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are compared, and their value deter- actual variations, in the copies of the mined from their antiquity, and the scriptures, shew that no such supercare which appears to have been tak- intendence as to preserve them from en, in their execution. The earliest corruption, has been, in fact, exercisprinted editions are next sought out, ed. Different readings exist, and especially such as appear to have the question is, how shall an uninspirbeen copied from manuscripts; and ed critic determine among these if the manuscript used by any early which to follow? editor is known to have been lost, With this general view of the facts the edition, according as it bears the connected with this discussion, it marks of care and general circum- seems hardly possible, that any one spection, approximates, in its charac- unacquainted with the doubts and ter, towards manuscript authority. alarms, which in this case have troubThe remarks of the ancient commen- led the timid, should hesitate to say, tators are likewise consulted, and not only that the general laws of from their references and explana- criticism are applicable to the text of tions, the correct reading of disputed the scriptures; but that it is of incalpassages is often ascertained. To culable importance that there are so all this is added a comparison of the many other works of antiquity to be opinions of preceding critics.
corrected by the same common rule. Now in what respect does this pro- If the scriptures were the only ancient cess for obtaining a correct text of book remaining which needed correcCicero and Virgil, differ from that tion, we might indeed with the same which ought to be pursued, or which means we now possess, arrive subis in fact pursued, by critics, in set- stantially at the same result; but our tling the text of the old and new tes- conclusions would have much less taments. The sacred writings have authority. The case would be peculbeen transmitted to the present time, iar, and resting on rules of judging, in the same way, as the writings of drawn exclusively from itself, like the chief orator and poet of Rome. all other insulated investigations, it These writings, indeed, differ in their would be from this circumstance, if import; but in the mode of commu- from no other, the subject of doubt. nication from age to age, they exact- But as the fact is, we can appeal to a ly agree. The books of the bible, code of critical law, formed by the and the writings of Cicero and Virgil, labours of the most eminent scholars, were both preserved for ages in man- in very different departments, where uscript, both suffered from the una no sectarian bias cao be supposed to voidable errors as well as carelessness have influenced them. We can now of transcribers ; and in neither case say with confidence, that we have the by any other than human means, can scriptures revised according to the it be now determined, when varia. same laws, which have served to ditions occur, what reading is to be rect the ablest critics, in every depreferred. So far is there from be- partment of ancient literature; princiing a supposable difference, that the ples which have been derived from analogy is most exact: the difference very long and laborious inquiry, and of the subjects of the two classes of are evidently founded on reason and works, very evidently having no common sense. It may be still farplace here.
ther maintained respecting these If it should be said that a special books, that the proof that they have divine superintendence is to be pre- come down to us generally unimpairsumed in the preservation of the sac- ed, rises higher than that which can red writings, and that, therefore, they be brought in favour of any other should not come under the same laws work of antiquity; and whatever of revision, as the writings of pro- reasons exist for believing that Cicero fane authors; it is replied, the and Virgil, for instance, were really
the authors of the works now ascrib- ced, no other authority than the coned to them; the same reasons existjectures of the editors. Many of in a much higher degree, that the these conjectures have been confirmwritings attributed to the evangelists ed by subsequent investigation, wbile and apostles, are genuine and authen- others have not, and ought to be retic.
