« ÖncekiDevam »
GENERAL PREFACE. TO AUGUSTINE, a laborious and voluminous writer, we are indebted for much valuable information on the sacred writings. His expositions of Scripture, however, have been the subjects of many acrimonious controversies in the Christian Church. He has written upon a number of abstruse and difficult points, and in several cases not in a very lucid manner; and hence it is not to be wondered at if many of his commentators have mistaken his meaning. Some strange things drawn from his writings, and several things in his creed, may be attributed to the tincture his mind received from his Manichean sentiments; for it is well known that he had embraced, previously to his conversion to Christianity, the doctrine of the two principles, one wholly evil, and the other wholly good; to whose energy and operation all the good and evil in the world were attributed. These two opposite and conflicting beings he seems, in some cases, unwarily to unite in one God; and hence he and many of his followers appear to have made the ever-blessed God, the fountain of all justice and holiness, the author, not only of all the good that is in the world, (for in this there can be but one opinion,) but of all the evil likewise ; having reduced it to a necessity of existence by a predetermining, unchangeable, and eternal decree, by which all the actions of angels and men are appointed and irrevocably established. St. Augustine died A. D. 430.
GREGORY the Great, who flourished about A. D. 600, has written commentaries which are greatly esteemed, especially among the Catholics.
THEOPII Y LACT has written a valuable comment on the Gospels, Acts, and St. Paul's Epistles. He flourished A. D. 700.
VENERABLE BEDE flourished A. A. 780, and wrote comments (or rather collected those of others) on the principal books of the Old and New Testaments, which are still extant.
RABANUS MAURUS, who flourished A. D. 800, was one of the most voluminous commentators since the days of Origen. Besides his numerous comments published in his works, there is a glossary of his on the whole Bible in MS., in the imperial library at Vienna.
WALAFRIDUS STRABUS composed a work on the Old and New Testaments, entitled Biblia Sacra Cilm Glossa Ordinaria, which is properly a Catena or collection of all comments of the Greek and Latin Fathers prior to his time. Strabus constantly endeavours to show the literal, historical, and moral sense of the inspired writers. The best edition of this valuable work was printed at Antwerp in 1681, 6 vols. folio. The author died in his forty-third year, A. D. 846.
It would be very easy to augment this list of Fathers and Doctors by the addition of many respectable names, but my limits prevent me from entering into any
detail. A few scanty additional notices of authors and their works must suffice.
Salonius, bishop of Vienna, who flourished in 440, wrote a very curious piece, entitled a Mystical Explanation of the Proverbs of Solomon, in a dialogue between himself and his brother Veranius: the latter asks questions on every important subject contained in the book, and the former answers and professes to solve all difficulties. He wrote also an Exposition of Ecclesiustes.
Paulo, bishop of the Carpathians, wrote on Solomon's Song.
Justus, bishop of Orgelitanum, or Urgel, wrote a mystical explanation of the same book. He died A. D. 540.
And to APONIUS, a writer of the seventh century, a pretty extensive and mystical exposition of this book is attributed. It is a continued allegory of the marriage between Christ and his Church.
To Aponius and the preceding writers most modern expositors of Solomon's Song stand considerably indebted, for those who have never seen these ancient authors have generally borrowed from others who have closely copied their mode of interpretation.
Among the opuscula of THEOPHILUS, bishop of Antioch, is found an allegorical exposition of the four Gospels. Theophilus flourished about the middle of the second century.
Victor, presbyter of Antioch, wrote a very extensive comment on St. Mark's Gospel, in which many very judicious observations may be found.
THEODULUS, a presbyter of Cælesyria, about A. D. 450 wrote a comment on the Epistle to the Romans.
REMIGIUS, bishop of Auxerre, who flourished about the end of the ninth century, wrote a comment on the twelve Minor Prophets.
SEDULIUS HYBERNICUS wrote a Collectanea on all the Epistles of St. Paul, in which there are many useful things. When he flourished is uncertain.
PRIMASIUS, bishop of Utica, in Africa, and disciple of St. Augustine, wrote also a comment on all St. Paul's Epistles, and one on the book of Revelation. He flourished A. D. 550.
And to Andreas, archbishop of Cæsarea, in Cappadocia, we are indebted for a very extensive comment on the Apocalypse, which is highly extolled by Catholic writers, and which contains a sufficient quantum of mystical interpretations.
All these writers, with others of minor note, may be found in the Bibliotheca Veterum Patrum, &c., by De la BIGNE, folio, par. 1624, vol. i. Any person who is fond of ecclesiastical antiquity will find himself gratified even by a superficial reading of the preceding authors; for they not only give their own sentiments on the subjects they handle, but also those of accredited writers who have flourished long before their times.
