« PrécédentContinuer »
which would exist without them, since it might appear that the verb 'to rule' governed the stars, as well as the night;' to rule the night; the stars also.' Now, as the meaning of the original is clear, and it was the purpose of the translators to convey the meaning to the Euglish reader, we consider their insertion of these words as a proof of the judgment with which they proceeded. But, if this could admit of a doubt, Mr. Bellamy's translation will be sufficient to prove the point. It stands thus, 'God made two great lights the lesser light, to rule the night; also the stars. Here that ambiguity is most apparent, which it was the object of our translators
The second instance is of a similar description. v. 29. God says, ' Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed,' &c. then, after several intervening clauses, at v. 30. I have given every green herb for meat.' Here, in consequence of the distance of the verb • I have given,' v. 29. from the words which it governs,
every green herb,' the translators have not left it to be understood, but have most properly supplied it for the sake of clearness. Mr. Bellamy, on the contrary, has not supplied it, and has left the sense perfectly unintelligible; for he has placed a full stop at the end of v. 29. and rendered 30 as follows— Aud to every beast of the earth, also to every bird of the heaven, yea to all moving on the earth, in which is the soul of life; even every herb, for food : and it was so.' So much for Mr. Bellamy's insinuations respecting the insertions in italic!
But Mr. Bellamy particularly plumes himself on bis attention to punctuation.
* I have paid,' he says, (Introd. p. xi.) particular attention to the punctuation. In the common version, we frequently find it so neglected that the first proposition is made to run into the second, and the second into the third, by which the true sense is not known. I have therefore closely adhered to the Hebrew punctuation, which will be found to add great light to numbers of passages hitherto obscure.'
We will give a few specimens of his skill in this department. The following passages are pointed exactly as they appear in his book.
*Gen. 1. i. In the beginning God created, the substance of the hea
4. And God saw, that the light, was good : thus God divided, the light, from the darkness. 10. And God called, the dry land, earth.
j. 10. And a river went forth from Eden ; to water the garden: which from thence divided ; and became, four heads.'
These specimens (and similar ones pervade the whole work) are sufficient to shew the valuable fruits of Mr. Bellamy's particular attention to this part of grammar. We know not that, in any book
of any kind, we ever saw a system of punctuation so decidedly absurd. We have been accustomed to suppose that the stops should be s. placed as to guide the eye to a clear view of the meaning of a sentence: Mr. Bellamy's rule seems to be quite the reverse, if he act by any rule; viz. 10 place them so as to confuse and obscure the sense in every possible way. Here are nominatives disjoined from the verbs with which they agree, verbs disjoined from the accusatives which follow then, clauses broken in the most portentous manner without the slightest reason. We beg our readers not to believe that he has followed, as he asserts, the Hebrew punctuation. His systen, we can confidently assure them, is entirely his own; and when he states that he has adhered to that of the Hebrew,' he only shews that his knowledge of Hebrew punctuation is on a par with his knowledge of the meaning of Hebrew words. He imputes neglect on this head to our translators; we can only say that they have succeeded intinitely better by neglecting the subject than he has by paying it particular attention.
We bad intended a few remarks on some of Mr. Bellamy's notes, but our decreasing limits warn us to contract our plan. We shall therefore only observe that they are for the most part full of positive assertions without proofs, and written in a style which clearly evinces that the writer holds in sovereign contempt every opinion but his own : he is besides so rambling and desultory that we have not always the advantage of duly appreciating his arguments, because it is impossible to understand them. In his very first note on Gen. i. 1. for instance, he enters into a long discussion to prove that no plurality is implied under the word Elohim.
* The manifest error made by those who have pleaded for the plurality of Elohyim, God, is that they have not observed the distinction between polytheism and personality. By polytheism must necessarily be understood a plurality of gods; but by personality, consistently with the obvious meaning of the word, no such an idea as a plurality of gods can be formed in the mind. This error has been confirmed by the very improper understanding and customary application of the Latin word persona.'
He then proceeds to state that, when the Latin was a living language, the word persona meant a character or office; 'but has so far degenerated into tangible materiality, that, instead of its being used as it was anciently, it is applied to mean the material body of man.' We hope the reader comprehends it. Mr. Bellamy, however, does not wait for this, but rapidly starts off to a discussion of the antiquity of the Hebrew language and its connexion with the Arabic; which has just as much to do with the immediate subject of the note as a dissertation on the north pole. At Gen. ï. and ii. he considers the scriptural accounts of the temptation and of the fall
us allegorical, an opinion which has been often maintained. It will not be suspected that he produces any new arguments in favour of it, or that he presents those on which he rests in a very striking or intelligible form; at the same time, he takes especial care to place in the foreground the stale objections of infidelity to the received meaning.
On a former occasion* we were led to notice these arguments, when they were pursued to a much greater length than they now are. We do not hear that the disciples of this school are on the increase; and therefore we shall not trouble our readers or ourselves by engaging in the discussion.
On Abraham's templation, Mr. Bellamy observes
• It appears by the common version that all the nations of the earth were to be blessed, because Abraham had hearkened to the voice of God. But, as this is contrary both to Scripture and reason, it will also appear plain that the translation of this clause is not consistent with the original. We cannot hesitate in concluding that the happiness or blessing of any nation or individual never depended on the obedience of Abraham; viz. because he had hearkened to the voice of God.'