moved from the common copy of the But it is urged that writers on the Greek testament, if critical conjecclassical authors of Greece and Rome ture is wholly inadmissible. There indulge in conjectural emendations, are still passages in the new testawhich in the sacred texts are inad- ment which might be made more missible. That conjectures have consistent with the general context, been carried to an extrenie by some by such conjectural emendations as critics, is not denied ; but the reme- no one would think of rejecting in dy is ever at baod. If their conjec- a work of classical antiquity. To tures are without sufficient founda- discard these emendations entirely tion ; succeeding critics soon discover from the Greek of the new testament, their weakness. The grounds of seems hardly the result of sober judg. their decisions remain, and are at all meat, or of a real regard for the ditimes subject to revision: and the vine word. To admit them is said same common sense, which brings to be presumption ; but, to allow men back from their vagaries in oth- them no consideration, is in reality to er pursuits, exercises here an equal treat the sacred books, with less recontrol. Conjectural criticism, how- spect, than the works of profane anever, so far from deserving unqualifi- tiquity; it is to neglect to do that, ed condemnation, is oftentimes allowa- which the circumstances of the case ble, and sometimes our only resource. clearly shew ought to be done ; and For example; in cases where the the very charge of presumption which comparison of manuscripts, and the is so carefully avoided, is voluntarily use of the other common helps, give incurred. It is well known that crita doubtful result; there may be some- ical conjecture is much more comthing in the style of the writer, in the mon in the Hebrew than in the Greek general current of his story or argu- scriptures. The reason for this is ment, or in what is said on the same obvious. Our materials for correctsubject by some other writer, which ing the Hebrew text of the old testawill furnish satisfactory ground for ment are comparatively few and imconjectural emendation. And why perfect: hence there is more room for not admit it in such cases ? There is rational conjecture. In proportion as doubt according to the supposition ; these materials increase in number and the conjecture, if it do no good, and value, the necessity for conjeccan hardly do hurt; or, at most, it rests cure is diminished. But as long as on its own inherent probability, and no reason exists for believing that the will be judged of accordingly. This copy of an ancient book is perfect ; is conjectural criticism as it is found conjecture is not of course excluded: in the classics. If the same mode of and it is on this ground maintained, correcting the text is not applicable that conjecture may be still lawfully to the Greek testament, it is not on employed on the original text of the account of the nature of the subject; new testament. It is, however, fully but because of the very ample means admitted, that great care should be for correction, which we possess in exercised in correcting from conjecmanuscripts, versions, and quotations ture; that is, critical conjecture of the ancient fathers.
should not be arbitrary, but founded It is well known, that the earliest on plain and substantial reasons. printed editions of the Greek testa It only remains to notice in a few ment, contain numerous corrections, words, the remarks so often repeated, which had, when they were introdu- and adopted by the reviewer; that
Vol. 3-No. IV. 23
critical inquiries are attended with pe- as to extravagant opinions” in interculiar danger. Whence this great preting the bible, which have been danger is to be apprehended, does advanced by critics who have been not so readily appear. If it arises overdone by their favorite science ; no from the fact, that any inquiry is ne- doubt, for every such opinion which cessary in arriving at the true mean- could be brought on any one passage, ing of the scriptures, and that we are at least ten opinions on the same pas. not, in every instance, to take the first sage equally extravagant, could be inmeaning that strikes the mind, with stanced, which have originated, not in a out examination of the exact import superabundance, but in a deficiency of of words, or comparison of different critical knowledge. Perhaps it is the parts of the same writer, or different nature of all investigation on subjects writers with each other; then it is a of religion, to produce evil as well as danger which criticism shares in com- good. Imperfect information, overmon with every other kind of theolo- heated zeal, and an undue estimation gical speculation, by whatever name of one's own course of study, mislead it is called. Why is criticism more the attention and pervert the judg, dangerous that metaphysics ? That ment: nor does there appear any othsome knowledge of the latter science er remedy for the evil, in our present is requisite to a theologian, will not be state of