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fountain, has infected more or less all the writings of the New Testament. I might observe further, that there are some words in the original by no means synonymous, which have been almost uniformly rendered by the same term-partly perhaps through not adverting sufficiently to some of the nicer differences of signification, partly through a desire of avoiding as much as possible in the translation, whatever might look like comment or paraphrase. Of this I shall have occasion to take notice afterward.
5. The third class above-mentioned is of those words in the language of every nation, which are not capable of being translated into that of any people who have not a perfect conformity with them in those customs which have given rise to those words. Such are the names of weights, measures, and coins, which are for the most part different in different countries. There is no way that a translator can properly take in such cases, but to retain the original term, and give the explanation in the margin. This is the way which has actually been taken, perhaps in all the translations of the Old Testament. To substitute for the original term a definition or circumlocution, if the word frequently occur, would encumber the style with an offensive multiplicity of words and awkward repetitions, and thereby destroy at once its simplicity, vivacity, and even perspicuity. In this class we must also rank the names of the particular rites, garments, modes, exercises, or diversions, to which there is nothing similar among those into whose language the version is to be made. Of this class there are several words retained in the common English translation ; some of which, by reason of their frequency, have been long since naturalized amongst us; as synagogue, sabbath, jubilee, purim, ephod, homer, ephah, shekel, gerah, teraphim, urim and thummim, phylacteries, cherubim, seraphim, and a few others.
Beside these, often the names of offices, judicatories, sects, parties, and the like, scarcely admit of being transferred into a version in any other manner. It must be owned, however, that in regard to some of these, especially offices, it is a matter of greater nicety than is commonly imagined, to determine when the name ought to be rendered in the translation by a term imperfectly corresponding, and when it ought to be retained. What makes the chief difficulty here is, that there are offices in every State, and in
every constitution, which are analogous to those of other States and constitutions in many material circumstances, though they differ in many others. It is not always easy to say, whether the resemblances or the peculiarities preponderate : If the former, the word ought to be transla
if the latter, it ought to be retained. The inconveniency of an excess in the first way is, that it may lead the reader into mistakes; that of an excess in the second is, that it occasions obscurity,
and, by the too frequent interspersion of uncouth and foreign words, gives the appearance of barbarism to a version.
It may be said, however, in general, that the latter is the safer error of the two. Not only does the speciality of the case afford a sufficient apology for the use of such words; but if either the dignity of the nation, which is the subject, or our connexion with the people, or interest in their history, shall familiarize us to their institutions and customs, the barbarism of the terms will vanish of course. Who considers now these names of Roman magistracies, consul, praetor, edile, censor, questor, dictator, tribune, as barbarous? Yet they are not the names of offices amongst us correspondent or similar to those among the Romans. To have employed instead of them, mayor, alderman, sheriff, etc. we should have justly thought much more exceptionable. I have heard of a Dutch translator of Caesar's Commentaries, who always rendered consul burgomaster, and, in the same taste, the names of all the other officers and magistrates of Rome. A version of this kind would appear to us ridiculous.
6. It is almost unnecessary to observe, that the two last are the only classes of words wherein the student will find any thing that can greatly puzzle him. A mere school-boy, with the help of his grammar and lexicon, may acquire all that is requisite for the just interpretation of the words of the first class. Those of the third, it is manifest, are not to be understood by us without a previous knowledge of the religious and political constitutions of the country, together with their ceremonies and usages; and those of the second, which is the matter of the greatest delicacy of all, cannot be thoroughly apprehended without an acquaintance with the national character; that is, the prevalent cast of mind, manners, and sentiments of the people. So much is necessary in order to be master of the language of any country; and of so much importance it is, in order clearly to comprehend the style of Scripture, to be well acquainted with whatever concerns the Jewish nation.
THE ORIGIN OF THE CHANGES IN THE IDIOM OF THE JEWS.
It is true, that, as the New Testament is written in Greek, it must be of consequence that we be able to enter critically into the ordinary import of the words of that tongue, by being familiarized to the genius and character of those who spoke it. But from what has been observed it is evident, that though, in several cases, this knowledge may be eminently useful, it will not suffice; nay, in
many cases it will be of little or no significancy. Those words, in particular, which have been in most familiar use with the old interpreters, and have been current in the explanations given in the Hellenistical synagogues and schools, have with their naturalization among the Israelites, acquired in the Jewish use, if I may be allowed the expression, an infusion of the national spirit. Though the words therefore are Greek, Jewish erudition is of more service than Grecian, for bringing us to the true acceptation of them in the sacred writings. Would you know the full import of the words ayaaguós, for example, and dixalocúvn in the New Testament? it will be in vain to rummage the classics. Turn to the pages of the Old Testament. It will avail little to recur to the Greek roots öylos and dixn. Examine the extent given to the signification of the Hebrew roots 277. kadash, and P7x tzadak, which have given occasion to the introduction of those Greek terms into the translation of the Seventy.
2. Classical use, both in Greek and in Latin, is not only in this study sometimes unavailable, but may even mislead. The sacred use and the classical are often very different. We know the import of the word sanctitas in the Vulgate and in ecclesiastical writers, and that it answers exactly enough to our own word sanctity, derived from it. Yet from Cicero's account it is plain, that, in modern European tongues, we have no word corresponding to it in its primitive and classical use. “ Æquitas," says he,“ tripartita dicitur esse.
Una ad superos deos, altera ad manes, tertia ad homines pertinere ; prima pietas, secunda sanctitas, tertia justitia, nominatur.”* According to him, therefore, the Latin word sanctitas imports equity or suitable regards towards the infernal gods.
