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to distinguish between Hebraisms and
Grecisms. Ptochen, Stolberg, and others have indeed written judiciously, on the purity of the New-Testament Greek, and shown that many phrases generally deemed Hebraisms, were actually used by the profane Greek writers; and it cannot be denied but that caution is necessary when collating the style of the New, with that of the Old Testament. It is, nevertheless, very evident that the Inspired Penmen borrowed many phrases from their vernacular tongue. Hence, on the one hand, no person can say that the style of the New Testament differs widely from that of profane authors; and yet, on the other, no book can be rendered into the Hebrew Idiom with more facility; not on account of the subject matter only but chiefly because of the similarity existing between the respective styles of their compositions. See the “ Hermeneuticæ Sacræ." of Danhauerus. Art. 10. § 5. P. 181, 182; and the authors cited by Pfeiffer, - Critic. Sac.” P. 78, &c. and 214.-It therefore obviously follows, that no person can attain to an exact acquaintance with the Idiom of the New Testament, unless he first study the doctrine of Hebraisms; and, on this account. the examination of Idiom should immediately follow the first perusal of the Old and New Testaments. (r)
Among the works which have been written on this subject. the Grammatica Sacra," in the third treatise of Glassius' Philologia Sacra," merits particular
regard, and judiciously conjoins the Idiom both of the Old and New Testaments. Without meaning to detract, however, in the least, from the credit of this celebrated man, who has deseryed so well of the church, and whose memory I cannot but revere, it will be necessary to make a few critical remarks on his work, in order to its being read with profit. (8)
1. The rules which it contains, are taken from the “Clavis Scripturæ Sacræ" of Flacius Illyricus: a work which may very properly be read and collated with the book in question. (t)
2. A great part of the Examples are taken from other authors, especially from the notes of Junius and Tremellius. Buxtorf's “Thesaurus Grammaticus” may be likewise collated with it, as well as the “ Observationes Philologicæ et Exegeticæ" of Chemnitz. (u)
3 Glassius often considers as Idiomatic, forms of expression which, if duly examined, it will be evident may obtain in all languages; provided the same circumstances concur, and make it requisite: being an arbitrary expression, and not warranted by the genius of the tongue.
4. He has increased the number of the Rules, which might, with more propriety, have been abridged; so as not so much to try the memory of learners.
5. He does not give the reasons of the Rules, This might have been done to most, if not to all
of them; and especially to those on Grammatical Figures.
6. He does not treat of the doctrine of Idiom thos roughly. Many Idioms lie, as it were, concealed, both in the Hebrew and other languages; particularly, in the connexion of words. That this is the case in the Latin tongue, has been fully proved by Schorus; whose little works, “Methodus discendæ linguæ Latinæ et Grecæ," and "Phrases Ciceronianæ," (especially the preface,) deserve commendation. (v)
Some valuable Spicilegia have been added to Glassius' work by Danhauerus. See Hermeneut. Sac. Art. VI. P. 183, &c.
If the reader desire to engage more fully in this study, he may derive the requisite assistance from the “ Adversaria Sacra” of Fesselius; and from thc Commentaries of Drusius, Grotius, &c. contained in ten volumes of “ Critici Sacri.” [fieffer likewise cites authors on this subject, in his “Critica Sacra,” P. 174, and 175. It is, however, to be observed, that a very tolerable acquaintance with the subject of Idiom may be acquired from the above-mentioned “ Grammatica Sacra” of Glassius. (w)
Various are the methods which have been devised for the study of Glassius' work. Some have transcribed an Index of the Rules into their Bibles, that they might be able to refer to them with less trouble, when examining the text. Others have preferred read
ing Herwart's Compendium: while others again have perused the Index subjoined to the “Grammatica Sacra," and transcribed in the margin of their Bibles, the heads of the rules, and even the explanations annexed by its author. The last plan is that which I recommend to the reader. (2)
When, however, the assistance of a friend can be procured, it is really advisable for the student to avail himself of it. Any person who thoroughly understands the nature of Idiom, may include the whole doctrine in two sections, taken, one from the Old, and the other, from the New Testament; and point out the Idioms as they occur, adding, if agreeable, the rules from Glassius and other writers. I have experienced, that, by adopting this mode, the whole may be very profitably gone through in the space of one month.--There is one other advantage peculiar to it, that not being employed on various and indifferent parts of the Bible, but confined to a few definite pages, the student enjoys the advantage of being able to refer to a parallel example in sections previously examined, whenever a corresponding Idiom comes under his notice.
The Tutor may follow the order of the Rules, first, briefly explaining them ; adding, next, one or two select examples; and, lastly, impressing the whole upan the pupil's mind by an attentive examination. This will not be a task of any length.
It must be confessed, that, in gaining a knowledge
of Idiom, much depends on a constant and patient perusal of the Greek and Hebrew text. Ibis is evident, from considering the principles on which, without adverting to any Rules, we judge of our vernacular Idiom. It always sounds very harshly to us who are familiar with it, whenever this is violated; and we may therefore conclude, that a perfect acquaintance with the Idiom of any tongue, is best acquired by studying and familiarizing the tongue itself.
Having now treated of the doctrine of Idiom, and made those remarks on it as a study which we deemed important, let the reader be admonished, not to devote his time and attention to the Letter of Scripture only, but hasten to the enjoyment of those sacred delights, which flow from the Spirit of the lively Oracles.
3. Of the Chaldee Language. When the student has made a proficiency in the Hebrew, he should commence with the Chaldee language. This may be learned according to the method prescribed for acquiring the Greek and Hebrew: -taking those parts of the Scriptures that were written in Chaldee, and reading them with a translation.
They who covet a more enlarged knowledge of this tongue, may study the Targum; which, if they be