Imágenes de páginas

• If this be not admitted, nothing is left for me, but, out of honour to the inspired Writer, to bear my telimony againlt the abfurdity of the present reading.

• The 8th per. the learned Prelate renders thus in his late transla. tion :

“By an oppressive judgment he was taken off;
And his manner of life who would declare?
For he was cut off from the land of the living;

For the trangression of my people he was smitten to death." Upon reading this, I was so dull as not to comprehend the meaning of it, till I turned to the note. In this note I found quoted one of those cunningly devised fables, by which the Jews of old laboured to overturn the Golpel of Jesus. But the custom there mentioned is so utterly absurd, that I cannot believe there was ever such a custom. However, supposing there was, the learned Prelate's sense of the words cannot be true; because first, there was at least One, who was instead of a thousand other witnesses, that declared to the faces of the Jewish Sanhedrim, who accused Jesus as a malefactor, that his manner of life was innocent, I mean Pilate, his judge. I find, says he, no fault in bim; no, nor yet Herod, he might have added ; nor they themselves: for when the Sanhedrim arraigned Jesus, how many crimes did they charge him with ? Not one. When they suborned witnesses, how many ? Not one. At last, for want of a crime, they obliged him to accuse himself. And when, upon adjuration, he declared himself to be their Messiah, and that they should see him come in the clouds of heaven ; what did they reply: Did they prove him from their scripture to be an impostor: No : all they pretended was, that they were shocked at the blasphemy, hypocritically rended their garments, and, without pretending a crime, condemned him as wor. çhy of death. Thus was Jesus's manner of life so fully declared, that, if he was lsaiah's Messiah, this cannot be the sense of the words. Nor, secondly, will the word dor bear this sense. It is used more than a hundred times in the sense of generation, and so it is rendered here by all the ancient interpreters; and in no other sense, that I know of, except twice in the sense of dwelling. So that, if the usual sense of the word be most confiftent with the context, we must return to that, and render the period,

By an oppressive sentence he was taken off ;
And who can describe the wickedness of his generation ?
For by them was he cut off from the land of the living;

For the tranfgression of my people was he smitten unto death. ? But the greatest difficulty in this prophecy occurs in the next period. According to the prelent text, it is said that the Messiah, as a kind of compensation for his unmerited sufferings, should be buried with a rich man:

He Mall be with the rich man in his death bi
Because he had done no violence,

Neither was there any deceit in his mouth. But this was too absurd a thing for an inspired writer to say in this connection. The great Prelate, to avoid this absurdity, has divided the period differently, but in my judgment not so naturally. And then, to make a faulty text speak out to his purpose, he confiders a

preposition preposition as a radical, and out of the corrupted word makes bamokav, bis bigb places : and trandlates,

But with the rich man was his tomb. The truth is, this word is ased in more than a hundred places, but not once in the sense of a tomb. It fignifies a bill, and a high place; but there is no way of making it figoify a tomb, but by saying thac the Jewish tombs were frequently built on high places, and therefore the word must here signify a tomb. The Bisop is not fingular in his interpretation. There are other learned men who have interpreted in the same manner. But then those men lived in times of darkness, when it would have been heresy to say, that the Hebrew text was corrupted. But fince the collation of the Hebrew Manuscripts, we, regardless of the clamours of the bigoted, or of the displeasure of Superiors, dare say such a text is corrupted; it is too absurd to come from the pen of an inspired writer; the ancients found in the copy they trapdated a clear confiftent text, &c. And this is taking no other liberty than the great translator himself has taken with several texts in Isaiah, which he has by this means restored, to his eternal honour. Now may we not take the same liberty in this place? The LXX. translated before our Saviour's time, and from a copy as old, perhaps, as Isaiah (Oh, that we had but that translation as it came out of their hands!); and they gave us a plain consistent sense, consistent with the scope of the prophet and the dignity of the sufferer, as follows:

But he shall avenge his grave upon the wicked,
And his death upon the rich ;
Because he had done no wrong,

