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So little are the affairs of men conducted by reason, that this edition, recommended only by the celebrity and handsome workmanship of the printer, soon grew into fashion, acquired the title of the Received Text, and has been copied in all the common editions ever since.

The last century, however, has witnessed the auspicious progress of Biblical Criticism. The London Polyglott had led the way; and at Oxford, in 1707, Dr. Mill published his most splendid and admirable edition, enriched with his valuable Prolegomena, and a noble collection of readings from manuscripts, the ancient versions, and the citations of the Fathers. He adopted the text of R. Stephens, of 1551. Bengelius went farther, and published a text partially improved, by alterations made on the authority of readings which he found in the previously printed editions, especially in the Book of Revelation; with a select collection of various readings: Tubingen, 1734, 4to. It was a maxim with him not to admit a single reading into his text, that had not appeared before in a printed copy! Wetstein published his inestimable work, of truly Herculean labour, in two folio volumes, at Amsterdam, 1751; with ample Prolegomena replete with important information, a vast collection of various readings, and notes chiefly philological. From an excess of caution, he adopted the Elzevirian text. England had the honour of producing the first printed copy of the New Testament, that exhibited a text formed by rational and careful criticism, on a proper use of sufficient sources of evidence and authority. This was edited in 2 vols. 12mo. 1763, by the learnedprinter, Mr. Bowyer, who received into his text the readings which Wetstein, on the evidence of MSS., had inserted in his margin. We are obliged to pass by the critical editions of Matthäi, Alter, and Birch, to save the patience of our readers. The last and most important present to sacred literature, is the edition of the Greek Testament by Dr. I. I. Griesbach, first published at Halle in Saxony, in 1775 and 1777; and, in a second and most carefully perfected edition, at Halle in 1796 and 1806, 2 volumes, 8vo. The Prolegomena are a treasure of scriptural information and criticism. The text is formed by the unremitting and patient labours of the excellent critic, its editor, from a scrutinizing and cautious use of all the proper means. From the constant habit of using the last edition, we confidently advance our opinion, that the constitution of the text in general proceeds upon a strictly upright and judicious application of the unimpeachable laws of fair criticism. In a word, we do not hesitate to say, that no man, in the present day, can justify himself to his conscience or to the public, as a satisfactory interpreter of the Scriptures and a competent defender of Christian Truth, who

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does not, if he has it in his power, regularly consult Mill, Wetstein, and Griesbach, or at any rate one of the latter


We have felt much difficulty in compressing, within our confined bounds, this necessary detail. Our indulgent readers will now revert to the inquiry which enjoined upon us this excursion; namely, Did king James's translators possess, as the basis of their Version, a text of the New Testament well ascertained to be eract and authentic? The reply is obvious. At their time, and in their circumstances, the thing was impossible. The result of our whole disquisition we shall present in a few short propositions.

1. Our translators could not use the common or received text; for that was not constituted till near thirteen years afterwards. No man therefore can contend for the purity of both the ordinary Greek text, and the text used by our venerable translators.

2. We have no information, and at this distance of time it is hopeless to expect it, as to what edition was employed by them. Possibly the translators of the different books might not be uniform in this respect. From the troublesome operation of comparison, we find that in many instances they have rejected good readings of the Complutensian edition, and have preferred readings of inferior authority, from Stephens and Beza. Sometimes they have given the better reading in the margin: and we have found a single instance of their adopting a good Complutensian reading, in opposition to that which had more generally obtained. But it appears that they have, upon the whole, too implicitly adhered to the texts of Stephens and Beza.

3. The unlearned Christian has no ground of alarm about the certainty of the Scriptures and the security of Divine Truth. Even from the most corrupt text, and the most faulty version, that are known to exist, the facts, the doctrines, and the duties of Christianity, may be proved; though under some disadvantages. On this subject we may add the testimony of Dr. Bentley: "Not frighted therefore with the present 30,000 (readings collected by Dr. Mill) I, for my part, and, as I believe, many others, would not lament, if, out of the old MSS. yet untouched, 10,000 more were faithfully collected; some of which, without question, would render the text more beautiful, just, and exact; though of no consequence to the main of religion, nay, perhaps, wholly synonymous in the view of common readers, and quite insensible in any modern version." (Phileleuth. Lipsiensis.) The sole object of fair criticism is to restore the text to its origipal purity, as it came from the hands of the inspired writers. Callators and editors are no more infallible than printers and

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publishers; but their successive labours have been a series of approximations to perfection: and we have much probable reason for the opinion, that by the important labours of Griesbach the great object is now nearly attained, and that no emendations of consequence remain yet to be made. The libraries of Europe have been explored with the utmost diligence and repeated labour: but though many new documents have been brought to light, during the last thirty years, they have authorized no change of importance, while they have confirmed the decisions which modern criticism had previously pronounced. The fall of the Turkish empire, and the collation of the Hebrew and Syriac MSS. said to exist in India, will unquestionably give some interesting results; but they can scarcely be any other than corroborative of what is already established; at least with regard to the New Testament.

4. The authorized English version, notwithstanding the imperfections which we have freely, but, we hope, candidly mentioned, considering the infancy of critical knowledge at the time, is a very respectable and faithful representation of the text on which it was founded.

5. The Greek text of Griesbach's last edition has a just title, above every other yet published, to be received as a standard text.

