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ticular occasions, as a book of reference, to verify passages, and to de. termine in the last resort. There are many such publications, which may be thought by most readers more favourable to study than the text of the Bible, as now printed. It cannot be denied, that such works are excellently contrived, and have their use ; but still they are only substitutes; and if they prepare some minds for going on to a perusal of the Bible itself, it is to be feared they seduce others from reading it at all, in the way of study. Something, therefore, seems wanting, that shall bring studious persons to the very text of the Bible, as well as the contents of it; where the law of God may be read in the very words of the Law itself, as commodiously, and with as much intelligence and satisfaction, as in books of the above description, that are substituted for it.
“ It was in an humble, but earnest endeavour to furnish such a book, that I have put myself to the trouble and expense of preparing and publishing this edition of the Bible. I have made it a book, that is free from all objection to the size, or to the type ; it can tire neither the hand, nor the eye; it is in the fashion and taste of those books, which are most read, and read with pleasure. If these external circumstances should recommend it to perusal, I venture to hope, that the method in which the text is here exhibited, together with the aid of the notes, will fix the attention of the reader to a studious reading of the Holy Scriptures, because he will read with ease and with understanding also.
“ The plan is, to give to the text of Scripture the appearance which the different characters of it claim. Thus the greater part of it is unquestionably prose; but a part of the Old Testament is judged by the best critics to be, what may be called metrical, for want of some other word to distinguish it from prose. These respective parts are distinguished in this edition. All the historical books of the Old Testament, and all the New, are of the former kind; the Psalms, the writings of Solomon, most of Job, some songs in the historical books, and the greater part of the prophecies, are of the latter kind. The prose parts are here printed as prose compositions are printed in all other books, with. out regard to the division of chapters, and verses; which, however, are preserved for their original purpose, that of reference, but concealed in a manner not to obstruct the progress of the reader. The metrical parts are printed in the old division of verses. This appeared to me sufficient to mark the distinction between metre and prose : and I judged it more prudent to retain a division already in use, than to hazard any bew one that might be made into lines or versicles, according to some late theories of Hebrew poetry; for I wished merely to distinguish what is metrical, without presuming to decide, what is the metre. In this manner, I have been able to furnish novelty without innovation; and those who are inclined to criticise the metrical part of the work, should recollect, that the singularity is really not in that, but in the prose.
“In the historical books, the metrical parts are easily known, for they are distinguishable by the very subject of them; as the Song of VOL. XII.
Moses, and the like. In the books that are wholly metrical, as the Psalms, there is no distinction to be made. The difficulty is in the prophetical books; where, it is acknowledged, there is a mixture of prose and metre, but where the subject all through is so similar, that some other criterion becomes necessary; this criterion can only be sought in the original itself. Metre, strictly speaking, is a syllabic measure ; but none such is now discoverable in the Hebrew; there is, however, often discernible a peculiarity in the language and stile, consisting of something rhetorical in the choice of words, and something rythmical in the collocation of them. Such artificial passages ought surely to be regarded, and distinguished. They continually rtcur in the prophets; and it appears from this view of their writings, that they often change from one tenor of composition to another, giving the whole an air of something rhapsodical, analogous to a transition from prose to verse, and from verse to prose.
