Графични страници
PDF файл

thieves, a comparison in which, perhaps, the aptitude of number and locality was more thought of than any thing else; these worthy men not meaning to attribute to the Greek, as Hardouin does, the actual crime of robbing the Latin of its title to originality when they say, “ Mediam Latinam beati Hieronymi translationem, velut inter Synagogam et Orientalem posuimus, tanquam duos hinc inde Latrones, medium autem Jesum, h. e. Romanam sive Latinam ecclesiam collocantes.” It is not very easy to fix a distinct adaptation by Hardouin of this theory to every particular book of the New Testament, nor does he in fact seem to contend that every book was originally written in Latin ; on the contrary, for instance, he appears to suppose that the Epistles of Paul were written by him in Greek, though translated by himself into Latin, and that the original Greek is lost, the text we now have being a subsequent retranslation into that language from the Latin. At another time, it would seem to have been his opinion, that the Apostle had a Greek amanuensis who wrote in Greek what the former dictated in Latin, which supposition, by the bye, would account for the anomalous constructions and barbarisms which are brought in proof of the hypothesis of an original Latin text subverted by a later obscure Greek version. With regard to the Epistle to Philemon, he admits the original of that letter to have been addressed to him by the Apostle in Greek, but his wife Appia being, as he concludes, Roman, he (in order to preserve the integrity of his theory) concludes, that a Latin translation accompanied it for the use of the lady; a theory which, as Michaelis observes, naturally suggests the question, how the married couple, of which the husband spoke no Latin, and the wife no Greek, conducted their familiar conversation.

Michaelis has very ably summed up and replied to the arguments of Hardouin, and so little weight was attached to them that his learned translator, Dr. Marsh, thought it necessary to apologize to the reader for not having exercised a translator's discretion in altogether omitting the chapter about “ this dream.” We shall state as shortly as we can from that summary the mode in which the arguments on each side were shaped.

1. “The Latin language,” Hardouin contends, " was better understood in all the provinces of the Roman Empire than the Greek, and it was understood even at Jerusalem, since an inscription in Latin was affixed to the cross of Christ.” To this it is replied, that Greek was, at all events, the prevalent language of Greece and Asia Minor;—that the use of Latin in judicial proceedings might be a mark of subjection, but no proof that Latin was a current, popular language ;-that the argument does not apply to all the Epistles of Paul

, nor to most of the other books of the New Testament, considering to whom they were addressed ;-that Greek was current in Egypt, and St. Luke would therefore use it when he wrote there or in Asia Minor, Palestine or Greece ;—that the Jews scattered through the Roman Empire spoke that language and in fact read their Bible in it;-—and as the main body of the Christian communities, not excepting those at Rome, consisted of Jews, the argument loses all its weight even when applied to the Gospel of St. Mark or the Epistle to the Romans.

2. “ The Deity must have foreseen that the Latin language would in after ages become more general, and it is therefore reasonable to believe that he inspired the New Testament in that language.” To this it is replied, that Hardouin altogether overlooks the Greek Church, and further, that this reasoning is to apply a weak, dogmatical argument to a question that is purely historical; that no reasoning à priori can determine what actually has or has not happened, and that our judgment is much too confined to draw

the presumptive conclusion that those measures which appear to us the best, are the measures adopted by the Deity.

3. Hardouin draws an argument in favour of the Epistle to the Romans being written in Latin, from its dictation to Tertius, whom he concludes by his name to be a Roman, and whom he supposes Paul purposely mentioned as his assistant in order to account to the Romans for the circumstance of Latin being used by him, a Jew of Tarsus, at which they would otherwise be surprised. To this it is answered, that Flavius Josephus might as well be proved to be a Roman by his name as Tertius : but granting the latter to be what Hardouin supposes he was, how is it shewn that he could not write from dictation the Apostle's Greek, the language which it is singular that Hardouin should admit the Romans would naturally expect ?

4. “ The Epistle to the Romans was written at Corinth, a Roman colony, on whose coins


be seen the Latin inscription Col. Cor.; in the house of Caius, whose name is a Latin one ; and consequently the Epistle must have been written in Latin.” Supposing the premises to be true, it is asked in reply, Why should St. Paul prefer writing Latin in compliment to his host ? This argument, too, contradicts the preceding one, for if the Apostle was unable to write Latin without assistance, he would hardly have attempted it for so trifling a reason.

5. “ The style of the Latin Testament is smooth and elegant, whereas that of the Greek Testament is rough and impure-consequently the latter, not the former, is the translation." This is a most singular argument. In the first place (assuming, contrary to the fact, that the style of the Vulgate is smooth and elegant) it takes the text of the Vulgate for an original, when its formation, and the state of the various versions from which it was originally compiled, are well known;—and, in the second place, the Vulgate's purity or uniformity of style, in opposition to the individuality of style of the various books of the Greek New Testament, forms an unanswerable proof of the direct reverse of Hardouin's corollary.

