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lord. “ The wages of sin ” were “ death ;” a curse indeed ; since it made him like the beasts that perish in this world, at the same time that it could not deliver the immortal spirit from the eternal wrath of its offended Maker.
I think, too, the expression used in the sentence pronounced on the serpent, “ Dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life," intimates only a limited existence; unless we suppose, which we have no warrant to do, that when Adam was told, “ In the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die,” it meant also that inferior animals should become subject to death with him, though they were not capable of sinning. Would not the use of this expression, previous to the pronouncing the sentence of Adam and Eve, almost, if not quite, amount to a proof that animals were always mortal? It is true the expression is afterwards used in Adam's sentence, but he distinctly knew, from the first prohibition, that the moment he had sinned the curse of death had passed upon him ; probably too he would immediately feel the new, strange workings of mortality within him.
I have only one further remark to offer. As the ground was cursed for man's sake, I can imagine that in consequence some change may have passed upon the inferior animals, in the course of time, making them more liable to suffer, and more acutely sensible of pain,
J. A. W.
ON THE MOSAIC ACCOUNT OF THE CREATION.
To the Editor of the Christian Observer. I do not think that geologists will have fully reconciled the facts and discoveries of their science regarding the great antiquity of the earth, with the statements of the first chapter of Genesis, till they come to the conclusion that this chapter was not intended to make us acquainted with the original creation of the world out of nothing by the word of the Almighty, (a truth, however, which we gather from other and numerous passages in the Bible,) but with the manner and time of the restoration of the present state of things from a former chaos, (with which, as we have no concern, it was not necessary for revelation to make us acquainted,) and the creation of man, and of the existing races of plants and animals. In this view the first verse may be regarded as the heading or summary of what is afterwards more fully and minutely described : “In the beginning (of the present state of things) God created the heavens (the atmosphere) and the earth. And (when he began to operate upon it) the earth was without form, and void, &c."
I begin to be persuaded that geologists and others are led into error from endeavouring to make the first chapter in the Bible refer to what it was not intended to refer to; but upon the above interpretation all is explicable and consistent. It seems almost as vain to deny the fact which the infidel will bring forward, that the earth is much older than the creation of man, as it is to deny that the sun stands still, and that the earth moves round it. What we are required to do, as believers in Divine revelation, is to show, that the original fairly admits of an interpretation which will reconcile all apparent contradictions between the word and the works of God; and it is for the infidel to prove, if he can, that such interpretations are inadmis.
sible, before he can with reason assert that the facts he brings forward militate against the truth of the Bible. We are sure there could be no contradictions, if the word of God were freed from all the errors of human interpretation. Living, as I do, in the midst of a country abounding in opportunities of geological observation, I have been long perplexed by the subject; but I can see no reason now why I may not rest in the conclusion at which I have arrived.
ON THE SUMMARY OF CONTENTS OF PSALM CXLIX; WITH REMARKS ON THE VARIATIONS IN THE PRINTING OF
To the Editor of the Christian Observer. I OBSERVE in the summary of the contents of Psalm cxlix. in Bishop Mant's and Dr. D'Oyly's Family Bible, the following words : “ The prophet exhorteth to praise God......for that power which he hath given to the church to rule over the consciences of men." Upon turning to several editions of the Bible, as well those issued by the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, as others, I find that the summary stops at the word “ church,” nothing being said of ruling the consciences of men. I beg leave to ask whether the doctrine is sound; whether it is contained in the psalm ; and whether the Christian Knowledge Society ought to proffer it?
AN OLD MEMBER.
