Imágenes de páginas


[ocr errors]

the sense. Considering the multitude of copies which were early taken from the originals, the overthrow of the Roman empire, the inundations of so many barbarous nations, the devastation of so many cities and countries, and the destruction of the works of the learned, and of the monuments of the arts and the sciences, it is an instance of a kind superintending providence, that the scriptures have been preserved.

The business of a translator divides itself into two branches. The first is to obtain as correct a copy of his author or authors as possible; and the second to convey the sense, spirit, and manner of his authors, in the language into which he translates. The first of these has been performed by a succession of the most able Greek scholars and critics, who have most carefully examined all the existing mss. of the sacred writers, diligently compared them, and weighed in the balance of sound judgment their comparative worth. Among these may be mentioned our own countryman, the learned and laborious Dr. John Mills, whose edition of the new Greek Testament contains such a mass of various readings, quotations from the Greek fathers, and illustrations of the text, as makes it yet of great value. This was published in 1707; and in 1710, Kuster published at Rotterdam a corrected edition of Mills, with various readings, from twelve mss. which he had not collated.... Albert Bengel followed, and published a critical edition of the 'Greek Testament in 1734, with select various readings, from Mill' and from some good mss. Next followed John Wetstein, who gave to the public his edition in 1751-52, a work which has immortalized his name: He adopts the received text, and places, next below those readings which he regards as genuine, and which, in his judgment, ought to be introduced into the text. Next below these are arranged his collection of various readings, with their respective authorities. See Introd. p. 20. 1.

3 13 . ; . The last critical edition of the Greek Testament is that of Dr. John James Griesbach. He has introduced into the text such readings ás are judged to be genuine, but printed them in a smaller type; and thrown the common reading into the inner margin." Then below he gives his authorities. 'This edition I have gonerally, followed; though in some few instances I have been compelled to adopt readings which he has rejected. Whenever I have done so, I have assigned the reasons of it; and considering his diligence, judgment, and fidelity, I have hesitated, and examined the subject in every light possible, lest I should substitute error for truth. , ;;' ';.ii s .i .

As to the second part of a translator's work, I must leave a judicious public to judge how far I have succeeded. My aim has been to give clearly the sense of the sacred writers; but I will not be confident that I have always attained my design. . Every scholar knows how difficult it is to ascertain the precise train of thought which occupied the mind of his author; and that it is frequently more so, to convey this train of thought in another language, as the words of one language do not exactly correspond to those of another. It is from this cause that so many different, and, in not a few instances, discordant opinions arise, as to the sense of particular passages of the Holy Scriptures ; passages which are confessedly of very great importance in respect both to doctrine and practice. In the sense attributed to them, the bias in favour of some theol cal system is manifest'; and every art is tried to explain the terms in accordance with it. ibu-it !.... B .. ..

- In proof of the above remark may be mentioned the controversies which have arisen, and which are still carried on, respecting the mode and subjects of christian baptism ; the divinity of the Saviour, the work of the Holy Spirit, the moral state of man, the method of a sinner's acceptance to favour, and the ground of his right to eternal life. On these subjects what variety of opinion exists! and the combatants all assert that the real sense of the sacred authors supports their dogmas. . Some baptist friends are offended that I have not followed Campbell, and rendered baptize, immerse, and baptism, immersion. In answer, I reply, that had I been convinced that this was the sense of the terms,



I should have fearlessly adopted it; but after a patient and often repeated investigation, I am fully · convinced, that in reference to the christian ordinance, this is an assumed sense, and wholly unsup

ported by scriptural usage. Nay, I contend, that no ancient writers, sacred or profane, so far as I can find, ever use the terms, in the sense of “ one person putting another over the head in water, and raising him up again,” which is the sense attributed by antipædobaptists. It is used, »indeed, in the passive voice for a ship sinking, or foundering; and in the active, for a stream rushing upon those swimming, and overwhelming them. Also, figuratively, for any calamity, burden, or distress, or other thing coming upon an individual, as Is. xxi. 4. - Transgression overwhelms or oppresses me.” Greek, baptises me, It is only once used by the Seventy, 2 Kings r. 14, and by comparing this with the 10th verse, it is evidently used in the sense of washing, though Naaman most probably's his whole body; but this he pertormed himself. It is also once used in the Apocrypha, Judith xii. 7. “She washed or baptized herself in the camp at the fountain of water.” The idea of immersion must be here wholly excluded. For surely a modest woman would not strip and baptize or immerse herself amidst an army of soldiers; .not to say, to do this at a fountain or spring was impossible. The son of Sirach uses the participle, Ch. xxxi. 25, or xxxiv, 25.,“ He that is washed, baptized, or purified from the pollution of a dead body, and again toucheth it, what availeth his washing ?Here the sense is clearly that of ceremonial washing or purification. Comp. Numb. xix. 9--22, to which there is a reference; and the person who was polluted by touching a dead body was both to wash or bathe himself, and to be sprinkled with the purifying water, made with the ashes of the red heifer.

