Imágenes de páginas

briefly to preferve fome traits of his genealogy, which the inquifitive reader may depend upon to be as follow.

Mr. John Newton, the father of Sir Ifaac, had a paternal eftate in Woolfthorpe and the neighbourhood, of about fifty pounds a year. He was a wild, extravagant, and weak man, but married a woman of good fortune, His wife's name was Ayscough, whofe father lived in Woolfthorpe likewife, and was lord of that manor. The faid manor with fome other property, defcended to Sir Ifaac, upon the death of his grandfather, Ayfcough. Sir Ifaac made fome trifling purchases himself; and his whole eftate in that neighbourhood, amounted at the time of his death to about 105 1. per annum, which fell to the share of his fecond coufin, Robert Newton; who being diffolute and illiterate, foon diffipated his eftate in extravagance, dying about the 30th year of his age in 1737, at Colterfworth, by a tobaccopipe breaking in his throat, in a fall, occafioned by ebriety.

The father of the above Robert, was John Newton, a carpenter, afterwards game-keeper to Sir Ifaac, and died at the age of fixty, in 1725. In the Rolls or Records, that are fometimes read at the Court-Leets in Grantham, mention is made of the above Ayscough, who is ftiled Gentleman, and Guardian and Trustee to Ifaac Newton under age.

It is very certain that Sir Ifaac had no full brothers or fifters ; but his mother, by her fecond marriage with Mr. Smith, the Rector of North-Witham, a parish adjoining to Coltersworth, had a fon and two or three daughters-which iffue, female, afterwards branching by marriages with perfons of the names of Barton and Conduit, families of property, and refpectable character, partook with the Smiths of Sir Ifaac's perfonal effects, which were very confiderable.


Sir Ifaac, when a boy, was fometimes employed in fervile offices, even to an attendance on the fervant to open gates in carrying corn to Grantham market, and watching the sheep; in which laft occupation, tradition fays, that a gentleman found him, near Woolfthorpe, looking into a book of the mathematical kind, and afking fome questions, perceived fuch dawnings of genius, as induced him to follicit the mother to give her fon an univerfity education, promifing to affift in the youth's maintenance at college if there was occafion. But whether that neceffity took place, is a point I have not been able to determine.

He lived a bachelor, and died in his 85th year, having, as a relation informed me, who quoted the authority of Sir Ifaac's own confeffion, never violated the laws of chastity.'

This Poem, though not finely finished, contains many good lines; and we recommend it to our Readers, as well to gratify their curiofity as their benevolence.


ART. VIII. Critical Remarks on the Books of Job, Proverbs, Pfalms, Ecclefiaftes, and Canticles. By. D. Durell, D.D. Principal of Hertford College, and Prebendary of Canterbury. 4to. 8s. fewed. Oxford, printed at the Clarendon Prefs. Sold by Cadell in London. 1772.

REAT caution and exactnefs are requifite in a critical

G examination of the Hebrew fcriptures. A fmall variation

in a word or phrafe in that ancient language, as in all others, will make a very confiderable alteration in the sense, and confequently much opportunity is afforded for fancy and conjecture. Dr. Durell appears to us to have paid a just atten tion to this point, in the collection of criticisms which he now offers to the public. As the books here examined are all in metre, fome difficulties arife from that circumftance, befide which, he properly obferves, many great obfcurities in them owe their being to enigmatical and proverbial expreffions, or to allufions to local ufages and popular fentiments. In proof of this, he proposes to our confideration feveral inftances collected from different parts of the book of Job. But the chief perplexities, fays this Author, are derived, I am perfuaded, from the hafte and ignorance of tranfcribers, who have not given us true copies of the original text. To correct these errors, has been my chief aim; and I flatter nyfelf that not a few paffages will be found to be reftored to their primitive genuineness. To this end, a method is frequently purfued, which feems to carry with it the ftrongest conviction, viz. the investigation of the natural limits of each word and fentence. In confirmation of these new lections, it is added, I cannot alledge the authority of any MSS. for I have confulted none. That trouble I thought might be fpared, as Dr. Kennicott was preparing his collations. for the prefs:-befides, MSS. can, at moft, but give a better fense than that which is found in the text: but if that text, wherever it is erroneous, can be fo improved by a new combination of the very fame letters, without the leaft addition, transpofition, or alteration whatever, from which emerge ather words perfectly clear and confiftent; in that cafe, I fay, MSS. are not very effential; for we may rationally conclude that, without their affiftance, we have attained to the VERY TEXT.'

