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good tidings to the meek. But nothing can be more to my purpose, than that noted passage wherein we are told 1s, 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, ευαγγελιζεσθαι, 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 evyyahideoSai 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, ir. 18, 19.
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, deliverance 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 oppressed. 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 description; 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 confusion in rendering this beautiful passage has appeared.
| 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
that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things. It would have been better here also, on many accounts, to keep closer to the original in Isaiah " 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 description, 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 lii. 7.
4. The Prophet's design undoubtedly was, to deliver it as an universal truth, amply confirmed by ' experience, that the message of peace and prosperity to those who had been oppressed and afflicted by the ravages of war, and its various unhappy consequences, was so charming, that it could transform a most disagreeable, into a pleasing, object. The feet of those who had travelled far, in a hot country, through rough and dusty roads, present a spectacle naturally offensive to the beholder ; nevertheless, the consideration that the persons themselves are, to us, the messengers of peace and felicity; and that it is, in bringing these welcome tidings, they have contracted that sordid appearance, can in an instant convert deformity into beauty, and make us behold, with delight, this indication of their embassy, their dirty feet, as being the natural consequence of the long journey they have made. A thought somewhat similar occurs in Horace"?, who, speaking of victors returning, with glory, from a well-fought field, exhi. bits them as-Non indecoro pulvere sordidos. The poet perceives a charm, something decorous, in the very dust and sweat, with which the warriors are smeared, and which serve to recal to the mind of the spectator, the glorious toils of the day : tłus, things in themselves ugly and disgusting, share, when associated in the mind with things delightful, in the beauty and attractions of those things with which they are connected. But this sentiment is lost in the common version; for it might puzzle the most saga
17 Lib. ii. Ode i.
cious reader to devise a reason why the feet in particular of the Christian preacher should be declared to excel in beauty.
( 5. Now, in all the passages quoted from the Prophets, it appears so natural, and so proper every way, to give them in the words which had been used in translating the prophecies, when the words in the New Testament will bear the same version, that one is at a loss to conceive what could move the translators to depart from this rule. Ought they, where no ground is given for it, in the original, either to make the sacred penmen appear to have misquoted the Prophets, or to make the unlearned reader imagine, that the Scriptures used by them, differed from those used by us, where there is not, in fact, any difference? Let it be observed, that I say, when the words in the New Testament will bear the same version with those in the Old; for I am not for carrying this point so far as some translators have done, who, when there is a real difference in the import of the expressions, are for correcting one of the sacred writers by the other. This is not the part of a faithful translator, who ought candidly to represent what his author says, and leave it to the judicious critic, to account for such differences as he best can. But it is surely a more inexcusable error to make differences, where there are none; than to attempt to cover them, where there are. Now, as it was never pretended that, in the passages above quoted, the Hebrew word was not just