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35. If then, in the language of the Scriptures, they are called Gods, who only act by a commiflion from God (and surely the language of the Scriptures is not to be arraigned); 36. With what pretence can you say of him who comes into the world with a more immediate and extraordinary commission from God than any Prophet before him, Thou blasphemert, when all that she fays amounts to no more than calling himself the Son of God, and claiming such a power as you might expect that a son might receive from a father? 37. And that I am in this sense the Son of God, I appeal to the works which he has empowered me to do,' &c.
It appears from Matth. xvi. 16. xxvi. 64. and the parallel passages, that the phrase, or title, The Son of God, was synonymous with that of The Mefiah. We are, therefore, of opinion, that the latter part of the paraphrase of ver. 36. would have been better expressed and claiming such a power as you might justly expect the Mefliah to have, Then it would naturally follow, v. 37. If the works that I perform do not prove that a supernatural, a divine power accompanies me, reject my pretensions as false and groundless. 38. But if they do, though you pay no regard to my affertions, let the works which my Father has empowered me to do, convince you that what I said before is true, viz. that I and he are one, or, in other words, that it is as if the Father was in me, and I in him ; la intimate is the communication that subfifts between us.'
The following Note by Mr. Turner, on John v. 36. and following verses, was inadvertently omitted in its proper place, It deserves to be copied.
Jesus refers to three kinds of evidence which the Father had given of his mission. First, The miracles he empowered him to work, ver. 36. Secondly, The voice from Heaven, and the descent of the Spirit on him in a visible form at his baptifm, of which many had been witnesses, verse 37, 38. And Thirdly, The predictions of the Prophets, verse 39. If we read the words in the latter
of the and the 38th verses interrogatively, they will appear to refer to what happened at the baptism of Jesus, and to contain a very Atriking lentiment. Have ye neither heard bis voice at any time, nor seen his appearance? And have ye not his word remaining in you, that ye
believe not him whom he hath fent ? i. e. Do ye not remember what he then faid; or hath it left no impression on you ?'
We shall close our extracts with a Note, by Dr. Priestley, on Mark viii. 38. which we recommend to the attention of our Readers on the same account as he recommends the text itself.
• Whosoever shall be ashamed of me, &c.] I would recommend this aweful warning to the particular consideration of Chriftians in this age, in which fo many persons of eminence in the world, and especially in literature and philofophy, are sceptics and unbelievers, and in which, therefore, she temptation to be ashamed of the Chriftian name is, in some circumstances, peculiarly strong. In this situation it is highly criminal to deny, or .conceal our real belief of Cbritianity, or wbatever we consider as belonging to it. And thank ful we ought to be, that this' (scil. shame) * is the greatest part of the
persecution that we have at this day to expect. Our ancestors had much greater trials.'
It cannot be expected in such a work as the present, that every note or explanation should be equally important, or give universal fatisfaction. Different persons, and even the fame person at different times, will think differently on this, as well as on other subjects, according to their several present views and sentiments. Joy in heaven, &c. Luke xv. 7. 10. and the Wedding garment, Matth. xxii. 11. seem to us to require a Note full as much as many other expreffions which Dr. Priestley has judged it necessary to explain. Nor is it to be thought that the same attention and ability should be uniformly discovered. In a few places we have observed the Text and Notes, and the Notes and Paraphrase not to agree with each other. This, we think, should have been avoided. In the Paraphrase of John xvi. 23, 24. the omission of in my name, or as it is juftly explained, ver. 26. as my disciples, renders the explanation of that paffage imperfect and unsatisfactory. It cannot be thought that the Apostles had so long neglected to pray to God in the manner in which our Lord had directed them. But they had not yet addressed themselves to God as the disciples of Christ. In this character he directs them, for the future, to offer up their petitions ; and assures them, their prayers would be so favourably received, that there would be no occasion, even for him, to second their requests, because God himself loved them, &c.
