« PreviousContinue »
gravely inferred, that a superiority over the passions is hardly to be expected from the influence even of the most divine religion, or the most distinguishing lights of the Spirit ; since sacred writ itself seems, in this respect, to put Jews, Christians, and Pagans, nay prophets, apostles, and idolatrous priests and people, all
upon a level.
But this arises merely from the mistranslation of the word quolowadns, concerning which I beg leave to offer the following remarks: Ist, I remark, that it is found only twice in the New Testament, does not occur in the version of the Seventy, and but once in the Apocryphal writings, where it is applied to the earth", in which there is nothing analogous to human passions, though there is some analogy to human sufferings and dissolution; and that therefore we have no reason, agreeably to an observation lately made 43 to consider this term as affected by the idiom of the synagogue. 2dly, If we recur to classical use, we find that it implies no more than fellow-mortal, and has no relation to what, in our language, is peculiarly called passion ; and, 3dly, That with this, the etymology rightly understood, perfectly agrees. The primary signification of wados in Greek, and of the unclassical term passio in Latin, is suffering ; the first from DAOXELV, the second from pati, to suffer. Thence they are adopted to denote calamity, disease, and death; thence also they are taken sometimes to denote those affections of the mind which are in
43 $ 8.
42 Wisd. vii, 3. VOL, I.
their nature violent, and are considered as implying pain and suffering; nay, the English word passion is, in this manner, applied (but it is in a sort of technical language) to the death and sufferings of our Lord.
Now, as to the term ouologa dns, in the manner in which it is rendered by our interpreters, the argument employed by the Apostles to the Lycaonians, loses all its force and significance. The Pagans never denied that the Gods whom they adored were beings of like passions with themselves; nay, they did not scruple to attribute the most disgraceful, and the most turbulent passions to their deities. And as little as any were the two divinities exempted, whom they supposed Paul and Barnabas to be ; but then they always attributed to them a total exemption from mortality and disease. It would have been, therefore, impertinent to say to idolaters, who mistook them for gods, “We are subject to the like “ passions with you ;" for this their priests and poets had uniformly taught them both of Jupiter and of Mercury. But it was pertinent to say,
your fellow-mortals,” as liable as you to disease and death. For, if that was the case with the two Apostles, the people would readily admit, they were not the gods they took them for. Indeed, this was not only the principal, but, I may almost say, the sole, distinction they made between gods and men. As to irregular lusts and passions, they seem to have ascribed them to the celestials even in a higher de gree, in proportion, as it were, to their superior power,
“ We are
And, in regard to the application to Elijah, in the other passage quoted, let it not be thought any objection to the interpretation here given, that the Prophet was translated, and did not die : for all that is implied in the Apostle's argument is, that his body was naturally mortal and dissolvable as well as ours;. a point which was never called in question, notwithstanding his miraculous deliverance from death. I shall only add, that the explanation here given is entirely comformable to the version of those passages in the Vulgate, and to that of all the other translations, ancient and modern, of any name.
§ 26. From all that has been said on this topic, it is evident that, in doubtful cases, etymology is but a dangerous guide ; and, though always entitled to some attention, never, unless in the total failure of all other resources, to be entirely rested in. From her tribunal there lies always an appeal to use, in cases wherein use can be discovered, whose decision is final, according to the observation of Horace,
Quem penes arbitrium est, et jus, et norma loquendi. I have been the more particular on this head, because etymology seems to be a favourite with many modern interpreters, and the source of a great proportion of their criticisms. And indeed, it must be owned that, of all the possible ways of becoming a critic in a dead or a foreign language, etymology is the easiest. A scanty knowledge of the elements,
with the aid of a good Lexicon, and a plausible fluency of expression, will be fully sufficient for the purpose. I shall add a few instances in this taste from some modern translations of the New Testament; though I am far from insinuating that the above mentioned qualifications for criticising, were all that the authors were possessed of. Some of them, on the contrary, have, in other instances, displayed critical abilities very respectable. But where is the man who, on every occasion, is equal to himself? The word coohayxviosn “, is rendered, by the Gentlemen of Port Royal, Ses entrailles furent emues de compassion, on which Wynne seems to have improved in saying, His bowels yearned with compassion. Eudoxnoav 45, is rendered by the former, ont resolu avec beaucoup d'affection.
Δεησις ενεργομενη , is translated by Doddridge, Prayer wrought by the energy of the Spirit. Exnvwoel “, by Diodati, Tendera un padiglione. Xelpotovnoavtes “, by Beza, , cum ipsi per suffragia creassent, and xanpovojnoroc“, hæreditario jure obtinebunt. The Vulgate too, sometimes without necessity, but more rarely, adopts the same paraphrastical method. For those examples above referred to, which occur in the Gospel, see the notes on the places.
45 Rom. xv.
44 Matth. ix. 36. 47 Rev. vii. 15.
26, 27. ** Acts, xiv. 23.
46 James, v. 16. 49 Matth. v. 5.
DISSERTATION THE FIFTH.
OF THE PROPER VERSION OF SOME NAMES OF PRINCIPAL IMPORT IN
THE NEW TESTAMENT.
The religious institution of which the Lord Jesus is the author, is distinguished in the New Testament by particular names and phrases, with the true import of which it is of great consequence that we be acquainted, in order to form a distinct apprehension of the nature and end of the whole. A very small deviation here may lead some into gross mistakes, and conceal from others, in a considerable degree, the spirit which this institution breathes, and the discoveries which it brings. I think it necessary, therefore, to examine this subject a little, in order to lay before the critical, the judicious, and the candid, my reasons for leaving, in some particulars which at first may appear of little moment, the beaten track of interpreters, and giving, it may be said, new names to known things, where there cannot be any material difference of meaning. The affectation of rejecting a word, because old (if neither obscure nor obsolete), and of preferring another, because new (if it be not more apposite or expressive), is justly held contemptible; but without doubt, it would be an extreme on the other side, not less hurtful, to pay a