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natural to the New Tesument, all the figures are carefully preserved, as far as perspicuity and the purity of language will admit.' There are several ellipjes, that is, words understood, which it was ncceffary to supply ; and leveral enallages, or changes of tenses and persons which cannot be imitated without barbarism, and itaving ihe sense obscure, equivocal, and sometimes entirely wrong *. In fine, there are several allusions to words, which are very seldom capable of being translated from one language to another. This is done where the words in our language would bear it ; for instance, let the dead bury their dead, which is a sort of an enigmatical expreslion, the understanding whereof depends on the taking the word dead in two different senses.

*To conclude, nothing has been omitted to keep up the character, genius, and Ayle of the sacred penmen, as far as was consistent with prelerving their fenfe. If there are any supplemental words, they are no more than the text necessarily requires. I hey, for whom the facred writings were at firft designed, supplied without any difficulty the words that were wanting, being used to that way of expreffion. But our laoguage will not admit of any of these ellipses. All modern and offected expreffions are carefully avoided, and though the familiar and popular style of the Evangelifts is closely imitated, yet is it done without descending to any mean or low expression. There is a robleness in the simplicity of the language of the facred authors, which diftinguilhes them in an eminent manner from commin' writers, and no endeavours have been wanting to follow them in that particular.


The Notes were designed for the following uses.

1. They thew the difference between the (English) and Greek, to the end they, who understand the original, may the better judge of the faithfulness of the translation. 2. They serve to clear up the literal sense, when any obscurity occurs. 3. They describe the places, persons, and usages, spoken of or alluded to, as well as explain the proverbial sayings, ways of expreffion, and the like, the knowledge whereof gives great light to the meaning of a paffage. For instance, our Saviour

prefers the whiteness of the lily before all the magnificence of Solomon's royal robes. Now the beauty and force of this comparison are much more conspicuous, when we are told, the robes of the eastern princes were white. 4. When a pallage may be rendered several ways, or is not understood in the same manner by interpreters, the different senses are taken notice of in the Notes, and either that, which is thought the best, is remarked, or the reader is left to judge for himself, when the case is doubtful. 5: The various readings, that make any alteration in the fense, are fet down. 6. Our authors candidły own, they know not the mcaning of


* See Luke xiii. 34. Mat. xxiii. 37.

fome passages, They lay nothing down for certain but what appears fo, and what they cannot rationally explain, they leave as they found it, doubtful and obscure. It is impossible, a work of so great antiquity, Mould be every where equally clear, since we are deprived of many belps, which would have given great light into several difficult places. It is sufficient that every thing, relating to our faith and morals, is delivered with all imaginable plainness and perfpicuity.


As there will be an oceafon to mention the Prefaces to cach book of the New Testament, in the Introduction, the reader is referred thither, in order to avoid repetition.

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The previous know- OD having been pleased to make use of ledge

of several things the ministry of men, in revealing to us his is necessary to the un- will, and transmitting to posterity the divine oracles ; derstanding the scrip- a general knowledge, at least, of several previous ar

ticles, is absolutely necessary for a right understanding the holy fcriptures. We must know, for instance, the time and country the sacred penmen lived in ; their language and character ; the religion, manners, customs, and usages of the people with whom they conversed; and many other particulars taken notice of hereafter,

Though there be this material difference between the sacred writings, and all others, of what character soever, that the first having been inspired by the Spirit of God, their authority is divine, and consequently infalliblé, beyond all contradiction, as well as beyond all parallel and comparison; yet in explaining both sacred and profane authors, the same rules of common sense must be observed: we must have recourse to study and meditation, we must call in the help of history, chronology, geography, and languages; in a word, of what the learned term criticism, or the art of judging of authors and their works, and of arriving at the true sense of them. This method is absolutely necessary for the understanding both the Old and New Testament; but then there is this difference between them, that the New having succeeded the Old, and been, as it were, the accomplishment of it, the sacred writers of the former have borrowed


the language of the latter, have perpetually alluded to it, and applied the predictions to the events of their own times, in imitation of their Die vine Master; who always referred back to that Source. So that in order rightly to understand and explain the New Testament, one ought to be well read in the Old, and have a true notion of the state of things in the days of the Evangelists and Apostles.

