Obrazy na stronie
[blocks in formation]
[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

I PROCEED to inquire into the meaning of the word to Evayyedlov. This term, agreeably to its etymology, from ev bene and ayyaala nuncium, always in classical use, where it occurs but rarely, de. notes either good news, or the reward given to the bearer of good news. Let us see what ought to be accounted the scriptural use of the term. Evayyealov and evayyedia occur six times in the Septuagint in the books of Samuel and Kings. I reckon them as one word, because they are of the same origin, are used indiscriminately, and always supply the place of the same Hebrew word nwa besharah. In five of these the meaning is good news ; in the sixth, the word denotes the reward-given for bringing good

In like manner, the verb ευαγγελιζειν, or ευαγγελιζεσθαι, which occurs much oftener in the Septuagint than the noun, is always the version of the Hebrew verb 702 bashar, lata annunciare, to tell good news. It ought to be remarked also, that evayyeaizw is the only word by which the Hebrew verb is rendered into Greek: nor do I know any word in the Greek language that is more strictly of one signification than this verb. In one instance


One passage

the verbal 702, mebasher, is indeed used for one who brings tidings, though not good "'; but in that place the Seventy have not employed the verb evayyenišw or any of its derivatives.

11 wherein the Septuagint uses the verb ευαγγελιζομαι, , has also been alleged as an exception from the common acceptation. But that this is improperly called an exception, must be manifest to every one who reflects that the total defeat of the Israelitish army, with the slaughter of the king of Israel and his sons, must have been the most joyful tidings that could have been related in Gath and Askelon, two Philistine cities. The word occurs several times in the Prophets, particularly in Isaiah, and is always rendered in the common version, either by the phrase to bring good tidings, or by some terms nearly equivalent. It is sometimes also so rendered in the New Testament ,

2. Now, let it be observed, that when the word is introduced in the Gospels, it is generally ei. ther in a quotation from the Prophets, or in evident allusion to their words. Thus AtoZou evayyaaišovtal, which our translators render, To the poor the gospel is preached", the whole context shows to be in allusion to what is said by the Prophet Isaiah ", in whom the corresponding phrase is rendered, preach

10 1 Sam. iv, 17.

11 2 Sam. i. 20. Luke, i. 19. ii. 10. viii. 1. Acts, xiii. 32. Rom. 1. 15. 1 Thess. iji. 6. 13 Matth. xi. 5. Luke, vii. 22.

14 ixi. I.

good tidings to the meek. But nothing can be more to my purpose, than that noted passage wherein we are told 25, that the place in Isaiah was read by our Lord in the synagogue of Nazareth. The words in the common translation of the Gospel are these, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel, evayyaaiškosai, to the poor, he hath sent me to heal the broken hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord. . Now I cannot help observing of this passage, that the meaning would have been more perspicuously conveyed, and its beauty and energy would have been better preserved, if our translators had kept closer to the manner in which they had rendered it in the Old Testament. There the term evyganisedSai is rendered to preach good tidings. And though it is certain, agreeably to our Lord's declaration, that the Gospel, with its spiritual blessings, is here held forth to us, it is still under the figure of temporal blessings, and therefore it is very improperly introduced by its distinguishing appellation into the version, which ought to convey the literal, not the figurative, sense of the original.

Ευαγγελιζεσθαι πτωχοις, to bring good tidings to the poor or afflicted, agreeably to the extensive signification of the Hebrew word, is the general title of the message, and comprehends the whole. It is ex

15 Luke, iv. 18, 19.

[ocr errors]

plained by being branched out into the particulars
which immediately follow. For, if it be asked,
What is the good tidings brought to the afflicted ?
the answer is, a cure to the broken-hearted, deliver.
ance to the captives, sight to the blind. It is the
Lord's jubilee, which brings freedom to the slave,
acquittance to the debtor, and relief to the oppress-
ed. Now that the Gospel is herein admirably de.
lineated, is manifest. But still it is presented to us
under figures, and therefore, to mention it by its
peculiar title, in the midst of the figurative descrip.
tion, is to efface, in a great measure, that descrip-
tion; it is to jumble injudiciously the sign and the
thing signified. It is, as if one should confound, in
an apologue or parable, the literal sense with the mo.
ral, and assert of the one what is strictly true only of
the other ; by which means no distinct image would
be presented to the mind. Or it is, as when a painter
supplies the defects in his work by labels, and instead
of a picture, presents us with a confused jumble,
wherein some things are painted, and some things
described in words. But it is not in our version
only, but in most modern translations, that this confu-
sion in rendering this beautiful passage

has appeared.

[ocr errors]

3. I shall add but one other instance of a quotation from the prophets: Ως ωραιοι οι ποδες των ευαγγελιζομενων ειρηνην, των ευαγγελιζομενων τα ayada 16 In the common version, as quoted in the New Testament : How beautiful are the feet of them

[blocks in formation]

that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tid. ings of good things. It would have been better here also, on many accounts, to keep closer to the original in Isaiah 17 whence the passage was taken, and to translate it thus : " How beautiful are the feet of “ them who bring the joyful message of peace, the “joyful news of good things ;” at the same time, I acknowledge, it is with a particular allusion to that spiritual peace, and those eternal good things, procured to us by Jesus Christ. But the beauty and energy of the allusion and implied similitude are de. stroyed, or rather, there is no more allusion, or similitude in the words, when the characteristic des. cription, intended by the prophet, is in a manner thrown aside, and in its stead is inserted the name appropriated to the dispensation. This, at least, is in part done; for the Prophet's figures are neither totally laid aside, nor totally retained. Instead of imitating his simplicity of manner, they have made a jumble of the sense implied, and the sense expressed. For this purpose they have rendered the same word (which is repeated in the two clauses) in one clause, preach the gospel, according to the sense justly supposed to be figured by it, in the other clause, bring glad tidings, according to the letter. I can see no reason for this want of uniformity, unless perhaps the notion that the gospel of good things sounded more awkwardly than the gospel of peace.

17 li. 7.

« PoprzedniaDalej »