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ed state of the English language, it may fail in conveying the sense of the original to a reader of the present day. Many words which were generally understood in the age of James I. may have become obsolete, and others may have acquired a meaning different from that which they bore at that time. In both these cases the very same reasons which require and justify translation at all, demand revision and amendment. The book is, so far as obsolete words are retained, unintelligible to the common reader. “ Seek after leasing”-the translation of ar wpan Ps. iv. 3. in the common version, is, we apprehend, as little understood by most readers as is the original Hebrew itself; and the same reason which requires an English word for 3.10 requires that leasing be exchanged for another term. A copious list of words, either wholly obsolete, or obsolete in the sense noticed, is supplied in this section: the bare inspection of it is sufficient to convince the reader that, in point of perspicuity, the English Bible is susceptible of essential improvement.
“ The authorized version contains many obsolete, idiomatical, ambiguous, and harsh phrases. Judges ix, 53. • And a certain woman cast a piece of a mill-stone upon Abimelech's head, and all to break his scull." The vau should be rendered which: "Which fractured or broke his scull." Go your way, for go. •Which would take account of his servants:' Matt. xviii, 23. If the following parable did not suggest the true sense of these words, we should suppose that they meant that the master took an account how many servants he had. And Herod with his men of war set him at nought.' Luke xxiii, 3. (11). This is both idiomatical and vulgar. It should be, 'treated him contemptuously.' And if this come to the governor's ears we will persuade him and secure you.' (Matt. xxviii, 14.) Here seem to be three particulars objectionable within a very narrow compass. The first member of this compounded sentence is both vulgarly expressed, and ill translated, -the second is ill translated,--and the third is ambiguous. Perhaps it would be better thus: “And if this come to a hearing before the governor, we will appease him, and bear you harmless."
“ . Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia.' It would be difficult to point out a more harsh and ambiguous sentence. Locke and Dr. Waterland (as quoted by Dr. Dodd from an interleaved Bible), propose to render it, We make known to you the godly charity given by the churches of Macedonia.' This is perspicuous, and the sense of the passage. For it is evident that the charitable collection was made by (and not for) the churches of Macedonia."
of this last example Wakefield gives the following version: “We signify unto you the extraordinary generosity that hath been displayed by the churches of Macedonia.” This translation of the words coincides with that which Mr. Boothroyd would adopt, who, it should seem, is too hasty in determining the meaning which he approves, to be “the sense of the passage.'
." The original is, Γνωρίζομεν δε υμίν αδελφοί, την χάριν του θεον των δεδομενην εν ταϊς εκκλησίαις της μακεδονιας, which we think, with Macknight and Doddridge, is to be understood rather in relation to the “gra
cious disposition given to the churches in Macedonia," than to the contribution which they furnished for the relief of their fellowchristians in Judea. We should prefer Wakefield's rendering of the fifth example, to that which Mr. B. has copied from Dr. Symonds: “ And if this affair be brought to a hearing before the governor, we will satisfy him, and keep you from trouble.” Dr. Campbell's version would come under the author's censure: “ And if this come to the procurator's ears, we will appease him, and indemnify you."
“ The ancient use of prepositions and adverbs renders innumerable passages of the authorized version obscure, ambiguous, and in some instances totally alters the sense. It is well known that our old writers made use of prepositions in senses now obsolete; and it is not intended to reflect on our translators, when examples are produced of inaccuracies on this point. The obvious inference from such inaccuracies is, that if the use and signification of words be so inuch changed, the common version ought to be revised.”
In the common version the preposition of is improperly used for by:-" a son of her”-for, “a son by her.”—To denote the agent of the verb: as, “ said of some:" " Lydià attended to the things spoken of Paul.” We should imagine that in this example some person was speaking to Lydia concerning the apostle-not that she was listening to his discourses: “ by some," “ by Paul,” are the proper expressions. Of occurs in numerous instances where modern use requires from: heard of the Lord, from the Lord; “ heard of me,” “ heard from me.” It is used in many passages instead of at: as, “ of (at) my hand shalt thou require him." Gen. xxxiii, 3. In other cases, out of, over, to, are more proper.