Now it is well known to every reader of Scripture that the blessing to be conferred on all nations was never understood to depend on Abraham's obedience or disobedience. The promise of a Redeemer had been made in express terms long before; and it depended on Abraham's obedience, not whether that promise should be fulfilled at all, but whether it should be fulfilled in his line, or in any other line. This is as clear as words can make it in the received version. Gen. xxij. 16, 17, 18. Because thou hast done this thing, in blessing I will bless thee, &c. and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because thou hast obeyed my voice.' We find it difficult to attribute these gross misrepresentations to mere ignorance or negligence; there seems to be direct malice against the Holy Scriptures.
We now take our leave of Mr. Bellamy with a hope that we shall never have to attend to him again on any similar occasion. We live in an age, in which, in every department of literature, sballow pretenders are endeavouring to impose upon the world a persuasion that they are deeply and profoundly learned. Many deplorable examples have come witbin our notice, but none more striking than this before us. We never witnessed an instance in which a person has undertaken an important work with loftier claims, but with more slender qualifications. Still we do not think that we should have bestowed so much notice upon Mr. Bellamy, if the subject in which he engaged had been merely literary. We might then have suffered him to enjoy tranquilly a character, if he could have obtained it, for superior erudition. But, since he has thonght proper to make those Holy Scriptures, wbich are the groundwork of our faith and hopes, the subject of his fanciful interpretations, and to pursue a course which obviously tended to impair the reverence, and shake the confidence of the public in the truths derived from them, it appeared to us that we should be wanting in our duty if we did not examine his pretensions, and endeavour to prevent his seducing any one into unfounded doubts respecting the certainty of received scriptural interpretations.
* Vol. IX. No, XVIII. Art. IV.
There is one subject to which we think it right again to allude before we close; we do it, we contess, with some anxiety, and with feelings of real respect towards those concerned. We speak of the list of subscribers to Mr. Bellamy's publication, which, as we have said, includes the names of many members of the Royal Family, of several of the nobility, of the dignified clergy, and other respectable individuals. It is well known that, when illustrious and honourable names appear in a list of subscriptions to a work, they are usually reputed to convey the approbation of those individuals, and bave therefore the direct effect of recommending it to the public. We venture then respectfully to ask, is it fitting that such a work as this should continue to go forth thus sanctioned and recommended? We do not wish a single name to be withdrawo solely on our representation; but we do most earnestly hope and trust that the attention of those who have patronized the work will be particularly called by it to its general nature and tendency, and that, if they should find our strictures to be well founded, they will seriously consider the propriety of continuing their support.
ADDENDUM to the Article on Light's Travels, p. 204. Since our Article on Captain Light's Journey in Egypt and Nubia was printed off, a very curious discovery has been made respecting the bones found in the sarcophagus of the pyramid of Cephrenes. Major Fitzclarence, in bis journey overland from India, reached Cairo shortly after the opening of this pyramid had been accomplished by Belzoni ; and, with the zeal and enterprize incident to his profession, he determined to enter into the pyramid, and examine, for himself, the wonders of the central chamber, so recently laid open. With less reverence, perhaps, for the august repository of the mighty dead than might have been felt by a contemporary of the Pharaohs, he brought away a few fragments from the domus erilis Plutonia, and among the rest some small pieces of bone, one of which proved to be the lower extre
mity of the thigh bone, where it comes in contact with the knee joint. This singular curiosity was presented by Major Fitzclarence to his Royal Highuess the Prince Regent, who submitted it to the inspection of Sir Everard Home.
Sir Everard, entertaining no doubt of its being part of a human skeleton, took it to the Museum of the College of Surgeons, that, by adjusting it to the same part of different sized skeletons, he might be enabled to form some estimate of the comparative stature of the ancient Egyptians and modern Europeans.' On a closer and more Taborious examination, however, the fragment was found to agree with none of them; and it finally appeared that, instead of forming any part of the thigh-bone of a human subject, it actually made part of that of a cow.
This discovery, it must be admitted, somewhat deranges our previous speculations on the original destination of the pyramids. The large sarcophagi, (and indeed we always considered them as unnecessarily large for the human figure,) instead of being the depositories of the remains of the kings of Egypt, would, now appear to have been hollowed out and sculptured with such extraordinary skill and pains to receive the mortal exuviæ of the tutelary deities; and those immense masses, in which they were intombed, to have solely owed their boundless cost and magnificence to a reverential regard for ' the brutish forms' of Apis or Osiris. Unless indeed, (which we do not think at all improbable,) the fanatic sovereigns of Egypt, like the wretched devotees who, to steal into heavey,
• Dying, put on the weeds of Dominick,
Or in Franciscan think to pass disguised,' chose to be placed in the same sarcophagus with their gods, either to share their earthly honours, or to ensure their divine protection.
That human bones will be found in this solemn chamber of death, we in no wise doubt; meanwhile, it ought to excite no surprize that Mr. Belzoni should consider the small fragment of which we have spoken as belonging to a human body, since it required all the practical knowledge of the College of Surgeons to ascertain the subject of which it once formed a part.