Page images

audent. Quare mihi quidem sufficit, quod, non dico, in minutis, neque ad fundamentum fidei nibil pertinentibus, sed in capitibus religionis, sive illis, quoruin ignorantia salus periclitaretur, non siverit divina Providentia, ut ullus librariorum error constanter omnes, vel multos etiam codices obsideret. Vossius, Isagog. Chronol. c. 5.

Ante captivitatem Babylonicam eædem fuere Judæorum ac Samaritanorum litteræ. His Moses usus, his David et cæteri. In captivitate demum Judai assuevere litteris Chaldæis et Assyriis. Eapropter Esra auctor fuit, ut Biblia deinceps non Mosaicis sive Samaritanis, sed Chaldais, litteris describerentur, ut fusius comprobavimus, lib. i, de Re Gram. c. 31. Voss. Harm. Evang. lib. ii. c. 7.

It would be the most astonishing of all miracles, if, notwithstanding the acknowleged fallibility of transcribers, and their proneness to error from the nature of the subject itself on which they were employed, the Hebrew Bible had come down to us, through their hands, absolutely pure, and free from all mistakes whatsoever; and, if it be objected that the mistakes are frequent and of various kinds, which tend to invalidate the authority of Scripture, it may be sufficient to answer in the words of Castellio, quoted from Wetstein by Bishop Lowth, in his Dissertation on Isaiah. “ Ad scrupulum eorum, qui metuunt, ne, si hoc concessum fuerit, labascat Sacrarum Literarum authoritas, hoc respondeo, non esse scriptorum autoritatem in paucis quibusdam verbis, quæ vitiari detrahive potuerunt, sed in perpetuo orationis tenore, qui mansit incorruptus, positam. Itaque quemadmodum Cicero apud sui studiosos nihilo, minoris est autoritatis propter paucula quædam mutilata, aut depravata, quam esset, si id non accidisset, ita debet et Sacrarum Literarum authoritati nihil detrahi, si quid in eis tale, quale ostendimus, contigit.” Lowth's Dissert. on Isaiah.

But the manuscripts and antient versions afford the proper means of remedying these and other defects of the present copy of the Hebrew Bible; and the Greek version, commonly called the Septuagint, probably made by different hands, and at different times, is of the first authority, and of the greatest use in.correcting the Hebrew text, as being the most antient of all, and as the copy, from which it was translated, appears to have been free from many errors which afterwards by degrees got into the text; and, though this version, and particularly Isaiah, who met with a translation very unworthy of him, is come down to us in bad condition, incorrect, and with frequent omissions and interpolations, yet with all its faults, it is of more use than any other whatsoever. But the assistance of manuscripts and antient versions. united will be found very insufficient perfectly to correct the Hebrew text. Passages will sometimes occur, in which neither the one nor the other give any satisfactory sense; which has been occasioned probably by very antient mistakes of the copy, antecedent to the date of the oldest of them. The fairest way of proceeding, in these cases, seems to be to leave it to the judgement of the reader to decide, whether the conjectural rendering or the conjectural emendation be more agreeable to the context, to the exi

gence gence of the place, to parallel and similar passages, to the rules and genius of the language, and to the laws of sound and temperate criticism. Lowth's Dissert. on Isai.

That the Sacred Text has undergone corruptions is indisputable. The thing is evident from the varieties of the MSS. the antient versions, and the oldest printed cditions. That the corruptions are so numerous, or in such a degree, as to be a principal cause of obscurity, or indeed to be a cause of obscurity at all, with the utmost confidence I deny. And, be the corruptions what they may, I must protest against the ill-advised measure, as to me it seems, however countenanced by great examples, of attempting to remove any obscurity supposed to arise from them, by what is called conjectural emendation. - I must observe, however, that, under the name of conjectare, I condemn not altogether alterations, which, without the authority of a single MS. are suggested by the antient versions, especially by the Vulgate, Syriac, or Septuagint. The consent indeed of those versions, in one reading, wherever it is found, I esteem a considerable, though not always an indisputable, authority for an emendation. And, as it is certainly possible that a true reading may have been preserved in one solitary MS. it will follow that a true reading may be preserved in one version. But the conjectural emendation, which I chiefly dread and reprobate, is that which rests solely on what the critics call “ the exigence of the place.” For the supposed exigence of the place, in the text of an inspired writer, when it consists merely in the difficulty of the passage as we read it, may be nothing more than the imperfect apprehension of the uninspired critic. Bishop Horsley on Hosea.

