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ders men presumptuous or selfrighteous, or careless of sin or negligent of duty, is a false religion, and worse even than none.
For the Christian Observer.
AND ALEXANDRINE MANU-
DINE, AND ALEXANDRINE
IN the second and third chapters
Codex Vaticanus." This manuscript," Dr. Holmes remarks," belongs to the Vatican Library, and is there numbered 1209. It is of the quarto size, and is written on the finest vellum. Through the Pentateuch and other bistorical books, the pages are divided into three columns; in the remaining books only into two. It has accents; but they have been added by a later hand. (Professor Birch says they had been affixed a prima manu.)
"An opinion prevails very generally, and indeed, as it seems to me, not without reason, so far as concerns the Pentateuch, that the text of the koun is preserved in this manuscript, free, perhaps, from many of the faults which have pervaded certain manuscripts made use of by Origen. However this may be, one thing I deemed of great importance to be pointed out;
namely, whether there were any differences between the Codex Vaticanus, and the Vatican edition. Accordingly I have noted all the variations which exist between them in the Pentateuch."
Codex Alexandrinus. "This manuscript is preserved in the British Museum. It was written, as it appears to me, in Egypt, not long before the close of the fifth century. Grabe, in his letter to Mills, gives it the preference over the Vatican manuscript, but without producing any examples from This manuthe Mosaic Books. script omits, in the Pentateuch, a great many things which Grabe has supplied in his edition. Of these, some are found in the Vatican text: but a great many more he borrowed from a genuine Hexaplar manuscript, in which they were preserved under the asterisk. He seems to have done this, with the view of defining the peculiar character of the Alexandrine manuscript; but if it were really a Hexaplar cepy in the Pentateuch, how happens it to have been necessary to supply so many Hexaplar readings? Should any person, therefore, be of opinion that the text of the Alexandrine manuscript in the Pentateuch is Tetraplar rather than Hexaplar, (and even that not the most excellent of its kind,) I should not hesitate to concur with him.”
The fourth chapter of the preface is devoted to a specification of the editions, fathers, and versions, from which assistance had been derived, and applied to the use of Dr. Holmes's edition.
With respect to the texts of the Complutensian and Aldine editions, as Dr. Holmes has advanced an opinion concerning them materially differing from that which is generally entertained by the learned, no apology, I trust, is requisite for submitting it in this place, especially as that opinion, notwithstanding its novelty, seems to me to be extremely reasonable.
I may here observe, that Dr. Holmes has adopted, for his own edition, the text of the Vatican edition of 1587, which was formed principally from the Codex Vaticanus; but as some readings were introduced into the Vatican edition from other manuscripts, Dr Holmes has been careful every where to notice the variations existing between the manuscript and the edition.
Editio Complutensis, 1514.-"It has been said that the manuscripts made use of by the Complutensian editors have perished; but that all have not been lost, may now be considered as certain. Of the manuscripts collated for this work, there seem to be three*, which, unless I am deceived, contain the very text of the Complutensian edition, in the Pentateuch. Consequently this edition, equally with the rest, may lay claim to the authority of a manuscript in the Mosaic text.
"But if the editors thus discharged their duty with respect to the Old, how is it to be presumed that they treated the New Testament ?"
Editio Aldina, 1518.—" Of this edition let us attend to the editor's own words: 'Ego multis vetustissimis exemplaribus collatis, adhibita etiam quorundam eruditissimorum hominum cura, Biblia, ut vulgo appellant, Græca cuncta descripsi, atque in unum volumen reponenda curari.'"
These words, however, are not to be so understood as though the Aldine text had been composed of readings selected from a great many manuscripts; for Dr. Holmes's colation embraces some manuscripts + which exhibit almost the very text of the Aldine edition.
Editio Alexandrina, 1706."The whole of the text of this edition was transcribed from the
(19.) Codex Chigianus circa. § x. (108.) Codex Vaticanus 330. § xiv. (118.) Codex Paris. Reg. vi. § xiii. † (29) Codex Venetus II. § x. vel xi.
Codex Alexandrinus, and carefully collated with it by Grabe, who himself left it ready for the press. I shall only remark, concerning the Alexandrine edition, that, in the Pentateuch, it was sometimes supplied out of the text of the Vatican edition, but more frequently from the Complutensian. Thus the editor seems to have mixed with the text of one family the texts of two other recensions; but this has not been attended with any ill consequence, since he has introduced no supplementary matter except in a smaller character."
