Imágenes de páginas

far as modesty would permit, in the ensuing preface of its justly celebrated author. The reputation of this great man is very well known. His noble birth seemed to open to his ambition a fair path to civil promotion; but his zeal for the interest of religion, his insatiable thirst after knowledge, and more especially his predominant taste for sacred literature, induced him to consecrate his admirable talents to the service of the church. The German universities loaded him with literary honours. The king of Denmark invited him to settle at Copenhagen. The duke of Brunswick called him from thence to Helmstadt, where he received the marks of distinction due to his eminent abilities; filled with applause the academical chair of divinity; was honoured with the character of ecclesiastical counsellor to that respectable court; and presided over the seminaries of learning in the dutchy of Wolfembuttle and the principality of Blackenburg. When the late king formed the design of giving an uncommon degree of lustre to the University of Gottingen, by filling it with men of the first rank in the literary world, such as a Haller, a Gesner, and a Michaelis, Dr. Mosheim was deemed worthy to appear at the head of that famous seat of learning, in the quality of chancellor ; and here he died, universally lamented in the year 1755, and in the sixty first year of his age. In depth of judgment, in extent of learning, in the powers of a noble and masculine eloquence, in purity of taste, and in a laborious application to all the various branches of erudition and philosophy, he had certainly very few superiors. His Latin translation

Mosheim's Compendium is excellent, the method admirable; in short, the only one deserving the name of an Ecclesiastical History. It deserves, and needs, frequent notes. I hope this eminent prelate will not take amiss my placing here a testimony that was not designed to be produced in this public manner. It is, however, so adapted to give those who examine recommendations, with discernment a favourable notion of the following work, that I could not think of suppressing it. It is usual, in publishing certain ancient authors, to prefix to them the encomiums they have been honoured with by those whose authority is respected in the republic of letters. I adopt this custom so far as to mention one testimony; more would be unnecessary; the testimony of a Warburton is abundantly sufficient to answer my purpose, and will be justly looked upon as equivalent to a multitude.

of the celebrated Dr. Cudworth's Intellectual System of the Universe, enriched with large annotations, discovered such a profound acquaintance with ancient philosophy and erudition, as justly excited the admiration of the learned world. His ingenious illustrations of the sacred writings, his successful labours in the defence of Christianity, and the light he cast upon the history of religion and philosophy by his uninterrupted researches, appear in a multitude of volumes, which are deservedly placed among the most valuable treasures of sacred and profane literature; and the learned and judicious work, that is here presented to the public, will undoubtedly render his name illustrious in the records of religion and letters.

How far justice has been done to this excellent work, in the following translation, is a point that must be left to the decision of those who shall think proper to peruse it with attention. I can say, with the strictest truth, that I have spared no pains to render it worthy of their gracious acceptance; and this consideration gives me some claim to their candour and indulgence, for any defects they may find in it. I have endeavoured to render my translation faithful, but never proposed to render it entirely literal. The style of the original is by no means a model to imitate, in a work designed for general use. Dr. Mosheim affected brevity, and laboured to crowd many things into few words; thus his diction, though pure and correct, became sententious and harsh, without that harmony which pleases the ear, and those transitions which make a narration flow with ease. This being the case, I have sometimes taken considerable liberties with my author, and followed the spirit of his narrative without adhering strictly to the letter. Where indeed, the Latin phrase appeared to me elegant, expressive, and compatible with the English idiom, I have constantly followed it; in all other cases, I have departed from it, and have often added a few sentences, to render an observation more striking, a fact more clear, a portrait more finished. Had I been translating Cicero or Tacitus, I should not have thought such freedom pardonable. The translation of a


classic author, like the copy of a capital picture, must exhibit not only the subject, but also the manner of the original; this rule, however, is not applicable to the work now under consideration.

The reader will easily distinguish the additional notes of the translator from the original ones of the author; the ref erences to the translator's, being marked with a hand, thus,

When I entered upon this undertaking, I proposed rendering the additional notes more numerous and ample, than the reader will find them. I soon perceived that the pros ecution of my original plan would render this work too voluminous; and this induced me to alter my purpose. The notes I have given, are not however inconsiderable in number; I wish I could say as much with respect to their merit and importance. I would only hope, that some of them will be looked upon as not altogether unnecessary.

HAGUE, Dec. 4, 1764.


THE favourable reception which the first edition of this work met with, has encouraged the translator to employ his utmost care in rendering the second still less unworthy of the acceptance of the public. He has corrected a passage erroneously translated in the second volume, at the 574th. page of the quarto edition; and he has revised the whole with a degree of attention, which he hopes will secure him against the charge of any other inadvertency. He takes this opportunity of acknowledging the goodness of the learned and worthy Dr. Neve of Middleton Stoney, who favoured him with several notes, and with some hundreds of additional articles and corrections for the Index. Many of these are inserted in this edition, and an N. subjoined to each, to distinguish them from those of the translator.

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »