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the word “made:” that is, to suit the strict translation of the Greek word to the English idiom; as
_" Thy will be done;"'* and—“ When his fellow servants saw what was done." f In these instances and in many such,“ done” may be omitted, without injury to the sense. It is this which must govern in the present case, in determining the choice of the word. That “ done" will not serve the purpose, is manifest from the general import of the passage; and especially in its being unable to sustain the opposite construction consistently: there being a necessity of abandoning it in the tenth verse. Therefore the translation of the common version, is correct.
“ In him was life.” In the system of the Gnosticks, "life" was an Æon, distinct from the word: and of this, the clause is a contradiction. In the twenty-sixth verse of the fifth chapter we read “ As the Father hath life in himself, so he hath given to the Son to have life in himself.” The im. provers having left this in its integrity, it would have been but consistent, to have spared the clause under consideration; rather than to have exchanged “ In” for “ By:” translating—" By him was life.” In the original, it is not the Greek wordt generally translated “By;" but another Greek word, generally answering to “ In.” There can be no reason besides theory, for the change in the version.
“ And the life was the light of men.” With the Gnosticks, “Life” was a destinct Æon from “Light;" the one being related to mental intelligence, as the other to bodily vigour: but St. John makes both of them inherent to the divine person of whom he is discoursing. The version leaves this clause untouched: and it is the end of the
passage, proposed as the subject of this remark.
The testimony of Irenæus, as to St. John's contemplating of the Gnosticks in the passage, is con
* Matt. vi, 10.
+ xyiii. 31.
siderably fortified by the thirty-first verse of the twentieth chapter-" These” (signs)“ are written that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.” The apostle wrote his gospel, not principally for his countrymen the Jews, but for Gentile Christians, among whom he lived: as appears from his incidental explanations of Jewish names and customs. The idea of the Gentile Chris. tians concerning a Christ, must have been combined with what concerned the alleged recent appear. ance of him on earth. The Gnosticks did not altogether deny the Christ; although they denied his absolute identity with the person of Jesus. Hence the propriety of defining the design of the foregoing gospel to have been, the proving that Jesus--the person of that name, from his birth to the end of his being seen on earth, and particularly in the just before recited acts subsequent te his crucifixionwas the Christ. In the epistles of the same apostle, which are supposed to have been written at still later periods than his gospel, there are more and clearer references to the said sect and that their peculiarity.
Fourth Remark. The like erroneous principles are applied to those passages, which, according to the customary use of language, speak of Christ as preexistent to his appearance in the flesh. A few of very many instances, must suffice. The first to be selected, are palpable mistranslations: to which shall be added others, more or less dependent, either on mistranslation, or on errour as to fact.
i Cor. xv. 47. “ The second man, is the Lord from heaven.” The version in question gives for “is"_" will be;" without assigning either authority, or reason grounded on the sense. Of the former, there is certainly none; and in the passage of which the words are part, there are contemplated a first and a second Adam, each of whom had appeared in his proper character. Although St. Paul, as
is frequent with him, omits the use of the verb; yet when it is introduced, grammatical propriety exacts the same tense to “the second man-the Lord from heaven," as to.“ the first man, of the earth-earthy.”* Accordingly in the next verse but one, where the past and the future are contrasted, the verb is introduced in its proper tenses" As we have born the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. The want of critical ground for this alleged improvement is the more remarkable, as there are given in the notes variatións, which affect the text in other points; although thought by the editors of variations to rest on insufficient grounds. On the point at issue, the text has been unquestioned.
John, viii. 58. “Before Abraham was, I am.” To improve this text, the version renders it-“I am he:” for which it pleads the same trans. lation given to the same Greek wordst in the twenty-fourth and twenty-eighth verses of the chapter. The truth is, although it is kept out of sight in the notes, that there is nothing in the original answering to “he,” in any one of the passages. In translating the two the last referred to, it was necessary to insert the pronoun, to accommodate to the English idiom: and there could be no mistake, Jesus having been discoursing of himself as the Messiah. But in regard to the text in question, the pronoun destroys all pertinency of the words to the question of the Pharisees" Hast thou seen Abraham?” A much better comment on them may be perceived in the rage of those people;
It has been considered as an improvement of the version, to thrust in the word “ heavenly” into this text; although not supported herein, by any of the editors of abbreviations. Mills considers the Greek word (opeerios) as a corruption found in some copies, brought in by some transcribers as contrasted with earthy," in the former clause of the sentence.
+ + Ego siper
who could no longer endure the discourse, but took up stones to cast at the speaker. *
Col. ii. 9. “ In him, dwelleth all the fulness of the godhead, bodily.” The Improvers spare the last very emphatick word; but they have the courage to turn the godhead” into “the Deity;" evidently accommodating the latter, to a sense in which the other is not used-that of the great agent spoken of personally. The original is not “God, but “ godhead.”+ There is a reason given for its rejection: and the amount of the reason, is its not being agreeable to system.
Col. i. 16, 17. ” All things were created by him and for him. And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.” The considerations which occur on the whole passage are passed by, and the attention is confined to mistranslation: which is so contrived, as to affect the whole. For creation having been spoken of just before; and having been explained of a change in the moral world; there seems to have occurred a material difficulty in the expression “all things” twice found in the latter · part of the passage. But the difficulty is got over, by translating—"all these things.” The Greek word, f occurring much oftener than an hundred times in the New Testament, sometimes without the article, is in every instance rendered "all things,” and admits of no other rendering. Again, the English words “all these things”* are constantly the rendering of the same Greek word, with the addition of another, answering to “ these;" except in one place,t where it might have been “all things;” which is more literal. And besides Griesbach puts on the word the mark, expressing his doubt of its being genuine. It is not criticism, but system, which governed in this professed emendation of the common version.
* This is one of the texts, on which the opposite system has never been long satisfied with its own interpretations. Socinus explained it with an allusion to the name of Abraham, which signifies “a father of many nations;" so that before this should be verified, Christ must be: 'which singular interpretation was thought by the proposer of it to have been divinely conveyed to his mind, in answer to his many prayers for a right understanding of the text. Later followers of the same opinion, have resolved the sentiment into the existence of Christ in the divine decree: which was the interpretation of Dr. Priestley. The improved version has gone beyond them all, as to the extent in which it has set the translation in contrariety to the context.
John, iii. 13. “No man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven.” The Improvers were very solicitous to make out, that
to ascend to heaven," means “ to search into and understand the counsels of God: for then they thought it would follow, that “to descend from heaven," is to bring and to discover those truths to the world. In order to justify the former of these two positions, they allege, not that the words convey such an idea, according to common usage; but that two authors-Raphelius and Dr. Doddridge understand them so. To the work of Raphelius, the present writer has not access; but to his understanding, Dr. Doddridge says no such thing: His exposition is not that the two phrases have the same meaning; but that wherever the ascending to heaven is spoken of, it is with a view to, or for the purpose of, searching into the counsels and truths of God. The sense thus ascribed to this respectable commentator is made the more manifest, by the passages of scripture referred to in his note -Deut. iii. 12; Rom. x. vi, and Pro. xxx. 4. In each of these passages, the object of the ascent is mentioned in connexion with it; and not involved in the very terms, as is insisted on in regard to the present passage.
John, vi. 62. “What and if ye shall see the son of man ascend up where he was before.” This ascending up means again, according to the version,