But what greatly enhances the value of this chapter of Dr. Holmes's preface, is, the very clear and interesting account which is there given, of the several VERSIONS derived from the Septuagint text; namely, 1. The old Italic; 2 Coptic; 3 Sahidic; 4 Syriac (Philoxenian); 5 Arabic; 6 Slavonic; 7 Armenian ; & Georgian.
The account of the three last mentioned, from the pen of Professor Atter of Vienna, is doubtless a masterly performance, and is delivered nearly in the Professor's own words. It enters deeply into the subject, and offers a rich treat to the Biblical student.
Having finished his narrative of the versions, the editor thus concludes his preface with a recapitulation of his labours.
"I have now mentioned every thing concerning the MANUSCRIPT EDITIONS, FATHERS, and VERSIONS, which have been applied to the service of this work: it remains for me only to apprize the reader, that the whole of the collations which, for these fifteenyears past, bave been collecting for this edition, are deposited in the Bodleian Library; and will be published, either by myself, if life is spared me, or, if it should happen otherwise, by some other editor, under the auspices of the Curators of the Clarendon Press at Oxford."
Dr. Holmes died in 1806. At that time only the Pentateuch and
the Book of Daniel had been published. It is much to be lamented that his valuable life was not spared to have edited the remainder of the prophetical books himself; a task which it appears he was extremely anxious to accomplish. The work has however been continued to the present time, and is still in a course of publication, under the direction of the learned Dr. James Parsons; but the nature of this laborious undertaking precludes all hope of its speedy completion. The Book of Job (part 3d of vol. 3.) was published in the summer of 1820. When the work is finished, it will remain a lasting monument of the attention of the learned and higher orders in this country to the cause of sacred learning; and cannot but reflect great honour on the memory of the learned editor who originally projected these collations, as well as on the public who, for such a number of years, have so munificently upheld it with their patronage.
To the Editor of the Christian Observer. I TRUST I shall not misemploy the time of your readers, by calling their attention for a moment to a subject which is in some measure connected with practical Christianity, and on which I am constrained to differ from some valuable Christian friends. I refer to the practice of drawing lots; and the question I would submit to your readers is, Whether it is consistent with the spirit of Christianity for persons in the present day to draw lots, in any case, in order to settle a doubtful or disputed point. The practice has at different times been employed, among various bodies of Christians, on solemn occasions; particularly among the Wesleyan Methodists, at the earlier periods of their history, to determine questions in which the members of their society were divided in opinion.
To begin with the arguments employed in favour of the practice: It is affirmed by some religious persons, that it rests on the authority of Scripture; since the Jews, under the Mosaic dispensation, resorted to this method of deciding very important questions relating to their temporal interest. It is moreover urged, that even in the time of the Apostles lots were drawn on a memorable occasion; namely, the election of Matthias, as successor to the traitor Judas. On these two distinct grounds, it is inferred, that there can be nothing criminal in the practice, though it is not directly sanctioned in the writings of the New Testament.
Yet, notwithstanding this appeal to Scripture in vindication of the practice, its advocates would confine it within strict and defined limits. They would shudder, for instance, at the thought of countenancing public lotteries, or of drawing lots with a view to obtain any considerable sum of money; and they would strongly reprobate the practice, whenever it might appear to sanction the destructive principle of gambling. Yet it is somewhat inconsistently maintained, that there are certain cases of a minute and indifferent nature, in which the most holy follower of Jesus Christ may innocently draw lots; namely, such, for example, as where it is wished to decide, without jealousy or offence, to which of several apparently equal claimants some slight article of property shall belong, or which individual of a party present shall take the lead in some benevolent or useful undertaking. In these and similar cases, it is pretended, that without such a device it would be nearly impossible to come to a satisfactory decision; and that at all events the practice is too indifferent to be the subject of either serious censure or approbation.
Now it appears to me, that the ground thus confidently taken by the advocates of the practice is
far less firm than they imagine. As to the warrant for drawing lots which they profess to derive from Scripture, it will, I presume, be found, upon fair consideration, that the inference is quite untenable. For it was only under the peculiar circumstances of the Mosaic dispensation, and even by the express command of God himself, that the Jews cast lots to determine what shares of the promised land should be respectively apportioned to their tribes. And in this case the casting of lots was confessedly an appeal to God for the determination of an important point, which could not else have been satisfactorily adjusted. With respect to the instance of Matthias, the casting of lots was unquestionably a religious act; since it was accompanied by a solemn prayer to the Supreme Searcher of all hearts, for the purpose of forming that decision which might be most agreeable to His divine will. That either of these very singular and insulated cases can form any kind of precedent for Christians in modern days, I am unable to conceive. As well might we look to dreams, to determine in any difficult case what may be the will of God, because such a mode of decision was divinely permitted to the Jews.
