« AnteriorContinuar »
Comment. For instance, as it is usual in all languages, as well as in Hebrew, to term the disciples or followers of any person, his children, this expression is retained, as the children of God, and the children of the devil. The Hebrews say, to eat bread *, when they would express eating in general or making a meal. Now this Hebraism cannot be rendered literally without ambiguity. Again for the edge of the sword, they say, the mouth of the sword t, which is unintelligible in English. For a thing, they say, a word; for posterity, they say, seed; for a tree, they say wood; and make use of the word, to answer, in the beginning of a discourse, before any person has spoke. It is evident in these and the like cases the Hebraism must be dropt, and the author's meaning, not his expressions, must be kept to. To give the Version a certain oriental turn, natural to the New Testament, ail the figures are carefully preserved, as far as perspicuity and the purity of language will admit. There are several ellipses, that is, words understood, which it was necessary to supply ; and several enallages, or changes of tenses and persons which cannot be imitated without barbarisms, and leaving the sense obscure, equivocal, and sometimes entirely wrong Ă. In fine, there are several allusions to words, which are very seldom capable of being translated from one language to another. This is done where the words in our language would bear it; for instance, let the dead bury their dead, which is a sort of enigmatical express
* John xiü. 18. Luke xxi. 24. See Luke xiii. 34. Matt. xxiii. 37.
ion, the understanding whereof depends on the taking the word dead in two different senses.
'To conclude, nothing has been omitted to keep up the character, genius, and style of the sacred penmen, as far as was consistent with preserving their sense. If there are any supplemental words, they are no more than the text necessarily requires. They for whom the sacred writings were at first designed, supplied without any difficulty the words that were wanting, being used to that way of expression. But our language will not admit of any of these ellipses. All modern and affected expressions are carefully avoided, and though the familiar and popular style of the Evangelists is closely imitated, yet is it done without descending to any mean or low expression. There is a nobleness in the simplicity of the language of the sacred authors, which distinguishes them in an eminent manner from common writers, and no endeavours have been wanting to follow them in that particular.
IV. THE NOTES.
The Notes were designed for the following uses. 1. They shew the difference between the [English] and Greek, to the end they, who understand the original, may the better judge of the faithfulness of the translation. 2. They serve to clear up the literal sense, when any obscurity occurs. 3. They describe the places, persons and usages, spoken of or alluded to, as well as explain the proverbial sayings, ways of expression, and the like, the knowledge thereof gives great light to the meaning of a passage. For instance, our Saviour prefers the whiteness of the lilly before all the magnificence of Solomon's royal robes. Now the beauty and force of this comparison are much more conspicuous, when we are told, the robes of the eastern princes were white. 4. When a passage may be rendered several ways, or is not understood in the same manner by interpreters, the different senses are taken notice of in the Notes, and either that, which is thought the best, is remarked, or the reader is lift to judge for himself, when the case is doubtful. 5. The various readings, that make any alteration in the sense, are set down. 6. Our authors candidly own, they know not the meaning of some passages. They lay nothing down for certain but what appears so, and what they cannot rationally explain, they leave as they found it, doubtful and obscuie. It is impossible, a work of so great antiquity, should be every where equally clear, since we are deprived of many helps, which would have given great light into several difficult places. It is sufficient that every thing, relating to our faith and morals, is delivered with all imaginable plainness and perspicuity.
V. THE PREFACES.
As there will be an occasion to mention the Prefaces to each book of the New Testament, in the Introduction, the reader is referred thither, in order to avoid repetition,