“ Ambiguity is occasioned by placing adverbs in a wrong position. Luke xxiii, 32. is one of the most singular renderings in the whole scřiptures: 'And there were also two other malefactors led with him to be put to death.' Every one just initiated in the principles of the English grammar, must perceive, that the two words also and other, as they stand in our present version, necessarily indicate that our blessed Lord was a malefactor, as well as the thieves who were crucified with him. But if we substitute others for other, and place also close to the verb, there will be no obscurity or ambiguity: “And two others, who were malefac. tors, were also led with him to be put to death.' The Bishops' Bible is not liable to the least exception in this respect; for we find, “And there were two others, who were evil-doers, led with him to be slain."
This grievous error has been corrected in several recent im. pressions of the common version. Two Oxford Bibles now before us, one of them printed in 1793, the other in 1813, read, “ And there were also two other malefactors led with him to be put to death.” In two Cambridge Testaments, printed in 1805, the passage is read differently; one of them, in octavo, presenting the false reading, 'and the other, in duodecimo, giving the correct
reading: “ And there were also two others, malefactors, led with him to be put to death.” Other Cambridge copies exhibit this reading
“ The neuter pronoun it had originally no variation of case. sessive its, wbich is of so much importance to accuracy and precision in our language, does not once occur in the whole of our common version. Instead of it, the possessive of the third person masculine or feminine was used, or the adverb thereof. This occasions frequently some degree of obscurity, as it is difficult to perceive whether his or hers refer to persons or to things. Lev. i, 6. 'And cut it into his pieces.' This occurs often, ver. 39. "and his inwards, and his legs,' &c. ver. 15. * And the priest shall bring it unto the altar and wring off his head,' &c. "And the blood thereof,' &c. Ps. i, 3. “And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither, and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.'
In the last example the concluding part of the verse appears, to the reader of the common version, to refer to the pious man, instead of being the completing of the beautiful simile by which his felicitous circumstances are illustrated.
“ He shall be like a tree planted near streams of water,
And it brings all its produce to maturity.” Street's Version. Numerous examples are given of the deformities of the cominon version occasioned by the improper use of the relative and distributive pronouns, and the moods and tenses of verbs. Fewer instances of false concord, Mr. Boothroyd remarks, occur in the version of the Old Testament, than in that of the New; and this he thinks is owing to the simple structure of the Hebrew language.
In addition to the instances which Mr. Boothroyd has supplied in this section, of the errors and blemishes of the public version, and of the emendations which he thinks worthy to be adopted, we might suggest the propriety of changing in many passages the position of the negative particle not, which would increase their perspicuity and force. Matt. ix, 13. “I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” “I am come to call, not the righteous, but sinners to repentance." 1 Thess. i, 5. “ For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but in power." “ For our gospel came unto you, not in word only, but in power.” Heb. xii, 18. For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touch ell," &c.” “ For ye are come, not unto the mount," &c.
The supplementary italics in the common version, are frequently unnecessary, and sometimes convey an erroneous interpretation of the passages in which they occur. 2 Cor. iii, 1. « Do we begin again to commend ourselves? or need we, as some others, epistles of commendation to you, or letters of commendation from you? 2. Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men: 3. Forasmuch as ye are manifestly
declared to be the epistle of Christ," &c. Here we have no
In the fifth section, the great improvement which the authorized version admits in “accuracy of interpretation,” is assigned as a reason for the author's projected undertaking. This is the most important consideration; and if it can be proved that the common version does not, in innumerable instances, faithfully and clearly represent the sense of the original, it must be allowed that it ought to be revised and corrected. The public version, Mr. B. remarks, abounds with a literal rendering of Hebrew and Greek idioms and phrases, which either convey no definite sense to the English reader, or to which a wrong sense may be easily attributed. " To lift up the hand;" “ To lay the hand on;" “ To lift up the head of a person;" “ To give the neck of enemies;" “ T. harden the neck;" “ To wax fat;" “ Him that is shut up and left;" “ To get a name;" « To make a name;" &c. are adduced as examples, and explanations of them are furnished as specimens of the renderings in the proposed version.
