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exactly parallel to your texts, unless one of the nouns contained in it were 1805. At least, I think no example could be so, where both the nouns were unquestionably descriptive epithets; because, in that case, each of the nouns would call for something to be united with it. But Jaos, on the contrary (which makes one of the nouns in all your mistranslated texts), is of such a nature, especially as used in the Bible, that it not only may be construed without being united as an epithet to some other noun, but in its primary sense, indicates an absolute, independent, proper name.
From these examples, therefore, you can derive no support, either to your rule, or to your correction of the common version of the New Testament; because your position is, that the form of expression in itself, without any assistance from context or connection, necessarily determines the identity: but the compiler has here given you no instance of a form so circumstanced, or so unassisted.
Your correspondent (in a note, p. 61.), claims -- the weight of the passages' here cited, for the in, terpretations given of 2 Thess. i. 12, and of 1 Tim. V. 21, in his third and fourth letters; and vice versa, the weight of his quotations in those letters, for his interpretations in this. He is welcome to the whole of it, were it twice as ponderous as it is. I assure you, Sir, I am so glad to get rid of it, now that I have got to the end of his book, that I care not what becomes of either book or burthen, so that I have no more to do with them. And I suspect that, if
you have waded through' the whole of it, the case is pretty much the same with yourself.
But, before I take my leave of the compiler and his compilations, I will give him a word or two of advice about those same fathers, whom he quotes with such eagerness, and seems to admire with an ardour and enthusiasm that betray all the symptoms of a new and a recent acquaintance.
And first I must tell him, that, when estimated by the lump, as he values them, they are the worst of all authors: That to consult them for interpretations of scripture, is the worst use that can be made of them :* That different groups, or classes, of them, differ most widely in point of merit, and are entitled to very different degrees of regard : That the apostolic fathers, with whom he has had little to do, and who, indeed, were little fitted for his purpose ; for though they knew more of christianity than any of their successors, they knew nothing of theology, are all highly valuable; but have never yet, since the revival of learning, had justice done to them, because they are read, and indeed so are the scriptures themselves, with preconceived opinions, by all parties, who all judge, more or less, both of their phraseology and of their sentiments, by a standard to which the writers themselves were utter strangers; explaining their words by a vocabulary, and their assertions by a system, which we are taught from infancy to apply to all ecclesiastical writers
* See this proved at large, in Whitby's “ Dissertatio de S. “ Scripturarum interpretatione secundum patrum commenta66 rios." 8vo. Lond. 1714.
whatever, though they belong only to the latest; the earliest never talking according to the one, nor reasoning according to the other: That of those fathers who are called primitive, by which term is ge nerally meant such as lived and wrote before christianity suffered the worst of its persecutions, an establishment, many are also very valuable ; but, like their predecessors, lose much of their value by being viewed, by readers of every description, through a glass, darkly :* That of these primitive fathers, the most valuable are those which have furnished your correspondent with the fewest extracts : That of the rest, who lived after the kingdom of Christ became the kingdom of this world, and who are sometimes stiled simply fathers, without the addition of any epithet, the generality are good for little or nothing, except as they furnish various readings of scripture, or materials for ecclesiastical history; and even for these purposes, he that would use them aright, must use them with great prudence and caution : "That if there be any other good in them, it lies buried like Gratiano's two grains of wheat hid in two bushels of chaff, and must be extracted, not by going to in
* Non opus habebant Lombardis magistris, Thomistis pædagogis, Scotistis mystagogis, antiqui illi patres, qui simplicitate fidei contenti, nimis ingeniosam hanc theologiam, in qua errores alii ex aliis exorti operosius docentur, felicissime ignorabant. Quibus, si modo reviviscerent, nova grammatica addiscenda, Onomastica theologica, Lexica, seu dictionaria pervolvenda forent, ut theologos, qui ne ipsi quidem quæ loquuntur norunt, intelligerent. Nova logica forent perscrutanda, ex quibus inusitatas propositiones, ubi disparatum de disparato prædicatur, haurirent.--Sandius. Pref. in Nucleum Hist. Ecclesiasticæ. 1676.