From the above quotation our Readers will form fome judgment of the plan upon which the prefent work proceeds. To which we fhould add, that, in determining the fignification of the words, he has made the English verfion now in use, the fandard, correcting it in thofe places in which he judged it to be faulty, or preferring fome of the other old English vertions, particularly that quarto edition of the Geneva tranflation,

I 4


printed by Barker in 1599. He allows that our common English verfion has confiderable merit, yet he acknowledges its errors and defects, and pleads for a new tranflation. In the mean time, fays he, hoping this very defirable period may not be far diftant, I have thought it my duty to lay before the public fome part of the materials which have lain by me for a confiderable time. My motive for fo doing is, that they may be duly weighed in the interval; in order, that if they meet with approbation, they may be ferviceable on that occafion, and that others, blefied with greater abilities and advantages, may hereby be induced to purfue the fame courfe.'


Dr. Durell proceeds to anfwer fome questions relative to a new tranflation. After concluding that we have, on fome accounts, advantages fuperior in the prefent day for this purpose, to what were enjoyed in the beginning of the laft age, he adds,

Is it pretended that the times will not bear a new version? I anfwer by another queftion. Is the temper of the people of thefe days totally different from that of their ancestors, at the diftance of fix generations? On the introduction of the prefent verfion into our churches in the year 1611, we read of no tumult, clamour, nor difcontent. The fame pacific difpofition prevailed in the reign of Q. Elizabeth, when more than one new tranflation received the royal fanction.The godly, the larned, the ingenuous, would doubtlefs rejoice; the gay, the thoughtless, the voluptuous, would ftill continue uninterefted and unaffected: but the caviller, the fceptic, and the deift, would hereby find the sharpest and most trusty arrows of their quiver blunted; and the illiterate vulgar, who always depart reluctantly from old inftitutions, would foon be reconciled; when, inftead of an invafion of their property, they experienced that the old debafed coin was only called in, in order that they might be repaid in new, of true fterling value.-The minds of the people cannot be hereby unfettled. All the leading articles of religion will remain undisturbed.-If there be any foundation for this plea, it feems to me (with due deference to government may I be understood to hint it) to be derived from the legislature itself; which, in its acts of perpetual duration, does not appear to allow fufficiently for the mutability of human affairs, or the changes incident to time: whereas were it enacted, that these acts should all be revifed at the diftance of half a century, many of the inconveniences complained of would no longer exift; and the almost facred veneration the people have for things, which not their merit, but antiquity alone, has confecrated, would gradually fubfide, and leave no traces in their minds.-But may not the eagerness for a reformation carry matters to too great a length? Innovations, it is confeffed, are often dangerous; and the spirit of zealots, the most uncontroulable of any other: but

in this cafe, the bounds would be clear and diftinct; and there would be no caufe to fear, when the commiffion exprefsly fet forth the limits of its extent, that cool and difcreet fubjects would overleap them. But, to give the argument its full fcope; Would the innovator herewith reft fatisfied? Would he not defire after this a revifal of the Liturgy, with the Thirtynine Articles; and proceed from ecclefiaftical, to civil, matters? Thefe are not neceffary, perhaps not probable, confequences; but allowing they were, What nobler object could the parlia ment, could the convocation, have under their contemplation, than the petitions of ferious and well-difpofed men; prefented, at proper intervals, with becoming humility; praying, not to be releafed (as in a late inftance) from the bands by which fociety is united, but that means might be devifed, the most efficacious for quieting their confcientious fcruples, and fetting them for ward in the way of religious improvement?'

