Page images

the consequence of feelings which possess our admiration, and his weaknesses were allied to a kindly nature. He was courageous, generous, and humane ;--and he appears to have been the only one in this age

of revolutions, whose profession of philanthropy was not disgraced by his practice. As to his mental capacity, it cannot be denied that his was a most ardent and extraordinary genius. Born in the lowest rank of life, and deprived by his mode of existence from even the common education which every Scotchman inherits, Paul Jones was an enthusiastic student, and succeeded in forming a style which cannot be sufficiently admired for its pure and strenuous eloquence. His plans also were not the crude conceptions of a vigorous but uututored intellect, but the matured systems which could only have been generated by calm observation and patient study. His plan for attacking the coast of England was most successful in execution, though conceived on the banks of the Delaware ; and we cannot but perceive a schooled and philosophic intellect in his hints for the formation of the navy of a new nation. Accident had made him a republican, but the cold spirit of republicanism had not tainted his chivalric soul, and his political principles were not the offspring of the specious theories of a dangerous age. There was nothing in the nature of his mind, which would have prevented him from being the commander, instead of the conqueror of the Serapis. He delighted in the pomp and circumstance of royalty, and we scarcely know when to deem him happiest—when the venerable Franklin congratulated him for having freed all his suffering countrymen from the dungeons of Great Britain, or when he received a golden-hilted sword from the “ protector of the rights of human nature." Although he died in his forty-fifth year, his public life was not a short one, and by his exertions at the different courts of Europe, he mainly contributed to the success of the American cause.

Now that the fever of party prejudice has subsided, England wishes not to withhold from him the tribute of her admiration. America, “ the country of his fond election,” must ever rank him not only among the firmest, but among the ablest of her patriots.'

Paul Jones has been recently selected by Mr. Allan Cunnigham as the hero of a romance, which the celebrity of the Writer tempted us to inspect. It seems an unequal produce tion; displaying frequent evidences of powerful talent, but deficient in that coherence of narrative and unity of subject, without which it is so difficult to produce and to maintain a strong interest in fictitious story.

Art. VI. Recensio Synoptica Annotationis Sacræ, being a Critical

Digest and Synoptical Arrangement of the most important Andotations on the New Testament, Exegetical, Philological, and Doctrinal. By the Rev. S. T. Bloomfield, Vicar of Bisbrooke' in Rutland, and Curate of Tilton and Tugby in Leicestershire. In Two Parts, 3 vols. each. Part I. 3 vols. 8vo. pp. 1972. Price

2. 2. Rivingtons, 1826. THE Church of Rome denies its members the free use of the

Bible, and provides for them an exposition of its doctrines which they are not permitted to question, and which they are bound to receive, discharged of all right and privilege of comparing them with the inspired records of salvation, and instructed to believe that the uncontrolled examination of the Scriptures is an indication of heretical pravity. In such a Church, the easy credence which assents without inquiry and without evidence, is a primary qualification for communion, and the understanding of the Scriptures is an affair of but little moment. But the Protestant maxim, that. The Bible is the • Religion of Protestants,' as it secures for them the high right and privilege of deriving from the Bible the principles of their religious faith, imports their obligation to study its contents, and to understand its meaning. In their profession, convic. tion precedes obedience, and an imposed interpretation of Scripture is inadmissible. By them, the correct apprehension of truth is regarded as a benefit resulting from Scriptural knowledge, and to be acquired by means of devout application to the writings in which God makes known his will to mankind, and which is valuable only as it is thus obtained. Hence the importance of the means of Biblical interpretation.

No correct use can be made of the communications which the Bible comprises, before the language in which they are conveyed is understood. Before the Scriptures can be interpreted, their grammatical constructions and their literal sense must be ascertained. A sufficient acquaintance with these is necessary for every competent expositor ; and, as they are tbe very elementary principles of all correct interpretation, they should be diligently studied by every intelligent reader. There may be ultimate references of a moral or doctrinal kind, or a spiritual and mystical sense may be intended; but these, though they may sometimes be of the first importance, are only, in order, secondary objects of attention in the interpretation of the Scriptures. In every case, the literal, grammatical sense is of primary consideration. And hence the importance of those works which, as aiding in the understanding of the Scriptures, are devoted to grammatical and philological discussion and illustration. Of this class, the volumes now before us are the most extensive contribution which has been made to Biblical literature by any of our contemporaries.

We are indebted for the valuable body of sacred criticism comprised in Dr. Campbell's work on the Gospels, to the practice commenced by him on his being settled as the minister of a country parish, and steadily pursued by him in subsequent years, of collecting such useful criticisms on the text of the New Testament as were suggested by his own observations, or as occurred to him in the course of his reading. The volumes now before us derive their origin from the similar attention of their Author to the illustration of the Scriptures. Possessing the requisite qualifications for availing himself of the assistance to be obtained from the various existing materials of elucidation, by his proficiency in classical and oriental studies, and constantly adhering to a rule which he had prescribed to himself, of immediately recording the observations which he found supplied or suggested, as they arose, he obtained a copious collection of such exegetical remarks as he considered most useful and important, and likely to be serviceable to him in his private study or public exposition of the Sacred Scriptures. In his researches, he was aided by the advantages of an extensive and choice collection of the best classical and theological writers, which he employed under the perpetual advice of the late celebrated Dr. Parr, with whom he was in frequent and familiar intercourse, and by whom he was urged to digest and arrange his Biblical collections for publication. Engaged still more closely in the studies to which he had been for a consi. derable number of years unremittingly devoted, by the resolution which pledged him to the execution of such a purpose, and by the collation of the annotatory matter of the principal commentators, for the purpose of appreciating the value of his own miscellaneous notes, he was induced to enlarge his plan, and to engraft upon his original design, another of still greater importance; to bring together within a moderate compass, and in a convenient form), the disjecta membra Exegeseos, .. the most important materials for the right interpretation of Scrip

