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Testament, the first of these passages, viz. Acts xx. 28, is so worded as to be placed beyond the reach of Mr. Sharp's machinations. But, by means of what he holds to be good manuscript authority, but which better critics do not deem quite so highly of, he first accommodates the original with a reading, ' whereby it is brought within the construction of ' his first rule,' and then, by means of the rule itself, which he holds to be infallible authority, he accommodates that reading with the following version : “ To feed the church of [the Lord, even of ] God.” (Rem. p. 28). And thus, “ chaos is come again !" (See the following letters, pages 63, 70, 71, 134-137 and notes, and the note p. 154.)
But supposing Mr. Sharp's to be the true reading of the original, it is still very problematical whether his version of that reading be the true rendering. The greek text, thus corrected, bears a great affinity to the first of his mistranslated texts, viz. Ephes. v. 5.; and all that is urged, in pages 73--84, of the following letters, against his version of that text, is, with little variation, equally applicable to his version of this.
Mr. Sharp's bugbears, the socinian sadducees, are also for correcting the common reading in the original of this text. They contend that it ought to
“ feed the church of the Lord,” And they plead, in favour of the substitution, equal, at least, if not superior, critical authority. Yet, their arro
gant attempts at imaginary correction' (Rem. p. 44), are not to be borne, though made, not like Mr. Sharp's, in order to get into an absurdity, but in or
der to get out of one. But, indeed, that seems to be the very reason why they are so intolerable.
Of the other passage, viz. Phil. iii. 3, Mr. Sharp would also first alter the original, by changing, upon the authority of some MSS, the commonly received reading Jew into Jee, and would then alter the ver. sion from,“ worship God in the spirit,” into,“ wor• ship the spirit of God.” But what has either the one, or the other, of these readings, or renderings, to do with Mr. Sharp's articular system? Nothing. How do they exemplify his rules ? Not at all. Why then does he make an example of this text ? Because, in another part of it, there are two participles which, as to article and copulative, are circumstanced according to the description given in his first rule. True ; but they are plurals, and, as such, are proscribed by one of his limitations. Yes; but Mr. Sharp's 'favourite' grammatical, like his favourite theological, - system' (Rem. p. 44.) is, in every article and particle of it, an incomprehensible mystery; and any thing, however weak and exceptionable, will do to confirm, though nothing, however strong and unexceptionable, can confute, a mystery. Well then, overlooking this circumstance of plurality, and admitting these participles to be legitimate confirmations of his rule, does he, when thus accommodated, extract, even from this part of the text, any new proof of * the divinity of Christ ?' No. Does he from this part, extract any other mystery? No. Does he correct, or corrupt, the common english version of this part ? No. Why then, in the name of Common Sen-No, not of Common Sense; for we are now
so far advanced within the pale of universal hub“ bub wild,” that the highest pitch of her harmonious voice would never reach the ear but in
-66 the dreaded name
“ Confusion worse confounded,” why does he give this text such a distinguished place among his examples ? Why, instead of being left among the vulgar herd of catechumens, waiting without in the lobby (Rem. p. 4 and 5), to confirm the rule when called upon, is it introduced, arrayed in uncial robes, into the presence chamber, appropriated to the initiated alone, and where nothing but the sublimest mysteries are discoursed of by the faithful? Because from another part of it, with a little accommodation, he fancies he can extract a new proof' of another mystery, viz. the worship of the holy ghost. Nay, that may not be neither, unless we abandon all that we have been taught about the extreme accuracy and precision which is so invariably observed in the greek text of the New Testament' relative to the use of the definitive article.' For in this text the article is omitted, and consequently if the passage
be construed with that strict attention to the articular system which is contended for, it must be rendered indefinitely; “ who worship a spi6 rit of God.” And thus it becomes a better warrant from scripture for the worship of angels, than for that of Mr. Sharp's imaginary being, the holy ghost.
Here one would think Mr. Sharp's discoveries from so plain a text would be exhausted. But the
most learned of them still remains behind. The version adopted by the generality of translators, viz.
worship God in the spirit” is a “forced construction which the context itself cannot fairly bear, even
if few be admitted to be the true reading,' because the preposition ev is not found before aveupe che in the original! (Rem. P. 32.) I have said in page 99 of the following letters that the translators of our present version of the Bible knew more of greek than Mr. Sharp. I did not then recollect Mr. Sharp's present remark, or I should have suppressed the observation, from an apprehension that the reader, recollecting it also, might suppose I meant to insult the memory of those translators by the comparison. This expression, which Mr. Sharp finds so unusual, it would be a much easier matter to confirm, than for him to shew how εν πνευμαζι θεα λαλων in 1 Cor. xii. 3, with the preposition, differs in meaning from a veup.clo hansı in i Cor. xiv. 2. without : but I will not waste my own time, or that of the reader, in filling a page with what may be found in every greek grammar and lexicon in the kingdom. I am not writing for school-boys.