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looked upon as fufficient Reafons to forbid Chriftians to read the Holy Scriptures. In a Word, the Church has not only exhorted all Believers to read them, but told them, by the Mouths of the holy Fathers, that it is the Devil, who diverts Chriftians from fo doing. It has reproved and blamed those who neglected it, and declared that the Ignorance of the Holy Scriptures, is one of the chief Causes of all our Miferies; that from thence, as from an unhappy Spring, had proceeded innumerable Disorders; that thence came fuch a swarm of Herefies, fuch Depravation of Manners, fuch a Multitude of ufelefs Labours, and vain Employments, in which Chriftians engaged themselves.
Happy thrice happy! hath our English Nation been, fince God hath given it learned Tranflators, to exprefs in our Mother Tongue the Heavenly Mysteries of his holy Word, delivered to his Church in the Hebrew and Greek Languages; who although they may have in fome Matters of no Importance unto Salvation, as Men, been deceived and mistaken, yet have they faithfully delivered the whole. Subftance of the Heavenly Doctrine, contained in the Holy Scriptures, without any Heretical Tranflations, or wilful Corruptions. With what Reverence, Joy, and Gladness then ought we to receive this Bleffing! Let us read the Scriptures with an humble, modeft, and teachable Difpofition, with a Willingness to embrace all Truths which are plainly delivered there, how contrary foever to our own Opinions and Prejudices; and in Matters of Difficulty readily hearken to the Judgment of our Teachers, and those that are fet over us in the Lord; check every prefumptuous Thought or Reasoning which exalts itself against any of those Myfterious Truths therein revealed. And if we thus fearch after the Truth in the Love of it, we shall not mifs of finding that Knowledge, which will make us wife unto Salvation.
READING OF THE HOLY SCRIPTURES.
THE authors of this incomparable Verfion and learned Commentary having given a particular account, at the end of the Introduction, of each branch of their work, the tranflator has thought fit to prefix, by way of preface, the fubftance of what is there faid, that the reader may beforehand have a juft notion of the nature of the whole undertaking.
It having been reprefented to the late king of Pruffia, that the French Verfions of the holy fcriptures being, by length of time, become obfolete and unintelligible, it was neceffary either to make a new translation, or revife the old ones; he was pleased to caft his eyes on Meffieurs De Beaufobre and Lenfant, as the propereft perfons to do the publick that important piece of fervice. Accordingly they jointly fet about this work, by the king's exprefs order, and after fome years compleated the whole, confifting of the following parts; An Introductory Difcourfe to the Reading of the Scriptures; An Abstract or Harmony of the Gospel Hiftory; A New Verfion of all the Books of the New Teftament; A literal Commentary on all the difficult Paffages, with a General Preface to all St. Paul's Epiftles, and a Critical Preface to each book in particular.
I. The INTRODUCTION.
HOUGH there is nothing in the Introduction but what divines are well acquainted with, yet it may not be difpleafing to them to fee fo many particulars alluded to in the fcriptures, and difperfed up and down in the works of the learned, brought together and handled in one treatife. It was chiefly intended for ludents in divi nity, who have not the opportunity, or perhaps the ability, of coming at thofe voluminous works that treat of the many curious as well as neceffary points here difcuffed. In the first part you have a clear account of all the Jewish matters as far as is requifite for the understanding the fcriptures. The civil and religious ftate of the Jews: The Samaritans : ceremonies: The temple facrifices: fynagogues: high priest, and others; courts of juftice, particularly the Sanhedrim: prophets and ferites, Jewish fects, Pharifees, Sadduces, Effenes: Projelytes of the gate, and Profelytes of righteousness: years, months, days, and hours of the Jews: fafts and feafts, particularly the Jewish fabbath, &c. In the fecond part, which relates more especially to the New Teftament, you have the proofs of the truth of the Chriftian religion: The nature of the New Testament ftyle: The chronology, and geography of the New Tefiament: The Hebrew money, weights, and meafures: The various readings: The divifion into chapters and verfes: The berefies in the days of the Apostles: The verfions of the New Teftament, ancient and modern, to which will be added an account of our English ones, &c.
II. The Abstract or Harmony of the GOSPEL HISTORY.
As for the evangelical and apoftolical Harmony, 1. It contains the hiftory of the actions of Jefus Chrift and the Apostles in their true order of time, which the Evangelifts did not fo much regard, as not conducing to their principal defign of proving Jefus to be the Meffiah from his detrines and miracles. 2. It fhews what is common to all the Evangelis, and what is particular to each of them. 3. It paraphrafes or explains in other words the original text, which otherwife would require notes. 4. It clears up many things which could not fo well be treated of in the Commentary. 5. It may ferve alio for a table of the principal
III. The VERSION.
When our authors were ordered by the king of Prussia to undertake this work, they confulted whether they fhould revife the old verfions, or make an entire new one. But when they confidered that a new tranf lation would coft them no inore time and pains than the revifing an old one, and that it was impoffible to revile an old version, fo as to make it all of a piece; they refolved upon the former, well knowing that the
best way to make an ancient misshapen elifice regular and uniform, is to pull it down, and build it all anew.