Qui absolutissimam integritatem textus impressi defendunt, necessario pugnant pro singulis vocibus et literis in textu impressis, contra quascunque alias voces et literas ab. iis diversas. Kennicott, Gen. Dissert. p. 17.

Dicere liceat in hac me semper fuisse sententia nunquam cum Sacris Literis bene actum fere neque illarum interpretes in iis recensendis atque enarrandis, eadem cum laude versaturos, quam in aliis veterum scriptis edendis atque illustrandis obtinuerunt, donec iisdem critices subsidiis, eadem judicii árgilsiz, præjudiciis omnibus sepositis, libere utantur fruantur. In his omuem judicii libertatem exuisse videntur, quasi non amplius sui juris essent. De tollendis enim mendis ne cogitarunt quidem plerique interpretes, sed toti fuerunt in iis occultandis, tuendis, consecrandis, nec in id laborarunt, ut pravam lectionem meliorem vel levi emendatione facerent, sed ut ex recepta lectione, quæcunque demum fuerit, sensum qualem qualem elicerent, durisque et coactis interpretationibus, invita critica, inviia grammatica, quasi vi quadam extorquerent. Hare in Psalm. Lectori Phil. Hcb.

Quod de Junio BRUTO, qui 'Tarquinium regno ejecit, idem de Decio Bruto, qui conspirans cum Cassio necem C. Cæsari intulere, ducesque et assertores Romanæ majestatis fuere, factum comperimus. Siquidem hic propiore affinitate Cæsari quam Junius Brutus Tarquinio junctus fuit; non enim nepos, ut ille, sed filius esse creditus est. Nam cum Servilia soror Uticensis materque Bruti fuerit, cum qua adolescens Cæsar consuetudinem non sine probro habuisse fertur, cumque eo tempore Brutus ex Servilia natus foret, haud dubie Cæsaris filius vulgo habitus est: quod ipsum Cæsarem die cædis suæ, cum undique infestis mucronibus appeteretur, dixisse ferunt. Alexand. ab Alexand. lib. v. c. 27. .


. Whether the authority of BISHOPS be by divine right or no, it is trifling to dispute; for, since the apostles, in planting and establishing the church, were divinely inspired; since they did nothing but what they were taught to do by Christ; since he did nothing but what he was taught by the Father, and was himself God; it comes to the same thing whether we assert episcopacy to be of divine right or apostolical institution. Stackhouse on Creed.

A law imperial there is, which sheweth that there was great care had to provide for every Christian city a bishop, as near as might be, and that each city had some territory belonging unto it, which territory was also under the bishop of the same city. Unto the bishop of every such city, not only the presbyters of the same city, but also of the territory thereunto belonging, were, from the first beginning, subject. For we must note, that, when as yet there were in cities no parish-churches, but only colleges of presbyters under their bishop's regiment, yet smaller congregations and churches there were even then abroad, in which churches there was but some one only presbyter to perform among them divine duties. Towns and villages abroad, receiving the faith of Christ from cities whereunto they were adjacent, did, as spiritual and heavenly colonies, by their subjection honour those antient mother-churches out of which they grew. The bishop, for his assistance and ease, had under him, to guide and direct deacons in their charge, his arch-deacon; so termed in respect of care over deacons, albeit himself were not deacon but presbyter. For the guidance of presbyters in their function, the bishop had likewise under him one of the self same order with them, but above them in authority: one whom the antients termed usually an archpresbyter; we at this day name him dean. For most certain truth it is, that churches cathedral and the bishops of them are as glasses, wherein the face and very countenance of apostolical antiquity remaineth even as yet to be seen. Hooker's Eccles. Pol. book vii. sect. 7, 8. · See also Diocese.

There is some probability that the GOSPEL was preached in Great Britain by St Simon, the apostle; there is much greater probability that it was preached there by St Paul; and there is absolute certainty that it was planted there in their days. Eusebius says, that the apostles preached in all the world, and some of them passed beyond the ocean, even to the Britannic Isles. Dem. Ev. lib. iii. Smith's Sermons, Provost of Philadii : ... ..iii .


