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and serious reader of the force which has been applied to them.' We indeed feel almost persuaded that iu extracting more samples of these crudities, we are engaging in a superfluous task; but it may be necessary that we should furnish a more powerful antidote than we have yet supplied against the mode of interpretation which it is the object of the Author of this exposition to make popular; and such an antidote, if we mistake not, will be very effectually administered in the more copious extracts which we shall proceed to cite. The following, tien, is Mr. Fry's version of a portion of the Nineteenth Psalin.
vs. 11. Thy servant also shines amidst these;
In their observance is . his' great career.
From concealed ones do thou keep me clear.
And let it not have dominion over me.
And be innocent from the great rebellion.
And the meditation of my heart in thy presence,
O Jehovah my framer, and my deliverer.' On comparing this translation with the corresponding passage in the Public Version, the reader will observe deviations adapted to awaken the suspicion that the text bas not been fairly dealt with by Mr. Fry: for “ warned," we have si sbines ;" for" by
" " amidst these;" “ great career," instead of “ great “ reward ;" “ occasions of” is supplied, &c.
This suspicion will ripen into conviction if the reader should turn to the notes and coipment. We never, indeed, have had occasion to remark in any book, more flagrant errors, more striking instances of the violent construction of words, and of the most egregious misstatements and perverse reasonings. The three last verses con'tain,' says Mr. F., the prayer of our Divine Master, as the "" Son of Man" entering upon his destined course of perfect • obedience. The three last verses, we apprehend, can very easily be shewn to be the ruin of Mr. Fry's system. Tbey admit of no such application as they here receive, because the prayer which they contain, is completely at variance with the supposition of the impeccable nature of the supplicant. As it is important to shew this, we shall examine with some attention the various terms which occur in these verses. We take upon us then to maintain that 9712 never means to shine;' it is the Niphal of 771, and in every example in wbich it occurs, no other meaning is ever intended or conveyed than “ admonished,” or, “ warned, " which is the proper sense in the example under notice, and which is correctly and perspicuously given in the Common Version : Vol. XIV. N.S.
« Moreover by them (the Divine commandments) is thy servant “ warned.” Nor does apy ever mean. career ;' it signifies the heel, extremity, end, or, consequence of a thing. But the skill of our Translator is most admirably displayed in his criticism on the word ', " presumptuous." The word signifies, says Mr. Fry, ' mistakes into which, according to the proper meaning of • the term, a man may be betrayed, in a matter where he is pure ' in intention, from warmth of affection, for instance, or from • fervency of zeal, he is moved to do that which the strictness of • bis instructions does not warrant.' The exact idea of the
term b'i,' he maintaios in a note, may be discovered iy Deut. xviii. 22 : it is the doing a thing without being told or autbo
rized.' Nothing so perfectly absurd, so flagrantly opposed to philological truth, was ever delivered with gravity like this by any novice in Hebrew letters. It may indeed strike the most superficial reader with surprise to find it stated seriously, that to do a thing presumptuously is to do it with pure intention. A more destructive reference was never made in support of any notion than the alleged proof from Deut. xviii. 22. We quote the entire passage.
“ The prophet who shall presume to speak “ a word in my name which I have not commanded him to speak,
that sball speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die. And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we “ know the word which the Lord bath not spoken? When a “ prophet speaketh in the name of the Lord, if the thing follow “ not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord hath “ not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously : 6 thou shalt not be afraid of bim." A strange passage, truly, is this to be cited in proof of pure intention! The proof it supplies is precisely and positively the reverse. The root yr is rather an extensive one, but in all its modifications it is used invariably in a bad sense. We shall cite a few passages in illustration of its meaning : “ But if a man come presumptuously upon his “ neighbour, to slay him with guile." Exod. xxi. 14. " I spake unto you, and you would not bear, but rebelled
against the commandment of the Lord, and went presump“ tuously up into the bill.” Deut. i. 43. “ And the man that “ will do presumptuously, and will not hearken unto the priest, “ (that standeth to minister there before the Lord thy God) or “ unto the judge, even that may shall die, and thou shalt put
away the evil from Israel." Deut. xvii. 12. To do a thing
presumptuously” is, therefore, to do it crimibally. No passage can illustrate this definition more clearly or more strongly and satisfactorily than the passage which Mr. Fry has selected as his proof of a contrary meaning. The prophet who speaks“ pre
sumptuously” is a publisher of falsehoods, which he utters in
the name of God who had not commanded him to speak : “ pu
rity of intention” is altogether excluded by the circumstances comprised in the passage to which Mr. Fry refers. (Deut. xviii. 20-22.)
We have been thus particular in remarking on the assertions and references of the Author, because, by the proofs which have thus been provided of their radical fallacy, evidence is also furnisbed of the unsoundness of the mode of interpretation in wbich he bas so confidently, but so unwarrantably, indulged. It would unquestionably exbibit Jesus Christ in a manner altogether remote from that in wbich we bave been taught to regard Him, if the last four verses of the xixth Psalm be assumed as a prayer, of which He is the subject. Mr. Fry could not possibly represent them as thus applying, so long as the translation in the Public Version retains its place; he has, therefore, attempted to destroy its authority by substituting a translation of his own, which
affords a prime example of the folly into which a man may be led 1 when he is under the guidance of his own perverted ingenuity.