ture, hitherto dispersed amidst numerous bulky and expensive vo· lumes; carefully digesting, condensing, simplifying, and moulding those heterogeneous materials, including his own original notes, into one connected and consistent body of erudite and accurate annotation, and, at the same time, intermixing with the whole a series of critical remarks, which might serve to guide the judgement of the student, or junior minister, amidst the contrarieties of jarring interpretations ; and, finally, in order to more effectually adapt the work to general use, clothing the foreign matter in a vernacular dress, and expressing the sense in simple and perspicuous phraseology.' Preface. We can easily give the Author the most entire credit for his avowal, that, in the accomplishing of his plan, he has had to struggle with the most formidable and perplexing difficulties. It requires some experience in this kind of employment, to be able to appreciate the value of an undertaking like the present, arising from the cost of acquiring the materials necessary for its completion, and the irksome toil of distributing and placing them in orderly relation. The purchase of every exegetical or philological publication of the least importance, must tax rather heavily the pecuniary resources of a scholar; and Mr. Bloomfield, we learn from his preface, may be said to have expended a fortune on the work, which he has most industriously and most patiently prepared for the use of theological students. In collating authorities, in translating, and abridging, the expenditure of time and labour bestowed must have been immense, and such as few individuals would have been courageous enough to hazard. The ancient Fathers, and early Greek Commentators, Theophylact, Theodoret, Euthymius, comenius, and Aretas, together with the scholiasts and glossographers, are laid under contribution for their quotas of exegetical matter. Considerable use is made of the post-Reformation theologians down to the middle of the last century. Ample selections are furnished from the works of the numerous foreign commentators who adorned the continental schools of divinity during the last half century; Wetstein, Heumann, Kypke, Koecher, Carpzov, Ernesti, Bengel, Morus, Store, Valcknaer, Michaelis, Fischer, Koppe, Pott, Henricks, Knapp, Jaspis, and particularly Rosenmuller, Kuinoel, and Tittman. The classical illustrations provided in the works of Grotius, Pricaeus, Bus, Alberti, Homberg, Elsner, Raphel, Abresch, Palairet, Pincinelli, Krebs, Munthe, Loesner, Kypke, Blackwall, Wakefield, and Bulkley, are transferred into Mr. Bloomfield's volumes, and are augmented from his own collections. Such quotations from the Rabbinical writers as appeared apposite to the illustration of passages in the New Testament, found in the works of Cartwright, Drusius, Buxtorf, Lightfoot, Pococke, Hackspan, Syrenbusius, Lampe, Schoettgen, Meuschen, Wetstein, and others, are also inserted. The exertions of the Author have been unremittingly directed to the various sources from which assistance was to be derived in the construction of his work, and have produced an accumulation of materials to which he may confidently appeal as most satisfactory proof of his labour in collecting, and of his skill in appropriating whatever might be useful for his purpose. It might be sufficient for us, in describing the value of the present collection, to state that, in addition to other extracts, almost numberless, it

contains the whole of Wetstein's exegetical and philological annotations, many of thein translated; but besides these, the purchasers of Mr. Bloomfield's volumes will acquire the most important elucidations and remarks contained in the commen, taries of Kuinoe! and Tittman, which are deservedly placed among the principal biblical productions of Germany, though but little known in this country. Mr. B. has only in part executed his plan. We shall be happy to receive the remaining portions of the work, and reserve our entire judgement on its merits till we shall be able to report on the whole of its contents. That our readers may have the opportunity of ascertaining the kind of materials which the volumes provide, we shall lay before them some extracts as specimens of their contents. The present part of the work comprises the four Gospels.

We are glad to find that Mr. Bloomfield's selections from the works of modern foreign theological critics and commentas tors, have been made in the exercise of sound discretion. While we recognize in some of them the proofs of a more enlightened and more accurate philology than that of their predecessors, and while we are indebted to them for improvements in the historical interpretation of the Scriptures ; we are also obliged, not only to withhold from them our approbation, but to censure with severity their spirit and conduct in respect to the subtile refinements which they have introduced, and the daring innovations which they have attempted to establish. The theolo, gical critics of Germany have been most perniciously industrious in this respect. The school of Semler, in particular, has signalised itself for temerity in hazarding hypotheses, and for the excess of philological speculation. In their modes of explaining, not only the sentiments, but the facts of the New Testament, they have indulged in a licence which is never bounded by sober rules. From their system, the miracles of the evangelical books are excluded ; and the extraordinary circumstances which they detail, are considered as natural occurrences. Paulus, Thiess, and some others, have distinguished themselves by their boldness in this species of unhallowed speculation. Their system is but another verification of the case, so frequently exemplitied, of a professed wisdom manifesting itself to be folly. For there is no possibility of separating the miraculous character of the events of the New Testament, which are described by its writers as miracles, from its connexion with the other branches of the evidences of Christianity. In respect to the former, not less than the latter, the probity of the Evangelists is an available and necessary voucher, and the credibility of their records is inclusive of the

« PreviousContinue »