As the most approved versions are those, that adhere not too close to the letter, nor deviate too far from it, our authors profels to have kept between both. Indeed they have often, out of a regard to the facred text, and a deference to the opinion of the generality of the world, not taken the liberty neceffary to an exact and perfect tranflation. But left the liberties they have fometimes taken, may not be relished by thofe, who have not fufficiently attended to the rules of a good tranflation, they thought proper to make the following remarks upon that fubjea.
1. In the first place it must be obferved, that in tranflating we are not to render word for word, but fenfe for fenfe, and that the moft literal verfions are not always the most faithful. There is a great deal of difference between the letter and the literal fenfe. The letter is the word explained according to its etymology. The literal fenfe is the meaning of the author, which is frequently quite different from the grammatical fignification of the words. The defign of a verfion is not to explain the words of a book, that is the office of a grammarian, the intent of a tranflator ought to be to exprefs the thoughts. Thus a man may be a good grammarian, and at the fame time. wretched tranflator.
2. Nothing is more common than for the fame words, in the mouths of different nations, to have different fignifications. In this cafe to confult your dictionary would be a certain means to put you wrong as to the literal fenfe of an author. For inftance, were we to render the Greek word fcandalizein by the English word to fcandalize, we fhould be far from expreffing the meaning of the facred penmen. For fcandalizein, in Greek, fignifies to lay a fnare, to put an obstacle in the way, to dishearten, to caufe to waver and fall, &c. Whereas in English, to fcandalize, is properly to speak ill of a perton, to defame, and the like.
3. It often happens that one author uses a word in a different sense from that of another. Of this, to justify and juftification are inftances. In English to justify a perfon, is, to speak in his defence, to clear him from what he is accused of; whereas in the fcripture language, to justify, is an act of God's mercy, whereby pardoning our fins, in confideration of our faith and repentance, he declares us juft or righteous, and treats us as fuch, for the fake of Jefus Chrift. There are abundance of words of the like nature; the faced writers of the New Teftament forming their Style upon the Hebrew and Septuagint verfion, often give a particular meaning to the Greek words. If therefore we were to render fuch words by their moft ufual fignification, we should indeed render them according to the letter, but at the fame time we fhould be far from expreffing the ineas annexed to them by the author. The fame writer alfo very often ufes the fame word in different fenfes, not only in different places, but fometimes in the fame fentence. If we were to render them always by the fame word, on pretence of being faithful and exact, we should on the contrary, exprefs ourselves in a very improper and frequently in an unintelligible manner. The Greek word, for example, that fignifies faith
is made ufe of by St. Paul in very different fenfes; fometimes he means by it the being perfuaded of a thing t, fometimes truft or reliance 1, and fometimes the object of faith §, that is, the gospel. As these are very diftinct ideas, the rules of a good tranflation require, that in each place we give the word faith the meaning which is agreeable to the
4. It is well known, that in Hebrew, upon which the Greek of the New Teflament is formed, there are certain expletives, or fuperfluous particles, which in that tongue may poffibly have their graces, or at least may not be fo difagreeable as in ours. Such is the conjunctive copulative, kai, and, which commonly in the New Teftament inftead of connecting begins the difcourfe. Hence it is that we meet with fuch multitudes of ands, without any meaning at all, and which in the living languages found very odd. Of the fame nature is the adverb behold or lo. It often has its meaning and emphafts, but for the most part it is a mere Hebraifm without any particular fignification.
5. As for the other particles, for, but, as, now, then, &c. the criticks have very well obferved, that they have not determinate fignifications, and therefore it would be very wrong to render them always in the fame manner. In fixing their fenfe the context and connection of the difcourfe inuft be our guide.. Thefe feveral meanings of the fame particle are owing to the Hebrew, where the particles vary extremely in their fignification; but the fame thing is to be met with in both Greek and Latin authors.
6. As feveral may think it ftrange that in this verfion thou and thee are changed into You, it will be proper to remove their fcruples, which can proceed only from their being ufed and accustomed to the contrary. But fuch fhould confider, That no prefeription ought to be pleaded against reafon, and that to speak in a barbarous style in a polite age and language, is highly unreasonable. Thofe, who object against this, either forget or do not know that the Hebrew, Greek, and Latin tongues having no you in the fingular number, it was impoffible for the facred penmen to speak otherwife. The pretended dignity of THEE and THOU in the gpels, is to be met with in all the difcourfes and books of thofe times, because they could not talk to one another in any other manner. But now-a-days that you is made ufe of in the fingular number, when we would fpeak handfamely, and that to fay THOU is extremely rude and uncivil, or a fign of great familiarity, or of the meaneft dependance, there can be no reafon of admitting this indecent manner of expreffion in the verfion of the New Tefiament. What can be more grating than to hear the difciples calling their Lord, thou, and thee, and our Saviour talking to the Apoitics as to the meaneft of fervants?
It is not the fame thing when we addrefs ourselves to God, as when men are talking to one another. God is infinitely above the little rules of our breeding and civility, and as the addreifes of the faithful to this Supreme Being are of a jupernatural order, it is proper their language
Heb xviii. &c.
Rom. iv. 14.
+ Rom. xiv. 23.