“An old Member" should know that, whether the doctrine be sound or not, the Christian Knowledge Society and its commentators are not responsible for it. The advertisement to the Family Bible states as follows:-“The marginal references printed in this edition of the Bible, are the same which were originally furnished by the framers of the authorised version. Other marginal references have been added in later times, and have been inserted in many editions of the Bible; but it has been deemed expedient to omit them in this edition, inasmuch as they do not rest on the same authority as the references of the translators. Also, the summaries of the contents of each chapter, and the marginal readings and explanations, are those of the authorised translators.” The summary of Psalm cxlix. is given correctly by Bishop Mant and Dr. D'Oyly as it stands in the edition of 1611; and it is only recently, and we know not by whose direction, that the passage has been altered at the authorised presses. Dr. Henderson, Dr. Bennett, Mr. Curtis, Dr. Pye Smith, Dr. Cox, and the other members of the Islington committee, severely blamed the Universities for having departed from the original edition, by marking italics many words which the translators had printed in the ordinary character; and declared that these italic additions “ discover a great want of critical taste," and “greatly deteriorate the translation.” We should suppose, therefore, that Bishop Mant and Dr. D'Oyly would be in high favour for adhering to the old summaries and marginal readings, references, and explanations. If they had also kept to the old italics (we use the word italics to avoid circumlocution, the typographical distinction in the black letter not being Italic but Roman), their Bible would have been useful for collation; to furnish materials for which, the University of Oxford has published a reprint of the edition of 1611. We do not see any good reason for following in part the old and in part the new; hy which blending we have neither the Bible of the translators, nor the Bible of the modern authorised presses, but a Christian Knowledge Society Bible, which is neither. If it was “ deemed expedient” to go back to the old summaries, and marginal readings, references, and explanations, because the new ones “added in later times do not rest on the same authority as the references of the translators," there was precisely the same reason for omitting the modern alterations in the italics. The matter was not, perhaps, so fully considered in all its bearings when the Family Bible was compiled, as it would have been at the present time; nor are we aware that it has ever been alluded to.
As the case now stands, the great majority of the readers of the Society's Bible, overlooking the advertisment, take for granted that the book, with the exception of the matters professedly added by Bishop Mant and Dr. D'Oyly, is identical with the copies printed at the authorised presses, and circulated by the Society; so that even “An Old Member” finds himself puzzled when he observes a discrepancy. On the other hand, most of those who read the advertisement probably imagine they have precisely “what was furnished by the framers of the authorised version ;" for not one person in many would observe that though mention is made of summaries of chapters, and marginal readings, references, and explanations, the word “ Italics” is omitted ; and as the advertisement adds, that “The unlearned reader may find it useful to be informed, that wherever words occur in the text of the English Bible printed in the Italic character, he is to understand that these words have none corresponding to them in the original Hebrew or Greek text, but that the sense is implied, and that the words are added in the English, to complete or make clearer the sense;" it is probable that the “unlearned reader," and the learned also, will hastily conclude that the Christian Knowledge editors, having just rejected the other modern alterations, on the ground that they do not rest upon the authority of the translators, follow the same course in regard to the italics. By not doing so, they lead the reader to consider, as not in the “ Hebrew or Greek text,” much that is not typographically excluded in the edition of 1611, though excluded in the modern editions.
The present question is not whether the text of 1611, or that of the modern editions, is preferable. On this point we have often expressed our opinion ; and we do not know that there are now two opinions upon the subject; for, after the investigations which occurred, even the Islington committee dropped its recommendation to go back to the exemplar of 1611. The obvious fact is, that the translators did not furnish a standard edition of their Bible; so that in the matter of the italics, alterations were made from time to time ; and the present additions to the number are, for the most part, only the applications of their own principles and precedents in places which appear to have escaped their notice in preparing the manuscript or correcting the press. It was impossible, in a first edition, to reduce the work to the uniformity which was desirable, and which was in a good measure attained by subsequent corrections. We do not say that the alterations, particularly the sweeping ones of Dr. Blayney, were authorised—or that all of them are improvements; though it seems to have been generally overlooked, that the chief of them were made long before Dr. Blayney's revision; and, especially, that the most material additions to the italics may be traced back to a carefully revised Cambridge edition in 1638, the very period when Archbishop Laud was at the height of his power, which he employed with great zeal to secure correctness in the printing of the Bible and Prayer-book.
We are not then blaming the Christian Knowledge editors for following the modern exemplars in regard to the italic readings; but we think that they should have been consistent, by adopting either the modern book as a whole, or the
translators' edition as a whole, instead of putting forth an unauthorised tertium quid. It is proper however to add, that it is purely a question of judgment, not of controversy. It so happens that the old summary of Psalm cxlix. conveys a statement which is left out in the modern; but we are not aware that one set of the summaries, taken as a whole, favours particular opinions more than the other. The same remark applies to the italics; for we have no reason to think that the one set has some particular bias, any more than the other ; though insulated passages may be found which bear different aspects according to the italic notifications. Thus the placing in italics the words “ in Hebrews x. 38, (“ The just shall live by faith ; but if uny man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him,") as is done in the modern editions and in Mant and D'Oyly, shows that this nominative case is not in the original, and refers the reader to the words “the just," as the true nominative case, though in the edition of 1611 they appear as a portion of the inspired text; perhaps because the translators thought it could not be meant that “the just " could draw back. We doubt whether they ought to have been inserted at all; but, if inserted, they ought at least to have been italicised. This passage evinces the importance of the italics; but it would be quite as preposterous to suppose that the Christian Knowledge editors preferred the modern italic readings for the sake of this particular instance, as that they preferred the summaries of 1611 for the sake of that prefixed to Psalm cxlix. They most likely never noticed the one instance or the other; and if they did, passages might probably be found in which the balance inclined the other way. We say this, lest, in expressing our opinion that they should have kept to the one exemplar or the other, we may seem to imply that there was some controversial reason for not doing so.
