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chap. VI. Uniformity of sense in Scripture preserved by tradition. Vowels

and accents applied to the text in conformity with the tradi-

tional readings. Cappellus supposes these readings to have

been preserved by the use of the Matres Lectionis before the

invention of vowels. Version of Aquila conformable with the

Masoretical text, as well with respect to vowels as to conso-

nants. Various vowel readings of the Septuagint, contrasted

with those of Aquila. Singular reading of the Septuagint

Isaiah ix. 6. Theodotio's version less conformable with the

Masoretical text, than Aquila’s. Masoretical readings genu-

ine. No other edition of the Hebrew text extant. Gries-

bach's mode of detecting different editions. Masoretical text


long anterior to the date of our most ancient MSS. Incontro-

vertibly more than thirteen centuries old. Marks the distinc-

tion of words and supplies correct pauses. A similar copy of

the New Test., if of high antiquity, would be greatly valued 453

VII. Theory of elucidating Hebrew by the Cognate Dialects, particu-

larly by the Arabic. Extract from Schultens, in exemplifica-

tion of this theory. The verb 572. More ingenuity of in-

vestigation, than solidity of reasoning in it. Languages derived

from the same source, do not always use the same word in the

The derivative sense more likely to occur in the

more modern, and the primitive in the most ancient langnages.

Position, that the Hebrew tongue may be greatly illustrated by

the study of the Dialects, contains some theoretical truth with

much practical uncertainty. Difficulty of the illustration.

Signification of words in a constant state of Auctuation. Im-

provement in criticism often brings increase in perplexity.

Oriental languages built upon the same foundation are some-

times composed of different materials. Hebrew and Syriac.

Restrictions prescribed by Baver. Lexicons improved only in

Etymological investigations. A Translator not to be led astray

by ingenious conceits, and theoretical novelties

VIII. Recapitulation. Conclusion. En, lish Established Version

translated from the Hebrew. Style of it admired. Obsolete

expressions. Defects of it counterbalanced by its many ex-

cellencies. Not likely to be superseded by a better


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I. THE art of interpreting the Sacred Writings, supposes the faculty, improved by cultivation and exercise, of discovering and exhibiting that sense, which the Sacred writers themselves attached to the words they used. The same rules, which regulate the explanation of other documents, are of authority in reference to the Scriptures : these rules, it is the business of Criticism and Hermeneutics to exhibit. Hence, Sacred Criticism, and Sacred Hermeneutics, demand our attention. The utility of attending to these subjects is the greater, because, from various causes, the interpretation of the sacred writings, is peculiarly difficult, and errors, are here more frequently committed, than in the exposition of other works.

Gelbricht. Comm. qua docetur, interpretationem librorum divinorum aby interpretatione librorum humanorum nihil differre. Cizæ, 1774. Jo. Asboth Comm. de interpretatione codicis sacri, ad communia om.


nes libros interpretandi principia revocata, præmio ab ord. Theol. Gættornata. Gett. 1791.

Guil. Nic. Freudentheil Comm. de codice sacro more in reliquis antiquitatis libris solemni ingenue interpretando, adjectis 'difficultalibus N. T. propriis. Chemn. 1791.

May there not, however, be rules of interpretation, applicable to other books, which, in the New Testament, have no authority ? and may it not be properly enquired, what influence the inspiration of the New Testament should have upon this subject ?

The earlier commentaries on the interpretation of the New Testament, taught that the sense was to be determined by the opinions of the ancient writers, from the judgment of the church-from a certain internal sense- - from the analogy of faith--and from the formularies of Philosophy. Those of a later date, lay more stress upon the dictates of reason.

Hermeneutics, in an extensive sense, includes Criticism, and is distinguished from Exegesis. The science of interpreting the Sacred Writings, belongs to what is called special Hermeneutics. Attention, therefore, to this subject, presupposes a knowledge of the rules of universal Hermeneutics, which prescribe the method of investigating the signification of words and modes of expressiondetermining the sense of every passage-estimating and explaining the sentiment, &c. The Hermeneutics of the Bible has two parts, the one general, the other special.

On the causes of the difficulty of the interpretation of the SS., see

J. S. Ernesti d. de difficultatibus N. T. recte interpretandi 1755. Opp. Critt. et Phill.

The following writers have, more or less extensively, treated the subject of sacred Hermeneutics.

J. S. Semler Vorbereitung zur Theolog. Hermeneutik, Halle 1760—69.

J. Gottlieb Toeliner Grundriss einer erwiesenen Hermeneutik des N. T. Lisell. 1765,

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