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are now either obsolete or used in a different sense. These changes I shall here briefly exemplify. As habit is apt to mislead us, and we are little disposed to suspect that that meaning of a word or phrase, to which we are familiarized, was not always the meaning; to give some examples of such alteration may prevent us from rashly accusing former translators for improprieties wherewith they are not chargeable; and to specify alterations on our own language, may serve to remove the doubts of those who imagine there is an improbability in what I have formerly maintained, concerning the variations which several words in ancient languages have undergone in different periods. Now, this is a point of so great moment to the literary critic and antiquary, that it is impossible thoroughly to understand, or accurately to interpret, ancient authors, without paying due regard to it. Through want of this regard, many things in ecclesiastic history have been much misunderstood, and grossly misrepresented. Unluckily, on this subject, powerful secular motives interfering, have seduced men to contribute to the general deception, and to explain ancient names by usages comparatively modern. But this by the way; I proceed to the examples.

6. I intend to consider, first, the instances affected by the last of the circumstances above-mentioned, namely, those wherein the signification is changed, though the term itself remains. Of such I shall now produce some examples: first, in nouns. The word conversation, which means no more at present than familiar discourse of two or more persons, did, at the time when the Bible was translated, denote behaviour in the largest acceptation. The Latin word conversatio, which is that generally used in the Vulgate, answering to the Greek avaorpoon, has commonly this meaning. But the English word has never, as far as I have observed, this acceptation in the present use, except in the law phrase criminal conversation. And I have reason to believe, that in the New Testament it is universally mistaken by the unlearned, as signifying no more than familiar talk or discourse. Hence it has also happened, that hypocrites and fanatics have thought themselves authorized, by the words of Scripture, in placing almost the whole of practical religion in this alone. Yet I do not remember that the word occurs so much as once in Scripture in this sense. What we call conversation must indeed be considered as included, because it is a very important part of behaviour; but it is not to be understood as particularly specified. In one passage it is expressly distinguished from familiar discourse or conversation, in the modern import of the word: Tuжоç yivov тWV πιστων εν λόγῳ, εν αναστροφή, rendered in the common version, "Be an example of the believers in word, in conversation," 1 Tim. iv. 12. That these words λoy and avaσrpoon are not synonymous, the repeating of the preposition sufficiently shows. Though, therefore, not improperly rendered at that time, when the English term was used in a greater latitude of signification, they ought

manifestly to be rendered now, in conversation, in behaviour; the first answering to λογος, the second to αναστρόφῃ.

Another instance of such a variation we have in the word thief, which, in the language of Scripture, is confounded with robber, and probably was so also in common language at that time, but is now invariably distinguished. They are always carefully distinguished in the original, the former being KλETTηs, the latter Anoτης. The two criminals who were crucified with our Lord are always called, by the two Evangelists who specify their crime, λησται, never κλεπται. * Yet our translators have always rendered it thieves, never robbers. This is the more remarkable, as wha we now call theft was not a capital crime among the Jews. Yet this penitent malefactor confessed upon the cross, that he and his companion suffered justly, receiving the due reward of their deeds.† He probably would not have expressed himself in this manner if their condemnation had not been warranted by the law of Moses. And though, doubtless, the English word at that time was used with greater latitude than it is at present, yet, as they had rendered the same original term Anorns, when applied to Barabbas, robber, they ought to have given the same interpretation of the word as applied to the two malefactors, who on the same occasion were accused of the same crime. In like manner, in the parable of the compassionate Samaritan, the words rendered "fell among thieves," are AnoTALS TEρLETTEσEV. Hardly would any person now confound the character there represented with that of thieves.