6. It is highly desirable that the fruits of sacred criticism, produced by the arduous toils of illustrious scholars through so long a course of years, should be laid open to universal use. For this purpose, a revision of the established translation, transfusing into it the increased purity of the original text, would be the most obvious, easy, and generally acceptable method.

One of the volumes before us purports to be such a work, and claims our regard as an Improved Version' of the New Testament. The validity of its claims, it is our duty to examine. To say that we shall discover in it a strong bias of party principle, and that our decision will in many other respects be unfavourable, would be perhaps improperly to anticipate the result of an examination, which we shall endeavour to discharge with a conscientious regard to truth and justice.

The particular objects of our attention will be,-the text adopted as the basis of the version,-the divisions and punctuation, the mode of rendering idiomatical and peculiar expressions, the style in general,-the degree of integrity, or the deficiency of it, which marks the execution, and the character of the notes.

A few remarks will then suffice, on the mutilated New Testament, formed on the plan of the late Mr. Evanson. (To be continued.)

Art. V. Poems, by the Rev. George Crabbe, LL.B. 8vo. pp. 256. Third Edition. Price 10s. 6d. Hatchard. 1808.

NEXT to the inconceivable variety of forms and substances that constitute the material universe, there is nothing in nature more wonderful than the diversity among things of the same species. Perhaps no two blades of grass, no two grains of corn, were ever entirely alike. The leaf of an oak is a familiar object, of elegant and simple construction: nevertheless we may almost safely affirm, that since the creation no two oakleaves ever so nearly resembled each other, that they could not easily have been discriminated on comparison. To the mind even of an archangel it might be impossible to form an intelligible idea of the sum of such leaves that have been produced in the world, were their number recorded before him; yet far more difficult of comprehension is the fact which we assume, and which we believe, that each unit of that sum would represent a certain leaf which had been marked by some peculiarity that distinguished it from all the rest. If in so small a compass, and so slight a subject, there be an endless diversity of character (for shape, size, and colour may be said to characterise foliage), of far greater variation from one general standard must the human countenance be susceptible, since it is composed of many features, the meanest of which is incomparably more curiously designed and more exquisitely wrought than the leaf of a tree. Faces are often so palpably akin, that they at all times remind us the one of the other, and occasionally mislead us with respect to persons of whom we have an imperfect knowledge; but assuredly there were never two visages so equal (to use a geometrical term), that if placed together, and examined by an eye connected with an intellect above an ideot's, they would not have been found dissimilar in every line. The mind of man is infinitely more complex than his countenance, and capable, therefore, of modification in an infinitely higher degree. It is the noblest work on earth of that Being who made all things according to his own pleasure, and who made every species, not only more generally distinct from the other, but more individually distinguishable, as they rose in dignity in the order of creation. Two plants of the same kind are more unlike each other than two pieces of clay, two animals than two plants, two minds than two animals.

Now every thing in nature which can be perceived by our senses, is necessarily circumscribed within a line of impassable variation that determines its period, its form, and its dimensions. It is physically impossible for an acorn to increase to the size of a gourd, for a butterfly to live a hundred years, or for a human body to grow in the shape of a tree; but the

mind, unrestricted by time, and unlimited to space, seems capable of infinite expansion, and everlasting improvement:-consequently, as the proportion of individual distinction is enlarged according to the ascending rank of the species in the scale of creation, human minds must be more diversified than all the visible forms and substances in the universe, being so transcendantly exalted above them in their nature and by their powers.

We mean to make the application of these remarks to the belles lettres only; though they would lead us through many a fair field of knowledge, and light us through many a dark maze of speculation. If all the objects in nature are thus perpetually varying amidst the harmonious and unbroken uniformity of the whole, and if the mind of every man living be modified so differently from the mind of every other, that he sees all things from a particular point of view, and receives impressions from them that are entirely his own; then are the glories of nature inexhaustible in themselves, as the subjects of contemplation, and they are illustrated beyond measure, as subjects of description, by their phases being changed to every eye and every intellect. We cannot, therefore, listen with patience to that idle and false perversion of a scripture phrase, which is the common cant, and common cry, of superficial critics; There is nothing new under the sun!' Every thing under the sun is new; the sun himself never rose twice on the same object; the same object never affected two imaginations alike. Immutability belongs to God alone; it is his own indivisible, uncommunicated attribute,-the perfection of Deity: all that his power has created to adorn and animate the earth, his providence is continually changing, dissolving, renewing: they shall perish, but Thou shalt endure: as a vesture shalt Thou change them, and they shall be changed: but Thou art the same, and Thy years have no end!" He, therefore, who would delight the world as a Poet, must first learn to look at Nature with his own eyes, and he will soon discover wonders and beauties in her aspect, of which he was never aware, while he squinted at her through the spectacles of books,' and beheld nothing but tawdry, indistinct, and mutilated distortions of her simple and exquisite charmis. But he must not only see, he must feel, and above all, he must think, for himself, with unperverted susceptibility of heart, and unshaken independence of soul:-then, and not till then, what he has seen, and felt, and thought, and thoroughly comprehended, he may publish to the world; for he, and he only, who understands himself and his subject, can make, his readers understand either. It is an animating truth, that every man of persevering observation, however humble his genius, or narrow

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