Page images

on the contrary, contended that the bark is derived from the alburnum, and that it does not undergo any subsequent transformation. Mr. Knight's experiments tend to shew that neither of these opinions is perfectly correct; but they do not furnish us with any explication which is satisfactory. He thinks it probable, however, that a pulpous organisable mass first derives its matter either from the bark or the alburnum; and that this matter subsequently forms the new layer of bark.'

This communication seems, altogether, much fitter as the subject of a letter from one friend to another, or as an essay in a magazine, than as a memoir to be published in the Transactions of a learned Philosophical Society.

VI. An Investigation of the general Term of an important Series in the Inverse Method of finite Differences. By the Rev. John Brinkley. D. D. F. R. S. &c. Read Feb. 26, 1807.

The object of this curious paper cannot be better stated than in Dr. Brinkley's own language

The theorems relative to finite differences, given by M. LAGRANGE in the Berlin Memoirs for 1772, have much engaged the attention of mathematicians. M. LAPLACE has been particularly successful in his investigations respecting them; yet an important difficulty remained, to endeavour to surmount which is the principal object of this Paper. The theorems alluded to may be thus stated.

Letu represent any function of x. x+3h, &c. be successive values of x,

Let xh, x+2h, and u, u, u &c. cor

[ocr errors]

I 23

responding successive values of u. Let Au represent the
first term of the nth order of differences of the quantities u,
u, u &c. And let also Snu represent the first term of a series

I 2

of quantities, of which the first term of the nth order of dif
ferences is u. Then (e representing the series 1+1++
1-2-3+, &c.)

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]


provided that

&c. be substituted for

&c.; and provided that in the expansion of

[merged small][subsumed][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

These theorems, which M. Lagrange had not demonstrated except by induction, have since been accurately investigated in different ways by M. Laplace, and also by M. Arbogast.

The expanded formula for Su, or, more accurately speaking, the natural series for S"u is of the form

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

The coefficients a, B, y, &c. are readily obtained by equations of relation, which were first given by Lagrange. But to complete the solution it is obviously necessary to obtain the law of progression, and be able to ascertain any coefficient independent of the preceding ones. This has not hitherto been done, as far as I know, except in the case of n=1.' pp. 114, 115.

To facilitate the investigation of these and other subordinate theorems, included in the memoir, Dr. Brinkley introduces a new notation, by which some very complex expressions are avoided. He has undoubtedly conquered the diffi culty with which many preceding analysts have so unsuc cessfully contended: but we think it was possible to have given more perspicuity to the disquisition. We have a very high respect, however, for the abilities of this mathematician; and earnestly wish that, instead of communicating insulated memoirs on kindred subjects, to different Philosophical Societies, he would soon favour the public with the important publication to which he adverts in the following passage; as such an undertaking has been long a desideratum.

The important uses to be derived from finding fluxions per saltum in the reduction of analytical functions, and from the converse, induced me to draw up a particular work on that subject. Its publication has hitherto been delayed by my unwillingness to offer a fluxional notation different from either that of Newton or Leibnitz, each of which is very inconvenient as far as regards the application of the theorems for finding fluxions per saltum.' p. 121.

This part of the Transactions terminates with the Meteorological Journal, kept at the apartments of the Royal Society, for the year 1806. None of the results are sufficiently remarkable to need recording here. The variation of the magnetic needle for June 1806, is stated to be 24° 8' 6: so that it is obviously vacillating about a limit; the variation being in July, 1802, 24° 6'; July 1803, 249 79; July 1804, 24° 8' 4; and July 1805, 24° 7' 8. We may add that the observations at Paris, for a period of twelve years, favour a similar conclusion.

Art. III. The New Testament, in an Improved Version, upon the Basis of Archbishop Newcome's New Translation: with a Corrected Text, and Notes, Critical and Explanatory. 12mo. pp. 646. Price 8s. royal 8vo, 16s. Johnson, &c. 1808.

Art. IV. A New Testament; or the New Covenant, according to Luke, Paul, and John. Published in Conformity to the Plan of the late Rev. Edward Evanson, A.M. 12mo. pp. 383. Price 8s. 6d. Johnson, 1808.

WE intend to discuss the merits of these works in one critique, as they are closely allied by their avowed design, and by many features of their execution and character; and as our observations on the general subject of the criticism and translation of the Holy Scriptures must, of course, be applicable to both. The party which, with exemplary modesty and logical justice, assumes the title of Rational' and Unitarian, has within a short period put on appearances of zeal and ardour remarkably the reverse of that comparative torpor for which it was formerly distinguished. The more elaborate and important of the two books before us, the Improved Version is one of the symptoms of this change of character. The fact of such a change, with its origin, circumstances, and probable effects, we view without dismay: we even consider it as promising eminent advantage to the cause of genuine Christianity.