Again, the expression the uppermost rooms,|| does not suggest to men of this age the idea of the chief places at table, but that of the apartments of the highest story. "The good man of the house," though sufficiently intelligible, is become too homely (not to say ludicrous) a phrase for the master of the family. The word lust** is used, in the common translation, in an extent which it has not now; so also is usury.++ Worship,‡‡ for honour or civil respect paid to men, does not suit the present idiom. The words lewd and lewdness,§§ in the New Testament, convey a meaning totally different from that in which they are now constantly used. The word pitiful, with us, never means, as it does in Scripture,|||| in conformity to etymology, compassionate, merciful; but paltry, contemptible. In the following words, also, there is a deviation, though not so considerable, from the ancient import. Meat ¶¶ and food are not now synonymous terms, neither are cunning*** and skilful, honest††† and decent or becoming, more‡‡‡ and greater, quick §§§ and living, faithless || || ||


Matt. xxvii. 38, 44. Mark xv. 27. Luke x. 30. || Matt. xxiii. 6. ++ Matt. xxv. 27. Luke xix. 23.

+ Luke xxiii. 41. Matt. xx. 11. ‡‡ Luke xiv. 10.

§ See an excellent illustration of the remark, in regard to these two words, in the Disquisitions concerning the Antiquities of the

James v. 11. ttt 2 Cor. viii. 21.

།ན། Matt. iii. 4.
### Acts xix. 32.

Christian Church, p. 4. note.
*** Exod. xxxviii. 23.
666 Acts x. 42.
John xx. 27.

John xviii. 40. **Rom. vii. 7.

and incredulous, coasts* and territories, or borders not confining with the sea.


The like variations have happened in verbs. To prevent † is hardly ever now used, in prose, for to go before; to faint, for to grow faint, to fail in strength: to ensue, § for to pursue; to provoke, for to excite to what is proper and commendable; to entreat,¶ for to treat; and to learn,** for to teach. Even adverbs and particles have shared the general fate. Yea and nay,tt though still words in the language, are not the expression of affirmation and negation as formerly; instantly‡‡ we never use for earnestly, nor hitherto §§ for thus far. Yet this was, no doubt, its original meaning, and is more conformable to etymology than the present meaning; hither being an adverb of place and not of time. More instances might be given, if necessary.

Now to employ words, which, though still remaining in the language, have not the sanction of present use for the sense assigned to them, cannot fail to render the passages where they occur almost always obscure, and sometimes ambiguous. But, as every thing which may either mislead the reader, or darken the meaning, ought carefully to be avoided by the interpreter, no example, however respectable, will in such things authorize our imitation. An alteration here implies nothing to the disadvantage of preceding translators, unless it can be supposed to detract from them, that they did not foresee the changes which, in after-times, would come upon the language. They employed the words according to the usage which prevailed in their time. The same reason which made them adopt these words then, to wit, regard to perspicuity by conforming to present use, would, if they were now alive, and revising their own work, induce them to substitute others in their place.

7. Another case in which a translator ought not implicitly to follow his predecessors, is in the use of words now become obsolete. There is little or no scope for this rule, when the subject is a version into a dead language like the Latin, which, except in the instances of some ecclesiastic terms, such as those above taken notice of, is not liable to be affected by the changes to which a living tongue is continually exposed. The very notion of a dead language refers us to a period which is past, whose usages are now over, and may therefore be considered as unchangeable but in living languages, wherein use gradually varies, the greatest attention ought to be given to what obtains at present, on which both propriety and perspicuity must depend. Now, with respect to our common version, some words are disused only in a particular signification, others are become obsolete in every meaning. The former ought to be avoided, in such accep

Matt. xv. 32, Luke xviii. 1.
Luke xx. 11.

* Matt. ii. 16.
§ 1 Pet. iii. 11.

+ 1 Thess. iv. 15.
|| Heb. x. 24.

** Psal. xxv. 4. Com. Prayer. ++ Matt. v. 37. #Luke vii. 4.

Job xxxviii. 11.

tations only as are not now favoured by use. The reason is obvious; because it is only in such cases that they suggest a false meaning. The latter ought to be avoided in every case wherein they do not clearly suggest the meaning. I admit that there are certain cases in which even an obsolete word may clearly suggest the meaning: For, first, the sense of an unusual or unknown word may be so ascertained by the words in connexion, as to leave no doubt concerning its meaning; secondly, the frequent occurrence of some words in the common translation, and in the English liturgy, must hinder us from considering them, though not in common use, as unintelligible to persons acquainted with those books. The danger, therefore, from using words now obsolete, but frequently occurring in the English translation, is not near so great as the danger arising from employing words not obsolete in an obsolete meaning, or a meaning which they formerly had, but have not at present; for these rarely fail to mislead.