Neither was deceit found in his mouth. That is, because Jesus was neither malefallor, as the Jewish Sanhe drim accused him before Pilate ; nor impostor, as they pretended he was, when arraigoed at their own tribunal. How the iwo readings differ, and how easy it is to account for the blunders of transcribers, may be seen in my pamplet. It is more to the purpose, to observe with what propriety and majesty this tran Nation follows the period foregoing. The prophet entered upon his subject with telling us, that the Melliah Mould be raised up, and exalted, and advanced very high. And when did the advancement of Jesus take place? Why, not in this life; but at his death, when he was advanced at God's rigbe hand, to be a Prince and a Saviour. Now, of this

very cime the prophet is here speaking. The Jews had murdered Jesus. And what more suitable to his majesty, than when they had rejected fresh overtures of grace made to them by his Apostles, that he should come in the clouds of heaven, as he had told them he should at his condemnation, and take juft vengeance on them, who would not have him to reign over them ; that he thould come during the lives of that wicked generation who crucified him, destroy those murderers, and burn up their city, and take away their place, that is, their temple and aation. I have made these remarks, not out of love of controversy, nor out of want of respect for the great translator ; but I thought that the importance of the prophecy required it from me,

« Ibid.

B 4

• Ibid. Wirb God] That is, in the sight of God, and in the deter. minate counsels of his Providence. See the Message of Natban te David, i Chron. xvji. 11, &c. Psal. cxxxii. 11, &c.

• Ibid. In him is all my delight ] The affix has been dropped, and if ci, the word following this, was not originally read bo, this word has been dropped by the transcribers.

Per. 4. A Sun Mall rise] The Sun of righteousness, Out of the two images or characters here applied to the Melliah (the just or righteous One, and the Sun), Malachi seems to have formed the glorious title of The Sun of Righteousness. And it appears pretty plain that he had these last words of David in his eye, when he wrote chap. iv, 1. and 2.--A Bodleian MS. of note ades Jabroh, Jehovah, the Sun, Mall rise; but as the sense is complete without this addition, I have not inserted it in my translation. It seems to me to have been interpolated from the margin of an Hebrew copy.

Per. 5. Shall flourish] This word in she present text has been di. vided into two; the former part having been thrown to the former clause, the latter to the latter; and thus the nominative case has been separated by the transcribers from its verb. It is amazing how such a mistake hould al firft be made, or have kept its place so long; but there it might aill have continued, if the metre bad not pointed out the corruption and emendation at the same time, to the conviction, I should think, even of the most prejudiced against it. It appears from the context, thar Belial is a noun of number, and requires a plural verb. Belial seems to be derived from two words, which fig. nify rejecting the yoke. The wicked, or fons of Belial, are with fin. gular propriety put for the enemies and opposers of Christ's kingdom; those, who, in the language of the same divine Pfalmift, take counsel together against the Lord, and against his Anointed, saying, Let us break off their bonds, and cast away their yokes from us, Psal. ii. 3. and 3. refusing to submit to that easy yoke, which they are invited by himself to take upon them, Matth. xi. 29.

Per. 7. Shall be burned] After this word is added, in the present text, baljabat, in the seat. That it has no place here, both verse and Sense demonstrate; nor do the commentators give any tolerable mean. ing of it. It was probably incerpolated from the period below; but if the metre bad not sewn it to be irreptitious, we might ftill have been perplexing ourselves about it with as little success as others.

The Reader owes the elucidasion of this beautiful scripture to that incomparable critic, the late Dr. Grey, as he has already been told in the Preface.'

On the whole, we deem this work well worthy to be recommended to the curious Reader, who will find in it much in. formation, and many proofs of the Author's ingenuity.

ART, II. Philosopbical Disertations. By James Balfour, Esq; of Pil- . rig. 8vo. 28. 6 d. séwed.

Cadell, 1782.
E respect the Author of these Discussions for the good

design of his publication ; but we cannot highly compliment him for his philosophical precision, or his comprehen


five views of nature. The efforts of the Materialists and Necessarians to establish principles at first view inconlistent with the institutes of revelation and the dictates of common sense, have excited this well-meaning Author to vindicate the system which hath grown venerable by its antiquity, and hath moreover been endeared to him by education and habit. But, in fact, we are persuaded that religion hath received no new wound from the attacks either of Materialists or Neceflarians. The terror excited by them hath substituted dangers which do not exist, and alarmed the pious and the timid with apprehensions, which have no foundation but in the dreams of fancy, sinit with enthufiasm, or ftupified by folly.