ii. 13,' , .* In the New Covenant it is used also to denote ritual and ceremonial washing, where the idea. of immersion seems highly improbable.; In Mark vii. 245, we are informed that the Pharisees were offended at our Lord's disciples, for eating with defiled or unwashed hands; and the Evangelist gives the Gentile reader a reason of this, by stating that they followed the tradition of the elders, and did not eat without ceremonially washing their hands, and the utensils employed. “ For when they come from the market, except they wash, (baptize, they eat not. And many other things there are, which they have received and hold, as the washings, (baptisms,) of cups and pots, and brazen vessels, and beds.” It is wholly, incredible, that they bathed or immersed themselves every time they eat; and it appears that washing the hands, or the utensils mentioned, in the usual manner, is only intended, and yet is called baptism. The mode of washing their hands or feet was by pouring water upon them, and wiping them as the water flowed down. “Here is Elisha, the son of Shaphat, who poured water on the hands of Elijah.” 2 Kings iii. 11. “Let a little water be fetched, and wash your feet.”. Gen. xviii. 4. In this manner Jesus seems to have washed the feet of his disciples. John xiii. 4-20. Nothing is said of their dipping their feet in the bason, or rather ewer ; nor would it have been decent thus to have washed the feet of twelve persons, one after another in the same water. The

t is, a little water was poured on the feet of each, and then wiped ; and Peter, when his master came to him, and he had heard his remark, supposed he was provided with water sufficient to wash his head also. . Whatever might be the manner of washing cups or pots, brazen vessels and the beds of the dining-room, on which they reclined, could not be immersed. Pouring water into, or upon, aceording to the nature of the subject, and then wiping these utensils clean, appears the most probable manner of baptizing them. If pouring water on the hands be called baptism, may not pouring water on the face be so called too? Would a Greek have hesitated thus to have called it ?

It is contended, that though the terms baptize and baptism should be allowed to be ambiguous, their signification is defined and limited to immersion by the prepositions és, into, and ex, out of, and other circumstances and allusions. As to the prepositions, they are so indeterminate as to define

A 2


nothing. The first signifies to, unto, at, as well as into. « They came to (ss) the Jordan, and cut down wood.": 2 Kings vi. 4. Common sense must admit, that the sons of the prophet did not go into the Jordan, much less immerse themselves in it, in order to cut down wood. They came to its banks, where the trees were growing, and it is very probable that they did not wet the soles of their feet. “ The king of Assyria sent Rabshakeh from (ex) Lachish to (es) Jerusalem." Is. xxxvi. 2. Here both prepositions are used, and simply denote departure from a place and arrival at another. We are sure that Rabshakeh did not get into Jerusalem, for he only came to the conduit of the upper pool in the highway of the fuller's field. Instances without end occur both in the Seventy, New Covenant, and profane authors, of this sense of the prepositions. See Matt. v. J.; vii. 13; x. 22.; xii. 41.; xx. 15, &c. But do not the verbs connected with these prepositions, indicate the genuine sense to be immersion ? Have we not such phrases as, " they went down to the water, or into the water, and came up from it, or out of it? These phrases only denote the place where baptism was administered, and not the act or mode of baptizing; and this language is perfectly natural, as water is in general found in low grounds, in wells, streams, or rivers, which flow within their channels. Hence, if they made use of water in the act of baptizing, and took it out of a well, stream, or river, they must go down to it, and come up from it, in whatever way it was used. According to

