Page images

xapdcas, in Hebrew, sopy ghakesh leb, 8 ovvavta ayaSos; rendered justly in the Vulgate, Qui per. versi cordis est, non inveniet bonum ; in English, “ He that hath a froward heart, findeth no good.” There is another example of this adjective in Eze. kiela, which appears to me decisive.

The verse runs thus in our version : « The house of Israel “ will not hearken unto thee; for they will not “ hearken unto me, for all the house of Israel are “ impudent and hard-hearted;" Didovelxol ELỚI xai oxanpoxapdio.. It is plain, from the context, that nothing is advanced which can fix on them the charge of inhumanity ; but every thing points to their indocile and untractable temper. In like manner, when the verb σκληρυνω is followed by την καρδιαν, the meaning is invariably either to become, or to render, refractory, rebellious, not cruel or inhumane. This is evidently the sense of it as applied to Pharaoh, whose obstinacy the severest judgments hardly could surmount. And can any person doubt that the meaning of the Psalmist, when he says a, To day if ye shall hear this voice, μη σκληρυνητε τας καρδιας vuov, is, be not contumacious or stiff-necked, as in the provocation? It is impossible either to recur to the history referred to 30, or to the comment on the passage in the Epistle to the Hebrews', and not perceive this to be a full expression of the sense. Hard-hearted, therefore, in our language, which

28 jii. 7.
30 Numb. xir.

23 Psal. xcv.

8. 31 Heb. iii. & iv.

stands always in opposition to tender-hearted or compassionate, is not a just translation, though in some sense, it may be called a literal translation, of oxana ροκαρδιος. .

$ 23. If we inquire a little into the figurative significations given to the simple word xapdia by the sacred penmen, we shall find their application of the compound to contumacy or indocility, as natural as ours is to cruelty and unfeelingness. Let it be observed then that, though the Greek word καρδια, when used in the proper sense for the part of the body so denominated, is equivalent to the English word heart ; it is not always so, when used metaphorically. With us it is made, by figure, to stand, sometimes for courage, sometimes for affection, of which it is considered as the seat; but hardly ever, that I remember, for understanding. To denote this faculty, we sometimes speak of a good or a bad head; we also use the term brain. This, and not the heart, we regard as the seat of intelligence and discernment. Yet this was a frequent use of the term heart among the ancients, not the Hebrews only, but even the Greeks and the Romans. Kapdia in Greek, even in the best use, as well as cor in Latin, are employed to denote discernment and understanding. Hence, the word cordatus in Latin, for wise, judicious, prudent.

For the present purpose it suffices to produce a few instances from Scripture, which will put the matter beyond a doubt. For the sake of brevity, I

shall but just name the things attributed to the heart, referring to the passages in the margin ; that from them every person may judge of the figurative application. First then, intelligence is ascribed to it », also reasoning 33, likewise blindness , 34, doubts 35, faith as, thoughts, comparison », reflection 38 ; in short, all that we commonly consider as belonging to the intellectual facuity, are applied, in Scripture, to the heart, a terni which, in figurative style, is used with very great latitude. In this view of the metonomy, σκληροκαρδιος comes naturally to signify indocile, untractable, of an understanding so hard, that instruction cannot penetrate it. Of similar formation is the term thick-skulled with us. But the sense is not entirely the same. This implies mere incapacity, that an untoward disposition.

$ 24. Here it may not be improper to suggest a caution, for preventing mistakes, not only in the interpretation of Scripture, but in that of all ancient writers. Though a particular word, in a modern language, may exactly correspond with a certain word, in a foreign or a dead language, when both are used literally and properly; these words may

32 Matth. xiii. 15.

33 Mark, ii, 6. 34 iii. 5, &c. The term is twpacis callousness, rendered hard. ness in the common translation, but which as often means blindness, and is so rendered Rom. xi. 25. Eph. iv. 18. A sense here more suitable to the context. 35 Mark, xi. 23.

36 Rom. x, 10. 37 Acts, viii. 22.

38 Luke, ii. 19.

be very far from corresponding, when used metaphorically, or when affected by any trope whatever. Nor does this remark hold in any thing more frequently than in that sort of metonymy, so common amongst every people, whereby some parts of the body, especially of the entrails, have been substituted to denote certain powers or affections of the mind, with which they are supposed to be connected. The opinions of different nations and different ages, on this article, differ so widely from one another, that the figurative sense, in one tongue, is a very unsafe guide to the figurative sense, in another. In some instances they seem even to stand in direct opposition to each other. The spleen was accounted by the ancient Greeks and Romans the seat of mirth and laughter ; by us moderns it is held (I suppose with equal reason), the seat of ill humour and melancholy. When, therefore, it is evident, that the name is, in one of those ancient languages, used not properly, but tropically; what some would call a literal translation into a modern tongue, would, in fact, be a misrepresentation of the author, and a gross perversion of the sense 39.

39 I had occasion to consider a little this subject in another work, The Philosophy of Rhetoric, Book III. Ch. I. Sect. II. Part I. I there took notice of a remark of Cornutus on these words of the first satire of Persius : Sum petulanti splene ca. chinno. Which, as it is much to my present purpose, and not long, I shall here repeat. “ Physici dicunt homines splene ri. “ dere, felle irasci, jecore amare, corde sapere, et pulmone jac

§ 25. I shall add but one other example, of the misinterpretation of a compound word, arising from the apparent, rather than the real import of its etymology. The word ououosadns occurs twice in the New Testament. The first time is on occa. sion of the miraculous cure of the lame man, by Paul and Barnabas at Lystra. When the people would have offered sacrifice to the workers of this miracle, supposing them to be two of their gods, Jupiter and Mercury ; the two apostles no sooner heard of their intention, than they rent their clothes, and ran in among the people, crying out and saying (as in the common translation), “ Sirs, why do ye " these things ? we also are men of like passions with you O," quocdades yuiv. The other occasion of the word's occurring, is where the Apostle James said, as our translators render it, “ Elias was

a man subject to like passions as we are, quolowa“ ons nuev, and he prayed earnestly that it might not

From which passages I have heard it

“ rain ol..”

“ tari.” To the same purpose, I find in a very ancient piece, called the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, supposed to be the work of a Christian of the first century, the following sen. timent in the Testament of Naphtali, introduced for the sake of illustrating that God made all things good, adapting each to its proper use, καρδιαν εις φρονησιν, ηπας προς θυμων, χολην προς πικρίαν, εις γελωτα σπληνα, νεφρος εις πανεργιαν.

Grab. Spicil. patrum I. Secul. T. 1. Ed. 2. p. 212. This, though differing a little from the remark made by the commentator on Persius, perfectly co. incides with what regards the heart and the spleen. 40 Acts, xiv. 15.

41 James, v. 17.

« PreviousContinue »