Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB
[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

excess in the first way is, that it may lead the reader
into mistakes; that of an excess in the second is, that
it occasions obscurity, and by the too frequent inter-
spersion of uncouth and foreign words, gives the ap-
pearance of barbarism to a version.
It
may

be said, however, in general, that the latter is the safer error of the two. Not only does the speciality of the case afford a sufficient apology for the use of such words; but if either the dignity of the nation, which is the subject, or our connexion with the people, or interest in their history, shall familiarize us to their institutions and customs, the barbarism of the terms will vanish of course. Who considers now these names of Roman magistracies, consul, pretor, edile, censor, questor, dictator, tribune, as barbarous ? Yet they are not the names of offices amongst us correspondent, or similar, to those among the Ro

To have employed, instead of them, mayor, alderman, sheriff, &c. we should have justly thought much more exceptionable. I have heard of a Dutch translator of Cesar's Commentaries, who always rendered consul, burgomaster, and in the same taste, the name of all the other officers and magistrates of Rome. A version of this kind would appear to us ridiculous.

[ocr errors]

mans.

§ 6. It is almost unnecessary to observe, that the two last are the only classes of words wherein the student will find any thing that can greatly puzzle him. A mere schoolboy, with the help of his grammar and lexicon, may acquire all that is requisite for

the just interpretation of the words of the first class. Those of the third, it is manifest, are not to be understood by us without a previous knowledge of the religious and political constitutions of the country, together with their ceremonies and usages ; and those of the second, which is the matter of the greatest delicacy of all, cannot be thoroughly apprehended with. out an acquaintance with the national character, that is, the prevalent cast of mind, manners, and sentiments of the people. So much is necessary in order to be master of the language of any country; and of so much importance it is, in order clearly to comprehend the style of Scripture, to be well acquainted with whatever concerns the Jewish nation.

[ocr errors]

PART U.

THE ORIGIN OF THE CHANGES IN THE IDIOM OF THE JEWS.

It is true that, as the New Testament is written in Greek, it must be of consequence that we be able to enter critically into the ordinary import of the words of that tongue, by being familiarized to the genius and character of those who spoke it. But from what has been observed it is evident that though, in several cases, this knowledge may be eminently useful, it will not suffice; nay, in many cases it will be of little or no significancy. Those words, in particy

"d "p "T tin

101

WO

lar, which have been in most familiar use with the old interpreters, and have been current in the explanations given in the Hellenistical synagogues and schools, have, with their naturalization among the Israelites, acquired in the Jewish use, if I may be allowed the expression, an infusion of the national spirit. Though the words therefore are Greek, Jewish erudition is of more service than Grecian, for bringing us to the true acceptation of them in the sacred writings. Would you know the full import of the words αγιασμος, for example, and δικαιοσυνη in the New Testament? It will be in vain to rum. mage the classics. Turn to the pages of the Old Testament. It will avail little to recur to the Greek roots åylos and Sixn. Examine the extent given to the signification of the Hebrew roots w7p kadash, and p73 tsadak, which have given occasion to the introduction of those Greek terms into the translation of the Seventy.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

§ 2. CLASSICAL use, both in Greek, and in Latin, is not only, in this study, sometimes unavailable, but may even mislead. The sacred use, and the classical, are often very different. We know the import of the word sanctitas in the Vulgate and in ecclesiastical writers, and that it answers exactly enough to our own word sanctity derived from it. Yet from Cicero's account, it is plain that, in modern European tongues, we have no word corresponding to it in its primitive and classical use. “ ÆQUITAS,” says he,“ tripartita dicitur esse. Una ad superos

deos, altera ad manes, tertia ad homines pertinere ;

prima pietas, secunda sanctitas, tertia justitia no“minatur *.” According to him, therefore, the Latin word sanctitas imports equity or suitable regards towards the infernal gods.

But, in no instance, does the classical sense of a word differ more from that which it has invariably in the sacred pages, than in the term TANELVOS, which, with the former, is always expressive of a bad quality, with the latter, of a good. With us, it is a virtue, with them, it was a vice. Nor can it be justly affirmed that the word expressed the same disposition of mind, with Pagans, as with Jews and Christians, and that the only difference was, in the opinion or judgment formed concerning this disposition ; that the former looked upon it with a favourable eye, the latter with an unfavourable. For this is far from being the case. The quality of which it is expressive, in classical use, is totally different from that which it expresses, in the sacred writings. In the first it corresponded exactly to, and was commonly translated by, the Latin humilis, which in profane authors, always conveys a bad meaning, and denotes such a feeble, mean, and abject temper, as is the very reverse of that fortitude, that superiority to death, shame, and pain, which the law of Christ so peremptorily exacts, and with which the faith of Christ so powerfully inspires the genuine disciple. TantsivoTNS, the abstract, is comprised by Aristotle " under çıxpo

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

40 Topica.

41 Περι αρετων και κακιων. .

[ocr errors]

fuxia, pusillanimity; or, as explained by lexicographers, animus demissus et abjectus ;and contrasted to Meyahofuxia, magnanimity, “animi celsitudo.And to evince that the Latin term, in heathen authors, has the same meaning with the Greek, I need no better authority than Cicero, who says “, “Succumbere doloribus, eosque humili animo “ inbecilloque ferre miserum est, ob eamque debili“ tatem animi, multi parentes, multi amicos, nonnul“ li patriam, plerique autem seipsos penitus perdide“ runt.” To this he

opposes,

“ Robustus animus « et excelsus, qui omni est liber cura et angore, cum “ et mortem contemnit,” &c. The temper of mind here condemned by Cicero, every Christian will condemn as much as he; and the application of the term humilis to this temper, is a demonstration, that, with him, the word was the sign of an idea very

different from that, of which it has since, in conformity to the style of the Italic translation, been made the sign, by ccclesiastical authors.

We may observe, by the way, that the English word humility, though borrowed directly from the Latin, conveys not the classical, but the scriptural sense of the word ταπεινοτης or ταπεινοφροσυνη, which Castalio, over-zealous for the Latinity of his style, never renders humilitas, but always modestia. . This word modestia, however, does not express adequately the sense of the original. Modesty relates only to the opinion of men, humility relates also, and principally,

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

42 De Finibus, 1. iz

« AnteriorContinuar »