Слике страница
PDF
ePub

own

the idea, that the salvation of sinners is only a secondary object, to be taken up and sought only on select and special occasions. Not in protracted meetings and the like, for the author is no advocate of these, but in seasons of revival, and when providence favors by visiting persons with sickness or other afilictions. We should be sorry to have such an impression prevail; for we believe, that when the intercourse of christians with each other and with the world is what the word of God requires, every act and every movement of every christian will contribute in some way, directly or indirectly, to the work of bringing sinners to God and salvation.

There are multitudes also in the churches, who are wishing to gather the fruit of a quiet conscience from the present measure of their piety; while they have always about them a dreamy consciousness, that this is not sufficient to justify their hopes of heaven, nor to accomplish the design of heaven in calling them into Christ's kingdom. In general the disquietude of their souls is relieved by a comparison of theinselves with wrong standards. One of these is found in the character of their fellow-christians, another in the style of preaching on which they attend, and another suill in the books they read. Do these favor the enticements of their ow inclinations and lusts; they easily persuade themselves, that conversion has done so much for them, that a little more excitement in the course of their lives and the shock of exchanging worlds, will set all right. Here then we must once more say, that we do not feel as sure as we should be glad to do, that this book will not help prosessed christians to think themselves not much further from the work at which they should arrive, than what might be expected of fallen creatures, in a sinful world.

In a word, our only desire is, and in this we have not the least reason to believe, that we differ from the writer of these “ Hints,” that the seal of truth may be fixed upon the minds of christians, and that its practical results may be seen in their lives. We look, confidently and anxiously, for the day when the converts to righteousness will understand; that they have but just begun to realize the influence of those great moral truths which are destined to subdue and bring the whole man into obedience to Christ. The time is coming, when those who are sanctified in part, by looking at the standard of God's word, will see clearly how much more is to be done. If the work under review shall be the means of turning away the eyes and hearts of professed christians from the expectation of signs and wonders; as if the kingdom of God were to come with observation ; and of fixing them upon the resources of the associated and united church; the author will bave occasion to bless God for the agency which suggested the thought of sending this circular to the "saints who are scattered abroad” throughout the world. Let those who are looking for salvation from the hills, who are ex

pecting to see miracles wrought by ministers alone, and without their own agency, or by great and protracted meetings accompanied by no lasting reformation in the every day intercourse of christians, “look to themselves, that we lose not those things we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward." Then the light of the moon will be as the sun, and the light of the sun sevenfold. Nor do we hesitate to predict, that when the intercourse of christians with each other and with the world, shall become conformed to the divine standard; the hopes of ages passed in respect to the Messiah's kingdom will be fullled with a rapidity which will mock imagination, and seem more like a vision than reality. Indeed nothing but the flight of the angel through the midst of heaven would be able to keep pace with the light ; for then, like the blush of morning, it would glance from one bill-top of the earth to another, until the vallies would be vocal with the praises of God, and the handful of corn in the top of the mountains would slake like Lebanon.

We perceive affixed to the second edition of the work before us a recommendatory preface taken from the English re-print and written by W. Urwick, D.D. Of this writer we have no knowledge but the name. We see nothing however in bis pages demanding particular notice. His views of the importance of the subject are clearly though briefly expressed, and ihe work is by bim especially recommended to four classess of persons ;—young christians, heads of families, deacons and leading members of the churches and ministers of the gospel. He approves most decidedly of the author's remarks on the subjects on which we have commented, but gives no particular reasons in support of the conclusions advanced. It is unnecessary for us to pursue the topic, and we dismiss the volume merely remarking, that it is characterized by its author's well-known ease and gracefulness of execution, and we would add our best wishes for its success in accomplishing that object for which we doubt not it was written,—the advancement of the Redeemer's kingdom and the good of mankind.

ART. VI.-ETYMOLOGIES AND CRITICISM. By Noah WEB

STER, LL. D.

THERE are few subjects on which literary men have occupied their time and attention, which appear to be less understood, than the origin and formation of languages. The first principles of etymology seem to be wholly unknown, or imperfectly understood. The writer's attention has been called to this subject by some examples of this imperfect knowledge of the origin and primary signification of words, presented in recent publications.

The author of the Lives of the Apostles, in the begioning of bis work, bas attempted to ascertain the primitive signitication of the Greek word asw, from which is derived the word apostle. He cites a great number of authorities to show the various senses in which this word and its compounds are used by Greek writers; and comes to the conclusion, that the primary sense is not to send, but to equip or prepare. But accurate investigation will show, that such a complex or indefinite signification as is expressed by these words, is rarely or never the primary sense of any word whatever. The primary or radical sense of a word is some simple physical action or property; and the more complex significations proceed froin subsequent use and appropriation.

The Greek Ofew is the same word as the German and Belgic stellen, to put, place, lay, set; Swedish stalla, or staela. In Danish, it is stiller, to put, lay, set; and also to still, to quiet. This word, like hundreds of others, was introduced into the Greek by tribes of the Teutonic race, who settled in Greece, either as original inbabitants, or mere probably, as conquerors. No small portion of Greek and Latin words are of Teutonic origin.

Now the original meaning of this word is not to fix or make firm, but to send or throw down ; the sense of firing, setting or stilling, is secondary; the consequence of the action of sending, throwing, or laying down.

The sense of the word under consideration, may be illustrated by words of like signification in other languages.

