Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

g 4. The Prophet's design undoubtedly was, to deliver it as an universal truth, amply confirmed by experience, that the message of

peace and prosperity to those who had been oppressed and aflicted by the ravages of war, and its various unhappy consequences, was so charming, that it could transform a most disagreeable, into a pleasing, object. The feet of those who had travelled far, in a hot country, through rough and dusty roads, present a spectacle naturally offensive to the beholder ; nevertheless, the consideration that the persons themselves are, to us, the messengers of peace and felicity; and that it is, in bringing these welcome tidings, they have contracted that sordid appearance, can in an instant convert deformity into beauty, and make us behold, with delight, this indication of their embassy, their dirty feet, as being the natural consequence of the long journey they have made. A thought somewhat similar occurs in Horace "", who, speaking of victors returning, with glory, from a well-fought field, exhibits them as--Non indecoro pulvere sordidos. The poet perceives a charm, something decorous, in the very dust and sweat, with which the warriors are smeared, and which serve to recal to the mind of the spectator, the glorious toils of the day : thus, things in themselves ugly and disgusting, share, when associated in the mind with things delightful, in the beauty and attractions of those things with which they are connected. But this sentiment is lost in the common version; for it might puzzle the most saga

19 Lib, ji. Ode i.

cious reader to devise a reason why the feet in particular of the Christian preacher should be declared to excel in beauty.

05. Now, in all the passages quoted from the Prophets, it appears so natural, and so proper every way, to give them in the words which had been used in translating the prophecies, when the words in the New Testament will bear the same version, that one is at a loss to conceive what could move the translators to depart from this rule. Ought they, where no ground is given for it, in the original, either to make the sacred penmen appear to have misquoted the Prophets, or to make the unlearned reader imagine, that the Scriptures used by them, differed from those used by us, where there is not, in fact, any difference? Let it be observed, that I say,

when the words in the New Testament will bear the same version with those in the Old; for I am not for carrying this point so far as some translators have done, who, when there is a real difference in the import of the expressions, are for correcting one of the sacred writers by the other. This is not the part of a faithful translator, who ought candidly to represent what his author says, and leave it to the judicious critic, to account for such differences as he best can: But it is surely a more inexcusable error to make differences, where there are none; than to attempt to cover them, where there are. Now, as it was never pretended that, in the passages above quoted, the Hebrew word was not just

ly translated by the Seventy, and that the sense of both was not justly expressed by the phrase which our translators had employed in the version of the Prophets, they had no reason for adopting a different, though it were a synonymous phrase, in rendering the passage when quoted in the New. What shall we say then of their employing an expression which conveys a very different meaning ?

1

$ 6. I shall produce one example, which, though no quotation, yet, having a direct reference to a promise often mentioned in the Old Testament, and made originally to the Patriarchs, ought to have been interpreted in the most comprehensive way. Our translators, by not attending to this, have rendered a passage otherwise perspicuous perfectly unintelligible. Και γαρ εσμεν ευηγγελισμενοι, καθαπερ XAxelvoi ; in the common version, For unto us was t'ke gospel preached as well as unto them ?". He had been speaking of the Israelites under Moses in the wilderness. This sounds strangely in Christian

That the Gospel has been preached to us, needs no affirmation to convince us : our only difficulty is, to understand in what sense the Gospel, or religious institution of Jesus Christ, was preached to those who lived and died before his incarnation. Yet it seems here to be supposed that we all know that the Gospel was preached to them, but need to be informed that it has ever been preached to our

ears.

19 Heb, iy. 2.

selves. Had it been said, For into them was the gospel preached as well as unto us, we should have discovered a meaning in the sentence, though we might have been at a loss to conceive in what respect it is defensible. But, as it stands, we are no less puzzled about the meaning, than about the truth of the observation. Now, the literal and proper translation of the word evayyerisquai, in an instant, removes every difficulty. For unto us the good tidings are published which were published to them. What these good tidings are, is evident from the context. It is the promise of rest to God's people. It had been shown by the Apostle, in the preceding chapter, that the promise first made to the patriarchs was not, if I may so express myself, exhausted by the admission of the Israelites into the land of Canaan : that, on the contrary, we learn, from a threat in the Psalms against the rebellious, that there was still a nobler country and superior happiness mga had to look for, of which the earthly Canaan was but a figure; that therefore we ought to take warning, from the example of those whose carcasses fell in the wilderness, to beware lest we also forfeit, through unbelief, that glorious inheritance, the rest that yet remains for the people of God. Now, as the promises conveying the good news of rest, were originally made to the fathers, and to Israel, according to the flesh, it was pertinent to take notice that we are equally interested in them, and that this good news of rest in a happy country afterwards to be enjoyed, is declared to us as fully as ever it was to them. This sense, though

clearly the Apostle's, is totally effaced by the misinterpretation of the word evnyye2Ouevot. The Vulgate has, in this place, kept clear of the glaring impropriety in the English version. It has simply, Etenim et nobis nuntiatum est quemadmodum et illis. Their common way, however, is different.

ģ 7. In other places, most modern translators have been misled, in this article, by implicitly following the Vulgate, which first set the bad example of translating those passages differently, in the Old Testament, and in the New. In the passage quoted from Paul, and by him from Isaiah, Erasmus has very well preserved both the import of the word, and the conformity to the way in which it had been always justly rendered in the Prophet, Quam speciosi pedes annuntiantium pacem, annuntiantium bona! To the same purpose Castalio, who has taken this way, which Erasmus had not done, of rendering also the words read by our Lord in the synagogue, Me ad læta pauperibus nuntianda misit. In the other places above referred to, Castalio follows the common method. Pauperes evangelium docentur. Erasmus, in rendering the passage quoted from Matthew, has endeavoured to comprehend both ways. Pauperes lætum accipiunt evangelii nuntium. He has in this been copied by the translator of Zuric. This method is quite paraphrastical. It does not savour of the simplicity of the evangelical style. If evayyelov mean lætum nuncium, why did he add evangelii ? And if it do not mean lætum

« AnteriorContinuar »