“ T'he prophets would not thus have varied their strain, unless it was to produce some different effect; and if this change can be represented, or even notified to the English reader, it helps to make a still closer resemblance of the prophetical writings. I found this to be a critical attempt of some nicety, and that there might be various opinions and feelings about it. I hope, the experiment which I have ventured upon, will at least be thought temperate, and accordingly be received with candour. In making up my mind on this part of the work, I have relied much on the judgment of a learned person, in whose knowledge of Scripture, and Scriptural Hebrew I have great confidence, and who is alluded to in my Collation of the Hebrew and Greek Texts of the Psalms.*
" It was only in the Hebrew Scriptures, that, any such variance in the language and the stile could make a distinction between metre and prose. The Greek language has confessedly no metre, but such as is expressed in a syllabic measure ; every other composition is prose, however, elevated the stile may be; and as there is no syllabic measure in the Greek Scriptures, they must therefore be treated as plain prose. But there are other considerations, which inclined me to give a metrical appearance to some parts even of these. The Hymns in Luke i. ji. which we are used to see divided into verses in our Common Prayer Book, under the titles of Magnificat, Benedictus, and Nunc Dimittis, I have for that reason, printed here in verses ; I have done the same, for the same reason, with The Song of the Three Children; it seemed consistent to print the Song of Judith in the same manner. The books
* “ I mean Mr. Jacob, a learned and enlightened Jew; who besides his Biblical learning, is master of all the Talmudical and Rabbinical writings, with. out being a superstitious admirer of them. I am greatly obliged to this gen. Ueman for his advice in matters that required knowledge and judgment; and likewise for his condescension in attending to the progress of the work, as it went through the press.”
of Wisdom and Ecclesiasticus, being imitations of Solomon's writings, and consisting of sentences, that are co-extensive with the present verses, I thought could not be printed in a better way, than in our common Bibles.
“ The whole of the Bible, whether prose or metre, is divided in this Edition into sections, without any regard to the present chapters and verses. These sections are intended to conform to the divisions of the several subjects ; and it is hoped, they will exhibit the whole of the Bible in an order, system, and coherence, which will throw new light upon every part of it. To make way for this sectional division I have been obliged to discard the arguments of the chapters; but I have done this with the less scruple, because thev do not appear to me to be a part of the original work; for the translators, after they had completed the revision of the text, by the joint and several labours of the whole body, delegated to two only of their number the office of making arguments to the chapters. Later editions have, no doubt, observed this, and have for that reason taken liberties with these arguments, adding to thein, or diininishing them, according to their fancy; in some late editions from the Cambridge press the arguments of the chapters are reduced to a single line. With this history, and these examples before me, I felt less difficulty in rejecting the arguments entirely, and substituting for them the sectional heads, and the marginal abstracts; thinking that these will be found to do more than compensate for the loss.
“ In planning this edition, I constantly kept in view the orignal work of the Translators, and the practice of the two Universities in their editions of it; and I have always endeavoured to adapt my designs so as to be justified either by one or the other. Wishing to give a plain text, to look like other English books, I was desirous of disincumbering the margin from the numerous parallel passages, that seem to load the page, while they contribute little, that is useful to the generality of readers. I found, that these parallel passages were very few in the first edition in King James's time, and that the present number had grown by gradual additions, derived from the industry of successive editors. The much greater part of them, therefore, might be discarded without interfering with the original work; and the Oxford and Cambridge editors have dismissed the whole of them, in some of their late octavo Bibles. This was authority enough for me to do the same; but, in this case, as in that of the arguments of the chapters, I have provided a substitute ; for in the notes will be found all the references to parallel passages, which appeared to me necessary for explaining the text. Some might, indeed, be added, that would be of use ; but for many of the others, they conduce more to a curious comparison of words and phrases, than to any truc illustration of Scripture.
“ The other branch of marginal matter appeared to me of a much more important nature; I mean the Hebrew and Greek renderings, as they are called. These are such translations of the original as give ano
ther, or a more literal, sense of a word or phrase in the original, whicla could not properly be introduced into the text itself; these were wisely placed in the margin by the translators, in order to afford additional light to the reader. I considered these, as a real part of the translation, no less than the text itself, and that no Bible was fairly given to the public, that was without them. I have, therefore, retained the whole of the Hebrew and Greek renderings in this edition; and I regret that there, is any example of disregarding them in others, whichi, for that reason, I, cannot look upon as genuine editions, though coming from authority, Extricated as these renderings are, in this edition, from the heap of parallel passages, with which they are confounded in the quarto editions, they will, I hope, attract the reader's notice, and thus contribute their share towards conveying the true sense of the words and phrases of the original language.