These are the reasons that have induced us to compose this Discourse, as an Introduction to the Reading of the New Testament. It is indeed true, that all things necessary to salvation are clearly and plainly revealed, and therefore such persons as bave neither the leisure nor opportunity of improving themselves in such parts of learning as are before mentioned, have yet this comfort and satisfaction, that they may casily find and discover all saving Truths without much study and application; as, oa the other hand, they are entirely without excule, if they neglect to search the scriptures on pretence of ignorance or inability. However, it must be owned, when we come to a close and thorough examination of the holy fcriptures, we shall, unless furnished with the knowledge of the particulars above-mentioned, be continually liable to mistakes, imagine we understand what we have no notion of, or, at best, but a very imperfect one, and find ourselves puzzled and put to a stand at every turn. For want of these helps, the scriptures are frequently ill underitood, and ill explained. Some put abstracted and metaphysical senses on passages that contain plain and simple truths, and expressed in common termas. Others having learnt a system of divinity, instead of explaining scripture by scripture, by considering the context and parallel places, wrest the word of God to their pre-conceived opinions. Others again, having regard only to the modern languages, customs, and manners, cannot but mistake the meaning of the inspired writers, for want (if I may fo say) of conveying themselves back to the time when, and country where, the facred penmen wrote. Hence it comes to pass, that the holy scriptures, and the christian religion, are so disfigured, as hardly now to be known in the schools and seminaries of learning; where the heads of young students are filled with a thousand chimerical notions, entirely unheard of by the Evangelists. In order to remedy these inconveniences, we shall endeavour to give a general knowledge of what is necessary for the more profitable reading of the holy scriptures, especially the New Teftament.

I. As God designed, and had accordingly revealed The Gospel was it to the world by his prophets, (a) that the gospel to be preached to should be preached to the Jews first; so was it natural, the Jews first, 20d even necessary for Jesus CHRIS'T to chufe at firft and by Jews. Disciples or Apostles out of the Jewish Nation and Religion. It was moreover requisite that they should be mean and illiterate persons, not only for the greater manifestation of God's glory, but because of that spirit of pride and incredulity, which 'reigned among the rich and powerful, and rendered the precepts of the gospel odious in their eyes, as they were inconsistent with their prejudices and passions. Bue though the Apostles were mean and illiterate, it must not from thence be concluded, that they

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(a) Isa, ï. John iv. Acts xii, 46.

were entirely destitute of learning and judgment, or of fuch improve: ments as were necessary to qualify them for the discharge of their glo. rious fun&tion. Though their discourses are commonly expressed in a plain and familiar manner, yet you may frequently discover in them fuch eloquence and sublimity, as could not have proceeded from men of no education : Though they are fometimes guiliy of failings, as unbelief, ambition, prefumption, and the like; yet it may be said in their behalf, that it proeceded not so much from their own, as the general temper of their nation. Nor let it be thought a disparagement to the Apostles, that some of them had learned and followed handy-crafts ; for it may seasonably be inferred from the instance of Jofeph, who, though he was defcended from the royal family of David, was yet a carpenter; and from that of St. Paul, who, notwithstanding his being a Rabbi, and a citizen of Rome, had learnt tent-making (b); that mechanical employments were not inconsistent with learning, or accounted a disparagement (e). Though St. John was a fisherman, yet there are several par. {ages in his goʻpel, whereby we may be convinced that he was versed in she myftical writings of the Jews; and had even some tina ure of the Grecian philofophy: Which last will appear the more probable, if it be confidered, that this Apoftle lived for a confiderable time in Afia. The office of a Publican, which was that of St. Matthew, was indeed looked upon as fcandalous among the Jews, who were extremely jealous and tender of their liberty; but it was in fuch high efteem and repute among the Romans, that, according to Cicero (d), The order of the Publicans corfifted of the choiceft of the Roman Knights, was the ornament of the city, and the support of the commonwealth. Hence it is evident, that though St. Matibew, in all appearance was a few ; yet he could not be of the meanest of the people, fince he had been admitted to fo confiderable a poft. These few reflections and instances may ferve to Shew, how false and groundless the objections are, that were urged by the Heathens againft the Apostles, as if they had been a parcel of weak and felly men. Hence, also, on the other hand, it is manifeft, that they had neither keanning nor autbority enough, as that the wonderful propagation of the go!pel throughout the world, could be ascribed merely to their own powes and wildom.

However this be, in reading the New Testament, we must have always in our minds, That the gospel was at first preached by the Jeu sy


(6) Ads xviii. 3.

(c) “ It was a custom among the Jesus, of what rank or quality for yer, to « teach their childr en time ingenious craft or art, not only as a remedy

against idlencls, but as a reserve in time of want. We have a memo

rable instance of this cuítom in those two brothers, Cbaßnai and Chanilai, " whose story Jofephus relates at large : -though they were perfons of pote, “ they were neverthelets put with a weaver to learn the trade, which, says “ the historian, was no disparagement 10 tbem, (avonoios ex ortoç dage to Toit " it'xopios:, &c.) Rabbi Joje was a currier, or a leather-dreffer ; Rabbi Jooli

anan was a shoe-maker, and from thence fitnamed Sandalar, &c." Mr. « Falle's Scrmon on Acts xviii. 3, po 12, Eco

(d) Flos equitum Romanorum, ornamentum civitatis, firmamentum reipublicæ, Publicanorum ordine continetur. Orat. pro Plancio

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