We are sorry to have occafion to observe, that this work is in several places incorrectly printed. Beside the mistakes noted and corrected at the end, we have observed the following: The Note, p. 7, V. 20. should have been inserted p. 10, and marked V. 80. P. 8, Luke i. 57. should have begun the following section. Matth. vi. 24. and Luke xvii. 37. are entirely omitted. P. 69, Note, Matth. xii. 5. we have, profane not the Sabbath : instead of, profane the Sabbath. Ibid. ' V. 12.' wpco Xuxn TW Jew, for, wpcoeuyn Tp Jell. P. 73, Note, V.g.' is misplaced. P. 190, Note, V. 29, at the end, 'Luke xi. 48. Sect. LV.' should be added. P. 216, Reference c. and d. are omitted in the margin. Matth. xi. 1. should have concluded the preceding section. Indeed the division of the Harmony, or rather History, into sections, might, in our opinion, be altered considerably for the better. Surely the parable, Matth. XX. 1, &c. ought never to be separated from the last verse of the preceding chapter, of which it is a professed illustration. The respect that we are known to have for the Author, and the general character that we have given of this publication, render it
almost needless for us to observe, that we notice these things, | not to disparage the work, but merely from a desire that when
a second edition is called for, it may be rendered still more complete and unexceptionable. We conclude with suggesting,
that, though the present work is well calculated for the benefit of both the learned and unlearned, we think, that if Dr. Priestley would take his corrected verfion of the Gospels out of the form of a Harmony, and publish them and the Acts of the Apostles, with notes at the bottom of each page, he would perform a ftill more useful and acceptable fervice to the Public. ART. JI. Vetus Teftamentum Hebraicum ; cum variis Lectionibus.
Edidit Benjaminus Kennicott, S T.P. Edis Chrifii Canonicus, et Bibliothecarius Rudolivianus. Tomus Secundus. Folio. Vol. II, 41. 45. Boards. Oxonii, « Typograpbco Clarendoniano. Sold by Rivington in London. 1780.
E have already given an account of the firft volume of
this great work, in our Review for August, 1776: where the general principles on which it proceeds are described, with the addition of some extracts and particular observations, that appeared to us peculiarly to merit the attention of our Readers. As from that first volume, and the plan proposed, we were fully convinced that the work was likely to prove of uncommon importance, we are happy in seeing the publication of this second volume, which completes the whole.
That we do not, without reason, congratulate the Public on the completion of this most valuable and interesting undertaking, will be manifest, when to our observations already pubTished on the former part, shall be added such as offer themfelves on the latter part; and also on the General Dissertation, in Latin, with which it is accompanied. Indeed, this Differtation being an account of the work, of its nature and manner of conducting it, as given by the learned Author himself; it will be moft eligible to proceed, in the remarks we shall make, according to the order of things observed in that Dissertation.
Dr. Kennicott's General Disertation (which is fold feparately * from the work itself) begins with expressing his gratitude to God, for continuing his life through the twenty years in which he has been devoted to this great defign; and, as we learn from a note subjoined, through nirre years more, spent in examining the Hebrew manuscripts, and recommending a collation of them. Our Author having thus started a subject entirely new, and which, therefore, though it excited in some men great hopes as to its advantages, alarmed others with fears of unfavourable confequences; he is here very careful to prove, that the work was undertaken not by an enemy to revelation, but by a friend; by one who is firmly persuaded of the divine authority of the Old Testament.
But though Dr. Kennicott believes that the originals of these facred books were true ; yet he is so far from attributing the * Price 7 s. sewed.
same rectitude to the transcripts from these originals, that he' gives several reasons why the contrary may well be presumed: such as, the almost infinite number of these transcripts, and the great distance of many of them from the originals in point of time; as well as the great fimilitude of several letters, which is very observable both in the Samaritan and the Hebrew alphabets. His words on this subject are these : .Quæ vero de ipfis prophetarum autographis dicta funt, eadem de exemplaribus inde exfcriptis non pariter funt dicenda: multo etiam minus, ubi jam codices ifti fuissent exscripti multoties, et ætate ab aụtographis longius diftarent exemplaria. Nullum habemus remotæ antiquitatis Scriptorem, in quo non multùm et graviter ex librariorum incuriâ peccatum fit; dum in recentiore quoque codice nova fere femper fuccrescit errorum seges.