As the fubject is interefting, we were defirous of laying before our Readers fome of this Writer's obfervations upon it. The reflection in the clofe of the last paragraph appears to be unkind and ungenerous, and moreover, is not, we apprehend, founded in truth: however, as it does not relate to the immediate fubject of his work, we fhall difmifs it without farther remarks, and proceed to make one other fhort extract from his preface:

I doubt not, fays he, but fome of my obfervations may have been anticipated by other critics, as many are fuffi ciently obvious: but, if that be the cafe, it is more than is come to my knowledge; for I have purpofely avoided having recourfe to fuch Authors, except perhaps in fome perplexing cafes, that my remarks might be my own. Such, however, as the public is already in poffeffion of, have doubtless no pretenfions to novelty: they have nevertheless the advantage of being fresh, independent, and unbiafled evidences in fupport of truth.

Some of this Writer's criticisms will, we doubt not, be acceptable to feveral of our Readers, we have therefore extracted the following:

Job, chap. xii. ver. 5. He that is ready to flip with his feet, is as a lamp defpifid in the thought of him that is at eafe. 1175

-is here con לפיד [לעשתות שאנן נכון למועדי רגר :

fidered as compounded of the preponition and a misfortune: I would therefore render literally thus-TO CALAMITY is CONTEMPT, IN THE THOUGHTS OF HIM THAT IS AT EASE, PREPARED FOR THE SLIPPING FOOT; which may be thus paraphrafed" Calamity generally meets with contempt from the profperous man, whose self-conceit makes him ready to attribute the misfortunes of others to want of prudence or conduct." This was exactly Job's cafe with his friends.'


When this Critic fays in the above quotation, is here confidered as compounded, &c. he muft mean in his tranflation, and not in our common English verfion, fince that plainly regards it as an uncompounded word, fignifying a lamp, a utenfil very serviceable and neceffary in the Eaftern countries, and upon fome occafions much adorned: as an extinguished, worn out, useless lamp, was defpicable, and difregarded, it might be no improper image by which to represent the neglect, or contempt, with which too frequently the rich and profperous are disposed to observe the unfortunate. It is remarkable that two tranflations, fo different as this of our Author's and that in our common Bibles, fhould convey a fentiment, in effect, fo much correfponding with each other. It appears highly probable that Dr. Durell's is the true account of this paffage. In Taylor's Hebrew Concordance, under the above-mentioned word, we find the fame criticifm, with this farther illuftration of the paffage," as if he had faid; To calamity is added contempt in the thought of him that is at eafe: a cutting Stroke to thofe that flip with the foot! or that are fallen into distress:' and we are also referred to Schultens upon the place.

Chap. xviii. ver. 11.-and fhall arive him to his feet. Rather-AND SHALL DASH HIM TO PIECES IN HIS GOINGS; i. e. fhall bring him to deftruction when he falls into the fnare. Or thus,-AND SHALL SCATTER HIM (according to the fenfe of this word in the margin of our version) IN HIS GOINGS; i. e. fhall drive him from place to place, till at length he fall into the toils of his enemies. See and .Sis ufed precifely in this fenfe, Gen. xxxiii. 14, where, in the margin, we read according to the foot: but it ought to be rendered GOINGS there as well as here.'


In regard to the celebrated paffage of this book, chap. xix. 25, &c. I know that my Redeemer liveth. &c. this Author explains it, with many others, of a temporal deliverance; but his criticifms upon it are too long for us to infert: we shall therefore only give fome of his general remarks:

As for the interpretation, he fays, which converts the paffage into a prophecy of the refurrection of the body, befides that it implies a degree of light ill correfponding with the times in which either Job is fuppofed to have lived, or this book to have been written; it requires fuch interpolation of new words, and forced conftruction of thofe found in the text, that I am fully perfuaded, with the allowance of fuch liberties, an ingenious conjecturer may make almost any text in fcripture depose in favour of this or of any other doctrine. The best commentators have therefore juftly exploded it. Nor let it be imagined that we are undermining the foundations of our faith, by withdrawing a fupport that does not belong to it. It remains firmly fixed on the basis of truth, which cannot be moved, and wants no affiftance from falfehood and error. But neither are


« AnteriorContinuar »