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vey the same meaning with the original term; the second, that it convey it as nearly as possible in the same manner, that is, with the same plainness, simplicity, and perspicuity. If this can be done, with equal advantage, by terms which have obtained the sanction of ecclesiastic use, such terms ought to be preferred. For this reason I prefer just to virtuous, redeemer to ransomer, saviour to deliverer. But if the same meaning be not conveyed by them, or not conveyed in the same manner, they ought to be rejected. Otherwise, the real dictates of the Spirit, and the unadulterated idiom of Scripture, are sacrificed to the shadowy resemblance, in sound, and etymology, of technical words, and scholastic phrases.
§ 32. Such, upon the whole, are my sentiments of the regard which, in translating holy writ into modern languages, is due to the practice of former translators, especially of the authors of the Latin Vulgate. And such, in particular, is my notion of those words which, by some critics, are called consecrated, and, which, in general, in respect of the sense, will not be found the most eligible ; nay, by the use of which, there is greater hazard of deserting that plainness, and that simplicity, which are the best characteristics of the Scripture style, than by any other means I know.
THE REGARD DUE TO THE ENGLISH TRANSLATION.
Having been so particular in the discussion of the first part of this inquiry, namely, the regard which, in translating the Scriptures, is due to the manner wherein the words and phrases have been rendered by the authors of the Vulgate, it will not be necessary to enter so minutely into the second part, concerning the regard which an English translator owes to the expressions adopted in the common translation. The reasons for adopting, or for rejecting, many of them are so nearly the same in both cases, that, to avoid prolixity by unnecessary repetitions, I shall confine myself to a few observations, to which the special circumstances affecting the common English version, naturally give rise.
s 2. That translation, we all know, was made at a time when the study of the original languages, which had been long neglected, was just revived in Europe. To this the invention of printing first, and the reformation soon afterwards, had greatly contri. buted. As it grew to be a received doctrine among Protestants, that the word of God, contained in the Scriptures, is the sole infallible rule which he has
given us of faith and manners; the ineffable importance of the study of Scripture was perceived more and more, every day. New translations were made, first into Latin, the common language of the learned, and afterwards into most European tongues. The study of languages naturally introduces the study of criticism, I mean that branch of criticism which has language for its object; and which is, in effect, no other than the utmost improvement of the grammatical art. But this, it must be acknowledged, was not then arrived at that perfection which, in consequence of the labours of many learned and ingenious men, of different parties and professions, it has reached since. What greatly retarded the progress of this study, in the first age of the reformation, was the incessant disputes about article of doctrine, ecclesiastical polity, and ceremonies, in which the reformers were engaged, both with the Romanists, and among themselves. This led them insensibly to recur to the weapons which had been employed against them, and of which they had at first spoken very contemptuously, the metaphysical and unintel. ligible subtleties of school-divinity,
This recourse was productive of two bad consequences, First, it diverted them from the critical study of the sacred languages, the surest human means for discovering the mind of the Spirit : secondly, it infused into the heads of the disputants, prepossessions in favour of such particular words and phrases aş are adapted to the dialect and system of the parties to which they severally attached them,
selves; and in prejudice of those words and phrases which seem more suitable to the style and sentiments of their adversaries. There is, perhaps, but too good reason for adding an evil consequence produced also upon the heart, in kindling wrath, and quenching charity. It was when matters were in this situation, that several of the first translations were made. Men's minds were then too much heated with their polemic exercises, to be capable of that impartial, candid, and dispassionate examination, which is so necessary in those who would approve themselves faithful interpreters of the oracles of God. Of an undue bias on the judgment in translating, in consequence of such perpetual wranglings, I have given some specimens in the former Disser. tation 67
§ 3. In regard to the common translation, though not entirely exempted from the influence of party and example, as I formerly had occasion to show 68 it is, upon the whole, one of the best of those composed so soon after the Reformation. I may say justly that, if it had not been for an immoderate attach'ment, in its authors, to the Genevese translators, Junius, Tremellius, and Beza, it had been still better than it is; for the greatest faults with which it is chargeable, are derived from this source. But since that time, it must be owned, things are greatly altered in the church. The rage of disputation on
67 Part V. § 4, &c.
68 Diss. X. p. V. § 4. &c.
points rather curious than edifying, or, as the Apostle calls it ®, the dotage about questions and strifes of words, has, at least, among men of talents and eru. dition, in a great measure, subsided. The reign of scholastic sophistry and altercation is pretty well over. Now, when to this reflection we add a proper attention to the great acquisitions in literature which have of late been made, in respect, not only, of lan guages, but also, of antiquities and criticism, it can. not be thought derogatory from the merit and abilities of those worthy men who formerly bestowed their time and labour on that important work, to suppose that many mistakes, which were then inevitable, we are now in a condition to correct.
To effect this, is the first, and ought, doubtless, to be the principal, motive for attempting another version. Whatever is discovered to be the sense of the Spirit, speaking in the Scriptures, ought to be regarded by us, as of the greatest consequence : nor will any judicious person, who has not been accustomed to consider religion in a political light, as a mere engine of state, deny that where the truth appears, in any instance, to have been either misrepresented, or but obscurely represented, in a former version, the fault ought, in an attempt like the present, as far as possible, to be corrected. To say the contrary, is to make the honourable distinction of being instruments in promoting the knowledge of God, of less moment, than paying a vain compliment to