tized by John, he went up from (no) the water, (Matt. iii. 16. Mark i. 10,) which proves nothing as to the mode. But are not the multitudes, whom he baptized, said to be baptized by him in the Jordan, and in the river Jordan. Matt. iii. 6. Mark i. 5. This language may be used, if John and the people went within the channel, or stood on the banks of the Jordan; and in the account contained John i. 28, we are informed, that John baptized at or in Bethabara, or Bethany, beyond or upon the Jordan. This is expressly said to be the place where Jesus was with John, and to whom he bore testimony, John iij. 26. Hence, it follows, from a comparison of the two accounts, that John actually baptized Jesus and the multitudes who came to him, beyond or upon the banks of the Jordan; and the manuer in which he did this could only be by taking water out of the river and pouring it on the persons. This is the only way in which lean reconcile the two accounts. This explains Acts viji. 38, “ Here is water;" he does not say, here is a river. It is probable it was nothing more than a fountain, as I can find no river in the way from Jerusalem to Gaza. See Reland.

It is certain John usually preached and baptized in the country about Jordan; and two reasons might influence his conduct. The first and the chief was, that the people, who flocked in multitudes to hear him, and who most probably abode a day or two with him, might supply themselves with so necessary an article as water, an article extremely scarce in many parts of Judea. The other, that he might have water with which to baptize those who requested it. These were the reasons, doubt. less, of his conduct in going to Ænon, where there was much water, or a fountain sending forth some little streams. When it is remembered that both men and women went to hear him, without any intention of being baptized, and yet were induced to submit to this rite, is it probable that they were provided with change of raiment, or that they would return home, a distance, to some of them, of twenty or thirty miles, dripping wet! Or shall we say, that one sex stripped in the sight of the other, to be immersed ? Decency forbids the thought. Nor could John have baptized the thousands, who came to him, without spending his whole time in the water. .

As to the version of Dr. Campbell, it decides nothing. He has supported it by no authorities, deserving regard. What is the authority of Tertullian, a Latin writer, to determine the sense of a Greek term ? His version supposes John to refer to the mode of baptizing. “I indeed baptize, or immerse you in water-but He will baptize you in the Holy Spirit and fire.” In what manner he intended the latter clause to be understood I know not; for I can form no conception of being im

[blocks in formation]


mersed in the Holy Spirit. I conceive our translators correct, in supposing John to refer solely to the elements with which baptism was to be administered. He baptized with water ; but Jesus would baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire; and how this was performed is stated to be by pouring out of his Spirit, by shedding forth, by the Spirit coming upon the disciples, (Acts ii. 17, 33. Matt. iii, 16,) as he did upon himself. The many baptisms in houses are nearly demonstrations that the rite was observed in this manner. That of Cornelius, the first fruits of the Gentiles, is so related as to prove this conclusion. Peter seeing that the Holy Spirit was poured out on all that heard the word, said, .“ Can any forbid water, that these should not be baptized ?Acts x. 47. This language fairly implies, “ Can any forbid water (to be brought into the room) that these may not be baptized ?" It does not appear that either he or they removed from the room where they were all convened ; and

he nature of things, that they could all be immersed. The baptism of Paul, of the jailor and his household, appear to have been performed in the same manner.

As to the allusion to the mode of baptism, Rom. vi. 4. Coloss. ii. 14, on which much stress has been laid, another, and in my opinion, a more rational and consistent interpretation has been given. See notes in loc. In our sense of the term, our Lord was not actually buried ;, he was only laid out, and for convenience put into a tomb, with the intention, after the Sabbath was over, of embalming him, and then interring him. Nor was he let down into a tomb, but as this was hewed out of a rock, and a door left for entrance, his body was directly conveyed into it, and a stone was placed against the entrance, not upon it. His glorious and triumphant resurrection prevented his actual interment. The manner in which Jesus, while in the state of the dead, was put into the tomb, will be as far from resembling immersion, as pouring The truth is, the apostle is treating of the design of baptism, and the obligations of those who have received this rite, to become dead to sin, and to live a new life. As the first thing usual in preparing a corpse for interment, (and the word the apostle uses, denotes all the preparations,) was washing the body, then wrapping it in linen, &c. so through baptism, into his death, believers were washed, and the design was, to teach them to avoid all pollution, both of the flesh and the Spirit, and to walk in newness of life.