[ocr errors]

The friends of that religious system which we regard as founded in the perfect attributes and government of God, and as delivered by his inspired messengers, have been too inattentive to some of the means of educing and confirming its doctrines. Occupied, certainly to much better purpose, in bearing the fruits. of faith, the works of evangelical benevolence and practical holiness, they have not sufficiently adverted to the necessity of Critical Philology, an object of great, though of subordinate importance, for the students and advocates of divine truth; the objects are by no means incompatible, and attention to one neither requires nor justifies neglect of the other. Of this neglect, however, a very different class of men," addicted to study or speculation, and adversaries of sentiments which we deem scripturally pure, have carefully availed themselves; and have employed their more abundant leisure in acquiring, and partially applying, the great resources of scriptural criticism, Hence the cause of error has often enjoyed a triumph to which it had no legitimate claim; and that of revealed truth has been unconsciously betrayed by incompetent or injudicious defenders. We trust, that the augmented efforts of its opponents will urgently stimulate its friends. The result of accurate research and impartial conclusion,' furnished by competent learning, judiciously employed, and

accompanied by candour and integrity of spirit, cannot but be highly favourable to the advancement of scriptural knowledge. To accomplish this desirable purpose, let them candidly acknowledge, and cordially imitate, above all, let them scorn to depreciate-the laudable researches of those, in whom they are compelled to behold so much that demands condemnation or regret. It was one of the resolutions of the admirable President Edwards, thankfully to accept of light or instruction from any quarter, though it were from a child or an enemy.

Search the Scriptures,' is a command which every Christian must feel it a most important duty and advantage to obey. It cannot therefore be unworthy of his attention, to procure the most correct text of the sacred books; that is, the most faithful and perfect report of what the Redeemer taught, and what his prophets and apostles and evangelists committed to writing-But are we not already possessed of this perfect report? Are not our common printed editions, whether of the original scriptures or of translations, worthy in all cases whatever of entire and unlimited confidence? It has often been said, and very justly, that there is no copy of the Scriptures existing from which an honest inquirer might not learn enough to ensure his eternal felicity. But the question before us is a very different one. The resolution of it, to any tolerable scholar, would be easy, though in some respects it may be delicate. The unreasonable rage for innovation, in certain half-formed critics, but finished dogmatists, has established in many sober and pious minds a strong and jealous prejudice against all proposals of emendation. It has even been taken for granted by some, with equal absurdity and injustice, that decisions or even doubts against the perfect purity of the received text, are a mark of disaffection to the orthodox faith: thus mingling questions of mere intellectual and almost mechanical disquisition, with that too well known compound of violent human passions, the odium-theologicum.

Before we propose an opinion on the merits and demerits of the books on our table, we shall as briefly as possible\ discuss the important previous question which we have just stated. It has two parts: the first relates to the character and authority of our current Translation; the second, to the state of the original Text,

I. Is the authorized Version of the Holy Scriptures (usually called King James's, and which has been in general use in the British nation since the year 1611) so far a just and accurate representation of the Divine Originals, as to render impracticable, or, at least, unnecessary, any attempt to produce a more perfect translation?

[ocr errors]

It might illustrate the subject, were we to extend our remarks to the history and character of the German, Dutch, French, Welch, and other modern translations of the Bible; but our necessary limits prohibit so wide a range.

Our Anglo-Saxon ancestors, there is reason to believe, possessed at least two versions of the divine word; the first made by the Venerable Bede, who died A. D. 734, and another, in part, or perhaps wholly, by the illustrious hand of our patriot king, Alfred. After the Norman conquest, there were several partial translations into English, of the Psalms, Gospels, and Epistles. In the fourteenth century, Wicliff translated the whole Bible. The New Testament of this translation was often transcribed and widely circulated. Even now, fair manu-` scripts of it are not very uncommon*. The art of printing had not the honour of producing an English edition of the Scriptures till 1526, when the New Testament, translated by the martyr Tyndale, was printed in Germany, but it is not certainly ascertained whether at Antwerp, Cologne, or Hamburgh. In the forty-two subsequent years, there were no fewer than five New Versions:-Coverdale's, Cranmer's, Tavernier's, that by the English exiles at Geneva, and Archbishop Parker's, usually called the Bishops' Bible, because it was the joint production of the worthy Metropolitan and eight other prelates, with five inferior dignitaries. From 1568 to 1613, this last translation was used, by royal authority, in the churches: but the Genevan was more popular, and more generally read in private.

In 1604, James I. issued his commission to fifty-four learned men †, for a New Translation; which, having been executed in the space of three years, with much diligence and ability, was printed in 1611, By his Majesty's special Command,'

[ocr errors]

* Few of our readers perhaps are aware, that this venerable version has been printed; an edition in folio, consisting we believe of only 240 copies, was completed in 1731, under the care of the Rev. Mr. Lewis, of Margate, who prefixed to it a valuable History of the several translations of the Scriptures into English, whether in MS. or print. This dissertation was afterwards published separately in 8vo. with many improvements.

† We are persuaded that we shall not offend, in giving a long note, for the purpose of furnishing a list of those venerable men, to whom the British nation is under such great obligations, but whose names are known to so few.-They were distributed into Six Classes, and were to meet for conference, &c. at the places mentioned below.

Cl. I. At Westminster.-From Genesis to 2 Kings.

Dr. Lancelot Andrews, B. of Winchester; Dr. John Överall, B. of Norwich; Dr. de Saravia, Preb. of Canterbury; Dr. Rich. Clarke; Dr. John Layfield; Dr. Leigh; Mr. Burleigh Stretford; Mr. Kinge Sussex Mr. Thompson Clare; and Mr. Bedwell.

« PreviousContinue »