imperfection, than to revert to denied; yet not even critical specu- implicit faith ; a remedy worse than lations have been the subject of more the disease. clamour as useless and dangerous, than It is well known, that at the com: metaphysical. How often has it mencement of the Reformation, the been replied to an unanswerable argu- same objections, in substance, which ment,—the whole reasoning is made are now made against inquiry into up of scholastic distinctions, and ab- the correctness of the common copies struse metaphysical subtilties, which, of the original text of the scriptures, in its legitimate consequences, leads tó were urged against referring to the scepticism, infidelity, and even athe- original at all. It was said, that by ism. To all such language, the follow- such reference, the faith of christians ing remarks of President Edwards would be shaken, and no one could very aptly apply; and the same re- know what to believe. The account marks are equally applicable to similar by Father Paul of the discussions in language when used against criticism. the council of Trent, oo decreeing the
"If the reasoning be good, it is as authenticity of the Latin Vulgate, is frivolous to inquire what science it is full of interesting matter. properly reduced to, as what language is much*too long for insertion—the folit is delivered in: and for a man to go lowing paragraph will give some noabout to confute the arguments of his tion of the views entertained by that opponent, by telling him, his argu- body, of the dangers to be apprehend ments are metaphysical, (or it may ed from Greek and Hebrew.be added, critical] would be as weak “A great majority of the school as to tell him, bis arguments could divines maintained that it was necesnot be substantial, because they were sary to hold the common version of the written in French or Latin. The scriptures [the Latin vulgate] as diquestion is not, whether what is said vine and authentic, as it has been for be metaphysics, physics, logic, or ages read in the churches, and used as mathematics, Latin, French, English, a manual in places of instruction; that or Mohawk? but whether the reas otherwise they should give up the cause soning be good, and the arguments to the Lutherans, and pave the way for truly conclusive >»*
the admission of innumerable heresies, Is we inquire into the matter of fact · which would light up a flame through
Christendom. That the doctrine of * Freedom of the will, Pt. 4--Sect. 13. the Roman church, the mother and
mistress of all other churches, was al inquiries in theological studies. A founded, almost entirely, on certain sagacious enemy will suspect, that he passages of scripture. That if every has found the point most open to atone had the liberty of inquiring into tack, and shape his measures accorthe correctness of the common version, dingly. If there is much erroneous either by comparing it with other ver- and shallow criticism afloat in the sions, or by a critical examination ju- world, the way to correct the proceto the import of the Greek and He- dure, is not to condemn all criticism, brew originals ; the critics would soon but against that which is bad to array become judges of faith. Next, these that which is good. Every evil has its philological pedants would be candid- appropriate remedy; and philological ates for ecclesiastical preferments, and ills are best cured with philological would be elevated to bishoprics and prescriptions.
Ф decorated with cardinal's hats, to the exclusion of school divines and canon
A SERMON. ists. Moreover, that the inquisition would be unable to proceed against 2 Cor. vii, 10.—Godly sorrow workthe Lutherans, unless the members of eth repentance to salvation, not to that tribunal were adepts in Greek and be repented of. Hebrew; as these heretics would al
All men regret, first or last, that that the original was in their favor, they have sinned, but all do not be
come truly penitent and receive forand the translation incorrect. That
giveness. There is a sorrow for sin this would be to yield to the whims which is unto salvation, and there and presumptuous speculations of eve is a sorrow which is unto death; ery philologist, who, through malice or and not unfrequently those who perreal ignorance of divinity, should con- ish, go through more tribulation to tradict the received doctrines, by crit- destruction, than those experience ically refining on Greek and Hebrew whose godly sorrow prepares them words. That the translation of the for heaven. The difference between scriptures by Luther had been the
godly and worldly sorrow, consists fruitful source of many others, all wor
not in the degree, but in the nature thy to be consigned to eternal dark
of the sorrow. ness. That Martin himself bad so
The object of this discourse is to often retouched his own translation, explain the nature, and illustrate the that every new edition contained vari- evidences of godly sorrow. The naations from all preceding, by the ture of godly sorrow may be discovhundred. That if this licentiousness ered in the following particulars. were indulged to others, things would