Class II.-CATHOLIC COMMENTATORS. Åmong the Catholic writers many valuable commentators are to be found; the chief of whom are the following :-Hugo de Sancto Clara, or Hugh de St. Cler, flourished in 1200. He was a Dominican monk and cardinal, and wrote a commentary on the whole Bible, and composed a Concordance, probably the first regular work of the kind, in which he is said to have employed not less than 500 of his brethren to write for him.
Nicholaus de Lyra or Lyranus, Anglice, Nicholas Harper, wrote short comments on the whole Bible, which are allowed to be very judicious, and in which he reprehends many reigning abuses. It is supposed that from these Martin Luther borrowed much of that light which brought about the Reformation. Hence it has been said,
Si Lyra non lyrasset,
Lutherus non saltasset.
Luther had never planned the reformation."
John Menochius, who flourished in the sixteenth century, has published short notes on all the Scriptures; they are generally esteemed very judicious and satisfactory.
Isidore Clarius, bishop of Fuligni in Umbria, in 1550, wrote some learned notes on the Old and New Testaments : he is celebrated for an eloquent speech delivered before the council of Trent in favour of the Vulgate. His learned defence of it contributed no doubt to the canonization of that Version.
John MaldonaT wrote notes on particular parts of the Old and New Testaments, at present little read:
CORNELIUS À LAPIDE is one of the most laborious and voluminous commentators since the invention of printing. Though he has written nothing either on the Psalms or Job, yet his comment forms no less than 16 vols. folio; it was printed at Venice, 1710. He was a very learned man, but cites as authentic several spurious writings. He died in 1637.
In 1693-4, Father QUESNEL, Priest of the Oratory, published in French, at Brussels, Moral Reflections on the New Testament, in 8 vols. 12mo. The author was a man of deep piety; and were it not for the rigid Jansenian predestinarianism which it contains, it would, as a spiritual comment, be invaluable. The work was translated into English by the Rev. Richard Russel, and published in 4 vols. 8vo., London, 1719, &c. In this work the reader must not expect any elucidation of the difficulties, or indeed of the text, of the New Testament; the design of Father Quesnel is to draw spiritual uses from his text, and apply them to moral purposes. His reflections contain many strong reprehensions of reigning abuses in the Church, and especially among the clergy. It was against this book that Pope Clement XI. issued his famous constitution Unigenitus, in which he condemned one hundred and one propositions taken out of the Moral Reflections, as dangerous and damnable heresies. In my notes on the New Testament I have borrowed several excellent reflections from Father Quesnels work. The author died at Amsterdam, December 2, 1719, aged 86 years:
Dom Augustin Calmet, a Benedictine, published what he terms Commentaire Litteral, on the whole of the Old and New Testaments. It was first printed at Paris, in 26 vols. 4to., 1707-1717; and afterwards in 9 vols. folio, Paris, Emery, Saugrain, and Martin, 1719–1726. It contains the Latin text of the Vulgate and a French translation, in collateral columns, with the notes at the bottom of each page. It has a vast apparatus of prefaces and dissertations, in which immense learning, good sense, sound judgment, and deep piety, are invariably displayed. Though the Vulgate is his text, yet he notices all its variations from the liebreui and Greek originals, and generally builds his criticisms on these. He quotes all the ancient commentators, and most of the modern, whether Catholic or Protestant, and gives them due credit and praise.
His illustrations of many difficult texts, referring to idolatrous customs, rites, ceremonies, &c., from the Greek and Roman classics, are abundant, appropriate, and successful. His tables, maps, plans, &c., are very judiciously constructed, and consequently very useful. This is without exception the best comment ever
published on the sacred writings, either by Catholics or Protestants, and has left little to be desired for the completion of such a work. It is true its scarcity, voluminousness, high price, and the language in which it is written, must prevent its ever coming into common use in our country ; but it will ever form one of the most valuable parts of the private library of every Biblical student and divine. From this judicious and pious commentator I have often borrowed ; and his contributions form some of the best parts of my work. It is to be lamented that he trusted so much to his printers, in consequence of which his work abounds withi typographical errors, and especially in his learned quotations. In almost every case I have been obliged to refer to the originals themselves. When once written he never revised his sheets, but
put them at once into the hands of his printer. This was a source of many mistakes; but for the following I cannot account. In his notes on Numb. xii. 2, he adds the following clause: Dominus iratus est, Le Seigneur se suit en colere, on which he makes the following strange observation : Cela n'est dans l'Hebreu, ni dans les Septante, ni dans le Chaldeen. On which Houbigant remarks: Potuit addere nec in Samaritano codice, nec in cjus interprete, nec in ipso Vulgato, nec in utroque Arabe. Ut difficile sit divinare unde hæc verba Aug. Calmet deprompserit : nec miror talia multa excidisse in scriptore qui chartas suas, prima manu scriptas, non prius retractabat, quam cas jam mississet ad typographos. The fact is, the words are not in the Bible nor in any of its versions.