The sixth section treats of figurative terms. With literal renderings of these the common version abounds. The fidelity and beauty of a translation essentially depend on the care of the translator in discriminating between such figurative terms of the ori. gival as may with propriety be retained in the version, and such as require to be literally rendered: the figurative use of words being very different in different languages. The remarks which Mr. B. has introduced into this section are creditable to his judgment and taste; and it is evidently his concern to be found treading in the steps of the most judicious critics. We extract the following remarks:
“ The language of Psalm xxxvi, 9. conveys no distinct idea to my mind: * In thy light we shall see light.' If understood without a figure, it is a mere truism. If understood metaphorically, do the terms in English express properly the metaphor, or convey the sense? I am satisfied no person of judgment or candour will maintain either position. If we understand by light, the word of God, we must desert thidioin in the latter clause;
By thy light (or word) we shall be enlightened. Or if we understand light to mean God's favour, and by light in the close, jo', prosperity; this is the version: “Through thy light (or favour) we shall enjoy prosperity.' There is evidently a play on the word light, and the terın is used in differ
ent senses. I conceive the text will admit either rendering, and I hesitate which to prefer."
The translators of the common version having either not understood or not attended to the “ peculiar manner" in which the tenses and conjugations of the Hebrew verbs are used, have rendered many passages in an ambiguous and obscure manner, which affords Mr. Boothroyd another reason for attempting improvements in the English Bible. How excellent soever the common version may be, it is unquestionable that it did not proceed from men eminently skilled in Hebrew. The influence of the Greek and Latin versions is to be traced throughout the whole of it. Nor can this appear at all surprising, if we reflect that king James's translators were only the revisers of a version which, in the first instance, had been made by Tyndal, who, it is highly probable, principally used the vulgate. Many improvements in the English Bible may doubtless be made by accomplished Hebrew scholars.
“In many instances the English preterite is used when the context and design of the author clearly prove that the present is the proper tense. Our translators in many places bave so rendered, and with the strictest propriety. The learned reader need only compare the version of the first Psalm with the Hebrew for a proof of this. Misled by prior translators, they have in many places, improperly rendered it otherwise. Gen. iv, 14. * Behold thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth,' &c. We have not many instances of so many inaccuracies contained in one single commentary. The words seem put together without any regard to sense or propriety. The verb should be in the present tense; Behold thou drivest me out this day,' &c. If driven from the face of the earth, in what other world was he to reside? The original properly signifies, from the face of this ground: i. e. the place where Cain had hitherto dwelt. * And it shall (will) come to pass that every one that findeth me shall slay me.' Strange indeed! If every one, who might meet with him, was to slay him, bow many lives had he, and how often might he be slain. In the next commentary our translators have properly rendered (52) who soever; and propriety demanded the same rendering here. And it will come to pass that whosoever findeth me will slay me.' The impropriety of shall in this last clause is obvious, as it implies that the person who found him, was under some kind of necessity to slay him. In short, the expression of his fear is converted into a prediction."
In the common version, 2 Kings v. 18. Elisha, a true prophet of Jehovah, is represented as conniving at the idolatry of the Syrian general Naaman. By translating the passage in the preterite, according to the original, this inconsistency is removed: “ In this thing the Lord pardon thy servant, that when my Lord went into the house of Rimmon to bow down himself (or worship) there, and leaned on my hand, I bowed down myself there; that I bow. ed down myself-the Lord pardon thy servant in this thing." This text has lately been the subject of debate between the bishop of St. David's, and Mr. Bellamy, whose version of the pas