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reputation, divested himself, as the expression strictly implies, and took upon him the form of a servant? Or is there any consistency in representing men as using this style, whose sentiments, on examination, will not support it? The highest to which the faith of any of the people, not his disciples, at that time rose, was to think that he was 51 John the Baptist risen from the dead, Jeremiah, or one of the Prophets. But where do we find any of the Prophets addressed with that peculiarity of idiom, which commonly distinguishes the Deity? There is, therefore, in this manner of translating, a very great impropriety, first, as it produces an inconsistency between the style of the persons introduced, and what from the history itself we discover of their sentiments; secondly, as it thereby, to a mere English reader, throws a degree of incredibility on the whole narrative.
$ 14. If they had uniformly translated the word xvple lord, to whomsoever applied, they would have done better; because every reader of common sense must have perceived that the word was employed, not according to the English idiom, but according to the usage of a tongue very different. Still, however, by comparing the various places where it occurs, it would have been practicable to reduce the term to its proper value. Not that I approve this servile manner of translating, any more than that in the opposite extreme called liberal. To translate the
51 Matth. xvi. 13, &c.
words, but not the idiom, is doing but half, and much the easier half, of the work of a translator, and never fails to render obscure and enigmatical in the translation, what is perspicuous and simple in the original. But our interpreters have, in this particular, followed neither the Hebrew idiom nor the English, but adopted a peculiarity in regard to Jesus Christ, which represents most of his contemporaries, as entertaining the same opinions concerning him, which are now entertained among Christians. Now, nothing can be more manifest than that, in those days, the ideas of his Apostles themselves were far inferior to what we entertain.
To do justice, therefore, to our idiom, to preserve at once consistency, perspicuity, and propriety, it is necessary that the word xuplos, in an ad. dress to heaven, be rendered Lord, or O Lord; when the Supreme Being is not addressed, but spoken of, the Lord; in addressing a king, or eminent magistrate, my lord; and in other ordinary cases, sir. Sometimes from a servant to his master, or from one in immediate subordination, to a person on whom he depends, it may be more emphatical to say master. Let it, however, be observed, that in translating the Scripture, xupios prefixed to a proper name, cannot be rendered either sir or master, immediately followed by the name, on account of the particular idea which that mode of expression conveys to us. Let it be also observed, that what I have said of kyrios, as applied to Jesus Christ, regards purely its application in the Gospels. It is plain, that after
Christ's ascension into heaven, and exaltation to the right hand of the Father, he is viewed in a very different light. Addresses to him are conveyed only by prayer, and ought to be clothed in its language. When we speak of him, it ought to be, not as of a lord, one possessed of great power and eminence, but as of The Lord of the creation, the heir of all things, to whom all authority in heaven and upon the earth,
, and all judgment are committed by the Father. That expression of Thomas, therefore, ó Kyplos M8 xai o EOS ur ", cannot be otherwise rendered than it has been rendered by our translators, My Lord and my God. It is manifest, from the exclamation, that Thomas viewed his Master now since his resurrection, though not yet ascended, in a light in which he had never viewed him before. For these reasons, I think that in general no alteration would be proper in the way of rendering the word xvpios as applied to Jesus, either in the Acts or in the Epistles. The case is different in the Gospels.
$ 15. It is proper to take notice, before I conelude this article, that the word xvpios is in the Septuagint also employed in translating the Hebrew word 717 Jehovah, the incommunicable name of God. Though this is a proper name, and not an appellative, the Seventy, probably from the supersti, tious opinion which had arisen among the Jews (for it was evidently not from the beginning,) that it was
32 John, xx. 28.
dangerous to pronounce that word, and consequently to adopt it into another language, have thought fit to render it always xvplos, an appellative which, as we have seen, is of very extensive application. Nay, in reading the Hebrew Scriptures in the synagogue service, their doctors to this day always read adon, or adoni, Lord, or my Lord, where they find Jehovah. The writers of the New Testament, who wrote in Greek, have so far conformed to the usage of their countrymen, that they have never introduced this name in their writings. In quoting from the Old Testament, they have adopted the method of the Seventy, whose words they frequently use. nerality of Christian translators have in this imitated their practice. Our own, in particular, have only in four places of the Old Testament, used the name Jehovah. In all other places, which are almost innumerable, they render it the Lord. But, for distinction's sake, when this word corresponds to Jehovah, it is printed in capitals.
I once thought, that in translating the New Testament, the word Jehovah might properly be replaced, wherever, in a quotation from the Old, that name was used in the Hebrew. On more mature reflection I now think differently. It seemed good to infinite wisdom, in the old dispensation, when a peculiar nation was chosen, and contradistinguished to all others, so far to condescend to the weakness of his creatures, as to distinguish himself as their God, by an appropriated name, which might discriminate him, with them, from the gods of the nations; the
general names God and Lord being applied to them all. But, in the Gospel dispensation, wherein all such distinctions were to be abolished, it was proper that there should remain nothing which might appear to represent God as a national or local deity. A proper name is not necessary where there are no more than one of a kind. We are not sensible of the want of a proper name for the sun, the moon, or the earth. It is not suitable in the interpreter of the New Testament, to show a greater nicety of distinction than the sacred penmen have warranted. It belongs rather to the annotator, than to the translator, to mark such differences. In translating the Old Testament, the distinction, in my judgment, ought to be sacredly preserved, for the very same reason that no distinction ought to be made, in the New. The translator ought faithfully to represent his original, as far as the language which he writes is capable of doing it. So much for the import of the word xvplos, and the different senses that it bears according to the application.