But in no instance does the classical sense of a word differ more from that which it has invariably in the sacred pages than in the term canelvós, which with the former is always expressive of a bad quality, with the latter of a good. With us it is a virtue, with them it was a vice. Nor can it be justly affirmed, that the word expressed the same disposition of mind with Pagans as with Jews and Christians, and that the only difference was in the opinion or judgment formed concerning this disposition; that the former looked upon it with a favorable eye, the latter with an unfavorable. For this is far from being the case. The quality of which it is expressive in classical use, is totally different from that which it expresses in the sacred writings. In the first it corresponded exactly to, and was commonly translated by the Latin humilis, which in profane authors always conveys a bad meaning, and denotes such a feeble, mean, and abject temper, as is the very reverse of that fortitude, that superiority to death, shame, and pain, which the law of Christ
so peremptorily exacts, and with which the faith of Christ so powerfülly inspires the genuine disciples. Tanervórns, the abstract, is comprised by Aristotle* under uempoy'uyia, pusillanimity; or, as explained by lexicographers, “animus demissus et abjectus ;” and contrasted to usyadowryia, magnanimity, “animi celsitudo.” And to evince that the Latin term in heathen authors has the same meaning with the Greek, I need no better authority than Cicero, who says, t " Succumbere doloribus, eosque humili animo imbecilloque ferre miserum est, ob eamque debilitatem animi, multi parentes, multi amicos, nonnulli patriam, plerique autem seipsos penitus perdiderunt.” To this he opposes,
• Robustus animus et excelsus, qui omni est liber cura et angore, cum et mortem contemnit,” &c. The temper of mind bere condemned by Cicero, every Christian will condemn as much as he; and the application of the term humilis to this temper is a demonstration, that with him the word was the sign of an idea very different from that of which it has since, in conformity to the style of the Italic translation, been made the sign by ecclesiastical authors.
We may observe by the way, that the English word humility, though borrowed directly from the Latin, conveys not the classical, but the scriptural sense of the word ταπεινότης Or ταπεινοφροσύνη, which Castalio, over-zealous for the Latinity of his style, never renders humilitas, but always modestia. This word modestia, however, does not express adequately the sense of the original. Modesty relates only to the opinion of men, humility relates also and principally to the unerring judgment of God; and includes such a combination of qualities, as no species of polythesim could give a foundation for. It implies, along with a modest self-diffidence, a sense of unworthiness in the sight of God, accompanied with a profound veneration of his perfections. Accordingly, piety, meekness, and modesty, make, if I may so express myself, the principal figures in the group. So far from involving any thing of that weak timidity and irresolution expressed in the passage quoted from the philosopher, as comprehended in the classical sense of the term humilis, it on the contrary implies, in every situation, a submission to the will of heaven, without repining or reserve, founded in a consciousness of one's own ignorance of what is best upon the whole, , and an unshaken confidence in the goodness, wisdom, and power of God, by whose providence all events are overruled.
This is one of those terms which, in the mouth of a Jew or a Christian, an idolater could not comprehend, till he had previously acquired some notion of the Biblical theology. To some people it may appear strange, that so much knowledge should be thought necessary for qualifying one to understand the words in current use
* Περί αρετών και κακιών.
f De Finibus, l. i.
in any language. But to those more deeply versed in these matters there will be nothing surprising in the remark. They will be sensible, that the modern names pedantry, gallantry, foppery, coquetry, prudery, and many others, could not be translated into any ancient language, otherwise than by circumlocutions. Montesquieu* observes of what is called honor in the monarchies of Europe, that it is unknown, and consequently unnamed in the despotisms of Asia; and that it would even be a matter of some difficulty to render the term, as understood by Europeans, intelligible to a Persian.
3. I should not have been so particular on the different acceptations of some words, as used by Jews and by Pagans, but in order to illustrate more effectually that important proposition, that Scripture will ever be found its own best interpreter; and to evince what was remarked before, that the manners and sentiments of a people, being closely connected with their constitution and customs, sacred and civil, have a powerful influence on the language, especially on those combinations of ideas which serve to denote the various phases (pardon the unusual application of the term) both of virtue and of vice, as displayed in the characters of individuals. For, though some traces of all the virtuous, and all the vicious qualities of which human nature is susceptible, will perhaps be found in every country, these qualities are greatly diversified in their appearance, inasmuch as they invariably receive a kind of signature or peculiar modification from the national character. One plain consequence of this doctrine has been already considered, namely, that there will be a diversity in the associated ideas classed under the appellatives, and consequently in the genius of the languages, wherever there is a diversiiy of character in the nations which use them.
4. I am now going to exemplify another consequence of this doctrine, which is, that the language of the same people will vary from itself, or to speak more properly, from what it was in a former period, when the people themselves undergo a material alteration from what they were, in any of the respects above mentioned. Indeed it is manifest, that if a nation should continue at the same precise degree of advancement in the sciences and arts both elegant and useful, should undergo no variation in their form of government, religion, and laws, and should have little or no intercourse with foreigners, their language and idiom would, in all essential characters, remain the same. These two, language and idiom, though often confounded, I have had occasion to discriminate before. The distinction deserves our attention the more, as some of the causes mentioned operate more upon the one, and others more upon the other; and as one of them may be even totally altered, whilst the other is retained. This was accordingly the case with the Jewish nation.
* L'Esprit des Loix, liv. iii. chap. 8. Lett. Pers. 88. VOL. I.