1. It is sorrow for sin. soon come to such a pass, that no one The sicknesses, disappointments, could know what to believe. To these and deaths, which mingle wormwood reasons, which received the plaudits in our cup, and make us desolate, of the council, others were added &c.»*
do not of themselves produce godly Yet the catholic divines, notwith
It is sin which inflicts the standing the decree of the council of wound, creates the anguish of spirit,
extorts the tear, and causes the exvance, in their controversies with the clamation, O wretched man that I protestants, without constant reference am! who'shall deliver me from the to the original scriptures ; nor have body of this death? they in their general course of commen
2. It is sorrow of heart for having ting on the bible, paid any more than sinned against God. a cold deference to the vulgate ver
It presupposes an apprehension of sion. The same will be the result of the divine excellence, a sense of obliall attempts to decry the use of critic- gation violated, of injustice done, of
* Istoria del concilio Tridentino, Lib. II. ingratitude exhibited. The consid
eration that God is independent, does with quickened emotion he will exnot seem to cancel his rights, or claim, 1 weep because I have sinned absolve his subjects from their al- against him whom my soul loveth, legiance. It is felt that the rights and because I still sin agaiost the of God are sacred, and the sin of goodness and tender mercy of my God. invading them criminal, in the same 4. Godly sorrow includes aversion degree as God is above all in pow. of heart to sin itself. er and glory, and his kingdom sur There is between sin and holiness passing all other interests, in ex- an opposition of nature, which produtent, duration and blessedness. Once, ces a repellency of feeling, when they he who now weeps would say, “what meet in the same heart. The flesh lust. have I done so much against God?'eth agaiost the Spirit, and the Spirit aNo iostruction could produce the feel- gainst the flesh; and these are contraing that there is any great evil in sin; ry, the one to the other. This/averbut now the unbroken force of obli- sion to sio would be felt by holiness, gation presses upon the heart. The even though God did not require it. penitent sees that it is an evil thing, Sin in its own nature is evil, and hoand feels it to be a bitter thing, that he liness recoils with disgust from its polhas sinned against God, has made in- luting touch. surrection against the laws and peace 5. The ingratitude involved in sinof his empire, and his language is, ning against God, adds poignancy "Father I have sioped against heaven, to godly sorrow. The majesty and in thy sight, and am no more wor of God fills the penitent with tremthy to be called thy son.'
bling; bis benevolence with shame, 3. Godly sorrow arises from love for having set up a selfish interest in to God.
opposition to the glory of his kingdom; It is the result of friendship to God, and the mercy of God, in providing and complacency in his character, a Saviour for a world of rebels, proJaws, and government. “I have duces admiration and abasement. abused him whose being is infinite, But when all this majesty stoops to whose attributes are perfect, whose deliver his own soul from death, and kingdom is immense and everlasting, all this benevolence is concentrated and whose laws for its protection and upon his own heart, the penitent government, are holy, just and good." feels the burden of his iniquity to be This sorrow is the effect of divine intolerable. Then it is that the rock illumination, which makes the pres- dissolves, and the tears flow. ence and glory of God a reality, and Finally, godly sorrow includes a wakes up in the heart a love strong- just sense of the debasement and evil er than death. It is this love which brought by sin upon the subject himdisarms the rebel. While Sinai self. thundered, he trembled and would Though this is not the first nor the have fled. Now he adores and weeps, greatest item in the account, it is not and will trust in God though He slay omitted. “How much good have I him. It was love which produced lost by sinning against God? What that flood of tears with which Mary a sacrifice have I made of dignity inwashed her Saviour's feet, and which tellectual and moral; from what height . made Peter hasten out and weep bit- of honour to what degradation of terly, for having denied bis master. shame, have I descended; from what
It is not the fear of punishment, blessedness turned away, to what fawhich constitutes godly sorrow. Ask mine ? Fool that I am, to have turned the awakened sinner, why dost thou my back upon the sun, to pursue into weep? and he will reply, I have sin- darkness and sorrow sparks of my own ned and my soul is in danger. Ask kindling; to have forsaken fountaios the real penitent, wherefore dost thou of living water for broken cisterns ; weep, are not thy sins forgiven ? and to have abandoned my Father's house