“ Such is the plan upon which I have exhibited the text of our Church Bible. For the text itself, I made choice of the Oxford Bible, which was adjusted with great care in the year 1769, and which the university has made the copy in all reprints, ever since. I directed the Printers to follow that copy implicitly; and if there is any deviation, even in the punctuation, it is from an error in the press, and not by design.*
“ To the text of the Psalms I have added, in another column, that of the Psalms in the Common Prayer Book. These two texts are of different characters; the former is nearer the Hebrew, but the latter seems to have less difficulties; those will become still less by a comparison with the Bible text; and the two will reflect a light upon each other, that must make both better understood.
“ Although I persuaded myself, that the Bible was more likely to be read, and would be read with more interest, ard intelligence, if the text was presented to the reader in the form in which it is disposed in this edition, yet it seemed to me necessary, that the text should be accompa
* “ There is a peculiarity in this Oxford edition which I do not approve, and which, therefore, I am desirous should not be ascribed to me. The Edi. tor has united into one word what are elsewhere two words, or at most are joined by a hyphen, making such compounds, as shoelatehet, eveningtide, grapegatherers, bloodguiltiness, manservant, maidservant, and the like ; all which are printed as two words in the original edition in King James's time, and are commonly so written in the present day. The printers were startled with these novelties, but I directed them to follow the copy. Having determined to reprint this text, I thought it proper to adhere to it, in every particular. This I observed so scrupulously, that when my sectional division happened, as it did more than once, to end where there was only a colon in the text, I would not allow them to change it to a full stop. So that this edition may be consi. dered as an Oxford text, if reprinted correctly."
+ “ The notes are upon the Bible text only; for notes upon the other text, I must refer to the new edition of my Common Prayer Book.
nied with some explanatory, notes, before it could be said to be upon a. footing of equal advantage with other ancient writings. In order, therefore, to make the work as complete as I could, I resolved to compile some short notes both to the Old Testament and the New; I did not feel courage to bestow the same pains on the Apocrypha.* The rule I had laid down to myself for framing these notes was this ; that they should be very numerous, and very short; so that nothing might be passed over that appeared in the least to need annotation ; and that no annotation should digress from the text; but, on the contrary, that every note should keep the text closely in view, and should bring the reader back to it, as soon as it had served the purpose of explaining the difficulty that occasioned it. Further, I resolved to keep out of these notes every thing that was learned, or curious, or novel. Formed upon this principie, they aim at nothing, but to give a plain interpretation of Scripture, such as has been known and well received for many years; and, as they are intended for English readers of every class, so both learned and unlearned, I should think, may find something in them that will be useful.
“ In giving this new form to the English Bible, I claim little merit to myself beyond that of the labour and expense ; the authorship is of a ve y humble sort; it is that of bringing forward the works of others, and placing them in a situation, where they may be more useful to the public. The substance of every thing, that may be thought valuable in this edition, is to be found in books a century old ; little of it is mine, but the selecting, adapting, and wording.t If there has not always been judgment in the choice, nor every where success in the execution ; if I have done too much in one place, and too little in another; I hope allowance will be macie for such inequalities, considering that the work is long, and varicus, and the attempt new.
“I beg leave here to repeat, what I have said on a former occasion, by way of apology for presuming to meddle with the Bible and Prayer Book, as Editor or Commentator, that I desire in these publications to be considered as acting only officially, and more in the character of a printer, than an author. It is the performance of a suit and service, which I thought due for my share in the office to which I belong. While my copatentees were carrying on the ordinary business of the King's press for the present, conformably to an agreement between us, I was unwilling to be wholly idle in the station wherein I was placed. The Bible and Prayer Book are connected with some of my former studies, and I re
• “ For the reasons see the preface to the Apocrypha.
† “ The ground work of this edition may be seen in Well's Paraphrase of the Old and New Testament; and the notes may be considered as containing what seems most necessary in the voluminous commentaries of Patrick, Lowth, and Whitby, not to mention others.
# “ In the Prefatory Epistle to my Collation of the Hebrew and Greek texts of the Psalms."