The Author's views may be best collected from his own ad. vertisement, of which we thall quote a part :-premising, by way of caution to the Reader, that it is evident that the defects which are complained of arise, not from the system of the Materialist or Neceffarian, when properly examined; but from a mind incapable of combining and harmonizing those seemingly diffimilar parts which compose it, and, viewing them in a par. tial and detached light, comprehends not the general plan or result of the whole:

• The present age boasts of being enlightened. This may be allowed with regard to the arts and sciences, which depend chiefly upon experience. These must receive great improvement from the facility of communicating different experiments by means of the press ; but the case may be very different with respect to what is called universal philosophy, or the abftract knowledge of nature. This knowledge depends chiefly upon the exercise of the mental faculties, and has little aftitance from experience; and the art of printing, of che greatest peility in the former case, may in this other case have a very different effect.

• This valuable art opens an easy passage for the admillion of num. berless ideas; but an obvious bad effect arisech from this. A crowd of ideas in the mind creates confusion : and curiosity, pushing us on in queft of new ideas, excludes that patient attention which matters of importance require. Thus oor knowledge may have a very excenfive farface without proportional depth.

• Perhaps another bad effect of this enlargement of our ideas is, that we acquire a peculiar confidence in the powers of our undertanding, and, without due examination, admit that as truth, to which we are determined by pallion and prejudice, more than the cool dictates of reason. This may lead us in one or other of the cwo oppofire extremes, scepticism or dogmatism. In the firft, if we shall hap. pen to meet with any certain cruth, inconfiftent with conclufions which we have rahly deduced from principles not duly examined. la the other, when not meeting,' or not being willing to meet wich fach contradiction, we are ape to afcribe a kind of infallibility to our own understanding, and place the rash conclusions of our own reason is direct opposition to the common sense of mankind. Nay, fome are bold croogh to pass the circle which divides light and darkpess;

and and even in the midt of darkness, take upon them to determine what Infinite Wisdom has done, or rather what it ought to have done. Hence it is, that we have too much cause to regret tbat some ingen nious compositions, otherwise distinguished for beauty and elegance, are yet disfigured by the mixture of the groffett absurdities.'

Tbe contents of these Differtations are as follows: I. Matter and Motion, II. Of Liberty and Neceffity. III. Of the Foundation of Moral Obligation. IV. Of the Immateriality and Immortality of the Soul. V. Of the Evidence of the Truth of Revealed Religion from its connection with Provi, dence.

The language is equable and uniform, seldom rises to excellence, and never sinks into vulgarity. It is at once plain, fimple and perspicuous. The arguments, though not new, are in many places acute and spirited: and as a proof of it, we fall present the Reader with the fult part of the fourth Dissertation :

• Man is diftinguished from the inferior animals by the faculty of season and reflection. The other animals are limited in their operations by sense, appetite, and instinct; beyond these they can make no progress; but man, in consequence of his active and intelligent powers, is ever advancing in the discovery of truths, both moral and intellectual. By means of that fingular faculty whereby men can communicate their thoughts to others, though living in different ages and dittant regions of the world, great improvements have been made in the various arts and sciences; and the beauty, magnificence, and order of the works of parure have been laid open, in a manner that must excite our admiration and astonishment. The effect of this, however, has not always been so happy as might bave been expected. It has often filled those who call themselves philosophers, with a high degree of vanity and conceit ; it has led them to believe that nothing was too difficult for their comprehenfion; and that what they could not understand, could not pollibly be true. Others, indeed,' who made deeper refe&ions upon the extent and subtlety of the objects of knowledge, and also upon the weakness of the human faculties, together with the brevity of life, have entered into the spirit of the ancient Academicians, and embraced the modest principles of that feet. In seality, our knowledge is very limited; we see but the surface of things; but their intimate nature is covered with a veil which we cannot penetrate. Mind and Matter are the two great objects of our knowledge. With regard to matter, the primary qualities which we discover by our senses are, extension, divisibility, and solidity; but then, besides these qualities, we necessarily perceive something in which they are united, and in which they subfiit: something which is extended, different from empty space, as it is also something solid and divisible; but the nature of that something we have not faculties to comprehend; we call it, however, a material subltance. It is the fame thing with regard to mind. We know the qualities of mind in a more certain manner than those of matter, viz. by an inward consciousness. We are conscious of ideas of different kinds, of a power to compound and compare such ideas, as to observe the result and consequence of such operations. We are also conscious of a variety

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