proper their language should in some measure be so too. Upon this occasion the oriental style has a certain sublimity in it, which may be much easier conceived than expressed. And if, when we speak to kings in heroic style, we find thou has sometimes very noble, grand, and respectful, how much more so when we address ourselves to the King of kings!
7. In this version the translators had solely in view the thoughts of the sacred penmen, without any regard to the particular explanations and applications of divines. Systems of divinity are to go by the scriptures, and not the scriptures by them. To prove a doctrine by a text, which in its natural sense proves it not, or does not do it without a strained and forced interpretation, is to betray at once both the scriptures and doc
trine too. Divines, who go this way to work, expose at the same time the Christian religion in general, and their own principles in particular. In each communion a man is obliged to adhere to the articles, therein established, but then every one ought to be left free to interpret the scriptures by the same rules that are necessary for explaining any other book whatsoever. Besides, when a doctrine is proved by several expressed texts, or by one such, to endeavour to prove it by passages quite foreign to the purpose, is unfair dealing, a pious fraud very blame-worthy, or at least shews such a strong prejudice and blind obstinacy, as can never make for the credit of any sect or party. Calvin was a truly orthodox divine. But he ingenuously disclaimed both the ancients and moderns, when in proof of certain mysteries they alleged texts, which in his opinion had no manner of relation to the matter in hand. Howbeit the like liberty is not here taken, but without confuting any particular explanation, our authors have laid it down as a law, to represent the text just as it is, and to leave every one at liberty to judge of the truths therein contained.
8. There are two sorts of Hebraisms in the New Testament. Some there are, which all the world understand, having been accustomed to them; but there are others, which would be unintelligible, if not explained. The first of these are preserved, in order to give the Version the air of an original, which is essential to a good translation. The others have an English turn given them, and the Hebraism is marked in the