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Bil, Bel, Dcu, Chrome, Iciechi, Saturn, the same acirr. Chironus derivada frimp, a horn, which was an (oblem of power and dominion among the Easterix Dutions. Univ. Ilist. 1. xii. 8:0, p. 205. . From 1p comes corn!!!, whence on torta

Chromis must have been rendered by the Grecks Koronus, and there was a place, diccicated to him in the island of Cyprus, which was called Koronis; and both these words are a transposition for K012-Onis, tue Lord Orus, or 78, lnx, vel ignis. Ile vas originally an Oriental deity, and introduced into Africa by the Carthaginians. Bryant's Mythol. Observ.

The prohibition of eating Bioon, though not a coinmandiment of moral obligation, yet is a positive precept, which cannot but be thought of some weight and impor-: tance for its frequent and solemn injunctions; and, as the prevention of cruchty and murder is alleged as one reason for its injunction, and will be ever esteemed a good: one, it can hardly be understood without some restriction; and, as it seemed once good to the Joly Ghost to prescribe an abstinence from blood, and when it seened otherwise to bim we are no where that I know of instructed, the obligation seems to lie upon every good Christian. Stackh. Hist.

The most probable reason that eating of blood was prohibited by the law, and in the Gospel to its proselytes from Gentilism, seems to be that it is a kind of acknowlegement that our privilege, for killing and eating the Aesh of those living creatures, is not derived to us from the law of Nature, which seems rather to be against it, but from an express permission from the Author of Nature. Ant. Univ. Hist. rol. ijis p. 155.

Bribery arrived to an immoderate heighť in Rome, when Cæsar bronglit orer Emilius Puulus, one of the consuls, to his party, at the price of 1500 talents; i. e. £ 310,627 sterling. Univ. Hist.

*It is very observable, that Rachel was delivered of her son BENJAMIN where afterwards the tribe of Benjamin was situated."

The children of the BRIDE-CHAMBER might be better understood of the bride herself, for such was the Church; and, in conformity to the genius of that language which was spoken by our blessed Saviour, those who were then wedded to their Lord and Master, and to whom therefore the bride-chamber belonged, might as such be called the children, &c. Littleton, LL.D.

Swwa 10897 “Whose top may reach unto heaven," i. e. the top of the tower of Babel. Hyperbole hæc erat, q. d. altissima. Vide Deut. i. 28; ix. l. Sic Homer, Od, ... V. 239, sqarouhans, i. e. in cælum usque sublimis. Ad calum exstruxit villam, &c.


Cic. pro domo. Bochart, &c. 'But some would render the words, Whose top was consecrated to the heavens, i. e. to the heavenly bodies, Baal or the Sun, &c. See Tenison, Owen, &c. But they have not produced any authorities for this signification of the preposition a. .

,. It is very remarkable that there had been new discoveries and clearer revelations of JESUS Christ in every fifth century, successively, from Adam to the fullness of time. There is only one of those periods which I cannot yet fix, and that is between Adam and Enoch, whose translation was about a thousand years after the first promise of a Saviour, and five hundred years before the preaching of Noah. From whence we may observe the great exactness and propriety of those words, in the consummation of the ages, which is quite lost in our English translation, and called the end of the world, which hath perplexed the sense and given occasion for unnecessary scruple. Bishop Brown's Sermons, vol. i. p. 173,

That he might render the execution of justice strict and regular, Alfred divided all England into COUNTIES: these counties he subdivided into hundreds, and the hundreds into tithings. Every householder was answerable for the behaviour of his family and slaves, and even of his guests if they lived above three days in his house. Ten neighbouring householders were formed into one corporation, who, under the name of a tithing, decennary, or fribourg, were answerable for each other's conduct; and over whom one personi, called a tithing-man, headbourg, or borsholder, was appointed to preside. And no man could change his habitation without a warrant or certificate froin the borsholder of the tithing to which he formerly belonged. Hume's History, vol. i.

Ecclesiastical history will shew us one evil, than which none began sooner, or stretched itself farther, or hath more disturbed and distressed the Christian world in all ages; and that evil is, the imposing unreasonable Terms of COMMUNION, and requiring Christians to profess doctrines not propounded in scriptural words, but inferred as consequences from passages of Scripture, which one may call systems of consequentiat divinity. Two authors, who have been an honour to this nation, have expressed themselves with remarkable strength and frecdom in censuring such impositions; namely, John Hales and Chillingworth. Jortin's Sermon's, vol. vii. p. 401, ,

Crown-Lands. Viile Forest.

Henry III. in 1972, granted a charter to the town of Newcastle, in which be gave. the inhabitants a license to dig con. This is the first inention of coal in England: Hune's Hist. vol. i. . 630. '.

. S .


« PreviousContinue »