6. An argument in favour of the hypothesis is drawn from the occasional heterodoxy of the Greek, whereas the Vulgate is always orthodox and Catholic. To this we imagine it is not necessary to detail any reply.

7. “ It was more easy to collect Latin books of the New Testament in the single city of Rome, than Greek books dispersed in distant provinces.' The collection of the books of the New Testament has no connexion with the present question, which relates simply to their origin;-but if it had, the argument is of no weight.

8. “ The Greek MSS. differ very materially from each other, whereas no difference can be found in the editions of the Vulgate." But what shall we say of the more than seventy versions from which Jerome framed his ? We might as well say Stephens's text is the genuine one because all the editions of it may agree.

9. A curious argument follows, which Michaelis admits has," at least, the appearance of probability.” It is this ; “ St. Paul in the Epistle to Philemon makes allusions to the names of Philemon and Onesimus, which can be expressed only in Greek; if the present Epistle, therefore, were the original, the words most proper for expressing the allusions would have been retained. For instance, ver. 1, Dianuari piantậ,—and vers. 10, 11, Ονησιμον τον ποτε σοι ανοχησιμον, νυνι δε σοι και εμοι ανησιμον.

But in the present text we find Φιλημονι το αγαπητό, and Ονησιμον τον ποτε σου axpustov, where the Paranomasia is totally lost : we must therefore conclude that the Epistle contained in our canon is nothing more than a translation

[ocr errors]

froin the Latin, in which those allusions could not be expressed, that Latin being itself a translation from the original Greek dictated.''

To this Michaelis replies merely, “that the text, as described by Hardouin, would convey rather the language of a punster than that of a reñined writer, who always avoids a similarity of sounds that might be offensive to a delicate ear; and that it still remains a matter of very great doubt whether St. Paul, by the word ayatınto, intended to make allusion to the name of Philemon.”

We are rather inclined to believe that, in these instances and another pointed out in the Palæoromaica, he did intend the allusion;- but it does not appear clear 10 us that he meant to do it at all more broadly than it is done as the text now stands, which an ear familiar with the language would easily Catch without making the Paranomasia direct.

Thus stood the theory of Hardouin, which no one has since supported in good earnest till the appearance of the book against which Dr. Maltby's Sermon is directed. But, in reviving the hypothesis of Hardouin, the author has been by no means desirous of identifying himself with his predecessor, and has endeavoured to relieve himself of his most glaring difficulty and absurdity, by rejecting the attempt to establish the Vulgate, as the supposed original, and the benefit of the arguments built upon it

, at the risk, however, of entangling himself with the consequential difficulty of giving any plausible account of what these Latin originals were;—where they now are, or, indeed, ever were ;—what became of Them, and how it happens that no trace of any but what are manifest translations from the Greek exist, or were ever heard of.

We shall, in a following Number, give a short summary of the heads of the author's “Disquisitions."


THOUGHTS ON CHRISTIAN CHARITY. A GOOD man wishes to do, as well as be, good. He finds a religion in the world, the Founder of which has directed his followers to make the desire of their own happiness the measure by which to regulate their desires for the happiness of their fellow-creatures. He takes it for granted, comparing this command with the spirit of other injunctions from the same blessed Teacher, that a compliance with it requires two things—a heart rightly disposed, and a well-instructed mind. Without prompt and cheerful afiection for our brethren, their happiness will be languidly sought by us; without a proper estimate of happiness previously formed in our own minds, it is not likely that our endeavours to confer it on others will be effectual. To “ do unto others as we would that they should do to us,” must presuppose that we ourselves know tolerably well what it is right to wish for ourselves, otherwise the farther we carry our obedience to the precept, the worse will it be for our fellow-creatures.

Now the predominant desire, the presiding wish in the heart of a wise and good man, is that of the Divine approbation.

To seek Him, in whose favour life is found;

All bliss beside a shadow or a sound,”'is the clear result of his investigation into the sources of human good; and, looking at the precept before cited, this desire and determination come ió him inseparable from the desire that his fellow-creatures should obtain it too.


Every acquisition of knowledge, every thing man has done or may do for the temporal interests of his race, is more or less valuable according as it appears to lead more or less directly to this point. He feels it his duty to consider what influence his conduct may have upon those who are in any way connected with him, with a care similar to that which he has exercised in calculating what was best for himself. Hence CHARITY, in its most comprehensive sense, is, next to piety, the virtue upon which he lays the principal stress; because, well understood, he is persuaded it will be found to include nearly all the other virtues. Charity then, in the Christian, we may define the desire, put into action, that “all men should be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.” Nor is active proselyting its only or principal work; for it may operate strongly when it is silent, noiseless and unobtrusive. It is far more frequently than men are willing to allow, a negative thing; the mere abstaining from what will do harm; the simple power of example; the habitual self-restraint which a strong desire to “do unto others as we would that they should do unto us" will lead us to impose upon ourselves ; the perpetual wish neither to do nor say, nor (as preparatory to these) to think any evil thing which may impede the growth of religion in the midst of those with whom we have to do.