In 1753, Father HoUBIGANT, a Priest of the Oratory, published a Hebrew Bible, in 4 vols. folio, with a Latin Version, and several critical notes at the end of each chapter. He was a consummate Hebraician and accurate critic; even his conjectural emendations of the text cast much light on many obscure passages, and not a few of them have been confirmed by the MS. collections of Kennicott and De Rossi. The work is as invaluable in its matter as it is high in price and difficult to be obtained. To this edition the following notes are often under considerable obligation.
Class III.-PROTESTANT COMMENTATORS.
Sebastian MUNSTER, first a Cordelier, but afterwards a Protestant, published a Hebrew Bible, with a Latin translation, and short critical notes at the end of each chapter. His Bible has been long neglected, but his notes have been often republished in large collections. He died in 1552.
The Bible in Latin, printed at Zurich, in 1543, and often afterwards in folio, has a vast many scholia or marginal notes, which have been much esteemed (as also the Latin version) by many divines and critics. The compilers of the notes were Leo de Juda, Theodore Bibliander, Peter Cholin, Ralph Guatier, and Conrad Pelicanus.
TREMELLIUS, a converted Jew, with Junius or du Jon, published a very literal Latin version of the Hebrew Bible with short critical notes, folio, 1575. It has often been reprinted, and was formerly in high esteem. Father Simon accuses him unjustly of putting in pronouns where none exist in the Hebrew : had he examined more carefully he would have found that Tremellius translates the emphatic article by the pronoun in Latin, and it is well known that it has this power in the Hebrew language. Father Simon's censure is therefore not well founded.
John Piscator published a laborious and learned comment on the Old and New Testaments, in 24 vols. 8vo., Herborn, 1601-1616. Not highly esteemed.
John Drusius was an able commentator; he penetrated the literal sense of Scripture, and in his Animadversions, Hebrew Questions, Explanations of Proverbs, Observations on the Rites and Customs of the Jews, he has cast much light on many parts of the sacred writings. He died at Franeker, in 1616, in the 66th year of his age.
Hugo Grotius, or Hugh le Groot, has written notes on the whole of the Old and New Testaments. His learning was very extensive, his erudition profound, and his moderation on subjects of controversy highly praiseworthy. No man possessed a more extensive and accurate knowledge of the Greek and Latin writers, and no man has more successfully applied them to the illustration of the sacred writings. To give the literal and genuine sense of the sacred writings is always the laudable study of this great man; and he has not only illustrated them amply, but he has defended them strenuously, especially in his treatise On the Truth of the Christian Religion, a truly classical performance that has never been answered, and never can be refuted. He has also written a piece, which has been highly esteemed by many, On the Satisfaction of Christ. He died in 1615, aged 62 years.
Louis de Dieu wrote animadversions on the Old and New Testaments, in which are many valuable things. He was a profound scholar in Greek, Hebrew, Chaldee, Persian, and Syriac, as his works sufficiently testify. He died at Leyden, in 1642.
Desiderius Erasmus is well known, not only as an able editor of the Greek Testament, but also as an excellent commentator upon it. The first edition of this sacred Book was published by him in Greek and Latin, folio, 1516; for though the Complutensian edition was printed in 1514, it was not published till 1522. For many years the notes of Erasmus served for the foundation of all the comments that were written on the New Testament, and his Latin version itself was deemed an excellent comment on the text, because of its faithfulness and simplicity. Erasmus was one of the most correct Latin scholars since the Augustan age.
He died in 1536. I need not state that in some cases he appeared so indecisive in his religious creed, that he has been both claimed and disavowed by Protestants and Catholics.
John Calvin wrote a commentary on all the Prophets and the Evangelists, which has been in high esteem among Protestants, and is allowed to be a very learned and judicious work. The decided and active part which he took in the Reformation is well known. To the doctrine of human merit, indulgences, &c, he, with Luther, opposed the doctrine of justification by grace
It is both scarce and dear.
