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PRAYER BOOK VERSION
WILLIAM KEATINGE CLAY, B.D.,
OF JESUS COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE, AND
MINOR CANON OF ELY.
LONDON: JOHN W. PARKER, WEST STRAND.
Ικανή και των πραγμάτων ή μαρτυρία ποδηγήσαι προς την αλήθειαν της ερμηνείας τους ταύτην εφιεμένους ευρείν ου δή χάριν ουδέ λίαν επίπονος ημίν ή της προρρήσεως ερμηνεία: δήλην γάρ ταύτην ποιεί των πραγμάτων ή θεωρία, σπουδάσομεν δε, ως οίόν τε, φυγείν μεν του λόγου το μήκος, σύντομον δε προθεϊναι τοις βουλομένοις την ωφέλειαν πρότερον δέ γε των ψαλμών δηλώσαντες τον σκοπόν, ούτω της ερμηνείας αψόμεθα.
THEODORETI Præfatio in Psalmos.
Quid est quod non discatur in Psalmis ? Non omnis magnitudo virtutis, non norma justitiæ, non pudicitiæ decor, non prudentiæ consummatio, non patientiæ regula, non omne, quicquid potest dici bonum, procedit ex ipsis ? Dei scientia, perfecta prænunciatio Christi in carne venturi, et communis resurrectionis spes, suppliciorum metus, gloriæ pollicitatio, mysteriorum revelatio.
Omnia prorsus in his, velut magno quodam et communi thesauro, recondita atque conferta sunt bona.
AUGUSTINI in librum Psalmorum Prologus.
THE plan pursued in preparing this book for the press, could not be more clearly described than in the words of Theodoret, which are printed on the opposite page. For, when seeking to explain even inspired compositions like the Psalms, it certainly does seem expedient, if, indeed, it is not indispensable, first to determine, so far as may be possible, both the literal sense of the expressions, and the historical allusions, contained in them, since all persons will then be able to acquire, more readily, as well as more securely, a knowledge of their mystical and ultimate import. Therefore in this endeavor to act upon his idea, the frequent and remarkable applications to Christ and the Gospel, which the present portion of holy writ comprises, have engaged comparatively very
little attention; though, however, they were thus cursorily dismissed, not merely from a desire chiefly to examine the former part of the subject, but also because Bishop Horne's well-known Commentary necessarily rendered it unadvisable to enter more largely upon the labor of exposition. Still, in numerous instances, it has not been presumed confidently to assert anything with respect to either of the two points, which were particularly kept in view; rather, it appeared to be sufficient, and, at the same time, more satisfactory, to submit to the judgment of the reader the various, and often conflicting, opinions of the learned, for his own decision thereupon. Moreover, as no intention existed, that the edition of the Psalter now offered to public notice should embrace any observations connected, in the least degree, with questions of Biblical criticism, no reference will be discovered in it to the
corruptness or purity of the Hebrew text, and scarcely any to the skill, with which the translation from it, published under the direct sanction of Archbishop Cranmer in “The Great Bible," was executed. Recommended, as that translation is, by the Church, in an especial manner, to our careful study, it has, in fact, been conceived to represent correctly the strain of devotional feeling, which the different writers purposed to express, and is here, therefore, attempted to be explained in strict accordance with such a notion. A small part only of the notes is entirely original, the great body of them being compiled from a variety of works, the principal of which will be pointed out in a list to be appended to this preface. Had it been practicable, the name of each author would have immediately followed the remarks borrowed from him; but so desirable a mode of proceeding could not be adopted, inasmuch as the substance of very many of the notes was gleaned from several sources, and had, consequently, to be worked up afterwards, nor unfrequently with additions, into its present shape. The text is that now commonly printed. The insertions within brackets have been put in order to define, or, at least, to throw light upon the meaning; they were extracted, either from the Bible version, or from the margin of that version, except in a few places, (as Psalm Lix. 12,) where, though the word in the Bible version is used, it is so under another form. In the pointing some alteration has taken place, especially by the removal, as often as was thought requisite, of the chanting pause, which cannot well be said to be generally “necessary for these times.” The marginal references demanded much labor, and a very diligent examination: they are designed, in part, to shew the intimate connexion, which may be traced, as well between the statements of the Psalms and the peculiar doctrines of the Gospel, as with the circumstances of our Saviour's life. The collations at the end of the volume appear likely to furnish much interesting information bearing upon the history of the English text, in the changes which it has undergone subsequent to its first incorporation into our liturgy*. On any other account, indeed, they might almost have been omitted; for, though some of the various readings, if restored, by competent authority, to their former position, would facilitate the understanding of those passages, they are, in general, of very little importance, while a few must clearly be reckoned among the number of typographicalt errors. By the last list “The Sealed Prayer Book," so far as regards the Psalter, will be perceived to have met with a remarkable fate, when we consider the high value deservedly attached to it, from its purporting, (under the hands and seals of five persons expressly appointed by the Crown,) to be “a true and perfect copy” of the original book, which was prepared in writing by the Savoy commissioners, subscribed by the Convocation, and confirmed by Parliament. Because, notwithstanding the wish, distinctly recorded in the Act of Uniformity, and so
* Lewis, in his “ History of the English translations of the Bible," p. 129, intimates, that the Psalter, when appointed to be read in our reformed Church (1549), was taken, “with very little alteration,” from the first edition of Cranmer's or“ The Great Bible” published ten years before. Accordingly, it had been intended to give a list of such various readings; but,on carefully comparing that edition with another, printed 1540, the readings of the latter were unexpectedly found to be much nearer to those of our present Psalter, more particularly with respect to Psalm cxli, which is almost an entirely new translation. For this reason, then, the design was laid aside; and also, because further attention to the subject seemed to shew, that, after all, the Psalter was probably derived, yet still not without some slight change, from “ The Great Bible," as existing in common use, when the former Prayer Book of Edward VI. appeared, which notion a partial examination of the reprint in 1549 of the edition of 1541 tended to confirm.
+It is curious to observe how long an error, which had once been introduced, maintained its ground, though injuring, or completely destroying, the sense. See Psalm xvii. 4: xxxv. 11 : xxxvii. 29.