Much has been said about active charity, but its passive quality has not met with the attention it deserves. So much stress is laid in the gospel upon this as a means of promoting the interests of the human race, those interests which the gospel was sent to promote, that it may well surprise us to see readers of the Bible so practically unmindful of it ;—so anxious to do good; so careless, particularly in small matters, about doing harm. It must be said of Unitarians that they are, as a body, generally attentive to the social and moral duties : this has been acknowledged by those least willing to allow them the praise of having attained to a correct faith: but standing upon high ground here, they are perhaps the more apt to forget that there is a spirit of habitual attention to lesser things which marks a greater advancement in the Christian life than even the practice of the most exalted virtues. The person who, from purely Christian motives, forbears making a remark or doing an act which may wound his weaker brother, has unquestionably succeeded in attaining to a more useful degree of religion than he who brings Christianity in on great occasions, but is content with a worldly standard on smaller; and they who prefer a lower motive when they might have the strength and life imparted by a higher, forget that in adopting the former they have withdrawn from religion the testimony which she had a perfect right to require at their hands. But surely a deep sense of the importance of making the most of our short abode here, should teach us the value of slight opportunities of impressing religious obligation on ourselves and others. To turn petty evils into sources of good, trifling impertinences into the means of improving the Christian temper; to hear kindly what others have to advance in their own behalf, be tender to their prejudices, careful not to shock them unnecessarily; to shape our conduct not merely with reference to its effect on ourselves, but as it may affect others; all this is the part of Christian charity, and it may bring in no despicable aid to the cause of Christian truth.

It would be endless to enumerate the ways in which this passive charity may operate. To a few of them, however, which seem more particularly requisite at the present day, it may be well briefly to advert.

In the first place, then, let us be charitable on both sides of a question. Our sympathy is hastily given to the most suffering side, and we are too

apt to forget the double duty which devolves upon us when we consider or rebuke error. We point out an abuse, are indignant against those in whose hands it arose; but is not error a more pitiable thing than the misery it occasions ? Have we any right to attack those who fall into it, in the spirit of vengeance, before we have tried that of reformation! Have we any right to disregard the future and eternal interests of any part of our fellow-creatures, however sinning? Still more when, as is frequently the case, men of real worth advocate what appear to us injurious courses, we are bound to keep in mind their good as much as the good of those who are, we think, sufferers from the effects of their errors. This caution is more especially necessary for those who undertake the difficult task of pointing out the errors of benevolence. The records of human philanthropy do indeed display many humbling pages. We see the benevolent hero of one age or country labouring to set up a system of charity which the good man of another period or nation labours as earnestly to explode. We see human misery diminishing on one side of the globe; we look on the other and find it increased by the very effort which had here diminished it. We hear a visionary boast of his own extraordinary success ;-we look at the foundation upon which he has built, and find it to be mere personal influence which a day may overthrow. We have reason to suspect much mixture of pride, selfishness, vanity and ambition, in the minds of many who are called charitable men. What then? Hasty and irritable natures turn away in disgust, the indolent and indifferent congratulate themselves on their neutrality, and party-men, with a far worse spirit, rejoice in the weaknesses of those to whom they are opposed. But the Christian, who has patiently studied his own heart and the hearts of others, and would fain obey the sacred precept to which we before referred, strives against these feelings. He will never trumpet forth his accusations, as if it were a pleasant thing to prove how frail and mistaken human goodness often is. He will do it “not loudly, nor elate ;"'he will respect all he can respect, love all that duty allows him to love. He will carefully endeavour to shew that good feeling as well as good sense is on his side of the question, and he will never leave it in doubt whether or no he have a soul capable of appreciating the value of those charitable impulses whose misdirection he laments. He will strive to fill the void which he has made, and when he blocks up one channel through which the stream of human kindness has been accustomed to flow, he will, if possible, open another, that there may be no stagnation of the benevolent affections.

It should be said, too, on the other hand, that Christian charity ought ever to court strict and severe inquiry. He is no true friend to his fellow-creatures who will not allow his plans to be looked into, who is not thankful to foes as well as friends when they point out the “spots in his feasts of charity.” If vice need rebuke, so also does defective and mistaken virtue; and the more, because here a fortress of self-complacency has to be beaten down before we can get at the subject of complaint. Nothing can be more mistaken than the kindness of those who would let humane errors escape without animadversion. “He is so good a man, would you doubt him”” is the language of many tongues, and the thought of many hearts, respecting a projector of known benevolence and moral worth. To this we would answer : “ Is he really so benevolent? Then he will thank us for any labour we may bestow in proving and trying his chances of usefulness; he cannot be so ignorant of the history of human charity as not to know that many miseries have arisen out of kind intentions to do good. If he be really desirous of

« ПредишнаНапред »