In Latin, mitto, mittere signifies to send ; in French, the same word, mettre, signifies to put, lay, set. The same word, mettere, in Italian, bas the same meaning as in the French. The Latin lego, legare, signifies to send ; the same word in Saxon, legan or lecgan, signifies to put, set, or lay, and we have this word in lay. In all these words, the radical or primary sense is to send.

Another example will show how imperfectly the origin of the various derivative senses of words has been understood. The Hebrew word ben, a son, is connected in origin with a verb which is rendered to build; and hence, say lexicographers, a son is one who builds up his father's family. But the same word signifies also the young of a beast, and surely this can hardly be said to build up a family.

Now in this case, the mistake arises from taking a secondary meaning for the primary. The primary sense of building, in this word, is to send or lay down, to set as on a foundation; the erection or superstructure, is a secondary sense. The primary meaning of ben, a son, is issue, that which is sent forth or produced ; offspring, as we express the sense in English.

I am confident no example can be produced, in which this simple

action of sending can be deduced from the more complex one of equipping, fixing out, or preparing. Such a deduction is an inversion of the usual order of formation or derivation of words.

Take for example, the word dress in English. This word must be very complex and indefinite in most of its uses, and therefore, this cannot have been the primary sense. On tracing the word to its original, we find it derived from a word that signifies to make straight. It comes to us, through the Italian, from the Latin dirigo, Italian dirizzare, French dresser. The root is the Latin rego, rectus. Rego, is rendered to rule or govern; but this is a secondary sense; the primary sense is to strain or stretch; this act makes straight, right; and government is restraint. To dress, then, is to make straight or right, and military men have retained the original sense, in the phrase "look to the right and dress.the appropriation of the word to the adjustment of apparel, and to cookery, the sense is to make right; that is,

to make right; that is, fit, prepare for the use or occasion.

We have a similar process of derivation in the word array, which is from the root of rod, radius, ray, the primary sense of which is to shoot, to thrust or send out, as rays of light, or as the branch of a tree.

We use the word set, with another word, to express a similar idea. We say to set off, when we express the sense of arranging, embellishing, implying enlargement or display. So to fix out, is to prepare what is necessary.

That the radical meaning of the Greek 65822w is to send, we have evidence in the compound smidten.w, from which is formed epistle. This word signifies, that which is sent to another. But this sense cannot be deduced from the radical sense of equipping or preparing. This Greek compound signifies also to compose or. adjust

, as garments ; that is, to send or put on, or make to sit well. The primary signification of atootedàw, whence apostle, is to send away. So from the Latin lego, we have legate, and from mitto, missionary, committee, commissary, commissioner; and from the French envoyer, to send, we have envoy.

We have great confidence in German commentators in the science of interpretation. Whatever can be done, by examining the uses of words in authors, the laborious and learned Germans have done. But in the knowledge of the primary significacion of words, and the process of deriving from that the various secondary applications, their works are yet very imperfect.

Remarks on Matthew v. 21, 27, 33.-- In these passages of Matthew's gospel, the words “ 'Hroioose őri šče Sr, Tois apxaios" are, in our English version, rendered " Ye have heard, that it was said by them of old time.”

Rosenmueller remarks on these words, that some persons think Vo VIII.

40

the words suis arpan are put for 23 far asya'w; and others suppose they are put for sustas apzivis. He prefers the latter interpretation.

Campbell and Doddridge traoslate the words, “ Ye have heard that it was said to the ancients;" aod Doddridge cites Grotius and Whitby in confirmation of this rendering.

Io the French bible, published by the American Bible Society, the translation is according to that of Campbell and Doddridge. " Vous avez entendu qu'il a été dit aur anciens.”

Montanus renders the phrase by the dative, as do most other translators. Beza renders it by the ablative, in accordance with our version. Indeed his authority may have had weight with the English translators.

There are two authorities in point, which, one would think, may settle the true sense of the passages in Matthew.

In Romans ix. 26, we find these words, "xzioa, sv SSOTW OUES gran aisois.” “And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said to them.”

In Galatians iii. 16, we find these words, "A Spadu orandav αι επαγγελ'αι, και το σπέρματι αυτού,” « Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made,” (spoken.)

In these latter passages, we see the same verb passive followed by the dative, and so rendered in our version. There are other examples in the new testament ; but these are mentioned because they occurred to me incidently, and they appear to justify the translation of Campbell and Doddridge, showing most conclusively, that our English version is erroneous. And it is somewhat singuJar, that such an accurate investiga!or as Rosenmueller, should have neglected to cite several passages in the new testament, confirmatory of his own opinions.

The version, as it now stands, gives the precept the appearance of being a common saying, a kind of proverbial marim, among the ancients. This aspect would very much impair its authority; for the ancients were not law-givers. It is far more probable, that Christ referred directly to the commands of Moses, wbich given to the ancients; and that his own subsequent precepts were intended to show the greater striciness and excellence of the moral law under the gospel.

P. S. On further examination, I find that to instead of by is the translation in the bishop's bible; and with this correspond the versions of Jerome, Erasinus, Castalio, Calvin, and the Geneva bible. Luther also has to; De Wette, las von, by, but sets zu, to, in the margin.

The editor of the Encyclopædia of Religious Knowledge, under the word Adam, lias adopted the common opinion, that this name was given to our progenitor, because he was made of earth. This

« ПретходнаНастави »