GENERAL PREFACE. through faith, for which they were strenuous and successful advocates. The peculiar doctrines which go under the name of Mr. Calvin, from the manner in which they have been defended by some and opposed by others, have been the cause of much dissension among Protestants, of which the enemies of true religion have often availed themselves. Mr. Calvin is allowed by good judges to have written with great purity both in Latin and French. He died in 1564.
Mr. David Martin, of Utrecht, not only translated the whole of the Old and New Testaments into French, but also wrote short notes on both, which contain much good sense, learning, and piety. Amsterdam, 1707, 2 vols. folio.
Dr. Henry Hammond is celebrated over Europe as a very learned and judicious divine. He wrote an extensive comment on the Psalms, first published in 1659, and on the whole of the New Testament, in 1653. In this latter work he imagines he sees the Gnostics every where pointed at, and he uses them as a universal menstruum to dissolve all the difficulties in the text. He was a man of great learning and critical sagacity, and as a divine ranks high in the Church of England. He died in 1660.
Theodore Beza not only published the Greek Testament, but wrote many excellent notes on it. The best edition of this work is that printed at Cambridge, folio, 1642.
Dr. Edward Wells published a very useful Testament in Greek and English, in several parcels, with notes, from 1709 to 1719, in which, 1. The Greek text is amended according to the best and most ancient readings. 2. The common English translation rendered more agreeable to the original. 3. A paraphrase, explaining the difficult expressions, design of the sacred writers, &c. 4. Short Annotations. This is a judicious, useful work.
Of merely critical comments on the Greek Testament, the most valuable is that of J. James Wetstein, 2 vols. folio, Amsterdam, 1751–2. Almost every peculiar form of speech in the sacred text he has illustrated by quotations from the Jewish, Greek, and Roman writers. But the indistinctness of his quotations causes much confusion in his notes.
Mr. Hardy published a Greek Testament with a great variety of useful notes, chiefly extracted from Poole's Synopsis. The work is in 2 vols. 8vo., London, 1768, and is a very useful companion to every Biblical student. It has gone through two editions, the first of which is the best ; but it must be acknowledged that the Greek text in both is inexcusably incorrect. The Rev. Mr. Valpy has given a
new edition of this work, with additional scholia, and a correct Greek text.
Mr. Henry Ainsworth, one of that class of the ancient Puritans called Brownists, made new translation of the Pentateuch, Psalms, and Canticles, which he illustrated with notes, folio, 1639. He was an excellent Hebrew scholar, and made a very judicious use of his rabbinical learning in his comment, especially on the five books of Moses. To his notes on the Pentateuch I am often under obligation.
The notes of the Assembly of Divines, in 2 vols. folio, 1654, have been long in considerable estimation. They contain many valuable elucidations of the sacred text.
Mr. J. Caryl's exposition of the book of Job, in two immense vols. folio, 1676, another by Albert Schultens, and a third by Chapelowe, on the same book, contain a vast deal of important matter, delivered in general by the two latter in the dullest and most uninteresting form.
Mr. Matthew Poole, a non-conformist divine, has published a commentary on the Scriptures, in 2 vols. folio. The notes, which are mingled with the text, are short, but abound with good sense and sound judgment.
He died in Holland, in 1679.
He brought all his immense learning to bear on the sacred volumes, and diffused light wherever he went. His historical, chronological, and topographical remarks on the Old Testament, and his Talmudical Exercitations on the New, are invaluable. His works were published in two large vols. folio, 1684. He died in 1675. A new edition of these invaluable works, with many additions and corrections, has been published by the Rev. J. R. Pitman, A. M., in 13 vols. 8vo., London, 1825.
On the plan of Dr. Lightfoot's Horæ Hebraice, or Talmudical Exercitations, a work was undertaken by Christian Schoettgenius with the title Hore Hebraicæ et Talmudicæ in universum Novum Testamentum, quibus Hora Jo. Lightfooti in Libris historicis supplentur, Epistola et Apocalypsis eodem modo illustrantur, fc. Ďresdæ, 1733, 2 vols. 4to. This is a learned and useful work, and supplies and completes the work of Dr. Lightfoot. The Horæ Hebraica of Lightfoot extend no farther than the first Epistle to the Corinthians; the work of Schoettgen passes over the same ground as a Supplement, without touching the things already produced in the English work; and then continues the work on the same plan to the end of the New Testa
Mr. Richard Baxter published the New Testament with notes, 8vo., 1695. The notes are interspersed with the text, and are very short, but they contain much sound sense and piety. A good edition of this work was published in the same form by Mr. R. Edwards, London, 1810. Dr. Simon Patrick, bishop of Ely, began a comment on the Old Testament, which was
finished by Dr. Lowth ; to which the New Testament, by Dr. Whitby, is generally added to complete the work. Dr. Whitby's work was first published in 1703, and often since, with many emendations. This is a valuable collection, and is comprised in six vols. folio. Patrick and Lowth are always judicious and solid, and Whitby is learned, argumentative, and thoroughly orthodox.