The suppliant, whose address to God is put upon record in the verses under notice, must have been fallible and peccable, exposed and liable to all the evils which he deprecates.
Here is a part of the xxvth Psalm, as translated and comment| ed upon by Mr. Fry.
• 4. Make thy ways known to me, O Jehovah:
Teach me thy paths.
For thou art the God of my help.
For the sake of thy goodness, OʻJehovah.
For they are from eternity. « 7. Remember not the sins of my youth and my transgres
According to thy tenderness remember me.' The 4th and 5th verses are unquestionably a prayer for instruction and guidance, and they are immediately followed by a prayer for the forgiveness of personal transgression;
quity.” Is it doing any service to the cause of truth or piety, to comment on these verses in the following manner?
• The 4th and 5th verses may surprize us in this connexion, being a prayer for instruction and guidance in the truth. To the Redeemer, in his divine capacity, this cannot apply; for he knoweth all things; but in the character of the Prophet and Teacher of his people, the Mediator is said to know ouly what is revealed to him, for the purpose of instructing his church. It is in this view, in relation to the day of
his second coming, which is the great event for which his people are looking, our Lord said to his disciples, “ But of that day and of that hour knoweth no man; no, not the angels that are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.” And so again, when this secret is in some measure to be revealed to the church, the title of the prophecy runs : “ The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him to show unto his servants things that must shortly come to pass.” And when St. John is distressed in his vision, that none is found worthy to open the book and to loose the seals of the prophetic roll, he is comforted by the assurance that “the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof." The prayer of our Advocate prevailed to procure for us " the sure word of prophecy;" this is to serve us for the present," as a lamp shining in a dark place :” and the prayer of our victorious Champion will at length prevail for the unfolding of every mystery then“ the day-star is to arise in our hearts,” and “ we are to know as we are known."
• Another great branch of our Lord's mediation is the pardon of the sins of his people, of his younger brethren upon earth, and especially, perhaps, of those of them who are young in years, and in whom human nature is strongest.' pp. 131-132.
Is it possible that Mr. Fry could impose this ill-assorted and strange arrangement of words upon his understanding, as an elucidatory comment upon his text? or expect that there could be found readers to accept these desultory and irrelevant sentences, as the means of interpreting the language of the Psalm? Never, surely, was text so well suited with comment. Cbrist praying for instruction and guidance in the truth, is a scene which the evangelical pages never exbibit. We read there of Christ's thanksgivings and of bis promises in reference to his disciples, as to their receiving, and as to their being to receive, instruction and guidance; but his prayers, on his own account personally, that his mind might receive instruction, the writers of the New Testament bave not recorded; vor, describing Him as“ full of grace and truth," as "the light of the world," is it conceivable that they would represent Him so praying. The writer of the Psalm was a man exposed to the danger of error and mistake, and in his praying for instruction and guidance, there is propriety; but its reference to Christ is a liberty too bold, one might have thought, to be bazarded. To wbat possible purpose of utility is the reference to our Lord's declaration respecting the day of judgement introduced? In what manner bas the secrecy in which that day was left been broken? But the interpretation which is given to the 7th verse, “ Re“ member not the sins of my youth and my transgressions," is still more extraordinary :- the sins of our Lord's younger 'brethren upon earth!!' Is it after all possible, that we are mistaken in attributing to Mr. Fry only the aberrations of an
erroneous, but sincere mind, and that he is really wilful in the design of burlesquing the Scriptures ? “A more lamentable "display of criticism travestied*,' we have never seen, than in this passage thus abused by Mr. Fry, who appears to quote and copy the absurdities of Bishop Horsley with singular facility and pleasure. It is really distressing to attempt a serious refutation of such extravagances as this It is sufficient to meet them with the positive statement, that by “ youth" is meant, and nothing else is ever meant, the early period of human life : “ the sins of my youth," are, my sins committed when I was young
But Mr. Fry's errors are too serious to be slightly touched or hastily dismissed. Many of the explanations contained in this volume are not better, and some of them are even worse than the preceding examples. That such interpretations should proceed from an Author wbo is not ignorant, and whose religious character is not questionable, is indeed strange; but here we find them, and by us it is fit that they be exposed, that none of our readers may be ubacquainted with the precious glosses which the Rector of Desford thinks necessary towards the understanding of the Bible.
The 10th verse of the xxviith Psalm could not, one would suppose, present any difficulty, or afford occasion for any other interpretation than the common one: it is expressive of the confidence wbich the Psalınist was prepared to repose in the Divine care, in the event of his being deprived of hunn supports : “ When my father and my motber forsake me, then the Lord will take me up." But hear Mr. Fry.
Our Lord assuming the character of his afflicted people, prays to his heavenly Father, and earnestly requests that he may not be denied by that Helper, whose love to his reconciled children exceeds a father's or a mother's care. The Redeemer counts himself as one of his people : his style is, “ Behold I anıl the children which God has given me.
In a note we are told, that ' Father and Mother may per• baps be symbolical of the help afforded by princes and govern'ments to the church of Christ. This surely is all ridiculous enough, and requires no comment. We proceed to the version given of the xxxiid Psalm. '1. Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, and whose sin is
covered : • 2. Blessed is the man to whom Jehovah imputeth not iniquity,
And in whose spirit there is no guile.
* See the quotation from Horsley on the Psalms, in the Eclectic Review. Vol. v. N.S. p. 26. Jan. 1816.