ON THE UNITY OF DESIGN IN GOD'S PROVIDENTIAL
To the Editor of the Christian Observer. It must, I think, meet the belief of all who have received their reli. gious ideas from the Scriptures—though opposed to a too common opinion, that what is called natural religion cannot with truth or propriety be considered as the foundation of revealed, since man was no sooner created than God disclosed himself to him ; also that unity of design is a characteristic of the scheme, or of the will of God made known to man by revelation : and that the prosecution of one Divine plan appears by the Scripture history of God's dealings with man to direct the ways of Providence from the beginning to the end of time. The Old Testament cannot then be contrary to the New, nor the New to the Old. Yet there are some who seem inclined to set aside the Old, or at least such parts of it as appear not to agree with certain pretended philosophical ideas which they have thought fit to adopt as a rule by which to judge even of the ways of God: and thus they invent a system of Christianity independent of, or perhaps contrary to, what is recorded in the Old Testament of the conduct of the Creator towards his creatures. I propose to bring together, from the inspired word, a series of concatenated facts, which show the unity of design in the Providential government of God; and the objects to which the whole economy is directed ; and how wonderfully, amidst multiplied apparent frustrations, the great work has been constantly advancing. Christ. OBSERV. No. 19.
God, in his great goodness, created Adam to be the parent of the human race, the father of a people who should be the people of God, and who should, upon this globe, enjoy all the happiness to be conceived, under the government of their all-wise, their all-bountiful Creator, by submitting with a willing mind to his authority, as an obedient people to their king, as respectful and affectionate children to the most excellent of fathers. Man no sooner existed than God revealed himself to him as his Maker and his Lord. He took (if I may so say) possession of Adam, and in him of all his posterity. He first showed himself sovereign Lord of all by giving him power and dominion over the fish of the sea, the fowls of the air, the cattle, and every thing that moveth upon the earth. He then gave him a law, to which his obedience was required, as to the commands of the only master to whom obedience was due ; on the observation of which law was to depend his life and happiness, and that of his posterity. Placed in the most delightful situation, provided and embellished for him by his heavenly Father, blessings innumerable surrounded him, of which he was permitted the ample enjoyment. “ Of every tree of the garden thou mayst freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat.” But if--misusing the liberty with which he was endued, to enable him to prove his fidelity, love, and gratitude to his Creator, by a willing obedience to his authority, in order to become the father of a happy and obedient people, over whom Jehovah might reign, to diffuse continual blessings-he should rebel and disobey, “ in the day,” said the Almighty, “ that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” Rebellious thyself, thou wilt become the parent of a disobedient race, born in a state of rebellion, and as such excluded from all the privileges of a loyal and obedient people.
He did disobey; and having thus forfeited his title to life and happiness, was driven from the blissful scene where his munificent Creator had placed him, and, with his posterity, was condemned to cultivate an unblessed ground, and to eat his bread in the sweat of his brow, till by death he should return to the earth from which he was taken. But our merciful Father even in punishment remembered mercy. By creating man and revealing himself to him, He had manifested his design, that this globe should be peopled with inhabitants over whom He might reign, and who, by a free and willing submission, should, with filial love and confidence, revere his wisdom, acknowledge his authority, celebrate his goodness, and obey his commands. And his will shall not have been manifested in vain ; his design shall be accomplished: He hath said it, and shall it not come to pass ? Even in the sentence pronounced against fallen man, God graciously intimated hope, by the promise that the seed of the woman should bruise the head of the serpent; that is, should finally overcome Satan, the adversary of God and of the human race.
Man, in his fallen and degraded state, was not, however, totally abandoned by his Maker, nor exeluded from all Divine communication; notwithstanding which, as mankind multiplied, disobedience and wickedness creased, so that “the earth became filled with violence, and all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth ;" insomuch that to put a stop to such depravity, God determined to destroy both man and beast from off it. But the purposes of Him who is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever, are immutable, and cannot be frustrated.