The best comment on the New Testament, taken in all points of view, is certainly that of Whitby. He is said to have embraced Socinianism previously to his death, which took place in 1726.
Mr. Anthony Purver, one of the people called Quakers, translated the whole Bible into English, illustrated with critical notes, which was published at the expense of Dr. J. Fothergill, in 1764, two vols. folio. This work has never been highly valued ; and is much less literal and simple than the habits of the man, and those of the religious community to which he belonged, might authorize one to expect.
The Rev. WILLIAM BURKITT, rector of Dedham, in Essex, has written a very useful commentary on the New Testament, which has often been republished. It is both pious and practical, but not distinguished either by depth of learning or judgment. The pious author died in 1703.
The Rev. MATTHEW Henry, a very eminent dissenting minister, is author of a very extensive commentary on the Old and New Testaments, five vols. folio, and one of the most popular works of the kind ever published. It is always orthodox, generally judicious, and truly pious and practical, and has contributed much to diffuse the knowledge of ihe Scriptures among the common people, for whose sakes it was chiefly written. A new edition of this work, by the Rev. J. Hughes, of Battersea, and the Rev. G. Burder, of London, corrected from innumerable errors which have been accumulating with every edition, has been lately published.
As I apply the term orthodox to persons who differ considerably in their religious creed on certain points, I judge it necessary once for all to explain my meaning. He who holds the doctrine of the fall of man, and through it the universal corruption of human nature; the Godhead of our blessed Redeemer ; the atonement made by his obedience unto death ; justification through faith alone in his blood; the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, regenerating and renewing the heart, is generally reputed orthodox, whether in other parts of his creed he be Arminian or Calvinist. WHtby and Henny held and defended all these doctrines in their respective comments, therefore I scruple not to say that both were orthodox. With their opinions in any of their other works I have no concern.
Dr. Join Gill, an eminent divine of the Baptist persuasion, is author of a very diffuse commentary on the Old and New Testaments, in nine vols. folio. He was a very learned and good man, but has often lost sight of his better judgment in spiritualizing his text.
Dr. Philip DODDRIDGE's Family Expositor, 4to., 1745, often republished, is (with the exception of his paraphrase) a very judicious work. It has been long highly esteemed, and is worthy of all the credit it has among religious people.
Paraphrases, which mix up men's words with those of God, his Christ, his Holy Spirit, and his apostles, are in my opinion dangerous works. Through such, many of the common people are led into a loose method of quoting the sacred text. I consider the practice, except in very select cases, as highly unbecoming. The republic of letters would suffer no loss if every work of this kind on the Holy Scriptures were abolished. Dr. Whitby, by the insertion of mere words in brackets and in another character, has done all that should be done, and vastly outdone the work of Dr. Doddridge.
To Dr. Z. PEARCE, bishop of Rochester, we are indebted for an invaluable commentary and notes on the Four Gospels, the Acts, and the First Epistle to the Corinthians, two vols. 4to., 1777. The deep learning and judgment displayed in these notes are really beyond all praise,
Dr. CAMPBELL's work on the Evangelists is well known, and universally prized. So is also Dr. MACKNIGHT's translation of the Epistles, with notes. Both these works, especially the former, abound in sound judgment, deep erudition, and a strong vein of correct critical acumen.
Mr. Locke and Dr. Benson are well known in the republic of letters; their respective works on different parts of the New Testament abound with judgment and learning.
The Rev. J. Wesley published a selection of notes on the Old and New Testaments, in four vols. 4to., Bristol, 1765. The notes on the Old Testament are allowed, on all hands, to be meagre and unsatisfactory ; this is owing to a circumstance with which few are acquainted. Mr. Pine, the printer, having set up and printed off several sheets in a type much larger than was intended, it was found impossible to get the work within the prescribed limits of four volumes, without retrenching the notes, or cancelling what was already printed. The former measure was unfortunately adopted, and the work fell far short of the expectation of the public. This account I had from the excellent author himself. The notes on the New Testament, which have gone through several editions, are of a widely different description ; though short, they are always judicious, accurate, spiritual, terse, and impressive; and possess