dexes for this text or that topic, and then dealing out by wholesale all that is to be found upon the one or the other ; but by reading them in regular connection, with great patience, care, and discrimination, sifting as we go along the tolerable from the intolerable, the genuine from the spurious, the text from the comment; for all these lie huddled together in one wild mass of confusion, over which the reader must be content to travel as over an immense desert, for days together, without seeing a single thing worth picking up: And that as to the schoolmen, I am inclined to think that they would have had weight enough with the elder Pliny, if he had lived in their days, to have made him revoke his maxim, Nullum esse librum tam malum, ut non aliqua parte prodesset, (Plin. Epist. lib. 3. epist. 5.); and that, with regard to them, the compiler had better take Bishop Warburton's advice, and, “ e'en let them
stay, where most of them already are, with the grocers.” (Introduct. to Julian.)
Next I must tell your friend that, in reading these authors, it is absolutely necessary to attend to a circumstance which seems to have been greatly neglected by himself, as it has been by others before him; and that is, that the fathers of different periods use the same words in very different senses, and, on the contrary, different worøs in the same sense; as, for instance, the words %21505, 70705, fuayyeλιον, σιςις, χαρις, εκκλησια, φυσις, εσια, υποςασις, and a great many others. *
* Une chose que l'on neglige extrêmement, et qui est de la si dernière conséquence, pour entendre bien ce qu'on lit, c'est
Had he attended to this as he ought to have done, the compiler would have seen, in some passages
" qu'il pourroit être arrivé, qu'encore que l'on se soit toujours « servi de certains termes parmi les chrétiens, on se fût eloigné • insensiblement des idées que ceux qui s'en sont les premiers 6 servis y avoient attachées, et que les mots demeurant les “ mêmes, le sens qu'on leur a attribué eût souffert diverses réa u volutions." Le Clerc Bibliothéque Universelle, tom. X. p. 333.
Lorsque l'on voit sur un théâtre sortir des acteurs de derrière
un rideau, avec de certains habits, peut-on en conclurre que “ toutes les fois que l'on verra ces mêmes habits, ce seront les “ mêmes acteurs qui en seront habillés ? Il en est de même des
pensées et des paroles dont elles sont revetuës. Il est dangereux que
des pensées bien différentes n'aient souvent frappé nos oreilles, ou nos yeux revetuës des mêmes sons, ou des “ mêmes caractères.” Ibid. p. 334. “Grotius a dit fort judicieuse« ment; mihi constat Patres in explicatione harum rerum plurimum “ dissensisse ; etiamsi vocum quarundam sono inter se conveniant.”. Ibid. p. 335. Grotius is speaking of the trinity, in an epistle to his brother, No. 152, page 798, col. 1. edit. Amst. 1687. fol. See also Dallæus de usu Patrum, part 1. cap. v. pag. 149. edit. 1656.; and Clerici Artis Criticæ, part ii. sect. 1. cap. xv.
De Sectarum sermone ; where it is shewn, not only that different sects use the same words in different senses, but that the same sects, or bodies of men, continue to use the same words, and forms of expression, though they have totally changed their opinions! The great Lord Chatham gave a striking instance of the truth of this last observation, when, speaking of our ecclesiastical establishment, he said; we had a popish liturgy, calvinistical articles, and an arminian clergy.
Multa quidem vocabula, nobis et priscis patribus communia, retinemus; sed sensu, ab eo quem tunc habebant, non minus alieno, quam nostra tempora a primis post christum seculis re
Cardinal Bona de rebus liturgicis, lib. 1. cap. xviii. p. 246, as quoted by Jo. Geor. Walch, in his Bibliotheca Pae tristica, pag. 553, 8vo. Jenæ 1770, who, in the same page, enue merates several words which have changed their meanings.