I enter no farther into the discussion of this subject, than to state 'my full conviction, that pouring water on the head or face of the person baptized, was the apostolic mode of administering this ordinance; and that immersion, either of a part or of the whole body, was subsequently introduced. In the representations of this rite, copied from Ciampani, in the Facts and Evidences on Baptism, by the learned and laborious editor of Calmet, it is evident to every man's eyes, that where partial immersion was practised, the act of baptizing was performed by the baptizer pouring water on the head of the person baptized. The artists exhibited what was the mode in the third and fourth centuries; but it is well known that the simplicity of christian institutions had been much corrupted before the end of the second century, and still more in the third. Baptism and the Lord's Supper were called christian mysteries; and to render these ordinances more sacred and awful, various ceremonies were gradually added. In baptizing, the minister began by exorcism, or casting out the devil, then by prayer, consecrating the water; after which the person went into the water, to the waist, and then water was poured on his head in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; and then followed 'unction, signation, and imposition of hands. Unction was to denote that the person baptized was anointed ; signation was making the sign of the cross with the ointment; and imposition of hands was to confirm him in the christian faith, by imparting the Holy Spirit. These ceremonies were observed at the end of the second century, and those who used them justified the practice, as to anointing, because the Jewish High priest was anointed ; and because Christ was anointed with the Spirit; and as to signation, or making the sign of the cross on the forehead, because the priests of

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

Mithras signed the forehead of their soldiers; and in respect to confirmation, because we do not

receive the Holy Ghost in baptism, but when our bodies are cleansed, that most Holy Spirit will- ingly descends from the Father," on the imposition of hands. Such are the reasons of Tertullian and Cyprian! How unsupported all these observances are by the New Testament account of Baptism, is apparent to every man of judgment. ; il

On the version of some passages which bear on the Trinitarian controversy, severe remarks have been made; and it is contended, the strong turn given to them is unwarranted. I feel myself compelled to assert that I have followed the honest convictions of my mind, and have not been influenced by any party motives. At various periods of my life this subject has been considered with all the seriousness which its importance demands; and I am ready to confess, that like others, I have attempted to discover the mode of the Disine subsistence; and failing in the attempt, was strongly inclined to embrace the Sabellian hypothesis. - At length, convinced of the inspiration of the Holy. Scriptures, I have been brought to confine my attention to their testimony ; and that testimony is, in my judgment, decisive in favour of some distinction in the Divine nature, and that proper Divinity is attributed to the Son and Holy Spirit, as well as to the Father: When asked, How can these things be ? I answer, I pretend not to know. - As I find myself unable distinctly to conceive the mode of my own existence, I am not surprised that I cannot form distinct conceptions of the manner in which : superior beings exist! In a word, on this, and every other subject of religion, my appeal is, to the testimony of the Scriptures....

e Notes and Reflections to speak for themselves. The former contain his views of the sense of the Evangelists and Apostles; of the doctrines which he thinks their language properly and naturally conveys to the reader. He has had recourse to no far fetched turns, to no twistings, to no hyper-criticisms, to support an hypothesis. He has studied brevity; but indulges the hope that he has not omitted any thing of importance to the illustration of the text. It would have been an easy task to have swelled the Notes, so as to have comprised another volume; but as' a great book has been deemed a great evil, he has kept within moderate bounds, considering the nature of the work. .

i The general Index has been drawn up with care, and the design of it is to illustrate the scriptures, by connecting their historical references with the events, circumstances, and transactions, of the nations with which the Jews were surrounded, or with which they had intercourse. - Hence it became . necessary to give a particular account of the Egyptian, Assyrian, and Babylonian kingdoms. The conquests of the two last affected the existence of the Jews as a nation; and without some knowledge of their civil history, we cannot understand the references of the prophets. On the re-establishment of the people in their own land, after the captivity in Babylon, their history is connected with the conquests of Alexander, and the various wars among his successors ; and then with the Roman empire, until the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus. e . . . . cro, The Topographical Index has been drawn up at the suggestion of some esteemed friends. And in accomplishing this, I am under great obligations to Wells and Reland, and to the editor of Calmet. The Maps will assist the student and the reader, who wishes to know the situation of the places and kingdoms mentioned. In the brief history of particular places, if any thing. remarkable has occurred there, it is noticed; and the passages where the account is contained, referred to. I cannot doubt but that both these Indexes will be useful and instructive to the general reader.',. .

Amidst numerous engagements and labours this work is at length brought to a conclusion; and I have reason for gratitude to God that such a degree of health has been continued for so many years, that I have never been prevented for one week by sickness from pursuing my studies. If, through

« AnteriorContinuar »