Next, as to the alleged indifference of the practice, the assump tion, I think, is contrary to fact. For, if we cast lots only to determine (as in the instance supposed above) which of the contending claimants shall be entitled to some little article of property, do we not, in such a case, appeal either to the Supreme Ruler of the universe, or else to mere chance; since by one or the other arbiter the point in dispute must be decided? If to the former, what warrant can we shew for so solemn an appeal in a matter so light and insignificant? And with respect to the latter, its very existence would be denied by every Christian.
In another point of view also, the practice will appear not to be a matter of indifference: for may it not be supposed to lend some countenance, however small, to raffles and lotteries, if not to games of hazard? Or to set the matter in a stronger light, I would ask, what answer could be made by the persons to whom I am referring, to such questions as the following? "If you, who are so decidedly religious, consider it innocent to cast lots in indifferent or trifling cases, what harm can there be in my raffling for a valuable article which I really want; as in so doing I hazard but a small sum? Or why may I not purchase a part of a lottery ticket, in the hope of obtaining relief for the immediate distresses of my family?"
I do not wish, Mr. Editor, to overstrain my inferences on the foregoing subject, and shall therefore conclude by entreating the Christian readers of your miscellany, to rectify them as far as they may appear to want a scriptural foundation. Πισις.
To the Editor of the Christian Observer. IT has been often observed, that there are two books in which Gol has been pleased to display hi character to mankind; the boo of Nature and the book of Grace. The knowledge of the former, when rightly employed, should ever lead to the study of the latter; while an acquaintance with the latter ought no less to induce the devout philosopher to avail himself of the many intimations contained in the glowing pages of the former. Religious persons might derive great benefit from thus habitually making nature the handmaid to religion; and in order to do so, it seems desirable that they should cultivate a taste for the beauties of creation, and an aptitude to catch the impressive moral displayed by every part of the works of the Almighty. So far
however, from this being always the case, instances, I conceive, are not rare in which persons appear not merely to have acquired no new relish for the beauties of nature, in consequence of becoming devoted to the service of nature's God, but even to have lost something of the enthusiasm which they once possessed. Nor is such a result difficult of solution; for when a person is put upon his guard against the undue influence either of philosophical pursuits or animal gratifications, he may very probably become somewhat indifferent to the study of nature, unless supplied with new motives, and impelled by new feelings, to prosecute his intimacy with her. And such new motives and feelings we might at first sight imagine, would be supplied by religion alike in every case; but I will illustrate by two examples my position, that this is not the fact.
The mind of Lysander, having been moulded by the varying circumstances of his growing years, was fixed as to its general character at the time when his attention was first turned to religion. From the very commencement of his spiritual career, he was chiefly impressed by the terrors of the Divine law; and being greatly harassed by the ever recurring consciousness of his deficiencies in duty, his mind was but little disposed to cultivate those meditative virtues so congenial with the contemplatation of the works of creation. Thus in this stage of his religious progress, there was nothing which left in his mind any link of association between his spiritual hopes and best interests, and the forms or the vicissitudes of the scenery of nature. He could not look upon the setting sun as an object which, under the Divine blessing, had often powerfully fixed his thoughts upon eternity; nor could he, while listening to the ocean's roar, call to mind any consecrated moment, when, gazing on its threatening
waves, his soul bad sunk in conscious helplessness and guilt before that Almighty Ruler, whose arm impelled, or whose word restrained, its gigantic energies. He became therefore increasingly disposed to overlook such assistances and intimations of nature; and thus was that refinement of the moral sense, by which the still small voice of the works of creation is heard and their silent pointings discovered, gradually impaired; so that even to the present moment, though released from his terrors, and contemplating God as a reconciled Father in Christ Jesus, there is still wanting that affectionate veneration for his natural works which bas formed so prominent a feature in the minds of many eminently pious characters, and which Cowper has so beautifully described in those well-known lines:
"He looks abroad into the varied field Of Nature; and though poor perhaps, compar'd
With those whose mansions glitter in his sight,
Calls the delightful scenery all his own. His are the mountains, and the valleys his,
And the resplendent rivers; his t'enjoy With a propriety that none can feel, But who, with filial confidence inspir'd, Can lift to Heaven an unpresumptuous