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afford a faithful and accurate interpretation of the words of holy writ. The reverential awe which a conscientious translator necessarily feels under such a solemn responsibility as that now alluded to with regard to the doctrines which he is called upon to clothe in a new dress, is an effectual impediment, where his translation is to emanate under the sanction of legislative authority, to his taking those elsewhere allowed liberties, which in rendering the works of other writers are often no less essential for conveying the full meaning, than they are for preserving the spirit and manner of the original. The disadvantages therefore under which our own, and every other established version of many parts of Scripture must be admitted to labour, are more easy to be lamented than remedied. That the learned and good men, to whom we owe that great and invaluable work, executed the task entrusted to them with judgment and fidelity, is beyond dispute. Nor can we do otherwise than applaud also the integrity of the persons in authority, who, when a translation into our own language of the word of God was rendered necessary by the diffusion of Protestantism, took due care that no bias of human passion should be allowed to tamper with its minutest parts under the plea of exposition or improvement. Whilst however these considerations suggest an ample vindication of the manner in which that work was executed, they afforded but an insufficient consolation for the disadvantages to which an undertaking so circumstanced must be inevitably liable. If accordingly it be incumbent, as it assuredly is, upon the temporal

and ecclesiastical government of the country to promulgate nothing, directly or indirectly, as the word of God, but that which is undoubtedly and demonstrably such; then, most assuredly, must individual exertion step in to execute upon its own personal responsibility and risk that which, however indispensable for the adequate instruction of the majority of readers, cannot with propriety emanate from any higher source. A large supply of helps of this description has in consequence been afforded during the course of the last and the present centuries by some of our foremost divines and scholars for the better apprehension of the holy Scriptures, no small portion of whose labours has reference to the very writings which it is the object of this volume to illustrate. Still, however, the work here presented to the public will not, I trust, be without its use. Of the many paraphrases and translations of the Apostolical Epistles which have already appeared, most are arranged in a form which renders them more fit for occasional reference than for continuous perusal: whilst some, intended chiefly for the assistance of the minutely critical scholar, however admirably adapted for that purpose, are ill calculated to meet the wants of general readers. For the use of this last-mentioned and most important portion of the Christian community a translation appears to me to be still wanting, which should be sufficiently close to convey an adequate idea of the manner in which the Apostolical Epistles were originally written, yet also sufficiently diffuse to give breadth and prominence to those minute but necessary links of reasoning which

are often so cursorily glanced at by the original writers, as to escape the observation of persons not in the habit of pursuing an elaborate argument through its finest details;—to fill up those lacunæ of inference, the implied purport of which, though necessarily suggested by the context to the experienced dialectician, does not always present itself to others less exercised in this species of elliptical composition;-and to supply that fluency of context, by which even the languid and desultory reader, when indisposed to the labour of intense thought, may be enabled to take a comprehensive view of the whole chain of the argument, and of the object of the writer. Without such a complete and general view, which can only be obtained by the perusal of an entire Epistle at one single sitting, it is not only impossible to derive from it that exact impression which it was intended to convey, but it is even scarcely possible for the clearest mind to avoid some degree of misapprehension of its real purport.

When the reader is entangled and detained by the statement of objections which may be opposed to one branch of an argument, yet wants leisure to pass on to the remainder of the context in which those objections are answered, and consequently is compelled to derive his knowledge piecemeal, deprived of its due proportions, and of its unity of design, not the most sincere rectitude of purpose can prevent the adoption of partial and unsound theories. There is also, we may observe, a morbid curiosity in the human mind which loves mysticism for its own sake; and which, glancing

thoughtlessly over the most important truths, which, perhaps on account of their extreme importance, are clearly announced, is ever returning to ponder again and again over those perplexing speculations for which it imagines that it finds a warrant in some detached and isolated fragment of Scripture.

The only effective mode of counteracting this unsafe tendency is, the elucidation, so far as circumstances will permit, of the obscurity in which such passages are involved. That something may be done in this way by the means already alluded to, is perfectly obvious. No one surely would hesitate to allow, that where the literal rendering of the idiom of an extinct language into our own would suggest scarcely any, or perhaps only an inaccurate, idea to the minds of the unlearned; or where customs are alluded to with which scholars alone are supposed to be familiar, in such cases the alteration of a single word, or the appending of a short commentary, may supply all the aid requisite. But these, as has been already remarked, are not the only difficulties which a little attention may effectually remove. St. Paul, for instance, not unfrequently quotes a few words only from some passage in the Old Testament, where, from the context of the argument, it is demonstrable, that he had in his mind the purport of the whole clause of which his quotation forms a part. An exposition, therefore, which fills up his meaning by the insertion of the entire paragraph, undoubtedly affords considerable help for the apprehension of the point under discussion. Again, like an experienced and

subtle disputant, he often advances, as in his own person, plausible but fallacious arguments, or anticipates the objections of his opponent, for the purpose of refuting them. But, however clear such a mode of reasoning may be to the learned, it is self-evident that to the mere reader for spiritual edification, especially to those who are unequal to the effort of studying more than short and detached passages on any one occasion, it will sometimes be attended with considerable perplexity. The elucidation of such passages therefore, by, the insertion of a few words, which shall give prominence to the writer's object, and leave nothing for the ingenuity of the reader to surmise or fill up, must of course have a tendency to promote that fluent readiness of perception, which is so absolutely necessary for arriving at the real purport of the revealed word of God. The last, but perhaps the most efficient, means which I have adopted for the purpose of restoring this truly invaluable portion of the inspired volume to its original clearness, is by discarding the commonly received, though almost universally reprobated, division into chapters and verses; a division which, though useful for occasional reference, has been so capriciously executed by its first contrivers, and with so little regard or attention to the bearings of the context, that it is perhaps no exaggeration to say of it, that it has done more to mislead the attention and perplex the judgment of the student than any, or all, of the causes of occasional obscurity already alluded to.

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