Further, a distinction ought to be made in obsolete words, between those which, in Scripture, occur frequently, and whose meaning is generally known, and those which occur but rarely, and may, therefore, be more readily misunderstood. The use of old words, when generally understood, has, in such a book as the Bible, some advantages over newer terms, however apposite. A version of holy writ ought no doubt, above all things, to be simple and perspicuous; but still it ought to appear, as it really is, the exhibition of a work of a remote age and distant country. When, therefore, the terms of a former version are, by reason of their frequent occurrence there, universally understood, though no longer current with us either in conversation or in writing, I should account them preferable to familiar terms. Their antiquity renders them venerable. It adds even an air of credibility to the narrative, when we consider it as relating to the actions, customs, and opinions of a people very ancient, and, in all the respects now mentioned, very different from us. There may, therefore, be an excess in the familiarity of the style, though, whilst we are just to the original, there can be no excess in simplicity and perspicuity. It is for this reason that I have retained sometimes, as emphatical, the interjections lo! and behold! which, though antiquated, are well understood: also, that the obsolete word host is, in preference to army, employed in such phrases as the host of heaven, the Lord of hosts; and that the terms tribulation, damsel, publican, and a few others, are considered as of more dignity than trouble, girl, toll-gatherer; and therefore worthy to be retained. For the like reason, the term of salutation hail, though now totally disused except in poetry, has generally, in the sacred writings, a much better effect than any modern form which we could put in its place. To these we may add words which (though not properly obsolete) are hardly ever used, except when the subject, in some way or other, con

cerns religion. Of this kind are the words sin, godly, righteous, and some others, with their derivatives. Such terms, as they are neither obscure nor ambiguous, are entitled to be preferred to more familiar words. And if the plea for consecrated words extended no further, I should cheerfully subscribe to it. I cannot agree with Dr. Heylin, who declares explicitly* against the last-mentioned term, though, by his own explanation, it in many cases conveys more exactly the sense of the original than the word just, which he prefers to it. The practice of translators into other languages, where they are confined by the genius of their language, is of no weight with us. The French have two words, pouvoir and puissance; the English word power answers to both. But, because we must make one term serve for both theirs, will they, in complaisance to us, think they are obliged to confine themselves to one? And as to those over-delicate ears, to which, he says, cant and fanaticism have tarnished and debased the words righteous and righteousness; were this consideration to influence us in the choice of words, we should find that this would not be the only sacrifice it would be necessary to make. It is. but too much the character of the age to nauseate whatever, in the intercourse of society, has any thing of a religious or moral appearance: a disposition which will never be satisfied, till every thing serious and devout be banished, not from the precincts of conversation only, but from the language.

But to return: When words totally unsupported by present use occur in Scripture but rarely, they are accompanied with a degree of obscurity which renders them unfit for a book intended for the instruction of all men, the meanest not excepted. Of this class are the words leasing, for lies; ravin, for prey; bruit, for rumour; marvel, for wonder; worth, for be; wot and wist, for know and knew; to bewray, for to expose; to eschew, for to avoid; to skill, for to be knowing in, or dexterous at; to wax, for to become; to lease, for to lose; and to lack, for to need or be wanting. Terms such as some of these, like old vessels, are, I may say, so buried in rust, as to render it difficult to discover their use. When words become not entirely obsolete, but fall into low or ludicrous use, it is then also proper to lay them aside. Thus folk, for people; trow, for think; seethe, for boil; sod and sodden, for boiled; score, for twenty; twain, for two; clean and sore, when used adverbially, for entirely and very much; all to, albeit, and howbeit, may easily be given up. To these we may add the words that differ so little from those which have still a currency, that it would appear like affectation to prefer them to terms equally proper and more obvious. Of this kind are mo, for more; strait and straitly, for strict and strictly; aliant, for alien; dureth, for endureth; camp, for encamp; minish, for diminish; an hungered, for hungry; garner, for granary; trump, for trumpet; sith, for since; fet, for fetched; ensample, for example; Theol. Lect. vol. i. p. 7.

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