Sed quod ad codices V. T. attinet; multa sunt, quæ iftam adaugent fufpici
Scimus horum codd. exemplaria numero fuifle pene infinita : in quibus exscribendis, per annos faltem 2000, et per totum terrarum orbem, infinita pene erat opera librariorum; quos omnes necesse est eruditione, diligentiâ, fide, a se invicem multum diversos fuisse. Ipfæ etiam Hebraicarum literarum formæ errorem facile admittunt. Et quot quantique errores ibi sunt expectandi ; ubi sex vel feptem literæ sex vel feptem aliis literis sunt quam fimillimæ ? Hoc et de antiquo Veteris Testa. menti Alphabeto, a quo minùs difceffum inter Samaritanos, verum eft; et nunc quoque (tot quanquam gradationibus gradatim factis) de quadrato Yudæorum hodierno conftat.'
In opposition to Lord Bolingbroke's maxim, That if the Scriptures had been from God, they would always have been preferved in their primitive purity; Dr. Kennicott'thews, that neither the wisdom nor goodness of the Supreme Being suffers, from the supposition that many errors have crept into the present text: because the most important matters are still secure, and certain ; and men have always been able to learn from the Bible a rule both of faith and practice. This position he illuftrates by an appeal to the antient churches, both Greek and Italian, and the modern churches of both Protestant and Roman Catholics : fince, amongst all these, their sacred books taught them what they must do to be saved; though they contained many errors, the correction of which was very desirable. He then proceeds to few, that as the integrity of the sacred books could not have been preserved, without a MIRACLE, perpetual as to time, and universal as to place, which would consequently be a greater miracle than any in the Bible ; and as many corruptions, in transcripts made from transcripts ever since the year 400 before Christ, were unavoidable: it is happy, that several versions, made 1500 or 2000 years ago, will correct some of
these corruptions, and that the Hebrew manufcripts still extane will correct others.
Though these objections of infidelity do thus admit of the most satisfactory reply, it is the less surprising that'objections Thould be made to an inquiry after various readings; when it was the general opinion, that the true text was already established. For it certainly was the general opinion, about fifty years ago, that the text of the Old Testament was entirely, or nearly, perfect. This matter, though exceedingly important, was strangely taken for granted ; and, which is still more ftrange, the absolute integrity of the Old Testament was then believed by many, who did not believe the same of the New Testament. For the collations of the manufcripts of the New Teltament, which had happily been made, and received with due gratitude by the learned, rendered it impossible to deny, that there were some errors in every single Greek copy both written and printed. And yet, notwithstanding this demonstration as to the New Testament; a blind persuasion of the impeccability of Jewish transcribers, or at least of the absolute purity of the printed Hebrew text, pofleffed the minds of many learned men.
But, though such was the doctrine held by many, and a profeflion of the belief of it had been required by some societies; yet were there others' among the learned, and these not a few, who, in this century as well as in former times, had expressed themselves convinced, that numerous mistakes had been made in Hebrew manuscripts; many of which were admitted into all the printed copies. That this difference of opinion might be the better understood, and that men might come better prepared for considering and making the proper use of this vast collection of various readings, Dr. Kennicott has presented us with a surprising detail of Testimonies; which exhibit the opinions both of the Jews and Christians, as to the Hebrew text, from the earliest times down to the present. The introduction to these testimonies is thus expressed : . Ergo, quæ ex utraque parte dicta fuerint a me accuratius explicanda sunt; ut de impresfis V. T. editionibus, et de hac instituti noftri ratione, rectius judicari queat. Methodus maxime perspicua (nam in re tantâ perfpicue potius quam eleganter scribere studendum eft) qua fententiæ optimorum et celebratiffimorum criticorum de textu Hebraico poffunt enumerari, hæc efle videtur: ut in duas claffes, JUDÆORUM se. et CHRISTIANORUM, dividantur; atque ut antiquiorés et recentiores auctores in utraque claffe, ordine quodum chronologico, proferantur. JUDÆORUM igitur testimonia, primò producenda, conditionem textûs Hebraici oftendent per hæc 5 temporum intervalla. Periochæ funto-1. A Malachiä ætate, ante Christum natum circiter 420, usque ad Chriftum natum. 2. A Christo, usque ad annum poft Chriftum 500.