« PreviousContinue »
“Now the just shall live by faith ; but if he draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him :" and as the text is really important, a few observations, on the mode in which the words “any man” obtained admission, may not be unacceptable.
Wickliff-adhering to the Latin Vulgate (“ Justus autem meus ex fide vivit [al. vivet]: quod si subtraxerit se, non placebit animæ meæe”)—thus translates the verse. “For my just man liveth of faith : that if he withdraw himself, he shall not please my soul.”... The Bibles of Coverdale, Matthewes, Taverner, Cranmer, Becke, agree in presenting the following words, “But the just shall live by faith ; and if he withdraw himself, my soul shall have no pleasure in him," where “the just” is manifestly to be applied to the second clause. Nor was it, I believe, till the year 1560, that a different construction appeared in English. The Geneva Bible of that year thus presents the passage: the just shall live by faith : but if any withdraw himself, my soul shall have no pleasure in him ;" which seems to be derived from Beza's Latin Version, published at Geneva in 1556_" Justus autem ex fide vivet : at si quis se subduxerit non probat eum animus meus.”... From the publication of the Geneva Bible in 1560, to that of our present Authorized Version in 1611, the reading of the English Bibles, at this place, seems to have been unsteady; for according to some of them, we read, “if any withdraw;"—according to others “if he withdraw.” Lawrence Tomson gave “ if any man withdraw;" which was adopted by King James's Translators.... The Latin Version, “ si quis se subduxerit” and the corresponding English, “if any man with
draw," or "draw back"
“ draw back”-cannot be deemed very obvious versions ; how then did they occur to the Translators who first ventured upon them? This question can be answered only by such an account of the matter as circumstances may appear to render probable; and the reader will be so good as to consider in that light the following attempt to explain a subject which really deserves explanation.
The Apostle, exhorting those whom he is addressing to stedfastness in the faith, employs, with some variation, the words of the Septuagint Version of the Prophet Habakkuk (ii. 4.); which may be thus rendered :
“ If a man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him; but the just shall live by faith.”
In this rendering, the words “a man,” or “any man” are more than the Greek contains; and are introduced because there is, in the Greek, no reference to any individual before mentioned. But it suited the Apostle's argument to invert the order of the clauses; and the question is, whether he has, or has not, by so doing, given to the verb, which we translate “ draw back," a particular subject to which it refers. Take the sentence as written by the Apostle—without considering whence it is derived—and the following literal version, as I have said, gives the passage its full force:
“ Now the just shall live by faith; but if he draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him." Indeed, unless the latter clause, as used by the Apostle, had stood first in the Prophet, and from its position had had a more general application, there would have been some difficulty in conceiving how any other version, than the one now given, could ever have been thought
of. That the bearing and import of words are frequently changed by their position, is known to all who know any thing of the nature of language; and thus the inquiry is reduced to this—whether, for the purpose of confirming the faith of the Hebrew converts, the Apostle used a sentence, the signification of which should be determined by its own obvious constructionor by what might happen to be recollected of its form when used by a Prophet, who here seems rather to be referred to than quoted. This point, the reader shall decide for himself.... As to the light in which this passage appeared to the older Commentators—Erasmus manifestly did not contemplate the introduction of quis
any man :"_Zegerus explained the drawing back, with reference to the just man:- Jacobus Capellus and Grotius examined the Septuagint Version of Habakkuk; and finding tis, any man, to be understood there, seemed to think that it must be understood in Heb. x. 38. likewise.
Beza—the great authority for the rendering—“but if any man draw back”-described the Apostle as inverting the clauses of the sentence, but retaining the Prophet's meaning. And this, so far as I can perceive, is his ostensible reason for introducing
any” or “any man.” That, by this rendering, another version was avoided, by no means agreeable to Beza's Theological opinions, there can be no doubt; and it is probable that he easily persuaded himself that his construction was the true one...... After these remarks on Bezamwhich will certainly be deemed favourable to his character—we may proceed to Bishop Pearson's Observations on Heb. x. 38. (as connected with Beza) which are to be found in his Preface to the Septuagint, published in 1665, and in Grabe's edition of 1707. From
those Observations (which will be given below)* we learn that, in Bishop Pearson's opinion, the inverted order of the clauses, adopted by the Apostle, at once gave to the verb “ draw back” a nominative case “he” (the just man) which also was the opinion of Theophylact : and that when Beza translated to the following effect "But the just shall live by faith ; but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in it”_his two methods, of excluding “the just man” from being the subject of the latter clause-1. by introducing the words “ any man,” and 2. by transferring God's displeasure, from the person who draws back-(him), to the act of withdrawing-(17),-indicate either a want of good faith, or an undue concession to Theological opinions.... Enough has been said to enable the reader to form 'some judgement of the first of those methods. The consideration of the second method will lead to the discussion of a curious fact; of which, if I do not mistake, no notice has hitherto been taken....According to Bishop Pearson, the latter clause is thus given in Beza's Version : “At si quis se subduxerit, non est gratum animo meo :” --where the word “gratum” in the neuter, instead of “gratus” in the masculine, transfers (as has been stated) God's displeasure from the person to the act.
* Bishop Pearson, having maintained that the Original Hebrew (in conformity with the Septuagint) may be thus rendered, “si quis se subtraxerit, ille animo meo gratus non erit:”-goes on—“Illa autem verba, cum Græcè, inverso ordine, ab Apostolo usurpantur, à Theodoro Beza haud bonâ fide sunt translata : Justus autem ex fide vivet ; at si quis se subduxerit, non est gratum animo meo.” Cum enim pars posterior versiculi ad justum pertineat, ut rectè Theophylactus, εαν δε υποστείληται ο δίκαιος, Beza eum duplici ratione excludere conatus est, primum interserendo pronomen, quis, secundo ev aŭto à personâ, cui competit, ad factum transferendo. Ex quo loco quam suspecta esse debeat ejus Translatio, nemo nescit, qui quibus opinionibus in Theologiâ adhæserit, novit.” Præfatio Parænetica.
Now on examining two copies of Beza's Version-one in the fourth edition of his Greek Testament 1588 ; the other printed along with the Version of Tremellius in 1593_some surprise was excited, when it was found that the reading, in each instance, was _“ probat eum animus meus." Of this difficulty, the first solution that occurred was—that Pearson had derived the reading he mentions from one of the earliest editions of Beza's Version—that reading having afterwards been abandoned for the reading found in the edition of 1588. But it was not so.
Many editions in various forms, from the first publication in 1556 to the year 1588, were examined ; and they all agreed in presenting “non probat eum animus meus”—which may be considered as equivalent to “non est gratus animo meo.” Pearson's accuracy, however, was fully proved: for in the last edition of the Greek and Latin Testament which Beza lived to publish (1598), the clause, “non est gratum animo meo,” made its appearance; which of course kept its place in the Cambridge edition of 1642. From the first, there had been, in the note on the passage, some traces of an inclination for the clause involving “gratum,” which was at last decided upon; and when the new reading appeared, no alteration was made in the note, which was indeed so contrived as to suit either reading equally well. Beza's proceeding with regard to this word affords to my mind stronger evidence of an unwarrantable Theological bias, than his insertion of quis (any man). But of this also let the reader judge for himself. I am glad to have had an opportunity of evincing Bishop Pearson's correctness, even in a small matter.
Without a due examination of the sub