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oppressed Israel : the king eternal hath prepared it deep and wide; a flaming pile is kindled therein, as of much wood; and the word of the Lord as a torrent of sulphur sets it on fire.' The dissemblers, in their terror, exclaim,- Who among us shall dwell in Jerusalem, where the impious are to be judged and sent into Gehenna with eternal burning. The blessed shall see them des. cending into the land of Gehenna,' Such as say, • stand by thyself, come not near unto me, for I am holier than thou, shall have their punishment in Gehenna, where the fire burns continually; and their bodies shall be delivered to the second death. When all people shall come from month to month, and from sabbath to sabbath, to worship before the Lord, they shall go forth and be hold the carcases of the sinners who have despis. ed the word of the Lord ; their souls die not, and their fire is not quenched; and they shall be judged in Gehenna, until the righteous shall say of them, We have seen enough. &c. Such is the language in which this author speaks of Gehenna. And we may repeat, that it is not only in a different style, but under a different name, that he mentions the valley of Hinnom. At the date of this Targum, therefore, we may conclude that the term had become appropriated by the Jeftis to a place of future torment. Nothing remains, but to point out the age of the work.
This is uncertain. Prideaux, together with several of the old critics, and even Gesenius among the living, place it not far from the Christian era, on the authority chiefly of Jewish tra
1 Targ. in Jona. (in Walton's Polyglot,) in 1 Sam. ii. 6—10. Isa. xxvi. 14--16, 19 ; xxx. 31-33 ; xxxiii. 14, 17; liii, 9; Ixv. 5,6 ; Ixvi. 24, Jer. xvii, 13.
itions. Prideaux, however, has well observed, hat in historical matters, it is not to be regarded what the Jews write, or what they omit. Most of the eminent critics now agree that it could not have been completed till some time between two and four hundred years after Christ. Dr. Jahn thinks it a collection of the interpretations of several learned men, made towards the end of the third century, and containing some of a much older date.'' Eichhorn says that Jonathan certainly lived later than the birth of Christ ;' and judging from his style, his fables, his perversions of the prophecies concerning the Messiah, and from the profound silence of the early Jews and Christian fathers, he concludes that his compilation cannot have been made before the fourth century. The same circumstances that Eichhorn adduces, are thought by Bertholdt to indicate the second or third century; and he is confident that the collection cannot have attained its complete form, before the end of the second century.' With these general conclusions, it is said that Bauer likewise agrees ; and some critics have referred the work to as late a period as the seventh or eighth century.?
2 Prideaux's Connections, Vol. iv. pp. 215--220 ; Vol. ii. p. 130. Gesenius Jesaia Einleit. § 11. Jabn's Introduction to the Old Testament, Gen. Introd. § 47, p. 66. New York, 1827. Eichhorn's Einleit. in das alte Test. Kap, iii. $ 226, 227. Bertholdt's historische Einleit, in Schriften des alt. und neu. Test. Zweyter Th. 173. Horne's Introduction, Vol. ii. p. 160.
Interpretations, affecting the credibility of the
It is by no means astonishing, that many parts of the sacred writings, in the English version, have lost much of their original vigor and beauty. Were we sure that all the manuscripts had been well preserved, or faithfully copied, and that they were correct before us, still it is impossible by any artificial translation to express the peculiar power and import of every passage.
We say artificial ; for we believe all our translations are so. Too much dependence has been placed upon mere philological rules and the mechanical definitions of Lexicons. Prof. Norton of Cambridge, an eminent Greek critic, we understand is engaged in making a translation of the New Testament, in which the spirit, rather than the letter of the word, is to be primarily consulted. The public, we think, may derive essential advantage from the fruits of his labors. But when we consider for how many centuries the sacred writings remained in manuscript, passing through the hands of perhaps corrupt and designing men, the wonder is, that there are not more and grosser errors in the received text than do exist. It is cause of gratitude to heaven, that the Scriptures have been so well preserved.
But necessity compels us to take things as we
find them. The truth is, the Scriptures, as they are presented to us in the current English dress, have lost much of their ancient intelligibility and power, and in some respects, ' are hard to be understood. We are obliged, therefore, to resort to interpretations. We speak not now of those passages which are involved in the most obscuri. ty, and which none can pretend to understand with any great claims to positive accuracy. We speak, rather, of passages more explicit ; but which are still so expressed as to leave some room to conjecture and speculation. On such passages we must exert our reason--carnal and dangerous as some are pleased to consider it; we must compare them with other scriptures, and avail ourselves of such other auxiliary helps as are accessible to us. The conclusions to which we may thus arrive, we call interpretations. We use this word as a convenient one, not caring to vouch for its full propriety.
It is not to be denied, that the Scriptures have been so interpreted as to weaken their claims to the confidence and respect of mankind. They have, indeed, been made to teach doctrines which are expressly censured on the very face of the sacred text. For instance : No maxim is more prominent in the New Testament one the spirit of which is diffused throughout the whole record than that Christianity was given to save, not to destroy men's lives. Its author reproved every attempt at violence and bloodshed on the part of his followers. He would have his religion propagated, not by the sword, but by the simple and yet mighty power of truth over the minds of an